Sunday, December 31, 2006

Kurds should never forget their own mountains

"Recently Saddam was hanged. But why was he hanged? The Anfal trial will resume on January 8 without Saddam. But Kurds have every right to be worried. Let's first read the words of one of my most favorite Kurdish politicians:
Mahmoud Othman, a prominent Kurdish MP in Baghdad who survived several assassination attempts by the former regime, criticised the Iraqi government's apparent rush to carry out the death sentence before the end of the Anfal trial.
"It was very important to keep him alive so that we could know the full details of what happened during all the atrocities that were committed," he said. "We need to know how and why he did what he did and who helped him, by providing political and material support to his regime."

Saddam had taken many secrets to his grave, he said, including vital knowledge about "the foreign companies and countries that supplied the parts and expertise to make chemical weapons."
I wonder who are those countries? Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat was convicted last year of complicity in war crimes for selling Iraq chemical weapons and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Before being convicted he was protected by the Dutch government. Another coverup?

Let's see who gave Saddam the most weapons:

1. USSR (59.57%) (Enemy of America)
2. France (12.43%)
3. China (11.05)
4. Czechoslovakia (6.57%)
5. Poland (3.84) (US ally)
6. Brazil (1.65%)
7. Egypt (1.18%)
8. Denmark (0.52%)
9. USA (0.47%)
10. Austria (.043%)

You can see the list includes the American enemies, but also America itself. In addition, France is included in the list. Most French people are negative about the death sentence. But for the wrong reasons."
Poland a US Ally at the time of Anfal? are you sure. I think you can put them on the USSR side of the list at that time.

The funny thing is we get all the blame and the commies and the Euro trash get all the glory


"Today, the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the beginning of the illegal invasion reached to 3000, making this month’s death toll, 111, the third highest since March of 2003. But what’s more significant about this month’s death toll is that it can be counted as the highest death toll without major battles, because the other two months with higher death tolls coincided with the battle of Fallujah at the end of 2003, and the battle of Najaf at the beginning of 2004.

Two months ago, the toll was the now second highest this year, 106, but there was an indirect reason. It was the holy month of Ramadan where more Iraqis are expected to fight against the occupation for religious reasons."
Raed in the Middle

End of the Year

"Last Christmas Eve I threw my wedding ring off the 14 July bridge and into the Tigris River. I was standing mid span the water, thick with silt and mud, drifted slowly past in a circle of light cast by a spotlight aimed at the water.
I was gunning that night so I wasn’t wearing my chest rig, just body armor to better fit in the turret, or jump out in the event of a rollover or the vehicle was burning and for some odd reason I had survived. I stood at the rail, helmet off, looking at the water, tapping the ring against the metal. The bridge had been recently repainted a green that looked like it belonged on a barn.
I had been thinking about doing this for awhile now, been meaning to do it, but kept on forgetting. Tonight was probably the last chance I would get to do this, my last trip to the IZ, so it was now or never. The fact that it was Christmas Eve really meant noting, nothing significant, no special meaning.
So I threw the ring, spinning and flashing in the floodlight, in and out of the shadows, twisting in the black like a cast off piece of space junk, until it plops into the muddy water and sinks out of sight."
This is Your War II

Analysis: Saddam's Execution: It's all in the timing

From early on it was obvious that dealing with carrying out the execution of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein would not be an easy task, and that the main problem would be timing.

Although it was widely known that this week was not considered an appropriate time for the execution of a leader, the Muslim world woke up at dawn on Saturday, December 30 - the first day of Id al-Adha and a few hours before the Id prayer - to find that Saddam had been executed, despite the fact that Iraqi law forbids executions on holidays.

Many thought that the Iraqi government, headed by Nouri Elmaliki, acted too hastily in executing Saddam so quickly, despite the fact that the Iraqi court allowed a period of one month to act on the verdict, which was published on December 26.

The majority of reactions in the Arab world, even from moderate countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others, focused on the argument that the Iraqi government breached the holiness of the Id.

Moreover, televised scenes of the execution show that guards called out words of support for Shi'ite leader Muqtada Alsadr and the Shi'ite cleric Muhammed Baqer Alsader, who was executed by Saddam in 1980, suggesting that the execution was seen as a Shi'ite revenge and just another part of the ongoing struggle between Shi'ites and Sunnis in Iraq. As such, it would add fuel to the fire of sectarian violence and hinder the future unity of the divided country.

Observers in the Arab world who compete to analyze the timing of the execution and its ramifications on future relations in Iraq believe the Iraqi government tried to make a determined stand, especially in light of the Baker-Hamilton report, in a desperate attempt to curb violence.

The execution is also being perceived by those in the Arab world as a clear message sent by the American administration through the Iraqi government to the countries surrounding Iraq, mainly Syria and Iran, that the United States is not yet leaving the area.

Furthermore, the execution sends a firm and clear-cut message that Washington and Baghdad will not accept bargains like the one suggested by Sunni leaders in Iraq, which would have them stop violence in return for the release of Saddam.

Another explanation common in Iraq is that the execution was part of a policy of clearing the table before entering a new phase starting from the beginning of 2007.

This leaves the main question open: What will be the future of Iraq after Saddam's execution?

It seems that the accepted scenario is that the execution will not have an effect on the tragic situation in Iraq and will not pave the way to achieving the target of a free, secure Iraq.

In practice, say pundits in the Arab arena, the execution and its timing will not change the negative attitude towards the US in Iraq.


More oxygen for the rest of us.

US-Iran Coup Planning in Iraq?

The US has taken the astounding step in Iraq of releasing into Iran’s custody two high ranking military Iranian officers captured by US forces two days ago and suspected of planning terrorist attacks against US forces, according to the San Jose Mercury News. One of the captured officers is the third ranking leader of Iran’s Special Operation Forces (see “Iraq frees Iranian operatives arrested in raids, angers US.” 29 December 07). According to published reports, the Iranian agents were captured with planning documents for terrorist attacks on US and Iraqi forces.

To quote the San Jose Mercury News:

“One of the commanders, identified by officials simply as Chizari, was the third-highest-ranking official of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Al-Quds Brigade, the unit most active in aiding, arming and training groups outside Iran, including Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, U.S. officials said. The other commander was described as equally significant to Iran's support of foreign militaries but not as high ranking.”

The US decision to release these high raking Iranian officials is striking for several reasons.
First, these Iranian officials, especially Chizari , would be knowledgeable not only about specific Iranian attacks being planned but of Iranian terrorism plans across the board in Iraq, including political activities. The US released Chizari before undertaking an interrogation to gain access to his information. By doing so, the US has put US military and civilian personnel at risk. Iran can now move ahead with previously planned attacks with the awareness that US forces US will not be alerted.

Second, for this reason, the US military did not approve of the decision to release these high ranking Iranian officials, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Who did approve this decision, in effect overriding the standing policy on interrogations established by GEN Casey? The authority to override GEN Casey could not come from Ambassador Khalilzad, who has no authority over US military personnel in Iraq. Was this decision to override GEN Casey made by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, who speaks for President Bush?

Third, how extensive is the cooperation between US civilian officials, including Ambassador Khalilzad, with Iranian officials involved in planning terrorism, as well as with Iraqi supporters of the Badr Brigade including Abdul Aziz al-Hakim? The US military has no such contacts with the Badr Brigade and Hakim or it would most likely not have staged the raid on Hakim’s compound in the first place, where several Iranian and Badr Brigade officials were detained. Moreover, the US military would not have objected to the release of Chizai and officials and insisted upon access to their information.

In short, has a split emerged in US policy on terrorism in Iraq with the US military opposed to Iran, the Badr Brigade, and Hakim, while US civilian officials, backed up by the White House and State, are in favor of US contacts with the Badr Brigade and Hakim?

Moreover, is State’s support for the Badr Brigade tied to State's support for Hakim’s ambitions to replace Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister. In the past several weeks Hakim has been involved in extensive negotiations with Iran and with other Iraqi political parties to ease Maliki, who is backed by Muqtada al-Sadr, from power. Only the last minute opposition from Ayatollah Sistani has preserved the Maliki government from falling in the face this Iranian-State Department campaign.

To be even more specific, is the Badr Brigade, supported by Hakim and Iran, planning to stage a coup in Baghdad against the Maliki government? Are the detained Iranian officials aware of this coup planning? Is this why the Iranian officials are not being questioned and have been released into Iran’s custody? Are the 20,000 new US troops for Baghad, part of the Bush Administation's "surge" strategy, to be used to protect the new Hakim pro-Iran government?

The Conservative Voice

OK, you got me?? I have no Idea what's going on here. Another Bush stupidity? I'm up to hearing any explanations. I mean if there was ever in the history of the world, a good candidate for GITMO, it was these guys?? Hello!!

Talk about the inmates running the institution.

Somali, Ethiopian troops fight militants

KISMAYO, Somalia - Fighting erupted Sunday on the outskirts of a militant Islamic movement's last remaining stronghold, where Somalia's prime minister said three al-Qaida suspects wanted in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies were hiding.

Somali troops, supported by Ethiopian tanks and MiG fighter jets, attacked front-line forces of the Islamic group in southern Somalia. Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi said they would "capture or kill" the terror suspects.

Thousands of residents fled the fertile agricultural area before the battle, carrying blankets, food and water as they headed toward the Kenyan border, 100 miles to the south.

Gedi said Islamic militants in Kismayo, Somalia's third-largest city, were sheltering alleged bombers Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and Abu Taha al-Sudani. The bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed more than 250 people.

The latest fighting broke out in Helashid, 11 miles northwest of Jilib, the gateway to Kismayo, where an estimated 3,000 hardcore Islamic fighters were preparing for a bloody showdown.

Sporadic gunfire could be heard in Kismayo itself, and Ethiopian MiG fighter were flying over the city. Islamic fighter Rabi Ahmed told The Associated Press that about 50 militia in the city were refusing to go to the front and fight.

The skirmishes were taking place in thick mango forests, which provided cover for the Islamic militia from tanks and aircraft, villager Mohamed Deq told the AP.

Both sides are "firing mortars and artillery shells," he said. "It is heavy, and we can hear a lot of machine gunfire hitting the buildings."

Howo Nor said she was fleeing with her three children. "I don't know where to go. We are terrified because we can hear the fighting," she said.

Islamic leaders vowed to make a stand against Ethiopia, which has one of the largest armies in Africa, or to begin an Iraq-style guerrilla war.

"Even if we are defeated we will start an insurgency," said Sheik Ahmed Mohamed Islan, the head of the Islamic movement in the Kismayo region. "We will kill every Somali that supports the government and Ethiopians."

Jilib resident Mohamed Suldan Ali said the Islamic forces had littered the approach to the town with remote-controlled land mines. Another resident said the fighters had destroyed three bridges on routes leading to the town.

Somalia's interim government and its Ethiopian allies have long accused Islamic militias of harboring al-Qaida, and the U.S. government has said the 1998 bombers have become leaders in the Islamic movement in Africa.

"We would like to capture or kill these guys at any cost," Prime Minister Gedi told the AP. "They are the root of the problem."

The Islamic group denies having links to al-Qaida.

In the past 10 days, Islamic fighters have been forced from the capital, Mogadishu, and other key towns in the face of attacks led by Ethiopia.

Gedi said he spoke Sunday to the U.S. ambassador in Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, about sealing the Kenyan border with Somalia to prevent the three terror suspects from escaping.

"If we capture them alive we will hand them over to the United States," Gedi said. "We know they are in Kismayo."

The U.S. government has a counterterrorism task force based in neighboring Djibouti and has been training Kenyan and Ethiopian forces to protect their borders. The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet also has a maritime task force patrolling international waters off the Somali coast, which helps prevent terrorists from launching attacks or transporting personnel, weapons or other material, said fleet spokesman Commander Kevin Aandahl.

The military advance marked a stunning turnaround for Somalia's government, which just weeks ago could barely control one town — its base of Baidoa — while the Council of Islamic Courts controlled the capital and much of southern Somalia.

The Council of Islamic Courts, the umbrella group for the Islamic movement that ruled Mogadishu for six months, wants to transform Somalia into a strict Islamic state.

Islamic officials said they still had fighters in the capital and were ready for warfare. Late Saturday, an unexplained blast in the capital left one woman dead and two others wounded and stirred fears of a guerrilla war.

Some Mogadishu residents also feared the return of warlords who were the city's rulers, judges, jailers and executioners before the Islamic Courts drove them out.

Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, one of those warlords, has already returned — and he warned the Somali government's control over Mogadishu was an illusion.

"If Ethiopian forces pull out tomorrow, (the Islamists) will come back the following day. I guarantee you," said Afrah, who said he had 1,500 militiamen under his control.

He said he was convinced the Islamists were still hiding in Mogadishu and would strike with "urban guerrilla warfare — land mines, explosives. People will live in terror and fear."


H/T RantBurg

Happy New Year Iraq

Bangladeshi activists of an Islamic group shout slogans as they protest the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006. The banner in Bangla reads 'Hang U.S President Bush'.

Your friends around the world send you good wishes.

2007: Strategic Thinking Needed in Fighting Global Jihad

"The United States of America has some of the smartest leaders in government, military, and business in the world. Yet the American government has failed to collectively use this formidable brain-power 5+ years after the attack by Jihadists on the American homeland to develop a truly strategic plan to fight the global threat of Jihad and Islamist extremism. In one of the most complex wars in American history, rather than starting with holistic, big-picture thinking towards the challenges and prioritizing resources and actions accordingly, America has spent much of the past five years after 9/11 in reactive and bureaucratic churning."
CT Blog

Saddam: The Execution Scene

"As I predicted a year and a half ago, Saddam was executed because of the relatively minor case of Al-Dujail. I was against Saddam’s execution for two major reasons: The first is that I am against capital punishment in general whether it was against a former gangster like Tookie Williams or a prisoner of war and a former dictator like Saddam, and the second is that I have always believed that the only people who have the right to change Saddam’s political regime and interrogate him are Iraqis, not illegal foreign occupiers.

The way that Saddam was executed added some more points to my argument. I would have never guessed that Saddam would be killed on the morning of Eid (the equivalent of Easter for Christians in terms of religious importance), and I would have never expected that it would be carried out by sectarian militiamen. On a day when Muslims are supposed to sacrifice a lamb in honor of God’s mercy, Saddam’s unprofessional executioners made him look like a sacrificed victim of vengeance. "
Raed in the Middle
You reap what you sow.

Again the same question I asked your brother. Where were you when all the other victims were executed, did you complain about the brutality or their execution?

Zatti ? or the Idiots Guide of how not to execute a tyrant

"The best way to destroy a nation is per (divide and conquer) or in this case (divide and lets watch how many people kill each other, hehehehe).

No reasonable Iraqi could argue that Mr. Saddam was other than a complete Self centered Butcher, he represented no other than himself and who ruined Iraq with the help of the Hippocrates and henchmen.

Now lets talk about ourselves, we Iraqi’s, are we innocent? I don’t assume that any Iraqi would say he wasn’t a victim, including the current democratic Iraqi government"
Where Date Palms Grow
"That’s it, he has been executed, I hope it will help minimizing the violence in this burning country.
But the disgusting part is after watching the cell phone video recording of his execution; it really made me sad for what is waiting for Iraq.
It’s clear that those executioners are fanatic Shiites, including the members of the current Iraqi government who witnessed the execution. I can tell that one of them, despite he is masked, (the one behind Saddam) keeps that thick Shiite beard and he was trying hardly to cover it! Then the witnesses chanted ‘Long live Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr’ and ‘grant victory to his son, Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada’.. !!
We get rid of a tyrant to glorify a retarded fat boy!"
Iraq at a Glance
Hey even ays has come out to comment

Saddam's execution: right thing done the wrong way

"It is ironic how good things turn to be bad in Iraq. Justice served and Saddam got what he deserved. Like many Iraqis remembering his days, I believe the execution is the least he deserves, but let us see how the right thing was done!

The TV channels that covered the event did not play all the video. One of my friends emailed me the full video link to see it. The procedure went normal until they put the rope around his neck and one of the attendants started to shout "Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada" another one shouted "to hell" others said many other things that I couldn’t recognize, there was a weak voice in the background saying "please don’t" trying to make those people stop of saying wrong things.
The scene was a real shame and lacks any kind of professionalism, you can't even feel that he was hang in a state respect the law or know anything about it!"

Happy Eid and Happy New Years...

"You know, as much as I really didnt want to write about what I saw, as much as I just wanna let it all out. The amateur unedited video that trashed the websites left right and center, sent more hatred towards the current govt and those who chanted the ugly words of Muqtada, than the hate I had for Saddam. Forget Im Iraqi for a second, and tell me, did what you see in that video satisfy you? Did that video show you the democratic side of the Iraqi Government? Did this government adhere to the International Standards of execution? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE, WHY WERE THEY THERE?

Youre gonna come back to me and tell me, Saddam never adhered to International standards with all these mass graves. Yes I agree, but look what this proves to you. A nation that has finished from one dictator and handed over to a worse one. The daily killings and massacres, the torture and the kidnappings. No they are not better than Saddam, they are his clones. Although I promised myself that I wont divulge into this subject, I couldnt resist. I really couldnt. Before this year ends I wanna extend my thanks to someone, someone who ruined this nation. Lets not dwell in the past, lets talk about today. Mr Bush, Mr Bush Thank You, Thank you for bringing democracy and freedom to Iraq. Thank you Mr Bush, Thank you for removing Saddam, you removed him and replaced him with little clones of his shadow."

Saddam is dead, move on (and Zeyad's read of the future)

"US media likes to pick on things. You know, find an event or incident and make a gala spectacle of it. For days and weeks on end.

But the US media in Iraq likes to focus on some issues in order to blanket other more important issues.

For example, why are no US papers examining how Badr has become the Iraqi state? Or that Sadr's forces have become the municipality?"
Truth About Iraqis

Arab reaction to Saddam execution

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been hanged. His sentence was carried out for the killings of 148 Shias in Dujail in the 1980s following a failed assassination attempt.
People from Iraq and the wider region talk to the BBC about their reaction to the news of his death.

These accounts were translated from Arabic by Redouan Ahmimed of

The execution of Saddam was an unavoidable necessity. My feelings are mixed: I am neither happy nor sad because the execution itself will not change anything.

However, I think there is a wide sense of relief among Iraqis that justice has at last been delivered.

I believe there will be no retaliatory acts despite all the reported security and military measures taken by the Iraqi government. The situation will not be worse than it is now.

Regarding the impact of Saddam's execution upon Arab public opinion, the problem is that Arabs tend to view Saddam as the longed-for nationalist hero of the Arab nation.

Arabs view things only from an ideological perspective. I hope the execution of Saddam will help end this state of affairs.


Although I am Kurdish, I do not approve of Saddam Hussein's execution in this way.

Filming his execution and airing it is inhuman. There is no difference between those who are behind his execution and those who kill hostages and air the images.

Punishments and revenge are not important. What is important is hearing the truth about other cases, such as in Halabja and the crimes committed by Mohammed Amza Zubeidi. Despite my deep sympathy with the victims of Dujail, these other slaughters are as significant.

By executing Saddam in this way, the United States wanted to say that she has achieved a symbolic victory after it had failed to achieve a real victory.

I don't believe the situation in Iraq will change by executing Saddam. At the beginning, the scale of violence might increase but people will forget very quickly.

Some regimes may now contemplate their positions following the execution of Saddam. Many leaders are like him - the only difference was that he was given the opportunity to commit the crimes he did.

I am extremely happy that Saddam Hussein has been executed - not out of revenge but for the sake of delivering justice.

I was a witness for the prosecution in the Dujail trial and so I feel that I have contributed to the delivery of justice.

To those who argue that Saddam is a human being and an old man - what about the rights of his victims?

The execution of Saddam is, in itself, a protection of human rights.

For me, the case is closed now as I was able to fulfil my promise to the martyrs killed by Saddam. As a people, Iraqis don't know revenge.

Regarding Arab peoples, they know quite well that Saddam was a dictator. We may witness some demonstrations but they will be very limited in scope as they don't reflect the main trends of the Arab public opinion.


I am very sad at the execution of Saddam Hussein at the hands of the Americans - despite all his wrongdoings.

It is true that Arabs are suffering terribly at the hands of their rulers. But the Americans have not come to Iraq to spread justice and democracy - but rather to serve their own interests.

Arabs and Muslims should remember that the execution of Saddam is not just the execution of a single person but rather the execution of an Arab and Muslim exemplary figure.

The execution of Saddam will not help improve things at all. There is strong probability that this will make matters worse.

Arab people may feel sad but this feeling will be a short-lived one. I don't think the end of Saddam will stir things up.

I had hoped that the execution would have upheld the position of those advocating reforms and democracy in the Arab countries. But the Arabs have a short memory.


Like any Iraqi who has been subjected to oppression, deprivation and killing, I feel the execution of Saddam is a victory for the will of the oppressed people of Iraq.

The execution of Saddam is a fulfilment of the wishes of honest and patriotic Iraqis.

Saddam has condemned hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to death and destroyed Iraq.

Saddam should not have received a fair trial in the first place because he denied thousands of Iraqis killed by his regime the opportunity to defend themselves.

I expect serious negative repercussions for Iraq as the supporters of Saddam will resort to indiscriminate killing.

However, the execution will be the beginning of the end for his suppoerters who pretend to be devout Muslims and freedom fighters.

The fate met by Saddam Hussein will help Arab public opinion rid itself of the illusion that he was an Arab nationalist leader.

The problem is that most Arabs are emotional and don't think realistically. I believe the execution of Saddam will shock them. I expect demonstrations and marches in some Arab countries.

I support the execution as he was a tyrant and destroyed the lives of many people.


I burst into tears when I heard the news. It is an indescribable feeling of joy. The execution of Saddam will be a beautiful memory and a message to those like him.

It is a just ending, albeit too late in coming. I will carry my bag that was worn out by long travels and return to my country.

I was a sad lonely man living with my remaining papers in my drawer. I was waiting for this day so that I could return to my county like a bird who fly freely.

The end of Saddam will have a positive impact on the political and social life in Iraq as well as security situation and democracy.

His execution will put an end to the acts of killing, violence and the widespread administrative corruption.

The current government should resume the reconstruction efforts and bring security to Iraq.

The execution will deprive the Iraqi government of excuses for poor performance.

The Arab homeland notion is a big lie coined by Arab rulers to deceive Arab people. Such nationalistic notions will die with the execution of the biggest liar.

The end of Saddam is the beginning of an end to similar governments in the Arab world.


My feelings are mixed, ranging from sympathy to relief following the news that Saddam has been executed.

I may have sympathy for him as a human being, but I am more inclined to develop a sense of relief, as he deserved what happened to him.

He was president of Iraq, responsible for the destruction of his country and the invasion of Kuwait.

This is the end of every oppressor. He not only inflicted oppression and injustice and brought poverty to Iraqi people but to the entire Arab nation as he squandered the resources of an Arab country.

I believe Saddam supporters are responsible for some acts of violence perpetrated in Iraq in revenge for what happened to him. However, the majority of Iraqis will have a sense of relief at his execution.

For Arabs, some people may sympathise with him as he is an old man executed by the occupation. The problem is that the occupation has participated in his trial.

I expect Saddam's fate will serve to encourage reformists and advocates of democracy in Arab countries.


The execution of Saddam Hussein is a way to restore the dignity of his victims.

This man has launched three wars, and killed at least a million Iraqis including scholars, researchers and students. He killed them only from suspicion.

Though he ruled one of the richest countries in the world, he impoverished his own people.

Saddam unleashed a band of criminals to inflict pain upon Iraqis. Now we have started putting our feet on the right path towards justice.

Some Iraqis feared that Saddam may escape from his prison or that he may make a deal with the Americans. Many Iraqis used to believe that he is the only one capable of bringing security to the country.

I believe the scale of violence will considerably decrease. Arabs, leaders and politicians should learn from this important, significant lesson and put the interests of their people above anything else. The execution of Saddam will strengthen the will of Arab people for democracy, change and reform.


Science told: hands off gay sheep

Experiments that claim to ‘cure’ homosexual rams spark anger

SCIENTISTS are conducting experiments to change the sexuality of “gay” sheep in a programme that critics fear could pave the way for breeding out homosexuality in humans.

The technique being developed by American researchers adjusts the hormonal balance in the brains of homosexual rams so that they are more inclined to mate with ewes.

It raises the prospect that pregnant women could one day be offered a treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will be homosexual. Experts say that, in theory, the “straightening” procedure on humans could be as simple as a hormone supplement for mothers-to-be, worn on the skin like an anti-smoking nicotine patch.

The research, at Oregon State University in the city of Corvallis and at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, has caused an outcry. Martina Navratilova, the lesbian tennis player who won Wimbledon nine times, and scientists and gay rights campaigners in Britain have called for the project to be abandoned.

Navratilova defended the “right” of sheep to be gay. She said: “How can it be that in the year 2006 a major university would host such homophobic and cruel experiments?” She said gay men and lesbians would be “deeply offended” by the social implications of the tests.

But the researchers argue that the work is valid, shedding light on the “broad question” of what determines sexual orientation. They insist the work is not aimed at “curing” homosexuality.

Approximately one ram in 10 prefers to mount other rams rather than mate with ewes, reducing its value to a farmer. Initially, the publicly funded project aimed to improve the productivity of herds.

The scientists have been able to pinpoint the mechanisms influencing the desires of “male-oriented” rams by studying their brains. The animals’ skulls are cut open and electronic sensors are attached to their brains.

By varying the hormone levels, mainly by injecting hormones into the brain, they have had “considerable success” in altering the rams’ sexuality, with some previously gay animals becoming attracted to ewes.

Professor Charles Roselli, the Health and Science University biologist leading the research, defended the project.

He said: “In general, sexuality has been under-studied because of political concerns. People don’t want science looking into what determines sexuality.

“It’s a touchy issue. In fact, several studies have shown that people who believe homosexuality is biologically based are less homophobic than people who think that this orientation is acquired.”

The research is being peer-reviewed by a panel of scientists in America, demonstrating that it is being taken seriously by the academic community.

Potentially, the techniques could one day be adapted for human use, with doctors perhaps being able to offer parents pre-natal tests to determine the likely sexuality of offspring or a hormonal treatment to change the orientation of a child.

Roselli has said he would be “uncomfortable” about parents choosing sexuality, but argues that it is up to policy makers to legislate on questions of ethics.

Michael Bailey, a neurology professor at Northwestern University near Chicago, said: “Allowing parents to select their children’s sexual orientation would further a parent’s freedom to raise the sort of children they want to raise.”

Critics fear the findings could be abused.

Udo Schuklenk, Professor of Bioethics at Glasgow Caledonian University, who has written to the researchers pressing them to stop, said: “I don’t believe the motives of the study are homophobic, but their work brings the terrible possibility of exploitation by homophobic societies. Imagine this technology in the hands of Iran, for example.

“It is typical of the US to ignore the global context in which this is taking place.”

Peter Tatchell, the gay rights campaigner, said: “These experiments echo Nazi research in the early 1940s which aimed at eradicating homosexuality. They stink of eugenics. There is a danger that extreme homophobic regimes may try to use these experimental results to change the orientation of gay people.”

He said that the techniques being developed in sheep could in future allow parents to “play God”.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the pressure group, condemned the study as “a needless slaughter of animals, an affront to human dignity and a colossal waste of precious research funds”.

The tests on gay sheep are the latest in a long line of experiments seeking to alter the sexuality of humans and animals.

Günther Dorner, a scientist in the former East Berlin, carried out hormone-altering tests on rodents in the 1960s in the hope of finding a way to eradicate homosexuality.

In 2002, Simon LeVay, an American neurologist, claimed to have discovered that homosexual and heterosexual men had physically different brains. His tests on the corpses of gay men who had died of Aids were widely criticised.


Finally science Right wingers will support. No doubt once there is a prenatal test for homosexuality, there will be support for abortions. no Doubt

Next they'll find a cure for "blackness"

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddams cell phone execution video

Urgent..Full video of Saddam’s execution reveals more than Saddam’s death

"The scandalous video shows the puppets didn’t let Saddam complete
his Shahada:

“I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God”

After his execution they shouted:

Long live Muqtada, Long live Muqtada [Moqtada Al-Sadr]

Watch it here

The video shows no blood on Saddam’s face and body, TV aired video of the body showed blood, cuts and bruises on the face."
Roads to Iraq
Warning this is a new video that shows the hanging. It's a new video from a new angle.

Diyhala Province, Post Saddam Execution

"Greetings from FOB Warhorse. Just wanted to drop in for a minute as I'm sure many of you are wondering what the troops are seeing in Iraq after Saddam's execution. So far, Saddams execution has not produced a spike or a lull of AIF activity. We will just have to wait a bit and see what happens. Will try to keep you all updated (without violating OPSEC of course) as to any changes that may occur in what we're seeing over here."

Who Executed Saddam?

"The answer to this question really depends on who you are.

Iraqi Shias:

Saddam was executed by Iraqis. He got what he deserved. He paid for the crimes committed against Iraqis and Shias in particular."
Big Pharaoh

Saddam's execution...

"Hello everyone.

Saddam was executed today, as you all know, and although I knew since yesterday that he was gonna be hanged this morning but I was still very surprised, to be honest with you, It was much quicker than I thought it would be.

You know that I always opposed Saddam and was always against him. Nevertheless, I was upset today."
Tell me a Secret

End of the tryant

"I am not a neutral person when it comes to Saddam Hussein. Ever since I was a child I was raised to hate the man, for making my parents leave their own country and live as foreigners in other countries are whole lives. I have lived in the United Arab Emirates, Canada and the UK and I am 25.

My sister has seen her country once for about two weeks, my family friends are all Iraqi expatriates who for one some reason have had to leave Iraq and despite a tiny minority of them not caring too much about Saddam’s fate I can say the majority did want to see the end of him."
An Iraqi's Thoughts

Saddam Compliant, Calm in Final Moments

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The scene was at once macabre and riveting.

One of the most notorious dictators of the late 20th century, his hands bound, was led to the gallows by masked men in leather coats.

Notorious tyrants are rarely executed. Perhaps because of that, the footage from Saddam Hussein's hanging, carried on Iraqi television and broadcast to the world, had a surreal quality.

This was not a Hollywood version of an execution: the fallen dictator did not plead for his life, nor did he violently resist the executioners who slipped the rope around his neck.

The most striking thing about the images, perhaps, was how calmly and cooperatively the tyrant faced death.

Saddam had reportedly asked that, as Iraq's commander in chief, he be sent before a firing squad. Instead, he was condemned to die on the gallows - like a garden variety Iraqi criminal or thug.

When the time came, before dawn in Baghdad, Saddam did not wear his familiar military uniform with its jaunty beret but a black coat over a white shirt, black trousers and black shoes.

His jet black hair was carefully combed, his salt-and-pepper beard neatly clipped. He carried a Quran.

The 69-year-old Saddam struggled briefly when U.S. military guards handed him over to his Iraqi executioners, said Sami al-Askari, a political adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But it was his last effort at physical resistance.

Saddam was taken to a former military intelligence headquarters in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah, in northern Baghdad. During his regime, he had numerous dissidents executed in the facility.

Munir Haddad, an appeals court judge who witnessed the hanging, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that Saddam was not sedated.

"Not at all, Saddam was normal and in full control," Haddad said. "He was aware of his fate and he knew he was about to face death. He said 'This is my end, this is the end of my life, but I started my life as a fighter and as a political militant so death does not frighten me.'"

After his captors brought Saddam into the execution chamber, his hands - which were tied in front of him - were untied, then tied in the back, Haddad told the BBC.

"They put his feet in shackles and he was taken upstairs to the gallows," Haddad said. "He was reciting, as it was his custom, 'God is great' and also some political slogans like 'down with the Americans' and 'down with the invaders.'

"He said we are going to Heaven and our enemies will rot in hell and he also called for forgiveness and love among Iraqis but also stressed that the Iraqis should fight the Americans and the Persians."

By the time the one-minute broadcast video was aired without sound, Saddam appeared quiet. His eyes seemed lost in a 1,000-yard stare.

Four or five burly men guided him gently but firmly toward a red metal railing marking the trap door. A thick rope hung like a sinister vine from the low ceiling. An unseen photographer's flash created fleeting stark shadows.

With a blank expression, Saddam refused a black hood - but he did so with a shake of his head that seemed more distracted than defiant.

Then he appeared to agree to let one of his executioners tie a black scarf around his neck - presumably to prevent injuries that might disfigure his corpse.

In the video, Saddam appeared silent as the noose is slipped over his head. But al-Askari, who was present, says at about that time Saddam shouted: "God is great. The nation will be victorious, and Palestine is Arab."

Haddad told the BBC that Saddam began reciting verses from the Quran.

"Some of the guards started to taunt him by shouting Islamic words," he said.

"A cleric who was present asked Saddam to recite some spiritual words," he said. "Saddam did so but with sarcasm - these were his last words and then the noose tightened around his neck and he dropped to his death."

Iraqi TV did not broadcast the moment of Saddam's execution but officials said his death was recorded on video.

Asked if Saddam suffered, Haddad told the BBC: "He was killed instantly, I witnessed the impact of the rope around his neck and it was a horrible sight."

The television footage included a shaky image of the aftermath: a shot of what appeared to be Saddam's corpse, laid out on a hospital gurney, his head wrenched grotesquely to the right. His neck appeared to be bruised.

Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were originally scheduled to be hanged along with their former leader.

Iraqi officials, though, decided to reserve the occasion for Saddam alone.


Blog: Don't Cry For Me Mesopotamia

"Excerpts from the posting, which has generated 482 comments from readers, is worth a full read. It begins: Don't cry for me Mesopotamia: no tears for Saddam. Yet again, the Bush administration looks stupid exactly when it thinks it is being smart, or when it thinks it is being strategic in its actions. Saddam Husayn was not your typical tyrant: he was not even a consistent ideologue.

He was a pagan and atheist in the 1970s: you can see that in the commissioned biographies from that time (Iskandar, Matar, etc), before discovering piety after his defeat in 1991--see my article in the Muslim World journal in which I compared Nasser after 67 defeat with Saddam after 91 defeat, and how they both discovered religion and Jabriyyah in their political thought. But what was always consistent about him: was his deep jealousy of Nasser, and his deep eagerness to emulate Nasser (this is similar to the deep jealousy that characterizes Walid Jumblat's attitude to Hasan Nasrallah)."
I've never been a big fan of Angry Arab blog, too much snark, not enough content. But today might be different.

Mixed Emotions

"On the end of my last post, I wrote: "and I can't wait to see what happens next, Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life"

and what a day!

The storm gathered by yesterday's evening...and by the time it was certain...I was too tired and went to sleep, I went to sleep at 2 AM...thinking that sometimes during my sleep, the most famous Iraqi of the 20th century will be executed...

I woke up at 9, mumbled Happy-eids to parents, then headed straight to the TV...and I recieved the images...the first thing that struck me was how unbelievable this was...Saddam was a part of my everyday patterns as a human being, I woke up, ate, drank, shat, slept, and Saddam is the undefeatable tyrant that never dies. It was hard, hard, hard to know that Saddam is no more, he was arrested, humilitaed and sentenced to death and I didn't feel much - but to know that he is gone is very strange - He was a given fact of life! and now he's dead...This doesn't happen in the world that I normally inhibit..."
Konfued kid

Poll of military finds dimmer view of Iraq war

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military, once a staunch supporter of President Bush and the Iraq war, has grown increasingly pessimistic about chances for victory, a new poll says.

For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president's handling of the war than approve of it, according to the 2006 Military Times Poll.

When the military was feeling most optimistic about the war — in 2004 — 83 percent of poll respondents said success in Iraq was likely. This year, that number is down to 50 percent.

Only 35 percent of military members polled this year said they approve of the way Bush is handling the war, and 42 percent said they disapprove. While approval of the president's war leadership has slumped, his overall approval remains high among the military.

Just as telling, only 41 percent of the military now say the United States should have gone to war in Iraq, down from 65 percent in 2003. That closely reflects beliefs of the general population — 45 percent agreed in a recent USA Today-Gallup poll.

The Military Times survey, conducted by mail Nov. 13 through Dec. 22, is the fourth annual gauge of active-duty military subscribers to the newspapers. Results are not representative of the military as a whole. The survey's respondents, 945 this year, are on average older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the overall military population.

The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Among respondents, 66 percent have deployed at least once to Iraq or Afghanistan. That number is 72 percent in the overall active-duty force, according to the Department of Defense.

The poll has come to be viewed by some as a barometer of the professional career military. It is the only independent poll done on an annual basis.

Professor David Segal, director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland, said he was not surprised by the changing attitude within the military.

"They're seeing more casualties and fatalities and less progress," Segal said. "Part of what we're seeing is a recognition that the intelligence that led to the war was wrong."

Segal said he believes military opinion often mirrors that of the civilian population, even though it might lag in time. He also said the military "will always be more pro-military and pro-war than the civilians. That's why they are in this line of work."

Whatever war plan Bush announces next month, its ultimate goal likely will be to replace U.S. troops with Iraqis. The military is not optimistic that will happen soon.

Only about one in every five service members said large numbers of U.S. troops can be replaced with Iraqi troops within two years. More than one-third think it will take more than five years. And more than half think the United States will have to stay in Iraq more than five years to achieve its goals.

Almost half of those responding think the United States needs more troops in Iraq. A surprising 13 percent said the United States should have no troops there.

As for Afghanistan force levels, 39 percent think more U.S. troops are needed there. But while they want more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly three-quarters of respondents think the military is stretched too thin to be effective.

Approval for Bush's overall performance as president remains high, at 52 percent. That's down from his high of 71 percent in 2004, but still far better than approval ratings of the general population, where that number has fallen into the 30s.

Seattle Times

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Iraq PM urges Saddam followers to join politics

BAGHDAD, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki urged Saddam Hussein's fellow Sunni Baathists on Saturday to reconsider their tactics and join the political process, after the ousted leader was hanged for crimes against humanity.

"Saddam's execution puts an end to all the pathetic gambles on the return to dictatorship," Maliki said in a statement issued hours after Saddam was executed in Baghdad at dawn.

"I urge followers of the ousted regime to reconsider their stance as the door is still open to anyone who has no innocent blood on his hands, to help in rebuilding an Iraq for all Iraqis," he said.

While Saddam's execution was met with celebration by Maliki's fellow Shi'ites, there are fears it will further anger Saddam's resentful Sunni Arab minority, dominant under the strongman's rule, but now the backbone of the insurgency.

Struggling to contain soaring sectarian and ethnic tension that has pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war, Maliki said the demise of Saddam should now give way to reconciliation.

"The politics of discrimination and exclusion that Iraqis suffered for 35 years are over, as well as the wars and irresponsible adventures that spilled the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocents and pushed Iraq back by decades."

"Your purified land has rid itself forever of the filth of dictatorship and has turned a black page in Iraq's history."

Maliki, whose Shi'ite-led unity government also includes Sunni Arabs and ethnic Kurds, has extended an olive branch to some armed groups and former Baathists under his national reconciliation programme.


Saddam to be buried in Iraq

BAGHDAD: Saddam Hussein will be buried in Iraq but the government is not yet ready to say exactly where, an official in the office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday.

"The body will not go outside Iraq. We cannot announce the place where he will be buried now. But he should certainly be buried," the source said on condition of anonymity.

One of Saddam's lawyers earlier told Sky News that the corpse would be transferred outside Iraq following his execution for crimes against humanity. Speaking in English via telephone, Najeeb al-Nuaimi said it should be up to the toppled president's family to decide where the body should be taken.

On what would happen to the body, Nuaimi said: "We are requesting that they have to be handed over to us, and we will transfer the bodies outside Baghdad, outside Iraq.

"We have requested to have the bodies transferred outside, handed over to us. We have one of our colleagues who is actually waiting there in the Green Zone," the heavily fortified main government compound in central Baghdad.

Arab haj pilgrims outraged at Saddam execution

MECCA, Saudi Arabia, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Pilgrims in Mecca expressed outrage on Saturday that Iraqi authorities had chosen to execute former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on a major religious holiday, saying it was an insult to Muslims.

Sunni Arabs at the haj were shocked at Saddam's death which followed his conviction for crimes against humanity against Iraqi Shi'ites.

Nawaf al-Harbi, a Saudi national speaking outside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, said Saddam's hanging during the Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, was an insult to Muslims.

"I don't want to believe it. Saddam cannot die. Is this the good news we get on our Eid?" he said.

"His execution on the day of Eid ... is an insult to all Muslims," added Jordanian pilgrim Nidal Mohammad Salah.

An execution at the start of Eid is highly symbolic. The feast marks the sacrifice the prophet Abraham was prepared to make when God ordered him to kill his son and many Shi'ites could regard Saddam's death as a gift from God. Such symbolism could further anger Sunnis, resentful of new Shi'ite power in Iraq.

Security was already heightened for this haj season because of sectarian strife between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

Saddam, a Sunni, was admired by many Arabs for standing up to the United States and haj authorities fear his death could stoke tensions between Sunni and Shi'ite pilgrims.

Eid falls during the 5-day haj, when more than 2 million Muslims from around the world follow ancient rites at the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

"What happened is not good because as a head of state, he should not be executed," Salah said.

Others felt Saddam's execution would only worsen sectarian violence in Iraq.

"This is unbelievable. Things will not improve in Iraq now that Saddam is dead," said a Syrian pilgrim, Abu Mostafa. "There will be more violence and more Arab anger towards the West."


Haj pilgrims dress in simple white garments that can disguise differences of sect and nationality. Many come from outside the Middle East and on Saturday most were preoccupied with the next stage of the rites, the symbolic stoning of the devil at the Jamarat Bridge.

For Iraqi Kurds like Aladdin Suleiman Mohammad, the execution was a "fair decision" regardless of timing, though it dashed hopes of justice for crimes against Kurds.

Saddam's second trial on charges of war crimes against Iraqi Kurds in what is known as the "Anfal" or "Spoils of War" campaign, had been due to resume next month.

But many Arabs said if anyone should be put on trial it was the Shi'ite-led Iraqi government that backed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which overthrew Saddam.

"They are American collaborators, those in Iraq. They should be executed, not Saddam Hussein." said Mohammad Mousa, on haj from Lebanon. "Saddam Hussein is the most honourable of all of them. He is the most honourable Arab. They will go to hell, he will go to heaven."



"It is with deepest regrets that one Marine that was featured on OMV, Lance Corporal Koprince, was killed in Iraq On Dec 27th. His story can be read at the link at the bottom of this post. Many of his friends, family and other people who know him, tread this blog. Please do not hesitate to leave them your comments. You are not forgotten warrior. Semper Fidelis and God Bless you and your family."
One Marine's View

Happy or Sad should I be??!!

"Today...I woke up in the morning, suppose to be Eid's morning, the day that we should have celebration and having fun.
At first I went down stairs, hugged my dad and wished him the best for the new year..and after a while he just shoked me with the news, he said that Saddam was executed earlier this morning.. I was feelingless at that point, because I was still sleepy, I stood there speachless, thinking of the whole thing and the consequences of this matter, and about the timing of the execution which is in Eid's morning."
Nabil's Blog

Just a thought…

"When was the last time a head of state in the Middle East faced trial and execution?

The closest events that come to mind were Mossadagh in Iran and Menderes in Turkey. But they weren’t heads of state and were not put on trial for human rights offenses. I can’t think of any similar example in the Arab world. Please let me know if you do.

The last time an Arab ruler met a violent end was Sadat in 1981, right?

Other unsavory characters of the 20th century? Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Pinochet, Milosovic—none of them saw justice rendered. Mussolini was strung up by a mob.

Was Saddam’s trial and execution unprecedented in the Middle East, or even in the world?"
Talisman Gate

A Horrific Era...

"I hurried to my room during lunch break hoping to catch up on news. And there it was, right before me, the video footage of his hanging. I slumped on my bed, and I began to cry. Yes, I cried. A surge of emotions overwhelmed me. I cried, I cried cuz he never got to see the Iraq I envisaged in my mind, I cried. I cried for all the years he forced my family and millions of others to desert their country and live in an endless yearning, I cried. Yes I cried. I cried for all the 35 years he ruled, I cried. I cried, I cried for all those he tortured, those he killed. I cried for all the blood he shed, for all the hatred he bred. Yes I cried. I cried and cried."


"It's finally done. The body of Saddam Hussein swung from a rope early this morning. Proud to the last, he refused a hood. He went to the gallows clutching the Koran, and recited a Sunni prayer before his death- an odd end for a man who built one of the most secular nations in the middle east. I have no doubt that the Shia and the Kurds are ecstatic, but the Sunni are restless.

It's going to be a long day."
Acute politics


"Today’s Eid is a lot sweeter knowing that Saddam has been consigned to history’s rubbish heap. Sure he will be mentioned and might even be celebrated by some, to me however, I have not and will not shed a single tear on hearing of his demise. “Good riddance”, was one thought, another was, “okay, who’s next?”"
Mahmood's Den

Celebrating Justice...

"Saddam drew his path to hell long time ago…he chose this fate the day he chose cruelty and oppression as a way to deal with his people. He built his reign with blood and terror and vowed to make death the fate of anyone who dared say no to him.

Saddam lost his humanity the day he committed his first crime, so the one I saw walking to the rope this morning was no man to me.

It was him who rejected humanity to become the monster that the weak feared and prayed to see him dead for years to be safe from his crimes."

Saddam Hangs

"A broken, submissive Saddam Hussein is taken to the gallows by masked executioners at the former Iraqi Military Intelligence (5th Department) compound at Kadhimiya, Baghdad. This is the footage as aired on state-run Al-Iraqiya TV:

The fear is evident on his face as he struggles to appear calm. He reportedly tried to resist when American soldiers handed him over to Iraqi guards, but then grew quiet and calm as he accepted a fate that was expected. The last moment appeal to a U.S. judge by Saddam's lawyers to stay the execution was rejected. "
Healing Iraq

Three trials still awaiting Saddam after his execution

"Saddam Hussein was the most tyrant dictator in the recent history of mankind. In no way that a simple article like this may be able to describe how ruthless he was. His tyranny and ruthlessness were not only against the Iraqis though they were the most sufferers but it involved so many other peoples.
[...] Most important is that the end of this tyrant dictator must be taken as a lesson by all those who are alike Saddam."

Eid Mubarak

"At about 6 AM, I got an SMS from the US telling me that "Saddam has just been executed", I was very sleepy, could barely think, read it once, then twice, then WHAT!!?
Why now? Why first day of Eid? Why so early? Why no notice?

I rushed downstaris, mom was praying the Morning prayer, the electricity was off, there was no way to confirm the news (except the radio, but no one thought of that)..
We were so angry, not for the fact that he was executed, but for how and when he was executed."
A Star from Mosul


"Well. The news all day has been whether or not Saddam will hang in fifteen minutes or on Saturday; whether or not he was still in American custody or had been handed over to the Iraqis; whether or not the constitution specified execution within thirty days of the decision on appeal or after thirty days of the decision on appeal. Now it looks like Saddam will swing within the next two hours.

Why is there a sudden rush to hang Saddam?

Perhaps we should look at some news from last week in which secret evidence in Saddam's Anfal trial implicated Turkish complicity in the genocide of the Southern Kurds, originally from AFP:"
Damn, I thought the next conspiracy would take at least a week.

Maybe this is a good sign, this seem a bit quick on the draw??

Iraq's Doomed Era...

"Woke up at 630 am and switched the TV on immediately. Was faced with the Big Large Red Breaking news that Saddam has infact been executed. I cant write much as Im at work now. So far, I havent heard any bombings. All I heard on my way to work is the Imam of the mosque thats close by saying his sermon and thanking God that the end of the devil has finally come. I havent heard any celebarotary fire either. I better go, but will definitely write once I hear anything. Im actually bummed out cuz Im dying to watch the footage they supposedly took but our IT has blocked any streaming sites. I tried to watch live coverage on alarabiya, but even that is blocked now. Damn...

I also heard on the CNN that a witness that was present claimed some people started dancing around Saddam's body after his execution!!! In Islam, thats a big no no. I guess I have to go now, but will write a longer past later tonight on my thoughts when Im in the privacy of my own room. Today marks the end of an evil era, the end of an evil era and the beginning of an even worse one...The Doomed Era...Iraq's Doomed Era..."

Saddam Hussein, Longtime State Sponsor of Terrorism, Executed by Iraqis (updated)

"All news networks in the Arab world and the U.S. report that Saddam Hussein was executed around 10 pm ET (Al Arabiya reports the death at 10:05 ET). Two other Hussein-era officials, including his half-brother, have also been executed, according to Al Arabiya and MSNBC (edited). The Associated Press has a summary of the convictions and sentences in the Hussein trial.

Saddam Hussein was a longtime state sponsor of terrorism, and during his reign, Iraq was listed by the State Department on the official list of "state sponsors." Iraq was added to that list in 1990 following its invasion of Kuwait and also for providing bases to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), and the Abu Nidal organization (ANO). Following the 2003 liberation of Iraq from Hussein's rule, U.S. sanctions applicable to state sponsors of terrorism against Iraq were suspended, and President Bush announced the removal of Iraq from the list on September 25, 2004."
CT Blog

Friday, December 29, 2006

Humiliated and hooded, the tyrant faces his fate on the steel scaffold

Saddam Hussein spent the last moments of his life hooded as he was led to a steel scaffold where a hangman waited with a noose.

The former dictator's final hours began last night with him being transferred from American custody at Camp Cropper, on the outskirts of Baghdad, to a panel of three or four Iraqi judges.

About 90 condemned prisoners have died in the same complex since Saddam's regime was toppled.

In the hours before his death, an order known as the "red card" was delivered to the governor of Saddam's prison, signalling that everything was in place for his execution.

After being given the opportunity to beg forgiveness or to confess his crimes in the presence of the judges, he was led to a cell which was bare except for floor cushions, where he prayed, read the Koran and drank water as he prepared himself for the end.

He was expected to be dressed in green prison overalls rather than the traditional Arab dishdasha robe he was allowed to wear in prison.

He had already issued a letter to what he still considered to be "his" people of Iraq. "I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking," he wrote. But he added: "Long live jihad and the mujahideen."

At the appointed time, a black, cone-shaped hood was placed over his head and he was led along a corridor to the adjacent gallows chamber by several Iraqi guards. Iraqi and American officials witnessed the hanging, which was also filmed. It is unclear when, if ever, the footage would be broadcast.

Once on the steel scaffold, the hangman placed a noose made of one-and-a-quarter-inch-thick hemp rope around Saddam's neck before pulling the two heavy levers that opened the trap door over a 15ft hole.

The clang of the metal door was accompanied by a clunk as the weight of the tyrant's body pulled the rope tight, breaking his neck and, in theory, killing him instantly.

A doctor was ready to listen for a heartbeat to establish that the former president was dead before his body was lowered, covered with a white cloth and taken away.

A degree of American supervision is likely because not all Iraqi hangings have gone smoothly.

In September, when the 13th of 27 condemned men was hanged, the rope snapped and the prisoner landed on the floor and shouted: "God saved me!"

He lay on the ground praying and shouting while prison guards and the hangman discussed whether there had been divine intervention and the execution should be halted.

Eventually, they agreed that a new rope should be rigged and the man was dragged wailing up the steps once again. The second time, the rope held. It is not known where Saddam's body will be buried. In accordance with Muslim custom, his corpse is expected to be returned to his family but the Americans will be anxious to prevent his tomb becoming a shrine for Ba'athist supporters. One possibility, nevertheless, is that he could be laid beside his sons Uday and Qusay, who were buried in the family's tribal cemetery near Tikrit after they were killed in a US raid in July 2003.

Iraqi officials contemplated holding a public hanging at the Shaab sports arena in Baghdad, allowing tens of thousands of Iraqis to attend and satisfying the public demand for revenge as well as certainty that the mass murderer's demise was final.

But such an event would have been vulnerable to attack by Sunni insurgents who still swear fealty to Saddam as the rightful president of Iraq. American officials also believed it would inflame the Muslim world and prompt unfavourable comparisons with the Taliban regime of Afghanistan.

When the hood was placed over Saddam's head, it would have been the first time he had experienced darkness for many months. His whitewashed cell at Camp Cropper has been kept lit 24 hours a day so that he can be monitored by the video cameras in each corner. Each wall of the cell measures 15 feet – the length of the rope from which he was hanged. There was no television but he had been allowed to listen to a radio. Known as prisoner HVD-1 – High Value Detainee One – Saddam slept on a narrow metal bed and was allowed to choose from a traditional Arab breakfast of yoghurt, toast and tea or American cereals.

According to soldiers from the Pennsylvania National Guard who guarded him in 2003 and 2004, Raisin Bran Crunch was his favourite cereal but he objected to the sickly sweet Froot Loops.

Saddam was said to have grown more devout during his three-year incarceration. But he borrowed from Christendom rather than Islam to vilify the man he believed betrayed the site of his hideout, describing him as a Judas.

Guards said he spent much of his exercise time tending to bushes and shrubs in the small garden in the prison yard. He lost nearly a stone in weight after exercising with press-ups and sit-ups in his cell. Much time in the cell was devoted to reading the Koran and a selection of books given to him by the Red Cross. He was also said to have composed poetry. The personal effects he was allowed in his cell were a pair of plastic sandals and a grooming kit that included a toothbrush, soap and a comb. Prison authorities directed that his iron bed be bolted to the floor and his only means of communication with the guards be a narrow hole in the door.


He's dead

From Palace to Spiderhole to Hangman's Noose


Eternal Unrest in Hell for Saddam, Uday, and Qusay Hussein!

Lift a glass with me tonight as Saddam Hussein joins his murderous boys Uday and Qusay to roast in Hell for eternity!

Lift a glass with me in the hope of a future Iraq without tyranny!"

"to the victors go the spoils"

Saddam is Now a Martyr

"Iraqis are a captive audience. Kept as prisoners in their chilly homes by an overnight curfew, those that have generators or power will be are glued to their TV's watching satellite feeds they never had under the aging dictator. It is an odd blessing and curse. The ability to watch events in their country unfold in real time, from multiple sources. A far cry from Saddam-era TV packed with smiling children, a waving Saddam surrounded by admirers and a sense of national pride. The reality was very different but perhaps it was a less disturbing image than the one they watch now. A hated and loved political leader who shaped modern Iraq being executed by a government who is powerless to replicate the sense of peace and prosperity that Saddam invented."
I'll take a dead martyr to a live dictator any day.
Fuck the world.

Heroes of Anbar deliver another blow

"In the past four days, more than 20 US soldiers have been reported killed in action in Iraq.

The toll stands at 107, the highest number since January 2005, nearly two years ago.

In those two years, the US military has committed countless massacres against the civilian populations of Iraq, used F-16s and F-15s to pound homes of families into rubble, established death squads outfitted with drills, allowed Iran to wreak havoc because the US soldier is a yella-bellied coward, and invited Hakim to crap all over Bush in the White House."
Truth About Iraqis


"Hi again,

I did not want to talk about the momentous events of these historical moments before extending greetings and well wishes, for these are macabre moments in the awesome presence of death. Life and optimism must precede doom and gloom. Every Iraqi is now in a high state of tension and spending a sleepless night holding his breath in anticipation of the news of the execution of Saddam Husein. As suspense is growing every moment with conflicting news about his whereabouts and about whether he has been handed over to the Iraqi authorities or not. [...] Anyway, I am too excited to talk more, and it is very late and I, like almost all Iraqis at this hour, cannot sleep and are all awaiting the awesome announcement at this eve of the Eid Al-Adha.

The Mesopotamian

I feeeeeeeel good…I knew that I would…

"RIP James Brown, and good riddance Saddam…

We are counting down the hours…and to anyone who knows about my pledge to quit smoking (…and smoke for one day of the year only, December 31st), let me tell you that I am going to light up a celebratory cigarette once I hear the news, and I refuse to be talked out of it."
Talisman Gate

Your Luck Has Fallen, Saddam Hussein

"I wasn't going to write about the imminent execution of Saddam Hussein, but then I looked through some photos I downloaded during the invasion in 2003, and the photos reveal how happy the Iraqis were after it was clear that Saddam's government had collapsed. Of course many innocent people were killed in the process, and I have many photos of dead and wounded Iraqis, but here I want to display a small collection of photos that I found interesting, to remind the world that yes, the Iraqis for the most part were happy when Saddam's regime was ended, they were happy when Saddam was captured, and they will be happy now to see him executed. My mother told me last night that they should have done this as soon as they captured him. Indeed, if he had been captured by Iraqis, Saddam could not have lasted more than a few hours. I was glad to see him given a trial, as imperfect as it was, but Iraqis like my mother believe that fewer Iraqis would have been murdered if he was killed immediately after capture.

As some Iraqis like to say, tah hadhek Abu Uday (your luck has fallen, Abu Uday)![...]Next I will post some pictures of Iraqis celebrating after the capture of Saddam Hussein."
Iraqi Mojo

Doc Kirbyfrom Op For

"Some of you may remember Dustin Kirby, a corpsman with 2d Battalion 8th Marine Regiment who was the subject of a New York Times article and my entry, Corpsman Up! Pt II. The following comment was left this morning:
Doc Kirby was severly wounded by a sniper on Christmas. Please pray for Dustin.
Please keep Dustin in your thoughts and prayers.

Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery, Doc."
Damn that's two this week.

"Saddam will go to the gallows with his head held high."

"Want to hear an unlikely take on the impending execution of Saddam Hussein? No problem. It says right here that Saddam "will go to the gallows with his head held high, because he built a strong united Iraq without sectarianism. He was considered as a strategic regional power. And as he goes to the gallows, those who imprisoned him will stand with their heads bent with shame and embarrassment because they cannot hide their own crimes against the country and its people."

Says who? An unrepentant Iraqi Baathist? Saddam's uncle? No. It's Abdel Bari Atwan, the Palestinian journalist who writes for the London-based Arabic-language newspaper, Al Quds Al Arabi. Atwan and Al Quds have come up on this blog before. In November, I noted that Atwan's new book about Al Qaeda had been celebrated in the pages of The Washington Post by intelligence analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer thought that Atwan's take on terror was just "excellent," and called Atwan's paper "the best Arabic-language daily newspaper.""
I just looked and I'm all out of buttered popcorn...I'll have to settle for plain.

Official: Saddam to Be Executed Tonight

The official witnesses to Saddam Hussein's impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, as state television broadcast footage of his regime's atrocities.

The Iraqi government readied all the necessary documents, including a "red card" _ an execution order introduced during Saddam's dictatorship. As the hour of his death approached, Saddam received two of his half brothers in his cell on Thursday and was said to have given them his personal belongings and a copy of his will.

Najeeb al-Nueimi, a member of Saddam's legal team in Doha, Qatar, said he too requested a final meeting with the deposed Iraqi leader. "His daughter in Amman was crying, she said 'Take me with you,'" al-Nueimi said late Friday. But he said their request was rejected.

An adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saddam would be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, or 10 p.m. Friday EST. The time was agreed upon during a meeting between U.S. and Iraqi officials, said the adviser, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

"The time has been agreed upon. It will be done by six o'clock in the morning," the adviser said. "The agreement was reached during a meeting between Iraqi and American officials. Saddam will be handed over shortly before the execution."


I wonder who saddam left as President of Iraq in his will

Saddam's Execution

"Although news reports everywhere are contradicting themselves during this fluid situation, the truth is Saddam might be hanged very soon, within the next few hours or days.

This comes at a time when the Bush project is collapsing in Iraq. On the American side, the number of U.S. troops killed will reach to 3000 in the next few days.
On the Iraqi side, new attempts to create a pro-occupation coalition in the Iraqi government (led by Hakim, Hashimi, and Talbani-Barazani) failed after Sistani rejected the idea and refused to give his blessings. At the same time, an anti-occupation coalition is emerging inside and outside the Iraqi government and will include everyone except the failed pro-occupation alliance.

Clearly, there are problems."
Raed in the Middle
Written with tears in eyes.

End of Another Year...

"You know your country is in trouble when:
The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.
Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.
The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.
The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.
An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country's 'Golden Years'.
Your country is purportedly 'selling' 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.
For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it's going to cut back on providing that hour.
Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is 'sectarian bloodshed' or 'civil war'.
People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that's been missing for two weeks.
A day in the life of the average Iraqi has been reduced to identifying corpses, avoiding car bombs and attempting to keep track of which family members have been detained, which ones have been exiled and which ones have been abducted. "
Baghdad Burning
Ohh the good old days when only the poor the Shi'a and the Kurds were dieing, those were the days. We lived such a good life on that blood. Now we have to pay the price, and that's just not fair. Boo Hoo.


"A G. W. Bush joke posted today by Niki on her blog, "Another Irani Online" (see link on right sidebar), and I must share:

"Bush Staff member: Mr. President, today's developments in Iraq included the death of two Brazilian soldiers.

Mr. Bush: OH MY GOD! Nooooo. Two Brazilian soldiers!!! This is unbelievable. Now exactly how many million are in a Brazilian?"

Seriously, the Iranian blogger"
Boggling the Mind
I know, I know but it made me laugh

Doomed if you do, Doomed if you dont...

"He has been handed over to the Iraqis. Saddam is no longer under US custody. My oh My...Yesterday just before everyone left Z, an Iraqi colleague, came to me and whispered in my ears, Please be careful. I looked suspiciously at him, why Z? There are rumours that Saddam is going to be hung before Sunday. Be careful Neurotica theyre gonna be bombing you relentlessly, tell your HUBBY NOT TO LEAVE the GZ please. Please tell him. There was a sense of urgency in his voice, I just looked bewildered. I wished him a Happy Eid and to stay safe.

As Im watching the news now, the Breaking News said Saddam's Lawyer is being told to collect Saddam's and Barzan's personal effects, then a few minutes later we were told that Saddam has been transferred to Iraqi Custody. So any time now, any time, he will face his death. Z was right after all."

Year 2007 will definitely be without Saddam walking on the ground….

"It's very imminent now and might become a fact at any minute.
The situation in Baghdad is tense now and US and Iraqi forces are heavily deployed on the streets.

We're hearing and reading more confirmations that US military has already turned Saddam in to the Iraqi authorities and I don't think the government is willing, or able, to keep him in custody for too long.
Rumors are spreading fast"

Soldiers in Iraq say troop surge won't stop killing

Baghdad, Iraq - Many of the American soldiers trying to quell sectarian killings in Baghdad don't appear to be looking for reinforcements. They say the call for a temporary surge in troops is a bad idea.

President Bush is considering increasing the number of troops in Iraq and embedding more U.S. advisers in Iraqi units.

White House advisers have indicated Bush will announce his new plan for the war before his State of the Union address Jan. 23.

In dozens of interviews with soldiers of the Army's 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment as they patrolled the streets of eastern Baghdad, many said the Iraqi capital is embroiled in civil warfare between majority Shiite Muslims and Sunni Arabs that no number of American troops can stop.

Others said current troop levels are sufficient and that any increase in U.S. presence should focus on training Iraqi forces, not combat.

But their more troubling worry was that dispatching a new wave of soldiers would result in more U.S. casualties, and some questioned whether an increasingly muddled American mission in Baghdad is worth putting more lives on the line.

Spc. Don Roberts, who was stationed in Baghdad in 2004, said the situation had gotten worse because of increasing violence between Shiites and Sunnis.

"I don't know what could help at this point," said Roberts, 22, of Paonia, Colo. "What would more guys do? We can't pick sides. It's almost like we have to watch them kill each other, then ask questions."

Based in Fort Lewis, Wash., the battalion is part of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division. Deployed in June, its men were moved to Baghdad from Mosul in late November to relieve another Stryker battalion that reached the end of its tour.

"Nothing's going to help. It's a religious war, and we're caught in the middle of it," said Sgt. Josh Keim, a Canton native who is on his second tour in Iraq. "It's hard to be somewhere where there's no mission and we just drive around."

Capt. Matt James, commander of the battalion's Company B, was careful in how he described the unit's impact since arriving in Baghdad.

"The idea in calling us in was to make things better here, but it's very complicated and complex," he said.

But James said more troops in combat probably would not have the desired effect.

"The more guys we have training the Iraqi army the better," he said. "I would like to see a surge there."

During a recent interview, Lt. Gen. Nasier Abadi, deputy chief of staff for the Iraqi army, said that instead of sending more U.S. soldiers, Washington should focus on furnishing his men with better equipment.

"We are hoping 2007 will be the year of supplies," he said.

Some in the 5th Battalion don't think training will ever get the Iraqi forces up to American standards.

"They're never going to be as effective as us," said 1st Lt. Sean McCaffrey, 24, of Shelton, Conn. "They don't have enough training or equipment or expertise."

McCaffrey does support a temporary surge in troop numbers, however, arguing that flooding Baghdad with more soldiers could "crush enemy forces all over the city instead of just pushing them from one area to another."

Sgt. James Simons, 24, of Tacoma, Wash., said Baghdad is so dangerous that U.S. forces spend much of their time in combat instead of training Iraqis.

"Baghdad is still like it was at the start of the war."

But Staff Sgt. Anthony Handly said Baghdad has made improvements many Americans aren't aware of.

"People think everything is so bad and so violent, but it's really not," said Handly, 30, of Bellingham, Wash.

"A lot of people are getting jobs they didn't have before and they're doing it on their own. We just provide a stabilizing effect."

The Plain Dealer

Those are a few of the most damaging quotes I have read all year. They could be seen as the foundation of Bush's impeachment trial. "Watching", "Driving around" is that the so called war on terror that Bush is waging? It's embarrassing enough to watch Ethiopia drive the Islamist Court out of Somalia, but at least we know why they are apparently so successful. They're not sitting around twiddling their thumbs in a dead stupor.

re: "injured" & "Walter Reed"

"Hat tip to Hugh Hewitt : Iraq milblogger Lumberjack in a Desert has been wounded by an IED and medevacked to Walter Reed Army Medical Center , Washington, D.C. by way of Landstuhl Army Medical Center, Germany. "
Consul At Arms

NABKA is the Arabs' Fault, some Pals Acknowledge

"A columnist in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official television paper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida , has admitted that it was Arab leaders who were responsible for the flight of Arabs from the new State of Israel in 1948. The columnist, Mahmud Al-Habbash, recently wrote that in 1948, Palestinian Arabs left their homes willingly under the instruction of their own Arab leaders and their false promises of a prompt return. “The leaders and the elites promised us at the beginning of the 'Catastrophe' [the establishment of Israel and the creation of refugee problem] in 1948, that the duration of the exile will not be long, and that it will not last more than a few days or months, and afterwards the refugees will return to their homes, which most of them did not leave only until they put their trust in those 'Arkuvian' ['Arkuvian,' after Arkuv -- a figure from Arab tradition -- who was known for breaking his promises and for his lies] promises made by the leaders and the political elites. Afterwards, days passed, months, years and decades, and the promises were lost with the strain of the succession of events” ( Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 13, 2006, courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch). "

A proper raid on Christmas

In raiding and destroying an Iraqi police station where crimes were said to be committed, not solved, British forces sent an important message to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: Torturers and murderers must be rooted out even when they act under color of the law, and even when reining them in offends political sensitivities.

The Christmas Day assault on the so-called Serious Crimes Unit in Basra by more than 1,000 British and Iraqi troops freed 127 prisoners, many of whom showed signs of torture. The headquarters long had been suspected of being infiltrated by death squads linked to tribal rivalries and organized crime. A British officer described the British-led operation as “part of a long-term rehabilitation of the Iraqi police service.”

The assault followed a raid earlier this month in Basra during which British and Danish forces detained five tribal leaders with ties to Shiite militias. With Britain expected to reduce its 7,000-member force in Iraq next year, British forces have been trying to weaken rogue forces in Basra, for which they have security responsibilities.

Although Iraqi military officials obviously signed off on the British plan, some local officials complained that they weren’t consulted and that the operation amounted to overkill. The complaint is misplaced. If, as the British say, the station was the scene of atrocities and impending executions, the officials themselves were remiss. They can’t reasonably complain about a show of force designed to save lives and stop torture.

The question is whether the Iraqi government, which has troubling ties to Shiite militias, will do more than acquiesce in operations of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — checkpoints that were set up to help find a captured U.S. soldier. No wonder U.S. national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, in a now-famous memo, questioned whether al-Maliki “is both willing and able to rise above the sectarian agendas being promoted by others.’’

Whether or not President Bush approves a temporary “surge’’ of U.S. troops to help stabilize Baghdad, the president’s benchmark of success — an Iraq that can “govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself’’ — ultimately will depend on a willingness by al-Maliki and his successors to establish one rule of law in Iraq. The British and, yes, the Americans, won’t be there forever.


Iranian Military Officials Captured in Iraq, American Media Yawns

If I told you there was a major development in Iraq last week, one which could have behind-the-scenes implications on U.S. policy towards both Iraq and Iran in 2007, would you be interested? What if I told you that said development may provide the ultimate smoking gun evidence that Iran is helping to direct insurgent attacks against American forces in Iraq--basically, that Iran is helping to murder America's sons and daughters on a daily basis? Call me crazy, but I think most Americans would want to hear about that--especially given that 12 of our leading foreign policy "realists" recently suggested the U.S. should open dialogue with Iran over events in Iraq.

Why then, would news that two Iranian military officials were captured recently in Iraq over events in Iraq. Why then, would news that two Iranian military officials were captured recently in Iraq be virtually ignored by most of the mainstream media? Especially when these two officials were seized in the Baghdad compound of influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who traveled to Washington just three weeks ago for a personal audience with President Bush.

Here's more from the New York Times (via Iran Focus), which, by the way, didn't even see fit to print this story on its front page:

The American military said Tuesday that it had credible evidence linking Iranians and their Iraqi associates, detained here in raids last week, to criminal activities, including attacks against American forces. Evidence also emerged that some detainees had been involved in shipments of weapons to illegal armed groups in Iraq.

In its first official confirmation of last week’s raids, the military said it had confiscated maps, videos, photographs and documents in one of the raids on a site in Baghdad. The military confirmed the arrests of five Iranians, and said three of them had been released.

The Bush administration has described the two Iranians still being held Tuesday night as senior military officials. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell IV, the chief spokesman for the American command, said the military, in the raid, had "gathered specific intelligence from highly credible sources that linked individuals and locations with criminal activities against Iraqi civilians, security forces and coalition force personnel."

We already knew that Iran was supplying roadside bombs to Iraqi insurgents. These new revelations are obviously even more serious.

American officials have long said that the Iranian government interferes in Iraq, but the arrests, in the compound of one of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite political leaders, were the first since the American invasion in which officials were offering evidence of the link.

The raids threaten to upset the delicate balance of the three-way relationship among the United States, Iran and Iraq. The Iraqi government has made extensive efforts to engage Iran in security matters in recent months, and the arrests of the Iranians could scuttle those efforts.

Some Iraqis questioned the timing of the arrests, suggesting that the Bush administration had political motives. The arrests were made just days before the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

"Political motives?" On whose part? According to the Times, they may belong to Iraq's own Iran-friendly government:

Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, had invited the two Iranians during his visit to Tehran, his spokesman said Sunday, but by Tuesday, some Iraqi officials began to question if Mr. Talabani had in fact made the invitation. His office was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

"We know when they caught them they were doing something," said one Iraqi official, who added that the Iranians did not appear to have formally registered with the government.

I think we've established that this is a vitally important story, and I strongly encourage you to read it all. That said, why isn't it headlining tv and radio gabfests from coast to coast ads I write this? Rich Miniter of Pajamas has some ideas:

These arrests-indeed this story-should be front page news. Instead, it doesn’t even make the front page of the New York Times’ web site.

Why aren’t our media elites interested? I am no mind reader, but I am a reader. I recall a raft of articles in the New Yorker, the Nation and the New York Times predicting or fearing that Iran was next on Bush’s list. Why tell the public that Iran is the reason we are bleeding in Iraq and that we cannot honorably leave until Iran ceases interfering in the affairs of its Arab neighbor? That means regime change in Iran. And that is not on the Times’ agenda.

I'm afraid Rich hits the nail on the head here. As for the Bush administration's reaction to all this? Stay tuned.