Friday, June 04, 2004

Telegraph | News | Has Israel beaten the suicide bombers?

Who would have know? Well worth a read.

Friday, May 28, 2004

U.N.: Libya nuke suppliers spanned globe

Well what a plus, now someone admits that Libya was trying to build a nuke.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Yahoo! News - Sarin Nerve Agent Bomb Explodes in Iraq

I thought there were no WMD's in Iraq. I think Bush is not going to say much about this until the election heats up more.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Surveys: More Iraqis want democracy

Well, well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Brazil Opposition, Media Slam Journalist Expulsion

Well this is not very nice.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Yahoo! News - Sudan Elected to U.N. Rights Group, U.S. Walks Out

Well isn't this nice, the UN setting a good example, again.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Bloomberg.com: Latin America

Read on. looks like Cuba is pissing of its friends. I think Castro is losing it.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Yahoo! News - 5 Westerners Killed in Saudi Oil Office

Hattip to LGF for the story.

Later, the Saudi Press Agency quoted Abdullah as telling a gathering of princes in Jiddah that "Zionism is behind terrorist actions in the kingdom. I can say that I am 95 percent sure of that."

Yes, how accurate Osama is a Zionist.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

USNews.com: Mortimer B. Zuckerman: A wall-and a way forward (5/3/04)

This is an enlightening column on what it really is that Sharon is trying to do with the Gaza withdrawl.

CNN.com - Worldwide terrorist attacks down in 2003 - Apr 29, 2004

Well finally some good news.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Auschwitz Under Our Noses (washingtonpost.com)

North Korea's treatment of its own citizens will not likely be an issue during the campaign.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

ABCNEWS.com : Document: Saddam Supporters Got Oil Deals

Looks like this may start to make the rounds.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

HoustonChronicle.com - Iraqis refuse to let violence detour journey to democracy

And the beat goes on.
Iraqi govt. papers: Saddam bribed Chirac - (United Press International)

There have been echoes of this all along. Sadly it is just getting the attention it deserves. If the US was trying to bribe French officials in an effort to support the war in Iraq, that would have been big news.

Recently, the story of the origin is from an Iraqi newspaper here.
Kurdish page outlining the attacks in Halbja.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Yahoo! News - Iraq Pilgrims in Saudi Thank God for Saddam's Fall

Saddam's fall by the U.N.?

Not according to this:

"I and many people are thankful toward the United States because they were able to release us and we will definitely never forget. I don't think any Muslim can forget this," he said, standing by Kurdish and Iraqi flags beside the Iraqi pilgrims.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

A well written editorial in the Seattle PI. The PI has been on a an anti-Israel marathon for a while but with this editorial they seem to be taking a break.

Read the whole thing:

Sunday, January 18, 2004

The cycle of violence begins with Palestinians


We were also in Israel, at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Bethlehem, in the last week of Ramadan. But our impressions were quite different from those of Sharon Moe ("Palestinians face untold hardships," Focus, Jan. 11).

True, Palestinians lined up to pass through and take buses into Jerusalem, where many hold jobs in Israel. True, some may have had doctors' appointments -- the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem treats Palestinians alongside Jews. True, some Palestinians had to wait or were turned back for lack of proper identification.

And it is true that Israeli soldiers, most in their late teens or early '20, sometimes overreact. The week of our visit, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported that two Israeli soldiers were sentenced to jail terms -- one for kicking a Palestinian at a checkpoint, another for throwing a stun grenade to disperse a crowd.

But that same week, at another checkpoint near Bethlehem, there was another incident. According to Ha'aretz, Israeli Defense Force soldiers were doing a routine check of Palestinians when a man approached them carrying a rolled-up Muslim prayer rug. When he got close to the soldiers, he pulled an AK-47 assault rifle from the rug and opened fire.

Two Israeli soldiers, Shlomi Belsky, 23, and Shaul Lahav, 20, were killed. The assailant escaped into the Palestinian village of Al Khader. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.

Shlomi Belsky was talking to his mother on a cell phone when he died. She heard the shots before the line went dead.

We visited another checkpoint, known as the "Warm Corner," where local Israeli women opened a rest stop. They serve complimentary homemade bread, popcorn, coffee and soft drinks to soldiers on breaks. Inside the cozy room, an Israeli soldier was reading a newspaper, his rifle over his shoulder. We wondered if he knew Shlomi and Shaul.

Moe suggests that on the last Friday of Ramadan, "hundreds ... perhaps thousands" of Muslims who wanted go to Jerusalem to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque were turned back at the Bethlehem checkpoint. But we were in the Old City of Jerusalem that day. Tens of thousands of Muslims were there to worship, many coming by bus or car from outside Jerusalem. They obviously cleared the IDF checkpoints. That evening, we walked through the Muslim Quarter, crowded with people celebrating the end of Ramadan.

During our visit, we asked our friend Judy Lash Balint, a former Seattle resident who now lives in Jerusalem and writes about Israeli issues, to show us around. She is a self-proclaimed Zionist and a strong National Union Party supporter. Her excellent book, "Jerusalem Diaries," was published in 2002.

She took us to Efrat, where our preconceived notions about "settlements" were dispelled. Efrat is an established community, with houses, schools, trees, parks and stores. Founded in 1983, it now has 20,000 residents. Efrat resembles a typical American suburb -- except for the cyclone fences and barbed wire around the perimeter.

We met Eve Harow, who lives there with her husband and seven children.

Harow argued that the term "settlement" is misleading, because it implies that Jews are occupying areas where they do not belong. She strongly defends building Jewish communities in places where she believes Jews have historic rights to the land.

"This fallacy of starting history in 1967 has to end," she said. "There has been a non-stop Jewish presence in this area for 4,000 years." She pointed to the valley below Efrat known as "Patriarch's Way," the road that Abraham and Isaac took on their way to Jerusalem. She noted that "mikvahs," or Jewish ritual baths, have been found all along the road, proving that Jews lived there for thousands of years.

Across the valley was a small cluster of trailers, or "caravans" -- one of the Jewish "outposts" on disputed territories. Many believe these outposts, some next to Arab villages, should be abandoned as part of a peace agreement. Even Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recently proposed evacuating some of them.

Harow's response: "There is 10 times as much illegal Arab building in the disputed areas. Why doesn't that get covered in the media?"

We drove past Efrat's emergency medical clinic, formerly open to both Jews and Palestinians. But after a suicide bomber tried to blow up the clinic, killing himself and several others waiting for treatment, it was closed to Palestinians.

"People say there's a cycle of violence," Harow said. "They start it by killing us. Our soldiers protect us by trying to intercept the terrorists. Once they are on our roads, they are literally ticking time bombs."

She conceded "98 percent of the Arabs who are stopped at the checkpoints just want to get to work." But a small number are terrorists, bent on killing. "They (Palestinians) have brainwashed their kids to want to die," she said.

"As a mother, I can't understand that," said Harow. Her son's Little League baseball team still wears black armbands in memory of a teammate, Koby Mandell, one of two young teen-age boys killed by Palestinians two years ago. The boys' bodies, which had been torn apart, were found in a cave outside Efrat.

As she left to pick up one of her children at school, Harow said: "The fight is not about this settlement or that settlement," she said. "It's about the very existence of Israel. I want there to be peace more than anyone, because otherwise I have to bury people I love."

Moe wrote: "The occupation is strangling the Palestinians," adding, "it's also strangling the Israelis." On the contrary, Balint responds: "It's the terrorism and incitement that's strangling them and us. Israelis are inconvenienced and aggravated by the security presence, but we're also subject to being blown up on buses and in cafes."

Moe brushes off Israeli concerns over "occasional dramatic instances of violence in suicide bombings and the infrequent shootings of Israeli soldiers." But according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there have been 20,160 attempted terror attacks against Israelis since the start of the current violence in September 2000, resulting in 904 dead and 6,063 wounded.

Everywhere we went we were jarred by how close the violence is to those who can only be described as Israeli soccer moms and dads, and by how many people have suffered losses of friends and family.

We had dinner with a Hebrew University economics professor and his wife at a restaurant near their home. They have five daughters. One of them, a sixth-grader, has a classmate whose sister was blown apart in a suicide bombing.

We had coffee at the recently reopened Café Hillel with the founder of Israel Media Watch, an organization that monitors the Israeli media for accuracy, fairness and balance. Last September, a suicide bomber blew up the café, killing seven people including an Israeli doctor and his daughter on the night before her wedding.

We visited an arts and crafts shop and chatted with the owner, a quiet and gracious woman. She had recently lost her son, a soldier, to a Palestinian sniper.

Many Palestinians have been killed and wounded, too, but there's a difference: Israeli citizens are deliberate targets; most Palestinian civilian casualties are in the line of fire directed at terrorists.

Moe urges Americans to read the Geneva Accord, an unofficial peace plan written by a group of Israeli and Palestinian private citizens. She claims it is supported by "a majority" of both Palestinians and Israelis. Actually, survey results are mixed.

An early poll by Rice University in Houston and the International Crisis Group in Washington, D.C., found that 53 percent of Israelis and 56 percent of Palestinians supported it. But those surveyed were read only a summary of the plan, which omitted key facts -- such as that the Temple Mount would be under Palestinian control. And the most contentious issue -- the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees, is not explicitly renounced in the plan.

As Palestinian signatory Jamal Zaqout wrote: "The assertion that the Accord cancels the right of return ... inaccurate. It was spread by Israeli figures trying to make the document more palatable to Israelis."

A later poll by Ha'aretz showed 31 percent of Israelis in favor, 38 percent against and 20 percent undecided.

Another poll by Israel Radio found that 73 percent of Israelis said they had not read the Geneva Accord, and those who had read it were opposed by a 2-to-1 ratio.

A more recent survey, by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and Hebrew University's Truman Institute, found that only 34 percent of Israelis and 19 percent of Palestinians supported it after they learned more details.

Moe sympathetically describes a young Palestinian seeking help from a human rights organization. We support human rights for Palestinians too. We wish they had such human rights as freedom of speech, freedom to vote and equality for women. Sadly, they do not. Palestinians who oppose Arafat or try to cooperate with Israelis are often killed. The Palestinian Authority is not freely elected. Muslim women do not have equal rights. None of that can be blamed on the Israelis.

Moe asks: "What can we do?" She urges Americans to read the Geneva Accord, seek more information about Israel on the Internet, or travel there. We concur. We recommend "The Case for Israel" by Alan Dershowitz. We urge people to sign up for Balint's online column by e-mailing her at judy@jerusalemdiaries.com.

And we suggest visiting Israel and seeing for yourself. We're already planning our next trip.

John Hamer and Mariana Parks visited Israel last November with a delegation from The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. Neither is Jewish, but they attended the General Assembly of United Jewish Communities as freelance journalists. Hamer is executive director of the Washington News Council. Parks is president of MXP Communications Group.

Friday, January 16, 2004

FOXNews.com - Top Stories - IAEA Confirms Yellowcake Found in Rotterdam Likely From Iraq

Big news, small news, news???
Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online

Another well written article by my favorite democrat.

Interesting to note:

Following September 11, our therapeutic industry — the campuses, the media, the intelligentsia, and many on the political Left — almost immediately sprung into action to insist that such hideous terrorist acts were symptomatic of wide-scale poverty and oppression in the Middle East, much of it caused by the United States. True, Islamic fascism scavenges on the self-induced misery of hereditary autocracy so endemic in the Arab world; but the hijacking murderers of September 11 were themselves hardly poor or illiterate. And their mastermind bin Laden talked of pride, envy, and power — seldom poverty or inequality. This was a creature, after all, who belonged to a world of the "strong horse," "honor" killings, throwing shoes, and fist-shaking, more at home in the tenth than 21st century.

Where Americans see skill and subtlety in taking out Saddam Hussein and a costly effort to liberate a people, many Iraqis, even as they taste freedom, drive new cars, and see things improve, talk instead of humiliation, hurt pride, or anger at their own impotence — whether whining over the morticians' make-up work on Qusay, or ashamed about Saddam's pathetic televised dental examination. Iraqis scream on camera that we should not stay another minute, but even more often whisper that we better not leave yet. Too often they seem to be mostly angry that we, not they, took out Saddam Hussein. While the tyrant's departure was a "good" thing, it would have been even better had he killed a few thousand Americans in the process — if only to restore the sort of braggadocio lost by the Baathist flight and antics of a mendacious Baghdad Bob.

Israel suffers from the same dilemma of dealing with others' hurt pride as we do. It created a relatively humane society throughout the West Bank from 1967-1993 — and raised the standard of living, and promoted individual freedom for Palestinians in way impossible elsewhere in the Arab world. But all that won no gratitude; instead, it stoked the fury arising from Arabs' sense of weakness and self-contempt. In the world of the Palestinian lobster bucket, Israel's great sin is not bellicosity or aggression, but succeeding beyond the wildest dreams of its neighbors. How humiliating it must be to be incapable of even muttering the word "Israel" (hence the need for "Zionist entity"), but nevertheless preferring an Israeli to a Palestinian ID card.

Indeed Anwar Sadat, by his own admission, went to war in 1973 not to liberate outright the Sinai (that was militarily impossible), but to show the Arab world he could surprise — and for three to four days even stun — the Israelis, and thereby restore the wounded "pride" of the Egyptians. We think that the total encirclement of his Third Army was a terrible defeat — saved from abject annihilation by American diplomacy and Soviet threat. Egyptians saw it instead as a source of honor that it even got across the canal.

Sharon has a change of heart

This man cannot just make everyone happy. This is what change looks like, hopefully this will be for the better, but odd that it is Sharon who is bringing it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Claim Responsibility for Gaza Suicide Bombing

A sick act with no excuse. These so called "militant" organizations are only all willing to admit it is their handy work.
Well other than being a suicide bomber, journalism seems to also be a dangerous occupation.

Palestinian journalists protest Fatah beating of TV reporter

This is pretty much business as usual over there, only it really does not always have to get to the point of a beating, threats are normally enough.

Monday, January 12, 2004

USATODAY.com - Attacks down 22% since Saddam's capture

Well, well, someone is safer.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Another Mass Grave in Iraq.

Somehow this barely makes the news now.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

BuzzMachine... by Jeff Jarvis

Well this is the 4th poll with a positive atttitude. I guess we can safely dispose of the Iraqis love Saddam theory.
Dennis Prager: Iran clarifies the Middle East

I think this about sums it up.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

MSNBC - Libya, U.N. meet on disarmament pledge

It is nice to know that Lybia admitted this.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Michael J. Totten:
Busted Dictator Photo Gallery

Very nice pictures via Instapundit of Iraqi sentiment.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Telegraph | News | Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam

Well, well, who would have thunk it. We will see if this actually pans out.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Thousands of Iraqis call for end to violence

Well i finally found one article that pointed to the protests. Sadly enough it somehow comes out anti-US. This is very different than the current information that has come out regarding the protests.
One Hand Clapping

Iraqi demonstrations against terrorism are not getting much press. Very sad since they appear to be pretty big.

Instapundit has the coverage here.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Julie Burchill: The hate that shames us

More on the ever fashionable Jew-hating.

In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr published his Letter To An Anti-Zionist Friend: "Anti-Zionism is inherently anti-semitic, and ever will be. What is anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the globe. It is discrimination against Jews... because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-semitism."

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | AP: Scientists to Excavate Iraqi Graves

For some reason there have been very few protests against Saddam's acts.

The mass grave at Mahaweel, with more than 3,100 sets of remains, is the largest of some 270 such sites across Iraq. They hold upward of 300,000 bodies; some Iraqi political parties estimate there are more than 1 million.

Simply sick and without justification. This is what "stability" looked like in Iraq before.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

The CounterRevolutionary

Some perspective on how the occupational transtion in Iraq is going.

Thanks Instapundit.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism

The anti-zionism/anti-semitism story is getting a lot more play. The media is starting to see the correlation.

There is no doubt that recent anti-semitism is linked to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And it is equally without doubt that Israeli policies sometimes deserve criticism. There is nothing wrong, or even remotely anti-semitic, in disapproving of Israeli policies. Nevertheless, this debate - with its insistence that there is a distinction between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism - misses the crucial point of contention. Israel's advocates do not want to gag critics by brandishing the bogeyman of anti-semitism: rather, they are concerned about the form the criticism takes.

If Israel's critics are truly opposed to anti-semitism, they should not repeat traditional anti-semitic themes under the anti-Israel banner. When such themes - the Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, linking Jews with money and media, the hooked-nose stingy Jew, the blood libel, disparaging use of Jewish symbols, or traditional Christian anti-Jewish imagery - are used to describe Israel's actions, concern should be voiced. Labour MP Tam Dalyell decried the influence of "a Jewish cabal" on British foreign policy-making; an Italian cartoonist last year depicted the Israeli siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as an attempt to kill Jesus "again". Is it necessary to evoke the Jewish conspiracy or depict Israelis as Christ-killers to denounce Israeli policies?

The whole thing is worth a read.

Iraqis say 'no to terrorism' - The Washington Times: World Somehow you know this would not make CNN.......

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Israel's fence of peace

This article attacks head on the criticism over the security fence in Israel. The whole thing is worth a read.
ajc.com | Opinion | U.S. must embrace Mideast to help it heal

An excellent article on how peace in the Middle East is the responsibility of the world. The writer particularly sums up both sides in the following:

When they kill us, they are continuing the experience of the Holocaust in our eyes. We cannot free ourselves from this. In the deepest consciousness of many Israelis, Yasser Arafat is an unshaven Hitler, the suicide bombers are Nazis and their supporters are savages.

And when we respond by killing them we are reviving the humiliation of colonialism, the wrong inflicted by the First World, the Christian West in its arrogant encounter with the Third World. White skin vs. dark, rich vs. poor, technology vs. primalism.

And in this dialogue of blood, this dance of sabers that pairs the fact of the Holocaust and the fact of colonialism, it is difficult to create stable understandings, to build a bridge of compassion and forgiveness. It is nearly impossible to speak of a win-win reality after so many years of losses.

Anti-semitism in Europe...Sadly enough its origins are known but not admitted. The E.U. is burying a report on the subject, burying not debating.

The growing debate over antisemitism in Europe took a new twist this week after the authors of a study on antisemitism commissioned by the European Union accused the E.U. of burying their work for political reasons.

A professor at Berlin Technical University and one of the report's authors, Werner Bergman, said that the E.U.-sponsored European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia had deliberately shelved the 112-page report since February because it concluded that Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind much of the recent antisemitic violence in Europe.

"They are fearing that the report will discriminate against Muslim minorities and that this would show that the E.U. was siding with Israel," Bergman said. "They put the blame on us because they can't admit they buried the report for political reasons."

In this country anti-semitism comes from the left mostly. It is dressed up as anti-Zionism, usually thinly veiled. This is an interesting article on the subject from a liberal source.

And then my first questioner blew it all to Hell. All it took was The Question and it only required one Questioner. I could not see who was speaking. A disembodied voice demanded to know where I stood on the question of the women of Palestine. Her tone was forceful, hostile, relentless, and prepared. I could have said: "The organizers have specifically asked me not to address such questions." I did not say that. I could also have said: "I am concerned with the women of Palestine but I am also concerned with the women of Rwanda, Bosnia, Guatemala, who have all been gang-raped by soldiers who used rape as a weapon of war; I am concerned with the poverty and homelessness of women right here in America; I am concerned with the women of Israel who are being blown up in buses, at cafes, in their own bedrooms." I did not say this.

Instead, I took a deep breath and said that I did not respect people who hijacked airplanes or hijacked conferences or who, at this very moment, were trying to hijack this lecture. I pointed out that the subject of my talk was not Israel or Palestine. I did not want us to lose our focus. She grew even more hostile and demanding. "Tell this audience what you said on WBAI. I heard you on that program." Clearly, she wanted to "unmask" me before this audience as a Jew-lover and an Israel-defender.

I took the question head-on. "If you're really asking about apartheid, let me talk about it. Contrary to myth and propaganda, Israel is not an apartheid state. The largest practioner of apartheid in the world is Islam which practices both gender and religious apartheid. In terms of gender apartheid, Palestinian women -- and all women who live under Islam -- are oppressed by "honor" killings, in which girls and women who are raped are then killed by family members for the sake of restoring the family "honor;" forced veiling, segregation, stonings to death for alleged adultery, seclusion/sequestration, female genital mutilation, polygamy, outright slavery, sexual slavery. Women have few civil, legal, or human rights under Islam."

I continued; "Islam also specializes in religious apartheid as well. All non-Muslims (Christians, including Maronites and Melkites, Greek Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants, Jews, Assyrians, Hindus, Zoroastrians, animists) have historically been viewed and treated as subhumans who must either convert to Islam or be mercilessly taxed, beaten, jailed, murdered, or exiled. The latest al-Queda attack in Saudi Arabia was primarily directed against Lebanese Christians and Americans."

I continued. "Today, the entire Middle East is judenrein, there are no Jews left in 22 Arab countries. And, the Arab leadership has backed the PLO strategy in which the 23rd state remains under constant and perilous siege. Historically in general, but specifically since 1948-1956, Arab Jews were forced to flee Arab Islamic lands. Most are living in Israel, the only Middle Eastern state in which Jews are allowed to live. Jews cannot become citizens of Jordan, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia, for example and yet no one accuses those nations of apartheid.

I said that Israel was not an apartheid state. I talked about real gender and religious Apartheid, as practiced by Muslims. I told the truth. Clearly, they had not heard it before. The audience collectively gasped. Then, people went a little crazy.

Quite simply incredible.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

A picture guide to mass graves in Iraq.
Recently an Op-Ed piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal by Jalal Talabani regarding the state of Iraq. Talabani is the president of the Iraq Governing Council and secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

As a Kurd, I am sure he is happy to have Saddma out of power since Saddam gassed his people in the late 80's. Saddam used those WMD's that supposedly never existed. In his Op-Ed piece he chooses to look forward and looks at the changes in his country.

Most interesting:

The enemies of Iraqi freedom are not "resistance," a word that evokes the heroism of Poles in the Second World War, nobly battling their occupiers. Nor can those who murder our American liberators, Red Cross workers, U.N. officials and Italian policemen be termed "guerrillas." Rather, they are terrorists. They are the thugs and torturers who repressed their fellow Iraqis during the last 35 years, the perpetrators of genocide, men who butchered hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Marsh Arabs and Shiite Arabs. The creation of an anti-democratic fascist counter-revolution of Baathists and foreign Islamic volunteers, some of whom are al Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam, is a classic unholy Middle Eastern alliance. These people have more support among the Arab media and in the studios of al-Jazeera than they do in Iraq.

The significance of this wave of terrorism is not military, but political. On the battlefield the terrorists are losing. But the terrorists have grasped something that too few in the U.S. will admit: that Iraq is now the central front both in the war against terrorism and the struggle for a better Middle East. The terrorists will not stop fighting if the U.S. troops are withdrawn, rather they will become emboldened to believe that they can win this conflict.

Only the U.S. was capable of toppling Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, a brilliantly executed campaign in which the Kurdish guerrillas, the peshmerga, were the only Iraqis to take casualties fighting with the Coalition. The defeat of the terrorists, however, must be largely an Iraqi endeavour. By taking up arms and routing the terrorists, Iraqis will own their new democracy -- nobody will be able to say that it has been handed to them.

This is a person that sees around corners.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Survey says Afghan's optimistic.

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghans in relatively stable areas of the country are overwhelmingly optimistic about the future of their nation, despite continued violence and political uncertainty, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Some 83 percent of the Afghans surveyed said they feel safer than they did three years ago, when the hard-line Taliban regime was in power. More than three-quarters of those questioned said Afghanistan (news - web sites) will be safer still in another year.

What was not clear from this article is what percentage of Afghan's live in "unsafe" areas.
David Frum goes to one of the protests in London for the Telegraph. His interviews are limited in scope but very telling.


The anti-Bush demonstration in Lincoln's Inn Fields was called for six o'clock, but at the appointed hour, journalists and camera crews substantially outnumbered protesters.

This is right on:

The war on terror has glaringly exposed the moral contradictions of contemporary political radicalism: a politics that champions the rights of women and minorities, but only when those rights are threatened by white Europeans; a politics that celebrates creative non-violence at home but condones deadly extremism abroad; and, perhaps above all, a politics that traces its origins to the Enlightenment - and today raises its voice to protect militantly unenlightened terrorists from the justice dispensed by their victims.

This is all too funny:

Mike (the name he gave) shrugged me off. "People in the Middle East are fighting because their own governments are repressing them. They come to feel that they have no alternative - and the mosque is always open.

"But I can't help thinking that it's just not very realistic that people are going to kill each other because they say my God is better than your God. Give people freedom and an opportunity for something better: that's what they really want."

I said: "You know, you sound exactly like Paul Wolfowitz." He flinched.

David Frum has a mission when he writes this report and there is a certain amount of bias. From my own experience with the anti-war crowd though, he is not off base from what I too have seen. The anti-war gives itself much more importance than it actually has. They have no moral currency, which is disappointing because that is what they bank on.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Glenn Reynolds, (over at MSNBC), has some very interesting insights into anti-war protestors and the lack of true perspective on their part. He weaves his own opinion with reporting on the subject from such sources as The Guardian, New York Times and BBC among others.

An interesting piece with a quote from a recent The Guardian article:

Antiwar folks are planning big anti-Bush protests in Britain when Bush visits later this week. This is too much even for many lefties. David Aaronovitch writes in The Guardian:

The double standards here are obvious but worth a reminder. During the week anti-Bush protesters will, we’re told, be splashing red paint to symbolise the spilled blood of the people of Iraq. No such red paint was splashed around London after Halabja, after the 1991 Shia and Kurdish uprisings or during the Iran-Iraq war, almost as if that were not real Iraqi blood. Blood, after all, is only blood if Americans spill it.
No crimson splotches were created during the state visit of Romanian tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu in 1978, a visit which - because of Romania’s semi-dissident position in the Soviet bloc - suited both cold warriors and sections of the Left. Earlier this year the Chechnya-enmired President Putin escaped almost any kind of demonstration.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

According to the Guardian UK "Protests begin but majority backs Bush visit as support for war surges".

As you may know Bush is visiting England. There going to be many protests and anti-americanism is on a pretty pedestal. Most of the press seem to like to rpint that this means that Bush is hated. Yet this article based on a recent poll states something quite contrary.

The survey shows that public opinion in Britain is overwhelmingly pro-American with 62% of voters believing that the US is "generally speaking a force for good, not evil, in the world". It explodes the conventional political wisdom at Westminster that Mr Bush's visit will prove damaging to Tony Blair. Only 15% of British voters agree with the idea that America is the "evil empire" in the world.

and more specific:

The detailed results of the poll show that more people - 43% - say they welcome George Bush's arrival in Britain than the 36% who say they would prefer he did not come.

As for the war in Iraq:

The ICM poll also uncovers a surge in pro-war sentiment in the past two months as suicide bombers have stepped up their attacks on western targets and troops in Iraq. Opposition to the war has slumped by 12 points since September to only 41% of all voters. At the same time those who believe the war was justified has jumped 9 points to 47% of voters.

I have always had a hard time believing that protests were always a sign of a festering mayority, but I do think they are usually healthy.

Monday, November 17, 2003

An Italian anti-war group is raising money for Iraqi "resistance fighters". Via Instapundit.

Sad thing is that these "resistance fighters" have just killed 19 Italian soldiers. I am not sure how you can be an anti-war group that gives money to one side fighting a war.

Bits from the BBC article:

A group of Italian anti-war militants is raising funds to support the armed Iraqi resistance, the BBC has learned.

The discovery comes as Italy mourns 19 men killed in a suicide attack in Iraq last week.

The "Antiimperialista" organisation's internet campaign asks people to send "10 Euros to the Iraqi resistance".

They say they have collected 12,000 euros ($14,165) in the past eight weeks and admit the money used could be used to buy weapons.

The Antiimperialistas are a group of European anti-war and anti-globalisation supporters.

They are currently organising an anti-war demonstration in Italy next month, and it remains to be seen whether news of the fund-raising activities will deter more moderate anti-war activists from attending.

and most telling:

Independent Iraqi sources in London say the leaders of this group have a long history of association with the Baath party and are now back in Iraq supporting the armed resistance.

How can you possibly be for peace and back Saddam?

With the bar set at this level for who calls themselves "anti-war", coalition forces in Iraq may as well callthemselves an anti-war group. When will we hear more about an anti-dictatorship, anti-gas your own population and and jail kids group? The only one I know is the Bush Administration. Never thought I would say that.

Monday, November 10, 2003

An old idea gaining steam, destroy Israel.

Well guess who does not want a wall separating Israel and the West Bank. This picture was taken at a protest rally in Los Angeles against the wall. This picture makes the point of why a wall is actually needed.
Well I am deeply shocked, the BBC actually determined that Arafat is funding militants, which in BBC language means terrorism.

Then you take into account that Arafat will keep control of the PA security forces and you have a formula for continual warfare.

Monday, October 27, 2003

59% of Palestinians support continued attacks against Israel even if Israel leaves the West Bank and Gaza.

Interesting story and sadly it is not getting much play in the press. This means that if Israel pulls out of the "occupied" territories they could still have a problem. Quite simply it seems that the idea of a two state solution has not fully taken hold in the mind of most Palestinians.

Perhaps a fence will really help.

Friday, October 03, 2003

The CIA report over Iraq's WMD is out.
Interesting reading, which seems to be incorrectly covered in the news.

Andrew Sullivan is pointing to as much.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Finally another poll conducted on what the Iraqi public thinks, well according to a poll. Polls are interesting and do not always tell the true story, but sometimes they can tell some of it. This is a Gallop Poll, which has a positive reputation. Also to be noted, this poll was only taken in Baghdad.

Yahoo news has the story.

I think overall the news are good.

Here is some interesting tasters:

Two-thirds, 67 percent, say they think that Iraq (news - web sites) will be in better condition five years from now than it was before the U.S.-led invasion. Only 8 percent say they think it will be worse off.

But they're not convinced that Iraq is better off now — 47 percent said the country is worse off than before the invasion and 33 percent said it is better off.

The survey found that 62 percent think ousting Saddam was worth the hardships they have endured since the invasion.

Six in 10 said they have a favorable view of the new Iraqi Governing Council, but most see its priorities as set by coalition authorities. Half said the coalition authorities are doing a better job now than two months ago, while 14 percent said they were doing a worse job.

Compare this with the other Poll:

Although this did not make a lot of noise, the first poll was taken in Iraq. The results are surprising and will likely be contested by people who cannot contradict them with facts. Polls should be taken lightly, but nevertheless be considered. They are a factor. You can tilt polls, but you can only tilt them so far. I am waiting for someone on the left to perform their own poll, it would be interesting to not only compare, but to see if there are any similarities.

Here are the mayor findings of the poll:

Iraqis are optimistic. Seven out of 10 say they expect their country and their personal lives will be better five years from now. On both fronts, 32 percent say things will become much better.

The toughest part of reconstructing their nation, Iraqis say by 3 to 1, will be politics, not economics. They are nervous about democracy. Asked which is closer to their own view--"Democracy can work well in Iraq," or "Democracy is a Western way of doing things"--five out of 10 said democracy is Western and won't work in Iraq. One in 10 wasn't sure. And four out of 10 said democracy can work in Iraq. There were interesting divergences. Sunnis were negative on democracy by more than 2 to 1; but, critically, the majority Shiites were as likely to say democracy would work for Iraqis as not. People age 18-29 are much more rosy about democracy than other Iraqis, and women are significantly more positive than men.

Asked to name one country they would most like Iraq to model its new government on from five possibilities--neighboring, Baathist Syria; neighbor and Islamic monarchy Saudi Arabia; neighbor and Islamist republic Iran; Arab lodestar Egypt; or the U.S.--the most popular model by far was the U.S. The U.S. was preferred as a model by 37 percent of Iraqis selecting from those five--more than Syria, Iran and Egypt put together. Saudi Arabia was in second place at 28 percent. Again, there were important demographic splits. Younger adults are especially favorable toward the U.S., and Shiites are more admiring than Sunnis. Interestingly, Iraqi Shiites, coreligionists with Iranians, do not admire Iran's Islamist government; the U.S. is six times as popular with them as a model for governance.

Our interviewers inquired whether Iraq should have an Islamic government, or instead let all people practice their own religion. Only 33 percent want an Islamic government; a solid 60 percent say no. A vital detail: Shiites (whom Western reporters frequently portray as self-flagellating maniacs) are least receptive to the idea of an Islamic government, saying no by 66 percent to 27 percent. It is only among the minority Sunnis that there is interest in a religious state, and they are split evenly on the question.

Perhaps the strongest indication that an Islamic government won't be part of Iraq's future: The nation is thoroughly secularized. We asked how often our respondents had attended the Friday prayer over the previous month. Fully 43 percent said "never." It's time to scratch "Khomeini II" from the list of morbid fears.

You can also cross out "Osama II": 57 percent of Iraqis with an opinion have an unfavorable view of Osama bin Laden, with 41 percent of those saying it is a very unfavorable view. (Women are especially down on him.) Except in the Sunni triangle (where the limited support that exists for bin Laden is heavily concentrated), negative views of the al Qaeda supremo are actually quite lopsided in all parts of the country. And those opinions were collected before Iraqi police announced it was al Qaeda members who killed worshipers with a truck bomb in Najaf.

And you can write off the possibility of a Baath revival. We asked "Should Baath Party leaders who committed crimes in the past be punished, or should past actions be put behind us?" A thoroughly unforgiving Iraqi public stated by 74 percent to 18 percent that Saddam's henchmen should be punished.

There second poll seems to be less general and more focused. Both point to good news more than bad news. But Polls are Polls.

Somehow I do not think this Iraq story will get reported much:

Influx of goods, cash puts Iraqis in buying mood Hoarded dollars, U.S.-paid wages go for once-unobtainable items
By Glen C. Carey
Special to USA TODAY

BAGHDAD -- When Massoud Mazouri learned that the U.S.-led coalition had ousted Saddam Hussein from power on April 9, he hurried to Baghdad from his home in northern Iraq to set up an electronics business.

Now the 28-year-old Kurdish merchant is selling televisions and satellite receivers at a brisk pace to gadget-starved shoppers. It's among the first signs that Iraq's larger economy is coming to life.

Iraq's new finance minister, Kamil Mubdir al-Gailani, announced sweeping economic changes this week that will allow foreign ownership of companies in every industry except oil and other natural resources. The 25-member Iraqi Governing Council hopes that Iraq's 24 million people will be an attractive market and workforce for global businesses willing to invest in the country.

But merchants such as Mazouri already are cashing in. Television sets, refrigerators and boxes of satellite receivers are stacked 10 feet high on the sidewalks of Baghdad's shopping districts. Shoppers who have waited for years to be able to spend their hoarded dollars are out in force.

''When I started in late April, I was receiving one container of DiStar goods per month,'' Mazouri says. ''Now, I am getting five to six containers.'' Each container holds about 270 television sets or 3,800 satellite receiver units. He says he is grossing $20,000 a day. ''All the sales are done in cash.''

and most interesting....

The U.S.-led provisional authority has increased salaries twice for government workers, spreading disposable income around. It is paying $150 million per month for salaries from $1.7 billion in Iraqi assets seized by the U.S. government at the time of the 1991 Gulf War, a coalition official says.

Louay Rasheed, 46, director of the Ministry of Planning's trade statistics department, says he made the equivalent of $15 a month before the war and now earns $400 a month.

Hassan al-Dinwani, 53, owner of al-Yussir Trading Shops in Baghdad's Karada neighborhood, says one of his new customers was a policeman. ''This was a surprise to me,'' he says. In the past, officers couldn't buy goods at his shop because their salaries were too low.

I guess part of oppresing the Iraqi people is doubling government salaries.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Those who lived under tyranny, know it for what it is. Vaclav Havel, Arpad Goncz and Lech Walesa write a devastating call to action to free Cuba in the Washington Post.

It cannot be claimed that the U.S. embargo on Cuba has brought about the results desired. Neither can this be said of the European policy, which has been considerably more forthcoming toward the Cuban regime. It is time to put aside transatlantic disputes about the embargo on Cuba and to concentrate on direct support for Cuban dissidents, prisoners of conscience and their families. Europe ought to make it unambiguously clear that Castro is a dictator, and that for democratic countries a dictatorship cannot become a partner until it begins a process of political liberalization.
Israel, land of happiness according to the latest poll.

Poll causes stir by finding Israelis are happy
83 per cent of adults satisfied with their lives
Attitude seems to be 'We are in this together': Expert

One ex-inspector states there were no WMDs in Iraq, one says there were.

Most intersting:

"I want to be plain about this," Butler's voice heightened. "The overthrow of Sadaam Hussein was justified whether or not there was reluctance to authorize it. ... No one could say it is wrong to overthrow a homicidal maniac. The Security Council sat on its hands for 10 years."

As for not finding these weapons allegedly in Iraq, Butler said he is sure Saddam had them. He said Saddam was addicted to the deadly weapons, and whether they are still in Iraq but hidden, moved or destroyed, they did exist.

"Don't believe those who say they aren't there just because we haven't found them. Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," Butler told the crowd. "Iraq certainly did have weapons of mass destruction. Trust me. I held some in my own hands."

Friday, September 19, 2003

Salam Pax was interviewed by Fresh Air yesterday.
Well worth a listen.
When the refugees return. For some reason you do not hear much on refugees returnign to Iraq unless you actively look for it.

This is an interesting story that appeared in the Independent. It does not paint everything rosy but you begin to understand that Iraqis are going through a massive change and this is little understood. Everyone is trying to make a story out of them without letting them tell their story.

Here are a few quotes:

The most biting disappointment facing the IPO members, however, has been the fact that when Saddam's vast prisons were opened, none of the hundreds of thousands of missing people emerged alive. Abtehale's grandmother suffered a second stroke when it became obvious to her a week after the liberation that her missing son, husband and nephew were not going to appear, traumatised but alive. Yasser's mother still refers to her missing brother and sister as "imprisoned". He says: "I try to tell her that there are no more prisons to be opened up, that they're gone and she has to grieve. But she can't bear to hear it."

Tens of thousands of Iraqis are making a weekly pilgrimage to Kadhimiya, where a human rights centre has been set up to log on computer the names of all the hundreds of thousands of people executed by the regime. They have six million files to work through, seized when the regime fell. They have processed two hundred thousand so far. Abtehale went there searching for her grandfather and uncle. So far, they seem to have vanished without record into Saddam's vast torture machine.


There is a terrible fear among many Iraqis that they will not be able to match the Kurds' achievement if they are abandoned by the Americans once again. "The memories of 1991 are so vivid," says Sama. "People still fear that somehow the Americans will abandon us and Saddam will claw his way back from the grave. They say, `It happened in 1991, it could happen again.' That's one crucial reason why people are reluctant to cooperate with the coalition." She adds: "I find it absolutely incredible that the anti-war people are now calling for the coalition to leave straight away. Nobody in Iraq wants that. The opinion polls show it's just 13 per cent. Don't they care about the Iraqi people and what they want at all? This isn't a game. This isn't about poking a stick at George Bush. This is our lives."

As for those who blame every problem in Iraq on the legacy of sanctions, Sama has little time for them. "Iraqis aren't stupid," she says. "They know that Northern Iraq was under sanctions, too, and none of the terrible things that happened under Saddam, like dying babies, went on there. Most people call them `Saddam's sanctions'. The real issue was Saddam's tyranny, and the way he used sanctions like he used everything else to strengthen his rule."

and most interesting:

Yasser adds: "There's something I'd like to say to your readers. People who really care about Iraqis should join us in fighting for democracy in Iraq and for the debts accumulated by Saddam to be cancelled. Join Jubilee Iraq [a group campaigning against Saddam's debt, contactable at www.jubileeiraq.org]. Argue for the Governing Council to be strengthened. Support us. Don't spend your time hoping that Iraq fails just so you feel better about opposing the war."

Well worth a read. I quoted what I liked but there is a complete story if you read it all.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Al-Jazeera has an interview with Muhammed Sa'id Al-Sahaf, Iraqi Information. He is well remembered as Baghdad Bob. He was the guy who kept on claiming victory to reporters durign the war.

This is what peole have been saying that he confirmed:

Question 5: How did Iraq deal with members of the UN Security Council?

Al-Sahaf: We would contact any country which becomes a temporary member of the Council. We would send them delegations and materials to make our positions clear to them. More and continuous contacts were carried out with the three permanent members of the Council, France, Russia, and China. They were also given preference in oil contracts and trade to keep them as close as possible to the Iraqi side.

He goes on to comment on WMD, saying what many peacenicks forgot to say, that there were weapons there:

Question 10: Were there any weapons of mass destruction (the US-UK official allegation and justification of the war)?

Al-Sahaf: There were no weapons of mass destruction. All the biological, chemical, nuclear, and missile programs, that we had, were destroyed during the 1991 Gulf War. The UN inspectors documented that destruction in detail to the extent of accounting even for the janitors who worked in the facilities of these programs.

Iraq has admitted they had these programs going. Many try to argue that these programs never existed. I think they still had a slimmed down version of these programs, but that is another story. The point here is that Iraq had these programs going.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

An interesting speech by a judge who initially opposed the war but changed his mind after going to Iraq.

One opinion of one person, but he does have interesting insights.

here is a bit:

What changed my mind?

When we left mid June, 57 mass graves had been found, one with the bodies
of 1200 children. There have been credible reports of murder, brutality
and torture of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Iraqi citizens. There is
poverty on a monumental scale and fear on a larger one. That fear is
still palpable.

I have seen the machines and places of torture. I will tell you one story
told to me by the Chief of Pediatrics at the Medical College in Basra. It
was one of the most shocking to me, but I heard worse. One of Saddam's
security agents was sent to question a Shiite in his home. The
interrogation took place in the living room in the presence of the man's
wife, who held their three month old child. A question was asked and the
thug did not like the answer; he asked it again, same answer. He grabbed
the baby from its mother and plucked its eye out. And then repeated his
question. Worse things happened with the knowledge, indeed with the
participation, of Saddam, his family and the Baathist regime.

Thousands suffered while we were messing about with France and Russia and
Germany and the UN. Every one of them knew what was going on there, but
France and the UN were making millions administering the food for oil
program. We cannot, I know, remake the world, nor do I believe we should.
We cannot stamp out evil, I know. But this time we were morally right
and our economic and strategic interests were involved. I submit that just
because we can't do everything doesn't mean that we should do nothing.

We must have the moral courage to see this through, to do whatever it
takes to secure responsible government for the Iraqi people. Having
decided to topple Saddam, we cannot abandon those who trust us. I fear we
will quit as the horrors of war come into our living rooms. Look at the
stories you are getting from the media today. The steady drip, drip, drip
of bad news may destroy our will to fulfill the obligations we have assumed.
listen to and read is highly selective. Good news doesn't sell. 90% of the
damage you see on tv was caused by Iraqis, not by US. All the damage you
see to schools, hospitals, power generation facilities, refineries,
pipelines and water supplies, as well as shops, museums, and semi-public
buildings (like hotels) was caused either by the Iraqi army in its death
throes or Iraqi civilians looting and rioting.

He goes out of his way in his complete speech to say he was there a limited amount of time and was limited in what he actually saw, but he does want to communicate what he did see.
Well the WMD debate continues. Revisionist forces are at work, probably for both sides. One thing that used to not be debatable is whether Iraq had a nuclear weapons program. For some reason this is once again debatable. Somehow, the UN actually told the truth about this.

Most telling part of this Reuters story:

Asked if he believed the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) assertion it had successfully dismantled Iraq's ambitious atomic weapons program in the seven years after detecting it in 1991, Balasem said: "I think this is true."

Balasem said Iraqi nuclear scientists now intended to use their knowledge and skill solely for peaceful purposes.

"The plan of the new ministry is to use all the activities for the peaceful use, and just to leave all of this previous program behind," he said, referring to Saddam's nuclear weapons program. "They want to use all the facilities for rebuilding Iraq, for the reconstruction..."

Well maybe the title of the story truly says it all:

Scientist Says Iraq Never Revived Nuke Program

Monday, September 15, 2003

Most people would deny there is an upside to killing Arafat. Lets skip that; lets say there is a downside.
Although this did not make a lot of noise, the first poll was taken in Iraq. The results are surprising and will likely be contested by people who cannot contradict them with facts. Polls should be taken lightly, but nevertheless be considered. They are a factor. You can tilt polls, but you can only tilt them so far. I am waiting for someone on the left to perform their own poll, it would be interesting to not only compare, but to see if there are any similarities.

Here are the mayor findings of the poll:

Iraqis are optimistic. Seven out of 10 say they expect their country and their personal lives will be better five years from now. On both fronts, 32 percent say things will become much better.

The toughest part of reconstructing their nation, Iraqis say by 3 to 1, will be politics, not economics. They are nervous about democracy. Asked which is closer to their own view--"Democracy can work well in Iraq," or "Democracy is a Western way of doing things"--five out of 10 said democracy is Western and won't work in Iraq. One in 10 wasn't sure. And four out of 10 said democracy can work in Iraq. There were interesting divergences. Sunnis were negative on democracy by more than 2 to 1; but, critically, the majority Shiites were as likely to say democracy would work for Iraqis as not. People age 18-29 are much more rosy about democracy than other Iraqis, and women are significantly more positive than men.

Asked to name one country they would most like Iraq to model its new government on from five possibilities--neighboring, Baathist Syria; neighbor and Islamic monarchy Saudi Arabia; neighbor and Islamist republic Iran; Arab lodestar Egypt; or the U.S.--the most popular model by far was the U.S. The U.S. was preferred as a model by 37 percent of Iraqis selecting from those five--more than Syria, Iran and Egypt put together. Saudi Arabia was in second place at 28 percent. Again, there were important demographic splits. Younger adults are especially favorable toward the U.S., and Shiites are more admiring than Sunnis. Interestingly, Iraqi Shiites, coreligionists with Iranians, do not admire Iran's Islamist government; the U.S. is six times as popular with them as a model for governance.

Our interviewers inquired whether Iraq should have an Islamic government, or instead let all people practice their own religion. Only 33 percent want an Islamic government; a solid 60 percent say no. A vital detail: Shiites (whom Western reporters frequently portray as self-flagellating maniacs) are least receptive to the idea of an Islamic government, saying no by 66 percent to 27 percent. It is only among the minority Sunnis that there is interest in a religious state, and they are split evenly on the question.

Perhaps the strongest indication that an Islamic government won't be part of Iraq's future: The nation is thoroughly secularized. We asked how often our respondents had attended the Friday prayer over the previous month. Fully 43 percent said "never." It's time to scratch "Khomeini II" from the list of morbid fears.

You can also cross out "Osama II": 57 percent of Iraqis with an opinion have an unfavorable view of Osama bin Laden, with 41 percent of those saying it is a very unfavorable view. (Women are especially down on him.) Except in the Sunni triangle (where the limited support that exists for bin Laden is heavily concentrated), negative views of the al Qaeda supremo are actually quite lopsided in all parts of the country. And those opinions were collected before Iraqi police announced it was al Qaeda members who killed worshipers with a truck bomb in Najaf.

And you can write off the possibility of a Baath revival. We asked "Should Baath Party leaders who committed crimes in the past be punished, or should past actions be put behind us?" A thoroughly unforgiving Iraqi public stated by 74 percent to 18 percent that Saddam's henchmen should be punished.

Exploring love, love for the UN, who loves them and why, or more accurate, who does not.
Here is a slice:

The truth is that many Iraqis distrust or even detest the U.N. And for good reason.

It's not so much that they associate the U.N. with sanctions or weapons inspections. They associate it with incompetence, corruption and overfriendliness to dictators - most importantly, Saddam Hussein himself.

They haven't forgotten that Kofi Annan returned from Baghdad in 1998 declaring that Saddam was a man he could work with.

That even now Annan cavils about the "legitimacy" of the Iraqi Governing Council when he and his organization had no problem with Saddam's legitimacy, or that of any of the other despotic Arab regimes, furthers the perception that the U.N.'s advocacy of democracy in Iraq is a lie.

You can forgive Iraqis for being irritated with the U.N. when they heard that in the months after the war the U.N. withheld supplies already paid for by the oil-for-food program (a byword for mismanagement, graft and hypocrisy) until the coalition made such face-saving gestures as giving the U.N. envoy to Iraq a non-voting seat on the Governing Council.

And you can understand why the sight of all those shiny, underused U.N.-owned SUVs parked in the sun outside the Canal Hotel, or the expensively remodeled air-conditioned headquarters itself, inspired not love and gratitude, but resentment.

Many Iraqi politicians, especially secular moderates, are also disturbed by the way the U.N. is so strangely keen to let Iraq's neighbors help reshape the country.

Ghassan Salameh, the assistant to the late Sergio de Mello, told a Paris Arabic newspaper that "The U.N. does not agree with the coalition..that the countries neighboring Iraq should not be involved...Their interest is legitimate."

Of course, the very fact that Salameh, a former government official in Lebanon, was appointed to such a senior position set off alarm bells among Iraqi pols: The Iraqis know perfectly well that Lebanon is controlled by Syria and that Salameh may be discreetly working for Damascus.

Moreover, the presence of an Arab politician in such a key U.N. position reminds Iraqi Kurds, Turkmen and Assyrian Christians that the U.N. sees Iraq as an Arab country, not a multi-ethnic one.

And you can be sure that the Iraqi Kurds certainly haven't forgotten that Kofi Annan and his staff never raised a peep about the genocidal Anfal campaign in 1988, or its most famous atrocity at Halabja.

The U.N. is particularly - and rightly - despised by the Kurds.

Half of the money allocated to Iraqi Kurdistan under the so-called oil-for-food program never reached its beneficiaries, because the U.N. went along with Baghdad's efforts to divert or delay those funds.

Notoriously, the largely Kurdish city of Suleimaniya never received the hospital that was supposed to be built with oil-for-food funds, while the U.N. allowed oil-for-food cash to go to such pressing humanitarian projects as Uday Hussein's Olympic Committee. (Some of the funds could even have gone to the torturers who disciplined unsuccessful athletes.)

The U.N. also went along with Saddam's demands that Americans, Britons and eventually Scandinavians be excluded from the oil-for-food program.

Instead, it was staffed by Arabs from countries like Tunisia and Egypt - who turned out to be useful recruits for Saddam's security services.

Worse still, the U.N. quietly went along with Baghdad's racist demand that no Kurds be employed in the administration of the program. Even now, Kofi Annan and his staffers are oblivious to massive displacement of the Kurds (and Turkmen and Assyrian Christians) by Saddam's Arabization campaign, but have complained about a few incidents in Kirkuk from which Kurds have expelled Arab settlers from previously Kurdish homes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

WMD use by Iraq according to IranVision.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

What the Road Map actually looked / looks like:

Press Statement
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 30, 2003

A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The following is a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap, with clear phases, timelines, target dates, and benchmarks aiming at progress through reciprocal steps by the two parties in the political, security, economic, humanitarian, and institution-building fields, under the auspices of the Quartet [the United States, European Union, United Nations, and Russia]. The destination is a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by 2005, as presented in President Bush’s speech of 24 June, and welcomed by the EU, Russia and the UN in the 16 July and 17 September Quartet Ministerial statements.

A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel’s readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below. The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including direct discussions between the parties as required. The plan establishes a realistic timeline for implementation. However, as a performance-based plan, progress will require and depend upon the good faith efforts of the parties, and their compliance with each of the obligations outlined below. Should the parties perform their obligations rapidly, progress within and through the phases may come sooner than indicated in the plan. Non-compliance with obligations will impede progress.

A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors. The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, UNSCRs 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah – endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit – calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbor living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement. This initiative is a vital element of international efforts to promote a comprehensive peace on all tracks, including the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks.

The Quartet will meet regularly at senior levels to evaluate the parties' performance on implementation of the plan. In each phase, the parties are expected to perform their obligations in parallel, unless otherwise indicated.

Phase I: Ending Terror And Violence, Normalizing Palestinian Life, and Building Palestinian Institutions -- Present to May 2003
In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel. Palestinians and Israelis resume security cooperation based on the Tenet work plan to end violence, terrorism, and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services. Palestinians undertake comprehensive political reform in preparation for statehood, including drafting a Palestinian constitution, and free, fair and open elections upon the basis of those measures. Israel takes all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life. Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas occupied from September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed at that time, as security performance and cooperation progress. Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.

At the outset of Phase I:

Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.
Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.

Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
GOI takes no actions undermining trust, including deportations, attacks on civilians; confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property, as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction; destruction of Palestinian institutions and infrastructure; and other measures specified in the Tenet work plan.
Relying on existing mechanisms and on-the-ground resources, Quartet representatives begin informal monitoring and consult with the parties on establishment of a formal monitoring mechanism and its implementation.
Implementation, as previously agreed, of U.S. rebuilding, training and resumed security cooperation plan in collaboration with outside oversight board (U.S.–Egypt–Jordan). Quartet support for efforts to achieve a lasting, comprehensive cease-fire.
All Palestinian security organizations are consolidated into three services reporting to an empowered Interior Minister.
Restructured/retrained Palestinian security forces and IDF counterparts progressively resume security cooperation and other undertakings in implementation of the Tenet work plan, including regular senior-level meetings, with the participation of U.S. security officials.
Arab states cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror.
All donors providing budgetary support for the Palestinians channel these funds through the Palestinian Ministry of Finance's Single Treasury Account.
As comprehensive security performance moves forward, IDF withdraws progressively from areas occupied since September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed prior to September 28, 2000. Palestinian security forces redeploy to areas vacated by IDF.
Palestinian Institution-Building

Immediate action on credible process to produce draft constitution for Palestinian statehood. As rapidly as possible, constitutional committee circulates draft Palestinian constitution, based on strong parliamentary democracy and cabinet with empowered prime minister, for public comment/debate. Constitutional committee proposes draft document for submission after elections for approval by appropriate Palestinian institutions.
Appointment of interim prime minister or cabinet with empowered executive authority/decision-making body.
GOI fully facilitates travel of Palestinian officials for PLC and Cabinet sessions, internationally supervised security retraining, electoral and other reform activity, and other supportive measures related to the reform efforts.
Continued appointment of Palestinian ministers empowered to undertake fundamental reform. Completion of further steps to achieve genuine separation of powers, including any necessary Palestinian legal reforms for this purpose.
Establishment of independent Palestinian election commission. PLC reviews and revises election law.
Palestinian performance on judicial, administrative, and economic benchmarks, as established by the International Task Force on Palestinian Reform.
As early as possible, and based upon the above measures and in the context of open debate and transparent candidate selection/electoral campaign based on a free, multi-party process, Palestinians hold free, open, and fair elections.
GOI facilitates Task Force election assistance, registration of voters, movement of candidates and voting officials. Support for NGOs involved in the election process.
GOI reopens Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and other closed Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem based on a commitment that these institutions operate strictly in accordance with prior agreements between the parties.
Humanitarian Response

Israel takes measures to improve the humanitarian situation. Israel and Palestinians implement in full all recommendations of the Bertini report to improve humanitarian conditions, lifting curfews and easing restrictions on movement of persons and goods, and allowing full, safe, and unfettered access of international and humanitarian personnel.
AHLC reviews the humanitarian situation and prospects for economic development in the West Bank and Gaza and launches a major donor assistance effort, including to the reform effort.
GOI and PA continue revenue clearance process and transfer of funds, including arrears, in accordance with agreed, transparent monitoring mechanism.
Civil Society

Continued donor support, including increased funding through PVOs/NGOs, for people to people programs, private sector development and civil society initiatives.

GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.
Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).

Phase II: Transition -- June 2003-December 2003
In the second phase, efforts are focused on the option of creating an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and attributes of sovereignty, based on the new constitution, as a way station to a permanent status settlement. As has been noted, this goal can be achieved when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror, willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty. With such a leadership, reformed civil institutions and security structures, the Palestinians will have the active support of the Quartet and the broader international community in establishing an independent, viable, state.

Progress into Phase II will be based upon the consensus judgment of the Quartet of whether conditions are appropriate to proceed, taking into account performance of both parties. Furthering and sustaining efforts to normalize Palestinian lives and build Palestinian institutions, Phase II starts after Palestinian elections and ends with possible creation of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders in 2003. Its primary goals are continued comprehensive security performance and effective security cooperation, continued normalization of Palestinian life and institution-building, further building on and sustaining of the goals outlined in Phase I, ratification of a democratic Palestinian constitution, formal establishment of office of prime minister, consolidation of political reform, and the creation of a Palestinian state with provisional borders.

International Conference: Convened by the Quartet, in consultation with the parties, immediately after the successful conclusion of Palestinian elections, to support Palestinian economic recovery and launch a process, leading to establishment of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders.
Such a meeting would be inclusive, based on the goal of a comprehensive Middle East peace (including between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon), and based on the principles described in the preamble to this document.
Arab states restore pre-intifada links to Israel (trade offices, etc.).
Revival of multilateral engagement on issues including regional water resources, environment, economic development, refugees, and arms control issues.
New constitution for democratic, independent Palestinian state is finalized and approved by appropriate Palestinian institutions. Further elections, if required, should follow approval of the new constitution.
Empowered reform cabinet with office of prime minister formally established, consistent with draft constitution.
Continued comprehensive security performance, including effective security cooperation on the bases laid out in Phase I.
Creation of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders through a process of Israeli-Palestinian engagement, launched by the international conference. As part of this process, implementation of prior agreements, to enhance maximum territorial contiguity, including further action on settlements in conjunction with establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders.
Enhanced international role in monitoring transition, with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet.
Quartet members promote international recognition of Palestinian state, including possible UN membership.

Phase III: Permanent Status Agreement and End of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict -- 2004 – 2005
Progress into Phase III, based on consensus judgment of Quartet, and taking into account actions of both parties and Quartet monitoring. Phase III objectives are consolidation of reform and stabilization of Palestinian institutions, sustained, effective Palestinian security performance, and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a permanent status agreement in 2005.

Second International Conference: Convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and formally to launch a process with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet, leading to a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements; and, to support progress toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Syria, to be achieved as soon as possible.
Continued comprehensive, effective progress on the reform agenda laid out by the Task Force in preparation for final status agreement.
Continued sustained and effective security performance, and sustained, effective security cooperation on the bases laid out in Phase I.
International efforts to facilitate reform and stabilize Palestinian institutions and the Palestinian economy, in preparation for final status agreement.
Parties reach final and comprehensive permanent status agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2005, through a settlement negotiated between the parties based on UNSCR 242, 338, and 1397, that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and includes an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue, and a negotiated resolution on the status of Jerusalem that takes into account the political and religious concerns of both sides, and protects the religious interests of Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide, and fulfills the vision of two states, Israel and sovereign, independent, democratic and viable Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.
Arab state acceptance of full normal relations with Israel and security for all the states of the region in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.


Released on April 30, 2003

What Brits pay the BBC to do.........

Monday, September 08, 2003

An interesting article on the "Iraq Effect" , in the New York Post.

Here is the article:



September 8, 2003 -- THe conventional wisdom, at least in Europe, is that President Bush's hope of turning Iraq into a catalyst for democratization in the Arab world has already failed. Footage of the carnage from bombings is presented, along with almost daily sabotage operations, to back the claim that democratization is a forlorn cause in the Arab world. But is it?
It is too early to tell.

To be sure, Iraq has not been transformed into a democracy, and may need a generation or more to develop the institutions it needs. But the fact is that Iraqis now enjoy a measure of political freedom they did not know before.

Iraq is the only Arab country today where all political parties, from communist to conservative, operate freely. Visitors will be impressed by the openness of the political debate there, something not found anywhere else in the Arab world. Also, for the first time, Iraq has no political prisoners.

Almost 150 newspapers and magazine are now published there, offering a diversity not found in any other Arab country. One theme of these new publications is the need for democratization in the Arab world. This may be putting the cart before the horse. What Arabs, and Muslims in general, most urgently need is basic freedom, without which democracy cannot be built.

The impact of Iraq's liberation is already felt throughout the region.

* In Syria, President Bashar Assad has announced an end to 40 years of one-party rule by ordering the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party to no longer "interfere in the affairs of the government." The party is planning a long-overdue national conference to amend its constitution and, among other things, drop the word "socialist" from its official title.

Assad has also liberated scores of political prisoners and promised to hold multiparty elections soon. In July, a petition signed by over 400 prominent Syrians offered a damning analysis of Ba'athist rule and called for political and economic reform. The fact that the signatories were not arrested, and that their demands were mentioned in the state-controlled media, amount to a retreat by Syrian despotism.

"What we need is a space of freedom in which to think and speak without fear," says a leading Syrian economist. "Bashar knows that if he does not create that space, many Syrians will immigrate to Iraq and be free under American rule."

* A similar view is expressed by Hussein Khomeini, a mid-ranking mullah and a grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic in Iran.

"I decided to leave Iran and settle in Iraq where the Americans have created a space of freedom," Hussein Khomeini says. "The coming of freedom to Iraq will transform the Muslim world."

Hussein Khomeini is one of more than 200 Iranian mullahs who recently moved from Qom, the main centre of Iranian Shiism, to Najaf and Karbala, in central Iraq, to escape "the suffocating atmosphere of despotism in Iran."

* Saudi Arabia is also feeling the effects of Iraqi regime change. Last month King Fahd ordered the creation of a Center for National Dialogue where "issues of interest to the people would be debated without constraint." The center will be open to people from all religious communities, including hitherto marginalised Shi'ites. More importantly, the gender apartheid, prevalent in other Saudi institutions, will be waived to let women participate.

Encouraged by the current state of flux, Saudi women have organized several seminars in the past few weeks, in which they called for equal legal rights.

The Iraq effect has also been felt in the Saudi media. Newspapers now run stories and comments that were unthinkable last March. Words such as reform (Islahat), opening (infitah) and democracy (dimuqratiah) are appearing in the Saudi media for the first time.

* Both Kuwait and Jordan have just held general elections in which pro-reform candidates did well. The new Kuwaiti parliament is expected to extend the franchise to women and to over 100,000 people regarded as "stateless." In Jordan, the new parliament is expected to revise censorship laws and to relax rules regarding the formation of political parties.

* In Egypt, the state-controlled media are beginning to break taboos, including reporting President Hosni Mubarak's refusal to name a vice president, as required by the constitution, and to end the tradition of single-candidate presidential elections.

Some non-governmental organizations are also testing the waters by raising issues such as violence against women, street children and, above all, the state's suffocating presence in all walks of life.

* In a recent television appearance, Col. Muammar Khadafy (whose one-man rule has been in place since 1969) told astonished Libyans that he now regarded democracy as "the best system for mankind" and that he would soon unveil a package of reforms. These are expected to include a new Constitution to institutionalize his rule and provide for an elected national assembly.

Having just settled the Lockerbie affair, the Libyan despot is looking for new legitimacy on the international stage.

* Even in remote Algeria and Morocco, the prospect of a democratic Iraq, emerging as an alternative to the present Arab political model, is causing some excitement. A cultural conference at Asilah, Morocco, last month, heard speakers suggest that liberated Iraq had a chance of becoming "the first Arab tiger" while other Arab states remained "nothing but sick cats."

Similar views are expressed in countless debates, some broadcast on satellite television, throughout the Middle East.

All this, of course, may be little more than cynical Arabesques designed to confuse critics and please Washington. The proposed Arab reforms may well prove to be purely cosmetic. After all, several Arab regimes played the same trick in 1991 when, in the wake of the war to liberate Kuwait, they came under U.S. pressure to introduce some reforms.

But as far as the Arab masses are concerned, there is no reason to believe that they hate freedom and, if given a chance, would refuse to choose their governments.

Many Arab countries (including Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan) already enjoy a degree of freedom that could, in time, lead toward democratization. But, being small and peripheral states, none could have a major impact on the Muslim world as a whole.

Iraq is in a different category. A free Iraq is already affecting the political landscape of the Middle East; a democratic Iraq could change the whole Arab world. The goal is worth fighting for.

Despite the current difficulties in Iraq, the United States, Britain and other democratic nations should keep their eyes on the big picture.

E-mail: amirtaheri@benadorassociates.com

Lots of work to be done to modernize the Arab world, but at least there is recognition of what needs to be done.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Rick is reading my blog, and getting eduMacated.

Monday, September 01, 2003

La Voz de Aztlan is a very interesting piece of work. It has the perfect mix of ignorance and hate that you usually see from white supremacist groups or rednecks. Yet, they seem to have a very "liberal" message. I can appreciate their pro-immigration articles- to an extent. Their blatant anti-semitism is quite another matter. Their articles are constantly tainted with the whole "Jews run everything and everyone suffers because of them" idea. An old idea, attacking Jews is nothing new and their methods lack innovation. Sadly they are opposing the oppression of one group and calling for it for another. The "liberal" model seems to support this kind of thinking all to often.
Iraq is not going to hell- go figure......

A perspective you do not hear often, but when you do hear it your it from US soldiers or Iraqis. This is an article worth reading and a rarity in the Seattle Times.

So snips:

Many who militated against toppling Saddam predicted that Iraq would descend into communal violence or civil war. Instead, Iraqis have worked together and closely with coalition authorities and troops. Local councils and courts are functioning throughout the country. Workers in schools, hospitals and government ministries have elected their own leaders, and seeds of democracy are sprouting up in the forms of private organizations and 150 new newspapers and magazines.

Dilapidated schools and infrastructure are being rebuilt, and the economy is being reformed and revived. In parts of the country that for more than 20 years were limited to one hour of electricity a day and no clean water, stunting people's growth, basic services are now almost nonstop.

Except for the isolated contract killings and sabotage, the country is calm and experiencing improved conditions day by day. A transitional government is in place, the only political body in Iraq's history representative of the country's religious and ethnic groups. Iraqis also will convene soon to write the country's constitution, paving the way for elections.

One friend in America told me that his brother in Iraq is so happy with the way things are going, he wants to build a statue of President Bush in front of his house. Another friend said his siblings told him they could finally breathe — inside their homes — after years of strangulating fear. My uncle in Baghdad said, "We've been brought back to life."

Many experts and diplomats warned grimly that without Saddam, Iraq would break apart, destabilizing the region. Instead, Iraqis of all stripes have shown that their main allegiance is to Iraq, and their main aspiration is to live freely. Most clergy have counseled patience and cooperation with the coalition, and extremists have not gathered great support. Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson, having just moved to Iraq, praised America as a liberator in Iraq and urged separation of mosque and state.

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