Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A song that changed the world

Bob Marley's friend and songwriter, Vincent Ford, died today in Jamaica...he is the writer of what might be one of the greatest songs ever written: No Woman no Cry, a Reggae classic. May he rest in peace.

To welcome in the new year, I have posted a live performance by Bob Marley singing the song at a concert. It is amazing...Marley died almost 28 years ago, and yet his music only seems to grow in popularity.

"In this great future, you can't forget your past, so dry your tears, I say"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hamas does not care about Palestinians

I'm sure that many (although not all) of my Arab friends are likely to disagree with my analysis on the fighting that is raging in the Gaza strip right now, but I need to express what I believe is the truth: Hamas, the terrorist group that has hijacked the religion of Islam to use it as a shield to justify its actions, does not care about what is happening to thousands of Palestinians right now. I honestly believe that Hamas' leaders would sooner sit back and watch every Palestinian in Gaza starve to death before they would even consider halting the rocket fire into Israel, most of which lands in open fields at best, or at worse, misfires and kills Palestinian civilians instead, something that tragically happened the other day.

A bomb shelter built to protect Israelis from rocket fire in the border town of Sderot. Its not uncommon for children to flee to these during recess at school.

Israel can only put up with this for so long. Last month, I posted an excellent video about the Kassam Rocket strikes that rain down on southern Israel and terrorize the local population. The "cease-fire" was a joke to begin with. Hamas was able to claim it was not firing rockets, although its leaders did absolutely nothing to stop fellow terrorist thugs, like Islamic Jihad and the PFLP, from firing some half a dozen rockets into Israel each day. How many children need to be maimed while playing outside before Israeli leaders take action?

I hope that the citizens of Gaza have realized that Hamas has done nothing to help them. They were elected to power back in January of 2006 on a platform of standing up for Palestinians, while the rival Fatah Party was seen as corrupt and incompetent. Hamas only knows how to be a terrorist group--meaning the only thing they are useful for is terrorizing and killing innocent people--it has proven itself to be an inept governing force.

Hamas and Zarqawi:

I would like to post a link from the major English-language newspaper Aswat Al-Iraq to show that Hamas is indeed an enemy of the Arab world. Back in June of 2006, when arch-terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi received poetic justice in the form of two 500-pound bombs falling from the sky, Hamas actually issued a statement mourning the death of Zarqawi, praising him as a figure of "resistance", and outraging many Iraqis. Next to Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, Zarqawi may have been the biggest mass-murderer of Shia Muslims the modern world has seen. As Gaza burns, the patriotic "resistance" in Iraq has been up to its own antics, attacking rallies in SUPPORT of the Palestinians. Maybe Al-Qaeda should release a few more videos and explain exactly how this is "resisting" anything.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The making of an Iraqi hero

At the beginning of the year, I remember reading a story both tragic and inspirational.

On January 6th, 2008, Iraq held a parade honoring its military. Crowds gathered along the streets to see the powerful Iraqi Army show off its skills. Lurking in the crowds was a suicide bomber determined to turn what was supposed to be a day of patriotism into a bloodbath. As the bomber pushed deep into the crowd, two very brave Iraqi soldiers spotted him. Knowing something was wrong, they threw themselves on top of the terrorist, wrestling him to the ground. The attacker managed to set off his explosive belt, killing the two soldiers and 9 bystanders, although it could have been far worse if the bomber had not been confronted. These two Iraqi patriots--the soldiers who gave their lives knowing what was going to happen to them--are heroes.

And yet, they are nameless and largely forgotten. Instead, an angry shoe-tossing journalist is built up as a "hero". While the Iraqi Army and police are volunteering to protect their country, a man who attempted to assault a foreign leader is given prestige and honor he does not deserve. To Muntathar Al-Zaidi, I ask many widows and orphans did that above-mentioned suicide bomber create? If it wasn't for the filthy "resistance" seeping in over Iraq's borders to mass murder innocent civilians, Iraq would be a successful and free society right now.

But I have an even bigger challenge for Al-Zaidi. If he is able to avoid prison time, and he is begging for that as we speak, what will he do if Al-Baghdadiya assigns him to cover a press conference with a Saudi cleric in downtown Riyadh? Better yet, what if Saudi Arabia re-opens diplomatic relations with Iraq, and Al-Zaidi is sent to cover a press conference between, let's say, President Jalal Talabani and the Saudi ambassador. If Bush deserves two shoes for destabilizing Iraq, then it would only be fair if Al-Zaidi tosses a truckload of shoes at the Saudi ambassador, since that country has turned a blind eye to the hundreds of suicide bombers who have crossed over the border into Iraqi towns to mass murder innocent civilians and continues to export Wahabbi fundamentalism across the region, which creates exactly the type of sub-human murderers mentioned at the beginning of this post.

As beautiful as it might seem, as many as 61% of suicide bombers in Iraq are said to come from Saudi Arabia, according to the LA Times.

Al-Zaidi also claims to have visceral hatred for Iran. But remember, President Ahmadinejad made a trip to Baghdad earlier this year and Zaidi's shoes stayed on his feet during that trip. Just think of all the Iranian-backed death squads who have terrorized Iraqi civilians. The journalist feels he can place all of that blame on George Bush. If it wasn't for Bush, Zaidi wouldn't be reporting freely on subjects, and if he had thrown that shoe at Saddam, he would have gone through a wood chipper by now...if Saddam chose to go easy on him.

There are many forces that are actively trying to destroy Iraq today, and many who were doing so before 2003. If all of them were to get the shoes tossed at them they desrve, there wouldn't be any left over to throw at George W. Bush.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some thoughts on Bush's legacy

I, along with many others, watched on TV the spectacle in Baghdad where Iraqi journalist Muntathar Al-Zaidi hurled his shoes at President Bush during a news conference with Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Some find this comical, others find it obnoxious and rude, but I found it to be a perfect example of the freedom and the courage that the Iraqi people have, as they take control of their country and stand up against those who want to destroy it. If Al-Zaid had done this to Saddam Hussein, it can be said with almost absolute certainty that the Iraqi journalist would be bound and gagged in a Republican Guard Compound. Across from him, Uday and Qusay would be blazing up a box of cigars as their Fedyeen minions chopped off his feet and served them on a silver platter to his grief-stricken family. Instead, Zaid had the chance to make a political statement to the world and live to tell about it.

I have given up all hopes that President Bush is going to leave office with a better public image than he’s had these last five years. I think this is very unfortunate, but at the same time, I will never back down from believing he has done the right thing, even though it has cost him the media-touted “approval rating” that far too many of the President’s critics have used against him.

Bush stood against the misguided message an American population swayed by poor media coverage conveyed to him after the 2006 midterm election, when “Bush lied, people died, so get-the-hell-out-of-Iraq” fervor was on a rampage across the world. He wouldn’t give up, he was not going to walk away from his mission to bring freedom to Iraq and forever liberate it from the most horrendous forms of human life. Even as his approval rating was crushed, he sent more troops to Iraq to work directly with the besieged people of Iraq, and they have succeeded. Barack Obama may be the president now, and the genocide-advocating Democratic Congress may have followed suit—but their message failed. The “new direction” in Iraq they pushed for went down in flames as the lions of the Iraqi Army and the Awakening councils drove the insurgency all the way back to the sands of Saudi Arabia and their sanctuaries in Iran. Harry Reid was left looking like an utter buffoon as he desperately tried to prolong the struggle, accusing General Petraeus of being in the tank for the Bush Administration while citing the Pope, who has never set foot in Iraq, as a legitimate source that nothing good was happening in the Land of the Two Rivers. I almost want to say its too bad no one was there to throw a shoe at him back then, but such behavior should be rightfully condemned, no matter how much they might deserve it.

Bush has courage, unlike many other politicians. The Democrats were able to win the election, but this time, they avoided the so-called "antiwar" movement like an infectious disease, choosing to verbally assault the President on the economy instead, a crisis which they are just as guilty for as he is.

Sometimes, those who want to do the right thing don’t receive the response they deserve. Just think of Bob Marley, who tried to bring his message of peace and hope to the people of war-ravaged Jamaica only to be shot for it. Last year, Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan to use democracy as the greatest weapon against terrorism and perverted religious fundamentalism. Even before she landed, the Taliban already had suicide bombers waiting to welcome her in the crowds. President Bush had a very insignificant encounter, in the grander scheme of things.

Bush has given everything he has to do the right thing. He corrected the terrible mistake his father made in 1991 when the Gulf War was abruptly ended and the Iraqi people, who revolted against Saddam in 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, were left to die in a scorched-earth holocaust when the Republican Guard came down on Karbala and literally burned it to the ground. Clinton added insult to injury, slapping Iraq with sanctions, which Saddam used to further his campaign of genocide against his own people.

Ten years from now, when Iraq is being led by a well-educated and determined generation shining and bustling with life, the history books may judge Bush differently. I hope so.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Standing with our ally

I understand that I have been fixated with what has been happening in India this last week, so I felt the need to post this article by Christopher Hitchens. I agree with him that we need to maintain a close partnership with India. He is also correct in saying that India acts as a good "counterweight" to Russia and China, although I do not necessarily agree with him about Pakistan, seeing as Pakistan is suffering from terrorism too.

I should note that this is from the center of the article...the full piece can be seen in the link below. Enjoy Hitchens' writing :)

Our friends in Bombay

by Christopher Hitchens

I hope I am not alone in finding the statements about Bombay from our politicians to be anemic and insipid, and the media coverage of the disastrous and criminal attack too parochially focused on the fate of visiting or resident Americans. India is emerging in many ways as our most important ally. It is a strong regional counterweight to Russia and China. Not to romanticize it overmuch, it is a huge and officially secular federal democracy that is based, like the United States, on ethnic and confessional pluralism. Its political and economic and literary echelons speak English better than most of us do. Its parliament in New Delhi—the unbelievably diverse and dignified Lok Sabha—was viciously attacked by Islamist gangsters and nearly destroyed in December 2001, a date which ought to have made more Americans pay more attention rather than less. Since then, Bombay has been assaulted multiple times and the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan blown up with the fairly obvious cross-border collusion of the same Pakistani forces who are helping in the rebirth of the Taliban.

It would be good to hear from the president and the president-elect that we regard attacks on the fabric and society of India with very particular seriousness, as assaults on a close friend that was battling al-Qaida long before we were. In response, it should be emphasized, our military and financial and nuclear and counterinsurgency cooperation with New Delhi will not be given a lower profile but a very much higher one. The people of India need to hear this from us, as do the enemies of India, who are our sworn enemies, too.

The inevitable question arises: Did our nominal ally Pakistan have a hand in this atrocity? In one sense, to ask the question is to answer it. Whether we refer to al-Qaida "proper," or to any of the armed Kashmiri formations that have lately been mentioned, we find some pre-existing connection to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI. Another conceivable suspect, the former Bombay crime lord Dawood Ibrahim, wanted by the Indian authorities on suspicion of blowing up the Bombay stock exchange and killing 300 civilians in 1993, has long been a fugitive from justice living safely in Pakistan's main port of Karachi. Not a bad place from which to organize an amphibious assault team that acted as if it had been trained by serious military professionals.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We need this now more than ever

A good way to lift our spirts with the events that have been happening these last few days.

This is the song "Peace Train" being performed by Cat Stevens (today known as Yusuf Islam). It really brings forth a feeling of hope.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Indians remember fallen police chief

As terrorists stormed through Mumbai in a bloody rampage, Hemant Karkare stepped in to try and stop it. Karkare was the chief of Mumbai's anti-terrorist unit. He tragically lost his life in the horrendous mass killings that have sowed terror on the city for days, but his death will not be forgotten and his colleagues are remembering him. From what I have read, he is one of those guys who loved what he did for a living...the type of person I hope to be one day :D The moment the attacks took place, Karkare rushed to the scene, as you can see in this photo from CNN. He was killed not long after it was taken. He is shown on the left putting on a helmet.

From CNN:

(CNN) -- Hemant Karkare, Mumbai's slain terror chief, was a shrewd and unflappable investigator whose death is a blow to a police force that has difficult work ahead, his colleagues said this week.

According to accounts in Indian newspapers, Karkare, 54, was credited with solving many crimes and did his job apolitically and with the utmost integrity.

"The state Anti-Terrorism Squad has lost a daredevil officer in Hemant Karkare," Peter Lobo, chief inspector of the Anti-Terror Squad in Pune, told The Times of India on Thursday.

Karkare, head of Maharashtra state's Anti-Terrorism Squad, was heading home Wednesday when he learned gunmen were attacking the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai, Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil told The Hindu newspaper.

Karkare later got word the situation at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was more serious. The terror chief and two other officers -- armed with automatic weapons -- jumped in a jeep and rushed to take on the terrorists, The Hindu reported.

What a great man. I can say that he inspires me, and hopefully the great city of Mumbai, to do good things in the world. Karkare sounds like one of those truly dedicated people who would do his job for free because of his motivation. Not only was he looking out for his country and his people, he jumped into this tragedy to help people from all over the world, including Americans.

Rest in peace Hemant, and don't worry about the state of this world. Those of us all across it thanking you are prepared to take it from here :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rescue operation underway

At this hour, Indian commandoes have raided a Jewish culural center in Mumbai besieged by terrorists. Israelis are believed to be among the hostages and some are reported to be freed.

This dramatic photo from Reuters India shows the rescuers drop into the building from a helicopter.

I need to give my thoughts on attack like this by fundamentalists is almost unheard of. The most similar event I can think of is the 2004 Beslan School Siege in Southern Russia. I have been hearing repeatedly that the terrorists came in from the sea, as if this situation is not disurbing enough.

India is a great country...I trust its brave security forces are doing everything they can to bring this tragedy to a close.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Terror sweeps through Mumbai

It is very saddening to see a beautiful city burn at the hands of extremists. This great tragedy is still unfolding as I is equally disappointing that the world has taken its eyes off of this inhumane threat. I'm watching CNN now, and one report even suggests that the terrorists might have followed rescue workers to a hospital and attacked there. Just remember that terrorism doesn't go away when the markets are struggling, and they are always willing to remind us of this. Let's pray that the hostages are rescued and the brave Indian soldiers and police bring this to a close.

From the BBC:

Gunmen have carried out a series of co-ordinated attacks across the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay), killing at least 80 people and injuring 200 more.

At least seven high-profile locations were hit in India's financial capital, including two luxury hotels where hostages were reported to be held.

A fire is sweeping through the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai's most famous hotel which is now ringed by troops.

Police said four suspected terrorists have been killed and nine arrested.

The situation is still confused but the main train station, a hospital, a restaurant and as well as the two hotels are among those places caught up in the violence.

There are reports of gunfire and explosions taking place elsewhere in the city.

Commandos have now surrounded the two hotels, the Taj Mahal Palace and the Oberoi Trident, where it is believed that the armed men are holding dozens of hostages.

One eyewitness said that the attackers had singled out British and American passport holders.

If this report is true, our security correspondent Frank Gardner says it suggests that Islamic militants are behind the attack.

A claim of responsibility has been made by a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen.

The motive is far from clear - but the attacks come amid elections in several Indian states, including in disputed Kashmir.

In the latest developments:

-Police say an explosion heard inside the Oberoi was from a hand grenade, and flames and a massive plume of smoke are billowing from the Taj Mahal hotel

-The head of Mumbai's anti-terrorism unit and two other senior officers are among those killed, according to local TV

-The US and the UK have both condemned the attacks and Washington says it is "assessing the hostage situation"

-Gunmen opened fire at about 2300 local time at the sites in southern Mumbai.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Indonesian Justice

I think its safe to say these 3 terrible human beings will not be missed. On one hand, the world is a better place...3 less bad guys to blow up innocent people. But on the other, their executions might inspire future unrest. Muslims of the world must remember that these men and all of their supporters are Islam's greatest enemies, and I feel very confident that most do. Indonesian Muslims were not spared Al-Qaeda's savagery in the Bali attacks.

From Fox/Associated Press:

Three Islamic militants were executed Saturday for the 2002 nightclub bombings on Indonesia's resort island of Bali that left 202 people dead, many of them foreign tourists, officials and relatives said.

Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and his brother Ali Ghufron were executed at 11:30 p.m. several miles (kilometers) from their high security prison on Nusakambangan island, said Qadar Faisal, one of their lawyers.

Their bodies will be taken by helicopter to their home villages for burial early Sunday.

The Oct. 12, 2002 attacks — allegedly funded by al-Qaida and carried out by members of the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah — thrust the world's most populous Muslim nation onto the front lines in the war on terror.

The three men never expressed remorse, saying the blasts were meant to punish the U.S. and its Western allies for alleged atrocities in Afghanistan and elsewhere. They even taunted relatives of victims at their trials five years ago.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Concrete playgrounds

Israeli children in Sderot have been forced to have recess inside of concrete playgrounds for fear of Kassam rocket strikes by Palestinian militants along the Gaza border.

Americans and westerners who criticize Israel should be asked the same question this reporter asks...would our country tolerate this? Would any parent in the United States want to send their child off to school everyday in an environment like this?

Time to be one nation again

How good and how pleasant it would be, before God and man, to see the unification of all Americans (borrowed of course from the great Bob Marley's 'Africa Unite')

Seriously, more than anything at all, this is what I want. If Barack Obama can manage to accomplish this, I will be the first one in line to offer him praise. Nothing angers me more than politicians who put their party ahead of the good of the country. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, is a good example. I really hope that Obama will move away from actions like Reid's. At the moment, I'm still trying to decide if Rahm Emanuel was a good pick to be Obama's Chief of Staff. On one hand, the man can be mean, angry, and extremely partisan, but on the other, he is of Israeli descent, and speaks fluent Hebrew. Could this be a signal to Israel that he intends will uphold America's alliance to the Jewish State? I hope so. I also hope that it will be a slap in the face to scumbags like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who embrace Obama's victory as a victory for criminal regimes across the world.

Say hello to Rahm, our president-elect's new chief of staff. He speaks Hebrew and his father immigrated to the United States from Israel.

Throughout my blog posts, I have always been consistent with my belief that hating the president gets us absolutely nowhere--in fact, I think that the violent hatred the anti-Bush/war movement has created the last few years is partially responsible for the situation the country and the world are in today. I want President Obama to exceed and I, like all Americans, am honored to see history made...that does not mean that our new president should be given a free pass. My greatest fear is that he will follow through on his commitments to the "antiwar" groups and pull our soldiers out of Iraq, even after so much sacrifice from both Iraqis and Americans. Thankfully, it appears Barack will not do that...the heroes of Iraq have already triumphed over the forces of terrorism.

There is another thing I am very thankful for...I am so happy to see the election process over with. After two years of obsessive reporting on the news, it has finally come to an end. Now, let's try to solve the issues with something other than words.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I'm going to give my thoughts about the presidential election before I head to the polls tomorrow. Until then, check out this video...its a little creepy, I must add.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thank you, Colombia

Americans might be pre-occupied with the economic crisis and don't have much time to focus on the drug smuggling and gang-related activities making their way from Latin America over our borders, but our allies certainly do. Colombia just announced the seizure of 10 tons of Cocaine in a Caribbean port city. Just think of it this way...this is 10 tons of cocaine that won't be making it into our cities and our schools.

If you read the article, you will see that it mentions Venezuela is playing a very negative role in the fight against drug smuggling. Isn't it nice that Hugo Chavez looks the other way when these thugs hide out over the border in his country?

Huge Cocaine Seizure in Colombia

Colombian police have seized a 10-tonne consignment of cocaine with a street value of $200m (£126m) which was reportedly about to be sent to Mexico.

The drugs were found in the Caribbean city of Barranquilla in two trucks where they were camouflaged in boxes filled with children's modelling clay.

The drugs were headed for the city of Veracruz in Mexico.

They allegedly belonged to one of Colombia's top traffickers, Daniel Barrera, nicknamed "The Madman".

The cocaine was seized after a six-month intelligence operation which tracked a drug route up to Barranquilla.

The drugs were moved in two containers travelling on trucks that were to be put on a ship and dispatched to Mexico.

Gen Oscar Naranjo, the chief of Colombia's police force, said that the consignment belonged to "The Madman".

The trafficker is known to move through the eastern plains of Colombia and into Venezuela where he often bases himself out of reach of the Colombian security forces and the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA.

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela does not co-operate with the US anti-drug agencies.

Colombian drug lords have taken advantage of this not only to turn Venezuela into one of the principal transit nations for cocaine, but to use it as a refuge, the BBC's Jeremy McDermott reports from Colombia.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Iraqi Security Forces take control of Babil Province

From the BBC:

Iraqi forces have been handed control of security in the province of Babil by the US military.

It is the 12th of Iraq's 18 provinces to be handed back to Iraqis.

Congragulations, Iraqis! !مبروك

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Aid workers under attack

People sometimes forget how anyone can be fair game in a violent conflict...and aid workers, the people who try to help and put a smile on the face of the innocent people they are protecting, are no exception. In the last week, there have been several attacks and assassinations carried out by various thugs and terrorist groups operating in countries ranging from Africa to south Asia.

The latest example is an attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam against two ships carrying aid supplies to war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka. LTTE "suicide squads" rammed two motor boats packed with explosives into the vessels, damaging one and nearly sinking the other. The ruthless Tamil fighters are growing more violent as the fighting intensifies with the Sri Lankan government.

A UNHCR convoy rumbles through the countryside in Uganda

Earlier this week, aid worker Gayle Williams, a native of London, was gunned down by Taliban militants in Kabul. She was heading off to work when two men on a motorbike opened fire...the Taliban later claimed responsibility and boasted about her killing, saying the aid worker was "spreading Christianity", whatever that is supposed to mean. Williams' charity organization is now considering withdrawing from the country amidst the deteriorating security situation. I hope the Taliban feel proud of what they have done to the Afghan people and those who are trying to help them.

Also earlier this week, suspected rebels from the Al-Shabab insurgency in Somalia shot dead Muktar Mohamed Mohamoud, an engineer working for the children's organization, UNICEF, in front of a tea shop. The attack came after another worker from the world food program was killed as he stepped out of a Mosque in Mogadishu.

It is a tough, dangerous, and even life-threatening line of work, but someone needs to be there to make the world a better place...even when the rest of the civilized world is too afraid to do anything about it, or too ignorant to look past their own borders.

The children of Africa

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Barack Obama and his support for Raila Odinga

Believe it or not, the presidential election is only two weeks away, and Barack Obama mania has affected many of my friends, family, and fellow bloggers. I continue to resist it though. The reason I cannot cast a vote for Barack Obama next month comes down to one reason...and that is his poor judgement. His list of relationships with questionable characters seems to keep growing, and in my mind, his relationship with Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga stands out the most.

Forget about Obama's friendship with all-around racist Jeremiah Wright and domestic terrorist/genuine slimebag Bill Ayers. I want to know why Barack traveled to Kenya to campaign for Odinga at taxpayer expense. Obama claims that he will be tough on Al-Qaeda and aggressive in the war on terrorism if he gets elected, but the Kenyan leader he has pushed for wants to end Kenya's alliance with the US in confronting Al-Qaeda-backed Al-Shabab militia fighters in neighboring Somalia. Given AQ's slaughter of hundreds of Kenyan's back in 1998 and a dozen others in 2002, I don't understand how that's possible. Odinga does claim to be Obama's cousin, however.

For those of you who don't know, Odinga was widely suspected of having a hand in the acts of genocide that rocked Kenya earlier this year. The country descended into a state of ethnic and tribal warfare after Odinga lost a presidential election bid to incumbent Mwai Kibaki by a very narrow margin. A subsequent power-sharing deal followed, which allowed Kibaki to remain president and appointed Odinga as Prime Minister.

Is Obama's relationship with Odinga a preview of what his policies will be like should he get elected on November 4th? It certainly seems that way.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A new dawn rises over Anbar

...and the sun has set for the forces of terrorism who worked so hard to destroy it. At least that's the way it seems now that the Iraqi security forces are running things and the Marines who have trained them look back on a job well done as they get ready to go home.

I think its safe to say that there was very little hope for Iraq's Al-Anbar province between the 2004 Presidential election and Saddam Hussein's execution in 2006. If there was one city the so-called "antiwar" movement could point to as proof that Iraq was a lost cause, Fallujah was that city. But by early next month, the US Marines will be completely withdrawn from the city and most of the other cities in Anbar Province. Of course, most of the media has continued its scorched-earth policy regarding positive news in Iraq, and is instead focused on Muqatada's rallies in Baghdad.

Maybe Mookie should take a deep breath, because it looks like the Iraqi people are taking their country back...and the Marines are doing everything they can to help them.

Marines begin withdrawal from Iraqi cities.

WASHINGTON — When Marine Maj. Gen. John Kelly deployed to Iraq in February, the violence had fallen so low in Anbar province that he began figuring out how to start closing bases and prepare to go home.

In the last 10 months the Marines in Fallujah have done what was unthinkable before the surge began — they have quietly transferred out of one of Anbar province's largest cities. FOX News has learned in an exclusive interview with Kelly from Fallujah that 80 percent of the move is complete. In February there were 8,000 Marines living at Fallujah base. Now there are about 3,000 left. By Nov. 14 there will be none.

"We will shut down the command function here and I will move; my staff has already started to move," Kelly, the commander of Multinational Force-West, told FOX News in an exclusive interview via satellite. "We will turn the lights off here."

They will hand the Fallujah base over to their Iraqi counterparts on Nov. 14, having relocated themselves and thousands of combat vehicles to the desert base of Al Asad to the west. Marines will no longer be seen in city centers such as Fallujah — a major step toward leaving Iraq, and one step closer to Iraq's goal of having U.S. troops out of its population centers by mid-2009 — one of the key points enshrined in the Status of Forces Agreement being reviewed on Capitol Hill today.

On Wednesday, to little fanfare, the Marines quietly closed down Al Qaim base near the Syrian border. Now it is run by Iraqis.

In Fallujah, where the U.S. Marines once had three large mess halls to feed troops, they are now down to one. The Marines have quietly disassembled the entire infrastructure of the base.

"We probably had several thousand of those large metal containers — tractor-trailer containers," Kelly said. "I bet we don't have 200 of them here now."

Of the thousands of vehicles once parked at the base, now there are only 300 left. Their transfer occurred at night, between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., over the past 10 months so as not to disturb Iraqi drivers and clog the roads.

They dubbed it "Operation Rudy Giuliani" because they were cleaning the streets up and returning Fallujah to normalcy — taking down barbed wire and tearing down checkpoints and Jersey walls that made Anbar look like a war zone.

"There is almost no barbed wire left anywhere in Fallujah," Kelly said. An Iraqi no longer sees barbed wire when traveling in and around the city.

Between 300 and 400 concrete barriers that divided the city were removed by Navy Seabees.

One of the big changes Kelly made when he took command in Anbar was to remove fixed checkpoints, and Iraqi vehicles no longer had to pull off to the side when a military convoy was on the road. His troops risked car bombs, but the gamble paid off in what had once been Iraq's most dangerous province. The new road rules instantly lowered the tension between military and locals. Soon he transitioned to moving military convoys only at night, so they would not encounter locals. This also stymied many of the insurgents laying IEDs or roadside bombs, which they often had done at night.

Another change for the better since Kelly arrived in February: He pushed the central government to provide more fuel to the people of Anbar, so the mostly Sunni population is now happier. In February, Anbaris were receiving only 8 percent of their allocation of fuel from the central government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Now it's 90 percent — eliminating one of their main gripes.

But perhaps the biggest sign that the situation has changed for the better for Sunnis living in Anbar: With the help of the Marines and the Iraqi police, nearly 100 percent of the eligible voting population were registered a month ago to vote in upcoming provincial elections.

The rest of this story can be viewed here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Background information

Recently, I saw the movie "Munich", which came out on DVD back in 2006. I didn't really like the film because of its failure to focus more on the event that led to the Mossad assassinations against organizers of the terrorist network "Black September", a group that kidnapped and executed 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Olympics. The impression I got were that both events were simply acts of senseless violence following each other, when in fact, the massacre at the Olympics deserved a lot more than a simple pledge to do better next time.

I found this documentary on youtube and I thought it was very enlightening, delving into the background information that Steven Spielberg only touched on. Watch this and see for yourself. Did the kidnappings merit a response from Israel?

Personally, I believe that the terrorists who kidnapped the athletes not only betrayed the religion they claim to embrace, they also smeared the Olympic message of peace and goodwill and only brought more suffering to their people.

By the way, this documentary contains and interview with the one Palestinian terrorist who lived through the hostage taking and the subsequent Israeli assassinations.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

In the company of insanity

I visted San Francisco on Saturday with my brother and his friend. It was a beautiful day in the city, except for the mobs of tourists crowding Market Street. As we made our way through Union Square, a rally was taking place behind the cable car turntable...and it was organized by the 9/11 truth movement.

I have seen them before on TV...I have visited their crazy websites and seen them protest before Bill Clinton and Bill Maher. I have seen Bill O'Reilly shout it out with them on his program on several occasions. But until Saturday, I had never actually seen one of them in real life. But there they were, roughly a dozen of them, armed with megaphones, DVD's, and pamphlets to "educate" the Bay Area community about what they believe really happened on September 11th, 2001.

My amateur journalistic skills got the better of me and I just had to approach them. I talked to several representatives from the group, and I asked them the question I have always wanted to ask these nutjobs: What about the planes? They have plenty of theories about "controlled demolition" but despite devoting overwhelming thought into defying reality, the fact that four planes were hijacked on that terrible day cannot be pushed aside. Here are some theories they offered me...

  • "Bin Laden is really a CIA Agent!"
  • "The plane's were remote would take a pilot several tries to hit the Pentagon"
  • "Neocon agents willing to die for Cheney's imperialism hijacked the planes, not Arab terrorists"

But the craziest theory of all came from two girls decked out in their 9/11 truth gear. They suggested to me that the passengers aboard the hijacked plane were gassed unconscious and robots then took control of the plane. Really, I just can't make this stuff up...

One guy I talked to was obviously high on marijuana, I could tell by the look in his eyes and his repeated use of "who knows?" after offering up each conspiracy theory. So then I figured out how these people make sense of their delusional nonsense: they blaze up a joint before each rally. After all, how else would you actually believe that robots, not Al-Qaeda terrorists, were the hijackers on 9/11.

Truthers march in a 2007 rally in Los Angeles. The rally I observed wasn't quite this big, but nevertheless, it was equally disturbing to watch. I'll download some of my pics when I get them.

I would have burst out laughing at these theories if it weren't for the enormous disrespect it generates for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. If any of this is accepted as reality, what does it say about the heroes on United Flight 93?

But the "truther" nutjobs have no respect for real heroes anyway. They explained to me that the attacks were carried out in order advance an imperialist agenda across the world, and then stated that the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan who blow up innocent men, women, and children are "defending their country". I asked them if Salih Al-Ajmi could really have been a CIA agent, and they said "its certainly possible. For those of you who don't know, Al-Ajmi was a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who was released, traveled to northern Iraq, and promptly blew himself up outside of a military checkpoint (manned by Iraqi soldiers) when the opportunity presented itself. They believe that the overwhelming majority of detainees are innocent Bedouins and Nomads being rounded up by the U.S. Government.

Finally, me and my brother brought home a copy of one of their free DVD's and it featured an "architect" in a suit explaining how the buildings came down via demolition explosives, as if some moron with a tie actually adds more legitimacy than mangy, dirty, San Francisco protesters shouting into a crowd with a megaphone. I quickly threw the DVD where it belongs--in the trash.

What makes my blood boil more than any deluded theory these kooks conjure up is the notion that they are somehow patriotic. They ask how people like myself could "question their patriotism" when they suggest that the US government is responsible for mass murder on the streets of New York or defend the actions of the terrorist scumbags in Iraq who strap women and children with explosives.

At the end of the day, this is about dislike of Bush. The 9/11 truthers hate him so much that they need an excuse to justify their blinding hatred for the man.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What happened after "Black Hawk Down"?

I have been busy working on several articles for some local newspapers, so I'm sorry that I haven't been able to update my blog. One of my articles focuses on the west's policy toward Africa and as I was doing some research, I found this story on BBC about Somalia. In a just world, this story would be at the top of the headlines, above economics and the financial crisis. No amount of foreclosures or bad lending can ever stack up to this.

Somalia is "most ignored" tragedy

The world should be shocked at the systematic destruction of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, and its residents, says lobby group Human Rights Watch.

The organisation told the BBC the city had become a zone of free-fire between government and insurgent forces.

It said if such a situation was happening anywhere else in the world, like Georgia or Lebanon for example, it would be considered a travesty.

Instead Somalia was the most ignored tragedy in the world today, HRW said.

Meanwhile, a group of 52 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has issued a statement saying the international community had "completely failed Somali civilians".

The aid groups estimate that almost 40,000 people had been displaced from Mogadishu in the last few weeks, with 1.1 million uprooted in the last nine months.


BBC World Affairs correspondent Mark Doyle recently visited Mogadishu and says the city on the Indian Ocean, which was previously one of Africa's trading hubs with the Middle East, is dying.

Now whole swathes of it are rubble or skeletons of buildings without doors or windows or roofs, he says.

He adds that the most shocking, eerie aspect of it is that in many parts of the capital all the people have fled.

The fighting is between the US-backed government and Islamist and nationalist insurgents, who Washington accuses of having links with al-Qaeda.

There are no international aid workers left as they are threatened with kidnap for ransom or are murdered.

The fighting has been much worse for the ordinary residents of Mogadishu than even the infamous period in the early 1990s that spawned the film Black Hawk Down, a portrayal of US troops killed in Somalia at that time, our World Affairs correspondent says.

In the early 1990s not a night passed without explosions lighting up the sky, he says.

But even that did not empty the capital of Somalia like the daily fratricidal confrontations now taking place between the government and its armed opponents.

I suppose there is no interest in this conflict since American soldiers are no longer involved. I hope we do not make this same mistake with Iraq, especially with all the recent success...or just the same, Afghanistan.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Back in the news

Could Russian Intelligence agents seeking to maintain a strong presence in Georgian territory be responsible for this? Or are angry Georgians anxious to get back at Russia for its week-long bombardment of their territory the perpetrators. Whichever it might be, both governments are trading blame back and forth. The most likely scenario is that this is the work of a group as opposed to a government. Whether that group is pro-Russian or pro-Georgian, I don't know.

My personal thought is that one of S. Ossetia's rebel groups could be responsible. They need a pretext to keep Russian soldiers in the region and prevent Georgia from reclaiming it.

Russia and Georgia trade blame in South Ossetia attack

A blast in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia killed seven Russian soldiers, a Russian commander says.

The soldiers died when a car full of explosives blew up near a Russian military base in the regional capital, Tskhinvali, local officials said.

Georgia said Russia organised the explosion as a pretext to delay withdrawing troops from South Ossetia.

But Russia blamed Georgia, saying it was an attempt to undermine a ceasefire agreement between the two sides.

Tension remains high in the region following the conflict between Russia and Georgia over the summer.

Seven other soldiers were injured in the blast, the Russian military commander in South Ossetia said.

According to a statement from the South Ossetian breakaway government, Russian troops had confiscated the vehicle that blew up from an ethnic Georgian village because it was carrying weapons.

Russian television footage showed a black plume of smoke rising from behind metal gates at the base.

An unidentified Russian foreign ministry official said forces "striving to destabilise the situation" were behind the blast, Russian media reported.

South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity went further, describing it as "a deliberate terrorist act prepared by the Georgian Security Ministry", Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili rejected the allegation.

"I think this is a provocation with the aim of keeping Russian forces in Georgia," he told the AFP new agency.

With tensions threatening to flare up into another conflict, I think that the presidential debate on Tuesday should focus on foreign policy for the first 45-minutes. 21st century Russia under Czar Putin and his protege is very dangerous, and Americans deserve to know exactly what our next president is going to do to about it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Glory and praise to our dear leader

I've never been the guy who believes that bashing the president, or a presidential candidate excessively gets us anywhere. However, I watched these two videos and I must say that the experience terrified me to the very depths of my soul...

In this rather unique video, young children sing praise to Barack Obama and talk of how spectacular his presidency will be...

Now, this video is from Pyongyang, North Korea, where young children have been brainwashed into believing that their "dear leader" Kim Jong Il, is the greatest there is. His portrayal in the movie "Team America" is not all that off the mark from reality, from what I can tell.

Scared now? I know I am! I repeat, this is not about politics...these videos are creepy and I certainly hope that Barack Obama is not relying on a fast-growing cult to get him into the White House.

Is there any discernable difference between Obama's children and Kim's?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Iran's young people

In this BBC radio interview, three Iranian college graduates speak out about the current situation in Iran, voicing their concern for women's rights and the Islamic Republic's restriction of internet access to the misguiding phrase "Islamic fascism" and Iran's image abroad.

It is the Iranian people who can help us the most in this current political stand-off with Iran. One of the Iranians interviewed even talks about the sanctions being imposed on Iran and how the government could care less about what it is doing to the economy, because in the end Khamenei's government is able to prop itself up with revenue earned from the country's vast oil exports.

Since a military option would most likely energize support for the Ahmadinejad and Khamenei, the US should openly invite as many Iranian students as possible to study here in American colleges. The Iranians in this video talk about the wonders of studying abroad and how much they enjoy meeting new people from other cultures.

The only solutions we seem to be hearing about to confront Iran in the US media are A) bomb their nuclear installations and start another war B) sit down and have a nice chat with the rulers of the bloody theocracy while their uranium centrifuges continue to spin and money is channeled from Tehran to terrorist causes across the globe, or C) ratchet up the sanctions, something that in the end is only hurting the Iranian economy, which has already been ravaged by Ahmadinejad's failure to fulfill his promises to the Iranian middle class (he sidestepped that in his rant on Tuesday). In regards to the three options above, I say let's go with "none of the above" and instead reach out to all Iranians who desire peace and freedom.

Iranians and Americans going to school together and working for a better tomorrow...that sounds like the best idea to me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Something we should all unite for

America is divided today...perhaps more so than ever. The event below is one issue America and the world should be able to unite together for, but apparently those further on the left (and the right, in some cases) were too afraid of being called a "neocon" to express their outrage over Iran's actions in the Mideast. But most importantly, if only the US would reach out to the Iranian community, and have some Iranian flags being waved by Iranian exiles longing for freedom, mingled in with this protest. I would like to stress very much that I do not believe Iran--a country that I love--is the enemy. Only the madmen in control of it who continue to threaten their neighbors, including Iraq and Israel, as well as their own people.

Thousands attend NYC anti-Iran rally

Efforts by the Jewish organizers of a New York City rally against Iran Monday to keep the event free of politics failed to stop protesters from voicing their avid support for the Republican presidential ticket of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin.

Interspersed with Israeli flags and placards calling for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to "take your hate back to hell" were a fluttering of blue McCain-Palin campaign signs along with more strident handmade ones sticking out above the crowd, including one that read: "Prevent a nuclear Iranian Holocaust on Israel, vote McCaine-Palin [sic]."

The event, organized by Jewish groups including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the United Jewish Communities, the UJA-Federation New York and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, drew several thousand cheering students and activists from as far away as Baltimore and Detroit to protest the Iranian government and its nuclear program.

"These weapons will not only threaten Israel, they will threaten Riyadh, Paris, London and New York," Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik told the cheering crowd.

"The free world must not allow the threat of destruction like this without taking proper action to stop him. We have to stop him, to stop him, to stop him!" she exhorted.

"When I hear these threats I see the concentration camps, I see the horrors, I see the gas chambers," Itzik said. She described Ahmadinejad as "the man who has brought this nightmare back, the man who is responsible for bringing back the horrors of the past."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The time for cooperation is now

Tensions have been exacerbated between the US and Pakistan in recent weeks, after US special forces crossed into Pakistan to pursue Taliban militants who use the "sovereignty" of northwestern Pakistan to their advantage. There are two things that Pakistan needs to realize...first of all, the NW regions are anything but sovereign territory of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Much of the area is a "no-go" zone for the Pakistani security forces, and the Taliban is able to operate freely. Second of all, while the Taliban leaders claim that their fight is directed at America, the violence--the bombings and terror attacks that continue to rock the country--are going to continue as Pakistan remains on the track of democracy. The election of Benazir Bhutto's widower...Asif Ali Zardari, angers Baitullah Mehsud and Uncle Ayman just as much Pakistan's cooperation with the US. A Taliban mini-state in the northwest and a democratic Pakistan will never be able to cooperate together.

So the point is, as long as the US and Pakistan refuse to cooperate and draft a real plan to finally crush the Taliban safe havens, this will continue to happen...

This horrific attack against the Marriott Hotel killed scores of people--including two Americans and the Czech Republic's ambassador to Pakistan. Dozens of Muslims celebrating the breaking of the fast (during the month of Ramadan) were also killed, proving once again that Muslims and westerners alike are in this fight together. As can be seen in this photo, the hotel is said to be in danger of collapsing, and we can only pray that no one else is trapped inside.

Pakistan has already lost control of its sovereignty, and its time for Pakistan's leaders to realize this. Perhaps no one knows better than Asif Ali Zardari...who lost his wife, Benazir, to these people last year. Pakistan should immediately join up with NATO and launch a joint-operation into the lawless frontiers, and at the same time, an aggressive political campaign must be put together to convince the tribal leaders in Pakistan's northwest that the terrorists they are sheltering--Bin Laden ,Zawahiri, and Mehsud--are Islam's greatest enemies. It would be similar to the effort that brought Iraq's Anbar province away from the grip of Al-Qaeda, and back under the control of Iraqis. But in the end, breaking ties with the US will NOT free Pakistan from will only make it weaker.

Pakistan's steps to solving terrorism:

I believe Pakistan could make headway in fighting terrorism and regaining control of its north provinces if it followed steps like these.

-Continue the ongoing operations against the Taliban...but not alone. Pakistan, Afghanistan, and NATO should sign a joint agreement to move freely in pursuit of extremists across the border. The rugged mountains make this hard enough as it it is--the diplomatic BS is only tying things up and benefit the Taliban, who have no respect for any of that anyway.

-Convince the Pakistani people that terrorism is Islam's greatest threat, not the US. Iraq has run a series of anti-terrorism public service announcements on TV, and has had great success in turning the tide on "Islamic" fundamentalism.

-Work to improve relations with Afghanistan and would be a tremendous blow if Al-Qaeda and their affiliates realized they have failed in their efforts to keep the region divided. Recent events--the Marriott attack, the serial bombings in major Indian cities, the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul--are clearly meant to cause political chaos. India and Pakistan are historic enemies, but in today's dangerous world, they face a common enemy.

-Don't give up the fight...savage acts of terrorism like the Marriott attack are going to continue, unfortunately. It is important that Pakistan and its allies move against the Taliban and don't pull back. Zardari is right to label terrorism as "a cancer", because if left unchecked, the cancer of terrorism will eventually consume its host--in this case, Pakistan's new democracy--and replace it with an enemy regime on the scale of the 1979 revolution in Iran.

...this last suggestion is for the US and Pakistan's critics who claim Pakistan "hasn't done enough in fighting terrorism...

-Stand with Pakistan and its people! Pakistan is a victim of terrorism, even more so than America. This is why I get so angry when I hear American politicians criticize Pakistan for failing to confront terrorism from the safety of their offices in Washington. Musharraf's government repeatedly tried to go after the Taliban, but the campaign of violence directed at major Pakistani cities these last two years is what I believe led to his eventual collapse. The Taliban cannot confront Pakistan's military, but they can turn the tide of public opinion by directing their attacks on the Pakistani people. Saturday's attack on the Marriott was not the first...last year, a suicide bomber killed a hotel guard who bravely prevented the terrorist's entry into the building.

Accusations by India and Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, that Pakistan is supporting terrorism against their countries are certainly adding fuel to the fire. Pakistan's intelligence agencies have unfortunately been infiltrated by Taliban sympathizers, but the Pakistani government and its people are suffering just as much as their neighbors. In closing I will quote Bob Marley..."unite for the benefit of your people".

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fighting for peace...

Some good news to report out of Sri Lanka...the government forces have made headway into the rebel-held Tamil Eelam mini-state, although it has cost the lives of almost 700 soldiers. Because the fighting has gotten so intense, the government has ordered all Aid workers out of the country. While the LTTE may be in its last throws, in order to successfully win the peace, the government needs to make sure the thousands of Tamil civilians who have been injured and displaced are taken care of. Even with the loss of their state, the LTTE will manage to survive if it can still draw up support from the local community...

Tigers on defensive as Sri Lanka military closes in

COLOMBO (AFP) — Tamil Tigers were once regarded one of the world's most ruthlessly efficient rebels, but they risk losing their mini-state as Sri Lankan forces make a determined push after decades of bloodshed.

After months of bitter fighting, security forces have reached the outskirts of the Tiger political capital -- Kilinochchi -- the six-kilometre (four-mile) long township along the main A-9 highway to the Jaffna peninsula.

Aid workers who evacuated Kilinochchi this week -- in line with a government order to leave ahead of an expected military show down -- said bombs and artillery shells were landing just within the political offices of the Tigers.

"The military advance is getting closer to Kilinochchi and the Tigers may simply melt away," an aid official who declined to be named said soon after leaving the north.

Sri Lanka's top brass had said they want to take Kilinochchi before the end of the year, but defence analysts argue that it must be done sooner as monsoon rains could intensify and render heavy armour ineffective from about October.

For the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Kilinochchi is the show piece town where they hosted visiting foreign dignitaries and peace brokers.

The Tigers also maintain their 'police headquarters,' their 'high courts' and their 'Bank of Eelam' which functions as the quasi monetary authority of the de facto separate state within Sri Lanka.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back to reality

These past few days, the presidential campaigns, as well as the American media have been overwhelmingly focused on the economy. Today's violence in Yemen should remind everyone that there are even more frightening things to worry about than the prospect of another buyout or the Dow losing 200 points. That is all serious stuff--but for all the fear and uneasiness many Americans have about their future, at least they don't have to wake up to Takfiri fanatics on their doorstep, as many US embassy workers and the people of Sanaa did early Wednesday...

Perhaps its one thing to be thankful for, and let's not forget about the families of those killed in this attack (all of them were Arabs). Even in the times when they are not the target (most often they are) Al-Qaeda sees Muslim blood as being cheap and expendable.

US embassy in Yemen bombed

From Al-Jazeera English:

At least 16 people have been killed in an attack on the US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa by a suicide bomber and armed fighters, the country's interior ministry has said.

A suicide bomber on Wednesday morning drove a car close to the embassy before detonating his explosives, witnesses said, leaving part of the building on fire.

Armed men then attacked the embassy from a second car, they said.

Six guards, four civilians and six attackers died in the assault, the interior ministry said.

A group called Islamic Jihad in Yemen has claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened to target the British, Emirati and Saudi embassies in Sanaa, reports say.

A vehicle was on fire on the road near the embassy compound's perimeter and police sealed off the area, witnesses said.

Roads leading to the embassy were closed after the attack.

Mohammed al-Qadi, a political columnist for the Yemen Times, told Al Jazeera: "The attack came at about 9.30 in the morning, when there were not so many people passing in the streets outside the US embassy.

"Otherwise, the casualties could have been a lot more."

Washington accused al-Qaeda of being behind the attack.

"I think it is safe to say ... the attacks bear all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda attack," Sean McCormack, the US state department spokesman, said.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Who's the real enemy?

This post is a plea to the people of Iraq. Anyone has read any history of the Middle East obviously knows that Israel and the Arab states are historic enemies. A member of Iraq's parliament, Mithal Al-Alusi, could face prosecution for visiting Israel to attend an anti-terrorism conference. While the two state may have their differences, there's no question that Israel and Iraq face the same common enemy: political fundamentalists justifying murder under the religion of Islam. In fact, Al-Alusi's two sons were murdered at the hands of terrorists in Iraq.

Iraqi soldiers take part in a counter-terrorism drill.

The terrorists who are capitalizing off of this violence will never be defeated unless the countries of the world can find away to put aside their differences and confront them.

Sadly, two of the lawmakers pushing for Al-Alusi's punishment are Sunni and Shia. This is not how unification should work. Personally, I think that Maliki's government is getting way to close to the regime in Tehran. Iraq will forge a relationship with a country it fought a bloody 8-year war with, in addition to Iran's support for extremists in southern Iraq, but apparently its too much to cooperate with Israel in fighting terrorism. For the sake of a peaceful future for the Middle East, Iraqi lawmakers should drop any and all charges that might be coming against Al-Alusi.

Iraq punishes MP for visiting Israeli conference

by Jpost and AP

Iraqi legislators said Sunday that parliament had voted to lift the immunity of a Sunni Arab lawmaker who visited Israel.

The parliament has also banned Mithal al-Alusi from traveling outside Iraq or attending parliamentary sessions, they said.

Sunday's punishment was confirmed by Osama al-Nujeif, a Sunni Arab lawmaker, and Haider al-Ibadi, a Shi'ite lawmaker.

The two men said Alusi's trip was illegal and a humiliation for Iraqis who see Israel as a historical enemy. Without parliamentary immunity, Alusi could be subject to prosecution.

Alusi, chairman of Iraq's Democratic Party, Mithal al-Alusi, surprisingly arrived at a conference on terror in Herzliya last Wednesday, calling for the establishment of a joint intelligence network with Israel and the United States.

"In Israel, there is no occupation, there is liberalism," Alusi said to the sound of roaring applause.

Alusi made his first trip to Israel in September 2004 to participate in a counter-terrorism conference. Apparently as payback, extremists murdered his two sons, 22 and 30.

The terrorists "will try to kill more. They will try to stop us. It should give us power to continue, to believe in ourselves," he told The Jerusalem Post in an interview at the time.

Alusi was given the American Jewish Committee's Moral Courage award following his sons' deaths.

Iraq could benefit by following India, which is seeking Israeli help in curbing a resurgent militant threat in Kashmir. What does either side have to lose right now?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama...

This is perhaps one of the most emotionally moving videos I have ever seen. I will admit, I had tears in my eyes when I watched it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Smile, Haiti

Singer Wyclef Jean, who is a Haitian national, is putting together a relief effort for the people of Haiti, where a series of hurricanes have devastated the tiny Caribbean nation. Hundreds have died in one city alone, and the receding floodwaters are bound to reveal even more destruction as the days go by. Wyclef Jean moves me emotionally with his actions to try and make the world a better place.

It makes me think of Bob Marley's "Smile Jamaica" concert, which took place in 1976 and helped redefine the meaning of "one love". In an attempt to stop the civil unrest in Jamaica with the love of reggae music, Marley organized a concert in Kingston only to be wounded just days before the event, when gunmen broke into his residence and also injured his wife, Rita, and a friend. However, it did not stop him from going on stage for a full performance and bringing a smile to the faces of Jamaicans. I've always thought that Marley would be proud of Wyclef Jean and the Fugees' rendition of "No Woman no Cry" and I feel that without a doubt he would be proud of these efforts, too.

Wyclef's song "million voices" about the Rwandan Genocide gives me chills every time I listen to it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Al-Qaeda stands alone

AQ's deputy leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has released a new videotape, and in it, he condemns the actions of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Its clear now...AQ is getting desperate, and they are now forced to lash out at anyone...even grotesque regimes that have in the past been sympathetic to their cause. The article below the attack on Iran shows the measures Al-Qaeda needs to go to in order to continue their campaign of violence.

Al-Qaida blasts Iran for working with US

Al-Qaida marked the anniversary of the September 11 attacks Monday with an hour-and-a-half video message summarizing the state of jihad, or holy war, around the world and slamming Iran for collaborating with the United States.

In the short excerpts aired on the Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, al-Qaida Number 2 Ayman al-Zawahri accused Iran working with US forces.

"The guardian of Muslims in Teheran is cooperating with the Americans in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and recognizes the two hireling governments there," he said.

Zawahri also criticized the Shi'ites for not "issuing any fatwa (edict) inside or outside Iraq calling for jihad and carrying arms against the Crusader occupier in Iraq." In militant postings, "crusaders" is shorthand for US troops in Iraq.

Zawahri has been increasingly singling out Iran and Shi'ites in his messages, most recently in April, describing the "Persians" as the enemy of Arabs and complicit in the occupation of Iraq.

The latest video featured clips of al-Qaida operations in the various fronts around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, with prominent figures from the movement discoursing on their accomplishments over the year, Al-Jazeera said.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Pakistan...

From the Pakistan Dawn:

Teenage ‘suicide bomber’ held in Nowshera

NOWSHERA, Sept 8: Security personnel arrested on Monday a teenage boy they claimed was on a suicide mission and defused his explosives-lined vest. The boy was near a church in the Cantonment area when he was apprehended.

Officials said that 14-year-old boy, Mir Janan, was from Makeen area of South Waziristan.

During interrogation, the boy is said to have claimed that he belonged to Baitullah Mehsud’s Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

According to officials, he said that he had been brought to the area by a man on a motorbike.

The Inter Service Public Relations said the bomber was about 17 to 18 years old and his target was a security convoy.

He was spotted by two junior cmmissioned officers, Subedar Mohammad Naeem Akhtar and Naib Subedar Mohammad Rafique, who got hold of him.

The ISPR said that the boy was wearing a suicide vest packed with 10 to 15 kilogrammes of explosives. The vest was defused by bomb disposal personnel.

It is learnt that the boy also carried a hand-grenade and he tried to use it by removing its safety pin, but he was prevented from doing so.

Later, bomb disposal personnel had tactfully persuaded the bomber to take off the vest.

Security agencies are on the lookout for accomplices of the young terrorist.

Uncle Ayman doesn't have much to say about this in his tape. You would think someone like Baitullah Mehsud (Pakistani Taliban chief, alleged assassin of Benazir Bhutto) would have many "brave" martyrs on hand instead of having to convince 14-year olds to blow themselves up amongst fellow Muslims. A similar case like this happened in Iraq last month, involving a 16-year old girl.

Make no mistake, although AQ takes a beating every time the world sees their true face (that they kill children and target Muslims more than any other group), they did score a tremendous victory with Musharraf's ouster. Zawahiri points to this in his tape, specifically.

A stunning achievement

Barack Obama's supporters must be beaming with pride to receive an endorsement from this freak...MTV host Russell Brand. If this guy REALLY wanted to inflict some damage on President Bush's legacy, he should endorse everything the president has ever done, which would in turn force Bush's supporters to wallow in shame knowing that such a pathetic "retard" like Russel Brand is is actually supporting them.

Okay, maybe what I'm saying sounds immature. But seriously, is it any worse than the moronic statements he is making about Sarah Palin's daughter? I'm going to do Barack a favor and offer him some advice...whatever this weirdo does, please do the opposite. This is giving people yet another reason not to cast a vote for Barack addition to the fact that he is nothing but media and celebrity hype. It's strange, but when I watch the above video, I feel prouder than ever to support John McCain's bid for the White House.

My fear is the young Americans who watch garbage like this might be encouraged to vote for Obama...for the wrong reasons. The truth is, all of England should be wallowing in shame at the sight of this. By the way, here's my advice to Russell Brand...Bugger off!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Condi's new friend

Now here's a nice story about hypocrisy...

Just look at my post last month, about Condoleeza Rice's attitude towards former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who she threw under the bus because of his decision to declare a state of emergency in a country that is being overtaken by terrorist violence.

But wait a sec, look who Condi wants us to get along with...

So its okay to dine with Gadafi? Rice will beat the drums over a state of emergency (which we would have done to, if such a threat hit the US) but she's okay with overlooking Lockerbie and the other hiddeous acts committed by her new friend?

Sad. So sad.

Tribute to a great man

Yesterday marked two years since the death of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin--a man who devoted his life to trying to make the world a better place for people and the animals we share it with. I look forward to his children, Bindi and Bob, leading the next generation down the same path.

May he forever rest in peace...and he can do so knowing that all of his supporters, family, and friends will always be here to keep his message alive.

Here's a good perspective remembering Steve, from his homeland of Australia.

Its true, it really does feel like his death was only yesterday...I remember I first heard of his death late at night, when it was still a day earlier here in the US. The news hit me very hard, and the next 24 hours felt as if they weren't really happening.

A great man, with a true passion and an amazing story.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Musharraf's legacy and how the US should look back...

Pakistan's President Musharraf has stepped down from office, finally falling victim to relentless pressure by Taliban fundamentalists and misguided opponents. With his departure, its time the US thinks long and hard about how it treats its allies.

Earlier, I heard a report that Condoleezza Rice put down any suggestion that the US would be willing to give sanctuary to the Pakistani President, who is under threat of impeachment from the recently elected "coalition" government, led by the late Benazir Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, and Nawaz Sharif, a former Pakistani prime minister. First of all, let me just say that I am completely disgusted with Rice's statements, and the US should be ashamed of itself, given the decision by Musharraf's opponents to attempt to negotiate people who blow up innocent people-security forces, civilians, Shia AND Sunni Muslims. When I thought about writing a post on this subject, I wanted to begin by saying that Nawaz Sharif is a vindictive, fat-headed moron (Musharraf ousted him in a coup almost ten years ago, and he has gone so far as to say Musharraf should be sentenced to death), but then I read this letter.

An Open Letter to Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari

I AM writing this to you sitting outside a coffee shop in Virginia, a little outside Washington. I hope that my letter will be taken in the spirit in which it is written — from someone who deeply loves Pakistan and sincerely cares about it.

Over the years, I have watched the situation in Pakistan, analyzed it and have come to the conclusion that the problems of Pakistan can be solved by the people of Pakistan themselves provided they set aside emotions and self-interest. A country of about 150 million people facing so many dangers from within and without cannot afford to be hostage to the whims and caprices of anyone — even elected leaders.

Sitting thousands of miles away but emotionally present in Pakistan, I feel that the time has come for everyone to rise up and confront the danger, reject revenge, put aside personal ambitions, remove malice and enter into a new phase of reconciliation.

I read in the papers here of calls for the impeachment of President Pervez Musharraf. I read of statements saying he will not be granted safe passage. I read of charge sheets being prepared against him by hitherto unknown politicians. I also read about the president calling for reconciliation.

I tell you in all honesty that Pakistan does not have the luxury of time or money to embark on an impeachment move. Neither is it the time to focus on such divisive issues. Suddenly political pundits and inexperienced lawmakers are seen making statements. They talk about the interest of Pakistan. What interest, I ask them. It is good for the ego to get 15 minutes worth of fame by talking to a local television network or The Washington Post.

HOWEVER, it is more difficult to show generosity and tolerance by reaching out and closing ranks, and history is full of such examples.

And I will start with our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who forgave all his enemies. It was he who told the Archangel Gabriel that he would forgive all those who threw stones at him in Taif. Let us honor ourselves by following him.

Let us take a great man of our time — Nelson Mandela. After 27 years in prison, he spoke of truth and reconciliation. Mandela sat with Pik Botha, who served as South Africa’s foreign minister in the last years of the apartheid era, immediately after his release and helped guide South Africa to its promising future. After the black majority came to power, Mandela’s followers did not go on a rampage. They did not burn or loot. Mandela commanded respect.

I asked him was there any rancor or hate in his heart for those who oppressed him and his people. He replied that South Africa was too important for him to feel anger. Imagine what would have happened if Mandela had taken the road of personal revenge.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is indeed on his way down the dark pathway of revenge...and in the process is dragging his country with him.

Now allow me to offer my thoughts. Musharraf is obviously not a perfect man, but I think he understands the nature of the situation his country his facing. Condoleezza Rice feels the need to go off on him for declaring the much vilified state of emergency, but there is no doubt in my mind that President Bush (or any world leader, really) would take the exact same course of action if thousands of soldiers had died on his nation's soil, if suicide bombers were victimizing American cities on a daily basis, and if countless civilians continued to fall pray to terrorism in a savage attempt to disrupt the political process. If this was happening in the United States, what would we do? Please Ms. Rice, would you be willing to answer this question? I suppose this could be my open letter to Condoleezza Rice, or even the Bush Administration in general.

Musharraf tried to do the right thing...he wanted to do what the US asked of him while trying to put his country first. I believe what ultimately led to his political was the targeting of Pakistani civilians by militant groups based in the Northern mountains, which turned the population against him. Many far-left and so-called "antiwar" groups also allege that Musharraf "wasn't doing enough to fight terrorism". To me, that is complete nonsense, given the above scenario, Musharraf was probably afraid of a full-scale confrontation because of the bloody backlash it had against his people.

All I can say now is that I hope that Nawaz and Zardari will heed the calls in that letter, because the very last thing Pakistan needs is more tension. Sharif's vengeance may ultimately prove to be just as divisive as the bombing campaigns ordered by Taliban warlords, who are very likely laughing it up in a cave somewhere in the mountains right now...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Russia threatens Poland...

After what they unleashed upon Georgia, should we actually believe Russia when they suggest madness on this scale? I think this was one factor is the KGB's (Kremlin's) decision to invade Georgia--to try and intimidate the international community into having things their way.

Poland is a target, says Russian general

POLAND: POLAND HAS "100 per cent" made itself a potential target for a Russian attack after agreeing to host part of a US anti-missile system, according to a leading Russian general.

Under the preliminary agreement signed on Thursday night, the US will install 10 interceptor missiles at a base in northern Poland linked to a radar station in the Czech Republic, to be used to intercept missiles fired at the US and Europe.

The Kremlin yesterday attacked the system that is scheduled to go online in 2011 and this is likely to overshadow Polish-Russian relations for many more years to come.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has cancelled a September trip to Warsaw that was, ironically, part of a strategy to improve traditionally difficult relations between the two countries.

Polish radio claims that the Kremlin has frozen all contacts with Polish institutions, including a bilateral committee investigating the 1940 Katyn massacre, when the Red Army killed almost 22,000 Polish soldiers.

"By hosting these [missiles], Poland is making itself a target. This is 100 per cent [certain]," said Gen Anatoly Nogovitsin, deputy head of Russia's armed forces, to the Interfax news agency.

"It [Poland] has become a target for attack. Such targets are destroyed as a first priority."

Other officials said the timing of the agreement - during the crisis in Georgia - confirmed Russian suspicions about the plan.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's Nato envoy said, "Of course the missile defence system will be deployed, not against Iran but against the strategic potential of Russia."