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 terrorism...it 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 India...it 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 Obama...in 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.