HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

« November 2005 | Return to RapidRecon | January 2006 »

December 31, 2005

al-Qaeda link to French Riots?

While it was widely portrayed by media and government voices alike as an immigration/poverty issue, Evan Kohlmann at The Counterterrorism Blog reveals the translation of a document captured in September, one month before the Muslim riots in France erupted.

In the translation, as he declares that there is a state of war with France, al-Suri says, "O’ sleeper cells, wake up now!"

The timing of the letter and the riots in France are possibly not entirely coincidental, if at all.

Read the whole translation.

Tueni was killed for his words

Readers not familiar with Lebanese events or the murder of Gabril Tueni may want to read this editorial he wrote critical of Lebanese President Lahoud (viewed by many as a puppet of Syria's Assad) to understand why he was targeted for assassination.

Doesn't anyone dare explain to Lahoud that resolution 1559 is the result of the oppression of the Lebanese people, the mistakes of the Lebanese authorities and Syria's bad performance in Lebanon?

What was President Lahoud thinking when he said that resolution 1559 would contribute to the resettlement of the Palestinians in Lebanon? As long as all the Lebanese people, from all groups and confessions, and the authorities are against the resettlement of Palestinians, this issue would not pose a real threat. Moreover, who dares sign the resettlement decree?

December 30, 2005

Loud Booms are War Crimes

With all of the violence erupting around Israel and within Gaza in particular, an ABC story with the headline that reads Israel's Sonic Booms Terrifying Gaza Children is another indication that Israel has few friends in the region, including the international media outlets.

With terrorists kidnapping westerners in Gaza, suicide bombers' unrelenting thirst for blood inside Israeli borders in malls and on buses, and rocket attacks on apartment buildings, that a news organization chooses to highlight mere loud noises (sonic booms) created by Israeli aircraft and characterized them as 'terrifying' is troubling on one hand and, yet, not unexpected and amusing on the other. ABC focused its story around frightened Palestinian children and even took the trouble to seek out a Gaza psychiatrist who called the sonic booms 'war crimes'.

There was no such mention of terrified children or their psychological well-being in the Kiryat Shmona apartment buildings where two katyusha rockets exploded (complete with shrapnel) Tuesday night. Nor is there ever any mention that shredding non-combatant civilians (not excluding children) in malls and on buses with suicide bombs is a 'war crime'.

But Israel causing loud booms 'without notice' warrants investigative reporting.

December 29, 2005

Palestinian in Lebanon

I remember well the article you referenced below, Marvin. In re-reading it, one paragraph leapt out at me regarding why some who are Palestinian in Lebanon would be inspired to take up arms against the Coalition alongside some of those who are Palestinian in Iraq.

"This is a duty for the rescue of those who are inside prisons and in defense of our holy lands, our Holy books [Korans] that they have desecrated by tearing them and stamping on them, and in defense of our mosques that they have destroyed," said Abu Sharif.

Now, I hope this is not misconstrued as Muslim bashing, for it truly is not. But let's consider the following facts:

1.) It was a Muslim detainee who tore up the Quran and flushed it down a toilet in Guantanamo, not the American enemy.

2.) It was Muslims who made mosques the firing position of choice and therefor bringing them into the tactical field of fire, not the American enemy.

As a matter of fact, early on, often fire from mosques was not returned.

But, I guess you have to strike when the iron is hot, and when passion is high, why let such facts get in the way of inspiration?

Just thought this was interesting since you linked it.

Palestinian in Iraq

The Washington Post reports on the conditions of Palestinians living in Iraq now that Saddam Hussein is no longer there to provide them with favor and reward for their loyalty in the fight against Israel. The column is an attempt to provide a sympathetic look at how the Shi'a lead government of Iraq has targeted the Palestinians. It notes the four Palestinian men taken in a "hail of gunshots" from their government provided homes in Baghdad and charged with crimes associated with a bombing that killed 15.

After reading it - I wondered if the journalists behind the story really believed that Saddam's Iraq was better for the Palestinians. After all, to be paraded about for political purposes and paid for committing terrorist acts isn't nearly as terrible as things were for the Kurds or Shi'a.

How did the Washington Post handle the reports of Palestinian's going to Iraq to join the "insurgency" only a few weeks ago?

The War for Oil unfolding in The 'Stans

Speaking of Andrei Illarionov...Richard at The Belmont Club makes an important observation on the real 'War for Oil' currently unfolding in many forms in and around the 'Stans.

Perhaps the real war for oil, in the sense of a struggle for arrangements that do not yet exist is over the reserves in Central Asia. In that struggle Russia has the key advantage of geography. It lies right across the Eurasian landmass and the petroleum roads of the 21st century must pass within or close to her borders. The future oil fields are redoubts of the Islamic fundamentalism and the traditional arena of the Great Game power rivalry between Russia, China and the leading maritime power, once Britain, now the United States.

Belmont's The Back of Beyond ties in Putin's moves to consolidate energy control, the new inclusion of our friend, Gerhardt Schroeder, on the board of Gazrpom, the Ukrainian-Iranian Pipeline to counter them and the ever present shuffling of the Chinese to give a glimpse into the constantly evolving situation.

December 28, 2005

Illarionov's Vision

In resigning his post as chief economic adviser to President Vladimir Putin, Andrei Illarionov, made statements with a clarity rarely found in today's Russia.

“It is one thing to work in a country that is partly free,” Mr Illarionov said yesterday, saying Russia still qualified for that description when Mr Putin came to power six years ago. “It is another thing when the political system has changed, and the country has stopped being free and democratic.

“I did not sign a contract with such a state, and therefore it is absolutely impossible to remain in this post,” he said.

On the Radio with Hugh Hewitt

The transcript of my radio interview from earlier this evening with Hugh Hewitt is available at Radioblogger. We discussed my embed in Iraq, The Washington Post's article on information operations and my reply.

December 27, 2005

On the Radio Tonight

I'll be on the Radio tonight at 7:00 pm Eastern with Tom Parker on KPAM 860 AM in Portland, Oregon. You can listen live via streaming audio.

December 26, 2005

On the Radio

I'll be on the radio in Boston at 11:00 am Eastern with Pundit Review. You can listen online Streaming Live @ WRKO.com.

December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas, and on the radio tonight

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours, from the Roggio Family.

I'm back in the states and taking a much needed break.

Tonight I'll be on the radio with Pundit Review’s Salute to the Troops and their Families. You can listen online Streaming Live @ WRKO.com.

December 21, 2005

Released Hijacker in Lebanese Custody

After his release from German prison, Hezbollah terrorist and convicted murderer Mohammad Ali Hamadi is in Lebanese custody in Beirut. But there is no extradition agreement between the United States and the long-time Syrian-controlled Lebanese government.

U.S. and German officials said Berlin notified Washington a couple of days before Hamadi was released. The United States, whose extradition request was turned down in 1987, did not ask that he be held longer because it saw no chance that Germany would turn him over now.

Instead, Washington approached the authorities in Beirut, where Petty Officer Stethem's murder occurred and where Hamadi arrived on Friday.

bq. A senior State Department official said Hamadi was in "temporary custody" in Lebanon, although it was not clear where or when he was arrested.

The Stetham family believes Hamadi's quiet release is directly tied to negotiations by the Germans for Susanne Osthoff, who was released by her Iraqi captors soon after Hamadi was freed.

December 20, 2005

When Life Isn't Life

Twenty years ago, Hezbollah terrorists stormed the cockpit and hijacked TWA Flight 847 in a flight from Greece to Rome, forcing it to land in Beirut, Lebanon. During the 17-day hijacking ordeal, the terrorists tortured and then shot US Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem execution style in the temple, whose battered and lifeless body was unceremoniously dumped from high inside the hijacked airliner to the sun-baked tarmac below in a scene played over and over on television sets across the world.

Having arrested one of the Hezbollah hijackers, Mohammed Ali Hamadi, in 1987 when his luggage at a Frankfurt airport was found to have liquid explosives in it, Germany convicted him of murder and air piracy.

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Last week, Germany released Mohammed Ali Hamadi because "He served his term."

Today, he is in Southern Lebanon, reuniting with Hezbollah terrorists.

US Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem was sentenced to death without the possibility of life.

Today, he is still dead.

Courier-Post Interview

Anna Nguyen, of the Courier-Post, has published an interview with Bill - S.J. blogger hails close-up view of Iraq

Wanted: Victims of the Patriot Act

That's what Andrew Cochran wants to see, amid all of the passionate debate surrounding the renewal of the Patriot Act.

So what strikes me about the Patriot Act debate is that, after 4 years, the opponents can't show us actual victims of all that "abuse." You don't see the weeping and crying, the class action lawsuits, and aggrieved parties with lives shattered by the junkyard-dog tactics of overzealous prosecutors and law enforcement. They weren't at congressional oversight hearings, they aren't at the press conferences, and they aren't cited in op-eds. The DOJ Inspector General hasn't found any. We've had four years of experience, and that's long enough - where are they?

An NSA Intercept Round-Up

Jack Kelly has a good round-up of the back and forth over the NSA intercept controversy.

Matthew Heidt cites a specific occurance in Eavesdropping on the Cowards:

The idea that the US should put its fingers in its own ears and repeat, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you!” when terrorists communicate with their agents in the US is one of the most ridiculous and silly ideas that I have ever heard.

The Forgotten Women of Afghanistan

In Forgotten War, Forgotten Progress, Athena at Terrorism Unveiled reminds those willing to remember just how much progress has been made in Afghanistan. It is sad commentary that the first elected Afghani Parliament in 30 years was just sworn in with less American fanfare than a Chicago Cubs box score in mid-June.

Is it not worthy of more than that, especially considering 25% of that new parliament consists of elected women?

Are these 87 women not truly more deserving of Time's Person(s) of the Year designation? One wonders if they were even on the long list, let alone the short one. (Bono?)

Go see Athena and permit yourself to be reminded of the breadth and scope of true progress.

December 19, 2005

Today's Headline: Gulf Summit Raps Israel

Remember the Reuters headline brought into question here at RapidRecon yesterday?

Gulf Arab leaders to get tough on Iran and Syria - Reuters 18Dec05

True to form and just as indicated earlier here, the 'get tough' focus has been squarely on Israel and not Iranian nuclear development. Notice today's Reuters headline with a decidedly different tone from yesterday's pre-summit coverage:

Gulf summit raps Israel, not Iran, on nuclear issue - Reuters 19Dec05

U.S.-allied Gulf Arab leaders called on Monday for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, but singled out only Israel, not Iran, despite having voiced alarm at Tehran's nuclear ambitions during their two-day meeting.

In a final statement, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) focused on Israel's failure to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Iran has signed.

Also important from the article is this (insofar as the GCC 'dealt with' Iran):

Delegates said Iran's nuclear programme had dominated the talks. A draft statement seen by Reuters had included a clause stressing the importance of Iran's cooperation with the IAEA but this was deleted from the final version read by Attiya.

ThreatsWatch applauds the Reuters writers (Heba Kandil and Andrew Hammond) and editors for this coverage and the appropriate headline that accompanies it.

December 18, 2005

Gulf Arab leaders to 'get tough' on Iran?

Recently added to the NewsBriefs section is this headline from Reuters about the two-day meetings of the Gulf Cooperation Council:

Gulf Arab leaders to get tough on Iran and Syria - Reuters

Here is why the 'get tough' Reuters verbiage is in quotes in our NewsBriefs headline:

"We trust Iran but we don't want to see an Iranian nuclear plant which is closer in distance to our Gulf shores than to Tehran causing us danger and damage," GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman al-Attiya said ahead of the opening on Sunday.

Followed shortly by this:

"This [an agreement on peaceful nuclear technology] will pave the way for a Middle East agreement in which Israel could eventually become part of ... this will prompt the international community to press Israel to open its (nuclear sites) for inspection...," Attiya added.

Note the subtlty of mentioning Iranian nuclear plants but Israeli nuclear weapons. While Reuters chooses to explain this as the GCC 'getting tough' on Iran (and their nuclear plants), it is obvious that the end-game is not the Iranian program, but rather the Israeli program.

Also worthy of note was this quote from the GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman al-Attiya:

"What concerns us now at this stage is that the [Iraqi] elections succeed and a government that includes all parties is formed, one that will support the rebuilding of Iraq."

Maybe the nations of the GCC (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar) would do well to implement these principles within their own states.

December 17, 2005

Giuliani does not run Harvard or Georgetown

In the latest installment of the Winds of War, I wrote:

Proof that Rudy Giuliani (remember?) does not run Harvard or Georgetown, the two esteemed universities gleefully accepted $20 million each from Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross has taken on the issue and clarity that should not be necessary to deliver.

Opinion Journal has noted this as well in Prince of Tithes: Will a Saudi's gift to Harvard really promote understanding?

Prince Alwaleed is also the same person who wrote a $10 million check for New York after 9/11 and then issued a statement saying: "At times like this one, we must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack. . . . [The U.S.] should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause." Mayor Rudy Giuliani famously sent the check back. "There is no moral equivalent for this attack," he noted. "Not only are [Prince Alwaleed's] statements wrong, they're part of the problem."

Dan Darling on Two Terrorists and the McCain Torture Amendment

Dan Darling, who I hold in very high regard, has published three posts at Winds of Change that you should read.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Abu Hamza Rabia
From Russia with Love [on Abu Omar al-Saif]
and Torture and Domestic Wiretaps

In "Torture and Domestic Wiretaps", Dan seems to begin to reconsider his original enthusiastic support of the McCain Torture Amendment, thanks to some clarity from Thomas Holsinger on The Legal Flaws of the McCain Amendment.

Another aspect of the proposed amendment that no one seems to be taking note of is the fact that the language of the bill overtly and explicitly defers to the Army field manual on interrogations for legal definition of torture.

If, years from now, a room full of military officers decide to change that language, they will be in effect writing and changing federal law without the involvement of the elected Congress expressly and solely tasked with this responsiblity by the Constitution.

If the Framers were alive today, surely they would be clutching their chests struggling to catch their collective breath. This ammendment has implications even beyond the War on Terror, which, in my view, it already would seriously hinder for the reasons Thomas Holsinger ably states.

Totten Meets Hezbollah: A Police State Within a State

Michael Totten has an article published in LA Weekly that is just outstanding about his visits with Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon and south Beirut. Once you start reading Guess Who's Coming to Iftar, you won't stop until you're done.

Slowly, the audience began filing out before Nasrallah was finished. He wasn't so much a blowhard as a bore. Even his 'base,' at least the female half of it, didn't think he was worth sticking around for.

Soon the hall was almost half empty. Maybe Nasrallah realized he had to get to the point. Perhaps it was scripted this way. Either way, he suddenly started to scream.

Israel this! Israel that!

Oh, snore. I didn't want to be rude, but I could no longer physically stop myself from rolling my eyes.

Then a belligerent fat man grabbed my photographer colleague.

"Come with me!" he said and led Dan away with camera in hand. I followed.

You'll want to read the whole thing.

December 16, 2005

UN has Israel 'wiped off the map' Annually

Have you read this today from Caroline Glick?

The American ambassador discussed at length an anti-Israel event that took place at UN Headquarters on November 29 which did not receive coverage by the Hebrew media and was ignored by the Foreign Ministry. On that day, as on every anniversary of the 1947 UN vote recommending the partition of the British Mandate in the Land of Israel, the UN sponsored an official Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

This year, law professor Anne Bayefsky...managed to photograph the event in which UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council participated.

See: Photos - Map w/o Israel @ UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

This annual event is just something to consider when Kofi Annan is heard condemning Ahmadinejad's outrageous statements about Israel and the Holocaust.

A UN spokesman said Secretary-General Kofi Annan stood by his condemnation of Ahmadinejad's earlier remarks. "He was shocked by these remarks and he continues to be shocked by these remarks every time they come out of the mouth of the Iranian president," said Stephane Dujarric.

The Purple Finger Is Not a Prop

Simply stated, The Purple Finger Belongs to Iraqis.

US Senators and Congressmen should be washing their hands without delay.

December 15, 2005

Election Day in Iraq

I'm in the town of Barwana, one of the three Triad cities which include Haqlaniyah and Haditha. The poll site sits right where Zarqawi's terrorists executed residents for not conforming to al-Qaeda's perverse brand of Islamic law. It's currently 8:20 am Iraqi time, and turnout is heavy so far, with several hundred voters showing up. The polls opened at 7:00 am and the first handful arrived minutes afterward. There is a steady line of voters waiting to vote.

December 14, 2005

2005 sees drop in attacks on Israel

In case you missed it, Security Watchtower has boiled down IDF statistics that show a drop in attacks on Israel from 2004 to 2005, due in large part to the informal 'truce'. From 14 suicide attacks in 2004 to 5 in 2005. As noted at Security Watchtower, that 4 of the 5 were carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is telling, especially considering their current spearheading of attacks in recent weeks.

Iran doesn't want security assurances...

...which is good, because the Bush Administration is likely not interested in offering them either. Said Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani:

"Iran does not need these kinds of condescending guarantees and has a good enough capacity to defend itself."

It seems Mohammad ElBaradei was the only one who thought this was a good idea.

Mohammad al-Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, urged Washington on Monday to put security assurances on the table with Iran as it had done in similar talks with North Korea.

Just like North Korea. We all know how that turned out.

December 13, 2005

2005: A Year in Review

This caught my eye and made me laugh...and lighten up a little.

The American Enterprise: A 2005 Rollick

Iran announces it will no longer allow inspectors into the Khomeini Memorial Peaceful Nuclear Research Facility for Hastening the Destruction of Israel. European diplomats threaten to take the matter to the U.N. Subcommittee of the Task Force for Occasionally Threatening to Issue a Strongly-Worded Report. But the group’s next meeting isn’t until 2007, and it must first take up the horror of Israel’s security fence. Iran promises to allow inspections in exchange for 500 million Euros, payable in coins of enriched uranium. The E.U. agrees, with the condition that the interest rate on the loan will be adjusted upward if Iran makes nuclear bombs. If they actually detonate a bomb there would be an immediate balloon payment, make no mistake about it.

Citizenship du jour for Gitmo detainees?

Apparently, it is possible for Taliban loyalists captured on the field of battle in Afghanistan to become a proud citizen of whatever country is most likely to secure their release from Camp X-Ray as an Australian at Guantanamo seeks to now be British.

Last month, the British Home Office rejected Hicks’ application for British citizenship on character grounds, but his lawyers appealed the decision.

On Tuesday, Justice Andrew Collins ruled that Home Secretary Charles Clarke had no power to reject Hicks’ citizenship application. The government can appeal the decision.

Hicks’ mother was born in the United Kingdom before emigrating with her father to Australia as a child.

Under British law, the children of British parents get citizenship automatically if they apply for it, but the Home Office argued that registration could be refused, or citizenship withdrawn, on grounds of public policy because of Hicks’ alleged involvement with the al-Qaida terror network and terrorist activities against the United Kingdom.

That a judge will not allow the British government to reject a terrorist's demands for citizenship is almost comical if it weren't so deadly serious. And you thought the British immigration policy was loose...

December 12, 2005

Speaking of Lawsuits...

Remember this recent post?

From the Financial Times: Guess who just had their assets frozen in Italy?

A court in Italy has ordered the freezing of an Iranian government account held in a Rome bank in what lawyers say represents an unprecedented legal victory for three US families seeking compensation from Iran for its alleged support of Palestinian suicide bombings that killed their relatives.

Lawyers and activists in Washington said their success in Italy was likely to be followed by similar cases against Iran in other courts in Europe and possibly Asia. The ruling could also open the floodgates to similar civil cases against the Islamic regime and other states accused by the US of sponsoring terror.

December 11, 2005

'Deceit in the Name of Jihad', A Saudi Mini-Series

Who would have ever thought that Saudi Arabia would ever air a miniseries titled Deceit in the Name of Jihad?

The five-part series, Deceit in the Name of Jihad, is being aired in prime time on Saudi state television and the satellite channel, Al Arabiya. It includes interviews with Saudis who claim to have fought alongside Muslim fanatics in Afghanistan and Iraq before realising they had been "brainwashed" by al-Qaeda recruiters.

The importance of this development cannot be overstated.

The War on Terror will not be won by the American war machine. It will be won through developments like this from within the Middle East and elsewhere. But to deny that changes and developments like this one would have ever occurred without the freeing of over 50 million people and multiple democratic elections as the direct result of the actions of American military operations is to be willfully blind.

December 10, 2005

Palestinians suing in US Courts over Israeli airstrike

Palestinians are suing (in American courts) over an Israeli air strike on a Palestinian terrorist.

The plaintiffs allege that Mr Dichter [former head of Shin Bet] was responsible for "war crimes and gross human rights violations for his participation in the decision to drop the bomb on the residential neighbourhood."

That innocent bystanders were killed in the attack is definitely unfortunate. This would pave the way, in theory, for additional potential lawsuits that may also stem from other attacks that result in the deaths of innocent civilians.

Perhaps the Israeli families of civilians killed by suicide bombers (such as here, here, here, and here) will sue the Palestinian Authority or the leaders of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees and Hezbollah for "war crimes and gross human rights violations".

Nobel Laureate ElBaradei Resists Iran Enforcement

It seems difficult to understand how Mohamed ElBaradei, who recently offered up the shortest timeline of any authority yet to a nuclear weapons-ready Iran, could possibly have said this:

"Let us not think we should jump the gun and use enforcement."

Those indeed are the words of a Nobel Laureate in Oslo as he prepares to accept the Nobel Peace Prize later today. When asked about his leniancy with Iran, ElBaradei said this in the same conversation:

"I'm not sure we are showing restraint, I think we are doing a full court press, if you like, on Iran."

If ElBaradei himself declared Iran in 'Non-Compliance' with the signed NPT and the Additional Protocol yet is unwilling to use 'enforcement', what precisely is the value of the treaty that has been violated? The greatest weakness of the IAEA is the lack of any enforcement mechanism. That is why so many strongly support the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). [Jump right to paragraph four and recall the BBC China.]

December 9, 2005

Ar-Ramadi Citizens Haul in The Butcher, #3 AQ-Iraq Terrorist

From Captain Jeffrey Pool, 2nd Marine Division PAO, via e-mail:

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq —The number three terrorist on the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (28th Infantry Division) High Value Individual list was detained today in the provincial capital of Ar Ramadi.

Amir Khalaf Fanus, an al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist in the Ramadi area, was wanted for criminal activities including murder and kidnapping. Today, local Iraqi citizens brought him to an Iraqi and U.S. Forces military base in Ramadi.

Fanus, also known in Ramadi by his Iraqi moniker, “the Butcher”, was well-known for his crimes against the local populace.

Said Captain Pool, "This is an odd press release to write because I am used to writing about what the U.S. and Iraqi military are doing. This release is about what local citizens did today. I am hopeful that this becomes a trend."

ThreatsWatch joins him in that sentiment and hopes he has many more 'odd press releases' to write in the future.

UPDATE: DoD Press Release here

December 8, 2005

Ahmadinejad's Recommendation

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continued his verbal assault on Israel - and in doing so showed more of his bigotry and hatred for the only successful democracy in the Middle East.

"Some European countries insist on saying that during World War II, Hitler burned millions of Jews and put them in concentration camps," Ahmadinejad said. "Any historian, commentator or scientist who doubts that is taken to prison or gets condemned."

"Let's give some land to the Zionists in Europe or in Germany or Austria, so they can have their government there," he said. "They faced injustice in Europe, so why do the repercussions fall on the Palestinians? Offer a piece of land from Europe, and we will back this decision and will not attack this government."

"Those who are occupying and ruling Jerusalem, what is the origin of their fathers? ... Most of them have no roots in Palestine, but they are holding the destiny of Palestine in their hands and allow themselves to kill the Palestinian people," he said.

Afghanis more optimistic about Afghan future than Americans

Point Blank at Security Watchtower observes a Footnote in the Forgotten War.

  1. Almost nine in 10 -- 87 percent -- say the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban in 2002 was a good thing for the people of Afghanistan.
  2. And three-fourths of Afghans say their country is headed in the right direction, far higher than in the United States, where only three of 10 say that.

Who has the better perspective from which to make such a judgment?

December 7, 2005

King Abdullah

King Abdullah speaking in Mecca at an Organization of the Islamic Conference:

"It bleeds the heart of a believer to see how this glorious civilization has fallen from the height of glory to the ravine of frailty and how its thoughts were hijacked by devilish and criminal gangs that spread havoc on earth,"

This statement, along with an understanding of how Arab and Islamic society became so morally weak as to permit and encourage fanatical Islamofascism, is an example (all too rare) of the discourse all of the Islamic world should be engaged in.

Likewise, it is not our place to understand or find the "root of terrorism" - our purpose is to defeat it...

Addressing Reconstruction

The President's address on the War on Terror and rebuilding Iraq delivered this morning in Washington, D.C.

"Like earlier struggles for freedom, this war will take many turns, and the enemy must be defeated on every battlefront -- from the streets of Western cities, to the mountains of Afghanistan, to the tribal regions of Pakistan, to the islands of Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity. So we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror."

Press reports, such as the Financial Times review of efforts to rebuild Iraq aren't likely to be frontpage news - yet, the evidence is there of progress - steady, slow at times - and reasoned hope for a new economically viable and opportunity driven Iraq.

The White House also released a "fact sheet" on the reconstruction efforts. [HT: Austin Bay Blog]

December 6, 2005

Where do we find such men?

This is a question that many Iraqis are now asking themselves.

“The Right Sort of Men” takes a closer look at boot camp for the Iraqi Security Forces and what motivates the Iraqi men who join the all-volunteer force.

Sami al-Arian Jury: Not Guilty

This is simply stunning.

When the defendants were arrested, then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said al-Arian was Islamic Jihad's North American leader. The defendants denied the charges and said any money they sent to the group was for charitable activities.

Of course it was. Why anyone would recognize charity in any context from a group whose primary function is terrorism is difficult to fathom.

Current Goals: PIJ is dedicated to the violent destruction of Israel. PIJ's radical ideology views its armed struggle against Israel as one battle in a larger worldwide holy war, pitting Islam against all non-believers. PIJ has thus violently opposed the peace process and has actively used suicide bombings against Israeli targets to derail the process. Unlike Hamas, which has built a network of social services, PIJ has focused almost exclusively on violent activities.

Stunned. Simply stunned.

Potential corruption in Iraqi polling

Iraq the Model is reporting of violence interrupting campaigning, this time in Kurdistan. He wonders of potential polling corruption in areas of Iraq.

This is simply the necessity of a democracy: Policing Polling.

It is a much-preferred trade off to futility in the face of torture and brutal dictatorship.

No secret about these prisons...

Security Watchtower has a concise roundup of simply frightening testimony given by witnesses at Saddam Hussein's ongoing trial, including:

"I swear by God, I walked by a room and... saw a grinder with blood coming out of it and human hair underneath," Mr Hassan told the court. As he spoke, Barzan, sitting behind Saddam in the dock, interrupted, shouting: "It’s a lie!" "My brother was given electric shocks while my 77-year-old father watched," Mr Hassan continued.

The sad commentary is that there seems to be more interest among certain circles in secret prisons housing the upper echelon of al-Qaeda than real torture on women and other civilians by the guiding hand of Saddam Hussein.

Why Marines Love Battleships

Why do the Marines fear the Navy's scuttling the last two battleships?

On the modernized battleships, 18 big (16-inch) guns could fire 460 projectiles in nine minutes and take out hardened targets in North Korea. In contrast, the DDX will fire only 70 long-range attack projectiles at $1 million a minute. The new destroyer will rely on conventional 155-millimeter rounds that Marines say cannot reach the shore. Former longtime National Security Council staffer William L. Stearman, now executive director of the U.S. Naval Fire Support Association, told me, "In short, this enormously expensive ship cannot fulfill its primary mission: provide naval surface fire support for the Marine Corps."

The DDX Overview states that it 'meets USMC fire support needs'. There is an obvious discrepancy in the definition of 'USMC fire support needs'.

Quick View: Palestinian Islamic Jihad

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad will be in the news for the forseeable future in light of recent deadly attacks on Israeli civilians.

For readers not familiar with the distinction between Hamas and the much smaller but even more violent Palestinian Islamic Jihad, consider the following from CDI.org, which I have called 'Primers' for their brevity and informative value.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Primer

Hamas Primer

December 5, 2005

Iran not 'a few months' from Nuclear Weapons

While the title of the UK Independent article is: UN chief urges West and Iran to cool brinkmanship over nuclear programme, IAEA Director General ElBaradei does little to allay fears and the sense of urgency on the Iranian nuclear program by offering up one of the shortest timelines (if not the shortest) to a nuclear-armed Iran yet.

Although IAEA officials have said it would take at least two years for Natanz to become fully operational, Mr ElBaradei believes that once the facility is up and running, the Iranians could be "a few months" away from a nuclear weapon.

Several news sources (namely Al-Bawaba and The Jerusalem Post) are citing the “a few months” quote from the UK Independent’s interview without prefacing it with the UK Independent’s note that the IAEA believes Natanz is at least two years from that point. The UK Independent should be applauded for that important context. [TW Note: One of the above was cited in the NewsBriefs here today and now reflects the UK Independent article lnked above.]

The question that begs to be asked of Mr. ElBaradei and the IAEA is, “Where was this two to three-year assessment months ago when Western agencies were predicting five to ten or more years before a nuclear Iran could emerge?”

Iran Uses Palestinian Misery?

In reading a report from the US Institute of Peace, one paragraph in particular seemed to leap from the pages:

Alternatively, if the Arab-Israeli conflict continues and Lebanon and Syria remain hostile to Israel and U.S. policy, Iran will be a regional beneficiary and will strengthen its position in Iraq: No Iraqi government is likely to establish close ties with Israel absent a resolution of the Palestinian problem. As long as the conflict continues to fester, Iran will continue to exploit it for its own purposes.

U.S. Institute of Peace: Iran and Iraq - The Shia Connection, Soft Power, and the Nuclear Factor

While, to be sure, this sentiment is not limited to Iran, it should be noted that the overwhelming majority of the attacks on Israel since the ceasefire agreement (including today) have come from the PIJ, heavily funded & supplied by Iran...not to mention little to no political aspirations in the Palestinian Territories. Add to that mix the recent attacks from (Iranian backed) Hezbollah in the north.

It is not unreasonable to go one step farther than the USIP report and conclude that Iran indeed does not seek a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as it provides to much ancillary value and convenience.

ICG releases Lebanon Report

ICG has released a new report on the Lebanese situation today.

International Crisis Group: Lebanon - Managing the Gathering Storm

The 38 page report will be digested ASAP. Providing the link for interested readers. There are both PDF and Word versions available.

December 4, 2005

Literally empty polls in Chavez' Venezuela

Publius Pundit's A.M. Mora y Leon traveled to Caracas, Venezuela to observe the congressional elections first hand.

I'm blogging live from Caracas, and today I saw utterly empty polling stations, one after another...

She teamed up with Venezuelan blogger Miguel Octavio searching the city for voters. He has some telling pictures of empty polling places here and here.

Clearly, removing Hugo Chavez from power will be far more difficult (and costly) for Venezuelans than election abstention. But the apparent effect of the Venezuelans' displeasure (or, as Chavez claims, 'American meddling') is, nonetheless, worthy of note here.

TSA's New Approach to Security

Via Democracy Project’s Bruce Kesler comes word of a new TSA approach to Airport Security.

[T]he federal Transportation Security Administration has tests in progress at Boston and now Minneapolis airports “designed to spot potential terrorists by how they act instead of by what they carry….[T]he new units will scrutinize travelers for anxious, frightened or deceptive behavior.” The trainers come from Israel.

There is a reason that El Al is the safest airline to travel in the world. Surely it should be the most targeted. We are wise to take a lesson from Israeli Airport Security.

The New 'Great Game': The Plans for the 'Stans

For readers not versed in the Central Asian 'Stans (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, et al), an article in The Scotsman will serve as an informative and interesting primer.

The Scotsman: Why the humble Kazhak voter counts in the global oil game

Today's envoys come from mighty oil companies and arrive by Gulfstream jet clutching spreadsheets showing the billions in profits that will roll out if leaders sign up to their plans.
But as in the 19th century, the result is a messy contest with the great powers treating the nations of Central Asia like chess pieces in a struggle for influence. The fuel for this struggle has been a string of contentious elections.

It is short & efficient, and readers are strongly encouraged to read on. A good 3-minutes' investment.

Beijing watches thousands march for democracy in Hong Kong

As noted in the NewsBriefs today, the thousands marching for Hong Kong democracy is an embarrassment for Beijing as it watches uncomfortably.

As per the norm with global democratic movement developments, both Publius Pundit and Gateway Pundit have excellent coverage including their usual enhancements of plentiful photos and video.

(H/T: Instapundit)

The real error in the planting of 'advertorials' in Iraqi media

At Countercolumn, Jayson is dead on with his observation of the latest flap making the rounds regarding the placing of advertorials in the Iraqi news media.

We don't have to micromanage the unconventional approach to war. And the freedom to innovate and the willingness and ability of SpecWar types to do so has always been a great strength. But the left hand must know what the right hand is doing. And in this case, it looks like there was a disconnect between the SpecWar PSYOPS at the tactical and operational level and the joint level IO shop. And so the Pentagon was caught flat-footed because they weren't aware of the IO activities being undertaken by Special Operations command.
So, yeah...the SOC needs to get slapped around a bit. But it's not because they engaged the Iraqi media in a truthful Information Operations campaign at the tactical and operational level.

December 3, 2005

Call it a good day in the War on Terror

A capture, a suicide and a liquidation. All in all, a good day in the War on Terror. Three very significant eliminations.

Dan Darling offers a good look at these three Islamist terrorists and what their values were with "3 senior al-Qaeda leaders taken down".

Hanson On War and Torture

VDH offers up an excellent commentary on the use of torture in modern warfare. Read - Winning a War without Torture.

We know from both its professed creed and its conduct in the field that al Qaeda cares nothing for civilized behavior. Its barbarism is innate, not predicated on any notion of reciprocity. Prisoners were beheaded and tortured before the sexual humiliation so amply photographed at Abu Ghraib. U.S. soldiers already grasp what surrender to al Qaeda terrorists means; they've seen other Westerners appear hooded on the Internet before losing their heads to choruses of "Allah Akhbar."

December 2, 2005

Presbyterian officials backtrack from Hezbollah meeting

Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) officials are backtracking now from their recent meetings with Hezbollah and stating that they should have been more clear about denouncing terrorism.

"It was wrong that Hizbollah representatives and the Arab media utilized the group's visit for political purposes," he said in the letter. "Because they did, I now regret attending the meeting."

The PC(USA) threats of divestiture of holdings from businesses engaged with Israel or the Israeli government are certainly not attempts by Hezbollah and Arab media to 'utilize the group's visit for political purposes'.

NYC Random Searches Ruled Constitutional

Random bag searches in New York City subways have been ruled constitutional by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman today. While opposed by the ACLU as 'unnecessary invasions of privacy', simple logic won the case.

During the trial, Deputy Police Commissioner David Cohen said the searches keep terrorists guessing. "Unpredictability is the enemy of terrorists and the ally of those trying to prevent an attack," said Cohen, who joined the police department after a three-decade career at the CIA analyzing the threat of terrorism.

Bill on the Radio

Bill will be on the radio tonight with Rob Breakenridge, host of The World Tonight, at 10:00 PM Eastern. To listen online visit AM 770 CHQR and click LISTEN LIVE.

The other front of the War on Terror

Judith Klinghoffer, a Professor of History at Rutgers University, directs to this article by Tashbih Sayyed, PhD. Says the Pakistani Muslim World Today in today's must read:

"On my way from the city of David to the Royal Prima hotel in Jerusalem, I asked my Palestinian taxi driver how he feels about moving to the territories under Palestinian Authority. He said that he could never think of living outside Israel. His answer blasted the myth spread by anti-Semites that Israel's Arab citizens are not happy there."

Operation Shank Update

In an e-mailed statement from Captain Jeffrey Pool from Camp Blue Diamond (Ar Ramadi) on Operation Shank developments today:

"Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Forces began the operation in the early morning hours by conducting targeted raids on suspected insurgent safe houses in central Ramadi resulting in the discovery of bomb making material...
...The operation was carefully planned by using information and intelligence gathered by Iraqi and U.S. Forces operating in the city on a daily basis. There is no correlation between Operation Shank and the erroneous reports which were circulated by insurgent propagandist."

Pakistan Protects Indian Border...but not from Terrorists

From the latest NewsBrief posted:

Pakistan won't allow use of its soil against India - The Times of India ...but ruled out sealing the border to prevent terrorist incursions.

Unless I missed something, Islamist terrorists are the only ones currently attacking India via the Pak border.

India surely feels comforted. Unless India sees the US or Afghanistan invading India via Pakistan, this means...what precisely?

December 1, 2005

Operation Phone Home

The USO and Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC, have teamed up to bring phone cards to America's troops abroad during the holiday season. Visit USO Operation Phone Home to lend your support and help our defenders stay in touch with families and friends.

Covering Bush's Address at Annapolis

President Bush's speech at the Naval Academy warrants more understanding than it's received by the media (old and older). It strikes me that no matter what the President said, unless he declared a withdrawal timeline, his critics would have offered the same negative reviews.

Instead of wielding to critics and polls, the President chose to provide leadership and encouragement for those who are preparing to defend our nation. The plan he outlined is not flawed in its ambiguity with regard to a departure date - it is a testament to the reality of war and war planning. We plan to win. We'll stay and fight until we've secured Iraq for Iraqi's and for our own future security.

One of the worst reviews of the speech challenges Bush's statements as optimisitic at every turn. Matt Kelley, Steven Komarow and Jim Drinkard, writing for USA Today, note that Bush doesn't mention that Sunni's could be joining the Iraqi security forces to infiltrate the security forces - citing Larry Diamond, an expert on Iraq at Stanford. They also note that the President didn't point out that the jihadists came to Iraq after the fall of Saddam. Yet they don't note that the jihadist came to Iraq because the Taliban in Afghanistan was defeated and al-Qaeda on the run. Nor do they mention that from Iraq jihadist aren't gaining territory or defeating our forces.

Reporters and columnists are aware that it's quite easy to find a critic of any and every notion the President puts forth. Should they instead choose to, it would be just as easy for them to detail the progress of our efforts and the monstrous nature of those opposing the US led War on Terror.

Thank A Soldier Week

Thank A Soldier Week begins December 19th. Via Security WatchTower.

Each individual member of our armed forces has earned our appreciation and thanks. Semper Fi.

  • AudioFebruary 2, 2010
    [Listen Here]
    What on Earth can Usama bin Laden, the mystical calculus of climate change and US Homeland Security have in common? Does bin Laden really agree with the President of the United States on matters weather? How is it that the...

Special Reports

Recent Features