Monthly Archives: February 2007

Iraq News Roundup 15 Feb 2007

I’m trying something new for me in this blog. Please feel free to blog about anything you read here. Please link to where you found it.

As Maliki announced the beginning of the operation from Karbala, Iraqi and U.S. Forces pressed the security crackdown in Baghdad. Late Wednesday the borders with Iran and Syria were completely closed down for 72 hours. The Burantha Shiite mosque (affiliated with SCIRI) was raided and a large cache of machine guns and rifles seized on Wednesday, underlining the universal nature of the current operations. The B-1 bomber has even been spotted over Baghdad. (Iraq the Model) On Thursday, Operation Law and Order set up checkpoints and conducted searches and clearing operations around Baghdad (VOA) U.S.-Iraqi patrols went into the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad, the northeast suburb of Buhriz. (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette) Two large arms caches were discovered in Lutifiyah, near Baghdad.

Iraqi Army forces targeted a murder-kidnapping gang in Mashru, south of Suwayrah, detaining several suspects. In Salman Pak, a shackled hostage, who had been hooded for three days and stated that he believed he was soon to be executed, was freed by coalition forces. Four hostage takers found in the same building were taken prisoner. (DefenseLink, MNF Iraq)

3,000 Iraqi and British troops started a lockdown in Basra, which has been suffering the tender mercies of feuding gangs of criminals and Shi’ite militants. (Reuters)

Iraqi officials announced that Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, was wounded in a battle near Balad, north of Baghdad. One of his aides was killed in the same operation. (VOA) The aide has been identified as Abu Abdullah al-Majemaai. (Yahoo News)

Where is Moqtada? First, U.S. forces stated that Moqtada al-Sadr had fled Iraq for Iran ahead of Law and Order. Then Sadr aides denied it. U.S. sources repeated their assertions. Now an Iraqi government source has confirmed that Sadr is currently in Tehran, Iran, sheltering near his extended family (Pajamas Media, Iraq Pundit). Sadr has ordered the leaders of his so-called “Mehdi Army” militia to leave Iraq ahead of the crackdown. (Reuters) Will his flight from Iraq discount him as a courageous leader against U.S. and Iraqi government forces, or is personal courage of little account to his audience?

A video of Army Specialist Ahmed Kousey al-Taie of Detroit, who was kidnapped in Baghdad in November, was shown on CNN. (Yahoo News)

The 3,200-strong 173rd Airborne Brigade out of Vicenza, Italy, will be deployed to Afghanistan instead of Iraq.

The U.N. estimates 40,000 to 50,000 Iraqis flee the country every month, with the same number migrating within Iraq. 700,000 Iraqis have sought refuge in Jordan, where they are causing problems. (VOA) The U.S. Administration has proposed to accept about 7,000 Iraqi refugees in the U.S. (about 10 times the number who have already been allowed) and will contribute $18M to the U.N.’s worldwide resettlement and relief programs. (Yahoo News) Iraqis in the U.S. applaud the plan.

In Washington D.C., President Bush’s nominees for ambassador in Iraq and Afghanistan were introduced. Ryan Crocker, nominated as ambassador to Iraq, and William Wood, nominated as ambassador to Afghanistan, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (VOA)

Auditors appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to speak about wasteful spending in the Iraq reconstruction effort. (AP)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has begun educating reporters at the Pentagon about Iranian involvement in Iraq, including describing the players in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Quds Force, and other parts of the autocratic Iranian government. (VOA) Echoing President Bush, he stated that it wasn’t proved that Iran’s top leadership has given the orders to smuggle Iranian weapons into Iraq to kill U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and police. Perhaps the autocratic Iranian government is unable to control arms smugglers operating inside its borders, and unable to prevent arms smugglers from stealing weapons from the IRGC. Perhaps up is down and pigs fly. The truth about Iranian weapon smuggling is apparent and has been for two years, but something else is going on behind the curtains.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, enervating debate on the plan for Iraq was extended to a fourth day. (VOA) Two powerful legislators, John Murtha and Joe Biden, have begun to implement their plan to slowly starve the U.S. Military in Iraq of resources, which will cause U.S. defeat in Iraq to be inevitable, and to be blamed on George W. Bush. Democrats are bringing out the veterans to establish their military credentials for the debate on the non-binding resolution against trying to win in Iraq. A million-dollar ad campaign against the war, featuring maimed Iraq veterans, is being coordinated with the debate. Biden is still pushing the partition of Iraq. Democratic Senators are planning to hold the first test vote on the resolution on Saturday. Why a weekend vote?

A British judge dismissed charges against five British soldiers accused of mistreating Iraqi civilians. Other soldiers still face the original charges.

An Iraqi General has something to say about AP’s favorite Baghdad police captain, the pseudonymous Jamil Hussein. AP has not responded.

Iraq has reopened its embassy to Saudi Arabia.

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Giving the Democrats what they want in Iraq

From the House Iraq Debate:

“Democrats have called for a new secretary of defense, new leadership on the ground in Iraq, and a new strategy. We now have a new secretary of defense and a new commander in Iraq who are working with the Iraqis to implement a new strategy. We should give it a chance to succeed.” — Rep. Geoff Davis (news, bio, voting record), R-Ky. (source)

Following the thorough defeat of his party in the November elections, George W. Bush has given the Democrats what they wanted in Iraq. He has replaced Donald Rumsfield with a new Secretary of Defense, replaced the commanders in Iraq who were not winning the war fast enough, and changed the strategy from one of passively waiting for Iraqis to defend their country to actively policing the country. The strategy change requires additional troops to succeed.

Therefore the surge.

And once the surge was proposed, the Democrats decided it was utterly unlike what they wanted in Iraq. In fact, they wanted to keep the old commanders in Iraq and focus even more on waiting for Iraqis to police Iraq. In other words, they wanted to stay the course instead of changing gears. They still were glad that Rumsfield was gone, but that is the only demand they have not reversed.

This reveals a fundamental lack of seriousness in the Democrats. They have flip-flopped on the demands they made for Iraq in the campaign season, and now it is clear that they said those things for partisan advantage, while planning to change course if they got the power. In other words, they lied so they could get into power. Once in power, they revealed their true color: yellow. And now they want to run away from Iraq and let the Iraqis deal with the genocidal sectarian war that is brewing.

The Democrat strategy is an effective one in warfare. They deceived their enemy into doing something foolish. The enemy voted for them, or refrained from voting for Republicans, and now it is time to pay.

Did you get that?

If the Democrats convinced you to change your vote from Republican to Democrat in November by convincing you that nobody could do worse than the Republicans, then you are the enemy they fooled, you are part of the enemy they defeated. This was war, and it was the far-left wing of the Democrats against everybody else.

So what was it exactly that the Democrats wanted in Iraq? In Iraq, the Democrats were looking for the defeat of George W. Bush and the Republican party, and no matter what price the country has to pay, in Democrat eyes it is worth it. To far-left Democrats, Iraq and Afghanistan and the War on Terror are battles in the larger war of Democrats against Republicans.

God help us!

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Catspaw of Iran?

Well… Perhaps not… Read the Updates at end of article.

It now seems that there is evidence that the 260 terrorists of a messianic Shiite cult who were killed by a combined force of Iraqi Army and U.S. forces on January 29 were not what we were told.

Abid Ali, who witnessed the Najaf fighting, said a procession of about 200 pilgrims from the Hawatim tribe had arrived in the Zarqa area near Najaf to celebrate the Ashura festival. After a confrontation over the procession, Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint shot dead Hajj Sa’ad Sa’ad Nayif al-Hatemi, chief of the tribe, as he and his wife sat in their car. Members of the tribe then attacked the checkpoint to avenge the death of their chief.

“It was after this that the Iraqi army called in the Americans, and the planes began bombing civilians,” Ali said. “It was a massacre. Now I believe internal Shi’ite fighting has entered a very dangerous phase.”

Ali said most people in the area believe the US military was told by Iraqi security forces loyal to the pro-Iranian government in Baghdad that “terrorists” or the “messianic cult” were attacking Najaf. They say the misinformation was intended to mislead occupation forces into attacking the tribe. (source)

If this is true, this is embarrassing to the U.S. and a great tragedy! The least bad way forward is to conduct a thorough and quick investigation, offer apologies to the survivors, promise to do better, and extract severe consequences for the Iran-allied Iraqi government forces who caused it.

If it is true.
Continue reading

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Philadelphia is set to become the second large American city to ban restaurants from serving trans fats, which doctors say increase the risk of heart disease.

The City Council approved the ban unanimously Thursday, and Mayor John F. Street is expected to sign it. The measure would prohibit restaurateurs from frying foods in trans fats or serving trans fat-based spreads beginning Sept. 1.

By Sept. 1, 2008, trans fats would be banned in all other types of food prepared in Philadelphia eateries. (source)

If trans fats like Crisco are banned then the obvious replacement is good, old-fashioned lard. It is a far superior cooking oil for deep-frying and was originally used for everything that trans fats are used for now, until sometime back in the 1970s when public health fads of that period caused everyone to switch away from lard to trans fats that we now know to be far more hazardous to our health than lard.

Is there a lesson in this about the perils of legislation following health fads? Yes, but it will not be heeded by the ones who are dead-set on writing laws to cover every aspect of human existence, and somehow think that such totalitarianism can have a positive result.

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Interfaith Resources

The Alexander Ministries is a fairly new blog with a number of characterizations of assorted religious streams, with a tendency in the ones I read to treat them kindly and take apologetics at face value.

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Price of AK-47s going up in Lebanon

AK-47 prices and the prices of other armaments are going up as Hizballah prompts everybody to get armed.

The price of a Kalashnikov assault rifle has soared in Lebanon, riding the wave of political crisis, community tension and fears of a new civil war.

t used to be $100 (dhs360) – now it’s more than $700. “It’s a stampede,” an arms dealer who did not wish to be named said. Those who have guns are keeping them or not selling except for a huge profit, and those who don’t have them are buying so they can face any eventuality.” (Feb 11, 2007)

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Non-Muslims Must Study Koran to Marry in West Sumatra

In a heinous example of state oppression and compulsion in religion, there are growing numbers of towns in Indonesia that require Koran study for everyone, Moslem or not, and now it is to be provincial law in West Sumatra.

The Indonesian province of West Sumatra has adopted an ordinance to take effect in 2008 requiring all students from elementary through high schools as well as couples to be married to take a written and oral tests on the Koran, or Qur’ān, and this irrespective of their religion.

Guspardi Gaus, who chaired the special provincial commission that developed the ordinance, said a number of gubernatorial decrees would be necessary to implement the regulation, along with changes to school curricula, but the provincial bylaw should apply to every city and regency (district) within the next two years. […]

Guspardi shrugged off suggestions that the ordinance would have negative impacts on non-Muslims.

“Islam is merciful. The more religious one is, the more beneficial he or she will be to others, including followers of other faiths. So it’s not a threat, because Islam teaches people to do good amongst themselves. Qur’ānic education is aimed at giving people, especially the younger generation, good morals, so they won’t be lured by drugs and other negative activities.”(source)

The concern is that they might take up negative activities like Jihad. How is this to be avoided? Will West Sumatra excise the violent verses, such as the entirety of Chapter 9?

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