Monday, December 31, 2007

Hamas and Fatah Clash in Gaza: Four Dead

Good! Hopefully, by the end of January they will have totally killed each other off.
And I know I sound like a broken record but these are the people, the poor downtrodden souls, that the world pities and sends $7.2 billion to in aid. These are ruthless killing jihadis.
The absurdity of this is the power struggle between two gangs of misfits. Hamas declared there would be no New Year's celebrations in Gaza...Fatah decided to celebrate with some of that typical "I'll shoot my rifle off into the sky" baloney and then all hell breaks loose.
Again, all I can say is good. At the same time, innocent civilians get hurt and that of course, is not good, but it speaks to what I say...the world is giving these people money so they can injure and kill innocents. The insanity of it all, simply escapes me.

Note: Notice the AP's headline below. How benign can a news agency make this? Heaven forbid they would actually NAME the guilty powers in a headline - it might just alert the world to it's mistake.

Here's the details of the full story.

Rival Palestinian Factions Clash, 4 Dead
Dec 31 04:23 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Deadly clashes erupted Monday between rival factions in the Gaza Strip for the first time in more than a month, despite a conciliatory speech toward Hamas by Fatah's leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
At least four Palestinians were killed, and medics said at least 60 were injured.
The sudden spike in Palestinian tensions came just a week before a planned visit to the Mideast by President Bush, who will try to prod Israel and the Palestinians closer to peace. Internal Palestinian violence could make it difficult for Abbas to concentrate on talks with Israel.
Fireworks lit the skies of Gaza after nightfall Monday, and Fatah backers fired rifles in the air all over the coastal strip to celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the founding of their movement. They were defying a ban on celebrations by the Islamic Hamas rulers of the territory.
In the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, clashes erupted between Fatah supporters and Hamas security forces. Medics said three people were killed, identifying them as two Hamas police officers and a Fatah backer. Another person was killed in Gaza City.
Hamas said the two officers were shot by Fatah gunmen on rooftops. Fatah said Hamas forces raided houses and arrested dozens of Fatah members.
Monday's fatalities were the first from Palestinian infighting since Nov. 11, when Hamas forces fired on a huge Fatah rally in Gaza City, killing eight people and wounding 85. That rally was the biggest show of Fatah strength since Hamas seized control of Gaza in June after defeating forces loyal to Abbas.

We Want Our Money Back!

I hate to say "I told you so" but this story cannot be allowed to slip under the rug. Fatah's (whoops, I guess it's the Palestinian Authority's) leader, Mahmoud Abbas has all of the world's billions of cash on its way to him and now, NOW he has decided it is time to reconcile with Hamas.
Condi Rice, Madame Secretary of State, if I can take a moment to speak for the American people...WE WANT OUR $555 MILLION BACK!
How many times can Abbas pull this charade on the West? How stupid are our government officials? How many times must I say it here: You can NOT trust Mahmoud Abbas. He is a jihadist, he is a liar, he is a criminal. He is NO better than Hamas.
For what seems like years now, the West has bought into the fabrications of Abbas and Fatah that they can be moderate, that they can work out a deal with the Israelis. And quite frankly, Olmert of Israel has bought into the fibs of this pig as well. So, when it's all said and done, the United States, at the insistence of Condi Rice, sends half a billion dollars to the Palestinian Authority on the ground that the PA will isolate and disregard Hamas. And the PA has laughed in the U.S. face and now will make "nice" with Hamas.
We've been had again. I'm waiting for one of the Presidential candidates this stand tall and proud and assure the American people that we won't be duped like this on his watch.
The fact of the matter is - there never was a nation of "Palestine", there never will be a nation of "Palestine." I personally would arrest Abbas on charges of fraud and theft and put him in prison for a very long time.

Here's the full story of lies.

'Peace partner' ready to make nice with Hamas
Posted: December 31, 20071:30 p.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein© 2007

JERUSALEM – In a major policy speech today, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged dialogue with rival Hamas, calling for a "new page" to be started with the terror group.
"There is no way for any party here to be an alternative to the other, and there is no room for terms like coup or military takeover, but only for dialogue, dialogue, dialogue," Abbas said, referring to Hamas at a large rally marking the 43rd anniversary of his Fatah organization.
Abbas called for "a new page, writing in its lines a credible agreement based on partnership, on life, on our homeland and our struggle to liberate it."
He said new elections should be held in an effort to reconcile the warring Hamas and Fatah factions in hopes of improving life for Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Abbas' calls for dialogue fly in the face of the U.S. and Israeli policy of isolating Hamas and negotiating with Fatah, which the U.S. considers moderate.

Earlier this month, the U.S. pledged at a donors conference in Paris about $555 million in aid to Abbas over the next year. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice already asked Congress to approve $400 million of the aid package, stating the massive new proposed funding was meant to boost Abbas against Hamas

"We have to bring down this bunch, which took over Gaza with armed force and is abusing the sufferings and pains of our people," Abbas said last month after Hamas opened fire on a Fatah rally in Gaza.
Since the Annapolis summit, Fatah officials have been indicating their organization may reconcile with Hamas.

Iraqi Sunnis SLAM Osama bin Laden

In the latest bin Laden tape, he criticized the Sunnis in Iraq who had been fighting his al Qaeda forces. Well, apparently the sheiks of the Awakening Council in Anbar province don't consider bin Laden's criticism or threats to be worth much. You got to love the stones on these guys.
My favorite quote from Sheik Sheikh Khalid Shahudh:

" Bin Laden's statement doesn't affect us - he is making these threats from a position of weakness "

This is a very important push back by the Sunnis in Iraq. They spell out to bin Laden that his fighters are marked men. They go on to explain that the awakening councils in Iraq are of ALL sects. These are not only statements of defiance but of unity of Iraqi people. I commend this bravery because they will continue to be targeted by al Qaeda, but you can see the resolve here, the determination. Bin Laden's thugs in Iraq made some huge mistakes in Iraq and they are paying and will pay dearly.

Must read here at the full story.

Leaders hit back at 'weak' bin Laden

IRAQI Sunni tribal and political leaders singled out as "traitors" by Osama bin Laden have hit back, accusing the Al-Qaeda chief of being un-Islamic and mocking him as being weak.
"Bin Laden's statement doesn't affect us - he is making these threats from a position of weakness," said Sheikh Khalid Shahudh, a senior member of the Awakening Council in western Anbar province which came in for particular censure from the Western world's most wanted man.
Bin Laden, in a 56-minute tape released late Saturday, warned Sunni Muslims in Iraq not to take up arms against the terror network, saying those who did were "traitors".
Those fighting Al-Qaeda, known as "Awakening" councils, have "betrayed the nation and brought shame and scandal, that will be followed by damnation forever unless they repent," he said.
Along with Awakening members, especially those in Anbar where the movement first began, bin Laden also rejected supporters of the Islamic Party of Iraq, a Sunni faction led by Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, as "traitors to Islam".
Sheikh Shahudh said bin Laden's threats carried no weight.
"Al-Qaeda has no more power in Anbar province," he said

"The Awakening is now operating all across Iraq and involving all sects. We will continue chasing Al-Qaeda. We have no enemies except Al-Qaeda. The Americans are not our enemy anymore. Our forces will deal exclusively with Al-Qaeda. We will hunt them until we get rid of the last element."

World Wide Death Toll For News Reporters Hit 134 In 2007

A report by the International Federation of Journalists shows that 134 journalists lost their lives in 2007 while covering news stories. Not surprisingly, Iraq lead the countries in most casualties but I want to take a look at the other numbers here.
The report states that 68 of the deaths happened in the Middle East. Then it goes on to list the following death tallies:

Somalia 8 deaths
Pakistan 7 deaths
Sri Lanka 6 deaths
Mexico 6 deaths
Philippines 5 deaths

Now, I ask you...notice any commonality in all of this? The article states only two reasons for these deaths - combat zones in Iraq and drug gangs in Mexico. The International Federation is too bloody chicken to call a spade a spade. These deaths are directly related to areas infested with terrorists and jihadists. The Middle East is arab and muslim and is plagued with Hamas, al Qaeda and Hezbollah. Pakistan is muslim and plagued with al Qaeda, the Taliban and hundreds of islamic jihadist groups. The Philippines has its own group of al Qaeda linked terror and Sri Lanka's numbers can be linked to the Tamil Tigers.
So here is a journalistic body, reporting on its own loss of life in 2007 and they cannot even report the true reason for these deaths - terrorism and in 90% of it, islamic jihad. Figures, doesn't it?

Full story here.

134 lives lost covering world news

At least 134 media workers have been killed while working this year, with most of the killings in Iraq the most dangerous location for journalists since the start of the war there.The Middle East was by far the deadliest region, with 68 killings in the region, followed by Somalia with eight killed, Pakistan with seven, Mexico and Sri Lanka each with six, and the Philippines with five, according to the International Federation of Journalists."Violence against journalists remained at extremely high levels for the third year in a row," IFJ President Jim Boumelha said."Our colleagues have been targeted because of their work, or killed covering dangerous stories, often in the rush to cover breaking news."

"The threats of targeting, particularly in combat zones like Iraq, continue unabated," the group said.
Coverage of drug traffickers led to six confirmed deaths in Mexico, while throughout Latin America journalists were killed for reporting on criminal gangs, drug trafficking and shady politics, said the federation, which represents 600,000 journalists from 120 countries.

23 Afghan Police, Troops Killed By Taliban

One of the worst days for Afghan security forces in a very long time. The bulk of the killings happened at one check point where Taliban jihadists attacked the checkpoint and killed 16 Afghan police officers. The other casualties came from a mine explosion and sporadic attacks.

Full story here.

23 Afghan police, soldiers killed

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Taliban militants attacked a police checkpoint in southern Afghanistan and killed 16 officers, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
The policemen were manning a checkpoint in the Maywand district of Kandahar province on Saturday when a large group of militants attacked them, said Zemerai Bashary, the Interior Ministry spokesman.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the militant group was responsible for the killings.

Elsewhere, four Afghan soldiers were killed in a mine explosion Sunday in Uruzgan province, while one soldier was killed in Paktia province in another blast, the Ministry of Defense said.
In Helmand province, a roadside bomb exploded Monday as a police vehicle drove through Musa Qala, killing two officers, said district chief Haji Bir Mohammad.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Al Qaeda in Iraq Suspected in Kidnapping of 13 Iraqis

Suspected al Qaeda in Iraq jihadists set up a fake check point between two towns in northern Iraq and stopped three vehicles with 13 civilians in them that were then taken hostage.
Now, the details are sketchy but I have to believe that there has to be some worth to some of these hostages. It wouldn't surprise me if there isn't a member or two of the newer Awakening councils of the north or at least relatives of them.
Either way, al Qaeda continues its desperation on targeting civilians and of course, this will continue to backfire. My guess is these hostages will be located and the kidnappers are in for some nasty whoopass.

Here's the brief story on the abduction.

Suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen kidnap 13

SUSPECTED Al-Qaeda gunmen set up a fake checkpoint south of the Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk and kidnapped 13 civilians early on Sunday.
The incident occurred between the towns of Sulaiman Beg and Tuz Khurmatu, local police officer Hewa Ghafour said.
"The gunmen are suspected to be from Al-Qaeda. They set up a fake checkpoint between these two towns and stopped three cars," he said.
"The gunmen then forced the 13 passengers out of the cars and kidnapped them," he said, adding that police had launched a search for the hostages.
In recent months, Al-Qaeda groups have stepped up attacks in northern Iraq after fleeing central and western regions where US and Iraqi commanders say massive military assaults have destroyed many of their hideouts.

Palestininan Pilgrims and Hamas Sent To Camps in Sinai

This is like an extra Christmas present found lingering beneath the tree! LOL! As we reported here yesterday, the palestinian pilgrims (which included up to 1000 Hamas jihadists and leadership) that traveled to Saudi Arabia for the HajjFest, found out that Egypt would not let them cross back into Gaza through the loosely controlled border crossing at Rafah (which Israel has no control over). The Egyptians, listening to the Israelis concerns that the Hamas members were bringing back suitcases full of Saudi and Iranian cash, were forcing the pilgrims to enter Gaza through the Israeli-controlled crossing of Aouja.
Well, Hamas is all whining about this because they think they'll get their asses arrested by the Israelis as they enter through Aouja - that's what they are saying but of course the real story is they will lose all of their cash! So now Egypt finds itself in a tough spot and while trying to figure it all out, they've shipped the flea-bitten palestinians into camps in the Sinai. LOL! I love the thought of Hamas leaders sitting around a camp fire begging people for a can of beans.
Unfortunately, I think you'll see some European country offer up two worthless border inspectors for the Rafah crossing who will of course look the other way and let the cash into Gaza. At least I hope it takes a week or two to decide so the little boys from Hamas get a good dose of summer camp living.

Here's the full story.

Pilgrims Stuck in Egypt Taken to Camps

El-ARISH, Egypt (AP) - More than a thousand Palestinian pilgrims, including members of the militant Hamas group, were put in camps in the northern Sinai on Sunday until a dispute over how they will return to the Gaza Strip is resolved.
The Palestinians arrived in the Egyptian Red Sea port of Nuweiba in southern Sinai on Saturday after completing their pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. But they have refused Egypt's attempts to have them return to Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Aouja border crossing.
Israel fears that if the pilgrims are allowed to return to Gaza through the direct crossing from Egypt at Rafah—where Israel has no control and where European monitors are not working—Hamas militants might get through and sympathizers could smuggle cash to the Islamic group in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
But Egypt's attempts to force the pilgrims to use the Aouja crossing have outraged Hamas supporters in Gaza, who staged large-scale protests on Saturday. Hamas fears Israel will arrest its members at the crossing.
More than two dozen buses brought 1,166 Palestinians from Nuweiba to el-Arish, on the Mediterranean coast, 15 miles west of Rafah, the security official said.
Another ferry load of nearly 1,900 more Palestinians at Nuweiba will also be brought to el-Arish, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Egypt has set up 11 temporary camps in El-Arish to house the pilgrims until authorities come up with a solution to the current crisis, the official said.

Al-Jazeera television aired interviews with the pilgrims before they left Jordan in which they showed a paper Egypt allegedly asked them to sign saying they would to return to Gaza through Aouja.
Some 7,000 demonstrators gathered at the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing Saturday waving Palestinian and Hamas flags and demanding the pilgrims be allowed to enter.
Hamas lawmakers echoed these calls, saying Egypt has a moral obligation to bring the pilgrims home as quickly as possible by allowing them to cross through Rafah.

Hillary Clinton: Pakistani Troops May Have Assassinated Bhutto

Well, if this was a pop quiz on how Hillary Clinton would handle foreign relations from the Oval Office, she'd get an "F" and need to stay after school and write 1000 times on the blackboard: "I will think before I shoot off my mouth."
Let's face it, Hillary really thinks she is the foreign relations guru of all of the Presidential candidates - in her own mind of course. Let's not forget how Hillary was all over Barack Obama not too long ago for what she considered him meddling in Pakistan's affairs and making comments about an invasion of Pakistan. And here is Hillary now, buying into some of the conspiracy theories about Bhutto's assassination.
Perhaps someone should alert Hillary to the fact that the only thing keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of al Qaeda is Musharraf and the Pakistani know, the troops she has now implied committed murder. And she wants to be MY President??!!

Here's the full story.

Hillary: Pakistan troops might have killed Bhutto

CLINTON, Iowa - Hillary Rodham Clinton waded into Pakistan's volatile internal political situation Saturday, raising the possibility the country's military might have assassinated Benazir Bhutto because the killing took place in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.Clinton's remarks came as Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's government seemed to reject a call for an independent international investigation of the murder that Clinton and John Edwards proposed on Friday.During a question-and-answer session at an elementary school here, Clinton offered a detailed prescription for the troubled country, suggesting that the U.S divert aid away from its military to social welfare programs.

And for the second time in as many days, she cast doubt on Musharraf's contention that the suicide bombing that led to the death of the country's most popular opposition leader was masterminded by al-Qaida."There are those saying that al-Qaida did it. Others are saying it looked like it was an inside job -- remember Rawalpindi is a garrison city," she said.

In August, her aides accused Obama of helping to destabilize the nuclear-armed Pakistan by suggesting he'd deploy U.S. forces in the country to hunt for Osama bin Laden.But Saturday, Clinton delved into Pakistan's internal affairs, suggesting its "feudal landowning leadership," led by Musharraf, has protected al-Qaida to preserve its tenuous grip on power. In an interview on Friday, Clinton called for an international probe into Bhutto's assassination, saying "there was no reason to trust the Pakistani government."

Senior Afghan Commander, Dadullah, Gets Fired - No Not Shot, Pink Slip Time!

What a wonderful thing to see the Taliban experiencing all of the drama and internal unrest of a sick and dying movement based on lies and deceit. It warms my heart to see Mullah Omar have to sneak out of his cave in the middle of winter to conduct interviews. And it is a glorious sight to see the senior commander for the southern Afghanistand region, Monsoor Dadullah out in the cold so soon after he vowed to avenge his brother's death (his brother is the leader the Coalitions turned into hamburger).
No one seems to know for sure the exact reasons for Dadullah's firing but the word "insubordination" has been thrown out there. So let me try to use some conjecture. The NATO and Afghan forces just celebrated a huge victory at Musa Qala - taking over that village that had been in Taliban hands for years. We killed upwards of 200 Taliban at the firefight and as they turned tail and tried to make it to the mountains. And Musa Qala is in Helmand province. Now, let's see. Who was in charge of Helmand province for the Taliban? Anybody? :Slaps Forehead: That's right! Good oly Mullah Monsoor Dadullah was in charge of Helmand province!
Here's the deal. The Musa Qala victory was a huge psychological victory for the Coalition and NATO. Everyone knew that and the Taliban tried to downplay the loss, so much so that even al Qaeda #2, Ayman al-Zawahirri, tried to downplay it.

The fact is this. The Taliban got embarassed in front of the world by NATO and Afghan forces. They couldn't even hold one of their longest-held strongholds and now Mullah Omar, the head dog at Taliban HQ is pissed and heads are rolling (not literally yet) - and Monsoor Dadullah is out. Kinda wonder what you do for work after being fired by the Taliban?

Here's the full report and wonderful coverage from The Long War Journal.

Taliban dismisses senior Afghan commander
By Bill Roggio
December 29, 2007 9:07 PM

As 2007 comes to a close, the Taliban has dismissed its senior military commander in southern Afghanistan. Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, a senior military commander, was relieved of his command by Mullah Omar, according to a statement. Dadullah was accused of insubordination.
"Mullah Mansoor Dadullah has been dismissed as the Taliban commander because he disobeyed the orders of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told AFP. "Therefore it was decided not to appoint any post in the emirate to him," Mujahed concluded.

Mansoor was the military commander of Taliban forces in the strategic southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan, and Zabul provinces. He took command of Taliban forces in May of this year after his brother Mullah Dadullah Ahkund, a popular but brutal and effective commander, was killed by British special forces in Helmand province.

Pro-Taliban supporters shout slogans during a rally in Killi Nalai [AP]. Click to view.
Mansoor eulogized his brother in May via videotape to a large gathering of 10,000 Taliban supporters in Baluchistan province in Pakistan. "The blood of my brother will never go waste. We will never forget his sacrifices, and the role of other martyrs,” Mansoor said. "We will complete Dadullah's mission by expelling Americans and liberating Afghanistan." The crowd chanted, "Long live Mullah Omar, Long Live Osama bin Laden and Taliban movement."

Afghan and Coalition forces drove the Taliban from the former stronghold of Musa Qala. The Taliban fled without putting up much of a fight. Over 2,000 fighters were said to be in Musa Qala. It is unclear if the loss of Musa Qala and other Taliban failures in southern Afghanistan attributed to Mansoor's dismissal.
Mujahed, the Taliban spokesman for eastern Afghanistan, did not provide details behind Dadullah's dismissal. Matt Dupee, a contributor to and The Long War Journal, indicated there are "ongoing rifts within the Taliban's upper echelon" over the past year.
"The Taliban’s decision to remove Shah Mansoor as their key commander in the southern areas is a significant development," said Dupee. "Not only does it highlight the ongoing rifts within the Taliban’s upper echelon, but it follows their removal from Helmand’s Musa Qala district and a long list of successful Coalition operations against their command and control capabilities."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Israel Finds Explosive Chemicals in E.U. Aid Bags For Gaza

Just great. Not only has the world and the European Union decided to send billions of dollars in aid to the palestinians (for what, the 20th time??) but now, upon inspection, the Israelis have found chemicals to make explosives being shipped into Gaza in E.U. labeled aid bags!
It will be interesting what the shipment tracking on this holds for information and origination. And what's next? A few missiles being shipped into Gaza in E.U. crates labeled "flat screen tv's" ??

Here's the story from Reuters.

Israel says finds explosive chemicals in EU aid bags
29 Dec 2007 21:54:46
Source: Reuters

JERUSALEM, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Israel said on Saturday it had recently seized a truck carrying chemicals used to make explosives hidden in bags marked as European Union aid for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
The army said 6.5 tonnes of potassium nitrate were in bags marked as sugar from the European Union for Palestinians in the coastal enclave.
"We are looking into this report," said an EU official in Israel. "If it is found to be accurate, this is an illegal act that should be condemned."
The cargo in a Palestinian truck was travelling in the occupied West Bank and seized several weeks ago at an Israeli checkpoint, the army said.
The European Union is the largest provider of humanitarian assistance to Gaza. Israel tightened its military and economic cordon of the Gaza Strip after Islamist Hamas seized the territory in a June war with secular Fatah.
Potassium nitrate can be used to make explosives and to power homemade rockets. It can also be used as a fertiliser.

New Bin Laden Tape: Warning to Israel ...blah blah blah

The latest whinings from a beetle infested cave in Pakistan - Osama bin Laden's latest audio tape bascially makes two threats: one to the Sunnis in Iraq that are fighting al Qaeda and the second to Israel.
As the war continues to go badly for al Qaeda in Iraq, it is not surprising that bin Laden wants to try and summon an end to the banging his boys are taking there but what is fairly surprsising about this audio tape is the direct warnings to Israel. If you hadn't noticed, bin Laden rarely threatens Israel and most often barely mentions the Israelis. That is usually left up to sidekick #2.
What bin Laden doesn't get here is that the world hasn't seen his mug in years...he's been holed up for over 6 years now and people forget. The fact is bin Laden, your Arab and jihadist brothers have forgotten your sorry ass. You are meaningless to them. The only ones who remember you are the Americans and they are still coming for you, son.

Here's the full story from Breitbart.

Bin Laden Issues Warning on Iraq, Israel
Dec 29 03:22 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Osama bin Laden warned Iraq's Sunni Arabs against fighting al-Qaida and promised to expand the terror group's holy war to Israel in a new audiotape Saturday, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."
Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida's latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida's Iraq branch on the run.
The tape did not mention Pakistan or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though Pakistan's government has blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for her death on Thursday.
But bin Laden's comments offered an unusually direct attack on Israel, which has warned of growing al-Qaida activity in Palestinian territory. The terror network is not believed to have taken a strong role there so far.
"We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea," he said, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."
"We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," bin Laden said.

In Iraq, a number of Sunni Arab tribes in western Anbar province have formed a coalition fighting al-Qaida-linked insurgents that U.S. officials credit for deeply reducing violence in the province. The U.S. military has been working to form similar "Awakening Councils" in other areas of Iraq.
In the audiotape, bin Laden denounced Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the former leader of the Anbar Awakening Council, who was killed in a September bombing claimed by al-Qaida.
"The most evil of the traitors are those who trade away their religion for the sake of their mortal life," bin Laden said.
Bin Laden said U.S. and Iraqi officials are seeking to set up a "national unity government" joining the country's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.
"Our duty is to foil these dangerous schemes, which try to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state in Iraq, which would be a wall of resistance against American schemes to divide Iraq," he said.

America...Will We Be Sleeping?

While You Were Sleeping
by casting crowns
While You Were Sleeping lyrics

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you're lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave His only Son
The Way, the Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we're lying in the dark
There's a shout heard 'cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night

Christians Banned From Saying "Allah"

With the Religion of "Peace" it's just a never ending saga of absurdity. The Malaysian government has decided that Christians (and other infidels) cannot use the word 'Allah.'

Apparently a Catholic publication in Malaysia had the audacity to actually print the word in their newsletter and thus the word is now banned for Christians to use.

No word as to what the punishment is for a lowly Christian using that word of 'Allah', but I'll leave that to your imagination.

Christians banned from saying 'Allah'

A Malaysian newspaper is reporting that Christians in that Muslim nation are being banned from using the word "Allah."
"We cannot let other religions use it because it will confuse people," Malaysia's Deputy Internal Security Minister, Johari Baharum, told the DNAIndia publication.
He said "only Muslims can use the word 'Allah.'"
The issue erupted when a Catholic publication used the now-banned-for-Christians word.
Herald, the Catholic Church's weekly newsletter, used the word and was warned it is at risk now of losing its publication permit.

It is not right, Baharum said, for such a publication to use the protected word. "We cannot allow this … in non-Muslim publications," he said.
An estimated 10 percent of Malaysia's estimated population of 26 million is Christian, and a part of that segment is Catholic. Lawrence Andrew is editor of the Herald, and said "Allah" was not used to offend or confuse anyone.
He said the Malay-language Bible uses the word "Allah" for God, and uses "Tuham" for Lord."
It is not the first problem Christians have had in Malaysia, even though the nation's constitution calls for religious freedom.
The Wall Street Journal has summarized the plight of a Malaysian woman who converted to Christianity, but lost a court case seeking to have "Islam" removed as her religion on her identity card.

You Want Virgins? You Get Virgins! - Graphic Video

Palestinian "pilgrims" Trapped In Egypt

This is great! Thousands of the palestinian "pilgrims" who made the trek to Mecca arrived in Egypt as the last step in returning home. And weren't they in for a big surprise. The Egyptians are honoring an Israeli request that those "pilgrims" HAVE to enter the Gaza Strip through an Israeli-controlled border check point.
What's the matter fellas? Something to hide? A few Hamas leaders sprinkled in among you pilgrims? Go ahead....just make the crossing. Hahaha.

Here's the brief story from YNET.

Palestinian pilgrims trapped in Egypt

Close to two thousand Palestinian pilgrims who arrived in Egypt on Saturday protested Egyptian demands that they return to the Gaza Strip through an Israeli-controlled border crossing, security officials and pilgrims said.
The Palestinians, who recently finished their pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, arrived on two ferries at the port city of Nuweiba on the Sinai Peninsula from Jordan, an Egyptian security official said. Israeli officials have said the Egyptians agreed to have the pilgrims use the Aouja crossing. (AP)

Militants, Jihadists and Bhutto Aides Allege Cover Up - Breaking: Bhutto Well Wishers Attacked

First the breaking news: Bhutto supporters who attended her funeral were attacked with gunfire on their procession as they returned to Karachi. One person was killed in the attack.

As for the cover up, the accusations and denials are coming from everywhere but a small town in North Dakota. Islamic groups are denying their role in the assassination. Bhutto aides are pointing fingers at the military and opposition leaders are saying the government is covering it all up.

The crazy part of all this is that we probably will never know the entire truth. But look for more and more conspiracy and cover up stories over the next week. Who knows...we may even see a link to President Bush once the Democrats get back to Congress. :wink:

Here's the full story.

Militants, Bhutto Aides Allege Cover-Up

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - An Islamic militant group said Saturday it had no link to Benazir Bhutto's killing and the opposition leader's aides accused the government of a cover-up, disputing the official account of her assassination.
Bhutto's aides said they doubted militant commander Baitullah Mehsud was behind the attack on the opposition leader and said the government's claim that she died when she hit her head on the sunroof of her vehicle was "dangerous nonsense."
Meanwhile, attackers opened fire at a motorcade of Bhutto's supporters as they returned to Karachi after her funeral, killing one man and wounding two, said Waqar Mehdi, a spokesman for Bhutto's party. The government said mass rioting has killed 38 people and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.
In Rawalpindi, thousands of Bhutto supporters spilled onto the streets after a prayer ceremony for her, throwing stones and clashing with police who fired tear gas to try and subdue the crowd.
President Pervez Musharraf told his top security officials that those looting and plundering "must be dealt with firmly and all measures be taken to ensure (the) safety and security of the people," the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP)—An Islamic militant group said Saturday it had no link to Benazir Bhutto's killing, denying government claims that its leader orchestrated the assassination.
Bhutto's aides also said they doubted militant commander Baitullah Mehsud was behind the attack on the opposition leader and accused the government of a cover-up.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Muslim Youth Shopping Online for Fatwas

If the implications of this weren't so serious, I'd almost be in stitches here. Muslim youth are now turning to internet resolution to their "religious" questions as many hard line clerics either have been silenced or are in hiding after feeling the security crunch.
And what is now happening, is these youth are getting their "instructions" from unknown places abroad. From only you know who knows who.
Authorities are fearing that radical islamic websites are capitalizing on this opportunity to recruit jihadists as well as spread their terror more easily worldwide.
And here I thought it was against the Qu'ran to be on the computer! :smile:
Imagine it now...turning on the computer, connecting to the internet and instead of hearing "You've Got Mail!" hear...."You've Got Fatwa!"

Here's the full story from the Australian.

Muslim youth 'shop around for fatwas online'

YOUNG Muslims are increasingly turning to the internet to get religious advice on jihad as national security agencies crack down on local hardline clerics.
With counter-terrorism agencies keeping a close eye on radical imams, moderate leaders fear impressionable young followers are seeking religious orders from other sources.
The concern centres on overseas-based websites issuing personal fatwas -- religious decrees -- on jihad or fighting in the name of Islam.
Senior Islamic leader Ameer Ali warned that it was difficult to ascertain the qualifications and identity of the clerics issuing the dangerous rulings.
The Australian Federal Police is investigating Somali community figures accused of encouraging young men to return to their war-torn homeland and fight alongside Islamic jihadists.
Dr Ali said young Muslims who embraced the information age and turned to the internet for answers to their religious questions were at risk of being captured by radical Islamist websites.
There were thousands of websites issuing fatwas by email that undermined the traditional form of obtaining religious rulings from a local mufti or cleric, he said.

The nation's most prominent female Muslim advocate, Aziza Abdel-Halim, said online fatwas were risky because they failed to provide people with information that reflected the society they lived in.
"That's very dangerous, because you cannot really ask for a fatwa from someone who has no idea about your society," she said.

India Puts Pakistani Border on "High State of Vigil"

And I don't blame them a bit. India could certainly see some of the chaos and violence spill into India from Pakistan and at the same time, the new imbalance will probably lead India to keep this alert level up for some time.
I shudder at the thought of an al Qaeda planned attack inside India just about now - that could be like a match to a powder keg.

Here's the full story from Reuters.

India orders "high state of vigil" on Pakistan border
28 Dec 2007 14:21:53 GMT

NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (Reuters) - India has put its border forces in "a high state of vigil" and suspended train and bus links after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto raised the spectre of chaos in Pakistan spilling over to its nuclear-armed neighbour.
Experts said India might not suffer much short-term impact, but they said Bhutto's murder in a gun and bomb attack could be another nail in the coffin for permanent peace in the region if militant violence holds greater sway over Pakistan.
Relations between the neighbours, which have been to war three times and nearly fought another conflict as late as 2002, are always fraught despite a fragile peace process in the past few years.
"There has been a general advisory to all the border forces to maintain a high state of vigil. You can guess why," a Home Ministry spokesman told Reuters on Friday.
"There are no specific threats as yet. They have been put on alert, there have been various speculations, jihadis, the spillover effect."

But for India, the worry is that instability in Pakistan could spill over the border and lead to increased militant attacks in Indian-ruled Kashmir or bomb blasts in Indian cities.
Police in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian Kashmir, fired tear gas on Friday at hundreds of stone-throwing Kashmiris protesting over Bhutto's murder, witnesses said. Protesters chanted "Long Live Pakistan" and "Long Live Bhutto".

Four Presidential Candidates on "Most Corrupt Politicians" List

On the 10 Most Corrupt Politicians List from Judicial Watch, there are four current candidates running for President of the United States.

The four who made this list?

Senator Hillary Clinton
Senator Barack Obama
Governor Mike Huckabee
Mayor Rudy Giuliani

I have one bone to pick with this and that is the "actions" that put Giuliani on the list. First off, Hillary made it due to a "sordid" ethics history, Obama made it due to some shady real estate dealings, Huckabee made it because of ethics violations and then....they included Giuliani because of some "dealings" from the time of his extra-marital affair with his current wife.
Seems to me the issues with Giuliani pale in comparison to those of the other three.

Make sure you check out the full story here.

Four presidential candidates among 'Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians' list

Judicial Watch says two presidential candidates from each party have made its 2007 list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians."

The public-interest group says former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were the two Republicans on the list, while Senators Barack Obama (D-Illinois) and Hillary Clinton (D-New York) made the list from the Democratic side. Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton says Mrs. Clinton has a long and "sordid" ethics record dating back to when she first entered public life -- and in 2007 the scandals continued.
"In 2007 she didn't bother reporting her personal foundation, as required by law," says Fitton. "And one of her top donors, Norman Hsu, turned out to be a felon who was a fugitive as well. And the Clintons were doing their usual fundraising shenanigans -- so she made our list."
Barack Obama made the list because of his involvement in a suspicious real estate deal with an indicted political fundraiser, the Judicial Watch president says. As for Huckabee, says the report, 14 ethics complaints and "a volley of questions about his integrity" got him listed. And Fitton says Giuliani came under fire for several questionable deals when he was having an extra-marital relationship with his future wife, Judith Nathan.

Iraqi Army Claims Capture of Al Qaeda in Iraq Defense Minister

More good news! If confirmed, this would be huge. The Iraqi Army claims they have captured Ahmed Turki Abbas, who is proclaimed as the Defense Minister for the Islamic State of Iraq - that is the "organization" that is a front for al Qaeda in Iraq. If this is true, this would be one of the top three leaders of the front group in Iraq.
We just reported yesterday of another senior leader being captured north of Baghdad, while this capture was south of Baghdad.
We'll have to wait for confirmation of this by Multinational Forces but it indeed is reason to hope.

Here's the full story from Reuters.

Iraq says captures senior al Qaeda figure
Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:49pm ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The Iraqi army captured a senior al Qaeda militant in a clash south of Baghdad on Thursday, a government security spokesman said.
Baghdad security spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi said the militant, Ahmed Turki Abbas, claimed the rank of defense minister of the al Qaeda-linked group Islamic State of Iraq.
Moussawi said Abbas was lightly wounded and was in the custody of Iraqi forces after being captured in the clash near the town of Mahmudiya, 30 km south of Baghdad.
Violence in Iraq has declined in recent months after Sunni Arab tribes turned against strict Islamist militants from al Qaeda and related groups. But U.S. commanders say al Qaeda remains a dangerous foe in Iraq.

Breaking: Two Israelis Killed by palestinian Jihadists

Reports are sketchy but it appears that armed palestinians (and not it looks most likely that they were Hamas/Islamic Jihad) followed two Israeli young men and an Israeli girl and shot and killed the young men while the young girl fled.
Thankfully, one of the gunman has been killed by Israeli security forces and the hunt for the other continues.
Hopefully, every single one will be found and dealt with. Look for Hamas and/or to claim responsibility in a couple of days as "retribution" for some leader killed.

Here's the brief details from DEBKA.

Two Israelis murdered by Palestinian gunmen near Hebron Friday
December 28, 2007, 3:05 PM (GMT+02:00)

Three sightseers, two young men and a girl, were followed by armed Palestinians, who opened fire on the road outside Telem, close to the West Bank-Israel border Friday afternoon. The men were shot. The girl ran away and called for help. Security forces rushed to the scene are scouring the area for the killers, against resistance from local Palestinians. One of the gunmen was shot dead and his accomplice was injured.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Holger Diaries: Why Was Bhutto Killed?

It is the opinion of Holger Awakens that by far, the most inciteful reporting of the Bhutto Assassination today is going on at CounterterrorismBlog. You owe it to yourself to read all of the articles there. Here's the link to this fine reporting.

What I have done below is gleen from that reporting, some of the reasons as to why Bhutto was assassinated and by whom.
What Counterrorismblog has done, where they have captured the quintessential meaning of it all is in this headline:

Bhutto Assassination A Reminder This Is A Real War

Here are the collection of reasonings behind the killing as well as the most-likely suspects:

-Bhutto had her own ethically questionable background; but her current public political posture was pro-Western, democratic, peaceful and against the radical Islamic terrorists who may have been responsible for her death. While the investigation must go forward, initial speculation is pointing to those radical Islamic terrorist elements operating in Pakistan, perhaps even al-Qaeda.

-There are now widespread reports suggesting that an imminent official statement is expected from Egyptian Al-Qaida spokesman Mustafa Abu Yazid claiming responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto

-During the Philippine police interrogation of Abdul Hakim Murad--an associate of 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef--Murad recalled that Yousef "once made a statement that BHUTTO should be replaced as PM of Pakistan since Islamic belief does not allow a woman to occupy such position and that [mujahideen organizations] should do something to unseat her. Said statement indicates that [Yousef] might be planning to carry out an attack against the PM of Pakistan."

-Likewise, during the mid-1990s, the FBI recorded several telephone conversations involving Kifah Jayyousi and Adham Hassoun (who were recently convicted in federal court for their role in recruiting would-be Al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla) in which the men discussed "getting rid" of the late Pakistani Prime Minister--who they referred to as "Khanazir Bhutto" ("Bhutto the Pig"): "She's done... done... she... she was finished... finished, my brother... I was reading about the life... the life of the Prophet, peace and blessing upon him... 'Men are ruined if they are to obey women'. Praise to God."

-The most likely culprit in Bhutto’s death is al-Qaeda and aligned militant groups — the same groups who swore they would kill Bhutto when her return to Pakistan was announced, the same groups who tried to kill her in October

-"What does the attack last night signify? The attack was more an attack on the unity and integrity of the country than on any individual or any one political party. It was an attack on Pakistan itself. It was an attack on their political rights, on the political process and on democracy itself. The attack last night was a message sent by the enemies of democracy to all the political parties of the country. It was intended to intimidate and blackmail all the political forces and elements working for democracy and human rights in the country. It was a warning not only to me and the PPP (People's Political Party) but to all political parties -- indeed, to the entire civil society."

Shocker: Palestinian Terrorists In Charge of Protecting Bush On Middle East Trip

This is hard to believe. Here's the deal: During President Bush's trip to the Middle East next month, he will be traveling by convoy and while in Israel and on the way to Ramallah located in the West Bank, Bush will be protected by Israeli troops. However, once President Bush enters into Ramallah, the security is turned over to....okay, you sitting down? Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades! The Brigades is the military wing of Fatah and in case you forgot, they are listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. So, we have by far the leading fighter of terrorism in the World, President George W. Bush, being protected by terrorists.

Now, if this comes to pass I'll be amazed. I gotta believe that the U.S. is going to demand that their own security forces be present in Ramallah. At least I hope so.

Full story here from WorldNet.

Terrorists' new mission: Protect President Bush

JERUSALEM – Members of the most active West Bank terror organization are set to participate in security forces being deployed to protect President Bush during his visit to the Palestinian territories next month, WND has learned.
Bush is due in the region Jan. 9 as part of a follow-up to last month's U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian Annapolis summit.
During his trip, the American president is scheduled to hold talks with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem, and meet quickly with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
According to Israeli security officials coordinating deployments of forces with the PA for Bush's Ramallah visit, members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's declared military wing, have been called upon by the PA to participate in the protection of Bush's convoy and in securing the parameter during the meeting with Abbas.
The Brigades is listed as a terror organization by the U.S. State Department. The group took credit along with the Islamic Jihad terror organization for every suicide bombing in Israel between 2005 and 2006, and is responsible for thousands of shootings and rocket firings. Statistically, the Al Aqsa Brigades perpetuated more terrorism from the West Bank than Hamas, according to the Israeli Defense Forces.

The Israeli Defense Forces will protect the main West Bank highway Bush's convoy will use to approach Ramallah. Security for Bush will be largely turned over to the Palestinians once he enters Ramallah, although security plans are being heavily coordinated with the U.S.
According to Israeli security officials, over 6,000 Fatah forces will be deployed in three rings in central Ramallah to secure the area during Bush's brief stay, including Palestinian security officers who also serve in the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

U.S. & Iraqi Troops Nab Another Senior Al Qaeda Leader

Our guys are definitely on a roll. Another senior leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq was captured south of Kirkuk earlier today and over a dozen other al Qaeda fighters captured as well.
One thing is clear...U.S. and Iraqi forces are really starting to clean out leadership of al Qaeda further north. Kirkuk is about 200 to 250 km north of Baghdad. At the same time, you KNOW these captures are the results of tips from the general population. Al Qaeda in Iraq is finding that they have little secrecy anymore and as I've said earlier, if we keep pinging and capturing these leadership types, the guts of al Qaeda in Iraq will just leave.

My guess is that the leader's identity will come out either later today or sometime tomorrow.

Full story is here.

Senior al-Qaeda leader arrested near Kirkuk

Kirkuk, Dec 26, (VOI)- A joint force of Iraqi and U.S. personnel on Wednesday detained nine suspected gunmen, including a senior al-Qaeda leader, southwest of Kirkuk, a police source said."A police force, backed by U.S. troops, waged in the wee hours of the morning a crackdown operation in al-Howaiyja district, southwest of Kirkuk, where it arrested eight suspected gunmen," the source, who asked to remain anonymous, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).Meanwhile, the same source said "joint forces captured a senior al-Qaeda leader during a security plan launched in al-Safra village in Riyadh district, southwest of Kirkuk.""The operation ended without casualties among the forces," he underlined."At dawn, joint forces waged another security operation in al-Wasati neighborhood in southern Kirkuk in search for unlicensed weapons," the source said."The operation ended this morning with the confiscation of large amounts of unlicensed weapons," he noted.

Pakistan's Bhutto Assassinated

Pardon me over a lack of shock here. This was a dead woman walking as soon as she got off the plane in her return to Pakistan. She survived the one bombing so this time, she was gunned down and her assassin then blew himself up bringing 20 others with him.
What people sometimes forget is the number of times that Musharraf has escaped with his life. So, to think that Bhutto would return to Pakistan and freely roam the country was absurd. And I'm sure she knew it.
Now, many of her supporters are going to point fingers at Musharraf on this but ask yourself the question: Didn't Musharraf originate the approval for her to come back to Pakistan? No, you will find that this killing was done by the hands of Al Qaeda, Taliban and some off shoots in Pakistan. There is a movement to direct Pakistan from the jihadist viewpoint and believe me, Bhutto was in the way as Musharraf always has.

It will be interesting to see if anyone actually claims responsibility for this assassination. Shooting a woman to death in cold blood. What an act by such a macho bunch, huh? Real men you have over there Pakistan.

Full story here from Breitbart.

Pakistan's Bhutto Assassinated in Attack

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at the end of a campaign rally, aides said.
"The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred," Bhutto's lawyer Babar Awan said.
A party security adviser said Bhutto was shot in neck and chest as she got into her vehicle to leave the rally in Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad. A gunman then blew himself up.
"At 6:16 p.m. she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where she was taken after the attack.
Her supporters at the hospital began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog," referring to Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf.

At least 20 others were killed in the blast that took place as Bhutto left the rally where she addressed thousands of supporters in her campaign for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.
Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile Oct. 18.
On the same day, her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, killing more than 140 people. On that occasion she narrowly escaped injury.

Explosion In Istanbul, Turkey...Just The Start?

This was to be expected. With Turkey attacking over 200 targets inside Kurdish Iraq over the past week, it was just a matter of time that the PKK (Kurdish rebels) would start the retaliation. I've said from the start that this was not going to be pretty, in that Turkey has been building up for this opportunity for a long time. And with the U.S. and Iraqi's basically turning their heads to the Turkish attacks, the PKK will see attacks inside of Turkey as its only hope.
At some point in time, the Kurdish leaders in Iraq are going to put their foot down and believe me, none of us wants to see Kurdish Iraqi militias going up against Turkish troops.

The news on this bombing is lean but here's a short blurb.

Explosion In Istanbul - Authorities Say A Bomb Caused The Explosion

ISTANBUL - Authorities said a bomb caused the explosion which occurred earlier Tuesday evening in Istanbul`s Kucukcekmece district.
A blast went off in a trash can, injuring two people, who were identified as Fatma and Ummu Agdemir.
The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals and police investigation was underway to identify the type of the explosive.

U.S. Troops Kill 11 Mahdi Militia South of Baghdad

U.S. troops in Iraq targeted some splinter groups of the Mahdi militia and in one battle, killed an estimated 11 jihadists. It appears that one leader of the splinter group was targeted but when U.S. troops came under fire from a larger group, fighter helicopters and jets were called in.
The issue to be seen now is how Sadr will respond to this - he has claimed that splinter groups of his militia are not part of his army but at the same time, he has usually protested this kind of targeting.

Here's the full story.

Today: December 27, 2007 at 1:25:5 PST
US Troops Kill 11 Mahdi Breakaways
Associated Press Writer

U.S. military forces killed 11 members of a Mahdi Army splinter group southeast of Baghdad early Thursday, American officials said. The raids were the deadliest against breakaway members of the militia in months.
It was not immediately clear if the action would impact a six-month freeze on activities that the militia's leader - radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr - called in August and has signaled in the past week he might extend.
In the past, al-Sadr has said that any Mahdi Army members who do not abide by his freeze would no longer be considered members of the militia. But he also has indicated that his fighters have the right to defend themselves if attacked by U.S. forces.
Al-Sadr's order to halt activities has been credited by American commanders as one reason violence in Iraq has fallen dramatically in the past six months. However, it is unclear how much control al-Sadr maintains over his fighters as groups have splintered from the main movement.

Troops approaching the target were fired at with assault rifles and rocket propelled grenade, the military said. They then called in support aircraft. The local police official said at least two U.S. helicopters were used in the attack, along with an unknown number of fighter jets.
The military said no suspects were detained during the raid and no U.S. troops were killed or injured in the operation.
U.S. commanders have in the past said they would not stop targeting splinter elements of the Mahdi Army that they said continue to operate, despite al-Sadr's order.
In early October, U.S. forces killed 25 Shiite militia fighters in Khalis, north of Baghdad, who were believed to be part of a Mahdi Army splinter group

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Russia To Sell State-of-the-Art Anti Aircraft System to Iran

Good old Russia. Yeah, let's give the world's newest possible nuclear bomb threat a system that will greatly reduce its vulnerabilities of attack. I hope you are comfy with your pals down in Tehran, Putin.
The Russians claim the S-300 anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system is superior to America's Patriot system.
Unfortunately, we may have to find out.

Here's the full story.

Russia to Supply Iran With New Defense

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's defense minister said Wednesday that Russia is preparing to deliver powerful new air defense systems that would dramatically increase his nation's ability to repel an attack.
The S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense system is capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missile warheads at ranges of over 90 miles and at altitudes of about 90,000 feet. Russian military officials boast that its capabilities outstrip the U.S. Patriot missile system.
The S-300 is an improvement over the Tor-M1 air defense missile system. Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1s to Iran this year under a $700 million contract signed in December 2005.
"The S-300 air defense system will be delivered to Iran on the basis of a contract signed with Russia in the past," Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said, according to state television.
Najjar didn't say when or how many of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense systems would be shipped to Iran, and Russian officials declined to comment.
The Tor-M1 is capable of hitting aerial targets flying at up to 20,000 feet.

Musharraf Says Terrorism Is Destroying Afghanistant & Pakistan

Pakistan's Musharraf and Afghanistan's Karzai met today and both agreed to work more closely on fighting the terrorism that is rampant in both of their countries.

Musharraf took it a step further and said:

"destroying both our countries."

Although meetings like this seem commonplace nowadays, this could actually bring about more cooperation along that border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Musharraf took the gloves off in the NW Territories last month and I think has finally resigned himself to be able to pursue INTO Afhganistan and may be more open to excursions from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

These two leaders haven't exactly gotten along in the past so this is a significant meeting and hopefully will bear some good news.

Full story is here.

Terror 'destroying' Afghanistan, Pakistan: Musharraf

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai on Wednesday pledged better cooperation in fighting terrorism, which Musharraf said was "destroying both our countries."
In a brief news conference after their first meeting in four months, they said their talks had been helpful in finding ways to rein in the Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who have flourished along their mutual border.
Both men have accused each other in the past of not doing enough to stop Islamic militants, particularly in the rugged tribal border region that has been in the international spotlight since the September 11 attacks on the US.
But in an apparently warm atmosphere before Musharraf was to host a state dinner for Karzai, he underlined the need for intelligence cooperation with Afghanistan to fight the militant threat.
He said the neighbours had to stop "this menace of extremism and terrorism which is destroying both our countries" and called on their respective intelligence agencies to work hand-in-hand.
"We have developed a strong understanding of each other's problems," Musharraf said. "The key to enhancing our capability against terrorists and extremists is intelligence cooperation."

Karzai, who repeatedly referred to Musharraf as "my brother" during the news conference, said their talks had helped each other understand the issues both nations are facing.
"People in both the countries are suffering -- suffering a lot," Karzai said.
"And it is incumbent upon us -- the leadership of the two countries, the governments -- to find ways to bring peace and stability to each home, each family, in both countries."

IDF Has Infiltrated Hamas' Military Wing

Wow. Israel's IDF has successfully planted operatives in Hamas' military wing also known as Izzadin Kassam. Hamas has even admitted that this has happened although they have tried to dismiss it as Fatah members who have been responsible, but it appears now that Hamas has truly admitted this embarassment.
I can't help but chuckle over this. And in the end, I hope it causes all of Hamas to be enveloped in paranoia and that they will begin feeding on their own.

Here's the full story.

PA official: IDF has infiltrated Izzadin Kassam

Israel has managed to infiltrate Hamas's armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, by recruiting some of its members as "collaborators," Palestinian Authority security officials revealed Sunday.

Hamas officials confirmed that their security forces had arrested several "collaborators," but denied that they belonged to the Islamist movement.
This is the first time Hamas has openly admitted that Israel's security forces have succeeded in planting agents in its secretive armed wing. If true, it would be the largest network of "collaborators" that has ever been busted by Hamas.
The case has seriously embarrassed Hamas, whose spokesmen have tried to distance themselves from the suspects by claiming that they are former Fatah policemen.
Ironically, Hamas's admission came less than 24 hours after Minister-without-Portfolio Ami Ayalon, a former head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), said that "intelligence failure" was preventing the IDF from rescuing kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit

Ahmed and Yakoub Nassar reportedly confessed to helping Israel, together with other Hamas members, in the assassination of at least six top Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives in the Gaza Strip over the past two years.

Egyptians Arrest Weapons Smuggler, Find Huge Cache

The Egyptians continue to find huge weapon caches in areas next to the Israeli border. Same story as before...they arrest a smuggler, search his home and find weapons and explosives. The difference this time is they found over a half a ton of explosives! They also found over a ton of bomb making materials.

Here's the story from YNET.

Egyptian police arrest weapons smuggler, tons of explosives

Egyptian police arrested early Wednesday a weapons smuggler and found in his house near the border with Israel more than half a ton of explosives and 1,200 kilograms (2,600 pounds) of potassium nitrate used in making bombs, a security official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said police arrested Mahdi Salim Abu Freig, 21, after raiding his house in el-Amir district in the Rafah border town at dawn. (AP)

Hindus in E. India Attack Christians, Burn 6 Churches

Whoa! Yep, you read it right...these were Hindus NOT muslims. The local Hindus in an eastern Indian villages went on a rampage on Christmas day and ended up burning six Christian churches and attacking Christian members. One person was killed in the violence.

The cause of the outbreak is a bit cloudy but in this area, there is a "non-conversion" law that Christian missionaries have protested and apparently the Hindus were incited by some sort of attack on a Hindu offical (verbal, I think). Bottom line is this area has a history of violence against missionaries and the non-conversion law makes converting from Hindu to Christianity only possible if the police are notified. Yeah, you read THAT right, too.

Here's the full story.

Dec 26, 4:19 AM EST
Hindus Launch Attacks on Indian Churches
Associated Press Writer

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Hindu extremists attacked Christians celebrating Christmas in eastern India, ransacking and burning at least six village churches, officials said Wednesday. One person was killed in the violence.
Authorities in the remote district where the churches, most nothing more than mud and thatch houses, were attacked have deployed 450 police to quell the violence, which had tapered off by Wednesday, said Bahugrahi Mahapatra, a government official.
There were conflicting reports of what sparked the unrest in Orissa, a state in eastern India with a history of violence against the area's tiny Christian minority. Mahapatra called the violence a "sensitive matter" and refused to discuss how it began.
Some reports said that Christians had attacked a hardline Hindu leader, Laxmanananda Saraswati of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad group, who had been leading an anti-conversion movement.
But the New Delhi-based Catholic Bishops Conference of India said the fighting began when Hindu extremists objected to a Christmas Eve show, believing the display was designed to encourage Hindus at the bottom of the religion's rigid caste hierarchy to convert to Christianity.
An argument over the Christmas show got out of hand and some of the Hindus opened fire on the Christians, injuring three of them, said John Dayal, a spokesman for the Bishops Conference.

The Hindus then went on a rampage on Christmas Day, chasing people out of six churches and setting the buildings ablaze, he said.
Later, dozens of people from each community clashed, Dayal said. One person was killed, although it was not immediately clear if he was a Hindu or Christian. Another 25 people were wounded, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
Although Hindus, the overwhelming majority of India's 1.1 billion people, and Christians, who make up around 2.5 percent of the population, have tended to coexist peacefully in India, the region where the violence took place has a history of tension between the communities.
Orissa, in fact, is the only Indian state that has a law requiring people to obtain police permission before they change their religion, a move designed to counter missionary work.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Jewish Perspective of Christmas

This really is a great piece over at Family Security Matters. Take the time to read it in its entirety right here.
Here is my favorite line from this excellent look at Christmas from a Jewish perspective:

You have Christmas. We have Chanukah. You have Easter. We have Passover. Does this separate us? No, this unites us, for together, this land is our land.

This is a special time of year for both Christians and Jews. This is the time for uniting, for looking back at America and it's Judeo-Christian origins. This is a time for rebirth and for renewing our pledge to keep this wonderful country strong and free.

Here are some excerpts from Jack Engelhard's piece:

Why I Love Christmas: A Jewish Perspective
Jack Engelhard

Up and down the street where I live, half the homes are lit up with Christmas trees, the other half with menorahs. The days are good and the nights are silent. Most of the time we can’t tell the difference between Christians and Jews. We’re too busy being just plain old Americans.

You have Christmas. We have Chanukah. You have Easter. We have Passover. Does this separate us? No, this unites us, for together, this land is our land.

However, I am offended. Across this nation, in cities, towns, villages and school districts, Christians are being told that they cannot celebrate Christmas openly. Here, there and everywhere, Christians are being sent into hiding if they want to sing carols, display nativity scenes, herald the Ten Commandments, or praise Jesus. Even Santa is not kosher.

I am Jewish, and Jesus is not my God…so why am I so offended at what I take to be an agenda of persecution against Christians?

This is not a scholarly approach, so let me simply say that American Christianity is a marvel, a near miracle of tolerance and, better yet, loving-kindness. American Christians do love their neighbors as themselves. I know this from the pavements I walk, the streets I drive, the sandlots where I root for the home team. I am free to visit your church, and you would be most welcome in my synagogue.

Yes, we are a Judeo/Christian nation, and if it gets any better than that, I don’t know where.

Only Israel itself compares, the Israel of before, and the Israel of today. Israel is where our American heritage begins.

As Jews, we do not pray to Jesus, but we stand in admiration that true Christians adhere to His message of love, taken from our Scriptures. We respect your devotion as you respect ours. We honor your faith as you honor ours, even as we pray separately but live equally, in friendship.

Let me watch them praise their Lord with Christmas trees and jingle bells, for these are a reminder to me, a Jew, that I live in this land, this land of mostly Christians that have kept the promise of my ancestor, the prophet Micah, that this house be blessed by the shade of that vine and fig tree, and none shall make us afraid.

Ahmadinejad Gets Slammed Again By Another Top Iranian

It's about the economy, Mahmoud, ...yup, it's about that piece of crap economy of yours, dude. A top Iranian, to be specific, the former head of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran is all over Dinnerjacket's handling of the Iranian economy. The weird thing about this is, this former commander, Mohsen Rezaie, virtually never speaks out about the government. Why now? Well, it's my contention that his contacts in the Revolutionary Guard are talking to him about the unrest in the nation's people. Civil unrest does not bode well for the Revolutionary Guard and it's my contention, that current command asked Rezaie to speak out.

This means a total of five higher ups in Iran have all criticized Ahmadinejad. Good. Although I'm sure there would never be an "acceptable" President of this land of misfits and crackpots, getting the present holocaust denier and World hater out would still be a blessing.

Here's the full story.

Top Iranian Conservative Slams Ahmadinejad: Report

TEHRAN (AFP) - The former commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards has become the latest leading conservative to attack President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the country's high inflation, the press reported on Sunday.
Mohsen Rezaie, who led the elite force from 1981-1997, said the government's policy of injecting huge amounts of liquidity to fund projects was the main cause of price rises. Inflation reached 19.1 percent in November.
"Every year the government injects a huge amount of money into society without supplying goods and services in return for this money," Rezaie was quoted as saying by the Sarmayeh newspaper.
"Financial discipline in the state bureaucracy is also weak. Therefore the source of inflation is the government itself.
"The government should rectify its economic behaviour. That is the most important plan to control inflation."

He rarely makes comments on day-to-day policy, although his status as the longest serving commander in the history of the Revolutionary Guards gives him
considerable influence.

"Someone who drives at such a speed should be more careful about his performance," Bahonar was quoted as saying by Sarmayeh.
"If he does not foresee the obstacles in the way, the accidents will be even more terrible."

Joseph's Lullaby

Dozens of Fatah Loyalists Escape from Egypt

These were Fatah loyalists who fled Gaza when Hamas went on the Fatah Search and Destroy Mission and they ended up crossing into Egypt where they were apprehended and put in prison ...wait a minute, I thought the "palestinians" were an oppressed people that the entire Arab world mourned and pitied? Why would the Egyptians put them in prison and not hold a big banquet for them? What's that you say? They are murderers and common criminals? LOL

Anyway, apparently the Fatah prisoners feel it's safe enough to return so they staged a breakout - looks like over 20 or so actually made it all the way out. I'm not quite sure why Egypt wanted to recapture them.

Here's the full story from Reuters.

Fatah loyalists break out of Egyptian police camps

ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Dozens of Palestinian security men affiliated to Fatah staged a mass break-out on Tuesday from the camp where they have been held in the Egyptian town of Rafah, security sources said.
Around 130 men from various Fatah security groups have been held in Egyptian police custody since they crossed the border from the Gaza Strip in June, fleeing in the aftermath of rival Hamas' seizure of the territory.
The men have been held in police camps in the towns of Arish and Rafah.
Around 60 of the Fatah loyalists managed to escape from the camps at dawn on Tuesday, but Egyptian police were able to recapture 40 of them, transferring them to police stations in the coastal town of Arish, according to security sources.