Saturday, March 31, 2012

Al Qaeda in Yemen Overruns Military Checkpoint, Kill 17 Yemeni Soldiers

If there is any good news in today's attack by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on a military checkpoint in Yemen, it's the fact that 13 of the al Qaeda jihadis were killed in the gun battle but of course, the horrific news is that 17 Yemeni soldiers were killed in the attack.

From The Long War Journal:

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters overran a military checkpoint in southern Yemen, killing 17 soldiers during an intense battle that also resulted in the deaths of 13 AQAP fighters.

AQAP launched the attack against a checkpoint in the town of Al Milah in Lahj province earlier today. After overrunning the checkpoint and killing 17 soldiers, the AQAP fighters seized two tanks and other weapons systems, according to Reuters. The fighting was so intense that residents of Al Milah said the Yemeni Army "had begun distributing machineguns among them so they could help beat back the militants," the news agency reported.

Yemeni warplanes killed three AQAP fighters while attacking one of the tanks; it is unclear if the tank was destroyed. AQAP fighters fell back to the city of Ja'ar in neighboring Abyan province. Ja'ar is one of several cities under AQAP control.

Ansar al Sharia, or Partisans of Islamic Law, AQAP's political front in Yemen, claimed credit for the attack in text message, according to Reuters.

"The holy warriors of Ansar al-Sharia this morning carried out the raid of dignity on the al-Hurur military checkpoint in Abyan, resulting in the deaths of around 30 [soldiers]," the AQAP statement claimed.

This is one of the reasons that we are seeing the U.S. predator drones being used in Yemen - the fact is that AQAP is making serious strides in Yemen and for those not keeping up with it, the south of Yemen is slowly but surely falling to al Qaeda.

Considering the strategic position of Yemen in the Middle East, there has to be a ton of concern over the gains that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is making.

AQAP kills 17 Yemeni troops in southern Yemen

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters overran a military checkpoint in southern Yemen, killing 17 soldiers during an intense battle that also resulted in the deaths of 13 AQAP fighters.

AQAP launched the attack against a checkpoint in the town of Al Milah in Lahj province earlier today. After overrunning the checkpoint and killing 17 soldiers, the AQAP fighters seized two tanks and other weapons systems, according to Reuters. The fighting was so intense that residents of Al Milah said the Yemeni Army "had begun distributing machineguns among them so they could help beat back the militants," the news agency reported.

Yemeni warplanes killed three AQAP fighters while attacking one of the tanks; it is unclear if the tank was destroyed. AQAP fighters fell back to the city of Ja'ar in neighboring Abyan province. Ja'ar is one of several cities under AQAP control.

Ansar al Sharia, or Partisans of Islamic Law, AQAP's political front in Yemen, claimed credit for the attack in text message, according to Reuters.

"The holy warriors of Ansar al-Sharia this morning carried out the raid of dignity on the al-Hurur military checkpoint in Abyan, resulting in the deaths of around 30 [soldiers]," the AQAP statement claimed.

Over the past month, AQAP, al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, has been flexing its muscles in the south. On March 4, a large AQAP force attacked a Yemeni Army base in Al Koud in Abyan that housed a mechanized battalion. The AQAP fighters overran the base and decimated the battalion, killing 185 soldiers, wounding 150, and capturing at least 55 more. AQAP also seized heavy weapons, including tanks, during the assault.

Background on AQAP and Ansar al Sharia

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been fighting under the banner of the Ansar al Sharia. Ansar al Sharia constitutes "AQAP's version of the Islamic State of Iraq," which is al Qaeda's political and military front in Iraq, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal last year.

"Ansar al Sharia is pulling in allied Islamist groups and sympathetic tribes into its orbit, and seeks to implement an Islamic State much like the Taliban did in Afghanistan and al Qaeda attempted in Iraq," the official said.

In an official statement released by Ansar al Sharia in May 2011, the group said it wishes to take control of "all administrative, political, economic, cultural, monitoring, and other responsibilities" in Yemen.

AQAP is seeking to build an army to back up its Islamic state. In 2010, Qasim al Raymi, the military commander for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Mohammed Said al Umdah Gharib al T'aizzi, a senior AQAP military commander in southern Yemen, both claimed that the terror group had raised a 12,000-fighter-strong army in the southern Yemeni provinces. Yemeni officials recently told Al Hayah that "al Qaeda fighters in Zinjibar (the capital of Abyan) number in the hundreds, and perhaps exceed 2,000 gunmen."

The terror group continues to use al Qaeda's tactic of suicide bombings. In August 2011, Ansar al Sharia released a videotape of a suicide bomber attacking a Yemeni armored column as it traveled from Aden to Zinjibar.

AQAP has taken advantage of the political turmoil in Yemen to seize control of vast areas of the Yemeni south. Since the onset of large anti-government protests in March 2011, AQAP has openly taken control of areas in Abyan, Shabwah, Hadramawt, Marib, and Lahj provinces. Government forces have withdrawn from several major cities in the south, leaving an opening for al Qaeda and allied Islamist groups to seize control of several areas. Zinjibar, Al Koud, Ja'ar, and Shaqra in Abyan province, and Azzan in Shabwah province are currently under AQAP control. AQAP seized control of Rada'a in Al Baydah in January but later withdrew after negotiating a peace agreement with the local government. Yemenis have described the southern port city of Aden as ripe for an AQAP takeover.

The US in turn has taken advantage of the security vacuum in Yemen to step up attacks against AQAP's top leaders and its network. The US killed two American AQAP propagandists, Anwar al Awlaki and Samir Khan, in a Predator airstrike in September 2011, and targeted AQAP emir Nasir al Wuhayshi and media emir Ibrahim al Bana. Wuhayshi and al Bana are believed to have survived the strikes.

The drone program in Yemen was put on hold in October 2011 after Anwar al Awlaki's son, Abdul Rahman, was killed in an airstrike that targeted al Bana. Abdul Rahman was a 16-year-old American citizen who had said he hoped "to attain martyrdom as my father attained it" just hours before he was killed, according to a Yemeni journalist.

The drone program was restarted in January, and has intensified this month. There have been six strikes in March, and seven strikes total this year. The US carried out 10 drone, air, and cruise missile strikes in all of 2011, and 27 strikes total since 2002 [for more information on the US airstrikes in Yemen, see LWJ report, Charting the data for US air strikes in Yemen, 2002 - 2012.]

The pace of the US airstrikes has increased as AQAP has taken control of vast areas of southern Yemen. US intelligence officials believe that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula poses a direct threat to the homeland. The terror group has plotted multiple attacks on US soil.

Video: The Evil of Al Qaeda (Warning: Graphic)

Remembering Fakhra Younus

Before and after ... acid victim Fakhra Younus / Pic: Fakhra Younus family Source: The Daily Telegraph

This is one of the most grizzly stories I've ever put up at Holger Awakens - the story of Fakhra Younus, a young Pakistani Muslim mother, who in 2000 had her enraged ex-husband enter her mother's house and while Fakhra slept, Bilal Khar poured a tremendous about of acid all over her face.

From the Daily Telegraph, here's more of the gory details of that night in 2000:

At the time of the attack, her ex-husband Bilal Khar was accused of entering her mother's house and pouring acid over her face as she slept.

The attack, in front of her then five-year-old son, left her unable to breathe and fighting for her life. She underwent 39 surgical procedures to repair her face in the past decade.

The acid almost completely corroded her nose, burned off her hair, fused her lips, blinded her in one eye, destroyed her left ear and burned her breasts.

After being rushed to hospital she said "My face is a prison to me", while her distraught son said at the time "This is not my mother".

We are remembering Fakhra Younus today because her strength and will to live ran out - this young woman simply couldn't take one more day of looking into a mirror and reliving the horror of that night and the disfigurement of the aftermath. Her will couldn't hold up to 39 surgeries.

On March 17th, Fakhra Younus jumped from a building in Rome ...from the sixth floor....and her life was ended by the cold concrete of a Roman street.

But in essence, Fakhra Younus' like had ended 12 years earlier...ended by a man intent on the honor of Islam and ended by a fake religion that enslaves its women. Islam claimed yet another victim on March 17th and the world just kept on moving on by....afterall, there's nothing to see there at the base of that building in Rome. Right?

Acid victim Fakhra Younus' suicide shames all Pakistan

FAMILY and friends of a former Pakistani dancer who committed suicide after being heavily disfigured by an acid attack in 2000 said her death brought shame on Pakistan.

Fakhra Younus, 33, leapt to her death from a sixth floor building in Rome on March 17, almost 12 years after the attack which she said left her looking "not human".

At the time of the attack, her ex-husband Bilal Khar was accused of entering her mother's house and pouring acid over her face as she slept.

The attack, in front of her then five-year-old son, left her unable to breathe and fighting for her life. She underwent 39 surgical procedures to repair her face in the past decade.

The acid almost completely corroded her nose, burned off her hair, fused her lips, blinded her in one eye, destroyed her left ear and burned her breasts.

After being rushed to hospital she said "My face is a prison to me", while her distraught son said at the time "This is not my mother".

Ms Younus moved to Italy to continue treatment in Rome. She left a suicide note complaining of legal indifference to such atrocities and insensitivity by Pakistan's rulers. Bilal Khar was arrested in 2002 and charged with attempted murder after the attack, only to be released on bail after five months.

The ex-parliamentarian and son of a wealthy Pakistani governor was eventually cleared of the attack, though many believe he could have used his family connections to escape conviction.

Since news of Ms Younus's suicide emerged, Khar has continued to deny any part in the attack. He has claimed in a television interview that a different man with the same name carried out the crime.

Khar claimed that his ex-wife killed herself because she did not have enough money, not because of her injuries.

More than 8,500 acid attacks, forced marriages and other forms of violence against women were reported in Pakistan in 2011, according to The Aurat Foundation, a women's rights organisation.

The Pakistani government introduced new laws last year criminalising acid attacks and stating that convicted attackers would serve at least 14 years in jail.

Tehmina Durrani, the ex-wife of Bilal Khar's father, had become an advocate for Younus after the attack, and said Younus had pledged to bring her attacker to justice when she had recovered.

Ms Durrani urged the Pakistani government to do much more to prevent violence against women.

"I think this whole country should be extremely embarrassed that a foreign country took responsibility for a Pakistani citizen for 13 years because we could give her nothing, not justice, not security," she said.

Why Did Obamacare Get Treated With Kid Gloves By the Supreme Court?

You know, political correctness and some of those other manufactured strategies of the Left in America used to control the debate and conversation in this country was pretty evident last week at the Obamacare review by the Supreme Court. Sure, there were a couple of sweet jabs at the lawyers for the federal government but where was the rage by several of these Supreme Court justices as to the total disregard this law had for Constitutionality? I wanted to see Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Thomas and yes, even Kennedy pounding their fist on the desk demanding to know what kind of a farce the executive branch was trying to pull here.

Well, this article at Family Security Matters does touch on that a bit - I think it's a good one.

The Court’s Mock Examination of Obamacare

JUSTICE SCALIA: ….And we’ve held in two cases that something that was reasonably adapted was not proper [the necessary and proper wording of the Commerce Clause] because it violated the sovereignty of the States, which was implicit in the constitutional structure. The argument here is that it may be necessary, but it’s not proper because it violates an equally evident principle in the Constitution, which is that the Federal Government is not supposed to be a government that has all powers; that it’s supposed to be a government of limited powers. And that’s what all this questioning has been about. What – what is left? If the government can do this, what else can it not do? [pp. 26-27]

JUSTICE SCALIA: An equally evident constitutional principle is the principle that the Federal Government is a government of enumerated powers and that the vast majority of the powers remain in the States and do not belong to the Federal Government…. [pp. 27-28]

Justice Antonin Scalia enunciated those most relevant but less than scintillating words during exchanges between the Court and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the second day of the Supreme Court’s review of the constitutionality – or its unconstitutionality – of the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010, nicknamed “Obamacare.” Most of the balance of the back-and-forth between the justices and Verrilli was in the way of bean-counting: the justices would identify specific beans, and Verrilli would deny they were beans, or claim that they might be beans, depending on one’s perspective.

Not once during the exchanges did the term individual rights escape the mouths of any of the parties. It was all about what was and wasn’t a market and whether or not the government could compel individuals to enter a market created by the government for the express purpose of regulating it. The “necessity” of health care or health insurance reform was conceded by the justices, but not deemed strictly “proper” under the aegis of Obamacare. At issue was not the government’s coercive power, but its lawful power of coercion.

Reading the entire transcript of the exchanges, without listening to them, one gets the impression that the justices were only slightly less blinkered than was Verrilli. They seemed to be focused on whether or not a smörgasbord was a smörgasbord because one or two bean casseroles were missing. Definitions of beans and smörgasbords were disputed.

Politico reported that the Left was not happy with Verrilli’s defense of Obamacare:

“Solicitor General Don Verrilli seemed to struggle more than Paul Clement, attorney for the states… Over and over again, [conservative Justices] asked for a limiting principle – a reason to think approving the mandate wouldn’t lead to unlimited federal power. Verrilli struggled to answer the question and, at times, seemed unsure of whether to call upon the Commerce Clause or Necessary and Proper Clause as justification,” noted Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic in a piece titled “”Day 2 at the Court: Well, that Could Have Gone Better.”

At issue was the compulsory "mandate" that everyone must "buy" health insurance or pay a penalty for not buying it. The Solicitor General couldn't decide whether that penalty was a tax or a penalty. He was derided by two of the justices for not being able to make up his mind, which he still hasn't. The exchanges on this subject were humorous, at least to the auditors of the session. The government's case is shot full of holes on Constitutional issues centering chiefly on the power of the Congress to "regulate" commerce.

The term regulate meant something completely different to the Founders; it meant the power of Congress to stop states from interfering with commerce between the states, such as taxing goods coming across state lines and not taxing similar goods produced within a state, thus giving the untaxed producers an edge (the international version of that policy is the “protective tariff”). To the Progressives and other socialists, however, it means the power to control commerce, in this instance, to force people to buy insurance and thus participate in the resultant but nonetheless pseudo-commerce.

But then the Court’s position – at least the positions of the conservative members of it – is also shot full of holes. To judge by the nature and content of the best questions put to Verrilli, there is no reason to feel confident or encouraged that the Court will strike down the entirety of Obamacare. It may declare the individual mandate unconstitutional on purely rationalistic grounds, and leave the rest of the law in place. But it is the coercive and confiscatory nature of the law that is its core. Listening to the Court question the constitutional validity of Obamacare is much like watching someone hunting for a place to fit a piece into a jigsaw puzzle, or looking for round holes for square pegs.

A great deal of verbiage was spent on the nature of the penalty for not buying health insurance, and whether or not it was a tax – that is, a revenue-raising device – or simply punishment for not buying the insurance. Verrilli denied that it was a tax. Yet the Court seemed to think it was one, because it would be collected by the IRS. Verrilli expressed hope that not much pseudo-revenue would be raised by impounding an individual’s income, that the workability of the whole law depended on the pseudo-voluntary compliance with it by Americans and would succeed.

It may be that the conservatives realize that to declare Obamacare unconstitutional because it exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress by violating individual rights, the Court would need to also declare unconstitutional the income tax, the Federal Reserve, Social Security, Medicare, and a host of other kinds of legislation – all of which violate individual rights by direct or indirect coercion or force, or by direct or indirect confiscation. It would mean a wholesale challenging of the doctrine of altruism and collectivism, on which all such legislation is based.

Clearly, such a crucial task is beyond the ken and scope of the current Supreme Court.

The only justice who did not question the Solicitor General was Clarence Thomas. There is hope that he can educate the other conservative justices on the matter of individual rights.

But rather than dwell on the Court’s philosophical and moral shortcomings, several articles have been written that outline “necessary and proper” arguments that the Court ought to have made in reply to Verrilli’s hesitant and eclectic assertions about the imperative nature of Obamacare.

The Institute for Justice has filed an amicus brief which possibly the justices have read. It states that a compulsory contract such as is proposed by Obamacare is not a contract, because a contract is a voluntary affair entered into by two or more parties sans coercion. Compulsory participation has nothing to do with contracts, and whether or not non-participation can be "penalized" or "taxed" is irrelevant. It is still compulsion. George Will, in his nationally syndicated article, “Obamacare’s Contract Problem,” discussed the Institute’s argument:

Hitherto, most attention has been given to whether Congress, under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce, may coerce individuals into engaging in commerce by buying health insurance. Now the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm, has focused on this fact: The individual mandate is incompatible with centuries of contract law. This is so because a compulsory contract is an oxymoron.

That is, bananas are not a kind of citrus fruit. Oranges cannot be classified as jelly beans. A contract denotes, not merely implies, a voluntary agreement between individuals or private entities, such as corporations or companies. Even should bribery be involved in the creation of a contract, the contract remains a contract.

The brief…says Obamacare is the first time Congress has used its power to regulate commerce to produce a law "from which there is no escape." And "coercing commercial transactions" -- compelling individuals to sign contracts with insurance companies -- "is antithetical to the foundational principle of mutual assent that permeated the common law of contracts at the time of the founding and continues to do so today…."

The Supreme Court in Commerce Clause cases has repeatedly recognized, and Congress has never before ignored, the difference between the regulation and the coercion of commerce. And in its 10th Amendment cases ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people") the court has specifically forbidden government to compel contracts.

IJ argues: The 10th Amendment forbids Congress from exercising its commerce power to compel states to enter into contractual relations by effectively forcing states to "buy" radioactive waste. Hence "the power to regulate commerce does not include the power to compel a party to take title to goods or services against its will." And if it is beyond Congress' power to commandeer the states by compelling them to enter into contracts, it must likewise be beyond Congress' power to commandeer individuals by requiring them to purchase insurance. Again, the 10th Amendment declares that any powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people.

This is the language that ought to have been used by the Court in its interrogation of Donald Verrilli. The Institute for Justice focuses on individual rights and one’s voluntary, consensual contractual relationships with others. This language, unfortunately, is missing from the Court’s proceedings. Will concludes his article with:

IJ correctly says that if the court were to ratify Congress' disregard for settled contract law, Congress' "power to compel contractual relations would have no logical stopping point." Which is why this case is the last exit ramp on the road to unlimited government.

George Leef, director of research, John W Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in North Carolina, also published an article that reprises several salient constitutional points, “The Constitution, 'Constitutional Law,' and ObamaCare.”

What must be challenged is the premise that the Constitution actually does grant Congress "broad power" over interstate commerce. The fact is that the language of the Constitution itself does not confer such power. Anyone who reads the document in search of a clear statement -- and the drafters were nothing if not clear, careful writers -- that Congress or the executive branch is supposed to have any power at all to dictate to individuals and businesses how they must act when engaged in "interstate commerce" searches in vain.

As noted above, the original meaning of the term “regulate” has been swept under the rug of past Court decisions. It no longer means prohibiting states from taxing or handicapping production and trade between individuals in different states.

At the heart of the current dispute is "the Commerce Clause." Included in Article I, Section 8 under the powers specifically given to Congress, we find this language: "To regulate Commerce with Foreign nations, and among the several States..." Why was that inserted? James Madison later explained that "the Commerce Clause grew out of the abuse of power by the importing states in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the states, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the general government."

Thus, the purpose of that clause was to remedy a problem that had arisen in the new nation -- namely, that some states were impeding the flow of commerce with laws favoring producers within their borders. To keep commerce "regular" meant that Congress could enact laws to prevent that abuse of power by the states. It was never meant, as Madison wrote, as a grant of power for whatever future Congresses might want to do to control everything relating to people's commercial affairs.

Leef provides the historical context of how the modern meaning of “regulate” came into circulation:

Late in 1936, however, President Roosevelt, angered at a Court that had struck down many of his statist plans for controlling the nation's economy, issued his infamous threat to pack the Supreme Court. That plan met with a great deal of opposition within his own party, but it apparently worked on two members of the Court: Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Associate Justice Owen Roberts. When it came to deciding the test case involving FDR's extraordinarily authoritarian National Labor Relations Act in 1937, they switched from supporting the old, correct understanding of the Commerce Clause to supporting the "progressive interpretation" that the clause gave Congress power to enact any law that would somehow "affect" interstate commerce. The funny thing about that decision, Jones & Laughlin Steel, is that the majority never bothered to mention the Court's previous Commerce Clause decisions. It was as if Schechter disappeared into a black hole.

The Court continued along that same line, allowing Congress to do whatever it wanted by calling it "regulation of interstate commerce" until reaching the utterly absurd case Wickard v. Filburn in 1942. Under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, a farmer in Ohio was fined for having grown more wheat than federal regulators permitted him to. He argued that the law was unconstitutional (at least as applied to him) because all of the wheat had been consumed on his own property. None had been sold at all, so there was no commerce, much less "interstate commerce." But, eager to uphold the "progressive" ideal of unlimited federal control over every aspect of the economy, the Court fashioned a remarkable justification. Since the farmer might have purchased some wheat in interstate commerce if he had not illegally grown his own, his conduct therefore could have "affected" the interstate market for wheat, and therefore his action was subject to federal punishment.

Much more verbiage was devoted on March 27 to how an individual who did not purchase health insurance would somehow affect the costs of insurance and cause those costs to rise. To borrow a line of thinking from the Court: I do not consume avocados, never have, never will. But somehow that affects the price of avocados everywhere and I am to blame for the current and probable rise in the price of avocados. So, I must be compelled, under penalty of noncompliance, to buy avocados to help share the cost of avocados with everyone else, in the name of avocado regulation. My former absence from that market, after all, was a detriment to society as a whole.

Now, that is just as remarkable an analogy as that presented by the Court. But it is not an argument, by either the bench or the dock, that addresses the fundamental coercive nature of Obamacare, all 2,700 pages of it.

The rectangle of light in the acres of a farm was the window of the library of Judge Narragansett. He sat at a table and the light of his lamp fell on the copy of an ancient document. He had marked and crossed out the contradictions in its statements that had once been the cause of its destruction. He was now adding a new clause to its pages: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade ..."

In Ayn Rand’s prophetic novel, Atlas Shrugged, Narragansett is a judge who has withdrawn his wisdom from the world in protest of the kind of “wisdom” exhibited by the Supreme Court. What he would actually be writing is an amendment.

Doubtless he would have included the private realm of health insurance. It would have been a no-brainer.

Video: Though We Drive Through the Valley of the Shadow of ........

Video: "Welcome to Iraqi Airlines"......." mortars?....what mortars?"

Friday, March 30, 2012

U.S. Drone Kills Five Al Qaeda In Yemen

BAM! Once again, U.S. predator drones have taken out al Qaeda jihadis inside of Yemen as today five of them met the end of the road via Mr. Hellfire.

From the report at The Jerusalem Post:

A US drone attack killed at least five suspected al-Qaida members traveling in a car in southern Yemen's Shabwa province on Friday, local officials said.

The drone set the vehicle on fire and killed all its occupants, one official said. One bystander was also killed and five were wounded, officials and residents told Reuters.

A second drone hit a building used by militants but it was empty at the time, residents said.

There's just something about a hellfire missile hitting a moving vehicle...MMmmm...MMmmm...MMmmm.

US drone kills 5 al-Qaida fighters in Southern Yemen

ADEN - A US drone attack killed at least five suspected al-Qaida members traveling in a car in southern Yemen's Shabwa province on Friday, local officials said.

The drone set the vehicle on fire and killed all its occupants, one official said. One bystander was also killed and five were wounded, officials and residents told Reuters.

A second drone hit a building used by militants but it was empty at the time, residents said.

Al-Qaida has strengthened its hold on southern areas of the Arabian Peninsula country during the past year of protests against veteran ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, who left office in February.

The United States has retaliated with a campaign of drone strikes on suspected al-Qaida members.

Global March To Jerusalem: LIVE BLOGGING

Scroll Down this post for the latest updated news regarding the Global March To Jerusalem event

Latest update: 7:58 a.m. EST

Jerusalem Police said Friday afternoon that 14 people had been arrested in Land Day protests in the city as of 2 p.m.

Protesters were continuing to sporadically throw stones at security forces around the Damascus Gate, police said.

8:11 a.m. EST

Report: IDF fire wounds one at Gaza frontier

Medics in the Gaza Strip said IDF soldiers used live fire Friday to prevent Land Day protesters from nearing the frontier wall, seriously wounding one man.

Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated on Friday to commemorate the 36th annual Land Day, a day in which Arab Israelis and Palestinians rally in opposition to what they say are Israeli policies of land appropriation.

The most hectic protests took place near Jerusalem, with thousands of demonstrators clashing with security forces in a protest Public Security Minister Yithak Aharonovitch called a "show."

8:21 a.m. EST

20,000 Jordanians Marching on Israel

Jordan's press is reporting some 20,000 people are taking part in a Global March on Jerusalem aimed at breaching Israel's borders.

Participants were reportedly shouting: "Where is the Arab League on Jerusalem?"

Four rabbis of the extremist anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect are also taking part in the march.

9:05 a.m EST

15:08: Palestinian rioters hurled rocks and lightly injured a Border Policeman in Kalandia.

9:26 a.m. EST

Looks like things are pretty calm overall...keep your fingers crossed. Here's one tic on the streams:

Report: Swedish activist arrested for Land Day activities
03/30/2012 16:17
A pro-Palestinian activist from Sweden was arrested by IDF forces during the course of the Land Day activities, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) stated in a tweet.

NOTE: You will see in some of these reports the reference to "Land Day" - this is what prompted this day as the time for this Global March To's a bit of a long story but "Land Day" refers to a day back in 1976 when six Palestinians were killed in riots over Israel annexing some of their own land - it's basically just another day on the calendar that the Palestinians use to raise holy hell. So, a lot of the Israeli reports are using Land Day today in reference to what is going on - the "Global March To Jerusalem" was the effort this year to bring the whole world of Muslim scum into the fray of commemorating Land Day.

10:09 a.m.

Thousands of protesters gather in Jordan for Land Day
03/30/2012 17:09
Thousands of protesters assembled in Jordan on the border with Israel to mark the 36th annual Land Day.

The demonstration was attended by members from the Muslim Brotherhood and anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox Jews.

Protesters waved Palestinian flags and called for the liberation of Jerusalem. The demonstration remained non-violent.

10:20 a.m. EST

Arabs Throw Rocks at IDF Soldiers Near Bethlehem

Dozens of Palestinian Authority Arab protesters threw rocks at IDF soldiers stationed at a checkpoint near the entrance to Bethlehem on Friday afternoon.

The soldiers responded with crowd dispersal means.

10:57 a.m. EST

The Global March is crumbling! Falling apart before it even gained steam is how it is now appearing. The one concern was what would happen along the Egyptian border and as you can see from this report.....IT FIZZLED.

Egyptian activists call off Land Day marches
LAST UPDATED: 03/30/2012 17:52

Egyptian security forces prevented mass protests in Egypt to mark Land Day, while organizers in Cairo called off another demonstration due to the political situation in Egypt, Al Jazeera reported Friday according to pro-Palestinian activists.

Gamal Abdel Salaam, a leading organizer in the Al-Quds Committee in Egypt, told Al Jazeera that Egyptian security forces would not prevented a march from Cairo University in Giza to the grounds of the Great Pyramids, despite the organization receiving approval "from all sides."

Another activist and director of the Center for Palestine Studies in Cairo, Ibrahim Al-Darawi, told Al Jazeera that a massive demonstration from the Al Azhar Mosque was called off due to Egypt's "internal situation... and political tensions at the current time."

Abdel Salaam insisted that despite calling of his organization's march, his group would continue to work "for the sake of Jerusalem and address attempts by the Israeli occupation to Judaize [the city]."

11:38 a.m. EST

Latest video report out of Israel (sorry but it's from Russia Today)

11:57 a.m.

Report: IDF kills one Palestinian in Gaza Land Day demo
03/30/2012 18:43

One Palestinian was shot dead and dozens were wounded near the border between the Gaza Strip in Israel on Friday during demonstrations to mark the 36th Land Day, Hamas affiliate Al-Resalah reported.

At least 37 people were injured in protests that broke our in Beit Hanoun and Khan Yunis, and Palestinians said the 20-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Zaqout was shot dead by IDF troops stationed at the border, according to the report.

1:23 p.m.

good grief...i guess a day with palestinians trying to push through border gates wouldn't be complete without this....

Amnesty International condemns Israel for 'excessive force'
03/30/2012 20:16

Amnesty International issued a condemnation of what it termed Israel's "excessive use of force" on Land Day protesters on Friday.

The organization's deputy director of Middle East and North Africa program said in a press statement that the they were "extremely worried" by reports that the IDF was using live ammunition on protesters, "particularly in the light of frequent and persistent use of excessive force against Palestinian protesters."

Amnesty also condemned the PA for preventing protests and Hamas for beating up protesters, calling on both to respect freedom of assembly.


Video: Arab Protesters Assault IDF With Rocks and Firebombs In Bethlehem

The Global March To Jeruslam Event: Muslim Hate and Violence On Israel Begins...

I'm going to try and live blog today what is going on in Israel as the Global March To Jerusalem begins and already the violence and disturbance has raised its ugly head but hey, what do you expect when this march of hate has been promoted all over the world.

Here's the first story I've seen of real violence and also detailing the "no kidding around" actions of the Israeli IDF forces. From The Jerusalem Post.

Clashes break out at Kalandiya in Land Day protests

Palestinians throw stones at IDF checkpoint near Bethlehem; IDF announces closure on the West Bank; police limit access to the Temple Mount; security forces prepare to prevent access to Lebanese border area

The IDF and Israel Police went on high alert Friday, imposing a full closure on the West Bank, limiting access to the Temple Mount and setting up checkpoints on roads near the Lebanese border ahead of expected protests marking Land Day and the Global March to Jerusalem.

Palestinian protesters were clashing with Israeli forces at the Kalandiya checkpoint, throwing rocks, firebombs and burning tires. Security forces were using large amounts of tear gas, stun grenades, sound weapons and foul-smelling water to disperse the protesters.

A large number of protesters arrived at the checkpoint from Ramallah. At least one was injured on his arm by a rubber bullet and taken to the hospital.

Preparations took place along all of Israel’s fronts. The IDF announced that Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered West Bank crossings closed for a 24-hour period.

In Bethlehem, dozens of protesters were throwing stones at an IDF checkpoint after breaking through a line of Palestinian police.

Earlier, PA security forces had blocked the protesters from approaching the checkpoint. The protesters stopped in front of the Palestinian police and sat in the road, chanting: "To Jerusalem, we will march."

Israel Police deployed large numbers of police and border police forces in and around Moshav Avivim near the Lebanese border Friday morning, ahead of the expected demonstrations. Security forces set up checkpoints to prevent protesters from encroaching on the Lebanese border, where at least 10 people were killed in clashes that erupted during last years Nakba Day commemorations.

A chief superintendent in the police's Northern District said the preparations were designed with lessons learned from the deadly events last year. Police were prepared for crow control, armed with tear gas and riot gear.

Police said they were coordinating with the army, who was in turn coordinating with the United Nations in Lebanon.

In addition, police came armed with a general's order that gives them the authority to prevent people from reaching the border in the case that clashes break out. Police did not begin stopping movement in the border area but said they were prepared to do so.

On the northern side of the border, the Lebanese Armed Forces and police were also out in force along the border and at the Beaufort castle, where some 4,000 protesters are expected later in the day, Lebanese daily an-Nahar reported. UNIFIL was also said to be conducting patrols and monitoring activity along the northern side of the border.

IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz toured the West Bank and Syrian border Friday morning ahead of the planned protests.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Algerian Muslim Father Butchers His 16 Yr Old Daughter For Having Celebrity Men Photos On Her Smartphone

I mean, really...wouldn't Mohammed be so damn proud of this Algerian father who sent his wife and other children away so he could be alone to confront his teen daughter and the fact that she had photos of movie stars and celebrities on her mobile phone...and confront her he did...with a knife and as the story from Emirates 24/7 puts it...."slaughtered her like a sheep."

Like a sheep. More like a lamb. A lamb brought to slaughter. For the honor of a pedophile and a moon god.

Dad kills daughter for having US actors on her mobile phone

An Algerian man used a kitchen knife to slaughter his 16-year-old daughter after discovering pictures of American and Turkish actors in her mobile phone.

The man, identified as B. Majeed, sent his second wife and her children to her family so he could be left alone with his teen age daughter, Lidya.

“After finding photographs of some American and Turkish actors in her mobile phone, the father decided to kill his daughter and made plans for the murder,” the Algerian Arabic language daily Al Nahar said.

“When he was alone with her at home, he grabbed her and put the knife on her neck…he then slaughtered her like a sheep.”

The paper said the man, who had Lidya from his first wife, then phoned the police and surrendered to them.

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Azerbaijan Grants Israel Use Of Its Air Bases In Lead Up To Possible Strike On Iran

If you listen really closely, you can hear the heads of the mullahs in Iran literally exploding as the Muslim country of Azerbaijan located on the northern border of Iran has granted Israel access to all of its air bases...that might just come in handy for the Israelis during operations against Iran.

As one U.S. official put it:

"The Israelis have bought an airfield," an official said, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."

You may remember that just recently Azerbaijan officials had uncovered a huge terror plot inside of their country and they arrested like 22 terrorists - all of them had links to Iran and more specifically, to the Iran Revolutionary Guard. This shows just how close the relationship has grown between the Israelis and this country on Iran's border and how desperate the Iranians have been to break those ties.

The story is from The Jerusalem Post.

'Baku grants Israel use of its air bases'

Azerbaijan has granted Israel access to airbases in its territory along Iran's northern border for potential use in a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, a report published Wednesday in Foreign Policy magazine quoted senior US officials as saying.

"The Israelis have bought an airfield," an official said, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."

Even if Israel doesn't use the fields for a direct air strike on Iran, Azerbaijan could still prove useful for Jerusalem's interests in the region. The bases could be used as a jumping point for IDF search-and-rescue units, the report quoted a US intelligence official as saying.

According to the Foreign Policy report by journalist Mark Perry, the Obama administration believes the Jerusalem-Baku relationship is raising the risk of an Israeli strike on Iran. Senior US officials have said that Israel's military expansion into Azerbaijan is complicating US efforts to defuse Israeli-Iranian tensions. "We're watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we're not happy about it," one official said.

The relationship between Israel and the predominantly Muslim country on Iran's northern border is believed to be robust. The Foreign Policy report quoted a 1995 article in The Jerusalem Post as saying bilateral relations started in 1994 and have blossomed ever since. "Strauss ice cream, cell phones produced by Motorola's Israeli division, Maccabi beer, and other Israeli imports are ubiquitous [in Azerbaijan]," the Jerusalem Post article stated.

The unlikely bilateral relationship has taken center stage in the media this year.

In January, Azeri authorities implicated an Iranian citizen in a plot to kill Jewish teachers at a Jewish school in Baku.

A report published last month in The Times of London said that Azerbaijan is teeming with Mossad agents working to collect intelligence on the Islamic Republic of Iran, quoting an unnamed agent as saying that Baku was "ground zero for intelligence work."

Later in the month, Israeli officials confirmed a $1.6 billion defense deal with Baku that will see Jerusalem supplying the former Soviet state with unmanned aerial vehicles and missile defense systems.

Earlier this month, Azerbaijani police arrested 22 people, including one Iranian citizen, suspected of plotting attacks against US and Israeli targets across the country. Baku tied the plot to Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

France's Sarkozy Follows Through On Hasty Withdrawal of Troops From Afghanistan War

French soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) stand during a departure ceremony at the French base in Surobi district in Kabul province on March 18, 2012. Around 200 French soldiers are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of March. -AFP Photo

The French are packing up and leaving Afghanistan. But even faster than originally planned as French President Sarkozy continues to accelerate the troop withdrawal. The story from DAWN details how 200 French troops are on their way home, much earlier than planned - you'll see in the article that French troops are saying that their Afghan counterparts will be just fine without their support.

Yeah, right.

Two hundred French troops leave Afghanistan

KABUL: Two hundred French troops have said goodbye to the war in Afghanistan as part of France’s accelerated pullout from the country.

In January, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a faster-track exit for France, breaking from previous plans to go along with to the US-led coalition’s plan to withdraw combat forces by the end of 2014.

Sarkozy said France would speed up its withdrawal timetable, pulling out 1000, 400 more than its previous target, of its current 3600 soldiers by year-end and withdraw all combat forces by the end of 2013.

His announcement came a week after four unarmed French troops were killed by an Afghan soldier in Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan.

The French troops waiting Wednesday to board their flight out of Afghanistan were not stationed in Kapisa, but in Surobi district, about 45 kilometers east of Kabul.

They said they were elated to leave and thought the Afghan forces they left behind were ready to go solo.

Capt Nicolas from Battle Group Picardie said his daughter was born in June and he was in Afghanistan in September.

”I think she might be able to say a couple of words now,” said Nicolas, who was not permitted to release his last name. ”I’m really happy to go home to hear her.”

A 32-year-old lieutenant named Jeremie, who also did not disclose his last name, said the security situation in Surobi had improved.

”We were under fire only once in the last four months,” he said. ”It wasn’t a big attack. We came under fire from one direction.”

He said the Afghan security forces were adept at finding weapons caches and defusing bombs.

”I think I can say that they do their jobs maybe not quite good, but good,” he said.

The Nato-led international force in Afghanistan has been steadily handing over responsibility for security to the government’s army and police ever since the alliance’s last summit in Lisbon in 2010.

There, Nato leaders decided to move the Afghans into the lead role in fighting the Taliban by 2014 and end the coalition’s combat role.

However, Sarkozy, who is engaged in a tough re-election campaign ahead of the April vote, has been under political pressure to withdraw French troops even earlier.

Polls show most French want an early pullout and his main challenger, Francois Hollande, has said that his hope would be to bring home all French forces this year.

Capt Francois, deputy commander of one of the units in Surobi, said the French troops played a support role in missions led by the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.

”From what I’ve seen, they have the capacity and the ability and it seems to me that they are a professional army,” he said.

In Paris, French military spokesman Col Thierry Burkhard said that after more French troops leave in the next few days, about 3400 French troops will still be in Afghanistan.

There are no specific plans yet for the withdrawals scheduled for 2013, he said.

France, one of the top five troop-contributing nations in the international force, has lost 92 troops since 2001.

Maj Philippe Baille, a spokesman for the French contingent in Afghanistan, said that after 2014, French soldiers will continue training Afghan security forces and providing logistical support for the Afghan army.

In addition to pulling out troops, about 1,300 vehicles and the equivalent of 1700 containers of materials will be repatriated by 2014, he said.

For now, the equipment is being flown to Abu Dhabi and then transferred onto boats headed for France, he said.

The troops that left on Wednesday were from the 1st Infantry Regiment from Sarrebourg, the 3rd Engineer Regiment from Charleville-Mezieres and the 1st Artillery Marine Regiment from Couvron.

It was feared that France’s announcement could step up pressure on other European governments like Britain, Italy and Germany to pull out their troops faster. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, who visited Helmand province in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, said Britain has made a long-term commitment to the Afghan people.

”We will help to finance the Afghan national security forces for many years after 2014.We have taken responsibility for running the Afghan National Army officer academy which we will build outside Kabul,” Hammond said. ”We have not yet taken the decision about what if any military footprint we will retain after 2014.”

Britain has announced that it will withdraw 500 troops by the end of this year, reducing the size of its contingent in Afghanistan to 9000.

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Video: Brits Taking Fire In Afghanistan

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Iran Flies Thousands of Fake Protesters To Syria To Take Part in Global March on Jerusalem

Okay, just so you all know - I am planning to do some "Live Blogging" here at Holger Awakens this Friday, March 30th in anticipation of some disturbances coming out of the planned "Global March on Jerusalem" where supposedly 2 million Muslims will march on Jerusalem and other borders of Israel. I truly hope the day is quiet and I have nothing to post on Friday but when you read the story below, you will see why I am taking the time to do this - it appears to be a set up from the get go that could go badly from the very start. My fear is that there are going to be attempted border purges by these Muslim protesters at various checkpoints on Israel's border - I think it could happen at the Syrian border, the Lebanese border and the Egyptian border.

But, as you will see from this article at DEBKA, Iran is doing their part to make sure some sort of disaster and violence happens.

Iran flies thousands of pro-Palestinian activists to Syria. IDF fortifies borders

Israel boosted its Syrian and Lebanese border units as special flights carrying thousands of pro-Palestinian activists from Tehran touched down in Damascus Tuesday, March 27 for the international Global March to Jerusalem Friday, March 30. Before taking off, they were split into small groups and tutored by Iranian Al Qods Brigades officers in tactics for breaching Israeli border barriers, bursting through and challenging the Israeli military forces defending the border.

On arrival in Damascus, one group of activists was sent by special bus to Lebanon, where Hizballah officers stood by to lead them to villages close to the Israeli frontier; a second is assigned to face Israeli lines on the Golan.

These anti-Israeli activists from several countries are being planted at strategic points to carry out the plan hatched together by Iran, Syria and Hizballah to ignite Israel’s two northern borders in solidarity with the annual Israeli-Arab Earth Day next Friday.
Earlier reports from Damascus that the demonstrators would keep the Quneitra sector of the Golan and the Lebanese Beaufort were meant to put the Israeli command off its stroke by disguising the real scope of their plans and their objective: a mass assault on Israeli borders. They are programmed to coincide with the outbreaks the Palestinian Authority is preparing for Jerusalem and the West Bank and Israeli-Arab disturbances inside Israel – all on the same day, as debkafile reported earlier Tuesday.
The Palestinian extremists of the Gaza Strip will certainly not stand aloof.

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IDF Cancelling All Passover Leaves

Some thing's up.  Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has done something that hasn't been done in many years.  He has cancelled ALL leaves for Passover.
Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has ordered all IDF units to cancel their traditional Passover breaks so that they can operate in full capacity over the upcoming holiday, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.

The implication of the decision is that for the first time in many years, all IDF units will maintain their regular operations and remain on full alert throughout the holiday.

As result of the unexpected decision, thousands of soldiers at various IDF headquarters and bases will have to report for duty as usual in order to allow their units to operate with no interruption.

IDF officials dismissed suggestions that the decision is related to operational circumstances or preparations for military maneuvers. The army said Chief of Staff Gantz made the call after asserting that he does not accept the notion of an army-wide Passover vacation.

However, IDF soldiers who received the news Tuesday could not be convinced that the timing of the decision was arbitrary.

Notably, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Tuesday said that after meeting Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak, he was more concerned about the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran.

Over the years, an army-wide break during Passover became a tradition followed by all major military units, including the Air Force, Navy and intelligence corps. The IDF's headquarters in Tel Aviv is also traditionally deserted during the holiday.

But as noted, the longtime tradition will be broken this year, as soldiers will have to divide their vacation days among themselves in order to ensure that their units maintain their full capacity to operate if needed.

Every military man will tell you that if you want rumors to run rampant you cancel all leaves.  I could speculate for hours on this but I won't.  I'll let you, my truth seekers to put 2+2 together.  I hope it equals 4.

Christians in Sudan Have Been Given Until April 8th To Leave...or Else

From Family Security Matters.

Sudanese Christians Given Until April 8 to Leave

Ryan Mauro

The Sudanese regime is on its way to becoming the next Iran, regardless of whether President Omar Bashir remains in power or not. The country is moving towards becoming a full-blown Sharia state, comparable to Iran, Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan under the Taliban. Towards that end, 500-700,000 Christians have been told to pack up and leave by April 8 or they’ll be treated as foreigners.

The Bashir regime has always been an enemy of the U.S. and those who value human rights but it is now doing everything it can to please its Islamist opposition. The regime knew it would raise the ire of the Islamists when it allowed the mostly-Christian region of South Sudan to become an independent country. In the hopes of staving off a rebellion, Bashir promised to remodel his country based on Sharia Law with Arabic as the only official language. He also promised not to seek another term in 2015.

Bashir’s most powerful opponent is a cleric named Hasan al-Turabi, the leader of the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is hard to overstate his impact on the growth of Islamic extremism and terrorism. He has been called "Sudan's Osama" and "The Pope of Terrorism." After helping Bashir come to power, Turabi used his base in Sudan to build close relationships with every virtually single Islamic terrorist group and government. He worked hard to bring together secularists like Saddam Hussein, Sunni radicals like Osama Bin Laden and Shiite radicals like Iran and Hezbollah into a common anti-Western front. Turabi became close with Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, though he today criticizes some of their tactics as being “counterproductive.”

After South Sudan seceded, the Islamists demanded that Bashir made good on his word. They formed the Islamic Constitution Front and drafted a Sharia-based constitution. The imam of Khartoum’s Grand Mosque endorsed it and said Bashir must “either rule by Islam or go.” Other members of the group explicitly said they’d revolt if their wishes aren’t granted.

Bashir declared that that any person whose great-grandparents were born in the south or is part of a southern ethnic group will no longer be considered a citizen after April 8. That means that the country’s 500-700,000 Christians must get out now or have their rights reduced to that of a foreigner. This is nowhere in the news. Imagine if Israel had issued such an order to 100 Palestinians.

The Sudanese Christians are facing increasing persecution. In February, eight bombs were dropped on a Christian college built by Franklin Graham’s charity. Humanitarian aid is being blocked to those in the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile Provinces, forcing the U.S. to consider an operation to rescue about 500,000 people from imminent famine. Any presence of foreign troops in this area would probably trigger a call to jihad by Islamist clerics and possibly the Bashir regime.

This isn’t to say that Bashir is a friend of the U.S. who was pushed into a corner. It is true that his regime has become much more cooperative on counter-terrorism since 2001. The State Department nearly delisted it as a State Sponsor of Terrorism last year as a reward for letting South Sudan vote on independence. The State Department’s eagerness to mend ties with Sudan led it to overlook its ongoing support for terrorism.

The State Department conceded that Hamas, Al-Qaeda and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operate in Sudan. It reassured us that the regime “does not openly support the presence” of the latter two, but doesn’t preclude the possibility of secret support. After all, Bashir’s rule is tyrannical and it’s hard to believe that high-profile terrorist groups could operate in Sudan without the regime knowing.

The State Department downplayed Sudan’s support for Hamas, saying it is limited to fundraising. This is demonstrably false. Israel has carried out airstrikes on convoys delivering Iranian arms to Hamas through Sudan since January 2009. There were two strikes in December 2011 alone. An opposition newspaper was shut down in 2010 after it disclosed the existence of an Iranian arms factory in Khartoum used to supply Hamas and Iranian-backed militants in Yemen and Somalia. This is made all the more serious when you consider the fact that when Ayatollah Khamenei visited Sudan in 2006, he declared that Iran would share its nuclear technology with Islamic allies.

Omar Bashir will either implement the Islamist agenda or they will remove him from power and do it themselves. Either way, Sudan is on the way to joining the ranks of Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Syria's Assad Caught Joking About Islam

I guess we get to see just how outraged the Muslims of the world will get over this as it has been leaked that Syria's Bashar Assad and his wife have been joking about conservative Islam in many of his emails and social networking....hmm....are the Afghans gonna burn half their country over this?

The story is from The Telegraph.

Syria: Bashar al-Assad joked about religion of most of population, emails show

Above: The leaked emails from Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma, seen by the Daily Telegraph, are mapped out here using social network analyis tool Gephi. Click on the red markers to see more information.

The ream of messages and derogatory cartoons allegedly sent among his 'inner circle' of female aides and family members poke fun at conservative Muslims.

Most of the messages ridicule the burka, the full body cloak worn by some Muslim women.

One e-mail from a female adviser depicts an image of a crying child in a shopping mall who has lost his mother. Trying to reunite them the shop assistant asks the boy for a description of his mother. The little boy replies 'I don't know sir I have never seen her!!' and the joke jumps to an image of a woman fully shrouded in black pushing a shopping cart.

On January 22 the President's father-in-law Fawaz Akhras allegedly forwarded a 'British wedding photograph' showing 24 newly wed Muslim couples, the women all wearing white burkas, their faces covered. "I just hope, for their sake, that each husband goes home with the right table cloth" the joke reads. Another email entitled 'Why God sends rain to Mexico and not to the Middle East' lists photographs of scantily clad weather women, and ends with an image of a covered Muslim woman standing by a weather map holding an umbrella.

The jokes, which might be viewed as humorous by a liberal Western audience, will be deeply insulting to many in Syria's largely conservative society.

The messages apparently convey little respect by the President and his aides for the population they lead. One message appears denigrate Arab men as being unclean or untrained; the email opens with a picture of a kitten peeing in a squat toilet, and leads on to an image of a man donning a red Kuffiyeh, the traditional Arab headers, urinating against a wall.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Holger Asks Why #53: Race Baiting?

Holger Asks Why.....

Why is it ... Only in America can a White man get blamed when a Hispanic man kills a Black man?

(Hat Tip: Big Dawg)


Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's Top Leader In Northern Afghanistan Killed In Raid By Coalition Forces

Great, great news coming from the northern parts of Afghanistan as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's #1 leader in all of northern Afghanistan has been killed in an Afghan and Coalition raid.

The IMU is a known ally of both al Qaeda and the Taliban in the War in Afghanistan and over time they have gained numbers and force in the country. The fact that their most senior leaders is now pushing up worms, is excellent news.

The story comes from The Long War Journal.

ISAF, Afghan forces kill top IMU commander in north

During a raid in northern Afghanistan yesterday, a combined Coalition and Afghan special operations force killed the top commander for Afghan operations of the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Makhdum Nusrat, described by the International Security Assistance Force as "the senior Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader in Afghanistan," was killed yesterday in Faryab's Shirin Tagab district during a raid by an "Afghan Special Unit" and Coalition forces, ISAF stated in a press release.

Nusrat and "several additional IMU insurgents" were killed and two "insurgents" were captured after they opened fire on the combined Afghan and Coalition force. Security forces also seized "a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, multiple rockets, several AK-47s and a number of grenades."

ISAF described Nusrat as "the highest-ranking IMU insurgent operating in the country." He was involved in numerous attacks "throughout the northern provinces for the last eight months." Additionally he was "plotting the assassination of an Afghan Parliament member in Kabul."

ISAF described the IMU as "a terrorist organization closely linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban."

"It conducts insurgent attacks in the northern region of Afghanistan among other countries in Central Asia," ISAF continued.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a key ally of al Qaeda, and supports operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as plots attacks in Europe [for more information on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, see LWJ report, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan].

The northern Afghan provinces of Baghlan, Faryab, Kunduz, Sar-i-Pul, and Takhar are known strongholds of the IMU. In early 2011, the International Security Assistance Force noted the location of suicide camps in both Sar-i-Pul and Samangan. The IMU is known to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and has integrated into the Taliban's shadow government in the north.

ISAF and Afghan forces captured the IMU's previous top commander in Afghanistan during a raid in Kunduz province in April 2011. He served as "a key conduit between the senior IMU leadership in Pakistan and senior Taliban leadership in Afghanistan," and aided in suicide, IED, and other attacks by the IMU in the north. He was freed from a Pakistani jail in 2010 and immediately returned to lead forces in Afghanistan [see LWJ report, ISAF captures Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's top commander for Afghanistan].

ISAF has targeted the IMU in four other raids in Afghanistan this year. Nusrat appears to have been the target of the last raid, on March 17, which also took place in Faryab's Shirin Tagab district, as well as a raid in Badhakshah province in September 2011 [see LWJ report, Special operations forces hunt IMU's top commander in Afghan northeast].

On March 8, security forces captured two Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leaders during a raid in the remote northeastern province of Badakhshan. The commanders were involved in suicide attacks in northern Afghanistan, including one that resulted in
the death of a member of parliament.

On Feb. 3, ISAF captured "a Taliban-appointed deputy and head of the insurgent group's military commission in Badghis province" during a raid in southern Helmand province. ISAF said he "represented both the Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan groups and was responsible for coordinating insurgent activities in Badghis and Faryab province."

On Jan. 29, ISAF and Afghan forces killed Ilhom, an IMU commander who "facilitated the training of suicide bombers for attacks" in Takhar province and was responsible for last year's Christmas Day suicide attack at a funeral in Taloqan that killed 20 Afghans, including Abdul Mutalib Baig, a member of parliament.

The IMU has maintained a strong presence in Afghanistan despite persistent ISAF and Afghan raids against top leaders and operatives. IMU leaders and operatives are often the targets of US Predator and Reaper drone strikes in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan.

Video: The Afghan Version of the Hatfields and the McCoys

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Oh Great! Sharia Townhalls Scheduled In 25 American Cities To Make Us All More Comfortable With Stoning Women

I have mentioned several times here at this blog that we will know we are losing the battle against Islam in this country of America when the islamists become more and more emboldened in their propaganda, their reach and their "in your face" approach to spreading Islam here.

Well, you don't get much more emboldened than literally holding townhall meetings across this country espousing the merits of Sharia law as Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is intending to do.

From the article at Family Security Matters:

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) announced a national Shariah education campaign to promote “religious freedom and combat Islamophobia.” This campaign will include an education tour to introduce Islamic faith to the American public, as well as billboards, college campus seminars, radio ads, and a national hotline to address questions about Shariah.

Shariah education and interfaith events and town hall forums are scheduled for 25 cities. According to Dr. Zahid H. Bukhari, president of the ICNA, “The First Amendment guarantees religious freedom for every citizen. Muslim Americans are asking for the same fundamental rights to observe Shariah, a component of the Islamic faith, in our personal, familial and religious affairs within the boundaries of the United States Constitution and all local, state and federal laws.”

Presumably these town hall forums are designed “to clarify misconceptions about American Muslims.” But suppose Shariah is incompatible with Constitutional guarantees? Suppose as well that Shariah, if widely instituted, would shatter provisions for free speech, individual rights and equal protection of the law?

I wonder... will anyone show up at these townhalls to really question Sharia? I wonder, will people like me even be allowed at the townhalls, let alone be allowed to ask a question? It sounds like Mr. Bukhari shouldn't mind me exercising my 1st amendment privilege of asking some direct questions about the compatibility of Sharia with the Constitution of the United States of America. Right?

The Islamic Circle of North America and the Shariah Campaign

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) announced a national Shariah education campaign to promote “religious freedom and combat Islamophobia.” This campaign will include an education tour to introduce Islamic faith to the American public, as well as billboards, college campus seminars, radio ads, and a national hotline to address questions about Shariah.

Shariah education and interfaith events and town hall forums are scheduled for 25 cities. According to Dr. Zahid H. Bukhari, president of the ICNA, “The First Amendment guarantees religious freedom for every citizen. Muslim Americans are asking for the same fundamental rights to observe Shariah, a component of the Islamic faith, in our personal, familial and religious affairs within the boundaries of the United States Constitution and all local, state and federal laws.”

Presumably these town hall forums are designed “to clarify misconceptions about American Muslims.” But suppose Shariah is incompatible with Constitutional guarantees? Suppose as well that Shariah, if widely instituted, would shatter provisions for free speech, individual rights and equal protection of the law?

It is certainly appropriate to educate the public about Shariah. Is it, however, appropriate to propagandize on behalf of religious attitudes that encourage hostility to women, that argue Jews are the progeny of apes and pigs and that can only accept categorical rights as opposed to individual rights?

It will be interesting to see if ICNA encourages an opposition voice at its public events. At most interfaith conferences I have attended Muslim representatives offer their selective interpretation of the Koran and Hadith. Rarely are contrary opinions cited, nor are portions of the holy documents carefully parsed. Moreover, many Muslim leaders ignore their own law of abrogation suggesting that even if the suras are not chronological, that which came after is more significant than what came before. This is understandable since the verses of the sword and the call to violence to promote the faith appear in the Medina section of the Koran which relies on holy war.

Clearly religion of any kind is subject to interpretation. That is where the First Amendment’s free speech provision comes in. But if the Koran was written by the Archangel Gabriel at the behest of Allah, the words cannot be altered; the interpretation is left to the imans, not to religious adherents. Personal interpretation is not possible for Muslims who remain observant.

As a consequence, Islam is different from other religions. Christians may object to a critique from atheists, but there is the acceptance of free speech superordinating doctrine. In Islam this cannot be the case leading one to the obvious conclusion that Shariah by its very nature is intolerant. It cannot readily accept criticism and open dialogue.

Hence town hall meetings are ultimately a one-way street in which an unwary audience is propagandized or even proselytized by those claiming the mantle of “fact based” knowledge about Islam. Needless to say, there are those Muslims who rely on the Mecca portion of the Koran ignoring the call to violence. And it is also true that many Muslims do not take seriously every comment in the holy books. But for those not particularly savvy about Islam, the power of ICNA rhetoric should not be underestimated.

This public relations campaign is the beginning of what will be a contest between Shariah driven perspectives and the essence of the U.S. Constitution. In my judgment they are not compatible, notwithstanding ICNA claims to the contrary. My fear is that a naïve public unfamiliar with Islam could be easily hoodwinked. But then again I believe in and will defend free speech even when it is used for positions I do not support.

The Future of Syria

I was emailed this latest entry written by a friend, Chicagodudewhotrades, and thought that he's done an excellent job of framing up the disaster that has become Syria.

I wanted to share it with all of you as today, another 8 Syrians were killed in the fighting in that country.

The Future of Syria: Poor, Nasty, Brutish and Short

On 26 January 2011, the 'Arab Spring' arrived in Syria. The result so far has been bloody. I fear that the future there could also be bloody for years and maybe even decades. I do not see a winner of this struggle for possibly years. I also believe that the uprising against the Assad regime could even spread across borders and engulf the entire region in bloodshed.

People should be paying attention to the Syrian uprising for a couple important reasons. First, if the uprising does spread to other parts of the region, then the already tragic loss of life could multiply many times. If this conflict does indeed become regional, then there could be a serious negative effect on the American economy in the form of much higher energy prices. Lastly, I believe the regime could be in possession of chemical weapons that may have been secretly moved out of Saddam Hussein's Iraq before the 2003 invasion. If the Assad regime finds itself with it's back to the wall, these weapons (if the regime does possess them) could be used in a last ditch attempt to stay in power. If this ever happens, then I believe that the world will HAVE to respond with military force against the regime.

If the regime manages to hang on to power and squash the uprising, then the retribution against anyone who dared to stand up against it will be ghastly. The late Hafez al-Assad (the father of the current dictator Bashir) ordered the Syrian army to conduct a brutal crackdown against the town of Hama in 1982 in order to put down a rebellion. This massacre is estimated to have killed anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 Syrians.

Assad will NOT step down from power voluntarily. Look up ' Gaddafi, Muammar ' for a possibility on how this ends. When Assad falls from power, I think the payback against the minority Alawites and anyone connected with the ruling Ba'ath Party for the over 40 years of dictatorial rule will also be bloody and could last for years. This does NOT mean that I am a regime supporter. The Assad regime has committed unspeakable crimes against the country and must be held accountable for this. All I am pointing out is that the 'solution' could involve much bloodshed too.

A problem with dictatorships is that the guy at the top is paranoid about threats against him so he will eliminate any potential rivals, this means when he does fall there is usually no one left to fill the power vacuum and anarchy reigns. This is what happened in Libya last year. This could easily become Syria's fate as well.

A reason this uprising could spread across the region, or at the very least become a prolonged civil war is because a lot more countries then just Syria have stakes in this conflict.

Russia has been a strong supporter of the Assad regime for decades. It's only port located outside the Russian Federation's borders is at Tartus Syria. This port is Russia's ONLY year long warm water port. The port facilities there help support Russian naval deployments into the Mediterranean Sea. This port is a HUGE matter of geo-political importance to Russia. Because of this, I think they would be willing to do nearly everything short of openly committing their own ground forces to prop up the regime. But as this link suggests I may already be wrong:

Another country with a huge stake in preserving the Syrian status quo are the Iranians. Iran and the Syrian regime are close allies. Iran uses Syria as a transit channel to ship weapons to their Hezbollah proxies in Lebanon. If Syria is lost as a ally, then the easy transport routes from Iran to Lebanon are lost as well. Unlike the Russians, I believe the Iranians would be willing to go 'all in' to preserve the regime. However, what exactly that could mean is hard to tell.

A quick look at the past is another reason why I believe this struggle could be incredibly bloody and last for years. The Lebanese Civil War which happened literally next door to Syria lasted 15 years and claimed anywhere from 150,000 to 230,000 deaths. That averages out to 10,000-15,000 deaths per year. So far, around 8,000 deaths have been reported since this began in Syria one year ago.

Below are some estimates of how the Syrian rebellion may turn out:

The regime manages to hold on to power in it's current form: Less then 5%
I believe the regime is too damaged to continue on the way things have been. The myth of the Assad regime being invincible to opposition has been shattered forever.

The Alawite minority continues to hold on but without Assad at the top: Less then 10%
Maybe something can be worked out where the Alawites continue to run the country in exchange for peace and the handing over of Bashir Assad to the opposition to stand trial but I doubt it. I think too much blood has be already spilled for this to be a workable idea.

Assad gets deposed by a military coup: Less then 10%
This is also a bit far-fetched. Since it is the military doing the killing, I don't see a deal worked out on this either.

Regime falls, and everyone fights a civil war over whatever is left: 60% or greater
Given the history of the region and what is at stake, I really think this is the most likely outcome. The opposition to the regime is unified on getting rid of Assad, but after that.... they are pretty splintered on what they want next for Syria. This isn't a good sign. To quote a movie title: "There will be blood'. Just how many lives are lost, how long this goes, and who else gets dragged down into this are really the only questions left.

As you can see, I am very pessimistic about Syria's future. I just don't see any real good news on the horizon. Even some of the best outcomes still mean plenty of killing as decades-old scores are finally settled. The truly worst-case scenario would be this uprising spreading across borders, causing instability across the region and triggering a full-scale conventional war in response, This is why this conflict needs to be watched closely. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it.

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