Morning Report: August 12, 2005

Baghdad: Municipal coup d'etat. The New York Times reports: 'Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia. Relatives visited Nasser Khathem Nasser at Al Kindi Hospital after he was wounded by a car bomb near an American patrol in Baghdad. The deposed mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, who was not in his offices at the time, recounted the events in a telephone interview on Tuesday and called the move a municipal coup d'├ętat. He added that he had gone into hiding for fear of his life. "This is the new Iraq," said Mr. Tamimi, a secular engineer with no party affiliation. "They use force to achieve their goal." The group that ousted him insisted that it had the authority to assume control of Iraq's capital city and that Mr. Tamimi was in no danger. The man the group installed, Hussein al-Tahaan, is a member of the Badr Organization, the armed militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri. The militia has been credited with keeping the peace in heavily Shiite areas in southern Iraq but also accused of abuses like forcing women to wear the veils demanded by conservative Shiite religious law. ...' (NYT)

ITM: Iranian regime, islamist parties taking over Basra. Mohammed at Iraq the Model writes on the growing influence of Iranian agents and local fundamentalist parties in Basra: 'Abddul Aziz Al-Hakim the head of the SCIRI called to day for the formation of a federal state in the south of Iraq and Hadi Al-Amiri chief of the Badr organization (the military wing of the SCIRI) said that if the Sheat don't persist in forming this state they will regret it. I don't really know why Amiri chose the word "regret" in addressing the people of the south, instead he could've said something like 'we would like to see a federal state in the south and we respect the people's choice about it' because I think this tone of threats to the people he's part of carries a lot of possible suspicious meanings. I think the Islamic leaderships have realized that it's difficult to lead a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country by forcing one perspective that has a specific religious inclination and that's why they're thinking of creating a smaller state in the south which can be more loyal (or less defiant) to them and their strategic ally in Iran, not forgetting the economic advantage of this region of Iraq which possesses the largest oil reserves and Iraq's only port. So they think that implementing an example that matches the visions of these parties in this region would be easier and safer especially with the presence of the desirable sectarian majority. Also these parties have established strong basis for them in this region as a step in the preparation for the future federal state (or mere state) and actually right now there's nothing that can stop this plan except the other religious trend that is spreading in the south represented by Muqtada's group. These two Sheat religious trends do not seem willing to coexist peacefully in the same place and in the past months the southern cities became an open field for a war between these parties and cities like Samawa, Najaf and Kut have witnessed continuous conflicts over power and influence. ...' Read the full post at the link, including Mohammed's selection of quotes from the BBC Arabic site - some of which are quite disturbing. (ITM)

Stefania at TCS: Iran and Europe. Stefania LaPenna has an article at Tech Central Station on the EU and the IRI: 'Iran's recent move to resume its nuclear activities both defies the European Union's warnings and makes a mockery of the EU's diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. It is a defeat of Europe's policy toward the Islamic Republic. It demonstrated, in case anyone still doubted it, the determination of a terrorist regime to get its hands on a nuclear bomb. Above all, it has proven that neither economic incentives nor any form of dialogue can change the Mullahs' minds. And yet, it seems that Europe still doesn't get it. We read that the EU Big 3 (France, Germany and UK) are now "getting tougher" with the Mullahs by threatening UN sanctions. But there is little to hope that this threat will become a reality. The Europeans have significant economic interests in Iran, and they are not willing to compromise them anytime soon. The Mullahs know who is on their side and who is not. Nevertheless, the future doesn't look good for the Islamic Republic. ...' Read the rest at the link. (TCS)

Winds of War. The latest edition of Winds of War is up. Among other items: 'The National Council of Resistance of Iran (yet once again) produced a secret Iranian document detailing the manufacture of centrifuges by the Mullahcracy’s nuclear program. They also stated that Iran has 4,000 of the undeclared centrifuges deployed throughout Iran's research/enrichment facilities. Again, the toothless IAEA merely has tickets to the show as they watch Iran unseal ‘IAEA sealed’ centrifuges, as others threaten meaningless trips to the UN Security Council, complete with Russia's veto power as they contract to build more Iranian plants. ...' Read it all at the link. (Winds of Change)

Turkmenbashi goes too far. The president of Turkmenistan is a fruitcake. You already knew that, you say. Well, yes. But now the egomaniac is taking his egomania to a whole new level. (Armies of Liberation)