Morning Report: September 7, 2005

New Orleans mayor orders forced evacuations. Mayor Ray Nagin ordered the forcible evacuation of all New Orleans residents who still refuse to leave the flooded city, news media report. 'To the estimated 10,000 residents still believed to be holed up in this ruined city, the mayor had a blunt new warning: Get out now — or risk being taken out by force. As floodwaters began to slowly recede with the city’s first pumps returning to operation, Mayor Ray Nagin authorized law enforcement officers and the U.S. military to force the evacuation of all residents who refuse to heed orders to leave. Police Superintendent Eddie Compass echoed that order, saying his men would evacuate residents, if necessary against their will. ...' (MSNBC)

Iran regime steps up harassment of women and girls. Misogyny was the order of the day once again for the islamist entity, with the Tehran regime targeting women and girls for degradation, according to two recent news items. 'Disciplinary forces harass high school girls: Iran Daily, one of the regime's multitude of media outlets, in it's Tuesday issue confessed that the greater corruption and criminality of the regime in fact emanates from none other than the disciplinary forces of the regime themselves; a large number of the disciplinary forces' agents have been recognized and exposed for ganging up and swarming around girls' schools during schools opening and closing hours.' But Khamenei's newspaper knows whose fault it really is: 'Khamnei's newspaper berates and persecutes Iranian women and girls: The regime's ruling newspaper, belonging to Mullah Khamnei, blamed Iranian women and girls, in an article entitled "The main reason for social corruption and ills," and called upon the disciplinary forces to exert all the necessary force in confronting such blight. This newspaper wrote: "Families are not only troubled by hoodlums and misfits. The actions of these hoodlums and misfits are as a result of other people's influences upon which the commander of the disciplinary forces did not expound. The main problem of our society today stems from sloppy women and girls whose veiling problems are a constant concern and of course there's the prostitutes who are the source of trouble on the streets. Those hoodlums and misfits who harass women and girls would never think of bothering proper and sophisticated women who are veiled according to the Islamic rules and maintain decent and respectable standards. Women who are not properly veiled and dress in a common and garish way are looking to be harassed ...' (Iran Press News)

Moussa Arafat killed. Stratfor (subscription service) reports: 'Moussa Arafat, former security chief in the Palestinian territories and cousin of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was dragged out of his Gaza City home by about 100 masked gunmen and shot dead Sept. 7 after the gunmen overpowered dozens of Arafat's bodyguards outside the home. The Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it killed Arafat to punish him for corruption offenses and collaboration with Israel. Manhal Arafat, Yasser Arafat's oldest son, was kidnapped during the gunbattle.' Debka adds: 'Former chief of Palestinian military intelligence and Gaza's security forces, Moussa Arafat. 64, was fired by Abu Mazen last April. The killers also abducted his son. The assassination of one of Gaza’s strongmen marks the onset of the armed contest for power in the Gaza Strip between the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Popular Committees. It ties in with trial of strength staged by Hamas Tuesday night when a horde of youths from Khan Younes was loosed for an attempt to seize evacuated Neve Dekalim. Palestinian Authority security men were conspicuous by their absence in both violent incidents. Arafat’s hard-line support base - his own military intelligence outfit, the violent Popular Committees headed by Jemal Sema Dana - with whom he ran the arms smuggling tunnels from Sinai, the extremist Jihad Islami, factions of the Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades and the large Hizballah contingent present in Gaza, will certainly retaliate for his murder. They may be expected to lash out against PA security forces. This will set off a bloody cycle that breaks the Gaza Strip down into conflicting war bases very much like Beirut during its civil war and also threaten the West Bank.' (Stratfor, Debka)

Egypt elections. Miss Mabrouk: 'Increased security, naturally so; security troops have been positioned around strategic spots in central Cairo since the early hours of the morning. Opposition movement Kefaya (Enough) says they have taken the right to demonstrate; they will demonstrate today; they are not waiting for anyone's permission. The PM is warning them, claiming a protest will be sabotaging the elections and that the police and security forces are charged to 'protect the voters.' Political parties have not been allowed to campaign the days leading up to today's election. Kefaya is however not a political party; it is a protest movement that has been a sore in the eye of the government since their protests began. In May and July, government thugs with clubs, backed up by uniformed security, crushed down on demonstrators. Kefaya leaders were imprisoned. But will anyone vote today? The largest political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, has not called for a boycott. But in the May 25 referendum, supervising judges said turn out was not more than three percent - sharply contrasting the government's claim of a 54 percent turnout. The Wafd party says the police in Port Said have collected the drivers’ licenses of the city's taxi drivers to force them to transport government supporters to the polling stations. Observers from the U.S. might want to remember that republican Congressman Tom Davis slapped the opposition movement and NGO's in the face two days ago by claiming independent monitors are not necessary.' (Also see Ritzy's post here.) Big Pharaoh on his first political rally: '...Suddenly I saw young men rushing towards a person whom I immediately figured out to be Ayman Noor. The throng around him were chanting "here is the president", "where is the media, here is is the president". Nour stood at the podium and started delivering his speech. I don't know why but I felt that Nour lacked the charisma of an opposition figure who says he wants to change everything. His tone was low and rather weak. I am not sure if that was because he was exhausted from the tens of conventions he held around the country. Anyway, that convention or campaign rally will never get erased from my memory. It was a clear indication that something is definitely changing in Egypt. My hope is that this spring, no matter how limited it is, will continue and give birth to liberal and progressive entities throughout the coming years. The secular/liberal/progressive entities of Egypt are in deep disarray and weakness and they will never gain strength unless given the freedom to operate and reach out to the masses. I am still at my stand that Mubarak should be given a 5th term, but I definitely welcome such political boat rocking.' (Read the BP's full post at the link, and find out what essential ingredient was missing from the rally.) Sandmonkey: 'The Kifaya demonstration went underway as planned, despite government warning of demonstration crackdown. They had about 1000 people in it. Pictures will be availible later. The election results won't come out before Saturday according to the election commission. The IDSC keeps monitoring my website. I keep seeing their IP address. Me, nervous? Nope. Terrified? Sure!' (various)