2005-11-20

Morning Report: November 20, 2005

OSM: Indonesia terror warning issued. Open Source Media reports: 'U.S. and Australian governments have warned citizens to cancel unnecessary travel to Indonesia and to avoid certain areas while in the country. The Sydney Morning Herald says authorities fear "that terrorists could be planning another attack in the South-East Asian country before the end of the year. The new alerts follow the discovery of a terrorist website advising extremists on how to kill westerners in grenade and gun attacks, in what authorities believe is a change of tactics by extremists." The US and Australian warnings may be found by following the links. The Indonesian Antara News Agency described the training ground and destination of Indonesian terrorists. ...' Full story - with details, analysis, and links to further information - at Open Source Media. (OSM)

Debka: Eight al-Qaeda leaders blow themselves up in Mosul. According to a recent bulletin from Debka, 'Eight high-ranking al Qaeda leaders blew themselves up after a large American force Sunday noon laid siege to a building in which they were barricaded in Mosul, northern Iraq. The US force, backed by helicopters and tanks, was led to the location by an intelligence tip. The troops had evacuated the area and were preparing to storm the building when the terrorists killed themselves. Some Arab sources report that American unit is now busy trying to identify the 8 bodies, hoping against hope that Abu Musab al Zarqawi is among them. This is not confirmed by US military sources.' (Debka)

Zarqawi threatens assault on Jordan. Also from Debka: 'DEBKAfile Exclusive: Zarqawi threatens a general assault on Jordan. Amman will become a second Baghdad – unless King Abdullah surrenders to his terms, including closure of the Israeli embassy. Al Qaeda’s Iraq chief Abu Musab al Zarqawi is reported by DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources to have confronted King Abdullah of Jordan with a five-point ultimatum to save his kingdom from a general offensive:
1. Jordan must expel forthwith all American and British military forces. DEBKAfile adds: several thousand US troops are based in the Hashemite kingdom, including special forces defending the Jordanian-Iraqi border from both sides. US air force personnel fly helicopter and fighter aircraft missions against terrorist targets in Iraq from Jordanian air bases. American troops in Iraq receive supplies from rear bases in the kingdom. US tankers regularly dock at Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba with fuel supplies for the American army in Iraq. They are escorted by US warships. The British forces in Iraq are mostly Royal Air Force units. 2. Jordan must close the Israeli embassy in Amman. 3. The training of Iraqi police contingents in Jordan must cease. They are given courses at facilities especially set up in the kingdom. Jordanian instructors drill new Iraqi recruits.
4. Jordan must shut down prison facilities holding Iraqi inmates. 5. The Jordanian embassy in Baghdad must close and its staff withdrawn from Iraq. DEBKAfile’s sources add: In the ongoing investigation of al Qaeda’s triple hotel attacks in Amman Nov. 9, which left 57 dead, Jordanian security services have found three local terror groups which act as Zarqawi’s surrogates: Bayat al Imam: (The Imam’s Oath), an extremist group founded in 1994, many of whose members trained in Al Qaeda’s camps in Herat, W. Afghanistan. Jundi al-Shem: This Jordanian group of terrorists is associated with the violent Ansar al-Islam which operates in the Kurdish regions of Iraq. Brigades of Monotheists: Servants of the One God.
Jordanian, American and Israeli intelligence take Zarqawi’s threats of an offensive against the Hashemite kingdom with the utmost seriousness. They have detected initial signs of preparedness for action among the the arch-terrorist's sympathizers in Jordan.' (Debka)

Rice on Bush's visit to China. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered the following remarks on President Bush's visit to Communist China:
The President felt very strongly that coming here to China would be important to represent the economic interests of the United States, the economic interests of workers and farmers and entrepreneurs. And so a significant portion of both meetings was spent on economic issues, on questions of the trade imbalance with China, on questions of structural issues in China that need to be addressed in order to redress that trade imbalance.

The President also talked a good deal about intellectual property rights. I want to note that there has been a very important movement on intellectual property rights within the region with the adoption of these guidelines at the APEC a couple of days ago, but there is still an awful lot of work to do. The Chinese talked about the fact that they have ongoing prosecutions, that they understand the importance of this issue. They really emphasized this issue of intellectual property rights on the heels of the September meeting in New York. But obviously, there is much, much more to do, and piracy remains a major concern with China. Nonetheless, they are taking the issue, we believe, seriously, and went out of their way to emphasize that with the President.

They talked, as well, about the importance of market access, about the Doha Round that is coming up, about the importance of American products being able to get into Chinese markets.

They talked about other areas in which cooperation could be -- would be needed and could be expected. For instance, the Chinese raised the question of avian influenza and the potential for cooperation on avian influenza. They spoke very strongly about this also at APEC. The President had an extensive discussion with President Hu Jintao about energy cooperation, including about the upcoming signing of the Asia Pacific partnership on clean energy development that will take place in Australia early next year.

And finally, of course, they had a discussion of a number of strategic issues that we share in common. The President thanked the Chinese again for their work on the six-party talks. They had a discussion of the importance of a nuclear-free Korea Peninsula, about the need to make certain that North Korea, in particular, lives up to obligations that it undertook under the September declaration from the fourth round of the six-party talks. And they reemphasized the need for cooperation on a number of issues -- proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and so on.

I think it's fair to say that the nature of these discussions is one in which they're -- they're open, they're deep, they're candid, and in which we really do believe that if China moves toward, as it -- it's going to be a growing power and a growing influence -- as it moves, as we hope it will, toward responsible integration into the international system, responsible action into the international system, then it can be a force for peace and stability.

Full text at the link. However, AP reports: '... their meeting Sunday at the Great Hall of the People on the edge of Tiananmen Square appeared to produce no breakthroughs on U.S. demands for currency reforms in China and no details about how China would cut its trade surplus with the United States, on track to hit $200 billion this year.' (White House)

ITM on Cairo conference. Omar at Iraq the Model gives the follwing analysis of the recent reconciliation conference in Cairo: 'The news came later that Kurdish and Sheat leaders left the second session after being “insulted” according to Jawad al-Maliki of the Dawa Party. However the currently available reports didn't who "insulted" the angry leaders but al-Arabiya reporter explained that it was the delegate of the Assyrian Party who said something that offended the Kurdish and Sheat politicians. This was a not confirmed by another source yet but if proven to be true, it will be a surprise! The key points of differences were the issue of the Ba’ath party and the “armed resistance”. Al-Dhari unsurprisingly demanded the government to recognize the armed resistance which he described as a “legitimate right for all occupied peoples”. He also demanded ending what he called the “marginalization of certain factions” which is a clear reference to the deba’athification policy. Finally he insisted that a timetable must be put for withdrawing foreign forces from Iraq and he also mentioned the calls made by some US Democrats’ recent call for an immediate withdrawal to justify his demands. Ironically, the most extreme faction in Iraq has only demanded a timetable but not an immediate withdrawal of troops like some US politicians did!' Full post at the link. (ITM)

UN committee rebukes IRI on human rights. The regime in Iran was the target of a United Nations resolution, according to this Reuters report: 'A U.N. General Assembly committee narrowly approved on Friday a resolution expressing serious concern over a long list of human rights abuses in Iran after turning back a delaying tactic by Tehran. The assembly's social and humanitarian committee voted 77 to 51, with 46 abstentions, to call on Iran to fully respect its people's right to freedom of assembly and speech and to end harassment and persecution of opposition groups and rights activists. "The use of torture or the execution of children, the denial of freedom of expression, the targeting of women and specific religious groups -- all of these things are continuing and in some instances worsening" in Iran, said Canadian Ambassador Allan Rock, whose government submitted the resolution.' Via Regime Change Iran Doctor Zin adds: 'Finally, the world is beginning to pay attention to the struggle of the Iranian people for the same freedoms those of us in the west take for granted.' (Reuters via RCI)

Cuba, IRI: Internet must be reformed - too much free speech! Also via RCI, CNET reports: 'TUNIS, Tunisia--Cuba, Iran and African governments lashed out at the U.S. government this week, charging that the Internet permits too much free speech and that the way it is managed must be reformed immediately. The U.S. and other Western nations "insist on being world policemen on the management of the Internet," Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who has been the country's leader since 1987, said at a United Nations information society summit here. "Those who have supported nihilistic and disorderly freedom of expression are beginning to see the fruits" of their efforts, Mugabe said ...' Read the rest of Mugabe's bizarre rant at the link. This article should put to rest any doubts that the ICANN dispute has nothing to do with "equality for third-world peoples" and everything to do with the struggle of freedom against dictatorship. (CNET via RCI)

India's left opposes pro-US stance on Iran. The Times of India reports: 'HYDERABAD: The Left parties on Sunday urged the central government against a pro-US stand while voting on the Iran nuclear issue at the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) meet on November 24. Addressing a convention organized by the Left parties, leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Forward Bloc, the Samajwadi Party and the JD-S demanded that the government take a clear stand on the issue before the parliament session begins on November 23. "If the centre decides to vote against Iran, it should be viewed seriously as the focus should be on Indian interests without succumbing to outside pressures," said CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat. ' (Times of India)

Zarqawi disowned by relatives in Jordan "until doomsday". AP via Yahoo News: 'Family members of Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi renounced the terrorist leader Sunday after his al-Qaida in Iraq group claimed responsibility for the Nov. 9 suicide attacks on three Amman hotels that killed 59 people. The family of al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, reiterated their strong allegiance to Jordan's King Abdullah II in half-page advertisements in the kingdom's three main newspapers. Al-Zarqawi threatened to kill the king in an audiotape released Friday. "A Jordanian doesn't stab himself with his own spear," said the statement by 57 members of the al-Khalayleh family, including al-Zarqawi's brother and cousin. "We sever links with him until doomsday." The statement is a serious blow to al-Zarqawi, who no longer will enjoy the protection of his tribe and whose family members may seek to kill him.' (AP)