Morning Report: December 9, 2005

Iraq election report. Omar and Mohammed of ITM post a special Iraq elections report at Pajamas Media. Extract: 'In spite of the wide variety of political bodies competing in the December elections, making speculations and estimations is not difficult at all when one realizes that most Iraqis will follow their emotions, rather than minds, when they vote. This is not unexpected, in a country that lived under a totalitarian regime for so many years, where the State wasn’t the protector as much as were the tribe or family. Based on this fact, and by analyzing the nature of each electoral district, we can reach reasonably close estimations to what’s going to happen. But more important than all of this is the fact that in these few years, we have witnessed the birth of a sensibility that was buried for decades -- Iraqi patriotism. This sense is currently represented in three political alliances/parties that ignore the ethnic and sectarian issues in their platforms. ...' Full article at the link. (PJM)

Russia reacts to Ahmadinejad's "Israel in Europe" proposal. The chief thug of the Iranian regime recently proposed creating an autonomous Jewish region in Europe while abolishing the existing Jewish state in the Middle East. Mosnews (via Google News) reports: 'The Iranian president’s proposal that Germany and Austria give up some of their territory to make room for an Israeli state contradicts the international community’s perception of Israel as a sovereign state, Russian Foreign Minister’s special envoy to the Middle East Alexander Kalugin said, the Interfax news agency reported. “This is in line with previous Iranian statements on Israel. The proposal is unacceptable,” Kalugin told Interfax on Friday. “Yes, Israel has problems with Palestinians, but there is a path to peace. According to the roadmap plan, both states, Israel and the Palestinian state, should finally live together in peace and security,” Kalugin said. Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad triggered a new international outcry by saying the “tumor” of the state of Israel should be relocated to Europe. ...' Go to the link for full article, and for a photo of Ahmadinejad channeling the Grinch. (Mosnews via Google)

Fayrouz: Interview with Lisa Ramaci-Vincent. Fayrouz has an interview with Lisa Ramaci. Lisa is the widow of American journalist Stephen Vincent, who was murdered by paramilitary death squads in Iraq earlier this year. Extract: 'Q: Who do you believe killed Steven and why? A: I believe radical Shia militiamen, possibly with Iranian influence, killed Steven and shot Nour. This was not a random killing, nor, as has been suggested, an “honor” killing. Steven was targeted for what he had written. The men who abducted him did not even want Nour, but she kept trying to prevent them from taking Steven ...' (Fayrouz)

Belmont Club: "No longer war ... but politics, Middle East style." Wretchard's latest analysis concludes: 'Victory when it came, was both greater and less; more partial and more complete than expected. It did not take the European form of parades down the Champs Elysee, followed by a return to old and establish ways of governance. What the destruction of the Ba'athist regime did was reanimate long suppressed local and ethnic interests and channel them into competition through the ballot box -- with the occasional recourse to violence. Tremendous forces have been unleashed which critics of the war will point to as signs of an incipient civil war, but which supporters of OIF will describe as a newly liberated society feeling its way forward. Whether OIF has wrenched events in the Middle East from their old tracks and put them on a better route remains to be seen. What is less debateable is that OIF has subtly changed America. ...' Go to the link for full analysis. Also read (courtesy of BC) lebanon.profile's guest post at Michael J. Toten's Middle East Journal for some startling insights on pan-Arabism.

Iranian air crash round-up at Free Iran. Free Iran has a collection of news reports - from government, media, and dissident sources - on the recent crash of an Iranian military plane which cost some 128 lives. (Free Iran)

Debka: Al-Qaeda's passage to China. A special report at Debka states: 'n mid-September, Al Qaeda diverted a small but potent force from Iraq to a new mission: the opening of a new front in China. The unit was smuggled into the Chinese border town of Kushi in the Xinjiang Uygur province in November ...' Details at the link. (Debka)