Morning Report: September 26, 2006

Women and men in today's conflict. An Afghan official is assassinated, Iraq's president responds to threats, an intelligence report is discussed, and more.

Afghan Women's Affairs minister killed. Feminist Daily News: 'Safia Amajan, the provincial director of Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs in Kandahar, was killed by gunman today outside of her home. There is speculation that she was killed in retaliation for her outspoken support of women's rights and her work opening schools for women in Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press and BBC News. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the murder. Amajan had unsuccessfully requested bodyguards and secure transportation from the Afghan government; at the time of the attack, she was getting into a taxi to go to work, BBC reports. Aleem Siddique, spokesperson for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, said his agency "is appalled at the senseless murder of a woman who was simply working to ensure that all Afghan women play a full and equal part in the future of Afghanistan." (FMF)

Talabani to meddling neighbors: We can play that game too. Debka reports that Iraq's Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, warned the governments of Iran, Syria, and Turkey: “We’ll support the opposition in other countries… try to make trouble for them as they are doing for us. ... Our policy is not to interfere in the internal affairs of these countries and we ask them and beg them not to interfere in our internal affairs because it creates chaos in the Middle East.” He was talking about this report from Debka, which alleges: 'Turkish and Iranian air units as well as armored, paratroop, special operations and artillery forces are poised for an imminent coordinated invasion of the northern Iraqi autonomous province of Kurdistan.' Full article at the link. (Debka)

Gay Patriot: NYT puff piece on Somali islamists. Gay Patriot calls out this New York Times story on its smarmy treatment of islamist thugs in Somalia. Says the Times' Jeff Gettleman: 'But over the past three months, the Islamists in control here have defied international expectations - in many ways. Not only have they done the unthinkable, pacifying one of the most dangerous cities in the world, they also seem to have moderated their message.' GP says: 'Gee, it almost sounds like a CNN report from pre-2003 Baghdad. Remember, when CNN covered up the truth in order to “gain access” to the Saddam regime?' Follow GP's link to the latest developments in Somalia. Tammy Bruce has more. (NYT via Wilmington Star News, Gay Patriot, Tammy Bruce)

In from the Cold on the NIE and the NYT. In from the Cold has a summary of some points in the National Intelligence Estimate that somehow escaped the attention of the New York Times:
Thankfully, the actual NIE is not the harbinger of disaster that the Times and WaPo would have us believe. According to members of the intel community who have seen the document, the NIE is actually fair and balanced (to coin a phrase), noting both successes and failures in the War on Terror--and identifying potential points of failure for the jihadists. The quotes printed below--taken directly from the document and provided to this blogger--provide "the other side" of the estimate, and its more balanced assessment of where we stand in the War on Terror (comments in italics are mine).

In one of its early paragraphs, the estimate notes progress in the struggle against terrorism, stating the U.S.-led efforts have "seriously damaged Al Qaida leadership and disrupted its operations." Didn't see that in the NYT article.

Or how about this statement, which--in part--reflects the impact of increased pressure on the terrorists: "A large body of reporting indicates that people identifying themselves as jihadists is increasing...however, they are largely decentralized, lack a coherent strategy and are becoming more diffuse." Hmm...doesn't sound much like Al Qaida's pre-9-11 game plan.

The report also notes the importance of the War in Iraq as a make or break point for the terrorists: "Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves to have failed, we judge that fewer will carry on the fight." It's called a ripple effect.

More support for the defeating the enemy on his home turf: "Threats to the U.S. are intrinsically linked to U.S. success or failure in Iraq." President Bush and senior administration officials have made this argument many times--and it's been consistently dismissed by the "experts" at the WaPo and Times ...

And there's this: 'The estimate also affirms the wisdom of sowing democracy in the Middle East: "Progress toward pluralism and more responsive political systems in the Muslim world will eliminate many of the grievances jihadists exploit."' Read it all at the link. As Spook says, "The ball's in your court, Mr. Keller and Mr. Downie." (IFTC)

Death of Umar Faruq. Counterterrorism Blog:
Indonesian security officials privately welcomed news that Umar Faruq had been killed in Iraq on 25 September, as there has been a lingering concern the al-Qaeda terrorist might attempt to return to Southeast Asia after his July 2005 escape from an Afghan prison. Some comments on Faruq:

* After his June 2002 capture in Indonesia, Faruq proved to be one of the most prolific sources of information regarding foreign extremists in Southeast Asia. As was the case with Hambali, he began talking almost immediately after his arrest, and went on to provide details of his activities during questioning that lasted for more than a year. Faruq apparently did not need to be coerced into talking; he was reportedly proud of his role in extremist activities.

* Faruq was questioned by Indonesian police investigators in 2003 in order to obtain information for the trial of militant Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir. In order to abide by Indonesian law, Faruq's testimony would only be valid in court if it was given on Indonesian territory. The Indonesians reportedly came up with a pragmatic solution: an Indonesian flag was unfurled and Faruq's cell temporarily was declared Indonesian soil. In the end, his comments were of little value: Faruq had only a couple of fleeting encounters with the cleric, and most of his information about Ba'asyir was hearsay. ...

Read the rest at the link. (CTB)

Sandmonkey gets an accomplice. There's a new voice at Egyptian Sandmonkey's blog. Sandmonkey's intro: 'Enter Dandash, a muslim arab egyptian afircan female who couldn't be even more of an opressed minority unless she was lesbian and deaf. She is smart. She is cynical. She is funny, and she is the new contirbutor to this blog. So please make her feel at home!' Dandash:
My name is Dandash, and I live on the Sandmonkey planet. From our alternative reality, the land of the A.P.U. I greet you.

I am proud to introduce myself as a new ranter on the Sandmonkey's fantastic space for hurling insanely fantastic ideas about life in this blessedly divine region of the world which we share with the Chosen People of God, the Chosen Party of God and the Chosen Horror Comedy of the Universe. Fantastic.

And the fantabulous part? I'm a female. Yes finally some action. Mwahahaha, Ima take over this place-er, I mean giggle giggle.

So, nice to meet you. May the Sandmonkey always rule his domain, as long as he buys me pretty and expensive things.

Better do as she says, Sandmonkey. Sounds like you don't want to mess with this one. (Sandmonkey)

Women in war. Feministing links to a New York Times piece on women in combat. Vanessa at Feministing: 'The article also discusses the debate on women in combat as well as the number of physical and mental effects on women who survived the war. My favorite sentence on this: “A whole crop of veterans are suffering from post-traumatic stress and lost limbs, circumstances that sometimes prove more difficult for women who often fill the role of nurturers to their families.” Forget about working women, who will take care of the babies??' Commenter Amanda responds: 'I don't think the article's primary concern was "who will take care of the babies," but rather with the stress that taking care of children - needing to care for them in a nurturing role - puts on women who are struggling with PTSD. My mother has PTSD, and this makes perfect sense to me - it's stressful to be needed as a caregiver when you need to heal yourself.' StarDragon the Canadian notes: 'About one in seven of the Canadian regular infantry troops in Afghanistan are women.Same qulifications,same standards,same training,same duties. Of course the Canadian Armed Forces have already presided over it's first same-sex marriage,so we're cleary all bolshies up here,letting gays and women-folk have weapons and all....' More discussion in the comments thread. (NYT via Feministing)

Commentary. The Belmont Club says of the National Intelligence Estimate: 'A nonpartisan assessor might probably ask, what did we do right? What did we do wrong? What can we do better? But that would imply a common purpose.' It's up to each of us, as citizens of our nation and of the world, to decide what our purpose is. Not all will answer the question the same way. But we have to answer it.