Jeane Kirkpatrick dies. MSNBC: 'Former U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, a one-time Democrat who switched to the Republican Party and warmly embraced Reagan era conservatism, has died. She was 80.' IRIS: 'Former U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick has passed away, a servant of her nation who honored it with her courage and moral clarity.' (MSNBC, IRIS)
Bush: No Iran talks. ThreatsWatch: 'Stating that there is a way for Iran to begin engaging the United States diplomatically, the President reaffirmed “that if they would like to engage the United States, that they’ve got to verifiably suspend their enrichment program.” Iran is currently engaging the United States and Britain militarily through its Iraqi proxies, Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades.' Bush rejected calls by various parties for direct talks with the regime. ... Hinting at preconditions beyond the nuclear issue, President Bush said plainly, “If they want to sit down at the table with the United States, it’s easy. Just make some decisions that’ll lead to peace, not to conflict.” The US administration’s position was summed up concisely adding, “And if people are not committed, if Syria and Iran is not committed to that concept, then they shouldn’t bother to show up.” A group of British Parliament ministers also spoke against talks with Iran. Lord Corbett, the chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, employed an even greater economy of words. Regarding the called-for Iran talks, he said, “The golden rule is… don’t talk to terrorists.”' Full article at the link. (ThreatsWatch)
Bush's remarks on Iran. Iran Focus: 'PRESIDENT BUSH: The increase in sectarian attacks we're seeing in and around Baghdad are unsettling. It has led to much debate in both our countries about the nature of the war that is taking place in Iraq. And it is true that Sunni and Shia extremists are targeting each other's innocent civilians and engaging in brutal reprisals. It's also true that forces beyond Iraq's borders contribute to this violence. And the Prime Minister put it this way, he said, "The violence is not an accident or a result of faulty planning. It is a deliberate strategy. It is the direct result of outside extremists teaming up with internal extremists -- al Qaeda with the Sunni insurgents, and Iran with the Shia militia -- to foment hatred and to throttle, at birth, the possibility of a non-sectarian democracy." You were right, and I appreciate your comments. The primary victims of the sectarian violence are the moderate majority of Iraqis -- Sunni and Shia alike -- who want a future of peace. The primary beneficiaries are Sunni and Shia extremists, inside and outside of Iraq, who want chaos in that country so they can take control and further their ambitions to dominate the region.' (Iran Focus)
Basra security improving. Gateway Pundit cites Haider Ajina in a post on security in southern Iraq:
The following is Iraqi-American Haider Ajina's translation of a headline and article, which appeared in Iraq's Buratha News agency December 7, 2006:
"Basra’s security is consistently improving"
Major General Ali Hamadi chairman of the tri-security agencies in Basra said today that the security situation in Basra has improved and is consistently improving. Operation Sinbad, for security and reconstruction, has achieved important results.
Hamadi added in a press conference he held today at Basra police head quarters, "Operation Sinbad has bore important fruit, for example the arrest of 1502 suspects, we were able to replace the British units in the tenth and eleventh phase of the operation. This will shrink the role of the British forces to that of support only.
Haider Ajina comments:
... Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, is moving on with its three month old Operation Sinbad, and methodically executing its eighteen phases.
It appears from last week’s news that Basra is calming down and has minimal sectarian strife. The Sadamists and Alqaida have not been able to create in Basra the strife they are creating in Baghdad. The three main Sunni groups have broken rank with their Ramadi and Baghdad colleagues and are joining with their Shiite brethren to keep Basra secure. The Basra Sunni leaders were the first to condemn attacks on Shiite shrines and Shiites, and they are continually calling for the stopping the spilling of Iraqi blood. These calls appear to be listened to in Basra. Most of the south of Iraq is a good example of what Iraqis working together can do. This is very similar the Baghdad I grew up in the 60s and 70s.
Much more at the post. Many thanks to Gateway Pundit for his diligent work in keeping us updated on the Iraq situation. (Gateway Pundit)
Terrorist emirs from Ansar al-Sunna captured, al-Qaeda in Iraq has "nowhere to turn". Multi-National Force Iraq (via Iraq the Model):
BAGHDAD, Iraq – On Wednesday, the Government of Iraq released the names and photos of several suspected senior-level Ansar al Sunna emirs who were captured by Coalition Forces during a series of raids in mid-November.
The AAS network is responsible for improvised explosive device attacks and suicide attacks on Iraqi government, Coalition Forces and Iraqi civilians. The AAS network is also responsible for multiple kidnappings, small arms attacks and other crimes in the central and northern part of Iraq.
One terrorist emir, Abu Mohammed aka Ismail, AAS Emir of Yusifiyah was killed during a raid late November.
The suspected Ansar al Sunna emirs who were captured are:
- Ramadan Muhammad Salih Ahmad ((Bilbas)) aka Abu Mustafa, AAS Emir of Iraq. Abu Mustafa is a founding member of AAS.
- Taha Ahmad Pir-Dawud Ahmad ((Surchi)), aka Hajji Sa’id, Senior AAS representative and al-Qaida facilitator.
- ‘Adnan ‘Abdallah ‘Alaywi Muhammad ((al-‘Ithawi)), aka Abu Jaffar, AAS Secretary. He was Abu Mustafa’s personal assistant and he was responsible for arranging AAS senior-level meetings.
- Hatim Abd-al-Ghafar Muslim Muhammad ((al Shimar)), aka Abu Taha, AAS Emir of Al Qa’im and Western al Anbar. He allegedly was a Colonel in the Iraqi Army before the war.
- ‘Abd-al-Basit ‘Abd-al-Razzaq Hasan ‘Ali ((al-‘Abbasi)), aka Abu Asim, AAS Emir of Tikrit.
- ‘Ali Hasayn ‘Ali “Abdallah ((Zandi)), aka Abu Bandar, AAS Emir of Baqubah.
- Amjad ‘Abd-al-Sattar Muhammad ‘Ali ((al-Ta’i)), aka Abu Najila, AAS Emir of Ramadi and Eastern al Anbar.
- Sa’id Jasim Muhammad Khudayyir al-Jadid ((al-Juwaynat)), aka Abu Sayf, AAS Emir of Bayji.
- Husayn Khudayyir ‘Abbas Majid ((al-Zubaydi)), aka Abu Husayn, AAS Emir of Bazayiz.
- Salih Khudayyir Salman Jadi ((al-Juburi)), aka Sajad, AAS Emir of Fallujah.
Omar at ITM comments: 'By the way, this is the same terror group that's been threatening to murder university students and teachers in Baghdad if the latter refuse to suspend study; perhaps the arrests and their locations explain why the threat was addressing students and teachers in Baghdad alone and not any other city.' (MNF-Iraq, ITM)
Student demonstration at Tehran University. Free Iran news forum has a thread on the recent student demonstrations in Iran. Site administrator Cyrus notes: 'Please be aware some of the protests might be allowed by regime as a trap.' (Free Iran)
Is it worse for the Jews? A lively and interesting thread at the always-worthwhile ProSemite Undercover. The original post cites Kenneth Levin at FrontPage Magazine, who traces the link between "Realpolitik" and genocide from Ba'athist Iraq (during the George H. W. Bush administration) to the present day. The poster comments: 'I have feared for a while that the mess in Iraq was going to lead to Jews being thrown under the bus as an appeasment strategy. That seems to be what is happening now. It is a dark day indeed.' Another commenter writes: 'Bush has destabilized the Middle East and made things much more volatile, no matter how happy Ohlmert might be that Saddam Hussein is gone. There's a growing appreciation that Bush's Iraq war has been a failure and a distraction from the real threat to peace in the region, which is Iran. And suddenly the philosophy of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" may bear fruit for Israel.' (PSU)
Commentary. The Israel supporters at ProSemite Undercover may have opposed the Iraq war, but likely for an entirely different set of reasons than the moonbats we're used to seeing at anti-war demonstrations. The arguments that "Iraq was going to lead to [Israel] being thrown under the bus as an appeasement strategy" and "[the Iraq war is] a distraction from the real threat to peace in the region, which is Iran" are compelling. While I did and do support the war in Iraq, I would disagree with these people only in matters of detail. Without a comprehensive Middle East vision that includes a secure Israel and a free, democratic, and peaceful Iran, victory in Iraq will be meaningless and impossible.