2006-05-31

Morning Report: May 31, 2006

Low-lifes in high places. A terrorist gets a promotion, while freedom activists keep tabs on gangleaders at large ... and a Portland blogger identifies the roots of trouble in his favorite Middle Eastern city.

MJT: Supply-side economics. Michael J. Totten on Lebanon and Israel: 'It isn't fair that Israel has to endure missile attacks because the Beirut government is too weak and divided against itself to take on Hezbollah. It isn't Israel's fault that the Lebanese army is a pipsqueaker compared with better-armed, better-trained, battle-hardened foreign agent militia. But that's how it is. And that's how it will be while the Baathists rule in Damascus and the mullahs rule in Tehran.' Read the whole thing at the link. (MJT)

Debka: Abbas taps wanted terrorist Mahmoud Dimra for personal security detail. Debka reports: 'Outrage in Israel over Mahmoud Abbas’ choice of Mahmoud Dimra – Abu Awad – to lead his new private US-UK-funded militia. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that Abu Awad is number 5 on the Shin Bet’s list of most wanted terrorists from the 2000-2005 Palestinian terror war against Israel. Dimra served as Yasser Arafat’s undercover coordinator for the suicide terror campaign waged by the Fatah-al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and which is still operating unchecked by the Fatah leader, the same Mahmoud Abbas. After the Israeli government made the gesture of allowing his force to take delivery of 200 rifles, security leaders say Abu Mazen has pulled a fast one. He has arranged for those guns to come under the responsibility of a known arch-terrorist, breaking his personal word to Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert that the weapons would be used exclusively for his own protection and not be allowed to reach terrorist hands. Abu Mazen this week promoted Abu Awad, who had been lying low in the Palestinian security service as a major, to brigadier general. ...' (Debka)

Iran's most wanted. Via Regime Change Iran, Anti-Mullah publishes a list of Iran's most dangerous criminals: 'The Voice of Iran (KRSI) radio station broadcasting 24/7 out of Southern California into Iran has already begun doing this on their daily half hour of live call-ins from inside Iran. The callers, mostly on cell phones, provide this kind of information which is then broadcast LIVE back into the country. The information becomes available to everyone for immediate and future reference.' Some of the most important names:
1- Ali-Akbar Bahremani (known as Hashemi Rafsanjani)
2- Ali Khamenei
3- Saeed Mortazavi
4- Hashem Shahroudi
5- Ahmad Janati
6- Hussein Shariatmadari
7- Ali Falahiyan
8- Ali Yunessi
9- Hussein Shariatmadari
10- Yahya Rahim-Safavi
11- Ebrahim Ghalibaf
12- Ali Akbar Velayati
13- Mohammad-Bagher Zolghadr
14- Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri
15- Mohammad Hejazi
16- Mohsen Rezaee
17- Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi
18- Mostafa Mirhashem
19- Abdolkarim Moussavi-Ardebili
20- Abass Vaezi
21- Mohsen Rafighdoust

The site advises that 'they will engage reputable law firms and prepare the grounds to go after them as soon they land in Europe or possibly even in the U.S. Of course wearing the mantle of the "President" as does Ahmadi-Nejad, will make the task much harder but it is a great humanitarian challenge worth trying.' (Anti-Mullah via RCI)

Analyst: Tehran's hand in Kabul riots? Mehran Riazaty at Regime Change Iran has some thoughts on the timing of the riots in Afghanistan: 'On May 29, 2006- Many news agencies around the world reported that a deadly traffic accident Monday involving U.S. troops sparked the worst rioting in the Afghan capital since the fall of the Taliban government, with hundreds of protesters looting shops and shouting "Death to America!" At least eight people were killed and 107 injured, an official said. An interesting point is that this deadly traffic accident involving US troops happened in Kabul right after Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai was heading back home from visiting Iran. ... It is possible that in a meeting with the Iranian officials in Tehran Karzai took the US side on Iran’s nuclear activities and that made the Iranian authorities respond. Then the Iranian authorities through their agents in Afghanistan (Corps of Mohammad) sparked the Kabul’s riots to show off their power to the US and Karzai.' UPDATE: The Counterterrorism Blog has a report on the Kabul riots. Morning Report reminds readers that Riazaty's theory remains in the realm of speculation at the present time. (RCI, CTB)

Briefly noted. Tammy Bruce has a roundup on Iranian unrest; Robert Samuelson has some tough questions about the immigration bill - and media coverage of it; Mohammed at ITM has the latest on the Iraqi cabinet shuffle; and the Fighting Deuce patrols Afghanistan (h/t Kat).

Commentary. We know that the establishment media are busy with their own preoccupations while the real stories - like the Iranian riots of the last couple of weeks - go unnoticed. Today's observations by Riazaty point to some possible patterns here.

A recent post by Pat at Pawigoview highlighted CNN's misrepresentation of comments by Iraqi foreign minister Zebari. But Pat also brings to our attention this interesting little item from January:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has asked that a ban on CNN journalists in Iran be lifted and that the network be allowed to continue working in the country, according to a report by the official Iranian news agency IRNA early Tuesday. ...

The dispute arises from a moment of simultaneous translation Saturday.

As Ahmadinejad was speaking, an interpreter working for a translation company hired by CNN misquoted him as having said Iran has the right to build nuclear weapons. In fact, he said Iran has the right to nuclear energy, and that "a nation that has civilization does not need nuclear weapons." He added, "our nation does not need them."

The incorrect translation was re-broadcast on CNN later Saturday.

As soon as it was alerted to the error Sunday, CNN corrected the translation and clarified Ahmadinejad's remarks, and the network apologized. ...

Oddly enough, though, we don't see CNN falling all over itself to correct this story, which still claims: "Iran has a right to develop nuclear technology and the international community should drop its demands that Tehran prove it's not trying to build a nuclear weapon, Iraq's foreign minister said Friday."

There's not much question whose interests the mainstream media are protecting. It's up to ordinary, freedom-loving people to start kicking fascists ... and taking names.

2006-05-30

Morning Report: May 30, 2006

Unrest in Iran. Amir Taheri: 'One of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election promises was that he and his ministerial team would visit all of Iran’s 30 provinces within their first year in office. The idea was to settle long standing local problems in a single sitting of the Cabinet. However, as Ahmadinejad prepares to mark the first anniversary of his presidency it looks increasingly unlikely that he could keep that promise. So far Ahmadinejad has a record of visiting nearly half of the provinces and is determined to do some more soon. Nevertheless, quite a few provinces have become no-go areas for the president. The reason is increasing ethnic and sectarian tensions in parts of the country. ...' Taheri provides a useful run-down of ethnic grievances among Iran's numerous minorities - Azeris, Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, and Turcomans. 'Taken together Iran’s ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities account for some 40 percent of the population. Most are strategically located along Iran’s long borders, and thus vulnerable to outside manipulation. While in Indonesia this month, President Ahmadinejad spoke of his ambition to unite and lead the Muslim world in a “clash of civilizations” against the “infidel”. Many in Iran believe that he should first address the grievances that have made it impossible for him to visit so many provinces, and before it is too late.' The Christian Science Monitor:
Ethnic Persians make up a little more than half the total population of 69 million, but there are sizable minorities - in addition to the Azeris there are ethnic Arabs, Baluchis, and Kurds, for example. Some of these groups, furthermore, practice Sunni Islam instead of the Shiite branch of Islam, the state religion. The Iranian Constitution guarantees the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, but in reality the central government emphasizes the Persian and Shiite nature of the state.

The recent incidents of ethnic tensions are only the latest examples of what has been escalating for more than a year. In mid-March in the southeast, which is home to many of Iran's 1.4 million Baluchis, a Baluchi group called Jundallah took responsibility for an attack on a government motorcade in which 20 people were killed. Jundallah seized a number of hostages and claimed that it executed one of them, a member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. At least 12 people were killed in a similar attack in the second week of May. Nobody has taken credit for explosions May 8 in Kermanshah, which is home to Iran's 4.8 million Kurds, but the July 2005 shooting of a young Kurd by security forces led to demonstrations in several northwestern cities and the deaths of civilians and police officers. Since April of last year, there have been a number of violent incidents - including bombings that have targeted government facilities and which also have killed innocent bystanders - in the southwest, where many of Iran's 2 million Arabs live.

The central government typically reacts to ethnic unrest with a combination of repression and scapegoating. For example, two men were executed in early March for their roles in fatal October bombings in the southwest. They "confessed" on state television the night before their executions that Iranians in Canada and Britain instructed them to create insecurity. ...

Tehran's method of dealing with the ethnic issue will ultimately backfire. It can successfully employ overwhelming force against geographically isolated groups, but it would be much more difficult to handle angry Arabs, Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds, and other minorities if they act against the state simultaneously. If such an occurrence coincides with other forms of disorder, such as the violent student demonstrations that took place in Tehran May 23 and 24, then the regime could find that it has more than it can handle.

Full articles at the links. (Arab News, CSM via MPG)

They threatened to burn her children alive. The Telegraph: 'A leading Iranian pro-democracy and women's activist, who was jailed on trumped-up charges last year, has revealed how the clerical regime cynically deploys systemic sexual violence against female dissidents in the name of Islam. Roya Tolouee, 40, was beaten up by Iranian intelligence agents and subjected to a horrific sexual assault when she refused to sign forced confessions. It was only when they threatened to burn her two children to death in front of her that she agreed to put her name to the documents. Perhaps just as shocking as the physical abuse were the chilling words of the man who led the attack. "When I asked how he could do this to me, he said that he believed in only two things - Islam and the rule of the clerics," Miss Tolouee told The Sunday Telegraph last week in an interview in Washington after she fled Iran.' (The Telegraph)

Malaysia captures 12 islamist militants. Stratfor (subscription): '1415 GMT - Malaysian police arrested a dozen men May 30 who are part of a new Indonesian group called Darul Islam. The previously unknown group was believed to be planning attacks on neighboring countries. The arrests came after six months of surveillance in the state of Sabah on the Malaysian portion of Borneo Island. At least two of the men arrested are Malaysians.' The Intelligence Summit: 'Malaysian police have captured 12 Islamist militants, most of them from Indonesia, who are suspected to have planned terrorist attacks in the region, the Star newspaper said on Tuesday. The dozen men were arrested recently after six months of police surveillance in the Malaysian state of Sabah, on Borneo island, the daily said, quoting unnamed sources. Malaysia's police special branch were not immediately available for comment. Indonesia, which has seen deadly terrorist attacks in Bali and Jakarta, welcomed the report on Tuesday, saying it would help weaken militant networks in the region. "I believe this is a good sign and an important step to fight terrorism," Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda told reporters during a visit to Malaysia. He said that Indonesian police with the cooperation of their Malaysian counterparts had arrested several people a few months ago for smuggling explosive materials from Sabah into Indonesia.' Meanwhile, The Counterterrorism Blog reports on Indonesia: 'hough not terrorism in the strictest sense, Indonesia-watchers have been noting with concern that hard-line, often violent, Islamic militant groups are growing more aggressive around the country. This comes after several years when they had largely receded into the background, save for annual bursts of activity when they would raid nightspots in and around Jakarta during the Islamic holy month. Returning with a vengeance, these militants got a major boost earlier this year during the furor over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Reaction in Jakarta was especially pronounced, culminating in an unruly 19 February protest outside of the U.S. embassy by several hundred members of the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam, or FPI). Given the robust improvements made in that embassy's perimeter since 2000, the demonstrators could do little more than throw objects at the street-side guard house. Still, the U.S. ambassador deplored the protest as an act of thuggery. Since February, militant activity has continued to rise. The FPI, whose members are easily recognizable in their white robes, now boasts chapters in most major cities. Often they are joined by a second group calling itself the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (known by the initials FBR), ostensibly a secular organization based in Jakarta that, suspiciously, only seems to take on religious causes. (Stratfor, TIS, CTB)

2006-05-16

Morning Report: May 16, 2006

Task Force 145 strikes. Counterterrorism Blog:
Task Force 145 appears to have been busy over the weekend. In conjunction with the raid in Yusifiyah, which killed 25 al-Qaeda and resulted in the downing of a Coalition helicopter and the death of two U.S. Soldiers, TF-145 struck near the town of Latifiyah. Multinational Forces – Iraq reports 15 al-Qaeda were killed and 8 captured during series of raids over the course of two days on May 13-14.

Abu Mustafa, an al-Qaeda cell leader wanted for leading the cell which downed a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter, was among those killed. “Abu Mustafa was also a known weapons smuggler who allegedly facilitated the movement of missiles and rockets within the al-Qaida terrorist network,” according to the Multinational Forces – Iraq press release.

A reading of the press release shows the importance of good intelligence combined with the swift exploitation of intelligence gained from current operations. Four raids were carried out, the first resulting in the death of Abu Mustafa and an “an unknown affiliate.” One day later, three more raids resulted in the death of 14 additional al-Qaeda members and the capture of four others.

The area directly south of Baghdad, known as “The Triangle of Death,” appears to be an operational staging area for al-Qaeda's assault on Baghdad, and has now resulted in the death and capture of hundreds of al-Qaeda over the past few months. Task Force 145 has some good intelligence and is taking advantage of it, disrupting and destroying al-Qaeda cells on a regular basis. (CTB)


Iran's foreign minister to travel to Jordan. Iran Focus: 'an’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will travel to Amman, Jordan, on Wednesday, the official new agency said on Tuesday. Mottaki will meet with a number of Jordanian officials and will discuss bilateral and regional issues, the report said. Tehran is under pressure from the United Nations Security Council to abandon its uranium enrichment program which the West believes is for building a nuclear bomb.' (Iran Focus)

Iranian labor leader update. Azarmehr: 'Latest reports from Iran suggest that the leader of Iran's bus Drivers Trade Union, Mansour Ossanlou, is still incarcerated in the section 2 of the Evin prison. He is taken on an almost daily basis to division 14 of the interrogation unit, where the interrogators are exerting their pressure methods on Ossanlou to make him "confess" he has links with foreign powers. In the last 5 months Ossanlou has been imprisoned, he has suffered from dermatological problems and stomach bleeding. Ossanlou still hasn't been charged and is on remand but the authorities refuse to grant him bail.' (Azarmehr)

Bankrupt Hamas begs for guns. Vital Perspective: 'mid deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions in Hamas-controlled Gaza, the group's Damascus-based leader, Khaled Meshaal, has appealed not for humanitarian aid but for more weapons and fighters to carry out terror attacks against Israel. "We ask all the people in surrounding Arab countries, the Muslim world and everyone who wants to support us to send weapons, money and men," Meshaal said Wednesday at a pro-Palestinian gathering in Qatar, just hours after Israel agreed to the Quartet's fiscal initiative that aims to aid the Palestinians in the bankrupt Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. ... When Hamas emerged victorious in January's PLC elections, the Quartet stipulated that monetary assistance and diplomatic ties would be conditional upon Hamas agreeing to three terms: recognition of Israel's right to exist; cessation of terrorist activity; and acknowledgement of previous peace agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority. Six weeks after assuming control of the government, Hamas officials still refuse to meet any of the Quartet's preconditions and continue to support terrorist activities. ...' Full article at the link. (Vital Perspective)

IDF squares the books with Elias Ashkar. Vital Perspective: 'Islamic Jihad terrorist Elias Ashkar, who masterminded the terror attack at in Tel Aviv last month, has been killed by the IDF. Commander Herzl Halevy of the IDF 'Menashe' Brigade discussed Ashkar on Army Radio this morning ...'. Go to the link for a transcript of the interview. (Vital Perspective)

US Soldier: "Stabbed in the back by the media." From Atlas Shrugs:
I am a 21 year old Marine and veteran of two tours in the Iraq War. I'm in the infantry and I fought in Fallujah when we stormed the city in November 2004. I just wanted to thank you for your blog and your reporting of the news. I come here when I want to see what's going on and I agree with all of your commentary. I found your site through Bill Roggio's blog. I used to go there for all my news but now I'm finding myself visiting your site more and more.

It is a great relief to see that other people in other parts of the country think like I do. And it is a great relief to see that so many people come to your site for the TRUTH. Because I can't say enough how angry I am and how much hate and rancor I have for the mainstream news media. Mainly over Iraq. I feel that we (veterans) have been betrayed, STABBED IN THE BACK, by the news media for their inaccurate and objective driven "news" that they broadcast. I'm sure you know but I'll say it anyways that we are winning in Iraq. ...

Read it all at the link. And pass it on. (Atlas Shrugs)

Milblogs: The blog. Mudville Gazette launches the Milblogs group blog. Go read it. (Milblogs)

Commentary. If you believe in bringing an end to terrorism and Middle Eastern fascism, support the troops. Any way you can. We are winning; and when you hear terrorists like Hamas begging for help, and when you hear terrorist sympathizers in America begging us to "bring the troops home" (please! make them stop!), you know we're doing something right.

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.

2006-05-15

Morning Report: May 15, 2006

Debka: New weapons for new terrorists. A new article at Debka reports:
In the past two weeks, Iran has been pumping into Iraq two types of extra-lethal weapons in very large quantities. They have already taken their toll in the shooting down of two military helicopters - one American and one British – and an estimated 19 deaths of US military personnel. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources estimate the delivery to Iraqi insurgents as consisting of around 1,000 SA-7 Strela ground-air missiles made in Iran, and a very large quantity of a newly-developed roadside bomb, loaded with compressed gas instead of ball bearings and cartridges, to magnify their blast and explosive power. The supplies have been distributed across Iraq - Basra and Amara in the south, Baghdad and its environs, Haditha in the west, and Mosul in the north. The new bombs, developed jointly by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the Lebanese Hizballah, have already gone into service with the Shiite terrorists on the Lebanese border with Israel. Israeli military sources say it is only a matter of time before the deadly roadside bombs, already used in Iraq, will also reach Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The report notes that the emergence of new Shiite militias in Iraq is a significant development, as previously the Americans faced only Ba'athist remnants and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Regarding the new groups:
One is located north of Baghdad and calls itself Brigades of the Imam Kazim. Another, called Brigades of Imam Ali, claimed the attack on April 27 in Nasiriya in which one of their new roadside bombs killed two Italian troops. In the Rostumiya region south of Baghdad, a Shiite group called Brigades of the Imam Hadi has begun operating. Our sources report that this group has been firing Katyusha rockets at American bases in the region, similar to the mortar attack directed at a British base in Amara Monday, May 15.

Full report at the link. (Debka)

US forces kill 16 suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq. AP via Jerusalem Post: 'US forces and helicopters killed 16 suspected al-Qaida insurgents in four weekend raids, including one man who allegedly led a militant attack that last month downed a US attack helicopter and killed its two crew, the military said Monday. Four Iraqi civilians and two suspected militants were wounded during the raids that took place on Saturday and Sunday around Latifiyah, 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, the military said.' (AP via JPost)

Syria detains freedom activist. Also from the Post: 'yria has detained the prominent dissident and democracy campaigner Michel Kilo, a local rights organization said Monday. Kilo was detained Sunday, days after he signed a petition calling for steps to improve Lebanese-Syrian relations, said Ammar Qurabi, the head of the National Organization for Human Rights. Kilo has long been a harsh critic of the government in Syria, which often arrests its critics.' (JPost)

SMCCDI alleges US betrayed Iranian dissident. SMCCDI via Marze Por Gohar: 'Un-confirmed reports are stating about the role of the US Government in the forced return of an Iranian asylum seeker to the Islamic regime. Majid Kavoosi, was handed by the US Embassy, in UAE, to the Interpol which handed him, in its turn, to the Islamic republic regime.

According to the same sources, Kavoosi had handed several secret files to the US Embassy based on promises of granting him asylum.

The latter risks the death sentence for his allegued role in the murder of a notorious repressive Islamist judge who was known for having ordered the executions of tens of freedom fighters. In addition, Kavoosi seems to have been part of a guerilla group which was seeking the overthrow of the Islamic regime and which was involved in several attacks against the regime's symbols of political and financial power.' Read the whole article at the link - very disturbing. (SMCCDI via MPG)

Belmont Club on dialog. The Belmont Club talks about US-IRI negotiations:
The addition of a bilateral track means re-weighing the other tracks in relation to it. A negotiation strategy not only means adding more bandwidth but far importantly it means shaping the bandwidth. Certain channels are going to be assigned particular tasks; some routes are going to be emphasized while others are going to be comparatively denigrated. Not only will bilateral negotiations affect the EU-3 track it will also affect other forms of signaling because one of the first things negotiators typically demand are what are called "confidence building measures" which is a euphemism for "call off your dogs" while we talk. But by that time the bilateral negotiations may have become a desirable political quantity in themselves and the threat to call them off a sanction in itself.

Does any of this mean that 'under no circumstances should we hold bilateral talks' with the Iranians? No. But neither does it follow that under all circumstances should the US seek bilateral negotiations with Teheran. From the vantage of the US the correct move will depend entirely on the empirical effect of bilateral negotiations upon the total package of interaction with Teheran. Part of the problem facing outsiders looking in is that we don't know what the total package of interaction is. Some of it is open to public view but the covert and backchannel operations are shrouded in secrecy. To what extent these should be made subordinate or be complemented by bilateral negotiations is unclear. Without that knowledge, one can only guess whether it is propitious to open bilateral negotiations with Teheran or not.

Read the full analysis at the link. (Belmont Club)

Briefly noted. Internet Haganah shuts down more terrorist websites; more BS from Saddam; Sandmonkey declares London demo a success; Israel Matzav takes on ex-State appeasers; and Sistani unplugs that anti-gay fatwa while the First Lady offers some friendly advice to Republicans.

Commentary.
While today's first two items deal with physical weapons and flesh-and-blood conflict, many of the other pieces in this report touch on the information war. Or rather, the battle for reality. As Wretchard noted the other day, 'there's been a change in the tone of the blogosphere. Nothing definite, simply a change in atmosphere in proportion to the degree of abstract tendencies of the blogger. Authors who trafficked in ideas and concepts have altered the most. Some have paused to take stock, pleading disgust or confusion; still others have returned to writing as seemingly different persons; others seem to be suffering a kind of nervous breakdown ...'. I think this is because the shape of the ideological battlefield continues to shift. The old labels, alliances, and identities have changed beyond all recognition. The war of ideas is no longer being fought on a planar, chessboard-like "battlefield", but on a multi-dimensional surface that twists and warps back on itself. The warriors who emerge victorious will be those who best adapt to the shape of things that have come.

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Coming to the US

Thanks to the invaluable Little Green Footballs for breaking the good news. LGF:
More than 20 people emailed this morning about the report that Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali is resigning from Parliament and moving to the United States, to work at the American Enterprise Institute. Liberty and Justice has translations of the Dutch report: Ayaan Hirsi Ali Heading To The US.

That report:
According to De Volkskrant she will she will leave to the US September 1, 2006.

Exactly what I was afraid of. She will be welcomed into the US and she will get the respect she deserves there, but it is a crying shame that we force people like her to leave our country.
Do we, finally, have someone who defends our freedom of speech, even putting her life on the line, we force her to leave our country and move to the US. It is making me all sick.

Peaktalk:
Well, that didn't take long. Ayaan Hirsi Ali will in September leave The Netherlands and join the AEI. This outcome was expected and in a way I think it is very good news for her, but it is not all that good for the Dutch. Not only will they lose a talented, vocal and original thinker, they allowed - quite probably deliberately - her to fall in a very public manner and I don't think she deserved that. ...

Volksrant (in Dutch).
Follow the links to the original posts for updates.

2006-05-14

Iran Report

Taheri: Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush. Amir Taheri, after a brief history of the art of letter-writing in the Persian/Islamic world, concludes:
Ahmadinejad believes that the Hidden Imam is about to return and that it is the duty of the Islamic Republic to provoke a "clash of civilizations" to hasten that return. As he asserts in his letter, Ahmadinejad also believes that the liberal democratic model of market-based capitalist societies has failed and is rejected even in its traditional homeland. Ahmadinejad has been impressed by the extent of recent riots in France in which the extreme Left provided the leadership while the Muslim sub-proletariat offered much of the muscle in the streets.

Rather than ignoring Ahmadinejad's letter, President Bush should reply to him by inviting him to abandon Khomeinism and convert to liberal democracy. For, when all is said and done, the fight over Iran today is not about real or imagined nuclear weapons; it is about the kind of Iran with which the Middle East, indeed the whole world, can feel comfortable. Ahmadinejad's letter shows that a majority of Iranians, let alone the world as a whole, cannot feel comfortable with the kind of Iran he represents.


Khomeinist regime faces "challenges". Writing in the Arab News, Taheri has this to say:
Talk to any "Iran specialist" about opposition to the present regime and you are likely to hear that it is marginal, exists largely in exile, and affects segments of the urban middle classes, especially students, mainly in Tehran.

The conclusion, therefore, is that the system now headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is firmly entrenched with no credible challenge looming on the horizon.

However, that picture, largely accurate for much of the past two decades, may be about to change as the system created by the late Ayatollah Khomeini faces new challenges.

These new challenges come from several sources.

The first, and possibly the most important, is the urban working class that has just started to flex its muscles. ...

Workers' protests, unlike student protests, could have an impact on the economy. Ahmadinejad has responded with a "buy-in" program in which workers can buy stock in state-owned companies (most of which are operating at a loss); and by filling the workers' ranks with strikebreakers. Labor Minister Jaromi, believing the oil sector paramount to Iran's economy, goes the head chief one better and recruits only regime loyalists to the oil industry.

IRI: No talks with US over Iraq. The party's over. All hopes for a coridal dialog between the US and the Islamic Republic of Iran over the fate of Iraq have been dashed. We are shocked. Iran Focus reports: ' Iran announced on Sunday that it will not hold direct talks with the United States on the issue of Iraq. “The issue of negotiations between Iran and the U.S. regarding Iraq is no longer on the table”, Iran’s newly-appointed ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi told the official new agency. Qomi said that the issue of Iran-U.S. talks over Iraq had been raised for close to a year but had been repeatedly rejected by Tehran until it was formally proposed by Iraqi officials. “Following the establishment of a permanent government in Iraq, we have no issue to negotiate about”, he said.' A terrible shame; those talks showed such promise.

German embassy next? A subscription article at Debka suggests a seizure of Germany's embassy in Iran may be in the works, a nostalgic recollection of the "444 days" of 1979. An alleged American spy ring operating out of the German embassy is said to be the pretext. They are hoping that the stunt would bring German pressure on the US in Iran's favor and distract attention from the nuclear crisis, perhaps yielding secret back-channel negotiations between Tehran and Washington. Good luck with that.

Hadley: No direct talks with Iran. From Stratfor (subscription): 'Direct engagement between Iran and several other countries within the framework of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) is the best way to resolve the current standoff regarding Iran's nuclear program, U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said May 14. Hadley dismissed suggestions that the United States should engage in direct talks with Iran, calling the UNSC the preferred forum for talks at this time.'

Iran: That goes for us, too. Iran Focus: ' Iran announced on Sunday that it will not hold direct talks with the United States on the issue of Iraq. “The issue of negotiations between Iran and the U.S. regarding Iraq is no longer on the table”, Iran’s newly-appointed ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi told the official new agency.'

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.

Afternoon Roundup

Debka: Al-Qaeda fugitives from Sinai run to Gaza.
The four men who turned themselves into Egyptian police Sunday, May 14, in the northern Sinai town of El Arish were not the key al Qaeda figures hunted in connection with al Qaeda’s attacks last month. The men, named as Naif Ibrahim Saleh Ameira, Abdel Gadr Suweilim Suleiman, Ismail Salama Ouda Hussein and Hatem Musellem Rashid al-Atrash, surrendered after Egyptian security forces killed Nasser Malakhi in the same town last Tuesday, May 9. Malakhi was described as ringleader of the al Qaeda network, which April 24 and 26 struck Dahab, the UFO base near el Arish and Bilbith near Ismailiyeh on the Suez. According to DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources, the Egyptians have not yet bagged the top Qaeda leaders: Tirawi Younes Abu Garib, a 25-year old driver from el Arish, Osama Zahlawi, 24, from Nahal, Sinai, Ibrahim Mohsein, from Tel El Kabir on the western Suez bank near Ismailiya, and a group of Egyptian and Palestinian farmers from the Suez region employed in al Qaeda operations. A large number of the wanted cells fled across the Egyptian border into the Gaza Strip, shepherded by the gun- and drug-running gangs working with al Qaeda and Palestinian terrorists in the border region.

Full article at the link. Debka concludes: 'Official Egyptian denial of a foreign element in the terrorist campaign plaguing the country for three years stretches to attributing the attacks to Tawhid wal Jihad, a local band of Bedouin and radical Muslims. However, in the meantime, our counter-terror sources report, Tawhid wal Jihad has been taken over by Abu Musab al Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s Iraq commander.'

CT Blog: Task Force 145 strikes near Ramadi.

Task Force 145, the mix of special operations forces assigned to hunt Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and al-Qaeda in Iraq leaderships and cells, appears to have struck again, this time in Julaybah, an area “identified as a terrorist safe haven” which is located about 8 miles east of Ramadi. Three terrorists were killed and four captured during the fight. The Multinational Forces – Iraq press release provides an overview of the engagement:



Upon arrival... the Coalition troops began receiving rifle and machine gun fire. The terrorists then began to launch ineffective mortar fire from across a nearby river. Coalition Forces neutralized both the direct and indirect fire with small arms fire and close air support and simultaneously raided five structures, associated hide outs and vehicles. After killing three terrorists and detaining four others, the troops conducted a thorough search of the area. They found six affiliated vehicles, three of which were loaded with various weapons and explosives to include rifles, mortars and improvised explosive device material. The troops also uncovered numerous weapons caches with AK-47's, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds and IED material... Five safe houses, six cars, and all lethal material were destroyed on target.


Again, the tell-tail signs of a Task Force 145 operation are contained within the Multinational Forces – Iraq press release: vague details of the strike, an unidentified Coalition unit and unnamed air support, the targeting of an al-Qaeda cell, a suspected “wanted terrorist” on the target list (it is unknown if he was killed or captured during the raid), and the swift raids on multiple targets. ...



Sandmonkey on CNN:
Guys, this is super short notice, but I will be on CNN in 30 minutes at 9 pm cairo time. It will be simulcatsed at CNN america at 2 pm EST. It should be rerun also every other hour from 6 am to 11 am my time, which is GMT +2, so you figure it out. You will have the view of me talking from the back and you will see Manal (Alaa's wife) talking as well.

Gotta Go watch now. Lata!


Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.

Morning Report: May 14, 2006

Tammy Bruce: Iran strike may come as soon as June. Tammy Bruce writes: 'I've gone on the record here, on Tammy Radio and on Fox News that if we're going to strike Iran it will be before the November elections. Why? Because if the Republicans lose the House and Senate it will be even more difficult for us to stop the Iranian madman, and there's simply nothing to gain by waiting any longer. The longer we would wait, in fact, simply allows nihilistic leftists more time to pound on the morale of our troops and us here at home. That said, there are now reports that we are moving certain assets into the Gulf region, assets not associated with the Iraq effort. Raw Story has the details of two aircraft carriers moving to the Gulf now--the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Enterprise.' Raw Story: 'According to military and intelligence sources, an air strike on Iran could be doable in June of this year, with military assets in key positions ready to go and a possible plan already on the table.' Tammy adds: 'Every day we wait we allow Iran's tyrants to work on their plan to cause mass murder in the region. Every day we play games with the UN so-called Security Council we inch closer to being responsible for whatever mayhem and genocide Ahmadinejad and the Mad Mullahs unleash against the civilized world. When it comes to facing down the enemy internationally, I think we have the best in George W. Bush and Condi Rice.' (Tammy Bruce, Raw Story)

Debka: Washington, US at odds over Iran intelligence. Debka reports: 'Washington does not buy Israel intelligence’s two-year timeline for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon. Ten days before Ehud Olmert pays his first visit to Washington as Israeli prime minister, US intelligence is digging in its heels on its own timeline, which estimates that Tehran needs at least three to four years in stages to reach the point of being able to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium for a bomb and nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. The view there is that military action need not be considered before then. This distancing from the Israeli estimate cut the ground in advance from the main theme Olmert proposed to raise in his talks with US leaders. The message Washington delivered in advance of those talks was that Jerusalem would not be allowed to dictate American moves – diplomatic or military – on the Iranian crisis. The Olmert government would be best advised to line up behind Washington on this issue, as did the Sharon government in 2003 before the US invasion of Iraq. ... The Bush administration turned tough, according to DEBKAfile’s Washington sources, after receiving a briefing from two high-ranking US officials on secret talks they held with top Israeli government officials last week. The visitors, Stuart Levey, US Treasury Undersecretary for countering terrorist financing and a National Security Council Iran expert, found the Israeli government ill-informed and unfocused on the specifics of the Iranian nuclear program.' Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post covers Olmert's upcoming visit to Washington: 'Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's advisors Dov Weisglass and the Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister's Office, Adv. Yoram Turbowitz, left Israel for Washington early Sunday. They are expected to meet with senior American officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Advisor Steven Hadley. Olmert will follow in a few days, and is expected to meet with President Bush, Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and heads of the Senate and House of Representatives. Olmert will speak before both houses.' (Debka, JPost)

Iran gave Al-Qaeda In Iraq Russian-made SAM-7 missiles. Iraq the Model: 'According to this report from Azzaman, Iran's revolutionary guard corps is supplying Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq with Russian-made anti-aircraft weapons including the infrared guided, shoulder-born missile Sam 7 (Strela) in addition to other weaponry like machineguns and improved IEDs. ... Moreover, this doesn’t seem to be the first incident where similar weapons pass into Iraq from Iran; interesting that the state found al-Sabah newspaper-that is not normally in agreement with what Azzaman publishes-had a report on a similar smuggling incident that dates back to late April: Sources in the border guards in Diyala province said that there are anti-aircraft weapons entering Iraq as part of deals between smugglers and insurgent groups in Iraq. Brigadier Nadhum Sherif commander of Diyala border guards told al-Sabah that on April 24-2006 his forces foiled the delivery of weapons to terror groups in the area of Qara-lous…weapon smuggling operation take place in remote areas far from the eyes of our forces but our corps received intelligence that weapon smugglers were about to deliver large amounts of weapons to the terrorists including Russian-made anti-aircraft weapons produced in 2005…we found the weapons left in hidden caches in the mountainous area…' Iran Focus: 'Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had provided the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq heavy weapons including anti-aircraft missiles, it emerged on Friday. The Iraqi daily az-Zaman which is published in London and Baghdad quoted credible Iraqi sources as revealing that the IRGC had given al-Qaeda in Iraq, Strela-type SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, modern explosives, and a large number of personnel arms including Kalashnikovs and BKC machineguns. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is believed to be led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is on the United States’ wanted list. The report said that representatives of al-Zarqawi’s group met in Beirut with members of the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah and through them established channels with Tehran. Three close aides to al-Zarqawi travelled to Iran via a security checkpoint in the Iraqi border province of al-Amara from where they met with Iranian officials, the report added.' Meanwhile, Vital Perspective reports: 'Pakistani media is reporting that Iran received "35 [Stinger] missiles... by mistake." The comments were made by Lt. Gen. (R) Hameed Gul, the former D-G of Pakistan's ISI intelligence organization. Gul also said the ISI had supplied 50 - 70 Stinger missiles to the former prime minister of Afghanistan, Gulbadin Hekamtyar. He said most of the missiles should have been exhausted because of redundancy in their batteries, and only few of them might still be operational.' (various)

Telegraph: Foreign ministers not feeling the love at diplomatic summit. The Telegraph: 'The American secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, traded barbs during bad-tempered talks at a foreign ministers' summit in New York on Iran's nuclear programme. The exchanges provided a candid introduction to diplomacy for Margaret Beckett, the new Foreign Secretary, who attended the tetchy session at the end of her first full day in the job. The row, which further undermines hopes of a diplomatic solution to the Iran crisis, reflects deepening rifts between the United States and Russia. Tension surfaced at a private meeting hosted by Ms Rice in the Waldorf Hotel for the Russian, British, French, German and Chinese foreign ministers, and spilt over into a much-delayed dinner. One official in Washington said: "It was a pretty extraordinary session and everyone's been talking about it in private since. It was certainly quite an introduction to the rough and tumble of the new job for Mrs Beckett." Mr Lavrov arrived at the Waldorf for the meeting seething about a speech on Kremlin policies delivered by Dick Cheney, the vice-president, the previous week in Lithuania. The Russian repeatedly complained about the comments and then threatened to veto a Security Council resolution, drafted by Britain and France and backed by the US, that would force Iran to abandon enrichment of uranium.' UPDATE: Via LGF, the Times reports: 'MI5 is being accused of a cover-up for failing to disclose to a parliamentary watchdog that it bugged the leader of the July 7 suicide bombers discussing the building of a bomb months before the London attacks. MI5 had secret tape recordings of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the gang leader, talking about how to build the device and then leave the country because there would be a lot of police activity. However, despite the recordings, MI5 allowed him to escape the net. Transcripts of the tapes were never shown to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC), which investigated the attacks. (Telegraph, Times)

The Scotsman on Britain's security challenges. The Scotsman gives a sobering appraisal of Britain's security situation in the post- 7/7 era: 'The bosses and operatives of MI5 have travelled the same final expedition of Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Hasib Hussain, and Germaine Lindsay many times since July 7, 2005, and the journey has always been desperately difficult. But the reverse journey, tracking back from their brutal, murderous deaths to their unremarkable lives, has yielded disturbing evidence about the true state of national security and the ability of the security services to maintain it. ... What has been conspicuously absent from the blanket coverage of the 7/7 attacks, almost a year later, is any assurance that the harsh lessons of this most brutal assault have been learned by the people who matter most.' The article continues,
After an extensive reassessment of existing and new intelligence material, the service has come up with the estimate that some 400 al-Qaeda-linked terrorist suspects are at large in Britain - and that the figure could be swollen by up to 200 if all those thought to have returned from combat training in camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere are included. The figure reportedly includes a "hard core" of between 40 and 60 trained fighters with the capability and the intention to carry out attacks in Britain.

However, the most significant element of MI5's "terror audit" is the production of a map of Britain highlighting the places with the highest concentrations of pro-al-Qaeda suspects. The "thermal map" of terror hotspots across Britain is believed to identify a particularly strong concentration in the Manchester area.

MI5 has received funds to open offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow, with others planned for Wales and the south-west. But Scotland on Sunday understands that the service's visible "regionalisation" masks a subterranean effort to penetrate target communities in those areas; the establishment of actual offices has been preceded by the placement of operatives, the formation of surveillance teams and the recruitment of informers. MI5 has increasingly called in the help of Special Reconnaissance Regiments to carry out the most important work.

Full article at the link. (Scotsman)

Jihad in Baghdad. Kat at The Middle Ground continues her analysis of the situation in the Iraqi capital:
It is clear in Afghanistan that the mujihadeen and taliban are attempting to regroup and press more operations in Afghanistan. Without the battlefield of Iraq, drawing in would be mujihadeen to a second place, Afghanistan, with it's much more complicated geography and established cave complexes, would have attracted many if not all of these fighters to that location. Iraq has forced them to split their material, financial and human resources.

When we attrited their forces and resources, when we forced them to fight for a symbolic and historical center of the "caliphate", we also forced them to re-align their over all plans and re-define their priorities. The fact is, Baghdad is the historical and symbolic center of the caliphate. We did not define it as that, they did. We did not say they wanted this caliphate, they did. As soon as they had established this as a primary goal for themselves, it is our responsibility to plan, to counter, to attack to insure failure of that plan.

While it may be difficult to comprehend, in a very real sense we have forced them to speed up operations. I'm sure they would have preferred to only have Afghanistan as a battlefield and used their other resources to attack in other theaters with a bomb here and a hi-jacking there. Death by a thousand cuts. By forcing them to fight, we haven't just forced them to use their resources in a fashion faster than they might have wanted, but also forced the development and acceptance of their ideology to be experienced and evaluated by other Muslims who might otherwise have been content to sit back and support the movement with little cost to themselves.

But don't take Kat's word for it - take theirs. Full article and resources at the link. (TMG)

Commentary. I've often asserted that a strike on Iran is likely, because the success of the Bush Administration's policy hinges on the downfall of the islamofascist regime in Tehran. It's hard to know what to make of the Debka report; perhaps Washington is trying to persuade the Israelis to hold off so that the US can do the job without interference. Given the state of US-Russian relations, I don't think there's going to be much more time wasted worrying about the elusive Russian stamp of approval in the Security Council. Still, one wonders why the Russians are pushing the notion of a "new Cold War". Perhaps they think their luck will improve this time around?

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.

Lavender Alert

Climate of fear for Iraqi gays. An April 17 BBC report paints a stark picture of gay life in post-Saddam Iraq:
"I don't want to be gay anymore. When I go out to buy bread, I'm afraid. When the doorbell rings, I think that they have come for me."

That is the fear that haunts Hussein, and other gay men in Iraq.

They say that since the US-led invasion, gay people are being killed because of their sexual orientation.

They blame the increase in violence on the growing influence of religious figures and militia groups in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was ousted.

The report cites an anti-gay proclamation Ayatollah Sistani's website, and SCIRI control of the Interior Ministry, as factors contributing to the climate of violence.
Hussein is 32 and lives in Baghdad with his brother, sister-in-law and nieces.

He says his effeminate appearance and demeanour make him stand out and attract hostility.

"My brother's friends told him: 'In the current chaos you could get away with killing your brother without retribution and get rid of this shame,'" Hussein said, after agreeing to speak to the BBC only if his real name was not used.

A transsexual friend of his, who had changed names from Haydar to Dina, was killed on her way to a party in Baghdad about six months ago, Hussein said.

Meanwhile, the Washington Blade carries a report on the Iraqi teen recently murdered for homosexual activity:
Human rights groups are condemning as "barbaric" the shooting of a 14-year-old male who allegedly slept with men for money to support his poverty-stricken family, the Independent reported May 5. Witnesses said the youth was shot after men in police uniforms accosted him based on the allegations, the newspaper reported. The teen’s death came during a surge in homophobic killings by Iraqi state security services and religious militias following an anti-gay fatwa issued by Iraq’s most prominent Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Ali Hili, the coordinator of Abu Nawas, a group of exiled Iraqi gay men who monitor homophobic attacks inside Iraq, told the Independent that the fatwa had instigated a "witch-hunt for lesbian and gay Iraqis, including violent beatings, kidnappings and assassinations." The boy’s family fled the area fearing further reprisals, the newspaper reported. Hili said U.S. coalition forces are unwilling to address the issue. "They just don’t want to upset the Iraqi government by bringing up the taboo of homosexuality even though homophobic murders have intensified," he said. Darla Jordan, from the U.S. State Department said, "The U.S. government continues to work closely with our Iraqi partners to ensure the protection of human rights and the safety of all Iraqi citizens."


US gays: Advances and setbacks. A court upholds Salt Lake City's partner plan: 'A judge on Friday upheld a Salt Lake City ordinance that extends health insurance benefits to "adult designees" of employees who live together but are not married. In a five-page ruling, 3rd District Judge Stephen Roth said the plan does not violate state law, nor the Utah Constitution.' The US House voted to restrict demonstrations at military funerals, a move meant to keep Fred Phelps and his band of psychotic goons at bay. Meanwhile, Virginia came closer to a gay marriage ban, but it's not just a "gay marriage ban": 'The amendment, if approved statewide on the Nov. 7 ballot, would write existing statutory bans on same-sex marriage and civil unions into the state Constitution. It also would prohibit any contracts or legal arrangements intended to approximate marriage. Critics, including Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), say it could broadly threaten the validity of other personal contracts.' All articles from Edge New York.

Danforth takes stand against FMA. Via Log Cabin Republicans:
Former U.S. Senator and former UN Ambassador John Danforth (R-MO) made a strong case against the anti-family constitutional amendment during the Log Cabin Republicans National Dinner on Saturday April 29th. Danforth, an ordained Episcopalian Priest, spoke to hundreds of Log Cabin members, allies, and supporters in Washington, DC at the organization's largest national convention in its history. "It is said that this [amendment] is necessary to protect marriage. Whose marriage is this going to protect?" asked Danforth. "How conceivably could it protect any marriage in the United States?"

"Some historian should really look at all of the proposals that have been put forth throughout the history of our country for possible Constitutional amendments," Danforth said. "Maybe at some point in time there was one that was sillier than this one, but I don't know of one."

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.

Daniel Wurtz dies.

Ha'Aretz:
An American teen wounded in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv last month died Sunday of organ failure, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Daniel Wultz, 16, of Weston, Florida, is to be flown home for burial on Monday, said Yael Tzuberi, a spokeswoman for Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, where he was hospitalized.

Wultz and his father, Tuly, were having lunch at the Rosh Ha'ir falafel stand in Tel Aviv's old central bus station when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated 5 kilograms (approximately 10 pounds) of explosives. Eleven people, including Wultz, died as a result of the attack.

Ocean Guy links to One Family Fund.

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.

Military Roundup

Meet Captain Furat. Tom the Redhunter:
After a few false starts, the new Iraqi Army is a force to be reconed with. While no doubt some units are still not up to speed or are not aggressive enough, many are doing their part and then some.

But armies consist of individuals, and as such there are many new heroes in this new Iraqi army, risking life and limb every day, whether they are on the job or at home visiting loved ones.

One of these new heroes is Captain Furat. ...

We would never have known about him had it not been for the brave reporting of Maya Alleruzzo of the Washington Times.

Last year, she went out with him on several very dangerous missions, one to act as a decoy in order to divert the terrorists attention from convoy that was transporting election materials. The decoy succeeded; Captain Furat's unit was attacked. He and his unit fought back bravely, fighting off the terrorists.

However, when visiting his family, he wasn't so lucky. The terrorists ambushed him, and although he fought back, one of their bullets severed his spine and paralyzed him below the waist. He was brought to the United States, and is now being treated pro bono at Atlanta's Shepherd Center.

Here's the update from the Washington Times. And here's Michael Yon. Go read it all.

Tarin Kot, Afghanistan. Now in Afghanistan, Michael Yon reports on the bumpy road ahead. Go to the link to see the photos, and read about what one Pakistani engineer did that surprised everyone. Yon observes that
There is deep distrust between Afghans and Pakistanis, yet the Afghans seem to hold Indians in high-regard, and when an Indian was murdered here recently, there was uproar in both India and Afghanistan. The Afghans who are not actively trying to kill Americans seem to hold us in high regard. Many Afghans – just like many Iraqis, especially the Kurds – asked me to tell the American people “thank you” and “please don’t leave yet.”


Why we fight. Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette brings us a refreshingly truthful article from the Washington Post:
Civilians. After the war, they seemed so different, no matter how many war movies or how much CNN they had watched.
Sometimes, they'd ask something so crazy there just wasn't any way to respond, such as when a friend asked Monika Dyrcakz, "Did you go clubbing in Iraq?"

"Some people have no idea," she said.

Sometimes they said: I support the troops but not the war. Or: Do you think we should be over there?

Which is such a dumb question, Tanner, the Army captain, would think. Soldiers don't make those decisions. They do what they're told. They bitch and moan, sure. But when the call comes, they pack their bags and go, knowing they may not come back.

But Tanner doesn't say all that. Instead, he responds this way: "Oh, so you were over there? Because you said, ' We .' Because, I mean, I know I was over there."

Be sure to read Greyhawk's post for some final comments.

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.

Mary Cheney on FMA

"...support for a constitutional amendment banning [same-sex marriage] will prove to have an even shorter half-life. If the Republican Party fails to come around on this issue, I believe it will find itself on the wrong side of history and on a sharp decline into irrelevance."—Mary Cheney in her new book, "Now It's My Turn: A Daughter's Chronicle of Political Life."

Hat tip: Log Cabin via e-mail bulletin

2006-05-12

Morning Report: May 12, 2006

Zarqawi in Baghdad: Crisis management. Kat at The Middle Ground turns a manager's eye to recently captured enemy documents from Iraq. Here's her comment on a paragraph insisting on clear near-term planning: 'One, it says they are looking at long term battle even though they talk earlier about the "quick" victories. Two, if any of you have been through business planning or management strategy sessions or even "career planning", this comment comes right off the list of things you could be sure to hear. So, whoever wrote this little outline is not some schmuck mujihadeen from a sheep farm in western Iraq or a laborer from Saudi or Syria. As usual, the people running the mujihadeen are not "disaffected poor", but educated middle class or wealthy. This fellow has definitely been to management classes or worked in a business field as at least a low to mid-level executive. Three, the outline format with brief discussion points also shows someone that has been "in business" and knows that the only way to keep his leader's attention and the worker bees below him is to be brief (make your points in five bullet points or less).' Read Kat's full, highly detailed analysis at the link. Nutshell: 'Zarqawi is on the Offensive, but reducing it down to even smaller units, fewer targets and tactics designed to preserve his forces while trying to cut off the center and continue to press the civil war issue. His only problem now is, we've got his plan and probably a lot more where that came from. ...' (TMG)

ITM: Mutlaq, Fadheela parties walk out. Iraq the Model: 'A few issues are complicating the talks; Fadheela Party announced their boycott to the negotiations of allocating cabinet posts; meanwhile Salih al-Mutlaq's Dialogue Front is most likely to stay out of the formation as well. Of course this is in addition to the already existing points of difference regarding some major posts. These two blocs comprise 26 seats in the parliament, that's roughly 10% of the legislative body of Iraq, that's why such boycotting would undermine the image of the government that bigger blocs want to be viewed as a unity government. ...' Read the rest at the link. (ITM)

Debka: Somalis flee Mogadishu. Israeli-based Debka reports: 'Hundreds of Somalis flee embattled capital, Mogadishu. Six days of fierce fighting and indiscriminate shelling have left some 120 dead, most civilians, as an alliance of warlords battles Islamist militias for control of the city. UN observers report the Islamists are gaining ground. DEBKAfile adds: Wanted al Qaeda leaders are fighting with the “Islamic courts” militias, who accuse the United States of backing the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism. The US has not confirmed or denied backing the alliance of warlords but said it would "work with responsible individuals... in fighting terror.”' (Debka)

Free Alaa! Blogs across the globe support the jailed Egyptian blogger Alaa and his comrades in the struggle for freedom. Round-ups at The Belmont Club, The Middle Ground, and of course Sandmonkey who's sick and tired of playing games with the fascists. (various)

American women remember casualties. On June 23, 2005, a convoy of US Marines came under attack near Fallujah. This month's issue of Glamour covers the firefight:
... The adrenaline pumping through her body obviously masked her pain. Padmore handed her his own M16 and headed off to find other wounded marines, with the sound of Saalman firing her gun toward the insurgents ringing in his ears.

Harding, meanwhile, had rolled off the truck with only minor burns to her hand but quickly realized she, too, didn't have her weapon. With machine-gun fire all around her, she ran behind the flaming seven-ton to take cover, and there she came upon Cardile and Bringas. Both had badly burned hands, and their faces were blackened from the fire. Dazed, their throats raw from inhalation burns, they followed Harding to the shelter of a junkyard wall where other female marines were gathering.

Libby, who'd been knocked unconscious in the blast, awoke about 10 feet from the truck with her face planted in the earth. She looked up to see, inches from her nose, the unconscious body of Clark. "Come on, girl, you've got to get up," she yelled to Clark, then again, louder, "Girl, we've got to get up now." Clark didn't respond. Finally, Libby, suffering from a broken collarbone and a dislocated neck, shoved her hands under Clark's shoulders and began dragging her toward shelter. She got about eight feet before a male marine ran up and pulled her away, screaming at her to join the other female marines for her own safety. Looking behind her, her heart pounding, Libby trotted toward the wall, a horrible thought haunting each step: Was she leaving behind a fellow marine to die?

About eight minutes after the attack, there were five or six female marines huddled behind the junkyard wall. Harding, after guiding Bringas and Cardile to shelter, now started to venture out again to retrieve a body lying a few feet from the truck—and hesitated as she heard the bullets flying all around her. Then her training kicked in: Leave no one behind. It's something a marine is taught until she knows it the way she knows her home address, her best friend's phone number or the Lord's Prayer. She ran toward the body. It was a woman, but the burns and impact wounds had marred her features beyond recognition. Harding looked at the name tag on the uniform pocket. Charette. The ex-cheerleader. ...

Six US Marines - three women and three men - died in the battle. Read the full story at the link. (Glamour)

Rules of war? The Belmont Club has an unsentimental (dare we say cynical?) look at warfare: 'It's doubtful whether either the warlords or the Islamists have much regard for the Laws of War and one wonders what exactly the "U.N.-backed transitional government" actually does. British Defense Secretary John Reid created a stir by suggesting that the Geneva Convention be updated to reflect the realities of terrorism. "The legal constraints upon us have to be set against an enemy that adheres to no constraints whatsoever." It is probably fortunate that a European has posed this question because this ball really belongs in the court of the transnationalists. Any attempts to obtain realistic rules of engagement against terrorists by a US administration will be branded as fascistic.' Wretchard's closing question generates some creative responses in the Comments. (Belmont Club)

E-mail of the day. From Jonah's Military Guys: "You guys don't get PTSD, you GIVE it.. You're carriers. Some jihadist is going to be waking up with a cold sweat 30 years from now having nightmares about YOU." (Argghhh!)

Photo of the week. Blackfive has a Marine patrol boat on the Euphrates. (Blackfive)

2006-05-11

Morning Report: May 11, 2006

Howard Dean: "Marriage is between a man and a woman." The Washington Blade reports: 'Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean has contradicted his party's platform and infuriated gay rights advocates by saying the party's platform states "marriage is between a man and a woman." Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean, appearing on the Christian Broadcasting Network, erroneously stated that the party's 2004 platform says 'marriage is between a man and a woman.' Christian conservative Pat Robertson is host of the program. "The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says marriage is between a man and a woman," Dean said May 10 during a "700 Club" program hosted by conservative Christian leader Pat Robertson on his Christian Broadcasting Network. That statement contradicts the Democratic National Committee's official stance, which was adopted in 2004.' Dean and the DNC wouldn't comment, but Patrick Guerriero of Log Cabin Republicans had a few things to say: '"Howard Dean puts his foot in his mouth so often that he should open a pedicure wing in the DNC during his tenure," Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Guerriero said Wednesday. "Howard Dean's positions on LGBT issues have changed more often than the weather in New England, where he's from."' Guerriero appears to have earned the approval of frequent Log Cabin critic Gay Patriot: 'Look at you, Patrick! Going for the gay and metrosexual crowds with the “pedicure” slam. Nice one. Patrick must have been reading Dan’s post earlier this week. I guess this was his answer. Bravo, Log Cabin. It is about time you remember who you are.' A tip of the hat to Instapundit. (various)

Al-Qaeda on Baghdad: It's a quagmire. The Counterterrorism Blog reports:
The latest internal al-Qaeda in Iraq document, which was captured in conjunction with the video outtakes from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's latest tape, highlights the state of affairs of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The document is titled "A glance at the reality of Baghdad in light of the latest events." It provides a blunt assessment of al-Qaeda's strategy and tactics in the battle for Baghdad. Combine this document with the "Al Qa'ida in Iraq Situation Report" released in April, which discussed the state of affairs in Anbar province, and it becomes clear al-Qaeda in Iraq is very concerned about their strategic situation and the desertion of influential Sunni tribes and political groups. Some highlights from the document:

-The state of affairs in Baghdad and Anbar are far worse than they were years ago as the Coalition and Iraqi government have absorbed the terror blows. In the unnamed commander's words: "every year is worse than the previous year as far as the Mujahidin’s control and influence over Baghdad." The increased participation of Iraqis in security forces and political process is exactly what Zarqawi feared when he wrote his letter to Osama bin Laden in 2004 outlining the strategy to incite a Sunni-Shiite civil war.
- al-Qaeda in Iraq fears the influence of Iraqi Islamic Party, the Islamic Scholars Committee, the Sunni tribes, and their cooperation with the government, as they possess a media wing and have dominance at the mosques: "The role that the Islamic party and the Islamic Scholars Committee play in numbing the Sunni people through the media is a dangerous role. It has been proven from the course of the events that the American investment in the Party and the Committee were not in vain. In spite of the gravity of the events, they were able to calm down the Sunni people, justify the enemy deeds, and give the enemy the opportunity to do more work without any recourse and supervision."

- AQIZ is mired in a tactical game of car and suicide bombings to influence the American media, however the campaign has so far failed to destroy the will of the Iraqi government and Coalition. The foreign media is only group influenced by the bombings -" the significance of the strategy of their work is to show in the media that the American and the government do not control the situation and there is resistance against them... What is fixed in the minds of the Shiite and Sunni population is that the Shiites are stronger in Baghdad and closer to controlling it while the mujahidin (who represent the backbone of the Sunni people) are not considered more than a daily annoyance to the Shiite government."

- There is a lack of a cohesive strategy to control territory in Baghdad. ...

Full report at the link. (CTB)

Debka: From Iran to Israel, via Sudan. Debka reports: 'DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources reveal that two Iranian Revolutionary Guards companies were dropped at Khartoum’s military airfield May 2 by a C-130 transport and driven to a secret military installation on the outskirts of the Sudanese capital. Their arrival signals the onset of an Iranian military airlift to Sudan of a fully equipped RG brigade with armor, a major escalation of the clandestine Iranian threat to Egypt and Israel alike. DEBKAfile’s security sources report the ongoing routine of illicit Sudanese infiltrations into the southern Israeli Negev, shepherded by any of three local smuggling rings: the Palestinian gang headed by Jamal Samhadan, the Hamas government’s new appointee as commander of its security forces, Sudanese-Egyptian crime organizations and al Qaeda’s Sinai network. All three are readily available to operate under the orders of the Iranian RG intelligence officers posted in Sudan. The scale of the Negev traffic is such that hardly a day goes by without Sudanese infiltrators being caught attempting to steal across the Egyptian border into southern Israel. Many are job-seekers; a few, mules for gunrunners or spies collecting data on army installations in the desert region; some were caught recently near the town of Mitzpeh Ramon. They are led to their destinations by Egyptian intelligence agents familiar with the territory, Palestinian terrorists from Gaza or a sprinkling of Israeli Arabs. An Israeli security source told DEBKAfile that the current Egyptian-Israeli-Gazan border situation offers Iranian agents and terrorists mixed in among the Sudanese infiltrators an easy route into southern Israel. The RG agents are Arabic speakers, having acquired the language from their stint as military instructors with the Lebanese Hizballah.' (Debka)

2006-05-10

United 93: A Walk-On Part in the War

United 93 doesn't have a "plot" or "characters" in the conventional sense. Most of the characters are never named. Only one that I noticed - Ben Sliney - is ever identified by first and last name. Two we recognize - Mark Bingham and Todd Beamer - but most are simply there. They appear onscreen as people appear to us in life, without introduction or fanfare.

Many of the surviving characters are played by their real-life counterparts. Look at the cast list and the first thing you will notice, after the absence of "superstars", is the number of roles identified as "Himself/Herself". Many others are known only by their role titles, "Boston 5", "Herndon 1", "Cleveland Supervisor".

It is a cast of walk-ons - again, just as in life. And yet paradoxically, it's a movie about ordinary people who become actors: not "actors" in the sense of performers, but actors in the original sense - people who take action.

The movie does not try to "explain" United 93. It does not bother to fill you in on what everybody knows, because you already know it. It's very much like the classic horror device, where you (the viewer) know the danger awaiting the characters, but the characters themselves are blissfully ignorant. In other words, it is simply excruciating.

If you are vulnerable to motion sickness, you should be warned that the film employs a "nervous camera" style. A friend commented that this seemed overdone, in contrast to an actual "impromptu documentary" filmed by a live camera crew that happened to be on the scene on 9/11; the cameras in the real documentary were steadier.

But "United 93" is not a documentary, not even a "faux documentary". It is a movie made (necessarily, as all movies are) by people with cameras. It is not meant to simulate a fictional documentary made by fictional people with cameras; it's meant to put you in the middle of the action. So I believe the "nervous camera" is meant to invoke, not the unsteady hand of an anxious cameraman, but the restless gaze of the human eye.

I am one of Judith's "Venus people". I like relationship films. I cry in movies. (I even cry during "Xena".) I cried in "United 93" because it is a movie full of ending relationships. To say that there is "no happy ending" doesn't begin to tell it. There is not one tragedy but many: the sundering of romances we have not seen develop, the bereavement of families we've never met, the goodbyes to people we will never know. There is no redeeming moment at the end; no "boy gets girl"; no tender embrace amid the smouldering rubble, pregnant with the hope of life renewed. No. There is only the spinning ground and the silent blackness.

Did I give away the ending? But you already knew how it would end.

Mary Cheney: Now It's My Turn

Tammy has some warm words for Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter Mary Cheney:
I know Mary and while we don't agree on all issues (she's pro-life as an example), we both know that thoughtful people can and do come to seriously different conclusions about the issues. At the same time, we're on the same side disagreeing with President Bush's effort to change the U.S. Constitution regarding the gay marriage issue. She's a true American patriot, in the Classical Liberal style, an Authentic Conservative committed to true American freedom.

There's lots of behind the scenes stories in the book including what her father's debate prep was like, as well as her parents reaction to her revelation when she was a a teenager that she's gay.

Mary, like I , also knows what it's like to face the Gay Gestapo and how ugly and vile the "tolerant Left" can be when homosexuals don't conform to the Leftist worldview. Her stories are great, her courage inspiring, and her book worth supporting. I personally know about the compassion and generosity of American Conservatives, it's time to show the nation the value and importance of Mary's message by making her book a terrific success.

Book? Oh, yes, the book! It is Now It's My Turn, by Mary Cheney. I'm gonna get my copy tomorrow.

Oh, and here's a few choice words from Tammy Bruce in FrontPage Magazine (October 2004):
First, Mary Cheney is hated by the Gay Elite. There are discussions are direct efforts to make life uncomfortable for her. Why? Because she dares to be different. She has made the same mistake as I—she refuses to have her sexuality be the singular defining aspect of her identity, and she has had the gall to be her own person and not bow down to the leftist agenda. Yes, she commits the fatal mistake of not conforming to the conformist Gay agenda.

Cut to John Kerry on debate night. Here is a man who is trying to maintain the traditional base of Democratic party support. Women are abandoning him as they realize having a passive internationalist in the White House is not the best protection against a Beslan horror on American soil. President Bush had the support of nine percent of blacks in the 2000 race. At this writing it has doubled to eighteen percent. Not good signs for Kerry.

Now consider that supposed political monolith of homosexuals. Kerry says he’s opposed to gay marriage but supports civil unions, a position identical with the president’s. I contend Kerry was in part pandering to the Gay Elite to make up for his position on marriage. The targeting of Mary Cheney by the Gay Elite is a well known effort by liberals, and Kerry’s comment was his way of saying “I’m with you,” by attempting to further their punishment of her on international television.

Of course, pundits have argued that you can’t embarrass an openly gay person by referring to her as, well, gay. While Mary Cheney is out, she has made choices to lead a quiet private life, laden with that pesky dignity thing, and oh yeah, she’s a…a…Republican!! Neither one of those ideas can get out, oh no.

"Somebody give me a fucking weapon!" she screamed.

Kat at The Middle Ground has a terrific roundup on women in combat:
Every bit helps and this is just as dangerous as any "combat patrol" by the men. Last year around this time, three women marines were killed and 11 injured when their convoy was struck by a suicide bomber when returning from such a mission in Fallujah. Blackfive reminds us with a follow up report on these women and the complete story of that day as covered in Glamour magazine.

The convoy had been rolling down the highway for only a few minutes when Harding heard a fast exchange between her truck's driver and the gunner; it was something like "Are you going to shoot it or what?" An Iraqi car had pulled up alongside them. The marines in the lead Humvee had seen the car approaching and waved it off to the side of the road, but the car came barreling back toward the convoy.

Harding barely had time to process the driver's words when she heard the sound she'd feared since the moment she arrived in Iraq: the menacing hiss of a bomb about to go off.


The injuries some of these women suffered were terrible including second and third degree burns over 13% or more of the body. But, showing that these women are no wilting flowers, as soon as Cpl Salmaan got up she was yelling for a weapon:

Just as Padmore reached the scene, he saw Saalman staggering toward him, her charred, flayed hands held up before her, her eyes vacant in a blackened face. She'd lost her rifle during the explosion. "Sally, pull yourself together," he said. "You are not going to die. I promise: You are not going to die. But we need some leadership." He watched her expression change instantly from shock to rage. "Somebody give me a fucking weapon!" she screamed. "I need a fucking weapon!" The adrenaline pumping through her body obviously masked her pain. Padmore handed her his own M16 and headed off to find other wounded marines, with the sound of Saalman firing her gun toward the insurgents ringing in his ears.

Read the rest at the link.

Morning Report: May 10, 2006

Iranian opposition leader meets with Richard Perle. Via Free Iran News Forum: 'Less than 24 hours after one of Iran's leading dissidents and authors escaped to a neighboring state, the former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle, interrupted his trip to central Asia to meet with him in a cramped hotel room. The meeting between Mr. Perle and Amir Abbas Fakhravar on April 29, in a location both men have asked not appear in print, may end up being as important as the first contacts between Mr. Perle and the ex-Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky in the 1980s. Like Mr. Sharansky with the Soviet Union, Mr. Fakhravar is making an appeal to the world to support the cause of Iranian freedom. Mr. Perle first made contact with Mr. Fakhravar while he was first in prison and the two have kept in touch since the Iranian student leader went into hiding. They have spoken regularly for three years and Mr. Fakhravar is hoping to use Mr. Perle's contacts in America to build solidarity for his country's democratic movement. (Free Iran)

Islamist militia commander killed in Iran. SMCCDI: 'A senior Islamist militia commander was killed, on Saturday, by 'unknown assailants' according to the Islamic republic's official sources. The victim, named Hassan Mohammad-Poor, was killed while driving in the Tapeh Zibashahr road of the Golestan province located in northeast Iran.' (SMCCDI)

Iranian ambassador to meet Talabani. Debka: 'Hasan Hazemi Qomi, Iran’s first ambassador to Baghdad in two decades, meets Iraqi president Jalal Talabani Wednesday. The two countries withdrew their ambassadors before the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and kept their relations at charge d’affaires level. Iraq and the US accuse Iran of meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs. Talabani said the upgraded relations should open a new page in the two countries’ history.' (Debka)

Uncle Jimbo: Our Iranian allies need a visit from Ed McMahon. Uncle Jimbo:
The same clowns who yowled about warrantless searches and waterboarding and Gitmo and Gulfstreams, are the first to complain that we don't know enough about Iran's nuke program to justify Tomahawking their facilities. I agree that we don't have enough intel, and I propose that we detail just exactly what steps we are willing to take in order to find out. Let's see if they really want an option to direct military action. Obviously no classified info or techniques and the Iranians already know what we can do, this is for our leaders in DC. I'll start, but please chime in with more suggestions:

Recruitment of Iranian Scientists and others as agents- I assume we are actively engaged in this but I would hope we are spending money over there like they won the lottery. Free gifts for all my Uranium-enriching friends. I would also target family, government opposition (HA!), and would be recruiting every Iranian studying in the US. Oh boy would I be working on them, hookers, booze whatever they want. Then we send them back home to see how much it sucks, and wait for the coordinates of the nuke facilities to arrive via email. I would also tap any and all electronic communications by Iranian students and run it through the same computers the NSA uses, oh and don't feel like I'm picking on the Iranians there are plenty of other countries students we should be eyeballing also.

Kidnapping of Iranian Scientists- Preferably while they were traveling, but since many of those we really need to talk to are sequestered it may involve a raid into Iran.

Industrial Sabotage of Equipment used in Nuke Program- We know who is supplying them, mostly the French and Russians, we can infiltrate their operations or intercept in transit equipment and material destined for use in these programs. Or we can include surveillance and other electronic goodies along with the gear.

Hack Attack- I hope we have a room somewhere where we keep the best hackers and that they are actively involved in violating every crevice of the Iranian computer network, government and private. I hope they have them chained to the highest speed machines, feeding 'em Mountain dew and Cheetos while they digitally assault every electronic action any Iranian does anywhere on the planet.

Funding of any and all Iranian Resistance Groups- Start with the Shah's kid Reza Pahlavi to remind the Iranians that back in the day, Iran was a cool place to be, not a theocratic nightmare. We should be helping the internal student and other groups to organize electronically and how to avoid the religious Thought police. This is where we plug in all those co-opted students who lived the good life and let them tell their countrymen about the land of booze and hookers.

Information Warfare- I am perpetually amazed that a country with the greatest story ever to tell the world is chronically unable to tell it. maybe we should chain a few Hollywood types up with our hackers and have them churning out revolutionary propaganda to embolden the Iranian people. Beam them Tehran Housewives, Iranian Idol and give them a reason to resist and hopefully revolt.

2006-05-09

Morning Report: May 9, 2006

Blair rejects Iran strike, dismisses speculation on Straw's sacking. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has rejected the idea that the replacement of former Foreign Minister Jack Straw was connected with a difference of views on Iran. The Scotsman: 'There has been widespread media speculation that differences over how to deal with Iran's nuclear programme were behind Blair's decision to axe Foreign Minister Jack Straw last week in a major government reshuffle. Blair replaced Straw with former Environment Minister Margaret Beckett. "The idea I moved Jack because of Iran ... because the Americans objected to him ... (is) rubbish," Blair said. "Any notion that it is linked to a decision about invading Iran -- which incidentally we are not going to do -- any notion that it is linked to such a decision is utterly absurd."' Via Regime Change Iran. (Scotsman via RCI)

Rice on Ahmadinejad letter: Ho-hum. Voice of America: 'U.S. officials say an unusual letter to President Bush from his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not present any breakthrough in the current dispute over Iran's nuclear program. The response came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prepared to discuss the nuclear issue in New York with her counterparts from the other permanent U.N. Security Council member countries. ... However administration officials are dismissing comments from Tehran that the message is a significant overture in the frozen relationship, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying there is nothing in the letter to suggest the parties are on any different course than they were before it arrived. Secretary Rice made the comments in a session with the Associated Press in New York as she prepared to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue over dinner with her colleagues from the other veto-wielding Security Council member countries. She told the AP the Ahmadinejad letter was 17 or 18 pages long and covered history, philosophy and religion, but was not a diplomatic opening or anything of the sort, and did not address the nuclear issue in a concrete way.' Debka: 'DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources are first to reveal contents of - not one but two - letters Iran’s Ahmadinejad has sent to President Bush. Neither of the letters Mahmoud Ahmadinejad mailed Sunday, May 7, to George W. Bush represents an olive branch – just the reverse: Their writer takes a high moral tone and emphasizes the importance of Islam to mankind and the world. Neither does the Iranian president deign to offer concessions to ease international concerns and the standoff on Iran’s nuclear program. DEBKAfile’s sources in Tehran obtained access to the first drafts of two separate communications – only one of which Iranian proposes to release to the media. The private Note trots out the Islamic Republic’s reiteration of its right to develop nuclear energy for purely peaceful purposes and Iran’s greatness as the cradle of human civilization. The Note intended for release is longer and couched in phrases designed for propaganda effect. Ahmadinejad complains that Iran is anxious for progress in the sciences but is constantly persecuted by the forces of “world arrogance” ' and blah blah blah. The Israeli analysis adds that the stunt is meant to recall Ayatolla Khomeini's 1979 letter to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, urging him to adopt Islamic principles for his country. (VOA, Debka)

China says it won't veto UNSC action on Iran. Jerusalem Post: 'The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations announced late Monday night that Beijing would not veto a UN Security Council decision to impose punitive measures against Iran, Army Radio reported. The announcement may represent some progress in the attempt made by the Western permanent UNSC member states - the United States, Great Britain and France - in trying to adopt a resolution that would force Iran, under the threat of sanctions, to comply with international demands to halt its nuclear development program and permit supervision of its nuclear sites. (JPost)