Morning Report: October 5, 2007

State of the world. Your humble blogger returns to reporting the hubbub of humanity.

Coalition kills 25 militants in Diyala. The Long War Journal: 'Coalition special operations forces continue to attack the Iranian-backed Special Groups operating inside Iraq with the same ferocity as it attacks al Qaeda. Twenty-five Special Groups fighters were killed during an engagement northwest of Baqubah this morning during a raid on a Special Groups leader. Coalition forces called in an airstrike on a building after taking “heavy fire from a group of armed men fighting from defensive positions.” Special Groups fighters attacked Coalition forces with AK-47s and RPGs, and spotted what appeared to be a fighter “carrying what appeared to be an anti-aircraft weapon.” At least 25 terrorists are believed to have been killed in the airstrike. The engagement took place in a village near Khalis, a US military officer told The Long War Journal. “Coalition forces were targeting a Special Groups commander believed to be associated with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – Qods Force,” Multinational Forces Iraq reported. “Intelligence indicates that he was responsible for facilitating criminal activity and is involved in the movement of various weapons from Iran to Baghdad.”'

1920s faction denounces al-Qaeda. Counterterrorism Blog
: 'A breakaway Sunni insurgent faction from the 1920 Revolution Brigades known as "Hamas in Iraq" has issued a formal response to recent allegations by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of Al-Qaida's "Islamic State of Iraq." In an official communiqué dated October 2, Iraqi Hamas accused Al-Qaida of inflicting "great suffering" on ordinary Iraqi Sunnis: "every day they witnessed heads or headless bodies lying in their streets. Each one of these victims had been accused of a so-called ‘crime’ prohibited by Al-Qaida fatwahs... then [Al-Qaida] attacked Ameriyyat [al-Fallujah] with a car bomb packed with chlorine gas canisters, and they even laid siege to the area to prevent food and fuel from getting to people. Finally, they killed several men at the local market and smashed their heads against boxes of food... We [have] witnessed dozens of beheaded bodies and none of them were Americans. Rather, they were all local people from the area—people who, at one point, had supported the Al-Qaida network until they themselves had become disposable." In fact, according to Hamas in Iraq--as a result of the various crimes Al-Qaida has committed against innocent Muslim civilians--"the Al-Qaida network has actually made people here think that the occupation forces are merciful and humane by comparison."'

Dutch government cuts of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's security, forces her to leave US and return to Netherlands. And a sad day it is for America, and civilization generally. But it gets worse: according to this report from the New York Times, Holland's government backed off when they found out they might have to, like, actually protect her from something:
In the case of Ms. Hirsi Ali, the government also provided security for her while she lived in the Netherlands and traveled abroad. That arrangement continued for several months after she moved to the United States 13 months ago to become a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Subsequently the Netherlands paid for protection provided by an American security firm.

However, last December, she was warned in a letter from the Dutch minister of justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, that payment for her American bodyguards would end in July this year. That decision was revoked after Ms. Hirsi Ali received new credible death threats in the United States.

Sandmonkey on Egyptian textile workers' protest. Daily News (Egypt), September 27:
EL MAHALLA EL KOBRA: A crippling strike at Egypt’s largest public sector factory entered its fifth day on Thursday as workers, angry at corruption and what they call a string of lies and broken promises, say they will not end their occupation of the factory until their demands have been met by both the company’s board of directors and by President Hosni Mubarak.

The strike has united more than 27,000 employees of the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, from manual laborers to more highly skilled engineers and clerical staff, and has brought production at the factory in the dusty Delta city of Mahalla to a standstill.

Here's Sandmonkey:
We, me and M., arrive at the Parking lot right next to the AUC. That's the rendez-vous point with Gimmy , H., her boy, and whomever else was coming to this thing. M. and H. were dressed in jeans and male shirts, looking like female british factory workers. I guess if you are a capitalist chick going to a worker's protest, this is what You wear.

The news we heard so far wasn't very comforting: The Talaat Harb square is , again, a War Zone. Police Cars everywhere, plainclothed police Officers lining up the streets, and everybody is afraid to start the protest by themselves. For the life of me, I do not understand their insistence on always protesting in either Tahrir Square, Talaat Harb square or the Press Syndicate. I persoanlly don;t get it. Why not have a protest in Heliopolis? Or Dokki? Or Maadi? Why always Downtown? God knows the State security knows how to completely control the area and squash the protests with ease now. It almost feels like folly. Like we are children and we are about to play Police and Protesters. Where we playing today boys? The Talaat Harb Playground? Fantastic. Let's all go to Al Borsa Cafe after it's all over and talk about how we managed to waste the last few hours, while smoking cheap Shisha. Yeah!

I call Nora to see where she is, and she informs me that she is in the Ghad Party headquarters, an apartment in a Building in Talaat Harb sqre, and that they are having "inside the apartment Protest". The Police is standing in front of the building's door and are letting people in, but not letting them out. ...

Go read the rest to find out how many friends Sandmonkey had on Ramadan - and what happened to Gemmy. And if you read Arabic, check out Gemmy's blog.

So, how did those Israeli planes get into Syria, anyway? OpFor thinks David Fulghum at Aviation Week is on the right track:
U.S. aerospace industry and retired military officials indicated today that a technology like the U.S.-developed “Suter” airborne network attack system developed by BAE Systems and integrated into U.S. unmanned aircraft by L-3 Communications was used by the Israelis. The system has been used or at least tested operationally in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last year.

The technology allows users to invade communications networks, see what enemy sensors see and even take over as systems administrator so sensors can be manipulated into positions so that approaching aircraft can’t be seen, they say. The process involves locating enemy emitters with great precision and then directing data streams into them that can include false targets and misleading messages algorithms that allow a number of activities including control. ...

Debra Cagan hates Iranians. Okay, a personal rant here: If there's one thing that irritates me about the MSM (and there are actually a zillion things, but we'll pick one), it's the way they talk about "the Iranians" as if those assholes that sit in Tehran (yeah, Ahmadinejad and his henchmen) have any relationship to the Iranian people as people. With that in mind, listen to what one of our stellar official Debra Cagan has to say:
Britsh MPs visiting the Pentagon to discuss America's stance on Iran and Iraq were shocked to be told by one of President Bush's senior women officials: "I hate all Iranians."

And she also accused Britain of "dismantling" the Anglo-US-led coalition in Iraq by pulling troops out of Basra too soon.

The all-party group of MPs say Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs to Defence Secretary Robert Gates, made the comments this month. ...

The MPs say that at one point she said: "In any case, I hate all Iranians."

And this lady works for the Defense Department - so we can't even blame this on the usual gang of idiots. (Even Azarmehr was confused.) Anyway, here's Azarmehr:
Debra Cagan has to be sacked immediately if the US has any interest in keeping the most pro-Western population in the Middle East on her side. Only her quick dismissal can reassure the Iranian people that she was just one rotten apple, one amateur diplomat or whatever her official job title is, who got a job she did not deserve and therefore was consequently dealt with.

Montreal activist speaks out on homophobia. The Gazette:
Magella Dionne grew up Catholic, got married and had three daughters. But on a Club Med vacation in 1994, the La Pocatiere dentist had a "coming out" with a young Bolivian man, and is now a militant advocate for gay rights.

So when the Bouchard-Taylor commission on "reasonable accommodations" of minorities came to town today - its seventh stop on a 17-city tour of Quebec - Dionne knew he had to speak up. ...

... he came to denounce religious extremists and their homophobia, which he said puts them on another level entirely from gays.

"The gay and lesbian community doesn't ask for special treatment or to be allowed to do whatever we want - no, we asked for rights, and got them, and want to protect them," Dionne said in an interview.

"But what we see in the future is a risk of things getting out of control. Two gays won't be able to walk in front of a mosque without being mocked," he said.

"Ignorant people with their religious texts, their recipe books of intolerance, are ready to do anything against gays and lesbians, because they see us as an abomination."

In his presentation, Dionne decried the execution of gays in Iran and referred to well-known Canadian Muslim reformer and outspoken author Irshad Manji, a lesbian, who has said some passages in the Qur'an are violently anti-gay.

Read it all at the link.

"The Peace Corps with muscles." Michael Totten reports from Ramadi. Oh, and in case you didn't get the word, Al-Qaeda lost.

"Somewhere along the way, he changed his mind." Christopher Hitchens writes in Vanity Fair about Mark Daily. Hat tip: The Spirit of Man.

Commentary. Joshua Muravchik on neoconservatism at Commentary magazine:
First, following Orwell, neoconservatives were moralists. Just as they despised Communism, they felt similarly toward Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic and toward the acts of aggression committed by those dictators in, respectively, Kuwait and Bosnia. And just as they did not hesitate to enter negative moral judgments, neither did they hesitate to enter positive ones. In particular, they were strong admirers of the American experience—an admiration that arose not out of an unexamined patriotism (they had all started out as reformers or even as radical critics of American society) but out of the recognition that America had gone farther in the realization of liberal values than any other society in history. A corollary was the belief that America was a force for good in the world at large.

Second, in common with many liberals, neoconservatives were internationalists, and not only for moral reasons. Following Churchill, they believed that depredations tolerated in one place were likely to be repeated elsewhere—and, conversely, that beneficent political or economic policies exercised their own “domino effect” for the good. Since America’s security could be affected by events far from home, it was wiser to confront troubles early even if afar than to wait for them to ripen and grow nearer.

Third, neoconservatives, like (in this case) most conservatives, trusted in the efficacy of military force. They doubted that economic sanctions or UN intervention or diplomacy, per se, constituted meaningful alternatives for confronting evil or any determined adversary.

To this list, I would add a fourth tenet: namely, the belief in democracy both at home and abroad. ...