Morning Report: November 30, 2007

A Sunni outlook.

Sistani fatwa: Shi'a must protect Sunnis. ThreatsWatch:
The significance of Iraq’s Shi’a leader Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s fatwa instructing his followers to protect Iraqi Sunnis is difficult to overstate in the context of Iraq’s crucial reconciliation process.

Leading Shiite cleric in Iraq Ali Sistani Tuesday banned the killing of Iraqis, particularly the Sunnis, and urged the Shiites to protect their brother Sunnis.

Sistani bans the Iraqi blood in general the blood of Sunnis in particular. His announcement came during a meeting with a delegation from Sunni clerics from southern and northern Iraq. The clerics are visiting Najaf to participate in the first national conference for Ulemaa of Shiites and Sunnis.

Sistani called on the Shiites to protect their Sunni brothers, according to Sheikh Khaled Al-Mulla, head of the authority of Ulemaa of Southern Iraq, noting that the Fatwa of Sistani would have positive impacts nationwide.

“I am a servant of all Iraqis, there is no difference between a Sunni, a Shitte or a Kurd or a Christian,” Al-Mulla quoted Sistani as saying during the meeting.

Sistani warned the Sunni clerics from the plans of the enemies to plant seeds of discord among the Iraqis.

The visiting delegation voiced relief for the meeting and said they backed Sistani’s stance.

Western observers should note the significance of Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Among the world’s Shi’a, he is seen as a direct (and rational) competitor to Iran’s radical Ayatollah Khameini for the true leadership of the Shi’a ummah (community).

Full post, with background, at the link. [UPDATE: The bad link has been fixed. Sorry for the error.]

IraqPundit on US/Sunni pact. IraqPundit: 'Iraqi politicians voiced their opposition [Arabic] to the agreement signed Monday between Nouri Al Maliki and the United States. The delcaration of principles says that the U.S. and Iraq will have bilateral relations for a long time, including economic ties and U.S. military presence. The pact also promises the U.S. would defend Iraq against foreign aggression. My question is, what's the agreement all about? Both sides must know this is a weak deal. Maybe Al Maliki is feeling unsettled, and Bush wants to reassure him.' BBC:
Iraqi opposition groups have criticised moves towards a long-term US-Iraqi pact following the expiry of the UN mandate governing foreign troops in Iraq.
On Monday US and Iraqi leaders signed a "declaration of principles" on enduring military, political and economic ties.

Sunni Arab and Shia politicians said it would lead to what they described as "US interference for years to come".

The Iraqi parliament will have to approve any final agreement before it can come into force.

The declaration was signed separately by President George W Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki on Monday.

Bill Roggio on Swat operation. Bill Roggio at the Standard: 'More than a month after the Taliban took over the settled district of Swat, once the most visited tourist spot in Pakistan, the Pakistani Army has yet to dislodge the Taliban from the scenic valley. The Pakistani military, beset by problems with poor morale and a poor counterinsurgency strategy, have made few gains since launching their ground offensive after weeks of bombarding civilian centers. ...'

GOP debate. Goldfarb at the Standard: 'The whole thing was an embarrassment, with CNN picking questions guaranteed to make the party look out of touch with American voters. I had the same reaction to the Chris Nandor song--he took a wicked jab at Romney. And why the big stink about gays in the military, which just isn't a major issue within the Republican party. All the candidates share what is basically the same position, and it turns out of course that Brig. Gen. Kerr is closely affiliated with the Clinton campaign--"a co-chair of Hillary Clinton's National Military Veterans group," according to the Politico. For all Kerr's complaining about don't ask, don't tell, he still seems to live by it. And he didn't do his cause any favors last night.'

More on Democratic plant Keith Kerr. Oops: Michelle Malkin links to Anderson Cooper's moment of shame (video).

Logo covers Iranian gays. GayPatriotWest at Gay Patriot:
Earlier this month when I wrote about Logo’s logo’s first ever half-hour gay newscast,” I wondered if it would
“cover important gay issues which the rest of the gay media has been largely ignoring, notably the increasing persecution of gay people in such Islamofascist regimes as Iran.” Well, when a friend of mine e-mailed me a link to recent program, I found that the program was doing just that, reporting on the plight of gays in Iran and alerting viewers to a longer program on that topic.

Kudos to Jason Bellini and the staff at Logo for covering a story that all too many gay leaders and organizations have been ignoring (or to which they have been giving short shrift).

CTB's Farah on Darfur. Douglas Farah at the Counterterrorism Blog: 'To the surprise of no one, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government of Sudan is making it impossible to deploy the promised peacekeeping mission in Darfur, the a senior UN official says. Jean-Marie Guehenno told the United Nations Security Council that excessive demands from Khartoum "would make it impossible for the mission to operate".' Read the rest at the link.

Briefly noted. Melanie Philips has a question for President Bush.

Commentary. On Wednesday night's meeting of the 911 Neocons, one of our members predicted that the next thing to emerge from all the various machinations in the Middle East would be a US-led Sunni alliance. Sounds like he was on the money.