« May 2004 | Main | July 2004 »

June 30, 2004

Quote of the day

We consider that the Spanish government cannot suffer more than two to three strikes before pulling out (of Iraq) under pressure from its own people...

...If these (Spanish) forces remain after the strikes, the victory of the socialist party would be near-guaranteed and the pullout of Spanish forces from Iraq would be on its agenda.

- Al Queda strategy memo, from early February 2004, obtained by Radio France Internationale in Beirut

June 30, 2004 at 06:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Doctoring the truth

Ali Fadhil, a pediatrician, and his brothers Mohammed and Omar, both dentists, are the authors of the blog Iraq the Model.   They also wrote this week's the continuing crisis column in Australia's The Bulletin.   Here is Ali's contribution, on the theme of don't believe everything you read about the war in Iraq:

Like all Iraqis, I hate Americans. Of course. Here is why:
  • The Americans, although they brought us freedom, acted without authorisation from the United Nations. Arrogant Americans

  • The Americans, although they rescued us from Saddam Hussein, defied the will of many nations. Insular Americans.

  • The Americans won't leave Iraq, say newspaper reports. Get out, Americans!

  • Other newspaper reports say the Americans want to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible after throwing us into chaos. Stay here, Americans!

  • The Americans spent tens of billions of dollars to liberate Iraq and help it become a prosperous democratic nation. Don't Americans care more about fixing their own problems? Crazy Americans.

  • The Americans started this whole war because of oil. That is why fuel costs are at record high levels in the US and is cheaper than water in Iraq. Selfish Americans.

  • The Americans are not using the necessary force to keep Iraq safe and secured. Lazy Americans! The Americans are also using excessive force in Iraq while dealing with the security problems. Brutal Americans!

  • The Americans support the Israeli terrorist government instead of the good peaceful people of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Says it all. Violent Americans.
(Hat tip to Bulletin columnist Tim Blair.)

June 30, 2004 at 08:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Promises made and promises kept

Ali, from Iraq the Model, on watching Amb. Paul Bremer's farewell speech on Iraqi television with colleagues at his hospital:

... he finished his speech by saying in Arabic,”A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq”! (Long live Iraq, Long live Iraq, long live Iraq).

I was deeply moved by this great man’s words but I couldn’t prevent myself from watching the effect of his words on my friends who some of them were anti-Americans and some were skeptic, although some of them have always shared my optimism. I found that they were touched even more deeply than I was. I turned to one friend who was a committed She’at and who distrusted America all the way. He looked as if he was bewitched, and I asked him, “So, what do you think of this man? Do you still consider him an invader?” My friend smiled, still touched and said, “Absolutely not! He brought tears to my eyes. God bless him.”

Another friend approached me. This one was not religious but he was one of the conspiracy theory believers. He put his hands on my shoulders and said smiling, “I must admit that I’m beginning to believe in what you’ve been telling us for months and I’m beginning to have faith in America. I never thought that they will hand us sovereignty in time. These people have shown that they keep their promises.”

June 30, 2004 at 07:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2004

Somebody forgot their rabies shot...

Somebody forgot their rabies shots A website named "pleasevote.com" has placed this charming image by sculptor Richard Serra on the back cover of the lefty magazine The Nation.   

This tasteless picture is a puerile rip-off of Goya's 1819 painting Saturn Devouring His Son.

I can't see this sort of approach winning many votes out there in the heartland.   (But maybe I dozed off during the part of Fahrenheit 9/11 when they showed Bush pulling the heads off dead babies and eating them.)

June 29, 2004 at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 19, 2004

The second Intifada is over, and Israel won

Charles Krauthammer's column in yesterday's WaPo made an interesting observation: while the world's attention has been focused on Iraq, Israel has apparently won its latest battle against Palestinian terror.

According to the Israeli Defense Forces, the last successful "major" Palestinian terror attack was the suicide bus bombing on February 22, 2004 that killed eight people and wounded 60.   The IDF's new tactics have also lead to a sharp increase in successfully prevented terror attacks.

How did Israel do it?   Krauthammer credits two Israeli policies: building the separation fence and targeting the terrorist leadership for preemptive attack.

And what have the Palestinians gained to show for their efforts since Yasser Arafat's rejection of Israel's settlement proposals at Camp David in 2000?   Nothing, except death, destruction of the Palestinian economy (such as it was), and the loss of any voice in determining the boundaries of an eventual Palestinian state.

(Hat tip to Secular Blasphemy.)

June 19, 2004 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kerry to human rights activists: don't rock the boat!

Interesting David Brooks column in today's NYT on how John Kerry's foreign policy prefers "realism" to democracy.   The specific example that Brooks cites is particularly egregious; Kerry's characterisation of Cuban dissidents' Varela Project as "counterproductive".

Though Brooks doesn't say it, this Kerry policy of "realism" would represent a dramatic retreat from the current administration's policy of promoting democracy in the middle east.   Bush, and others, believe that liberating the Arab nation from the kings, dictators and self-serving elites who currently rule is the only way to prevent and undermine the political and religious extremism that produces suicide bombers and Islamist terror.   Kerry evidently would prefer a return to the old approach of holding our noses and working with regimes like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Assad's Syria to suppress their extremists.   I thought that we'd already tried that approach, which led to hijacked airliners being used as missiles to attack our cities.

Maybe it just needed a bit more "nuance" to get it right...

June 19, 2004 at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 18, 2004

Putin: Russian intelligence warned US of terror threats from Iraq after 9/11

This report from Reuters is interesting:

Putin said Russian intelligence had been told on several occasions that Saddam's special forces were preparing to attack U.S. targets inside and outside the United States.

"After the events of September 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services several times received information that the official services of the Saddam regime were preparing 'terrorist acts' on the United States and beyond its borders," he told reporters.

"This information was passed on to our American colleagues," he said. He added, however, that Russian intelligence had no proof that Saddam's agents had been involved in any particular attack.

(Hat tip to the Captain's Table.)

June 18, 2004 at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Arab satellite channels paying "demonstrators" in Iraq

Ali, from Iraq the Model, has an interesting post describing an interview on Al-Iraqyia TV in which an anti-Coalition Sunni cleric from Fallujah, Harith Muthanna Al-Dhari, said that the pro-Saddam demonstrations in Fallujah were orchestrated by reporters from one of the Arab satellite channels.   (Al-Dhari declined to name the channel, but did report that the reporters paid participants in the "demonstration" $20 each to hold up pictures of Saddam -- which the reporters thoughtfully provided -- for their cameras.)

Ali also has some interesting things to say about those who are working to prevent the emergence of a stable Iraqi government:

These people want us to believe that Iraqis are not worth it, that they hate America and that this process is a total failure, but what should we believe? Can we just dare and question their perspectives? Do we have independent minds that can guide us to see the whole picture? Aren’t there so many positive achievements that happened in Iraq in the past year? If all Iraqis were against the change or they were dormant, then how come all this has been accomplished!? Can we just stop and ask ourselves why the terrorists are so interested in showing their actions filmed to the world?!

These people want us to lose faith in each other and they get help from many countries in the region who are afraid of the change and from some democratic countries that hate the fact that America is on the top. They also get help from many of the major American media who seem to care for nothing other than money.

They tell us that GWB want the world to live in fear through his continuous preach for war on terror. I want to say that GWB and his administration have done the right thing for America, Iraq, the region and the whole world. You may disagree with the way they are managing this but we shouldn’t let your feelings stop you from seeing the truth, and I’m very heartened when I see so many democrats supporting their governments in Iraq. On the other hand, the anti-war people, media and governments want us to give up, they want us to believe that it’s useless, that Iraqis don’t deserve the sacrifices, that the Americans are in Iraq for the oil and that all the American soldiers abuse and hate Iraqis. They want us to live in peace, their peace, with each one of us hiding behind a wall and pointing his gun to the others, “all Muslims are terrorists” “Iraqis are barbarians who don’t understand democracy” “Americans are in Iraq to control oil wells” “this is Hlliburton’s war not ours” they keep shouting. It’s amazing that these people always claim to support peace, freedom and democracy when they don’t even have a vision of how to make that happen! But the truth to be told, they’re one hell of a chorus!

June 18, 2004 at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Remember Moqtada al-Sadr?

Amir Taheri has an excellent column describing the defeat of bad-boy mullah Moqtada al-Sadr in today's NY Post.   He also makes the point that much of the terrorist violence in Iraq right now is targeted at American public opinion in an effort to defeat the re-election of President Bush.   His prediction: look for an uptick in violence in the leadup to November's US elections.

June 18, 2004 at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More on the Al Queda / Fallujah axis

The Belmont Club has an interesting post describing an alliance between the Baathist die hards in Fallujah and Al Qaeda's Abu Musab al Zarqawi.   Essentially, the murder of six innocent Shias delivering goods to Fallujah appears to be the kick-off of an Al Queda inspired Iraqi civil war waged upon sectarian lines.   Maybe we should have let the Marines finish the job in Fallujah back in April...

June 18, 2004 at 01:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack