Monday, January 30, 2006

The shadow war on terror

This is the war on terrorism that most Americans don't know about:

A small U.S. military task force in East Africa is installing water pumps, rebuilding schools and health clinics, making medical house calls, and training national armies - all part of a mission to stabilize a region that is seen as a potential breeding ground for terrorist groups.

"We are coming out of drought because of the pump," Omar Ahmed, a Sankabar elder, said. "So we say thank you, America. And thank you, Mr. Reed. He is the first guy to give us help."

What is happening here provides a glimpse of the Bush administration's global war on terrorism, which is being fought - mostly in the shadows - elsewhere in Africa and across the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia using different combinations of military, covert, economic and diplomatic weapons.

Separated from the Middle East by only a narrow waterway, the Horn of Africa is home to 90 million Muslims, many of whom live in crushing poverty and political isolation. Al-Qaeda has had success in the area, bombing U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, attacking the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000 and nearly shooting down an Israeli charter plane over Kenya in 2002.

The 1,500 troops of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa have been stationed since 2002 at Camp Lemonier, a former French base on the Red Sea in the tiny coastal nation of Djibouti. They were sent to hunt down al-Qaeda operatives in East Africa, but there are few known terrorist cells working in the area - two-thirds the size of the United States - and the troops have not made many arrests.

Instead, theirs has become a humanitarian mission, with public relations benefits.

Read it all.

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Israel should join NATO

Echoing a concept already expressed brilliantly by Jose Maria Aznar (machine translation) as a means to dampen Iran's destructive ambitions towards Israel, Mr Martino, the Italian defense minister, said today:

NATO should consider allowing Israel to join the military alliance to guarantee the security of the Jewish state in the event of an attack against it by Iran, Italy's defence minister Antonio Martino said Monday. "In the light of the serious and worrying Iranian position the time has come to think of admitting Israel into NATO, so that an eventual attack against Israel would be regarded as an attack against the whole of NATO,"

Martino said that Israeli membership of NATO was also motivated by "the incapacity of the European Union to adopt a united and cohesive foreign policy," with regard to the Middle East.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mugabe is cutting the branch he sits on

Six years after instituting a policy of nationalizing white-owned farms and evicting their owners, Zimbabwe's government has begun to seize white-owned land in urban Harare...Police arrived before Christmas and said they were going to build houses for themselves on Gletwyn. Ian Ross, 68, said the police started harassing and evicting hundreds of workers from their homes. "They arrived to evict the workers, which they did piece by piece, village by village, compound by compound. They were loaded onto police trucks in the rain, which most of the time arrived without fuel," he said. "They forced workers to buy fuel for them. They took them to various parts of the country. They were basically dumped, they lost all their furniture, saturated in the rain, but within days they all started to come back with a reed mat, a couple of blankets, a pot. They came back to work, but were hounded day and night. They moved into sheds, where they could sleep. The guys moved in to chicken runs; they were living like rabbits, like little rats in a hole."

Mugabe knows - he has admitted as much - that the army and police are the only things that keep him alive. He has therefore to try and keep them happy as he can; since he can't pay them enough, he looks the other way when they abuse their power, allowing them to loot at leisure. The same thing happens with his henchmen in Zanu PF: there is very little he can do to rein them in, even if he really wanted to.

To avoid this mess to be widely published and the horrors of starvation and suffering to become public, he has to tighten media laws:

Zimbabwe's national security minister Didymus Mutasa has warned that "the net will soon close in" on journalists he claims are threatening national security, a state-controlled newspaper reported on Friday.

Why not ask China's technical advice on how to censure the web?

One thing we should be grateful for is that dictators never learn their lessons. Mugabe has used Hitler's veterans in the past to do his bidding and it cost him dearly. He is using the army and police this time, but the game is much, much more dangerous.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Three scenarios for Palestine

All dictators try to make sure that after their demise things go as wrong as possible in the stupid hope of being remembered ("it was better when he was in charge"); Arafat was no exception and this is his legacy.

Hamas' victory can have one of three outcomes:

1) Civil war: there are already signs of fighting between Fatah and Hamas, but don't be too hopeful.

2) Hamas renounces violence and puts all its energy into the political arena: not on your Nelly.

Most important, Europe and the US (Israel knows) should at all costs avoid to fall for the old PLO trap: carry out acts of terrorism (directly or by proxy: i.e.: Hamas) while denying involvement and pretending to continue negotiations. Whatever Hamas will do, it must be held accountable as any government would; they wanted power? Let them have its responsibilities too. It goes without saying that as of now, any bomb, missile, rocket launched from the territories into Israel will have to be considered an act of war against a sovereign nation.

3) Going for broke: an all out war against Israel with help from Iran and Syria. This would represent a last chance for all of them to impose their sick ideology to the Arab world and might even be a blessing in disguise, as it would force the West and Israel to react accordingly.

At the moment, the only losers are the Palestinians. However, it is better to have all the filth out in the open than hidden under the carpet of a hypocritical diplomacy.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Iranian regime's real nature

Watch this presentation and the video "A Few Simple Shots".


Condemning communism

FIFTEEN years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Council of Europe last night became the first international body to condemn crimes against humanity committed by the communist regimes of the Soviet Union and other states. However, in a vote that was bitterly contested by Russia and Western Europe’s left-wing parties, the 46-nation council failed to raise the two-thirds majority needed to approve a tougher resolution by a Swedish MP that called on former communist states to teach the truth about their former regimes and create days of remembrance.

Conservative estimate of deaths attributed to Soviet and other Communist regimes in the European Council document presented yesterday (1917-present day): 94.5 million

A timid start, but a start nevertheless.

PS: I look forward to hear Castro's comments.

WMD in Syria


The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

And this:

MORE THAN TWO MONTHS AGO, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra requested 40 documents captured in postwar Iraq as he sought better understand the activities of the Iraqi regime in the months and years before the U.S. invasion in March 2003. On Friday afternoon, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence finally provided 39 of the 40 documents Hoekstra had requested...It is important to remember that this set of documents is a tiny percentage of the Iraqi documents that have been translated (.078 percent of the 50,000) and a mere sliver of the overall document take of approximately 2 million.

Are very good news indeed, especially as they will provide more ammunition against Syria and intelligence for the war on terror.

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Hamas wins parliamentary elections

Proof that Palestinians are genetically predisposed to suicide.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Zimbabwe and the IMF

Today a team of the International Monetary Fund will hold talks in Harare with Zimbabwean officials. As much as I feel for the ordinary Zimbabwean, I do hope that Zimbabwe will be expelled from the IMF. There is no other way, in my opinion, than to isolate Mugabe and his cronies and make it difficult for them to continue to steal and rape the country. Why prolong the agony? At least people will suffer knowing that the end of the regime is approaching and that their children will have a future.

We can't expect change through Gono's stale appeals to Mugabe and other thieves "to stop the rot": they are just not credible anymore and the African Union has once again demonstrated to be a worthless and corrupt organization by rejecting on a pretext its own Human Rights Commission's report on Zimbabwe.

There are no lions left to chase away theses hyenas. Let them finish the carcass and they will start eating each other.

At least Wolfowitz seems to be on the right track:

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz says he is willing to withhold funding or halt the approval of loans for some World Bank projects if there are concerns about corruption in a country. In an interview with Reuters late on Tuesday, Wolfowitz said he had stopped several bank projects, including one in Bangladesh, and was scrutinizing two project loans to Kenya plagued by corruption. He said the bank, the globe's biggest development institution, lending about $20 billion a year to poor countries, should be more willing to review or reject projects when corruption concerns arose. "We are going from an era where nobody wanted to say no to anything, to an era when people have to be encouraged that if there are serious problems, they bring them forward, and saying no is a good thing," Wolfowitz said.

If we don't demand accountability, we can't expect it to appear spontaneously.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Iran and Syria

I was reading Michael Ledeen's latest on Iran and Syria when a desktop alert informed me of the bombing in south west Iran. It all started to make sense.

PS: Through Michael's article, I discovered a brilliant blog about Syria; have a look.


Bolton's right, again

The unspeakable activities of UNRWA have come under the scrutiny of John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN.

In a related issue, Claudia Rosett examines the ongoing Procurement scandal at the UN:

The focus of the current scandal is U.N. peacekeeping, a function that consumes 85 percent of the U.N.'s procurement budget — a cost that could reach $2 billion in 2005. Like many of the U.N.'s financial dealings, it is shrouded in secrecy. And like the multi-billion-dollar Oil-for-Food scandal, it is wrapped in what the U.N.'s own investigators now call "systematic abuse," "a pattern of corrupt practices," and "a culture of impunity."

If it is true that a fish starts to rot from the head, you can imagine how this shining example has inspired the myriad (many of them useless) UN agencies' procurement offices.

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Congratulations to Canada

Welcome back to the real world!

Monday, January 23, 2006

George Galloway, Respect Member of Parliament (MP)


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Neoconservatism: Why We Need It

Sometimes one reads an article, a book, a post that makes one burst out "exactly!". This review by Amir Taheri of the book in the title, by Douglas Murray, makes me feel like that (ht: Crossroads Arabia).

Murray starts by suggesting that the classical political divisions based on notions of Right and Left are now outdated, at least in democratic societies, if only because there is a consensus on the basic rules of the political game and the general economic system of society. The blurring of the distinction between Right and Left, however, has not been entirely positive. For, it has also promoted a moral relativism, itself a child of multiculturalism, in which the very notions of good and evil are frowned upon as medieval relics.

Murray believes that good and evil do exist as distinct categories and could be readily identified by anyone in possession of a system of values. Thus the principal task of politics becomes the identification of good and evil as a prelude to the promotion of the former and the combating of the latter. Neo-conservatism, far from being a conspiracy by extremist right-wingers who wish to conquer and reshape the world, is a political vision based on a hierarchy of values. It was in gestation long before George W Bush entered the White House in 2001 and, as Murray asserts, will be a key player in the international politics long after he has retired.

As might be expected Murray is a passionate defender of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He believes that the Taliban and the Ba’ath regime were evil and had to be removed for the forces of good in Afghanistan and Iraq to have a chance of building something different. That something different may not correspond exactly to the West’s ideal of a democracy. But one thing would be certain: the new regimes in Kabul and Baghdad would be better than the ones they replaced.

Murray shows that neo-conservatism does not limit itself to issues of foreign policy. In domestic politics, neo-conservatism seeks a return to the fundamental principles of capitalism, the only system in history that has produced long-lasting wealth, both individual and collective, in scores of culturally diverse societies.

Murray asks why has neo-conservatism aroused so much anger and hatred around the world? Some of that anger and hatred has come from despotic rulers and their hangers-on who feel targeted by the idea of regime change. They hate neo-conservatism because they fear it might toppled them as it did with the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, or may force them to eat humble pie as did Libya’s Colonel Kaddhafi, the Sudanese military rulers, and the Ba’athists in Damascus.

But neo-conservatism is also hated by the remnants of the left who have not yet recovered from the shock of the Soviet Union’s sudden collapse. They blame the early neo-conservatives under President Ronald Reagan for policies that made it impossible for the USSR to continue its existence at any level.

Read it all and buy the book.


A good fatwa

George Galloway, the malevolent British MP who got into office by pandering to radical Islam, has now been awarded another type of honor by the Religion of Peace™—his very own fatwa:

Recently, Allah (SWT) has disgraced these so-called Muslims and the one they have associated with Allah, George Galloway, by causing him to appear on a reality TV show "Celebrity Big Brother". Shows such as this contain all the corruption Allah (SWT) has forbidden, such as free-mixing, fornication, drinking, nudity, swearing and many other abominable acts (he forgot the most important: stupidity and ignorance). These kinds of programmes attract only the lowest of the low who desperately seek recognition and fame by any means possible. They are people who have no honour, respect or dignity and can only be described as animals. George Galloway will certainly have no trouble fitting in as he has all the criteria the show is looking for. Just recently, the media has shown George Galloway at his best – behaving like a cat (animal) purring at the hands of a woman. This is not surprising as one cannot expect anything more from a person of such low intellect and morality, a representative of those who voted for him.

I couldn't have said it better.

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German hostage in Iraq

This just in:

Susanne Osthoff, 43, the German woman who was freed a month ago from captivity in Iraq, had in her possession ransom money that was earlier paid for her release, a weekly news magazine claimed Saturday.

It has also been claimed that:

The former German hostage, Susanne Osthoff who was freed last month after being kidnapped in northern Iraq on November 25, worked for Germany's BND intelligence service, the daily Die Welt reported Saturday.

And this is the bitch for whom Germany did this:

Germany has secretly released Hammadi ,a Hezbollah member jailed for life for killing a U.S. Navy diver and returned him to Lebanon despite an extradition request from the United States. Lebanese political sources said on Tuesday.

In a serious country, this would topple the government.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

A voice for the voiceless

In Zimbabwe, political graffiti surges in popularity because of the crackdown on nearly every other means of expression.

"At 80, it's time to go"

"Mugabe is a dictator."

"Grace, the First Shopper"

"Please go."

"Mugabe has killed this country"

"Never trust ZANU PF"

"Mugabe's hands are full of blood."

As Mapfumo sings:

"The country you used to cry for is now in tatters. Let's get out of here. The country you used to cry for is now run by crooks."

It's good to be loved.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Al Jazeera is al Qaeda and Bin Laden is a loser

Fausta commented on my previous post and pointed me to one of her posts where she explains the philosophy of al Jazeera. However, as interesting and plausible as the article is, I feel there is more. In the relationship between the broadcaster and Bin Laden there must be some kind of symbiosis, perhaps based on blackmail/protection, whereby al Jazeera, in exchange for immunity for itself, Qatar or even the UAE, follows Bin Laden orders to the letter. After all, could Bin Laden risk that a TV station distorts or edits his messages or even only transmit arbitrarily parts of them that alter their meaning?

Al-Jazeera said was recorded in January. The network initially reported it believed the tape was made in December, but later corrected itself on the air. Editors at the station said they could not comment on how they knew when it was made.

Bin Laden could be dead and al Jazeera could have kept the tape until it felt the moment was right (e.g.: to show that al Qaeda's no.1 is alive and well after the Bajur air strike).

In his latest performance Bin Laden debases himself to the lowest possible level (a la Michael Moore or Murtha):

These crimes include the raping of women and taking them hostage instead of their husbands. There is no power but in God. The torturing of men has reached the point of using chemical acids and electric drills in their joints. If they become desperate with them, they put the drill on their heads until death. If you like, read the humanitarian reports on the atrocities and crimes in the prisons of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

He must have taken stock, by now, of the irreversible changes occurring across the Middle East, and he knows his dream of becoming the Caliph has been shattered forever. What has he got left? Calling a hudna.

A pathetic performance, even considering his audience, as Roger notes:

Of course, what Binny is really doing, as he almost always is, is preaching to the Islamic choir. The boy may be somewhere in the mountains of Waziristan but his heart is in Riyadh, battling out family squabbles. Most of us don't grow up, but particularly, and most murderously, Bin Laden.

All in all, a comforting message that confirms the fantastic progress achieved in Afghanistan, Iraq and the WOT.

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Bin Laden on the ropes

The latest Bin Laden's tape after more than a year (not yet verified) is tantamount to an admission of defeat. He knows al Qaeda is losing in Afghanistan and Iraq and the threat of new attacks in America serves probably to save face and introduce the request for a "long term truce" (why inform your enemy of your plans in advance?). Furthermore, the recent Predator attack in Pakistan that took out four prominent members of al Qaeda must have shook the leaders who are probably hiding in the neighborhood.

What is really puzzling though, is the role of al Jazeera in all this:

Al Jazeera’s editor-in-chief, Ahmed al-Shbeik, did not say when the tape was received. He said excerpts considered newsworthy were aired of the 10-minute tape which appeared to have been made recently.

On what basis al Jazeera decides what is newsworthy? I hope the US gets to see also the non-newsworthy bits; it would be the only reason to tolerate these guys. They transmit bits and pieces of the same tape at different times presenting it as two different ones, they cut the audio when they feel it would damage al Qaeda's cause, they arbitrarily decide what is too graphic to be shown, &c. Are we sure that it is Bin Laden/Al Qaeda who tells them what and when to broadcast or are they playing politics together? Why haven't the UAE, haven of western corruption, alcohol and naked women, been seriously attacked?

Tomorrow, when the tape will have been analyzed, we'll know more.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Best blonde joke ever

You don't want to miss this!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Let sleeping dogs lie

Rome prosecutors said Wednesday they had sought help from the United States in locating an American soldier believed to have shot an Italian secret service agent at a checkpoint in Iraq last year. The United States, however, has not responded to Italian requests for details of the soldier's identity and hometown, prosecutor Erminio Amelio said. Amelio identified the soldier as Mario Lozano, and said prosecutors planned to charge him in the death of Italian agent Nicola Calipari, who was killed by U.S. gunfire as he was heading to Baghdad airport on March 4 after securing the release of an Italian hostage. Another agent and the freed hostage, journalist Giuliana Sgrena, were wounded. "The U.S. never answered any of our requests. We did not receive any cooperation," Amelio told The Associated Press. "They have never answered, and we don't think they ever will."

Italy should be grateful that the US chose not to pursue the matter: it is in Italy's best interest that the lies of Giuliana Sgrena, the ransom paid by the Italian government, the clumsy secrecy, the shady deals with terrorists that cost the life of Nicola Calipari are forgotten.

Al Qaeda humiliated in Iraq

Christopher Hitchens reflects on al Qaeda failures in Iraq, "red on red", the ignorance of the media and more; read it all. Excerpt:

If all goes even reasonably well, and if a combination of elections and prosperity is enough to draw more mainstream Sunnis into politics and away from Baathist nostalgia, it will have been proved that Bin-Ladenism can be taken on—and openly defeated—in a major Middle Eastern country. And not just defeated but discredited. Humiliated. Is there anyone who does not think that this is a historic prize worth having? Worth fighting for, in fact?

So Iraq was a distraction from the war on terrorism, uh?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Iran's Ahmadinejad to visit Syria

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will leave for Syria in the coming days for his first official visit to the Islamic republic's only regional ally, his office said, AFP reported.

Hmmm...what an opportunity...

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The New York Times and the fake photo

The NYT has used a fake photo to illustrate an article on the attack in Pakistan and the blogosphere is very upset about this latest example of propaganda by the newspaper. However, I think the mistake is understandable as the photo is very realistic. See for yourself:

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Al Zawahiri again

At The Counterterrorism Blog, Walid Phares has an interesting analysis of the failed (?) attempt to take out al Zawahiri in Pakistan; don't miss it.

I sincerely hope that, since al Qaeda no.2 was expected for dinner - and therefore in the immediate neighborhood - Special Forces and whathaveyou are scouring the area like mad.

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Mugabe's touch of death

Never happy with unfinished business, Mugabe wants to give the final touch to his incredibly successful land reform:

The Zimbabwe government plans to takeover the country's three fertiliser companies in what officials say will complement its controversial land reforms.

Yes, it will complement it perfectly.

In another development:

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has written to President Robert Mugabe, accusing him of politicising the army, police and civil service:

"We are well aware that this politicisation of the army, police and CIO and senior civil servants is a product of your desperate attempt to ruthlessly quash all political opposition, both inside and outside your party," read the letter.

No doubt Mugabe is getting scared as he slowly loses control:

The government has stepped up surveillance of junior soldiers, planting more than a thousand spies in the army and air force over the last three months to monitor increasing discontent in the security forces, ZimOnline has learnt.

Sources said the government was worried by Tsvangirai's threats chiefly because it was only too aware of swelling discontent in the lower ranks of the army and police.

Is Zimbabwe ready for an orange revolution?

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A barefaced Christiane Amanpour

Poor Oriana Fallaci! She must be puking when she watches CNN! Her good friend - former, I hope - Christiane Amanpour, once a decent reporter, is now openly defending Teheran's regime (for love of her husband or his career? Return to her origins? Who knows?).

This morning she was broadcasting from a Teheran hotel room wearing an improbable and unwarranted green veil on her head, twisting facts and presenting them from the point of view of Ahmadinejad (and it's not the first time). Are we seeing a recurrence of the infamous CNN coverage of Saddam's regime?

UPDATE: Journalists from CNN have been banned from working in Iran because of a mistranslation of the president's comments, the culture ministry says.

CNN had violated "professional ethics", the Irna news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

CNN issued a correction after it translated the president as saying Iran had a right to use nuclear "weapons" rather than nuclear "technology".

CNN does not have a bureau in Tehran but gets permits to cover assignments.

Its chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, is currently in the country.

Certainly it wasn't because of her.

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Guess who's coming to dinner

With such guests, they shouldn't complain about the reception.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

The AU stirs to life

Two very small signs of life from the African Union, the zombie institution:

Sudan's bid to take over the African Union leadership is by no means certain despite a tradition the nation chosen for a summit gathering would automatically chair the alliance, African diplomats, U.N. and U.S. officials said on Friday.

Instead, he said there was a possibility Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo would stay in the chair a bit longer.

At least the are discussing it and realize that for Sudan to chair the summit would be embarrassing to say the least.

Naturally, Thabo Mbeki, a.k.a. "the Chirac of Africa", will support Sudan's bid, both because he seems to get his kicks from watching humanitarian crises unfold (Aids, Zimbabwe, Darfur, Ivory Coast) and to spite his foe Obasanjo.

Furthermore, in a related development:

The African Union (AU) has said it backs proposals for a UN peacekeeping force in the Darfur region of Sudan, despite opposition from its government.

A senior AU official told the BBC it was not down to Sudan to dictate what action was taken to end violence there.

The other timid stirring came from the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR), which falls under the African Union, condemning human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

AN AFRICAN Union (AU) committee has directed rare criticism at Zimbabwe's human rights record and urged African leaders to send investigators to the country. Rights groups said on Thursday the report by the AU's human rights committee signalled a shift by African leaders who have largely remained silent on the deepening crisis in the country, blamed by critics on President Robert Mugabe's government.

Mugabe, of course, has first denied knowledge of the report and then dismissed it as a ploy of the commission to get money from donors. However, despite his pathetic and empty rhetoric, his friends are becoming fewer and fewer, and if the AU is serious in pursuing the issue, he will soon have none left.

Although it may seem a routine report that echoes similar others issued by western countries and the UN, the fact that the AU has finally found the courage to censure "one of the club" is encouraging.

Is the African Union awakening from its lethargy? (Translation: have they understood that the world has almost given up on Africa?).

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France for sale, as usual

France has reported it is too early to demand sanctions over Iran’s resuming its nuclear energy program.

French Foreign Ministry Representative Jean-Baptiste Mattei during a weekly news briefing Friday said France prefers "a step by step approach" as far as the crisis with Iran is concerned, and a possible demand for sanctions is not the issue for now.

Does it remind you of anything?



Jack Bauer is back!

Tonight the fifth series of 24 premieres on Fox. All you wanted to know about Jack Bauer and more at Pajamas Media.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Galloway's progress

I know you are just dying to know how George is doing...

(ht: Instapundit)


Al Zawahiri dead?

The location of the attack makes a lot of sense. It seems likely that al Zawahiri was in the region as often reported during the winter and as he tries to shift focus from Iraq, where al Qaeda is now hated and despised, to Afghanistan, to try and rally the remaining Taliban . See Bill Roggio for a good analysis.

We'll have to wait for the DNA results (if the bodies have not been moved) to be sure, but I do hope Santa, although with a little delay, has finally delivered one of his presents.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ahmadinejad will pass himself as the Mahdi

When he will feel strong enough, Ahmadinejad will have it announced by his accomplices that he is the long awaited Mahdi (or he will set up some puppet he can control, but I doubt he will pass such a carefully orchestrated opportunity). He is already paving the way to his "ascent" by promoting and circulating rumors about his "aura" and the ecstasy of his listeners. He will also try to destroy Israel to force other Arab countries to recognize him as the 12th Imam. By becoming holy, a living saint, a prophet, he will also pre-empt al Qaeda's dream of an imperial caliphate and will dictate (in his dreams) to all Muslims.

Security Council sanctions or other strong-arm tactics at this point should be pursued just for the sake of "appearances" but will only increase his charisma. The only way to go, IMHO, is to support the Iranian people by all means available while carrying out covert sabotage operations inside Iran to weaken the regime.

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Zimbabwe opposition officially falls apart - NOT

The excellent Publiuspundit has got it all wrong this time. According to their post, the MDC split has irreparably harmed the opposition in Zimbabwe and George Sibanda has been declared the leader.

This is, of course, what the government and Mugabe want people to believe.

Fortunately, Tsvangirai has still the reins of the MDC tightly in his hands (although he will have to take some dramatic action soon if he wants to keep the movement going) and his decision to boycott the Senate elections was approved and applauded by the majority as the elections' turn out amply demonstrated.

Eddie Cross (a member of the MDC executive), explains the situation:

Absolute Nonsense.

Yesterday the local rag, the Chronicle, State owned and CIO managed, published a banner headline "Sibanda stages Coup in MDC". This is interesting because it follows a large article in the same group of newspapers covering Welshman Ncube. Both the fact that these State controlled papers publish such articles and their content is informative. They are having a field day over the so-called MDC split.

In the article and in other interviews, Gibson Sibanda is arguing that he has the support of the people and commands the support of a majority of Members of Parliament of the MDC. Quite frankly that is twaddle.

Much is made by the Ncube group about the split decision on October the 12th in the MDC National Council. Since then the Council has met 3 times. On each occasion a two-thirds majority of the Council has voted unanimously to support the position of the President, Morgan Tsvangirai and to plan the way forward for the MDC. The situation in the National Executive has been the same - it has also met three times since the debacle on the 12th October and on each occasion the Executive has had a quorum and has also voted unanimously.

The Senate elections revealed in stark electoral terms that the MDC did not want to participate in what the great majority regarded as a total waste of time and resources. The people want change - real, fundamental change, and they know that this is never going to come out of the current electoral process, Parliament or any Senate election.

If the Ncube faction can only marshal a 2 per cent turn out in their stronghold - Bulawayo, in an election in which they spent Z$20 billion dollars, then they must understand they have missed the boat somewhere. They must stop this charade and decide if they are in politics or out of it.

See also this.

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Let's tell Iranian people the truth

Ahmadinejad's arrogance and defiance are a sort of Dutch courage; his favorite drink is the distortion of truth in order to present European and American efforts to thwart his quest for nuclear bombs as a slap in the face of the Iranian people, counting on their national pride. By painting Security Council sanctions, which at this point seem inevitable, as a humiliation for Iran and its right to modern technology, he tries to appeal to people's patriotism and self-regard.

Although it might be crystal clear in the west that these are lies, many people in Iran might fall for Ahmadinejad's false claims; this should be avoided at all costs, not only because it would allow him to continue to defy the international community, but because it would strengthen his position and widen his base.

Every effort should be made to inform the Iranian public that all condemnations, censures, denunciations against Iran are in fact directed solely against its present despicable regime. Let's tell Iranians that, as soon as the mad mullahs disappear from the scene and a representative democracy is established, Iran will take its rightful place among the other great nations.

As Michael Ledeen keeps repeating, Iran's people need support and encouragement and must be made to feel that we are behind them all the way.

Let's take the bottle away from Ahmadinejad and his courage will evaporate.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

George Galloway reaches for the stars

Upwardly mobile George "gimmegimme" Galloway (a.k.a. "The Fraud") has recently projected his illustrious career to a new level by joining the colourful cast of washed-out has-beens that makes this year's Celebrity Big Brother.

Welcomed by a chorus of boos....


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Some strange hostages

Security Watchtower has an intriguing post about the four Christian Peacemaker Team hostages taken by the Sword of Righteousness Brigades in Iraq.

December 10th, the final date set for their execution has come and gone. Remarkably, as far as I can tell, there has not a single peep from anyone on this subject. I find the abrupt and total silence on this subject quite astounding. Why are the families of these hostages not clamoring for information? Why no follow-up in the mainstream press. Why no curiosity by the bloggers who readily jumped on this story to further an anti-war agenda?

So where are the hostages? Obviously they no longer have any propaganda value to their captors, or we would have heard more from them. So why have we not heard anything from the captors or at least some inquiries by those who were so concerned about them before the December 10th deadline? Why has the subject totally disappeared from the radar screen? Inquiring minds want to know. Could it be that this whole thing was a “put up” affair, and now those that were taken in have deliberately put their collective heads in the sand? Time will tell.

This case reminds me of previous kidnappings and releases of anti-war "victims". All happened in controversial and obscure circumstances which have not been clarified in the least by the following judicial inquiries.

As Mr Allen says: "Time will tell".

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Mugabe must be praying for a military coup in Zimbabwe while he is on holiday

I already touched on this possibility, but now conditions seem to be ideal:

President Robert Mugabe is set to spend a month of luxury with his family in the Far East as part of his annual holiday. Mugabe, who is already on leave will tour picturesque tourist destinations in Malaysia and China away from the hustle and bustle of the Zimbabwe situation.

The insensitive bastard.

"One wishes the far east would just swallow him alive and never touch Zimbabwe soil again" added another disgruntled Harare resident.

Exactly. In fact, it would be the best solution for everyone if during his holiday abroad the Army (who seems to be already in charge - see first link) organized a coup:

- Mugabe would save face (in his own eyes, at least) and continue ranting from his Asian haven about western powers meddling in Zimbabwe affairs.

- He could rest at last from his frantic efforts to remain in power and destroy Zimbabwe, write his memoirs (that would be fun to read) and blame the world for his failures.

- Enjoy his ill-gained fortune without having to fear for his life every moment.

- Avoid being buried at Heroes' Acre were a procession of Zimbabweans would go daily to spit on his grave.

What is the alternative?

- Mugabe comes back refreshed from his vacation, but there is no way he can fix the problems he has created, even if he wanted to: surrounded as he is by corrupt and incompetent crooks like himself who only obey him for money and perks, every government initiative is destined to abject failure and ridicule.

- He knows that eventually he will be drawn and quartered by the people he despises so much.

- His biggest dream - to be remembered as the liberator of Africa - has already been shattered and his reputation destroyed by his actions. E.g.: the land reform, on which he counted to woo the rural population has disappointed mainly those it was supposed to benefit.

If he comes back, as I fear, he knows that people now realize that confrontation is the only way to get rid of him and his accomplices. Tsvangirai has promised a mass protest for 2006 : freedom requires sacrifice and the Army must be forced to chose if it wants to continue to lick the crumbs on the floor under Mugabe's table (and to do it it must shoot other innocent Zimbabweans) or if it wants to take its rightful position of defenders and protectors of the country that the military hold in every democratic country.


The Dissident Frogman is back...

Or soon will be. We missed you.



First of all, a happy and peaceful 2006 to all of us! Second, regular posting will resume on the 9th of January.