Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday expelled a group of militants from his West Bank headquarters who had been given refuge by Yasser Arafat, a spokesman for the gunmen said.One might think that this might spur the Palestinian Authority to actually confront these terrorists, but beyond their declarations they will once again do nothing.
Abbas ordered the 26 out after half a dozen of the gunmen -- from his ruling Fatah faction -- fired at his Muqata compound in Ramallah overnight while he was inside and then rampaged through the city, damaging shops. No casualties were reported.
Palestinian officials on Thursday backed away from a declaration that they would go after gunmen who shot up Mahmoud Abbas' office building and rampaged through Ramallah, underlining the difficulties authorities face in restoring order in the chaotic West Bank.
Abbas, who was in the building but was not hurt in the gunfire late Wednesday, ordered a crackdown, and security officials said the renegades had "crossed a red line" by attacking the seat of government. But in the light of day, the officials adopted a conciliatory line, and one admitted they feared coming under armed attack themselves.
If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others. He pursued his goal obstinately, they would say, without filtering his thoughts through the medical research establishment. And he didn't share his research with competing labs and thus caused resentment among other scientists who didn't have the resources or the bold - perhaps even somewhat reckless -instincts to pursue the task as he did. And he completely ignored the World Health Organization, showing his contempt for international institutions. Anyway, a cure for cancer is all fine and nice, but what about aids?I have written before about the Left continually "moving the goalposts" on Iraq and the GWOT, primarily because they can not bring themselves to admit that Bush could have been right about anything. And by doing so they have marginalized themselves, and given the impression that they would rather have the US fail in its enterprise in the Middle East than for Bush to be proven right.
One does not have to admire a lot about George W. Bush to admire what he has so far wrought. One need only be a thoughtful American with an interest in proliferating liberalism around the world. And, if liberals are unwilling to proliferate liberalism, then conservatives will. Rarely has there been a sweeter irony.
Almost six out of 10 adults in Britain, France and Germany say that Iran does not pose a nuclear threat to Europe, according to the findings of a new CNN/TIME poll.This seems to be the triumph of hope over experience and it is followed today by a release from the NCRI - National Council of Resistance of Iran - that Iran has sought to acquire nuclear warheads. This dissident group has been repeatedly correct about Iran's nuclear program, and it is therefore very worrying if they are correct once again about this aspect of Iran's nuclear pursuits. They did not say whether Iran had actually managed to procure these warheads, so there is clearly the possibility that Iran already has as many as three nuclear warheads. Coupled with the revelation last week of Iran's acquisition of a dozen nuclear capable cruise missiles from Ukraine, and with Iran's continuing ballistic missile program, one has to ask "what are the Europeans thinking?".
The favorable trends do not mean that insurgents cannot pull off spectacularly deadly attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces.The insurgents also have seemed to change their tactics. In the past week, there were a couple of direct head-on confrontations with US and Iraqi forces. In each of these, the "insurgents" suffered huge losses, while inflicting very few casualties. These would seem to be acts of desperation, since it should be clear to anyone that head-on engagements with US troops are sure to be losing ones.
On Thursday, 11 Iraqi policemen were killed by a single suicide bomber, most likely a terrorist in the employ of Jordanian-born Abu Musab Zarqawi.
But Iraqis continue to sign up. After an even bloodier attack in January against Iraqis in line to apply for police jobs, a still-longer line formed the next day at the same spot, said a U.S. Army officer in Iraq.
And last week, merchants and residents on one of Baghdad's main streets joined the fight by using their own guns to kill three terrorists, who were firing on passers-by.
Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who commands the Army's 1st Cavalry Division and just returned from a year-plus tour overseeing Baghdad, is telling audiences that Osama bin Laden made a crucial mistake when he publicly encouraged Zarqawi.
It meant that the Saudi bin Laden was telling the Jordanian Zarqawi to slaughter Iraqis.
Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib announced today that AbuMusab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Mesopotamia (Iraq), has been surrounded.Of course the press, as Lawrence Kaplan points out, still does not notice the changing trend.
The Sofia News Agency reports the Interior Minister as saying, "He is surrounded in a certain area, and we hope for the best'
9. Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri's death. Michael would say "When is she going to die?," "Has she died yet?" and "When is that bitch gonna die?" These statements were common knowledge at Palm Gardens, as he would make them casually in passing, without regard even for who he was talking to, as long as it was a staff member. Other statements which I recall him making include "Can't you do anything to accelerate her death - won't she ever die?"Michael Schiavo may have abused Terri. Note this excerpt from a detailed account posted in Wikipedia:
A bone scan done one year after her injury showed (according to the radiologist who evaluated it) that she had also suffered previous traumatic injuries to multiple ribs (on both sides), to both sacroiliac joints, to both knees, to both ankles, to several thoracic vertebrae, and to her right thigh, plus a minor compression fracture of the L1 vertebra. Mrs. Schiavo's family did not know of the existence of this scan until November 2002.Michael Schiavo has violated Terri's rights. Just read a few of these excerpts from "Myths about Terri" at terrisfight.org:
MYTH: Terri does not need rehabilitationReason #2: Terri Schiavo is not in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS).
FACT: Florida Statute 744.3215 Rights of persons determined incapacitated:
(1) A person who has been determined to be incapacitated retains the right
(i) To receive necessary services and rehabilitation.
This is a retained right that a guardian cannot take away. Additionally, it does not make exception for PVS patients. Terri has illegally been denied rehabilitation - as many nurses have sworn in affidavits.
MYTH: Removal of food was both legal and court-ordered.
FACT: The courts had only allowed removal of Terri's feeding tube, not regular food and water. Terri's husband illegally ordered this. The law only allows the removal of "life-prolonging procedures," not regular food and water:
Florida Statute 765.309 Mercy killing or euthanasia not authorized; suicide distinguished. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.
For a complete list of Violations of Florida Statutes against Terri Schiavo, click here.
MYTH: Terri is PVS (Persistent vegetative state)More evidence about this can be found in the following excerpts from affidavit by Heidi Law, a nurse who cared for Terri in 1997: (Original PDF file of affidavit by Heidi Law, Certified Nursing Assistant)
FACT: The definition of PVS in Florida Statue 765.101:
Persistent vegetative state means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:
(a) The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of ANY kind.
(b) An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment.
Terri's behavior does not meet the medical or statutory definition of persistent vegetative state. Terri responds to stimuli, tries to communicate verbally, follows limited commands, laughs or cries in interaction with loved ones, physically distances herself from irritating or painful stimulation and watches loved ones as they move around her. None of these behaviors are simple reflexes and are, instead, voluntary and cognitive. Though Terri has limitations, she does interact purposefully with her environment.
MYTH: Many doctors have said that there is no hope for her.
FACT: Dr. Victor Gambone testified that he visits Terri 3 times a year. His visits last for approximately 10 minutes. He also testified, after viewing the court videotapes at Terris recent trial, that he was surprised to see Terris level of awareness. This doctor is part of a team hand-picked by her husband, Michael Schiavo, shortly before he filed to have Terris feeding removed. Contrary to Schiavos team, 14 independent medical professionals (6 of them neurologists) have given either statements or testimony that Terri is NOT in a Persistent Vegetative State. Additionally, there has never been any medical dispute of Terris ability to swallow. Even with this compelling evidence, Terris husband, Michael Schiavo, has denied any form of therapy for her for over 10 years.
Dr. Melvin Greer, appointed by Schiavo, testified that a doctor need not examine a patient to know the appropriate medical treatment. He spent approximately 45 minutes with Terri. Dr. Peter Bambakidis, appointed by Judge Greer, spent approximately 30 minutes with Terri. Dr. Ronald Cranford, also appointed by Schiavo and who has publicly labeled himself Dr. Death, spent less than 45 minutes examining and interacting with Terri.
11. On one occasion Michael Schiavo arrived with his girlfriend, and they entered Terri's room together. I heard Michael tell his girlfriend that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and was dying. After they left Olga [another nurse at the hospital] told me that Terri was extremely agitated and upset, and wouldn't react to anyone.And if you still think that Terri is in a permanent vegetative state, just watch this video and you'll see the only person in the world who has ever been in a permanent vegetative state who could actually laugh at her father's jokes.
15. During the time I cared for Terri, she formed words. I have heard her say "mommy" from time to time and "momma," and she also said "help me" a number of times. She would frequently make noises when she was trying to talk. Other staff members talked about her verbalizations.
A week or so ago I attended an academic dinner where the atmosphere was friendly and collegial, and the academics present felt chatty. The conversation turned to politics first through a comment made by one person present (let's call him G), who said that he was asked to write a letter of recommendation for a bright and dedicated student, only to realize to his horror that the letter was in support of her application to a conservative think tank. Once he alerted the student's attention to that atrocity, and made sure that it was not a mistake born out of ignorance on the student's part, the professor wrote the letter, but not before he addressed the student. "I will give you the letter," he said "because I promised to, and you deserve it." The implication is clear: the student should be grateful for the magnanimity of such a selfless act. Never mind that letters of recommendation are the ABCs of what professorial work is all about, never mind that the student deserved the letter fair and square. Thus the conversation focused on all matters politic, and the consensus around the table was that no one - but no one! - has the misfortune (thank god!) to know a conservative, that to be conservative is "morally repugnant" (direct quote), and that old friendships are best dissolved if the friends in question turn out to be (oh no!) conservative. And the one conservative at the table kept cowardly quiet, fearing for his career. This is the way academic freedom and diversity manifest themselves today. Substitute the word 'conservative' for 'black' or 'Jew' and you will get a racist narrative. But this irony was lost on the enlightened minds of the ivory tower.Powerline links to a forthcoming article in Commentary by Ruth Wisse, commenting on the whole Summers controversy. At some point there will inevitably be a backlash against the Leftist domination of academia. It will be interesting to see what causes this. Until then, many more will suffer under the imposed orthodoxy of that "herd of independent minds".
So who really is this strange creature who calls himself Keezjunnahbeh? The Paris Hilton of the campus, a Peter Sellers-like fraud in his own Being There, or a Tony Randall turning into all sorts of strange beasts in Dr. Lao’s circus? He is nobody in fact, but also everybody in theory.
Perhaps it is best to think of Churchill as our aging portrait of an academic Dorian Gray, in whom all the once-hallowed university’s vices and sins of the last half-century are now so deeply etched and lined.
But in the end, it comes down to this: Why kill her? What is gained? What is good about it? Ronald Reagan used to say, in the early days of the abortion debate, when people would argue that the fetus may not really be a person, he'd say, "Well, if you come across a paper bag in the gutter and it seems something's in it and you don't know if it's alive, you don't kick it, do you?" No, you don't.Today, a judge in Florida kicked the bag. And the sad thing is that no one has succeeded in stopping him.
In an effort to intervene to keep alive a severely brain-damaged Florida woman, federal lawmakers agreed on Saturday on a compromise bill aimed at restoring her feeding tube and pushing the right-to-die case back into court.UPDATE: 3/20/2005 10:00AM EST: Bush Returning to Washington Over Schiavo
The deal was reached just 24 hours after doctors acting on a Florida court order removed the feeding tube that has kept Terri Schiavo alive for the past 15 years.
"We are confident that this compromise addresses everyone's concerns," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, told a news conference. "We are confident it will ... restore nutrition and hydration" to Schiavo.
The House will meet on Sunday afternoon in a special session to consider limited legislation passed by the Senate that would allow a federal judge to rule on whether withholding food and water from Schiavo violates her constitutional rights.
President Bush is changing his schedule to return to the White House on Sunday to be in place to sign emergency legislation that would shift the case of a brain-damaged Florida woman to federal courts, the White House said Saturday.UPDATE 3/20/2005 9:00PM EST: Senate Passes Legislation on Schiavo Case
The Senate passed a bill that could prolong Terri Schiavo's life while House Republicans, stalled by Democrats, scrambled to bring enough lawmakers back to the Capitol for an emergency vote early Monday.UPDATE: 3/21/2005 12:01AM EST: House Passes Schiavo Bill
"We ought to err on the side of life in a case like this," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
[T]he US House of Representatives passed SB686 (203 - 58) on a vote that suspended the rules of House and passed the "save Terri Schiavo" bill. Slightly more than half of the members returned for the vote, which took place just after midnight on 21 March. Voting for the bill were 155 Republicans and 47 Democrats; voting against were 5 Republicans and 53 Democrats. Had the Democrats voted the party line, the bill would not have passed because the rule suspension required a two-thirds majority. Missing from the vote were 71 Republicans, 102 Democrats and 1 Independent.UPDATE: 3/21/2005 1:30AM EST: Bush Signs Emergency Schiavo Legislation
"Today, I signed into law a bill that will allow federal courts to hear a claim by or on behalf of Terri Schiavo for violation of her rights relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life," Bush said in a written statement.UPDATE: 3/22/2005 4:00PM U.S. Judge Rejects Resumed Feeding in Schiavo Case
"In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. This presumption is especially critical for those like Terri Schiavo who live at the mercy of others," he said.
A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request from the parents of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo to order her feeding tube reinserted, dealing a blow to attempts by the U.S. Congress and the White House to prolong her life.UPDATE: 3/22/2005 7:00PM Schiavo's Parents Appeal to Restore Feeding Tube
Terri Schiavo's parents filed an appeal with a federal court Tuesday afternoon to order their severely brain-damaged daughter's feeding tube reconnected.UPDATE: 3/23/2005 11:00AM Was Terri Abused?
"Where, as here, death is imminent, it is hard to imagine more critical and exigent circumstances," David Gibbs III, attorney for Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, told the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in the electronically filed appeal. "Terri is fading quickly and her parents reasonably fear that her death is imminent."
The state Department of Children and Families seeks access to sealed Probate Court records pertaining to financial records in the Schiavo case. The department contends that the records are needed as part of its investigation into allegations of abuse.UPDATE: 3/23/2005 6:00PM Appeals Court Rebuffs Schiavo Parents
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday twice rebuffed a bid by the parents of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo to have her feeding tube restored, putting the highly charged case on a path to the highest court in the land.UPDATE: 3/23/2005 6:30 State officials may place Schiavo under protective custody
Now, state officials said, they might attempt to place the brain-damaged woman under protective custody so her feeding tube can be reinserted. As a possible precursor of that event, they filed a new motion in state court in Tampa.
Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings and the director of the state social services agency confirmed they were considering an intervention in the controversial and increasingly tangled case -- based on calls alleging that Schiavo is being abused in her hospice.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations (news - web sites) agreed to use money from Iraqi oil sales to pay the legal bills of the head of the scandal-tainted U.N. oil-for-food program, chief U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard acknowledged on Tuesday.
Some Say Selection of War Proponent Could Undercut Improved U.S. RelationsWhat improved relations are they talking about? After Bush and Condi made their "fence-mending" trips to Europe, and then joining Europe in its negotiations with Iran, Europe has still not contributed anything to Iraq, refuses to label Hezbullah a terrorist organization - despite the fact that aside from al Qaeda they have killed more Americans than anyone else over the last 25 years, and are now planning to sells arms to China that would be used against US troops in any confrontation with Taiwan. It seems for Europe, "improved relations" are when the US does what Europe wants.
The New York Times wondered what Mr Bush's next appointment would be:
'Donald Rumsfeld to negotiate a new set of Geneva conventions? Martha Stewart to run the Securities and Exchange Commission?'
Okay, I get the hang of this game. Sending John Bolton to be UN ambassador is like ...putting Sudan and Zimbabwe on the Human Rights Commission. Or letting Saddam's Iraq chair the UN conference on disarmament. Or sending a bunch of child-sex fiends to man UN operations in the Congo. And the Central African Republic. And Sierra Leone, and Burundi, Liberia, Haiti, Kosovo, and pretty much everywhere else. All of which happened without the UN fetishists running around shrieking hysterically. Why should America be the only country not to enjoy an uproarious joke at the UN's expense?
His vision is no longer the creation of limited Palestinian state on some 50 percent of the West Bank, as many have long assumed. Instead, Sharon envisions a Palestinian state on a significant portion of the West Bank, possibly as much as 80 percent. Sharon is all too aware that such an entity is not viable. He assumes, in fact, that a two-state arrangement cannot be sustained and will not bring an end to Palestinian-Israeli strife.It seems to me that this is not such a horrible outcome. If the Palestinians truly want a state, as opposed to the destruction of Israel, this would give them a much larger entity than they could get now. The Jordan option is not new, but it has been one that no one wants to discuss for fear that it could destroy the Hashemite dynasty. But if there is true democratization in Jordan, the Palestinians (who make up the majority) would most likely gain control of the government anyway.
In the long term, the Israeli premier hopes that the Palestinian state will meld with Jordan. His assumption is that unilateral disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, his plan for a carefully managed transition away from direct Israeli rule over the majority of the Palestinians, will set this process in motion. Over time, Sharon calculates, contiguity between Palestine and its neighbor to the east, as well as increased trade, cultural ties and the democratization championed by the Bush administration, will induce Palestinians on both the West and East Banks of the Jordan to agitate for Palestinian-Jordanian federation themselves. If one assumes that Sharon has quietly held on to his once openly expressed belief that Jordan is Palestine, his break with his old supporters among the settler movements and the right becomes easier to understand.
Syria's military increased deployment around Damascus due to tension within the regime. The opposition Lebanese Foundation for Peace said the Syrian military has undergone a split, with a rebel faction having taken control over parts of the capital, Middle East Newsline reported.While this would undoubtedly be possible, given all the talk about Assad being weakened by Syria's forced withdrawal from Lebanon and the fact that he was not a strong leader to start with, I am not very confident of the credibility this opposition group. If this has happened, this would not necessarily be a positive development. If hard-line military leaders have taken over, a direct confrontation with the US becomes that much more likely.
The rebel faction was said to be led by Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan and Firas Tlas, the son of former Defense Minister Mustapha Tlas. The sources said this group, which included Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Rustom Ghazaleh and Maj. Gen. Ali Madi, has rebelled against Assad's decision to withdraw from Lebanon.
"Around 3 a.m. [Wednesday], Damascus time, the Syrian Air Force bombarded two military airfields around Damascus, the air force base of Dumair, and the air force base of Katana," the opposition Lebanese Foundation for Peace said. "Also, late night around 3 a.m., the Syrian Air Force bombarded military positions of the Syrian Army west of the city of Homs."
A report from Tehran: Young celebrants today set scarecrows in the likeness of various Mullahs, such as Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Khatami, Sharoudi, Jannati, etc. on fire in the streets. They cried out slogans such as: "Referendum, referendum, this is the people's dictum."Even more interesting is how they express their views regarding the US and Europe.
In another area of the city people took to setting the French flag on fire while chanting: "Europe is finished and so are their Mullahs." OR "Bush, Bush, where is Bush?" (In Persian this rhymes: Bush, Bush, kush, kush!).While this is encouraging, such small scale demonstrations have been going on for quite a while. The main problem there seems to be the lack of organization of the anti-mullah forces. In part this is because of the arrests of many student leaders. Nevertheless, there is hope that with the elections - that will undoubtedly be rigged - coming up, the pro-democracy forces will create enough noise to actually attract external notice and support.
As part of his trip to Israel to attend the opening ceremonies for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial's new museum in Jerusalem, Annan on Monday went to the grave of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, and laid a wreath of flowers on the tomb.
So let's get this straight: Annan travels to the Jewish state to attend a ceremony for a museum that commemorates Jewish victims of mass murder, and a day earlier maybe to be evenhanded? he pays his respects at . . . the grave of a mass murderer of Jews?
My first question is this: How can it be that, on every page of every other edition for months now, the New York Times has been stating categorically that Iraq harbored no weapons of mass destruction? And there can hardly be a comedy-club third-rater or MoveOn.org activist in the entire country who hasn't stated with sarcastic certainty that the whole WMD fuss was a way of lying the American people into war. So now what? Maybe we should have taken Saddam's propaganda seriously, when his newspaper proudly described Iraq's physicists as "our nuclear mujahideen."
My second question is: What's all this about "looting"? The word is used throughout the long report, but here's what it's used to describe. "In four weeks from mid-April to mid-May of 2003...teams with flatbed trucks and other heavy equipment moved systematically from site to site... 'The first wave came for the machines,' Dr Araji said. 'The second wave, cables and cranes.' " Perhaps hedging the bet, the Times authors at this point refer to "organized looting."
But obviously, what we are reading about is a carefully planned military operation. The participants were not panicked or greedy civilians helping themselves-which is the customary definition of a "looter," especially in wartime. They were mechanized and mobile and under orders, and acting in a concerted fashion. Thus, if the story is factually correct-which we have no reason at all to doubt-then Saddam's Iraq was a fairly highly-evolved WMD state, with a contingency plan for further concealment and distribution of the weaponry in case of attack or discovery.
Intelligence officials tell TIME that interrogation of a member of al-Zarqawi's organization, who was taken into U.S. custody last year and has been described as a top aide, indicates that al-Zarqawi has given ample consideration to assaults on the American homeland. According to a restricted bulletin that circulated among U.S. security agencies last week, the interrogated aide said al-Zarqawi has talked about hitting "soft targets" in the U.S., which could include "movie theaters, restaurants and schools."My first response to this is "what took them so long?". The best way for terrorists to hurt the US is a number of suicide bombings all around the country in shopping malls, movie theatres, public transportation, etc. This would slow the US economy to a crawl. Instead, we have been told that bin Laden and his ilk are planning another "spectacular" attack on the US.
Independent estimates placed the number of the opposition demonstration at well over 1.6 million. Highways into Beirut from northern, eastern and southern Lebanon were clogged by human waves stretching more than 5 kilometers from the capital trying to push their way to join the graveside protest.It is interesting to note that the size of these demonstrations is being downplayed by much of the MSM (NPR referred to the size as "thousands of people"). Leftist blogs, which had been so quick to write about the Hizbullah demonstrations and their size, are so far silent on these latest pro-democracy demonstrations.
[and we sing]
Hail to the Buff. Hail to the Blue. Hail ‘ole G double U.
[and now we stop singing]
U.S. military commanders are warning Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that tensions between Iran and the United States are heading toward a breaking point and that there could be a major clash between the two militaries.Iran Protesters Stage Sit-In on Brussels Plane
The commanders said U.S. and Iranian troops are becoming closer along the Iranian-Iraqi border and that U.S. aircraft have been moving in and out of Iran while Teheran seeks to bolster its air defense forces.
Some commanders are urging the Pentagon to prepare for the prospect of a brief but intense war with Iran. They said Iran has been arming for a major counter-strike for any U.S. attack on Iran — even under accidental circumstances.
"The situation with Iran is tense, and the possibility for miscalculation high," Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.
"We want the European Union to remove the Islamic leaders from Iran. We want to remove the mullahs from power," Armin Atshgar, a protester, told Reuters by mobile phone from the aircraft.
by Stephen Schwartz
The Global Research in International Affairs Center in Israel, a highly reputable and reliable think-tank, has published a paper titled "Arab volunteers killed in Iraq: an Analysis," available at e-prism.org. Authored by Dr. Reuven Paz, the paper analyzes the origins of 154 Arab jihadists killed in Iraq in the last six months, whose names have been posted on Islamist websites.
The sample does not account for all jihadists in Iraq, but provides a useful and eye-opening profile of them. Saudi Arabia accounted for 94 jihadists, or 61 percent of the sample, followed by Syria with 16 (10 percent), Iraq itself with only 13 (8 percent), and Kuwait with 11 (7 percent.) The rest included small numbers from Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Morocco (of which one was a resident in Spain), Yemen, Tunisia, the Palestinian territories (only 1), Dubai, and Sudan. The Sudanese was living in Saudi Arabia before he went to die in Iraq.
February 24, 2005Israeli general sees war with Syria on the horizon
Iraqi state television aired a video yesterday showing what the U.S.-funded channel said was the confession of a captured Syrian officer, who said he trained Iraqi terrorists to behead people and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.
He also said the terrorists practiced beheading animals to train for decapitating hostages.
Later, Al Iraqiya aired another round of interviews with men it said were Sudanese and Egyptians who also trained in Syria to carry out attacks in Iraq.
Thursday, March 10, 2005Reform rally disrupted in Syria
TEL AVIV — Israel's military is bracing for the increasing prospect of a war with Syria in a confrontation expected to include Iran and Hizbullah.
The General Staff has discussed an assessment by the military's Northern Command of an emerging threat from Syria and Hizbullah over the next year.
The Northern Command said a weakened Syria, under pressure from the United States to withdraw from Lebanon, was likely to approve an Iranian-Hizbullah campaign against Israel, Middle East Newsline reported.
A protest against the Syrian government in the capital, Damascus, has been disrupted by supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.Can you believe that? It was all the way back in 1963 when Syria issued a "state-of-emergency" and imposed martial law. The only thing is, it's been operating under that same "state-of-emergency" for 42 years!!! Long emergency, I guess? :)
About 100 activists calling for reforms were chased away from a square by marchers wielding placards and sticks.
The protest, intended to mark 42 years since the imposition of emergency laws, came a day after a large pro-government rally in the centre of Damascus.
Friday, March 11, 2005And an interesting footnote:
"The Syrians aren't going anywhere," an opposition source with connections in Lebanese intelligence said. "They are fusing with Hizbullah while pretending to pull out some troops from Lebanon."
In Brussels, the European Parliament voted in a non-binding resolution to deem Hizbullah a terrorist group, Middle East Newsline reported. But the parliament rejected a motion to include Hizbullah on the EU's list of terrorist organizations.Russia says Hizbullah should play role in Lebanese politics
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Hizbullah should be allowed a role in the country's politics. ... Lavrov said: "It is in the interests of Lebanon, and the whole Middle East, for Hizbullah's political role to be taken into account."
The text of the draft, according to Xinhua news agency, calls for the use of "non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," if all else fails.(Yup - the Chinese are our friends)
This will be necessary "in the event that the 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China," the draft law said.
It does not specify what is meant by "non-peaceful means" but analysts believe it would cover anything from blockade to surgical missile strikes and all-out invasion.
If you think about it, 5 years ago - 10 years ago, I would go around Europe and talk to friends back from when I was abassador to NATO, and they were worried about us. They were worried about the United States of Amercia ... they were worried about Somalia - and the probelms there - where the US made decisions that left question marks in the minds of other countries in the world. We've even seen intelligence where Saddam Hussien made comments about "the United States won't do this," "they cant sustain anything," "they'll cut and run."He just has a way of painting a picture for you that leaves no doubt about what he's trying to say ("do what 200,000 Soviets couldn't do in a decade" - ha!).
And the world has seen in the last three and a half years the capability of the United States of America to go into Afghanistan, a land-locked country all the way across the globe, and with 20,000, maybe 15,000 troops, working with the Afghans, do what 200,000 Soviets couldn't do in a decade. They've seen the United States and the coalition forces go into Iraq, and the world has seen a vivid demonstration of the power and capability and agility of the armed forces of the United States.
That has to have a deterant effect on people.
It's true, we're doing a lot in the world right now. But if you put yourself in the shoes of a country that might decide that they'd like to make mischef, they have a very recent vivid example of the fact that the United States has the ability to deal with mischef.
Indeed, the air wings on each of these carriers are more powerful than most militaries in the region. Given the atrophied state of Syria's military, one of these air wings would be sufficient to eliminate Damascus' ability to project power in Lebanon. Similarly, one carrier air wing would be capable of causing significant damage to Iran's nuclear facilities.And while military action is unlikely in the near-term, this certainly gives Assad and the Iranian mullahs something to think about.
France's National Library has airbrushed Jean-Paul Sartre's trademark cigarette out of a poster of the chain-smoking philosopher to avoid prosecution under an anti-tobacco law.I seem to recall that the US Post Office did a very similar thing with a stamp of FDR, airbrushing his trademark cigarette-holder and cigarette. Nevertheless, changing the past to suit our views about the present is truly Orwellian, and begs the question of what photos will be altered next? What history will be viewed as inappropriate and therefore subject to revision?
"Smoking," the Left-wing existentialist wrote, is "the symbolic equivalent of destructively appropriating the entire world."
And yet in its poster for an exhibition to mark the hundredth anniversary of Sartre's birth the Bibliothèque Nationale de France decided, destructively or not, to edit out the philosopher's Gauloise.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain, France and Germany told their European Union (news - web sites) partners on Friday they would support referring Iran (news - web sites) to the U.N. Security Council if it resumes uranium enrichment or breaches nuclear commitments.Could this be a sign of some backbone in Europe? Sadly, the answer is not really. The EU3 decided on this compromise after the US compromised by dropping opposition to preliminary talks on Iran's entry into the WTO. The reason that this statement of the EU3 is meaningless is that it lacks any threat of sanctions. So the threat that the EU3 are really issuing is that if Iran breaks its promises (again), it will be referred to the UN Security Council where any action will undoubtedly be blocked by Russia or China. In effect, it is not a meaningful threat to an institution well summarized by this Cox & Forkum cartoon.
Why are so many Westerners, living in mature democracies, ready to march against the toppling of a despot in Iraq but unwilling to take to the streets in support of the democratic movement in the Middle East?
Is it because many of those who will be marching in support of Saddam Hussein this month are the remnants of totalitarian groups in the West plus a variety of misinformed idealists and others blinded by anti-Americanism?
Or is it because they secretly believe that the Arabs do not deserve anything better than Saddam Hussein?
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister, who was forced to resign last week by opposition protests, was virtually assured of being asked to form the next government after a majority of lawmakers backed him Wednesday.So let's just recap what this means:
"I am keen that the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country. I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honour to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said.This week: the Syrian-run Lebanese Parliament re-nominated him to take over for the position from which he just resigned!!!
WASHINGTON, DCAlmost a year after the cessation of major combat and a month after the nation's first free democratic elections, President Bush unveiled the coalition forces' strategy for exiting Iraq.
"I'm pleased to announce that the Department of Defense and I have formulated a plan for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq," Bush announced Monday morning. "We'll just go through Iran."
"The plan also includes a minor stopover for refueling and provisional replenishment in Syria," Casey said. "But I don't expect we'll need more than 50,000 additional troops for that stretch of the Iraq pullout."
CHINA has unveiled a controversial new law allowing it to use force against Taiwan if it protests at plans for reunification.The article went on to quote Wang Zhaoguo, deputy chairman of Chinas National Peoples Congress Standing Committee saying:
The Chinese government has said it will use the draft law to attack Taiwan if it tries to gain independence.
"If possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect Chinas sovereignty and territorial integrity."And we thought that doing business with them would make them less communist / belligerent and more capitalist / peaceful.
In countries where President George Bush and his policies are deeply unpopular, online commentators are starting to think the unthinkable.The concensus seems to be that Bush's and the "neo-cons'" idea of invading Iraq to change the dynamics of the Arab world has borne fruit. At the same time there is a large segment of the Left that simply refuses to acknowledge that anything that Bush does can be positive. This type of childish negativism is perfectly exemplified by this post.
"Could George W. Bush Be Right?" asked Claus Christian Malzahn in the German newsweekly Der Spiegel. Essayist Guy Sorman asked last month in the Paris daily Le Figaro (by subscription), "And If Bush Was Right?" In Canada, anti-war columnist Richard Gwyn of the Toronto Star answered: "It is time to set down in type the most difficult sentence in the English language. That sentence is short and simple. It is this: Bush was right."
Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due. Like Chauncey Gardner in Being There, right now everything in the Middle East seems to be coming up roses for George W. Bush - and the United States.In the same way that Reagan had absolutely nothing to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union ("it was going to happen anyway" was their argument), Bush has nothing to do with the sweeping changes taking place in the Middle East. I am not clear how one can honestly argue that had we not invaded Iraq, Libya would have given up their WMD program, elections would have been held in Iraq and the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Saudi Arabia would be talking about democratization, Lebanese would be protesting against Syria. Yet this is the new meme of the deluded Left. Of course evertything negative that has transpired is undoubtedly Bush's fault. Intellectual dishonesty and vapidity.
But like Chauncey, Bush the born-again democratic idealist has a series of happy accidents to thank for his success. The combination of the death of Arafat, Viktor Yushchenko's dioxin-tainted soup, bungling Syrian intelligence agents, and an all-powerful Shi'ite cleric may have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for Bush. In large part, it appears to be fate, not foresight, that has been the engine of democratic reform in that part of the world.
Large cranes hoisted two giant red-and-white flags bearing Lebanon's cedar
tree. On one, the words, "Thank you Syria," were written in English; on the
other, "No to foreign interference."
Oh wait... Syrian IS a foreign entity.... ooops.
Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world: All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.And again in his State of the Union Address just a few weeks later on February 2, 2005:
And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.Ironically, it wasn't the Iranians, but instead the good people of Lebanon who heard the President's message loud and clear, and today they are standing for their own liberty. They have begun to oust a puppet regime, and continue to gather in "Democracy Square" in support of freedom and democracy.
Tuesday's protest, called by the Shi'ite Muslim Hizbollah group and its allies to show support for Damascus and oppose what they call Western meddling, was widely expected to attract a large turnout. ... Hizbollah (Party of God) warned of mayhem if Syrian troops were to leave Lebanon.At the Nudnik File, some of us suspect that Assad is reaching for his father's old playbook: specifically, he will claim that he is complying with the UN Resolutions by partially withdrawing while manipulating events on the ground to demonstrate that Syria is needed to maintain stability in Lebanon. So if Hizbollah confronts the democracy movement and violence erupts (thereby making the "mayhem" prediction come true), Assad will be able to pull an I-told-you-so, and claim that his warnings of civil war were right on the money, and therefore a continued Syrian military presence is required in Lebanon to keep the peace. The English translation is: Syria continues to both fleece Lebanon as well as use its lands to conduct terrorist activities.
In a shooting incident between rival camps late Sunday, an 18-year-old opposition supporter was wounded when followers of loyalists movements fired on his car near Martyrs' Square. The Lebanese army later arrested three people.This is a watershed moment in history.
Israel hands over Tulkarem to Palestinian control this week, resuming confidence-building measures that a Feb. 25 Tel Aviv bombing interruptedWhy exactly does Israel need to resume confidence-building after the Palestinians attack? Shouldn't the Palestinians be responsible for at least some confidence-building?
HEBRON, West Bank - Palestinian militants shot and wounded two Israeli border policemen Monday in an attack on a military post near a West Bank shrine, the latest attempt to disrupt a delicate cease-fire.The Palestinians have figured out that as long as they don't kill too many Israelis at any one time, no one will really notice.
HAVE THE IRAQI ELECTIONS PRODUCED a democratic earthquake that has changed forever the fundamental political dynamics in the Muslim Middle East? Only the culturally deaf, dumb, and blind--for example, Michigan's Democratic senator Carl Levin--can't see what George W. Bush's war against Saddam Hussein has wrought. The issue is not whether the basic understanding of contemporary Muslim political legitimacy has been overturned--it has--but how forcefully the regimes in place will resist the growing Muslim democratic ethic.
The group's chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah warned that Syria's pullout under intense global pressure could spell chaos for Lebanon and push it toward peace with Israel.English translation: "Nope. Ya can't have any democracy over there. Because ya may actually make friends with those dirty, stinking Jews. And maybe you've forgotten, but those Jews are the ones who have caused all our problems for the past few thousand years!"
"The aim of America and Israel is to spread chaos in Lebanon and bring back Lebanon to a state of chaos to find excuses for foreign intervention and to push some Lebanese to call for international intervention," Nasrallah told a news conference.
In the name of loyalist parties, he called for a mass rally Tuesday at a square in central Beirut close to another square where opposition protesters have been demanding Syria quit Lebanon for the past three weeks.
U.N. special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen is expected to go to Beirut and Damascus this week to discuss the "full, complete and immediate implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559."What is not mentioned is that U.N. Resolution 1559 was adopted in September 2004 and required the Secretary General to report back to the Security Council within 30 days.
An Iranian spokesman said Tehran respected any joint Syrian-Lebanese decision: "But the pressure on the Syrian government, with the withdrawal from Lebanon as an excuse, seems to be a pre-designed plan by the Zionist lobbies to safeguard Israel's survival and its expansionist policies."Think about that for a second. It's not the will of the Lebanese people - it's not the international outrage of Hariri's assassination - that's all an "excuse!" It's really all a just a cover for this "pre-designed plan by the Zionist lobbies to safeguard Israel's survival and its expansionist policies."
A new Syrian edition of the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion hit the stands in the Arab world in January. The publisher says that the book obtained the approval of the Syrian Information Ministry in May 2004.For anyone who doesn't know about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia describes them as:
The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion is a fraudulent document purporting to describe a plan to achieve Jewish global domination. Written by a German forger in the mid-19th-century, by the early 20th-century it was published by the Imperial Russia secret police, the Okhranka, in order to blame the Jews for Russia's problems during the period of revolutionary activity.Get ready to hear a lot about how the Lebanese need the Syrians and Hizbollah to protect them from the evil Zionists.
President Bashar Assad on Saturday announced a two-stage pullback of Syrian forces to the Lebanese border, but failed to address broad international demands that he completely withdraw Syria's 15,000 troops after nearly 30 years in the country.Then Assad went further to say:
"By carrying out this measure, Syria will have fulfilled requirements of the Taif agreement and implemented U.N. Resolution 1559," the Syrian leader said in a rare address to parliament.Which, for anyone who knows anything about either the Taif Agreement or U.N. Resolution 1559, is the furthest thing from the truth. On the one hand, the Taif Agreement (from the 1980's which Syria has ignored for the past few declades) only required Syria to pull it s troops back to the Bekka Valley in Lebanon, but not a complete withdrawl. On the other hand, U.N. Resolution 1559 (adopted in 2004) requires complete withdrawl, disarming of Hizbollah, and removal of all Syrian military and intelligence personnel.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned the Lebanese on Saturday against forging their own peace with Israel, saying the period after Syria's withdrawal would be fraught with dangers.Dangers? What dangers?
More than 2,000 people held an impromptu demonstration on front of the town’s clinic where the suicide bomber struckThese Iraqi protestors are expressing a sentiment widely-held in the Middle East today: "We've had enough!"
They chanted “no to terrorism” and “no to Baathism and Wahhabism.”
"Something is beginning to happen in Egypt," reports an Egyptian blogger who goes by the name of "Big Pharaoh," after President Hosni Mubarak asked the parliament last Saturday to amend the constitution to allow more than one candidate to run in the country's presidential elections next fall.Ambassador Denis Ross attributed this sentiment of "Kifaya" to a "loss of fear" this week on Fox News. As reported earlier this week by The Nudnik File, Ross said:
What is happening in Egypt is also starting in Lebanon, and will likely spread to other parts of the Middle East. It's a new phenomenon that can be summed up in a single word -- "kifaya," Arabic for "enough." Monday, Lebanon's prime minister and entire Cabinet resigned, satisfying a demand of tens of thousands of protesters.
It may sound strange to hold a presidential election with one candidate, but this has been done in the Middle East for decades. Or to amend the constitution at the behest of another country to extend a president's term, as in Lebanon.
More recently, millions of Egyptians and Lebanese have started saying "enough" to those practices. Whether in English or Arabic, the message is the same; People have had enough of the region's political and economic stagnation. There is growing frustration in the lack of participation in government. In greater numbers Middle Easterners are saying "kifaya."
The most profound thing that we're seeing is the loss of fear. ... What [the people of Lebanon] saw in Iraq was people who were in a position when they were told "you vote - you die," they went and voted anyway. Fear was not going to rule out an Iraqi voice. And that was the lesson for the Lebanese: "If it could work there, it can work for us as well." ... [But] more than elections, it's the empowerment of people by being willing to go on the street and make it clear that they will no longer be intimidated - they will no longer be coerced and live by fear.Add "Kifaya" with a "loss of fear," and what do ya get?
I think we need to say to both the terrorists and the dictators and also to the autocrats who from time to time are friendly with us, that we know, we understand we are going to make you nervous.Despite those who refuse to see it, the winds of change really are blowing.
We want you to be nervous. We want you to realize now for the fourth time in 100 years, this country is on the march and we are on the side of those whom you most fear, your own people.
Pentagon Favors Air Strikes on Syria to Overthrow Assad, Free LebanonAt the same time, Debka is reporting that
The Pentagon is now convinced that air strikes on Syria have become necessary to overthrow the Assad regime, liberate Lebanon and stop support of insurgents waging a guerrilla war against American forces in Iraq as well as Palestinian militants against Israel, the U.S.-sponsored Al Hurra TV network says.
"Political action to deal with the problem of Syria's presence in Lebanon and its support of terrorism against Israel and Iraq is no longer deemed effective," Al Hurra quoted American intelligence sources as saying, according to slain ex-Premier Hariri's Al Mustaqbal newspaper on Friday.
"Diplomacy as a means to deal with countries supporting terrorism is over and out. The situation is now open to all eventualities as far as Syria is concerned," the sources were quoted as saying by the Arabic-language Al Hurra.
"Resolving problems with Syria now requires changing the Syrian regime or mounting air attacks similar to those staged against Afghanistan and Sudan in August 1998 to wipe out terrorist centers once and for all," the U.S. intelligence sources were quoted as saying.
"The U.S. central command for Iraq and Afghanistan is closely following the situation in Lebanon and Syria and senior Pentagon officials are now convinced that hitting terrorist targets in Syria is necessary," Al Hurra said.
"The elimination of Syrian-supported terrorism groups is now deemed 'strategically vital' for stability in the Middle east, particularly Iraq, which is unattainable at present under the current Syrian regime," the station said.
Military sources reveal Syrian military and air force movements in Syria and Lebanon denote preparedness for air strikes against strategic Syrian targets rather than giving in.
Half of all Russians view Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in a positive light, pollsters said Friday based on the results of a recently released study.
Fifty percent of respondents in a nationwide opinion poll conducted by the VTsIOM agency said their view of the role Stalin played in Russian history is undoubtedly positive or probably positive.
A total of 42 percent of respondents said they want or wouldn't object to having a leader like Stalin at the helm of the nation today.