Meanwhile, in Iraq

 Posted by at 22:40  Iraq, Politics
Jul 312006
 

It took some doing but I was able to locate some news from “that other war.” You know, the one the Republicans would just as soon we forget about…

Iraqi Gunmen Seize 26 in Daylight Raid

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – Gunmen dressed in military fatigues burst into the offices of the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce and a nearby mobile phone company Monday, seizing 26 people in a daylight raid in a mostly Shiite area of the capital.

Also Monday, at least 30 people were killed or found dead in political or sectarian violence across the country, police said. They included four Iraqi soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in northern Iraq, the first such attack in the Kurdish-ruled province of Dahuk…

Also Monday, gunmen wearing fatigues blocked the car of a millionaire businessman in a Baghdad neighborhood and seized him and his two sons, leaving the man’s car in the street, police Lt. Bilal Ali Majeed said.

It was unclear whether the brazen operations were carried out by government police or paramilitary commandos, or sectarian militias or criminals wearing military fatigues, which are widely available in Baghdad markets.

U.S. officials estimate an average of 30-40 people are kidnapped each day in Iraq, although the real figure may be higher because few families contact the police. Security officials believe most of the ransoms end up in the hands of insurgent and militia groups.

Many abductions are believed to be tied to the ongoing violence between Sunni and Shiite extremists who target civilians of the rival Muslim communities…

In other violence Monday, according to police: a Sunni imam, Abdul-Aalem sl-Jumeili, was shot dead late Monday in his home in Fallujah; two mortar shells exploded in a mixed neighborhood in southern Baghdad, killing a civilian; also in the capital, gunmen killed a Health Ministry employee, Maad Jihad, Monday afternoon…

The United States had hoped the establishment of the government of national unity – with Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds – would bolster public confidence and lead to a decline in violence so that U.S. and other international troops could begin heading home.

Instead, the U.S. military is boosting its force in Iraq and sending at least 3,700 soldiers from northern Iraq into Baghdad to cope with a surge in violence that started when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government took office in May.

No wonder they’d like us to forget.

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Castro has surgery

 Posted by at 21:34  Politics
Jul 312006
 

Cuba’s Castro has operation, delegates power

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban President Fidel Castro underwent intestinal surgery on Monday and delegated government functions provisionally to his younger brother Raul Castro, the government said in a televised statement signed by the Cuban leader.

Castro, who turns 80 on August 13 and has led Cuba since a 1959 revolution, delegated his posts as first secretary of the ruling Communist Party, commander in chief of the armed forces and president of the executive council of state to his brother.

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It is difficult for me to wish ill upon another human being. That just is not in my nature. As much as I dislike George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, Jerry Falwell and a few more of my least favorite people on the planet, I have never wished them ill. However, in the case of Fidel Castro, I may be convinced to make an exception.

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Jul 312006
 

It’s time to break out the tin foil hats.

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I do not understand why people who are so willing to believe stuff like this have such a difficult time believing that the Bush administration planned and staged the attacks of 9/11/01.

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Chavez/Ahmadinejad

 Posted by at 11:22  Politics
Jul 312006
 

I hope the two of them will be very happy together. They gotta lotta oil.

Hugo Chavez Receives Iran’s Highest Honor

chavez-ahmadinejad.jpgTEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran awarded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez its highest state medal on Sunday for supporting Tehran in its nuclear standoff with the international community, while Chavez urged the world to rise up and defeat the U.S., state-run media in both countries reported.

The leftist Venezuelan leader also condemned Israel for what he called the “terrorism” and “madness” of its attacks in Lebanon, Venezuelan state television reported.

“Let’s save the human race, let’s finish off the U.S. empire,” Chavez said. “This (task) must be assumed with strength by the majority of the peoples of the world.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presented Chavez with the Islamic Republic Medal in a ceremony at Tehran University. The award was to show Iran’s gratitude for his “support for Iran’s stance on the international scene, especially its opposition to a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Iranian state-run television said.

“He is the one who has resisted imperialism for years and has defended the interests of his and other Latin American countries,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

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As good as their word

 Posted by at 10:33  Middle East, Politics
Jul 312006
 

It appears that Israel’s word is almost as good as Pat Roberts’.

Israeli Strikes Resume After Brief Lull

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in southern Lebanon on Monday, hours after agreeing to temporarily halt raids while investigating a bombing that killed nearly 60 Lebanese civilians, mostly women and children seeking shelter.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to a 48-hour halt in the airstrikes beginning at 2 a.m. Monday while the military concludes its inquiry into the attack on the south Lebanese village of Qana.

But Israel left open the option it might hit targets to stop imminent attacks or if the military completed its inquiry within 48 hours.

Monday’s airstrikes near the village of Taibe were meant to protect ground forces operating in the area and were not targeting anyone or anything specific, the army said.

In a second airstrike around the port city of Tyre, Israel accidentally killed a Lebanese soldier when it hit a car that it believed was carrying a senior Hezbollah official, the Israeli army said. Lebanese security officials said the soldier was killed by a rocket strike from a drone aircraft.

The Israeli army justified the action, saying the leader believed to have been in the car was a threat to Israel. Instead, the car was carrying a Lebanese army officer and soldiers.

“They were, of course, not the targets and we regret the incident,” the army said.

It does not sound to me that either strike was needed to stop imminent attacks nor have I been able to find any announcement that the Israeli military has completed its investigation into the Qana incident.

A country, much like a man, is really only as good as its word.

A long night

 Posted by at 22:37  Middle East, Politics
Jul 302006
 

The New York Times (the newspaper righties love to hate) reports on “A Night of Death and Terror for Lebanese Villagers.”

QANA, Lebanon, July 30 — The dead lay in strange shapes. Several had open mouths filled with dirt. Faces were puffy. A man’s arm was extended straight out from his body, his fingers spread. Two tiny children, a girl and boy, lay feet to head in the back of an ambulance, their skin like wax.

In the all-day scramble to retrieve the bodies from the remains of this one house — backhoes dug for hours at the site after an early-morning airstrike — tallies of the dead varied, from as many as 60 to 27, many of them children.

This was the single most lethal episode in the course of this sudden war. The survivors will remember it as the day their children died. For the village, it is a fresh pain in a wound cut more than 10 years ago, when an Israeli attack here killed more than 100 civilians. Many of them were children, too.

The Israeli government apologized for that airstrike, as it did for the one here on Sunday. It said that residents had been warned to leave and should have already been gone.

But leaving southern Lebanon now is dangerous. The two extended families staying in the house that the Israeli missile struck — the Shalhoubs and the Hashims — had discussed leaving several times over the past two weeks. But they were poor — most worked in tobacco or construction — and the families were big and many of their members weak, with a 95-year-old, two relatives in wheelchairs and dozens of children. A taxi north, around $1,000, was unaffordable.

Heidi (Euphoric Reality): No Sympathy Here.

Wah. I just cannot muster up any care. It does not stir my emotions, my parental instinct, my empathy. Call me a cold-hearted bitch, but I feel nothing…

I really don’t feel bad. I possibly feel a twinge of sadness for those poor kids, who lost their lives because all the adults around them were Muslim morons, and no one could be bothered to safeguard their lives. But those poor kids never really had a chance in life anyway. It’s shameful, really.

Someone please remind me to throw up the next time I hear the phrase “compassionate conservative.”

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Itchy finger

 Posted by at 21:10  Iraq
Jul 302006
 

Newsweek has in interesting article on Steven Green, the U.S. soldier accused of raping and killing a 14 year old Iraqi girl and killing her family: “An Itchy Finger.”

When he enlisted in February 2005, Green exultantly told Mike and others, like the mother of one of his friends, Alma Thomas: “I’m gonna go over there and kill ’em all.”

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Big brass ones

 Posted by at 19:40  Iraq, Politics
Jul 302006
 

The very definition of the word chutzpah

Iraqis Say They Deserve Aid for Fighting Terrorism

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 30 — Two high-ranking Iraqi government officials said today that their country was fighting international terrorists on its own soil on behalf of other countries and, as a result, should be compensated with economic and military assistance…

The comments by the Iraqi national security adviser and a deputy prime minister suggest an emerging strategy from the fragile coalition government to portray Iraq as the global frontline against terrorism and deserving of compensation from other nations.

Their reasoning is, in one sense, an extension of the view publicly adopted by the Bush Administration after the war to justify the 2003 invasion after its original reason — to prevent Saddam Hussein from possessing weapons of mass destruction — proved unfounded.

“We are fighting terrorism in Iraq, not only for Iraqis but also on behalf of the international community,” said Barham Salih, the deputy prime minister, during a news conference that covered a wide range of economic, security and anticorruption initiatives.

The national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, who also attended the news conference, followed that statement a short while later with one using remarkably similar language. “Iraq is now defending not only Iraqis but is also defending the region and the world,” he said. “So what is the world giving us in return?”

I am at a complete loss for words. I really am. I have no idea whatsoever how to respond to that kind of idiocy.

How about this, Iraq? You just go ahead and add up the bill and then send it to:

Mr. George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500-0001
USA

Please be sure to credit us for the 2,578 U.S. troops killed and the $400 billion we’ve already squandered on your ungrateful asses.

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48-hour respite

 Posted by at 17:07  Middle East, Politics
Jul 302006
 

Israel OKs Suspension of Aerial Activity

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel has agreed to a 48-hour suspension of aerial activity in south Lebanon while it investigates an attack on a Lebanese village that killed a number of children, U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Sunday.

The airstrike killed at least 56 Lebanese, mostly women and children, when it leveled a building where they had taken shelter. The deadliest attack in nearly three weeks of warfare forced Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to cut short a Mideast mission and increased world pressure on the United States to back an end to the fighting.

The stunning bloodshed pushed American peace efforts to a crucial juncture, as fury at the United States flared in Lebanon, which said it no longer would negotiate a U.S. peace package without an unconditional cease-fire. U.N. chief Kofi Annan sharply criticized world leaders – implicitly Washington – for ignoring his previous calls to stop the violence.

The attack in the village of Qana brought Lebanon’s confirmed death toll to more than 510. Throughout the day, workers pulled dirt-covered bodies of young boys and girls – dressed in the shorts and T-shirts they had been sleeping in – out of the rubble of the three-story building.

Two extended families, the Shalhoubs and the Hashems, had gathered for shelter from another night of Israeli bombardment in the border area when the 1 a.m. strike brought the building down.

It may be tin foil hat time for some on the right who are now espousing the theory that Hezbolla explosives brought the apartment building in Qana down and not an Israeli airstrike. The are saying that the airstrike occurred at 1:00 a.m. and the building did not collapse until 8:00 a.m.

Interesting theory. But if that is the case, I’m wondering why the people inside the building did not vacate it after the airstrike. Did they just sit there for seven hours waiting for it to fall down on them? Somehow I do not think so.

From The Jerusalem Post:

On Sunday evening, Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel reported that some 150 rockets had been fired from Qana over the past 20 days.

Speaking to reporters, Eshel added that Hizbullah rocket launchers were hidden in civilian buildings in the village. He proceeded to show video footage of rocket launchers being driven into the village following launches.

Eshel also pointed out that the building was hit sometime around midnight Saturday night and didn’t collapse until about 8 a.m. Sunday morning, leaving an unusual gap in the timing of the events which the IDF was investigating.

“It’s possible that inside the house, something or other was being stored that caused an explosion – something that we didn’t succeed in blowing up in the [initial] attack and that perhaps was left over there,” Eshel said. “I say this very cautiously, because I currently don’t have the faintest idea what the explanation for this gap could be.”

Some of the comments attached to the Post article are stunning. For example, “Charlie – USA” had this to say:

Hezbollah moved their injured terrorists out of the building and replaced them with women and children detonated the remaining explosives in the building knowing that it would generate the current world outcry. They will stop at nothing even the murder of their own women and children to advance their goal to destroy the Jewish state. The Europeans are all to ready to support them in this.

Wow. That’s it. Just wow.

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Jul 302006
 

In Beirut…

Protestors break into U.N. in Beirut

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese protesters broke into the U.N. headquarters in Beirut on Sunday, smashing windows and ransacking offices, after an Israeli air strike killed 54 people in south Lebanon.

Several thousand people massed outside the building in downtown Beirut chanting “Death to Israel, death to America. We sacrifice our blood and souls for Lebanon.”…

U.N. spokesman Khaled Mansour said the building had been stoned and furniture smashed but no U.N. staff were hurt as they had taken refuge in the basement. He said a small fire was started on the second floor but it had been contained.

Demonstrators held aloft the flags of Lebanon, Hizbollah and the Amal party, whose leader, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, appealed for a halt to the attack on the building.

Demonstrators tore down a U.N. flag outside the building and ripped it to shreds and called on Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to launch rocket attacks on Tel Aviv.

“Oh Nasrallah, oh our cherished one, destroy, destroy Tel Aviv,” they chanted.

Members of Hizbollah, the Shi’ite group that sparked the war 19 days ago when it seized two Israeli soldiers and killed eight in a cross-border raid, tried to restrain the crowd.

Following the attack, Lebanon canceled a planned visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday, saying she was unwelcome until a ceasefire was declared.

Catch that last paragraph? The earlier spin from the White House was that Condi had herself decided to postpone her visit to Lebanon. Seems she didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter.

In Gaza City…

Protesters storm UN compound in Gaza City

GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian protesters stormed the main U.N. compound in Gaza City on Sunday during a demonstration against Israel’s bombing of southern Lebanon that killed around 60 civilians, witnesses and U.N. staff said.

Hundreds of members of the Islamic Jihad militant group, some throwing stones and others firing assault rifles, attacked the compound at the end of a rally, witnesses said.

At least five people were wounded, police said.

U.N. staff were inside the compound at the time, but managed to escape after U.N. guards let off tear gas canisters. A U.N. official said the compound, which includes scores of buildings, was ransacked and eight vehicles damaged.

Members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s special guard arrived shortly after the assault began and managed to disperse the crowd by firing into the air.

Witnesses in Gaza said extensive damage had been caused to the U.N. compound, from where the world body directs its relief and aid operations for the Gaza Strip’s 1.4 million people.

So what’s their beef with the U.N.? I thought the U.N. was more or less on their side, calling for an immediate cease-fire and what-not.

Oh, and don’t forget the other mess we’ve got going on… (the Bushies would like you to)…

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