Saturday, October 30, 2004

Even after the broadcasting of a tape showing U.S. soldiers breaking into al-Qa'qaa' campsite (not al-Qaqa as they call it here), "the Pentagon spokesman still clinging to the line that Saddam may be responsible for the disappearance of the rest."

I gave up trying to understand what he said after the fifth reading, see if you can:

"I can't say that RDX (explosive) that was on the list of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) is in what the major pulled out. The major has said and I think in terms of what the way we've tried to understand this, is that we believe that some of the things that they were pulling out of there was RDX. Was it RDX that is associated with what the IAEA declared? My only point on that is I'm not sure we know what the IAEA declared because they first said there were some 141 tonnes of it there. We're now trying to better understand some of the reports that indicate there may have only been three tonnes of it, at that particular facility." Larry de Rita, Pentagon spokesman

Thursday, October 28, 2004

"About 100,000 Iraqi civilians - half of them women and children - have died in Iraq since the invasion, mostly as a result of airstrikes by coalition forces, according to the first reliable study of the death toll from Iraqi and US public health experts."

Imagine if Mr. Bush has the chance to spend 35 years in Iraq. He would certainly kill 35 times as many innocent civilians - mostly women and children - as Saddam did. Then he would say that all of them are insurgents. Saddam used to call them traitors.

Once again, the Iraqis are right and Bush-Cheney propaganda machine is wrong -- or is it "deceptive?

A videotape made by a television crew with American troops when they opened bunkers at a sprawling Iraqi munitions complex south of Baghdad shows a huge supply of explosives still there nine days after the fall of Saddam Hussein, apparently including some sealed earlier by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The tape...appeared to confirm a warning given earlier this month to the agency by Iraqi officials, who said that hundreds of tons of high-grade explosives, powerful enough to bring down buildings or detonate nuclear weapons, had vanished from the site after the invasion of Iraq."

But "Mr. Bush [kept] saying it is unclear when the material disappeared." Well, it is not the only unclear matter for him, is it?

Now, in his crusade "to prevent WMD from falling in the wrong hands", Mr. Bush just gave a highly desired gift to the terrorists. Then he came back to tell the uninformed that "the world is safer."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

"You're gonna take a dog's word over our president's?"

Excuse me!!!

Iyad Allawi seems to be playing with fire. He thought that he is a real prime minister. Or was he given the permission to say:

"I think there was major negligence by the multinational forces...It was a way to damage Iraq and the Iraqi people."

Don't get me wrong. I agree with him (I can't believe that I just wrote that). The occupying forces are responsible for any security failure as long as they stay in Iraq. They cannot have it both ways. The problem is that their concern is exclusively about protecting themselves, and sadly, they are not doing even that successfully. When they leave Iraq, they will be safe and Iraqis will not face higher risks without them. I believe that it is best if they leave Iraq and follow the Iraqi proverb: "Do not step on a genie, and you will not need to carry an amulet."

Until now, they seem to like the Iraqi peoverb: "I will not help you, nor will I let you beg." They are not protecting Iraqis, nor are they getting out of the way.

If you see a few trucks, anywhere in Iraq, carrying 380 tons of high explosives, please call the Bush campaign. Please do not call after November 2nd. The information will not be of value after that date. Meanwhile, please do not panic. "The world is safer."

Monday, October 25, 2004

Tunisian President is losing popularity. He got only 95% of the votes this time. Last elections he had 99.4%.

Meanwhile, Hamid Karzai is winning more than the 50% he needs to avoid a second election.

Care to speculate on the Iraqi elections?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Macedonia will not withdraw its soldiers from Iraq and will keep participating in the antiterrorist coalition", [Macedonian President] Crvenkovski said after visiting the ARM House in Bitola.

Thank God. It is impossible to imagine the security situation in Iraq without the 32 Macedonian soldiers.

"But three years later, not a single terrorist has been prosecuted. Of the roughly 560 men being held at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, only 4 have been formally charged. Preliminary hearings for those suspects brought such a barrage of procedural challenges and public criticism that verdicts could still be months away. And since a Supreme Court decision in June that gave the detainees the right to challenge their imprisonment in federal court, the Pentagon has stepped up efforts to send home hundreds of men whom it once branded as dangerous terrorists." The New York TImes is trying to figure out why.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Brandissant les récits bibliques et les mythes fondateurs de l'Amérique, un grand nombre d'organisations évangéliques proches du président, convaincues que le Messie reviendra en Terre promise après avoir rassemblé le peuple juif, soutiennent l'établissement d'un "Grand Israël". (Merci, Merry)

For Kerry supporters, here is an endorsement.

"Better to be humiliated than beheaded." Said one of my readers, Khadi.

You might be right, Khadi. But to many people, indeed it is better to be killed than humiliated. Not all people value their life more than their dignity.

But the decent thing is not to do either. There is nothing more repugnant and more cowardly than hurting a prisoner.

But you will not understand this, Khadi. You have to experience it first hand to understand this reality. I have been in that position and was tortured by the guards in the detention camp where I was held. That is why I am unable to give any benefit of the doubt for these cowards.

Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick II "was sentenced to eight years in prison at a court-martial in Baghdad today for sexually and physically abusing detainees. The judge, Col. James Pohl, also sentenced the reservist, Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick II, to a reduction in rank to private, to forfeiting his pay and to a dishonorable discharge from the Army."

Frederick lawyer disagreed with the punishment, calling it "excessive" and saying "that there is corporate responsibility."

"I was considering voting for Bush when I thought being in Iraq was best for us and best for Israel...Then I thought it wasn’t best for us, but it was good for Israel. Now I’m convinced it’s not good for Israel," said John Drill, 47, a building contractor in West Caldwell, N.J.

So this "great American" was willing to vote for Bush when he thought the war in Iraq "thought it wasn’t best for us, BUT it was good for Israel." And turned against Bush only when he became "convinced it’s not good for Israel."

Why am I not shocked?!

It was clear from the outset that this war was not good for us. This should have blocked any "but", "however", "nevertheless", or "having said that."

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

More on prophets and miracles from

When self-appointed prophets turn against each other the scene becomes a little awkward.

"The evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson has set off a partisan fight by telling a television interviewer that President Bush serenely assured him just before the invasion of Iraq, 'Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties'."

Robertson "said, closely paraphrasing Mark Twain, the president looked 'like a contented Christian with four aces.'"

"The highest-ranking soldier charged in the Abu Ghraib scandal pleaded guilty Wednesday to five charges of abusing Iraqi detainees at the prison as a two-day court-martial opened at a U.S. base in Baghdad.
U.S. Army reservist Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick, 38, of Buckingham, Va., admitted to allegations of conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault, and committing an indecent act. He was expected to be sentenced Thursday...

Asked whether he believed the actions and pictures were 'indecent,' Frederick agreed but said he did it 'just to humiliate' the Iraqi detainees."

It is beyond me, why Iraqis can't make themselves LOVE these heros who liberated (read humiliated) them!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Catastrophic plans by catastrophic clergy-in-military-uniforms led by a self-appointed prophet was destined to lead to nothing short of a "catastrophic success".

Read here how the story unfolded.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The President received the endorsement of Mr. Putin. Care to share with us what the two have in common?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

"There should no longer be any doubt that the war in Iraq is an exercise in lunacy. It was launched with a spurious rationale, the weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be a fantasy relentlessly stoked by obsessively hawkish middle-aged men who ran and hid when they were of fighting age and the nation was at war," says BOB HERBERT.

It seems that the New York Times has endorsed Mr. Kerry for President. Here is why:

"There is no denying that this race is mainly about Mr. Bush's disastrous tenure. Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right."

Iraq says 'come and get us' to Western oil companies (Thanks, Merry)

Friday, October 15, 2004

While millions of Iraqis are living in gross levels of poverty and unemployments, $ billions are being wasted and/or stolen in broad daylight. The worst of all is the everlasting talk about American taxpayers' money helping Iraqis.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Ramadhan Mubarak for all my fellow Muslims. May Allah give you the strength and good health to fast and enjoy the peace of mind.

To the rest of my fellow humans, best wished in a happy holiday season.

The pettiness of the Bush administration is unbelievable.

US ambassador to Spain George Argyros was criticized by the Spanish government on Wednesday for "showing disrespect" after failing to attend Spain's national day celebrations.

"The US ambassador should have participated in the celebrations.His absence from it means he is not willing to share the Spanish people's joy and happiness on that day," Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said.

Spanish King Juan Carlos I and all ambassadors to Spain except Argyros attended the Oct. 12 celebrations.

A spokesman for the US embassy to Spain said Ambassador Argyros"did not intend to defy the Spanish government and its king," adding that the ambassador failed to attend the celebrations due to "traffic trouble."

This article in the Times of London has more to report on the affair.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

What were some soldiers doing, when they were not busy liberating Iraqis?

Well... They don't call that part of the world "the Fertile Crescent" for nothing !!

Here is an audio on reporting from Iraq. Three journalists who have been there virtually said that they send Iraqis to the streets and have them come back and describe what they saw. Then the precious journalists would turn this hearsay into news to feed America. That ought to be very assuring!

Monday, October 11, 2004

"Women may neither vote nor run in Saudi Arabia's first nationwide elections, the government announced Monday, dashing hopes of progressive Saudis and easing fears among conservatives that the kingdom is moving too fast on reforms."

Don't even think that President Bush will bring this issue up with his very close friend, Prince Bander (Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.), when they have their next dinner together. Prince Bander is so close to Bush-Cheney, it is even reported that he was told about the invasion of Iraq before Secretary Powell.

"The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there are not enough women to run women's-only registration centers and polling stations, and that only a fraction of the country's women have the photo identity cards that would have been needed to vote."

As far as common sense is concerned, there is not a bit of difference between the Saudi Royal family and any extremist thug who claims to be applying Islam (such as the Taliban). They behead people at will, with fake trials, and they oppress women, and they are as intolerant as the Taliban. They even subscribe to the same erroneous interpretation of Islam as the Taliban did. But we know why they seem to be cute in Mr. Bush's eyes.

Meet President Bush's "fully trained" Iraqi police and national guards.

"That's a standard of training Americans would never accept," said Gerald F. Burke, a retired Massachusetts State Police major who spent more than a year as an adviser to Baghdad police commanders. "It's a standard the Iraqis wouldn't accept if they didn't have to. Really, it's just an excuse for us to be able to say, 'Hey, we tried.7"

Sunday, October 10, 2004

"What elections are you talking about?" said Raad Rahim Ahmed, a 50-year-old resident of Samarra, who said American soldiers killed his wife and two children when they cleared the city of insurgents last week.
"I've lost my entire family," he said. "Why should I trust this government? Why should I vote at all?"

This man's tragedy, among others, was totally disregarded by the Iraqi interim monister Interior who said that the military campaign Samarra peobably had no civilian casualties.

As to the preparation for elections: here is how it is done:

"candidates say they have begun meeting with tribal leaders to persuade them to support their candidacies." In case you missed it, this is exactly what I argued in my recent article:

"Political parties, religious powerbrokers and tribal interests, not the will of the people, are likely to be the deciding factors in the outcome of this process."

They "spent almost $200 million staging the vote[, and a]t least 12 election workers, and dozens of Afghan security forces, died in the past few months as the nation geared up for the election."

Finally, the whole thing was spoiled by a few gallons of bad ink
. Add that to the widespread double registration, known to officials prior to election day, and you have intentional fraud in broad day light. Somebody/people decided to rob millions of people [in Afghanistan] of their first chance to directly decide their leader."

My dear guest, Knowl8dge, asks:

What influence do you believe the elections in Afghanistan will have on the upcoming elections in Iraq

If I were to compare the two, I would be comparing oranges and apples. Here is why:

1. The people of Afghanistan and those of Iraq are different in just about everything, except for religion. Each country has its unique historical and political experience.

2. Almost all the candidates in Afghanistan do have real popular base, at least within their areas. Most of the anticipated Iraqi candidates will not have that.

3. Who wins in Afghanistan has much less importance for the U.S. and its favorite "allies" than who wins in Iraq.

4. The type of violence in Afganistan is different from that in Iraq. This might sound strange for some people, but a careful review would support it.

5. There will be much more regional influence in Iraq (in many ways) than it has been in Afghanistan.

There is more, but you get the picture.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

My new article in Al-Ahram Weekly is out today. Here is a glimpse:

"In a region like the Middle East, democracy is meaningless without force to back it up and protect it. Without a strong military and an efficient police, the future government of Iraq has only two options for survival -- and either of these will destroy its legitimacy. It can either become a client of a regional power, or agree to be a protectorate of the United States. If you still believe there is a "third way", then I suggest you take a good look around the region, and re-assess the political condition of the weaker states." More is here.

Roya's article in today's Christian Science Monitor.

"The Salam Watandar staff have experienced intimidation firsthand. A uniformed officer and four plainclothes security officials stormed into our offices in August, demanding to know a reporter's source for a story about a bomb plot at an Afghan ministry - a story that had not even aired. Twelve armed police surrounded the building while they attempted to interrogate us. Salam Watandar's management refused to reveal the reporter's source. The next day, police came to Internews and asked for a staff list, claiming this was a security requirement. It's unclear if Afghanistan's inexperienced courts would affirm Salam Watandar's decision to protect the source. So far, the courts have failed to come down on the side of the press."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

In a poem published in Arabic last month, Mahmoud Darwish bids Edward Said farewell:

"On wind he walks, and in wind
he knows himself. There is no ceiling for the wind,
no home for the wind. Wind is the compass
of the stranger's North.
He says: I am from there, I am from here,
but I am neither there nor here.
I have two names which meet and part...
I have two languages, but I have long forgotten
which is the language of my dreams.
I have an English language, for writing,
with yielding phrases,
and a language in which Heaven and
Jerusalem converse, with a silver cadence,
but it does not yield to my imagination."


After I banned Crusader, he/she is back. But changing a name does not make one smarter.

Here are your answers, Crusader:
1. "...define and discuss taqiyya and kitman for us benighted Westerners".

Taqiyya means one is allowed to hide his/her own belief if he/she feels that he/she is is very likely to be persecuted when the belief is revealed. It does not allow for wrongdoing and the most important guide that regulates Taqiyya is the dictum: "Taqiyya stops before shedding any blood." Means one canot kill to save him/herself. It is broadly defined by the Shi'a (makes sense, since they have been persecuted for centuries). The Sunni Muslims have a narrower practice for it.

"kitman" means nothing more than "not revealing..."; you need a direct object (or genetive structure) to make it meaningful. In the context of the topic at hand, it simply means the practice of Taqiyya. Again, practicing Taqiyya does not exempt one from the guidelines of religion and human decency. It is about being resourceful to avoid unjust persecution. Hardly anyone can say that he/she never used such method in entire life.

2. "...perhaps you would also address the Islamic concept of "honor" that allows a Muslim parasite to live off taxpayer funded academic institutions in the infidel West rather than conducting his "studies" in one of the many great Islamic centers of learning and free inquiry."

If you are directing this charge at me, I'd say you are shamefully wrong. I have been paying taxes for 12 years, and studying for six years (also as a taxpayer). So I am one of those who "fund" these academic institutions, not to mention the great favor I am doing them by teaching Arabic language to hundreds of students who might have to travel thousands of miles to get similar level of expertise, if they are lucky.

If anything, it is these academic institutions that are being parasites on my expertise, paying me half the amount they would pay an outsider with 20% of my expertise in what I do. If ou have been in a university in your life, you would know that graduate student employment is one of the last legal slave labor left in this country.

And, by the way, I did conduct 16 years of my studies in a muslim country including 5 years in a wonderful University in the Middle East. Do you believe that there is any U.S. university that can take someone like you and bring him into a true scholar of Islam in four years? You need more than that to learn how to read child stories.

Now go find another name or another blog where your nonsense pass undetected.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I am sure that many of you were feeling the pain during the debate. Here is a nice fact check article from the NY Times. Please read it and comment on who won the debate, if the only yardstick were "telling the truth."

This editorial called Mr. Cheney "dyspeptic." He certainly must reduce his "oil" consumption!

Thank God for the "link" feature. Otherwise some people probably would not believe this.

"The former U.S. official who governed Iraq after the invasion said yesterday that the United States made two major mistakes: not deploying enough troops in Iraq and then not containing the violence and looting immediately after the ouster of Saddam Hussein."

Of course, you must have noticed that both "mistakes" happened before he packed his sorry "expertise" in terrorism and went to Iraq, to prove that he is an expert of creating terrorism, rather than fighting it.

"We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness...We never had enough troops on the ground," he said.

Of course this is 18 months too late for Iraqis to benefit from it; but it might be just in time for John Edwards today.

I hate it when people try to trick me by using out of context verses from the Qur'an. The latest is a Comment by someone signing as "Crusader". Here is the comment:

"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them. [Quran 8:12]"

Nice try, Crusader.

But remember that you are in the presence of a real expert on Islam -- not some CNN self-appointed "expert".

Your citation is one third of a verse -- the last third, that is. Is it that you copied it from a book/article by some orientalist who duped you? Or are you trying to "pull a fast one" here?

Care to try posting the whole verse? If not I will. Then everyone will see how off you are. And then we have to take into account all other verses on the topic to get the final position of the Qur'an.

As to your style: Muslim scholars call it "the 'WOE TO THOSE WHO PRAY' style." Not finishing the verse suggests that the Qur'an prohibits prayer.

Monday, October 04, 2004

"The president likes to tell us that 'freedom is winning' in Iraq, that democracy is on the march. But Americans are coming to realize that Iraq is, in fact, a country in agony, beset by bombings, firefights, kidnappings, beheadings and myriad other forms of mayhem. The president may think that freedom is winning, but television viewers in the U.S. could see images over the weekend of distraught Iraqis pulling the bodies of small children from smoking rubble - a tragic but perfect metaphor for a policy in ruins."

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Numbers after the first debate:

Newsweek poll, released yesterday, suggests that John Kerry has solidified this into a 47%-45% lead among registered voters.

Newsweek also found Mr Kerry's favourability rating rising to 52% and Mr Bush's falling to 49%, the first time it has dropped below the halfway mark since July.

Mr Kerry, frequently portrayed as aloof and patrician, even came across as more likeable, the poll found, leading Mr Bush 47%-41%.

I do not endorse either candidate. I am just giving you the numbers. My only feeling is amazement that after almost four years of failure on every front, 49% of Americans still favor the President.

I think that we all have to stand corrected. We must forget the images we saw and the news articles we read about Samarra. Here is the official announcement:

I just watched the Iraqi monster of Interior declare that Samarra was rid of the terrorists and "probably without any civilian casualties."

Saturday, October 02, 2004

According to the numbers given by Az-Zaman newspaper, 25% of Friday's casualties (deaths) are women and children. Normally, the wounded in such operations, are predominantly civilians, as footage from the hospitals show.

I don't know how Iyad Allawi thinks that this is a good way to campaign for elections.

In case you did not notice, Thomas Friedman is back from a "hunting trip".

"We're in trouble in Iraq," he said. He was one of the staunchest defenders of this war, calling it the best policy since the.... (you fill in the blank).

As I was watching dead small children (3 - 5 years old) being pulled from the under the rubble in Samarra, I was wondering about the rationale for this atrocious behavior that cannot be matched, unless we go back to Saddam's worst days (notice that the article calls these children "guerrillas").

Now I found the rationale for crucifying Samarra:

"Analysts in the US said an offensive was also a way to give Iraqi forces some needed combat experience before they might have to take on Ramadi and Fallujah."

The question that comes from this rationale is: why then they dismissed Saddam's army? It certainly have perfect "combat experience" for killing, using gas, and digging mass graves. Why waste money and corrupt new guys, if the present is like the past or worse?

Friday, October 01, 2004

"The Taleban were better than the government of Hamid Karzai, because they punished criminals and no one dared to commit such crimes under their regime," he said. (Thanks Roya)

When a rotten, extremist, backward and ruthless regime -- the Taliban -- is considered better than Karzai, this does not indicate any progress. Don't you think?

Happy new fiscal year!

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