Monday, February 27, 2006

What now.

When none other than William F. Buckley Jr. says we have failed in Iraq then I have to take notice. In an NRO article he states that the underlying postulates governing our Iraq policy are flawed.
One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom.
This goes farther than Iraq, can Arab Muslims anywhere suspend sectarian and tribal hatreds and form a government that respects the rights of others or is the only workable solution a dictatorial strongman than can ruthlessly suppress any opposition? Buckley refers to one soldier lamenting the fact that he can understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and the Shiites from each other’s throats.

Sunni Blogger GQ illustrates this hatred on his site.
I just got home and one of the first things my father told me that the Shia masjid/shrine is blown up. As soon as he said that, I had the BIGGEST smile on my face. LOL ALLAHU AKBAR!
I am so happy. May Allah reward the ones who did it. Ameen
These retarded scumbags need more of this. May Allah guide them or destroy these little dogs. Ameen
Go to the comments section to see saner Muslims condemn his vitriolic reaction. Such hatreds are not mainstream but in a country of 26 million if only a conservatively estimated 20% hold to these feelings that is 5,200,000 people ready to create havoc.

Add to this the usual blaming of the US. There are some that actually think the US committed the bombings or allowed them to take place. Obviously Americans did this. That way a sectarian civil war can break out with our troops in the middle. The tons of blood and dollars spent to build a Democratic Iraq can then go down the tubes in an orgy of Muslim against Muslim fighting and American influence in the region will all but be destroyed. Sure pal, makes sense to me. Certainly Iran, Sadr (same thing), or Al Qaeda have nothing to gain by a civil war but the benefits to the US are numerous and great. In the convoluted Middle East such conspiracies abound, I'm guilty myself by suspecting Sadr of being involved. Others agree. From The American Spectator:
The coordinated Shia-based assaults on hundreds of Sunni mosques that followed was directed by Iranian agents or fellow travelers. Signals source suspects the Iranians are using captured Salafists from Pakistan, men who are devoted to murdering Shia.These surrogates are captured by Iranian forces while en route to Iran and given a stark choice: conduct this murder campaign or we will just kill you where you hang.
Note that Mookie Sadr was in Beirut when the detonation triggered the so-called spontaneous lynch mobs. Sadr was put on an aircraft filled with special operations teams from Shia HizbAllah, along with communications and intelligence equipment to be used in the weeks ahead.

Mohammed at Iraq The Model also sees the Salafists as being the actual bombers:
It's not a secret who was behind the attack on the shrine and I am sure that who did it were the Salafi/Wahabis whether Iraqi or foreigners and with external support from parties planning to disrupt the political process in Iraq. The reason I believe it's the Salafis who did it comes from their own ideology which considers all mosques built upon tombs as places of polytheism and infidelity and thus must be destroyed. This also applies to Sunni shrines like Abu Haneefa and al-Gailani; Salafis consider the Shia and the Sufis their worst enemie and they commonly refer to them in their speech with the term "tomb worshippers" or Mushrikoon Quborioon in Arabic.

Regardless of who carried out the bombings the reactions were predictable. While Mohammed points out that just as with the cartoons when the bombing first happened everyone did not rush out and form a mob. Like so many sheep everyone waited till their Imam told them what to do.
So…the protests were not spontaneous like clerics want us to think; in fact the only spontaneous protest was the one in Samarra itself! I live here and I've seen the whole thing. The demonstrations in Baghdad began after the fatwa and I saw how shop keepers unwillingly closed their shops when the men in black with their arms and loudspeakers ordered them to do so "in the name of the Hawza" and I saw the sad look on the faces of people abandoning their only source of income for a time that could go indefinitely.
No matter how many votes you got in the last election if ain’t got a militia you ain’t nothing and the militias come out of this as being the only force that can protect the Mosques. Another result of this sad play is that Sunni participation in the Ministries of Defense and Interior is all but a dead deal. Just as Americans are leery of an Arab country managing our ports the Shia were not ready to allow the Sunni to be involved in the higher level governance of the Army or police. Some even went so far as to say our insistence that they be allowed to resulted in the bombing. In a way maybe it did. Such is politics in the Middle East.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Moqtada and the Mosque

Iraq is at a crossroads, the path Iraqis take now will have far reaching consequences that will last for decades. Two men blew up the famous golden dome at the al-Askari shrine in Samarra, one of Iraq's four holiest Shia sites. You can imagine the Shia reaction, Iraq has never been closer to civil war. I can’t believe the Sunni could be so stupid to have done this. Unless they believe American forces will fight and die to protect them in case of a civil war they must know they will be annihilated. Moqtada al-Sadr was conveniently out of country but rushes back to play the avenging hero. A Sadr aide said: "If the Iraqi government does not do its job to defend the Iraqi people we are ready to do so." I suspect him, or Iran, or both. Who else stands to gain from an all out civil war? Al Qaeda certainly , but I don’t believe Al Qaeda did this because those butchers would not have tied up the guards and removed from them from harm's way. Mohammed at Iraq the Model reports that retaliatory strikes against Salafi and Wahabi mosques are organized, occurring mostly in areas adjacent to Sadr city, and with Sadr militias taking over some mosques. On 24 May 2004 Sadr militia were suspected of firing mortars at the Imam Ali shrine in order to drum up opposition to the coalition forces and he was willing to risk the shrine by using it as a base to launch attacks against the coalition. Why such disrespect for Islamic places of worship and holy sights should be tolerated by Muslims is puzzling to say the least, especially in light of the reaction to a few irreverent cartoons. As his militia attack and occupy mosques Sadr calls on the Iraqi people for "unity and solidarity so as to deny any opportunity to those who wish to ignite public turmoil”, so you see he is also a peacemaker. Despite his laying low for awhile Sadr has never supported a Democratic Iraq, he and his Iranian buddies want a Mullacracy with him in charge. US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has called for checks on sectarian militias such as Sadr’s but after the bombing the government seems to be leaning towards more militia presence. Even Sistani seems to agree stating “If the security apparatuses are unable to safeguard against this crisis, the believers are able to do so, by the aid of God.” Correct me if I’m wrong but this all seems to be playing into Sadr’s hand.

I have been a steadfast supporter of this Middle East experiment in Democracy but if Iraq goes down the path of civil war I’m all for pulling our forces into Southern Kurdistan and letting the Sunni and Shia have at it. Had the Iraqis let the United States Marine Corp take out Sadr when we had the chance they would not be in this position. This is what appeasement gets you. Leader of the powerful SCIRI Islamist party Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, whose Badr Corps militia have been held in check by the US, blames Khalilzad for the bombing because he encouraged Sunni insurgents with comments this week insisting that the new cabinet include Sunnis and other minorities. In a most bizarre disconnect from reality loudspeakers from mosques blare out “God is Great, death to America which brought us terrorism." We are responsible for the fact that Islamic religious intolerance goes on even between Islamic sects. In all fairness it may be more political intolerance than religious, remember Sadr militia murdered Shia Grand Ayatollah Abd al-Majid al-Khoi at a mosque in Najaf because he was his biggest rival. Sistani may be next. It gets discouraging trying to support a tolerant, secular Democracy amidst such circumstances, especially when part of the price for that support is the blood of our sons and daughters. No doubt this is what Sadr, al Qaeda, and Iran want, the American people pulling out and leaving Iraq to them, but if Iraqis keep this up then that may be exactly what they get.


Bill Roggio is back at The Fourth Rail and has an excellent analysis on how close Iraq is to civil war. It looks like despite Sadr’s best efforts this might be avoided. LGF reports the Iranian Madman is blaming the US and Israel. Muslim Brotherhood front man Sheik Youssef al-Qaradawi is saying the same thing.
“No one benefits from such acts other than the US occupation and the lurking Zionist enemy.”
Sure pal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Port Security: Reporting to Corporate

Dubai Ports World is buying London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. and will now run commercial operations at shipping terminals in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. Dubai Ports World is a holding company, a corporation that owns enough voting stock in another firm to control management and operations by influencing or electing its board of directors. P&O officials have said they expect the company to be run out of London and do not expect changes in U.S. operations. Emphasis mine.

I work in a small privately run prison owned by a large international company that owns and manages prison facilities all over the world. We hire our own employees and the management, security, and day to day operations are dictated to us by our client, the New Mexico Corrections Department, NMCD. We are also accredited by the American Correctional Association, ACA, and must follow their guidelines on how we run our facility. So when I hear that our ports will still be run by unionized Americans and that security will be handled by the Coast Guard and Homeland Security, I am somewhat reassured that foreign ownership by Dubai will not significantly alter the current status quo. However what still concerns me is that the operational knowledge on how those ports are managed might fall into unfriendly hands.

Our facility is governed by policy and procedure. We have policies and procedures that cover every aspect of how we operate. Policies and procedures for payroll, staffing, security, maintenance, medical, warehouse, food service, fire and safety, education, and even our emergency plans. Policies and procedures set by NMCD, ACA, and corporate. There is literally nothing we do that is not covered by some policy and procedure. And all of those policies and procedures are sitting in corporate headquarters. Any changes go to corporate for approval and all of our many audits go to corporate. If our company was bought out by someone with ties to one of our major prison gangs, the Syndicato Nuevo Mexico or Los Carnales, I would be scared to death because of the possibility that all that intelligence could fall into the hands of someone who would use it against us. That is why I am concerned that Dubai Ports World, owned by the United Arab Emirates, will be managing our ports.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cartoon Chaos Continues

In Lebanon

In Syria

In Turkey

Throughout the Middle East the chaos continues. Over cartoons. OVER CARTOONS! How did we reach such a state of idiocy? Apparently a Danish author couldn’t get anyone to illustrate his book about Mohammed. The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten thought this sort of self-censorship regarding Islam in Denmark was rather unhealthy to the concept of free speech and asked twelve cartoonists to draw the prophet for them. It could have ended there but the Islamic Society in Denmark decided to stir things up and organized a tour of the Middle East to bring awareness of the cartoons to the Muslim street. Since the original twelve were not offensive enough they added three other fake cartoons which were not published anywhere and must have been drawn by ISD with the sole purpose of sufficiently offending Muslims to garner the rage they wanted. The first of the three additional and poorly drawn pictures shows Mohammad as a pedophile demon. The second shows Mohammed with a pig snout. The third depicts a praying Muslim being raped by a dog.

Certainly anything that takes the public’s awareness away from domestic conditions such as poverty, corruption, and tyranny and refocuses that awareness on some external threat that will stoke nationalist or religious pride is helpful to the regimes that wish to shift said awareness. That would explain the actions of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and others but the ISD seems to have started this for the sole purpose of starting this. The cartoons would have been quickly forgotten, instead they are now all over the net and many millions that would not have seen them are now fully focused on them. In reaction to the reaction Korans are now being burned and other desecrations of what Muslims hold sacred are being done. Is this what they wanted? Given the reaction to the fake story of Korans being flushed you have to think they knew how the Muslim street would react to this. They, and those others that pushed this story and called for this reaction wanted this. This is further evidenced by the fact that where the protest are being held there are lots of Danish flags ready to be burned. Obviously some logistical planning was involved, as Charles Moore points out.
It's some time since I visited Palestine, so I may be out of date, but I don't remember seeing many Danish flags on sale there. Not much demand, I suppose. I raise the question because, as soon as the row about the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Jyllands-Posten broke, angry Muslims popped up in Gaza City, and many other places, well supplied with Danish flags ready to burn.
If you think this isn’t a free speech issue think again. Jordan had an editor arrested for reprinting the cartoons. Norwegian Muslims are pushing for anti-blasphemy laws. The EU is looking to fix criminal penalties for racial or religious hatred.

Lest you think all Middle Easterners are insane here is what I’m hearing from some of their blogs:

Omid Paydar at Free Thoughts on Iran
Muslims may succeed to force non-Muslims (or even enlightened Muslims) in not offending their religion by threatening them with assassinations, bombs and bullets, but increasingly they have a harder time to sell Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance. In fact sincere respect is rarely gained through intimidation.
Ammar Abdulhamid at Amarji
Syria’s back in the headlines again, indeed, something is unraveling there. But what is it exactly? Is it the regime? Is it the opposition? Or is the entire country unraveling?

But then, perhaps we are all unraveling, all to the enjoyment of our viewers all over the world. Hey Bob, here goes the freaking region again. Don’t those people ever get tired of being mad?

Well, I guess not. We wouldn’t be true to form if we did. Besides, there is a certain intriguing, if not downright bewitching, quality to our madness that keeps the entire world fixated upon us, and we’d just die, not to mention kill, to remain the center of global attention. In some crazy way, but not so counterintuitive really, this does justify our “faith.” When you are chosen, it does not matter in the least for which you are chosen: blessedness or damnation, so long as you are chosen.
The Religious Policeman lampoons the Royals:
From: Royal Press Secretary
To: His Majesty
Date: 4th February 2006

Subject: Cartoons

I was perhaps too pessimistic at the end of my previous memo. Things have in fact turned out better than we might have expected.

As I reported, a number of other European newspapers did publish the cartoons. In two of those cases, the owners of those papers sacked the offending editors, thus demonstrating that jobs are at risk when we Muslims are offended! This, I am sure, is a lesson that will not have been lost on other editors. It is noticeable now that with a few striking exceptions, such as those very aggressive Germans, newspapers and broadcasters are very reluctant to show them further, and they appear not to have been shown at all in the USA.

What is also very gratifying is that officials in the West are not only accepting our right to be offended at whatever we choose, but they are also saying that the Western media should work to our standards, not theirs. It is striking how soon they forget about their self-professed "freedoms" when they witness a little righteous Muslim anger.
From Dailykos of all places comes confirmation that this is all a Saudi plot!

Sandmonkey wonders how future history books will describe the coming conflict.
A terrorist dirty bomb attack in France by Syrian terrorists prompted French President Chirac to actually "scratch that itch" and nuke Syria as he threatened with "za fwench newcleaar bombe", which enraged all the Muslim countries, led to huge unrest and revolutions, and brought to power the craziest elements the Muslim fanatic camp has to offer. Wasting no time, they declared full Jihad on Europe, and started what has become known the Western-Islamic Cartoon war."

How stupid would THAT be? I bet the kids will laugh their asses off during History class. That is, of course, if such a war left any survivors at all.
Haitham Sabbah at Sabbah's Blog wonders where this will end:
Okay. This is how the Arab/Muslim world looks like today. Hot-hearted!
Does it look good? I’m afraid not. The question is; where are we heading to? I just wish to hear one unified ‘list of demands’ so that one can follow up to see how this unrest will calm down.

Unfortunately, I can’t see any. Islamic leaders and clerics are just calling for protests and boycotting products of this country and that one. Some also say apology will be enough, other say no apology will be accepted. But, where does this end, how will this stop, and what is an acceptable solution? I’m afraid I don’t know.

Linked at Basil's Blog

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Free Syria!

Ammar Abdulhamid at Amarji - A Heretic's Blog has good news from Syria.
My “comrades in arms” and I have just concluded our first conference for the Syrian opposition groups in the US. The conference was organized by the Syrian National Council in the US, in cooperation with the Ahrar Movement and the Syrian National Council in Canada. It featured an amazing assortment of representatives of political currents and views, including representatives of the Syrian internal opposition groups, who have taken a tremendous risk by accepting to take part in such an event.
The last day, Sunday, also featured a most wonderful and inspiring phone conference with the recently freed Damascus Spring dissidents: Riad Seif, Walid al Bunni, Fawaz Tillo and Habeeb Issa, as well as the sublime spark behind the Atassy Forum Mrs. Suheir Atassy.

Despite the fact that discussion tended to veer into the usual old polemics and diatribe against the regime, a sense of focus and purpose prevailed throughout the two-day conference, and the concluding statement did a pretty decent job in summarizing the main points of agreements between the various groups, which seem quite capable of paving pave the way for the eventual establishment of an actual opposition platform or current in the very near future.
Emphasis mine. This is great news, especially this little tidbit.
These points included for the very first time a clear and an unequivocal legitimization by the internal opposition groups of the activities of their external counterparts, as well as a clear cut call for more coordination between all opposition movements wherever they happen to be. Considering the importance of the people taking place in the conference and the fact that they did represent all strands of the Syrian political spectrum, reaching such an agreement is by no means a small feat. Indeed, the chasm of the inside/outside dichotomy seems to have finally been traversed - A development that could indeed set the grounds for the adoption of more practical and dynamic measures in the work of the Syria national opposition in the future.
The criticism of most external opposition groups is that they have little or no support from Syrians inside Syria. If a bridge has been made between external and internal opposition that can only strengthen all parties involved.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cartoon Chaos

The outrage of the Muslim street over the publishing of 12 cartoons depicting Mohammed is about to heat up today. Several other papers will show their support of Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and freedom of the press by republishing those cartoons. Since I don’t wish to offend any of my readers I won’t run the cartoons but the curious can see them here. Why this is important can be summed up in a cartoon by Day by Day's Chris Muir:

It’s one thing to object to something because you find it offensive, quite another to threaten, kidnap and kill because you find something offensive. We call them Islamofascists for a reason, they will never tolerate our freedoms; freedom of religion, expression, the press, even Democracy are all forbidden in their brand of Islam. Those who say we must find out why the terrorists hate us need look no further than the tolerance they show for anything that does not fit their dogma. The Paris daily France Soir, German Die Welt, Italian La Stampa, Spanish El Periodico and Dutch Volkskrant have all defied the attempts by these fascists to dictate what we can or cannot see.

As usual the blogs are all over this. In Egypt Sandmonkey says those countries must also be boycotted by Muslims or else be labeled hypocrites.
A boycott isn't so easy to advocate when you are dealing with countries whose main exports are not butter, cheese and Lego NOW IS IT? Especially when it comes to your precious Mercedeses and Beemers huh?
Saudi blogger The Religious Policeman sees a conspiracy by the Royal family.
As Your Majesty requested recently, in order to divert public attention from the regrettable demise of a small number of pilgrims in Makkah during the last Hajj, Saudi newspapers were instructed to revive the four-month-old story of cartoons about the Prophet (PBUH) in a Danish newspaper, and turn it into an attack on Denmark, together with a "spontaneous demand by the people" for a boycott of Danish goods.
That is probably not too far fetched. Freedom for Egyptians points out:
I wonder why Muslims do not get so fervent about a dying patient for the lack of medicine, about a corrupt government that is stealing all their money and leaving them in shit, about the right to enjoy life in freedom protected by the laws and legislation, about bribing police and traffic officers to cancel contraventions, about more than one million street children in Egypt abused by the people everyday, about injustice in general…the list so long to continue.
It’s a common tactic by tyrannical regimes to misdirect the public’s attention on them by stirring up passions against someone else. What I find perplexing is that this can be so easily done in the Muslim world and over something so silly as a cartoon.


Big Pharaoh reports that a Jordanian paper "Shayhan" published 3 of the cartoons and urged Muslims to think rationally. Hours later, the owners of the weekly said they had fired its editor and withdrawn the issue from sale, and the government threatened legal action.

The hypocrisy is amazing. Here we see the reaction to a few cartoons.

Here we see the reaction to 9/11.

Here they get tied together.

I don’t mean to dump on all Muslims here, the bloggers above are Middle Easterners that understand the lunacy of the Muslim street's reaction to the cartoons. But moderate Muslims have to get some control over their religion or anti-Muslim sentiment will only continue to grow with the mainstream Muslims suffering the consequences. What hurts Islam more, a few irreverent cartoons or Islamists cutting off the heads of Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia? Warning that link has a very graphic picture that is truly offensive, but illustrates the point that you have to give other religions respect in order to get it. Hamas can occupy and desecrated the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and win elections. But let word get out that a Koran has been flushed and out comes the Muslim street’s outrage. Bibles aren’t even allowed in Saudi Arabia. Islamists are persecuting and killing Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, animists, moderate Muslims and others, in Algeria, Pakistan, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria. Where’s the respect?

Other ME developments. As expected Sandmonkey hasn’t gotten anyone to boycott French, Italian, or German products. Atlas Shrugs notes how three fake cartoons were added to make sure Muslims were really offended.
The organisation Islamic Society in Denmark toured the Middle-East to create awareness about the cartoons, bringing 3 additional images, which HAD NEVER been published in any media source. Evidently, the originals were not offensive enough for the trip so they had to add these three:
The first of the three additional pictures, which are of poor quality, shows Muhammad as a pedophile demon. The second shows Muhammed with a pig snout. The third depicts a praying Muslim being raped by a dog.
Which begs the question, will the Islamic Society in Denmark be put on a death fatwa?

Linked at Basil's Blog