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FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, August 20, 2008


RUSSIAN MURDER

By Scott Stantis


Political Cartoons by Scott Stantis

www.townhall.com/funnies  

*

MCCAIN-LIEBERMAN 2008?

By Charles Johnson

The Politico headline says it all: McCain weighs a Lieberman surprise.

John McCain is seriously considering choosing a pro-abortion-rights running mate despite vocal resistance from conservatives, with former Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) very much in the mix, close McCain advisers say.

Under strong consideration: former Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Ridge, and Lieberman, who was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000.

Multiple GOP sources say that party officials in Washington and in the states have been contacted by the McCain campaign in the past two weeks and asked about the fallout from such a choice. One person familiar with the calls said the party was being instructed to prepare for different candidate prototypes — including one in the mold of Lieberman, who is an independent but still caucuses with the Democrats.  Tuesday, August 19, 2008

http://littlegreenfootballs.com

*

MAYBE THEY REALLY MEAN IT


By John Hinderaker

A lot of Democrats are unhappy with Joe Lieberman, and a lot of AP reporters are Democrats. So the way the AP described Joe Lieberman in this story could be either a typo or a Freudian slip; click to enlarge:

Normally you'd assume it's a typo, but Best of the Web pointed it out hours ago, and it hasn't been corrected. So, who knows? Maybe the AP really means it.

HE MAY NOT BE TRAILING MCCAIN, BUT HE'S TRAILING KERRY

By John Hinderaker

At The Corner, James Robbins compares Barack Obama's current standing in the polls with John Kerry's, four years ago:

A handy feature on the electoral-vote.com web site is a one-click comparison of the current electoral map projections with those on the same date four years ago. Today's map shows Obama with a projected 275 votes to McCain's 250, with 13 up for grabs. Four years ago — Kerry 317, Bush 202, and 19 tied.

Glenn Reynolds adds:

Of course, Kerry was hurt by an overly grandiose performance at the Convention, and by media bias that backfired. Obama should be safe from that, right?  Tuesday, August 19, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com

*

HOW A BBC CHARITY FUNDED THE 7/7 BOMBERS

By Michelle Malkin



This one’s crying out for Photoshoppers…

Really, there’s only one thing to type in reaction to this jaw-dropping report on how a BBC charity called “Children in Need” helped fund the 7/7 bombers’ jihad– and how the ninnies dispensing the philanthropic funds didn’t want to ask the (non-needy children) terrorist recipients what they were doing with the money for fear of offending Muslims:

$%^&*#@*&$%)(*@!@!@!#$!!!!!

The charity funds went to 7/7 jihadists’ propaganda videos, radical bookstore, gym equipment, and a rafting trip for the killers before the deadly terrorist attacks in London claimed 52 innocent lives.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Political correctness is the handmaiden of terrorism.

And Toynbee, as usual, has been proven right once again: Civilizations die by suicide, not by murder.

The BBC’s Children in Need gave £20,000 raised by the general public to fund the 7/7 bombers, it emerged last night.

The cash was given to an Islamic bookshop operated by bombers Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer who spent it on propaganda videos glorifying Jihad.

It also funded computers, gym equipment and the notorious rafting trip to North Wales made by the pair a month before the attacks on London in 2005, which killed 52 and maimed hundreds.

Relatives of those who died in the atrocity claimed Children in Need was hampered from asking about the money for fear of causing offence to Muslims.

Children in Need Chief Executive David Ramsden last night said he was ‘extremely concerned’ and ordered an investigation.

But he insisted the charity had had no idea the money was being used to fund terrorism.

The £20,000 was part of an award made to Leeds Community School in the Beeston area of the city

The school was awarded just short of £250,000, of which £20,000 came from Children in Need and was given between 1999 and 2002.

Along with the school, the money also paid for the adjoining Iqra bookshop, which was run by the bombers and was the first place they came together to hatch their plans.

Children in Need and Leeds Council thought they were funding educational work for local children.

Instead, according to Martin Gilbertson, who worked at both the bookshop and the community centre, the atmosphere was anything but educational.

‘They blamed everything on the Jewish conspiracy, they hated western culture it was like living with Jihad on a daily basis’, he said.

They and Khalid Khaliq, who was jailed this year for terrorism offences, were all trustess of the Beeston Iqra charity.

According to Mr Gilbertson all three made a point of persuading local authorities to hand over hundreds of thousands of pounds which they subsequently used for terror purposes.

Hey, while we’re talking about the boobs at the BBC, check who’s at the bottom of the media believability list (via Pew Research Center). With damned good reason:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

www.michellemalkin.com

*

UDALL FLIPS ON DRILLING, COLORADO REELS

By Ed Morrissey

When last we saw Mark Udall, the Democratic Representative and Senate hopeful had skulked off a plane from DC after reneging on his promise to keep the House in session until Nancy Pelosi allowed a vote on drilling. When Pelosi called for the adjournment vote, Udall suddenly took a powder — and Pelosi won the adjournment by the single vote Udall failed to cast. The NRSC published this web video on Udall, capturing the furtive, over-the-shoulder look the AWOL Congressman gave a local TV videographer in the airport:

Now Politico reports that Udall has pledged to support drilling in the OCS, reversing himself on a key environmental position:

Udall, one of the House’s preeminent environmentalists and the Democratic nominee in a closely contested Colorado Senate race, came out in favor of a bipartisan, comprehensive energy plan that would permit additional offshore drilling — a striking departure from his past opposition to such measures.

He also aired a television ad featuring oil workers on a derrick, with Udall saying, “We’ve got to produce our own oil and gas here in our country and keep it here to power America’s economy. …

But Udall — whose Senate campaign has renamed his GOP opponent, Bob Schaffer, “Big Oil Bob” — is certainly one of the least likely proponents of offshore drilling.

His family name is closely tied with the protection of natural resources and conservation, consistent with the approach that he has advocated in the House. In Congress, Udall opposed offshore drilling on numerous occasions, and voted against expanding refinery capacity six times.

This is a measure of how well the Republicans have managed the oil crisis over the last few weeks, or perhaps more accurately, how badly Democrats have bungled it.  Udall himself became a poster boy for Democrats fleeing from the drilling question. The House OIl Party conducted by the GOP caucus has continually reminded everyone that the Democratic leadership has been AWOL all along.

Now Democrats want to try reversing their loss in standing by offering somewhat less demonization and at least a rhetorical paean to American production.  Udall kept painting his Republican opponent for the Senate, Bob Schaffer, as “Big Oil Bob”, right up to the point where even Democrats realize that the populist demonization of American oil producers has become passé.  Instead of real solutions, though, they insist that oil companies have to drill on unproductive leases first before they can look for more oil elsewhere, and that a windfall-profits tax will help investment by stripping producers of their capital for exploration and extraction.

Udall and the rest of the Democrats have finally awoken to the anger of an American public which finally realized that they have been fed populist pap for decades on oil production.  Now life-long obstructionists like Udall want to cover themselves by pretending to be more oil-friendly than Republicans while offering nothing in terms of actual increased domestic production.  Udall and his friends may think they can fool the American electorate one more time, but Americans understand the issue much more clearly than ever — which is why Udall and his caucus have reluctantly begun their retreat from retreat.  Tuesday, August 19, 2008

http://hotair.com

*

THE FIRE IN RUSSIA

By Richard Fernandez


A flare for energy
A flare for energy

Most of Russia’s current power and influence comes from its production and control of energy. According to the DOE, “Russia’s economic growth over the past seven years has been driven primarily by energy exports, given the increase in Russian oil production and relatively high world oil prices during the period.”

“Russia’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and natural gas exports. In order to manage windfall oil receipts, the government established a stabilization fund in 2004. By the end of 2007, the fund was expected to be worth $158 billion, or about 12 percent of the country’s nominal GDP. According to calculations by Alfa Bank, the fuel sector accounts for about 20.5 percent of GDP, down from around 22 percent in 2000. According to IMF and World Bank estimates, the oil and gas sector generated more than 60 percent of Russia’s export revenues (64% in 2007), and accounted for 30 percent of all foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.”

Russia’s major market for natural gas is Europe. These Department of Energy maps depict the existing and proposed routes of Russian pipelines not only to Europe, but to all points. One key difference between Russia’s pipeline-based natural gas distribution network and a system based on tankers is that Russian gas has to transit sovereign countries. This is contrast to the shipping which enjoys freedom of navigation on the world’s oceans. Pipelines must be protected continuously and persistently along their entire length unlike shipping which occupies a moving dot on the vast ocean and around which defenses can be concentrated. Pipelines moreover, cannot be easily rerouted. Ships, by comparison, can select alternate routes in responses to changes in the weather or obstruction. Russia must resort to a combination of bribery and threat to ensure that its energy exports get safe passage.

Natural gas is used primarily for heating and electrical power generation. Nuclear power, which fills a similar market niche, produced half as much as conventional thermal generating power in Europe in 2005. For North America it was only over a quarter. Nevertheless Europe is a heavy user of Russian natural gas, as is shown in the table below.

Customers
Customers

But nothing stands still and Russia’s natural gas production will decline unless it can successfully develop new fields and new routes. The DOE writes:

Gazprom’s natural gas production forecast calls for modest growth of 1-2 percent per year by 2010. Russia’s natural gas production growth reflects its aging fields, state regulation, Gazprom’s monopolistic control over the industry, and insufficient export pipelines. … Based on EIA analysis, Gazprom’s production from its largest four fields is expected to decline by around 1,800 Bcf in the next four years. Gazprom’s targeted production for 2011 is an increase of around 1,000 Bcf from 2007 levels. … Domestic gas prices in Russia are only around 15-20 percent of the market rate at which Russia’s gas is sold to Germany, and Gazprom lost around $420 million in 2006 on domestic natural gas sales. Low prices have impacted the gas industry’s ability to finance capital spending and have hurt incentives to increase efficiency.

As old fields decline and production moves to fields in Siberia and the Barent’s Sea, Russia’s logistical calculus will become even more complicated. Selling off a depleting resource in order to fund a transitory condition of prestige among sullen neighboring countries and to keep domestic prices low may prove a difficult strategy to sustain. Recent reports for example that Russia is distributing passports in the Ukraine to people of Russian ethnicity may support Moscow in the short term. But in the long term it bodes ill for relationships in the area. In the medium to long term, the containment of Russia will focus around diplomatic efforts to draw countries around its periphery into arrangements with the West and to do with energy policy. Energy is Russia’s strength and its Achilles’ heel.  August 18, 2008

http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez

*

INTERNATIONAL WILL

By Eric Allie


Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

www.townhall.com/funnies 

*

ROP KILLS 23 IN PAKISTAN

By Charles Johnson

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a hospital in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 23 people.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — A suicide bomber killed 23 people at a hospital in northwest Pakistan Tuesday, highlighting the militant challenge facing the government after the resignation of Pervez Musharraf.

In other violence in the wake of the US-backed president’s decision to bow out on Monday, five soldiers and 13 Taliban militants were killed in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The suicide attack happened as Shiite Muslims gathered to protest over the death of a man in a suspected sectarian attack in the troubled town of Dera Ismail Khan, said North West Frontier Province police chief Malik Naveed Khan.

“There are 23 confirmed dead and up to 20 wounded. We have found the legs of the suspected suicide bomber,” Khan told private Geo television, adding that tensions were high in the area after the blast.

ROP KILLS 43 IN ALGERIA

By Charles Johnson

Another attack by the Religion of Peace in Algeria: Suicide attack at Algerian police academy kills 43.

ALGIERS, Algeria - A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-rigged car into a police academy as recruits lined up to register for classes, killing at least 43 people. It was the deadliest attack in recent years in the North African country.

The Interior Ministry said 42 civilians and a police officer were killed in the attack early Tuesday in the town of Les Issers, some 35 miles east of the capital, Algiers, the state-run APS news agency said.

The blast ripped off parts of the policy academy’s roof, and damaged its facade. Photos transmitted by APS showed bodies wrapped in yellow plastic bags or blankets lying amid the rubble. Nearby houses and passing cars were also damaged.

ROP DOESN'T STRIKE IN RESTIVE THAILAND

By Charles Johnson

You may have noticed a sharp decline in the number of LGF posts about murderous attacks by Islamists in South Thailand. The reason: a “surge” by the Thai military.

The main reason for the drop in the violence was a change in counter-insurgency strategy with a more unified command structure. No longer were security personnel confined to the barracks and being on the defensive. Patrols became more regular and larger in number. As most of the terrorists operate in cells of 8 or less, the increased number of troops on patrols has meant that when the security forces have been ambushed, they have the numbers to fight back. For example, in May 2008, there were 18 ambushes on such patrols, but security forces only suffered one casualty and 8 injuries. On the other hand, the security forces themselves killed 25 terrorists in the first 6 months of 2008.

Raids with hundreds of personnel were also conducted in major terrorist strongholds and areas where cordoned off while houses and people were searched. Instead of arbitrarily detaining large numbers of villagers for 7 days at a military base for questioning and then for months at re-education camps, forensic equipment was now used to test for explosive residue and fingerprints were checked on the spot. Those who were not involved were released which has lead to better relations with the local community. Tip-offs started to increase and security forces now regularly find caches of weapons and training camps on raids.

Whether a corner has been turned or the progress can be maintained is still open to question, but there is no doubt there has been a dramatic drop in the violence.  Tuesday, August 19, 2008

http://littlegreenfootballs.com

*

In the wake of Muqtada al Sadr’s defeat at the hands of the Iraqi and Coalition forces this spring and fall, Iran has increased its backing of splinter Shia terror groups operating in Iraq. A previously unknown group, known as the Asaib al Haq, or League of the Righteous, has recently appeared on Multinational Forces Iraq’s radar. On Aug. 19, the US military issued its first press release on the group, announcing the capture of four operatives in Diyala province. Multinational Forces Iraq provided exclusive details on the Shia terror group to The Long War Journal.

Yesterday’s raid and subsequent press release was the first official mention of the League of the Righteous at Multinational Forces Iraq’s website. Coalition forces, likely members of Task Force 88, the special operations hunter-killer teams assigned to track al Qaeda and Shia terror groups in Iraq, targeted an operative from the League of the Righteous in the town of Qasarin, just 18 miles north of Baghdad in Diyala province. Coalition intelligence indicated the operative, who was a weapons smuggler and financier, was “attempting to restart” League of the Righteous cells in the region.

The operative, along with two associates, was captured in the raid after family members confirmed his identity. He immediate provided the name of a senior leader in the region, and guided Coalition forces to the home. The leader was also detained.

There is little public information available on the League of the Righteous. The name appeared in an Associated Press report last week on Iranian support for Shia terror groups in Iraq. But few details on the group were provided, other than it was being funded by Iran as an assassination squad targeting Coalition forces and Iraqi officials and security forces. A Multinational Forces Iraq spokesperson who wishes to remain anonymous provided additional details on the League of the Righteous in an email interview with The Long War Journal.

The League of the Righteous is an offshoot from the Mahdi Army, the military arm of Muqtada al Sadr’s political movement. The group split from the Mahdi Army after he declared a ceasefire “because they disagreed with the path the Office of the Martyr Sadr (OMS) was taking,” the spokesperson said. “They make up a group which actively opposed MAS’ [Muqtada al Sadr’s] call for cease-fire and continued, and even increased, their anti-Coalition and anti-Iraqi attacks. They are as much an enemy of OMS [Office of the Martyr Sadr] as they are the Government of Iraq and the Coalition.”

In June, Sadr announced he would disband the Mahdi Army and form a small, secretive military arm to fight Coalition forces. He also withdrew the Sadrist movement from the political process and instead vowed to back independent candidates. The decisions caused shockwaves in the Mahdi Army, as some leaders wished to continue the fight against US forces in Baghdad and in southern and central Iraq.

Iran plays an important roll in supporting the League of the Righteous’ activities in Iraq. “We assess that Asaib al Haq (AAH) receives funding, training, weapons and even direction from the Qods Force, who have shown a desire to destabilize the legitimate government of Iraq,” the spokesperson said. Qods Force is Iran’s foreign special operations branch tasked with spreading the theocratic Khomeinist revolution.

Members of the group are sheltering in Iran. “Some have been there for a long time, while others have been there since fleeing to avoid capture in the spring,” the spokesperson said, referring to the military offensive against the Mahdi Army and other Iranian-backed terrorist groups in Iraq that began in March and is still underway in the southern provinces. The information was obtained from members of the group currently in custody, “as well as other intelligence sources,” the spokesperson said.

Multinational Forces Iraq declined to provide an estimate on the size of the League of the Righteous, but noted that “their numbers have significantly dwindled because hundreds have been captured, killed, ran away or simply gave up their criminal lifestyles.” The group operates in Baghdad and the South as well as in Shia regions in Diyala province.

The League of the Righteous conducts attacks with the deadly, armor-piercing explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs. These are the signature weapons of Iran’s Qods Force. “We assess that these criminals have engaged in numerous EFP and IED attacks, as well as kidnappings, sectarian killings and other heinous crimes,” the spokesperson said, while also linking Hezbollah to the group. “The munitions and training to conduct these anti-Iraqi acts come from training received in Iran from the Qods Force as well as Lebanese Hezbollah trainers.”

The Iraqi military and Multinational Forces Iraq have recently stepped up its attacks on the Hezbollah Brigades, another “Special Groups” offshoot that has conducted EFP and improvised rocket assisted mortar, or IRAM, attacks on US and Iraqi forces. US forces have detained a senior Hezbollah trainer and several Qods Force officers inside Iraq since late 2006. Iran sent in Hezbollah operatives along with Qods Force into Iraq to train the Mahdi Army to operate along the same lines as Lebanese Hezbollah.

Iran’s Qods Force established the Ramazan Corps, the command assigned to direct the campaign against Coalition and Iraqi forces, after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Ramazan Corps ran three training camps in southern Iraq and established a network of supply and distribution points for Iranian-manufactured weapons. The Ramazan Corps also operated a command and control center in Amarah in southern Maysan province, a stronghold of the Mahdi Army. This infrastructure has been uprooted during the Iraqi-led offensive.  Wednesday, August 20, 2008

For more information on Iran’s involvement in supporting the Shia terror groups in Iraq, see:

Iranian Qods Force Agents Detained in Irbil Raid,
Jan. 14, 2007
The Karbala attack and the IRGC,
Jan. 26, 2007
Iran, Hezbollah train Iraqi Shia "Secret Cells",
July 2, 2007
Surging in Wasit Province,
Sept. 18, 2007
Captured Iranian Qods Force officer a regional commander in Iraq,
Oct. 3, 2007
Iran's Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq,
Dec. 5, 2007
Sadr forms new unit to attack US forces,
June 13, 2008
Sadrist movement withdraws from political process,
June 15, 2008
Mahdi Army decimated during recent fighting,
June 26, 2008
Iraqi forces detain Sadrist leaders, uncover Special Groups headquarters in Amarah,
July 2, 2008
Iraqi forces detain Sadrist leaders, uncover Special Groups headquarters in Amarah,
July 2, 2008
Iran continues to train Shia terror groups for attacks in Iraq, Aug. 15, 2008

For more information on the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq, see:

Hezbollah Brigades propaganda specialist captured in Baghdad,
July 21, 2008
Coalition forces capture Hezbollah Brigades operative in Baghdad,
July 31, 2008
Coalition forces capture 9 Hezbollah Brigades operatives in Baghdad,
Aug. 12, 2008

www.longwarjournal.org




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