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War Blog By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, August 27, 2008


By Ed Morrissey

Howard Dean, keeping the hate alive in Denver:

You see, the Republicans are very, very good at dividing people. You know, they’re always … you gotta be mad because this group is against that and that group doesn’t get that. That’s terrible for the country, but it’s a time-honored way to win elections, and people use it in all kinds of different countries … Slobodan Milosevic used it in Yugoslavia!

Howard Dean in January:

“I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for…”

Howard Dean in February:

“This is a struggle between good and evil and we’re the good.”

Now, after the identity-politics meltdown that the entire nation witnessed in the Democratic primaries this cycle, and with Dean’s own quotes as context, which party seems more obsessed with groupthink — Democrats or Republicans?  Which party set factions against each other more in 2008, all the way to the convention — Democrats or Republicans?  Which candidate launched multiple, unfounded smears of racism — Barack Obama or John McCain?

Poor Howard Dean.  In the end, all he has is hate.  Tuesday, August 26, 2008




By John Hinderaker

The anarchists and other kooks who have assembled in Denver appear to have their hands full with the Denver police. Photojournalist Zombie has posted a terrific photo-essay about a lengthy encounter between the protesters and the police that took place earlier today. Zombie was swept up along with the protesters, who got the worst of it.

In another encounter, a group of pro-tolerance demonstrators--well, actually they were trying to levitate the Denver mint--started shouting "Kill Michelle Malkin!" when Michelle ventured among them. Michelle, who is very small, seemed unruffled, but it's probably just as well that she was accompanied by the much larger Jim Hoft.

So far, though, the demonstrations must be disappointing to their organizers. They appear to have been small and ineffective.  Tuesday, August 26, 2008




By Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez




By Charles Johnson

Jawa Report’s been tracking developments in the latest terrorism plot uncovered in Britain: Fourth Arrested in Umar Rabie ‘al Qaeda in UK’ Plot.


By Charles Johnson

The Denver Post has a report on the mini-riot incited last night by the Recreate 68 gang: Rocks, other potential weapons helped spark police action.

“Denver police made limited use of pepper spray Monday night when a protest crowd that had gathered near Civic Center Park refused requests to disperse and suddenly rushed a police safety line about 7:15 p.m.” the statement said.

Police estimated the crowd at 300, although many onlookers and media also were on hand.

Among those arrested, many were observed “carrying rocks and other items that could be used to threaten public safety,” the police report said. “In order to protect the public when the crowd surged forward, two officers deployed their pepper spray and one officer used a pepper ball device.”

Pepper balls are similar to a paint ball, but contain the same material as pepper spray.


By Charles Johnson

Zombie's latest report is on the mosque that was constructed in Denver's Civic Center Park, within sight of the capitol building.

The mainstream media don't think this is newsworthy.

Continue reading...




By Michelle Malkin

…in Barack’s back.

Yowch. Chicago thug mafia, meet Arkansas thug mafia. Long live Democrat party unity! The soap opera continues:

Bill Clinton appeared to undermine Sen. Barack Obama again Tuesday.

The former president, speaking in Denver, posed a hypothetical question in which he seemed to suggest that that the Democratic Party was making a mistake in choosing Obama as its presidential nominee.

He said: “Suppose you’re a voter, and you’ve got candidate X and candidate Y. Candidate X agrees with you on everything, but you don’t think that candidate can deliver on anything at all. Candidate Y you agree with on about half the issues, but he can deliver. Which candidate are you going to vote for?”

Then, perhaps mindful of how his off-the-cuff remarks might be taken, Clinton added after a pause: “This has nothing to do with what’s going on now.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008




By Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson




By John Hinderaker

Michael Totten is in Georgia, and he has filed a long, excellent dispatch from Tbilisi that puts the present conflict into the context of Georgian history going back to the breakup of the Soviet Union, and of the ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus. There is lots of information I haven't seen anywhere else; the bottom line, to oversimplify greatly, is that the Russians started it.

Russia, of course, has now recognized the districts of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, only they aren't independent, they're occupied by Russian troops. This action has been denounced by the West, but the reality is that no one has an army in the region that can effectively challenge the Russians. The secession of South Ossetia and Abkhazia appears to be a fait accompli.

One of the principal purposes of Russia's invasion was to fire a shot across the bow of the petroleum-producing countries to Georgia's east. As we noted here, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is economically critical because it gives Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan a way to sell their immense oil and gas resources into the Western market without going through Russia. By slicing deep into Georgia, Russia has made the point that those countries cannot count on an oil future independent of Russia. EurasiaNet writes:

Although energy flows are slowly returning to normal, many oil analysts say that Russia’s blitz on Georgia, as well as the lingering presence of Russian troops in the country, has sown doubts about the reliability of energy corridors across Georgia. As a result, planned expansions of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey pipeline network, including a trans-Caspian Sea route (TCP), seem to have hit a wall.

Striving to take maximum advantage of the sudden turn of events in the Caucasus, Moscow is pressing the Caspian Basin’s three leading oil & gas producers -- Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan -- to up their export volumes via Russia. The Kremlin’s strategic position in Georgia gives Moscow added leverage in its new energy discussions with Baku, Ashgabat and Astana. ...

Russia’s energy offensive is perhaps focused most of all on Azerbaijan. Baku is the key US energy partner at the moment, but Moscow has been working for several months to turn Baku. In June, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller extended an offer to purchase large volumes of natural gas at "European" prices. ...

Azerbaijan has given no indication that wants to accept the Russian purchase offer. Yet, there are signs that the Russian-Georgian spat has dented Azerbaijan’s faith in the export routes via Georgia. On August 25, the Azerbaijani state oil company, SOCAR, revealed that it would ship oil to Iran for export. The deal -- reportedly covering the export of 300,000 barrels over a two-month span -- was necessitated by lingering uncertainty about Georgia.

For the moment, there is no serious threat to Georgian independence, but the episode has clearly played out to Russia's advantage. It is a timely reminder that in the absence of military capability, diplomacy and world opinion are worthless.  Tuesday, August 26, 2008



Map of Shabab-controlled regions in southern and central Somalia. The red ovals indicate major cities and towns taken over by Shabab according to open source reports. The yellow boxes are regions known to be under the general influence and control based on generalized open source reports.

Just one and a half years after Ethiopian forces ejected the Islamic Courts Union from power in the failed state of Somalia, the country is poised for a takeover by a radical al Qaeda regional group. Shabab, an al Qaeda-linked terror group, has taken control of most of southern Somalia and portions of the central region, according to press reports from the troubled nation.

Late last week, Shabab fighters overran the strategic southern port city of Kismayo, Somalia's second largest city. The capture of Kismayo capped a yearlong campaign by Shabab to retake territory lost to the Ethiopians in late 2006 and early 2007.

Shabab, the radical Islamist youth movement formed from the leadership and fighters of the ousted Islamic Courts, has teamed up with the powerful Hawiye clan to attack Ethiopian and Somali security forces. These attacks soon spread north, south, and west of Mogadishu.

By late 2007, Shabab was reported to be in control of the Hiran province, north of Mogadishu. At the time, a Somali security official stated that 80 percent of the country was outside of government control. Ambushes and improvised explosive device and mortar strikes are a daily occurrence in Mogadishu and the surrounding regions, and attacks against Ethiopian convoys began to increase in frequency and intensity.

During the spring of 2008, much of Bakool and Bay provinces, with exception of Baidoa, the provincial capital of Bay and the seat of parliament, fell to Shabab. The major cities and towns in these provinces fell under Shabab control after Somali and Ethiopian forces abandoned the region.

Shabab then set its sights on Somalia's south. The area along the Kenyan border has long been a Shabab safe haven. The US military launched an airstrike at an al Qaeda safe house and training camp run by Hassan Turki in the town of Dobley in southern Somalia, just four miles from the Kenyan border.

The Kenyan border regions have been used to train Shabab and al Qaeda fighters and to launch attacks into the Shabelle and Jubba provinces. Much of Lower Shabelle and Upper and Lower Jubba are under control of Shabab.

Shabab's campaign in western Somalia has endangered the Ethiopian Army's long supply lines to Baidoa and Mogadishu. Tens of thousands of Ethiopian forces, along with several thousand African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi, are deployed in Mogadishu in an effort to quell the insurgency.

A look at some of the leaders of the Islamic Courts, Shabab, and al Qaeda in East Africa. Click to view.

Shabab's longtime links to al Qaeda

Shabab spokesman Sheikh Mukhtar Robow admitted the group is closely aligned to al Qaeda, and seeks to merge with the terror group. "We are negotiating how we can unite into one," Robow said, according to The Los Angeles Times. "We will take our orders from Sheik Osama bin Laden because we are his students. Al Qaeda is the mother of the holy war in Somalia."

But the senior leaders of Shabab have had long links to al Qaeda, and Shabab and its predecessor have been al Qaeda affiliates in all but name. Hassan Dahir Aweys, Aden Hashi Ayro, and Hassan Turki have trained in al Qaeda camps during the 1990s. Robow admitted this in his interview with The Los Angeles Times. "Most of our leaders were trained in Al Qaeda camps. We get our tactics and guidelines from them," Robow said. "Many have spent time with Osama bin Laden."

Turki, Sheikh Yusuf Indha'adde, and Sheikh Mukhtar Robow have appeared on al Qaeda propaganda tapes training and fighting with foreign fighters. Both Turki and Indha'adde admitted to foreign al Qaeda involvement in Somalia in the summer of 2006.

Al Qaeda has helped produced propaganda for the Islamic Courts and Shabab and has even praised the group in its own propaganda tapes. Osama bin Laden endorsed the Islamic Courts during a speech in 2006. "We will continue, God willing, to fight you and your allies everywhere, in Iraq and Afghanistan and in Somalia and Sudan until we waste all your money and kill your men and you will return to your country in defeat as we defeated you before in Somalia," bin Laden said.

In November 2001, Aweys, the former leader of the Islamic Courts, was identified by the US Department of State as a Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Aweys participated in the infamous "Black Hawk Down" incident in Mogadishu in 1993.

Ayro, was the leader of Shabab before he was killed in a US airstrike on May 1, 2008. Turki continues to serve as a military commander and senior trainer for the terror group. Robow is the spokesman for Shabab as well as a military commander. Indha'adde served as the defense minister for the Islamic Courts prior to its fall in 2007.

Another direct connection is Shabab and the Islamic Courts sheltering of three senior al Qaeda operatives behind the 1998 attack on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, and Abu Taha al Sudani have sought shelter with both Shabab and the Islamic Courts.

Fazul served as the intelligence chief for the Islamic Courts' and is believed to hold the same portfolio for Shabab. Sudani is al Qaeda's leader in northern and eastern Africa. The US has targeted Fazul, Sudani, and Nabhan in multiple strikes in late 2007 and 2008.

For background on the Islamic Courts and their time in power, see The Rise & Fall of Somalia's Islamic Courts: An Online History.

For more information on the deteriorating security situation, see the Today In entries for Somalia from The Long War JournalAugust 25, 2008


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