Home  |   Jihad Watch  |   Horowitz  |   Archive  |   Columnists  |     DHFC  |  Store  |   Contact  |   Links  |   Search Sunday, January 21, 2018
FrontPageMag Article
Write Comment View Comments Printable Article Email Article
Font:
War Blog By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, December 01, 2008


MUMBAI TERRORISTS' CONFESSION

The confession of Azam Amir Kasav, the only terrorist captured alive in Mumbai, has apparently been leaked to the press. The Malaysian Insider has a detailed report on the story told by Azam, and it’s chilling: Terrorists posed as Malaysian students.

Note that Azam claims the terror team was trained by the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant Islamists closely linked to Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service. Their goal, he says, was to create a “September 11 in India.”

A native of Faridkot in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir, Azam revealed the names of his fellow terrorists, all Pakistani citizens: Abu Ali, Fahad, Omar, Shoaib, Umer, Abu Akasha, Ismail, Abdul Rahman (Bara) and Abdul Rahman (Chhota).

But the 10 men were apparently not the only ones directly involved: Another group, he claimed, had checked themselves into hotels four days before, waiting with weapons and ammunition they had stockpiled in the rooms.

The 10 men in Azam’s group were chosen well: All were trained in marine warfare and had undergone a special course conducted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Preparations were also detailed, and started early.

Azam and eight others in the team made a reconnaissance trip to Mumbai several months before the attacks, pretending to be Malaysian students. They rented an apartment at Colaba market, near one of their targets, the Nariman House.

The chief planner of the attacks also visited Mumbai a month before to take photographs and film strategic locations, including the hotel layouts.

Returning to Pakistan, the chief plotter trained the group, telling them to ‘kill till the last breath’.

Surprisingly, the men did not expect themselves to be suicide terrorists. Azam said they had originally planned to sail back on Thursday - the recruiters had even charted out a return route, stored on a GPS device.

On the evening of Nov 21, Azam’s group set off from an isolated creek in Karachi in a boat. The next day, a large Pakistani vessel with four Pakistanis and crew picked them up, whereupon the group was issued arms and ammunition.

Each man in the assault team was handed six to seven magazines of 50 bullets each, eight hand grenades, one AK-47 assault rifle, an automatic loading revolver, credit cards and a supply of dried fruit. They were, as some media put it, in for the long haul.

A day later, the team came across an Indian-owned trawler, Kuber, which they boarded. They killed four of the fishermen onboard, dumped their bodies into the sea, and forced its skipper Amarjit Singh to sail for India.

The next day, they beheaded the skipper, and one of the gunmen, a trained sailor, took the wheel and headed for the shores of Gujarat, India.

Near Gujarat, the terrorists raised a white flag as two officers of the coast guard approached. While the officers questioned them, one of the terrorists grappled with one of them, slit his throat and threw his body into the boat. The group then ordered the other officer to help them get to Mumbai.

On Nov 26, the team reached the Mumbai coast.

Four nautical miles out, they were met by three inflatable speedboats. They killed the other coast guard officer, transferred into the speedboats and proceeded to Colaba jetty as dusk settled. The Kuber was found later with the body of the 30-year-old captain onboard.

At Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade - just three blocks away from Nariman House - the 10 men got off, stripped off the orange windbreakers they had been wearing and made sure to take out their large, heavy backpacks.

It was there that they were spotted by fisherman Prasan Dhanur, who was preparing his boat, and harbour official Kashinath Patil, 72, who was on duty nearby.

“Where are you going?” Patil asked them. “What’s in your bags?”

The men replied: “We don’t want any attention. Don’t bother us.”

Thinking little of it, Dhanur and Patil, who said they did not see the guns hidden in the backpacks, did not call the police, and watched the 10 young men walk away.

Then the carnage started.

On hitting the ground, the 10 men broke up. Four men headed for the Taj Mahal Hotel, two for The Oberoi Trident, two for Nariman House and two - Azam and Ismail - for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus by taxi.

At the railway station, Azam and his colleague opened fire, targeting Caucasian tourists while trying to spare Muslims.

The two gunmen also destroyed the CCTV control room, throwing grenades into it.

It was here that Azam was photographed, dressed in light-grey combat trousers and sneakers, a rucksack on his back, toting his AK-47. According to one security expert, the way he carried the assault rifle revealed months of training.

The two men left the main hall of the railway station littered with bodies and pools of blood, then moved on to Metro Cinema and then to the Girgaum Chowpatty area in a stolen Skoda. It was there that their plans started to unravel.

At the Girgaum Chowpatty area, Azam and Ismail were intercepted by anti-terror troops from the Gamdevi police station, and they ended up trading shots. Azam managed to shoot dead assistant police inspector Tukaram Umbale, while one of them also gunned down anti-terror squad chief Hemant Karkare.

Ismail, however, was eventually killed, while Azam himself was shot in the hand. Pretending to be dead, he fell, and the two men were taken to Nair Hospital. But police soon spotted him breathing and quickly evacuated the hospital’s casualty ward, and brought in the anti-terror squad to interrogate him.

At first, Azam remained tight-lipped, but the sight of Ismail’s mutilated body broke his resolve. Pleading with medical staff to save his life, he said: “I do not want to die. Please put me on saline.”

The bullet in his hand was removed, and after his condition had stabilised, Azam was moved to another location on Thursday for more interrogation. Reports, however, say that the grilling at the hospital had been so intense that at one point, he pleaded with the police and medical staff to kill him. He said: “Now, I don’t want to live.”

(Hat tip: Thanos.)

Little Green Footballs

MUMBAI JIHADIST INDICTS PAKISTANI INTELLIGENCE

The only member of the jihadi assault team captured during the Mumbai attacks has fingered several Pakistani organizations as providing support to the group, according to reports in the Indian press.

Ajmal Amir Kasab (or Azam Amir Kasav) was captured by police after a shootout near the docks in southern Mumbai. He was wounded and feigned being dead, but was picked out by police after he was seen breathing.

The siege in Mumbai lasted 62 hours and claimed more than 195 lives. Terror assault teams held the city hostage as they fanned out through the city and attacked policemen, five-star hotels, a train station, a cinema, a cafe, and a residential complex.

Kasab has provided details on how his team of 16 terror commandos departed Karachi, linked up with a freighter carrying arms, hijacked an Indian fishing boat, and infiltrated into Mumbai via inflatable rafts. [See Indian commandos end 62-hour siege of Mumbai]

Kasab has implicated the Pakistani Navy and the Dawood Ibrahim criminal network based in Karachi for providing assistance and training for the Mumbai assault team, police sources told India Today. The plot to attack Mumbai was hatched more than a year ago, Kasab told police.

According to the police sources, Kasab said 20 Pakistanis began training in terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir more than one year ago. The group trained in the Kashmiri camps "almost five-and-half months, during which the terrorist were taught the use of sophisticated arms and ammunition."

After the training at the Kashmiri camps, the group was "given a months leave and were ordered to gather in Karachi after the break for training in boating, rowing and swimming by the Pakistan Navy."

The terrorists were then given maps and other information on their targets in Mumbai and trained in attacking the targets, India Today reported. Earlier, Kasab said several members of the assault team visited Mumbai to scout the targets and familiarize themselves with the city.

Kasab also claimed members from Dawood Ibrahim's criminal network provided logistical support for the Mumbai assault team while they were in Karachi.

Ibrahim runs a vast criminal network throughout South Asia. He has been implicated in the 1993 Mumbai bombings and is known to receive backing by Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency. Indian intelligence believes Ibrahim is based out of Karachi.

The US government branded Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2003. Ibrahim "has found common cause with Al Qaeda, sharing his smuggling routes with the terror syndicate and funding attacks by Islamic extremists aimed at destabilizing the Indian government," the US Treasury stated in a press release. Ibrahim "is known to have financed the activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba," the group thought to be behind this week's terror attacks in Mumbai.

Kasab also claimed local resident in Mumbai provided logistical support for the terror assault team, The Times of India reported. The locals provided "help like, providing shelter, taking them around and showing places, passing information on police stations," the news agency said. The operatives also received fake identification cards.

Some of the terrorists had stayed in Nariman House, the complex that houses Orthodox Jews, Kasab said. The Israelis were targeted "to avenge atrocities on Palestinians," the paper reported.

Indian intelligence has identified additional links to Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. An "intercepted conversation between Muzammil, Muzaffarabad chief of LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) operations, and a certain Yahya in Bangladesh," showed a direct link in the Mumbai attacks, The Times of India reported. "Yahya arranged SIM cards, fake ID-cards primarily from western countries like Mauritius, UK, US, Australia."

Phone numbers on the satellite phone found the hijacked Indian fishing boat show calls were made to Zakir Ur Rehman, a Lashkar-e-Taiba training chief based in Karachi.

Indian intelligence officials also told The Times of India that 25 terrorists were "training in the Pakistan village of Durbari Mitho, and that an ISI agent was also involved in the training." It is unclear if these were members of the Mumbai assault team.

US intelligence strongly suspects the Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the Mumbai attacks, working in conjunction with the Students Islamic Movement of India and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami, through a front group called the Indian Mujahideen, several senior US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.

Lashkar-e-Taiba has an extensive network in southern and Southeast Asia. The group has vast resources, an extensive network, and is able to carry out complex attacks throughout its area of operations.

Lashkar-e-Taiba forces fight alongside al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan. It conducts operations in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and central Asia and in Chechnya. Like al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba seeks to establish a Muslim caliphate in southern and central Asia. The group essentially runs a state within a state of Pakistan.


For more information on the Mumbai attacks, see:

Indian commandos end 62-hour siege of Mumbai
November 29, 2008
Analysis: Mumbai attack differs from past terror strikes
November 28, 2008
India’s financial capital under terror siege
November 26, 2008

*

WHY MUMBAI IS DIFFERENT THAN OTHER ATTACKS

by Bill Roggio

Almost two days after terrorists attacked the Indian financial hub of Mumbai, the Indian military is still working to root out the remnants of the assault teams at two hotels and a Jewish center. More than 125 people, including six foreigners, have been killed and 327 more have been wounded. The number is expected to go up, as Indian commandos have recovered an additional 30 dead at the Taj Mahal hotel as fighting has resumed.

The Mumbai attack is uniquely different from past terror strikes carried out by Islamic terrorists. Instead of one or more bombings at distinct sites, the Mumbai attackers struck throughout the city using military tactics. Instead of one or more bombings carried out over a short period of time, Mumbai is entering its third day of crisis.

An attack of this nature cannot be thrown together overnight. It requires planned, scouting, financing, training, and a support network to aid the fighters. Initial reports indicate the attacks originated from Pakistan, the hub of jihadi activity in South Asia. Few local terror groups have the capacity to pull of an attack such as this.

While it is early to know exactly what happened in Mumbai as the fog of war still blankets the city, multiple press reports from India allow for a general picture to be painted. An estimated 12 to 25 terrorists are believed to have entered Mumbai by sea. After landing, he attack teams initiated a battle at a police station, then fanned across the city to attack the soft underbelly of hotels, cafes, cinemas, and hospitals. Civilians were gunned down and taken hostage, while terrorists looked for people carrying foreign passports.

Preparation

While the exact size of the assault force and the support cells is still not known, police estimate about 25 gunmen were involved in the attack. The number of members of the supporting cells that provide financing, training, transportation, and other services could be two to four times this number. Operational security for such a large unit, or grouping of cells, is difficult to maintain and requires organization and discipline.

To pull off an attack of this magnitude, it requires months of training, planning, and on-site reconnaissance. Indian officials have stated that the terrorists set up "advance control rooms" at the Taj Mahal and Trident (Oberoi) hotels, and conducted a significant amount of reconnaissance prior to executing the attack. If the news about the "control rooms" is accurate, these rooms may also have served as weapons and ammunition caches for the assault teams to replenish after conducting the first half of the operation.

Mumbai-attacks-11262008.jpg

A terrorist outside the train station in Mumbai.

The planners of the Mumbai attack appear to have chosen able military-aged males. Witnesses have described the men as young and fit. Some of the gunmen appear to have been well trained; some have been credited with having good marksmanship and other military skills.

A witness who saw one of the teams land by sea described the gunmen as "in their 20s, fair-skinned and tall, clad in jeans and jackets." He saw "eight young men stepping out of the raft, two at a time. They jumped into the waters, and picked up a haversack. They bent down again, and came up carrying two more haversacks, one in each hand."

An Indian official claimed the attackers used "sophisticated weapons," however this may be an overstatement. Reports indicate the gunmen used automatic rifles, hand grenades, and some machineguns, as well as several car bombs. The terrorists did not have sophisticated weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles to attack helicopters supporting Indian counterterrorism forces.

Getting to Mumbai

One of the more intriguing aspects of the attack is how the teams entered Mumbai. Reports indicate at least two of the assault teams arrived from outside the city by sea around 9 p.m. local time. Indian officials believe most if not all of the attackers entered Mumbai via sea.

Indian Coast Guard, Navy, Mumbai maritime police, and customs units have scoured the waters off Mumbai in search of a "mother ship" that transported one or more smaller Gemini inflatable boats used by the attackers. A witness saw one of the craft land in Colaba in southern Mumbai and disgorge eight to 10 fighters.

Two ships that have been boarded are strongly suspected of being involved in the attacks: the Kuber, an Indian fishing boat, and the MV Alpha, a Vietnamese cargo ship. Both ships appear to have been directly involved. The Kuber was hijacked on Nov. 13, and its captain was found murdered. Four crewmen are reported to be still missing.

Indian security officials found what they believe is evidence linking the boat to the attack, as well as linking the attackers to Pakistan. "A GPS map of south Mumbai was found along with a satellite phone on the ship, Coast Guard officials confirmed," The Times of India reported. "There were reports that this phone was used to make calls to Karachi immediately before the shootings began in Mumbai."

Indian police also detained three terrorists from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terror group closely allied with al Qaeda. The three men are said to be Pakistani nationals, and claimed to have been part of a 12-man team that launched from the MV Alpha. They said the MV Alpha departed from Karachi.

Another Indian official said that it is "suspected that the Pakistan Marine Agency helped the terrorists hijack the trawler (the Kuber)," although this has not been confirmed. Another unconfirmed report indicated the Kuber originated from Karachi, Pakistan.

The attack

After landing in Colaba, the terrorists moved north and attacked the Colaba police station, possibly as a single unit. The attack on the police command and control node disrupted the police response and pinned down police units.

The Mumbai police paid a heavy price. Early in the fight, the attackers killed the chief of Mumbai's Anti-terrorism Squad and two other senior officials. At least 14 police were reported to have been killed during fighting throughout the city.

From the Colaba police station, the assault force broke up into smaller teams and fanned out to hit secondary targets throughout Mumbai. At least one police van was hijacked and the terrorists drove around the city, firing automatic weapons from the truck at random targets.

In all, 10 locations, including the police station, were attacked. The assault teams struck at vital centers where foreigners were likely to congregate: the five-star Taj Mahal and Trident hotels, the Nariman House (an orthodox Jewish center), the Cama hospital, the CSP train station, a cinema, and a cafe were all struck almost simultaneously. Two Taxis were also blown up near the airport in the north and the docks in the southern part of the city.

At the Taj, Trident, and Nariman House, several bombs or hand grenades were tossed into the lobbies and in other areas. The Taj Mahal Hotel was set on fire due to the blasts.

Gunmen opened fire indiscriminately in the hotel lobbies and at the cafe, cinema, train station, and the Jewish center. At the hotels, gunmen then sought out foreigners holding American, British, and Israeli passports.

More than 200 hostages were reported to have been held at the Taj and scores more at the Trident and the Jewish center. Mumbai was under siege as police and counterterrorism officials struggled to regain control of the city.

The counterattack

Police appear to have regained control of the situation at the CSP train station, cafe, and cinema relatively quickly, however they were unable to handle the hostage situation at the hotels, the hospital, and the Jewish center. Police officials admitted they were “overwhelmed” by the attacks and unable to contain the fighting.

After a delay, more than 200 National Security Guards commandos and a number of elite Naval commandos, as well as an unknown number of Army forces were deployed to Mumbai. The hotels, the hospital, and the Jewish center were surrounded as the special operations forces prepared to assault the buildings.

Commandos are in the process of clearing the Taj and the Trident in room-by-room searches. Some of the rooms are reported to have been rigged with explosives. Several National Security Guards commandos have been reported to have been killed or wounded in the fighting. Indian forces are also storming the Jewish Center after air assaulting soldiers into the complex. Curiously, it does not appear the terrorists have executed hostages once they were taken.

At this time, police said seven terrorist have been killed and nine have been detained. Several more are still thought to be hiding in the Taj and Trident hotels, and the Jewish center.

Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility

In an e-mail to local news stations, a group called the Deccan Mujahideen, or Indian Mujahideen, has claimed responsibility for the Mumbai strike. While the Indian Mujahideen’s role in the attack has yet to be confirmed, at least two of the terrorists fighting in Mumbai indicated they were linked to Islamic terrorists.

One of the terrorists phoned a news station demanding jihadis be released from jail in exchange for prisoners. "We want all Mujahideens held in India released and only after that we will release the people," a man named Sahadullah told a media outlet. "Release all the Mujahideens, and Muslims living in India should not be troubled."

Another terrorist named Imran phoned a TV station and spoke in Urdu in what is believed to be a Kashmiri accent. "Ask the government to talk to us and we will release the hostages," he said. "Are you aware how many people have been killed in Kashmir? Are you aware how your army has killed Muslims? Are you aware how many of them have been killed in Kashmir this week?"

The Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for several recent mass-casualty attacks in India. The group claimed credit for the July 25 and 26 bombings in Ahmedabad and Bangalore. At least 36 Indians were killed and more than 120 were wounded in the attacks. The Indian Mujahideen took credit for the Sept. 13 attacks in New Delhi that resulted in 18 killed and more than 90 wounded. The group also claimed credit for the bombings in Jaipur last May (60 killed, more than 200 wounded), and bombings in Uttar Pradesh in November 2007 (14 killed, 50 wounded).

In several of those attacks, an Indian Mujahideen operative who calls himself Arbi Hindi e-mailed the media to claim responsibility. Arbi Hindi's real name is Abdul Subhan Qureshi, an Indian national who is believed to be behind many of the recent terror attacks inside India. Qureshi, a computer expert, is believed to have trained hundreds of recruits to conduct terror attacks in India. He is often called India’s Osama bin Laden.

Indian intelligence believes the Indian Mujahideen is a front group created by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami. The Indian Mujahideen was created to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students' Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, a radical Islamist movement, according to Indian intelligence.

The Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami receive support from Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence to destabilize India and wage war in Kashmir. Both of these terror groups are local al Qaeda affiliates in Pakistan and conduct attacks in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The Indian “occupation” of Kashmir helped spawn these groups.

Reports indicate signals intelligence has linked the attackers back to Pakistan. Intelligence services are said to have intercepted the terrorists' conversations via satellite phone. The men spoke in Punjabi and used Pakistani phrases.

Indian politicians have been quick to point the finger at Pakistan. Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of allowing terrorists to use its soil as a terror launchpad. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed terror groups backed by India's "neighbors," a reference to Pakistan. Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said "elements in Pakistan" were behind the Mumbai attacks.

A unique attack

The Mumbai attack differs from previous terror attacks launched by Islamic terror groups. Al Qaeda and other terror groups have not used multiple assault teams to attack multiple targets simultaneously in a major city outside of a war zone.

Al Qaeda and allied groups have conducted complex military assaults on military and non-military targets in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Algeria, and Pakistan. But these are countries that are actively in a state of war or emerging from a recent war, where resources and established fighting units already exist.

Al Qaeda has also used the combination of a suicide attack to breach an outer wall followed by one or more assault teams on military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as at the US embassy in Yemen. But again, these attacks are focused on a single target, and again occur where the resources and manpower is available.

Previous terror attacks in non-war zone countries such as India, London, Spain, the United States, Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt have consisted of suicide or conventional bombings on one or more critical soft targets such as hotels, resorts, cafes, rail stations, trains, and in the case of the Sept. 11 attack, planes used as suicide bombs.

The only attack similar to the Mumbai strike is the assault on the Indian Parliament by the Jaish-e-Mohammed, aided by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, in December 2001. A team of Jaish-e-Mohammed fighters attempted to storm the parliament building while in a session was held. A combination of mishaps by the terrorists and the quick reaction of security guards blunted the attack.

The Mumbai attack is something different. Foreign assault teams that likely trained and originated from outside the country infiltrated a major city to conduct multiple attacks on carefully chosen targets. The primary weapon was the gunman, not the suicide bomber. The attack itself has paralyzed a city of 18 million. And two days after the attack began, Indian forces are still working to root out the terror teams.

Long War Journal

*

DOWNGRADING THE MAHDI ARMY?

by Bill Roggio

The US military has begun to directly identify the Iranian-backed "Special Groups" Shia terror groups with Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army in press information issued in Baghdad.

The direct association between the Mahdi Army and the Special Groups is a change in how the US military has treated Sadr's militia for more than the past 18 months.

Previously, the US military would make distinctions between the two groups. This was part of an effort to sow divisions within the Mahdi Army and split off the moderate elements willing to reconcile with the Iraqi government.

Evidence of the change first appeared at the US military's DVIDS (Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System) website on Nov. 26. The Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq published five photos of Iraqi Army raids in Diwaniyah in southern Iraq.

The caption on all five photos noted the Iraqi Army was conducting a search for "Jaysh Al Mahdi forces," the Iraqi name of the Mahdi Army, which is often referred to as JAM.

"JAM is a militia insurgency group in Iraq" was written under each photo.

A second set of seven photos, released on Nov. 28, were captioned in the same manner. The Iraqi Army was described as searching for Mahdi Army forces in Diwaniyah, while the Mahdi Army was again described as "a militia insurgency group in Iraq."

The next day, Multinational Forces Iraq issued a press release noting the Iraqi Army captured a "suspected JAM-SG [Mahdi Army Special Groups] criminal" in the city of Khalis in Diyala province.

The US military's terms for the Mahdi Army have evolved over the past 18 months. In the spring of 2007, the military began calling the Mahdi Army the "Secret Cells" and said they were armed, trained, and funded by Iran. In the early summer of 2007, the name changed to Special Groups.

In the summer of 2007, the US military began to associate the Special Groups with the Mahdi Army, but claimed there was a split between the two groups. The Mahdi Army leaders and fighters killed or captured in August were identified as "rogue" and associated with the Special Groups.

Over the next six months, the US heaped praise on Sadr for initiating a cease fire after his forces were defeated in Karbala in August of 2007, while referring to those who still attacked Iraqi and US forces as "criminals." US and Iraqi forces ruthlessly attacked these "criminals."

The tone changed again in February 2008, when Sadr's ceasefire was set to expire. In press releases identifying the capture or death of "criminals" or Special Groups fighters, the US military began implicitly linking the targeted operatives with Sadr.

The US military began referring to Sadr with the religious honorific of al-Sayyid, while saying those who continued to fight the Iraqi government and Coalition forces were dishonoring the ceasefire and the Mahdi Army.

In late March, when the Mahdi Army attempted to rise up in Baghdad's Sadr City and Basrah, the al-Sayyid honorific was dropped and the US reverted to simply calling the Shia terrorists the Special Groups. The military has essentially stuck with this description, avoiding any association between the Mahdi Army and the Special groups until the past several days.

The US military has been working to divide and conquer the Mahdi Army and weaken Sadr for the past two years. To do this, the military has used a carrot and stick approach with the Mahdi Army.

The US would claim those fighting the Mahdi Army were rogue or splinter groups in order to avoid labeling the militia as an insurgent group and provide those willing to reconcile with the government an out. During this time period, Sadr was stuck between choosing to fight and risk having his militia dismantled by US and Iraqi forces, and halting the attacks and risk losing the hard-line factions in the Mahdi Army who often were the most capable.

The strategy worked. Sadr was conflicted between fighting and sitting on the sidelines as Iraqi forces launched an offensive in Basrah at the end of March 2008. The hardliners in the Mahdi Army demanded they fight back, and they did.

US and Iraqi forces then savaged the Mahdi Army during heavy fighting in Baghdad, Basrah, and central and southern Iraq. Over the course of six weeks, more than 2,000 Mahdi Army fighters were killed, thousands more were wounded, and an estimated 3,000 more fighters and leaders fled to Iran. Sadr agreed to a ceasefire while the Iraqi government said it would issue warrants to detain Mahdi fighters.

But US and Iraqi forces continued to press the Mahdi Army, using the "Special Groups" and "rogue elements" narrative to methodically pursue the Mahdi Army in southern and central Iraq during the late spring and summer of 2008. Iraqi forces obtained the warrants and thousands of Mahdi Army fighters were captured.

The US military and Iraqi government succeeded in fracturing the Mahdi Army. Sadr effectively lost control of his militia as he remained in Iran, far from the fighting. Several offshoot groups, such as the Army of the Righteous, the Imam Ali Brigades, and the Hezbollah Brigades were formed by Mahdi Army commanders.

Sadr's political power also began to wane. He ordered the disbanding of the Mahdi Army over the summer, and withdrawal of the Sadrist political bloc from the upcoming provincial elections.

The Sadrist strongly opposed the US-Iraq status of forces agreement, but failed to rally opposition against it in either the parliament or with the public. His weekly protests drew thousands of Sadrists but had no effect n the general public. Of the 199 votes cast, 149 voted for the agreement, 35 voted against, and 15 abstained. Thirty of the votes against the agreement came from the Sadrist bloc.

By identifying the Mahdi Army as "a militia insurgency group," the US military may be signaling it no longer views the group as a serious threat. And labeling the group part of the insurgency will drop the pretence the Mahdi Army is a legitimate entity in Iraqi society.

Long War Journal

*

RESURRECTION, OBAMA-STYLE

by Melanie Phillips

Looks like as well as walking on water Barack Obama also resurrects people from under the bus where he’s thrown ’em. His erstwhile foreign affairs adviser and close friend Samantha Power was fired from his campaign after she called Hillary Clinton 'a monster'. But now we learn that Power is back (as she herself predicted all along) on Obama’s transition team advising the Prez-elect on matters relating to the State Department – where Hillary is apparently to be appointed imminently as Secretary of State.

Quite apart from the interesting future dynamics of this relationship, it means that Power will be bringing her views to bear upon State employees and Obama’s foreign policy. As I wrote here previously, those views include not only advocating the ending of all aid to Israel and redirecting it to the Palestinians, but also the need to land a ‘mammoth force’ of US troops in Israel to protect the Palestinians from Israeli attempts at genocide (sic) – although she subsequently claimed not to remember nor understand what she had said on that occasion --  and her complaint that criticism of Barack Obama all too often came down to what was ‘good for the Jews’.

Isn’t the new centrist Obama so very reassuring!

The Spectator

*

LESSONS INDIA NEEDS TO LEARN

By Animesh Roul

Originaly Published as 'Agencies yet to learn hard lessons' in Sunday MiD Day, Mumbai, 30-11-2008

FOR almost over sixty hours, Mumbai, the financial capital of India, witnessed a series of terrorist attacks, multiple hostage crisis, mindless killings, fierce gun battles and at the end, a disrupted life. The terrorists have struck major targets including luxury hotels and a Jewish Center frequented by Westerners and elite Indian only to be holed up later inside these buildings with innocent civilians as hostage. Their demand was the safe release of Mujahideen held in Indian prisons. Prior to this, they also have targeted at least seven more places and went on a killing spree on that fateful Wednesday evening.

An unknown outfit, Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, for quite some time now, this name-game has been a part of Pakistan based terror groups' desperate attempt to give a homegrown Indian flavor to this ongoing Jihadi-terrorism in the region. Of course a collusive local hand is quite possible in this sort of terror operations, primarily for logistical support. Looking at the whole incident, it is beyond doubt that these highly trained terrorists have undergone specialised terror training at various camps located somewhere in Pakistan administered Kashmir or Karachi.

As evidences are forthcoming following the arrests of some Pakistani nationals including one Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab who was apprehended from the besieged Taj Mahal hotel, the needle of suspicion pointed strongly at the Pakistan-based and Kashmir-centric Islamist group, Lashkar-e-Toiba (Army of the Pure). Even though this LeT denied any hand in this carnage, its footprints are quite evident.

It doesn't take any great wisdom to believe that Pakistan based and Kashmir centric terror tanzeems are behind most of the terrorist acts perpetrated on Indian soil. Among them, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami have been leading from the front in the so called Islamic Jihad against India. With strong Saudi Wahabi link and proximity to the notorious ISI, LeT's activities are not always clandestine in Pakistan. It operates openly with its so called political wing Jamat- ud- Dawa, nurturing dreams for a 'God's government' on the lines of Sharia laws in Pakistan and elsewhere. It preaches Armed Jihad as shortest route to reach god and heaven. LeT is the one which has introduced such type of Fidayeen missions in Jammu and Kashmir and intermittently striking India's heartlands with its tactics of indiscriminate shooting and grenade attacks.

Mumbai is always vulnerable to terrorism and gang violence for its business potential and porous sea coasts. We have experienced number of terrorist attacks in the past including 1993 serial blasts and 2006 serial train blasts. The latest events stand out as the most severe terrorist act. Meanwhile, the death toll in latest Mumbai mayhem has reached 195 including 22 foreign nationals and 15 security forces at the end of the prolonged and biggest terror fight the country has ever seen. While nearly 300 of them sustained physical injuries, millions of them get scarred for life.

There is obviously a growing concern that terrorists have uniquely used all possible types of terror tactics in Mumbai, ranging from hostage taking, driving explosive laden cars, using sea routes, indiscriminately shooting at civilians and using grenades to maximise the damage.

The Mumbai attacks didn't involve suicide bombers, but motivated Fidayeens (death squads), as propagated by Lashkar-e-Toiba which supports the later terror tactics as Islamic. According to JuD/Lashkar-e-Toiba's spokesperson, Abdullah Muntazir, who denied any involvement in Mumbai attacks, said on earlier occasions that a Fidayeen must complete their mission even in the worst circumstances. Quite plausibly Muntazir's definition, who is desperately trying to salvage JuD's public image, matches the recent operations in Mumbai.

Arguably, there has been a massive intelligence failure as Indian security agencies were caught napping again when metropolises like Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, country's political and financial centres have always been an obvious target for terrorists who want to cripple the country from all possible fronts. Just after the 9/11 event in the US, Indian intelligence agencies received reports about an ongoing marine training of LeT operatives to infiltrate India's porous sea borders. Again couple of years ago, Indian Coast Guards apprehended Lashkar's seaborne terrorists, off the Mumbai coast. But Indian agencies have never learned the hard lessons. The irony is both Intelligence and security agencies only claim to have uncovered plots and neutralised terror sleeper cells, but never reached to the roots perhaps due to lack of political willingness or technological backwardness.

Always under severe criticism for a weak-kneed response to situations like Mumbai and inept handling of investigations, for the first time, India did not negotiate with terrorists and went on hot pursuit.

At this hour of national crisis, many fear that it could escalate into an Indo-Pakistani crisis as blame game has already begun at the highest level. However, the Islamabad administration has quickly stepped up damage control exercise by promising support in the investigations.

And now the battle is over, the investigating agencies would piece things together to get a clear picture of what had happened and how to fight this menace again in future. One thing is for sure that to outsmart terror groups, like LeT, it has to resort to proper investigations backed by human and technical intelligence rather than only rhetoric, false claims and complacency.

Animesh Roul is Executive Director, Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict, New Delhi

CounterTerrorism Blog

*

WHEELS COMING OFF THE ENVIRO-LEFT'S BANDWAGON?

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is heading to Poznan, Poland, next week to take part in the U.N. climate talks being held there. Kerry will serve as one of several congressional emissaries who have been charged with reporting back to President-elect Barack Obama.

But just as Kerry tells Grist magazine that he hopes the talks will lay tracks for the much heralded Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen next December (where the successor to Kyoto is expected to be hammered out), the wheels appear to be coming off of the European Union’s own climate package.

Lord Nicholas Stern, a British economist and leading climate change spokesperson, told the New York Times that he hopes Europe isn’t, “going flaky.” The NYT had reported earlier that a bloc of Eastern European nations, led by Poland and Italy, was rebelling against commitments made in a climate and energy package negotiated just last year. Stern also, however, told the Wall Street Journal he remains hopeful that good things will come out of the meetings in Poznan.

Meanwhile, the rebellion against more stringent climate goals by several E.U. member states comes at just the wrong time for those on the American enviro-left.

As the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry is positioned to help navigate any future international climate change treaty through the Senate. Of course, he and others (including Obama) are surely hoping to point to continuing progress in the E.U. as evidence that the United States, too, should charge ahead on tackling climate change, hard economic times be damned.

Will a bloc of European countries increasingly concerned about damaging their economies dig in their heels, and weaken the E.U.’s hand in the climate talks? Or will the promise of tough new emissions reduction targets in the U.S. be enough to sway any skeptics?

Keep your browser pointed to this blog, as I hope to report live from the climate talks next week, if I can obtain a press pass.

The Heritage Foundation Blog

*

DAN RATHER'S DEFENDERS

It’s been more than four years, and the attempts to rehabilitate former CBS newsman Dan Rather’s reputation continues. Rather is currently suing CBS for violating his employment contract and that the investigation that led to CBS determining that it could no longer stand behind the National Guard memos which purported to show that President George W. Bush had disregarded orders and been AWOL while serving in the Guard in the 1970s.

The latest on the story comes from The New York Times which points out that when CBS decided to investigate the reporting that went into the ill-fated “60 Minutes” report, that it spent time considering who to put on the panel that Republicans would respect.

Using tools unavailable to him as a reporter — including the power of subpoena and the threat of punishment against witnesses who lie under oath — he has unearthed evidence that would seem to support his assertion that CBS intended its investigation, at least in part, to quell Republican criticism of the network.

Well, duh. Seriously. This is some sort of scandal. After all the reporting on the issue that occurred in the blogosphere at places like Little Green Footballs and Powerline, why would they think they had to worry about Democrat skepticism?

Some of the documents unearthed by his investigation include notes taken at the time by Linda Mason, a vice president of CBS News. According to her notes, one potential panel member, Warren Rudman, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire, was deemed a less-than-ideal candidate over fears by some that he would not “mollify the right.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Thornburgh, who served as attorney general for both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, was named a panelist by CBS, but only after a CBS lobbyist “did some other testing,” in which she was told, according to Ms. Mason’s notes, “T comes back with high marks from G.O.P.

Another memorandum turned over to Mr. Rather’s lawyers by CBS was a long typed list of conservative commentators apparently receiving some preliminary consideration as panel members, including Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan. At the bottom of that list, someone had scribbled “Roger Ailes,” the founder of Fox News.

Asked about the assembly of the panel in a sworn deposition, Andrew Heyward, the former president of CBS News, acknowledged that he had wanted at least one member to sit well with conservatives: “CBS News, fairly or unfairly, had a reputation for liberal bias,” and “the harshest scrutiny was obviously going to come from the right.”

Say what you will, but Heyward is no fool. How does the obvious become scandalous?

The Times report garnered little notice at the time, until Edward Wasserman at the Miami Herald wrote a column on the subject describing it as a “scandal” that a media organization investigating journalistic malpractice directed at one political party would want to make sure that the victim of the malpractice would have faith in the investigation itself.

But CBS test-marketed the panelists. Before Thornburgh was named, the network had one of its lobbyists learn from Republican sources whether he would do. Yes, apparently. Other conservatives considered included Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh. Republican ex-Sen. Warren Rudman was rejected because, a CBS official wrote, he wouldn’t “mollify the right.”

So, a panel is convened by one of the country’s most powerful news organizations to scrutinize the journalism that produced a scathing portrayal of the dubious military record of a sitting president. And the panel is assembled to the specifications of the president’s most zealous supporters.

That the panel was “assembled to the specifications” of the extreme right of the GOP is laughable. If they’d chosen Limbaugh or Coulter, Wasserman would have a point. Thornburgh is hardly a rabid right-winger.

After calling common sense a “scandal,” Wasserman then goes into the dishonest defense of the “60 Minutes” report.

Journalists mention Rather with the same contempt reserved for such villains as Jayson Blair of The New York Times and Jack Kelley of USA Today. That’s low company. Both were frontline reporters who fabricated, plagiarized or both.

The September 2004 Bush report had problems, but it wasn’t even remotely in that league. It presented a compelling case that George W. Bush’s record with the Texas Air National Guard was marked by favoritism and dereliction. It was based on a number of interviews and, notably, on several documents — chiefly memos from Bush’s squadron commander — whose authenticity was immediately challenged.

Rather did little reporting for the segment, but led the defense. Within three weeks the network caved and said it shouldn’t have relied on the documents. That concession was viewed as acknowledging fundamental problems with the segment’s veracity. So were the conclusions of the review panel headed by Thornburgh and Boccardi.

But their 223-page report did no such thing.

The interviews in the CBS report were of anti-Bush partisans. It was the (fake) memos which gave their charges credibility. Without the (fake) memos, CBS doesn’t have a report that it can run with.

Though sharply critical of the network’s strident dismissal of critics, the panel never concluded the broadcast was wrong — that Bush’s military record wasn’t marked by favoritism and dereliction. Nor did it ever say the disputed documents were bogus. Instead, the panel concluded the documents couldn’t be proven genuine, and for a simple reason: They were photocopies. And experts are reluctant to vouch for the authenticity of any document when they can’t inspect its paper and ink.

What’s more, the panel said, the producers failed to ascertain precisely how the documents got to them — the ”chain of custody” — and therefore weren’t justified in using them. In an extraordinary passage, the panel scolded the producers for not knowing “the background, identity, credibility, motivations, biases and other relevant information about the sources of the documents.”

To paraphrase Shakespeare: Givest thou me a break. Wasserman would have his readers believe that the issue with these documents was the fact they were photocopied? To refresh your memory, here’s Charles Johnson’s famous animated gif.

The panel, which Wasserman describes as a “scandal,” even with Thornburgh was a whitewash. Wasserman says it’s the fact that CBS had a photocopy, but as you can see, the documents exactly match what you can do with Microsoft Word’s default settings — a company and a program not in existence when the memo was purportedly written in 1973. Rather’s defenders have yet to discover any typewriter that ever existed — let alone the ones Killian’s secretary said she used at that air base — that can produce the above memo.

Wasserman is either dishonest or a fool. He claims that Rather’s report was good journalism, but bad legal practice, which is why the panel of lawyers sided against Rather. But in presenting his case, Wasserman’s analysis is that of a defense lawyer, not a journalist.

For the record:

Edward Wasserman is Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University.

If I were one of Wasserman’s students, I’d want my money back.

HoyStory

*

OBAMANIA WANING ON THE LEFT

by Eric Scheie

The more time I spend in Berkeley, California (where I am on an extended visit), the more I find myself wondering about something.

Is the left-wing phenomenon known as “Obamamania” on the wane?

It might be too early to tell, but from what I’ve been reading and hearing, I see clear signs that it is. A number of leftist commentators have worked themselves into quite a lather over Barack Obama’s apparent “centrism” — especially his failure to appoint “progressives” (code language for far leftists).

Things have come a long way since the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mark Morford mythologized Barack Obama as a “powerful luminosity, a unique high-vibration integrity” in a piece which noted approvingly that “spiritually advanced people” saw him as approaching Godhead — as a magical “Lightworker”:

Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.

Whether Morford still seeks the beatification of St. Barack, I don’t know, but these days his paper seems more to be playing the role of devil’s advocate. A recent piece (headlined as “Obama Team Heavy On Centrists — Economic appointments make some Republicans happier than liberals” at the web site) grimly noted Republican praise, and liberal skepticism:

While Republicans were praising Obama’ economic team (Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. said Obama demonstrated “strong and early leadership by his choices), liberal were more skeptical. Noting the heavy reliance on former Clinton administration officials, including Geithner and Summers, Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said both men “supported policies that got us here. They were big fans of financial deregulation, they didn’t take financial bubble seriously - back then it was the stock-market bubble, but they said asset bubbles were not a big deal. The hope is they’ve learned something, and that remains to be seen.”

The Berkeley Daily Planet (”Party’s Over–Time to Get Back to Work“) wasted no time in taking Barack Obama directly to task. The first sentence (sounding eerily like a conservative Op Ed in the Washington Times) laments that “as the economic news goes daily from bad to worse, Obamamania continues unabated.” As the editorial reminds us, the fabled Kennedy of Camelot was a war hawk, and it might be time to take off the rose-colored glasses:

In the words of the song (and the title of the book) Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. When the symbolic significance of Obama’s African ancestry is added to the mix, it’s an irresistible combination, bound to induce euphoria.

That’s why it’s incumbent on those of us who are mightily impressed with Barack Obama and his whole family to keep our critical faculties intact. Despite good intentions and personal integrity, John Kennedy took the country in some unfortunate policy directions. The disastrous Vietnam war had its roots in the Kennedy administration.

A cloud on this week’s sunny horizon is the lurking presence of Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, two of the villains in the Clinton economic debacle. Bob Scheer in his syndicated column at truthdig.com does a good job of skewering them, and Obama supporters everywhere should suggest to their hero that much better advice is available.

Rahm Emmanuel, chosen for Obama’s chief of staff, is both good news and bad news. He’s smart and competent, but he used his brains and muscle to push Clinton’s dreadful welfare reform policies. His father seems to have worked with the Israeli terrorist group Irgun in his youth, and just caused a flap with racist-appearing anti-Arab remarks quoted in the Israeli press, though Rahm apologized for him later. Perhaps the son is wiser than the father, but let’s wait and watch.

On the other hand, the list of excellent advisers that Obama has assembled is very long, so a few bad apples probably won’t spoil the whole bunch. But–to mix in one more metaphor–it’s time for the rose-colored glasses to come off.

Well, being a libertarian means never having rose-colored glasses on, so it’s a bit hard for me to identify with that. But I think the unmistakable subtext is that the left is gearing up to hold Obama’s feet to the fire.

Many signs point to growing discontent on the left towards Obama. I expect the controversy over Obama’s backpedaling over the gays in the military issue will heat up, and I’m also seeing signs of irritation like this:

UC Berkeley students joined the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) last week to launch a national campaign urging President-elect Barack Obama to enact the federal Dream Act, which would legalize federal financial aid and open a path of citizenship for undocumented immigrant college students across the nation, who are otherwise entrapped in complicated paperwork.

Etc. No word on what the By Any Means Necessary brigade will do if Obama doesn’t comply, but when groups like that don’t get their way, they are unlikely to remain silent. Similarly, another group is demanding that Obama close the former School of the Americas (much hated by the hard left, and renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), but there’s no word on what they’ll do if the school continues.

There’s more and more disgruntlement over the absence of “progressives” in the Obama administration. Robert Kuttner complains that progressives are missing and that Obama had picked “the same centrist club” consisting of “a team of Rubinistas.”

The Nation’s Chris Hayes, is far less circumspect. He sounds angry and scolding:

Not a single, solitary, actual dyed-in-the-wool progressive has, as far as I can tell, even been mentioned for a position in the new administration. Not one. Remember this is the movement that was right about Iraq, right about wage stagnation and inequality, right about financial deregulation, right about global warming and right about health care. And I don’t just mean in that in a sectarian way. I mean to say that the emerging establishment consensus on all of these issues came from the left.

Open Left’s Chris Bowers is at least as frustrated over the appointment of General Jim Jones to head the NSA, while progressives are being left out:

Why isn’t there a single member of Obama’s cabinet who will be advising him from the left? It seems to me as though there is a team of rivals, except for the left, which is left off the team entirely.

It is just so very frustrating. It seems like the only place progressives are making any gains is in the House. We are being entirely left out of Obama’s major appointments so far. I guess everyone gets to play in Obama’s administration, except progressives.

I’m finding it very tough to be frustrated by their frustration, and I agree with Glenn Reynolds’ assessment that Obama is “looking ever more hawkish and tax-cutting, so who knows — things may work out.”

But if Obama is seen as betraying the left, while that might help him with the right, is that really his goal? I don’t think he’s playing to the right, because none of the appointments the “progressives” complain about can honestly be called rightist, or even conservative. As the New York Times noted recently, “he has yet to name any Republicans to cabinet-level positions as pledged.”

Since then, however, Team Obama announced that the president-elect plans to keep the Bush administration’s Robert Gates as secretary of defense — a move certain to infuriate “progressives.” By a process which is almost mathematical, the more infuriated the latter become, the more they make Obama look like a centrist whether he is or not.

John Hawkins of Right Wing News takes issue with the view of Obama as a centrist, much less a rightist:

Obama is not a centrist and he’s not filling his cabinet up with them either. Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and the overwhelming majority of staffers Obama is bringing on are hard core liberals. The Kos crowd may not always look at it like that, but the netroots think anyone who doesn’t want to prosecute Bush for war crimes or deliberately lose the war in Iraq is practically a Republican.

That reflects the split I’ve seen in Berkeley for years — between Marxist-style “progressives” and mainstream Democrat “liberals,” with the former seeing the latter as “right wing.” (In fairness, I guess they are to the right — of the far left.)

I think what is emerging on the right is not so much a view that Obama is a centrist so much as a sigh of relief that so far, he’s not acting like the radical Marxist some conservatives predicted he would. Despite the past utopian ruminations of Bill Ayers, there is no Five Year Plan to liquidate the American Kulak class. (Just to be on the safe side, though, the latter are stocking up on guns, which benefits the economy.)

Barack Obama is a highly skilled politician who weighs the consequences of every move. While he ran on the left, he is now showing clear signs of what we would call “playing to the center.” As to how much of that is real centrism and how much is the appearance of centrism caused by angry progressive outbursts, it’s too early to tell.

But there’s no question that the angry progressive outbursts are growing shriller and shriller. Even before the Gates announcement became news, The Nation’s William Greider sounded the alarm, in very strong terms:

Obama’s choices have begun to define him. His victory, it appears, was a triumph for the cautious center-right politics that has described the Democratic Party for several decades. Those of us who expected more were duped, not so much by Obama but by our own wishful thinking.

I’m enjoying this so much that I’m starting to engage in wishful thinking myself!

Is it possible that this is precisely what Team Obama wants? To lull the libertarian and conservative opposition into a false sense of security by adeptly pretending to play to the center? I’ve been so steeped in election-oriented thinking for so long now that it’s hard to analyze things any other way. But the election is over, isn’t it?

It’s a bit of a puzzle, but I’m hoping maybe he’s not playing to anyone, and that he really is at heart more of a centrist than a far left ideologue. Certainly, that’s what the American people would want him to be.

Of course, even if this is not from the heart, and he’s being a consummate politician and thinking ahead to 2012 (or the next congressional election), the practical result would still be the same.

As to the “progressive base,” I think Obama can take them for granted, especially right now. They have nowhere to go, and it’s not as if they’d ever vote Republican. Barack Obama can act like Humphrey Bogart in the Maltese Falcon who famously said (to Joel Cairo, after slapping him):

When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it.

This is not to say that I’m comparing Barack Obama to Humphrey Bogart, as it’s far too early for that.

However, at the risk of being engaged in wishful thinking, I’d enjoy seeing the Joel Cairos of the left get slapped a few more times.

Pajamas Media
*
ETHIOPIA TO PULL TROOPS FROM SOMALIA
by Pat

Somalia has been chaotic since it descended into fiefdoms run by warlords in the 90's. The Somali government called in Ethiopian troops in December 2006 to oust the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a union of Sharia courts establishing Sharia law in Somalia. Ethiopia, a Christian country, hoped to prevent the establishment of a Muslim stronghold in a neighboring country. They say they were promised backing from the West. The U.S. claims it did not back the invasion. This is acknowledged by Ethiopian officials, who say the then head of US Central Command, General John Abizaid told them the invasion would be a mistake, and warned that Somalia would become "Ethiopia's Iraq." Nevertheless, the U.S. did send some Special Ops teams early on and used AC-130 gunships to try to kill senior Islamists on at least one occasion in January 2007.

Ethiopia has been asking for UN peacekeepers but the UN says not until there are security improvements and political reconciliation within the Somalia government. If security and political reconciliation existed what would be the need for the UN troops one wonders. The Islamic militants have control over most of the country outside of the capital, Mogidishu.

Ethiopia is adamant about pulling out the troops by the end of the year which will leave Somalia in the hands of Muslim militants. Fighting in Somalia has killed 10,000 civilians since early 2007. The chaotic situation in Somalia has already created a breeding ground for kidnappings and piracy. The concern is now it will become a base of operations for al-Qaida.

Ethiopia to pull troops out of Somalia

"The Ethiopians are at the end of their tether because of the squabbling in the interim government, which they have backed at such enormous human and financial cost," Rashid Abdi, Somalia expert at the International Crisis Group, told Reuters.

He said Ethiopia also was angry at the West, which gave it tacit approval to deploy there, but then let it shoulder the burden of trying to stabilise Somalia, while also criticising human rights abuses by its soldiers there.


Tammy Bruce Blog

*

OBAMA: A BROWN, NOT BLACK, PRESIDENT
by Clive Davis

Black or biracial? (Or both?) The editor of the Washington Post's Book World gets it just about right:

To me, as to increasing numbers of mixed-race people, Barack Obama is not our first black president. He is our first biracial, bicultural president. He is more than the personification of African American achievement. He is a bridge between races, a living symbol of tolerance, a signal that strict racial categories must go...

Of course there is much to celebrate in seeing Obama's victory as a victory for African Americans...We Hispanic Americans, very likely the most mixed-race people in the world, credit our gains to the great African American pioneers of yesterday... But Obama's ascent to the presidency is more than a triumph for blacks... As the great American poet Langston Hughes once wrote, "I am not black. There are lots of different kinds of blood in our family. But here in the United States, the word 'Negro' is used to mean anyone who has any Negro blood at all in his veins. . . . I am brown."

***



We have implemented a new commenting system. To use it you must login/register with disqus. Registering is simple and can be done while posting this comment itself. Please contact gzenone [at] horowitzfreedomcenter.org if you have any difficulties.
blog comments powered by Disqus




Home | Blog | Horowitz | Archives | Columnists | Search | Store | Links | CSPC | Contact | Advertise with Us | Privacy Policy

Copyright©2007 FrontPageMagazine.com