The hype surrounding a new paper by Roy Spencer and Danny Braswell is impressive (see for instance Fox News); unfortunately the paper itself is not. News releases and blogs on climate denier web sites have publicized the claim from the paper’s news release that “Climate models get energy balance wrong, make too hot forecasts of global warming”. The paper has been published in a journal called Remote sensing which is a fine journal for geographers, but it does not deal with atmospheric and climate science, and it is evident that this paper did not get an adequate peer review. It should not have been published.
The paper’s title “On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance” is provocative and should have raised red flags with the editors. The basic material in the paper has very basic shortcomings because no statistical significance of results, error bars or uncertainties are given either in the figures or discussed in the text. Moreover the description of methods of what was done is not sufficient to be able to replicate results. As a first step, some quick checks have been made to see whether results can be replicated and we find some points of contention.
The basic observational result seems to be similar to what we can produce but use of slightly different datasets, such as the EBAF CERES dataset, changes the results to be somewhat less in magnitude. And some parts of the results do appear to be significant. So are they replicated in climate models? Spencer and Braswell say no, but this is where attempts to replicate their results require clarification. In contrast, some model results do appear to fall well within the range of uncertainties of the observations. How can that be? For one, the observations cover a 10 year period. The models cover a hundred year period for the 20th century. The latter were detrended by Spencer but for the 20th century that should not be necessary. One could and perhaps should treat the 100 years as 10 sets of 10 years and see whether the observations match any of the ten year periods, but instead what appears to have been done is to use only the one hundred year set by itself. We have done exactly this and the result is in the Figure..
[ed. note: italics below replace the deleted sentence above, to make it clearer what is meant here.]
SB11 appears to have used the full 100 year record to evaluate the models, but this provides no indication of the robustness of their derived relationships. Here instead, we have considered each decade of the 20th century individually and quantified the inter-decadal variability to derive the Figure below. What this figure shows is the results for the observations, as in Spencer and Braswell, using the EBAF dataset (in black). Then we show results from 2 different models, one which does not replicate ENSO well (top) and one which does (second panel). Here we give the average result (red curve) for all 10 decades, plus the range of results that reflects the variations from one decade to the next. The MPI-Echam5 model replicates the observations very well. When all model results from CMIP3 are included, the bottom panel results, showing the red curve not too dis-similar from Spencer and Braswell, but with a huge range, due both to the spread among models, and also the spread due to decadal variability.
Figure: Lagged regression analysis for the Top-of-the-atmosphere Net Radiation against surface temperature. The CERES data is in black (as in SB11), and the individual models in each panel are in red. The dashed lines are the span of the regressions for specific 10 year periods in the model (so that the variance is comparable to the 10 years of the CERES data). The three panels show results for a) a model with poor ENSO variability, b) a model with reasonable ENSO variability, and c) all models.
Consequently, our results suggest that there are good models and some not so good, but rather than stratifying them by climate sensitivity, one should, in this case, stratify them by ability to simulate ENSO. In the Figure, the model that replicates the observations better has high sensitivity while the other has low sensitivity. The net result is that the models agree within reasonable bounds with the observations.
To help interpret the results, Spencer uses a simple model. But the simple model used by Spencer is too simple (Einstein says that things should be made as simple as possible but not simpler): well this has gone way beyond being too simple (see for instance this post by Barry Bickmore). The model has no realistic ocean, no El Niño, and no hydrological cycle, and it was tuned to give the result it gave. Most of what goes on in the real world of significance that causes the relationship in the paper is ENSO. We have already rebutted Lindzen’s work on exactly this point. The clouds respond to ENSO, not the other way round [see: Trenberth, K. E., J. T. Fasullo, C. O'Dell, and T. Wong, 2010: Relationships between tropical sea surface temperatures and top-of-atmosphere radiation. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L03702, doi:10.1029/2009GL042314.] During ENSO there is a major uptake of heat by the ocean during the La Niña phase and the heat is moved around and stored in the ocean in the tropical western Pacific, setting the stage for the next El Niño, as which point it is redistributed across the tropical Pacific. The ocean cools as the atmosphere responds with characteristic El Niño weather patterns forced from the region that influence weather patterns world wide. Ocean dynamics play a major role in moving heat around, and atmosphere-ocean interaction is a key to the ENSO cycle. None of those processes are included in the Spencer model.
Even so, the Spencer interpretation has no merit. The interannual global temperature variations were not radiatively forced, as claimed for the 2000s, and therefore cannot be used to say anything about climate sensitivity. Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system (except for the small portion related to human related aerosol effects, which have a small effect on clouds). Clouds mainly occur because of weather systems (e.g., warm air rises and produces convection, and so on); they do not cause the weather systems. Clouds may provide feedbacks on the weather systems. Spencer has made this error of confounding forcing and feedback before and it leads to a misinterpretation of his results.
The bottom line is that there is NO merit whatsoever in this paper. It turns out that Spencer and Braswell have an almost perfect title for their paper: “the misdiagnosis of surface temperature feedbacks from variations in the Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance” (leaving out the “On”).
Arab League representatives who held an emergency meeting in Cairo this week to discuss the financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority did not find time to deal with the plight of over !! million Somalis who are facing starvation due to the ravaging drought.
It is a stain on the forehead of all Arabs and Muslims that Americans and Europeans have moved faster to provide urgent aid to the famine-stricken population in Somalia, one of the 22 members of the Arab League. Saudi Arabia has pledged $60 million, but it remains to be seen if it will fulfill its promise. The promise is considered a drop in the sea compared with what Western countries have pledged to save the lives of the Somalis.
Arab governments have not even deemed it necessary to hold a conference to discuss ways of saving the lives of millions of people in Somalia. But when the Palestinian Authority earlier this week demanded an emergency session over its financial crunch, the Arab League convened within hours in Cairo to hear Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's urgent request for $300 million.
True, the financial crisis facing the Western-backed Fayyad government is for real. It is also worrying that nearly 150,000 Palestinian civil servants have received only half salaries for the past month.
But there is no comparing the crisis in the Palestinian Authority with the immediate threat to the lives of millions of people in Somalia.
Following the Cairo meeting of the Arab League representatives, a communiqué issued by the participants did not make any reference to the situation in Somalia.
A week earlier, however, the Arab League did issue a laconic statement in which it promised funds for humanitarian aid, and encouraged Arab states to support Somalia.
The Arab League issued its statement following an appeal by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations: "The Arab League urgently calls for all Arab countries, Arab organizations, the Arab Red Crescent, Arab civil society organizations and the Arab private sector to mobilize their energies and capabilities to rescue those affected by the drought in Somalia," the league said in a posting on its Facebook page.
So the Arab leaders are hoping to fight the drought through Facebook only, at a time when some of them have been trying to block the internet in their countries.
But these are the kinds of promises that everyone knows would never be fulfilled. The Palestinians know more than anyone else that these are empty promises that are merely intended for public consumption.
That is why the Palestinians today are almost entirely dependent on American, European and Japanese money for survival.[and since "Palestine" is unsustainable economically, either the Arabs come through with tens of billions or no such "Palestine" -- otherwise dependent on the Western taxpayer -- must not be created. One more reason, this one economic, to add to all the others, political and moral, to oppose any carving out of still more land for Arabs -- Jordan being the first, and largest, of the unkind cuts -- from the territory intended by the League of Nations for the establishment of the Jewish National Home, i.e., Israel.
The starving people of Somalia will also have to rely on Western aid because the Arab dictators and regimes simply do not care if a few million Arabs and Muslims die of starvation.
The US and the EU should tell the wealthy Arabs that there is no reaosn Westerners shoukld be helping Arabs when their own Arab brother are not doing anything.
The US and the EU should say that they will only help if Arabs and Muslims also give. [they should not be giving at all to help Muslims - let the Umma take care of the Umma]
The Arab tyrants would rather use the billions of dollars they have stolen from their countries to entertain themselves and their families. They would rather use the money to deploy tanks and soldiers to kill peaceful demonstrators demanding reform and democracy.
There is no doubt that the weekly or monthly expenses of a few Gulf princes and princesses in Paris, London and New York could alleviate the suffering of the hungry population of Somalia. But why should the royal families in the Gulf care about Somalia when Americans and Europeans are there to help?
"If we have ever laid claim to the spirit of Arab solidarity, Islamic fraternity and human values, we must not rest before fulfilling our obligation towards the hungry populations in eastern Africa," complained Barakat Shalataweh in an editorial in the newspaper Emirati Al-Khaleej.
The Muslims Against Crusades march to inaugurate Waltham Forest as England's first Sharia controlled zone set off from Leyton station over an hour late today. There was no official EDL counter demonstration but individuals went to observe and try to express their contempt. The pictures say more than words.
Anjem Choudary and his brother were both there, and I can't tell them apart.
This is Leyton Trinity Methodist Church. I attended their youth club in my teens and worshipped there occasionally. I have written before about how the church cross was stolen from the front of the building one night. The gap where it should be remains.
At intervals the march would stop while the police stopped traffic along the next the next stretch of road. The speech given at this point was on the lines of 'Turn to Islam, do not fight Islam, do not resist, submit to Islam' If the marchers look at little pained it was because at this point I was moved to sing the hymn Jerusalem as firmly as I could. If I was to be arrested for singing a hymn outside a church so be it. But the police also put their hands over their ears and the march moved on.
I don't know why the young chap gave me this - I am obviously neither a brother, nor a Muslim.
Progress was slow so I left them in Leyton High Road and went ahead to the junction at Leyton Green. The police refused to let anybody out of the Shoelaces pub on the corner of Capworth Street as a speaker gave a lecture on the evils of alcohol.
The placards give a flavour of their intentions. There were no women or children, only 50 or so men.
Abu Izzadeen, aka Trevor (not very clever) Brooks does like a nice rant, especially if a minion can be persuaded to carry his loudspeaker.
The police didn't spot the flag until too late.
The historic Bakers Arms pub, which gave its name to the area where Lea Bridge Road, Leyton High Road and Hoe Street meet became a branch of Paddy Power's betting shops in January. There was a lot to say on the subject of both betting and alcohol. Had the march turned left they would have passed a motel popular with Pakistani men for selling drugs and meeting ladies of the night. That would have given them something else to say. However they carried straight ahead up Hoe Street taking the direct route to Walthamstow Central Station. I decided not to follow them but to slip down the backstreets so I could watch them come into the Town Square.
Some patriots with their own placards managed to get through the doors of the pub but no further as the march passed. There were several hundred youths, of the turbulent, restive variety, hanging around the station. They hurled abuse at this counter protest. "EDL scum" is the best I can repeat.
In the 80s when the local authority decided to 're-develop' the area by Walthamstow Central station and Walthamstow Street market they pulled down a swimming pool and dug up the bowling green so that the bus station could be extended and a shopping mall built. The bit of land left in the middle was grassed over and named the Town Square. There is a regualr da'wa stall there on a Saturday. The MAC made their way into the centre of the square in, to give them their due, an orderly fashion. The foul mouthed boys following them milled about, some riding bikes in a pedestrian area.
They cheeked the police, were cocky, stroppy, refused to push their bikes when told not to ride them and generally behaved with a complete lack of respect. At one point they surrounded the Christian Evangelical group who were preparing some Christian outreach for later. The police stopped and searched a couple of them, but this didn't discourage the others.
They were a welcome sight. Nothing is impossible with God. I needed to be reminded of that. I have a lot of respect for the evengelical Christians, mostly black Africans, who have the faith and courage to do outreach work in Walthamstow market.
This elderly lady went a stage further and took the message, repent your sins, directly to one of the Choudarys. She was laughed at for her pains but I admire her.
I made my way back to my car. I hope the people of Leyton and Walthamstow have learnt a little more today of what Islam has planned for them, so that they can join those who will stop its encroachment.
From The Tripoli Post [in the Qaddafy-controlled part of Libya]
Close Friend Claims General Younis was Betrayed 30/07/2011 12:17:00
A close friend of the slain Libyan rebels' general, and the NTC's chief of staff, Abdul Fatah Younis, Mohammed Agoury, himself a member of the rebel special forces has expressed his anger at Younis's assassination, that he believes he was betrayed.
Younis was Al Qathafi's interior minister until he defected to the rebellion early in the uprising, which began in February, bringing his forces into the opposition ranks. At the time he said he defected because the Al Qathafi he knew for over 40 years was not the Al Qathafi that was leading the country any longer."
Younis was a native of east Libya, he was a member of the Al Obeidi tribe, which has its stronghold in Tobruk. He announced on February 22 that he too was joining the rebel ranks.
He affirmed his “total belief with regards to the sincerity of the (Libyan people’s) demands” and called on “the armed forces to respond also to the demands of the people.”
After changing sides, he devoted himself to arming and organising rebels, the majority of them without experience or discipline, and to coordinate the defection of regular army troops to add some “professionalism” to his ranks.
On March 19 rumours were doing the rounds that the had returned to Al Qathafi's fold, but quickly denied it and thanked NATO for its intervention that stopped an attack by Colonel Al Qathafi’s forces on Benghazi in its tracks.
On other occasions he also criticised NATO accusing it of “standing idly by and “letting the people of Misurata die every day” as loyalist troops shelled and besieged the city on the Mediterranean coast.”
On the eve of his death, Younis was still leading rebel troops in the strategic oil city of Brega, which rebels took a few days earlier. But then he was summoned before the NTC.
Agoury reportedly told the AP news agency that he was present when a group of rebels from a faction known as the February 17 Martyrs' Brigade came to Younis' operations room outside Benghazi before dawn on Wednesday and took him away for interrogation.
Agoury said he tried to accompany his commander, but Younis "trusted them and went alone. "Instead, they betrayed us and killed him," he said.
The February 17 Martyrs Brigade is described as a group made up of hundreds of civilians who took up arms to join the rebellion. Their fighters participate in the front-line battles with Al Qathafi's forces, but also act as a semi-official internal security force for the opposition.
Some of its leadership comes from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group which waged a campaign of violence against Al Qathafi's regime in the 1990s. It was founded in 1995
Agoury believes the brigade had an agenda against Younis, because he was previously Al Qathafi's interior minister and was involved in the crackdown that crushed the Libyan Fighting Group, also known as Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya.
"They don't trust anyone who was with Al Qathafi's regime, they wanted revenge," Agoury said.
A member of the Martyrs Brigade said his group had evidence that Younis was a traitor and that the evidence will come out in a few days.
At the graveside, Younis' son, Ashraf, broke down, crying and screaming as they lowered the body into the ground and - in a city that sparked off the uprising over five months ago against Al Qathafi in order to topple him from power - pleaded hysterically for the return of the Libyan leader to bring stability.
"We want Muammar to come back! We want the green flag back!" he shouted at the crowd, referring to Al Qathafi's national banner. [this is the part that may elicit the most skepticism]
It is not only companies, such as Anham, that must be forced to disgorge profits and forever after banned from doing business with the American government (and possibly with private American companies as well). There is also the matter of the war profiteers who worked in Iraq for the American government or for the U.N. There are many. Some of them are military men. Some are those "terrorism experts" whose banalities are so highly paid for, when what they come upwith -- there's a small army of them -- is nothing that an intelligent reader of newspapers could not figure out. Some are people who, because they wotkrf briefly in Iraq, managed to exploit that for promotional (tenure, or a new job) and self-promotional purposes. Think what Noah Friedman's little stay "writing the Iraqi constitution" did for him, in convincing a gullible faculty at Harvard that he was just the man, just the "expert" who combined "scholarly" credentials (certified by John Esposito, by Roy Mottahedeh) with "practical" experience (that Constitution-writing in Iraq) and was the man for them -- no consulting with Bernard Lewis, or Hans Jensen, or any of the non-apologist scholars in the field).
But it's the peter-galbraiths who worked for the American government, who need to be foiled. Is there no law, no principle, that can be invoked to block that payment, to stop that war profiteer.
Looking Into The Anham Corporation, And All Of Its Affiliates
"A U.S. government contractor in Iraq charged the Pentagon a whopping amount of money for inexpensive items, including $900 for a $7 control switch, according to a new report from a U.S. watchdog.
U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen Jr. said review found that Anham, LLC, which is based in suburban Washington, allowed its subcontractors in Iraq to also charge $3,000 for a $100 circuit breaker, and $80 for a piece of plumbing equipment worth $1.41"
-- from this story
Anham is an Arab-run and Arab-owned company,headquartered in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.. It has affiliates -- you can find them listed -- all over the Arab world. It has made out like gangbusters, and should be investigated, and made by the American government, if Bowen's charges are true, to disgorge profits and to pay a fine. And then it, and all of its affiliates, should be banned forever from anyh work with the American government and, one hopes, with private companies as well.
U.S. Contractor in Iraq Charges Pentagon $900 for $7 Control Switch, Report Finds
July 30, 2011
A U.S. government contractor in Iraq charged the Pentagon a whopping amount of money for inexpensive items, including $900 for a $7 control switch, according to a new report from a U.S. watchdog.
A U.S. government contractor in Iraq charged the Pentagon a whopping amount of money for inexpensive items, including $900 for a $7 control switch, according to a new report from a U.S. watchdog.
U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen Jr. said review found that Anham, LLC, which is based in suburban Washington, allowed its subcontractors in Iraq to also charge $3,000 for a $100 circuit breaker, and $80 for a piece of plumbing equipment worth $1.41.
As a result, Bowen's inspectors are seeking to review all Anham contracts with the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan, which total about $3.9 billion.
Hassan S. Judeh, the administration director at Anham's headquarters in Vienna, Va., declined to respond to Bowen's examples because he said the company has not seen the report. But Judeh said Anham has a history of providing competitive prices for services, resulting so far in $132 million in savings to the government.
"Anham prides itself on the fact that it watches every penny and strives to always give the government the best cost-benefit in a remarkably hostile war environment," Judeh said in a statement.
A spokesman for the U.S. military didn’t comment on the overcharges but issued a statement regarding the rest of the report, which found that frequent bombings, assassinations and a resurgence in violence by Shiite militias have made Iraq more dangerous now than it was just a year ago.
“We anticipated, and stated many times, that there would be militant and terrorist groups trying to take advantage of this period as U.S. forces prepare to fulfill our commitments under the Security Agreement. These groups attack both Iraqi and U.S. forces,” U.S. military spokesman Jeffrey Buchanan said.
“From our standpoint, Iraq’s security continues to be an important and complex issue and one that is difficult to summarize in short-term trends and figures.”
The findings come during what Bowen called "a summer of uncertainty" in Baghdad over whether American forces will stay past a year-end withdrawal deadline and continue military aid for the unstable nation.
"Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work," Bowen concluded in his 172-page quarterly report to Congress and the Obama administration on progress -- and setbacks -- in Iraq. "It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago."
The report cited the deaths of 15 U.S. soldiers in June, the bloodiest month for the U.S. military in Iraq in two years. Nearly all of them were killed in attacks by Shiite militias bent on forcing out American troops on schedule.
It also noted an increase in rockets launched against the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, where government offices and foreign embassies are located, as well as constant assassination attempts against Iraqi political leaders, security forces and judges.
Bowen accused the U.S. military of glossing over Iraq's instability, noting a statement in late May by the U.S. military that described Iraq's security trends as "very, very positive" -- but only when compared to 2007, when the country was on the brink of civil war. In contrast, Bowen talked of "the very real fragility" of national security in Iraq today.
If the U.S. military leaves on schedule, the American Embassy in Baghdad will pick up the responsibility of training Iraqi police. Bowen called the job "challenging" for the fewer than 200 advisers who would be based in three sites but tasked with supporting Iraqi police in 10 of Iraq's 18 provinces. There are an estimated 400,000 policemen in Iraq.
Demonstrations against Bahrain's government have been escalating since the Arab Spring [EPA]
In March, as a government crackdown on pro-democracy protestors intensified in Bahrain, curious advertisements started appearing in Pakistani media.
"Urgent requirement - manpower for Bahrain National Guard," said one.
"For service in Bahrain National Guard, the following categories of people with previous army and police experience are urgently needed," said another, with "previous experience" and "urgent need" underscored.
The categories included: former army drill instructors, anti-riot instructors, retired military police, and former army cooks.
In the following two months, on the back of visits to Islamabad by senior Saudi and Bahraini officials, sources say at least 2,500 former servicemen were recruited by Bahrainis and brought to Manama, increasing the size of their national guard and riot police by as much as 50 per cent.
"We know that continued airplanes are coming to Bahrain and bringing soldiers from Pakistan," Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera.
"We do not know the exact number, but we know that it is much more than 1,500 or 2,000 people."
Recruited into the special forces, the national guard, and the riot police, the Pakistani citizens are tasked with suppressing Shia protesters that are reportedly demanding equal rights after years of alleged oppression at the hands of the royal family, part of Bahrain's Sunni minority.
"Our own Shia cannot join the security forces, but the government recruits from abroad," said Rajab.
On the ground in Pakistan, the recruitments were handled by the Fauji Foundation, one of the largest conglomerates in the country with close ties to the Pakistani military. In addition to the Overseas Employment Services, which is tasked with providing job opportunities for retired military personnel, the foundation owns large cereal and gas companies, sugar mills, security firms, as well as hospitals and universities.
Advertisement placed in Pakistani papers, reading: 'Urgent Need for Bahrain National Guard'
The Fauji Foundation did not respond to Al Jazeera's request for comment.
"Pakistanis, particularly Baluchs, make up a large part of the Bahraini force," said Fahad Desmukh, a former resident of Bahrain who now lives in Pakistan.
"They are extremely visible on the streets - so visible that the protestors were recently responding to the police in Urdu, knowing they did not speak Arabic." [Watch the video here.]
A small country of roughly 800,000 people (including about 235,000 non-nationals), Bahrain has a Defence Force of about 12,000 and a National Guard of 1,200, according to the US State Department.
The National Guard, which is in the foreront of the crackdown, seems to have been more than doubled by the recent recruitments of mostly Baluch servicemen.
"What it shows is that the Bahraini government has little trust in its own citizens to conduct security operations," Michael Stephens, a Qatar-based Bahrain specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, told Al Jazeera.
"So they rely on foreign recruits to unquestioningly carry out orders of violently suppressing protests."
While Arab nations have a long history of leaning on Pakistan for military expertise as well as foot soldiers, the recent increase in recruitments come at a tricky time. Pakistan has struggled to quell widespread ethnic violence and a robust insurgency on its own streets.
In the region, too, the country faces tremendous challenges.
"It has certainly put Pakistan in a very awkward position, where it has to balance its relationship with Iran on the one side and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on the other," Stephens said.
Iran, a leading Shia country, has repeatedly denounced the Bahraini government's crackdown on the Shia - while Saudi Arabia has remained Bahrain's closest ally.
Inside Bahrain, the recruitments have brought dangers to the South Asian diaspora, where ill-feeling towards Pakistanis has increased, reportedly because they are seen as the main vehicle in the crackdown.
The influx of Sunni mercenaries has also increased fears that the government might be naturalising the new recruits in its efforts to change the country's Shia-majority demographic.
"In the 1970s and 80s, many Arab countries flushed with oil money bought state of the art equipment, but [the] local population lacked technical skills," said Hamid Hussain, a long time analyst and historian of the Pakistani military.
"A number of Pakistan army and air force personnel were deputed to several countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. "
The recruitments varied from a dozen advisors to thousands of trainers and operators of complicated equipment.
The most prominent cases of such partnership was in 1970, when then Brigadier Zia ul Haq helped the Jordanian forces suppress Palestinians in what became known as "Black September".
Zia ul Haq, in one of the interesting paradoxes of the Pakistani military, later became a feared dictator who introduced a swift process of "Islamisation".
Pakistan's security relationship with Saudi Arabia, in particular, has put it at odds with Iran, its neighbour to the west. The two nations have been stuck in a Shia-Sunni rivalry for decades and have battled proxy wars across the region.
During the 1991 Gulf war, much to Saudi Arabia's apparent dismay, Pakistan turned down their request for preemptive help, in case Saddam Hussain launched attacks.
Reviving the relationship since has taken a long time, but when the uprising in Bahrain brought fears of unrest knocking on Saudi doors, the chairman of the Saudi National Security Council, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, made two quiet trips to Pakistan to seek their support in case protests erupted at home.
"Potential need for foreign troops in case protests spiral out of control has forced Saudis to work with current Pakistani civilian government for whom they have nothing but utter contempt," said Hussain.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani told Prince Bandar that his country supported the Saudi stance in the Gulf and the Middle East and would stand by Riyadh for regional peace, according to Pakistani media.
"The president and prime minister of Pakistan, faced with grim economic situation of the country and army brass uncertain about continued US funding, are delighted at the potential of a cash windfall from Saudi patrons," said Hussain.
Also on Prince Bandar's agenda was gaining Pakistan's support for the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) force that deployed to Bahrain for helping the Kingdom.
The trip was followed by visits from the Bahraini foreign minister and the commander of their national guard.
Then, recruitment adverts appeared in Pakistani media.
Baluchistan, where most of the recruits come from, is a province of six million in Pakistan's southwest. For decades, an armed movement for self-determination there has been met with a severe government crackdown.
Baluch nationalist fighters expressed their dismay at the recruitment long before the recent escalation.
"We call upon the Baluch nation not to become part of any tyrant or oppressive army, at a time when the Baluch nation is living in a state of war … and are struggling against the tyrants ourselves," Basham Baluch, a spokesman for Baluch Liberation Front said in a 2009 statement.
"Instead of turning the young Baluch into hired killers, they should join the national armies [Baluch Liberation Front, Baluchistan Liberation Army] to make the independence of their homeland a reality.
"We do not want the Baluch people to be used and turned into mercenaries."
Bahrain is home to a large population of foreign labourers. The majority of the work forces there comprises South Asian migrants, particularly Pakistanis.
"Our country has a history of appreciation for the help Pakistanis have rovided inp development. But more recently we have seen crimes directed at Pakistanis, and that is worrying," said Rajab, the human rights activist.
He points to the fact that thousands of people have been arrested and hundreds of houses have been looted by government forces. Since Pakistanis make up at least 30 per cent of the security forces, he says, when people think of the crackdown they think of Pakistanis.
"The poor Pakistani labourer who has nothing do with security forces suffers from all this."
Human rights activists and analysts also fear that the government is swiftly increasing the rate of naturalisation for Sunni immigrants in recent months in order to tip the ethnic balance of the country.
With a clear Shia majority, the country has been ruled by a royal family from the Sunni minority.
"What needs to be closely watched is the number of these recruits who will be naturalised in the coming months and years ahead," said RUSI's Stephens.
"Many will not return home to Pakistan, and recent statistics show that South Asians make up a big majority of the foreign citizens naturalised in Bahrain."
While many believe Pakistan is providing workers and soldiers to Bahrain in return for much needed economic aid, activists such as Rajab remain perplexed by the decision.
"What I wonder is how the Pakistani government allows this many people to be brought here and used as mercenaries," said Rajab.
"We know that many of these recruits are poor, uneducated, and are just looking for a job. They don't know what they are signing up for. But the Pakistan government certainly knows, so why are they allowing this?"
Sitôt connus les attentats d’Oslo – revendiqués d’abord par une organisation islamiste – on a eu l’impression que pour nombre de journalistes bien-pensants et bien évidemment les inévitables associations dites « anti-racistes », la piste de Behring Breivik était une divine surprise. Pour une fois, le coupable d’un attentat mortel était un blond aux yeux bleus ! On martèlera toute la journée de samedi qu’il était chrétien, extrémiste, islamophobe, patriote (les médias disent nationalistes) et contre le multiculturalisme.
On oublia allègrement que d’autres informations le situaient franc-maçon et admirateur de Churchill. Fi du silence de la police norvégienne, fi des invraisemblances nombreuses, que Marc Noé, du site « Le Gaulois » a relevés (1), fi du fait que ce « dangereux raciste » n’a pas tiré sur des musulmans, mais sur d’autres blonds aux yeux bleus, et on se crut revenu, comme le signale Roger Heurtebise, à une manipulation médiatique digne de celle de Carpentras, vingt ans plus tôt !
Sans vergogne, la fine équipe des prétendus « anti-racistes », à peine les cadavres des victimes refroidis, monta au créneau, les naseaux frémissants d’une indignation de circonstance. SOS Racisme, dont le président continue à nier le racisme anti-blanc, affirma que « ces attaques montrent le vrai visage de l’extrême-droite ». Très sentencieuse, l’association présidée par le commissaire Sopo ajouta : «A l’aube d’une campagne présidentielle en France, les partis républicains doivent réaffirmer une vérité toute simple: l’extrême-droite ne peut être l’alliée de la démocratie». Autrement dit, avec sa subtilité habituelle, l’esprit formaté de Sopo et des siens, qui continuent d’assimiler le FN de Marine le Pen à l’extrême-droite, mouille cette dernière dans l’attentat d’Oslo ! A notre connaissance, quand le major Nidal Hassan, présenté comme un musulman modéré, a tué une douzaine de soldats américains à Fort Hood en hurlant « Allah Akbar », nous n’avons pas entendu les mêmes indignations de Sopo et des siens.
Le Mrap ne prit pas ces précautions, (2) et réussit l’exploit d’impliquer, outre toutes les droites populistes européennes, dont le Front national (ce qui lui valut une menace de procès de la présidente de ce parti, dès dimanche soir), mais également la droite populaire, dont l’officine anti-raciste signale la participation au gouvernement. D’ici que Sarkozy soit accusé de complicité avec un tel acte de barbarie…
Benoit Hamon, porte-parole du PS, expliqua d’abord que les victimes l’avaient été parce que socialistes. Ensuite, il expliqua que Behring Breivik était devenu un assassin à cause de lectures de sites rejetant le multiculturalisme, et que tout cela était à cause de ceux qui refusaient l’islamisation de leur pays. Martine Aubry peut être fière de son porte-parole, il a parfaitement récité sa leçon en instrumentalisant de manière policitienne un drame épouvantable !
Mais c’est Patrick Lozès qui décrocha le gros lot de l’ignominie, et qu’on vit le mieux arriver avec ses gros sabots. « Il faut tirer les leçons de ce drame de la haine de l’autre, car c’est bien de cela qu’il s’agit. [...] En France la prolifération du discours de la haine de l’autre, sa banalisation expose dangereusement notre pays. Ils sont bien nombreux, ces propagateurs de haine, ces apprentis-sorciers promoteurs d’apéros racistes qui font mine de ne pas voir le feu qu’ils allument ». (3) Lozès n’aurait-il pas digéré un débat, sur LCI, avec Pierre Cassen, à la veille du fameux apéro saucisson-pinard du 18 juin 2010, quand notre fondateur avait conclu l’émission en lui faisant remarquer que le seul qui avait une attitude raciste, sur le plateau, c’était lui, Lozès ! Pierre démontra que l’apéro était ouvert à tout le monde, quelle que soit la couleur de sa peau, alors que le CRAN était conçu sur une base racialiste, puisque réservé à un type de la population. Rancunier, Lozès ? Toujours est-il qu’accuser le saucisson de Pascal Hilout et le verre de pinard de Christine Tasin d’être la cause des horribles attentats d’Oslo, il fallait oser !
Médiapart, jamais en retard de nobles combats, vient même de publier dans la foulée une contribution exigeant que dorénavant des réunions comme les Assises de l’islamistation soient interdites ! (4)
Bien sûr, dix ans après les attentats du 11 septembre 2001, aucun journaliste, aucun « anti-raciste » n’eut l’idée de se livrer à quelques comparaisons qui auraient été fort intéressantes. Nous n’ignorons pas qu’historiquement chaque religion est porteuse en son sein de fanatiques capables de s’appuyer sur un texte pour tuer inconsidérément nombre d’innocents jugés hérétiques. Mais depuis dix ans, combien d’attentats ayant fait au moins un mort, dans le monde, ont été revendiqués au nom de la seule religion musulmane ? La réponse, effrayante, figure sur le site « The Religion of Peace » (5) : ce dimanche, nous en étions à 17.494, et ce lundi matin, à 11 heures, nous en sommes à 17.497, soit 5 par jour en moyenne, dont plusieurs attentats sanglants en Europe ! 35 ont eu lieu cette dernière semaine, provoquant la mort de 101 personnes, majoritairement de culture musulmane, tout aussi innocentes que les victimes norvégiennes. Donner ces chiffres ne diminue en rien l’horreur que nous inspire la tuerie d’Oslo, ni l’indignation que suscite la mort de dizaines de victimes norvégiennes, souvent jeunes, fauchées par la folie criminelle d’un homme aux objectifs confus. Simplement, ces chiffres confirment ce que nous écrivons régulièrement, et montrent où se situe, au 21e siècle, la véritable extrême droite, le véritable fascisme, la véritable barbarie, la pire menace pour nos démocraties. Ce ne sont pas les Marine Le Pen, Oskar Freysinger, Nigel Farage ou Geert Wilders qui menacent nos vies, nos valeurs, nos démocraties, ce sont les fascistes islamistes qui veulent nous imposer la charia, et nous transformer en dhimmis, en France et dans toute l’Europe.
Lozes-Sopo-Aounit-Tubiana-Jakubowitz vont utiliser Oslo sans vergogne. Ils vont faire feu de tout « bois », aidés par la « gauche morale » qui va monter au créneau, comme Benoit Hamon a commencé à le faire. Si, comme Riposte Laïque, vous avez l’audace d’être contre le multiculturalisme, d’être patriote (les médias disent nationaliste), d’assumer votre refus de l’islamisation de nos pays, vous êtes donc forcément inspirateur, donc complice des attentats norvégiens. Si, comme Marine Le Pen, André Gerin, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Paul-Marie Couteaux, Eric Zemmour, Ivan Rioufol, Elisabeth Levy et d’autres, vous avez les mêmes « tares », attendez-vous aux pires amalgames !
On peut faire confiance, dans ce contexte, aux grands prêtres de « l’anti-racisme » officiel et à quelques associations islamistes, pour demander un durcissement de la législation ! Va-t-on voir fleurir des pétitions demandant la fermeture de nos sites, l’interdiction de certains partis politiques, ou le licenciement de journalistes mal-pensants ? Nous n’oublions pas, dans ce contexte, qu’Aubry, il y a quelques jours, menaçait les blogs qui avaient osé écrire que son mari, Jean-Louis Brochen, était l’avocat des islamistes, ce que Caroline Fourest avait révélé dès 2005 !
Toutes ces intimidations ne marcheront pas, vingt ans après Carpentras. Malgré les hurlements des Sopo-Lozes-Aounit et autres, les partis dits populistes, qui n’ont bien sûr rien à voir avec cet attentat (quel serait leur intérêt ?), continueront de progresser, car ils sont les seuls porteurs, malgré quelques limites, de trois débats que la bien-pensance entend interdire. Majoritairement, les citoyens ne veulent plus d’une Union européenne soviétoïde, qui mène les peuples à la faillite (lire les articles de Fabrice Letailleur et Jérôme Cortier), et pas davantage d’une islamisation de nos pays permise par une immigration majoritairement musulmane que la situation économique ne justifie absolument pas (lire l’article d’Empedoclates). Nos concitoyens veulent continuer à vivre chez eux en toute sécurité – ce qui est de moins en moins possible – avec leur mode de vie, et ils refusent le multicultarisme qui leur dénie ce droit.
Ces trois questions sont incontournables, n’en déplaise aux maîtres-censeurs de l’anti-racisme et à leurs complices. Les méthodes totalitaires de nos adversaires ne tromperont plus grand monde. Rien ne remplacera un vrai débat démocratique, notamment sur la liberté d’expression, et sur toutes les questions évoquées précédemment. Pierre Cassen avait participé à un débat passionnant, sur ce thème, avec notamment Oskar Freysinger, à l’invitation du site « Enquête et Débats ». (6) Nous qui subissons, par Pascal Hilout et Pierre Cassen interposés, un procès de la part de la Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, (qui défend pourtant la liberté d’expression d’un imam jihadiste antisémite, et s’oppose à son expulsion de France) (7), nous nous interrogeons sur le procès qu’intentent Marine Le Pen et d’autres membres du Front national à Caroline Fourest et à Fiammetta Venner. Les dommages et intérêts demandés sont énormes : 120.000 euros. Roger Heurtebise a interrogé, dans ce numéro, l’avocat du FN, Wallerand de Saint-Just, pour lui demander comment on peut défendre la liberté d’expression, et traîner devant les tribunaux les auteurs d’un livre. L’échange est assez intéressant. Il est vrai que là encore, il faut se méfier du relativisme. Il n’y a aucune mesure entre les soi-disant associations « anti-racistes », qui interdisent le débat démocratique, et ceux qui insultent un individu, comme, par exemple, ce dessinateur suisse qui représente Oskar Freysinger en nazi regardant des enfants emmenés dans des chambres à gaz.
Quand nous nous remémorons l’ensemble des injures, saloperies et propos malveillants et mensongers qui ont été tenus contre notre site, depuis quatre années (nous avons même été représentés, comme Oskar Freysinger, en nazis, qualifiés de racistes, et aujourd’hui jugés responsables, par nos apéros saucisson-pinard, des attentats d’Oslo !), nous ne pouvons nous empêcher de penser qu’il n’y a pas d’égalité républicaine devant la justice. Une association comme la nôtre, avec des moyens financiers qui ne dépendent que des soutiens de nos adhérents, ne peut multiplier les procès contre ceux qui nous crachent dessus grossièrement. Si nous le faisions, nous mettrions en danger nos moyens d’existence. Par contre, des associations dites « anti-racistes », gavées de subventions par les pouvoirs publics, peuvent se permettre de nous insulter (nous pensons à ce texte ordurier de Fiammetta Venner paru dans une revue de la Licra), (8) et surtout de multiplier des procédures juridiques pour imposer le silence à leurs contradicteurs, voire ruiner une Fanny Truchelut, sans mettre en danger leurs finances.
Nous attendons donc avec intérêt les suites de l’affaire norvégienne. Mais l’attitude des associations dites « anti-racistes », et de nombre de journalistes, confirme mieux que de longs discours les propos d’Alain Dubos, tenus dans le dernier supplément week-end. « Le relativisme est l’arme des doux rêveurs, des pleutres ou des vrais salauds ». (9)
While America focuses on its internal problems and its involvement in three wars and the world focuses on the global economy, Iran is progressing on three dangerous fronts: nuclear weapons, armed missiles and naval capability.
Despite four sets of United Nations sanctions and pressure by the United States and Europe, Iran has chosen not only to continue its nuclear program but to expand it. Iran's leaders, dominated by fanatical mullahs, announced in mid-July that the installment of faster centrifuges had begun and that they will soon triple the production of enriched uranium to 20 percent at the Fardo nuclear facility deep in the mountain near the city of Qom. It is estimated that Iran will have enough highly enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb within two months and currently has enough low-enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs.
Iran is also perfecting its missile-delivery systems. Recently, the Revolutionary Guards held war games in which they launched several long-range ballistic missiles from missile silos. They also successfully tested two long-range ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, into the Indian Ocean. The guards' ballistic missiles have a range of 1,200 miles, covering all U.S. bases in the Middle East and all of Israel, and now they possess missiles from North Korea with a range of 2,000 miles, which covers most of Western Europe.
The Iranian navy has also been busy expanding its operation on the orders of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has emphasized the navy's strategic importance in protecting the Islamic republic's interests and confronting its enemies.
In February, for the first time in three decades, two Iranian naval vessels passed through the Suez Canal en route to Syria. Iran's navy then successfully expanded its mission in the Indian Ocean, and its submarines completed a two-month-long mission in the Red Sea.
In an alarming July 18 statement, Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said the Iranian navy plans on deploying warships in the Atlantic Ocean as part of a program to ply international waters, although he did not say where in the Atlantic the ships would be sent. Two days later, Rear Adm. Seyed Mahmoud Mousavi revealed for the first time that the Iranian navy has equipped a number of its logistic vessels and units with long-range surface-to-surface missiles. He stated, "Missile frigates and destroyers have been equipped with these missiles since a long time ago, and the surface-to-surface missiles of the logistic vessels were successfully tested and assessed during the recent naval war games, dubbed as Joushan."
More ominous is the warning by the chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari: "Currently, we are seeking to utilize our defensive capabilities in open seas. And it means that if the enemy plans to pose a threat to the Islamic republic, Iran is capable of taking reciprocal action, and this strategy is currently on our agenda."
The Revolutionary Guards have successfully test-launched long-range ballistic missiles from a ship before, so the statement that they are arming some of the vessels with such missiles should worry the United States. An Iranian navy ship or any commercial vessel operated by the Iranians could easily launch a missile from outside the Gulf of Mexico and essentially cover most of the United States. Much more alarming is the fact that once in possession of a nuclear bomb, Iran could successfully carry out its promise to bring America to its knees by a successful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on America.
"One nightmare scenario posed by the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States From Electromagnetic Pulse [Attack] was a ship-launched EMP attack against the United States by Iran, as this would eliminate the need for Iran to develop an ICBM to deliver a nuclear warhead against the U.S. and could be executed clandestinely, taking the U.S. by surprise. Because an EMP attack entails detonating a nuclear weapon at high altitude, in space, it leaves no bomb debris for forensic analysis, no fingerprints identifying the attacker. We might never figure out who hit us, assuming the nation survives and recovers from an EMP attack," warns Peter Vincent Pry, president of EMPact America, who served on the congressional EMP commission.
The West has tried for years to negotiate with the radicals ruling Iran with the hope that they would halt their nuclear-weapons program. However, the Islamic regime has turned down every incentive offered, and its officials have openly stated that there is nothing the West can do to stop their nuclear program.
With the world's economy on the line and terrorism a major concern, global stability and security should be the top priority for world leaders. For that reason alone, the Iranian regime, which supports worldwide terrorism, not to mention the many Iranian officials wanted by Interpol, should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons.
A nuclear-armed Iran will change our world with horrific consequences.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reasons. He is the author of "A Time to Betray," about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran's Revolutionary Guards (Simon & Schuster, 2010).
A number of anti-Israel organizations have blamed the Jewish state and its supporters for the recent terrorist attack in Norway. The groups suggest that some pro-Israel and anti-Muslim sentiments expressed by Anders Breivik prove that Israel carried out or benefited from the attack, or that all pro-Israel supporters are dangerous.
An article on a Hamas website entitled "The Cancer of Christian Zionist Terror," makes the case. "Christian Zionism is the new Nazi beast, a kind of a Fourth Reich, looming on the horizon. It is evil, murderous and genocidal," said anti-Semitic writer Khalid Amayreh. "Just imagine the fact that we are talking about a combination of evil forces at work, including the nefarious powerful freemason cult, which penetrates many societies and governments, the Zionist movement, and neo-fascist Islamophobes seeking to ignite an internecine clash between Islam and the West."
"Today, it is Oslo; tomorrow it may be London, Paris, Berlin and Rome," he added.
Similar sentiments were expressed on the website of UFREE, the European network to support the rights of Palestinian prisoners. The group's statement on the Norway attack linked the summer camp massacre to pro-Palestinian advocacy, and maligned the terrorist for his pro-Israel views. "It has become known to the world that supporters of Israel are the real threat to world security and peace – they are the real source of terrorism," said the Oslo-based chair of UFree, Mohammed Hamdan.
Liberal Turkish newspaper Taraf published a report stating that the attacks could have been organized by Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad. "It is highly possible that the attacks are the handiwork of Mossad," reported the Kavkaz Center, a news site for Islamist separatists in Russia. "Norway repeatedly stated at an official level that it would become the first European country to recognize the independence of Palestine."
Rome. Eight police officers were injured overnight as detainees burned mattresses and threw bottles in a riot at an immigrant detention centre outside Rome, Italian news agency ANSA reported on Saturday, as cited by AFP.
The riot broke out when four Algerian detainees were brought back to the centre after trying to escape the closely-guarded Ponte Galeria facility near Rome's Fiumicino airport - essentially a holding centre for deportations.
The riot lasted around three hours and detainees trashed rooms and threw rocks, bottles and metal pipes at police. Firemen put out several blazes.
The protest follows similar scenes on Wednesday at a centre in Sicily in which 300 asylum-seekers -- many of them African migrant workers from Libya - blocked a road and set off fires, asking to be granted refugee status.
NATO Unembarrassedly Keeps Bombing Libya While Syrian Government Attacks Syrian Civilians
Syrian troops storm eastern city
An activist in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour says the attack on his hometown began Saturday afternoon and that one person was shot dead in a nearby village.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, the director of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says reinforcements consisting of about 60 vehicles reached Deir el-Zour after noon.
Abdul-Rahman gave a higher death toll, saying troops shot dead three people in the nearby village of Tibni when they tried to stop advancing troops by throwing stones.
Activists say the crackdown on protesters seeking President Bashar Assad's ouster has killed more than 1,600 civilians since mid-March.
No one should mind this or that seeming inconsistency, or hypocrisy in statecraft. We all understand it is often essential. But it's a matter of degree and of obviousnessness. And the simultaneous bombing of civilian installations on the pretext of "protecting civilians" from Qaddafy, while those who wish to seize power from him do not appear to be models of conduct themselves, and the ignoring at the same time of the much more obvious and large-scale attacks on civilians in Syria, is something NATO can't explain. It's tongue-tied, in this, as in so many other aspects of the confused, imperfectly-understood response to islam (for the political distempers and violence in Libya and Syria and Egypt and Yemen and Bahrain and Tunisia are, in the end, all about Islam, and those who want, and those who fear, more of it, and those local despots who seek to establish their own cults of personality as rivals to that encouraged by Islam (both Qaddafy, and Saddam Hussein, wanted to take the place of Muhammad, saw him -- unstated of course -- as a kind of political rival).
Fowler On Split Infinitives, And The Five Kinds Of People
James Thurber. 1931. The owl in the attic and other perplexities. New York: Harper & Row. 87-88:
My contemporary, Mr. Fowler, in a painstaking analysis of the split infinitive, divides the English-speaking world into five classes as regards this construction: those who don't know and don't care, those who don't know and do care, those who know and approve, those who know and condemn, and those who know and discriminate. … Mr. Fowler's point is, of course, that there are good split infinitives and bad ones.
I cast my vote for "those who know and discriminate."
Stuart W. Bowen, Jr. -- On Iraq, Someone Whom You Can Trust
From Al Jazeera:
Iraq PM meets with MPs on cabinet reduction
Nouri al-Maliki is seeking to streamline cabinet, as new US report finds security in country is deteriorating.
30 Jul 2011
The US is pressing Iraqi officials to decide whether they want a US military presence beyond 2011 [Reuters]
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki addressed the country's parliament on Saturday to push for a reduction in the size of a shaky coalition government that critics charge with inaction in the face of tough decisions about the nation's future.
His questioning by parliamentarians on Saturday comes amid the debate over whether or not a US military contingent will remain in Iraq beyond a year-end deadline for their withdrawal.
The controversial issue has been further complicated by the release on Saturday of a US review that found security in Iraq to be worse than it was a year ago, and the onset of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, when little in the way of political progress is typically accomplished.
Maliki's 46-member cabinet, which he hopes to reduce to 30 ministers, is the biggest in Iraq's history, and was only approved in December after protracted negotiations that followed March 2010 elections in which no party gained a clear majority.
The premier sent a letter to MPs outlining his proposals on July 13, noting that the size of the government had become "a burden" on government work and Iraq's budget as it seeks to rebuild from three decades of war and sanctions, the AFP news agency reported.
Maliki's plans require dramatically cutting the number of ministers of state and firing three cabinet members.
Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Iraq, spoke to Alaa Talibani, a parliamentarian from the Kurdish Alliance, about the expectations of al-Maliki's meeting.
Talibani said that "we all received the letter from Maliki but it was unclear about how the government intends to tackle the pending issues such as lack of security and electricity in Iraq".
"There is also the case of when we will appoint a minster of defence and the minster of interior," he said.
"Other points that Maliki needs to be clear on is more explanations about the state of our relationship with our neighbours, notably Kuwait and Iran."
Iraq's government has been criticised for inaction on key issues to do with rebuilding the country after 30 years of war and sanctions, with nationwide protests since February protesting against official corruption and ineptitude.
The deadlock has also affected the issue of whether or not some US forces will be asked to stay beyond 2011.
Ali Mussawi, media adviser to Maliki, told AFP on Friday that a meeting of political leaders to debate whether or not any US soldiers should stay on, originally scheduled for Saturday, had been indefinitely delayed.
US officials have pressed their Iraqi counterparts to decide soon on whether or not they want any American military presence beyond 2011.
Iraqi leaders, however, have already missed a self-imposed July 23 deadline to reach agreement and in the past, political deals have rarely been reached during Ramadan, which is set to begin on Monday and last through August.
Meanwhile, the new US government report concluded that frequent bombings, assassinations and a resurgence in violence by Shia militias have made Iraq more dangerous now than it was just a year ago.
The findings come during what US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W Bowen Jr called "a summer of uncertainty'' in Baghdad over whether American forces will stay past a year-end withdrawal deadline and continue military aid for the unstable nation.
"Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work,'' Bowen concluded in his 172-page quarterly report to Congress and the Barrack Obama administration on progress - and setbacks - in Iraq. "It is less safe, in my judgement, than 12 months ago.''
The report cited the deaths of 15 US soldiers in June, the bloodiest month for the US military in Iraq in two years. Nearly all of them were killed in attacks by Shia militias bent on forcing out American troops.
It also noted an increase in rockets launched against the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, where government offices and foreign embassies are located, as well as constant assassination attempts against Iraqi political leaders, security forces and judges.
Bowen accused the US military of glossing over Iraq's instability, noting a statement in late May by the US military that described Iraq's security trends as "very, very positive" - but only when compared to 2007, when the country was on the brink of civil war.
In contrast, Bowen talked of "the very real fragility'' of national security in Iraq today.
A spokesman for the US military in Iraq declined to respond, The Associated Press reported.
While many officials from both nations believe Iraq is still too unstable to protect itself without US help, keeping a large presence of American troops may be difficult to sell to an Iraqi public tired of eight years of war. Maliki has said the decision ultimately will be put to parliament. ["protect itself" from whom? Syria? Saudi Arabia? Iran? if Iran were to invade, the Americans could simply bomb the Iranians, and from afar -- they need not be right on the ground in Iraq, and shouldn't be, for their own safety -- which, in any case, must be done to halt that nuclear project. Or does this mean to protect Iraq from the violence and aggression of Iraqis themselves, to keep them from harming one another in their obvious sectarian and ethnic conflicts. Why should this be an American effort? What sense does it make? What geopolitical interest is furthered by non-Muslims preventing Muslims from acting, with the aggression and violence that are the natural atmospherics of Muslim lands, against other Muslims?]
Bowen also said his inspectors published six audits over the last three months, including reviews of US government contractor Anham, LLC, which is based in suburban Washington.
According to an AP report, the review found that Anham allowed its subcontractors in Iraq to overcharge the US government, including a $900 bill for a control switch that cost $7.05 and $3,000 for a circuit breaker worth $183.30.
Christian Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea retorted Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah Friday, saying the Lebanese army would defend alone any future oil installations put to risk by Israel, according to a report in the Lebanese Daily Star.
“The Lebanese Army, not you, will deal with our oil installations in the event they were exposed to risk,” Geagea told a news conference, according to the report.
An image grab taken from Lebanon's Hezbollah-run Manar TV shows Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah delivering a televised speech at an undisclosed location in Lebanon on July 2, 2011.
Photo by: AFP
Nasrallah warned Israel on Tuesday against trying to steal Lebanon's maritime resources and said it would retaliate against any Israeli attack on the country's oil and gas installations, in light of a dispute building between Israel and Lebanon over their maritime border and huge natural gas and oil reserves beneath the Mediterranean Sea.
The countries are longtime enemies and do not have diplomatic relations.
"Those who harm our installations will have their own installations harmed," Nasrallah warned on Tuesday.
According to the Daily Star report, Geagea accused Hezbollah of “usurping the state.”
Geagea said that despite political disagreements with the March 8 Alliance oppositional group - of which Hezbollah is a member – "We stand behind the government on the issue of the oil wealth.”
According to the report, Geagea slammed Nasrallah for stepping over the line of his authority, saying Nasrallah is not entitled to look after the Lebanese peoples' rights, and that there are Lebanese institutions in place to fulfill on that role. He stressed that the Hezbollah leader knew what he was doing and acted as he did "because he considers himself to be the ruler of Lebanon.”
Geagea, however, said Nasrallah’s acts were “rejected because the rules of Lebanon are the Constitutional institutions,” said the report.
The Daily Star also reported that Future Movement MP Hadi Hobeish voiced a similar position to that of Geagea, saying “Who asked you [Nasrallah] to set out a strategy, rather than the Lebanese state, under the pretext of protecting maritime resources?”
Nato has attacked a Libyan state broadcaster in the capital, bombing three satellite dishes in Tripoli, saying the channel instils hatred. [then why not bomb Al-Manar? Why not bomb the Egyptian station that broadcast a television series based on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"? Why not bomb every station in iran, and Saudi Arabia, for they certainly "instil hatred" of the Infidels? The reasons now used to justify what NATO is doing in LIbya become more obviously hypocritical and ludicrous -- even if their geopolitical confusion is not yet clear -- every day]
But Colonel Gaddafi's government seems unshaken by the action, pointing to the disarray in the rebel side following the death of their military commander in mysterious circumstances.
The rebel National Transitional Council now says General Abdel Fattah Younes was shot dead by members of an Islamist-linked militia.
I disagree with Fowler. "I am unable to completely agree with him" is bad writing, period. "I am unable completely to agree with him" is good, strong written English. To say that the latter is "stuffy" is to say that all form and formality is stuffy. Maybe Fowler is against men wearing jackets and ties. If he would split the infinitive in this case, out of fear of stuffiness, I can't think of any instance in which he wouldn't split the infinitive.
He's wrong, of course. "I am unable completely to agree with him" is not stuffy, but far worse: stilted. In any case, why the long-winded "I am unable" rather than "I cannot". "Can", like "must" embraces the "to" part of an infinitive that Auster wants to weld to the verb - I can split infinitives if I want - thereby undermining his loopy argument. Or is he going to kick the can down the road, as seems to be all the rage nowadays.
One of Auster's acolytes Laura Wood, an aggressively and triumphantly surrendered wife, writes:
Richard Mitchell, also known as the Underground Grammarian, said something you'd agree with: "Split infinitives: the first step to moral decay."
So, split infinitives are something to strenuously avoid, but prepositions ending sentences are something up with which one should happily put?
Erdogan, the AKP, and Turkey Without The Constraints Of Kemalism
Now that the heads of the military, the army, the navy, the air force of Turkey have resigned en masse, now that Turkey's economy is beginning to show its true weakness (and the Syrian market closed off, and the Turkish contractors returning from Libya, and the Americans no longer scattering hundreds of billions in and around Iraq), now that Erdogan shows no signs of halting his sinister takeover, bit by bit by bit, of Turkey and of undoing the one thing that made modern Turkey a place where people who exist on the same intellectual and moral planet could survive, and in numbers (they are the ones called "secularists" and are the beneficiaries of what the ruthlessly intelligent and farseeing and in the end benevolent Kemal Pasha -- Ataturk -- wrought), it's not too early for the West to rethink its support, through military and other aid, and cooperation, which continues come si niente fosse, as if nothing had happened, as if Turkey today under the AKP, where the Arab League has just opened an office and Hamas is having a lot of fun, were the Turkey of twenty or thirty years ago, of this government.
Why continue to give aid? And comfort?
Why not declare -- or perhaps better, act without any declaring -- that the AKP and Erdogan represent retrograde Turkey, Turkey without Kemalism, Turkey without its secular class being in control. And that, for the West, is not something that should be accepted, much less supported.
You don't have to travel to Turkey. You don't have to buy Turkish goods. You certainly don't have to support the inclusion of Turkey in the E.U. -- it will never happen, in any case, and shouldn't have happened even if Erdogan had never come along, because 80 million more Muslims inside Schengenland would be disastrous for the cultural coherence and survival of Europe, and Turkish secularists, much as they might have wanted their problem -- Turkish non-secularists -- to be a problem shared with Europeans, must quietly recognize that the West does have a right to protect itself, and not take on, not share with them (or with secularists elsewhere in the Muslim lands) the problems that those who take Islam seriously pose, and permanently, to everyone around them, non-Muslims and those Muslims who do not take Islam to heart but don't quite know how to make an open break.
Turkish PM says Sarksyan trying to "fill youth with hatred"; Israeli source: Who will ask Erdogan to apologize for occupying northern Cyprus?
Israel can take solace that it is not the only country in the world from which Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking an apology: On Wednesday he demanded one from Armenia as well.
The Turkish news website Today’s Zaman, reporting on Erdogan’s current trip to Azerbaijan, quoted him as saying that Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan should apologize for calling on Armenian school children to occupy eastern Turkey.
Sarksyan, asked by a student if Armenia would get back its “western territories” along with Mount Ararat – an area of great historical significance to Armenians – that’s now in Turkey, replied that “it depends on you and your generation. I believe my generation has fulfilled the task in front of us; when it was necessary in the beginning of the ’90s to defend part of our fatherland – Karabakh – from the enemy, we did it. I am not telling this to embarrass anyone. My point is that each generation has its responsibilities and they have to be carried out with honor.”
The statement infuriated Turkey. According to Today’s Zaman, Erdogan said Sarksyan’s behavior was a provocation and an attempt to fill youth with hatred, which he said would lead Armenia’s youth into “darkness.”
“There cannot be such diplomacy. Sarksyan has made a very serious mistake.... He must apologize,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.
Erdogan’s demand for an Armenian apology comes just a few days after he threatened Israel with a “Plan B” – a further downgrading of ties – if it did not apologize for last year’s Mavi Marmara incident.
“What we see here is a pattern developing,” one Israeli diplomatic source said of Erdogan’s most recent demand for an apology. “Who is going to ask Erdogan to apologize for Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus?”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s senior forum of eight ministers – a body known as the octet – met on Wednesday, but, according to government officials, did not deal with the Mavi Marmara issue because Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon was not present.
Ya’alon, who in recent weeks has led the Israeli team negotiating with the Turks over putting an end to the flotilla incident and re-establish normal ties, has come out strongly against an apology to Ankara.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, The Sunni Group That Targets Shi'a Because They Are "Non-Muslims"
From Agence France-Presse:
30 July 2011
Pakistani gunmen kill 11 Shias in second Quetta attack
The van was sprayed with bullets
Gunmen opened fire on a van in the city of Quetta, south-west Pakistan, killing 11 Shia Muslims in a suspected sectarian attack, police say.
Three other people were wounded.
The attack comes a day after gunmen killed seven Shia pilgrims at a bus stop in the city centre.
Angered by the attacks, locals from the Shia community burnt cars and offices in Quetta, capital of Balochistan.
Police stepped up patrols in the area.
Correspondents say the attack will add to the growing sense of insecurity among Pakistan's minority Shia community.
The killing sparked protests by Shia residents
The group was travelling in a packed passenger van near the outskirts of Quetta when gunmen sprayed it with bullets.
"Unidentified gunmen riding [a motorbike] opened fire at a Suzuki van carrying a group of people on their way to the main city from Hazara town," said Balochistan's police chief, Rao Amin Hashim.
Seven people were killed on the spot and four others died on the way to hospital, he added. One woman was among the dead.
The gunmen managed to escape.
There has been a notable increase in sectarian violence across Pakistan in recent years. [litotes]
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Pakistan's deadliest militant group, has said it was behind Saturday's attack.
The group has strong ties to al-Qaeda and has carried out high profile attacks against US diplomats and Pakistan military targets in the country, the BBC's Shoaib Hasan reports from Karachi, on the border of Balochistan.
But its focus remains on the Shia community - which it regards as apostates, our correspondent says.
The attack comes soon after the release of Malik Ishaq, head of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, after a decade in jail.
When a local journalist asked him what he now intended to do, Ishaq's reply was chilling, our correspondent says. He said his organisation would continue its "good work" - fighting those who opposed their version of Islam.
Balochistan, on the border with Afghanistan, is also fighting a regional separatist insurgency as well as Islamic militancy.
Why do the Sunnis in such groups as Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi target Shi'a as"apostates"? The reasoning goes like this In the beginning there were only Sunnis, and it was later -- not too much later, but later -- that a group of /Arabs [no, it was not Persians who were the first Shi'a -- Persians were first converted to Sunni Islam, and only later became Shi'a] decided that Ali, for the Sunnis the last of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, was something more, and required a separate status as "Imam," and from that all kinds of other differences -- and bloody warfare, including those mountains of eyeballs we read about -- resulted from what might be regarded by some in the West as simply a War of Succession.
It doesn't matter. What matters is that most Sunnis regard the Shi'a with distate, and in some countries, with murderous hatred. As against the Infidel, however, the complete non-Muslim, Sunni and Shi'a can collaborate, and the Islamic Republic of Iran no doubt is willing to collaborate with Al Qaeda, here and there, or at least to make its task of killing Americans and other Western non-Muslims easier.
What should the West think about the Sunni killing of Shi'a or the killing, in retaliation and out of long resentment, of Sunnis by Shi'a, as in Iraq (and possibly now in Pakistan)? It should regard such a spectacle the same way it was right to regard the iran-Iraq War that went on from 1980 to 1988, , or the war of West Pakistan against East Pakistan, in 1971. It should assume a poker-faced indifference. It should draw up a chair, and watch, and possibly come to understand even better than it now does the violence and aggression with which the texts, and hence those who slavishly adhere to those texts, are -- unrurprisingly -- filled.