Iraq Election

Thanks to Iraq the Model I found this today. Knowing the different parties participating will make the December 15 election more interesting i think.

My result is this:

Explanation for the different parties is here.
Funny my result but note that it is only 56% match.
party of islamic virtue (fadhila)
حزب الفضيلة الإسلامية
(Hizb al-Fadhila al-Islamiyah)

History: After the 2003 Iraq War, when many Shi’ite scholars returned to Najaf and Karbala, Muhammad al-Ya’qubi pesonal profile here), who had studied with Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, disputed the direction of the Sadrist Movement with Muqtada al-Sadr, and split off to establish the Hizb al-Fadhila al-Islamiyah. He has the support of Qom-based Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Ha’iri. In the Jan 2005 parliamentary elections the party achieved 28 seats in the TNA (within the United Iraqi Alliance), as well as representation in the Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf, Al-Qadisiyah, Maysan, Dhi Qar, Al-Muthanna, and Basra provincial councils.
Current leader: Ayatollah Shaykh Muhammad al-Ya’qubi (Najaf)
- Guaranteeing freedom and prosperity to the Iraqi society in accordance with Shari’a standards
- Spreading intellectual and political awareness among the Iraqis and deepening awareness of their religion and homeland
- Leading the Iraqis toward an integration of consciousness and belief on their way to a better moral and material future, in a society enjoying freedom, justice, and independence
Desired political system: A constitutional, parliamentary, pluralistic system that is founded on elections, and limited by Shari’a. Federalism is not preferred but might be the best solution at this time.
Liberties & civil rights: “The constitution must guarantee human rights and the basic freedoms, which do not contradict the Islamic Shari’a and common customs.” Human rights should be guaranteed “in a manner that does not distort the nature of Iraqi society and the commandments of Islam, the true religion.”
Distribution of wealth: “The entirety of natural resources belongs to the public sector. [...] All movable assets attained from natural resources can be acquired only through labor. They can also be acquired through inheritance, indemnity for damages, and other forms of acquisition.”
Law & judiciary: The source of laws is the Shari’a, or at least the laws should not contradict it.
- Ba’thists who committed crimes against the Iraqi people must be prosecuted by law and justly penalized.
- Ba’thists who did not commit any crime against the Iraqi people should be slowly re-integrated into Iraq’s political life
Iraq’s identity: “The land and people of Iraq must remain unified. [...] Iraq belongs to all Iraqis. [...] The constitution must emphasize the Islamic identity of the country.”
Kurds and minorities:
- The party “believes in the cultural and national rights of the Kurds in a way that harmonizes with their circumstances and fits into the framework of a unified Iraq, in which Arabs and Kurds live in brotherhood and share equal rights of citizenship and equal and equivalent obligations.”
- The party does not like to use the term “minority”. All are Iraqis and have equal rights and obligations.
On terrorism: “[The] terrorism that broke out in Iraqi society was not a product of current confessional or intellectual preconditions in Iraq. It is rather a phenomenon that grew up outside Iraq and crept into Iraq within the range of regional and international interests. [...] The Shari’a forbids terrorism.”
On the occupation: “[It] is a comprehensive project of Western civilizing procedures aimed at changing ways of thinking and the present culture, in Iraq in particular and in the whole Middle East in general.” It needs to be unmasked and resisted, but in a planned and scientific manner. Both violent and non-violent resistance are important.
Regional/International relations:
- Foreign policy should be based on the Arabic and Islamic affiliation of Iraq.
- Especially friendly relations should be established with Iraq’s neighbors.
- Relations should be maintained with all countries except Israel.

My only issue with them is the over reliance on sharia. Taken in itself i do not think sharia as originally intended is bad, but as applied by men (against women in particular) it is no good. But using a religious belief as a basis for governance at least inject some sort of morality and would be better than a Godless system.
patriotic union of kurdistan (puk)
الاتحاد الوطني الكردستاني

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was established on 1 June 1975 after the collapse of the KDP-led Kurdish resistance as a result of the Algiers Agreement between Iraq and the Shah of Iran. The party was formed as a union of three political groups: the Kurdish Workers League, the Socialist Kurdish Movement and the Social Democratic Movement under the leadership of Jalal Talabani.

Party history:
The party continued its armed activities against the Saddam Hussein regime until the 1991 uprising which followed the Gulf War, with the exception of a period in 1983 when the party negotiated with the regime. After the 1991 uprising and the establishment of the so-called "secure area" by the coalition forces, the PUK was one of the two powers administering the Kurdish areas - equally with the KDP. After clashes between the two parties erupted in 1994, the PUK gained control over the areas of the Sulaymaniya region and some areas of Arbil and Kirkuk regions, which are the areas that traditionally had been under its influence.
During the 1992 General Party Congress in Arbil, the Party decided to transform its political agenda from a Marxist-socialist to a democratic socialist one. This transformation came in response to the changes that took place in the international political situation after the fall of the USSR and its allies.
Current leader: Jalal Talabani has been the General Secretary of the party since its establishment. For a long time he had been a member in the Kurdistan Democratic Party. He participated in the Iraqi Interim Governing Council and was elected President of Iraq on 6 April 2005.
Goals: "The PUK is a socialist, democratic organization struggling for peace, democracy, freedom, equality and against dictatorship, occupation, aggression, nationalistic, denominational, and religious persecution, violation of human rights , ethnic cleansing, racism, terrorism, and reactionism. It struggles for the right of self -determination, solidarity, and peaceful coexistence."
System of governance:
- The establishment of a federal, parliamentarian, democratic, pluralistic system based on nationalistic and geographical bases
- Islam is the religion of the state and must influence its laws, but there will not be an Islamic government.
Liberties & civil rights: The party is committed to the International Declaration of Human Rights and to all international conventions related to human rights.
Capital punishment: The PUK is a member of the Socialist International, which is against capital punishment.
Distribution of wealth: Distribution of oil and gas by consensus between the regions and the central government.
Iraq’s identity: Iraq is a multi-national and multi-religious country. The Arabs are part of the Arab world, and the Kurds are part of Greater Kurdistan. Kurds have their own cultural and political identity.
Kirkuk: The party considers Kirkuk within the geographical borders of the Kurdistan Region and that the solution of this issue will be according to Article 58 of the TAL, meaning first normalization and then determination of the fate of the city.
De-Ba'thification: Previous members of the Ba'th Party should be allowed to hold civil and administrative jobs, but they cannot join the armed or security forces.
On terrorism:
- "The armed insurrection movement in our country can be put down if Kurdish and Shi'ite militias are employed.
- The Iraqi insurgents are divided into two groups. The first are the orphans of Saddam, with whom it is not possible to negotiate because they dream of bringing Saddam's regime back to power, and this is impossible. The Iraqis struggled for years to bring down this regime, and it is impossible to allow it to come to power again. The second group consists of some patriotic and Islamic persons who have been upset by what has happened. It is possible to negotiate with them and reach an agreement to involve them in the political process."
On militias: The Peshmerga forces and the Badr Corps are not considered militias.
On the occupation: There is no occupation, but a war of liberation.
Media: http://www.kurdsat.org

Socialist? No death penalty? Militias?
A blend of the two would have worked for me after addressing these concerns. Now these guys seem alright to me and i wonder how they will do:
iraqi national conference (inc)
حزب المؤتمر الوطني العراقي

Established: 1992
Current leader: Ahmad Jallabi (President - personal profile here)
System of governance:
-A democratic federal system, with a rejection of a religious (denominational) or non-religious quota. The political majority is determined by means of elections and not by means of population statistics.
-Federalism is the best system because it meets the needs and requirements of every region and group in a more accurate and effective way.
Liberties and civil rights: One of the party's principles is the priority given to the respect of the individual over the respect of religious groups, sects, and tribes.
Iraq’s identity: Iraq has an Arab face, but it also prides itself on its other features. Iraq is an Islamic country even though the party prefers the non-interference of the religious leaders in ruling the country.
De-Ba'thification: The party is one of the groups which established the De-Ba'thification Committee. It declares, "The new Iraqi government should acknowledge the fact that the first enemy of the new Iraq is the Ba'th organization, and that it should adopt steps to implement its eradication." (There must be a consensus and a national dialogue and openness regarding the criteria for pardon and forgiveness from which everyone that joined the party in the previous era may benefit, whether they joined under duress or voluntarily.)
On the occupation:
- Drawing up a timetable for the withdrawal of the multi-national forces from Iraq is a central goal of the party.
- The INC considers what happened in Iraq in Spring 2003 to be an act of liberation. Jallabi approves the security support which the coalition forces give to the Iraqi security forces.
On terrorism: The party puts a lot of responsibility on the neighboring countries for the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. It believes that international Islamic terrorism has come to Iraq from the outside. The party considers dialogue with the followers of Al-Sadr a necessity while it rejects dialogue with the followers of the Ba'th and calls for fighting and punishing them.
International relations: The party is committed to the principle of non-interference and asks the neighboring countries to shoulder their responsibility in standing against the smuggling of arms and terrorists into Iraq.
I don't really see much difference between the puk, kdp, or the itf. Having political parties based on ethnicity is fairly stupid imo.
kurdistan democratic party (kdp)
الحزب الديمقراطي الكردستاني

Establishment: The party was established on 16 September 1946 in Iran under the leadership of Mullah Mustafa Barzani. Other co-founders were important Kurdish leaders such as Mustafa Khushnaw, Mir Hajj, Muhammad Qudsi and Hamza Abdullah.
Current leader: Mas'ud Barzani
System of governance: Multi-federal, democratic, federal (essentially), provided the federation is established based on nationalist and geographic principals.
Liberties & civil rights:
- The party believes in the freedom of publishing, press, and media. It emphasizes its active role as a fourth power in educating the society and in carrying the voice of the Kurdish people to the world.
- There must be public and personal freedoms.
- Democracy is part of the party’s philosophy, nonetheless many criticized the coalition between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan at the Kurdistan government elections level for it oppressed the healthy democratic competition within the region.
Minorities’ rights:
- The party’s relationships with the small minorities are excellent, like the different Christian and Muslim minorities, their rights and particularities were protected in the Kurdistan Region. Even the representation of some of them, particularly the Christian minority, in the Kurdish administration and political institutions was bigger than its actual percentage in the population. Protecting the (small) minorities is one of the party’s main policies.
The Turkmen-Kurdish and Arab-Kurdish relations in Kirkuk became tense when the Kurdish parties held that a referendum on the fate of the city should include the original inhabitants that had been expelled by the previous Ba'th regime to Arabize the city. The party sees that the Arabizing process carried out by the previous regime in some areas should be reversed by evacuating the Arab (non-original) inhabitants and procuring the properties of the Kurds who originally lived there.
Law & judiciary:
- The judiciary and its independence is respected. All available judiciary guarantees are emphasized.
- Islam is considered as the main source for legislations but not the only source.
Distribution of wealth: Each region has a share in the petrol profits, funding, aid, and foreign loans according to the percentage of the population from among the total population in the country.
De-Ba'thification: The slogan “national reconciliation” was raised during a conference in London in December 2002 but without exempting the criminals who committed crimes against the Iraqi people and particularly the Kurds. At the same time group punishment was not recommended.
On terrorism: the party condemns all shapes and ways of terrorism regardless of reason or of source.
Iraq’s identity:
- The country’s religion is Islam, Iraq is part of the Islamic world.
- Arabs are part of the Arab nation; Kurds are part of the Kurdish nation.
The Kurdish issue:
- The party believes that the “divided Kurdish nation” deserves the right to decide its fate. The party fights for a united constitution that guarantees the right for the Kurdish people to decide its fate in Iraq.
- The party defends the rights of the Kurds who are living in other regions in Iraq. It also should guarantee the continuity of the national and cultural connections amongst them.
- The party strives to grant a peaceful solution of the Kurdish issue in all parts of Kurdistan (in Iraq and neighboring countries).
- The party calls for a comprehensive re-evaluation of all school curricula, books and study material to infuse it with the Kurdish spirit and the original values of the Kurdish people along with the scientific, technical and civilization advancements.
Kirkuk: The party considers Kirkuk to be within the Kurdistan area and within the geographic borders of Kurdistan. The issue has been concluded according to Article 58 of the TAL. It orders the returning of the expelled and the joining of the sectors which were divided from the city during the previous regime. Afterwards, the fate should be decided according to referendum at the regional level.
International relations: The KDP has strong relations with the United States of America, Iran, and Syria. Relations with Turkey are tense at times.
Media: http://www.kurdistantv.net

iraqi turkmen front (itf)
الجبهة التركمانية العراقية
(Irak Türkmen Cephesi / Al-Jabha al-Turkomaniyah al-Iraqiyah)

History: Established on 24 April 1995 as a coalition of Turkmen groups. Members include Turkmen Shura Council, Islamic Movement of Iraqi Turkmen (IMIT), Iraqi National Turkmen Party (INTP), Turkomaneli Party, and the Independent Turkmen Movement. Outside Iraq, offices exist in Berlin, London and Washington. The Front participated in all Iraqi opposition meetings in exile. Because it holds that the draft constitution denies the Turkmen their rights it called for its supporters to vote “No” in the referendum on 15 October 2005.
Current Leader: Dr. Faruq Abdullah Abd al-Rahman
Goals: Turkmen should be free to decide their destiny. They should be able to administer themselves in their areas where they constitute a majority, so they can maintain, develop and practice their culture and language freely. They should participate in the governance of Iraq according to their population ratio, which should be established by an internationally observed census. The Kurdification of Turkmen areas and cities should end. Separatist groups and militias who restrict Turkmen’s freedom and impose a separatist agenda should be disarmed. Elections should be internationally observed, fair and just so that the National Assembly correctly represents all groups. Kirkuk is the capital city of the Turkmen in Iraq.
System of governance: Republican, democratic, pluralistic, and parliamentary system. The government should be elected through free and fair elections. The status of the current 18 provinces of Iraq should be maintained. If a federal system is adopted, then the Turkmen should have the right to their own federal region that would comprise all the areas where they are the majority.
Civil rights & freedoms: National and constitutional rights should be given to all Iraqis without discrimination. This principle should explicitly be mentioned in the constitution. No ethnic group’s rights should be increased at the expense of other groups.
Law & judiciary: The judiciary should be independent. A Constitutional Court should be established. Citizens and political groups should have the right to sue for the unconstitutionality of laws as well as suing the government.
Distribution of resources: All natural resources, including petroleum and water, are the property of all Iraqis. They should be utilized and distributed in fair and accurate ways and methods.
Iraq’s identity: Iraq is a multi-national and multi-religious country. The Arab majority is the part of the Arab world and the Muslim majority is part of the Islamic world. Iraq’s territorial and national integrity should be maintained.
Kurds and minorities: Since Kurdish has been established as an official language, Turkish should be the third official language, at the minimum in those areas where Turkmen are the majority. In Turkmen regions, the rights of education in Turkish should be guaranteed. All minorities should be given equal rights.
International relations: The Front receives strong (incl. financial) support from Turkey. Turkmen-Kurdish relations are tense, while Turkmen-Arab relations are marked by overlapping positions on the Kirkuk question.


A Democrat Worthy

In the 2000 Primary season, I was keen on one candidate I thought worthy of being president. That man was Joe Lieberman. In today's WSJ editorial he demonstrate the good sense that should have won him the Democratic nomination. Unfortunately, the democratic party members did not feel the same and nominated a flip flopper instead.
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood -- unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.

There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.

It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.

* * *

Before going to Iraq last week, I visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israel has been the only genuine democracy in the region, but it is now getting some welcome company from the Iraqis and Palestinians who are in the midst of robust national legislative election campaigns, the Lebanese who have risen up in proud self-determination after the Hariri assassination to eject their Syrian occupiers (the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah militias should be next), and the Kuwaitis, Egyptians and Saudis who have taken steps to open up their governments more broadly to their people. In my meeting with the thoughtful prime minister of Iraq, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, he declared with justifiable pride that his country now has the most open, democratic political system in the Arab world. He is right.

In the face of terrorist threats and escalating violence, eight million Iraqis voted for their interim national government in January, almost 10 million participated in the referendum on their new constitution in October, and even more than that are expected to vote in the elections for a full-term government on Dec. 15. Every time the 27 million Iraqis have been given the chance since Saddam was overthrown, they have voted for self-government and hope over the violence and hatred the 10,000 terrorists offer them. Most encouraging has been the behavior of the Sunni community, which, when disappointed by the proposed constitution, registered to vote and went to the polls instead of taking up arms and going to the streets. Last week, I was thrilled to see a vigorous political campaign, and a large number of independent television stations and newspapers covering it.

None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S. And, I am convinced, almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country.

The leaders of Iraq's duly elected government understand this, and they asked me for reassurance about America's commitment. The question is whether the American people and enough of their representatives in Congress from both parties understand this. I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November's elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead.

Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.

The leaders of America's military and diplomatic forces in Iraq, Gen. George Casey and Ambassador Zal Khalilzad, have a clear and compelling vision of our mission there. It is to create the environment in which Iraqi democracy, security and prosperity can take hold and the Iraqis themselves can defend their political progress against those 10,000 terrorists who would take it from them.

* * *

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. And it is important to make it clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still but has changed over the years. Mistakes, some of them big, were made after Saddam was removed, and no one who supports the war should hesitate to admit that; but we have learned from those mistakes and, in characteristic American fashion, from what has worked and not worked on the ground. The administration's recent use of the banner "clear, hold and build" accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week.

We are now embedding a core of coalition forces in every Iraqi fighting unit, which makes each unit more effective and acts as a multiplier of our forces. Progress in "clearing" and "holding" is being made. The Sixth Infantry Division of the Iraqi Security Forces now controls and polices more than one-third of Baghdad on its own. Coalition and Iraqi forces have together cleared the previously terrorist-controlled cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tal Afar, and most of the border with Syria. Those areas are now being "held" secure by the Iraqi military themselves. Iraqi and coalition forces are jointly carrying out a mission to clear Ramadi, now the most dangerous city in Al-Anbar province at the west end of the Sunni Triangle.

Nationwide, American military leaders estimate that about one-third of the approximately 100,000 members of the Iraqi military are able to "lead the fight" themselves with logistical support from the U.S., and that that number should double by next year. If that happens, American military forces could begin a drawdown in numbers proportional to the increasing self-sufficiency of the Iraqi forces in 2006. If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007, but it is also likely that our presence will need to be significant in Iraq or nearby for years to come.

The economic reconstruction of Iraq has gone slower than it should have, and too much money has been wasted or stolen. Ambassador Khalilzad is now implementing reform that has worked in Afghanistan -- Provincial Reconstruction Teams, composed of American economic and political experts, working in partnership in each of Iraq's 18 provinces with its elected leadership, civil service and the private sector. That is the "build" part of the "clear, hold and build" strategy, and so is the work American and international teams are doing to professionalize national and provincial governmental agencies in Iraq.

These are new ideas that are working and changing the reality on the ground, which is undoubtedly why the Iraqi people are optimistic about their future -- and why the American people should be, too.

* * *

I cannot say enough about the U.S. Army and Marines who are carrying most of the fight for us in Iraq. They are courageous, smart, effective, innovative, very honorable and very proud. After a Thanksgiving meal with a great group of Marines at Camp Fallujah in western Iraq, I asked their commander whether the morale of his troops had been hurt by the growing public dissent in America over the war in Iraq. His answer was insightful, instructive and inspirational: "I would guess that if the opposition and division at home go on a lot longer and get a lot deeper it might have some effect, but, Senator, my Marines are motivated by their devotion to each other and the cause, not by political debates."

Thank you, General. That is a powerful, needed message for the rest of America and its political leadership at this critical moment in our nation's history. Semper Fi.
In a previous post, I tested as a centrist and a Democrat. This to me suggest that the majority of the Democratic leaders like Reid and Pelosi have lost touch with not only the people in general, but the ideals of liberalism at large.


Exploiting Our Weakness 2

Apparently it is the democratic leadership only that is being a tool for the islamofascists in Iraq. News worth repeating from the WaPo:
Democrats fumed last week at Vice President Cheney's suggestion that criticism of the administration's war policies was itself becoming a hindrance to the war effort. But a new poll indicates most Americans are sympathetic to Cheney's point.

Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale.

The results surely will rankle many Democrats, who argue that it is patriotic and supportive of the troops to call attention to what they believe are deep flaws in President Bush's Iraq strategy. But the survey itself cannot be dismissed as a partisan attack. The RTs in RT Strategies are Thomas Riehle, a Democrat, and Lance Tarrance, a veteran GOP pollster.

Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage."

This poll is one of the few pieces of supportive news the administration has had lately on Iraq. Most surveys have shown significant majorities believe it was a mistake to go to war, as well as rising sentiment that Bush misled Americans in making the case for it.

Even so, there is still support for Bush's policy going forward. A plurality, 49 percent, believe that troops should come home only when the Iraqi government can provide for its own security, while 16 percent support immediate withdrawal, regardless of the circumstances.


Syria has been implicated in harboring, if not actively supporting the Iraqi insurgents. Make that the Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq. Syria does not understand the consequences. First there is international pressure from the US via the UN, with the pretext being the assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Had Syria been more cooperative and supportive of US activities in Iraq, I'd doubt so much political pressure would have been brought to bear by the US. Now Syria has quietly agreed to UN questioning of key officials per Mehlis’ Deadline.

Most recently there are reports of US military incursions into Syria in pursuit of fleeing terrorists. Such incursions will continue because of the "clear and hold" activities of the current coalition's Anbar campaign. Were orders not given to stop the chase at the border? Is it a coincidence that the Syria is in a weakened state currently to contest the incursions?

And what is the internal political pressure being mounted against young Assad? He leads a minority clan in Syria, one branded heretical by many mainstream Muslims. He lacks the political astuteness and adroitness of his father; ruthlessness alone will not suffice. Minority rule must still have allies. Now he cannot protect key allies from foreign investigations for acts he either ordered or was keenly aware of. How will his erstwhile allies react to be handed over? And now border incursions. How will the terrorists respond when they no longer feel protected? How will his political adversaries react when he cannot even safeguard the border?

Think things are heating up? Well a tell-tale sign is that Syria actually welcomes David Duke believing somehow that might help!
Interesting times for Syria. I've always felt they will be the next Middle Eastern regime to fall. Afterward it will be Iran.


It is a black and white world, good or evil. And within each category it is all the same don't you know.
Death always came after weeks of torture.

"Sometimes we would hang them upside down and beat their feet with clubs. Or we would electrocute them," he said.

"One of the worst things was putting 10 people in a one-square-metre room for weeks. They had a brief break every day and were allowed the toilet every three days," he said.

Three executions were carried out each Monday and Thursday. One day Saddam's feared son Uday showed up and asked about eight political prisoners standing nearby. He ordered their immediate execution, said Abu Hussein.

Abu Hussein, a father of three, said watching men writhe in agony as they died sometimes made him cry. But he said nobody could afford to defy orders in Saddam's Iraq.

"We would have been killed on the spot. One time this executioner was one hour late in hanging someone and he was himself hanged. What could we do? All of this had a toll on us," he said.

He sometimes broke the rules and allowed prisoners to inform their families of their whereabouts in the prison, which held thousands before their execution.

But the mention of Saddam turns him into a hard man prepared to torture and kill.

"I know they will set Saddam free. He is a strong man with a brain like a computer," he said.

Many of his fellow executioners fled Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, fearful that prisoners or their families would seek revenge for their suffering at Abu Ghraib, now a U.S.-run facility also marred by prisoner abuse.



I find this oddly amusing, and a nice diversion from politics. It is a knitting of the gastrointestinal system, from the tongue to the anus, including liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Note the appendix.



The hour is late and this post is long over due. I worked today, and hopefully did some good in the process. Much to thanks for personally, and much to thanks for as a nation.



From Powerline:
Two weeks ago, as I was starting my sixth month of duty in Iraq, I was forced to return to the USA for surgery for an injury I sustained prior to my deployment. With luck, I'll return to Iraq in January to finish my tour. I left Baghdad and a war that has every indication that we are winning, to return to a demoralized country much like the one I returned to in 1971 after my tour in Vietnam. Maybe it's because I'll turn 60 years old in just four months, but I'm tired:
I'm tired of spineless politicians, both Democrat and Republican who lack the courage, fortitude, and character to see these difficult tasks through.

I'm tired of the hypocrisy of politicians who want to rewrite history when the going gets tough.

I'm tired of the disingenuous clamor from those that claim they "Support the Troops" by wanting them to "Cut and Run" before victory is achieved.

I'm tired of a mainstream media that can only focus on car bombs and casualty reports because they are too afraid to leave the safety of their hotels to report on the courage and success our brave men and women are having on the battlefield.

I'm tired that so many American's think you can rebuild a dictatorship into a democracy over night.

I'm tired that so many ignore the bravery of the Iraqi people to go to the voting booth and freely elect a Constitution and soon a permanent Parliament.

I'm tired of the so called "Elite Left" that prolongs this war by giving aid and comfort to our enemy, just as they did during the Vietnam War.

I'm tired of anti-war protesters showing up at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. A family who's loved ones gave their life in a just and noble cause, only to be cruelly tormented on the funeral day by cowardly protesters is beyond shameful.

I'm tired that my generation, the Baby Boom - Vietnam generation, who have such a weak backbone that they can't stomach seeing the difficult tasks through to victory.

I'm tired that some are more concerned about the treatment of captives then they are the slaughter and beheading of our citizens and allies.

I'm tired that when we find mass graves it is seldom reported by the press, but mistreat a prisoner and it is front page news.

Mostly, I'm tired that the people of this great nation didn't learn from history that there is no substitute for Victory.


Joe Repya
Lieutenant Colonel
U. S. Army
101st Airborne Division
Meanwhile, some do understand victory at Deuce Four's Punisher's Ball :
Ever the master of the moment, Erik Kurilla turned the microphone over to Bruce Willis. Bruce had taken the time to fly in as a guest speaker to thank the members of the Deuce Four. He gave the most impassioned speech I can remember, using clear terms—including some well-selected profanities to describe terrorists—to express his admiration and support for the troops. Bruce’s speech was so accurate in his description of the war, and so charged with emotion, that he seemed ready to lead the troops himself back to Iraq; and they were ready to go.

Interestingly, I learned later—and I am not sure Bruce wants this to be known—Bruce actually tried to join the military to fight in this war but they told him he is too old. He doesn’t look too old. Not judging by the reaction of all the women in attendance at the ball that night.
Speaking of being a soldier, here is a study looking at the composition of the US military:
This paper reviews the demographic status of the all-volunteer military and refutes the claim that enlisted troops are underprivileged and come from underprivileged areas. In terms of education, household income, race, and home origin, the troops are more similar than dissimilar to the gen eral population.

Put simply, the current makeup of the all-vol untary military looks like America. Where they are different, the data show that the average sol dier is slightly better educated and comes from a slightly wealthier, more rural area. We found that the military (and Army specifically) included a higher proportion of blacks and lower propor tions of other minorities but a proportionate num ber of whites. More important, we found that recruiting was not drawing disproportionately from racially concentrated areas.
Finally, a link to a page dedicated to honoring the fallen soldiers.


Exploiting Our Weakness

We are at war, a global war against terrorism, whether we like it or not. As a nation at war, we must all unite and work toward victory. In all wars, we can either fight a defensive one at our border, or open new fronts and take the battle to the enemy. I fully support our efforts in Iraq, much more so than Afghanistan even. I fully support those who dissent and do not believe Iraq is a just battlefield. What I do not support are actions of the dissenters to undermine our nation's wartime effort. It is unfortunate that some have failed to hold the line between dissention and disloyalty.

It is apalling to me how some Democrats have crossed the line for short term political gains and place our national interests at risk.
Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania proposed that Congress order the termination itself by adopting a joint House-Senate resolution saying the troops should be redeployed "at the earliest practicable date." The initiative represents a gamble for the 73-year-old lawmaker and Marine Vietnam veteran, who has opted to put his military reputation on the line to try to force a change in American policy.
What a dumbass! He has learned nothing from Vietnam.
"We were not strong enough to drive out a half-million American troops, but that wasn't our aim. Our intention was to break the will of the American government to continue the war."
--North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap, in a 1990 interview with historian Stanley Karnow


News about News

Last night after months within the chrysalis, Pajama Media became Open Source Media. When the initial call went out into the blogosphere, I considered signing up. Ultimately I chose to remain an independent small voice in the wilderness. Never the less, I have been following the creation of OSM with great interest and I wish them success, but not so much success that they would lose their grassroots origin. I have already added them to my news link list.

Meanwhile in related news from Tunis:
Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's U.N. technology summit.
Good for the US to retain a product of its creation, given the freedom of speech and press we seek to uphold. The internet as a beacon of freedom?


France's Occupation Plans

This was too interesting not to repeat in total. HT No Parasan
France was not always opposed to the American invasion of Iraq. One persistent Pentagon rumor, however, might explain why the French came to oppose the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. In December, 2002, a French staff officer visited the Pentagon with a proposal from his government. France would send 18,000 troops (about what they contributed in 1991) to join the Iraq invasion force. However, France wanted a specific area of occupation after the war, with full authority in that area for as long as Iraq needed to be occupied. The American State Department backed the French proposal, but the Department of Defense didn’t trust the French, and were suspicious of their motives. So the French officer went home empty handed, and the French government decided that invading Iraq was really an evil thing to do.

What exactly were the French up to? No one is sure, but the most plausible theory was that the French wanted to be in Iraq, after Saddam fell, to make sure no embarrassing documents, or witnesses, showed up. France had been supplying Saddam with weapons, and other assistance, for over three decades. Moreover, how better to help get the Sunni Arabs back in power, than to have 18,000 French troops occupying, say, western Iraq. This sort of arrangement is nothing new for the French. Although France participated in the Balkans peacekeeping of the 1990s, France was known to be pro-Serb, and French officers were later caught helping out the Serbs in illegal ways. Very embarrassing, but not unexpected. The Pentagon was well aware of how the French pulled their pro-Serb stunts in the 1990s, and apparently wanted no more of that nonsense in Iraq.


There is currently a diplomatic row between Mexico and Venezuela. At the crux of things is whether Latin America should formulate a free trade zone that would enrich the whole western hemisphere. Basically in free trade, production would flow to the areas with the cheapest labor and the goods would flow to the areas with the higher personal income. This arrangement can only help the poor of the region. Daniel has an excellent round up of the current spat between Chavez and Fox. It is also interesting to note that both Mexico and Venezuela are the larger oil exporting nations of the Americas.


Veterans Day

Speech to the veterans regarding today's contest:
And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war. When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq. And that is their right, and I respect it. As President and Commander-in-Chief, I accept the responsibilities, and the criticisms, and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision.

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

Who is lying about Iraq?


Riots Visible or Otherwise

This is why there will be no easy solution to the riots in France. And thus even as the riots subside, the tension will remain. In this environment of disenfranchizement and alienation, islamofascism will find fertile soil.



No comments. Just like the picture.


Lets turn our attention away from the riots in France to the just passed riots at the Summits of the America regarding the 11 years and ongoing work to create a Free Trade Area of the America.
MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina -- The Fourth Summit of the Americas attended by President Bush and 33 regional leaders ended here Saturday with a virtual partition of the Americas in two economic and political blocs: one made up of the United States and 28 other countries, and another made up of Brazil and four other countries.

Despite efforts from all sides to put a good face to it, the summit ended in disarray.

Judging from what I've seen in more than two decades of covering nearly every major regional summit, it was the first time participating countries couldn't even agree on a joint final news conference..

More importantly, it was the first time in the 11-year-old history of the Summit of the Americas that participating countries failed to agree on advancing the talks for a hemisphere-wide free trade area.

Since 1994, when the leaders of the Americas met in Miami to propose a Free Trade Area of the Americas, spanning from Alaska to Patagonia, the region's democracies vowed at every summit to speed up the creation of a hemispheric trade bloc. This time, they ended with a bipolar declaration stating that ''one group of countries'' wanted to go ahead with FTAA negotiations, and ''another group of countries'' didn't.

Barring a surprise turnaround at a meeting scheduled for an indefinite date next year, pending the result of worldwide trade negotiations within the World Trade Organization, we are heading to a formal partition of the hemisphere.

One bloc is made up of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Chile, and several other countries, whose combined gross domestic product is an estimated $14.5 trillion. The other emerging bloc is made up of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay, whose economies add up to about $2.2 trillion.


Granted, the split is not terminal: while Venezuela's self-described socialist President Hugo Chávez wants to ''bury FTAA for good,'' Argentina's foreign minister Rafael Bielsa noted that the remaining four countries believe that ''the conditions are not there'' for them to continue the FTAA negotiations. They would join them if the United States lifted its subsidies to U.S. farmers, which are hurting South American agricultural exports.

But, judging from my interviews with several presidents and foreign ministers after sneaking into the hotels where they were staying, there is a growing fatigue among the Group of 29, and an escalating desire by some of its smaller members to forget about the holdouts and go it alone, and start an ``FTAA of the willing.''

Venezuela's Chávez does not need an FTAA, because Venezuela is a one-product country that lives on its oil exports, and would not have much else to sell if it obtained preferential access to the other countries.

After Bush left Argentina he stopped in Brazil.
Most reports cast the fourth Summit of the Americas as a showdown between Mr. Bush and Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez. To read some of the accounts, you'd think the Chávez vision provided a serious alternative to the continuing expansion of free trade and global competition, and to the prosperity that has come with them. Give the Castro acolyte some credit for media savvy and sound bites -- which is what you have to fall back on when you lose on substance.

And lose Señor Chávez did, because the real action this weekend didn't take place at the summit in Argentina but a day later on the American President's visit to Brazil. Mr. Bush and Brazilian President Lula da Silva went a long way toward agreeing on a common strategy to reduce farm subsidies that just might salvage the Doha round of global trade-opening.

"Your president has criticized the agricultural subsidies that the developed world pays to its farmers -- trade-distorting subsidies that undercut honest farmers in the developing world," Mr. Bush said in a speech in Brasilia. "I agree with President Lula." As Brazil's ambassador to the U.S. told us, "The visit was very constructive, and that fact was really apparent in the Brazilian press."


The Muslim Streets 2

Too often we talk about the silence of the Muslim world regarding terrorism, and equate this with tacit approval of terrorism. Thus this bit comes as welcomed news from Gateway Pundit:
* 150,000 Demonstrate Against Al Qaida in Morocco
* Protesters Pledge Unity with Iraq!
* "All Moroccans are with Iraq, all Moroccans are innocent," the marchers chanted.
* Rally draws people cutting across political lines
* Officials say they will not succumb to Al Qaida blackmail
* Clerics say Al Qaida members will "burn in hell" if they kill embassy workers

At the same time, how many times have westerners protested against terrorism?


While the map is only of France, riots are also occuring in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.
Here are today’s headlines in Belgium’s (only) Sunday newspaper De Zondag. Page One: “No Sign of Revolt in Belgium Yet.” Page Five: “Violence Moves Towards Belgium.” It almost sounds like a weather forecast, anticipating the onslaught of a hurricane that is inevitably coming.


France's Intifada

The ongoing riots in France are troubling. While certainly economic opportunity is the inciting factor for the grievance, that the population affected consist of Muslim youth is cause for concerns. Whether France is a US ally or not is largely irrelevant if she falls from diplomatic schizophrenia into instability. This will destabilize much of Europe as many other Western European nations are confronting similar crisis, though not so severe. France along with Germany constitute the bulk of continental Western Europe, a region slowly descending into and becoming what some have referred to as Eurabia. Both France and Germany have large Muslim immigrant population, both fail to culturally and politically integrate their Muslim immigrants, and both have faltering economies that will prevent economic integration.

We must also remember that while the ethnicities of the terrorists from the GWoT have been Middle Easterners, most also have lived and been indoctrinated in Europe. In the Middle East, Muslim countries have only themselves to blame, and contain sufficient counterweight to extremism and fundamentalism. And in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have suffered under violent oppression to understand that fundamentalism is not the solution. But Muslims in Europe are disenfranchised and radicalized. In Eurabia fundamentalism can be perceived as “empowering”. The existing terrorist cells will certainly take advantage of these riots, even if they originated in economic grievances. More so, they have westerners to blame and even worse, they will have western collaborators to assist and vocalize their grievances and anger.

France will have to crack down, and likely harshly. There are little cultural, political, or economic offerings available as alternative. How the disenfranchised will react depends on how much their cause and action have been co-opted by the terrorists. But even acts of terrorism will not destabilize France if France retains the will to fight. This has remained the case for numerous countries fighting an insurgency that has resorted to terrorism, whether it be countries in Latin America (Colombia), the Middle East (Algeria, Iraq), or Europe (Spain). But if France will to fight is undermined by actions on France’s political left, and the political naiveté of France’s youth, then instability is certain.

Finally, the US and its true allies in the GWoT will not have the resources short of full mobilization to contain and salvage Eurabia. A destabilized France-Eurabia will be very bad for us, and a lost we may not be able to recover from. While Schadenfreude is tempting, it is shortsighted.


The Muslim Streets

AS THE night falls, the "troubles" start — and the pattern is always the same.
Bands of youths in balaclavas start by setting fire to parked cars, break shop windows with baseball bats, wreck public telephones and ransack cinemas, libraries and schools. When the police arrive on the scene, the rioters attack them with stones, knives and baseball bats.

The police respond by firing tear-gas grenades and, on occasions, blank shots in the air. Sometimes the youths fire back — with real bullets.

These scenes are not from the West Bank but from 20 French cities, mostly close to Paris, that have been plunged into a European version of the intifada that at the time of writing appears beyond control.

Why have the riots happened? From many accounts one would think that the riots have been caused by France’s failure to implement Marxism. “The unrest,” AP explained, has highlighted the division between France’s big cities and their poor suburbs, with frustration simmering in the housing projects in areas marked by high unemployment, crime and poverty.” Another AP story declared flatly that the riots were over “poor conditions in Paris-area housing projects.”

Reuters agreed with AP’s attribution of all the unrest to economic injustice, and added in a suggestion of racism: “The unrest in the northern and eastern suburbs, heavily populated by North African and black African minorities, have been fuelled by frustration among youths in the area over their failure to get jobs and recognition in French society.” Deutsche Presse Agentur called the high-rise public housing in the Paris suburbs “a long-time flashpoint of unemployment, crime and other social problems.”

One might get the impression from this that France is governed by top-hatted, cigar-smoking capitalists, building their fortunes on the backs of the poor, rather than by socialists and quasi-socialists who have actually strained the economy by spending huge amounts of money on health and welfare programs. Nor does the idea that the rioting has been caused by economic inequalities explain why Catholics and others who are poor in France have not joined the Muslims who are rioting. Of course, all the news agencies have either omitted or mentioned only in passing that the rioters are Muslims at all. The casual reader would not be able to escape the impression that what is happening in France is all about economics — and race.

The areas hardest hit by the riots, according to Reuters, are “home to North African and black African minorities that feel excluded from French society.” AP shed some light on this feeling of exclusion: “the violence also cast doubt on the success of France’s model of seeking to integrate its large immigrant community — its Muslim population, at an estimated 5 million, is Western Europe’s largest — by playing down differences between ethnic groups. Rather than feeling embraced as full and equal citizens, immigrants and their French-born children complain of police harassment and of being refused jobs, housing and opportunities.”

But What about ...
It's a barely kept secret that Mr. Chirac led the opposition to the Iraq war out of fear of how his Muslim population would react. This fear is a big part of why France portrays itself as America's counterweight and why it criticizes Israel at every turn and coddled the terrorist Yasser Arafat right up to his death. This doesn't elicit thanks from Muslim radicals in France. It turns out to project an image of weakness. Unsurprisingly when faced with some unhappiness they believe they can pressure the French state into submission.


The CIA and Plame

Here is a nice run down of the role of the CIA in Plamegate in today's WSJ
• First: The CIA sent her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to Niger on a sensitive mission regarding WMD. He was to determine whether Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake, an essential ingredient for nonconventional weapons. However, it was Ms. Plame, not Mr. Wilson, who was the WMD expert. Moreover, Mr. Wilson had no intelligence background, was never a senior person in Niger when he was in the State Department, and was opposed to the administration's Iraq policy. The assignment was given, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, at Ms. Plame's suggestion.

• Second: Mr. Wilson was not required to sign a confidentiality agreement, a mandatory act for the rest of us who either carry out any similar CIA assignment or who represent CIA clients.

• Third: When he returned from Niger, Mr. Wilson was not required to write a report, but rather merely to provide an oral briefing. That information was not sent to the White House. If this mission to Niger were so important, wouldn't a competent intelligence agency want a thoughtful written assessment from the "missionary," if for no other reason than to establish a record to refute any subsequent misrepresentation of that assessment? Because it was the vice president who initially inquired about Niger and the yellowcake (although he had nothing to do with Mr. Wilson being sent), it is curious that neither his office nor the president's were privy to the fruits of Mr. Wilson's oral report.

• Fourth: Although Mr. Wilson did not have to write even one word for the agency that sent him on the mission at taxpayer's expense, over a year later he was permitted to tell all about this sensitive assignment in the New York Times. For the rest of us, writing about such an assignment would mean we'd have to bring our proposed op-ed before the CIA's Prepublication Review Board and spend countless hours arguing over every word to be published. Congressional oversight committees should want to know who at the CIA permitted the publication of the article, which, it has been reported, did not jibe with the thrust of Mr. Wilson's oral briefing. For starters, if the piece had been properly vetted at the CIA, someone should have known that the agency never briefed the vice president on the trip, as claimed by Mr. Wilson in his op-ed.

• Fifth: More important than the inaccuracies is the fact that, if the CIA truly, truly, truly had wanted Ms. Plame's identity to be secret, it never would have permitted her spouse to write the op-ed. Did no one at Langley think that her identity could be compromised if her spouse wrote a piece discussing a foreign mission about a volatile political issue that focused on her expertise? The obvious question a sophisticated journalist such as Mr. Novak asked after "Why did the CIA send Wilson?" was "Who is Wilson?" After being told by a still-unnamed administration source that Mr. Wilson's "wife" suggested him for the assignment, Mr. Novak went to Who's Who, which reveals "Valerie Plame" as Mr. Wilson's spouse.

• Sixth: CIA incompetence did not end there. When Mr. Novak called the agency to verify Ms. Plame's employment, it not only did so, but failed to go beyond the perfunctory request not to publish. Every experienced Washington journalist knows that when the CIA really does not want something public, there are serious requests from the top, usually the director. Only the press office talked to Mr. Novak.

• Seventh: Although high-ranking Justice Department officials are prohibited from political activity, the CIA had no problem permitting its deep cover or classified employee from making political contributions under the name "Wilson, Valerie E.," information publicly available at the FEC.