Dinar Discussion APRIL 2008

By DinarAdmin

Dinar Discussion starting April 2008.

Comments


Laura Parker wrote:

All,

I asked the question about what the difference is between the Shiiti groups--in regards to how the USA military knows who to trust and if any of the Shiiti political groups could be trusted?.

After reading several articles on Iraq's military readiness to handle a military crisis--- I am finding that military leaders do no find that Iraq has the infrastructure to handle a crisis internally or externally. One of the articles I read stated that it was believed that the USA military did the lack of equipment (like fighter jets for an Iraqi air force) and more advance weaponary arms for the Iraqi army to be an intentional decision on the part of our USA military. One reason given is the lack of trust on the part of our military in the Iraqi's different militias or political parties. The reasoning behind this is that our military believes that the Iraqi's could use advance weapons upon our military, if we supplied these weapons. However, the other side of this is... The Iraqi government's military is equiped the same as the militias that they are going up against. The Iraqi military may even be out gunned due to the weapons that Iran is supplying. This makes the war with disarming the militas not one that the Iraqi government can do and therefore, the USA has placed itself in the position that we must be the ones to remove the militias military--- if this has to be done.

The other part of this is that Sadr stands for wanting to institute an Islamic government--- instead of the parliament that the USA backs. However, Sadr's militias must survive militarily in order to bring this to past. Sadr, I believe is playing a waiting game. He knows that the USA must withdraw our combat teams for rest soon. I think April was suppose to be the troop routation.

What I am thinking is that the other Shiiti's supposely more educated and these other groups have businesses--- appear to be more accepting of a secular government than Sadr, despite all of there ties to Iran. Maybe they are thinking that the Iraqi government can be like some of the other governments like Europe's or Jordan, or Equpt.

Despite what the news said about the job of Maliki to take out all militas, Maliki was after the Mahdi militias. The Iraqi army took up positions in other neighborhoods that were run by other militias (but the army was unopposed) due to the militia's ties to the government officials (who are Shiiti's with other political militias parties).

These are just points to think about.

Laura Parker

-- April 1, 2008 1:55 AM


Sara wrote:

Laura, you asked, "I am wanting to know what makes the other Shiiti political parties different from Sadr?".. and further stated that, "Reed made it plain that he believed the USA military was being set up in this fight between Shiiti parties."

Obviously, there are factions within the Shiite party which do not agree with one another on every issue. The trick appears to be figuring out which ones are acting in the best interests of the country. I agree with you that there appears to be a lot of groups under the government umbrella who call themselves Shiites. Sadr's military machine is not one of them. As for the ones "setting up" the US (or attempting to) that appears to be IRAN, because this is a proxy war. Note in the article they state that Iran is trying to get its hand into every place it can and have influence. If Iran had NO influence and stopped arming, training and helping the opposition, it would take no time for there to be a LOT more peace in Iraq.

Rob said that he would not be suprised if "both Al-Malaki and Al-Sadr coordinated the events in Basra to bolster the position of Al-Malaki." But because Maliki has been weakened by the events, if it was planned to bolster Maliki, it did not work. Indeed, Rob, you posted that some wish to assassinate Sadr.. not a good turn of events if this was orchestrated by Sadr along with Maliki. However, if it was IRAN (just fresh off a new "election" and now seeking to get working on the most pressing "business" they see in the region.. getting rid of the Americans and others and taking over or having a puppet government in Iraq), it makes perfect sense.

You see, Iran would sacrifice Maliki AND Sadr to have their aims accomplished whether either of them were sympathetic to Iranian goals and dreams or not. Early on in our board discussions, Carl said that he thought both of them were working closely with Iran and for their aims. I am not certain they are willing participants in this event on the behalf of Iran.. but they easily can be seen to have been manipulated into it for Iran's benefits by those who played on their desires for control. I believe it is called being "the cat's paw" in warfare. Iran has used these "cat's paws" (Maliki and Sadr) to do damage (inciting people to violence) and now the paws which did the harm (Sadr and Maliki) are also getting backlash.. whereas the Iranians come out smelling like a rose, and their aims are furthered. It is war strategy and works very fine.. historically as well as today. We also call it getting someone else to do the dirty work for you. In the strategy, only those who actually DID the dirty work (killing - like Sadr and Maliki's armies) appear to have done all the wrong.. and those who orchestrated it ("set it up" in Reed's words), don't even look complicit and can condemn everyone involved and look like the peacemakers.

By encouraging (and arming) discontent, Iran has caused this unrest, then sits back and plays the "peace maker" between the warring parties it has created. Would the insurgency within Sadr's group continue without arms and training from Iran.. and their encouragement? Very unlikely. It truly is a proxy war, and that is why the only way the peace was brought about was when the Iranians got into the action. So long as the "cat" is not happy, the claws continue to be out there causing wreckage in people's lives. When they negotiate with the "cat", then its "paw" is stopped from harming. The fact that the "cat" is seen as a peacemaker is an amazing feat of ingenuity.. a smart war strategy. What, by the way, got Sadr to pull back? His army sounds fit to be tied with anger over it, fuming they will kill Sadr for stopping their uprising. So whose persuasion is Sadr under? They obviously think it is the work of an enemy of Iraq.. certainly Iran fits that bill, if the wars of the past are anything to judge by (remember the Iran/Iraq war?).

Going into this, the Iranians were counting on the US to back down due to political pressure from back home. THAT is why they made their move now. Remember, Iran is playing for long-term goals and manipulating things on their timetable, using the US elections to try and get military advantage. Their stated goals are things like - the world dominated by their religious sect, the subjugation of the human race to their radical Islamic ideal, the destruction of the US and Israel.. among others. These goals take longer term planning than the few months time.. they are playing this game for keeps and with concentrated intent. Those who think this comes out of left field and is spur of the moment are missing something. They used Maliki's position to make him promise to get the Sadrists, then played on the US reluctance to engage in full warfare in order to motivate Maliki's weaker forces to back down.

Look at it this way.. Did Iran know how strong Sadrists were? Well, they were arming them.. of course they knew! Have you seen any footage of how well armed these people are? Whose arms.. whose training? (Think about it.) Did they know that Maliki could be moved to see it as a rebellion against his authority? They knew their man and his vulnerabilities, what areas they could play on, so, yes they knew. Did they know that the US would be reluctant to back them up with fullscale warfare as they are fighting a political campaign back home? You bet they knew it. So they chose the time and place and they knew all the strengths and weaknesses of the players, then they just moved them into play and stood back. Then they moved in and brokered for themselves concessions which go their way and toward their goals for Iraq.. sweet. I can see how it is that they were the ones who gave the world chess. They appear to have mastered some of its arts in warfare - to Maliki's embarrassment and Sadr's chagrin.

Sara.

-- April 1, 2008 1:55 AM


Sara wrote:

I was searching the net..
and found on CNN that what they said fits with a lot of what I was saying here before...

===

Observers interpret Iraq cease-fire, Iran's role
March 31, 2008

(CNN) -- The violence subsided only after Shiite lawmakers traveled to Iran Friday to negotiate with Iranian officials and with al-Sadr, who later called on his followers to end violent battles in the country and to cooperate with the Iraqi security forces.

"This is all about power," one of the senior U.S. military officials said.

Mahmoud Othman, an Iraqi parliament member and a Kurd, said what happened "is another victory for Iran," which he says has "the upper hand" in Iraq.

Speaking from London, England, Othman said Iran has created problems by fostering close relations with Shiite groups, including the Mehdi Army and the government. When Iran realized the situation was getting out of hand -- threatening a wider war and America's participation in it -- it got involved in the recent talks to stop the violence.

"They make problems," Othman said. "Then they end it the way they like."

Ali al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokesman, Monday complimented the lawmakers for their efforts to end the violence, but he said the government itself wasn't involved in the effort. But Othman said the government was clearly involved, with al-Maliki sending a delegation to Qom in Iran.

For months, Mehdi Army militia fighters have been battling security forces largely controlled by the Badr Organization, considered an ally of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. In Basra, these two groups have been jockeying for power with a third movement, the Fadhila party. Al-Maliki's Dawa party and ISCI are allies.

George Joulwan, a retired U.S. Army general and former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, said British troops that were in control in Basra have reduced their troop levels in the country and have receded to the outskirts of the city at Basra's airport.

"So this is a wide open area for factions to try to gain dominance," Joulwan said. "Maliki is one Shiite faction trying to get al-Sadr, which is another, and both trying to get influence in this region. And Iran, by the way, is supporting both factions."

Mirembe Nantongo, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, said the United States is "not aware of what involvement Iran may or may not have had in brokering the cease-fire."

"So far Iran has played a negative and unhelpful role in Iraq by financing and training extremist groups and we need to see a change in that behavior," she said.

Christopher Pang, head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the British-based Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies in London, said al-Sadr and al-Maliki have credibility problems that explain their stances and both are positioning themselves ahead of the provincial elections scheduled for later this year.

Al-Maliki, he said, hasn't been successful in his political reconciliation efforts, but this military "debut" can showcase a capable military force that he can deliver independently.

Al-Sadr, whose father was a famous ayatollah, has been trying to boost his credibility by undergoing more religious training. It is not in his movement's interest to allow the violence to fracture his movement and unravel the progress he has made since August, when he temporarily suspended the Mehdi Army's operations, Pang said.

But the Shiite power struggles continue, he said, among different security forces and in different locales, and Iran has spread its influence around to all factions, even though it is more inclined to support radicals.

Abdul Jabbar Ahmad -- an assistant political science professor at Baghdad University -- said the latest cease-fire agreement is hardly the last word in the intra-Shiite conflict, and he said the United States must be creative and realistic in its dealings with Iran if it wants to foster its own influence.

It should not reject everything about Iranian influence, he said -- it should accept what's reasonable and reject what it thinks is bad. He believes Iranian influence, which he says is basically religious, can be countered if patient efforts are taken to build a secular society.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/03/31/iraq.shiite/index.html

When it says that both Sadr and Maliki are positioning themselves ahead of the elections.. that would have been a motivation the Iranians would have realized they both had.. and a way to manipulate the situation by playing on them, too.

Sara.

-- April 1, 2008 2:26 AM


Roger wrote:

RobN,

Do FedEx on your own risk, I have never sent them FedEx, and I don't like it, wire the money, and you're safe.

RobN, Go to your bank, or to any financial insitution that are able to wire your money, and do that only. do the whole thing in one shot, and it will be cheapest for you. Send the stuff with FedEx, and I would send a little at a time to make sure you have a good spread on the risk. That will in itself financially motivate to send the money once with wire.

Wire = Safe. Do it all once.
FedEx = Risk, spread it, and it may be costly by that fact.

Sara,

Cults, well some may be less liked, and in many instances cults that were true cults or sects was surviving because they eventually was reacing out to the society, and became part of it.

If early Christianity was a sect or cult in the beginning, well it is called so by many, but in reality not really, it has always been a missionary activity, and the underground activity that took place in it's early stages was not of the groups choosing, but of outside pressure.

The Jones Sect , that did all a suicide, was a cult or sect. The inner middling of the group was hardcore, but as in a motorcycle gang, there are for each member that wears the color, a bunch of others that are riding with them, that are not, but are aspiring to become a member of the gang.

The Jones sect could perhaps have developed into a good organization, and as you say, they did a lot of good work, but then they did the act that made them per definition being a sect, they withdrew from society, and went to central America, any and all aspiration to continue to do good work was then by all practical means gone.

Up to that point they could hardly be a cult or sect, but after that point the withdrawal was the benchmark.

The Japanese cult or sect that gassed the Tokyo subway system, was a withdrawn group, same with the guys that all made suicide when a comet passed overhead. As the Jones group after they had moved out from the perople they belonged to, and separated themselves.

There are groups that are detestable, run by idiots, bigots, and morons, you mentioned a group that didn't like Hillary, and Obama had some activity with that Church.

A KKK meeting may be cultish, in that they only alwe whites in their ranks, as well as this Church that alowes only black in their Church. But that is another thing.

The whole US was a country of segregation up until late 50's early 60's, and the institutions, and the whole state apparatus was a white mans world. That didnt make the US a cult, or sect, but only ads to the fact that if you let smart people run a Nazi regime, you get very intelligent Nazism, if you let chimpansees run a Communist country, you will get chimpansee communism, and if you let racists run a Church, you will get a racist Church.

You can swap around the participants in any form, let chimpansee s run the Church, smart people run the Communist country, and racist run the the Nazi country, and you will get just that. Chimpansee Church, smart Communistic country, and a racist Nazi country.

That doesnt make Nazism, Communism or the Chruch a cult or a sect.

You can make anything you like of what you have.
National Socialist Workers party, is basically a workers party, that favours the nation they are with, and are socialistic in it's nature. Put a racist Hitler there and you get something that is completely different.

This church that only will admit black in it's membership rooster, is along the line of putting a Hitler running a workers party.

Every damn country has a workers party, and that doesn't make a workers party a sect or a cult.

Lot of illwilling people are using religion, as their platform, and that is what it is, idiots on a soap box.

-- April 1, 2008 6:53 AM


Laura Parker wrote:

Wow! A New Page. Thanks, Dinar Administrator!

Laura Parker

-- April 1, 2008 8:57 AM


Laura Parker wrote:

Sara and all,

I understand the reasoning about what you are saying on the Shiiti factions; however, what I am thinking about is an article I read about Sadr's reluctance to engage the USA military due to what happened in Falluja. It would appear that Sadr lost a lot of his Mahdi fighters in this direct confrontation with the USA military.

It would seem more prudent to wait out the military withdraw of combat troops in April - June than to have a direct confrontation with the USA. At least, this is what I would be thinking dispite the USA elections. After the troop withdrawal, then it would be an ideal time to start a military situation to affect USA elections.

For Iran, what did they gain in this temporary engagement of militia and government troops?. If I were them, fighting is what you would want before the USA election.

However, I am having a time believing that Sadr and Maliki co-planned this military engagement. Why would Sadr want to have his militia attacked by the government, knowing that the militia would have bodies to show for this engagement?.

Sadr would certainly know that the USA military would back Maliki. I think the USA military would have leveled Basra to get control of this port from Sadr. Now, the government is faced with disarming the Madhi milita and without disarming this militia, Sadr threat lifting the cease fire is nothing but political black mail.

Laura Parker

-- April 1, 2008 10:09 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq debt attracts investors looking beyond violence

Long-term investors are keen to pick up Iraqi debt, looking beyond the day-to-day violence to a perhaps more promising future for the oil-rich country a decade from now.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 1, 2008 10:36 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Sadrists-Government agreement apt to collapse, says MP 01/04/2008 14:56:00

Baghdad (NINA)- The Sadrist MP Naseer al-Esawi has stated that the arrangements made between the government and the Sadrist Trend over the recent incidents in several province, "is liable to collapse." In a statement to the National Iraqi News Agency.
(www.ninanews.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 1, 2008 10:37 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Sadrists-Government agreement apt to collapse, says MP 01/04/2008 14:56:00

Baghdad (NINA)- The Sadrist MP Naseer al-Esawi has stated that the arrangements made between the government and the Sadrist Trend over the recent incidents in several province, "is liable to collapse." In a statement to the National Iraqi News Age
(www.ninanews.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 1, 2008 10:39 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Give honor to whom honor is due:
____________________________________________________________

SEAL to Get Medal of Honor
April 01, 2008
Associated Press
SAN DIEGO - A Navy SEAL who threw himself on top of a grenade in Iraq to save his comrades in 2006 will be posthumously awarded the nation's highest military tribute, a White House spokeswoman announced March 31.

The Medal of Honor will be awarded to Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor. His family will receive the medal during a White House ceremony April 8.

Monsoor is the fourth person to receive the medal since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

"Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism on Sept. 29, 2006," press secretary Dana Perino told reporters during a briefing aboard Air Force One as President Bush headed to Europe for a NATO summit.

Monsoor was part of a sniper security team in Ramadi with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi soldiers, according to a Navy account. An insurgent fighter threw the grenade, which struck Monsoor in the chest before falling in front of him.

Monsoor then threw himself on the grenade, according to a SEAL who spoke to The Associated Press in 2006 on condition of anonymity because his work requires his identity to remain secret.

"He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant, who suffered shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."

Two SEALs next to Monsoor were injured; another who was 10 feet to 15 feet from the blast was unhurt. Monsoor, from Garden Grove, Calif., was 25 at the time.

Monsoor, a platoon machine gunner, had received the Silver Star, the third-highest award for combat valor, for his actions pulling a wounded SEAL to safety during a May 9, 2006, firefight in Ramadi.

He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his sacrfice in Ramadi.

Sixteen SEALs have been killed in Afghanistan. Eleven of them died in June 2005 when a helicopter was shot down near the Pakistan border while ferrying reinforcements for troops pursuing al-Qaida militants.

There are about 2,300 of the elite fighters, based in Coronado and Little Creek, Va.

The Navy is trying to boost the number by 500 - a challenge considering more than 75 percent of candidates drop out of training, notorious for "Hell Week," five days of continual drills by the ocean broken by only four hours sleep total.

Monsoor made it through training on his second attempt.
(www.military.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 1, 2008 10:41 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Gates praises Iraq’s Maliki for Basra assault
Iraqi political officials say Iran played key role in hammering out peace deal between Maliki, Sadr.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

COPENHAGEN, 01 April 2008 (Middle East Online)
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Source: Middle East Online
Gates on Iraqi forces: 'they seem to have done a pretty good job'
Iraqi forces appear to have done "a pretty good job" in an offensive to regain control of Basra from Shiite militias, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Monday.

"We're obviously hopeful that he will achieve most of his objectives, and see calm return as well," Gates told reporters enroute here from Brussels, referring to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

His comments came as Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called off his fighters, signalling an end to six days of clashes in Basra, Baghdad and other cities that left 461 people dead.

"I think we've all known at some point that the situation in Basra was going to have to be dealt with. It is the economic lifeline of the country. To have it under control of gangs and militias over the long term is not acceptable," Gates said.

"So I think all of us in the government were pleased to see Prime Minister Maliki take this on, take the initiative and go down there himself with Iraqi forces and try to resolve the issue."

Asked how the Iraqi army performed, he said first hand information was limited because the Iraqis were directing the campaign.

But based on that, he said, "they seem to have done a pretty good job."

US plans to reduce the size of its 156,000-member force in Iraq in the coming months hinges on the performance of the Iraqi army and whether it is capable of filling the void left by departing US troops.

Gates said he had seen nothing to indicate that the violence in the south would prompt changes in Washington's plans to drawdown US "surge" forces from Iraq by July.

So far, two of five combat brigades sent to Iraq last year to put a lid on spiralling sectarian violence have gone home. But some 156,000 US troops remain in Iraq.

Rockets fell on the Green Zone and random machine gun fire rang out Monday in the southern city of Basra as Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr sought to rein in his militia after a week of battles that claimed about 400 lives.

The peace deal between al-Sadr and Iraqi government forces — said to have been brokered in Iran — calmed the violence but left the cleric's Mahdi Army intact and Iraq's US-backed prime minister politically battered and humbled within his own Shiite power base.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had promised to crush the militias that have effectively ruled Basra for nearly three years. The US military launched air strikes in the city to back the Iraqi effort.

But the ferocious response by the Mahdi Army, including rocket fire on the US-controlled Green Zone and attacks throughout the Shiite south, caught the government by surprise and sent officials scrambling for a way out of the crisis.

The confrontation enabled al-Sadr to show that he remains a powerful force capable of challenging the Iraqi government, the Americans and mainstream Shiite parties that have sought for years to marginalize him. And the outcome cast doubt on President Bush's assessment that the Basra battle was "a defining moment" in the history "of a free Iraq."

With gunmen again off the streets, a round-the-clock curfew imposed in Baghdad last week was lifted at 6 a.m. Monday, except in Sadr City and two other Shiite neighborhoods. Streets of the capital buzzed with traffic and commerce.

Several rockets or mortars slammed Monday into the Green Zone, the nerve center of the American mission in Iraq. But the US Embassy said there no reports of serious injuries. At least two Americans working for the US government were killed in Green Zone attacks last week.

An American soldier was killed Monday by a roadside bomb in northeastern Baghdad, the US military said without specifying whether the attack occurred in a Shiite or Sunni area. The military also said a US soldier wounded south of Baghdad on March 23 died Sunday in Germany.

In ordering his militia to stop fighting, al-Sadr also demanded concessions from the Iraqi government, including an end to the "illegal raids and arrests" of his followers and the release of all detainees who have not been convicted of any offenses.

Sadrists in Basra complained police were still conducting raids in the area Monday night and that their followers might start carrying weapons again for self-defense.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh welcomed al-Sadr's decision but told reporters Monday that no political group was above the law. Al-Sadr's supporters believed the security crackdown in Basra was aimed at weakening their movement before provincial elections this fall.

US and Iraqi officials insisted the operation was directed at criminals and rogue militiamen — some allegedly linked to Iran — but not against the Sadrist movement, which controls 30 of the 275 seats in the national parliament.

But well-informed Iraqi political officials said the Iranians played a key role in hammering out the peace deal, boosting the Islamic Republic's influence among the majority Shiite community. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

According to one Shiite official, the deal was struck after hours of negotiations in the Iranian holy city of Qom involving key figures in Iraq's major Shiite parties and representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Two of the Iraqis present — Ali Adeeb and Hadi al-Amri — presented documents and photos which they claimed proved that al-Sadr's militia was receiving Iranian weapons, the official said.

Shiite-dominated Iran is believed to supply weapons, money and training to most Iraqi Shiite factions — a charge the Iranians deny.

The Iraqi officials would not elaborate on Iran's role, and efforts to contact Iraqi representatives who took part in the Qom meetings were unsuccessful.

Iran has been eager to maintain unity among Iraq's factious Shiites, believing that is the best way to ensure a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad.

"By all reports, Iran's role is not good," said Michael O'Hanlon, foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution. "They're arming all groups. ...They want influence with everyone."

A day after al-Sadr's call, Iraqi officials sought to present his decision as a victory for the government, despite the failure of US-backed Iraqi forces to dislodge Mahdi fighters from Basra strongholds.

Al-Dabbagh said security operations in Basra would continue until the city "reaches a secure and acceptable situation" where residents can live "without threats or terrorism from any side."

Nonetheless, the outcome of the Basra crisis dealt a blow to the credibility of al-Maliki, who flew to the city last week to oversee the crackdown personally.

On Saturday, al-Maliki had promised "a decisive and final battle" and gave assurances he would remain in Basra until the militias were crushed. A key adviser to al-Maliki, Sami al-Askari, said the prime minister was expected to return to Baghdad this week.

With tensions easing, Iraqi government television reported that a high-profile official was released Monday evening four days after he was seized by gunmen from his east Baghdad home.

Tahseen al-Shiekhly serves as the civilian spokesman for the Baghdad military command and regularly appears before reporters to tout improvements in security.

In Basra, residents said by telephone that the city, headquarters of Iraq's vital oil industry, was generally calm except for sporadic explosions and machine gun fire.

Some residents, however, estimated that only about a quarter of the shops and businesses opened Monday because any people were apprehensive that the truce would hold.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 1, 2008 10:43 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Thousands of police officers who refused to fight Sadr are given the sack

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

01 April 2008 (Azzaman)
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Interior Minister Jawad Boulani has ordered the dismissal of thousands of police members and officers who allegedly refused orders to take part in the fight against the militiamen of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The decision covers most of the police force in the predominantly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and also several cities in the southern Iraq including Basra where most of the recent fighting took place.

The government’s crackdown on Mahdi Army, the military arm of the Sadr movement in the country, which started a few days ago, came to a halt yesterday.

Several cities in southern Iraq among them Baghdad and Basra were placed under tight curfews as battles between the militiamen and government troops raged.

U.S. occupation troops backed the government in its bid to disarm the militias.

But the Mahdi Army has once again emerged intact as the ceasefire announced yesterday does not call for the militiamen to surrender their weapons.

Thousands of police officers were reported to have refused fighting the militiamen and at least two army regiments joined them with their weapons in Baghdad.

More troops were said to have sided with the militiamen in Basra.

The move to sack police and army personnel sympathizing with Sadr is a risky step as it might derail the already fragile ceasefire.

The exact numbers of those who are covered by the move are not known but analysts say they should involve thousands of police officers and troops.

The analysts say those sacked will have no choice but to join the ranks of Mahdi Army with their weapons, boosting the militia’s strength and standing.

The recent fighting is said to have claimed more than 240 lives in the country since fighting began on Tuesday.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 1, 2008 10:44 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq Media Sees Big Victory Over Al Sadr - Iran-Backed “Fake Peaceful Militias” Will Now Be Exposed


Baghdad, Apr 1, (VOI) – Observers believe that Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s recent instructions to his Mahdi Army militias to end all armed activities in Baghdad and southern Iraq provinces would disclose the “recalcitrant groups” within his bloc. Researcher Haydar Saeed said Sadr’s decision was very important for the government’s battle against Mahdi Army or the militias acting under this name.
“At least, the decision would draw a clear line between two groups: the one committed to the hierarchical loyalty to Muqtada al-Sadr and the other rebelling against this allegiance,” said Saeed.
Sadr had announced in a statement on Sunday that he would “disown anyone carrying arms and targeting government and service facilities or parties’ offices,” ordering his followers to end all armed activities in Basra and other provinces.
The capital Baghdad and other southern Iraqi cities, including Basra, the country’s second largest city and oil hub, were gripped by fierce clashes a week ago between government forces and cleric Sadr’s Mahdi Army militias, hours after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared Operation Saulat al-Forsan (Knights’ Assault), which he said aimed at eliminating armed groups in Basra, 590 km south of Baghdad.
“Lacking its raison d’être, affiliation to the theological establishment, the second group – the rebels – would be the target for the government’s military operation,” Saeed reckons.
Reidar Visser, an expert in southern Iraq affairs, said targeting the Sadrists exclusively apart from other militias raises several question marks, perhaps the first of which had to do with political motives.
“The vague second battle of Basra seems outwardly acceptable to some extent: a port city rich in oil was sliding into a Mafia-like status, which negatively affected citizens’ security as well as oil proceeds, and so the central government had to interfere to clean (of gunmen),” Visser explains.
He viewed the issue from a different angle, believing in a disparity between the description of Basra as a “city ruled by the militias (in the plural form), and the facts about the military operations that targeted a certain one specific militia: Sadr’s Mahdi Army.”
“The objective of the operations – making Basra a safer place – would have made perfect sense if it included other militias rivaling the Sadrists: The (Shiite leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim’s) Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) and the armed groups with links to the Shiite Fadhila (Virtue) Party, which has been in control over the oil protection guard force for a long time,” Visser said.
The Basra incidents, he added, do not have to do with preparations for local elections in October 2008 or with control over the process to build federal entities.
“If the local elections or the federacy question had been the motive, the target would have been the Fadhila, not the Sadrists. The Fadhila and some other secularist leaders in Basra want to realize one federal entity for the city, a counter-plan that comes in defiance of the SIIC’s dream of building a unified Shiite federacy,” said Visser.
Ibrahim al-Samaydaie, a political analyst, said he agrees with Saeed’s conclusion that Sadr’s statement would “help settle many outstanding issues between the Sadrists and the government.”
“The content of Sadr’s statement represents items for an agreement tabled by parties close to the Sadrist bloc on the following day of the crisis, but the government’s refusal caused further complications,” Samaydaie told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).
The Iraqi government, he added, perhaps put on its thinking cap and was hesitant to accept the items of the agreement. “May be it (the government) relied on a U.S. intervention to settle the conflict after the Iraqi forces commence the operations, he said.
“The U.S. forces avoided direct involvement because they did not want to lose the freeze (on the Mahdi Army militias) declared by Muqtada al-Sadr, particularly during the critical period of local elections,” he added.
Besides, Samaydaie, noted the Americans realized through experience that the Iraqi political parties “clinch, in one way or another, a kind of understanding once a chance for settlement of pending issues via dialogue is in place, which actually happened during this latest crisis.

(http://patdollard.com/2008/04/iraq-media-sees-big-victory-over-al-sadr-iran-backed-fake-peaceful-cells-will-now-be-exposed/)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 1, 2008 11:27 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Auction Comments for 4-01-08..YOU NEED TO LOOK! Posted on another forum. I would appreciate the board's thoughts.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I needed to break the bolded comments down for you. The Arablish used in the original translation forced me to search out their meaning through another translator. The bolded comments in RED are the NEWER translation I located.

Auction Comments for 04-01-08 from our Friendly Economic Experts

A big increase in the volume of demand to buy the dollar ERA CBE

Baghdad - Iraq votes 01 / 04 / 2008 at 13:30:09

Demand rose significantly to buy the dollar in the central bank auction for the sale and purchase of the dollar in the second trading sessions this week on Tuesday, recording a total volume of demand was 159 million and 170 thousand dollars compared to 35 million and 190 thousand dollars at a meeting on Monday.
The special bulletin ERA Central Bank, received the Independent News Agency (Voices of Iraq) copy of which was distributed to the demand by 17 million and 170 thousand dollars in cash and 142 million dollars in the form of remittances outside the country fully covered bank exchange rate low of $ 1205 dinars compared to 1206 dinars to the dollar at the meeting With Monday did not make any of the 14 banks participating in the auction offers to sell the dollar to the bank.

He said Mr. Ali Yasiri, one dealing with the auction told (Voices of Iraq) Tuesday that the demand has increased significantly because of the improved security situation and enable a greater number of banks to participate in the meeting of the auction.
Yasiri, and added that customers were able to access to banks and banking companies approved by the Central Bank to install applications and remittances purchased view after several days of stoppage, which was born increasing demands on both the cash and purchase orders.
He noted that the demand Yasiri cash during this meeting isthe highest in two months, which reflects the amount of market need for liquidity because foreign security circumstance.

Elsewhere economic expert criticized Abbas Amita steady acceleration in the reduction of the exchange rate, warning of a crisis if the Alkhvz at this pace.

Another translation of the above comment:
On the other side the economic expert Abbas Aliwi criticized the acceleration Al Mdtrd (


He added Ahuja told () 2010 and this is what causes accelerate the reduction by the Bank in a week to two weeks compensation that forced the auction to stabilize the exchange rate during the crisis undergone by the market first months of the current year. "

Another translation of the above comment:
And Aliwi in a statement added to ( Iraq sounds ) that " the bank apparently has put a plan they include a time limit for the exchange rate's raising of the dinar so that he comes to a price equals One thousand dinars of the single dollar at the beginning of year 2010 and this what causes the hastiness of bank in the reduction as much as two sessions weekly for the compensation of weeks that was forced in them

The expert said the economic and industrial Sadiq Abdul Razzaq told (Voices of Iraq) that "the market situation deprive live in the large vegetables and fruits imported because of the urban areas, which continued for a long time." He added that traders dealt with the situation Altattiyc trying to fill the shortage of such materials in addition to a number of other food items and even goods needed by the market, especially given that the border with Iran had been closed due to military operations before the Noruz holidays, creating a growing need in the market for products and imported goods.
For his part, Uday Shabib said Rustam's Office banking activity returned to the bourse's main street fight witnessed high levels of circulation in addition to the Stock Exchange in Harthiya remained stalled because of Stock Exchange Kazimiya attended curfew.

Shabib said that the commercial rate for the dollar hit 1221 dinars to the dollar for sale compared with 1215 for the purchase stabilized the exchange rate of the offices of the banking transactions of small 1225 dinars sale and purchase of 1215.

http://translate.google.com/translat...language_tools

Here is the Arabic for the original translation of the 2010 comment if someone wants to run it through another translator...

واضاف عليوي في تصريح لـ ( أصوات العراق) ان " البنك على ما يبدو قد وضع خطة تتضمن سقفا زمنيا لرفع سعر الصرف الدينار ليصل الى سعر صرف يساوي
الف دينار للدولار الواحد في بداية عام 2010 وهذا ما يسبب تعجل البنك في الخفض بواقع جلستين اسبوعيا لتعويض الاسابيع التي اضطر فيها المزاد لتثبيت سعر الصرف اثناء فترة الازمة التي مر بها السوق الاشهر الاولى من العام الحالي."

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 1, 2008 1:05 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

Rob N. and all,

Sounds like in your last article that it is saying that the dollar is in larger demand due to its value going up due to Iraq's security issues and that of the global economy as another factor. The Iraqi dinar went down in value and therefore, the USA dollar bought more dinars on the exchange.

That's what I make of it. However, the dinar will be adjusted with the increased security is my guess.

Laura Parker

-- April 1, 2008 9:03 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Offensive against Shiite militias exposes Al Maliki's soft underbelly

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baghdad, 02 April 2008 (Gulf News)
Print article Send to friend
Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki on Tuesday claimed a week-old operation against Shiite militias in the southern city of Basra has been a "success," despite a ceasefire that stopped short of disarming the gunmen and left him politically battered.

The battle between the government and Moqtada Al Sadr's Mahdi Army gunmen has calmed down on the surface, but the resulting quiet has raised many questions among Iraqi political sources.

Most important among them is that is Al Maliki, the most powerful man in Iraq?

"Surely Al Maliki has lost the support of Al Sadr who has a significant following in Shiite cities," said Tahseen Al Tamimi, an Iraqi political researcher.

"I do not exaggerate if I say that the followers consider Al Maliki as their mortal enemy after the US occupation. In turn, Al Maliki won the trust of a large number of Shiite intellectuals and elites who complained repeatedly that the militants' behaviour did not respect laws or education," Al Tamimi told Gulf News.

Al Maliki stopped short of declaring an end to the offensive that began a week ago in Basra which sparked retaliatory clashes in Baghdad and other southern cities, and criticism that his government was unprepared for the fierce backlash.

Al Sadr, meanwhile, thanked his fighters for "defending your people, your land and your honour."

Sporadic fighting continued in Baghdad and Basra, but the cities otherwise were calm two days after the radical Shiite cleric called on his fighters to stand down in a bid to end the widening conflict.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 2, 2008 9:50 AM


Sara wrote:

Obama, McCain Criticize Each Other on Iraq
Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama had pointed exchanges over the Iraq war, each U.S. senator questioning the other's credentials.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, meanwhile criticized Obama's supporters for urging her to leave the race, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

McCain spoke out against Obama, saying the Illinois senator's position of withdrawing troops from Iraq soon showed a lack of understanding about U.S. troops stationed in countries after wars ended.

(It) displays a fundamental misunderstanding of history ... and what we need to do in the future to maintain our security in the face of the transcendent challenge of radical Islamic extremism, McCain said.

Campaigning in Allentown, Pa., Obama questioned both McCain's and Clinton's judgment in voting to authorize the war in Iraq.

John McCain and Hillary Clinton, they had a chance to make a good decision on the most important foreign-policy issue of a generation, and they got it wrong, Obama said.

Clinton, meanwhile, accused the Obama campaign of trying to pressure her to withdraw.

A lot of Senator Obama's supporters want to end this race because they don't want people to keep voting, Clinton said.

http://www.redorbit.com/news/general/1321875/obama_mccain_criticize_each_other_on_iraq/index.html?source=r_general

===

Oh.. a mistake.. they got it wrong?
What about that report they just released, of which it is said,
QUOTE:

The Pentagon report is important, least because it shows Iraq, far from being a distraction in the war on Islamist terrorists, was central to it. The captured Iraqi documents show that Hussein was a key supporter of jihadists precisely because he saw them as a tool against the United States.

More important, the report is less hindsight, however, than headlight. It illuminates the reality that al-Qaida isn't an isolated actor but is part of a whole - born into a constellation of jihadists cohesive enough in its hostility to the U.S. that Hussein saw fit to track it, train it and fund it. (end quote, url below)

If the US had been so foolish as to allow Saddam to continue to track, train and fund Jihadists, you would not see people in America today glibly going about their business without having experienced a new attack on US soil. The "pie-in-the-sky" castle building that Obama would have preferred would have left the terrorists alone - to arm, train and then go after the US. With the success of the WTC's destruction bringing Jihadism to prominence in the terrorist regions of the world, surely America is not so foolish as to believe they would have left it at that? Does America forget the words of Saddam given on that tape from ABC?
Quote:

In the "Nightline" version of the 1996 recording, Saddam predicts that Washington, D.C., would be hit by terrorists. But he adds that Iraq would have nothing to do with the attack. Tierney says, however, that what Saddam actually said was much more sinister. "He was discussing his intent to use chemical weapons against the United States and use proxies so it could not be traced back to Iraq," he told Hannity. In a passage not used by "Nightline," Tierney says Saddam declares: "Terrorism is coming. ... In the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction. What if we consider this technique, with smuggling?" [61]

http://www.conservapedia.com/Operation_Iraqi_Freedom#Weapons_of_Mass_Destruction

(end quote)

This "Technique" would have been done by smugglers that Saddam equipped and trained and funded, as documented in this current report they just released. And remember as you read a bit more about this report (below), that this is a "technique" that Obama (who proudly did not connect these dots, and continues to refuse to do so) would have allowed to happen on US soil by NOT attempting to remove Saddam from his position of power and influence with the terrorists,
QUOTE:

Jihadists and their sugar daddy
Posted: March 22, 2008
Patrick McIlheran

The Iraq war finished its fifth year last week. Thanks to a Pentagon paper quietly released the week before, we are clearer about who the enemy is.

The paper detailed just how deep into terrorism Saddam Hussein was. The headline was made by an early leak that the report "found no 'smoking gun' " linking him to al-Qaida.

In the report, however, that line came right after one that said the Pentagon's Iraq Perspectives Project, which reviewed 600,000 captured documents, "uncovered strong evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism."

The paper also says, "Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al-Qaida . . . or that generally shared al-Qaida's stated goals."

Smoking gun? More like smoking wallet. Hussein was sugar daddy to terrorists of any stripe.

For instance, Iraq trained men for suicide bombings and assassinations worldwide. One document lists weapons - missile launchers, plastic explosive, booby-trapped suitcases - stashed at Iraqi embassies for these grads to use. The regime recruited so heavily it had to set up a summer vacation training schedule.

Iraq also trained and supplied freelance groups. One 1993 memo briefs Hussein on his allies, chiefly Palestinian and Egyptian terror groups. It details who got money and help from Iraq and who did missions on Iraq's behalf, many against "American interests."

As of 1993, several memos show, Hussein decided to "form a group to start hunting Americans present on Arab soil, especially Somalia" - site of the humanitarian mission that went disastrously wrong. Now we know who taught the bad guys to shoot.

Among those on the Iraqi payroll was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Afghani warlord who hosted Osama bin Laden's training camp during the 1990s. An Iraqi memo notes that Hekmatyar's outfit is an "extreme religious movement against the West," one that Iraq had "good relations" with since 1989. Exactly in the time that bin Laden was incubating al-Qaida, he was under the wing of this "extreme religious" client of Iraq.

Iraq also supported the Egyptian group led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the fellow who matched up manpower and ideology with bin Laden's money and will. Iraqi agents met with Zawahiri's people in Sudan at just the time Zawahiri was merging his Islamic Jihad into al-Qaida. The Iraqis "agreed to renew our relations."

The report is careful to note that Hussein and bin Laden had different ends. But pursuing separate but parallel visions, the two men "often found a common enemy in the United States."

The Pentagon report is important, least because it shows Iraq, far from being a distraction in the war on Islamist terrorists, was central to it. The captured Iraqi documents show that Hussein was a key supporter of jihadists precisely because he saw them as a tool against the United States.

More important, the report is less hindsight, however, than headlight. It illuminates the reality that al-Qaida isn't an isolated actor but is part of a whole - born into a constellation of jihadists cohesive enough in its hostility to the U.S. that Hussein saw fit to track it, train it and fund it.

This contrasts to the view, current among those who think the Iraq war was a massive fraud, that al-Qaida alone was the problem. That presumes that nations handle sneak attacks the way police handle a bank robbery - by finding the suspects and bringing them to justice, with no delusions of rooting out the idea of robbery overall.

This view would lead us back to the whack-a-mole that we saw through the 1980s and 1990s - hijackings, kidnappings, bombs here, blown-up embassies there, all of them pursued and the next never deterred by criminal justice.

What the uncovered Iraqi documents make plain is exactly how these were connected. The incontrovertible fact is that they were, by a common hostility to the west. Hussein could see that, so the secular pan-Arabist funded people wanting to set up a caliphate.

This is useful to know. It illuminates our enemy. It is the jihad overall, not merely one practitioner, that threatens us. It is a war we are in, not a series of inexplicable and unlinked crimes.

http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=730870

So Obama would not have taken care of this Jihadist threat to America and ridicules those who did.
Is it coincidence, then, that Obama's church bulletin in July of LAST YEAR published THIS:
QUOTE:

Obama church published Hamas terror manifesto
Compares charter calling for murder of Jews to Declaration of Independence
Posted: March 20, 2008
By Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – Sen. Barack Obama's Chicago church reprinted a manifesto by Hamas that defended terrorism as legitimate resistance, refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist and compared the terror group's official charter – which calls for the murder of Jews – to America's Declaration of Independence.

The Hamas piece was published on the "Pastor's Page" of the Trinity United Church of Christ newsletter reserved for Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., whose anti-American, anti-Israel remarks landed Obama in hot water, prompting the presidential candidate to deliver a major race speech earlier this week.

Hamas, responsible for scores of shootings, suicide bombings and rocket launchings against civilian population centers, is listed as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department.

The revelation follows a recent article quoting Israeli security officials who expressed "concern" about Robert Malley, an adviser to Obama who has advocated negotiations with Hamas and providing international assistance to the terrorist group.

In his July 22, 2007, church newsletter, Wright reprinted an article by Mousa Abu Marzook, identified in the publication as a "deputy of the political bureau of Hamas." A photo image of the piece was captured and posted today by the business blog BizzyBlog, which first brought attention to it. The Hamas article was first published by the Los Angeles Times, garnering the newspaper much criticism.

According to senior Israeli security officials, Marzook, who resides in Syria alongside Hamas chieftain Khaled Meshaal, is considered the "brains" behind Hamas, designing much of the terror group's policies and ideology. Israel possesses what it says is a large volume of specific evidence that Marzook has been directly involved in calling for or planning scores of Hamas terrorist offensives, including deadly suicide bombings. He was also accused of attempting to set up a Hamas network in the U.S.

Marzook's original piece was titled, "Hamas' stand" but was re-titled "A Fresh View of the Palestinian Struggle" by Obama's church newsletter. The newsletter also referred to Hamas as the "Islamic Resistance Movement," and added in its introduction that Marzook was addressing Hamas' goals for "all of Palestine."

In the manifesto, Marzook refers to Hamas' "resistance" – the group's perpetuation of anti-Israel terrorism targeting civilians – as "legal resistance," which, he argues, is "explicitly supported by the Fourth Geneva Convention."

The Convention, which refers to the rights of people living under occupation, does not support suicide bombings or rocket attacks against civilian population centers, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America noted.

Marzook refers to Hamas' official charter as "an essentially revolutionary document" and compares the violent creed to the Declaration of Independence, which, Marzook states, "simply did not countenance any such status for the 700,000 African slaves at that time."

Hamas' charter calls for the murder of Jews. Among its platforms is a statement that the "[resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them, and the rock and the tree will say: 'Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, kill him!'"

In his piece, Marzook says Hamas only targets Israel and denies that Hamas' war is meant to be waged against the U.S., even though Hamas officials have threatened America, and Hamas' charter calls for Muslims to "pursue the cause of the Movement (Hamas), all over the globe."

Trinity Church did not respond to a phone message requesting comment.

Obama's campaign also did not reply to phone and e-mail requests today for comment.

Obama aide wants talks with terrorists

Malley, an Obama foreign policy adviser, has penned numerous opinion articles, many of them co-written with a former adviser to the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for policies he says harm the Palestinian cause.

He further petitioned Israel to hold talks with Hamas.

"An arrangement between Israel and Hamas could advance both sides' interests," Malley wrote.

In numerous other op-eds, Malley advocated a policy of engagement with Hamas.

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=59456

Is it any wonder that a man who is joined to a terrorist sympathizing church and very obviously is personally a terrorist sympathizer decries the policies the US has pursued to protect its own Homeland?

When Obama smugly says of John McCain and Hillary Clinton that they had a chance to make a good decision on the most important foreign-policy issue of a generation, and "they got it wrong"... that smacks of arrogancy (he thinks he knows better, but the Homeland has had no second 911 attack which is what that policy move sought to accomplish) and it also shows a deep sympathy for the aims of the terrorists. Is that really what America wants on its own soil.. ??

If America were to elect this young man - give him a chance to show them what the world would have been like if the US had not pursued Saddam by pulling out and giving over Iraq to other enemies of America such as those Saddam equipped, supported and funded - will it make America safer?

Will any Jihadist enemies of the US - which the group to which Obama belongs to advocates in writing as being supportive of such terrorist aims - be allowed to support their aims within the country of America if the US were to elect Obama? It is unconscionable that the United States Republic would consider handing over the reigns of power to a terrorist sympathizer, unless America has a death wish, having turned from all wisdom.
Wisdom is personified as a person in the Bible (America is also depicted as a lady when we refer to America as "she") and wisdom says:

Pro 8:36 But he that sins against me (wisdom) wrongs his own soul: all they that hate me (wisdom) love death.

All those who hate wisdom love death. Surely the path Obama leads on is unwise to the point of embracing those who love death (suicide bombers). Will America turn from wisdom to her own death? Is she so foolish as to listen to terrorist sympathizers?

What if our ancestors had listened sympathetically to the Nazis and published pro-Nazi propaganda in their church bulletins? What if they had sought to put into the Whitehouse a man whose aims lined up with Hitler's viewpoints? Would America have been safer not to have engaged the Nazi threat?

History repeats itself.. but the pall of death hanging over that which permeates the dialog here in America is unparalleled in history. It isn't "fresh", "new" or a good "change of direction", nor any of those other adjectives the MSM so glibly drum up in their speaking.. it is death which is offered to the people of America, shrouded carefully in media and political spin.

Thank God there is a God over America who can guide her.. and will not leave her to the fate of her less discerning citizen's inclinations. In the song which says "God bless America, Land that I love" it is not lipservice given when it says, "guide her with the light from above".. it is a petition for wisdom, guidance and help. And America today stands in great peril and desperate need of that guidance... because she is entertaining the thought of a terrorist sympathizer for her highest office.... to the destruction of the foundation of her Republic.

Sara.

-- April 2, 2008 10:34 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraq makes its case for WTO membership
The Associated Press
Published: April 2, 2008

GENEVA: The Iraqi government made its case Wednesday for why Iraq should be put on the fast track for World Trade Organization membership, citing its plentiful oil resources and strategic position in the Middle East as great opportunities for the global expansion of commerce.

Iraq applied for membership in 2004, at which point it was given observer status in the body.

Al-Sudani said Iraq's membership would "represent a significant addition to the world community's effort toward the expansion of trade and investment."

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/02/business/EU-FIN-ECO-WTO-Iraq.php

-- April 2, 2008 11:58 AM


Laura Parker wrote:

All,

CSPAN is on and the congress is discussing turning off funding to the war. The intended consequence is to force the military to withdraw from Iraq. This could be a real possibility. Just a heads up.

Laura Parker

-- April 2, 2008 11:52 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Laura:

Thank you for the warning. With a Democratic majority controlling both the House and the Senate these discussions are expected to take place.

Something to remember, If a bill makes it to the desk of the President GWB will veto it; two-thirds needed to over-turn that veto.

Let the Democrats blow. No worries at this point.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 3, 2008 9:55 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iran inflation keeps pressure on Ahmadinejad
Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:45am EDT Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page| Recommend (0) [-] Text [+]

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Iran leader encourages MPs, government to cooperate
20 Mar 2008

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By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Ali Daryani is embarrassed at the inflationary pain he is passing on to his customers.

"Sometimes we have to change the price stickers three times a day because of inflation," the 42-year-old Tehran grocer said.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad survived this month's parliamentary election without a big blow to his prestige, even if his core support base among a broad conservative camp shrank.

Now the president's opponents in the Islamic Republic, both from the reformist minority and the victorious conservatives, could force him to rein in populist spending policies seen as partly to blame for inflation hovering around 19 percent.

Since Ahmadinejad swept to power in 2005 promising to spread Iran's oil wealth to the people, soaring world oil prices have swelled national revenues, but economists say colossal subsidies and presidential handouts have predictably fuelled inflation.

Ahmadinejad is basking in support from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for his tough nuclear stance, but his economic record may dent his chances of re-election next year.

Iranians are cushioned by a vast array of costly subsidies, but runaway prices still hit the pockets of ordinary consumers.

"The prices of rice, meat, fruit and everything else have gone up," complained Baqer Gabai, a 54-year-old retired teacher, in Tehran's Mohseni Square. "The price of chicken has doubled in six months, but my income has not changed a bit."

Former Central Bank Governor Seyed Mohammad Hossein Adeli, who now heads a think-tank, said Ahmadinejad was aware of the danger and was already reverting to some more orthodox policies.

"He has helped the poor in some way with micro-attention," he said of the president's habit of touring the provinces, receiving petitions and trying to address problems directly.

"But if you go and spend money and have a huge expansionary fiscal policy without limits, it pushes inflationary pressures."

CURBING MONEY SUPPLY

Adeli told Reuters the Central Bank was now pursuing "very contractionary policies" to correct this.

The previous Central Bank governor, Ebrahim Sheibani, quit last year over differences with Ahmadinejad over interest rate policy. The current governor, Tahmasb Mazaheri, has proposed bank loan repayment rates, or "profit-sharing" rates, based on inflation plus a fee -- a move analysts saw reversing a policy backed by Ahmadinejad that had sent rates below inflation.

Iran, the world's fourth-biggest crude producer, has raked in $70 billion in oil revenue in the past year, the government says. But much of the cash flows out in lavish subsidies on everything from fuel and transport to food and medicine.

"The system is buying loyalty to pursue its nuclear program," economist Saeed Laylaz said.

Many of the subsidies are not targeted, which often means the rich benefit more than the poor because they consume more. Adeli put the direct and indirect cost of fuel subsidies alone at $45 billion a year.

Lacking the refining capacity to meet domestic demand, Iran had been importing at least $5 billion worth of petrol a year, which was sold cheaply to the public, encouraging waste and smuggling.

To reduce the import bill, the government began rationing petrol last year. Last week, in an apparent bid to streamline the subsidy, rationing was temporarily relaxed to let drivers buy extra petrol for five times more than the subsidized price.

The new system could be extended, although the liberalized petrol price may also have a short-term inflationary effect.

COMPLEX TASK

"Taking away subsidies is no easy matter," said Mohammad Ali Farzin, an Iranian economist who heads a United Nations Development Program poverty reduction unit. "The scale of the problem is just so overwhelming that it will take time."

Ali Reza Cheloyan, a farmer in Ahmadinejad's home town of Aradan, east of Tehran, acknowledged his dependence on state assistance with fertilizer, tractors, petrol, gas oil and bread, as well as the price he gets for his wheat and cotton.

"Inflation has gone up but it's a global problem. We support the government," he said.

Reliance on subsidies is growing, argued the UNDP's Farzin. "Where you have chronic inflation, disproportionate rises in property prices relative to income, serious unemployment and underemployment, it's only natural that low-income households cannot keep up," he said. "So they rely on subsidies."

Iran has reduced absolute poverty over the years, but officials say 7 to 10 percent of the population of 70 million still live below the line set at a minimum daily intake of 2,100 calories.

However, Farzin said, wealth inequalities are widening.

"Iran's economy doesn't produce in such a way as to generate sufficient employment, distribute the income well and alleviate relative poverty," Farzin said. "This is the core problem."

Iran is grappling with economic challenges that are exacerbated by U.N. and unilateral U.S. sanctions that have raised the cost of doing business and deterred badly needed Western investment in its oil and gas industry.

But it would be rash to assume more economic pressure would force Iran's leaders to compromise in their row with the United States and its allies over the nuclear program, which the West suspects has a military purpose. Tehran denies this.

"They're in a crunch, but the reality is they have a very high tolerance for economic hardship," a Western diplomat said.

Adeli, an ex-ambassador who thinks Iran should interact more with the world for economic reasons, called sanctions futile.

"Historically they haven't been able to serve their purpose, especially when it comes to Iranians, with their pride, their resilience, their resistance towards foreigners," he said.
(www.reuters.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 3, 2008 10:03 AM


BritishKnite wrote:

Rob N.

I read your article entitled "Give honor to whom honor is due". Monsoor got a Silver star for saving someone's life, but only a Bronze for losing his own? I'm assuming Silver is higher than Bronze. Seems like a bit of an insult considering he saved lives by willingly giving up his own.

BritishKnite

-- April 3, 2008 1:40 PM


Sara wrote:

AGAIN, Laura? They want to try AGAIN to overthrow what the Republicans are doing in Iraq? Pull the troops out so the Dems can be seen to be doing something.. anything, to win votes? It seems to me that the only thing the Democrat party can do is try to overturn what is already in place to win points.. but FOR WHAT? They have become a party of rebellion, of destruction and not construction. They have no vision for the future to make it better.. they have no platform of ideas or ideals to call people to. I am not alone in that opinion, as it says below, they lack a big idea, or an ‘argument’, for how to govern and Most importantly, what has truly undermined the Democrats is not their organisational shortcomings per se but rather their lack of ideas and sense of purpose.
QUOTE:

The hole at the heart of the Democratic Party
by Sean Collins Mar 2008

Billionaire funders demanding cabinet jobs, clueless bloggers advising party bigwigs… the hollowed-out, ill-disciplined Democratic Party looks set to be overrun by opportunistic gatecrashers.

The knock-down, drag-out primary contest for the Democratic presidential nomination between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has exposed serious divisions within the party. And the longer it has continued, the worse it has got.

In recent weeks, it has become personal: the campaigning has descended into identity-baiting and petty name-calling. People associated with either candidate – from activists to voters – are now more likely to say they won’t vote for the other come November. Not long ago the party establishment appeared to be behind Clinton, but the Washington elite has steadily abandoned her, causing bitter internal rows (1). The battle may run on to the party convention in late August, where it could get even uglier.

The fact that the Democrats won’t walk it to the Whitehouse is itself quite amazing: six months ago, who would have given the Republicans – with President George W Bush’s opinion ratings in the tank, and no evident candidate able to unite the party – any decent shot of winning? This turn of events alone illustrates the Democrats’ ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

All the sound and fury is enough to make you wonder: what the hell is going on inside the Democratic Party? Thankfully we have some help: Matt Bai, a reporter for the New York Times Magazine, has written a useful behind-the-scenes guide to the changing players and dynamics within the party. His book, The Argument, focuses on the new forces that have emerged within the party in recent years – from hands-on billionaire donors to internet-based grassroots activists – and their battles with the party establishment. In the process, he reveals an organisation in deep discord, and thus he anticipates the current infighting. But the bigger problem facing the Democrats, according to Bai, is that they lack a big idea, or an ‘argument’, for how to govern.

If you think the primary shows the Democrats in a bad light, just read this book: it leads to the conclusion that, even if the Democrats were to manage to win, their troubles would be far from over.

The strongest parts of Bai’s book are the profiles of the key people in the newly influential groups, often referred to as ‘progressives’ (to indicate being more radical than typical party liberals). Bai begins his journey with the story of the ‘billionaires’ – financiers, hi-tech entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Forming a group called the Democracy Alliance, they were going to run the party like a business, producing a better ‘product’ for the ‘customers’.

Underlying this move to intervene directly into the operations (something the Republican donors did not do) was a deep elitism and disdain for the public. Bai tells how George Soros, the legendary investor, drew the conclusion from the 2004 result that it was ‘the American people, and not their figurehead, who were misguided’, being fed lies by TV and talk radio.

Many Wall Street and Hollywood celebrities had, bizarrely, come to see themselves as the oppressed: ‘They knew they were right about what was best for the country, and if the voters didn’t see that as clearly as they did, then it could only be explained by some nefarious conservative plot. They imagined themselves to be victimized and powerless, kept down, somehow, by the Man’, writes Bai. At a party, one billionaire announced, to great applause: ‘We are so tired of being disenfranchised!’

At the other end of the income spectrum from the billionaires are the internet-based grassroots activists, or ‘netroots’. Bai profiles MoveOn.org, one of the most influential groups to emerge. MoveOn was founded in 1998 by Wes Boyd, the rich inventor of the once-ubiquitous flying toasters screensaver. Boyd, a political novice at the time (this is a theme), set up a website with a petition for congress to ‘move on’ past the Clinton impeachment hearings, and thousands signed up, providing a valuable list. Later, in 2001, a recent graduate, Eli Pariser, also emailed out a petition following the 9/11 attacks, calling on world leaders to respond with restraint. He too received thousands of names, and Boyd convinced him to join forces.

From its almost accidental origins, MoveOn today boasts over three million members and an annual budget of more than $25 million, mainly based on small donations. Its appeal is not complicated; its website is mainly a call for funds, with little need to waste words on argumentation. Its main theme, as Bai notes, is that Republicans are ‘evil, arrogant and corrupt’ – that seems to be enough.

MoveOn organises house parties to bring together otherwise isolated people whose only connection is via the internet. Bai attended one in 2005, in a well-to-do neighbourhood in Virginia. The party’s host, an ad executive named Chuck Fazio, tells Bai that he decided to get involved to spite a neighbour he refers to as ‘that asshole’, an elderly right-wing ideologue named Brent Bozell – even though Fazio has never even spoken to him.

Fazio tells Bai he contemplated peeing in Bozell’s pool, but decided to host a MoveOn party instead. From Bai we learn that many of the internet-linked activists are not twentysomethings, but rather middle-aged people (the average age of a MoveOn member is 50), often from the largely Republican ‘red states’ of Middle America. We also learn that these netroots are often nutcases.

Despite its disparate and sometimes eccentric membership, MoveOn has, in a short time, effectively become part of the party establishment: Bai tells how Tom Matzzie, MoveOn’s Washington organiser, had become a constant presence in the back rooms: ‘Hardly a day went by now when [Democratic leader Harry] Reid’s Senate staff didn’t confer with Tom about strategy or message, understanding that MoveOn was the best way for them to get their message out and raise money among disaffected liberal voters.’

In a similar vein, Bai traces the rise of the blogger-activists. These first emerged into public recognition in 2004, as supporters of Howard Dean’s meteoric rise-and-fall attempt to obtain the Democratic presidential nomination. Many bloggers entered politics a few years before, say in 1998, during the impeachment hearings, or 2000, when Bush supposedly ‘stole’ the election from Al Gore. Bai writes that ‘one of the hallmarks of the netroots culture was a complete disconnect from history – meaning, basically anything that happened before 1998…. It wasn’t just that bloggers didn’t know much about the political world before impeachment; it was that they didn’t want to know, either.’ Their views are fairly simplistic: they generally believe, according to Bai, ‘that Bush was tilting towards dictatorship’ and that supporters of Clinton-style compromises are ‘Vichy Democrats’.

In particular, Bai spends time with Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (‘Kos’), founder of the most influential blog, the Daily Kos, and Jerome Armstrong, an adviser to politicians on internet strategy (also referred to as ‘Blogfather’). They both come across in Bai’s account as confused lightweights. Kos, who does not seem to have read many books, says he is anti-centrist, but then argues for winning at all costs, which involves finding electable candidates. Armstrong becomes an adviser for Mark Warner’s campaign for president, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Warner, as one-time governor of Virginia, was a centrist linked to the Democratic Leadership Council and a frequent collaborator with Republicans while in office.

The current presidential election campaign has shown the candidates and party apparatus kow-towing to the blogger-activists. All of the main candidates appeared last summer at the ‘Yearly Kos’ convention. Obama, in particular, seems to have garnered their support – even though his main message is bipartisanship, a blogger sin. MoveOn has also endorsed Obama. Hillary Clinton has had a much more rocky relationship, especially since many bloggers associate her and her husband with, in Kos’ words, ‘failed corporatist bullshit’. Hillary has tried at different times to extend peace offerings, but with little success.

How did the Democratic Party leadership allow all these renegade groups to wield influence, to the point of seeming to get pulled into chaotic battles for control? To answer that question, you would need to understand the leadership’s perspective. Unfortunately, Bai’s focus on the newer, outsider groups is at the expense of examining the party insiders in much detail. As a result, it is hard to feel confident that his account tells the whole story.

Nevertheless, it is possible to glean from Bai (and others) roughly what has happened. The Democratic Party has endured a long-term decline in active membership. In electoral terms, this decline arguably began in 1964 when civil rights legislation signed by President Lyndon B Johnson led to the exodus of Southern conservatives from the party’s coalition. The ‘Reagan revolution’ of the 1980s also led to years of Democratic defensiveness and retreat. This was not reversed by the ascendancy of Bill Clinton to the presidency in the 1990s, as his regime did not address the crumbling foundation of the party organisation. In fact, in a number of ways, Clinton accelerated the deactivation of what remained of the party’s base, including by the outsourcing of canvassing to professionals (2). From Bai we learn that there are many parts of the country, especially in the South and West, where there is no Democratic Party that one can join.

As the party has gradually hollowed out, the party hierarchy has lost coherence and control of the apparatus, and has difficulty responding to these latest challenges. As Bai describes, a true sign of a lack of firm hand at the top is evidenced by how Howard Dean, the bloggers’ hero, was able to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2004, to the horror of the Beltway elite. Further, the demise of the traditional machine has led to a lack of discipline, as evidenced this year by Florida and Michigan’s decisions to buck the party’s rules and hold early primaries (it’s still not clear whether their delegates will be seated at the convention). And as the 2008 nomination campaign heads to a deadlocked convention, with the prospect of ‘super delegates’ deciding the outcome, many expect party elders to intervene in a ‘backroom’ deal. However, the problem is, as one observer put it, ‘You don’t have the obvious party elders these days.’ (3)

Most importantly, what has truly undermined the Democrats is not their organisational shortcomings per se but rather their lack of ideas and sense of purpose. And this is a theme that Bai consistently extends through his narrative. The Democratic party leaders of today, he writes, ‘had inherited from their parents and grandparents the vessel of a once dominant political party…and in a few short decades, they had managed to run it aground on the shoals of neglect.’ Rather than face up to today’s challenges, the party harks back to the good old days of the New Deal of the 1930s. Under Bill Clinton, the party claimed to address ‘modernisation’, but his pragmatic (critics would say opportunistic) approach of ‘triangulation’ meant that the Democrats never set out a distinct outlook that could survive beyond the end of his presidency.

One of the best points Bai makes is that all sides of Democratic Party politics are now focused on tactics at the expense of vision and ideas. The gate-crashers from outside – that is, the billionaires, the bloggers, Howard Dean – are obsessed with money and electability, but have no sense of transforming the politics by means of ideas. And in that very important regard, they are one with the party’s insiders, who do not look beyond the next contested seat.

Again, Bai anticipates the lack of political substance in this year’s primary contest. He ridicules Hillary’s ‘I’m in it to win’ slogan (‘as if getting to the White House was a noble goal in itself’), as well as Obama’s call for ‘hope’ (‘whatever that meant’). Both downplay ideas, referring voters to the fine print to be found on their websites. Moreover, the lack of a true political party, with intermediaries that establish ties between party members and candidates, has led to voters being unsure of the candidates, lending the race an unpredictable and unstable character.

In November 2006, the Democrats won back control of both houses of Congress. To many of the party’s leadership, this was a major sign that the country had turned in the Democrats’ direction. However, as Bai notes, this was more of a rejection of Bush than an expression of confidence in the Democrats. And not long after the Democrats took control, their do-little approach led to poor approval ratings. The turn against them seemed to vindicate Bai’s verdict following the 2006 congressional win: ‘What voters had not done was to endorse any Democratic argument – because, of course, there wasn’t one.’

The same will be true if the Democrats capture the White House in November 2008 – it wouldn't be an endorsement of their ideas, because they haven’t put forward any. The only argument they’re left with is that they are not the Republicans, which is not exactly one to get excited about.

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/reviewofbooks_article/4926/

That is all the Democrats and their trumpeters the MSM can do.. say that they aren't Republicans.. and they AREN'T for having the troops in Iraq.. but what they stand FOR is not clear. They are not endorsed by the public because of any argument they put forward.. the entire thing is a PROTEST VOTE. People voting against the way things are being run.. but not for any new way. People dislike war.. we ALL do.. and they want it to stop (we ALL do). So they vote against those waging this war, not for someone with any coherent plan WHICH WILL WORK to bring about peace.

It is as though people can see World War Two beginning to form under Hitler and they say, "We want peace." and so they are willing to appease and give power to anyone promising them that vision of peace regardless of the truth and reality of gathering war. Peace at any cost.. even chucking out of power those who have the only plan which makes any rational sense - one which must include a plan where we must fight. As for their knowing what is right for the world where he says quote, ‘They knew they were right about what was best for the country, and if the voters didn’t see that as clearly as they did, then it could only be explained by some nefarious conservative plot.

Exactly HOW could they know what is best for the country (or world) when they have no solid plan with definite ideas and values themselves? He says, if they were to win the election it wouldn't be an endorsement of their ideas, because they haven’t put forward any.

How true.. they have no solid, tangible, working values or ideas.. only big "concepts" like peace or "unity" or "hope".. how do you expect to create these ideals - by appeasing America's enemies? I find it interesting that Obama has said that Iran's president would be welcome at the Whitehouse under him..
QUOTE:

OBAMA FURTHERS ISLAM
By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
MichNews.com
Apr 1, 2008

Barack Obama advocates for Muslim killers in Guantanamo to have access to the US legal system. The Guantanamo lawyers are enthusiastically supporting Obama.

Obama raised funds for Middle East extremist Islamic organizations.

Obama has been given the nod by Daniel Ortega, communist, former chief of the Weather Underground cadre. Also, communist Tom Hayden, Jesse Jackson and Muslim racist and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan are ardent endorsers of Obama per JTF.org.

Obama has told media that in his first months in the Oval Office, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be a guest at the White House. Why? Under the guise of improving ties with America. Bank on Obama working with this Iranian thug to slip Iran state-of-the-art US technology linked to Iranian nuclear advances.

Obama supports cousin Kenyan Muslim Raila Odinga, the latter having lost in the presidential elections there. This Muslim relative promised to set in place legalistic Islam with sharia nationwide. When Obama was campaigning in New Hampshire, he phoned support to Odinga in the latter’s bid for the presidency there.

Obama’s upbringing includes being mentored by a communist, attending a Muslim Basuki School in Indonesia. He was registered as a religious Muslim in school.

Obama now claims to be ‘Christian’, praying to Jesus daily. It is not the biblical Jesus or Obama would be convicted by the Holy Spirit to denounce abortion and sodomy, two of his chief endorsements. His Jesus is the Islam prophet Jesus, not the incarnate God of the Bible.

Obama was on the board of a non-profit organization that gave funds to a Muslim killer group, Arab American Action Network, the latter boasting on destroying Israel and opposing all US immigration laws.

http://www.michnews.com/artman/publish/article_19859.shtml

Appeasement to America's sworn enemies? The Democrats present the world and the American taxpayer with a beautiful box wrapped with lovely shiny paper and a big bow on it.. it sure looks good on the outside. But when you open it, the box is empty, and there is no substance to the party, only decimation of all we have worked so hard to achieve and protect.

The Democrats will allow unfettered immigration, tax and spend strategies like universal "healthcare" where we all get to pay (emulating the Cubans on that one), pulling out of Iraq and allowing the slaughter of the Iraqi people, a continuing lack of discernment in ethical matters (like allowing human embryo research and cloning).. they stand for so much which will destroy all we have achieved. It is far easier to dismantle something.. to destroy, than to build up. A building takes planning and many people putting in time and materials to construct. A plane can destroy it in a few hours.. as we saw on 911. The Democrats are seeking to put such a "plane" into office to destroy very quickly all we have achieved. They have no vision for the future, they can only look to the past. All they say is.. we shouldn't have done that! They never say what they can do NOW to make the world better. They have no vision for the future, and are only seeking to dismantle all the hard won achievements of the past. So it is with this vote.. AGAIN. Can the Democrats not just leave it alone and let there be some stability to the planning and implementation of a work in Iraq which IS WORKING... instead of creating fires to be put out again and again, making us defend the hard fought gains achieved by the US and coalition military for the people of Iraq?

The Democrats have no vision, because they do not know the future. God knows. And when HE makes the people vote the way the country should go and it "disenfranchises" these elite people who distain the common people, they rail at it because they cannot see God's plan, nor do they have one of their own. They just covet the power for themselves.. at any cost. They don't want what is best for the country, and they have no plan or purpose other than to gain power to do whatever they want to do. God forbid they EVER be allowed to force the troops from Iraq. They are a force for subversion and not for the good. The people of America need to know and understand that this is the reality of the party they listen to who are touted daily in the media as demigods and knights in shining armor who will lead away from war and into "peace" and "hope" and "unity"..

Pro 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Whenever such visionless people parroting empty ideals are heeded by a people, it leads to an inevitable decline and ends up where the people of America do not wish to go. When radical Islam takes over a country by force the country has peace.. there is a peace which is ahieveable for America.. one without the freedom we have fought hard to achieve and protect. Is THAT where Americans wish to go?

Sara.

-- April 3, 2008 3:14 PM


Sara wrote:

Former Saddam Officer, Now NYT Reporter, Apparently Involved in Over 300 Stories
By Tom Blumer
April 1, 2008

To refresh from what I posted on earlier this morning -- here's the admission from New York Times reporter Qais Mizher, in his report from Basra in yesterday's Times,
QUOTE:

"Early last week, when the assault started, I happened to be in Diwaniya, another southern city, as part of my work as a reporter and translator for The New York Times.

Calling on my experience as a captain in the Iraqi Army before the 2003 invasion and essentially a war correspondent since then, I headed to Basra to see if I could make my way into the city and see what was happening there."

(end quote)

Yesterday, Richard Miniter at Pajamas Media pointed out that Mizher's self-professed "experience" means that he "was an officer in Saddam’s army."

A search on Mizher's full name in quotes at the Times shows that it comes up in 313 stories, going all the way back to September 2004. Mizher's regular reportorial contributions appear to have begun in late August 2005. He has rarely, if ever, had his byline alone on a story; the one excerpted above is either the first instance, or a rare exception.

Points/questions:

- Someone with more time than I have ought to go through the reports to which Mizher has contributed to see how a former Saddam officer might have colored them.
- How many other former Saddam officers are in Old Media's employ over in Iraq?
- Those skeptical of the need for folks like Yon, Totten, Ardolino, Dollard, et al need to remind me again -- Why should Old Media's wire services and "newspapers of record" deserve the presumption of greater credibility than the milbloggers?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

—Tom Blumer is a CPA based in Mason, Ohio and a contributing editor to NewsBusters

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2008/04/01/former-saddam-officer-now-nyt-reporter-apparently-involved-over-300-stor

-- April 3, 2008 3:37 PM


Sara wrote:

What are each of the Presidential candidates promising to do about this?
Do they articulate a clear agenda which will address this problem?
What if the Iranians one day suddenly announce they are nuclear armed?
How will each respond?

U.S. Diplomats Forecast Nuclear Arms Race in Middle East if Iran Gets the Bomb
Wednesday, April 02, 2008

WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia most likely would develop nuclear weapons if Iran acquires them, according to a report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

High-level American diplomats in Riyadh with excellent access to Saudi decision-makers said an Iranian nuclear weapon frightens the Saudis "to their core" and would compel the Saudis to seek nuclear weapons, the report said. The American diplomats were not identified.

Turkey also would come under pressure to follow suit if Iran builds nuclear weapons, said the report prepared by a committee staff member after interviewing hundreds of individuals in Washington and the Middle East last July through December.

While Turkey and Iran do not see themselves as adversaries, Turkey believes a power balance between them is the primary reason for a peaceful relationship, the report said.

A U.S. intelligence estimate late last year said Iran worked on nuclear weapons programs until 2003 before abandoning them. However, the intelligence analysts also reported Iran was continuing to enrich uranium, a key weapons component, and possessed the capacity to produce nuclear weapons if it decided to do so.

The spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East could reduce regional security and endanger U.S. interests, the report said.

In the next two or three years, the United States must take steps to restore Arab and Turkish confidence in U.S. security guarantees, the report concluded.

Otherwise, it said, "the future Middle East landscape may include a number of nuclear-armed or nuclear weapons-capable states vying for influence in a notoriously unstable region."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,345468,00.html

-- April 3, 2008 3:49 PM


Sara wrote:

As for all that talk about it all being "blood for oil" in Iraq...

AP Says Military In Iraq Also Gouged By Big Oil
From a (perpetually) outraged Associated Press:

Military feels fuel-cost gouge in Iraq
By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Think you’re being gouged by Big Oil? U.S. troops in Iraq are paying almost as much as Americans back home, despite burning fuel at staggering rates in a war to stabilize a country known for its oil reserves.

Military units pay an average of $3.23 a gallon for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, some $88 a day per service member in Iraq, according to an Associated Press review and interviews with defense officials. A penny or two increase in the price of fuel can add millions of dollars to U.S. costs.

Critics in Congress are fuming. The U.S., they say, is getting suckered as the cost of the war exceeds half a trillion dollars — $10.3 billion a month, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Some lawmakers say oil-rich allies in the Middle East should be doing more to subsidize fuel costs because of the stake they have in a secure Iraq. Others point to Iraq’s own burgeoning surplus as crude oil prices top $100 a barrel. Baghdad subsidies let Iraqis pay only about $1.36 a gallon.

The U.S. military, through its Defense Energy Support Center, buys fuel on the open market, paying from $1.99 a gallon to as much as $5.30 a gallon under contracts with private and government-owned oil companies. The center then sets a fixed rate for troops, currently $3.51 a gallon for diesel, $3.15 for gasoline, $3.04 for jet fuel and $13.61 for avgas, a high-octane fuel used mostly in unmanned aerial vehicles.

Kuwait does grant substantial subsidies, but they cover only about half the fuel used by the U.S. in Iraq. And the discount is eaten up by the Energy Support Center’s administrative costs and fluctuations in the market.

Overall, the military consumes about 1.2 million barrels, or more than 50 million gallons of fuel, each month in Iraq at an average $127.68 a barrel. That works out to about $153 million a month.

Historically, these figures are astounding. In World War II, the average fuel consumption per soldier or Marine was about 1.67 gallons a day; in Iraq, it’s 27.3 gallons, according to briefing slides prepared by a Pentagon task force established to review consumption…

[S]ome lawmakers say the U.S. is paying too much to secure an oil-rich nation that resides in a neighborhood swimming in the natural resource…

It’s unlikely the U.S. has pressed Saudi Arabia, Qatar or other oil-rich allies recently to help subsidize the cost of fuel in Iraq. The Defense Department referred questions about such negotiations to the State Department, where a spokesman said the agency was not aware of any.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., also a member of the Armed Services Committee and a vocal advocate pushing the military to pursue alternative energy solutions, said he doubts such talks would be fruitful anyway because of the impression by many in the Middle East that the U.S. invaded Iraq for its oil to begin with.

"I’m not sure they’re as convinced we’re fighting for them, as they were in the first Gulf war," Bartlett said…

In the meantime, other lawmakers say they want to see the high costs of the war defrayed by Iraq dipping into its own oil revenues, which are projected to be substantial. Independent auditors estimate that Iraq is headed this year toward a massive surplus because of as much as $60 billion in oil revenues — a consequence of increased production paired with the sharp rise in prices.

"It’s totally unacceptable to me that we are spending tens of billions of dollars on rebuilding Iraq while they are putting tens of billions of dollars in banks around the world from oil revenues," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee. "It doesn’t compute as far as I’m concerned." …

(end quote)

How is this possible when we were assured by our media masters that this was was simply "blood for oil"?

Hell, even some (idiot) Republicans seem to believe that:
Quote:

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., also a member of the Armed Services Committee and a vocal advocate pushing the military to pursue alternative energy solutions, said he doubts such talks would be fruitful anyway because of the impression by many in the Middle East that the U.S. invaded Iraq for its oil to begin with. (end quote)

It looks like we have been lied to.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008.

-- April 3, 2008 4:02 PM


Sara wrote:

Analysis: Iraq moves on oil, graft laws
Published: April 3, 2008
By BEN LANDO
UPI Energy Editor

WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- Negotiators are hammering out a new draft Iraq oil law after previous versions stalled, and as Parliament is moving forward on two new laws, one reconstituting the state oil company and another cracking down on oil and fuel smuggling.

"Shortly, we'll see a new draft which there is more common ground," said Abdul-Hadi al-Hasani, deputy chair of the Iraqi Parliament's Oil, Gas and Natural Resources Committee, which has already seen four versions of a draft oil law. The latest draft is based on "good dialogue" between the central and Kurdistan region governments, he said, and the Council of Ministers will soon approve it and send it to his committee.

A new oil law has officially been in the works for two years, and sources United Press International spoke to both echoed Hasani's optimism as well as said a divide over the law remains too large.

The law is one piece in a four-part package of legislation aimed at modernizing Iraq's oil sector.

Another is a law re-establishing the Iraqi National Oil Co., the state company dissolved as Saddam Hussein consolidated power over Iraq's oil via the Oil Ministry. Hasani told UPI in a telephone interview from Baghdad that the INOC law has been passed from the Council to his committee.

"We are going to discuss it next week," he said, calling it "one step in the right direction."

http://www.upi.com/International_Security/Energy/Analysis/2008/04/03/analysis_iraq_moves_on_oil_graft_laws/4198/

-- April 3, 2008 9:33 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraq cleared for next steps to WTO accession
Author: Moussa Ahmad
Source: BI-ME
Published: 03 April 2008

IRAQ. Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) working party in Iraq on 2 April 2008, supported Iraq's rapid accession to the WTO and argued it would contribute to the country's integration into the world economy.

Iraq's Trade Minister, HE Dr Al-Sudani, stated that Iraq was determined to overcome the country's difficult circumstances to move forward on the accession process and added that Iraq's membership would represent a significant addition to the international community.

At this stage of the accession, members examine all aspects of Iraq's trade and economic policies to assess their conformity with WTO principles.

In the next steps, Iraq will update its legislative action plan, as appropriate, and will continue providing information to members. No date was decided or the next meeting.

A working party to examine the application of Iraq was established at the General Council meeting of 13 December 2004. Iraq submitted a Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime in September 2005, Foreign Trade Regime in September 2005, followed by Replies to Questions raised by WTO Members in November 2006.

http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=4&t=1&id=18851

-- April 3, 2008 9:36 PM


Sara wrote:

Insider: Iraq Attack Was Preemptive
Pentagon Insider Tells 60 Minutes U.S. Attack On Iraq Was Anticipatory Self-Defense; Not so much 9/11 Retaliation
April 3, 2008

Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy (CBS/60 Minutes)

(CBS) The first Pentagon insider to give his account of the run-up to war says the attack on Iraq was more a defensive move against possible future threats from Saddam Hussein than a retaliation for the 9/11 attacks. Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy, also tells Steve Kroft that the Pentagon failed to foresee the insurgency or the need for more troops to prevent the post-war chaos that included looting. Feith’s interview will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, April 6 (7-8 p.m., ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

"What we did after 9/11 was look broadly at the international terrorist network from which the next attack on the United States would come," says Feith, the No. 3 person in the Pentagon’s hierarchy from 2001 to 2005. "Our main goal was not merely retaliation for the 9/11 attack, it was preventing the next attack," he says. Pressed by Kroft on the importance of getting the 9/11 plotters, Feith responds that getting them was important, but "it was also important to go after the broader network … and prevent whatever plans there were for following attacks," Feith tells Kroft.

Feith concedes this line of thought could rationalize attacks on other countries, including North Korea, Syria and Iran. But he says Saddam’s attacks on his Middle Eastern neighbors, use of chemical weapons on his own people and his interest in building a nuclear weapon made Iraq a special case. "In an era where weapons of mass destruction can put countries in a position to do an enormous amount of harm, the old idea of having to wait until you actually see the country mobilizing for war doesn't make a lot of sense," says Feith.

When all the factors were considered, says Feith, Saddam had to go. "If we had left him in power, we would be fighting him down the road at a time and place of his choosing," Feith says. President Bush weighed the options.

"The president decided that the risks of war … were overweighed by the risks of leaving Saddam Hussein in power," Feith tells Kroft.

The risks of war, says Feith, were well known and documented in a memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that Feith refers to as “the parade of horribles” in his upcoming Harper Collins book, War and Decision. They included ruining the reputation of America overseas, strengthening Muslim militant resolve and the ethnic strife occurring in Iraq now. What they didn’t anticipate? "That the Bathist regime, even after it was overthrown, would be in a position to organize and recruit for and to finance and command and insurgency," says Feith. His book also addresses the fact that the smaller and more mobile American force conducting the attack saved U.S. lives, but was too small to control the country after the initial fighting, allowing widespread looting.

Feith acknowledges that few people are pleased about the war, but he believes it was and still is the right thing to do for America. "I think the president made the right decision given what he knew. … And to tell you the truth, even given what we’ve learned since," he tells Kroft.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/03/60minutes/main3992653.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_3992653

-- April 3, 2008 9:39 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Sara:

Thank you for posting that article from the UPI about the long awaited oil law. The Iraqi's are sitting on a ton (hyperbole)of cash and literaly a ton of oil. We all are holding out hope that Parliment and the GoI finally get it. I read another article stating the TSAs will not be signed at the earliest until June. It may bare out that that the TSAs were a stall until the oil law is passed.

If the Parliment passes each part of the legislation that makes up the oil law they did it on their own accord without bending to any pressure from outside. The Iraqi Government can save face. Once the oil law is passed there is not a doubt in my mind that the managed rate imposed by the CBI can continue to be the way forward. Any talk from currency traders about a 1000/1 by 2010 cannot have one ounce of truthfulness to it.

Beware the next few months will see more articles from Iraq attempting to curb speculation on the Dinar. You and I know the truth. Do not give creditability to those negative and deceptive articles. Remember, follow the money. We know that the United States Government has enacted a kind of Marshall Plan; intent on rebuilding Iraq reminincence of Japan and Germany. The large sums of money invested in Iraq has not been spent so we can just walk away and not reap what we have sown.

The reward will be a prosperous and peaceful democratic Iraq. Enjoying a standard of living shared only with Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Part of this standard of living is a stable and valuable currency on a limited free float. Backed by Iraqi oil (Petro Dinars), cash, and gold reserves. What a wonderful scenario that is very plausible.

Everything I just shared is just my opinion, but from what I have seen this is very plausible. The Dinar is not a get rich quick scheme. It is an investment with pontentially high returns. I am bullish on the Dinar. I chose to increase my position. Based upon what you read, it you're decision whether to increase you're position or not. In the end, whatever you're exposure, I think we stand to reap a great reward.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 3, 2008 10:27 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

All,

I continued to listen to CSPAN and they had the morning session that I called to your attention. Then the afternoon session had two experts who have traveled through Iraq extensively. One expert, worked in the green zone and spoke about the issues of the government trying to govern. The other spoke as a reporter and also as a writer of a book on Iraq. He spent alot of time with the Sunni's as well as the Shiiti's.

In speaking about his experience in talking with Sunni's, the author spoke about how Sunni's view the Shiiti sect (and those in the central government) as agents of Iran. They are shocked that they lost the war to the Shiiti's and took the cease fire from the american's to get $300.00 a month for each person's cooperation in working with the americans. Interesting that we are paying each person, isn't it?. The sunni's are awaiting for a time when they are strong enough to take on the Shiiti sects to get rid of Iranian agents.

In the south (Baghdad to Basra), different sects are banding together in small/large malitias pockets. The central government is 3 of the political parties and the central government sects are not allowing the sharing of power with anyone else (especially Sadr's militas). The central government is trying to rule from the top down, but this expert stated that the real power is from each leader of the various militias.

Sadr's militias are the poor and it is a very large militia. Sadr's militia also controls the port of Basra that loads the oil.

The scene that the expert reporter/writer posed is that Iraq will be ruled like that of Somalia with War Lords and nothing like a democratic republic. The reporter was asked how he was able to travel Iraq without getting killed or taken hostage?. His answer is that he asked persmission to travel in the various areas of Iraq from the ruling warlord. When he was given permission to travel in a certain area of Iraq, his protection came from the warlord who ruled that particular area.

Currently, it was stated that Iraq saw ethnic cleaning in all parts of Iraq. The Kirkuk question on the Kurds has already been decided according to this expert because the Kurds control this area with their militias and in the south, various Shiiti sects control areas in various areas/neighborhoods.

This expert also stated that the Basra war by Maliki is not about going after outlaws, but about the central government's Shiiti sects wanting to further their power.

I know after listening to this testimony, I was quite alarmed. Both experts stated that the role of the american's is to play peace maker and to try and stay as neutral as possible. But essentially, we are looking at tribal groups all over Iraq. No one trust a central government (due to Saddam) and everyone trust only their local militias for security of their immediate sect. This is why, policemen and army people laid down weapons in this latest military situation in Baghdad and Basra.

What kinds of implications do you all think this information has on our Iraqi dinar?.

Laura Parker

-- April 4, 2008 1:33 AM


Laura Parker wrote:

All,

In other words, the experts were saying that there is no political reconciliation in sight for many many years to come.

Laura Parker

-- April 4, 2008 1:47 AM


Rob N. wrote:

Laura:

Listening to "experts" is really not the best way to guage a situation because each has an agenda to advance. It seems to me political, religious, and ethnic reconciliation can only occur once Iraq possess an economy. Cash sitting in a bank and the people not seeing much progress will continue to instability and mistrust on all sides. Bill Clinton's potitical campaign coined a phrase back in 1992; "its the economy stupid." Iraq has the potential at double digit growth. The GoI has to learn how to spend some of its reserves on rebuilding the infastructure. It is imperative that Parliment pass the series of laws that will open up the Iraqi Oil Industry.

Royal Dutch Shell and other oil majors are willing to invest billions of dollars in Iraq. My point, once money starts flowing into the country and oil starts flowing out of the country. Basic services are available to everyone. Their standard of living is raised to match that of Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Amazingly reconciliation will happen. Could this be years away? Of course.

From what I read, GWB's quasi Marshall Plan is making progress. You and I live in a society of instant gratification. We want Iraq up and running and for them to revalue their currency tomorrow. Fact, Iraq is still emerging from the bonds barbarianism. Nation building does not happen overnight. It took many years for Germany and Japan (even with the help from the United States) to rise from the ash heap of defeat. Back to Iraq, passage of the oil law offering the oil majors a protection on their investment is the first step in the right direction.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 4, 2008 10:42 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraq PM offers immunity, freeze of raids against militiamen
www.chinaview.cn
2008-04-04

BAGHDAD, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki offered Friday nationwide immunity and freeze of raids on militiamen who lay down their arms, Iraqi official television reported.

"In order to give a chance to those who repented, raids in all areas will stop and immunity will be granted to whoever wanted to lay down their arms," the television quoted a statement by Malikias saying.

Maliki's statement did not mention the Mahdi Army militia, loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, or put a timeframe for his new measures.

Last week, Sadr militia fought fierce battles in Iraq's southern city of Basra with U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces, as the latter launched a massive offensive, dubbed "Operation Cavalry Assault" aimed at restoring order in the city where instability was spreading.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-04/04/content_7919483.htm

-- April 4, 2008 11:31 AM


Sara wrote:

I agree with Rob N, Laura.
The situation in Iraq is very politicized.

There is so much at stake and we are in a cloud of disinformation and distortion which takes into account not only both sides of the political spectrum in the US, but also the impending election. So much of what we hear is geared toward influencing that election... so that little information coming through is without political spin. I agree with Rob's statement, "Listening to "experts" is really not the best way to guage a situation because each has an agenda to advance." That is particularly so in light of the election influence peddling going on.

Also, Rob's assessment that the average Iraqi needs a job and a living - and that if they had the equivalent to Saudi Arabia's wealth for the people that would go a long way toward reconciliation I believe to be true, too. They can live side by side in different countries. I believe they can manage to get along within the borders of one country if the financial incentive is there to do so. If Iraq splits up, they would have instability, different currencies, and a lack of unity and cohesive policies on economic matters (how to split up the money from oil, etc). Indeed, they would each need to negotiate with anyone who would develop their oil fields. Divided they would be made much poorer and less politically viable, diminishing their value to the world market. Even the squabblers understand that. Who would develop their oil fields as tiny lordships? And if corruption is bad now, imagine how rampant it would be under shifting tiny tribal areas. Their separate currencies would be worth very little. This way, united, they stand a chance of a great deal of wealth for everyone. It is not in their interests to break up, even if their cultures are regional. They will work it out once they all negotiate for a nice big fat piece of the pie. Then they can squabble within their cultural area about how to spend it. But destroying or making the pie smaller (each area's "take" from the oil monies).. that is in no one's interests but the enemies of Iraq who want to impoverish Iraq then take it over and rule it themselves. (A poor Iraq area under a warlord is easy to pick off by a well funded country.. like Iran.. with its well trained military. We already see them with a great deal more influence now in Iraq than they should have.. this would increase that influence and step up their takeover efforts. Divide and conquer is the strategy employed by those wishing to take over - unity only hurts the ability of the wolf to pick off small regions of less well armed and defended "sheep".)

United, the Iraqis can have a strong military and deal with uprisings and insurrections from inside or outside-funded interests as a country. This protection of their people is a great plus. Divided, it devolves into small areas with tribally limited military powers and arms. Only those backed by Iran (Sadr?) would be able to take over in that scenerio.. and as I said, it is not in the economic interests of all Iraqis to have these small factions taking over areas and leaving the union. In my opinion, for their own good and prosperity, the Iraqis will find a way to figure out the "turf wars" and who is a player WITHIN the federal Iraqi government plan, and that means a kind of reconciliation or coexistence. THEN they all prosper. It is like the States, which were also set up with militias originally (second amendment to keep and bear arms was necessary for a militia in case of an invading country), each State has their regional areas and concerns. Even if they put Iraq into three "states" with their own regional interests and then a central government over them all.. that would work. But the idea that Iraq is like Africa with tons of warring tribes which are incapable of compromise.. just does not hold water. Iraq is not Africa, and the divides are not that huge that monetary and economic union will not solve almost all of them. They all WANT the prosperity and peace and stability of one currency and country.. it is just ridding Iraq of the usurping influence of Iran which is plaguing Iraqi politics with instability at this time. And that will have to be taken care of in a short period of time in order to move forward. I believe that is in the cards.. and the US will be forced to address the matter with Iran even though they do not wish to. Iran is ambitious and has plans in place to bring things to a head. They are only biding their time until they feel it will further their interests. The US must be planning contingency plans which will be triggered when Iran makes that move. I don't believe the US is provoking what will happen, but will be in the position of reacting appropriately to it. I continue to pray the US will have all the wisdom they will need to when the showdown at the OK corral happens with Iran. It is a pity the US is now in the position of waiting for the Iranian attack to happen instead of making a preemptive move, but such is the political situation. As the insider said yesterday, the preemptive decision to deal with Saddam was the right one, and this is the unfortunate fallout by those who cannot or will not see that it was necessary. But I believe the US will be prepared for Iran's eventual move when it comes.

Until then, a HUGE blow to Iran's plans for the region and a stroke of genius for Iraqis would be the RV of the Iraqi currency. It is the best possible political move the Iraqis could make, IMO. There is no better move for Iraq to make politically for stability and advancement of their unified agenda for prosperity, peace and wealth. It also would make them a power to be reckoned with rather than a "less than third world" player in the economic sphere. This would change their footing in every area, not just economically. There are only two powers on earth, God's and Money. (Jesus said you cannot serve two masters, you must serve God or money.. they are the two rival powers on earth.) People serve either of these two "masters". If Iraq suddenly has money.. they suddenly have a LOT more earthly power. The RV would give them more say and power than they ever dreamed of. I think they have the maturity to be a "lottery winner" and not squander all that newfound wealth and influence in the world. It also would make them an influence to be reckoned with in a way they obviously do not see right now. In economic terms, the lack of value to their currency makes them lightweights in the world's economy. If they wish influence, with money comes the power and influence they seek. Money talks.. it always has. Iraq has little (their Dinar is worthless), to change that to much (RV of the currency) changes the power, politics, influence and say of Iraqi politicians and voters alike. It is the smart move.. we just wonder how long until they "get it". I agree, they want little speculation on their currency.. but if they don't get their act together, their aims will not be furthered and I think that is the primary concern, even above the speculative market. Getting the country on course is more important than stopping people from buying a few more Dinar - investing in the belief it will go up. The Iraqis need to get their house in order and soon.

Sara.

-- April 4, 2008 12:30 PM


Sara wrote:

Petraeus to update Congress on Iraq
By Kristin Roberts
Apr 4, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, will not promise Congress large troop withdrawals beyond July, saying it is too soon to make decisions about the second half of the year, defense officials say.

Petraeus will tell Congress next week the U.S. military needs time to evaluate security conditions throughout Iraq before committing to more large troop reductions in 2008.

That assessment period, often referred to as a "pause" in withdrawals, has assumed greater significance for Pentagon officials after last week's clashes in Baghdad and Basra between Iraqi forces and Shi'ite militiaman -- fighting that raised doubts about the skill of U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers.

"It is the kind of violence and lack of security that would certainly drive an assessment of what we would do after that (pause in withdrawals)," said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"The period of consolidation and evaluation will take place and we'll take recommendations based on conditions on the ground there," Mullen said ahead of Petraeus' testimony.

SURGE SUCCESS?

Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will also be asked by lawmakers during the hearings next Tuesday and Wednesday to assess the success of the surge strategy.

The addition of combat troops last year has been credited with lowering attacks and deaths, especially in Baghdad. That led some U.S. officials to declare the surge a military success.

But other factors helped improve security too, including Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's order for his Mehdi Army militia to cease fire and a decision by Sunni leaders in Anbar to join U.S. and Iraqi forces in their fight against al Qaeda.

The New York Times, quoting senior U.S. officials, reported that a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq showed significant security improvements and progress toward resolving sectarian divisions. But the report added that security was still fragile and that extremist groups remained capable of big attacks, the officials told the Times.

"The N.I.E. update confirmed that the surge strategy the president announced in January of last year is working," a senior administration official told the Times in its Friday edition.

The period of reduced violence was supposed to create the calm needed for Iraqi politicians to move forward on measures seen by Washington as critical to long-term stability.

Progress, however, has been slow despite security gains.

The intra-Shi'ite violence in Basra, which led Britain to delay its withdrawal, appears to have underscored how far Iraqi factions are from reconciliation, some analysts said.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=4586958

Note the political opportunists jumping on this bandwagon and saying that due to this uprising in Basra all the Iraqi factions are "far from reconciliation" - acting as though this is brand new in development though for months the US has been saying that this is a fragile and hard-won success with the surge. This is a political move to strengthen the Democrats in light of the election, but does not reflect the truth of Iraqi politics. As I posted yesterday, the Iraqi politicians are moving toward the oil law, and this uprising was likely the work of IRAN to create instability to further their aims of getting someone sympathetic to their aims into the Whitehouse. It was orchestrated by Iran, and well equipped, trained and funded by them. Iran's purpose is to show they have muscle in Iraq and can influence the dialog in the US through their Iraqi agents. It appears to be working and the US must adjust its strategy militarily to deal with this Iranian funded and trained militia. No matter how the Iranians worked their influence on or with Sadr to do this, the fact remains that the Iranians were the key to ending it (with all parties meeting in IRAN to make the deal) and that was a high handed way of showing that Iran has power and influence in Iraq and can affect its politics and AMERICAN election politics at their will.

Nothing like a razor sharp warning and illustration of the Iranian influence to remind the Republicans and Iraqis alike that they are dealing with a hostile power with definite political ambitions concerning Iraq - one which weilds great influence from within that country. Note that Sadr's people were livid that their leader was being influenced.. and that the Iranians brokered a "compromise" that they liked among the players. The powers in play are beyond the little people with guns in their hands in Basra.. this is political and aimed at the US elections and the greater ambitions of Iran for Iraq, the region and world. It is not, however, indicative of the Iraqi squabbling being irreconcilable, as I think the Iraqis are able to show shortly by finding a compromise on the oil law. In the interests of Iraqis and the country, they need to get their act together and move the country forward by getting the political compromises in place. I believe they have the will to make it so and show the world (and Iran) that they will not be bullied or manipulated into the instability which furthers the Iranian policy.

Sara.

-- April 4, 2008 1:12 PM


Sara wrote:

Bomb plot 'revenge for Iraq', British court told
04/04/2008

Six Britons accused of plotting to blow up at least seven transatlantic airliners recorded martyrdom videos saying the attacks were revenge for the US invasion of Iraq, a London court heard today.

In extracts played and read to the jury, the men said their mission was to punish non-Muslims and warned of "floods of martyrdom operations" because governments had ignored the warnings of Osama bin Laden.

Yesterday, the court was told that the men had planned to use liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks to simultaneously blow up at least seven transatlantic aircraft in mid-air.

In total, up to 18 suicide bombers may have taken part in the planned attack, the prosecution said.

The eight men on trial at Woolwich Crown Court in east London are charged with conspiracy to murder. They are also accused of plotting "to commit an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft".

Prosecutor Peter Wright said the suicide videos had been discovered in a camera in one of the men's car and on a cassette tape in the garage of his home.

The prosecution has said the men were close to putting their scheme into action when they were arrested in August 2006.

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0404/breaking28.htm

-- April 4, 2008 2:45 PM


Sara wrote:

As for the claim by some of no political progress...

U.S. Study Finds Progress in Iraq
By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT
Published: April 4, 2008

WASHINGTON—A new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq cites significant security improvements and progress toward healing sectarian political rifts, but concludes that security remains fragile and terrorist groups remain capable of initiating large attacks, several American government officials said this week.

The classified document provides a more upbeat analysis of conditions in Iraq than the last major assessment by United States spy agencies, last summer. It was completed this week, just days before the top American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, is due in Washington to give lawmakers a progress report on the military strategy in Iraq.

While the last assessment painted a grim picture of an Iraqi government paralyzed by sectarian strife, the new intelligence estimate cites slow but steady progress by Iraqi politicians on forging alliances between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, said the government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the document is classified.

At the same time, officials said that the document detailed several factors that could reverse these trends: including a campaign of violence by Shiite splinter groups and the possibility that the government would not carry out a series of reconciliation laws Iraq’s Parliament passed recently. Some Bush administration officials said that the report presented positive news, but they remained cautious about the future.

“The N.I.E. update confirmed that the surge strategy the president announced in January of last year is working,” said one senior administration official. “There’s more work to be done, but progress has obviously been made.”

National Intelligence Estimates represent a consensus of America’s 16 intelligence agencies. They are submitted to members of Congress and senior administration officials. Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the director of national intelligence, who oversees the estimates, declined to comment on the Iraq assessment. On Thursday, intelligence officials said that they had no plans to declassify the latest estimate, even though the administration made public the major findings of the one last summer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/washington/04intel.html?_r=2&ref=middleeast&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

-- April 4, 2008 3:04 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

Rob N. and Sara,

Thanks, you two. You are absolutely right. Let's hope the Iraqi's see the light and pass that oil law to fix their economy!

Laura

-- April 4, 2008 3:09 PM


Sara wrote:

So much for racial profiling..

===

Al-Qaeda grooming 'western-looking' militants: CIA
March 31, 2008

CIA director Michael Hayden said al-Qaeda was training operatives who "look western" and could enter the United States undetected to conduct terrorist attacks.

General Hayden said the terror network over the past 18 months has established a safe haven in tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan where they are preparing militants for attacks against the West.

"They are bringing operatives into that region for training - operatives that, a phrase I would use, wouldn't attract your attention if they were going through the customs line at Dulles (airport near Washington DC) with you," Hayden told NBC television.

The new recruits "look western" and "would be able to come into this country ... without attracting the kind of attention that others might", he said.

He also stressed that while he was confident al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden was still hiding out near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the Saudi-born fighter no longer has operational control over the terror network.

This now lies with Egyptian militants, he argued, although he said bin Laden remains an "iconic figure", and the Central Intelligence Agency is making every effort to "kill or capture" him along with his al-Qaeda lieutenants.

"Let me use (the term) iconic figure. His presence ... gives a certain punch, a certain image, to the global movement," Hayden said.

"But he's not operationally involved. An awful lot of the operational force of al-Qaeda -- the Arabic name is the name and then often finished by the country they are from -- an awful lot of them are the Egyptians."

Al-Qaeda's number two is the Egyptian militant Ayman Al-Zawahiri, who the US director of national intelligence Michael McConnell last September called "the real intellectual leader of al-Qaeda."

Hayden said bin Laden, Zawahiri and others remain top targets for US forces.

"Operationally, we are turning every effort to kill or capture that leadership from the top to the bottom," he said.

Bin Laden has claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, which killed nearly 3000 people.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/alqaeda-grooming-westernlooking-militants-cia/2008/03/31/1206850738505.html

-- April 4, 2008 5:04 PM


Sara wrote:

Explosive Materials Found in Man's Luggage at Orlando Airport
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Kevin Brown

ORLANDO, Fla. — A man was detained Tuesday at Orlando International Airport carrying materials in his luggage that could have been used for an explosive device, the FBI said on Tuesday.

Jamaican national Kevin Brown, 32, planned to board Air Jamaica flight 80 to Jamaica, until he was questioned by airport authorities, the FBI said in a statement.

A subsequent search of Browns checked baggage by airport authorities revealed two galvanized pipes, end caps, two small containers containing BBs, batteries, two containers with an unknown liquid, laptop, and bomb making literature, according to the FBI.

According to MyFOXOrlando.com, several ticket counters in the area were closed and a portion of the terminal roped off while members of the bomb squad searched the Brown's bags. He was taken into custody and turned over to the FBI.

Mica would not go so far as do call the incident a terrorist act. He did however say that it was very disturbing.

“From what I understand,” Mica said. “And what was described, if it’s confirmed, this posed a very serious threat to aviation security.”

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,344668,00.html

-- April 4, 2008 6:47 PM


Sara wrote:

I know you are just dying to know the answer to the question of: "Why Allah would tell Muslims to kill and rape innocent non-Muslims, including their wives and daughters?"
A question the Imam from East London was wondering and posed, too..
Quote:

Report: Non-Muslims Deserve to Be Punished
Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A report posted on Islam Watch, a site run by Muslims who oppose intolerant teachings and hatred for unbelievers, exposes a prominent Islamic cleric and lawyer who support extreme punishment for non-Muslims — including killing and rape.

A question-and-answer session with Imam Abdul Makin in an East London mosque asks why Allah would tell Muslims to kill and rape innocent non-Muslims, including their wives and daughters, according to Islam Watch.

"Because non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet," the Imam says, according to the report. "If you don't believe me, here is the legal authority, the top Muslim lawyer of Britain."

The lawyer, Anjem Choudary, backs up the Imam's position, saying that all Muslims are innocent.

Click here to watch the interview with Islamic lawyer Anjem Choudary.

"You are innocent if you are a Muslim," Choudary tells the BBC. "Then you are innocent in the eyes of God. If you are not a Muslim, then you are guilty of not believing in God."

Choudary said he would not condemn a Muslim for any action.

"As a Muslim, I must support my Muslim brothers and sisters," Choudary said. "I must have hatred to everything that is not Muslim."

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/other-news-for-the-week-of-mar-29-apr-4#comment-106976

Well, now we know.. hey?

If you are a Muslim, quote, "Choudary said he would not condemn a Muslim for any action." So they can sin with impunity, breaking any and all of God's commands. But those who do not embrace Islam are "guilty of not believing in God" and so can be raped and killed with carefree abandon, subject to no law.

Have we thanked the US military and their allies today for their protecting missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world in the GWOT against such ferocious enemies of "innocent non-Muslims"? Do remember them in your prayers.. they stand between you.. and this.

Sara.

-- April 4, 2008 6:58 PM


Sara wrote:

China reveals Iranian nuclear information
April 3, 2008

BEIJING, April 3 (UPI) -- Diplomats say China has supplied the United Nations with intelligence on Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear technology.

Beijing is believed to have decided to help after seized Iranian documents included blueprints for turning uranium metal into warheads and the testing of high explosives used to set off radioactive material, The Telegraph, a London newspaper, reported.

Documents also are said to concern the procurement of dual-use technology.

Diplomats saw China's decision as a potentially significant breakthrough, the report said.

Officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nation's nuclear watchdog, recently discovered that Iran had obtained information on how to manufacture nuclear-armed weapons, The Telegraph reported.

Much of the new material was presented to the governors of the IAEA in February, a meeting thought to have convinced China to act, The Telegraph said.

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/04/03/china_reveals_iranian_nuclear_information/9805/

-- April 4, 2008 8:03 PM


Investor wrote:

Sara:

China never does anything unless there is some strategic advantage to it, for China. So what's the advantage of cooperating with the UN, and ratting out the Iranians, over the nuclear issue? Especially since China is a high-growth economy, that's addicted to oil, and doesn't have nearly enough domestic production of oil to meet it's internal needs? Especially since Iran is one of the largest reserves of oil in the world, and China has signed several oil production agreements with Iran. Why would China seemingly go against it's own interests, in siding with the United States, and against Iran, it's future source of oil? Why would China aggravate the Iranians like that?

Maybe the Chinese are placing a bet. Maybe the Chinese are looking at the middle east, which contains much of the world's remaining known cheap oil reserves, especially in Iraq, and are betting that the United States will eventually be succesful in Iraq...... That makes sense.... China intends to grow, in the future. That will take a lot of oil. Where is that oil to come from? The middle east. If the United States is successful in Iraq, then America will be able to have a lot of influence over who gets to develop oil fields. China would love to be part of that game. If China is to grow economically, for several decades, China NEEDS to be part of the winning side in Iraq, and the middle east.

China has just placed a bet on America being successful in Iraq, IMO. Good news.

-- April 4, 2008 9:45 PM


Investor wrote:

Sara:

China never does anything unless there is some strategic advantage to it, for China. So what's the advantage of cooperating with the UN, and ratting out the Iranians, over the nuclear issue? Especially since China is a high-growth economy, that's addicted to oil, and doesn't have nearly enough domestic production of oil to meet it's internal needs? Especially since Iran is one of the largest reserves of oil in the world, and China has signed several oil production agreements with Iran. Why would China seemingly go against it's own interests, in siding with the United States, and against Iran, it's future source of oil? Why would China aggravate the Iranians like that?

Maybe the Chinese are placing a bet. Maybe the Chinese are looking at the middle east, which contains much of the world's remaining known cheap oil reserves, especially in Iraq, and are betting that the United States will eventually be succesful in Iraq...... That makes sense.... China intends to grow, in the future. That will take a lot of oil. Where is that oil to come from? The middle east. If the United States is successful in Iraq, then America will be able to have a lot of influence over who gets to develop oil fields. China would love to be part of that game. If China is to grow economically, for several decades, China NEEDS to be part of the winning side in Iraq, and the middle east.

China has just placed a bet on America being successful in Iraq, IMO. Good news.

-- April 4, 2008 9:45 PM


Investor wrote:

As an added note, the Chinese are very cautious by nature. They do their homework. The Chinese are very good geo-political chess players. And their economy is very, very vulnerable. It is completely dependent on foreign oil, now and for the future. The Chinese do not do things haphazardly. A lot of thought goes into their decisions, especially major policy decisions that affect the long term economic prosperity of the country, like supply of oil, which is vital to a modern economy. So this decision is a BIG DEAL.

-- April 4, 2008 9:54 PM


Sara wrote:

Very good insight, Investor.
Thank You! :)
That can only be good news..
and a plus for those of us who have invested in the Dinar..
and thus invested in the future good of Iraq.
Your sharing is very much appreciated.

Sara.

-- April 5, 2008 12:22 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Draft law to set up new national oil company at parliament-MP Baghdad - Voices of Iraq

Saturday , 05 /04 /2008 Time 1:01:53

Baghdad, Apr 5, (VOI)- Iraqi Parliament’s Oil and Gas internal committee is examining a draft law to set up a new national oil company along with the already exist two state-owned companies, an MP said on Saturday.


The draft law “included the establishment of a new national oil company which will be partly funded by the government to operate along with its already exist sisters North Oil Company and South Oil Company,” Abdel Hadi al-Hassani, deputy chairperson of Parliament’s Oil and Gas committee, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq- (VOI).
The parliamentarian added that the new oil company will expand to include two more companies operating in southern Iraqi provinces of Missan and Thi-Qar.
“The new oil company will be tasked with drilling oilfields and extracting, stockpiling and transferring crude,” the MP said.
As for the capital of the new company, the legislator explained, “Part of the fund will be offered by the government and the company may apply for loans as four times as the capital offered by the government once the company was set up.”
The Oil and Gas deputy chairperson told VOI “this is a prologue to enacting the oil and gas draft law.”
“Our committee requested to increase the suggested capital for the new company to enable it compete with other international oil companies,” the legislator concluded.
So far there are only two Iraqi oil companies operating in the oil-rich-country’s northern and southern regions and both are state-owned.
Iraq is waiting the enacting of a controversial draft law regulating exploration and production of oil in the country. The draft law, dubbed oil and gas draft law, was passed by the Iraqi government last July but it received criticism and rejection by some major blocs within the 275-member- Iraqi parliament.

http://66.111.34.180/look/english/ar...=2&NrSection=2

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 5, 2008 12:12 PM


Sara wrote:

I believe this latest action in Basra, Iraq was with military goals - stirred up (fomented) by Iran to offset the incredible gains in security made in Iraq - and intended to influence the dialog in the US, particularly the critical report General Petraeus is to give Tuesday. By attacking now, the Iranians could cast doubt on the incredible gains of the surge. That was the plan they had going into it - to strengthen the Iraq war critic's position, and it worked.

===

Spike in violence raises questions on eve of critical Iraq report
April 5, 2008
By John Yaukey,
Gannett News Service

WASHINGTON — The recent flare-up of violence in Iraq's Shiite regions was relatively brief.

But it has raised some critical questions Army Gen. David Petraeus, top commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are sure to face as they make their second war report to Congress starting Tuesday:

• Are Iraqi forces, which struggled against Shiite militias in recent clashes, making sufficient progress to start restoring order on their own?

• Does Iraq have enough of a political center to forge the sort of national accommodation necessary to quell the sectarian fires?

• Has the U.S. troop surge, now more than a year old, really helped reduce violence and secure Iraq as President Bush has claimed? Or is it just a bandage over a wound about to hemorrhage again, as it almost did in the recent battle over the southern port city of Basra?

The general and ambassador have already been tipping their hands on what they'll tell lawmakers.

In a recent interview with USA TODAY, Crocker said the improved security in Iraq, which followed the troop surge, has contributed to an economic revival, and that the United States has a "moral imperative" to stay and continue to bring down the violence.

See: A 'MORAL IMPERATIVE': Crocker says U.S. must continue push to decrease violence

Petraeus is expected to ask for a pause in the ongoing drawdown of U.S. troops — leaving about 140,000 — to secure the gains of the troop surge.

Senior administration officials have been making the case that even though the nearly week-long skirmish in Basra ended indecisively, it nevertheless showed that Iraqi forces are making progress.

Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner conceded there were problems with the Basra operation, but said in a recent briefing that "overall, the majority of the Iraqi security forces performed their mission."

"There is no doubt that General Petraeus will present an impressive array of statistics illustrating reductions of violence in Iraq when he testifies before Congress," said Charles Pascual, vice president and director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. "All key indicators on insurgent attacks, bombings, and civilian and military fatalities demonstrate that violence is down."

But, he said, "I would also predict that if most senior military officers were asked if this progress in security is viable without a political settlement in Iraq, their answer would be no."

That appears to be where the war critics will probe.

Petraeus and Crocker's first congressional report in September — where they convincingly argued the surge was working — changed the dialogue on Iraq and put war opponents on their heels.

As a result, the majority Democrats ended 2007 looking feckless in the face of a determined Bush backed by a widely respected general and one of the first real success stories in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad.

But this time around — as the Iraq campaign enters its sixth year — Petraeus and Crocker face critics clearly more eager for endgame scenarios and long-term policies than interim progress reports and surge statistics.

"For them, the question is, quite frankly, fairly simple," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., who also will chair one of the Iraq hearings. "What's next, gentlemen? Where are you going from here? What's the plan?"

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2008-04-05-iraq-hearings_N.htm?csp=34

If this attack in Basra was not aimed at strengthening the position of the critics of the war in Iraq.. it coincidentally managed to accomplish that Iranian goal without any planning.

Sara.

-- April 5, 2008 12:17 PM


Sara wrote:

As for the war in Iraq, as this piece observes.. historically,
QUOTE:

Battlefield victory is the easy bit. Building peace is a constant struggle -- and it's a matter of years, not weeks.

We didn't give up with Germany and look where that got us.. it took years, too.
Let's not rush to judgement based on one incident in Basra and say it all won't work and should be abandoned.

===

Iraq Is a Mess. But Germany Was, Too.
By David Stafford
Sunday, April 6, 2008; Page B03

Smash the enemy, deliver victory, topple the dictator, destroy his regime, eliminate his evil ideology, and establish peace and democracy. Oh, and -- almost forgot -- do this several thousand miles away on a distant continent while also fighting another life-or-death struggle elsewhere. Meanwhile, make sure to keep in step with our allies. And one last thing: Bring the troops back home as soon as possible.

Mission impossible? Entering year six of the Iraq war, with 4,000 Americans dead in the conflict, the president's popularity hitting new lows and results of the troop surge still fragile, it may look that way for the administration of George W. Bush. But we may also be rushing to judgment.

More than 60 years ago, during World War II, Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower didn't think that his similar, even more daunting, mission was impossible. By the time he had completed his crusade in Europe and thanked his staff for a job well done at a farewell ceremony in Frankfurt in July 1945, the German army, or Wehrmacht, no longer existed, Hitler was dead, the Nazi Party had been dissolved, war criminals were behind bars awaiting trial and retribution, de-Nazification had begun, and western Germany -- the part not occupied by the Soviet army -- was on its way to becoming one of the most successful liberal democracies of the Western world. The Third Reich was history.

So what did the United States do right 60 years ago that it has -- so far -- failed to accomplish in Iraq since the iconic toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad and Bush's "Mission Accomplished" declaration aboard a U.S. carrier on May 1, 2003?

The question is, of course, superficial. It would be harder to think of two more different societies than Germany in 1945 and contemporary Iraq. The former -- despite Hitler and the Third Reich -- had a long tradition of law, order, constitutional government and civic society to draw on in rebuilding democracy. Nor was it riven by deep-rooted ethnic and sectarian religious tensions that erupted to the surface once the dictator's iron fist was removed. And although Germany certainly had hostile neighbors -- especially to the communist East -- the threat they posed served to create, not crack, political cohesion.

Yet in looking at Iraq over the past five years, it's hard not to find poignant echoes of the post-WWII experience and to wonder whether a better knowledge of that history might have helped prevent some basic errors. Or even -- because there may be some small crumb of comfort for optimists here -- that it's too soon to declare that the mission has failed. Sen. John McCain's 100-year horizon for a U.S. presence in Iraq may be stretching things. But let's not forget that the postwar occupation of Germany lasted for a full decade.

In 1945, the Allies had a carefully thought-out plan for what would follow victory. For two years before his forces crossed the German frontier, Eisenhower and his staff at Allied headquarters worked on detailed plans for the occupation. The lines of command were clearly drawn, and everyone agreed that the military would be in charge. Thousands of soldiers were trained in the tasks of military government. Compare that with the chaotically devised schemes for Iraq that were cobbled together at the last minute amid squabbling between the Pentagon and the State Department. Or with the confused and confusing mandate handed to the hapless Jay Garner, the first administrator of postwar Iraq, to devise a comprehensive plan for its administration in a matter of weeks.

Nonetheless, plans, however thorough, are worthless if they cannot be implemented. For that, establishing law and order is a minimal and basic condition. There was plenty of looting and disorder when U.S. forces entered Germany. In fact, it was on a scale far greater than anticipated or now remembered, most of it due to the rage that millions of slave laborers who'd been deported to Germany from Nazi-occupied countries, chiefly Poland and the Soviet Union, vented on their captors upon liberation.

As in Baghdad five years ago, the disorder also engulfed cultural institutions. When U.S. forces entered Munich, Hitler's spiritual home and the seat of Nazi Party headquarters, scores of works of art simply disappeared from museums and art galleries. For two or three days, the northern city of Bremen was "probably among the most debauched places on the face of God's earth," wrote one witness of the frantic looting that took place after Allied soldiers entered its bomb-shattered streets.

But this anarchy was quickly and forcefully stamped out, and enough Allied forces remained in the country and in all major cities to impose stringent and often ruthless order. Military tribunals promptly disposed of Nazis who were inclined to continue the struggle by executing them or imposing severe terms of imprisonment.

The way victory was declared was crucial. Immediately after entering Germany in September 1944, Eisenhower issued a proclamation that declared: "We come as conquerors, but not as oppressors." The emphasis on conquest meant that military government ruled. There was no glib talk of liberation, and no dealing, either, with the large number of anti-Nazi exiles who had jockeyed for recognition as some sort of government in exile. Too many of them were long out of touch with realities on the ground or had axes to grind.

Critics of the Bush administration's handling of Iraq point to the decisions by L. Paul Bremer, Garner's replacement, to dismiss Baathists from public office and to dissolve the Iraqi army as critical and disastrous turning points that created a vast legion of the unemployed and disaffected. Yet in 1945, the Allies implemented a similarly draconian policy in Germany. They dissolved the Nazi Party, carried out a thorough purge of Nazis in public office and even abolished the ancient state of Prussia, which they believed was at the root of German militarism. Millions of Wehrmacht soldiers languished in prisoner-of-war camps while their families struggled to survive.

None of this, however, had the catastrophic consequences seen in Iraq. One reason is that pragmatism almost immediately took hold. It quickly became clear that Germany could be rebuilt only with the help of numerous people who had been members of the Nazi Party.

The Allies entered Germany with a strict policy of "non-fraternization" that forbade their forces to have any but the most minimal and formal dealings with Germans. "Don't get chummy with Jerry," urged the G.I. newspaper Stars and Stripes. "In heart, body and spirit every German is a Hitler." But by July 1945, the policy had been abandoned as unenforceable. It was also alienating the very Germans needed to rebuild the country and establish democracy.

As for de-Nazification, it sounded good, and indeed was morally and politically necessary. But distinguishing between real and nominal Nazis often proved extremely difficult. Small officials who'd joined the party out of necessity were thrown out of office, while big businessmen who'd profited under Hitler were left alone. The policy generated growing hostility to the occupiers, and its implementation was soon handed over to the Germans themselves. This caused its own bitterness as the Germans were often seen as being too lenient.

Even so, despite this willingness to rethink and adjust, occupation policy floundered. Two years after Allied victory, Germany was in desperate straits, facing an economic crisis that threatened to nip democracy in the bud. Only the Marshall Plan, with its massive program of financial aid, saved the country from disaster. Self-government did not come until 1949, and Allied troops remained in West Germany as occupiers until 1955, a full decade after the defeat of the Third Reich. Unrepentant Nazis stayed active on the extreme fringes of West German politics for years, and a few ex-Nazis held high positions even in mainstream politics until the 1960s. The Christian Democratic politician Kurt Georg Kiesinger, who had joined the Nazi Party in 1933, was chancellor of the Federal Republic from 1966 to 1969.

Rebuilding a nation is possible. But even in the best of circumstances, it takes effort, time, patience and pragmatism. As 1945 confirms, liberation from a dictator in itself offers no easy path to peace or democracy. Battlefield victory is the easy bit. Building peace is a constant struggle -- and it's a matter of years, not weeks.

David Stafford is the author of "Endgame 1945: The Missing Final Chapter of World War II."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/04/AR2008040403215.html

QUOTE:

Only the Marshall Plan, with its massive program of financial aid, saved the country from disaster.

Note the SUPREME importance of the Marshall Plan in historical context...

Sara.

-- April 5, 2008 12:43 PM


Sara wrote:

When you read the words below of:

"It is impossible to build a nuclear weapon without fissile material"... AND "We learned that Al-Qaida wants a weapon to use.."

think IRAN.

Does the West really think that Iran goes nuclear it won't give this "fissile material" to the Al-Qaida militants who say they "want a weapon to use"?

Tracing it back to Iran may be a bit difficult.. but so long as Iran's goals are carried out by these operatives, what does that matter to them? The goal is accomplished when they hand the fissile material to the Al-Qaida agents who are now (or being) moved into place in the US, according to this document (below).

Also, do remember the previous post yesterday which says the terrorists are grooming people who cannot be spotted using racial profiling in the article called, "Al-Qaeda grooming 'western-looking' militants: CIA", that is people who they say, "look western and could enter the United States undetected to conduct terrorist attacks."

Let's connect the dots here, people.. these people will not stop their plans if the US elects a dove to office who pulls out of Iraq. It will just give them more cover to do what they have intended to do. The article below states,
Quote:

Observing that the Al-Qaida's nuclear intent remains clear, he said it obtained a fatwa in May 2003 that approved the use of weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qaida spokesman Suleyman Abu Ghayth declared that it is Al-Qaida's right to kill four million Americans in retaliation for Muslim deaths that Al-Qaida blames on the United States.

''Osama bin Laden said in 1998 that it was an Islamic duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction. In 2006, bin Laden reiterated his statement that Al-Qaida will return to the United States.

He said Al-Qaida has a track record of returning to finish a job they started. They failed at the World Trade Center in 1993. They came back in 2001. They canceled plans for chemical attacks in the US in 2003. ''We do not yet know when and where they intend to strike us next, but our past experience strongly suggests they are seeking an attack more spectacular than 9/11,'' he said.

(end quote)

This isn't over yet.. and at least four million American citizens really SHOULD be very concerned about their lives and American politics at this point in time instead of relaxing their guard, watching American Idol, drinking beer and listening to the Iraq war peacenik critics tell them everything the Bush Administration has done wrong, but not giving them a plan on how they intend to do it right.

Sara.

========

Al-Qaida nuclear attack in planning stages
Lalit K Jha
Saturday, April 5, 2008 (New York)

Al-Qaida's nuclear attack against the US is in planning stages, top American intelligence officials have said.

Deposing before a Congressional Committee on Homeland Security early this week, these US intelligence officials told US lawmakers that the threat of nuclear attack by the Taliban was growing and there is need to enhance its security measures.

Charles Allen, Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis and Chief Intelligence Officer at the Department of Homeland Security; and Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, the director of Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence for the Department of Energy testified before this key Congressional committee on nuclear terrorism on April 2.

''There's been a long-term effort by Al-Qaida, to develop an improvised nuclear device,'' Allen said. ''I have no doubt that Al-Qaida would like to obtain nuclear capability. I think the evidence in their statements that they've made over many years publicly indicate this,'' he argued in his testimony.

Giving details of the Al-Qaida preparation, based on years on intelligence inputs, Mowatt-Larssen said: ''An Al-Qaida nuclear attack would be in the planning stages at the same time as several other plots, and only Al-Qaida's most senior leadership will know which plot will be approved.''

In keeping with Al-Qaida's normal management structures such as the role of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in the 9/11 attacks, Mowatt-Larssen said there is probably a single individual in charge, overseeing the effort to obtain materials and expertise.

The intelligence officials commented that some nuclear experts / scientists may have joined Al-Qaida years ago, long before the world began paying adequate attention to the proliferation of the kinds of technologies that could yield a terrorist nuclear weapon.

Referring to the planning of the 9/11 attack, Mowatt-Larssen said it was operationally very straightforward. ''It had a very small footprint, was highly compartmented. Al-Qaida's nuclear effort would be just as compartmented and probably would not require the involvement of more than a small number of operatives who carried out 9/11,'' he said.

Mowatt-Larssen then went out to divulge his information about a prototypical Al-Qaida nuclear attack plot. This would have, he said, approval and oversight from Al-Qaida's most senior leadership, with possible assistance from other groups and a planner responsible for organizing the material, expertise and fabrication of a device; operational support facilitator, responsible for arranging travel, money, documents, food and other necessities for the cell; assets in the United States or within range of other Western targets to case locations for an attack and to help move the attack team into place; and finally, the attack team itself.

This hearing was followed by another classified session wherein other details about the possible nuclear attack by the Al-Qaida terrorist network were possibly explained to the US lawmakers in details.

''Beyond the basics I have outlined here, we do not know what a terrorist plot might look like. There is, however, a chokepoint in a terrorist effort to develop a nuclear capability. It is impossible to build a nuclear weapon without fissile material,'' he said.

The officials said that the task for the intelligence community is not easy. ''We must find something that is tactical in size but strategic in impact. We must find a plot with its networks that cut across traditional lines of counter proliferation and counterterrorism. We must stop something from happening that we have never seen happen before,'' he said.

Mowatt-Larssen said the US successes against Taliban in Afghanistan have yielded volumes of information that completely changed its view of Al-Qaida's nuclear program. ''We learned that Al-Qaida wants a weapon to use, not a weapon to sustain and build a stockpile, as most states would,'' he said.

''The nuclear threats that surfaced in June 2002 and continued through the fall of 2003 demonstrated that Al-Qaida's desire for a nuclear capability may have survived their removal from their Afghanistan safe haven,'' he said.

Observing that the Al-Qaida's nuclear intent remains clear, he said it obtained a fatwa in May 2003 that approved the use of weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qaida spokesman Suleyman Abu Ghayth declared that it is Al-Qaida's right to kill four million Americans in retaliation for Muslim deaths that Al-Qaida blames on the United States.

''Osama bin Laden said in 1998 that it was an Islamic duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction. In 2006, bin Laden reiterated his statement that Al-Qaida will return to the United States.

He said Al-Qaida has a track record of returning to finish a job they started. They failed at the World Trade Center in 1993. They came back in 2001. They canceled plans for chemical attacks in the US in 2003. ''We do not yet know when and where they intend to strike us next, but our past experience strongly suggests they are seeking an attack more spectacular than 9/11,'' he said.

''To delve a little into how they may be thinking about the nuclear option, at any given moment, Al-Qaida probably has attack plans in development. Nine-eleven was planned when the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen and when our embassies in Dar es Salaam and Tanzania were attacked in Africa,'' he said.

Blackmailing tactics of Al-Qaida

In his testimony Dr. Matthew Bunn, a senior research associate for the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's School of Government said there is greater chance than ever that the Al-Qaida would get the material and manage to make it into a bomb.

''I think then the next question is if they got the material, and they managed to make it into a bomb, could they somehow deliver it to Washington, or New York, or another major city somewhere around the world. I think, in my view, the answer is yes,'' he said.

Bunn said in case a bomb goes off there would be blackmailing tactics from these terrorists' organizations. ''One has to recall that the moment after a nuclear bomb goes off, someone -- either the perpetrator or another terrorist group -- is going to call up and say, ''I've got five more, and they're already hidden in U.S. cities, and I'm going to start setting them off unless you do X, Y and Z.'' And one bomb having just gone off, they will have substantial credibility,'' he argued.

''The prospect for panic, uncontrolled mass evacuation of our cities, economic chaos and disruption is, I think, very great."

Deposing before the Congressional committee, Gary Ackerman, research director for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland said at present the efforts of non-state actors seeking to acquire and use nuclear weapons are growing in size and scope.

''Jihadists have, since the mid 1990s, made at least 10 statements advocating the possession or use of nuclear weapons, and there have been at least a dozen reports of jihadists' attempts to acquire nuclear weapons, fissile material or technical knowledge,'' he said.

''As an initial indicator of this trend, a recent analysis of online jihadist documents that deal explicitly with nuclear weapons has revealed that while their knowledge is still below par, there have been significant advances in the understanding of nuclear issues within the general jihadi community in only a few short years,'' Ackerman said.

http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080046002&ch=4/5/2008%205:50:00%20PM

Perhaps now you understand why I keep getting in prayer that the danger of what I saw in that vision has not passed, in spite of all the Homeland security measures and awareness concerning our sworn enemies (the terrorists). For now, we live under the hand of God.. and as long as President Bush is in office there will be no terrorist attack like there was on 911. But actions now can avert a future we do not wish to see.. where they accomplish their goal of killing millions of Americans and "panic, uncontrolled mass evacuation of our cities, economic chaos and disruption" in a very large scale.

Let's keep praying the right decisions are made, unclouded by political power-peddling. Taking our eyes off the ball, or, God forbid, dropping the ball concerning Homeland attack will have very far-reaching consequences for millions of American lives. Listening to the fringe elements influencing the Democrat party toward far left ideology (including scrapping measures to keep an eye on domestic terrorist threats) will have terrifying consequences. An ounce of nuclear prevention now is worth quite literally tons and tons of recovery and mop up "cure" after Al-Qaida nuclear disaster has happened on US soil.

Remember and do not let the MSM lull you into forgetting that, "Abu Ghayth declared that it is Al-Qaida's right to kill four million Americans... Osama bin Laden said in 1998 that it was an Islamic duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction. In 2006, bin Laden reiterated his statement that Al-Qaida will return to the United States. He said Al-Qaida has a track record of returning to finish a job they started." and "there have been significant advances in the understanding of nuclear issues within the general jihadi community in only a few short years."

There are those who call bringing these threats to the public's attention "scaremongering". However, if the US populace is not "scared" appropriately of these spoken and being acted upon death threats against the nation, then they are foolish. Ignoring sworn enemies like Al-Qaida and putting one's head in the sand like an ostrich - thinking that if you act nice toward them they will be nice to you, too - is only wishful fairytale thinking not worthy of those who live their lives in the real world where life and death happen regularly and the good guys are not always guaranteed (in the short term) that they will immediately and without effort win in any life and death confrontation with an enemy. God promises His people victory.. but that is long term, and not always short term - as the Bible is replete with examples (Ai, for instance) of unnecessary deaths due to mismanagement. Vigilance can protect the nation from unnecessary slaughter, if we have the will to live and the ability to see and act appropriately to defeat such death threats.

Sara.

-- April 5, 2008 2:46 PM


Sara wrote:

Connecting the dots linking Iran and Sadr.. hostages taken by Sadr end up in Tehran.

===

Britons seized in Iraq may now be held in Iran
April 6, 2008
David Leppard

FIVE British hostages who were kidnapped in Iraq last year may be being held in Tehran, the Iranian capital, according to intelligence reports received by the Foreign Office.

The disclosure, supported by two security sources in London and officials in Iraq, means that any rescue attempt by British special forces would be almost impossible.

The latest intelligence follows statements last year by General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, that he believed the five men had been abducted by a group funded, trained and armed by Iran.

Petraeus stopped short of commenting on their whereabouts.

Four of the hostages were security men. They were guarding Peter Moore, a computer specialist.

The group was abducted in an apparently well planned operation on May 29 last year. About 40 heavily armed men dressed in police uniform stormed the finance ministry in Baghdad where Moore was training staff.

They were last seen being driven off in a convoy of 19 four-wheel drive vehicles towards Sadr City, Baghdad’s sprawling Shi’ite district.

Petraeus identified the kidnappers as a secret cell of the Mahdi Army, the Shi’ite militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric. The militia has denied involvement.

On a video broadcast last December, the kidnappers identified themselves as the Shi’ite Islamic Resistance in Iraq. In that video one of the kidnapped men, who said his name was Jason, said: “I feel we have been forgotten.”

A senior official in Basra confirmed that the hostages were all in Iran. “You have to understand that the groups that kidnapped these men are affiliated to Iran,” he said.

“Iran acts as the embracing mother for them in their acts and deeds and will also benefit from the situation. It is their haven.”

He said that a British photographer working for CBS, who was kidnapped from his hotel in Basra last month, has also been taken to Iran but officials in London were unable to confirm this.

The Foreign Office said that it had a policy of not commenting on the whereabouts of any British hostages.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3690019.ece

-- April 5, 2008 7:39 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraq is rising the the challenge and uniting across party lines.
They will not allow their country to be usurped by Iranian elements through Sadr.
"The main aim at this critical juncture is to ensure that our political choices are made in Iraq's interest," said al-Hashemi. If they can manage to "bite the bullet and put aside our political differences" as he further said..
this may end up with more progress politically than we before thought possible. :)

An attempt to destroy the country by Iranian elements may now end up uniting it against that common enemy.
The Iraqis are seeing the importance of the law applying to everyone.. for peace and prosperity for them and their future.
As Jalal Eddin al-Sagheer said below, "He must impose the law on everyone, and he (al-Maliki) told us this is his intention."
The rule of law which is negotiated law between all parties at the political table must rule their nation, not lawlessness and strongmen's militias.. or the underhanded efforts of outside powers fomenting insurrection against them.

===

Analysis: Iraq's al-Maliki wins rare Kurdish, Sunni support in militia crackdown
The Associated Press
April 5, 2008

BAGHDAD: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's faltering crackdown on Shiite militants has won the backing of Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties that fear both the powerful sectarian militias and the effects of failure on Iraq's fragile government.

The emergence of a common cause could help bridge Iraq's political rifts.

The head of the Kurdish self-ruled region, Massoud Barzani, has offered Kurdish troops to help fight anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.

More significantly, Sunni Arab Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi signed off on a statement by President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and the Shiite vice president, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, expressing support for the crackdown in the city of Basra.

Al-Hashemi is one of al-Maliki's most bitter critics, on Thursday, however, al-Maliki paid al-Hashemi a rare visit. A statement by al-Hashemi's office said the vice president told al-Maliki that "we can bite the bullet and put aside our political differences."

"The main aim at this critical juncture is to ensure that our political choices are made in Iraq's interest," al-Hashemi said.

A top leadership council made up of Talabani, al-Maliki and leaders of major political blocs called Saturday on Iraqi parties to disband their militias or risk being barred from contesting elections and participating in political life.

The council also affirmed its support for al-Maliki's campaign against militias and outlaws.

"I think the government is now enjoying the support of most political groups because it has adopted a correct approach to the militia problem," said Hussein al-Falluji, a lawmaker from parliament's largest Sunni Arab bloc, the three-party Iraqi Accordance Front. Al-Hashemi heads one of the three, the Iraqi Islamic Party.

The Accordance Front pulled out of al-Maliki's Cabinet in August to protest his policies. The newfound support over militias could help al-Maliki persuade the five Sunni ministers who quit their posts to return.

If he succeeds, that would constitute a big step toward national reconciliation, something the U.S. has long demanded.

The Kurds, for years Washington's most reliable allies in Iraq, also see the Sadrists' anti-U.S. fervor as a threat to the country's political process and its stability.

"I think the events in Basra will help bridge the gap between the central government and Kurdistan authorities," said Fouad Massoum, a senior Kurdish lawmaker.

Key council figures also want the crackdown to continue — even at the risk of a new round of fighting.

"He must impose the law on everyone, and he (al-Maliki) told us this is his intention," said Jalal Eddin al-Sagheer, a hardline cleric associated with the Supreme Council, a close ally of Iraq's Kurds. "We reject any deals or negotiations."

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/05/news/Iraq-Boosting-Al-Maliki.php

-- April 5, 2008 8:18 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

We may well remember this upcoming week because all of us may witness the establishment of the a National Oil Company in Iraq. The first step toward the Hydro Carbon Law. I think the cataylst for this movement is Al-Malaki's military crackdown in Basra. Because of this incident, it appears that the political blocks inside Parliment, including the Kurds, may be ready to cooperate under the banner of unity and pass this legislation.

What we may witness are the beginnig steps of the GoI movement from barbarianism to a nation state. This movement towards a unified nation can only help their desire at WTO ascension. Sara is correct in her assessment that nation building takes years not weeks.

At this moment I am very....bullish on the Dinar. As I have previously stated, my position in the Dinar has increased. It seems we are in the right investment at the right time. Any wealth gained from this investment is a result of patient persistence. It is my strong belief we will see a peacful and prosperous Iraq. Liquidation for me is not an option. My advice to you for what it is worth, do not get discouraged but to hang onto that investment.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 5, 2008 11:46 PM


Sara wrote:

Thank you, Rob N.. on your upbeat assessment of the Dinar. I, too, believe that in time the Iraqis will win and become peaceful and prosperous, and that the Lord wills that their currency will not be worthless. It is His will that they RV the Dinar because it is in their country's best interests and will be a move to protect their homeland from attacks.. from without and within.

In a related article..
It turns out.. unsuprisingly, that the rockets fired last week into the Baghdad Green Zone were made in Iran in 2007. Also, the Iraqis "have a sense that Iran was involved in starting the Basra fighting."

===

Iranian regime plays a negative role in southern Iraq - US officials
Saturday, 05 April 2008

NCRI- In a discussion with western reporters on Thursday, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker said Iraqis have a sense that Iran was involved in starting the Basra fighting.

He unequivocally repeated that Iran continues to support militias in Iraq and added: Iran must decide whether "to support the state or the militias."

He said the rockets fired last week into the Baghdad Green Zone area were "quite literally made in Iran," and were manufactured in 2007.

Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday during a Pentagon press briefing: "We're still finding IEDs. We're finding weapons caches. We're finding rockets and mortars that are clearly provided by the Iranians. We're -- we've captured or killed Iraqis who have recently been trained in Iran. And so the overall thrust with respect to Iran's support of what's going on down there is still very negative."

Photo: Iranian weapons found in Baghdad, 15 February 2008

http://www.ncr-iran.org/content/view/5062/109/

When Mr. Crocker states that "Iran must decide whether "to support the state or the militias."
I think they have shown already who they support by their actions and words.
They are not backing down from their stated objective of destroying both Israel and the US.
(Remember the comment about wiping Israel off the face of the earth, which Iran has never apologised for?)

Large ambitions - destroying Israel and the US - but they see themselves as David and the US and Israel as Goliath..
and they truly believe (erroneously) that God is on their side.
Such a mentality can be costly until it is disproved, because, if I remember my history right...
the avowed enemies of the Israelites (Goliath's people) did kill quite a few before they were put to flight by David.

The incorrect application of a fight where the champion (David) was outgunned but won..
was because David - who was an Israelite - was standing against those who would destroy the Israelite people.
Which would put Iran on the other side of the battle with Goliath, since they also vow to kill David's people, the Israelites.

1Sa 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied."

Numbers and might were not the question in that scenerio.. it was who represented the people of God.
And in history between David and Goliath, God favored His people, the Israelites.
May He be pleased to do so again in this fight.. along with their allies, the US of A.
As Christian Paul wrote in the New Testament:

Rom 11:1 I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Rom 11:2 God has not cast away His people which He foreknew....

Sara.

-- April 6, 2008 4:02 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maliki wants Sadr militia disbanded

Published: April 6, 2008 at 5:16 PM

BAGHDAD, April 6 (UPI) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Sunday that Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr must disband his Mehdi Army.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, the Iraqi official demanded that the radical Shiite leader immediately disband his forces, which recently clashed with the Iraqi military.

The Iraqi prime minister applauded his country's military forces for their efforts in those violent clashes and denied reports that neighboring Iran helped bring about a cease-fire.

CNN reported Maliki has the backing of top Iraqi political leaders to bar all followers of Sadr from engaging in the Iraqi political process if the dismantling of the cleric's militia does not begin.

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_New...isbanded/4338/

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 6, 2008 6:12 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Shell says ready to help Iraq boost oil output
Tue Apr 1, 2008 4:37pm EDT Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page| Recommend (0) [-] Text [+]
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$0 stock trades. 10 free per month. WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is ready to help Iraq boost oil production once that country's government finalizes a petroleum law covering big energy projects, the head of the oil giant said on Tuesday.

"We are very much prepared to go back to Iraq," Shell chief executive officer Jeroen van der Veer said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington.

But first, he said, Shell employees must be able to work safely in the country and a petroleum law must be passed.

"You have to know the rules of the game because you have to bring a lot of money to the country (to develop its oil)," he said. "We expect that the petroleum law, we hope that it is finally passed...during this year."

The law would provide conditions for investment and international participation in Iraq's oil and gas industry.

Iraq holds the world's third biggest oil reserves at 115 billion barrels and has some of the cheapest extraction costs, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

Increasing Iraq's oil production to take advantage of high crude prices is seen as key to rebuilding the country's economy.

Iraq's oil output averages almost 2.3 million barrels a day, but with enough investment, the country holds enough crude to double its production, according to some estimates. (Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio)
(www.reuters.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 6, 2008 6:21 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Commission on oil and gas received a draft law establishing the National Oil Company

Baghdad - Iraq votes 05 / 04 / 2008 at 12:04:01


A Vice-Chairman of the oil and gas in the House of Representatives of Iraq, Saturday, that the draft law establishing the National Oil Company arrived at the parliament, which is the subject of discussion within the Commission for oil and gas in the Council.

He said Abdul Hadi Al-Hasani, in a statement to the Independent News Agency (Voices of Iraq), the draft law "includes founding the National Oil Company, with capital supported by the Iraqi government, in addition to the currently existing companies, namely: NOC and the South."

Al-Hasani said that the National Oil Company to be established "will be added to other companies in future, such as the company Maysan, Dhi Qar, unlike the two currently existing," any oil north and the south. He pointed out that the new company "will be out digging and extracting oil, as well as transportation and storage."

He stated that "provision is made for the establishment of the new company, capitalized preliminary," pointing out that it would be right National Oil Company "to borrow four times their capital."

The Vice-Chairman of the oil and gas in Parliament that the establishment of the National Oil Company is the "Introduction of legislation oil and gas law," saying that the Committee "demanded to increase the size of the company's capital to enable it to compete with international companies."

And the Bill of oil and gas said Al-Hasani, a deputy in Parliament from the Bloc (United Iraqi Alliance) owner of the majority, that the parliament "did not receive, until now, no copy of the Act, because of political differences around," likely delay adoption of this law.

The delayed approval of the House bill Iraqi oil and gas, which was approved by the Government of Nuri al-Maliki and forwarded to the Parliament in July last year, due to strong opposition of several parliamentary and political influence of the law.

She says that the strong opposition, the draft gives "concessions" unprecedented for foreign investors to establish oil installations and refineries and invested for periods of up to (50) years, and he devoted controlled territories wealth owned all the Iraqi people.
(www.dinartrade.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 6, 2008 6:27 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Gulf Company to build $248m housing complex

Abdul-Hussain Abtan, deputy governor of al-Najaf al-Ashraf, announced he will head a delegation to an unnamed Gulf state to sign a construction contract between the civil administration of the governorate and a Gulf company to finance and build a $248m 8,000 unit residential complex.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 6, 2008 6:33 PM


Anonymous wrote:

Subject: YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush. He answered by saying, 'Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.'

You could have heard a pin drop.

Then there was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?' A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck.. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'

You could have heard a pin drop.

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, 'whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.' He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?' Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied 'Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.'

You could have heard a pin drop.

AND THIS STORY FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE ABOVE...

A group of Americans, retired teachers, recently went to France on a tour. Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on. "You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically. Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. "Then you should know enough to have your passport ready." The American said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it." "Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!" The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained. "Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944, I couldn't find a Frenchman to show it to."

You could have heard a pin drop.

-- April 6, 2008 11:18 PM


Sara wrote:

There cannot be a militia existing in a country under a different banner than that country..
that makes them a rival power to the military, and a disturbance to unifed peace under its rule of law.
Obviously, the Iraqis think so, too.
For peace to prevail in the country, no usurping and government-opposing gun-toting militia can be allowed.
Such an opposing army to the government of Iraq must be disbanded for peace to prevail.

Iraq: Sadr party faces rising isolation
Sunday, April 06, 2008

Iraq's major Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties have closed ranks to force anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to disband his Mahdi Army militia or leave politics, lawmakers and officials involved in the effort said Sunday.

Such a bold move risks a violent backlash by al-Sadr's Shiite militia. But if it succeeds it could cause a major realignment of Iraq's political landscape.

The first step will be adding language to a draft election bill banning parties that operate militias from fielding candidates in provincial balloting this fall, the officials and lawmakers said. The government intends to send the draft to parliament within days and hopes to win approval within weeks.

"We, the Sadrists, are in a predicament," lawmaker Hassan al-Rubaie said Sunday. "Even the blocs that had in the past supported us are now against us and we cannot stop them from taking action against us in parliament."

Al-Sadr controls 30 of the 275 parliament seats, a substantial figure but not enough to block legislation.

Al-Rubaie said the threat was so serious that a delegation might have to discuss the issue with al-Sadr in person. The young cleric, who has disappeared from the public eye for nearly a year, is believed to be in the Iranian city of Qom.

In a rare public signal of dissent in Sadrist ranks, al-Rubaie complained that "those close" to al-Sadr "are radicals and that poses problems," suggesting that some of the cleric's confidants may be urging him toward a showdown.

"We must go and explain to him in person that there's a problem," he said.

U.S. and Iraqi officials insist the crackdown is directed at criminal gangs and splinter groups supported by Iran.

Al-Sadr ordered his fighters off the streets March 30 under a deal brokered in Iran. But the truce left the militia intact and armed and did not address the long-term threat.

"We want the Sadrists to disband the Mahdi Army. Just freezing it is no longer acceptable," said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a senior adviser to al-Maliki. "The new election law will prevent any party that has weapons or runs a militia from contesting elections."

Broad outlines of the strategy to combat the militias were made public late Saturday in a statement by the Political Council for National Security, a top leadership body including the national president, prime minister and leaders of major parties in parliament.

The statement called on parties to disband their militias or face a political ban. Although the statement did not mention the Sadrists, the intent was clear.

President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, said Sunday that the statement was adopted after "heated, cordial, frank and transparent discussion."

Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman said the Sadrists must either disband the militia "or face the Americans." He was alluding to the possibility of full-scale U.S. military involvement if al-Sadr refuses to disband his militia and the government decides to disarm it by force.

http://www.theconservativevoice.com/ap/article.html?mi=D8VSIPN00&apc=9002

-- April 7, 2008 12:55 AM


Sara wrote:

Obviously, the Sadr militia left in control in Iraq wants to rule Iraq instead of the Iraqi army.. there can be no compromise with a usurping militant force from within or from without of a country, for stability and peace for its people. (This corresponds with the vow to protect the country from all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC.)

The violence of Sadr's militia (with or without the blessing of its head) makes it apparent that those who are now fighting have chosen to go to war against the Iraqi forces. The proposed march for Sadr supporters Wednesday (supposedly for peaceful purposes) is belied by the strongarm and murderous tactics against the elected government's empowered authorites (and allies) given below.

In America, such a gathering would not be allowed by a militant power, and would be disbanded rather than tolerated unless proven to be peaceful, for the benefit of protecting the populace from further bloodshed by a proven volatile group. But it may take Iraq some time to become that civilized that they can live by rule of law instead of supporting strongarm tacticians and their calls for (not so veiled) public threats against the government.

===

Rockets slam Iraq's Green Zone
KIM GAMEL
Associated Press
April 6, 2008

BAGHDAD — Rockets or mortars slammed into the U.S.-protected Green Zone and a military base elsewhere in Baghdad on Sunday, killing three American soldiers and wounding 31, an official said.

The attacks occurred as U.S. and Iraqi forces battled Shiite militants in Sadr City in some of the fiercest fighting since radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered a cease-fire a week ago. At least 16 Iraqi civilians were killed in the fighting, according to hospital officials.

A military official said two U.S. troops died and 17 were wounded in the attack on the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. embassy and the Iraqi government headquarters in central Baghdad.

Another American service member was killed and 14 were wounded in the attack on a base in the southeastern Baghdad area of Rustamiyah, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the Baghdad attacks, but U.S. commanders have blamed what they call Iranian-backed rogue militia groups for launching missiles against American forces.

The strikes occurred despite a strong push by the U.S. military to prevent militants from using suspected launching sites on the southern edge of Sadr City, the Baghdad stronghold of the Mahdi Army of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Hospital officials said at least 16 civilians were killed and nearly 100 wounded as fierce fighting erupted in Sadr City earlier Sunday.

American helicopters also fired Hellfire missiles that destroyed a vehicle and killed nine militants who were attacking Iraqi security forces, the military said in a statement.

“Where we have criminal elements that are threatening the security and peace of the people of Iraq, we take action,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, the top commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad.

The inability of the Iraqi security forces to curb the militias has cast doubt on their ability to take over their own security two days before the two top American officials in Iraq – General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker – are to brief Congress on the prospects for further reductions in the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

At the edge of Sadr City, Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Barnett, the commander of the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, said Iraqi forces had come under sustained fire overnight after establishing checkpoints deeper into the Shiite district.

“They're working to establish control,” he said, speaking to a small group of reporters as heavy gunfire resounded outside a joint U.S.-Iraqi base on the southern rim of Sadr City.

Mortar shells also fell on a popular commercial area in the Jamila neighbourhood, setting a fire that burned some 100 shops, according to the Baghdad military command. It said fire fighters came under heavy gunfire that slowed their efforts to extinguish the flames.

The Iraqi government relaxed security measures Saturday around the Mahdi Army strongholds of Sadr City and the Shula neighbourhood, allowing trucks carrying maintenance teams, food, oil products and ambulances into the areas that still face a vehicle ban despite the lifting of a citywide curfew.

But residents continued to complain of hardships.

“Our situation is miserable. We lack food, water and electricity. This morning I saw two men being shot by a sniper as they were trying to cross the street near my house. The government should do something to end our suffering,” said Hussein Khazim, a taxi driver who has been out of work since the turmoil erupted in late March.

Violence also continued in northern Iraq. Gunmen seized 42 students off a bus near the city of Mosul – the last major urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq – but later released them unharmed.

Also Sunday, hundreds of mourners gathered in the capital's Karradah district for the funeral of Father Youssef Adel, an Assyrian Orthodox priest slain the day before at his home.

One of the mourners, Midhat Faez, said the assassination was aimed at provoking conflict between Muslims and the tiny Christian community.

“As Christians, we are terrified and our numbers are gradually diminishing,” Mr. Faez said.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080406.wiraqgreen0406/BNStory/International/home

-- April 7, 2008 1:58 AM


Sara wrote:

22 suspected terrorists held in Iraq

BAGHDAD, April 6 (UPI) -- Coalition forces detained 22 suspected al-Qaida terrorists in Iraq Sunday, military officials said.

Officials with the U.S.-led multinational forces said in a news release that in addition to detaining the suspected terrorists in parts of central and north Iraq, coalition forces encountered and killed a man thought to a senior al-Qaida leader in Baghdad.

The man, who is suspected of organizing al-Qaida attacks in Anbar province, was killed when coalition forces stormed a targeted terrorist stronghold in the Iraqi capital, the military officials said.

One of those suspected al-Qaida operatives detained in Bayji is thought to have been an integral part of several bombing plots in Iraq.

Navy Capt. Vic Beck, a coalition spokesman, said Sunday's operations were indicative of the ongoing success against al-Qaida fighters in Iraq.

"We are eroding the very foundation of al-Qaida in Iraq's operations," Beck said. "These foreign terrorists have no place in the future the Iraqi people have chosen."

http://www.politicalgateway.com/news/read/140757

-- April 7, 2008 2:03 AM


Sara wrote:

Charlton Heston, epic movie star, dies at 84
Published: April 6, 2008

Charlton Heston, who appeared in some 100 films in his 60-year acting career but who is remembered chiefly for his monumental, jut-jawed portrayals of Moses, Ben-Hur and Michelangelo, died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 84, his family said.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/06/america/obits.php

-- April 7, 2008 2:06 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

From what I am reading some inside Iraq's currency traders are predicting an exchange rate of 1000/1 by 2010. Let me be clear by saying these prognostications are not coming from the CBI. This exchange rate does not make sense to me for the following reasons. According to recent figures Iraq is expected to receive 60 Billion in oil revenue. With the establishment of the National Oil Company and the passage of the HCL we assume 70 Billion will be invested by the oil majors. In my opinion, the amount of oil flowing out of Iraq will necessitate a stronger Dinar than 1000/1. A weak Dinar will result in an agreesive inflation rate.

Next, earlier in the year the CBI required all banks to increase their cash reserves. According to what I read this morning Rafidain Bank now possesses 36 trillion in reserves. How can an exchange rate of 1000/1 be plausible? Will the Iraqi's goin the GCC in 2010? Not likely, the GCC itself says it cannot meet the 2010 deadline. Regardless of whether this date is met or not. the Dinar at an exchange rate of 1000/1 is not on par with the rest of the GCC states. To be admitted to the GCC, would not Iraq's currency need to have similar value?

Something else that makes me question this exchange rate are Petro-Dinars and de-dollarization. In my opinion, based upon the amount of proven reserves Iraq possesses Petro Dinars invalidates the worry regarding M2. With the Petro-Dinar de-dollarization will occur making the economy of Iraq solely dependant upon the Dinar. An economy like Iraq that has the potential to equal Saudi Arabia or Dubai in terms of wealth cannot sustain a peaceful and prosperous nation with this exchange rate.

The potential of Iraq is magnanomous. A robust economy based upon oil, industry, and agriculture is waiting. I think we are seeing the GoI move in a positive direction. In the long term, I do not see an exchange rate of 1000/1 by 2010 is not plausible. Instead, I look for a limited free float of the Iraqi Dinar. This may not occur after all the pieces are in play. It is also possible that the CBI could do a small revaluation until the limited free float becomes policy. The small revaluation would accomplish increasing the purchasing power of the average Iraqi and help in national reconciliation.

What do you think about an exchange rate of 1000/1 by 2010? I have shared my opinion, now I would like the boards.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 7, 2008 10:52 AM


Sara wrote:

A quote of John McCain's from the below article:

"These likely consequences of America's failure in Iraq would, almost certainly, require us to return to Iraq or draw us into a wider and far costlier war."

True and wise words which history would unfortunately prove to be true, were the public foolish enough to choose Obama or Hillary for President, God forbid.

==

McCain: Democrats' Stance on Iraq Flawed
Apr 7, 2008
By LIBBY QUAID
Associated Press Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday that calls from his Democratic rivals to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq stand as a "failure of leadership" as they are making promises they cannot keep.

"I do not believe that anyone should make promises as a candidate for president that they cannot keep if elected," McCain told the crowd.

"To promise a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, regardless of the calamitous consequences to the Iraqi people, our most vital interests, and the future of the Middle East, is the height of irresponsibility," he said. "It is a failure of leadership."

For his part, McCain suggested the Democrats' promise to withdraw troops was motivated by ambition rather than honesty.

People deserve a candid assessment of progress in Iraq as well as of the serious difficulties that remain and of the consequences of hasty withdrawal, McCain said.

McCain warned against the swift withdrawal of troops advocated by Obama and Clinton, saying Iraq could quickly become a terrorist haven.

"These likely consequences of America's failure in Iraq would, almost certainly, require us to return to Iraq or draw us into a wider and far costlier war," the Arizona senator said.

He highlighted a sharp drop in violence in recent months in his speech to the VFW at the National World War I Museum. From June 2007 until last month, when McCain visited Iraq, violence, he said, fell by 90 percent, and deaths of civilians and coalition forces fell by 70 percent.

"The dramatic reduction in violence has opened the way for a return to something approaching normal political and economic life for the average Iraqi," McCain said.

McCain insisted he could rally support from the majority of Americans - "If we are honest about the opportunities and the risks, I believe they will have the patience to allow us the time necessary to obtain our objectives," McCain said.

http://breakingnews.nypost.com/dynamic/stories/M/MCCAIN?SITE=NYNYP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2008-04-07-06-45-32

-- April 7, 2008 1:13 PM


BritishKnite wrote:

This looks like good very good news if it's true.

Iraq's Sadr to disband Mehdi Army if clerics order
--------------------------------------------------

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080407/wl_nm/iraq_dc

It would give Iraq a much needed chance to rebuild, and for its citizens to feel safe and rebuild their lives. I don't think that I have to mention what it could mean to us.

-- April 7, 2008 1:33 PM


Sara wrote:

BritishKnite wrote:

This looks like good very good news if it's true. "Iraq's Sadr to disband Mehdi Army if clerics order. (end quote)

BritishKnite - will they? And, more importantly, should it be CLERICS determining the rule of Law in Iraq?

What I mean is.. here Sadr is saying he will submit to the rule of clerics, but not to the state or government of Iraq. He will stop murdering and uprising against the government.. on the say-so of clerics.. but what about Maliki and the government of Iraq? Isn't this a slap in the face and incredibly RUDE to the ruling powers in Iraq.. does it not say.. "I WON'T LISTEN TO YOU, BUT ONLY TO A CLERIC". Isn't he saying that the rule of law comes from a cleric and not from the duly elected parliament of Iraq? And then the question comes up.. are they radical Islamic terrorists clerics to which he is referring? WHICH clerics is he willing to listen to? Obviously, no matter how you slice it, this is saying that Sadr will not hear the government of Iraq nor submit to the government as the supreme rule of law. He is a rogue, a rebel, a usurper, a dissident, a force working toward the overthrow of the duly elected government of Iraq.. (and likely with the full cooperation, training and equipping of a foreign power - Iran) - how long can that be tolerated?

Now suppose this was here in the USA.

Let us suppose that a group of people armed themselves, say, a million strong in following a certain leader of some radical Communist faith. They become trained and equipped by Cuba and they start clashes with the US troops and a cease fire is brokered in nearby Cuba by sympathetic Fidel (or his new successor). These rogue elements are told by the US government to lay down their weapons and then they say that they won't listen to the US government (presumably because they do not acknowledge its authority) but that they will only listen to those of the radical sect they believe in's clerics.. in this case, true Communists who believe as they do and live within the country of the USA or speak from the ideological Communist position which is professed by nearby Cuba.

How do you see his proposal now? It is a slap in the face to the Iraqi government to allow this way to go through. And if they did (for the sake of peace in the immediate future) it still does not resolve the longterm issue if the peace is restored this way, because it is still not dealing with problem of a militia controlled by a radicalized ideological sect opposed to the rule of the government. Obviously, Sadr could wage war again at a future time, and the only people he will listen to is the leading figures (clerics) who are believers of his particular ideology, not the duly elected and representative Iraqi government. Is this the precedent that should be set? Can a government survive with such militant upstarts among its populace? Or will this eventually breed war? Isn't it enough that the Iraqi people have spoken and elected to parliament some they believe worthy of position and power to rule on their behalf? Must this armed sect be allowed to hold the country hostage to their radical ideology and viewpoint? - (aided and abetted by nearby Iran)

While no one is seeking to take away from the Iraqi people their differing peaceful observances and pilgrimmages within the faith in Islam and other ideological viewpoints.. it is not possible to have so many sects and differing views living together in harmony if there is not the enforcing of the rule of law as agreed upon by all parties within their elected parliamentary structure. They must politically bridge the divides and then impose that negotiated solution upon all and enforce it by military rule (if necessary) to become peaceful and prosperous as a nation. They can afford to allow peaceful demonstrations by peaceful and unarmed groups, but they cannot allow insurrection and rebellion by militants against the political order or it will destroy the peace of their nation. If they give in to the clerics in this way, they set up a new tier of government where there is no separation of church and state. Freedom to practice religion should not mean the freedom to force the government to its knees militarily and make it do the bidding of the ideology of a sect. If they have a view they feel should prevail, they should take that view to the public and win power in the elections. Sadr has only 30 seats in parliament, not enough to make a majority. If he wants more say, he should campaign, not take a militant fight to the streets.

Your view and take on this, BritishKnite? Anyone else have a thought on it.. Board? Has the time come for the Iraqi government to assert their right to exist and to impose the agreed upon laws over all the people of Iraq based on their endorsement by the majority of the populace? Or must they keep making "exceptions" due to the militance of some of the sects under its dominion? This would not work over here for long without civil war. I believe if they go this way, letting the clerics stop the clashes instead of determining who is running the country (the militants or the duly elected parliament of Iraq and its authority through the Iraqi army) that they are only delaying an inevitable clash. This is because a ceasefire with this firey cleric Sadr now will mean he ceases for a time but does not give up his MILITARY power.. and he is also not giving up the powers and influence through him of those who may be controlling him (Iran). They will just fight the Iraqi army and the government of Iraq another day because their ambition is not peaceful if they remain armed and they do not acknowlege that the Iraqi people have a right to control their own destiny through those they have elected to the positions of power within the parliamentary system.

Your thoughts.. anyone?

Sara.

-- April 7, 2008 4:33 PM


Sara wrote:

Hardline?

Perhaps you are wondering why I chose to compare the trouble in Iraq to the US and Communist Cuba instead of a rogue religious sect within the US because Sadr has 30 representatives in parliament and so he is not outside of the parliamentary structure.

This article will give a little light on the subject of Iran and its influence and beliefs.. and whether they can allow a group trained and equipped by them to continue to grow. I think the reason for taking a hardline approach is self-explanatory here:

===

Group keeps fervor up in Iranian young
Sunday, April 06, 2008

Zahra Saremi took a different sort of vacation this year to celebrate Iranian New Year – touring the bloody battlefields of Iran's long war with Iraq at a week-long camp dedicated to martyrdom and patriotism.

Such tours are a crucial tool for Iran's clerical leaders as they seek to keep alive fervor for the 1979 Islamic Revolution, especially among young people with little or no memory of it.

Saremi and about 100 young men and women lined up at buses one morning in Tehran in late March, heading for the border regions of southwest Iran. About 1 million Iranians are taking the same journey during the three-week Nowruz holidays, which extend until mid-April, in tours organized by the Basij, the volunteer paramilitary wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

They visit the desert scenes where Iranian troops threw themselves in deadly human wave attacks against Iraqi lines in offensives with codenames like "Dawn is Coming" and "Certain Conquest." They hear lectures from military officers, visit the old trenches and bunkers and sleep in military garrisons.

Most importantly, they commemorate martyrs.

"It is like a spiritual tour," said the 21-year-old Saremi, her black, all-encompassing chador flapping in the morning breeze. She has gone once before, two years ago. "I went there to pay tribute to those who fought the enemy and lost their lives to bring peace for us."

Many among the millions of Iranians born since 1979 just want to put the revolution – and its Islamic clerical rule – behind them.

That has made the Basij even more important for clerical leaders, who want to keep up the drumbeat of slogans re-enforcing the revolution's principles. Their role has increased under hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is believed to have stepped up state funding for Basij groups. That mirrors the growing prominence of the Basij's patron, the Revolutionary Guards: former and current Guards officers have gained important posts, and Guards-linked companies have received lucrative government contracts for construction and other projects.

The U.S. has branded the Guards' elite Quds Force a terrorist group, accusing it of backing militants in Iraq, and the U.N. has slapped sanctions on Guards-linked firms accused of links to Iran's nuclear program.

At times, the Basij plays its role through force. In 1999, they helped put down student protests that began at Tehran University in rioting that left several people dead. Basijis also are known to stop women in the streets, scolding them to wear Islamic dress.

Far more pervasive, though, are the cultural events that Basijis lead. Student groups organize seminars and films at universities. Basiji theater groups put on plays depicting stories of "revolution and resistance."

There's even a Basiji film company that produces movies about the Iran-Iraq war. One studio boasts a yard full of old tanks and other armor, on the side of the highway from the new Imam Khomeini airport into Tehran.

The battlefield tours resonate because the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, in which at least 1 million people died overall, is an emotional rallying point for Iranians.

Nearly every Iranian family lost a relative in the brutal fighting, and even Iranians with no love for the Islamic revolution express nationalist pride at fending off then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

For Hassan Taheri, a 53-year-old war veteran boarding the same bus as Saremi, the tour is a chance to reconnect with an earlier era. "Years of war, blood and resistance," said Taheri, who was bringing his wife. "Many of my friends never came back from the war. When I go there, I feel I am with them."

But most of those on the tours are young Basijis and their families – and a constant theme is linking the war to the "third generation of the revolution." Those joining Saremi's tour were largely from Tehran's poorer districts, strongholds of support for Ahmadinejad and other hard-liners.

The tours are extensively covered on state-run television, which throughout the holidays shows footage of young people touring battle zones or weeping at martyrs' graves.

They have been organized since 1992 by a Basiji-run agency. The group says 1 million people are participating this year, up from 700,000 last year.

"The willingness to obey shown by the martyrs is what made them successful," one military commander, Gen. Ali Asghar Rajai, told a group of young Basijis taking part in one late March tour, according to the group's news agency.

"Today, that should be the example for all of us to follow," he said.

http://www.theconservativevoice.com/ap/article.html?mi=D8VSGFT80&apc=9002

Let me ask.. what exactly do they mean by an example for all of the Iranians to follow? How does it relate to their stirring up continuing hatreds of Iraqis? And what about their arming and training people in Iraq? What about their nuclear ambitions and who would be the recipients of their ire once they were nuclear armed? Iraqis? How about setting off a martrydom operation against the people they hate so much they commemorate fighting them in battle.. one million participating in keeping alive these old hatreds this year alone? Can Iraq really afford to ignore these elements and what it means for their country? They are much closer to Iran once the Iranians get the bomb.. and the Iranians work hard to keep the old hatreds around. Not to mention how easy and porous that border between their countries is.. shouldn't they be concerned enough to take a hardline now before they end up with a nuclear armed Quds force under their noses?

THAT is why the Communist Cuba comparison.. and why religion alone is not enough to explain what we are dealing with here.

Sara.

-- April 7, 2008 5:15 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

Sara and all,

NBC reported by Brit Hume reports that the Iraqi army did take the port of Basra district. This is the money making part of the port (oil export) and this part is under government control. There are pockets of Iraqi control and lots of residential areas of Mahdi militia control. Hume also reported that Sadr is looking grim and that he has agreed to disband his Mahdi milita. It could be that maybe Hume got it wrong.

In addition, the Kurds, Sunni's have said, they will send their troops to Basra to secure the area too. Talabani is reported to have said, "this is the closest that political parties have been in 5 years of war."

This to me, is a glimmer of hope. Sounds like political reconciliation. Even the Vice President (a sunni) said he supports Maliki and will send sunni troops to Basra!

In the meantime, american troops are taking on the Mahdi militas in Sadr City. I suspect, this has to do with the green zone bombings.

Apparently according to Hume, Sadr was told to disband the Mahdi militia or that Maliki would let the american's have a go at his militias.

In addition, I think the american's are already 'having a go' at Sadr's militias, inside of Sadr City. But, I think Hume was implying inside of Basra.

Laura Parker

-- April 7, 2008 9:45 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

Sara and all,

NBC reports by Brit Hume that the Iraq army took the port of Basra, where the government makes it's money from oil. The residential parts of Basra are still in hands of Sadr's milita.

The sunni's, kurds have agreed to sent troops from each region to help the Shiiti army to take the city of Basra according to Hume's report.

Sadr is not happy. He reportedly according to Hume agreed to disband his militia according to Hume. Hume reported that Maliki threatened to allow the american's a go at Sadr's militias if he did not disband them. Maliki stated it was not good enough to step down militias, and then allow the same problem to reform.

Talabani is reported to have said, "that this is first time that all government political parties have been this close since the start of the war." Sounds like political reconciliation to me. Let's hope!!

Laura Parker

-- April 7, 2008 9:56 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

All,

Sorry about double posts. I didn't think it went though.

Laura Parker

-- April 7, 2008 10:00 PM


BritishKnite wrote:

Sara, thank you for your views. It is always good to see different sides to an issue. In my opinion, it is good news if they disband and there is peace. I don't think you can compare Iraq (or any Arab state) directly with the USA or another western country. They operate differently. No matter what the issue, countries like Iraq will always start with religion as the basis point. It is the core of who they are and this will never change. Yes they understand democracy, but to them it is not as important as there religion. Democracy means free-thinking and acting within the law of the land. With gulf states, all laws and policies are written with religion as the base. In the article that I posted the link for, it suggests Al Sadr seems willing to call off his militia, but answers to higher religious authorities. It suggests he is not an independent cleric. If he did as he personally wanted, there may be other clerics to challenge him. Like it or not, this is how it is right now. The best we can hope for is that they find some middle ground in Iraq. From articles that I've read and things I've seen on the news, Al Sadr is against terrorism (believe it or not), that is why he teamed up with the Iraqi military and the US military to chase Al Quaeda out of Iraq. Now they are gone (?) he wants the US military to leave, hence his call for a peaceful million-man march against them being there. Remember, he was key in the success of the US military surge last year.

BritishKnite

-- April 8, 2008 1:16 AM


Carole wrote:

British....

Funny I think at the begining of our nation we had similar characteristics, except our theology was a Chrisitan -Judeo foundation!

Secondly, I find it hard to give Sadr the credit you seem to want to give him! He is a common street thug, who is responsible for thousands of innocent lives, not to mention that his army has taken many of our soldiers lives! ( and more than likely a few limmees too!)

Rethink your position.

Carole

-- April 8, 2008 2:04 AM


Carole wrote:

Laura

Brit Hume...NBC? Que pasa?

carole

-- April 8, 2008 2:07 AM


Laura Parker wrote:

BritishKnite,

I think you are forgetting that Iraq under Saddam was a secularist government. They were not an Islamic government as Sadr would like. I think the similarities of Sara's comparision are right on for this reason. Religion will guide the lives of our people for morality but our own government does govern our laws. Such, is also the case in Iraq.

Of course, if USA goes and attacks Iran, than there we would have an Islamic government run by the clerics. That is if the USA would do another nation building situation. However, I do not think the USA would do this again.

Laura Parker

-- April 8, 2008 3:17 PM


DinarAdmin wrote:

I was away so I only just noticed Rob N's 3 posts in the past two days which were not posted (filters). I have now posted them to the site and here is the most recent of his posts which gave his view and commentary.

Dinar Admin.

All:

From what I am reading some inside Iraq's currency traders are predicting an exchange rate of 1000/1 by 2010. Let me be clear by saying these prognostications are not coming from the CBI. This exchange rate does not make sense to me for the following reasons. According to recent figures Iraq is expected to receive 60 Billion in oil revenue. With the establishment of the National Oil Company and the passage of the HCL we assume 70 Billion will be invested by the oil majors. In my opinion, the amount of oil flowing out of Iraq will necessitate a stronger Dinar than 1000/1. A weak Dinar will result in an agreesive inflation rate.

Next, earlier in the year the CBI required all banks to increase their cash reserves. According to what I read this morning Rafidain Bank now possesses 36 trillion in reserves. How can an exchange rate of 1000/1 be plausible? Will the Iraqi's goin the GCC in 2010? Not likely, the GCC itself says it cannot meet the 2010 deadline. Regardless of whether this date is met or not. the Dinar at an exchange rate of 1000/1 is not on par with the rest of the GCC states. To be admitted to the GCC, would not Iraq's currency need to have similar value?

Something else that makes me question this exchange rate are Petro-Dinars and de-dollarization. In my opinion, based upon the amount of proven reserves Iraq possesses Petro Dinars invalidates the worry regarding M2. With the Petro-Dinar de-dollarization will occur making the economy of Iraq solely dependant upon the Dinar. An economy like Iraq that has the potential to equal Saudi Arabia or Dubai in terms of wealth cannot sustain a peaceful and prosperous nation with this exchange rate.

The potential of Iraq is magnanomous. A robust economy based upon oil, industry, and agriculture is waiting. I think we are seeing the GoI move in a positive direction. In the long term, I do not see an exchange rate of 1000/1 by 2010 is not plausible. Instead, I look for a limited free float of the Iraqi Dinar. This may not occur after all the pieces are in play. It is also possible that the CBI could do a small revaluation until the limited free float becomes policy. The small revaluation would accomplish increasing the purchasing power of the average Iraqi and help in national reconciliation.

What do you think about an exchange rate of 1000/1 by 2010? I have shared my opinion, now I would like the boards.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 8, 2008 4:22 PM


DinarAdmin wrote:

-- April 8, 2008 4:26 PM


BritishKnite wrote:

Carol, I gave my opinion based on what I see happening. Yes, US and British soldiers have lost their lives, and yes Al Sadr is responsible for numerous deaths. You may well find it hard to give credit, but it is still due to him calling a cease fire of his militia that contributed to the success of the surge. I'm sure even if not stated publicly by other governments, it is recognised. Those are the facts as they stand.

Laura, yes Saddam's government was a secularist one, but the sunni and shiite religions/factions are looking for representation in THIS government.

BritishKnite.

-- April 8, 2008 4:34 PM


Sara wrote:

It was the clerics in IRAN (and their Iraqi counterparts) that Sadr was referring to, as fitting my comparison to Cuba and their ideological sympathizers in the US, as it says:

Muqtada al Sadr had said that he would dissolve the armed group only upon a call from major clerics from Najaf and Iranian Qoom city.

===

Major clerics refuse to comment on Sadr call
8/4/2008

The major clerics of Iraq refuse to give order on the call of the young cleric Muqtada al Sadr bout dissolving Mahdi army Militia, a spokesman of the most powerful Shiite cleric Ayatuyllah Ali Sistani said.

Following Iraqi Prime Minister's call for disbanding Mahdi Army militia, young cleric Muqtada al Sadr had said that he would dissolve the armed group only upon a call from major clerics from Najaf and Iranian Qoom city.

"The major clerics in Najaf refuse to have orders on Sadr's call" Said Hamid al Khafaf.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki had called Sadr movement in an interview with CNN to disband Mahdi militia; accused of carrying out sectarian attacks across Iraq, threatening that they would be banned from taking part in the political process if they refused to obey.

http://www.kurdsat.tv/E_Zyatir.aspx?CoriHewal=Eraqi&Rizbendi=1399

-- April 8, 2008 4:42 PM


Carole wrote:

British Knight,
Just can't bring my reasonable self to give one iotta of credit to this maniac! The reason he called back his "llegal militia" is because not doing do would have been his immediate demise. Remember, he fled to Iran and was underground for months before and during the surge. He was a marked man, not only by the allied forces but by his own followers who felt he was a traitor to the cause.
This man would sell his own mother for 1/8th of a dinar.....and it would be wise for the world involved in the Middle east conflicts to never forget that.
Given his lack of regard by his own followers, I believe he is more an advocate of the radical regieme of Iran at this point than anything else.......until they are through with him....either way his life line is very short....mostly because his arrogance will eventually ( sooner than later) bait him on the path to the 27 virgins!

Carole

-- April 8, 2008 5:30 PM


Sara wrote:

Britishknite;

I agree with you that Sadr has been a positive help to the Iraqi people in some ways, certainly his calling a ceasefire has been one of them. My concern is not with his religion because I believe all laws (which say what you can and cannot do) express an ideological viewpoint which is at its essence religious. And I believe every viewpoint is taken into account in a representative parliamentary system which is free, and it is the best form of government we have yet discovered.

When you say, "Democracy means free-thinking and acting within the law of the land. With gulf states, all laws and policies are written with religion as the base." I think you are trying to say that we have "free-thinking and acting" within our laws which you see as not religious and theirs are laws with religion at the base of it. However, I believe that all laws are in essence based on religious or ideological viewpoints concerning what is right and wrong so that you cannot say our laws are NOT religious and theirs are. For instance, we do not allow stealing in our society, whether it is the petty thief on the street, or the embezzler of millions in a stock scam. And the principle we are putting into law is "Thou Shalt Not Steal" (one of the Ten Commandments). Our laws come out of the religious and moral laws of Judeo-Christianity, as Laura pointed out. That is why Communism is not allowed here, because Communism is the government taking the wealth of the people by force and "redistributing" the wealth as they see fit, which is nothing more than institutionalizing theft by the government from the people.

What I am trying to say is, our ideology is based on religious views, too. Certainly, each democracy bases itself on what it thinks is "right" or "wrong" in its laws and that is a religious viewpoint. I recognise the intense religious views of the Iraqi people and I think it can work in their favor, to make them a better democracy than we are in some ways. For instance, they would not be likely to entrench in law the "right" to kill the unborn because of their religious views, unlike the public here which says that killing the unborn is a "right" a woman has because the baby in its initial stages is dependent on her body for survival and cannot survive outside the womb. "Survivability" and "personhood" debates would likely go nowhere due to the deeply held belief of the Islamic community that life begins at conception. On the other hand, they could place in their laws the allowing of "honor killings" (for adultery) and the murder of those who are homosexuals - so the "right to live" may reach to the womb, but not be allowed by them on other grounds which differ with our laws. But their viewpoint is not MORE religious than our viewpoint. Both views are saying what is right and wrong based on a deeply held group of values which, taken as a whole, is a religious view.

To refer to the law of the United States for affirmation of my view, in 1961, the Supreme Court of the United States recognised Humanism as a religion in the case "Torcaso v Watkins" of which it is said,
Quote:

"In 1961 the US Supreme Court took official cognizance of religious Humanism in the case of Roy R. Torcaso, a Humanist who was refused his commission as a Notary Public under a Maryland law requiring all public officers in the State to profess belief in God. In delivering the unanimous opinion of the Court that this statue was unconstitutional under the First Amendment, Justice Hugo L. Black observed: "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others."

"The "Texas Tech Law Review" states that, "The Seeger decision defined religion as all sincere beliefs based upon a power or being or upon a faith, to which all else is subordinate or upon which all else is ultimately dependent." Thus, according to Seeger, religion "includes atheists, agnostics, as well as adherents to traditional theism."

Such court decisions may account for Webster's 1970 dictionary definition of religion, which includes "any system of belief, practices, ethical values, etc., resembling, suggestive of, or likened to such a system [humanism as a religion]."

We tend to think belief in God is a religion, and therefore disbelief is not a religion. Actually, it is more accurate to say that one's view of God is a religious belief. Atheism cannot be proven (you cannot prove that God does not exist); consequently, all atheists believe in atheism. Thomas Jefferson, writer of the Declaration of Independence clearly understood this. During the debates that focused upon the separation of church and state, which ultimately led to the First Amendment, he defined the term religion to include "all believers or unbelievers of the Bible..." Thus religion applies equally to believers or unbelievers in God. (end quote)

==

The separation of church and state and the allowing of freedom of religion means that Atheists and Humanists, Buddhists and Taoists, Muslims, Christians and Jews, all may practice their faith within our culture without criminally harming one another for those beliefs. The laws of the land which our culture expressed allowed the view that peacefully holding any religious belief is allowed so long as they do no physical harm to another because of their differing view. The difference we see in Iraq is that some think religiously held viewpoints are necessary to be imposed upon others by force. This situation results in our asking.. Why does Sadr NOT wish to disband his militia? Why does he insist he must keep the arms and militia.. for what purpose? As you know, radical terrorist fundamental Islam will not peacefully coexist with the rest of the world but insists on world domination at the point of a sword. There can be no allowing of the free exercise of people's religiously held values (even disbelief such as Atheism or Humanism) under their rule. This ideology is embodied in a very full form in IRAN.

You say "In my opinion, it is good news if they disband and there is peace." I agree that it will be a good thing if Sadr disbands but his apparent allegiance to Iran and his militia being trained and armed by them is a very big problem because the fact is that Iran has nuclear ambitions and considers Iraq to be an enemy and keeps those hatreds alive. They also are of the belief that radical fundamental Islam must rule the earth through force (the sword). And, if Sadr's allegiance is to fundamentalist terrorist Islamic values, his militia will be working against the peaceful allowing of the free exercise of religion under the parliamentary system in Iraq. I refer you to this article, see BOLD:

==

Sadr threatens to end Iraq ceasefire

Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric, threatened on Tuesday to end a truce he imposed on his militia last year, Reuters reports from Baghdad.

The Mahdi army militia ceasefire had been credited with helping sharply to reduce violence across Iraq. Scrapping the truce could trigger widespread fighting with security forces and plunge Iraq back into a deadly spiral of sectarian violence.

Mr Sadr’s warning came a day after Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Shia prime minister, threatened to bar the cleric’s movement from politics unless he were to disband the militia that has fought Iraqi and US forces during the past two weeks.

“The Iraqi government should know that the Mahdi army will stand shoulder-to- shoulder with the Iraqi people to provide all they need from security, stability and independence,” Mr Sadr said in a statement to offices across Iraq. “If it is required to lift the freeze [ie ceasefire]...to carry out our goals, objectives, doctrines and religious principles and patriotism, we will do that later.”

Hours after Mr Sadr’s statement, the government set a curfew on the capital for Wednesday’s fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. He had called for a big anti-US march in Baghdad to mark the anniversary but cancelled it for fear his followers would be attacked.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/10e880a6-0592-11dd-a9e0-0000779fd2ac,dwp_uuid=17aab8bc-6e47-11da-9544-0000779e2340.html?nclick_check=1

Note here that he is saying he is keeping his arms to "carry out our goals, objectives, doctrines and religious principles and patriotism"... in other words, to keep to himself the option of using military force to bring about "RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES". Think about what that might mean to someone who does not fit into those principles and doctrinal teachings.. such as an Atheist or Humanist, a Christian or Jew. If he is an extension of Iran and their teachings.. if he feels he must defend and EXTEND his RELIGION by the sword, then it is not a peaceful religion which can co-exist with the others and openly discuss its views. It is a radical ideology which wants the ability to FORCE and coerce the people of Iraq into submission to its tenants. This is no different than Communism or Nazism, it is a world domination ideology.

Here Sadr is speaking of bringing the people of Iraq "security, stability and independence".. from what do they need independence? From their elected representative government? From the armed forces which are taken from among the Iraqi populace? Surly the stability and security the Iraqi people wish is already coming from their elected people and their men and women among the military force under the government's command? To say otherwise is to bring insurrection against the government.. and accuse it of acting as a dictatorship. Iraq is not a dictatorship. Therefore, I think the view he is expressing is RELIGIOUS in viewpoint, and has to do with radical Islamic extremist values he wishes to impose on the people and government - a view such as professed by the clerics in Iran.. which states that all people and governments must be forced by the sword to be under a radical terrorist form of Islam which rules by the sword.

This contrasts with our cultural view as taken from the founders of the US who were Christians. Our view is that God does not wish forced obedience at the point of a sword at all, but only that which comes from a true heart of allegiance and desire to serve Him with all the heart and mind, soul and will. We would rather see a sincere Atheist who disavows all belief in God than one who bastardizes religion by giving lipservice to God. Jesus mentioned this often in his rebuking those who were only outwardly religious (hypocrites) within the community of the religious. In one instance He said:

Mat 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Not exactly kind words for these religiously observant people and their desire to make for themselves religious converts (proselytes). But such is the Jesus we Christians serve.. and the basis of the laws of the USA - a God who requires heart and not only outward observance. Outward observance alone is hypocrisy. So for us, freedom of religion allows those who will seek and find God to do so, and keeps the rest who do not wish to believe from acting the part of hypocrites before God. We see no point in forcing obedience to religious doctrines at the point of a sword. Submission to God in Christianity is willingly, or not at all. The concern with Sadr is that his CLERICAL collar coupled with a MILITIA means his goals are military and religious, making him a terrorist - unpeaceful toward the government and not a friend of the people of Iraq and their freedom to express their religious beliefs (in God or not as they will) from their hearts.

I hope from this you can understand the concern militarily concerning the threat that Sadr may be to Iraq, its people and government, and to the free exercise and observance of law and religion for them all.

Sara.

-- April 8, 2008 6:27 PM


Sara wrote:

Freedom of Religion is important.
Avoiding incidents like the below from being the rule in Iraq.. or here, is important.
Self- explanatory?

==

MUSLIM CONVERTS TO CHRIST. MOM TRIED TO MURDER HIM--IN CANADA
By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
MichNews.com
Apr 3, 2008

His mother broke his nose by slamming him in the face. He did not celebrate Ramadan. His mother was angry and so banged him in his face.

Adam, born a Muslim in Morocco, now lives for Christ in Canada. While there, he witnessed to two Muslims as they were going to a nearby mall. They got him near a balcony and pushed him over. He fell four stories, not expected to survive.

He broke his legs to such an extent that doctors say he will never walk again. Adam has no anger toward those who tried to kill him via his mother’s orders. He prays for them to know Christ.

Per CBNNews, “’I received a letter from my mom, threatening me that she was going to kill me if I do not go back to Islam,’ he said.”

This is the religion of peace??

Adam moved from that religion— to Christianity.

When 20 years old, Adam moved to Canada where he started viewing Christian television programs. Finally, investigating facts regarding Islam in comparison to biblical Christianity, Adam concluded that Islam was not for him. Christ was.

“How can a religion that is based on killing and slaughter and terrorism come from God?” Adam asked himself.

He approached a Canadian sheik with religious questions. The sheik told Adam that Islam is the only true faith. Adam concluded then that he was lied to all his life.

The sheik told him that bin Laden and AlZawahen are missionaries of the genuine faith in God. Adam was not at all convinced. That sealed it for Adam that Christ was indeed the true eternal Missionary to the repentant soul.

“’I finally felt like I found what I have been looking for all my life. I found a loving God, who died for me on the cross. I dedicated my time to study the Bible and pray and that's how I found my way to Jesus Christ.’”

It was then that Muslims sought to kill him, his mother instigating the murder. When he returned to Morocco for a visit, his family hung him upside down, beat him and tortured him without mercy.

His mother asked him if he would renounce Christ to take up Allah as deity. Adam replied that he would never forsake Christ. He was tortured some more.

He returned to Canada when Muslims lured him to the balcony from which he was tossed, left for dead. Instead, he lived to testify to everyone about Christ. For the last seven months he’s been confined to the hospitals for treatment.

He will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

“’Even with all the pain, hurt and suffering I still rejoice because I know that I'm believing in the real God,’ he said.

‘What hurts most (is) knowing that my mom and my whole family believe in the wrong God. I always pray to God and ask him to bring them to Him and that's the only thing that will heal my wounds.’”

http://www.michnews.com/artman/publish/article_19874.shtml

-- April 8, 2008 6:44 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

Carole and all,

I'm sorry, Brit Hume is on Fox News.

Laura Parker

-- April 8, 2008 7:53 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

Sara, BritishKnite, and all,

When we speak of Judeo-Christian hertiage as being founded in moral law, we must also not forget that Sharia law (Muslim faith) is the same law of Moses that came out of this same history. That is why to me, I can say without hesitation how repudiate the extremist view of Islam is to me. It is a complete corruption of the law of God. The Muslim faith does not replace Jewish/Christian faith or supercede it.

For those of you who do not know, there is a difference between the law of Moses and the law of God (or another term for it, the moral law of God) that we know as the Ten Commandments.

When biblical scholars refer to the law of Moses, they are not taking about the moral law (or ten commandments) but rules of government/clerics that were imposed upon people as if they were the original moral laws of God. These rules of government/clerics were supposedly grounded in the moral laws (ten commandments) but Jesus later taught how much in error these teachings had become due to clerics and their self righteousness for power and corruption. The Law of Moses (the ordinances) is temporary. The Law of Moses had curses attached to them. For instance, Thou Shalt not commit adultery. The curse/penalty is stoning. Another is Thou shalt not have any other Gods before me. Meaning to put God first. In the new testment, Jesus taught is he equal with God--- meaning he is God. The Gospel of John is devoted to the defense of Jesus being God. The curse for anyone making himself out to be God is stoning by the Jewish people. Muslims have this same belief. Neither Jews nor Muslims believe Jesus is God's son and equal with God (which is another way of saying, Jesus is God.) We, christians do not understand this relationship of the father, son and holy spirit (but they all part of the God head). Hopefully, I am not getting too deep for you all.

Then some of the ordinances or rules took on another form; like, one couldn't move your ox out of a ditch on the holy day and other such rules. This one was tied to the commandment of "Remember the sabbath" (sabbath meaning, holy day or day of rest for the worship of God). The ox would have to starve in that ditch or just suffer. This was never the intent of God to have that animal suffer. Instead, God's law was his desire to show mercy and get the ox out of the ditch.

Whereas, the moral law (ten commandments) are the permanent law of God (known as the ten commandments). Most secular governments write laws (they can't help themselves-- they are based in morality) on the ten commandments (law of God) as given to Moses.

Just a reminder. Even if you don't believe in God (or some other religious belief) as Sara points out - government laws are still based in some form of morality. To me, it is the law of God (ten commandments).

Laura Parker

-- April 8, 2008 9:09 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Britishknite:

You have it wrong concerning Al-Sadr. The evidence suggest Al-Malaki deployed the Iraqi Security Forces to Basra with the intent to destroy the Mahdi Army. Other news articles confirm that the cease fire proposed by Al-Sadr resulted in his army running out of amunition. If you watched Patraeus and Crocker today, Ambassador Crocker confirmed Al-Sadr's offer of a cease fire came from a position of weakness not strength.

Al-Malaki has already begun to deal with the Sadrist movement by sacking them from their jobs within the government. Good for Al-Malaki. He is beginning to take his rightful place as the Prime Minister of Iraq.

Todays hearings on Capital Hill I believe will place added pressure on the GoI to pass the remaining six benchmarks including the oil and gas law. This can be done without the support of Al-Sadr since his block controls only 30 seats in Parliment. Al-Sadr's connection to Iran is further isolating him from the political progress in Iraq. Any credit given to Al-Sadr is misdirected.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 8, 2008 9:49 PM


Carole wrote:

Thanks Sara Laura and Rob!

Very well explained. I hope Britishknoght and others are clear on this guy AlSadr.

Sara, isn't is pathetic that our dissident US citizens misinterpret "freedom OF Religion..." as freedom FROM religion?
Many harmful and destructive judicial decisions made based on this error.

Also, about a year ago I read a commentary ( can't remember where) that it is very likely that the Saudis will take AlSadr out. They dealt with him in a humane and reasonable way with clear understandings that he was never to align himself with Iranians. Saudia's do not consider Iranians arabs!

He went diabolically against their urgings( not to mention the mass amount of favors and monies given to him by the Saudi shieks).

As I stated before, his over inflated ego and arrogance keeps him a marked man. And his ignorance allows the Iranians to bait him for their own agendas.

Hey, not to change the subject.... but isn't Putin looking more and more like an Aids victim these days? Rumors have it that he has his scientists all ready to put his body in deep freeze when he dies......hmmmmm, maybe he knows something...

-- April 9, 2008 5:53 AM


Sara wrote:

Big al Qaeda weapons site destroyed in Iraq
Wednesday, April 09, 2008

BAGHDAD: U.S. troops destroyed an al qaeda training camp north of Baghdad last week that contained a large weapons cache of missiles, machine guns and mortar rounds, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.

A U.S. Special Forces team descended on the camp in the town of Balad, in Salahuddin province, after intelligence reports suggested an old radar station was being used by insurgents, the military said in a statement.

They found a cache that included more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, surface-to-air missiles, machine guns, rockets, suicide-vest charges, mortar rounds, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and warheads, the statement said.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=43021

-- April 9, 2008 9:12 AM


Sara wrote:

Rob N and board;

I thought you might find this article interesting.
A bit off topic, but it is interesting to see how science and bias are dealt with in the schools..
and how strong belief in unproven theories are defended with religious fervor.

===

High School Student Raises Questions About Textbook Bias
Tuesday, April 08, 2008

WASHINGTON — Talk about a civics lesson: A high-school senior has raised questions about political bias in a popular textbook on U.S. government, and legal scholars and some top scientists say the teen's criticism is well-founded.

"I just realized from my own knowledge that some of this stuff in the book is just plain wrong," said LaClair, who is using the book as part of an AP government class at Kearny High School.

They say "American Government" by conservatives James Wilson and John Dilulio presents what he says is a skewed view of topics from global warming to separation of church and state. The publisher now says it will review the book, as will the College Board, which oversees college-level Advanced Placement courses used in high schools.

Both authors are considered conservative. LaClair said he was particularly upset about the book's treatment of global warming. James Hansen, the director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, recently heard about LaClair's concerns and has lent him some support.

Hansen has sent Houghton Mifflin a letter stating that the book's discussion on global warming contained "a large number of clearly erroneous statements" that give students "the mistaken impression that the scientific evidence of global warming is doubtful and uncertain."

The edition of the textbook published in 2005, which is in high school classrooms now, states that "science doesn't know whether we are experiencing a dangerous level of global warming or how bad the greenhouse effect is, if it exists at all."

A newer edition published late last year was changed to say, "Science doesn't know how bad the greenhouse effect is."

The authors kept a phrase stating that global warming is "enmeshed in scientific uncertainty."

While there are still some scientists who downplay global warming and the role of burning fossil fuels, the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and peer-reviewed scientific research say human activity is causing climate change. Last year an international collection of hundreds of scientists and government officials unanimously approved wording that said the scientific community had "very high confidence," meaning more than 90 percent likelihood, that global warming is caused by humans.

LaClair added that he perceived a bias in the book too.

"All the statements for the most part were trying to lead the reader in one direction and not giving a fair account of everything," he said.

It's not the first time LaClair has raised alarm bells over teaching at his school. "I'm not looking to cause a huge controversy, but I want the students to be taught correct information," LaClair said.

His mother, Debra, says she thinks her son is giving his peers another kind of civics lesson.

"When he sees something that is incorrect, he wants to fix it," she said. "That's him. That's what he does."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,348415,00.html

Isn't it great that this teenager can help correct things from his own knowledge about the subject? - Note he isn't a scientist, adult or qualified to speak about the subject from an expert's view - he is a HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT.. and yet others will back his position up against the conservative viewpoint which is being given - a position which is seeking to strike balance on the issue and not present only one side or viewpoint since Global Warming is a THEORY and not a proven fact. Let's repeat that.. GW is not a proven fact, but only a theory.. hard to believe since consensus of scientists (above) gives the impression that their consensus makes the THEORY somehow turn into scientific FACT.

Saying that GW is "enmeshed in scientific uncertainty" is definitely true from the facts and figures and hard data.. though it may not be true of the scientific community's embracing of the theory and their vaunted "very high confidence" that it is so. It makes you wonder when any THEORY is so strongly embraced it is thought that it cannot be disproved... nor spoken against. Rigidity in science prevents further breakthrough, illumination and truth from being discovered - as was true with the majority of scientists who embraced a "flat earth" THEORY at one time, for instance.

One would almost think that such deeply held BELIEF in a THEORY could qualify it for being a religious belief according to the dictionary definition of quote, "Webster's 1970 dictionary definition of religion, includes "any system of belief, practices, ethical values, etc., resembling, suggestive of, or likened to such a system [humanism as a religion]."

From the comments on Newsbusters, a list of links to full articles (see url below to find them and click on if interested)

Al Gore's climate change film 'is propaganda' (The Daily Telegraph, UK)
UK Court finds 9 Inaccuracies in Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (The New Party, UK)
- Al Gore's 'nine Inconvenient Untruths' (The Daily Telegraph, UK)
- Al Gore told there are nine inconvenient truths in his film (The Times, UK)
- An Inconvenient Lie (WorldNetDaily)
- Gore caught lying (WorldNetDaily)
- Gore’s Nine Lies (FrontPage Magazine)
- Judge attacks nine errors in Al Gore's 'alarmist' climate change film (Daily Mail, UK)
Schools must warn of Gore climate film bias (Daily Mail, UK)
- British Schools Ordered to Offer 'Balance' When Showing Al Gore's Global Warming Film (FOXNews)
35 Inconvenient Truths (Science and Public Policy Institute)
25 Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore (The National Review Online)
23 Scientific Errors (Science and Public Policy Institute)
20 More inaccuracies (PDF) (UKPRwire)
16 Errors in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (Science and Public Policy Institute)
6 Inconvenient Truths Indeed (Robert C. Balling, Ph.D. Geography)

Solar Activity Diminishes; Researchers Predict Another Ice Age (DailyTech)
Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age (National Post, Canada)
Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling (DailyTech)
The Oceans Have Stopped Warming! (Canada Free Press)
Global temperatures 'to decrease' (BBC)

The Anti 'Man-Made' Global Warming Resource

AND these links as well:

A few inconvenient truths for Al Gore and his ongoing con job. . .

Changes in the Sun’s Surface to Bring Next Climate Change
Gore's 'carbon offsets' paid to firm he owns
REPORT: GLOBAL TEMPS 'HAVE NOT RISEN SINCE 1998'...
Scientist explains 'global warming stopped a decade ago'...
Timing of Atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic Temperature Changes Across Termination III
Temperature Monitors Report Worldwide Global Cooling...
Global Warming Bill Could Cost Every U.S. Man, Woman and Child Up to $494 Annually
Behind the feel-good hype of carbon offsets, some of the deals don't deliver
Beware the Eco-Industrial Complex
Carbon Credit - The Latest Greenie Trend
Carbon Offsets - Buyer Beware
Carbon trade scheme 'is failing'
Carbon Trading Proposal May Put Mature Tropical Forests At Risk, Scientists Warn
Emission trading suffers as carbon prices plummet
Truth about Kyoto: huge profits, little carbon saved
World Bank accused of climate change "hijack"
LLOYD'S: Lack of natural disasters putting pressure on insurance firms...
Skeptical Scientists Descend on UN Climate Conference, Urge World To 'Do Nothing'...
Pope condemns climate change 'prophets'...
The Anti "Man-Made" Global Warming Resource

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-vadum/2008/04/06/al-gore-responds-newsbusters-denies-global-warming-his-meal-ticket

Sara.

-- April 9, 2008 10:18 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Dems Want Iraqis to Spend Oil Surplus

Democrats plan to push legislation this spring that would force the Iraqi government to spend its own surplus in oil revenues to rebuild the country, sparing U.S. dollars.
(www.noozz.coom)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 9, 2008 4:03 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Disbanding militias divides parliament
By Nidhal al-Laithi

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

09 April 2008 (Azzaman)
Print article Send to friend
The call by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for Sadr’s Madhi Army to disband has divided the parliament with deputies urging other militia groups to disarm.

Deputies from the restive city of Mosul in an apparent move backing the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his militiamen have asked for other militia groups to disarm namely Kurdish Peshmerga.

Other deputies doubted the prime minister had the authority to order the disbanding of militia groups whose formation and presence in the country is legalized.

Most militia groups operate under ‘murky’ legal cover and some are even paid by the government like the Kurdish Peshmerga militiamen.

All in all there are 28 militia groups in the country and one of them belongs to the prime minister himself and his political party al-Dawaa.

Preventing Sadr’s movement from taking part in the forthcoming provincial elections will set a precedent in Iraq and political parties with militias, including Dawaa, view the move with a suspicious eye.

Mahmoud Othman, a senor Kurdish legislator and politician has said under electoral rules Maliki “has no power to deny a political party nominating candidates for election.”

Sunni deputies were vociferous in calls for Maliki to add all militias to his order, including Kurdish Peshmerga.

They said Kurdish militia men operate “freely and unruly” in Mosul, its suburbs as well as the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 9, 2008 4:05 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Draft law to curb American role in Iraq
By Basil Adas

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baghdad, 09 April 2008 (Gulf News)
Print article Send to friend
An Iraqi military document has revealed important details of a security draft representing current talks between the government of Iraq and the US concerning an agreement between the two states, senior military officials said.

The suggested draft agreement will substitute the international resolution, which puts Iraq under the American tutelage according to chapter seven of the UN convention.

The document, which was prepared by the head of the military and security studies centre at the Iraqi Defence Ministry, Colonel Najm Al Deen Al Nakshabandi weeks before his retirement, says there is an Iraqi-American understanding to retain 100,000 American soldiers in Iraq until 2010.

Armed militias

It is stated that Iraq needs this number of forces to confront Al Qaida's activities and Shiite armed militias inside Iraq and also to secure its borders on the regional level.

The document adds, "The Iraqi - American treaty which must be completed at the end of July, will be a comprehensive economic, financial, commercial, cultural, political and military treaty." Al Nakshabandi's document suggests that the Iraqi-American military agreement will be similar to the joint defence treaty signed between the US and Kuwait and the number of American forces will decrease to less than fifty thousand American soldiers after 2010.

The document argues that regional dangers on Iraq particularly by Iran and Syria would have a decisive role in determining the important details and approaches of any Iraqi- American military agreement.

The document also revealed that Americans offered to establish three temporal military bases two years from now; one in the south specifically in Basra after the British military withdrawal, the second in Taji or Balad and the third one will be in the northern Iraq province of Mosul.

Obligations

Besides the signing of an Iraqi-American legal military agreement, a military cooperation agreement will also be signed. It is not immediately clear what the Iraqi reaction to the American offer will be.

The legal agreement will include determining the rights and obligations of American forces and this will focus on vital points like eliminating the impunity and privilege of American forces that will stay in Iraq next year.

The document states that the Iraqi government seeks a similar legal arrangement to the American-German agreement after the second world war.

For instance, they will not have the right to arrest an Iraqi citizen; wander within Iraqi cities or carry weapons without Iraqi authorisation. Iraq also wants American forces to pay fees and taxes on goods needed by Americans in Iraqi territories.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government will have the right to detain any American involved in violating Iraqi laws and it can inspect American camps in the event that they threaten Iraqi national security.

Factfile: US military surge

General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker updated Congress on Tuesday on progress made during a "surge" of force in the war zone credited with helping to reduce violence. Here are facts about the surge strategy and its goals.

Surge strategy: President George W. Bush ordered the US military to increase troop levels in Iraq in January 2007 under a strategy known commonly as the "surge" that included security, political, economic and regional components.
Five brigade combat teams, including about 20,000 combat troops and another 10,000 support personnel, were sent to Iraq from February to mid-June.
Iraq agreed to deliver additional Iraqi forces to Baghdad and to bar political officials from interfering with security operations.
Goals for the government: Take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November 2007
Give US and coalition forces authority to pursue all extremists
Pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis
Reform de-Baathification laws and hold provincial elections in 2007
Progress towards goals: Attacks in Iraq declined 60 per cent during the surge, according to the US military. Deaths from sectarian violence dropped 90 per cent after the last additional US combat brigade arrived in Iraq in June 2007. But violence has climbed in 2008 due to Al Qaida activity in the north and intra-Shi'ite violence in the south.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 9, 2008 4:07 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

I know this site is generally anti-american, but I think it gives us something to think about at least in the short term.
____________________________________________________________
Americans, common enemy of all Iraqi sects
By Basil Adas

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baghdad, 09 April 2008 (Gulf News)
Print article Send to friend
Americans seemed more odious to Iraqis five years after the invasion and occupation of the country."

Jumaa Al Khafaji told Gulf News: "I am an Iraqi Shiite; frankly I can say that I was happy that Saddam's regime was toppled and I welcomed the US Army who helped us achieve that goal.

"But now I hate the Americans who have harmed and abused Iraqis and helped in spreading sectarianism among us, We are divided as Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. They killed Sunnis in Fallujah and Haditha, murdered Shiites in Sadr City, Najaf and Diwaniya. I hate them so much," Al Khafaji said.

"Throughout the last five years, the US army committed violations that offended the Iraqi people beginning with the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, carrying out massacre of civilians in Hadith, and Baghdad's Al Nisr Square massacre which was perpetrated by armed men working for Blackwater, an American security company."

"What did Iraqis gain from this occupation which has put Iraq back hundred years," Samia Abdul Amir Al Samurai, an Iraqi University student, asked.

"This occupation made this country an arena for settling accounts, by terrorists, infiltrators and assassins to hit targets in scientific and academic communities. All these are done by parties supported by the American occupation, therefore I am certain that all Iraqis hate Americans," Al Samurai said.

Bakhtiar Berzinji, a Kurdish citizen, told Gulf News: "It is true that the American army is not deployed in Kurdistan regions but the Turkish invasion to our territories is supported by Americans who allow Turks to shell Kurdish villages and to displace hundreds of Kurds, besides the Kurdistan territory guard forces is under strict Americans surveillance so that there will be no Iraqi effective force to face internal and external threats."

"I am an Iraqi Christian. Before the American occupation, Christian population was more than one and a half million, but now this number has dramatically dropped to less than one million because of fear, murder and kidnapping," Hani Dnkha.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 9, 2008 4:13 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

I saw this a couple of days ago. The headline reads: Iraqi Dinar aspires to return to the past against the dollar. I have included the the google translation. A bit exciting if you ask me.
____________________________________________________________

Iraq dinar aspires to return to McCann in the past against the dollar

قال محافظ البنك المركزي سنان الشبيبي ان استقرار سعر صرف الدينار العراقي ازاء الدولار شجع المواطن على شراء الدينار والتعامل به وادخاره. Said Central Bank Governor Sinan Alshabibi The stability of the exchange rate of the Iraqi dinar against the dollar encouraged citizens to buy dinar and handling and keeping it.
واضاف في تصريح صحفي نشر اليوم الثلاثاء ان ثقة المواطن العراقي بعملته بدات تزداد يوما بعد يوم واصبح حريصا على تصريف الدولار وشراء الدينار بدلا عنه اذ شهد العامان المنصرمان عودة الدينار الى قوته ما ادى الى القضاء على التضخم الذي كنا نشكو منه في السابق . He added in a press statement issued today, Tuesday, that the confidence of Iraqi citizens currencies started increasing day after day and is keen on the conduct of the dollar and the dinar rather buy it revealed The last two years witnessed the return to power dinar, which led to the elimination of inflation, which we suffer from in the past.
واوضح الشبيبي ان العراق يطمح في المستقبل القريب الى عودة الدينار العراقي الى ما كان عليه في السبعينيات وبداية الثمانينيات ازاء الدولار والعملات الاجنبية الاخرى ونحن ساعون وجادون في هذا المضمار وان هذه العملية ليست بالسهلة والبسيطة وتتوقف على العرض والطلب للدينار العراقي . He explained that Iraq Alshabibi aspire in the near future to the return of Iraqi dinar to what it was in the seventies and early eighties about the dollar and other foreign currencies and we are endeavouring and serious in this regard and that this process is not easy and simple and depends on the supply and demand of Iraqi dinars.
وعن تشجيع القطاع الخاص في نقل رؤوس الاموال بين الدول افاد بان الفرص مفتوحة امام الجميع وبكل حرية في ان ينقل امواله الى اي بلد يريد منوها بانه تنقصنا القضايا التنظيمية في هذا المجال لاننا ما زلنا نعاني من روتين قاتل في معظم دوائر الدولة. And encourage the private sector in the transfer of capital between the States reported that opportunities are open to all and free to move money to any country that wants alluding shortage of regulatory issues in this area because we are still suffering from a routine killer in most government departments.
(www.dinartrade.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 9, 2008 4:19 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

I do not believe the following has been posted here.
____________________________________________________________

Commission on oil and gas received a draft law establishing the National Oil Company

Baghdad - Iraq votes 05 / 04 / 2008 at 12:04:01


A Vice-Chairman of the oil and gas in the House of Representatives of Iraq, Saturday, that the draft law establishing the National Oil Company arrived at the parliament, which is the subject of discussion within the Commission for oil and gas in the Council.

He said Abdul Hadi Al-Hasani, in a statement to the Independent News Agency (Voices of Iraq), the draft law "includes founding the National Oil Company, with capital supported by the Iraqi government, in addition to the currently existing companies, namely: NOC and the South."

Al-Hasani said that the National Oil Company to be established "will be added to other companies in future, such as the company Maysan, Dhi Qar, unlike the two currently existing," any oil north and the south. He pointed out that the new company "will be out digging and extracting oil, as well as transportation and storage."

He stated that "provision is made for the establishment of the new company, capitalized preliminary," pointing out that it would be right National Oil Company "to borrow four times their capital."

The Vice-Chairman of the oil and gas in Parliament that the establishment of the National Oil Company is the "Introduction of legislation oil and gas law," saying that the Committee "demanded to increase the size of the company's capital to enable it to compete with international companies."

And the Bill of oil and gas said Al-Hasani, a deputy in Parliament from the Bloc (United Iraqi Alliance) owner of the majority, that the parliament "did not receive, until now, no copy of the Act, because of political differences around," likely delay adoption of this law.

The delayed approval of the House bill Iraqi oil and gas, which was approved by the Government of Nuri al-Maliki and forwarded to the Parliament in July last year, due to strong opposition of several parliamentary and political influence of the law.

She says that the strong opposition, the draft gives "concessions" unprecedented for foreign investors to establish oil installations and refineries and invested for periods of up to (50) years, and he devoted controlled territories wealth owned all the Iraqi people.
(www.dinartrade.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 9, 2008 4:21 PM


Sara wrote:

Thanks for the good posts, all. Carole - it is interesting that mankind thinks only of those who profess a belief in God as religious. Religious belief is how we think about God - whether we accept or reject that concept which is presented to our minds is equally religious. All men hold ultimate values and beliefs which are religious and are the basis of law, because law defines behavior as allowable or not. The US has the immortal words, "We find these truths to be self-evident... " enshrined in its laws. There are self-evident moral truths which are the basis of law. We know it innately and enshrine it within and codify it in law. For the vast majority of the population, these truths (such as that all men are created equal and no man is greater because of skin color, ethnicity, etc) is accepted. For those who accept the existence of God as a person (most religious views, that means) the presence of self-evident truths to mankind's minds is a proof of the existence of the Intelligent Creator whose laws are innately known. There are not "religious" people and "not religious" people on earth.. ALL are religious people. There is no one who does not hold to some truth or reasoning or values based on their own inner sense of "right" and "wrong".

Rom 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which do not have the law (of God), do by nature the things contained in the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves:
Rom 2:15 Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.

The work of God's law is written upon men's hearts even without the benefit of the written words such as the Ten Commandments to guide their behavior. There is no people who do not know that some things are evil and some are good. Mankind is not a blank slate, but has these laws engraved within their hearts and on their consciences from conception. They may accuse or excuse one another for violating those laws, but they are there just the same, and each one of us will one day be judged by God who is over us all (the next verse says, see Romans 2:16).

Jesus also said that people can serve inanimate objects as their God (money), even though they profess they do not have any religious belief in God Himself. For those who don't believe in God or choose something other than God to derive their moral code from and dedicate their lives to, it is just like those who don't believe in gravity - they may find the scientific reality a bit harsh one day when they step off a cliff.. or into the eternal realm at the time of their death - because true reality never changes.

As for Laura's post about not fully understanding God being absolutely ONE God, and ONLY One God, not three (polytheism) and yet manifesting to us in a way which shows us He is also three distinctly.. we can understand that ice, steam and liquid water are all H2O in different forms. Yet, you would not mistake ice for steam. God has chosen to explain to us that there are separations of Himself into three and yet, fully ONE. Personally, I think this is due to God being multi-dimensional and not living and existing only in our rather "Flatland" plane of four dimensional existence. He is trying to explain His multidimensionality to our finite minds who do not think above the fourth dimensional plane. String Theory says that there are AT LEAST eleven more planes.. God is higher above them all because He created each of them. This necessitates a person with a multidimensional personhood beyond our understanding on this plane. That is why He tries to explain it by saying He is ABSOLUTELY only ONE, and yet.. He can manifest Himself as three.

My favorite Scripture on the Oneness of God is in the Old Testament Deu 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

Which Jesus repeated in Mar 12:29-30 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And you shall love the Lord...

These verses distinctly say that God is ONLY One God and not more. Yet, in trying to explain how God could become a man, the prophecy in the Old Testament is given of Jesus being born and Isaiah said that there is given to the coming Messiah/Savior the name of "The Everlasting Father".. of course, this shows His being absolutely only ONE God as there is ONLY one Father..

Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Here is a child BORN who the prophet says is THE MIGHTY GOD, and also "The Everlasting Father".. Any person being born GOD in the Jewish mindset must be the only God, the SAME God of the Old Testament who is only One God and Father of us all.

Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all,

So we see God states in the Bible that He is ONE in an absolute way, a Mighty single God who is yet able to be born as a child and remain in that manifestation as The Everlasting Father. There is only ONE God and yet, He stayed in heaven (the heaven did not fall down when He came to earth) and was also on earth as a man. Jesus knew we would have difficulty with these concepts when He said:

Joh 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and you do not believe, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
Joh 3:13 And no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Here was Jesus standing before them as a man, and speaking of Himself (the Son of man) and saying that THEN, at that time, as they stood there, HE (Jesus) was IN HEAVEN right then. That is because He was not just on earth, but also simultaneously in all the other dimensions including the one we think of as "heaven". He tried to explain He came from heaven (no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven) and was still there (the Son of man which is in heaven). Being One in essence with what we think of as the Father God, Creator of all.

Ok.. as Laura said, maybe a bit too deep. But God is very deep.. more deep than any theologian can ever plumb the depths of.. beyond human understanding. God is only ONE God, but yet, He was not limited by that to being unable to manifest as a human if He willed to. He had the capability to become a man and still retain His Godhead. Of Jesus it is said:

Col 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Jesus somehow can have a body like a man, and still be fully God (with all that MUST mean). This is the incredible miracle of the baby in the manger in Bethlehem, "The Mighty God" prophecied by Isaiah to be born "unto us" humans.. so simple, yet hard to grasp. Ok, ok, back to the Dinar, I know. :)

Sara.

-- April 9, 2008 4:24 PM


Sara wrote:

Rob N;

As for your post, "Americans, common enemy of all Iraqi sects" where one person thinks his own opinion is typical of all the Iraqi people when he says, "All these are done by parties supported by the American occupation, therefore I am certain that all Iraqis hate Americans," - I doubt his assessment of everyone being like him. He is one vote, and only one.

However, I can say one thing.. and that is the reality that in general, nobody likes a cop. And the US military, just like the cops on the streets, have to choose a side to support. He says the Americans supported parties which did bad things when he says, "All these are done by parties supported by the American occupation,".. at least he acknowledges that it wasn't the Americans THEMSELVES doing it, but he speaks of the parties the US supported... well, the problem was that there wasn't anyone BETTER to support. You can only work with the people living on the streets, as cops well know. You can't work with the "better" people who would not have done anything wrong (the fictional ones this person is sure exists and the American forces "should have" allied themselves with).

Iraq was rife with corruption under Saddam. The US came in and removed him, but then couldn't do the job themselves. They just HAD to trust Iraqis. And when "All these (bad things) are done by parties supported by the American occupation" then the Americans get the fallout for the bad job these people they HAD to support do.. just like the cops when they take to the streets and make an alliance with one or a few groups and try to make it better. Maybe he needs to look a bit further than what happened and look at the raw materials the US was given in the first place.

Many have advocated allowing Saddam's Baathists back in power.. well, are they all upstanding citizens? And if you don't trust them, who do you trust? The US is walking a tightrope trusting ANY of these people who lived under corruption and may be corrupt themselves. But the US had to start somewhere.. the fact is, they probably did at least an average job of it, if not an excellent one given what they had to do and the personel they had to do it with.

The idea of the noble savage.. or the noble and pure Iraqi.. who would not do wrong (except for the evil influence of the Americans) is a myth these people have bought into. They are sinners plain and simple.. and perhaps the corruption and woes we have been able to see happen in Iraq shows us they were worse ones for living under Saddam Hussein, not better. Again, I say that the US did a good job with what they had to work with, and if there was corruption, these critics should look at who the US had to work with rather than blaming the US for the job of corrupt Iraqis.

Sara.

-- April 9, 2008 5:51 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

All,

There is some indication that our soldiers are amassing at the Iranian border. While it is not sure as of yet, it looks like America intends to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and Iranian Revoluntary Guard.

There are news stories on debka.com and crossfirewar.com that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was involved in the Basra incidents. There is also a report that the USS Abraham Lincoln has been ordered to the persian gulf.

Some reports in news stories are saying that Secretary of State, Condi Rice is in Israel to brief them on the current status of Iran's nuclear capabilities. Also, Vice President Cheney is speaking with the Saudis.

One news story states that Iran has passed the line to go back in their nuclear program. I think, there is going to be trouble. Also, the US has a nuclear submarine in the area too.

Also, the germans are in Israel to consult too. It is reported that Germany is against the strike. Admiral Tallon is also reported in news stories to have been sacked due to his opposition to an American Nuclear attack upon Iran.

Folks, this does not look good. This is looking like an Israelis and American operation thus far. Just a heads up. I think, we all need to be looking for news on this item. It sounds like this is going to happen. Apparently, General Petraus was more than a little angry about the Basra operation with Maliki and Iran's involvement in it.

Laura Parker

-- April 9, 2008 10:50 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Sara:

Thank you for you're comments. The site I quoted from is definitely an anti American site. I posted it as an alternative view.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 9, 2008 10:52 PM


Anonymous wrote:

All,

The actual article is entitled, "Exclusive: Iran, Syria, Lebanon on military alert over US Gulf Movements and Israel's home defense drill. Date is 4/6/08 and the link is:

www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=5168

Laura Parker

-- April 9, 2008 11:15 PM


Laura Parker wrote:

All,

The Crossfirewar article is written by: Willard Payne of presstv.com and the actual article:

newsblaze.com/story/20080330103131 payn.nb/topstory.html

or try:

www.crossfirewar.com

Laura Parker

-- April 9, 2008 11:34 PM


Carole wrote:

Rob,

Do you think that if Congress insists that Iraq fund their own reconstruction and parts of thier war, going forward, would cause them to HAVE TO do something about the value of the Dinar. This could be good news for us as investors AND TAXPAYERS!

Your thoughts.

Carole

-- April 10, 2008 6:23 AM


Sara wrote:

This has been predicted before.. see this 2007 article predicting the bomb being ready by about now (1 year later)..

==

Iran moves closer to making a nuclear bomb
By David Blair, Diplomatic Correspondent
23/06/2007

Iran claimed today to have stockpiled 100kg of enriched uranium, enough in theory to create two nuclear bombs of the kind that destroyed Hiroshima.

The news will once again stoke fears that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime is seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

By storing such a high quantity of low-enriched uranium, President Ahmadinejad's regime is widening its options.

It could choose to enrich the stockpiled uranium to weapons-grade level in a matter of months – perhaps after formally withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and breaking out of all international safeguards.

Iran claims that its nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful and designed to do nothing more than generate electricity for its growing population of 70 million. But western governments disbelieve this assertion.

Iran is defying three United Nations resolutions with its nuclear programme. In spite of international pressure to halt the programme it announced in April that it had started enriching uranium on an "industrial scale".

Uranium is enriched using machines called centrifuges. These have now been installed in Iran's nuclear plant at Natanz. A snap inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency last month found that 1,312 centrifuges were operating.

Iran's official target is to bring 3,000 into action – enough to produce sufficient weapons-grade uranium for one bomb in about a year.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/22/wnuke122.xml

===

As you may know, Iran moved to a faster centrifuge which can do the job sooner and announced these new "type two" centrifuges were up and running recently. To me it appears possible that the US and Israel are being forced into war by Iran's ability to produce nuclear bombs and Western distrust that they are merely producing what they need for nuclear fuel.

===

Ahmadinejad Says Iran Has Tested New Advanced Centrifuges
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
June 26, 2007: This satellite image shows Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility, where it has begun installing 6,000 new centrifuges.

TEHRAN, Iran — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Tuesday that the country has started to install 6,000 new centrifuges to enrich uranium and for the first time has tested an improved centrifuge that works five times faster that the current version.

If confirmed, the announcement would be a major expansion of Iran's uranium enrichment — a process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or material for a warhead.

Tehran says its nuclear program is intended only to produce energy, not develop weapons as the U.S. and many of its allies fear.

Iran already has about 3,000 centrifuges operating at its underground nuclear facility in Natanz. A total of 3,000 centrifuges is the commonly accepted figure for a nuclear enrichment program that is past the experimental stage and can be used as a platform for a full industrial-scale program that could churn out enough enriched material for dozens of nuclear weapons over time.

Ahmadinejad toured the Natanz facility in ceremonies marking the second anniversary of the day Iran first enriched uranium in 2006.

During the tour, he announced the start of work on installing the 6,000 new centrifuges. Later in a nationally televised speech, he announced the testing of the new, more effective centrifuge.

Ahmadinejad said a "new machine was put to test" that is smaller but five times more efficient than the P-1 centrifuges that are currently in operation at Natanz. He provided no further details on the new device or on how many Iran had.

He called the development a "breakthrough" and the "beginning of a speedy trend to eliminate the big powers" dominance in nuclear energy.

He lauded Iran's achieved proficiency in the cycle of nuclear fuel despite U.N. sanctions and pressures imposed by the world's big powers.

In the enrichment process, uranium gas is pumped into series of centrifuges called "cascades." The gas is spun at supersonic speeds to remove impurities. Enriching at a low level produces nuclear fuel, but at a higher level it can produce the material for a warhead.

The workhorse of Iran's enrichment program is the P-1 centrifuge, which is run in cascades of 164 machines. But Iranian officials confirmed in February that they had started using the more advanced IR-2 centrifuge, which can churn out enriched uranium at more than double the rate.

Iran says it plans to move toward large-scale uranium enrichment that ultimately will involve 54,000 centrifuges.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,347810,00.html

-- April 10, 2008 7:52 AM


Sara wrote:

Again, we must look at what was said before.
Just five months ago - BEFORE Iran announced the new type 2 centrifuges - this article was published which said,
QUOTE:

Whereas in Western terms, these figures may not be too scary, for Israel, the prospect of Iran’s Mahmud Ahmadinejad having two to four nuclear bombs to play with by spring 2008 is ominous enough to blow over all its security calculations.

===

Iran Much Closer to Nuclear Bomb than West Admits
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
November 19, 2007

Independent intelligence, military and scientific circles strongly suspect that Iran is a lot closer to a nuclear bomb than officials in the US, West Europe and Israel are ready to surmise in public.

DEBKAfile’s sources report that this suspicion was strengthened by the discoveries made in Syria as a result of the Israeli attack of Sept. 6. Those discoveries led US nuclear experts to three conclusions:

1. If Syria with its relatively meager resources could aspire to a plutonium reactor, then Iran which is flush with oil revenue and has an advanced technological infrastructure must be much farther ahead in the same direction.

2. If Syria could hide its projected construction of a North Korean plutonium reactor for several years, Iran must be assumed to have an already fully-functioning reactor of this type hidden away even longer.

3. Additional data reaching the US and Israel indicate that the boast made by Iranian president Ahmadinejad - and confirmed by the IAEA - that Tehran has 3,000 working centrifuges for uranium enrichment masks the real figure, which most likely tops 5,000 or is even close to 7,000 working machines.

Therefore, even if the Iranian nuclear industry is preyed by technical setbacks, it will be left with enough functioning machines to produce enough fissile material for at least two bombs a year.

Some intelligence experts expect Iran to spring the news on the world at any time soon of a breakthrough in its program or even a nuclear test. This tactic of announcing a fait accompli was practiced by Pakistan and North Korea, from both of which Iran’s nuclear program has drawn assistance.

The knowledgeable Israeli Air Force Colonel (Res.) Shmuel Gordon informed recipients of a private publication issued last week that, according to his information, Iran may have accumulated enough fissile material for two to four nuclear bombs.

The colonel refers to the small research reactor with “hot cells” which the United States gave to the shah of Iran in 1967 and which has since then been turning out 0.6 kilos of plutonium every year – a minute amount in Western terms, but in 35 years, Gordon points out, it would have processed 21 kilos – enough for two to three bombs.

Although the reactor is under IAEA inspection, there is no reliable information on the disposition of this product.

Col. Gordon provides chapter and verse for his reading of the state of Iran’s nuclear program.

In the past, China sold Iran 1,800 tons of uranium in gaseous and solid form. In January, 2007, after Iranian scientists learned to operate a small number of centrifuges, they began to assemble 3,000 which, says the Israeli officer, can produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb every 330 days.

Fissile material alone does not constitute a bomb. The next steps in the process are technically demanding and costly. In the 1980s, the father of the Pakistan bomb, A. Q. Khan, cashed in on his experience by establishing an international nuclear black market. When the Libyan nuclear program was dismantled two years ago, evidence was found that he had sold Iran detailed instructions with diagrams on how to manufacture a nuclear device and build nuclear warheads for missiles. Some of these documents were released last week to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Israeli colonel points out that while India, Pakistan and North Korea required 15 years of development before attaining a nuclear weapon and a missile for its delivery, Iran has been working on its program more than 15 years and its engineering, technical and technological infrastructure is superior to that of its three Asian predecessors. Iran produces airplanes, missiles and sophisticated ships and armaments. Tehran also has access to assistance from Russia, China, Pakistan and North Korea.

Two months ago, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the system was working. Tehran has consistently lied about its nuclear program. The truth was extracted only when there was no other choice. Only recently did the nuclear watchdog inspectors confess they had never been allowed to set foot in the underground facility at Natanz and were therefore unable to establish how many centrifuges were installed and when. At the same time, Tehran admitted that it aspires to have the round number of 50,000 centrifuges spinning the uranium gas into nuclear fuel, thereby producing a quantity for making a bomb every 20 days.

Whereas in Western terms, these figures may not be too scary, for Israel, the prospect of Iran’s Mahmud Ahmadinejad having two to four nuclear bombs to play with by spring 2008 is ominous enough to blow over all its security calculations.

http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1315

If Iran already has two nukes - and likely twice as many centrifuges as they publicly admit - and if many of the centrifuges are the new type 2 and so enriching uranium at a much faster rate than projected before..

The US being forced into a confrontation over Iran's nuclear armament ambitions appears very possible.

As another site I was reading today observed, "The administration was stunned by December's National Intelligence Estimate which claimed Iran had abandoned its nuclear warhead programme. "It was the Intelligence world deliberately getting at Bush," said the general. But since then the International Atomic Energy Authority has reported that the scale of activity in Iran's nuclear plants and labs suggests a weapons programme is under way. The electoral timetable points to an attack soon. The Majlis vote in Iran has just reinforced the hardliners, and Bush knows he must strike before the presidential election gets underway in the US. The neocon advisers have never missed a beat in their warning: "Bush and Cheney won't allow Iran to go nuclear on their watch."

It would be the height of irresponsibility to allow Iran to go nuclear when they are not peaceful in intent toward the world. War is therefore possible.. and quite likely.

Our prayers for wisdom in how to wage that war so the least casualties are incurred and the most damage to Iran's plan for nuclear weaponization (the mission is accomplished) will definitely be said before the announcement of the necessity to commence any hostility.

Given these current realities, a diplomatic solution appears unlikely to continue as a viable option.. and it does appear likely that the US will be forced (regretfully) into a war it did not seek. God protect the American people and their allies.. at home, and abroad - particularly those in uniform - as they confront this threat to freedom and world peace in our world.

Sara

-- April 10, 2008 8:54 AM


Sara wrote:

Laura;

While I have for some time said on this site that I believe the US is likely to be forced (by Iran's nuclear armament ambitions) to go to war with Iran, the timetable for doing so has always remained elusive. The alarming article you posted a link to called, "Exclusive: Iran, Syria, Lebanon on military alert over US Gulf movements and Israel’s home defense drill" had some insights into the possible timetable by stating that BRITISH MEDIA think the US is setting up now to strike Iranian facilities. However, we cannot be certain that this will result in the US being forced into a war stance at this time.

When it says, "Official sources in London predict that Iran’s intervention against the American effort to stabilize Iraq may well prompt a US attack on the military installations in Iran which are orchestrating the interference."

This speculation and "predicting" of what "may" happen about Iran has been ongoing for some time, and while I believe the US will eventually be forced into a war stance toward Iran, there is no indication that I can see which proves it is happening now conclusively. Indeed, the article admits, "Gates insisted to correspondents aboard his plane that the US is committed to a diplomatic solution for Iran’s covert nuclear program."

Though that can change, so long as it is being said that diplomacy is still being tried, even the movement of a ship (the USS Lincoln) to the Persian Gulf cannot be taken as a certain indication of a war stance. (The US does move their ships around the world for reasons other than to wage war.) Iran's idea that the US and Israel will attack them, Syria and terrorists in Lebanon all at the same time is also not substantiated at this time. Such predictions of what "may" happen one day are still very far from certain.

While it is irresponsible to allow Iran to go nuclear and arm themselves with nuclear arms.. the timing of resolving the situation by non-peaceful means is not conclusively shown by the circumstantial evidence that is presented. I think that they could more easily peg the Dinar as an economic move to thwart Iran's ambitions in the region. I would exhaust all other possibilities before trying war.. including pegging the Dinar.

Sara.

-- April 10, 2008 9:34 AM


Rob N. wrote:

Carole:

Normally, I do not agree with the Dems on much of anything. In this case, I think they make a valid point. As long as we continue to spoon feed the GoI, I am not sure they will have any incentive to move forward.

Having them pay part of their reconstruction costs is only fair. According to what I have read the Iraqi's have about $60 billion in reserves gained from oil porfits.

You ask a very important question. In my opinion, I guess it depends whether the GoI pay these expenditures in dollars or dinars. With the current exchange rate it may be more advantages for them to pay these costs in dollars instead of dinars.

If these costs are paid in dollars it may not necessitate the CBI to radically alter the exchange rate. On the other hand, if the HCL is passed and the GoI monetizes its oil (Petro-Dinars) then paying theses costs in Dinars seems more likely. If reconstruction costs are paid in Dinars then that may necessitate a change in the exchange rate whether by a revaluation or a limited free float.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 10, 2008 10:34 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Former Iraq premier hopes Japan can do more for Iraq

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi wants Japan to contribute further to bringing political and economic stability to his war-ravaged country.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 10, 2008 11:09 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Politics

Shia leader tries to contain militia
By Steve Negus and Demetri Sevastopulo

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Iraq/Washington, 10 April 2008 (Financial Times)
Print article Send to friend
Violence in Baghdad claimed the lives of more than 20 people on Wednesday as fighting between Iraqi troops and Shia militias threatened to undermine efforts by Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric, to contain the conflict.

The clashes occurred in Sadr city, a Baghdad slum, as the capital was placed under a vehicle curfew to mark the fifth anniversary of the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Iraqi leaders are trying to contain the fallout from a failed government offensive against militias in Basra in which members of the Madhi army, a militia loyal to Mr Sadr, outfought Iraqi forces.

General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, this week told the US Congress that the Basra offensive, which sparked the recent violence in Baghdad, was poorly planned. He said Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, had ignored his military advice.

George W. Bush, US president, is on Thursday expected to endorse the recommendation by Gen Petraeus this week that the Pentagon should pause troop reductions this summer after the departure of the five combat brigades that made up the US military “surge”.

Ike Skelton, the Democratic chairman of the armed services committee, on Wednesday told Gen Petraeus at another congressional hearing that the conflict in Iraq was taking resources away from Afghanistan and other potential conflicts.

“When looking at the needs in Afghanistan, the effort in Iraq, however important, is putting at risk our ability to decisively defeat those most likely to attack us,” said Mr Skelton. “Iraq is also ­preventing us from effectively preparing for the next conflict.”

Meanwhile, the US military said on Wednesday that an unmanned drone had fired a Hellfire missile at gunmen attacking Iraqi forces and troops of the US-led coalition in the region of Sadr City, killing two.

Such incidents have been frequent in the week since Mr Maliki called off his “Charge of the Knights” offensive in Basra that was aimed at disarming “lawless” gunmen.

Mr Sadr initially co-operated with the government by calling his followers off the streets, but the aftermath appears to have placed him in an awkward position.

He is caught between a militant core of his movement that appears anxious to respond to what it considers government provocations and a general public which seems weary of the proliferation of armed groups.

He seems determined to transform his militia from a fairly loose coalition into a more disciplined political organisation, but appearing too conciliatory would risk losing his already strained authority over his more radical followers.

Officials in Baghdad say Mr Sadr might be outside Iraq, probably in Iran, which would make him cautious about judging trends within his movement and within Iraqi internal politics.

Whatever the cause, Mr Sadr’s statements since the end of the offensive have contained notes of both militancy and pliancy.

Mr Maliki, on the other hand, has been surprisingly confident for a leader who presided over a military operation widely viewed as a fiasco, and he has kept up the political pressure on Mr Sadr even as he called off military operations.

In a recent interview, Mr Maliki suggested that the Sadrists would be banned from taking part in elections unless the Mahdi Army was disbanded.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 10, 2008 11:18 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Politics

A golden chance for al-Maliki
The Iraqi president gains a "near victory" in the latest battles in the south.
By Karwan Abdullah

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10 April 2008 (Kurdish Globe)
Print article Send to friend
Kicking a "political and military goal" in the southern provinces may give Iraqi forces better security control there and "more organized preparation for the upcoming provincial elections."

U.S. President George W. Bush announced his support to the Iraqi military operations in their attempts to defeat militias belonging to the Al-Sadr Stream, and described it as an important historical stage in rebuilding Iraq and settling the most complicated problems of Iraqis. This was a clear American message for weakening and deactivating those gunmen who continue their political and military activities in favor of neighboring countries.

The contribution of American air power on the first days of the operation in southern Iraq reflected another sign of the seriousness and widening of the procedures. Al-Maliki's operation would have failed and the gunmen would have had better chances at power had American air power not contributed, and the conflict almost ended in favor of al-Maliki. This encouraged him to adopt a different stance on militias. He publicly threatened to take them down and secretly sent a delegation to Iran to negotiate with Muqtada al-Sadr, the Sadr Stream's leader, to end armed demonstrations.

Muqtada al-Sadr holds the command of Al-Mahdi Army militias; he came to the conclusion after the latest conflict that if the battles continue, they may not only lose their military power but also any achievements they have made in the political process. With his agreement with al-Maliki, al-Sadr could prevent much damage. But analyzing from al-Sadr's point of view, they could add a larger number of supporters and hide the weapons that were in the hands of their militiamen.

But the question remains, why was this operation announced so suddenly? As it is known, al-Maliki was preparing for another battle aiming to tackle al-Qaeda gunmen in Mosul in the north, but suddenly the direction changed toward the south. This change from one front to another is interpreted by political and military observers as benefitting time and delaying a battle for another, wider one. The battle in the south, if not launched by al-Maliki, would have been set off by militias. In that case, it would become much more difficult for the Iraqi prime minister to deal with putting aside all political, social, and economic problems now witnessed in the country. Deciding to launch such firm operations sounds close to American advice because, as al-Maliki says, "these militias are much more dangerous than al-Qaeda." In addition, they have access to a wide range of supporters and armed forces. Thus, if al-Qaeda needs to be considered, those militias should be given more consideration as well, especially those affiliated with al-Sadr.

Al-Maliki was able, for a specific time, to gather most Iraqi political powers, including Shiites and Sunnis, Kurds, Arabs and other ethnic groups, for support. As a result, he kicked a political and military goal over al-Sadr and won a chance for executing government projects in those areas. More importantly, Iraqi official forces will be able to have better security control in the southern province and more organized preparation for the upcoming provincial elections.

Meanwhile, after these armed conflicts, the issue of forming southern and middle federal regions can become more acceptable like never before. Also, the unity achieved among political powers after the latest operation could pave the way for agreements between al-Maliki and Kurdistan Region for resolving their outstanding issues.

Briefly, this victory of al-Maliki's does not mean the absolute uproot of the militias or the end to the problems in those places. Al-Maliki's steps are a direction in the way people in the south and in the middle feel about the government's authority and the existence of law. This means that, although political negotiation with al-Sadr calmed the conflicts, in the military aspect, there shouldn't be compromises over the militias and the armed phenomenon. They must be dealt with legally and according to law. And these steps can hardly be achieved unless the government acts according to the constitution, which was voted upon by the Iraqi people.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 10, 2008 11:22 AM


Laura Parker wrote:

All,

I have just listened to President Bush's speech to the nation. He was very combative in his language towards Iran. He stated that if Iran does the right thing by not interferring with Iraq's internal government than Iran has a neighbor for a friend. However, if Iran makes the wrong choice than American will defend it's interest.

Maybe not a direct quote, but close enough. I am still convinced that the American's are going to attack Iran.

What better time, before the surge ends. I think Basra was the straw that broke the camel's back. Basra was directed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops and General Petraeus knows it. That is why Maliki was out gunned in Basra. USA is not going to let Iran get away with Basra... mark my words!

In one of those articles I saw, the Russians were providing intellectance that the american soldiers were massing on the Iranian border.

The democrats are wanting an answer from Bush in their speeches about what he is going to do. I think they are going to get their answer soon.

I believe that if the troops go into Iran, (and I'm not sure they will go into Iran-- maybe they are there for just protecting the borders)-- they will have some limited objectives inside of Iran to destroy. I think the war planners are going to bomb the nuclear facilities of Iran to draw the time frame of their nuclear progress back.

Once america attacks, the Iranians will make the war more direct and they will use the attacks as justification. But I believe america will attack because Basra is in the arrears of the soldiers and needed militarily for withdrawal as well as for the Iraqi oil ministry.

Keep watching!

Laura Parker

-- April 10, 2008 12:23 PM


Sara wrote:

Laura;

Certainly the concern over war between Israel and Syria recently could be greatly exaggerated. Though Syria is posturing that they would be ready for war if there were one, Israel is saying they meant nothing by their exercise and were just training for the ongoing conflict which is beseiging the country.
QUOTE:

Mekdad went on to say that the drill was meant to rehabilitate the IDF's deterrence capability - which he claimed was lost in the Second Lebanon War - restore the confidence of the Israeli public in the army and generate an atmosphere of readiness among the ranks of the military.

As one official said,
QUOTE:

"There is no reason any of Israel's neighbors should be concerned. This exercise is internal, and it is part of the lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War about better preparing our civilian populations. Israel does not seek conflict with our neighbors. We seek peace with them, including Syria."

As the article concludes:

According to the report, which quoted sources in Jerusalem, talks between the two countries have been going on over the past two years with the intention of setting down the groundwork for a peace agreement.

===

Syrian official: We're prepared for war
Apr 8, 2008 10:39 | Updated Apr 9, 2008 0:07
By JPOST.COM STAFF

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's messages of reassurance to assuage Syrian fears over Israel's nationwide drill did not succeed in curbing the rhetoric coming out of Damascus on Tuesday.

A senior Syrian official said Tuesday that Syria would be prepared for all possible scenarios as soon as the "language of understanding" with Israel over the peace process ended.

"When the language of understanding with Israel regarding the peace process comes to an end, Syria will be prepared for any possibility," Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said in an interview with the government-controlled Al-Thawra newspaper. "The Israelis aren't aware that we know that every war has its own path? The more Israel tries to generate this centralized atmosphere in order to reap benefit from the July downfall [the Second Lebanon War], [Syria] cannot but also draw plans in advance of a conflict."

Mekdad went on to say that the drill was meant to rehabilitate the IDF's deterrence capability - which he claimed was lost in the Second Lebanon War - restore the confidence of the Israeli public in the army and generate an atmosphere of readiness among the ranks of the military.

"If Syria is the target of all of this, know that we are following the drill and are also developing our capabilities and our plans to face the Israeli maneuvers," he warned.

Olmert and his associates reiterated Tuesday that Syria should have nothing to worry about.

"We don't expect anything to happen [with Syria]," Olmert said on a tour of IDF Central Command. "We are not worried that they want something to happen. I think they know it would not be a good thing for something to develop in the North. They know what our abilities are, and that's why I think reports of tension are exaggerated."

An Olmert associate added: "There is no reason any of Israel's neighbors should be concerned. This exercise is internal, and it is part of the lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War about better preparing our civilian populations. Israel does not seek conflict with our neighbors. We seek peace with them, including Syria."

Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida reported Tuesday that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was planning to visit Qatar next week, where she is expected meet senior Syrian envoys in order to "complete the covert negotiations between Israel and Syria."

According to the report, which quoted sources in Jerusalem, talks between the two countries have been going on over the past two years with the intention of setting down the groundwork for a peace agreement.

Livni's office could not confirm or deny the report.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1207486219711&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

-- April 10, 2008 2:25 PM


Carole wrote:

Rob,
Thanks for your response. I seem to agree. Do you r3member about 1 year ago it was reproted that the Iraqi"s were practically confiscating "dollars". On this blog, I remember people were confused about it. WELLLLLLL, perhaps they for saw the need to access our currency in their future. Especially after the Dems won majority in Congress. Dems in power present a real threat to their future hopes of American involvement and support.

Carole

-- April 10, 2008 2:28 PM


Carole wrote:

Laura,

In my opinion, as long as Olmert and the Peoples party is in power in Israel, there will be little or no aggressive attacks unless Israel is attacked in a very powerful way. Sharon made it very clear that "Israel will not do the dirty work for the world..." and certainly in our present political climate here in the US we will not tAKE ANY AGGRESSIVE ACTION. So this has provided an anmazing opportunity for the evildoers to advance their strategies. Unless someone bites the bullet and moves forward to stop the Iranians and Syrians the future to middleast and world peace is pretty glim.

Carole

-- April 10, 2008 2:40 PM


Sara wrote:

Carole;

I agree with you on Sharon/Olmert/Israel not doing anything aggressive and the US not being willing to take any aggressive action, either. It will have to be that the US (and Israel) are FORCED into war for there to be one. But, unfortunately, that is only a matter of time because Iran will not stop having nuclear ambitions for an arsenal of weapons to use against the "evil" unbelievers of every stripe, both in the Middle East and around the rest of the world. Like Hitler, they will start off modestly, but their aim is world domination, and with that ideology, they will eventually force our hand into war. At which point, the peaceniks will go on and on about what terrible warmongers we are.. when it was only a response to attack, such as it was with 911. In history, it doesn't matter how civil you are.. only if you win, unfortunately. And the last one to engage the world in his world domination ideology (Hitler) took a lot of good young people's souls with him into the next life.. by the millions. Let us hope it can be avoided this time with strategy which makes each life given to win our freedom from tyranny precious.. and few. May there never have to be another draft of every able young person, and may it not carry on like murder mills for literally YEARS in order for us to defeat the strategems of enemies who are hell bent on destroying all our freedoms and bringing us all under their world domination ideology - this time radical Islamic fundamentalism instead of Nazism.

Sara.

-- April 10, 2008 8:27 PM


Sara wrote:

EXCELLENT news.. !! :)

The Ayatolla Sistani has announced his respect for the separation of powers of church and state, showing his respect of the will of the people in selecting their leaders. This includes the authority of the duly elected government and the rule of law including the role of the government's military arm - which ensures security and peace to all of the people to live in peace and so continue in their varied ideological or religious observances.
QUOTE:

"Sistani has a clear opinion in this regard; the law is the only authority in the country,"

This viewpoint is wise as it can unite them as one people under one government (which will make them strong, prosperous and peaceful) because peaceful coexistence can happen if they will stop killing each other over their various ideological and religious viewpoints. Obviously, arming a militia to enforce a different set of laws and a viewpoint only held by 30 representative seats in the parliament (a minority) cannot be tolerated by a duly elected, representative and free government.

===

Ayatollah Sistani on the Mahdi Army: “the law is the only authority in the country”
By Bill Roggio
April 9, 2008

With the Iraqi government applying pressure to the Sadrist movement and Muqtada al Sadr to disband the Mahdi Army, Iraq’s senior Shia cleric has weighed in on the issue. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most revered Shia cleric in Iraq, backed the government’s position that the Mahdi Army should surrender its weapons and said he never consulted with Sadr on disbanding the Mahdi Army. Instead, the decision to disband the Mahdi Army is Sadr’s to make.

Sistani spoke through Jalal el Din al Saghier, a senior leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a rival political party to the Sadrist movement. Saghier was clear that Sistani did not sanction the Mahdi Army and called for it to disarm.

"Sistani has a clear opinion in this regard; the law is the only authority in the country," Saghier told Voices of Iraq, indicating Sistani supports Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and the government in the effort to sideline the Mahdi Army. "Sistani asked the Mahdi army to give in weapons to the government."

Sadr did not consult with Sistani on the issue of disbanding the Mahdi Army, disputing a claim from Sadrist spokesmen who intimated Iraqi’s top cleric told Sadr to maintain his militia. "The top Shiite cleric had not been consulted in establishing the Mahdi Army, so [he] could not interfere in dissolving it,” Saghier said. “Whosoever established the al-Mahdi army has to dissolve it; Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr established this army and it is only him who has to dissolve it."

On April 6, Iraq’s Political Council for National Security moved to bar the Sadrist movement from participating in upcoming provincial elections in October if it did not disband the Mahdi Army. The plan had the full backing of Sunni, Kurdish, and Shia political parties.

The move caused panic inside the Sadrist movement as their political isolation became apparent. "We, the Sadrists, are in a predicament," Hassan al Rubaie, a Sadrist member of parliament said the day the Political Council for National Security announced the plan. "Our political isolation was very clear and real during the meeting." he said, referring to the meeting of the Political Council for National Security, where the legislation was announced. "Even the blocs that had in the past supported us are now against us and we cannot stop them from taking action against us in parliament."

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/04/ayatollah_sistani_on.php

-- April 11, 2008 1:57 AM


Sara wrote:

Alleged Al Qaeda chief dead, officials say
Abu Ubaida al Masri, suspected of planning the London transportation bombings that killed 52, is believed to have died of hepatitis C.
By Sebastian Rotella, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 10, 2008

MADRID -- Abu Ubaida al Masri, a suspected mastermind of Al Qaeda plots including the London transportation bombings of 2005, has died of an infectious disease in Pakistan, Western anti-terrorism officials said Wednesday.

The Egyptian militant was in his mid-40s and is thought to have died of hepatitis C, a U.S. anti-terrorism official said. Masri was the powerful, if little-known, chief of the terrorist network's external operations who allegedly trained recruits in hide-outs in Pakistan and dispatched them to carry out attacks against the West, according to Western investigators.

As The Times reported last week, anti-terrorism officials in at least three countries had come to believe that Masri had died in recent months, but investigators did not have confirmation and noted that Al Qaeda had not paid tribute to Masri with eulogies on the Internet as it has with other fallen leaders.

Recently, however, anti-terrorism investigators detected conversations among Al Qaeda militants revealing that Masri had died of hepatitis C, the U.S. official said. Death by illness would explain the lack of eulogies, which are generally reserved for extremists who die violently as "martyrs," officials said.

Investigators say he also played a lead role in the most ambitious plot since the Sept. 11 attacks: a foiled attempt in August 2006 to blow up planes from Britain to North America using smuggled liquid explosives and bomb components. Eight suspects are now on trial in London in that case.

Although confirmation remains difficult, the latest intelligence seems conclusive, officials said.

"We consider him dead," a Western intelligence official said. "I have not seen a body, of course."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-masri10apr10,0,7986515.story

-- April 11, 2008 2:08 AM


Investor wrote:

Sara,

So, in the world of radical Islam, where sexual purity is highly esteemed, in contrast to the supposedly immoral Christian world, how did Abu Ubaida Al Masri, Muslim mastermind, catch a blood born disease?

From a medical site:

"How do you catch Hepatitis C?

Hep C is NOT spread by casual contact. You can NOT catch it through kissing, hugging, sharing utensils or sharing food. Having sex is considered low risk for the spread of Hep C but the risk increases with the number of partners you have. Wear a condom, practice safer sex, there are still lots of other STDs to worry about!!!

DO NOT, EVER, SHARE needles, straws for snorting, spoons, pipes or any other drug-related equipment.
DO NOT SHARE toothbrushes, nail clippers or razors. Remember Hep C is spread by blood to blood contact.
NEVER get a tattoo with home-made equipment. Make sure the needles and ink are new and not used before. The same goes for ALL piercing equipment. Tattooing and piercing businesses are not inspected by government agencies. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!!"

So I wonder what it was? Do people in AL Queda shoot up heroin? Do they share needles? Have unprotected sex? Multiple sexual partners? AIDS is also a blood born disease, more common in the gay population. Is that it? Gay sex in a terrorist organization? Forget the condom? Get dirty tatoos?

Several years ago, there were news reports that one of the "macho men" of Islam, the now deceased head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Yassir Arafat, who died in a hospital in France, was in fact, gay, and had several homosexual relationships in a row. The report alleged that Yassir, in fact, died of AIDS, and the liberal media hushed it up.

Also:

From the LA Times:

April 3, 2002

Kandahar's Lightly Veiled Homosexual Habits

Society: Restrictions on relations with women lead to greater prevalence of liaisons between men, a professor says.

by Maura Reynolds
Kandahar, Afghanistan - In his 29 years, Mohammed Daud has seen the faces of perhaps 200 women. A few dozen were family members. The rest were glimpses stolen when he should not have been looking and the women were caught without their face-shrouding burkas.

"How can you fall in love with a girl if you can't see her face?" he asks.

Daud is unmarried and has sex only with men and boys. But he does not consider himself homosexual, at least not in the Western sense. "I like boys, but I like girls better," he says. "It's just that we can't see the women to see if they are beautiful. But we can see the boys, and so we can tell which of them is beautiful."

Daud, a motorbike repairman who asked that only his two first names and not his family name be used, has a youthful face, a jaunty black mustache and a post-Taliban cleanshaven chin. As he talks, his knee bounces up and down, an involuntary sign of his embarrassment.

"These are hard questions you are asking," he says. "We don't usually talk about such things." Though rarely acknowledged, the prevalence of sex between Afghan men is an open secret, one most observant visitors quickly surmise. Ironically, it is especially true here in Kandahar, which was the heartland of the puritanical Taliban movement.

It might seem odd to a Westerner that such a sexually repressive society is marked by heightened homosexual activity. But Justin Richardson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, says such thinking is backward--it is precisely the extreme restrictions on sexual relations with women that lead to greater prevalence of the behavior. "In some Muslim societies where the prohibition against premarital heterosexual intercourse is extremely high--higher than that against sex between men--you will find men having sex with other males not because they find them most attractive of all but because they find them most attractive of the limited options available to them," Richardson says.

In other words, sex between men can be seen as the flip side of the segregation of women. And perhaps because the ethnic Pushtuns who dominate Kandahar are the most religiously conservative of Afghanistan's major ethnic groups, they have, by most accounts, a higher incidence of homosexual relations. Visitors might think they see the signs. For one thing, Afghan men tend to be more intimate with other men in public than is common in the West. They will kiss, hold hands and drape their arms around each other while drinking tea or talking.

Moreover, there is a strong streak of dandyism among Pushtun males. Many line their eyes with kohl, stain their fingernails with henna or walk about town in clumsy, high-heeled sandals.

The love by men for younger, beautiful males, who are called halekon, is even enshrined in Pushtun literature. A popular poem by Syed Abdul Khaliq Agha, who died last year, notes Kandahar's special reputation. "Kandahar has beautiful halekon," the poem goes. "They have black eyes and white cheeks."

But a visitor who comments on such things is likely to be told they are not signs of homosexuality. Hugging doesn't mean sex, locals insist. Men who use kohl and henna are simply "uneducated." Regardless, when asked directly, few deny that a significant percentage of men in this region have sex with men and boys. Just ask Mullah Mohammed Ibrahim, a local cleric.

"Ninety percent of men have the desire to commit this sin," the mullah says. "But most are right with God and exercise control. Only 20 to 50% of those who want to do this actually do it." Following the mullah's math, this suggests that between 18% and 45% of men here engage in homosexual sex--significantly higher than the 3% to 7% of American men who, according to studies, identify themselves as homosexual.

That is a large number to defy the strict version of Islam practiced in these parts, which denounces sex between men as taboo. Muslims seeking council from religious elders on the topic will find them unsympathetic. "Every person has a devil inside him," says Ibrahim. "If a person commits this sin, it is the work of the devil." The Koran mandates "hard punishment" for offenders, the mullah explains. By tradition there are three penalties: being burned at the stake, pushed over the edge of a cliff or crushed by a toppled wall.

During its reign in Kandahar, the Taliban implemented the latter. In February 1998, it used a tank to push a brick wall on top of three men, two accused of sodomy and the third of homosexual rape. The first two died; the third spent a week in the hospital and, under the assumption that God had spared him, was sent to prison. He served six months and fled to Pakistan.

Apparently to discourage post-Taliban visitors, the owners of a nearby house have begun rebuilding on the site. "A lot of foreigners came and started interviewing people," says Abdul Baser, a 24-year-old neighbor, who points out the trench where the men were crushed. "Since then they have rebuilt the wall."

But many accuse the Taliban of hypocrisy on the issue of homosexuality. "The Taliban had halekon, but they kept it secret," says one anti-Taliban commander, who is rumored to keep two halekon. "They hid their halekon in their madrasas," or religious schools.

It's not only religious authorities who describe homosexual sex as common among the Pushtun. Dr. Mohammed Nasem Zafar, a professor at Kandahar Medical College, estimates that about 50% of the city's male residents have sex with men or boys at some point in their lives. He says the prime age at which boys are attractive to men is from 12 to 16--before their beards grow in. The adolescents sometimes develop medical problems, which he sees in his practice, such as sexually transmitted diseases and sphincter incontinence. So far, the doctor said, AIDS does not seem to be a problem in Afghanistan, probably because the country is so isolated.

"Sometimes when the halekon grow up, the older men actually try to keep them in the family by marrying them off to their daughters," the doctor says. Zafar cites a local mullah whom he caught once using the examination table in the doctor's one-room clinic for sex with a younger man. "If this is our mullah, what can you say for the rest?" Zafar asks.

Richardson, the psychiatry professor, says it would be wrong to call Afghan men homosexual, since their decision to have sex with men is not a reflection of what Westerners call gender identity. Instead, he compares them to prison inmates: They have sex with men primarily because they find themselves in a situation where men are more available as sex partners than are women. "It is something they do," he notes, "not something they are."

Daud, the motorbike repairman, would concur that the segregation of women lies at the heart of the matter. Daud says his first sexual experience with a man occurred when he was 20, about the time he realized that he would have difficulty marrying. In Pushtun culture, the man has to pay for his wedding and for gifts and clothes for the bride and her family. For many men, the bill tops $5,000--such an exorbitant sum in this impoverished country that some men, including Daud, are dissuaded from even trying.

"I would like to get married, but the economic situation in our country makes it hard," Daud says. Daud talked about his sex life only in private and after being assured that no photos would be taken. "I have relations with different boys--some for six months, some for one month. Some are with me for six years," he says. "The problem is also money. If you want to have a relationship with a boy, you have to buy things for him. That's why it's not bad for the boy. Some relationships need a lot of money, some not so much. Sometimes I fix a motorbike and give it to him as a present."

It is not easy to conduct homosexual affairs, he admits. Home is out of the question. "If my father were to find me, he'd kick me out of the house," Daud says. "If you want to have sex, you have to find a secret place. Some go to the mountains or the desert."

Opinions differ as to whether homosexual practices in Kandahar are becoming more open or more closed since the Taliban was defeated. For instance, after anti-Taliban forces arrived in the city in early December, some Westerners reported seeing commanders going about town openly with their halekon. But that has changed in recent weeks since Kandahar's new governor, Gul Agha Shirzai, issued an order banning boys under 18 from living with troops. Officially, the ban is aimed at ending the practice of using children as soldiers.

"It is not that way," says one of the governor's top aides, Engineer Yusuf Pashtun, objecting to the insinuation that the boys may have been used for sex. The governor's order said only that "no boys should be recruited in the army before the age of 18," he adds.

Still, the anti-Taliban commander, who is close to Shirzai, acknowledged that one goal of the order was to keep halekon out of the barracks. The move simply drove the practice underground, he says.

Zafar, the doctor, says that in the community at large the Taliban frightened many men into abstinence. "Under the Taliban, no more than 10% practiced homosexual sex," he says. "But now the government isn't paying attention, so it may go back up to 50%."

But Daud thinks the opposite may happen. If coeducation returns and the dress code for women eases, men will have fewer reasons to seek solace in the beds--or fields or storage rooms--of other men.

"As for me, if I find someone and see she is beautiful, I will send my mother over to her" to ask for her hand in marriage, Daud says. "I'm just waiting to see her.

-- April 11, 2008 9:45 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Digital Economy

The banking system is the main artery financer of the various processes of economic and social development plans; it is the system which collects national savings, on one hand, and grants them in the form of loans and credit facilities in several areas, on the other... The banking system in Iraq is one of the vital links that have contributed to the national economy in various economic and social activities... The banking and financial sector is at the forefront of service sectors affected by the "global economy" trends in the area of IT and communication revolution due to the nature of its activities.. The technical challenges faced by this sector are due to the large number of computer systems in this sector where accelerating the development rates of the banking work internationally is connected to the availability of the foundations of knowledge in "digital economy" which is based on information technology services and digital exchange of information, as well as mobile phones and other electronic pillars.. This was reflected in the evolution of electronic trade... Actions have been made to modernize the banking sector through the provision of banking services by using the Internet and entering the field of electronic trade, as well as the modernization of the institutional frameworks that support the transition to comprehensive banking services and continue to provide innovative... International information network "Internet" became an important source of access to financial services and the mechanism recognized for the completion of financial and banking transactions in accordance with the standards that do not require consultation; banks are facing a new competition in the development of electronic distribution, and even new activities were developed called the work close to the banks, such as software companies and information network service providers, which are expected to become part of the banking work... And the most important question here is, where is the Iraqi banking sector from these developments.
(www.dinartrade.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 11, 2008 10:14 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq closer to signing contracts with oil majors as surplus provokes anger in Washington

The Government of Iraq and French energy giant Total are close to agreeing a $500m oil service contract but the country’s bulging oil revenues have caused a storm in Washington over the billions of U.S. dollars spent on reconstruction that Iraq has so far failed to match.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 11, 2008 10:15 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Assault on Basra helped curb oil smuggling, says minister
By Sam Dagher

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baghdad, 11 April 2008 (Christian Science Monitor)
Print article Send to friend
The recent fight in Basra between Iraqi forces and Shiite militiamen was about more than a government bid to reassert itself in a city where Moqtada Al Sadr's Mahdi Army was digging in. It was also about oil - and smuggling.

Before the assault began on March 23, the Iraqi government drew up a list of about 200 suspected oil smugglers it hoped to round up - including the brother of the governor of Basra Province and, according to Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain Al Shahristani, several leaders linked to Sadr's militia.

For the government, which relies on oil revenues to fund most of its budget, the financial stakes are immense. While there are no accurate figures, an Iraqi parliamentary committee says that losses from oil smuggling run $5 billion [about Dh18.3 billion] a year.

"We have cleansed large swaths on both sides of Shatt Al Arab that were being used to smuggle oil products and other materials," says Shahristani, who spoke during an interview at the Oil Ministry in Baghdad on Monday, describing the government achievements in Basra so far.

"Many of the gangs are colluding with local officials, powerful parties, or militias; it's a web of interrelations," he says.

Shatt Al Arab, a haven for smugglers, is the 120-mile waterway formed by the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers at Qurnah in Basra Province and runs to the Persian Gulf.

Shahristani says the Basra assault, which was led by Iraqi forces and backed up by the US and British militaries, will allow better control of vital oil resources and facilities, curb smuggling, and help boost production to 3 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the year, which would be the highest level in 20 years.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 11, 2008 10:19 AM


Sara wrote:

Investor;

Your post mentioned a statistic of 50% when it said,
QUOTE:

"Zafar, the doctor, says that in the community at large the Taliban frightened many men into abstinence. "Under the Taliban, no more than 10% practiced homosexual sex," he says. "But now the government isn't paying attention, so it may go back up to 50%." (end quote)

That statistic shows that these men have been proven to follow a form of religion that is only an outward form of godliness, but that the power of true holiness of conduct is betrayed by their carnal actions. The Bible warns of such:

2Ti 3:1 But know this also, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2Ti 3:2 For men will be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, unloving, unforgiving, trucebreakers, false accusers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of those that are good,
2Ti 3:4 Traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
2Ti 3:6 For these are the sort which creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,
2Ti 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2Ti 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
2Ti 3:9 But they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

As for your wondering if this terrorist was homosexual in orientation or not, we will never know. It is interesting speculation. Myself, I did wonder if his disease could relate to the fact that the radical Islamic terrorists teach that they are allowed to rape women who are non-Muslims or unbelievers as I posted before where it says,
QUOTE:

A question-and-answer session with Imam Abdul Makin in an East London mosque asks why Allah would tell Muslims to kill and rape innocent non-Muslims, including their wives and daughters, according to Islam Watch. "Because non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet," the Imam says..

http://truckandbarter.com/mt/archives/2008/04/dinar_discussio_1.html#134323

Obviously, this radical Islamic teaching shows us that this means that their "holy" warriors can take women sexually as spoils for fighting for their cause. Presumably, those who have been fighting the most for their cause (and he was a top terrorist whose exploits are highlighted in the article) would be entitled to much more "booty" than the rest of them. No doubt women taken in their fighting are given to those they consider most deserving as gifts from their god.

You may remember that when Sadr was fighting the US forces (not this time but the time before, in Fallujah, shortly after the fall of Saddam) Sadr promised to his men the British and American women fighting against his troops if they were captured in the fighting. It is not an uncommon teaching.. or practice.

Sadr Aide: Female Soldiers Can Be Kept as Slaves
Saturday, May 08, 2004

BASRA, Iraq — A senior aide of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr told worshippers during a Friday sermon in southern Iraq that anyone capturing a female British soldier can keep her as a slave.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,119325,00.html

The idea of monk-like Islamic terrorists who abstain from lusts and sexual sin is truly a myth. They are natural men who are allowed by their religion to kill, rape and pillage all in the name of their god. They have "a form of godliness" but deny the power of godliness by their unholy actions. Do you think of the most religious terrorist Imams as those who bed unbelievers as "spoil" from their allah? Yet, that is their teachings, and Sadr himself did indeed promise it to his followers.

Perhaps, if Hep C was contracted by this top terrorist through sexual contact, this (or homosexual sex, as you pointed out) would be likely to be the cause. Certainly, taking women "in battle" (while engaged in the fight for radical Islamization) would be considered a more honorable way to catch the disease, as it is approved of by the clergy (Imam, above), rather than homosexual sex. Neither of these (homosexual sex or rape) are viewed as particularly "righteous" or justified from the view of what we would expect in our Christian view concerning our truly Holy God. You also won't find justification for rape of women as spoils of war in the US or coalition military handbooks..

As for moderate Islamics who would never even consider our Holy Christian God as an alternative to theirs, I have not heard of the regular and peaceful Islamics taking unbelievers sexually or by force. They appear to be religious, peaceloving and law abiding people. This appears to be just the militant radical Islamic terrorist's teaching - and likely a teaching which the moderates would feel was taken out of context - much as the Bible teachings about women sitting on one side of the church and the men on the other side (which was a practice of some early churches and discussed in the Bible). Quite obviously, such a practice was not meant to be definitive doctrinal teaching for all time on how a church service is to be conducted. Some things happened in religious writings which were not intended to be emulated for all time. I speculate that the moderate Islamics would be of the view that taking women as booty in war and raping them and making of them slaves was not among the practices sanctioned for all time as regular practice for Islamic males in their holy writ. In light of what we know now about sexually transmitted diseases (such as this man who contracted Hep C) it would also appear to be incredibly unwise to do such things. If they cannot acknowledge the wholesale need for change of religion, I think they would admit that this teaching deviates from what they would consider "Islamic" and so praiseworthy, full of peace and love.

Jam 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Sara.

-- April 11, 2008 1:04 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Probably one of my favorite movies is "Field of Dreams"; the line that stands out to me in that film is "if you build it they will come." Of course, this refers directly to the baseball players from the past.

That line is certainly true of Iraq. President Bush and his advisors are shrewd. They believed after deposing Saddam if Iraq was built into a democracy the world would come and invest.

We are beginning to incipient investment in Iraq. The small investor has staked a lot in Iraq. The investors I am referring to are the oil majors. I read this morning where Total is about to hammer out a deal with Iraq. Cheveron now wants a deal. The TSA's may never come to pass.

I also read that the GoI is working on a progressive oil law all sides can agree on. If this is the case, instead of TSAs you will see PSAs. Once the HCL is passed it paves the way for Iraq to monetize its oil (petro dinars)and de-dollarize. This could lead to a change in the exchange rate.

Other good news floating around are prospects of Kuwaiti debt relief and the restoration of Iraqi soverignty.

Malaki promised that 2008 would be an economic year for Iraq. It seems the GoI may finally be moving toward a peaceful and prosperous Iraq.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 11, 2008 3:27 PM


Sara wrote:

Rob N;

Your comment on the "field of dreams" was very appropriate, thank you. :)
It also reminded me of a recent vocal artist who is a US Marine who I thought was excellent.
I thought you may like to see his video:

Marine sings answer to Dixie Chicks hit
Cpl. David Thibodeaux, a Marine who has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, recently recorded "I'm Not Ready to End the Fight," an answer song to the Dixie Chicks' anti-war music. The song features backing music from Toby Keith's Easy Money Band.
By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Friday Mar 21, 2008

Cpl. David Thibodeaux was in Iraq with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, when the Dixie Chicks partnered with anti-war group MoveOn.org in 2004. Despite the band making headlines with anti-war views, he didn’t know much about them, he says.

Nevertheless, Thibodeaux now sings “Not Ready to End the Fight,” an “answer song” to the Dixie Chicks’ 2006 anti-war hit, “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

“I’ve seen so many good things happen in Iraq, and I don’t think it’s time for the war to end,” said Thibodeaux, a member of the Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force. “Anybody who doesn’t think there are terrorists out there should open their eyes.”

Featuring backing music from members of Toby Keith’s Easy Money Band, the song has been played on radio stations across the country. A music video will be released soon.

Multimedia:

See the video for Thibodeaux’s “Not Ready to End the Fight”
HERE:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=chCEGvWLiOo

Or here:
http://www.militarytimes.com/multimedia/video/031208_marine_music

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2008/03/marine_song_031808/

Also, the message written by him quoted on youtube was good:

Message from David Thibodaux,

A fellow Marine and I wrote, and I recorded a song titled "Not Ready To End The Fight." This song was inspired by the fact that I, like many Americans, don't particularly appreciate the underlying message behind the Dixie Chicks' song "Not Ready To Make Nice." While I did like the underlying music from song, the lyrics' just didn't sit well with me, many of my colleagues and other Americans. After being urged on by friends, family, and colleagues I decided to record "Not Ready To End The Fight" to make a point, criticize, comment and answer the Dixie Chicks song and all the other Hollywood stars that constantly overestimate my interest in their personal politics and their level of competence in foreign policy and about how our Country should be run and how they imply they know what is better for this Country than our elected officials.

I know there are very complicated issues that must be considered when undertaking a war. I certainly don't pretend to have the solutions to any foreign policy issues. I also know that smart people can look at the same set of facts and events and often reach different conclusions. That is probably a good thing! So anyone who characterizes these very complicated terrorism and war issues as very easy-and-simple need to try to at least try to see the other side of the issue... no matter what side you are on.

I am just an ordinary "country boy" who feels like I need to speak up about my personal opinions, experiences, and exercise my freedom of speech! I am 23, a husband, a father, a full time Marine and part time musician. I am not a celebrity or politician, nor do I know any. My wife and I are hardworking, religious, family oriented, patriotic Americans. We each were born and reared in small-town Louisiana. I grew up in Eunice, Louisiana. I also have family in Texas. My wife, newborn son, and I live in the Washington, D.C. area where I am presently stationed. We are blessed with large supportive families.

To make a contribution to the Country and the war effort, I joined the Marine Corps upon my graduation from high school. I have served in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq with extraordinarily unselfish and brave Americans.

Thanks to everyone who strongly supports the military and our mission! Your prayers and appreciation make our job gratifying!

Semper Fi! - David Thibodeaux

-- April 11, 2008 4:50 PM


Ryan wrote:

Why don't we just fucking take Sadr out? That will show his followers he is no Allah and they will see the bullshit he is feeding them.

-- April 11, 2008 10:02 PM


Anonymous wrote:

Amen !!!!

-- April 12, 2008 11:40 AM


Carole wrote:

Sara,
Sometimes I find myself contemplating just how this whole middle east radical islamic agenda will play itself out. It can take on several paths, one at a time, or more than likely collectively.

Destroying the world economy, killing millions with a nuclear attack, or simply keeping the world in a state of paralyzed paranoia, are all realities we are and will continue to live with.

In all future outcomes..... I truly believe it will be the FIRST STRIKER....who ultimately rules.

Islam prides itself in PATIENCE....100 years of planning and reaching goals are very accepted time tables, as history shows us.

The point being Muslim clerics know the outcome of the regime, leaving the world channeled in like watching a soap opera, sitting on the edge of our seats..........

Unless some great power decides to step in and derail their entire program for all eternity, they will only regroup, and re-adjust their timelines by another 50 years or so.......etc.etc.

In the absence of that intervention, they just advance along their merry way......until they actuate the different earmarks of their program, which will be influence and destruction of world economy, nuclear attacks or facsimile, emotional and spiritual dominion over the world.....

Of course, in the end, we know they will not prevail...as our Holy Scriptures detail.
All of us here were born in very exciting, BUT PRECARIOUS TIMES. I just pray that when the lines are drawn, we will alL be on the winning side.......FOR ETERNITY.

BACK TO BASICS....KEEPING IT CLEAR AND SIMPLE.....John 3:16

Carole

-- April 12, 2008 11:52 AM


cornishboy wrote:

Total nears Iraq oil service contract deal
Web posted at: 4/11/2008 7:43:40
Source ::: Reuters
paris • Total is in the final stages of talks with Iraq for an oil service contract and the French group is also hoping investors from the Gulf region will buy into the company, Total’s chief executive said yesterday.

Iraq could pay up to $500m for each of the five service contracts it is negotiating with oil majors, an Iraqi government advisor said last month. Iraq wants oil majors to boost its output by nearly a quarter through the contracts.

“I know discussions are being finalised, but I don’t have a date for an announcement,” Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said on the sidelines of an oil conference in Paris. “This is up to the Iraqi authorities.” BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and ExxonMobil are also negotiating for the two-year technical support contracts. BP said earlier this week it expected to ink the deal around mid-year.

The contracts do not provide the long-term involvement the oil majors crave in Iraq’s oil sector, but will give them a head start in bids for future oil deals. “These are contract services,” de Margerie said. “This is necessarily a transitory stage, not a proper way to work over the long term.”

Total was negotiating for the development of the West Qurna field along with US group Chevron, he said. Iraq has the world’s third-largest oil reserves and needs billions to revamp its oil sector after decades of war and sanctions.

The service contracts are part of stop-gap measures to boost output in the absence of new legislation for foreign investment. Political feuding has stalled a vital oil law in Iraq for more than a year.

Total’s chief executive said he was pleased a state-owned Chinese investment fund had bought shares in the company. The move to take a stake was not linked to projects in China, he said. He said he hoped funds from other countries where Total is active, in particular Gulf countries, would invest in the French group.

“We have a strategy to diversify our shareholder base. We would like funds to come from countries where we have long-term relationships. This is why, besides China, we would like to have equivalent partnerships coming from certain Gulf countries.” Total’s shareholders already include state-owned investment funds from Norway, Singapore and the Middle East, a Total spokeswoman said last week.

Meanwhile, Total hopes that funds from countries in which Total is active, in particular Gulf countries, will invest in the French oil major, de Margerie said. “We have a strategy to diversify our shareholder base,” de Margerie told reporters on the sidelines of an oil conference. “We would like funds to come from countries where we have long-term relationships. This is why, besides China, we would like to have equivalent partnerships coming from certain Gulf countries.”

-- April 12, 2008 1:01 PM


cornishboy wrote:

Iraq bets on a new law for developing its enormous oil wealth

Iraq is one of the main oil states in the region and the world as well as being one of the founders of OPEC; the first oil activity started in it early last century, and began the first commercial production in 1929 from Kirkuk field and then other fields followed until oil was nationalized oil in Iraq on the first of June / 1972. Then a series of tensions and wars rolled and surrounded the Iraqi policy, especially the economic embargo in 1990, in addition to three devastating wars which led to an unprecedented destruction of the oil and gas industry in Iraq. Iraqi fixed oil reserve is estimated at about 115 billion barrels, making it the second largest oil reservoir known in the world, and there are almost certain other estimates indicate that Iraq reserves are much more than that. Iraq today may need at least three years to return to the previous level of production in 1980 of about $ 5 .3 million barrels a day and investments estimated at tens of billions of dollars for the rehabilitating the infrastructure of the old installations. For these reasons, Iraqi oil exports now do not exceed two million barrels per day at best, at a time when it should be producing no less than ten million barrels daily. Therefore, the only hope for Iraq now is to issue a new oil and gas law to develop this enormous hydrocarbon wealth as soon as possible to alleviate the burden of the Iraqi people who continue suffering for more than 35 years.

The following are the most important events in the oil and gas sector during the week in the Gulf region:

Emirates

Al-Hilal Oil Company has sponsored the participation of three major Iraqi universities in the "Jet Energy 2008" conference which was held in London on 26 - 28 last March; the company ensured the attendance of representatives of: Baghdad University, the University of Basrah and the American University in Iraq at Sulaymaniya. The annual exhibition and conference of "Jet Energy" attracts more than 400 participants from 35 countries representing national and international major oil and gas companies, governments, training and rehabilitation institutions and universities; it is held annually in order to consolidate relations between these various institutions to support the training and education programs in the energy sector on the international level.

The sponsorship of Al-Hilal Oil Company for the participation of the three major Iraqi universities in this important international event was for paving the way for Iraq's educational institutions to establish long-term cooperative relations with international training and education institutions. This is the first participation of Iraq in this annual specialist International Conference, with a focus on the areas of petroleum engineering and topics on economy and business.

On the other, Dana Gas announced the implementation of a massive program for exploration and development in Egypt includes drilling 19 wells, 15 of which exploratory wells and 4 other developmental wells at a total cost of $170 million, using 5 drilling platforms. The wells located within the concession areas of the company under participation contract in the production sector of Kum Ambu in Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta sectors; the company drilled an exploratory well and another developmental one in the first sector, three developmental wells and 14 exploratory wells in the second sector where 5 wells was targeting the layer of Seedi Salim which is a significant technical challenge because reaching that layer requires drilling to a depth of 4000 meters.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, (Energy), entered into a letter of intent with "Oasis International Energy" for cooperation in electricity and water projects in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. It is noteworthy that the Government of Abu Dhabi owns 75% of Energy Company, while the Oasis Company, located in Abu Dhabi, is working for the establishment of independent electricity and water stations.

On its part, the company Abar is working to complete a contract of selling Pearl Unit for oil prospect and production to Mubadala Company for Development at $833.3 million by the end of April, which had been signed earlier; shareholders approved earlier last month on the sale of 100% of the shares of Pearl for Energy to Mubadala Company for Development.

Iraq

The Russian Company Stroy Transjaz entered into a bilateral protocol, signed in Jordan, with the North Oil Company to reform a pipeline to export oil to the Syrian port of Banias on the Mediterranean.

The second largest oil refinery in Iraq resumed operations in Basrah after two days of interruption due to electricity blackouts, according to sources in the South Oil Company; the first refining unit, which produces 75 thousand barrels per day of refined oil, resumed its normal operations but the other two units did not resume work yet. According to the Ministry of Energy, the production of the oil refining complex reaches 160 thousand barrels of oil per day for local market.


-- April 12, 2008 1:03 PM


Sara wrote:

Ryan;

The simplest seeming solutions end up being very complicated. There is some reasoning to the position of leaving Sadr alone and not taking him out - the most important being that at least this way we have a "head" to deal with and not the entire set of underlings. If Sadr speaks, they tend to follow his lead as their leader. Removing their head will only make the rest of them act violently in splinter groups, multiplying the problems. But the problem is that Sadr could pose an immediate threat of destruction to Iraq's homeland in the very near future, if Iran arms them with nukes and tells them to do martyrdom operations (it could happen), so I am sure the Iraqi government is testing all options in how to deal with the situation. But your proposed simple solution of taking out Sadr is complicated in its outcome.. they must move cautiously and also decisively to gain the upper hand in the situation.

Carole;

Things are not looking good for long term continuance of radical Islamic terrorism IMHO. They don't see it but they will. It is the same thing as I just said to Ryan.. some things the terrorists think they will do will have unforseen complications they didn't take into account. They cannot know the future, God can. You are right that they may get in a first strike, and there have been many to this date - have you seen that video I just posted by that vocal artist Marine, above?? Did you notice his pointing out the death tolls of Americans all over the place by terrorists? This has been going on for a while.. However, we play by Queensbury rules (politely). We don't bomb entire cities into rubble, but go door to door in a rather gentlemanly way, seeking terrorists. This kind of restraint is shown by AMERICAN diplomacy. There are others who are not nearly as diplomatic who may appear on the scene of history.. wait and see. It isn't over yet. We too have patience, and there is a larger plan we are fitting into.

Pro 21:30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.

Nor against those who align themselves with the Lord, let it be said. Let's wait on Him. Perilous times make us draw closer to Him.. in the end, such people will win. And that is so because who is wiser than the Lord? Who can counsel HIM as to what to do concerning War? Is He not the Captain of the Host? Is He not the final Commander-in-Chief above them all? Who tops Him for wisdom? And if HE gives us from His wisdom, who will stand against it? What force in heaven, on earth or below the earth can hold sway when He gives a word or pronouncement? Let us wait on the Lord.

Sara.

-- April 12, 2008 6:46 PM


Roger wrote:

So it has happened,

Shibibi, the Generalissimo of CBI have always made very swaying and non defined comments, but in a bank meeting in Cairo very recently , he spilled the beans.

He used words like "in the near future" whatever that means, (need a goat barbie first), Iraq is aspiring to bring the value of the Dinar to the levels it was in the past.

He further claims that this is a tricky action, and that I do belive him on, but just by the fact that he finally have opened his mouth and said something that have a substance to it, is very remarkable.

Also the subject he was telling about is exactly the subject we want to hear about.

He especially mentioned the Dinars remarkably establishment, and the trust the Iraqis put into the Dinar, and he urged the Iraqis to hold on to the Dinar(!)...hmm....

RobN.or Sara, the master posters, might be able to dig up this article, it is a key article, and it is a direct relation to an RV or zero lop, whatever ways they are going.

What I find so expressly different this time, is that the normal picture we have been through so far, have always been the same, a minister or Gov agent in one form or the other have said it will "reval" or "zero lop" or whatever, only to be corrected and denied in a couple of days later by the CBI.

This time it is the Cahoona himself that are saying it.

The CBI President.

"In the near future"

Hm.......

gidders anyone????

-- April 13, 2008 12:28 AM


Sara wrote:

Britain warns terror threat is worsening
Sun April 13, 2008

LONDON, England (AP) -- British anti-terror officials are monitoring some 2,000 people and are following hundreds of networks in an effort to keep the country safe, Britain's Home Secretary warned in an article to be published Sunday.

Jacqui Smith's estimate came as she argued for an extension of the time authorities are allowed to hold terror suspects without charge.

"We now face a threat level that is severe. It's not getting any less, it's actually growing," Smith wrote in the editorial to be printed in The News of The World tabloid. "There are 2,000 individuals (police and security agencies) are monitoring. There are 200 networks. There are 30 active plots."

Smith faces an uphill battle to persuade lawmakers to pass a law allowing police to hold terror suspects up to 42 days without charge. Such suspects can currently be held up to 28 days, and Smith has often invoked the growing threat of terrorism -- and the increasing complexity of terror plots -- to justify the extension of time.

However, the proposal is fiercely opposed by civil libertarians and even some members of her own ruling Labour Party.

Tony Blair was handed his first parliamentary defeat as prime minister in 2005 when lawmakers rejected his plan to increase the limit to 90 days, settling on a compromise of 28 days. Some analysts have suggested the current prime minister, Gordon Brown, could also founder in his attempt to extend the limit.

But Smith said the extra time was needed like never before.

"Since the beginning of 2007, 57 people have been convicted on terrorist plots. Nearly half of those pleaded guilty so this is not some figment of the imagination," she said in the article, a preview of which was made available Saturday.

"It is a real risk, and a real issue we need to respond to."

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/04/12/britain.terror.ap/index.html

-- April 13, 2008 2:16 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Total nears Iraq oil service contract deal
Web posted at: 4/11/2008 7:43:40
Source ::: Reuters
paris • Total is in the final stages of talks with Iraq for an oil service contract and the French group is also hoping investors from the Gulf region will buy into the company, Total’s chief executive said yesterday.

Iraq could pay up to $500m for each of the five service contracts it is negotiating with oil majors, an Iraqi government advisor said last month. Iraq wants oil majors to boost its output by nearly a quarter through the contracts.

“I know discussions are being finalised, but I don’t have a date for an announcement,” Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said on the sidelines of an oil conference in Paris. “This is up to the Iraqi authorities.” BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and ExxonMobil are also negotiating for the two-year technical support contracts. BP said earlier this week it expected to ink the deal around mid-year.

The contracts do not provide the long-term involvement the oil majors crave in Iraq’s oil sector, but will give them a head start in bids for future oil deals. “These are contract services,” de Margerie said. “This is necessarily a transitory stage, not a proper way to work over the long term.”

Total was negotiating for the development of the West Qurna field along with US group Chevron, he said. Iraq has the world’s third-largest oil reserves and needs billions to revamp its oil sector after decades of war and sanctions.

The service contracts are part of stop-gap measures to boost output in the absence of new legislation for foreign investment. Political feuding has stalled a vital oil law in Iraq for more than a year.

Total’s chief executive said he was pleased a state-owned Chinese investment fund had bought shares in the company. The move to take a stake was not linked to projects in China, he said. He said he hoped funds from other countries where Total is active, in particular Gulf countries, would invest in the French group.

“We have a strategy to diversify our shareholder base. We would like funds to come from countries where we have long-term relationships. This is why, besides China, we would like to have equivalent partnerships coming from certain Gulf countries.” Total’s shareholders already include state-owned investment funds from Norway, Singapore and the Middle East, a Total spokeswoman said last week.

Meanwhile, Total hopes that funds from countries in which Total is active, in particular Gulf countries, will invest in the French oil major, de Margerie said. “We have a strategy to diversify our shareholder base,” de Margerie told reporters on the sidelines of an oil conference. “We would like funds to come from countries where we have long-term relationships. This is why, besides China, we would like to have equivalent partnerships coming from certain Gulf countries.”

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 13, 2008 10:35 PM



Anonymous wrote:

HOT rumor , HCL all but passed. Anyone here have info on it ?

-- April 14, 2008 10:56 AM


Rob N. wrote:

Anonymous:

I have read where Al-Malaki and Barzani have met to discuss the oil law. Word is, they have agreed on the Feb 2007 wording of the HCL.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 14, 2008 11:23 AM


Sara wrote:

British journalist held captive in Iraq for two months is rescued in daring raid
14th April 2008

A British journalist held for two months by kidnappers in the southern Iraqi city of Basra has been freed.

Richard Butler, a photographer on assignment for the U.S. network CBS, had been snatched from a hotel in February.

Iraqi Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Mohammed al-Askari said: "He is in good health. He is fine. He's here with me."

Richard Butler, who worked for CBS News, was found with a sack over his head and his hands tied inside a house in Basra, Lt.-Gen. Mohan al-Fireji said. He said Butler was in good condition.

Butler was kidnapped along with his Iraqi interpreter on Feb. 10 in Basra. The interpreter was later released. Iraqi police and witnesses said the two men were seized by about eight masked gunmen wielding machine-guns who stormed a hotel in the city.

Butler was found during an Iraqi military operation in the Jibiliya area, a Shiite militia stronghold in Basra, about 550 kilometres southeast of Baghdad.

The Iraqis launched a crackdown last month against Shiite militias in the city.

In recent days, Iraqi forces have started house-to-house searches for arms, weapons, drugs and criminal elements in several parts of the city.

The military said it has uncovered an improvised explosive device factory, along with significant arms caches and numerous roadside bombs, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/MediaNews/2008/04/14/5280631-ap.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=559607&in_page_id=1811

-- April 14, 2008 12:39 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraq to seek parliamentary approval for long-term U.S. pact
Reuters
Posted: 2008-04-14

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq will seek parliamentary approval for a strategic agreement being negotiated with the United States even though it expects heated debate over the deal, Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said.

U.S. and Iraqi officials began talks last month on a strategic framework agreement that defines long-term bilateral ties and a separate "status of forces" deal outlining rules and protections governing U.S. military activity in Iraq.

Zebari, speaking to Reuters on Sunday, said the first round of negotiations had been completed.

U.S. and Iraqi officials in Baghdad have said they aim to finish negotiations by July, well before the next U.S. president is elected on November 4.

"There isn't any hidden agenda here. This agreement will be transparent, it has to be presented to the representatives of the Iraqi people, the parliament, to ratify it," he said.

"I'm sure there will be some heated political debate when we come to that but I think on the other hand there is a strong will by the mainstream leadership in this country that this is for Iraq's good. We need that continued engagement."

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, told Congress last week that the deal would not establish permanent bases in Iraq nor specify the number of forces to be stationed in Iraq.

Zebari said both sides hoped to meet that deadline, adding talks would resume soon. The first round was highly technical, he said, without giving details.

U.S. forces operate in Iraq under a United Nations mandate that expires at the end of 2008. Iraq does not want that mandate extended, so the two governments must agree guidelines to allow U.S. forces to remain beyond the end of this year.

http://news.aol.com/story/_a/iraq-to-seek-parliamentary-approval-for/n20080414052909990003

-- April 14, 2008 1:11 PM


Sara wrote:

This is very worthwhile noting...

Obama Defends ‘Guns And God Clinging’ Slam

From his champions at the New York Times:
Opponents Call Obama Remarks ‘Out of Touch’
April 12, 2008
By JEFF ZELENY

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — As Senator Barack Obama sought to broaden his appeal to voters in southern Indiana on Friday, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain separately criticized him as being out of touch with the middle class, seizing on a remark Mr. Obama made at a California fund-raiser about “bitter” Americans.

At the fund-raiser in San Francisco last Sunday, Mr. Obama outlined challenges facing his presidential candidacy in the coming primaries in Pennsylvania and Indiana, particularly persuading white working-class voters who, he said, fell through the cracks during the Bush and Clinton administrations.

“So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” Mr. Obama said, according to a transcript on the Huffington Post Web site, which on Friday published the comments.

The remarks touched off a torrent of criticism from Mrs. Clinton, Mr. McCain and Republican activists and party officials, all accusing Mr. Obama of elitism and belittling the working class. Mr. Obama forcefully rejected those charges when he arrived at a rally here on Friday evening, drawing a standing ovation in a crowded gymnasium when he painted both of his rivals as entrenched Washington insiders.

“No, I’m in touch,” Mr. Obama said. “I know exactly what’s going on. I know what’s going on in Pennsylvania, I know what’s going on in Indiana, I know what’s going on in Illinois. People are fed up, they’re angry, they’re frustrated, they’re bitter and they want to see a change in Washington. That’s why I’m running for president of the United States of America.” …

In Pennsylvania on Friday, Mrs. Clinton was first to seize upon the comment Mr. Obama made at the California fund-raiser. The Democrats are embroiled in a vigorous battle for the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

“It’s being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter; well, that’s not my experience,” Mrs. Clinton told an audience at Drexel University.

“Pennsylvanians don’t need a president who looks down on them; they need a president who stands up for them, who fights for them, who works hard for your futures, your jobs, your families.”

After her remarks, aides to Mrs. Clinton issued several statements criticizing Mr. Obama, including ones that contained criticism from Republicans. Soon, the McCain campaign also weighed in with criticism of Mr. Obama’s remarks at the California fund-raiser.

“It shows an elitism and condescension toward hard-working Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking,” said Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to Mr. McCain. “It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans.”

While the Obama campaign initially dismissed the criticism in a written statement from its Chicago headquarters, his advisers quickly concluded that Mr. Obama’s remarks could be a political liability as he sought to win over working-class voters. He responded with unusual force at a town meeting at a high school in Terre Haute, Ind., seeking to explain his statement that voters are bitter.

“Here’s what’s rich,” Mr. Obama said. “Senator Clinton said, ‘Well I don’t think people are bitter in Pennsylvania. I think Barack is being condescending.’ John McCain said, ‘How could he say that? How could he say that people are bitter? He obviously is out of touch with people.’ Out of touch? Out of touch? John McCain — it took him three times to finally figure out that home foreclosure was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he’s saying I’m out of touch?”

The audience, made up largely of Democratic voters, rose and applauded as Mr. Obama delivered his defense. Late Friday evening, the Clinton and McCain campaigns criticized Mr. Obama once again for failing to express regret for his remark.

“Instead of apologizing for offending small town America, Senator Obama chose to repeat and embrace the comments he made earlier this week,” said Phil Singer, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton. He added, “Americans are tired of a President who looks down on them, they want a President who will stand up for them for a change.”

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, issued a similar response.

“Instead of apologizing to small town Americans for dismissing their values, Barack Obama arrogantly tried to spin his way out of his outrageous San Francisco remarks,” Mr. Bounds said, adding: “You can’t be more out of touch than that.”

===end quote===

Note how once again the New York Times reports a story that might reflect negatively on their candidate or overall agenda only when they can present his side, his defense.

(They should change their slogan to “All The News That’s Fit To Pinch.”)

But oddly enough, the charges in this case are actually untrue. Mr. Obama is not at all out of touch. Quite the contrary.

He definitely has his finger on the pulse of the San Francisco billionaire crowd and the rest of the America-haters of the left. And, after all, these are his core constituents.

We’re just not suppose to notice. And certainly we’re not suppose to object.

Unless we want to be called bitter gun-clinging, God worshipping, xenophobic racists.

Comments:

1) cigarskunk

Since no one else posted it yet - Obama: Small-Town People Cling to Religion, Guns, and Xenophobia

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Amazing what kind of stuff comes out of his mouth when he’s not scripted.

2) 4USA

Mr. Obama was on a roll early in his campaign. A genuinely likable person that seemed to be one of us. Whether you agreed with his politics or not, he seemed to have an air of trustworthiness about him. But he has turned out to be nothing more than another of the same, so-called minority leaders, that we’ve seen for decades. Mr. Obama is unelectable because of his (apparent) personal belief that everyone in America is as bitter as his wife and the people at his church. He is too naive and socially inexperienced to qualify for many middle-class jobs, much less for President of the United States. His self-imposed cultural isolation within a circle of truly “bitter” individuals has warped his ability to understand anyone outside his prism of hate. Most Americans reject his views but he doesn’t see it. He can’t.

His supporters are really his worst enemy because they act as enablers to a pitiful perspective that, he feels comfortable, is mainstream. Once people react and he realizes how offended people are, he clumsily spins in the wind. He then further demonstrates his true self; angry, defiant, defensive, arrogant, and apparently racist.

However, I believe his candidacy has opened a healthy debate concerning the level of resentment that some people have developed in this country. Only a Presidential candidate, on the national stage, is placed in such a position requiring explanations of his remarks and beliefs. I’m sure there are many politicians scratching their heads wondering what has changed? Many spew the same venom as Mr. Obama without reproach. Perhaps this debate will help individuals reflect and differentiate between reasonable complaint and frenzied whining. Whining that merely panders to those that refuse personal responsibility for their woes, as so frequently seen from Jackson, Sharpton, and now, Obama.

3) Gila Monster

How inconvenient for Hussein and his fellow elitists, having to deal with the knuckle dragging Neanderthal inhabitants of middle America, oh my, he feels our pain. …yeah, uhh, OK.

4) 1sttofight

Hey Hussein, Hows that Uniting America thing working out?

5) ATLien

“Hey Hussein, Hows that Uniting America thing working out?”

Its all the same, he probably wishes us less well-off folk would not have TV or internet to find out. Check out the “normal” billionaire company he keeps. (this is where the statements were made. A street in San Fran, called Billionaires Row)

(url given at link below)

6) invertigo2004

This story has been covered pretty pathetically, even by FOX. All day long somehow the discussion centered on whether or not midwestern small town whites had a right to feel bitter. It wasn’t until I heard a clip from Hillary Clinton (hey, she knows exactly how he thinks, she’s poured from the same mold, so no surprise there) that I heard anything like what I’d been thinking all day. Obama, like other elitist lefties, doesn’t think small town whites (or anybody that doesnt’ think like them) can think for themselves.

So please begrudge me a few moments of satire…

You see, what he was really saying is that nobody really believes in the 2nd Amendment, or in God, or in personal responisibility, or in free markets, or even in the rule of Law. No no no, tsk tsk tsk my children, these are just silly juvenile manifestations of peoples’ frustrations that the government has allowed them to become poor, that it hasn’t fulfilled its duty to ensure their gainful employment. That is of course the constitutional responsibility of the government, right? I mean, what other job could the government possibly have?

Now all you good little small-town hillbillies just vote for Mr. Obama, and he’ll get those jobs back to you, he’ll provide you with health care and education and every little thing your heart desires, and then you’ll awaken from your conservative stupor and realize you don’t have a right to own a gun, you were just upset your job got sent to Mexico. You don’t really believe in God, you just want the war in Iraq to be over. You don’t really believe people should be punished with unwanted babies, you were just worried about how much higher the price of gasoline will rise. You don’t really believe in capitalism, free markets, or even that immigration to this country ought to be regulated by some silly little law, no, you were just really, really aggravated by the way Bush says “nuclear.” Don’t worry my ignorant racist crackers, Mr. Obama will make everything all right. It will all be perfect after 4 or maybe 8 years, and then you’ll never have anything to be bitter about, or think about, or believe in, or work for, ever again.

Won’t that be wonderful?

End Satire.

And God Willing, End Obama Campaign.

7) retire05

Obama slams middle America for relying on the Second Amendment and their religion. How could they? Oh, yeah, they are bitter. See, in Obama’s world, they should not have to resort to religion. It is the government that should be taking care of them, from cradle to grave.

Which brings us to the question of why a man who thinks that government, not faith, is the end all to beat all, would have admitted that he never made a political decision without consulting with his hate mongering minister. I guess now we can assume that his association with the Rev. Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ was for the sole purpose of giving a Chicago outsider street cred and all that pretty talk about HIS faith was just playing to the crowd.

And then there is the little matter of that antipathy to people who arn’t like them and their anti-immigrant feelings (yes, those are one and the same in Obama’s mind) and that is all because they lost their jobs. Never mind that those who aren’t like them, the il-legal immigrant, is most likely the reason they no longer have jobs. Anti-trade feelings? Hell, after the stand he recently took on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, I would have thought he would praise those anti-trade feelings. Guess not.

You see, boys and girls, the man who claims to be a Constitutional scholar, thinks that the government, not family, not friends, not your faith, should be the sole arbitor of your “hope”. But I will admit, Obama has never stated with certainty which Constitution he is so versed on. My guess? The Constitution of Marx.

But ditzy looking blonds will continue to cry; overwhelmed fat ladies will continue to swoon, and men will continue to dig in their wallets to help the Obamassiah reach the golden throne. Or at least the leather chair sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office.

One thing about this socialist onion, the more you peel him, layer by layer, the more he begins to really stink.

8) wardmama4

Let us take this one serious comment at a time:

-’they cling to guns. . .’- so he does not support the 2nd Amendment - so much for his Constitutional scholar mantra

-’. . .religion. . .’- how very Un-Christian of him - so much for his faith mantra

-’…antipathy to people who aren’t like them…’- I’m going to jump out on a limb here and ‘assume’ (and yes I know how dangerous that can be) that this is a racial slur - so much for his diversity mantra

-’… anti-immigrant sentiment…’- I know that this is the slimy way that the open borders crowd implies that those of us for American sovereignty, America is a country of laws, stop the flow of illegal, criminal aliens American citizens are against any and all immigration - so much for his unity mantra

-’… anti-trade sentiment…’- We all know that this is anti-corporation code speak - which means even more jobs will go down the drain when he starts the government controlling corporations - so much for his free market is prosperity mantra.

I am so glad that once again - a politician, pandering to those who actually give the money that has become ‘necessary’ to get elected exposed himself for all of America to see - I just hope that the people of Pennsylvania come through and answer him loud and clear - Anti-American Candidates need not apply here.

You know what - as always, IF McAmnesty or Her Royal Clinton had even written in a memo (much less said out loud) Typical Black Person - their campaign would have been history so damn fast - that the screen door couldn’t have hit them on the way out . .So Ms Ferraro was right - Barry would be nothing more than a second term political hack in DC if it weren’t for his ‘race’ (forgetting that he is biracial) and he wouldn’t still be in the campaign if it weren’t for his ‘race’ - And so it goes.

I still can’t believe that enough of America is that stupid, that racist, that lazy and that anti-American to actually vote Barry to the nomination much less the POTUS. . .

9) AmericanIPA

These unguarded and candid statements from Obama are the best indicators of what kind of man he is and what kind of president he would be. If the close connection to the racist, anti-American pig Jeremiah Wright and the Weather Underground terrorist didn’t convince voters of the real opinions of Barack Obama, this honest statement about how he views most of us ugly Americans should. And this man claims that he will “unite” the country (as if that’s a problem now) and somehow will make everyone the world over equal. How can so many people buy this man’s obvious act?

10) Clarissimus

Seriously, is there any doubt that his supporters on the left and right coasts agree wholeheartedly with his comments and see nothing wrong with them? Remember the “Jesusland” graphic after the last election? This is what the Democratic party and in fact most of the “intelligentsia,” not to mention most of those in the entertainment industry think of you. That’s why Passion of the Christ freaked them out so. - BillK

I’ll never forget the morning of November 3, 2004. The liberal students of my university (which was most of them) were walking around looking dazed and confused. They were so certain that Bush was going to get walloped. They were shocked to realize that there are actually more of us than there are of them.

11) Noyzmakr

AmericanIPA asks… “How can so many people buy this man’s obvious act?”

The ever-increasing stupidity of the electorate in this country continually astonishes me everyday. I’m not sure why. I shouldn’t be surprised. The liberals have taken over the education and entertainment industries and have so dumbed down and distracted the population to the point that they can’t grasp the simplest of economic concepts and don’t care about anything that happens to the country as long as it doesn’t interfere with their cell phone reception, cable connection to Entertainment Tonight or stop them from posting the latest episode of their drunken sexual escapades on My Space for the world to see.

I’m trying very hard to stay positive about the future of our great country, but the more I see “typical white people” swooning, fainting and applauding every empty promise and Marxist idea coming out of Obamessiah’s mouth, the less confident I am of us even being a sovereign nation by the end of this decade.

Just imagine an Obama presidency with Reid running the senate with over 60 democrat votes and Pelosi with an even larger majority in the house.

Chills just went down my spine..

12) sheehanjihad

What lies behind us, and what lies before us, is nothing compared to what lies within us. Obama is an empty suit with a gilded mouth.

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/obama-defends-guns-and-god-clinging-slam

-- April 14, 2008 1:50 PM


cornishboy wrote:

handy site.http://www.havenworks.com/world/iraq/

-- April 14, 2008 2:17 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

EU to discuss gas cooperation with Iraqi PM

The European Union hopes to reach an outline agreement to import Iraqi gas via a planned pipeline across Turkey when Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki makes his first visit to Brussels this week, EU officials said.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 14, 2008 2:35 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Kurdish legislator: Peshmerga is an official force not militia 14/04/2008 20:09:00

Baghdad (NINA) – Legislator from Kurdish Alliance/56 seats/ Adel Barwari, said, "The problem between central government and the government of Kurdistan region is not over Peshmerga's financial allocations, it is over the forece's number."
(www.ninanews.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 14, 2008 2:37 PM


Sara wrote:

Roger;

I took this from a site, who took this from a site.. which means the link doesn't work.
Still.. as you requested it, and it does look like good news.. here it is. :)

===

Alshabibi: We aspire in the NEAR FUTURE to the return of Iraqi dinar to what it was in the 70's early 80's
2008-04-07

Alshabibi: citizen started to regain confidence in national currencies

The stability of the exchange rate of the dinar against the dollar

CAIRO - Muhammad Khalifa

Dr. Sinan Alshabibi Governor of the Central Bank exchange rate stability of the Iraqi dinar against the dollar, and that the bank encourages citizens to buy dinar and handling and keeping it

Where currencies began his confidence day by day and became keen on the conduct of the dollar and the dinar rather buy it as it saw Amian revealed dinar return to power, which led to the elimination of inflation, which we suffer from in the past.

He said Alshabibi told the (morning) during his participation in the Arab banking conference in 2008, held in Cairo under the slogan (the role of banks in financing investment projects in Arabic) sponsored by the Arab League, we aspire in the near future to the return of Iraqi dinar to what it was in the seventies and the beginning eighties against the dollar and other foreign currencies and we are endeavouring and serious in this regard, but added that this process is not easy and simple and depends on the supply and demand of Iraqi dinars.

He connected at the level of board chairman of the Union of Arab Banks Adnan Hamad Youssef told (morning): We have established strong relations with Iraqi banks as we work together to invest funds in the reconstruction of Iraq and through our union together, pointing out that we approached the Iraqi bank now to send a number of working in the Iraqi banks for training and rehabilitation in the Union and at the hands of expert professional bankers pointed out that we in the European aspire to attract bankers Iraqis through their support at all levels within and outside Iraq, explaining that the Federation began an ambitious plan establishment of several bank branches belonging Arab tent Union in Iraq After improvement of security.

http://translate.google.com/translat...-US:unofficial

-- April 14, 2008 3:17 PM


Sara wrote:

I think this is a subsequent article..
and there is a lot more caveats in it concerning the Dinar exchange rate..
But some good rumblings of a possible "evolution" (forward movement) of the Dinar, too.
Perhaps it won't stay stuck in the quagmire of differing opinion for long?
They certainly see there is a new start.. :)
Take a peek:

Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq: strive for the stability of the dinar

المواطن/وكالات Citizen / agencies
. Central Bank Governor said that the Iraqi dinar stable now, "We are watching the exchange rate and keep in our plan to stabilize the exchange rate in all circumstances, explained Dr. Sinan Alsbibi While in Cairo to attend the Arab banking conference, said "the central bank managed to make the Iraqi dinar stable for a long time, and the value of the dinar rose against the dollar two years ago and that is why our primary objective to be a desire to acquire the dinar, and this led to the desire of people to acquire the dinar and consider it a status value." adding that "the aim is to combat rising prices and fighting inflation because When the dinar spared Dinarlaivhb to consumption, which in turn will not lead to inflation, which is part of the fight against inflation." he said, "We at the Central Bank raised interest rates for people that tend to save more than tend to consumption," pointing out that "with regard to the dinar its evolution and its future depends on a lot of issues that no one can know to go to the exchange rate, because this depends on the amount of supply of the dollar, and at the same time the supply and demand of the dinar." and explained that "if there is significant developmental processes biggest demand for the dollar as well as the The dinar would move the market, so this will be reflected in salaries and wages." he said,"but we are watching the exchange rate well and keep in our plan to stabilize the exchange rate in all circumstances." The value of the Iraqi dinar to the dollar is about (1200) dinars now. economy and the most important features of the Iraqi this stage Governor of the Central Bank said that "the most important features is its reliance on oil and oil revenues, but the fundamental issue that now focusing on the issues of investment are many." and said that "the budget for the new Iraqi economy in 2008 are (48) billion dollars, and that percentage (22 ). 2008 focused on the many service projects, In addition to other projects related to industry and agriculture. "and said," It is an ambitious budget focused on the developmental side. "and assessment of the banking system of government and private Alshabibi in Iraq said that" the banking system is well developed and the opportunities open to the private banking sector has freedom in the process of transfer capital money, and there is nothing called freedom of movement of capital is similar to the movement of people from one place to another to work, it is important that the private sector invest opportunities. "and explained that" of course there is the problem of the state and bureaucracy that have not yet reversed, but we are helping in the development banks to get salary regional and international good. "and the relationship of the Iraqi banking system, banks and international financial institutions Alshabibi explained that" relations evolve, and we have some banks have relations with Arab banks and well and we have a kind of encouragement for the springboard to European banks and other international. "and said that" penetration in the cash market and the financial needs and requirements of the foundations and we lived in isolation for 20 great years this time got the evolution of a very large, so we need to get to all the opportunities in the world. "he said," We at the Central Bank to give freedom of openness to the global banks. "and the vision of the Iraqi economy and whether It will evolve over a short period the Central Bank Governor said "important to stabilize the security situation, the Iraqi economy is starting." banking Annual Conference was organized by the Union of Arab Banks has started its work on Sunday in the center of Cairo Conrad Hotel under the slogan (the role of banks in financing investments Arabic) participation of experts bankers Arabs and Iraqis to discuss cooperation among Arab banks, and lasts two days. focuses on the role of investment between Arab countries of the Arab and investment wealth and potential financial and human resources to improve the level of investment. Arab Banks Union, and is one of reorganizations, the League of Arab States is banking institutions interested in cooperation between the banking and financial Arab banks founded in 1974 and headquartered in Beirut and has offices in Cairo and the Sudan, and membership includes bankers from all over the Arab world.

http://209.85.135.104/translate_c?hl...m/economy.html

-- April 14, 2008 3:30 PM


Sara wrote:

This certainly lends support to what I said before..
namely, that Sadr is part of a faction with a minority in parliament..
but he desires to rally military forces to his religious cause against the government.

===

Deadly blasts, cleric's demand rattle Iraq
Al-Sadr wants government deserters reinstated; bombs kill at least 17
April 14, 2008

NAJAF, Iraq - In a new test of stability, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded Monday that the Iraqi government reinstate all security forces fired for deserting during fighting in Basra.

The demand came as a Baghdad bombing killed four and wounded eight people on a minibus, while northern Iraq was rattled by two bombings that killed at least 13 people and wounded nearly 20, officials said. In Baghdad, a police patrol was apparently the target, but the explosive instead hit a minibus, killing four and wounding eight, police said.

Al-Sadr's statement was issued by his office in the holy city of Najaf a day after more than 1,300 soldiers and policemen were sacked for abandoning their posts or refusing to fight when clashes broke out during an offensive that began last month in the southern oil hub.

"All the brothers in the army and police who gave up their arms to their bothers (Sadrists), were only obeying their grand religious leaders and they were driven by their religious duties," the anti-U.S. cleric said.

"I call upon all concerned authorities to reconsider their decision to dismiss those people from the army and the police. I demand they be reinstated and even rewarded for their loyalty and devotion to their religion," he added.

Pressure to disband Mahdi militia

The decision to dismiss the security forces came as the Iraqi government has ratcheted up pressure on al-Sadr to disband his Mahdi Army militia or face political isolation.

In the Basra offensive — during the attack more than 1,000 security troops — including a full infantry battalion — refused to fight or joined the militias, handing them weapons and vehicles.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf told reporters Sunday that the government had fired 421 policemen who have not returned to duty since fighting ended. They included 37 senior police officers ranging in rank from lieutenant colonel to brigadier general.

Khalaf said that 500 soldiers who have been absent without leave since the campaign ended on March 30, had also been dismissed and would be tried by military courts.

"Some of them were sympathetic with these lawbreakers, some refused to (go into) battle for political or national or sectarian or religious reasons," Khalaf said.

In Kut, a city 100 miles southeast of Baghdad that was also affected by the fighting, a further 400 policemen were also dismissed, said a senior police commander.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24110560/

-- April 14, 2008 3:34 PM


Sara wrote:

As per usual.. the MSM is trying to create a PERCEPTION against the US/Iraqi agreement while little is known about it and it is not yet public, because, as this article says,
QUOTE:

Nantongo said the Iraqi government intends to submit the agreement to Iraq's parliament for ratification, a move which could spell trouble for the document if it is perceived as being to generous to the Americans.

Sooo.. PERCEPTION (not reality) is what counts.

And, of course the MSM will try to spin this in as negative a light as possible, to create dissent and stall the ratification process.
It is, of course, in their interests for Iraq to fail.. since "their" candidates are all against the success of Iraq and want to pull out.

Note the article says that the US and Iraqi negotiators are "far apart" and yet.. they are about to submit the final draft to the parliament? Explain that one will you? If the agreement is FAR from anywhere near.. why are they saying they are submitting it for a vote?

Also, do NOTE the use of "Iraqi officials" without any names to it.. how official is that? And why is it that these UNNAMED sources are given so much weight of opinion when they admit they "spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't supposed to talk about the negotiations" - likely because they had no part in them?

Taken as a whole, I think this shows us that it is an attempt to bias the debate by media perception alone.. let us pray wiser heads to prevail and not those swayed by media-biased sound bytes and lack of research or deep thought about what is transpiring and being attempted here for the Iraqi people. An imperfect solution which will work for both sides is still a "good" agreement if it keeps both of the negotiation teams from forwarding the aims of the terrorists against them - and brings progress forward to Iraq.

Sara.

===

Iraq: Wide differences slow negotiations on security pacts
The Associated Press
April 14, 2008

BAGHDAD: U.S. and Iraqi negotiators are far apart over key issues in talks on agreements to replace the U.N. mandate that governs American military operations in this country, Iraqi officials said Monday.

Talks began last month on a strategic framework agreement providing for long-term bilateral ties and a separate status of forces pact that spells out the regulations governing U.S. military operations in Iraq.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo said the two sides have exchanged "a number of drafts and proposals" but refused to elaborate since the negotiations are ongoing.

However, Iraqi officials familiar with the discussions said there were significant differences on the major issues of immunity for U.S. personnel and contractors, authority to order raids and attacks and detention of people believed a threat to security.

The officials refused to discuss the differences in detail and spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't supposed to talk about the negotiations.

Those three issues, however, have caused friction in the past between the U.S. military and the Iraqi government.

Last December, U.S. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed a statement of principles regarding future U.S.-Iraqi relations and said they planned to finalize a new security agreement by July 31.

Nantongo said the Iraqi government intends to submit the agreement to Iraq's parliament for ratification, a move which could spell trouble for the document if it is perceived as being to generous to the Americans.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/14/africa/ME-GEN-Iraq-US-Agreement.php

-- April 14, 2008 3:58 PM


Sara wrote:

TOP NEWS on iraqslogger says:

AMER MOHSEN
Posted 1 hr. 54 min. ago April 14 2008
Daily Column
Iraq Papers Tue: Who Killed Nuri?
Maliki Agrees with KRG Officials on New Oil Law?

Az-Zaman claimed, quoting an Iraqi Kurdish MP, that the Maliki government has reached a “deal” with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that would fulfill several long-standing demands of the Kurdish leadership. The MP, Muhammad Khaleel, said that the agreement with the central government pertains to three topics: the Oil and Gas Law, the status of the Kurdish Peshmerga militias and the issue of Kirkuk.

According to Khaleel, the Maliki government has agreed, after two days of negotiations with the Prime Minister of the KRG, to adopt the “original” draft of the Oil Law (i.e. before the State Consultative Council, charged with determining the constitutional legality of Iraqi laws, revised the law draft, changing some of its articles.)

The revisions of the Consultative Council were rejected by the Kurdistan Coalition, which...

http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php

-- April 14, 2008 8:20 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Sara:

Lets hope Parliment passes the HCL as agreed to by both Malaki and Barzani. If the HCL passes the TSAs may be by-passed completely and the PSAs instituted. If the HCL passes and the oil with the help of the oil majors begin to flow, hang on. We are on our way. With the montetization of oil (petro dinars), Shabs may have no choice but to revalue, revert, or free float the dinar. The Iraqi Economy cannot survive with a managed rate. To continue a managed rate, will cause major inflation inside the country.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 14, 2008 9:43 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq allows 35 companies to bid for oil contracts
Reuters
Published: April 14, 2008, 00:08

Baghdad: Iraq has so far accepted 35 companies to compete for future oil and gas contracts from 120 companies that entered the process to qualify, a government spokesman said yesterday.

Iraq holds the world's third-largest oil reserves and needs billions of dollars of investment to overhaul infrastructure and boost oil and gas output after years of sanctions and war.

A vital oil law to establish the framework for foreign investment has been stalled for a year by political feuding. As stop-gap measures to boost output until the law is in place, Iraq plans to issue oil extraction and service contracts.

"Up to now, 35 companies have been qualified out of 120 companies that presented their documentation to the oil ministry," government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The process was ongoing, and some companies that had failed to submit all the documentation necessary would be given the chance to complete their paperwork, he added.

Dabbagh did not give details on qualified companies, nor say if any had been disqualified.

Baghdad has said that companies that had done deals with the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq would not be allowed to bid for contracts in the rest of the country. Baghdad claims the Kurdish deals are illegal.

Iraq would publish the list of qualified companies "in coming days", he said.

Iraq asked oil companies interested in the service contracts to submit their paperwork to Baghdad by mid-February. It had initially planned to issue the list of qualified companies in March before announcing the fields and contracts that would be open to bidding in April.

Iraq produces about 2.3 million barrels per day of oil, a tiny fraction of its 115 billion barrels of proven crude reserves.
(http://www.gulf-news.com/business/Oil_and_Gas/10205467.html)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 15, 2008 10:07 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq’s Southern Oil Runs As Smooth As Before
4/14/2008

14.04.2008 14:10
The sabotage on a pipeline on 27 March that halted the output is now totally eliminated and the production process is renewed. The attack shut the Bazargan, Majoon and Bin Umar oilfields, which had been pumping around 100,000 bpd.

Iraqi engineers connected a pipeline by-pass to allow output from the fields to restart despite extensive damage to a branch of the line from Bazargan.

Iraq used oil storage at both the fields and its main southern oil Basra terminal to minimize the impact on shipments.

Iraq's southern oil exports flowed at around 1.68 million bpd yesterday, up from around 1.44 million bpd on Saturday, a shipping source said.

Yesterday's flow was at the top end of the typical pumping range from Basra of 1.2 million bpd to 1.7 million bpd.


Iraq’s Southern Oil Runs As Smooth As Before - Source
(www.safedinar.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 15, 2008 10:09 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Private sector seeks role in investment law; attracting capital

Delegates at a meeting of the Union of Chambers of Commerce, which was recently held in Babylon governorate, have recommended the need to form an investment board in order to implement the investment law and attract foreign capital to Iraq.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 15, 2008 10:10 AM


Sara wrote:

Rob N;

Thanks for your posts, and insights. :)

I believe it would be best for the Iraqi people and their country to have the free float of the Dinar and monetization of their oil. What is the point of leaving the oil in the ground and the Iraqi people's potential prosperity unrealized? If they don't prosper their fortunes now, when will it happen for them? They need prosperity in order for their economic goals and a bright future to be realized and there is no time like the present.

The people continue to see relatively little progress at this time in comparison to what it could be for them because their money is not allowed to be at a real value on the market but remains a micro-managed float. I believe that if the Iraqis develop their oil and then manage their cashflows well they will be able to give to future generations a prosperous and peaceful Iraq, because I believe it is necessary to have this economic leg in place as a war strategy to facilitate peace. It is wisest to get the Dinar into a real range of value and not manage the rate as a step toward battling those who are trying to overcome Iraq and destroy its people and their peace and prosperity. Economically the Iraqis are behind third world countries (the Dinar is worth less than banana republics) and yet they sit on the third largest oil reserve in the world. They need to do all they can to make themselves prosperous at this point in time in history because money will give the Iraqis power.. this world's power.

It is a reality in this world that people align themselves with money and work in the interests of that which is monetarily powerful. As Iraq becomes richer, it also gains allies and power in this world, which will make them stronger against all those who would oppose their economic and future plans for their country's welfare. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been on friendly terms with the US and for years they have continued in wealth and prosperity without destabilizing attacks. Part of the reason for that success and peace is the money those countries have. Iraq needs that same advantage.

Once they have the oil flowing and a free float of their currency, they will have more purchasing power as well as "monetary favor" in this world with the leaders (even religious leaders) who are players in this drama. Even religious leaders will work in their own interests monetarily. The Bible states that "blessed are the peacemakers" and I have seen in history that people with money tend to make a lot of peace with their enemies, more than those who have no "gift" to bring:

Pro 21:14 A gift in secret pacifies anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.

I believe trying to obtain peace by force only (militarily) will not work. They need this economic leg of the Dinar monetized and free floating for Iraq or this three legged stool (economic, military and political legs) will fall down. I believe that the Dinar's correct value (free floating and monetized on oil) will contribute greatly to Iraq's economic prosperity and that the Dinar's realized value is a necessary key to the hopes for peace in Iraq.

Sara.

-- April 15, 2008 12:11 PM


cornishboy wrote:

Our Lower Denoms!?!?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The president of de la rue, was interviewed in the Chicago Tribune Review...today's article...at the very bottom, he said this...

Q What's the most frustrating thing about your job?

A Our currency product is used *********, but because we can't put our company name on it, few people know who we are.

We print American Express traveler's checks and the holographic dove on the Visa card. Recently we printed and shipped $8 billion in Iraqi currency. Almost everyone ********* uses our products.


His career really is making money -- chicagotribune.com
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-sun_path_1118nov18,0,1073919.story

-- April 15, 2008 1:48 PM


cornishboy wrote:

Kurds snatch new concessions on oil and militias - THIS IS A FANTASTIC ARTICLE

Iraqi Kurds have won two major concessions from the central government in Baghdad one on oil and the second on the state of their militias known locally as Peshmerga.

Regarding oil, the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to give the Kurdish regional administration in the north the right to sign oil development deals on its own.

This is one of the biggest concessions the government makes for the Kurds and meets one of their long-standing and most important demands, analysts say.

The deal, they said, comes as Maliki is under immense pressure not only from his former Shiite allies like Moqtada al-Sadr but also from the disgruntled Sunni parties.

According to a new draft of the Oil and Gas Law, which the parliament has yet to pass, Maliki has accepted a Kurdish request to adopt a former version which gave them additional rights.

Under the new agreement, the 15 oil deals signed by Kurds with foreign firms would be legal while previously the Oil Ministry denounced them as null and void.

The agreement may signal to the hitherto reluctant foreign oil firms to start developing fields in Iraqi Kurdistan in earnest.

Maliki has also agreed to integrate Kurdish militias into the country’s security apparatus, a move that will add them to the payrolls of the interior and defense ministries.

But Kurdish militiamen, registered in the Kurdish regional government, number more than 190,000, almost as many as the number of troops under Iraqi government disposal.

The pact on Kurdish militias means that from now on the central government will pay the Peshmerga instead of the Kurdish regional government.

Azzaman in English
__________________

-- April 15, 2008 2:28 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Sara:

You are preaching to the choir. I believe we are closer now than we have been since this investment began. The GoI is now realizing the potential wealth Iraq possesses. In addition, I believe they are realizing what can be done with such wealth.

The country is still a work in progress. Iraq is more than the creation of a modern nation state. Iraq has to move from barbarianism into the post modern world. Normally, an evolution of this magnitude is centuries in the making. The progress the Iraqi's have made in the last five years is momentous.

Unfortunately, there still exists inside of some leaders the remenants of barbarism. These forces will attempt to subvert the continued progress of the country. It is my contention, Al-Malaki must now mature into a strong leader and with the support of Parliment can overcome all of Al-Sadrs of Iraq.

The passage of the Hydro Carbon law is upon us. We may finally see it. A robust economy is the key for lasting peace and prosperity in Iraq. The country cannot have this robust economy without a valuable Dinar. Once the oil is monetized (Petro-Dinars) we will see a rise in the exchange rate of the Dinar.

As we all have read by now, at somepoint in the near future if the CBI has its way. The Dinars value will revert to the rate of the 1970's and early 1980's. The exploration and exportation of oil can make this lofty exchange rate a possibility.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 15, 2008 2:37 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Cornish Boy:

I will wait and see if the 8 Billion in Iraqi currency shipped by Del A Rue are the lower denominations.

The article lacks evidence to draw this conclusion. Not saying you are not right. Again, lets wait and see.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 15, 2008 3:55 PM


cornishboy wrote:

GCC To Stick To 2010 Deadline, Keep Dollar Peg

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a little old April 7

http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/articl...eadlineID=5140
GCC To Stick To 2010 Deadline, Keep Dollar Peg
The future Gulf currency will remain linked to the
U.S. dollar and GCC countries are able to meet the
2010 deadline for the GCC monetary union, Qatar's
central bank governor said.

Editor's Note
After months of rumours, suggestions and
contradictions, the Gulf states have finally agreed to
read from the same page: that they will stick to the
American dollar and that they will target 2010 as
their deadline to launch a common currency.
This unwavering commitment comes after months of
speculations and media reports that suggested that at
least some of the monetary authorities were having
second thoughts.
In hindsight, sticking to the dollar may be the most
prudent thing to do. Global markets are in a spin with
too many variables out there. To change the currency
policy at this stage may unsettle the economic
progress being made, even at the extent of high
consumer prices.
This month Zawya will sponsor The International
Islamic Finance Forum in Dubai on April 14-15, 2008,
The Middle East Asia Leadership Forum in Dubai on
April 15-16 and the Middle East 2008 - AVCJ Private
Equity & Venture Forum in Abu Dhabi on April 20-22,
2008.

-- April 15, 2008 8:08 PM


cornishboy wrote:

GCC To Stick To 2010 Deadline, Keep Dollar Peg

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a little old April 7

http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/articl...eadlineID=5140
GCC To Stick To 2010 Deadline, Keep Dollar Peg
The future Gulf currency will remain linked to the
U.S. dollar and GCC countries are able to meet the
2010 deadline for the GCC monetary union, Qatar's
central bank governor said.

Editor's Note
After months of rumours, suggestions and
contradictions, the Gulf states have finally agreed to
read from the same page: that they will stick to the
American dollar and that they will target 2010 as
their deadline to launch a common currency.
This unwavering commitment comes after months of
speculations and media reports that suggested that at
least some of the monetary authorities were having
second thoughts.
In hindsight, sticking to the dollar may be the most
prudent thing to do. Global markets are in a spin with
too many variables out there. To change the currency
policy at this stage may unsettle the economic
progress being made, even at the extent of high
consumer prices.
This month Zawya will sponsor The International
Islamic Finance Forum in Dubai on April 14-15, 2008,
The Middle East Asia Leadership Forum in Dubai on
April 15-16 and the Middle East 2008 - AVCJ Private
Equity & Venture Forum in Abu Dhabi on April 20-22,
2008.

-- April 15, 2008 8:09 PM


Investor wrote:

If the Kurdish leaders worked out their differences, over money, with the central Iraqi government, and if Kurdish troops are integrated into the central government's security forces, this could stabilize the political situation in Iraq. Because obviously if you add 190,000 Kurdish troops, the power of the central government and it's ability to enforce the law is enhanced greatly.

That's bad news for Sadr. Unlike largely Shiite units, military units with a lot of Kurds in them would have no qualms about finishing off that turkey.

This could mean a more peaceful Iraq, quicker, with rogue elements "taken care of". It means less American military involvement, allowing John Macain to take credit for an improving situation. That could mean Iraq can get on it's feet quicker, and the economy moving and the dinar revalued quicker.

VERY BIG NEWS, VERY IMPORTANT IF TRUE. A CRUCIAL EVENT THAT COULD SPEED UP AN OIL LAW.

-- April 15, 2008 8:26 PM


cornishboy wrote:

*This* is an interesting chart take a look where the us is.https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2187rank.html

-- April 15, 2008 10:36 PM


Sara wrote:

In a court of law, one EXPERT who gives testimony outweighs the words of many others who are not. Surely this man who says,
QUOTE:

I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war – and our part in it – at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.

That says to me that this expert opinion bears hearing as well as repeating.

Sara.

==

Let's 'Surge' Some More
By MICHAEL YON
April 11, 2008; Page A17

It is said that generals always fight the last war. But when David Petraeus came to town it was senators – on both sides of the aisle – who battled over the Iraq war of 2004-2006. That war has little in common with the war we are fighting today.

I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war – and our part in it – at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.

The change goes far beyond the statistical decline in casualties or incidents of violence. A young Iraqi translator, wounded in battle and fearing death, asked an American commander to bury his heart in America. Iraqi special forces units took to the streets to track down terrorists who killed American soldiers. The U.S. military is the most respected institution in Iraq, and many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers. Yes, young Iraqi boys know about "GoArmy.com."

As the outrages of Abu Ghraib faded in memory – and paled in comparison to al Qaeda's brutalities – and our soldiers under the Petraeus strategy got off their big bases and out of their tanks and deeper into the neighborhoods, American values began to win the war.

Iraqis came to respect American soldiers as warriors who would protect them from terror gangs. But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are even happier helping rebuild a clinic, school or a neighborhood. They learned that the American soldier is not only the most dangerous enemy in the world, but one of the best friends a neighborhood can have.

Some people charge that we have merely "rented" the Sunni tribesmen, the former insurgents who now fight by our side. This implies that because we pay these people, their loyalty must be for sale to the highest bidder. But as Gen. Petraeus demonstrated in Nineveh province in 2003 to 2004, many of the Iraqis who filled the ranks of the Sunni insurgency from 2003 into 2007 could have been working with us all along, had we treated them intelligently and respectfully. In Nineveh in 2003, under then Maj. Gen. Petraeus's leadership, these men – many of them veterans of the Iraqi army – played a crucial role in restoring civil order. Yet due to excessive de-Baathification and the administration's attempt to marginalize powerful tribal sheiks in Anbar and other provinces – including men even Saddam dared not ignore – we transformed potential partners into dreaded enemies in less than a year.

Then al Qaeda in Iraq, which helped fund and tried to control the Sunni insurgency for its own ends, raped too many women and boys, cut off too many heads, and brought drugs into too many neighborhoods. By outraging the tribes, it gave birth to the Sunni "awakening." We – and Iraq – got a second chance. Powerful tribes in Anbar province cooperate with us now because they came to see al Qaeda for what it is – and to see Americans for what we truly are.

Soldiers everywhere are paid, and good generals know it is dangerous to mess with a soldier's money. The shoeless heroes who froze at Valley Forge were paid, and when their pay did not come they threatened to leave – and some did. Soldiers have families and will not fight for a nation that allows their families to starve. But to say that the tribes who fight with us are "rented" is perhaps as vile a slander as to say that George Washington's men would have left him if the British offered a better deal.

Equally misguided were some senators' attempts to use Gen. Petraeus's statement, that there could be no purely military solution in Iraq, to dismiss our soldiers' achievements as "merely" military. In a successful counterinsurgency it is impossible to separate military and political success. The Sunni "awakening" was not primarily a military event any more than it was "bribery." It was a political event with enormous military benefits.

The huge drop in roadside bombings is also a political success – because the bombings were political events. It is not possible to bury a tank-busting 1,500-pound bomb in a neighborhood street without the neighbors noticing. Since the military cannot watch every road during every hour of the day (that would be a purely military solution), whether the bomb kills soldiers depends on whether the neighbors warn the soldiers or cover for the terrorists. Once they mostly stood silent; today they tend to pick up their cell phones and call the Americans. Even in big "kinetic" military operations like the taking of Baqubah in June 2007, politics was crucial. Casualties were a fraction of what we expected because, block-by-block, the citizens told our guys where to find the bad guys. I was there; I saw it.

The Iraqi central government is unsatisfactory at best. But the grass-roots political progress of the past year has been extraordinary – and is directly measurable in the drop in casualties.

This leads us to the most out-of-date aspect of the Senate debate: the argument about the pace of troop withdrawals. Precisely because we have made so much political progress in the past year, rather than talking about force reduction, Congress should be figuring ways and means to increase troop levels. For all our successes, we still do not have enough troops. This makes the fight longer and more lethal for the troops who are fighting. To give one example, I just returned this week from Nineveh province, where I have spent probably eight months between 2005 to 2008, and it is clear that we remain stretched very thin from the Syrian border and through Mosul. Vast swaths of Nineveh are patrolled mostly by occasional overflights.

We know now that we can pull off a successful counterinsurgency in Iraq. We know that we are working with an increasingly willing citizenry. But counterinsurgency, like community policing, requires lots of boots on the ground. You can't do it from inside a jet or a tank.

Over the past 15 months, we have proved that we can win this war. We stand now at the moment of truth. Victory – and a democracy in the Arab world – is within our grasp. But it could yet slip away if our leaders remain transfixed by the war we almost lost, rather than focusing on the war we are winning today.

Mr. Yon is author of the just-published "Moment of Truth in Iraq" (Richard Vigilante Books). He has been reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan since December 2004.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120787343563306609.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

-- April 16, 2008 1:04 AM


Anonymous wrote:

Iraqi Politicial Tells the Truth

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=9145258

Description: listen before you criticize what America is doing in the Middle East.

-- April 16, 2008 1:42 AM


Anonymous wrote:

“Despite It All …
… April 9 is a national holiday.”

People who think we’ve wasted 5 years, billions of dollars and 4,000 American lives, and would like to throw those sacrifices away, may want to read MEMRI’s roundup of liberal Arab reax to the 5th anniversary. It starts, with poetic beauty, in Baghdad and wends its way through the Arab world, waxing political, academic, and poetic again. You’ll want to read it all. But whatever you do, don’t leave before you read the words, ”My beloved, brave American soldier, we apologize to you,” which I am not ashamed to admit, just induced a brief involuntary sobbing fit. Because I’ve gone soft that way.

Via the essential and magnificent MEMRI at its best:

1) Iraqi Journalist ‘Abd Al-Jabbar Al-’Atabi: Despite It All, April 9 is a National Holiday

In an April 9, 2008 article in Elaph, Iraqi journalist ‘Abd Al-Jabbar Al-’Atabi wrote: “Here is Baghdad, still smelling the odor of smoke, hearing the sounds of fright, seeing the tongues of flame, and tasting the bitterness of violence. And nonetheless, with our fingers we feel the face of hope - with the voices of the birds who have not left the city and still chirp and grow in number; with the winds that carry the pollen of the palm trees to the orchards to produce fresh dates; with the glimmer of the predawn, whose appearance gladdens the city’s residents and moves their spirit to rebuild and renew what has been destroyed…

“Yesterday - one day before the anniversary of April 9 [2003] - I spent the early morning hours devoting all my attention to what has been and what will be. I jumped up, eager to visit the places, to walk in the streets and on the sidewalks, allowing my gaze to take in what it may. Oddly enough, as I was doing so I found myself reciting a poem by Nazar Qabbani from 1962:

“Baghdad, oh rhythm of anklets and adornments,
“Oh store of lights and fragrances,
“Do not do me wrong, as you see the rebab in my hand.
“The desire is greater than my hand and my rebab.
“Before the sweet meeting you were my beloved,
“And my beloved you will remain after I leave.”

“I walked in the public street and observed the faces of the people I passed by - those sprawled on the sidewalks, selling goods, those who make their livelihood in the souks and the parking lots, and the beggars. I imagined them five years ago. I might not see a great change in their appearance, but there was something written in their facial features that showed that these people have their freedom to deal with things. As one of them said to me, no one comes and scatters their wares, or chases them away, or demands bribes. They come when they will and leave when they will.

“At the start of my journey I stopped by the newspaper seller to ask how he was after five years of change. He said: I will sum up what you ask in a few words. Despite everything that happened and is happening, I feel pride in the fact that the years of dictatorship are gone. There were no worse years than those, when we were afraid of our own shadows and our own children. I won’t claim that the situation now is ideal, but compared to the past, it is much better, without any comparison… Despite the sorrows I find in our present situation, I feel relieved. In the days [of the dictatorship] I didn’t feel optimistic. Now, I am optimistic about what is to come. What is happening now is passing; while it has gone on long, it will end - it could end in the twinkle of an eye.

“The residents of Baghdad, who recall the days from before April 9, 2003 and up to today - 1,727 days and nights, one after the other, together with all that has befallen and befalls their city - profess nothing but fidelity to it, even though it is engulfed in dangers. They reject those who say ‘Baghdad fell,’ and will answer you sternly if you say this, saying ‘it was the regime that fell’…

“I called a friend who lives in Sadr City and asked him how things were under the traffic ban in force now for a week. He said: I feel love, and then laughed, and continued: There are some things I fear, but I do not fear the coming days. People [here] are in a lamentable state and are afraid of evils that may befall them, but they are not despondent. They are awaiting a change for the better.

“Five years of Baghdad’s new life have passed… and there has been much talk of Baghdad. This is because it is not a city like other cities; it is exceptional, as is everything in it…

“You see that people, despite their proud grief, are talking about hope, and optimism, and the happiness to come. Despite the confusion, the anarchy, and the unconceivable occurrences, you hear the words: the breakthrough is at hand. They speak of the democracy that they had misunderstood, and they emphasize that these five years have taught them a lot and enriched their experience. They have come to know the true from the false and to distinguish between the good and the evil. You hear people saying: April 9 is a national holiday, despite the imported terrorism, or that concocted by the former regime, that came in its wake.” [1]

2) Egyptian Journalist Ashraf Radi: “Progress, Liberty, and Democracy Demand a Price”

Liberal Egyptian journalist and Reuters correspondent in Cairo Ashraf Radi told Elaph: “No one in the Arab world wrote a single word about [Saddam’s] tyrannical crimes, for which he was brought down, whereas the [Arab] pens unceasingly criticize the Iraqi governments that came afterwards… I find no answer to those who willfully ignore the causes behind the violence and the bloody conflicts in Iraq today other than that progress, liberty, and democracy demand a price, and this price must be paid by the current generations, so that the coming generations will not have to pay double.

“There is no doubt but that Operation Iraqi Freedom has many enemies, both within Iraq and in the neighboring countries… There is no future for Iraq without democracy. Those who sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, are worthy of liberty, and they will never accept any prize less than this…” [2]

3) Palestinian Liberal Ahmad Abu Matar: Iraq Needs to Learn from Germany and Japan, Which Were Also Under American Occupation

The prominent Palestinian liberal Ahmad Abu Matar, who resides in Oslo, said: “There are some who completely turn a blind eye to the crimes of the Saddam regime, which included the killing, torturing, and ‘disappearance’ of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, of all ethnicities and sects. These people focus on the period after the fall of the regime and place all of the responsibility for the killing and destruction on the American occupation. And there are others who focus exclusively on the crimes of the former regime, skipping over what has gone on in the last five years, as though Iraq has become an oasis of security, liberty, and democracy superior even to Plato’s ideal republic…

“I think that the international coalition forces, under the leadership of the U.S., did a great and important service to the Iraqi people, with all its ethnicities and sects, by bringing down the criminal dictatorial regime. After that, the U.N. declared Iraq an occupied country, and the Iraqi issue, in all its dimensions, became an international one.

“How should the Iraqis deal with this new situation? The objective answer to this question must draw on similar experiences from recent history. Two countries, Japan and Germany, were also placed under American occupation. How did these two countries deal with the new situation, which was entirely analogous with the situation in Iraq? They both considered the occupation an opportunity to reorder their own affairs [and get rid of] all the negative sides and errors that invited this occupation - from rewriting the school curricula in Japan to putting an end to Nazi ideology and practice in Germany. And look how far Germany and Japan have come.

“The ball is now in the Iraqis’ court…” [3]

4) Khudayr Taher: An Apology to the Valiant American Soldier

In an April 8, 2008 article titled “Apology to the Valiant American Soldier,” Iraqi liberal Khudayr Taher bemoaned the ill treatment the U.S. army received from those it liberated:

“We forsook you and betrayed you - we, whose history is an expression of massacres, conflagrations, and ruin. We killed you, and we killed our dream and aspiration of reaching the sun, the moon, and the stars - [we killed our dream] of availing ourselves of the opportunity to live as true humans, thanks to your presence.

“My dear, brave American soldier, you noble individual who traversed land and sea in order to write the story of Iraqi freedom for the first time in its modern history - you believed, in accordance with logic, self-evident truths, and rational thought, that a people who had been subjected to repression, starvation, and killing would dance for joy, and would thank Allah who sent you to them as a liberating angel. [You believed that] they would strew flowers and break out in songs of joy that would smash the chains of slavery, ignominy, and humiliation.

“Not even a writer of surrealistic [literature] or [theater of] the absurd would have imagined that the Iraqi people would revolt against their liberator and would rush ardently back to a new bondage of a different kind - that of the religious cleric, the tribal sheikh, and the gang leader. It was unthinkable that the people would go against logic, rational thought, and self-evident truths, in a mad rush towards the abyss and total ruin.

“My beloved, brave American soldier, we apologize to you, and we are saddened at our wretched and miserable selves. Since we are a people that slaughters itself, and kills one another, cutting off heads, what can you expect from us other than ingratitude, perfidy, and stabbing you in the back for the benefit of Iranian and Syrian intelligence and Al-Qaeda?…” [4]

5) Shaker Al-Nabulsi: The War Has Come To Be One Between Liberalism and Fundamentalism

The Jordanian author and researcher Shaker Al-Nabulsi, one of the leading thinkers of the Arab liberal movement, told Elaph: “Despite all the colossal efforts of the Arabs and others to abort and destroy the new ‘Baghdad 2003′ and to strangle the festival of liberty and democracy that was born on the morning of April 9, 2003; and despite the [efforts of] the Arab and Western media to pin all of the crimes committed in Iraq, from the dawn of that day up to now, on the occupation forces that invaded Iraq - none of that can erase the obvious truth.

“The new ‘Baghdad 2003′ has transformed the war between [the Iraq of] the Saddam Hussein era and America into a war between liberalism and fundamentalism, between modernity and reaction, between dictatorship and democracy…

“It is inevitable that every country and every people, after liberation, pass through a stage of corruption, thievery, and lack of security; but this stage will be the womb that begets the stage of modernity, creation, and the new liberal thought. The best examples of this are Japan, [South] Korea, Germany, and Eastern Europe.” [5]

In an earlier article in Elaph, Shaker Al-Nabulsi wrote about the salutary effects that the removal of the Saddam regime has had on the progress of liberalism in the Arab world on the whole:

“This reckoning should have appeared a year or two ago, so that we liberals could see whether we had lost or gained in the past few years, which have been a critical juncture in the path of Arab liberalism.

“There is no doubt but that our senses and perceptions, and the readers’ responses that are published or that we receive by mail, tell us that we are gaining ground, even if the pace of this advance is very slow and not perceptible on a day-to-day basis.

“We are like blossoming flowers whose blossoming is imperceptible. Yet they do blossom - and the evidence is that with the advent of spring they were just buds…

“The best evidence of the advance of Arab liberalism in the past five years is the fact that so many liberal writers have appeared on the stage of the Arab media and have expressed their views on various Arab issues and problems. This is one of the many kindnesses that the new ‘Baghdad 2003′ has bestowed on us.

“This shows that as time passes Arab liberalism is gaining for itself more and more writers and intellectuals…

“[More] evidence for the advance of Arab liberalism over the past five years is the great number of liberal websites that host the writings of liberal authors, and the huge number of reader responses to these articles. None of this existed in the years before ‘Baghdad 2003′.

“True, these numbers cannot compare with the quantity of fundamentalist websites. But we should understand that what is important is not the quantity, but the scope of influence. Most of the fundamentalist websites repeat themselves incessantly, and reiterate the words of dead people and moldy books, whereas the liberal websites try to present something new every day. They are a mirror that reflects reality in all its details and problems.

“Liberal discourse is not an arousing ballad that excites the emotions and intoxicates; and it is not a populist discourse that gratifies the impulses of the masses, rubbing their wounds with [the balsam of] a jealous and deep-seated narcissism. It is [a discourse] addressed first and foremost to a discerning elite, as it is the discerning elite that makes history…

“Nonetheless, the liberal political, religious, cultural, and social discourse has won great and abundant [support] among the masses. Liberal discourse did not come to them; they came to it, despite the fact that the liberals constantly emphasize that they are not singers at a nightclub, dancers at a wedding, or pulpit preachers who enflame the emotions, the instincts, and narcissistic wounds.

“[More] evidence of the advance of Arab liberalism in the past five years is the appearance of many liberals - men and women - in the Arabian desert and the Arab Gulf region. Those who think that this part of the Arab world is the exclusive staging ground of fundamentalists are in error. [In fact,] it may be that the liberals of this region of the Arab world are the most ardent, courageous, and audacious of them all. Anyone who reads the Gulf press today sees that 90% of it has liberal leanings. It and its writers - and they are the majority - proclaim the need for self-criticism, the filtering of tradition, respect for human rights, gender equality, and the freedom to differ…” [6]

Comment:

RebeccaH Says:

So, despite the Democratic Congress and western journalism, there is hope after all.

http://www.julescrittenden.com/2008/04/12/despite-it-all/

-- April 16, 2008 2:05 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraq close to agreeing oil and gas law - PM
Wed Apr 16, 2008

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Iraq is close to finalising a long-awaited oil and gas law, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday.

"We are close to agreeing a final version of the oil and gas law," al-Maliki told a committee of the European Parliament in Brussels at the start of a visit to discuss energy cooperation with the European Union.

http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-33069620080416

-- April 16, 2008 8:37 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraq leader confident of defeating al-Qaida in Iraq
April 16, 2008
By CONSTANT BRAND /AP

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday he's more confident than ever his government will defeat al-Qaida in Iraq and that confrontation with militia fighters will help achieve political stability.

"We are today more confident than any time before that we are close to the point where we can declare victory against al-Qaida ... and its allies," al-Maliki said.

Al-Maliki oversaw an offensive against Shiite militia fighters in the southern port of Basra last month.

On Wednesday al-Maliki said the latest fighting would not deter efforts to keep the provincial elections on track. Laws to enable the vote are making their way through Iraq's parliament.

"The militias, whether in the south or in Baghdad, in Mosul ... combating them is to ensure that there won't be any militias that will interfere with these elections, that there won't be misleading results," he said.

The Iraqi premier also reiterated a warning to neighbors Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria and others not to interfere in Iraq's internal politics.

Al-Maliki's visit was eagerly awaited by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who, along with other EU officials, is keen to forge closer economic ties, especially in opening up Iraq's vast oil and gas reserves to European energy firms. That would contribute to EU efforts to lessen dependence on energy supplies from Russia.

Despite insurgent attacks on oil facilities and employees, oil exports account for more than 90 percent of revenues in Iraq, which has the world's third-largest crude oil reserves — an estimated 115 billion barrels.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/5704798.html

-- April 16, 2008 8:50 AM


Sara wrote:

An Open Letter To Rush Limbaugh

Dear Rush,

You asked on your show yesterday, (Friday, March 28th), if any of us are ashamed of our country. The answer is emphatically - YES - But not for any of the reasons that you stated. Let me first qualify what I have to say by stating that when I speak I am not speaking of every individual but of our country as a whole.

I am ashamed of my beloved country because of our shameless politicians. We no longer know how to raise statesmen in this country of the likes of those who founded it. Instead we raise self-aggrandizing political pundits and slick marketeers who are more interested in gaining political power than in the good of this country. Politicians who are willing to sacrifice our tomorrows for their own gain today.

I am ashamed of a people who are unwilling to get involved in the political process as if the decision made by these fools in office don’t have an affect on our lives. People who are willing to sacrifice their freedoms and those of their children for a promised ‘mess of pottage’. Who are willing to follow the voice of any smooth-talking politician with pretty words, instead of getting into the meat of what that politician is really saying. People who are so eagerly willing to throw away our republic for this re-packaged brand of socialism.

I am ashamed of a people who have forgotten the hard work that it took to build this country and want everything handed to them on a silver platter. We have too quickly forgotten our roots - the sacrifice of the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers, even those of just a few generations away.

I am ashamed of the moral disintegration of our people - a people who seen to think self- gratification is the highest attainable goal. I am ashamed of the attitude of greed that has overtaken so much our lives. The ‘grab all you can mentality’ where people are more interested in the accumulation of things rather than in the well being of others.

I am ashamed of the slaughter of our innocent children.

I am ashamed of the disintegration of our educational system. Abraham Lincoln and many others like him learned more with a Bible, a primer and a candle that we can teach our children with all the so-called learned educators and the plethora of learning materials at our fingertips today.

I am ashamed of our country because of people are so willing to fall into this new found global warming, Earth worship. I am ashamed of the stupidity, the pseudo-science and the mind-numbed following it has attracted. It has quickly become a religion where were instead of striving to be good stewards of our resources we seek to ‘appease’ the planet with our sacrifices and self-denial.

But foremost I am ashamed of our country because so many of us have forgotten the God who gave us the prosperity we enjoy. I am ashamed that we have forgotten that our prosperity was given to us not just for our own comforts, but so that we could be a blessing to others, both spiritually and physically.

Yes, I still love this country more than I can say. I am grateful to live in a land of such beauty and prosperity. I am thankful for those who still unashamedly stand for what is right, even to the point of laying down their lives for their beliefs, but, while there is much to be for us to be proud of, and thankful for, there is also much for which we should be ashamed. There is also much for which we should repent and ask God’s forgiveness, before what has been given to us is taken away because of our lack of good stewardship, misuse and ungratefulness.

We are quickly becoming a mere shadow of what we once were, because of the liberal, socialist philosophy that we have allowed to overtake our society. I pray it is not too late to reclaim it, but I fear that perhaps it is too late and that the writing is on the wall, that America has already been ‘weighed in the balances and found wanting’. I pray I am wrong.

RW

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/other-news-for-the-week-of-apr-12-apr-18#comment-108368

-- April 16, 2008 9:23 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraqi-Egyptian agreement for long term investment projects

Egypt and Iraq have reached an agreement to foster long term commercial, economic and investment ties between the two countries. An Iraqi investment delegation met with representatives from Egyptian public bodies and commercial enterprises on a recent visit to Cairo.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 16, 2008 11:58 AM


Sara wrote:

EU: Iraq offers Europe increased gas and oil supplies this year
The Associated Press
Published: April 16, 2008

BRUSSELS, Belgium: Iraq has offered to increase its supply of natural gas to the European market over the next three years, the EU said Wednesday.

The European Commission said the offer was made during talks between Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani and EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

It said in a statement after the meeting that Iraqi officials were "ready to sign at any time" a draft energy memorandum of understanding, which would open the way to closer European-Iraqi energy ties.

The announcement comes as good news for the EU, which has struggled over recent years to break free from its heavy reliance on Russian oil and gas supplies.

Iraq and former Soviet republics like Turkmenistan have been aggressively courted in recent months with the aim of securing energy supply pacts.

Last week, Turkmen authorities promised EU officials to supply 10 billion cubic meters (353 billion cubic feet) of gas from next year.

The EU head office said Iraq "made a political gesture of goodwill," promising to export at least 5 billion cubic meters (177 billion cubic feet) of gas to the European market by 2011.

Early this year, the Iraqi Oil Ministry said it was negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell PLC to conduct output tests on Akkas gas field, a prized natural gas field in western Iraq.

The field, located in the former Sunni insurgent stronghold of Anbar province, has estimated reserves of more than 2.15 trillion cubic feet (60 billion cubic meters).

It has five wells that are ready to be interconnected and could produce up to 50 million cubic feet (1.42 million cubic meters) a day as a first stage, which could be increased to 500 million cubic feet (14.2 million cubic meters) a day at later stages. Some of the gas is planned to be pumped through Syria to consumers in Europe.

The European Commission added that Iraq was also committed to increasing its oil production to reach 3 million barrels per day by the end of this year and that it aimed for 4.5 million by 2012.

"This should be a favorable contribution toward decreasing oil prices," the commission statement said. "Iraq confirms it is exploring new areas for production."

The preliminary promise of providing EU nations with new supplies came during a high-level visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to EU headquarters, where he told European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that his country was keen to forge closer economic and political ties.

Al-Maliki also asked for more technical expertise from Europe to help rebuild Iraq's administration and industrial base.

Barroso told reporters that negotiations on a complete energy pact with Iraq "are going on very well" and hinted a final agreement could be reached by May.

Iraqi energy exports to the EU were worth around €5 billion (US$7.96 billion) in 2006 and the EU is already Iraq's No. 2 trading partner after the U.S.

Demand for gas in the 27-nation EU is expected to reach 536 billion cubic meters by 2010 and 619 billion by 2020.

The EU estimates that imports are expected to represent 85 percent of its gas consumption by 2030, compared to 50 percent in 2000, as it switches power generation away from more polluting coal and oil.

Russia is the EU's biggest supplier, providing about 40 percent of its gas imports, followed by Norway and Algeria.

Worried by its growing dependence on Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly, and the risk that energy might become a political tool for Moscow, Europe is trying to widen its energy sources, suppliers and routes.

An eventual EU-Iraq energy pact is part of negotiations to seal a widespread trade and cooperation accord between the two. Such an agreement would cover trade in goods and services and extend EU cooperation into such areas as human rights, anti-terrorism, the environment and customs issues.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/16/business/EU-FIN-EU-Iraq-Energy.php

-- April 16, 2008 12:49 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

NDC approves its withdrawal from Sunni IAF bloc-MP

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baghdad, 16 April 2008 (Voices of Iraq)
Print article Send to friend
Iraqi lawmaker Khalaf al-Ulayan on Tuesday said his group, with majority approval, its withdrawal from the Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF), the largest Sunni parliamentary bloc, to stave off “sectarianism.”

“All members of the National Dialogue Council (NDC) approved by majority to withdraw from the IAF, considering it one possible option,” MP Khalaf al-Ulayan told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI).

IAF, the biggest Sunni parliamentary bloc, consists of the Iraqi Islamic Party(IIP) led by Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, the Congress of Iraq party led by Adnan al-Dulaimi, and the National Dialogue Council led by Khalaf al-Ulayan.

He attributed the withdrawal of his group from the IAF “to escape from sectarian agglomeration and to join a structure based on national and non-sectarian lines.”

“As long as the IIP is in the bloc, the IAF is accused of being sectarian,” the lawmaker noted, adding “we decided to withdraw in order to put an end to this excuse.”

The Sunni statesman hinted that his group may consider “striking alliances with the National Dialogue Front, Fadhila party and the Sadrist Movement (loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr).”

For its side, Saleem al-Juburi, spokesman for the IAF, denied the accusations of sectarianism that his bloc was charged with.

He questioned why “the NDC joined the IAF since its inception if it is accused of being a sectarian list.”

However, he downplayed the importance of the NDC’s withdrawal, saying “the pullout of any party or group would not change any IAF policies.”

The IAF spokesman also accused the NDC chief of an “inability to stick to the IAF platform.”

The IAF withdrew from the Iraqi government claiming that its demands for a share in security decisions-making, the release of detainees not convicted of any crime, and reining in militias infiltrating security forces had not been met.

The IAF, formerly represented by five ministers and PM deputy posts in the government, only holds 35 out of the Parliament’s total of 275 seats.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 16, 2008 2:02 PM


Sara wrote:

Had you heard that Italy for the first time since WWII has elected a majority Conservative government without any Communists being elected? And, did you note that,
QUOTE:

the incoming government will be decidedly pro-American and pro-George W. Bush. (end quote)

You have to wonder, as this article says,
QUOTE:

Now that Germany, France and Italy are governed by those who are more admiring of Mr. Bush, will the Press report that in fact, the previous issues were mostly caused by the attitudes of the foreign governments, and not Mr. Bush's supposed arrogance and unilateralism? (end quote)

Also, will they note that the new President Mr. Berlusconi is 71, just like John McCain?
Isn’t it funny how our watchdog media seldom mention that?

Berlusconi wins Italy election
14 April 2008

Conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi has another chance to leave his mark on Italy after winning a thumping mandate at the helm of a streamlined coalition.

The 71-year old told Italian, Mr Berlusconi, said in a telephone call to public television: "We have difficult months ahead that will require great strength."

According to Ansa news agency, before ringing off, he added: "An affectionate kiss to all Italians."

At 80%, the final turnout appears to have been lower than in the last election, two years ago.

As congratulations came pouring in, including from the U.S. President George W. Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Berlusconi said Tuesday he will waste no time in getting to work.

"I want to go down in the history of this country as the statesman who changed it," Berlusconi said in remarks phone in to Italian television shows after his victory.

He certainly has the numbers to implement his agenda — if he so chooses.

He has a significant majority in both houses of a parliament that for the first time since World War II does not include the Communist Party — once Western Europe's largest — or Socialists — who had been in endless governments for decades.

Berlusconi's conservative bloc commands a majority of about 40 seats in the Senate (compared to his predecessor Romano Prodi's one-seat lead) and an advantage of some 100 lawmakers in the lower house. The coalition is also more cohesive as it has lost a centrist ally that proved troublesome in the past.

"Now we need to implement reforms, if not we will lose our patience," Northern League leader Umberto Bossi said in an interview with Turin-based La Stampa.

Berlusconi has refrained from gloating and instead is maintaining a sober tone.

"Difficult months and years await us, and I'm getting ready to govern with the utmost commitment," Berlusconi said hours after his victory.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/15/europe/EU-POL-Italy-Election.php
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7346666.stm

===

Press Ignore History-making Italian Election: No Commies Elected
By Richard Newcomb
April 15, 2008

Michael Ledeen over at the National Review's Corner reminded me today that the recent elections in Italy resulted in a historic event- for the first time since World War II, no Communist was elected to the Italian Parliament. And in an equally positive corollary, no member of the fellow-traveling Green party won either. Mr. Ledeen also noticed something that the Big Media around the world managed to miss- the incoming government will be decidedly pro-American and pro-George W. Bush. Ledeen writes, quote:

Tomorrow's papers will pretend that this didn't happen, and warn that Berlusconi's allies in the Northern League are mercurial and dangerous, and that his majority isn't as stable as it looks. But it is. And there's an even more annoying feature to these elections, as seen by the chattering classes: Berlusconi is an outspoken, even passionate admirer of George W. Bush and the United States of America. Reminds one of the elections that brought Sarkozy to the Elysee, doesn't it? Best to keep that quiet, or somebody might notice that hatred of America doesn't seem to affect the voters in Italy, France or Germany. (end quote)

When many foreign governments were in office that enjoyed spiting Mr. Bush's initiatives, the media reported that Bush's America was 'unilateral', although the U.S. would have liked to work with those countries- it was their incumbent governments who preferred not to co-operate with the United States. Now that Germany, France and Italy are governed by those who are more admiring of Mr. Bush, will the Press report that in fact, the previous issues were mostly caused by the attitudes of the foreign governments, and not Mr. Bush's supposed arrogance and unilateralism? Will the Press admit that from the first, this Administration has worked well with many other countries, though those workings are not always in plain view?

Certainly the Bush Administration has made a great number of mistakes. However, the level of vitriol directed at this Administration by the Press is astonishing, especially considering that there appears to be no logical reason for it. The Press has distorted and downright twisted many of the actions the Administration has taken, and their dishonest presentation of the Coalition and its accomplishments has limited the ability of the American people to understand the magnitude of the task and how things have changed. If not for real journalists like Michael Yon, perhaps the media would have succeeded in twisting the tale of Iraq to match their dark victory in Vietnam.

So now that many of our traditional allies in Europe have chosen to elect governments with pro-American and pro-Bush sentiments, perhaps all that loud talk about Bush's 'going it alone' was simply blather. But I won't hold my breath waiting for the media to acknowledge how wrong they were- they never apologize, just move on to the next hit job.

[Cross-posted on StoneHeads]

Comments:

1) You can make this stuff up... by Chris Norman

"Tomorrow's papers will pretend that this didn't happen, and warn that Berlusconi's allies in the Northern League are mercurial and dangerous, and that his majority isn't as stable as it looks."

bt,

Isn't it "delicious" that, knowing so well the MSM bias and agenda, people can pre-write the story angles and headlines for them - and usually be proved accurate when the real stories hit?

2) Chris... Yep...which you by bigtimer

Chris...

Yep...which you just did perfectly.

3) As someone of Italian heritage by BobAnthony

And a believer in capitalism, this is a fine day. Of course the corporate fascists in the media with their tendencies toward communism, would NEVER ALLOW this to air!

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/richard-newcomb/2008/04/15/press-ignore-big-news-italy

-- April 16, 2008 3:37 PM


Sara wrote:

Sob: Obama Didn’t Have Trust Fund Or Garage

More on the hardscrabble life of David Copperfield/Barack Obama, from those evil capitalists at the Wall Street Journal:

Obama Stresses His Roots To Deflect ‘Elitist’ Tag
A Single Mother And Food Stamps Brought Into Focus
By NICK TIMIRAOS and AMY CHOZICK
April 16, 2008; Page A4

WASHINGTON, Pa. — Barack Obama is talking up the fact that his single mother was once on food stamps and that he only recently paid off student loans — part of a full-court press to avoid being painted by Hillary Clinton and Republicans as an elite liberal…

The adjustments in campaign personas come in the wake of Sen. Obama’s comments about small-town America that he now says he “mangled.” …

Sen. Obama has stressed his humble upbringing as part of his argument that the uproar is nothing more than politics. “This is what we do politically when we start getting behind in races,” he said at a town hall forum Tuesday…

On the stump, Sen. Obama has begun reminding audiences that his single mother was on food stamps, that he attended a private high school on a scholarship and that he paid off law-school student loans with his wife, Michelle, just six years ago. “I know what it’s like to see a mother get sick and worry that maybe she can’t pay the bills,” he said at a building-trade conference in Washington on Tuesday.

“I didn’t have a trust fund,” he told newspaper executives on Monday.

Sen. Obama also noted that the three-bedroom condominium he and his wife lived in for the first 13 years of their marriage didn’t have a garage. “If you live in Chicago, that means you’re scraping ice every morning,” he said…

===end quote==

Imagine the hardship of having to attend Hawaii’s top private school on a scholarship. Imagine having to pay off student loans for Occidental, Columbia, Princeton and Harvard Law.

Just try to imagine life without a trust fund. Imagine living in a three bedroom condominium without a garage.

To paraphrase Mr. Oscar Wile, “one must have a heart of stone to read of Mr. Obama’s struggles without laughing.”

But it is funny how none of these personal struggles were never mentioned in either of Mr. Obama’s autobiographies...

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008.

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/obama-didnt-have-a-trust-fund-or-a-garage

-- April 16, 2008 4:11 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq leader tries to lure investors to its oil, gas fields By CONSTANT BRAND, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 30 minutes ago

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave notice to the European Union on Wednesday that his nation is open for business, despite its fighting with al-Qaida in Iraq and Shiite militias.

Al-Maliki said that in return for opening its vast oil and gas reserves to investors, Iraq wants EU know-how to rebuild its tattered institutions and industrial base.

During his talks with top EU officials, Iraq offered to forge closer economic and political ties by increasing its supply of natural gas to the European market over the next three years.

"We have come here to open the way — and pave the way — for a new relationship," al-Maliki said. "As you know, Iraq is a rich country. We are not asking for direct assistance to Iraq in order to fund our projects. What we need is technical assistance" to help rebuild.

Iraq's government has indicated that it is negotiating with U.S. and European oil companies to manage the development of new oil fields.

The country hopes to reach agreements that will help it fulfill its goal of increasing crude oil production. With the war, mismanagement and neglect, Iraq currently produces far less oil than its potential capacity.

Despite Iraq's enormous reserves of more than 100 billion barrels, global oil corporations have been reluctant to invest because of disputes among Iraqi politicians about how to develop the industry and how to share profits. The fighting in Iraq also has dissuaded many investors.

Al-Maliki's sales pitch was warmly welcomed by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who, along with other EU officials, are keen to forge closer economic ties, especially in opening up Iraq's energy reserves to European energy firms.

That would contribute to EU efforts to reduce dependence on energy supplies from Russia.
(http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080416/ap_on_re_eu/eu_iraq)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 16, 2008 5:15 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq Oil Deal Could Ignite Investment
Lionel Laurent, 04.16.08, 3:07 PM ET

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LONDON - An agreement on a draft oil law for Iraq may finally have been reached Wednesday, which could bring major oil firms like Royal Dutch Shell and BP one step closer to investing in the war-torn and fractured republic.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told United Press International on Wednesday that a new understanding had been reached between the central government of Iraq and the regional government of Kurdistan, after a year of bitter division over the future of the country's oil industry.

"There is an understanding between the central government and the regional government for the oil law," al-Dabbagh was quoted as saying. Although the law has not been officially approved by the Iraqi parliament, the announcement is a clear sign that a significant number of lawmakers are backing the legislation.

The agreement reportedly means Iraq will once again have a national oil company, along with a federal policymaking body for oil and gas to decide who controls the country's oil fields and exploration blocks. It will also create a legal framework for foreign investment, which so far has deterred major oil companies from wading into Iraq.

"The implications of a passed oil law allowing foreign investment would naturally be huge for Iraq, the region and the oil industry," said Samuel Ciszuk, an analyst with Global Insight, "unlocking a new chapter for Iraq, allowing it to develop and modernize its oil and gas production rapidly."

The downside is there does not seem to be an agreement on the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which the Kurds claim belongs to them. Currently, 97% of Iraq's proven reserves of 112 billion barrels lie outside Kurdish territory, including Kirkuk.

Al-Dabbagh said it had been agreed to allow the U.N. process for determining the status of Kirkuk and other disputed areas to play out.

A spokesperson for Royal Dutch Shell (nyse: RDSA - news - people ) refused to comment on the news, but reiterated the company's interest in investing in Iraq. Industry insiders say companies like Shell are training workers to prepare for an eventual move into the country, which can only happen once an oil law is agreed upon and security improves. (See: "Is Big Oil Losing The Race For Iraq?")

The Kurdish regional government and the central government in Baghdad have been at loggerheads over the past year, after last-minute amendments to the draft law in February 2007 pushed the Kurds to withdraw their support and pass their own regional law six months later.

Now it seems that the Kurds' unilateral decision to press ahead and award production-sharing agreements to small oil companies like DNO (other-otc: DTNOF - news - people ) and Addax Petroleum (other-otc: ADXTF - news - people ) has not prevented reconciliation with Baghdad. It might mean, however, that they are restricted to Kurdish exploration, as the Iraqi oil minister has declared the agreements illegal.

Shares in Norway's DNO, a medium-sized oil company with assets in Kurdistan, closed up 16.3%, to 10.15 Norwegian kronor ($2.05), on Wednesday. Press reports had claimed throughout the day that an oil deal was close, though the Iraqi oil ministry reportedly denied it.
(http://www.forbes.com/markets/2008/04/16/iraq-oil-dno-markets-equity-cx_ll_0416markets22.html)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 16, 2008 5:17 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

The two articles submitted above are very good news today. As I have said previously, I believe we are closer than we have ever been. Sara is absolutely right in her assessment that a strong economy will ultimately stem the tide of violence in Iraq.

If the HCL passes, the flury of activity on the economic front will continue to accelerate. We may never see a TSA; instead, we will see PSAs. Iraq will see much needed investment in the oil sector.

The middle and the end of 2008 seems a promising time. Lets hope with the agreement being negotiated by GWB and Al-Malaki soverignty may be restored to Iraq and the oil is flowing. We may see our revaluation, reversion, or free float by the end of the year.

As we all know, the U.S. investment in Iraq has been monumental. Now, I would like to see investment from the EU, China, and Russia. I would also like to see Kuwait cancel a portion or all of Iraqi Debt.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 16, 2008 5:37 PM


cornishboy wrote:

Analysis: Iraq oil law a deal -- spokesman

Iraq's central and Kurdish region governments have reached a deal on an oil law, including a method for weighing the validity of the oil deals the Kurds have signed with foreign firms, the top government spokesman told United Press International.

Ali al-Dabbagh said an agreement has also been made on the classification and funding for the Kurds' security forces, the Peshmerga, which will become a battalion within the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. And he said the sides agreed to allow the U.N. process for determining the future of oil-rich Kirkuk and other disputed territories to play out.

"There is an understanding between the central government and the regional government for the oil law," Dabbagh said in a telephone interview from Brussels, where Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is meeting with EU officials. Maliki's governing coalition has seen defections and opposition growing over the past year. Dabbagh said political parties have recently pledged support, and meetings in Baghdad with top Kurdistan Regional Government officials have led to "a new atmosphere."

The oil law and oil deals have been a source of contention in Iraq's political and civil society. Opponents of the KRG deals are led by National Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani. The oil law has seen many versions and incarnations, each with steadfast supporters and opponents.

This has led to fits and starts in moving forward a law establishing the post-Saddam Hussein rules for governance of Iraq's oil and gas sector -- including four versions stalled in the Parliament's Energy Committee -- that will decide the flashpoint issues of central or decentralized control over the oil strategy and to what extent foreign oil companies will be allowed a role in the nationalized oil sector.

Dabbagh said the agreement is on the version of the oil law approved by key KRG and central government leaders in February 2007. But the deal was foiled by an Oil Ministry decision to classify Iraq's discovered oil fields and exploration blocks, detailing authority for development between the central government and producing provinces and regions in a manner with which the Kurds disagreed.

It was further altered by the Shoura Council, a legislative review body, which led to increased tension and multiple versions.

Meanwhile the Kurds made unilateral moves in the prospective oil sector in their three-province region. The KRG is further in its political, economic and security evolution than the rest of Iraq because of the no-fly zone following the 1991 Gulf War. Since 2004 the KRG has signed more than 20 deals to explore for and develop oil and gas. Most were signed last year, as was a regional oil law, prompting Shahristani to increase his critique to outright condemnation. He called the deals illegal and has so far made good on a threat to blacklist any firms that sign Kurd oil deals from gaining contracts for the rest of Iraq.

None of the companies made the short list, announced Monday, of those allowed to submit bids in an upcoming round of oil and gas field tenders.

The February 2007 oil law draft establishes a federal oil and gas council that would serve as a policymaking body. Dabbagh said the council would decide national versus local control over oil and gas fields and exploration blocks, as well as the legitimacy of the KRG oil deals.

"This is going to be reviewed and is going to be checked whether they are workable with the new law or not," he said. "If not they should be amended in order to have them matching with the new regulation of the oil law."

He said a revenue-sharing law and legislation reconstituting the national oil company and reorganizing the Oil Ministry will "be passed simultaneously (with the oil law) and as a sort of compromise package."

There are still issues to iron out before an agreement is finalized, he said.

Kirkuk, the oil-rich area just outside the official KRG territory, is among land whose proper governance is disputed. The Kurds maintain it's historically theirs and say wrongs perpetrated by Saddam, such as forced removal and district redrawing, should be reversed. Arabs and Turkomen, among others, dispute the Kurds' claim. The 2005 constitution called for a referendum allowing the voters in the disputed territories to decide their future by the end of last year. Political and technical hurdles still have not been cleared. The United Nations in December brokered a six-month extension but will likely need more time. It's to announce a plan next month.

"Nothing has been agreed yet," Dabbagh said amid reports this issue was part of the Kurd-central government parley over the oil law.

The Council of Ministers must approve the law before it is passed to Parliament for final consideration, which is sure to include heightened debate and deliberation since there's not one view on either the decentralization or privatization issues. Many favor continuation of a central government-guided oil strategy with oil flow under Iraqi control.

The Peshmerga, the security force largely kept to the KRG area, will be funded based on "a certain principal," Dabbagh said. There had been a row over whether the KRG should fund the force from the revenue redistributed to it from the central government or from another source also from Baghdad. "It's going to be a support from the budget directly. ... There will be a certain battalion and division created in Kurdistan, it will be under the order of the Ministry of Defense."

Analysis: Iraq oil law a deal -- spokesman - UPI.com

-- April 16, 2008 8:09 PM


cornishboy wrote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Iraq Oil Deal Could Ignite Investment

An agreement on a draft oil law for Iraq may finally have been reached Wednesday, which could bring major oil firms like Royal Dutch Shell and BP one step closer to investing in the war-torn and fractured republic.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told United Press International on Wednesday that a new understanding had been reached between the central government of Iraq and the regional government of Kurdistan, after a year of bitter division over the future of the country's oil industry.

"There is an understanding between the central government and the regional government for the oil law," al-Dabbagh was quoted as saying. Although the law has not been officially approved by the Iraqi parliament, the announcement is a clear sign that a significant number of lawmakers are backing the legislation.

The agreement reportedly means Iraq will once again have a national oil company, along with a federal policymaking body for oil and gas to decide who controls the country's oil fields and exploration blocks. It will also create a legal framework for foreign investment, which so far has deterred major oil companies from wading into Iraq.

"The implications of a passed oil law allowing foreign investment would naturally be huge for Iraq, the region and the oil industry," said Samuel Ciszuk, an analyst with Global Insight, "unlocking a new chapter for Iraq, allowing it to develop and modernize its oil and gas production rapidly."

The downside is there does not seem to be an agreement on the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which the Kurds claim belongs to them. Currently, 97% of Iraq's proven reserves of 112 billion barrels lie outside Kurdish territory, including Kirkuk.

Al-Dabbagh said it had been agreed to allow the U.N. process for determining the status of Kirkuk and other disputed areas to play out.

A spokesperson for Royal Dutch Shell refused to comment on the news, but reiterated the company's interest in investing in Iraq. Industry insiders say companies like Shell are training workers to prepare for an eventual move into the country, which can only happen once an oil law is agreed upon and security improves.

The Kurdish regional government and the central government in Baghdad have been at loggerheads over the past year, after last-minute amendments to the draft law in February 2007 pushed the Kurds to withdraw their support and pass their own regional law six months later.

Now it seems that the Kurds' unilateral decision to press ahead and award production-sharing agreements to small oil companies like DNO and Addax Petroleum has not prevented reconciliation with Baghdad. It might mean, however, that they are restricted to Kurdish exploration, as the Iraqi oil minister has declared the agreements illegal.

Shares in Norway's DNO, a medium-sized oil company with assets in Kurdistan, closed up 16.3%, to 10.15 Norwegian kronor ($2.05), on Wednesday. Press reports had claimed throughout the day that an oil deal was close, though the Iraqi oil ministry reportedly denied it.

Iraq Oil Deal Could Ignite Investment - Forbes.com
__________________

-- April 16, 2008 8:12 PM


cornishboy wrote:

Iraq ready to supply Europe with gas

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Iraq ready to supply Europe with gas
Thursday, April 17, 2008 07:03 GMT

Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki ended his first day visit to Brussels by announcing an imminent pact on oil and gas law to encourage investments in Iraq’s energy field in aim to promote cooperation with the European Union. Iraqi Prime Minister who started talks with head of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering affirmed that Iraq is an oil producing country which welcomes supplying Europe with gas.
For his part, Hans confirmed that the European Union is willing to cooperate with Iraq in the energy field.
Al Maliki pledged before the European Parliament foreign affairs committee to fight terrorism and considered that Al Qaeda is completely isolated in Iraq and is seeking a haven outside the borders in neighboring countries, urging these countries to exert all efforts possible to prevent Al Qaeda outbreak.
Prime Minister Al Maliki warned that an early withdrawal of US Forces from Iraq will complicate the situation on the ground.
While meeting European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Al Maliki stressed that Iraqi Forces are capable of undertaking major operations to purge the country such as Basra battles.
In his turn, Barosso declared that ending current negations to reach a preparatory meeting for cooperation in the energy field in Iraq will take few weeks. Al Maliki met as well EU foreign policy Chief Javier Solana with whom he discussed the economic and political situation in Iraq.
http://www.alsumaria.tv/en/Iraq-News...-with-gas.html
__________________

-- April 17, 2008 11:11 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Could it be? Do we actually have a deal struck between Al-Malaki and Barzani on the oil law? According to UPI an agreement between Baghdad and the KRG has been reached.
____________________________________________________________

Analysis: Iraq oil law a deal -- spokesman


Published: April 16, 2008 at 11:27 AM
Print story Email to a friend Font size:By BEN LANDO
UPI Energy Editor
WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- Iraq's central and Kurdish region governments have reached a deal on an oil law, including a method for weighing the validity of the oil deals the Kurds have signed with foreign firms, the top government spokesman told United Press International.

Ali al-Dabbagh said an agreement has also been made on the classification and funding for the Kurds' security forces, the Peshmerga, which will become a battalion within the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. And he said the sides agreed to allow the U.N. process for determining the future of oil-rich Kirkuk and other disputed territories to play out.

"There is an understanding between the central government and the regional government for the oil law," Dabbagh said in a telephone interview from Brussels, where Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is meeting with EU officials. Maliki's governing coalition has seen defections and opposition growing over the past year. Dabbagh said political parties have recently pledged support, and meetings in Baghdad with top Kurdistan Regional Government officials have led to "a new atmosphere."

The oil law and oil deals have been a source of contention in Iraq's political and civil society. Opponents of the KRG deals are led by National Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani. The oil law has seen many versions and incarnations, each with steadfast supporters and opponents.

This has led to fits and starts in moving forward a law establishing the post-Saddam Hussein rules for governance of Iraq's oil and gas sector -- including four versions stalled in the Parliament's Energy Committee -- that will decide the flashpoint issues of central or decentralized control over the oil strategy and to what extent foreign oil companies will be allowed a role in the nationalized oil sector.

Dabbagh said the agreement is on the version of the oil law approved by key KRG and central government leaders in February 2007. But the deal was foiled by an Oil Ministry decision to classify Iraq's discovered oil fields and exploration blocks, detailing authority for development between the central government and producing provinces and regions in a manner with which the Kurds disagreed.

It was further altered by the Shoura Council, a legislative review body, which led to increased tension and multiple versions.

Meanwhile the Kurds made unilateral moves in the prospective oil sector in their three-province region. The KRG is further in its political, economic and security evolution than the rest of Iraq because of the no-fly zone following the 1991 Gulf War. Since 2004 the KRG has signed more than 20 deals to explore for and develop oil and gas. Most were signed last year, as was a regional oil law, prompting Shahristani to increase his critique to outright condemnation. He called the deals illegal and has so far made good on a threat to blacklist any firms that sign Kurd oil deals from gaining contracts for the rest of Iraq.

None of the companies made the short list, announced Monday, of those allowed to submit bids in an upcoming round of oil and gas field tenders.

The February 2007 oil law draft establishes a federal oil and gas council that would serve as a policymaking body. Dabbagh said the council would decide national versus local control over oil and gas fields and exploration blocks, as well as the legitimacy of the KRG oil deals.

"This is going to be reviewed and is going to be checked whether they are workable with the new law or not," he said. "If not they should be amended in order to have them matching with the new regulation of the oil law."

He said a revenue-sharing law and legislation reconstituting the national oil company and reorganizing the Oil Ministry will "be passed simultaneously (with the oil law) and as a sort of compromise package."

There are still issues to iron out before an agreement is finalized, he said.

Kirkuk, the oil-rich area just outside the official KRG territory, is among land whose proper governance is disputed. The Kurds maintain it's historically theirs and say wrongs perpetrated by Saddam, such as forced removal and district redrawing, should be reversed. Arabs and Turkomen, among others, dispute the Kurds' claim. The 2005 constitution called for a referendum allowing the voters in the disputed territories to decide their future by the end of last year. Political and technical hurdles still have not been cleared. The United Nations in December brokered a six-month extension but will likely need more time. It's to announce a plan next month.

"Nothing has been agreed yet," Dabbagh said amid reports this issue was part of the Kurd-central government parley over the oil law.

The Council of Ministers must approve the law before it is passed to Parliament for final consideration, which is sure to include heightened debate and deliberation since there's not one view on either the decentralization or privatization issues. Many favor continuation of a central government-guided oil strategy with oil flow under Iraqi control.

The Peshmerga, the security force largely kept to the KRG area, will be funded based on "a certain principal," Dabbagh said. There had been a row over whether the KRG should fund the force from the revenue redistributed to it from the central government or from another source also from Baghdad. "It's going to be a support from the budget directly. ... There will be a certain battalion and division created in Kurdistan, it will be under the order of the Ministry of Defense."
(http://www.upi.com/International_Security/Energy/Analysis/2008/04/16/analysis_iraq_oil_law_a_deal_--_spokesman/2656/)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 17, 2008 11:12 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Italian firm docks bid for $12bn first phase of Grand Basra Port

Iraq's Ministry of Planning has held a seminar with local authorities regarding designs submitted by an Italian company for a $12 billion contract to build the Grand Basra Port, according to Dr. Imad Hamzah, general director of the ministry's project centre.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 17, 2008 11:14 AM


cornishboy wrote:

Iraq announces major debt write-off by Arab World Institute

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Economics 4/17/2008 1:39:00 PM

BAGHDAD, April 17 (KUNA) -- The Iraqi Ministry of Culture announced here Thursday write-off of third of its debt to the Arab World Institution in Paris.

The Director of Administration and Financial Management in the institute Raad Alawi meanwhile stated that a third of the sum due to the institute by Iraq, over 14 million euro, was approved for write-off.

He added that a joint committee of ministers of foreign affairs, finance, and culture was formed to negotiate write-off for remaining sums.

He pointed out that the committee secured this write-off in addition to an agreement to settle the second part of the debt, some 5 million euro, over a period of five years in annual payments, as well as freezing interest.

He added that France pledged to hold a cultural Iraqi week, on its own expense, as a contribution to increase awareness on and appreciation of the Iraqi cultural heritage in France.

The Arab World Institute in Paris was established 1980 by 18 Arab countries in corporation with France in order to promote awareness over the Arab world, especially in the fields of science and technology.

http://www.kuna.net.kw/NewsAgenciesP...40&Language=en

-- April 17, 2008 11:14 AM


Anonymous wrote:

Shares in Baghdad Stock Exchange rose to $1.8 billion (Iraq Directory)

Executive Director of the Iraqi market for securities, Taha Ahmed Abdul Salam, confirmed yesterday that the value of shares listed on the market rose, by the end of 2007, to 2129 billion dinars (1.8 billion dollars) from 1949 billion at the end of...

Read the entire article at IraqiUpdates.com

-- April 17, 2008 11:18 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Looks as though Al-Sadr is fearful of being cut out all together of Iraq. Why else would the supreme religious leader of Iraq make the following statement.
____________________________________________________________

Sistani against exclusive possession of power, Ubaydi 17/04/2008 13:27:00

Baghdad(NINA)-The Sheikh Salah al-Ubaydi, official spokesman for the Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, said that the Grand Cleric Ali al-Sistani "does not want one party or authority to possess power exclusively for any reason."
(www.ninanews.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 17, 2008 11:22 AM


cornishboy wrote:

Skinner: Baghdad and Erbil agreed on the petroleum law

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Skinner: Baghdad and Erbil agreed on the petroleum law

ي


ا


تولدفاع. A spokesman for the Council of Ministers Iraqi Skinner that both the central government in Baghdad and local Kurdistan, Touselta agreement on a petroleum law, in addition to the understanding to make "Peshmergas" part of the army and under the Ministry of Defense.

وقااة. He said Skinner told Sahgeh "that" there is an understanding between the central government and local government (in Iraqi Kurdistan) on the petroleum law, "saying that the agreement was based on the petroleum law, which was the central government leaders and those working in the Kurdistan region agreed in February 2007 , which was impeding decision of the Ministry of Oil discovered oil fields to classify and identify the authority to develop these fields in detail between the central government and local authorities.

http://209.85.135.104/translate_c?hl...language_tools

-- April 17, 2008 11:23 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq neighbors meet a chance to show commitment to Iraq - Egyptian official
By Ahmad Nour

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cairo, 17 April 2008 (Kuwait News Agency (KUNA))
Print article Send to friend
The meeting of Iraq's neighbor countries, to be held in Kuwait April 22, will be an opportunity to show support to Iraq, an Egyptian official said Thursday.

Assistant of the Egyptian Foreign Minister for Arab Affairs Ambassador Mohammad Baderiddin told KUNA that Kuwait is a main component of the network of countries interested in the Iraqi issue and keen on providing support to the political development in Iraq.

He pointed out that the aim of the meetings of countries neighboring Iraq is to discuss ways to support Iraq on all issues.

Baderiddin said the meeting held last May on Iraq resulted in the formation of three committees on security coordination, refugees, and energy.

Several sessions were held which resulted in recommendations that will be presented at the ministerial meeting to be held in Kuwait, he added.

Meanwhile, the official praised Kuwaiti-Egyptian relations and said that the recent visit of His Highness the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to Egypt contributed in strengthening ties.

The Kuwait meeting is expected to be attended by high-level international and Arab delegations including representatives of the United Nations, the Presidency of the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), and the Arab League.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 17, 2008 11:24 AM


Anonymous wrote:

CLT info,

First, as you’ve probably seen before, here is my required disclaimer:

IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: Pursuant to recently-enacted U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, attorneys are now required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including any attachments and/or enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.

Whew! Now on to the information.

Charitable lead trusts can be useful income, gift and estate tax planning tools for charitably inclined taxpayers. These trusts are irrevocable (cannot be amended or revoked without a court order) and offer benefits including a possible income tax deduction (see below), warm fuzzy feelings about doing good in the community, an enviable reputation as a local philanthropist, and for many, the most important benefit of removing assets from an estate while providing a future gift for your beneficiaries.

The easiest way to understand a charitable lead trust (CLT) is to compare it to its counterpart, the charitable remainder trusts. Simply stated, in a charitable remainder trust the grantor donates an asset to the trust. The trust pays a distribution, computed according to a pre-set formula, to the grantor (or some other non-charitable beneficiary selected by the grantor). The cash distributions continue for a specified period of time or for the life of the grantor (or other non-charitable beneficiary). At the end of the trust, whatever is left goes to the charity.

Charitable lead trusts are a mirror image of this structure. In a charitable lead trust (also sometimes called a “charitable income trust” or a “front trust”) the grantor donates cash or an income-producing asset. The trust pays a distribution, according to a formula spelled out in the trust, to the charity for a specified period of time. After that period of time the principal of the trust is paid to the non-charitable "remainder beneficiary" designated by the grantor. Typically, the remainder beneficiary is a member of the grantor's family, other than the grantor or grantor’s spouse (think children and grandchildren).

Charitable remainder trusts involve a gift and income tax deduction for the gift to the charity. The deduction is equal to the present value, computed per Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tables, of the charity's future interest. Although there is always a gift tax deduction involved in a charitable lead trust, there may or may not be an income tax deduction. An income tax deduction is available only if the grantor is taxed on the income of the trust (according to the so-called "grantor trust rules") and the distribution to the charity is in the form of a guaranteed annuity interest (fixed dollar amount each year) or a unitrust interest (fixed percentage but varying dollar amount each year). But note, however, if the CLT invests only in tax free investments (like fully exempt municipal bonds) there is no taxable income generated by the CLT. Puerto Rican bonds are fabulous for this, as they have the backing of the United States’ full faith and credit and are non-taxable to every U.S. resident. (Contact me privately if you want a detailed explanation as to why - it would be boring to add the explanation here.)

The annuity and unitrust interests are substantially the same concepts as are involved in the two types of charitable remainder trusts. The gift tax (and income tax, if applicable) deduction is computed based on the present value, again per IRS tables, of the charity's income interest. Investors should note that for any trust (either lead or remainder) established after May 1, 1989 the interest rate used to calculate the present values is adjusted each month. The rate equals 120 percent of the federal midterm rate (the same rate applied to a number of other IRS computations). This rate is published monthly by the IRS. The rate is roughly the guess that theirs makes as to what future rates of return across the board will be for the next 20 or so years. Generally, the lower the rate (usually called the AFR or 7520 rate) the better for CLTs and the higher the AFR the better for remainder trusts.

With a charitable remainder trust, unless the grantor is insurable, the donation to the charity must come at the expense of the heirs. If the principal is going to the charity, then it can't go to the children, too. With a charitable lead trust, if the grantor can afford to give up the income, he or she can pass an income producing (and potentially appreciating) asset on to heirs and simultaneously satisfy charitable desires.

Charitable lead trusts can solve financial planning problems for many individuals and are considered “high octane” planning tools. The use of a CLT should only be undertaken with the advice and assistance of a qualified professional.
Hope this helps.
__________________

-- April 17, 2008 11:29 AM


cornishboy wrote:

CLT info,

First, as you’ve probably seen before, here is my required disclaimer:

IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: Pursuant to recently-enacted U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, attorneys are now required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including any attachments and/or enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.

Whew! Now on to the information.

Charitable lead trusts can be useful income, gift and estate tax planning tools for charitably inclined taxpayers. These trusts are irrevocable (cannot be amended or revoked without a court order) and offer benefits including a possible income tax deduction (see below), warm fuzzy feelings about doing good in the community, an enviable reputation as a local philanthropist, and for many, the most important benefit of removing assets from an estate while providing a future gift for your beneficiaries.

The easiest way to understand a charitable lead trust (CLT) is to compare it to its counterpart, the charitable remainder trusts. Simply stated, in a charitable remainder trust the grantor donates an asset to the trust. The trust pays a distribution, computed according to a pre-set formula, to the grantor (or some other non-charitable beneficiary selected by the grantor). The cash distributions continue for a specified period of time or for the life of the grantor (or other non-charitable beneficiary). At the end of the trust, whatever is left goes to the charity.

Charitable lead trusts are a mirror image of this structure. In a charitable lead trust (also sometimes called a “charitable income trust” or a “front trust”) the grantor donates cash or an income-producing asset. The trust pays a distribution, according to a formula spelled out in the trust, to the charity for a specified period of time. After that period of time the principal of the trust is paid to the non-charitable "remainder beneficiary" designated by the grantor. Typically, the remainder beneficiary is a member of the grantor's family, other than the grantor or grantor’s spouse (think children and grandchildren).

Charitable remainder trusts involve a gift and income tax deduction for the gift to the charity. The deduction is equal to the present value, computed per Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tables, of the charity's future interest. Although there is always a gift tax deduction involved in a charitable lead trust, there may or may not be an income tax deduction. An income tax deduction is available only if the grantor is taxed on the income of the trust (according to the so-called "grantor trust rules") and the distribution to the charity is in the form of a guaranteed annuity interest (fixed dollar amount each year) or a unitrust interest (fixed percentage but varying dollar amount each year). But note, however, if the CLT invests only in tax free investments (like fully exempt municipal bonds) there is no taxable income generated by the CLT. Puerto Rican bonds are fabulous for this, as they have the backing of the United States’ full faith and credit and are non-taxable to every U.S. resident. (Contact me privately if you want a detailed explanation as to why - it would be boring to add the explanation here.)

The annuity and unitrust interests are substantially the same concepts as are involved in the two types of charitable remainder trusts. The gift tax (and income tax, if applicable) deduction is computed based on the present value, again per IRS tables, of the charity's income interest. Investors should note that for any trust (either lead or remainder) established after May 1, 1989 the interest rate used to calculate the present values is adjusted each month. The rate equals 120 percent of the federal midterm rate (the same rate applied to a number of other IRS computations). This rate is published monthly by the IRS. The rate is roughly the guess that theirs makes as to what future rates of return across the board will be for the next 20 or so years. Generally, the lower the rate (usually called the AFR or 7520 rate) the better for CLTs and the higher the AFR the better for remainder trusts.

With a charitable remainder trust, unless the grantor is insurable, the donation to the charity must come at the expense of the heirs. If the principal is going to the charity, then it can't go to the children, too. With a charitable lead trust, if the grantor can afford to give up the income, he or she can pass an income producing (and potentially appreciating) asset on to heirs and simultaneously satisfy charitable desires.

Charitable lead trusts can solve financial planning problems for many individuals and are considered “high octane” planning tools. The use of a CLT should only be undertaken with the advice and assistance of a qualified professional.
Hope this helps.
__________________

-- April 17, 2008 11:30 AM


Sara wrote:

Top Hamas political adviser endorses Obama for President, says they support Obama's "foreign policy vision"

A Hamas problem for Obama?
April 16th, 2008
by Mosheh Oinounou

While Sen. Barack Obama sought to improve his relationship with the Jewish community today by meeting with leaders in Philadelphia, comments by a Hamas political adviser this weekend could potentially hurt the Democratic presidential candidate.

During an interview on WABC radio Sunday, top Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef said the terrorist group supports Obama’s foreign policy vision.

“We don’t mind–actually we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will (win) the election...

While the IL Democrat has condemned Hamas, an endorsement from a top leader in the group is probably the last thing Obama needs right now.

http://cameron.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/04/16/a-hamas-problem-for-obama/

-- April 18, 2008 12:33 AM


Roger wrote:

8 Billion IQD's printed.

That is not much Iraqi money, and fit very well in the ordinary routine of exchanging worn out pieces of paper from circulation.

Their cash money supply is counted in Trillions.

What is encouraging though is the latest statements from Shibibi, and his "in the near future" speech. He did wove in a lot of caveats in the second article though, that Sara observed, but just by the fact that the issue is now on the map, and it is discussed, is a new.

CBI have in the past, and still is the dark Borg, always clouded by fog, and seldom or never have anything of weight or even interest been coming out of that place, other than a daily exchange rate.

Very strange as CBI is the equivalent to Fed Reserve here in the US, and Fed Reserve people have always made a name for themselves, while CBI in Iraq have been this silent mysterious power that have set exchange rates and made them official, with mysterious and unexplainable banking processes.

World wide critics of the Iraqi way of handling the Dinar have never been defended, but with silent authority they have just continued to do their WB and IMF mandates.

CBI have up until now been the untouchable, the inner makings of an organism that no instrument can peer into, or detect.

The best we have had, is on the rumour line, when someone knows someone that is a sister to a brother that is married to a niece to someone in the CBI, and they have always an RV story to tell.

The beast itself have been staying silent though, and any movements or directions can only be guessed, or analyzed. Any analyzed state of existence the CBI have been in, have never beared fruit as to the expected results.

One of the ways to have control, is to leave the controlled subject in ignorance.

CBI is a master piece in that aspect, when you don't know what they know, and the CBI does not communicate they will always be untouchable.

Criticism or a show of obvious plans to take or make will always be unheard, and if an effort to help have been extended, with logic reasoning on economic cause and effect of what they are doing, and the solution is presented, and always ignored, they will after a while move into the sphere of the untouchable.

Any action any decision will then only be met with ....."CBI have spoken"...and that settles that.

A function that is well served when they set the exchange rate.

It seems that, just by the fact that they have to communicate, when they set the exchange rate is such a great effort from CBI, that you wonder if the communication was a burp or a fart.

And now finally, the President of CBI have aired the intention of setting the Dinar into a previous range.

He is of course full of crap, as he is stating that this depend on the demand of Dollar, and he also gives a lot of other reasons why this is such a difficult proposition, but we have to be understanding, he is schooled in the Marxist Communist, British Universities, in economics, and see's WB and IMF as authorities of thinking,(They are created in line with the UN, and are part of that organization) along with very very complexed Marxistic lines of economics, where rule number one is that there exist only X amount of money in the world.

From there the complexities starts.

Money is worth what you say it is worth, no more no less, but he have an idea that it is depending on what the Dollar is doing.

The Iraqi Dinar can be worth anything, even if you set it to the Dollar, you set it to what you want, but Shibibi, is not of that class, and have to show his brilliance with a complexity of exchange rates, influx, outgo, trends, debts, existing currency, import, export, and the average temperature in Baghdad during a budget season.

Just set the Dinar to the intended range, and it is done, that is a far too simple thing, if you are schooled in economics, where you learn that whatever you do with the currency, half will be good, and half will be bad.

I just learned from an Air Force person in Baghdad, that the Arab way of power is to not communicate, if you know something, it is power, and if you let someone else know about it, you will lose that power. It is part of the culture. I am involved (loosely, as a consultant on my free time) in technical details on an Iraqi drone.

The Air Force person involved, have been airing this particular Arabian phenomenon, about their general attitude of keeping everything they know a secret, and that is part of the reason why cooperation, is hard to get, or hard to organize, or hard to find.

Cooperation, open attitude, free flow of data and inter bridging discussions are hard to set up.

If you have an idea, and have presented it to a couple of people, that in itself is a step on their toes, you have babbled too much already.

In a society like that it is easy to get smaller groups, with likewise thinking, and separate them completely from another group, and funnel them into clans, ethnic or religious groups, and they have a tendency to stick very hard to that mindset.

The CBI is working in the same line as the Arabian culture, in secret, cloaked, within themselves, and ad to that the fact that economics are not fully understood by many, the power is absolute.

It is interesting that the only statement with some kind of substance to it, that Mr Shibibi have made, is in a setting where he is with other Arabian bank people.

Being on camera like our former Federal Bank representative, Greenspan, every week at least, is a way of life that is not done over there.

At least, with the rare statement he just did, we picked out Mr Shibibi's intention, his wishes and his goals, wherever this will lead, and in what kind of timely fashion this will happen is as usual, completely unknown.


-- April 18, 2008 8:23 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq ready to discuss new oil deal with Jordan - minister

Iraq is ready to discuss with Jordan a new oil agreement that might include increasing its fuel supply to the Kingdom, Iraqi Minister of Commerce Abd-al-Falah Sudani announced on Wednesday
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 18, 2008 10:19 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraqs neighbours conference in Kuwait of great significance -- expert

Politics 4/18/2008 9:39:00 AM



By Hosni Emam LONDON, April 18 (KUNA) -- The forthcoming Iraqs neighbours conference in Kuwait is of huge political and symbolic significance for both countries who have now put behind them their "turbulent past," according to a senior British expert on the region.
Gerd Nonneman, professor of international relations specialising in the Gulf at Exeter University, south-west England, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) in an exclusive interview that the meeting is "a piece of symbolism, and if a positive outcome can be achieved from it this would give a powerful signal about the future relationship between Iraq and Kuwait." The meeting in Kuwait, which is due to be held on April 22, is also of critical importance to Iraq, the region and the wider international community, Professor Nonneman, who is also an expert at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House), in central London, said.
He recalled that there were two major meetings before next weeks gathering, "and all this is a hopeful sign about the neighbours engagement in helping Iraq to achieve stability and prosperity." The meeting should come to some sort of consensus on the important Arab role in Iraq, an issue which is very vital for the future of the country, he emphasized.
Referring to the Iranian threats to Iraq, Professor Nonneman said that the Iraqis are not "beholden to Iran as they are an important integral part of the Arab world throughout its history." The Arabs should stress the need in the conference "not to leave a vacuum for a troublesome Iranian element to fill in Iraq," said the expert in a serious manner.
He made it clear that the meeting also represents a powerful diplomatic message to show to the outsiders that the Arabs are becoming more engaged with Iraq, with all its factions and ethnic groups.
In addition, professor Nonneman affirmed that the Arabs can help in rebuilding Iraqs infrastructure through their investments and that this could be done through the Arab private and public sectors.
Furthermore, the Arabs can foster "a climate where their own enterprises are involved in rebuilding Iraq and this is already happening to an extent," the expert pointed out.
Turning to the security situation in Iraq, professor Nonneman contended that the main problem in that respect is that the Iraqi Government is only partly effective "and you need to enhance their involvement in resolving the current problems." He added that the whole situation in Iraq is interlinked and all the problems there have to be addressed at all levels.
Again, he described the convening of the conference on Iraq as of considerable "happy symbolism and implications." Professor Nonneman maintained that there is wider acceptance on the part of the regional Arab countries that the situation in Iraq is not going to go back and it will have to move forward and make progress.
"There is also a recognition now that the worst outcome for Iraq and for the region would be continued instability in that country," the expert concluded. (end) he.rk KUNA 180939 Apr 08NNNN
(www.kuna.net.kw)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 18, 2008 10:24 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Japanese, Chinese officials to attend Iraq''s neighbors confab in Kuwait

Politics 4/18/2008 4:55:00 PM



TOKYO, Apr 18 (KUNA) -- Senior officials from Japan and China will attend the upcoming ministerial-level conference of Iraq's neighbors in Kuwait next week, both governments said Friday.
Itsunori Onodera, Japanese Senior Vice Foreign Minister is to arrive in Kuwait Monday, where he will attend the Third Expanded Ministerial Conference of Neighbouring Countries of Iraq and meet with the participants from other countries, the Foreign Minsitry in Tokyo said. Japan is Iraq's second largest donor after the US.
Zhai Jun, China's assistant foreign minister, will also attend the meeting on April 22, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency. (end) mk.ajs KUNA 181655 Apr 08NNNN
(www.kuna.net.kw)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 18, 2008 10:25 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Ban urges all members to attend Iraq Compact Annual Review Conf.in May

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UNITED NATIONS, 18 April 2008 (Kuwait News Agency (KUNA))
Print article Send to friend
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent out invitations to all member states and regional organizations and institutions "strongly encouraging" them to attend the Iraq Compact Annual Review Conference scheduled for May 29th in Stockholm, Sweden, his spokesperson Michele Montas told the daily press briefing.

The invitations were also extended by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, and by the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General, Ibrahim Gambari.

Ban disclosed to journalists earlier this week in answer to a question by KUNA that he will co-chair that high-level meeting, along with the Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri Al-Maliki.

The UN and Iraq formally launched the International Iraq Compact in July 2006.

The five-year initiative, supported by the World Bank, for a new partnership with the international community, is to make sure Iraq will be a united, federal and democratic country, at peace with its neighbours and itself, well on its way to sustainable economic self-sufficiency and prosperity and well integrated in its region and the world.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 18, 2008 10:40 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq, KRG Oil Law Agreement Could Open Path For Turkish Investments
By Kerry Laird

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18 April 2008 (Rigzone)
Print article Send to friend
"There is certainly a list," said Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler in regards to Iraq's unofficial list of companies qualified to bid for deals, "and we will enter this list."

Guler told The New Anatolian that the Turkey National Oil Company (TPAO) should be on the "short list" released by the Iraqi Oil Ministry April 14 because TPAO's abilities meet the Ministry's qualifications.

The Iraqi Oil Ministry released on their web site April 14 the names of 35 of the 120 companies that have qualified to bid on future oil and gas contracts in Iraq. TPAO was not on that list.

"We have begun talks with Iraqi authorities so that the TPAO can enter the list of companies that will conduct searches for oil in Iraq," Guler said. "The list is not definite yet."

The pending bid list debate is a result of Iraq attempting to increase the production in its oil and gas fields nation-wide despite Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) attempts to control its own oil destiny.

The Iraqi Ministry had excluded companies that had previously signed contracts with KRG from participating in the development of Iraqi oil and gas fields. The Washington Times reported that since 2004 the KRG had signed more than 20 exploration and development deals with foreign oil and gas companies.

In September 2006, the Iraqi Oil Ministry said it would not honor production sharing contracts signed by KGR and Turkey's PetOil and Genel Enerji oil and gas companies.

However, Iraq spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh told reporters April 16 that Iraq's central government and KRG had reached an agreement on an oil law, as well as a way of determining the soundness of previous deals KRG had signed with foreign oil companies.

Dabbagh said the deals reached in the last couple of years between KRG and foreign companies are under discussion.

"This is going to be reviewed and is going to be checked whether they are workable with the new law or not," said Dabbagh. "If not, they should be amended in order to have them matching with the new regulation of the oil law."
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 18, 2008 10:41 AM


cornishboy wrote:

-- April 18, 2008 1:17 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Roger:

You're comments are very interesting. Based upon those comments should we question the validity of the "near future" statement made by Shibibi? Agreed that the GoI and the CBI do not seem to be very transparent.

From the crackdown in the south using Iraqi Security Forces and his trip to Brussels; it now appears Al-Malaki is in a hurry to move forward in Iraq. Obviously, without Al-Sadr. I am interested to know what agenda is dictating the movement for the GoI at what seems to be record pace. I am interested in the boards thoughts.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 18, 2008 1:43 PM


Sara wrote:

It is always interesting what the enemy you are defeating has to say about their losing:

===

Al-Qaeda says Iraq occupation a failure
Friday April 18

Al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, claims in a new audio tape released on a militant website that five years of US occupation of Iraq brought only "failure and defeat" which the Bush administration will pass on as a "problem" to the next American president.

In the recording, Zawahri says that by acting on the advice of his top commanders in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and halting the US troops' withdrawal in Iraq for after July, President George W Bush was making a "ridiculous show to cover up for the failure" of his policies.

The recording, posted on a website known for militant messaging, is the second this month purportedly by Zawahri, considered the terror network's chief strategist.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/080418/2/16iyd.html

How come this terrorist is a mere echo of what the Democrats have been saying?

==

Dems Don’t Need Hearings - The Surge Failed
Surge failed, senators say ahead of hearing
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Apr 7, 2008

In a sign of the potential fireworks to come next week when Bush administration officials unveil their plans for the next steps in Iraq, two Senate committee chairmen said they believe the so-called surge of U.S. combat forces has failed.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. and Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, said they disagree that current troops levels should be maintained.

Biden said the surge of troops ordered last year as a move toward providing stability in Iraq has been a failure because the Iraqi government did not use the opportunity to resolve issues that were causing sectarian divisions.

Biden said the surge was sold to Congress as a way to “bring violence down so there was breathing room for warning factions to come together.” But, he added, the Iraqis didn’t seem to get that message…

===end quote==

Comments:

1) Sharps Rifle

Democreeps: The Party of Surrender.

2) wardmama4

I think General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker should offer this option to the Senate - We will recommend the immediate withdrawl of all Troops from Iraq the second you state on the Senate record that you are for the takeover of America by radical islamic terrorists. . .

Hey, I can dream! The fiberals make things up and call them truth, reality and the way things should be, why can’t I?

Did you catch the phrase ’so-called surge’ - Talk about a bunch of lunatics in fantasy land - if you don’t want to even accept something - just use talking points that pretend it is fake. . .There are moments I wish that the so-called terrorists would just bomb DC and put an end to this farce called our Congress.

3) al

They don’t want to change. We assume that they want us to win when they really, really don’t. Yes, they want us to lose. I think we sometimes joke that at some level, they are just doing it to make a point, but they really do want us to lose. But, they aren’t “for” anything. This is pretty much true for every issue - they are against what is good, successful, and right while they elevate what is evil, failed and wrong.

Watch and internalize the concepts in the video “How Modern Liberals Think”. It’s like a manual on how these people think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c

4) HNAV

The thing is, how pathetic for so many Americans to accept the deceit.

Or even, to hope for the negative, (with the balance of millions of lives in play), because of their mindless political bigotry.

The USA leads the world to bring liberty, aid, hope for MILLIONS in the troubled Arab Region, and we watch these Liberal Partisans, try to destroy the admirable endeavor.

It is sickening…

The likes of ‘Code Pink’, ‘Move ON’ , ‘DU’, ‘Daily K’, etc., represent such a vacant offering.

5) nicotusc

I wonder what our past wartime presidents (Lincoln, Roosevelt, etc) would think about congress’ new found penchant for attempting to become co-commander in chief.

6) Noyzmakr

nicotusc writes… “I wonder what our past wartime presidents (Lincoln, Roosevelt, etc) would think about congress’ new found penchent for attempting to become co-commander in chief.”

I would imagine that half of the democrat party would be in prison or hung for treason by now.

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/dems-dont-need-hearings-to-know-surge-failed

===

I really REALLY think the youtube video worthwhile watching.
If you only watch this ONE video this year... it will be well worth your time for the insight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c

Sara.

-- April 18, 2008 4:20 PM


cornishboy wrote:

Iraq is about to enact the controversial gas and oil bill

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EU officials claimed on Thursday that they were about to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government to adding EU with Iraqi crude oil and natural gas.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, who is now in Brussels, said Iraq is also about to enact the controversial gas and oil bill which organizes the oil sector in the country and encourages the foreign companies to invest in the Iraqi oil fields.
The European officials claimed that Iraq would soon load the European countries with its crude oil and promised to pump them out 5 billion barrel natural gas as initiation for the bilateral relations.
But in turn, Iraqi prime minister called EU to provide his country with necessary technical experts to rebuild the oil production capability of Iraq.

http://www.kurdsat.tv/E_Zyatir.aspx?...i&Rizbendi=382

-- April 18, 2008 8:53 PM


cornishboy wrote:

if that link doesn,t work this one should http://www.kurdsat.tv/E_Zyatir.aspx?CoriHewal=Aburi&Rizbendi=382

-- April 18, 2008 8:59 PM


cornishboy wrote:

this is a bit odd.http://cgi.ebay.com/BUY-100-MILLION-DINARS-25K-IRAQI-DINAR-4-000-NOTES_W0QQitemZ300217224222QQihZ020QQcategoryZ4369QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

-- April 18, 2008 9:18 PM


cornishboy wrote:

The above comes fome a military family allso dealer alarm bells have started to ring i wounder wot he,s not letting on.

-- April 18, 2008 9:28 PM


cornishboy wrote:



Iraq's Moment of Truth in Baghdad and Basra



The battle between criminal gangs and the state continues, yet the war is far from being over. Public statements keep coming from both sides and they don’t seem to promise a diplomatic resolution for the crisis. The latest exchange included a pledge for a “final battle” by Sadr’s spokesman Bahaa Aaraji and an assertion by Maliki that the government will not stop pursuing gangs militarily and politically. Telling Sadr that his movement cannot take part in elections unless he disbands his militias and surrenders weapons is a turning point in Iraqi politics, especially because a broad political front including leading Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish powers emerged to back this new trend in dealing with this issue.

I think what encouraged Maliki to push the limits of the conflict to this unprecedented level was the first-of-a-kind success of the Political Council for National Security — an entity that includes the president, PM, and leaders of major parliamentary blocs — to reach consensus on a decision. This entity managed for the first time a week ago to overcome the impotence that had halted its mission since its inception. Evidence of the newfound potency of this entity is that Ayad Allawi, who had refused being part of it for a long time, is now sending delegates to negotiate terms for his membership.

The ongoing confrontation highlights a dramatic change in the inclination of the Iraqi leadership, which decided to face the challenge with unwavering resolve instead of shrinking away. We have learned from the experience of the last five years that unresolved fights tend to be very costly in the long run, as we will have to deal with recurrent fights over and over again. It can be understood from Maliki’s words that he came to realize that the decision to disband or exterminate illegal military entities should have been made a long time ago.

At this point neither side is happy with the results and I think that both have made up their minds to go to war because each one thinks his side is closer to winning and has greater backing from the public than his rival. However, I believe that Sadr is making the mistake of thinking that what worked for previous battles would be equally effective in future ones. I strongly think that if a final battle is to take place, it will unfold with a bitter defeat for Sadr militarily and politically; the balance of power by far favors the state in spite of the difficulty of the situation.

The Iraqi leadership represented by Maliki is standing before a historic opportunity to strengthen the foundations of the rule of law. This opportunity has been made available by the decision of the Shia to renounce and expel the extremists amongst them, a decision that was long avoided because of sectarian considerations that were proven wrong later.

Everyone has come to realize that allegiance to the country provides more security in the long run than sectarian entrenchment does, and in my opinion the awakening of the Iraqi west and the uprising against the perverted violent practices of co-religionists have provided an example for a similar awakening among the Shia — of course, with the main difference we outlined in an earlier post; that is, while in the west we had a tribal uprising against extremist religious powers, in the south the uprising is religious-on-religious, with the target highly identified with one particular group.

I believe that another promising sign further emphasizes, to the government and people alike, that putting sect and tribe above country is a bad idea. Today 1,300 police and soldiers who disobeyed orders or, worse, sided with the enemy in Basra will get to taste the consequences of that, the same way that the commanders who were in charge of recruiting them did.

This housecleaning is not limited to security forces; Maliki also issued an order to fire Habib Sadr, the director general of the Iraqi Media Network, obviously over the disgraceful coverage of the battle. I didn’t follow the coverage of Iraqiya TV, but there was a lot of misplaced sympathy for Sadr on the government-owned al-Sabah, and the reader could indeed feel that the network was apologizing for, if not defending, the militias.

Back to the awakening theme. In both cases, extremists did not look after their brethren and tried to impose their radical views and practices upon everyone else around them. That’s why although the sect was perceived as a source of security in the first place, people got to realize with time that those extremists who held the banner of the sect had a different agenda from the provision of security for their people.

No Iraqi leader since 2003 has had the same broad support for a policy that Maliki has right now. For the first time a leader has the support of a majority of Shia, along with the approval of the Sunni and Kurds in addition to the sympathy of the public, which has grown tired of the recklessness and violence of Sadr’s movement. For the first time the leader appears more like a leader of Iraq than a leader of a particular sect, party, or ethnic group. Moreover, he has won the support of the coalition to further build an unprecedented consensus among all concerned parties.

I see that Maliki and the government are standing before a chance that will not come again to move the country forward. I’m optimistic about Maliki’s promises and determination more than ever and I totally agree with him that the solution is in disbanding the Mahdi Army (or al-hal hoa al-hal; literally, “the solution is in the [dis]solution,” in a play on words of which Iraqis understand the implicit meaning). Again, the main element in a resolution for the battle should not be exclusively military through disarming the Mahdi Army, nor exclusively political by excluding the movement from the political process. It has to be also judiciary.

The rule of law must be established and emphasized through prosecuting the heads of the movement who are involved in major atrocities. Evidence is abundant and damning; the movement repeatedly took up arms against the state and caused the deaths of many thousands of civilians and security personnel. In fact the movement itself keeps offering free confessions every time they boast of their militiamen’s performance in battle. If we actually succeed in putting the leaders of the militia on trial, then I believe that all others who illegally carry arms will be facing a serious challenge. As the Arabic proverb says, “Hit the big and the little will be frightened.” Right now the Mahdi Army is the biggest among insurgents, so defeating it will make others think more than twice before they take up arms against the legitimate institutions of the state.

I hope the Iraqi leadership benefits from this moment of unity, not only to quell violence but also to promote political reconciliation. I agree with observers in Baghdad who say that we’re witnessing a political spring. The most important event so far has been Maliki’s meeting with VP Hashimi to discuss the revival of the national unity government. Actually, a political breakthrough is now more likely to take place than ever, especially since all rivals have acknowledged Maliki’s role as a leader of a central government that has the exclusive right, and the obligation, to restore the prestige of the state and establish the rule of law.

Again, it’s a great opportunity for making substantial progress in the process of building the state and we must not waste it.

Mohammed Fadhil is PJM Baghdad editor. His own blog is Iraq the Model.

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/iraqs-m...dad-and-basra/

-- April 18, 2008 9:44 PM


cornishboy wrote:

Iraq Compact Meeting Planned!

Saturday, 19 April 2008, 12:24 pm


Press Release: United Nations

UN Member States Issued Invitations To Upcoming Iraq Compact Meeting


New York, Apr 17 2008 4:00PM Invitations to the upcoming high-level meeting of the International Compact for Iraq – to be held on 29 May in Stockholm, Sweden – have been issued to all UN Member States, as well as to several regional and international organizations and institutions.

These invitations to the talks on the five-year peace and development plan to help rebuild the war-torn nation were extended yesterday by both Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih and by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser Ibrahim Gambari.

Mr. Ban, who will co-chair the meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, encouraged Member States to take part.

Under the Compact, which was launched last May in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, the Government will work to meet basic needs, protect the rights of all citizens and ensure the optimal use of the country’s resources for the common good.


http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0804/S00207.htm
__________________
Iraq needed to carry out urgent reforms to its economic system before it could become a full member of the world trading system.... From WTO!!!!

-- April 18, 2008 10:08 PM


cornishboy wrote:

NATO ready to expand assistance to Iraq

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NATO ready to expand assistance to Iraq


Friday, April 18, 2008 07:33 GMT

Following economic issues, security was put on the table as foreign military presence in Iraq was the center of talks between Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki and his delegation and NATO officials. During talks with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Al Maliki urged NATO to provide more equipment and training affirming that there are no plans to replace US Forces with NATO Forces.
For his part, NATO Secretary General stressed the importance of international unity to help Iraq ascertain security and restore stability affirming that NATO is ready to expand assistance to Iraq with military training and equipment as part of a “new era” of relations however ruling out any role in combat operations.
A NATO delegation will soon visit Baghdad to discuss the participation of the alliance knowing that NATO runs a training camp for Iraqi officers outside Baghdad and has expanded last year to include as well police units.

http://www.alsumaria.tv/en/Iraq-News...e-to-Iraq.html

-- April 19, 2008 1:12 AM


Sara wrote:

An excerpt of that video.. I urge you to watch.

Well worth watching..

An Excerpt on a 9-13 Republican (youtube video below)

Let me tell you my story.
I call myself a nine-thirteen Republican.

I grew up a liberal New York Jew. You don't get much more liberal than that though it was lower case "L" not what is considered liberal today. Graduated from High School knowing one thing about politics basically, that Democrats are good and Republicans are evil.

I tell a story - it's not a true story - but I think it kind of clarifies what happened to me.

I say, imagine being in a restaurant with an old friend and you're catching up and suddenly he blurts out, "I hate my wife!" You kinda chuckle to yourself because he says it every time you're together and you know he doesn't hate his wife. They've been together for 35 years. He loves his daughters and they're just like her -- ahh naaa-no, he doesn't hate his wife. And you're having some dinner and you look out the window, you spot his wife out the window and she's being beaten up. And you grab your friend and say, "C'mon, c'mon.. let's help her! Let's help your wife!" And he says, "Naaa - I'm sure she deserves it." At that moment it dawns on you he really does hate his wife.

Well, that is what nine-eleven was to me.

I would hear my friends from the left say how evil, and horrible and racist and imperialistic and oppressive America is, and I'd laugh to myself, "Ahhh - they always say that - they love America." And then on nine-eleven we were beaten up. And I grabbed 'em by the collar.. I jumped up and said, "C'mon - let's help her! Let's help America!" And they said, "No, she deserves it." At that moment I realized, they really do hate America.

And it began me on a five year quest to try and understand the mindset.

How could you possibly live in the freest nation in the history of the world and see only oppression? How could you live in the least imperialist power in human history and see us as the ultimate in imperialism? How could you live in the least bigoted nation in human history and as Joe Biden said, see racism "lurking in every dark shadow"?

YouTube - HERITAGE FOUNDATION How Modern Liberals Think

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c

-- April 19, 2008 11:10 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraq troops take control of Basra militia bastion
19/04/2008

BASRA, Iraq, April 19 (AFP) - Iraqi forces took control on Saturday of a district of the southern city of Basra which has seen intense firefights between troops and Shiite militiamen, the interior ministry said.

Iraqi troops entered the northern Hayaniyah district of the city and took control of the area in an operation lasting several hours, ministry spokesman Major General Abdel Karim Khalaf said.

"We launched an operation in the morning. There was some exchange of fire. The operation is now over in Hayaniyah without any strong resistance," Khalaf told AFP.

"Our troops are deployed on the rooftops of tall buildings in the area," he added.

Hayaniyah, a stronghold of fighters loyal to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, has seen intense firefights since March 25 when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a crackdown on militiamen in the southern port city.

Since then US warplanes have carried out several air strikes in the district targeting Shiite militiamen. Dozens of people have been killed.

British military spokesman Major Tom Holloway said: "As with the earlier phases of Operation Charge of the Knights, this remains an Iraqi led, planned and executed mission.

"Coalition troops are ready to provide support to Iraqi security forces as requested and required," he added.

http://www.africasia.com/services/news/newsitem.php?area=mideast&item=080419111027.ryyx8z83.php

-- April 19, 2008 11:14 AM


Sara wrote:

U.S., Pakistan Say Taliban Commander Killed in Shootout
Saturday, April 19, 2008

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A Taliban commander blamed for the deadliest attack on U.S. troops since they entered Afghanistan in 2001 has been killed in a shootout with security forces in Pakistan, American and Pakistani officials said.

Police killed Ahmad Shah, also known as Mullah Ismail, at a roadblock near the northwestern city of Peshawar, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said. Two U.S. security officials confirmed Shah's death in a shootout and said Pakistani authorities had his body.

U.S. and Afghan officials have described Shah, who also went by the name Mullah Ismail, as the leader of Taliban militants who ambushed a group of U.S. commandos in June 2005 and shot down a Chinook helicopter sent to rescue them. Sixteen American special forces members died on the helicopter.

"Mullah Ismail (Shah) was the commander whose men shot down the Chinook," the official said. He said Shah was suspected of working closely with Al Qaeda militants in the border region.

The U.S. officials — one from the military and one working in counterterrorism — confirmed Shah's death in Pakistan, but did not provide further details.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,351793,00.html

-- April 19, 2008 11:58 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraqi Army Transformed Into National Force
By Fred W. Baker III , American Forces Press Service
MichNews.com
Apr 18, 2008

WASHINGTON - In the past year, the Iraqi army has transformed into a national force that has deployed across the country in operations that show its increasing combat capabilities, a senior commander there said today.

"There should be no mistake on the behalf of anyone that the Iraqi army is a national army," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Robin Swan, commander of the Coalition Army Advisory Training Team. "Just over the past year, it has made a tremendous, tremendous impact in areas throughout Iraq. In as short as nine to 12 months ago, [it was unimaginable] that battalions and a division headquarters from al Anbar province would be utilized throughout ... Iraq. But that is exactly what has happened."

In a joint news conference with Gen. Babakir, the Iraqi army chief of staff, Swan cited recent successful deployments by Iraqi forces outside of their home provinces as signs of a growing, mobile, capable army.

"An entire division worth of soldiers deployed to Basra in less than five days. Any army in the world would find that type of deployment a very difficult one to do over the distances, ..." Swan said.

The general said that, together with Iraqi leaders, they are focused on the force generation, replenishment and sustainment of the Iraqi army.

He said the Iraqi army's rapid expansion will continue through the end of this year as the service moves toward 52 combat brigades and 13 Iraqi army divisions. Over the past six months, the Iraqi army has added five brigade combat teams and is in the process of adding two more that are in training now. Those battalions will be fielded this summer, Swan said.

http://www.michnews.com/artman/publish/article_20026.shtml

-- April 19, 2008 3:44 PM


Sara wrote:

Troops Capture Alleged Terrorist Leader in Mosul
By American Forces Press Service
MichNews.com
Apr 16, 2008

WASHINGTON - Coalition forces captured an alleged al-Qaida in Iraq leader thought to be in charge of an illegal terrorist court system in the area yesterday in Mosul, military officials reported.

Officials said he also is suspected of involvement in a local bombing cell. Three other suspects also were detained.

Also in Mosul yesterday, forces caught a terrorist wanted for kidnappings, assassinations and the movement of suicide bombers. Three others also were detained.

Elsewhere, the Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement discovered a cache of anti-tank mines yesterday near the Iranian border. More than 160 anti-tank mines were recovered.

In other operations this week:

-- Coalition forces captured 18 suspected terrorists April 13 and yesterday during operations in the Tigris River Valley and northern part of the country.

-- Iraqi policemen seized a large weapons cache southeast of Baghdad on April 13. The cache held 541 anti-tank mines, 100 rocket fuses, 29 120 mm mortars, seven 107 mm rockets, and five rocket-propelled grenades.

--Coalition forces recovered a weapons cache April 12 during a patrol in Rashid district in southern Baghdad.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

http://www.michnews.com/artman/publish/article_20008.shtml

-- April 19, 2008 3:49 PM


cornishboy wrote:

-- April 19, 2008 3:59 PM


cornishboy wrote:

Experts: Iraqi economy is not willing to enter into WTO

Baghdad - Iraq votes 15 / 04 / 2008 at 23:58:40


Advised by experts and researchers Economists Iraqis need to wait to enter the World Trade Organization. Although reaffirmed the importance of Iraq uprooted isolated from the global arena, but they believe that the Iraqi economy can not compete now, the weakness of its agricultural and industrial products to the world, what turning into mere "consumers" of foreign goods.

He says economic researcher Dr. Hossam Acommok that the idea of Iraq's accession to the WTO within the so-called "coercive influence of globalization", and explain that the States that established the World Trade Organization "are wealthier countries, and therefore the organization does and can I make sure only the interests of those countries."

He added Acommok of Independent News Agency (Assot Iraq), "There are sought by the organization to transform the Iraqi economy as a whole to serve the objectives of those countries, after recent transformations in Iraq."

And created the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, and is one of the smaller global organizations age, which succeeded the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), established in the wake of World War II. The organization considers that to ensure the flow of world trade as much smoother and ease and freedom, is the primary task.

The organization includes in its membership currently have more than (140) member countries, representing more than (90%) of the WTO, including a number of Arab states example, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. As negotiate (30) another way to gain membership, and one of Iraq.
This is Acommok saying, "Yes, we have organized, but when mature or recovering economy," stressing the need to "accelerate the return to its normal production even improved economic performance."

He adds: "But we should impose Mentfon from inside the country, eyes riches from outside Iraq, accession to the World Trade Organization to our circumstances present, this means considerable upheaval of the Iraqi economy, and damage to the grave Iraqi producers, because we have suspended production wheel."

He said economic researcher, "The United States, one of Oraby organization, often contrary to the laws of that organization," pointing to a conviction obtained by the American appellate body of the World Trade Organization "to support unjustified for the cultivation of cotton, which then supported cotton farmers at the expense of Farmers North American countries, especially Brazil, is creating a large gap in the cost of production. "
The different financial expert Dr. Majid image with Acommok, where Iraq believes that the entry of the World Trade Organization is "a positive, because it will form a business relationship between Iraq and all nations of the world."

He adds l (Voices of Iraq) that the issue of Iraq's entry into the World Trade Organization "raised a long time ago, and almost all of the requirements have been implemented."

However, the image back and says "questions that must be asked is: Will Iraq be able to organize itself in order to enter, such as the Organization Thus, in terms of domestic laws and mechanisms, and in defense of the domestic production of agricultural or industrial ..?."

He continues, "as well as another important question, which is: Is Iraq created a mechanism to address the commodity dumping practiced by the rest of the ..?."

He considered that the image of the World Trade Organization decisions positives "that every developing state to exercise the right to defend agricultural and industrial production, to reach the competitive level required, and set his ten years and then implement all laws relating to trade."

Iraq began its first meeting with the World Trade Organization, in April of last year (2007), and provided information about health standards and technical obstacles facing trade sector and the Convention on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, and information on domestic support and subsidies for agriculture.

The last meeting in the (Geneva), early this month, and his head and Trade Minister Falah Sudanese, who pointed out that Iraq "Egypt to overcome difficult circumstances, and move forward in the process of accession" to the organization, contending Iraq's membership represents "an important addition to the international community. "

For his part, says the Chief of Economic Studies, University Mustansiriya University, Abdul Rahman star Mashhadani that Iraq "will not remain isolated on the subject, and will make to the organization now or in the future, whether we like it or not."

And explain that the fact that the World Trade Organization "one of the three international formations, of: the World Bank and IMF, were organized to complement the squad which absorbed (94%) of the volume of global trade."

He told Mashhadani (Voices of Iraq) that he believed that Iraq "is not prepared to accede to the Convention, although the organization gives countries that join them a grace period, in order to adapt their economies under the conditions required," pointing in this regard to the absence of "Iraqi economy capable of strong competition in the face of large industries or small world. "

He adds "Proof of this is that once the reduction of customs duties levels required by the organization, got dumped commodity in the Iraqi market, even from neighboring countries such as Iran and Syria," which he believed led to "the killing of Iraqi industry to private and public, as there is no local product capable of competitive products of any State. "

The professor pointed out that the Iraq economy "to Aimitlk competition only oil, a basket outside the WTO", and expressed his conviction that Iraq will be "consumer market for foreign goods, and are not able to produce .. even in the most basic goods."

The team members work in the (WTO) to accelerate the process of their accession to the Organization Iraq, noting in the report have prepared on the subject that joining "will help the integration of Iraq into the world economy, better," according to the report published by the website of the organization.
He called the Action Team to "more information on the pricing policy in Iraq, and investment laws and import licensing, customs laws and customs tariff, and the licensing of communications, and state trading enterprises."
The name of Creative Antoine, Vice President of the Federation of Iraqi Industrialists, says that the World Trade Organization, "One of the phenomena of economic globalization, and we must deal with it in a scientific and accurate, and we accept this reality."

But however, in talking to (Voices of Iraq), said, "but we must wait until the creation of appropriate conditions, the rule of law and building material and productivity, to develop Iraqi industry products to equal the minimum neighboring countries, in terms of quality and quantity, and provide customs regime, conditions security, and building the quality system and intellectual property, they are all the requirements necessary for entry into the organization. "

He suggested Antoine period of time ", ranging from four to five years," pointing out that the entry of the organization "does not mean the importation of goods, but also the export of goods to Iraq from abroad, if we were not able to do so, we would be the first to lose."

http://translate.google.com/translat...language_tools

-- April 19, 2008 4:01 PM


Sara wrote:

cornishboy - Thanks for the good posts. I really appreciated that post, "Iraq's Moment of Truth in Baghdad and Basra." Truly there is an unprecedented opportunity handed to the Iraqis to unite and move their country forward. :) Also, continuing news of the Iraqis moving toward an oil law that will help their economy (and hopes for peace - as I mentioned in a previous post) was welcome.

With the ebay post..
I wouldn't worry about one person buying or selling Dinar.. even large amounts of it. People move in and out of investments all the time. If you follow any stocks you will notice volumes (and dollar amounts) in that range are common. For all we know, one family member needs the money for an unforseen expense, perhaps even a medical emergency (God forbid). Just because a person serves in the military does not mean that everyday life and problems do not occur for their families as well. Or perhaps someone has shown them another investment they think will take off sooner than the Dinar will RV. Each of us has their own views on the Dinar and its potential and timeframe for it to happen. In other words, I don't believe you need to be worried about one person's views and financial investment moves.

Sara.

-- April 19, 2008 4:05 PM


Sara wrote:

Roger, I was busy the past few days and not much online. Hence my tardy reply to your interesting post.

You said the CBI hasn't a lot of transparency and seems more interested in pleasing the IMF and WB. I think being new has a lot to do with it, and trying to make a stable currency with a reputation of nothing extreme or volatile, so that they can maintain stability and solidness. However, they have face reality someday and make their currency worth something on the world market. It is not less than a banana republic.. they own the third largest oil reserve in the WORLD!!

Soooo.. some day reality will have to take over the "bean counter's world" they live in, and there will have to be at least a modest move forward to a double digit number at least on par with their neighbor's currency value. They are NOT less than their neighbors in resources, and as security improves, someone has to bite the bullet and make the currency value closer to normal, IMHO. Or so we hope.

As Rob N observed, there is that recent comment of a "near future" change for the value of the Dinar which is a breath of fresh air.. and hopefully that means that reality is pressuring their "bean counter's world" and moving it toward the real one. As I said before.. for Iraq.. if not now, when? If not the current people who are governing, then who? (to quote a great American President, Reagan.)

Without this economic leg of the three legged chair (military, political and economic), Iraq will not prosper. Therefore, I am glad to see timely advancement of their country's peaceful and prosperous agenda.. (such as the oil law and reconciliation and political cohesion/cooperation) with the resulting good fortune which will have to be incorporated into its currency value for the good of the Iraqi people - as well as the Dinar investors.

Sara.

-- April 19, 2008 4:36 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

EU says close to Iraq energy pact, wins gas pledge
4/16/2008

By Mark John

BRUSSELS, April 16 (Reuters) - The European Union said on Wednesday it was close to clinching a preliminary energy pact with Iraq as part of the bloc's efforts to reduce its heavy dependence on Russian oil and gas.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said after talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki he hoped a memorandum of understanding could be signed within weeks, and that the country's oil minister had been invited back to Brussels in May with the aim of concluding negotiations.

"There is very good news of progress in talks, so we can very soon establish a memorandum of understanding on energy cooperation," Barroso told a joint news briefing with al-Maliki.

Separately, a Commission statement issued after talks between European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani in Brussels said Iraq had pledged an initial 5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas to the EU per year, with the likelihood of more in the future.

Earlier, the Iraqi prime minister said the two-day visit by an Iraqi delegation to the headquarters of the EU and NATO was aimed at deepening ties, and held out the prospect of enhanced energy cooperation and business openings for European companies.

"We do hope this meeting will result in new steps of cooperation between Iraq and EU countries, especially regarding contributing to developing our oil and gas sectors," he said.

EU officials said ahead of al-Maliki's visit they hoped to reach an outline agreement with Iraq to import Iraqi gas via the planned Nabucco pipeline across Turkey to central Europe.

GOODWILL GESTURE

The EU wants to diversify gas supplies away from Russia, which provides a quarter of its needs. Connecting fields in western Iraq to a planned Arab Gas Pipeline would enable Baghdad to supply gas to Nabucco, which is due to come on line in 2013.

"Iraq made a political gesture of goodwill from Iraq to the EU and promised at least 5 bcm of gas in a first stage from the Akkas field, and indicated that probably there would be more in the future for the European Union," the Commission said.

"Iraq confirmed that part of their gas will flow to Europe through various routes and potentially from various fields."

A Commission official said that of the 35 companies granted access to the Akkas field near the Syrian border, 11 were from the EU. Gas was due to flow from the field in two to three years, the official added.

The European Commission said on Monday it had secured a guarantee last week of 10 billion cubic metres a year of natural gas from Turkmenistan from 2009 as part of the drive to ensure sufficient supplies to make Nabucco commercially viable.

The pipeline is seen as a rival to the Kremlin-backed South Stream project due eventually to take some 30 billion cubic metres of Russian gas a year to southern Europe.

Ties between the 27-member EU and Iraq have been gradually deepened since the U.S.-led 2003 war vehemently opposed by countries such as France and Germany.

The bloc is a substantial donor to the country and in 2005 launched a rule-of-law mission that has so far trained 1,450 judges, investigators and top police and penitentiary officials.

Earlier, al-Maliki gave a European Parliament committee an upbeat assessment of Iraq's efforts to get its war-ravaged society and economy back on track.

He said Iraq was "close to agreeing a final version" of a long-awaited oil and gas law, delay over which has held back investment in the sector. (Writing by Mark John and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Dale Hudson)


EU says close to Iraq energy pact, wins gas pledge - Source
(www.safedinar.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 19, 2008 10:56 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Multinational Corps Iraq Launches Capacity-Building Operation
4/16/2008

Apr 16, 2008 (Defense Department Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) -- -- Multinational Corps Iraq Launches Capacity-Building Operation

By Army Sgt. Michael Connors Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, April 15, 2008 - Multinational Division Center kicked off the main phase of its first major operation devoted primarily to capacity building -- expanding governance, economics and infrastructure -- today in communities south of Baghdad in Iraq's Baghdad province.

Operation Marne Piledriver is taking place in the area of operations of 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

While the focus of the operation is on capacity building, Iraqi security forces simultaneously will target remaining insurgent pockets with the help of coalition forces, officials said.

Patrol Base Yates, which will house Iraqi and coalition forces, is under construction as a base of operations to bring the fight to the insurgent holdouts. It is named in honor of Army Cpl. Nyle Yates III, who died in combat in Beiji, Iraq, in 2006 while serving in the 101st Airborne Division's Company B, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

"Marne Piledriver will not only display Iraqi security forces-led operations, but also the establishment of a joint security station at Yusifiyah, the development of Iraqi-run radio stations, the injection of funding by the government of Iraq to refurbish two major water treatment plants, and the infusion of funds and expertise into the poultry and agricultural industries," said Army Col. Dominic J. Caraccilo, commander of 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Providing training to Iraqi government officials in the area is another key component of the operation. They will learn how to navigate a democratic, free-market economy after decades of a state-run system under Saddam Hussein. The U.S. Agency for International Development is providing the training.

Army Maj. T.J. Johnson, one of the main Multinational Division Center planners of Marne Piledriver, emphasized the synergy created from the U.S. military and USAID working together.

"It's a great way of illustrating how our government and our military have to work hand in hand," he said. "We have to identify what's important together so that we can go ahead and find a way forward."

Governance, however, will go beyond the classroom during Marne Piledriver. Local Iraqi government officials will lead the establishment of a major water pipeline into Mahmudiyah, which has seen a shortage in potable water, Johnson said. The contract will be put out to bid in the Iraqi economy, with local leaders overseeing the process and construction.

"If you can bring fresh water into Mahmudiyah -- potable water -- you eliminate sanitation problems," Johnson said. "That would be a huge win for the government of Iraq, because then everybody in Mahmudiyah is going to know, 'Hey, the government made this thing happen.'"

Another major project is the revitalization of the poultry industry. Poultry farms in the area will receive 35,000 eggs. The chickens will be raised and processed for consumption. It is estimated that poultry industry revitalization alone will create 1,000 jobs, Johnson said.

Marne Piledriver is a comprehensive operation expected to span several months, officials said. Other improvements include improving the Yusifiyah market, renovating fish farms, and erecting cell phone towers and billboards.

When all is said and done, Johnson said, he hopes this operation will serve as a blueprint for what's possible in Iraq moving forward.

"This is really a test bed for how successful capacity-building operations can be," he said. "After spending a lot of the tour focused on lethal operations, the conditions are such that we can really begin to say, 'OK what do the people need that we can impact in a real positive manner?'"

(Army Sgt. Michael Connors serves in the Multinational Corps Iraq Public Affairs Office.)


Multinational Corps Iraq Launches Capacity-Building Operation - Source
(www.safedinar.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 19, 2008 11:00 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Twelve Killed in Baghdad Clashes
April 19, 2008
Associated Press
BAGHDAD - Twelve people died in overnight clashes in Baghdad's Sadr City district, which has become a chief battleground between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, police and hospital officials said Saturday.

Iraqi troops also kept up the pressure on Shiite militants in the southern city of Basra, where they fanned out through a stronghold of the Mahdi Army.

In Sadr City's general hospital, officials said 71 people were admitted for treatment of injuries received in the fighting. The hospital also received 12 bodies, said an official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to release the information.

The fighting came amid reports that Iraqi troops backed up by U.S. forces were trying to recapture a position in the district abandoned a day ago by a company of government soldiers.

Security forces in the area also have come under repeated attack by militants trying to prevent the construction of a concrete wall through the district.

The wall - a concrete barrier of varying height up to about 12 feet - is being built along a main street dividing the southern portion of Sadr City from the northern part, where Mahdi Army fighters are concentrated.

American commanders hope that construction of the wall, which began Tuesday, will hamper their ability to fire rockets and mortars at the Green Zone, the central Baghdad district where government offices and the U.S. Embassy are located.

The zone has been regularly shelled since the Iraqi military launched an operation against Shiite militias in Basra on March 25. That operation quickly stalled amid fierce resistance from the militants and mass desertions from the security forces.

But near-daily clashes in Sadr City since then have fueled worries over a total breakdown of a truce called last year by al-Sadr, with fears of wider violence.

The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also kept up the pressure on al-Sadr's followers in Basra, launching an operation early Saturday aimed at clearing militants from the Hayaniyah district, a Mahdi Army stronghold in Iraq's oil capital.

British artillery and U.S. warplanes were supporting the Iraqi army operation, which met minimal resistance, military spokesman Maj. Tom Holloway said.

He said that as a show of force British gunners fired a barrage of shells into an empty area near Hayaniyah and U.S. warplanes bombed it.

"This was intended to demonstrate the firepower available to the Iraqi forces," Holloway said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said an American soldier was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Salahuddin province. The statement raised to at least 4,038 the number of members of the U.S. military who have died since the war started in March 2003 according to an Associated Press count.
(www.military.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 19, 2008 11:04 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:


Cabinet Endorses $8 Billion for Wasit investment projects

Hazim Muhsin al-Khudhairi, a member in the investment board of the governorate of Wasit, told the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) that agreement has been reached over the funding of three investment projects submitted by a number of Iraqi investors to be carried out in Wasit governorate at a cost of $8 billion.
(www.noozz.com)

-- April 19, 2008 11:07 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Allawi: Soon a Patriotic project to include forces from inside, outside Iraq will be announced 19/04/2008 19:53:00

Baghdad (NINA) – Former Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, said that a patriotic project will be announced soon. It would include patriotic forces from inside and outside Iraq.

(www.ninanews.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 19, 2008 11:10 PM


Anonymous wrote:

The question still remains. Did the HCL pass? I understand that all sides agree on it ,but did it pass?.......... Roger ?

-- April 19, 2008 11:53 PM


mattuk wrote:

Who is Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr?

Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:33am BST

(Reuters) - Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday threatened "open war" against the government unless it chose what he called the "path of peace".

Here are some key details on Sadr:

* Sadr, in his 30s, led two uprisings against U.S. forces in 2004. The Pentagon once called Sadr's Mehdi Army militia the biggest threat to Iraq's security. U.S. officials and Sunni Arab leaders in the past have accused the militia of sectarian killings. Sadr has disavowed violence against fellow Iraqis.

* Sadr's movement ventured into national politics in 2005, and he was instrumental in appointing Nuri al-Maliki, a fellow Shi'ite, as prime minister in 2006. But Sadr pulled his movement out of the government in April 2007 when Maliki refused to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Sadr took his movement out of the ruling Shi'ite Alliance in September 2007. His group had held a quarter of the seats in the alliance.

* A fiery nationalist, Sadr has attracted a zealous following among the young and dispossessed. He derives much of his authority from his family. His father, highly respected Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, was killed in 1999 for defying Saddam Hussein.

* Sadr rarely appeared in public in 2007 and U.S. officials say he spent most of the year in neighboring Iran. Sadr's aides deny this. He has been taking advanced Islamic studies to earn credentials that would allow him to issue religious edicts.

-- Attaining higher religious credentials would enhance Sadr's influence among majority Shi'ites at a time when his movement is engaged in a bitter power struggle with another Shi'ite faction, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, for influence in the oil-producing south. Some senior figures in the Shi'ite clerical establishment view Sadr as an upstart given his lack of scholarly achievement.

* Sadr ordered the Mehdi Army to freeze its activities for six months in late August after gunbattles among rival Shi'ite factions killed dozens of people in the holy city of Kerbala.

-- He undertook the move to weed out rogue elements of his militia and reassert his control. The U.S. military said the ceasefire helped bring violence down sharply in the latter part of 2007. He extended the ceasefire near the end of February for another six months. Continued. Late last month however, Iraqi security forces launched a major crackdown on militia, including Sadr's Mehdi Army, in the southern oil city of Basra. Clashes in the south and Baghdad killed hundreds, making March the deadliest month for Iraqi civilians since last August.

* Sadr issued his warning on Saturday after Iraqi soldiers swooped on the Mehdi Army's stronghold in Basra. The dawn raid followed more intense fighting in Baghdad between security forces and Sadr's black-masked militiamen.

-- April 20, 2008 12:46 PM


mattuk wrote:

Good reading..Roger, Cornish boy,Sara and Rob.N interesting speed of events lately...as for the HCL law being passed Anonymous....no news that i know of...but it seems to be perhaps looming...Matt

-- April 20, 2008 1:17 PM


cornishboy wrote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Auction Comments for 4-20-08 From our friendly Economic Experts

Decline in demand for the dollar purchase auction CBE

Baghdad - Iraq votes 20 / 04 / 2008 at 13:37:23

Decreased demand for buying the dollar, Sunday, at the opening sessions of this week to auction the Central Bank on the sale and purchase of dollar volume, recording total request amounted to 83 million and 800 thousand dollars compared to 93 million and 45 thousand dollars last Thursday.

The special bulletin ERA buying and selling the dollar, the Agency received Independent News (Voices of Iraq) a copy of which was Sunday, that the request be distributed by 10 million and 940 thousand dollars in cash and 72 million and 860 thousand dollars in the form of remittances outside the country covered by the bank fully stable exchange rate for the ninth consecutive meeting ability 1204 dinars to the dollar in banks made of the 17 participating in the auction offers for the sale of 4 million and 210 thousand dollars at the bank bought 1202 dinars.

He said the Yasiri, one dealing with the auction told (Voices of Iraq) Sunday that the demand is still relatively fell within the high levels although the second consecutive decline in the meetings of the auction.

He explained that the decline recorded in the construction of foreign remittances while demand remained at the level of cash governor, who scored last Thursday, despite the fact that on Thursdays with higher demand more cash from the rest of the days on a payment for traders.

He Yasiri believed that the meeting on Monday will increase the demand for procurement especially in the area of foreign remittances that on Monday is a day of change in the exchange rate over the past months and that this rise is almost a rule in the case dropped or not the exchange rate decline.


For his part, the economic expert, Dr. Juma Ani that the bank was able to stabilize the exchange rate during the course of the auction to return what is planned, where the phenomenon of excessive prevailed in the volume of demand for previous meetings of the auction last week.

He explained that the bulk of the planned increase in the volume of requests would be counterproductive to the auction is adversely auction as a significant reduction in demand because it affects the cash to cover auction because of the inability of the auction to cover the high purchase orders for long periods.

He added that the opening sessions of the week of the auction can not measure it, but on weekly circulation rates, which witnessed the last two weeks has increased considerably in comparison with the rates in the demand Assembly.

The expert economic and industrial Sadiq Abdul Razzaq the commercial market is witnessing today cautious dealings are not conclude deals involving some perishable goods for fear of developments on the security front.

He added that this will be a shadow of caution in the near perspective on the size of circulation in the central bank auction only if the government's dealings in the latest issue through government contracting, which fill the deficit in the dealings of the private sector.

He said Uday Shabib Rastam's Office banking that the exchange rate of the dollar in the stock market amounted to 1221 dinars to the sale and purchase of 1216 dinars.
He added that the sale price and purchase of office fixed the 1225 dinars to the sale and 1215 dinars to buy with a margin of the high and low five points depending on the size of the deal and the amount the buyer or sold within the deal.
The exchanges struggle Harthiya performance was average Sunday with the continued performance of the Stock Exchange Kazimiya Cruising levels relative performance before security events of the end of last month and early this month.

http://translate.google.com/translat...language_tools

-- April 20, 2008 4:06 PM


cornishboy wrote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Auction Comments for 4-20-08 From our friendly Economic Experts

Decline in demand for the dollar purchase auction CBE

Baghdad - Iraq votes 20 / 04 / 2008 at 13:37:23

Decreased demand for buying the dollar, Sunday, at the opening sessions of this week to auction the Central Bank on the sale and purchase of dollar volume, recording total request amounted to 83 million and 800 thousand dollars compared to 93 million and 45 thousand dollars last Thursday.

The special bulletin ERA buying and selling the dollar, the Agency received Independent News (Voices of Iraq) a copy of which was Sunday, that the request be distributed by 10 million and 940 thousand dollars in cash and 72 million and 860 thousand dollars in the form of remittances outside the country covered by the bank fully stable exchange rate for the ninth consecutive meeting ability 1204 dinars to the dollar in banks made of the 17 participating in the auction offers for the sale of 4 million and 210 thousand dollars at the bank bought 1202 dinars.

He said the Yasiri, one dealing with the auction told (Voices of Iraq) Sunday that the demand is still relatively fell within the high levels although the second consecutive decline in the meetings of the auction.

He explained that the decline recorded in the construction of foreign remittances while demand remained at the level of cash governor, who scored last Thursday, despite the fact that on Thursdays with higher demand more cash from the rest of the days on a payment for traders.

He Yasiri believed that the meeting on Monday will increase the demand for procurement especially in the area of foreign remittances that on Monday is a day of change in the exchange rate over the past months and that this rise is almost a rule in the case dropped or not the exchange rate decline.


For his part, the economic expert, Dr. Juma Ani that the bank was able to stabilize the exchange rate during the course of the auction to return what is planned, where the phenomenon of excessive prevailed in the volume of demand for previous meetings of the auction last week.

He explained that the bulk of the planned increase in the volume of requests would be counterproductive to the auction is adversely auction as a significant reduction in demand because it affects the cash to cover auction because of the inability of the auction to cover the high purchase orders for long periods.

He added that the opening sessions of the week of the auction can not measure it, but on weekly circulation rates, which witnessed the last two weeks has increased considerably in comparison with the rates in the demand Assembly.

The expert economic and industrial Sadiq Abdul Razzaq the commercial market is witnessing today cautious dealings are not conclude deals involving some perishable goods for fear of developments on the security front.

He added that this will be a shadow of caution in the near perspective on the size of circulation in the central bank auction only if the government's dealings in the latest issue through government contracting, which fill the deficit in the dealings of the private sector.

He said Uday Shabib Rastam's Office banking that the exchange rate of the dollar in the stock market amounted to 1221 dinars to the sale and purchase of 1216 dinars.
He added that the sale price and purchase of office fixed the 1225 dinars to the sale and 1215 dinars to buy with a margin of the high and low five points depending on the size of the deal and the amount the buyer or sold within the deal.
The exchanges struggle Harthiya performance was average Sunday with the continued performance of the Stock Exchange Kazimiya Cruising levels relative performance before security events of the end of last month and early this month.

http://translate.google.com/translat...language_tools

-- April 20, 2008 4:07 PM


Sara wrote:

There was a time in the nation of America where bearing false witness (lying or twisting words/truth) was universally regarded as sinful, because "Thou shalt not bear false witness" was understood to be one of the Ten Commandments of moral behavior from God. But now, when the media lies and twists the truth, they have no shame:

Zep 3:5 The just Lord is in her midst; He will do no unrighteousness: every morning He brings His judgement to light, He never fails; but the unjust knows no shame.

McCain saw the article which I also posted here that the Hamas endorsed Obama for President and that the Hamas also said that they like Obama's "foreign policy." As one commentator on the below article notes,
QUOTE:

"This is the biggest campaign news of the week, and nobody seems to be on it - that, at a time when the United States is fighting a global war against terrorism, a major terrorist organization has come out in support of the leading Dem candidate. Isn't that the sort of thing people should know before the pull that lever in the remaining primaries? If a candidate is considered "good for terrorists", I'd kinda think he'd be considered "bad for America"...

That is why I posted it.. and why McCain felt it worthwhile bringing to the attention of those on his email list. The media, however, twisted his words - breaking the commandment of God, and never publicly retracting or apologizing for it:

===

Hamas Says They're For Obama, CNN Says 'McCain Says Hamas Wants Obama'
By Warner Todd Huston
April 19, 2008

In a head spinning effort to make McCain the bad guy of a story, CNN has taken the voiced support for Barack Obama by the terrorist organization Hamas and turned it into a finger pointing at Republican John McCain for being mean to Obama. Talk about spin, CNN has really done a doosie here. Taking the words of the terrorists in Hamas and placing them in McCain's mouth is simply unbelievable. But that's exactly what they've done.

CNN's Political Ticker Blog showed us some gymnastics worthy of the Olympics -- or more correctly a contortionist -- to turn the words of a terrorist into those of John McCain in their ridiculously titled post, "McCain camp says Hamas wants Obama."
QUOTE:

John McCain’s campaign sent supporters a fundraising e-mail Friday that claims Hamas approves of Democrat Barack Obama’s foreign policy vision, and is hoping for his victory this fall. (end quote)

--

But, here is one tiny bit of the story that CNN seems to have overlooked. On April 16th, Ahmed Yousef, chief political adviser to the Prime Minister of Hamas, did indeed endorse Barack Obama in an interview on WABC radio.

Our friends over at Powerline posted the audio of the interview where the Hamas operative expressed his admiration for Obama and his hopes that Obama wins the upcoming election.
QUOTE:

On Sunday, Aaron Klein and John Batchelor interviewed Ahmed Yousef, chief political adviser to the Prime Minister of Hamas, on WABC radio. The interview produced a scoop which, for some reason, has not been widely publicized: Hamas has endorsed Barack Obama for President. Yousef said, "We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election." Why? "He has a vision to change America." Maybe Yousef has some insight into what Obama means by all these vague references to "change." (end quote)

--

Now, this audio had been out there for three days before CNN wrote their story tsk tsking John McCain for being a meanie. One wonders why they did not note that McCain isn't the one that said Hamas supports Barack Obama? If one were to read only the CNN piece, one would think that McCain is the one who made the allegation.

CNN did try later on the 18th to update the piece to reflect that they were made aware of the WABC interview. However, they didn't make much effort to correct their erroneous take on the story.

It was a pretty cynical attempt to attack McCain when all McCain was doing was highlighting the truth!

Comments:

1) Wow... by Tom1969ca

...there's a ringing endorsement! Next you'll be telling me Hitler was pulling for Chamberlain to win another term...

This is the biggest campaign news of the week, and nobody (besides NB) seems to be on it - that, at a time when the United States is fighting a global war against terrorism, a major terrorist organization has come out in support of the leading Dem candidate.

Isn't that the sort of thing people should know before the pull that lever in the remaining primaries? If a candidate is considered "good for terrorists", I'd kinda think he'd be considered "bad for America"...

~~~

I admire FDR for not insisting on getting the approval of France and Germany before going to war.
--Anne Coulter

2) Tom, other outlets are by motherbelt

Tom, other outlets are ignoring it. But IMO CNN, by covering it they way they are, are doing worse. They are distorting the story by putting it in McCain's mouth: "McCain says..."

This not only puts the endorsement in the shadowy realm of merely a "claim" by Sen. McCain, but it sets Sen. Obama up as the victim of a dirty trick, and paves the way for outrage from Obama's campaign and a demand for an apology from McCain for a scurrilous attack.

3) C'mon by Indiana Joe

Huh? Oh, I see: an international terrorist organization has endorsed a candidate for our President, and we shouldn't let it give us pause? Of course not, as long as we have this hang-up about only Americans having a say in who ends up as our President.

Yeah, I remember how FDR was so happy to get that Hitler/Hirohito endorsement in '44.

4) a question... by MrShy

Hamas is not just a collection/group of people, or a country, from outside America with no relevance to the goings on of our political process. They. Are. A. Terrorist. Organization. Playing a pivitol role in the stability of the Middle East and looking to eliminate Isreal from the map. Hence (uh duh) who they are hoping will occupy the Oval Office carries a lot of weight and means everything with regards to who we ultimately elect for POTUS.

5) jer by MrShy

You may be on to something there... either way, how Shawn does "not see how this is relevant" is, well, is beyond me.

But then, for all I know, with his logic any/all things that call into question Obama's qualifications for president are irrelevant. His CLOSE association with Rev. Wright, shawn? Ayers association? His perception/stereotyping of working class middle Americans?

All of it, not relevant? Let's not "dwell" and just continue to swoon over this person who emerged out of nowhere?

6) Exactly Mr. Shy - by Dee Bunk

it's the cumulative effect of radical enforcements that is especially troubling. Hamas, Farrakhan, Wright, Ayers, and Chavez. The Europeans also support him because just like the radicals they are thinking about what is best for their agendas, not what is best for America.

7) Has anyone... by Warner Todd Huston

... mentioned lately that Obama has this racist, anti-American pastor...?

8) You're kidding! by Jer

You're kidding! Who?

9) Hi by Dee Bunk

Yeah the VRWC is alive and well in the minds of liberals and not one of them here has even addressed WTH's point that CNN is not only acting as if McCain doesn't have a right to let people know that Hamas supports Obama, they act as if he's making it up.

10) Traitorous Wretches by Barker

So now CNN is covering for the terrorist group Hamas..? Yes, this is news.

Wolf and the pack have some explaining to do.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/warner-todd-huston/2008/04/19/hamas-says-theyre-obama-cnn-says-mccain-says-hamas-wants-obama

-- April 20, 2008 6:44 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraq rebels 'get extra aid from Iran'
Article from: Agence France-Presse
From correspondents in Baghdad
April 21, 2008

A US general said today the increasingly sophisticated attacks carried out by Shiite extremists in Iraq were evidence they were getting extra aid from Iranian groups in the country.

Major General Rick Lynch, commander of US forces in central Iraq, said rocket and mortar attacks by Shiite extremists were "more effective than before".

This, he said, indicated a rise in Iranian help to the militants.

"We are seeing an increase in (Iranian) influence ... the number of attacks that are directly attributed to Iranian influence have indeed increased," Maj-Gen Lynch said.

"The number of EFP (explosively formed penetrator) attacks have increased, the number of Iranian rocket attacks have indeed increased, the amount of Iranian weapons I am finding on the battlefield has increased. The amount of Shiite extremists who tie their training back to Iran have indeed increased."

Maj-Gen Lynch, whose area of operation in Iraq has a long stretch of border with Iran, also said his troops have found large numbers of caches of weapons and ammunition bearing Iranian markings.

Citing a recent example, the general said his troops found in one place "enough components for 1100 EFPs directly traceable back to Iran".

Iran denies supplying ammunition to insurgents, or training them.

Maj-Gen Lynch said previous rocket attacks were "ineffective... now there is a difference. Now they have sophisticated launch systems".

The US military said about 600 rockets or mortar rounds were fired by Shiite extremists at Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone between March 23 and April 12.

Many of them had Iranian markings on them, it said.

Maj-Gen Lynch, who commands US forces in the Shiite provinces of Babil, Karbala, Najaf and Wasit, said that in recent weeks his troops had detained 25 extremists trained in Iran or by Iranian-linked groups in Iraq.

During interrogation "they say we were trained in Iran or we were trained by Iranians in Iraq or we were trained by Iraqi surrogates who had been trained in Iran who have come back and trained us," the General said.

"So it just continues to highlight what we are experiencing, which is particularly troublesome Iranian influence in our area that's resulted in casualties of the Iraqi people, the Iraqi security forces and coalition forces."

Maj-Gen Lynch said "You know I have lost 146 soldiers, mainly those who were killed by Iranian munitions - either by Iranian rockets or by Iranian explosively formed penetrators - all of which are directly traceable to Iran."

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23572180-23109,00.html

-- April 20, 2008 7:06 PM


Sara wrote:

It would appear that these are all Sadr's militiamen who became casualties/detained as a result of attacking Iraqi security forces..

==

40 Shiite militiamen killed in Iraq clash: US military
20/04/2008 AFP

Forty Shiite militiamen were killed when Iraq's security forces retaliated after coming under attack in the southern city of Nasiriyah, the US military announced on Sunday.

Another 40 militiamen were arrested in the military assault, which took place on Saturday in the southern Souk Al-Shiuk district of the city, the US statement added.

It said that the operation was carried out by a "combined force of more than 300 Iraqi Army, Iraqi police and Iraqi special weapons and tactics personnel, advised by US special operations forces."

http://www.africasia.com/services/news/newsitem.php?area=mideast&item=080420175027.ffmuxfxi.php

-- April 20, 2008 7:12 PM


Carole wrote:

Sara,

UTUBE video was excellent. The guy has a brilliant mind and answers allot of quanderious elements of our day.

Thanks,
Carole

-- April 21, 2008 8:44 AM


Carole wrote:

Sara.....

The conclusions of his deductive reasoning rings loud of the tones of the Marxist/ Lennin agenda (AKA radical Communism).

I believe that it is so deeply embedded in our society and world, that only a miracle can turn it around.
Those 2 evil men ( Marx and Lennin and subsequent followers would be so proud!)

lots to pray about....could be on our knees 24/7.

Carole

-- April 21, 2008 8:52 AM


Carole wrote:

Sara... to continue with my thoughts...

He stated that no religion in the history of mankind has stopped poverty, crime and evil.......

If he could just realize that Christianity was not designed to stop all of it but to provide the ULTIMATE ONLY AND ETERNAL antidote to it all.

I will pray for him that in all of his incredible intellect and wisdom and insight.....that he doesn't miss out on the absolutes of the truths of the Word of God....agree?

Carole

-- April 21, 2008 8:58 AM


Sara wrote:

Thanks, Carole. :)

I thought the video excellent as well.

When you say, "I will pray for him that in all of his incredible intellect and wisdom and insight.....that he doesn't miss out on the absolutes of the truths of the Word of God....agree?"

I agree.. all mankind needs more than their "incredible intellect and wisdom and insight." I was thinking how so many with this world's wisdom miss the eternal wisdom.. I think we all do, unless God reveals it. That is why mankind needs His revelation (Word). Men tend to think they can arrive at truth using their intellect alone and that there is no need of revelation from God (including His revealed Word). But it is truly otherwise. Mankind is not as wise as they think they are.. indeed, without God revealing to us the way, we would walk in darkness and fall into the ditch and dispair. He is not a God who is far off, but one which is near during our times of need and of trouble.. times such as this.

Today I thought I would ask you, and the others who believe who visit the board, too.. to pray for me concerning a view I wish to bring forth in God's timing. I composed a post to explain.. please bear with it:

Mat 9:15 And Jesus said to them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

I fast from time to time, as Jesus here said His people would.

Normally, on a short fast, I fast ten days. Longer fasts last from twenty-six to twenty-nine days. I have not ever been able to go longer than twenty-nine days in my entire life. How Jesus managed forty days I do not know. The last time I fasted was around Christmas for about ten days.

The last longer fast I did was about two years back. I was on the twenty-sixth day and I was contemplating Genesis Chapter one. I was thinking upon how God created the Universe, and as I did so, I imagined in my mind how exactly "everything" was created. You probably have your own picture in your mind of how things "worked" at the time of the beginning of all things. As I was running through the narrative of Genesis One and picturing in my mind how it happened, the Lord spoke to me and said, "Actually, that is not how I did it. THIS is how I did it." And He preceeded to show me how He made the universe.

It blew me away.

After He told me, I was kind of like a kid in a candy shop, wanting to run around and tell everyone what I had. But He said that no, I couldn't. He told me I did not know enough physics to defend what He had just shown me and I would.. well, in my words, get slaughtered. So, He explained, He would teach me physics. And He has. He told me that Einstein's theory of relativity is just one of many tens of principles which mankind has yet to discover, and then He gave me a new formula. In every area I have applied what He gave me, it solves mysteries which face physicists today. I am greatly humbled by what He has shown me, and a little bit scared. As I learned more and more, it became obvious that these concepts will not only disprove and overthrow a lot of conventional physics (which would make me extremely unpopular), but it is obvious that the war implications of what I know is like the difference between knowing and not knowing about the splitting of the atom bomb. In other words, it is revolutionary (and dangerous).

It has been two years since the Lord explained and enlightened me as to what He has done in creating our Universe. It explains how particles appear to be present in many places at once, why particles appear as dots or lines and can seem to move backward in time, why some galaxies move counterclockwise and why some spin faster on the outside than the inside with no apparent force to make them do that. I understand dark matter and dark force and what they are. And it reconciles the physics of the small (quantum) with the physics of the large (Einstein's theory) without changing either of them. They are truly complementary scientific concepts, and can be harmonized. I believe that the application of the principles I have been shown can make travel to distant planets possible in our lifetimes (at least of unmanned craft). This is because we have not understood exactly how God formed the space-time continuum and once we do, it will change how we approach our movement within that continuum.

But I need wisdom on how to bring out this information. Another reason I am uncertain how to bring about this is due to the fact that it will prove from physics that evolution is not true. All people of faith will be thrilled to finally have science put back in its proper perspective, but the material atheists will not be very happy with me. I expect a lot of opposition from people and from the spiritual realm as a result. In other words, in some ways, I am not keen on upsetting the conventional applecarts. It seems to me a rather momentous task, and if the Lord wants it done, please pray He will show me how to do this. I am not quite sure where to start..

When I asked the Lord WHY He decided to show this to me, He said, "Because they are turning so many away from faith in Me by this false teaching." That is it in a nutshell. He is rather sick and tired of the scientists who think they know everything when they have it all wrong. They hijack science (which He has made) and miscontrue what He has done. I believe that those who have faith in God will embrace what I have been shown and will build on it. In time, like the proving of the earth being round, it will overthrow evolutionary (flat-earth) thought. But at first, I think they will prefer I were jailed and silenced, like Galileo. They will try and discount and suppress everything I have to say. Yet, science is moving slowly toward these conclusions on its own, if only they could see it. I think it is like when you understand Einstein's theory, it seems so very obvious once that has been explained to you. But before you have the concept, everything points toward it so very obviously, if only you could see it.

For instance, I was reading yesterday this:

Researchers Make Breakthrough in Nanotechnology by Uncovering Conductive Property of Carbon-based Molecules
April 17, 2008
University of Pittsburgh researchers have discovered that certain organic—or carbon-based—molecules exhibit the properties of atoms under certain circumstances and, in turn, conduct electricity as well as metal. http://www.physorg.com/news127659085.html

As I read this, I thought.. well, duhhh.. of course they do. But I then wondered.. do they know WHY they exhibit those properties? I doubt it. But yet, I do. And I could predict other similar "strange" breakthroughs.. because I understand some things about physics they do not. If the Lord wishes me to give this to the scientific community, please pray He will cause me to do so in His timing and way so that it will have the impact for change He wishes it to have. I believe He has a plan, I just need to know what it is and fit into it. :)

If the Dinar pegs, the Lord has shown me how to scientifically validify all He has shown me. It would take approximately two million dollars to prove that the universe is the way He says it is, and not the way they think it is. It is a bit like Pandora's Box, though. It will open up a way against evolution that, as He said, "It is unrecoverable from." It will decimate evolution. Maybe not right away, but as people adopt the scientific proof, they will be unable to prevent the implications of the principles as it concerns evolution - it will simply prove that their physics is wrong and evolution is therefore not possible scientifically.

I am wanting now to spend some time (at least twenty days) fasting and praying to the Lord about when and how to disclose what I know He wants me to say. I ask your prayer, Carole and other believers, because the opposition is great to my accomplishing this time seeking the Lord. I also wish the Dinar to peg (if the Lord wills) so that I may set in motion the science experiment which will cost about two million to prove all the physics behind the theories He has shown me. Or, if the Lord wills another way, then I am open to that, too.

Even if I am not believed by many in the scientific community (many rejected Einstein's theory for about fifty years, and many of his contemporary scientists went to their graves saying he was wrong), I believe if I can present this to the scientific community, that those of faith will work ahead using these concepts, and that they will eventually end up removing evolution from calling itself science and move science forward in ways that those who reject this work will be unable to duplicate. I believe God has shown me this because He has people who will believe and understand and build on these concepts, even in spite of the evolutionary opposition. But again, when I think of giving this to the world, I hesitate to explain it because I can see, just as easily as Einstein could see, that such information will cause a revolution which will change not only history, but rewrite warfare as well. Interesting that the Lord chose to show this to someone who, well, has the political leanings you all know me to have - instead of the atheists or religious terrorists - not coincidental I should think. :)

I need wisdom, and I ask all those of you who are believers to pray for me - both that I would be successful in my fasting and seeking the Lord, and that I might be given the wisdom to know how to proceed. I wrestle with being happy knowing how things work just for myself and not doing anything more than that. It is satisfying knowing how it all fits together, like finishing a puzzle. Sometimes I don't even want to share it.. but then I think of how many are being turned away from God, and if they knew this, they too would see His hand in science as I do, and it would confirm their faith.. and that is what keeps me thinking I should speak up.. when and how though, I ask wisdom from God and your prayers concerning.

As you likely know from the recently released movie "Expelled", those who do not toe the evolutionist line in science are ostracized, denied tenure and fired. But there is a desire within the scientific community to follow truth, wherever it leads.. and that means that some will turn from the flat-earthers and learn from the new science which will be proven to be true.

YouTube - Ben Stein Expelled ''EXTENDED'' On Intelligent Design

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEPqLKErXpI

Thanks for reading this through.. I once again ask for your prayers concerning it all.

Sara.

-- April 21, 2008 9:39 AM


Sara wrote:

For those of you who will pray for me..
Thank you, and a video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yETFJhxEJaA

Pro 21:30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.

-- April 21, 2008 10:17 AM


Sara wrote:

A look at U.S. ties shows Bush to be a master diplomat who is strengthening U.S. relations all over.
Good Job, Brownie
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
April 18, 2008

Diplomacy: Democrats have hammered the Bush administration for supposedly losing allies and global standing. But a look at U.S. ties shows Bush to be a master diplomat who is strengthening U.S. relations all over.

----------------------------------

"The world owes President Bush a debt of gratitude in leading the world in our determination to root out terrorism," said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a man whose recent elevation to office was supposed to denote a "cooling" of relations with the U.S. and a tilt toward Europe.

But Europe isn't really "cooling," either.

France is now led by a man elected as "le Americain." Like Brown, President Nicolas Sarkozy had nothing but good things to say about Bush.

"We spent hours discussing important issues, commercial, economic and others, and I would say that we have done so in a spirit of openness and trust and that is something I have been particularly struck by," Sarkozy said last November. "And when I say that the French people love the American people, that is the truth and nothing but the truth."

Where exactly is the animosity Bush's critics keep talking about?

In Italy, all we can find is another enthusiastically pro-Bush prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who won high office this week in a landslide. "What I did counted in my relationship with Bush," he said this month in his campaign.

In Germany, led by conservative and U.S.-friendly Chancellor Angela Merkel, the sentiment has also gone pro-American, as it has in the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Canada.

Outside of Western Europe, the reviews are even warmer because there's a focus not just on terror-fighting but standing up for democracy— as ties with Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Albania show.

"Albania enjoys friendly and cooperative bilateral relations with the U.S. Pro-U.S. sentiment is widespread among the population," the State Department's Web site reads.

In the case of the Czechs, it's about shared ideals: "Relations between the U.S. and the Czech Republic are excellent and reflect the common approach both have to the many challenges facing the world at present. The U.S. looks to the Czech Republic as a partner in issues ranging from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and seeks opportunities to continue to deepen this relationship," State says.

Across Africa, it's also about Bush's commitment to democracy and development. Tens of thousands of people greeted Bush in several countries this year, hailing him as their continent's great friend.

Meanwhile, IBD — along with nine Democratic Congress members — saw the same in Medellin, Colombia, where thousands of Colombians greeted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January.

That brings up another reason why Bush has succeeded: No president in U.S. history has signed as many free-trade deals as Bush, which has deepened our alliances well beyond trade.

Bush signed off on 10 free-trade agreements, many with Arab states vulnerable to terrorism such as Morocco, Jordan, and Persian Gulf state Bahrain — which is now a "major non-NATO ally."

Closer to home, check out what Bush's free-trade policy has done to regional ties: "Relations between the United States and Chile are better now than at any other time in history," State's site reads.

Bush has also boosted ties with strategic Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, and broken new ground with some very big players globally, like Brazil and India, both of whose leaders have the most cordial of relations.

Who's left? Russia? China?

Even among them, Bush has shown surprising skill at keeping them talking, despite their backsliding on democracy.

So what was that again about Bush alienating the world?

Maybe the next time Democrats insist on their old canard about Bush being hated, they can get out a map and see who's left. Right now, they have no one, apart from a few anti-American dictators.

They might also ask themselves why. The answer is President Bush has done a terrific job bringing much of the world into our circle of friendship by fighting terror, building democracy and promoting free trade. Brown knows exactly what he's talking about.

http://ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=293411477645900

-- April 21, 2008 11:36 AM


Sara wrote:

The concern by the regional powers over Iraq appears to be that they think IRAN may be using them.
They do not wish to align themselves with Iraq if it means they are helping Iran.
QUOTE:

The Bush administration is arguing that although Iran has pull inside Iraq, Sunni states nervous about Iran's spreading influence in the Mideast should not use that as an excuse to give Iraq the cold shoulder.
==end quote==

The US constantly notes that Iraq, far from spreading the Iranian influence in the region, can be see as a bulwark against spreading Iranian influence in Iraq and elsewhere.

===

Rice: Iraq's neighbors taking 'very good step forward' to bring Baghdad into regional affairs
April 21, 2008/AP

MANAMA, Bahrain: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, pressing Arab nations for financial and political support of Iraq, said Monday that Baghdad's neighbors had taken a "good step forward" by pledging to do more to include the country in regional affairs.

Bahrain's foreign minister said Iraq and Rice, at the meetings of Persian Gulf states here, had answered many of its neighbors' concerns, especially about Iraq's political situation. The minister, Sheik Khalid bin-Khalifa, said Iraq will now be included in future such meetings as a matter of course.

"That's a very good step forward for the reintegration of Iraq into regional affairs," Rice told a news conference with Bin-Khalifa at her side.

The Bush administration has challenged Arab states to answer security improvements and political advances in Iraq with financial and political support. Bin-Khalifa said Iraq's foreign minister and Rice together had given encouraging assurances at meetings and a luncheon Monday.

"When we first started this meeting today we had questions of the ambiguity of the picture in Iraq, the political picture, and the secretary of state," along with Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, "gave us very good explanations," Bin-Khalifa said.

The U.S. has canceled all of Iraqi's prewar debt of US$4.1 billion (euro2.6 billion) and other primarily non-Arab members have agreed to cancel 80 percent. Numerous Arab creditors, including Saudi Arabia, have pledged to help Iraq recover financially by forgiving debt but follow-through has been slow.

"The terms have long been known. It's just a matter of getting the negotiations done," Rice said following her meetings with the Arab diplomats.

A larger gathering of Arab states and Iraq's international backers is planned for Tuesday in Kuwait. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, flying to Kuwait on Monday, told The Associated Press that he would speak frankly to Arab diplomats.

Shiite Iran is the subtext of two days of Iraq-themed meetings Rice is attending. She has been making the case that majority-Shiite Iraq is an Arab state, with an Arab identity that deserves solidarity from its majority-Sunni neighbors.

The Bush administration is arguing that although Iran has pull inside Iraq, Sunni states nervous about Iran's spreading influence in the Mideast should not use that as an excuse to give Iraq the cold shoulder.

Bin-Khalifa sought to downplay Iran's influence in Iraq.

"We have never seen the Iraqi government as an arm of Iran," he told the news conference Monday.

The United States has tried to rally Arab support for post-Saddam Iraq, both for the boost that regional acceptance would give the fledgling democracy and as a bulwark against spreading Iranian influence in Iraq and elsewhere.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/21/africa/ME-GEN-Mideast-Rice.php

-- April 21, 2008 12:49 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraq in talks with Kurds over oil contracts: minister

ROME, April 21, 2008 (AFP) - Baghdad is in talks with Iraqi Kurdish regional authorities on contracts signed by foreign oil companies in the territority, Iraq's Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani told reporters Monday.

"There has been a delegation led by the Prime Minister of the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) in Baghdad and we started our discussions," al-Shahristani said on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum here.

"We will continue those discussions after my return to Baghdad," he added.

The contracts "have to meet the conditions of the hydrocarbons law of February 2007," the minister insisted, referring to a new law aimed at encouraging foreign oil companies to invest in the Iraqi oil sector.

http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidANA202112104515

-- April 21, 2008 2:08 PM


Sara wrote:

Victory in Iraq
April 21st, 2008
By Hudson Institute President Dr. Herbert London

For detractors of the Iraq war the telling question is “how do you define victory?” Presumably, if you cannot define it, you cannot achieve it. It is this question that haunts the debate. Let me offer several suggestions. Victory in a conventional sense with land ceded and documents signed hasn’t any application to Iraq. Hence conventional notions don’t work.

What does work is a reduction in hostility so that the normal functions of life may go on largely undisturbed. As an analogue, consider the FBI war against the Mafia. The underworld has not been eliminated, but the FBI’s “victory” has translated into business activity mainly without extortion and a reduction of Mafia involvement with commercial areas it once controlled, e.g. the Fulton Fish Market, the Garment Center. The tocsin in the Iraqi air will not soon disappear, but an environment in which insurgents are hard pressed to engage in violence and cannot dictate to the government or force the hand of American troops represents a form of victory. In other words, when the initiative in this war is ours and when the average Iraqi is fearful of assisting al Qaeda, then stability is achievable.

Second, victory can be declared when the Iraqi government is sufficiently ensconced that it has support from the three major constituencies: Sunni, Shia and Kurds. This condition has not yet evolved but progress on this front has been made, notwithstanding the many claims to the contrary. It is possible to envision a time when group loyalty is subordinate to national loyalty.

Third, victory is near when the trouble-makers in the region (Syria and Iran) consider the cost of spreading chaos not worth the potential benefit. Despite suicide bombers seeking their role as martyrs, there is a point at which pain exceeds rewards. That point has not been reached, but it is not a stretch to imagine this scenario, particularly if there is regime change in Iran.

Fourth, Iraqi forces are getting better each day as every analyst on the scene has noted and, in several instances, have acted decisively without U.S. intervention. An Iraq that can attend to its military needs with minimal U.S. involvement, will most definitely be an independent nation.

As I see it, victory is possible if one of these several conditions emerge. Hence withdrawal at this time would be counter productive. Victory may not be complete and may not be as apparent as we might like, but the signs of it are evident, even as the naysayers engage in denial.

Iraq is a watershed in the war against radical Islam. If we stabilize this nation, we will have dealt a significant blow to the forces of radicalism. Victory in this war is not unequivocal, but Americans will recognize it nonetheless. Our expectations are becoming realistic at the very moment opponents of the war escalate the rhetoric of unrealistic total victory or retreat. If the constraints of realism prevail, the war in Iraq can be won and the force of light will have plunged a sword into the heart of darkness.

http://blog.thehill.com/2008/04/21/victory-in-iraq/

-- April 21, 2008 2:18 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

While progress is slowly being made on Iraq's economic front. It is necessary for Al-Malaki to continue his separation from Sadr. As long as the two of them are linked together, the regional powers will continue to approach with hesitancy.

Iraq is winnable, but the GoI must step up and take its rightful place. As Malaki continues to grow into his role as Prime Minister, the world will begin to accept him. He must be the one to negotiate debt cancellation, reconciliation, and the oil law. The U.S. cannot negotiate these issues for him.

Al-Malaki will rise to the forefront of his government and Al-Sadr will eventually pushed to the fringe if not already there.

The HCL is close as is the the SOFA agreement. With the SOFA agreement the UN can release Iraq from article VII. The time is coming and closer now that the CBI must allow the Dinar to appreciate to an accetable level. What is an acceptable level? An acceptable level is defined by the citizens of Iraq and their preference to hold Dinars instead of Dollars.

I continue to be encouraged by what I am seeing in the country. The continuing clashes between Iraqi Security Forces (with U.S. help) and the Mehdi army are necessary to continue to push Al-Sadr out. A victory for the security forces in Sadr city is an important step in cementing the GoI as the final authority inside Iraq.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 21, 2008 2:56 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraq wants neighbours to forgive debts: report Sat Apr 19, 1:42 PM ET


KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - Iraq's government spokesman, in comments published on Saturday, called on Gulf states to forgive billions of dollars owed from loans and upgrade their diplomatic representation in Baghdad.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Russia forgave 12 billion dollars of Iraqi debt. We have not seen similar moves from our neighbours," Ali al-Dabbagh told Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas ahead of a gathering in Kuwait.

"We must abandon the past and part of it is cancelling Iraqi debt," said Dabbagh, adding that most of the debt stemmed from the former regime of Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war.

Gulf states, especially OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, agreed several years ago to forgive a substantial part of Iraqi debt, estimated to total tens of billions of dollars, but Iraq wants this to be translated into action.

Foreign ministers of Iraq neighbours, along with Egypt and Bahrain, plus five UN Security Council permanent members and other Group of Eight nations, are to meet in Kuwait on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Iraq.

The conference is the third of its kind following the first meeting in Egypt in May and Turkey in November.

Dabbagh also urged Iraq's neighbours to upgrade their diplomatic representation in Baghdad to the level of ambassadors.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday that Washington was still waiting for Saudi Arabia to send an ambassador to Baghdad as part of increased US efforts to involve Arabs more in rebuilding Iraq and helping "shield" it from what she called Iran's "nefarious influences."

Iran, which is vehemently opposed to the US military presence in Iraq, said it will attend the meeting, though it has not made clear at what level.
(http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080419/wl_mideast_afp/kuwaitiraqdiplomacyconference)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 21, 2008 3:01 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Interview: Iraq to attract $2bn investment in a year

Iraq’s minister of Industry and Minerals, Fawzi Hariri, speaks exclusively to Noozz Managing Editor Tony Glover about how he intends to privatise state-run industries while raising £2bn in foreign investment over the next 12 months.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 21, 2008 3:03 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Interesting turn of events regarding the Sadrist inside Iraq.
____________________________________________________________

Sadrists seek Allawi's mediation with US forces to end operations 21/04/2008 17:46:00

Baghdad (NINA)- Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has revealed that Sadrists have asked for his mediation with the American forces to end military operations carried out against them in Baghdad and other provinces
(www.ninanews.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 21, 2008 3:05 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Official: Iraq will not allow open warfare

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baghdad, 21 April 2008 (Gulf News)
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Iraq will not allow the break out of fullfledged war, the government said on Monday in response to Moqtada Al Sadr’s threats of open war.

Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said Iraq will confront armed militias and said: “Nobody will accept open warfare in Iraq or allow the rule of militias to be established."

Iraq is capable of confronting Al Sadr, Zebari reaffirmed, adding the government has to take action when state authority is challenged.

Clashes between US forces and Shiite militants have claimed many lives and fighting has spread to other areas of the capital

Fresh fighting on Monday also saw three more people firing rockets killed by US troops in New Baghdad.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 21, 2008 3:07 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

The Ministry of Defense has allocated $2.6 billion for the purchase of weapons for the Iraqi armed forces, the army’s chief of staff said.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21 April 2008 (Azzaman)
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Medical and security sources say 21 unidentified corpses were collected in the past two days in the restive city of Baaquouba.

Meantime, 16 headless bodies were found during the same period in the southern city of Diwaniya.

Lg. Gen. Kareem al-Rubaie said the bodies were decomposed with the heads chopped off, eyes blinded and hands cuffed.

Medical sources said the decomposed bodies were found in black plastic bags.

Most were killed almost a weak ago, according to Doctor Ahmad Fuad.

Reports of decapitated bodies and corpses decomposing on roadsides are no longer of interest to international media as they have become a way of life for the country.

Media interest is now focused on the raging battles between U.S. and government troops on the one hand and the Mahdi Army of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The U.S. is even employing helicopter gun ships and heavy weaponry in the fight to flush Sadr City in Baghdad of Mahdi Army fighters.

There are reporters of massive damage casualties mostly innocent civilians.

Mahdi Army draws its popular support from the poorest slums of Baghdad and southern Iraq which are densely populated.

The Sadr City of Baghdad, where millions of impoverished Shiites live, is believed to be one of the most densely populated areas in the world where some of the most ferocious fighting is taking place.

The city is a Mahdi Army stronghold and analysts say it is almost impossible for any force to end Sadr’s influence there as the area has been a traditional bastion of the Sadr family.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 21, 2008 3:08 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Farming flourishes in Iraq’s Arab Jubur
Farmers return to their fields, children to their school after US troops kicked Al-Qaeda out of Arab Jubur.
By Bryan Pearson

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ARAB JUBUR, Iraq, 21 April 2008 (Middle East Online)
Print article Send to friend
Three months after US forces dropped tonnes of bombs on Arab Jubur and put Al-Qaeda to flight, farmers are everywhere out in their fields tending their tomatoes.

Homes in the Sunni Arab rural patch about 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Baghdad, meanwhile, are being rebuilt, schools reopened, roads repaired and irrigation pumps renewed, even as shopkeepers happily dust off their shelves.

"It's the first time in three years I am able to work in my lands," said Ammar Wadi, a 30-year-old vegetable farmer who also runs a small dairy herd.

His lands, on the banks of the Tigris, are thriving. Besides tomatoes, he also grows ochre and wheat, while some of his 30 acres is devoted to pastures.

"When Al-Qaeda was here it was impossible to farm," said the jolly-faced farmer from under an orange cap while taking time out from his labours to visit his cousin's newly-reopened grocery store on a dusty rural road.

"They cut the power so we couldn't pump water," said Wadi. "We couldn't buy fuel. They would shoot at anyone they saw in the fields. They kidnapped and murdered many people. They destroyed life here."

The last crops he planted - in 2005 - withered and died because he couldn't irrigate them after Al-Qaeda arrived in force.

In the next two years he and his family of seven managed to survive only thanks to their dairy herd and by stealthily smuggling milk off to markets in Baghdad under the noses of the jihadists.

"Unlike most of the other people in Arab Jubur, we were never attacked by Al-Qaeda. We kept a very low profile," said Wadi, a giant of a man whose profile is anything but low. "We all survived, God be praised."

Not as fortunate was Mohammed Ali Jassim al-Juburi, 54, a former sergeant in the army of ousted leader Saddam Hussein who returned to his farmlands in Arab Jubur after losing his post in the aftermath of the US invasion in 2003.

Two of his brothers were killed by Al-Qaeda jihadists in a drive-by shooting while his son was among 12 youths killed in an ambush in December.

"After they killed them they dragged their bodies behind vehicles through the streets, proclaiming them to be spies," said Juburi. "My son's body was mutilated."

Terrified and grieving, he and his family took fright and fled in the dark that night by boat down the Tigris.

"We left with only the clothes we were wearing," said Juburi, a square-jawed man with high eyebrows and wells of deep sadness in his eyes.

"Al-Qaeda are the worst criminals on earth," he said standing before large posters of his slain relatives displayed among others killed by Al-Qaeda at a memorial set up at the local community centre.

"I hope they never come back. We now just want to farm in peace. I hope the Americans stay here for a long, long time," he said.

US forces, in the form of "surge" troops with the First Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, landed in Arab Jubur on January 10 and began pushing down the main road, which had been primed with hundreds of roadside bombs.

Progress was slow and casualty rates high - about 15 soldiers killed and as many wounded.

Eventually, according to Captain Neil Hollenback, commander of Alpha Company which was leading the charge, they decided to call in air support.

"We brought in the JDAMs," he said referring to precision guided bombs packing 500 pounds of explosives.

US warplanes dropped 118,000 pounds (about 53,600 kilos) of bombs in two weeks of operations mostly aimed at roadside bombs and booby trapped buildings.

"Within days of our air assault Al-Qaeda had fled," said Hollenback.

By February 11, the main roads had been cleared, US forces had hired hundreds of locals as members of their Sons of Iraq anti-Qaeda fronts they are setting up across Iraq, and residents started returning in droves.

Among them was Juburi.

"We found that our house had been vandalised, all the furniture was gone, Our cattle had been stolen. We had to start from zero again," said the gap-toothed former soldier bitterly.

Schools too had to start from zero, but from a mere 20 to 25 children in mid-February, attendance at Arab Jubur's primary school has now shot up to 260, according to headmaster Hamudi Salman.

This is still down from 450 before Al-Qaeda moved in but far better than in December and January when the jihadists took over the building and used it as a headquarters, after months of harassing female teachers and forcing them to wear the veil, long skirts and gloves.

Ali Mohammed Khalaf, a slim, 28-year-old farmer with a squint, was among the thousands of residents who returned to find his house looted and vandalised.

To help rebuild his life, he joined the Sons of Iraq and is paid 300 dollars a month by the US military.

In between his shifts, Khalaf tends his tomato fields. But he does so very nervously. On the edge of one field is an old yellow bus the US military believes has been booby-trapped by Al-Qaeda.

At the other end of the field is the rubble of a building bombed by US warplanes during the January bombardment because it too had been booby-trapped.

"I have to be careful. There may still be bombs under the rubble," he said.

US commanders say there are still countless roadside bombs and booby-traps in the area and it will take months to clear them all.

Al-Qaeda may have left Arab Jubur in haste, but they left behind many deep and dangerous footprints.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 21, 2008 3:10 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Pentagon Boss Slams Air Force War Effort
April 21, 2008
Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday the U.S. Air Force is not doing enough to help in the Iraq and Afghanistan war effort, complaining that some military leaders are "stuck in old ways of doing business."

Gates said in a speech that getting the military services, largely the Air Force, to send more unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Iraq and Afghanistan has been "like pulling teeth."

Addressing officer students at the Air Force's Air University, the Pentagon chief praised the Air Force for its overall contributions but made a point of urging it to do more and to undertake new and creative ways of thinking about helping the war effort instead of focusing mainly on future threats.

While Gates' comments were directed mainly at the Air Force, his concern about faster fielding of unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft included a broader appeal to the entire military. The Army, Navy and Marine Corps have been expanding their fleets of drone aircraft.

"In my view we can do and we should do more to meet the needs of men and women fighting in the current conflicts while their outcome may still be in doubt," he said. "My concern is that our services are still not moving aggressively in wartime to provide resources needed now on the battlefield."

He cited the example of drone aircraft that can watch, hunt and sometimes kill insurgents without risking the life of a pilot. He said the number of such aircraft has grown 25-fold since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to a total of 5,000.

Gates has been trying for months to get the Air Force to send more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, like the Predator drone that provides real-time surveillance video, to the battlefield.

"Because people were stuck in old ways of doing business, it's been like pulling teeth," Gates said. "While we've doubled this capability in recent months, it is still not good enough."

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Gates' complaint about struggling to get more drone aircraft to the battlefield was aimed not only at the Air Force but also at the military as a whole.

To push the issue harder, Gates said he established last week a Pentagon-wide task force "to work this problem in the weeks to come, to find more innovative and bold ways to help those whose lives are on the line."

He likened the urgency of the task force's work to that of a similar organization he created last year to push for faster production and deployment of mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicles that have been credited with saving lives of troops facing attacks by roadside bombs in Iraq.

"All this may require rethinking long-standing service assumptions and priorities about which missions require certified pilots and which do not," Gates said, referring to so-called unmanned aerial vehicles that are controlled by service members at ground stations.

The military's reliance on unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft has soared to more than 500,000 hours in the air, largely in Iraq, according to Pentagon data. The Air Force has taken pilots out of the air and shifted them to remote flying duty to meet part of the demand.

Gates, who served in the Air Force in the 1960s as a young officer before he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, urged the officers in his audience to dedicate themselves to thinking creatively.

"I'm asking you to be part of the solution and part of the future," he said.

He said the Air Force and the other branches of the military need to protect those in their ranks who are maverick thinkers, who defy convention and push for creative solutions to hard problems. He said he intended to make a similar point about the value of dissent in the military in remarks later Monday at the U.S. Military Academy.

"Dissent is a sign of health in an organization, and particularly if it's done in the right way," Gates said.
(www.military.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 21, 2008 3:11 PM


Carole wrote:

Sara,

You certainly can count on my prayers......but I have no idea where you are going with all of this.
A year ago, I would have called you a kook and in need of interventional help...... but today I know you as a solid furiouciously well charactered woman.

Medical science is my forte. I am far removed and ignorant of the world of physics and relative subjects.

Do you have a scientific background?

All science is deep and wide and under constant exploration by humans.......some very profoundly credentialed humans.

If I were in your shoes, I would want to "test the spirits"........I would start with presenting my material to the MOODY INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE.
Your experience and revelations would not be foreign to them at all! Even though the world won't listen, their scientists have proven that evolution is grossly flawed, not only in theory but in practicum.

They thrive on contorversial scientiic theories that tend to dethrone God. And just maybe they might be interested in funding your project.

At the very least they would "bear witness" with your spirit.

Well just my 2 cents!

God Bless You......

Carole

-- April 21, 2008 10:01 PM


Sara wrote:

Actually, Carole.. I think you are rather typical of the ordinary religious Christian out there in your view and opinion. I don't say that in any derogatory way, just that I think your reaction is typical. :)

I think that without the credential of the world which shows I have "expertise" in the area of physics (which I do not have), they will feel it is all kooky stuff, too. They will listen to someone who has been through the indoctrination of Humanism and evolution in the higher institutes of learning, but not to anyone who claims to hear from God. When I look at the Bible, Jesus was a carpenter, Joshua grew up in the wilderness (no schools of higher learning there), David was a shepherd and Jesus' disciples were fishermen.. yet, of course, the world is much wiser on the facts of how God has made His creation than the words they penned. So maybe my viewpoint on what exactly is a qualifying credential to speak about what God has done and made differs..

I agree with trying the spirits though.. and I doubt I would pass the test with other Christians as kindly as I have with you. You know my character and have tested me over time. They haven't. So far as I can see, it would be a dismal failure to say.. "Well.. actually.. I think God said... "

The church wouldn't listen.. they would think me a kook.. you are right.

1Co 1:26 For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1Co 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in His presence.

Likely, there won't be too many who are "noble" enough for the church of today... with the right credentials of the privileged and rich.. who will be acceptable to be used of God to set the science right, I would think.. since so few of them are called. Indeed, Jesus said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for those with their fancy degrees and elite education to come to Jesus Christ.

Luk 18:24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Luk 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

So it will continue to be.. and so the church who will not listen to the ignoble and uncredentialed will continue in darkness and without the strengthening of their faith in the gospel AND scientific knowledge.. because the only ones they will listen to are not those who hear from God directly.. but only those with a secular credentialed degree. As "Expelled" points out.. if any theists make it into the credentialed sciences, speaking anything of their faith in God will quickly weed them out.

I think if the men who I most admire from the Old and New Testament were to hear my view or those of an atheist with all the right physics credentials.. I think they would look to my view as likely the more accurate. I just don't think they would see the agnostic or disbeliever in God as a reliable source of information, no matter how well educated and how many degrees they held. The learning of this world just would not impress them.

My concern was that the church is in such a state that she might discount what the Lord would teach her in this area, and the theistic terrorists would take the words He has given and - because they do not immediately discount such words because they come from a faith in God - that they may believe and take it to heart. I could see Iran becoming further advanced than the US within a few years by developing these concepts.. all because they could embrace theistic concepts and the US would not. I therefore think it wisest to leave it to the Lord to bless me with the money to do the experimental proof.. if He wills. If He doesn't fund it, it is best not to give the concepts without the proof because it will be discounted here in the agnostic West (because it does not come from an atheistic evolutionary and credentialed viewpoint) but not discounted by our enemies.. and it could fall to our enemies to prove. The results could be disastrous, and it is not what I wish to it to do.

Thanks for clarifying my error.. and bearing with me as I learned the wiser thing for me to do. I now understand how Jesus felt when He spoke over Jerusalem and said He would have taken her as a hen under His wings and protected her.. but she would not have it. Again, I know you mean no direct attack at me.. nor have I taken it so.. but you have clearly explained how I am perceived by others and how discounted my words would be.. which I did not properly see as I should have. Thank you. :)

Sara.

-- April 22, 2008 3:02 AM


Carole wrote:

Sara,

Your conjectures may hold up in some "Christian" circles I have no doubt. BUT The Moody Institute of Science would not be a stranger to those whom God has chosen to speak to in the area of scientific revelation. I know them to test presented revelations to the doctrines.
If it were not for them, we would still be arguing with main stream science that an embryo is not "human matter".
I still hold to my advice.......what's the worse thing that can happen???? By not trying, you close the door to a very ordained organization that may be a very viable vessel that God will put in your path.

Also, your indictment of educated and credentialed Christians is shallow and unwise. The Church per se ( especially in these times) has been hurt more by those (famous) Christians who have announced to the world that they "have heard from God" with extra-biblical revelation" than those who have "educated and credentialed" themselves , theologically speaking.
.....studying to show yourself approved.....is an exhortation from Paul.

In my opinion, when you present your information from God it will be consistent with all that He has been, is and will ever be. That's how you test the spirits. It will just be a deeper enlightenment of the same. This would not be new or foreign to Moody.

The scriputre that was relevant to David in the fields herding sheep, is the same scripture with exact relevancy to the 2008 Christian scientist in his lab exploring the truths of GOD, thus expanding our knowledge of Him.

I think you are sort of doubting yourself..... and I would encourage you to seek God's wisdom and strength to move forward on what He has revealed to you and what He is directing you to do. We are but mere weak humans, but He will give you all that you need and in the exact moment you need it as you proceed.......of that I have complete confidence! Remember, He is the only and ultimate truth......and He NEVER SHOWS UP LATE!

I'm still praying for you and know that you will do the right thing.......just don't let your human prejudices trip you up :)

Also, thank you for the beautiful video! I loved it!

Carole

ps....e-mail me if you want to discuss more at any time....since we stand to get the "this is not dinar....." lecture from this board:)

-- April 22, 2008 8:48 AM


Sara wrote:

Carole - One more and I will cease. :)
You say to try the spirits.. well, here is the way I am led.. you judge.

I was watching a program on how the planets supposedly came into being, done by the non-theist establishment. After viewing it I asked the Lord, "So, that was really stupid. How did You really do it?" And I listened. He said, well, basically the conversation went this way... (His words italicized)

You remember that they have discovered in nanotechnology that matter organizes itself?

Yes, and people are trying to duplicate what You have done using what they call "self-assembly technology":
http://youtube.com/watch?v=T8p8_zZNJEU (40 seconds long)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yuTM_EOtHY (2 minutes)

And you also remember that I made elements and made their properties so that they wish to combine in certain ways?

Such as H2O? The atomic table of elements, basic chemistry?

Yes, well.. what I did then was what I showed you before and then, as the matter came into being using that process and those properties of physics, I also placed within the elements at the large scale what I put in the nanoscale.. a self-organizing and combining process which created order in the Universe.

Then when they say that over eons of time hydrogen combined and bits of rocks got together and smashed into each other and grew bigger and bigger.. that never happened. No, of course not.. how would it result in molten interiors? That actually makes no sense.

The molten interiors are a result of the fusion of particles during the self-organizing stage, which, by the way, is a continuing process.

Where in the universe is this going on still?

At the nanotech level, you will be able to explore more of what I did on the larger scale. Read nanotech, I will instruct you. Key words.. diablo effect.

Diablo effect? Ok.. (check the internet) What about this here:
Abstract The heat shock protein (Hsp) system is a cell defense mechanism constitutively expressed at the basal state and essential for cell survival in response to damaging stimuli. Apoptosis is a physiological cell death program that preserves tissue homeostasis. We investigated the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis (programmed cell death) at various stages of brain maturation in CD-1 mice, triggered by two mitochondrial proapoptotic proteins, cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO, and the pathway’s regulation by Hsp-70. Smac/DIABLO and Hsp-70 proteins were upregulated 2-fold and 1.5–3-fold, respectively, after birth. In contrast, in the presence of cytochrome c/2′-deoxyadenosine 5′-triphosphate (dATP), caspase activity in mouse brain cell-free extracts increased 90-fold and 61-fold, at fetal and neonatal stages, whereas no activation was detected 15 days postnatally or at any subsequent times. These results indicate that the activation pattern of the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis undergoes a marked shift during postnatal maturation.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/f075318j56378411/

So.. this says that there is an "activation pattern of the intrinsic pathway" which "Undergoes a marked shift in postnatal maturation". In other words, these proteins in our brains are triggered by a self-regulating process to defend of our cells? (These are, "essential for cell survival in response to damaging stimuli.")

Correct. THAT is a case of the body's self-organizing elements at work. What I put into the Creation in matter's basic properties.

Intelligent DESIGN, in other words. I see. So, these Diablo proteins.. they are triggered when the body needs them to protect from damaging stimuli or deal with cancer, I gather.. as a self-organizing principle which is brought into effect when the body needs it?

They help cell death, yes.

OK, so.. if I may.. that means that there is a new organization of the brain which happens.. a shift in the pathways of cell death AFTER birth. Some self-regulating principle kicks in to protect our cells which was not present or active during our time in the womb?

Partially. Let me show you.

(Illustration of an airplane.) I see. Air bourne, not water bourne. Like an airplane which has been designed for flying, we are designed to be air creatures and while in the womb we are not in the air, but in a water environment. It is only once it gets off the ground that the "gear" necessary for the flying is kicked into gear?

True.

So what activates it into working is the change in environment.. like wings on a plane are only necessary once it gets off the ground, I suppose. Are you saying that if they put human beings into the water environment again.. that it would overcome the "natural" pathways for protecting our cells from destruction.. and we could stop cancer growths (and maybe autoimmune diseases) quite easily?

Yes.

Could we.. do that? I mean.. a womb is a very complicated thing.. to recreate, I mean. Or is it beyond our current capacity to do it?

Aspects of it can be implemented, with the ability to kill cancer being one of them.

A better alternative to chemotherapy and drugs, I suppose?

Adjunct.

I see. OK.. now, can I apply it to.. to the universe? You had a self-regulating principle which would take effect once the time-space continuum and basic elements were created. Then, the other laws of "physics" within that newly created environment, including the table of elements and the self-organizing principle of matter, took over and organized the matter into the heavenly bodies we now see.. is that right?

You got it.

One last question.. The force of gravity alone is not enough to account for this intricate designed effect.. but it is the other physics you showed me, including the dark energy and matter forces, which play key roles in causing this organization, don't they? (and also... )

Yes, fully.

-- April 22, 2008 10:40 AM


Sara wrote:

OK, back to Dinar.. :)

Iraq's neighbors back Baghdad's political, security efforts

Politics 4/22/2008 1:00:00 PM

By KUNA team KUWAIT, April 22 (KUNA) -- Delegations participating in the Third Expanded Ministerial Conference of the Neighboring Countries of Iraq Tuesday supported the Iraqi government's efforts in broadening the political process and reinforce political dialogue, while confronting those fomenting violence nationwide.

In a draft final communique, of which KUNA obtained a copy, foreign ministers or their representatives voiced backing to the Iraqi government for assisting vulnerable groups including the internally and externally displaced persons, and promoting protection of human rights, judicial and legal reforms.

They also commended the role of the Iraqi armed forces in confronting and deterring the recent threats posed by armed groups, and welcomed the Iraqi government's commitment to disarm and dismantle all militias and extra-governmental armed groups.

The delegations, showed the draft final communique, underlined importance of the International Compact with Iraq (ICI) for the political reconciliation and reconstruction of Iraq.

They recognized role and potential of Iraq's neighboring countries in the construction of Iraq, and welcomed the decision of the Paris Club to write off part of debts on Iraq, and invited all creditors to Iraq to follow suit to contribute to reducing Iraq's debts.

The delegates to the conference hoped the next expanded conference be held in Baghdad

-- The draft final communique reaffirm respect of national unity, independence, full sovereignty, territorial integrity, Arab and Islamic identity of Iraq. The delegations said it was the right of the Iraqi people to freely determine their political system and political future, as well as controlling their natural resources.

They encourage all states, particularly neighboring countries, to open or reopen their diplomatic missions and enhance those existing by raising level of representation.

They also condemned all acts of terrorist in Iraq and called for their immediate cessation.

The delegations, in this regard, supported the joint efforts of Iraq and its neighboring countries to prevent transit of terrorist and illegal arms to and from Iraq

http://www.kuna.net.kw/NewsAgenciesPublicSite/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=1901500&Language=en

-- April 22, 2008 10:51 AM


Sara wrote:

Coalition, Iraqi Forces Kill, Detain Terrorists
By American Forces Press Service
MichNews.com
Apr 22, 2008

WASHINGTON - Coalition forces battling al-Qaida terrorists and Iranian-trained "special group" criminals killed 23 terrorists and detained 42 others during multiple engagements and missions across Iraq between April 18 and 21.

"Iraqi security and coalition force soldiers are targeting criminals who violate the Iraqi rule of law," said U.S. Army Col. Allen Batschelet, chief of staff for Multinational Division Baghdad.

"Coalition soldiers are not targeting any political group or organization, but rather working with the [Iraqi security forces] targeting criminals who are engaged in violent acts or about to commit a violent act," Batschelet emphasized.

"It is the Iranian-supported special group criminals who are the primary reason the people of Baghdad are suffering. They are responsible for continued [improvised-explosive-device] attacks and firefights that are causing innocent civilian deaths," he said.

During two operations in Mosul, coalition forces captured an alleged al-Qaida leader and a suspected associate today. The missions were based on information gathered in an April 3 raid. The alleged al-Qaida leader is believed to oversee attack operations.

In separate operations yesterday, Multinational Force Baghdad soldiers took part in a series of engagements with terrorists and special group criminals.

-- At 4 a.m., soldiers assigned to the 10th Cavalry Regiment's 7th Squadron detained two men carrying illegal weapons and bomb-making materials in the East Rashid district.

-- At 6:40 a.m., soldiers assigned to the 21st Infantry Regiment's 1st Battalion spotted five individuals emplacing an improvised explosive device in the Adhamiyah district. The soldiers engaged the terrorists, and during the engagement, the IED detonated, killing three terrorists and wounding another.

-- At 8 a.m., the 21st Infantry Regiment's 1st Battalion engaged and killed seven terrorists carrying three PKC machines guns, three AK-47 rifles, and a rocket–propelled-grenade launcher. A Stryker element supporting the mission killed two more criminals carrying AK-47s on a nearby rooftop.

-- At 3:30 p.m., a coalition force observation post in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood was fired upon by three special group criminals. U.S. soldiers returned fire killing one and wounding the other two.

-- At about 4 p.m., soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team discovered a substantial weapons cache containing 14 blocks of high explosives in the Zubaida area of Baghdad's Rashid district.

-- At 4: 45 p.m., following a rocket attack, an unmanned aerial vehicle positively identified five special group criminals loading a vehicle with rocket rails in Sadr City. The UAV followed the vehicle to a house and engaged the criminals as they were unloading the vehicle, firing one Hellfire missile, destroying the vehicle and rockets rails, and killing the two criminals.

-- At 10:20 p.m., soldiers assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team killed three criminals with a missile fired from an unmanned aerial vehicle after they were positively identified carrying weapons at a cache site in eastern Baghdad.

In other operations yesterday, coalition forces also captured a suspected Iranian-trained special groups commander and three other suspected criminals in the Kadamiyah district of Baghdad. Coalition forces also killed four terrorists and detained four suspects in an operation north of Baqouba that targeted individuals believed to be housing foreign terrorists in the area.

"We are not initiating these engagements," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a 4th Infantry Division member and a spokesman for Multinational Division-Baghdad, said of the April 20 actions. "Coalition forces will continue to defend ourselves against criminals who ignore the Iraqi rule of law."

In earlier operations, tips from local citizens netted three weapons caches in operations in Hakara and Basra on April 18 and 19.

-- Based on a tip, Iraqi army and U.S. from Multinational Division Center found a weapons cache during a combat patrol in Hakara on April 19.

-- Also acting on a tip, Iraqi army soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 36th Brigade, 9th Division, working with Multinational Division Southeast forces discovered a weapons cache in two vehicles during Operation Charge of the Knights in the Quibla district of Basra on April 19.

-- A tip from another local citizen led Multinational Division Center soldiers from 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), to a weapons cache near the Abu Eid bridge April 18.

In other operations April 18:

-- Coalition forces detained four suspected terrorists during operations targeting alleged associates of al-Qaida leaders southwest of Samarra and in southern Baghdad.

-- In southern Baghdad, coalition forces secured a building and detained a suspect allegedly involved in procuring bomb-making materials, including components for suicide vests.

-- In Beiji, coalition forces coordinated three operations targeting individuals believed to conspire with an al-Qaida leader known for coordinating bombing attacks. One suspect who attempted to evade the ground force was injured in the operation and taken to a military medical facility. Coalition forces captured two wanted men and detained 12 additional suspected terrorists.

-- During two operations in Mosul, coalition forces killed three and detained seven suspected terrorists, including one who was believed to have hidden a senior terrorist leader in his house. The targeted individual allegedly conducted attacks against Iraqi security and coalition forces and was involved in killings in Baghdad.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq and Multintional Force Iraq news releases.)

http://www.michnews.com/artman/publish/article_20054.shtml

-- April 22, 2008 3:10 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Saddam made two strategic 'mistakes' to invite US wrath
4/21/2008


NEW DELHI: Saddam Hussein made two "huge and significant" strategic "mistakes" to challenge the US dollar-based global oil trading system and American petroleum giants, prompting Washington to invade energy-rich Iraq, according to a new book.

The first mistake Saddam made was when he decided in October 2000 to move away from using US dollars as the currency for oil exports, such as were allowed under the UN 'oil-for-food' programme, writes former Indian Ambassador to Iraq Ranjit Singh Kalha.

Saddam also converted Iraq's USD 10 billion reserve fund from US dollars to Euros. "Although this act of Saddam was not of very great economic significance in overall terms, it represented for the United States a direct challenge to the use of the dollar as a currency for transactions," he says in his just-released book, "The Ultimate Prize".

Iran followed Saddams move and Venezuela started initiating barter deals outside the dollar system. "If most other Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) followed the Iraqi and Iranian example, the stability of the US dollar would be at stake," Kalha, who was posted in Baghdad during the tumultuous 1992-94 period, says.

Saddam's second strategic mistake was when he decided to start giving oil contracts to non-US oil companies.

"This was too much for the US," Kalha says, noting that Washington had to forcefully meet the challenge thrown by Saddam as he was "sitting on the world's second largest reserves of oil."

Saddam made two strategic 'mistakes' to invite US wrath - Source
(www.safedinar.com)

-- April 22, 2008 8:19 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:



Drain on reserves as Iraq faces giant water shortfall by 2015

Iraq's Ministry of Water Resources has warned that the country’s water reserves will face a shortfall of more than 33 billion cubic meters by 2015 if no fair distribution of joint water resources is reached with its neighbours soon.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 22, 2008 8:22 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Nechirvan Barzani describes talks with Gov. as positive 22/04/2008 17:55:00

Baghdad (NINA)- Kurdistan region's Premier Nechirvan Barzani has described his talks with the central government in Baghdad over the pending issues, as positive.

(www.ninanews.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 22, 2008 8:31 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Nechirvan Barzani describes talks with Gov. as positive 22/04/2008 17:55:00

Baghdad (NINA)- Kurdistan region's Premier Nechirvan Barzani has described his talks with the central government in Baghdad over the pending issues, as positive.

(www.ninanews.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 22, 2008 8:33 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

America's Arab allies keep Rice guessing on waiving Iraq's debt, reopening embassies
By Lachlan Carmichael

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kuwait, 22 April 2008 (AFP)
Print article Send to friend
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice moved to Kuwait on Monday after trying to persuade Sunni-led Arab allies to back Iraq's Shiite leadership but failing to clinch any concrete commitments on debt relief or diplomatic presence. Speaking after a meeting in Bahrain with counterparts from eight Arab countries and Iraq, Rice said the talks covered relieving Iraq of billions of dollars in debt and sending ambassadors to the war-torn nation.

But she did not report any decision on either score.

"I do believe it's a process which will move forward," Rice told reporters after the meeting, which came one day after she made a surprise visit to Baghdad. "A number of countries around the table talked about their desire to have permanent representatives" in Baghdad, she added. "The terms of debt relief have long been known. It's just a matter of getting the negotiations done."

A US official who spoke to reporters on the flight to Kuwait, where Rice was to meet Iraqi Premier Nuri al-Maliki later Monday and attend a meeting of Iraq's neighbors and major powers on Tuesday, confirmed that Arab diplomats made "no formal commitments" on sending ambassadors to Baghdad.

But they showed "more disposition to look at this," he said, requesting anonymity.

Rice said she and the Arab ministers agreed that Iraq should become a "regular participant" in the 6+2+1 meetings that have brought together the six oil-rich Gulf Arab states, plus Jordan, Egypt and the US four times since January 2007.

"I think that's a very good step forward for the reintegration of Iraq into regional affairs," she said at a joint news conference with Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa.

"We're now in the process of choosing our ambassador" to Baghdad, Sheikh Khaled said without giving a timeline. Bahrain is "having discussions with Iraq on that matter."

The United States has been pressing Arab allies to send ambassadors to Baghdad and help restructure Iraq's billions of dollars in debt, most of which dates back to the Saddam Hussein era. Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, agreed several years ago to forgive a substantial part of Iraqi debt, estimated to total tens of billions of dollars. Iraq wants this to be translated into action.

Rice sought to persuade her counterparts from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as those of Egypt and Jordan, that Iraq's Shiite-led government was now fighting for national interests, rather than sectarian ones, after it took on Shiite militias allegedly armed by Iran.

"I think adjustments are going to have to be made in the way Iraq's neighbors think about it," Rice said in Baghdad, claiming that the Maliki government was now behaving in "a non-sectarian fashion."

Since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Iraq's Sunni leader Saddam Hussein, its Arab neighbors have been wary not only about violence there but also about backing a government tilted toward Shiite Iran.

Sheikh Khaled said the Arab diplomats had questions about "the ambiguity of the political picture" in Iraq, but received a "very good explanation" from Rice and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

Zebari told reporters he presented "a series of specific demands about ways of energizing the Arab role in Iraq," and a request to waive debts to some of these countries totaling around $40 billion.

"There are pledges and a desire on the part of these countries to reopen their embassies in Iraq," he added.

According to the US State Department, Iraq's debt has been reduced by $66.5 billion over the past three years, including $42.3 billion cancelled by Paris Club members.

The United States cancelled 100 percent of Iraq's debt to it of $4.1 billion, while other Paris Club members agreed to cancel 80 percent of the debt. Russia said in February it had waived $12 billion of Iraqi debts.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 22, 2008 8:36 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Kuwait meeting will back drive to disarm militias

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kuwait, 22 April 2008 (Reuters)
Print article Send to friend
Arab nations, the United States and other G8 countries meeting in Kuwait on Tuesday will back Iraq's drive to disarm militias and urge more diplomatic missions be opened in Baghdad, according to a draft statement.

The meeting, to be attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, follows gatherings of Iraq's neighbours and major powers held in Turkey and Egypt last year that sought ways to stabilise Iraq.

A draft of a statement to be issued today at the meeting said participants "welcome the Iraqi government's commitment to disarm and dismantle all militias and illegally armed groups, enforcing the rule of law, and ensuring the state's monopoly on armed forces."

The statement also urged the "maintaining or opening of diplomatic missions in Iraq".

Iraq wants Arab countries to beef up their presence in Baghdad.

Al Maliki is in the midst of a high-stakes showdown with anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia has fought pitched battles in recent weeks with security forces in Baghdad and also the south of the country.

The prime minister has threatened to ban Al Sadr's mass movement from political life unless he disbands the militia. On Saturday, Al Sadr threatened all-out war on security forces.

Washington accuses Iran of equipping, training and funding rogue elements of the Mahdi Army.

Rare visits

Iran - whose foreign minister will be at the meeting - denies the charge and blames the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 for the violence and instability in the country.

Both Al Maliki and Rice are expected to urge Arab countries at the meeting to make good on promises to either open embassies or expand missions they have in Baghdad, and to send ambassadors.

No ambassador from an Arab country is stationed permanently in Baghdad and visits by top officials from Arab states are rare. By contrast, Iran has an ambassador in Iraq and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Baghdad last month. Washington has long urged Arab states to beef up embassies in Baghdad to signal support for Al Maliki' s government and to blunt the influence Iran has in the country.

Iraq is an Arab nation while Iran's roots are Persian.

Both countries have majority Shiite populations.

Arab states, which regard Iran with suspicion, have been reluctant to extend full legitimacy to Iraq's US-backed government, Iraqi officials say.

Arab governments say they are concerned about security.

Egypt, whose ambassador to Iraq was kidnapped and killed in 2005, said it would not send an envoy until security conditions improved.

Many Arab diplomats have also stayed away from Baghdad since a suicide car bomber attacked the Jordanian embassy in August 2003, killing 17 people.

The draft also condemned all acts of terrorism in Iraq and pledged support for Al Maliki's government's efforts to counter militants and prevent them from using Iraq as a base.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 22, 2008 8:39 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Medals Awarded for Sadr City Operation
April 22, 2008
Army News Service|by Sgt. Zach Mott
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Multiple improvised-explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades and a hail of gunfire greeted Silver Lions' Soldiers as they conducted route clearance in the southern portion of the Sadr City district of Baghdad April 11.

Abrams Tanks from Company C, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, accompanying the route-clearance vehicles rushed into action to suppress the swelling attack that disabled a Coalition Forces' vehicle and injured a Soldier.

The RPG and small-arms fire quickly turned to the two tanks and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle as they maneuvered to protect and then treat the injured Soldier. Sgt. 1st Class John Weatherly, the platoon sergeant leading the armored escorts, directed his troops to engage the criminals - who were firing from behind the cover of buildings and other nearby structures - once they were positively identified.

"We moved up beside the Husky on the right side to put ourselves between the Husky and Sadr City ... and engaged," said Weatherly.

Weatherly's gunner, Sgt. Ruddie Williams, is on his second tour in Iraq with the Silver Lions and said he welcomed the opportunity to use the skills he's practiced so much.

"It's nice having a vehicle that has the capability to actually do that - with the tank - and using it for what it's for and not just rolling down the streets," he said.

The fighting continued for more than 30 minutes as Williams scanned rooftops, alleys, windows and everything in between for criminals attempting to engage the patrol as others worked to treat the injured Soldier.

"I was worried about guys on the ground that were helping with recovery and excited at the same time as I got to do what I was trained to do," he said.

Clashes between special groups and members of the Iraqi Security Forces, as well as American troops, in the northeastern portion of Baghdad have increased in recent weeks. Weatherly, Williams and other members of the 1-68 AR have been at the tip of that fighting beside the ISF to help secure Baghdad.

Despite this lofty task, Weatherly, who is on his second Operation Iraqi Freedom tour, remains humble about his actions.

"We're doing our job. That's all it is - helping (support) Iraqi (Security) Forces when we're doing our job," he said.

His previous experience in Iraq was with the 1st Armored Division during OIF I.

In helping protect their fellow Soldiers, the Silver Lions were able to kill 12 criminals and destroy a cache in a secondary explosion that night. They also continued to provide security so the night's mission could be accomplished.

"We just held the intersection so they could finish placing the guard tower at (Joint Security Station) Tharwa," he said.

Missions are a daily occurrence for these men, and the events of one day sometimes blur into those of the others. As Weatherly was recounting the actions that day, his voice took on an almost dulled tone because the pace hasn't slowed since that day.

"It might have only been six days ago, but a lot has happened since then," he said.

For their actions, Weatherly and Williams were awarded the Bronze Star with Valor during a ceremony at Forward Operating Base Callahan April 17.

(Sgt. Zach Mott serves with 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Inf. Div., Multi National Division-Baghdad)
(www.military.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 22, 2008 8:47 PM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

GE wins supply contract; military operations caused blackouts

A high-level delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity has arrived in Amman to finalise negotiations with General Electric for the supply of 120/150 mw generator and ongoing military operations in Baghdad have casued prolonged blackouts, a ministry source said.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 23, 2008 9:45 AM


Carole wrote:

Sara,

Unless God revealed more to you........the information you presented could not involve human involvement. Environment is a significant and substantial requirement for human existance ( which is dependent on the "life cycle" (or what you reference as cell death)of millions of categories of cells.

There are multiples of instantaneous "neonatal maturation" events that take place with the first breath of life, especially in regards to the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems that would make it impossible for a human to exist in a water environment again.

The "water" in the womb, known as embyronic fluid is the catalyst to the fetus for providing not only all of the energy needed for cell reproduction and maturation ( necessary for the development and growth of every system for the fetus to reach viability) but also a filtering and disgarding of toxins which would defect or destroy the process.

Non-theist and theist scientists have tried to find that secret code that defines the begining of this process. They have come close with cloning and all! BUt I am a true believer that this secret code, known by God alone, deals with God telling us that we are all created in His image. Science is on a dead end search for that answer. If God gave us that answer He would be giving up His Diety.....ain't gonna happen! If He were, He would certainly shared it with His most favored angel Lucipher.

Knowledge of all kinds of environmental matter have intrigued and resulted in thousands of insights for scientists to asssist in understanding human existance and how to help, correct, advance and ultimaley preserve humans. ( a simple example: antibiotics).

Unless there is more..... it appears to me that you had a wonderful encounter with God as you sincerely expressed a desire to understand and learn more........He gave you alot....but not any new revelation.

The life cycle of all cells is the unending search for understanding mutations and defects, In that undertanding scientists can and have been able to learn how to decode mutated cells, reproduce them and even use them to confuse the process...this has led to and will continue to lead to the discovery of not only the prevention of certain diseases, but the cure.......and no other generation has seen more of the results of that than our generation.

All extremely interesting....and thank you for sharing....you are remarkable!

Carole

PS: to all.....viva le dinar!.....REALLY!

-- April 23, 2008 10:32 AM


Sara wrote:

Worth a note on what is happening in the race for President and this analysis gave good overall perspective:

===

Clinton Wins, But Dynamics of the Race Stay Same
by Ina Jaffe

NPR.org, April 23, 2008 · After six long weeks of rock 'em, sock 'em campaigning and countless negative ads, Pennsylvania voters went to the polls Tuesday. The result: Little has changed in the race between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton was expected to win the state's Democratic primary. And she did. She was expected to do well with women and older voters and blue-collar households. And she did. Obama kept his demographic coalition together as well, winning the votes of African-Americans, young people and the more educated and affluent.

"What Ohio and Pennsylvania have shown is that [Obama] has a serious problem with white, working-class Democrats," said Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Brown says this may hurt Obama in the general election if he becomes the Democratic nominee.

"If he has a serious problem with white, working-class Democrats, how do you think he'll do with white, working-class independents and white, working-class soft Republicans?" Brown says.

Despite Clinton's 10 percent margin of victory, the delegate math may not change much for her. Because of the way the Democratic Party divvies up the state's 158 pledged delegates, she is likely to get perhaps 10 or 12 more than Obama. Before Pennsylvania, he had an edge of more than 160 pledged delegates.

So it's on to North Carolina and Indiana. Both states vote on May 6, and together they offer nearly 30 more delegates than were at stake in Pennsylvania. North Carolina's demographics favor Obama. He leads in the polls there by an average of about 20 percentage points. Indiana, however, is a toss-up, and was the next campaign stop for both candidates.

Stepped-Up Attacks

In the days leading up to the contest, the candidates unleashed increasingly nasty attack ads.

Clinton released a television ad in which an announcer says, "It's the toughest job in the world," as images of the White House, Osama bin Laden, Hurricane Katrina and the attack on Pearl Harbor appear on the screen. "Who do you think has what it takes?" it asks.

(Side Note: How about a man who has served honorably and actually seen combat... John McCain? See - ) http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ypn76M0Wm-k

Obama's campaign countered with its own advertisement, "He Has What It Takes." It characterizes Obama as someone who does not use fear to "divide us." He has argued that Clinton's ads play to the "politics of fear."

The Long Campaign

Political analysts are divided over the impact of a campaign that looks likely to last through the final contests on June 3. Democratic Party officials worry that the protracted race may be wounding both candidates in the eyes of voters.

On balance … this prolonged Democratic fight is a good thing for [presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John] McCain," said Dan Schnur, a GOP strategist who was McCain's communications director during his 2000 presidential bid. "But there is no question," added Schnur, "the one downside for him is that he is going to face a much better-prepared and better-tested opponent in the general election."

But many veteran Democrats, such as strategist Bill Carrick, would like to see the Clinton-Obama duel come to an end.

"If I had a magic wand, I would end it," Carrick said, "because I think this gets to be kind of like a fourth overtime in a basketball game. The players are exhausted; they're going to make mistakes...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89851118

-- April 23, 2008 10:57 AM


Sara wrote:

Thanks, Carole. This wasn't my area of expertise and you, as a nurse, know more of it, obviously. I find the fascinating view from the medical perspective you gave interesting. I had no idea that quote, "The "water" in the womb, known as embyronic fluid is the catalyst to the fetus for providing not only all of the energy needed for cell reproduction and maturation (necessary for the development and growth of every system for the fetus to reach viability) but also a filtering and disgarding of toxins which would defect or destroy the process."

It is a truly remarkable process that we undergo.. from a water environmment to an air environment. What I appear to have been told was that the systems in the body are suppressed in the water environment regarding cell death and dealing with invaders/toxins. AFTER birth there is a sudden "ramping up" of our internal mechanisms to deal with the air bourne toxins and invaders which the newborn will be subject to. You say that is irreversible as a step, and yet.. I feel He was saying that we can use the human system in such a way that it can be "tricked" into thinking itself back in the prebirth state in some ways. If that is possible, then these defense mechanisms concerning cell death would be tricked into stopping their "ramped up" activity. The result would be that our use of drugs and chemotherapy would be used to greater effect to kill the cancerous growths without the body system's reaction being ramped up in reaction to these toxins (chemo/drugs) - which is exhausting to the patient. Many people die from the "treatment" of cancer and not the cancer itself due to this mechanism, as you know. This could be used as an adjunct to current medical technology to help in the process of killing the cancer and surviving the treatment's after effect reaction by the body. I also think it could help to stop the out-of-control proliferation of the body's own system (autoimmune diseases which is the body attacking itself), if they are part of that "ramped up" mechanism. If the body thinks the "womb fluid" will get the invader for it, it will stop the attack it is doing itself.

What you appear to be saying is that the functions of our immune system/body are done in the "water" in the womb and we cannot synthesize that water? What if we could? What if we can create a liquid with an artificial agent to trick the human body into thinking itself back in the womb environment.. and thus stop the immune/body response because the body thinks it is not necessary because the water will do it for them? If we could bathe the cancerous area in that liquid, could we stop the body's ramped up response to our use of invasive chemicals or chemotherapy?

You mention the advances that the medical community has made.. and how incredibly far we have come. I believe if they were to seek to understand this mechanism of how the body becomes "ramped up" once it changes from the womb environment to the air environment, that the mechanisms responsible can be tricked into submission to a medical model which will result in greater success in killing cancer and then surviving the trauma of the chemotherapy and drug regimen. I have no idea what Intelligent Design God used in making us able to move from one environment to the other.. but I suggest that it can be possible for mankind to discover what mechanism He used and duplicate its reverse in some degree in the lab.. with the result of saving more lives. I do not see it is beyond our capability to learn about this mechanism.

I agree with you, however, that scientists try to play God in some instances (such as embryonic and stem cell research and cloning), and that God will only let them go so far before He judges them for it. The fine line between helping people and tampering with the "patented technology" in a way the patent holder (God) dislikes is a one way ticket into eternity for those who choose to step over the line. They truly appear unaware that the patent holder on the technology they hold can enforce His patent at any time He wishes to. In an ordinary court of law, that would mean a monetary fine.. in God's courtroom, you lose your life. They will laugh about such things.. until they have an "accident" on their way home from the laboratory, of course.

Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

That statement likely won't phase an atheist or agnostic scientist.. until it is too late.

As with any technology, this one could be abused. Stopping the fighting mechanisms of the body from functioning.. could be used in chemical or biological warfare to cause greater casualties. Again, I trust that the Designer would be in control of the use of such technology and how it is used through the authorities He has in place. I do suggest that terrorists planning to use such a terror weapon would end up dead, one way or another.. and their aims defeated. That is because there is a God, and He does judge. If what I have said seems a bit vague, (you said it is nothing new) it is intentionally so. (As I said, the new laws of physics He showed me have far reaching application.. and I would not like to give it to America's enemies.)

What He was revealing to me, though.. and I had no idea about this mechanism from womb to air before He had this talk with me, was that there is DESIGN built into our bodies as to how it is to function once it changes environment (from womb to air). Similarly, the state of matter is DESIGNED within it in such a way that when He brought it into being in the space-time continuum, certain mechanisms kicked in to cause it act in certain ways (self-assembly, molecular formation of compounds, etc) so that the universe we see was formed.

What we see in the formation of a human is a DNA code of instructions placed within us from our beginning. That is a picture on the tiny scale of what He designed into the larger scale. There was no random explosion which caused hydrogen to form.. then down the road other elements slowly formed by random interactions over eons of time. There was a DNA-like precision plan which happened the moment the elements came into our space-time continuum. They coalesced together (like blood clotting) to form from a free form into a "scab" - causing the planets. As a medical person, you would know all the systems of the body in play and all the elements (from white blood cells to platelets), which goes into a clot and then scab. It is a marvellously Designed mechanism He created. He did the same with the Universe, designing into it the properties to create matter, then planets.. all with DNA precision and taking into account the "birth" effects of matter being formed into our fourth dimensional realm. The atheists tend to concentrate on the destructive forces (like the free radical scavengers in our own bodies) such as black holes.. instead of the incredible intricately-designed and functioning works of the universe as it is now.

It is not a random process, it was DESIGNED. Even the spaces (like the short clip by IBM showing snowflakes and then their conductors which are based on that) act as insulators for our safety. Ever wonder why we are so very far from the nearest star to us within our galaxy? Like the spaces in a snowflake, it is Designed that way. We cannot reach the nearest star by our technology within our lifetimes due to the huge distance..

How Long It Will Take To Travel To The Next Nearest Star And What Will Be The Technical And Bio Challellenges?

According to Wikipedia:
The nearest known star to the Sun is Proxima Centauri, which is 4.23 light-years away. The fastest outward-bound spacecraft yet sent, Voyager 1, has covered 1/600th of a light-year in 30 years and is currently moving at 1/18000 the speed of light. At that rate, a journey to Proxima Centauri would take 72,000 years.

Also:

The nearest star is many 'light years' away. A light year is the distance that light travels in a year. Considering that light travels 186,000 miles a second, you can imagine how far that distance is. (To put it in perspective, light leaves our sun, and arrives at Earth nine minutes later.) So, one of the biggest challenges is developing a space travel vehicle that can sustain many generations of people who will be born, live, and die on that space vehicle.

http://au.answers.yahoo.com/answers2/frontend.php/question?qid=20080126105519AAwAYMe

The spaces are intentional and a part of the design, just like they are with a snowflake. :)

Offtopic reply.. hopefully Pat will skip the post rather than posting another personal derogatory and defamatory comment. Thanks for the banter and discussion, I appreciate you a lot too, sister.

Sara.

-- April 23, 2008 12:31 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraq summit ends with key cement deals
Dubai: April 23 2008

A summit aimed at generating private sector investment to develop Iraq’s various state owned enterprises (SOEs), concluded with the signing of two key deals for cement companies.

Organised by Iraq Development Program under the Iraqi Ministry of Industry & Minerals, the ‘Investing in Iraq’s Industry’ summit was held in Dubai from April 19 to 20.

The summit ended with a prestigious signing ceremony featuring minister of industry & minerals Fawzi Hariri, who presided over the formal completion of joint venture contracts within the Iraqi cement sector.

Over 45 SOE director generals formed part of a delegation of 85 Iraqi officials at the summit, the largest seen at any commercial event, said the organisers.

'We are making all of Iraq's state-owned enterprises available for partnerships with the private sector,' Hariri said.

“We have signed two very important contracts today for the cement industry, whereas in fact following the meetings of the past two days, I could have signed ten other similar deals,” he added.

“But as a government body the rule is that the minister cannot just come and sign a contract. It has to follow due process in Iraq. But we have signed these cement contracts within ten months, which is fast for Iraq,” he added.

The signing of joint ventures within these sectors is of particular importance to Iraq as the country undergoes a construction boom as a result of funds pledged for reconstruction, with cement in extremely short supply.

http://www.tradearabia.com/news/newsdetails.asp?Sn=IND&artid=142306

-- April 23, 2008 1:09 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraqi families grapple with endless tally of death and destruction
By Michael Kamber
April 23, 2008

BAGHDAD: Ethir Kathum was upbeat on the afternoon of April 15. After months of unemployment, he had returned that morning from submitting a job application with the Iraqi security forces, one of the few jobs available. Kathum, 29, stood on the sidewalk in front of his house, joking easily with his mother and his cousin, Abbas Mansour. It was nearly 1 p.m and he mentioned he was hungry. His mother, Majeda Karim Hameed, turned and stepped into the house to make lunch.

There was a tremendous flash behind her. She was thrown to the ground. When she got up, her son was dead. A Katyusha rocket had dropped from the sky, slamming into the sidewalk near him. Hameed ran outside to find her son's body ripped apart. Mansour was taken to the hospital. He died within the hour. Neighbors said that two others, passers-by, were also killed.

Behind the seemingly endless daily tally of dead and wounded - figures that gradually dull the senses of many in the West - Iraqi families grapple with the hard aftermath of moments like the one Tuesday in which their loved ones are taken.

"A bullet knows no name" is a battlefield refrain. Yet nowhere is it more true than in Iraq today. A simple decision to run an errand, or choose an alternate route to work takes on life-altering consequences as the car bombs, stray bullets, rockets and mortars claim those who merely happen by. The nature of the killing lends a macabre randomness to life here, and to death. And as the war carries on into its sixth year, nearly every family is touched by the death of a member or close friend.

Among those coming to pay respects was Hameed's sister, Surham Abd al-Kadum. "A month ago security was good," she said as she sat next to her 11-year-old son, Aqeel. "Now we can't walk in the street anymore."

Aqeel's two arms were bandaged to the elbow. He was shot through both hands on Monday in Sadr City, where American and Iraqi government forces are battling the Mahdi army militia. Notwithstanding his uncle's death and the metal rods screwed into his hand, Aqeel consoled his aunt and took in the proceedings with remarkable calm.

"When the government attacks the militias, the victims are civilians. And when the militias fight the government, the victims are also civilians," said Sadik Jabbar Hashem, a neighbor. "The person who fired this knew it would land here among families," he said, referring to the rocket that killed the four people that day.

The ongoing fighting has claimed numerous civilian lives and may be turning public opinion against the Mahdi army and Iran, which United States officials say is a major backer of the militia. The Mahdi army is linked to the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. Katyusha rockets like the one that killed Kathum and Mansour are fired only by the militia, not by American forces, and the men's family had little doubt where they came from.

"The U.S. Army came an hour after the explosion," Hashem said. "They dug the rocket out of the ground and showed it to me. It had Iranian markings." Several family members cursed Iran and blamed it for trying to destabilize Iraq.

As visitors passed through the room, there was the crash of another rocket landing in the neighborhood, minutes later a second, then a third. Hameed, already nearly hysterical with grief, shouted, "can you imagine? Even more victims in these explosions."

Kathum's younger brother, Mustapha, said the two were more like friends than brothers. Tears rolling down his face, he recalled, "We used to play dominoes together and soccer. I hate what is going on now, all this violence around us."

Though only 15, he clearly remembered a time before the troubles, he said. "We were fine to come and go then, to play outside," he said. "We used to live in peace before the war."

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/23/africa/23rocket.php

Who do you believe..
your eyes when you look at the rocket and see the Iranian markings..
or the Sadr spokesman who says they have nothing to do with Iran?
Which one is telling you lies?

Iraq: Al-Sadr Aide Downplays Threat, Assails Iran's Role In South
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
By RFE/RL analyst Kathleen Ridolfo

An official spokesman for Shi'ite cleric and militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has signaled a reluctance on al-Sadr's part to order his Imam Al-Mahdi Army to fight the Iraqi government and distanced his group from elements in neighboring Iran.

Al-Sadr had issued an ultimatum to the Iraqi government earlier this week, saying he would launch an open war if the government did not call off security operations targeting Sadrists.

But in an interview with RFE/RL on April 22, spokesman Salih al-Ubaydi said he thinks al-Sadr "does not accept any kind of clashes with government troops."

Al-Ubaydi played down ties with Tehran. Al-Ubaydi added that the Al-Mahdi Army is not supported by Iran.

Al-Ubaydi accused Tehran of interference in Iraq, saying that "it is very well known that Iran also has participated in this campaign against the Sadrists in Al-Basrah, because the Sadrists in Al-Basrah have good control."

He said Iranian elements were waging "a kind of propaganda against the Sadrists to push them out of Al-Basrah...."

The spokesman suggested that al-Sadr might not have control over all Al-Mahdi fighters but is trying to "take control" over the group.

http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2008/04/d55e1e03-4d91-44e5-869e-826baa63cd4b.html

-- April 23, 2008 2:43 PM


Sara wrote:

Saudi FM: Lack of embassy in Baghdad not sign of lack of support to Iraq
April 23, 2008 / AP

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: The foreign minister of Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia says his country does not have an embassy in Baghdad purely because of security and not political reasons.

Prince Saud al-Faisal says the kingdom's embassy would open "when the security conditions are present" in Iraq.

Saud says the lack of an embassy is "not an indication of a lack of support" for the push to preserve Iraqi "unity and independence," nor does it reflect any cooling or tensions between Saudi Arabia and the Shiite-governed Iraq.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/23/africa/ME-GEN-Saudi-Iraq-Embassy.php

-- April 23, 2008 2:50 PM


Sara wrote:

Am I the only one who missed this trial?
I seem to have missed their June 2006 arrests, as well..
Not much MSM coverage, I suppose.

===

U.S. To Pursue Third Trial In Alleged Sears Tower Plot

Federal prosecutors in Miami said they will retry six men accused of scheming with al-Qaida to topple Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices in several cities.

The decision was announced at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard. She declared a mistrial last week in the second trial because jurors could not agree on any verdicts.

It is not known when the third trial will begin. Defense attorneys planned to seek bail for several of the men, who have been in custody since their June 2006 arrests.

http://www.npr.org/newsinbrief/index.html

-- April 23, 2008 3:05 PM


Carole wrote:

Sara,

I guess I could e-mail you, but there may be some who are "entertained" or pleasantly distracted from the dormant actuvuty if the Dinar....

Missed your referred comment by Pat. Maybe it was taken off the board....anyway...who cares?

Well, amniotic fluid presents a window into the state of the embryo and fetus. There is a procedure call amniocentesis whereby the "water house" ( amniotic sack and fluid) of the baby can be extracted and microscopically examined for all kinds of information including birth defects like Mongolidism, mental retardation, spina bifida and a host of other disorders. Now with the advent of DNA dynamic research findings, probably things beyond our knowledge and imaginations can be detected.

I recently read a journal where it was discussed that Chemo, as we know it, is in the process of being replaced with other means of destroying cancer producing and phyagocytic (probably viral)organisms.

This stuff is so fascinating to me and at one point in my life I was actually smart. But the rapid and monumental discoveries in the last 30 years has left me behind " in the dark ages"! :)

I get some cheap thrills when my oldest daughter ( who works in Multiple Sclerosis research), invites me to a conference. Of course you must know that I will do everything I can to get seated a the table with the most distinguished scientisits.

Most are of Asain decent and educated in England and US. While 90% of what they tell me is lost due to "their foreign accents" and my
mundane ability to absorb all the information... I have learned that, it is almost conclusive that MS is a virus. That carbon chains determine the type of MS.....AND....THE BIG ONE....
that MS is clearly linked to the Hep B vaccination.

God is not only the Source of all information and truth He is also the disseminator of it all and for a reason, only known by Him, He has chosen to bestow deep and varied mounds of information and knowledge to our generation as never before in mankind.......along with that has come serious and deep responsibilities, of which many have thwarted!
YOU ARE SOOOOO RIGHT! JUDGEMENT LIES ON THE HEADS OF THOSE WHOM ARE GUILTY OF PERVERSING THIS BLESSING! And I can give firdst hand testimony to that having worked in hopsitals most of my life....starting with those doctors who first introduced abortions as a medical procedure....all the ones I know are dead with tragic lives procceeding their deaths....

Well, by now, Pat, whoever she is, is probably doing cartwheels and spittin bullets..... :)

So, I'll stop.

Talk to you soon,

carole

-- April 23, 2008 4:17 PM


Sara wrote:

What is the political Presidential landscape like?
Today's statistics are interesting.. and worth a quick note as a relevant Dinar item -
as, of course, our Dinar investment would be affected very negatively if a Dem were to get the Whitehouse.
(Though that is nothing compared with how it would affect the poor Iraqi people..
much like what the American withdrawl did to the people of Vietnam - something McCain witnessed,
and a mistake he lived through and is not anxious to repeat. Ahh.. for the wisdom of experience to prevail..)

==

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows John McCain with a three-point advantage over Barack Obama, 47% to 44%. McCain attracts support from 82% of Republicans, Obama from 71% of Democrats, and McCain has a very slight edge among unaffiliated voters. The presumptive Republican nominee has a similar advantage over Hillary Clinton, 47% to 44%. In this match-up, McCain is supported by 83% of Republicans, Clinton by 75% of Democrats, and McCain has a double-digit edge among unaffiliated voters.

Among all voters nationwide, McCain is viewed favorably by 52% and unfavorably by 45%. Obama’s ratings are 49% favorable and 49% unfavorable. For Clinton, those numbers are 43% favorable, 55% unfavorable. McCain is trusted more than Obama on the key issues of the economy, national security and Iraq.

The Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator shows the Electoral College race remains a Toss-Up. Democrats lead in states with 190 Electoral Votes while the GOP has the advantage in states with 189.

Daily tracking results are collected via nightly telephone surveys and reported on a four-day rolling average basis. The general election sample is currently based upon interviews with 1,600 Likely Voters. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

-- April 23, 2008 4:21 PM


Sara wrote:

Thanks, Carole.

I am also hoping for tolerance from the board.. I try to bring out as much Dinar relevant info as I can find, but a little off topic discussion has been on this board from its beginning, particularly when it gets slow for Dinar news. Rob N has been great at helping find articles. It is the sniping by those who do not contribute to the forum, such as Pat's post (which I see was removed) when we do get off topic for a bit which makes me wonder.. yes, this post is a bit off topic, but I think worth a peek into.

I agree that we are absolutely inundated with information. It is an incredible amount of information and each area is so deep, we can only marvel at all we do not know because our ignorance is surely larger than our knowledge base.

No doubt cancer research is going in many different directions. However, I had never heard that MS is linked to the Hep B vaccine. Wow. I will digest that one. With the recent judgement by a judge that Autism can be linked to vaccination as well, it does make you think that - like the new areas of cancer research which seem to be moving toward a new way of dealing with cancer - maybe we can find a better way forward than that of vaccination for thwarting disease? Surely some other method could exist which does what they are aiming at in giving vaccines - without the devastating side effects upon a portion of the population?

===

Federal Judge Rules Vaccine Partly Responsible for Girl's Autism
Created: 3/7/2008
by Elizabeth Bishop

ATLANTA - In a landmark ruling, a federal court has conceded that an Atlanta girl developed autism from vaccines. Government health officials stopped short of saying vaccines could cause autism, but they did concede that childhood vaccines worsened a rare underlying disorder that eventually led to autism-like symptoms in the Georgia girl.

Terry Poling described her daughter's severe reaction to the vaccines.

"She was screaming, arching her back. She had a high fever. When I spoke to her she would not respond to me," Terry said.

Hannah's parents hoped her condition would improve. It didn't. The little girl who had, until this point, been at the 95th percentile at every doctor's visit, stopped eating, stopped gaining weight, stopped growing.

"I didn't know what had happened to my child after being given these vaccines. I knew something happened, but I didn't know what it was," said Terry.

"Hannah started demonstrating several classic symptoms of Autism, staring at lights, running in circles and looking at fans, and when my husband saw this, his heart just broke. His whole life was going to change," Terry said.

Dr. Jon Poling, a graduate of Georgetown Medical School, had the coveted position as Chief Resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He left his position to go into private practice in order to pay for Hannah's numerous therapies and treatments. Terry Poling, a critical care nurse for 13 years who specialized in neonatal care, was also an attorney. She left her career to care for their daughter full-time.

In 2002, the Polings filed a petition with the vaccine injury compensation fund. The Federal "vaccine court" as it's called, has 5,000 cases before it. Poling's was to be the first, but before the case began, the court conceded that vaccines had caused Hannah to develop Autism.

Hannah has a rare metabolic condition called mitochondrial disorder. In its ruling, the government says the vaccines aggravated the condition.

But Jon Poling said the fact remains, his daughter was healthy and normal until that one visit.

"Some have asked that since Hannah was found to have a mitochondrial disorder, wasn't all this genetic and so why are we here today?" Jon said.

He said testing performed on his wife shows she has it too.

"Look at her, she's not autistic, or sick," Jon said.

http://www.news10.net/display_story.aspx?storyid=39255

-- April 23, 2008 4:52 PM


Sara wrote:

Saddam's No 2 Reportedly Captured In Iraq
Al-Arabiya 4-23-08

DUBAI (AFP)--A man suspected to be Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, who tops the Iraqi government's list of most-wanted fugitives, has been captured in Iraq, Al- Arabiya television reported Wednesday.

The man suspected to be Duri, who was No. 2 under Saddam Hussein, was captured by Iraqi forces and handed over to the U.S. military, it said, citing Iraqi security sources.

Al-Arabiya said the man was caught in Hamrin between the provinces of Salaheddin and Kirkuk and was being moved to Baghdad.

DNA tests are being conducted to confirm his identity, the Dubai-based Saudi- owned channel added.

Al-Arabiya quoted "U.S. forces" as saying the person captured "looks like" Duri but confirmation of his identity awaits DNA testing.

Duri, the most senior official in the ousted Saddam Hussein regime to be still on the run, heads a 41-person most-wanted list released by the Iraqi government in 2006 with a $10 million bounty.

He was Saddam's No. 2 under the former Baath regime and is considered an operational leader with close ties to anti-U.S. insurgents.

http://news.morningstar.com/newsnet/ViewNews.aspx?article=/DJ/200804231546DOWJONESDJONLINE000998_univ.xml

-- April 23, 2008 6:42 PM


Carole wrote:

Sara,

One of the first indications of the effects nd links to Hep B vaccine and MS, came about due to the requirment in the 80's that all nursing students, in California had to receive the vaccine before admission into nursing school. Withi 15 years there was a literal outbreak amongst nurses of MS. We still are seeing the effects today.

Next, the Hep B vaccine became a part of neonatal immunizations. Also required for admission into school. In the past 5 years, as never before in history, children as young as 6 have been diagnosed with MS. One would think that the practice of these immu nizations would stop.
This only accentuates the power of the pharmaceutical companies.

Carole

-- April 24, 2008 2:49 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

First Phase of New Maysan Refinery underway, capacity 30,000 bpd

Work to install three refining units at the 150,000 barrel per day (bpd) Maysan Refinery has started, with initial capacity of 30,000 bpd expected by the end of the year. The oil ministry is still in negotiations with international oil companies (IOCs) for Phase 2 of the refinery.
(www.noozz.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 24, 2008 9:27 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Sihail renews demanding canceling Kuwait's compensations 24/04/2008 11:37:00

Baghdad (NINA)- The Independent MP Safiya al-Sihail has renewed its demands that Kuwait should write off the compensations that Iraq has to pay to its citizens. She said in a statement to the National Iraqi News AgencyThursday
(www.ninanews.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 24, 2008 9:29 AM


Rob N. wrote:

Sara:

According to www.iraqupdates Saddam's has not been arrested by our military.
____________________________________________________________

US army denies capture of Saddam's No. 2

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baghdad, 24 April 2008 (Gulf News)
Print article Send to friend
The US military in Baghdad on Thursday denied that Ezzat Ebrahim Al Douri, Saddam Hussain's former vice president, had been arrested in Salaheddin.

Iraqi army officers also denied the report, although Iraq's national security adviser Muwaffaq Al Rubaie said the army had arrested a group of terrorists and will conduct DNA tests.

"We can say at this stage that he is not under arrest for the coalition forces and we do not have any reports about the arrest by Iraqi security forces," the US military said in a statement.

Al Douri became the most-wanted former regime figure in Iraq after Saddam's capture in 2003. He is believed to have played a role in financing militant attacks.

Al Douri has been the only member of the former leadership headed by Saddam who had remained at large.

The U.S. army responded to inquiries by The France Press agency via e-mail saying, "We are aware of the information circulated by the press, about the arrest of Izzat Al Douri.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 24, 2008 9:34 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Drop in Iraqi oil exports

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

24 April 2008 (Azzaman)
Print article Send to friend
Iraqi oil exports have dropped by 17,000 barrels last month mainly due to lower output from the northern oil fields of Kirkuk, an Oil Ministry statement said.

The decrease is not substantial but given the current record oil prices which trade at about $118 a barrel the drop means the loss of more than two million dollars a day.

Production of crude and its shipping from Kirkuk has always been a problem for the ministry as some of the strategic oil wells and pipelines in the north are situated in some of the most restive areas in the country.

But the ministry said output from the southern oil fields of Basra rose despite ferocious fighting in the city.

While average output from Kirkuk has dropped to 320,000 barrels a day from 350,000, Basra production has increased 13,000 barrels to 1.598 million.

Prior to U.S. invasion and occupation of the country, Iraq used to produce more than 2.5 million barrels a day.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 24, 2008 9:36 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

US Sells Secret Anti-IED Tech to Iraq
April 24, 2008
Military.com|by Christian Lowe
The U.S. has taken the unprecedented -- and some would say questionable -- step of selling some of its most sophisticated counter-IED technology to the Iraqi government, equipping specialized police, military and interior ministry troops with electronic systems designed to detonate roadside bombs and jam triggering signals.

Officials from Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq announced April 20 that its foreign military sales office had sold the Iraqis 411 Lockheed Martin-built "Symphony" counter-IED systems. A few of the Symphony systems are already up and running on Iraqi government vehicles, the command said, with the rest due to be installed by the end of the summer.

"This system will afford the Iraqi security forces long-term, independent counter-IED protection and relieves coalition troops from this responsibility so the latter may perform other tasks," said Army Lt. Col. Will Flucker, the command's Symphony program manager, in an April 20 release. "This system is a critical part of security transition from the coalition forces to the government of Iraq and integral to developing [Iraqi security forces] into a long-term partner in the global war on terror."

But some might see handing over America's most sophisticated and top secret counter-IED technology to Iraqi ministries, whose loyalty to Baghdad is less than certain, as extremely risky. Electronic jammers like the Symphony have saved American lives in a war where the roadside bomb is the number-one killer, and the possibility that an Iraqi official could hand over the technology to an insurgent or unfriendly government is all too real.

"You have to assume that about the third one that we ship over there is going to go straight out the back door," said John Pike, director of the Globalsecurity.org, a Washington-area defense research group. "We have a fundamental dilemma here in trying to indigenize these security forces."

Due to its highly-classified technology, Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Ellen Mitchell refused to discuss Symphony's capabilities or the Iraqi sale. A 2007 Pentagon contract announcement called the Symphony a "programmable, radio-frequency IED defeat system that is vehicle mounted."

The Army's Flucker acknowledged the risk that the technology could wind up in the wrong hands, saying the $51 million deal had been inked only after "numerous technical and administrative delays."

"Most of the administrative hurdles are related to providing effective technology to the partner nation while ensuring such technology is not compromised and does not proliferate beyond Iraq's borders," Flucker wrote Military.com in an email response to questions.

The Iraqi system will incorporate anti-tamper technology along with a fill or operating code that periodically expires and must be renewed in order for the system to operate, and the use of "trusted agents" to handle, control and distribute the operating code, Flucker added.

And that accounts for part of the lengthy "administrative" delays that kept the Symphony -- which costs about $78,000 per system -- out of Iraqi hands for nearly two years.

"This requires a combination of technical and administrative controls that require testing and refinement before they can be implemented with a high degree of confidence," Flucker said.

Pike said that electronic jamming of IEDs is a problem of physics -- there are a limited number of frequencies used to trigger IEDs and the jammers attack all of them. So a Symphony winding up in the hands of the insurgents would have limited utility.

"Whatever waveform it is using to jam ... will by definition be disclosed to the enemy when you turn it on," Pike said, adding that measures to prevent tampering or unauthorized use seem to work.

"I think that they are secure at least to the extent that Iran can't do anything about it," he said.

The Symphony systems will be doled out to Iraqi special forces, ministry of defense officials and interior ministry troops -- including Iraqi army, police, national police and explosive ordnance disposal units. The deal includes a nine-month support contract from Lockheed Martin to "ensure the units function properly and the Iraqis can properly utilize the systems to their full advantage," officials said.

Aside from protecting Iraqi officials, troops and police from roadside bomb ambushes, Flucker hopes the deal will help get more U.S. troops off the road by freeing them up from the dangerous and tedious duties of convoy escort.

"Affording counter-IED protection to the [Iraqi security forces] has been a partnership endeavor from the outset," Flucker added. "Given the theater IED threat, the [government of Iraq] and the coalition have wanted to make this happen for some time now."
(www.military.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 24, 2008 9:37 AM


Anonymous wrote:

Pharmaceutical companies fund the research for MS and other diseases, are the same companies that have developed vaccines, such as Hepatitis B.

They receive huge amounts (multi-millions) from contracts around the world through WHO ( World Health Organization) for those vaccines.

So, yes, it does become obvious that they would not be in a hurry to recall their product.

-- April 24, 2008 10:29 AM


Anonymous wrote:

OR FUND THE RESEARCH TO PROVE THE SIDE-EFFECTS,SUCH AS AN INCREASED INCIDIENTS OF OTHER DISEASES ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE RECEIVING THE VACCINE.

-- April 24, 2008 10:32 AM


Sara wrote:

Carole - Thanks again for that info on the Hep B and MS. Very interesting information I will need to ponder, thank you. One brief question, if I may - your opinion on a related item, please? I was reading a book recently which stated that the body is "ramped up" in its fighting capacity as a result of vaccination, and that it continues in that "ramped up" state for years. (That is the point of vaccination, of course.) They check for "continued immunity" by checking for antibodies in the bloodstream (the "ramped up" response to the perceived disease from vaccination products), and if antibodies are not present, they use a "booster shot", which causes the effect again. The book (which had nothing to do with vaccination, but only was touching on research which happened to interact with it) suggested that the body is tricked into a continued fighting response against the disease (which the antibodies being produced are evidence of) on a continuing basis. After years of producing antibodies to fight what is usually a short-term threat in the environment, the body systems become fatigued and the body learns to "coexist" with the perception that the disease exists in the body, and so comes to stasis concerning the perceived threat. Then, such a person, even with antibodies to the disease circulating in the blood, is vulnerable to that disease because if they come in contact with the live form, the body will not mobilize a greater defense, but merely coexist with the living virus as well. What results is infection in a "vaccinated" and supposedly "protected" individual. In your opinion, is that possible? I know in an epidemic or outbreak of these diseases that almost all of those infected in an epidemic have been given the vaccination shots against the disease. Is this a possible explanation of why, in your opinion and experience?

Rob N - I know it was unconfirmed, but they did take SOMEONE who looked like Saddam's number two into custody and they did say they would do DNA tests on that person. The fact of their saying they wanted DNA tests on him.. means there was a person answering the description. Denials at this point appear to be coming from both sides, but I still wonder if there was a someone.. and who he was/is. Whatever the real story, we likely will never know as denials abound and the person taken has disappeared. I somehow doubt the account of an arrest was fabricated. People rarely sit around faking stories from the ground up.. for what purpose? Suppose a report on an arrest appeared in your local paper.. of someone very notorious, not your run of the mill criminal.. and then suddenly the entire thing never happened. Would you think it never happened? Would you buy the story? I tend to be skeptical. But it is a war zone.. and weird things happen in war zones - which are places that at times can be an "alternate reality" - another world completely.

I see the financial express picked up the story today.. as well as the denials all round.
http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Saddams-No-2-reportedly-captured-in-Iraq/301054/

-- April 24, 2008 10:57 AM


Sara wrote:

Four Iranian-trained militants killed in Iraq: US
(AFP) 24 April 2008

BAGHDAD - Four suspected Iranian-trained militants were killed north of Baghdad after fierce firefights on Thursday, the US military said.

They were killed during a search to nab an Iranian-trained militant suspected of "receiving weapons and finances from Iran in order to lead attacks against coalition forces" in the town of Rashidiyah, north of Baghdad, the military said in a statement.

The targeted militant, member of a "special group", was also suspected of directing and conducting kidnappings and sectarian violence against Iraqi citizens, it said.

Five other suspected militants were detained during the operation.

The US military says special groups are formed of Shiite militants who are armed, trained and funded by Iranian groups to launch attacks in Iraq.

"Coalition forces will continue to seek out these criminal elements supported by Iran who threaten the security of Iraqi citizens and who undermine the sovereignty of Iraq," said Commander Scott Rye, spokesman for the military.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/focusoniraq/2008/April/focusoniraq_April176.xml§ion=focusoniraq

-- April 24, 2008 11:10 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraq Army Says In Full Control Of Basra; Normality Returning
4-24-08

BASRA, Iraq (AFP)-- A month after Iraqi troops poured into the southern city of Basra to take on militiamen who had overrun five neighborhoods, the government said Thursday it has regained control of the streets.

"All areas of Basra are under the command of the security forces," Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Abdel Karim Khalaf said Thursday. "There are no areas under the control of armed men."

"Iraqi police are deployed in all Basra streets," he told AFP.

Many residents reported they feel safer as a measure of normality has returned to the city with the reopening of markets and the resumption of basic services.

The tide of fundamentalism which swept into the city with the Shiite militiamen who tried to force their brand of Islam onto local residents has been rolled back.

Schools in Basra reopened Apr. 6 and to make up for lost days, children are attending classes on Saturdays. Universities and colleges started again Apr. 20.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the crackdown on Mar. 25, vowing to rid Basra of "lawless gunmen" and personally took charge of the assault.

At least 700 people were killed as Shiite militiamen, most of them loyalists of radical anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, battled the police and troops who raided their strongholds, according to U.N. figures.

The fierce fighting which marked the first week of the operation has given way to slower, more focused house-by-house searches by Iraqi troops - mainly in areas dominated by Sadr's Mahdi Army militiamen.

Ali Ghedan, commander of Iraqi ground forces in Basra, said many arms and ammunitions caches had been discovered during the raids.

A similar operation is under way in Sadr City, the Mahdi Army's eastern Baghdad bastion, where militiamen have been battling U.S. and Iraqi troops in earnest since Apr. 6.

http://news.morningstar.com/newsnet/ViewNews.aspx?article=/DJ/200804240704DOWJONESDJONLINE000598_univ.xml

-- April 24, 2008 11:20 AM


Rob N. wrote:

Sara:

I posted the denial not to detract from the one you posted. I found it interesting the story circulated and then immediately denied. It seems to me the story should probably not been reported in the first place.

Regarding the other article posted concerning Iraqi Security Forces control of Basra and the battle in Sadr city. Al-Sadr is being pushed rightly by Al-Malaki out of prominence in the Iraqi political process. In fact, I read today where Parliment gave Al-Malaki mandate of support.

I am encouraged by the events currently happening in Iraq. The two pip drop we saw this week seems to be in reaction to the rise in inflation. Once the HCL is signed and investment from the oil majors occurs. Iraqi oil will begin to flow out requiring the monetization of their oil (petro-dinars); this will require the CBI to increase in a signficant way the exchange rate either by a revaluation, reversion, or free float to offset expected inflation.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 24, 2008 5:07 PM


Sara wrote:

Thanks for your thoughts, Rob N.
I do hope your currency analysis is correct. :)
It seems wise to do the monetization..
as it would keep inflation in check.
I do hope they see it as clearly as you do.

Sara.

-- April 24, 2008 6:43 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraq's PM Says All Political Factions Will Rejoin Government
By VOA News
24 April 2008

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says national reconciliation has been a success, and all political blocs will rejoin the Iraqi government.

Mr. Maliki's office released that statement Thursday after the prime minister met with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband during a previously unannounced visit to Baghdad.

In other news, the U.S. military said coalition forces in Iraq killed four suspected Iranian-trained militants, and captured five others, during operations north of Baghdad.

The military says soldiers battled militants Thursday in Rashidiyah after apprehending a person suspected of receiving weapons and financing from Iran to lead attacks against coalition forces.

http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-04-24-voa10.cfm

-- April 24, 2008 11:03 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraq factions 'to rejoin government'
From correspondents in Baghdad
April 25, 2008
Article from: Reuters

PARTIES that walked out of Iraq's government last year have agreed to rejoin, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said today, in what could amount to a long-awaited political breakthrough.

The main Sunni Arab bloc, the Accordance Front, said it intended to submit a list of candidates for cabinet positions within days and could be back in Mr Maliki's government soon.

Its return has long been a major goal of the United States.

"Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said that reconciliation has proved a success and all political blocs will return to the government," Mr Maliki's office said after Mr Maliki met visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

The Accordance Front quit Mr Maliki's Shiite-led government last year at a time when most violence in Iraq pitted minority Sunni Arabs against majority Shiites.

But violence between those two communities has declined dramatically over the past year, and the Front signalled it was drawing closer to Mr Maliki by backing his crackdown on Sadr's Shiite Mehdi Army militia, begun last month.

Front spokesman Salim al-Jubouri said the group intended to submit a list of candidates for cabinet posts "in a few days" which the cabinet could then present to parliament.

"Our return to the government is very close," he said.

A return of the Front would effectively unite the leaders of all of Iraq's major political groups apart from the Sadrists.

Mr Maliki made clear he intends to continue the crackdown.

"It is forbidden to practice peaceful political activity while carrying arms. Everyone should work as politicians and it is not permitted for a single weapon to be outside the hands of the state," the prime minister's office said.

While fighting has eased in Basra, source of most of Iraq's oil exports, clashes have taken place every day in and around Sadr's eastern Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City.

US Major-General Jeffery Hammond, commander of US forces in the capital, said his troops had taken control of the southern part of Sadr City over the past month to prevent rocket attacks on the Green Zone diplomatic and government compound.

Militia members have fired more than 700 rockets and missiles in Baghdad in the past month, many of them aimed from Sadr City at the Green Zone.

Maj-Gen Hammond said the US military had no plans to take control of the rest of Sadr City, adding the operation so far had put the Green Zone out of range of 107mm rockets fired from territory still controlled by militants.

"I only went into Sadr City for the rockets," he said, adding that US forces were now building walls to protect the area they had occupied and bring in aid.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23596404-38201,00.html?from=public_rss

-- April 24, 2008 11:13 PM


Carole wrote:

Sara,

I'm not really that much up on vaccinations, but I do know that what you have explained is relevant to the "old type" of immunizations, where live organisms were introduced into the body to stimulate the production of antibodies.

The process is much more sophisticated today, and only the proteins and/or protein bindng properties are used. this eliminates contracting even a slight case of the disease the vaccine is supposed to be protecting you from. For example: you could drink a flu vaccine compound and never get the slightest symptom of that particular strain.

Thus the current elimination of booster shots. Hep B used to have a 2 step process....not sure if that still holds.....remember.... I'M RETIRED! :)

Carole

-- April 25, 2008 2:22 AM


Sara wrote:

Thanks, Carole. You may be retired, but I still appreciate the info. :)

Here are some dramatic space images of Galaxies colliding taken by Hubble's telescope:

http://www.foxnews.com/photoessay/0,4644,3830,00.html

With this note in the article about it:

Gas and dust are siphoned off to fuel bursts of star formation that appear as blue knots of young stars. Given the vast distances between stars in a galaxy — the nearest star to us is 4.3 light-years away — stars rarely collide when galaxies merge.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,352439,00.html

Considering that our own galaxy is colliding/merging with Andromeda, the DESIGN which protects our star/solar system/planet from destruction - just as our bodies are designed with protections into their functions - is a marvel. Again, like the snowflake is inherently designed with spaces within its structure, so is the Universe.. with good reason.

Note the "survival of the fittest" and evolutionary words of "predator" and "devour" in their description of God's handiwork in this sentence from the story:

The Milky Way isn't the top predator though, as our giant neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, is expected to devour the Milky Way in about two billion years. The future resulting elliptical galaxy has already been dubbed "Milkomeda."

While conceding that stars rarely collide when galaxies merge, they still must hold to their random Darwinian model of survival of the fittest.. desecrating the intricate and protective Design of the galaxies which is so very obvious to even a child who looks up into the night sky.

Sara.

-- April 25, 2008 8:05 AM


Sara wrote:

US 'finds new Iran-made weapons in Iraq'
April 25, 2008

The US military says it has found caches of newly made Iranian weapons in Iraq, leading senior officials to think that Iran is still shipping weapons to Iraq, even though it pledged not to, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The United States plans to publicise the caches in coming days, the report said, quoting two senior commanders, who said a presentation was tentatively planned for Monday.

Officials in Baghdad and Washington said the newly made arms, consisting of mortars, rockets and explosives, had date stamps indicating they were manufactured in the past two months, the Journal reported.

http://news.theage.com.au/us-finds-new-iranmade-weapons-in-iraq/20080425-28k5.html

-- April 25, 2008 8:13 AM


Carole wrote:

Sara,

What I meant by being retired is that vast parts of my mind have shut down on certain subjects. My world today evolves around the best adult diaper on the market! :) :)

Just kidding, really... you may just inspire me to spend some time back in time!

Carole

-- April 25, 2008 9:20 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraq: Shia cleric calls for militias to respect truce

Baghdad, 25 April (AKI) - Iraq's radical Shia cleric, Moqtadr al-Sadr, on Friday launched an appeal to his militias calling them to respect the truce he reached with the government and security forces.

One of al-Sadr's deputies Muhannad al-Adhiri made the call in a statement on behalf of the Shia cleric, during Friday's sermon in the Kufa mosque, in the south of Baghdad.

"You must have patience and respect the order to freeze our activities," he said. "You have been great supporting and applying the decision to stop activities, respecting the orders of your leader and I hope you will continue to do so."

"I do not accept that any Iraqi has been injured by us and the army should be united and no-one should turn their arms against the law and the government."

On Wednesday, US troops killed 15 Iraqi militants in clashes in Shia areas of Baghdad, the US military said.

The fighting took place in areas of the city controlled by al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.

http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=1.0.2108141760

-- April 25, 2008 2:07 PM


Sara wrote:

FOUR HUNDRED militants.. that is all?

Iraq's Defence Minister Abdel Qader Jassim said, "We are capable of launching a military operation in Sadr City whenever we want. But we have to consider the 2 million people who live there and what may happen to them in targeting a group who do not exceed 400 militants"

Iraq's Sadr tells fighters to observe truce
Saturday April 26, 2008

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr pulled back from confrontation with the government on Friday, asking his followers to continue to observe a ceasefire and not to battle government troops.

His comments could ease some of the tension that has been simmering in Iraq since Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki cracked down on Sadr's Mehdi Army militia a month ago and threatened to ban his mass movement from provincial elections in October.

Many of Sadr's followers were unhappy.

"We were disappointed by the statement," said Abu Yasir, a Mehdi Army commander. "We waited impatiently to end this ceasefire and this is the opposite of what we hoped."

Other fighters chided Sadr for veering between confronting government forces one day and urging reconciliation the next.

"He was supposed to give us a decisive solution: either we should end the ceasefire or we should stay at home and keep silent," said Abu Aya, another commander, visibly angry.

Though the Mehdi Army's tens of thousands of fighters claim allegiance to Sadr, it has never been entirely clear how much control he exercises over a mass movement seen by many Iraqis as anarchic and undisciplined.

Another commander, Abu Ammar, said: "Despite being unhappy with the statement, we will obey Sadr because we revere him."

U.S. forces have so far taken control of only a small portion of Sadr City and say they have no plans to move deeper into it. But Iraq's Defence Minister Abdel Qader Jassim said his forces could strike at any time.

"We are capable of launching a military operation in Sadr City whenever we want. But we have to consider the 2 million people who live there and what may happen to them in targeting a group who do not exceed 400 militants," he told journalists.

The youthful but reclusive Sadr, who has millions of followers among Iraq's poor urban Shi'ites, has a history of veering between open confrontation and conciliation.

He launched two uprisings against U.S. forces in 2004, but then entered politics and backed Maliki's rise to power in 2006. Sadr split with Maliki a year ago demanding a timetable for U.S. troops to leave, then abruptly declared his ceasefire in August.

Maliki has threatened to bar Sadr's movement from provincial elections on October 1 if he does not disband the Mehdi Army.

Many of Sadr's followers see the crackdown as an effort to sideline them before the polls and protect rival Shi'ite parties that support Maliki. The government says the campaign is intended to restore the rule of law in militia-held areas.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/080425/15/16m9i.html

-- April 25, 2008 2:19 PM


Sara wrote:

Carole;

Yes, time is relative to how we experience it..
and alternate realities exist for us all the time. :) :)

I suppose we can engage time or take "time out" anytime we wish..
Freedom is wonderful -
how I wish peace and freedom for the Iraqi people so they can do such things, too. :)

I'm glad for your taking time to post from your diapering schedule..
all the best to you and yours,

Sara.

-- April 25, 2008 2:25 PM


Sara wrote:

Valerio (and board);

What would you make of a McCain and Huckabee team?
Some are saying that McCain would appeal to the center and left,
Huckabee would keep a check on McCain for the right..
so that everyone will be happy with the resulting mix.
What would you think of the idea of Huckabee as VP?

Sara.

===

McCain teams up with former rival Huckabee in Arkansas
Apr 25, 2008
By NANCY BENAC

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain and former rival Mike Huckabee teamed up on the campaign trail for the first time on Friday, with Huckabee joking that they were so civil when they were opponents they don't have to "unsay" any bad things.

Huckabee, hugely popular with social conservatives, has been mentioned as a potential running mate for McCain, who needs to shore up his support among conservative Republicans.

McCain responded to that speculation by offering what he called his "standard answer," saying that he didn't want to mention any names because that quickly leads to an invasion of privacy for anyone being considered.

But McCain was quick to volunteer that "millions of Republican voters voted for Governor Huckabee" in the primaries, and that he wanted the former Arkansas governor to play a prominent role in his campaign. McCain noted Huckabee still has a 65 percent approval rating in Arkansas.

When reporters asked Huckabee if he planned to campaign for McCain, it was McCain who jumped in to answer with a ready "yes."

Huckabee, for his part, deflected a question about becoming McCain's running mate by saying, "The main thing is getting Senator McCain elected."

He said it would be easy for him to promote McCain's cause, saying, "I don't have to go around and unsay anything I said in the campaign. We ran a very civil campaign."

Huckabee's low-budget, upstart candidacy was one of the big surprises of the GOP primaries. He won eight states, including the Iowa caucuses, and was the last GOP rival standing before McCain claimed the prize.

Asked whether he could help McCain build support among wary conservatives, Huckabee predicted the party would rally around McCain because the stakes are so high. As for some grumbling among conservative leaders about McCain, Huckabee said, "I don't see that in the rank and file."

What most Republican voters are worried about, Huckabee said, is "Hillary R. Obama."

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080425/D90920OG0.html

-- April 25, 2008 3:25 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Sara:

I am very confident of our investment in Iraq. I read yesterday one big investor expects to receive $10.00 for every dollar invested in the country.

Ratification of the HCL and SOFA (restoration of soverignty) will begin an accelerated economic reconstruction of the country. While oil is the beginning it is important for manufacturing and agriculture to come on line.

The Iraqi Dinar is not a get rich quick scheme. Building Japan did not happen overnight and building Iraq will not happen overnight. At some point the CBI will not have a choice but to revalue, revert, or free float the Dinar of this I am certain.

I also hope we see the cancellation of debt from both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. After the HCL passes and the oil begins to flow with record oil prices this debt should be able to paid for in a few months. Debt forgiveness or not, the Dinar cannot remain at the exchange rate it currently is.

Carole:

Though we have had our disagreements its good to see you posting. Blessings to you.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 25, 2008 4:13 PM


Sara wrote:

Rob, you said, "I also hope we see the cancellation of debt from both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait."

How would these countries benefit from writing off the debts owed to them by Iraq?
How is it in their best interests to do so?
Is it because, if they help Iraq get on its feet.. down the road it will pay huge dividends in production they can count on for years from a grateful ally?
Are there other factors you believe contribute toward them being willing to cancel the Iraqi debts?
Such as helping the stability of the region by putting a friendly, peaceful and prosperous buffer zone (Iraq), between them and Iran?
Anything else?

Sara.

-- April 25, 2008 4:41 PM


Rob N. wrote:

Sara:

It has been reported that Kuwait in the future will be in need of something more important than oil. What could be more important than oil? Answer: WATER. In this scenario, debt forgiveness in exchange for water. I'll see if I can dig up the article.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 25, 2008 5:33 PM


David wrote:

Hey - anyone watch the Glenn Beck show today? Fascinating guest, Joel Rosenberg. New book out called Dead Heat. All about the current state of affairs in the middle east and how it stacks up with Biblical end times prophesy. His book is fiction, like the Left Behind series, but it's based on current events, and how they could easily lead to the fulfillment of the prophesies. Spooky, and riveting. The conversation they had was compelling.

Relating to Iraq and the future of the Dinar - Rosenberg confirms our thoughts on this board about the rebuilding of Iraq, and that the world will be clamoring to do business in and with the new Babylon. (We are starting to see that now with oil companies lining up at the door, and other businesses looking for ways to cash in on what will be needed to rebuild a nation. I think this is particularly interesting - none of the international trade interest in Iraq would have happened had Saddam not raped his own country, had not the US ousted Saddam, and had not the neighboring Muslim states destroyed Iraq from within. In the same way that Japan arose from the rubble after WWII, so will Iraq from this war. The difference is that ancient Babylon not in Japan, but in Iraq, and, shared with Jerusalem, that is the epicenter of end times activity.)

So in the short run, as Iraq is rebuilt, we are likely to reap great rewards for our investment in the NID. However, what we do with our riches must be carefully considered. Also, and this is just food for thought, because our dollars go to Iraq as we buy Dinar, we are partly responsible for the rebuilding of what will become the seat of power for the anti-christ. I don't know that that's anything to feel guilty about, but it is the truth.

David

-- April 25, 2008 8:18 PM


Valerio wrote:

Sara,
You know I supported Huckabee, and I would feel good if he were McCains choice for VP. I think he deserves a look. Even though he had a tremendous amount success for a low budget campaign, I'm not sure how much he would help McCain pick up any new votes. I believe most of the Huckabee voters are going to give McCain their votes anyway. I know alot of ultra conservatives have threatened to vote democratic, or not vote at all, as a protest against McCain's unconservative positions in the past on certain issues, but I don't think very many will actually do that. I thought McCain would look for someone considered a fiscal conservative to bring back the Limbaughs, and Hanity club members. On the other hand, I do believe Huckabee would bring charisma, and attention, to a campaign that needs it. Also he is an excellent speaker and communicator, and that would be an beneificial to conveying the campaign message to the voters. Huckabee did win the states that McCain was weak in, so maybe thats a strategy. McCains a politician, and very successful at it, and he's just playing his game right now trying to get all his forces together and prepared for the battle that lies ahead. Will huckabee get the bid? I never thought so before, but then again, I know millions of unselfish prayers went out from alot of ordinary christian people who also gave contributions, and I'm quite sure those prayers didn't fall on deaf ears. Regardless of who McCains VP is, I think he wins easy

-- April 26, 2008 2:39 AM


Roger wrote:

Sara,

In a couple of billion years we will have a collision ourselves with the Andromeda galaxy.

It will be busy times.

True though, the amount of stars, billons as they are in each galaxy, are so spaced apart that when galaxies collide, they just go through each other.

However, each galaxy brings with it a huge amount of interstellar gas, and they collide.

The gas packs up and make abnomalies, that starts the gravity process, where gas is collected more and more into a blob. When enough gas is collected, and enough pressure is built up, in the gas blob, it will fire up it's core as a nuclear reactor, and a star is born.

Galaxy collisions will bring a lot of new stars into play.

The closest star forming cloud to earth is visible. Take a pair of binoculars, or better, a telescope, and have a look at Orion, look at the belt, and then go to the sword, the middle star you see in the sword will look very fuzzy, it is not a star, it is a star nursery.

After a night with star gazing, matters like the Iraqi affair, seems very trivial.

Something good happens with the mind when you look out to the stars.

It gives such a good perspective on things, same thing when I fly, all the big problems in the neighbourhood, are very very small from up there.

They all fit underneath my thumb.

-- April 26, 2008 8:51 AM


Roger wrote:

Valerio,

I do actually beieve that it wouln't be too bad of an idea if Huckabee would be the VP. He was my favourite, but he , even if he didn't get as much votes as McCain, had a very solid following.

It would just give that extra push towards a bit more conservative stands, than McCain alone represents.

Not that a VP is doing much, he is mostly there as a spare tire, but still, it is a percieved package, and it wouldn't hurt to have him on the stage.

-- April 26, 2008 8:57 AM


Sara wrote:

WATER, Rob N? I look forward to the article. :)

David, that is interesting. I once followed an endtime scenerio thing with great interest during the Gulf War.. when it didn't turn out to be anything (no antiChrist or anything apocalyptic like they were predicting) I was disappointed. I have sought the Lord on Iraq. He gave me this Scripture, which may put your heart at ease about investing in Iraq at this point in history:

Isa 19:22 And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.
Isa 19:23 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.
Isa 19:24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:
Isa 19:25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.

Did your fellow on the program ever deal with the fulfillment of this prophecy? :)
Who are these people whom the Lord will bless? And, specifically, who are the Assyrians?

From wikipedia:
"The Assyrians are an ethnic group whose origins lie in what is today Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_people

The most significant population of them (given in the sidebar on the right) is found in Iraq and Syria - 2.5 million. Iran is next at 80 thousand. Sooo.. how does the Scripture about Assyria being the work of the Lord's hands in the endtimes fit with the ideas you were hearing about Iraq? In your view, can supporting Iraq be seen by the Lord as helping establish freedom for the Assyrian people.. a people who will be "the work of My hands" and "a blessing in the midst of the land"? I certainly see Iraq becoming a prosperous, free, peaceful democracy.. and so a "blessing in the midst of the land." A place where commerce can occur between them and their neighbors.. and a "highway" can come from them out to the other lands (oil, perhaps?) cementing the good relations in the region and allowing commerce from these other lands to flow into Iraq.

Valerio, I think he would make a good choice for VP, too. I think you underestimate those who would be swayed toward supporting McCain with Huckabee on the ticket. And yes, the media would be giving them more press.. both good and bad.. once the choice is made, as McCain himself said. But Huckabee is a good statesman and I think he would have a lot of prayers going his way to help him deal with it all. I am sure it will turn out right in the end, and McCain will win the Presidency. I was listening to Fred Thompson, also a good man who was running for President.. in an interview clip. They were asking him if he would like to be VP and his thoughts on Obama. Worth listening to:

Fred Thompson on VP and Obama
http://www.redlasso.com/ClipPlayer.aspx?id=cb2f2a5e-cc37-4ba5-8d1f-4107efaceae9

In the interview, he mentioned Obama and "the million man march". Some are pointing towards Obama's marching with Louis Farrkhan, and actually organizing the event, as proof of his having racist attitudes. Louis Farrkhan, as you likely know, is the founder of Nation of Islam:

Obama Organized Farrakhan’s ‘Million Man March’
April 2nd, 2008

Democrat presidential front-runner Barack Obama not only marched with Nation of Islam Founder Louis Farrakhan in the first Million Man March on Washington, D.C., but he helped organize the 1995 event!

The “he marched” claim was reported in a 1995 Chicago Reader article and brought back to the attention of the blogosphere March 29 by Hugh Hewitt. The new revelation, however, was unearthed today by Gateway Pundit.

Buried 13 years deep inside the archives at Biography.com, the biography of Farrakhan includes this statement:

In 1995, along with other prominent black leaders such as Al Sharpton and Barack Obama, Farrakhan helped lead the Million Man March on Washington. A second march, called the Millions More Movement, took place in 2005.

http://bobmccarty.com/2008/04/02/obama-organized-farrakhans-million-man-march/

I also found this:

Obama Marched with Farrakhan
Sun, Mar 30, 2008

Lots of readers emailed about this one, an article from 1995 in the Chicago Reader that confirms Barack Obama did take part in Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March—in his own words: Chicago Reader: What Makes Obama Run?
QUOTE:

Obama took time off from attending campaign coffees to attend October’s Million Man March in Washington, D.C. His experiences there only reinforced his reasons for jumping into politics.

“What I saw was a powerful demonstration of an impulse and need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our rightful place in the society,” he said. “There was a profound sense that African-American men were ready to make a commitment to bring about change in our communities and lives.”

“But what was lacking among march organizers was a positive agenda, a coherent agenda for change. Without this agenda a lot of this energy is going to dissipate. Just as holding hands and singing ‘We shall overcome’ is not going to do it, exhorting youth to have pride in their race, give up drugs and crime, is not going to do it if we can’t find jobs and futures for the 50 percent of black youth who are unemployed, underemployed, and full of bitterness and rage.” ...

“This doesn’t suggest that the need to look inward emphasized by the march isn’t important, and that these African-American tribal affinities aren’t legitimate. These are mean, cruel times, exemplified by a ‘lock ‘em up, take no prisoners’ mentality that dominates the Republican-led Congress. Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn’t care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing.”

“But cursing out white folks is not going to get the job done. Anti-Semitic and anti-Asian statements are not going to lift us up. We’ve got some hard nuts-and-bolts organizing and planning to do. We’ve got communities to build.”

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=29442_Obama_Marched_with_Farrakhan&only

These comments do make him seem racist in his views and closer to his radical pastor in what he believes.
Do you think that white people have created an atmosphere in the US of "mean and cruel times" toward blacks?
I certainly think on the whole that the black experience in America has been one of more opportunity, peace,
freedom and prosperity here than if they were in Africa... how many BILLIONAIRE black women are there in Africa?
How many (legitimate, not dictators) millionaire blacks in Africa? How many Africans live as well as American blacks..
or even as well as the "slums" in America? "Mean, cruel" white America has provided lots of opportunites..
as evidenced by names like Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice..
to name a few.

Obama's pastor says he was misquoted.. but when I compare IN CONTEXT the full meaning of his words...
and then I look at these and many other prosperous and blessed black people in America..
I see a difference of opinion as to how "mean and cruel" America is:

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/04/24/the-wright-stuff-abc-provides-the-context/

How do you view Obama and his views on the "mean, cruel" times that black people live through in America today?
Would they be better off in their "motherland" of Africa?
Is every black man entitled to be Tiger Woods or else they are "discriminated" against?
Or is it only OPPORTUNITY (not entitlement) which America promises everyone in the American dream?
I think the argument can be made that America is a land of opportunity for black people..
much more so than anywhere else on the planet.
How then could it be that America is supposedly the most racist and "mean and cruel" when they have
provided so much for the black community, which many have prospered through - Obama himself with his
four million dollar income this year being a proof of? (And Obama's pastor Wright's 1.2 million dollar home also.)

Sara.

-- April 26, 2008 3:24 PM


Sara wrote:

Roger, you bring up some interesting points..

I was reading about star formation and they say,

Star formation begins when the denser parts of the cloud core collapse under their own weight/gravity. These cores typically have masses around 104 solar masses in the form of gas and dust. The cores are denser than the outer cloud, so they collapse first. As the cores collapse they fragment into clumps around 0.1 parsecs in size and 10 to 50 solar masses in mass. These clumps then form into protostars and the whole process takes about 10 millions years. How do we know this is happening if it takes so long and is hidden from view in dark clouds?...
http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/ast122/lectures/lec13.html

You also say, "In a couple of billion years we will have a collision ourselves with the Andromeda galaxy..."

So while these theories about processes which are billions of years in the future and millions of years in the making are interesting.. they are not science in the sense of provably observable data which can be verified by a lab experiment. They are a model or theory.. good ones, no doubt, and I believe that fusion is an ongoing process in the formation of stars as they have said, and your "nursery" story also portends. :)

It just takes a great deal of time so we don't see it happen, but can only extrapolate backwards and forwards from what we see now. Though computer models are fun.. they are not quite like the real thing. As you said, something more.. something good.. happens with the mind when you look out at the stars. It gives us perspective. Like flying, all troubles seem to be in control and small.. perhaps because we glimpse a bit of the essence of God and the whispers in Creation of His detailed management of the Universe and realize we really aren't so much after all when compared to the vastness of what has been Created and is obviously managed. We get caught up in being and living so much, it takes us out of ourselves in a wonderful way and sets our life-perspective up better.. :)

Sara.

-- April 26, 2008 4:32 PM


Sara wrote:

Terrorists killed, detained and arrested
April 26th, 2008
by Mohit Joshi

Baghdad - In Tikrit, some 180 kilometres north of Baghdad, US forces killed five suspected terrorists during military operations, US military said. US forces also discovered weapons and some 900 explosives in the town.

In another incident, US forces killed two suspected terrorists and detained another seven in the northern city of Samara, US military said.

While searching for a senior leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist network west of the Iraqi capital, US forces killed a suspected terrorist and detained another six.

Separately, al-Arabiya news channel reported that a sponsor of the al-Qaeda network Amir Abd Zaid was arrested in Iraq on Saturday.

http://www.topnews.in/least-10-killed-14-wounded-iraq-violence-238276

-- April 26, 2008 4:52 PM


Sara wrote:

Iraqi PM al-Maliki sets 4 conditions for stopping crackdown against Shiite militias
Friday, April 25, 2008

Iraq's prime minister has set four conditions for stopping a government-led crackdown against radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia and other illegally armed groups.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the groups must hand over weapons and cease interference in the affairs of the state.

He is also demanding that the militants hand over all wanted people and present lists of names of people involved in violence.

http://www.theconservativevoice.com/ap/article.html?mi=D9094EDG2&apc=9002

-- April 26, 2008 4:56 PM


Roger wrote:

Sara,

The observable universe is measurable.

The constant of space is a perception of dimension.

Change something around and you have just created time.

Change something in a certain way and you will get a certain effect.

Do the same thing slowly, and you will know that it will take longer.

Even though time is one of the hardest thing for individuals to sense in unison collectivily, it is one of the easiest things to scientifically measure.

In fact it can be measured much more precise than obvious things we can percieve by eyes or other senses, like length, weight, volume etc.

Time can be measured to seconds within many million years. Or in fractions that are longer than most even bother to read out.

With that ability to measure time, we know exactly how long it will take , the mass needed, the temperature involved and so on, to ignite a star in it's infancy. We know by finding out what a star consist of, how long it will burn, and when it has burned out it's fuel, we know if it will be a white dwarf, neutron star, or a black hole. We know how the components decay, their half life and their resposes, and the time span of them doing so.

When it comes to time measurements, there is no doubts, there can be smaller variations, and estimates, as the asolute exact quantity of matter always will stay unknown. But if the star, lets say our own, have burned half of it's life, 5 Billion years, and have 5 Billion years worth of fuel left, it is inevitable that in 5 Billion years that will be the end of this star.

All these processes are not a mystery, and I can see your'e questioning in the matter .... how would they know, they have not been around for billions of years....

No, of course not. But that reasoning is not better than doubting the existence of New York City just because one person have not been there, and walked the streets.

It doesn't matter if you look at the moon through religious glasses, or just look at the moon, you're still looking at something that is billions of years old. If some scripture tells you they are there, and was put there recently, the stuff out there doesn't care, it will still sit out there another couple of billion years.

Forests in the US are stictly controlled, there is an army of rangers, you can have access to the forest, during certain times, the gov will decide when they "let" you on, they may ask for day permits, for camp fire permit, for wood collecting permit, and at any time of their choosing for any reason they like, they put bars acoss the road, with a big padlock.

Campgrounds are open only at certain times, beaches are patrolled, you can park close by in prearranged parkinglots, and if you have a 4WD you can perhaps go to the beaches, but you have to be out side of the gates about a half our after dark, if you still have a vehicle after that time, you will be fined.

The acess roads to the beaches can have no parking after dark.

The rivers are all "wild and scenic" and if you have a shovel and a gold pan around, your whole vehicle will be confiscated.

We, the people, the owners of the forest, can have no access to the forest, the government that protect it for us, is doing such a good job that they are making sure we (the owners) can not even have access to our own forest. They will "let you" at best, sit at a prearranged camping table ....if you behave.

Now Sara, you can be religious about being an American, you can say over and over -"America is the freest coutntry in the world" and be completely blind to what degree you are not free.

The trap is probably, that if you don't agree with the beer drinking neighbour that it is the freest country in the world, and don't say that sentence over and over in any discussion, ...then you are not a patriot. Your loyalty is questioned.

Same thing with scientific facts Sara, your faith in God is not quesitoned, if you admit to facts of the observable universe.

Dinars and the rebuild.

Where is the economic boom?

Theyre still talking, and we are still getting good news, but the usual inaction have left the stuff the way it always have been.

I have been out of this loop for a while and thought of popping in, and see if there is any changes, the Dinar is still stuck, and nothing else of weight is happening. The usual fighting with militia is still going on, and the usual endless talk is also going on, but nothing is actually moving, so I might just pop in later.

In the latest news from Iraq the following story was just released:

Goat herders, walking their herds in the dust along the roads, and another day went by.

-- April 27, 2008 4:09 AM


roger's #1 fan wrote:

amen !

-- April 27, 2008 10:42 AM


Goatherder wrote:

I am Abdull. I live Iraq in. I heard goats. I now have cumputer to play video games between goathearding and talk to cousin in Al Kaida. My land had 20 billion in oil. I am poor. Still I heard goat and eat week old falafal and go bathroom outside. My children hungry. Roadside bomb blow up my cousin's goat. God bless Amerika. Goodbuy. Must walk my goats along dusty road now.

-- April 27, 2008 4:00 PM


Sara wrote:

Roger;

That is one of the strongest objections to the revelation God has given in the Bible.. the presumed age of the universe and stars. It is also partly what God has been tutoring me about for the last two or three years, because, you see, all true Science is God's science. And, God willing, in His time, He will use this information He has given me to blow away that falsehood and replace it with the truth. The way He made the universe will explain so much of what we see and remove that barrier of age from this science.

A bit of explanation...

As you know, the formula they use is D= V X T.
That is, Distance is equal to Velocity times Time.

180 miles = 60 miles/hr X 3 hours

So what this says is that if you travel 60 miles an hour for 3 hours, you will have gone 180 miles.
When we look at the speed of light it is 670,615,200 miles per hour.
So when we talk of a LIGHT YEAR.. it is describing (from that formula) how far light has gone during a year.
A light year is a measurement of the DISTANCE that light travels in one year.
It is a measurement of DISTANCE, not time.
A light year does not equal one year of time.

That is very very important to understand.. A light year does not equal one year of time. Because we do see galaxies that are many billions of light years away, you would think, therefore, that the time it takes for light to traverse that distance would also be billions of years. But that is simply not true.

I do not question the distance - the stars truly are billions of light years away. The Milky Way alone is 80,000 light years across. That is scientific fact.

Nor do I believe that God made the beam of light at the same time he made the universe - a position which would discount the "Big Bang" theory, which has held up to scientific scrutiny (though it, too, needs revision). Scientifically, what I have been shown actually takes and affirms these scientific facts but within the Creationist frame of reference, completely harmonizing with Genesis Chapter One. The Lord says He hasn't shown this to anyone since Galileo, so I feel it is very valuable information that the Lord wishes to be brought to the world so they can know it.

Now, you probably know about CDK - that is the theory that the speed of light could have been greater in the past. This does NOT violate Einstein's theory of relativity, because Einstein's theory only affirms that light is at a constant now, just as gravity is at a constant on earth now. But that does not mean that during the time of the formation of the universe it could not have been different. We just didn't know HOW God did it.. until now. Quite obviously, figuring out this puzzle will change a lot of physics. I assure you, this will hold up to scientific scrutiny. And, when tested, it will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the way the universe is. But the evolutionary scientists will simply not ever do such a test because they will not even think this way. I couldn't go to NASA and tell them they are all wrong and could they please fund an experiment which will prove that their theories are all wrong, now, could I? If the Dinar pegs, however.. I believe that I can do the experiment and the theists in the world (be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other who has faith in God) will rejoice. 80% of the world believe in God and they will embrace the science with relief.. but I doubt the evolutionists will be very happy.

But I will write more to you on this a bit later.. I must go as I am having visitors. :)

Sara.

-- April 27, 2008 6:07 PM


Roger wrote:

Sara,

Yes I am aware of that theory, I did in fact read the book from that author about two years ago, and it is a very interesiting and very plausable condition. He is a guy that also have a lot to say about the educational system, especially the British one that he have experienced first hand.

It(to make a long story short) is based upon the theory that light is a constant but not the universe, it is based upon the idea basically, to keep it simple, that if the universe is expanding, then the universe would(of course) have been smaller in the past, and it the beginning, if there was a big bang , as the current therory is, the light had the same speed then as it has now.

(I'm with you on the need for a revision of the Big Bang, but that is another days topic)

So in a smaller universe, if the light is constant, it will be percieved as going faster.

Or to go to an extreme, if the universe was only one light year wide, it would then of course take ony one year to complete the travel across the universe.

This is put in contrast with the current universe that has about a 13 billion years worth of light to travel, from its percievable edge, to our eyes. If the universe in the future would then be 25 Billion light years from the percievable edge, consequently the light would thake that time to travel that distance.

I have no problem with that, the only thing that this does, is change the perception of how fast the light actually did travel according to the size of the universe.

But that statement doesn't change that fact that if the light is a constant, it doesn't measure time differently.

In both cases, if we were to introduce a "side clock" like the same rotational time around a sun for a planet, ( like Earth around the Sun) or just an ordinary 24 hr lock, call it hours and minutes, or whatever unit we would like, and use THAT in both cases, and measure that speed the light had both in a small and in a big universe, the speed of light will be the same.

Also it will not take away or disqualify "our clock" when we determine the age of the universe. So this theory will not disqualify the age of the universe.

Yes a beam of light that have traveled on year, will have then....traveled one year....but the difference in the speed, and distance is not from the perspective of the beam, it is from the perspective of the observer.

If you would have a rod, that was as long as the light can travel in one light year that was red, and in an instance it changed to green, you will see it as a red rod, that is changing color, away from you with the speed of light, from red to green. (about the distance to the moon, per second).

Now, it would be logic to say that if there would have been another person at the other end of the rod, he would see the same thing as you ar seeing, a green column going away from you, so therefore he must see a green column coming at him.

No, he will see the opposite, a green column going from him, towards you.

E=MC2, is tricky, but it has to this date not been proven wrong, although a lot of scientists, really would like to make a name for themselves, and be the next Einstein.

That is all known, around the beginning of last century only a few elite scientist could grasp it, today a normal College class in physics, have a decent grasp about it.

Sara, I think that the enigma of the Universe is not the way to spiritual freedom, or spiritual release, this whole physical universe is set up like a trap.

It doesn't have an "Error" display, but acts like one of the first electronic computers in the early -70's, ask it to divide 8 by zero, and it will try and try, endlessly. It is unsovable, you can't divide something with nothing, but you for sure could trap one of those early calculators into spinning around and around endlessly looking for an answer that never can be had.

The answer is not with the physical universe Sara, proving or disproving the latest theory, or clinging onto a set of pre stated existence of the physical universe, that a book have told you, or anything that has to do with the physical universe...will not give any answers about God, or you as a spiritual being.

All these living rules , the do's and dont's, and how unholy or away from God you are , if you manipulate the physical universe in this or that way, or state that it is in this way, is meaningless.

God is within you, and when I say you, that is you, it is not Sara, the name, it is not the brain, but the awareness that you are.

I know you see God as a third person, so ok if he is, he will laugh his lips of, roll his eyes and smile, when you are looking for him in the physcal universe. He can't be proven or disproven with anything that has to do with the physcal universe, wheter he created it or not.

I am, as well as you are very interested in physics, and I can see that you have a very good grasp of it, and by looking at it, it can be puzzling, trying to puzzle together the clues, the riddle, the enigma. It is possible to see patterns of answers in it that will lead to God, or the existence of God, or things that may symolize God.

Many civilzations have tried, they have raised stones, aligned sunbeams, and try to concentrate some spiritual "energies" by doing all kinds of mumbo jumo in different places with robes, naked or perhaps sacrificing a goat or a couple of human beings.

Sara, a building is holy only because we say so, we can say that God have said so, but it is still we that are saying it. It is just another piece of the physical universe.

I can see that you are trying very hard to read up on physics, to prove God, and have a certain pre set condition to fullfill, and are trying to make the dots connected with a better and "God friendly" physics theory.

Me personally I have a long number of reasons to think that the Big Bang theory needs to be overlooked.

Both "God Friendly" physics, and Big Bang sucks.

"God Friendly " physics because it is preformed to fit a proof of God. Big Bang because of pure physical aspects.

Spiritual beings play in the physical universe, get trapped, and dragged down in it, but it have not up to this point deliver us out from it, just dragged us in closer. The answer to God is not in old books, diggings in Palestina, clay tablets, or in making a cross sign.

The answer to God is not in lightyears, or evolution, it is within you.

-- April 28, 2008 5:40 AM


Sara wrote:

Interesting, Roger. What if some previously unaccounted for phenomena could be proven experimentally to raise the speed of light beyond its current boundaries? Not changing the speed of light itself, but being an exception to that "speed of light" rule? Obviously, that would take it out of the realm of speculation and make it physics which cannot be refuted. At that point, physics would have to reorganize itself to take into account this new property of matter which will allow the raising of the speed of light.

And, if this new phenomenon can be placed into a model of the Big Bang in such a way as to explain the rapid expansion of the universe (including their statement which I quoted to you from NASA of the "Big Bang" not being localized but seemingly coming from all points of the universe "at once"), wouldn't that change how we date things using a lightyear? The measuring stick of "lightyear" would then have exceptions to it.. and no one could state scientifically (according to known physics) that this property of raising the speed of light was not used when God created the universe. While it may not impel faith in those who do not have it, it can no longer be denied as logically and scientifically possible. Those who wish to deny God's hand in it may do so, but they will not be able to rail against those who believe in the supernatural cause behind the physics as being "against what is reasonable" anymore.

While physics alone are not enough to lead to faith in God (as you pointed out), God is the God who made physics and "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD" (Pro 21:30). All Truth is His truth. And all physics is HIS physics. And if He did do this "Big Bang" (with revision) and used properties which are still around (and poorly understood) to create that effect, our understanding how He did it will enable to some degree our ability to reproduce it. This will be proof of what God did on the large scale and a new understanding of physics. But we have to know what it IS to manipulate its properties. And so far, they haven't really got a clue how God formed the space-time continuum. Certainly no one has devised an experiment to prove how the properties of it work, since they really don't know what it IS.

Raising the speed of light would make travel to the stars possible. Not, likely, by humans as our bodies could not take the forces of faster than light travel.. but it would make us able to move ships there with equipment, I bet. Wouldn't it be fascinating to send a "Mars Rover" to one of the distant star galaxies and have it do a mission (automated - like running a software program) and then return with images and samples from there? :) So there are benefits beyond our current dreams for our generation at this time which could be made possible. The establishment may have to give up their claimed monopoly on knowledge in this area, but the advances possible for mankind's expansion of knowledge would be far reaching in myriads of ways I cannot yet describe.

Sara.

-- April 28, 2008 9:15 AM


Sara wrote:

Some interesting tidbits on the race for President (since it can impact our investment in Dinar greatly):

Rush Limbaugh: Obama can't win this
April 23, 2008
By Joe Kovacs

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh says neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton can become the Democratic presidential nominee by means of getting enough votes, "Whoever is the nominee did not win it," Limbaugh said today during his post-Pennsylvania primary analysis, "This is what everybody is missing."

"Obama cannot win this by winning the primary process. He has to rely on unelected superdelegates just as she must. Both of these candidates need unelected superdelegates to be the nominee. So, unelected party hacks ... are gonna choose the nominee. All the people that have voted in these primaries up to now will not be a factor."

"The nominee will have been delivered by party hacks, unelected superdelegates," Limbaugh said.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=62384

===

Top Dems May Force Early Superdelegate Vote

From the Politico:
Reid, Pelosi, Dean may intervene in nomination
April 24, 2008

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that he may try to force undecided superdelegates to make their decisions in the Democratic presidential race if it stretches into June.

Reid said he would consider writing a joint letter with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) demanding that superdelegates make their endorsements public.

“The three of us, we may write a joint letter [to superdelegates],” said Reid. “We might do individual letters. We are in contact with each other.” ..

Both Dean and Reid have made no secret of their desire to see the nomination fight end by the end of June.

Reid said he would not rush any of the superdelegates for now.

“People will have plenty of opportunity after the last primary on June 2 to make a decision about what they are going to do,” he said.

However, when asked by a reporter if he would be forced to weigh in on the race, Reid replied, “I might have to.” …

====end quote===

Of course this would be done to help Mr. Obama sew up the nomination — no matter what.

Think how this must burn up Mrs. Clinton, who even put some of the Reid family on the payroll to buy his support.

Mr. Obama must have made a higher bid.

Comments:

1) Noyzmakr

Democrats say… “Stop the vote now!”

It’s amazing that the party that has repeatedly called for all the votes to be counted and screamed Bush was selected, not elected, now wants to suppress the vote and aren’t going to count anyones vote from the primary. Only the elites votes count.

Bwahhahahhahah! LOL!!

2) JohnMG

This is really interesting . Reid, Dean, and Pelosi, whether they admit it or not, want the super-delegates to decide “right now” that Obama be annointed the candidate and Hillary should step down. To which Hillary should say to them, “You first”! THIS is the audacity we’ve heard about. They do behave like children, but their under-developed minds can’t see it for what it is. To them, it all seems so proper. They believe somebody should fall on his sword for the good of the party. Trouble is, they all want the other guy to do it. Like the blond who shouts to the other blond on the opposite side of the stream, “How do I get to the other side?” To which the other blond says, “You ARE on the other side.”

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/reid-pelosi-dean-may-force-superdelegates-hand

The hypocrisy of this position the Democrats are being placed in should be obvious. The very thing they accused President Bush of doing they will do themselves. Will this disillusion those young voters whose votes the Democrat party are relying on so heavily?

===

Older voters still a big factor
April 25, 2008

WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- Senior citizens have continued to be a big share of the vote in this year's U.S. presidential primaries in spite of the growing youth vote.

Exit polls show that about one-third of voters are 60 or older, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In some states, including California, Massachusetts and Ohio, the percentage has been higher, about 40 percent.

While the percentage of those under 30 is up from 2004, it is still about half the senior vote.

"The new is always more interesting and the new story is about the increase of younger voters, which is very impressive. But any campaign that relies heavily on younger voters is running a risk," Lawrence Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics at the University of Minnesota, told the Chronicle. "Younger voters are a difficult lover to have. They're a voting bloc that can betray you and is often quite whimsical. The nastiness that occurs in a campaign is something that could turn young voters off."

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/04/25/older_voters_still_a_big_factor/9159/

Nastiness.. and the hypocrisy of a superdelegate vote choosing the candidate. A position blatantly showing to these bright young minds that, contrary to their position taken against "the corruption" of what happened with President Bush, their young voices in politics don't count, but only the elite's do.

"As you sew so shall you reap."
Payback can be nasty, can't it?

Sara.

-- April 28, 2008 9:25 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraq allocates additional $5b for reconstruction projects
MENAFN - 28/04/2008

(MENAFN) Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Salih, said that the government intends to allocate additional $5 billion to promote the construction and reconstruction projects in the governorates within the 2008 general budget, Iraq Directory reported.

The official revealed in a conference in Anbar that the additional amounts will be invested to build schools, hospitals, housing complexes, as well as projects for roads in provinces.

Dr. Salih instructed officials in Anbar province to create all the necessary technical requirements to benefit from the additional allocations. He confirmed during the conference that many decisions and actions have been taken to overcome the difficulties facing the provision of better services for the province's inhabitants in various sectors.

http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093194554

-- April 28, 2008 9:40 AM


Rob N. wrote:

Roger:

Why so melancoly concerning Iraq? There are many positive steps inside the country towards progress. I have read where Malaki is in consulations with various bloc members to ensure passage of the HCL. In fact, a parlimentary vote on the HCL could happen this week.

Other pontential positives include the SOFA agreement between Iraq and the United States and the restoration of Iraqi soverignty.

I still believe we are closer to a move in the exchange rate than we ever have been before. In the end, we will see a peaceful and prosperous Iraq.

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 28, 2008 9:45 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Dubai Summit promises bright future for Iraqi industry through investment
An exciting new phase of industrial development within Iraq was promised following the successful completion of the 'Investing in Iraq's Industry' Summit in Dubai this week.
(www.amerinfo.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 28, 2008 9:47 AM


Sara wrote:

Iraq: U.S. claims killing of 38 gunmen
28-04-2008

The U.S. military said on Monday it had killed 22 fighters who attacked an Iraqi checkpoint in northeastern Baghdad under cover of an overnight dust storm. The attack was one of the biggest in weeks.

It took place late on Sunday about the same time as a barrage of rockets struck the Green Zone, Reuters reported. The dust storms grounded U.S. helicopters. The military said in a statement its soldiers used tanks to return fire on attackers who struck a joint U.S.-Iraqi checkpoint in northeast Baghdad.

The U.S. forces killed "22 criminals", it said, adding: "The criminals' small-arms fire was ineffective and there were no U.S. or (Iraqi security force) casualties in the attack."

Additionally, American forces said on Monday they had killed 16 fighters in further clashes on Sunday.

http://www.albawaba.com/en/news/226419

-- April 28, 2008 9:48 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

HRW urges UNSC to nudge US on illegal detention practices in Iraq

Politics 4/28/2008 10:21:00 AM



UNITED NATIONS, April 28 (KUNA) -- Human Rights Watch on Monday urged the Security Council to address "serious concerns" about the detention practices of the US-led Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF) when it debates the situation in Iraq in the next few hours.
HRW said in a letter to council members that the US invokes Security Council resolutions to justify holding thousands of Iraqis for indefinite periods, without judicial review, and under military processes that do not meet international standards.
It added in its letter that according to the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), the MNF was holding 24,514 detainees at the end of 2007.
Since the declared end of the US occupation of Iraq in June 2004, detained persons should be provided due process under international human rights law, it noted.
"The Security Council should insist that the United States abide by international law for persons detained," said Joe Stork, Middle East deputy director at Human Rights Watch in a statement distributed here.
"The Bush administration pushed the Security Council to declare that the US-led occupation of Iraq had ended in June 2004, and the end of occupation means that international human rights standards apply - judicial review, access to legal counsel and family members, and a fair trial," he said.
Moreover, he said HRW has serious concerns about the widespread torture of detainees by the Iraqi authorities. Where there is a fear of torture, the US should retain physical custody over individuals formally transferred to the Iraqi justice system for prosecution.
Human Rights Watch also called on the US to allow UNAMI, as well as independent Iraqi and international human rights observers, to visit its detention facilities and make their findings public.
"Four years since abuses at Abu Ghraib became known, Washington should finally allow independent monitors who can report publicly to visit its facilities and speak with detainees," Stork said.
A Security Council mandate, which concludes at the end of this year, forms the basis for the US military presence in Iraq, and US and Iraqi officials are negotiating a post-2008 status-of-forces agreement and other pacts.
He said the Security Council should make clear that it expects such arrangements to establish a legal basis for detention by non-Iraqi forces that meets the international human rights commitments of both the Iraqi and US governments.(end) sj.wsa KUNA 281021 Apr 08NNNN
(www.kuna.net.kw)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 28, 2008 9:51 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraqi MPs lead peaceful demonstration to Sadr City

Politics 4/28/2008 12:26:00 AM



BAGHDAD, April 27 (KUNA) -- The face-off between the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Iraqi government unfolded Sunday on the streets of Sadr City when a peaceful demonstration against continued violence there was held by members of the Iraqi parliament.
The MPs demanded "peaceful solutions" for the situation in the City, saying in a statement that lifting the blockade and withdrawing troops were among the issues need to be taking place.
Spokesman of Baghdad Law Enforcement Plan Major General Qassem Atta denied earlier today that the City was under siege, saying that all three major entrances of City were open.
He noted that assistant committees of the Law Enforcement Plan had allocated USD 100 million to rehabilitate Sadr City's infrastructure, while another USD 50 million would go to the reconstruction of al-Sho'la area northeastern Baghdad.
Last week, Iraqi Premier Nouri Al-Maliki set four conditions for stopping the military crackdown on al-Mahdi Army militia. The prime minister called on militants to hand over weapons and stop interfering in politics. He also demanded that they hand over all fighters wanted by the government.
Militias loyal to Al-Sadr have been battling coalition and Iraqi forces in Baghdad's Sadr City district since late March. More than 300 people have been killed in those clashes. (end) ahh.hb KUNA 280026 Apr 08NNNN
(www.kuna.net.kw)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 28, 2008 9:52 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Iraqis want to revise constitution and U.S. warplanes bomb Baghdad
By Fatih Abdulsalam

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

28 April 2008 (Azzaman)
Print article Send to friend
Bombing by warplanes, helicopter gun ships and rockets is going on unabated in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq while our politicians mull revising the ‘constitution’.

Ferocious fighting from street to street currently takes place in several parts of the country which makes ludicrous any talk about the constitution and its revision.

Iraqis now sarcastically remember the referendum on a constitution whose creators and sponsors themselves have not taken with a grain of salt.

That constitution, of which U.S. and British occupiers bragged about, is the product of a dirty and vicious sectarian war that is being fed from several quarters whether domestic or foreign.

Our constitution has turned into a bargaining chip and there are so many of them in circulation in Iraq. This constitution has failed to preserve Iraq’s unity and halt its bloodshed.

Since the U.S. invasion and the acrobatic move to write a democratic institution, Iraqis’ blood has been flowing like the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. This is not an exaggeration given the mass killing that has taken place since then.

We now read of at least one million Iraqis killed in the years since the U.S. invasion.

The constitution should be the umbrella that brings the nation together. And where is the Iraqi nation?

The factions battling each other in Iraq get refuge in the shade of their sectarian umbrellas and do not give a damn to a national reconciliation program to put the country back on the right path.

The Americans are now so insecure and unstable to the extent they are being used as proxies to wage battles at the behest of certain groups against others. In other words they have become partners in the civil war.

The country’s best minds – the cream of its academia and professionals – have fled abroad. It is estimated that there are four million of them now in foreign countries.

Under these circumstances the government has the stamina to call for a revision of the constitution.

These revisions, even if they take place, will do no good because the constitution itself will remain in a valley and the actors with power in Iraq in another valley.

Whatever constitution we have, there will forces beyond its legislations among them the militias, the Americans, the foreigners and the so-called security guards or mercenaries.
(www.iraqupdates.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 28, 2008 9:56 AM


Rob N. wrote:

All:

Audit Hits Incomplete Iraq Contracts
April 28, 2008
Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Millions of dollars of lucrative Iraq reconstruction contracts were never finished because of excessive delays, poor performance or other factors, including failed projects that are being falsely described by the U.S. government as complete, federal investigators say.

The audit released April 27 by Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, provides the latest snapshot of an uneven reconstruction effort that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $100 billion. It also comes as several lawmakers have said they want the Iraqis to pick up more of the cost of reconstruction.

The special IG's review of 47,321 reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars found that at least 855 contracts were terminated by U.S. officials before their completion, primarily because of unforeseen factors such as violence and excessive costs. About 112 of those agreements were ended specifically because of the contractors' actual or anticipated poor performance.

In addition, the audit said many reconstruction projects were being described as complete or otherwise successful when they were not. In one case, the U.S. Agency for International Development contracted with Bechtel Corp. in 2004 to construct a $50 million children's hospital in Basra, only to "essentially terminate" the project in 2006 because of monthslong delays.

But rather than terminate the project, U.S. officials modified the contract to change the scope of the work. As a result, a U.S. database of Iraq reconstruction contracts shows the project as complete "when in fact the hospital was only 35 percent complete when work was stopped," said investigators in describing the practice of "descoping" as frequent.

"Descoping is an appropriate process but does mask problem projects to the extent they occur," the audit states.

Responding, USAID in the report said it disagreed that its descoping of the hospital project was "effectively a contract termination," but that it had changed the work because of escalating costs and security problems. Mark Tokola, the director of the Iraq transition assistance office, also responded that the database the IG's office reviewed of Iraq reconstruction contracts was incomplete.

Bowen's office said its review was preliminary and that it planned follow-up reviews to investigate descoping more closely. Investigators said they were also looking into whether contractors whose projects were terminated by the U.S. government due to inadequate performance might have been awarded new contracts later despite their poor records.

Investigators said the database they reviewed lacked full data on projects such as those done by USAID, the State Department, and those completed before 2006. But they said the figures cited in the report offered a baseline in terms of unfinished Iraq reconstruction contracts.

"Adding contract terminations from these (other) sources would certainly raise the number of terminated projects," the report states.

The audit comes amid renewed focus in recent months on potential abuse in contracting government-wide, such as Iraq reconstruction. Last year, congressional investigators said as much as $10 billion - or one in six dollars - charged by U.S. contractors for Iraq reconstruction were questionable or unsupported, and warned that significantly more taxpayer money was at risk.

In recent weeks, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., has been working with Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, on legislation that would restrict future reconstruction dollars to loans instead of grants; require that Baghdad pay for fuel used by American troops and take over U.S. payments to predominantly Sunni fighters in the Awakening movement.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, said the latest audit report points to significant U.S. taxpayer waste in current reconstruction efforts.

"The report paints a depressing picture of money being poured into failed Iraq reconstruction projects - contractors are killed, projects are blown up just before being completed, or the contractor just stops doing the work," she said.
(www.military.com)

Thanks,

Rob N.

-- April 28, 2008 9:58 AM


Sara wrote:

Syria says US reactor charges as fake as Iraq WMD claims
AFP - Monday, April 28

DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syria said on Monday that US accusations it had been building a nuclear reactor until its destruction in an Israeli air raid last September were as bogus as American claims that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

"We don't want a nuclear bomb... Where would we use it?... War in the region will effectively remain conventional," Assad said.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/afp/20080428/tpl-syria-nuclear-politics-us-nkorea-b04fc5e.html

That is a difficult question.. where would they use it.. against whom?

What possible motive could they have for getting nuclear weapons?

Hmmm.. hard questions to answer..

Sara.

-- April 28, 2008 10:04 AM


Carole wrote:

Sara,
cc:roger

No one will ever find God through their own intellect......trying to is a waste of time. That was part of HIs design for mankind.

" God makes foolish the wisdom of the wise....." and "..the cross is foolishness to those who perish...."

Approach and deal with God on a personal bases, with due respect for His Majesty and Might and Holiness.....and I gaurantee you will find HIM!

And the universe, galaxy, stars, nano technology ,etc..etc... will take on a whole new meaning! Skeptisim, scrutiny and conjecture, will be replaced with AWE and pleasure of His creation of all celestial hosts. All was created for our pleasure.....not some hidden code or knowledge to keep mankind hunting and guessing.........and frustrated and debating and arguing...etc...etc...

In other words ...keep it simple. Yet I know that one of the hardest things for us to do is look intimately into the eyes of God and we seek Him. It is that dam sin and stubborness that ALWAYS gets in the way.

Time is precious......spend that time in communion with Him rather than vast amounts of time contemplating Him and HIs works.

Carole

-- April 28, 2008 12:03 PM


Sara wrote:

Carole - I agree with you that, quote, "No one will ever find God through their own intellect......"

But I dont think that the disciplines of science.. including physics.. is seeking "some hidden code or knowledge to keep mankind hunting and guessing........."

Science is a complementary use of our God given reason and quest to understand. It isn't wrong to wish to know more about what God has done, as that has been the basis of furthering mankind's knowledge throughout history and all our technological advancements.

I agree that those advancements alone are not enough for mankind, but they are not evil in and of themselves. Knowing HOW something works and what God was doing in making our world is only, as Johann Kepler said, "thinking God's thoughts after Him."

QUOTE:

Johann Kepler is the founder of physical astronomy and discovered the laws of planetary motion and established the discipline of celestial mechanics. He conclusively demonstrated the heliocentricity of the solar system and published the first ephemeris tables for tracking star motions, contributing also to eventual development of the calculus. He was an earnest Christian and he wrote, "Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God." (end quote - from Men of Science, Men of God Henry M. Morris)

I believe like Kepler - that it is not opposite to faith to study God's book of nature, but complements it. I suppose some Christians, like yourself, think that being interested in this discipline is foolishness and seeking some "hidden code", but I am glad Kepler worked on developing the tables, tracking celestial mechanics and planetary motion and setting the foundation for calculus. So long as it is pursued for God's glory and the greater good, I think science can be a worthwhile pursuit of a Christian's time. Rightly understood, the science of nature can be a stepping stone toward faith, as one contemporary scientist who came to Christ said that he did so because when he got into science he realized that it couldn't have all happened by chance! :)

Sara.

-- April 28, 2008 3:37 PM


BritishKnite wrote:

Buffett says recession may be worse than feared
-----------------------------------------------

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080428/bs_nm/buffett_recession_dc

Warren Buffett says that the economy could get worse. He also states that no one knows for sure. I reckon that while it's down, he will probably be snapping up deals and double his acquisitions. So, keep hold of the Dinars for the longer run I think.

-- April 28, 2008 4:59 PM


Sara wrote:

I watched those "24" episodes, too.. the ones with the Black President who saved America from the nukes (with help from Jack Bauer). And like a commentator said below about Obama,
QUOTE:

If Obama is not elected, why is the only reason because of the color (half-color, I might add) of his skin?

I might or might not vote for a black for president. Just not THIS black man.

Obama is a black man who is one of three people, one of whom WILL be our next president. I think right there is proof that America is for the most part, over racism.

Just because America had racism in the past does not mean that it's a black's "turn" to be in the oval office.

===end quote==

I agree with this statement. Obama is just NOT the same as the guy on "24" who was, after all, a great fictional black President during a troubled time of national challenges. Let's not let entertainment and fantasy play such a great part that it blinds us to the reality of a real candidate and if he qualifies or not to be President.. including carefully scrutinizing his credentials and associates, as TODAY, Wright refused to disassociate himself from Louis Farrakhan, declined to retract his allegation that the US used AIDS to commit genocide against black Americans, said it was fair to compare US Marines with Roman legionnaires, and indicated his church had supported the Communist-backed Sandinistas.

===

Rev. Wright's Press Club Debacle Has CNN Anchor Groaning 'Ah, Boy'
By Mark Finkelstein
April 28, 2008

How bad was Reverend Wright's appearance before the National Press Club this morning? Bad enough that even CNN contributor Roland Martin—who yesterday enthused about Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP, who gave Wright's chat with Bill Moyers an 'A'—flunked it with an 'F.' Bad enough that David Gergen condemned it as "narcissistic almost beyond belief." Bad enough that, introducing a panel discussion of the speech, the palpably distressed CNN Newsroom host Tony Harris let out an audible groan of "ah, boy," and later wondered how much damage had been done.

View video here.

As soon as I realized that Rev. Wright had brought along his own cheering section to his National Press Club appearance this morning, I had a feeling that things would get out of hand. Wright was seemingly egged on by the claque's enthusiatic applause for his remarks and hostile reactions to tough questions. Mugging repeatedly to the crowd, Rev. Wright went on an ego-driven radical rant that must have the Obama camp tearing its collective hair out while Hillary emits an extended cackle. Among his greatest hits, Wright refused to disassociate himself from Louis Farrakhan, declined to retract his allegation that the US used AIDS to commit genocide against black Americans, said it was fair to compare US Marines with Roman legionnaires, and indicated his church had supported the Communist-backed Sandinistas.

In the transcript (full transcript at url below):

DAVID GERGEN: I'm sure Reverend Wright has many virtues. Loyalty to his former parishioner is not one of them. I think that this has been narcissistic almost beyond belief. And this publicity offensive has been destructive for the Obama campaign.

HARRIS: Roland, how damaging? For Barack Obama?

MARTIN: Look, well, first of all, this is still April. Obviously, you know, in terms of Indiana primary, North Carolina is next week. You have a significant number of unsure voters out there. There is still a great distance between now and the November election. Look, the Obama folks knew they would have to deal with this. The question is, how much longer is Reverend Wright going to talk?

==

Martin might try to whistle past the graveyard by pointing to the time between now and November. But Obama must first get to November. My two cents say Rev. Wright's latest diatribes are devastating for Obama.

From a media-bias perspective, the fact that Tony Harris was so clearly distressed by the situation, and concerned about the damage caused to Obama, speaks volumes. Think Harris would have been upset if John McCain had been hurt by a third-party's comments?

Note: Allahpundit points out that Roland Martin is a life-long friend of Rev. Wright. I heard no mention of that in any of Martin's appearances yesterday or today.

Comments:

1) Good old Rev by Humblepie

Looks like he might be infected with the dreaded Foot-in-Mouth disease. Let the man keep talking so American's can hear how Obama will change the nation.

During this time with political correctness at its zenith, I reserve the right to let you know you're an idiot.

2) Hatred by iveseenitall

In your heart you know it. Don't let anyone shame you into thinking it's not true. There is a percentage (albeit small) of Americans who, for whatever their justifications, HATE our nation and everything it stands for. Barry, Michelle, Aryers, Jackson, Sharpton, and many of the MSM represent this percentage. But now their cover is being blown by the chief hater, Rev. Wrong. And he's using one of their major canards--racism. What a pickle they are in!

NEVER,NEVER trust a "liberal'

3) iveseenitall by Agnostic

I really don't believe that Jackson, Sharpton, Wright or Obama hate this country. They love this country. They have just learned how to channel other peoples fears, doubts, insecurities and bigotry into $$$$$$$$ and power.

However, I could be wrong.

4) Love? by iveseenitall

If they love America, it is only because they can profit from it. As I've stated in other posts, they are communists/socialist who hate capitalism for the masses, yet are enriching themselves. The pigs on Animal Farm. There have been 27 or so murders in the gettos of Chicago in the last few weeks. Whites didn't commit them. Yet guys like Rev. Wrong continue to preach black separatism and black "liberation" theology. The more you know, the more you realize their true agenda. Believe me; it's not the advancement of capitalism or democratic principles or even the advancement of their own "brothers" which motivate these haters. It's the ultimate irony---they profit from the very system they criticize. The more they keep people under their thumbs, the better for them. What they "hate" about America is that it opens the door of opportunity for everyone---then they lose their gig!

5) BTW by Chris Norman

BTW, "I think we saw defiance. We saw the feistiness..." - notice the language they employ to describe Reverend Wright? Does anyone think they'd use these same words in describing some white crackpot racist preacher?

6) Geez, I wish this false racism by WhoIsJohnGalt

Geez, I wish this false racism would just go away.

If Obama is not elected, why is the only reason because of the color (half-color, I might add)) of his skin?

I might or might not vote for a black for president. Just not THIS black man.

Obama is a black man who is one of three people, one of whom WILL be our next president. I think right there is proof that America is for the most part, over racism.

Just because America had racism in the past does not mean that it's a black's "turn" to be in the oval office.

7) "DAVID GERGEN: .... You by Hunter12

"DAVID GERGEN: .... You know, this is becoming a circus for a great country. We're getting terribly off-course about the big, big issues of our time."

Dave, How off course can it be to look into the philosphy and thoughts of the mentor and role-model of one of our candidates for the presidency of the nation? Is it that this philosophy and thoughts should give one pause as to the value system that Obama may actually embraces?

"When Obama sought his own church community, he felt increasingly at home at Trinity. Before leaving for Harvard Law School in 1988, he responded to one of Wright's altar calls and declared a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Later he would base his 2004 keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention on a Wright sermon called "Audacity to Hope," --also the inspiration for Obama's second memoir, "The Audacity of Hope." Though Wright and Obama do not often talk one-on-one often, the senator does check with his pastor before making any bold political moves."

Given all this, I personally don't think holding Obama accountable for Wright's words is that off course.

8) If this doesn't sink Obama's by LilyPearl

If this doesn't sink Obama's chances in the general election, nothing will.

9) Yes! by iveseenitall

Yes. When Obama gets destroyed, Rev. Wrong can say, "See, it's a racist nation-- God Damn America". This guy and others are "Communists"! They want to tear down the American way of life. They also want to distract the American people from real issues. And Barry is in on it. He's a useful idiot.

P.S. Read the literature about Communism and see how their planning goes. Using the "negro problem" is a major tool for them. And they are patient. Communism is not dead in America.

10) Notice that this has allowed the Dems to avoid the Issues by SoftRight

Notice that this has allowed the Dems to avoid the Issues.... and around and around and around we go. The Dems have used this psuedodrama to avoid any real debate of the issues. Since socialism only sounds good in the vaguest of terms, avoiding getting into the details is a prime concern of those leading this parade.

Keeping this distraction going while Obama continues to sell his "Hope & Change" brand of snakeoil is