Saturday, February 18, 2006

See no evil



Friday, February 17, 2006

Dick Cheney Determined to Attack in the U.S.

Granny Get Your Gun

Alarmed at the Bush Administration's reverse Herod initiative Gunning Grannys of America™ have stepped up their training program at undsclosed secure locatons all over America. Dial 1-800-nofaceshots to participate and bag a veep.

Rice admits 'mistakes' in Iraq

Rice admits 'mistakes' in Iraq

Rice also clashed with Democratic senator Kent Conrad, who took issue with her assessment that the Americans had boosted the capacity for clean water for seven million Iraqis and four million had better sewage operations.

Conrad cited media reports and official figures showing the percentage of Iraqis with clean drinking water had declined from 50% before the war to 32% now.

Those with decent sewage were down from 24% to 20%.

"Who are we to believe?" he asked.

When Rice countered that it might be the difference between delivery or capacity, Conrad shot back: "We can improve capacity, that's great. But at the end of the day, what matters to people is to get it!"

Rice, visibly uneasy, backed off and recognised that US forces had shifted the focus from large-scale reconstruction projects to more local efforts "to make certain that there is also better delivery for Iraqis"

(AFP via News24)

"Who are we to believe?" Senator? Not Condi anyway.

The inimitable Princess Sparklepony has her own take on the subject:

"Here's Condi begging for mad money at Capitol Hill today"

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Take aim, F......

Juan Cole has more "Top Ten Ways Iraq is like Harry Whittington"

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bonus Crab

1 doctor + 1 artist = 1 very smiley gorilla.

Thank you both,

Mark the smiling gorilla.

Staying alive - New Guidelines from the International Committe of the Red Cross

"With its expert practical advice on security in situations of armed conflict, this updated set of guidelines will prove invaluable to humanitarian personnel working at the operational level. Following on from the success of the first edition, published in 1999, it addresses new and developing threats such as chemical, biological and nuclear hazards, and includes new chapters on, among others, first aid, staying healthy on mission and how international humanitarian law protects humanitarian workers."

Main page here. Freely downloadable from the ICRC as a PDF from here.

Other ICRC publications relevant to this topic can be found here.

I cannot emphasise this strongly enough. If you are a humanitarian worker or volunteer, or you know somebody who is about to go to a foreign country as a relief worker. Please download that PDF.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Attacking the tail

"On Sunday, a US logistics convoy was attacked by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, killing one civilian believed to be a Pakistani truck driver and wounding three American soldiers, the military and Iraqi police said on Monday. The attack occurred near Taji, about 12 miles north of Baghdad, where a major US air base is located, said military spokesman Maj Joseph Todd Breasseale. The three wounded soldiers were taken to a military hospital for treatment, he said. Iraqi police Lt Alaa Kamal said that the convoy consisted of three fuel tankers and another truck, which was destroyed by fire. Police found the body of the vehicle’s driver inside the truck and identity documents indicated that he was Pakistani." (AP Report cited in Pakistan's Daily Times)

Attacks upon supply convoys which are incapable of defending themselves have now been going on for a long time, now however the incidence, already high, is increasing markedly. The use of such indefensible convoys is a direct result of Secetart Rumsfeld's "reform" of the US armed forces logistical wing.

I won't insult my readers' intelligence by explaining the signifcance, or what it means for the "withdraw to bases" plan.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Meet the tor-m1 update 1

At the request of reader Gert I've republished my original page and included some links below for those interested in further research on this system:

The Russian TOR-M1 surface-to-air missile system is an integrated air defense system that has autonomous radar capabalities. It functions at at altitudes from very low to medium. And fires missiles capable of destroying:

  • Fixed wing aircraft.
  • Rotary wing aircraft.
  • UAVs.
  • Guided missiles.
  • Precision missiles.

Amongst its other capabilities the tor-m1 can function in an intensive aerial jamming environment. Unlike many such systems it does not need to be stationary to operate - it can track up to 48 targets simultaneously and acquire and fire upon up two of them while on the move.

Russia and Iran signed an agreement late in 2005 for Iran to take delivery of 30 such systems.



American federation scientists

Tor M-1 9M330 defense update.

article from sino explaining significance of autonomy good explanation of specs

mobility lets it protect against aircraft but also UAV's and guided missiles. (Remember also that it works in an intensive aerial jamming environment

Tor-M1 built specifically as a result of the Russians observing the 1999 war in Serbia (where aircraft thrashed ground defenses)

The NATO designation is SA-15 Gauntlet link preceding is to wiki page

Don't forget that Iran (reportedly) has thousands of Strela
missiles (both versions), which are fired by individual troops. They're not the most accurate in the world but they don't have to be.

That should keep you going. :-)

Where ignorant armies clash by night

I have long argued that the criticism of western concepts of identity and freedom of expression held as secular "sacred values" in the west by Muslims should not be taken as evidence that Muslims are incapable of understandng or living within western secularised polities. I repeated this argument last week speaking on the role of imams and Salafist activists who speak to and foster an embittered "identity politics" amongst marginalised and embittered young western Muslims:

"The conception of identity promoted by the Salafiyya fosters an Islamic individualism that is partly congruent with - but also distinct from and partly at odds with - contemporary Western individualism. It also fosters a Muslim collective sentiment distinct from and potentially at odds with contemporary Western notions of community at both the national and European levels. It thus tends to inhibit or even disrupt the cultural and political integration of Muslim populations into the European societies in which they have settled.

A positive aspect that has come out of the whole cartoon furore is that not withstanding the understandable bitterness felt by many who rightly saw the cartoons as a deliberate attempt to denigrate the core of their being. That overwhelmingly the voices from within the Muslim community spoke of peaceful protest, those voices carried the day. There were some, a few, who tried to use devotion to the Prophet to rouse the community to violent protest.

They failed.

Their failure demonstates louder than words that an act cynically committed by a right wing newspaper with a long record of tryng to fan ethnic flames failed to overcome the sense of a shared humanity and common sense that has guided the Danish Muslim response."

Le Monde's religion correpsondent Henri Tinq has written about the Jyllands Posten affair. His article "Mahomet: le choc des ignorances" analyses the affair setting it in a wider context. The indispensable Nur Al Cubicle has translated Tinq's article under the rubric i-muftis and teleimams. I strongly suggest that you read it.

i-Muftis and Tele-Imams

End Note: A project in which I am engaged is taking most of my time and is likely to continue to do so for the next few weeks. I will respond to comments and post new articles when I can.

mfi Sunday 2006 Feb 12