Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mary and Compassion

What you're seeing in this photo is the bodies of two very young children being put into one coffin. The two were sisters. Mariam was aged 2. Mariam's name means "Mary" - Muslims venerate Mary as the mother of Jesus and the name is a very popular one in Muslim countries for the same reason it is in Western ones.

Her sister Rahma was three years old. "Rahma" which you'll sometimes see transliterated as "Rahmaa" is a lovely name. It comes from the word meaning "to have mercy upon" the "showing of compassion." A reasonably good translation of her name would be "Compassionate."

Neither she nor Mariam were shown mercy or compassion by the men who planted a bomb in the al-Shula district of Baghdad today, Saturday May 6th 2006.

Al-Shula is in North-West Baghdad. It's a mixed area, mostly Shii, by no stretch of the imagination can it be called a prosperous area. Not as bad in terms of economic deprivation as some areas but not well off either. Certainly not a "bad" place to grow up in, it's the sort of place where neighbours will keep an eye on each others kids to ensure that they don't come to harm. Nor a bad place at all to grow up. Except that neither of these two girls being placed so gently and tenderly by their relatives in a single cheap coffin will have the chance to grow up.

They died because the United States of America wants to keep the country that was their home poverty-stricken, weak, and divided, and will stop at nothing to achieve it. They died because the United States of America and her allies know that a country split into Cantons with weak provincial governments means that naive and inexperienced provincial officials will sign blatantly exploitative 40 year long PSAs and that a weak central government will sign FSAs and Basing agreements. They died because that is far more important to the USA and her allies than the death of Compassion and her sister Mary. As a well known American stateswoman remarked about the death of Iraqi children:
"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."

It must be great to have such a "beautiful mind."


Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday History Quiz Blogging

This boy and his elder brother seen here comforting him were among the fortyseven people wounded when a bomb exploded near a courthouse yesterday Thursday May 4th 2006. They're two of lucky ones - nine people died.

The picture below show a US soldier at the scene of the bombing "securing the scene."

Let's play a little history game this Friday shall we?

What was the name of the last empire whose soldiers goose stepped in the capital of a country conquered in an illegal brutal and racist war like this?

Got that?

Good let's go for broke:

Were they winners or losers?

Answers on a post card please to be submitted by next Friday.

You have my permission to punch, spindle, or mutilate, the card. Just like the USA has punched, spindled, and mutilated, countless innocent Iraqi civilians including children by launching an illegal racist and brutal war and conducting an illegal racist and brutal occupation. If you're the impatient type you can click here to see the answer.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Can you say?

The dead man under the blanket was killed in Yarmouk Baghdad today Thursday, May 4, 2006. He was killed during the attack on Brigadier Mohammed Ridha Abdul-Karim. No American soldier or member of any of the other invading armies currently illegally occupying Iraq (and failing utterly in their legal duty to protect the Iraqi population) as the civil war being deliberately fomented in Iraq by the American government gathers momentum were hurt.

In the mean time as I wrote here leading Democratic politicians are calling for America to "create" a new Iraq.

Can you say "mission accomplished?" - Yeah I thought you could.


Operation Telic - Fatalities and Casualties

Operation Telic is the codename used by the British for the role of their forces in the Invasion of Iraq and its subsequent occupation. - markfromireland


Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military (a) fatalities and (b) casualties were sustained by personnel deployed to Iraq on Operation Telic in each month since March 2003; what the date was of each incident; and how many (i) deaths and (ii) casualties had been sustained in respect of each incident one week after the event. [60537]

John Reid [holding answer 22 March 2006]: The best information centrally available for Operation Telic fatalities and casualty statistics is published on the MOD website at:

Link to British Ministry of Deense site cited by Reid in his reply

With one exception, all of the UK personnel listed died within one week of the incident occurring; the exception concerned an individual who was injured in a road traffic accident and subsequently died of his wounds in hospital in the UK three weeks later. We do not hold information on the status of casualties one week after the incident occurred.

Source: Hansard


  1. The Member of Parliament (MP) asking the question is Alex Salmond. John Reid is Secretary of State for Defence.
  2. In the UK ministerial nomenclature system a Secretary of State is a Senior Cabinet minister. A Secretary of StateUsually (but not invariably) an MP rather than a member of The House of Lords
  3. In his reply to the Parliamentary Question (PQ) Reid gave the raw URL I have formatted it to prevent blogger giving problems.

Reid was also asked how many soldiers treated following service in Iraq had (a) physical injuries and (b) a mental illness.
here UK readers may find his answer in which he reveals how little his department knows on this topic irritating.


Ethnic and religious balance in Iraqi police and security forces of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence and Iraqi Ministry of the Interior.

I subscribe to Hansard - the official report of proceedings in the British Parliament. I got this little gem in my inbox.
Nick Harvey:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the degree of ethnic and religious balance in Iraqi (a) police and (b) security forces of the (i) Ministry of Defence and (ii) Ministry of the Interior. [61850]

John Reid (British Secretary of State for Defence): In the Iraqi police service, which is provincial in structure, there is no formal system with which to track demographics. In the army, which recruits nationally, we estimate that six of the 10 divisions are overwhelmingly Arab, reflecting the ethnic mix in the areas from which they recruit, and of the remaining four, three are majority Kurdish. In the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, as at 1 April 2006, the distribution of senior posts is as follows:
Sunni Arab (Number & Percentage)
Number 15, Percentage 26.
Shia Arab (Number & Percentage)
Number 38 , Percentage 66.
Kurdish (Number & Percentage)
Number 4, Percentage 7.
Turkoman (Number & Percentage)
Number 1, Percentage 1.

Total (Number) 58 ( Percentage) 100

Comparable information is not held for the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior.


  1. Emphasis added by me.

  2. In the original report the statistics given above are presented as a table. I have instead used a definition list to minimise blogger's occasionally somewhat eccentric way of displaying tabular data.

Source: Hansard.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gin Soaked Raisin Brain Dilletante Hitchens vs. Patriot Cole

Gin Soaked Raisin Brain Dilletante Hitchens vs. Patriot Cole

Go read.


Crossposted to markfromireland

Postscript: As of today 2407 US service personnel and uncounted innocent Iraqi civilians, Kurd, Turkoman, Arab, Christian, and Jew alike have died in the war for which Hitchens whored out the pathetically tiny remnants of his credibility and conscience. To hell with him.


A Barefaced and Stupid Lie

The clickable thumbnail to the left links to a copy of the map presented by T. E. Lawrence to the British cabinet in 1918 of the click to see full size mapregion in the Ottoman empire called at that time "Mesopotamia." (Note how the Kurdish region is marked as: ? - mfi.) The story of how Churchill subsequently used this map for imperial gain is so well known as not to be worth repeating here.

The map is freshly relevant today because of the increasing number of calls being made by Americans such as Senator Joe Biden for Iraq to be carved up.

Biden and his co-author of the NYT editorial Gelb have been peddling this line for a while. (See today's: Juan Cole.)

That such a suggestion should be peddled by politicians such as Biden, rightwingers such as Gelb who devoted massive effort to supporting the drive to war against Iraq and self-appointed "experts" such as the cynically racist "Let Them Have Their Civil War" Caleb Carr is unsurprising. Their commitment to American neocolonialist hegemony in the Middle East is only slightly less blatant than that of the Bush regime itself, and the backstory that Iraq qua Iraq is a wholly artificial construct left over from the twilight of the British Raj has the virtue of sounding plausible to the nororiously ill-informed American public particularly when wrapped up in tones of dulcet concern for the rights of women and minorities.

But there's a problem:

It's a barefaced lie. Worse it's a stupid barefaced lie.

To say that present day Iraq is the result of British imperialists carving up the defeated Ottoman empire is to ignore a few inconvenient facts well-known to every Iraqi.

  1. It ignores the fact that the Ottoman Empire was not a Turkish empire per se (as the Turks did not benefit or lose more than the peoples in non-Turkish territories.)
  2. And it ignores the inconvenient fact that the Ottoman empire was not a state in the sense in which we use the word now.
The truth of the matter is that the Ottoman Empire was a military administration consisting of interlocking fiefs, or commands if you prefer to use that term.

It is true that under the Ottomans Iraq was divided into three military regions consisting of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. It is however completely untrue to say as these American politicians and their supporting choir of pundits are now trying to claim that "Iraq" did not exist.

Anyone who knows even the slightest amount of the region's history knows that Iraq did indeed exist. Anyone who knows even the slightest amount of the region's history knows that the people who lived in the three Ottoman provinces of Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra, referred to themselves in writing and speech as "Iraqis." Anyone who knows even the slightest amount of Iraq's history knows that those people considered the city of Baghdad to be the center and natural capital of the region formed by the three provinces. And anyone who has read even a few Official Ottoman documents of the period knows that the Ottomans agreed with them, referred to the three provinces collectively as "Iraq," and ran the place accordingly.

The calls by Biden and his like are further proof if further proof were needed of the rampant imperialism that has infected the entire American body politic like a cancer for more than a generation. They are proof that the American political elite is trying to disassemble Iraq. That the American political elite is trying to smash Iraq and then say: "Well the Iraqis broke it so we own it. The American political elite wants to spin this as an Iraqi initiative and pretend that Iraqis want an ethnic government. The American political elite wants to silence those Iraqi voices, calling for unity such as Al-Sadr and Grand Ayatollah Sistani. And under Bush the American political elite has shown that there is no attrocity to which they will not stoop to achieve this end. Of course the have to show their humane and caring side:

"The choice I’m proposing can give all of us -- Republicans, Independents, Democrats, Americans -- realistic hope that our sacrifices in Iraq were not in vain. "
(Biden's Speech last two lines - the sacrifices forced upon the Iraqis don't of course count.)

Expect more from the Biden Band and Chorus along the lines of: "we lost 2,400 troops and all that money so we deserve something for all our sacrifice and anyway we're the good guys - right?"


Biden & Co are merely giving the neoconservative project a pragmatic little tweaking in a place or two so that it runs smoother. Next stops Iran and then Syria, or maybe Syria first and then Iran. I wonder when we can expect Senator Biden turn up to the American Enterprise Institute and deliver a short speech:

"Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small
crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business. Faster please."

Given his history of blatant plagiarism* I hope he remembers to provide attribution.


*Plagiarism: A polite word for stealing. Click the link and scroll down a bit I promise it's worth it - mfi.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Iranian Purchase TorM1 further update

Russia will deliver air defense systems to Iran - top general

19/04/2006 20:19

MOSCOW, April 19 (RIA Novosti) - The chief of the General Staff said Wednesday that Russia would honor its commitments on supplying military equipment to Iran.

"We discussed supplies of military equipment to Iran, including the Tor M1, in the framework of bilateral cooperation, but it does not fall into the category of strategic weapons," Army General Yury Baluyevsky said after talks in Moscow with NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe General James Jones.

"And I can assure you it will be delivered under the control of the relevant organizations," he said.

At the end of 2005, Russia concluded a $700-million contract on the delivery of 29 Tor M1 air defense systems to Iran.


Despite strong criticism from the United States, Russia has maintained that the systems could be used only to protect Iran's air space.

Baluyevsky also said Russia's Armed Forces would not be involved in any military conflict in Iran.


Baluyevsky said he did not discuss the Iranian nuclear program with Jones, although the issue is "on everybody's mind."


The Iranian official [ Iran's Defense Minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najar - MFI ] is currently on a three-day visit to the neighboring Central Asian republic of Azerbaijan to discuss bilateral cooperation in the defense sphere ........

Full RNIA Novosti story here

Search results Novosti Search term = Tor M1

Monday, May 01, 2006

3 British Mercenaries killed in Iiraq

Today's main posting is here as the title suggests it deals with the death of three British mercenaries reported killed in Iraq.

This posting covers some technicalaspects of the bombing that caused their deaths. The bombing was at Al-Suwaira (a town south of Baghdad). According to the local police they were killed when when a tire of the car they were in exploded. Take a look at the photo. Take a second look maybe this composite with helpful added pointer will help:

I gather they've now retracted that claim. I'm going to pretend I believe it was made in good faith and not by a group of men terrified that they'd be blamed, terrified for their lives, and casting about desperately for a plausible lie. The awful thing is they're going to be blamed anyway. The even more awful thing is that in that town they do actually try against insuperable odds to do their job and now they're between the proverbial rock and hard place. God have pity on them nobody else will.


PS: Happy third anniversary of a heckuva a job getting the mission accomplished. Heckuva a job.


Sunday, April 30, 2006

In order to save the newsrack, it was necessary to destroy it

Movie Promotion Confused With Bomb in L.A.

Saturday April 29, 2006 11:16 PM

"SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) - A newspaper promotion for Tom Cruise's upcoming ``Mission: Impossible III'' got off to an explosive start when a county arson squad blew up a news rack, thinking it contained a bomb.

The confusion: the Los Angeles Times rack was fitted with a digital musical device designed to play the ``Mission: Impossible'' theme song when the door was opened. But in some cases, the red plastic boxes with protruding wires were jarred loose and dropped onto the stack of newspapers inside, alarming customers.

Sheriff's officials said they rendered the news rack in this suburb 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles ``safe'' after being called to the scene Friday by a concerned individual who thought he'd seen a bomb.

Times officials said the devices were placed in 4,500 randomly selected news boxes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in a venture with Paramount Pictures designed to turn the ``everyday news rack experience'' into an ``extraordinary mission.''

It was just that, at least for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arson squad, which destroyed the box.

``This was the least intended outcome. We weren't expecting anything like this,'' said John O'Loughlin, the Times' senior vice president for planning.

The devices are to remain in the boxes until May 7, two days after the film is scheduled to open."

Can't .... breathe ..... must ...... stop ....... laughing .......

Bwaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. And if you don't like somebody like me laughing at the quite remarkable level of fucktardery displayed by all the officials involved in this pathetic display of civilian hysteria whipped up by cynical government policy and connived at by a supine news sector and police dipshittery that's too effing bad.

Bwaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. The first thing the very first thing a responsible felix does is to assess the threat level including, quite particularly and especially including whether a sodding threat exists in the first place. Whatever unfuckingbelievably unforgivably pathetically unprofessional shitbag was the officer involved in this monumental display of incompetence and grandstanding needs to be flung off the nearest high building sans parachute for the protection of the public. Christ protect anyone unfortunate enough to be dependent upon muscleminded tankbrained stupid numbskulled incompetent assholes like that in a real crisis. (Then they wonder why people who really have experience of dealing with terrorist threats and of cleaning up the aftermath despise them as incompetent grandstanding twats.) Fucking hell, somebody should print that article and arrange for it to be sent to Osama Bin-Laden it's guaranteed to incapacitate him for years as it's difficult to run a terrorist organisation while rolling on the floor shrieking with laughter. Incompetent fuckwits.


Continuing to Defend Their Country

Despite how she has failed them. It's called patriotism.


Via Nur's site here's the link to Photo Gallery from Newsday.