Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'm a little tea pot

Less than a millisecond

after George said "Let's Make Molten Mullahs"

Dick orgasmed and underwent post-orgasmic collapse.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Barbara Screamed in Horror

When she was told she'd be sharing her cell with Tom Delay.......

I've turned off comment moderation for 24 hours. Feel free to write your own caption. Look upon this invitation as my invitation to you to engage in some weekend stress relief.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

In Which The Gorilla Prophesies

The cuffed and blindfolded boy together with the two cuffed and blindfolded adults are residents of Karbala they were arrested today Thursday May 11th, 2006 by Iraqi police for "suspected insurgent activity." In the second section of the graphic which I've made by simply joining the the two original photos together in sequence he is seen being led away to whatever fate awaits him.

He is, according to Reuters, a teenager. Well if so he's only just barely a teenager. It can be hard to tell the age of young Iraqis from photographs, so many of them have grown up chronically malnourished because of the sanctions imposed upon Iraq by the UN at America's behest that they're often very small for their age.

For the purposes of this posting I'm going to make a very big assumption.

I'm going to assume that there was some reasonable grounds for the arrest, some evidence, and not as so often happens in Iraq under the American occupation an informant meeting his quota.

I don't actually know whether that's the case or not, I'm just assuming it for the purposes of this posting. I do know that he's going to be brutalised either by Iraqi interrogators and/or by their American "handlers", I do know that he will terrorised either by Iraqi interrogators and/or by their American "handlers" and I do know that while he may not be a fully fledged "insurgent" now that he damned well will be one and with bloody good cause for it if he ever gets out. That's the inevitable result of what I know is going to be done to this boy . Even when there are valid grounds for arrest, even if he's as guilty as the day as long of attrocious crimes and not just of being unlucky as to who his relatives were (how much choice do you think a boy that young has? - Just asking.) The treatment that will be meted out to this boy by Iraqi jailers and interrogators and/or by their American "handlers" is guaranteed to fill him with a burning rage and hatred, particularly of Americans whom he will rightly blame for what is going to be done to him.

So I confidently predict that if and when he gets out. The first thing he'll want to do is to kill or maim an American or one of their Iraqi sidekicks but an American, any American, would be better, more satisfying, more just, and that in the blood soaked hell that is the Iraq created by the USA he's very likely to get lots of chances to do just that.

There's something else I know and it leads me to make another prediction all his relatives know what sort of revolting treatment is going to be dished out to him by his Iraqi jailers and interrogators and/or by their American "handlers" and they're not going to wait 'til he gets out before striking back.

There is nothing nothing that America can do to make things better in Iraq. America is the problem in Iraq everything else is a symptom, an effect, not a cause.



All of Us Participate in a New Iraq

All of Us Participate in a New Iraq


Last Friday I was at the University of Texas, Austin, giving a presentation on Iraq. After dumping an hour's worth of horrible "real news" about Iraq, I was asked the question I have by now learnt to expect: "Is there anything good happening there at all?" I understand why people ask this. There must be some hope, somewhere, right?

I suggested that there are always the military press releases folks can go to, for an "upper" about Iraq. Here I recounted one of these bogus "news" reports. Released during my second stint in Iraq, a report of May 21, 2004, stated: "The Coalition Provisional Authority has recently given out hundreds of soccer balls to Iraqi children in Ramadi, Karbala, and Hilla. Iraqi women from Hilla sewed the soccer balls, which are emblazoned with the phrase, All of Us Participate in a New Iraq."


That same evening after my presentation, I received an email from a doctor friend in Baghdad. The email pertains to the question I was asked, so I quote it here:

"Dear Mr. Dahr, I am wondering why? Americans and coalition forces were supported by pro-Iranian Militias, like the Badr Organization! The support and help of Iraqi Shiites at first helped to somewhat stabilize and maintain the occupation. Death squads trained by the coalition forces are working day and night under cover of the Ministry of Interior, attacking innocent people: both Sunnis and Shiites!!!! In spite of knowing very well who is doing what, we still see no improvement in the security situation. On the contrary, the situation is getting worse. I have many colleagues, doctors and other professionals, who are now begging for help to get out of Iraq for their lives and for their families' lives! The only losers are the Iraqis. The only Iraqis who are benefiting from this war are those who spend all their life outside Iraq and are now living in their big castle, the green zone!!!!! Everyone now knows that the invasion of Iraq was carried out upon falsified testimonies and lies!!!! What is going on on the ground differs a lot from what the media tells!!!!! I mean that."

As bad as things are in Iraq today, it may come as a surprise to many people in the US, including many who never supported the illegal invasion and occupation to begin with, that Iraq has been a disaster from the first day of the invasion.

Each time I hear this question, several scenes from my time there flash through my mind, and I am left pondering whether anything good has happened in Iraq since the beginning of the US-led invasion.

That's just the first few paragraphs the complete article is here.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Iran Chamber

For those interested in learning more about Iran I recommend Iran Chamber generally. You may sometimes be very surprised at what you read — they strive to be balanced and accurate.

In the absence of a well-documented, comprehensive and permanent source on Iran/Persia that can accommodate many viewers' needs and wishes in providing information on all aspects of Iranian/Persian history and culture, and in compliance with the needs of those who are concerned with Iran/Persia and its issues, "Iran Chamber Society" (Andjoman-e Otagh-e Iran) was founded in 2001. "Iran chamber Society" is nonprofit without any political, religious and otherwise affiliations with any governmental institutions.

This society was founded in order to bring Iranologists and those scholars who are concerned with Iran/Persia together under one roof. Therefore, we invite all Iranian and non-Iranian scholars to join "Iran Chamber Society" and become contributing member and share their articles and papers on this platform with rest of the world. ... ... ...

The site is both comprehensive and well organised into the following main sections:

Art & Culture of Iran

"This is a comprehensive section, which pays lots of attention to Iran's culture, cultural events, music, religious music, musicians, musical instruments, visual arts, artists, cinema, film makers, language, literature, writers, poets and their biographies. Iranian old scripts and their fonts, museums, galleries, cuisines and their recipes, rituals, religions, Persian carpet, architecture and many more are covered here as well"

History of Iran

"This section covers the historic events, history of ancient Iran (Persia), birth of the Iranian (Persian) Empires, ancient Imperial Armies, historic inscriptions, Greek and Arab invasions, Iranian identity challenges, Mongolian invasion, rebirth of Imperial Iranian dynasties, Persian Gulf and its history. Historic movements and revolutions, contemporary history, history articles, historical personalities and photos are featured too."

Iran's Guide

"In this section attention's gone to Iran's cities, places, geography, facts and figures, national monuments, flags and national anthem, cities' dialing codes, government and ministries, Iranian embassies abroad, media and sport. Iranian all times personalities are covered here as well as Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran, education, higher education, universities in Iran, Iranian people and tribes."

Each of these sections has many articles all of which are either PDFs or are printer friedly.

The final section The Podium is a collection of articles on various aspects of Iranian society and history. I'm not going to say anything further about it because you really need to find out for yourself. I do however suggest that you download and print this article by Taymaz Rastin, written in October 2004 (PDF) "Past Failures and Present Opportunities: Iranian-American Relations and The Context of The Current Nuclear Standoff" Don't be put of be the fact that it's 38 pages long you're quite likely to want to read it again :-)

Finally on a personal note check out some of the photogalleries — if you've ever been they'll make you long to be back and if you haven't they'll make you long to go.


(cross posted to markfromireland)

The position of women in Iraq and Iran

Iraq: The Women's Story

(Channel 4 Dispatches
Monday 8th May, 20:00 hrs)

This is British TV station Channel 4's microsite for their "Dispatches" documentary screened last Monday. Dispatches documentaries tend to be very good and this one is no exception.

You might also like to read what Gert has to say about the documentary. (Gert's blog is well worth reading.)

Women in pre-revolutionary, revolutionary and post-revolutionary Iran

(By: Monique Girgis, 1996)

This 3 page report is one to print and read a few times. It's a little dated now but still gives a good overview. I think she's too kind to the Pahlavis especially when it comes to the "White Revolution" but nevertheless it's well written, well researched, and well argued. Recommended.


"President Bush: Success in Tal Afar Shows Evidence Iraqi Strategy Working
By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service.

WASHINGTON - President Bush today pointed to the dramatic turnaround in Tal Afar, Iraq -- a city once gripped by terrorist oppression that's now undergoing a vibrant revitalization -- as concrete evidence that the national strategy for victory in Iraq is working.


Calling the northern Iraqi city with its diverse population "a microcosm of Iraq," the president said its example "gives me confidence in our strategy."

Tal Afar's 200,000 residents lived under the intimidation of insurgents who were using the city as a base to organize, train and equip terror cells.

U.S. and Iraqi forces drove out the insurgents in "Operation Restore Rights," in fall 2005. Government forces are now rebuilding housing, schools and other facilities.


Bush said it's understandable how U.S. citizens who see horrific news images from Iraq but never hear of successes like the one in Tal Afar might question the U.S. mission there. "I understand how Americans have had their confidence shaken," he said."

Source: (Michnews' slogan is: "Most In-depth, Conservative, Honest News & Commentary")

North Iraq blast kills 17 people
A car bomb has killed at least 17 people and injured 35 in the northern Iraqi town of Talafar, police say.

The bomb in a pick-up truck exploded on Tuesday at a market in the town, 150km (90 miles) from the Syrian border.


The hospital director was quoted as saying the final casualty toll was 20 dead and 70 injured.

Talafar has seen fighting between militants and US-led forces, who regained control last year.


Source: BBC (The BBC's slogan is: "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation")

Car bombings down in Iraq, military says
Updated 5/9/2006 4:59 AM ET By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY

BAGHDAD — The number of deadly car bomb attacks in Iraq has dropped by nearly 20% this year, despite a recent wave of bombings, according to the U.S. military.
The decline is largely the result of U.S. and Iraqi offensives that have disrupted routes used to smuggle foreign suicide bombers into Iraq and raids on car bomb factories, said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the chief U.S. military spokesman.


The recent spike in car bombings doesn't necessarily mean the downward trend has been reversed, Lynch said.

Car bombs and other large attacks occur in waves, said Ben Venzke, chief executive officer of Washington-based IntelCenter, which monitors terrorist groups and their activities. The time between attacks is used to construct bombs, train and gather people to launch them, he said.

The different number of insurgent groups launching car bomb attacks in Iraq makes it difficult to effectively break up car bomb networks, [Venzke - MFI] he said.


Car bombings and other suicide attacks are largely the work of foreign fighters who are smuggled into Iraq, Lynch said. They are generally mass-casualty bombings aimed at civilians or Iraqi recruits at army or police bases.

The U.S. military points to several trends that show a reduction in foreign fighters and car bombings:

• The number of foreign fighters captured entering Iraq dropped from 44 in November to 28 in February and 20 in March, Lynch said.

• U.S. and Iraqi troops killed or captured 115 bomb makers last year and an additional 26 through March of this year.

• Suicide attacks, which include car bombings and individuals wrapped with explosives, have declined by two-thirds, from an average of 75 per month last year to 25 per month so far this year, Lynch said. Not all car bombings are suicide attacks; some vehicles are remotely detonated.

Source: USA Today I neither know nor care what USA Today's slogan is.

I remember Tal-Afar do you? Maybe this or the next one in the sequence will refresh your memory.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Obedient Poodle Says

"yes master" hang on I thought Basra was "calm" now. The British government assures us that all that the "volatile cleric's" supporters did was throw stones and set a tank or two on fire. Surely they've got the place back to being a "safe zone" by now. It's not as if there have ever been shocking things like British soldiers acting as agents provocateurs by running around the place dressed like followers of the "fire brand cleric" laden with explosives and other equipment and having to be rescued from the jail into which the police had thrown them.

I mean the Brits are good at the pacification by winning the hearts and minds type of thing aren't they? Aren't they? And it's certainly not the case that al-Sadr and his followers are opposing the break up of Iraq is it? And surely nobody could suspect that the administration in Washington wants war with Iran and that so does Yankee Poodle Tony. There's no evidence for any of that is there?

Failed States Index - 2006

"For the purposes of this index, a failing state is one in which the government does not have effective control of its territory, is not perceived as legitimate by a significant portion of its population, does not provide domestic security or basic public services to its citizens, and lacks a monopoly on the use of force. A failing state may experience active violence or simply be vulnerable to violence."

The Failed States Index

The report is well written, well researched, and well diagrammed. One for your bookmarks.

Speaking of failed states:

Last year offered several good illustrations of what might be termed “pockets of failure” within otherwise strong and stable states. In the United States, Hurricane Katrina exposed gaping holes in the country’s disaster preparedness. Viewers around the world watched in astonishment last August and September as the world’s superpower left thousands of its citizens stranded for days.

The Failed States Index

Mission accomplished, a heck of a job, well done.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Ali al-Saadi is a lucky little boy

This is Ali al-Saadi. The upset but relieved looking man is his father Faarg.

Ali was hurt in a bomb explosion in Baghdad today Monday, May 8, 2006, that makes him a lucky little boy, very lucky to judge by the 'photo. Of course he's a brown person and he lives in a country invaded and occupied illegaly, brutally, racistly, and incompetently, by the same people who "managed" and indeed still are "managing" the Hurricane Katrina emergency and its aftermath that was, and continues to be, a "heck of a job." Isn't that right? - A "heck of a job." Yes indeed a "heck of a job." They're doing a "heck of a job" in Iraq too. Ask Ali or his father Farg, it's been one of the most efficiently managed lootings of two treasuries ever accomplished by private interests and their lobbyists. Two treasuries for the price of one the Iraqi Treasury and the U.S. one. But let's get back to Ali.

Ali's lucky but he's not all that lucky what with him being brown and living in a country that's been invaded, occupied, and is now being carved up by the (mostly white) USA and its (mostly white) allies. But he's still luckier than the seven other Iraqis and the U.S. soldier who were killed today. That makes eight families plunged into grief. Ali's family isn't one of them Ali appears to have escaped with fairly minor head injuries and if you look closely it appears that some shrapnel got through his T-Shirt but there's no blood visible so all in all Ali has been lucky enough. In fact Ali's even luckier than he seems. When he wakes up he's going to see his father. So Ali's going to know that his dad is still alive. He's going to know that his dad hasn't been dragged off, cuffed, tortured, and then killed, by one of the death squads currently rampaging around Baghdad helping the (mostly white) US and her (mostly white) allies carve up the country that Ali calls "home. "

For some strange reason the captions the news agencies supplied with this photo and indeed all the other photos don't talk about how lucky Ali is. They give a few details and then talk about the Iraqi politicians arguing about who will get which post in the new Cabinet then they all talk about how U.S. and Iraqi officials hope that the outcome of all this arguing will make a difference. I don't know why they think this will make a difference and I'd be prepared to wager a lot of money that they don't either.

What I do know is that Ali al-Saadi is a lucky little boy. I hope Ali's luck continues to hold for him.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday's Bombing in Karbala (كربلاء‎ )

Sunday's bombing in the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala (كربلاء‎ ) is an ominous development that will be interpreted by many as an extreme provocation.

Karbala is dedicated to Imam Husayn - Husayn ibn Ali, the prophet's grandson it is the site of the Battle of Karbala fought on Tenth of Muħarram in 61 A.H. (October 10, 680). During the course of the battle Imam Husayn, his baby son, and his followers were massacred. The child was killed in his father's arms.

The city is the site of the Masjidu l-Hussayn - the Imam's tomb and is considered by the Shia to be an extremely holy place superceded in importance only by Mecca, Medina and Najaf. As such it is a place of pilgrimage particularly during the festival of Ashoura and was the scene of the 2004 Ashoura Massacre.

This article from the September 2004 edition of Shianews describes the events leading up to the battle of Kerbala on 10 Muharram, 61 AH (October 10, 680,) and its aftermath:

A brief look at Kerbala

This microsite from the UK's Channel4 "Karbala - City of Martyrs" has a lot of information compactly and well presented for those wanting to learn more.


Basra is a 'safe zone' no more

We've been here before:

Fatal Basra crash sparks unrest

Remember this?

British tanks storm Basra jail to free undercover soldiers

You can refresh your memory about what that was all about here:
"Incident" in Al Amarah

You've got to love this masterly piece of understated headline writing from the Beeb:

Basra is a 'safe zone' no more

Two quick points:

  1. The tactic has precedents in Northern Ireland, where helicopters were routinely used to avoid the threat from IRA bombs and snipers in "bandit country."

    - Yes true and the tactic stopped being used when IRA got weapons capable of shooting those helicopters down.

  2. "Helicopters are increasingly being used to replace vehicle patrols in the region."

    - In other words they've completely lost control and they're isolated in their bases.