Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

He’s baaaaack!

May 4, 2010

A few months ago I posted about Hakimullah Mehsud, the violent leader of the Pakistani Taliban. Shortly after, he was reported to have been killed in a drone strike, only to reappear in this shocking video, released just in time to coincide with the bombing attempt in Time Square.

Over on Huffington Post, some people in the comments sections are expressing their dismay that the culprit in the attempted bombing was not a “teabagger” or a right-wing extremist (nice to see that America is this divided, eh?). Other publications, such as Mother Jones, are expressing similar lunacy. Hakimullah and his Tehreek-e-Taliban may be disappointed that scores of people were not incinerated in this car bomb attempt, but they must be happy and enthusiastic to see the cracks that are splintering through the United States due to politics. Car bombs aren’t really necessary…America is tearing itself apart on its own.

Meanwhile, I have been commenting on The Long War Journal, where some of my fellow commentators have used the Time Square attack to berate Pakistan. While Pakistan has made some dumb mistakes in the past (USA and all countries have too) it’s not really fair to point the finger at the state of Pakistan because a car bomb was found in NYC. Up until now, Hakimullah’s TTP has largely been targeting Pakistanis, including the ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency), which is often accused of supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. While Pakistan has attempted to route the Taliban from its tribal areas, its cities — the markets, schools, rallies, and government buildings — are paying the price in the form of increasingly deadly suicide bombings that have taken thousands of lives. During these attacks, the commuters in Time Square have gone about their busy days uninterrupted. This car bomb operation is very disturbing, but Americans should not act as if they are the only ones suffering from terrorism. Believe it or not, we have actually been lucky these last 8 years.  The citizens of Lakki Marwat — a small town in Pakistan’s Northwest that was hit by a massive truck bomb at the beginning of the year — might agree.

These new revelations regarding the Time Square plot are confirming my suspicions, which I mention in my first link, that Mehsud and other warlords are filling the vacuum that has been left behind by Osama Bin Laden, who could either be dead or increasingly irrelevant in this seemingly never-ending conflict.

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Matthews lets the air out

December 2, 2009

I thought it was dumb when Chris Matthews asked “is it a crime to call Al-Qaeda?” while discussing the shooting at Fort Hood. I also thought it was dumb when he practically giggled with Keith Olbermann about the tingle that was running up his leg after Obama spoke.  This tops it all though.

Meanwhile, Michael Moore has set himself loose on Obama, saying that he is the new “War President” and comparing his speech to Bush’s surge address in 2007. Its almost as if the American far-left is trying to eat its own head with all of this madness taking place.

Off topic, but in case you need it, here’s something to lighten the mood…watch the Iraqi “shoe thrower” get a shoe chucked at him.

Startling Numbers

December 1, 2009

Where do you think the most dangerous place on earth would be? Would it be in Somalia? Iraq? Perhaps somewhere else in the Muslim World, like Afghanistan or Pakistan?

An overpass in Tijuana, Mexico. Drug cartels have taken to using them as a way to show off their victims. Photo/Corey Hunt

President Obama is set to define the Afghan Mission as a war of vital defense and many of his advisers have labeled the Taliban strongholds of Pakistan as the world’s most dangerous places. But guess again. The most dangerous place for for well, just about anyone, is right over the US border, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s volatile border city of Ciudad Juarez has the world’s highest murder rate, followed by Caracas, Venezuela, and the US city of New Orleans, a Mexican security watchdog said Wednesday.

Ciudad Juarez — the scene of regular and brutal score-settling between rival drug gangs — has 130 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, said the Citizen’s Council for Public Security (CCSP) in a statement.

Caracas has 96 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, and New Orleans registers 95, said the Mexican non-governmental organization, which based its figures on media reports and an FBI report for the United States.

Caracas was listed as the murder capital of the world in the September 2008 Foreign Policy magazine, quoting official figures of 130 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

The Mexican NGO put Baghdad, Iraq, in 10th position with 40 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, and another Mexican border city, Tijuana, in fourth place with 73.

I’ll make this point through another comparison. In the month of November, 88 civilians died violent deaths in Iraq, along with 34 members of the Iraqi Police and Army. After 6 years of war, this is considered to be the calmest month ever in Iraq, which now has a murder rate roughly equivalent to the United States. By contrast, more than 200 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez last month, making the Mexican border city pretty much the world’s deadliest place. Remember, Juarez is a city of 1.6 million people, while Iraq is roughly the size of California, making these numbers all the more startling. The incessant shooting sprees, abductions, and even grenade attacks have led some in the global media to believe that the region is “bordering on anarchy”. Reporters who embed with Mexican police and army units follow the same protocol as they would in a war zone, donning bullet-proof vests and helmets. The demented acts of violence committed by the drug cartels mirrors intimidation methods used by Al-Qaeda, redefining the meaning of a terrorist threat.

So what can be done in Ciudad Juarez? Well, the citizens of the border city are starting to feel that an international peacekeeping force may be the only option left, believe it or not. The deployment of thousands of Mexican Army soldiers and Federal Police has only made the cartels, who focus much of their energy on killing one another, even more aggressive. Its basically a ground zero and a gathering point for scumbags, low-lives, and the most grotesque individuals our societies on both sides of the border has to offer. In addition to the drug cartels; sex offenders, serial killers, and other organized crime also operate with impunity across the city, which has resulted in the unsolved murders of hundreds of young women. American citizens should think about this before going out for a fix. After all, its our obsession with drugs that helps these people operate in the first place. A visit to a Mexican border city might be a D.A.R.E. officer’s best way to keep kids off of drugs.

Time to call it as it is

July 30, 2009

Yes, Iraq still exists. There was a time when it was the biggest story out there. It was in a state of complete chaos, devastating bombings rocking the country on a daily basis and militias roaming the street day and night, terrorizing and killing anyone who visited the wrong mosque. The situation was labeled a “civil war” by the media and just about anyone who tried to prove the opposite—that hope was not lost— was dismissed as a neocon or a “warmonger”. That was the past.

Iraqi army soldiers

These days, the Baghdad correspondents who many Americans invited into their homes in the evening to tell tales of death and destruction have gradually disappeared. Often, a Google search of certain Iraqi cities will yield few results. With two successful elections this year, stunning security success, and a departure of US troops from major cities, Iraq is on track to succeed.  But, despite a dramatic drop in news coverage that trends opposite a rise in progress and stability, you can still find regular articles in the newspaper, on TV and on the internet about the” War in Iraq”; usually they are about troop withdrawals or an attack that the enemies of humanity—the “minutemen”, as Michael Moore termed them—manage to pull off against Iraq’s civilian population. Either you hear that, or you hear nothing…that’s an industry that’s supposed to bring fairness and accuracy to the American population at work for you. Quite an achievement in society, isn’t it?

Although there is much work to be done, its time for the media to stop referring to the situation as “the war” and focus instead on Iraq’s emergence as a sovereign country with a fully capable army and police force that brought law, order, and stability to major Iraqi cities that were once deemed “lost” to the insurgency by conniving politicians, like Harry Reid, and hatchet-piece news reports that have had an awful tendency to dot the front pages of the New York Times and the evening news. In fairness to the Iraqi people, whether or not Iraq is “at war” can rightfully be questioned. Misleading the public by portraying Iraq as something it’s not is detrimental not only to society, but to humanity. Its hard to argue that a stable Iraq is in everyone’s interest, unless of course it doesn’t fit into your zealous political aspirations.

The biggest indication that Iraq’s dark days are behind it is the face of the insurgency, or lack thereof. Zarqawi is dead. Abu Ayyub Al-Maasri, his replacement, has not been heard from since 2007 and reports suggest he is in Afghanistan.  Al-Sadr and his hiddeous deputy, Abu Deraa, have scurried off to Iran without even a whimper. As of today, every man who has taken a major role as a leader in the insurgency has been killed, jailed, or fled the country, leaving the so-called resistance without leadership or any form of  logistical organization. Running gun battles and ambushes targeting the Iraqi Security Forces are down almost one-hundred percent while the ISF rules the streets in Basra, Ramadi, and Diyala. Then there are the elections. Last January saw a peaceful and successful democratic election that gave Iraqis the chance to join other democracies without having suicide attackers and car bombs detonate as they lined up. Last week, Iraq’s Kurdistan region went to the polls in a peaceful and efficient election, bringing a death blow to the once-resilient criticism that Iraq could never become a functioning democracy.  In layman’s terms, it’s over…everyone who wanted to see the Iraqis fail at building a stable, democratic society has lost, pure and simple. And “everyone” covers a lot of ground, from the despotic Arab regimes that surround Iraq, to the still blood-soaked streets of Tehran, and the halls of Congress that were witness to countless resolutions drafted up congressmen and woman who sought to derail the success of Iraq and Iraqis to protect their political investments. The latter have both a (D) and an (R) in front of their names.

Iraq still faces trouble, particularly from its neighbors. As the uprising in Iran refuses to give up, its hard to predict what the regime in Tehran could do if 70 million people hungry for democracy and secularization bring it into its death throws. We all know the horror of what the Baathists, Saddam supporters, and Sunni extremists did to Iraq after they fell from power, there is no doubt that, if Khomeinism implodes, it could spew out the same terrorism—such as market and café bombings—and Iraq could bear the brunt of this, especially if the Mullahs and their allies sought to shift media attention away from their demise, which is becoming more of a possibility each day. Personally, I don’t think it’s a coincidence June saw an increased rate of high-profile attacks against Iraqi civilians as protests raged next door in Iran. Of course, a desperate and humiliated Al-Qaeda in Iraq was also eager to make it seem as if their attacks, not the June 30th deadline, were driving American soldiers from Iraqi cities and back to their bases. Despite rabid media hopes and speculation, the violence that hit parts of Iraq in June has not spilled over into July, and this month looks to be as calm as May, which was the calmest month in Iraq since 2003.

A congragulations and an apology to the people of Iraq from politicians across the United States should be in order. I’m not naïve though, and you shouldn’t be either. In the eyes of the Reids and Pelosis of the world, Iraq mind as well have spun off the earth’s axis. It was a subject that scored them a few cheap political points and could be swept under the rug when everything backfired. In fact, if it wasn’t for the financial crisis, I can’t help but feel that American voters might have seen what had been going on behind the curtains and rightfully voted against these people. It amazes me how a Senator can declare an effort lost and refer to a 4-star general as a liar without being ran straight out of office. 2010 could bring some solace to those of us who stood by Iraq in the most difficult of times, but the real solace comes in the continued growth and success in Iraq: the markets re-opening, the schools being built, and the brave young men and women who enlist into Iraq’s security forces and take an oath to protect their fellow citizens, so they can bring their children in a nation that could prove to be the Middle East’s greatest success story.

More protests from far and wide

June 28, 2009

I’ve come to realize that I have devoted my blog to giving the Iranian people a voice these last few weeks. Blogs are not like the news, which has unfortunately found much more interest in celebrity deaths and the scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Instead, blogs can stay focused on the most important things.

Amidst all this, the Iranian people are not giving up…and their supporters are not giving up either. On Thursday, I attended a rally in San Francisco’s Union Square for a third time. it was my third event in 3 days. Just two days earlier, Iranian-American City Councilman Ross Mirkarimi succeeded in pushing the city to adopt a resolution in support of the protesters in Iran.

The evening concluded with the release of hundreds of green and black balloons, which dispersed above the city. 

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Meanwhile, in Iran today, thousands of people rallied outside of the Khobr Mosque, shouting slogans against Ahmadinejad and Khamenei and demanding that their votes be recognized.

Here’s what happened. Remember, its impossible for news sources to verify what’s happening in Iran right now because of extreme reporting restrictions. But the eyewitness accounts of thousands of people taking part in this rally appear to be very true. Even in light of brutal government repression, which President Mousavi’s (that’s the fitting title) wife has termed “martial law”, the Iranian people are still trying to change their country for the better.

Here are a couple more photos from Thursday’s rally…

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I thought this was a really great photo…hats off to the designer of the sign.

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Tehran protests reach the Bay Area

June 18, 2009

The reports that the rallies in Tehran are stretching more than 5 miles across the city may be incorrect. 8,000 plus miles might be more fitting. Over vast oceans, Iranians from around the world are joining with their countrymen and women who are fighting  for their rights in their homeland.

I spent Wednesday evening in San Francisco’s Union Square, standing with the Bay Area’s Iranian-American community to protest the “re-election” of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the brutal crackdown that is causing mayhem and suffering across Iran’s major cities. I was happy to see so many cars honk their horns as they drove past the gathering. Some occupants even yelled to us in support while motorcyclists revved their engines to show that they stand in solidarity with the Iranian people.  

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The message was very clear: Iranians from far and wide, all over the world, are not going to stand for what Ahmadinejad has done. Some protesters waved pictures of Mir Hossein Mousavi, declaring that he is the real president of Iran, not Ahmadinejad. . Chants echoed by the protesters included “Oh Iran, please stay well. Ahmadi, go burn in hell!”. I myself held up a sign with a message calling for President Obama to declare his support for Mousavi.

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Protesters also called on the UN for support, urging the world body to step in and intervene. Personally, I have little hope that the UN will do anything to help ensure that the will of the Iranian people is represented. After all, this is the same UN that brought Ahmadinejad in as the keynote speaker at a racism conference in Geneva (I have the link to his tirade in my post below). On my way to the protest, I walked past the United Nations Plaza and saw the UN flag flapping in the wind.

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After walking through the plaza and meeting up with the protesters, it reminded me that we all live in one world and need to work together to make it a better place. I’ve always thought that was the main message of the United Nations. Right now, the rest of the world isn’t doing enough to help Iran in its struggle for freedom. However, there was no shortage of American citizens who were ready and willing to stand with the Iranian people. Now if only our leaders had that same will…

I will be attending Thursday Night’s protest and hope to have many more photos to post. I urge everyone to follow the election unrest in Iran very closely.

 

Iran’s election reveals two fraudulent leaders

June 15, 2009

“Hope and Change” probably sounds like a great phrase for the millions of people who are revolting against the theocracy in Iran right now.

For 3 days now I have been following the elections in Iran and I am keeping close contact with some of my Iranian friends who are actively involved in the protests that have nearly brought life in Tehran to a halt. These protests are the most significant since 1979, and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the religious ruler of Iran who hailed the results as a divine victory from God, must be shaking under his robe. Ahmadinejad continues to slap his people in the face by saying the outrage that has set the streets alight is no different than the anger after a soccer match. But what can expected from someone who makes a fool of himself at a UN racism conference and mocks the tragedy of the Holocaust.

Most people I have talked to, even a hard-left European aquantaince I spoke to the other day, believe that Ahmadinejad is nothing short of a fraud, or Ahmadine-fraud, as the media has begun to call him. When the elections started, I felt almost certain that this would happen, because its what you can expect from a thuggish theocracy. That said, my anger is not only reserved for the Mullahs in Tehran, it lies with three of my own politicians who are milling around Washington and elsewhere in the world, grappling to find the right words–or more likely, the better way to keep alive the planned “negotiations” with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei as the legitimate rulers of the Iranian nation. These three would be President Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One of my favorite authors, Christopher Hitchens, scorched Clinton in his most recent article about the elections in Iran:

Shame on all those media outlets that have been complicit in this dirty lie all last week. And shame also on our pathetic secretary of state, who said that she hoped that “the genuine will and desire” of the people of Iran would be reflected in the outcome. Surely she knows that any such contingency was deliberately forestalled to begin with.

I strongly recommend reading the rest of this article by Hitchens, who is far more experienced on the subject than I am and has traveled to Iran several times, including multiple visits to the mosques that preach the anti-American, anti-Israel diatribe that has allowed the Khomeinists to stay in power these last thirty years.

Anyhow, I am appalled by the lack of outrage expressed by President Obama. Apparently, there isn’t enough “Hope and Change” left over for the people of Iran, who are crying out for help and are being met with a muted response. Who could forget the speech Obama gave the night of his victory? I recall the President vowing to stand up to “those who would tear this world down.” So much for that I guess. At least, many Iranians must be thinking this as they are beaten, electrocuted, and even shot by revolutionary thugs armed with guns by the Iranian authorities.

As the protests rage, Iran holds the potential for a brighter future. My concern right now is that the millions of people marching against theocratic rule are lacking a strong leader who can redefine the meaning of “revolution”. Sure, Mir Hossein Mousavi would have been a better and more receptive leader than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but at the end of the day, he’s still part of the establishment and, according to Kenneth R. Timmerman, played a vital role in the creation of Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist group that has brought much mayhem to Lebanon, the Middle East, and the world. Luckily, the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, suffered a humiliating defeat in Lebanon’s recent election. While mentioning this subject, I would like to quote Mr. Hitchens again, who, like me, cannot accept that a demagogue like Ahmadinejad was able to secure re-election while the tide turns on Islamic fundamentalism elsewhere in the world.

The obvious evidence of fixing, fraud, and force to one side, there is another reason to doubt that an illiterate fundamentalist like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could have increased even a state-sponsored plebiscite-type majority. Everywhere else in the Muslim world, in every election in the last two years, the tendency has been the other way. In Morocco in 2007, the much-ballyhooed Justice and Development Party wound up with 14 percent of the vote. In Malaysia and Indonesia, the predictions of increased market share for the pro-Sharia parties were likewise falsified. In Iraq this last January, the local elections penalized the clerical parties that had been making life a misery in cities like Basra. In neighboring Kuwait last month, the Islamist forces did poorly, and four women—including the striking figure of Rola Dashti, who refuses to wear any headgear—were elected to the 50-member parliament. Most important of all, perhaps, Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah was convincingly and unexpectedly defeated last week in Lebanon after an open and vigorous election, the results of which were not challenged by any party.

Indeed. Hitchens’ summation certainly makes a lot of sense, and I wish that President Obama had the decency to say exactly that in a direct address to the people of Iran–not an address to reach out to the bloody and repressive theocracy, but an address to the Iranians, both young and old, who are tired of living under a country that is ruled by Sharia law and ravaged by unemployment and economic stagnation.

President Obama, you have a chance to stand up for everything you campaigned on. Face the reality that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are not, and will never be, trustworthy partners in peace. Iran, the United Sates, and the entire international community are at a crossroads that, with or without a good outcome, will be of historical proportions.

All of this, though, is just wishful thinking. The fact is, the situation in Iran, as well as the insanity that is threatening to plunge the Korean Peninsula into nuclear war, has revealed Obama to be a phony and a leader who is incapable of standing up for justice. His first 100 days have been dedicated to protecting the rights of mass murderers like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and he has been very vocal in his opposition to the “Previous Administration”, but sadly his concern for oppression and human rights doesn’t seem to apply to anywhere but his own country.

A potential new horizon

June 12, 2009

A friend of mine sent me this video from downtown Tehran…its a rally for Hossein Mousavi, who is challenging Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some of my Iranian friends are casting their ballots as I write this.