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Showing posts from April, 2008

Middle East Online

Middle East Online
MOGADISHU - Ethiopian forces killed at least 12 civilians on Wednesday after a roadside bomb exploded near their water tanker in southwest Somalia, witnesses said.

"At least 12 people were killed and nine others wounded by fire from Ethiopian soldiers," witness Abdurahman Takow said

He said three of the wounded appeared to be severely hurt.

The bomb explosion in the town of Baidoa killed one Ethiopian soldier, prompting the troops to open fire in all directions, said Mohamed Adde Ali, another witness, giving the same death toll. - Obama’s ‘Race Neutral’ Strategy Unravels of its Own Contradictions - Obama’s ‘Race Neutral’ Strategy Unravels of its Own Contradictions
The world views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Sen. Barack Obama were incompatible from the start, just as the mythical American Manifest Destiny world view is directly at odds with the facts as perceived by Blacks in the United States. Wright finally forced Obama to choose sides in the conflict ofRevWrightObamaWOrried racial/historical visions, and in doing so, performed a service on behalf of clarity. Obama lashed out in a startlingly personal manner, calling Wright a "caricature" of himself and linking the minister to forces that give "comfort to those who prey on hate." Rev. Wright exposed the flimsy tissues of so-called "race neutrality" in a nation founded on racial oppression. - Freedom Rider: Sean Bell and Wesley Snipes - Freedom Rider: Sean Bell and Wesley Snipes: "The ghastly record of police acquittals in the death of unarmed Blacks continues to unfold. In a verdict that 'surprised' even the governor, a New York judge found three cops innocent of all charges in the 50-shot volley that killed Sean Bell on the morning of his wedding, wounding two of his companions. 'The police have no expectation of punishment, even when they kill without cause.' It made little difference that two of the policemen were also of African descent. But race seems to factor heavily in some celebrity cases. Just ask actor Wesley Snipes, who was sentenced to three years on an income tax charge."

Al Jazeera English - News - Islamic Courts Claims Somali Gains

Al Jazeera English - News - Islamic Courts Claims Somali Gains: "The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) claims it has taken control of several towns in Somalia, including the provincial town of Jawhar.

The government in Mogadishu, 90km to the south, has denied the claims.

It is the third time in two months that the ICU have taken over the town.

The ICU say they returned to Jawhar at the request of local tribal leaders who asked them to step in to restore order following the withdrawal of government forces." Somalia: 13 Killed in Capital After Insurgents Attack Military Post (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: 13 Killed in Capital After Insurgents Attack Military Post (Page 1 of 1): "At least 13 people were killed in Somalia's war-battered capital Saturday night after Islamist guerrillas attacked a military post, witnesses reported.

Among the dead were nine government soldiers and two insurgents. A mother and her child were killed when a mortar slammed into their home, according to neighbors."

Afghanistan's insurgency spreading north |

Afghanistan's insurgency spreading north | "The insurgency in Afghanistan has not been 'contained,' Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell testified before a Senate subcommittee in February. 'It's been sustained in the south, it's grown a bit in the east, and what we've seen are elements of it spread to the west and the north.'

A recent study by Sami Kovanen, an analyst with the security firm Vigilant Strategic Services of Afghanistan, echoed this assessment. He reported 465 insurgent attacks in areas outside the restive southern regions during the first three months of 2008, a 35 percent increase compared with the same period last year. In the central region around Kabul there have been 80 insurgent attacks from January through March of this year, a 70 percent jump compared to the first three months of last year."

A Corrosive Stain On The US Soul : Information Clearing House - ICH

A Corrosive Stain On The US Soul : Information Clearing House - ICH: "I grew up believing that Americans did not torture prisoners, as Hitler's and Stalin's agents did. There were rogue episodes of American brutality, but to make torture a national policy? Unthinkable.

No one should be in any doubt that torture was what President Bush had in mind. No one should be fooled by Orwellian talk of 'enhanced interrogation techniques.'"

: Information Clearing House - ICH

: Information Clearing House - ICH: "Reverend Jeremiah Wright appeared on PBS Bill Moyers Journal on Friday night and delivered a knockout punch to the bully-boys in the corporate media. It was an impressive performance that left the political assassins over at FOX News choking on their sausage-rolls. Wright showed that he is neither a fanatic nor an “America hater”; just an extremely well-read and principled man with an unshakable commitment to justice. Wright has also paid his dues; he's an ex-Marine who served in Vietnam when most of his critics were either hiding behind their student deferments or languishing in the 'Champagne Unit' of the Texas National Guard. He's earned the right to say whatever he chooses.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:

'And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she f…

Weeping schoolgirls wish happy birthday Saddam

Weeping schoolgirls wish happy birthday Saddam: "AWJA, Iraq, April 28 (Reuters) - Hundreds of Iraqi schoolchildren were brought to the modest mausoleum of Saddam Hussein on Monday to celebrate the birthday of the executed dictator in the village where he was born."
Saddam, who was hanged in late 2006 for crimes against humanity, is hated in much of Iraq. But in parts of his native Salahuddin Province, especially among his fellow Sunni Arabs, he is still revered.

"Bush, Bush you low-life! Saddam's blood is not cheap!" a crowd of pupils in white uniforms from a nearby girls' school chanted while standing around Saddam's grave in the mausoleum where he is buried among displays and photos of his reign.

"There are two things we will never give up: Saddam and Iraq!" the girls chanted. Several of them wept.

Investigators: Millions in Iraq contracts never finished

Investigators: Millions in Iraq contracts never finishedThe 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.

The Un-American Treatment of Sami al-Arian - by Charley Reese

The Un-American Treatment of Sami al-Arian - by Charley Reese
When our government acts, it acts in our name. If its acts are lawful and honorable, all's well and good. When they are dishonorable, we have a choice: Either we dissent or assent, even if by our silence.

In the case of Dr. Sami al-Arian, the Bush Justice Department has acted in a most disgraceful manner. Al-Arian was arrested in February 2003 with great fanfare (U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the arrest). The voluminous indictment in general terms accused al-Arian of supporting terrorism by being the U.S. leader of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian pro-independence group the U.S. government chooses to call a terrorist organization. Rebel army resumes campaign of abducting child fighters in Africa Rebel army resumes campaign of abducting child fighters in Africa: "JOHANNESBURG — The rebel Lord's Resistance Army appears to have begun a new campaign of abducting child fighters in central Africa, after balking at signing a peace deal earlier this month. The move raises fears that the group is planning to renew its decades-long insurgency and expand it beyond the borders of Uganda.

All of the abductions have occurred in remote bush areas. In the raid about which the most is known, rebel fighters abducted 99 men, women and children in Obo, a town in the southeastern corner of the Central African Republic, near the borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. The rebels moved into this largely lawless triangle two years ago, after five LRA commanders were indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. (Only two of those are still alive.) It is difficult to establish precisely how many people have been abducted - Amnesty…

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 04/25/2008 | U.S. Afghan supply lines depend on Islamic militant

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 04/25/2008 | U.S. Afghan supply lines depend on Islamic militant: "BARA, Pakistan — The only thing standing between Pakistan's Taliban and the lifeline for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan may be an Islamist warlord who controls the area near Pakistan's famed Khyber Pass.

In an interview with McClatchy, Mangal Bagh, who leads a group called Lashkar-i-Islam, voiced his disdain for America but said he's rebuffed an offer from the Taliban to join them.

Truckloads of food, equipment and fuel for NATO troops wind through the Khyber Pass daily to the bustling border at Torkham. Last month, Taliban fighters bombed fuel trucks waiting at Torkham to cross into Afghanistan, and last week, fighting between Bagh's men and a pocket of Taliban resistance closed the highway for several days."

Somaliland.Org » Somaliland: Africa’s Best Kept Secret

Somaliland.Org » Somaliland: Africa’s Best Kept Secret: "After my brief visit, I now fully appreciate the support Somaliland is receiving from her visitors including the admiration of acclaimed scholars such as Prof. Ali Mazrui, Prof. William Reno, Prof. George Eshiwani, Gerard Prunier, Bernard Helander, I.M. Lewis, and the courageous Prof. Iqbal Jhazbhay of South Africa to mention just a few.
The first thing that strikes a foreigner against his/her expectations is the peace, tranquility and order in the city. Unbelievably, one can walk or drive on the streets of Hargeisa by night without the slightest fear of muggings, carjacking and armed robberies, much unlike Nairobi and other major towns of Kenya where the government has nearly ceded control to organized crime. A robust and lively city, it is in many ways similar to the sprawling Eastleigh estate, in terms of aggressive commerce and social lifestyles.

However, the similarity ends there. Where eastleigh is crime prone, water an…

Garowe Online - Home

Garowe Online - Home

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2008 - 7:15:07 PM

Puntland authorities hand ONLF officials to Ethiopia: Report
25 Apr 25, 2008 - 11:13:44 AM

GAROWE, Somalia Apr 25 (Garowe Online) - Authorities in the self-governing region of Puntland, in northern Somalia, arrested and handed over to Ethiopian intelligence services ranking officers of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), informed sources confirmed to Garowe Online.

Abdinur Mohamed Soyan and Dhire Oof, both members of the ONLF Central Committee, were arrested by Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS) agents on April 22 at a hotel in Garowe, the capital city of Puntland.

Amnesty urges Ethiopia to probe Mogadishu mosque executions - Yahoo! News

Amnesty urges Ethiopia to probe Mogadishu mosque executions - Yahoo! News
NAIROBI (AFP) - Amnesty International on Friday called on Ethiopia to investigate allegations that its troops killed at least 21 people, including 11 unarmed civilians, in a mosque in the Somali capital.

The rights group cited several sources which said Ethiopian troops carried out the killings on April 19. The Ethiopian government has rejected the claims.

At least 10 other people were killed by Ethiopian forces near the Al-Hidaya mosque in northern Mogadishu, bringing the death toll to 31, an Amnesty statement said.

Petraeus promotion an ominous sign of possible war with Iran | The Progressive

Petraeus promotion an ominous sign of possible war with Iran | The Progressive
The promotion of Gen. David Petraeus is another ominous sign that the Bush administration may attack Iran.

President Bush is nominating Petraeus, Commanding General of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, to replace Adm. William Fallon as head of Centcom: U.S. Central Command, which oversees the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fallon was forced to resign last month after his outspoken opposition to an attack on Iran. Petraeus, by contrast, has been heating up the rhetoric against Iran. Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Vacate Villages in Mogadishu, Bodies Discovered (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Vacate Villages in Mogadishu, Bodies Discovered (Page 1 of 1): "The Ethiopian troops in the recent times based in villages of Heliwa neighborhood north of Mogadishu have pulled out there on Wednesday morning-residents said.

The soldiers have taken out from SOS and Wahar Adde villages where they arrived after a heavy fighting between the Ethiopian-Somali troops and Islamic courts fighters occurred there in this week.

One resident who left the area after the soldiers left told Shabelle that Four bodies killed by the Ethiopian troops were discovered the vacated areas.

The Ethiopian troops have disappeared towards former pasta industry of the same Heliwa neighborhood where they have key army base."

TPMCafe | Talking Points Memo | Georgetown University Terminates Douglas Feith

TPMCafe | Talking Points Memo | Georgetown University Terminates Douglas Feith: "It's not much but it's something. Georgetown University has decided not to renew Doug Feith's contract.

Word from campus is that both students and faculty had pretty much had it with the arch war criminal walking around campus although I also heard that he is such a goofy, pathetic guy that some students felt sorry for him. One told me, 'he's like the nerdiest loser I ever saw. He cannot have done the things he's accused of. He's too obtuse.'

I told her to read Arendt's 'The Banality of Evil.'

In any case, the Jesuits have done themselves proud by, at long last, giving Feith his walking papers. I wonder where we'll turn up next. In a McCain administration or in the dock at the Hague?"

Ethiopia Terror army slit throats in Somali mosque.

Amnesty: Ethiopia army slit throats in Somali mosque : Mail & Guardian Online

Amnesty International accused Ethiopian soldiers on Wednesday of killing 21 people, including an imam and several Islamic scholars, at a Mogadishu mosque and said seven of the victims had their throats slit.

The rights group said the soldiers had also captured dozens of children during the raid on the al-Hidaaya mosque in the north of the Somali capital earlier this week during operations against Islamist insurgents.

Ethiopia has thousands of soldiers in neighbouring Somalia to bolster a Western-backed government against rebels fighting an Iraq-style insurgency in the Horn of Africa nation.

The Ethiopian and Somali governments have not responded publicly to accusations of atrocities at the mosque. But they have frequently denied abusing human rights in the fight against groups they call al-Qaeda-backed terrorists.

Amnesty said those killed at the mosque included Imam Sheikh Saiid Yaha and several scholars of …

Comcast: Worst. Company. Ever. -- In These Times

Comcast: Worst. Company. Ever. -- In These Times: "Comcast is one of the leading opponents of “Net Neutrality” — the fundamental principle that prevents service providers from discriminating against websites or services based on their source, ownership or destination. Along with AT&T, Time Warner and Verizon, Comcast has claimed that Net Neutrality is just “a solution in search of a problem.” Well, here’s the problem: Last fall, the Associated Press caught Comcast secretly blocking popular — and legal — peer-to-peer file-sharing. First, Comcast denied it. Then it claimed it was just “reasonable network management.”"

They Can’t Go Home Again -- In These Times

They Can’t Go Home Again -- In These TimesToday, more than 150,00 Chaldean Americans and 300,000 Arab Americans call Metro Detroit home. For many, they considered this the Arab capital of the United States, home to Arab-owned businesses, mosques and the Arab American National Museum.

While in Jordan, the Rabbans had dreams of resettling in Detroit, both to join the vibrant Chaldean community and to reunite with their daughter, who had previously married and moved to the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills. Gaining such a coveted resettlement allocation was a grueling process. Over a span of 18 months, the Rabbans were interviewed seven different times, first by representatives from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), then by FBI agents.

“The interviews were very detailed and very hard,” Fadi says. “They were so serious, they were taking every single bit of information from us.” Field agents spared no details, verifying the consistency of their accounts, administering physica… Somalia: Ethiopia Soldiers Blamed for Mosque Massacre (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Ethiopia Soldiers Blamed for Mosque Massacre (Page 1 of 1)"The first person they [Ethiopian soldiers] killed was Sheikh Said Yahya, the Imam [prayer leader]," Omar said, adding that the late Imam opened the mosque door after the soldiers knocked.

"I stood above 11 dead bodies, some with their throat slit and others shot to death," said the witness describing the gruesome scene. Of the 11 dead victims, nine were regular congregants at the mosque and reportedly were part of the Tabliiq wing of Sunni Islam.

A source who took part in Monday's effort to bury the dead victims privately told Garowe Online that some of the victims had their hands cut off and their backs broken.

America through Arab eyes - International Herald Tribune

America through Arab eyes - International Herald Tribune: "The Bush administration has made democracy promotion a central pillar of its foreign policy in the Middle East at the level of rhetoric, but in practice it pays little heed to behaving democratically in its interaction with the Arab people.

If democracy means the rule of the people, ideally a country's domestic and foreign policies should reflect the majority sentiments of its citizens."

Jimmy Carter Gets the Point - by Philip Giraldi

Jimmy Carter Gets the Point - by Philip Giraldi: "Poor Jimmy Carter. All he wanted to do was talk peace. But all he got was the shaft, from the Bush administration, the secretary of state, the Israeli government, the mainstream media, and the presidential candidates. White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe denounced his meeting with Hamas representatives from Gaza as not 'useful.' Condi Rice intoned that 'Hamas is a terrorist organization,' which she then described as an 'impediment to peace' and the Israeli government did her one better by refusing to speak to Carter at all, though he was permitted five minutes with President Shimon Peres as a courtesy."

Al Jazeera English - News - Somalis Flee After Mogadishu Battle

Al Jazeera English - News - Somalis Flee After Mogadishu Battle
The fighting on Saturday on Sunday was some of the heaviest in Mogadishu in recent months, according to locals.

Ethiopian troops helped the Somali military force the Islamic Courts Union movement out of the capital and much of the south of the country in late 2006. They have been deployed there ever since.

Mohammed Gure, chairman of the Somalia Concern Group, told Al Jazeera that the violence was a "popular uprising" against the Ethiopian forces.

"The fighters are not only from the Islamic courts, they are from the Somali nationalists, they come from the former Somali army, they also come from the children and the fathers of those who were displaced or had their homes and livelihoods destroyed by the Ethiopian tanks," he said.

"Somalia is a country under Ethiopian occupation and the Somali people are fighting to free their country."

Tomgram: 12 Reasons to Get Out of Iraq

Tomgram: 12 Reasons to Get Out of Iraq
2. No, there was never an exit strategy from Iraq because the Bush administration never intended to leave -- and still doesn't: Critics of the war have regularly gone after the Bush administration for its lack of planning, including its lack of an "exit strategy." In this, they miss the point. The Bush administration arrived in Iraq with four mega-bases on the drawing boards. These were meant to undergird a future American garrisoning of that country and were to house at least 30,000 American troops, as well as U.S. air power, for the indefinite future. The term used for such places wasn't "permanent base," but the more charming and euphemistic "enduring camp." (In fact, as we learned recently, the Bush administration refuses to define any American base on foreign soil anywhere on the planet, including ones in Japan for over 60 years, as permanent.) Those four monster bases in Iraq (and many others) were soon …

Obama Channeling Cheney - by Gordon Prather

Obama Channeling Cheney - by Gordon Prather: "Well that tears it. At least for you who considered President Barack Obama our best chance to avoid a war of aggression with Iran. Apparently Obama has been invaded by the same spirit that has long been speaking through Dick Cheney.

According to his campaign aides, Obama told a synagogue in Philadelphia last week that:

'As president, I will do everything that I can to help (Israel) protect itself ... We will make sure that it can defend itself from any attack, whether it comes from as close as Gaza or as far as Tehran.'

Cheney, last month, just prior to meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, had told reporters that:

'America's commitment to Israel's security is enduring and unshakable, as is our commitment to Israel's right to defend itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other forces dedicated to Israel's destruction,'"

Mahmoud al-Zahar - No Peace Without Hamas -

Mahmoud al-Zahar - No Peace Without Hamas -
GAZA -- President Jimmy Carter's sensible plan to visit the Hamas leadership this week brings honesty and pragmatism to the Middle East while underscoring the fact that American policy has reached its dead end. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acts as if a few alterations here and there would make the hideous straitjacket of apartheid fit better. While Rice persuades Israeli occupation forces to cut a few dozen meaningless roadblocks from among the more than 500 West Bank control points, these forces simultaneously choke off fuel supplies to Gaza; blockade its 1.5 million people; approve illegal housing projects on West Bank land; and attack Gaza City with F-16s, killing men, women and children. Sadly, this is "business as usual" for the Palestinians.

As Hunger Rises, Chew on This -- In These Times

As Hunger Rises, Chew on This -- In These Times: "Another vast diversion of world grain is animal products. One pound of meat requires up to 40 pounds of grain input. Not only does the earth have more mouths to feed every second, but more of them are chewing meat as rising living standards in China and India make it affordable. China’s per capita meat consumption jumped from 44 pounds in 1980 to 110 pounds today — still half the U.S. average. According to the Sierra Club, “America could feed most of Africa with the grains we feed to livestock.”"

Your Internet provider is watching you - Internet-

Your Internet provider is watching you - Internet- msnbc.comISPs can read your e-mail
Practically all ISPs reserve the right to read your e-mails and look at the sites you visit, without a wiretap order. This reflects the open nature of the Internet _ for privacy purposes, e-mails are more like postcards than letters. It's also prompted by the ISPs' need to identify and stop subscribers who use their connections to send spam e-mails.

Some ISPs, like AT&T Inc., make clear that they do not read their subscriber's traffic as a matter of course, but also that they need little or no excuse to begin doing so. Cablevision, a cable operator in the Northeast, says one of the reasons it might look at what a customer is doing online would be to help operate its service properly.

‘Yes, We Can’… Do What? -- In These Times

‘Yes, We Can’… Do What? -- In These Times: "Don’t look to the media to help you get there or to ask any candidates for even a glimpse of their roadmap. The media are more consumed with the style, not digging for the substance of anything the public hopes for. The media remain so entrenched in and completely absorbed with celebrity culture that even a presidential campaign gets reported on as though it’s the run-up to the Oscars. Who will be best actor? Best actress? Who will cry onstage? Who will give the acceptance speech that will be the talk of the nation the next morning?"

Secular Jews and the ‘Jewish State’ -- In These Times

Secular Jews and the ‘Jewish State’ -- In These Times: "In the fall of 2007, the NIF brought Israeli speakers to a series of forums around the United States to examine Israel’s ethnic, cultural and economic diversity. This was discussed in the context of a “Jewish state” and how this concept resonates, if at all, with American Jews. Eliezer Yaari, the NIF’s executive director in Israel, stated a preference for describing Israel as a “state of Jews” rather than the more ideological construct of the “Jewish state.”"

Spain to Senegal: Stay Home -- In These Times

Spain to Senegal: Stay Home -- In These Times: "In September 2007, Senegalese television viewers saw the image of a drowned body washed up on a rocky seashore. In the grim advertisement—paid for by Spain’s secretary of state for immigration—a grieving mother explains that she hasn’t heard from her son in months.

The spot then cuts to Senegalese pop star Youssou N’Dour. Seated on a boat with ocean surf in the background, the singer tells the audience in the Wolof language, “You already know how this story ends. Thousands of young people have died. Don’t risk your life for nothing. You are the future of Africa.”"

In Praise of Reporting Reality--And The Truth -- In These Times

In Praise of Reporting Reality--And The Truth -- In These TimesAfter my government experience, it took me a while to get my footing back in journalism. I had to learn all over again that what is important for the journalist is not how close you are to power, but how close you are to reality. Over the last 40 years, I would find that reality in assignment after assignment, from covering famine in Africa and war in Central America to inner-city families trapped in urban ghettos and middle-class families struggling to survive in an era of downsizing across the heartland. I also had to learn one of journalism’s basic lessons. The job of trying to tell the truth about people whose job it is to hide the truth is almost as complicated and difficult as trying to hide it in the first place. We journalists are of course obliged to cover the news, but our deeper mission is to uncover the news that powerful people would prefer to keep hidden.

Petraeus urges Maliki to work with Sadr :: :: informazione dall'Iraq occupato :: news from occupied Iraq :: - it

Petraeus urges Maliki to work with Sadr :: :: informazione dall'Iraq occupato :: news from occupied Iraq :: - itWASHINGTON - The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, urged the Iraqi government to seek conciliation with Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, saying the cleric headed a "legitimate political movement" that could play a constructive role.

Petraeus expressed worry that the recent clashes between Sadr's militia and government forces in Baghdad and Basra could undermine an eight-month-old truce between Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and U.S. forces that has contributed to a decline in violence.

"We are concerned that the cease-fire could fray," Petraeus said. "There has to be a very, very sensitive approach as this goes forward, to make sure that folks don't feel like they're backed into a corner from which there's no alternative."

Ethiopia’s P.M. on U.S. Alliance | Newsweek International Edition |

Ethiopia’s P.M. on U.S. Alliance | Newsweek International Edition | "NEWSWEEK: What is Ethiopia's plan to withdraw from Somalia?
Meles Zenawi: There are two issues here. First is the threat that was posed by the Shabaab [the radical wing of the Union of Islamic Courts] to Ethiopia, when they threatened to take control of the whole of Somalia and at the same time declared jihad against Ethiopia. That threat had to be neutralized and we believe we did that the first weeks of our intervention … We were told by the African Union [AU] and others that in our withdrawal we shouldn't create a vacuum, at which point we indicated we could wait a bit longer so long as the African Union was in a position to replace our troops. That has taken an inordinate amount of time."

Making Perfunctory Preparations for Combat in Anti-American Cleric’s Stronghold - New York Times

Making Perfunctory Preparations for Combat in Anti-American Cleric’s Stronghold - New York Times: "BAGHDAD — The two Mahdi Army fighters shuffled across the sidewalk, dragging two heavy artillery shells that they laid horizontally in the middle of the Sadr City highway, placing them tip to end like rusting batteries in a pocket flashlight."

The Daily Star - Opinion Articles - Iraq and the US economy: ills feeding off each other

The Daily Star - Opinion Articles - Iraq and the US economy: ills feeding off each otherSome say there are two issues in the coming American elections: the Iraq war and the economy. On days when the war seems to be going better than expected, and the economy worse, the economy eclipses the war; but neither is faring well. In some sense, there is only one issue, and that is the war, which has exacerbated America's economic problems. And when the world's largest economy is sick - and it is now very sick - the entire world suffers.

It used to be thought that wars were good for the economy. After all, World War II is widely thought to have helped lift the global economy out of the Great Depression. But, at least since John Maynard Keynes, we know how to stimulate the economy more effectively, and in ways that increase long-term productivity and enhance living standards. Somalia: 5 Ethiopian Soldiers Killed in Mogadishu Roadside Bomb (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: 5 Ethiopian Soldiers Killed in Mogadishu Roadside Bomb (Page 1 of 1)An Ethiopian army truck driving through the Somali capital on Wednesday hit a landmine, killing at least five soldiers on board and wounding others, witnesses said.

The remotely-detonated explosion completely destroyed the army truck and sent plumes of smoke into the air.

Ethiopian army reinforcements rushed to the area and pulled the wrecked truck from the scene of the explosion.

Khalil regrets toppling statue of Saddam

Khalil regrets toppling statue of Saddam: "Baghdad - Ibrahim Khalil, who five years ago took part in the iconic toppling of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad, said on Wednesday he now regrets taking part in the hugely symbolic event.

'If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which I helped pull down,' Khalil told reporters on the fifth anniversary of the statue's toppling.

'I will protect the statue more than my own self,' Khalil said in Firdoos Square alongside a monument erected where Saddam's statue once stood before US marines and Iraqis strung a chain around its neck and brought it crashing down."