Friday, February 24, 2006

Zeyad reports from Baghdad

Zeyad in Healing Iraq has this post up:

Friday, February 24, 2006

Fierce streetfighting at my doorstep for the last 3 hours. Rumor in the neighbourhood is that men in black are trying to enter the area. Some armed kids defending the local mosque three blocks away are splattering bullets at everything that moves, and someone in the street was shouting for people to prepare for defending themselves.

There's supposed to be a curfew, but it doesn't look like it. My net connection is erratic, so I'll try to update again if possible. The news from other areas in Baghdad are horrible. I don't think it's being reported anywhere.

My father and uncle are agitatedly walking back and forth in the hallway, asking me what we should do if the mob or Interior ministry forces try to attack us in our homes? I have no answer for them.

UPDATE: Apparently, the attackers were fended off in our neighbourhood. The fight ended about 2 hours ago, about the same time electric power returned to our area. Now we are only hearing sporadic gunshots here and there. To have an idea of what was going on, listen to these small audio files I recorded using a cell phone.

News are conflicting. Some say the local National Guard unit (its commander is from our own area) helped repel the assailants. Others say the neighbourhood watch teams clashed with an armed group in several unmarked vehicles.

The same situation occured in both Adhamiya and Al-Khadhraa'. In Adhamiya, armed groups in black crossed the river in boats from neighbouring Kadhimiya and took over the Nu'man hospital.

In Khadhraa', a combined force of Interior ministry forces and men dressed in black are surrounding 2 mosques with several families inside, threatening to burn them down on the occupants. Baghdad TV (the Islamic party's channel) is updating on the situation through telephone calls from inside the mosque. The families are crying for outside assistance.

Other bits from here and there:

An armed group in 10 vehicles with no number plates entered the Al-Iskan Al-Sha'bi district in Dora, and attempted to enter mosque, but was turned back by the residents. Eyewitnesses claim that as many as 40 bodies and 5 burnt vehicles are still in the area. 3 attackers were also killed in Dora when they attempted to enter the Al-Kubaisi mosque.

Another group dressed in black in one Daewoo and two Opel vehicles passed the Interior ministry forces' checkpoint at Abu Dshir square, south of Dora, with no resistance and entered the Yassin mosque with explosives in tin containers. The keeper was killed and the mosque blown up.

a Shi'ite armed group carried Sheikh Ghazi Al-Zoba'i in a pickup truck around Sadr city, shouting that they have a Wahhabi terrorist with them, before he was lynched on the streets by the angry mob.

Government officials and spokespersons are deliberately suppressing any news of these ongoing attacks on Sunni neighbourhoods and mosques. The official Al-Iraqiya channel is playing a historical movie, while other channels are playing Shi'ite mourning and Quran. The Interior ministry says it only has reports of 19 mosques attacked and one cleric killed. Go figure.Healing Iraq

Commentary

Data for whatever it's worth. I'm looking for collateral information. If readers have any sources, please chime in.

Updated Commentary

Thanks to readers data is coming in, such as the update from Zeyad's site and analysis thereof. The value of collateral confirmation and building a timeline is amply demonstrated. Just a few comments:

  • as per Whit, Fox is reporting a peaceful Baghdad with 10,000 Sunnis, Shi'ites marching for peace in Basra.
  • it's probably good to treat Zeyad's report as a series of unconfirmed reports which are being reported verbatim. What can we say for sure or nearly sure?
    • Mosques are a focus of fighting
    • The fighting in his neighborhood has ended for now.
    • The authorities are trying to keep the lid on
    • Reported incident casualties are fairly low.
  • What can we say as probable?
    • There are small groups racing around fighting actions against each other.
  • What's a maybe?
    • Maybe some units of the National Guard are doing their job
    • Maybe some units of the Interior Ministry are in cahoots with militias

Overall what would be reasonable to conclude? There's some unrest, but Baghdad is not burning -- yet -- and the trends while still unclear are not clearly in the direction of all-out fighting.

Let's see if we can refine the picture. If there's more info, let's bring it in.

106 Comments:

Blogger wretchard said...

Please provide a URL citation if possible. If information is sourced by phone, try to identify whether your source is an eyewitness or whether the info is hearsay.

2/24/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Fox news gave an altogether different report tonight. Ten thousand sunnis and shias marching for peace in Basra. Another large peaceful gathering in Sadr City.

Something sounds fishy with Zeyad's report. The men in black would be Sadr's militia. He has pledged to provide security for Sunni mosques. What kind of fierce street fighting?

2/24/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Wanda said...

Wretchard - Zeyad has just put an update to his latest blog entry, must be in the last 10 minutes. It all sounds very confusing - I think the attackers were repelled from his own neighbourhood, but he has more details on the attacks elsewhere (some VERY detailed), and says the government is deliberately suppressing information of attacks on Sunni targets.

2/24/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

FWIW:
“BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 24 — With the streets of the capital and other major cities largely emptied by an extraordinary daytime curfew, imams across Iraq called today for an end to the sectarian rioting that has left more than 170 people dead since Wednesday, and political leaders held emergency meetings to contain the crisis.

The curfew and a heavy street presence by Iraqi Army soldiers appeared to have blunted much of the violence that broke out after a bomb shattered the golden dome of one of Iraq's most sacred Shiite shrines on Wednesday in Samarra. Some clashes continued, with at least 29 bodies turning up in Baghdad, though most of the Shiite militia fighters who led retaliations after the shrine attack seemed to have melted away.” NYT
[…]
“For their part, some Sunni clerics and political leaders angrily accused Shiites of provoking the attacks on Sunni mosques, and at American officials for failing to prevent them.”

2/24/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger jcross1kirk said...

This is John from Drumwaster's Rants. Healing Iraq's author seems to be near a group firing guns, but the gunfire seemed to be mostly sporadic.

The BBC seems to be supporting the idea of a lessening of violence.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4749308.stm

I'm putting together some sources. Here's the link:

http://www.drumwaster.com/index.php/weblog/iraq_civil_war_continued/

2/24/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Thanks John,

I've reformatted your sources as clickthrough links:

Drumwaster Rants

BBC

Wanda,

Zeyad may have his biases, conscious or unconscious. It would be amazing if he didn't. But by using collateral we can determine if other sources unrelated to him are reporting similar data.

2/24/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Why are there no reports of American soldiers engaging, and at least protecting the mosques?

Who are the "men in black"? Locals? Sadr's punks? Z-man affiliates and/or Iranians?

Zeyad seems to be assuming they are "bad guys".

Why would families be inside a mosque and crying for help? Does this make sense to anyone else?

2/24/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger jcross1kirk said...

nahncee, it looks like the Americans are in the background on purpose. That's what an american commander said in a Reuters report.

Usually, the 'men in black' are Sh'ia militiamen, possibly under nominal control of al-Sadr. That's his MO, but he has come out and called for no 'Iraqi on Iraqi' violence.

2/24/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

Here is something from earlier today from an Iraqi blogger, "24 Steps to Liberty"

You are all mis-informed for what it may be worth. He has no update yet.

2/24/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

Odd how Mosques are sacred... when it's anyone else fighting around them.

2/24/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Our guys are in the Barracks, nahncee.

We have not yet chosen a side. So no action remainnns the best action. The ISF will handle the problems, this is their moment to Shine.
May not be Reality, but it'll be the spin.
And why should an American die for a Sunni building?

2/24/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Many of these Sunni Sanctuaries have been Insurgent Strong Points.

They may well deserve to be destroyed.

President Talabani thanked US months ago, for intervening in their Civil War. May as well let 'em finish it, to a small degree.

If there is never ANY payback, well grievences build, right, mika?

2/24/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

The Silence from Al Queda is "DEAFENING."

2/24/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Asher Abrams said...

Somewhat OT -

Is it just me, or has Zeyad started sounding more like Riverbend lately? (Especially since he started writing for the Times.) Not necessarily a criticism, just an observation.

Still, I can't help thinking of Michael Garibaldi on Babylon 5, post-"walkabout" ...

2/24/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

yeah, rufus, they got proxies dukin' out everywhere, while the sit in Warizistan, drinking spiced tea.

I havn't heard of Mr Cheney out on a successful patrol, either.

Tell me, rufus, just whom is al Queda, to you?

Obviously they are of no influence on the "Barbarians", nor in the KSA attack, nor in the Samarra Mosque bombing, none of their noise, there.
I'm sure it does Ilan Halimi's family a world of good, knowing it wasn't aQ that killed him, or was it?
Who is the Enemy and how do YOU distinguish him from others?

2/24/2006 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Nothing of merit new on technorati. It's doubtful anybody from the wire services will leave the hotel so probably not going to get much except from Iraq bloggers.

Anybody remember The Bus on the night the US forces entered Baghdad?

2/24/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

What you talking about rat? Cheney nailed a lawyer on his last patrol. That's not nothing.

2/24/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger the African sky said...

Someone please remind me: Who is designated or assumed to be designated by the "men in black" reference?

2/24/2006 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If he'd only been quayle hunting, pb

African sky
The "Men in Black" are thought to be Shia Militia men.
Often Mr al-Sadrs men of the al-Sadr Brigades or the Mahdi Army, interchangable names, IMO, dress in this uniform.

There are other Shia militias, as well, though

2/24/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Shia militia, "irregulars", presumeably, TAS.

2/24/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Still say that was "friendly fire, pb, but as anyone who knows, can tell you.
There ain't no such thing as "friendly fire", when it's incoming. No matter the source.

2/24/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/24/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

doug, just for you,
my last sign in code

"neaimu"

There otta be a law

2/24/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Bouncing around technorati it's clear the Leftie blogs are delighted about the possibility of civil war. They don't care who wins so long as it's not GW. The human brain is a wonderfully strange thing.

2/24/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Amazing True Story

What a lift? Check out this true story. You couldn't invent a better tribute to the uniqueness of being human.

2/24/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Please keep it going Wretchard.

It's very rare that any media get ahead of TV in immediacy.

But TV has only limited inputs, the Web has infinite inputs.

The Web has finally matured to the point that reputable blogs, Belmont Club in particular, are giving people reliable access to the front edge of the truth-on-the-ground in Iraq as it happens.

It's amazing, an amazing transition, an order of magnitude or more in speed of information.

The speed, the infinite sources - demand much more of the viewer, the info consumer. If you want the truth, are willing to accept the truth, the Truth is out here. Raw information from the site, unedited by corporate politics careerists.

Read carefully, but the truth is yours for the finding.

2/24/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Haven't the police/death squads also been described as "men in black accompanied by men in police uniforms"?

Isn't Zayed's insinuation that Iraqi police are aiding and abetting whoever the "men in black" are? At least the Iraqi cops are looking the other direction at lot of the time.

2/24/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I guess I should have been more specific. I was, more or less, referring to ""Al Queda in Iraq. They haven't been reticent to take credit, or deny responsibility, in the past; but, they are very quiet about this attack.

2/24/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well there were reports that Mr Z was not in Mohammedan Leadership Council, had possibly departed for other climes, who could really know?
But even aQ Iraq, and I'm not trying to be an ass, rufus, just what or who are they?

How could they possiblly take control of the Country?

A base in a chaotic country, perhaps, but when Mr Rumsfeld was in Munich, he said aQ had bases in Iraq, similar to those it had in Afghanistan. Today. How could this be, one wonders? Why are they not destroyed?

I mean if Rummy knows of them, why are they not targeted?

2/24/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

AQ was getting blowback from taking "credit" for what repulsed everybody else in the country. Now they just kill and save the high fives for board meetings.

2/24/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I don't think Z's crew did it. I think he suspects, as I do, that it was Iran (Hesbollah.) I don't think he wants to jump up and say, "Not Me," because he knows that the true instigators will/can't never/ever admit responsibility.

Looking at it this way, he might as well hold off on the denials just in case "it works." In that case he just might, at some future date, want to take ownership.

I keep thinking about what wasn't destroyed, and about the guards not being killed.

2/24/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The Iranian gov't is responsible, whether proximately or as underlying destabilizer.

It holds us various satans responsible for all things not to their liking, so why not we use the same broad brush?

Probably them, even with a skinny brush, anyway.

2/24/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I see no reason whatsoever to continue drawing any distinction between the Islamic Republic Mullahs and AQ, anyway. It's just their own nomenclature.

2/24/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I keep thinking that "Bad Guys" is not an abstract concept. This profane attack is obviously an atheistic act. This gold-domed mosque had survived many centuries of local political turmoil, until this week.

2/24/2006 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Well, not exactly, the "Golden" dome was installed in, I believe, 1904.

2/24/2006 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yeh, the shrine is millenial, the dome isn't--wasn't.

2/24/2006 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Hey guys, the MSM agrees with us

2/24/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Rufus, Buddy old boy,

Are we bickering like Brokebacks over details?

The shrine of Ali al-Hadi, or the al-Hadhrah al-Askariyah, contains two tombs of Ali al-Hadi, who died in 868 A.D., and his son Hassan al-Askari who died in 874 A.D..

2/24/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Mea Culpa, Tony, Mea Culpa. I promise not to do it, again. I do turn into a pedantic weenie when it gets close to beddy-bye time.

2/24/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

868, 1904, why q'ibble?

2/24/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

But, as I stated earlier; what interests me immensely is what wasn't harmed, namely the two tombs.

Also, isn't there a crypt (or something) where the 12th Imam (the one ahmaadingdong is so hung up on) supposedly disappeared that was, also, unharmed?

2/24/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/24/2006 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Pardon the cynic in me but...

If they are "men in black" does that mean they won't face time at Gitmo?

2/24/2006 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Lessee, AQ has just claimed the KSA oil-complex attack, Iraq-the-nation seems to be successfully defending a major AQ attack, and now Islamism inside the Turkish gov't seems to be in serious disarray (be sure and follow link to 'Agora').

I'll bet the tea-sipping in Tehran is not too jolly tonight. I hope they feel like Wile E. Coyote when he's running along full speed and looks down and sees that he's gone off the cliff and has been running on thin air.

Knock on wood!

2/24/2006 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Peter,The autistic kid nailing threes brought tears to my eyes.What a wonderful story and a glimmer of hope in a black world of evil.The resiliancy of the human soul.We'll fight them on the beaches,we'll fight them in the fields....They'll lose and well win just like the kid in the story.
Incidentally,the only man in black of any consequence is Johnnie Cash.He recently went to heaven so these cats are cheap imposters.

2/24/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Buddy sez I'll bet the tea-sipping in Tehran is not too jolly tonight. I hope they feel like Wile E. Coyote when he's running along full speed and looks down and sees that he's gone off the cliff and has been running on thin air.

Yeah, but - the Japanese Army fought to the death, in depth, breadth and siege.

So did the crazy Nazis.

As Prof. W always points back to the Three Conjectures, we don't want to go to the level of terminal war of WWII.

Buddy - You and me're typing too much. Why isn't there more info from Iraq coming in on Wretchard's open invite?

I keep hitting the Refresh button

2/24/2006 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Tony, true--i didn't mean to blow the all-clear--just that this cyclical wave seems to be subsiding a bit, in the good guy's favor. The Arab League calling for Hamas to recognize Israel--that's another I forgot to mention as a Tehran-frowner. As far as the calm, no news is good news, huh?

Johnny Cash--yes.

2/24/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

desert rat:

“How could they possiblly take control of the Country?”

AQ Iraq can’t take Iraq today but if they succeed in getting us to leave and inciting a civil war then their prestige grows amongst the islamisists and thus their recruits. With an endless flow of radicals they can then take over the Sunni regions of Iraq politically if not physically.

Any Sunni chieftain will realize that while his pool of warm bodies is limited, they (AQ) are drawing nuts from an expanding pool of 100,000,000; the 10% of Moslems that are estimated to be radicals. The next chieftain will be in an even worse position vis-à-vis AQ.

While we must beat them in the here and now, they are working on a much longer planning cycle. At one point Castro was down to six guerillas hiding in the mountains; we can’t judge them based on their current capabilities.

Essentially they want another Afghanistan, but with more recruits to destabilize the region.

2/24/2006 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Hum, conflicting stories?

It sounds like a true information war.

We will just have to see what is going on.

2/24/2006 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

the only man in black of any consequence is Johnnie Cash.

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith were pretty cool, "Protecting the earth from the scum of the universe" with their flashy-thing. It doesn't appear, however, that the men in black in Baghdad have flashy-things.

2/24/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

The autistic boy is no sitzpinkler--brought tears to my special ed wife's eyes too. Thanks.

2/24/2006 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dr. Sanity's link:
"I was amazed how only the provocative and civil-war-style quotes were published today in the newspapers. Almost no newspaper showed how great, it appeared to us, the solidarity among Iraqis was yesterday.
But why when anything good happens, they show the bad side of it too in their stories, but when any bad thing to happen, they only write about it and not the good sides around it?

All expect civil war in Iraq, which might happen although I don’t believe it would. Therefore, they want to contribute to the civil war’s first step. Shame on you all! Shame on the “free and honest” press!
"
---
24 Steps will just have to learn that they learned from the best:
The BBC
and the US MSM

2/24/2006 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

I've read more than once that "al Qaeda" is more a state-of-mind than a genuine organization. I wonder if it's credible that the Iranian mullahs have seized control of al Qaeda and are now bending it towards their own purposes?

2/24/2006 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ingraham and Hanson both reported the same thing as "24 Steps" when they returned:

The degree of schism between Shia Kurds and Sunnis is higher in western reports than on the ground.
(as did a military source whose name I can't recall)
Hanson said they all serve together well in the Army, and some leaders have 38 years experience and include Desert Storm, Iran Iraq, and others I don't recall, and have gotten great training with us.

Says contrary to reports here (MURTHA) Army is far from broken, and young RA's look up to older Reserves with prior experience - MD's, businessmen, and current pilots in our major airlines, and etc.
Has no doubt things will be looking up by end of 2006 if we stay the course (had to get that in 'Rat) and by end of 2007 it will be like Korea was.
(swear to God, he said it!)

Says 50 k for Air Support and etc is not much more than was required for the no-fly zone.
Says Colonels are the finest, brighter and better educated than his fellow Phds.
Best the World has ever produced.

Similar praise for the Generals.
He agrees with our limited use of force at this time.
Back when we were going in, he advocated a more violent approach.

2/24/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Boston,
Luckily that popped up with audio in a background window or I might have missed it.
The crowd in the corner caught my eye right away, then it just spread and spread until at the end of the game joyous pandomonium reigned.
Riveting.
If the MSM had a soul not a single American would have missed it.

2/24/2006 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

How to reconcile VDH and Buckley, Doug?

How to reconcile VDH (or 24 Steps, for that matter) and the simple fact that by the end of this year, the most hopeful drawdown projection still leaves 100,000 troops in the country?

Where VDH got the notion that sometime in 2007, Iraq will be the ROK and our troop levels will be comparable, I haven't the faintest. That's anticipating a miraculously speedy turnaround from a state of disintegration to a reasonable state of unity and order and, shall we say, owner/operator-level maintenance.

When VDH's assertions fail to materialize next year, and public misgivings and regret fail to abate, we'll simply be lectured by same on our lack of wartime will and faith and on our general cultural flabbiness and fickleness.

That shit gets old Doug. It's gonna get older.

I don't really think there's anyone ready and willing to run the political risk - to take the political fallout - of a real drawdown anytime within the next two years. Who wants to chance it, and to accept responsibility for likely or potential results?

We're just stuck.

2/25/2006 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"How to reconcile VDH (or 24 Steps, for that matter) and the simple fact that by the end of this year, the most hopeful drawdown projection still leaves 100,000 troops in the country?"
---
I guess one way would be that Hanson, Ingraham, and 24 are talking about what they saw in Iraq and Buckley is talking about what he reads, evidently.
If they got down near 100 k by the end of this year, I don't see why 50 k at the end of the next is out of the question, but what do I know?
- Just passing on what those three that were/are there said.
Hanson's perspective is that a lot of the violence and most of the destruction of infrastructure is from the released criminals, and I think he thinks the Iraqi police forces will have to round them up.

As to Nahncee's query: Our troops are laying low as 'Rat says while tensions are high, and letting the Iraqis prove themselves.

2/25/2006 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Transcript and Audio at
Radioblogger.com

"And General Casey and Chiarelli and Dempsey, they're just the best that America can produce. I came away that if we're going to lose this, it's not because we don't...we're not doing what is feasibly possible. We're going everything a person could do.

HH: And do you think we are going to lose it? Or win it?

VDH: No, I think we're going to win it, and I think that we're going to see dramatic results at the end of this year, 2006. And by 2007, like I said, it's going to be a situation like Korea, and that's going to be terrible for bin Laden, and the people in Iran and Syria.
"
That would be terrible.

2/25/2006 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Check's in the mail, Doug.

2/25/2006 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I must say, Hugh, there's an irony there, that just six months ago, the criticism of the Iraqi army was that it was either non-existent or there was only two brigades that were functional, or they were poorly armed with American hand-me-downs.

And suddenly, the dynamic of that argument has shifted to a worry that they're getting too big, they're very well armed, they're becoming professional, they might threaten consentual government. So I think we've got to give them some slack.

You can't go from one extreme of the argument to the other in just six months.
"

2/25/2006 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat 6:26 PM,
That's funny, mine was:
IMURSSONIA

2/25/2006 01:02:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

We won't let go of the Iraqi Army for as long as we're in Iraq. Because we don't want the bad news - the bad blood - that would come with it.

2/25/2006 01:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's that West Texas you were talkin about, Buddy:

1 Cafe, 1 Gas Station, 2 Roads: America's Emptiest County

At last count, 16 people make Mentone, Tex., their home and 55 more are spread throughout the rest of Loving County.
---
Those ever lovin Libertarians tried to take over Dodge:
" stop enforcement of laws prohibiting victimless acts among consenting adults such as dueling, gambling, incest, price-gouging, cannibalism and drug handling."

2/25/2006 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ingraham interview w/2 Majors training Iraqi troops:
Says they are the opposite of how they are portrayed in the news:
Dedicated, put their lives on the line daily even getting to work and hoping their families won't be killed.
The 3 ethnoreligious groups work together as a team.
They mostly communicate w/o a translator.
Funny how different it is from the news:
I guess the NY Times tells the truth, and Warriors lie, along w/liars VDH and Laura Ingraham.

2/25/2006 02:48:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Attacks Surge in Iraq Despite Curfew
By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS, Associated Press Writer
1 hour ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A car bomb exploded in a Shiite holy city and 13 members of one Shiite family were gunned down northeast of the capital Saturday in a surge of attacks that killed at least 30 people despite heightened security aimed at curbing sectarian violence following the bombing of a revered Shiite shrine.

At least one more Sunni mosque was attacked in Baghdad on Saturday after two rockets were fired at a Shiite mosque in Tuz Khormato, north of the capital, the previous night. Shooting also broke out near the home of a prominent Sunni cleric as the funeral procession for an Al-Arabiya TV correspondent slain in sectarian violence was passing by. Police believed the procession was the target.

2/25/2006 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They are not liars, doug.
The Generals do believe they are on Course. Though they are often in error, never in doubt.

Any Government is a reflection of the Force it can project. If the ISF holds, if the US Trainers have done their jobs well, the Iraqi Government will hold, then catch up to events.

If the Army splinters, as many seem to fear, the Government will fall, even before it stands up.

The Course in question is not the Course in Iraq, buddy. We have completed that task. As per the Authorization.

If the Dems were not dumber than rocks, that would be their Banner, especially next week, when the Country has not splintered and the Iraqi Army controls the streets.

Both the Government and the Army will / could be held as sucessful.
Victory achieved.
Let Mr Bush argue we have not yet Won, that he has failed. It'd be an interesting show. But they proved last December to lack any vision at all, Mr Murtha is proof enough of that.

But now that the Battle of Iraq, for US, is over. Where does the WoT lead? What is the next stop on the World Tour, buddy?

If it is Iran, the Wahabbists that struck New York and Washington, they will have Won.
The US, as per norm, will settle for Defeat, spun as Stalemate.

The tar babies of by then Iraq and Iran, precluding any further action against Wahabbist Homelands.

The Great Game, we are I'm afraid, in the Bush Leagues.
Playing Checkers on a Texas porch.

While the Enemy has begun to occupy Paris.

2/25/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

" ... BEIRUT: Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday dared the United States to come to Lebanon's shores and try to take the resistance's weapons. Nasrallah's made his comments before tens of thousands of Shiites, many of them denouncing the U.S., who rallied in Beirut's southern suburbs to protest the bombing of one of their sacred shrines in Iraq.

Nasrallah's speech was delivered in the wake of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Lebanon to promote the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559.

Nasrallah lashed out at the U.S. administration, which he accused of seeking to disarm the resistance in order to serve Israel's interests.

"America wants the resistance's weapons? Then let America come to Lebanon's shores and try to take them," he said.

"Let me ask Condoleezza Rice, who praises democracy, if early elections take place, or in three years, elections take place and a new majority is in place that doesn't support the U.S., will she remain so effusive in her praise? Or will this democracy be forced and a terrorist's democracy?" he asked.

"Let the Lebanese decide their own affairs," added Nasrallah, addressing Rice. ... "

" ... "I say to [U.S. President George W.] Bush and the Zionists: Your schemes will fail as the nation will remain united."

Nasrallah's speech was strongly welcomed by the crowds, who chanted "America, America is the enemy of Muslims," "Muslims, unite, unite" and "Israel, Israel is the enemy of Muslims."

Hizbullah organized the protest to denounce a bomb attack on Wednesday that damaged to the golden dome on the Askariya shrine in Samarra, about 95 kilometers north of Baghdad, enraging Shiites in Iraq, where Sunni mosques were attacked in retaliation.

Nasrallah listed three benefactors of attacks in the attack: the U.S. occupation, the radical groups and Zionists in Israel.

He said the U.S. administration wishes to stir strife between Sunnis and Shiites to give the impression that Iraq's security and politics can only be guaranteed by the occupying forces. ... "

from the Daily Star in Beirut
via Threatswatch.org

2/25/2006 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

" ... BAGHDAD, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Moqtada al-Sadr has been called champion of the poor, kingmaker and killer. Now the young Shi'ite cleric has emerged as a lightning rod in postwar Iraq's deepest crisis.

Police accused elements of Sadr's black-clad Mehdi Army militia of attacking Sunni mosques and homes after the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine on Wednesday sparked sectarian bloodshed and prompted Iraqi leaders fearful of civil war to appeal for calm.

Though Sadr and his aides have angrily denied ordering any violence, the quick appearance of Sadr's fighters in central Baghdad after the blast was a reminder that he is a force to be reckoned with as Iraqi leaders struggle to ease sectarian strife and form a new government more than two months after elections.

The combination of conciliatory rhetoric and paramilitary muscle may further enhance his influence in talks on forming a government which he has already transformed by throwing his weight behind Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister, thwarting the hopes of a rival Shi'ite faction.

About 20,000 of Sadr's followers called for Shi'ite and Sunni unity during Friday prayer's and the young cleric told his followers in a statement not to attack Sunnis or their mosques.

But police said his fighters clashed with gunmen in another part of Baghdad, leaving Iraqi security forces who were trying to enforce a curfew helpless to stop them. ... "

" ... "This happened with the blessing of the elected government, God's curse upon it, and because the government did not care because it follows what America wants and nothing else is important," said Karim al-Ghizzi, at Sadr's office in Basra, where thousands gathered for Friday prayers.

BIG SUPPORT BASE

The crisis has pushed the unpredictable Sadr back to centre stage after he led two revolts against U.S. troops in 2004 and then manoeuvred his way into the biggest bloc, the Alliance, in the new parliament, earning a reputation as a kingmaker. ... "

" ... Sadr's tour this month, taking in Iran and Arab states, suggested he was seeking a wider role across sectarian boundaries. Yet contradictions abound, with Mehdi militiamen -- or at least fighters dressed like them -- occupying Sunni mosques and hanging black Shi'ite flags from their minarets. ... "

Consider the source al-Sadr
and then there is this, also from Reuters

" ... BAGHDAD, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Iraq's defence minister warned on Saturday of a "civil war" that "will never end" and said he was ready to put tanks on the streets as sectarian violence flared despite a second day of curfew in Baghdad.

Extending a traffic ban in the capital to Monday after battles around Sunni mosques and a car bomb in a holy Shi'ite city, leaders scrambled to break a round of reprisals sparked by a suspected al Qaeda bombing of a Shi'ite shrine on Wednesday. ... "
" ... "If there is a civil war in this country it will never end," Defence Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, a minority Sunni Muslim in the Shi'ite-led interim government, told a news conference.

"We are ready to fill the streets with armoured vehicles."

Iraq's 200,000-plus, U.S.-trained security forces have few tanks but U.S. forces, which routinely patrol Baghdad with heavy armour, are also standing by, commanders said. The loyalties of the untried police and Iraqi army could be tested in any clash with militias from which many were recruited.

Dulaimi called for calm and said reports had exaggerated the death toll, which he put at 119 since the bloodless bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra at dawn on Wednesday. Baghdad police say over 200 have been killed in and around the city.

The biggest political bloc from the once-dominant Sunni Muslim minority said it might end a boycott of U.S.-backed negotiations on forming a full-blown national unity government that Washington hopes can stifle sectarian strife.

But Iraq's most prominent Sunni cleric, blaming Shi'ite police for attacking his home, said live on pan-Arab television during the gunbattle: "This is civil war declared by one side." ... "

President Talabani has said that there was Civil War in Iraq, prior to US Intervention and Occupation.

When did IT end? If it ever did.
I guess it's a Civil War, only when your side is taking casualties, not making them.

" ... An aide to Harith al-Dari said two young nieces of the head of the Muslim Clerics Association had been wounded by gunfire. ... "

More from Rueters somewhere in Iraq.

2/25/2006 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I see. Bush should put away the checkerboard, grab his bolt-action .22, and go occupy a street corner in Paris.

2/25/2006 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And in this Poll everyone can see the results of a Masterful Propaganda Campaign:

By GEORGE GEDDA
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

WASHINGTON -- Iran has replaced Iraq as the country Americans consider to be their greatest enemy, according to a Gallup Poll. Canada and Great Britain were ranked as America's best friends. ... "

The Wahabbists, they've fallen off the Enemies List.
Ever wonder why or how?

Our greatest Enemies as well as our Allies, now mirror those of the Sauds.
Glory be! How'd that happen?

In the UAE Port debacle, I continue to hear that TWO of the hijackers were from UAE, where were the others from? Does anyone remember, or care?
Or was the the National origin of the attackers, those whom were assigned to 9-11, preplanned Propaganda, designed to scuttle KSA, UAE & US relations?
As the KSA claims.

2/25/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'm not sure that would solve the Challenge, buddy.

Most likely not. The ability to shoot straight ain't that great in Washington DC, or Texas.
Mr Whittington 's situation attests to that.
Better to send in Professionals, if we still employee them.

2/25/2006 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But tell me, buddy, does the US War on Terror really extend to France?

Have they made the Enemies List?,
how about the "Barbarians' or maybe just the "Brain"

Have we even identified the Enemy in Europe, by Law?
It is aQ, that is who our War is against. Them and Saddam.
Saddam, though, is in jail.
aQ, they are still running free, in Headquartered in Pakistan, with franchises around the World.

So is it aQ in Paris, does our War extend to those shores? Or are we just watching, from the sidelines, cheering on our once and future Ally.
Hoping for the Best.

I know what I believe.
Wish I knew, from actions, what the US Government believed.

2/25/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And how, buddy, can we Win in an Information War against Mohammedan Ideology, if we cannot mention Mohammed, for fear of upsetting the borderline Mohammedans.

When the President's "Bully Pulpit" is used to promote the Regression of Liberties, as occurred in the Cartoon episode and that Boston Paper reporting the Truth about it's nonReporting of the Truth,
how will Freedom Win when it's sworn defenders refuse to take yo the Ramparts, at Home?

2/25/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/25/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The truth is, buddy, the Cartoon Incident and the US Government's reaction to it, that is far more disturbing, to me, than the 9-11 attacks.

The Cartoons represent a far greater defeat, for US, than the dropping those buildings ever could.
I mourn, to this day, for the victims of that salvo in the Mohammedan Wars.

But when History looks back, 9-11 will be seen as that, just another salvo.

The Repression of the US Press, by FEAR of the possible reaction, and the Government Approval, that will be seen as the watershed moment.

When the "West" and US abandoned it's 1st Principles and Heritage in the vain hope of Stability.

Far worse than the British could ever have been reponsible for in the 1930's.

When the US surrrendered, without a shot being fired.

2/25/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

When the US surrrendered, without a shot being fired.


Disagree. Think the firestorm of disapproval of the Dubai ports agreement both on Capital Hill and among voting citizens indicate that America's citizens have not the least inclination to roll over and play dead.

When we started this, we told the world that Mr. Bush was doing what we're telling him to do, going into Afghanistan and Iraq and kicking terrorist ass, with or without the approval of "world opinion". Now that Mr. Bush is *not* doing what we're telling him to do, and is appeasing and apologizing and playing safe, America out here in the heart-land is rising up and telling him unequivocally not only, "No!" but "HELL NO!"

Mr. Bush had better be listening to this message if he knows what's good for him (can you spell i-m-p-e-a-c-h?), as should the Arabs, the French, and anyone else who thinks that we've lost our taste for the battle, or have given up on our Constitution.

2/25/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Rat, say you have the bullhorn and the bad guys are in the bank blding with hostages.

How do you handle it? Do you give them a lecture on right and wrong? Curse them for their evil? No, you concentrate of saving the hostages, for as long as that approach offers some chance of success.

Improving the bank's security, bringing the bad guys to justice, those are all secondary--for the time being.

Cartoon Riots are something like that.

Not that I agree with the kow-tow NYTimes-ism, heavens no.

Just that we're over a barrel for the time being, under another surprise attack, and have to counter with a surprise of our own.

I can see your appeal for a coup de main, and you may well be right.

But, there's straws in the wind.

2/25/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Zeno said...

Interesting insights from Ali:

http://afreeiraqi.blogspot.com

2/25/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

And what is the 'surprise of our own'?

That we're 'splitting', as the psychiatrists call it, and refusing to allow our official policy to accept a war on AQ terms--a religious war.

As has been observed, AQ is as much a state-of-mind as our own love of liberty and human rights. The AQ state-of-mind has its teeth end, and we need to kill it where we find it--and have been so doing.

But the 10 or a hundred million (or billion if you count non-Muslim AQ state-of-minders such as a goodly portion of the American left is de-facto), if you count the direction of these people who may have a toe in AQ, or an AQ mood that comes and goes, as our fundamental war objective, then what else can we do but "split"?

It's the 'splitting' which bothers us, but hopefully it is bothering the enemy even more.

2/25/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

We had the opening for the coup de main, but the 2004 election drivel curdled it.

2/25/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The out-party ran dishonest, and the out-party is as much a part of American war-winning capacity as the in-party.

2/25/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I see. Bush should put away the checkerboard, grab his bolt-action .22, and go occupy a street corner in Paris."
---
This is the part I don't get 'Rat:
If because Iraq *may* disintegrate, and we can *claim* to have won "accomplished the mission," NOW and get out because we can, and you and Trish think we should?

...When the guys on the ground, the Majors doing the training, the Iraqis being trained *while risking their lives daily* the Generals POTUS, Rummy, VDH, Ingraham, Kaplan, and others think we should stay, and VDH thinks we will reap many benefits (In addition to all that Oil not becoming more Golden Chain Money to deal with)

...because of those factors we should cut and run in Victory now?
...and GAURANTEE the civil war you predict, at least according to all the above.

All because things have taken longer and not gone according to plan and we are spending lives and treasure in the gamble?

2/25/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Let Mr Bush argue we have not yet Won, that he has failed. It'd be an interesting show. "
---
Are the arguments and the politics more important than the outcome and what the people in theater there and in power here think is the right thing to do?

ie stay the course, at least for now?
(can always cut and run later,
...then you and Trish will have been proved right and the rest of us can eat crow ...along with POTUS, the GI's the Iraqis, and etc.)

2/25/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

IOW all the people I've refered to believe more time is needed before the Iraqis can deal w/it themselves.
Do you not believe it can ever be acheived or lost in a year or 2?
...versus a certain loss now.

2/25/2006 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The out-party ran dishonest, and the out-party is as much a part of American war-winning capacity as the in-party. "
---
POTUS is responsible for them, Buddy, just like Cops are responsible for Punk Murderers because they did not prevent the murder, or they did not handle the Punks correctly.
We're all good liberal victimology believers now.

2/25/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What DID we do to cause 9-11?
Isn't it about time to DEMAND an answer!
It's been 4 years!

2/25/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Sad but true, Doug--if POTUS can't fight standing on one leg, with one hand tied behind him, then it's a guaranteed certainty that our goose is cooked.

2/25/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The oppo party would get us out of this war long enough--say 5 years--to let us gear up for the Big Terminal War that would be ready to serve by then. Maybe that's the oppo deep plan. Otherwise the oppo is just plain nuts.

2/25/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It can't be said often enough that the 60,000,000 WWII dead could've been prevented about 5 years before they started falling. The analogy may or may not hold true but since we have no choice but to place a bet, then that analogy has got to be the way to bet.

2/25/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

What did we do to cause 911? We made such a success that it hurt other people's feelings. That's why it's our fault.

That and our entertainment industry makes us look valueless in some quarters of the world.

2/25/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

World population hit 6 billion in 1999. Today it hit 6.5 billion. that's over a growth of over eight percent in six-and-a-half years. Using 50,000 years as Sapiens/Sapiens time on earth, the last 8+% of population has come in the last one ten-thousandth of time.

There's a fairly serious double either/or test here--we as a species either find some way to get on the same page, or we here in the first world are going to become either human prey or human hunters.

We can be hunters, but, if we want to preserve our humanity as we see it now, we must first be sure there is no other choice. Think of Hiroshima/Nagasaki. It took Okinawa--it took the japanese militarists--to make us certain there was no other choice. And still thewre is a cloud around it, a dark corner of unseen things that few can bear to regard.

2/25/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,18278442%255E1702,00.html

very, very well-played. he took over Imam Ali's shrine, now he blows one up with a go-ahead from Iran.

why we bother talking to any of these parties once they are identified shows desert rat more right than's good for us. they should've killed him a week ago, and now they can't touch him.

a much, much worse war in and out of iraq due to sadr in the next 2 or 3 years would not at all be surprising. tragic. i still say we should be figuring out how to kill him and disarm his militia.

2/25/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

I'm very disappoint with William F. Buckley. He wrote this article. I don't know what's gotten into him, e.g. the deprivations of old age or getting worn down by the MSM. A man of his intelligence shouldn't write stuff like this.

2/25/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I think WFB (who was never a supporter of the war) has jumped ship prematurely.

2/25/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jumped the Shark.
Doesn't sail as much these days.

2/25/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"In fact, Sadr's office in Najaf issued a statement Saturday calling on his followers to eschew their trademark black uniforms.

"The order has been given to members of the Mehdi Army to no longer wear their black uniform, so that it not exploited by those who commit crimes," said the statement.

The statement added that those attacking mosques were "criminal bands with no links to the Sadr movement.
"
---
Ye of little faith, Dan!
How can you doubt the word of the Mook?
...but I agree, he's about 3 years older than he ever shoulda been.

2/25/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

eggplant:
That is one pathetic article!
Using the New York Times and the Twisted Nutcase of Tehran for part of his "Evidence!"
Jeesh!
Wish I had read that when responding to Trish above.

2/25/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

There's a fairly serious double either/or test here--we as a species either find some way to get on the same page, or we here in the first world are going to become either human prey or human hunters.

Or, as I heard repeatedly in my Democratic family while growing up, “Man cannot govern himself.’ Dates from St Paul sometime BC. One version is that the Turbanators from the ME are teaching the pot-bellied west how to focus and fight again after their near terminal descent into the banality of capitalism. The other version is that the present hostilities are simply another incarnation of conflict for which we have no effective answer other than duking it out.

In physics, the arrow of time has a direction. The current suggestion is that the species is condemned to the circularity of conflict.

2/25/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Islamism's not-very-well-hidden secularism could logically be seen as an attempt to slow down the pace so Araby can catch up while its oil still matters.

Time and tides wait for no man, but maybe it can be made to wait for a god?

2/25/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Well, Doug, WFB also has this quote from Gerecht:


"Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samarra and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that "the bombing has completely demolished" what was being attempted -- to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries."

...which was the whole point of the bombing, wasn't it?

The Pentagon and Centcom took their sweet time recognizing the insurgency as such - perhaps because when you've no plan or desire to fight one, you're less inclined to see one. Same with civil war, which we've truly no plan or desire to fight - which is why we needed to be largely done and gone by now, withdrawn up to the Syrian and Iranian borders and into the Green Zone. That fight IS NOT OURS.

Someone, for God's sakes, needs to say as much.

2/25/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish,
Glad to see your plan in a form I can recognize, although I don't fully understand:
Are you saying you favor leaving some significant number of troops near Syrian and Iranian Borders as well as in the 'Zone?
---
I think that's what VDH expects, although all he mentioned was troops in well secured and isolated bases, to include Air Force and Army Airpower.
You're saying it should already have happened, right?

2/25/2006 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

VDH sees us settling down to an increasingly stable set of circumstances.

I understand the situation to be one of looking for a way out of chaos.

2/26/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ok, and you could well be right, but you still would have us be there in those three places, just not partaking in the expected civil war, or would we be out of the country completely?

2/26/2006 01:45:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Trish:
I don't see the present situation as one of chaos.

I've seen worse in the United States in my lifetime.

2/26/2006 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

I've seen worse in the United States in my lifetime.

Another way of looking at it is to compare the repetitious references to the "hatred" between the various ethnic and religious factions with the equally well documented Bush hatred. I am encouraged when I hear the occasional ground reporting that tactfully suggests the reality of the violence but also the Hollywood-esque exaggeration of supranatural emotions to be clinically dissected from a distance as a forensics exercise in understanding a foreign heuristic.

I am equally guilty as I lose patience with conflict that refuses to be decoupled from things that go boom. Spirit of defiance gets us up in the morning but the linkage to physical violence may be inherently human. My two cents and that is all. Greater minds than mine.

2/26/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

doug,

At this point I think it's a safe bet that there will be some residual force in Iraq. Not less than 30,000.

whit,

If it's no big deal ("I've seen worse") then it's certainly not worth the time and effort and enormous expense of 130,000 troops.

2/26/2006 10:53:00 AM  

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