Friday, December 29, 2006

Slow posting

Slow posting.

A tsunami which rattled the Luzon Strait cut the submarine cables in the Asia region. Many of the regional providers have rerouted their traffic, but the route to takes more than 15 hops and a long time. There will be times that I can't edit or read blogspot. I may not be able to post as frequently as I like over the next days, but a cable repair ship is reported on the way and the situation may improve presently.


Blogger Wu Wei said...

This happened at the end of a very eventful day:

Saddam Hussein executed

The US Marine accused of rape in the Philippines transferred to US custody

And more information was revealed about the Iranians recently captured in Iraq. One was the #3 man in Al Quds. There were definitely in the compound of the Iraqi who we hoped would create a moderate coalition. They are tried to arms smuggling, including the special IEDs being used against our troops. The Iraqis let them go because of diplomatic immunity.


It's not clear where we go from here. If even the moderates are bombing us with Iranian IEDs...

12/29/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

American military forces nabbed the two men in raids last week. Their capture, U.S. officials said, represents the strongest evidence yet that Tehran's Shiite theocracy is meddling in Iraq's affairs and strengthening its relationship with the government in Baghdad.

U.S. defense officials familiar with the raids said the captured Iranians had detailed weapons lists, documents pertaining to shipments of weapons into Iraq, organizational charts, telephone records and maps, among other sensitive intelligence information. Officials were particularly concerned by the fact that the Iranians had information about importing modern, specially shaped explosive charges into Iraq, weapons that have been used in roadside bombs to target U.S. military armored vehicles.

Shaped charges focus the energy of a blast, allowing shrapnel to burst through vehicles, sometimes even if they are heavily armored. U.S. military officials have long said they believed Iran was responsible for sending such weapons -- along with others, such as advanced sniper rifles -- into Iraq to help insurgents and militia groups.

"The evidence shows that they were exactly up to the things our suspicions indicated," said one U.S. defense official.

Adding to the political sensitivity of the situation, the two men were detained while inside the compound of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, one of the most powerful Shiite leaders in Iraq. The Bush administration is hoping Hakim can build a moderate coalition of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties that can bring national reconciliation to a fractured Iraq.

12/29/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

How would bringing in IEDs from Iran "help stem the violence?"

The raids deeply angered officials in the Iraqi government, which is hoping that building ties with Iran could help stem the violence in Iraq. They set in motion a flurry of diplomatic moves to secure the release of the two men.

"The story the Americans said is not true," said Sami al-Askari, a member of parliament and a close adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "They said these were military men with diplomatic status. But they failed to prove anything."

"Iraq is trying to have a solid relationship with its neighbors."

12/29/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger agmartin said...

LA Times: Gengis Khan better in Iraq than Bush.

12/29/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Bush and Rice would be wise to understand that the U.S. has no friends in the Iraqi government, only those who lie to us and want our money, those that won't lie but blame and want our money and those that want our money and our lives.

Anyone who expected an Iraqi government that was not corrupted doesn't understand Iraqis, Arabs or the Middle East.

Papa Ray
West Texas

12/29/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Why are we stabilizing and building up a nation, its economy and infrastructure, only to have it tilt towards Iran? At this point, why not just nominally protect its borders and oil fields after securing basing rights and a cut of the proceeds to pay for our help until Iraqis figure it out?

12/29/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Gee, Wretchard, do you ever worry that the rest of us will still be here once you get back up and running again?

12/29/2006 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

While (Wretchard) the Cat's away, the mice will play!

12/29/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Upon finding out about the execution of Saddam Hussein, I felt a strange emotion -- unease.

My problem isn't whether Saddam Hussein deserves to die. It isn't about the death penalty. It's the timing. The timing stinks.

The timing of the execution appears designed to coincide with Eid-al-Adha. In such a context, Saddam Hussein was absolutely correct that he was a sacrifice. And not only was execution of Saddam Hussein to coincide with Eid, but also with New Years on the Western calendar.

This puts the United States of America into a very awkward position. The Iraqi government has in essence made our government complicit in the festivities of Babylonian New Year.

In Babylonian antiquity, it was the custom to kill the king during New Year's festivities. It would be a special honor to be the executioner. Of course, a real king didn't actually die because he would arrange for a criminal to be "king for a day" -- and a substitute sacrifice in his stead.

It's a very old custom. Legend had it that when Inanna (later known as Ishtar) came back from the underworld, she would require the sacrifice of her husband (the king) to take her place. This ritual called molek (molek, from "malik" -- the ritual of the king) would involve a king giving drops of blood, killing a criminal, or on the rare occasion killing his son.

In any case, I am concerned that the religious subtext of human sacrifice was quite intentional when the execution was planned to coincide with both Eid on the Muslim calendar and New Year on the Western calendar.

Babylonian New Year. The United States government becomes complicit in the festivities of Babylonian New Year. When I decided to support the liberation of the Iraqi people, I had not expected for the death of Saddam Hussein to be orchestrated in such a manner to evoke the molek rituals of Babylonian New Year.

So, it is unease I feel. Something has changed. Something has been lost. I can't figure out what it is exactly, but something is missing. Something has snapped, broken, with no chance of repair.

Babylonian New Year. Babylonian New Year. This is not what I want anything to do with. Something is wrong with this. Something is horribly wrong. In the execution of Saddam Hussein, religious overtones did not need to be added.

12/29/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Anyone who expected an Iraqi government that was not corrupted doesn't understand Iraqis

Corruption is one thing, but having the Iraqi government terrorizing us is another. This seems to say that all the major Shiite and Sunni groups are trying to kill us, and using increasingly powerful weapons to do it. If that is the case, there is no reason for any of our troops to make themselves a target by patrolling Iraq or trying to do them any favors. There is no point talking to the government.

12/30/2006 05:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't you in Israel now? What does a tsunami which cut submarine cables to the Asia region have to do with connectivity in Israel?

12/30/2006 08:33:00 AM  

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