Arena: Fighting the Good Fight





Saturday, June 28, 2003

How very, very interesting:

Liberia said Saturday it was in talks with foreign countries to send a force to stop fighting that has left hundreds dead, as U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan joined calls for urgent intervention.

Pressure has grown on the United States to lead a multinational force after the second bloody rebel assault within 10 days on the capital, Monrovia. They are fighting to oust President Charles Taylor, a former warlord wanted for war crimes by an international court. Liberia’s government said talks on a force had already begun with the United States and West African countries. Taylor, who was told to step down this week by President Bush, said Liberia would not hesitate to invite in American troops to bring calm. “This government is interested in working with Washington on resolving this problem in the continued promotion of democracy,” he told reporters. Annan said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council that it should meet immediately to agree on intervention.


We had Iraq, where Saddam Hussein ruled the the place with an iron fist, killed off anyone who didn't like him, and had ambitions of developing nuclear weapons which would have put him in a position to kill millions. Annan and the U.N. did everything they could to try to prevent us from going in there. However, he has no qualms about asking us to go into the middle of a civil war in Africa to try to sort things out there. The U.N. truly is a fantasy-land. Up is down, left is right, logic is insanity. We have got our hands full with the Iraq situation right now. Why isn't Annan offering to send peacekeepers over there? The answer is because it would help America. The U.N.'s agenda is to shackle America, and we need to take a hard look as to how much longer we are going to put up with it. I feel bad that we can't help the Liberians directly, but we are stretched as it is. I would be okay with providing some logistical support and some weapons, but as for American troops, no way.


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If this turns out to be true, everything becomes very different:

Ayman al-Zawahiri (search), Usama bin Laden's right-hand man, was reported last night to be in custody in Iran along with several other top Al Qaeda (search) leaders.

The Arabic news channel Al-Arabiyah (search) said the fanatic Egyptian-born doctor is under arrest in Iran along with bin Laden's son Saad and Al Qaeda's infamous spokesman Abu Ghaith.

The report said they may be sent back to their home countries.


This was reported a few days ago, but was denied by Iran. Now, though, it looks like the cat is out of the bag. There are a whole hell of a lot of questions that are going to come out if it's true. Verification before speculation on this one.



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More intrigue on the cease-fire:

Israel’s agreement to withdraw forces from the Gaza Strip and turn over security to the Palestinian Authority, made after intense U.S. pressure on the eve of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice’s trip to the region, is an enormous gamble that could backfire and leave the new peace effort in tatters, diplomats involved in the effort said.

Officials close to the talks said they are unsure whether the Palestinian Authority has the will, inclination or capacity to confront and eventually dismantle anti-Israeli militant organizations responsible for suicide attacks, as demanded by Israel and the United States. If the Palestinian Authority fails to take action — or if a massive suicide bombing takes place under Palestinian watch — then Israel likely will say it has no choice but to move its forces back into Gaza, dooming the U.S.-backed peace plan.


I think that "unsure" is being too kind. I think that most intelligent people have no confidence in the PA whatsoever. This might be the move that Israel has been waiting for though. It is almost a given that one of the terrorist outfits will break this cease-fire, because their agenda is not peace. However, when that happens, it will be very difficult to say that Israel does not have the right to retaliate. I say we drop the reins and let the IDF do a little cleaning up. If the Palestinians won't destroy the terrorist groups there, Israel must.





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Friday, June 27, 2003

I wonder how long this will last:

JERUSALEM — Israeli and Palestinian security officials agreed in principle Friday on the terms of an Israeli pullback from parts of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials and Israel TV said.

The progress on Israeli withdrawal, coupled with an agreement by militant Islamic groups to temporarily cease attacks on Israelis, provides a boost to a U.S.-backed peace plan, the "road map" to Palestinian statehood by 2005.


Wow, Hamas wants a ceasefire? Do they really want peace now? Hmmm...something doesn't sound right. This makes more sense:

"In our opinion, a cease-fire will not help," said David Faranga, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman. "What is needed is the dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure and war on terror. From our point of view a cease fire is a ticking bomb."

Israel fears a temporary truce will allow the militants to recover from the punishing strikes Israeli troops have delivered in the past year and regroup for more violence. However, Palestinian Prime Minister Mamoud Abbas has said he will not use force against the armed groups, for fear of causing civil war.


There is nothing about this that makes me think that the Palestinian groups are doing this to promote peace. They need to take the heat off of themselves, both from Israel's attacks which have nailed some top terrorists, and from Bush who's rhetoric is getting tougher. Three months, and it won't last that long, should be plenty of time to cool things off, regroup, rearm, and then continue the battle.



Meanwhile, Israel removes another settlement:





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Thursday, June 26, 2003

Last night I watched the documentary Relentless which presents the Israeli side of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. I must say, while it does not present the Palestinian side, which was not the purpose of the movie to begin with, it does accurately describe what Israel has endured since its creation over 50 years ago. It is graphic, but it is the truth: the terrorist institutions in Palestine do not want peace with Israel, no matter what. Arafat and his goons have had some very generous opportunities to create at the very least a groundwork for a peace process. Each time, Arafat rejected them. If you look at the Oslo peace accords, Israel has done a satisfactory job in holding up its part of the bargain. The Palestinians, however, have not only refused to make any progress on the items relagated to them, they have gone backwards. Terrorism since Oslo has skyrocketed; the children are being indoctrinated even further; the terrorist groups there have more power; the hatred has only increased. I am aware that Israel has treated the Palestinians unfairly in the past, but at this point in the game, there is only one thing that can bring about peace: the destruction of the terrorist organizations in that region. Those groups do not only hate the Jews, that hate anyone who wants peace with them.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003

I know I'll be sleeping a little easier:

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi "disinformation minister" who became world renowned for his ridiculously inaccurate news briefings in Iraq soon before coalition troops reached Baghdad, was captured at a Baghdad roadblock, London's Daily Mirror reported Wednesday.

The Washington Times also reported that the Iraqi official, also known as "Comical Ali," was detained early Monday evening near the home of a relative.




"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"





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Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Despite the initial intelligence failure of 9-11, it appears that we have done well in rounding up the terrorists here :

The Qatari man designated an enemy combatant by the Bush administration was planning another Sept. 11 attack, sources told ABCNEWS.

Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri, 37, was deemed an enemy combatant by the Bush administration on Monday after officials said he was positively identified by an al Qaeda detainee as being part of a planned second wave of terror attacks on the United States. Government officials said they believed al Qaeda's top leadership sent Al-Marri to the United States to coordinate a new round of attacks.

...Al-Marri had been in custody in the civilian court system since December 2001, first as a material witness and later on charges of lying to the FBI and credit card fraud. He first attracted the FBI's attention when officials received a tip in October 2001 that he might be involved in terrorism.


He's been around for awhile, so I guess the real news here is that he has been labeled an enemy combatant. Apparently he was part of phase 2 which, thanks to the FBI and the rest of the intell community, has not happened.


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Monday, June 23, 2003

This sent a few chills down my spine when I read it (via Hootinan):

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece said on Monday a seized ship carrying an "atomic bomb"-sized quantity of explosives was destined for a company with a post office box in Khartoum, Sudan, that did not exist.


That's a lot of firepower, and it renders the ship as a virtual floating atomic bomb. Scary if they were going to pass of the explosives to terrorists; scarier still if the ship itself was the weapon.



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Sunday, June 22, 2003

"The bullsh*t piled up so quick around here, you needed wings just to stay above it..."

Earlier, Sharon told his Cabinet that settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should proceed quietly, a senior Cabinet official quoted the prime minister as saying. Israel TV's Channel 1 said Sharon told the ministers that settlement building "isn't part of the road map, it's my personal commitment."

Under the so-called "road map" for peace, Israel would have to observe the building ban in the coming months, after the Palestinians begin dismantling militias and Israel removes dozens of settlement outposts.

Sharon adviser Raanan Gissin said Israel would continue construction in built-up areas of settlements. Asked about the required freeze, he noted that the Cabinet, in voting on the plan, attached objections.

...Regarding settlements, the plan says Israel must dismantle all outposts put up since March 1, 2001 -- more than 60, according to an anti-settlement watchdog group -- and "freezes all settlement activity."

Gissin said the demand to freeze all construction is unrealistic.

"There can't be a total freeze on any construction, because you can't freeze life in those places," he told The Associated Press.


Forget about the roadmap, the wheels are just about ready to come off of this thing. The nerve of Sharon to say that. I'm wondering if the whole settlement tearing down thing I posted about below was just for show. Or maybe it was becoming a strategic burden to the IDF and they wanted to remove it anyways. At the very least, Israel is to stop new construction on the existing settlements. I am starting to doubt that anything is "different" this time around. We already know that Hamas isn't going to change, but I'm not so sure that Sharon is either.







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