Wednesday, July 05, 2006


* i've been meaning to link to Ron for a coupla days. He thinks that he has uncovered some vastleftwingbloggingconspiracy, i think - it's not entirely clear. (more here)

* oldschool in the comments re lieberman/lamont:
"it sure looks like the DSCC wants more than to elect Democrats to the Senate. They want *certain* people elected - other people not so much. Maybe they can't count on Lamont to 'play the game' the *right* way? (and just why the fuck are they playing those games anyway). I want to know just what it is about being elected to Congress that is evidently just so unbelievably sweet that people will do anything to keep the gig."
* oldschool also proposes a platform if any aspiring politician wants to borrow it:
"For now, I couldn't care less about the Democratic party. The first man, woman, or mixture thereof who stands up and says 'the country's fucked, heading for infinitely worse fucked-up'edness, and I'm gonna work to change that' - gets my vote. If it's a democrat - fine. Republican - okey-doke. I'm just hanging around here waitin' for a bandwagon to jump on. Just so the driver's got some balls, at least figuratively."

* AP:
"Al-Qaida leaders sold out Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to the United States in exchange for a promise to let up in the search for Osama bin Laden, the slain militant's wife claimed in an interview with an Italian newspaper."
it's actually his 'first wife' (which i presume to mean that they were divorced), and it's not entirely obvious that there's anything other than pure speculation on her behalf.

don has more - including the odd fact that at the end of the story the AP buries this little bit of trivia at the end:
"On Monday, an Iraqi legislator said authorities found telephone numbers of senior officials in al-Zarqawi's cell phone after his death. Waiel Abdul-Latif, a member of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's party, did not give names of the officials. But he said they included ministry employees and members of parliament."

(don: "Ok, so he didn't get the memo where the US is tracking terrorists by cell phones..." )

I wonder how the BUT THEY HAD ELECTIONS crowd will deal with that news.


Anonymous said...

Lukery, what's your take on the whole Jerome/Kos thing?

- Jiminy Cricket

Don said...

Re: his marriage, there are some Muslims who under certain circumstances subscribe to polygamy, although Zarqawi didn't seem to be one of them. Isra, killed with him and their 2-yr-old son in Baquba seems to have been his only wife at the time. (Still no inkling of who the 5-yr old child killed with them was.)

From his Wikipedia entry, his relationship with Al Qaeda was less than cordial, keeping them at arm's length until Oct. 2004. Still, it appeared to be an alliance of convenience:

While Zarqawi has assembled temporary alliances with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network over the years, evidence shows that he has always sought to forge his own path with a largely distinct, if occasionally overlapping agenda.
- WaPo, Sept 27, 2004

He was also a Sunni Arab of the Salafi movement noted for permitting violent Jihad against non-Muslim occupation of Muslim lands (UBL is another); thus his opposition to the US presence in the MidEast and the existence of Israel. He was also violently anti-Shi'ite, declaring war on them in September 2005. His second wife Isra "was the daughter of Yassin Jarrad, a Palestinian Islamic militant, who is blamed for the killing in 2003 of Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim, the Iraqi Shia leader. (WikiPedia)

So, Zarqawi (and whatever group he was working with) actually had 2 sets of targets in Iraq: Coalition forces and associated civilians; and Shi'ites, who make up the majority of the Iraqi government including the current PM, Nouri al-Maliki. Assuming it's genuine, UBL's latest hit suggests that isn't going to change with his death.

So why whack him? Aside from the 'documents' recovered, there is the cell phone with its stored numbers. Assuming the cell numbers aren't a psyops plant, it's a safe bet the numbers on his phone are those of Sunni ministers. If they turn out to belong to certain Shi'ite officials, then that part of the story is most likely manufactured garbage. But why plant that information?

Maliki has been portrayed as Arab-first, Shi'ite second, and Iran-independent, particularly by the Bush Administration and Ambassador Khalilzad. Pro-Shi'ite sentiment has been suggested, if not verified, but he has been quick to condemn Coalition actions in Iraq and attacks on the Shia community. It's telling that in supporting the Insurgent Amnesty proposal, the Sunni Endowment felt "the first step to be taken regarding this plan is to disband [predominately Shia] armed militias."

However the provision in the amnestry excluding insurgents who've killed Coalition or Iraqi troops does not sit well with all.

The contacts between the Iraqi government and anti-government fighters also coincide with a growing disagreement inside the ruling Shia establishment here.

Al-Maliki is said to be increasingly disenchanted with the close ties between country's most-powerful Shia organisation and Iran.

Al-Maliki, of the Dawa Party, and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which has deep historic ties to the Iranians, reportedly are at odds over the future of Tehran's influence in Iraq.

Al-Hakim, wants it expanded to all fighters, claiming they "have a right to resist foreign troops" and is very much in line with Iranian imams:

Al-Hakim, whose party was established and funded by Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980-1988, visited Tehran in June.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after meeting al-Hakim, called on foreign troops to leave Iraq.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is about to visit Iraq. While Maliki is urging "Arab countries to stand by Iraq and help it achieve peace and security", non-Arab Iran is about to host a conference of foreign ministers of "neighbours of Iraq" (also attended by non-Arab Turkey).

Is it coincidence that world attention has been abruptly shifted to North Korea's "surprise" missile launches (after an almost 2-weeks of sabre-rattling prompted by 'coincidentally' faulty NYT reporting)? Is it coincidence that there's still strong pressure on Iran, ostensibly over their nuclear program?

The situation in the Gulf is slipping even further from the Administration's hands than we think, and an 'ideal' environment there is getting harder for the Administration to create from spin. The balance of power in the Gulf is starting to shift hard towards Iran.

lukery said...

i find it all a little unpleasant - and i'm not very deep into the story. it all seems like a mountain in a molehill from where i sit. ron seems to think that he has found something significant - but it was all a bit too inside-football to me and i could barely follow it.

i did think the gilliard email thing was kinda funny. i wondered whether siegel was danrathered by one of the players! at least some people in left blogistan have learnt how to play dirty!

Don said...

Luke, re: your earlier request on the Repubblica article on Zarqawi's wife, original in Italian here, and Google-translated page here.

The grammar and syntax in the translation is, as you've probably guessed, horrid, although most of the meaning comes through. I'm getting that he was becoming to popular with the Iraqi Sunni resistance, but that's a rough guess.

Anyone who could provide a proper contextual translation?

Don said...

Better translation of same article here.

lukery said...

jiminy - to clarify - my "i find it all a little unpleasant " was in response to your jerome/kos question

lukery said...

don - thnx for your zarq/obl post, too

"an 'ideal' environment there is getting harder for the Administration to create from spin."
indeed - the only question is which outcome is less disastrous. i'm too scared to even try looking forward.

thnx for the italian article - it appears that she is totally speculating, as i had presumed. it's also not obvious is she was in contact with him at all.