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Showing posts from December, 2006

Bangkok bomb total grows to 9

Independent:

Nine bombs exploded across Bangkok on New Year's Eve and early Monday, killing two people, wounding 34 - at least six of them foreigners - and driving home thousands of revelers.

No one claimed responsibility. The bombings capped a year of unrest in Thailand, including a military coup three months ago and an increasingly violent Muslim insurgency in the south.

National deputy police chief Gen. Ajirawit Suphanaphesat said Muslim separatist insurgents were probably not behind the attacks.

The foreigners known hurt were two Serbians, two Britons, a Hungarian and a US citizen, said Suchila La-oan, a staff member of the Police General Hospital, where they were sent.

Doctors were trying to save the Hungarian woman's badly injured leg, said hospital spokeswoman Warin Detkung, denying earlier news reports it was blown off.

The bombings triggered a major security lockdown in the Thai capital, but no chaos. An investigation has been launched.

The three bombs that exploded just aft…

The Saddam Huessein Presidential Library

The Scotsman:

HE WAS buried in the darkness before dawn, his body inside a plain wooden box.

Saddam Hussein had been carried on his final journey from Baghdad to Tikrit on board an armoured United States helicopter. The last leg, from Tikrit to an open grave in Aujah, the village of his birth, was even more ignominious: the plain wooden coffin bumped about on the back of a white pick-up truck.

The Iraqi government had wished to bury the dictator, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his fellow countrymen during more than three decades in power, in a secret, unmarked grave.

Yet negotiations in Baghdad between government ministers, US officials and Ali al-Nida, the head of the Albu-Nassir tribal clan to which Saddam belonged, led to the dictator being granted something which he denied to tens of thousands of his victims: a marked grave.

Members of his extended family now plan to build a presidential library and a religious school, dedicated to the memory of Iraq's most …

Counting casualties

Gateway Pundit does a comparison of military casualties during the Clinton years and those in the war in Iraq. I find this media numerology pretty disgusting and meaningless. It is as if they are looking for a number that will be a tipping point where the public says OK, thats enough, we want to lose now. The fact is that for a war that has been going on almost four years the casualties are historically light. We lost more men in several individual battles in past wars and did not want to quit.

Turn around in Fallujah

MNFI:

Marines with Regimental Combat Team 5 spent 2006 making significant progress, with the help of the Iraqi Army, in eastern Al Anbar Province.

Fallujah, once the site of a pitched battle between Marines and al Qaida insurgents, is now considered a Sunni safe haven. It’s a marked progression that’s led to Marines turning over increasing responsibility to the Iraqi Security Force, a functioning city government and Iraqis seeking safety within the city’s limits.

It’s been a year of tough days, spectacular battlefield performances, hope, faith and steadfast discipline.

“We have aggressively worked to make Fallujah a model of progress, cooperation, and see it as an emerging, advanced and forward-looking city, perhaps one of the most in all of Iraq, certainly the most in all of Al Anbar Province,” said Col. Larry D. Nicholson, RCT-5’s commanding officer, in a recent press briefing. “The key to our success in Fallujah has been a thematic approach. We focus on ‘Team Fallujah,’ meaning that …

The state of the Jihad

Bill Roggio looks at most of the battle space. The enemy has had the most success in Pakistan where they control much of the tribal areas and Pakistan released over 2,000 enemy troops. Elsewhere the Jihadis have suffered reverses as a general rule.

Not mentioned is the media battle space where the Jehadis have had the most success with a relatively compliant media willing to respond tho their PR initiatives. No where have they been more successful than in the media battle space in Iraq. Iraq is a theater in which the enemy is unable to launch a militarily significant attack. Instead it has focused on a PR campaign based primarily on killing non combatants. Instead of reporting these events as war crimes the media blames the US and the local Iraqi government for not stopping the attacks. The media has also played up failed attacks by the enemy as a failure by the US to stop them. This PR campaign has driven down the approval of the US war effort in the US.

Artillary attacks begin on dug in Islamist

Reuters:

Somali government forces and Ethiopian allies rained down mortars and rockets on Islamist fighters dug in near a southern port town on Sunday to start a battle that could be the last stand for the Islamists.

As night fell, the Islamists who fled Mogadishu three days ago to take refuge around the towns of Kismayu and nearby Jilib, fired back from trenches in scrubby bushland, witnesses said.

...

It was unclear if, after two weeks of war, the two sides would go on fighting through the night and into the New Year. Night battles are unusual in Somalia.

The besieged Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) has rallied several thousand fighters at Jilib, just north of the port town of Kismayu on the shores of the Indian Ocean, after a retreat south 300 km (190 miles) from the capital Mogadishu.

Fearing a blood-bath, residents ran for their lives, carrying blankets, food and water on their heads.

"Two-thirds of the population in Jilib have fled the town... nearly 4,700 have fled," a…

Dangerous sacrifice in Turkey

Ireland On-Line:

Hundreds of Turks spent the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha holiday in emergency wards today after stabbing themselves or suffering other injuries while sacrificing startled and agitated animals.

Muslims sacrifice cows, sheep, goats and bulls during the four-day religious holiday, a ritual commemorating the biblical account of God's provision of a ram for Abraham to sacrifice as he was about to kill his son. They share the meat with friends, family and neighbours and give part of it to the poor.

In Turkey, at least 1,179 people - dubbed "amateur butchers" by the Turkish media - were treated at hospitals across the country, most suffering cuts to their hands and legs.

Four people were severely injured when they were crushed under the weight of large animals that fell on top of them, it was reported. Another person was hurt when a crane, used to lift an animal, tumbled onto him.

Three people suffered heart attacks and died while trying to restrain …

Counterinsurgency polling

The Toronto Star:

Here's a novel idea: armies don't need to be great big killing machines.

They can also conduct public-opinion polls.

This, it seems, is the modern way.

"It's not pure war-fighting any more," says Lt.-Cmdr. Wynn Polnicky, part of the 2,500-strong Canadian military contingent currently waging war in southern Afghanistan against a shadowy force of fundamentalist Islamic rebels known as the Taliban.

"It's pretty clear we have an insurgency here, but what really matters is what people think. So, just ask them. It's not an earth-shaking idea."

Or maybe, in a way, it is.

Traditionally, armies have tended to train most of their attention – not to mention almost all of their gun sights – on the firearm-toting fighters located on the opposite side of the front line, otherwise known as the enemy.

In Polnicky's view, however, it is not just the enemy that you need to be concerned about.

It's everybody else.

"You're not just trying t…

New Judiciary Chairman violates ethics rules

Texas Rainmaker says his punishment was a suggestion that Conyers not do it again. Using staff to babysit his latest set of kids was over the line, but not enough to cost him his chairmanship.

The Hill has much more on the Conyers baby sitting service.

Pakistan release of terror suspects setback in war

Sunday Telegraph:



Anti-terrorism forces in Pakistan have been told to brace themselves for a wave of atrocities. Intelligence officials warned that the security situation is now more precarious than it was before the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Senior officers say they are "back to square one" in their fight against international terrorist groups after the release of dozens of militants by Pakistani courts. High-ranking police officials say that as many as 80 hard-core militants are on the loose after being cleared by the courts or released on bail.

They are believed to have been involved in crimes including the attempted assassination of President Pervez Musharraf and a suicide attack on the American consulate in Karachi.

A memo sent by Pakistan's interior ministry to law enforcement agencies around the country warns of a plot to use suicide bombers to target Britons and Americans, including diplomats, in a coordinated campaign involving some of the cou…

Mass Supreme Court finds restraint

Opinion Journal:

Nearly three years ago, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts read between the lines of the state constitution to discover a right to same-sex marriage previously undetected across the decades. The court then gave the legislature six months to rewrite state law to accommodate its diktat.

On Wednesday, however, the same court suddenly rediscovered the humility so lacking in its previous foray into the marriage debate. Before the court was a case brought by the governor together with citizens who had presented an initiative to amend the state constitution and so define marriage as a pact between a man and a woman. The petitioners had gathered more than 150,000 signatures. According to the state constitution, the legislature must now vote twice on the measure in successive legislative sessions before the amendment can be put on the ballot for a vote by the electorate.

...
They some how managed to get it wrong in both cases. There was no authority for them to order leg…

What Duke has done to itself

Michael Skube:

...

... the university's problems are different, and they won't evaporate soon, even if Nifong were to drop the remaining charges of kidnapping and sexual assault against the students. (He dropped a rape charge earlier this month.) Duke saw nearly a 20% decline this fall in applications for early admission, and university officials acknowledge that one of the reasons is the publicity resulting from the case. In response, the university has undertaken a 12-city nationwide public relations campaign, called "A Duke Conversation," involving not only Brodhead but also hundreds of alumni and Duke students. Their message: What you read and hear about Duke — drunken parties, out-of-control athletes, pervasive arrogance and privilege — is far from the truth.

"I've told trustees it's going to take two to five years to recover from this [the legal case]," Duke public relations chief and Vice President John Burness said in an interview with the Ral…

Redress of grievances

George Will:

A three-judge federal court recently tugged a thread that may begin the unraveling of the fabric of murky laws and regulations that traduce the First Amendment by suppressing political speech. Divided 2 to 1, the court held -- unremarkably, you might think -- that issue advocacy ads can run during an election campaign, when they matter most. This decision will strike zealous (there is no other kind) advocates of ever-tighter regulation of political speech (campaign finance "reformers") as ominous. Why? Because it partially emancipates millions of Americans who incorporate thousands of groups to advocate their causes, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association.And Wisconsin Right to Life. It is another organization by which people assemble (see the First Amendment) to speak (see it again) in order to seek redress of grievances (the amendment, one more time). In 2004 Wisconsin Right to Life was distressed because Wisconsin&…

Edwards' suit gets emptier

Mark Steyn:

My New Year's resolution is not to make any New Year predictions. I called last year pretty badly -- readers may remember my confident assertions every week or two that the Republicans would hold the House and Senate. War is a tough sell in a democracy, particularly the kind of war we face today. On the other hand, one should never underestimate the seductiveness of complacency. If you happened to catch John Edwards, the hair-today-gone-tomorrow pretty boy of the 2004 campaign, re-emerging in the artfully positioned debris of New Orleans last week, it was hard not to be impressed: An empty suit had somehow managed to get emptier. He's running for president on five big priorities: ''guaranteeing health care,'' ''leading the fight against global warming,'' ''strengthening our middle class and ending the shame of poverty,'' and by then my fingers were too comatose to write down the fifth theme but, if memory serves, it wa…

Dictators die harder

Jim Hoagland:

Dictators die harder than most of us. Having wielded unlimited power in life, they seem to be sustained by a stubborn belief in their ability to stare down death, too. In his final moments yesterday, Saddam Hussein refused the offer of a hood to cover his eyes.Such defiance lends a particularly morbid quality to the last days of dictators such as Hussein and the now-infirm Fidel Castro. They follow in the reluctant footsteps of Spain's Francisco Franco and of many other tyrants-in-extremis before el rais Saddam and el jefe Fidel were confronted, respectively, with a hangman's rope and the withering ravages of disease.Survival is the dictator's primary occupation -- as well as his justification for ruthlessness. "His main contribution to life, finally, is fear; but fear such as thunder, cancer or madness may provoke," author William Kennedy wrote of the fictional caudillo that Gabriel García Márquez created in "The Autumn of the Patriarch." …

The coming battle in Kismayo

Washington Post:

Somali government troops heavily backed by Ethiopian tanks and soldiers pushed Saturday toward Somalia's port city of Kismaayo, the last stronghold of the Islamic Courts movement swept from power in recent days.

A major battle between the two sides seemed imminent, as Ethiopian jets blew over towns near Kismaayo, and leaders of the Islamic movement rallied fighters who had retreated to the area in the face of Ethiopia's vastly superior military force.

The Islamic Courts movement is "ready to fight against the enemy of Allah," Sharif Ahmed, a leader of the group, told residents of Kismaayo, according to the Associated Press.Somalis are growing impatient with the presence of thousands of Ethiopian troops in their country, but Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has backed the interim Somali government now in power, has said his military will not pull out until it has captured the most "extremist" leaders and "international jihadists&…

Joy and "regret" at Saddam's execution

Houston Chronicle:

Dr. Mahdi Al-Bassam learned of Saddam Hussein's execution from news accounts.

But the Iraqi-born Sugar Land cardiologist heard a key detail about the historic death from an Iraqi government friend, who saw the execution.

"He said there was fear in his eyes, but there was no remorse," Al-Bassam said. "Even in the end."

Al-Bassam fled Iraq in 1967 and settled in the Houston area in 1971. He had uncles and cousins killed under the former dictator's regime. Saddam, he said, "brutalized the entire nation," and most of the Iraqis he spoke to back home Saturday were elated by the news of his death.

"He raped the country of its riches, and he left them starving with a $200 billion debt to the world community," he said. "He literally — not figuratively — starved his own people. To me, that's unforgivable."

The execution, announced in the United States late Friday night and near dawn in Baghdad, was greeted by cheers and…

Israel's economy grows, Palestinian's shrink

NY Times:

For Israel, it has been a typically tumultuous year: Ariel Sharon, then the prime minister, collapsed into a coma on Jan. 4, the radical Islamic group Hamas won Palestinian elections later that month, and Israel fought a month long war in Lebanon this summer.

But despite the political turmoil and spasms of violence, Israel, it seems, has figured out how to keep its economy charging forward.

It was the country’s third straight year of strong growth, with the economy expanding nearly 5 percent. The stock market has been hitting record highs; unemployment is at a 10-year low. Israel’s central bank is lowering interest rates to 4.5 percent on Jan. 1, putting them well below rates in the United States, an almost unprecedented development. The Israeli shekel is trading at 4.2 to the dollar, its strongest level in five years.

Further, Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor, paid $4 billion for an Israeli company, and Donald Trump is developing a 70-story luxury residential tower o…

7 bombs explode in Bangkok

My daughter just called to let me know that she and her family are safe after the bombings that were done by presumably members of the Religion of Peace, aka Islamic religious bigots. CNN reports that at least one person died in the blasts.

...

One of the blasts occurred at a mall near the Victory Monument in the center of the Thai capital, Reuters reported.

"There was a big bang and people started screaming and running. I saw people with blood all over their legs and faces," witness Chalermsak Sanbee, 17, told Reuters.

...
The religious bigots have been primarily bombing schools and killing teachers in the Muslim sections of Thailand near the Malaysia border area. After the recent coup the new government headed by a Muslim general has tried being nicer to the murders, but it appears not to have persuaded them to stop.

Counterterrorism Blog has more on the blasts. The argument against the involvement of the Islamist bigots is that there were so few casualties.

RoundUo on the poopies in Afghanistan

Sunday Times:

A CAMPAIGN of enforced crop-spraying to destroy the opium poppy fields will get under way in southern Afghanistan in the next few weeks, despite fears that it will undermine attempts to win the battle for hearts and minds with the Taliban.

British defence and diplomatic sources claim the campaign is the result of “US political interference” and is throwing Nato plans into turmoil. Coupled with the imminent replacement of the British general commanding Nato troops with an American, the sources predict a breakdown in security.

The spraying is likely to damage legitimate crops that farmers grow to feed their families. It could increase support for the Taliban at a time when Nato and the Afghan government are trying hard to persuade the population that they should back international reconstruction efforts.

General David Richards, the Nato commander who will be replaced at the end of February by a US general, has said that the period before a widely expected Taliban spring offens…

Search of al Qaeda's men in Mogadishu

Sunday Times:

SOMALIA’s prime minister has asked clan elders in Mogadishu to surrender Al-Qaeda suspects who are believed to be sheltering in the city after his forces, with Ethiopian military support, drove out Islamic militias which controlled the capital.

Washington has accused the Union of Islamic Courts, which threatened to overrun the government, of trying to turn the country into a safe haven for terrorists and demanded the handover of three suspects who it believes were behind the bombing of its embassies in east Africa.

Islamist leaders abandoned their city to the clans late on Wednesday night. Many of their militiamen simply melted away in the face of Ethiopian tanks and warplanes.

Ali Mohamed Gedi, whose government has so far had little support in the capital, has been locked in negotiations with tribal leaders about how to take control.

A source close to the government said that the prime minister had asked the elders to take over administration of the city in return for inform…

Devils advocates

Josh Trevino at Hugh Hewitt wades through the leftist blogs so you do not have to. There is a lot of hate there, but it is not directed toward the former genocidal despot.

Typo of the year

Fortunately PrairiePundit was not mentioned but Don Surber has the winner and its a doozy.

Terrorist in Somalia

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross:

Recently two prominent left-wing bloggers, Matthew Yglesias and Spencer Ackerman, have questioned whether the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) -- the radical group that Ethiopia is currently battling in Somalia -- is really linked to terrorism. Yglesias writes, "What are the names of these people the Islamists are sheltering? How many of them are there? Who are they? What have they done? What diplomatic efforts has the United States made to get the Islamists to turn them over? Pardon me for being cynical, but in this day and age my suspicion is that names aren't involved in these articles but [sic] there's no one in particular the Bush administration is worrying about and this is mostly hype and paranoia." And Ackerman, after a grand total of two telephone calls to public affairs officers at State and the DNI, concludes, "The administration believes three terrorists are in Somalia, with unclear or unstated connections to the ICU. Then there'…

Kennedy worried about Iraq refugees, but Dem solution would create millions more

The Democrat Daily excerpts Ted Kennedy's op-ed on helping refugees from Iraq. It is ironic that the liberation of Iraq actually produced a return of refugees, but that the insurgency's war against non combatants has created thousands. What Kennedy and the Democrats seem not to notice or care about, is that leaving Iraq before the job is finished will create millions more. All those members of the Iraqi army and their families would be either refugees or killed. It would be the same for the civil servants and others who have cooperated with the US. What they are asking for is a betrayal on a grad scale that will lead to a future genocide by the Islamist enemy.

What makes it worse is that it is based on the false premise that we are losing in Iraq. While the enemy has not been defeated, he is certainly not winning. He still cannot muster a company size unit without risk of destruction. This is not a small thing. To win he has to be able to mass forces and control real …

Some Muslims easily insulted

Reuters/CNN:

Arab pilgrims in Mecca expressed outrage on Saturday that Iraqi authorities had chosen to execute former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on a major religious holiday, saying it was an insult to Muslims.

Sunni Arabs at the hajj were shocked at Saddam's hanging which followed his conviction for crimes against humanity against Iraqi Shiites.

"His execution on the day of Eid ... is an insult to all Muslims," said Jordanian pilgrim Nidal Mohammad Salah. "What happened is not good because as a head of state, he should not be executed."

The Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, marks biblical patriarch Abraham's willingness to kill his son for God. Muslim countries often pardon criminals to mark the feast, and prisoners are rarely executed at that time.

...
These complainers are nuts. It is another example of the lack of emotional maturity of some Muslims. They should be celebrating that justice has been done on their holiday. The death of a genocidal desp…

Will Nifong be removed before he can bring lacrosse players to trial?

Time:

Now that the North Carolina State Bar has filed a 17-page, 41-count ethics complaint against District Attorney Michael Nifong's handling of the Duke rape case, there's a different kind of New Year's countdown taking place in Durham: when and under what circumstances will Nifong leave office.

The Dec. 28 ethics charges are expected to be expanded when the state bar's grievance committee meets again Jan. 18. Like a grand jury, the committee meets periodically; the current ethics charges stem from its most recent meeting in October and cover public statements Nifong made about the case last March and April. At its next meeting, the committee will deal with revelations from a Dec. 15 court hearing in which the state's DNA expert admitted he and Nifong agreed to keep secret from the defense early DNA results showing no Duke lacrosse player could be implicated in an attack upon one of two exotic dancers hired for the March 14 house party.

"That was a shocker. Tha…

Edwards' out of touch campaign

Larry Kudlow:

So, John Edwards has thrown his hat into the presidential ring.

Unfortunately, he has a losing message.

His ultra-liberal approach will elicit only a small niche of support among the ultra lefties in the Democratic Party.

Democrats know (or at least, I think they know) that their success in the 2006 midterm election was largely a function of their best efforts to imitate Republicans. It was the conservative Blue Dog Democrats who were the tail successfully wagging the entire Democratic dog.

That said, if John Edwards somehow managed to reverse this tide and win his party's nomination, he would lead his party to a crushing defeat in 2008.

For starters, he wants to cut and run from Iraq. Such an ill-conceived policy would leave this budding nation in shambles, with terrorists following us back to the United States. It would extinguish the candle of Iraq's democracy experiment -- an experiment that could still pay enormous dividends if the United States follows through wi…

In the end Saddam was frightened by his end

Newsweek:

Ali Al Massedy was 3 feet away from Saddam Hussein when he died. The 38 year old, normally Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's official videographer, was the man responsible for filming the late dictator's execution at dawn on Saturday. "I saw fear, he was afraid," Ali told NEWSWEEK minutes after returning from the execution. Wearing a rumpled green suit and holding a Sony HDTV video camera in his right hand, Ali recalled the dictator's last moments. "He was saying things about injustice, about resistance, about how these guys are terrorists," he says. On the way to the gallows, according to Ali, "Saddam said, ‘Iraq without me is nothing.’"

Ali says he followed Saddam up the gallows steps, escorted by two guards. He stood over the hole and filmed from close quarters as Saddam dropped through—from "me to you," he said, crouching down to show how he shot the scene. The distance, he said, was "about one meter," he sa…

You can listen to spies coded messages

NY Daily News/Washington Post:

It turns out that anybody can tune in to the world's top spy agencies talking to operatives. All you need is a cheap shortwave-radio receiver, the kind available at any drugstore.

Tune it to 6855 or 8010 kHz.

On the hour, you might hear a girlish voice repeating strings of numbers monotonously in Spanish. "Nueve, uno, nueve, tres, cinco-cinco, cuatro, cinco, tres, dos . . .," went one seemingly harmless message heard last month on a Grundig radio.

It was the Cuban Intelligence Directorate or Russian FSB broadcasting coded instructions from Havana to spies inside the United States.

Turn the dial up to 11545 kHz, and you might hear a few notes of an obscure English folk song, "Lincolnshire Poacher," followed by a voice repeating strings of numbers. That's believed to be British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, broadcasting from Cyprus.

On 6840 kHz, you may hear a voice reading groups of letters. That's a station nicknamed "E…

A "disturbing" party scene

Raleigh News & Observer:

Police continue to investigate a Christmas party they say ended with a woman trying to pull a man's genitals off.

Rebecca Arnold, 34, was charged with malicious castration and taken into custody early Tuesday.

...

It started Monday night at a Christmas party, which continued into the early morning. The two were intoxicated, Lillington Police Chief Frank Powers said.

At some point, a fight started and Arnold allegedly grabbed Russ' genitals with her hands.

When police arrived at the house about 2 a.m., they found a disturbing, bloody scene, Powers said.
No kidding. It is disturbing just reading about it. There has to be more to this story than is contained in the police report.

Saddam's execution a lesson for tyrants

Ralph Peters:

SADDAM Hussein is dead. The mighty dictator met a criminal's end on the gallows. The murderer responsible for 1 1/2 million corpses is just a bag of bones.

For decades, the world pandered to his fantasies, overlooking his brutality in return for strategic advantages or naked profit. Diplomats, including our own, courted him, while the world's democracies and their competitors vied to sell him arms.

Saddam always bluffed - even, fatally, about weapons of mass destruction - but the world declined to call him on his excesses. Massacres went unpunished. His invasions of neighboring states failed to draw serious punishment. He never faced personal consequences until our troops reached Baghdad (a dozen years late).

As long as Saddam paid sufficient bribes and granted the right concessions to the well-connected, the world shut its eyes to his cavalcade of atrocities. Even when his soldiers raped Kuwait, the United Nations barely summoned the will to expel his military - and…

Muslims take no offense from pig races arcoss from mosque

Houston Chronicle:

A Muslim group said it is no longer offended as Katy resident Craig Baker made good on his promise to stage Friday pig races next door to an 11-acre property the group has purchased to build a mosque.

While members of the Katy Islamic Association attended afternoon prayer services, Baker was busy next door at 1918 Baker Road lining a track for 25 pigs to race on, assembling merchandise to sell to spectators and grilling sausages.

About 100 people showed up for the event in the pouring rain.

A spokesman for the association, Yousef Allam, said members are not upset anymore by Baker's decision to race pigs, a forbidden meat in the Muslim culture, despite a Dec. 1 letter an attorney for the group sent to Baker demanding that he immediately remove the pigs from his own property.

"He knows that Muslims can be emotional, but it does not bother me," Allam said. "I don't care if he races, roasts or slaughters pigs."

Baker, 46, said his intention is not …

Embassy bombers may be in Kismayo for Islamist last stand

AP/NY Times:

Thousands of Somali and Ethiopian troops set off Saturday for a showdown with Islamic forces who have regrouped at a southern seaport since abandoning the Somali capital two days ago.

Some 3,000 Muslim militiamen have taken a stand in the Indian Ocean port city of Kismayo, and the U.S. government believes they may include four suspects in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Kismayo is about 100 miles from Kenya, and the Somali government and its Ethiopian allies hope to close the net before the al-Qaida suspects can slip out of the country.

Several thousand Somali and Ethiopian troops were advancing on Kismayo Saturday from about 75 miles north of the city.

''We are going to advance from different directions to try and encircle the city and force the Islamic group to minimize the loss of civilians,'' government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari told The Associated Press.

...

The U.S. has a counterterrorism task force based in neighboring Djib…

Joy at the news of Saddams death

AP/Houston Chronicle:

Saddam Hussein, the shotgun-waving dictator who ruled Iraq with a remorseless brutality for a quarter-century and was driven from power by a U.S.-led war that left his country in shambles, was taken to the gallows clutching a Quran and hanged today.

In Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, people danced in the streets while others fired guns in the air to celebrate the former dictator's death. The government did not impose a round-the-clock curfew as it did last month when Saddam was convicted to thwart any surge in retaliatory violence.

...
And, in Michigan. the AP reports:

With tears in his eyes and a grin on his face, 13-year-old Ali Al-Najjar watched his father celebrate the death of Saddam Hussein.The Dearborn resident was emotional Friday night -- not only did his dream of the former Iraqi president's execution come true, but he said he was witnessing a rare occurrence.''This is the first time I've seen my dad this happy,'' he sa…

Saddam hanged

Reuters:

U.S.-backed Iraqi television station Al Hurra said Saddam Hussein had been executed by hanging shortly before 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Saturday.

Arabic satellite channel Arabiya also reported the execution had taken place.

The former Iraqi president ousted in April 2003 by a U.S.-led invasion was convicted in November of crimes against humanity over the killings of 148 Shi'ite villagers from Dujail after a failed assassination bid in 1982.

...

The execution will delight Iraq's majority Shi'ites, who faced oppression during Saddam's three-decade rule, but may anger some in his resentful Sunni minority.

Some Kurdish leaders had sought a delay so they too could see justice for the man they accuse of genocide against them.

...
Good riddance. This is the CNN story on the execution.

Right now the news services are relying on the Iraqi television reports. None are reporting any violence as a result of the execution. I would not be surprised to see reports of celebratory gunfir…

Increase in Iraqi participation in war effort

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell:

...

In Al Anbar province, the Iraqi security force recently completed its most successful recruiting drive to date. Despite repeated attacks against the Iraqi security force and recruits in Al Anbar, last month 1,115 Iraqi men signed up to join the police forces there.

To help put this in context, eight months ago, there were zero recruits in Ramadi. This month over 600 recruits from Ramadi alone have qualified for enlistment.

We're also seeing average Iraqis step up to help defeat the terrorists and criminals in Iraq. From January to September of 2006, Iraqis provided, on the average of 4,500 tips per month on possible terrorist or criminal activity in their areas. In October and November, these tips increased by more than 66 percent, to over 7,600 tips per month. As of December 22nd, we are on pace to exceed over 8,700 tips this past month. This would indicate to us that the Iraqi people are tired of the violence perpetrated up…

A disturbing message for feminist

BBC:

Women who exercise by doing the housework can reduce their risk of breast cancer, a study suggests.

The research on more than 200,000 women from nine European countries found doing household chores was far more cancer protective than playing sport.

Dusting, mopping and vacuuming was also better than having a physical job.

The women in the Cancer Research UK-funded study spent an average of 16 to 17 hours a week cooking, cleaning and doing the washing.

Experts have long known that physical exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer, probably through hormonal and metabolic changes.

But it has been less clear how much and what types of exercise are necessary for this risk reduction.

...

Out of all of the activities, only housework significantly reduced the risk of both pre- and post-menopausal women getting the disease.

Housework cut breast cancer risk by 30% among the pre-menopausal women and 20% among the post-menopausal women.

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Having your husband do it far you doesn't seem to hel…

Marshall law in Mogadishu

Bill Roggio:

The Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government occupation of Mogadishu has begun. Shabelle notes that "over thousand Ethiopian troops accompanied by military vehicles" entered Mogadishu, and "hundreds of Mogadishu residents could be seen clapping and handing [wreaths] to the Ethiopian troops." In an opinion piece about how the world views the Somali conflict, SomaliNet says the welcoming of the TFG and Ethiopian forces should not be surprising. "The overwhelming feedback SomaliNet received so far tells a unique story. The majority of the feedbacks we received were pro-courts in the first days of the war. As soon as the government started winning, the mood changed into nationalism, sense of [pride] and the possibility of a long awaited national government. The public loves winners no matter which side."Ali Mohamad Gedi, the Prime Minister of Somalia, spoke 20 miles south of the capital, and declared there would be months of martial law in So…