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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Basra and Iraqification. Shiites Fighting Shiites.



The Iraqi government should be able to handle this. They should also know that now that it has started, it needs to be finished. The independent militias must be dissolved in order for there to be a credible national government. A successful outcome will go a long way to justify US involvement. A failure will be a calamity.

On one part of the news clip, notice how the Iraqi troops handle the street by handing out Qurans. Interesting.

_______________________


Clashes continue in southern Iraq

Heavy fighting has continued for a third day between Shia militias and the Iraqi security forces in southern Iraq.-BBC

There are reports of extensive exchanges of fire between the Iraqi army and militiamen in Basra and in the town of Hilla, just south of Baghdad.

More than 70 people have died and hundreds have been injured in days of violence sparked by an Iraqi crackdown on Shia militias in Basra.

There have also been violent clashes in Kut and the capital, Baghdad.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki gave Shia militants in Basra 72 hours to lay down their arms or face "severe penalties".

The leader of the Mehdi Army, Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, has spoken of the possibility of negotiations to end the violence.

Gunfights

In Basra, police chief Adbul Jalil Khalaf said he survived an assassination attempt overnight, in which three of his bodyguards were killed.

Residents in the city have said that they are beginning to run out of food and water.

One told the BBC that the Iraqi army broke into shops, took food and water, then set fire to shops and cars on the street.
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BASRA KEY FACTS

  • Third largest city, population 2.6 million approx
  • Located on the Shatt al-Arab waterway leading to the Gulf - making it a centre for commerce and oil exports
  • Region around city has substantial oil resources
  • 4,000 UK troops based at international airport
___________

"I am trying to look out of the window now, but I can't - the smoke's really heavy and smells really bad. Everything is burnt," he said.

An oil pipeline near Basra, which carries oil for export, was damaged by a bomb.

A Southern Oil Company official told the Reuters news agency that the main pumping station of Zubair 1 was shut down and that exports would be greatly affected.

"Firefighters are struggling to control the fire, which is huge. A lot of crude has spilt onto the ground... We will not be able to repair it unless security is provided for the crews," he said.

In the capital, Baghdad, thousands of Sadr supporters gathered in Sadr City, a vast Shia-dominated suburb, to demand Mr Maliki's resignation over the military operation.

The city's fortified Green Zone was again hit by several rounds of rockets, causing a fire, Iraqi and US embassy officials said.

Iraqi police in Kut said dozens of people were killed in clashes on Thursday between Iraqi and US forces, and Shia militiamen, the AFP news agency reported.

And the number of gunfights in other parts of southern Iraq appears to be growing, says the BBC's Crispin Thorold in Baghdad.

Power struggle

Through the night and the early morning there have also been clashes in the towns of Hilla and Diwaniya.

Late on Wednesday, a US military air raid called in support of Iraqi forces in Hilla caused a number of casualties.

The fighting still seems to be mainly with members of the Mehdi Army, the militia loyal to Moqtada Sadr, our correspondent says.

The Medhi Army had held to a ceasefire for more than a year, contributing to the general fall in violence across Iraq.

It is not clear what has prompted the government crackdown at this time. The government says its campaign aims to re-impose law and order in Basra.

However, Sadrists say the government is attempting to weaken the militias before local elections scheduled for October.

At stake, analysts say, is control of Iraq's only port city and the region's oil fields.


47 comments:

  1. "A successful outcome will go a long way to justify US involvement."

    Only if you have reeeeaaaally low standards for justification already.

    "A failure will be a calamity."

    For the justification of US involvement or for the Iraqis?

    Anyway, this isn't about dissolving or even breaking any militia. The assertion of some authority on the part of competing militias of the Iraqi government, is.

    Or to borrow from a Lang commenter:



    The simplistic myopia of the Busheviks concerning the complex situation in Iraq reminds me of Evelyn Waugh's comic novel "Scoop"--about his experiences as a war correspondent. A young naif named William Boot is hired by newspaper baron Lord Copper to report on the civil war in Ishmailia. He questions Mr. Salter about his duties.

    "Well, there is one thing. You see I don't read the papers very much. Can you tell me who is fighting who in Ishmaelia?"

    "I think it's the Patriots and the Traitors."

    "Yes, but which is which?"

    "Oh, I don't know THAT. THAT'S Policy, you see. It's nothing to do with me. You should have asked Lord Copper."





    In the strategic view of things, which is truly preferrable: Mahdi or Badr? We can't afford a "credible" pro-Teheran gov in Baghdad. Horns of a 'world-
    historic' dilemma? Oh, yeah. I'd say so.

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  2. If it is Shiite against Shiite, do not underestimate the ability of the Iranian and Iraqi Shiites to adequately hate each other with sufficient intensity.

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  3. Fatah or Hamas, which do we like? Same tactics, slightly different players.

    I think we need to be wise to this, and start developing answers so that questions like these no longer arise.

    (Repost from the Paki thread. But equally applies)

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  4. What Shi'ite on Shi'ite? Iranian operatives are aiding Sunni-based al-Qaida, not Shiite militants. McCain said so last week. Twice. Bush-McCain, dumb and dumberer.

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  5. ah shits fighting shits...

    It's a GOOD thing...

    what a wonderful way to start the day

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  6. "Iranian operatives are aiding Sunni-based al-Qaida"

    1
    9/11 Panel Links Al Qaeda, Iran

    2
    Does Shia Iran aid Sunni Hamas?

    3
    Is there an operational link between Shia Hezbollah and Sunni Hamas?

    so who's the dumbest?

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  7. What Shi'ite on Shi'ite? Iranian operatives are aiding Sunni-based al-Qaida, not Shiite militants. McCain said so last week. Twice. Bush-McCain, dumb and dumberer.

    excuse me, iran supplies BOTH

    Iran helps the syrians, hamas, hezbollah, sadr, al-qaida and many others...

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  8. If it is Shiite against Shiite, do not underestimate the ability of the Iranian and Iraqi Shiites to adequately hate each other with sufficient intensity.

    Thu Mar 27, 08:36:00 AM EDT

    The Badr Boys were trained to kill Iraqis, for crying out loud. Same with Dawa.

    OTOH, it's the the Sunni who complain of "spies" and who oppose the governing Shiite elite in part on grounds that it is so infested and of dubious national fealty.

    That ruling elite is pro-Iranian (in some instances, it IS Iranian). Anyone who chalks this up as some kind of boo-ya to Iran's influence in Iraq has a head full of stuffin.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Iraq was part of the Iranian empire. Like Tibet Texas Andalusia etc, it's only natural for them to reunite with the motherland.

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  11. maybe the struggle is whether the iraqi shiites or the iranian shiites will control the oil reserves in southern iraq

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  12. How do you answer that question when this is between the SIIC anti-Sadrists and Mahdi?

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  13. Holy smokes batman what's with all this parsing of Shiite entrails? Why are we expending all this blood and treasure in order to adjudicate all this Iraqi domestic political stuff? Oh yeah, it's because "We caaaan't lose in Iraq" or so McCain/Bush tells US. God forbid al Zwahiri will be allowed to make the claim Al Qaeda drove US out, whipped 'em on the battlefield. What a friggin' clusterfuck!!

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  14. "Why are we expending all this blood and treasure in order to adjudicate all this Iraqi domestic political stuff?"

    Not a transnational progressive it seems

    1) blood
    it has already been established that sanctity of life is not an issue - what was the terminology..."removal of life support" - that takes care of that

    2) treasure
    "to adjudicate all this Iraqi domestic political stuff"
    one can only assume from the statement that wealth redistribution is not an answer to solve Iraqi problems

    i might add that wealth redistribution is also not an answer for U.S. social problems

    i stated long ago that i appreciate ash's view

    "What a friggin' clusterfuck!!"
    maybe not the cursing

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  15. Ash, I point you to Hugh Fitzgerald over at JihadWatch. His line has been, all the way through, our best way is to set them against one another. He is a very good writer.

    I mentioned this to my Jewish lawyer one time, a man I really respect. His outlook was, well, we're supposed to be better than that.

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  16. Redistribute the wealth, arm one militia/Iraqi security force versus another, provide security, divide and rule, all of these 'solutions' and any other proposed solution have at their heart the misguided notion that we can or should make these decisions for them. The folly of our hubris is coming home to roost.

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  17. "divide and rule"....
    "The folly of our hubris is coming home to roost."
    /////////////////

    Indeed it is -
    for example, the captors and the captive, the weak and the strong, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressors in an "oppressive American society"

    "all of these 'solutions' and any other proposed solution have at their heart the...misguided notion...that we can or should make these decisions for them"

    always a pleasure visiting the bar!

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  18. Sure standing aside will have an influence on events. Better that then trying to solve the issues for them. I came across this little picture of things in the comments at Balloon Juice:

    " Tsulagi Says:

    ---

    "The Pentagon on Wednesday said an eruption of violence in southern Iraq, where US-backed government forces were battling Shiite militias, was a “by-product of the success of the surge.”

    ---

    That spokesperson should have just left it at that. Awesome.

    Yep, plenty of byproducts of success from our glorious adventure in Iraq. So deep in byproducts coming out the hole of success, you need a wetsuit to wade through it.

    Basically just seems like a Shia on Shia squabble for power and control. Think Sopranos. The larger New York family (Baghdad/Maliki/Badr Brigades) is moving on Tony (Sadr, JAM) in Jersey (Basra and Kut).

    Tony/Sadr opposed the recent provinces legislation that gives more control to the central Baghdad family taking powers, and money, away from provincial control. That was legislation the admin in Feb. heralded as benchmark-meeting success. Later an uppity three-member Iraqi presidential panel vetoed it.

    But somewhere about the time the unitary-executive lovin Dick made a visit, it was un-vetoed. Followed by Maliki saying any civil disobedience opposing the provinces law and/or the central government like not showing up for work or protests would be an act of terrorism. Has Maliki learned democracy at the knee of The Dick or what?

    Of course we’re supporting Maliki. He of the Dawa party. A political party that once had its headquarters in Tehran and we labeled as a terrorist organization supporting Iran. Also the Badr Brigades, who fought alongside Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq War. But if they’re wearing an IA uniform, we’re good with that.

    Sadr just pays lip service to the Iranians. He’s a nationalist, plus he thinks their practice of Islam is too decadent. Sort of like laidback Unitarians or something. Sadr favors a more Taliban-like implementation of Sharia. And he loves power too. You know, like our fundamentalist type Christians who’d like to be running the show in D.C.

    Our role in this latest squabble? We’re like the skilled button men from Sicily. If it escalates and the Baghdad family’s foot soldiers melt away (likely) going after Tony/Sadr when he shoots back, just point out who we should blow away.

    Stay the course! You just can’t have the byproducts of success deep enough."

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=9978#comments

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  19. Praise the Lord! Last night I finished my reading of 'Buffalo Coat'. I have done my duty. As a son of Moscow, I have read the book.

    I am happy that I did. She tells a slow winding tale, and writes the lamest love scene one can imagine, and yet, it was a pretty good book, giving the atmosphere of the early days of my home town. There were many dead bodies at the end, and the two lovers committed suicide together, at the end, so they are together, always, in death.

    Buffalo Coat, By Brink

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  20. People and Places of Buffalo Coat

    Carol Ryrie Brink

    In this work of historical fiction, Carol Ryrie Brink weaves a fascinating story around events which took place in Moscow, Idaho, from 1885 through 1902. Her characters are drawn from people she knew or had heard about. She has exercised a novelist's prerogative to fictionalize them to fit her story's needs, and many are a composite of differing personalities. The actual events around which the story is written are documented in the early public records. The places around which the story was built are actual ones which were in Moscow at that time. Following are descriptions of some of the people and places.





    Dr. W.W. Watkins
    Dr. W.W. Watkins (Dr. Hawkins), 1846-1901
    Dr. Watkins came to Moscow from St. Louis in 1887 with his wife and three daughters. He played a leading role in establishing the University of Idaho and served on the third board of regents. He founded the Watkins Medal for Oratory and was president of the Idaho State Medical Society. His office was at 110 East 2nd Street, and the house and yard were at 316 and 320 South VanBuren, with the barn on Polk Street. Carol Ryrie Brink was his granddaughter. In August 1901, an insane man, William Steffen, murdered Dr. Watkins as he was returning from a sick call to a girl living on Orchard Avenue which was then in the country.






    Caroline Woodhouse Watkins
    Caroline August Woodhouse Watkins (Anna Hawkins), 1853-1940
    Born in Boston, she spent her childhood on the Wisconsin frontier before moving to St. Louis in 1865 where she met and married William Watkins. Her husband's death in 1901 left her with few resources and many debts, and in 1904, following the death of her daughter, Henrietta, she took on the rearing of her granddaugher, Carol Ryrie. She also helped raise two grandsons. Her personal qualities and enthralling stories of her childhood adventures inspired her granddaughter's classic children's story, Caddie Woodlawn.




    Winifred B. Booth (Jenny Walden), 1880-1902
    The second of three daughters, she was teaching school at Kendrick at the time of her tryst with Dr. F.J. Ledbrooke. Her broken leg was the occasion of their meeting and beginning their ill-fated love affair. The lovers' final request to be buried together was not heeded, and her grave in the Moscow Cemetery is by itself. A line from her favorite hymn is on her headstone: "There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one."

    Well, I'll have to get my ass out to the cemetery. Gramps is parked there, and I should say 'hi'. Though I have worked hard, in a way, I am living off of gramps, every one in town said he was the hardest working sob around, just like iron.

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  21. Any girl or guy from the 60's, who had walked under blooming trees in springtime, could write a better love scene than that damned lame effort of Brink!

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  22. A good love scene should have some humpin' and pumpin', not this lame intellectual psychobabble alone. Need a little mix there, Carol.

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  23. Palouse

    Some of the best folk around here are the natives.

    The generally accepted source of the word, Palouse, comes from the name of the major village of the Palouse Indians. The name is from the Sehaptin word for the village "palus," which means something sticking down in the water. The village was located at the confluence of the Palouse and Snake Rivers, and the something sticking down in the water was a large rock. The Palouse Indians believed the rock to be the solidified heart of Beaver who played an important role in their religious beliefs. The Nez Perce Indians believed the rock to be the canoe of Coyote who played an important part in their religion. The derivation of the name Palouse from "palus" has the support of Deward Walker and Roderick Sprague and is based on extensive research. A good source for finding out more about the name is in "The Meaning of 'Palouse'" in Idaho Yesterdays, Vol. 23, No 2., 1968.

    Another interpretation which is often quoted is that the name derives from the French word 'pelouse' which means grassy spot or lawn. This version which states that French trappers bestowed this name on the area because of the rolling, grassy hills has been promulgated by many local people and publications. No historical source has been found for it. In fact, the French trappers were barely a presence in this area.

    Return to Our Stories...

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  24. In fact, the French trappers were barely a presence in this area.

    That is true.

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  25. geo politics folks...

    persia is rising...

    we can go after them in an amerian typical way and confront them

    OR... art of war page?

    get others to weaken and fight your enemies...

    as persia rises, russia gets nervous

    as persia rises, the sunni arabs get nervous

    as persia rises, pakistan get nervous

    as persia rises, india gets nervous

    ah...

    as persia rises, an claims the only true way of islam, other shits get nervous

    killing others, or having your troops die, is not something they worry about, in fact being a jihadi allows for the killing of people since the next world is better than this one anyway, it's a favor.

    But the West has the concept that humans have infinite potential and we want people to live and prosper, thus our strength, and they see this an our weakness...

    so in the end, natural selection & natural law will weed out the jihadis from the rest of the world...

    let the games begin

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  26. Heck, if you want to hobble Persia then let them cuddle the tar baby.

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  27. ash said...
    Heck, if you want to hobble Persia then let them cuddle the tar baby.

    I do not want to do anything except be able to live without jihadists thinking the have the legal right to decapitate me, my family and anyone else in the world.

    So let the Persians piss off the Chinese, Indians, Russians & others, let the viscous barbarians of the world "hobble" the jihadists

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  28. oh my, look out for those scary jihadists, they might take over America some day.

    Just killing time on a thursday afternoon scanning various comments. Another gem from Balloon Juice:

    "cbear Says:

    radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr

    This is the shit that, amidst all the other never-ending bullshit from the goopers and the press in this country, just infuriates me.

    Here in the U.S. we have never heard Sadr referred to without the word radical prefacing his name, and/or that of his organization or followers.
    Nevermind the fact that he very probably represents the single largest political and social bloc of people in that hellhole of a country, AND can field the largest and most effective fighting force in Iraq outside of the U.S. Military—-which will have hell to pay if he and his miltia decide to go all in.

    Nevermind the fact that there is nothing what-so-fucking-ever radical about representing the will, and hopes, and aspirations, and anger, of the majority of your people in your own fucking country.

    This perfect example of “framing” through the use of language, is nothing more than an attempt by this administration, and the shithounds of a compliant media, to “catapult the propaganda” to the sheeple….cause we certainly wouldn’t want to EVER consider that a scary radical might actually represent the will of a people we are occupying and subjugating for the financial and political benefit of a small cabal of utterly corrupt, mendacious pricks.

    We saw exactly the same tactic used, beginning in the 60’s, to frame the Israeli-Palestinian dispute for the American public’s consumption.
    Hence, every military or guerilla action by Palestinians against Israel was reported as having been conducted by Palestinian Terrorists, and every military action by Israelis against the Palestinians was conducted by Israeli Soldiers, or the Israeli Army.
    Thus, 10 Israeli’s Killed= Terroism. 10 Palestinians Killed= Legitimate Military Action…even if the 20 poor dead bastards were killed on the same day in the same event.
    Thus, the public is never able to make a rational assessment of the situation and perhaps pressure our government to implement a more balanced foreign policy in the region.

    What makes this so egregious is that, IMHO, the end result of that particular “framing” has been 40+ years of American ME foreign policy which has often been at odds with our nation’s best interests—-and engendered the hatred of the U.S. by large segments of the Muslim world, attacks on our people and country, and our current inabaility to extricate ourselves from the quagmire that is Iraq."

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  29. It's the Oil, folks. Concentrate.

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  30. ya, but rufus, we aren't even gettin' much of that stuff out of the deal...they blew up a big pipeline down Basra way didn't they?

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  31. It's the nuclear bomb. Concentrate. They can blow up Los Angeles. We can live without the oil if we have to. They can blow up New York.

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  32. fear mongering, bobal, nothing but fear mongering is the idea of a jihadi terrorist nuking a city. Nukes don't fit in a briefcase with a string for a trigger. Look at the grief Iran is going through to get a bomb. Besides, even if we accepted the absurd notion that a guy could buy a bomb from the soviets pack it in the trunk of a car and drive it in to Manhattan to detonate it what f*ck are our actions in Iraq doing to prevent such a scenario?

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  33. They are building nuclear weapons right now, Ash. As we type. Right there in Iran. Mat, Elijah, WiO, they all know this. It will have a bad ending, unless someone does something to prevent it. It's not going to be the Canadians that prevent it. Maybe no one will, but I still hope.

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  34. Meanwhile, The Party of God Increases The Rocket Range

    Israel has got to have an election, and kick out that fool Olmert, in my view.

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  35. Still hope for what Bobal, that the US will start a third war with Iran?

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  36. Hope that we come to our senses and prevent the jihadi from nuclear weapons, yes, absolutely.

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  37. Ever hear of the phrase "The cure is worse then the disease?" I think you will find that war with Iran would be an example of that. If you think Iraq is a mess, and additional war with Iran will be much worse.

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  38. They can blow up Los Angeles.

    And, your point is?

    :)

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  39. ash said...
    oh my, look out for those scary jihadists, they might take over America some day.


    No Ash, not take it over, just cause enough destruction & chaos to allow to destroy all we hold dear...


    ASH: Just killing time on a thursday afternoon scanning various comments. Another gem from Balloon Juice:

    "cbear Says:

    radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr

    This is the shit that, amidst all the other never-ending bullshit from the goopers and the press in this country, just infuriates me.


    Ypu are correct, HE is not radical, he is NORMAL islamic SHRIA talibanic, he could care less if children are blown to bits, he is NORMAL islam that would kill you as fast as take a shit... and think LESS of killing you than which HAND he wipes his anus with...

    ASH: Here in the U.S. we have never heard Sadr referred to without the word radical prefacing his name, and/or that of his organization or followers.
    Nevermind the fact that he very probably represents the single largest political and social bloc of people in that hellhole of a country, AND can field the largest and most effective fighting force in Iraq outside of the U.S. Military—-which will have hell to pay if he and his miltia decide to go all in.

    True, the Normal thinking murderous Sadr is a butcher, nd his shithole loves him. However his rag-tag iranian proxy army could be wiped out in a day, if we were given the same rules of engagement sadr the butcher lives by.

    ASH: Nevermind the fact that there is nothing what-so-fucking-ever radical about representing the will, and hopes, and aspirations, and anger, of the majority of your people in your own fucking country.

    Yes Sadr is a perfect democratic leader of a bunch of nazis in training. The fact they have murdered anyone that opposes them is small issue to you.

    ASH: This perfect example of “framing” through the use of language, is nothing more than an attempt by this administration, and the shithounds of a compliant media, to “catapult the propaganda” to the sheeple….cause we certainly wouldn’t want to EVER consider that a scary radical might actually represent the will of a people we are occupying and subjugating for the financial and political benefit of a small cabal of utterly corrupt, mendacious pricks.


    Ash, you think so small, as for oil let it go to 200 a barrel, but hold your lip when we raise the price of food, medicine and technology by 9000% Sadr and his henchmen can represent all the fucktards he wishes, the fact remains that sadr and his ilk are parasites, bullies on steroids, but you think he's a legit world leader? fine... make him pay threw his ass for every western thing he has...

    ASH: We saw exactly the same tactic used, beginning in the 60’s, to frame the Israeli-Palestinian dispute for the American public’s consumption.

    yep, those poor palestinians... yep it's so hard to make peace when offered 5 times....

    ASH: Hence, every military or guerilla action by Palestinians against Israel was reported as having been conducted by Palestinian Terrorists, and every military action by Israelis against the Palestinians was conducted by Israeli Soldiers, or the Israeli Army.
    Thus, 10 Israeli’s Killed= Terroism. 10 Palestinians Killed= Legitimate Military Action…even if the 20 poor dead bastards were killed on the same day in the same event.

    Yep your one jaded prick Ash, I guess you dont think israel has a right to it's nationhood? ALL wars the region would have been avoided in 1948 if the arab world had accepted a two state solution, thus giving the arab world 649.99/650th of the middle east and those fuckin pesty 900,000 jews that refused to die or live under dhimmihute got tossed out of their homes that they lived in for a 1000 years BEFORE the 1st arab crawled out of arabia, but no, Ash, Israel created by the UN, was attacked and has NEVER not been attacked by the arabs, to these you seem to think there is a moral equality to all killing.

    Maybe to be fair, Israel should respond to terror LIKE the Palios, in the same unaiming way and try to aim at civilians ON PURPOSE. Yep tell you what ash, when we get to aim and kill noncombatants like the ARABS do and have done for CENTURIES, then you might have a point, till then? your full of shit.

    Ash: Thus, the public is never able to make a rational assessment of the situation and perhaps pressure our government to implement a more balanced foreign policy in the region.

    Ash, do you even KNOW history? Balanced? the USA has supported the creation of 21 arab nations, this after the islamic peoples of the middle east attacked and declared war on the USA , before we were even a nation...

    Ash, learn history, you sound stupid

    ASH: What makes this so egregious is that, IMHO, the end result of that particular “framing” has been 40+ years of American ME foreign policy which has often been at odds with our nation’s best interests

    Best interests? by siding with jihadists?

    ASH: —-and engendered the hatred of the U.S. by large segments of the Muslim world, attacks on our people and country, and our current inabaility to extricate ourselves from the quagmire that is Iraq."

    Newsflash ash, the islamic jihadists hate you whether israel is or not...

    you are deluding yourself if you think any of this is because of the last 60 years...

    the arabs of the middle east had issues with christians and jews being equals for centuries.

    how dare the jews seek their own state?

    (at the same time the USA created the concept of arab nationalism and promoted the creation of egypt & others...)

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  40. WiO,

    All that stuff was from teh cbear quote.

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  41. Yeah, the whole thing was pulled from the Balloon Juice comment section; some poster named cbear. A pretty good rant. It certainly clarified some issues for you ;)

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  42. I had written:

    "Just killing time on a thursday afternoon scanning various comments. Another gem from Balloon Juice:

    "cbear Says:"

    and the rest was his. I tend to skim and read quickly as well.

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