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12/21/2006 Middle East Live Daily Thread
Middle East Live Daily Thread ^ | 12/21/06 | Knitting a Conundrum

Posted on 12/20/2006 10:48:15 PM PST by Knitting A Conundrum


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TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; dots; freepcon; iran; iraq; israel; middleeast; wot
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To: Knitting A Conundrum; Bahbah; 4butnomorethan30characters; 1COUNTER-MORTER-68; pinz-n-needlez

Morning all. Getting a late start this a.m. Looks like things are ratcheting up. Did see a reference to the Ethiopia-Somalia escalation; one to watch for sure. I still believe that eventually the Nigerians will throw in their lot as well, with the Ethiopians.


51 posted on 12/21/2006 6:39:51 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Dot, or more cheese and whine? You decide:

The North Korea could prepare a new nuclear test

SEOUL - suspect activities were detected in North Korea, suggesting preparations for a new nuclear test after the explosion of the first atomic bomb North-Korean on October 9, indicated to Thursday a South Korean deputy.

“Since the beginning of this month, there were many activities in a tunnel close to the Mantap Mount, in Punggyeri”, 350 km in the North-East of Pyongyang, where the first test took place, indicated Chung Hyung-keun, deputy of the opposition member of a parliamentary commitee on the information.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1756652/posts


52 posted on 12/21/2006 6:40:46 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: pinz-n-needlez

That is an encouraging report...I feel sorry for the Iranian young people...the ones that are aware that there is life other than Islamic radicalism, that is.


53 posted on 12/21/2006 6:41:15 AM PST by Txsleuth (Bolton/Cheney (that would be Lynne) 08)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Iran: U.N. Won’t Stop Us
16:36 Dec 21, '06 / 30 Kislev 5767


(IsraelNN.com) Iranian security chief Ali Larijani said Thursday that sanctions that may be imposed as a result of a planned United Nations resolution against the country’s nuclear development program will not have the desired result.

“The nature of this resolution is not capable of pressuring Iran, and Iran will give an appropriate response to it,” he said, according to the ISNA students’ news agency.

Larijani said the resolution would not affect Iran’s progress in its race to produce nuclear energy. He added, however, that it would affect its cooperation with the U.N.’s atomic agency.

From Arutz Sheva: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=117891

Echoes of Saddam....


54 posted on 12/21/2006 6:41:50 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

I guess they need to hide...but, I pray that eventually there will be enough of them that they won't hide, NUTJOB will hide!!


55 posted on 12/21/2006 6:42:16 AM PST by Txsleuth (Bolton/Cheney (that would be Lynne) 08)
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To: pinz-n-needlez

I am encouraged by both also...we just have to pray that annihilation holds off long enough to let the "good guys" take over..


56 posted on 12/21/2006 6:45:18 AM PST by Txsleuth (Bolton/Cheney (that would be Lynne) 08)
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To: unionblue83
They might, but they aren't near at hand...

maybe if Chad vs. Sudan gets more wild.

Here's a visual reference tool:

Where
57 posted on 12/21/2006 6:45:20 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: unionblue83

A broken record, Iran...


58 posted on 12/21/2006 6:45:49 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Txsleuth; 1COUNTER-MORTER-68

I have seen some reports that there are some strange goings-on a'happenin' in the power structure in Iran. The Supreme Leader is reported to be very ill and some of the higher ups in the IRGC (Pasdaran) have been knocked off. Is Ahma-nutjob positioning himself to trump the mullahs? Not sure. As the Count likes to say, "...lookin'..."


59 posted on 12/21/2006 6:47:13 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Sorry, I typed faster than my brain was working -- Kenya.


60 posted on 12/21/2006 6:47:58 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: unionblue83

Don't forget to factor in the aviation anomolies that tend to crash large planes full of military brass now and then...


61 posted on 12/21/2006 6:48:31 AM PST by pinz-n-needlez (Jack Bauer wears Tony Snow pajamas)
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To: unionblue83

It is hard to know which side is going to come out...lack of data...but they play rough politics in the upper ranks of the Republican Guard...using airplanes as their dueling pistols...


62 posted on 12/21/2006 6:49:47 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: unionblue83

That makes good sense.


63 posted on 12/21/2006 6:50:17 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Txsleuth

Iran Focus (or somewhere, I forget) was talking about a new crackdown on student activism. Funny...Mr. A and many of his cohorts were very involved in student activism.

Their country reminds me, in a perverse way, of Animal Farm.


64 posted on 12/21/2006 6:53:10 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

I agree..the Arab political world is as cut-throat as it gets. I do think that there is something stirring and it couold have a huge impact on the situation. If things get too hairy the opposition movement may have an opportune moment to stage a coup but they will need the help of the West and I pray that we are up to the task. Europe will bail as seems to be their nature now.


65 posted on 12/21/2006 6:53:19 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

The other encouraging thing is that I don't see the Ethiopians or the Kenyans fighting a PC war. They will definitely go full bore.


66 posted on 12/21/2006 6:54:36 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: unionblue83

Western Europe is a disaster waiting to happen. And that's a shame.


67 posted on 12/21/2006 6:55:21 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

The Poles have been quiet but very loyal allies in the WOT as have the Aussies. I really admire John Howard and his stance against the Lefties and mohammedans.


68 posted on 12/21/2006 6:57:20 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Yes...very tenuous situation...I guess I like hearing that the students are restless....not just walking in lock step.

How it turns out of course is not known...but bears watching.

I know that the Bush Admin had planned to perhaps work from the inside to get the Iranians to overthrow their own government...

No telling if he has accomplished infiltrating with many people...I pray so.


69 posted on 12/21/2006 6:57:47 AM PST by Txsleuth (Bolton/Cheney (that would be Lynne) 08)
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To: unionblue83

Yep. The people who make me scratch my head in wonder mostly are the Swedes. Talk about a place with its head in the sand...


70 posted on 12/21/2006 6:58:27 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: unionblue83

Facing a neighbor like Somalia, you don't dare fight PC!


71 posted on 12/21/2006 6:59:28 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Agreed. Most of Scandanavia is under the thumb of political correctness but some reports are encouraging though rare. There are areas of the major cities in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden where the police/fire/EMS won't even go anymore because they are Muslim enclaves similar to those in Paris and all over France. The stance the Danes took during the cartoon contraversy pleasantly surprised me.


72 posted on 12/21/2006 7:01:43 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

The Africans have always had a rep for being warriors (from the tribal culture, I would guess) and seem to take pride in said rep. I don't believe that they will hold back, that's for sure. Let loose the dogs of war.


73 posted on 12/21/2006 7:04:39 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Lebanese police arrest members of pro-Syrian party
By AP


Lebanese police arrested four people and seized large quantities of explosives, electrical fuses and timers in several homes in northern Lebanon on Thursday, a police statement said.

An official close to the investigation said those detained were members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a pro-Syrian Lebanese political party.

The police statement said Prosecutor General Saeed Mirza ordered authorities to raid the homes in the district of Koura after receiving information of explosives stashed there. Police found large quantities of explosives with electrical fuses, timers as well as large numbers of weapons.

It said four people were arrested and an investigation was under way.

This is interesting (from JPost).


74 posted on 12/21/2006 7:05:56 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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To: unionblue83; joan

Speaking of Kosovo....

Kosovo officials arrested after huge weapons haul
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2742690 ^ | December 21, 2006

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1756744/posts
Posted on 12/21/2006 8:29:38 AM EST by joan


By Fatos Bytyci


Dec 21, 2006 — PRISTINA, Serbia (Reuters) - Two officials of Kosovo's governing coalition have been arrested after police found a minibus packed with heavy weapons and ammunition.

A police source said the haul included a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft gun and more than 100 rocket-propelled grenades.

Local media reports said the find, made late on Wednesday in the Drenica region of central Kosovo, was the largest in Kosovo since the 1998-99 war and the deployment of NATO peacekeepers.

Three men were arrested, including a senior adviser to the Kosovo labor minister and a member of the governing Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), which emerged from the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army.

The find sharpened fears of unrest in the U.N.-run province, where major powers have delayed a decision on the demand of 2 million ethnic Albanians for independence from Serbia.

The Kosovo government issued a statement expressing regret for what it said was an isolated case. The AAK, a junior member of the governing coalition, said it was "surprised" that two of its members were involved.

The breakaway province, run by the United Nations since 1999 and patrolled by 17,000 NATO-led peacekeepers, is braced for possible violence after the major Western powers and Russia let slip a year-end deadline to decide its fate until Serbia holds a general election on January 21.
(snip)


75 posted on 12/21/2006 7:16:53 AM PST by pinz-n-needlez (Jack Bauer wears Tony Snow pajamas)
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To: 4butnomorethan30characters

sorry about that, I'll be in and out, mostly lurking. I'll try to do a drive by post.


76 posted on 12/21/2006 7:32:35 AM PST by markman46 (engage brain before using keyboard!!!)
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To: unionblue83

# Fragile ceasefire holds in Gaza for second day AFP - 1 hour, 59 minutes ago

GAZA CITY (AFP) - A fragile ceasefire aimed at halting deadly clashes between rival Palestinian factions held in Gaza for a second day as president Mahmud Abbas urged all sides to consolidate the truce.
#
In this photo made available by the Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, center, smiles during a meeting with U.S. Senators John Kerry, left, and Christopher Dodd, right, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2006. (AP Photo/GPO, Moshe Milner, HO)
Errant Palestinian rocket hurts Gaza tot AP - 2 hours, 2 minutes ago

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - A Palestinian rocket aimed at Israel veered off course and struck a home in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, moderately wounding a 2-year-old boy sleeping in his bedroom, hospital officials and residents said.
#
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, speaks to the media at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006. Abbas said Tuesday night that a comprehensive cease-fire had been agreed to in the volatile Gaza Strip after more than a week of factional violence there. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Abbas hopes to hold summit with Olmert AP - 2 hours, 17 minutes ago

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he hopes to hold a long-awaited summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert by the end of the year.
#
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas during a joint press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Abbas has said that he hoped to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert before the end of the year.(AFP/Abbas Momani)
Abbas hopes to meet with Israeli PM before end of year AFP - 2 hours, 33 minutes ago

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said that he hoped to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert before the end of the year.
#
A Palestinian militant from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, displays Qassam rockets during a rally in Gaza City, September 2005. A senior minister has said Israel should ignore a month-old ceasefire and strike back against Palestinian militants firing rockets from the Gaza Strip in violation of the truce.(AFP/File/Mohammed Abed)
Israel must respond to Palestinian rocket fire: minister AFP - 2 hours, 35 minutes ago

JERUSALEM (AFP) - A senior minister has said Israel should ignore a month-old ceasefire and strike back against Palestinian militants firing rockets from the Gaza Strip in violation of the truce.
#
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa jokes with journalists while on his way to meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus December 21, 2006. (Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters)
Syria backs Arab initiative on Lebanon: Moussa Reuters - 2 hours, 50 minutes ago

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Arab League chief Amr Moussa said on Thursday he had won Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's support for his efforts to solve the crisis in Lebanon between Syrian-backed Hezbollah and the Western-supported government.
#
Jordan's King Abdullah II (L) shares a light moment with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso (R) prior to their talks at a hotel in Tokyo. Japan has reaffirmed to Jordan's visiting King Abdullah II its commitment to efforts promoting peace in the Middle East, the foreign ministry said.(AFP/Toru Yamanaka)
Japan reaffirms Mideast commitment to Jordan's king AFP - 2 hours, 59 minutes ago

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan has reaffirmed to Jordan's visiting King Abdullah II its commitment to efforts promoting peace in the Middle East, the foreign ministry said.
#
A woman and her colleague, carrying a Hezbollah and Lebanese flags respectively, attend a sit-in protest near the government headquarters in central Beirut, December 15, 2006. (Jamal Saidi/Reuters)
Hezbollah has support despite lacking economic plan Reuters - Thu Dec 21, 6:36 AM ET

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah supporters who have been staging a round-the-clock protest in central Beirut for three weeks cite corruption, tax and unemployment among their grievances against Lebanon's Western-backed government.
# Terrorist sentenced to death in Jordan AP - Thu Dec 21, 5:27 AM ET

AMMAN, Jordan - A Jordanian man of Palestinian origin was convicted Thursday and sentenced to death in the fatal shooting of a British tourist he saw as an enemy of Islam.
#
Palestinian security forces clash with supporters of the ruling Hamas party in the West Bank city of Ramallah 15 December 2006. Plans by the United States to provide military support for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas would help restore security in the region and counterbalance the threat posed by Hamas, a US diplomat said.(AFP/File/Abbas Momani)
US defends military support for Palestinian security forces AFP - Wed Dec 20, 7:08 PM ET


77 posted on 12/21/2006 7:32:41 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: pinz-n-needlez

Olmert's associates to Abbas: If Qassams continue, Israel will respond

Published: 12.21.06, 17:13

Officials close to Prime Minister Olmert told associates of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel's restraint in light of the Qassam rockets will not last forever. According to them, "if the Qassam fire will continue, we will have no choice but to respond."

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3343045,00.html


78 posted on 12/21/2006 7:40:41 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Assad, Gaza, and Olmert: some Israeli poll results:

(IsraelNN.com) More than two-thirds of respondents to a poll do not trust Syrian President Bashar Assad's comments that he is prepared to negotiate with Israel, according to the weekly Geocartographia poll carried out for the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Only 21.6 percent believe Assad is sincere, with most of the positive response coming from those who voted for Labor in the last elections.

Responding to Israel's trying to help Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, only 36.4 percent agreed with the policy.

The overall rating for the performance of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, on a scale of 1 to 10, was 4.1.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=117885


79 posted on 12/21/2006 7:48:46 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum; 4butnomorethan30characters

"The RS-20V Voevoda, which NATO identifies as the SS-18 Satan, was fired from its silo in the southern Ural Mountains' Orenburg region. "


SS-18 Satan, isn't that an interesting name for an ICBM produced by a country that sells arms to Iran?

Never trust the Ruskies.


80 posted on 12/21/2006 7:54:02 AM PST by Walleye_Walter
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To: Walleye_Walter

Trust the ruskies to want to do things that make them feel good about themselves.

That doesn't necessarily include making you happy!


81 posted on 12/21/2006 7:59:29 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke with US President George W. Bush on Thursday afternoon, focusing primarily on ways of making progress in Israeli-Palestinian channels.

Olmert also updated Bush on talks the prime minister held in Germany, Italy and Jordan.

The prime minister met on Thursday with US Senators John Kerry and Christopher Dodd, who have been on a tour of the region. The senators updated Olmert on their visits to Iraq, Lebanon and Syria; however, they did not relay any messages from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Prime Minister's Office on Thursday also denied reports in the Palestinian media that a meeting had taken place between Olmert and his Lebanese counterpart, Fuad Saniora, in Sharm e-Sheikh.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1164881947576&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull


82 posted on 12/21/2006 8:10:51 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

This article's so long that even I won't post it, but go to the site and read it:

Introduction

The Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya organization, which perpetrated terror attacks in Egypt throughout the 1980s and '90s, has in recent years undergone an ideological reversal exceptional among Islamist organizations. The leaders of the organization have undertaken to forsake violence and have apologized for past attacks and now promote a new ideology of coexistence with the regime. In addition, they have gone to great lengths to argue against Al-Qaeda's ideology and to restrict its influence on Muslims.

The Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya leadership's ideological reversal is an outstanding example of a collective shift away from violence by leaders of a prominent radical Islamist organization. This paper has been an attempt to detail the chronological and ideological development of this reversal, to map the changes in the group's thought, and to explain the reasons for this change. The story of Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya has an importance that extends well beyond Egypt, as it provides insight into the ideological structure of radical Islamism on the whole and the potential found in Islam itself to defuse the Islamist trend.

This paper reviews Al-Gama'a's cessation of violence and its aftermath as reflected in the Arab media.

http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA30906

It does show how groups can evolve. Interesting. Not typical, but interesting.


83 posted on 12/21/2006 8:15:11 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

"Trust the ruskies to want to do things that make them feel good about themselves."

I don't think it's about feeling good, I think it's all about $$$$, as discussed yesterday on this board. Of course, enough $$$$ can probably make some people feel good about themselves.


84 posted on 12/21/2006 8:17:42 AM PST by Walleye_Walter
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Comment #85 Removed by Moderator

To: 4butnomorethan30characters

Mornin 4,

All-nighter, heh? LOL

BTW thanks for the pings and MELDT.com


86 posted on 12/21/2006 8:32:29 AM PST by Walleye_Walter
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To: 4butnomorethan30characters; Walleye_Walter; Knitting A Conundrum

From ITAR-TASS (So take everything with a grain of mistrust):

Russian ballistic missile hits designated target



21.12.2006, 13.19



MOSCOW, December 21 (Itar-Tass) - The trainer warhead of the RS-20V intercontinental ballistic missile /SS-18 Satan by western classification/ hit a designated target at the Kura range on the Kamchatka peninsula, a spokesman.

"The dummy warheads of the missile hit the designated targets at the range with preset precision. The launch was made by a Strategic Missile Troops /RVSN/ unit in Russia's Orenburg region on Thursday," RVSN spokesman Col Alexander Vovk told Itar-Tass.

The first launch of such a missile from the Orenburg region was made on December 10, 2004. It is launched from a silo by means of so-called mortar start - a powder high pressure accumulator shoots it at an altitude of up to 30 meters whereupon its first-stage cruise engine is activated.

According to open press reports, RS-20V is one of the most powerful missiles in the world.

The front part weighing some nine tonnes is comprised of ten self-homing warheads equipped with means of penetrating enemy air defense systems.

The system was added to the Russian army's arsenal and put on combat alert in December 1988, with initial service life of 15 years.

"The launch has confirmed the correctness of the design and technical solutions used in developing the R-36M2 missile complex, as well as its readiness for combat missions during extended service life period. As of the moment of launch, the missile has been in service for 19 years," Vovk said.



IMO the Russians always have and always will do whatever they feel is in THEIR best interests regardless of the outcomes for ANYONE else.


87 posted on 12/21/2006 8:50:02 AM PST by unionblue83 (Duty is ours; consequences are God's. -- Stonewall Jackson.)
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Comment #88 Removed by Moderator

To: 4butnomorethan30characters

Mornin', 4...


89 posted on 12/21/2006 8:58:37 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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Comment #90 Removed by Moderator

To: Knitting A Conundrum

18:18 Standing army NCO jailed for year and a half for shooting in air, hitting man (Haaretz)
18:05 Representative dollar rate set at $1 / NIS 4.1810 (Haaretz)
17:51 Iraq`s Shi`ite Alliance presses Iraq PM to crack down on Shi`ite militias (Reuters)
17:27 PM Olmert phones Bush to convey holiday greeting to the Americans (Haaretz)
17:19 Interior Ministry guard convicted of accepting bribe receives 6-year sentence (Haaretz)
16:51 European states distribute draft resolution for light sanctions on Iran at UN (Haaretz)
16:50 Palestinians agree to crack down on funds smuggling into Gaza (Haaretz)
16:40 France`s Le Pen says anti-Semitism can be `funny` (Reuters)
16:11 Livni: Israel must consider whether policy of restraint can be maintained (Reuters)


91 posted on 12/21/2006 9:00:02 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: 4butnomorethan30characters; Valin

Talk about the banality of evil... There must be more ways to make money than killing people, destroying civilizations and wreaking havoc throughout the world... Does no one open pizza parlors any more????

Spy lifts lid on al-Qaeda (Inside The Jihad)
BBC ^ | 11/16/06 | Gordon Corera

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1756829/posts
Posted on 12/21/2006 11:08:27 AM EST by Valin


It is rare to get an insider's perspective on the emergence of al-Qaeda. It is also rare to get a glimpse of the world of spies and agents. To provide both is incredibly unusual. Omar Nasiri - not his real name but one chosen to protect his identity - says he spent seven years working as an agent for European intelligence services and as an al-Qaeda operative, part of the time in the UK. He provides a unique insight into how al-Qaeda was far more organised, coherent and determined in the 1990s than was appreciated at the time.

Nasiri's story begins in the mid 1990s in Belgium after his brother became involved with a group of Algerian Islamic activists. To make money, Nasiri began to supply the cell with guns. But after stealing some cash from the cell, he realised his life was in danger. He knew the French were taking the threat from the Algerian Islamists seriously and so he walked into the French consulate in Brussels. He met an officer from the DGSE, France's overseas intelligence service. Nasiri remembers that the officer offered him money - and protection - but at a price. "He said, 'To give you what you ask, a new identity, a future, you need to do more.'" That meant becoming a spy.

Nasiri's family's house was raided in March 1995. The material discovered in that raid proved to be one of the first signs of emerging links between jihadist groups - and of the role of al-Qaeda, according to Belgian police. As well as weapons, a training manual was found. The first page of it was dedicated to Osama bin Laden.

Key operative

Meanwhile, the French had begun to hear of training camps in Afghanistan. They wanted Nasiri to investigate. "My mission [was] to find the route of jihad through Pakistan and Afghanistan... No leads, no names, no address, Nothing. Just go find the route of jihad." Through a series of contacts he found his way to Peshawar where he met Abu Zubaydah, the gatekeeper of the Afghan training camps who would be captured soon after 9/11 and was recently transferred from a secret CIA prison to Guantanamo Bay.

His first stop was Khalden, one of al-Qaeda's key training camps. Amongst those who attended were Mohammed Atta - the ringleader of the 9-11 attacks - and Richard Reid, the so called "shoe bomber" who tried to detonate explosives on a transatlantic flight. Nasiri described how recruits were provided with intense and highly comprehensive military training - much of which was based on training manuals of UK and US special forces and also involved assassination and kidnapping techniques. Spiritual preparation was also an important part of the training, taking up as much, if not more of the time.

Intelligence experts believe he provides a convincing and unusually detailed portrait of camp life. "It's an extraordinarily complete story, and certainly I don't think there's anything to match it in terms of intelligence reporting," said Mike Scheuer, who was head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit between 1996 and 1999. Recruits were also trained how to resist interrogation and provide false information - Nasiri's mentor at the camps, Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, would go on to provide false evidence of links between al-Qaeda and Iraq after he was captured by the US.

Rabbits poisoned

This evidence was cited by both the US Secretary of State Colin Powell and President Bush in the build-up to the war with Iraq. From Khalden, Nasiri was sent to Darunta, the "graduate" school which focused on training individuals for operations. There, recruits learnt how to make explosives and detonators from scratch. Nasiri also witnessed chemical weapons experiments - including the use of gases and poisons on rabbits, evidence of an organised WMD programme far earlier than had previously been reported.

With his training complete, Abu Zubaydah despatched Nasiri back to Europe with instructions to set up a "sleeper" cell and to remain in contact. He asked me to go back... and begin to make a list of all targets," recalls Nasiri.

After resuming contact with his French handlers, Nasiri was sent to London. The French were worried that Islamic radicals were using London as a base. They called the British capital Londonistan. Nasiri was now run jointly by French and British intelligence. He began to infiltrate Finsbury Park Mosque and spy on its imam, Abu Hamza, as well as another radical, Abu Qatada. He passed messages back between the training camps and London, from those around Abu Zubaydah to Abu Qatada, with the British Security Service and the French listening in, he says. He was even sent a notebook he had compiled on how to make explosives. He was told by his handlers to focus on Abu Hamza rather than Abu Qatada, a decision he disagreed with.

Tensions

British police and security officials were focused on whether Islamic radicals posed a threat to the UK but not necessarily on the larger international picture and the connections going back and forth. "At the time we didn't think that the growing threat from al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden was sufficient to put more resources on it," says Bob Milton, who worked on the issue at the Metropolitan Police Special Branch between 1996 and 1998. "We were monitoring what he was doing, certainly working with the US and European colleagues to do that. But at that time we were still unsure what the threat would be."

In 1998, al-Qaeda's war against the west began in earnest as US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed. But Nasiri's relationship with the intelligence services deteriorated rapidly. He felt they were not listening to him. They may not have trusted him and have been unsure of where his loyalties really lay. He was left without a role just as the threat was growing. But his story makes clear that al-Qaeda was far more organised, more determined and more coherent in the 1990s than anyone appreciated at the time. Thousands - probably tens of thousands - graduated from al-Qaeda's training camps in the 1990s and the spread of ideology has left an equally lasting legacy in terms of radicalisation.
(discussion at the link)


92 posted on 12/21/2006 9:00:31 AM PST by pinz-n-needlez (Jack Bauer wears Tony Snow pajamas)
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To: 4butnomorethan30characters

I posted my 500th FR thread this morning, and have been enjoying the day so far...It's the Winter Solstice, more or less, and all of a sudden, I feel in the holiday mood (I don't like to build up to it, but it never fails to hit eventually.)


93 posted on 12/21/2006 9:01:20 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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Comment #94 Removed by Moderator

To: 4butnomorethan30characters

Well if you can go on a money making spree when you feel like that, I'd say you've perfected the art of sublimation!! LOL

Glad to know you're feeling better. :-)


95 posted on 12/21/2006 9:08:45 AM PST by pinz-n-needlez (Jack Bauer wears Tony Snow pajamas)
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Comment #96 Removed by Moderator

To: pinz-n-needlez

There must be more ways to make money than killing people, destroying civilizations and wreaking havoc throughout the world... Does no one open pizza parlors any more????


I don't know. Why don't you asked the Bonanno's and Gaetano Badalamenti?
Gaetano Badalamenti and the Pizza Connection
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_271.html


97 posted on 12/21/2006 9:14:03 AM PST by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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Comment #98 Removed by Moderator

To: 4butnomorethan30characters

LOL I'm congenitally a good speller, please don't hate me for it.

If you are a neat freak, though, come check out my work room, and you'll feel smugly superior! I can organize thoughts and people, but can't organize stuff to save my soul. :-/

FWIW, when I read other people's stuff, I read for content, not punctuation or grammar... :-)


99 posted on 12/21/2006 9:17:26 AM PST by pinz-n-needlez (Jack Bauer wears Tony Snow pajamas)
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Comment #100 Removed by Moderator


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