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In the Name of God بسم الله

AJ 12

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  1. I,am currently reading: What the Dog Saw: and other adventures by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjNBsvwcAoQ#t=277 A fascinating BBC documentary that portrays the deep hate between the various factions in the Muslim world and the cynical use of media to deliver hate and violence. Article on the same topic http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/alqaida-the-second-act-the-hate-preachers-fuelling-sectarianism-9205931.html
  3. IRAQI military helicopters flying over Baghdad have been dropping leaflets. Unlike those that fluttered down from American helicopters at the start of the invasion 11 years ago urging Iraqi soldiers not to resist, these ones are meant to persuade citizens to vote in national elections on April 30th. “In Saddam’s time they used to drop money from helicopters on national holidays,” recalled a wistful Baghdad resident, looking at a leaflet depicting the new electronic voter-registration card. http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21599406-election-draws-near-rifts-between-iraqs-three-main-communities-are
  4. In a SPIEGEL interview, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki discusses accusations he has become another Saddam Hussein, the return of terrorism to his country and his fear that the civil war in Syria will destabilize the entire region. SPIEGEL: Prime Minister Maliki, you have governed Iraq for almost eight years. How many attacks have you survived? Maliki: I can't even say how often my enemies have been after my blood. I've been attacked at close range during public appearances, but there have also been attempts to poison me. My plane was supposed to be shot down once, when I was on my way to Mosul in northern Iraq. Although the plane's defense system deflected the missile, the aircraft was severely shaken. I was even targeted during my visit to Berlin in 2008, but the German security services managed to thwart the plans by a group of young Moroccans. SPIEGEL: Who has been behind the attacks? Maliki: I have enemies everywhere. Some are from the Baath Party… SPIEGEL: … the now-banned unity party of former despot Saddam Hussein … Maliki: … while others are religious extremists. Some of the fanatics are members of the Sunni faith, while others are Shiites like me. Al-Qaida has also been responsible for some of the attacks. Full Interview: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel-interview-with-nouri-al-maliki-on-upcoming-elections-in-iraq-a-959478.html
  5. Syria: Troops kill 40 rebels near Damascus DAMASCUS: Syrian government troops on Friday ambushed rebels near the capital, Damascus, killing at least 40 opposition fighters, state media reported. The ambush was part of the military's offensive against rebel strongholds around President Bashar Assad's seat of power. Also Friday, Kurdish gunmen battled jihadi rebels in a northeastern Syrian town along the border with Iraq, leaving a number of casualties on both sides, activists said. Such battles have become increasingly common in Syria's bloodletting, adding another complex layer to the civil war, now in its third year. The ambush near Damascus came hours after Assad's forces captured the town of Hatitat al-Turkomen south of the city, securing a key highway that links the capital with the Damascus International Airport. State-run SANA news agency said 40 rebels were killed in the ambush, which took place near the Otaiba area, and that a large arms cache was seized, including anti-tank rockets. The area is part of a region known as Eastern Ghouta, which was the scene of a horrific chemical weapons attack in August, when several hundred people, including many women and children, were killed. An unidentified Syrian army officer in the area told state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV station that there were foreign fighters among the dead and that the ambush followed an intelligence tip. The TV broadcast footage showing more than a dozen bodies of men lying on the ground in an open area near a small river, along with scattered automatic rifles and hand grenades. A scroll on the TV read: "Eastern Ghouta is a graveyard of terrorists." "It was a highly accurate operation," the officer told Al-Ikhbariya. "We will be moving from one victory to another." Another soldier, who was also not identified, said the rebels belonged to the Islam Brigade and an al-Qaida-linked faction, Jabhat al-Nusra or Nusra Front. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that tracks Syria's crisis, said at least 20 fighters were killed in the ambush but gave no further details. In other violence, the Observatory reported that a car bomb blew up outside a mosque in the village of Wadi Barada, and that 40 people were either killed or wounded in the blast. State-run news agency SANA said the car blew up as people were rigging it with explosives. On the Kurdish-jihadi battles, the Observatory said Kurdish gunmen made advances in the predominantly Kurdish province of Hassaekh. The Kurdish militiamen entered the town of Yaaroubiyeh on Friday, clashing with several jihadi groups, including al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Nusra Front. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Oct-25/235771-syrian-media-troops-kill-40-rebels-near-damascus.ashx#ixzz2ikQOaS8V Video http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a12_1382700545
  6. Here's some recent info on Al Qaeda murderous campaign Part 1 http://www.understandingwar.org/report/al-qaeda-iraq-resurgent Part 2 http://www.understandingwar.org/report/al-qaeda-iraq-resurgent-part-ii
  7. It happened nearly three months ago Gunmen kill 3 Syrian truck drivers in Iraq http://news.yahoo.com/gunmen-kill-3-syrian-truck-drivers-iraq-132112355.html
  8. The man is a Iraqi nationalist who obviously has a strong Shia base of support and he has my support Good interview about Maliki The life of Nouri al Maliki, an Interview with journalist Ned Parker http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/the-life-of-nouri-al-maliki-interview_19.html
  9. To best honest even when there were 150,000 extra American troops and all their resources they couldn't,t stop the terrorist bombing which in some cases were much bigger then the recent bombings such as the 215 in 2006 Sadr city. Also unlike the old bombings which targeted one place such as Sadriya market in central Baghdad causing massive casualties these recent bombing are small multiple bombings on soft easy targets such small markets,ice cream shops, cafes which are numerous and it,s hard to protect all of them. This is what the interior minster spokesman said : I asked interior ministry spokesman Brig-Gen Saad Maan why the government was failing to providing security, given all its resources. "I do not agree with you in calling it failure," he said. "You have to consider the scale of the security challenge that we are facing. Not only Iraq, the whole Middle East region is boiling. "We might be high in numbers but Iraq is a big country. We are doing our jobs, chasing terrorists and bringing them to justice." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23637296 Your point about the security forces better protecting large gathering also may be correct or just luck but here is a example of last Ashura : Iraq free of sectarian violence during Ashura The peace was a marked contrast to the last eight years in which hundreds of people died in sectarian attacks.Baghdad (CNN) -- The commemoration of Ashura, arguably the holiest day on the Shiite Muslim calendar, passed without significant violence in Iraq Sunday.Iraqi troops and police were deployed in the streets of Baghdad and Karbala, a holy Shiite city where 2 million Shiite pilgrims from across Iraq converged for the festival over the weekend . No attacks against Shiite pilgrims were reported in Baghdad and Karbala in the last several days, police officials in both cities told CNN.Abut 30,000 security members from the army and police were on duty in and around Karbala, establishing four rings of security around the holy shrine of Imam Hussein. More than 200 female security workers were placed at checkpoints to search women passing through, Karbala police said. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/25/world/meast/iraq-ashura-peace
  10. It,s defiantly not one of the largest airbases in Syria. It has been under siege and isolated from other government troops for at least six months and its incredible that they lasted this long. A more detailed report here The victory, said by the groups to have been led by two foreign men in an armored vehicle who carried out a suicide attack to breach the defenses of the Minakh air base, was bound to boost the morale of an insurgency that has faltered in recent months with rebels fighting among themselves and losing long-held ground to the army. Abu al-Haytham, a rebel fighter who fought for months to seize Minakh and is now in Turkey, called the capture of the base a morale booster and “a strike against the regime.” But, he added, “it won’t change anything on the ground — we just got some vehicles and ammunition.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/world/middleeast/rebels-gain-control-of-government-air-base-in-syria.html The fact the terrorist were lead if only group in this operation brings into question were are the so called moderate opposition.
  11. Wave of car bombings target Iraqi Shi'ites, killing 60 (Reuters) - Car bombs ripped through busy streets and markets in Iraq on Monday, killing at least 60 people in predominantly Shi'ite areas in some of the deadliest violence since Sunni insurgents stepped up attacks this year. The 17 blasts, which appeared to be coordinated, were concentrated on towns and cities in Iraq's mainly Shi'ite south, and districts of the capital where Shi'ites live. Militant groups including al Qaeda have increased attacks in recent months in an insurgency against the Shi'ite-led government as a civil war in neighboring Syria heightens sectarian tensions. The violence has raised fears of a return to full-blown intercommunal conflict in a country where ethnic Kurds, majority Shi'ites and Sunni Muslims have yet to find a stable way of sharing power. In Baghdad's Shi'ite stronghold of Sadr city, police and witnesses said a minivan drew up to a group of men waiting by the side of the road for day work, and the driver told them to get in before detonating an explosive device in the vehicle. "The driver asked laborers to get into the van, then he disappeared and minutes later the truck exploded, flinging the laborers' bodies back," said Yahya Ali, a worker who was standing nearby. "Somebody tell me please why poor laborers are targeted? They want only to take food to their families!" http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/29/us-iraq-violence-idUSBRE96S06420130729 Map of blasts in Bagdad http://www.reuters.com/article/interactive/idUSBRE96S06420130729?view=small&type=worldNews
  12. Insurgents increase attacks on Syria’s religious sites This is the funeral of Anas Romani, the administrative manager of the Shrine of Sayda Zaineb --- the granddaughter of Prophet Mohammad. Romani was killed in a mortar attack on the religious site on Friday. Participants in the funeral hailed Romani as a martyr. He was the last victim of attacks on the holy site. This small hole in the ground is the only sign of the 60 mm mortar shell, which Killed Anas Romani and destroyed the generators’ room. The shrine and its surrounding areas have been the target of repeated attacks over the past 18 months almost on weekly bases. Insurgents have hit Sayda Zaineb shrine by mortar shells many times. It’s hard to tell what agenda is behind these attacks or why this particular shrine in being targeted so much? However, since the beginning of 2013 the Syrian army backed by National defense forces volunteers started a wide scale operation in the eastern countryside of Damascus. Securing the parameter of the shrine was one of the army’s goals. The frequency of the attacks decreased dramatically after the Syrian army took control of the Shrine’s neighboring area in addition to parts of Hejaira and Ziabia but the fact remains that the shrine is a target for insurgents especially Ahfad Al-Rasoul battalion (the grandsons of the prophet) who have claimed responsibility for Friday’s incident. From where we are standing, the fire of Syrian artillery units still can be heard near the shrine. It reminds us of how close the fighting is. Further attacks on the shrine also show the sectarian tendency of the foreign- backed insurgents. Many say such a tendency is more dangerous than any other weapon the militants might possess. With video from the Shrine http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/07/21/314792/insurgents-increase-attacks-on-syrias-religious-sites/
  13. Blasts in Iraq kill 6, as toll from previous day's powerful wave of attacks passes 70 As the scale of the carnage became clearer early Sunday, police reported that a total of 12 car bombs went off in Baghdad late Saturday. They said the blasts and a shooting in the same area as one of the explosions killed 57, including some who died in the hospital overnight. More than 125 were reported wounded. Those attacks and others around Iraq on Saturday killed a total of 71, according to police and hospital officials. That made for the country's deadliest day since May 17, when a series of explosions in Sunni areas in and around Baghdad killed at least 76 people. Iraqis slam government over deadly wave of bombings The Baghdad attacks struck as residents turned out to shop and relax in cafes after iftar, the meal that breaks the daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. On Sunday, Iraqis sharply criticised the authorities for failing to prevent the bloodshed. "This is a cartoon government and its security forces cannot protect themselves, let alone protect the people," one man said sadly near the site of one bombing in central Baghdad. In Tobchi, a north Baghdad area hit in the Saturday attacks, another man resorted to sarcasm. "These car bombs come to us from Mars, because the security forces are implementing strict regulations to prevent their entry here," he said. A third slammed the aloof attitude of the political elite, who rarely comment on the spiralling violence. "Iraqis are being protected only by God, because the politicians only care about their positions and personal interests," he said. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gO70gWrMFBswWDkNTYkJQZDXnhzA?docId=CNG.3da724ec855cbf37e991bd39eb14c5bd.631 Bombs strike favoured Ramadan hangouts in Iraq Young Iraqis often spend evenings in cafes after fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but a string of bombings against the popular hangouts means doing so now carries deadly risk. In past years, Amer Issam met friends at a Baghdad cafe after iftar, the meal that breaks the daily Ramadan fast, but he has stopped doing so out of fear for his life. "I do not want to turn into a Facebook picture passed on by friends," he said, referring to images of young men killed in cafes shared by mourning friends or relatives on social media sites. Iraqis often gather at cafes in the evenings during Ramadan to drink tea, smoke water pipes or play games including Mheibis, in which two teams compete to find a ring hidden in the hand of an opposing team member. People also go to cafes to watch football matches they cannot see at home due to lengthy power cuts or lack of a subscription to the necessary satellite channel. But deadly bombings that have struck cafes in recent weeks have kept many of the people who might have spent an evening out shut in their homes instead. Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/21/bombs-strike-favoured-ramadan-hangouts-in-iraq/#ixzz2ZhKmP2DX
  14. This has to be the only article that i,ve read about Iraq that describes the situation accurately and how it truly is. Not an Iraqi civil war Iraq is, quite simply, on the receiving end of a major al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) offensive. AQI remains one of the most capable of the al Qaeda affiliates or regional franchises. As a percentage of the population, Iraq has lost more of its citizens to al Qaeda explosives in each of the past three months than the United States did on September 11, 2001, according to AFP statistics, which show there were more than 400 casualties in each month of April, May, and June. The AQI offensive targets both the Shiite populace in general and Sunni moderates in particular. One would think that the reaction of the United States, despite its desire to forget all things Iraq, would at least be one of deep sympathy. Instead, the reaction of the U.S. political class has been to bemoan "sectarian violence" and to conflate the attacks with grievances by the Sunni minority against their Shiite-dominatedgovernment. Several commentators have taken the occasion to actually blame the al Qaeda violence on the policies of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, dissatisfaction with whom is reflected in large scale in long-term Sunni protests in Anbar and elsewhere. Such comparisons and diagnoses reflect a serious misunderstanding of the situation. The comparisons to the Iraqi civil war that peaked in 2006 and 2007 may seem appropriate if looking at the raw numbers. However, when one pushes another level down and realizes this is not two communities fighting each other (as did occur in the civil war) but instead a nihilist al Qaeda franchise attacking both the Shiite community randomly and the Sunni community strategically, the resemblance quickly fades. As for the attacks on Maliki, these echo those who blamed the United States's Middle East policies for the 9-11 attacks. Whatever the faults of Maliki's policies, Iraqis are not responding with sectarian violence nor plunging toward civil war. The Iraqi casualties are simply more victims of al Qaeda terrorism. http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/07/16/not_an_iraqi_civil_war
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