Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The "Surge" extended...

...until 2009.

Meanwhile, Chester Crocker continues his conversations with Hassan Kazemi Qomi, which Crocker is apparently (according to L'Orient-Le Jour )using to bash Iran as he presents a new slate of accusations daily. The latest is that Iran is responsible for sectarianism in Iraq.

In Ramallah, Mahmood Abbas's Presidential Guard beats the crap out of Qassam Barghouthi, the son of Marwan Barghouthi (Fatah Secretary-General in an Israeli prison), who was inquiring about his sister, Rouba, arrested for driving too near the Presidential residence.

Labels: ,

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Winning Hearts and Minds

Surely, this has never been a consideration of the US military or the US Department of Defense (Via the New York Times):

"American helicopters and warplanes attacked a Shiite area on the outskirts of northern Baghdad late Friday and early Saturday, killing at least 15 people and wounding 10, according to an official at the Iraqi Interior Ministry who said some of the casualties were women and children...."

"Another resident, Abu Raghad, said American helicopters attacked residents who tried to flee north. 'I saw an American helicopter shoot three missiles targeting people who tried to leave'..."

[Of course, the US always attacks in the middle of the night...]

"American and Iraqi forces raided the Umm al-Qura Sunni mosque complex in Baghdad..."

Meanwhile, in the client state of Ethiopia (what patsies they are):

"The Ethiopian government is blockading emergency food aid and choking off trade to large swaths of a remote region in the eastern part of the country that is home to a rebel force, putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk of starvation..."

And then, the great minds of Washington wonder why the Iranians are hell-bent on acquiring nukes....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Disingenuous, duplicitous, dishonest pseudo-geniuses

Isreal is not releasing just any Palestinian prisioners. It is releasing Zakaria Zoubeidi as well as 189 of his comrades-in-arms in the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, who until 24 hours ago, were "terrorists", on the condition that they shoot Hamas members and not Israelis. Meanwhile, Nayef Hawatmeh and another group have been authorized to visit Ramallah...for 2 weeks. They declined.

Fatally, Abbas has just met with Olmert at the Israeli PM's residence... in Balfour Street.

Special Ops 85

Iran has released a video game, Special Ops 85, an 8-level game in which players try to spring Iranian hostages in Iraq and in Israel. At the expert level, the player has to steal laptops containing secrets (and knock off a few Israelis and Americans) and free the hostages


20 Irianian nationals have escaped from a prision in Badra, Iraq, with the assistance of their jailers. [Via L'Orient-Le Jour]

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What if it's not just al-Qaeda?

A OP-ED by Antoine AJOURY in the Beirut's L'Orient Le-Jour

“Shocking”. That was the general assessment in the UK in July 2005 as the public learned that the London bombers were British. In 2007, it is the UK medical community that is in shock in discovering that the London and Glascow bombers worked in their field.

Above all, these revelations damaged the reputation of British investigators who were working overtime to prevent such attacks. In both cases, the terrorist profile did not correspond to that drawn up by police.

The first conclusion to be drawn is that social status and poverty have nothing to do with the root cause of terrorism. Many observers had ascribed the attraction of Jihadism or Islamism to young people to idleness, lack of education and unemployment, as was the case with the 2007 Casablanca bombers. Those behind the attacks of September 11, 2001, in the United States all had an advanced education: they were engineers, technicians or other professionals. Ayman el-Zawahiri himself is a physician just as the authors of the recent attack in London. Without forgetting that Osama Bin Laden is a very rich Saudi millionaire. Also to be noted that most of them led a quiet life, were married and had children.

But another aspect must be pointed out. Jihadist ideology does not have a national dimension. It is equally erroneous to ascribe terrorism to a specific conflict. The end of the Israeli-Palestinian problem is not going to resolve the issue. Nor is the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. Salafist Islamic thought has, in effect, transcended nationalism to become a transnational belief. Any time there is a real or imagined threat to Islam somewhere in the world, a believer is obliged to support his co-religionists. From the independence movement in East Timor to the Afghani resistance to the former USSR or to NATO, without forgetting the Islamic veil affair or the cartoons of the Prophet, from Kosovo to Bosnia, from Lebanon to Chechnya -all these events are seen as an attack on the Islamic umma. Sitting in his living room watching the TV, a British Islamist may be feel concern as he views the images from the war in Iraq or in Afghanistan. An Egyptian Islamist is revolted by the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, while an Algerian Islamist feels obliged to fight alongside his co-religionists in Kosovo or Chechnya.

Thus, globalization and the blossoming of means of communication (Internet, cable TV) are going to help Islamist ideology to spread rapidly and efficiently, chipping away at the nationalist or moderate Islamist domain. Hence, to the Salafists, modern states, democracy and human rights are all manifestations of Westernism which aim at sullying “pure Islam”. Suddenly, the enemies of Islam are not only non-Muslims, but any Muslim who associates with and accepts the different Western systems. The recent message from Zawahiri a few days ago confirms the shift to attacking Arab political regimes and pro-Western Muslims.

Obviously, this analysis inspires little optimism because the multiplication of Islamist actors throughout the world is not solely based on an international terrorism network linked to al-Qaeda. Islamist cells in Western countries and even in the Near and Middle East are proliferating more and more on their own. Thus, there exists millions of anonymous actors ready to enter into action at any time, in Great Britain, in the United States, in Spain, in Morocco, or in Lebanon without a direct link to the shadowy Osama Bin Laden. Today, al-Qaeda no longer appears to be an organization that directs a international terrorist network. It is merely the most well-know entity of a Jihadist movement founded on engaged and violent Islamist ideology.

Antoine AJOURY

Friday, July 13, 2007

Loose Screws

Colorful though clichéd idioms are appropriate to discuss THE NEW WAR RESOLUTION proposed by Senators Lugar and Warner. This duo has loose screws, and bats in the belfry, not to mention playing without a full deck, off their rockers, talking through their hats and a day late and a dollar short.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Badgers and Bank Heists

While the badgers were busy stalking Basrah, the insurgents robbed a Baghdad bank and got away with A HALF A BILLION DOLLARS: $300 million in greenbacks and $200 million in dinars.

Meanwhile, in operations against al-Qaeda today, the US killed 18 Shi'ites and 2 Reuters reporters.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The empire expands.

The United States is rebuilding a military base in Somalia at Balidogle, built in the late '70s by the Russians. Balidogle is about 100 km from Mogadishu. [Via Corriere della Sera]

Countersurge! Their "terrorists" and ours!

140,000 Turkish troops are massed on the border of Kurdistan. The Turks plan a large-scale incursion into Northern Iraq to dislodge PKK rebel ensconced there. Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is urging 3-way discussions between Iraq, the US and Turkey, saying that Iraq forces are not strong enough to take on the PKK (as if).

Mr. Zebari also announced that a delegation of high-ranking security, defense and diplomatic official are in Saudi Arabia to develop cooperation in the struggle against terrorism. (Another as if).