Thursday, February 22, 2007
A blogger in Egypt has received a 4-year jail term for his efforts. Apparently calling Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak a dictator is a bad thing. This is why some of us blog anonymously. Some bloggers live in places where they could actually go to jail for expressing their thoughts. Others, like me, simply don't want to have to deal with anti-Muslim right-winger harassment.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Well, let's see. The US now has several carrier groups and 2 destroyers in the Gulf. And according to this BBC article, we even have an attack plan ready. The trigger for such an attack would be either evidence of Iran building nuclear weapons, or evidence of Iran directly backing an attack causing massive US casualties in Iraq. Hmmm . . . Let me play Kreskin. I see . . . a man sitting in front of Congress, showing "evidence" of an Iranian attack. Wait, wait! Now I see a man showing pictures of an Iranian nuclear program.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Friday, February 9, 2007
There's been a lot of factional fighting among the Palestinians lately, and they ended up in Mecca, trying to reach an agreement. Apparently they have. Hamas will keep the prime ministership, and ministerial posts will be split between Hamas, Fatah, and some others, including independents. Let's hope the unity government works.
For those of you not aware of this topic, in the early part of the 20th century a very large number of Armenians were killed, probably around 600,000. Now, according to Turkey, this was not a genocide. The Armenians were fighting against the Ottomans Turks and the Turks fought back, and 600,000 Armenians were killed or starved to death. I'm not completely sure what the true story is, but I do know a lot of Armenians died. You generally hear this referred to as the Armenian Genocide. To quote www.dictionary.com: a genocide is "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." So, the Turks don't like this talk of a genocide. There's currently a resolution in the House of Representatives about the Armenian Genocide, and Turkey does not want it to pass. They say it will mess up US-Turkey relations. Is this a big deal? Possibly. After all, we're talking about a country that prosecutes its most famous writers for "insulting the Turkish nation." And with US cachet being at a very big low, the last thing we can afford is to lose Turkey. After all, it's right next to Iraq, and we have a base there. So this might get interesting.
I remember hearing this morning that we'd launched an air strike in Iraq and precision-bombed a building and killed 8 al-Qa'ida operatives, and not injured any civilians. My spouse cynically reminded me that anytime the US Military makes an announcement like that, it's because something has gone wrong, and that 2 weeks later we'll see the real story on page 40 of the newspaper. Well, according to BBC News - and I think it's the correct air strike - it wasn't al-Qa'ida but Kurdish Peshmerga troops. You know, the ones on our side.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Well, according to links on VidiotSpeak, that was not the first but the 2nd carrier group heading to the Gulf. My original post mentioned the story from Al-Ahram. Vidiot also mentions there are now 2 destroyers heading that way as well. And of course, that means it's a good time for Iran to hold wargames. I mean, the Gulf is so freaking huge there's no way that could go wrong!
Well, I was watching Good Morning America this morning. Diane Sawyer is in Syria, so Robin Roberts & Chris Cuomo were holding down the fort...er...anchor station. Apparently Diane was going to be visiting a souk (or suq). Robin referred to that as some sort of "Syrian market," and Chris proclaimed that we would be shown some of the "wonders of the east." It truly amazes me how ingrained orientalism has become in our society.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Well, things are heating up a bit. According to al-Ahram, the US has moved 2 aircraft carriers closer to Iran (I'm not sure if this is the 1-2 I had previously heard about or if these are new ones - I'll try to find out). And we're moving Patriot missile systems (for defense) to most of the Gulf States. Also, 2 US generals and an admiral published a letter in the Times about why we shouldn't attack Iran.
Apparently quite a few Muslims have been using Qur'anic verses as their ring tones, because they believe music is prohibited by Islam. Well, the Grand Mufti of Dubai just issued a fatwa prohibiting it. According to him, that's basically sacrilege. I can't help but be reminded of the early days of radio in Saudi Arabia. Supposedly, the only way to get the ulema to approve of radio as not being Satanic, was to read the Qur'an over the airwaves. Looks like things have reversed now.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
According to this article from Military.com the President's numbers are off. Apparently, adding another 20,000 troops to Iraq will also entail adding support troops to, well, support them. So the final number could be as high as 48,000.