Dhimmi Dean Resigns at Columbia

The dean who invited Amadinedjad and Khadafi to speak at Columbia has resigned, full write up at Captains’ Quarters.

The Dean of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University has abruptly left her position after her invitation to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got cancelled by University president Lee Bollinger. Lisa Anderson resigned from her position, and the big question on campus is if Bollinger’s intervention caused it or whether the exposure of her politics drove the decision.

Waziristan Pact Update: Karzai Calls it Fruitless

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Waziristan Pact Update: Karzai Calls it Fruitless

In previous posts I’ve extended the potential that the Waziristan peace pact in Pakistan with the local tribes and Pakistan Taliban might work given time, but it’s certainly not looking good for my theory, and Bill Roggio’s getting close to a free dinner next time he’s in KC.

President Hamid Karzai is stating that attacks are up and that the Afghan Taliban are using the border province as a staging area. I would think attacks would go up if the Afghan Taliban were flushed from Waziristan, but you have to suspect that Karzai would not make this statement without intel or proof to back up the claim that Taliban forces are crossing the border.

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Freedom For Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi.jpgJohn Bolton has warned the military junta ruling Burma (aka Myanmar) that we will be pushing for a security council resolution in the UN soon if changes are not made. From Kyodo News:

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council on Friday that he intends to press for a resolution on Myanmar later this year if the current situation does not change.

“The regime should understand that the Security Council believes that the time has come for the suffering of the Burmese people to end and for democratic change to begin for the benefit of all the Burmese people and peace and stability in the region,” Bolton said in comments before the other council members.

“We intend to work for a Security Council resolution later this year,” he added if the present situation did not change. “As part of this effort, we will consult fully with other members of the council, and hope all of them can support a resolution at an appropriate time.”

Among key concerns are the fact that Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy, has spent 10 of the last 17 years in confinement and has been held under house arrest since May 2003.

Although the NLD won the 1990 general election by a landslide, it was blocked by the military junta from taking power.

“Eyewitnesses to the tragedy in Burma and other experts painted a grim picture,” he said, noting that the country has one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in Asia and that there are forced relocations and conflicts with ethnic minority groups.

Moreover, there are labor practice violations, human trafficking problems, as well as drug issues, and the continued detention of large numbers of political prisoners, the U.S. envoy said.

The Military Junta government (AKA SLORC /SPDC) is also ramping up their military might, and has positioned forces on the border with Thailand, where the recent military coup occurred. The effect of the coup on the millions of Burmese/Karen refugees living just inside the borders of Thailand is unknown at present.

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Leftists You Can Respect

There are a few respectable Leftists out there, though few and far between. Christopher Hitchens comes to mind, as well as Joseph Lieberman. In the UK the sensible left is led by the likes of David Aaronovitch, and this is a must-see documentary hosted by Harry’s Place.

As a firm proponent of BIG C Capitalism, I would normally never link to a socialist website, but — when someone’s being intellectually honest it’s right to point it out. Go to Harry’s Place for the four part video.

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New Zawahiri Tape

In the wake of the anti-Catholic protests, church-burnings, and killings Al Zawhiri releases a new tape regarding the subject. We are still waiting on the “new Bin Laden” video tape, until one is seen it lends credence to the potential mentioned here that Zawahiri has assumed command of Al Qaeda, and that there is a either a rift or shift in direction.

Details at SITE, and Little Green Footballs.

In the tape Zawahiri slams Bush much the same way the moonbats on the left do, it’s a catechism they both repeat, praying that America will stop when over time we are winning.

Bin Laden Update

President Musharraf is reporting that Osama Bin Laden is in Kunar province in Afghanistan, as per this Forbes article. Pak Tribune report here.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, reported last week to have died, is alive and hiding in Afghanistan, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said in an interview published in The Times.

‘It’s not a hunch,’ Musharraf said, speaking from a hotel in New York.

The newspaper, without directly quoting Pakistan’s military ruler, said he believes bin Laden is hiding in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar.

‘Kunar province borders on Bajaur Agency. We know there are some pockets of Al-Qaeda in Bajaur Agency. We have set a good intelligence organization,’ he told The Times.

This somewhat correlates with the upraded activity in Bajaur, as reported by Counter Terrorism Blog, and Bill Roggio at Fourth Rail. If Bin Laden’s been forced to move by the Waziristan pact, then to Bajaur, and then exiting to Kunar via the Khyber pass is a reasonable assumption. This also corresponds to the ISAF forces moving  east, and the current blockade and actions at the mouth of the Korengal valley. I do believe we are getting close folks, I hope I am not wrong.

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The Senate Moves

Today’s an exciting day — the DOW neared it’s record mark, Gasoline prices are low, Unemployment is low, New housing sales are strong according to the latest report, we have killed 4,000 terrorists in Iraq, and another 2,000 in Afghanistan just since the start of summer.

To put the real icing on the cake the Senate finally did something to enable our soldiers to interrogate prisoners, and to enable the government to Try the detainees at Guantanamo.

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Taliban Targeting Schools in Afghanistan II

As stated in the previous post on this story, those brave warriors of Allah who call themselves the Taliban cannot stand against real men, Instead they prefer to target schoolgirls. That’s who they are capable of terrorizing, and it’s truly cowardly and evil.

They threaten girls who attend school with acid on their face, they kill innocent school teachers, and they burn schools. it doesn’t matter if they are teaching the Koran or sewing. More on the new wave of home-schooling in southern Afghanistan from The Frontier Post:

In a small, sunlit parlor last week, 20 little girls seated on rush mats sketched a flower drawn on the blackboard. In a darker interior room, 15 slightly older girls memorized passages from the Koran, reciting aloud. Upstairs was a class of teenage girls, hidden from public view. The location of the mud-walled home school is semi-secret. Its students include five girls who once attended another home school nearby that was torched three months ago. The very existence of home-based classes is a direct challenge to anti-government insurgents who have attacked dozens of schools across Afghanistan in the past year, especially those that teach girls. “We are scared. All the home schools are scared. If I even hear a dog bark, I don’t open the gate. I go up on the roof to see who is there,” said Mohammed Sulieman, 49, who operates home schools for girls in several villages in the Sheikhabad district of Wardak province. Children’s education was once touted as an exceptional success in this struggling new democracy. Within two years of the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban, an extremist Islamic movement that banned girls’ education and emphasized Islamic studies for boys, officials boasted that 5.1 million children of both sexes were enrolled in public schools. These included hundreds of village tent-schools erected by UNICEF. Now that positive tide has come to a halt in several provinces where Taliban insurgents are aggressively battling NATO and U.S. troops, and has slowed dramatically in many other parts of the country. President Hamid Karzai told audiences in New York this week that about 200,000 Afghan children had been forced out of school this year by threats and physical attacks. According to UNICEF, 106 attacks or threats against schools occurred from January to August, with incidents in 31 Afghan provinces. They included one missile attack, 11 explosions, 50 burnings and 37 threats. In the four southern provinces under serious assault by Taliban forces, UNICEF said, nearly half of the 748 schools have stopped operating. “With all that the children of Afghanistan have gone through, to expose them to this kind of violence is appalling,” Bernt Aasen, the UNICEF representative here, said in a recent statement

Osama Bin Laden Spinal injury? Zawahiri in-charge?

UPDATE: Al Arabiya TV is also reporting that Bin Laden lives and is in good health, there aren’t references to possible spinal problems or paralysis in the report.

UPDATE II 9/26  Also from Peshawar, The News:

PESHAWAR: Top Taliban military commander Mulla Dadullah Akhund has claimed that al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was alive.

Talking to The News from an undisclosed location, he said there was no truth in reports that bin Laden died from typhoid in Pakistan in August. “Shaikh Osama is alright. He is safe, Dadullah maintained. There was no way to verify Dadullah’s claim.

In the past also, Dadullah issued statements to the effect that bin Laden and Taliban leader Mulla Muhammad Omar were alive and leading the resistance against US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan.

When pressed for evidence to show that bin Laden was alive, Dadullah hinted that there was a possibility of a tape being sent to media organizations to prove that the al-Qaeda head was not dead. However, he declined to say as to when such a tape would be made available.

The Frontier Post has a new article regarding Bin Laden, which might relate to the prior reports of his death. In this version, he has spinal problems — earlier stories regarding his death, since disavowed by intel services reported that he had paralysis of the legs. The article quotes unamed sources as saying that he has placed Al Zawahiri and his sons in charge of Al Qaeda operations. Bolding below is mine.

From the Frontier Post:

Aqeel Yousufzai PESHAWAR: Osama bin Laden, the elusive al-Qaeda chief, is suffering from a serious backbone problem, a well-placed sources told The Frontier Post on Sunday. However, the source rejected as groundless a media report regarding the death of the world’s most wanted fugitive of typhoid in a Pakistani hospital. Because of the severe spinal-chord ailment, the Sheikh (Osama bin Laden) has assigned al-Qaeda command to his trusted lieutenant Dr Aiman Al-Zawahri and his son Mohammad, revealed the source. He described the French newspaper report on Osama’s death as propaganda of the dissident Saudi billionaire’s enemies. Osama is very much alive and kicking, he insisted. What’s new about Osama bin Laden is that he has been suffering from an acute backbone pain over the last few months, forcing him out of direct al-Qaeda command. As a result, the Sheikh has delegated his powers to his trusted friend Dr Aiman al-Zawahri and his son Sheikh Mohammad. As of now, Zawahri is also assisted by his son-in-law Abu al-Qama and son Hamza in running al-Qaeda affairs. Speaking to The Frontier Post from an undisclosed location over the telephone, the former mujahid observed. “Al-Qaeda has long become an organised movement in many parts of the world, pursuing an ideology.” He added the dreaded outfit was not a by-word for an individual or a personality, and that it would not perish with the passing of one leader. Shiekh Osama will have to die one day but his ideology will continue to inspire generations to come. We have thousands of Osamas in our ranks and every Muslim youth with al-Qaeda could grow into an Osama in future, the man continued. The al-Qaeda has set up a new shura commanded by Dr Zawahri and composed of 11 senior leaders from different countries. All the shura members are reportedly committed to the ideals of the Saudi dissident. A formal statement or videotape proving that OBL is a live to the effect will be released to the media in a few days. It’ll will also belie the report of the French newspaper, he maintained. According to Pajhwok Afghan News, Afghan President Hamid Karzai termed the report of the French newspaper sheer speculation. However, he hastened to add it would be good news if it turned out to be true….

……The note by the DGSE, dated September 21 and published Saturday by l’Est Republicain, stated that Saudi intelligence officials are now convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead. It said information gathered by the Saudis from a source they considered reliable indicates that bin Laden might have succumbed to a very serious case of typhoid fever resulting in partial paralysis of his lower limbs while in Pakistan on August 23, 2006. His geographic isolation provoked by constant fleeing is believed to have made medical assistance impossible (and) on September 4, 2006, the Saudi security services received preliminary information of his death. It said the Saudis were waiting to obtain further details and notably the exact place of burial before officially announcing the news. The DGSE refused to confirm the report, which L’Est Republicain said had been sent on Thursday to Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, and no immediate official reaction was forthcoming from Saudi officials.

This might be more believable, the Frontier Post in the past has printed favorable stories on Bin Laden. This also could signal that there has been a coup within Al Qaeda, and that Al Zawahiri has forcibly taken control (Pure speculation on my part.) If you have noted the past few weeks there have been a lot of Al Qaeda leaders captured, and there are many changes going on, it could all be related.

Visit CT blog, scroll down the right side-bar newstories tonight, there are quite a few. Regardless of whether this rumor is true or false, something has shaken and stirred Al-Qaida. (BTW: Kudos to the folks at CT, they really do a great job at picking out the significant stories.)

More intel, and speculation on Al Qaeda movements in this article at CBS.

We also have a follow up to the earlier report, apparently the original cable came from an embassy party in Pakistan, where French personnell overheard the rumor from Saudi Chief of Mission, Abdullah Zahani, and thereafter cabled it in. Full story at the Blotter.

One of the paid mystery middlemen reportedly told the Saudis that he had heard from an Arab in Pakistan that “al Qaeda’s Arabs are now leaving Pakistan in throngs because Bin Laden died of typhoid”.

Pakistani intelligence sources say few, if any, of the Saudi sources “are of any value” and that “the Saudis repeatedly get conned by these individuals who claim to have exclusive information.”Pakistani intelligence sources say they have been receiving reports for the past 12 months that some al Qaeda militants are leaving Pakistan for Sudan, Yemen and now Somalia, but certainly not on the scale suggested by the “middleman”.

My previous articles on Bin Laden here.

Election Issues 2006

As we run into the stretch for the Mid-terms both parties have studies, the media has studies, and the pundits have studies all saying that x, y, or z will or should be uppermost on voter’s minds as they head to polls in November. However all of these organizations have the intent of making their the issues uppermost in voter’s minds. In other words it’s galactic-scale spin that speeds up as we draw closer to the election.

This is my attempt to clarify — most things in life nowadays are never simplex. There isn’t a silver bullet issue that will win for either party, no matter how many pundits will try to convince you that one simplex problem cost so-and-so their seat, or got so-and-so their seat.

The world is more than complex today, it’s multiplex. Issues influence each other, and when you come to an election cycle there are so many spinning constellations of political philosophies migrating together that it’s like Galaxies Colliding.  What comes out the other side and why is nearly impossible to predict or to backtrack on after the fact. Unless of course you are Karl Rove.

Using this multiplex theory, it’s easy to see why disentangling the war in Iraq from the war on Terror is an impossible task, just as trying to pry gas prices lose from Future Energy Policy and past Environmental Policy is a loser as well. There are too many stars, planets, and gas clouds spinning into each other to sort those out for the average voter.

So when it comes to this election here are some key nuclei of the multiplex universe:

1. Local Issues: if there are large ones this will influence outcomes.

2. GWOT

3. Future Energy and Environmental Policy

4. Immigration / protecting the borders

These appear to be the nuclei of the galaxies colliding in November, notice how they all cross over and influence each other. Also take note that if the stars are larger and brighter in your LOCAL galaxy, the gravity of the situation in the other three are not going to influence you as much as the sooth-sayers with their galacto-scan pundit hats and telescopes might have you believe. If you look behind the curtain of the pundits who profess to influence somewhere between one eigth to one sixth of the electorate, you will see they have their scopes focused on a warped mirror reflecting some alternate, mythic universe.