, by Abul Kalam
A panel of retired senior military and police officers has concluded that Iraqi security forces would not be able to take control of their country in the next 18 months, and the Iraqi army becoming a viable security force is years away. In the meantime, to counter the image that the US is an "occupying force" U.S. military should lower its profile in Iraq by significantly reducing the number of U.S. troops and allowing Iraqi forces to take over more daily combat missions.
The study challenges the Pentagon’s assertion that more than half of Iraqi army and police battalions can operate in the lead so long as they have U.S. support. The United States has spent $19.2 billion on developing Iraq’s forces and plans to spend another $5.5 billion next year.
GERMAN TERROR PLOT
Legally, his name is as German as they come: Fritz. To his new confidants in the radical Islamic scene and alleged terrorist co-conspirators, he was Abdullah. Fritz Gelowicz, barely 28 years old, is in police custody. His guilt is far from established.
Fritz is charged with leading a terrorist plot. That he is a German native, born in Munich, and a youthful convert to Islam has only made it harder for his countrymen to grasp the accusation.
MUSLIM DAY PARADE IN NEW YORK CITY
The 22nd United American Muslim Day Parade on September 9 was designed to bring together various ethnic and religious communities, promote a better understanding of Islam and foster interfaith cooperation.
A small group of Islamophobes is seeking to stop the parade. The rhetorical attacks on the parade are clearly an attempt to demonise and marginalise the American Muslim community.
Suddenly, there is an acute shortage of Arabic-language teachers across the country. Since 9/11, the number of students interested in the Middle Eastern language has been skyrocketing. More than 20,000 people in the USA enrolled in an Arabic-language higher-education programme in 2006, double the number who signed up from 1998 to 2002. Other languages will show an increase but the only language that might be as dramatic as Arabic might be Chinese.
MUSLIM STEREOTYPING IN AMERICA
Six years after the Sept. 11, Americans have yet to forgive Muslims despite unending apologies and parroting by the Muslim leaders: "We are patriotic Americans" and "We are clean, with no inclination towards the radical Islam."
The Muslim image problem was the main focus at ISNA 2007 convention in Chicago. Two Republican House members, Peter Hoekstra (Michigan) and Sue Myrick (N. Carolina) attacked the US Justice Department for sending envoys to the convention because, the lawmakers said, the Islamic Society of North America was a group of "radical jihadists."
DEAN TELLS MUSLIMS: RUN FOR POLITICAL
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean advised American Muslims to go beyond voter registration drives. "You need to run for political office. The only way you can achieve your goals is to stand up and say who you are and be proud of it."
Dean was one of several prominent Democrats to address ISNA national convention. Republicans declined ISNA invitations to attend it.
U.S. Rep. Bill Sali has apologised to the nation’s first Muslim congressman, whose election Sali deemed in an interview as "not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers." The Idaho Republican has exchanged conciliatory e-mails with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat
Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes appeared in the video as part of her campaign to bring a positive image of the United States to a skeptical global audience in the Muslim world. Muslim children are a chief target. The U.S. State Department chose a novel way to publicise baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr.’s appointment this week as its special sports envoy. It went on YouTube.
JOSE PADILLA’S VERDICT
Padilla was recently convicted of federal charges of "supporting terrorism." He was held for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant in a case that came to symbolise the Bush administration’s zeal to stop homegrown Islamic terror cells.
Padilla and co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi were convicted of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas, and carries a penalty of life in prison. All three were also convicted of two counts of providing material support for terrorists. Padilla’s case is in many ways a mess. He will likely never be brought to trial on the dirty-bomb plot, a much publicized charge that cries out for resolution. (In another move worthy of Alice in Wonderland, the government is holding another prisoner in Guantánamo, Binyam Mohamed, because he was accused of conspiring with Mr. Padilla in the dirty-bomb plot for which Mr. Padilla was never charged.) There is also the danger that Mr. Padilla’s conviction will be reversed on appeal because of his alleged mistreatment before trial.
HALF FULL OR HALF EMPTY
For President Bush the American ‘Surge" policy in Iraq is a success story in the US efforts to introduce democracy to unwieldy Muslim masses. When General Petraeus says that there were limits to what the US military force could, he admits the sheer failure. A White House study in July found eight of the key US goals Iraq had been fully met. But the GAO assessment contrasts with the upbeat tone of the White House.
In Afghanistan, the situation is no better. Over the past six weeks, the Taliban have driven government forces out of roughly half of a strategic area in southern Afghanistan that American and NATO officials declared a success story last fall. A year after Canadian and American forces killed hundreds of Taliban fighters in the area, the rebels are back and are now operating in areas where they can mount attacks on Kandahar. NATO and US can push the Taliban out of rural areas, but the Afghan army is too weak to hold the territory after NATO withdraw.
Exchange of letters, previously undisclosed, shows that President Bush was told in advance by Bremer, his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to "dissolve Saddam’s military and intelligence structures." Bremer provided the letters to The New York Times after reading that Mr. Bush was quoted in a new book as saying that American policy had been "to keep the army intact" but that it "didn’t happen."
WORLD FACING ‘ARSENIC TIMEBOMB’
In 70 developing countries, about 140 million people are being poisoned by arsenic in their drinking water.
Eating large amounts of rice grown in affected areas is a health risk, scientists believe. "It’s a global problem." Arsenic consumption leads to higher rates of some cancers, including tumours of the lung, bladder and skin, and other lung conditions. Some of these effects show up decades after the first exposure. The metal is present naturally in soil, and leaches into groundwater.
In Bangladesh alone bout 50 million people are affected. Large-scale contamination has been found in China, Cambodia and Vietnam, in South America and Africa.
KEY BRITISH GENERAL CRITICIZED US POLICY IN IRAQ.
Maj. Gen Tim Cross, who was the most senior UK officer involved in post-war planning, told the Sunday Mirror US policy in Iraq was "fatally flawed", and Rumsfeld ignored warnings. "We were all very concerned about the lack of detail that had gone into the post-war plan."
Earlier, Gen Sir Mike Jackson, head of the Army during the invasion, told the Daily Telegraph US policy was "intellectually bankrupt".
Absolutely no moral prohibition against killing of civilians
In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu indicated that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a military offensive.
His letter, published in Olam Katan, a weekly pamphlet distributed in synagogues nationwide, cited the biblical story of the Shechem massacre (Genesis 34) and Maimonides’ commentary (Laws of Kings 9, 14) on the story as proof texts for his legal decision (Fatwa?).
Eliyahu’s son, Shmuel Eliyahu, who is chief rabbi of Safed, said: "If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand, and if they do not stop after 1,000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop, we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop."
One commenter, responding to another, said: "Idiot, God gave Israel all the land between the Euphrates and the Nile. The sons of Ishmael are murderers." Another said: "People forget Israel is God’s chosen people, and God is a God of war. Enemies of Israel can never win. They are evil incarnate. Who shall take down the enemies? Certainly not Bush."
HaaretzEditor Admits Israel’s
Arab affairs editor Danny Rubinstein characterised Israel as an apartheid state. In a speech to a Jewish group at the New North London Synagogue he declined to retract his statement. Less than a week ago he had declared Israel "an apartheid state" at a U.N. conference in Brussels.
THOUSANDS OF CRIMES BY UNDER-10S
President Bush and British PM Tony Blair were busy the Islamist terrorist and could not see what the younger generation in the most developed nation is doing.
In UK alone almost 3,000 crimes were committed in 2006 by the suspects too young to be prosecuted. Figures show there were about 1,300 incidents of criminal damage and arson, and over 60 sex offences where suspects were under-10s. If a child is nine or under, he or she cannot be charged with an offence. "If you go along to any estate and see the age of kids marauding around like a pack of wolves, you’d see that reducing the age of criminal responsibility to eight or nine would be vital" said Solicitor Lawrence Lee.