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US ‘Iran attack plans’ revealed February 19, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iran, Iraq War, USA.
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Unsurprisingly, the US’ plans to attack Iran have been revealed.

US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.

After completely making a mess of Afghanistan and Iraq, and wasting an estimated $320bn to date, Bush has still not learned his lesson, and now wants to wage war on yet another country.

Supposedly:

The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.

Does anyone really believe this?  Just as the US made up it’s mind about Iraq long before it attacked, it’s quickly becoming clear that the US has also made up it’s mind about Iran too.

Earlier this month US officials said they had evidence Iran was providing weapons to Iraqi Shia militias.

This is complete rubbish. Even a top US general doubts Iran proof.

It’s certainly not implausible that the big increase of negative news about Iran, blaming the dire situation in Iraq on them, is merely a tactic to soften up the public for this attack.

With the US and Israel both threatening action, and after seeing the mess Bush has made in both Afghanistan and Iraq, it should come as no surprise that Iran wants to protect itself.

Any attack from the US is going to have very bad consequences, and I hope that they think very carefully before carrying out such stupid actions.

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Bush maintains pressure on Iran February 14, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iran, Iraq War, USA.
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Despite everything, Bush is maintaining pressure on Iran.  He continues to insist that Iran is responsible for attacks on US troops in Iraq.

However, he denies that such claims are to lay the groundwork for an attack on Iran.

But he said he did not know who was directing the force, and denied laying the groundwork for an attack on Iran.

Major General William Caldwell claims that the leader of the Mahdi Army, Moqtada Al-Sadr, has fled to Iran.

A U.S. military spokesman insists the leader of the Shi’ite militia Mahdi Army, has left Iraq. But Moqtada al-Sadr’s office in Najaf denies he fled to Iran because of internal disagreements among his followers. His office said he remains in Najaf, but has reduced public appearances for security reasons.

Major General William Caldwell told reporters in Baghdad that, despite the denials, U.S. officials still believe Sadr left Iraq, but the general refused to say why.

The Washington Post reports that Sadr’s [alleged] trip to Iran was first revealed by ABC News on Tuesday.

Just a few days ago, the US accused Iran over Iraq bombs and said that it has proof that the ‘highest levels’ of the Iranian government are supply arms used by Shi’ite militants in Iraq.

But this claim is disputed by the military itself.  General Peter Pace has voiced his doubts about this, stating that all the evidence proves is that things made in Iraq are being used in Iraq. Not that the Iranian government is actively involved.

In general, it seems like the US is making a big effort to put Iran in Iraq.

Faced with growing public opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq, the Bush administration has been desperately trying to divert attention to Iran. Washington has gone so far as to make a series of dubious and unfounded charges that blame the Iranian government for the difficulties facing American forces fighting the Iraqi insurgency.

BBC Middle East Correspondent, Paul Reynolds, also offers his analysis on why the US is actively blaming Iran for the problems in Iraq in his report, US claims against Iran: why now?

Clearly, Bush intends to do something about Iran.  Are all the US claims and accusations designed to soften us up?  I remember seeing a very similar pattern in the build up to the Iraq war.

Speaking of which, this war has already cost the US approximately $320bn.  It is estimated to go up to $2tn, with all the associated costs. The US already has $8tn of debt. It can’t afford to keep going on these conquests.

Combine that with the fact that Iran is not Iraq.  It is three times the size, predominantly shi’ite (and therefore doesn’t suffer from the sectarian problem like Iraq), and relatively united.  Attacking them is not a wise move.

Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has repeatedly denied US claims and is willing to talk. He’s also said that he will protect Iran, and that any attack from the US on his nation will be severely punished.

With tensions clearly rising, seems like the US should stop throwing around accusations and start a dialogue with Iran. Sooner than later.

US violating human rights – again February 2, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in News Commentry, USA, War on Terror.
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The BBC reports that –

A Lebanese-born German, who accuses the CIA of having kidnapped and tortured him, says he is determined to get an apology from the US authorities.

Khaled al-Masri alleges that he was seized in Macedonia, flown to a secret jail in Afghanistan and tortured there.

It’s good to see that German authorities have some sense, are looking after their citizens, and have ordered the arrest of 13 suspected CIA agents.  Just as the US would not be expected to accept any other government kidnapping and treating American citizens in such a manner, it cannot expect that such actions will go unnoticed when done to other countries.

As the article reports:

Mr Masri says he was abducted at the end of 2003 and detained for five months before being released in Albania after the Americans realised they had got the wrong man.

That’s right.  This man was abducted and detained, and tortured for five months before the CIA realised he was innocent, and simply threw him back out on the street, without so much as an apology.

Elsewhere in Europe:

Meanwhile in the Italian city of Milan, court hearings to decide whether to indict 25 alleged CIA agents and several Italians accused of kidnapping a Muslim cleric in 2003 are under way.

Osama Mustafa Hassan, or Abu Omar, says he was abducted from the streets of Milan and then tortured in Egypt.

The fact that the US is engaged in such activity is not new, and first made news headlines when the story of Maher Arrer unfolded.  What’s worse about this case, is not only the fact that he was kept for just under a year, but also that he’s from Canada, and you’d think the US would excercise a little more care to its neighbours.

Maher Arar is a 34-year-old wireless technology consultant. He was born in Syria and came to Canada with his family at the age of 17. He became a Canadian citizen in 1991. On Sept. 26, 2002, while in transit in New York’s JFK airport when returning home from a vacation, Arar was detained by US officials and interrogated about alleged links to al-Qaeda. Twelve days later, he was chained, shackled and flown to Syria, where he was held in a tiny “grave-like” cell for ten months and ten days before he was moved to a better cell in a different prison. In Syria, he was beaten, tortured and forced to make a false confession.

He was held for nearly a year in Syria before being released to Canadian authorities. Although Syrian and Canadian authorities later found that Arrar had no terrorist links, he remains on the US terrorist watch list.

Then there’s the story of the three British Muslims held in Guantanamo Bay for nearly three years without charge or trial.  Their story is well narrated in the 2006 movie, The Road to Guantanamo.

The film tells the story of Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul (the ‘Tipton Three’); three young British men from Tipton in the West Midlands who were captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001 and detained as “enemy combatants” at Guantánamo Bay, without charge or legal representation, for nearly three years. As well as interviews with the three men themselves and archive news footage from the period, the film contains an account of the three men’s experiences following their capture by the Northern Alliance, the subsequent handover to the United States military and their detention in Cuba. It contains several scenes depicting their alleged beatings during interrogation, the use of alleged torture techniques such as ‘stress positions’ and attempts to extract forced confessions of involvement with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The Tipton Three were all released without charge in 2004.

If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend watching it.  The full thing is on Google Video.  Within a day of returning from Cuba and being questioned by British police, they were released.

How much more injustice are we going to see from the US?

War against Iran? February 2, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iran, USA.
2 comments

An American Muslim has an interesting observation about the US and asks whether the current anti-Iran is building up to the War against Iran:

Maybe it’s just me, but prior to both addresses there was this accusatory “tone” toward “rogue” states that were built up in the media prior to the addresses but more so pronounced after the addresses. In the case of the 2003 addresses the State of course was Iraq and here we are in 2007 it’s now Iran.

It’s also a pattern I’ve noticed.  The US has clearly started the propoganda war, doing it’s best to make Iran look responsible for many of the countless problems in Iraq.

As reported by The Guardian yesterday:

Washington today repeated its warnings to Iran to stop helping Iraqi militants to attack US-led troops in Iraq.

Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state, said US forces had detained Iranians suspected of providing weapons technology to Shia insurgents.

“These are operatives of the Quds force, paramilitary officials of the Iranian government and their intelligence officials … they’re people who are engaged in sectarian warfare,” he said.

In a separate interview for US radio, Mr Burns claimed Iranian support for militant groups was spreading out from the southern city of Basra to other areas.

“They have attacked British soldiers near Basra and they’ve now begun to mount those operations throughout the country – at least in the Baghdad region as well,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

“It’s a very serious situation – the message from the United States is Iran should cease and desist.”

The US has been tracking Iranian involvement in Iraqi insurgent attacks for around two years, and has found increasing evidence that Iran has assisted Shia groups in the south of the country, Mr Burns told National Public Radio.

“We warned Iran privately on a number of occasions over the last year and a half and the Iranians, of course, did not appear to listen to that, so now we’ve begun to detain those Iranian officials,” he said.

“We think it’s absolutely within our rights to do so under Article 51 of the UN charter, which is self-defence.”

Earlier this week, Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, the second most senior US general in Iraq, told USA Today that Iran was supplying Iraqi Shia militias with a variety of weapons.

George Bush, who has ordered a second aircraft carrier group to the region, said the US would respond firmly to Iranian involvement in violence in Iraq.

“I’m also concerned about Iranian influence into Iraq and have made it clear to the Iranians that if we catch them moving weapons they’ll be dealt with,” the US president told the Wall Street Journal.

Or as said in this article – will the US invade Iran:

The raid on the home of an Iranian diplomat last week and the capture of 5 Iranians by American troops is a pretty clear shot across Iran’s bow. Add to that the movement of a second carrier group with Patriot missiles into the Gulf and we see a second shot – especially since Iran is the only country with missile capability that could be the target of the Patriots. And then add to this Bush’s refusal to talk to the Iranian government despite the urgings of the Iraq War Commission and Jim Baker, backed up by particularily threatening remarks by the VP on Sunday talk shows, all point to an Administration getting ready to do the unthinkable again.

However, for the US to attack Iran will be a stupid move.  As said in The People Daily:

Iran is not Iraq. Iran’s national and military strength is very different from that of ante-war Iraq. At present, domestic situation in Iran is very good. Iranian people are united. Thus, military strike on Iran won’t cause a revolution in the country, on the contrary, it can only stimulate people’s greater patriotic enthusiasm. Militarily, Iran is another strong country second only to Israel in the Middle East region. It has modernized missiles and air strike technology and capable to block the Strait of Hormuz and destroy all the oil wells and pipelines in the region. Iran is the fourth oil producer in the world, producing 4 million barrels of crude oil every day. Iraq didn’t have these conditions then.

Is it any wonder Iran wants nuclear weapons?  With the US and Israel waiting to attack it, the country has every right to defend itself and its people.

Israel broke US arms deal terms January 29, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Israel, USA.
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It appears that Israel broke US arms deal terms.

Israel probably violated the terms of its arms deals with Washington by using US-made cluster bombs in Lebanon last year, a US government report says.

As this article reports:

  • Israel dropped 2–3 million cluster bombs in the 2006 conflict
  • 90% of the strikes dropping these bombs occured in the last 72% hours of the conflict, when a resolution was coming and the end was near
  • There are 770+ cluster bomb sites
  • At least 100,000 and up to one million of the cluster bombs are yet to explode

Cluster bombs are evil things.  According to the BBC article:

Cluster bombs can scatter hundreds of small bomblets over a wide area, and their use has been widely criticised.

Wikipedia has a more detailed description:

A basic cluster bomb is a hollow shell (generally streamlined if intended for carriage by fast aircraft) containing anywhere from three to more than 2,000 submunitions. Some types are dispensers that are designed to be retained by the aircraft after releasing their munitions. The submunitions themselves may be fitted with small parachute retarders or streamers to slow their descent (allowing the aircraft to escape the blast area in low-altitude attacks).

It’s clear that cluster bombs pose a bigger threat to innocent civilians:

98% of 11,044 recorded cluster munitions casualties that are registered with Handicap International are civilians. Cluster munitions are hotly opposed by many individuals and hundreds of groups, such as the Red Cross,[1] the Cluster Munition Coalition and the United Nations, because of the high proportion of civilians that have fallen victim to the weapon. Since February 2005, Handicap International called for cluster munitions to be prohibited and collected hundreds of thousands signatures to support its call

The US government has sent a report to congress, and the state department spokesman, Sean McCormack says that the report is not a final judgement, but agrees that it is likely that Israel broke the terms of the agreement with the US.

Supposedly:

Congress will now consider the report before deciding whether to take any further action against Israel.

The probability of the US taking any action against Israel is nil.  It won’t happen.  Just look at all the times the US has vetoed UN resolutions critical to Israel, or this longer list.  That’s right, the US has used its veto 70 times.

They’ve clearly lost their ability to be impartial, if they ever were to start with.  Bush ignored UN calls for inspectors in Iraq.  The US and coalition forces began the invasion of Iraq without UN approval, a violation of the UN charter.

Why is the US part of the UN anyway?

According to The United Nations: An introduction for students:

The purpose of the United Nations is to bring all nations of the world together to work for peace and development, based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the well-being of all people. It affords the opportunity for countries to balance global interdependence and national interests when addressing international problems.

So, effectively, the UN is a group of nations working together for peace and development, ensuring human justice and the well being of all people.  Surely, if a nation is not aligned with these common goals, then it should be removed from the UN.

This post has deviated a little from the topic, but this topic is a big cause of frustration for me.

US military unveils heat-ray gun January 25, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in News Commentry, USA.
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The BBC reports that the US military has unveiled a heat ray gun:

“This is a breakthrough technology that’s going to give our forces a capability they don’t now have,” defence official Theodore Barna told Reuters news agency.

“We expect the services to add it to their tool kit. And that could happen as early as 2010.”

That is early.  I’m sure the US will be able to make excuses to hang around in Iraq for a few more years, and then they can use it to try out this new piece of equipment.  After all, they need somewhere to try it out, and wouldn’t dare use it on their own people (ie. crowd control in the US).

The spotlight on an anti-war Muslim January 25, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iraq War, Islam, USA.
4 comments

Stumbled across an interesting discussion about the story of Faisal Khetani, a Muslim dude and owner of Discount-Mats.com, amongst other businesses.

An American soldier stationed in Iraq emailed the company enquiring about buying mats, to which an employee replied:

We do not ship to APO addresses, and even if we did, we would NEVER ship to Iraq. If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq.

This has caused quite a media stir, once it was revealed that the owner of the business is Muslim.  He was subsequently interviewed by some major news channels like Fox.

Since the the story broke, he’s has been getting thousands of emails, which is expected, though death threats?  Some people need to chill the hell out.

The story has taken it’s own twist in the blogosphere, with people looking into this person’s background, posting information on his businesses, family links, etc, and going so far as to tell the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to investigate this guy?

A Muslim who is pissed off at the war, like millions of non-Muslims, who makes his voice heard to an American soldier by refusing to serve him and making a stupid statement, has a few online affiliate-type businesses and a brother with a Phd in Biomedical engineering, is not suddenly a terrorist.

Then you have people like Resa Laru Kirkland, who is clearly pro-war, pro-Israel, and hates Islam and Muslims.  She emailed Khetani, to which he replied politely and made his case well.

I neither have the time nor the space to discuss Islam with you and I know that you are not the least bit interested…

I will say this. The political situation in the middle east and the Muslim nations is not what Islam condones at all. Our history has been been rich over the past thousand years where a lot of prosperity took place, where lands open-handedly invited us, and where the Jews and Christians lived in peace even when the Christian lands were not willing to offer the same.

The political situation of the leaders is downright un-islamic and many of them claim it themselves. They do not believe in Shariah and many of them openly claim communism and dictatorship. Even the ones that claim Shariah are not following it at all, as agreed upon by the scholars of Islam.

You have to realize who broke up the Islamic Caliphate and why they did it, causing dissension and separation for their own motives (The British). Ever since then the Muslim world has been in a state of turmoil but we are working hard to restore the image of Islam and the correct practices as peacefully as possible. There are million of Muslims and thousands of Muslim scholars who don’t agree with fundamentalist/terrorist views. Believe it or not many of these scholars are in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Libya.

Other than that, I as well pay taxes, stay free of committing crimes, and treat my neighbors with respect. As far as I see I have the right to be here because I pay to be here just like everyone else and so does my family. We do not committ crimes or injustices against anyone.

Amen brother, amen.  I’ve never met this dude, but I like him.

It seems very much like these people, are joining dots where no lines exist.  As much as we all hate spam, it is not illegal for a person to start and manage various websites to generate money from adverts and affiliate schemes; millions of people are doing this all over the world.

Neither is it illegal for someone to express their opinion.  We live in a nation of supposedly free speech (though some facts would indicate otherwise), and if someone is anti-war, it’s their right to express it, including refusing to sell to the army if they so desire.

No doubt, this would generate nowhere near as much interest if the business owner were not Muslim.

US Senate rejects Iraq plan January 24, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iraq War, News Commentry, USA.
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It’s good to see that the US Senate has more sense than more sense than Bush.

A US Senate committee has rejected President Bush’s plan to send extra troops to Iraq, passing the measure to a full Senate vote likely next week.

It’s absurd of Bush to say that sending an extra 21,500 troops to Iraq in addition to the 140,000 that are already there.  If this is his big plan to fix things, then it’s a sore disappointment.

However:

Both votes are non-binding but may put pressure on Mr Bush to reconsider.

Yes, go on Bush. Reconsider.  You can’t seriously think that sending a further 21,500 troops to the country is going to magically fix the problem.  The problem with Bush is that he pretends to listen, and then goes and does what he wants anyway.

It’s good to see Americans are dismayed by Bush. Kerry may have been a crap contender, but somehow I doubt that even he could have messed up in such a colossal fashion.

Unsurprisingly, Blair is supporting Bush’s pathetic plan.  I don’t think he has ever disagreed with anything Bush has said and done with regards to the war on terror.

How much longer do these losers, Bush and Blair, have in office?  Even a minute more is too long…

Man gets denied boarding due to Anti-Bush T-Shirt January 22, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in News Commentry, USA.
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Seems like airlines will ban people for anything these days.  A man was barred from a Qantas Airways flight for wearing an Anti-Bush T-Shirt.  The US has the addition of the terrorist watchlists, but even clothing has become a problem.  It’s kind of ironic that the US went to war to give Iraq freedom, and people in the west are being denied this right.

A passenger barred from a Qantas airlines flight for wearing a T-shirt depicting US President George Bush as a terrorist has threatened legal action.

This is not the first time this has happened.  A very similar incident happened to Raed Jarrar at JFK, where he was barred from flying with JetBlue until he changed his t-shirt, which said ‘We will not be silent’ in Arabic and English.  As he says:

It sucks to be an Arab/Muslim living in the US these days. When you go to the middle east, you are a US tax-payer destroying people’s houses with your money, and when you come back to the US, you are a suspected terrorist and plane hijacker.

It sucks flying to the US. It sucks flying in the US. No wonder people prefer to drive wherever possible nowadays.  Air travel is becoming a traumatic experience.

Another reaction to Iran’s nuclear ambitions January 22, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iran, News Commentry, USA.
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I’ve always thought the BBC was one of the best news sources out there, but it’s increasingly become just like other media sources, and engaging in the pro-America, pro-Israel, anti-Muslim sentiment, bashing Islam at every opportunity.

In this article, Brian Walden speaks about how to respond to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and appears to be supporting an attack from Israel.

But, it’s good to see the comments from people who have more common sense. Some good points raised:

  • Iran has never attacked another country
  • Germany was not surrounded by nations aligned against it, some with nuclear weapons, like Iran is
  • Even if Iran did someday attack Israel, how does this affect the west?
  • The Iranians have signaled many times that they are willing to sit down and talk.
  • It is utter madness to attack another country that is not breaking international law. In fact to do so is breaking international law.
  • Britain is spending billions on a new Trident nuclear weapon system. What hypocrisy to expect other nations such as Iran and North Korea to abandon their quest for nuclear technology, when we in the west are continually building bigger and more devastating weapons.
  • Not every dictator or sharp-tongued head of state is Hitler, and there are other means of dealing with them.

The US wants to have one set of laws for itself, and another for people it doesn’t like. Just recently, the US demanded answers from China over a space test, though from the article:

However, Washington has recently opposed international calls to end such tests – and the US is known to be researching such “satellite-killing” weapons.

Is there no end to the hypocrisy. If the US wants other countries to do such things, then it should lead by example. Instead, it’s spending hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons and military, whilst simultaneously having the audacity to use heavy-handed tactics against other countries who want to protect themselves from the school yard bully.

The US does not have the right to decide who has weapons, and every country has the right to protect themself.