The Stone Face of Zarqawi

Wall Street Online Journal Christopher Hitchens March 21, 2006

Iraq is no “distraction” from al Qaeda.

In February 2004, our Kurdish comrades in northern Iraq intercepted a courier who was bearing a long message from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to his religious guru Osama bin Laden. The letter contained a deranged analysis of the motives of the coalition intervention (“to create the State of Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates” and “accelerate the emergence of the Messiah”), but also a lethally ingenious scheme to combat it. After a lengthy and hate-filled diatribe against what he considers the vile heresy of Shiism, Zarqawi wrote of Iraq’s largest confessional group that: “These in our opinion are the key to change. I mean that targeting and hitting them in their religious, political and military depth will provoke them to show the Sunnis their rabies . . . and bare the teeth of the hidden rancor working in their breasts. If we succeed in dragging them into the arena of sectarian war, it will become possible to awaken the inattentive Sunnis as they feel imminent danger.”

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Bush lied, people died? Another view

The Daily Breeze Larry Elder March 12, 2006

Gen. Georges Sada, the No. 2 ranking officer with the Iraqi air force, is finally being heard in Washington on the issue of weapons of mass destruction.

Gen. Georges Sada, the No. 2 ranking officer with the Iraqi air force, is finally being heard in Washington, D.C. Senate Armed Services Committee member James Inhofe, R-Okla., recently said, “… This old argument of weapons of mass destruction, which has always been a phony argument from the beginning, now that we have information that’s been testified … in closed session, by this General Sadas (sic) — all kinds of evidence as to the individuals who transported the weapons out of Iraq into Syria.”

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For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats

MEMRI Special Dispatch – Reform Project March 14, 2006

New York Times Front-Page Profile March 11, 2006: Dr. Wafa Sultan

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit:

Following the February 21, 2006 MEMRI TV clip featuring Syrian-born American psychiatrist Dr. Wafa Sultan on Al-Jazeera TV (in a debate with Islamist sheikh Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli) – The New York Times published a front-page profile on her titled For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats.

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Civil War in Iraq? Daniel Pipes February 28, 2006

The bombing on February 22 of the Askariya shrine in Samarra, Iraq, was a tragedy, but it was not an American or a coalition tragedy.

The destruction of the Golden Dome, built in 1905 and one of the holiest shrines of Shi’ite Islam, represents an escalation of the Sunni assault on the Shi’ites, a purposeful outrage intended to provoke an emotional backlash. It signals not Sunni weakness but the determination of elements in Iraq’s long-ruling community to reassert its dominance. Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, has rightly warned that “The fire of sedition, when it breaks out, can burn everything in its path and spare no one.” One shudders at the possible carnage ahead.

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Christian Churches in Iraq Subjected to Synchronized Terrorism

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli

In a synchronized act of terrorism on January 29, 2006, seven churches were attacked – six by car bombs and a seventh, St. Joseph, in the banking district of Baghdad, by explosives which caused no damage. Five of the churches are located at various parts of Baghdad and the other two in Kirkuk, northern Iraq. There were a number of casualties among Christians and passer-by Muslims.(1)

Elements Behind the Terrorist Acts

The bombing of seven churches in seven quarters of two large cities – Baghdad and Kirkuk – simultaneously is a well-planned and well-executed terrorist act. This act of terrorism raises two questions: first, who might be the perpetrators; and second, what could be their motives.

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Creating Outrage

Meet the imam behind the cartoon overreaction.
By Lorenzo Vidino

Confused by the wave of protests, threats, boycotts, and attacks against diplomatic facilities that have shaken their idyllic tranquility after the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed on Jyllands-Posten, the Danes are asking themselves questions. They wonder if an attack will take place in their country, as threatened by various jihadi groups, and if freedom of speech is in jeopardy. But a more immediate question is puzzling some: Why has the outrage of the Muslim world exploded only now, in February, when the cartoons were published last September? At the time of the initial publication, international media had reported news of the blasphemous caricatures, not only in Danish, but also in English. Yet nothing happened, aside from timid protests from the Muslim community of the tiny Scandinavian kingdom. So what is different about the situation now? More than the question, it is the answer that is keeping a good chunk of Denmark’s political and cultural elite awake at night. The recent anti-Danish emotional wave coming from the Muslim world, in fact, is far from a spontaneous reaction, but it has been cunningly orchestrated by a knowledgeable insider, a real snake in the grass who has been creeping in Denmark for the last 15 years.


Saddam’s Documents: What they tell us could save American lives today

Wall Street Opinion Journal Friday, January 13, 2006

It is almost an article of religious faith among opponents of the Iraq War that Iraq became a terrorist destination only after the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein. But what if that’s false, and documents from Saddam’s own regime show that his government trained thousands of Islamic terrorists at camps inside Iraq before the war?

Sounds like news to us, and that’s exactly what is reported this week by Stephen Hayes in The Weekly Standard magazine. Yet the rest of the press has ignored the story, and for that matter the Bush Administration has also been dumb. The explanation for the latter may be that Mr. Hayes also scores the Administration for failing to do more to translate and analyze the trove of documents it’s collected from the Saddam era.

Mr. Hayes reports that, from 1999 through 2002, “elite Iraqi military units” trained roughly 8,000 terrorists at three different camps–in Samarra and Ramadi in the Sunni Triangle, as well as at Salman Pak, where American forces in 2003 found the fuselage of an aircraft that might have been used for training. Many of the trainees were drawn from North African terror groups with close ties to al Qaeda, including Algeria’s GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Mr. Hayes writes that he had no fewer than 11 corroborating sources, and yesterday he told us he’d added several more since publication.

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Reporting for Duty: The U.S. military tells Iraqis the truth, and some call it a “scandal.”

Wall Street Opinion Journal JOHN R. GUARDIANO Monday, December 19, 2005

The latest Iraq “scandal” the politicians and the media have discovered is the U.S. military’s alleged covert purchase of favorable articles in the Iraqi press. This alleged “propaganda campaign . . . violates fundamental principles of Western journalism,” reports the New York Times.

This is not surprising, insofar as Iraq does not yet enjoy “Western journalism.” Journalists there are murdered, blackmailed and bribed. They and their families are routinely threatened and coerced by terrorist/insurgents. Newspapers often serve as propaganda arms of various political and religious factions. The widely viewed Arab network Al-Jazeera works diligently to promote terrorism and undermine Iraq by disseminating lies, distortions and misinformation.

In light of this reality, the U.S. military has a choice: It can accept this deleterious state of affairs, play by Marquess of Queensberry rules, and wait decades for the emergence of “Western journalism.” The result would be a heady propaganda win for the terrorist/insurgents, a prolonged conflict, and more unnecessary violence and death. Or the U.S. military can work within Iraq’s present-day constraints to try to ensure that Iraqis hear the truth about what is happening in their country.



The Panic Over Iraq

Wall Street Opinion Journal NORMAN PODHORETZ Monday, December 12, 2005

What they’re really afraid of is American success.

Like, I am sure, many other believers in what this country has been trying to do in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq, I have found my thoughts returning in the past year to something that Tom Paine, writing at an especially dark moment of the American Revolution, said about such times. They are, he memorably wrote, “the times that try men’s souls,” the times in which “the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot” become so disheartened that they “shrink from the service of [their] country.”

But Paine did not limit his anguished derision to former supporters of the American War of Independence whose courage was failing because things had not been going as well on the battlefield as they had expected or hoped. In a less famous passage, he also let loose on another group:

‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. . . . Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses . . . Their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain for ever undiscovered.

Thus, he explained, “Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head,” emboldened by the circumstances of the moment to reveal an opposition to the break with Britain that it had previously seemed prudent to conceal.



‘Do Some Soul Searching’

Wall Street Opinion Journal DONALD RUMSFELD Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Why aren’t the media telling the whole story about Iraq?

(Editor’s note: Mr. Rumsfeld delivered this speech Monday at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.)

I’m not one to put much faith in opinion polls. But the other day, I came across an interesting set of statistics that I want to mention. It seems that the Pew Research Center asked opinion leaders in the United States their views of the prospects for a stable democracy in Iraq.

Here were some of the results: 63% of people in the news media thought the enterprise would fail. So did 71% of people in the foreign affairs establishment and 71% in academic settings or think tanks. Interestingly, opinion leaders from the U.S. military are optimistic about Iraq by a margin of 64% to 32%. And so is the American public, by a margin of 56% to 37%.
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Our Troops Must Stay

Ed. In case anyone missed this…

Wall Street Opinion Journal Sen. JOE LIEBERMAN November 29, 2005

America can’t abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists.

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood–unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.



Thank you for liberating my country. Please don’t leave before the job is done.

We Need American Troops

Wall Street Online Journal JALAL TALABANI

BAGHDAD–There is no more important international issue today than the need to defeat the curse of terrorism. And as the first democratically elected president of Iraq, I have a responsibility to ensure that the world’s youngest democracy survives the inherently difficult transition from totalitarianism to pluralism. A transformation of the Iraqi state and Iraqi society is impossible without a sustained commitment of soldiers from the United States and other democracies.

To understand why, let us recall how we reached this juncture in history. How is it that Iraq today has a democratically elected head of state, government and Parliament? How it is that members of the most repressed ethnic groups now hold the highest offices of state? All these welcome developments are a result of the courage and vision of President Bush and his allies, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard, leaders whose commitment of troops to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions liberated Iraq.
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Major’s Frustration: A roundup of the past two weeks’ good news from Iraq

Wall Street Journal ARTHUR CHRENKOFF Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Maj. Joe Leahy is a civil engineer with the U.S. Army’s Engineer Brigade. He has been stationed at Camp Victory, outside of Baghdad, since November 2004–enough time to get frustrated. “We all know it’s a dangerous place,” he says. “But the thing that I want people to understand is that they only see those one or two instances in the country that are negative. You don’t really hear about the 100 things that have gone good.”

He adds, “One thing we’ve got to understand is that it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but we are doing something that’s getting better every day.”

Leahy’s good-bad ratio may be debatable, but many servicemen and their families and friends back home, not to mention the general public, have been getting frustrated lately with the media coverage of Iraq–enough so to cause some limited, though still welcome, soul-searching among major media outlets. Whether the coverage will improve as a result remains to be seen. In the meantime, here are the past two weeks’ worth of stories, some of which you might have missed.


Indifferent to Democracy: Why the Arab world roots for American failure in Iraq

Wall Street Opinion Journal MICHAEL YOUNG
Friday, August 19, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

As the U.S. stumbles in Iraq, many in the Arab world (but also in the American academic left and isolationist right) have solemnly, at times pleasurably, described the situation as fitting retribution for “neocolonialism.” The debate on America’s imperial calling, particularly in the Middle East, is surely absorbing; yet from an Arab perspective, particularly that of the region’s liberals, far more essential than how a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq might smash the Bush administration’s hubris is the misfortune it will visit on Arabs striving for change.
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