2.12.06

He's The Worst Ever

He's The Worst Ever - washingtonpost.com:
Despite some notable accomplishments in domestic and foreign policy, Nixon is mostly associated today with disdain for the Constitution and abuse of presidential power. Obsessed with secrecy and media leaks, he viewed every critic as a threat to national security and illegally spied on U.S. citizens. Nixon considered himself above the law.

Bush has taken this disdain for law even further. He has sought to strip people accused of crimes of rights that date as far back as the Magna Carta in Anglo-American jurisprudence: trial by impartial jury, access to lawyers and knowledge of evidence against them. In dozens of statements when signing legislation, he has asserted the right to ignore the parts of laws with which he disagrees. His administration has adopted policies regarding the treatment of prisoners of war that have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually the entire world. Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has refrained from passing judgment on presidential actions related to national defense. The court's unprecedented rebukes of Bush's policies on detainees indicate how far the administration has strayed from the rule of law.

Three Car Bombs Target Shiite Areas Of Baghdad; 91 Dead, Dozens Wounded

Jihad Unspun - A Clear View On The US War On "Terrorism":

The attacks come as 12 more bodies of Sunnis who had been handcuffed and shot were found by police. It was not made clear where the bodies were located in early official reports.

The Islamic State of Iraq has declared Jihad against the Shiites after Shia gunmen and Al-Mahdi army militia went on a rampage destroying burning mosques with Sunni worshippers inside as well as homes of Sunni. Shia deaths squads have been operating openly in the country, in plain view of US forces and often wearing government uniforms. Recently Sunnis were rounded up at a Baghdad university with the help of so-called government “Shock Troops” and once identified were kidnapped. Several were found dead in the days that followed.

This is likely just the beginning of a fresh wave of attacks to come and Sunni Mujahideen vow to cleanse Baghdad of the Americans and their Shiite collaborators.

Time is on the Taliban's side

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news - Time is on the Taliban's side:

The feared symptom is that public opinion back home vital to sustaining military involvement will gradually sour in a prelude to withdrawal.

Regardless of whether adjustments are made, a regrouped Taliban contingent estimated at 10,000 fighters is prepared to take the fight to 'surprising' levels against international forces through the winter and on for as long as it takes to bleed Western resolve. Commander Mullah Obaidullah warned on Thursday that the possibility of more NATO troops 'does not worry the Taliban, [but] rather will make it easier for our combatants to attack them'.

These are more than fighting words. Suicide and roadside bombings targeting foreign troops and government officials have increased fourfold this year, up to 600 a month, with violence recorded in all but two of the country's 34 provinces. Officials say between 3,700 and 4,000 people have died in insurgent-related violence this year, including at least 186 coalition troops.

1.12.06

The Iraq Study Group of Good Ol' Boys and War-Criminals

The Iraq Study Group: Official damage control and cover-up:

The Iraq Study Group is charged with bringing 'fresh eyes' to the Middle East conflict. However, one glance at the directors of the ISG should remove any illusions. The ISG’s leaders are world-renowned American elites and Cold Warriors, each of whom played major roles in the crimes of the Reagan-Bush and Clinton administrations.

These are very old eyes, on very blood-soaked globalists who seek to fine-tune, perfect, and expand the war, not end it:

Its co-chairs are James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton. The chairmanship by this tag-team of war criminals itself promises more of the same.

Former secretary of state Baker’s deep and extensive political and business connections to the Bush family, and high-level role in the Bush and Reagan-Bush administrations is well known. It was Baker who personally intervened to install George W. Bush as president in 2000. It was Baker, member of the Carlyle Group, who laid the groundwork behind 9/11 and the 'war on terrorism'. It is James A. Baker Institute for Institute for Public Policy pushing many aspects of on oil and petrodollar conquest. Now it is Baker coming to George W. Bush’s aid again, with 'better ideas', by way of George H.W. Bush, Brent Scowcroft and Henry Kissinger.

Hamilton is co-chair of the infamous 9/11 Commission, a blatant cover-up. Hamilton’s role with the ISG marks his third chairmanship of official cover-ups: Iran-Contra, 9/11, and now Iraq.

Al Jazeera Interview: Ahmadinejad wants US out of Iraq

Al Jazeera English - Middle East:

When asked if he ever envisioned himself discussing Iraq with the US and if there was anything he wanted from the Americans, Ahmadinejad said: 'We don’t want anything from America, just leave the Iraqis alone.'

'They know how to govern themselves and provide their own security. The problem is with the presence of the US. Let them leave and the Iraqis will be fine.'

He accused Washington of exacerbating tensions between Iraq's deeply divided communities, saying it is 'afraid of an independent Iraq'. 'We know that the Americans and the Britons want to leave Iraq ... But they want to leave a scorched earth for the Iraqi people,' he said.

'They have started doing things like creating sedition among Iraqis - Sunnis and Shia, Kurds and Shia.'

Ahmadinejad also said supporters of the Lebanese opposition led by Hezbollah, which is believed to have links with Iran, had a right to demonstrate against the government. 'In a land of democracy it is natural for people to voice their opinions, after all the government has to serve their people,' he said.

30.11.06

Robert Fisk: Like Hitler and Brezhnev, Bush is in Denial

Independent Online Edition > Robert Fisk:

More than half a million deaths, an army trapped in the largest military debacle since Vietnam, a Middle East policy already buried in the sands of Mesopotamia - and still George W Bush is in denial. How does he do it? How does he persuade himself - as he apparently did in Amman yesterday - that the United States will stay in Iraq 'until the job is complete'? The 'job' - Washington's project to reshape the Middle East in its own and Israel's image - is long dead, its very neoconservative originators disavowing their hopeless political aims and blaming Bush, along with the Iraqis of course, for their disaster.

...

Even Hitler must chuckle at this bloodbath, he who claimed in April 1945 that Germany would still win the Second World War, boasting that his enemy, Roosevelt, had died - much as Bush boasted of Zarqawi's killing - while demanding to know when General Wenck's mythical army would rescue the people of Berlin. How many "Wencks" are going to be summoned from the 82nd Airborne or the Marine Corps to save Bush from Iraq in the coming weeks? No, Bush is not Hitler. Like Blair, he once thought he was Winston Churchill, a man who never - ever - lied to his people about Britain's defeats in war. But fantasy knows no bounds.

On Escalation Of Attacks On Sunnis In Baghdad

Jihad Unspun - A Clear View On The US War On "Terrorism":

The Islamic State of Iraq Issues Statement On Escalation Of Attacks On Sunnis In Baghdad

In The Name Of Allah The Most Gracious The Most Merciful

All praise be to Allah, The Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. Peace and prayer be upon our prophet, Muhammad, his family, and his companions.

...

From the beginning of the Crusader’s invasion in our country of Iraq, the best of the Sunni Mujahideen have been engaged in fighting the enemy and bringing its troops out from their home country. The Mujahideen's arrows have been focused on the Crusader enemy occupier until the dark Safawi hatred of the Shiites in Iraq against the Sunnis became clear to the eyewitnesses.

The community of Shiites is spearheading the fighting against the Mujahideen fully aiding the invading Crusader forces while its government and armed militias are carrying out crimes against the Sunni people. We must keep in mind the words of the scholars about what is known about the treachery of these people against the people of Islam through the ages.

...


Our battle with the Shiites is the decisive battle between Islam and Kufr (disbelievers). It is a fateful battle not just for the Sunnis in Iraq, but for the whole Islamic world. We will never allow Baghdad city, the land of the Caliphate, to become a Safawi city, where mosques of reunification are destroyed and burned among the claims the disbelief and atheism. We will not allow the tragedy of Sunnis in Iran to be repeated again, even if it will make rivers of our blood flow and even if they continue fighting us for decades.

The soldiers of the Islamic State of Iraq are determined, with the help of Allah, to rid the city of all the symbols and Safawi ruthless leaders, along with their militia and criminal gangs. We have for them only the sword. Our mosques were demolished and burned while the people inside praying were burned alive in al-Hureyiah and the same occurred to our people in al-Adhameyiah, al-Fadhl, al-Ghazaliyiah and other places. The Shiites will be treated accordingly and forewarned is forearmed.

Oh Allah, defeat the USL (United States Losers) and its allies and make them. along with their equipment, booty for the Muslims, Oh Allah destroy them…

Oh Allah, the sky is yours, the earth is yours and the sea is yours, Oh Allah, force their planes from the skies, destroy all their forces on the land and sink all their ships on the sea…

Oh Allah, retaliate upon them and afflict them like you did Pharaoh and his nation. Oh Allah, afflict their country with floods, make them poor, hungry, and small. Oh Allah defeat them, destroy them, for You are the All Strong, the All Mighty.

Allahu Akbar!

“Honor, power and glory belong to Allah, to his messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites know not.”


The Masri Case: White House Fears ACLU Campaign

The Masri Case: White House Fears ACLU Campaign - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News:

Khaled El-Masri was innoncently detained in a secret CIA prison. Now US civil liberties advocates are helping him take the intelligence service to court. His chances of winning the trial are slim -- but his case is stirring up negative publicity for the Bush administration.
Fear of a legal watershed

And while that may sound harmless, it isn't. The White House fears it could prove to be a legal watershed, and the US Department of Justice is watching the attack mounted by the civil rights activists with growing concern. Charges have been brought against Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defense Secretary who recently resigned but remains in office, before a German federal court. Italy has initiated police investigations into a number of CIA agents following a kidnapping in Milan. The Munich court that is investigating Masri's case could possibly make the same decision. US President Bush and the members of his administration fear they may all find themselves in court one day.

When Masri's innocence was conclusively established, his release was ordered by then National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. Were the decisions as to who should be detained made in her office as well? Washington's policy is to confirm or concede nothing. Masri is demanding clarification 'and an apology.' He doesn't want money, only justice.

His chances aren't very good. In a Kafkaesque move, the Justice Department is now trying to muzzle even those former detainees at the so-called 'black sites' who have since been moved to Guantanamo and keep them from speaking openly about their experiences. The Justice Department is going so far as to try to prevent them from discussing the top-secret interrogation techniques even with their lawyers, claiming that the interrogation techniques are classified infromation. Thus, torture victims have become carriers of state secrets.

Saudi prepares to intervene in Iraq

Middle East Online:
Using money, weapons or its oil power, Saudi Arabia will intervene to prevent Iranian-backed Shiite militias from massacring Iraqi Sunni Muslims once the United States begins pulling out of Iraq, a security adviser to the Saudi government said on Wednesday.

Diplomats and analysts say Iraq's Sunni Arab neighbors, led by heavyweight Saudi Arabia, fear that the sectarian violence could spill into large-scale civil war between Shiites and Sunnis and set off a political earthquake far beyond Iraq.

Nawaf Obaid, writing in The Washington Post, said the Saudi leadership was preparing to revise its Iraq policy to deal with the aftermath of a possible US pullout, and is considering options including flooding the oil market to crash prices and thus limit Iran's ability to finance Shiite militias in Iraq.

'To be sure, Saudi engagement in Iraq carries great risks - it could spark a regional war. So be it: The consequences of inaction are far worse,' Obaid said.

Iran would remain by the side of the Iraqi nation with all its might and to the very end

IRIB PERSIAN NEWS PAGE:

Addressing those that have 'brought their military forces from remote parts of the world and stationed them in Iraq,' Ahmadinejad said, 'You brought your forces to the region and ousted Saddam, which made everyone happy, but your remaining in Iraq and your interference in Iraq's internal affairs would only further deteriorate the situation, lead to endless crises, and is a mischievous act.'

He said 'If the countries that have forces in Iraq really intend to evacuate them, as they claim, so their deeds must match their words,' he added.

'The Iraqi nation is a great nation and the different Iraqi ethnic groups have never had any problems living side by side of one another, leading brotherly lives with mutual interests, but today some outsiders try to sow the seeds of discord among them,' he pointed out.

The President also referred to some governments' efforts aimed at weakening the Iraqi government, asking them, 'Why are you trying to worsen the conditions to an extent that the Iraqi people would feel fed up of their own popular government?'

Ahmadinejad emphasized, 'I advise those countries whose efforts are aimed at sowing the seeds of discord and at fomenting tension in Iraq not to ruin the remainder of their lost prestige and reputation before the Iraqi nation, to evacuate Iraq from their occupation forces, and to leave Iraq's affairs up to the great Iraqi nation.'

29.11.06

United States v. George W. Bush et al.

Middle East Online:

United States v. George W. Bush et al.

It's a one-count proposed indictment: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, says Elizabeth de la Vega.

Assistant United States Attorney: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. We're here today in the case of United States v. George W. Bush et al. In addition to President Bush, the defendants are Vice President Richard B. Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- who's now the Secretary of State, of course -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

It's a one-count proposed indictment: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.
The article linked to above is an introduction to her new book:

United States v. George W. Bush et al.

President of the Islamic State of Iran, Ahmadinejad's letter to Americans

Ahmadinejad's letter to Americans - CNN.com:
A Brief excerpt:

Let's take a look at Iraq. Since the commencement of the US military presence in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, maimed or displaced. Terrorism in Iraq has grown exponentially. With the presence of the US military in Iraq, nothing has been done to rebuild the ruins, to restore the infrastructure or to alleviate poverty. The US Government used the pretext of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but later it became clear that that was just a lie and a deception.

Although Saddam was overthrown and people are happy about his departure, the pain and suffering of the Iraqi people has persisted and has even been aggravated.

In Iraq, about one hundred and fifty thousand American soldiers, separated from their families and loved ones, are operating under the command of the current US administration. A substantial number of them have been killed or wounded and their presence in Iraq has tarnished the image of the American people and government.

Their mothers and relatives have, on numerous occasions, displayed their discontent with the presence of their sons and daughters in a land thousands of miles away from US shores. American soldiers often wonder why they have been sent to Iraq.

I consider it extremely unlikely that you, the American people, consent to the billions of dollars of annual expenditure from your treasury for this military misadventure.

28.11.06

Text of the National Security Adviser’s Memorandum on the Political Situation in Iraq

Text of the National Security Adviser’s Memorandum on the Political Situation in Iraq - New York Times:

Following is the text of a Nov. 8 memorandum prepared for cabinet-level officials by Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and his aides on the National Security Council.

Despite Maliki’s reassuring words, repeated reports from our commanders on the ground contributed to our concerns about Maliki’s government. Reports of nondelivery of services to Sunni areas, intervention by the prime minister’s office to stop military action against Shia targets and to encourage them against Sunni ones, removal of Iraq’s most effective commanders on a sectarian basis and efforts to ensure Shia majorities in all ministries — when combined with the escalation of Jaish al-Mahdi’s (JAM) [the Arabic name for the Mahdi Army] killings — all suggest a campaign to consolidate Shia power in Baghdad.

While there does seem to be an aggressive push to consolidate Shia power and influence, it is less clear whether Maliki is a witting participant. The information he receives is undoubtedly skewed by his small circle of Dawa advisers, coloring his actions and interpretation of reality. His intentions seem good when he talks with Americans, and sensitive reporting suggests he is trying to stand up to the Shia hierarchy and force positive change. But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.

...

We must also be mindful of Maliki’s personal history as a figure in the Dawa Party — an underground conspiratorial movement — during Saddam’s rule. Maliki and those around him are naturally inclined to distrust new actors, and it may take strong assurances from the United States ultimately to convince him to expand his circle of advisers or take action against the interests of his own Shia coalition and for the benefit of Iraq as a whole.

...

Direct your cabinet to begin an intensive press on Saudi Arabia to play a leadership role on Iraq, connecting this role with other areas in which Saudi Arabia wants to see U.S. action [emphasis added].

A Small victory for the Rule of Law and against the Bush Crime Family | Judge Rules 2001 Listing of Terrorists Violated Law

Judge Rules 2001 Listing of Terrorists Violated Law - New York Times:
The government initially responded by saying it had never used the “otherwise associated with” provision as the sole basis for a designation. It later revised its statement, saying it had done so in at least 2 of 375 further designations.

“It is axiomatic,” Judge Collins ruled, “that the Constitution prohibits punishing a person for mere association.”

She added that nothing in the executive order “limits its application only to those instances of association involving activity, let alone activity that furthers or advances an organization’s illegal goals.”

Like Mr. Bush’s own authority under the 1977 law, the authority he delegated to the Treasury Department, Judge Collins wrote, “contains no definable criteria” and so “is unconstitutionally vague on its face.”

Filthy American Bastards make Iraqi children beg for water

Bush's Israeli cohorts used cluster bombs and anti-personnel landmines against civilians in Lebanaon

'Northern Command ordered firing of cluster bombs' | Jerusalem Post:

Maj.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen, commander of the IDF's Military Colleges, was appointed by Halutz to investigate the military's use of cluster bombs during the war against Hizbullah.

According to military sources, Hacohen, who questioned senior officers in the Northern Command during his investigation, plans to present his findings to Halutz in the coming days.

IDF regulations, set by Halutz, had permitted the use of cluster bombs - used to destroy airfields, tanks and soldiers and capable of scattering some 200 to 600 mini-explosives over targets - only in open and unpopulated areas.

An initial IDF probe, conducted by Brig.-Gen. Michel Ben-Baruch, found that in some cases the deadly munitions were not used in accordance with Halutz's directive.

The military sources told the Post that Northern Command ordered artillery units to use the deadly munitions during the last days of the war, despite Halutz's command.

Reuters has more on landmines here.

The U.N. said on Tuesday Israel used anti-personnel landmines, banned by most countries, as well as cluster bombs during its July-August war in Lebanon.

It said four deminers, two British and a Bosnian were seriously wounded, and a Lebanese expert slightly hurt, at the weekend when they stepped on mines.

Israel is not among the 152 countries that have ratified the 1997 Ottawa pact banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines, which activists say kill and maim long after conflicts have ended.

But it is a party to a protocol of the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons, which requires they be placed within a demarcated area to ensure that civilians are not harmed.

The incidents near the village of Deir Mimas were the "first evidence we have that the Israeli forces laid new mines in south Lebanon in 2006," the United Nations Mine Action Co-ordination Centre South Lebanon (MACCSL) said.

Childrem killed in US raid in Iraq | American War-crimes in Iraq keep happening on a daily basis

Al Jazeera English - Middle East:

Five young girls and a baby have been killed in a US raid on a house in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, the US military has told Al Jazeera English.

The US military said two armed men had opened fire from the roof of a house on a US patrol disarming a roadside bomb, prompting the soldiers to reply with tank fire on Tuesday.

Following the pre-dawn barrage, US troops carried out 'an extensive search of the house and found one male and five females, ages ranging from infant to teenaged, dead,' the statement said.

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Reiterates Concerns Regarding President Saddam Hussein's Trial


UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Reiterates Concerns Regarding President Saddam Hussein's Trial

The Working Group deems it necessary to issue this statement at this time, since it cannot be excluded that the death penalty imposed upon Mr. Hussein would be carried out before the Opinion is published in its annual report to the Human Rights Council.

The Working Group was seized by a communication on behalf of Mr. Hussein, in which complaints about his allegedly unlawful detention had been put forward, whereupon the Working Group delivered two Opinions on this case.

...

In this context the Working Group invited the Governments of Iraq and the United States to consider whether a trial of the former Head of State in conformity with international standards is at all possible under the current conditions in Iraq, or whether the case should rather be referred to an international tribunal.

The Working Group clarified in its Opinion that it does not request the release of Mr. Hussein. What it recommends to the two Governments is that the serious procedural shortcomings are redressed and that the situation of Mr. Hussein be brought in conformity with the principles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and with the provisions of the ICCPR.

The Working Group also urges the Iraqi Government to refrain from carrying out the sentence of death by hanging imposed in a proceeding, which does not meet applicable basic standards of a fair trial.

Report assails collusion in Europe with CIA torture sites

Report assails collusion in Europe with CIA - Americas - International Herald Tribune:
A new European Parliament report on secret abductions, transportation and detention of terror suspects bluntly rejects the assertion by several European countries accused of being involved that they were unaware of a CIA program.

'Many governments cooperated passively or actively' with the CIA, said Giovanni Claudio Fava, the rapporteur leading a special inquiry. 'They knew.'

The report, issued in Brussels, offers new confirmation of the U.S. practice, with European complicity, of so-called extraordinary renditions - in which suspects were abducted, then reportedly transported to third countries to face harsh interrogation methods.

Fava's report follows another done for the Council of Europe, the leading European human rights watchdog organization. That report, led by Dick Marty, a Swiss member of Parliament, described what it said was a 'reprehensible network' created by the U.S. intelligence agency, one that was allowed to exist through the 'intentional or grossly negligent collusion of the European partners.'

Iraq, not a bite for Americans to swallow

IRIB PERSIAN NEWS PAGE:

Ayatollah Khamenei cautioned Talabani that the ongoing insecurity is aimed at destabilizing the democratic Iraqi government, adding, 'Those who once conspired a ploy for Iraq and then saw it botched are now bent on destabilizing the situation in every possible way through their agents in the field that include terrorists, takfiris (excommunicators) and former Baathists.'

Ayatollah Khamenei noted that the perpetrators involved in the Iaqi insecurity conceal their face behind the cover of Shia-Sunni conflict, adding, 'The truth is the Shiite and Sunni people have already lived alongside each other for centuries without any internal dispute.'

The IR Leader said the Iraqi people are suffering a colossal misery and sorrow from the perpetuated policy of insecurity, adding, 'Those involved in the policy are intended to bring a Saddam-like dictator to power but will definitely fail to fulfill their intention.'

'Americans by no means would succeed in Iraq and their continued occupation of the country is not a bite for America to swallow,' Ayatollah Khamenei underlined.

'A first measure to resolve the problem of insecurity in Iraq is delivering the security affairs to the Iraqi democratic government,' Ayatollah Khamenei said emphatically.

27.11.06

It is strange how in Iraq slaughter soon seems to be part of normal life

Independent Online Edition > Middle East:

I remember a team from a US network news channel staying in my hotel in Baghdad complaining to me, as they buckled on their body armour and helmets, that they had been once again told by their bosses in New York, themselves under pressure from the White House, to 'go and find some good news and report it.'

Times have changed in Washington. The extent of the disaster in Iraq is admitted by almost all, aside from President Bush. Even before the Democrats' victory in the Congressional elections on 7 November the magazine Vanity Fair commented acidly that 'the only group in the Bush camp at this point are the people who wait patiently for news of the WMD and continue to believe that Saddam and Osama were once lovers.

...

For more than a year, the astute US envoy in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, tried to conciliate the Sunni. He failed. Attacks on US forces are on the increase. Dead and wounded US soldiers now total almost 1,000 a month..

An Iraqi government will only have real legitimacy and freedom to operate when US and British troops have withdrawn. Washington and London have to accept that if Iraq is to survive at all it will be as a loose federation run by a Shia-Kurdish alliance because together they are 80 per cent of the population. But, thanks to the miscalculations of Mr Bush and Mr Blair, the future of Iraq will be settled not by negotiations but on the battlefield.

U.S. withdrawal only solution to Iraq crisis

U.S. withdrawal only solution to Iraq crisis:

During the past 42 months that Iraq has been under the occupation of U.S. forces, Iran has tried to provide Iraq with all the necessary financial and intellectual means to facilitate the democratization process. Yet, unfortunately, the activities of Arab terrorist groups are threatening the security of the Iraqi nation.

Iranian officials have often expressed deep concern over the presence of these terrorists on Iraqi soil and have tried to inform the international community of the fact that the occupying forces are unable to establish peace and security in the country. At this point in time, not only the Iraqi nation but also Iraqi officials believe that the foreign military presence is hindering efforts to establish security.

They have reached this conclusion because U.S. forces are reluctant to hand over responsibility for security affairs to the Iraqi government, which is actually preventing Iraqi forces from endeavoring to establish peace in their country. Meanwhile, the sharp increase in violence against Iraqi Shias and the lack of a comprehensive security strategy to deal with the situation have raised concern in Iraq’s neighbors, including Iran. Thus, there are many issues to be discussed during Talabani’s visit to Tehran in order to bring the Iranian and Iraqi nations closer together.

One of the points of discussion should be the need to set a specific timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. In fact, the United States requires Iran’s cooperation to resolve the Iraq crisis, and without Tehran’s help, all of Washington’s plans for transferring power to the Iraqi government will be doomed to failure.

Ecuador leftist, Rafael Correa, win gives Chavez momentum for vote

Ecuador leftist win gives Chavez momentum for vote|Bonds News|Reuters.com:

Rafael Correa's presidential victory in Ecuador capped a run of wins for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's leftist allies in Latin America and boosted Chavez's own campaign to be re-elected on Sunday.

After Brazil's leftist leader won re-election in October, Chavez's vocal and financial support helped catapult Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega into office this month and his attacks on Correa's rival aided another socialist's win.

The successes came despite criticism that the intervention of Chavez and his anti-U.S. stance in Mexican and Peruvian elections earlier this year sparked nationalist backlashes and torpedoed his allies' campaigns.

'Correa's victory is symbolically significant given Chavez's recent diplomatic misadventures with Mexico and Peru, and at the United Nations,' said Patrick Esteruelas of the Eurasia Group consultancy, referring to Venezuela's failure to overcome U.S. opposition to its Security Council seat bid.

The Correa win could reinforce the impression among Chavez supporters that the Venezuelan is a winner and bolster his prestige as a regional leader.

Chavez has formed a triumvirate of hard-line leaders opposed to Washington with Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuban President Fidel Castro -- and political analysts see U.S.-educated economist Correa giving that axis more weight.

26.11.06

Ahmadinejad Urges People in Mideast, Afghanistan to Expel Occupiers

Naharnet News Desk

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Sunday for the peoples of the Middle East and Afghanistan to join forces in driving out foreign occupiers.

"The Iraqi, Lebanese, Afghan and Palestinian people must be helped. By helping each other, we can expel the occupiers," Ahmadinejad said in a speech to the Islamic volunteer Basij militia, broadcast on state television.

"The people of the area can guarantee security. The presence from foreigners causes conflict," he added.

...

Ahmadinejad said in the speech near the shrine of the Islamic republic's founder, the late Ayatollah Khomeini. "Since the corrupt foreigners arrived in Iraq, there has been nothing but corruption and death."

He said "the Satanic dominance of the United States is fading" and that "the Zionist regime, which is a tool in the hands of the oppressors, is on the slope of destruction."

Chavez vows to beat the "devil"

Chavez vows to beat the "devil"|International News|Reuters.com:

Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez on Sunday promised hundreds of thousands of supporters he would win a resounding victory in his December 3 reelection bid he describes as a challenge to Washington.

The former soldier and self-styled revolutionary is favored in the polls to beat rival Manuel Rosales after building a solid political base through a social development campaign financed by oil revenues.

Chavez supporters flooded Caracas thoroughfares waving flags and banners, congregating in different parts of the downtown a day after Rosales sympathizers held a similar march to close his campaign in the capital city.

'We are confronting the devil, and we will hit a home run off the devil next Sunday,' said Chavez, who ruffled feathers in October by calling President Bush the devil in remarks at the United Nations.

'On December 3 we're going to defeat the most powerful empire on earth by knockout,' Chavez said.

Iran is ready to help US on Iraq: Ahmadinejad

Zee News - Iran is ready to help US on Iraq: Ahmadinejad:

'You went to Iraq to topple Saddam and find weapons of mass destruction, but it was clear to us that you came in order to dominate the region and its oil.'

Ahmadinejad said that the U.S. and Britain are paying for the instability and violence in Iraq. 'You have been trapped in a quagmire and locked in your place with nowhere to go.'

'The Iranian nation is ready to help you to get out of the quagmire - on condition that you resume behaving in a just manner and avoid bullying and invading,`` he added.

'Then, nations of the region, headed by the Iranian nation, will be ready to show you the path of salvation,' Ahmadinejad said. 'It is the time for the leaders of the US and UK to listen. You have reached a dead end in our region as well as in the world.`