Target Centermass

2/28/2005

Cedar Revolution

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:30 pm

Sorry, folks, but I’ve just now logged off from work so I doubt there will be any blogging tonight.

I do want to point you to what I feel is the story of the day — the civil uprising and resulting governmental shake-up in Lebanon. Is freedom on the march? Time will tell, but the Lebanese may have a case of purple-finger envy.

Captain Ed at Captain’s Quarters covers it here, here, and here. He also looks at the NYT coverage here and contemplates the reasons behind the timing here. Hell, just go read his blog regularly.

Robert Mayer at Publius Pundit does a solid job of rounding up news and blogging on the momentous occasion here (hat tip to OTB)

2/27/2005

Quote of the Week, 27 FEB 05

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:11 pm

Never fly the “A” model of anything.

—Edward Thompson

U.S. Arabic Channel to Expand to Europe

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:19 pm

While much of Europe seems quite willing to ignore the growing danger to its future coming from Islamic radicals in its midst, the U.S. is already moving against the threat by confronting it over the airwaves.

The Bush administration is planning to expand the reach of its Arabic-language satellite channel, Alhurra, into Europe, an official overseeing the network said Sunday.

Alhurra, which means “the free one,” began beaming programming to the Middle East about a year ago.

Home to an estimated 15 million-20 million Muslims, many of Arab descent, Europe is a “significant location for Arabic-speaking people,” a U.S. official said.

Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. agency in charge of Alhurra, said Sunday that the channel’s goal is to “foster and support debate” and to give Arabic speakers the chance to hear the “Western side of arguments on women’s rights, economic opportunity and freedom and democracy.”

Officials said Alhurra is intended to provide competition to the Arabic-language channel Al-Jazeera, which they contend is biased against the United States.

[…]

Tomlinson said U.S. officials hope to begin beaming Alhurra programming into Europe this fall.

Just before the channel’s launch last February, Bush said, “We are telling the people in the Middle East the truth about the values and the policies of the United States, and the truth always serves the cause of freedom.”

“As long as that region is a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it will produce men and movements that threaten the safety of Americans and our friends,” he added.

In the war against Islamist terror, the U.S. has two key advantages — it cannot lose any significant engagement on the battlefield and it cannot lose when ideas and ideologies are communicated and contrasted. Are these advantages enough to continue the fight or will they be undermined by defeatism and myopia, both at home and abroad? Ay, there’s the rub.

The article also notes that the $2 million cost for expanding Alhurra to Europe will come out of the pending $81 billion supplemental budget request for Iraq and Afghanistan, further demonstrating that Europe is indeed viewed as a theater in the war against Islamist terror.

Saddam’s Half-Brother Captured

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:43 pm

Another key member of the Saddam regime is now in Iraqi custody, and the news may be a brutal left-right combination to the midsection of the terrorists still in Iraq.

A half-brother of Saddam Hussein, who was one of his most reviled enforcers, has been arrested in Syria on suspicion of bankrolling anti-coalition insurgents, Iraqi officials said yesterday.

Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan, a strongman who once served as a head of Saddam’s feared security services, was held after nearly two years on the run. Syrian authorities captured him and handed him over to Iraq in an apparent goodwill gesture.

He was number 36 on the deck of 55 most-wanted Iraqis issued by United States troops after Saddam’s fall in April 2003. He also featured in the US list of the top 30 people sought for supporting the insurgency.

[…]

The announcement was greeted with delight by many Iraqis, who, despite chafing under US occupation, recall Hasan as epitomising all the worst aspects of Saddam’s nepotistic rule.

Even in the former dictator’s Tikriti peasant clan, he was considered something of a black sheep – a short, overweight semi-literate whose sole qualification was his aggressive devotion to his leader.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was the dungeon master of Baghdad’s main public security HQ, where he is said to have presided over the torture and murder of many prisoners.

Why do I say this is a two-punch combination? Well, the first is obviously the blow felt by the loss of a key financier and a figure representing the old regime. The second is a little more subtle. With the handoff coming from Syria, it seems that Iraq’s neighbor may finally be feeling the pressure resulting from its support of the terrorists and holdouts opposing the new Iraqi government. That so much international focus is currently on Syria because of its involvement in Lebanon must also play a role.

Loss of Syrian support would be a huge hit to the terrorists, tolling the death knell for any insurgency not solely based on religious radicals and separating the insurgents from another chunk of the Iraqi populace.

2/26/2005

Zarqawi Aides Captured

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:04 am

The Iraqi government is claiming to have captured two close associates of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, including a key piece in the terrorist leader’s organizational web.

The government said in a statement that Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman Al-Dulaymi, also known as Abu Qutaybah, was captured during a Feb.20 raid in Anah, about 260 km northwest of the capital.

“Abu Qutaybah was responsible for determining who, when and how terrorist network leaders would meet with Zarqawi,” the government said.

He “filled the role of key lieutenant for the Zarqawi network, arranging safe houses and transportation as well as passing packages and funds to Zarqawi,” the government said. “His extensive contacts and operational ability throughout western Iraq made him a critical figure in the Zarqawi network.”

During the same raid, Iraqi forces also captured another Zarqawi aide who “occasionally acted as his driver,” the government said. The man was identified as Ahmad Khalid Marad Ismail Al-Rawi, who also helped arrange meetings for Zarqawi.

When viewed in light of other recent captures, one has to see al-Zarqawi’s days in Iraq as numbered. Arrests like these lead to more arrests and the noose slowly tightens. Am I predicting a capture of al-Zarqaqi? No, but it would be nice. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn in the upcoming months that the Jordanian-born terrorist has decided to operate remotely, having found active participation in Iraq precluded by his cowardice and an increasingly untenable environment. In other words, unless captured, the punk could soon treat Iraq like he did his outpost in Fallujah.

“Run away.”

2/25/2005

Well, Crap

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:49 pm

I had a post ready and two stories lined up to be blogged next when my PC bit it. Since then, I’ve been pulling maintenance. The sad thing is that this is happening on the best traffic day Target Centermass has seen to date, thanks to Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities.

For my new visitors who actually bother to check other pages not associated with a particular oral sperm-bank legal mess, please feel free to look around the place. Meanwhile, I’ll chip away at my PC issues and will blog again soon. Hopefully, I’ll at least reconstruct my planned post before I bail for the night.

2/24/2005

Court: Man Can Sue Over Surprise Pregnancy

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:32 pm

Okay, one more quickie post, rather appropriate for this story.

A man who says his former lover deceived him by getting pregnant using semen obtained through oral sex can sue for emotional distress but not theft, an appeals court has ruled.

Dr. Richard O. Phillips accuses Dr. Sharon Irons of a “calculated, profound personal betrayal” six years ago, but she says they had the baby through sexual intercourse.

The Illinois Appeals Court said Wednesday that Phillips can press a claim for emotional distress after learning Irons had used his sperm to have a baby, but agreed that however the baby was conceived, Irons didn’t steal the sperm.

She asserts that when plaintiff ‘delivered’ his sperm, it was a gift,” the decision said. “There was no agreement that the original deposit would be returned upon request.”

[…]

Phillips, a Chicago family doctor, alleges that he and Irons never had intercourse during their four-month tryst, although they had oral sex three times. His suit contends that Irons without his knowledge kept some of his semen.

The relationship ended, the suit said, when Phillips learned Irons had lied to him about being recently divorced and was still married to another doctor.

Quite an interesting case of he said, she said. I’m keeping my mouth shut on this one, which is again appropriate to this story.

Quality Time and a Canada Tidbit

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:19 pm

Not much tonight, folks.

One quick observation: CNN currently has the links to the following two stories side by side on their front page:

Interceptor Missile Hits Test Target

Canada Won’t Join Missile Defense Shield

From the latter story is this little gem:

Talking to reporters several minutes after his foreign minister first announced the move in the House of Commons, Martin said Canada would instead focus on strengthening its own military and defense in proposals laid out Wednesday in the federal budget.

“Canada recognizes the enormous burden that the United States shoulders, when it comes to international peace and security,” [Canadian Prime Minister Paul]Martin said. “The substantial increases made yesterday to our defense budget are a tangible indication that Canada intends to carry its full share of that responsibility.”

The federal budget presented to the House of Commons calls for $10.5 billion in the next five years to increase the country’s beleaguered armed forces — including an additional 5,000 soldiers and 3,000 reservists — the largest commitment to defense in two decades. It also called for another $807,950 to improve Canada’s anti-terrorism efforts and security along the unarmed, 4,000-mile border with the United States.

Substantial increase? Largest commitment? Damian Brooks over at Babbling Brooks disagrees. Quite strongly.

Don’t get me wrong: this is much better than the kick in the teeth our people in uniform have gotten for at least the past ten years. But to sell this bandaid as some blessed newfound commitment to our military is typical political dishonesty.

2/23/2005

Allawi Makes Bid to Hold Power

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:25 pm

The major contenders for the position of Iraq’s top government spot have been identified. Let the political games begin.

Iraq’s interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, sought to widen his support base yesterday in an attempt to keep his job and lead the next government.

Mr Allawi is one of two men in the frame for the post, the other being the Islamic Shiite politician Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Mr Jaafari is the clear front-runner, having won the backing on Tuesday of Iraq’s most powerful political alliance. But Mr Allawi, a secular Shiite who has ruled the country for eight months, said yesterday that he had pulled together support from outside his own political list.

He did not specify who his new backers were, saying only that they were “brothers from smaller lists” than his own, who won a handful of seats in last month’s election.

[…]

At stake is the chance to spearhead Iraq’s first democratically elected government in more than 50 years.

The Shiite alliance backing Mr Jaafari won 48 per cent of the vote in the election, giving it 140 seats and a slim overall majority in the new 275-seat parliament.

But it does not have the two-thirds majority it needs to secure Mr Jaafari’s appointment, and will have to cut deals with other parties and coalitions to get its way.

It could appeal to the Kurds, who finished second in the election and will have 75 seats. However, the Kurds might back Mr Allawi, whose list won 14 per cent and will have 40 seats.

Iraq’s deputy president, Rowsch Shways, a prominent Kurd, said yesterday that Mr Jaafari was “a man I can work with”, but it was too soon to say he would get the job.

There is still the possibility that the Shiite alliance, which has a religious core but counts secular Shiites, Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen among its members, will break up.

It will certainly be interesting watching this unfold. The Shiite alliance is in the catbird’s seat but, even if it remains completely unified, would still need help from either the Kurds or Allawi. No other party can get the prime minister’s position without defections from the Shiite group. Apparently, the Kurds are wanting to deal in exchange for the presidency position so they have to be the target of major negotiations, as their votes alone could put the Shiite alliance over the top.

There are three important things to note in this whole matter. First, it was obviously extremely wise to put in the two-thirds majority requirement, practically guaranteeing cooperation to some extent or other. Second, the Sunnis’ poor election turnout has left them on the sidelines for now, certainly fodder for what the army would call an After Action Review. Third and perhaps most important, I find it wonderful to see the current leader of Iraq wheeling and dealing with rivals in an attempt to maintain power — such a refreshing change from just killing the opposition. Hopefully, the rest of the Arab Middle East will take note of the change in the wind.

Reciprocity XI

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:22 pm

As is the custom here at Target Centermass, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge other blogs who have blogrolled or linked to my site.

First, thanks to the following for adding TCm to their blogrolls:

Second, thanks to the following for recent links to TCm posts:

Third, I wanted once again to point out two links for Texas bloggers:

TexasBlogfest 2005

As always, if you’ve linked or blogrolled Target Centermass and I haven’t found you, please send an email or post a comment. No good deed should go unrewarded.

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