The Return Of Mookie

So, we bust our military ass in Iraq, to the tune of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, just to watch U.S. troop killing freak Moqtada al-Sadr waltz back into Iraq, to a hero’s welcome, after four years of hiding in Iran to avoid an arrest warrant, as part of the Iraqi government? Who won the Iraq war anyway, Iran?

Radical cleric al-Sadr returns to Iraq

A radical anti-American cleric whose supporters once led armed uprisings against U.S. forces in Iraq has returned to the country after spending time in Iran.
The return of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr comes as Iraq’s new government is just getting its footing and at a time when U.S. forces are preparing to withdraw from the country.

. . .

Ryan Crocker, a former ambassador to Iraq and now at Texas A&M University, said al-Sadr would not be in a position to return to violence. Al-Sadr once controlled a militia of thousands that challenged the authority of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki but wound up being beaten down by Iraqi and U.S. forces.

“I assume he is not going back to start standing up militias,” Crocker said. “If he does, he’s not going to last very long.” Crocker said al-Maliki would not allow it.

Al-Sadr received a hero’s welcome in his hometown of Najaf, where he visited the shrine of Imam Ali. It is not clear whether al-Sadr is planning on staying in Iraq. “To say the least, he is a mercurial personality,” Crocker said.

Al-Sadr is returning to Iraq as the Iraqi government will confront some key issues about continued U.S. presence in Iraq. All U.S. forces will have left Iraq by the end of this year under the terms of a security agreement between the two countries.

See also:
Shiite firebrand returns from exile with a victory lap
Anti-US Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr Returns to Iraq
Al-Sadr makes low-key return to Iraq
Iraq’s al-Sadr Urges Calm From Supporters
In Iraq, apprehension ahead of speech by Sadr
Model security shows mainstream move of Iraq’s Sadr
Cleric Moqtada Al Sadr returns to Iraq
Return Of Iraq’s Prodigal Son?
Family wants Moqtada Sadr arrested
Scenarios: What’s next for Iraq after Sadr’s comeback?

I’m stunned, everyone’s just going to sit back and let this illiterate, criminal Iranian puppet return to Iraq and join the Iraqi government, after all the people he’s killed? Unbelievable!

/will no one blow this evil [expletive deleted] up or put a bullet in his head?

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It’s Allawi By A Nose

Allawi wins thin plurality in Iraq election

A secular Shiite, Ayad Allawi, has won a narrow plurality in Iraq’s national election, but it is a religious Shia party that will likely determine if he’ll form a government.

Mr. Allawi’s Iraqiya party took 91 of the 325 seats in Iraq’s Council of Representatives, electoral officials declared yesterday, 19 days after 12 million Iraqis went to the polls.

The current Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, whose party won 89 seats, immediately announced he would not accept the results and called for a recount.

But it is the third-place Iraqi National Alliance (INA), a coalition dominated by two religious Shia parties, that is in the driver’s seat.

With 163 members needed to form a majority, the result means that unless Mr. Allawi and Mr. Maliki join forces – which is highly unlikely, since they despise one other – the only way either man can likely form a government is with the support of the INA. Any coalition formed without it would be too fragmented and give undue clout to smaller parties.

Mr. Maliki, leader of the Shia religious Dawa party, would seem a natural partner for the INA, the product of a union between the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, led by Ammar al-Hakim, and the Sadrist followers of Muqtada al-Sadr. All three parties are pro-Iranian.

But two things stand in the way of such a coalition. The Sadrists want no part of a government led by Mr. Maliki, the man who crushed the Sadrist militia in Basra and Baghdad, while Mr. Hakim professes to have learned his lesson in last year’s provincial election that it is more important to emphasize broad national interests than narrow sectarian ones.

Indeed, it was the 2005 coalition government of these three elements, along with major Kurdish parties, that contributed to the country’s bloody sectarian conflict and the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis.

Nevertheless, many Iraq watchers believe that Iran would still prefer to see these three Shia parties hook up again. That was reportedly Tehran’s view last summer when the three considered a union, but it was Mr. Maliki who turned his back on the idea, preferring to go it alone with his State of Law bloc. Now it’s Mr. Maliki who needs allies.

New life was breathed into the idea of a reunion of the pro-Iranian groups by a Supreme Court decision handed down this week. The court held that the stipulation in the constitution that the bloc with the largest number of seats gets the first chance to form a government is not limited to a bloc that ran in the election. It also could mean a group of parties formed after the vote. In other words, a quickly formed coalition of the three Shia religious parties could claim the right to try to form the next government.

For his part, Mr. Allawi, who served as the first, provisional prime minister in 2004, can argue that such a coalition will only stoke the fires of sectarianism, something that most Iraqis want to avoid.

Indeed, Mr. Allawi’s success is testament to that. A secular Shiite, he ran in partnership with several Sunni political figures determined to get a share of power. Mr. Allawi polled well in Sunni districts but, as Iraq-watcher Reidar Visser observed last night, his victory was more than just about his appeal across the sectarian divide.

“By winning more seats than expected south of Baghdad [where Shiites predominate], and almost as many seats as Maliki in [religiously mixed] Baghdad, Allawi has proved that he is more than ‘the candidate of the Sunnis’,” Mr. Visser wrote on his highly regarded historiae.org website.

With the support of the INA’s 70 members, plus a handful of others, Mr. Allawi could form a government. While some analysts, such as Mr. Visser, caution that uniting Iraqiya with the INA could “mean another oversized, ineffective government populated by parties with little in common,” not everyone agrees. Sheik Jalal Eddin al-Saghir, the INA’s most senior council member, says he has tried to get Mr. Allawi to join their alliance in the past.

“We can work with him,” said Sheik al-Saghir, imam of Baghdad’s most important Shia mosque.

Some of Mr. Allawi’s Sunni partners may have trouble working with the INA, however.

It was the INA that launched an anti-Baathist campaign that prevented several Sunni politicians from running in the election. Many of those blocked from running hailed from Iraqiya. They argue that they hold no brief for the memory of Saddam Hussein and left the Baath party long ago. Their history, they say, should not bar them from political office.

These same Iraqiya politicians may also have a difficult time teaming up with some of Iraq’s Kurdish political leaders. Prominent in Mr. Allawi’s party is a group of arch-nationalists who are determined to prevent the Kurds from claiming territory in and around the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk that lie between the Kurds’ northern heartland and Sunni Arab population centres.

Indeed, the first move in the game of coalition-building may well be an attempt by the major Kurdish leaders to team up themselves with the INA. Both groups share a preference for Canadian-style decentralized federalism and together could parley their combined force into concessions from either Mr. Allawi or Mr. Maliki.

See also:
Alliance led by ex-Iraqi PM wins election narrowly
Reports: Former Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi wins most seats in Iraqi parliament
Allawi wins narrow victory in Iraqi vote
Secular bloc wins most seats in Iraq
Preliminary results show Allawi wins most seats in Iraq election
Iraq Election Results Give Allawi Group Largest Bloc (Update3)
Secular challenger hails Iraq election victory
Secularist former leader Allawi wins Iraq vote
Allawi wins Iraqi election; al-Maliki rejects results
Maliki seeks recount in Iraq elections
Poll body rejects Iraq recount call
Iraq’s Allawi ‘open to talks’ over new government
Allawi pledges to work with rivals as Iraq election result declared
Iraq’s Allawi extends hand to rival
Iraq’s Allawi says open to all in coalition talks
Iraq election front-runners court possible allies
After Win, Will Former U.S. Front Man Rule in Iraq?
Ayad Allawi, once seen as a U.S. puppet, returns to the center of Iraqi politics
Allawi Wins and the Media Misses the Significance
Analysis: Allawi win could curb Iran’s influence
In Iraq’s election, a defeat for Iran

Although the margin is razor thin and the election dust is far from settled, this is arguably a victory for the United States and a defeat for Iran, since Allawi is a pro-West secular candidate, whereas al-Maliki is a pro-Iran religious candidate. Hell, the fact that this election unfolded as smoothly as it did is, in and of itself, a victory for the United States. Iraq sure has come a long way since 2003.

/now, let the coalition wrangling begin!

The “Religion Of Peace” Is Anything But

It’s just another peaceful day in the world of Islam, without the peace.

Details of deadly Iran protest shooting vague, and reports election was stolen

Pulling out two of the most interesting bits of twitter and bloggerati, here are two reports about the major developments of the day, first the shooting of protesters in Tehran’s streets, from AFP:

One protestor was shot dead and several were wounded during a rally in Tehran on Monday, a local Iranian photographer told AFP.

The incident occurred in front of a local base of the Basij volunteer militia, which was set on fire, the photographer who declined to be identified said, adding that the dead man had been shot in the head. [Ed note, this Twitter link allegedly shows the victim, WARNING, graphic content]

Pictures of the incident which AFP saw showed armed men, wearing helmets and in civilian clothes, pointing guns at the crowds from the rooftop of the Basij base.

The photographer said that the dead man was killed by shots fired by these men from the rooftop.

An AFP correspondent at the rally also said that Iranian police had clashed with protestors and that crowds of people were seen fleeing.

Witnesses told the correspondent that the clashes erupted at the end of the rally when armed men dressed in plain clothes who did not appear to belong to the police force started shooting at people.

See also:
‘One shot dead’ at Iran protest
At least 1 dead in Iran election protests
Shooting raises tensions in Tehran
Protesters rally for Mousavi in election dispute
Shooting Victim, Tehran

PM calls Mubarak to clarify stance

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu telephoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday night to clarify Israel’s stance on a Middle East peace agreement, according to a report on Egyptian television.

It came after Mubarak blasted the prime minister for Sunday night’s policy speech, saying that “Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state is ruining the chance for peace.”

According to Egyptian news agencies, Mubarak further added that “not Egypt, nor any other Arab country would support Netanyahu’s approach” to the peace process.

See also:
Syrian media blasts Netanyahu speech
PA: Netanyahu speech will spur new intifada
Palestinians angered by Netanyahu peace terms
Palestinians reject Benjamin Netanyahu speech

Bodies of foreign hostages found in Yemen: officials

The bodies of several foreign hostages have been found in Yemen, officials said Monday, the first time in almost a decade a kidnapping in the country has resulted in deaths.

Seven Germans, including three children and two female nurses, were abducted last week in the volatile Saada province in northern Yemen along with a male British engineer and a woman from South Korea.

There were conflicting reports coming out of Yemen about how many bodies had been found by the son of a tribal leader in Noshour, east of the mountainous Saada area.

One official, who also said two children had reportedly been found alive, put the number at seven. Another, at the interior ministry, said later only the women — two Germans and one South Korean — had been found.

“We have found the corpses of three women… who were kidnapped alongside six others,” the official told the website http://www.26sep.net, which is linked to the defence ministry.

Another source close to the investigation said examinations had shown the corpses, including one child, had been found shot and stabbed.

The missing nine belong to an international relief group that has worked for 35 years at a hospital in Saada, which borders Saudi Arabia, an official said on Sunday.

The Yemeni authorities have accused Shiite Zaidi rebels of being behind the abductions although there has been no immediate claim of responsibility.

See also:
Yemen hostage killings: the work of Al Qaeda?
Govt ‘very concerned’ over reported Yemen hostage deaths
Yemen hostages ‘found dead’
Yemen Hostages Found Dead

Taliban attack musicians at Afghan wedding

Taliban fighters beat musicians, shaved their heads and left them tied to trees overnight because they performed at an Afghan wedding, a village tribal chief said on Monday, a sign of the fighters’ growing influence.

While in power from 1996-2001, the Taliban banned music as un-Islamic.

The militants have returned to areas in the east and south of the country, where violence has sharply spiked in recent years. They attack government officials, Afghan police, foreign troops and schools that teach girls, another practice they forbid.

“A party was going on when a group of Taliban grabbed five musicians and started beating them and smashing their musical instruments,” said Rahmatullah Khan, a head of Merke Khel village in the east of the country.

“The musicians were tied up with rope to trees last night and villagers found them in the morning when going out for prayers,” Khan said.

Khan said Taliban fighters shaved the heads of the musicians and made them take oaths in the presence of villagers that they would not sing or play music at weddings again.

Afghan weddings and engagement parties in rural areas are traditionally celebrated with hundreds of guests, music and singing that often continues until late at night.

See also:
Taliban Attacks Musicians At Afghan Wedding
Taliban attack musicians at wedding
Taliban attacks musicians at Afghan wedding

Christian Man Raped, Murdered for Refusing to Convert to Islam, Family Says

A young Christian man was raped and brutally murdered in Pakistan for refusing to convert to Islam, and police are doing nothing about it, the victim’s brother and minister told FOXNews.com.

Pakistani police reportedly found the body of Tariq “Litto” Mashi Ghauri — a 28-year-old university student in Sargodha, Pakistan — lying dead in a canal outside a rural village in Punjab Province on May 15. He had been raped and stabbed at least five times.

“They have sexually abuse him, torture him with a knife on his testicle and genitals,” Ghauri’s brother, 24-year-old Salman Nabil Ghauri, said. “They have tortured him very badly, and after that they have stabbed five times with a knife and killed him.”

The family believes Litto Ghauri was murdered by the brothers of his Muslim girlfriend, Shazi Cheema, after they found him in a compromising sexual position with their sister.

The Rev. Haroon Bhatti, a Christian clergyman in the village and a friend of the Ghauri family, said Cheema’s three brothers came to Litto Ghauri’s house on May 11 and gave him an ultimatum: Marry their sister and convert to Islam.

Ghauri agreed to the marriage but refused to accept Islam, and the brothers kidnapped him at gunpoint and drove him to a remote farmhouse, where they tortured and murdered him, the minister said.

See also:
Student Reportedly Raped, Killed in Pakistan
Pakistan: Christian Raped, Murdered for Refusing Islam

So we have reports of Muslims of murdering international aid worker hostages, torturing and murdering a Christian for refusing to convert to Islam, murdering fellow Muslims for protesting, beating musicians for playing music, and, as always, refusing to make peace with the Jews. And that was just today, what will they do for an encore tomorrow?

/based on widely observed behavior over time, the “religion of peace” should be more aptly named the religion of murder, mayhem, and violence