Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Catching up

Been almost incommunicado the last couple of days but I have a free moment so I just want to catch up.

As usual there is a ton of crap happening and Ace covers a lot of it, of everything that has happened I just want to three mention things:

--There has been some suspicious behavior by apparently middle eastern men on the Washington State Ferry System. The FBI put out a warning. The Seattle PI refused to print the picture of the two men. Their reason:

The Seattle P-I is not publishing the photos because neither man is considered a suspect nor has either been charged with a crime.

So by that reasoning the next time the police are searching for a person of interest in a murder investigation or a child abduction the PI won't print those pictures either.

--Izzat Ibrahaim al-Douri, the former KIng of Clubs in the Iraq most wanted deck and the current head of the outlawed Ba'ath party and the suspected leader of one of the largest insurgent factions has agreed to fight al-Qaeda and open a dialogue with the Iraqi government:

As Coalition and Iraq troops continue the hunt for al Qaeda throughout Iraq, a senior Baathist who years ago threw in his lot with al Qaeda has flipped. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the former vice president of Saddam's revolutionary council and number 6 on the "deck of cards" of the 55 most wanted, has "decided to sever ties with al-Qaeda and sign up to the programme of the national resistance, which includes routing Islamist terrorists and opening up dialogue with the Baghdad government and foreign forces," Abu Wisam al-Jashaami told Adnkronos International. "In return, for cooperating in the fight against al-Qaeda, al-Douri has asked for guarantees over his men's safety and for an end to Iraqi army attacks on his militias."


While it is unclear how much influence al Douri possesses with former Baathists turned al Qaeda, or how much of Saddam's money he controls, his turn against al Qaeda serves as an indicator of how actors in the insurgency view the situation on the ground. Al Douri clearly sees that the Coalition and Iraqi government have momentum against the insurgency and al Qaeda.

Reconciliation with the likes of al Douri will be difficult, if not impossible. He was just placed at the top of the list of the Iraqi government's most wanted individuals. Al Douri was viewed by some to be Saddam's successor, and he was a ruthless operative directly responsible for the murder of Shia and Kurds during Saddam's rule. His submission to al Qaeda only compounds his past crimes. The Iraqi government will find it almost impossible to reach some sort of agreement with al Douri but must work hard to split any remaining al Douri-led factions from al Qaeda in Iraq.

source: The Weekly Standard

Captain Ed believes that this will allow al-Maliki to further isolate al-Sadr and his followers.

Related - France is queitly changing course on Iraq:

Paris - Partly to restore strained ties with ally America, and partly to deal itself into the strategic game on Iraq, France is opening a new chapter in the Persian Gulf.

In the European nation most publicly opposed to the Iraq war, media reaction in Paris on both the left and right appears to support new French offers to mediate among Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish factions – whose strife is paralyzing Iraq's day-to-day governance.

The offers were put forward by Bernard Kouchner, whose surprise visit to Baghdad this week was the first by a French foreign minister since 1988. They signal a significant change in France's tack on Iraq, offering the kind of diplomacy France used to inspire dialogue among ethnic and religious factions in Lebanon. They also come amid warmer US-French ties under President Nicolas Sarkozy, who vacationed in New Hampshire this month.

France's sudden shift on Iraq "is almost as spectacular as the refusal of France to take part in the American intervention in Iraq," noted the left French daily Le Monde. "It is time to stop lecturing the Americans about their errors and start contributing to a solution."

source: Christian Science Monitor

--The Democrats have decided to purge their ranks of anyone who has ever even thought a conservative thought:

And so, you may have noticed a lot of chatter about ‘Bush Dog’ Democrats over the past few days. That’s not an accident. We’ve been working to identify the group of conservative Democrats in the House who are holding back progressives from being able to effectively govern. These are concentrated in two main caucuses, the Blue Dog Caucus and the New Democrat caucuses. Blue Dogs consider themselves heirs to the Southern conservative wing of the party, and tend to vote for socially restrictive policies and a hawkish foreign policy. The New Democrats tend to be more partisan, but often are key to passing important pieces of right-wing legislation, such as the Bankruptcy Bill. In the last few years, these two caucuses have expanded their numbers, and the Blue Dogs have become the swing vote in the House allowing for effective conservative control of the Congress. We want to put a stop to the embrace of conservative values among House Democrats, and make sure that when Democrats are elected, they act like Democrats.

source: Cadillac Tight

While I would like to cheer on the Dems in eating their own I just have to reflect on the irony of the party that constantly accuses conservatives of stifling dissent engaging in such a large scale stifling of dissent.

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