Friday, May 26, 2006

Iran's offer of peace and the US's Hubris.

Apologies for the sporadic posting. The exams are almost over!

According to Gareth Porter of, back in 2003 Iran had offered peace to the United States and Israel in return for security assurances from the US. Unsurprisingly, the offer came in April or May of that year, just weeks after the US military had strolled to Baghdad.

Iran blinked when they offered peace but the US was too arrogant to realise it. They took it as a sign of weakness and set their sites on marching to Tehran from Baghdad. Saddam's army had folded in 3 weeks so the Iranians would be no great shakes. However now, after 3 years of being softened up by the sunni arab Guerilla insurgency in Iraq, they are in no fit state to step into the ring with Iran.

While the US is the stronger and heavier fighter who undoubtedly can still cause damage to its lighter opponent, it steps into the ring with weak knees. Under normal circumstances Iran may have folded under a US bombing campaign, but with 150,000 US hostages in iraq as Iraqi blogger Riverbend put it, they will be supremely confident of hurting the US.

Also, the mess that is iraq has detered any Anti-regime elements in Iran from working against the state. As bad as they see things, there is no way they want the chaos to be found next door. The people will rally around the flag instead of turning against their leaders. What the US hasnt grasped is the strong Iranian nationalism that seems to transcend ethnicity or political ideology. EVERY iranian ive spoken to from Khomeinists to shah loyalists, insist that Iran has the right to a nuclear programme, which of course they do under international law.

The reason iraqis allowed the invasion was because the Baathist regime had treated them so horrendously. The clerics in Iran, love them or hate them, simply havent engaged in that sort of oppression, nor do I believe is it their intention to. For an "axis of evil" state, its political landscape is quite diverse, as opposed to Saddams strict idol worship state. If america thinks that internal opposition to the Iranian clerics is similar to that faced by saddam, they are grossly mistaken.

They would do well to ignore the sun soaked exiles in LA and the Manucher Ghorbanifars' of this world, when they tell the Bush Administration that they will be greeted by cheering crowds. Otherwise, as Juan Cole rightly points out, Arlington cemetary will have a busy century.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Anti-Racist rally, London 29/04/06

Anti-Racism rally, Trafalgar Square, london 28/04/06

The recent increased focus on the British National Party (BNP) has caused fears amongst some that the racist group are about to make a breathrough on the political scene in the UK, in this weeks local elections. Labour MP and Cabinet Member Margaret Hodge warned that the BNP could command as much as 80% of the votes in Barking, a district in East London, whilst think-tanks and policy groups have also warned of the BNP's potential victory in some areas, as the party fields a record number of candidates to contest the elections.

However, last saturday the youth of England came out in force to show exactly what they thought of the BNP and their racist platform. At an event organised by the 'Love Music Hate Racism' (LMHR) organisation, Trafalgar Squared rocked and skanked to the delight of the 45,000 people who had turned up. The rally, which doubled up as a free concert, was supported by Trade Unions and other anti-racism movements, which were trying to encourage people to come out and vote on May 4th in order to halt the BNP in their tracks.

As the square basked in sunshine, a mix of 'urban' and 'indy' acts took the stage, playing to the equally mixed crowd. The organisers of the event had very deliberately catered for the different genres of music which have captured the imagination of today's youth, and it worked a treat. The Heartless Crew, Roll Deep and energetic young rapper Akala represented for the 'urban' youths, while the 'suburban' kids rocked out to the Mentalists, the Paddingtons and a Babyshambles missing their infamous front-man Pete Doherty. Doherty was arrested on the morning of the concert for allegedly injecting a female fan with Heroin, with pictures of his apparent crime splashed all over the pages of the Sun 'newspaper'.

Regardless, the show went on, with Lethal Bizzle being the best performer by far. As he knocked out his crowd pleasers like 'Shame' and 'Pow', the whole crowd sung along in unison. What was striking about this concert was the way so-called 'skaters' and 'rudeboys' had managed to come together and really get into the spirit of things. The 'rudeboys' moved their heads to the 'indy' artists and the 'skater' kids moshed and crowd-surfed enthusiastically to Lethal and the other 'urban' acts. It was a real sign of hope that Britain's youth, be they black, white, asian, jewish, muslim, hindu or anything else, had managed to come together and unite against the fascism and hatred of the BNP.

There were the obligatory speakers, ranging from trade unionists and politicians to a spokeswoman from the Muslim Council of Britain and a Gay rights activists, and 'f**k the BNP' was the chant of the day. Despite any differences anyone may have had before hand, they all managed to put it all aside for this very worthy cause. In these dark days of the War on Terrorism, the illegal war in Iraq, ID cards and increasingly polarised societies everywhere, this show of youthful unity and love provided a searing ray of hope that there will be a better future for us all. The sooner the grown up's can learn from the kids and get their act together, the better.

P.S. a special mention must go out to the young mixed-race rapper who performed a song about the discrimination faced by Irish people at the hands of the British Establishment. The emotional and heartfelt performance, which talked about innocent people being labeled 'IRA' and 'terrorists', is similar to the plight faced by muslims today. If anyonewas there around 2pm and knows the artists name, let me know!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Anti-Racist rally, London 29/04/06

Apologies for the lack of posts in recent weeks, end of year exams have been eating up my time!

Will have a full report on the Anti-Racism rally/concert in London on saturday up later today.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Ali Al-Adeeb a possible compromise candidate?

Baghdad: Sources in Baghdad suggested late friday that the deadlock in the Iraqi political process could be eased with the winners of December's elections, the Shia UIA, putting forward a compromise candidate, Ali Al-Adeeb of the Dawa Party, for the post of Prime Minister.

Incumbent Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari has faced opposition for a second term from the Kurds and the Sunni arabs, despite winning an internal party vote against Adel Abdel Mahdi, a formerly secular Baathist and Maoist who has now turned Islamist. Mahdi called for Jafari to step down earlier this week and it was feared that this act of political betrayal may have caused a split in the shia list between Mahdi's SCIRI and the Sadrists who had supported Jafari's bid for a second term.

It has been reported that tensions have been high in the holy cities of Kerbala and Najaf, where Muqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army and SCIRI's Badr Brigades have engaged in low-level clashes. This is on top of the increasing tensions between Sadr and the US army. The occupying force attacked a Husseiniyeh, a shia place of worship, last Sunday and killed 37 unarmed worshippers, thought to be supporters of Anti-US Cleric Sadr.

Jafari is easily the most popular politician on the street and his impending exit will be a hard pill to swallow for democrats all over the country, thousands of whom came out during the week to protest against the US backed effort to oust Jafari. According to the source, Mahdi's own demise is linked to those in the shia list, many of them SCIRI members, who remember his role in the theft of Billions of Dollars from Iraq's defence budget in 2004. When former Baathist Ayad Allawi was Prime Minister, his Defence Minister, Hazem Shallan embezzled $1.4Billion dollars from the procurement budget. Mahdi was the finance minister at the time and he oversaw all the transactions which took place. Although no evidence has been offered to suggest Mahdi benefitted personally, this scenario has apparentely highlighted his incompetence, and has led many to doubt whether he could handle the demands of the top job.

The UIA official, who is close to the negotiations, said that talks were under way to produce a compromise candidate. Ali Al-Adeeb of the Dawa Party has been suggested and it is thought that he commands the respect of SCIRI, Dawa and the Sadrists as well. A united Shia list will be one step to the formation of a new government, which Iraq's bleeding people are crying out for to end their suffering. The source of everything evil in Iraq today, as far as the Iraqi people are concerned, is the illegal occupation and the sooner that is concluded, the sooner this battered and bruised nation can rebuild itself.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

US interfering in Iraqi Affairs.

US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, has apparently passed a message on to the shia list that President Bush himself will not accept Jafari as Prime Minister. It is indeed unnacceptable for the US to involve itself in Iraq's affairs in this way, especially with the shia list furious over the murders of around 20 worshippers at a baghdad mosque by the US army earlier this week, although with 133,000 US troops stationed in the country it shouldn't come as a surprise that the US is making a mockery of Iraq's sovereignty.

Some shia are refering to Zalmay Khalilzad's current one-sidedness in his approach to them as being an indicator of 'The second great US betrayal', with the first betrayal being the US leaving Saddam to slaughter the shia back in 1991, after Bush I had called on them to rise up. Indeed, the succesful sunni insurgency has made the US rethink their approach to the Iraq situation and there has now been a convergence of US-Sunni interests. However, they are trying to mollify the sunnis at the expense of the shia and it is a risky game they are playing. The success of the minority sunni's tactic of bombing their way back to the negotiating table is down, in no small part, to the fact that they made up the majority of Iraq's military class under Saddam and thy have utilised their expertise to deadly effect.

But the shia have organised militias, some trained by Iran, like the Badr Brigade, and some with previous experience of battle against the US, like Moqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army and their sheer number should surely put the US off antagonising this community. Indeed Badr's political wing, SCIRI, have called for Khalilzad to be expelled from Iraq and other members of the shia political elite have called on the US to hand security responsibility to them. If indeed Bush has deemed Jafari to be unacceptable to him, he is once again showing his ignorance of the reality on the ground in Iraq. By pursuing this path of provoking the shia, he may be nailing the coffin shut on his own Iraq project, whatever that was. To this day, it is still unclear as to why he really invaded Iraq. Was it to bring democracy to Iraq and empower the shia islamists? Not likely. Was it to disarm Saddam of his WMD's? They have been proved to be a myth.Was it to make Iraq a long-term base for US imperial goals? How long does he think the Iraqi people will tolerate the occupation, especially when he prods the majority of it's population the way he is doing through Khalilzad? Some say his only goal was to bring sectarian strife and chaos to Iraq. If so he has succeeded. However his own armed forces, and much more importantly, the Iraqi people may pay a huge price in blood for doing so.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Islam in Rwanda

despite all the lies about Islam in the media, this report shows how Islam has helped many people in the aftermath of the genocide a decade ago.

The pictures are very powerful.

Friday, March 03, 2006

EX UN man says iraq less safe.

According to John Pace, a former UN official who worked in Iraq, the country is less safe than it was under Saddam. Apparently, now all aspects of Iraqi society are targets as opposed to before when at least sunnis and baath party members were safe.

I see. So it was better before when only shia and kurd were being killed, but now that the sunnis have been brought down from their perch its only bad now. I suspect when he was in Iraq he spent most of his time with the ethically bankrupt foreign jounalists who equate the shia militias with sunni terrorists. There is no moral equivalence between the conduct of the insurgents and the militias who are protecting their community where the US has failed. Even to this day, the shia clergy are restraining their followers whereas the sunni Association of Muslim Scholars dares to blame Ayatollah Sistani for the recent upsurge in violence. To be sure, those who attacked sunnis indiscriminately in the aftermath of the Al-Askariyah bombing should be punished for their behaviour but the outside world should understand that the shia have been victims of a massive provocation. 1400 years of pain for the shia and the world remained silent, and the Iraqi sunnis have been victims to an illegal US occupation (just like every other iraqi) and now the world wants to talk about human rights abuses?

Cry the sunnis a river if you wish... it will be a river mixed with thousands of years worth of shia blood.