Saturday, November 29, 2003

Misc. vibes

Riverbend has posted an article about Eid and the sorrows of war in Iraq. Very depressing. Oh, and she also gives us her viewpoint of the American president's visit to Iraq.

The Angry Arab also has some nice words to say about Bush's touch-and-go landing in Baghdad airport.

I just noticed that my favourite Egyptian journalist, Ahmed Amr has put on his writing hat again and resurrected the formerly discontinued NileMedia. Watch out Thomas Friedman.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Give him another medal...

While delivering his regular review on Egyptian foreign policy, our noble President fainted in parliament today. Not knowing what else to do, the TV networks cut transmission, hence depriving the population of the long-awaited sight of his unconscious majesty being carried out by his ever-present bodyguard-thugs. Drat and double-drat, I wish I could have seen that one.

Imagine that, the President of the republic has lost consciousness on national TV, and instead of informing viewers of his status, they cut us off. How unfair is that? I suppose I'll have to wait for the DVD.

In any case, I hope that both the President and the national TV stations cease transmission permanently. Egypt will be much better off without them.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Oba dva! Oba su pala!!

JNA J-1 Jastreb In the early days of the balkan conflict, there was an atmosphere of hopelessness among Croatians who were seeing their dreams of independance dashed by a Serbian leadership that was prepared to use the full might of the JNA (Yugoslav People's Army) to grab as much Croatian territory as possible and perhaps prevent the breakup of Yugoslavia altogether. Lightly armed Croatian militia on the front lines were being decimated by aerial and armored assaults on their positions, and towns and villages fell to JNA advances on a daily basis. It was hard and brutal fighting, and victories against Serbian attacks were rare. Morale , both of the public and militia, was very low.

On September 21, 1991, two JNA J-1 Jastreb light strike fighters were shot down over the Dalmatian town of Šibenik in the space of a few seconds. Hundreds of people watched it happen, and to top it off, a TV journalist caught the whole event on videotape. The first Jastreb that went down was hit by a shoulder-launched SAM, and seconds later the second plane was caught by AAA fire and went down in flames. A Croatian soldier standing close to the cameraman could be heard joyfully shouting the now famous words: "Oba dva! Oba su pala!" ("Both of them! Both of them fell!").

BlackHawk(s) down with a vengeance?Croatian TV wasted no time in broadcasting the footage on Croatian television, and the whole country watched in amazement. The effect on morale was electrifying, especially since JNA overflights and aerial bombing were much reduced afterwards. As TV Zagreb showed the incredible footage over and over again, the myth of Serbian military invincibility was smashed. There was even a pop song made called "Oba Dva!".

I am reminded of the events over Šibenik from so many years ago because today the Iraqi resistance achieved a similar double-whammy against occupation aircraft, with two US army Blackhawk choppers downed over Mosul. A dozen Americans were reportedly killed. I imagine that though this engagement was not caught on tape, the event will nonetheless evoke similar emotions among Iraqis to what was seen in Croatia 12 years ago.

These kinds of victories are what make resistance fighters tick; when the invincibility of the enemy is refuted, the will of soldiers to fight becomes stronger, even though they may be hopelessly outgunned. During my own war days I had a platoon leader who in dealing with defeatists and doubters coined a simple but relevant and powerful phrase: "Nobody is bulletproof".

Friday, November 14, 2003

Blog(s) of note..


I just found This excellent site, by university of Michigan history professor Juan Cole. He's got a great site going, with possibly the most up-to-date and thorough digest of terror-war news that I've seen. For his own opinion on various issues you should see his essays.

And on Brian's site I saw a link to another cool page, The Angry Arab. Now why didn't I think of that name?

Saturday, November 08, 2003

More blood on Mubarak's hands

This article on Al-Jazeera reports the death by torture of Saad Sayyid Muhammad Qutb, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The presently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood is one of Egypt's oldest political parties, having existed since 1928. It is very popular and represents the only real threat to the Mubarak Mafia, and hence has been banned and had many members jailed and tortured. Some brotherhood members have languished in concentration camps and prisons for many years.

There is very little sympathy for these victims of government terror in western nations, because the name "Muslim Brotherhood" conjurs up images of suicide bombers and hijackers, yet little do most people know, this party calls for dialog and hopes for the *peaceful* establishment of an Islamic state. Many of the men now languishing in jail (without formal charges in most cases) are doctors, lawyers, teachers, and other upstanding members of society.

I may not agree with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, but I think that the hakooma (government) has been committing these crimes against humanity long enough. Torture has become the modus operandi for the GOE, most especially since the unfortunately unsuccessful attempt on Don Mubarak's life in Ethiopia. So this man might have expressed contempt for the thieves and charlatans that call themselves our government, or perhaps voiced support for Hamas or Hizbullah? Did he hurt anyone? If we discount hurting the President's feelings, probably not. But for his defiance, he was beaten, starved, electrocuted, burned, and otherwise abused until one day, he died. Who is the criminal?

As a friend of mine assured me once, years ago: "the revolution will come".

Zakah - the Islamic taxation system

Umar's chronicles has this excellent article about zakah, the obligatory charity that Muslims are required to pay. My favourite part is how it is the holders of capital that are required to pay zakah, whereas the poor and indebted are free from obligation. So those who have inherited "old money" can't stash their money in family trusts and live opulent, tax-free lifesyles.

Black Hawk down (again)

Black Hawk Down (again)Another imperial chopper has been destroyed with six occupation force soldiers killed. The unfortunate aircraft in question this time is a UH-60 Black Hawk transport. Coming on the heels of Sunday's downing of CH-47 Chinook with 16 fatalities, this attack has American commanders talking about helicopter pilots being told to use special evasive tactics even on routine missions.

The pattern of attacks against American forces that we are seeing in Iraq is an inevitable result of the ongoing occupation and exploitation of Iraq. As time passes by, the guerilla resistance can only grow stronger, more motivated, and more sophisticated. With time many different tactics will be devised to attack the occupiers.

I think that whether or not one supports the resistance against the imperial occupation, the suffering and loss of life on both sides will increase as long as the occupation continues.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Scratch one big imperial chopper; 13 dead, 20 injured

chinook down in Iraq(updated) Iraqi rebels have shot down a huge American CH-47 Chinook helicopter while it was carrying occupation force soldiers to "R&R". According to Al Jazeera, there were at least 13 American killed and 20 injured as the aircraft crashed in flames.

The CH-47 is an ideal target for resistance fighters, since it is large, slow, unarmed, and usually carries large numbers of troops, guaranteeing plenty of casualties if shot down.

It will be interesting to see if this attack turns out to be a fluke or if the Iraqi resistance has more victories ahead of them such as this one.