Saturday, April 19, 2003

Pakistani helicopter downed, 3 Americans and 4 Pakistanis injured. Walla (citing Reuters): the helicopter belongs to the Pakistany military, and was shot in the South of Pakistan. The helicopter is thought to be part of the American patrols of the Pakistani gas fields.
OK, the news have been quite slow for the last several days, but my war-induced adrenalin rush (it's all that endless build-up that is to blame: we've been waiting for a year for a 3 week long war) has not tapered off enough for any serious blogging. That's too bad, because now is a good time to sit down, and take a look at some of the issues that are sure to be influenced by the outcome of the war. (Road Map anyone?). On the other hand, it may be just a bit too early for that. So I decided that I might just as well catch up on some ironing, and maybe get out of the house for a change, before it gets too hot. I'll still try to keep up with the news, as much as I can, and post anything I find interesting. And if, by some miracle, I happen to have any "deep thoughts" about anything, I promise to share them with you. You have hereby been warned.

Friday, April 18, 2003

A member of the Russian Duma, known for his opposition to some of Putin's policies, including the war in Chechnya, has been assassinated.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

During the year or so since I have discovered the blogosphere I have made more friends than I have during any similar period of my life. Even though I have never met any of them, I feel like I actually have. I can talk to them whenever I have something on my mind, or if I just have a question, or need an advice. Or we can just tell each other the latest jokes. Or just not talk at all for a while. I know how some of them look, but for most I have this "picture" that is not really visual. It's more like the kind of a mental image one forms in one's mind for characters in an engaging novel. Come to think of it, this whole experience has been like a good long book, with two big differences: the book is being written as the events happen, and I am part of the story, helping to write it.

Yes, I do have real life(?) friends. Most of them are in Israel, some are in Missouri. Some are in Russia, and I have lost touch with them some 30 years ago. Some are no longer alive. All of them are with me, most of the time. (Luckily for me, one of my real life friends is reading my blog regularly, a fact that serves as my anchor to Mother Earth).

Anyway, all I wanted to do is to let you know that my good friend Jennifer has just started a blog of her own, and look where that had taken me! Knowing Jennifer, I am looking forward to reading it. I am also sure it will be weird enough to make the guys at SR proud, which tells you something. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

The marines are human! Not only that, they are exceptionally decent humans as well! And wait for this one: they are (gasp) as good human beings as Arabs. Allah and his miracles be praised.This is the grounbreaking discovery Barbara Ferguson of the Arab News made, while embedded with the Marines. Next week: "Jews don't have horns!" Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

I just wanted to point out that what I have been posting here since the war started should not be considered blogging, at least not in the sense that I intended it to be when I started this blog. Due to circumstances beyond my control, this is the maximum I am capable of right now. Dima calls it "being a link monkey". He is right, to some degree: this is obviously much easier than what I am usually trying to do here. So every time I post on CP, I copy and paste here - I figured it's better than nothing. After Grandpa goes home, and after I figure a way to get Brandon (no picture yet: waiting for his ears to stand up) warn me before he starts chewing on a rug, I should be able to concentrate again, and find out what is it that I think about all that is going on.

OK, at least now I know you all will be able to sleep better.
Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri has announced the resignation of his government. Says IBA radio, quoting Radio Monte-Carlo. I have no idea how significant it is, but I have no doubt that like everything in Lebanese politics, it has at least something to do with Syria.
The Hindu: The Russian military sees the U.S.-led war in Iraq as a potential threat to Russian security, pointing to growing U.S. military presence in former Soviet republics and resumed flights of American U-2 spy planes along Russia's borders. The Air Force Commander, Alexander Mikhailov, went as far as to warn the Americans that Russia would shoot down any spy plane that intruded "as little as one kilometre'' inside the Russian air space.

GN: Jordan's dealings with the Iraqi Embassy in Amman are continuing because the Iraqi ambassador still represents his country, and the regime change in Baghdad does not signify an end to the diplomats' careers abroad, Jordanian official sources said yesterday.

"For Jordan, it is an embassy representing a country - our brotherly Iraq," an official source told Gulf News yesterday...

...Iraqi Embassy employees have denied earlier press reports that Ambassador Sabah Yassin has asked for political asylum in Jordan, and dismissed these reports as "fabrication".

GN: According to the Baztab agency, 13 days after the start of the war, Saddam and Russian intelligence allegedly pledged to hand over Baghdad with minimal resistance to allied forces provided they spared the lives of Saddam and a hundred of his close relatives.
Danish PM said today that the US asked Denmark to lead the multinational force that will keep law and order in post-war Iraq, and help in the counry's rehabilitation. He said that the US requested additional security personnel, almost twice as many as the 400 Danemark has initially offered. "This request is in recognition of our experience in leading a peace-keeping force in the Balkans", said the PM.

He also said that his country will examine the financial ramifications of the request, and which countries will be contributing to the 3000 force, including 360[?] Danes. He intends to consult his EU colleagues, during the EU summit in Athens secheduled for Thursday. (Walla, Haaretz).
Iraqi information minister hang himself? IBA radio quotes Iranian paper (in Arabic language) Wipak[?]. The paper cites Iraqi refugees on the Iranian border. IBA radio says there is no confirmation from other sources.

Monday, April 14, 2003

From Time: In a 1990 letter, Uday reveals that his father plans to create a greater Iraq that includes Kuwait, Palestine and Arabstan, a region of Iran historically controlled by Baghdad. The note says Saddam is beginning with the easiest—Kuwait.
Saudi Arabia started supplying oil to Jordan, replacing the Iraqi oil. Says this Russian site, citing Jordanian news agency Petra.
Some Saudis are crossing the Iraqi border - both ways. Same Russian site cites a Saudi paper, saying that at least 3 Saudi volunteers were killed in Iraq. Also, about 130 Saudi citizens returned home from Iraq, and 270 more are expected to return. Those are mostly Saudis who married Iraqi women and stayed in Iraq, or just came to visit family before the war started. Saudi minister for iternal affairs Naif-ben-Abdul-Aziz said that the status of the Iraqi wives will be determined following a case by case review, while the children will be granted a Saudi citizenship very soon.
Iraqi commentator cites an eye witness, saying to al-Jazeera that Saddam is dead. So says this Russian site. The commantator is named Amer Haffah. The alleged eye witness is said to have been guarding the meeting in al-Mansur in which Saddam was taking part just before the bombing by the US. The site cites ITAR-TASS corr. Victor Lebedev. Got that?

Sunday, April 13, 2003

From Haaretz: Syrian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says that border with Iraq is officially closed
Update on Roland missiles: Newsweek reports that some of the missiles, as well as other equipment made by French and German companies, were stamped "2002", suggesting that they were made last year.
From IRNA: Iranian and Syrian FMs discuss Iraq crisis over phone: SANA. And: Iran declares its readiness to accept possible Iraqi refugees
From BBC reporter's log:
Kirkuk's Arabs are being threatened with eviction. Returning Kurdish families are demanding their old homes back.

They've told Arab families to move out or be kicked out. The Arabs are not originally from here, but were brought in by Saddam Hussein to change the ethnic mix of the region.

Now they've been here for more than a decade and say they've nowhere else to go. So far the situation's remained calm.

The Arabs have not threatened to fight back. But it's certainly raising ethnic tensions in a city where the security situation is still fragile.
Al-Qaida studied the war in Iraq, and published conclusions. From MEMRI:
Al-Qa'ida on the Fall of Baghdad, Guerilla Warfare: 'Is the Most Powerful Weapon Muslims Have, and It Is the Best Method to Continue the Conflict with the Crusader Enemy'

Advice from France:
In Beirut, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Sunday the time was not right for the United States to raise pressure on Syria by accusing it of aiding Saddam's collapsed regime.

Villepin said after meeting Lebanese leaders the international community should focus instead on rebuilding Iraq and reviving Middle East peace efforts.

"The time is for consultation, for dialogue, and we should be very careful in putting all our energies to try to find solutions because we do have enough problems," he said before heading for Saudi Arabia, his last stop on a Middle East tour.

Fox TV said on Friday that electronic communications between Iraqi officials, containing information about Saddam's death, have been picked up by the US. US say this may be disinformation.
Haaretz: Hezbollah fires anti-aircraft shells along Israel-Lebanon border near Kiryat Shmona for third time Sun.; no injuries.