Sunni Uprising Underway In Parts of Iraq

Iraqi Sunnis demonstrate in several cities

Iraqi Sunnis demonstrate in several cities  Hadi Mizban

Protesters chant slogans against Iraq’s Shiite-led government as they wave national flags during a demonstration in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. Thousands of Iraqi demonstrators massed in a Sunni-dominated province west of Baghdad Wednesday, determined to keep up the pressure on a Shiite-led government that many accuse of trying to marginalize them. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)

Associated Press | 2 comments

Thousands of Iraqi Sunnis massed along a major western highway and in other parts of the country Friday for what appear to be the largest protests yet in a week of demonstrations, intensifying pressure on the Shiite-led government.

The rallies underscore the strength of a tenacious movement that appears to be gathering support. The largest demonstrations took place on a highway leading to Jordan and Syria in the Sunni-dominated desert province of Anbar west of Baghdad.

Protesters in the Anbar city of Fallujah held aloft placards declaring the day a “Friday of honor.” Some carried old Iraqi flags used during the era of former dictator Saddam Hussein, whose Sunni-dominated government was ousted in the U.S.-led invasion nearly a decade ago.

Others raised the current flag, which was approved in 2008. A few raised the banner of the predominantly Sunni rebels across the border who are fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In the northern city of Mosul, around 3,000 demonstrators took to the streets to denounce what they called the sidelining of Sunnis in Iraq and to demand the release of Sunni prisoners. As in protests earlier in the week, demonstrators there chanted the Arab Spring slogan: “The people want the downfall of the regime.”

Thousands likewise took to the streets in the northern Sunni towns of Tikrit and Samarra, where they were joined by lawmakers and provincial officials, said Salahuddin provincial spokesman Mohammed al-Asi.

At a conference in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned against a return to sectarian conflict and cautioned that the country is close to returning to the “dark days when people were killed because of their names or identities.”

He also used the occasion to take a jab at the protesters in Anbar.

“Nations that look for peace, love and reconstruction must choose civilized ways to express themselves. It is not acceptable to express opinions by blocking the roads, encouraging sectarianism, threating to launch wars and dividing Iraq,” he said. “Instead we need to talk, to listen to each other and to agree … to end our differences.”

The demonstrations follow the arrest last week of 10 bodyguards assigned to Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi, who comes from Anbar and is one of the central government’s most senior Sunni officials.

While the detentions triggered the latest bout of unrest, the demonstrations also tap into deeper Sunni fears that they are being marginalized by the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Although the government includes some Sunni Arabs and Kurdish officials as part of a power-sharing agreement, it draws the bulk of its support from Iraq’s majority Shiites.

Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, another top-ranking Sunni politician, is now living in exile in Turkey after being handed multiple death sentences earlier this year for allegedly running death squads _ a charge he dismisses as politically motivated.

Sunni-dominated Anbar province has been the scene of several large demonstrations and road blockages since last Saturday. The vast territory was once the heart of the deadly Sunni insurgency that emerged after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Al-Qaida is believed to be rebuilding in pockets of Anbar, and militants linked to it are thought to be helping Sunni rebels in Syria.

___

Associated Press writers Sinan Salaheddin and Adam Schreck in Baghdad contributed reporting.

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Saudi regime forces shoot dead a protester in Qatif

Saudi regime forces shoot dead a protester in Qatif

Saudi protesters chant slogans during a protest in the eastern city of Qatif. (File photo)

 Saudi protesters chant slogans during a protest in the eastern city of Qatif. (File photo)

 

At least one protester has been shot dead by the Al Saud regime forces during a demonstration to demand the release of political prisoners in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province.

Local activists said on Friday that the Saudi regime forces opened fire on demonstrators in the Qatif district, east of the capital, Riyadh, killing 18-year-old Ali al-Marar.

According to local reports, several others were also injured and arrested during the demonstration that, once again, called on the regime to stop cracking down on protesters.

Activists further said that security forces in two vehicles had shot “indiscriminately” at the demonstrators in the central part of Qatif. The forces had also reportedly opened fire at the people on rooftops.

Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province has been rocked by anti-regime protests since February 2011.

Saudi protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis mainly in the Qatif region and the town of Awamiyah in Eastern Province. Their primary demands are the release of all political prisoners, social justice and an end to systematic discrimination.

However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Saudi regime “routinely represses expression critical of the government.”

MKA/HMV/SS

Pakistan Air Force Crumbling Away

Pakistan Air Force Crumbling Away

Strategy-Page-01

December 27, 2012: The Pakistan Air Force is losing nearly two percent of its 900 aircraft each year to accidents. This is more than ten times the rate of Western air forces. These losses are caused by aircraft that are too old and a budget that is too small to properly train pilots and maintain the aircraft. Most of Pakistan’s 520 fighters are over 20 years old. This includes 157 French made Mirage IIIs and 5s, 178 of 186 MiG-21s (the Chinese F-7 version), and 31 of 77 U.S. made F-16s. There have been some new aircraft put into service. Since 2000, Pakistan has received 46 F-16s and 100 Chinese made JF-17s (similar to the F-16). These planes are pretty safe. Older aircraft tend to crash more often.

Pakistan does not have enough money to buy enough new aircraft to replace all those becoming inoperable because of age. You can refurbish old aircraft and keep them flying for half a century or more. But Pakistan hasn’t got the money for that either. There’s also not enough cash for the spare parts and fuel needed for the training flights needed to keep the 3,000 Pakistani Air Force pilots capable of handling high-performance aircraft safely. In short, the Pakistani Air Force is facing a disaster. Each year more and more of their aircraft become inoperable and their pilots, unable to fly enough to maintain their skill, become less capable.

Neighboring India has more money for new aircraft and training. And, like Pakistan, it is using its Mig-21s much less. The most accident-prone aircraft in both countries is the MiG-21. India built 657 of these under license. This seemed like a good idea at the time. The MiG-21 was an impressive looking and relatively inexpensive jet fighter half a century ago. Only much later, when it became clear that the MiG-21 was not very effective in combat, was it realized that all those spiffy looking MiGs were more liability than asset.

The MiG-21 was difficult to fly and maintain. In the end the MiG-21 was too expensive to maintain and too dangerous to fly. India made a mighty effort to make their MiGs safer to fly but the accident rate was still obviously higher than that of Western aircraft (especially the few that the Indian Air Force operated). The MiGs were called “flying coffins” and gave the air force a lot of bad publicity. India was not the only one, besides the Russians, who had problems with Russian made warplanes. During the Cold War the U.S. had several dozen Russian aircraft they used for training their fighter pilots. Despite energetic efforts to keep these aircraft flying, their accident rate was 100 per 100,000 flying hours. That’s very high by U.S. standards. The new F-22 has an accident rate of about 6 per 100,000 hours, mainly because it’s new. F-15s and F-16s have an accident rate of 3-4 per 100,000 flight hours. India, using mostly Russian aircraft, has an accident rate of 6-7 per 100,000 hours flown (compared to 4-5 for all NATO air forces). Pakistan’s accident rate is at least three times that of India.

All combat aircraft have, for decades, been getting more reliable, even as they became more complex. For example, in the early 1950s, the U.S. F-89 fighter had 383 accidents per 100,000 flying hours. A decade later the rate was in the 20s for a new generation of aircraft. At the time the F-4, which served into the 1990s, had a rate of less than 5 per 100,000 hours. Combat aircraft have gotten more reliable and easier to maintain, despite growing complexity, for the same reason automobiles have. Better engineering and more sensors built into equipment makes it easier for the user and maintenance personnel to detect potential problems. Aircraft used the computerized maintenance systems, currently common on new aircraft, long before automobiles got them. Unless you have a much older car that still runs, or a real good memory, you don’t notice the enormous increase in automobile reliability. But older pilots remember because such changes were a matter of life and death if you make your living flying an aircraft. And commanders know that safer aircraft means more aircraft to use in combat and more aircraft that can survive combat damage and keep fighting.

India is solving the MiG problem by retiring all the older (bought before the 1990s) MiGs. Only the 67 MiG-29s are being kept in service. These aircraft were among a new generation of Russian combat aircraft, appearing at the end of the Cold War, that were built to Western standards. This made a big difference in the accident rate but not nearly enough. The MiG-29 crashed a lot and was much more expensive to maintain, especially compared to contemporary Russian fighters like the Su-27. For decades Sukhoi was the second largest Russian military aircraft supplier, and after the Cold War ended Sukhoi aircraft became the most common. The MiG aircraft appear to be at the end of the line.

PA College Offers Course To Freshmen On Planning Terror Attacks–(truck bombs the weapon of choice)

[Asinine Jewish liberal arts professor thinks that it is somehow, a good thing, to teach freshmen studying graphic design and Spanish about how to plan a successful terror attack upon Lehigh College.  Why should anyone, except perhaps for a suicide bomber academy, teach students the aberrant psychology of terrorist thinking?  What is next, teaching psychopathy to “jocks,” or the science of slow-death (as seen on the repulsive “Dexter” series) to business majors?  As word of this lunacy in the guise of “education” spreads, look for a wave of outraged parents to scream for this moron’s head.]

Lehigh students get inside terrorist mind by plotting fictional attack on campus

philly com
By Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer

Lehigh University professor Chaim Kaufmann wants his students to think like terrorists.

Even more, he wants them to plan like terrorists, try to understand their motives, and reason through their challenges.

It’s part of an unusual and engaging assignment in which freshmen in his class on political violence and terrorism are asked to weigh risk and feasibility by spending one class period mapping out a fictional attack – on their own university.

“We use Lehigh as the target because that’s what students know,” said Kaufmann, 52, an associate professor in international relations at Lehigh, in Bethlehem, Pa.

To learn best about why terrorism occurs, Kaufmann said, “you’ve got to do the thing that is uncomfortable for most of us to do most of the time . . . put aside our interests and socializations as Americans . . . and get inside the heads of the attackers and try to figure out what they are thinking.”

“It’s not as simple as ‘they hate us because we let women drive.’ ”

Over the 75-minute class period, students debated the location, time, weapon of choice, getaway plan, difficulty of getting a terrorist team into the country, and behavioral patterns of the target, among other challenges posed by their professor and each other.

Their plan ended up being anything but intricate and sophisticated. They first settled on hitting the student-center dining room at lunchtime with a truck bomb. One student pointed out that another delivery truck could be blocking the narrow entrance. They then decided to use a suicide explosive vest.

“So we do get them thinking hard about how difficult it is to guarantee that something will actually come off,” said Kaufmann, who has taught at Lehigh for 20 years. “So what I hope they’ll get out of that particular exercise is an appreciation of why it is so little has happened. It’s not as easy as all the apocalyptic scenarios talk about.”

Kaufmann, whose research focuses on international security, ethnic conflict, nuclear weapons proliferation, and U.S. foreign policy, began teaching the course after 9/11 when interest peaked. He has offered it several times over the last decade. The course in the past has drawn more than 100 students, but this semester, for the first time, it is being taught as a freshman seminar, meaning its size is kept small. It draws students from a variety of majors, this semester political science, Spanish, graphic design, business, premed, and international relations.

The course covers topics from the reasons behind terrorism to its history over the last two centuries. It also explores issues such as the use of torture. Students are required to do a semester-long research project on a case study of political violence.

“It just completely blew my mind,” said William Hoelke, 18, of Sebastian, Fla. “It totally opened me up to a whole other side of the world and what really makes terrorists tick, the methods they use, and how they are truly passionate about the means they are trying to achieve.”

McKenzie Otus, 18, of San Francisco, said it was difficult to put herself in the place of a terrorist.

“We learned about women as suicide terrorists,” she said. “He asked all the girls, what would you do? Would you kill other people for your movement? It’s a tough question, because we’re, like, 18-year-old kids. It’s very thought-provoking and interesting.”

For the discussion on planning an attack, Kaufmann tells students to assume they have no network in the country, which was the case for the 9/11 attackers. They first plot as if it’s a suicide mission and then not, adding the dimension of having to cover tracks and escape.

The class discusses the goal of the attack and types of weapons.

“They often quickly come to the solution that the ideal weapon in terms of how much mess you can make in relation to difficulty of doing it is a truck bomb,” he said.

Kaufmann acknowledged that the exercise “may sound weird” but is nonetheless effective.

“You can show them practically everything that ever happened, but black-and-white doesn’t impress people. But then you make them try to solve it themselves. Now they get it.”

He emphasized that he isn’t passing on sensitive information to students.

“It’s the students’ common knowledge about Lehigh, and none of the modes of attack are things that haven’t gotten ferocious amounts of attention” in the news, he said.

He avoids questions such as what it takes to evade licensing requirements for blasting caps, he said. “I tell them, ‘We’re just going to skip that,’ ” he said.

Kaufmann also provides students with a tip sheet he developed on surviving terrorist attacks, from the use of a biological weapon to a kidnapping.

Wahhabi Thought Police Invade Diplomatic Residence To Arrest 41 People for “Plotting To Celebrate Christmas”

[In some ways the Saudis are more extremist than the Taliban.  After all, all the weird ideas of  “Shariah.” that are enforced by the fanatic Sunni terrorists all over the Middle East, waere forged in Saudi minds.  If there are people who merit killing, simply because of their different beliefs, it is not for men to decide who they are, or the time of their demise.  For the Saudis to be above the diplomatic accords which are intended to keep diplomats safe in foreign service, is a crime in of itself.  Whether they allow the expression of Christian (or other non-Muslim) faith in Saudi or not is not the primary issue–the big issue is the violation of national sovereignty by a bunch or fanatical religious police.  The Saudis will not long survive their own arrogance.]

Saudi Arabia Arrests 41 People for “Plotting to Celebrate Christmas”

Merry Mohammedmas from the homeland of Mecca and Medina, the Guardians of the Holy Places in the blood pact between Saud and Wahhab, oil and terror, not to mention America’s bestsest allies in the War on Terror.

Saudi religious police stormed a house in the Saudi Arabian province of al-Jouf, detaining more than 41 guests for “plotting to celebrate Christmas,” a statement from the police branch released Wednesday night said.

The host of the alleged Christmas gathering is reported to be an Asian diplomat whose guests included 41 Christians, as well as two Saudi Arabian and Egyptian Muslims. The host and the two Muslims were said to be “severely intoxicated.”

The kingdom, which only recognizes Islamic faith and practice, has in the past banned public Christmas celebrations, but is ambiguous about festivities staged in private quarters.

Saudi Arabia’s religious police were feeling so many of their oats that they stormed a private diplomatic residence and arrested the guests attending a private Christmas party. And why should they worry? Saudi Arabia faced no consequences for its part in 9/11 or any of the terror since then. Arresting a few guests at a diplomat’s party for celebrating Christmas is small potatoes.

The Saudi Lobby, backed by countless domestic Muslim groups in every country, is above the law.

Pakistan Rejects Ridiculous Pakistani Terrorist Offer To Play Nice

[To Hell with Hakeemullah Mehsud and all of the filth who hang-out with him, doing his dirty work.  Pakistan has one option when dealing with the TTP and that is all-out war until they are all wiped-out or locked-up (SEE:  The TTP Terrorists Now Want To Pretend That They Are Statesmen).]

zee news
Islamabad: Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik Thursday termed as “unacceptable” a conditional truce offer by the Taliban and said militant groups cannot dictate the state, media reports said.The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has hinted at a cease-fire with the Pakistani government on condition that the country should end its participation in the Afghan war, reshape the foreign policy and the country’s constitution in accordance with the Islamic Sharia law, reported Xinhua citing Geo TV.

Taliban leader Ismatullah Muavia made the truce offer in a letter to Geo News.

Malik said the Taliban’s offer of conditional respite was “unacceptable”.

“Taliban leader Ismatullah Muavia through his offer of conditional truce has tried to dictate the government, which is totally unacceptable,” the channel quoted him as saying.

The minister said Muavia was a member of banned extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which was behind many attacks on security forces and Shia Muslims.

Malik said the Taliban was facing a rift and that was why the offer for a truce came from a leader and not directly from its chief Hakimullah Mehsud.

He asked the Afghan government to hand over Pakistani Taliban leader Maulvi Fazalullah, who he said was hiding in the border regions of Afghanistan.

IANS