CAPE CANAVERAL - A rocket carrying a GPS satellite to better guide military weapons was launched into space Thursday.
The Delta 2 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 3:04 p.m. with the modernized NAVSTAR Global Positioning System Block 2R military navigation satellite aboard for the U.S. Air Force.
The satellite is part of a constellation of 24 and one of eight that were modernized to more precisely guide weapons and a variety of civilian applications.
Powered by a solar panel that can produce up to 800 watts of power, the 4,540-pound satellite is expected to circle the earth for up to a decade before becoming obsolete.
US and Iraqi forces have discovered a "torture complex" in an al-Qaeda safe haven near Muqdadiya in central Diyala province, the US military has said.
Three buildings containing chains on the walls and ceilings, and a metal bed connected to a power supply were found during an operation on 9 December.
Mass graves containing 26 bodies were uncovered nearby, the military said.
Torture chamber found in Iraq
BAGHDAD - Blood-splotches on walls, chains hanging from a ceiling and swords on the killing floor — the artifacts left a disturbing tale of brutalities inside a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq torture chamber. But there was yet another chilling fact outside the dirt-floor dungeon. Villagers say they knew about the torment but were too intimidated by extremists to tell authorities until now.
The rooms "had chains, a bed — an iron bed that was still connected to a battery — knives and swords that were still covered in blood," saidMaj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, the top U.S. commander in northern Iraq.
Nearby were nine mass graves containing the remains of 26 people, he said.
Iraq bombings kill at least 16
The U.S. military, meanwhile, released details today of an apparent torture center found in Diyala province this month. A military statement said U.S. forces killed 24 suspected insurgents and detained 37 during an operation Dec. 8-11, which also uncovered the apparent torture complex.
The statement said the remains of 26 people were found in multiple mass graves during the operation near Muqdadiya, 60 miles northeast of Baghdad. Tips from residents led U.S. troops to the site, which appeared to have been used by the group Al Qaeda in Iraq as a detention and execution facility. A bed hooked up to an electrocution system, chains on the walls and ceilings and blood-stained items were found inside the compound, officials said.
From last May: Torture, Al-Qaeda Style
Iraqi oil production is above the levels seen before the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
It puts the rise down to the improving security situation in Iraq, especially in the north of the country.
Since the summer there has been a marked downturn in all forms of violence in Iraq.
Analysts point to a number of reasons for this, ranging from the big increase or "surge" in American troop numbers in Baghdad, to Sunni militant groups turning against former al-Qaeda allies.
Abu Maysara, a Syrian, was a senior adviser to the group's leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, a statement said.
40 Qaeda leaders killed or captured in Iraq: US
US military spokesman Major General Kevin Bergner said Abu Maysara, a close aide of Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was among those killed.
"He was one of the 40 Al-Qaeda leaders killed or captured in November," Bergner told reporters, breaking the figures down into nine militants killed and 31 captured.
Iraq to be given control of Basra
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced that the Iraqi province of Basra is to be handed over to Iraqi control within two weeks.
Iraq plans crackdown in violent province
BAGHDAD - Iraq's defense minister promised on Sunday to wage a new crackdown in a volatile province northeast of where militants are trying to regroup after being routed from their urban stronghold there last summer.
Somali gets 10 years in Ohio bomb plot
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A Somali immigrant was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday for plotting to blow up an Ohio shopping mall with a man later convicted of being an al-Qaida terrorist.
Nuradin Abdi, a cell phone salesman before his arrest, pleaded guilty in July to conspiring to provide material support for terrorists. He will be deported to Somalia after serving the federal sentence.
One of the men with Abdi that day was Iyman Faris, who pleaded guilty in May 2003 to providing material support for terrorism. A Pakistani immigrant, Faris was convicted of plotting to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The third man alleged to be at the meeting is Christopher Paul, a U.S. citizen who grew up in suburban Columbus. He was charged in April with plotting to bomb European tourist resorts frequented by Americans as well as overseas U.S. military bases, and his trial is scheduled for January 2009.
Other Foiled Attacks
DUBAI (Reuters) - The head of an al Qaeda-led group in Iraq offered $100,000 for the killing of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks over his drawing depicting the Prophet Mohammad.
"The award will be increased to $150,000 if he were to be slaughtered like a lamb."
Artist says Prophet picture meant to stir debate
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A Swedish artist threatened with death over his drawing of a dog with the head of Islam's Prophet Mohammad said on Tuesday he drew the picture to spark debate about freedom of expression in the art world.
Showing the original picture at a debate in the Swedish capital, Lars Vilks said he had wanted to test the boundaries of freedom in art.
"It was a project for the art world," Vilks said.
BERLIN (AP) - Three suspected Islamic militants were arrested for allegedly plotting "imminent" and "massive" attacks on a major U.S. Air Force base in Germany and Frankfurt International Airport, one of Europe's busiest, German authorities said Wednesday.
The military objectives of the US troop surge in Iraq "are largely being met", the top US military commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, has said.
Petraeus talks of troop withdrawal
In long-awaited testimony, the commanding general of the war said last winter's buildup in U.S. troops had met its military objectives "in large measure."
Iran fighting 'proxy war in Iraq'
Washington - Iran is fighting a "proxy war" through Shi'a militias against the Iraqi state and United States-led forces in the war-torn nation, US war commander General David Petraeus said on Monday.
US plans base on Iraq-Iran border
The US military is planning to build its first base near Iraq's border with Iran in order to curb the alleged flow of weapons to Shia militants in Iraq.
Iraq chides 'meddling' neighbours
Iraqi leaders have criticised neighbouring countries for interfering in the country's internal affairs.
According to a U.N. report, workers in the United States lead the world in labor productivity.
Report: U.S. workers are most productive
Americans Are World's Most Productive Workers, U.N. Report Finds
BERLIN (Reuters) - Close work between German and U.S. authorities was key to uncovering what German police say would have been "massive" bomb attacks by militant Islamists, German media and a diplomat said on Friday [Sept. 7].
Germany hunting 10 more suspects in Islamist bomb plot
BERLIN (AFP) - German police have launched an international hunt for 10 accomplices of the three men held over a foiled Islamist plot to blow up airports and US installations in Germany, a top official said Thursday.
Some other foiled attacks
Abducted German female pleads for her release
Kidnapped German in Afghan video
Kidnapped German freed in Kabul
Christina Meier was freed during a police raid on a house on the outskirts of the city, and a number of her suspected abductors were arrested.
Freed German aid worker flown out of Afghanistan: NGO
KABUL (AFP) - A pregnant German aid worker rescued from her kidnappers in a dramatic police swoop has been flown out of Afghanistan, her boss said Tuesday, insisting she had been well treated by her captors.
US citizen Jose Padilla has been found guilty of plotting to kill people overseas and supporting terrorism.
His two co-defendants, Lebanese-born Palestinian Adham Amin Hassoun and Jordanian-born Kifah Wael Jayyousi, were convicted on the same counts.
Padilla convicted of terrorism support
Padilla, 36, and his foreign-born co-defendants, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, were convicted of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas, which carries a penalty of life in prison. All three were also convicted of two terrorism material support counts, which carry potential 15-year sentences each.
Padilla Is Convicted in Terrorism Case
Jose Padilla was convicted of federal terrorism support charges
On Feb. 28, 2007, U.S. Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami ruled that suspected Al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla was mentally competent, paving the way for his long-delayed case to proceed to trial.
Jose Padilla along with Lebanese-born Palestinian Adham Amin Hassoun and Jordanian-born Kifah Wael Jayyousi were convicted of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas as well as two terrorism material support counts.
The three were accused of being part of a North American support cell that provided supplies, money and recruits to groups of Islamic extremists.
The key piece of physical evidence was a five-page form Padilla supposedly filled out in July 2000 to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan, which would link the other two defendants as well to Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization.
The form, recovered by the CIA in 2001 in Afghanistan, contains seven of Padilla's fingerprints and several other personal identifiers, such as his birthdate and his ability to speak Spanish, English and Arabic.
"He provided himself to al-Qaida for training to learn to murder, kidnap and maim," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Frazier in closing arguments.
Central to the investigation were some 300,000 FBI wiretap intercepts collected from 1993 to 2001, mainly involving Padilla's co-defendants Hassoun and Jayyousi and others. Most of the conversations were in Arabic and purportedly used code such as "tourism" and "football" for violent jihad or "zucchini" and "eggplant" instead of military weapons or ammunition.
Judge Rejects Padilla Torture Argument
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Judge rejects 'defensive jihad' argument
Fri Aug 10
HOUSTON (Reuters) - NASA astronauts from the shuttle Endeavour began a spacewalk to replace one of the International Space Station's steering gyroscopes on Monday while engineers in Houston examined images of a deep gouge in the orbiter's belly.
US space shuttle Endeavour seen from the International Space Station on 10 August 2007
International Space Station taken from the US space shuttle Endeavour 10 August 2007
The International Space Station is seen from the US space shuttle Atlantis
19 June 2007 as the shuttle leaves the station.
BAQUBA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. and Iraqi forces say they have killed 90 al Qaeda fighters around Baghdad during one of the biggest combined offensives against the Sunni Islamist group since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
2 al-Qaida leaders captured in Iraq
BAQOUBA, Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi troops captured two senior al-Qaida militants and seven other operatives Saturday in Diyala province, an Iraqi commander said, as an offensive to clear the volatile area of insurgents entered its fifth day.
The U.S. military also cracked down elsewhere in Iraq, saying in a statement that seven other al-Qaida fighters were killed and 10 suspects detained in raids in Tikrit, east of Fallujah, south of Baghdad and in Mosul.
Three other militants suspected of having ties to Iran were detained in a predawn operation by U.S. forces working with Iraqi informants in Baghdad's main Shiite district of Sadr City, the military said separately.
U.S. forces tighten grip on Iraq city
"We are enveloping the enemy into a kill sack," said Command Sergeant Major Jeff Huggins from the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade.
'Al-Qaeda gunmen' killed in Iraq
US helicopters have killed 17 gunmen with suspected al-Qaeda links in Iraq's Diyala province north of Baghdad, the US military says.
The attack took place on Friday morning outside the town of Khalis.
U.S. says 30 militants killed in big Iraq offensive
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. and Iraqi forces killed at least 30 al Qaeda militants and found numerous weapons during the first full day of a big offensive against the Sunni Islamist group north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.
Arrowhead Ripper isn't an athlete, a TV star or a person famous for being famous. It's the code name for a massive U.S.-led assault under way in Iraq's Diyala province -- an undertaking that has garnered token media coverage since it began Tuesday.
UK al-Qaeda cell members jailed
Seven men have been jailed for up to 26 years over an al-Qaeda-linked plot to kill thousands in the UK and US.
Dirty bomb plotters caged
SEVEN members of a terror cell run by al-Qaeda "general" Dhiren Barot were jailed for a total of 136 years today.
Britons jailed over al Qaeda plot to bomb NYSE
LONDON (Reuters) - Seven Britons linked to a plot to blow up U.S. financial institutions, including the New York Stock Exchange, and stage a series of attacks in Britain were jailed for a total of 136 years by a London court on Friday.
Seven accomplices of dirty bomb plotter jailed for 136 years
LONDON (AFP) - Seven members of a terrorist cell led by convicted Al-Qaeda "dirty" bomb plotter Dhiren Barot were jailed for a total of 136 years on Friday.
Other foiled attacks
COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France - Above a cliff of silent reminders, Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday evoked the image of fallen warriors to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Normandy D-Day landings that turned the tide of World War II.
He tied the memory of Normandy to the challenge of today's war on terrorism.
"We once again face enemies seeking to destroy our way of life, and we are once again engaged in an ideological struggle that may not find resolution for many years or even decades," he said.
Israeli and Palestinian peace activists have been holding protests to mark 40 years since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
In the Shadow of the Six-Day War
His life, with hopes raised and dashed, consumed with bloody and often pointless struggle, parallels the Palestinian experience and explains what lies at the heart of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. And it reveals why, 40 years on, the Six-Day War continues to shape the Middle East.
Frequently Asked Questions about the 1967 War
Why did Israel attack USS Liberty?
Iraqi soldiers have killed a senior Al-Qaeda leader in a clash inside one of Baghdad's historic Sunni quarters, military spokesman Brigadier General Qassim Atta said Monday.
"He was from Al-Qaeda, they called him the 'Governor of Adhamiyah'," Atta told AFP. "He was killed during clashes with the 11th Division's first brigade this morning, and 11 of his aides were arrested."
Iraqi army kills Al-Qaeda leader in Baghdad
WASHINGTON - The Fish and Wildlife Service wants to replace four decades of federal protections for the American bald eagle with new rules against disturbing it.
In a push to remove the nation's symbol from the endangered species list, the wildlife agency is writing new regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to protect the birds and their nesting, breeding and feeding areas from anything likely to cause them harm.
NEW YORK — Three people were arrested and one was being sought in connection to a plan to set off explosives in a fuel line that feeds John F. Kennedy International Airport and runs through residential neighborhoods, officials close to the investigation said.
4 Charged In Plot To Blow Up Jet Fuel At JFK
Sources said the plot involved a plan to blow up a jet-fuel pipeline at JFK setting off a potential massive explosion.
Arrests in NY airport 'bomb plot'
Three people have been arrested in connection with an alleged plan to bomb John F Kennedy airport in New York, reports from the United States say.
Authorities charge 4 in NYC terror plot
NEW YORK - Three people were arrested and one other was being sought Saturday in connection to a plan to set off explosives in a fuel line that feeds John F. Kennedy International Airport and runs through residential neighborhoods, officials close to the investigation said.
JFK Terror Plot: Alleged Mastermind On Video
Surveillance Tape Captures Defreitas With FBI Informant
JFK terror plotter directed cohorts to use satellite mapping service
Google as terror tool?
Official says JFK terror probe widening
NEW YORK - The investigation into the thwarted plot to bomb John F. Kennedy International Airport is widening beyond the four men in custody, with more suspects sought outside the U.S. for their suspected roles, a law enforcement official said Friday.
Country profile: Somalia
Somalia in crisis
US attacks Somali 'militant base'
A US Navy warship has carried out a missile attack on a Somali village where Islamist militants are reported to have set up a base.
Report: U.S. hits militants' Somali base
MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least one U.S. warship bombarded a remote, mountainous village in Somalia where Islamic militants had set up a base, officials in the northern region of Puntland said Saturday.
Sources: U.S. fires at al Qaeda target in Somalia
(CNN) -- A U.S. Navy destroyer off the coast of northern Somalia Friday fired on a suspected al Qaeda operative believed to have been involved in the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, sources confirmed to CNN.
U.S. Navy attacks al Qaeda suspect in Somalia: CNN
BOSSASSO, Somalia (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy warship attacked a suspected al Qaeda target in northern Somalia, CNN reported, and residents said on Saturday missiles had pounded hills where foreign jihadists fled after clashing with locals.
Bomb attack on Somali PM's house
A suicide bomber has used a vehicle packed with explosives to attack the Somali interim prime minister's residence in the capital, Mogadishu.
1. How did the 1967 war begin?
The Six-Day War began after a series of complex and disputed events between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Israel had been at war previously with Egypt, Syria, Transjordan (later Jordan), Lebanon, and Iraq in 1948-9, and in 1956 Israel went to war with Egypt in the Sinai.
Attacks from Palestinian guerrilla groups (fedayeen) supported by Syria, Egypt, and Jordan increased during the early 1960s.
Israel retaliated against attacks by going into Arab territory. One such reprisal was the incident at Samu on November 13, 1966.
Syria regularly shelled Israeli farms from its Golan Heights region. Israel aerially attacked Syrian emplacements on the Golan Heights. In April 1967 Israel shot down six of Syria’s MiG fighter planes.
Israel's National Water Carrier:
The Arabs started work on the Headwater Diversion project in 1965. Israel declared that it would regard such diversion as an infringement of its sovereign rights. According to estimates, completion of the project would have deprived Israel of 35% of its contemplated withdrawal from the upper Jordan, constituting one-ninth of Israel's annual water budget.
In a series of military strikes, Israel hit the diversion works. The attacks culminated in April 1967 in air strikes deep inside Syria. The increase in water-related Arab-Israeli hostility was a major factor leading to the June 1967 war. more here
May 17 - President Nasser asks the UN to remove the UNEF from the Egyptian-Israeli frontier in Sinai.
May 18 - UN withdraws peace forces from Sinai, at President Nasser's request.
May 22 - President Nasser closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping.
May 29 - President Nasser declares "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight."
May 30 - Egypt and Jordan unite against Israel.
May 31 - Jordan moves tanks towards Israel.
June 5 - Israel launches attack on Egypt, destroying nearly 400 Egypt-based military aircraft. Israeli planes attack airfields in Jordan, Egypt and Syria, nearly destroying the Arab air forces.
2. Which countries were involved in the fighting?
Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. They were aided by Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Algeria.
3. What was the outcome?
Israel captured the Sinai peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan.
Israel defeated the Arab states.
4. How did Israel justify its attack?
The post on Molly's blog states that "Israeli UN envoy Abba Eban initially claimed to the United Nations Security Council that Egyptian troops had attacked first and that Israel's air strikes were retaliatory." This does not appear to be true:
Statement by Foreign Minister Eban to the Security Council on the Six Day War, 6 June 1967
5. Is Israel's version of the facts universally accepted?
Israel's version of facts is not universally accepted, especially in the Arab world where propaganda and falsehoods are common.
On the day of the war, false information from Egypt denied Egyptian losses and claimed a massive and successful Egyptian attack against Israel - an illusion the Egyptian public believed for several days.
6. If Israel's claimed reasons for the attack were false, what were its true objectives?
This questions opens up conjecture into all kinds of conspiracy.
Israel entered the West Bank when Jordan, on the first day of Israel’s war with Egypt, began intensive bombardment of Israeli civilian locations.
7. What was the chain of events leading up to the war?
See question #1.
The post on Molly's blog suggests that the cause of the war was the Samu Incident.
TIME magazine Friday, Nov. 25, 1966
Incident at Samu
From BBC: The path for war was cleared on 16 May when President Nasser ordered the withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Forces from the Egyptian-Israeli border.
8. Why was the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) only on the Egyptian side of the border and not on the Israeli side as well?
FIRST UNITED NATIONS EMERGENCY FORCE
UNEF I (November 1956 - June 1967)
First the Suez Canal sector and the Sinai peninsula. Later along the Armistice Demarcation Line in the Gaza area and the international frontier in the Sinai peninsula (on the Egyptian side)
Its main functions were to supervise the withdrawal of the three occupying forces and, after the withdrawal was completed, to act as a buffer between the Egyptian and Israeli forces and to provide impartial supervision of the ceasefire. In the event, UNEF, stationed entirely on Egyptian territory with the consent of the Government, patrolled the Egypt-Israel armistice demarcation line and the international frontier to the south of the Gaza Strip and brought relative quiet to a long-troubled area. The Canal, blocked as a result of the conflict, was cleared by the United Nations. UNEF I was withdrawn in May-June 1967 at the request of the Egyptian Government, which informed the Secretary-General that it would no longer consent to the stationing of the Force on Egyptian territory and in Gaza.
The UNEF mission was to enter Egyptian territory with the consent of the Egyptian Government, in order to help maintain quiet during and after the withdrawal of non-Egyptian forces and to secure compliance with the other terms established in the resolution ... to cover an area extending roughly from the Suez Canal to the Armistice Demarcation Lines established in the Armistice Agreement between Egypt and Israel.
The deployment of a military force had to be approved by Egypt. The UN secretary general sought to station UNEF forces on the Israeli side of the 1949 armistice lines, but this was rejected by Israel.
9. Where were Egypt's troops on the day preceding the war?
In the Sinai and along the Suez Canal. The post on Molly's blog claims that these were in "defensive posture." But the fact is that Arab troops had massed on Israel's borders.
Historical review of the political riparian issues in the development of the Jordan River and basin management
MSN Encarta: Six-Day War
1967 Middle East War
The Columbia Encyclopedia: Arab-Israeli Wars
BBC: On This Day, June 5 1967
Wikipedia: Six-Day War
United Nations: The Question of Palestine
United Nations: Palestinian Rights
UN Resolution 242
SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS - 1967
a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.
LearningSpace - OpenLearn - The Open University
The Open University provides high-quality university education to all.
Managing the Digital Enterprise
an open educational resource that surveys the opportunities and challenges managers face in an increasingly digital world.
Viewing Bald Eagles
American Bald Eagle Information
National Foundation of Protect America's Eagles
Journey North American Bald Eagle Updates
The Birds of Prey Foundation
National Audubon Society
A report on eagle migration in the winter months. Focuses primarily on the Mississippi River.
Windows Media - Dial-up Connection, 1MB
Windows Media - Broadband Connection, 15MB
DARPA to create brain-chipped cyborg moths
Famed US military mad-scientist bureau DARPA (the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency) is engaged in an effort to grow/build cyborg moths for use as spies. No, really.
Can cyborg moths bring down terrorists?
A moth which has a computer chip implanted in it while in the cocoon will enable soldiers to spy on insurgents, the US military hopes
Scientist: Military Working on Cyborg Spy Moths
At some point in the not-too-distant future, a moth may take flight in the hills of northern Pakistan, and flap towards a suspected terrorist training camp.
But this will be no ordinary moth.
New Agency Develops Spy Tools
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity will try to develop groundbreaking technology for the 16 spy agencies.
If IARPA can clear some crucial hurdles, including convincing its congressional skeptics, the new office will be modeled after a similar agency that develops gee-whiz toys for the Pentagon.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was created after the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957, driving home the U.S. competitive disadvantage in space. Since then, DARPA researchers have brought the United States much-heralded advances including stealth technology, global positioning systems and the Internet.
Where did the Internet come from?
WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda terrorists use blow torches, electric drills and meat cleavers to torture and force information out of their victims, according to a "how-to" book discovered in a terrorist safe house in Iraq.
The Defense Department recently released disturbing images and cartoons showing how to torture a captive found by American forces during a raid on a Al Qaeda safe house a few weeks ago. They also found photos of tortured Iraqi victims.
U.S. frees 42 Iraqi captives in raid
BAGHDAD - American forces freed 42 kidnapped Iraqis — some of whom had been hung from ceilings and tortured for months — in a raid Sunday on an al-Qaida hideout north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
more from The Smoking Gun
Following the capture of Syria from the Ottoman Empire by Anglo-French
forces in 1918, France received a mandate over this territory and separated out
a region of Lebanon in 1920. France granted this area independence in 1943. A
lengthy civil war (1975-1990) devastated the country, but Lebanon has since made
progress toward rebuilding its political institutions. Under the Ta'if Accord -
the blueprint for national reconciliation - the Lebanese established a more
equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater voice in
the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the
government. Since the end of the war, Lebanon has conducted several successful
elections, most militias have been disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces
(LAF) have extended authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, a
radical Shi'a organization listed by the US State Department as a Foreign
Terrorist Organization, retains its weapons. During Lebanon's civil war, the
Arab League legitimized in the Ta'if Accord Syria's troop deployment, numbering
about 16,000 based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. Damascus
justified its continued military presence in Lebanon by citing Beirut's requests
and the failure of the Lebanese Government to implement all of the
constitutional reforms in the Ta'if Accord. Israel's withdrawal from southern
Lebanon in May 2000, however, encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that
Syria withdraw its forces as well. The passage of UNSCR 1559 in early October
2004 - a resolution calling for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and end its
interference in Lebanese affairs - further emboldened Lebanese groups opposed to
Syria's presence in Lebanon. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq
HARIRI and 20 others in February 2005 led to massive demonstrations in Beirut
against the Syrian presence ("the Cedar Revolution"). Syria finally withdrew the
remainder of its military forces from Lebanon in April 2005. In May-June 2005,
Lebanon held its first legislative elections since the end of the civil war free
of foreign interference, handing a majority to the bloc led by Saad HARIRI, the
slain prime minister's son. Hizballah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in July
2006 leading to a 34-day conflict with Israel. UNSCR 1701, which passed in
August 2006, called for the disarmament of Hizballah.
From BBC News:
Lebanon is the most politically complex and religiously divided country in the
Middle East, which is what makes it such a potentially explosive factor in an
Tiny Lebanon baffles outsiders. Even people in the Middle
East find its politics confusing.
Set up by France after World War I as a
predominantly Christian state, Lebanon is now about 60% Muslim, 40% Christian.
It has 18 officially recognised religious sects and sharing power between
them has always been a complicated game.
Lebanese Muslims have tended to
look east for support from the other Arab states and from Iran. The Christians
have tended to look west to Europe and the United States.
proximity to Israel - and the presence of a large number of Palestinian refugees
on its soil - mean it is also intimately tied to the Arab-Israeli dispute.
While Lebanon has plenty of problems of its own, it has also become the
arena where many of the region's conflicts and rivalries are played out.
The long conflict which ravaged
the country from 1975 until 1990 was both a civil war and a regional war.
left Lebanon firmly under Syria's thumb, and with a southern strip of territory
occupied by Israel as a buffer zone.
Israel has repeatedly intervened in
Lebanon to protect its northern border.
The civil war also drew in Iran to
fight Israel and support the Lebanese Shia.
In 1982, with Iranian help, the
Shia created Hezbollah, the Party of God, which has evolved into a major player
in Lebanese politics and an important ally of Iran and Syria.
eventually withdrew in 2000 and Syrian forces in 2005.
But while Syria no
longer has a military presence, it has retained political influence through its
relationship with Hezbollah.
is against this backdrop of conflict and polarisation that the war on the
Lebanese-Israeli border unfolded during the summer.
The capture of two
Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah provoked a month-long Israeli onslaught.
areas where the Shia movement enjoys support - south Lebanon and the southern
suburbs of Beirut - bore the brunt of the Israeli offensive.
large-scale death and destruction but failed to secure the soldiers' release or
Hezbollah claimed it had won a "divine victory".
the aftermath of the war, the country began the task of physical reconstruction
- but was still plagued by its old divisions.
The government is badly split between anti-Syrian and pro-Syrian
The first is a loose alliance of Sunnis, Christians and Druze (a
heterodox offshoot of Islam) and enjoys the support of the United States.
The second is an essentially Shia grouping dominated by Hezbollah, with the
backing of Syria and Iran.
Symbolising the polarisation is the fact that the
president is pro-Syrian and the prime minister anti-Syrian.
deadlock has persisted into 2007, defying the mediation efforts of various Arab
Relations with Syria are complicated by ongoing efforts to establish
an international tribunal to investigate the killing of the former Lebanese
prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005. Many Lebanese hold Syria responsible for
the assassination - something Damascus staunchly denies.
The UN Security
Council has indicated that, if Lebanese politicians are too divided to agree on
the setting up of a tribunal, it will become the UN's task to do so.
outbreak of fighting in the north of the country on 20 May has added a new twist
to Lebanon's problems.
Clashes between the Lebanese army and a shadowy group
called Fatah al-Islam, based in a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli, have
left dozens dead.
The Lebanese government sees the hand of Syria behind
Others see a different but no less worrying possibility -
that radical Islamists of the al-Qaeda type now see Lebanon, like other failing
states, as attractive terrain in which to establish a foothold.
The study by the Pew Research Center says US Muslims - most of whom are immigrants - believe in the American work ethic and reject extremism.
Their income and education levels mirror those of the general US public, according to the survey.
However, most respondents say life has become more difficult for US Muslims since the 11 September attacks.
Most say their communities are excellent or good places to live.
Bush hails deal on immigration reform
From Michelle Malkin -
Excerpts from an e-mail bulletin by Roy Beck of
Although we don't have the legislative language yet, here are the key
WE LOSE -- by getting an immediate amnesty for nearly all 12-20 million
illegal aliens who will get legal status for residence and jobs (with assurance
of green cards no later than 13 years).
IN EXCHANGE FOR -- we get mandatory workplace verification and a lot of
extra enforcement (with a lot of typical Kennedy loopholes) to try to slow the
flow of the next 12 million illegal aliens enticed by the amnesty;
WE LOSE -- by getting a tripling of the rate of chain migration of
extended family from around 250,000 a year to around 750,000 a year for about a
IN EXCHANGE FOR -- after about a decade, there should be no more chain
migration (assuming that Kennedy doesn't add it back in by then);
WE LOSE -- by getting new flows of 400,000 temporary foreign workers
each year, bringing their families and having anchor babies who will be given
IN EXCHANGE FOR -- at least the temporary workers are supposed to leave
and not be able to apply for greencards and permanent residency.
WHY THE REPUBLICANS ARE STAMPEDING TO BACK THIS AMNESTY
of Republican Senators last year voted against the S. 2611 amnesty that
But at a noon meeting today with nearly all GOP Senators, Sen. Kyl
outlined the amnesty agreement he had negotiated with Sen. Kennedy. Our sources
say only about three Senators raised concerns. Most of the rest were saying
things like, "If you think this is a good idea, John, I guess that should be
good enough for us."
Pres. Bush and staff have been brilliant in moving Sen. McCain
(R-Ariz.) and Sen. Martinez (R-Fla.) into a more secondary role and persuading
conservative leader Kyl to lead the negotiations. Kyl is able to lead many
Senators to follow him who would otherwise not support an amnesty of any
At the moment, the only Senators whom we feel relatively certain are
opposing this new amnesty are Sen. DeMint (R-SC), Enzi (R-Wyo.), Crapo
(R-Idaho), Vitter (R-La.), Allard (R-Colo.), Sessions (R-Ala.), Chambliss
(R-Ga.), Grassley (R-Iowa)...
Standing side by side in the Rose Garden, the two leaders said they had no regrets about the decision, contending Iraq has become the main battleground in the war against global terrorism.
Iraq Withdrawal Move Thwarted in Senate
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate on Wednesday rejected legislation that would cut off money for combat operations in Iraq after March 31, 2008.
Senate Dems fail to cut off war funds
WASHINGTON - Anti-war Democrats in the Senate failed in an attempt to cut off funds for the Iraq war on Wednesday, a lopsided bipartisan vote that masked growing impatience within both political parties over President Bush's handling of the four-year conflict.
Military gives details of the ambush in which four soldiers were killed and three apparently were captured.
Private Daniel Courneya has been named as among those killed
Trans fatty acids are produced commercially in large quantities to harden liquid oils into solids. Trans fatty acids are created when a naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acid, which would be a liquid at room temperature, is heated in the presence of metal catalysts and hydrogen. This process, called partial hydrogenation, causes carbon atoms to bond in a straight configuration and remain solid at room temperature. Naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acid molecules are curved, and this new straight molecule is what is called a "trans fatty acid".
Trans fatty acids are in almost all commercially processed food. Partially hydrogenated oils are used in foods to help maintain their shape and to give them a longer shelf life, as hydrogenated oils do not spoil as quickly as natural ones. The FDA now requires information about trans fatty acids to be listed on nutrition labels. The way to identify trans fatty acids in foods is to read the ingredient list. Look for the word HYDROGENATED. If anything has been hydrogenated, it has gone through the process of partial hydrogenation and should be avoided.
An Israeli archaeologist says he has found the tomb of King Herod, the ruler of Judea while it was under Roman administration in the first century BC.
Tomb Of King Herod Discovered At Herodium
Science Daily — The long search for Herod the Great's tomb has ended with the exposure of the remains of his grave, sarcophagus and mausoleum on Mount Herodium's northeastern slope, Prof. Ehud Netzer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archaeology just announced.
FORT DIX, N.J. - Six Islamic militants from Yugoslavia and the Middle East were arrested on charges of plotting to attack the Fort Dix Army post and "kill as many soldiers as possible," authorities said Tuesday.
Arrests over US army base 'plot'
Six men have been arrested on charges of plotting to attack Fort Dix army base in the US state of New Jersey.