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2 of 3 Iraqi Children no Longer in School

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Statistics released by the ministry in October showed that a mere 30 percent of Iraq's 3.5 million students are currently attending classes. This compares to roughly 75 percent of students who were attending classes the previous year, according to the Britain-based NGO Save the Children

Drug-resistant TB More Widespread Than Previously Feared, Says WHO

by Julie A. Corwin Failing to contain the spread of MDR TB could lead to an additional threat: the emergence of a new, almost untreatable, form of TB -- extreme drug-resistant TB

Meet Senator Slither

by Alexander Cockburn I used to think Sen. Joe Lieberman was the man whose words I'd least like to be force fed top volume if I was chained next to a loudspeaker in Camp Gitmo, but I think Obama, who picked Lieberman as his mentor when he first entered the U.S. Senate, is worse. I've never heard a politician so desperate not to offend conventional elite opinion while pretending to be fearless and forthright

Judy Miller's Pal Continues the Fabrications

by Alexander Cockburn Because of Judy Miller's high profile in the WMD fabrications, other Times reporters like Michael Gordon have garnered little of the criticism they richly deserve

Harry Reid: More Troops to Iraq!

by Alexander Cockburn As I warned after the election, the role of the Democrats will be to ease through a troop increase. This prediction has turned out to be 100 percent accurate

Voters Said No to War, Congress Says Yes

by Alexander Cockburn You would have thought that Democrats would rush to hang their hats on the bipartisan ISG report, calling for cut and walk. But the long-awaited report is dead shortly after arrival. There aren't more than a handful or so of Democrats who are going to be caught in the same room as a report that calls for the return of the Golan Heights to Syria and dares to raise the issue of the right of return of Palestinians to their homeland

As Rice's Iran Strategy Fizzles, Cheney Waits in Wings

by Gareth Porter Rice's months-long diplomatic effort to get five other powers to agree to a tough United Nations Security Council resolution on sanctions against Iran now seems certain to fail, because of Russian and Chinese resistance. The beneficiaries of that failure in Washington will be Vice President Dick Cheney and other hardliners, who have been anticipating that such a development would help them persuade President Bush to begin the political-diplomatic planning for an air attack on Iran

The Death of Right-Wing Talk Radio Relevance

by Steve Young Born the day Rush Limbaugh mid-wifed Newt Gingrich's Contract For (On) America, Right-Wing Talk Radio Relevance lived a healthy and wealthy life duping a great portion of the America public into voting against their own best interests.

Right Wing Talker's Tumble

by Steve Young 2006 wasn't very pretty for the Blowhards of Broadcast, and 2007 should be even worse. The Catch 22 for O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh and company is that they need to change. But that would take acceptance of who and what they are and that would only end up placing them into a delightful free fall

The Fight for Madison's Progressive Radio

by Steve Young Both Schultz and Miller have been proving their worth. Listenership and ratings are increasing steadily. Shultz has the biggest progressive audience on the dial (you kind of wish Air America would bring on some of Jones Radio management). But even at AA, Randi Rhodes and Al Franken's audiences are in the millions and Rhodes is rated by the bible of talk radio, Talkers Magazine, as a more important voice than Bill O'Reilly. Rhodes is rated by the bible of talk radio, Talkers Magazine, as a more important voice than Bill O'Reilly. Yes, I know I wrote that twice. It's just so much fun to say

O'Reilly's Toys and Tots Tempest

by Steve Young Damn Secular Progressives keeping the needy children of the Starbucks region of the world waiting for their much desired bit of holiday joy only to have their hopes dashed by some sort of greedy liberalism that you just have to know the mainstream media and their hate for Christianity is behind. Somewhere, the baby Jesus had to be crying

Disabled Iraq Vets a Silent Crisis

by Aaron Glantz Pentagon studies show that 12 percent of soldiers who have served in Iraq suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The group Veterans for America, formerly the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, estimates 70,000 Iraq war veterans have gone to the VA for mental health care

But the number of injured has far outstripped the dead, with the Veterans Administration reporting that more than 150,000 veterans of the Iraq war are receiving disability benefits

Saddam's Death Also Leaves Questions Hanging

by Aaron Glantz 'Justice is not being served as far as I can see,' he said. 'There's a miscarriage of justice; 142 killings is a tiny speck in the larger crimes that he has committed. Imagine if Hitler were alive to be prosecuted. A lot of details of his crimes would have come out. Hitler committed suicide, but Saddam was captured and I think this trial should have continued'

Botched Execution Makes Saddam Surprise Muslim Martyr

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily While Iraqi Shias, particularly those in the U.S.-backed Iraqi government, view the execution as a sign that Allah supports them, many Sunnis across Iraq and the Middle East now see Saddam Hussein as a great martyr. In official expression of anger, Libya denounced the timing of the execution and announced three days of official mourning. Eid celebrations were cancelled. The government of Saudi Arabia also condemned the timing of the execution

Saddam Execution Timing Stuns Iraq Sunnis

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily National security advisor Mouaffaq al-Rubaii, a Shia, declared that 'we wanted him to be executed on a special day.' Few Sunnis were cheering Saddam's death. A senior member of the Islamic Party who asked not to be named said the timing of the execution at the start of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha would prove a grave mistake

Saddam Hanged Without Fair Trial, Groups Say

by Sanjay Suri What Saddam had faced, he said, was 'trial by ambush' that was marked by the failure of prosecution to provide defense attorneys evidence that was being introduced in court. Sometimes the evidence to be presented was given to defense lawyers at the last minute, and sometimes not at all, he said. That denied 'an effective and meaningful defense'

Bush Can't Answer Key Question: Who is the Enemy in Iraq?

by Gareth Porter This year saw the emergence of a sectarian civil war in Iraq and much more open Sunni-Shiite conflict in the Middle East. Sunni regimes in the region expressed acute anxiety both about the possibility of the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Iraq spreading to their own countries and about the growth of Iranian influence. In that setting, the most striking thing about the Bush administration's policy in 2006 has been its inability to identify the primary enemy in Iraq

Bolton Resigns in New Defeat for Hawks

by Jim Lobe In the last several months, State Department and White House lawyers considered a number of different ways that Bolton might legally stay on -- such as appointing him to a post that did not require Senate confirmation and then making him 'acting ambassador' -- but eventually concluded that such manoeuvres were likely to create more ill will, not just among Democrats, who will take over the Senate next month, but also among Republicans who increasingly see Bush's stubbornness as a major political liability

Asian Diabetes Soars as Junk Food Grows Popular

by Marwaan Macan-Markar India and China have the greatest numbers of people with diabetes, and are likely to remain in this position in 2025, by which time they could each have 20 million affected individuals

Tough Lessons From The Duke Rape Case

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson In the Duke case, a reflexive shout of racism would have further discredited the legitimate fight against sexual victimization. Because of that, black leaders should have gone one step further and urged the Duke protestors to cool their rhetoric until all the facts were in. They didn't

Mao's Model City Fights Encroaching Desert

by Antoaneta Bezlova When the city of Korla rose from the Taklamakan desert in mid-1950s, it was marvelled as a triumph of human willpower over adverse nature. Half-a century later, Korla has to defend every bit of its existence in the desert by erecting sentries of trees against the encroaching sands. It has to fight for every drop of water by using sophisticated water conservation technology imported from Israel.

Polls Show Strong Support for Iraq Study Group's Findings

by Jim Lobe The findings of a spate of polls taken since last week's release of the Iraq Study Group's (ISG) recommendations for U.S. policy show a sharp drop in public confidence both in Bush's handling of the war and in the chances that the U.S. will prevail there

Child Beggars Now Common in Afghan Capitol

by Ron Synovitz Children trying to earn a meager wage -- some as young as 5 years old -- are a common sight on the streets of Kabul. Many are orphans with no relatives to look after them, but a surprising number have been sent out on the streets by impoverished parents who can't support their families

Somalia Crisis Turning Into Christian-Muslim War

by Thalif Deen Ethiopia's 'Christian-led government' and its military operations inside Somalia have 'tacit American support'. Both U.S. support and the Christian-Muslim religious equation could threaten a regionalization of the conflict. The Times said the Islamic forces in the capital of Mogadishu have been joined by Muslim mercenaries from Yemen, Egypt, Syria and Libya

More Iraqis Say U.S. Troops Engaging in "Collective Punishment"

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Located near Beji in the volatile but oil-rich Salahedin province, Siniyah has become a vivid example of harsh tactics used by occupation forces, who have lost control over most of the country. 'Thirteen children died during the two-week siege due to U.S. troops' disallowance for doctors to open their private clinics as well as closure of the general medical center there,' a doctor from the city reported

U.S. Accused of Massacre in Ramadi

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily A U.S. tank killed scores of civilians in Ramadi late Nov. 13, according to witnesses and doctors. Anger and frustration were evident at the hospitals and during the funerals in the following days. Iraqi doctors and witnesses at the scene of the attack said the barrage killed 35 civilians in their homes

Why Does Anyone Take Newt Seriously?

by Joe Conason The flimsy philosophizing of Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House and aspiring presidential candidate, isn't designed to bear any great weight. For many years, he has been willing to say anything that would win him the public attention and political power he still craves. Yet in the mainstream media and among Republicans, his intellectual pretensions are often taken seriously -- and when he promotes authoritarian 'solutions' to national problems, that must be taken seriously, too. His latest insight is that America can only survive if we impose severe curbs on freedom of speech

Afghans Growing Less Hopeful About Future

by Jim Lobe Afghans remain broadly supportive of their government and the western forces that protect it, but that support appears to be slipping due primarily to frustration with the pace of reconstruction, according to a new survey

Chavez Faces Serious Opposition to Reckon With

by Humberto Marquez Chavez's landslide victory in Venezuela's presidential elections has not prevented the emergence of a much more mature opposition. After years of seeking a shortcut to oust him from power, it now has nearly 40 percent of the electorate behind it

Neo-Cons Present "Victory" Plan for Iraq

by Jim Lobe Drafted hastily -- it currently exists only as a Power Point presentation -- by its two main authors, AEI fellow Frederick Kagan and the former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Jack Keane, as an alternative to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG) headed by former Secretary of State James Baker, it is called 'Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq.' The title apparently chosen deliberately to counter one of the ISG's core messages: that there is 'no magic bullet' -- least of all a military one -- that can save what most analysts here believe is the biggest U.S. foreign policy debacle since at least the Vietnam War

Gitmo Like "Being Alive in Your Grave"

by Zofeen Ebrahim 'For a long time, the guards would vary temperatures to great extremes. One week, they would turn the air-conditioning on maximum making the prisoners freeze (they were given only a thin cotton sheet at night which was taken away early the following morning).' The next week, the guards would turn off the air-conditioning to bring up the temperatures to a stifling 102 degrees

U.S. Troops Storm Falluja Hospital - Again

by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily Doctors and medical staff were arrested and insulted, and some were called terrorists, witnesses said. The hospital was then closed, and could no longer offer even minimal treatment. 'We are used to that kind of behavior from American soldiers,' a hospital employee told IPS. 'This was the third time I was in handcuffs with my face down. They have been more vicious with medical staff than others because they consider us the first supporters of those they call terrorists'

Chavez Claims Mandate After Landslide Vote

by Humberto Marquez Voter turnout was high, with Venezuelans standing in long lines, many arriving hours before the voting stations opened. According to a preliminary estimate, at least 12 million of the 16 million registered voters came out, two million more than in the 2004 referendum

Arab Media Call Pope's Visit a Turkey

by Elena Shore If the Pope's trip was an attempt to reconcile with Muslims, he shouldn't have chosen Turkey, which is seen as secular by the rest of the Islamic world, says Ozeir. 'In the eyes of Arabs, Turkey is part of the west,' he says. The Blue Mosque, where the Pope prayed, is not considered one of the holy sites of Islam, adds Dajani. 'The Arab world saw the Pope's visit as part of Turkey's attempt join the European Union'

Syria Offers Israel Deal it Says is too Good to be True

by Peter Hirschberg It would seem Israel is being offered exactly what it has been demanding for so many years from Syria: negotiations without preconditions. No insistence now by Damascus on Israeli readiness to make territorial concessions even before talks have begun. But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert does not seem to be in the mood for taking risks, or he is convinced Assad is not to be taken at his word. In a series of public statements, he has spurned the overtures from Damascus

Massive Immigrant Sweep Creates Havoc for Workers' Families

by Alyssa Giachino On Dec. 12, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents swept in on Swift & Co. meat processing plants in Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Iowa and Minnesota. Production lines stopped as thousands of workers were asked to provide proof of legal residency or citizenship. Within hours, ICE had arrested 1,282 workers on administrative immigration violations. Thus far, 144 people have been criminally charged for identity theft as well as other crimes such as illegal reentry to the United States

Massive Oil Spill From Israeli Bombing of Lebanon Still Not Cleaned Up

by Meena S. Janardhan Endangered marine species are feeling the effects of the oil spill, and now that the migratory season has begun, scientists fear for the fate of thousands of birds at sites like Lebanon's Palm Islands Nature Reserve. The spill from the Jiyeh plant was the result of Israel's 33-day bombing campaign against Lebanon. It wasn't until Oct. 13 that manual recovery of sunken oil with specialized equipment began, around the power plant

Gerald Ford: A Future Lost

by Alexander Cockburn If Ford had beaten back Carter's challenge in 1976, the neo-con crusades of the mid- to late Seventies would have been blunted by the mere fact of a Republican occupying the White House. Reagan, most likely, would have returned to his slumbers in California after his abortive challenge to Ford for the nomination in Kansas in 1976. Instead of a weak southern Democratic conservative in agreement to almost every predation by the military industrial complex, we would have had a Midwestern Republican, thus a politician far less vulnerable to the promoters of the New Cold War

Tainted Vodka and Bad Hootch Killing Thousands of Russians Each Year

by Kester Kenn Klomegah Russian authorities are considering further regulating alcoholic beverages after reports last month that thousands of people may have died after drinking the popular home-made alcohol Samogon, which may have been contaminated by low-grade industrially manufactured alcohol

Pinochet Dies at 91, Never Facing Justice for Crimes

Analysis by Gustavo Gonzalez The crimes of the dictatorship, and especially those of Pinochet, were safeguarded by the virtual impunity provided by a meek justice system, a cautious executive branch and a legislature in which the right wing alliance blocked any in-depth reforms

Pinochet's Abuses Led to New Human Rights Movement

by Roger Burbach The Pinochet affair has shaped a whole new generation of human rights activists and lawyers. They are determined to end the impunity of public officials, including that of the civilian and military leaders in the United States, who engage in state terrorism and human rights abuses while violating international treaties like the Geneva Conventions

Maliki's National Reconciliation Summit a Bust

by Mohammed A. Salih Several major parliamentary blocs boycotted the conference, including the al-Iraqia slate of first post-war premier Ayad Allawi, the Sunni slate of the Iraqi Front National Dialogue led by Salih al-Mutlak, and the al-Sadr bloc loyal to young cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. That, in addition to rising violence, has disappointed many that a workable solution could emerge from the conference

Baker Report: Situation "Grave and Deteriorating"

by Jim Lobe The tone of both the report and Wednesday's briefing was both urgent and grim, as both co-chairs stressed repeatedly that the time for reversing the situation in Iraq was fast running out and may in fact already have done so

Iraqi Doctors, Other Professionals, Singled Out as Targets

by Mohammed A. Salih The Britain-based charity Medact says that 120 doctors and 80 pharmacists have been killed over the past three years, and more than 18,000 medical professionals have fled Iraq

Zimbabwe's Land Reform Program Destroyed "Breadbasket of Africa"

by Joseph Sithole The poor peasants who led the invasions, at the behest of Mugabe, have since been driven off the best farms. The prime properties have been reallocated to the president and his close relatives, ministers, the country's top judges and armed forces and police officers, and pliant journalists. These farms are mainly used as weekend retreats and, for the most part, have ceased to be productive

Mel Gibson Must Answer Serious Deceptions of 'Apocalypto'

by Gerardo Aldana Perversions of the historical record appear to be Gibson's alone and cause me to wonder if they reflect an agenda. Whether he meant to claim that all cultures have been as grotesquely violent or inhumane as the West (and so in some twisted way, making such behavior 'ok'), or if there is a more nefarious attempt at disparaging Mesoamerican cultures in some sort of justification of their 'conquest' (implied by the pristine representation of the Spaniards) -- this is a question Gibson alone can answer

Mel Gibson's 'Apocalypto' Ignores Great Civilization

by Vicki Adame Gibson himself has said this movie is his attempt to reach the Latino community, but I'm left wondering why he chose this particular theme. That's not to say the story of the Mayans shouldn't be told. It should. They were a highly advanced civilization, but this film doesn't begin to scratch the surface of these mighty people. Instead it shows what we today would call savagery

Bush Signs Law to Divert 20 Billion Gallons From Colorado River

Included in the massive HR 6111 Tax Relief and Health Care Act, the measure will enable the capture and use of billions of gallons of water that would otherwise flow down the Colorado River into Mexico.Any water exceeding user demand that arrives at Imperial Dam and cannot be sent to another user, sent to storage, or delivered as part of scheduled deliveries to Mexico is inadvertently delivered to Mexico in excess of Treaty obligations and is considered to be non-storable water

Rummy's One Last Lie for the Road

by Robert Scheer Did I write a secret memo saying that I don't believe in this thing anymore? You bet! But you can't let the public in on that and just cut and run. Jeez, how would that look for the Rummy Legacy?

Becoming What We Despise

by Robert Scheer The Bush administration's excuse for this betrayal of our legal system was that Padilla was a dangerous al-Qaeda agent, a big fish caught in the administration's successful pursuit of its much-ballyhooed war on terror. Those lurid claims were abandoned when the government, faced with a belated U.S. Supreme Court censure, finally charged Padilla with vague and lesser crimes carrying a maximum 15-year sentence

Bush Proves Ike Was Right

by Robert Scheer The big prize here for Bush's foreign policy is not the acquisition of natural resources or the enhancement of U.S. security, but rather the lining of the pockets of the defense contractors, the merchants of death who mine our treasury. But because the arms industry is coddled by political parties and the mass media, their antics go largely unnoticed. Our politicians and pundits argue endlessly about a couple of billion dollars that may be spent on improving education or ending poverty, but they casually waste that amount in a few days in Iraq

Is There Any Hope Democrats Will Stop the War?

by Robert Scheer So with Bush rejecting the sage advice of a commission headed by his father's secretary of state to cut our losses, is there any hope the Democrats who now control Congress will stop playing the role of enabler to these war junkies? After all, it was the Democratic congressional leadership that provided Bush with bipartisan cover for his irrational 'anti-terrorism' invasion of a country that had nothing to do with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks

UN Votes for Iran Sanctions

by Haider Rizvi Unanimously adopted by all 15 members of the Council, the resolution bans the supply of nuclear-related technology and materials and imposes an asset freeze on key individuals and companies. It demands that Tehran end all uranium enrichment work, which produces fuel for nuclear energy plants, and potentially for weapons

U.S. Cash for Afghan Water Projects Goes to Taliban

by Mirwais Atal The resources intended to combat Taliban influence ended up doing just the opposite. Local people in several parts of Andar district say that almost as soon as the coalition forces left their villages, the money found its way into Taliban coffers to finance the jihad against the foreigners

Some Democratic Leaders Lock-Step With Repubs on Labor, Immigration

by David Bacon Latino and labor votes gave the Democratic Party their landslide victory in November's Congressional elections. But now, two conservative Democratic leaders are proposing an employer sanctions program that would target immigrants and alienate the party's new base. And, in an escalation of tactics, immigration authorities are raiding meatpacking plants today in several states

109th Congress: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

by Michael Winship The 109th broke by a week the record of the notorious 1948 "Do-Nothing" Congress, managing to convene for a mere 103 days from January 2005 to 5AM, last Saturday morning. That's a little more than four days a month. So indolent have these legislative layabouts been that, last week, when Democratic Majority Leader-Elect Steny Hoyer held a press briefing declaring the new Congress will meet for five whole days a week instead of the current average of 2.5, the reaction from many was shock and dismay

Planting More Trees in U.S. Won't Help Stop Global Warming, Study Says

Planting forests in temperate regions such as the United States and Europe may not yield any benefit for the global climate, and may instead contribute to warming, according to a new study

Baker Report More Than Anyone Hoped

by Joe Conason Before the publication of the Iraq Study Group report, predictions abounded that the committee would offer little new and nothing radical. Bipartisan mush in soft covers seemed the most likely product of any Washington group whose first imperative was unanimity. Yet the former secretary of state, the retired Indiana congressman and their colleagues exceeded those expectations. Bland as their language is, they assessed the overall failure of the Bush administration's foreign policy in the Middle East, from the president's abandonment of the Arab-Israeli peace process to his distraction from securing Afghanistan

Crisis Group Says Baker Report Didn't Go Far Enough

by Jim Lobe Warning that Iraq faces 'complete disintegration into failed-state chaos,' the International Crisis Group (ICG) is calling on the United States to make a 'clean break' in its strategy for both Iraq and the wider Middle East region

Unknown How World Forests Will Adapt to Warmer Climate

by Stephen Leahy 'We're like a 2-year-old playing with fire. ... We're messing around with something dangerous and don't really understand what will happen,' says William Laurance, of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Balboa, Panama, in reference to climate change and the Amazon rainforest

Gates May Be Forthright, But He Won't Have Rummy's Clout

by Joe Conason Despite Robert Gates' thoughtful tone and refreshing candor, there is little reason to believe that his arrival at the Pentagon will mark a significant change in American policy toward Iraq. Nor will the bipartisan mush emerging from the Iraq Study Group, which included Gates until his nomination was announced, promote useful new directions. For as the nominee dutifully noted in his testimony, the president will remain in charge no matter what Gates thinks or says. And so far, the president shows no sign of adopting a realistic attitude toward this tragic Middle East misadventure

Don't Rush to Praise Bush's Immigration HIV Waiver

by Adam Francoeur President Bush recently announced that he was directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to create a categorical waiver to the ban on HIV-positive individuals' entry to the United States. Much of the HIV/AIDS community greeted this announcement with praise, because of the president's recognition that the travel ban places hardships on people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. The praise is premature

Bush Wants Near-Total Isolation for Gitmo Prisoners

by William Fisher As the new Democratic Party majority in Congress considers whether to revisit the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), the Bush administration is proposing still more restrictions on detainees in U.S. custody

Iraq Becoming a Nation of Widows

by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily Some help is on offer to widows through groups such as the Iraqi Red Crescent, the Islamic Party, the Muslim Scholars Association and non-governmental organizations. But this support is not well organized, and is insufficient to help the growing number of widows. The Social Affairs Office of the government has started paying the equivalent of about $100 monthly to widows. But this payment cannot support whole families, given particularly the shooting inflation. And the payment is not easy to get

Saddam's Execution Spurs New UN Call for Death Penalty Moratorium

by Thalif Deen The swirling controversy over the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is threatening to trigger a backlash at the United Nations. Italy, which has condemned the death penalty as 'barbaric,' is trying to bring the issue before a sharply divided world body by calling for a 'universal moratorium' on capital punishment

Don't Blame us for Poor Environmental Record, China Says

by Antoaneta Bezlova China is blaming its poor environmental record on being the world's workshop for the past 20 years, producing goods for a multitude of nations while getting stuck with the waste and pollution

Zionists Outraged Over Israeli Textbooks Including W Bank "Green Line"

by Peter Hirschberg A directive by Israel's education minister that all maps in new editions of school textbooks must include the 1967 line that separates Israel from the West Bank has sparked a political firestorm, with right-wing politicians and religious leaders threatening to boycott the books if they are issued

Neo-Cons Were Pushing for Israel to Attack Syria During Lebanon War

by Jim Lobe It was chiefly as a result of pressure from what she called 'neo-cons' that the administration held off demands by UN Security Council members to halt Israel's attacks on Hezbollah and other targets in Lebanon during the summer war

DHS Holding Tens of Thousands of Immigrants in Jails While Awaiting Residence Hearings

by Erica Schommer An alarming number of immigrants are being jailed while they're going through court proceedings to determine whether they can remain in this country legally. Under the current law, some people must be detained throughout the process because of prior criminal convictions. However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been locking up immigrants in big numbers, including thousands who aren't required to be detained

Sunni Groups Offered U.S. Deal to Pacify Baghdad, Turn Over Zarqawi

by Gareth Porter The new accounts make it clear for the first time that the main objective of the talks was to explore possible U.S. support for building a Sunni military force directed primarily against Shiites in Iraq. The Sunni participants did not refer to potential cooperation against al Qaeda in Iraq and other jihadist terrorist networks in Iraq, but the organizations involved had parted ways with al Qaeda on central issues and some insurgent leaders had reportedly offered in late 2005 to turn al Qaeda leader Abu Mussab al Zarqawi over to the Iraqi government as part of a broader peace agreement

Iraq Study Group Report Faces Uncertain Future

Analysis by Jim Lobe Aside from the ISG's two co-chairmen, former Secretary of State James Baker and the former Democratic Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Lee Hamilton, and its other eight members, the only person who appeared to give the report his nearly unqualified support was visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Poll: Over 3 in 4 Americans Want New Path in Iraq

by Jim Lobe With the Bush administration under mounting pressure to alter U.S. strategy in Iraq and the Middle East, a new public opinion survey quietly released this week found strong popular support for pursuing new diplomatic avenues as proposed by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group

Kurds Reject Baker's ISG Report

by Mohammed A. Salih In a strongly worded statement, the president of Iraq's northern Kurdistan region rejected in its entirety the report by the Iraq Study Group, and threatened that Kurds would opt for secession from Iraq should Washington try to implement some of the key recommendations of the report regarding Kirkuk, federalism and the constitution

ISG Report: It was Always all About the Oil

by Tom Hayden The report suggests that the ideological goal of the U.S. invasion was not simply to displace Saddam Hussein but to dismantle the Arab nationalist state as a whole, opening the oil fields to private penetration. It is even possible that the grand alliance behind the Baker report includes support for U.S. military disengagement in exchange for permanent guarantees that privatize the second largest oil fields on the planet

Baker Report a Bipartisan Plan to not end Occupation

by Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver Despite the breathless hype, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group (ISG) report did not include any dramatic new ideas for ending the war in Iraq. In fact, it did not include a call to end the war at all. Rather, the report's recommendations focus on transforming the U.S. occupation of Iraq into a long-term, sustainable, off-the-front-page occupation with a lower rate of U.S. casualties

Saudis Prepare to Make Move on Iraq

by Jeffrey Klein and Paolo Pontoniere The Saudis are clear about their bottom line: If the United States isn't careful about withdrawing from Iraq, the Sunni kingdom will have no other choice but to arm Iraqi's Sunnis, especially if the Saudi's arch-rival, Iran, which has already destabilized the regional power equilibrium by launching a nuclear program, rushes into a military vacuum left by the Americans

Ebola Virus May Wipe Out Gorillas

The Ebola virus has wiped out as many as 5,000 lowland gorillas in the region surrounding the Lossi Sanctuary in Africa, a much higher number than previous estimates, according to new research published Dec. 7. The scientists propose that ape-to-ape transmission is a major factor in the spread of the disease among the endangered animals

Workers in Wealthy UAE Living in Squalor

The UAE has one of the least regulated labor markets in the world. The federation of seven Gulf emirates relies on a migrant workforce of more than 2.7 million people, making up 95 percent of the workforce. A recent Human Rights Watch report found that half a million migrant construction workers face a range of systematic abuse by their employers, including lack of basic housing

Neo-Cons Move to Preempt Baker Report

Analysis by Jim Lobe As the ur-realist of U.S. Middle East policy who once had the temerity to threaten to withhold U.S. aid guarantees from Israel if former right-wing Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir failed to show up at the 1991 Madrid Conference, Baker has long been seen by neo-conservatives, as well as the Christian Right, as close to the devil himself.

Rape Conviction Revives U.S.-Philippine Tension

by Rene P. Ciria-Cruz What irked many Filipinos was their perception that Smith behaved as an entitled American who felt he could do whatever he wanted in a poor country, where in the opinion of many American servicemen used to prostitution during R&R in the heyday of the U.S. military bases, Filipino women were for the taking

Afghan Officials Shocked at Scope of Opium Farming

by Jean MacKenzie, Wahidullah Amani, and Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi Few international efforts in Afghanistan have consumed as much time, effort and money as the counter-narcotics program. But despite hundreds of millions of dollars invested, poppy production skyrocketed in 2006

Mogadishu in Chaos as Islamic Militia Leaves

Ali Imaan Sharmarke, the managing partner for HornAfrik, radio and television, told IRIN that 'for the first time, since July, I am driving with guards... [the city is] on the brink of going back to the situation in the 1990s, when freelance militias roamed the streets'

Fiji Coup Leaders Gag Media

by Shailendra Singh Fiji's leading daily newspaper and sole television station have suspended operations after attempts to censor their news by the military, which seized control of the country on Tuesday, ousting the elected government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase

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