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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jewish Financial Terrorists attack Wall Street

Out of greed and narrow self interest, the Jews are spitting in the American hands that feed them. The Jewish political terrorists have been strangling American media empires and US political institutions for quiet sometime, especially during G.W. Bush term, when they forced America to march on Baghdad to Israeli drums. The Jewish financial mafia on the floor of Chicago board of trade have been cashing handsome profits from the rise in raw materials associated with Bush wars.

Furthermore, the Jewish political and financial terrorists wanted Bush America to march on Iran and cash on the high price of oil which might double the all time high of $100 per barrel. But Bush is reluctant to attack Iran or allow the Israelis to do so, at least not for the time being.

The latest Jewish terror attack on Wall Street is meant to put pressure on Bush and undermine his Middle East peace plan which is based on a two-state solution and ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands; which have irritated the Zionists. This was clearly manifested when Israeli government sabotaged Bush visit to Saudi Arabia by sending warplanes to kill 19 Palestinians while Bush was pleading with Saudi King to support his peace initiative. One must wait to see whether G.W. Bush, who failed in his war on terror, can stand in the face of the Jewish financial draculas terrorising Wall Street and the world economies. The Americans must open their eyes to the current developments as their jobs, savings and pensions may be at the mercy of the Jewish terrorists channeling US funds to Israel.

At this very moment anyone accused of being an Israeli will be killed on the spot in Iraq by all parties south of the Kurdish North. It is the Americans that the Jews can fleece.

The invasion of Iraq was decided in a think-tank held in Tel Aviv in 1998 and chaired by Bibi Netanyahu. Most of the American neocons and Zionists who attended the meeting played apart in pushing Bush to march on Baghdad to Israeli drums. No-one can control the Iraqi bull let alone milking it.

Adnan Darwash. Iraq Occupation Times

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Karbala Najaf of 1932


Public Domain License. From Library of Congress Collections.

For information from Creative Commons on proper licensing for images believed to already be in the public domain please-- click here. By using this image from this site, you are acknowledging that you have read all the information in this description and accept responsibility for any use by you or your representatives. You are accepting responsibility for conducting any additional due diligence that may be necessary to ensure your proper use of this image.

Public Domain. Suggested credit: Library of Congress via pingnews. Additional information from source:

TITLE: Iraq. Kerbela [i.e., Karbala]. General view showing mosque

CALL NUMBER: LC-M31- 14370[P&P]

REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-DIG-matpc-07392 (digital file from original photo)
No known restrictions on publication.

MEDIUM: 1 negative : glass, dry plate ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller.



American Colony (Jerusalem). Photo Dept., photographer.


Title from negative sleeve.

On negative sleeve: Iraq copy negs.

Taken between Sept. 26 and Oct. 12, 1932.

Gift; Episcopal Home; 1978.




Dry plate negatives.

PART OF: G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection

REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

DIGITAL ID: (digital file from original photo) matpc 07392 hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/matpc.07392

CARD #: mpc2004000683/PP

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Allama Talib Jauhri not to address Nishtar Park this year

By Fareed Farooqui

KARACHI: Allama Talib Jauhari, well-known for his charged and informative speeches, will not be addressing Karachi’s biggest and most popular majalis that are held at Nishtar Park every Muharram between the 1st and 10th.

According to officials of the Pak Muharram Association, Allama Jauhari is in ill health and has been advised rest by doctors. However, according to other sources, security concerns and lack of a payment settlement with the organizers is the reason he is not addressing Nishtar Park this year and Allama Salman Turabi, son of hugely popular Allama Rasheed Turabi, will be addressing the majalis.

Muharram in Karachi began full throttle on the first day of Muharram with majalis being held around the city in mosques, imambargahs, public grounds and homes. Most majalis began after Asr prayers and continued late into the night.

“In the Indo-Pak subcontinent, Karachi holds the most majalis after Lucknow, India. Seven thousand majalis and 1,500 processions are taking place daily in the first 10 days of Muharram,” said Shabbar Raza, deputy secretary of the Jafferia Alliance Pakistan. The main processions are organized on the 8th, 9th and 10th of Muharram.

There were strict body checks for those at Nishtar Park, where the majlis began at 4 p.m. and ended just before Maghrib prayers, and people standing in and around the park were also checked. The cars parked on streets were also thoroughly searched for arms and explosives and there was heavy camera surveillance in and around the area. Heavy contingents of the police, rangers, Police Qaumi Razakar and volunteers from different organizations were present.

Temporary police posts had been established at MA Jinnah Road, Soldier Bazar Road and other link roads from the Mazar-e-Quaid to Nishtar Park.

In his first majlis for the year, Allama Salman Turabi spoke about how the Islamic calendar was different from calendars of other religions. “People of other religions begin their new years with worldly deeds, but in Islam, the new year begins with worship, teaching, sacrifice and patience.

He said that Muharram, as mentioned in the Quran, was one of the four of 12 months in the Islamic calendar that have been called ‘the months of peace and restraint’ during which fighting, corruption, lying and other worldly habits are prohibited. “Even during the age of ignorance, the Arabs would put their swords in the hilt during Muharram and used to abstain from murder and plunder. With the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the respect and love shown in Muharram grew even more. It is the duty of all Muslims to follow Allah and His Prophet’s orders and be kind and helpful to each other.”

Another large majlis was held at Mehfil-e-Murtaza, addressed by Maulana Zaki Baqir who talked about how mercy and gratitude can be achieved through utmost belief and respect for the Quran, Prophet Muhammad and his family. “The Quran holds the answers for all the problems being faced by Muslims today and the believers should try and obey this Holy Book that has been sent for their guidance.”

Among other events held to mark the beginning of Muharram, Anjuman-e-Dasta Abu Talib organized a poetry programme at Masjid-e-Baitullah Khokarapar in Malir on Thursday night. Poets Zafar Abbas, Saghar Naqvi, Abbas Haider Zaidi, Maqsood Alam, Sohail Shah, Iftikhar Imam, Samar Abbas Samar, Dr Rabid Hussain addressed the recital.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

6 countries visit in just 9 days

Aside from former President Jimmy Carter, the Arab people have never welcomed any of the American presidents; pats or presents, mainly because of US unlimited support for Israeli atrocities against Palestinians and its disregard for 31 UN Security Council Resolutions. But the imminent visit of G.W. Bush to nine countries in six days, comes at a very critical juncture in Arab recent history. Before setting out, Bush announced that his visit to the Middle East will be to show support for Jewish Israel and to Isolate Muslim Iran. That is at the time when his troops continue to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. Many pro-American Arab leaders will naturally lay red carpets for the war president despite the invasion of a fellow Arab country, the killing of 1.3 million Iraqis, two million wounded, four million displaced and the destruction of the country infrastructure and institutions, on behalf of Israel. Because of security concern Bush’s visit to Iraq will not be announced. During his last visit to Iraq, Bush met with Abdul Sattar Abu Risha (the feathered one) and bragged about his successes in Iraq. Few days later, Abu Risha feathers were blown away by an Iraqi resistance bomb. Today 08.12.08, the Iraqi government is meeting to formulate a reply to Bush concern about lack of reconciliation. But Mr Al-Maliki knows that Bush plans to replace him him with Shiite Dr Adil Abdul Mehdi, a Rumsfeld friend and a member of Al-Hakim party. The Americans have prepared Benazir Bhutto and Abdul Mehdi to salvage their client regimes, respectively, in Pakistan and in Iraq. This was discussed during Al-Hakim visit to Washington and his meetings with Bush and with Jewish Dr H. Kissinger. As for the other Bush planned changes our information point to the following:
Mr Al-Hashimi, a Sunni Arab with CIA and MI-6 connection, will be Iraq President replacing Kurdish Al-Talibani, while Mr Ali Al Biati, A Shiite Arab, will replace Kurdish Khoshyar Zibari as a foreign minister. The Kurds will get the post of the speaker of the house replacing the current Mr Al-Meshhadani.
Unfortunately Arabs don’t believe in peaceful demonstrations against G.W. Bush's visit and will continue to support the resistance to the USraeli crusaders, using non-peaceful means.

Blair, Berlusconi, Barruso and Aznar were enthusiastic about the war on Iraq, albeit pretending to show some restraint. Tony Blair wanted Bush to go the UN, but went to fabricate evidence in his dossier. Berlusconi is credited with forging the letter showing Saddam wanted to buy Uranium Ore from Niger. Barruso got US support to become the European commissioner. Aznar is currently on the Board of director of Rupert Murdoch media giant and lectures at a cahrge of $50000 an hour. Tony Blair is cashing millions. Politics is a dirty field infested by the crooks. Unlike Chirac, Schroeder, Prodi and Zappatero who stood against the war, Blair and co. worked like prostitutes. We all hope that someday there will be an an international tribunal prosecuting Bush and his allies as war criminals

When the Russians lost in Afghanistan, the Soviet union collapsed. Iraq is already putting America on its knees. The more America pushes the more nails it casts in its own coffin as a superpower. Vladimir Putin was mentioned, that the defeat of America in Iraq is a possibility. It will be a humiliating defeat as Bush may need to beg Ahmedinejad to allow the US to extradite its troops from Iraq.

Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Iraqi Army and Maliki as Vichy of Germany

On January 6, 1921 the Iraqi army was formed. The draft was introduced and all Iraqis above 18 years must join the military service for a period of two years. The Iraqi army operated as a huge multi-ethnic and multi- religious institution. Before 1948, Iraqi Jews were obliged to join the service. Prior to 1958, Iraq military equipment and training were British. But after the July 14, 1958 revolution, Iraq left Baghdad Pact and acquired military equipment from the Soviet Union. The old army weapons were sent to the Algerian fighting the French and to the Yemenis fighting the British. The Iraqi army rebelled against the pro-British royal family in 1941 and in1958 where all members of the royal house were killed. The Iraqi army and air force took part in battles against Israel in 1948, 1967 and in 1973. The army grew from a mere three divisions in 1958 to 30 divisions in 1980. It fought an eight year war against Iran (1980-1988), invaded Kuwait in 1990 and was dissolved by the Americans in 2003 as requested by the Israelis. All Iraqis were proud of their army. Unfortunately, the Americans are trying to re-organise the army, not to defend Iraq, but to defend their occupation. In every country an army is formed to defend the country’s borders against foreign invaders. But what are the duties of the Iraqi army when the country is being raped by US soldiers and their mercenaries? I call on all personnel currently wearing Iraqi army uniforms to think seriously of their present position. Protecting the American invaders is not an option as it is a punishable act of betrayal.

The Iraqi army served as a training ground for most Iraqis from farm boys to university graduates. Training includes military tactics, strategies, weapon handling, organisation, hygiene, geography and history. Most Iraqi car mechanics were trained during their military service. There is an Army Reserve Officers College that accepts univeristy graduates.

The Russians who collaborated with Hitler Wehrmacht were punished as traitors. Similarly, all French who collaborated with the German-installed Vichy government were put on trial. Al-Maliki is like Vichy, installed by the hated American invaders.

Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Of Persia, With Love

by Mehru Jaffer

Sudabeh Mortezai, 39, is a filmmaker with a mission. She would like to see more and more people talk about themselves on screen. Her theme is Iran and her genre, the documentary.

The award-winning Mortezai prefers documentaries to feature films as she finds real life people and original scenes more inspiring than their fictional counterparts for interpreting the modern world. "Fiction fuels the imagination but documentaries go beyond the imagination," she

'Children of the Prophet', an 86-minute documentary film, follows four groups of protagonists in Tehran during Muharram, a Shia Muslim ritual to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, grandson of Prophet Muhammad. The idea was to find out from contemporary Iranians how the tragedy that took place more than a millennium ago is able to inspire such strong emotions in this day and age.

The film, which opened in Vienna (Austria) last May, continues to draw crowds, perhaps because Iran is so much in the news but so little is known about its people and culture. "We are flooded with information but obviously none of it is enough to satisfy the curiosity of global citizens looking for more in-depth reports about countries, like Iran, that are headline news every day," explains Mortezai.

Completed in 2006, 'Children of the Prophet' was first screened in The Netherlands last autumn as an official entry to the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), where it won the First Appearance Award, including a cash prize of Euros 2,500. This is one of the five prizes awarded annually by IDFA, the largest documentary film festival in the world.

It continues to bother Mortezai the way Iran is demonised by the world and seen as a society that is both backward and cruel. "When people look at veiled Muslim women, it is immediately concluded that they are submissive, less intellectual and unaware of their rights. Nothing is further from the truth. Women in Iran are involved today in a fierce fight for their rights in a very patriarchal society, where privileged people refuse to give up a lifestyle enjoyed by them for centuries."

Moretzai agrees that it is not right to force women to wear the veil; but also points to the terrible social pressure on women in western societies to remain sexy, thin and 'beautiful'.

She is most annoyed when friends in Austria tell her that she is not like an Iranian woman. Implying, perhaps, that everything that is intelligent, creative and modern about her is because of her life in Europe. This is not true, she says, even as she enjoys living in a democratic society where equal rights are granted to women legally.

"But even in democratic European societies violence against women exists," Mortezai says, as she recalls growing up with a mother and grandmother, two of the most liberal and intelligent women to have crossed her path.

"My octogenarian grandmother continues to make men of different age groups dance to her tune, leading many of them to the fountain but not allowing them to drink," she says with a laugh.

During her research for 'Children of the Prophet', Mortezai found that the relationship between the two sexes is extremely complex in Iran and this is a theme she will explore in her next documentary.

Born in Germany, Mortezai spent the first 12 years of her life in Iran before moving to Vienna. She is a graduate in theatre studies from the University of Vienna. One of her first jobs was in the offices of the prestigious Viennale, the international film festival of Austria. Mortezai is remembered for having introduced audiences in Vienna to the marvellous films of Bahram Beizai, master Iranian film director, almost a decade ago.

It has taken her some time to make her own film and, when she was finally ready to do so, she chose to observe actuality rather than stage it and to listen to protagonists tell their own story rather than pressure actors to deliver dialogues. At the moment she is in no mood to dramatise fiction. She wants to get as close as possible to the truth and prefers to creatively work with the raw material instead of acting out the reality around her.

Documentaries, too, can be staged and Mortezai gives the example of Michael Moore who, she says, is 'manipulative'. "I admire what Moore does and his documentaries are very important but I do not make films the way he does. I like to wait and give people the opportunity to open up to me, to tell me what they want to and not what I want to hear." (Moore is an Academy Award-winning American director and producer of controversial 'Fahrenheit 9/11'.)

While Mortezai's family did not observe the Muharram rituals at home, she did watch it on television and invariably the conclusions of her European friends were that the public display of grief by Iranians, who beat their breast and cut themselves with knives during Muharram (as a form of mourning), is barbaric.

So, she travelled to Iran to find out for herself. After filming 'Children of the Prophet', she discovered that the ritual is indeed archaic, but not barbaric. "The image of Iran is based on highlighting the dramatic aspect of life in the country. This is totally out of context. The every-day life of ordinary Iranians is seldom explored," Mortezai rues.

Her film documents a few days in the life of a handsome male florist as he prepares to participate in the annual Muharram procession along with three other protagonists. This is the time of the year when people take a break from their daily chores and reach out to the community. They cry, cook, eat and philosophise about the meaning of life together, creating a field of tremendous solidarity and energy.

"The energy that the community as a whole generates can be frightening for those who do not belong. But a crowd of people during Muharram is as benign or as explosive as the excitement of spectators at a game of soccer or a rock concert. The gathering of people to mourn together and to laugh together is practised all over the world. It is not something Islamic or exclusive to Muslim societies. Then why demonise Muharram?"

Muharram is the name of the Islamic New Year. But during this month, Hussain, the grandson of the prophet was killed as he fearlessly battled for social justice. The Shia Muslims grow up on legends glorifying Hussain and the way he sacrificed his life for truth. The grieving on behalf of Shia Muslims today is symbolic of the loss of wisdom, decency and courage from the world and a reminder that greed and cruelty is unbecoming to human existence.

Once Muharram is over, the young man in 'Children of the Prophet' is seen returning to his flower shop to begin preparations for the next festival on the calendar - that happens to be St. Valentine's Day.
July 29, 2007

By arrangement with WFS

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Iraqi refugees turn to sex trade in Syria

31 Dec 2007 13:04:11 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent

DAMASCUS, Dec 31 (Reuters) - A score of young Iraqi women in tight, shimmering gowns shuffle across the nightclub dance floor under the hungry eyes of Gulf Arabs at nearby tables.

The band blasts out Iraqi songs into the early hours as the watching youths join the dancing or summon girls to sit with them -- there is little pretence about what gets transacted at this neon-lit nightspot half an hour's drive north of Damascus.

The dancers, some in their early teens, do not want to talk, but one said she had no other way to support her family. "My father was killed in Baghdad and our money is finished," muttered the dark-haired girl in a black and silver dress.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR calls it "survival sex", a desperate way to cope for Iraqi refugees whose savings have run out since they escaped the violence at home.

The idea repels many of the 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria, but the struggle to make ends meet has forced some to share tiny apartments with other families in the slums of Damascus, put their children out to work or marry off teenaged daughters.

Sometimes such early marriages are simply a cover for prostitution as young brides are swiftly trafficked, according to Hana Ibrahim, head of the Iraqi Women's Will Association.

She also cited a growing incidence of temporary marriage, accepted in Shi'ite Muslim tradition, as another common route into the sex trade. "Mut'a (temporary) marriage is just for Shi'ites, but who said the Sunnis don't have other ways?"

UNHCR representative Laurens Jolles said survival sex was directly proportional to general refugee impoverishment.

"We are more and more confronted with examples of young girls or women who have decided on their own or through their families to get involved in night clubs to supplement the family income or just to look after their children," Jolles added.

Some end up in Syrian detention. Those who get out are often bailed out by their exploiters and returned to the streets.

Impoverishment is also the main factor driving refugees to return home -- about 1,500 a day are crossing back into Iraq, compared to up to 500 daily arrivals, the UNHCR says.

A survey in November showed 46 percent were returning due to financial hardship and 26 percent because their visas had run out -- Syria has recently tightened entry and residence rules.


But among the myriad Iraqi refugee families who have sunk into poverty are many determined to get by without dishonour.

"We don't think of our future, only of our children's future," said Rukkaya Fadhil, a 34-year-old woman in a green headscarf who keeps smiling despite the grim reality around her.

She has to care for her husband Fallah Jaheel, paralysed from the waist down after being shot several times in his mobile telephone shop in Babil, south of Baghdad, three years ago.

The couple sold their house to pay for Jaheel's first seven months in hospital and eventually fled to Syria with their two children, aged 11 and 7. They have lived for a year in the poor Damascus district of Sayyida Zeinab, crowded with Iraqis.

Their savings gone, they depend on charity and whatever help they can get from foreign relief agencies, hoping they will one day be given funds to go abroad so that Jaheel can get advanced treatment for his paralysis -- and perhaps walk again.

The UNHCR and partner agencies are handing out food and cash to the neediest Iraqi refugee families they can identify.

They plan to give food packages to at least 200,000 people in the next two months, compared to 51,000 now. About 7,000 families will be getting $100 a month by the end of December.

Bushra, 39, who would not give her family name, sometimes despairs at the indignities of life as a refugee and the struggle to look after her family in a foreign land.

Her troubles began, she explains, when her three brothers were killed at the behest of Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein. That prompted her husband to leave her, and the wives of the two married brothers to abandon their children.

Bushra was left to care for nine children, only one of them her own, as well as her ailing mother. One of the boys was killed by Shi'ite militia in Iraq. Sufyan, the oldest at 21, was tortured and cannot work. He sits staring at the television.

"I'm so tired, God, I'm tired," the usually feisty Bushra wept in the damp, unheated room where the family sleeps. "What's this life? We knew no life under Saddam and no life after him."

Her mother, a black scarf around her face, recalled their once-comfortable life in Baghdad, saying their flat in Damascus would have fitted into a corridor of the villa they once owned.

"Just take me back to Iraq so I can die there," she pleaded.

Bushra, who has worked in Iraq as a photographer and a hairdresser, cannot find a job in Damascus -- officially Iraqi refugees are not allowed to work in Syria. One grown-up son is a casual labourer on building sites, earning about $3 a day.

Somehow Bushra has held her family together, but it is easy to see how refugees in similar straits might send their children to work or beg, or cast aside social and religious taboos and push their womenfolk into night clubs or dubious marriages.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bhutto: A Tragedy Born of Despotism and Anarchy

By Tariq Ali, Comment Is Free. Posted December 29, 2007.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto heaps despair upon Pakistan. Now her party must be democratically rebuilt.

Even those of us sharply critical of Benazir Bhutto's behavior and policies - both while she was in office and more recently - are stunned and angered by her death. Indignation and fear stalk the country once again.

An odd coexistence of military despotism and anarchy created the conditions leading to her assassination in Rawalpindi yesterday. In the past, military rule was designed to preserve order - and did so for a few years. No longer. Today it creates disorder and promotes lawlessness. How else can one explain the sacking of the chief justice and eight other judges of the country's supreme court for attempting to hold the government's intelligence agencies and the police accountable to courts of law? Their replacements lack the backbone to do anything, let alone conduct a proper inquest into the misdeeds of the agencies to uncover the truth behind the carefully organized killing of a major political leader.

How can Pakistan today be anything but a conflagration of despair? It is assumed that the killers were jihadi fanatics. This may well be true, but were they acting on their own?

Benazir, according to those close to her, had been tempted to boycott the fake elections, but she lacked the political courage to defy Washington. She had plenty of physical courage, and refused to be cowed by threats from local opponents. She had been addressing an election rally in Liaquat Bagh. This is a popular space named after the country's first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, who was killed by an assassin in 1953. The killer, Said Akbar, was immediately shot dead on the orders of a police officer involved in the plot. Not far from here, there once stood a colonial structure where nationalists were imprisoned. This was Rawalpindi jail. It was here that Benazir's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was hanged in April 1979. The military tyrant responsible for his judicial murder made sure the site of the tragedy was destroyed as well.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's death poisoned relations between his Pakistan People's party and the army. Party activists, particularly in the province of Sind, were brutally tortured, humiliated and, sometimes, disappeared or killed.

Pakistan's turbulent history, a result of continuous military rule and unpopular global alliances, confronts the ruling elite now with serious choices. They appear to have no positive aims. The overwhelming majority of the country disapproves of the government's foreign policy. They are angered by its lack of a serious domestic policy except for further enriching a callous and greedy elite that includes a swollen, parasitic military. Now they watch helplessly as politicians are shot dead in front of them.

Benazir had survived the bomb blast yesterday but was felled by bullets fired at her car. The assassins, mindful of their failure in Karachi a month ago, had taken out a double insurance this time. They wanted her dead. It is impossible for even a rigged election to take place now. It will have to be postponed, and the military high command is no doubt contemplating another dose of army rule if the situation gets worse, which could easily happen.

What has happened is a multilayered tragedy. It's a tragedy for a country on a road to more disasters. Torrents and foaming cataracts lie ahead. And it is a personal tragedy. The house of Bhutto has lost another member. Father, two sons and now a daughter have all died unnatural deaths.

I first met Benazir at her father's house in Karachi when she was a fun-loving teenager, and later at Oxford. She was not a natural politician and had always wanted to be a diplomat, but history and personal tragedy pushed in the other direction. Her father's death transformed her. She had become a new person, determined to take on the military dictator of that time. She had moved to a tiny flat in London, where we would endlessly discuss the future of the country. She would agree that land reforms, mass education programs, a health service and an independent foreign policy were positive constructive aims and crucial if the country was to be saved from the vultures in and out of uniform. Her constituency was the poor, and she was proud of the fact.

She changed again after becoming prime minister. In the early days, we would argue and in response to my numerous complaints - all she would say was that the world had changed. She couldn't be on the "wrong side" of history. And so, like many others, she made her peace with Washington. It was this that finally led to the deal with Musharraf and her return home after more than a decade in exile. On a number of occasions she told me that she did not fear death. It was one of the dangers of playing politics in Pakistan.

It is difficult to imagine any good coming out of this tragedy, but there is one possibility. Pakistan desperately needs a political party that can speak for the social needs of a bulk of the people. The People's party founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was built by the activists of the only popular mass movement the country has known: students, peasants and workers who fought for three months in 1968-69 to topple the country's first military dictator. They saw it as their party, and that feeling persists in some parts of the country to this day, despite everything.

Benazir's horrific death should give her colleagues pause for reflection. To be dependent on a person or a family may be necessary at certain times, but it is a structural weakness, not a strength for a political organization. The People's party needs to be refounded as a modern and democratic organization, open to honest debate and discussion, defending social and human rights, uniting the many disparate groups and individuals in Pakistan desperate for any halfway decent alternative, and coming forward with concrete proposals to stabilize occupied and war-torn Afghanistan. This can and should be done. The Bhutto family should not be asked for any more sacrifices.


Benazir’s murder: Govt mulling action against Musharraf’s kin

ISLAMABAD: Consultations are underway at the Presidency to decide if action should be taken against two close relatives of former president Pervez Musharraf over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, according to sources. Maj Gen Nadeem and Major Gen (r) Nusrat Naeem are accused of “torturing” political leaders, while Maj Gen Nadeem – who was MI chief at the time of Benazir’s assassination – also ordered officials to wash away the crime scene outside Rawalpindi’s Liaqat Bagh. Both of them are close relatives of Musharraf’s spouse. The sources said it was likely that Nadeem – who is currently posted as the Gujranwala log area commander – would be retired compulsory and action would be launched over Benazir’s assassination, with a criminal investigation underway following the release of a UN report. staff report

Bhutto Names Her Suspected Assasins, Says Bin Laden is Dead

Nov '07: Bhutto Names Her Suspected Assasins, Says Bin Laden is Dead [VIDEO]

Bhutto said in regards to working with Musharraf, "I'm not going to be the icing on the cake if it's a poisoned cake."

In early November, Sir David Frost spoke to former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto about her controversial return to Pakistan, who she thought was behind the deadly bombing of her convoy in Karachi that October, and whether she and Musharraf could forge a power-sharing agreement. Watch the video to your right for more.

Click here to Play

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Saddam Provided More Food to Iraqis Than the U.S.

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who reports from Iraq.
Ali Ahmed is IPS's correspondent in Iraq's Diyala province.

The Iraqi government announcement that monthly food rations will be cut by half has left many Iraqis asking how they can survive. The government also wants to reduce the number of people depending on the rationing system by five million by June 2008.

Iraq's food rations system was introduced by the Saddam Hussein government in 1991 in response to the UN economic sanctions. Families were allotted basic foodstuffs monthly because the Iraqi Dinar and the economy collapsed.

The sanctions, imposed after Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait, were described as "genocidal" by Denis Halliday, then UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. Halliday quit his post in protest against the U.S.-backed sanctions.

The sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children, and as many adults, according to the UN. They brought malnutrition, disease, and lack of medicines. Iraqis became nearly completely reliant on food rations for survival. The programme has continued into the U.S.-led occupation.

But now the U.S.-backed Iraqi government has announced it will halve the essential items in the ration because of "insufficient funds and spiralling inflation."

The cuts, which are to be introduced in the beginning of 2008, have drawn widespread criticism. The Iraqi government is unable to supply the rations with several billion dollars at its disposal, whereas Saddam Hussein was able to maintain the programme with less than a billion dollars.

"In 2007, we asked for 3.2 billion dollars for rationing basic foodstuffs," Mohammed Hanoun, Iraq's chief of staff for the ministry of trade told al-Jazeera. "But since the prices of imported foodstuff doubled in the past year, we requested 7.2 billion dollars for this year. That request was denied."

The trade ministry is now preparing to slash the list of subsidised items by half to five basic food items, "namely flour, sugar, rice, oil, and infant milk," Hanoun said.

The imminent move will affect nearly 10 million people who depend on the rationing system. But it has already caused outrage in Baquba, 40 km northeast of Baghdad.

"The monthly food ration was the only help from the government," local grocer Ibrahim al-Ageely told IPS. "It was of great benefit for the families. The food ration consisted of two kilos of rice, sugar, soap, tea, detergent, wheat flour, lentils, chick-peas, and other items for every individual."

Another grocer said the food ration was the "life of all Iraqis; every month, Iraqis wait in queues to receive their food rations."

According to an Oxfam International report released in July this year, "60 percent (of Iraqis) currently have access to rations through the government-run Public Distribution System (PDS), down from 96 percent in 2004."

The report said that "43 percent of Iraqis suffer from absolute poverty," and that according to some estimates over half the population are now without work. "Children are hit the hardest by the decline in living standards. Child malnutrition rates have risen from 19 percent before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to 28 percent now."

While salaries have increased since the invasion of March 2003, they have not kept pace with the dramatic increase in the prices of food and fuel.

"My salary is 280 dollars, and I have six children," 49-year-old secondary school teacher Ali Kadhim told IPS. "The increase in my salary was neutralised by an increase in the price of food. I cannot afford to buy the foodstuffs in addition to the other necessary expenses of life."

"The high increase in food prices led people to condemn the delays in the ration every month," Salah Kadhim, an employee in the directorate-general of health for Diyala province told IPS. "The jobless just cannot afford to buy food."

"The food ration still represents a big part of the domestic budget," Muneer Lafta, a 51-year-old employee at the health directorate told IPS. Without the ration, she said, families have to go to the market. Because Iraqi families are large, usually six to 12 people, shopping for food is simply unaffordable.

"I and my wife have five boys and six girls, so the ration costs a lot when it has to be bought," 55-year-old resident Khalaf Atiya told IPS. "I cannot afford food and also other expenses like study, clothes, doctors."

People in Baquba, living with violence and joblessness for long, are now preparing for this new twist.

"No security, no food, no electricity, no trade, no services. So life is good," said one resident, who would not give his name.

Many fear the food ration cuts can spark unrest. "The government will commit a big mistake, because providing enough food ration could compensate the government's mistakes in other fields like security," a local physician told IPS. "The Iraq will now feel that he, or she, is of no value to the government."

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who reports from Iraq.
Ali Ahmed is IPS's correspondent in Iraq's Diyala province.