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Monday, August 30, 2010

Q&A-Is the U.S. scaling back in Iraq too early?

Iraqi Prime Minister Post (announcement)
All Iraqis with following qualifications may apply to fill the vacant post of Iraqi Prime minister:
1. An Iraqi citizen with dual nationalities.
2.A good financial experience with a foreign bank account.
3.A family that lives outside Iraq for security reasons.
4.Acceptance to work in confinement inside the Green Zone.
5.Evidence of loyalty to US policies and economic interests.
6.Past experience in promoting US-style democracy in the area.
7.Tolerance toward the presence of Israeli MOSSAD agents in the country.
Applications are sent to the US embassy, Green Zone, Baghdad
Note: Kindly indicate religious and ethnic affiliation. No certificate of university education is needed.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

30 Aug 2010 21:14:40 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Michael Christie

BAGHDAD, Aug 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. military formally ends combat operations in Iraq on Tuesday, closing what it hopes will have been the bloodiest and costliest chapters of the war launched 7-1/2 years ago by former President George W. Bush.

The milestone, marked by cuts in U.S. troop numbers to below 50,000, allows President Barack Obama to fulfil a pledge to start ending the deeply unpopular war as his fellow Democrats seek to retain control of Congress in elections in November.

Here are some questions and answers on how Iraq might fare as U.S. troops depart:

* How stable is Iraq now?

Iraq is in a precarious state as it starts to chart its own path before a full U.S. withdrawal by end-2011.

Iraqi factions, split by years of bloodshed between majority Shi'ites and once dominant Sunnis, have yet to agree on a new government almost six months after an inconclusive election.

Insurgents tied to al Qaeda continue to launch frequent attacks, spreading an air of peril and sowing doubts about the imperfect democracy bestowed on Iraq by the U.S. invaders.

International oil firms are starting work on large-scale oil projects that could transform Iraq into a wealthy country.

But right now the economy outside the oil sector remains moribund(Approaching death; about to die.), towering blast walls still line many rubble-strewn streets and most families sweat through the pounding Iraqi summer heat with only a few hours of public electricity.

The fate of the disputed city of Kirkuk, which may spawn a war between the Arabs and Kurds who claim it, is unresolved.

* Is the United States pulling out too early?

In the long run, outsiders cannot impose peace in Iraq. It has to come from an accommodation between its factions.

At some point, U.S. relations with Iraq have to be based on diplomacy and economics, rather than on the physical presence of tens of thousands of heavily armed American soldiers.

Yet many fear the cut in U.S. troop numbers is premature given the parlous state of Iraq's stability and security.

As Washington retreats, grievances between Shi'ites and Sunnis may erupt again, and revenge killings and a struggle for power may rekindle broader violence, although a return to the all-out sectarian slaughter of 2006/07 is unlikely.

Clashes between Iraq's Arab-led army and Kurdish peshmerga have often only been averted by U.S. intervention. The risks increase when U.S. forces thin out.

Political disillusionment may also take Iraq back down a path well-trodden in its own history and that of much of the Arab world -- military coups and dictatorships.

But Iraq's warring communities may only come to terms if forced to deal with each other directly, without the United States acting as referee or interested party, many analysts say.

The U.S. troop presence, for instance, has incubated the territorial ambitions of minority Kurds, long oppressed by Saddam Hussein. Without it, Kurds adopt may adopt more pragmatic positions over areas they deem historically theirs and which they want included in their semi-autonomous northern region.

Majority Shi'ites, meanwhile, may become more accommodating of Sunni concerns once American forces leave and can no longer be counted on to help control any violent Sunni reaction.

"Without the U.S., Iraqi political factions may be more willing to make hard compromises, because they will be more afraid of the backlash if they do not," said Juan Cole, a professor of Middle East history at Michigan University.

* Can Iraqi security forces defeat the insurgency?

Even when the U.S. military was at the peak of its power in Iraq, with around 170,000 soldiers bristling with weaponry, it failed to stop suicide bombings by Sunni Islamist insurgents or mortar bomb attacks by Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia.

The newly built Iraqi army cannot be expected to succeed where the U.S. army failed.

The insurgency is, however, a shadow of its former self.

Squeezed out of most of their strongholds when Sunni tribal chiefs turned on them in 2006-07, Iraqi al Qaeda groups have also lost many leaders this year and much public support.

They can carry out devastating assaults that stir unease, but lack the strength to overturn the political system.

In any case, the 50,000 U.S. soldiers remaining for 16 more months constitute a formidable back-up force that could swiftly return to combat if needed.

What Iraq's 660,000-strong police and military cannot do at the moment is defend the borders against external aggression.

Only the first 10 of 140 M1A1 Abrams tanks ordered from the United States have been delivered and Iraq won't get the first of the F-16 fighters it hopes to buy until 2013 at the earliest -- two years after the last U.S. soldier is due to pull out.

The dangers confronting Iraq after U.S. combat operations end have probably been overstated, Eurasia Group analysts David Bender and Greg Priddy wrote in a recent report.

"The bigger question is what will happen at the end of 2011, when all U.S. troops are scheduled to quit Iraq."

* What are the likely hotspots to watch?

The main question right now is who becomes prime minister.

Will a cross-sectarian alliance heavily backed in the March 7 election by Sunni voters get what they feel is a fair share of power or be shut out by the major Shi'ite-led blocs?

Will the next prime minister be strong or have his executive authority whittled down by factional deal-making to the extent that he is unable to contain politically powerful militia?

The violent northern city of Mosul, al Qaeda's last urban stronghold, will test Iraqi police and troops; and how the authorities treat the Sunni militiamen who turned on al Qaeda will be important for any reconciliation process.

In the longer term, relations between Arabs and Kurds will be crucial, not just to peace but also to prosperity. The Kurdish region possibly holds a quarter of Iraq's oil reserves. (Editing by Alistair Lyon)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

7 US troops killed in latest Afghanistan fighting


Abdul Manan, a candidate for the September Parliament elections is brought to a hospital, after being shot, in Herat, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Satu AP – Abdul Manan, a candidate for the September Parliament elections is brought to a hospital, after being …

* Afghanistan Slideshow:Afghanistan
* Flood Victims Search for Home Play Video Pakistan Video:Flood Victims Search for Home FOX News
* Pakistan Video:7News: Cricket council investigating Pakistan Australia 7 News

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press Writer – 17 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – Seven U.S. troops have died in weekend attacks in Afghanistan's embattled southern and eastern regions, while officials found the bodies Sunday of five kidnapped campaign aides working for a female candidate in the western province of Herat.

Two servicemen died in bombings Sunday in southern Afghanistan, while two others were killed in a bomb attack in the south on Saturday, and three in fighting in the east the same day, NATO said. Their identities and other details were being withheld until relatives could be notified.

The latest deaths bring to 42 the number of American forces who have died this month in Afghanistan after July's high of 66. A total of 62 international forces have died in the country this month, including seven British troops.

Fighting is intensifying with the addition of 30,000 U.S. troops to bring the total number of international forces in Afghanistan to 140,000 — 100,000 of them American. Most of those new troops have been assigned to the southern insurgent strongholds of Helmand and Kandahar provinces where major battles are fought almost daily as part of a gathering drive to push out the Taliban.

The five campaign workers were snatched Wednesday by armed men who stopped their two-vehicle convoy as it drove through remote countryside. Five others traveling in the vehicles had earlier been set free, according to a man who answered the phone at the home of candidate Fawzya Galani and declined to give his name.

Residents of Herat's Adraskan district reported finding the bodies early Sunday. They were later transported to the local morgue for identification by family members, district chief Nasar Ahmad Popul said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killings, although Taliban insurgents have waged a bloody campaign of murder and intimidation against candidates and election workers in hopes of sabotaging the Sept. 18 parliamentary polls the 249 seats in the lower house.

In a similar attack in Herat, male parliamentary candidate Abdul Manan was shot and killed Saturday on his way to a mosque by an assassin traveling on the back of a motorcycle.

Meanwhile Sunday, two suicide bombers attempted to climb over the back wall of a compound housing the governor of the far western province of Farah, but were spotted by guards and shot, provincial police Chief Mohammad Faqir Askir said.

The men's vests exploded, although it wasn't clear if they detonated themselves or because they were hit by bullets, Askir said.

The explosions blasted a chunk out of the wall and blew out windows in the compound, but there were no other reports of deaths or injuries, he said.

NATO said eight insurgents were killed in joint Afghan-NATO operations Saturday night in the province of Paktiya, including a Taliban commander, Naman, accused of coordinating roadside bomb attacks and the movement of ammunition, supplies and fighters.

Automatic weapons, grenades, magazines and bomb-making material were found in buildings in Zormat district along the mountainous border with Pakistan. Afghan leaders frequently complain that Pakistan is doing too little to prevent cross-border incursions and shut down insurgent safe havens inside its territory.

Just to the south in Khost province, U.S. and Afghan troops raised the death toll among insurgents to more than 30 in simultaneous attacks Saturday by about 50 fighters on Forward Operating Base Salerno and nearby Camp Chapman, where seven CIA employees died in a suicide attack in December.

Insurgents wore replica American uniforms and at least 13 had strapped themselves into suicide bomb vests, NATO said.

The early morning raids appeared to be part of an insurgent strategy to step up attacks in widely scattered parts of the country as the U.S. focuses its resources on the battle around Kandahar.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said two Afghan soldiers were killed and three wounded in the fighting, although NATO said there had been no deaths among the defenders. Four U.S. troops were wounded, NATO officials said.

U.S. and Afghan officials blamed the attack on the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based faction of the Taliban with close ties to al-Qaida. In follow-up operations Sunday, a Haqqani commander involved in the attacks and two other insurgents were detained in Khost's Sabari district, NATO said.

NATO also said it launched an airstrike in the northern province of Kunduz on three insurgents, including a commander with the Taliban-allied Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan responsible for recruiting foreign fighters and leading attacks. At least one of the three was killed and another wounded, the alliance said.

NATO has stepped up efforts to provide security to allow an election whose outcome will be generally accepted as credible, hoping that will help stabilize the nation's fractious politics that are helping fuel the violence.

Yet frictions have continued to mar the relationship between the government of President Hamid Karzai and its international partners, largely over the knotty question of endemic official corruption.

On Saturday, the government criticized U.S. media reports that numerous Afghan officials had allegedly received payments from the CIA — including one who reportedly took a bribe to block a wide-ranging probe into graft.

A presidential office statement did not address or deny any specific allegations, but called the reports an insult to the government and an attempt to defame people within it.

The statement came the same day as a top graft-battling Afghan prosecutor said he had been forced into retirement.

Deputy Attorney General Fazel Ahmed Faqiryar has complained that Attorney General Mohammad Ishaq Aloko and others are blocking corruption cases against high-ranking government officials. He said Aloko wrote a retirement letter for him earlier in the week and that Karzai accepted it.

Officials said Sunday that Faqiryar had been retired because he was 72, two years over the mandatory retirement age.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

NATO forces fight off Taliban attacks on Afghan bases

28 Aug 2010 14:02:47 GMT
Source: Reuters
(For more on Afghanistan, click [ID:nAFPAK])

* Twenty-four insurgents killed in base raids

* Attacks target eastern bases; air strike called in

* Two security contractors mistakenly killed in Wardak

* Dozens of girls poisoned at school

(Updates toll)

By Elyas Wahdat

KHOST, Afghanistan, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Foreign and Afghan troops killed 24 insurgents as they fought off pre-dawn attacks on two bases in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said, with the Taliban saying suicide bombers were among the attackers.

The attacks targeted the U.S. military's Forward Operating Base Chapman and nearby Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost province near the eastern border with Pakistan, where U.S. and other foreign forces have been stepping up operations against a resurgent Taliban.

Seven Central Intelligence Agency officers were killed by a suicide bomber inside Chapman last December, the second-most deadly attack in CIA history. [ID:nSGE5BU01G]

Despite the presence of almost 150,000 foreign troops, violence across Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.

Taliban-led insurgents have launched increasingly brazen attacks around Afghanistan in a bid to topple the government and force out foreign troops. More than 2,000 foreign troops have been killed, most of them Americans, since the conflict began.

Hundreds of civilians have also been caught in the crossfire, with civilian deaths up by 31 percent in the first six months of this year, according to a United Nations report.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said air support was called in after the bases came under attack by small-arms fire, rockets and rocket-propelled grenades at about 4 a.m. (2330 GMT Friday).

Similar attacks against foreign military bases and Afghan government buildings in the east have been made in the past year.

ISAF said in a statement later on Saturday that about 15 insurgents were killed at Salerno and another six at Chapman. Two insurgents were able to breach the perimeter into Salerno but were killed immediately, it said.

Also, an insurgent from the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network and two other fighters were killed in an air strike called in when they were seen driving away from the attack, taking the total killed to 24.

Five insurgents were captured and a car bomb and another vehicle carrying ammunition were found near the camps, ISAF said. It said four ISAF soldiers were wounded.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said about 30 fighters had attacked the bases. They included suicide bombers and others armed with rockets and machine guns, Mujahid told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Khost police chief Abdul Hakim Ishaaqzai said the bodies of 24 insurgents were found near the two bases. Reuters Television pictures showed some were wearing Afghan police or army uniforms.

Ishaaqzai said two civilians were also killed. Though ISAF said the attacks had been repelled, residents said intermittent shooting and explosions could still be heard several hours later.


ISAF also said its forces had mistakenly killed two private security contractors after a patrol came under fire from insurgents in an attack in Wardak province, west of the capital.

A car approached the patrol at speed on a highway in the Maidan Shahr district of Wardak on Friday and men could be seen shooting out of the vehicle's windows, ISAF said in a statement.

The patrol fired on the vehicle, killing two people inside later identified as private security contractors.

"It is believed that the private security contractors were returning fire against the same insurgents who had just previously attacked the coalition vehicle, and had increased their speed to break contact," ISAF said.

Also on Saturday, 48 Afghan schoolgirls were taken to hospital after a suspected poison gas attack on their school in the capital, Kabul, the Ministry of Public Health said, the second such attack in the past three days.

Thirty-nine were released after treatment, while nine were kept for observation or further treatment.

The Taliban banned education for girls when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001 but have condemned similar attacks in the past. They have, however, set fire to dozens of schools, threatened teachers and attacked schoolgirls in rural areas.

The suicide attack on Forward Operating Base Chapman on Dec. 30 last year highlighted the insurgency's reach and coordination, particularly in their strongholds in the south and east.

A similar attack was launched this month on the main foreign base in southern Kandahar, the spiritual homeland of the Taliban.

Poor security is one of the main concerns for Afghans before parliamentary elections on Sept. 18, a milestone after fraud-marred presidential polls last year and with U.S. President Barack Obama planning a strategy review in December. (Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi in Kabul; Editing by Paul Tait and Jon Hemming) (For more Reuters coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, see: http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/afghanistanpakistan) (paul.tait@reuters.com; Kabul Newsroom, +93 706 011 526) (If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Senior Hezbollah member killed in Beirut clashes

24 Aug 2010 22:06:18 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Calm returns to the streets

* Two groups say no political motives behind clashes

(Adds clashes end, statements by groups, background)

By Mariam Karouny

BEIRUT, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Two Lebanese men, including a senior member of Hezbollah, were killed in Beirut on Tuesday in clashes between supporters of the Shi'ite militant group and a Sunni faction, security sources said.

They said the clashes were sparked by a fight between a supporter of Hezbollah and another from the Sunni al-Ahbash group in the neighbourhood of Burj Abi Haidar. It then escalated into clashes with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.

"The toll now is two killed," one source said. "One of them is Mohammad Fawaz who is in charge of Burj Abi Haidar sector".

An al-Ahbash official said the other casualty was a supporter of the Sunni faction.

The clashes ended after the army deployed in the area.

The two groups said in a joint statement that there was "no political or sectarian background" behind the clashes. "(We) stress that this was an individual unfortunate incident".

The clashes reflected Lebanon's fragile security situation and increased sectarian tension.

Sunnis form one of Lebanon's main communities, along with Shi'ites and Christians. Sectarian tension ran high after the assassination in 2005 of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, the Sunni's acknowledged national leader.

In 2008 a political crisis led to street fighting between Hezbollah and supporters of Hariri, in a brief echo of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

Tension re-ignited last month after Hezbollah strongly criticised a U.N. tribunal investigating the killing of Hariri and said that the prosecutor's first indictment, expected to be issued in September or October, will blame some of its members.

Hezbollah denies any link to the 2005 killing.


Lebanon tribunal asks Hezbollah for more evidence
25 Aug 2010 08:30:40 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Says DVDs given limited to footage from news conference

* Possibility of Hezbollah indictments has raised tension

BEIRUT, Aug 25 (Reuters) - A U.N. prosecutor investigating the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri has urged Hezbollah to hand over more of the information that Hezbollah says implicates Israel.

Two weeks ago the militant Shi'ite group unveiled what it said was Israeli aerial surveillance of routes taken by Hariri's motorcade before the 2005 bombing that killed him and 22 others.

The group then gave a dossier to Lebanese prosecutors, which was passed to the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The dossier contained six DVDs, U.N. prosecutor Daniel Bellemare's office said in a statement, but was restricted to the footage shown by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah at a news conference on Aug. 9.

Nasrallah said at the time that if there was to be a "serious investigation", he could also provide the court with evidence that an Israeli agent had surveyed the site of Hariri's killing a day before the attack.

"The preliminary assessment of the DVDs has determined that the response is incomplete, since the material that was handed over is limited to the material shown during the ... press conference and does not contain the 'rest of the evidence' that Mr Hassan Nasrallah referred to," Bellemare's office said.

There was no immediate response from Hezbollah. Nasrallah has repeatedly condemned the U.N. investigation, which he said last month was set to indict Hezbollah members over Hariri's killing. Nasrallah has denied any Hezbollah involvement.

In a speech on Tuesday night, he said the fact that Hezbollah had given evidence to Lebanese authorities, who transferred it to Bellemare's office the same day, did not mean Hezbollah was assisting the investigation.

The possibility of Hezbollah indictments has raised political tensions in Lebanon, where the group forms part of a fragile unity government led by Hariri's son Saad, who has backed the U.N. investigation.

Media reports had suggested the indictments could be announced in September or October, though Hezbollah's dossier could delay Bellemare's plans.

His office said no indictment would be issued "until the prosecutor is satisfied that, in light of all the circumstances, it is based on solid and convincing evidence". (Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Suicide bomber kills 41 in Iraqi city of Kut , Baghdad

25 Aug 2010 08:48:05 GMT
Source: Reuters
BASRA, Aug 25 (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber killed at least 41people and wounded 87 in an attack on a police station in the southern Iraqi city of Kut on Wednesday, less than a week before the end of U.S. combat operations, hospital sources said.

The attack followed a series of explosions around the country, including one in the Iraqi capital, where a suicide truck bomber killed at least 11 people and wounded 34 others in another attack on a police station. (Reporting by Aref Mohammed; Writing by Serena Chaudhry; Editing by Jon Boyle)


By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer Sameer N. Yacoub, Associated Press Writer – 1 min ago

BAGHDAD – A string of more than a dozen attacks targeting Iraqi security forces stretching from one end of the country to the other killed 22 people and left scores wounded on Wednesday, police and hospital officials said.

There were no claims of responsibility, but the scale and reach of the violence, which comes a day after the number of U.S. troops fell below 50,000, underscored insurgent efforts to show their might as the American military presence in Iraq shrinks.

The deadliest attack occurred in north Baghdad where a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in a parking lot behind a police station, killing 15 people, including six policemen and nine civilians. Another 58 were wounded in the attack in Baghdad's Qahira neighborhood, police and hospital officials said.

The explosion left a crater of about three meters in diameter, damaged two nearby houses and brought down segments of the concrete blast wall protecting the police station.

Also in Baghdad, two civilians were killed and eight were wounded when a car packed with explosives blew up in Adan square in the northern part of the capital.

North of the capital, a car bomb exploded near the local council building of Muqdadiyah, 60 miles (90 kilometers) from Baghdad, killing three civilians and injuring 18, according to Diyala police spokesman Maj. Ghalib al-Karkhi.

In Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, 28 people were wounded when a car bomb exploded near a police station. A police spokesman in the Shiite holy city, Jassim al-Khatabi, said civilians, policemen and several detainees held at the station were among the injured.

In Basra, in southern Iraq, two people were wounded in a car bomb explosion, police the country's second largest city said.

While violence has subsided significantly since the height of the sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, militants continue to target members of Iraq's nascent security forces, undermining their ability to defend the country as the U.S. ends combat operations in the country.

In addition to daily attacks on Iraq's police and army, the number of criminal attacks has also grown in the past weeks.

In Baghdad in Wednesday, a bomb exploded near a bank in the central district of Karradah, wounding six people waiting to collect their pensions, police said.

A number of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Recent bank robberies and attacks on gold jewelers and money changers across Iraq have raised suspicions al-Qaida-linked insurgents are seeking to replenish their coffers for attacks

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pakistan's Samaa TV Culture after US Invasion

Mehreen Bukhari the leading anchor person of Samaa tv and the innocent looking Asma Sherazi dancing and enjoying the Party at American Embassy and having fun with Black American men.

Shaukat Paracha, Asma Shirazi, Meher Bukhari, Saima Mohsin are some of the names that were in attendance, in a Drink & Dance party hosted by the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson. In video: CIA Hosts Drink and Dance Party For Pakistani Journalists at US Embassy Islamabad,
CIA Public Relations at work? Do you expect this Pakistani media would tell you the truth and serves the interests of Islam and Pakistan? If you still believe that then may Allah help you and show you the righteous path before its too late for all of us.

Marching towards tyranny, again?

Dailytimes: Marching towards tyranny, again?

Altaf Hussain, chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), has appealed for a “martial law-like” intervention by “patriotic generals” against “corrupt feudals and landlord politicians”. Coming from someone whose party is known for its ethnic exclusivism — despite pretending otherwise of late– and various other crimes like land grabbing, bhatta (protection money), torturing and/or murdering dissenters, Mr Hussain’s statement could have been laughed at for its sheer absurdity. The only problem is, this is no laughing matter.

When General Musharraf was in power, we witnessed a militarisation of the state and society. Because of this, the people lost respect for the army. Ever since General Kayani became the chief of army staff (COAS), he has tried to portray himself as a professional soldier with no interest in politics. Under General Kayani, the army has refurbished its image by protecting our territorial integrity and internal security, which is its primary task. Apart from fighting the Taliban, the military has been at the forefront of rescue and relief efforts during the floods. This has done the army’s image much good. On the other hand, the incompetence of the incumbent civilian democratic government is no secret; allegations of massive corruption against the government and its track record have not helped matters either. After the recent floods, despondency can be felt all over the country. It seems that the public has lost faith in the incumbents. An anti-government lobby is now trying to exploit this situation to its advantage. Thus, the MQM chief’s ‘call’ for a not-so-divine intervention by the army at this point in time may be a reflection of not just that anti-democratic lobby but some signals from the powers-that-be may also have something to do with it.

The MQM came into being with the support of the intelligence agencies to counter Sindhi nationalism. Since then it accumulated more and more power and eventually got out of hand, a la the Taliban. After a few ups and downs in its relationship with its mentors, the MQM is back in the game and wants to return to the fold of the establishment. Altaf Hussain’s statement has been criticised by almost every political party. Some have even gone so far as to suggest the ultimate penalty for him since this is a clear violation of Article 6(1) of the constitution: “Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.” This may only be wishful thinking because Mr Hussain has only ‘suggested’ a military intervention while no military dictator has ever been tried under this Article even though they directly subverted the constitution. Dr Farooq Sattar has denied that his party chief has asked for a martial law; he claims that Mr Hussain has taken a bold stance and has his finger on the pulse of the public.
Now this is going a bit too far because despite the public’s reservations about the incumbents, no sane person wants a return of military rule. Those who oppose democracy argue that we would be electing the same faces even if the present government completes its tenure since there is a dearth of alternatives. This is true, but if one were to rationally think about it, the only way to find new leadership is to continue with the democratic process.

It would be wise if Mr Hussain could think with a cool mind instead of giving an open call to the military to seize power. Pakistan has already suffered greatly in its history by not adhering to democratic norms. Military interventions have brought nothing but pain to us and a fresh one will not bring anything new. Democracy on the other hand is a painfully slow process but to develop our institutions, there is no other alternative in sight. We should let it take its normal course instead of delving into tried and failed interventionist territory.

The Frontier Post: Altaf’s hypocrisy

With his vow of open support to “patriotic generals” in any martial law-action against “corrupt politicians and feudal lords”, MQM supremo may have stirred up a hornet’s nest. But has he not himself been running with the hare and hunting with the hounds all through? He sits with this brand of politicos in the governments and partakes in the spoils of office. His MQM has, in fact, been a permanent fixture of federal and Sindh governments since the late 1980s, partnering with the PPP or PML (N), though often falling out with them latterly over quarrels on distribution of booty.

He commiserates, too, with feudal lords if they are in trouble. But a priestly muteness he keeps on the woes of the enslaved, suppressed and rapaciously exploited citizenry these feudal lords keep in their stifling serfdom and servitude. Yet if he really feels so strongly about corrupt politicians and feudal lords, what was it that had inhibited him from taking a fling against them when he had had been a perpetual rider on the praetorian generals’ bandwagon? After all, he too has been a cloned baby of the hatchery of General Ziaul Haq, the most brutal military dictator in the nation’s annals who also lent it the darkest era of its existence, as is PML (N) supremo Mian Nawaz Sharif, another pretender who never tires of teasing this woebegone nation with his laughable pretences of being a born democrat. He could have, had he so wanted, employed the ruthless dictator’s sharp sword to behead corrupt politicians and feudal lords. He did not.

Why? Is it because he was then too much obsessed with capturing Karachi to become his exclusive preserve and his fiefdom? Couldn’t he use the dictator’s props to mount an insurmountable challenge to landed aristocrats monopolising the nation’s all politics and the bulk of its economic wealth? If indeed he is so miffed at these exploitative and suppressive elites’ shenanigans, why did he let go a chance to do them down in the era of another military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, in whose power dispensation too he occupied such a pride of place? His MQM was powerfully then entrenched in the federal and Sindh governments. Yet his overriding passion had all through been to fortify his Karachi fortress and urban Sindh citadels. He did venture to employ the vantage ground for expanding to country’s other parts as well. But a pointed focussed political assault to take on the landed aristocracy frontally was never ever a part of his scheme of things. Verily, his act has throughout been fraught and foul. And at times ridiculous too, the recent one being his taking umbrage to President Asif Zardari’s European jaunt, certainly a Himalayan stupidity whose tremendous negative fallout would keep haunting this unfortunate nation for years to come.

But this Pakistani-British could only be the last to take exception to that ill-advised presidential odyssey. If he felt offended by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s provocative Delhi outburst against Pakistan, he should have been the first to renounce his British citizenship and return home at once. And if he felt bad at Zardari’s UK wanderings while his country was drowning in a disastrous deluge, this Pakistani-British himself too must have taken the first flight to Pakistan to be with a people being ruined and devastated by destructive flash flooding. He did not. And if he is so miffed that he is egging on the generals to act in a martial law-like style, that has to do more with the threats to his stranglehold on Karachi than with any real grouse against “corrupt politicians and feudal lords” with whom he has been colluding, coalescing and partnering all through. Palpably, his MQM is presently pitted against ANP, possibly backed up by PPP, in a turf war for the conquest of Karachi, a battle in which outrageously are becoming gun fodder mostly innocent Pakhtuns who have nothing to do with politics and are in the port city eking out honest living through sweat and labour in its workplaces, transport systems and construction sites. But he should know, as also all other political grandees swaggering on national political landscape so vaingloriously, that a different kind of storm is brewing on the country’s street. An angry public disillusioned with political leaderships of all hues and stripes, is burning with anger and hate over its persistent betrayal by the rulers and their opponents alike.

It is turning fast into a live human bomb about to explode. Once it does, its upheaval will be transformational, move on its own momentum and choose its own leaders. No aristocracies will survive, no dynasties will stay on, no fiefdoms will live. It will be an entirely new order, though one cannot predict or visualise the shape it will take. One thought MQM being so close to public pulse would be knowing it. But its supremo seems all blind and deaf to it.

Talibanisation of Punjab under Sharif & Zaleel Brothers Dynasty

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

COMMENT: Talibanisation of the heart —Abbas Zaidi

The Sialkot lynching is not spontaneous. It is in fact a great tribute paid to General Zia who created the Islamo-fascist mindset with the help of Arabian money and Pakistani-sectarian manpower

In the backdrop of the public lynching and then hanging of brothers Hafiz Mueez Butt and Muneeb Butt in Sialkot on August 15, a journalist writing in an English language daily asked the following questions about the murderers: (i) Are they human? (ii) Are they Muslim? and (iii) Are they really Pakistani? (The writer thought they were none of these.)

These questions are evidence of the lowest depth of misery, hollowness, and dishonesty to which some Pakistani journalists have taken their profession. Of course, these murderers are human, Muslim, and Pakistani. The hollowness of the word “really” reminds me of Kurtz’s outburst of
“The horror, the horror!” in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Why is there so much hype about this lynching in both the media and the judiciary? Is it something that came out of outer space and so we cannot accept it? Do we human-Muslim-Pakistanis not lynch and destroy unarmed people while the entire nation and national institutions react from blatantly cheering on to finding crooked justifications for our sins and crimes because “Muslims cannot do it!”, a mantra on the lips of everyone from Zardari the secular and Gilani the reconciliator to Nawaz the Amir-ul-Momineen and Shahbaz the servant-in-chief? Think about the journalists, the Islamists, the retired and quasi-retired bureaucrats and generals, and the list will go on ad infinitum.

To the above three questions, add a highly arrogant claim that we the human-Muslim-Pakistanis make without fail while raising an eyebrow at non-Muslims: “We the Muslims never disrespect a corpse!”

The Sialkot lynching is a mirror image of another lynching that we have conveniently forgotten. This takes us to 1994 when the Taliban, made and moulded in and by Pakistan, invaded the UN-protected enclave in Kabul where they lynched Dr Najibullah and his brother. After lynching them publicly, just like their brethren have done in Sialkot, the Taliban hung the corpses of the two brothers and mutilated them; they even chopped off their private parts. At that time hundreds of people cheered on the Taliban as they disrespected the two corpses just like the hundreds of people did in Sialkot; the only difference being that there were no mobiles phones available at that time. Again, it is our ‘Pakistani’ Taliban who last year dug up a pir/Savage from his grave and then hanged him.

The Sialkot lynching is not spontaneous. It is in fact a great tribute paid to General Zia who created the Islamo-fascist mindset with the help of Saudi+Arabian money and Pakistani-sectarian manpower. The Zia-sponsored and Islamist-created curriculum taught in Pakistan to this day has created a vision in which Muslims of a certain denomination are the only superior people in the world whose divine mission is to put the entire world on the righteous path by speech or sword, depending on how quiescent or stubborn the people targeted for conversion are. Because Muslims can do no wrong, whatever they do is right. General Zia and his accomplices created an Islam that was unheard of in Pakistan, and since then that Islam has been creating us the human-Muslim-Pakistanis.

Thus, the very fundamental motivating principle of human-Muslim-Pakistanis is that law has no meaning if it hinders our desires. We also know that the state of Pakistan has morphed into impotence, and accountability and rule of law are nonexistent. From 1977 when General Zia dismissed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto up to the Sialkot lynching, very few serious crimes have been punished. Crime has become an easy choice because people know that (i) they will never get justice, and (ii) crime is not punished. Unless you are hopelessly poor and unconnected, you are above the law. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is hanged and Benazir assassinated, and their murderers live honourably; lawyers assault journalists, judges, and policemen, but the judiciary takes no action; policemen kill innocent people and drag their dead bodies in the streets like trophies and are decorated with medals of bravery; journalists can demonise people at will and not be held responsible; murderous fatwas (religious edicts) are proclaimed publicly and the bloodthirsty mullahs are addressed as ulema (scholars); billions are loaned from the banks and never returned and no questions asked. What message do people get?

In January this year, Prime Minister Gilani said on the floor of parliament that despite the Supreme Court and parliament, the army cannot be held accountable for anything. Are we repeatedly not told and taught by the media, mullahs, and textbooks that we the human-Muslim-Pakistanis are soldiers of Islam?

The writer is a researcher and has a PhD in sociolinguistics. He can be reached at hellozaidi@gmail.com



Somali gunmen storm hotel, 15 MPs reported killed

24 Aug 2010 10:04:55 GMT
Source: Reuters
* MPs "slaughtered" inside Mogadishu hotel

* African Union confirms 15 people killed, no identity given

* Hotel near Somalia presidential palace
(Adds quotes from Information Minister, government source, detail on neighbourhood)

By Ibrahim Mohamed

MOGADISHU, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Somali gunmen disguised in army uniforms stormed a hotel popular with government officials on Tuesday and a legislator said at least 15 parliamentarians were killed.

Hardline al Shabaab Islamists linked to al Qaeda have waged a three-year insurgency against the fragile Western-backed government and control most of Mogadishu. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

"They have slaughtered 15 MPs. We are surrounding the hotel area. We want to catch them and our troops are there," legislator Mohamed Hasan told Reuters by telephone.

The African Union confirmed at least 15 people were killed in the attack on the Huna Hotel, in a government-controlled neighbourhood between the presidential palace and the Indian Ocean. It did not say whether the dead were all MPs.

The assault underscored the failure of the government and more than 6,300 African Union peacekeepers to bring order to Somalia after nearly two decades of anarchy, making it a continual source of instability for east Africa.

A hotel worker who fled the hotel said one of the attackers was a suicide bomber and had blown himself up.

The Somali government, which is recognised by the United Nations but controls no more than a few city blocks, said one gunman had been captured after the attack while two remained holed up inside.

"There is fighting going on," Information Minister Abdirahman Osman told Reuters.


The attack came a day after the African Union announced the arrival of hundreds of new peacekeeping troops, mostly Ugandans, for the AMISOM mission to help the government in the battle against al Shabaab. [ID:nLDE67M1OC]

The peacekeepers have been able to do little more than guard the airport and port and shield President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

A government security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said more than 300 armed al Shabaab fighters were thought to live in the Elgaab neighbourhood where the hotel is located.

"They disguise themselves as civilians running different smaller businesses and working in different restaurants and shops," he said.

The insurgents, who control much of the capital and large areas in central and south Somalia, have attracted foreign fighters to the lawless country.

At least 25 people were killed in clashes on Monday.

More than 21,000 Somalis have been killed in fighting since the start of the insurgency, 1.5 million have been uprooted from their homes and nearly half a million are sheltering in other countries in the region.

The ever present threat from Somalia to its fast-growing neighbours was highlighted last month by al Shabaab suicide bombings which killed 70 people in Uganda, which provides the bulk of the African Union force.

(Additional reporting by Abdi Guled in Mogadishu, Abdiaziz Hassan and Sahra Abdi in Nairobi; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TIMELINE-Invasion, surge and withdrawal; U.S. forces in Iraq

Al-Maliki and Allawi serve US interests!
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Al-Maliki and Allawi entered Baghdad on American tanks in 2003.
While Prime Minister, Al-Maliki signed the security agreement with the US while fighting and killing the Shiite followers of Al-Sadr in 2009. Similarly, Dr Allawi massacred people in Fallujah while being the interim-Iraqi Prime minister in 2004. By his admission, Dr Allawi has worked for British MI-6, American CIA and Saudi intelligence Services. Neither Al-Maliki nor Allawi works for the interests of Iraq. They have made enough money and will eventually leave Iraq with their American masters.

Unfortunately, violence is the only language the USraelis will listen too in order to end a military occupations. Germany, South Korea and Japan are still being occupied by US forces despite over 50 years since the end of respective wars.

In the West Bank, the Israelis are defying UN resolutions and remain occupying large parts of former Palestine. That is because there is no effective armed resistance that can drive them away. To the opposite, the Americans were forced on leaving Vietnam clinging to helicopters while under fire from the Vietcong. Similarly, the Palestinians in Gaza made it too costly for the Israeli IDF and to the Jewish settlers before deciding on packing up and leaving. Unaware of these facts, the Americans want to remain in Iraq as long as they have been occupying Germany, South Korea or Japan. But Iraqis are not Germans or Japanese. They will fight tooth and nail until the last uncivilised American cowboy and the last criminal mercenary packs up and leave.

Obama's talks of withdrawing US combat troops proved to be a lie as the American soldiers are still fighting in a number of areas in Iraq albeit in collaboration with Iraqi security forces allied to them. The Iraqi people and the American administration are testing each other. The Americans are hoping that the Iraqis will be fooled and buy their ploy of leaving, while the Iraqis are keeping their best and most bloody fight if the Americans don’t pack up and leave completely as promised; along with their mercenaries, stooges, agents, dirty work squads and intelligence service officers.

Americans are leaving but no Iraqi is impressed!

On August 19, 2010 the ‘last’ American combat unit sneaked under the cover of darkness out of Iraq into Kuwait. The soldiers were happy to be out of the Iraqi hell where everyone was considered as dangerous that must be shot if he/she came too close for comfort. Most American commanders knew that the war on Iraq was illegal as it was neither launched in self defense nor authorized by the UN Security Council; which means they may be called to testify about atrocities committed in any future war crimes tribunals. During August where the temperature soars to 51 degrees Celsius and with chronic shortages in electricity and water most of the time, coupled with high food prices, and bloody violence, the last thing on the Iraqis’ mind was to care about how many American savages have left the country or remained to continue their mission of destroying Iraq and the killing of its people on behalf of Israel. Some Iraqis feel very sorry that these have escaped and were allowed to leave alive and not to join the 4441 Americans who died or the 35000 who were disfigured or disabled for life. Furthermore, Iraq is still without a government as those corrupt Iraqis who were living on foreign intelligence donations, the likes of Dr Allawi, Dr Al-Chalabi, Al-Talibani, Al-Hashemi, Al-Maliki and Al-Barzani are still quarrelling about who should be Iraq next Prime minister, some five months after the parliamentary elections of March 7, 2010; into which all US-selected parties have lost. As an example Dr Allawi, Al-Maliki and the Kurdish parties have won 28%, 27.38% and 17.5% of the votes respectively.
The Saudis and the Americans want a major role for their agent Dr Allawi, who served as Iraq interim prime minister and who supervised the massacres in Fallujah in 2004 with the American help.

As a former Saddam right hand man in charge of Hanin secret organisation, Dr Allawi is strongly supported by pro-American elements of the Baathist party with a Sunni Majority. And because of Al-Maliki massacres against Al-Sadar Shiite followers in Kerbala, Baghdad and Basrah, in collaboration with the American forces, the Sadr movement flatly rejects Al-Maliki for a second term. To add insult to injury, the pro-American Kurdish minority with 17.5% of the vote wants a lion share of the Iraqi government and the country resources.

It is easy to compare Iraq current situation to a delayed gestation where the new born will be too big for a natural delivery and requires a Cesarean section. The new Iraqi government will be born headed by criminals and with tons of problems that neither the Americans nor Iraqi Neighbors interference can save them from the rage of the Iraqis.

The crimes committed in Iraq will haunt them!

The Western World have to admit that the Iraqi/PAKAFG resistance is stronger now than ever largely due to the crimes of the US savages and their mercenaries and because of the corrupt Iraqis collected by the CIA and sent on US tanks to rule the country. It would have been much better if the Americans have taken along all their stooges who betrayed Iraq as they will be massacred in due course.

Note: After seven a half year of US heavy military presence no American soldier can sit down in a cafe and enjoy a drink as the Iraqis will fill him with lead. Iraqis have a long memory and revenge is a second religion to them.

Everyday we get new political stories!

The Shiite of Iraq consitute 60% of the population and 90% of the Arabs. There are Shiite Kurds and Turkomen too. In a Western-style free democracy the Shiites should be easily able to form a government. But their role was reduced to 30% by Paul Bremer. As an example: the presidency is made of of a Sunni Kurd (Talibani) and two vice presidents; one Arab Shiite (Dr Adil Abdul Mehdi) and a Sunni Arab (Tarek Al-Hashemi). In other words the sunnis have 60% of the power. Similarly the Prime Minister, a Shiite Al-Maliki has two vice premiers one sunni Arab and another a Sunni Kurd.

The Kurds with 17% of the population have the presidency, one vice premier, the foreign ministry, minister of water resources and commander in Chief of the armed forces. So the Kurdish minority is taking a lion share with USraeli support. Despite all this, the Sunni Saudis were unhappy with Al-Maliki and want Dr Allawi.

The Americans want the security be handled by Dr Allawi since he has been running an Iraqi version of the CIA and hope to take over the government by force, someday.
The above facts are the main cause of instability in the country. Allawi, Al-Maliki and Al-Sadr don't want the Kurdish minority to control the country, but can't say it openly in order not to upset the USraelis.
In this regard, Al-Sadr movement is the only political force that calls for the total liberation of Iraq from the boots of foreign soldiers and is in total disagreement with Al-Maliki.

Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

19 Aug 2010 09:37:39 GMT
Source: Reuters
Aug 19 (Reuters) - The United States is on track to draw down its forces in Iraq to 50,000 by Aug. 31, but there are doubts President Barack Obama can fulfil his pledge to withdraw all U.S. troops by the end of 2011.

The 50,000 remaining will train Iraqi armed forces and police units.

Here is a timeline on U.S. forces in Iraq since 2003:

March 20, 2003 - U.S.-led forces invade Iraq from Kuwait to oust Saddam Hussein.

-- About 125,000 U.S. and British soldiers and Marines are in Iraq. By the end of April, U.S. says it will add 100,000 more soldiers to the U.S.-led invasion force.

April 9 - U.S. troops take Baghdad, Saddam disappears.

May 1 - President George W. Bush declares hostilities over.

-- Between March 20 and May 1, 138 U.S. troops are killed.

Dec. 13 - U.S. troops capture Saddam near Tikrit.

Feb. 22, 2006 - Bombing of Shi'ite shrine in Samarra sparks widespread sectarian slaughter, raising fears of civil war.

Feb. 14, 2007 - Maliki launches U.S.-backed crackdown in Baghdad aimed at pulling Iraq back from brink of civil war.

-- Five U.S. combat brigades plus supporting troops, or some 30,000 soldiers, are sent to Iraq between February and mid-June 2007. Besides reducing violence, Washington wanted to create "breathing space" for Iraqi leaders to make progress on laws seen as critical to fostering national reconciliation.

June 15 - U.S. military says it has completed its troop buildup, or "surge", to 160,000 soldiers.

-- From April to June 2007, 331 U.S. soldiers are killed, the deadliest quarter of the war for the U.S. military.

Sept. 10 - U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, recommends cutting troops by more than 20,000 by mid-2008.

July 22, 2008 - The U.S. military says the last of five extra combat brigades sent to Iraq in 2007 have withdrawn, leaving just under 147,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

Nov. 17, 2008 - Iraq and the United States sign an accord requiring Washington to withdraw its forces by the end of 2011. The pact gives the government authority over the U.S. mission for the first time, replacing a U.N. Security Council mandate. Parliament approves pact after negotiations 10 days later.

Jan. 1, 2009 - U.S.-Iraq security pact comes into force, placing 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq under Iraqi authority.

Feb. 27 - New U.S. President Barack Obama announces plan to end U.S. combat operations in Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010, but says will leave up to 50,000 troops to train Iraqi forces.

June 30 - All U.S. combat units withdraw from Iraq's urban centres and redeploy to bases outside.

June, 4 2010 - U.S. military says there are 88,000 troops in Iraq.

Aug 18 - U.S. troop strength in Iraq is 56,000, a senior Obama administration official says.

-- The military says that there have been 4,419 U.S. military deaths since the invasion in 2003.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mirza Yousuf Hussain’s son, Dr. Najam ul Hassan & DSP killed

Karachi: Mirza Yousuf Hussain’s son murdered
In the area of Nazimabad, Karachi, the son of Shiite Religious Scholar Mirza Yousuf Hussian’s son Mirza Khadim Hussain was murdered due to firing by some unidentified persons.
According to the police, some unidentified persons opened fire on Mirza Khadim Hussain in the area of Nazimabad due to which he got seriously injured. He was immediately taken to Abbasi Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The MLO of Abbasi Hospital confirmed that Mirza Khadim Hussain was shot two bullets, of which the bullet which struck his neck, took his life. As the news of his murder spread in the city, unrest has been initiated in various areas of the city, after which police and rangers has been set on high alert.

Karachi: Firing at M.A. Jinnah Road, 3 persons including DSP killed
Violence rapidly increases in Karachi once gain as some unidentified gunmen killed three persons including DSP Nawaz Ranjha due to firing.
According to sources unidentified gunmen opened fire in front of Radio Pakistan on M.A. Jinnah road due to which DSP Nawaz Ranjha, Head Constable Jahangir and Dr. Najam ul Hassan got killed; where as a passerby woman known as Bilquis also sustained injuries. Soon after this incident, a heavy contingent of police reached the spot and cordoned off the whole area. Earlier in the area of Nazimabad, Karachi, the son of Shiite Religious Scholar Mirza Yousuf Hussian’s son Mirza Khadim Hussain was murdered due to firing by some unidentified persons.


Sectarian violence continues

City tense as prayer leader shot dead

By Faraz Khan

KARACHI: Tension prevailed in various parts of the city as another targeted killing on Tuesday brought the death toll to five within 24 hours.

Experts believe that more incidents of target killings and terrorism could occur as the government and law enforcement agencies have completely failed in stopping the criminals.

In the early hours of Tuesday, a prayer leader was gunned down near Sabri Masjid, Nishtar Road in the Nabi Bux police station limits.

Mufti Furqan, 50, son of Babu Ansari, belonging to the Deoband sect, was shot dead by unidentified culprits while he was heading home in Marwari Mohalla on his motorcycle (KDD-7220).

“The deceased was the Jamia Masjid Siddiqui peshimam and was returning home after offering the Fajr prayer when motorcyclists sprayed him with bullets and escaped,” police officials said. “He sustained four bullets, two each in his chest and abdomen and died shortly after he was brought to the Civil Hospital Karachi,” they added.

The officials further said the deceased had no affiliations with any religious or political parties. However, he was the head of the Salawat Community and his killing might be an incident of sectarian violence, they added.

Saddar Town SP Javed Akbar Riaz told Daily Times that Furqan was killed in the same manner as the four others including DSP Nawaz Ranjha and his guard. However, the FIR of Furqan’s assassination has not been registered as his family was busy in the funeral process, the SP added.

Since Monday night, gunmen riding motorcycles have killed at least five people in separate incidents in the city including DSP Ranjha, his security guard Jahangir Hussain, son of a prominent Shia leader Khadim Hussain and Dr Najamul Hassan belonging to the Ahmadiyya Community.

Khadim Hussain, son of Mirza Yousuf Hussain of the Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), was also a senior activist of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and was an active worker of the Muttahida Organising Committee of Gilgit.

Meanwhile, following the killing of the Shia leader’s son, tension and fear engulfed various localities especially Rizvia, Golimar, Nazimabad, Orangi Town, Ancholi, Water Pump and some parts of Malir, where shopkeepers were forced to close down their shops and unidentified armed men resorted to aerial firing.

Unidentified miscreants torched a passenger bus near Golimar Chowrangi while another minibus of route no. W-1 was set ablaze at Lasbella Bridge as Hussain’s body was brought to the Rizvia Imambargah for funeral.

MWM spokesman Ali Ahmer said the funeral prayer of Khadim Hussain would be offered on Wednesday after Zohr prayer as his father was in Skardu and would arrive soon. “We have lost three people in less than a week to targeted killings,” he added.

“Despite assurances by authorities and claims by police high-ups, the city remains unsafe and the people are being targeted by terrorists without any fear of the law,” Ahmer said.

Due to the law and order situation in Golimar and its adjacent areas, massive traffic jams were reported and thousands of commuters had to break their fast on the main roads of Lasbela, Liaquatabad and North Nazimabad area.

Iraq looks to Shiite leader for a way out of political crisis

Clerics close to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani have warned that he and the country's three other grand ayatollahs could soon intervene.

By Ned Parker, Raheem Salman, Saad Fakhrildeen Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

Reporting from Najaf, Iraq —
Every day, the pilgrims gather in the alleyway leading to the home of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, hoping to be among the lucky few to get an audience with the austere Shiite spiritual leader. Political figures are whisked to the cleric's simple office, leaving a short time later with vague pronouncements about Iraq's direction.

Even U.S. officials seek his help. Foreign Policy magazine recently reported that President Obama had sent a letter asking for Sistani's assistance in ending the months-long impasse over forming Iraq's next government. Both the White House and Sistani's office declined to comment on the matter.

Since 2003, Sistani has stepped into the breach using his authority as the country's supreme Shiite religious leader to guard his community's welfare.

Sistani's legal decrees and threat of demonstrations forced the Americans to agree to his demands for a speedy timeline for elections and the drafting of a permanent constitution in the early days of Washington's occupation. He has long been a voice of moderation, acting to quell sectarian bloodshed and revenge killings since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Now, Iraq is once again looking to Najaf to see if the reclusive religious man can help extricate the nation from its dangerous political crisis.

Observers warn that the country's democracy remains extremely fragile. "If the civilians continue to flail over the next three-four years, the chances of a military coup are likely to go up," former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said.

"That could bring with it something like the 1958 revolution" — which ushered in an era of autocratic strongmen and further marginalization of Shiite religious leaders.

The clergy, whose history before 2003 was one of persecution, have tied their own credibility and survival to Iraq's new institutions.

Aware of the dangers to the political process, clerics close to Sistani have warned that he and the country's three other grand ayatollahs could soon intervene. In July, Sistani's representative Abdul Mehdi Karbalai made clear that the marjaia, the country's highest-ranking Shiite clergy, were losing patience with the failure to form a government.

"Yes, if things will reach deadlock, which we don't hope, the higher marjaia will not spare giving advice and help [to] those blocs which will maintain the interests of Iraqis and solving the crisis," Karbalai said.

This month, at a conference in Najaf, one of Sistani's peers issued a warning.

"We demand that all the political blocs work hard … to solve the many choking crises that the country is suffering and intensify the efforts to provide the basic services as soon as possible," Grand Ayatollah Ishaq Fayyad said in a speech read on his behalf. "Otherwise, the people's patience is almost running out."

Still, Sistani's followers put a premium on maintaining their neutrality. They bristle openly at whispers that Sistani may have favored anyone in the spring election, or that he does now.

"What the marjaia want is a peaceful transfer of power," said Sayed Mohamed Hasani, Sistani's representative in Baghdad's Karada district. "They also stand against the marginalization of the voters' will."

One cleric,
Sheik Farhan Saadi, said Najaf's religious establishment followed a far different model from its more interventionist peers in Iran. He contrasted the Iraqi clergy's studied behavior with the conduct of Iran's ayatollahs last summer after a disputed presidential election. "The voice of the [Iraqi] marjaia is democracy," he said.

If Sistani were to act, he would probably do so from behind the scenes.

"If he chooses to weigh in, I don't expect Sistani to indicate any political preferences, but to suggest a mechanism by which to break the deadlock," said Iraq expert Joost Hiltermann. "And he will do so subtly, via his known intermediaries."

And all of it will happen behind closed doors in a quiet alley in Najaf.


Salman is a staff writer in The Times' Baghdad Bureau, and Fakhrildeen is a special correspondent in Najaf.

Suicide Car Bomb Hits Iranian Pilgrims in Eastern Iraq, 5 Shia Martyred

A car bomb exploded on Monday in a town northeast of the Iraqi capital while a bus full of Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims was passing, killing five people and wounding nine, security officials said.

Suicide Car Bomb Hits Iranian Pilgrims in Eastern Iraq, 5 Shia MartyredAhlul Bayt News Agency (ABNA.ir), A car bomb exploded on Monday in a town northeast of the Iraqi capital while a bus full of Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims was passing, killing five people and wounding nine, security officials said.

The blast occured in Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad.

Four of the dead were Iranian pilgrims, who have flocked to Iraq's Shia religious sites.

All of the wounded were Iranian, said a police source and a source in the security operations centre of Diyala province.

The Iraqi bus driver and another Iraqi citizen were also wounded by the blast that targeted Iranian Shiite pilgrims who enter Iraq through Diyala province heading to the Shiite holy sites in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, the source said.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranian pilgrims flock to Iraq to visit holy Shiite shrines since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.

End item/ 129

Opposing factions break off coalition talks in Iraq

16 Aug 2010 15:06:03 GMT
Source: Reuters
* U.S. urging deal as it ends combat operations

* Political vacuum accompanied by persistent violence

(Adds details, background, quote, byline)

By Waleed Ibrahim

BAGHDAD, Aug 16 (Reuters) - The Sunni-backed Iraqiya alliance of former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi on Monday formally broke off coalition talks with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, likely prolonging even further the formation of a government.

Five months of talks between Iraqiya and Maliki's Shi'ite-led State of Law alliance since the inconclusive March 7 vote had always been tentative and it was not clear how significant the decision by Allawi's alliance might prove to be.

But the political impasse has stirred tensions as U.S. troops prepare to end combat operations this month, ahead of a full withdrawal next year, and raised the spectre of a return to widespread violence just as the bloodshed has begun to recede.

A spokeswoman for Iraqiya, Maysoon al-Damluji, said the bloc stopped negotiations with Maliki's State of Law after he described Allawi's group as Sunni, rather than cross-sectarian.

"We demand that he apologises, not to Iraqiya but to the supporters of Iraqiya who voted for a national project and not a sectarian one,"
Damluji said.

Intisar Allawi, a senior Iraqiya official, said more than 26 of its 91 elected lawmakers were Shi'ite, as was Iyad Allawi himself.

"So why does he call us a Sunni bloc? This is an insult,"
she said.

Iraqis had hoped the March 7 ballot would lead to greater stability and prosperity seven years after the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein and triggered widespread bloodshed between majority Shi'ites and once dominant Sunnis.

Instead the resulting political uncertainty has been accompanied by persistent attacks and cast doubt on Iraq's ability to attract the foreign investment it needs to rebuild after decades of war, sanctions and economic decline.

The number of civilians killed in July almost doubled to 396 from 204 the month before, according to government figures, as armed groups tested the mettle of Iraqi security forces ahead of a formal end to U.S. combat operations at the end of August.

While neither won the majority needed to govern, Maliki's State of Law won two seats fewer than Iraqiya in the 325-seat parliament. Iraqiya won broad backing from Sunnis who saw Allawi as a secular strongman willing to defend their cause and to stand up against Shi'ite power Iran.

State of Law merged after the election with Iraq's other main Shi'ite-led faction, the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), to become the biggest group in the new parliament.

But Maliki's desire to serve a second term has been fiercely opposed by some of his Shi'ite partners. That led him to start negotiations with Allawi.


The decision to end the talks could propel Maliki back into the arms of the INA, but it could also energise negotiations between Iraqiya and the INA's main elements, in particular the Iran-friendly Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI).

It was also likely to mean that establishing a new government will take even longer than many had hoped.

The United States, eager to stick to President Barack Obama's schedule to end combat operations and cut troop numbers to 50,000 at the end of the month, has recently been urging Maliki and Allawi to cut a deal. (Writing by Michael Christie; Editing by Jon Hemming)


Iraq's Allawi says to intensify talks with Sadrists
17 Aug 2010 21:24:36 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Political vacuum stokes tensions

* Deadly attack targets Iraqi army recruits

By Waleed Ibrahim

BAGHDAD, Aug 17 (Reuters) -Former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi said on Tuesday his Sunni-backed Iraqiya alliance would intensify talks with an anti-American Shi'ite movement to try to break a political stalemate.

Iraq has been in a political deadlock since a March 7 election which produced no outright winner, raising tensions ahead of an end to U.S. combat operations this month and fuelling concerns of a return to widespread violence.

Allawi and members of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's political group made the announcement after Iraqiya broke off negotiations with incumbent Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led State of Law alliance on Monday. [ID:nLDE67F1F2]

"In the next few days and thereafter, we are going to intensify our discussions to reach an important, mutual stance on what needs to be done to form the next government," Allawi told reporters at a news conference.

In one of the bloodiest attacks this year, at least 57 recruits and soldiers were killed and 123 wounded earlier on Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an army recruitment centre in Baghdad. [ID:nLDE67G06K]

Allawi's Iraqiya won two seats more than Maliki's State of Law, but neither party won the majority needed to govern and no agreement has emerged from coalition talks.

The Sadrists, who won around 40 seats, will be looking to play a larger role in the next government.

The anti-American movement has called for a series of oil contracts -- seen as key investment deals -- signed by Iraq with major oil firms like BP and Shell to be re-written.

While Iraqis had hoped the election would result in greater stability and prosperity seven years after the U.S.-led invasion which ousted Saddam Hussein, persistent attacks have raised doubts over the ability of the war-torn nation to rebuild.

The political uncertainty and ongoing violence could deter foreign investment, desperately needed in a country ravaged by decades of war, sanctions and neglect. (Writing by Serena Chaudhry; Editing by Michael Christie/Maria Golovnina)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bahrain arrests four Shi'ite activists as poll nears

15 Aug 2010 17:03:05 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Clashes erupted following arrest of first activist

* The four face security charges, state news agency says

(Adds official statement, paragraph 7)

MANAMA, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Bahraini authorities have detained four Shi'ite activists before a parliamentary poll in which Shi'ites will be seeking a bigger role in governing the Sunni Muslim-led Arab state, their lawyer said on Sunday.

The arrests could heighten tensions with Bahrain's Shi'ite majority before the Oct. 23 election, the U.S.-allied Gulf island state's third since its king launched a political reform process a decade ago to help quell Shi'ite protests.

Clashes erupted in at least two Shi'ite villages on Saturday night following the Friday arrest of the first of the activists, said Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

"Three more were arrested this morning," lawyer Mohammed al-Tajer told Reuters.

Tajer said the head of human rights at the mainly Shi'ite Haq movement, Abduljalil Singace, was detained on Friday on his return from London where he gave a lecture on human rights in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

Bahrain, where the Sunni al-Khalifa family rules over an often disgruntled Shi'ite majority, regularly sees night-time clashes between security forces and protesters in Shi'ite towns.

The state news agency BNA said the four were accused of belonging to a network threatening "Bahrain's stability, civil peace and endangering the lives and property of the innocent (through) incitement to violence and terrorist acts".

On Sunday following the protests, Abdulghani al-Kanjar, who heads a committee of Bahrain human rights groups to support victims of torture, was detained along with Shi'ite cleric and activist Mohammed al-Magdad.

A third activist, Saeed al-Nouri, was also arrested.

Two of the detained men, Singace and Magdad, were among three activists held for several months in 2009 on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. They were later pardoned by the king after weeks of protests and human rights criticism.

The Oct. 23 elections were not expected to meet Shi'ite opposition demands for more political participation. Many Shi'ites complain of discrimination in jobs and services, an accusation Manama denies.

Bahrain's largest Shi'ite opposition bloc, Al Wefaq, plans to participate in the poll where it will field candidates for up to 24 of 40 slots. It currently holds 17 seats it won in 2006.

Bahrain's parliament is the only one in the Gulf Arab region besides the Kuwaiti assembly, but its powers are limited as its bills need to be approved by an upper house whose members are appointed by the king. (Reporting by Frederik Richter; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Ralph Boulton)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lawyer: Iran stoning woman 'tortured' before TV 'confession'

The death sentence was reportedly commuted to hanging

Lawyer: Iran stoning woman 'tortured' before TV 'confession'

Iran lawyer fears authorities would act quickly to carry out death sentence against Ashtiani.

LONDON - A lawyer for an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning has told a British newspaper she was tortured for two days before confessing on state TV to being an accomplice to her husband's death.

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani's lawyer told the Guardian on Thursday that his client, a 43-year-old mother of two, was forced to give the interview, which was recorded in Tabriz prison where she has been held for the past four years.

"She was severely beaten up and tortured until she accepted to appear in front of camera. Her 22-year-old son Sajad and her 17-year-old daughter Saeedeh are completely traumatised by watching this programme," lawyer Houtan Kian said on the newspaper's website.

The lawyer said he feared the Iranian authorities would act quickly to carry out the death sentence, which was reportedly commuted to hanging after an international outcry against her sentence last month.

The Guardian gave no details of where the lawyer was speaking.

Another of her lawyers, Mohammad Mostafaie, fled Iran this month and is now in Norway after Iranian officials issued an arrest warrant for him and detained his wife.

Iranian officials have maintained that the sentence was for murder, although initial reports said she was acquitted of that and only convicted for "having an illicit relationship outside marriage."

But in the interview broadcast on state TV, she said that a man with whom she was acquainted had offered to kill her husband and she let him carry out the crime.

The interview was aired on Wednesday night during a political broadcast that denounced the "propaganda of Western media" about the case it said was being used to pressure Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

The chief justice of East Azerbaijan province, where the alleged crime took place in 2006, told the TV show that Mohammadi-Ashtiani injected her husband with a substance that made him unconscious before the killer electrocuted him.

Her stoning sentence has been temporarily suspended by Iranian judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani.

In a separate interview with the Guardian last week, she claimed she had been acquitted of murder, "but the man who actually killed my husband was identified and imprisoned but he is not sentenced to death."

In the earlier Guardian interview, she attributed her treatment by the Iranian authorities to her gender. "It's because I'm a woman, it's because they think they can do anything to women in this country," she said.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


11 Aug 2010 16:51:25 GMT
Source: Reuters

Gunmen Killed Dr. Intissar al-Tuwaijri in Baghdad

By REBECCA SANTANA, Associated Press Writer Rebecca Santana, Associated Press Writer – 41 mins ago

BAGHDAD – Gunmen burst into a house north of Baghdad early Wednesday, killed three people and then sent the surviving children to lure over soldiers from a nearby Iraqi army checkpoint, killing eight.

The pre-dawn incident in the volatile Diyala province underlines the unrelenting dangers that members of Iraq's security forces still face as American troops prepare to reduce their numbers by the end of the month and end all combat operations.

It also shows the constantly evolving and sophisticated tactics of insurgents that American and Iraqi officials say have been seriously debilitated since the deaths of their top leaders last spring.

The town's mayor, Sheik Ahmed Al-Zarqushi, told The Associated Press that gunmen broke into the house at about 1 a.m. in the town of Sadiyah, 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Baghdad and killed a man and two women inside. They then sent the two children to a nearby Iraqi army checkpoint to tell the soldiers about their parents' bodies.

"When the Iraqi army forces arrived and broke into the house, the house blew up killing eight soldiers and wounding four others," he said.

The mayor, who said he met with the children after the incident, gave their ages as 12 and 10, and said they're now staying with their relatives.

Al-Zarqushi said security forces have arrested several suspects after the attack. Groups linked to al-Qaida are very active in the area, he said.

The gunmen escaped out the back door and climbed over a fence before the soldiers arrived on the scene, said an official with the Diyala operations command. He said authorities have sealed the area and have been searching for suspects.

The death toll and account was confirmed by Capt. Qais Ahmed, from the Iraqi army in Sadiyah.

Blowing up houses is one of the newer types of attack in Iraq that security officials have blamed on al-Qaida linked groups. Such incidents have been used most in the western province of Anbar where al-Qaida has been particularly vicious in its attempt to seek retribution and intimidate members of the anti-al-Qaida Awakening Councils as well as security forces.

On Aug. 2, gunmen blew up the house of a policeman in Fallujah, killing the policeman, his wife and son. In early July, gunmen blew up five houses in different parts of the Sunni district of Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, belonging to a policeman, an ambulance driver and members of an Awakening Council. Three people were killed.

The ongoing attacks against Iraq's security forces come as the U.S. is moving to reduce its troop levels to 50,000 by the end of August. The remaining troops are expected to leave by the end of 2011, and after Aug. 31 will no longer be doing combat operations.

Many Iraqis and Iraqi officials fear the persistent drumbeat of attacks is an attempt by insurgent groups to disrupt Iraq's fragile security at a time when efforts to come up with a new government five months after the March 7 election are stalled.

Like much of the Middle East, Iraqis will begin observing the holy month of Ramadan this week, and little in the way of political progress is expected to happen during the holiday in which Muslims fast from sunup to sundown.

Meanwhile in Baghdad, gunmen broke into the house of a senior female doctor and killed her, Iraq's health minister and a police official said.

The minister, Saleh al-Hasnawi, said the gunmen broke into the house of Dr. Intissar al-Tuwaijri at about 6:00 a.m., tied up her husband and killed her.

Al-Hasnawi said he believed the killing of the physician he described as one of the best doctors in the country was a criminal incident, and that his ministry was waiting for the results of a police investigation.

Al-Tuwaijri was the general director of Alwiyah Maternity hospital in Baghdad's central Karradah area.

A police officer said the preliminary investigation showed that the gunmen used pistols fitted with silencers and stole 250 million Iraqi dinars (about $215,000).

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information.


Associated Press Writer Yahya Barzanji in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, and Sinan Salaheddin in Baghdad contributed to this report.

Observing Ramadan? There's an app for that

By SAMANTHA HENRY, Associated Press Writer Samantha Henry, Associated Press Writer – Wed Aug 11, 5:52 am ET

PATERSON, N.J. – The most ancient traditions of Islam are going high-tech, with a slew of modern offerings for those observing the holy month of Ramadan, which begins this week.

Cell phone applications such as "iPray" or "iQuran" offer a beeping reminder of requisite prayer times, while the "Find Mecca" and "mosque finder" programs help the Muslim traveler in an unfamiliar city find the nearest place to pray.

"When I saw these applications for the first time, I thought: this is amazing," said James Otun, who has several Islamic applications on his Apple iPhone and iPad. "Whoever came up with this idea: God bless him or her."

The applications aren't just for Ramadan; there are Islamic-themed programs that help users find the nearest Costco offering foods prepared according to Islamic dietary rules, learn the correct Arabic pronunciations in a daily prayer, or count how many pages of the Quran they've read that day — all on a mobile phone.

There also are applications, or apps, for the holy books of several other religions, from the Catholic Holy Bible to the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu scripture.

The first time Sumeyye Kalyoncu heard the Adhan — or call to prayer — through surround-sound speakers on her iPhone dock, she was overcome with nostalgia for her native Turkey. Such applications are especially popular in the U.S., Kalyoncu said, as U.S. mosques do not broadcast daily calls to prayer from external loudspeakers, as they do in Muslim countries.

"These are traditions and these have been in our lives for ages, like almost 15 centuries, so they seem very old," Kalyoncu said. "I think this is like combining together the technology and the things that we do daily."

Kalyoncu uses an iPhone app called iPray Lite, keeping track of requisite daily prayers with a program that simulates the clicking sound of prayer beads or the turning wheel of a handheld metal counter Muslims use to keep count of prayer repetitions. Using headphones, the 24-year-old says she can now fulfill her daily spiritual obligations by counting prayers on her iPhone on the commuter bus to Manhattan from her Edgewater home.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said the company doesn't track the more than 225,000 apps for its phones by category so she doesn't know how many are Islamic-themed. The programs aren't just offered by Apple; Nokia has a Ramadan suite for its cell phones that consolidates everything worshippers need to know to observe Islam's holiest month, in which Muslims worldwide observe daily daylight fasting.

Some apps are free. Those that are not generally range from about 99 cents to $2.99, although some are more expensive.

The dates of Ramadan still are determined by the lunar calendar, and calculations can differ among Islamic communities around the world. In North America, many Muslims will mark the first day of Ramadan on Wednesday.

But Islam never has been at odds with innovation, said Zinnur Tabakci, who runs an Islamic religious book and gift shop in Paterson, N.J..

"Islam is not against technology. Now you can do it easier, faster," said Tabakci, who recently supplemented the strings of traditional prayer beads and religious texts he sells with a wall of mobile phone accessories to keep up with demand.

"Islam started 1,400 years ago, and at that time, they didn't have that much technology, but they knew everything," he added.

The mosque Tabakci attends in Paterson, called Ulu Cami, or "Great Mosque," has gone high-tech, too. After 16 cameras were installed for security purposes, one innovative mosque attendee began using them to broadcast services live over the Internet so those too old, sick or otherwise unable to attend could watch daily prayers online from home. Mosque leaders say the live broadcasts have become especially popular among relatives of immigrants who like to tune in from overseas to hear the same prayers as their loved ones in New Jersey.

Otun, a technology aficionado, says the apps he uses on his iPhone and iPad make him a more observant Muslim. From the beeping reminder to stop and pray during his busy schedule running a limo service, to an app that tells him which nearby restaurants serve food prepared within Islamic guidelines, Otun says there's no longer an excuse to live an unobservant life.

"If you forgot to pray, you might not be responsible, because you're human; you forget and you can make it up later," said Otun, 35. "But not now that you have those apps, that might change things in God's level."

Otun's favorite application, called Find Mecca, is a compass-like program with an electronic indicator that changes from red to green when you've reached the requisite prayer angle of 58-degrees, Northeast, to ensure you're facing Mecca from any location — a requirement of all Muslims when praying.

Otun said he was amazed to see an image of Mecca on his cell phone screen for the first time, and to realize he could carry a library of religious texts with him everywhere.

"iPhone makes you emotional," he said. "I can't carry 10,000 pages of books, now, you have it in your phone — it's priceless."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

GEO, The News, Jang Operations are closed

It's offices are locked, web sites are either hacked or blocked globally. In the past its black journalist have been found links with Taliban & Al-Qaeda,Jammat-e-Islami, Jammat-e-Harrami so one can understand why it's being given such a treatment.
It seems today is the last day of GEO Empire. Hope Hamid Mir and Kamran Khan will continue exposing criminal crooks via other channels.

Ramadan, Ramazan Moon Sighting 2010: 1431

Lunar Visibility for Toronto

The following diagrams show the orientation of the new crescent Moon at the location you have chosen. These diagrams are produced for the first few days of the lunar cycle until the sightings become easily visible (category A). They provide the azimuth and altitude for the Moon at the "best time" for observation which is 4/7 of the interval between sunset and moonset.

To the right of each diagram, we have given the time of sunset, the azimuth of sunset and the age of the Moon at sunset. Diagrams are not provided when the new moon occurs before local sunset. The time of moonset is also provided along with a classification which indicates the ease with which the Moon could be observed.

You will see some other labels on the diagrams. The letter Z indicates the direction of the Zenith, the point in the sky directly above you. NCP indicates the direction of the North Celestial Pole, one of the two points around which the sky appears to rotate during the course of the night. MBL shows the position of the moon's bright limb, the centre of the illuminated portion of the limb of the Moon. The circle surrounding the Moon has tick marks every five degrees to help you check the orientation of the crescent.

Please note, all times are given in Standard Time (ST) i.e. Universal Time (UT) corrected for the time zone in which your location is situated. No account is taken of daylight savings time (summer time). If daylight savings time is active, please add one hour to the times given below.

The previous new moon occurred on 2010 August 09 at 22h 08m ST.

Based on Ummul Qura Calendar System of Saudi Arabia and official announcement of sighting moon:
Ramadan starts (1 Ramadan 1431) 11 August 2010


11th Aug/ 2010=1 Ramadhan, 1431


Sighting Reports

The earliest sighting of the new crescent was on xxxxxxx.
Tuesday, 10 August 2010:

# Australia:

1. Not Seen: (cloudy and rainy)Muhammad Khatree (MCW member), Brisbane, QL reported: The moon was not sighted anywhere in Brisbane tonight. The weather has been cloudy and rainy throughout the entire day.

2. Cannot be Seen: ZS (zfrsdq@gmail.com) reported: Sydney Observatory report: http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/blog/?p=3908

# Brunei:

1. Not Seen: Mr. Ideal Abi Hakims from Brunei Darussalam reported: I wish to inform you that Ramadhan crescent has not been sighted in Brunei Darussalam on August 10, 2010. Ramadhan will be on August 12, 2010 ( Syaaban 30 days completion )

# India:

1. Not Seen: (cloudy) Abdul Gaffar (MCW member) from Manipur reported: On 10 Aust 2010 at 18:10 Indian Standard Time, no moon is sighted at Imphal town, Manipur, India. Tthe sky was cloudy.

# Kuwait:

1. Not Seen: Dr Lukman Thalib (MCW member) reported: It appears that Kuwait might announce the beginning of fasting tonight and if that happens then the first day of fasting would be 11th of August like in North America. The first day of fasting in Kuwait is usually coordinated with neighbouring gulf arab countries particularly Saudi Arabia.
Leading Kuwaiti expert on Moonsighting has suggested it is most likely that 11 August 2010 becomes our first day of fasting.. So we begin tueday night and fast on Wednessday as our first day if his predictions come true. Otherwise we begin fasting on thursday. Saudi announcement is important in this matter though.
Insha Allah will send you a report as soon as ramadhan is declared. It would take 6-8 hours from now for us to know if we would fast Wednessday or Thursday.

# Malaysia:

1. Not Seen: (But Ramadan starts Wednesday based on calculations)Zaki Afifi (MCW member) from Seremban reported: Today, August 10th 2010, I was not at a strategic location to perform moon sighting. Visibility was rather limited. Nonetheless, I still went out as an act of obedience, and the new moon was not sighted. Report from colleague at the nearest official moon sighting location (Teluk Kemang) also reported negative.
The government anyway has announced that Ramadhan in Malaysia starts tonight, meaning that the first day of saum will be on Wednesday, taking into account the hisab, that the new moon is already more than 8 hours old at maghrib.

2. Not Seen: Mohd Fahmi Bin Zakaria (MCW member) from Pontian Kechil, Johor reported: On Tuesday, August 10, 2010, we ( Mohd fahmi bin zakaria and firdaus bin mazlan) cannot see the moon with naked eye also cannot see through telescope. The place was at pontian kechil, johor, malaysia (1:29N 103:23E).

Wednesday, 11 August 2010:


U.S. Naval Observatory
Astronomical Applications Department

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for New York, New York (longitude W73.9, latitude N40.7):

10 August 2010 Eastern Daylight Time

Begin civil twilight 5:31 a.m.
Sunrise 6:01 a.m.
Sun transit 1:01 p.m.
Sunset 8:00 p.m.
End civil twilight 8:30 p.m.

Moonset 7:36 p.m. on preceding day
Moonrise 6:37 a.m.
Moon transit 1:29 p.m.
Moonset 8:09 p.m.
Moonrise 7:55 a.m. on following day

Phase of the Moon on 10 August: waxing crescent with 1% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.

New Moon on 9 August 2010 at 11:08 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.


Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for New York, New York (longitude W73.9, latitude N40.7):

11 August 2010 Eastern Daylight Time

Begin civil twilight 5:32 a.m.
Sunrise 6:02 a.m.
Sun transit 1:01 p.m.
Sunset 7:59 p.m.
End civil twilight 8:29 p.m.

Moonset 8:09 p.m. on preceding day
Moonrise 7:55 a.m.
Moon transit 2:23 p.m.
Moonset 8:39 p.m.
Moonrise 9:11 a.m. on following day

Phase of the Moon on 11 August: waxing crescent with 4% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.

New Moon on 9 August 2010 at 11:08 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.


Aug. 10 03 08 GMT (Birth of Moon)

Aug. 16 18 14 (First Quarter)

Aug. 24 17 05 (Full Moon)
Sept. 1 17 22 (Last Quarter)


For Kuwait

Visibility Predictions for the New Crescent Moon
Longitude E048 00
Latitude N29 20
Time Zone - 03h 00m
Times are in Standard Time = GMT + 03h 00m

New Moon Birth Date Sun Moon at Sunset Moon Lag BEST Code
+ Set Az Age Alt Az DAZ Mag El Set Time TIME
year mth day h m d mth day h m o h m o o o o h m m h m
2010 Aug 10 06 08 Tues
0 Tues Aug 10 18 33 288 12 25 0 280 8 -4.3 8 18 39 6 18 36 F
1 Wed Aug 11 18 32 288 36 24 9 269 19 -5.8 22 19 18 45 18 52 A

A Easily visible
B Visible under perfect conditions
C May need optical aid to find the crescent Moon
D Will need optical aid to find the crescent Moon
E Not visible with a telescope
F Not visible, below the Danjon limit