Monday 20th of May 2024

Pentagon Announces New Adelaide Missile Shield Contract

 Adelaide is now a port of the U.S.A. The Pentagon has announced that it will make the three warships being built in Adelaide compatible with the U.S. Navy.

In a mandatory notice to Congress, the Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency said Australia was seeking to buy up to three MK 41 Vertical Launch System "ship sets" and modify up to three MK 7 Aegis weapons systems.

Lockheed Martin, who were last year awarded the system integration contracts for the three Air Warfare Destroyers being constructed in South Australia, will sell Australia up to a billion dollars worth of technology.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency advised Congress that the sale would also  augment the Royal Australian Navy's ability to participate in coalition operations, match logistics support with the US Navy and enhance the lethality of Australia's Air Warfare Destroyer.


small change .....

Aaaaah Richard,

As mentioned in my blog Son Of Star Wars - Episode 6439804376 – Legacy of the Wookie ..... some 3 weeks ago, the crazies on the Potomac & in the Pentagon have already spent more than US$90 billion over the last 20 years trying to get their "star wars" technology to work ..... so far, with a singular lack of success.

Of course, before he departed the scene, former defence minister, robert  "weapons grade" Hill, convinced the awstraylen government that it should participate in this circus, with the intention of installing the new weapons systems on our new A$6.5 billon destroyers, due to be delivered in 2013. Crazy Robert's staunchest supporter in this effort was the well known south australian crazy, Lord Fishnets.

I'll bet that the US will go broke before this technology delivers anything & in another 7 years or so, we'll be listening to another awstraylen defence minister trying to excuse the "write-off" of our investment in the destroyers, because they won't have a working weapons platform.

But, in the meantime, the people of Adelaide should thank our American "friends" for their largesse. Given that hundreds of billions of $s will wind-up being wasted on this lunatic vision, it seems perfectly reasonable that some small change will wind-up in the pockets of our Adelaide cousins along the way.



Scott Adams summed up the whole sorry business of modern hegemonic government.

Comic for 11 Jul 2006
Comic for 12 Jul 2006
Comic for 13 Jul 2006

Comic for 14 Jul 2006
Comic for 15 Jul 2006

All said and done over. 

Ah yes - proportionate. I hope Catwoman Condi has had bits of her ovaries preserved, too.

Framing, by the deadly shtick

From the Guardian

The framing of Hizbullah

Israel's response to its soldiers' capture is part of a hamfisted attempt to redraw the region's map

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb in Beirut
Saturday July 15, 2006
The Guardian

It is ironic, given Israel's bombing of civilian targets in Beirut, that Hizbullah is often dismissed in the west as a terrorist organisation. In fact its military record is overwhelmingly one of conflict with Israeli forces inside Lebanese territory. This is just an example of the way that the west employs an entirely different definition of terrorism to the one used in the Arab world and elsewhere, where there is a recognition that terrorism can come in many forms.

The attempt to frame Hizbullah as a terrorist organisation is very far from political reality in Lebanon, from public opinion across the Arab and Islamic world, and from international law.

read more of Amal Saad-Ghorayeb at the Guardian

Sticking to the shtick

Extract from the editorial of Le Monde, Paris

(on the middle East conflict, basically stating that the "Quartet" is useless, and reading between the lines that... [it was designed by George Bush to be useless]... because:

"""Since George W Bush became President, the United States have given up their role of "honest and fair brokers" and now only stick to Israel's policies, no matter what they are..."""

... lost link

The Dilbert for Jul 12th got lost, in the above. Maybe lederhosen can be translated as 'fishnet stockings'.

I'm expecting a fulsome, foam-flecked tirade against Hizbollah later today, including a declaration that the actions against Lebanon have been, and forever will be, proportionate.

Crossing the stix with a ferry...

From The Independent

Evacuation for Britons as crisis in Lebanon grows

By Andrew Johnson
Published: 16 July 2006

Two Royal Navy warships were dispatched to Lebanon last night in advance of a possible evacuation of up to 10,000 British citizens from the blockaded country.

The Ministry of Defence said it had sent the Royal Navy's flagship, the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, and an amphibious assault ship, HMS Bulwark, which is capable of carrying hundreds of people. HMS Illustrious is currently at Gibraltar and HMS Bulwark off the coast of Spain, by Barcelona.

Between 3,500 and 4,000 British families are registered in Lebanon, a Foreign Office spokesman said, with a further 10,000 individuals of dual nationality. Others could be holidaying in the country, which has suffered days of bombardment and blockade by Israel, following the kidnap of two Israeli soldiers by the militant group Hizbollah.


And while Britain sends a few warships to the rescue:


From the ABC:

Howard says Lebanon evacuation possible by ferry

Prime Minister John Howard says the Government is considering using a ferry to evacuate Australians in Lebanon to the island of Cyprus.

Several thousand Australians are believed to be in the country, but are unable to leave due to the bombing at Beirut's international airport.

A small number of Australians who managed to escape Lebanon are counting their blessings, as the Government comes under increasing pressure to evacuate those left behind.

Mr Howard has told the ABC's Insiders program that evacuation by land is too dangerous, and the most likely option is to take the Australians to Cyprus.

"It's a tragic situation, I feel for the Australian families, I feel for the Australian families who are worried, I share their concern," he said.

"We are trying to do everything we can but it is not an easy situation because there is a war going on, albeit a very limited one, and in those circumstances it's very difficult indeed to arrange the evacuation of foreign nationals."

Some rains are not welcomed

From Al Jazeera

Israel rains bombs on Lebanon

Sunday 16 July 2006, 4:25 Makka Time, 1:25 GMT

Israeli offensive does not look like ending soon

Israel continued to pound Beirut's southern suburb on Sunday, the fifth successive day of an offensive on Lebanon, and there is no sign that its attacks on the Hizbollah guerrilla group and civilian installations are likely to end soon.

The air strikes, which killed 35 civilians on Saturday, including 15 children, were meant to punish the Lebanese government for failing to disarm Hizbollah and letting it menace Israel's northern border, where measures just short of a state of emergency have been ordered.

Israel has said it aims not just to force Hizbollah to free the soldiers, whom the Shi'ite group wants to trade for prisoners in Israel, but to destroy its ability to fire rockets into Israel.

The bombing of Lebanese roads, bridges, ports and airports, as well as Hizbollah targets, is Israel's most destructive onslaught since a 1982 invasion to expel Palestinian forces.

The attacks started after the guerrilla group's capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border operation on Wednesday.

Air strikes in the early hours of Sunday damaged a flyover linking the southern suburb with the eastern part of Beirut, Hizbollah's al-Manar television reported, and the loud blasts were heard throughout the capital. Israeli aircraft have already flattened Hizbollah's nine-storey headquarters.

The campaign in Lebanon coincided with an offensive Israel launched in the Gaza Strip on June 28 to try to retrieve another captured soldier and halt Palestinian rocket fire.

Israeli forces clashed with militants in Gaza on Sunday as tanks moved back into the north of the Strip. Tanks and armoured personnel carriers, backed by helicopters with machine guns sending down bursts of fire, moved into farmland near Beit Hanoun, an area often used by militants for launching rockets.

Small groups of militants opened fire at the Israeli forces, but there was no report of casualties.

Siniora (L) blamed Israel for turning
Lebanon into a disaster zone

Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, repeated his demands for an immediate UN-backed ceasefire on Saturday. He denounced Israel for turning his country into a "disaster zone" and appealed for foreign aid.

Gus has a feeling that this tit has been orchestrated by Israel, under secret US directives, to involve Syria and Iran in the conflict (Israel blames Iran for supplying rockets to Hizbolah) so that would "legitimise" an agression of the US on these two countries, especially Iran... But Iran and Syria would have to know, unless they have massive firepower, which they do not have, not to get involved

Good for the soul

A little bit of suffering endured by those thousands of Aussies waiting to be evacuated will nurture a lot of compassion for Israel. I imagine political leaders fostering exchanges of views between synagogue and mosque, interfaith school visits and community lovefests in the leafy suburbs.

Unless, of course, they are cursed for not reading Lex's travel warnings, and subjected to examination of their patriotism, by 2GB, on return.

Destruction of an international airport? No problem, it is a war, after all, and everything is in proportion.  

Never let an opportunity to throw a litre or two of our overpriced petrol on the fire, and thereby improve the wealth of the Bush family.

I'm told Cyprus is lovely at this time of year.

No regrets

From Al Jazeera

Zidane: Sorry, but no regrets

Thursday 13 July 2006, 0:03 Makka Time, 21:03 GMT

Act unforgivable but provocateur must also be punished: Zidane

Zinedine Zidane has apologised for head-butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final, saying he had been taunted with harsh insults about his mother and sister.

The French captain repeatedly apologised to fans - especially children - in his first comments since Sunday's match, but said he did not regret the outburst that marked the end of his 18-year professional career.

"I tell myself that if things happened this way, it's because somewhere up there it was decided that way," the 34-year-old midfielder said in an interview on French television channel TF1 on Wednesday.

"And I don't regret anything that happened, I accept it."

He stressed that he felt no regret "because that would mean [Materazzi] was right to say all that".

Serious provocation

"There was a serious provocation," said Zidane, who added that he had never had tensions with the Italian player before.

"My act is not forgivable," Zidane said. "But they must also punish the true guilty party, and the guilty party is the one who provokes."


Gus is with Zidane on this one... Much of the media has slammed the French football player but, had I been in the same situation Materazzi would have been dead meat... bleeding from a stampede while reaching for the ball... But temper temper Gus... Zidane action was more honest the way he performed it... Zidane is one of these people who are kinder than kind and help a lot of people who make it tough in life... Always giving and personally helping when natural disasters strike his homeland of origin, Algeria, Zidane deserves to be applauded for giving that low life Materazzi a head-butt on the third occasion at insulting him... Unforgivable head butt, sure... but deserved? yes.

10,000 % interest is very Jewish and Nazi

From the Washington Post
Israel Steps Up Attacks on Lebanon
By Anthony Shadid
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, July 16, 2006; Page A01

BEIRUT, July 16 -- Columns of white smoke billowed over Beirut on Saturday as Israel escalated its four-day-old assault on the Lebanese capital, striking Hezbollah's offices, residences of its leadership, the city's port and a lighthouse along a scenic boulevard. Hezbollah fired barrages of rockets the farthest it had yet into Israel.

The United Nations said at least 16 Lebanese civilians, many of them children, were killed when an Israeli strike destroyed two cars fleeing a village that Israel had ordered evacuated.

In a war that has witnessed an escalation each day, the asymmetrical nature of the conflict was laid bare Saturday: For each attack by Hezbollah since it captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, Israel has inflicted a far greater price...

Read more at the Washington Post


And Gus' ancestry could be Jewish from central Europe... but It seems Israel is led by a bad collection of escaped Nazis who pretend to be of Jewish background... Nothing would surprise me...

from Bush's poodle

From the ABC

Israel acting in self-defence, says Howard
Prime Minister John Howard has blamed Hezbollah for starting the current crisis between Lebanon and Israel, saying the group provoked the Jewish state into "self-defence" by going across the border and seizing soldiers.

In the five days since the Lebanese militant group kidnapped two soldiers, Israel has pounded Hezbollah targets and civilian infrastructure in Lebanon, killing 103 people - all but four of them civilians.

Hezbollah has rained rockets on northern Israel, including the Galilee town of Tiberias, killing four Israelis and wounding scores.

International leaders are divided over the Israeli response, with the Russian President Vladimir Putin calling it "disproportionate".

Speaking on the ABC's Insiders program, Mr Howard echoed comments by the US President George W Bush, who said the violence started because Hezbollah kidnapped two soldiers.

"You could hardly have had a more provocative act," said Mr Howard.

He says Hezbollah is the "plaything of Syria", and that he understands the Israeli position.

"Much as I deplore the violence ... one has to understand Israel's position, Israel has the right of self-defence," he said.

"This country has been under constant attack for almost 50 years, since it was founded, and there is still an unwillingness on the part of many in the region to accept Israel's right to exist.

"Until there is unconditional acceptance, and also an unconditional acceptance by others of the need for a Palestinian state, separate to Israel of course, we're never going to have any lasting settlement."


Sorry, sir, Mr Grocer, Israel is not acting in "self-defence". It is acting in self-offence. For every niggling attack on Israel — a country founded like the US and Australia on the removing of inhabitants from their land, by force — that country has always retaliated with outrageous force, encouraging more bloody responses... For once we would expect a bit of restraint towards peace, by negotiations not by tanks or bombs that can only provoke more trouble... Like the WMDs of Saddam, our grocer is spreading more fib-jam of self-interest for the white supremacist bread and Jewish pasties.

Is self-defence the shooting of kids and innocent people, plus the bombing of a sovereign country's infrastructure when 2 soldiers have been abducted and 8 killed? No it is not. It is akin to Indonesia bombing Darwin flat because Australia had arrested some poor Indonesian fishermen doing what they have done for hundred of years now deemed illegal by the new landlords.

an extraordinary fraud...

From the American Conservative:

July 17, 2006 Issue
Copyright © 2006 The American Conservative

American Petrocracy

Among the shifting rationales for the war in Iraq, the most plausible motive may be the least discussed: access to oil.

by Kevin Phillips

Few lies have wound up injuring Americans more—in everything from automobile gas tanks and winter heating bills to diminished U.S. global standing—than a rarely revisited three-year-old fib-fest involving George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Tony Blair. Since World War I, history is clear: the British and Americans have been pre-occupied with only one thing in Iraq—oil. Yet in 2003, as their troops again disembarked, the pretense was all about good and evil, democracy and freedom. The disastrous outcome of the unacknowledged Middle Eastern mission, the struggle for petroleum, has rarely been discussed.

In part, that’s because a credulous press has swallowed an extraordinary fraud. Speaking on behalf of George W. Bush, then White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer insisted in February 2003, “If this had anything to do with oil, the position of the United States would be to lift the sanctions so the oil could flow. This is not about that. This is about saving lives by protecting the American people.” In November 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had likewise declared, “it has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.” On the other side of the Atlantic, British Prime Minister Tony Blair told Parliament in early 2003, “Let me deal with the conspiracy theory that this has something to do with oil. There is no way whatever that if oil were the issue, it wouldn’t be simpler to cut a deal with Saddam Hussein.”

Horse manure. In the run-up to war, from Alberta to Texas, oilmen gossiped about the centrality of oil. Meetings of petroleum geologists buzzed about the so-called “peak oil” forecast that a dangerous top in global production was only a decade or two away. Specialized publications guesstimated how much taking over Iraqi oil could mean for profits and Exxon and Chevron. Polls of ordinary citizens from Europe to Latin America and the Mideast produced similar findings: people thought the invasion was about oil.

read more at the American Conservative...

Is Israel tugging at the hem of Iran's burga?

From Time Magazine

Iran's Stake in the Mideast Crisis
On Scene: Despite its fiery rhetoric, Tehran isn't eager to get actively involved in the current conflict. But it is more than willing to exploit it to advance its popularity in the Islamic world
Posted Saturday, Jul. 15, 2006
To the outside world used to the heated rhetoric of its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran might seem eager to jump at the chance to get involved in the current conflict between Israel, Lebanon and the Iranian-backed militant group Hizballah. But in fact, with its nuclear dispute unresolved and the risk of confrontation with the U.S. still looming, Iran can ill afford to play an active role in the escalating crisis. The top leadership in Tehran is focused on settling the nuclear issue diplomatically, and fears that if the mess in Lebanon spreads, Iran's thorny negotiation track with the West could be derailed altogether.

During Friday prayer, the classic platform here for signaling policy to the world, there was no fiery bluster, just muted condemnations of the recent violence. "I don't see Iran entering this crisis militarily unless it's dragged in," says Saeed Laylaz, an analyst and former official. Iran might only get involved, analysts here say, if the conflagration widened dramatically, by Israel attacking Syria or even Iran itself.

read more at Time Magazine

of course it's difficult .....

Yes Gus, it's difficult ....

But how difficult would it be for the rodent to utter a word or two of condemnation against Israel for its criminal behaviour which, after all, is what is actually threatening the safety of our good citizens.

No chance, of course, given the blinkered, US-driven focus of our excuse for foreign policy, rendered even more impotent by the prime rodent's cosy relationship with the very zionists driving Israel's expansionist agenda. 

And if any Australians are killed or injured because they are caught in the frame, watch how quickly the "core" liar cries crocodile tears, whilst blaming the awful "terrarists" for the whole mess.

Disgusting ..... but then, the willingness of the rodent's government to imprison refugees; arrest, detain & deport awstraylen citizens & abandon those scooped-up & tortured by our "friend", the gangsta nation of amerika, is a pretty good indication of how much real concern there is for the safety of our citizens.

The prime meanster has only ever offered flowery words in such situations & has never once taken tangible & genuine action to secure & protect the safety of awstraylen citizens: his 1st & primary duty as the so-called "leader" of our nation.

Yes John...

from Al Jazeera

Lebanon blames US for UN silence

Sunday 16 July 2006, 5:08 Makka Time, 2:08 GMT

La Sabliere confirmed no agreement had been reached

Lebanon has accused the United States of blocking a Security Council statement calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, and said the impotence of the UN's most powerful body sent wrong signals to small countries.

Nouhad Mahmoud, the Lebanese special envoy, said: "It's unacceptable because people are still under shelling, bombardment and destruction is going on ... and people are dying."

Qatar, the only Arab nation on the council, received widespread support during closed council consultations for a press statement calling for an immediate ceasefire, restraint in the use of force, and the protection of civilians caught in the conflict, council diplomats said.

But Cesar Mayoral, Argentina's UN ambassador, said the United States objected to any statement and Britain opposed calling for a ceasefire.


Yes John, and our rodent just went on rodenting...

a liar's thesis .....

Yes Gus .....

Our callous promoter of picket fence thinking would have us believe that the destruction of the Palestinian people & their Arab cousins living in the Lebanon, Syria & Iran is justified by the "capture" of two Israeli soldiers, just as he would have us believe that the destruction of Iraq is justified by the west's desire to spread its corrupt, imperialist brand of "freedom & democracy".

But if the little "core" liar's thesis is correct, then surely the capture of the Israeli soldiers is more than justified by Israel's illegal & unconscionable behaviour in locking-up tens of thousands of Palestinians, including women & children, without charge or trial?

But then, when you're a rodent, albeit only a deputy, it's still a case of "do as we say" & not "do as we do".

Howard is the most dishonest & dishonourable creature to ever finagle its way into the Lodge & it is to the eternal shame of this nation that Awstraylens have condoned & prolonged his criminal tenure.

the heart of the problem .....

And you know what Gus .....

I'd bet that the majority of Awstraylens, Amerikans & our Bristish cousins know that it's about "the oil", but they feign ignorance & readily accept the lies & deceit put about by their corrupt political masters, because they'd rather keep their creature comforts at the expense of their humanity, than stand-up & defend the rights of others.

The truism that we "get the politicians we deserve" has never been more accurate.

understanding the oil crisis .....

Counting da bombs

From the ABC

Fatal attack on Israel 'crosses red line'
There has been a serious escalation of the Middle East crisis, with at least eight Israelis killed and many more wounded in a barrage of Hezbollah rocket attacks from southern Lebanon on the city of Haifa.

It is the deadliest missile attack in more than a decade by the guerrilla group, which is based in Lebanon and supported by Syria and Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has warned of serious consequences for Lebanon and the whole region.

Hezbollah says it has fired longer-range, Iranian-made rockets in response to the devastating Israeli attacks that have killed at least 100 people, most of them civilians, in Lebanon and destroyed much of the country's infrastructure.

The first wave of rockets fell around the railway station in Haifa, Israel's third-largest city, at the busiest time of the morning. Television pictures show blood on smashed rail compartments.

A second wave has come in less than an hour later.

The chief executive of Israel Railways says most of the dead were railroad employees, who had just arrived to start work.

Medics say the firing of about 20 rockets has wounded 20 people in and around the port city.

Residents in Haifa, which lies about 35 kilometres south of the Lebanese border, have rushed to bomb shelters after the strike as sirens blared across the city.

But Haifa police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld says people have been asked to stay in doors as rockets continue to land on the city and surrounding areas.

"We're concentrating on the safety of our civilians in Haifa and the northern area at this moment in time," he said.

"The civilians are within safe zones within buildings, not to be in the streets.

"This is as far as we're concerned at the moment.

"Emergency services are on the scene as we have been at this site where eight people have been killed.

"Unfortunately, this is the most devastating attack so far until now."

'Crossing a red line'
In the past, Israel has said that attacking Haifa would be crossing a "red line".

The high death toll is expected to lead to an intensification of Israel's air and sea campaign against Lebanon, where it has bombed targets across the south and hit Hezbollah buildings in Beirut over the past four days.

Israel has said its assault on Lebanon could continue for weeks or months until Hezbollah's ability to fire rockets into Israel is destroyed.

Hezbollah has fired more than 400 rockets into Israel since the crisis began last Wednesday, when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid and killed eight others in ensuing clashes.

A total of 12 Israeli civilians have been killed and hundreds have been injured in rocket attacks since then.


Gus tallies: Interesting that we have the number of rockets fired by Hezbollah but no account of the numbers of artillery shells, aircraft delivered bombs and other instruments of death sent by Israel into Lebanon... As well we are told that bombing Haifa by Hezbollah crosses the "red line" while bombing Beirut by Israel seems to amount to a touristic stroll...

crocodile regrets

From somewhere (NYT)

Israel Widens Scope of Attacks Across Lebanon

Early Sunday, Israeli warplanes bombed the Beirut suburbs for hours.
Israel also struck roads in Lebanon’s north and east on Saturday, with one attack killing at least 16 civilians, most of them children. At the same time, Hezbollah forces continued their rocket barrage into northern Israel, striking the resort city of Tiberias for the first time.

The widening conflict stirred a meeting of world leaders in Russia, where President Bush called on Syria to use its influence with Hezbollah to end the fighting. At an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, the Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, said the participants “all decided that the peace process has failed,” and that they would turn to the United Nations Security Council for help.

Israel carried out dozens of airstrikes on Saturday, hitting Jounieh, Tripoli and other northern ports.

A Lebanese civilian convoy was hit near the coastal town of Tyre after fleeing the border village of Marwaheen, resulting in 16 deaths. The Israeli military said the area was a target because Hezbollah had used it to launch missiles, and regretted any civilian casualties. It was the deadliest single attack in the past four days of fighting.

read more at the NYT


We regret that you are dead... this is your caring Israeli bomber speaking. The next delivery will take care of your neighbour, and deservedly euthanise your senile granny.

waking up solidarity

From Al Jazeera

Indonesians protest in solidarity

Sunday 16 July 2006, 7:49 Makka Time, 4:49 GMT

Thousands of protesters have rallied in Jakarta to condemn the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian territories and Lebanon.

The government of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has called on Israel to stop the strikes and urged the disputing parties to get back to the negotiating table.

About 6,000 supporters of the Muslim-oriented Prosperous Justice party (PKS), chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) and waved Palestinian, Lebanese and Indonesian flags as they marched around the capital.

One protester, Soni Suardi, said: "A few troops are captured and Israel goes on killing so many innocent civilians, bombing cities and destroying public facilities from power to waterworks. How can we not show our care about this.

"The Arab states must rise and stop sitting silent when their neighbours are being annihilated. Are there no more men in that region who dare to stand up against Israel?"

Indonesia's population is 220 million and about 85% of those are Muslim. The country co-operates with Washington in anti-terror efforts in Southeast Asia, but is a strong critic of much of its Middle East policy.

and while we're looking somewhere else...

From the BBC

Afghans investigate air strikes

Afghanistan's president has launched an inquiry into an air strike called in by UK forces in Nawzad, Helmand Province, after claims civilians were killed.
Local people told the BBC a significant number of civilians died when at least three 227-kg (500-pound) bombs hit a market there on Wednesday.
British forces say they have no evidence to support this.
Hamid Karzai has also called an inquiry into an attack in Uruzgan Province which allegedly killed many civilians.
Afghan sources allege that around 60 civilians were killed in the US air attack near Tirin Kot, southern Uruzgan, on Monday.
"They shot people who were running out of houses under fire from helicopters, on the fields and everywhere," villager Feda Mohammad told AFP news agency from a hospital in the city of Kandahar

a risky and dangerous path

From the Guardian

Israel's response risks its security

Henry Siegman
Sunday July 16, 2006
The Observer

In Lebanon as in Gaza, it is not Israel's right to protect its civilian population from terrorist aggression that is at issue. It is the way Israel goes about exercising that right.
Despite bitter lessons from the past, Israel's political and military leaders remain addicted to the notion that, whatever they have a right to do, they have a right to overdo, to the point where they lose what international support they had when they began their retaliatory measures.

Israel's response to the terrorist assault in Gaza and the outrageous and unprovoked Hizbollah assault across its northern border in Lebanon, far from providing protection to its citizens, may well further undermine their security by destabilising the wider region.

On the surface, the situations in Gaza and in Lebanon may seem similar, but there are important differences. No matter how one judges the rights and wrongs of the recent Hamas assaults and Israeli reprisals, in Gaza the fundamental casus belli is Israel's occupation that has now lasted for nearly 40 years. Israel's leaders continue to suffer from the delusion they can defeat violent Palestinian resistance to that occupation without offering the Palestinians a credible, non-violent political path to statehood, promised in various international agreements.

Following the precedent set by Ariel Sharon with his unilateral disengagement from Gaza, his successor as Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, believes that if Israel dodges the bullet of a bilateral peace negotiation with the Palestinians - something it has successfully done so far by claiming 'there is no Palestinian partner for peace' - it will be able to create unilaterally a rump Palestinian state that will leave in Israeli hands large chunks of Palestinian territory and make a mockery of Palestinian national aspirations.

Despite the massive imbalance of forces, the Palestinians will never abide such an outcome. In 1988 and in 1993, as part of the Oslo agreement, they recognised Israel's legitimacy in 78 per cent of what used to be the Palestine mandate, leaving themselves with 22 per cent, less than half the territory assigned to them by the United Nations in 1947. No Palestinian leader, now or in the future, will agree to further Israeli land grabs to accommodate settlements established in violation of international agreements and international law, whose illegality even the utterly one-sided Bush administration has had to concede.

read more at the Guardian

throwing up green questions

From the BBC

Army verdict throws up questions
By Paul Adams
Defence correspondent, BBC News
Quite apart from the unanswered aspects surrounding the death of a young Iraqi, yesterday's "not guilty" verdict throws up another series of questions.

Some touch on the conduct of British forces in the immediate aftermath of the 2003 invasion, while others concern the state of Britain's system of military justice.

Defence lawyers at the Colchester court martial argued that their clients had been, in the words of one, "hung out to dry" as a result of poor planning in the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The same argument was made, forcefully, by the Army's senior legal officer for the invasion, who gave evidence during the trial.

"There was a total failure to plan for the occupation," said Lt Col Nicholas Mercer. "It was not foreseen that Iraq would implode to the extent that it did."
"that Iraq would implode to the extent that it did"?

Gus wrote in late 2002 letters to various leaders around the world, including Dubya, alerting them :

a) to the flimsy reasons to go to war, We knew there were no WMDs in Iraq.
b) that the situation would degenerate soon after an "easy victory" due to Saddam's troops being only equipped with 1980s weaponry... The dynamics of that region were thus that a degradation of the artificial stability maintained by Saddam would soon tear this country. Civil war was a strong possibility...

But as we also suspected at the time, the fact that the US did not have a strong "post victory plan" except give a few lollies to kiddies was more or less deliberate as to have a certain chaos to prevent the Shia majority take control of the country... Democracy? bollocks!

in the name of gilad shalit .....

‘The beautiful viaduct that soars over the mountainside here has become a "terrorist" target. The Israelis attacked the international highway from Beirut to Damascus just after dawn yesterday and dropped a bomb clean through the central span of the Italian-built bridge a symbol of Lebanon's co-operation with the European Union sending concrete crashing hundreds of feet down into the valley beneath. It was the pride of the murdered ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri, the face of a new, emergent Lebanon. And now it is a "terrorist" target. 

So I drove gingerly along the old mountain road towards the Bekaa yesterday - the Israeli jets were hissing through the sky above me - turned the corner once I rejoined the highway, and found a 50ft crater with an old woman climbing wearily down the side on her hands and knees, trying to reach her home in the valley that glimmered to the east. This too had become a "terrorist" target.

What I Am Watching In Lebanon Each Day Is An Outrage

Crushing the dialogue

From Al Jazeera

A way out of the Gaza crisis

By Arthur Neslen

Tuesday 04 July 2006, 21:56 Makka Time, 18:56 GMT

Out of sight of the international press pack, a bid to resolve the Gaza crisis, involving a dialogue between a Jewish religious leader and Hamas representatives, continues and is well advanced.

"I'm talking to Hamas representatives every day," a weary sounding Menachem Froman told me by telephone from the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, where he lives and works as a rabbi. "We have had a lot of meetings and I have just spoken to an aide of my prime minister about this."

But Tel Aviv's interest in a negotiated end to the standoff is far from assured.

The day before the tanks rolled into Gaza, Froman had been due to launch an extraordinary peace initiative at a news conference in Jerusalem with Muhamed Abu Tir, the Hamas MP, Khaled Abu Arafa, the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem, and three Israeli rabbis.

The panel was to have made a collective call for the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit, the beginning of a process to release all Palestinian prisoners and the immediate start of negotiations with Hamas on the framework for a peace deal based on 1967 borders.

They would also have announced that Jewish and Muslim religious leaders could achieve peace where Israel's politicians had failed.

But the response from Israel's security establishment was crushing.

read the rest at Al Jazeera

ephemeral Fantasyland?

From the BBC

Two worlds
Cocktail party set divorced from Afghanistan reality
The US Ambassador, Ronald Neumann, made an upbeat speech reminding the guests (dress code: lounge suits or national dress) of the thousands of Afghan students educated thanks to the generosity of the American people; of the schools and courthouses built, and of the roads rolled out by provincial reconstruction teams stretching far into the deserts and mountains.

There was some polite applause and then the guests made a bee line for the dance floor, the band of the 10th Mountain Division, still wearing their desert camouflage, struck up and churned out a few more Gershwin classics.
Outside l'Atmosphere, I chatted to one of the guards, a friendly old chap whose name I will withhold.

He was cradling his AK-47 and smiled at me, with his set of yellow and broken teeth. I had got to know him a little, stopping at the guard hut for a chat when I had time.

"I earn $47 a month," he said, "and I work every hour I can for my three sons and my wife."

He gestured towards the entrance to l'Atmosphere: "Do you really think that if the Taleban came, I would stay and fight?"

Not for $47, I said. "No," he said, "I would take off my uniform and join them."

Read all at the BBC

Wishy-washy G8 had to blame "someone"

From the BBC

G8 blames Mid-East 'extremists'
Leaders of the G8 nations have blamed extremist forces for the latest crisis in the Middle East, but called on Israel to end military operations.
The statement - issued after hours of difficult negotiations - calls for the release of three captured Israeli soldiers - one in the Gaza Strip.
It also urges militants to stop shelling of Israeli territory.
Leaders also urged Israel to withdraw its forces from Gaza and to release arrested Palestinian politicians.
The leaders of the world's eight top economic powers are meeting in St Petersburg.
The statement, described to reporters by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, revealed concern over the rising civilian casualties on both sides.
It blamed the immediate crisis on "extremist forces", including Hamas and Hezbollah, which it said wanted to destabilise the region and frustrate the Palestinian, Israeli and Lebanese peoples' aspirations for democracy and peace.


Gus-smirk: As long as the bad "terrorists" on the Arab side are blamed for all the troubles and none of the "goodfellows" on the Israeli side — those who commit ten to one the amount of atrocity in the name of "self-defence", especially that of the real estate grab in the West Bank — everything will be fine in the best of the finest worlds...

Disproportional response indeed. Wishy-washy G8 still protecting the cash before reality.

Strategic precision flattening of Lebanon

From The Washington Post

Strikes Are Called Part of Broad Strategy
U.S., Israel Aim to Weaken Hezbollah, Region's Militants
By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 16, 2006; Page A15

Israel, with U.S. support, intends to resist calls for a cease-fire and continue a longer-term strategy of punishing Hezbollah, which is likely to include several weeks of precision bombing in Lebanon, according to senior Israeli and U.S. officials.

For Israel, the goal is to eliminate Hezbollah as a security threat -- or altogether, the sources said. A senior Israeli official confirmed that Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah is a target, on the calculation that the Shiite movement would be far less dynamic without him.

For the United States, the broader goal is to strangle the axis of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran, which the Bush administration believes is pooling resources to change the strategic playing field in the Middle East, U.S. officials say.

Whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous about the populist militants -- with a tacit agreement that the timing is right to strike.

"What is out there is concern among conservative Arab allies that there is a hegemonic Persian threat [running] through Damascus, through the southern suburbs of Beirut and to the Palestinians in Hamas," said a senior U.S. official who requested anonymity because of sensitive diplomacy. "Regional leaders want to find a way to navigate unease on their streets and deal with the strategic threats to take down Hezbollah and Hamas, to come out of the crisis where they are not as ascendant."

Hezbollah's cross-border raid that captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others has provided a "unique moment" with a "convergence of interests" among Israel, some Arab regimes and even those in Lebanon who want to rein in the country's last private army, the senior Israeli official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing conflict.

Read more of this at the Washington Post


Gus: Several weeks of precision bombing? Yeah... several weeks of targeted terrorism... by Israel that will destroy and flatten Lebanon... That's the spirit. hello? anyone there?...

Lebanon may have the right to ask for help to defend itself...

Everyone should join in the fun

From Al Jazeera

Israel kills nine Lebanese soldiers

Monday 17 July 2006, 5:19 Makka Time, 2:19 GMT

Lebanon's army has largely been on the sidelines of the conflict

Nine Lebanese soldiers were among the 13 people killed in a spate of Israeli raids on Lebanon overnight, Lebanese police said on Monday.

Israel lobbed missiles at targets in all corners of Lebanon early on Monday, killing at least 13 and wounding 53 in a surge of reprisals after Hezbollah rockets slammed into new targets deep inside Israel.

The soldiers were killed when Israeli aircraft attacked a small fishing port at Abdeh in northernmost Lebanon next to a highway leading to northern Syria, about 6kms (four miles) from the border.

Witnesses and security officials said 12 others were wounded in the early Monday attack that destroyed the position. There was no immediate comment from the military.

Lebanon's army has largely remained on the sidelines of the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel so far, and it was unclear why one of its positions at the far north of the country should be hit.

The road to Syria's northwest was temporarily closed to traffic as rescuers evacuated casualties and cleared the rubble.

Obviously Israel is in its own rights to go and bash the shit out of Lebanese soldiers because they are there doing nothing... It's obvious that Israel wants to spark the biffo of all biffos and get everyone involved in Old Testament enactment of prophecies, including Armageddon. Yeepee!!!

and to say that Lebanon's army has largely remained on the sidelines is an overstatement... I believe its only role so far is to pick up the bloody pieces by the side of the roads bombed by Israel...

restraint: more puffing and less huffing

From the ABC

Middle East compromise urged as onslaught continues
United Nations and European Union envoys have appealed for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldiers, during visits to Beirut to try to ease the conflict between Israel and its neighbours.

Israeli aircraft have blasted Lebanon, killing 17 people, after Hezbollah rockets struck deeper into Israel than ever before, with no diplomatic initiative in sight to end the fighting.

An offensive into Gaza, which began after Hamas militants kidnapped Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit, is continuing; the eight-storey Palestinian Foreign Ministry building in Gaza City was flattened by an Israeli air raid this morning.

In Beirut, senior United Nations (UN) diplomat Vijay Nambiar urged both sides to do what is necessary to end civilian suffering.

He said he supported Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's call for a cease-fire.

"The United Nations supports the Lebanese Government and the Prime Minister," he said.

"We support the call for a cease-fire and his aim of exercising full authority over the entire country.

"We call for the release of the captives as part of a solution to this conflict."

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, speaking after talks with Mr Siniora, appealed for "those who have the possibility of influence" to press for an end to the violence and for the release of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah on Wednesday.

European Union foreign ministers meet today for talks set to be dominated to the spiralling violence in the Middle East, but also to discuss Iran's nuclear program and the peacekeeping mission in Sudan.

Amid disagreement at the United Nations and leaders of the Group of Eight major industrial powers, meeting in Russia, the ministers are expected to reiterate calls for restraint rather than push all-out for a cease-fire.


Gus is impressed by this reiteration: Yeah... use little bombs instead of big ones...

Spoilt brat and poor kids...

I'd like to apologise... It looks from my blogs that I support Hezebollah against Israel... far from it. But I cannot let Israel get away with the rabid policies of a spoilt brat... When I was a kid, we had poor and "nasty" kids in our school. Nasty, obnoxious, uneducated, annoying would be many of the descriptions. Some would behave, in appearance, like robbers in the night. They were "the kids with the knives"... Most, I will dare to say were Romanies or gypsies... In fact, after closer examination, the unfortunate labels, stuck from their origins, were more at the root of the problem of non acceptance... It took a while to become friend and thus discover a world away from what was our ordinary life, but also not extraordinary. Like all of us they suffered the same childhood diseases, they shared in games, they laughed, they were alive... and no, they never stole anything... They only used their knives to cut up an apple — their only piece of lunch —, as we, the spoilt brats, could walk back home for lunch... But the rotten legend lived on and they knew they were imprinted with it. They knew they carried the stigma that had led us not to trust them in the first place... Sure some of their elders were fast and dextrous with some unsavoury practices but we had our own shifty lumbers... I know adult life is more complicated than that and there are some nasty people out there... But a kind move towards a withdrawn person, helping a "nasty" person or a suspicious person does a lot more than beating the shit out of him for being shifty... Even if we "have reasons" to do so...

More often than not our reasons to feel that way are manufactured to allay our fears rather than understand and share... and the shifty characters are only so in response to our distrust... our distrust is matched by their distrust that we find shifty... The vicious circle is gathering momentum...

The destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure by Israel is an act of terrorism no matter the "reasons" to do so. Israel hitting at a third party to punish someone else is way beyond the level of retaliation they could claim morality to... But we all know our retaliation is but another step for your opponent to return the favour twice over... until all forces are spent. In this case until everyone in dead. No lesson we "teach" that way is ever learnt.

And even the poorest of all, with just an ounce of self-belief will find ways to undo our hardest use of force. Rounds can be won but not the war as we carry the same seed of destructive desire, no matter our self-belief if our rights to do so. They will have the same...

For once Tony Blair made a proposal that should not have been refused by Israel... But then Tony may have made his offer in full knowledge it would be dismissed... With Kofi, he made the gesture of inviting both parties to a cease-fire and proposed the creation of a UN force in the region to maintain the peace until tempers cooled... Hezebollah is ready to accept this... Israel is not. It wants to rout Hezebollah out of the world map by destroying Lebanon... This won't work even if in appearance it does...

More retaliation will be pay-back in one form or another... now or later... Israel is strong enough to be generous and should make a step towards arresting the vicious circle... It has the means to do so. Doing so will need a lot of trust building before agreements can be reached but agreements there need to be... otherwise every one will lose... And please can someone give the president of the United States a blow job to distract him away from interfering, using his his monstrous platitude and blame-game of whatever sort that do not help anybody, except encourage everyone fight each-other some more...

Spoilt brat of a president

From the ABC

Bush, Blair's Mideast chat caught on open microphone
US President George W Bush, caught on an open microphone at a summit in St Petersburg, has suggested that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would travel to the Middle East "pretty soon".

Mr Bush, chomping on a piece of bread at a world leaders' lunch, also told British Prime Minister Tony Blair that a key to defusing the violence in the region was for "Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over".

"She's going. I think Condis going to go pretty soon," said the President.

He did not specify a destination but Dr Rice is widely expected to travel to the Middle East when a UN fact-finding mission returns later this week.

Mr Blair offered to go himself if "she needs the ground prepared as it were," explaining that the stakes for him would be lower: "If she goes out she's got to succeed, as it were, whereas I can just go out and talk."

"The irony is, what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over," Mr Bush replied without specifying who "they" are.

The President's remarks were caught at the Group of Eight summit's official television network, which filmed the leaders having lunch.

The recording picked up as Mr Bush, apparently expected to make remarks, declares: "I'm just going to make it up. I'm not going to talk too damn long like the rest of them. Some of these guys talk too long."

The President and Mr Blair also seemed to express frustration about UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, with Mr Bush suggesting that Mr Annan thinks that a cease-fire by itself will resolve the conflict.

"What about Kofi Annan? I don't like the sequence of it. His attitude is basically cease-fire and everything else happens," said Mr Bush.

Mr Blair added: "What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if he gets a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way, he's done it. That's what this whole thing's about. It's the same with Iran."

But Mr Blair also cautioned that "the thing that is really difficult is you can't stop this unless you get this international presence agreed," an apparent reference to the G8 leaders' call for UN consideration of an international security force in Lebanon.

Mr Bush said he wanted to tell "Kofi to get on the phone with (Syrian President Bashar al) Assad and make something happen. We're not blaming Israel and we're not blaming the Lebanese government."

After Mr Blair told him that he's working "on this trade thing" - presumably stalled global trade talks - Mr Bush expressed his concern: "I just want some movement. Yesterday I didn't see much movement. The desire to move."

Among the other revelations: Mr Bush drinks diet Coke, likes buttered rolls, and makes quite a bit of small talk with other leaders about how long it takes to get home after a summit like this.

"I gotta leave by 2:15, they want me out of town so they can free up your security forces," he says, apparently to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was not seen.

"This is your neighbourhood, doesn't take you long to get home," he tells another leader, who was off camera.

"Russia's a big country, you're a big country," he told another. "Gotta go home. Got something to do tonight."


Gus: As mentioned on the blog above, would someone give the prez a blow.... etc. ???

At least, some are doing something

From Al jazeera

French premier in Beirut

Monday 17 July 2006, 20:18 Makka Time, 17:18 GMT

France's prime minister is in Lebanon to express his country's support for the Lebanese people in the face of a massive Israeli onslaught on the country.

Dominique de Villepin landed in Beirut on Monday afternoon and went straight into talks with the Lebanese prime minister, Fuad Siniora, officials said.

Philippe Douste-Blazy, France's foreign minister, accompanied him.

De Villepin called for "an immediate humanitarian truce" to end the hostilities between Israel and the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah.

Jacques Chirac, the French president, dispatched his prime minister and foreign minister to meet Siniora and "convey to him the support of France and the solidarity of the French people with the Lebanese people in their ordeal," the president's office said.


At the close of the G8 summit on Monday, Chirac said that returning stability to Lebanon may require "means of coercion."

"We have a situation that requires outside intervention, in such a way as to assure borders and to avoid cross-border aggression by one side against the other"

Jacques Chirac,
the French president

"Some kind of buffer zone is needed; the idea is to have an international force and a line of surveillance" in southern Lebanon...


France and Lebanon have a long history and to see a country suffer because of a high handed reaction to a few bad apples is unacceptable. I believe La Rice may be on her way to make sure nothing happens...

Stop this s...

The commander-in-chief of this fast disintegrating-planet, the president-brat who so eloquently put it on record to ask "They" (the good fairies? archangels? stock-market brokers?... God knows...) to tell "Syria to tell Hezbollah to stop this shit" could also force himself (or Condi if it hurts him too much to blurt out the words) to tell "Israel to stop this shit" as well... That may be the first true pace towards peace...

One can live in hope.

The Israeli viewpoint

Olmert: Israel facing 'moment of truth'

Monday 17 July 2006, 22:14 Makka Time, 19:14 GMT

Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, has vowed to continue his country's offensive against Hezbollah and Hamas, saying Israel faced a "moment of truth."

Olmert, addressing the Israeli parliament, said: "The terrorist organisations that we are fighting take their orders from the Tehran-Damascus axis of evil.

"This is a moment of truth for Israel. We will fight with all the strength we are capable of.

"We will strike anyone who would strike at us and any terrorist infrastructure, until Hezbollah and Hamas cease attacking us."

The prime minister said Israel was fighting to implement the will of the international community in the implementation of UN resolution 1559 and the release of its abducted soldiers.


The Israeli point of view:

UN resolution 1559, like its follow-up 1680, calls for the pull out of all foreign forces from Lebanon, the disbanding and disarmament of all militias and deployment of the Lebanese army on the Israeli border.

Resolution 194 - This resolution deals with the right to return. It is a General Assembly resolution. Therefore, it is not binding...

Resolution 242 - This Security Council resolution (a binding resolution) has two main components:

Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

Affirms further the necessity:
For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarised zones.

Resolution 338 - A security council resolution, following the Yom Kippur war of 1973, calling on both sides to begin implementation of Resolution 242.

Resolutions 242 and 338 were unanimously approved by the Security Council and are fully binding and can be enforced by sanctions or military action. Statements 1b and 2c of resolution 242 are clearly the responsibility of the Arab states that don't acknowledge Israel's existence to a large extent. These resolutions were not unilateral - Israel was to pull out on the condition that the Arab responsibilities were fulfilled.

Further, resolution 194 is the document that Palestinians claim gives them the "right to return". However, in the UN, resolutions can be superseded by newer resolutions and it is obvious that claims of "right to return" in resolution 192 (1948) are superseded by section 2b of resolution 242 (1967), where the refugee problem is to be solved with a "just settlement" which is likely to include compensation, but unlikely the "right of return".

A military pullout from Palestinian territories would take a matter of hours (as evidenced by the Israeli withdrawal in 2000 from Lebanon). The hate, belligerency and incitement created by the Palestinian Authority and other Arab entities against Israel and Jews will take generations to erase.

The Occupied Territories
In 1993, the Oslo Accords were signed, giving the PA authority over some lands: Gaza and Jericho. However, Israel was still responsible for "overall security of Israelis for the purpose of safeguarding their internal security and public order."

Now, when Israel made peace with Jordan in 1994, the control those countries had over the West Bank was relinquished to the Israelis.

Israel therefore is not occupying the West Bank...

The media commonly refers to the West Bank as "occupied territories". This simply is not true, because most of the land was never given to the authority of the PA and is therefore not occupied.

United Nations Charter, Article 51

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.


Gus advise all people to hold on to their seats and make a few sand-bags... we're in for the long hall... Looking at Israel's point of view, the West Bank is theirs and when looking at Israeli maps, there is little distinction between Israel and the "West Bank"... One can see the Palestinian point of view... having been shafted all the way... They have little left except move on, into Jordan or the Gaza moonscape... Now if someone came along and told you: "Sorry sir but your house is mine now and we've organised a nice refugee camp in Indonesia for you... " you would not be impressed, would you...?

It ain't going to be pretty.

bans the use of force

From the BBC

Japan troops withdraw from Iraq

The Japanese deployment has been unpopular at home
The final batch of Japanese soldiers has left Iraq, ending the country's first foray into an active foreign war zone since World War II
About 220 soldiers arrived in Kuwait on military transport planes.

A total of 600 non-combat troops had been working on reconstruction projects in southern Iraq since February 2004, protected by UK and Australian forces.

The decision was unpopular with the Japanese public, many of whom said it violated Japan's pacifist constitution.

"Our ground forces have bravely completed their mission and have now safely withdrawn to Kuwait," Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters in Russia, after the G8 summit.

"We carried out our humanitarian and reconstruction tasks without firing a single shot - in fact, without pointing a gun at anyone."

The soldiers were greeted in Kuwait by Japan's defence chief Fukushiro Nukaga. They are due to return to Japan in about a week, according to the Associated Press.

Humanitarian role

The Japanese constitution, drafted by the US in 1947, bans the use of force to settle international disputes.


Gus: What a not so novel idea but may be Israel should take a leaf out of that one... Unfortunately it does not exclude whales as well...

Up a bit

Up a bit, in this line of blogs there is a reference to Zidane and no regrets...

Just a follow up from the BBC

Zidane given ban and fine by Fifa

Zinedine Zidane has been banned for three games and fined £3,260 for head-butting Italy's Marco Materazzi during the World Cup final.
Following an investigation by world governing body Fifa, Materazzi was suspended for two games and fined £2,170 for provoking Zidane.
A Fifa statement said: "Both players stressed Materazzi's comments had been defamatory but not of a racist nature."
Zidane's ban is academic as he retired from football after the finals.
However the 34-year-old will instead work with football's world governing body Fifa for three days.
Fifa added: "Zinedine Zidane has agreed to do community service work with children and youngsters.
"During the course of their hearings both players also apologised to Fifa for their inappropriate behaviour and expressed their regret at the incident."