Australia vows Afghan commitment

Australia vows Afghan commitment
Australian PM Kevin Rudd has told Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a visit to Kabul he is committed to the "long haul" in Afghanistan.



Palestine, region, Asia
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.

Ancient Palestine
The earliest known inhabitants of Palestine were of the same group as the Neanderthal inhabitants of Europe. By the 4th millennium B.C. Palestine was inhabited by herders and farmers. It was in the 3d millennium that most of the towns known in historical times came into existence. They became centers of trade for Egyptian and Babylonian goods. During the 2d millennium, Palestine was ruled by the Hyksos and by the Egyptians. Toward the end of this period Moses led the Hebrew people (see Jews) out of Egypt, across the Sinai, and into Palestine.
Around 1200 B.C., the Philistines (“Sea Peoples”) invaded the southern coastland and established a powerful kingdom (see Philistia). The Hebrews were subject to the Philistines until c.1000 B.C., when an independent Hebrew kingdom was established under Saul, who was succeeded by David and then by Solomon. After the expansionist reign of Solomon (c.950 B.C.), the kingdom broke up into two states, Israel, with its capital at Samaria, and Judah, under the house of David, with its capital at Jerusalem. The two kingdoms were later conquered by expanding Mesopotamian states, Israel by Assyria (c.720 B.C.) and Judah by Babylonia (586 B.C.).
In 539 B.C. the Persians conquered the Babylonians. The Jewish Temple, destroyed by the Babylonians, was rebuilt (516 B.C.). Under Persian rule Palestine enjoyed considerable autonomy. Alexander the Great of Macedon, conquered Palestine in 333 B.C. His successors, the Ptolemies and Seleucids, contested for Palestine. The attempt of the Seleucid Antiochus IV (Antiochus Epiphanes) to impose Hellenism brought a Jewish revolt under the Maccabees, who set up a new Jewish state in 142 B.C. The state lasted until 63 B.C., when Pompey conquered Palestine for Rome.

Christianity and Islam
Palestine at the time of Jesus was ruled by puppet kings of the Romans, the Herods (see Herod). When the Jews revolted in A.D. 66, the Romans destroyed the Temple (A.D. 70). Another revolt between A.D. 132 and 135 was also suppressed (see Bar Kokba, Simon), Jericho and Bethlehem were destroyed, and the Jews were barred from Jerusalem. When Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity (312), Palestine became a center of Christian pilgrimage, and many Jews left the region. Palestine over the next few centuries generally enjoyed peace and prosperity until it was conquered in 614 by the Persians. It was recovered briefly by the Byzantine Romans, but fell to the Muslim Arabs under caliph Umar by the year 640.
At this time (during the Umayyad rule), the importance of Palestine as a holy place for Muslims was emphasized, and in 691 the Dome of the Rock was erected on the site of the Temple of Solomon, which is claimed by Muslims to have been the halting station of Muhammad on his journey to heaven. Close to the Dome, the Aqsa mosque was built. In 750, Palestine passed to the Abbasid caliphate, and this period was marked by unrest between factions that favored the Umayyads and those who preferred the new rulers.
In the 9th cent., Palestine was conquered by the Fatimid dynasty, which had risen to power in North Africa. The Fatimids had many enemies—the Seljuks, Karmatians, Byzantines, and Bedouins—and Palestine became a battlefield. Under the Fatimid caliph al Hakim (996–1021), the Christians and Jews were harshly suppressed, and many churches were destroyed. In 1099, Palestine was captured by the Crusaders (see Crusades), who established the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Crusaders were defeated by Saladin at the battle of Hittin (1187), and the Latin Kingdom was ended; they were finally driven out of Palestine by the Mamluks in 1291. Under Mamluk rule Palestine declined.

Turkish Rule
In 1516 the Mamluks were defeated by the Ottoman Turks. The first three centuries of Ottoman rule isolated Palestine from outside influence. In 1831, Muhammad Ali, the Egyptian viceroy nominally subject to the Ottoman sultan, occupied Palestine. Under him and his son the region was opened to European influence. Ottoman control was reasserted in 1840, but Western influence continued. Among the many European settlements established, the most significant in the long run were those of Jews, Russian Jews being the first to come (1882).

Conflict between Arabs and Zionists
In the late 19th cent. the Zionist movement was founded (see Zionism) with the goal of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and dozens of Zionist colonies were founded there. At the start of the Zionist colonization of Palestine in the late 19th cent., the rural people were Arab peasants (fellahin). Most of the population were Muslims, but in the urban areas there were sizable groups of Arab Christians (at Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem) and of Jews (at Zefat, Tiberias, Jerusalem, Jericho, and Hebron).
At the same time Arab nationalism was developing in the Middle East in opposition to Turkish rule. In World War I the British, with Arab aid, gained control of Palestine. In the Balfour Declaration (1917) the British promised Zionist leaders to aid the establishment of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, with due regard for the rights of non-Jewish Palestinians. However, the British had also promised Arab leaders to support the creation of independent Arab states. The Arabs believed Palestine was to be among these, an intention that the British later denied.
In 1919 there were about 568,000 Muslims, 74,000 Christians, and 58,000 Jews in Palestine. The first Arab anti-Zionist riots occurred in Palestine in 1920. The League of Nations approved the British mandate in 1922, although the actual administration of the area had begun in 1920. As part of the mandate Britain was given the responsibility for aiding the Jewish homeland and fostering Jewish immigration there. The British stressed that their policy to aid the homeland did not include making all Palestine the homeland, but rather that such a home should exist within Palestine and that there were economic limits on how many immigrants should be admitted (1922 White Paper).
In the 1920s, Jewish immigration was slight, but the Jewish communities made great economic progress. In 1929 there was serious Jewish-Arab violence occasioned by a clash at the Western, or Wailing, Wall in Jerusalem. A British report found that Arabs feared the economic and political consequences of continued Jewish immigration with its attendant land purchases. Zionists were angered when a new White Paper (1930) urged limiting immigration, but they were placated by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald (1931).
The rise of Nazism in Europe during the 1930s led to a great increase in immigration. Whereas there were about 5,000 immigrants authorized in 1932, about 62,000 were authorized in 1935. Arabs conducted strikes and boycotts; a general strike in 1936, organized by Haj Amin al Husayni, mufti of Jerusalem, lasted six months. Some Arabs acquired weapons and formed a guerrilla force. The Peel commission (1937), finding British promises to Zionists and Arabs irreconcilable, declared the mandate unworkable and recommended the partition of Palestine into Jewish, Arab, and British (largely the holy places) mandatory states. The Zionists reluctantly approved partition, but the Arabs rejected it, objecting particularly to the proposal that the Arab population be forcibly transferred out of the proposed Jewish state.
The British dropped the partition idea and announced a new policy (1939 White Paper). Fifteen thousand Jews a year would be allowed to immigrate for the next five years, after which Jewish immigration would be subject to Arab acquiescence; Jewish land purchases were to be restricted; and within 10 years an independent, binational Palestine would be established. The Zionists were shocked by what they considered a betrayal of the Balfour Declaration. The Arabs also rejected the plan, demanding instead the immediate creation of an Arab Palestine, the prohibition of further immigration, and a review of the status of all Jewish immigrants since 1918.
The outbreak of World War II prevented the implementation of the plan, except for the restriction on land transfers. The Zionists and most Arabs supported Britain in the war (although Haj Amin al Husayni was in Germany and negotiated Palestine’s future with Hitler), but tension inside Palestine increased. The Haganah, a secret armed group organized by the Jewish Agency, and the Irgun and the Stern Gang, terrorist groups, were active. British officials were killed by the terrorists. The horrible plight of European Jewry led influential forces in the United States to lobby for support of an independent Jewish state, and President Truman requested that Britain permit the admission of 100,000 Jews. Illegal immigration, often involving survivors of Hitler’s death camps, took place on a large scale. The independent Arab states organized the Arab League to exert internationally what pressure they could against the Zionists.
An Anglo-American commission recommended (1946) that Britain continue administering Palestine, rescind the land-transfer restrictions, and admit 100,000 Jews, and that the underground Jewish armed groups be disbanded. A plan for autonomy for Jews and Arabs within Palestine was discussed at a London conference (1947) of British, Arabs, and Zionists, but no agreement could be reached. The British, declaring their mandate unworkable and despairing of finding a solution, turned the Palestine problem over to the United Nations (Feb., 1947). At that time there were about 1,091,000 Muslims, 614,000 Jews, and 146,000 Christians in Palestine.

Resolution for the establishment of an independent Jewish State in Palestine

Declaration of Israel's Independence 1948

Question of Palestine at the United Nations

The Question of Palestine & the United Nations

Documents relating to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Israelites had their kingdom in Palestine in the 12th and 13th centuries B.C.

The last Jewish kingdom won control of the land from the Hellenistic Greeks during the Maccabean rebellion from 168 to 140 B.C.

In 70 A.D. the Romans committed genocide against the Jews, smashed the Temple and declared the land of Israel would be no more. From then on, the Romans promised, it would be known as Palestine. The name was derived from the Philistines, a Goliathian people conquered by the Jews centuries earlier. It was a way for the Romans to add insult to injury. They also tried to change the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, but that had even less staying power.

[It should be remembered that] In 1918, with the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Britain and France were handed 5,000,000 square miles to divvy up and 99% was given to the Arabs to create countries that did not exist previously. 1% was given as a Mandate for the re-establishment of a state for the Jews on both banks of the Jordan River. In 1921, to once again appease the Arabs, another three quarters of that 1% was given to a fictitious state called Trans-Jordan.

Between 1950 and 1967 when Jordan and Egypt annexed the West Bank and Gaza, they flooded the area with more Arabs. Even today most Arabs in the West Bank, etc. hold Jordanian passports and Jordanian citizenship. After 1967 Jordan/Egypt relinquished claims to the area then started to scream for a second Palestinian state in addition to the first Palestinian State of Jordan. Before that, they claimed Palestine meant land of the Jews.

Palestine has never existed -- before or since -- as an autonomous entity. It was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their homeland.

Jerusalem was never the capital of any state but Israel.

In the Six-Day War, Israel captured Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. But they didn't capture these territories from Yasser Arafat. They captured them from Jordan's King Hussein. Why did all these Palestinians suddenly discover their national identity after Israel won the war?

Archaeologists find ancient Israel tunnels
JERUSALEM — Underground chambers and tunnels used during a Jewish revolt against the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago have been uncovered in northern Israel, archaeologists said

Archaeologists Find Ancient Israel Tunnels
The Jews laid in supplies and were preparing to hide from the Romans during their revolt in A.D. 66-70, the experts said. The pits, which are linked by short tunnels, would have served as a concealed subterranean home.

The underground chambers at the Israeli Arab village of Kfar Kana, north of Nazareth, were built from housing materials common at the time and hidden directly beneath the floors of aboveground homes—giving families direct access to the hideouts. Other refuges found from the time of the revolt are hewn out of rock.

The Jewish revolt against Roman rule ended in A.D. 70, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple.

The original settlement, which dates from the 10th and 9th centuries B.C., is also a new discovery.

King Herod's ancient tomb 'found'
An Israeli archaeologist says he has found the tomb of King Herod, the ruler of Judea while it was under Roman administration in the first century BC.

Tomb Of King Herod Discovered At Herodium
Herod was the Roman-appointed king of Judea from 37 to 4 BCE, who was renowned for his many monumental building projects, including the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the palace at Masada, as well as the complex at Herodium, 15 kilometers south of Jerusalem. .

Jerusalem's Holy Sites


Turkish soldiers cross into Iraq

Iraq Kurds warn Turkey over raids
The president of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq has warned Turkey to halt its strikes against rebel Kurdish positions in the border area.

Massoud Barzani said he "vehemently condemned" the bombardments, which he said had killed innocent people.

7 Oct PKK rebels kill 13 Turkish troops near Iraqi border
17 Oct - Turkish MPs allow military operations in Iraq
21 Oct - 12 Turkish troops die in PKK ambush near Iraqi border
30 Nov - Turkish cabinet backs PKK pursuits in Iraq
13 Nov - Turkey shells PKK targets in Iraq, Baghdad says
1 Dec - Turkish army targets rebels in Iraq, inflicting "heavy losses"
16 Dec - Turkish jets bomb PKK targets in Iraq for the first time
18 Dec - Some 300 Turkish troops cross over into northern Iraq
22 Dec - Turkish jets bomb PKK targets in Iraq a second time
23 Dec - Turkish planes strike for a third time

Turkey in fresh Iraq air strikes
Turkey has launched fresh air strikes against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, the Turkish military says.

Turkish air strikes earlier this month were followed by an incursion involving several hundred Turkish soldiers across the border into Iraq.

Turkey says the PKK is using bases in Iraq to launch attacks on Turkey.

Turkish planes hit Kurds in Iraq again
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkish warplanes bombed separatist Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq on Saturday, a statement posted on the military's Web site said.

The military vowed to continue operations on both sides of Turkish-Iraqi border "no matter how the conditions are."


Turkish soldiers cross into Iraq
About 300 Turkish troops have crossed into northern Iraq in a raid against Kurdish rebels, Iraqi officials say.

U.S. Helps Turkey Hit Rebel Kurds In Iraq
The United States is providing Turkey with real-time intelligence that has helped the Turkish military target a series of attacks this month against Kurdish separatists holed up in northern Iraq, including a large airstrike on Sunday, according to Pentagon officials.

Turkish Army Sends Soldiers Across Border Into Northern Iraq
BAGHDAD — The Turkish army sent soldiers about 1.5 miles into northern Iraq in an overnight operation on Tuesday, Kurdish officials said. A Turkish official said the troops seeking Kurdish rebels were still in Iraq by midmorning.

US military not told of Turkey bomb plan
WASHINGTON - U.S. military commanders in Iraq didn't know Turkey was sending warplanes to bomb in northern Iraq until the planes had already crossed the border, said defense and diplomatic officials, who were angered about being left in the dark.

Americans have been providing Turkey with intelligence to go after Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. And a "coordination center" has been set up in Ankara so Turks, Iraqis and Americans can share information, two officials said Tuesday.

But defense and diplomatic officials in Washington and Baghdad told The Associated Press that U.S. commanders in Iraq knew nothing about Sunday's attack until it was already under way.

In Iraq, Rice Urges Turkish, Iraqi Leaders to Cooperate
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, making an unannounced visit to Iraq, urged Turkish and Iraqi leaders today to cooperate in dealing with Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq and warned Turkey against actions that cause civilian casualties or destabilize the region.

After a stop in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, about 120 miles south of an area where Turkish troops mounted an incursion early today, Rice told reporters in Baghdad that "we need an overall comprehensive approach" to the problem of armed Kurdistan Workers Party militants, who have been accused of killing more than 50 Turkish security personnel and civilians in recent months in cross-border raids. She said the United States, Turkey and Iraq have a common interest in "stopping the activities of the PKK," as the separatist group is known.


Turkish planes strike northern Iraq: Kurd official

There was no immediate comment from the Turkish military, which said on Saturday it planned to continue its operations against separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas inside Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq.

Turkey says it has the right to use force to combat the PKK, which uses the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq as a launchpad to mount attacks in which they have killed dozens of Turkish troops in recent months.


Al Sharpton's finances target of federal probe

Subpoenas for Al Sharpton's aides

The FBI and IRS are investigating whether Sharpton improperly misstated the amount of money he raised during his 2004 White House run to illegally obtain federal matching funds, a source familiar with the probe said.

Sharpton, although forced to return $100,000 in matching taxpayer funds after an investigation two years ago, denied any wrongdoing at the time.

The feds are also looking into allegations of tax fraud, including whether Sharpton commingled funds from his nonprofit National Action Network with several of his for-profit ventures, the source said.


Treasury freezes assets of 7 people

Treasury freezes assets of 7 people
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Thursday took steps to clamp down financially on seven people, most of them in Syria, suspected of having ties to the Iraqi insurgency or the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

The Treasury Department's action means any assets found in the United States belonging to the designated individuals must be frozen. Americans also are forbidden from doing business with them.

Fawzi Mutlaq al-Rawi was added to the United States' asset-blocking list under an executive order that allows the government to go after people suspected of helping to bankroll terrorist acts or providing other support for them.

"The United States is acting today against former regime elements and others supporting the Iraqi insurgency out of Syria," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. "Syria must take action to deny safe haven to those supporting violence from within its borders," he added.

The department accused al-Rawi of facilitating the provision of $300,000 to members of al-Qaida in Iraq in November 2005. He provided members of the group with "improvised explosive devices, rifles and suicide bombers," the department alleged. He also attended meetings where there were discussions of, among other things, "conducting airborne improvised explosive device attacks against the U.S. embassy and concentrating attacks against the international zone," the department alleged.

The other six individuals named Thursday were designated under a different executive order that targets senior officials of Iraq's former regime or their immediate family members. They are: Hasan Hashim Khalaf al-Dulaymi; Ahmed Watban Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti; Ahmad Muhammad Yunis al-Ahmad; Sa'ad Muhammad Yunis al-Ahmad; Thabet al-Duri; and Hatem Hamdan al-Azawi.

Treasury freezes assets of 7 people

All Things Beautiful

All Things Beautiful


Countries and Territories

Countries and Territories
Click the name of a country or territory on this page to view recent and archival news about that country from The News York Times.

Basra's murderous militias tell Christian women to cover up or face death

Basra's murderous militias tell Christian women to cover up or face death

Lashing Justice
Muslims who wonder why non-Muslims are often baffled, angered, even frightened by some governments’ interpretation of Islamic law need only look to the cases of two women in Saudi Arabia and Sudan threatened with barbaric lashings.

Islam’s Silent Moderates

Islam’s Silent Moderates
IN the last few weeks, in three widely publicized episodes, we have seen Islamic justice enacted in ways that should make Muslim moderates rise up in horror.


Dr. Watson

The Nobel Prize-winning DNA pioneer James Watson has been suspended by his research institution in the US.

White Phosphorus

White phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. Also known by the military as WP or Willie Pete, white phosphorus is used in munitions, to mark enemy targets and to produce smoke for concealing troop movements.

It can also be used as an incendiary device to firebomb enemy positions.

White phosphorus is covered by Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons, which prohibits its use as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations or in air attacks against enemy forces in civilian areas.

The US is not a signatory to Protocol III.

The use of white phosphorus in incendiary devices dates back to World War I and beyond.
It was used in World War II predominantly for smoke screens, marker shells, incendiaries, hand grenades and tracer bullets.


See Who's Editing Wikipedia

Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of Cal Tech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith -- offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses.

Wikipedia Scanner

Wikipedia Scanner exposes self-edits in online encyclopedia
San Francisco (IDGNS) - A word of caution about editing entries "anonymously" in Wikipedia: a tool has been developed that can show who made the changes.

Virgil Griffith


This is so ridiculous that it's funny:


"Hossein" writes here:
"Then they threatened me not to reveal anything about what they had done or they would sue me!"

Well, that is not correct. He was told:
"If we find a single one of these types of claims, or any other that we deem factually incorrect, in any public arena or disseminated to any third party, our attorney will be directed to immediately draw up papers for service. As there is no possible way for you to show that any of your petulant comments have any shred of fact in them, there is no doubt whatsoever that we would prevail in such a case. We would also seek the full extent of damages available to us, including punitive damages."


Foreign Policy

American Foreign Policy Council

Foreign Policy: magazine of global politics, economics, and ideas



BBC report finds bias within corporation
The BBC has failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff, a report commissioned by the corporation has concluded.


war game

Australia, US launch massive war game

Australia and the United States launched a massive war game Monday aimed at honing their ability to act together against threats to Asia-Pacific security, commanders said.

More than 20,000 US troops and 12,000 Australians, backed by a total of 30 ships and 125 aircraft, will be involved in "Operation Talisman Sabre 2007" on the northeast coast until July 2.


foiled attacks

Here are just a few of the dozens of terrorist attacks that were stopped:

9/11-Style Attacks Foiled by Patriot Act

Terrorist Watch: 23 Plots Foiled Since 9/11

US al-Qaeda plot suspects

Pakistani female scientist guilty of US murder attempt

US lists 10 foiled terror plots The White House has given details of 10 major terror plots that President Bush says have been foiled by the US and its allies since the 11 September attacks.

Profile: Key US terror suspects
Fourteen key US terror suspects previously held in secret CIA prisons have been sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

'Shoe bomber' jailed for life
A US federal judge has sentenced "shoe bomber" Richard Reid to life in prison for trying to blow up a Paris-Miami flight with 197 people on board.

Jordan convicts militant plotters
A military court in Jordan has found eight Islamist militants guilty of plotting to kill US troops in Iraq and Americans and Jews in Jordan.

Australia foils 'terror attack'
Australian police say they have foiled a terrorist attack in the final stages of its preparation, after 16 people were arrested in Sydney and Melbourne.

US 'foils terror attack'
The United States authorities say they have thwarted a plot by al-Qaeda to attack the country by detonating a bomb containing radioactive material.
US Attorney General John Ashcroft said a US citizen, Abdullah al-Mujahir, had been arrested on 8 May at Chicago airport after arriving from Pakistan.

Foiled al-Qaeda-linked plot to kill thousands in the UK and US

Somali man sentenced in terror plot

3 Muslims arrested in US

Terrorists caught

Foiled terror attack on Kennedy Airport

3 Terror Suspects Arrested in Germany

Holy Land verdict could be boost for Obama's war on terror

Dhiren Barot

Terrorist Sentenced

Hezbollah ally sentenced

Islamists planned attacks across Europe: report


Palestinian aid 2005

From BBC News:

Dhiren Barot

UK al-Qaeda cell members jailed
Seven men have been jailed for up to 26 years over an al-Qaeda-linked plot to kill thousands in the UK and US.

Dirty bomb plotters caged
SEVEN members of a terror cell run by al-Qaeda "general" Dhiren Barot were jailed for a total of 136 years today.

Britons jailed over al Qaeda plot to bomb NYSE
LONDON (Reuters) - Seven Britons linked to a plot to blow up U.S. financial institutions, including the New York Stock Exchange, and stage a series of attacks in Britain were jailed for a total of 136 years by a London court on Friday.

Seven accomplices of dirty bomb plotter jailed for 136 years
LONDON (AFP) - Seven members of a terrorist cell led by convicted Al-Qaeda "dirty" bomb plotter Dhiren Barot were jailed for a total of 136 years on Friday.


Saddam's cruelty

Photographs: Mass Graves and Documentary Evidence of Crimes from Saddam Hussein's Regime

Victims of Saddam's Regime

Iraqi mass graves bear witness to terror

IRAQ Systematic torture of political prisoners

Videos showing the brutality of Saddam's regime

Babies found in Iraqi mass grave
Wednesday, 13 October, 2004
A mass grave being excavated in a north Iraqi village has yielded evidence that Iraqi forces executed women and children under Saddam Hussein.

The skeletons of unborn babies and toddlers clutching toys are being unearthed, the investigators said.

The body of one woman was found still clutching a baby. The infant had been shot in the back of the head and the woman in the face.

Hundreds found in Iraq mass grave
Saturday, 30 April, 2005
Experts have examined a mass grave containing what are believed to be the bodies of some 1,500 Kurds, mostly women and children, in southern Iraq.

Of 113 bodies taken out of the ground so far, all but five are women and children. They have been identified as Kurds from their distinctive clothing. Investigators said they were wrapped in many layers, which suggested they knew they were being moved somewhere.

At least one is believed to have been an old woman. There are false teeth in the skull.

Another skeleton is thought to belong to a teenage girl, still carrying a bag of possessions.

Mass graves 'hold 300,000 Iraqis'
Saturday, 8 November, 2003
US officials say there may be as many as 260 mass graves in Iraq, containing the bodies of at least 300,000 people.

Iraq mass grave plea
Sunday, 1 June, 2003
Tony Blair's special envoy to Iraq on human rights has called on US-led forces in the country to protect suspected mass-grave sites.

'Mass grave' found near Iraq city
Monday, 22 December, 2003
Iraqi police say they have uncovered up to 60 bodies in a mass grave outside the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

The bodies are thought to be those of Shia Muslims killed after an uprising in 1991 was brutally crushed by Saddam Hussein's regime.

Bundles of decomposing clothes and bones were found, along with wire used to bind victims' hands, police said.

US officials say Iraq may have up to 260 mass graves containing as many as 300,000 bodies.

Bahrainis missing in Iraq 'dead'
Monday, 4 August, 2003
They are believed to have been killed when Saddam Hussein's forces put down a failed Shia revolt.

New mass grave found in Iraq
Saturday, 7 June, 2003
Another mass grave has been discovered in Iraq at Salman Pak, just south of Baghdad, in the grounds of what used to be a sprawling military complex.

Mass graves found in Iraq
Friday, 9 May, 2003
A number of mass graves have been found by human rights workers in Iraq - containing what appears to be the bodies of up 100 civilians

'Mass grave' found in Iraq
Thursday, 17 April, 2003
Kurdish officials say they have found a series of mostly unmarked graves that contain about 2,000 bodies outside the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. They say the area was used by the Iraqi army to bury Kurds they killed in the late 1980s.

Mass grave found near Basra
Monday, 12 May, 2003
A new mass grave has been unearthed in Iraq, near the southern city of Basra.

Mass grave found near Babylon
Saturday, 3 May, 2003
A mass grave has been uncovered near the Iraqi city of Babylon which appears to date back to a failed 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein.

US marines at the site said the bones included those of children aged between 10 and 12.

Saddam's mass graves
Monday, 22 September, 2003

Mass grave unearthed in Iraq city
Tuesday, 27 December 2005
A mass grave has been discovered in the predominantly Shia city of Karbala south of Baghdad, Iraqi police said.

The Shia revolt was crushed and as many as 30,000 people were killed, many of them buried in mass graves.

Several mass graves containing thousands of bodies have been uncovered since the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, notably in the Shia south and Kurdish north.

Mass grave found in northern Iraq
Monday, 11 February, 2002

Halapja: A Crime Against Humanity

Mass Graves of Iraq: Uncovering Atrocities

Saddam's Chemical Weapons Campaign: Halabja, March 16, 1988


UN condemns Ahmadinejad comments
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said he was "shocked and dismayed" at recent comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Israel.

Iran's official news agency reported Mr Ahmadinejad saying that the world would soon see Israel's destruction.

He said the war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006 showed for the first time Israel's weakness.
The Iranian leader is a trenchant critic of Israel and has said the Holocaust of European Jewry is a myth.

Interior Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi was quoted by the ISNA student news agency as saying Iran had enriched and stored more than 100 kilogrammes (220 pounds) of enriched uranium.

VIENNA, Austria - Key U.S. allies have begun debating whether to tolerate Iran's only partially freezing its uranium enrichment program — a stance that could put them at odds with Washington, officials said Friday.

G8 threatens Iran over nuclear ambitions
HEILIGENDAMM, Germany (AFP) - The Group of Eight powers on Friday threatened to take new measures against Iran if the Islamic republic continues to ignore UN demands to halt its uranium enrichment.

US 'Iran attack plans' revealed
US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.

It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.

A look at Iran's recent crackdown on perceived internal threats

Crackdown on Dissent Is Under Way in Iran
Iran is in the throes of one of its most ferocious crackdowns on dissent in years, with the government focusing on labor leaders, universities, the press, women’s rights advocates, a former nuclear negotiator and Iranian-Americans, three of whom have been in prison for more than six weeks.

The shift is occurring against the backdrop of an economy so stressed that although Iran is the world’s second-largest oil exporter, it is on the verge of rationing gasoline. At the same time, the nuclear standoff with the West threatens to bring new sanctions.

Iranian students report crackdown
Iranian students and professors say an unprecedented number of disciplinary cases have been brought against students in the last month.

US warns firms trading with Iran

Full Coverage: Iran



MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow could take "retaliatory steps" if Washington proceeds with plans to build a missile defense system for Europe, including possibly aiming nuclear weapons at targets on the continent.

Putin assailed the White House plan to place a radar system in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland. Washington says the system is needed to counter a potential threat from Iran.

Iran ready to resist on nuclear standoff, Khamenei warns West

Iran calls U.S. missile interceptor plan a "joke"

Iran continues nuclear defiance

Iran president sees "countdown" to Israel's end
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's president said on Sunday the Lebanese and the Palestinians had pressed a "countdown button" to bring an end to Israel.

US to Press Ahead With Anti-Missile Plan

Bunkers in vogue as cold war fears rise
With fears of terrorism, natural disasters and a cold war revival on the rise, a German company has tapped into the climate of insecurity and produced the continent's first ready-made fallout shelter.

What happens when two nations battle with nukes?
A regional nuclear war would have long-lasting effects on the planet.

United Nations University



Bush salutes troops

"From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, brave men and women have given up their own futures so that others might have a future of freedom," he said. "Because of their sacrifice, millions here and around the world enjoy the blessings of liberty. And wherever these patriots rest, we offer them the respect and gratitude of our nation."

Bush signs Iraq war spending bill

WASHINGTON - President Bush signed a bill Friday to pay for military operations in Iraq after a bitter struggle with Democrats in Congress who sought unsuccessfully to tie the money to U.S. troop withdrawals.


Profile: Fatah al-Islam

Profile: Fatah al-Islam

Split from Palestinian group Fatah al-Intifada in late 2006
Believed to have 150-200 armed men, based in Nahr al-Bared camp
Denies al-Qaeda links but says it endorses its ideas
Has links with Syrian intelligence, Lebanon says
Leader is Shaker al-Abssi

In pictures: Lebanon battles

Lebanon army: 'Fatah al-Islam using civilians as human shields'

'Fath Al-Islam' Military Commander: We Are 'Ready To Blow Up Every Place In Lebanon'

Some Lebanon gunmen 'surrender'
A commander of the Palestinian Fatah party in Lebanon says seven militants who were fighting the Lebanese army have now surrendered to his group.

Militants threaten to expand Lebanon camp war
NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (Reuters) - Al Qaeda-inspired militants in north Lebanon threatened on Wednesday to take their fight to other parts of the country and beyond if the Lebanese army did not stop attacking a Palestinian refugee camp.

Politically Uncorrect



A Middle East Quiz
Agenda-driven pseudo-news

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For the average Iraqi, the tradeoff for relative safety is living with a certain level of extortion, political corruption and religious militancy. Above, children competed in an impromptu foot race put on by U.S. soldiers. The winner got a soccer ball.

US troops kill Iraq raid 'leader'

US troops kill Iraq raid 'leader'


The Lebanese crisis explained
Lebanon is the most politically complex and religiously divided country in the Middle East, which is what makes it such a potentially explosive factor in an unstable region.

Aid convoy under fire in Lebanon

Thousands said fleeing Lebanese camp

U.S. mulls military funding plea from Lebanon

UNSCR 1701 which passed in August 2006, called for the disarmament of Hizballah.

Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000 encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well. UNSCR 1559called for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and end its interference in Lebanese affairs.

On November 13, 2006, Hezbollah-Amal-backed ministers resigned from Siniora's cabinet to protest the establishment of the international tribunal investigating the assassination of PM Rafiq Hariri in 2005, which the Siniora government, as well as the United States, have accused the Syrian intelligence service of involvement in, a charge denied by Syria.With the resignation of these cabinet ministers, and under Lebanon's constitution the Siniora government no longer legitimately holds power, as the constitution requires all Lebanese ethno-religious groups to be represented in the cabinet. They demand an increase in opposition representation in the cabinet, sufficient to hold veto power over decision making, as their requirement for returning. The government sees this as a Syrian-orchestrated move to block the establishment of the Hariri tribunal.

From The World Factbook:

Following the capture of Syria from the Ottoman Empire by Anglo-French
forces in 1918, France received a mandate over this territory and separated out
a region of Lebanon in 1920. France granted this area independence in 1943. A
lengthy civil war (1975-1990) devastated the country, but Lebanon has since made
progress toward rebuilding its political institutions. Under the Ta'if Accord -
the blueprint for national reconciliation - the Lebanese established a more
equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater voice in
the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the
government. Since the end of the war, Lebanon has conducted several successful
elections, most militias have been disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces
(LAF) have extended authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, a
radical Shi'a organization listed by the US State Department as a Foreign
Terrorist Organization, retains its weapons. During Lebanon's civil war, the
Arab League legitimized in the Ta'if Accord Syria's troop deployment, numbering
about 16,000 based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. Damascus
justified its continued military presence in Lebanon by citing Beirut's requests
and the failure of the Lebanese Government to implement all of the
constitutional reforms in the Ta'if Accord. Israel's withdrawal from southern
Lebanon in May 2000, however, encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that
Syria withdraw its forces as well. The passage of UNSCR 1559 in early October
2004 - a resolution calling for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and end its
interference in Lebanese affairs - further emboldened Lebanese groups opposed to
Syria's presence in Lebanon. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq
HARIRI and 20 others in February 2005 led to massive demonstrations in Beirut
against the Syrian presence ("the Cedar Revolution"). Syria finally withdrew the
remainder of its military forces from Lebanon in April 2005. In May-June 2005,
Lebanon held its first legislative elections since the end of the civil war free
of foreign interference, handing a majority to the bloc led by Saad HARIRI, the
slain prime minister's son. Hizballah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in July
2006 leading to a 34-day conflict with Israel. UNSCR 1701, which passed in
August 2006, called for the disarmament of Hizballah.


589 - 632 : Koran revealed to Muhammad; it shares stories with Judeo-Christian texts.

711 - 718 : Arabs conquer Spain, which becomes center of commerce and culture.

1096 - 1291 : Christian Europe launches the Crusades against Islam.

1453 : Ottoman Turks take constantinople, capital of Orthodox Christianity.

1493 : King Ferdinand drives the Moors from Spain and next expels the Jews.

1683 : The Ottoman siege of Vienna fails, marking the end of its Islamic expansion.

1965 : Nostra Aetate

2001 : Pope John Paul II is first Pontiff to visit a mosque, in Damascus, Syria.

Sept. 2006 : Pope Benedict XVI links Islam to violence, igniting debate and protest.


Internet censorship



International Public Opinion Says Government Should Not Limit Internet Access
All Nations Polled Support Principle of Press Freedom, and Half Want More Freedom
But Many Muslims and Russians Accept Press Restrictions to Preserve Political Stability




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