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

"Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community"

Common Dreams is a national non-profit citizens' organization working to bring progressive Americans together to promote progressive visions for America's future.

We are committed to being on the cutting-edge of using the internet as a political organizing tool - and creating new models for internet activism.

An eclectic mix of politics, issues and breaking news with an emphasis on progressive perspectives that are increasingly hard to find with our corporate-dominated media.

"The Raw Story is an alternative news nexus"

We draw upon a panoply of news sources and select those stories we think most intriguing to a audience seeking news underplayed by the mainstream media.

The Raw Story was founded in January 2004 to provide an online alternative for news, politics, and arts, providing a nexus of links to stories of the day as well as our own reporting. We aim to be relevant to a young-minded audience...

"Ours is muckraking with a radical attitude"

...and nothing makes us happier than when CounterPunch readers write in to say how useful they've found our newsletter in their battles against the war machine, big business and the rapers of nature.
Michael Kamber for The New York Times
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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