Salafists take a Ba’ath

I only have one question then,” by Thomas Freridge, tdaxp, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/01/13/a_genius_speaks.html, 14 January 2005.

I only have one question then……why the previous animosity between the baathist party and al-quaida?

There are clear ideological differences. The Ba’ath want a multireligious centralized Arab state. I do not believe it is slanderous that they admired the Nazi Party for nearly achieving this among “Europeans.” While National-Socialists could be Catholic, Protestant, Nordic Pagan, Mystic, etc, all were subordinated in a ethnic-based totalitarian state.

The Islamists (Wahabis, Salafists, al-Qaeda, “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (the old “Jihad and Polytheism”)) want a monoreligious centralized multinational state. al-Qaeda has recruited French, blacks, hispanics, Chinese, Arabs, Philipinos, etc.

I think the struggle in Iraq was so vicious because they were recruiting among the same group — the heavily westernized, mobile, and education Sunni Arab Muslim minority. As the sanctions and the Saddam tyrannt destroyed Iraq, each began to coopt the other’s rhetoric. But they have different utopias — each sees its own “future worth creating.”

Strafor hsa sad that anywhere from a half to two-thirds of insurgent violence in Iraq is Ba’athi. Most of the rest is al-Qaeda and copycats.

If I am reading Zen Pundit correctly, his argument is this: The Ba’ath are functioning in a terror-cell system devised before the war. The terror-cell system is reinforced on tribal and clan lines, which makes it more motivated but less resistant to counterattack. The plan of the terror-cell is to destroy the leadership and technocrats of any government or party that opposes them. They will attempt to do the same thing to our army (the have attempted assassinating U.S. civilian and military officials). They will do the same to any other army in Iraq (say if we leave and Iran, Saudi, Syria, etc tries to invade). If they are current more violent that the rest of the insurgency combined, then I assume that the Salafists will be the next to go after the drive out “foreigners.” And the numbers seem to be on their side.

Al-Qaeda has faith in God. If they win in Iraq, it is due to the glory of God. If they lose, it is part of God’s larger plan. If they die in Iraq, they shall be rewarded as martyrs.

They have common enemies, and they have long tried to use each other, but they are not friends. I remember seeing pictures of the Ba’athi general and his son who were burned alive in Fallujah. And we have to destroy them both.

Nightmare

North Korea’s Antique Food Rationing, by Andrei Lankov, Asia Times, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/GA15Dg01.html, 15 January 2005 (from NK Zone).

North Korea is a nightmare in ways both big and small. Food rationing and starvation brings both.

Rations consisted of a mix of different grains. In the 1970s, in Pyongyang rice represented as much as 70% of the allowance, but even in those relatively prosperous times, in more remote areas rations consisted entirely of corn and barley, which have fewer calories than rice – but excessive weight has never been a problem in North Korea. The proportions between rice and other less valuable kinds of grains depended largely on one’s place of residence, with Pyongyang and other major cities being most privileged.

But what about meat and fish? Well, there were no regular norms for providing these luxuries. As a rule, a family was issued about a kilogram of meat two or three times a year, normally on the eve of major holidays – especially North Korean founder Kim Il-sung’s birthday. Milk was provided to schoolchildren in Pyongyang in very small quantities. Sugar was dropped from the rations in the early 1970s, and since then could be bought only by lucky owners of foreign currency (for a hyper-Stalinist regime, North Korea always had a remarkably relaxed currency-control system). Admittedly, fish was more available, but still not a part of daily diet.

The first downsizing of the rations took place in 1973 when the country’s economic growth began to decelerate. In September 1973 it was declared that “due to the dangerous international situation” the rations would be reduced: every fortnight two daily rations would be sacrificed for the strategic reserves. In 1989 the rations were cut further – by 10%: this was necessary, the authorities explained, to prepare the country for the forthcoming International Youth Festival. In 1992 a new 10% cut was imposed. These cuts meant that on the eve of North Korea’s Great Famine of 1995-99, the average worker received less than 500g of cereals. A retiree had to subsist on 220g – not exactly a generous amount.

From 1992 the North Korean media began to explain that for better health one only had to have two meals a day (the tradition of three meals was described as excessive and unhealthy). In those times people in some remote areas could not get food. They were still issued rationing coupons, but actual delivery of rations was delayed for days, and then for weeks.

The article proceeds to describe the breakdown of the rationing system. Food production fell by half, and food distribution halted. The nightmare only gets worse.

Life-long Infantilism

FDA panel rejects sales of Mevacor over counter,” by Diedtra Henderson, Boston Globe, http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2005/01/15/fda_panel_rejects_sales_of_mevacor_over_counter/, 15 January 2005.

John Ashcroft might be leaving the Department of Justice, but the “we know better than you, and we will imprison you to prove it” spirit lives on at the FDA

BETHESDA, Md. — Federal advisers rejected Merck & Co.’s quest to become the first American drug maker to sell cholesterol-fighting statins over the counter, saying the company’s own studies raised potential health risks while offering modest life-saving benefits.

In animal studies, lovastatin, as the drug is known generically, was linked to fetal deaths, malformed skeletons, and behavioral delays, according to Karen Davis-Bruno, a FDA supervisory pharmacologist. The FDA could not definitively link side effects reported by pregnant women who took lovastatin in their first trimester, but pregnant women are barred from taking the prescription product.

In Saudi Arabia, stripping citizen of rights because women (especaily women with child) are viewed as life-long infants is called the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice In the United States, we just call it the Food and Drug Administration.

Kommunist Krauts?

Still Giving Orders,” by Andrew Stuttaford, The Corner, http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/05_01_09_corner-archive.asp#050310, 15 January 2005.

Andrew Stuttaford has quotes a piece from Haaretz on the Nazi armband (this one’s for you, Joh)

“German politicians have called for a Europe-wide ban on Nazi insignia after Britain’s Prince Harry caused outrage by wearing a swastika armband and Nazi regalia at a fancy dress party… Markus Soeder, general secretary of Germany’s Christian Socialist Union opposition conservative party told the paper: “In a Europe grounded in peace and freedom there should be no place for Nazi symbols. They should be banned throughout Europe, as they are with good reason in Germany.” Soeder also urged the German government to push for a more balanced history program in British schools.”

No word yet on whether those German politicians, who seem to have a thing or two to learn about free speech, would support a Europe-wide ban on Communist insignia.

I wonder why not.

Old Europe: Anti-Speech? Of course. Anti-Jew? Typically. Anti-Communist?

Democracy Now!

Al Sadr warns Bush on poll interference,” Gulf Daily News, http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=101899&Sn=WORL&IssueID=27301, 15 January 2005.

Muqtada al-Sadr continues his cries for democracy in Iraq:

BAGHDAD: Radical Iraqi leader Moqtada Al Sadr yesterday urged US President George W Bush and Iraq’s neighbours not to interfere with the January 30 general elections.

“This affair is none of your business,” the young Shi’ite leader said, addressing Bush in a Friday sermon read by one of his representatives at a mosque in his Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City.

“I call on all neighboring and non-neighboring countries, occupiers and non-occupiers, not to meddle in the country’s internal affairs, including the elections,” he said.

The obvious subtext is tht he wants other nations not to interfere in Iraq’s elections. Syria and Saudi oil millionaires are already interfering by supporting the terrorists. Some in Washington want to interfere by giving the Sunnis more seats than the actually win, in an attempt to buy-off the murderers. (Or more politely, “co-opt” them.)

Iraq’s future is Shia-Kurdish. A free election will reflect that. Long live the free Iraq!