Dean looks like a sure thing,” by Hans Nichols,, The Hill, 1 February 2005 (from Roth Report).

Dean rolls on,” by Jerome Armstrong, MyDD,, 1 February 2005.

The Hill reports Dean has all but won the race to become the next Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

Howard Dean yesterday took a major step toward securing the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee by grabbing the endorsement of powerful state Democratic leaders.

After the Association of State Democratic Chairmen (ASDC) formally backed Dean, several operatives for rival campaigns said that the former governor’s dominant showing among the key DNC constituency could mean that the race, to be decided on Feb. 12, is all but over.

Dean’s 56 ASDC member votes were indicative of the broad support he has throughout the Democratic Party, and was all the more telling because the ASDC’s executive committee had rallied behind party strategist Donnie Fowler as its candidate to stop Dean over the weekend.

MyDD gives adds some figures, citing a Hotline story

Number of endorsements Percentage (50% plus 1 vote)
Dean 102 23

Frost 15 3.5
Fowler 10 2
Rosenberg 4 1
Roemer 4 1
Leland 2 .5

This is terrible. America needs two sane parties. We need a debate on how to grow the economy and win the Global War on Terrorism. We need a debate on improving general welfare. While I am a Republican, I know of many Democrats who have serious proposals that should be addressed.

Instead, we’re going to get a minority party lead by an unstable failed Presidential candidate. One who’s entire campaign was built on anger against Bush and shallow support from homosexuals. One who backs away from any original ideas he has when they become unpopular among Leftists, and shouts louder when he’s denounced from the center.

Britain is not served by a marginalized Conservative Party, and the U.S. will not be served by a marginalized Democratic Party. The Torification of the Democratic Party is a tragedy, and if the Democratic machine does not succeed in stopping or sabotaging Dean the nation will be worse off.

The Shia Nova

Russia might build more reactors in China, Iran, India and Bulgaria,” Bellona,, 17 January 2005.

Iran open to ties with U.S,” by Barbara Slavin, USA Today,, 31 January 2005 (from Roth Report).

Walker’s World: The coming of the Shiite Empire,” by Martin Walker, World Peace Herland,, 31 January 2005.

Low-profile privatization not Iran’s only problem,” Iran Mania,, 1 February 2005.

I have previously written that “The shift of Iraq from a sun of a Sunni solar system to a satellite in the Shia sphere is stunning.” More news confirms a shia nova. The Sunni Arabs are alarmed at the rise of Shia Islam. Iraq provides the critical mass for a permanent Shia illumination of the world. At the same time other American policies are forcing Iran to behave responsible, slowly co-opting them in a partner for a connected world.

King Abdullah of Jordan warns that the Sunni hegemony (that wonderful order that gave us terrorism and decay in the Middle East) is over

And now the prospect of their dominance is sending shivers of alarm throughout much of the Sunni-dominated Arab world. Jordan’s King Abdullah warned last month of the emergence of a “Shiite crescent” that ran from Iran, through southern Iraq and west through the Shia of Lebanon to the Mediterranean and south through the Shia of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to the Persian Gulf. About 15 percent of the Saudi population is Shia, and they happen to live in the eastern provinces where most Saudi oil is to be found.

Iraq’s mass increases the Shia Sphere’s gravity. It gives an alternative focus for Lebanon and Bahrain, as well as beginning the splintering of Saudi’s Eastern Province.

Perhaps His Lordship meant it in another context, but he identified an important consequence of this

“President Bush needs to be aware that the new government of Iraq will write the constitution,” the king said. “The president needs to think out of the box and consider what type of government this will create. If the Americans are so keen to put the Iranians (and their highly controversial nuclear weapons program) in their place, they need to see that Iraq is the soft under-belly of Iran.”

Exactly. Iran is no longer embattled. They are no longer isolated by their religion. Instead, their faith draws them out to the world. In every way that Iraq is different, it provides another model for the Shia world. Open debate, democracy, an academic Shia hierarchy, and no net censorship reign in Najaf. Why not in Qom too?

While the big bang strategy pays its dividends, America’s creation of a globalized order further ensnares (connects) Iran. Whether it involves common interests with the Bulgarian, Indian, and Russian democracies, or an interest in a peacefully rising China…

Alexander Rumyantsev stated this at his internet press-conference in the end of last year, ITAR-TASS reported. He believes Russia will get the opportunity after China, Iran, India and Bulgaria announce the international tenders for nuclear plants construction. ”In China – several nuclear power units on the south of the country. Iran – the second power unit at the Busher. India – 40 power units. Bulgaria – a unit at the Belina NPP” Rumyantsev said. He said two Russian reactors would be put in operation in China this year and two more reactors are currently under construction in India. The co-operation with Iran depends on the settlement of its nuclear program with the world community, the head of Rosatom said.

to the need for a thriving market economy

LONDON, Feb 1 (IranMania) – A senior economic official said the low-profile privatization program is not the whole of Iran’s economic concerns, stressing that there are many more dilemmas that have to be addressed prior to ridding the economy of state-monopoly.

According to Fars News Aagency, Hamid Reza Baradaran-Shoraka, who heads the government’s key executive body, Management and Planning Organization, further told a gathering of senior officials of major state and private organizations that all the country’s economic problems have been blamed on slow privatization process.

“Closed economy, unstable policies, unscientific management systems, lack of adequate assessment systems, etc, are some of many problems that have to be resolved before privatization,” he said, stressing, however, that the government has given top priority to implementing private sector empowerment schemes.

Iran looks at the world, and sees what works. The disconnected Afghanistan of the Taliban was dissected with ease. Saddam’s isolationist policies made him a pariah of the world. And China is becoming great through its openness. How long before the Islamic Republic wants peace and friendship with the United States?

How about now?

Iran’s top national security official said Monday his government wants better relations with the United States, but he advised the Bush administration to stop threatening Iran and said his country will not yield to demands that it permanently stop its effort to enrich uranium — which the White House says is intended to make a nuclear bomb.

We are winning. We destroyed the old order. We are rearranging the world in permanent way. We are unleashing connectivity and peace to lock-in peace.

And we are doing this under a great President. What a beautiful day and what a beautiful Shia sun!

Spreading the Fire

Kuwait fighting leaves six dead,” Gulf Daily News,, 1 February 2005 (from Informed Consent).

Egypt, Militants Clash in Sinai Peninsula,” Associated Press,, 1 February 2005 (from DU).

George Bush is a very brave man.

He talks of spreading the fire of freedom. He has destroyed the status quo ante bellum. But so are the Salafists.

It is ironic that so much of the Bush agenda for the Greater Middle East is coterminus with Osama bin Laden

In his Declaration of War Against the United States, Mr. bin Laden listed the following grievences

  1. U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia
  2. The Iraqi Oil Sanctions
  3. The Israeli Occupation of Palestine

Bush has removed the army from Saudi Arabia, pressed for rapid trade normalization with Iraq, and is seeing Ariel Sharon withdraw from the Gaza and parts of the West Bank.

While bin Laden and Bush have radically different views of “freedom,” they both agree that the decrepit Arab states do not provide it. So it is no suprise that Bush is not the only one spreading the fire, whether in Kuwait…

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwaiti security forces fought their biggest battle yet with suspected Islamist militants yesterday, killing five including a Saudi and arresting the radicals’ spiritual leader, the interior ministry and state TV said. One Kuwaiti civilian was also killed in the gunbattle that raged for nine hours in Al Qurain district, also known as Mubarak Al Kabir, about 25km south of the capital, the ministry said in a statement.

or Egypt…

CAIRO, Egypt – Security forces clashed with Islamic militants in the mountains of Sinai on Tuesday, killing a suspect in last year’s deadly bombings of beach resorts on the peninsula, the government said.

In Iraq the Salafists and Ba’athis view each other as useful idiots. In the rest of the Greater Middle East, the Salafists and the Americans both wish transformation. This is the nature of the Global War on Terrorism.

Salafists Take a Ba’athi?

Unmasking the Insurgents,” by Rod Nordland, Tom Masland and Christopher Dickey, Newsweek,, 7 February 2005 (from Winds of Change and many others).

Newsweek seconds my idea that Zarqawi’s contribution is a will to violence

Interviews with guerrilla veterans of the Iraqi war, tribal leaders and Baathists, as well as American, Coalition and Iraqi officials, make it clear this is not one insurgency, but many. What Zarqawi and al-Kurdi have brought to the fight is not numbers but a particular talent for horror, for videotaped beheadings and for delivering suicide bombs.

The article posits tge same Salafist-Ba’ath connection that I described. My words:

[The Salafists and Ba’athis] 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.

which will dissolve in blood:

The Ba’athi strategy is clear:
Remove Sunnis from the transitional government, get multinational forces out of Iraq, kill off the Shia leadership, kill off the Salafist leadership, and seize the country.

The Salafist strategy is clear:
Remove Sunnis from the transitional government, get multinational forces out of Iraq, kill of the Shia leadership, kill off the Ba’athi leadership, and seize the country

Newsweek‘s take:

Barham Salih’s theory: “The Baathists regrouped and in the last six or seven months reorganized. Plus they had significant amounts of money, in Iraq and in Syria.” Those contacts and networks that Saddam’s key cronies began developing months before the invasion now paid off. An understanding was found with the Islamic fanatics, and the well-funded Baathists appear to have made Syria a protected base of operations.

If there’s any disagreement, it’s with Winds of Change’s Dan Darling. He believes that the top free Ba’athi has honestly converted to Wahabism, alienating some fellow Ba’athis.

My view? I stand by the Ba’athi-Salafist marriage of convenience, which will be bloody if they win. I do believe Dan is wrong. The Salafists and the Ba’athis would turn on each other very quickly and if al-Duri is not fully on board with the winners, he would be up against the wall as well.

May free Iraq triumpth, and the Salafists-Ba’athis never have a chance to prove me wrong.

Doll on the Run

Military In The 21st Century,” by Thomas P.M. Barnett, CSPAN,

Toymaker says man in hostage photo looks like action figure,” Associated Press,, 1 February 2005 (from Drudge Report).

Not everybody can handle the content flows. Good example – Barbie the Doll was kicked out of Iran about 2 years ago. Barbie had infiltrated Iranian toy stores through the connectivity of global retail. She began appearing on shelves. The Mullahs called her Trojan horse of western influence. They created Sarah, moon faced doll, covered head to toe in black cloth. Put her next to Barbie on the shelf. Sarah did not sell like hotcakes so Barbie got a sort of a fatwa issued against her. Detain Barbie wherever you see her was the order. Barbie became, for all practical purposes, a doll on the run

If somehow a terrorist was killed in the making of the picture, I doubt he’d qualify as a “martyr.”

Will the Muslims vs. Dolls Holy War never end? How many more toys must be removed from their original packaging? Oh the plastic facsimile of humanity!

Update: Coming Anarchy and South Dakota Politics pick up the story.
– tdaxp 2 February 2005