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Candide’s Latest: December 13, 2006

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Desperate for... a no-fly zone?

High Times
No-Fly Zone for Darfur?

Putting an Iraqi twist on Darfur: From the Financial Times: “Tony Blair has backed imposing a no-fly zone over Sudan’s Darfur region, calling for “tougher action” if the government in Khartoum does not halt violence there and allow in a UN-led peacekeeping force. The Bush administration is also working on other military options should the crisis continue to deteriorate, including air strikes and a naval blockade, US officials said. Mr Blair declared his support for a no-fly zone for the first time during his visit last week to Washington. He told President George W. Bush that they had to deal with Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, in the next two to three months. “If rapid progress is not made, we will need to consider alternative approaches, with international partners,” Mr Blair warned on returning to London. Planning has moved ahead, according to one official, who added: “The Americas mean business.” Military action in another oil-rich Muslim country almost four years after the Iraq invasion would be risky. But some officials in Washington and London suggest that it might be the only way to deal with the situation in the western Sudanese region. Between 100,000 and 400,000 people have died there through famine and slaughter and 2.5m more have fled their homes since 2003.” The full story…

Democrats’ Incompetence
They Call This an Intelligence Chairman

Not the brightest bulb

From the UK Times: “He is expected to have an acute understanding of terrorist groups and their threats to American interests. But the incoming chairman of a congressional intelligence committee was yesterday struggling to explain his ignorance of al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. Silvestre Reyes, the Democrat chosen to head the House of Representatives committee, was asked whether members of al-Qaeda came from the Sunni or the Shia branch of Islam. “Al-Qaeda, they have both,” he answered, adding: “Predominantly probably Shi’ite.” In fact, al-Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organisation and views Shia Muslims as heretics. The centuries-old now fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq. Jeff Stein, a reporter for Congressional Quarterly, then put a similar question about Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group. “Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah . . .” replied Mr Reyes. “Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?” Go ahead, said Stein. “Well, I, uh . . .” said the congressman. His apparent ignorance of basic facts have raised fresh questions over his suitability for the key intelligence post — as well as the judgment of Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House, who picked him for the job. She has already been criticised for trying to oust her deputy Steny Hoyer, in a poll among Democrat congressmen after the mid-term elections.” The full story …

Insurgents’ Allies
Our “Friends,” the Saudis

The House of Saud funded Osama’s rise in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It funded the Taliban’s rise in the 1990s. It’s only logical that it would also fund the Iraqi insurgency now, given the Saudis’ unvarnished distaste for anything Shiite. From the Washington Post: “Saudi Arabia has warned it could decide to provide financial support to Iraqi Sunnis if the U.S. pulls its troops out of Iraq, where sectarian violence between the minority Sunnis and majority Iraqi Shiites has threatened to tear apart the country, The New York Times reported. Saudi Arabia is a majority Sunni country and up to now has promised U.S. officials that it would not intervene to assist Iraq's Sunni insurgency, according to the report, appearing in Wednesday's edition of The Times and citing anonymous American and Arab diplomatic sources. But that promise might not hold if U.S. troops leave Iraq, the newspaper said. The Bush administration has repeatedly said there are no plans for the immediate pullout of U.S. troops.” The full story…

Hospital Care in Namibia
Plan Your Own Suicide

And I thought we have it bad in American hospitals. From the Namibian Economist: “ Total disbelief is the only way I can describe my own reaction when I actually saw what is going on in the Katutura State hospital. For several years I have heard stories of laundry, cutlery and proviant being carried open-eyed out the front door, and I have also heard the stories of how patients must take their own bedding otherwise there is none, and of visitors having to take patients food, otherwise you die of starvation in the hospital, but I was skeptical that it can really be as bad as most people said. Then over the weekend, a Katutura resident confirmed the general perception by telling me that every person she knows is afraid of the hospital. They dread getting sick because once you are admitted to the Katutura state hospital, you don't leave alive. I know this is not entirely true, but it confirms that there is this widespread suspicion about the standard of healthcare in that hospital. Then I spoke to medical practitioners who regularly do operations there, and I heard more horror stories. Theatre matrons who openly sit and eat Russians and chips on the bed of a critically ill person in ICU. Senior sisters in the operating theatre who wipe instruments clean with a wet cloth because a gadget they call an autoclave does not work. Operations on critically ill patients having to be postponed because there are not enough or no operating dresses available. In this one particular incident, a woman died two days after an operation could not be performed on her due to the lack of hygienic conditions in the main operating theatre.” See the full column…

L’Infâme: Sharia’s Shills
What Muslim Women Want

From the Wall Street Journal (by Geneive Abdo and Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst at, and executive director of, the Center for Muslim Studies at the Gallup Organization): “Religion and modernity are butting heads again, or so it seems -- this time in Egypt. The country's cultural minister, Farouk Hosni, touched off a fiery, mostly male-dominated debate last month when he commented to a local newspaper that the increasing numbers of women in his country wearing headscarves marked a "regressive" trend in society and a turn away from modernity. But do millions of Muslim women agree that embracing Islam, expressed by wearing the hijab, is in conflict with modernity? In fact, Muslim women paint a much more complex picture of their lives and desires than others paint for them. In their minds, the choice is not one between Islamic law and modernity; the two are not mutually exclusive. Consider the recent findings of a Gallup Poll of 22 predominantly Muslim countries, including Egypt, over the last 16 months. The survey represents the views of more than 90% of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims. Majorities of women in these countries say they think women should have the same rights as men. At the same time, they also say that Shariah, the sacred law of Islam, should be a source of the nation's laws. For many Westerners who associate Shariah with the lack of women's rights, this might appear to be a stark contradiction. But that is not quite correct. Shariah literally means "the road to water," and represents the moral compass of a Muslim's personal and public life. Historically, the principles of Shariah could be used to limit the power of the sultan; after all, he would never claim he was above God's law. Therefore, when Muslims call for Shariah and gender equality, both are calls for the rule of law and an end to inequality. In many countries, Muslims are calling for the application of Shariah because even when the constitution states that Shariah is the primary basis of law, in practice, this is not enforced by officially secular governments.” The full column…

L’Infâme: Jordan
Dis-Honor Killing

From the Jordan Times: “Criminal investigators on Sunday confirmed that a 50-year-old suspect shot and killed his daughter and her would-be fiancé last Thursday because of rumours that the young couple had engaged in premarital sex. “The suspect confessed that he shot the couple after his wife informed him she had heard from neighbours that her daughter, 21, and her boyfriend, 23, had been having sexual relations,” a source close to the investigations said. The suspect told investigators he was infuriated by the comments and arranged to get the boyfriend and his family to come to his home by pretending that he had finally agreed to their engagement after refusing several times in the past. “The suspect asked the victim and his family to visit them to propose officially in accordance with customs and traditions,” the source said. The suspect asked the boyfriend to follow him to the room where his daughter was and allegedly took out a gun and fired 14 rounds at the couple. “The suspect claimed he shot them because the boyfriend challenged him in the room by telling him that he succeeded in getting what he wanted in the end and was going to marry his daughter despite the father’s repeated objections,” the source said. A medical report issued by the National Institute of Forensic Medicine on Saturday indicated that the female victim was a virgin.” The full story…

Mormon Quadrangle

Thanks to Mormonism’s grip on the state, Utah is America’s Sunni quadrangle, and the Deseret Morning News one of the church of latter day shills’ bullhorns. The paper’s editor just resigned to return to teaching at Brigham Young University, one of the nation’s great institutions of enlightenment, open-mindedmness, tolerance and pluralism. His replacement? Joe Cannon, lobbyist and former chairman of the Utah Republican Party. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Pat Bagley, a Deseret competitor, drew this cartoon in response:

St. Vincent de Gore
Bus-Stop Beheading

There’s no sense in reporting one-dimensional, one-day police stories. They’re among any newspaper’s highest reads, but also among journalism’s most pointless exercises. They serve only to slake an endless public thirst for the lurid and the scabrous. And yet once in a while the stories are, for their sheer magnitude of unbelievability, irresistible. From Australia’s The Age: “A 21-year-old woman was beheaded in front of horrified onlookers at a bus terminal in in the capital of the Caribbean island of St Vincent. Stacy Wilson was returning home from work as a hospital clerk when a machete-wielding assailant pulled her off an idling bus in Kingstown, according to Assistant Police Superintendent Eckron Lockhart. The attacker, identified by police as Sean Samuel, carried the woman's severed head for several seconds before dropping it to the ground, witnesses said. Wilson's right hand was also chopped off at the wrist. Police detained Samuel shortly after the slaying. They did not release a motive for the attack.”

Advertisements for Himself
Mubarak’s Yum Kippur War

From Middle East Times: “President Hosni Mubarak wants a blockbuster movie made on the October 1973 war when Egypt launched a surprise attack on Israel and crossed the Suez, the official MENA news agency reported Monday. It said that Mubarak wanted a "high-quality film about the October war and the planning involved, and the film should include the great crossing by the armed forces, something still studied at military colleges" in Egypt. Mubarak has instructed the defense and information ministries to cooperate and provide the financial, technical, and human resources required to make this "giant production." The 78-year-old leader, who in 1972 became the country's air force chief, said that his memories of the war were still vivid and that he wanted the younger generation to know of " Egypt's great fighting spirit." The war broke out on the Jewish religious holiday of Yom Kippur with a surprise joint attack by Egypt and Syria.”” Didn’t Egypt lose that war? Oh, one final note: the director of the movie must not have a knack for endings or historical accuracy. Just good advertising skills. The full story…

Fashion Show in Melbourne
From Belgium's Le Soir

Lobbying for Time’s Man of the Year
Dictator Slays Millions in Last-Minute Push

“Than Shwe, the brutal dictator of the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, dramatically increased his already horrific rate of murdering citizens this week in a late, desperate attempt to become Time magazine's 2006 Man Of The Year, who will be honored in the Dec. 25 issue. "I vow to do everything in my power to make the great acts being carried out in this great country known to all the world on this day and every day until Christmas Day," Than Shwe said in a speech broadcast on the state-run Myanmar News Network. "No longer will we stand in the shadow of better-known perpetrators of genocides, purges, and ethnic cleansing. Print-news media outlets, take notice!" He then ordered everyone in the room shot. Although Than Shwe is considered a sadistic and merciless tyrant within the borders of Myanmar—also known as Burma—his human-rights abuses have long been ignored in the international media. After he failed to make The Economist's list of Top 25 Worst Leaders, Than Shwe introduced a program of "random liquidation," doubled the number of rape and torture camps, and instructed aides to inundate news outlets with press releases in which he is referred to as "The Ripper Of Rangoon." Likewise, he recently added four ethnic groups to his list of subhuman residents, ordered his special police to drag thousands of opposition-party members from their beds between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. to be machine-gunned, and has forced thousands of women and children to work on constructing a national welcome center before being beheaded and dumped in a ditch behind the new facility.” The rest of the story, from… you guessed it.

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