"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Interesting Change: Palestinian forces arresting militants and terrorist groups blaming each other

Palestinians Make Bomb Arrests, Accuse Hizbollah
Mohammed Assadi, Reuters Original Article

Scrambling to save a battered truce, Palestinian officials arrested three West Bank suspects on Saturday after a suicide bombing that killed four Israelis, but pointed to Lebanon's Hizbollah as mastermind of the attack.

The seeds of democracy keep sprouting in the Middle East

Egypt's Mubarak Orders Election Reform
MAAMOUN YOUSSEF, Associated Press Original Article

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday ordered a revision of the country's election laws and said multiple candidates could run in the nation's presidential elections, a scenario Mubarak hasn't faced since taking power in 1981.

Another communist dictatorship is collapsing on itself

The real threat to Kim
Young Howard, International Herald Tribune Original Article

North Korea's announcement that it possesses nuclear weapons is actually a sign of the regime's internal weakness and Kim Jong Il's need to maintain the military's support in the face of eroding loyalty. New information coming from inside North Korea shows how nuclear weapons may relate to the regime's internal politics

The Assasination of Rafik Hariri is the Final Straw. The World Should Help the Two Nations Oust this Tyrant.

Toss Bashar Assad Out of Both Lebanon and Syria
Danielle Pletka, AEI Original Article

If Syria is responsible for the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri--as many observers believe--it is only the most recent in a long line of that country's transgressions. And it must not go unanswered. It marks a moment when much of the world is united against the regime of Bashar Assad, Syria's tyrannical dictator. It is clear that quashing Assad in Lebanon would strike a blow for liberty there. As important, it could strike a blow for a free Syria, and wider liberty in the Arab world.

"We've got a lot more work to do with European public opinion."

Powell criticises Iraq troop levels and rift with Europe
Robin Gedye, The Telegraph Original Article

Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, has for the first time publicly criticised troops levels in Iraq and spoken of the rifts between himself and Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, that undermined his role as architect of American foreign policy.

Personnel Changes, Visits to Hill Part of Effort Initiated by Annan

Repairing Ties With U.S. Is Key, U.N. Officials Say
Colum Lynch, Washington Post Original Article

The United Nations has begun a campaign to mend relations with the Bush administration and with congressional critics who have questioned Secretary General Kofi Annan's fitness to lead the organization after disclosures of sexual misconduct in U.N. peacekeeping missions and corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq.

"I think the Egyptians have gotten the message loudly and clearly."

Rice's Trip to Egypt Is Postponed
Glenn Kessler, Washington Post Original Article

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice abruptly postponed a visit to Egypt yesterday, reflecting deep displeasure at the jailing of a leading opposition figure, U.S. officials said. Rice had planned to travel to Egypt and possibly other countries in the region after attending on Tuesday a conference on Palestinian reform in London.

Pope, "I am completely in your hands."

Pope Breathing Unaided, Vatican Says
VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Original Article

Pope John Paul II munched on cookies Friday and jotted messages to an aide about his condition as he recovered from surgery to ease another breathing crisis. The Vatican took pains to emphasize the positive: the 84-year-old pope was breathing on his own, showed no signs of pneumonia and ate a breakfast that included coffee with milk, yogurt and 10 small cookies.

The first fair and balanced article coming from Iraq in a long time.

Iraq: Key Insurgent Caught; 3 GIs Killed
PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Original Article

The Iraqi interim government announced the arrest of a man it described as a key figure in the country's most feared terrorist group and expressed confidence Friday it was tightening the noose around his leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Now it is up to the Palestinian Authority to prove it will punish groups who break the truce.

Bomber Kills Four in Tel Aviv, Shattering Truce
Jonathan Saul, Reuters Original Article

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least four people and wounded some 50 outside a Tel Aviv night club, shattering a de facto truce by militants that boosted hopes for Middle East peace.

"If you were the Democrats, you couldn't write a worse script from a political point of view."

DEBORAH ORIN, Washington Post Original Article

FUNNY how Democrats seem to be struck dumb by the success of President Bush's trip to Europe. The central tenets of Democratic foreign policy are now falling like dominoes. Dems such as Sen. John Kerry predicted Iraq's election would be a disaster. Instead, it was a triumph and sparked a yearning for freedom elsewhere in the Mideast.

The Syrians clearly completely misjudged the Lebanese reaction.

Jim Geraghty, Kerry Spot Original Article

Last night I spoke to a very smart guy who follows Lebanon-Syria issues closely about the Rafik Hariri assassination and various Middle Eastern issues. First, a couple of details about the bomb that killed him. It used something in the neighborhood of 650 pounds of TNT – not the kind of bomb that a bunch of amateurs can easily assemble in a basement. The crater was centered in the middle of the road, indicating the bomb was likely placed under the street and not in a parked car.

"Syrian intelligence officers were supervising our training."

Iraqi Tape Purportedly Shows Syrian Intelligence Officer Involved in Insurgency
Maggie Michael, The Associated Press Original Article

The bearded man in a gray jacket and shirt who appeared on the U.S.-funded Iraqi state television station Wednesday had a stark message about the insurgency -- he was a Syrian intelligence officer who helped train people to behead others and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.

"This regime's actions are the only [thing] you can believe."

Pro-Syrian PM offers to step down
ORLY HALPERN, Jerusalem Post Original Article

Under increasing local and foreign pressure, the pro-Syrian Lebanese government signaled Wednesday it may quit, while a group of Syrian intellectuals protested in downtown Damascus. The two events mark another turning point in the crisis that has been unfolding since the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri 10 days ago.

"We have prayed for the pope to live as long as possible so we can still share our joy with him"

Pope on Respirator After Airway Surgery
VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Original Article

Pope John Paul II underwent a successful operation Thursday night to insert a tube in his throat to relieve his breathing problems, hours after he was rushed back to the hospital for the second time in a month with flu-like symptoms of fever and congestion, the Vatican said.

This article is absolutely stupid. It states EPA must establish a standard, but sites EPA's safe exposure level of 24.5 parts per billion

Fuel Chemical Found in Mothers' Milk
BETSY BLANEY, Associated Press Original Article

A toxic chemical used in rocket fuel was found in virtually every sample taken in a new study of nursing mothers' milk, but researchers said it is too early to know whether the perchlorate levels are dangerous.

Lebanese: We want the truth."

Beirut's Berlin Wall
David Ignatius, Washington Post Original Article

"Enough!" That's one of the simple slogans you see scrawled on the walls around Rafiq Hariri's grave site here. And it sums up the movement for political change that has suddenly coalesced in Lebanon and is slowly gathering force elsewhere in the Arab world.

Allawi, Chalabi and the Kurds oppose efforts to codify or legislate religion. This should be the Headline

Car Bomb Attack Kills 15 Iraqi Policemen
SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Original Article

A man wearing a police uniform drove a car bomb inside the main police compound in Saddam Hussein's hometown north of Baghdad on Thursday, setting off a massive explosion that killed 15 police and wounded 22, officials and witnesses said.

Pakistan, Afganistan, Libya, Iraq, Ukrainia, Palestine, now Syria! Absolutely impressive.

Syria Committed to Withdraw From Lebanon
ALBERT AJI, Associated Press Original Article

Syria will abide by a 1989 agreement in withdrawing its troops from Lebanon, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday in the first government statement since an international uproar arose against Damascus from the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Our prayers are with him.

Pope Rushed to Hospital With Flu Relapse
VICTOR SIMPSON, Associated Press Original Article

Pope John Paul II was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance Thursday suffering fever and congestion from a relapse of the flu, the Vatican said.

"We agreed to accelerate our work to protect nuclear weapons and materials"

Bush, Putin: Iran Should Not Have Nukes
TOM RAUM, Associated Press Original Article

Seeking common ground amid sensitive differences on democracy, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Thursday on new efforts to keep nuclear arms away from terrorists as well as sovereign nations like Iran and North Korea.

Abbas, "I Don't Have a Magic Wand"

Der Spiegel Original Article

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is optimistic about the chances for peace with Israel. But it won't be easy. There is the refugee issue to be solved and the prickly issue of West Bank settlements. And, he wants to integrate Hamas and other militants into the official Palestinian security apparatus.

Making his first trip abroad after his re-election to Europe is an important symbol

PETER BROOKES, New York Post Original Article

PRESIDENT Bush wings his way to Europe this week for one of the most important trips of his presidency — patching things up with the Europeans after four stormy years. Like it or not, Europe is playing an increasingly important role in international affairs. And while America can achieve a lot by itself, we can achieve more with the right partners. Unfortunately, despite charm offensives by both sides, President Bush's visit with French, British, German and NATO leaders won't be a walk in the park.

This week we're toasting the end of an idea: the death of "the West".

Atlanticist small talk is all that's left
Mark Steyn, The Telegraph (UK) Original Article

"The change for the moment is more in tone than substance," wrote Alec Russell, reporting on President Bush's European outreach in yesterday's Telegraph. You don't say. My colleague is almost right. In Brussels yesterday, the President's "charm offensive" consisted of saying the same things he always says – on Iraq, Iran, Palestine, the illusion of stability, the benefits of freedom, the need for Egypt and Saudi Arabia to get with the programme, etc.

"That is what democracy is all about."

Palestinians in Crisis Over New Cabinet
Mohammed Assadi, Reuters Original Article

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was deep in political crisis on Tuesday over the inclusion of members of Yasser Arafat's corruption-tainted "old guard" in a new cabinet up for approval by a reform-minded legislature.

Monday's crowd was estimated in the tens of thousands — the largest anti-Syrian demonstration ever in Lebanon.

Lebanese Hold Historic Anti-Syrian March
ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Original Article

Tens of thousands marched Monday in the biggest anti-Syrian protest in Lebanese history amid signals that Syria will soon withdraw its troops from parts of the country. President Bush renewed demands for Syrian forces to leave Lebanon immediately.

"Enough, shame, have mercy" and "Down, down with (President) Hosni Mubarak"

Egyptians Hold Largest Anti-Mubarak Protest Yet
Jonathan Wright, Reuters Original Article

Several hundred Egyptians protested in central Cairo on Monday in the largest street demonstration since the launch last year of a campaign against continued rule by the Mubarak family.

But what if we succeed?

Chavez Threatens to Stop Oil Exports
AP Original Article

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez said Sunday that he would stop oil exports to the United States if the U.S. government tries to assassinate him.

"The (EU) Council reaffirms its goal of an Iraq which is secure, stable, unified,...", Yet the EU will not commit troops to ensure its goal.

EU Agrees Training for Iraqi Police, Judges
Mark John, Reuters Original Article

The European Union offered to provide training for Iraqi police and judges on Monday in a move aimed at ending a transatlantic rift over Iraq on the eve of a summit with President Bush.

"The truth is, we can't stand Syria,"

Bush, Europe, Beirut Protesters All Pressure Syria
Howard Goller, Reuters Original Article

The United States and Europe ratcheted up pressure on Syria on Monday, joining thousands of Beirut protesters in demanding Damascus remove its 14,000 troops from Lebanon. President Bush, in Brussels for the keynote speech of a trip to Europe, branded Syria an "oppressive neighbor" to Lebanon and insisted it "end its occupation."

China on Sunday expressed opposition to the U.S.-Japanese statement

Taiwan Welcomes U.S.-Japan Statement on Security
Reuters Original Article

Taiwan cautiously welcomed on Monday a statement from the United States and Japan that identified maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait as a common security objective.

"We made a big mistake when we didn't vote," said Sheik Hathal Younis Yahiya

U.S., Iraqis Launch Anti-Insurgent Drive
PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Original Article

U.S. Marines and Iraqi security forces launched a new offensive Sunday against insurgents in troubled cities west of Baghdad after two days of carnage that left nearly 100 people dead. Sunni Muslim tribal leaders met to determine their place in a Shiite-dominated Iraqi government.

Israel is creating facts on the ground in the West Bank

Israel Starts Releasing Held Palestinians
KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Original Article

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Cabinet began charting Israel's future borders in a historic session Sunday, giving final approval to a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a revised route for the West Bank separation barrier that would move Israel's border closer to that of its original frontier..

Opposition declares uprising, demands pro-Syria regime step down

War in Lebanon?
Aaron Klein, 2005 WorldNetDaily Original Article

The Lebanese anti-Syria opposition yesterday declared an "uprising for independence," demanding Damascus withdraw its troops from the country and urging the current pro-Syrian government to step down in the latest sign of growing unrest in what some are saying may be the start of a civil war.

"Today, America and Europe face a moment of consequence and opportunity"

Bush Urging Allies to Move Beyond Iraq
TERENCE HUNT, AP Original Article

President Bush was seeking to repair rocky relations with Europe on Sunday, saying "no power on earth will ever divide us." He was urging allies to move beyond differences over Iraq in the interest of Mideast peace.

This is not a rebellion, it is a revolution

Making media accountable
John Leo, US News Original Article

Most people realize that the news media do not just report. They frame and package the news. Stories reflect the mind-set and values of the newsroom. This packaged world is now under heavy assault, partly because different packaging is available (Fox News, talk radio), partly because a strong unpackaging industry has arisen (bloggers, bolder anti-Establishment voices in academia and traditional media).

Hey, we killed your popular frontrunner, now just chill a bit

Hizbollah Tells Lebanese to Cool Anti-Syria Line
Alistair Lyon, Reuters Original Article

Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Saturday that popular agitation against Syria's grip on Lebanon after the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri could plunge the country back into civil war.

An unsettled public has been pressing for answers sooner rather than later

Mystery Deepens Over Hariri Slaying
BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Original Article

From traces of explosives supposedly collected off airline seats to the prospect a powerful bomb could have been planted beneath a Beirut street during recent road work, the mystery is deepening over who killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and how.

"My trip to Europe is to seize the moment and invigorate a relationship that is a vital relationship for our own security"

Bush Seeks to Mend Fences on Europe Trip
TOM RAUM, Associated Press Original Article

President Bush is extending an olive branch to European leaders who opposed his Iraq policies. Recent international developments, plus a whirlwind charm offensive by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have bolstered the prospects for a trans-Atlantic reconciliation.

Iraqis will stand united as Iraqis foremost, and Iraq will not fall into sectarian war

Suicide Bombings, Attacks Kill 55 in Iraq
MAGGIE MICHAEL, Associated Press Original Article

Eight suicide bombers struck in quick succession Saturday in a wave of attacks that killed 55 people as Iraqi Shiites marched and lashed themselves with chains in ritual mourning of the 7th century death of a leader of their Muslim sect. Ninety-one people have been killed in violence in the past two days.