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

New York

Osama bin Laden speaks

Al-Jazeera released an audiotape today from Osama bin Laden warning the United States of an impending attack and offering a truce.

In one breath, the impending attack:

“The new operations of al-Qaida has not happened not because we could not penetrate the security measures. It is being prepared and you'll see it in your homeland very soon.”

In another, the offer of truce:

“We do not mind establishing a long-term truce between us and you.”

Well bin Laden has now been heard from-finally. Scott McClellen states,

"We do not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business."

What is even more interesting than the rhetoric on both sides is some of the analysis. Al-Jazeera notes that the tapes production dates back to December 2005. It has been noted lately that Osama bin Laden quite possibly departed this world in that same month. Could this be his last word?

Additionally, Dr Dia Rashwan, an Egyptian specialist in Islamic movements, stated,

“We saw al-Zawahiri's previous recordings were clear and proffessionally recorded, while today's Bin Laden tape is of bad sound quality, which indicates that the two men live in two different enviroments."

Vice President Cheney egged the argument on stating,

The “terrorist network had been driven ‘underground’ and was now unable to produce video messages.”

according to AFP @ Yahoo.

Al-Jazeera warns:

"It is not the first time that al-Qaida offers a truce. The last time it offered it to European peoples.”

Of course we know that because Europe did not accept the truce, bombings happened in England and riots happened in France. Al-Jazeera leads one to wonder if this is just a last warning prior to an attack, like in Europe, or a real truce.

Al-Jazeera believes that we trust Osama bin Laden since he states,

"We are a nation that Allah banned from lying and stabbing others in the back, hence both parties of the truce will enjoy stability and security to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, which were destroyed by war.”

First, he indiscriminately killed 3000 Americans. So much for “stabbing others in the back” theory. Secondly, he has stabbed many of his friends, not only enemies, in the back. Note how bin Laden is free although holed up in a cave somewhere, while many of his brothers are in Guantanamo. He seemed able to save his own hide while his brothers were inprisoned. Finally, he states that he wants to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, “which were destroyed by war.” This leads again to the question of who started the war and about the “lying” and backstabbing.

One must wonder about also the timing of this recording. Things are looking good in Iraq. The insurgents in Iraq are on the defensive, not only from US actions, but also from Sunni actions. Iraq is a lost cause. Afghanistan, his own backyard, is becomng extremely productive despite the Taliban actions.

We will see if bin Laden is able to launch a successful attack in the US. We will not capitulate. We will not back down. If attacked again, the Congress will undoubtedly forget about wiretapping “irregularities” and reinstate the Patriot Act.

To echo President Bush, “Bring it on”.

Don't know about all the negative responses, but I like this sort of rhetoric

President Jacques Chirac just announced today that France reserves the right to retaliate with nuclear weapons against any country that launches terrorist attacks against it or it vital interest (read oil) according to AFP @ Yahoo. Specifically, Chirac stated,

"Leaders of any state that uses terrorist means against us, as well as any that may be envisaging -- in one way or another -- using weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would be exposing themselves to a firm and appropriate response on our behalf.... That response could be conventional, it could also be of another nature,"

According to Yahoo, “France has configured its nuclear arsenal to be able to respond "flexibly and reactively" to any threat, by reducing the number of nuclear heads on certain missiles on board its submarines.”

The bottom part of the article sites several sources saying these remarks are “irresponsible”, “counterproductive”, and “unwise”.

I disagree. This statement finally shows some backbone coming from at least one of the EU3. It would have been nice to see this type of rhetoric from France with regards to Iraq. Whether or not Chirac will act when attacked is another matter, but the fact that Chirac took such a tough stance against terrorism is enlightening.

One or maybe two factors prompted this speech. France is concerned about the recent riots and what they may lead to and/or France seems to understand what the Global War on Terror is all about. They are truly one in the same. France, it seems, now recognizes this fact.

Contrary to MSM news, not only are rich getting rich, but so are the poor

Dr. Walter E. Williams at Towhall reports that despite what we constantly hear on the MSM about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, studies don't support this notion. In fact both segments of the population are getting richer. Specifically:

The authors analyzed University of Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics data that tracked more than 50,000 individual families since 1968. Cox and Alms found: Only five percent of families in the bottom income quintile (lowest 20 percent) in 1975 were still there in 1991. Three-quarters of these families had moved into the three highest income quintiles. During the same period, 70 percent of those in the second lowest income quintile moved to a higher quintile, with 25 percent of them moving to the top income quintile. When the Bureau of Census reports, for example, that the poverty rate in 1980 was 15 percent and a decade later still 15 percent, for the most part they are referring to different people.

So what we have here is not economic stagnation with the lowest 15% of wage earners. Instead as new workers enter the workforce in America, they slowly but surely gain experience and move out of the lowest rung of wage earners into the middle class and earn a nice living. You won't get this spin from the mainstream media.

What a fitting way to die

US strike killed Al Qaeda bomb maker
Reuters @ Yahoo Original Article

The bad news is that Al-Zawahiri may have not been killed, but the Al Qaeda's master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert, Midhat Mursi, was one of the men killed in the missile attack last week by a Predator UAV. This guy was worth $5 million. Not Number Two, but definitely a significant strike. I am sure this would put Al-Zawahiri on the defensive for awhile. We may also hope he gets really upset and tries to find the mole in his network and kills a couple of "innocent" fellow terrorists.

What a fitting way for a bomb maker to die.

UPDATE: APF @ Yahoo now stating that not only was Midhat Mursi killed in airstrike, but Abu Obaidah al-Masri, Al-Qaeda's chief of operations for the eastern Afghan province of Kunar, where US and Afghan forces are battling a fierce insurgency. In addition, Al-Zawahiri's son-in-law, Abdur Rehman al-Maghribi, was killed. He apparently was the head of Al-Qaeda's media operations.

Talk about a significant strike. We killed the bomb maker/chemical expert believed to be head of Al-Qaeda's drive to use WMDs and chief weapons trainer. We killed the chief of operations in the province. And finally we killed the chief of propaganda for Al-Qaeda. That a significant loss of expertise to Al-Qaeda and as mentioned before may have additional effects of keeping the ones left alive down their rat hole for longer.

UPDATE 2: Threatswatch states that Khaled al-Harbi, al-Qaeda’s operational commander in Pakistan and Afghanistan, was killed. Al-Harbi splits duty in Afghanistan with Abd al Hadi Al Iraqi, and both are considered “two of [al-Qaeda’s] most able commanders”.

ABC News stated, "Authorities tell ABC News that the terror summit was called to funnel new money into attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan… “Pakistani intelligence says this was a very important planning session involving the very top levels of al Qaeda as they get ready for a new spring offensive,” explained Alexis Debat, a former official in the French Defense Ministry and now an ABC News consultant."

If true, this missile strike was an extremely significant blow to Al-Qaeda's efforts not only in Afghanistan but the world at large.

Ramblings from the Rock has Moved

Ramblings from the Rock has moved to it own domain at
Please check there for updates to this blog.

Several Large Caches Discovered in Iraq

Now that the Anbar Campaign in Iraq wrapped up as noted by Bill Roggio, the American and Iraqi Military are beginning to discover several large caches. I have not seen large caches like this since we begin securing and cleaning them up in May 2003. With the insurgents no longer in control of Western Iraq and Iraqi civilians now coming forward with tips in larger and larger numbers, significant caches are being found.

Recent press releases from Multi-National Forces - Iraq show the shear size of these discovered caches. These finds have got to hamper the insurgency.
11 Jan 06-Iraqi Soldiers, U.S. Marines uncover numerous caches in three-day sweep.

“This was our biggest find to date,” said 1st Lt. Antonio Agnone, the combat engineer platoon leader for Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. “We've uncovered numerous and significant caches the insurgents
have hidden in Hit in places where they thought they would have easy access to

In just a few days, Iraqi Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division and Marines under 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), 2nd Marine Division unearthed nearly 500 rockets and artillery and mortar rounds, along with approximately 100 tank rounds and large quantities of rocket propellant, fuses, and blasting caps.

What is interesting about this 11 Jan 06 find is terrorists defiled a cemetary to conceal the cache. It was buried in a cemetary and adorned with head stones. A day later, Coalition forces uncovered another large cache.
12 Jan 06-Coalition Forces find, destroy large weapons caches

Coalition Forces Soldiers found several large weapons caches southwest of Baghdad Jan. 12.

The first cache consisted of 12 122mm rounds, 127 60mm and 82mm rounds. The second contained two 82mm mortars, an 82mm bipod, two radios, 200 82mm rounds and 25 70mm rockets. The third cache contained two 107mm rocket warheads.
Now two days later, Coalition forces find another large cache.
14 Jan 06-Arms cache discovered near Barwanah

The cache was first noticed by the Marines' translator, who accompanies them on patrols with their Iraqi Army counterparts. After the initial site was found, 10 additional hastily buried caches were discovered.

When all 11 caches were uncovered, they contained 137 artillery rounds of various sizes, 56 mortar rounds of various sizes, 47 122mm rockets, 14.5mm armor piercing incendiary rounds, and 1,900 pounds of propellant.

The Iraqi soldiers and U.S. Marines labored to collect up the munitions so they could be safely detonated. In all, 4,000 pounds of high explosives were detonated by the explosive ordnance disposal team.
Coalition forces are finding large caches all over Iraq. These cache discoveries are a direct result from tips from locals. These discoveries provide further evidence of a split between Iraqi civilians and the foreign terrorists. The civilian populous in Iraq is indirectly targeting Al-Qaeda in Iraq by getting rid of their major terror weapon-explosives for IEDs. Al-Zarqawi is loosing support as Iraqis are getting tired of living in fear of indiscriminate IEDs.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq calls for Unity. Fat Chance.

According to The Australian, Al-Qaeda in Iraq is forming a coalition of sorts. It wants to pull all terrorists organizations in Iraq under one umbrella. It is asking for all Muslims to come to Iraq to fight.
"The council also calls on Muslims in Iraq and across the world to join the jihad in Iraq to fight for the victory of religion and to defend the oppressed," and to overthrow the "crusaders and their rejectionist (Shiite) and secularist followers who have seized Baghdad."
I find this interesting to say the least. After almost three years of insurgency, Al-Qaeda in Iraq wants to unite the insurgents. I thought Al-Qaeda in Iraq was already an umbrella organization.

Why now is Al-Qaeda in Iraq posting statements on the internet for unity? It would seem to me that the support the insurgency once enjoyed in Iraq is no longer. This is especially highlighted by the fact that several Sunni insurgency groups are now fighting Al-Qaeda in Iraq directly.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is on its last leg. Tips are coming in daily, growing exponentially, and Al-Zarqawi's days are numbered. Sunnis have decided to be part of the political process since they see a future in the new democracy. They may not like their minority status, but they are now participating in the democracy.

Comparison of the Lives of Jesus and Muhammad

Insulting and threatening Jesus and Muhammad
James M. Arlandson/The American Thinker Original Article

Mr. Arlandson asks a very important question and gives an extemely insightful analysis of the difference between the lives of Jesus and Muhammad.

He firsts asks the following questions:
If you were to start a new religious movement or an entirely new religion, people would hurl insults at you, guaranteed. Those who cherish the status quo may even threaten your life. But how would you respond? Would you show patience and take it? Would you walk away? Would you return the insults, calling them names? Would you engage in a verbal sparring match, disarming your opponents with your wit?
After comparing the how the two leaders reacted when threatened, he concludes with:
It is asserted that Muhammad was called to lead people towards a new law that superceded the paganism of Arabia in the seventh century. He was another lawgiver, like Moses. He intended to establish a new order here on earth. In contrast, Jesus was a spiritual leader whose kingdom was not of this earth. He was not a new lawgiver like Moses. Jesus was “heavenly minded.”
His final statement is tells the whole story:
Thus, the two missions of the two founders are different indeed.
Different indeed. Jesus gave his own life for all the world's peoples. Muhammad would have taken all the world's lives to save his own.

Iran-What is behind the rhetoric and its nuclear determination?

Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, Iran has seen the United States as the "Great Satan" (the ruler of evil inclinations in humans) and Israel as the "Lesser Satan" (the heavenly prosecuting attorney and secret police agent). Iranian utter contempt for the US and Israel has been around for a couple of decades now. Iran has pretty much been left to its own devices, despite common knowledge that they are a state sponsor of terrorism. Both sides (US and Iran) have covertly sought to reduce the power and influence of the other in the Middle East.

What then is behind the recent rise in rhetoric and overt nuclear determination? Why is Iran now starting the "Second Islamic Revolution? To understand the rhetoric in Iran, one must understand their current situation and political makeup.

Iran is governed by two main bodies. The first and most powerful is the religious body. The second is the elected politicians including the president and legislature.

The Supreme Leader in Iran is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He was hand-picked by Ayatollah Khomeini as his successor in 1989. The Supreme Leader maintains his power through the Council of Experts (or Guardian Council) which is a religious "legislative" body that comprises ayatollahs loyal to the Islamic Revolution regime. While still calling for the destruction of the US and Israel, Khamenei and the Council of Experts have pursued this course covertly since 1989. They understand the need for Iran to function in a global society to modernize its country and to enjoy economic success.

The President of Iran, while democratically elected by the populous, must first be approved and nominated by the Council of Experts. In June 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the presidency over Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. President Ahmadinejad is a strict militaristic Islamic fundamentalist, a follower of the Khomeini tradition. He believes in the messianic belief of Hidden (12th) Imam. This belief is similar to the Christian vision of the Apocalypse. Indeed, the Hidden Imam is expected to return in the company of Jesus. Both Ayatollah Khomeini and Khamenei in the last several years drove this radical element under ground.

The outgoing president, Khatami, was a moderate Islamic reformist. Iran enjoyed a slow but significant move to western ways under Khatami. While Rafsanjani is not a recognized reformist, he along with Khatami and Ayatollah Khamenei, understand the need for Iran to be part of the international scene for growth and prosperity.

There exists a single legislative body in Iran called the Majlis. This body is also elected by the populous (once approved by the Council of Experts) and like our Congress, has the ability to block certain actions by the President. Its disapproval of Ahmadinejad's first three selections to the Oil Ministry is an example.

Finally, there exists a Judiciary headed by head Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi. Like our Federal Courts, the Judiciary reviews cases brought before it and passes judgment in criminal and civil cases.

With the election of President Ahmadinejad, an internal struggle surfaced in Iran between the new militaristic Islamic fundamentalist represented by Ahmadinejad and the out-of-power reformists and moderates. To balance the new shift in power, Ayatollah Khamenei created a new branch of government called the Expediency Council which he appointed Rafsanjani to chair. Rafsanjani, in turn, appointed Khatami as Senior Advisor to the Council. Rafsanjani as Chairman of the Council is currently the number two person in Iran overseeing the President, the Majlis, and the Judiciary.

That is where we currently sit. Iran's Supreme Leader, Council of Experts, Judiciary, and Expediency Council are led by moderates. The Presidency and Majlis are led by extremists. However, as noted earlier, the Majlis does not always see eye-to-eye with Ahmadinejad.

Due to the pseudo-democracy set up in Iran, all leaders need to have popular support behind them or else they have no powerbase. President Ahmadinejad is trying to energize his base during his virulent speeches. His base, militant Islamic fundamentalists, seek a Persia once again in control of the Middle East; nuclear weapons are a method towards this end. From the moderate point of view, nuclear weapons also give Iran the insurance against attack and destruction. Most notably in their recent history, they were almost toppled by Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War. If not for Saddam's total military stupidity in not pursuing early gains, Iran would now be a part of Iraq. All Iranians, regardless of political persuasion, do not want to be put in this predicament again; nuclear weapons ensure security against such future actions.

Iran is concerned about its future, especially given the swift defeat Saddam suffered from the US in 2003. Nuclear weapons also allow them to level the playing field with Israel and give them the power to seek Israel's destruction-their eventual goal.

So again, why the sudden increase in rhetoric? President Ahmadinejad is the focal point of most obtuse rhetoric stating Israel should be "wiped off the map", but Rafsanjani, the supposedly pragmatic leader also has made recent statements regarding Iran's use of nuclear weapons against Israel.

The Telegraph has an interesting perspective. "The unspoken question is this: is Mr. Ahmadinejad now tempting a clash with the West because he feels safe in the belief of the imminent return of the Hidden Imam? Worse, might he be trying to provoke chaos in the hope of hastening his reappearance? Ahmadinejad has been noted to believe the Hidden Imam will reappear in two years. That rightly explains Ahmadinejad's position, but what about the "pragmatic" Rafsanjani, who was appointed to the Expediency Council to represent the more moderate Iranian view. Why his nuclear rhetoric, especially given the case that Iran is stating that its nuclear ambitions are purely civilian?

An answer may lie with an apparent nuclear deal struck between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in 2003. According to the Washington Times, "Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia see a world that is moving from nonproliferation to proliferation of nuclear weapons." Saudi Arabia is concerned about an Iraqi Shi'a majority aligned with a nuclear Iran. Iran may be seeking parity against these Sunni (and sometimes radical) governments to ensure its continued strategic role in the Middle East and its own self-preservation. According to the American Thinker, "It is quite possible that Iran’s saber-rattling toward Israel is disinformation to cover the real strategic motivation for the pending acquisition of nuclear weapons." Middle East leaders have to understand that Israel's successful test of the Arrow ABM (anti-ballistic missile) in shooting down a mock Iranian Shahab-3 missile shows Israel's ability to defend itself against attack. A nuclear Iran cannot hope to "wipe Israel of the map" with nuclear weapons, but it can hope to maintain its own salvation and strategic role in the Middle East from what it sees as being surrounded by nuclear Sunni radicals in Saudi Arabia (who economically support Al-Qaeda) and Pakistan (who created the Taliban). The fact that Iran is also radical, is just another factor to examine.

While a regime change in Iran would be more comforting to the US, nuclear parity in the Middle East may very well be the solution to radical Sunni Islamofacists. The layers of leadership in Iran will forestall its use of nuclear weapons against Israel or any other nation. In addition, fallout from a nuclear exchange in the Middle East would severely disrupt economic interests in all oil producing countries. Only Israel has the ability to defend itself (and other Middle Eastern countries, if it so chooses). This ability, may give Israel the upper hand in future negotiations.

President Bush has given the Middle East a shining democratic star that will begin to thrive in the Middle East. In five to ten years, Iraq may well be a cultural and economic Mecca in the Middle East. Its multicultural diversity will welcome individuals from all surrounding nations. Its democratic influence will spread wealth and moderation in the Middle East. Unlike Israel, whose culture is hated by Arabs and Persians alike, Iraq will show similar nations what they can achieve with democracy-regardless of nuclear weapons.

Let the saber rattling continue.