November 2008 Archives

November 30, 2008

Obama and Clinton Can Work Together

The Christian Science Monitor's Washington, D.C.-based Diplomatic Correspondent, Howard LaFranchi, makes a pertinent observation in a November 30, 2008, analysis of President-Elect Barack Obama's selection of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will be introduced in Chicago on December 1, 2008, as his Secretary of State:

Few foreign-policy experts and policy makers question Clinton’s fitness for the job [of U.S. Secretary of State]. They point to the stamina and intellectual capacity she demonstrated over a grueling presidential campaign, plus her years of experience dealing with foreign leaders and addressing international issues as first lady.

But where question marks do arise is over how Mr. Obama and Clinton will overcome the foreign-policy differences that arose over the course of a long, heated primary campaign. Those differences – sometimes sharp – ranged from the decision to go to war in Iraq to the wisdom of speaking to America’s enemies without preconditions.

Clinton’s doubts about Obama’s preparedness to take on the job of commander in chief were captured in the so-called 3 a.m. ad, in which a grave male voice asked who Americans wanted to answer the White House telephone while their children and the nation slept.

During the Democratic Primary, voters emphatically let it be known who they wanted to answer the phone when they selected Mr. Obama over Ms. Clinton. Democrats, some Republicans and Independents ratified it on November 4, 2008, when they selected Mr. Obama over Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate, to become the 44th president of the United States.

Besides, Ms. Clinton obviously thinks she can work with and for Mr. Obama. Otherwise, why would she take the job? She knows it's his foreign policy vision, not hers, that must and will prevail.

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AP: Muslims World-Wide Condemn Mumbai Attacks

"Muslims around the world, from the Middle East to communities in Britain and Austria, on Sunday [November 30, 2008]condemned the Mumbai shooting rampage by suspected Islamic militants as senseless terrorism, but also found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion," The Associated Press (AP) reports in a dispatch datelined Ramallah, West Bank, in Palestine. See "Muslims condemn Mumbai attacks, worry about image."

According to the AP, "Intellectuals and community leaders called for greater efforts to combat religious fanaticism."

I agree that attacks on civilians should be widely condemned.

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Why Pakistan Offered to Help India With Mumbai Attack investigation

The International News of Pakistan reported November 30, 2008, that "U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s not much publicized telephone call to [Pakistani] President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday evening [November 27, 2008]  is image understood to have led to the government’s hasty announcement on Friday [November 28, 2008] to send the head of  the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) [Ahmad Shuja Pasha] to New Delhi to help in the probe into the Mumbai terrorist attacks for which the Indian government pointedly blamed Pakistan."

According to correspondent Qudssia Akhlaque, Ms. Rice’s "call to the president within 24 hours of the Mumbai massacre was prompted by the top Indian leadership’s clear signal to the U.S. President George W. Bush of evidence linking it to Pakistan, according to credible sources."

The News said, "The Americas Division at the [Pakistani] Foreign Office had no clue about the content of the conversation the two leaders had, indicating that the call was directly channeled through Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, more specifically Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani. Neither the Foreign Office nor the US Embassy in Islamabad issued any statement after the call."

If you want to read more, please see "Rice call prompted hasty decision to send DG ISI."

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November 29, 2008

The Times: Police in Mumbai Were Told to Expect Attack

The Times Online's Dean Nelson, reporting from Mumbai, India, writes in a November 30, 2008, post headlined "Indians claim terrorists took orders from Pakistan", that:

Police chiefs in Mumbai confirmed they had been aware as long ago as January that the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba was planning a terrorist spectacular.

The information came from Fahim Ansari, a captured operative for the group, who revealed under interrogation that he had carried out reconnaissance visits to the Taj and Oberoi hotels.

CCTV footage revealed that Ansari had visited the Oberoi. Both hotels said they had received warnings as recently as August about an attack and had stepped up security.

The Indian authorities intercepted a telephone call made from the Arabian Sea less than two weeks ago in which a terrorist suspect was heard saying “we’re coming to Mumbai.

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, "Pakistan has expressed concern about rising tensions with India following allegations that gunmen who attacked Mumbai this week had Pakistani links." See "Indian allegations alarm Pakistan."

Hopefully, despite the horror of the attacks, the two sides will resort to diplomacy rather than guns and more finger pointing.

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Taking a Chance With Hillary at Foggy Bottom

The columnist Lexington, writing in the Economist, made the following observation on November 27, 2008, about President-Elect Barack Obama's choice of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as the next U.S. Secretary of State:

The next president will face daunting foreign-policy tasks as well as a mother-in-law of a recession. America’s global brand has been tarnished. The battle with radical Islam has been turned into a partisan issue. The machinery of policymaking has been wrenched out of shape, particularly at the State Department. Sending a big beast like Ms. Clinton over to the State Department is undoubtedly risky. But sending a small beast to do such a big job might be riskier still.

Ms. Clinton was Mr. Obama's main rival during the hard-fought Democratic Party presidential primary season, a battle that left a bitter taste in both the Clinton and Obama Camps. Yet, she and former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Mr. Obama in the closing weeks of the campaign against Republican contender John McCain. Do you let her go home empty handed? I think not.  Besides, I think they will get along fine if they don't let outside forces turn them against each other.

Secondly, if Ms. Clinton doesn't like working for Mr. Obama she can always quit. If Mr. Obama doesn't like the job she's doing he can always fire her. There will be a few I told you it wouldn't last statements, but so what? 

As for Bill Clinton, he owes Ms. Clinton too much to muck things up for her by interfering in the running of her office, or making deals abroad that could embarrass her. That is if he can control himself. 

Mr. Obama is expected to formally name Ms. Clinton Secretary of State the week of December 1, 2008. 

If you want to read Lexington's full commentary, please see "The Obama-Clinton soap opera is set to run for another few years

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India's Security, Intelligence Forces Come Under Scrutiny Over Mumbai

India's newspapers have produced many articles on the November 26-29, 2008, assault on Mumbai, India, that gripped the world. Some have managed to informs readers without being sensational. Yet, they were quite vivid in their description of how security services responded to attacks on south Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the Oberoi-Trident Complex, the Nariman House in the Colaba section of the city, and other landmarks.

The operation to rescue hostages, kill or capture the attackers and gain control of commandeered facilities is known as "Operation Black Tornado."  According to The Times of India, "The war on terror in Mumbai ended on Saturday, November 29, 2008, when security forces "eliminated three terrorists in [the] Taj hotel after 60 hours of intense battle with the band of ultras who struck the country's financial capital killing 195 people.( Watch )" Also see The Hindu's November 29, 2008, article headlined  "Endgame in Mumbai, death toll could be 200."

The attacks were launched on November 26, 2008, from the sea, purportedly a group calling itself Deccan Mujahidden. image See "Who are the Deccan Mujahidden?" Some observer think Laskar e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based group, was behind the attacks. See "Three Lashkar fidayeen captured." A November 29, 2008, article in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn says "Clues nudge India to look beyond Pakistan." According to The International News, a Pakistani newspaper, "Pakistan offers support to India in fighting ‘common enemy.’

Some of the attackers reportedly are Britons of Pakistani origin. See "Too early to say attackers are Britons, says Brown."

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister, told a press conference in Islamabad on November 29, 2008, that Pakistan will punish any Pakistan-based group involved in the Mumbai attacks.

"Any entity or group involved in the ghastly act, the Pakistani government will proceed against it," he said, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

Regardless of who is the behind the attack, the main questions are: How did the attackers pull it off? See "Mumbai locals helped us, terrorist tells cops."

Why was Indian intelligence, the Navy and Coast Guard derelict in their duty, if they were?  For an analysis, see The Economic Times of India's "Failure of Indian intelligence: The buck stops nowhere." Also see "

World’s media see intelligence failures in Mumbai attacks."
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Indian Officials Notified in March 2007 of Possible Attacks on Mumbai From the Sea

The Times of India reported November 29, 2008, that police officials in Jammu and Kashmir, India, said that "the first reported case of infiltration" of India "through the sea route" took place "over 20 months ago and senior police officials had "sounded more than adequate alarm about the potential of this spiralling into a bigger challenge". See "J&K police had warned of holes in coastal security." According to The Times, officials who asked to remain anonymous said captured fighters

Abdul Majeed of Nawabshah and Mohammad Jameel of Mansera had reportedly revealed to the interrogators that they had infiltrated into Indian territory in groups of eight from Karachi through the sea route." They claimed they had paid "huge amounts to coastguards to reach Mumbai after a private boat they were sailing in was intercepted by the guards in Indian waters. The official said: "The militants told us that they were sent from Karachi as a group of eight militants in a private boat by LeT's [Lashkar-e-Taiba]'launching commander'. It took them three days to reach Mumbai. Their ship was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard when it went out of order for sometime. However, the terrorist managed to cross the security net by paying a huge bribe.
The bigger challenge took place November 26, 2008, when men came ashore in Mumbai, India, and hit 10 prominent places, according to The Times. As of this post, at least 195 people, including 22 foreigners died during the assault. See "Battle ends in Mumbai, death toll rises to 195.

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November 27, 2008

Mr. Obama's African-American Appointees

Keith Boykin, editor of The Daily Voice, takes a look at U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama's African-American appointed to serve in his administration. The CNBC contributor and a Black Entertainment Television [BET] political commentator describes them in a November 26, 2008, post headlined "Obama's black appointments." More such appointments are expected.

Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Boykin is a graduate of Harvard law School. He is also a former White House aide to President Bill Clinton," according to Wikipedia.

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Rand Official: Mumbai Attack 'Is Not India's 9/11'

While some observers contend the dastardly attacks on hotels and other facilities in the Indian city of Mumbai, the financial capital of India,  might be the work of Pakistan's Laiskar al-Taibar or Osama bin Laden's Pakistan-based al-Qaeda, Christine Fair, described by The New York Times as "senior political scientist and a South Asia expert at the RAND Corporation," thinks the problem is homegrown. According to The Times, Ms. Fair "was careful to say that the identity of the terrorists could not yet be known. But she pointed to India’s domestic problems, and long tensions between Hindus, who make up about 80 percent of India’s population of 1.13 billion, and Muslims, who make up 13.4 percent." The Times quotes her as saying:

There are a lot of very, very angry Muslims in India. The economic disparities are startling and India has been very slow to publicly embrace its rising Muslim problem. You cannot put lipstick on this pig. This is a major domestic political challenge for India. The Times further quotes her as saying:“The public political face of India says, ‘Our Muslims have not been radicalized. But the Indian intelligence apparatus knows that’s not true. India’s Muslim communities are being sucked into the global landscape of Islamist jihad.

Ms. Fair said, “Indians will have a strong incentive to link this to Al Qaeda. But this is a domestic issue. This is not India’s 9/11.” If you want to read more of The Times report, please see "Sophisticated Attacks, but by Whom?"

Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria, a Mumbai native, discussed the attacks, purportedly by an unknown called the Deccan Mujahidden, in an interview with managing editor Tom Watson. The discussion centers around "the political and social landscape in which they occurred." See "The Mayhem in Mumbai." According to Mr. Zakaria:

One of the untold stories of India is that the Muslim population has not shared in the boom the country has enjoyed over the last ten years. There is still a lot of institutional discrimination, and many remain persecuted. There's enough alienation out there that there are locals who can be drawn in to plots. That tends to be a pattern, from Madrid to Casablanca to Bali—some hard-core jihadis who indoctrinate alienated locals they can seduce.

He also said, "What's also new and different about this was that it involved suicide attackers. There have been planted bombs in the past. But this is a different level than we've seen in India."

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November 25, 2008

Susan Rice Would Be a Good Choice for U.S. Envoy to the U.N.

On November 24, 2008, news out of Washington, D.C. suggested that President-Elect Barack Obama will chose Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in President Bill Clinton's Administration, to represent the United States at United Nations. If given the job, she will replace Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, who also served as President George W. Bush's Ambassador to Afghanistan and Ambassador to Iraq.

I think Dr. Rice, who served on Mr. Clinton's National Security Council and was a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Obama during his presidential campaign, is a good choice. Unlike former Bush Administration U.N. Envoy, John Bolton,  Ms. Rice is unlikely to view the U.N. as the enemy or an organization to be bent to the will of the U.S.

If you want to know more about her views, please see Spencer Ackerman's November 14, 2008, article in The Washington Independent headlined "A Window Into Obama’s Foreign Policy."

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November 23, 2008

Axelrod: Obama Will Be In Charge of U.S. Foreign Policy

CHICAGO, USA -- David Axelrod, President-Elect Barack Obama's White House senior adviser, told ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent and "This Week" Host George Stephanopoulos on November 23, 2008, that Mr. Obama, not the U.S. Secretary of State, who will likely be Hillary Rodham Clinton, will be in charge of U.S. foreign policy during the Obama Administration. See "George's Bottom Line."

"People have to understand one thing," Mr. Axelrod said. "One person is going to be in charge of policy and that is going to be Obama and he is going to assemble a group of talented people to tackle that problem...he is assembling the best possible team to move this country forward, but he will set the direction."

"He is someone who invites a strong opinions. He enjoys that he thinks that’s an important element of leadership," Mr. Axelrod added.

He said Ms. Clinton and other cabinet members "... are not going to be potted plants in their departments, they are going to be partners and I’m sure that is the message he has given them in their discussions."

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Obama Will Inherit Problems in the Horn of Africa


CHICAGO, USA -- "The sweltering African issue during the Bush lame duck session and the Obama transition period has been the [current] D R Congo crisis," asserts Kumsa Aba Gerba, an Ethiopian-American graduate student of International Relations," in a November 21, 2008, article in the Sudan Tribune headlined "US policy on the Horn of Africa under Obama administration." The writer adds:

The two Sudanese problems, i.e the Southern Sudan referendum [on independence scheduled for 2011, according to the Web Site Southern Sudan] and the Darfur issue have also been in the front burner. Until the November election results, some optimist neo-con hawks in the Bush and McCain camp, along with the Christian Right and oil companies had a grand scheme of seceding the Southern Sudan as a separate country toying with the upcoming referendum by using covert operatives in the area posing as NGOs and referendum observers. The Somalia problem however had been lost in the shuffle. The wish of the current Pentagon policy makers to recognize the self declared independent Somaliland as a country has been moot as it was forsaken by State Department last year. The recent hijacking of a major oil tanker may have put the spot light back on Somalia. Anyhow, both Sudanese and Somali problems shall directly affect US-Ethiopian relations.
According to Kumsa Aba Gerba: "Under the new Obama administration the Horn of Africa will be a foreign policy archetype and test case for various interest groups. Unlike Bush, under the Obama administration, it seems that foreigner policy making shall go from the Pentagon and NSA back to its original home, the State Department. Most of the African policy issues in the new administration will depend on the characters and attitudes of people that will join Camp Obama."

NOTE: Links added to assist readers who might not be versed in issues in the Horn of Africa.

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Why Are Some 'Progressives' Upset With Barack Obama?


CHICAGO, USA -- Glenn Greenwald over at echoes my sentiment about the disappointment some liberals and leftist are expressing about President-Elect Barack Obama's cabinet and staff choices. See "Progressive complaints about Obama's appointments."  Writes Mr. Greenwald in a November 23, 2008, post:

I've been genuinely mystified by the disappointment and surprise being expressed by many liberals over the fact that Obama's most significant appointments thus far are composed of pure Beltway establishment figures drawn from the center-right of the Democratic Party and, probably once he names his Defense Secretary and CIA Director, even from the Bush administration -- but not from the Left.
Mr. Obama is basically a non-ideological "Conservative," who intends to use the skills of technocrats and bureaucrats of whatever political stripe to revive the economy, protect the nation and restore the United States' image abroad. He said so himself during a November 14, 2007, video interview with Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. See "Barack Obama: Q and A from Google Employees 1", at the 16:22 mark.

After criticizing the erosion of fundamental values under the Bush Administration, that led to torture, fear-mongering and divisive politics and hate-mongering, Mr. Obama said: "...and sometimes I'm accused of being this progressive, far out --I'm conservative in the sense that I want us to get back to those values that were essential to building America."

That seems pretty clear to me. In fact, the only constituency he repeatedly made promises to during the presidential campaign was the middle class.

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November 22, 2008

Will Hillary Clinton Make a Good Secretary of State?


CHICAGO, USA -- Interest in U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton serving as the American Secretary of State under President Barack Obama has foreign affairs pundits speculating and pontificating on whether the two former rivals for the right to be the Democratic Party candidate in the November 4, 2008, presidential election in the United States can work together. Some critics say it's not a good idea to have her as America's top diplomat. Other say it's an excellent idea. Some of Mr. Obama's advisers reportedly think it's a disaster waiting to happen. See "Barack Obama's aides believe he has made a mistake in hiring Hillary Clinton." Only time will tell.

The Times of London Washington Correspondent Sarah Baxter, writing in the November 23, 2008,
Sunday Times, contends that the appointment of Ms. Clinton "as US secretary of state will place a two-for-one power couple at the heart of Barack Obama's cabinet, which could tie the president-elect’s fortunes to the conduct of Bill Clinton, the former president." See "Hillary will be ‘mother-in-law the president cannot shift’".

image It has not been officially announced that Ms. Clinton will succeed Condoleeza Rice as the next secretary of state. That's supposed to happen after November 27, the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.  However, few who closely follow Washington politics would bet that she won't be Mr. Obama's secretary of state. Why? The New York Times says she will. It's a great way for Mr. Obama to reward Ms. Clinton for her valuable work during the his contest with Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain. She worked hard to get Mr. Obama elected after he defeated her in the marathon Democratic Primary. So did former President Clinton, her husband. But can the two really work together?

Some pundits say yes and some say no. Some say maybe. I say yes. Why? because she will have a direct pipeline to the president. She would not take the job if she had to go through foreign policy experts in the office of  the national security adviser, who will probably be retired general James Logan Jones, currently Chairman of the Board of the Atlantic Council of the United States.  Washington Post Staff Writer Karen DeYoung reports otherwise in a November 19, 2008, article:

The heaviest betting is on James B. Steinberg, the former Clinton deputy national security adviser and State Department official who is currently dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, a former NATO commander and current executive at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has been an informal foreign and defense policy adviser to Obama and is highly respected.

A third possibility is Susan E. Rice, a State Department veteran who signed on early with Obama as a senior foreign policy adviser. Although she has been close to Obama much longer than the others -- Steinberg joined the campaign after the primaries -- Rice is considered a more likely choice as deputy national security adviser.

I also can't see Ms. Clinton playing second fiddle to Vice-President-Elect Joseph Biden, who is regarded as an expert in foreign affairs. And, reportedly, she has received assurances that she alone would hire her immediate State Department staff. See "Hillary Plays Hardball." In other words, none of those Obama foreign policy advisers who discredited her claim of sterling foreign policy credentials during the Democratic primary should expect to be a part of her inner circle.

Also, Ms.Clinton knows she can't freelance. She can argue positions contrary those of the president all she wants inside the policy planning bubble. However, when she goes abroad she is representing the world-view of the Mr. Obama's administration. Of course we will learn about any contrary position she takes. And it will be blown out of proportion. That's because it's almost impossible to keep a secret in Washington, D.C. and the media loves controversy. Expect her people to do a lot of leaking.  

Steve Coll, author of the brilliant and highly recommended Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, raised this concern in a November 21, 2008, post in The New Yorker. He thinks  Ms. Clinton's selection is a good idea but worries about those who will surround her. See "Secretary Clinton."

"I do worry about her entourage," he wrote. "My first reaction to the news of this prospect a couple of weeks back was: Bob Woodward wins. The natural concern would be that her State Department becomes unto the Obama Presidency what the Powell-Armitage State Department became unto the Bush Presidency—a locus of selective but detailed, dissenting, and ultimately debilitating drip-drip about the White House and its sausage-making. But the Obama people presumably have calculated the costs and benefits and have decided in favor of the latter. It’s all about Lincoln these days, apparently, so we’re left to root for the better angels of everybody’s nature." See

But that's Washington. Not even Mr. Obama will have enough plumbers to stop leaks in that town.

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November 20, 2008

Ayman al-Zawahiri's Faulty Comparison of Malcolm X and Obama

University of Michigan History Professor Juan Cole, proprietor of the highly regarded Informed Comment blog, has the best analysis of Al-Qaeda functionary Ayman al-Zawahiri's recent verbal assault on U.S. President- Elect Barack Obama that I've read to date. According to a translation published by Fox News, a Rupert Murdoch news outlet, the Egyptian-born doctor said the following about Mr. Obama:

The second of these messages is to the new president of the United States. I tell him: you have reached the position of president, and a heavy legacy of failure and crimes awaits you. A failure in Iraq to which you have admitted, and a failure in Afghanistan to which the commanders of your army have admitted. The other thing to which I want to bring your attention is that what you've announced about how you're going to reach an understanding with Iran and pull your troops out of Iraq to send them to Afghanistan is a policy which was destined for failure before it was born. It appears that you don't know anything about the Muslim Ummah and its history, and the fate of the traitors who cooperated with the invaders against it, and don't know anything about the history of Afghanistan and its free and defiant Muslim people. And if you still want to be stubborn about America's failure in Afghanistan, then remember the fate of Bush and Pervez Musharraf, and the fate of the Soviets and British before them. And be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them.

As for the crimes of America which await you, it appears that you continue to be captive to the same criminal American mentality towards the world and towards the Muslims. The Muslim Ummah received with extreme bitterness your hypocritical statements to and stances towards Israel, which confirmed to the Ummah that you have chosen a stance of hostility to Islam and Muslims.

image You represent the direct opposite of honorable black Americans like Malik al-Shabazz, or Malcolm X (may Allah have mercy on him). You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims, and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim to be Christian, in order to climb the rungs of leadership in America. And so you promised to back Israel, and you threatened to strike the tribal regions in Pakistan, and to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, in order for the crimes of the American Crusade in it to continue. And last Monday, your aircraft killed 40 Afghan Muslims at a wedding party in Kandahar. As for Malik al-Shabazz (may Allah have mercy on him), he was born to a black pastor killed by white bigots, but Allah favored him with guidance to Islam, and so he prided himself on his fraternity with the Muslims, and he condemned the crimes of the Crusader West against the weak and oppressed, and he declared his support for peoples resisting American occupation, and he spoke about the worldwide revolution against the Western power structure.

That's why it wasn't strange that Malik al-Shabazz (may Allah have mercy on him) was killed, while you have climbed the rungs of the presidency to take over the leadership of the greatest criminal force in the history of mankind and the leadership of the most violent Crusade ever against the Muslims.

And in you and in Colin Powell, Rice and your likes, the words of Malcolm X (may Allah have mercy on him) concerning "House Negroes" are confirmed.

Professor Cole's assessment:
The Egyptian physician and mass murderer made a key error in his analysis, however, since if we were to take Malcolm X's parable seriously, Barack Obama would have to be assigned the role of the master.

In the past 50 years, the United States has, by dint of enormous daily ethical struggle, altered the dynamics of race. It is no longer the case that African-Americans only have a choice of serving under a white elite or rebelling against it. They can be senator or president in their own right. There is still a great deal of economic and educational inequality, and one election will not suddenly change that, but America's Apartheid days are gone.

Professor Cole, who daily offers "Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion," asserts that, "Al-Zawahiri, formed intellectually in the late 1960s, is stuck in a paradigm, of a worldwide revolution of people of color against the white global ruling class, which is nonsensical when Japan and China have the second and fourth largest economies, respectively, and when the United States has an African-American president."

If you want to read his entire post, please see "Zawahiri: Obama is the anti-Malcolm X."

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November 11, 2008

Living in Mr. Obama's Neighborhood

CHICAGO, USA --Foreign and national journalists have been a fixture lately in Hyde Park, my neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, and the neighborhood where Barack Obama,  President-Elect of the United States, and his family lives. He actually lives in Kenwood. Hyde Park and Kenwood are so connected that we call the area where he lives Hyde Park-Kenwood.  I live eight blocks East of his home and three blocks East of where he gets his hair cut. He sometimes exercise at Regents Park, which is a few yards from where I live.

Today I walked by the barber shop on my way to the pharmacy. No journalists were in the shop interviewing Zahir, Mr. Obama's barber. I only saw four customers when I passed by the shop around 11 a.m. Mr. Obama got a haircut today, but Zahir cut it at the Regents Park apartment of his Mr. Obama's friend Mike Signator. On election night, Zahir also went to Mr. Obama.

The shop is now a tourist stop and a security risk for Mr. Obama because the front is all glass.

As I neared Kimbark, the street I would turned south on to get to the pharmacy, I could see police cars in the distance blocking the street. That meant I  was not far from Greenwood, the street Mr. Obama lives on. It is not easy getting onto the street, not even for his neighbors, without showing identification and having an acceptable reason for being there. Hopefully, it will get better for residents when Mr. Obama moves to the White House. As for me, I'm far enough east that I'm not inconvenienced by having a U.S. President in the neighborhood.

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November 9, 2008

P.J O'Rourke: 'Let Us Bend Over and Kiss Our Ass Goodbye'

P.J. O'Rourke, contributing editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD, tells readers in "We Blew It," an article in the November 17,2008, edition of the publication, which can be read online:

Let us bend over and kiss our ass goodbye. Our 28-year conservative opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government is gone--gone with the bear market and the Bear Stearns and the bear that's headed off to do you-know-what in the woods on our philosophy.

Thanks to  American voter's for sending the current crop of Conservative politicians packing. Apparently the majority don't think liberals in the United States, at this moment in history, can do any worse than what Republicans have done with the during the last eight years, which gave us two wars, an economy in shambles and division in the country   resembling the division that resulted in the formation of the Confederate States of America. Only this time the political division is called Red States and Blue States.

American votes have given President-Elect Barack Obama  and the Democrats the opportunity to try to fix the current economic and political mess the U.S. finds itself in. Will they be successful? Only time will tell.

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Did Obama Win Because He Was 'Whiter Than Whites'?

Perhaps the most interesting analysis of U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama's widely heralded rise to the pinnacle of American politics was offered by H.L.D Mahindapala in the November 9, 2008, edition of the Sunday Observer, "Sri Lanka's English newspaper with the largest circulation."

"So how did he make it to the top?" he asks in an article headlined "Obama - the model for minorities in majority communities," adding:

The answer is not going to be palatable to many. He won not because he was black but because he was whiter than the whites. Each step of the way he moved away from his black and radical past, from Rev. image Jeremiah Wright, his mentor and pastor for decades who married him and baptised his children, to the fire-breathing Farrakhan claiming a separate state for the blacks. He was ensconced comfortably in the white man's religion. He spoke their language better than most Americans - at least better than the President-extinct, George Bush. He espoused America values. Like the white leaders he ended his speeches with "God Bless America" (not "God damn America", as proclaimed by his pastor Rev. Wright). Here he was invoking the God of the white Americans and not the God of Muslims, Hindus or any other theistic cult.
While I don't agree that Mr. Obama won "because he was whiter than the whites" --He's half-white himself--I do highly recommend Mr. Mahindapala's analysis. It is provocative, well-written and deserving of attention.

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November 1, 2008

Did Republican Dirty Tricksters Target Obama's Aunt to Embarrass Him?

he November 1, 2008, Times of London has a photograph of American Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama's aunt Zeituni Onyango, the half-sister of Mr Obama's Kenyan father, Barack Obama, Sr. She is reportedly in the United States illegally. It has also been reported that "she gave a total of $260 to the Obama campaign during the third quarter of this year, records show," according to The Times:

Barack Obama's 'Auntie Zeituni', found by The Times living on a Boston housing estate, appears to have made an illegal contribution to her nephew's presidential campaign because she is not a US citizen.

Following the revelation, Obama's campaign issued a statement saying that Senator Obama had no knowledge of his aunt's immigration status, and that he believed all appropriate laws should be followed in dealing with the issue.

The Associate Press (AP) broke the story on October 31, 2008,  that Auntie Zeituni was in the U.S. illegally. It is believed in some circles that the Republican Party or a Homeland Security worker in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division sympathetic to Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain illegally leaked the information in a desperate attempt to derail what appears to be an Obama victory on November 4, 2008, which is election day in the U.S.

It is illegal under 8 CFR [Code of Federal Regulations] 208.6 to reveal a person's immigration status. To do so also violates ICE guidelines

The Obama Campaign said Mr. Obama was not aware that his aunt was in the U.S. illegally, and that the money she donated to his campaign will be returned to her.

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Republicans Tried to Enlist Dr. Peter Millican in Smear of Obama

Dr. Peter Millican, a "Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy" at Hertford College at Oxford University in England, reveals in the November 2, 2008, edition of Sunday Times Online that:

Last Sunday I received an urgent call from Bob, a man close to a Republican congressman in the American west. He wanted to enlist my services to prove a scandalous allegation against Barack Obama, which would surely affect his prospects in the forthcoming election. Namely, that his famous 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father, on which so much of his reputation was built, was in fact written largely by Bill Ayers, a Vietnam-era domestic terrorist.

I guess even a smart man with African blood can't have his name on a thoughtful, well-written book without some folk thinking a white man must have written it.

To read more of this fascinating but unsurprising assertion about why Mr. Millican was contacted, please see "How they tried to tarnish Barack Obama." Also see " Times Washington correspondent Sarah Baxter's November 2, 2008, article headlined "Republicans try to use Oxford don to smear Barack Obama."

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