Sunday, January 22, 2006

Iranians Love Nukes More Than They Hate Mullahs

Ordinary Iranians overwhelmingly favor their country's nuclear ambitions, interviews and surveys show. The support runs deep in the population of 68 million, cutting across differences of education, age and, most significantly, attitudes toward the fundamentalist government that the Bush administration says is intent on using an energy program as a cover for developing atomic weapons.

"Look at all this civilization!" said Mehrdad Khanban, 23, the sweep of his arm taking in the towering pillars and regal staircases of the stone city founded by Darius the Great in about 518 B.C. in the southern corner of Iran first known as Persia. "What has George Bush got? And he's telling Iranians what to do?"...

Many Iranians also emphasized that their enthusiasm was for nuclear power, not weapons.... "Did you read that and know that Iranians are not after nuclear weapons?" Ghalenoi asked. "All the great people of Iran have always spoken about peace. We need nuclear power for electricity and for medical uses.

"But countries like Israel, that's not what they want," he went on. "They want to use it against people. Unfortunately, the Americans support them."

Previously: Mofaz to Iranians: Faster, Please -- Or Else

Previously: Debka: Iran Plans Nuke Test

Update: Iran Threatens to Sic al-Sadr on U.S.

U.S. Won't Recognize Gov't That Includes Hamas

The sources said that American envoys who visited here about 10 days ago told Israeli officials that recognizing such a government would violate American law.

Israel has also received similar messages from Javier Solana, the European Union's top foreign policy official, and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, who visited Israel last week, the sources said.

Palestinians Set to Elect "Hitler"

Roub, 40, is a leader of the militant Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in this turbulent corner of the West Bank and has spent the past five years leading his ragtag band of gunmen in frequent clashes with the Israeli military. Roub's deeds include hauling a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel and of molesting his own daughters into a town square, where the man was shot to death....

Roub said he has always been adamant about his beliefs, so much so that when he was 16 a high school friend began calling him Hitler, and it stuck. Roub said Hitler's slaughter of the Jews was wrong, yet he seems quite willing to keep the nickname.

When Roub was leaving after an interview, a group of Palestinian women spotted him and a buzz swept through the room. "It's Hitler; it's Hitler," they said, one after another. Roub could not resist speaking to them for 15 minutes.

Fearing Hamas Win, U.S. Tries to Prop Up Fatah

Convicted Killer Barghouti Sees Fatah/Hamas Coalition

Jihadis Feed Media Tons of Bullshit About Zarqawi

Iraq's most wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, goes to sleep every night wearing a suicide belt packed with explosives, according to a leading insurgent who met him two weeks ago....

He helped his guests to wash before praying and devoted five hours a day to reading the Koran, listening to taped sermons at night and holding religious discussions with his entourage, Ansari said....

At prayers Zarqawi, 39, deferred to his elders, telling them: "I am younger than you and of less knowledge and status." He could be heard weeping during worship, which is not uncommon among extremely devout Muslims.

The next morning, the leaders of four other Sunni groups joined the gathering. There was little water so Zarqawi found a bucket and poured for his guests — a task usually left to junior servants.

Homo, Homo on the Range

Gay cowboys are coming out of the corral in droves since the release of the controversial film "Brokeback Mountain," People magazine reports this week.

The magazine, on stands tomorrow, says the Golden Globe-winning movie has prompted many to declare their sexual orientation - and spawned a forum for gays and lesbians to be held in Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Dec. 9.

Previously: Cowboy Country Crazy for "Brokeback"

Like Most Indies, "Brokeback" Won't Play Military Theaters

L'Etat, C'est Blah: French Horns Go Unblown

Far from being obsessed with sex, almost half of French people living alone (49.5%) could not care less if they went without sex for months on end; 23% said they would be "relieved" not to have sex for several months. Half the population did not associate sex with pleasure....

[O]nly half of men and even fewer women (45%) expressed “relative satisfaction” with their sex life. Only one-third of men did not wish to change their sex life and a quarter complained of a "diminution of sexual desire". A pitiful 5.6% of men (and 8% of women) expressed satisfaction with the "frequency of intercourse"....

According to an opinion poll taken last spring, sex is considered to be an important part of life by only 17% of French people, well below the European average.... As for the frequency of sex — 1.8 times a week — she said it was "pretty much the same" all over Europe.

Previously: French Cuisine Based on a Lie

Update: Brits Waiting Longer to Have Sex

The age at which the typical Briton loses their virginity has increased since they were last asked in 2002, when the figure was 17.13 years. Young women generally have sex younger than their male counterparts - at the age of 17.44 years, compared with 18.06 for men....

The most alarming finding, however, was that almost one in three women said she had sex without her consent. Fourteen per cent of women said they had had non-consensual sex while trying to keep the other person happy. Nine per cent did so under the influence of alcohol and 8 per cent when there was physical pressure to do so.

More: British Singles Loneliest in Europe

Michael Schiavo Remarries

"It was very emotional," John Centonze said after the noon ceremony. "It's been a long time coming. A lot of things happened in between."

Debka: Iran Plans Nuke Test

...and moves Shahab missiles within range of Israel: Western and Israeli intelligence have known for more than six months that Iran’s nuclear program has reached the capability of being able to carry out a nuclear explosion, albeit underground. It would probably be staged in a desert or mountain region and activated by a distant control center. Tehran would aim at confronting the Americans, Europeans and Israelis with an irreversible situation....

[A]n Iranian underground nuclear blast, which will most probably be attempted on March 22, would turn around the strategic position of all the parties concerned and the Middle East as whole.

Previously: Iran May Already Have Sophisticated Centrifuges

Previously: AKI Exclusive: Iran Closer to Bomb Than Thought

Update: Telegraph: Major Construction at Iran Nuke Plant

Western intelligence agencies are focusing on alarming similarities in satellite imagery of Iran's nuclear sites, which the regime claims are for civilian purposes, and atomic facilities in Pakistan used to make the raw materials for nuclear weapons, as they try to identify the purpose of the Natanz construction spree.

The building work took place unannounced during a 16-month pause in research and development at the site, while Iran engaged the West in protracted talks over its professed desire to develop nuclear power....

Evidence of new building at Natanz has further fuelled concerns about Iran's intentions. "It is surprising to see how much construction work has taken place," said Mr Pike. "The Iranians have been very busy even while the seals were in place."

Previously: ElBaradei Refuses to Condemn Iran for Obstruction

Update: Multimedia: The Natanz Nuclear Facility

Update: Zakaria: Anything But Bombs

This does not mean accepting a nuclear-armed Iran. Tehran is many years away from nuclear weapons.

Update: "Shameful" -- Iran Scolds Chirac Over Nuke Threat

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Pali Feminists Demand Equal Right to Die

With her textured handbag, heavy mascara, and a veil revealing only her eyes, Alaa Awdeh sounds like the ultimate feminist. Women, she believes, should have equal rights in Palestinian society, especially the right to die in the armed struggle against Israel....

Islamic women like Awdeh have redrawn the debate over women's rights in Palestinian society. In the past, the fight was between secular feminists and men who wanted to protect their monopoly on political and social power. Now the debate is between Western-style feminists and religious women who want to share political power without changing the traditional role of women in the family....

Hamas has attracted legions of women followers of Islam, giving them control over Hamas-funded educational and job-training programs, and encouraging them to finish school and attend university, but at the same time restricting their legal rights to those laid out in the Koran....

Palestinian support for religious factions, in particular Hamas, has exploded over the last 10 years, frustrating secular women who have worked in politics for decades and who now find many young women turning to a starkly different Islamic vision of empowerment and equality.

Previously: Terrorists Terrified of Women, Says Rushdie

Mofaz to Iranians: Faster, Please -- Or Else

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz warned the Iranian people Saturday that they faced "destruction" unless they managed to restrain their new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"Look at the fate of others who sought the destruction of the Jewish people. They only brought havoc and destruction to the own people," Mofaz said.

"I know that a large part of the people of Iran do not support his policies but his despicable acts could bring destruction to all of you. You understand what must be done to prevent this," Mofaz added, directly addressing the Iranian people.

Israel Assassinated Arafat, Says Assad

Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem characterized Assad's comments as "ridiculous," and said that -more than anything else - they showed the level of his distress.

Previously: Khaddam: Assad's an Idiot

David Irving Just Won't Shut the Fuck Up

NYT: Pak Tribal Areas More Jihadist Than Ever

The tribal areas are off limits to foreign journalists, but the Pakistani officials, and former residents who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution, said the militants - who call themselves Taliban - now dispensed their own justice, ran their own jails, robbed banks, shelled military and civilian government compounds and attacked convoys at will. They are recruiting men from the local tribes and have gained a hold over the population through a mix of fear and religion, the officials and former residents said....

Qaeda operatives are the driving force behind the local militants and are influencing their tactics, the officials said. The militants have managed this despite a hammer-and-anvil strategy in the region, with American forces pressing from the Afghan side of the border....

Pakistan's military has become more cautious about emerging from its bases in North and South Waziristan, and the civilian administration is so hamstrung that the senior government representative in South Waziristan does not even live there.

Update: Terror Tensions Rise Between Pakistan, Afghanistan

Terrorists Terrified of Women, Says Rushdie

Rushdie told German weekly magazine Stern that his latest novel, "Shalimar the Clown," dealt with the deep anxiety felt among many Islamic men about female sexual freedom and lost honor....

When asked why he probed the issues in his new novel in the context of a love triangle, he said: "It has a lot to do with sexual fear of women."

Rushdie, 58, said that much of the anger toward the West was provoked by that split on sexual issues.

"(It is) because Western societies do not veil their women. Because they do not defuse this potential danger," he said.