Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * 182. That's the total number dead in Iraq during the Ashura Massacre, plus 42 killed in Pakistan, bring the final count to 224. Al-Qaeda has denied responsibility for the attacks and is accusing the US of being complicit in the attacks. Not surprisingly, the US has tied the attack to none other than our old pal Abu Musab Zarqawi. * Both Russia and Yemen have scored their own impressive victories in the war on terrorism, with Russia confirming the death of the infamous Chechen warlord Ruslan Gelayev, who ran al-Qaeda training camps in the Pankisi Gorge and Yemen captured Sayed Imam el-Sharif, a key founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. * Speaking of impressive, how about these female officers in Iraq, and their ongoing courage under fire? Other Topics Today Include: Iraq Briefing; Iran Reports; Helping queer Iranians; Saudis create charity regulating body; Osama's relatives being rounded up; Pakistan arrests 3 al-Qaeda; the source of the bin Laden captured rumor; al-Qaeda and the drug trade; al-Islah supremo denies US claims; Swisscom's role in capturing KSM; 2 Venezuelan protesters killed; Kyrgyzstan becoming a possible IMU haven; US training Algerian military; New Zealand cracks down on GSPC; Abu Sayyaf member attacks Filippino ferry; and Osman Ocalan's marriage.
IRAQ BRIEFING * The Iraqi Governing Council has repealed the controversial Decision 137, which would have replaced civil law with the sha'riah. Cox and Forkum have their own thoughts Decision 137 which explains how much of a potential bullet may have just been missed. The charter for the new Iraqi constitution was expected to be signed this week, but was delayed by the events of the Ashura Massacre. * Grand Ayatollah Sistani's aide Seyed Ali Abdul-Karim al-Safi al-Musawi appears to be backing the closest thing I've seen to the Western concept of personal freedom in the Middle East, stating that even under an Islamic state in Iraq the people should still be free to make their own decisions on issues of morality. This comes as a number of Sunni Iraqi clerics have rejected Zarqawi's nihilist violence and issued a fatwa against sectarian violence. * To members of Ansar al-Islam, however, the fight isn't over and even detained the jihadis appear firm in their hatred of the US. * There was an apparent assassination attempt on numerous PUK officials in Kirkuk. * Admiral Vern Clark is saying that there is no evidence that Iraq was holding Michael Scott Speicher after his plane was shot down on January 17, 1991. * Iraq now has its own Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts programs. * A new UN report claims that Iraq had no WMD stockpiles after 1994. If true, this raises serious questions about nearly a decade of US intelligence on the subject. * Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker." * The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops: American, Australian, British, Canadian and even the Poles. IRAN REPORTS * Is Iran running its own version of the Great Game? Joe thinks so and he makes a fairly convincing case, though I would unquestionably add Ismail Khan, the self-styled "Emir of Herat" to the list of Afghan warlords who are on the mullahs' payroll together with Hekmatyar. * US State Department Ambassador-At-Large J. Cofer Black is telling the Pakistani media that Iran is in contact with al-Qaeda as well as that the al-Qaeda inside Iran now pose a direct danger to Pakistan as well as the US. * The Iranian Majlis has approved $1,500,000 to finance Iran's answer to the US Iran Freedom and Democratic Support Act. * JK: We might also mention some Iranian-American businessmen financing John Kerry, and also pushing for a dramatic softening in U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Can you say "special interests"? * Geostrategy Direct is quoting Colonel Bakharali Bagiryan, a former member of the IRGC who recently defected to Azerbaijan, as claiming that pro-US sentiment has penetrated the Iranian military. If true, this is extremely good news for the pro-democracy efforts in the region. * JK: The news on the human rights front is less good. Blog Iran! has a roundup of human rights abuses over the past 2 months. It isn't pretty. * JK: ...And it's especially bad if you're gay - the punishment is lashing and then death. Homan La is the organization for queer Iranians, and
their website is full of resources (mostly in Farsi, some in English) aimed at helping those in the Iranian closet. (Hat Tip: Iranfilter)
THE WIDER WAR
* Saudi Arabia has established the Saudi Civil Council for Relief and Charity Work Overseas in an effort to prevent charity funds from going to terrorists. I'll extremely skeptical as to what it's rate of effectiveness is going to be ...
* In an effort to locate bin Laden, the US is grilling his relatives for information on the al-Qaeda leader's whereabouts (Fata, perhaps?). Funny, I thought he didn't have anything to do with his family ...
* Pakistan has arrested 6 al-Qaeda suspects at an Afghan refugee camp in Peshawar, including 3 Algerians.
* The source of the rumor that bin Laden had been captured and was being held until the US election is none other than a Pakistani journalist whose comments were taken out of context by the Iranian media.
* Nidal Arabiyat, Zarqawi's late bombmaker, appears to be receiving praise from his family in his hometown of al-Salt, Jordan.
* US officials are becoming increasingly concerned that al-Qaeda may establish contacts with the international drug trade in a similar manner of which allows FARC to subsist in Colombia.
* Sheikh Abdulmajeed al-Zindani, the head of the Yemeni al-Islah (Reform) Party, is denying US claims that he is one of bin Laden's loyalists. Al-Islah is the major Yemeni opposition party.
* How much of a role did Swisscom cell phone chips play in al-Qaeda's communications? Quite a bit, according to a New York Times article that outlines how the network's over-reliance and false sense of anonymity eventually helped the US to track down the 9/11 mastermind himself, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
* 2 Venezuelan opposition protesters have been killed in clashes with government troops after electoral officials ruled that opposition parties failed to collect enough signatures to mount a recall vote against him.
* Is the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan becoming a new base for the al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan?
* In a sign that the US is recognizing the continued threat posed by groups like the GSPC, American military experts are training Algerian forces to better battle the al-Qaeda affiliate. New Zealand is also taking action against the GSPC as well as South Asian mafia boss Dawood Ibrahim.
* In what would be their biggest single terrorist attack to date, a member of the Filippino al-Qaeda affiliate Abu Sayyaf may have sunk a Filippino ferry, killing an estimated 134 passengers. Abu Sayyaf and NPA communists seem to be becoming increasingly active in the Philippines.
* We try to end on a lighter note if possible. The Turkish newspaper Zaman is reporting that PKK leader Osman Ocalan's marriage to a 20 year-old Iranian terrorist. The PKK, as this article explains, has some exceedingly unique views on the proper role of such things in the Worker's Paradise ...