Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Dangers Of Fighting Judah

A great shakening is going to happen, and it has just begun. Ahmadinejad is feeling the heat of it. I would say that:'It’s just a matter of time'.

If Ahmadinejad continues to make his own mistakes, will the West have waited out, perhaps unintentionally, Iran’s unyielding position on the nuclear program? These domestic rumblings suggest that even in pursuing a grand bargain with Iran (as has been suggested by several experts) it may be best to take it slow. A real negotiation could do without Ahmadinejad’s ultimatums and exclamations.

Wisdom is , be sincere, truthful, and most importantly, do not touch Judah – Touch not my Anointed. If you don’t believe the Bible, I would say, the history books are there. Judah is Judah and will always remain Judah.

Ahmadinejad is trying to play it brave in his latest attempt:

In the latest round of inflammatory comments from Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the demise of Israel is "imminent” and the U.S. will soon die as well.

This reminds me of the day the coalition forces entered Bagdad to get rid of Saddam, the then information Minister, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, was still playing it brave when he said :

"The soldiers of Saddam Hussein have given them a lesson they will never forget,"

It is just a matter of time, when the peace loving people in Iran will do the job.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hasten Not A Quartet , Madam Rice

A proposed Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, quartet gathering would not foster any meaningful solution in the middle-east giving the propaganda videos being circulated by Ahmadinejad and his generals.

New York Times reports that:

The Palestinian president and the Israeli prime minister promised to join her for three-way talks within a month, with a meeting in Washington in advance by the so-called quartet — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — that has been trying to promote Middle East peace.
And powerful Arab states gave their blessing, however reserved, to Mr. Bush’s initiatives to try to snatch victory from the growing chaos that is Iraq — even though these wealthy nations committed nothing of their own to that effort.

Such a move should never at all be hastened even though Ahmadinejad's lieutenants seem to be deserting him now. Iran’s movement should be kept under a 24-hour surveillance. Chances are that the lieutenants are going away only to re-group again.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

iOops, Cisco Actually Want Money For The Rights To The Name iPhone

This sounds unbelievable, but :

Techdirt has posted on the above saying (Dated Wednesday January 10, 2007):

In the weeks leading up to yesterday's big announcement there was a lot of talk about how Apple couldn't even use the name iPhone because it was a registered trademark of Cisco. Thus, it was as big of a surprise as any that Apple's new converged cellphone/iPod was indeed called the iPhone. The word out of Cisco was that the night before the announcement, they sent Apple the final terms of a license that would allow Apple to use the name, and that they expected a signed agreement right away. Well, apparently Apple didn't get back to Cisco quickly enough, and now the networking giant is taking Apple to court, seeking to prevent Apple from using the name. It seems likely that this is a threat to make sure that Apple takes Cisco's demands seriously, and that things will get worked out before the lawsuit goes to trial. Still, it's really astounding that Apple would make such an important announcement without having this matter long squared away.

Yahoo has this written on the same subject this way (Dated Wednesday January 10, 2007):

Cisco Systems sued Apple Inc. in federal court Wednesday, saying the computer maker's new iPhone violates its trademark.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, came just a day after Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPhone in dramatic fashion at a trade show in San Francisco.

But even while Jobs was trumpeting the product during his keynote address to Apple faithful, the matter of the product's naming had not been resolved behind the scenes between two of the biggest names in Silicon Valley.

San Jose-based Cisco, the world's largest network-equipment maker, has owned the trademark on the name "iPhone" since 2000, when it acquired InfoGear Technology Corp., which originally registered the name.

And three weeks ago, Cisco's Linksys division put the trademark to use, releasing an Internet phone called "iPhone" that uses the increasingly popular Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

But on Tuesday, Jobs unveiled Apple's own iPhone, a "game-changing" touch-screen-controlled cell phone device that plays music, surfs the Web and delivers voicemail and e-mail.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said she could not immediately comment on the lawsuit.

Cisco said Tuesday it had been negotiating for several years with Apple over a licensing agreement, but that Apple lawyers had not signed and returned the final contract.

"Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco's iPhone name," said Mark Chandler, Cisco senior vice president and general counsel, in a statement. "There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission."

Cisco is seeking injunctive relief to prevent Apple from copying Cisco's iPhone trademark.

"Today's iPhone is not tomorrow's iPhone. The potential for convergence of the home phone, cell phone, work phone and PC is limitless, which is why it is so important for us to protect our brand," Chandler added.

And Gizmodo has the same story also this way (Dated Wednesday January 10, 2007):

Cisco, which holds the trademark on the iPhone name, just held a press conference here at CES to announce that they distributed an agreement to Apple last night, and that they expect it to be signed today. For those who aren't up-to-speed on this kerfluffle, we learned just before Christmas that Cisco owns the trademark for the iPhone, and is in fact going to sell a product under that name. Looks like that may change after today. Here is the full press release:

Given Apple's numerous requests for permission to use Cisco's iPhone trademark over the past several years and our extensive discussions with them recently, it is our belief that with their announcement today, Apple intends to agree to the final document and public statement that were distributed to them last night and that addressed a few remaining items. We expect to receive a signed agreement today.

To cut a long story short, Cisco wants compensation, and apparently a huge one, for the use of the name iPhone. Sound outrageous, but that is it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Court drops Kurd charges against Saddam

By LAUREN FRAYER, Associated Press Writer
Saddam Hussein had been dead nine days but his voice resounded through the courtroom Monday as he and his cousin "Chemical Ali" discussed killing thousands of Kurds in the 1980s, according to audiotapes played at their war crimes trial.

The empty seat of executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is seen during the Operation Anfal trial, in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 8, 2007. The trial of Saddam and his six co-defendants for the killing of 180,000 Kurds in the 1980s resumed Monday and the court's first order of business was to drop all charges against Saddam. Saddam was sentenced to death for the killing of 148 Shiites and hanged on Dec. 30 in a chaotic execution that has drawn global criticism for the Shiite-dominated government. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, Pool)
AP Photo: The empty seat of executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is seen during the Operation Anfal...

Saddam's physical presence was gone — his chair in the white metal pen where the defendants sit was empty — but his aura still hung over the proceedings against his former regime members.

The trial reconvened Monday for the first time since Dec. 21 and a little more than a week since Saddam was hanged for the killing of 148 Shiites after an assassination attempt in the town of Dujail in 1982.

The court's first order of business was to dismiss all charges against Saddam. His co-defendants — including his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" — remain in the dock for allegedly killing 180,000 Kurds in the 1980s as
Iraq fought a protracted war with

Prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon aired graphic video during Monday's court session of scores of bodies in trucks and in piles on the street, overlaid with a voice purported to be that of al-Majid saying, "I will hit them with chemical weapons."

"Damn the international community if they say anything. I will strike them all with chemical weapons," the voice continued.

Another audiotape had a voice identified as Saddam's warning, "These weapons are only used at my orders." He also reassured colleagues that the weapons "kill by the thousands."

"It will force them out of their homes without water or food. It makes them evacuate their homes naked," the voice said.

In court, Al-Majid described the video as "painful," but said it showed the work of Iranian troops, not Iraqis. As for the audio, al-Majid did not deny the voices were his and Saddam's.

The tapes "not only condemn me, but the whole path that I was part of — the path of Saddam Hussein," al-Majid said.

Legal experts said they hoped Saddam's six co-defendants would be more forthcoming with the dictator no longer listening.

Legal scholar Tariq Harb said the trial could make more progress without Saddam, who sometimes quietly glared at witnesses, shouted at them, or launched nationalists tirades that got him thrown out of court.

"The trial will be more elastic and easy. It will clarify and expose more facts because Saddam Hussein's disappearance from the dock will encourage other defendants to mention some facts that they were afraid to divulge when he was with them," Harb said.

Also Monday, the U.S. military announced the deaths of two more American soldiers: one from combat wounds in Salahuddin province, which includes Saddam's hometown, and another from small-arms fire north of Baghdad.

And the White House said
President Bush would lay out his new approach for the Iraq war in a speech Wednesday. Bush was expected to announce an increase of as many as 20,000 U.S. troops in a bid to contain sectarian warfare.

Iraqi police, meanwhile, reported the discovery of 27 tortured bodies in the capital and the deaths of 23 other people, including nine Shiite workers gunned down in a minibus on their way to the Baghdad airport.

Aside from al-Majid, the co-defendants in the so-called Anfal trial are former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim al-Tai, who was the commander of Task Force Anfal and head of the Iraqi army 1st Corps; Sabir al-Douri, Saddam's military intelligence chief; Taher Tawfiq al-Ani, former governor of Mosul and head of the Northern Affairs Committee; Hussein Rashid Mohammed, former deputy director of operations for the Iraqi armed forces and Farhan Mutlaq Saleh, former head of military intelligence's eastern regional office.

When al-Majid first took his seat in court Monday, he tried to turn on his microphone to speak publicly. The judge quickly shut it off.

Before the trial adjourned until Jan. 11, Al-Faroon also presented a document allegedly signed by al-Ani, calling for the execution of 10 members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party headed by current Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Al-Ani denied the handwriting was his.

"This is not my signature and I'm sure of that," he told the court. Ref. Yahoo! NEWS

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hot Air : Iranian VP in 'dancing women' controversy

Iran arrests employees of news site which showed vice president applauding dancing women in Turkey

Yaakov Lappin
Published 01.05.07, 02:44

An editor and manager of the website have been arrested, after the site posted a video of the Iranian Vice President, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaee, "taking part in a ceremony in Turkey where unveiled women were dancing," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported last week.

Dance Watching Session Part I:

According to an employee of , the two employees under arrest were invited to meet with Vice President Rahim-Mashaee after their website posted the video. "But Mr. Mashaee did not come and some unknown people arrested" the employees, the report said, adding that "under Iran's Islamic laws men are not allowed to watch women dance and sing."
Dance Watching Session Part II:

Meanwhile, the DPA news agency reported that Mashaee has "come under fire" over the video, "which shows him watching and applauding women dancing during a ceremony in Istanbul ."

Quoting Iranian media sources, the DPA said the Iranian vice president dismissed the video as "a smear campaign."

"I am charged to have attended a private party although it was an official cultural ceremony in Istanbul attended by the city's mayor and the secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference," Mashaee added.
Dance Watching Session Part III:

'Suddenly I was faced with a dance'

Mashaee, who is also Head of Cultural Heritage, accused Iranian members of parliament opposed to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government of being behind the video,in a complaint to the Tehran Public Prosecution Officers, the Iran Mania website said .

In his complaint, Mashaee said he did not know women would be dancing during the ceremony. "I was not aware of the content of the program while it was being presented. I was suddenly faced with a dance. In a critical way, I mentioned the topic to Mr. Ebrahim Oglu, the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Conference. He pretended that this was not a serious problem, and I think he said that this is an Erfani (mystical) dance." Ref.
The Dance

Monday, January 01, 2007

U.S. Questioned Iraq on the Rush to Hang Hussein

Wael al-Samuraei/European Pressphoto Agency
Men prayed before Saddam Hussein's grave at his funeral, which was held under heavy security in his home village, Awja, near Tikrit, on Sunday.

Published: January 1, 2007

BAGHDAD, Dec. 31 — With his plain pine coffin strapped into an American military helicopter for a predawn journey across the desert, Saddam Hussein, the executed dictator who built a legend with his defiance of America, completed a turbulent passage into history on Sunday.

Like the helicopter trip, just about everything in the 24 hours that began with Mr. Hussein’s being taken to his execution from his cell in an American military detention center in the postmidnight chill of Saturday had a surreal and even cinematic quality.

Part of it was that the Americans, who turned him into a pariah and drove him from power, proved to be his unlikely benefactors in the face of Iraq’s new Shiite rulers who seemed bent on turning the execution and its aftermath into a new nightmare for the Sunni minority privileged under Mr. Hussein.

The 110-mile journey aboard a Black Hawk helicopter carried Mr. Hussein’s body to an American military base north of Tikrit, Camp Speicher, named for an American Navy pilot lost over Iraq in the first hours of the Persian Gulf war in 1991. From there, an Iraqi convoy carried him to Awja, the humble town beside the Tigris River that Mr. Hussein, in the chandeliered palaces that became his habitat as ruler, spoke of as emblematic of the miseries of his lonely and impoverished youth.

The American role extended beyond providing the helicopter that carried Mr. Hussein home. Iraqi and American officials who have discussed the intrigue and confusion that preceded the decision late on Friday to rush Mr. Hussein to the gallows have said that it was the Americans who questioned the political wisdom — and justice — of expediting the execution, in ways that required Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to override constitutional and religious precepts that might have assured Mr. Hussein a more dignified passage to his end.

The Americans’ concerns seem certain to have been heightened by what happened at the hanging, as evidenced in video recordings made just before Mr. Hussein fell through the gallows trapdoor at 6:10 a.m. on Saturday. A new video that appeared on the Internet late Saturday, apparently made by a witness with a camera cellphone, underscored the unruly, mocking atmosphere in the execution chamber.

This continued, on the video, through the actual hanging itself, with a shout of “The tyrant has fallen! May God curse him!” as Mr. Hussein hung lifeless, his neck snapped back and his glassy eyes open.

The cacophony from those gathered before the gallows included a shout of “Go to hell!” as the former ruler stood with the noose around his neck in the final moments, and his riposte, barely audible above the bedlam, which included the words “gallows of shame.” It continued despite appeals from an official-sounding voice, possibly Munir Haddad, the judge who presided at the hanging, saying, “Please no! The man is about to die.”

The Shiites who predominated at the hanging began a refrain at one point of “Moktada! Moktada! Moktada!”— the name of a volatile cleric whose private militia has spawned death squads that have made an indiscriminate industry of killing Sunnis — appending it to a Muslim imprecation for blessings on the Prophet Muhammad. “Moktada,” Mr. Hussein replied, smiling contemptuously. “Is this how real men behave?”

American officials in Iraq have been reluctant to say much publicly about the pell-mell nature of the hanging, apparently fearful of provoking recriminations in Washington, where the Bush administration adopted a hands-off posture, saying the timing of the execution was Iraq’s to decide.

While privately incensed at the dead-of-night rush to the gallows, the Americans here have been caught in the double bind that has ensnared them over much else about the Maliki government — frustrated at what they call the government’s failure to recognize its destructive behavior, but reluctant to speak out, or sometimes to act, for fear of undermining Mr. Maliki and worsening the situation.

But a narrative assembled from accounts by various American officials, and by Iraqis present at some of the crucial meetings between the two sides, shows that it was the Americans who counseled caution in the way the Iraqis carried out the hanging. The issues uppermost in the Americans’ minds, these officials said, were a provision in Iraq’s new Constitution that required the three-man presidency council to approve hangings, and a stipulation in a longstanding Iraqi law that no executions can be carried out during the Id al-Adha holiday, which began for Iraqi Sunnis on Saturday and Shiites on Sunday.

A senior Iraqi official said the Americans staked out their ground at a meeting on Thursday, 48 hours after an appeals court had upheld the death sentence passed on Mr. Hussein and two associates. They were convicted in November of crimes against humanity for the persecution of the Shiite townspeople of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982. Mr. Hussein, as president, signed a decree to hang 148 men and teenage boys.

Told that Mr. Maliki wanted to carry out the death sentence on Mr. Hussein almost immediately, and not wait further into the 30-day deadline set by the appeals court, American officers at the Thursday meeting said that they would accept any decision but needed assurance that due process had been followed before relinquishing physical custody of Mr. Hussein.

“The Americans said that we have no issue in handing him over, but we need everything to be in accordance with the law,” the Iraqi official said. “We do not want to break the law.”

The American pressure sent Mr. Maliki and his aides into a frantic quest for legal workarounds, the Iraqi official said. The Americans told them they needed a decree from President Jalal Talabani, signed jointly by his two vice presidents, upholding the death sentence, and a letter from the chief judge of the Iraqi High Tribunal, the court that tried Mr. Hussein, certifying the verdict. But Mr. Talabani, a Kurd, made it known that he objected to the death penalty on principle.

The Maliki government spent much of Friday working on legal mechanisms to meet the American demands. From Mr. Talabani, they obtained a letter saying that while he would not sign a decree approving the hanging, he had no objections. The Iraqi official said Mr. Talabani first asked the tribunal’s judges for an opinion on whether the constitutional requirement for presidential approval applied to a death sentence handed down by the tribunal, a special court operating outside Iraq’s main judicial system. The judges said the requirement was void.

Mr. Maliki had one major obstacle: the Hussein-era law proscribing executions during the Id holiday. This remained unresolved until late Friday, the Iraqi official said. He said he attended a late-night dinner at the prime minister’s office at which American officers and Mr. Maliki’s officials debated the issue.

One participant described the meeting this way: “The Iraqis seemed quite frustrated, saying, ‘Who is going to execute him, anyway, you or us?’ The Americans replied by saying that obviously, it was the Iraqis who would carry out the hanging. So the Iraqis said, ‘This is our problem and we will handle the consequences. If there is any damage done, it is we who will be damaged, not you.’ ”

To this, the Iraqis added what has often been their trump card in tricky political situations: they telephoned officials of the marjaiya, the supreme religious body in Iraqi Shiism, composed of ayatollahs in the holy city of Najaf. The ayatollahs approved. Mr. Maliki, at a few minutes before midnight on Friday, then signed a letter to the justice minister, “to carry out the hanging until death.”

The Maliki letter sent Iraqi and American officials into a frenzy of activity. Fourteen Iraqi officials, including senior members of the Maliki government, were called at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday and told to gather at the prime minister’s office. At. 3:30 a.m., they were driven to the helicopter pad beside Mr. Hussein’s old Republican Palace, and taken to the prison in the northern suburb of Khadimiya where the hanging took place.

At about the same time, American and Iraqi officials said, Mr. Hussein was roused at his Camp Cropper cell 10 miles away, and taken to a Black Hawk helicopter for his journey to Khadimiya.

None of the Iraqi officials were able to explain why Mr. Maliki had been unwilling to allow the execution to wait. Nor would any explain why those who conducted it had allowed it to deteriorate into a sectarian free-for-all that had the effect, on the video recordings, of making Mr. Hussein, a mass murderer, appear dignified and restrained, and his executioners, representing Shiites who were his principal victims, seem like bullying street thugs.

But the explanation may have lain in something that Bassam al-Husseini, a Maliki aide closely involved in arrangements for the hanging, said to the BBC later. Mr. Husseini, who has American citizenship, described the hanging as “an Id gift to the Iraqi people.”

The weekend’s final disorderly chapter came with the tensions over Mr. Hussein’s body. For nearly 18 hours on Saturday, Mr. Maliki’s officials insisted that his corpse would be kept in secret government custody until circumstances allowed interment without his grave becoming a shrine or a target. Once again, the Americans intervened.

The leader of Mr. Hussein’s Albu-Nasir tribe, Sheik Ali al-Nida, said that before flying to Baghdad on an American helicopter, he had been so fearful for his safety that he had written a will. Bizarrely, Sheik Nida and others were shown on Iraqi television collecting the coffin from the courtyard in front of Mr. Maliki’s office, where it sat unceremoniously in a police pickup.

After the helicopter trip to Camp Speicher, the American base outside Tikrit, the coffin was taken in an Iraqi convoy to Awja, and laid to rest in the ornate visitors’ center that Mr. Hussein ordered built for the townspeople in the 1990s. Local officials and members of Mr. Hussein’s tribe had broken open the marbled floor in the main reception hall, and cleared what they said would be a temporary burial place until he could be moved to a permanent grave outside Awja where his two sons, Uday and Qusay, are buried.

At the burial, several mourners threw themselves on the closed casket. One, a young man convulsed with sobs, cried: “He has not died. I can hear him speaking to me.” Another shouted, “Saddam is dead! Instead of weeping for him, think of ways we can take revenge on the Iranian enemy,” Sunni parlance for the Shiites now in power. Ref: NY Times

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Oud – A Masterpiece

Talking of the Oud, it is a string instrument sometimes referred to as Lute or Barbat.

Whenever the name Oud is mentioned, some think of earlier civilizations such as Mesopotamia. Legend even has it that there are magical powers behind this instrument.

The Oud is not only played or found in Arabia, it is in Europe, Africa and the Americas not to mention others. The Czech and Slovaks adore it, Bahrainis even sleep with it, Canadians collect them etc. etc.

How or why you play your Oud shouldn’t be underestimated. People play the Oud for various reasons – whereas some play it to communicate the message of Harmony and Peace, others play it to instigate Hatred.

There is no magic in the Oud – it is, and remain an instrument, it is a tool. The purpose for which you use it, will determine the result it will bring you.

One effective use of the Oud is to express gratitude for one’s life to the Creator of life itself. When I think of the Oud in this perspective, I think of the name Judah – which means Praise.