Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dear Virginia, CIA is everywhere

There's a big brouhaha about CIA operatives on the ground in Libya.

Why this is such a big thing is beyond me. Off course they have people on the ground and I glad the French, the British, the US and other intelligence officers are on the ground and providing information back to the coalition.

I don't want them bombing the country based on Al Jazeera or CNN coverage on TV.

It's a good thing that CIA, MI6, etc are on the ground so they can direct air strikes - you cannot tell from air which ones are the revolutionaries and which ones are Qaddafi forces. 

Before and Now


And more amazing before and now pictures from Irina Werning

Today in Tarakan


There's a large demonstration by the ethnic bugis in front of Tarakan main police station because the burning of a bugis owned fishing ship by a dayak. They were the two ethnic that clashed 6 months ago in my island, Tarakan.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You can run but you can't hide sucker

"— A senior Indonesian al-Qaeda operative wanted in the 2002 Bali bombings has been arrested in Pakistan, a rare high-profile capture in the war on terror that could provide valuable intelligence about the organization and possible future plots.
Umar Patek, a suspected member of the al-Qaeda-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested earlier this year in Pakistan, foreign intelligence sources said Tuesday.
Time"


Pakistan Police have reportedly captured terrorist suspect Umar Patek who is believed to be a member of a group responsible for bombing two nightclubs in Bali in 2002. 
Intelligence expert and director of the Study Center for Intelligence and National Security (Siknal), Dynno Chressbon, said his sources had reported that local police in Pakistan had arrested a man believed to be Umar Patek, on March 2.
The Jakarta Post
Where can I donate for his execution bullets? I'll buy the whole box.

Getting Arab politics wrong

While Assad is right that his foreign policy "ideology" is the near polar opposite of Mubarak's, which centered on close alliances with the U.S. and Israel, the two governments' despotic, oppressive domestic political systems were about as similar as they could be: single-party republics with life-long "presidents," tightly controlled state economies, rank corruption, arbitrary police rule, and pervasive restrictions on speech. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's Tunisia also shared all of these characteristics -- or at least it did until Ben Ali was overthrown. And all this despite the fact that he was nowhere nearly as involved with the U.S. or with Israel as Mubarak or Assad. 
Though these three states all took such vastly different approaches to the two issues that supposedly drive popular sentiment in the Arab world -- the U.S. and Israel -- they have endured startlingly similar anti-government protest movements. But if these foreign policy issues are really as important to Arab publics as Assad believes them to be, if they really constitute the key variable in regime stability, then why have these three governments found themselves embroiled in such similar protest movements? Why did Tunisians ultimately rise up against economic restrictions and police brutality? Why did Egyptians call for shutting down the interior ministry and raising the minimum wage, but not ending Mubarak's alliance with Israel? For that matter, why did they endure decades of Egyptian-Israeli ties, only to finally rise up over totally unrelated concerns? Why are Syrian protesters making the same demands now? Is it possible that Assad, and many of us in the West, have gotten Arab priorities so wrong? (The Atlantic)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The long arm of Mossad

"It was a crisp cold day in February when Dirar Abu Sisi was last seen alive. The Palestinian engineer from Gaza was in Ukraine in preparation for moving there with his family: He, his Ukrainian wife Veronica and their six children wanted to leave the Gaza Strip. While Abu Sisi, 42, dealt with the paperwork, he lived with his in-laws in the eastern town of Kharkiv. On Feb. 18 he boarded a train for Kiev. He wanted to see his brother, who had lived in Amsterdam for years and who flew out just for the reunion. But Abu Sisi never arrived in Kiev. 
The exact circumstances of what happened in between are not fully known. Two men in civilian clothing stepped into Abu Sisi's carriage on the night of Feb. 19, according to a train conductor and a porter who were interviewed after Abu Sisi disappeared. At around 1 a.m., they said, the strangers escorted him off the train. However, the train employees later retracted these statements. Since then they've claimed to have seen nothing." Spiegel

Run


AC-130
The Pentagon has revealed that AC-130 gunships and A10 tankbusters, of the kind used in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been deployed in Libya. "We have employed A10s and AC-130s over the weekend," the US navy vice-admiral, Bill Gortney, said. 
The aircraft are better suited than high-flying fighter bombers to attack targets in built-up areas without so much risk of civilian casualties, defence officials say. 
However, their sheer firepower can lead to civilian deaths as their attacks on the Iraqi city of Fallujah after the 2003 invasion of Iraq demonstrated. 
The AC-130 gunship is a heavily modified Hercules transport plane armed with 20mm, 40mm and 105mm cannons. The A10 "thunderbolts" conducts close range attacks, notably against tanks and armoured vehicles. It is equipped with a multi-barrelled 30mm cannon which can fire a devastating almost 4,000 rounds a minute. Guardian

It's a good time for a Libyan Army soldier to leave their posts. They are deploying the devastating AC-130 gunship above cities in Libya. These type of gunships can hit any in small streets and obliterate targets with high accuracy. So you can't even hide among populations anymore.

The same apply with A10. It's a slow moving airplane designed to linger around for a long time in the sky and hunt for military vehicles and groups of soldiers. 

Women in the world

A glowing review of Women in the world conference.

Indonesia's love of Japanese Porn Stars

"Rather than seek news coverage for the movie, the filmmaker, Ody Mulya Hidayat, swore entertainment reporters to silence. An ill-timed piece of publicity could bring enraged Islamist activists banging down the door. A single leaked photo could invite prosecution and a lengthy jail term. 
The reason for all the furtiveness was Sora Aoi, a diminutive Japanese sex-film star who had been spirited into the country for a leading role in the movie, her presence concealed as she was ferried between her hotel and shoots around Jakarta. 
Ms. Aoi, and others like her, are the secret of a winning formula stumbled upon by Maxima Pictures, the production house where Mr. Hidayat is an executive producer. For two years, Maxima has made some of Indonesia’s most popular domestic films based on a simple premise: that many in Muslim-majority Indonesia will pay to see foreign porn stars perform — clothed — in local films. Just don’t expect Indonesians to own up to it." NY Times

Ha ha. Awesome. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Now People Demand the fall of the regime



They torn down the statue of late Syria President Hafez al-Assad BagNewsNotes

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Qatar in the foray


"Qatari warplanes have overflown Libya, becoming the first Arab state to take part in military operations to enforce a no-fly zone under a UN resolution, its air force announced on Friday. 
The air force said an undisclosed number of planes had "overflown sister Libya as part of the international coalition" to enforce the no-fly zone imposed on Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's forces "to protect civilians." AFP

Qadaffi's Libya


They dare to kidnap a woman in front of foreign press.







A weeping Libyan woman made a desperate plea for help on Saturday, slipping into a Tripoli hotel full of foreign journalists to show bruises and scars she said had been inflicted on her by Muammar Gaddafi's militiamen. 
As reporters gathered to hear her story, security guards grabbed the woman, bundled her into a car and drove her away following a brawl in which several journalists were beaten. 
The woman, Eman al-Obaidi, said she was arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli because she is from the city of Benghazi, the bastion of a rebel insurgency against Gaddafi's rule. 
"They swore at me and they filmed me. I was alone. There was whiskey. I was tied up," she said, weeping and stretching out her arms to show scars. 
Her face was heavily bruised and her upper right thigh had blood on it. "They peed on me. They violated my honour," said Obaid. 
Obaidi, wearing a loose black coat and slippers, said she had been raped by 15 men and held for two days at the checkpoint.
Reuters

NY Times has more
She pleaded for friends she said were still in custody. “They are still there, they are still there,” she said. “As soon as I leave here, they are going to take me to jail.” 
For the members of the foreign news media here as guests of the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi — and largely confined to the Rixos Hotel except for official outings — the episode was a reminder of the brutality of the Libyan government and the presence of its security forces even among the hotel staff. People in hotel uniforms, who just hours before had been serving coffee and clearing plates, grabbed table knives and rushed to physically restrain both the woman and the journalists.
Charles Glover of The Financial Times, who had put himself in the way of the security forces trying to apprehend her, was put into a van and driven to the border shortly afterward. He said that that the night before he had been told to leave because of what Libyan government officials said were inaccuracies in his reports.

Charles Glover can be seen on the first and second picture above trying to prevent security forces to kidnap the woman.

If there's any ambivalence in the Middle East about the intervention in Libya, these scenes will end it. This will be discussed and dissected in TV talk shows and news shows in the region tonight and for majority of days next week.

Hideaki Akaiwa

This story of a guy that jumped into the Tsunami to save his wife and mother is fucking awesome

Friday, March 25, 2011

Syria is not Libya

Syria is like Egypt's fucked up little brother, politically and economically. They were BFF (fighting Israel in 67 and 73) - they even merged back in late 50's for three years in United Arab Republic.

The current President Bashar is an ex dentist in London. But the old guard from his father's cruel regime still remain.

Even during Mubarak's regime, Egypt has much more open atmosphere than Syria. People in Cairo would talk openly about politics and shitty politicians in cafes - they were largely left alone as long as they did not gather and organize. People in Damascus wouldn't even dare to do this.

Syria aligns itself with Iran - the only Arab country in the region. They also mess around in Lebanon.

But they don't have Qaddafi and this makes all the difference in the possible outcome from the current uprising:
  • Bashar could one step ahead of the demand and provide freer political and speech rights and make it a Mubarak's Egypt ++. He would survive long in his regime.
  • He could do the dictator taps dance, always three steps behind and be thrown out like Ben Ali, Mobarak and soon Yemen's Saleh.
  • He could try to pull a Qaddafi and strafe his own people from the sky. But only Qaddafi could do Qaddafi - well Saddam could but he and his rotten sons were already dispatched from this world by the American.
I think 50/50 will pull option number one and two. He doesn't have enough pull nor crazy enough to do the third one.

But this is all relying on Damascus to actually join the uprising. Daraa is too small to carry this uprising for the rise of the country. So far majority of Damascus has pussied out and stand on the sideline. Sons of Salahadin they aren't.

Al Jazeera has a live blog on Syria right now.

Rambo Gurkha

"A Gurkha soldier who single-handedly fought off an attack on his base by up to 30 Taliban insurgents has been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. 
Acting Sergeant Dipprasad Pun, 31, exhausted all his ammunition and at one point had to use the tripod of his machine gun to beat away a militant climbing the walls of the compound. 
The soldier fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to thwart the Taliban assault on his checkpoint near Babaji in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan.
Daily Mail

Damn. You can't even do this in a game. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

45% chances - up from yesterday

Confirmed: Tens of thousands are in the cemetery south of #Daraa city chanting: We are your men Syria. we will bring #Freedom #Syria #mar15
Thu Mar 24 12:49:57 via web

Daraa



Enduring America

The sick and old methods of Palestinian's uprising

The most fascinating aspect of the current Middle East uprising is that violence is not used as a primary tool for change - in some aspect it was disregarded as invalid methods. Check out Yemen's uprising. This is a country with more AK-47 than people and every men with Jambiya and yet their protests have largely remain peaceful.

And yet, you see long term struggle like Palestinian that fail to change their tactics to achieve their goals. A settler family was brutally slaughtered two weeks ago and a bus terrorist attack happened yesterday in Jerusalem. There have been increase rocket attacks on Southern Israel as well.

The problem is that the Palestinian cause have given birth to multiple factions that whole means of resistance is through terrorism and arms. They always overshadow the non violence movement within the cause. You cannot free Palestine via the use of force, period, because that's the game Israel is good at and common goodwill of normal people around the world will quickly depleted of the sights of violence action and rhetorics.

Hamas actually represents the old style Arab rulers where they freely fight anybody that disagree or go against them, even Palestinians.

Israel on the other hand, is addicted to the settlement and the West Bank and think they can outsmart the population growth and the judgement of international opinion. They are also being led by a government by one  track mind Prime Minister and probably the worst Foreign Minister in the first world.  Their only response for most provocations and attacks are escalation. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daraa's uprising

"At least 15 people were reportedly shot dead by Syrian security forces in an operation against pro-democracy demonstrators in the southern Syrian city of Daraa. 
At least six were killed in an early morning attack on the Al-Omari Mosque in Daraa, where protesters have taken to the streets calling for reforms and political freedoms.

Another nine people were later reported killed in and around the city center. " rferl
I am afraid to say that the Syrian regime crackdown on the protesters will make Qaddafi look like Dalai Lama. Never forget Hama

It started because they jailed 15 kids for writing anti government graffiti.
"The words have been repeated from Tunisia to Egypt, from Yemen to Bahrain. "The people want the regime to fall" — the mantra of revolution. And so, last week, after 15 kids wrote those words on a wall in the agricultural town of Dara'a in southern Syria, the local governor decided to come down hard. The young people — all under 17 — were thrown in jail. The punishment stunned the town, and suddenly, Syria — so confidently authoritarian — got its first strong taste of rebellion in the Arab Spring."
Time
Right now I give them 40% chance to go all the way to topple the ruling Baath party of Syria.  

The generals of Libya's NFZ

Air Campaign



Air Force Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, commander of the 17th Air Force, based in Germany
Tom Ricks

Naval Campaign

Rear Admiral Margaret DeLuca Klein Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Five (Yahoo News)

Add these two powerful military women with their State counterpart and we have a pretty unique situation.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Iran

"I was just talking to an Iranian friend the other day and it turns out
there are continuing protests happening in Tehran (although I haven't
seen a single news report about it). 
Mousavi and Karroubi have been reportedly arrested and not seen for weeks. 
Every Tuesday there are protests in the street, much like June 09 - my
friend reports the strong smells of tear gas, gun powder and general
destruction in the streets (burning bins etc). 
Apparently the worst protest was on 14 Feb, when 'officially' 3 people
were killed, although of course that number is disputed." (from Inbox - name withheld just in case she's returning back to Iran)

Monday, March 21, 2011

True

There is a joke circulating amongst Tripoli's men: "When Libya is liberated, our brothers in Benghazi will march to the capital with containers of women's underwear to distribute to us."
BBC

If Tripoli does not rise up, they deserve this. 

Don't leave port

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Radiation chart

This is what a No Drive Zone looks like


Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Moammar Kaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces LA Times

Damn.

Libyan Twitter to follow

Syrian's uprising

"More than 20,000 people marched Saturday in the southern Syrian town of Dara’a in funerals for protesters killed in demonstrations the day before, and the police used truncheons and tear gas to disperse the mourners."
NY Times

Asian Odisseys


Ubud, Bali

NY Times has more

12 countries so far.

I updated the UN 1973 coalition post to 12 countries. It will go up to 13 if Turkey finally join. They have indicated that they have changed their mind from opposing to participating.

UAE will be sending 24 fighter planes (that's a lot) and Qatar 6 planes.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The women that changed Obama's mind on Libya



Samantha Power - NSC senior director for multilateral engagement


Gayle Smith - NSC senior director for global development;


Susan Rice - US Ambassador to the UN


Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

"Inside the administration, senior officials were lined up on both sides. Pushing for military intervention was a group of NSC staffers including Samantha Power, NSC senior director for multilateral engagement; Gayle Smith, NSC senior director for global development; and Mike McFaul, NSC senior director for Russia. . " FP

The birth of a Syrian uprising

A "day of rage" has now been held in several cities - Damascus, Homs, Banyas, and Deraa, south of Damascus. 
In Syria, it is not the Facebook generation that is taking to the streets. It is people who are tired of poverty and repression. 
The demonstrations in Deraa - where the police have reacted most brutally - started on Friday.
Several families had gathered to demand the release of 15 school children who - influenced by the protests in Tunisia and Egypt - wrote the popular revolution slogan on the wall: "The people want the fall of the regime".
BBC
Godspeed. The Syrian regime can make Qaddafi like Dalai Lama. 

Maybe they got tired being called cheese eating surrender monkeys

A French plane has fired the first shots in Libya as enforcement of the UN-mandated no-fly zone begins.
BBC
Hala Gorani's tweets:
  1. Operation in #Libya has a name: Odyssey Dawn.
  2. Pentagon: 110 Tomahawk missiles launched on or near coast of#Libya. Sayd first of multi-phase military operation.
  3. US military official tells CNN 1stTomahawk missiles have landed in areas around Tripoli and MIsrata. Aim to hit air defenses systems.#Libya

Benghazi this morning


A Libyan plane shot down over Benghazi. It is not clear whether it belongs to Qaddafi or the revolutionaries. 

Emergency power cable reach nuclear plant


"Engineers rolling out an emergency power cable have reached Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant and are preparing to try and restart water pumps to cool overheated fuel rods that are threatening to melt down." 
Another 1,480m (5,000ft) of cable is being laid inside the complex before engineers try to start the coolers at reactor 2, followed by numbers 1, 3 and 4 this weekend, company officials have said. 
If that fails one option under consideration is to bury the reactors in sand and concrete to prevent a catastrophic radiation release. That method was used to seal off the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the world's worst nuclear reactor accident.
Guardian

This piece from ProPublica argues the 6 ways why Fukushima is not Chernobyl.  Btw, Fukushima is the world's largest nuclear power plant.

How it happened





The Euro Duo

"In public, Cameron sounded more and more like a lonely voice but, in private, he did not stop working the phones. On Wednesday he rang the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his most trusted personal sounding board in the Middle East, as well as the King of Saudi Arabia and Qatar's prime minister, Sheikh Hamad Jassim ibn Jaber al Than. The Qatar flag flies in many parts of Benghazi in tribute to the forward diplomatic stance Qatar has taken among Arab states. 
Cameron also sought military advice from the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, an ally from the G20, and someone with influence in Washington. 
Cameron spoke to the King of Jordan, a critical figure in shaping Middle East opinion, Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa who is a current member of the UN security council, as well as the non-interventionist German chancellor, Angela Merkel." Guardian

Clinton the hawk
"“Susan basically said that it was possible to get a tougher resolution” that would authorize a fuller range of options, including the ability to bomb Libyan government tanks on the road to Benghazi, the rebel stronghold in the east, administration official said. 
“That was the turning point” for Mr. Obama, the official said. The president was scheduled to go to a dinner with military veterans that night; he told his aides to draw up military plans. And he instructed Ms. Rice to move forward with a broader resolution at the Security Council." NY Times

Friday, March 18, 2011

The New Wonderwoman

UN Resolution 1973 Enforcement Coalition


Norway Air Force will participate. Ah look at those beautiful F-16s. It's still the best looking fighter plane made.


British Tornado


British Eurofighter Typhoon

UN Resolution 1973 (read in full)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

UNSC is expected to pass in two hours


Check out the instant celebration in Benghazi once they got the news of the UNSC Resolution.

10 members are going to vote yes with 5 abstain, including Russia and China. Britain and France air force are expected to lead the first strike against Libya.

The Dish has more on blogosphere reactionsAndrew himself vehemently opposes US involvement in intervention:
"So by going to war against Libya, we are also forced implicitly to back the repressive Sunni autocracy in Bahrain. Morally, snuffing out Bahrainian reform is worth less than standing by as a full-scale massacre occurs in Benghazi. But there are costs and benefits to both over the long run and I suspect the US has sacrificed a huge amount for this denagerous adventure. Real reform in Bahrain could be far more important for US interests than nation-building in Libya. 
Some argue that by ceding the leadership to the Europeans, the US has pulled off a serious multilateral trick - advancing collective security by an intervention demanded by Britain and France. But why not then ask the Brits and French and Arabs to go to war by themselves in furtherance of their own interests, and merely offer UN support? I sure hope that this war will be paid for entirely by Britain and France and Saudi Arabia. But somehow, I doubt it, don't you?"

Blake Hounshell:
"One thought: It is amazing, and altogether incredible, that an uprising that began as peaceful protests calling for the release of political prisoners has made it this far, just as it is unfortunate that Qaddafi's horrific use of violence has forced the international community to intervene. But if such is the price of saving the Arab revolutions, so be it."

No, Egypt is not going to take part of the No Fly Zone, but it's getting involved with the war:
"Egypt's military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington's knowledge, U.S. and Libyan rebel officials said. 
The shipments—mostly small arms such as assault rifles and ammunition—appear to be the first confirmed case of an outside government arming the rebel fighters. Those fighters have been losing ground for days in the face of a steady westward advance by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. 
The Egyptian shipments are the strongest indication to date that some Arab countries are heeding Western calls to take a lead in efforts to intervene on behalf of pro-democracy rebels in their fight against Mr. Gadhafi in Libya. Washington and other Western countries have long voiced frustration with Arab states' unwillingness to help resolve crises in their own region, even as they criticized Western powers for attempting to do so.
WSJ

David Cameroan, British Prime Minister, is one of the most gung ho leader of international intervention. He is pairing up with Sarkozy.
"David Cameron will chair an emergency cabinet meeting and make a rare Friday Commons statement as he builds on the first major foreign policy triumph of his premiership. 
The prime minister, who spoke to Barack Obama on Thursday about the forthcoming military campaign, ripped up his diary and abandoned a trip outside London to help lead a highly complex operation. 
Government sources insisted that there is no sense of triumphalism in Downing Street after the prime minister faced down sceptics and lobbied in favour of a new UN security council resolution in a joint campaign with Nicolas Sarkozy.
"Guardian
The US might not have that much vital interest in Libya but the Britain and France do, especially Britain. My thinking is that this duo is the primary driver for this intervention and they pull Obama in.

Here's my take on this.

I am optimistic of the Libyan case because of Tunisia and Egypt's influence on them. There would be no intervention had this been a singular case, not as part of the MENA Spring's revolution. We also have a media revolution where the players, the people on the street have access to social media so the world have direct access to the source, unfiltered. This changes the nature of this war. We also have a new media organization that dedicates itself at the front line of the Arab Uprising, Al Jazeera.

The Libyan revolutionaries have asked and insisted for No Fly Zone and Direct Air Strikes persistently and loudly for last 7 days via tweets, video, calls, media coverage and international diplomatic channel. Their calls have now been answered.

The Arab Spring Revolutions showed a couple big changes in the way revolutions are done in the Middle East:

  • Method matters. All the uprisings in MENA so far started with non violent protests and now that's THE legitimate way for it to get the support of the Arab street. It turned into an armed rebellion in Libya but that's because Qaddafi forced it to be in the calculation that he can win a shooting war but not a non violent movement. Shooting war is his turf - the revolutionaries are playing to his game and have been catching up since.
  • Aspiration matters. All the protests were started internally and about their own countries. People from all walk of life go down to the street to get rid their tyrants or demand political change. The main chorus for all the uprisings are about the end of oppressive state, demand for human rights, access for better governance, demand for democracy and freedom, the demand for dignity. 
  • Direct to source matters. The social media allow all of us to interact and get our news directly from direct source. These news go unfiltered but also obsessive and relentless. They are not tied to deadline,  budget cuts nor shift of priorities. The world media might have moved on to Japan's Tsunami, but the Libyans, inside or outside, have worked tirelessly to inform and keep people around the world about their plight. We have also been conditioned to take the news from these direct sources.
My Egyptian friend Karim (he spent 18 days in practically living in Tahrir square during the Jan25) wrote this and he is no neo-cons
"Of course it can lead to anything and can go either way, but it has to start somewhere, and it's definitely not going to start if Gaddafi retains power, nor is it going to start if we continue to have that ambivalent attitude because of our innate fear of the unknown. Democratisation is a long and painful process and it can take a few setbacks--I think the Libyan people are up for it. Let the chips fall where they may"
Welcome to the new Arab Street.

Fukushima Six

Check the latest status on Japan's crippled nuclear reactors.

Middle East and North Africa Instability Index part 5

Well we are entering new phase right now in the middle east for several countries.

  • Libya. The revolutionaries have lost territories and some momentum in the past week and right now are making a stand in Benghazi. The UN Security Council is voting on a No Fly Zone resolution + beyond today (Thursday)
  • Bahrain. The monarchy has bungled the handling of the protests by inviting GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) troops - with 4 countries contributing - inside the country. They forcefully cleared out the square two days ago. They are right now under emergency law and a 4pm - 4am curve has been imposed.
  • Yemen. They are beating up the protesters and inviting greater backlash by the population. When Qaddafi is gone, Yemen is next to be ousted. Just wait for it.
  • Egypt. The week is a week of little drama. The general feeling on the street is that the progress towards normalcy has accelerated. The army has started rebuilding the church that was partially burned down two weeks ago in a small village south of Cairo.
  • Syria. Oh, the nest being stirred there. There are hopes that sparks of demonstrations happening in the past two days are going get bigger.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More on Japan Nuclear Reactors by MIT folks

"The plants at Fukushima are Boiling Water Reactors (BWR for short). A BWR produces electricity by boiling water, and spinning a a turbine with that steam. The nuclear fuel heats water, the water boils and creates steam, the steam then drives turbines that create the electricity, and the steam is then cooled and condensed back to water, and the water returns to be heated by the nuclear fuel. The reactor operates at about 285 °C. 
The nuclear fuel is uranium oxide. Uranium oxide is a ceramic with a very high melting point of about 2800 °C. The fuel is manufactured in pellets (cylinders that are about 1 cm tall and 1 com in diameter). These pellets are then put into a long tube made of Zircaloy (an alloy of zirconium) with a failure temperature of 1200 °C (caused by the auto-catalytic oxidation of water), and sealed tight. This tube is called a fuel rod. These fuel rods are then put together to form assemblies, of which several hundred make up the reactor core. MIT"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Black Swan

Fukushima No. 1
Reactor No. 1 - Cooling failure, partial melting of core, vapor vented, hydrogen explosion, seawater pumped in.
Reactor No. 2 - Cooling failure, seawater pumped in, fuel rods fully exposed temporarily, damage to containment system, potential meltdown feared.
Reactor No. 3 - Cooling failure, partial melting of core feared, vapor vented, seawater pumped in, hydrogen explosion, high-level radiation measured nearby.
Reactor No. 4 - Under maintenance when quake struck, fire caused possibly by hydrogen explosion at pool holding spent fuel rods, pool water levels feared receding.
Reactor No. 5 - Under maintenance when quake struck.
Reactor No. 6 - Under maintenance when quake struck. 
Fukushima No. 2
Reactor No. 1 - Cooling failure, then cold shutdown.
Reactor No. 2 - Cooling failure, then cold shutdown.
Reactor No. 3 - Cold shutdown.
Reactor No. 4 - Cooling failure, then cold shutdown. Guardian

This blog, http://allthingsnuclear.org, is excellent.

Apparently it's not time to panic yet

"At this time, it doesn't look like anyone in Japan has taken in this much radiation. The highest reported absorption so far is just 106 msv. To put that into perspective, workers at the Chernobyl plant absorbed more than 5,000 msv, and those were the survivors. Even 500 msv is fairly benign. White blood cell counts typically rebound within a couple of days, and the patient's increased lifetime risk of cancer is barely worth mentioning. The average American has a one-in-two chance of developing some form of cancer. One-time exposure to 500 msv raises those odds to about one-in-1.9999. Slate"

The German View


"The fact that Japan, which was once considered a miracle economy, was on the verge of a nuclear disaster could be far more devastating to the nuclear industry than the Soviet reactor catastrophe in Chernobyl could ever have been a quarter century ago. 
Admittedly, Japan is in an earthquake zone, which puts it at greater risk than countries like Germany and France. But Japan also happens to be a leading industrialized nation, a country where well-trained, pedantically precise engineers build the world's most advanced and reliable cars. 
When the Chernobyl accident occurred, Germany's nuclear industry managed to convince itself, and German citizens, that aging reactors and incapable, sloppy engineers in Eastern Europe were to blame. Western reactors, or so the industry claimed, were more modern, better maintained and simply safer. 
It is now clear how arrogant this self-assured attitude is. If an accident of this magnitude could happen in Japan, it can happen just as easily in Germany. All that's needed is the right chain of fatal circumstances. Fukushima is everywhere." Spiegel

It's a 9.0

USGS upgraded the Japanese earthquake to 9.0.

Near Nuclear Meltdown

"Japan’s nuclear crisis verged toward catastrophe on Tuesday, after an explosion at one crippled reactor damaged its crucial steel containment structure and a fire at another reactor spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air, according to official statements and industry executives informed about the developments. NY Times

NY Times has a very alarming headline on its website right now "Japan faces potential nuclear disaster as radiation levels rise"/

Damn. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nukular Explanation

The NY Times has a handy interactive feature explaining what's going on in Japan's nuclear reactors right now.

Day 4


"Survivors in Ishinomaki sit around a fire waiting to be rescued" 

"A woman cries while sitting on a road amid the destroyed city of Natori"
Guardian

This is a terrifying video from the street level on when the Tsunami hits a city in Japan.

Waiting for California

The '89 Loma Prieta quake which registered at 6.9 was along the northern section of the San Andreas and the 2004 Parkfield earthquake, originally predicted by scientists to occur in 1993, occurred on the central section of the fault, which incidentally behaves differently than the northern and southern sections by creeping along at a couple millimeters a year and generates much smaller earthquakes.

The section that makes geologists anxious is the southern section, which hasn't ruptured since 1690. The worst case scenario there is a wall to wall rupture from the Salton Sea to Parkfield, which would generate a 8.1 shaker. Terrifying and catastrophic, but California's infrastructure in dealing with quakes is probably second only to Japan. Plus, in all likelihood, we wouldn't have to worry about tsunamis striking our shores.
A commenter on this Newsweek article on the next hammer to come down

Bahrain Red Alert

"Saudi forces are preparing to intervene in neighbouring Bahrain, after a day of clashes between police and protesters who mounted the most serious challenge to the island's royal family since demonstrations began a month ago. 
The Crown Prince of Bahrain is expected to formally invite security forces from Saudi Arabia into his country today, as part of a request for support from other members of the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council. 
Thousands of demonstrators on Sunday cut off Bahrain's financial centre and drove back police trying to eject them from the capital's central square, while protesters also clashed with government supporters on the campus of the main university." Guardian

Sunday, March 13, 2011

AIESEC trainees in Japan

"Now, I'm back in Tokyo. The safety of all of overseas trainees under @ traineeships in northern part of Japan (including Tokyo) have been confirmed." TsuneHiro Kinashi

How to Help

Google Crisis Response page for the Japan Tsunami 2011 is the best facility to help. You can donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society from the site.

Big Picture on Japan






Big Picture

The destruction is breathtaking. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Libyan Army didn't split much

"“We withdrew yesterday. Why?” asked Ahmed Tajjouri, a 25-year-old fighter. “Because we don’t have air defenses, defenses against the sea. What are we going to do if the warplanes come? Tanks are coming, too, and we don’t have those either.” NY Times
This war is fought to a stalemate. The chorus against foreign intervention on Twitter have died down. It's time to ask for foreign intervention, a full request, not a qualified one. None of that "No Fly Zone please but not on the ground|". Ask for an intervention that allow any means necessary to dislodge Qaddafi, be it air, land or sea.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami



NY Times

I was worried about my island, Tarakan, got hit by some effects of the tsunami but by the time it reached North Borneo, it was barely a wave. 

Small sparks

On the ground reporting:
"
Government shut down National Democratic Institute office in Baku, calling it illegal
Also Norway Human Rights House was shut down, Ministry of Justice cancelled its license. 
this looks more like an opinion:
government intentionally ignites the situation. Firstly, not much people knew about it before the universities started anti-campaign. Secondly, when TV started anti-campaign, more and more people learned about it. Government wants curfew, and it's ready to crack down any protests. Then there will be the reason to shut down all other places where people gather for discussions and etc. 
in the end of this month there will be traditional holidays - Novruz. In these days people cook lots of sweets. So, the price for eggs went up, as everything has its own monopoly holder. 
Today prices for eggs went back to normal. And evening news showed president having an assembly, talking that they will punish all of monopoly holders, "I've brought back prices for eggs" :))
"

BBC has a small story on this as well.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The women of Beghazi


Inspiring stuff. 3000 meals a day delivered to the front line.

Ras Lanuf, Libya



The Guardian has more.

A War Photographer's tales in Libya


"Today reminded me of Afghanistan in 2001, the very first time I went. I was with the Northern Alliance and they were pushing from the Panjshir Valley to Kabul. This was the only other time in the past 10 years that I was with a rebel army marching on foot towards an objective, with complete access and with that level of fighting. 
In fact, today was much heavier fighting than I experienced in Afghanistan. It may have even been the thickest fighting in a single day that I have ever experienced. The amount of incoming and outgoing fire, and the duration of it, was more intense than anything I’ve experienced. I’ve been in places where I’ve seen more casualties, but this certainly involved the most firepower — coming and going." (lens.blog.nytimes.com)

Baku Rumbles



Report from the ground:

6 youth activists are prisoned on made-up charges,
all of the universities threatened students that those who won't attend their classes on that day will be punished, 
Internal Forces are on high alert, most of the anti-riot police forces were placed near Baku (here is the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbHJRLBz8C8
2 TV channel news showed bad stories about one of the above detained guys (Bakhtiyar Hajiyev)
and one TV news told that these are just rumors and provocations. 
Rumors are:
there won't be neither internet, no sms,
there arrived some Al-Jazeera reporters (which is not usual).

Sometimes you can't help hurting people's feelings

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Scorpion Sting

"Ten people were killed in violence between Egyptian Christian and Muslims, the health ministry said on Wednesday, as sectarian tensions that appeared to evaporate in the country's revolution resurfaced. 
The violence in Cairo on Tuesday night was the worst outbreak of sectarian strife since President Hosni Mubarak was swept from power on 11 February by a mass uprising characterised by solidarity between Christians and Muslims. 
It was not immediately clear how many of the dead were Christian or Muslim. The violence had erupted following a protest by Christians over an arson attack on a church in Helwan south of Cairo. 
The health ministry said 110 people were wounded in the violence, the state news agency reported.
"Al Masry Al Youm

The ugly head of sectarian tension in tiny part of Egyptian society stung again yesterday and last week. What a fuck up. This clash between the Copts and Salafis centered around Muqattam area in Cairo, a large and poor neighborhood with large population of Copts and Muslims living side by side. I think this is the first time this clash happened. I've never heard of any problem from this area before.

It's good to remind people though that Cairo is a large city. The affected area is probably less than 1% of Cairo although the critical Autostrad pass through this area.

There is a large case for suspicions that yesterday's event was escalated by the NDP thugs.

People are trying to reduce the deescalate the situation

"The revolution youth coalition, the National Association for Change, and a number of intellectuals are on their way to the village of Soul in Helwan to meet with community leaders. The visit is an attempt to bring under control the escalating tension in the village after a church was torched Friday following clashes between two families. 
The youth coalition called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to rebuild the church in its original place and to give clear guarantees that the demands of the village’s Christians will be met. 
"The freedom of expression and worship and the respect of places of worship is a red line," says a statement posted on the coalition’s Facebook page. "We are sure that the Egyptian Armed Forces and its high council are aware of the legitimacy and importance of the freedom of worship and belief and the right of expressing this freedom in public."" El Ahram

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Middle East Redemption

"The entire Western world has been complicit in the pain of Hisham Matar, whose first novel “In the Country of Men” was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The West has embraced every Arab dictator now being toppled by the people they starved of rights and life itself. 
Matar told The New Yorker this was “an appropriate moment for Americans to reflect on how they have for three decades allowed their elected officials to support a dictatorship as ruthless as Mubarak’s. To ask, for example, what are the reasons that have motivated the current vice president of the United States to say, as recently as Jan. 27, that Mubarak is no dictator.” Cohen
I love Cohen's writing but this is a fucking Bleeding Heart nonsense.

Everybody is complicit in the establishment and the maintenance of a dictatorship - primarily with citizen of the country. The Libyan were guilty of not throwing Qaddafi earlier. The same with the Egyptians with Hosni Mobarak or Tunisian's Ben Ali.  Generations have passed in these countries before people said enough and risk their lives to overthrow the government.

This is why these people are now heroes. Their previous generations were complicit in their participation in the dictatorship - the current generations free their countries from the shackles of  their own countrymen jailer.

There is only so much "Western Influence" you can blame on these dictatorships. Every country's obligation is primarily to its own people - don't get fucking exploited. Every fucking long lasting dictatorship is a product of their countries.

Look at what everyone's doing right now - wearing their Chinese made sneakers and tweeting all day with their Chinese made iPhones. We all rely on oil primarily sourced in lands where despots rule.

I am Indonesian and Suharto's 32 year old rule was our goddamn fault. We redeemed ourselves by kicking him out in 1998. The same things are happening across the Middle East right now. 

International Women's Day


Monday, March 07, 2011

Eyes and Ears on the Sky of Libya



" NATO has launched 24-hour air surveillance of Libya with AWACS reconnaissance aircraft as the military alliance plans potential future steps to address Libya's violent unrest, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said. 
The decision was made to indeed increase the surveillance of the NATO AWACS capability, make it 24/7. We'll have a better picture of what is really going on in this part of the world." Telegraph

This is what Wikipedia says about AWACS
"An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is an airborne radar system designed to detect aircraft. Used at a high altitude, the radars allow the operators to distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft hundreds of miles away. AEW&C aircraft are used for defensive and offensive air operations. The system is used offensively to direct fighters to their target locations, and defensively to counter attacks. It can also be used to carry out surveillance, and C2BM (command and control, battle management) functions."
I bet they are using these AWACS planes to size up the scope of the requirement of a No Fly Zone.  

Nightrunner



"Another day, another racist freakout over non-white superheroes. But unlike the hilariously dishonest racism we saw when the Council of Conservative Citizens called for a boycott of Marvel's Thor movie on account of a mythical Norse god's depiction as a black man, a recent round of conservative attacks on Nightrunner -- DC's Muslim Batman of Paris -- are prejudicial in a more insidious way. While the CCC put forth a laughably tenuous justification for their outrage, it was with respect to one specific character in one specific context. The argument against Nightrunner, led by conservative blogger Warner Todd Huston, is based on the bigoted belief that a Muslim superhero is by definition an exercise in deceitful political correctness, and that Muslims are natively evil.
Read More"

One thousand words

One of a few things that the Libyan revolutionaries have to deal with. Again, Libya needs a fucking No Fly Zone.

A report from town of Zawiya:
"The tanks were in the square, and there were people crying, because they thought they were finished, and this was the end. One young man was reading the Koran. We were told there were 25-30 tanks in the column, and then a massive bombardment went on for three hours. 
But then there was cheering from outside, and we went out and there was a tank on fire right there. Further away there was another tank disabled, surrounded by eight dead soldiers, and in the next square a third, with more dead soldiers. The rebels had managed to fight them off.
People were jumping round, celebrating – but a sniper somewhere killed a man."

There are movement towards No Fly Zone coordination on the ground in Libya
"Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the head of the interim government National Council set up by the opposition in Benghazi, has met with delegations from European countries and discussed possibilities for a no-fly zone, or even Western airstrikes on bases from which attacks are launched, an opposition official close to the council said Monday. 
He did not say where the discussions stood and would not specify which European countries sent delegations. He also said they discussed the possibility of Western recognition of the National Council as Libya's government. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions." AP

The invitation to intervene is ON:
"The rebels have said they would welcome Western help in the form of a no-fly zone, and on Tuesday the Gulf Arab States issued a similar request, Reuters reported. President Obama said Monday that the United States was conferring with its NATO allies about possible military action. “We’ve got NATO as we speak consulting in Brussels around a wide range of potential options, including potential military options, in response to the violence that continues to take place inside of Libya,” he said." NY Times

James Bond Parody

"The team could have come in with HMS Cumberland, a British frigate that was openly docked in Benghazi port yesterday, and caught a taxi a couple of miles to the court building where the revolutionary council's representatives meet the press and conduct their daily business. That way, they might have avoided being captured. 
The rebel council, which declared itself this weekend the sole legitimate authority in the country, expressed surprise and annoyance at the British delegation's "James Bond" antics. 
"If this is an official delegation why did they come with a helicopter? Why didn't they [inform the revolutionary council] that 'we are coming, we'd like to land at Benina airport', or come through Egypt like all the journalists have done," Mustafa Gheriani, a spokesman for the revolutionary leadership, asked." An excerpt of Times' story by Guardian
It's FUBAR from the get go.

In the meantime, Ivory Coast is still in a shithole

"Police backed by gangs of youths have ransacked at least 10 houses belonging to ministers and other allies of the internationally recognised president of Ivory Coast, according to witnesses. 
The raids came amid worsening tensions between Alassane Ouattara and the sitting president, Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to step down has pushed the west African country to the brink of civil war. 
As Ouattara and his cabinet-in-waiting remained under UN guard at a luxury hotel, their homes were reportedly targeted by Gbagbo's elite paramilitary police force, Cecos. A Cecos truck carrying a fridge left the house of Ouattara's finance minister, Charles Koffi Diby, later returning for a large safe, said a witness. 
Dozens of teenagers smashed the doors and windows of the house and left wearing suits and robes, and carrying dishes and other valuables, according to the witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution." Guardian

Middle East & North Africa Instability Index 5


Image by Al Jazeera
  • Libya
    • This is now a full scale armed insurrection. 
    • One British SAS team and a MI-6 agent got captured by the Libyan revolutionaries. They could have called first that they were coming. What a dumbass way to execute the mission. It did end well - they are sending another mission soon, this time with local coordination. 
  • Egypt
    • With the new PM and new cabinets, the path to stability becoming more clear.
    • Referendum on a new constitution amendment to be held on March 19. There are indications that people want a new constitution instead of an amended one. 
    • Last night there were confrontation between protesters and thugs wielding knives (they were plainclothes SS officers) when the protesters demanded to have access to the SS headquarter in downtown Cairo. There were reports of soldiers being attacked. The Army responded by firing semi automatic weapon to the air.
  • Bahrain
    • The political situations have not been solved.
  • Yemen
    • Protests are still ongoing and strong.
  • Oman
    • Protests are brewing but not against the Sultan. 
  • Saudi Arabia
    • Saudi Arabia bans public protests. That's a sign of brewing unrest.

New Generation of Robotic

Sunday, March 06, 2011

May they kick Qaddafi out for once and all



Libya Interim Transitional Council is now up on Twitter http://twitter.com/LibyanTNC

Libyan Crisis Map

Dumb Move


A Special Air Service (SAS) unit and a junior diplomat were being held by rebels in eastern Libya following a bungled mission to put the envoy in touch with them, The Sunday Times said. 
The broadsheet, citing sources, said the SAS unit, thought to be up to eight men, were captured along with the diplomat they were escorting through the rebel-held east. 
"We can neither confirm nor deny the report," a Foreign Office spokeswoman told AFP.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: "We neither confirm nor deny the story and we do not comment on the special forces." 
The uninvited appearance of the SAS alongside the diplomat "angered Libyan opposition figures who ordered the soldiers to be locked up in a military base," the weekly said. (AFP)

This smells like a trick to me - they linked up and made contact and distribute false story about SAS team getting captured and rejected by the rebel. But again, there must be some snafu happening that this story is actually out.

If above scenario is not the case, then it's a pretty dumb move by the British government for not doing more advance preparation (why the fuck do you need a SAS unit  to protect a junior diplomat anyway - and why not send a senior diplomat and link him up with the Egyptian Armed Forces people that will connect them to East Libya) and a dumber move by the revolutionaries. You don't want to make SAS your enemy by holding them long. 

Update: via AlJazeera English
"Confirmed: The eight members of a British mission earlier reported 'captured' in Benghazi have boarded the HMS Cumberland and have left the country, Al Jazeera's Hoda Hamid reports.
She saw them board the boat, and believes they are headed toward Malta. The ship's destination cannot be confirmed. 
She also said she was shown an official letter explaining seven of them were providing the security detail for the eighth, a diplomat, who was attempting to get in contact with opposition forces. 
Members of the opposition have said the eight were released, as anti-Gaddafi groups were also attempting to make contact with international diplomats. 
On the surface, it's seen to be a bit of an embarassing misunderstanding for all sides involved. What more there is to be uncovered remains to be seen."

Our new alien overlord


That astonishingly awesome claim comes from Dr. Richard B. Hoover, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, who says he has found conclusive evidence of alien life — fossils of bacteria found in an extremely rare class of meteorite called CI1 carbonaceous chondrites. (There are only nine such meteorites on planet Earth.) Hoover’s findings were published late Friday night in the Journal of Cosmology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Yahoo News

Now this needs to be peer reviewed and replicated, etc.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

One evening at Egypt State Security Office Complex

I just got back home. The State Security building in Dokki were cordoned by the military and they were no protester there. So we drove to the humongous State Security building at 6th of October. There were about 300 protesters when we got there at 6 PM. I was the only foreigner at the scene until one more bright blonde lady showed up a couple hours later.

There were two tanks and three APCs protecting the gated complex. Protesters chanted to demand that the gate to be opened. From time to time crowd will rush into capturing State Security officers that try to sneak out of the building. There are still undetermined number of security officers inside.

Earlier during the day, the Army allowed five lawyers and five journalists to enter the complex and examine documents. Some protesters had in their possessions some burnt out document - people would gather around reading the passages of the documents. I heard five shots being fired throughout the one, four of them in short secession. It seemed that they were warning shots made to the air.

When we left (just barely after 10 PM), trickles of people join the protests as well as two additional Army APC (capacity 8 soldiers inside). The location of this State Security complex is not exactly convenient since it is situated next to a highway, quite away from population center.

Incredibly I witnessed a few children being brought in by their father and mothers considering a potentially dangerous situation. Before the regime went down, this is the one of few places in Egypt you don't want to end up with. People simply didn't return once they are captured.

As this report being filed, the situation at 6th October State Security Complex is still fluid. The protesters have yet to gain entry inside the complex.

Meanwhile the protesters managed to break into SS office in Nasr city earlier today.


Underground cells. (taken from twitter)


Tons of shredded documents. (taken from twitter). People are finding their names in various documents and files. The SS keep tab of every single Egyptian. They are Stasi (East German) like organization.

Friday, March 04, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished

Libya needs a No Fly Zone - otherwise it is hard to see how the revolutionaries can dislodge Qaddafi (Dammit Libyan Army - Switch side now!).

No Fly Zone is an act of war - it involves bombing the shit out of Libya to destroy its radars and various anti aircraft missiles. These bombings will be real ass bombings, not just the relatively small number of bombs and strafing that the Libyan Air Force have managed to against the revolutionaries.

People are going to die - probably in large numbers. Yeah sure they are Qaddafi loyalists or some unfortunates souls that could not get away from the regime for various reasons.

No Fly Zone is an escalation of this conflict. No Fly Zone is a foreign intervention. Don't give me bullshit about "No Fly Zone" is OK and "troops on ground" is not. It's just a matter of degree, whether the foreign intervention is on the sky or on the ground.

Now what?

The Libyan uprising is a violent one because Qadaffi forced it to be. The question lies in the ability of the revolutionaries to take Tripoli. Can they do it? Will the rest of the remaining Libyan military peel off from the Qaddafi regime?

The best entity to impose No Fly Zone is NATO (read: USA and UK) - they have the gear and the experience to really execute one. But they are also in high risk of getting blame if things go wrong or this shit goes the other way.

If the Arab League execute this  (read: Egypt and Saudi Arabia), there will be less bullshit about Western imperialism and blow back on any screw up that cold happen during this military intervention. But is there a will in the Arab League to actually go and execute this? I doubt so. They are mostly known as complain only organization.

So what to do?

The revolutionary councils must provide formal invitation through their Libyan representative in the UN to ask for No Fly Zone intervention. Make it clear to the rest of MENA region and the world that they really want it and they know what the consequences can be. Don't pull a switch in the middle of a No Fly Zone blockade because you change your mind. Don't knife the countries that spend their treasure and sweat and lives to intervene in the back afterwards. Don't stay in silence if criticism mushrooms during the No Fly Zone operation.

Make it clear, make it loud and commit til the end - you will get your No Fly Zone and the best chance to kick Qaddafi out of power for once and all.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Country of Scouts



I am pleasantly surprised to find out that Indonesia boasts the largest number of Scouts in the world at over 17 million registered scouts - about 4 times as big as United States at 4 millions.

It is called Gerakan Pramuka in Indonesia and brought to us by the Dutch.

I was a Cub Scout in my primary school - then I found computer and completely abandoned the scouts.

Calling on Arab League's Bluff

"

The Arab League has said it may impose a "no fly" zone on Libya in co-ordination with the African Union if fighting continues in Libya. 
Wednesday’s Arab League ministers' meeting in Cairo rejected any direct outside military intervention in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi is trying to put down a revolt threatening his four decades in power. They reiterated their condemnation of his use of force. 
The Arab resolution called on the Libyan government to respond to the "legitimate demands of the Libyan people" and to stop bloodshed. The Libyan authorities must lift restrictions on media and mobile networks and allow the delivery of aid." Al Jazeera
Unless you are seriously considering this move, shut the fuck up. Yes, ideally the Arab League will do the No Fly Zone instead of the Western powers (so that the accusation of interference and oil invasion can be removed from public discourse on this matter). So can you go do it instead of heehawing on the sideline.

Arab League countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt have the capability to execute this No Fly Zone cordon - although this would be their first.