Saturday, February 12, 2011

Binocular Snapshot for 2/12/2011

LastDayWatchers you will see inside your LOUPE the continuation of God curse of the Bush/Obama Administrations as

Suicide bomber kills 38, wounds dozens in Iraq

"A suicide bomber blew himself up on Saturday near a crowd of Shi'ite pilgrims at a bus depot in the Iraqi city of Samarra, killing 38 people and wounding scores, police and officials said"

"The attack, which targeted pilgrims on travelling on a bus, was the second suicide bombing this week near Samarra, a Sunni-majority city, about 100km north of Baghdad"

Women and children were reportedly among the victims of Saturday's bombing.

"All of the victims inside the bus were Iraqi pilgrims, and casualties included people outside the bus as well"

Samarra hosts the shrine of Imam Hassan al-Askari who died in 874 A.D. The shrine is regularly visited by Shias through the year"

Taliban fighters kill at least 19 in attack on Kandahar police headquarters

"Taliban fighters deploying car bombs and rocket-propelled grenades killed at least 17 members of the Afghan security forces and two civilians in the southern city of Kandahar on Saturday, the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement.


The Taliban asserted responsibility for the attack, which also wounded at least 49 other people, including nine schoolchildren.


According to accounts from NATO and Afghan officials, four Taliban fighters started firing rockets from a nearby wedding hall just before noon and then detonated a car bomb outside police headquarters. Three of the rockets struck the headquarters, while the fourth hit a school, officials said.


At a news conference after the hours-long battle ended, Maj. Gen. Salim Ehsas, the police commander in Kandahar, described the attack as a part of an apparent plan to set off six car bombs throughout the city"

"The fighting continued for nearly five hours'

before the police succeeded in killing three would-be suicide bombers and wounding and detaining a fourth, according to Afghan police officials.


An American military spokesman said that it was likely that a fifth attacker drove the bomb-laden vehicle that exploded first.


“Today, a big tragedy happened in Kandahar City,” said Tooryalai Wesa, the provincial governor. He said the attackers took shelter in a wedding hall near the police headquarters, firing rockets and lobbing grenades from there."

The Recommended Reading points to why the curse is so severe, forsaking justice, violence instead of peace

Unlike Iraq, Egyptians do regime change their way

"The last Arab despot I saw overthrown was Saddam Hussein. That was all very different from the fall of Hosni Mubarak, toppled this week by his own people, not the might of a foreign army.


In 2003, I spent 18 days under fire in Baghdad as waves of cruise missiles vaporized swathes of the city. It was pounded day after day by American B-52s and British Tornados, before U.S. tanks rolled in to a prostrate capital and declared Iraq liberated from a brutal dictator.


Iraq, and the Arab world, was shocked, and awed. But the fall of Saddam, at a cost of thousands of lives -- and a foreboding of so much more blood to come -- failed to ignite the sense of national triumph among Iraqis that has had Egyptians dancing in the streets after 18 days of popular protests.


In Iraq, there was, of course, elation, especially among the oppressed Shi'ites and Kurds. But there was also fear and anxiety. Saddam was gone but so too were many of their loved ones. And scores of "mini-Saddams" were to emerge in his place.


Liberation had been delivered, by foreign tanks and warplanes, after years of punitive Western sanctions and three weeks of relentless bombardment. 


Pictures of U.S. marines helping topple a statue of Saddam outside the international media hotel in Baghdad became the iconic images of those events eight years ago. Many Iraqis had little to be jubilant about. They inherited a broken country, a society that was about to fracture, causing tens of thousands more deaths.


In Cairo, the only tanks are Egyptian, and they have not opened fire. Instead, demonstrators painted them with anti-Mubarak slogans and soldiers smiled. Now Mubarak is gone.


It is hard to believe. No one who has lived in Egypt, as I did in the 1990s, could easily imagine him going, other than through illness or, like his predecessor Anwar Sadat, through an assassin's bullet -- and Mubarak had dodged several of those. Arab dictators tend to die with their boots on.


Judging by the sheer inebriation of joy in Cairo's streets on Friday night, the roads into Tahrir Square drowning in the elation, euphoria and exhilaration at Mubarak's departure, few Egyptians had ever really imagined they could force him to give way. People too many to count all said it was like a dream.


NEW DREAM


But the dream was real and Egypt and its people woke up to a new dawn. As the muezzin's call to prayer reverberated from a thousand mosques across Cairo at dawn, the sounds of Egyptians still cheering at Mubarak's departure grew louder. Egypt's capital tells a story of a country that has changed overnight.


Mubarak's resignation electrified Egypt and the current is being felt across Arab lands and the palaces of their rulers. Egyptians in their millions danced and partied, celebrating the fall of the man who ruled like a pharaoh. They brought children to celebrate the seismic change Egypt has undergone. Women ululated, as though at a wedding. Young men danced. At the heart of the uprising in Cairo's Tahrir Square, packed so tight hardly another soul could fit in, people embraced and wept in joy and disbelief at a day some thought would never come.


Never before had I seen Egyptians so jubilant. In one day they regained a sense of dignity and national pride that had been buried under the degradation of Mubarak's autocratic rule. Egyptians from all walks of life, old and young, women and men, religious and secular, rich and poor, leftists and Islamists, all across the nation had united in their loathing of him.


As a journalist long used to the sullen quiet of the police states that still make up much of the Middle East, I felt the surging joy and overwhelming emotions of the population around me as a palpable, physical sensation.


* * *


Opposition politician Ayman Nour -- a man who paid the price of prison for daring to challenge Mubarak's supremacy at the ballot box -- said it was the greatest day in Egypt's history.


"This nation has been born again," he said. "These people have been born again, and this is a new Egypt."


Whereas, Baghdad, subdued and occupied, descended into an orgy of looting and violence among the communities which Saddam had divided in order to rule, Cairo is having a carnival.


In the joy of the moment, each Egyptian seems to have the sense that they personally have taken on Pharaoh, and won.


"I am Egyptian, I have toppled Hosni," people chanted on streets, drunk on the heady scent of a free nation.


So very unlike Iraq eight years ago and, surely, a better starting point for an uncertain future."


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