Great news from Iraq!

Abu Abbas dead in US custody: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Abu Abbas, the Palestinian who led the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in which a wheelchair-bound American hostage was killed, has died in US custody, apparently of natural causes, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Abu Abbas, whose real name was Mohammed Abbas, died Monday, the spokesman said. Abbas was taken into custody by US forces in Iraq on April 14 following the fall of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

He headed the Palestinian Liberation Front, which assaulted the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 and killed a wheelchair-bound American hostage, 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer, who was thrown into the Mediterranean. … 15top.html


Oh. I thought you were going to post something about the flawed new constitution and troubles that lie ahead (although I’m not sure why that’s good news):

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s interim constitution has finally been signed, but the squabbles that delayed it are far from over and the country’s majority Shi’ites say the entire political roadmap backed by Washington is gravely flawed. The U.S.-led administration has hailed the constitution as a bridge from Iraq’s repressive past to a democratic future. But many leading Shi’ites see it as an obstacle to democracy and to the political influence they say their majority status deserves. . . … ID=4529673

My earlier point has been proven:

First, it was that there was no constitution, then it was that it would not be signed, now there IS a constitution and it HAS BEEN signed, but it is flawed. Sigh. Guess there’s just no way to win on this haha. Nevermind, we will go ahead with our plan and y’all can just keep bellyaching that economic growth is only 35% and not 50% or that unemployment has only dropped from 80% to 40% and that this does not compare well with France which only has 11% unemployment, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

The “flaw” apparently was that the Kurds got veto-power over the final version, in case they wanted more autonomy than the Shiitess wanted them to have. Oh yeah, and Ayatollah Sistami doesn’t like it. Boo freaking hoo.

I really don’t understand why the CPA is being so deferential to Sistani. He is an Iranian-born Islamist who has done nothing but make trouble – it is obvious that his eventual goal is to create an Islamic state along the lines of Iran. I would have quietly had him shot long ago.

No, that’s wrong. Like Ali Sistani, the vast majority of Iranians are Shiite; being born in Iran hardly poisons his validity now as an Iraqi Shiite powerbroker. Ali Sistani is the only thing standing between the Iraq you see now and outright civil war. If we are successful in instilling any version of democracy in Iraq - not necessarily one “friendly” to the US - then Sistani should get a Nobel Peace prize, imo. He’s literally standing in the breech of lawlessness right now, with only his word as an Islamist, an honorable one, to protect him and the country - and Bush’s political ass heading into November. (however, it’s also true that Ali Sistani has been able to mobilize tens of thousands of supporters at will, to turn them out on the street - a potential militia that does double duty, securing both life insurance for Sistani and political clout with the CPA)

The Shiites under Sistani believe that rejecting British rule in 1920 led directly to the rise of Sunni power, resulting in the eventual dominion of Saddam Hussein (a young Shiite firebrand, al Sadr, has consistently called for jihad against the American occupation; right now, Sistani is winning this internecine political battle with Sadr, due primarily to his integrity as a Shiite Islamist and thus his appeal to the Shiite masses). Ali Sistani, as the leader of the Shiites, believes that Iraq made a mistake in 1920 and he’s trying to keep them from making the same mistake today - kicking the Americans out too soon - and is thus preaching patience with the American occupation.

However, stay tuned. It’s not just you who wants him shot, it may be the Sunnis and the Kurds, too. Not to mention al Sadr, and the Turks as well, who’ve historically dominated the region since the Ottoman empire first rose to prominence. Any increase in Kurdish power in Iraq may lead to Turkish problems with their own Kurds, and they may come to see a civil war as preferable to any Kurdish win in Iraq.

If Chalabi can have his way with Bush, though - after Sistani does all the heavy lifting - then you’ll likely get your way.

[note: edited]

More good news:,5-2004111917,00.html

[quote=“George Pascoe-Watson, The Sun (Britain)”]
Wages have soared, sparking a boom in trade which has seen street stalls groaning with Western goods banned under Saddam.

Locals in Basra have dubbed one street Electric Avenue because of the stores selling new fridges, freezers, washing machines, TVs and satellite dishes.

Most Iraqis are full of praise for Tony Blair and George Bush for ousting Saddam.

As businessman Ihsan Ali Jazie, who runs the port of Um Qasr, told The Sun: “Things are better than good here now thanks to the war. Before, the Iraqi people were dead. Now we are alive.”

And Basra doctor Fakhry Satter said: "Iraq will be a great country once more. Saddam has gone and sales are up. Wages have increased. People are happy again. We feel like we have been freed.

“We thank the British and American forces for what they did.”

Electricity is on 23 hours a day in Basra compared to just two under Saddam.

Every dollar from exports is going straight in to the Iraqi Treasury