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December 1, 2006
Association of Muslim Scholars - Splits?By Greyhawk
Along with other under-reported news from Iraq...
Now that the leader of the Muslim Scholars Association has fled the country, other members of the group are signaling they might be ready for compromise. The LA Times offers a rare "good news" story from Iraq:
BAGHDAD — With sectarian violence reaching new extremes, some Sunni Muslim clerics are breaking with the most militant factions in their sect and reaching out to Shiite clergy in an effort to pull Iraq back from the abyss.There's not much deep background in the (still most welcome) Times piece, so if you haven't been following the storyline, this might be a good starting point. Back-links should tell you all you need to know. If you have been following, you'll know that fractures in the Association of Muslim Scholars, following on the heels of the Anbar Tribes commitment to battle al Qaeda, are a hopeful signal. (And that an American media outlet even hinting that the group is tied to terrorists in Iraq is, too - see second quoted paragraph above - but that's another story altogether.)
Now back to this one:
In defiance of national leaders, Sunni clerics representing the association in Basra, Nasiriya, Amarah and Samawah issued religious edicts Wednesday banning the killing of all Iraqis, supporting reconstruction of a revered Shiite shrine and disavowing "any terrorist organization targeting the innocent blood of our people."For balance, the Times includes an interview with Harith Dhari, leader (or perhaps "former leader"?) of the Muslim Scholars Association who recently fled Iraq for Jordan:
Sadr demanded that Harith Dhari, the leader of the Muslim Scholars Assn. who is wanted on charges of inciting terrorism, issue edicts forbidding the killing of Shiites, banning participation in the group Al Qaeda in Iraq and supporting reconstruction of the Samarra shrine.Haider Ajina brought us a translated version of this story from the Iraqi media, too.
That's the good news. But dig deep enough into the Times' bad news story on Iraq and you'll find the hidden gold there also. Although the two developments aren't connected by the Times, this is probably the main reason the "Scholars" association is talking peace - the latest on the "Sunni-vs-Sunni civil war" in al Anbar:
In Al Anbar, Iraq's Sunni heartland, members of the Al Anbar Salvation Council, a Sunni tribal militia, battled suspected Al Qaeda fighters north of Fallouja and in Ramadi. An Iraqi police official in the Fallouja suburb of Garma said militiamen killed 15 Al Qaeda members. Five council fighters were killed.Here's a previous story on this topic, too. The US has most definitely taken sides in this one.
These aren't the big, front page headline stories they should be, but it's good to see them being told.
But there's plenty of other news from Iraq that doesn't "make the papers"; for that we'll turn to CENTCOM:
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The Central Criminal Court of Iraq, between November 10th to the 23rd convicted 41 individuals for variety of crimes including possession of illegal weapons, possessing false civil affair identifications, failure to renew resident identification and illegal border crossing.
Posted by Greyhawk / December 1, 2006 12:37 AM | Permalink
That the Iraqi's are actually getting their act together? If this is true than we have some potential here. Then again from what we have seen so far it'll be another Iraqi soup sandwich. Anyway, check out the story. Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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