Feminists, generals, and nuclear reactors around the world.
Iranian feminists arrested. Feministing:
Three Iranian feminists were recently arrested and received suspended sentences of lashings and six months in prison for "acting against national security."
Nasrin Afzali (pictured at right), Nahid Jafari, and Minoo Mortazi were found guilty of acting against national security, disrupting public order, and refusing to follow police orders. All the charges stem from their participation in a political rally outside a Tehran courtroom in March 2006.
A fourth female activist, Zeinab Payghambarzadeh, who attended the same rally, was given a two-year suspended prison term after being accused of similar charges.
The sentences will only be carried out if the women are found guilty of another crime within two years. All four women intend to appeal the verdicts.
The women charged are the activists responsible for the One Million Signatures Campaign, which aims to collect one million signatures for petition addressed to the Iranian Parliament asking for an end to discriminatory laws against women.
More here: One million signatures campaign.
Iraqi general issues ultimatum to Mahdi Army. Bill Roggio, Long War Journal:
The senior-most Iraqi general in charge of the security operation in Basrah has issued an ultimatum for wanted Mahdi Army leaders and fighters to surrender in the next 24 hours as the Iraqi and US military ignore Muqtada al Sadr's threat to conduct a third uprising. US troops killed 15 Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad yesterday and have killed 56 fighters since Sadr issued his threat last weekend.
In Basrah, General Mohan al Freiji, the chief of the Basrah Operational Commander and leader of the security operation in the province, has issued warrants "for 81 people, including senior leaders of the Mahdi militia, and they have 24 hours to give up," The Associated Press reported.
Iraqi troops continue to clear Basrah, although the fighting has been sparse since security forces cleared the Mahdi Army-controlled Hayaniyah neighborhood in Basrah last weekend. Iraqi forces "seized a cache containing huge amounts of weapons and ammunition" in the Al Tanuma neighborhood in eastern Basrah, Voices of Iraq reported. "The cache contains more than (1000) mortar rounds of different calibers, explosive equipment, and improvised explosive devices," a source told the Iraqi newspaper. ...
Saudi women appeal for freedoms. Via Muslims Against Sharia:
In Riyadh, the college day begins for female students behind a locked door that will remain that way until male guardians come to collect them. Later, in a female-run business, everyone must vacate the premises so a delivery man can drop off a package. In Jeddah, a 40-year-old divorced woman cannot board a plane without the written permission of her 23-year-old son. Elsewhere, a female doctor cannot leave the house at all as her male driver fails to turn up for work. These scenes make up the daily reality for half of the Saudi Kingdom, the only country where women legally belong to men.
After more than a decade of lobbying, the New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has finally been granted access to Saudi Arabia, where it has uncovered a disturbing picture of women forced to live as children, denied basic rights and confined to a suffocating dependency on men.
Wajeha al-Huwaider, a critic of Saudi’s guardian laws that force women to seek male permission for almost all aspects of their lives, is one of a growing number demanding change. “Sometimes I feel like I can’t do anything; I am utterly reliant on other people, completely dependent. If you are dependent on another person, you’ve got nothing. That is how the men like it. They don’t want us to be equals.” ...
Read the rest at Pat Dollard.
US intel believes Syria had plutonium reactor. JTA: 'U.S. intelligence reportedly believes Israel bombed a plutonium reactor in Syria last September. CIA officials will tell Congress on Thursday that the target of a mysterious Israeli air raid in northern Syria on Sept. 6 was a reactor built with North Korean help, the Los Angeles Times reported.' JTA also quotes Ma'ariv as saying that the reactor was destroyed before it became active; and that if it had been bombed after becoming active, it might have poisoned the nearby Euphrates, threatening a major water supply for much of the Middle East. Israel Matzav links to a Washington Post article indicating that Israel gave the US a video showing North Korean technicians inside the reactor.
Sources familiar with the video say it also shows that the Syrian reactor core's design is the same as that of the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, including a virtually identical configuration and number of holes for fuel rods. It shows "remarkable resemblances inside and out to Yongbyon," a U.S. intelligence official said. A nuclear weapons specialist called the video "very, very damning."
I believe that now I understand why Israel is really upset over this Congressional briefing. It has nothing to do with its potential to embarrass Assad. Someone took that video, and quite likely they took it out in the open. Israel is afraid of that intelligence source (and possibly others) in Syria being compromised.
Arutz Sheva: 'Israel, the U.S. and Syria have never divulged details about the attack, and today's presentation is a major departure from this policy. Israel is reportedly not happy with the change, fearing that it will revive the tensions between Syria and Israel. ...'
Iranian and Syrian foreign ministers meet. Arutz Sheva: 'The foreign ministers of Syria and Iran met in Tehran Wednesday to discuss "mutual interests, including Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Israel."'
Petraeus nominated for CENTCOM CINC. MSNBC: 'President Bush is promoting his top Iraq commander, Army Gen. David Petraeus, and replacing him with the general’s recent deputy, keeping the United States on its war course and handing the next president a pair of combat-tested commanders who have relentlessly defended Bush’s strategies.' He'll replace the outgoing Admiral Fallon. The Belmont Club:
Gen Petraeus has been nominated to head CENTCOM, according to the Washington Post. And Gen Odierno, his deputy, will take over command of ground forces in Iraq. I think this news will be received with great alarm and trepidation in Teheran.
As I've written in the past, I don't think an invasion or bombing campaign of Iran is in the works. What I think will happen (and it's just my own opinion) is that Petraeus plans take a hammer to all the places where Iran has poked its finger; turn its own allies against it with a combination of targeted force and politics.
More important than his battlefield successes in Iraq may be the implied victory in Pentagon politics that his nomination to CENTCOM chief suggests. It's important to remember that before the Surge, Petraeus' ideas were on the margin. Now they are in the mainstream.
SIU College Republicans and administration apologize for anti-feminist rant. Back to Feministing:
I have to say, I'm impressed. When I posted an anti-feminist hate email from the (now former) public relations officer of the Southern Illinois University College Republicans, I didn't expect any action to be taken.
On the contrary, not only did officers of the CR - Wess Haubrich and Jermaine Raymer - come into the thread to offer apologies (as did the emailer himself, Alex Kochno, though his apology was not as well-taken by commenters), but SIU also took out an ad in their college paper (4/23, p 14) renouncing the act. Kochno also resigned from his position at CR, I'm assuming under pressure from his peers.
And to top things off, I received an email from the SIU administration informing me how seriously they took the email and that Kochno's email privileges were suspended pending a student conduct code review. ...
If you're a glutton for misogyny, the original missive is here. And as Jessica says, kudos to SIU and its CR for doing the right thing.
Briefly noted. Michael Totten is going to the Balkans.
Commentary. ThreatsWatch has more on the Petraeus promotion:
CENTCOM command is both logical and necessary for continuity in Iraq to sustain gains there. This importance and its recognition can be seen in the simultaneous naming of Lt. Gen. Ray Ordierno - Petraus’ second in command for the duration of Petraeus’ tour as MNF-I CG - as his successor in Iraq command.