August 6, 2008

Help Keep the Dispatches Coming

A significant percentage of my travel expense income has come from those of you who signed up for recurring payments through a Blog Patron subscription. Blog Patron, unfortunately, has now closed. That cash flow has stopped up entirely. If you were one of my Blog Patron subscribers, please consider re-enrolling with a Pay Pal subscription so I will continue to have money for travel expenses. I would write these dispatches for free if I could, but I don't have a trust fund or any other independent source of wealth to keep me going.

And just so you know what you'll be paying for: I have a handful of pieces remaining from Kosovo, and I'll be returning to Iraq shortly, most likely to Sadr City or somewhere else in the Baghdad area. I'll also have a dispatch or two from the mysterious former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan which lies between Iran and Russia. The trip to Azerbaijan is paid for by the Azeri government, but I still need money for travel expenses to Iraq and for war zone insurance while I'm embedded with counterinsurgency soldiers.

Many sincere thanks to everyone for all your assistance. There is absolutely no way I could do what I do without you.

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If you would like to donate for travel and equipment expenses and you don't want to send money over the Internet, please consider sending a check or money order to:

Michael Totten
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Many thanks in advance.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 6, 2008 12:43 PM
Comments

Any comment on this story, Michael? Some conservative commentators are saying this is just about the end for major al Qaeda resistance in Iraq.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121797955889015047.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

It certainly seems like good news. Maybe my brother will be able to come home early...

Posted by: Jamon51 Author Profile Page at August 6, 2008 3:42 PM

Jamon51,

Sadr isn't part of Al Qaeda. He ran the Mahdi Army, the other major threat to a stable Iraq. It is good news, of course, that he is disarming. I wouldn't, however, rule him out just yet as a potential troublemaker down the road. He will likely remain a royal pain as long as he lives, but it's possible that he will give up the gun at some point anyway and therefore make himself much less of a pain. Maybe this is really that time, and maybe it isn't. Let's hope.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 6, 2008 3:47 PM

I agree.. There does seem to be real light in Iraq now. But things can change quickly, as we saw with the Surge. Maybe this light will be long lasting, maybe it wont. Only time will tell. We can only wait and see. Hope for the best.

Posted by: JohnDakota Author Profile Page at August 7, 2008 10:27 AM

Michael,

Americans and patience...too much with North Korea and Iran, too little in Iraq?

I'm putting a check in the mail today.

Best wishes,
Paul S.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at August 7, 2008 1:56 PM

PP on its way.

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at August 7, 2008 4:47 PM

Sadr isn't part of Al Qaeda.

Ah, sorry--now that you mention it, I did know that. But I'm sure that it isn't good news for al Qaeda either.

Posted by: Jamon51 Author Profile Page at August 7, 2008 5:14 PM

I'll also have a dispatch or two from the mysterious former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan which lies between Iran and Russia.

Any news about whether the violence in Georgia (S. Ossetia) will be causing problems in Azerbaijan?

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at August 8, 2008 12:11 PM

Mary: Any news about whether the violence in Georgia (S. Ossetia) will be causing problems in Azerbaijan?

Possibly. I'm supposed to fly over Georgia in less than 72 hours. I'm certainly paying attention to this problem now.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 8, 2008 12:53 PM

"Moderate" Islam is not coming to the rescue.

1.Do you really believe Sadr is disarming? He only said that to get us out of there and then him and his buddies from Iran can make their move. How many times have Islamic militia lied in the past? Just like Hezbollah and Hamas, who only use cease fires to regroup.

2.Kosovo is not this Islamic fantasy land you speak of. Extremism is on the rise there, as the Saudis are opening up Mosques across the country.

This has been attested to by Paul Andrew Kirk (see the last comment below the main article here), an American who served two tours with the U.S. military in Kosovo. Kirk says:

Islamic extremism is on the rise in Kosovo. KFOR [the NATO-led military mission] soldiers have been attacked in Gjilan [actual name in Serbian: Gnjilane], Ferizaj [Uroševac], and Prizren when I was there. You just won't see or hear about it in the news. More mosques have been built in Kosovo in the last five years than schools, roads, health clinics, and all other sanitation projects combined. Compliments of Muslim charities from the Middle East.

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/022115.php#more

3.Iraq is just another Islamic country.

http://islaminaction08.blogspot.com/2008/07/islamic-republic-of-iraq-part-1.html

The Islamic and non-Muslim worlds are not coming together. The call for Sharia is getting louder and louder and they are voting terrorist groups into office across the Middle East.

http://islaminaction08.blogspot.com/2008/05/its-only-fewthats-what-they-keep.html

If we do not end Muslim immigration, we will lose as they will never stop pushing.

Posted by: Exposing Islam Author Profile Page at August 8, 2008 9:53 PM

Exposing Islam: Do you really believe Sadr is disarming?

I don't know, but he did get his ass kicked.

the Saudis are opening up Mosques across [Kosovo].

I know. I wrote about it and photographed them.

The Islamic and non-Muslim worlds are not coming together.

Of course not. I didn't say they were.

KFOR [the NATO-led military mission] soldiers have been attacked in Gjilan [actual name in Serbian: Gnjilane], Ferizaj [Uroševac], and Prizren when I was there.

American soldiers say otherwise. I trust them more than you. I would have no credibility whatsoever if I took the word of an anonymous Internet poster over the United States Army. Sorry, dude.

The call for Sharia is getting louder and louder and they are voting terrorist groups into office across the Middle East.

Which countries in the Middle East are you talking about? Gaza, yes. But most Middle Eastern countries don't even have real elections. Iran's are a farce. Moqtada al Sadr did badly in the Iraqi elections, Hezbollah did badly in Lebanon's elections, and that's why they have been waging war against the governments elected by the majority.

If we do not end Muslim immigration, we will lose as they will never stop pushing.

What does that have to do with Kosovo and Iraq?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at August 8, 2008 11:33 PM
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