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10:20 AM - Sunday, Feb. 06, 2005
Who Is She Really?

This is an EXTREMELY Important Post

Who was the Iraqi Woman in the balcony..... Really?

This cursory investigation demands a deeper look into Ms. Sofia Taleb Al Souhail. Held up as a shining example of why we've spent $200 billion and wasted 1,500 lives and counting, it looks upon first glance that she doesn't live in Iraq, has been affiliated with right-wing organizations, her father was killed in Lebanon while planning a coup against Saddam, and her family claims the US was complicit in his assassination.)
I am always interested in finding out who the people are that are chosen to sit with in the "good seats" at the State of The Union.

Especially after last year, when Chalabi was sitting in the seat. You often wonder who these people are.

So as I'm watching the woman hold up a shaky "peace" sign, finger stained in purple, you are wonder. "Did they fly her in? Wow, that's some crazy symbolism."

So I decided to look around.

Here's what Bush said.

"Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country -- and we are honored that she is with us tonight."

Her name is Safia Taleb Al Souhail.

She works for the "International Alliance For Justice," which no longer has a website that is functioning. [ ] I tried to do a google search for the site and found a cached version of another one,, which is down now as well and looks like it's been taken over by a defunct porn website. As for, its now a rather generic "antispyware" website.

Beats me. I have my theories about all of these freedom and justice and happy iraqi websites that are oh so slick and oh so American, but I can't draw any conclusions because I have no background in doing so.

I was struck by the line "three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote..."

I did a search and found that she published an article in December of 2003 for the group "Foundation For the Defence of Democracies."

They seem pretty reasonable when you look at their mission statement on the website.

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a non-partisan, non-profit policy institute dedicated to:

Finding the most effective ways to defeat terrorism--and the totalitarian ideologies used to incite and justify terrorism.

Employing strategic communications, education and research to fight terrorism across national, ethnic and religious lines.

Promoting freedom and basic human rights for all peoples.

So, then I went to see who they are, being non-partisan and all. Board of Directors?

  • Steve Forbes.

  • Jack Kemp..

  • Jeanne Kirkpatrick. .
  • OK, so far not so balanced.

    Distinguished Advisors?

  • Newt Gingrich..

  • R. James Woolsey..
  • OK, yikes. Still a bit off kilter.

    Board of Advisors?

  • Gary Bauer..

  • Charles Karuthammer, (yes the columnist).

  • Bill Kristol..

  • Zell Miller..

  • Richard Perle. .
  • wow. OK and then finally we see who represents the other side on that board.

  • Donna Brazille. (?).

  • Frank Lautenberg..

  • Chuck Schumer. .

All very interesting, strange, but leading me away from my original question. Who is Safia Taleb Al Souhail?

Well I read her piece published under the banner of this group here. It was written in January of 2003. Just before we headed off to war. I think it's important to remember the mood of the time, and the debates we were having.

The first paragraph is what got me.

"As we watch UN inspectors search Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, I ask, why are there no UN inspectors investigating Saddam Hussein's crimes against the Iraqi people? Along with hidden caches of biological and chemical weapons, Iraw also has hidden tourture chambers, prisons, and mass graves."

Sound familiar? Does to me. Not only does he have lots of weapons that he's hiding, the United Nations is a worthless organization that isn't holding Sadaam accountable. Hmmm...

The article goes on to explain how bad Sadaam was for women, which we all know his brutality was second to none. But what struck me again was that she left the country in 1968. She returned to the country at some point recently. I found an article about her return to Iraq. to hold a Iraqi women's conference in Baghdad in July "facilitated by the coalition provisional authority." It seems she was in a group of people that had "returned" to Iraq with the "facitity" of the CPA. This was at another pastel colored, sleek website called ""

But here it is again, you click to read more about the conference in Baghdad...and you go to another blank page that says "Hopefully /article928.php at will be up again soon. - 1254726158" And you click the "home" button and you're right back at that anti-spyware site. All of these groups are strangely connected to each other, and this one is now defunct.

But back to the article.

Her father was killed in 94. But although Bush said in the SOTU her father "was killed by Sadaam's Intelligence service," it's not quite the way you think it is. Her father was the leader of a tribe, but was killed in his exile home in Lebannon. How long was he in Lebbanon? Doesn't say, but the rest of the family was living in Jordan for nearly 30 years. It is not clear where Safia lived, but by this point, I'm sleepy and can hunt no more.

**** [UPDATED: I don't know how to do the fun editorial update but here it is. I found some new information, the plot seems to thicken.

US Secretly Helped Saddam
Al Bawaba December 20, 2003

The daughter of a prominent Iraqi opposition leader, who was assassinated in Beirut by Saddam Hussein's secret service in 1994 said she would sue the ousted Iraqi president before three international courts, charging that the U.S. was a virtual accomplice in her father's murder.

Nora al Tamimi, daughter of slain Iraqi opposition activist Taleb al Suhail al Tamimi, said from Beirut in a newspaper interview published Saturday that her father had planned a coup d'etat to overthrow Saddam in 1993, operating from Beirut and Amman.

"Zero hour was set for a certain June day in 1993 to stage the coup when Saddam would have been sponsoring an official event in Baghdad," Nora told the London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper in an interview conducted at the family house in Beirut.

"But the Americans, who did not want the coup to succeed possibly because they were certain my father would not go along with their polices, tipped off Saddam about the impending putsch by my father and gave the names of his top aides," Nora said. "All of them died in Saddam's torture chambers."

Sheik Taleb Al Tamimi, who led a million-member Central Iraqi tribe called the Bani Tamim, was shot dead April 12, 1994 at his apartment in Beirut's Ein El Tineh district in an assassination officially blamed by the Lebanese authorities on four Iraqi embassy diplomats, who were detained and then released on the grounds they enjoyed diplomatic immunity, Nora recalled.

Saddam has severed Baghdad's diplomatic ties with Beirut upon the detention of the four.

Nora said she plans to sue Saddam at the United Nations, before the International Court of Justice at The Hague and before the world organization of human rights.

Nora said her sister Saffia, 38, a human rights activist, has already returned to Iraq and is currently making the needed arrangements in Baghdad to recover the family's bank accounts and property, which were confiscated by Saddam in 1968, when her father fled Iraq.

She said the family would return to Iraq soon with the remains of her father for reburial in his native country.

The names are slightly different, but theses are obviously the same people.
Summary? The Safia's sister blames the United States for not protecting her father and telling Sadaam about a pending coup attempt because they didn't trust Safia's father.

Is the prominent position within current policy a payback to cover some behinds? Perhaps Bill Hemmer wasn't far off when he said "she will soon be the Mayor of Baghdad."

makes u think..doesn't it?


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