Al Qaeda Leader Reports On Militant Web

*An al-Qaeda leader reports on a militant web site that there were only 1900 “Arab Afghan” fighters in Afghanistan during the US war against the Taliban, and that 350 were killed. This is a lower number than most estimates I’ve seen.

*A major rally of tens of thousands of protesters took place Sunday in Rawalpindi (near Islamabad), denouncing the US war on Iraq. They accused Pervez Musharraf of turning Pakistan into an American colony and urged Pakistan not to vote for the American resolution at the UN security council (where Pakistan is one of ten elected members currently). The rally was organized by a newly powerful coalition of fundamentalist religious parties.

*Between 100,000 and 500,000 Muslims also rallied in East Java, Indonesia, against an Iraq war, calling for a non-violent solution and questioning whether Bush’s path to power really made him the legitimate president of the US.

*Thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians went first to the presidential palace in Baabda and then to that of in Damascus, supporting Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, giving them support in their stance against an Iraq war. Lahoud warned against divisions in Arab ranks.

*A representative of the Shiite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq will attend a meeting of Iraqi dissidents on Tuesday or Wednesday in free Iraqi Kurdistan, after consultations with Ahmad Chalabi in Tehran recently. SCIRI has been unhappy with announced plans for a period of US occupation of Iraq after the war, and has even spoken of shooting at occupation troops. But the crisis seems to have died down a bit, since a member of the Hakim family is willing to attend the Kurdistan conference.