Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Al Qaeda Cannibalizing?
A native Iraqi and Middle East expert says the Iraqi insurgency independent of Al Qaeda is being slowly and surely defeated. Nibras Kazimi has worked with the Iraqi National Congress and the country's de-Baathification Commission. He writes in the New York Sun that U.S. and Iraqi military pressure has left insurgents feeling "demoralized, disillusioned and hunted."
He says Al Qaeda is cannibalizing smaller groups and continues to grow. But he says, "Al Qaeda is getting a serious beating as the Americans improve in intelligence gathering and partner with more reliable Iraqi forces." He calls the recent trend a "major accomplishment."
But Kazimi cautions that Al Qaeda terror will continue for many years because the group "will remain oblivious to all evidence of the insurgency's eventual defeat." And he has advice for presumptive new multi-national forces commander David Petraeus — saying the general should "allow what works to keep working and to improve on it" — rather than test unproved theories of counterinsurgency.
Iran Controls Hezbollah
The former secretary-general of Hezbollah says Iran is now controlling the terror group. Sheikh Subhi al-Tufeli tells a Kuwaiti newspaper, "Hezbollah is a tool, and it is an integral part of the Iranian intelligence apparatus.
Iran has succeeded in changing Hezbollah from a resistance force into a tool to be used in whatever "direction they want." Al-Tufeili adds "Iran is the main nerve in the activity today in Lebanon. All Hezbollah activity is financed by Iranian funds."
There is another sign that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is losing support in high places. The age.com reports Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has snubbed a request by Ahmadinejad to discuss the country's nuclear program. A newspaper owned by Ali Khamenei has already called for the president to stay out of the international debate on the issue — which has resulted in U.N. sanctions.
The ayatollah's refusal to meet with Ahmadinejad is said to be a first — and an indication of growing unrest within the Iranian leadership over the president's hardline policies.
Some of Hollywood's heavy-hitters who have traditionally supported the Clintons are lining up behind the person who could be their choice for president in 2008 — Barack Obama. ABC's Web site reports movie moguls Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg are throwing a $2,300/person fundraiser for Obama next month.
Couples who commit to raising $46,000 for the evening will also be invited to a private dinner with Obama at Geffen's Malibu home. The list of show business celebrities supporting Obama already includes past Clinton supporters George Clooney,Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Oliver Stone.
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.