Feb. 20 News

Hard to understand Pak’s Swat deal: Holbrooke

 

Friday, 20 February , 2009, 10:09
Last Updated: Friday, 20 February , 2009, 10:18

   

(Copyright AFP. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.)

Washington: US special representative Richard Holbrooke has called Pakistan President Ali Zardari to express concern over a peace deal allowing imposition of Islamic law in the restive Swat region controlled by Taliban militants.

“It is hard to understand this deal in Swat,” in northwest Pakitsan, the envoy, who returned this week from a regional tour that included visits to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, told CNN television in an interview on Thursday.

‘Taliban a common threat to India, US and Pak’

“I am concerned, and I know Secretary (Hillary) Clinton is, and the president (Barack Obama) is, that this deal, which is portrayed in the press as a truce, does not turn into a surrender,” said Holbrooke who has been charged with coordinating US policy to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“I talked to President Zardari of Pakistan on the phone about two hours ago and I expressed to him the same kind of concern you have just stated to me,” he said.

“President Zardari has assured us it is not the case.” He has described the deal as “an interim arrangement” to stabilise the restive Swat region north of the capital Islamabad, said the US diplomat.

Why Taliban is happy with the Pak govt

“He does not disagree that people who are running Swat now are murderers, thugs and militants and they pose a danger not only to Pakistan but to the US as well.” Holbrooke told PBS television earlier that the US was “troubled and confused” about what happened in Swat, “because it is not an encouraging trend.”

Noting that previous cease-fires have broken down, he said: “And we do not want to see territory ceded to the bad guys, and the people who took over Swat are very bad people.”

Asked to comment on Holbrooke’s remark State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said the envoy had spoken to the Pakistanis. “They understand that the threat of terrorism is a threat to them as well as to us.”

US ‘troubled,’ ‘confused’ over Pak-Taliban peace treaty

The US, he said would be talking to the Pakistanis about this at a review meeting on Afghanistan next week that will be attended by delegations from both the countries led by their foreign ministers.

The Pakistani government’s pact with the Taliban to introduce Islamic law in the northwestern Swat valley has raised concern among NATO countries with troops in neighbouring Afghanistan that are struggling to quell the Taliban in the border region.

 

 

Omens against peace in Swat…

As if in response to the Tehreek-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (TNSM) leader Sufi Muhammad’s “peace march” from Mingora to Matta in Swat, a gang of Taliban kidnapped journalist Musa Khankhel on Wednesday and then rigged him with bullets and beheaded his dead corpse. The Sufi did not comment, but the act was clearly addressed to him as a message. Musa Khankhel was following the grand procession of sharia led by Sufi and exhorting all to support the accord. At the very least, Sufi should have condemned the act. But he didn’t. Now the media is outraged over the fourth journalist killed in Swat. Significantly, however, no one is ready to name the killers.

Sufi Muhammad has suddenly got more positive publicity than the Taliban ever did. Almost the whole of Swat is behind him and willing to walk in procession in the hope of finally achieving peace. The Sufi is the redeemer; and the tormentors, though unnamed, are the Taliban who control 80 percent of the region. This publicity may have been unbearable for the elements who hogged it for the last two years to the detriment of the state. Warlord Fazlullah may be the Sufi’s son-in-law but his patrons may want him to resist his growing influence.

A message from South Waziristan is ready to hand if you want to heed it. The building of the press club in Wana was blown up the same day Musa Khankhel was murdered. One can only call it a “symbolic” act meant to be a message to Swat because the press club was no longer in use after all the journalists had fled the headquarters of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) some time ago. The media, which the warlords relied on for publicity, is suddenly no longer in favour because its focus has shifted to Sufi Muhammad who is now negotiating the sharia accord (which he has signed with the NWFP government) with the Taliban.

The Taliban, who actually rule Swat, have announced a ten-day truce and have made public their reverence for the Sufi; but they could not have liked the sharia accord in which the charismatic Sufi has given away some of the fundamental positions taken by the Taliban’s central leadership. For instance, Baitullah Mehsud’s Waziristan Taliban fired another warning shot to the Taliban of Swat when they blew up two more girls’ schools in Bajaur on Wednesday. This again was ritualistic and symbolic because the girls no longer go to school in Bajaur. Given this atmosphere, it is going to be difficult for Sufi Muhammad to persuade his son-in-law to relent and let peace return to the valley.

Journalist Musa Khankhel has laid down his life for a big cause, the cause of giving the people of Swat their lives back, and the media must highlight his sacrifice in the shape of protest. And this protest should not shy away from naming the culprits now that Sufi Muhammad has polarised the region. The protest will give heart to the Swatis who now walk behind him but might later be intimidated into giving up. The battle is on and should not be abandoned because the people are now in a position to opt for someone who is not Taliban.

The world outside sees the Sufi factor as the beginning of a rift within the Taliban movement. The killers may all be savage men but a section of them is killing in the name of Allah and owes allegiance to Sufi Muhammad. This is the section that will find it hard to obey Fazlullah if he decides to reject the peace plan being pursued by his father-in-law. But the situation on the ground is still loaded against the Sufi because his sharia will have to unfold when the Taliban control the region; and the police and other bureaucracy have long fled the scene.

Implications of the Swat deal

—Najmuddin A Shaikh

It is a sad but almost foregone conclusion that this agreement will be no more effective than the ones concluded in the past, and that while there will be a welcome albeit temporary respite from the daily bloodletting in Swat, the strife will soon resume

Last week, I recommended that all power centres should adopt a clear direction and give a mandate to the foreign minister for his visit to the United States to review US policy towards Afghanistan. The general belief, which I shared, was that the army was evolving a new strategy in its war against the insurgents in Swat and that this would reverse the ongoing Talibanisation of the area.

What we have instead is an agreement crafted in Peshawar by the provincial government to enforce the ‘Nizam-e Adl’ in Swat.

This is an agreement with Mullah Sufi Muhammad. He may be the founder of the Tehreek-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi, and may have been a potent force in the 1990s. His spectacularly unsuccessful effort to assist the Taliban by taking 10,000 Swat youths to Afghanistan in 2001 and the decimation of this force, however, made him into a spent force. He courted arrest because he would otherwise have been lynched by the grieving parents whose children he led into Afghanistan.

It taxes credibility to suggest that this man will be perceived after his long years of incarceration and his isolation from the current insurgency — led by his estranged son-in-law Fazlullah — as being genuinely representative of the insurgents, or even of the people of Swat, who voted overwhelmingly for secular parties in the last election.

One cannot see Fazlullah — a.k.a. Maulana Radio — and his new patron (or partner) Baitullah Mehsud accepting Sufi Muhammad’s leadership even if the latter’s 300-vehicle convoy is welcomed in Mingora by crowds of war-weary Swatis. Fazlullah, and more importantly Mehsud, have a vision that goes well beyond the narrow confines of Malakand Division or even the tribal areas, and will not accept any restrictions on their ability to use Swati territory for operations elsewhere.

So why did the ANP leaders in Peshawar enter into this agreement?

That there was nostalgia for the swift justice that was available in the days of the Wali of Swat was clear, but it was also clear that the Swatis did not want extremism, and the induction of the Nizam-e Adl under the auspices of the likes of Fazlullah could mean nothing else. Sufi Muhammad has already declared that there is no place for elections in Islam and that he is opposed to democracy.

The ANP did this perhaps because it saw that the army and law enforcement agencies were not going to be able to quell the insurgency. The army would plead that no insurgency could be vanquished without the cooperation of the locals; yet the locals prepared to fight the insurgents felt that they could not get government support.

Local leaders, including ANP and PPP stalwarts, had developed the perception that for some reason or the other, elements of the insurgency were regarded as “untouchables”, protected by powerful patrons, while locals resisting the insurgents received short shrift from the authorities. They were perhaps hoping against hope that the agreement would buy them time to set things right elsewhere.

There is now a second argument that the purpose of the agreement was to drive a wedge between the Swat insurgency and the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan of Baitullah Mehsud. This is based on the pious but implausible belief that the TNSM wants nothing more than the imposition of Sharia in Swat while it is the TTP that has other ambitions.

Both arguments are fallacious. The time bought is time bought for the insurgents. Sufi Muhammad, as shown by his unsuccessful foray into Afghanistan, shares the TTP’s ambition to re-establish Taliban rule in Afghanistan. He may not, but Fazlullah certainly wants, like Mehsud, the rest of Pakistan Islamised.

Furthermore, Sufi Mohammad and Fazlullah do not control all elements involved in the insurgency. If rumours are to be believed, there have been insurgents from Uzbekistan and Punjab that have moved into Swat.

It is a sad but almost foregone conclusion that this agreement will be no more effective than the ones concluded in the past, and that while there will be a welcome albeit temporary respite from the daily bloodletting in Swat, the strife will soon resume with the government in an even worse position than it is now. In the meanwhile, analysts in Pakistan and abroad will be examining with foreboding the fallout elsewhere in Pakistan and the region.

So far the Americans have been cautious in commenting on the agreement, suggesting that this was Pakistan’s internal affair, that it fell within the ambit of Pakistan’s constitution and that they were expecting further information from Pakistan on its implementation. There is no doubt, however, that this has caused concern in the establishment and is not seen as boding well for the region.

The foreign minister’s visit to Washington may take some time to materialise but our chief of army staff will be leaving for the United States on his first official visit as Admiral Mike Mullen’s guest today. He will be the first authoritative interlocutor to whom the American establishment will put questions about the import of this agreement:

Why does it mean for Pakistan’s internal polity; for the situation in the tribal areas; for the policy of denying sanctuary to Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan; and for the efforts toe ensure that Afghanistan is not used by extremists to launch attacks on the West?

His answers hopefully will be along the following lines:

* The agreement is admittedly unique in so far as it seems to have different laws in different parts of the country. But this has a long history; it is not an act of desperation. It has been entered into in good faith and in the belief that Sufi Muhammad will carry weight with the insurgents. The army will, however, continue to maintain a heavy presence in Swat and the training of forces for counterinsurgency will continue in Swat itself. While the army will be in reactive rather than proactive mode, it will make its presence felt whenever necessary.

* One element of the agreement, once peace has been restored, will be that insurgents not from the area will be asked/forced to leave. There will be an expectation on the part of the administration that connections with such clearly anti-Pakistan elements as the TTP will be attenuated if not severed.

* The agreement will ensure that normal administration is restored even while the courts are made more sharia-compliant. Normal administration will mean that in all other respects, there will be no restrictions on citizens that do not apply in other parts of Pakistan. As normalcy returns, there will be growing demands from local business interests to adapt the application of sharia to the requirements of the tourist trade, a major source of employment in Swat.

* If the agreement does not yield these results, proactive military action will be resumed and from then on there will be no “untouchables”. All locals prepared to resist the insurgents will get protection and there will be no more incidents of paramilitary forces not receiving army assistance when they call for it. Specially trained police forces will be inducted and their concerns about the measure of institutional support will be fully addressed.

* The Pakistan Army realises that if the peace deal fails, the army, as much as the politicians, will be engaged in a battle for the survival of Pakistan and this will take priority over the protection of the eastern border. India will realise, or should be persuaded to realise, that Pakistan’s internal problem is part of the larger problem of the region and it is in India’s interest that Pakistan’s armed forces should have no distractions. With the government’s blessings, the size of the force deployed in Swat will be multiplied and will work closely with local politicians and administrators.

* The situation in the tribal areas and the other border areas will continue to see a combination of military, political and economic development measures. We need to highlight the economic development aspect by identifying and undertaking on a priority basis high impact projects that generate employment and provide alternatives for the youth of the area.

The writer is a former foreign secretary

 

Official confirms CIA drones in Pakistan: report

LAHORE: Pakistan, the US, and other NATO member countries have had an ‘unwritten agreement’ for the past three to five years to allow the CIA to fly unmanned drones out of airstrips in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, a senior NATO military official told CBS News on Thursday. “In the past week, speculation has mounted over the extent to which Pakistan was aware of such flights, amid evidence that at least some of the drones were being launched from airstrips in remote Pakistani regions,” according to the report. On Tuesday, The Times, London, had claimed the CIA had been using the Shamsi airfield in Balochistan to launch the Predator drones that attack Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan for at least a year. Another newspaper printed what it called were images of the site showing three predator drones parked on a runway. But the NATO official told CBS news “there is no single site you can name”. “We are looking at different locations both in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said the official. “If the Shamsi base has been found to be a home for the drones, that is not the only location.” “The locations keep on changing in both countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan). But yes, there are drones flying from locations in both these countries,” a NATO country diplomat stationed in Islamabad said. daily times monitor

 

Moment of truth for Islamabad

When Pakistan finally said mea culpa after 78 days of denial and double-speak over who was responsible for the Mumbai massacre of November 26, it was a particularly gratifying moment for New Delhi. This was a vindication of the government’s dogged pursuit of the matter despite much public ridicule over its response to the terror attacks. Pakistan’s acceptance of the facts did not come easy. But for intense international pressure and the CIA’s contribution to the investigation even this grudging admission would not have been forthcoming. Islamabad’s obtuseness is not surprising, nor its paranoia about conceding even an inch to New Delhi, but this is no longer about scoring points, but survival, Pakistan’s. A couple of days after the confession President Asif Zardari told CBS TV that the Taliban were trying to take over Pakistan, and that they already controlled large swathes of it. Then came the news that the government had signed an agreement (on Monday) letting them impose the sharia in Swat (80 km from Islamabad) in return for a 10-day ceasefire.

 

 

The triumphal images on TV tell their own tale.

 

Considering that Pakistanis overwhelmingly rejected the religious parties in the last elections, it is a shameless betrayal of that mandate as well as a clear statement of impotence. Neither the government nor the army, always so loud about defending Pakistan from external enemies (read India), seem to possess the simple resolve to deal with a small group of mediaeval-minded clerics who command little love among the people but a great deal in the corridors of power.

 

The establishment has been singularly indulgent of these extremist groups, allowing them virtual immunity from the law in return for waging war by proxy on its behalf in both Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir. The returns have been mixed, but their influence inside Pakistan has been disastrous. Their intolerance of anything other than a Wahhabi version of the faith has rubbed at the edges of sectarian suspicions to ignite a communal conflagration that has been out of hand for a long time. Now they see a state without direction and a chance to take it over, bit by bit. Perhaps this is poetic justice. For a long time, the establishment sowed the wind. Now it is reaping the whirlwind. That is small comfort, however, for its neighbours, particularly India. The ghosts of Mumbai linger in the mind, but India will survive it, and probably worse. The real question is, can Pakistan live with this murderous minority?

 

Deal behind the Swat deal

Nitin Gokhale

Did the US know about the deal with the Taliban elements in Swat? Officially, there is no word on this, but credible information now emerging from multiple sources in the US, Pakistan and India confirms the theory that the deal was part of a larger two-pronged strategy in the war against terror.

One, to drive a wedge between moderate and hardline Taliban elements and two, free Pakistani troops deployed in Swat to confront the Al-Qaeda along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Whether the Taliban can be divided so easily is not clear.

Former US diplomat Walter Anderson says: “The Taliban has many different outfits and this so-called deal is with one small section that’s in Swat.. so I don’t know how much difference it is going to make.”

But the second part of the strategy is already working. Latest satellite pictures with spy agencies confirm that at least 3,000 Pakistani army soldiers have moved from Swat towards Waziristan-Afghanistan border in the last three days.

These troops are likely to join the pincer attack on the Al-Qaeda along with NATO and US troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Prof Philip Oldenberg, professor of political science at Columbia University, says: “It’s important to note that the Taliban has spread from Afghanistan back into Pakistan. Remember that the Taliban began in Pakistan more than 10 years ago and the fact that is has come back into Pakistan is some thing to worry about.”

A desperate United States, which needs Pakistani army’s support to win in Afghanistan has taken a calculated risk in allowing the deal in Swat but questions on its effective implementation may continue to haunt both Washington and Islamabad in coming months.

 

Pakistan’s deals with tribal warlords

Munizae Jahangir

 

Pakistan’s governments have not for the first time tried to make deals with the tribal warlords. It is no secret that Taliban was a creation of Pakistan’s ISI agency but as it has turned around to bite the hand that feeds it.

 

Time after time, successive Pakistani governments have tried to keep the peace with the troubled tribal regions. From Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif to President Musharraf, they have all taken turns and the recent event is just the latest in that long list.

 

“After reviewing in detail all points of the Shariah justice system, it will be implemented completely in the Malakand region, including the Hazara and Kohistan districts, after restoring peace with mutual consultation,” said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Information Minister, North West Frontier Province.

 

“We request Maulana Sufi Muhammad to support the government in restoring peace in the whole Malakand region and to end its agitation peacefully,” he added.

 

This time, the deal replaces secular Pakistani laws with the Islamic Sharia in Swat, where thousands of people have died in the fighting between the Taliban and the Pakistan Army over the last year.

 

It is promised on what the government says is the desire to protect innocent civilians caught in the eye of the global war on terror.

 

“As a citizen of Swat, we have no choices at all. Because we see that the military operation has completely failed or they were incapable, it did not work. So the ultimate choice was that there should be some amicable solution through bilateral negotiation, so if through this regulation, peace comes to the area, then it will be an achievement. But at what cost?” asked Sher Mohammad Khan, an advocate.

 

“If schools are not open, if people are not satisfied with their business, if people cannot move freely from one part of district to other part of district, if militants are not disarmed, so I think it will be a futile exercise,” he added.

 

In fact, in June last year, as military and civilian casualties rose, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told NDTV that dialogue was the only option.

 

Swat’s tribal leaders are closely linked to Baitullah Mehsud’s Tehreek-i-Taliban, the radical group believed to be behind many suicide attacks all over Pakistan as well as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

 

In fact, they have even set up an army of 10,000 men to fight US forces in Afghanistan after 9/11.

 

But ironically, it was Benazir herself who first agreed to allow tribal leaders to stick to their own customs and laws and then Nawaz Sharif followed her.

 

Barring a brief interlude in the aftermath of 9/11, successive Pakistan governments, military or civilian, have consistently followed a policy of not taking on tribal warlords, even though its always backfired.

 

With this latest deal, the Taliban’s control now extends just 160 kilometers short of the capital Islamabad but the PPP says the deal is in no way a sign of a weak government.

 

It is yet to be seen if the Nizam-i-Adl regulation will bring peace to the conflict ridden Malakand division. But there is a concern in Pakistan that the government is encouraging militants by succumbing to their demands.

 

If history is anything to go by, the peace the PPP is hoping to achieve may continue to be a pipe dream.

Suicide bombing kills 30 mourners in Pakistan

Published: Friday 20 February 2009 09:39 UTC
Last updated: Friday 20 February 2009 09:54 UTC

At least 30 people have been killed in a suicide bombing at a funeral in Pakistan. Over 50 people were injured in the blast.

The bomber blew himself up in the middle of a funeral procession in the town of Dera Ismail Khan. The mourners were attending the funeral of a Shiite leader who had been murdered the previous day.

The attack occurred near the region of South Waziristan, which is known to be a Taliban stronghold.

 

Israel’s Naked Zionfascism

By Ghali Hassan

19 February, 2009
Countercurrents.org

The establishment in 1948 of a Zionist state on Palestinian land is often seen as constituting the greatest danger to world peace. Yet, Western powers led by the U.S. continue to support and defend Israel’s militarism and war crimes in Palestine. What has changed is the nakedness of Israeli war crimes and Western endorsement of Israeli’s Zionfascism.

Imagine an open-air prison with 1.5 million defenceless Palestinian refugees was attacked from the air, the land and the sea by a powerful army using missiles, artillery shells, cluster bombs and white phosphorus delivered by U.S.-supplied F-16s war planes, Apache helicopter gunships and tanks. Just after Christmas 2008, the Israeli Zionfascist army embarked on a three-week deliberate and indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza Concentration Camp in occupied Palestine. The extent of Israel’s premeditated aggression was a war crime for the world to see. The so-called “International Community” blamed the Palestinians for Israel’s aggression and endorsed Israel’s mass murder of innocent Palestinians as “self-defence”.

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has put the Palestinian toll at more than 1,350 killed. As always, most of the victims were innocent civilians – including 500 dead children, 130 women and 100 elderly people. At least 5,500 Palestinians (half of them children) were severely wounded, and the ongoing blockade of Gaza is making the task of treating the wounded very difficult.

The mass murder began as school children were switching classes and leaving schools to go home in the world’s most densely-populated Concentration Camp. Schools were destroyed with their students were inside. More than two hundred people were killed in the first few minutes of the attack. A total of 13 Israelis were killed, three of them were civilians, 10 of them soldiers, and four of the soldiers were killed by ‘friendly fire’.
Israeli soldiers – known for their cowardice –, used Palestinian civilians as human shields to protect them from the lightly-armed Palestinian Resistance. Amnesty International revealed that Israeli soldiers in Gaza often occupy Palestinian houses and keep the civilians as hostages in the first floor and on the roof, ensuring that the civilians will be killed first. The houses were later destroyed with their inhabitants were inside.

The deliberate destruction of vital Palestinian infrastructure is a war crime. Overall, thirty educational institutions, thirty-four health facilities – eight hospitals and twenty-six clinics – and ninety two mosques were damaged or destroyed in the Israeli attack. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced and made homeless. It was an unnecessary and deliberate war crime against a defenceless population. The Hamas-led democratically-elected government a one-sided ceasefire and was/is ready to continue on an agreed truce.

Today, much of Gaza is without food, water and electricity. In addition, as a result of the destruction of most of the Palestinian farmland during the Israeli attack, the people of Gaza are facing a food crisis. UN and Palestinian sources estimated that 60 per cent of agriculture industry has been completely wrecked by the Israeli attacks, which followed the two years genocidal blockade of Gaza – imposed after Hamas was democratically and fairly elected to represent the Palestinian people.

Despite the nakedness of Israel’s crimes, Western leaders are united in their support for Israel’s Zionfascism. The U.S. Congress, a club fro wealthy Zionists and pro-Israel lobbyists, voted overwhelmingly to support Israel’s slaughter of Palestinian children. The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representative voted to support and endorse Israel’s massacre of Palestinians with a vote of 100-0 and 430-5 respectively. During the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the U.S. shipped 3,000 tons of weapons to Israel. This is on top of the $ 3 billion American tax payers paid to Israel. Israel The U.S. Congress seemed undeterred by Israel’s use of banned weapons – white phosphorus and Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) bombs which generate micro-shrapnel that burns and destroys everything within a four-meter radius – indiscriminately and illegally – in violations of international law and U.S. law – in overcrowded areas of Gaza.

The European Union States praised Israel’s conduct of war crimes and provided clear endorsement for further bloodshed accusing the Palestinian of “overwhelming responsibility” for Israel’s aggression. Instead of condemning the aggressor, they blamed the victims. The hypocrisy of European leaders is that they failed to hold Israel accountable for violations of international human rights law. Shimon Peres, Israel’s fascist president was given 25 minutes at the Davos World economic Forum to justify the massacre of Palestinian children by telling a pack of lies. Israeli Zionfascist leaders were overwhelmed by Europeans “extraordinary support for the state of Israel and their concern about its security” as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed during the attack on Gaza.

It is important to note that European States silence on Israel’s abuses of Palestinian human rights and Israel’s Zionfascist occupation of Palestinian land make them complicit in Israeli war crimes. The Palestinian people in Gaza are in a large fortified Concentration Camp, and the Palestinians in the West Bank are confined to disconnected Nazi-like ghettos under the worst colonial-apartheid system of control. Furthermore, European states complicity in Israel’s collective punishment is the same criminal policy used by the Nazis in occupied Europe during the Second World War.

As Hasan Abu Nimah, the former Jordanian representative to the UN writes; “If [the European States] do not want Palestinians to resist, why do they not themselves confront the aggressor and force an end to the occupation, siege and dispossession?” Europeans’ inaction and endorsement of Israeli war crimes “are signs of a moral weakness and corruption unparalleled since Europeans stood by silently at stations and watched as their compatriots were loaded into Nazi trains”, added Abu Nimah.
The pretext that Israeli is “defending itself” from Palestinian rockets attack is a lie. Israel’s attack on Gaza has nothing to do with responding to Palestinians firing rockets. The rockets were the Palestinian only form of protest against Israel’s murderous occupation. In short, Israeli attacks against the Palestinians are asymmetric massacre carried-out by the world’s fourth-largest army.

According to Michael Mandel, a professor of Law at York University in Toronto, Canada, Israel case of “self-defence” is fraud. If Israel is concerns about “defending itself” against the Palestinians, it can do so peacefully by ending the occupation of Palestinian land and stop the daily murder of Palestinians. Israel’s attack – like all previous Israeli acts of aggression – is against any hope of peaceful settlement. It is worth noting that the German Nazis used the pretext of “self-defence” to justify pre-emptive violence and military occupation.

If the German Nazis accused of using “gas chambers” (still disputed accusation) to kill civilians, Israeli Zionfascist leaders used all kinds of banned weapons, including bombs that incinerate people alive. It is reported recently that the new U.S.-supplied weapon is being tested on the Palestinians in Gaza. It was a classic case of naked Zionfascism. As the atrocity in Gaza shows, Zionfascism become more naked in recent years. It follows in the footsteps of fascism: the obliteration of Palestinian identity and the annexation of Palestinian land.

With complete monopoly on violence, successive Israeli leaders from David Ben-Gurion to Ehud Olmert and everyone in between have always targeted civilians. “Our policy has been to attack civilians,” indiscriminately and deliberately, said one Israeli leader. ”The Palestinians must be hit and it must be very painful: we must cause them losses, victims, so that they feel the heavy price”, said former Israeli Prime Minister and war criminal Ariel Sharon in 2002. Sharon was merely defined Israeli policies in Palestine: a naked Zionfascism.

The Israeli Zionfascist army principle is: “if you continue killing Palestinian civilians for long enough, the world will accept it”. In 1978, Israeli Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur told the media: “Since 1948 until today, we have been fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities”. Commenting on Gur’s blunt statement, the Israeli military analyst Zeev Schiff wrote: “[T]he Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously … the Army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets… [but] purposely attacked civilian targets even when Israeli settlements had not been struck.” Furthermore, former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban wrote in response to Israeli terrorist attacks; “The picture that emerges is of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations in a mood reminiscent of regimes [e.g. the Nazi regime] which neither Mr. [Menachem] Begin nor I would dare to mention by name.” (See: Edward S. Herman, The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda. South End Press, 1982). The adoption of Nazi-like policies by Israeli leaders since the creation of Israel is designed to terrorise and instil fear among the general Palestinian population and intimidate the Palestinian Resistance.

Professor Richard Falk, a law scholar at Princeton University and the UN special rapporteur called for an independent inquiry into Israel’s violation of international humanitarian law. Falk, a Jew, compared Israel’s aggression against the besieged Palestinian in Gaza to “the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto” which included the starvation and murder of innocent civilians by the German Nazis. Falk added the “the UN Charter and international law does not give Israel the legal foundation for claiming self-defence” against defenceless people.

“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians”, Sir Gerald Kaufman (MP) told the British House of Commons Debate on Gaza. The use of the “Jewish holocaust” and the use of the “anti-Semitism” cliché by Zionists aimed at not only to cover-up Israeli war crimes but also at intimidating and silencing critiques of Israeli war crimes.

The exploitation of the “Jewish holocaust” guilt and the use of the “anti-Semitism” cliché by Zionists and supporters of Israeli war crimes are invoked in order to keep Zionfascism alive. Zionfascism flourishes in a political climate of violence and hatred. It sustains itself by promoting and encouraging Jewish “anti-Semitism”.

It is worth noting that, Israeli Zionfascist leaders are openly claiming to represent all Jews. In other words, everything that Israel does, it does it in the name of all Jews. In fact Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians are strongly supported and demanded by major Jewish organisations. Indeed, the recent mass murder of Palestinian in Gaza had overwhelming support from Israeli Jews, major Jewish organisations and Jews world-wide. In a letter to Ehud Olmert in 2007, the former Sephardic grand rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu stated openly; “there is absolutely no moral prohibition against indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launching”. Hence, if there is Jewish “anti-Semitism”, it is a reaction to Israeli war crimes in Palestine. The reality, there is no Jewish “anti-Semitism”; there is widespread and systematic anti-Arabs/anti-Muslims racism, Islamophobia.

To Israel’s pleasure, Islamophobia is now infecting most non-Islamic countries, including the U.S., Europe and Australia. Israeli Zionists have been promoting and “exploiting the wave of Islamophobia in the U.S. and Europe, to engage them in this war on the Palestinians, doing their part in suffocating, starving, and weakening the Palestinian people, as Israel caries its mission of destruction”, wrote the late Israeli scholar Tina Reinhart.

Meanwhile, Western media one-sided coverage and complicity allow Israeli Zionfascist leaders to commit and get away with all kinds of war crimes. As the atrocity unfolded, the BBC refused to broadcast a charity appeal for to raise emergency funds for the Palestinian people in Gaza is just a case in point of media bias. The BBC alleges that broadcasting the appeal could compromise its impartiality. According to the BBC, supporting Palestinian children is anti-Israel propaganda that the BBC is working hard to eliminate. No one can be accused of being biased against Israel murderous occupation and injustice. Israel is an occupying power practising genocidal policies in Palestine. The BBC is not impartial and the excuse does not withstand a moment’s of scrutiny.

The BBC is a Zionfascist propaganda organ promoting Western militarism and colonialism. The BBC has always distorted reality on the ground in Palestine and has covered-up Israeli atrocities. It is a pro-Israel Zionfascist propaganda mouthpiece. The BBC main aim is to protect Israeli-Western criminals and murderers against the interests of defenceless Palestinian victims. The BBC’s mantra is to portray Israel as a victim of “terrorism” despite overwhelming evidence which shows that Israel is the leading terrorist state. For the BBC, defenceless people are “militants” and resistance against murderous occupiers is “terrorism”.

It is important to remember that during the U.S.-NATO criminal attacks on Serbia, the BBC played a critical propaganda role to justifying and covering-up Western war crimes. Furthermore, the BBC complicity in the Iraq’s Genocide and the ongoing murderous Occupation remove any claim of “impartiality”. Why the BBC remain silent while Israeli Zionfascist leaders used Gaza as “test laboratory” for new weapons? Until the BBC begins to uncover Israeli war crimes in Palestine and put and end to its anti-Arabs/anti-Muslims imperialist propaganda, its claim of “impartiality” is fraud.

Finally, since Israeli Zionfascist leaders declared a unilateral “ceasefire”, more than a dozen innocent Palestinians have been murdered. Hamas is reportedly offering a year-long truce if Israel withdraws from Gaza and lifts its blockade. However, Israeli Zionfascist leaders are not interested in peace because peace could lead to peaceful settlement that Israeli leaders are not interested in. They preferred aggression and expansion to peace and security. They have engineered and used provocation in order to launch acts of aggression. Credit is due to the Palestinians for dealing with the equivalent of Nazi war criminals.

In fact, Israeli leaders have just made it clear that Israel is not going to live up to the ceasefire until Hamas returns a captured soldier, Gilad Shalit who was captured as POW. He could have been killed during the Israeli attack. Israeli leaders are now using him as a bargaining chip. His release is the latest Israeli pretext to reject peace. How about Israel releasing more than 10,000 Palestinian men, women and children who were kidnapped and taken hostages by Israel? They are subjected to daily torture and horrendous human rights abuses at the hands of Israeli agents and interrogation criminals. As always, Israel is not interested in peace. It prefers violence and occupation.

“Today, Israel could have security, normalization of relations, and integration into the region. But it very clearly prefers illegal expansion, conflict, and repeated exercise of violence, actions that are not only criminal, murderous and destructive but are also eroding its own long-term security”, writes the American linguist Noam Chomsky. Instead of confronting its murderous history, Israel continues on the path of aggression, murder, ethnic cleansing and illegal occupation of Palestinian land. Today, Israel is the most extremist and racist society. It is ruled by one of the most corrupt and violent quasi-military political establishments. Its politics are Zionfascist politics, and its policies are colonial-apartheid policies.

Israel’s Zionfascism is the greatest threat to world peace and security. Its real aim has always been military domination and the obliteration of the Palestinian nation. It is time for people to stop acting like outsiders. The alternative is the global resistance campaign that includes boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to defeat Zionfascism in pursuit of peace and Palestinian independence.

 

Turn to China, Islamists Urge Pakistan GovernmentFriday, February 20, 2008By Patrick Goodenough, Associated PressResidents of Pakistan’s troubled Swat valley welcome the arrival of a convoy of vehicles led by a pro-Taliban cleric on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Mainstream Islamists in Pakistan are urging the government to turn to China to extricate the country from “the clutches” of the United States, arguing that the two Asian countries are both targeted by U.S. conspiracies.
 
The call by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan’s main Islamic party, came on the eve of a visit to Beijing by President Asif Ali Zardari – his second in four months – and at a time the West is troubled about a controversial peace agreement struck with Taliban-linked militants in northwest Pakistan’s Swat valley.
 
A JI delegation has just returned from a visit to China, where it signed an accord with the Communist Party covering what the Islamist group said were the fields of justice, development, security and solidarity.
 
The two parties also agreed to uphold the principle of non-interference; China has been concerned that Islamists outside the country have been supporting those in Xinjiang, the Muslim-majority far western region.
 
A JI statement quoting party leader Qazi Hussain Ahmad laid out the group’s argument for a China-oriented approach.
 
Pointing to U.S. unhappiness about the Swat agreement, he said the government must tell Washington to keep out of Pakistan’s affairs.
 
“Pakistan is trapped in a tight U.S. grip where Islamabad is not allowed to independently deal with its internal affairs,” the statement quoted Qazi as saying.
 
Pakistan “needs sincere friends to get rid of the U.S. clutches and China is the only answer to this problem,” he said.
 
“Washington has waged a war against all Muslim movements in the world and the troika of [the] U.S., Israel and India is hatching conspiracies against Pakistan. [The] U.S. has also set a trap for China in the region and under these circumstances both Pakistan and China need each other.”
 
Qazi pointed to Chinese help in the past – its support for Pakistani positions in the U.N. Security Council, where China holds one of five veto-wielding permanent seats; its building of a deep-water port at Gwadar; and joint development of fighter jets as an alternative to the Air Force’s aging U.S.-supplied F-16s.
 
Zardari’s visit to Beijing last October – his first trip abroad after taking office the previous month – brought an agreement that China would help Pakistan build two additional nuclear power plants to help meet its growing energy needs. (China has already built one nuclear reactor in Pakistan’s Punjab province, and is working on a second.)
 
The U.S. State Department subsequently notified both Islamabad and Beijing about its objections to the plan for two more reactors, saying that notwithstanding Pakistan’s energy needs its proliferation record would make it difficult to obtain the necessary clearance from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group.
 
China’s interests in Pakistan go well beyond economic and nuclear cooperation. The Gwadar port project offers China an outlet to the strategic waters of the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf.
 
Zardari’s current trip, beginning on Friday, will focus on economic and trade relations, according to the foreign ministry in Islamabad.
 
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a briefing that the government attached “great importance” to the visit.
 
‘Bad guys’
 
The visit comes at a time when the Zardari government is under pressure from Western allies over the peace deal in Swat, which lies within what is known as the “settled” area of Pakistan, in contrast to the nearby tribal belt, large portions of which are already effectively in Taliban and al-Qaeda hands.
 
Proponents, including the secular party that controls the North-West Frontier Province and negotiated the accord, say it will bring an end to a costly insurgency in the scenic valley.
 
Taliban-allied radicals demanding the imposition of Islamic law (shari’a) have been carrying out a 18-month campaign of terror, killing policemen and others and burning down girls’ schools while successfully resisting Pakistani Army attempts to oust them.
 
Critics argue the agreement will surrender another portion of Pakistani territory  to extremists, allow them to consolidate and rearm, encourage further “Talibanization” of the country, and worsen security on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
 
Previous peace agreements in Pakistan’s north-west, negotiated by provincial and federal governments, have been short-lived and – in the view of the U.S. and NATO –  counterproductive.
 
After an initially low-key response by the Obama administration to news of the agreement, envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke came out more firmly against the deal on Thursday evening.
 
“We are troubled and confused in the sense about what happened in Swat, because it is not an encouraging trend,” he told PBS.
 
“Previous ceasefires have broken down and we do not want to see territory ceded to the bad guys,” Holbrook said. “The people who took over Swat are very bad people.”
 
The matter will likely be taken further when administration officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Holbrooke hold talks in Washington next week with senior Pakistani and Afghan delegations.
 
Zardari has yet to sign off on the Swat agreement, but Pakistani foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit told a media briefing Thursday that internal peace and security was the government’s top priority. Concerns expressed from outside about the agreement were based on mere speculation, he said.

(Copyright 2008 Associated Press.

 

WE PLANTED THE TREE OF TERRORISM IN PAKISTAN

WE PLANTED THE TREE OF TERRORISM IN PAKISTAN

‘Elements behind 9/11, Mumbai, Swat have common roots’  –Richard Holbrooke

The ambassador maintains the official fairytale that the tree of terrorism which grows in Pakistan is not clearly marked “MADE IN AMERICA,” while he seeks to blame the government there for the terror campaigns which have benefitted no one but American war planners.  The international militant network which operates out of Pakistan and Afghanistan is an American creation, designed to further American geostrategic plans, bringing the world into a single line behind American plans for the world, facing a ficticious common enemy.

Our government wants the whole world and will not hesitate to kill Indians, Afghans, Pakistanis or Americans to acquire it.