by Peter Goodgame.
book: The Globalists and the Islamists: Formenting a ‘clash of civilization’ for a new world order.
As we have related, in his book A Brutal Friendship, Said Aburish defined three phases of Western-Islamic relations. The first was the period during which Britain used Islam to help legitimize the puppet dictators that they had installed over their Arab colonies after World War I. The second phase was a period during which Britain (and America) used militant Islam as a force to help topple governments such as Mossadegh’s and Nasser’s that were trying to fight Western domination. Aburish writes,
“The struggle between Nasser and the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots and Western and traditional Arab regimes’ supporters continued until the 1967 War. Western support for Islam was provided openly and accepted by the leadership of the Islamic movements without reservation.” (1)
Aburish notes that Islam had a good image in the West up to this time. The Islamic movement was noted most for its anti-communist outlook and there was little foresight that conservative Islam might turn against the West. Aburish then begins to describe the third phase,
“The third phase in the development of Islamic movements occurred after the 1967 war. The defeat of Nasser was a defeat for the force he represented, secularism, and with Nasser diminished, the Islamic movements moved to assume the political leadership of the masses of Arab Middle East.” (2)
After 1967 the power of the Islamic movements greatly increased. Islamic theology overtook secularism and a more potent form of Arab nationalism emerged. The Six Day War saw the West stand by as Israel defeated her Arab neighbors, capturing the Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. It then became clear to most Muslims that the West favored Israel over the Arabs and resentment towards the West increased. This third phase of Western-Islamic relations began when factions of this predominantly anti-Western Fundamentalist Islamic movement began to exercise their new political influence throughout areas of the Muslim world.
After Nasser died in 1970 and was replaced by Anwar al-Sadat the new Egyptian president tried to appease the threat of militant Islam by releasing all of the imprisoned members of the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the fact that the Brotherhood had been involved in at least four separate assassination attempts on Nasser’s life over the previous sixteen years. Sadat then joined forces with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and they became sponsors and promoters of the Al Azhar Islamic university as well as Islamic movements such as Al Dawa and I’tisam. These leaders realized that it was best to at least appear to support the rise of the Islamic movements. (3)
On October 6, 1973 Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on the Israeli Army in the Sinai and the Golan Heights. On October 16 OPEC raised the price of oil by a whopping 70%, and then the next day Arab OPEC leaders announced that they would enforce a progressive embargo against Europe and the United States until Israel was forced to withdraw to their pre-1967 borders.
Engdahl’s book, A Century of War, relates how US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger was able to convince Germany not to declare neutrality regarding the October war, while Britain “was allowed to clearly state its neutrality.” Britain remained neutral throughout the entire episode and was one of the few Western countries not placed under the Arab oil embargo. (4)
The Yom Kippur War ended on October 26, but the effects were such that the Arab regimes came out much better in several respects. Firstly, they had finally been effective militarily against Israel and they had won back some territory. Secondly, their regimes were infused with a great deal of popular support and the voice of the Islamic militants was temporarily quelled. Lastly, the Arab nations suddenly became the benefactors of a huge increase in oil revenues, from $3.01 a barrel in early ’73, to $11.65 a barrel in early ’74. (5)
Engdahl relates that the rise in oil prices was something that had been planned previously by the Anglo-American Establishment and mentioned at the Bilderberg conference in May, 1973 in Saltsjoebaden, Sweden. Kissinger was the point man in engineering the Arab-Israeli conflict that created the excuse for the oil price hike that helped to rescue Britain’s North Sea oil projects that had previously been seen as risky investments. The most catastrophic effect, however, was that the rise in energy prices put a quick halt to Third World industrialization, forcing many countries to borrow a great deal of money over the years to pay for energy, thus setting the stage for the long-term indebtedness of the Third World to Anglo-American banks (6).
After the war the Establishment awarded Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize and later he received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth, for his lifelong devoted service to the Crown, in 1995.
The Arab regimes were suddenly greatly enriched as a result of the rise in oil prices, but the threat of the Islamic movements remained. King Faisal of Saudi Arabia feigned support for Islam, but was often forced to crack down on the religious leaders and organizations that seemed to constantly criticize the royal family’s overt greed, luxury and corruption. Faisal was assassinated in 1975 by his nephew Prince Faisali bni Musad, in retaliation for Faisal’s execution of Musad’s Muslim Zealot brother who had attacked a TV station on the grounds that it was a violation of Islam. (7)
In Egypt Sadat’s regime came under extreme pressure from the Islamic movements after he signed the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1978. This led to the assassination of Sadat, by members of Islamic Jihad, an offshoot group of the Muslim Brotherhood, on October 6, 1981.
In Syria, in 1982, there was a major conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian government at the city of Hamma that resulted in 20,000 casualties. In the aftermath Syria’s President Asad revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood forces were armed with US-made equipment. Aburish comments on how none of these events seemed to change the way in which militant Islam was used,
“Hamma, the assassination of Sadat and Faisal and less portentous acts didn’t interrupt Western and Arab client regimes’ support for Islamic movements, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt allowed pro-Islamic use of their state propaganda apparatus… And Israel, forever inclined to back divisive movements, surfaced as another supporter of Islam and began to fund the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas.” (8)
The most noteworthy success of the Islamic movement during this time was of course the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini as the Islamic dictator. British Intelligence had used their contacts with Iran’s mullahs and ayatollahs to help overthrow Mossadegh and install the Shah back in 1953, and these contacts were maintained and used again to overthrow the Shah when his regime fell out of favor.
The Establishment history of Iran’s Islamic Revolution is that Khomeini’s revolt was spontaneous and populist, and that it overthrew a repressive dictatorship that was hated by the people but supported wholeheartedly by the United States. It is true that the Shah’s government was not a democracy and that his secret service, trained by the CIA, was one of the most effective intelligence organizations in the world. But what is not reported is that prior to the British-sponsored massive public relations campaign on behalf of the Ayatollah the government of the Shah was loved by the vast majority of the population.
After taking over from Mossadegh the Shah began to push forward a number of nationalist policies that increased his popularity at home but, in some cases, worried the Anglo-American Establishment. First, he signed petroleum agreements with ENI, the Italian oil company. Then in 1963 he pushed forward on a series of popular reforms that became known as the White Revolution. The Shah evolved into a nationalist whose path paralleled that of Nasser far too much for the Establishment’s liking:- He bought land from the upper classes and, along with the crown’s own land, sold it back cheaply to tenant farmers, allowing over one a half million people to become land owners and ending the old feudal system.- He allowed women the right to vote, and brought an end to the wearing of the veil, which were “Westernizing” moves unwelcomed by the religious sector.- He pushed forward on a $90 billion nuclear power program. – He moved to shut down the lucrative opium industry that had been created during the days of British Empire control that had been running for a hundred years. (9)
In 1973 The Economist magazine featured Iran on the front cover with the caption: “Iran the Next Japan of the Middle East?” Iran’s economy had grown at a rate of 7-8% each year from 1965-1973 and was becoming an example for the developing nations of the world to follow. As far as the Anglo-American Establishment was concerned this could not be allowed to continue. Establishment goals were focused on world de-population and de-industrialization as formulated by policy makers like Lord Bertrand Russell and as advocated by establishment lackeys such as Kissinger, Zibigniew Brzezinski and Robert McNamara (the head of the World Bank), as well as by the British elites who controlled the World Wildlife Fund and other environmental front groups. Iran had to be brought down. (10)
The attack on the Shah’s government came through the Muslim Brotherhood and through the mullahs and ayatollahs of Iran, supported and manipulated by British Intelligence. Dr. John Coleman, a former British Intelligence agent and author of a number of books and monographs detailing the Establishment’s plan for a socialist world government, states in his report on Iran’s Islamic Revolution (11) that the Muslim Brotherhood was created by “the great names of British Middle East intelligence, T.E. Lawrence, E.G. Browne, Arnold Toynbee. St. John Philby and Bertrand Russell,” and that their mission was to “keep the Middle East backward so that its natural resource, oil, could continue to be looted…”
Dr. Coleman writes that in 1980 the broadcasts of Radio Free Iran divided the enemies of the Shah into four categories: 1. Iranian politicians bought by the Israeli Shin Bet, 2. The CIA’s network of agents, 3. The feudal landowners, 4. The Freemasons and the Muslim Brotherhood (viewed as the same enemy).
In his report Dr. Coleman writes that in Iran, “At one time there was even a joke about the mullahs being stamped ‘made in Britain.’” When the Shah introduced his plan for modernization in 1963 the Ayatollah Khomeini emerged as the leader of the religious opposition. Up until his exile from Iran in 1964, Khomeini was based at the religious city of Qom. Dr. Coleman relates that Radio Free Iran claimed that while at Qom Khomeini received a “monthly stipend from the British, and he is in constant contact with his masters, the British.”
Khomeini was kicked out of Iran and settled in Iraq. He lived there for a number of years until he was arrested by the Iraqi government and deported in 1978. French President D’Estang was then pressured to offer Khomeini refuge in France to continue his “Islamic studies.” While in France he became a Western celebrity and the symbol of the anti-Shah Islamic revolution. Coleman writes, “Once Khomeini was installed at the Chateau Neauphle, he began to receive a constant stream of visitors, many of them from the BBC, the CIA and British intelligence.”
At the same time Amnesty International was continuing its intense campaign against the Shah’s government, accusing it of torture and other terrible human rights abuses. The international press picked up on this theme and carried it around the world.
The BBC then became the Ayatollah’s main promoter. Dr. Coleman writes, “It was the BBC, which prepared and distributed to the mullahs in Iran all of the cassette tapes of Khomeini’s speeches, which inflamed the peasants. Then the BBC began to beam accounts of torture by the Shah’s SAVAK to all corners of the world… In September and October 1978 the BBC began to beam Khomeini’s inflammatory ravings direct to Iran in Farsi. The Washington Post said, ‘the BBC is Iran’s public enemy number one.’”
The BBC Persian Service came to be nicknamed in Iran the “Ayatollah BBC” for its non-stop coverage of everything that Khomeini wanted to say (12). Soon a large segment of the Iranian public, most of them impressionable young students, became convinced that the Shah truly was evil and that a return to pure shi’ite Islam under the Ayatollah’s leadership was the only way to save their country. The Carter Administration, manipulated by British lackey Zbigniew Brzezinski, then collaborated with the British to topple the Shah and install Khomeini.
Dr. Coleman relates that Carter appointed Trilateralist George Ball to head a commission on U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf. Ball’s recommendation was that the U.S. should withdraw its support for the Shah’s regime. Dr. Coleman quotes from the Shah’s own memoirs to confirm the American stance, the reality that is contrary to the mass-marketed Establishment line that the U.S. supported the Shah to the end,
“I did not know it then, perhaps I did not want to know – but it is clear to me now, the Americans wanted me out. What was I to make of the sudden appointment of Ball to the White House as an advisor to Iran? I knew that Ball was no friend of Iran. I understood that Ball was working on a special report on Iran. But no one ever informed me what areas the report was to cover, let alone its conclusions. I read them months later when I was in exile, and my worst fears were confirmed. Ball was among those Americans who wanted to abandon me, and ultimately my country.”
After the Shah stepped down in 1979 and fled the country his “firm ally,” the United States, even refused to allow him asylum forcing him to move with his family to Egypt. During the subsequent takeover of the American embassy when supporters of the Ayatollah kept Americans hostage for 444 days it became crystal clear to the entire world that the anti-democratic, anti-Israel Islamic movement was also very anti-West. Nonetheless the Anglo-American Establishment continued to support and promote radical Islam.
In 1977 Bhutto of Pakistan, who we will cover shortly, was removed; in 1979 the Shah of Iran was removed; in 1981 Sadat was assassinated, and in 1982 the Muslim Brotherhood revolted in Syria. Before 1977 the Middle East was on the verge of achieving stability and industrial and economic parity with the West through nationalist policies and high oil prices, but by the early ’80s the Middle East was in flames. Egypt was reeling and Mubarak was consolidating a shaky hold on power. Iran and Iraq, both armed by the West, were beginning their long war. Israel and Syria were invading Lebanon that was fighting a civil war, and Russia was invading Afghanistan whose rebels were being supported by Pakistan. The de-population and de-industrialization scheme advocated by the British and adopted by the Americans was off to a great start.
[Mr. Ali presents his always different take on Pakistan's ongoing militancy problems by, once again, using Ahmed Quraishi's assessment as a counter-point. I have come to think that the truth about the situation lies somewhere between these two men's analysis of events. Ahmed gives a pro-military point of view, while Ali contends that the military is the source of all the problems in dealing with American/British intrigues.]
If the American administration wish to invade Pakistan, Pakistan would need to be under a dictatorship, a military dictatorship. Democracies never attack another Democracy. The next best thing would be of course to say that Pakistan is not a fully functioning Democracy, in the present circumstances……..or Pakistan needs more American “help”. So it is clear where ALL is this vilification is going.
The best policy for Pakistanis is to rally around a civilian administration which is effective, and press the Pakistan military to deal with the Pakistan Taliban first; dismantle the anti-Indian Kashmiri fighters next, and close down the 40 odd training camps based in Pakistan. Then wind-up the Afghan Taliban based in and around Quetta. Finally deny that “al-Qaeda” exists in Pakistan, or at all if you can.
1. Debunk the “al-Qaeda” myth, say OBL is dead, and there is no “al-Qaeda ” in Pakistan.
2. Stop the Pakistan army using fundamentalist proxies in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India as an extension of its strategies.
3. Support good effective civilian governments in Pakistan, and marginalize the corrupt ones.
If the Pakistan army follows my advise, a great deal of the problems of the country will go away. No more threats of invasion from America, India or anybody else. The Pakistan military by its covert/overt conduct invite destabilization and threats to the country—-this can be avoided only if the Pakistan military changes its ways. One or the other. (More here)
Submitted 2 hrs 48 mins ago
Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) has dissociated it from the government’s announcement of establishing Darul Qaza and appointment of Qazis in Malakand. A meeting of TNSM held in Amandara with Sufi Mohammed in chair regretted that the government didn’t consult TNSM over establishment of Darul Qaza and appointment of Qazis. Meanwhile, Spokesman of Awami National Party Zahid Khan has said that Sufi Mohammed had earlier said that the provincial government would have power to appoint Qazis and now we have taken steps for it. He said there is no justification of taking up arms now if someone uses arms the government would have no option but to initiate action against them.
[Does Kayani's first-ever trip to Waziristan mean that the Army is prepared to bring the drama to the region as part of the US pay-off?]
MIRAMSHAH/WANA: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Saturday visited two troubled tribal regions — North and South Waziristan— and addressed the soldiers.
The Army chief first came to Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, where unprecedented security measures were made and gunship choppers were seen hovering over the area since Saturday morning. Major-General Noor Zaman, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7th Division of the Pakistan Army, received Gen Kayani at the Miramshah military airport, where other senior officials were also present.
It was Gen Kayani’s first-ever trip to the two important tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
After his meeting with senior military officers and his address to the soldiers, Gen Kayani went to Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan. In Wana, the Army chief met military officials and addressed the troops. In his addresses, Gen Kayani praised the soldiers for their professional skills and spirit in the fight against terrorism.
[Has he already received his orders for the great unfolding drama?]
By Qudssia Akhlaque
ISAMABAD: Contrary to the US expectation, Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will not be leading the country’s military team for the summit-level trilateral Pak-Afghan talks in Washington next week, it is learnt. Instead, top operational level officers will represent the military in a series of planned sessions aimed at joint efforts to end the growing militancy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Obama Administration was keen that the Army chief also travels to Washington for the three-nation talks to be led by the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US, according to informed sources. The three leaders are scheduled to meet on Wednesday and Thursday along with their key civilian and military aides.
The obvious reason for the Army chief’s decision not to go for the talks is the alarming security situation in the country and the ongoing military operations in parts of the NWFP and Fata to counter insurgency. Also, it was felt that with the top civilian leader heading the delegation, the inclusion of the top military man was unnecessary. This was also informally conveyed to the Americans here.
General Kayani has been in close contact with the top US generals and has been regularly exchanging notes on operational matters with Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who is a frequent traveller to Pakistan and was here on his 12th visit last week.
Military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas, when contacted by The News on Saturday, confirmed that the Army chief would not be travelling to Washington for the talks. He said ISI chief Shuja Pasha and the director-general Military Operations will represent the military side in the inter-agency talks in Washington. The two officials, who had also participated in the first round of the talks led by the foreign minister, will leave on Monday.
President Asif Ali Zardari will be leading a high-powered delegation to Washington early next week that will include Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other federal ministers, including his supposed trouble-shooter Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
Amid mounting pressure on Pakistan to “do more” to curb militancy and forewarnings from key world capitals that the coming weeks may be very crucial for the country, all attention will be focused on the trilateral deliberations in Washington next week.
[Next, Obama will declare that the situation in Pakistan is a direct threat to American security, enabling him to declare a "national emergency," issueing an executive order threatening the economic assets of anyone who contributes to the instability by word or deed.]
WASHINGTON, May 2: The Obama administration wanted Congress to give wartime authorities to US military commanders dealing with Pakistan, US officials told a congressional panel.
Under the new proposal, the US Central Command will have the same unfettered authority in its dealings with Pakistan as it enjoys in the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Centcom will also have complete control over US military assistance for Pakistan and will not have to consult other US departments or agencies before disbursing those funds.
Traditionally such military aid flows through the State Department and is subject to Foreign Assistance Act restrictions.
US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates revealed the outlines of the new programme during a congressional hearing on Thursday, telling lawmakers they needed to approve US military aid to Pakistan with a sense of wartime urgency.
The Pentagon is seeking $400 million this year for the new Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, with an additional $700 million for 2010. Overall, the administration is seeking as much as $3 billion over the next five years in funding for the Pakistani military.
Under the proposal, Centcom chief Gen David Petraeus will control the military funds earmarked for Pakistan. The funds will be used for counterinsurgency training and for providing equipment such as night-vision goggles, helicopters and intelligence capabilities.
The new programme will significantly expand and accelerate US military training and equipping of Pakistan’s security forces. It will allow US trainers to reach beyond the tribally recruited Frontier Corps and Pakistani Special Forces to include the regular Pakistan Army’s 11th Corps, which is stationed along the Afghan border.
The Pentagon seeks ‘this unique authority for the unique and urgent circumstances we face in Pakistan —for dealing with a challenge that simultaneously requires wartime and peacetime capabilities,’ Secretary Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee.
US lawmakers, however, voiced concerns about giving the Pentagon complete control over war funds meant for Pakistan.
‘We question the appropriateness of providing foreign assistance for Pakistan under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defence,’ said Senator Daniel K. Inouye, the committee chairman.
‘The responsibility for training Pakistani police and military forces resides with the Department of State, which ensures it complies with our overall foreign policy,’ Matthew Dennis, a spokesman for Rep Nita M. Lowey, told the Washington Post.
Rep Lowey opposes the new Pentagon fund. ‘The exception is when the United States is at war, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Pakistan that is not the case,’ the spokesman said.
‘But administration and military officials argue that US commanders need wartime authorities (in Pakistan) because they are overly constrained by current funding programmes,’ the Post reported on Friday.
‘We’re walking a pretty fine line here. This is not a war zone for the US military. But given the urgency of the situation, we need similar authorities in order to help Pakistan train and equip its troops for counterinsurgency operations ASAP,’ Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told the Post.
In a letter to the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, Gen Petraeus said the fund would allow senior military representatives to act decisively. ‘In areas of armed conflict, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . we have achieved progress because these funds are immediately available and commanders have been able to rapidly adjust to changing conditions on the ground.’
‘(The Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund) would serve the same purpose in Pakistan, where a growing insurgency threatens the country’s very existence and has a direct and deadly impact on US and coalition forces operating in Afghanistan,’ Gen Petraeus wrote.
NEW YORK, May 2: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is being courted by the Obama administration to bolster the government of President Asif Ali Zardari to confront the stiffening challenge by Taliban insurgents, the New York Times said on the eve of Zardari’s visit to Washington.
The newspaper said as the American confidence in the Pakistani government wanes, the Obama administration is reaching out more directly than before to Sharif.
The report, since President Obama on Wednesday himself declared Zardari regime ‘weak and vulnerable’, reflects the heightened concern in the Obama administration about the survivability of the Zardari government, the newspaper said.
Obama said he was ‘gravely concerned’ about the stability of the Pakistani government; on Friday, a Defense Department official described Mr. Zardari as being ‘very very weak’ the newspaper said.
Gen. David Petraeus the head of the United States Central Command, has said in private meetings in Washington that Pakistan’s government is increasingly vulnerable, according to administration officials.
General Petraeus is among those expected to attend an all-day meeting on Saturday with senior administration officials to discuss the next steps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in advance of high-level sessions next week in Washington, when Zardari and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan will meet with President Obama at the White House.
The Times said Washington has a bad history of trying to engineer domestic Pakistani politics, and no one in the administration is trying to broker an actual power-sharing agreement between Zardari and Sharif, administration officials say.
But the officials were quoted as telling the newspaper that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Richard C. Holbrooke the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, have both urged Zardari and Sharif to look for ways to work together, seeking to capitalize on Sharif’s appeal among the country’s Islamic groups.
Some Pakistani officials told the Times that members of Zardari’s government already were reaching out to Sharif and that officials in Washington were exaggerating their influence over Pakistani politics.
According to one Pakistani official, the government in Islamabad recently asked Sharif to rejoin the governing coalition. The two tried power-sharing last year, and that dissolved in acrimony only a week after Sharif and Zardari had banded together to force the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf
Obama administration officials have been up front in expressing dissatisfaction with the response shown by Zardari’s government to increasing attacks by Taliban fighters and insurgents with Al Qaeda in the country’s tribal areas, and along its western border with Afghanistan.
One official told the Times the administration wanted to broker an agreement not so much to buoy Zardari personally, but to accomplish what the administration believes Pakistan must do.
‘The idea here is to tie Sharif’s popularity to things we think need to be done, like dealing with the militancy,’ said the official, who insisted on anonymity to speak more candidly about American differences with Pakistan’s government.
Both Holbrooke and Clinton have spoken with Sharif by telephone in the past month, and have urged Zardari’s increasingly unpopular government to work closely with Sharif, administration officials said.
‘We told them they’re facing a national challenge, and for that, you need bipartisanship,’ a senior administration official said. ‘The president’s popularity is in the low double digits. Nawaz Sharif is at 83 per cent. They need to band together against the militants.’
Sir Mark Lyall Grant, director of political affairs at the British Foreign Office, was in Washington on Monday for talks with Holbrooke and Clinton on Pakistan, according to American and European officials.
The three discussed Sharif, but no conclusions were reached, a European official said. ‘There’s certainly no agreement that Nawaz should become Zardari’s prime minister,’ the official said, speaking on grounds of anonymity.
He said the enmity between the two would make such a situation impossible. But he added: ‘We need people who have influence over the militancy in Pakistan to calm it down. Who’s got influence? The army, yes. And Nawaz, yes.’
WASHINGTON, May 2 (Online): US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Hoolbroke has said that the prevailing political leadership of Pakistan is capable of resolving all crisis faced by Pakistan including terrorism.
He ruled out impression that US is eyeing on another military coup in Pakistan and termed the reports in this respect as ’baseless rumors’ inflicted by media.
In an exclusive chat with Private TV Channel, Hoolbroke said, “Pakistani political leadership is capable of resolving all. He said the Obama administration’s has full confidence in the ability of the democratic Pakistani government to deliver services for its people as he rubbished media reports implying that Washington might be concerned about the performance of the elected government to the point of seeking change. “President (Barack) Obama has invited President (Asif Ali) Zardari to Washington next week, one of the first visitors he has had since he became president,” he said, adding “Our support is for the democratically elected government of President Asif Ali Zardari.
It’s simple as that. Who has President Obama invited to Washington next week? President Zardari.”
“This is journalistic garbage. This is journalistic gobbledygook. It’s a story being hyped by journalists,” he added, when asked to comment on interpretations in the Pakistani Press about President Obama’s remarks in a Press Conference.
Holbrooke pointed out that the fact is the US administration is supporting Islamabad in overcoming challenges facing the country.
“Let us focus on facts. We helped Pakistan raise five and a half billion dollars in Tokyo two weeks ago. We are asking Congress for more money for Pakistan. We are focusing on helping your country faced down a serious terrorist threat from the West, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Journalists can write anything they want, You have a free Press. That is part of a strong democracy, but it is not true,” he said.
He stated “it’s true that our chairman of the joints staff Admiral Mullen visits Pakistan quite often. But that is to offer assistance to your country. General (Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani, the head of the army, has pledged support for the democratic and civilian government of Pakistan. We take him at his word.”
Holbrooke said, President Obama also has “very deep personal feelings for Pakistan. As a young man he visited Pakistan. His mother worked there, she loved Pakistan. And we are not throwing bricks over Pakistan. I don’t even know what that means. We are helping Pakistan. We helped raise billions of dollars for Pakistan at a pledging conference in April. And now, we are going to ask Congress for even more money for Pakistan.
We believe Pakistan is a critically important country, a democracy, a state that is facing very many difficult economic and political challenges. In the middle of this, you have miscreants in the west, who are trying to cause enormous extra problems. And this is extremely serious and we want to help Pakistan deal with this problem.”
When asked if the government in Islamabad is capable of delivering what is being expected from it, he replied: “Of course, the government in Islamabad is capable of running the country.They are democratically elected, a fine group of people. I know many of the ministers, many of them will be here in Washington next week, your foreign minister, your agricultural minister, your finance minister, the head of intelligence services and many other senior officials will be here. “I know all of these people, extremely capable people. So again all I can say is that this is journalistic gobbledygook.”
Commenting on Congressional moves to expand economic assistance for the country and also contemplate emergency aid, he said President Obama has expressed his support for Kerry Lugar legislation and indicted that the volume of assistance could be higher than $ 1.5 billion annually.
“I think Pakistan is under challenges from the miscreants in the West, the Taliban, al-Qaeda —- now we (the US and Pakistan) face a common challenge, a common danger and we have a common task. And to that US is increasing assistance to Pakistan, we are welcoming President Zardari in Washington, asking other countries to spend more for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and working for closer cooperation between the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. That is what we are doing and we will continue to do it because it is in the interest of peace and stability throughout South Asia.”
Updated at: 1345 PST, Sunday, May 03, 2009
BUNER: Operational Commander, Brigadier Fayyaz has said that eighty militants have thus far been killed in the operation underway here, while 21 suicide attackers’ attempt to assault security forces at Ambila was foiled by killing the bombers.
They made this attempt riding vehicles, motorcycles and some even on foot. The operation commander briefing the media told that Dagar and adjoining areas have been wiped out of miscreants, while operation against Taliban has been planned at Dir Baba and Sultan Bukhsh.
He said that Swat residents among the militants count less, as mostly belong to Waziristan, Tajik and Uzbek. He said that only three security men were martyred and six injured in operation.
[China constructs its own new path, while British concerns cry "foul" and plot new gambits.]
A top Pakistani general wants the U.S. to stop sending drones and troops after the militants undermining the governments in Kabul and Islamabad. It’s a suggestion that’s unlikely to be met warmly in the White House or the Pentagon, where frustrations are growing with Pakistan’s limp response to domestic radicals. Just this week, Islamabad’s army took its sweet time responding to a Taliban offensive that put the militants in temporary control of a district just 60 miles from the Pakistani capital.
Pakistani military and political leaders have begged, over and over again, for an end to the U.S. killer drone campaign credited with taking out dozens of militants. But this is, to my knowledge the first time a leading official has called for stopping the drone war — as well as the larger conflict against the Taliban.
“Offer the Taliban a cease fire,” the Pakistani general counseled in a presentation to Washington opinion-leaders this week. “Suspend UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] attacks in Pakistan so long as the cease fire is maintained.”
Next week, Pakistani and Afghan officials will gather with American leaders in Washington, to discuss new strategies for putting down the hydra-headed insurgency. This general’s presentation – it was not-for-attribution, sorry — shows just how differently Islamabad views the situation, and its possible solutions.
Americans may think that the Paksitani military hasn’t done enough to tackle the Taliban. But the Pakistani military has had 1,500 troops killed in action since 2002, and another 3,700 wounded, the general notes. Which is why, in addition to calling off the drones and declaring a cease fire, he wants America to ”stop maligning and discrediting Pakistan’s Army and Intelligence Agencies.” (Never mind those agencies’ long-standing role in supporting the Taliban.)
The general also wants an “international consortium to finance [the] long term rebuilding of Afghanistan and to improve life in Pakistan.” He’d like an American “pledge not to interfere in politics or attack Afghanistan – providing that [there's] no hosting of terrorists/Al Qaeda.”
Naturally, the general is looking for a “resolution of Kashmir Issue with India,” too. This “will free Pakistan Army for operations against Taliban/Al Qaeda.” Because spree killings in your major cities and militants down the road from your capital isn’t incentive enough, apparently.
[Photo: Noah Shachtman]
By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR and JOSHUA FRANK
May 1, 2009
The ecological effects of war, like its horrific toll on human life, are exponential. When the Bush administration (parts one and two) and its congressional allies sent troops to Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime, they not only ordered these men and women to commit crimes against humanity, they also commanded them to perpetrate crimes against nature. Former Chief United Nations Weapons Inspector Hans Blix, prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, said the environmental consequences of the Iraq war could be more ominous than the issue of war and peace itself. Blix was right.
Months of bombing during the first Gulf War by the United States and Great Britain left a deadly and insidious legacy: tons of shell casings, bullets and bomb fragments laced with depleted uranium. In all, the United States hit Iraqi targets with more than 970 radioactive bombs and missiles.
Depleted uranium (DU) is a rather benign sounding name for uranium-238, the trace element left behind when fissionable material is extracted from uranium-235 for nuclear reactors and weapons. For decades, this waste was a nuisance; by the late 1980s there were nearly a billion tons of the radioactive material piled at plutonium processing plants across the country. Then Pentagon weapons designers discovered a use for the tailings: they could be molded into bullets and bombs. Uranium is denser than lead, making it perfect for armor penetrating weapons designed to destroy tanks, armored personnel carriers and bunkers. When tank-busting bombs explode, depleted uranium oxidizes into microscopic fragments that float through the air, carried on the desert winds for decades. Inhaled, the lethal bits of carcinogenic dust stick to the lungs, eventually wreaking havoc in the form of tumors, hemorrhages, ravaged immune systems, and leukemia.
More than 15 years later, the dire health consequences of our first radioactive bombing campaign in this region are coming into focus. Since 1990, the incidence rate of leukemia in Iraq has increased over 600 percent. Detection and treatment of cancers was made unnecessarily difficult by Iraq’s forced isolation under a regime of sanctions, producing what was described by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan as “a humanitarian crisis.”
The Pentagon has shuffled through a variety of rationales and excuses. First, the Defense Department shrugged off concerns about depleted uranium as wild conspiracy theories by peace activists, environmentalists and Iraqi propagandists. When the United States’ NATO allies demanded disclosure of the chemical and metallic properties of U.S. munitions, the Pentagon refused. Depleted uranium has a half-life of more than 4 billion years, approximately the age of the Earth. Thus, thousand of acres in Kuwait and southern Iraq have been — in terms of humanity’s existence — contaminated forever.
The bombing of Iraq’s infrastructure has had further substantial public health implications. Bombed-out industrial plants and factories have polluted groundwater. The damage to sewage-treatment plants, with reports that raw sewage formed massive pools of muck in the streets of Baghdad immediately after Bush’s “Shock and Awe” campaign, is also likely to result in poisoning rivers as well as humans; cases of typhoid among Iraqi citizens have risen tenfold since 1991, largely due to polluted drinking water. That number has almost certainly increased again since Saddam’s ouster.
While Iraq was sanctioned during the 1990s, U.N. officials in Baghdad agreed that the root cause of child mortality and other health problems was no longer simply lack of food and medicine, but the lack of clean water (freely available in all parts of the country prior to the first Gulf War) and of electrical power, which had predictable consequences for hospitals and water-pumping systems. Of the 21.9 percent of contracts vetoed as of mid-1999 by the U.N.’s U.S.-dominated sanctions committee, a high proportion were integral to failing water and sewage system repair efforts.
The future indeed looks bleak for the ecosystems and biodiversity of Iraq, but the consequences of the U.S. military invasion will not be confined to the war-stricken country. On the second day of the 2003 invasion it was reported by the New York Times and the BBC that Iraqi forces had set fire to several of the country’s large oil wells. Five days later in the Rumaila oilfields, six dozen wellheads were set ablaze. The dense black smoke rose high in the sky in southern Iraq, fanning a clear signal that a U.S. invasion had again ignited an environmental tragedy. Shortly after the initial invasion, the U.N. Environment Program’s satellite data showed a significant amount of toxic smoke had been emitted from burning oil wells.
According to Friends of the Earth, the fallout from burning oil debris — laced with poisonous chemicals such as mercury, sulfur, and furans — has created a toxic sea surface affecting the health of birds and marine life. One greatly affected area is the Sea of Oman, which connects the Arabian Sea to the Persian Gulf. This waterway is one of the world’s most productive marine habitats, which, the Global Environment Fund contends, “plays a significant role in sustaining the life cycle of marine turtle populations in the whole northwestern Indo-Pacific region.” Of the world’s seven marine turtles, five are found in the Sea of Oman and four of those five are listed as endangered while the other is classified as threatened.
The gulf’s shores, according to BirdLife’s Mike Evans, are “one of the top five sites in the world for wader birds and a key refueling area for hundreds of thousands of migrating water birds.” The U.N. Environment Program claims 33 wetland areas in Iraq are of vital importance to the survival of various bird species. These wetlands, the U.N. claims, are particularly vulnerable to pollution from munitions fallout as well as from sabotaged oil wells.
Mike Evans also maintains that the current Iraq war could destroy what’s left of the Mesopotamian marshes on the lower Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Construction of dams on the once roaring Tigris and Euphrates has dried up more than 90 percent of the marshes and has led to extinction of several animals; water buffalo, foxes, waterfowl, and boar have disappeared from the area. “What remains of the fragile marshes, and the 20,000 people who still live off them will lie right in the path of forces heading towards Baghdad from the south,” wrote Fred Pearce in the New Scientist prior to Bush’s invasion in 2003. The full effect this war has had on these wetlands and its inhabitants are still unknown.
The real cumulative impact of U.S. military action in Iraq, past and present, won’t be known for years, perhaps decades, to come. Stopping this war now will not only save lives, it will also help to rescue what’s left of Iraq’s fragile environment.
This essay is adapted from Born Under a Bad Sky: Notes From the Dark Side of the Earth.
Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky, is just out from AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the brand new book Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published by AK Press in July 2008.
WASHINGTON — A case that began four years ago with the tantalizing and volatile premise that officials of a major pro-Israel lobbying organization were illegally trafficking in sensitive national security information collapsed on Friday as prosecutors asked that all charges be withdrawn.
IST, Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
WASHINGTON: Imagine inviting a guest home for dinner and telling him and the rest of the world ahead of time that he is weak, fragile, and
incompetent. That’s pretty
much what the Obama administration has done to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari.
Whether it is a casual disregard for diplomatic niceties or a deliberate snub, Washington has virtually written Zardari’s political obituary by publicly sending out a message that it does not think much of him or his government.
Zardari, who was in Libya on Thursday and will also stop by in London, is expected in Washington on May 6 for trilateral talks with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai at a meeting hosted by President Obama. He can’t be feeling very good about it.
It began with President Obama himself undermining the Pakistani leader and his government at his press conference, calling it fragile and unable to deliver basic services. In other words, incompetent.
Obama also compounded the insult by clearly suggesting that Washington trusted the Pakistani army with custodial control of the country’s nuclear weapons and keeping them away from extremists.
Since then, several administration heavyweights have taken the cue and both berated and undermined Islamabad’s relatively young civilian government, making Zardari’s continuation in office highly untenable. There have been leaks galore in the US press ahead of the Zardari visit that Washington is now looking to his rival Nawaz Sharif, who is seen as closer to the Pakistani military, for leadership.
While the White House convened a high level meeting on Saturday to discuss the strategy for Pakistan, the wire service UPI and the New York Times among other outlets carried stories on the weekend saying the administration was looking to establish better relations with Sharif, who was previously looked on with suspicion because of his close ties with Islamists.
One possibility being discussed is Washington may want Sharif as prime minister in place of the incumbent, Yousuf Raza Gilani, with the backing of the Pakistani army. The army’s primacy remains unquestioned by the US.
Evidently unnerved at the possibility and clearly miffed at his government being described as ”fragile” Gilani told reporters in Pakistan that President Obama’s observations at his White House press conference was his ”personal opinion.” US Presidents are not known though to essay personal opinion from the White House lectern.
Meantime, there was even greater consternation in Pakistani circles over reports Washington had given Islamabad a two-week deadline (in comments attributed to US General David Petraeus) to sort out the Taliban or risk a US military intervention. US officials subsequently denied the report but said Pakistan needed to be consistent and decisive in its action against extremists.
”This is not something we’re going to be able to deal with in two days, two weeks, two months. This is going to take time,” said State Department spokesman Robert Wood, adding, ”But what’s important is … 110 per cent effort.”
But from all accounts, Washington does not think the man who is famously known as Mr Ten Per cent can make the 110 per cent effort. The big question now is whether Zardari can survive two weeks in office after being so severely undermined by the US.