Deconstructing Imran Khan’s Taliban narrative — III

Deconstructing Imran Khan’s Taliban narrative — III

—Farhat Taj

The government led by Mr Zardari’s party can be questioned for giving in to the establishment’s pressure by surrendering its authority and responsibility regarding foreign policy but to blame it for anything wrong with the foreign policy, including the war on terror, is misleading

Imran Khan claims that there were no suicide attacks in Pakistan before the US drone attacks and Pakistan Army operations in FATA. This is factually wrong. Suicide attacks have been happening before the US drone attacks and/or military operations in FATA. One of the deadliest suicide attacks was on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad in 1995. The other devastating suicide attack, also known as Karachigate, was on French engineers in Karachi. Both attacks have nothing to do with FATA, its people, culture and the US drone attacks or the Pakistan Army operations in the area. The attack on the Egyptian embassy was carried out by al Qaeda Arabs and the other attack is said to be revenge from the French authorities over a dispute about kickbacks in a French submarine sales contract with Pakistan. The French investigators have also been investigating al Qaeda linkages to the attack.

The suicide attacks rooted in FATA began to happen in Pakistan after the ISI implanted the jihadi infrastructure in the area through fake military operations that killed innocent civilians but left the Taliban unharmed, and peace deals that slipped the area into the hands of the Arab, Uzbek, Punjabi and Pakhtun militants. The last ethnic group of the militants, the local Pakhtun, were also strengthened through awards of development contracts, including those funded by western donors, to the relatives and friends of the Taliban.

In other words, the Pakistani state surrendered its internal sovereignty by design to the terrorists in FATA, some of whom are conducting ‘unauthorised’ attacks inside mainland Pakistan in response to their disputes with the their handlers in the intelligence agencies of Pakistan. But several of the attacks inside Pakistan, such as those on the ANP workers and leaders, should be seen as ‘authorised’ attacks to keep the Pakhtun nationalist party under pressure and above all to cut it off from reaching out to the people while at the same time keeping the field open to right-wingers like Imran Khan and the religious parties to reach out as much as they wish to spread the strategic depth propaganda. The ANP is an anomaly in the calculus of strategic depth. Imran Khan is clearly guilty of distorting the facts when he claims that the ANP wants negotiations with Taliban. As far as I understand, the ANP does not want negotiations with the Taliban but is forced by the establishment through acts or threats of terrorism to compromise such as on the occasion of the Swat peace deal.

Imran Khan is also playing fast and loose with the truth when he blames President Zardari for the way the war on terror is conducted by Pakistan. Everyone knows that the Pakistani generals are running the country’s foreign policy. The government led by Mr Zardari’s party can be questioned for giving in to the establishment’s pressure by surrendering its authority and responsibility regarding foreign policy but to blame it for anything wrong with the foreign policy, including the war on terror, is misleading.

Imran Khan’s claim that the Pakhtun tribes have successfully resisted world powers in the past is a misleading sweeping judgement. One really has to go into history to see that the real situation is not so black and white. For example, it is true that certain tribes or clans in FATA put forward an excellent resistance to the British, but is it not also a fact that many other tribes, clans and even people within the tribes resisting the British, cooperated with the colonial power? How were the British able to establish the FCR system in FATA if all tribes were united against the British? The tribesmen joined the British Imperial Army, the paramilitary forces established by the British, and became Khasadars (tribal police force) in the British administration in FATA. The tribes, clans and individuals who have been closely cooperating with the British were never eliminated through massacre by the other tribesmen who were resisting against the British even after the departure of the colonial power. This is unlike the Taliban who have massacred anti-Taliban tribesmen across FATA. In other words, what we see in tribal history is pragmatism in relation to foreign powers rather than an exclusively violence-driven resistance across the tribes.

Suicide attacks in Pakistan cannot be a tribal response to the US drone attacks. The US drone attacks on FATA intensified in 2008. Before that there have been only a few drone attacks on the area since 2004. Bu the suicide attacks inside Pakistan had intensified before 2008.

Imran Khan is running a propaganda for the so-called ‘civilian casualties’ in the drone attacks but has not uttered a word about hundreds of anti-Taliban tribal leaders target killed across FATA since 2003. The government of Pakistan never investigated those targeted killings and will never do it either as long as the generals dominate Pakistan. Do the families of these tribal leaders not deserve justice? But Imran Khan, I am afraid, will never raise his voice for justice for these families because any independent investigation into those assassinations will establish the establishment’s deep links with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Such an investigation will also elaborate the ISI tactics whereby it has been able to trigger an artificial insurgency in FATA and convincingly present it to the world as the popular tribal backlash to Pakistan’s alliance in the war on terror.

Imran Khan highlights the violation of Pakistan’s external sovereignty by the US drone attacks, but never points to the violation of the country’s internal sovereignty by foreign al Qaeda and Taliban militants based in FATA who are carrying out attacks inside Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan on the US, NATO and Afghan forces as well as Afghan civilians. Their attacks across the border are causing the drone attacks, most of which have actually targeted the foreign terrorists in the area rather than the Taliban. The internal violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty has to stop before one can demand a stop to the external violation.

OIC Now Singing Hillary’s Tune, Selling Islamic Silk Road/Minus Iran

OIC/Afghanistan: Reconciliation bid OIC to hold Afghan Ulema assemblage

BY 
IINA

ISLAMABAD, Muharram 1/Nov.26 (IINA)-Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has said that his organization was committed to holding an Ulama Conference at an appropriate time in cooperation with the Afghan authorities with the aim of contributing to Afghan reconciliation process.

This will be the first intra Afghan OIC initiative of reconciliation following announcement of US troops withdrawal from war-worn Afghanistan, a process hoped to complete by 2014.

He also disclosed that member states of OIC made contributions in supporting and facilitating regional cooperation aiming at peace, security and development in Afghanistan and the region, particularly in intensifying cooperation and dialogue between Afghanistan and her neighbours.

Prof Ihsanoglu made these remarks in his recent address to an Istanbul hosted Afghanistan event, and stressed “the importance of Afghanistan as a rich country possessing enormous human and natural resources. It is a bridge in the Heart of Asia, connecting South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East”. Afghanistan’s strategic location and historical position, may serve as a catalyst for the promotion of security and cooperation in the region, he added.

He explained that projects relating to the rehabilitation of rail transportation in Afghanistan have been enlarged as is evident from the on-going project building Dusanbe-Mazar-i Sharif-Herat railway, pointing out that Afghanistan has recently started to participate in the OIC Plan of Action for Cooperation in Central Asia.

The OIC Plan envisages cooperation in various areas such as agriculture, rural development and food security, trade exchanges, health, education, poverty alleviation, transport as well as research and scientific cooperation.

AH/IINA

Mullah Omar Pushing Pak Taliban To Reconcile With Pak Govt Join Afghan Jihad

‘Mullah Omar pushing Pak Taliban to reconcile with govt.’

Islamabad,  ANI

Islamabad, Nov 26 (ANI): Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar is pushing Pakistani militants based in the tribal areas to strike a peace deal with the government, and advised the chief of the Haqqani network to mediate between them, a source has revealed.

 

“We have received a message from Ameerul-Momineen that there should be an end to our activities inside Pakistan .

..he wants us to make peace with the government and focus on Afghanistan against infidels,” the Express Tribune quoted a Taliban associate, as saying.

 

However, it is not clear as of now when and how the terror leader had sent his message.

 

At least two Taliban affiliates, one in Miramshah, North Waziristan and the other in Wana, South Waziristan, said that communication between representatives of Mullah Omar and Pakistani militants took place in an Arab country this Ramazan.

 

But a tribal elder, who claimed to have knowledge about the ongoing talks, said that the son of a slain Afghan militant leader came to Waziristan as Mullah Omar’s representative.

 

The young messenger travelled from Kandahar to South Waziristan, the stronghold of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) TTP, immediately after Ramazan and held meetings with members of a powerful shura that takes policy decisions for Pakistani militant groups, he added.

 

In September, Pakistan’s top political and military leadership had expressed desire to open peace talks with its ‘own people’ operating from the country’s tribal areas.

 

Since almost half a year now, Pakistani cities have been relatively calm, and life is reportedly returning to normalcy after years of violent attacks by the homegrown Taliban. (ANI)

Two Pak Army Outposts Attacked By NATO Helicopters and Jet Fighters

28 Pakistani troops killed in NATO attack, outrage in Islamabad

Reuters |

28 Pakistani troops killed in NATO attack, outrage in Islamabad
NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops.

ISLAMABAD: NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwestPakistan on Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops and plunging US-Pakistan relations, already deeply frayed, further into crisis.

Pakistan retaliated by shutting down vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, used for sending in almost half of the alliance’s non-lethal materiel.

The attack is the worst single incident of its kind since Pakistan uneasily allied itself with Washington in the days immediately following the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on US targets.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan, its ally in the war on militancy, have been strained following the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US special forces in a raid on the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in May, which Pakistan called a flagrant violation of sovereignty.

The Pakistani government and military brimmed with fury.

“This is an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty,” said Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. “We will not let any harm come to Pakistan’s sovereignty and solidarity.”

The Foreign Office said it would take up the matter “in the strongest terms” with NATO and the United States.

The powerful Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, said in a statement issued by the Pakistani military that “all necessary steps be under taken for an effective response to this irresponsible act.

“A strong protest has been launched with NATO/ISAF in which it has been demanded that strong and urgent action be taken against those responsible for this aggression.”

The commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen, said he had offered his condolences to the family of any Pakistani soldiers who “may have been killed or injured” during an “incident” on the border.

A spokesman for the force declined further comment on the nature of the “incident” and said an investigation was proceeding. It was not yet clear, he said, whether there had been deaths or injuries.

The US embassy in Islamabad also offered condolences.

“I regret the loss of life of any Pakistani servicemen, and pledge that the United States will work closely with Pakistan to investigate this incident,” ambassador Cameron Munter said in a statement.

Early morning attack Two military officials said that up to 28 troops had been killed and 11 wounded in the attack on the outposts, about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the Afghan border. The Pakistani military said 24 troops were killed and 13 wounded.

It remains unclear what exactly happened, but the attack took place around 2 a.m. (2100 GMT) in the Baizai area of Mohmand, where Pakistani troops are fighting Taliban militants.

“Pakistani troops effectively responded immediately in self-defence to NATO/ISAF’s aggression with all available weapons,” the Pakistani military statement said.

About 40 Pakistani army troops were stationed at the outposts, military sources said. Two officers were reported among the dead.

“The latest attack by NATO forces on our post will have serious repercussions as they without any reasons attacked on our post and killed soldiers asleep,” said a senior Pakistani military officer, requesting anonymity.

Reflecting the confusion of war in an ill-defined border area, an Afghan border police official, Edrees Momand, said joint Afghan-NATO troops near the outpost on Saturday morning had detained several militants.

“I am not aware of the casualties on the other side of the border but those we have detained aren’t Afghan Taliban,” he said, implying they were Pakistani Taliban operating in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan border is often poorly marked, and differs between maps by up to five miles in some places.

The incident occurred a day after Allen met Kayani to discuss border control and enhanced cooperation.

“After the recent meetings between Pakistan and ISAF/NATO forces to build confidence and trust, these kind of attacks should not have taken place,” a senior military source told Reuters.

Blocked supplies Nato

Supply trucks and fuel tankers bound for Afghanistan were stopped at Jamrud town in the Khyber tribal region near the city of Peshawar hours after the raid, officials said.

“We have halted the supplies and some 40 tankers and trucks have been returned from the check post in Jamrud,” Mutahir Zeb, a senior government official, told Reuters.

Another official said the supplies had been stopped for security reasons.

“There is possibility of attacks on NATO supplies passing through the volatile Khyber tribal region, therefore we sent them back towards Peshawar to remain safe,” he said.

The border crossing at Chaman in Baluchistan was also closed, Frontier Corps officials said.

Pakistan is a vital land route for 49 percent of NATO’s supplies to its troops in Afghanistan, a NATO spokesman said.

A similar incident on Sept 30, 2009, which killed two Pakistani troops, led to the closure of one of NATO’s supply routes through Pakistan for 10 days.

NATO apologised for that incident, which it said happened when NATO gunships mistook warning shots by the Pakistani forces for a militant attack.

US-Pakistan relations were already reeling from a tumultuous year that saw the bin Laden raid, the jailing of a CIA contractor, and U.S. accusations that Pakistan backed a militant attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

The United States has long suspected Pakistan of continuing to secretly support Taliban militant groups to secure influence in Afghanistan after most NATO troops leave in 2014. Saturday’s incident will give Pakistan the argument that NATO is now attacking it directly.

“I think we should go to the United Nations Security Council against this,” said retired Brigadier Mahmood Shah, former chief of security in the tribal areas. “So far, Pakistan is being blamed for all that is happening in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s point of view has not been shown in the international media.”

Other analysts, including Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, said Pakistan would protest and close the supply lines for some time, but that ultimately “things will get back to normal”.

Paul Beaver, a British security analyst, said relations were so bad that this incident might have no noticeable impact.

“I’m not sure US-Pakistan relations could sink much lower than they are now,” he said.

Libyan Rebel Govt. To Arm Rebels In Syria

[The CIA is repeating its mistakes (from the point of view of all decent human beings) from the anti-Soviet phase of the grand terror war--training terrorists in advanced military skills and then turning them loose upon the rest of the world.  This is the fine art of projecting "respectable" evil in its highest form.  The American Imperialists get to play "Good Guys" on both ends of this process--We claimed to be providing "humanitarian assistance" to Afghanistan since the late seventies, when we created the first "mujahedeen" (highly skilled military specialists) who later became known as "al-Qaeda"; we have repeated the process today in Libya, and now, the Libyan "mujahedeen" spread their disease to Syria.  Through this finely honed art of state-sponsored terrorism, we have successfully undermined nearly all of the Middle Eastern allies of the Palestinians.  The war against Syria and Hezbollah is intended to unleash the full force of American airpower, in order to carry-out the mission that Israel alone could not accomplish in 2006.  (Despite all the years of Israeli bluster, the IDF has not defeated any adversary by the mere power of its threats.  It has been symbolically parading its military prowess down the streets of Teheran since the American terror war began, but they have not fazed the Revolutionary Guard, even with Stuxnet and all the back-biting assassinations over the years.  Israel's only formidable power is its nuclear arsenal. 

The time for words is over.  Obama's revolutionaries and his partners in crime (particularly Turkey) have taken the "irregular warfare" to Syria.  The thing about irregular war is that it can easily turn into regular warfare at any given moment.  When it becomes apparent that Western asymmetric forces cannot defeat Syria and Hezbollah, then waves of regular bombers can be called in, just like in Libya.  From the Imperial view, it becomes apparent that the "mistake" of creating the Islamist mujahedeen armies has not been a mistake at all.  It was always obvious where it would lead, if you created armies of highly-trained veteran "holy warriors" and released them upon the world.  This is America's greatest war crime--its premeditated state terrorism.] 

Libya to arm rebels in Syria

Ruth Sherlock

Pro-Syrian regime protesters appear from a huge Syrian flag as they wave Syrian and Baath party flags, during a protest against the Arab League decisions, in Damascus, Syria.Divided … a demonstration for Bashar al-Assad. Photo: AP

MISRATA, Libya: Syrian rebels have held secret talks with Libya’s new authorities, aiming to secure weapons and money for their insurgency against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, it has been revealed.

At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested assistance from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms and, potentially, volunteers.

”There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria,” a Libyan source said, on condition of anonymity. ”There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see.”

It has also emerged that preliminary discussions about arms supplies took place when members of the Syrian National Council – the country’s main opposition movement – visited Libya earlier this month.

”The Libyans are offering money, training and weapons to the Syrian National Council,” said Wisam Taris, a human rights campaigner with links to the council.

The disclosure came as the Syrian military said rebels had raided an air force base outside the city of Homs and killed six pilots.

Rebel attacks have become daily occurrences since the onset of the insurrection. The conflict has claimed at least 3500 lives, mainly as part of a crackdown on protests by the government.

Syria’s regime has continued to defy pressure from the Arab League, ignoring Friday’s deadline to accept the deployment of 500 human rights observers, raising the possibility that economic sanctions might be agreed upon this weekend.

Last month, Libya’s interim government became the first in the world to recognise Syria’s opposition movement as the country’s ”legitimate authority”.

Activists said large shipments of weapons had not yet been sent, mainly because of logistical difficulties. But proposals for a ”buffer zone” inside Syria, monitored by the Arab League, or the likely emergence of an area inside the country controlled entirely by rebels could solve this problem.

”The [Libyan] council’s offer is serious,” Mr Taris said. Turkey, which has denounced Mr Assad’s regime, is already sheltering about 7000 Syrian opposition activists, including the leader of the Free Syrian Army, the nascent rebel movement, in a ”safe zone” along Turkey’s border with Syria.

Sources in the Libyan town of Misrata suggested that some weapons might already have been sent. Some smugglers were caught selling small arms to Syrian buyers in Misrata, said a man who trafficked guns to Libya’s rebels during the country’s civil war.

However, Libyan officials denied some of the claims. ”This is what you hear in the street,” said the leader of the Misrata military council, Ramadan Zarmoh. ”Officially there is none of this. I would never send any fighters to fight outside the country.”

Ministers from the Arab League are expected to meet in Cairo this weekend to consider sanctions against Syria.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, pledged on Friday to keep up talks with Syrian opposition groups in an attempt to support a transition to a stable democracy.

Meanwhile, a United Nations human rights panel has called on Syria to respond to reports its security forces had tortured children in their crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The Committee against Torture said in Geneva that it had received ”numerous, consistent and substantiated reports” of widespread abuse occurring since the start of the uprising against Mr Assad’s government eight months ago.

”Of particular concern are reports referring to children who have suffered torture and mutilation while detained,” said the panel’s chairman, Claudio Grossman.

He also cited reports of ”extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; arbitrary detention by police forces and the military; and enforced and involuntary disappearances.”

The committee normally reviews each country’s record every four years, but took the unusual step on Friday of issuing a spontaneous demand to the Syrian government to explain its actions.

Telegraph, London; Associated Press

Georgian War Prevented NATO Expansion Eastward

Moscow deterred NATO expansion

VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia — Russia’s military action against Georgia in 2008 prevented NATO from expanding its footprint eastward, the Russian president said.

Russian forces responded when the Georgian military invaded the separatist republic of South Ossetia in 2008. The conflict spilled over to engulf forces from Abkhazia, another separatist republic.

Moscow recognized both republics shortly after the conflict and signed agreements in 2010 to build permanent military installations in the breakaway regions.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said military action in Georgia prevented NATO allies for a campaign of expansion.

“If we had wavered in 2008, the geopolitical layout would have been different; a range of countries which the North Atlantic (Treaty Organization) tries to artificially ‘protect’ would have been within it,” he was quoted by Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

Medvedev maintained Russian forces invaded to prevent a major humanitarian crisis in the region.

South Ossetia had presidential elections in mid-November. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Western alliance didn’t recognize its rights to have elections, however.

NATO sided with Georgia when Abkhazia had elections earlier this year.

NATO’s presence along the borders of the former Soviet Union, meanwhile, is a “nuisance” to the Kremlin, Medvedev said.

URL: http://www.upi.com/

NATO airstrikes kill six children in Afghanistan

NATO airstrikes kill six children in Afghanistan

DPA

Airstrikes by NATO-led forces in southern Afghanistan killed nine people, including six children and two insurgents, Afghan officials said on Thursday.

Two girls were also injured in the airstrikes in Kandahar province, the president’s office said.

“NATO military helicopters identified five insurgents who were planting bombs along the road. The helicopter killed two of them, while two others ran away and hid in Siacha village,” said Niyaz Mohammad, a local governor. One insurgent was injured.

“Later, military helicopters bombed the location where they (the insurgents) were hiding and as a result six children who were playing nearby were killed,” the governor added. A man injured in the second attack died later in hospital.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the aerial attack in a statement. NATO said it had launched an inquiry into the incident.

“Protecting the Afghan civilian population is central to our mission here in Afghanistan and we will investigate this situation fully to determine exactly what took place and whether any further actions need to be taken,” said General John Allen, commander of NATO-led forces.

In a separate incident, a NATO helicopter made a safe emergency landing, the military alliance said, denying a Taliban claim that it had shot down the aircraft.

The Taliban said in a statement its fighters had shot the helicopter down over the province of Kabul, killing 33 NATO soldiers.

“Initial reporting indicates that there was no enemy activity in the area”, said NATO spokesman Christopher DeWitt, adding that all crew members were unhurt.

Meanwhile Taliban killed at least seven private security guards in an ambush in western province of Farah on Thursday.

The guards were in a convoy belonging to a private company that provides logistics for international forces when they were attacked.

Pakistan blocks Afghanistan NATO supplies after checkpost attack

Pakistan blocks Afghanistan NATO supplies after checkpost attack

The supply has been suspended due to the NATO attack in Mohmand Agency, official sources confirmed. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PESHAWAR: Pakistani authorities on Saturday blocked the NATO supply route to Afghanistan after an attack on a border checkpost killed at least 24 Pakistani soldiers. The attack by NATO helicopters on a checkpost located in Mohmand Agnecy killed at least 24 soldiers and injured 12.

Official sources confirmed the suspension of supplies, adding that all containers were stopped at the Takhta Baig checkpost in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency.

“We have suspended the supply and will not let even a single container move ahead,” the official added.

“We have stopped NATO supplies after receiving orders from the federal government,” Mutahir Hussain, a senior administration official in Khyber tribal region, on the Afghan border, told AFP. ”Supply trucks are being sent back to Peshawar.”

Takhta Baig is the first checkpost followed by four more check-posts in the tribal areas and is the shortest possible route to Afghanistan.

Gilani condemns attack

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has strongly condemned the attack on the checkpost in Mohmand Agency.

Speaking to the media in Multan, Gilani said that a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and the foreign secretary was currently underway in Islamabad, and added that he would be joining them soon. The prime minister has cut short his three-day visit to Multan to return to the capital.

statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the matter was being taken up in the “strongest terms” with NATO and the US on the directions of the prime minister.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has also said that no action against Pakistan’s would be tolerated.

She said that the attack will be condemned on all forums and the government will also take up the issue internationally.

Pakistan lodges protest with the US

Iffat Gardezi, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Pakistani Embassy in the US,  has lodged a verbal protest over the attack.

A Pakistan Embassy spokesperson told The Express Tribune that Iffat Gardezi had contacted the State Department at midnight (Eastern Standard Time).

The spokesperson said that Gardezi had in strong words raised the issue of the death of Pakistani soldiers by ISAF and termed the incident as “unprovoked”.

(with additional reporting by Huma Imtiaz)

NATO Helicopters Kill 24 Pak. Army Soldiers In Their Sleep–Border Outpost Decimated

[This couldn't have happened at a worse time for the NATO war on Afghanistan.  Last week's terror attack on the NDN (northern distribution network) railway in Uzbekistan has stopped land movement of war supplies from the north.  If Pakistan has stopped NATO transit over its roads, then we are left with a war effort sustained solely by air.  The expense of air transit and the limited number of heavy airlift planes spells trouble in the days ahead for the ground war.  If this latest outrage has been enough to cause a real breach in relations between the two former friends and paper allies then it will surely be used to justify extreme measures to assert American dominance. 
This attack was either a disaster in US planning, or a planned coup de grâce (“finishing blow”) to a faltering relationship.  Things can only get dramatically worse from here on out.  Did this decision by Pakistan prove to be the final straw (SEE:  ISAF containers: Pakistan to double service charges from 2012)?]

Sources say, nearby areas were also attacked by the helicopters. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

PESHAWAR: An early Saturday morning attack by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) helicopters killed at least 24 security personnel and injured 12 soldiers on a Pakistani checkpost in Salala, which is located in the Tehsil Bayzai area of Mohmand Agency on the Pak-Afghan border , sources said.

Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) sources confirmed the attack, but could not determine the number of casualties as the interrogation was still underway.

The incident took place in a village of Salala, which is an area bordering the Kunar province of Afghanistan.

At least 40 soldiers were stationed at the checkpost.

An official on the condition of anonymity told The Express Tribunethat there was consistent shelling on the Pakistani checkpost, which resulted in security forces retaliating.

“The actual number of casualties might rise, as it cannot be determined at the moment,” the official said.

The official added that nearby areas were also attacked by the helicopters.

“It is a matter of national security and we are still interrogating it,” said a security official. “The matter will be taken up at the highest level.”

“This is an attack on Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty, “said Masood Kasur, the governor of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. “Such cross-border attacks cannot be tolerated any more. The government will take up this matter at the highest level and it will be investigated.”

The situation remained unclear as the political administration did not give any information about the incident.

The incident comes a day after Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani met Commander of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan General Allen Jones to discuss measures of enhancing border control on both sides.

The attack will likely worsen US-Pakistan relations, already at one of their lowest points in history, following a tumultuous year that saw the bin Laden raid, the jailing of a CIA contractor, and US accusations that Pakistan backed a militant attack on the US Embassy in Kabul.

An increase inUS drone strikes on militants in the last few years has also irritated Islamabad, which says the campaign kills more Pakistani civilians in the border area than activists. Washington disputes that, but declines to discuss the drone campaign in detail.

Earlier, it was reported that Nato jets had attacked the border post.

ICC Prosecutor’s Career Move Switches Horses and Legal Theories in Libya

The Troubling Case of Saif Gadhafi

ICC Prosecutor’s Career Move Switches Horses and Legal Theories in Libya

Franklin Lamb

Zintan, Libya

Despite the claims of the National Transitional Council of Libya (NTC) that Saif al Islam Gadhafi, the apprehended subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant that ordered his transport to The Hague, is in a secure hidden location near Zintan, Libya, a town approximately 85 miles southwest of Tripoli, this is not the case.

 

Neither are the assurances by Steven Anderson, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who on 11/23/11 announced that Saif al-Islam’s injuries had been “taken care of,” nor his profuse assurances that Saif is in good health.  In point of fact, following the ICRC assurances, the Ukrainian-born Doctor Andrei Murakhovsky who lives in Zintan reported that “Saif’s wound is covered with gangrenous tissue and necrotic tissue.”  He added that “This wound is not in good condition and requires amputation. His index finger has been ripped off at the level of the middle phalange (finger bone), the bones are all shattered. It’s the same thing with the thumb of that hand.” Dr. Murakhovsky told the Reuters news service.

 

The morning of 11/24/11, Libyan NTC Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib still insisted that “Saif al-Islam is receiving the best possible treatment, but for now he is not in the hands of the provisional central government and we don’t know where he is.”

 

Regarding Saif al Islam’s “secure and hidden location”, most people in the village of Zintan know where he is being held, as does this observer who visited a motley group of B-western movie types who are currently guarding and “protecting” Saif.

Although armed with a Power of Attorney from one of Saif’s family members to visit him, the group refused my request to visit Saif with the excuse that they had to consult their commander who was not expected to return for a few days since he was now the new NTC Libyan Defense Minister.

 

On the question of Saif’s health, there is increasing concern also because his guards claim they cannot take him to Zintan’s only hospital because someone would likely kill him in order to collect on the substantial rumored Qatar/NATO offered cash reward for whoever assassinates him thus presumably helping “the new Libya” and its allies avoid a messy trial.

Meanwhile, after what he claims in a change of heart, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, now professes that Libya, not The Hague, is the best place after all for Saif al Islam and his trial. Since its establishment by the United Nations in 2002, the ICC has had just one Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. To the reported expressed relief of many international defense lawyers, several ICC staff and ICC judges, plus legal commentators familiar with his prosecutorial work, the ICC will have his successor chosen next month in New York.  This coming weekend in New York, the legal defense organization, Avocats Sans Frontiers (ASF, ie Lawyers Without Borders) will meet in order to try to agree on a successor to propose to the 18 ICC Judges who will decide.

 

Prosecutor Ocampo’s visit this week to Libya caused some raised eyebrows among the groups noted above when he suddenly announced that the ICC would not invoke its UN Security Council-granted power and proceed with Case # ICC 01/11. This case was opened at the ICC on March 3, 2011, having been assigned to the ICC by the UN Security Council following the preceding month’s uprising in Benghazi, Libya.

 

Speculation among some in The Hague, in Libya and from ASF lawyers is that knowing that he would not be re-elected for another term as ICC Prosecutor, due to among other reasons he has not won one case during his 9 year term, has repeatedly incurred the wrath of ICC judges for bringing cases which they ruled lacked sufficient evidence and his penchant for self-aggrandizing publicity and making inaccurate claims about cases and defendants that border on judicial misconduct, Ocampo decided to switch horses.

One egregious example of his making false representations is the current ICC case involving Saif al-Islam Gadhafi in which Ocampo made several inaccurate headline-grabbing statements over the past several weeks claiming to be negotiating “indirectly” with Saif al Islam to give himself up to the ICC. Saif has emphatically denied Ocampo’s grandstanding claims and presumably, were Ocampo to attempt to personally prosecute his case Saif’s legal team would immediately file a motion to replace Ocampo for cause, as provided by ICC rules.

 

Given these problems, Ocampo, according to someone who accompanied him during his visit this week to Libya, decided to accept a lucrative offer from the NTC to advise the oil-rich country on setting up a legal system to try Saif al Islam and others.

 

The assurances by Moreno-Ocampo, NATO officials and American UN Ambassador Susan Rice that Libya is currently fully capable of currently handling trials of former regime loyalists are nonsense. Rice exhibited ignorance and surprise here last weekend when she claimed not to know that Libya had the death penalty and would apply the death penalty in the ICC case if given the chance.  The Libyan public’s apparent preference is for the death penalty by hanging in the two Libya ICC cases. This was the case with Rwanda, which is one reason the Ruanda Tribunal did not allow the government of Rwanda to conduct certain trials even though that government assured the UN it would not actually carry out a death penalty sentence. Libya has offered no such assurances to the ICC against the use of the death penalty nor has it submitted a legal challenge to ICC jurisdiction over the Saif al Islam or Abdullah Sanussi cases, as the Rome Statute requires.

 

Despite switching jobs, Ocampo has not lost interest in prosecuting the Saif al Islam case which he views as his best chance of finally winning at least an ICC related case, but not at The Hague where there is the possibility that Saif would not be convicted, given Court rules of procedure and ICC legal staff resources that would actually assist an accused in presenting his defense before the court.  Ocampo is said to be betting on gaining a victory in Saif’s high profile case by working with the NATO-created NTC government in Libya and running the prosecution as a behind the scenes “consultant” and helping Libya’s NTC keep the UN and ICC at bay while allowing the NTC to try both Saif’s case and that of Abdullah Sanussi if and when the latter is proven to have been captured.  Ocampo is said to relish the job of becoming the “Father of Libya’s new legal system.”  Ocampo is now explaining that it was never his role “to tell Libyan officials how to hold a fair trial and the  standard of the ICC is that it has to be a judicial process that is not organized to shield the suspect and I respect that it’s important for the cases to be tried in Libya.”  He then added, “There are so many different traditions; it is difficult to say what is a fair trial.”

 

No sooner had the surprising news and Ocampo’s sudden vagueness about what constitutes a fair trial begun to ricochet around the Internet than this observer received an email from an international criminal lawyer whose office is two blocks from the Carl Moultrie Courthouse in Washington, DC. The American lawyer was appalled: “Paying Ocampo as a consultant for the new Libyan government on criminal trial procedures is a ridiculous thought/idea.  He has no idea of fair trial rights and has not achieved a conviction in his nearly 9 years at the ICC.”

 

Nor were the ICC judges thrilled at the perceived betrayal.  The ICC quickly fired off a reminder to Ocampo, to the new Libyan government and the media that it is the ICC judges, and not the ICC Prosecutor, who will decide whether a case will be held in The Hague or in the country where the alleged crimes occurred and only they will decide if Libya has the ability to conduct a fair trial. The ICC is signaling that the Ocampo-generated international headlines to the contrary notwithstanding, the issue of trial venue in Libya has not settled in ICC case # 01/11.

 

Prosecutor Ocampo knows well that once the ICC decides to open an investigation of a case, national courts may not investigate that case and are relieved from their obligation to do so. In addition, since the ICC has issued an arrest warrant against Libyan defendants, all states – including Libya – are obliged to cooperate fully with the Court. 

Following  the public dressing down from The Hague, Ocampo  has now retreated a bit and told CNN on 11/23/11 that: “ The only condition is the new Libyan government has to present their position to the International Criminal Court judges and the judges will decide if the case can be prosecuted in Libya. Libya will present evidence to ICC judges that the country can hold the trial, and the judges will decide if they are satisfied,” Ocampo explained.

 

The ICC, if it takes up the question as expected, should rule in the developing Saif al Islam case, precisely as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found in ruling against that country’s request for trial jurisdiction, although like Libya today, Rwanda claimed to have a “modern functioning court system.”   The reason is that an initial review of Libya’s criminal judicial system and discussion with Libyan criminal defense lawyers as well as with international criminal defense lawyers with years of experience in international tribunals’ practice, shows that it is very clear that persons accused of serious crimes in Libya currently do not have even the most minimal judicial rights that are required by international norms. Today Libyan defendants do not benefit from adequate legal representation, financial support for indigent accused, travel and investigation support for defense teams,  or security for defense teams. Libya’s central and local governments place impediments curtailing defense teams in the discharge of their functions.

An admittedly cursory inquiry in Libya among lawyers here also reveals nonexistent or inadequate accommodation and transport arrangements for witness, as well as a lack of arrangements for protection of witnesses before, during and after testifying in court. In addition, the NTC is engaging in a pattern of threatening potential witnesses preparing to testify against NATO in another case. Similarly the NTC is failing to provide safe and secure travel for Libyan witnesses living abroad, including in Algeria, Tunisia, Mali, Niger, and Egypt. Interviews with Libyan lawyers and officials as well as visits to detention facilities in Libya reveal that conditions are not in compliance with international standards and that there is widespread torture of prisoners in Libya and threats against the families of prisoners.

One could wish Luis Mareno-Ocampo good luck in his new career as would be “Father of the New Libya’s Legal system,” but the current ICC case # 01/11 is too critical for all involved to wait to learn whether his project gets completed and meets international standards.

 

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Libya and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com

The Turks found a base in Syria Kurdish separatists

Kurdish separatists.  Archive photo © AFP
Kurdish separatists. Archive photo © AFP

The Turks found a base in Syria Kurdish separatists

The Syrian authorities have established in their territory training camp of militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, acting against the Turkish newspaper Milliyet.

According to the newspaper, which refers to the Turkish intelligence sources, the camp is located near the town of Ras al-Ain near the border with Turkey, there are military and political training to more than 150 people. In addition, the separatists are considering the transfer of other bases in northern Iraq (where safe) in Syria.

Camp, the newspaper said, was a response to the actions of Damascus, Ankara, which hosted the leadership and staff of the National Council of Syria – the structure of the opposition, which is seeking the resignation of Bashar al-Assad .

Turkish border guards working in the region have already begun to install additional security at the border because they fear infiltration of Kurdish militants from Syria.

Recently, relations between Turkey and Syria deteriorated sharply: Ankara demands from Damascus to political reform, to renounce the use of force against the demonstrators and prevent the country of foreign journalists. In response to the Syrians blame the neighbors of interfering in its internal affairs.

Ankara, however, their claims are not denied, but the Turkish media is actively discussing the possibility of entering Syria to the north of the Turkish troops to protect the local civilian population. However, such an invasion of a suitable excuse not yet located.

Russian Press Claims Tajik Arrest of Russian Pilot was Plot to Free Alleged Relative of President Rahmon

Foreign Ministry denied rumors on the exchange pilot at Rustam Hukumova

Lenta.ru

The Russian Foreign Ministry denied the reports of the exchange was released in Tajikistan, the Russian pilot Vladimir Sadovnichy to convict the alleged relative to the RF President Emomali Rahmon. On November 25 it informs “Interfax”.

According to the director of the Third Department of the CIS countries Maxim Peshkov, appeals about the exchange on Sadovnichiy Rustam Hukumova the Ministry has been reported.

Peshkov said he did not have any information that khukum was released, but reports of his relationship with Rahmon – just rumors.

Rustam khukum in 2010 was sentenced to 9.5 years in prison: the detention in the suburban Schelkovo he and his three accomplices have found ten kilograms of Afghan heroin. It was reported that the son of the chief khukum railroad Tajikistan.In addition, he is the brother-in-law of President of the Republic.

In November 2011, “Komsomolskaya pravda” wrote that the pilots of Rolkan Investments Ltd, Russia’s Vladimir Sadovnichy and an Estonian citizen Alexei Rudenko, who were sentenced in Tajikistan to 8.5 years in prison for smuggling and border violations, were sentenced to be exchanged for Hukumova and his accomplices, traffickers.

Pilots who have been convicted on November 8, were subsequently released – at the request of Attorney General of Tajikistan, their terms were reduced to half that pilots served, is under investigation.

Court decision was preceded by a conflict between Russia and Tajikistan, in course of which began to expel Russia from Tajik migrants.

Asian Dev. Bank Pours $17 Billion 100 Central Asian Development Projects–(updated)

[If the Silk Road revival idea was originally Chinese, then who gets the credit if the idea becomes a reality?  I guess the answer to that question will come with either the exclusion or the inclusion of Iran in the final Silk Road project.  It is likely that India may turn out to be the decider of that question, as it either tries to breath life into Washington's latest pipe dream, or it helps link the road to Iran.  This would appear to be the wiser solution, given all the money and effort that India has already spent developing Afghanistan's "ring road" and the new port facilities at Chahabar, Iran.  It boils down to this--is Washington more likely to pull-off its bullshit visions, or will it be forced to accept a new reality of welcoming a nuclear Iran into the community of nations?  According to this report, ADB was partners with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in these projects.]

JALALUDDIN RUMI

ISLAMABAD - Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) has approved over 100 CAREC-related projects worth $17 billion. The projects include six land transport corridors that cover 3,600 kilometers of roads and 2,000 kilometers of railways. They traverse the CAREC region north-south and east-west; linking Europe, East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, and beyond; connecting all member countries.
Secretary Economic Affairs Division Abdul Wajid Rana and officials from ministry of commerce and finance represented Pakistan at the 10th ministerial conference at Baku, Azerbaijan.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated $4.7 billion over the next three years to support Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), 2020’s goals of trade expansion and improved competitiveness.
ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda, while announcing the allocation for CAREC 2020 goals at ministerial conference said we stand ready to assist in accelerating the development of physical infrastructure connectivity, the development of economic corridors, and the improvement of the knowledge base needed to support CAREC’s priorities.
Established in 2001, CAREC brings together Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It promotes the implementation of regional projects in energy, transport, and trade facilitation from northern China to Caucasus and Europe, and from Kazakhstan to the warm water ports of Karachi, Gwadar and beyond.
About 4,000 km of road and 2,250 km of railway lines have been built or upgraded, opening up corridors of trade and opportunity. Streamlined custom procedures are moving people and their businesses across borders, faster and at a less cost. The electricity transmission lines and upgraded power plants are beginning to boost the vital energy trade in the region that will bring prosperity and security.
The ministers and senior representatives of development agencies have discussed support for the new 10-year strategy for Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programme.
The six multilateral institutions support the work of CAREC that includes ADB, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and World Bank. ADB has served as the CAREC secretariat since 2001.
The multilateral institutions at the forum echoed their support for the work of CAREC and some also offered substantial financial assistance over the next decade. Senior representatives of bilateral agencies from France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States also attended the forum and supported CAREC 2020. The three-day conference wrapped up with a ministerial retreat where participants discussed how CAREC countries could individually and collectively contribute to a prosperous Asia by mid-century.