Snarkozy Is A Dick–Promotes Iran Oil Embargo As the “Rational” Course of Action

[Zionist stooge Sarkozy advocates the idiotic solution to the “Iran problem,” instead of the completely insane alternative, as if there is not a third alternative–acceptance of Iran into the exclusive “nuclear club,” that so many other nations have chosen to break into (India, Pakistan, S. Africa, Israel).  There might suddenly be world peace if the “great” powers would quit defining half of the world as enemies.   Making peace with Iran would mean no more problem supplying Afghanistan.  “Pipelineistan” contracts could be signed overnight.  The heady, romantic dreams of a “Silk Road,” including the traditional Persian elements, would fall in place.]

France’s Sarkozy: Military strike on Iran would trigger Middle East war

French President Nicolas Sarkozy tells diplomats in Paris that France will do everything to avoid military intervention in Iran, calling instead for tougher sanctions.

By DPA

French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned against any military intervention against Iran over its nuclear program, saying a strike on Iran would “trigger war and chaos in the Middle East.”

At his annual New Year’s address to diplomats in Paris, Sarkozy warned “a military intervention would not solve the problem (of Iran’s nuclear program) but would trigger war and chaos in the Middle East and maybe the world.”

France would “do everything to avoid a military intervention,” he said, calling instead for “much stronger sanctions” against Iran.

Sarkozy’s remarks come amid fresh tensions between Iran and the West since a report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog late last year, which said Iran had tested designs normally used to make a nuclear weapon.

European Union foreign ministers are likely to agree on extra sanctions, including an oil embargo and a freeze on the assets of Iran’s central bank at a meeting on Monday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said.

Iran has reacted by threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway at the mouth of the Gulf, through which about 20 per cent of the world’s daily oil trade is shipped.

Last month, Iran conducted military drills in the Strait.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said this week any decision on an Israeli attack was “very far off”.

 

Compromise That Empowers the Taliban Guarantees Afghan Civil War

[Obama is forcing everybody to their own corners in Afghanistan, with the ongoing fake negotiations with the Taliban.  If it turns-out that these talks are for real, and some unbelievable compromise is worked-out that empowers the Taliban, as the price for accepting America’s super-bases, then the result can only be another Afghan civil war.  The Northern Alliance coalition of Masood is waiting to find-out what hand America is dealing to them in their ongoing fight against the return of the Taliban.  Since most of the Afghan Army and police forces are anti-Taliban forces, the military balance between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance has shifted in Masood’s favor.  Perhaps the only real solution to the thirty year Afghan civil war is for everybody else to just get out and allow the fierce Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazaras to do whatever they need to in order to win.  There really can be no other solution to the problem. 

Since the original “Taliban” were volunteers from Pakistani madrassas, and they remain loyal to Pakistan today, then the only viable solution from an Afghan perspective is their complete eviction from Afghanistan.  The sooner Pakistan realizes this and ends their support, the sooner Afghanistan will be at peace.]

Taliban told to compromise or risk new fight

By Rob Taylor and Hamid Shalizi

KABUL

(Reuters) – The Taliban must be willing to make compromises in nascent peace talks, a prominent Afghan opposition figure said Friday, warning that ethnic minorities who for years battled the Taliban were prepared to take up arms again if they have to give up too much.

Marc Grossman, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is expected in Kabul at the weekend to discuss progress in negotiations — seen by their supporters as the best chance of ending a decade-long war — with Afghan officials.

Afghan National Front leader Ahmad Zia Masood, whose brother once led opposition commanders fighting the Taliban, said he was not confident about the chances of reaching a deal with the Taliban that would be acceptable to their opponents.

And any unbalanced deal forced on the Afghan people would quickly unravel into a fresh civil war, he said.

“If the Taliban are back in the political process, being imposed on us, the Afghan people will definitely resist, paving the way for another war to happen,” Zia Masood told Reuters in an interview at his home in Kabul.

“If the Taliban want peace, we are ready to make peace, but if they want to fight, there will be a fight. That’s it. If you coddle them, give them a political address and other gains, they will never be ready for any talks,” he said.

The Taliban this month announced that the movement would open a political office in Qatar as a prelude to holding peace talks with the United States and its allies.

As a confidence-building measure, the Taliban called for the release of five officials being held at Guantanamo Bay, a U.S. military enclave and detention center in Cuba.

Zia Masood, whose brother Ahmad Shah Masood led the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance until his assassination in 2001 on the eve of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, said the uncertainty around negotiations was creating wide suspicion.

His National Front party, which brings many former Northern Alliance leaders back together, wants to be included in the process to prevent the return of a belligerent Taliban as foreign troops leave. All combat forces are due home by the end of 2014.

“The ambiguity of the peace talks, and sidelining of other political parties, has created suspicion in our minds. If the Taliban are back with the same mindsets and principles, it will create further instability,” he said.

Other National Front members, including ethnic Hazara leaders, were already gathering to discuss the ramifications of the talks on already fragile stability in the country, he said.

“The Taliban are an extremist group,” he said from his heavily fortified house, hung inside with photos of his brother — a hero to many Afghans — and Northern Alliance battles.

“They are heavily linked to al Qaeda. And as long as they are with al Qeada, they will not be committed to peace in Afghanistan.”

Grossman is due to meet this weekend with Karzai, who has long pushed for a negotiated end to the war and said his country agrees to the Qatar office, but has been vocal about concerns he is not at the heart of current talks.

President Hamid Karzai’s office told several U.S. newspapers in interviews published Friday that Afghan government officials feared a secret deal with the United States.

“We have been briefed regularly by the Americans, but we don’t know all the details. We demand more clarity,” Karzai’s chief of staff, Abdul Karim Khurram, told journalists, according to the New York Times.

Zia Masood said he believed the Qatar office was in part aimed at reducing Pakistan’s influence on a group it has long supported, and whose leadership is believed to have taken refuge across the border from Afghanistan.

However it would never work if the West lets up military pressure on their battle-hardened opponents and their one-eyed leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, he added.

“I am quite sure that without military pressure, the Taliban will never be ready for talks,” Zia Masood said. “That’s not possible.”

(Editing by Nick Macfie)

Nato’s Afghan alliance unhinged by growing mutual mistrust

Red Team Study- IncompatibilitySOURCE

[Everybody is bailing on Obama (SEE:  France threatens Afghan pullout after troops killed).]

Nato’s Afghan alliance unhinged by growing mutual mistrust

US military report reveals how issues such as arrogance and cleanliness are leading Afghan soldiers to shoot Nato trainers

French soldiers afghanistan

French soldiers carry the coffin of comrades shot dead by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform in eastern Kapisa province. Four French soldiers died. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Mutual mistrust and contempt between local and foreign forces inAfghanistan that often borders on hatred is one of the main reasons why Afghan troops increasingly turn their guns on their Nato comrades, a damning report has found.

The research, commissioned by the US military, said American soldiers enrage their Afghan colleagues with what the report describes as extreme arrogance, bullying and “crude behaviour”.

It also heavily criticised as “profoundly intellectually dishonest” the Nato claims that the killing of alliance troops by Afghan soldiers is extremely rare.

The data suggests incidents such as the killing on Friday of four French soldiers “reflect a rapidly growing systemic homicide threat (a magnitude of which may be unprecedented between ‘allies’ in modern military history)”.

It warned that the problem is now so serious that it is “provoking a crisis of confidence and trust among westerners training and working with Afghan National Security Forces” (ANSFs).

According to behavioural scientist Jeffrey Bordin’s report, the number of attacks have been growing, with 26 incidents of killings or attempted killings since early 2007. Those attacks led to the deaths of 58 foreign personnel.

While some of these incidents involved Taliban infiltrators, Bordin believes many resulted from “deep-seated animosity, often stimulated by social and personal conflicts”.

Based on interviews with 613 Afghan security forces, the document paints an extremely bleak picture of mutual contempt and misunderstanding between the two sides.

US troops regard their Afghan allies they are training and fighting alongside as untrustworthy, dishonest, incompetent and practising “repulsive hygiene”.

For their part, the Afghans have been provoked into fights, and even attempts to kill, by behaviour that many Americans might not be unduly shocked by.

That includes “urinating in public, their cursing at, insulting and being rude and vulgar to ANSF members, and unnecessarily shooting animals”.

The factors that create the most animosity included US military convoys blocking traffic, returning fire on insurgents in an apparently indiscriminate way, risking civilian lives, “naively using flawed intelligence sources” and conducting raids on Afghans’ private homes.

Another cause for concern is the fact that armed Afghan soldiers almost never intervene when one of their comrades is attempting to kill Nato soldiers.

On Friday, Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said the so-called “red team study” was produced by an outside contractor and was not approved or endorsed by senior Isaf officials who reviewed it.

Isaf said the study “suffered from irrelevant generalisations, narrow sample sets, unprofessional rhetoric and sensationalism”.

Military “red teams” are independent cells used to scrutinise and challenge operations and plans.

With the vast bulk of foreign troops in Afghanistan coming from America, the US has inevitably suffered the most from what Isaf calls “green on blue incidents”.

However, British troops have also been killed, including a case in November 2009 when an Afghan policeman killed five British soldiers and wounded a further six who were resting after a patrol and were not armed or wearing their body armour.

Nearly all France’s 4,000 soldiers in Afghanistan are concentrated in Kapisa, a province not far north of Kabul which has long been wracked by a persistent insurgency.

An Afghan battalion commander in southern Afghanistan told the Guardian last year that he is most concerned about Pashtun soldiers.

Although the Pashtuns are Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group they are under-represented in the ANA and overwhelmingly dominate the insurgency.

The captain, a non-Pashtun himself, recalled how he disarmed one of his subordinates who was so disgusted by Americans that he refused to even look at US soldiers when he encountered them.

However, he pinned the blame on the killings of foreign troops firmly on the Taliban and the ISI, the Pakistani military spy agency that is thought to support the insurgency.

“Those who kill the foreigners are slaves of Pakistan,” he said. “The ISI and Pakistan don’t want the ANA to succeed.”

The recruitment and training of a sizeable army and police force, which will ultimately be 352,000 strong, is a cornerstone of Nato’s strategy in Afghanistan.

Without a decent security force the collapse of the current Afghan state after the drawdown of the vast majority of Nato forces by the end of 2014 would be inevitable.

Although the Afghan army has improved markedly in recent years the report’s interviews with 215 US soldiers highlighted a long list of problems that remain: “They reported pervasive illicit drug use, massive thievery, personal instability, dishonesty, no integrity, incompetence, unsafe weapon handling, corrupt officers, no real NCO corps, covert alliances/informal treaties with insurgents, high Awol rates, bad morale, laziness, repulsive hygiene and the torture of dogs.”

Making a case for cutting and running

Making a case for cutting and running

Who would have guessed we’d have a national conversation about urinating on corpses? And worse yet to have people with a media megaphone attempting to defend it. The video of four marines desecrating the remains of a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan surfaced on YouTube last week.

The first thing worth noting is this treatment of war dead is absolutely against the Geneva Convention. The second thing is we threw out the Geneva Convention when we invaded Afghanistan.

Which leads me to the following conclusion: It’s time to end this war. It’s time to leave.

President Dwight Eisenhower, in his 1963 memoir, noted that in Vietnam, “the mass of the population supported the enemy.” This was an insurmountable obstacle (at the time) for the French and an ominous foreshadowing for a full-scale American conflict to come. A war the U.S. would engage in for 20 years through five presidents and an estimated 200,000 dead or wounded American soldiers.

Yet that is where we are with Afghanistan: The population is not on our side. I was recently on a television program with Michael Hastings, a reporter at Rolling Stone on Afghanistan. He said some of the Afghans still think they are fighting the Soviets (a nine year war which ended in 1989).

That is the best indication this war, for us, is unwinnable: We don’t really know who we’re fighting there and they don’t really know who they’re fighting there.

We’d actually have to educate people as to who it is they are trying to kill first…in order to “win their hearts and minds.”

We’ve been in a country called the graveyard of empires for a decade. Last year General David Petraeus announced his COIN or counterinsurgency strategy, integral in Iraq, would be implemented in Afghanistan too. The pillars of a COIN strategy are “security, political and economic.” Or as Petraeus wrote in the field manual “Success in COIN operations requires establishing a legitimate government supported by the people.” Basically, nation building. We have to build a nation that will be stable, legitimate AND support the U.S. How does that happen? More time; more soldiers; more money.

Just one decade is not enough to make little progress in a country whose last successful conqueror was the Mongols…roughly 800 years ago. And whose type of government historically can be best described as tribal.

Front-runner for the Republican nomination Mitt Romney said in his New Hampshire primary victory speech, “He [Obama] doesn’t see the need for overwhelming American military superiority. I will insist on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it.”

We have the largest navy in the world (twice as big as the second largest) and we’re in a ten-year-long struggle in a landlocked country.

This is a Romney “let them eat cake” moment. Oh we’re not winning with the biggest military in the history of the planet? The solution is to make it bigger!

Enough. Eisenhower, the last five-star general to be President of the United States, warned Americans upon his leaving office of the “military industrial complex.” Part of this complex is the insistence of “listening to the commanders on the ground.”

The commanders still insist we can win if we just try harder, stay long and commit more troops. But this is in their nature. Asking commanders on the ground if we should continue with a war is like asking a football coach if we should continue to have football games. Of course they say yes, they’re professionals and this is their livelihood. Their opinion should be treated as such.

In 2008, Obama was the recipient of more donations (6:1) from soldiers serving overseas than his opponent, former POW, John McCain. It was specifically because then-Senator Obama spoke of ending the Iraq War.

Iraq is over. Let’s end our involvement in Afghanistan too.

 

Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the managing editor of Crooks and Liars. Tina can be reached at tinadupuy@yahoo.com.

Ship sinking after collision in Bosphorus: agent

Live Feed (map) from Bosphorus Strait

[The snapshot below shows the Kayan being towed near port at 1 knot, on the left and the Adria Blu proceeding away from the crash site at .2 knots.  Look at this area with increased magnification on Google and you will see that it is a graveyard of sunken ships.  I guess M.A Kayan has found a nice resting place.]

Ship sinking after collision in Bosphorus: agent

ISTANBUL

(Reuters) – A cargo ship involved in a collision in Turkey’s Bosphorus strait on Friday was in danger of sinking, shipping agency GAC said.

“The situation on M/V Kayan I is getting critical minute by minute, and there was a rescue operation for the crew,” GAC said in a e-mailed note. “The vessel is still taking water, and there is high risk of her sinking.”

The M/V Kayan I, a 5,644 deadweight tonne (dwt) Sierra Leone-flagged general cargo vessel, collided with the M/V Adriablue cargo ship in the southern part of the Bosphorus. It was taking on water in its stern and had been towed to a secure position.

GAC said earlier on Friday both the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits were currently open to shipping traffic.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Jonathan Saul, editing by Jane Baird)

No Laws Against Being A Menace To Society?

Review board orders Malik Ishaq’s release

Ishaq, accused in 44 cases involving 70 killings, has been acquitted in 34 cases and granted bail in 10. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

LAHORE: A review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC), on Friday, denied an extension for the detention of Malik Ishaq, former leader of the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, for one more month and issued orders for his release.

The Punjab government had requested that the detention, which isending on January 25, be extended for 30 more days saying that his release would be a threat to peace.

Ishaq’s detention had earlier been extended by the review board on December 16 after the DPOs of Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalnagar had said his release could result in a law and order ‘situation’.

The review board asked the government if they had filed any cases against Ishaq if he was a threat to peace, to which they had nothing to show to the court.

Ishaq had prayed that he had the right to be free according to the constitution if there were no more cases against him as he had been awarded bail in the previous ones.

Ishaq, accused in 44 cases involving 70 killings, has been acquitted in 34 cases and granted bail in 10.

He was released from Kot Lakhpat jail on July 14, 2011 after 14 years of imprisonment when the Supreme Court (SC) granted him bail in the case involving a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

Ishaq was then detained in Rahim Yar Khan jail for 10 days under the Maintenance of Public Order Act. The detention was extended for 60 days on October 25.

According to the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960, the Home Department can detain a person for three months if they could create a law and order situation if released. According to Section 5 of the ordinance, no person can be detained for a period exceeding three months unless a judicial board has reviewed the case and concluded that there is sufficient cause for such detention to continue.

Imran Khan’s flawed logic on the war on terror

Imran Khan’s flawed logic on the war on terror

The writer is a retired brigadier who has served in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata asad.munir@tribune.com.pk

Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf is against Pakistan’s role in the war on terror. Several times, Imran has said that terrorism is directly related to our alliance with the US. His main points for opposing the war on terror are: 1) Suicide bombings are a reaction to drone strikes. 2) There was no violence from militants in the country prior to February 2004, which is when the military entered Fata. 3) The people of Fata support the Taliban because they are convinced that it is a movement led by freedom fighters. 4) The Pakistan Army ranks do not want to fight an unjust war and have been surrendering in large numbers to small groups of Taliban. 5) Peace can be restored, through dialogue, within 90 days. 6) There were only 800 al Qaeda terrorists hiding in Pakistan and 7) to appease the US and for the sake of earning some dollars, we have put our country’s security and integrity at stake.

Plainly put, Imran has got some facts on the war on terror wrong. The army entered Fata in 2001 and in South Waziristan in 2002, and not in February 2004. Dialogue with the tribes was initiated in 2002 and not in 2007. Since he is not aware of the number and kind of operations conducted by the army, therefore, Imran Khan thinks that the army is unwilling to fight the militants and has surrendered in large numbers to small groups of Taliban. Those army officers and those of other ranks, who have fought these terrorists bravely, are aware of their real agenda. Except for one incident, no army soldier has ever surrendered. Officers and men, who are practicing Muslims, know that they are fighting a just war aimed at defending this country from terrorists who want power and implementation of their brand of Islam through brute force. The figures of civilian casualties, in drones strikes, are also being exaggerated. Most of the tribal people are in favour of drones as most of the casualties are those of terrorists and the collateral damage is insignificant.

The rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, directly contributed to religious extremism in Fata and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP). In November 1994, the Afghan-Taliban captured Kandahar. The same month the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi initiated a movement for the implementation of Sharia in Malakand Division. Within no time, armed militants took control of the whole of Malakand Division. A sitting PPP MPA was shot dead. Men were forced to wear watches on their right hand and traffic was made to ply on the right hand, the left being un-Islamic. It took Frontier Corps more than a month to dislodge militants and regain control of the area.

In September 1996, the Afghan Taliban captured Kabul. Many tribal and other Pakistanis formed part of the Taliban fighting force. In 1997, a small Taliban force started operating in Orakzai Agency. In 1998, the Taliban emerged in North Waziristan Agency and by 1999 they were in control of Mirali. By 2000, the Taliban had spread to Bajaur and some other parts of Malakand Division. As early as 2000 in Peshawar, force was used by militants against cable operators to stop their operations. An organised movement was run against NGOs. A maulvi from Dir issued an edict that any NGO woman found in the area should be apprehended and taken as a wife.

In the aftermath of Nato’s invasion of Afghanistan, following 9/11, all militants belonging to al Qaeda, the IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan), jihadis, sectarian outfits and other terrorists crossed over from Afghanistan and took refuge in Fata, and other parts of Pakistan. The jihadi organisations and some local tribal people provided them a support system.

The government responded in 2002. Local tribes were engaged in dialogue and persuaded to expel the foreign militants from their soil. Operations were only launched once the tribal jirgas expressed their inability to deal with the militants. From 2004 to 2009, numerous peace agreements were inked with various groups of militants. Each time these were violated; the Taliban used these deals to increase their strength and fighting potentials. The PTI can only achieve peace in 90 days if they strike a deal with the Taliban that they can rule tribal areas and part of KP without any interference from the state. There will be no terrorist activities after that except that, the Taliban will eventually want to expand their rule to the rest of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune