|IN THIS PHOTO YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE HEADLESS BODIES,THE WHITE SACKS CONTAIN THE SEVERED HEADS|
FYI BODIES WERE DISPLAYED NEAR UNIVERSITY AND REMOVED AFTER FEW HOURS.
|IN THIS PHOTO YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE HEADLESS BODIES,THE WHITE SACKS CONTAIN THE SEVERED HEADS|
FYI BODIES WERE DISPLAYED NEAR UNIVERSITY AND REMOVED AFTER FEW HOURS.
[Here we have a joint psyop, carried-out by unidentified international elements, with the clear intention of painting "Chechnya/Caucasus" as the next "Al-Qaeda" outpost. In Moscow, the Russian FSB claimed to have disrupted a Chechen terror plot by individuals who had recently arrived from the "Afghan-Pakistan region," where they had allegedly trained for this plot. On the same day, in Afghanistan's Helmand Province, another bit of psychological warfare concerning itinerent Chechens was delivered to the unsuspecting American masses and to the general world audience.
According to an Helmand Provincial spokesman and an alleged "Taliban spokesman" (some unknown quantity named Qari Yusuf Ahmadi who is the favorite pseudo-Taliban "spokesman" for Al-Jazeera and CNN.), while the attacks were unfolding in Russia, Helmand was allegedly, simultaneously, being overrun by "1,000 attackers," many of which were reported as Chechens and Arabs (i.e., "Al-CIA-da"). Two unrelated attacks in one day, both of which accentuated the dangers of Chechen "Al-Qaeda." What are the odds of that? A billion to one?
American and ISAF spokesmen are squirming on their hotseats, trying to disavow knowledge of any Taliban offensive, claiming that any attack that size would have automatically generated a call for air support. Coalition spokesman Col. Thomas Collins described the incident as--
"Ten groups of between 8 and 10 Taliban fighters...doing drive-by shootings against five police checkpoints."---Coalition Plays Down Afghan Reports of Major Battle in Helmand
All of this circumstantial evidence that "Chechens are the new Al-Qaeda" comes after America has suddenly been sensitized to the Chechen danger because of the Boston bombing, which allegedly implicated Russian immigrants, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Not yet fully understanding the purpose of this latest psyop tangent, we must throw into the mix the arrest and deportation of the alleged CIA spy, Ryan Fogle, who was reportedly trying to bribe FSB specialists on the region, hoping to turn them into CIA moles.
Coincidence? The dangerous, imaginary connections linking militant training camps in FATA, Chechen terrorists, Russia and the Marathon bombing suddenly popping-up as Obama is desperately looking to Central Asia, trying to find a reason to make it the next major conflict zone for his perpetual war.
This is Obama, Putin, Karzai and the Taliban all working together, as one unit.
Watch Putin to see how all of this is going to play-out.]
By Mirwais Adeel
Local officials in Helmand province said the incident took place in Sangin district, leaving four Afghan police officers dead.
Provincial governor spokesman Omar Zwak said the attack was carried out jointly by Pakistani and Chechen militants.
He said clashes started late Monday and the two sides are still exchanging fire.
In the meantime Taliban militants group claimed around 10 police officers along with thier commander were killed.
This comes as Afghan defense ministry on Monday announced that hundreds of Pakistani and foreign militants were deployed to Afghanistan to carry out attacks in Afghanistan.
Defense ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi said several religious Madrasas teaching Taliban militants were closed and the fighters were deployed in Afghanistan.
Follow Khaama Press (KP)
[[How is it that this piece of shit can conduct his own international foreign policy, employing the very terrorists that we are fighting a perpetual war against?]
The emir of Qatar, a strong supporter of the Syrian rebels, on Monday slammed what he called inaction by the international community over the conflict there, lamenting the failure to reach a political solution.
“It is no longer acceptable that influential states in the international community do not act to end the horrific tragedy and escalating humanitarian catastrophe” in Syria, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani told the Doha Forum.
He appeared to allude to Western countries, which have failed to agree to arm Syrian rebels, as the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime entered its third year in March.
Activists say more than 94,000 people have been killed.
He said that those countries, which he did not name, “want to decide themselves who should be the defender of the Syrian people,” in an apparent reference to concerns about the presence of radical Islamists among Syrian rebels.
Sheikh Hamad lamented the “failure of all international and Arab initiatives to get the Syrian regime to listen to the sound of reason.”
He expressed “sorrow at seeing the revolution of the Syrian people enter its third year without the clear perspective of an end to the bloodshed… because of the regime’s insistence on a military solution.”
The United States and Russia, a strong Assad ally, have proposed a peace conference for June, bringing together representatives of the regime and its opponents, with the aim of reaching a political solution.
by FRANKLIN LAMB
It’s not hard to find critics of the Assad government in the Governorate (Muhafazat) of Homs or for that matter, to varying degrees in Syria’s other thirteen Governorates according to Syrian analysts interviewed by this observer and reports from human rights groups including lawyers representing dissidents in Syria. However, after nearly 27 months of turmoil, the public opinion pendulum is markedly shifting back in support of the current regime.
One international political result was registered at the United Nations this past week when a US-Qatari-Saudi drafted General Assembly Resolution that was designed to increase pressure on the Assad government stumbled badly and fell far short of what the Saudi Ambassador to the UN and other US allies predicted would be an overwhelming vote in favor.
Effect of shift in popular opinion in Syria
Over the past four or five months it has become increasingly clear that public opinion in Syria is shifting for reasons that include, but are not limited to the following:
While inflation at the grocery stores in probably the most common complaint heard from a cross-section of society here, the population is adapting somewhat to higher prices and it appears to credit the government for efforts, some successful, to soften the impact of the illegal US-led sanctions that target this same Syrian population for purely political reasons to achieve regime change.
While Syrians demand dignity and freedom from oppressive security forces and an end to corruption, as all people do in this region and beyond, they are witnessing a return to near normalcy with respect to supplies of electricity, benzene, mazout fuel oil, bus schedules, schools, and a host of public services such as garbage collection, street sweeping, park maintenance, and sympathetic traffic cops who are rather understanding of short-cuts taken by drivers and pedestrians due to “the situation”.
In addition, public service announcement and even text messages demonstrate that the government is aware of the degree of suffering among the population, accept partial blame, and are focusing on remedial measure and crucially, ending the crisis with its horrific bloodshed. One observes here a definite trend of the pulling together of a high percentage of Syrians who share a very unique history and culture and who are deeply connected to their country and who are increasingly repelled by the continuing killing from all sides including the recent barbarisms of body mutilations and summary executions videotaped and broadcast on Utube by jihadist elements. The latter who these days come from nearly three dozen countries, paid for and indoctrinated by enemies of Syria’s Arab nationalism and deep rooted pillar of resistance to the occupation of Palestine.
In addition, many among Syria’s 23 million citizens, who initially supported the uprising following government reaction to event in Deraa in March 2011, now have serious second thoughts about who exactly would replace the current government. Events in Syria are also making plain that the army is still loyal to the Assad government, and according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, is actually gaining experience and strength as well as the well-known fact that as western diplomats are admitting, the “opposition militias” are hopelessly fractured, turning one another, many essential mafia outfits, and beginning to resemble their fellow jihadists from Libya, Chechnya and in between.
Opinion in Damascus and surrounding areas visited this past week, confirms this observers experience the past five months of a sharp and fairly rapid shift in opinion that now strongly favors letting the Syrian people themselves decide, without outside interference, whether the Assad regime will stay, and indeed, whether, the Baathist party will continue to represent majority opinion, not through wanton violence but rather via next June’s election. Many express confidence in the run up to this critical vote, noting that the election will be closely monitored by the international community to assure fairness.
Perhaps aided by the current glorious May weather, a certain optimism, that was more scarce in the past, pervades many neighborhoods.
For different reasons, foreign powers, including the USA, Turkey, European Union, the UK Jordan and even the majority population of the six Gulf Cooperation Council family run countries, according to Pew Research, are shifting their earlier positions which were based in part of the US administration, NATO, and Israeli assurances that the Assad government would surely fall quickly, “A matter of days, not weeks” US President Obama promised. That was two years ago.
As noted above, this trend has accelerated since the UN General Assembly vote with last weeks which did not go as planned on the biased and politicized non-binding draft resolution on Syria.
The public reaction in Syria and across the Middle East is substantially that the “Friends of Syria” non-binding GA resolution contradicts the reality on the ground, backs terrorism in Syria and hinders the international efforts to help achieve a political solution to the crisis in this country. Only 107 states voted in favor of the resolution, 12 against while 59 countries, mostly from Africa and Latin America, abstained from voting.
One reason the vote fell short of the 130 favorable votes that the basically same resolution garnered the past two times is that it is widely viewed as ignoring the crimes and atrocities committed by the armed jihadist groups in Syria and the flow of thousands of international terrorists backed by the West, the Gulf states and Turkey who provide them with weapons and money. According to the Russian delegate, backed by several other speakers, “the resolutions ignores all the terrorists’ heinous crimes and denounces what it called the escalation of the attacks by the Syrian government”. Afterward one Latin American Permanent Representative told Inner City Press that the count would have been below 100 if not for some “last minute arm-twisting.” As it turned out, 15 countries didn’t vote at all, opting to “get coffee,” as one African Permanent Representative put it before the vote.
Syria’s Ambassador al-Jaafari exposes a hoax in the Gulf
Syria’s permanent Envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said his country regretted the adoption of a biased and unbalanced UN resolution, thanking the countries that rejected the resolution “for their responsible positions which support the UN principles and the international law articles”. He noted that the decrease in the number of countries that voted in favor and the increase of numbers of those who abstained from voting indicates the growing international understanding of the reality of what is happening in Syria due to the foreign interference, support of terrorism, the spread of extremism and incitement besides the refusal of dialogue.
“We rely on the UN and its member states to support Syria and its people against the culture of extremism and terrorism, and to encourage the comprehensive national dialogue to peacefully resolve the Syrian crisis.” he said. In a statement released after the vote on the UN draft resolution on Syria, al-Jaafari He said that the French delegation had foiled the issuance of a number of UN press releases to condemn the terrorist acts committed by al-Qaeda-linked armed groups in Syria which claimed the lives of thousands of Syrians as it foiled a UN release to condemn the attempt of assassination of the Syrian Premier.
After Qatar’s ambassador spoke in favor of the resolution his country drafted (and re-drafted several time), Ja’afari revealed that there existed an e-mail, from the representative of the Syrian opposition given to Syria’s embassy in Qatar, showing Qatar’s involvement in the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade. He read out a phone number from the e-mail as several Gulf diplomats grimaced or scowled, and three left the Chamber.
Visibly stunned, the UK Permanent Representative Lyall Grant called the whole matter “deeply confusing”. Another Permanent Representative, from a militia contributing country, said that if true, it’s “very problematic.” The reasons include the fact that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had just thanked Qatar for its roles in the release of the UN Peacekeepers the earlier kidnapping of whom the Qatari government may have planned, paid for and executed.
Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky said he would not disclose any more about the “negotiations to free the peacekeepers or who was behind the crime.”
Score a major diplomatic victory for Syria’s UN Ambassador al-Jaafari as public opinion shifts in favor of the Assad government and both pressure as well as optimism build in the run-up to the Geneva II conference being organized by the White House and the Kremlin.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Syria and Lebanon and can be reached c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
“Russia has sent sophisticated anti-ship missiles to Syria, US media report.
The New York Times quotes unnamed US officials as saying the missiles could be used to counter any potential future foreign military intervention in Syria.”
VIDEO FOOTAGE OF BRAHMOS LAUNCH
Assad Ally Bolsters Warships in Region; U.S. Sees Warning
Russia has sent a dozen or more warships to patrol waters near its naval base in Syria, a buildup that U.S. and European officials see as a newly aggressive stance meant partly to warn the West and Israel not to intervene in Syria’s bloody civil war.
Russia’s expanded presence in the eastern Mediterranean, which began attracting U.S. officials’ notice three months ago, represents one of its largest sustained naval deployments since the Cold War. While Western officials say they don’t fear an impending conflict with Russia’s aged fleet, the presence adds a new source of potential danger for miscalculation in an increasingly combustible region.
“It is a show of force. It’s muscle flexing,” a senior U.S. defense official said of the Russian deployments. “It is about demonstrating their commitment to their interests.”
The buildup is seen as Moscow’s way of trying to strengthen its hand in any talks over Syria’s future and buttress its influence in the Middle East. It also provides options for evacuating tens of thousands of Russians still in Syria.
The deployments come at a time of heightened tensions. U.S. officials said Thursday that another round of Israeli airstrikes could target a new transfer of advanced missiles, anti-ship weapons known as Yakhont missiles, in the near future. Israeli and Western intelligence services believe the missiles, which have been sold by Russia to Syria in recent years, could be transferred to the militant Hezbollah group within days. Russia has strongly protested previous Israeli strikes in Syria.
Yakhont missiles are an offensive system. Moscow has told Western diplomats it will supply only defensive weaponry to the Syrian regime. But U.S. and Israeli officials have long been worried about Syria’s existing stocks of the weapon. If transferred to Hezbollah or other militant groups, they could provide a serious threat to both Israeli and U.S. warships in the region.
Russian Navy and foreign ministry officials didn’t respond to requests for comment about the deployments of the warships.
Russia supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the U.S. has called for his removal. Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled this week that he is pushing ahead with the sale of an advanced air-defense system to Syria, according to U.S. intelligence reports, over Israeli and U.S. objections.
Hezbollah and its chief sponsor, Iran, also have rallied around Mr. Assad, sharing Russia’s interest in keeping the regime in place. Recent Israeli airstrikes inside Syria have targeted missiles believed to be bound from Tehran to Hezbollah, Western intelligence officials have alleged.
Moscow and Washington have worked publicly in recent days to assemble an international conference involving Damascus. But expectations are low that the meeting could lead to a political transition, as tensions have heightened around the region, and with the U.S. and Russia backing opposing camps.
Amid the strategic turmoil, U.S. and European defense officials say Russia appears to be trying to project power to deter outside intervention in Syria, which it sees as its foothold in the Middle East.
U.S. and European officials believe Mr. Putin wants to prevent the West from contemplating a Libya-style military operation inside Syria. President Barack Obama doesn’t want to intervene militarily, but he has said the calculation could be changed by suspected use of chemical weapons by Mr. Assad’s forces. Likewise, the Pentagon has stepped up military contingency planning in the event of spillover of fighting into neighboring Turkey and Jordan, both close U.S. allies.
Moscow’s deployments appeared designed to show that Russia intends to keep Tartus, its only remaining military outpost outside the former Soviet Union, senior U.S. officials said. Though spare by Western military standards—it consists of a pair of piers staffed by about 50 people, according to Russian data—the base provides a toehold in the region that has grown in strategic and symbolic importance for Moscow.
“It’s not really a base,” said Andrei Frolov, an analyst at CAST, a Moscow military think tank. “It’s more like a service station” that can do limited resupply and very modest repairs.
U.S. officials say, however, that Russia has drawn up plans to expand the base, which it negotiated with Mr. Assad.
Washington’s interest in the base has likewise grown—not because the U.S. sees it as a threat, but because U.S. officials believe that by assuring Russia that the base will remain under Moscow’s control in a post-Assad Syria, the U.S. has a better chance of convincing Mr. Putin to break with Mr. Assad.
Mr. Obama held out some hope Thursday that the coming conference with Russia would help the major powers reach a consensus on how to end the bloodshed in Syria.
“There’s no magic formula for dealing with an extraordinarily violent and difficult situation like Syria’s,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference in Washington with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “I do think that the prospect of talks in Geneva involving the Russians…may yield results.”
Moscow’s diplomacy notwithstanding, U.S. officials believe that in addition to the naval deployments, Russia is moving more quickly than previously thought to deliver S-300 surface-to-air defense systems to Syria.
U.S. officials say the S-300 system, which is capable of shooting down guided missiles and could make it more risky for any warplanes to enter Syrian airspace, could leave Russia for the port of Tartus by the end of May.
Russia’s delivery of such missiles could create a new dilemma for Israel, which has carried out what Western intelligence officials say are at least three airstrikes inside Syria in recent months against suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah. Israel has yet to target Syrian forces directly, seeking to avoid direct conflict with Mr. Assad, say U.S. and Israeli officials.
Russian officials first announced the navy was deploying ships to the eastern Mediterranean near Syria starting in late 2012, but few details about the deployments have been made public.
In January, the Russian navy used these and other ships to conduct what it billed as some of the largest exercises in recent years in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea for a force that has had relatively low international presence since the Cold War. State media reported that as many as 21 ships and three submarines were involved, as well as planes and other forces.
Before the start of the Syrian civil war, Russian ships stopped at the port only irregularly. But in the last three months, 10 to 15 Russian ships have been near the Syrian port at any one time, U.S. and European officials say. They say Russia currently has 11 ships in the eastern Mediterranean, organized into three task forces, that include destroyers, frigates, support vessels and intelligence-collecting ships. Another three-ship group of amphibious vessels is headed to the region. But U.S. officials said they expect that group to replace one of the groups currently in the region.
“You have more and more warships” concentrated between Cyprus, Lebanon and Turkey, a senior European defense official said, adding that Russia is protecting its sphere of influence in the Middle East and “staking its claim” to Tartus.
Many of the Russian ships in the eastern Mediterranean have stopped in Syria, conducted exercises, port visits or training in the area, and then moved on to the Gulf of Aden to conduct counterpiracy missions, U.S. and European officials said. Others in the aging fleet have returned to Black Sea ports for repairs and resupply in recent weeks, Russian state media reported.
The stops in Syria, according to a U.S. official, signal that Russia wants to show it remains a naval power, even though its strength is diminished from the Soviet era and no longer matches Western capabilities.
“They are stretching their legs,” the official said. “They are very much interested in letting people know they are a blue-water navy.”
The Soviets had ships in the Mediterranean during the Cold War whose mission was to counter the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet. The Russians ended that mission in 1992. But in the last few months, the Russian navy has talked about reviving a similar mission to signal Russia’s influence in the region.
For now, senior U.S. officials said the Russian buildup “is not seen as threatening” to the U.S. Navy, which has two destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean and an aircraft carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf.
“Nobody is forecasting the battle of Midway in the eastern Med,” the senior defense official said.
WASHINGTON — The war authorization that Congress passed after 9/11 will be needed for at least 10 to 20 more years, and can be used to put the United States military on the ground anywhere, from Syria to the Congo to Boston, military officials argued Thursday.
The revelations came during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee and surprised even experts in America’s use of force stemming from the terrorist attacks in 2001.
“This is the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing hearing that I’ve been to since I’ve been here. You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution today,” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told four senior U.S. military officials who testified about the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force and what it allows the White House to do.
King and others were stunned by answers to specific questions about where President Barack Obama could use force under the key provision of the AUMF — a 60-word paragraph that targeted those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
“I learned more in this hearing about the scope of the AUMF than in all of my study in the last four or five years,” said Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith, who was called by the committee to offer independent comments on the issue. “I thought I knew what the application [of the AUMF] meant, but I’m less confident now,” he added later.
Concerns emerged largely from questions by senators who approve of an aggressive strategy to combat terrorism, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who asked if the AUMF gave Obama the authority to put “boots on the ground” in Yemen or the Congo.
Robert Taylor, the acting general counsel for the Department of Defense said yes, as long as the purpose was targeting a group associated with al Qaeda that intended to harm the United States or its coalition partners.
“Would you agree with me, the battlefield is anywhere the enemy chooses to make it?” asked Graham.
“Yes sir, from Boston to FATA [Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas],” answered Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense who oversees special operations.
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) later raised the specter of the AUMF being used to intervene in Syria, where the group Al Nusra, believed to be affiliated with Al Qaeda, is active. Al Nusra has not been linked to 9/11.
Sheehan said yes, if defense officials determined the group was becoming a threat. The same criteria applied to other groups, even if they were locally focused and operating in other nations. Taylor confirmed that AUMF also would cover individuals, even those who had not been born by 9/11, if, as Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) asked, they someday were to “become associated with a group that associates with Al Qaeda.”
When asked about an expiration date for the war authorization, Sheehan said it would be when al Qaeda had been consigned to the “ash heap of history.” “I think it’s at least 10 to 20 years.”
While none of the senators suggested dialing back efforts to stop terrorists, they were clearly disturbed at the power being asserted by the military.
“I’m just a little old lawyer from Brunswick, Maine, but I don’t see how you can possibly read this to be in comport with the Constitution,” King said, arguing that the defense officials’ interpretation of the AUMF makes the war power of Congress “a nullity.” “Under your reading, we’ve granted unbelievable powers to the president and it’s a very dangerous precedent.”
Kaine found the suggestion that the AUMF could be used to go into Syria especially disturbing. “The testimony I hear today suggests the administration believes that they would have the authority to do that,” Kaine said. “But I don’t want us to walk out of the room leaving an impression that members of Congress also share the understanding that that would be acceptable.”
The DOD officials repeatedly defended the authority they’ve claimed, noting that al Qaeda is not a traditional enemy, and that it shifts locations and changes its tactics. The broad interpretation of the AUMF, they argued, gives them the flexibility to deal with the changing threat in a lawful, effective manner.
But even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who generally agrees with Graham in pursuing a vigorous war on terror, said the AUMF has been stretched past the breaking point.
“This authority … has grown way out of proportion and is no longer applicable to the conditions that prevailed, that motivated the United States Congress to pass the authorization for the use of military force that we did in 2001,” McCain said.
“For you to come here and say we don’t need to change it or revise or update it, I think is, well, disturbing,” McCain said, noting that the AUMF also is used to justify things like drone strikes that were never contemplated by Congress. “I don’t blame you because basically you’ve got carte blanche as to what you are doing around the world.”
No one suggested specific solutions, but did say the Senate will deal with the problem later this year when the committee takes on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2014.
The broad assertion of authority by the military is likely to disturb civil libertarians on the left and right who have complained that the AUMF and a previous version of the NDAA give the military power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens. Obama has issued orders banning such practices, but DOD officials apparently believe the law grants them the power to act anywhere.
This undated image posted on a militant website purports to show militants in the al-Jazeera region on the Iraqi sid
Religious police units enforce a strict form of Islamic rule, such banning alcohol sales and requiring conservative dress for women.
BEIRUT — Radical Syrian opposition groups now in control of Aleppo and much of its surroundings are forming increasing numbers of religious police units to enforce a strict form of Islamic rule, such as banning alcohol sales and making prayer compulsory.
The actions of these groups, many of which comprise foreign fighters, are gaining in reach in a country that has been largely secular and free of Islamic jihadist radicalism.
“Rebels have brutally imposed a conservative dress code for women and crushed any ( secular) opposition in these areas,” Syrian author Talal al-Atrache says.
Known as vice and virtue police, these squads are enforcing the edicts of courts put in place by rebels in the various Syrian regions where the Syrian government has been pushed out.
The main purpose of the courts is to adjudicate criminal allegations and issue rulings against members of regime forces or undisciplined members of the armed factions, says Mourad al Chami, spokesperson for the Syrian Military Council in Damascus.
“However, like in any other war, there have been reports of excessive behavior on the part of these religious courts and police squads,” al Chami admits.
Much of the spread of Islamic courts has been in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria and scene of nearly two years of battles between rebels and government forces. Fighters aligned with radical groups in Iraq and elsewhere have made their way there to fight the regime of Bashar Assad and at the same time have slowly been imposing their laws on villages and neighborhoods they control.
In some towns, Islamist militants patrol the streets and warn men to not shave and refrain from alcohol, and tell women to wear the abaya, a long black garment that comes with a veil.
“There have been several reports of liquor stores forced to close down,” says al Chami, who adds that most demands are limited to pockets of terrain and not widespread.
Mouaz al-Khatib, former head of the Syrian National Coalition, which is a group of opposition forces, has said he is aware of cases where women were executed for alleged sexual misbehavior, says Thomas Pierret, a specialist of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Videos circulating on the Internet depict punishments imposed by vice and virtue squads in Syria, though the footage can not be verified as accurate.
One video shows a demonstrator being arrested because he had thrown away a banner inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith associated with radical Salafi movements. Author al-Atrache says the demonstrator, identified as Wael Ibrahim Abu Mariam, is punished by 10 strokes of metal pipe by the Sharia Authority in Aleppo.
Another video shows secular activist Abdallah Yassine being charged for inciting unrest by Shariah Tribunals in Saraqeb, in the province of Idlib.
Pierret says he has seen no evidence of wide-scale and systematic enforcement of “Islamic virtue” in liberated areas. He says some of the vice and virtue committees were formed to establish dominance over rival Islamist groups rather than impose Islamic law on residents.
And the enforcement of Islamic law, or sharia, differs widely because of Syria’s diverse societies, says al Chami.
He says Islamist groups such Jabhat al-Nusra have been able to impose strict Islamic laws in some areas but not in others. They were unable to enforce a stricter interpretation of Islam in the suburbs of Damascus, such as in Reef Demashk, because of the population’s relative liberal views, he said.
In the areas where they have been successful, residents may have been swayed by the groups’ charitable help and offers of religious instruction rather than a genuine movement toward radicalism, al Chami says.
Moaz al Khatib, himself an Islamic scholar, has criticized al-Nusra for enforcing an uncompromising version of Islam. The Syrian National Council announced recently it intended to establish a more moderate version of sharia law, but what that means is not known.
“The reference to sharia ( by the council) means very little without further specification,” Pierret says.
Saudi Arabia has introduced a campaign aimed at tackling domestic violence against women in the kingdom. The King Khalid Foundation funds the campaign, which is a royal, family-run organization with clear ties to the Saudi government.
The campaign ad portrays a face-covered woman with only her eyes showing, one of which is bruised. The translation of the Arabic message of the ad reads: “What is hidden underneath is much bigger.” However, the sentence should refer to what is hidden deep inside the laws of the kingdom and not under the facial covers.
The campaign is disconnected from the main reason behind domestic violence. Domestic violence in Saudi Arabia, unlike in other parts of the world, goes far deeper than just a social issue, it is the problem with the law itself. In Saudi Arabia, men grow up knowing that abusing your wife, sister or mother is protected by law. In terms of religion, men in Saudi Arabia, and some other parts of the Muslim world, are being taught in school that hitting your wife is one solution to her disobedience. Clerics are also outspoken about such rulings on TV.
The famous Saudi preacher Mohamad Alarefe, said on LBC channel:
“Allah created women with these soft and fragile bodies because they use their emotions more than their bodies and that’s why you find men discipline their wives with beating while women discipline their husbands with crying.”
He continued, “the point of the husband hitting his wife is not to cause pain but to get obedience.”
Clerics emphasize the fact the women have to obey their fathers, brothers and husbands as part of their religious duty.
On another occasion, when asked about women leaving the house, Mohamad Alarefe said:
“There are two cases for women leaving the house, the first case is if the husband told his wife not to go somewhere, like the market because he ‘hates’ her doing that and she leaves to that place then leaving is forbidden and not allowed. The second case is if she leaves to a place that her husband does not hate and approves of and that it was difficult for her to take his permission because he is in prison, or a captive, etc. then leaving is permitted.”
In terms of law, there is not one law in Saudi Arabia that regards violence toward women as an illegal activity. As a matter of fact, women in Saudi Arabia are minors under law until their death, making it impossible for a woman to make any decision on her own without the permission of her guardian.
This means that even if a woman is “radical” enough to disobey her guardian or reject his abuse or decisions, she has got nowhere to go. She cannot file a complaint or leave the country or do practically anything without her guardian’s permission, which in most cases, ironically, is the abuser himself.
Therefore there is no reason for a man to restrain himself from abusing women in his family. He knows that he has the power to abuse her, hit her, stop her from working and stop her from getting educated while having the law and religion right there behind him.
The ad in the new campaign is meant to define domestic violence in Saudi Arabia as being a social issue and divert attention from the government’s lack of laws that protect women. This campaign takes the responsibility away from the government and puts it in the hands of individuals themselves; women have to step up and talk about abuse and go to shelters, and men have to restrain themselves from abusing women.
This campaign tries to limit the cause to only being the women’s lack of knowledge of laws and regulations. It advocates the notion that the solution can only come by the participation of the women themselves. A comment by princess Ameerah al-Taweel’s, the vice chairwoman of the Board of the Alwaleed Bin Talal foundation, follows on a similar path:
“The main issue when it comes to abused women in Saudi is lack of knowledge. Some women who accept being abused don’t know their rights in Islam, and a lot of women who are suffering from abuse, don’t know their rights in our legal system. That they can report their case and they will be protected by the government.”
This notion presents the government as the “good guy” because supposedly they are promoting such campaigns and willing to help the women who suffer from abuse: a government that has “a legal system” that protects women from abuse and domestic violence. The fact is under the legal system in Saudi, men can get away with their abuse, as the punishment for domestic violence is very minimal. Human Rights Watch World Report 2013 reported:
“In May, Jeddah’s Summary Court convicted a man for physically abusing his wife to the point of hospitalization, but sentenced him to learning by heart five parts of the Quran and 100 sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.”
The legal system in Saudi Arabia does not have the sufficient tools and laws that would deter men from domestic violence. In case of drugs and murder, the punishment is death penalty, which makes people think twice before committing such crimes because of the consequences. Yet, when it comes to domestic violence the punishment is learning parts of the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
Such campaigns are ahead of their time because first concrete laws must be put in place. Then and only then can we start equating domestic violence to other social issues, such as drug use or child abuse or animal rights, that take place in the society despite the presence of related laws and regulations. How can we educate people about the harms of a social issue when the government itself is not considering these harms?
Women should refuse to be victimized into believing that such actions are part of their religion and instead ask for real changes in the law itself as opposed to superficially trying to solve such essential issues. They should hold their government accountable for this abuse. The solution to such problems can only be achieved with the kind of spirit and power that the Arab Spring had; by demanding change, protesting oppression and getting hurt for the sake of the cause.
By Mohamed Hemish
[If, after all the stink that has been raised over the previous Israeli aggressions upon Syria in the midst of the US/Saudi war to destroy Syria, Israeli bombers attack again, and Assad fails to retaliate again, then it will prove some level of Israeli control over Assad (SEE: When the Hummus Hits the Fan, Israel Will Choose Bashar al-Assad Over Radical Islamists). Such a Zionist revelation, coupled with recent news of an Israeli/Saudi alliance, will also reveal the true Patron/Client relationship between the Fascist Shit-hole and the Arab royal dictatorships, who have been the traditional alleged "protectors" of the rights of the Palestinian people. The Mideast monarchies have given hope that one day they would avenge the "Nakba" ethnic-cleansing of Palestine by returning millions of refugees back to their rightful homes.
Such is the nature of the "Bizarro world" that we live in.
Good always turns-out to be evil in the end. The power of weakness is a Christian delusion. When we are meek before the enemies of the human race, then the most bloodthirsty criminals will determine the vile nature of the next step in the spiritual/psychological evolution of mankind.]
Israeli senior official tells New York Times Israel considering further military strikes on Syria to stop transfer of weapons to Hezbollah. ‘If Assad reacts, he will risk forfeiting his regime,’ he says
A senior Israeli official signaled on Wednesday that Israel was considering further military strikes on Syria to stop the transfer of advanced weapons to Islamic militants, and warned Syrian president Bashar Assad, that his government would face crippling consequences if it retaliated against Israel, the New York Times reported.
“Israel is determined to continue to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah . The transfer of such weapons to Hezbollah will destabilize and endanger the entire region,” the official said in an interview.
“If Syrian President Assad reacts by attacking Israel, or tries to strike Israel through his terrorist proxies,” the official said, “he will risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate.”
The newspaper noted that the Israeli official has been briefed by high-level officials on the Syria situation in the past two days and had contacted The New York Times on Wednesday.
The paper considered the timing of the statements. “The precise motives for Israel’s warning were uncertain: Israel could be trying to restrain Syria’s behavior without undertaking further military action, or alerting other countries to another strike. That would ratchet up the tension in an already fraught situation in Syria,” the report said.
Foreign reports claim Israel carried out a total of three airstrikes in Syria since the civil war there began two years ago. The first allegedly took place in January when a convoy was bombed near the Syria-Lebanon border.
The target was reported to have been an arms shipment to Hezbollah that included Russian-made SA-17 missiles – possibly “game changing” weapons in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Damascus later conceded there had been an attack claiming the target was a military research center in Jamraya.
The second airstrike allegedly occurred in early May and was reported by US media. The target was an arms shipment from Iran to Hezbollah. Another strike was reported 48 hours later. According to Syria, the Jamraya military center had been bombed again.
Israel did not comment on the reports.
[China is evidently just another power working to install the Jews on the world throne, leaving the rest of us to serve as their footstool. If all things shall truly "flow from Jerusalem," then they will be the most corrupt, evil things imaginable. And all this time we thought that the God of the Hebrew Bible was a God of goodness. All we have seen "God's Chosen" do so far is to sow hatred and divisioin throughout the earth. It is a sad reality we must live in when the outcome of all things is to be that good is bad, black is white, humanitarianism is war
I am really getting sick of reporting this shit!]
China’s President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with their delegates during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 9, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/POOL)
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited China last week, one of the items on his agenda was a railway line that could turn Israel into a land and sea bridge for Chinese exports to Europe.
TEL AVIV: When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited China last week, one of the items on his agenda was a railway line that could turn Israel into a land and sea bridge for Chinese exports to Europe.
The China-Israel initiative holds the potential to change the face of trade in the Middle East.
Dr Gedaliah Afterman, Fellow at Jewish People Policy Institute, said: “As far as expertise goes, the Chinese have been involved in many similar projects around the world.”
The plan is to build a 180-kilometre railway from Israel’s southern port in Eilat in the Red Sea to its Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa. From there, cargo can travel onwards to Europe.
Dr Afterman added: “As far as the Chinese interests in such a project, I think it’s both economic, but also strategic. I mean having a connection between the port of Eilat in the Red Sea and the port of Ashdod in the Mediterranean gives them access to both directions where they can move both energy resources and other cargo.”
The route will be far faster than boats reaching the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal. Now they will be able to by-pass the Suez Canal completely and dock in Eilat.
The railway is expected to increase trade from China, India and other Asian countries to Israel, while also reducing Tel Aviv’s dependence on a waterway controlled by her increasingly hostile neighbour.
One of the big concerns for Israelis is the deterioration in relations between Tel Aviv and Cairo, but by by-passing the Egyptian-controlled Suez Canal, Israelis no longer have to fear that if Cairo ever blocked the canal their economy would come to a standstill.
Dr Shalom Wald, Senior Fellow of the Jewish People Policy Institute, said: “Egypt is a mess. How long will it take for the mess to spill over into the Suez Canal? If the Suez Canal ever closes, it will be a catastrophe to trade and a blow to China also. A lot of Chinese trade goes through the Suez Canal also.”
The idea is not only for a cargo train, but also for one that transports people.
Ms Sivan Shahar lives in Eilat, but works in Tel Aviv. The lengthy commute sees her spending many hours on the road.
“It will be a great relief, it will be a great assistance for me because it will take about two and a half hours each way instead of four hours in a bus ot taking a flight which is always harder,” she said.
The proposed railway line is along a route used in ancient times by caravans from Arabia and India to Europe.
But it’s not without its problems
Dr Asaf Tsoer, ecologist at Southern District Nature and Park Authority of Israel, said: “We need to understand that this train passes through one of our biggest nature reserves in an area that we are protecting and fighting to protect for a very long time. It goes near the natural equators which can only be found in Israel and in Sinai, and they pass through a lot of archaeological sites.”
Construction is expected to take about five years to complete and will cost about US$4 billion.
There are plans to extend the railway to Jordan’s Aqaba port later.
This is all part of a plan for China to fast track trade into the Middle East and beyond.
Detroit is broke and faces a bleak future given the precarious financial path it’s on, according to a new report out by the city’s state-appointed emergency manager.
The report was released late Sunday by bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr and is his first on Detroit’s finances since officially taking the job in March.
Under state law, the report was due within 45 days of Michigan’s newest emergency manager law taking effect. Orr’s spokesman Bill Nowling had warned last week that the report was an early look at Detroit’s fiscal condition and would not be glowing.
The summation is the latest blow to the city which came under state oversight in March when Gov. Rick Snyder selected Orr to handle Detroit’s finances. Then, the city estimated its budget deficit to be about $327 million. Detroit also has struggled over the past year with cash flow, relying on bond money held by the state to pay some of its bills.
But Orr reports that Detroit’s net cash position was negative $162 million as of April 26 and that the projected budget deficit is expected to reach $386 million in less than two months.
He also warns that the city’s financial health might change as more data is collected and analyzed.
“What is clear, however, is that continuing along the current path is an ill-advised and unacceptable course of action if the city is to be put on the path to a sustainable future.”
Detroit is the largest city in the country under state control and the city’s wallet is now Orr’s to command. He dictates how Detroit spends its money, something that had been the responsibility of first-term Mayor Dave Bing and the nine-member City Council.
In a statement Monday morning, Bing said his office plans a “comprehensive evaluation” of the report over the next day.
“A comprehensive review of the emergency manager’s financial and operating plan has yet to be conducted,” Bing said. “However, my initial review is that the assessment by Mr. Orr of the city’s financial condition is consistent with my administration’s findings.”
The city’s problems preceded Bing, a former steel supply company owner and professional basketball Hall-of-Famer.
“This has been a moving target. The historical numbers that have been reported were unreliable,” bankruptcy expert Doug Bernstein said. “Certainly, nobody was going to expect the numbers were to be better than were reported.”
Orr described the city’s operations as “dysfunctional and wasteful after years of budgetary restrictions, mismanagement, crippling operational practices and, in some cases, indifference or corruption.”
“Outdated policies, work practices, procedures and systems must be improved consistent with best practices of 21st century government,” he said in the report. “A well run city will promote cost savings and better customer service and will encourage private investment and a return of residents.”
The report also looked at attempts officials have made to fix problems.
“Recently, tens of millions of dollars of pension funding and other payments have been deferred to manage a severe liquidity crisis at the City,” Orr wrote in the report. “Even with these deferrals, the City has operated at a significant and increasing deficit. It is expected that the City will end this fiscal year with approximately $125 million in accumulated deferred obligations and a precariously low cash position.”
The city also owes more than $400 million in outstanding obligations, including $124 million used to provide funds for public improvement projects.
Orr’s report identifies areas of concern and those needing immediate attention.
It’s highly likely he will seek concessions from the city’s labor unions. At least five unions representing police and firefighters are seeking arbitration in collective bargaining with the city.
Detroit lacks, but is developing a “comprehensive labor strategy for managing” its relationships with its unions, according to Orr.
The emergency manager law gives Orr the authority to “reject, modify or terminate” collective bargaining agreements and concessions will be sought, he wrote in the report.
“This power will be exercised, if necessary or desirable, with the knowledge and understanding that many city employees already have absorbed wage and benefit reductions,” he wrote.
When taking the job, Orr said he hoped to avoid a municipal bankruptcy filing, but didn’t rule one out if Detroit can’t reach agreements with its many creditors and bond holders.
“If he already hasn’t, he should continue negotiating for savings necessary in collective bargain,” said Bernstein, a managing partner of the Banking, Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Practice Group for the Michigan-based Plunkett Cooney law firm. “He has to negotiate reductions with bond holders and get as many concessions as he can. It’s an across-the-board savings.
“If he can’t get everything completed by consent, then there is no option but bankruptcy. It should be a last resort. It should be used sparingly. It is an option. When all else fails, that’s the last tool in the tool box.”
The report also notes the instability in leadership atop the city’s police department. Detroit has had five different police chiefs over the past five years with varying plans on how to best handle the city’s high crime rate.
“As a result, (the department’s) efficiency, effectiveness and employee morale are extremely low,” Orr wrote. “Based on recent reviews … and input from the Michigan State Police and other law enforcement agencies, it is clear that improvements in DPD’s operations and performance could be achieved through the strategic redeployment of resources, civilianization of administrative functions, other labor efficiencies and revenue enhancements.”
The department also could benefit from more and better technology, equipment, police cars and personnel.
PESHAWAR: The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) has accused Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf of poll rigging in Mardan, Kohat, Peshawar and Fata and demanded re-election in the areas.
Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman warned of protests across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa if his demand was not accepted.
He said his party did not accept the PTI’s victory in Mardan, Kohat, Peshawar and Fata obtained through massive rigging.
He alleged that results had been changed in the areas and asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take notice of irregularities and order re-election.
Raising doubts over the credibility of elections held across the country, he said the ECP’s failure to stop rigging had made the entire exercise controversial.
People, he said, had expected that the commission would conduct free, fair and impartial polls but they were disappointed.
Replying to a question, he said the JUI-F was in touch with the PML-N, Qaumi Watan Party, Jamaat-i-Islami and independents to explore the possibility of forming a coalition government in KP.
Responding to the allegations, Asad Qaisar, president of the provincial chapter of PTI, has urged the JUI-F to respect the people’s mandate and sit in the opposition, instead of raising a hue and cry.
He said in a statement that Maulana Fazl had used the name of Islam only to grab power but he was rejected by the people who were aware of his motive.
He said the PTI had emerged as the party of the people under the dynamic leadership of Imran Khan.
He accused Maulana Fazl of accumulating wealth “in the name of Islam”, but the days of corrupt politicians were numbered. “Now people’s true representatives will rule the province.”
The Maulana, he said, cried foul whenever his party was rejected by people in an election.
The JUI-I chief had been baffled by the huge mandate of the PTI, he said, adding that party would form government in the province and serve the masses with dedication.
The more that the people “awaken” to the fact that a small segment of the human race considers the rest of us as their “cattle,” the faster that their power over us erodes. Brzezenski is not sounding a prophetic message of hope to the world’s masses, he is warning the elite that their window of opportunity is slipping away. That is the great part of True Democracy–the righteous, self-igniting outrage which is a natural bi-product of learning about grievous injustice or the intentional, institutional abuse of our rights or those of our fellow man. The more we learn, the more dangerous we become to the elite.
[If they hope to survive their great social experiment involving all of our lives, then they will move against us while they still can.--Peter]
[I thought that Karzai had already run the bastards out of Wardak.]
US soldiers near the village of Qol-e-Botonin the mountains of Wardak Province. (Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov)
The US and Afghanistan are at loggerheads again after new accusations that an American citizen has ‘disappeared’ fifteen people in the province of Wardak, where continued NATO presence has been hotly opposed. Washington has denied any involvement.
Afghan officials say that a man by the name of Zakaria Kandahari, allegedly an ethnic Afghan, but a US citizen, has led a pro-government death squad that has terrorized locals in Wardak, New York Times reports. The newspaper says three officials have confirmed that he is being sought on charges of torture and murder. A key piece of evidence is a video tape of Kandahari torturing a local, while speaking English with an American accent.
Over the past year, Kandahari and his soldiers have also been seen throughout the area wearing NATO uniforms while riding on quad bikes in search of alleged insurgents, at least one of whom, Afghans say, has been found dismembered in a garbage container just outside the US base in the province, which is located just to the west of the capital Kabul.
Washington does not deny the existence of the video, but claims Kandahari operates a rogue Afghan unit, and is not a US citizen.
“Everybody in that video is Afghan; there are no American voices,” an unnamed American official told the newspaper.
The official said that Kandahari was an interpreter for a US A-Team, based in the Nerkh district, and “went on the lam” as soon as his extrajudicial anti-Taliban campaign was discovered by the Americans, following a tip from Afghan officials.
“We would have no reason to try to harbor this individual,” said the source. “We have done three investigations down there, and all absolve ISAF [NATO] forces and Special Forces of all wrongdoing.”
Allegations of extrajudicial justice by the US Nerkh-based Special Forces unit, which consists of a small core of American commandos aided by local support staff, in the region first surfaced in February when President Hamid Karzai said that the mixed teams had unleashed a reign of terror over the locals and ordered them out of the province.
Once again (just as in the recent US Embassy bombing in Ankara) a spectacular terrorist attack takes place in Turkey and the government immediately blames another obscure Marxist terrorist group, that they have conveniently resurrected from Turkey’s distant past. The individual faction of this group has also allegedly been identified, as “Mirhac Ural,” who has recently been named by the Syrian opposition as the man behind the latest alleged “ethnic cleansing” in a town called Banias, along the Syrian coast (SEE: Syria: Enter the ethnic cleanser of Banias).
Ural was originally a founding member of TPLP-C (Acilciler), a Marxist/Leftist/revolutionary group which was formed to fight US imperialism within Turkey, specifically, to act as a counter-force to US “Gladio”/”Gray Wolves” operations. The TPLP-C supported its sister organization, the DHKP/C, which was blamed for the recent bombing outside the American Embassy in Ankara.
Ural is also a close friend of terrorist PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. He allegedly introduced Bashar al-Assad to Ocalan. It was allegedly Ural who persuaded Assad to play the “Kurdish” card against Erdogan. Erdogan thought that he had trumped this move when he negotiated the latest peace agreement with the PKK, until Iraq’s government refused to accept the expatriated Kurdish guerillas. The Kurds cannot be blamed for using Syrian-based assets against Turkey in this terror bombing in Reyhanli over the denial of new sanctuary in northern Iraq, because the attack was clearly intended to help the Turkish Prime Minister to persuade Obama to intervene in Syria on Turkey’s behalf, and this would not help the Kurds in any conceivable way.
It is claimed in the Saudi/Arab press that Bashar Assad has become desperate in his resistance to the Imperial terrorist invasion, choosing at this time to gather his forces to him in the center of his Alawite home turf, as he ethnically cleansing Syria of the majority Sunnis. They have reinforced this ethnic cleansing theme in the reports emerging from the Imperial press Turkish outfit, Zaman, about an alleged “Banias massacre.” This massacre supposedly took place the day after Ural was quoted on YouTube, saying, “We need to cleanse Banias of traitors at the earliest.”
From the video, if it is genuine, it seems that Ural could be a legitimate leader of a Syrian counter-terrorist cell. If that is true, then he would certainly have plenty of reasons to want to close the supply lines from Turkey. But there is much more to this incident than this simple explanation. If Ural is an anti-Islamist fighter, then why would he be immortalized in the Islamist press? The story about an “Alevi rump state” along the coast of Syria, builds upon Sunni fears that they are about to also be ethnically cleansed from around Hatay, Turkey–Giving them a good reason to fight a sectarian war. This benefits the Saudi-Israeli alliance, up unto the point where the destabilization plot it increases ethnic tensions on the wrong side of the border. Proper conflict management prevents the various sub-plots from getting out of control and, as a consequence, over-driving the main destabilization plot and thereby, unintentionally causing the opposite effects, instead of the planned reactions.
Always, in these destabilization plots, there are two primary parties working the target–the destabilizing power and a patsy partner within the target entity (corporation, organization, state) that is to be destabilized. Since the Saudis and Israel are obviously working together to carry-out the Imperial diktat for the Middle East, then it is clear that it is the Saudis who will eventually be the losing party. Whether they will lose more than they can afford to pay is the risk that they are willing to take to eject Assad. It is not in Israel’s interests to see an Islamist victory in Syria, but the Saudis and friends erroneously believe that it is in theirs. It is unlikely that the Saudis would support an effort to divide Syria if it would harm Turkey, or make it harder to get weapons over the Syrian border to the terrorist front.
If the bombing of Turkey is clearly not in the Islamists’ interests, but does no harm to Israeli interests, then it may mean that Israel is using another PKK-related terror group to rein-in Prince Bandar’s Islamist attack dogs, in order to save Assad, in order to maintain the quagmire in Syria. Consider the points raised in this piece from Zaman (SEE: Opposition commander: Assad defeated, we are fighting Iran, Hezbollah). The Gulenist mouthpiece Zaman interviews an alleged Syrian rebel commander, of the al-Tawhid Brigade, Commander Abdulkader Saleh. He makes the extraordinary claim that Israel and Iran are secretly working together against the Syrian terrorists:
“Bashar al-Assad’s regime does not have the strength to carry on its battle against opposition fighters, adding that Iran and Hezbollah are the forces behind the protracted war….Iran and Hezbollah are the ones who are continuing the war in Syria,”
“Furthermore, Iran and Hezbollah are cooperating with Israel to be able to support Assad. Assad has protected Israel’s border for 40 years,”
the Saudi Gazette (SEE: Israel’s strategy in Syria ).
Israel fears the Arab Spring because the Arab Spring augments the voices of freedom and calls for freedom throughout the region, not just in the Arab world, but in Israel too. And Israel is one of the most oppressive country’s in the Middle East. Although most Jewish citizens of Israel enjoy unprecedented freedoms and benefits from the state, non-Jews suffer simply because they are non-Jews. Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs are victimized by Israel both as so-called “citizens” and as imprisoned victims in the occupied lands.”
“Syria’s opposition will consult with backers Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey before it decides whether to take part in a peace conference proposed by the United States and Russia, its acting chief said Monday.” Syria opposition to consult backers on peace talks. This is a complete reversal to all previous dismissals of negotiations with Assad out of hand. Such a conference confirms Obama’s complete reticence in expanding the Syrian conflict into a regional war. If Erdogan was hoping that the terror bombings in Turkey would sway Obama’s opinion about bringing-in American or NATO support against Syria, then he is likely to be disappointed when they meet in DC this week.
As far as the possibility that Turkey will escalate the confrontation with Syria on its own (SEE: Turkey says it won’t be drawn into Syria conflct), there is very little chance that Erdogan will make this misstep, especially when he cannot really be certain exactly who is on his side.
Reauthorizing the indefinite detention of US citizens without charge might be the scariest provision in next year’s defense spending bill, but it certainly isn’t the only one worth worrying about.
An amendment tagged on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 would allow for the United States government to create and distribute pro-American propaganda within the country’s own borders under the alleged purpose of putting al-Qaeda’s attempts at persuading the world against Western ideals on ice. Former US representatives went out of there way to ensure their citizens that they’d be excluded from government-created media blasts, but two lawmakers currently serving the country are looking to change all that.
Congressmen Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012” (H.R. 5736) last week during discussions for the NDAA 2013. It was voted on by the US House of Representatives to be included in next year’s defense spending bill, which was then voted on as a whole and approved. The amendment updates the antiquated Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987, essentially clarifying that the US State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors may “prepare, disseminate and use public diplomacy information abroad,” but while also striking down a long-lasting ban on the domestic dissemination in America. For the last several decades, the federal government has been authorized to use such tactics overseas to influence foreign support of America’s wars abroad, but has been barred from such strategies within the US. If next year’s NDAA clears the US Senate and is signed by President Obama with the Thornberry-Smith provision intact, then restrictions on propaganda being force-fed to Americans would be rolled back entirety.
Both Congressmen Thornberry and Smith say that the amendment isn’t being pushed to allow for the domestic distribution of propaganda, but the actual text of the provision outlines that, if approved by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama, that very well could be the case.
“We continue to face a multitude of threats and we need to be able to counter them in a multitude of ways.Communication is among the most important,” Rep. Thornberry explains in his initial press release on the bill.“This outdated law ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible and transparent way. Congress has a responsibility to fix the situation.”
On his part, Rep. Smith says that al-Qaeda is infiltrating the Internet in order to drive anti-American sentiments ablaze. If the amendment he co-sponsors is passed, the US government would be able to fight fire with fire.
“While the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 was developed to counter communism during the Cold War, it is outdated for the conflicts of today,” Rep. Smith says in his official statement. “Effective strategic communication and public diplomacy should be front-and-center as we work to roll back al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among disaffected populations.An essential part of our efforts must be a coordinated, comprehensive, adequately resourced plan to counter their radical messages and undermine their recruitment abilities. To do this, Smith-Mundt must be updated to bolster our strategic communications and public diplomacy capacity on all fronts and mediums – especially online.”
Does that mean that the anti-Nazi and damning communism adverts that were a hallmark of America during the Second World War and the Cold War, respectively, will be updated to outrage Americans against the country’s alleged enemies? It isn’t ruled out, for sure. Both Congressmen Thornberry and Smith have tried to dull the American public’s quickly surmounting outrage by saying that the act won’t be used for brainwashing purposes, but by letting Uncle Sam’s propaganda-spewing communication machine have free roam on the Web and elsewhere, it would absolutely be allowed.
“Clearly there are ways to modernize for the information age without wiping out the distinction between domestic and foreign audiences,” Michael Shank of the Institute for Economics and Peace in Washington tells Buzzfeed, who broke the news of the amendment. “That Reps Adam Smith and Mac Thornberry want to roll back protections put in place by previously-serving Senators – who, in their wisdom, ensured limits to taxpayer–funded propaganda promulgated by the US government – is disconcerting and dangerous.”
Responding to the quickly escalating backlash, Rep. Smith attacked allegations that he is encouraging pro-American propaganda on US soil. “This amendment is intended to ensure that the US government can get factual information out in a timely manner to counter extremist misinformation and propaganda,” he writes in a follow-up statement. “It does not and is not in any way intended to ‘legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences’ and, in fact, specifically ensures that the content to be rebroadcast or republished domestically by the Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) shall not influence public opinion in the US. It clearly states, no funds authorized to be appropriated to State Department or BBG for any activity shall be used to influence public opinion.”
Regardless of his or Mr. Thornberry’s intentions, the text of the legislation speaks for itself.
Rep. Smith contributed to this year’s NDAA with another provision, submitted with co-author Congressman Justin Amash (R-Michigan). With that amendment, the two lawmakers proposed that the US military be stripped of their power to indefinitely detain US citizens without charge, a right granted to them under last year’s defense spending bill. Unlike the amendment Rep. Smith introduced with Thornberry, the House shot down that proposal.
On 8 May 2013, “an 83-year-old nun, Sister Megan Rice, who broke into a Tennessee depleted uranium storage facility in 2012 …. exposing a massive security hole at the nation’s only facility used to store radioactive conventional munitions, was convicted and sentenced to a term of up to 20 years in prison.”
Victim of the US government’s depleted uranium.
Victim of the US government’s depleted uranium.
The USA is a Nazi state.
The USA has very bad karma.
In 1889 the husband of Jessie Woolen confessed that he had killed his wife.
A crowd of 1,000 was reportedly present when Woods was hanged naked.
[It should be setting-off loud alarm bells in vast spaces, far wider than just the inside of my own head, that neither English nor any other known language is capable of adequately describing the excesses to which the American people and Americanized people of the world have sunk. I am not here referring to any great leaps or accomplishments that have been made by Americans, but to the expansive depths to which we have fallen in our lifelong quest to own all things of value. The word "hypocritical" is too small and confining as a concept, to begin to describe the audacity of American ambition and the willful self-blindness that feeds that ambition, on our chosen road to total world domination. Despite these shortcomings, hypocritical is the only word we have to describe the American system of double-standards that we have been forcing upon the world, at a deadly cost of millions of innocent lives lost, so far. What other word can describe a government that allegedly fights for the Rights of All Mankind, yet actively supports the denial of those same inalienable rights to the Palestinian people? How is it that "We the People of the United States" can accept the central element of American/Israeli/Arab foreign policy, that "Palestinians" are inferior to every other human being on the face of the planet, since they are born without "inalienable human rights"? By definition, this makes them less than human, or "sub-humans," a concept made infamous by the first Nazis, our predecessors. If we continue to accept life under neo-Nazism, then all of humankind is moving headlong into a modern Dark Age. If, on the other hand, enough Americans awaken to what we have become, in time to prevent the Zionist freight train from running over us all, then despair can be turned into hope. That would be the potential future worth fighting for.]
By Jafar M Ramini
In an unprincipled, ungodly world, a world that is governed by Mammon, when even your brothers deny you, how could you ever begin to hope for justice?
My fellow humans, this very perplexing paradox is so relevant to the Palestinians in a way that makes it almost blasphemous to contemplate. How could one ever hope for justice when the gatekeeper and the people who are supposedly on your side are, in fact, on the side of your enemy?
The people I am alluding to here are the west and in particular the United States of America and our so-called Arab/Moslem brothers. This message is directed at the USA, not the administration, but the God-fearing, ordinary American people.
Mr. Obama is Israel bound. His citizens (American born and bred) are being arrested, interrogated, abused, humiliated and incarcerated at Israel’s entry points and deported.
Their crime is none other than having Palestinian ancestry. And therein lies the core of the problem. To the Zionist occupiers of our land we don’t exist.
The latest victim of this inhumane policy is an American English teacher by the name of Nour Joudah. This is but a small fragment of what she, an American citizen had to say:
“NJ: I think it is very clear that they want as few people with Palestinian origin in what they consider Israel and the occupied territories because they don’t even want the [Palestinians] that are there. So why in God’s name would they want us returning in any form or fashion, even if it’s for a limited period or for a visit? … They consider no one’s citizenship valuable if you have an Arab name, end of story; your citizenship is completely irrelevant to them and they are [indifferent] to any sort of law or alliances with any other countries. They do what they want arbitrarily and the US embassy and State Department know it”.
They certainly do. We Palestinians are not given any due respect and deference even when we have the required papers and documentation to prove that we are human beings. Because to the Zionists, to the western powers, to many of our so-called Arab and Moslem brothers we are not.
Consider this please:
AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is launching its annual conference at its headquarters in Washington DC this coming Sunday 3rd March.
Why is this big news? Because whatever this Zionist propaganda machine does affects us all. It is no secret that this inhumane organization wields a big stick in American domestic and foreign policies. They are twisting arms, intimidating and cajoling American politicians and lawmakers to serve, not the American people, but a foreign power. ISRAEL.
AIPAC has achieved the utmost influence ever exercised by a foreign agent on a sovereign state for the last sixty years. They made the American Congress subservient and compliant to the needs of Israel not its own citizens, the people of the USA.
As a result, the so-called ‘Special Relationship’ was forged to be specially working for the interests of the Zionist apartheid state of Israel, not the American people. Do you think the Zionist occupiers of Palestine are satisfied with all they have achieved so far? Far from it.
In this coming conference, it’s been reported that AIPAC will lobby (read ‘pressure’) the Congress of the USA to upgrade ‘The Special Relationship with Israel’ to a ‘MAJOR STRATEGIC ALLY’. A status that has never been enjoyed before by any other nation friendly to the USA. Not even any of the most compliant, sniveling and subservient Arab regimes.
Are you worried, America? Are you aware, Americans? Well, you should be. It’s the integrity, reputation and independence of your country that is being compromised.
While the President of the USA is paying homage to his masters in Tel Aviv and our so-called leaders in Ramallah wait in anticipation for him to drop in, can I remind Mr. Obama of those infamous words spoken by that war criminal, ex-Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon:
“WE, THE JEWISH PEOPLE, CONTROL AMERICA. AND THE AMERICANS KNOW IT.” October 3 2001. (IAP news)
Now, with hands on hearts, people of the world, especially Americans, please tell me that my search for justice is not in vain.
Jafar M. Ramini
Salam Wa Laisa Estislam
Peace Not Capitulation
By Jafar M. Ramini
Try as I may to keep my self-imposed vow of silence on Syria the time has come for me to speak out. Armageddon awaits.
My silence was born from the deep belief that if you have nothing constructive to say regarding any on-going conflict then keeping your own counsel is best.
What could you or I, as Arabs and Muslims and children of Greater Syria, say when you see that everything that you have been brought up to believe in has been destroyed?
What could one say when one sees the sword of Islam being sharpened and used at its most brutal to sever the heads of Muslim brothers and sisters?
What could one say when one sees the blighted Palestinians being swept along in the calamity that is the Syrian Uprising and paying a heavy price, yet again, for something not of their own doing?
From the very start of the conflict in Syria twenty-six months ago, I advocated caution before condemning or supporting one side or the other. Because no matter how you look at it and no matter how you approach it, the blood that is being spilt is Arab blood and the land that has been raped, pillaged and destroyed is our land.
Blaming the regime in Syria for its brutality in addressing this conflict is justified. But the regime is not the only guilty party in fanning the flames of war. None of the Arab regimes are known for their humanity or love of democracy. So the Assad regime in Syria is not an exception. What makes it unique in this context is that, ostensibly, it is not praying at the alter of the hegemony that is the USA and Israel in our area. As such Syria has to go.
In the way Sadam Hussein’s Iraq had to go. In the way Muammar Ghaddafi’s Libya had to go. In other words, any Arab leader or any Arab regime that is not subservient and totally acquiescent to the demands and objectives of the USA and Israel is simply in the way of their ambitions and must be disposed of. Of course, in the process, if a few million Muslim Arabs are killed and even more millions of Arab Muslims made homeless and the surrounding area immersed in utter turmoil so be it. It’s only collateral damage, In their estimation.
The uniqueness of the Syrian situation is the alliance between the Alawite Regime in Damascus, an offshoot of Shia Islam with Hezbollah, the Shia Resistance Movement in Southern Lebanon and Iran, the only Shia Muslim country in the Middle East. This alliance has been perceived by Israel as a serious threat to its existence so Israel applies the usual modus operandi and is cajoling and bullying America into yet another war in the Middle East on its behalf. If that is not enough Israel is using its muscle and its alliance with most of the Sunni regimes in the area to fan the flames of sectarian strife.
Despite many expert opinions that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons from the security services of the USA, the Western alliances and within Israel itself, Israel is still insisting on the destruction of Iran and its allies in the area. Israel cannot tolerate any semblance of resistance to its expansionist plans and ambitions and the way to achieve its goals is, as I have said before, through Syria. What is never mentioned here is the huge arsenal of nuclear weapons that Israel possesses and has done since the seventies.
Some could describe this point of view as being cynical. But what happened, two days ago, when the Israeli Air force bombarded Damascus dispels that idea.
If Israel couldn’t cajole or bully the USA into direct action, yet again, in the blood-soaked, devastated Middle East then the only thing to do was force its hand. Israel attacked Syria, hoping for retaliation that would make the direct involvement of the USA a foregone conclusion. Mr. Obama, of course, instead of rapping Israel on its knuckles and asking for restraint, justified their dangerous escalation of the conflict in his usual rhetoric: “What I have said in the past and I continue to believe is that the Israelis justifiably have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah.”
What we can be thankful for here is that the Syrian Regime, despite all its faults, has not fallen into the trap and retaliated to make America’s involvement a distinct probability.
The other guilty parties in this conflict are the Gulf States, namely Qatar and Saudi Arabia who are, in their race to curry favour with the USA and Israel, pouring billions of dollars into the hands of a motley group of Jihadists and opposition groups in Syria and pressuring the neighbouring countries to facilitate this shameful, dishonourable destruction of a fellow Arab Moslem state.
In the meantime, the unholy alliance that is the Arab League, trots to Washington to offer Israel more concessions and make the achievement of a viable Palestinian state on any lines virtually impossible. Jerusalem? It’s in the hands of Allah of course.
I hereby call upon all Arab Muslim participants in this utterly shameful conflict in Syria to look around you, see the devastation that this conflict is causing in Syria itself; see the millions of brothers and sisters that are living in make-shift camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Please see what has transpired in neighbouring Iraq with sectarian divide, bloodshed and squandering of resources as a result of western invasion. See what Israel is doing in Kurdistan. Please have a look further afield towards Libya and see what the intervention of NATO brought to our brothers and sisters there. Please examine your consciences. Please look at the bloody sword in your hand and realize that this sword is dripping with blood of your own brothers and sisters. Your glory will not be in the destruction of Syria, but in the liberation of Jerusalem.
Please take stock of what has happened and what is about to happen and understand that there can be no winners in this conflict. There can only be losers: The Arab nation and the Muslim Ummah. The sacrificial lamb on the alter of Zionism and western Imperialism is Palestine. In the name of all the Gods you believe in, and in the name of humanity, please down your arms and find a way to reconciliation and peace. Please don’t allow Israel and the USA to bring Armageddon upon us.
SA-22 (pantsir S1)
AMMONNEWS – Exclusive – It will be undoubtedly the first time that Lebanon’s Hezbollah receives a qualitatively sophisticated anti-aircraft weapon able to destroy any aircraft within its effective range.
Hezbollah practically has three types of heat-guided missiles and two types of radar guided missiles, the maximum effective range of which is 8 km and 4 km vertically while the new weapon has a range of 20 km and 15 km vertically, respectively.
This system is SA-22 (pantsir S1) it has two radars one for detection and the other for guidance. It also includes optical detection and a guidance system, with four 30-mm cannons and 12 missiles all mounted on truck.
The system is the latest in the Russian arsenal and is owned by – or under order – for the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Iran, Algeria and Jordan.
Hezbollah’s possession of this type of weaponry allows it to initiate any pre-emptive strike towards Israel, the Zionist entity. It gives Hezbollah the ability to neutralize the Israeli Air Force power, even for short periods within the effective range of the weapon, forcing Israeli air force to bomb from very far distances and high altitudes, aside from the fact that Israeli helicopters will not appear in the field.
The question remains, what number of platforms will be sent to Hezbollah? These numbers will up the stakes in any conflict, considering that the total platforms bought by Syria reached 40.
The reason for sending such weapons to Hezbollah owes to the size and force of the air strike that bombarded Syria last week, where about 20 – 36 Israeli aircrafts took part with the use of BLU-109 and GBU-28 bombs for the first time, causing massive destruction in the targeted sites.
Weapon Specifications: Each platform has 12 missiles with a maximum range of 20 km and a maximum altitude of up to 15 km. It also has four 30 mm cannon with 1400 shells with maximum range of 4 km.
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah had announced last Thursday that his party will support any Syrian effort to reclaim the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel, days after Israeli strikes bombarded Damascus, under the pretext of bombing Syrian weapons being transported to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Hezbollah said that Syria will send it new “game changing” weapons, stressing on Thursday that shipment of advanced weapons would serve as Syria’s reaction to Israeli air raids.
In a televised address, Nasrallah said that his group is ready to receive such weapons, stressing “The resistance [against Israel] is prepared to accept any sophisticated weaponry even if it was to break the equilibrium [in the region].”
By Lalit K Jha
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Obama administration on Thursday refuted President Hamid Karzai’s remarks on America’s demand for nine military bases in Afghanistan, saying it had no intention to have a permanent presence in the South Asian country.
US troops would stay in Afghanistan after 2014, when all foreign combat forces are to leave, only at Kabul’s invitation, a White House spokesman said, hours after Karzai spoke of America’s demand.
“Any US presence after 2014 would only be at the invitation of the Afghanistan government and aimed at training Afghan forces and targeting the remnants of al Qaeda,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Responding to questions on Karzai’s statement, he said: “We envision the bilateral security agreement will address access to and use of Afghan facilities by US forces. We seek no permanent military bases. We’ve been very clear about that.”
Any continued presence of US forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014 would be subject to an agreement between the two governments, the White House official reiterated.
Carney said US President Barack Obama had made no decision on post-2014 troop levels. “This is an ongoing process. We are in the process of drawing down forces in keeping with the president’s commitment and policy, together with our partners, and turning over gradually full security lead to Afghan forces.”
Taking a similar stand, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters at another news conference the US envisioned the bilateral security agreement would facilitate the use of Afghan facilities by US forces.
“The bilateral security agreement is still being negotiated. We have a lead negotiator here at the State Department. We’re not going to get into the details of those negotiations that are ongoing, but they continue,” he continued.
Ventrell insisted the US was not talking about leaving thousands of US forces in Afghanistan in perpetuity.
[Kayani's Islamists are faithfully intimidating the voting public, hoping to scuttle ideas of civilian government in Pakistan. I look for the Army to flex its muscles somewhere, today, in order to remind Pakistanis just who protects them from the savages. (SEE: Obama’s Practical Joke On Gen. Kayani–”Quick Impact Projects” Don’t Repopulate Ghost Towns)]
With improvements to standard of living, residents slowly returning after years as refugees
Photograph by: B.K. Bangash , AP
SARAROGHA, Pakistan — Driving through high mountain passes with mud brick houses perched on cliffs overhead and caves below where Taliban fighters once hid, Brig. Hassan Hayat talks excitedly about the Pakistan army’s latest operations in these long-hostile tribal areas.
“Now we are getting into the olives,” he said as the road passed through groves of trees, explaining how the military has been bringing in Italian olive trees to graft on to local growers’ trees to improve production. “Some 400 trees we’ve already done.”
He had wanted to plant daffodils, he mentioned at another point in the trip but it turned out the flowers would be too hard to export. Bee farms have proven more productive.
After battling Taliban militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan for over a decade, the Pakistani military is engaged in a new fight, aiming to win over a population that is are returning to homes after years living as refugees in their country and who harbour a longstanding mistrust of the central government.
The military is rebuilding infrastructure and establishing economic and job projects for the population in South Waziristan, one of the seven tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan. It’s a classic counterinsurgency tactic similar to that used by the U.S. military — with mixed results — in Iraq and Afghanistan. The aim is to decrease support for militants and bring peace to a troubled region; in this case, it’s tribal areas that have long been sanctuaries for the Taliban and other militant groups fueling instability in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Once the people are more aware, more educated, they will not take arms but go for the development and be a positive contributor in society,” Hayat said.
With a month to go before nationwide elections that will likely include a transfer of power from one elected government to another for the first time in Pakistan’s history, security will be a major campaign issue. Since many of Pakistan’s security problems are linked to what happens in the tribal regions, the success or failure of the counter-insurgency campaign could have major repercussions for the rest of the country.
Pakistan’s battle against the Taliban began after the U.S. invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan in 2001, which pushed many militants across the border into the tribal regions of northwestern Pakistan. There, they found allies among a population historically neglected by Pakistan’s central government. Much of the population is Pashtun, the ethnic group that has been the backbone of the Taliban. Working out of the tribal areas, the Pakistani branch of the Taliban launched a campaign of attacks inside Pakistan.
South Waziristan became the main sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban, until the army launched a large ground invasion in late 2009. Amid the assault, some 300,000 of the territory’s 545,000 people fled to other parts of Pakistan. Entire villages and towns were left virtually empty, particularly in the eastern part of the territory where fighting was heaviest. But the offensive largely broke the Taliban hold, with many fighters who survived going into hiding or fleeing into Afghanistan or the neighbouring Pakistani territory of North Waziristan, which remains a militant stronghold.
“The population was hostage to these people,” said Hayat. “They had their rule of law. Whatever they wanted they could do in this area.”
But many residents have a softer recollection of Taliban rule. Many said they didn’t have a problem with the Taliban and only fled because of the fighting.
“During the Taliban time the situation was good generally. The Taliban have not done anything wrong to anyone. Pakistan and Taliban have the problem,” said Sami Ullah, who owns a hotel and restaurant that opened in March in Sararogha, thanks to the army’s rehabilitation efforts.
The army, which essentially runs South Waziristan now, launched the rehabilitation and rebuilding program in 2010. It has grown since, mostly in the eastern part of the territory.
But major challenges remain. Only about 15 per cent of residents who fled have been allowed to return, as the military lets them back only at the rate their towns are rebuilt.
Many of those who have returned complain about lack of compensation and services. They chafe against military restrictions. The army, for example, has stopped mobile phone services, likely to prevent the Taliban from using them to communicate or detonate bombs. No one is allowed to carry weapons, angering tribesmen who consider their rifles a symbol of independence and pride. Anyone entering or leaving South Waziristan is checked against a database of who is allowed in and who is not.
It’s also unknown when, if ever, the military will be able to hand over power to a civilian government in South Waziristan, a territory about the size of Delaware.
“The progress is slow,” said Abdur Rahim Khan, who is running in the May 11 election for a parliament seat in a South Waziristan district. His village has not yet been resettled and most of his potential constituents are scattered around the country.
One of the military’s most high-profile projects is the roads being built in areas previously only accessible by four-wheel drive, camel or on foot. The U.S. government’s development arm is paying for most of the roads. Part of the plan is to open a new corridor to give traders easy access from Afghanistan to Pakistan’s central Punjab province, the heart of the country’s agriculture and manufacturing.
In Sararogha, businessman Danet Khan said the new roads save time and money. On the gravel roads, the average vehicle only survived four or five years. Now the smooth two-lane highway through his village cuts travel time dramatically.
The military has built shopping areas where villagers now sell goods out of small shop fronts with roll-down metal doors painted with a green and white Pakistani flag. A barber — something forbidden under the Taliban — cuts hair in one of the stalls, although he says most residents don’t need a shave because they still prefer long beards. Hayat would like to bring in a CD shop, also banned by the Taliban.
Soccer fields, schools, poultry farms and homes for widows have been built, and the military is trying to rehabilitate a leather factory sacked by the Taliban.
With few jobs at home, families here have historically survived on wages from family members sent to work in the port city of Karachi or the Persian Gulf. So the army built a vocational school to teach men skills such as computers and electricity repair. Since many people also joined the militants simply because they paid well, the school potentially deprives the Taliban of new recruits.
“They don’t have any opportunities. They need something to live on. That’s why they joined the Taliban,” said one student studying to be an electrician, Sajjad Ahmed.
A cadet college run by Pakistani military officers was provided after requests from residents who have been starved of quality schools and plagued by an absence of decent teachers.
In the long term, the future of the region will be influenced in large part by what happens in Afghanistan. American troops are scheduled to leave at the end of 2014. Pakistani military officials worry about a repeat of the civil war that followed the 1989 withdrawal of Soviet forces.
The final goal of handing South Waziristan to a civilian government is a long way off.
“Right now we feel safe as long as the army is around, but I am not sure about the future,” said resident Malik Fareed Khan.
The tribal areas, known as agencies, have historically been regarded as a security buffer between Afghanistan and the rest of Pakistan, administered mostly by government officials appointed by Islamabad and following a different legal system from the rest of the country. That system left a legacy of neglect and a feeling among residents that they don’t answer to the central government.
But for real stability, the tribal areas need to be better connected with the rest of Pakistan.
“The military is playing its role but you need to answer those questions to be successful in bringing total peace,” said Hayat.
Hezbollah had these Iranian Zelzal-1/Zelzal-2 Rockets (range 200 km) since 2006 Zionist invasion
By Dana Khraiche, Thomas El-Basha
BEIRUT: Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Thursday Syria would supply Hezbollah with game-changing weapons in response to recent Israeli air raids near Damascus and that his party stands ready to assist resistance groups seeking to liberate the occupied Golan Heights.
“The Syrian response to Israel’s air strikes was to tell Israel that if your goal is to prevent boosting the capabilities of the resistance then take note … [Syria] will give [Hezbollah] arms,” he said.
“And [Syria] will provide [Hezbollah] with sophisticated weapons that the resistance has never obtained before,” he added.
He spoke during a televised speech commemorating the 25th anniversary of Hezbollah’s An-Nour radio station.
Nasrallah said his group was ready to use such strategic weapons in its fight against the Jewish state.
“The Lebanese resistance announces that it is ready to receive any sophisticated arms even if it is a game changer and we are ready to obtain and safeguard such weaponry and use it to defend our people and country,” he added.
Last week, Israel carried out air raids on targets in Syria, bringing the total number of strikes by the Jewish state in Syria this year to three.
Western media, quoting Israeli sources, said the Israeli warplanes targeted Iranian-made missiles headed for Hezbollah. Damascus said a Syrian military research center was the target.
Israel has repeatedly warned that it will prevent Hezbollah from obtaining game-changing arms, voicing its concern that Syria’s stockpile of sophisticated weaponry could fall in the hands of its enemies.
Nasrallah denied media reports that 300 Syrian soldiers were killed in the attacks on the military facility, saying “according to my information only three or four martyrs from the Syrian military were killed.”
He said the Jewish state had sought to achieve two objectives through its air strikes: neutralize Syria in terms of the Israeli-Arab conflict and prevent the Lebanese resistance group from building up its arsenal.
Nasrallah, who hinted last week President Bashar Assad’s allies Iran and Russia would intervene militarily to prevent the fall of the embattled Syrian leader, also said Syria’s response to the Israeli assault was to activate its front with Israel – the occupied Golan Heights.
“The secod response [by Damascus] is that it opened the Golan front and by that it transformed the threat [against it] into an opportunity,” he said. “So whoever wanted a war on Syria, the response was to open the Golan front for any popular resistance groups,” he added.
“The third response is to prepare rocket launchers and give orders to implement without referring to the leadership and that frightened Israel which began sending messages [to Syria] of calm,” he said.
Nasrallah also vowed to assist, back and support resistance groups seeking to liberate the occupied Golan Heights.
“Just as Syria stood in support of the resistance to defend and liberate the south [of Lebanon], we announce that we are with the Syrian popular resistance groups to cooperate, coordinate and liberate the occupied Syrian Golan,” he said.
Such a response to Israel, Nasrallah said, pointed the Assad’s careful approach to dealing with the crisis.
“Everything that is happening today indicates that Syria has a strong leadership that is managing the battles with the enemy in a wise, calm and courageous manner which will achieve victory in the future, God willing,” Nasrallah said.
While he reiterated that the only solution to the crisis in Syria was through a compromise between the regime and the opposition, Nasrallah slammed Arab countries for not acting to end the bloody conflict.
“It is shameful that the U.S. be the one seeking Syria’s interests while the Arabs appear as if they’re the ones destroying Syria which is something that falls in the interests of the enemy,” he said.
Turning to domestic issues, including the process of forming a new Cabinet and the drafting of a new electoral law for the upcoming elections, Nasrallah reiterated his party’s demand that the next Cabinet be made up of political parties according to their clout in Parliament.
“Given the domestic and regional circumstances, as well as the recent Israeli strikes on Syria and its continuous daily aggression on Lebanon, in addition to regional tensions, there should be a government of true national partnership,” he said.
“We didn’t ask for a government that represents the actual clout of parties [in terms of popular support] but their [representation] at the parliament level and this government will administer not only the elections but will have other responsibilities even if it lasts for one week,” Nasrallah added.
He also called for a swift formation of the new government.
Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam has said he is wants a government whose ministers are not running in the upcoming elections. The primary task of the new government, according to Salam, should be to administer the general elections with the needed transparency.
The March 14 coalition, particularly the Future Movement, has supported Salam’s Cabinet vision and has asked the Beirut lawmaker to rotate the ministerial portfolios between the various political parties.
Nasrallah also reiterated that his party’s lawmakers would vote in favor of the controversial Orthodox Gathering electoral law if it is put up for a vote during Parliament’s May 15 session.
“Hezbollah will vote on the Orthodox Gathering law because we have already given our word on that and we were clear,” he said.
“But our group has not yet reached an agreement on an alternative law but we are ready to negotiate based on the outcomes of the May 15 talks,” he said, referring to the legislative session called for by Speaker Nabih Berri to discuss and approve a new electoral law.
Since Saddam Hussein’s Invasion of Kuwait, GCC states have collectively established a strong alliance with Israel. This alliance is currently focused on the destruction of Iran and the elimination of Iranian influence throughout the Middle East (and Central Asia). Both Israel and GCC countries are scared livid of the Iranian regime, its influence in their states and are therefore necessarily committed to this common goal. But this is a strategic mistake – for both GCC states and Israel. They have confused Iran’s regime with ordinary Iranians. Their beef is with the Mullahs NOT Iranians. This is a strategic blunder.
The Palestinian Factor
For decades Israel and the ‘whole’ Arab world were blood enemies. Arab league members provided over $250 Million in funds to support the Palestinians since the ‘60s, and successfully organized an embargo with their oil supplies in the 1970’s to place pressure on Israel (and its allies: US and Europe).
But, in 1990, there was a tidal shift in alliances. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Yasser Arafat (then PLO Chairman) came out and publicly supported Hussein; and Kuwait’s Palestinian population rose in support of the Iraqis during the invasion. And not long after the U.S. led liberation, the Kuwaitis expelled 450,000 Palestinians. The Palestinian population in these booming Persian “Gulf Arab” states has now dwindled by about 90% since 1990, replaced by Pakistanis and Filipinos.
Kuwait’s allies: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and other Persian Gulf Monarchs or Sheikhdoms or dictators (depending on your point of view) have rationalized that Palestinians were and still are a national security risk and should not be trusted – nor supported.
Payback against Saddam Hussein did not take long. Ironically, Saddam Hussein who was once supported to the tune of billions of dollars by these same states in his war with Iran was also in their cross hairs. And within a decade, or so the U.S. stationed itself in Qatar, and transported troops through Kuwait to decimate his regime. Hussein had not only failed to follow to destroy Iran, but had turned against them!
In politics it seems – the enemy of my enemy is my friend! In fact, the opening with Israel came on the heels of the Madrid Conference in 1991 that contributed to the countries’ ofﬁcial, rapprochement with Israel. Most of the ‘brokerage’ in these relationships has developed through close relations with Jewish organizations in the United States. There is now an odd sense of solidarity arising out of the knowledge that Iraqi Scud missiles had fallen on both Riyadh and Tel Aviv.
In 1994, the GCC canceled its boycott of companies and countries that maintained economic ties with Israel. In 2005 the same Gulf States announced normalization measures with Israel. The Bahraini foreign minister conﬁrmed that his country had decided to cancel the boycott of Israeli goods, and the Qatari foreign minister called on Arab nations “to respond positively to the step taken by Israel.” He noted that “full diplomatic relations between Qatar and Israel may be possible even before a comprehensive Israeli withdrawal from the territories.”
And while this decade long strategic shift was occurring, the British government sold its stake in BP basically to a combination of Jewish Bankers (Rothschilds Holdings 39%) and Gulf State Investment Organizations like for example the Kuwait Investment Organization (21.6% by 2005). BP now, is basically an arm of these states, while employing and banking primarily British executives and banks.
And Israel’s government, for its part is enabling Israeli companies to indirectly contribute to the security of these dictatorships through training of local armed forces and by offering advanced (homeland security-related) advanced products, as long as they are perceived not to harm Israel’s strategic competitive advantage. Israel already has access to markets in the Gulf; the boycott is not applied if the products do not carry an Israeli label.
Israel’s covert relations with the United Arab Emirates were partially exposed by the late-November 2010 leak of diplomatic cables by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks that uncovered the “secret and persistent dialogue” between the two countries.
There are numerous formal and informal visits between the nations (and with Turkey among the crowd). Whether or not there are formal relations, i.e. embassies, it’s very clear that there is a strong alliance in place. Israelis and Sheikhdoms are ONE.
The Iran Factor
Iran’s Mullahs have long been an adversary to these Arab dictators. It is not clear why? It is true that Shiites comprise the majority of the populations in most of this region – including Saudi Arabia’s oil rich Eastern provinces. Democratic reforms, in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain …you name it…would result in Shiite led majorities, just like Iraq. There is real fear in these ruling Arab elites when it comes to ‘democratic reforms’. But what exactly the Mullahs did to deserve this status is unclear? Yes, Iran did bomb Kuwaiti tankers – but that was during the war when Kuwait was exporting Iraqi oil…and Iraq had just bombed Iranian oil installations. And okay, there is a territorial dispute over islands in the Persian Gulf. So what??
What is strange for me is that there is frequent intermarriage, migration, bilingualism, and commerce between Iranians and many of these GCC states and citizens. Indeed besides the indigenous Shiite populations in the states around the Persian Gulf, there are over 400,000 Iranians residing in places like Dubai, roughly one third of its urban population…performing core functions in the area. Iranians, (the people of Iran), are a huge regional asset.
Despite all this, in recent years what has tied the Gulf states to Israel more than anything else is their ever-growing mutual fear of Iran. Israel today, represents the enemy of not only the Palestinians but also Iran’s Mullahs. An alliance between these “(Persian) Gulf Arab” states and Israel has been established with a clear objective of undermining Iranian influence and “suppressing” Palestinian ambitions.
According to Wikileaks published US State Department cable, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, repeatedly implored Washington to target the Iranian nuclear sites—in his words: to “cut off the head of the snake while there was still time.”
It is an open secret that these Gulf countries maintain contacts with Israel—mainly through the sharing of intelligence. In the summer of 2010 it was again reported (although the reliability of these claims is uncertain) that Saudi Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs V : 1 (2011) Arabia would allow Israeli warplanes to use its airspace in the event of an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. Israeli military gear was even delivered to Saudi Arabia in preparation for an eventual attack on Iran.
Sami al Faraj, president of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies and a consultant to Kuwait and other GCC states, said recently that the “GCC states have been engaged in consultations and intelligence exchange with Israel, particularly regarding the Iranian threat.” Indeed, in the eyes of Arab rulers of the Gulf, it may seem that Israel can be vital to Gulf security, as the US is now leaving Iraq and Afghanistan.
Containing Iran’s quest for what is viewed as a ‘hegemonic role’ in the Persian Gulf is the main concern of the Arab monarchies, committed as they are to the preservation of their regimes. After the Islamic Revolution, terror and subversion became Tehran’s primary means of enforcing its regional policy and boosting its inﬂuence. In most cases, as with the covert Iranian “sleeper cell” uncovered in Kuwait (with links to Bahrain) in April 2010, it was hard to prove Iranian involvement; thus, Iran can deny any connection to such activity, while maintaining open diplomatic relations with the Gulf states it is covertly targeting.
On the one hand, the Mullahs have conveyed that they see themselves as partners for all Gulf States. On the other, their actions have been hardly reassuring on the western side of the Gulf. Iran has questioned the legitimacy of regimes, explicitly threatened to shut the straits of Hormuz, and to target strategic facilities in the Gulf States. It has conducted ominous military maneuvers and played a negative role in events in Iraq and Yemen. Moreover, Iran has occupied what the GCC consider to be their land (Abu Musa and the Tunb Islands). The Mullahs even went so far as to declare Bahrain as the fourteenth district of Iran (reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s rhetoric regarding Kuwait).
For their part, the GCC governments recognize the difﬁculties facing the international community in stopping Iran on its way to nuclear weapons capability and want to avoid angering their increasingly powerful neighbor—and prefer to do what is necessary behind the scenes – indirectly if you will. Netenyahu’s brazen verbal attack on Iran is heralded by its ‘tacit allies’ and further amplified on Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV throughout the Middle East during peak viewing periods.
There is a genuine concern that an Iranian bomb will enable the Mullahs to set the future political, economic, and strategic agenda in the region. Similar concerns stem from the possible outcome of an Israeli and/or American military operation aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear capability, namely, a massive and widespread Iranian retaliation. Although GCC countries support a ‘comprehensive’ diplomatic solution to the crisis with Iran, they fear it will be at the expense of their interests and result in American recognition of Iran’s dominance in the Gulf.
Today’s Proxy Wars
In the absence of an overt war, Israel and its Arab allies have decided to fight Iran’s mullahs by proxy. The overall plan is to ‘contain’ Iran – i.e. surround Iran while ensuring Iran’s economy is held back with sanctioning. This is a systematic policy of weakening Iran and sucking Iranian blood. Meanwhile, of course they (and their surrogates) are running off with Iran’s treasure in the Caspian Sea and limiting Iranian oil and gas exports in favor of their own exports. In addition, sanctions have served to enable GCC countries to act as trading points for ‘sanction busting’ – reselling sanctioned goods to Iran at inflated prices and essentially profiting from Iran’s demise.
Interestingly, Israel and GCC states enjoy excellent relations with Azerbaijan. And BP, their joint prime investment vehicle, owns (and operates) the key oil pipeline across Azerbaijan and is the major operator of oil and gas platforms in the Caspian Sea (in what is actually Iranian water).
It is reported that Israel has a number of air bases inside Azerbaijan, with fighter jets ready for orders to attack Iran at any time. Azerbaijan now also is tacitly supporting Azeri separatists inside Iran.
GCC states have begun funding Al-Ahwazi separatists and Jundallah (Baluchi) separatists. While Israel too, has been funding Kurdish separatists.
But the clearest expression of this proxy effort is in Syria. I will grant you that the Syrian affair is much more than a proxy fight with Iran. Yes, both Israel and GCC states (like Qatar) have a clear objective of running major gas pipelines across Syria (and Lebanon too) to the Turkey to export their newly discovered resources. And yes, Turkey too has partnered with them and built the Nabucco pipeline to Europe with 40% excess capacity with this objective in mind.
What apparently started as a legitimate attempt to join the Arab spring and fight for democratic rights in Syria has transpired into a mercenary led ‘civil war’, with considerable entry of ‘foreign fighters’ in the fray. The Syrian government recently handed a list of names of citizens from 19 countries accused of joining Syria’s rebels: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Chad, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen and Chechnya. Since Chechnya is not a country, but a republic of the Russian Federation, the list likely contains names of Russian citizens…too. According to CNN reports, the strangest part of all of these fighters is that Jabhat al-Nusra — the radical Islamic group that has become the opposition’s best fighting force. The lead author of a new analysis of the group, which is backed by al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), told CNN that al-Nusra now has 5,000 fighters and is willing to watch Syria burn to secure an al-Qaeda foothold in the region!
In July, Dutch photo journalist Jeroen Oerlemans and British photographer John Cantlie were captured and held hostage in Syria for a week by rebel militants. They claimed that several of their captors spoke English with recognizable regional British accents, like Birmingham and London. And in August, Syrian rebel commanders reportedly became concerned over the numbers of hardline Islamists entering Syria from other Muslim-majority countries.
Beyond these proxy wars, there is clear indication that a direct war may in fact be in the cards. This past year, both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have opened new pipelines bypassing the Strait of Hormuz. The new links more than double the total pipeline capacity bypassing the strait to 6.5m barrels a day, or about 40 per cent of the 17m b/d that transits Hormuz. GCC states are clearly preparing for a conflict, although their preparations are NOT yet complete. Interestingly, Iraq too has a pipeline across Saudi Arabia to al Muajiz on the Red Sea to deliver its oil and by pass the Persian Gulf. One fascinating fact is that Saudi Arabia’s Al Muajiz Port on the Red Sea was developed for a total shipping capacity of 10 Million barrels a day!
A Major Strategic Blunder
The problem with this complete strategic realignment is that core populations of these GCC states are inherently pan-Arabist. Which means that once the ‘people’ of these states figure out that there is an ‘overt’ realignment between their leaders and Israel, there is the potential for a massive back-clash domestically. This could be further fueled by natural ‘Arab Spring” type democratic yearnings among the populations of these GCC states – and not only might there be a massive shift in government in the GCC states, but Israel too risks losing partners that it has invested heavily in.
Secondly, an overt war with Iran would only accelerate the demise of these regimes – not sustain them. The deal so far with their suppressed populations has been to exchange economic gains for political gains. If war breaks out there will naturally be rationing and military drafts. This sort of instability will only make them further vulnerable.
Thirdly, I believe a calculation that makes Iran their enemy is fundamentally flawed. The Mullahs in Tehran do not represent Iran or Iranians. In fact the Mullahs in Iran are enemies of Iranians too. In fact most Iranians see the Mullahs as ‘Arabs’ i.e. imposed on Iran; and indeed many senior regime leaders were born in Iraq – not even Iran.
These sheikhs need to remember that Iran’s current role in the region is a derivative of wars ‘started’ by GCC states – not Iranian aggression. Remember, Saddam Hussein invaded Iran – with support, encouragement and financial backing from GCC states. The minutes of his meetings with King Fahd in Egypt is now public record. The loan balances Iraq had to GCC states is also public record that came out as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. You can’t hide it. And any insecurity these monarchs feel from the legitimate demands of their populations should NOT be confused with Iranian meddling. Iranians have become a scapegoat – when the real problems are elsewhere. Iranians did NOT put the Mullahs in power – the West did. That is public record too.
Fourthly, Iran (especially after the war with Iraq and two neighboring wars) has now developed a formidable defense establishment, and its own (in house) weapon systems. This strategic posture cold provoke an outright war, and just like the war with Iraq – there is a real possibility that the GCC states could come out on the short end of their own stick. After two years of a proxy war versus Iran in Syria, there is no clear conclusion. Assad remains in power. The joint Israeli/GCC/Turkey plan is to then extend the war to Lebanon and then Iran. But what if the GCC states get ‘stuck’ in Syria? Have they succeeded? Will the west come to the rescue again? Or let’s put it another way, is there a vital strategic interest in Syria that the U.S. must defend? Will the U.S. risk bankruptcy for Syria? I doubt it.
The truth is, that while this all seemed like a good idea (and everyone was angry at Saddam Hussein the Palestinians) it may not be a great idea today. Once one domino starts to fall through a public uprising for democracy – with ‘no’ push from Iran (May I add, there are many radical actors in the Middle East – Hamas, Hizbullah, al Qaeda, you name it…) – in any single one of these GCC countries, all these Sheikhs, or Monarchs or Dictators could all fall. This is something they need to learn from the former “Shah of Iran” – who had grandiose strategic ideas but did not establish a strong domestic political infrastructure that was vitally necessary to carry out his ambitions. The Sheikhs need to understand that they can do NOTHING without the heartfelt support of their citizens.
These GCC countries need to understand what their core strategic interest is. Does Iran represent a strategic threat? If so, why? And does that mean that GCC states need to align with Israel?
I would argue that it is in the “world’s” national interest to topple the regime in Iran – but not do anything to alienate the people of Iran or cause division among Iranians. That to the extent GCC states can be aligned with Israel or indeed any other country (Indonesia, Brazil etc.) to topple the regime in Tehran – that this would a fundamental strategic win for everyone. But beyond that any permanent alliance with Israel will be counterproductive to their interests and stability. This is not meant as a negative statement about Israel, it’s just a strategic reality. Israel has nothing to offer these regimes except exposure to radical forces. (Look at who they are partnering with in Syria?) And in fact Qatar could have pumped its natural gas across Syria – even without a proxy war in Syria or the balkanization of Syria, or the death of 60,000 Syrians. When the dust settles on all this, it will not be pretty. There were other ways to bring democracy to Syria without arming these sorts of rebels and radicals.
In fact, the most vital strategic ally every GCC state can have is a transformed Iranian government – their neighbor – that can police the neighborhood with them and help them make democratic transitions without a great deal of pain. Petty fights over small deserted islands, or sectarian considerations should not distract quality strategic thinking. Iran can offer them a huge market, can offer them regional stability, and also access to even bigger markets in Central Asia. Israel on the other hand is a strategic liability. So what if the Jewish lobby in Europe or the U.S. is helping them get access to cable TV distribution, and helping them buy soccer (football) teams – how is that of value to the people (the actual citizens) of GCC states? The Sheikhs are being shaked down for cash, buying over-priced assets. There is no real strategic, sustainable gain in getting VIP seats to major games.
It is true that before the West toppled the Shah, Britain persuaded America to align strategically with it and invest in Alaskan Oil while Britain exploited North Sea oil – both of which were expensive to extract, AND needed sustained high oil prices. Toppling the Shah also meant shutting off Iran’s exports for over 10 years! Today, America is being ‘pushed’ into becoming an energy ‘power house’ with net energy exports for the first time in over 30 years. But it is a mistake to believe that this will result in a strategic realignment. The Obama administration so far has refused to ‘play’ in Syria in concert with Israel, Turkey or the GCC. And the Obama administration is focused on ‘reducing imports’ NOT maximizing exports i.e. reducing America’s oil dependency. The GCC is mistaken if they believe “Saudi-Americanization” will shift U.S. policy. And if the GCC are really shrewd, they will notice that in fact the U.S. has been protecting Iran’s Mullahs – not undermining them…and vice-a-versa. Iran today lists Iraq and Afghanistan as major export clients (both dominated by the U.S. military, while apparently there are global sanctions on Iran). The Mullahs are an expression of U.S. foreign policy.
What do these Sheikhs really have to show for all the money they have invested in the West? Indeed, governments in the West view them as great candidates for hosing, and use all these opportunities to sell the Sheikhs billions of dollars of inflated priced arms – and junk government bonds to undermine their own domestic spending. They are being hosed. They are the ones being used…by Israel and the West!
And they have to face it, democratic yearnings in the region are unstoppable. The Mullahs will fall, and their dictatorships are at risk (and it is not because of Iran). These dictators can become Monarchs like the Queen of England – even if there are a ton of Catholics in Britain!
There is a better path to peace, stability and prosperity – they need to see it – but their strategic calculations are completely wrong.
[All terrorism linked to Saudis is "al-Qaeda," since the international Islamist terror front would not exist without the Saudis, to instigate the terrorist nightmare of Wahhabi "Shariah" attacks.]
Mulongo said two people died in Sunday’s bombing of a newly opened church in the northern city of Arusha. Nearly four dozen people were wounded in the blast just before the church’s inaugural Mass, which was attended by the pope’s envoy to Tanzania.
Mulogo said eyewitnesses reported that the bomb was thrown from a motorcycle into the church. Mulogo said the driver of the motorcycle is among those arrested.
[Obama and all previous American presidents like to lead, until plans go sour, then it becomes advantageous to let our underlings take the heat for us. We are now letting Turkey "take one for the team" all over the Middle East and in parts of Central Asia, as they become the focal point for the anti-Iranian ambitions of the Gulf/Israeli coalition, who carry the ball for Western interests in the Mideast. The Sunni Gulf States help provide the black ops financing to the Saudi Islamist project (otherwise known as "al-Qaeda"), which supplies the foot soldiers for Israel's terrorist operations throughout the Muslim world. The Mossad, helps the CIA and the Pentagon to locate and acquire the weapons needed by this Sunni "Islamist" army, which facilitates CIA plans for a regional war, stretching from Central Africa into Pakistan. In both Iraq and in Syria, Turkey is fully prepared to accept global oppobrium for having led the charge straight into a grand civil war within Islam itself.
opprobrium \uh-PRO-bree-uhm\ , noun:
1. Disgrace; infamy; reproach mingled with contempt.
2. A cause or object of reproach or disgrace.
Perhaps the saddest part of this grand tragedy is that the tragic civil war unfolding in Iraq was always part of a cleverly crafted plan, a plan designed to amplify the great conflict within Islam, the never-ending argument between the Sunni and Shia faiths. One side teaches that the Quran's authority and the mantle of The Prophet (PBUH) rests upon the actual bloodline of Mohammad (PBUH), the Shia opinion, the other side teaches that the Muslim elite should choose the most popular scholar of the Quran (Sunni). The Sunnis even elevate the teachings of these Islamic scholars to a level of prominence equal to that of the Sacred Book itself.
The American/British/Israeli "Zionist" plan to throw all of our weight behind the Sunnis in this conflict (intending to force a violent resolution of the issue) is obviously immoral, thus necessitating the American need for cover, whenever this ugly fact threatens to be revealed, that Christian/Judaic powers are waging a covert "Crusade" against Islam. This Judeo-Christian Crusade to destroy Islam would never have been possible without the Sunni collaborators from the Middle East who have actually executed the plan. Turkey stands at the top of this long list of Islamic traitor nations, who have collaborated intimately with the West to destroy the faith of 1.3 billion Muslims. As long as the great Muslim majority can be kept in the dark about the Arab/Israeli union at the center of this Crusade they can be expected to allow all of this to continue indefinitely, enabling Turkey to escape that well-deserved popular revulsion for its acts of treachery.]
BAGHDAD – Acting Defence Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi on Sunday accused Turkey of controlling Sunni anti-government protests in Iraq, saying the demonstrations are a haven for “terrorists and killers.”
“There are foreign agendas controlling these sites,” Dulaimi said of the protests.
“It is like Anbar, or Mosul or Samarra are part of the Ottoman Empire,” he said, referring to Sunni areas in Iraq.
Areas of what is now Iraq were part of the Ottoman Empire, which was governed from Istanbul in what is now Turkey, before the empire’s dissolution after World War I.
Ties between Baghdad and Ankara have been strained by issues including Turkey hosting Tareq al-Hashemi, Iraq’s fugitive former vice president who has been sentenced to death on charges including murder.
Dulaimi also had harsh words for the protesters themselves.
“Shame… on those sites that are opening their doors to Istanbul or any other country,” he said.
“Protest sites have become a safe haven for terrorists and killers and those who call for strife, sectarianism and hate.”
The protests broke out in Sunni areas of Shiite-majority Iraq more than four months ago.
Demonstrators have called for the resignation of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, and criticised authorities for allegedly targeting their community with wrongful detentions and accusations of involvement in terrorism.
On April 23, security forces moved on protesters near the town of Hawijah in Kirkuk province, sparking clashes that killed 53 people.
Dozens more died in subsequent unrest that included revenge attacks targeting security forces, raising fears of a return to the all-out sectarian conflict that claimed tens of thousands of lives between 2006 and 2008.
This past March marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a decade of fighting, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, destroyed an entire country, and destabilized the broader Middle East. As journalist Matt Kennard argues in his new book, Irregular Army, the war in Iraq — as well as that in Afghanistan — also had deleterious consequences for the U.S. military itself. Faced with declining enlistment numbers as fighting dragged on year after year with no clear end in sight, Kennard shows that the American armed forces looked for alternatives to populate its ranks. In the process, regulations were weakened, rewritten and in some cases, not enforced.
The results are disturbing. According to Kennard, the military was suddenly tolerating the open presence of white power extremists and street gang members in the rolls, and actively recruiting physically and psychologically unfit Americans to fill enlistment gaps. While evidence suggests that these lax recruitment standards have already resulted in death and murder on the battlefield, the consequences could prove equally upsetting here at home. If the Sikh temple massacre is any indication of what may be in store, Kennard’s argument that the United States faces an uncertain future as these veterans return from home from war couldn’t be more urgent.
I recently spoke with Kennard about his research into these issues, how government brass has responded to these threats to the integrity of its armed forces, and what the irregular American army might mean for Americans in the years to come.
The 10th anniversary of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq just passed this week. Give us a sense of how the American military has changed in the last decade, and what it looks like today.
What happened to the American military, and I’m not the only one to point this out, during the War on Terror and up to this day constitutes in some ways the biggest change the American military has ever gone through, at least since the beginning of the 20th century. What was implemented during the War on Terror was a massive restructuring of the Pentagon under the aegis of Donald Rumsfeld, who had this plan to eviscerate the civilian U.S. military and replace it with private contractors. This has come to be called “transformation” in specialist circles. He made this famous speech the day before 9/11 where he said that he wanted to “modernize” the military, corporate speak for privatization of the military. “We have to update our enlistment techniques, our training techniques,” and the like. Under all the rhetoric was a plan to really scale down the Department of Defense, and replace it with companies like Blackwater and other groups.
There was also a strategic shift that was part of this transformation that recognized that as the cold war wound down the United States no longer needed large land armies. Many of the so-called neo-conservatives had grown apoplectic during the 1990s with Clinton’s “humanitarian intervention” in Kosovo, and earlier Somalia. They believed that the U.S. military should be used only to secure U.S. national interests, without even the patina of altruism. (Ironically, of course, Clinton’s wars were not the beneficent operations that the neocons made out.) The new threats facing the United States were asymmetrical, they were no longer state-based in nature but came instead from non-state terrorist groups.
Anyway, there were significant disagreements with this new proposed posture. Colin Powell, who had previously been the highest ranking officer in the military, argued that Washington needed to maintain a serious, large land army that could be deployed quickly in the case of emergency. In the end, Rumsfeld won out and the invasion of Iraq happened with many less troops than Powell and Eric Shinseki, chief of staff the army at the time, wanted.
Eventually, after Iraq failed to go as planned, Powell and Shinseki were proved right — that the American army really couldn’t just go into a place like Iraq, smash the place up, and then get out within a couple of years. They were in a quagmire there, and this was shown to be the case again in Afghanistan. As the wars got worse over time, and in the absence of conscription, the military found itself needing more and more personnel — precisely the opposite of what Donald Rumsfeld had wanted or foreseen. In order to do this, to pump up its numbers, the military began to change its regulations. They did this with some groups quite openly. For example, they raised the ceiling age for enlistment, from 35 to 40, and then again to 42, because they didn’t get the numbers they needed the first time.
The stuff that I looked into were the groups that the military was a little more embarrassed about — from white supremacists to street gang members to criminals. For some reason, I’m the only journalist who’s done serious work on the presence of gangs and neo-Nazis in the American military. There’s been quite a lot of work done on criminals in the army. Henry Waxman investigated the presence of serious criminals in the military, and prized important information from the Pentagon that they had been trying to hide. Over the last 10 years, you’ve seen a complete realignment of who can qualify as a soldier in the United States military.
Now, I’ve never been a big fan of the military adventures of the United States, but everyone knows that the standards in the U.S. military were always quite high. This was especially the case after Vietnam — 25 years were spent basically rejigging the military so that the standards were high. During the War on Terror, all of this was completely jettisoned. So what we have now is a military that is not held up as an exemplar of professionalism around the world, but as an example of what happens to a military when there aren’t enough troops and the government is too scared to institute conscription.
There are questions, of course, about how this will play out moving forward. Take the Libya intervention by NATO, for example: the whole debate was rehashed again. Barack Obama and his Defense Secretary Robert Gates actually endorsed the Rumsfeldian idea that the United States needed to slim down, while George Casey, the chief of staff of the Army, warned against “hollowing out” the U.S. military. If some state-based enemy rises again and the U.S. military has to deal with it, you’ll probably see the exact same issues crop up once more. And in fact, if you look into it, you’ll find that many of the standards haven’t been restored to their former levels even though recruiting quality troops has gotten easier with the current economic crisis. The military is unrecognizable now from what it was when the War on Terror started. And that’s not a mistake. It’s basically become exactly how Rumsfeld envisioned it: a hallowed out military replaced by private contractors working alongside special forces. Jeremy Scahill’s new book, Dirty Wars, documents how JSOC, assorted elite units are now carrying out many of the tasks that were previously the responsibility of the American military, often with “black budgets” out of sight of Congress and U.S. citizens. Everyone says that the war on Iraq was a massive personal failure for Rumsfeld, but in fact, in many ways, his vision has won out.
The most disturbing finding of your research is the extent to which white power extremists have penetrated the United States military, something which first came to light as far back as the mid-1970s. How do they get in? What happens when they get discovered? What have been the most immediate consequences of their presence in war zones?
It is important to note that there are a raft of regulations that govern the presence of white supremacists, both during the recruitment phase, and then afterwards if they are discovered within the ranks. But the trouble with these regulations is that they’ve always been reactive. So you have cases where white supremacist cells have been exposed on different bases, dating back to the 1970s. And every time this happens, whether that is a neo-Nazi killing another soldier, or killing someone in a nearby town to a base, every time there is a short-term outpouring of anger, the military responds by saying that they have tightened regulations. The first time something like this happened, in 1976, the military said being in a white supremacist organization was inconsistent with service. That can be interpreted any way you want. To my mind, the ambiguity related to the regulation of white supremacists is deliberate, i.e., the military doesn’t want these people in the military, but in times when they can’t afford to kick troops out, the regulations allow them enough leeway to ignore it, or have enough plausible deniability, to leave these people in.
During the War on Terror, regulations were not adhered at all. So, for example, you had people who were able to get into the military with swastikas tattooed on their skin. I spoke with the head of recruitment for the United States army about this, he said, “well, there’s first amendment rights.” If someone says they like the way swastikas look, or claim that they are Indian symbols which look very similar, then the commander can basically blow it off. So, there are regulations on tattoos — which are frequently the best indicators for recruiters of extremism — that were broadly ignored.
And then you had the other side, when these people are discovered after they are already in, there are other regulations to deal with that. So, if you are caught posting messages on websites like StormFront, or writing racist messages on places like the New Saxon, a sort of neo-Nazi Facebook, you can be disciplined, and maybe even kicked out of the military altogether. But that didn’t happen, either. In fact, I received reports from the Criminal Investigative Command (CID), which is the criminal investigative arm of the Army, about what happened to white supremacists when they were caught. Some of it is really shocking. In one instance, a soldier passed a military explosives manual to the leader of a white supremacist group. In the report I received from the CID, the military terminated the investigation because the soldier in question had been shipped off to Iraq. This is somebody who may have been planning a domestic terrorist attack! Jaw-dropping.
There are obviously first amendment rights. But if you are training, equipping and then sending white supremacists to a country of brown people, I think that really does trump first amendment rights. I focus on the War on Terror, but there is also the case of Michael Wade Page, who carried out the Sikh Temple Massacre last August. He was serving in the 1990s, a period during which there was supposedly a harsh crackdown on white supremacists in the military, by the military, following the Oklahoma City bombing. Well, Stars and Stripes interviewed friends of Page, who told the paper that he was completely open about his Neo-Nazism while in the Army.
But it’s not just white power groups that are populating the military. Other gangs have also colonized the American armed forces. Can you talk about what other gang activity exists within the military?
It’s tempting to focus on the problem of white supremacists in the military when thinking about undesirable elements in the armed forces. It makes sense — these people often have goals which are terrorist goals. They want to kill people to further the cause of racial holy war. But in terms of numbers, and everyday violence, the street gangs problem in the military is much more serious. I have spoken with security experts who estimate that up to 10 percent of the American military is made up of gang-affiliated troops.
During the height of the War on Terror, we saw it all along the border, where active duty soldiers carried out the murders of other soldiers, not to mention of the enemies of local drug traffickers nearby to the bases. Gangs see the military as a good way to traffic drugs — when soldiers are on a base, they are not subject to the same rigorous law enforcement as you are when you are civilian. Cartels look to recruit soldiers who are on bases, or recruit soldiers especially those stationed at Fort Bliss and Fort Hood, both in Texas and hotbeds of this kind of activity.
We’ve seen evidence of this up to this day. Recently, there was a case in which the DEA carried out a sting operation on a group of soldiers. DEA officers posed as a representative of a Mexican drug cartel, and offered the soldiers money in return for carrying out hits against rival factions. The soldiers agreed. The DEA knew this was a good tack to take, because they’re very aware that trafficking groups are in constant contact with active duty personnel.
As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have dragged on, you show that the military increasingly focused on recruiting kids and older adults to serve in the armed forces. How did they go about doing this, and what have been the consequences?
The most serious consequences have been the number of people who have died. I focus on older people and the young in my book. The military has regulation on the issue of age. It used to be that no one over the age of 35 could be recruited into the military. That changed during the War on Terror when the age was raised, first to 40 and then to 42 years of age, because they were struggling to find troops. That regulation wasn’t arbitrary. When soldiers are older than 35, they face higher risks on the battlefield related to psychology and physical fitness. I discuss a couple of soldiers in the book who died during their service, likely as a result of their relatively advanced age. For example, Staff Sergeant William Chaney, a Vietnam War died of a blood clot aged 59 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, after surgery for a medical condition and appendix problem that had necessitated his evacuation from Iraq. Another soldier, Steven Hutchison, who was a veteran of Vietnam and had experienced the Tet Offensive — died in an IED attack in Iraq after being recruited on the “retiree recall” program. He was killed a month shy of his 61st birthday. So that’s the most serious consequence — people have died as a result of these changes.
The other consequence has to do with the moral issue of colonizing the high schools of America. It’s not well-known about, but No Child Left Behind Act — which was passed with great bipartisan fanfare in 2001 — has a small caveat which mandates that schools turn over the phone numbers and addresses of all their students to military recruiters or face funding cuts if they refused. At first, this wasn’t used much because the War on Terror hadn’t yet started. But when troop deficits became a chronic issue, it began to be used all the time. Recruiters spent a decade terrorizing high school students — cold calling them, turning up at their houses, turning up at their schools — trying to persuade them to go to war.
There was one famous case where a high school student recorded a recruiter telling him that his life would be finished if he exited the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP). Under the DEP, students can sign up for the military while still in high school — basically promising to join the military upon graduation. But it is not binding. But many students aren’t told it isn’t binding. In this case, the student recorded the recruiter telling him that if he failed to honor the DEP, he wouldn’t be able to get loans for college, wouldn’t ever be able to find a job, and the like. It didn’t work on this one kid, because he was smart and decided to record his conversations with the recruiter. But you can imagine how often these sorts of tactics, and this kind of manipulation, do work on young people. And you can imagine how many of these young people were sent to Afghanistan and Iraq, and in all likelihood some of them have died. In combination, then, these two sides of the age issue highlight an overriding moral issue, and that is the fact that tons of people who should have never been sent to war, were — many to their deaths.
You suggest that the full consequences of the irregular army cobbled together by the United States haven’t yet been fully realized. Are we in for an irregular future? If so, how?
In my opinion, the War on Terror — which was fought mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in other places as well — is now coming home. All of the extremists that the Pentagon allowed into the military during the War on Terror are coming back to the United States, and not to become priests. These people have their own goals, and they will spend the next decade or two attempting to bring these goals forward. We see this in smaller scale following the first Gulf War. Take the Oklahoma City bombing, which took place a few years after the United States withdrew from Iraq the first time. These things have a fairly long incubation period. My sense is that because the military has trained so many crazy people in advanced weaponry and tactics over the past ten years, there will be cases — hopefully not as serious as the Oklahoma City bombing — like the Sikh Temple Massacre, cases where the violence of disgruntled veterans with a racial bone to pick, or any other really, will be taken out on random civilians.
We are seeing that slowly. Recently, there was a case in which a group of soldiers had formed their own militia at Fort Stewart in Georgia and were planning to assassinate President Obama and poison Washington State’s apple crop. According to prosecutors the soldiers had spent nearly $90,000 on guns and bomb components. Thankfully, this plan was busted, but we have to ask ourselves: how many similar cells like this are in the United States, and how long will it take for us to see them act out their fantasies? I’m not particularly optimistic about the future on this front. There’s another point that must be made, as well. It is sometimes said that a country’s military is a reflection of the population from which it is drawn. Many problems we witnessed in military during the War on Terror were reflections of a society that was changing under the stress of fear that was inflicted on the American population. We can point to the rising numbers of convicted felons allowed into the military, but that was merely a reflection of the increasing number of people being locked up across the country. We can point to the increasing numbers of overweight soldiers allowed to serve in the military, but again, this is just a reflection of an increasingly obese American society. So in a sense, many of the troubles experienced by the U.S. military right now are a reflection of a society which is going backwards in key respects, not forwards. Hopefully this will change. But there are very few indicators right now to suggest this is likely to happen.
“The new Israeli aggression is a clear attempt to raise the gunmen morale after the painful blows they received at the hands of our valiant army in several places and after the achievements which were realized on the ground by our armed forces to restore security and stability to Syria.
The new Israeli aggression shows the direct involvement of the Zionist entity in the conspiracy against Syria and the relationship that links the armed terrorist groups with the Israeli hostile schemes backed by the Western, regional and some Gulf states.”– Sana
[SEE: Al-Qaeda’s Air Force]
Israeli strikes on Syrian army targets show co-ordination with “terrorists” including al-Qaeda linked militants, the Syrian foreign ministry has said.
The strikes had led to a number of casualties and widespread damage, it reported in a letter sent to the UN.
State media said a research centre and other sites had been hit overnight. Israeli sources said weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon were the target.
The strike, the second in two days, drew condemnation from the Arab League.
Syria’s government refers to rebels fighting against it as “terrorists”.
On Friday, Israeli aircraft hit a shipment of missiles near the Lebanon border, according to unnamed US and Israeli officials.
The BBC’s Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says the latest developments are a significant escalation in Israel’s involvement in the conflict.
The Syrian foreign ministry statement said three military sites had been hit – a research centre at Jamraya, a paragliding airport in the al-Dimas area of Damascus and a site in Maysaloun.
“The flagrant Israeli attack on armed forces sites in Syria underlines the co-ordination between ‘Israel’, terrorist groups and… the al-Nusra Front,” the statement said, referring to al-Qaeda militants fighting with the rebels.
“The Israeli attack led to the fall of a number of martyrs and wounded from the ranks of Syrian citizens, and led to widespread destruction in these sites and in the civilian districts near to them.”
The statement added: “This leaves no room for doubt Israel is the beneficiary, the mover and sometime the executor of the terrorist acts which Syria is witnessing and which target it as a state and people directly or through its tools inside.”
The Syrian cabinet held an emergency meeting on the attacks, after which Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi read a statement at a news conference.
He said the attack made the Middle East “more dangerous” and “opens the door wide to all possibilities”.
Syria had the right and the duty “to defend its people by all available means,” he added.
In the latest attack, Damascus was shaken by repeated explosions coming from the north-western suburbs.
Amateur video footage and eyewitness testimony suggested rocket attacks had hit weapons dumps, triggering dramatic orange-flamed blasts.
The area houses numerous military facilities, including the Jamraya research centre, designated by Syria as a scientific research centre “in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defence”.
Damascus-based journalist Alaa Ebrahim told the BBC it was “the biggest explosion” the city had seen since the conflict began two years ago.
He said residents living near Jamraya reported feeling a “mild earthquake” just before the blast, indicating that the rockets may have hit an underground facility.
Our correspondent says the Israeli attack is a high-risk strategy, and it has drawn strong reaction from the rest of the Arab world.
The Egyptian presidency said they “violated international law and principles that will further complicate the situation”.
“Despite its strong opposition to bloodshed in Syria and the Syrian army’s use of weapons against its people… Egypt rejects at the same time the assault on Syria’s capabilities, violation of its sovereignty, and exploitation of its internal crisis under any pretext,” the presidency’s statement said.
And the Arab League, which has given its Syria seat to the rebels, called on the UN Security Council to “act immediately” to end the attacks.
The Jamraya facility was also apparently hit in an Israeli air strike in January.
Israeli officials confirmed the January strike, but insisted trucks carrying missiles to Hezbollah were the target.
After the latest attack, unnamed Western intelligence sources said the target was a weapons cache heading for Lebanon.
Israel has repeatedly said it would act if it felt advanced weapons were being transferred to militant groups in the region, especially Hezbollah.
[Fazl and those like him, who treat the Islamic faith as a "convenient" political ladder to self-elevation are the bane of those with True Faith. The Convenience of Political Islam for those slothful, evil men, who know neither morality nor honesty, is at the root of the global conflict within Islam itself. The Saudis and those who feed at their trough have spread this corrupted message all over the Muslim world, while reinforcing its message with the largesse of treasure. This has misled many. Pakistani politicians have faithfully travelled this path for many decades. It is time to change this equation, so that true democracy might really turn-out to be Pakistan's salvation.
VOTE MAY 11.]
PESHAWAR: In sharp contrast to his Sharif-bashing in Punjab, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on Saturday turned his guns towards JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, accusing him of exploiting the sacred name of Islam to reach the corridors of power.
Speaking at election rallies in a whirlwind tour of what is known as the Peshawar Valley, the PTI chief said that Maulana Fazlur Rehman was shedding crocodile’s tears and was befooling the people again in the name of Islam. The Maulana had always politicised Islam to serve his own interests, he alleged.
The towns Imran Khan visited were Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi and Buner.
He charged that Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Awami National Party, Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari were responsible for destruction of the country. The time, he said, had come to hold looters accountable. “The nation will reject the plunderers of national wealth on May 11.”
Addressing a public meeting in Nowshera, Imran Khan said that no corrupt leader or party would be able to face PTI’s tsunami on the election day. He said the enthusiasm of youth would change the country and make a new Pakistan.
Lashing out at the JUI-F chief, he said that for five years, Maulana Fazl had kept mum over the bloodshed of thousands of innocent Pakhtuns and remained hand in glove with President Asif Zardari to stick to power.
The PTI chief claimed that his forewarning against joining the US-led “war on terror” had come true. “I never said it was our war as it neither was nor ever will be.
Pakistan drew fire to the peril of its people by readily becoming America’s lieutenant in this war for no reason”, he said.
In Charsadda, Imran Khan said that after coming to power, the PTI would restore the dignity of Pakistan in international community, which he said was badly damaged by the previous governments.
He continued to target Maulana Fazlur Rehman, saying that the JUI-(F leader was responsible for the killings of thousands of people during the Afghan war. Maulana Fazl never spoke against US drone strikes and military operations in the country, Imran said, adding that the JUI-F leader had adopted a dubious policy to deceive the masses.
Addressing a rally in Swabi, Imran Khan said the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz and the Pakistan People’s Party had dominated the country’s politics since 1988, but they had utterly failed to deliver the goods.
He said that the two major parties and their allies would taste a crushing defeat and the PTI tsunami would sweep them away from power corridors. “We are poised to say goodbye to all former political actors on May 11 and those who labelled us as Jew and Qadiani will not be able to re-enter the parliament to devour public money,” he said.
He bitterly criticised JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, President Asif Ali Zardari, Mian Nawaz Sharif and ANP president Asfandyar Wali Khan, calling them political actors and US stooges.
“They always look to the Americans’ nod and wink in all affairs,” he said. “If we are voted to power on May 11, we will neither remain under American influence nor work according to their agenda. “We oppose US drone strikes. If we are voted to power, there will be no drone attacks in Pakistan. The PTI will formulate an independent foreign policy,” he said.
He said that the former rulers indulged in corruption, looting national exchequer and inflicting a colossal loss to the country and its people. “This practice is not acceptable to PTI and the youth of the country have been awakened. Those who ruined the country could not rebuild it”, he said. “The PTI will make a new Pakistan where justice, peace and prosperity will prevail,” said Mr Khan.
YOUTH AND DREAM: In Buner, the PTI chief said the enthusiastic youths would make the dream of a new Pakistan come true on May 11.
He said that after coming to power the PTI would explore the local natural resources to end loadshedding and would create employment opportunities for the youth.
He pointed to the cheering crowd, saying that “these change-makers” will ensure a positive change on May 11.
In Mardan, Imran Khan said American drones would be shot down if his party was elected to power in the coming general elections.
All nominated candidates on three National Assembly and eight PK constituencies of Mardan were present on the occasion.
He said the PTI supporters had struggled and waited for the last 17 years to lay foundation of a new Pakistan and now the dawn was nigh as the people would witness the start of a new Pakistan on May 11.
He said the ANP promoted the culture of easy load and plundered both the people and the public money ruthlessly.
He hit out at the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for making propaganda against him (Imran Khan) that he had been backed by Jews and Qadyani.
“I am a true Muslim and believe that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last prophet,” he said, asking Maulana Fazl to stop telling lies to the people. He accused Maulana Fazl of making money through corrupt practices and diesel permits.
The Maulana supported Pervez Musharraf and President Asif Ali Zardari “during their regimes of corruption”.