Another Guantanamo Alumni Killed While Leading Islamist Killers, Fighting FOR the United States

[When America's war against the rest of the human race finally comes to an end, our war crimes and crimes will be easily proved by circumstantial evidence such as this.  It is NOT A COINCIDENCE, that every major terrorist fighting unit that has been encountered over the duration of the American terror war has been led by graduates of the American brain-raping program at Guantanamo.  This is even true for the Afghan Taliban.  These guys, like this Moroccan fellow, Mohammed al Alami, a.k.a., "Abu Hamza al-Maghrebi," were released onto their home turfs, back around 2006, in order to spearhead the American "jihad" in their homelands.]

Untitled41

Photo of the deceased Abu Hamza al-Maghrebi.

Former Guantanamo prisoner killed in Syria after joining Islamist brigade

 

Reuters

 

 

(Reuters) – A former prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. naval base died fighting for anti-government rebels in Syria, according to an Islamist opposition group which posted a video of his funeral on YouTube.

Moroccan-born Mohammed al Alami, who was released in 2006, is the first former Guantanamo detainee to die in battle in the Syrian civil war, analysts say.

The video, first reported by The Miami Herald, was posted by Harakat Sham al-Islam, one of the Islamist brigades fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It showed the August 5 funeral in which Alami is praised by a rebel leader for enduring “the prison of the Americans in Guantanamo for five years … where he did not reform or change.”

U.S. Defense Department officials had no comment.

Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who monitors jihadi activities at the website Jihadology.net, said the video appeared to confirm rumors that had been circulating for several weeks about a former Guantanamo prisoner being killed in Syria.

“The sources seem to be legitimate,” he said, adding that the video was posted on a known jihadi website.

Alami fought in Afghanistan and was captured in Pakistan after the September 11 attacks.

He was sent to the U.S. detention facility in Cuba on February 2, 2002 “because of his knowledge of Taliban recruitment, training and tactics as well as his possible affiliation with Al-Qaida,” according to Pentagon records made public by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

He was repatriated to Morocco on February 7, 2006, the records show.

After being imprisoned in Morocco for an unknown period of time, he was released and made his way to Syria, said Zelin.

Alami’s death was likely to feed concerns about the risks of releasing detainees from Guantanamo, even though many have not been formerly charged.

“It has implications for the debate about what the United States does with the individuals still in Guantanamo and what might happen if they return home, or are released,” said Zelin.

There are a number of rebel brigades made up entirely of non-Syrians, the United Nations says, underlining how the 2-1/2-year-old conflict has pulled in neighboring countries and widened sectarian fault lines across the region.

The growing involvement of foreign, Islamist fighters has added to Western reluctance to step in or arm the rebels. Reuters correspondents have met British, Libya and Tunisian militants in Syria who say they fight against Assad.

Lebanon’s Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah militia has been fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

“Former Guantanamo detainees are held in very high light,” said Zelin. “They were imprisoned by Americans and they still kept faith in God and the cause of Jihad. They are viewed as heroes.”

Last month the U.S. repatriated two Guantanamo detainees to Algeria as part of its ongoing effort to close the prison.

So far, the U.S. has released 606 detainees. There are currently 164 prisoners at Guantanamo, including 84 cleared for release years ago.

Obama promised to do away with the facility during his 2008 presidential campaign, citing its damage to the U.S. reputation around the world, but Congress put tough restrictions on detainee transfers in January 2011.

A second Moroccan ex-Guantanamo detainee, Ibrahim bin Shakaran, the leader of Harakat Sham al-Islam, is seen in the video giving the funeral eulogy for Alami. He was described as an al-Qaeda recruiter in Iraq, according to a 2008 Defense Intelligence Agency list of 37 Guantanamo detainees “confirmed or suspected” of having returned to terrorism.

The number of former Guantanamo recidivists was estimated by the DIA in 2008 to be “about 7 percent of those transferred from U.S. custody.”

Alami, was the second known former Guantanamo detainee to be killed this year, Zelin added. A Saudi second-in-command of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen in July.

Said al-Shehri was described by U.S. officials as one of the most important al Qaeda-linked militants to be released from Guantanamo, where he was taken in January 2002 after Pakistan handed him to U.S. authorities.

(Writing by David Adams. Additional reporting by Oliver Holmes in Beirut and Jane Sutton in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; editing by Jackie Frank)

Barbaric Islamist Ghouls Slice Syrian Helicopter Pilot’s Head-Off, After Turkey Shoots It Down for Them

Horrific footage shows Syrian helicopter pilot who was ‘shot down by Turkish forces and then beheaded by rebels’

daily mail

  • Footage apparently shows helicopter pilot shot down by Turkish forces
  • Body can be seen with head removed and surrounded by a group of men
  • Videos also show ‘rebels shooting at pilot’ as he parachutes from craft
  • Turkey confirmed yesterday it did shoot down Syrian helicopter

By Daily Mail Reporter

 

A Syrian helicopter pilot who was shot down by the Turkish military was beheaded by rebels, it was claimed today.

Horrific footage which purports to show a man’s headless corpse dressed in military-style helicopter flight suit and dumped in a ditch has been circulating online since last night, just a few hours after the aircraft crashed.

The film also zooms in on a bloody head lying a few yards from the corpse.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Shocking footage apparently shows a Syrian helicopter pilot beheaded by rebels after he was shot down by Turkish forcesShocking footage apparently shows a Syrian helicopter pilot beheaded by rebels after he was shot down by Turkish forces

 

The film shows a bloody head lying a few yards from the corpseThe film shows a bloody head lying a few yards from the corpse

The footage shows one a group of men surrounding the body search through the man's clothesThe footage shows one a group of men surrounding the body search through the man’s clothes

It has been impossible to establish if the disturbing images do indeed show the chopper pilot or if it is rebel propaganda.

According to website Weasel Zippers, the pilot was beheaded by Syrian rebels after the helicopter was shot down by Turkish warplanes.

The video, which has been released on LiveLeak, shows one of the men searching through the pilot’s pockets.

 

Cable Reveals US Plot To Overthrow Syrian Govt. Began In 2006, After Hezbollah Kicks IDF Ass

Cable reference id: #06DAMASCUS5399

Influencing The Sarg In The End Of 2006

wikileaks1

Origin Embassy Damascus (Syria)
Cable time Wed, 13 Dec 2006 16:03 UTC
Classification SECRET
Source http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/12/06DAMASCUS5399.html

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 DAMASCUS 005399 SIPDIS SIPDIS NEA/ELA NSC FOR MARCHESE TREASURY FOR GLASER/LEBENSON E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/30/2016 TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PREL [External Political Relations], PTER [Terrorists and Terrorism], SY [Syria] SUBJECT: INFLUENCING THE SARG IN THE END OF 2006 Classified By: CDA William Roebuck, for reasons 1.5 b/d ¶1. (S) Summary. The SARG ends 2006 in a much stronger position domestically and internationally than it did 2005. While there may be additional bilateral or multilateral pressure that can impact Syria, the regime is based on a small clique that is largely immune to such pressure. However, Bashar Asad’s growing self-confidence )- and reliance on this small clique — could lead him to make mistakes and ill-judged policy decisions through trademark emotional reactions to challenges, providing us with new opportunities. For example, Bashar,s reaction to the prospect of Hariri tribunal and to publicity for Khaddam and the National Salvation Front borders on the irrational. Additionally, Bashar,s reported preoccupation with his image and how he is perceived internationally is a potential liability in his decision making process. We believe Bashar,s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as a the conflict between economic reform steps (however limited) and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements, and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising. These proposals will need to be fleshed out and converted into real actions and we need to be ready to move quickly to take advantage of such opportunities. Many of our suggestions underline using Public Diplomacy and more indirect means to send messages that influence the inner circle. End Summary. ¶2. (S) As the end of 2006 approaches, Bashar appears in some ways stronger than he has in two years. The country is economically stable (at least for the short term), internal opposition the regime faces is weak and intimidated, and regional issues seem to be going Syria,s way, from Damascus, perspective. Nonetheless, there are some long-standing vulnerabilities and looming issues that may provide opportunities to up the pressure on Bashar and his inner circle. Regime decision-making is limited to Bashar and an inner circle that often produces poorly thought-out tactical decisions and sometimes emotional approaches, such as Bashar,s universally derided August 15 speech. Some of these vulnerabilities, such as the regime,s near-irrational views on Lebanon, can be exploited to put pressure on the regime. Actions that cause Bashar to lose balance and increase his insecurity are in our interest because his inexperience and his regime,s extremely small decision-making circle make him prone to diplomatic stumbles that can weaken him domestically and regionally. While the consequences of his mistakes are hard to predict and the benefits may vary, if we are prepared to move quickly to take advantage of the opportunities that may open up, we may directly impact regime behavior where it matters–Bashar and his inner circle. ¶3. (S) The following provides our summary of potential vulnerabilities and possible means to exploit them: — Vulnerability: — THE HARIRI INVESTIGATION AND THE TRIBUNAL: The Hariri investigation ) and the prospect of a Lebanon Tribunal — has provoked powerful SARG reactions, primarily because of the embarrassment the investigation causes. Rationally, the regime should calculate that it can deal with any summons of Syrian officials by refusing to turn any suspects over, or, in extreme cases by engineering “suicides.8 But it seems the real issue for Bashar is that Syria,s dignity and its international reputation are put in question. Fiercely-held sentiments that Syria should continue to exercise dominant control in Lebanon play into these sensitivities. We should seek to exploit this raw nerve, without waiting for formation of the tribunal. — Possible action: — PUBLICITY: Publicly highlighting the consequences of the ongoing investigation a la Mehlis causes Bashar personal DAMASCUS 00005399 002 OF 004 angst and may lead him to act irrationally. The regime has deep-seated fears about the international scrutiny that a tribunal — or Brammertz accusations even against lower-echelon figures — would prompt. The Mehlis accusations of October 2005 caused the most serious strains in Bashar’s inner circle. While the family got back together, these splits may lie just below the surface. — Vulnerability: — THE ALLIANCE WITH TEHRAN: Bashar is walking a fine line in his increasingly strong relations with Iran, seeking necessary support while not completely alienating Syria,s moderate Sunni Arab neighbors by being perceived as aiding Persian and fundamentalist Shia interests. Bashar’s decision to not attend the Talabani ) Ahmadinejad summit in Tehran following FM Moallem,s trip to Iraq can be seen as a manifestation of Bashar’s sensitivity to the Arab optic on his Iranian alliance. — Possible action: — PLAY ON SUNNI FEARS OF IRANIAN INFLUENCE: There are fears in Syria that the Iranians are active in both Shia proselytizing and conversion of, mostly poor, Sunnis. Though often exaggerated, such fears reflect an element of the Sunni community in Syria that is increasingly upset by and focused on the spread of Iranian influence in their country through activities ranging from mosque construction to business. Both the local Egyptian and Saudi missions here, (as well as prominent Syrian Sunni religious leaders), are giving increasing attention to the matter and we should coordinate more closely with their governments on ways to better publicize and focus regional attention on the issue. — Vulnerability: — THE INNER CIRCLE: At the end of the day, the regime is dominated by the Asad family and to a lesser degree by Bashar Asad,s maternal family, the Makhlufs, with many family members believe to be increasingly corrupt. The family, and hangers on, as well as the larger Alawite sect, are not immune to feuds and anti-regime conspiracies, as was evident last year when intimates of various regime pillars (including the Makhloufs) approached us about post-Bashar possibilities. Corruption is a great divider and Bashar’s inner circle is subject to the usual feuds and squabbles related to graft and corruption. For example, it is generally known that Maher Asad is particularly corrupt and incorrigible. He has no scruples in his feuds with family members or others. There is also tremendous fear in the Alawite community about retribution if the Sunni majority ever regains power. — Possible Action: — ADDITIONAL DESIGNATIONS: Targeted sanctions against regime members and their intimates are generally welcomed by most elements of Syrian society. But the way designations are applied must exploit fissures and render the inner circle weaker rather than drive its members closer together. The designation of Shawkat caused him some personal irritation and was the subject of considerable discussion in the business community here. While the public reaction to corruption tends to be muted, continued reminders of corruption in the inner circle have resonance. We should look for ways to remind the public of our previous designations. — Vulnerability: — THE KHADDAM FACTOR: Khaddam knows where the regime skeletons are hidden, which provokes enormous irritation from Bashar, vastly disproportionate to any support Khaddam has within Syria. Bashar Asad personally, and his regime in general, follow every news item involving Khaddam with tremendous emotional interest. The regime reacts with self-defeating anger whenever another Arab country hosts Khaddam or allows him to make a public statement through any of its media outlets. — Possible Action: DAMASCUS 00005399 003 OF 004 — We should continue to encourage the Saudis and others to allow Khaddam access to their media outlets, providing him with venues for airing the SARG,s dirty laundry. We should anticipate an overreaction by the regime that will add to its isolation and alienation from its Arab neighbors. Vulnerability: — DIVISIONS IN THE MILITARY-SECURITY SERVICES: Bashar constantly guards against challenges from those with ties inside the military and security services. He is also nervous about any loyalties senior officers (or former senior officers) feel toward disaffected former regime elements like Rif,at Asad and Khaddam. The inner circle focuses continuously on who gets what piece of the corruption action. Some moves by Bashar in narrowing the circle of those who benefit from high-level graft has increased those with ties to the security services who have axes to grind. — Possible Action: — ENCOURAGE RUMORS AND SIGNALS OF EXTERNAL PLOTTING: The regime is intensely sensitive to rumors about coup-plotting and restlessness in the security services and military. Regional allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia should be encouraged to meet with figures like Khaddam and Rif,at Asad as a way of sending such signals, with appropriate leaking of the meetings afterwards. This again touches on this insular regime,s paranoia and increases the possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction. Vulnerability: — REFORM FORCES VERSUS BAATHISTS-OTHER CORRUPT ELITES: Bashar keeps unveiling a steady stream of initiatives on economic reform and it is certainly possible he believes this issue is his legacy to Syria. While limited and ineffectual, these steps have brought back Syrian expats to invest and have created at least the illusion of increasing openness. Finding ways to publicly call into question Bashar,s reform efforts )- pointing, for example to the use of reform to disguise cronyism — would embarrass Bashar and undercut these efforts to shore up his legitimacy. Revealing Asad family/inner circle corruption would have a similar effect. — Possible Action: — HIGHLIGHTING FAILURES OF REFORM: Highlighting failures of reform, especially in the run-up to the 2007 Presidential elections, is a move that Bashar would find highly embarrassing and de-legitimizing. Comparing and contrasting puny Syrian reform efforts with the rest of the Middle East would also embarrass and irritate Bashar. — Vulnerability: — THE ECONOMY: Perpetually under-performing, the Syrian economy creates jobs for less than 50 percent of the country,s university graduates. Oil accounts for 70 percent of exports and 30 percent of government revenue, but production is in steady decline. By 2010 Syria is expected to become a net importer of oil. Few experts believe the SARG is capable of managing successfully the expected economic dislocations. — DISCOURAGE FDI, ESPECIALLY FROM THE GULF: Syria has enjoyed a considerable up-tick in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last two years that appears to be picking up steam. The most important new FDI is undoubtedly from the Gulf. — Vulnerability: — THE KURDS: The most organized and daring political opposition and civil society groups are among the ethnic minority Kurds, concentrated in Syria,s northeast, as well as in communities in Damascus and Aleppo. This group has been willing to protest violently in its home territory when others would dare not. There are few threats that loom larger in Bashar,s mind than unrest with the Kurds. In what DAMASCUS 00005399 004 OF 004 is a rare occurrence, our DATT was convoked by Syrian Military Intelligence in May of 2006 to protest what the Syrians believed were US efforts to provide military training and equipment to the Kurds in Syria. — Possible Action: — HIGHLIGHT KURDISH COMPLAINTS: Highlighting Kurdish complaints in public statements, including publicizing human rights abuses will exacerbate regime,s concerns about the Kurdish population. Focus on economic hardship in Kurdish areas and the SARG,s long-standing refusal to offer citizenship to some 200,000 stateless Kurds. This issue would need to be handled carefully, since giving the wrong kind of prominence to Kurdish issues in Syria could be a liability for our efforts at uniting the opposition, given Syrian (mostly Arab) civil society,s skepticism of Kurdish objectives. — Vulnerability: — Extremist elements increasingly use Syria as a base, while the SARG has taken some actions against groups stating links to Al-Qaeda. With the killing of the al-Qaida leader on the border with Lebanon in early December and the increasing terrorist attacks inside Syria culminating in the September 12 attack against the US embassy, the SARG,s policies in Iraq and support for terrorists elsewhere as well can be seen to be coming home to roost. — Possible Actions: — Publicize presence of transiting (or externally focused) extremist groups in Syria, not limited to mention of Hamas and PIJ. Publicize Syrian efforts against extremist groups in a way that suggests weakness, signs of instability, and uncontrolled blowback. The SARG,s argument (usually used after terror attacks in Syria) that it too is a victim of terrorism should be used against it to give greater prominence to increasing signs of instability within Syria. ¶4. (S) CONCLUSION: This analysis leaves out the anti-regime Syrian Islamists because it is difficult to get an accurate picture of the threat within Syria that such groups pose. They are certainly a long-term threat. While it alludes to the vulnerabilities that Syria faces because of its alliance with Iran, it does not elaborate fully on this topic. The bottom line is that Bashar is entering the new year in a stronger position than he has been in several years, but those strengths also carry with them — or sometimes mask ) vulnerabilities. If we are ready to capitalize, they will offer us opportunities to disrupt his decision-making, keep him off-balance, and make him pay a premium for his mistakes. ROEBUCK

“That night I saw armed people getting out a caravan of buses… Islamists on the road to Paradise,”

Al Qaeda’s Turkish base?

dw

The target of stray bullets and shells coming from Syria, the small Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar has also turned into a hub for Islamist militants – allegedly backed by Ankara.

Ceylanpinar

From Nevroz Algiç’s restaurant one can taste the spicy local food while enjoying the best views over the front line, literally across the street. The fighting is so close that gunfire can still be heard over the arabesque music blaring out of the loudspeakers.

 

Located 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) southeast of Ankara, Ceylanpinar was once known for its gigantic agricultural complex. However, this city with a population of 40,000 is now yet another victim of the Syrian war. Since October 2012, four residents have been killed and dozens have been wounded by stray bullets, mortars and rockets.

“Before the new teachers would eat here and stay in this guesthouse but none of them wants to come here now. No one knows when the shooting will start or when will it finish,” Algiç tells DW. The bullet holes on these walls are a stark reminder of what’s happening round the corner. Still, material losses are not that important.

“My husband was wounded by shrapnel, my 10-year-old son is traumatized by the explosions and the older one quit university,” adds Algiç, sitting next to one of the broken windows. Behind her, a cargo train slowly moves across the no-man’s land between Turkey and Syria.

It was actually the Orient Express railway, built in 1911, that would help draw the borders of Syria and Turkey 10 years later. Berlin and Baghdad were finally connected but the Kurdish town of Serekaniye was cut in two: the one in Turkey was called Ceylanpinar, its Syrian counterpart was named Ras al Ayn.

On the road to Paradise

Like most others here, Mehmet also has cross-border family ties. The civil servant, who prefers not to disclose his full name, claims that the situation started worsening on a particular night last October.

“That night I saw armed people getting out a caravan of buses. I immediately called the police but they told me not to worry and said that everything was under control,” he told DW. Other residents also spotted armed men crossing the border into Syria. Apparently, they all got the same answer from the local security forces: ‘everything is under control.'”

“We often see buses around with all their curtains drawn. I have no doubt that their passengers are says Mehmet with a sad smile. He criticizes the “silence of the Turkish media on Ankara’s dark moves,” as he puts it.

“Here it’s not about rebels fighting [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, it’s Jabhat al-Nusraan armed group close to al Qaeda – and Syrian Kurdish fighters engaging in brutal clashes.”

Many believe that Turkey is providing a haven to al- Qaeda-affiliated fighters

From the beginning of the uprising in March 2011, Syria’s Kurds vowed a “third way” – neither with Assad, nor with the insurgents. Theirs is a neutral position that has led to clashes with both sides, but in July 2012 they took over their stronghold areas, in the north of the country.

The YPG – the main Kurdish militia group – and the Free Syrian Army signed a ceasefire on July 12 in Ras al Ayn but Jabhat al-Nusra distanced iself from the truce.

Many local residents told DW that Ankara is hosting Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in a camp near an unchecked border crossing west of Ceylanpinar.

Ibrahim Polat, a local journalist for the Dicle News Agency, says the allegations are true and adds that Ankara’s alleged backing of Islamists goes even further:

“During the last months hundreds of fighters have been taken by Turkish ambulances from Syria to Ceylanpinar hospital and those with more serious injuries were taken to Balikdigol hospital in Sanliurfa, the provincial capital. Kurdish militiaman are systematically rejected in the local hospitals so they are taken to Qamishlo, Syria’s main Kurdish city,” he told DW.

Anonymous sources from both medical centers told DW that there are no wounded fighters in Ceylanpinar, but that several of them are still being treated in Sanliurfa.

“Dirty War”

From his office, Musa Çeri, District Governor and member of the AKP, the ruling party in Turkey, dismisses such claims as “false rumors.”

“It is ridiculous to believe that Turkey could possibly back terrorist groups of any kind. My government would never do such a thing,” he told DW, adding that the government of Ankara is “only” struggling to address the ever-growing number of Syrian refugees on Turkish soil – over 200,000 according to UN figures. “Our religion, Islam, compels us to meet the people’s needs,” he says.

Nonetheless, he doesn’t hide his concern for what he considers to be Turkey’s “most pressing terrorist threat.”

“The Syrian Kurdish fighters are nothing but a branch of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party. If they finally get strong in their areas, they can easily conduct terrorists attacks against us across the border,” he explains. One of Ankara’s biggest fears, he says, is a Kurdish autonomous region similar to that in northern Iraq on Syrian soil.

Meanwhile, Ismail Arslan, Ceylanpinar’s mayor, says his town is paying a high price for the war.

“There have been dead and wounded but people also move elsewhere, shops and business fold, property prices collapse.” And there is another price to pay, he says. “In Ceylanpinar, 60 percent are Kurds and 30 percent Arabs while Assyrians, Turks and members of other nationalities comprise the remaining 10 percent. The nature of the conflict is fuelling mistrust among us and causing a split between our people.”

Arslan says he prefers not to comment on the alleged camp nearby, but denounces Ankara’s role in the area.

“Turkey claims to be a democratic country but it is involved in a very dirty war,” he says. “I’m afraid our problems won’t end until Ankara stops supporting al-Qaeda-affiliated groups inside Syria.”

DW.DE

The Self-Delusion That Passes for Peace

[Pakistan is doomed.]

The peace delusion

dawn

WHILE approaching our problem of terror and courting peace in earnest there is no room for false bravado. Why object to state functionaries sitting down with disaffected citizens if that can sort out misconceptions that have angered or deluded them into declaring war on the state?

Didn’t Clausewitz, the god of war wisdom, settle once and for all that ‘war is merely the continuation of policy by other means’? So if policy can be pursued by peace talks why yelp for internecine bloodletting?

The logical critique of the inane resolution produced by the all-party conference (APC) isn’t rooted in the desire for vengeance or a conceited notion of honor. An eye-for-an-eye doesn’t produce justice or peace, but revenge. When a state punishes criminals it is not for a singular object but for a whole range of considerations including retribution for wrongful actions, closure for victims, deterring crime to maintain peace in society and reforming the recalcitrant. The moral argument against peace talks is weak.

The loss of over 40,000 citizens and soldiers is an unspeakable tragedy. But wars always produce casualties. If the argument that all blood shed in war must be avenged were to hold, no war would ever end. The paramount obligation of the state is not to fathom the best way to mourn or honour the dead, but to protect the life and liberty of the living. And if as a nation we are unsure whether our Constitution, the sovereignty of our state and a tolerant society are worthy causes, isn’t the choice between war and peace a fake one?

In other words why go to war over pursuit of a policy when the policy is up for negotiation if unacceptable to our adversary. So if we are willing to remodel the vision and future of Pakistan, its laws, political system, foreign policy and social norms, as desired by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), why fight? The critics of the APC’s romantic notion of peace through talks are neither opposed to peace nor talks. Their argument is that there is no real likelihood of talks succeeding and their failure will produce dividends for the TTP.

And in case a miracle happens and talks succeed, the terms on which peace will be secured will either be unsustainable or will require altering the vision for the future of Pakistan in a manner that will be nothing less than complete surrender to the forces of regression and intolerance. The APC resolution thus reinforces the harrowing sense that our national leadership either utterly lacks comprehension of the problem facing us or those at the helm have adopted Madame de Pompadour’s approach to problem solving: ‘after us, the deluge’.

The seeds of militancy and terror were not sown in 2001 when Pakistan elected to side with the US ‘war on terror’. That choice only exposed a design flaw in our national security thinking. We sowed the seeds of militancy when, encouraged by the US in the 1980s, we decided to brainwash, train and employ jihadis in pursuit of our national security policy in Afghanistan. Unlike mercenaries motivated by money or a regular soldier under military discipline, the jihadi militant was manufactured without a ‘turn-off’ switch.

If jihad against infidel Russia was right in the 1980s how could jihad against infidel Yanks be wrong in 2001? It was not jihadists who rebelled against the state; it was the state that rebelled against a just religious cause by agreeing to sleep with the enemy, the jihadists argue. The point is that a state cannot share monopoly over violence with any private militia, whether motivated by religion or not, precisely because it cannot allow a private group to challenge its foreign or security policy backed by threat of use of force.

Our problem of militancy won’t end with the end of the US war in Afghanistan. It won’t end till there exist armed private militias in Pakistan inspired by the virile belief that they have a legitimate right to forcefully change state policies, our political and legal system or social norms, and possess the means to do so.

There can be no sustainable peace in Pakistan so long as the state views religion-inspired militants as a useful weapon that can be controlled and put to good use in the national interest. There can be no sustainable peace till the state is open to allowing militants self-governed sanctuaries in our bad outlands or urban pockets. There can be no sustainable peace if it is a product of the courtesy or mercy shown by militants and not their diminished capacity to inflict violence.

There can be no peace till the state willingly tolerates violence and hatemongering in the name of religion. There can be no peace till the state continues looking away as our foreign Muslim friends fund and patronise sectarian groups in Pakistan. And there can be no peace if it hangs on the promise to implement the Sharia, when there is no agreement in the country over what that means. Shouldn’t the APC have addressed some of these thorny matters?

The manner in which the APC has endorsed unconditional talks with the TTP creates two problems. One, it legitimises the pro-terror narrative that has confused and polarised our nation ie terrorists might be mistaken in killing fellow citizens, but that is understandable because they are so incensed by wrongful state policies. And two, it is terrorists who are setting conditions and defining the framework of talks and not the state, and as a consequence if talks fail the onus will be on the state.

The most charitable assessment of the APC could have been that the sense of tolerance and accommodation exhibited by the APC will cultivate public opinion in favour of use of force in case talks fail. But the manner in which the TTP has responded, our tyrants might just be ahead of our leaders even when it comes to shaping public opinion. Maybe we are being needlessly cynical and our leadership is working with a grand strategy: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

The writer is a lawyer. sattar@post.harvard.edu Twitter: @ babar_sattar

Saudi King’s Bloodlust for Assad Reveals Deep Royal Hatred For Democracy and Diplomacy

saudi creep

Saudis Shun Diplomacy in Syria Crisis

voa

Elizabeth Arrott

 

CAIRO — Saudi Arabia has backed Syria’s rebels in a civil war that has directly affected much of the region, but with little transparency in the kingdom, its precise role remains unclear.While many across the Middle East welcome the diplomatic push for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons, Riyadh, one of the strongest supporters of U.S. military intervention against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is not happy about the switch from strikes to talks.

“[The Saudis] estimate that the deal over chemical weapons is, one, not feasible, but, two, makes it even harder to intervene and brings Bashar al-Assad back into the bargaining game, which is their biggest problem,” says Emile Hokayem, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “They’ve spent the past two and half years trying to delegitimize Assad, and that deal turns Assad into a partner.”

According to Hokayem, Saudi leaders had wanted an even bigger military campaign against Assad than the limited strikes outlined by the U.S.

It’s a dynamic that has played out throughout the conflict: Saudis giving money and weapons to the full spectrum of Syria’s rebels, with the U.S. apparently taking a more cautious approach.

Riyadh’s logic is partially sectarian, with the kingdom’s Sunni leaders arming the mainly Sunni rebels: An offensive against Assad, of the Shi’ite-offshoot Alawite sect, could tip the balance of power in a stalemate that has neighboring countries lined up largely along religious lines.

But political scientist Christian Donath, of the American University in Cairo, thinks current U.S. plans would fail to do that.

“I don’t know whether the U.S. strikes are going to have any kind of effect, specifically on the sectarian tension, or whether it essentially will just serve to weaken to some extent the Assad regime’s military capacity,” he says.

Saudi animosity is not aimed exclusively at Syria’s government, but also at Assad’s biggest regional backer, Iran, a Shi’ite-led Saudi rival. Syria also receives additional help from Shi’ite Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon.

But political analyst Hokayem says it’s not all about religion.

“The regime of Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah have allowed Iran to become a primary power in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he says. “And there’s a sense that if you win in Syria, you win the entire Levant because Syria is the big power there.”

But other analysts say there may be no winning a regional struggle for dominance.

“Saudi Arabia is rich in oil, but their military capability, their soft power and their model is weak,” says Mustafa Labbad, director of the Al Sharq Center for Regional and Strategic Studies. “So everyone is ambitious but no single country can play a regional role as it is described in international relations and strategy.”

But that hasn’t kept Saudi Arabia, or its rivals, from trying.

Zawahiri—Terrorist Outcast, Calls for “Al-Qaeda” Boycott of Walmarts and Starbucks

[You kinda have to feel sorry for this obsolete former terrorist leader, even his own former organizaton ignores everything he has to say.  His own alleged henchmen in Syria ignore what he tells them to do.  He issues fatwas to his puny, perhaps nonexistent organization, to wage economic war against "the great Satan," further demonstrating to the world just how obsolete and powerless Bin Laden's baby has become.  Reduced to calling for Islamist volunteers to wage a jihad of papercuts and shoving bombs up each others' asses, now Bandar has rebranded his Qaeda army as "Al-Nusra," hoping to leave al-Qaeda's baggage behind, especially now that the Pentagon and the Islamists openly fight on the same side, against the same targets. ]
 

Al-Qaeda calls for economic boycott of U.S.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on Muslims to continue attacking Americans in an hour-plus audio message.

An al-Qaeda leader is calling on Muslims to continue attacking Americans in the U.S. in order to attack the economy, the BBC, CBS News and other news organizations are reporting.

“To keep up the hemorrhage in America’s security and military spending, we need to keep the United States on a constant state of alert about where and when the next strike will blow,” CBS News quoted Ayman al-Zawahri as saying in an hour-plus audio message released on jihadi blogs and produced by al-Qaeda.

The message was released to mark the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, CBS reports.

The recording by Zawahri also hailed the April 15th bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line and stressed the importance of small-scale attacks as part of the terror group’s strategy, the BBC reports.

“We must bleed America economically by provoking it, so that it continues its massive expenditures on security,” Zawahri said. “America’s weak spot is its economy, which began to totter from the drain of its military and security expenditure.”

The BBC speculated that the emphasis on smaller-scale strikes might illustrate a diminished ability to carry out attacks of the same magnitude it has planned in the past.

Of the economic boycott, Zawahri said, “We must explain to them that every dollar’s worth of goods that we buy from America and her allies amounts to a bullet or shrapnel that kills a Muslim or Palestine or Afghanistan.”