At least 20 people were killed and two dozen vehicles torched in different sections of Karachi, officials said Wednesday. Ethnic violence was a suspected trigger of the shootouts in Karachi, a teeming city with a history of such clashes between Pashtuns and descendants of migrants from India.
Residents from different areas of Karachi share their accounts with Dawn.com.
Waqar Ahmed, 29-year-old, accountant:
I was on my way home (in North Karachi) after work. People were burning tyres near Al-Asif on U.P. Morh and sporadic firing was going on so I couldn’t take the usual route home and had to wind through the streets and smaller alleys to be able to avoid the kind of chaos on the main roads.
This morning I didn’t want to take my car out and there was also no public transport available so I stayed back. I spoke to some of my colleagues but most of us are not keen on stepping out today.
Rameez Farooqui, software engineer, 25-year-old:
Sporadic firing continued late evening and till late midnight in the Baradari area of North Karachi. I stepped out
toward this shanty town near my block where groups of people were setting tyres on fire and were firing shots. On my way back, both corners of my street were blocked with cars, apparently to block people from entering I’m not sure. But the cars didn’t belong to any of the residents. However, the cars disappeared this morning.
I haven’t been able to make it to work as yet, largely because there is no public transport available and my car has run out of gas. Besides, it is probably wiser to say indoors right now. We don’t know what the reaction to yesterday’s havoc will be like.
Naheed, 29-year-old, beautician:
I live near Anda Morh (North Karachi). I was trying to get back home, a short distance from the beauty salon, but had to literally duck and run through the way as there was too much gunfire and chaos. Groups of people were trying to stop the cars passing on the road and tyres were being burnt. There was a lot of panic. Even right now as we speak I can still hear gunfire but it’s mostly random.
Rehman Khan, 40-year-old, naan-wallah:
My sister and brother live in Ajmer Nagri and I couldn’t get in touch with them. I still haven’t been able to. I don’t know how things will turn out because I know that most of the dead are pashtun-speaking.
Sikander, 26-year-old, banker:
I stayed back at my office (in SITE area) and spent the night here. My house is near Five Star Chowrangi and there was too much going on in and around that area. Many of my colleagues who live toward north also chose to stay back in the office.
Qurat ul ain, 26, reporter:
I saw scarce public transport; very thin traffic; shops in Gulshan-i-Iqbal and Gulistan-i-Jauhar were closed. Some of the busiest bus-stops were almost deserted with two to three persons there waiting for buses.
Hina Sharif, 26, student:
As the violence continued overnight, I was told that a few gunmen killed a man in Gulistan-e-Johar near Johar Chorangi. It probably happened somewhere between 8:45pm till 12:00 am, as those were the hours when continuous firing was taking place. One hotel near Perfume Chowk and a shop of carpets was also set ablaze.
A mini-bus driver was killed and another person was injured. We then found out that the bus was set on fire by group of violent people near Haroon Royal City. Roads were almost empty after these incidents and I noticed that cars were speeding past us on the roads as everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get off the streets. I saw people gathered near bus stops but the buses had stopped running by late evening on Wednesday.
I also saw an ambulance rushing past near Continental bakery (Abdullah Heights) where most of the people had shut down theirs shops after this violence escalated. There were a lot of Rangers in my area when I left for work in the morning and my car was stopped for checking as well. But that didn’t alarm us much because it seemed to be routine procedure and things looked a lot more peaceful than the previous night.
Bilal Mazhar, 28, content producer:
Streets of Gurumandir and all adjacent areas became deserted around 9pm as we kept hearing more and more news about ethnic violence in the city. All the shops were forcibly closed down by groups of armed men and then Rangers were deployed on all the main arteries of Jamshed Town. Police seemed to be giving extra attention to Jahangir road which is a prominent division of two ethnic groups.
Jamshed and Sadder town were completely deserted and there appeared to be no traffic. Due to the effective deployment and patrolling of rangers, no incident took place overnight on M.A Jinnah road and things seemed to have simmered down. In fact on my way to office I saw a family who was enjoying themselves on the lush green roundabout near the governor house.
Naeem Hussain, resident of Azizabad:
I was near Zarina Colony when the firing started. It felt like it was coming from everywhere. Instantly everyone around us started saying that the people who were firing were criminals affiliated with land-grabbing mafia. The way I saw it, people knew who the attackers were and who they were targeting. I was trying to leave the area and return to my office or house when I saw that the Rangers were also firing. Just then, one policeman waved me away, saying that I should leave now because a Rangers personel had been shot and the situation was bound to get worse.
Wajahat Nazeer, pick-up truck driver:
I was leaving the office I work for in Federal B. Area on a delivery assignment. Then we got news that there was firing all over New Karachi and in parts of Sohrab Goth. A lot of my colleagues left for home there and then. But I decided to wait and see if things calmed down. Eventually, I couldn’t leave the office until about midnight. Anyone who left before that got caught in bad traffic jams. By the time I was headed home, the streets were somewhat deserted — all the shops and places to eat had been shut. If I didn’t have the truck, I probably wouldn’t have gotten home at all because there was no public transport.
[SEE: “Right at the Edge”
What’s going on? I asked the warlord. Why aren’t they coming for you?
“I cannot lie to you,” Namdar said, smiling at last. “The army comes in, and they fire at empty buildings. It is a drama — it is just to entertain.” ]
xISLAMABAD: The ongoing Buner operation is just to please the United States and these types of operation are neither in the interest of the Taliban nor of the government, the Swat chapter of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said on Wednesday.
Muslim Khan, spokesman for the TTP Swat chapter, said this while responding to a question by The News over telephone.
Asked whether or not there would be any reaction to the ongoing Buner operation in other cities of the country, he said: “The Buner operation is just to please America and nobody should fear of any reaction to this operation.”
“We are peaceful people and are abiding by our peace agreement with the Frontier government. However, this type of operations are neither in the interest of the Taliban nor of the (Pakistan) government,” he said.
When this correspondent asked Muslim Khan about the well -being and whereabouts of Tehrik Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the TTP Swat spokesman said Maulana Sufi Muhammad is in good health and would soon make a public appearance.
“If the current situation persists, the Swat peace deal too might be affected. If the peace deal stands scrapped, the Taliban would not sit idle as a silent spectator and would exercise their right to self-defence,” he warned.
Asked about the TTP contacts with al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and Taliban supreme leader Mulla Muhammad Omar, Muslim Khan said they do not have contacts with people of any other country. The TTP supports those who are waging Jihad against the United States and its allies but has no direct contact whatsoever with Osama bin Laden or Mulla Muhammad Omar.
JERUSALEM: Israel warned the European Union on Thursday to tone down its criticism of the new Israeli government or risk forfeiting the bloc’s role as broker in Mideast peace efforts.
The warning came after EU’s commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, this week criticized Israel’s refusal to endorse a Palestinian state.
She said an upgrade in Israeli-EU relations would depend on Israel’s commitment to the “two-state solution.”
It also came ahead of a planned trip to Europe next week by Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, his first official trip abroad.
The ultranationalist Lieberman’s comments about Arabsand Mideast peace have raised international concerns about the new Israeli Cabinet’s intentions.
Terrorist Attempt to Thin-out the Committee of 300
At least two people were killed today after a young driver sped through a crowd in an apparent assassination attempt on the Dutch royal family.
The car raced towards an open bus carrying Queen Beatrix during a national holiday and mowed down up to 20 spectators. A child was believed to be among the dead.
The incident happened seconds after the motorcade passed through the crowd in the town of Apeldoorn, 50 miles from Amsterdam.
Princess Maxima, wife of heir to the throne Willem-Alexander, looked on in horror as the black Suzuki Swift, driven by a man in his twenties, came to a halt after it rammed into a monument.
A spectator was thrown into the air and came crashing down in the road with blood pouring from his head. Two women were also hit and ceremonial guards went to their aid. A policeman narrowly escaped injury when he jumped off his bicycle.
A photographer who witnessed the attack said she saw about 20 people lying on the ground after the impact.
Dutch journalist Peter von de Vorst said it was like watching a horror movie. “Everyone looked up and saw people flying through the air. Then suddenly there was panic, and you realised that something really terrible had happened.” It was not clear how the car managed to enter the parade area, which police had sealed off hours before. Officers removed a man from the vehicle and put him into an ambulance.
Other police officers gave first aid to spectators before they were taken to hospital. Shortly after the incident, investigators and a sniffer dog examined the car for explosives, then removed the roof of the car for a closer inspection. The open-top coach carrying the royal family stopped briefly before being accompanied by a police escort to Het Loo palace.
Queen Beatrix sent a message expressing her sympathy to the victims and their families. Although her birthday is on 31 January, the monarch’s birthday is traditionally celebrated on 30 April.
On the national holiday, street parties and flea markets are held across the country.
Apeldoorn mayor Fred de Graaf said all festivities were being cancelled. Holiday events were also called off in the port city of Rotterdam, and more were likely to be cancelled around the country.
Mr de Graaf said: “The scare and the images that the royal family has seen is reason enough to break off the official programme.”
Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the main Dutch cities last night and today to celebrate the holiday, originally intended to celebrate the birthday of Queen Beatrix’s mother Queen Juliana.
The royal family normally spends the day in a small Dutch community.
[I normally try to post excerpts from articles as long as this one, but considering the unique nature of the following, I felt it should be preserved here in the No Sunglasses site. The author uses a recent article from Pakistan’s friend Ahmed Quaraishi (and mine, I hope) as part of a three-part conversation, with himself as the second part and the people of Pakistan as the third. The common thread throughout it all is this, save Pakistan from Iraq and Afghanistan’s fate.]
By AHMED QURAISHI
For the first time in a long time, the Pakistani government managed to turn heads in Washington by saying all things America doesn’t want to hear: Islamabad will not allow the United States to expand its war inside Pakistan, won’t allow U.S. boots on the ground, and CIA better stop its drone attacks ASAP.
(OK good, so Pakistan has expressed its displeasure with American policy towards Pakistan across the board so that the whole Pakistani nation clearly understands where the NATIONAL LEADERS UNITED, STAND TOGETHER FOR PAKISTAN, as does the USA, and as does the world. Very important for Pakistan’s long term survival. There is nothing worse than being fucked repeatedly and remaining silent about it, all polite and smiles. The serial rapist thinks he is doing a service, and the victim deserves what they get, and it is for the victim to fight back and state otherwise, openly and clearly, starting from the mid 1960’s……………………
….except Sharif sadly but no surprise for me……….so what is next beyond rhetoric? What is the next logical step for Pakistan? Beyond the rhetoric what concrete steps will be taken to give credibility to what has been stated by these national leaders, some shyly behind the door in private sessions, and some more forth right up front in front of the media? After all the Americans attacked and killed a few more innocent Pakistani civilians through yet another drone attack, launched from a Pakistani military base in Baluchistan whilst all this was going on)
If this was not enough, the ISI chief reportedly refused to meet top U.S. officials and a former air force chief announced that the Pakistani Air Force is just a green signal away from shooting down CIA’s drones and that it only awaited orders from the President and the Prime Minister.
(Erm………you don’t need to shoot these drones down in a melodramatic provocative manner against an “ally”. All that is required is for Kiyani to contact the army sector commander in Baluchistan to go to the American base where drones are launched and close it off, and then inform the American’s of this decision…….thats it)
The week certainly did not start auspiciously for Mr. Richard Holbrooke,Washington’s arrogant special envoy who appeared visibly shaken yesterday in Islamabad. Apparently after getting used to apologetic Pakistani government officials, the sudden change of mood in the Pakistani capital was not something the seasoned diplomat anticipated. He was either too self-assured or was fed wrong reports by U.S. diplomats based in Pakistan.
(This is drama…………just drama…….lets see the actual follow up steps that secures Pakistan’s interests)
All of this coincided with another major news story: the former Chief of the Pakistani Air Force, Air Chief Marshal (retired) Kaleem Saadat, came out on television yesterday night to decisively settle all speculation about what Pakistan can do to stop repeated violations of Pakistani airspace through the CIA-operated drones.‘Yes, we can shoot them down,’ Saadat told Express News, throwing to the dustbin repeated statements by the defense minister and other ministers in the pro-U.S. elected government over the past months where these officials claimed Pakistan did not have the technology required to shoot down U.S. spy planes that violate Pakistani airspace.
(If I had a penny for every time senior retired Pakistani officers stated the obvious truths to the public, I’d be a billionaire by now just like Zardari, with a 55 acre Mansion in exclusive Surrey, complete with a swimming pool, tennis court, and a private airstrip for my Afghan narco’s).
What is critical for Pakistan now is what the top brass currently serving say and do for Pakistan that really matters…….will they continue serving in America’s fake insurgency wars killing Pakistani civilians side by side with the Americans, further destroying the morale of the people…….you understand the racism of it all; American technology being used against innocent civilians in this psych-ops war……softening up the whole country for eventual invasion……doing it in a matter of fact way……………is the Pakistan army proposing to participate in this end game that everybody in Pakistan can see?)
Those statements disappointed a majority of Pakistanis who look up to their military, one of the best in the world, to stand up for Pakistan.
(So innocent and so poignant)
Saadat gave an example: Pakistani Air Force jets shot down a sophisticated, Israeli-manufactured drone that India sent deep inside Pakistan. The Indo-Israeli spy plane was supposed to be undetectable and beyond the reach and the capabilities of Pakistan Air Force. The Indian military was stunned. It initially tried to feign ignorance but then had to grudgingly half-accept the truth. And even then it was surprising for Pakistanis how Britain and the United States failed to censure India for a confirmed act of war.
(Ahmed lets get off India and focus on America and what it does, because that’s what really counts……lets not bring in several confusing issues that cloud the main agenda here which were addressed recently…lets keep it focused.
Drones are launched often by many countries for surveillance, BUT also to test the ground capabilities of potential adversaries, and their positions in theaters of war. If the situation flips against America for Pakistan thats another good reason not to have American bases in the Punjab and other places in Pakistan)
‘The U.S. drones are much bigger in size [in comparison to the Indo-Israeli plane],’ said Air Marshal Saadat, and hence easier to target.
The former air chief left no doubt about who was failing in protecting Pakistani sovereignty. ‘The issue,’ said the former Chief of Air Staff, ‘is not military but a political one.’
(DISINFORMATION: The popular street slogan from the beggar to the man with the Ph.D. is that the two A’s run Pakistan……..the Army and America. Not for nothing. On Ahmed’s website the writer of this article stated that it was the Pakistan army which settled the recent March dispute between Zardari and Sharif——-let us not misinform the reader with false facts, its too critical a time.
Once we identify the real players and the real situation in Pakistan clearly and honestly, then we can move forward.
On the other hand if we wrap ourselves in confusing rhetoric and false assumptions, then we are never going to be in a position to face and solve the big questions, issues and problems of Pakistan.
The Pakistani armed forces numbering 800,000 and backed by 300,000 paramilitaries are the main and only force who are capable of taking major security decisions inside Pakistan…..moving troops towards the Indian border, operating and supplying the Swat Taliban as “controlled opposition” to threaten the civilian government in Islamabad…etc.)
This statement throws the ball in the court of the elected politicians who have long been suspected of quietly permitting Washington to mount missile attacks inside Pakistan.
(No it does not. The Drones are being fired from Pakistani military bases and thus requires the permission and cooperation of the Pakistani military first and foremost. The Pakistani military are fighting side by side in terms of policy with the Americans in FATA attacking Pakistani civilians in FATA. The civilian leadership don’t have a say in this…………its not just the American drones which has caused 500,000 Pakistani civilians to flee from that area. I believe the actions of the Pakistan military in unison with the drone attacks of the Americans have also caused the 500,000 to flee the area.)
Saadat’s statement came a few hours after a joint press briefing in Islamabad where visiting U.S. officials appeared shaken and confused. Richard Holbrooke, America’s envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared surprised at the friendly but firm and straightforward talk by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Qureshi was blunt, something new for a member of the Zardari-Gilani government. Mr. Qureshi went as far as snubbing President Obama, who had earlier said Pakistan would get “no blank checks” and the release of more U.S. aid would depend on how it dealt with terrorism.
( You know I went to a lot of Pantomime shows where they put on good performances with the usual color coded clowns…..all this theater, and means very little thus far for Pakistan.)
In response, Qureshi turned to both Holbrooke and Mullen who shared the stage with him and firmly said: “It works both ways. We’ll neither accept one nor will we give one”.
Mr. Qureshi also said a “gap” existed between Islamabad and Washington on the problem of CIA-operated drones.
(The Americans if they stop the drone attacks tomorrow won’t solve Pakistan’s overall problems……………….Ahmed you know as well as I do that there are a whole range of issues between the two countries, the primary one being the interference by America in Pakistani politics, which destabilizes the country, and the American preference for corrupt clowns into power into Pakistani politics that’s the main issue, and their desire to possibly occupy the country long term along the benevolent lines of Iraq and Afghanistan.)
IS SOMETHING CHANGING
The mood is changing in Pakistan and the United States is increasingly seen as a dishonest friend.
(Better late than never)
One day before the arrival of Holbrooke and Mullen, the leader of the main opposition party in the country, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi of PML, told a press conference that his party favored rejecting U.S. aid if the trade off is to give up Pakistan’s national interest. This was the first call by any major Pakistani political party head to turn down the much needed U.S. financial assistance.
(A great principled soul………too bad there aren’t more like him. Shabash!
Let me give a simple example……….Pakistan’s economy is $3.8 billion in 1950…..and Liaqhat Ali Khan is PM and decides to steer the country on a non-aligned path, and not sign any security agreements with any particular country……..General Ayub Khan the new C&C accepts this national civilian political principle, and sure enough the country grows economically for 21 years, through sound stable economic growth that benefits everybody not just a few families, and everybody is more or less happy. Pakistan is a model stable parliamentary democracy, and power remains in the hand of the Muslim League, but there are other parties which also participate in elections and sometimes the government. Pakistan is respected widely around the world. Pakistan has good relations with all its neighbors, Pakistan is strong, and by 1971 the economy reaches $30 billion, with exports of $3 billion, and a budget of $6.5 billion. with defense at $1.065 billion and education at $1.360 billion…..there are 500,000 university students.
On the other hand Pakistan opts for American military and economic aid worth $4 billion from 1954-69, and the economy is $17 billion by 1971, and Pakistan is an UNSTABLE MILITARY DICTATORSHIP. A few families benefiting from development, and unequal development in the whole of the country creating regional stresses with expectations. A war with India which exposes the weaknesses of the country for the world to see, and especially India, and general instability in the country, overall………because the $2 billion economic aid benefited a few, and the military aid used to wage war against India…….so was the $4 billion aid from America worth it????
I’ve loaded my argument obviously, but when you take American aid you are also allowing them to dictate their terms to you, as there is no such thing as free lunches. You lose you sovereignty……this basic fact must be realized after so many years….The $ 7.5 billion will mostly be pocketed by Zardari cronies who will deposit the money in Swiss or American banks, whilst they buy houses in London and America, and the $3 billion military aid will go into systems that target India, and not fight the jehadis, because the Pakistani military already control the jehadis)
During the talk show where the former Chief of Air Staff Kaleem Saadat spoke, the other two panelists, a retired Army General and a retired Foreign Secretary, shared similar misgivings regarding the U.S. policy toward Pakistan.
Although not stated openly, but Pakistani officials are seriously concerned about mounting circumstantial evidence indicating the U.S. is actually using Afghanistan which it occupies since late 2001 as a base for spreading terrorism and mayhem inside neighboring Pakistan. The suspicions are especially centered on evidence that someone in Afghanistan is pumping trained operatives and saboteurs in the garb of Islamic militants inside Pakistan. These operatives and agents then go about spreading death and destruction in the name of ‘Pakistani Taliban’. There are also serious questions about why the CIA drones fail to attack shadowy militant leaders inside Pakistani tribal zone whose main mission is to attack and kill Pakistanis. In comparison, the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan focus on fighting the occupation forces and have never advocated attacking Pakistani interests despite Islamabad having ditched them seven years ago.
Exploiting religious terrorism is one dimension of the problem. There is even more evidence that Afghan soil is also being used to spread ethnic and sectarian tensions inside Pakistan and recruit, train and sponsor separatists for this purpose. The sudden rise since 2005 of well armed and funded insurgent groups and death squads along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, where they never existed before, and their continued finances and arms supplies despite a blockade by Pakistani security, all of this has poisoned Pakistani perception toward the U.S. role in Afghanistan.
(The Pakistani armed forces according to you is the best in the world, and yet they surrendered to the 3,000 rag tag Swat Taliban armed with just AK-47. Swat is not any where near the Afghan border, so can’t obviously say that they are foreign backed insurgents who walked across the border, and who are now fanning out to the hinterland of Swat towards Islamabad.
Whats the explanation for the best military in the world surrendering to the 3,000 rag tag irregulars?…..The best military in the world with a personnel of 800,000 and backed by 300,000 paramilitary surrendering to the Swat Taliban on all their terms, without a proper fight? Is it because the Swat Taliban are from outer space aliens with super human capabilities who defeated the best military in the world…..I don’t know Ahmed, maybe they are aliens though they all look normal to me.
Lets get a little cynical and conspiratorial, and say that the Swat Taliban are “controlled opposition”, control and managed and run by the …………………………………………………..best military in the world………………..the Pakistani military…………………….why on earth would they do that? Maybe they miss being out of power for a whole year and they want to get back into power again, and so they destabilize the whole country, the whole country…….including the civilian government, and all this talk of RAW and America doing this and the other is just smoke screen, disinformation.
This gives us a different perspective wouldn’t you say? Kiyani and Suja Pasha conspiring to take over the country, at an opportune time when the civilians lose ALL faith with the gangster clownish comical politicians and yearn for the steady hand of the great Pakistan military, the best in the world. )
Most of the evidence regarding anti-Pakistani activities in Afghanistan is linked to the huge presence of Indian intelligence in that country disguised as diplomats and social workers. This, many Pakistanis believe, cannot happen without U.S. consent at some level. Some Pakistanis gave the U.S. the benefit of doubt on this point, arguing that the Indians were exploiting Afghan mess to drive a wedge between Washington and Islamabad. One way to do this, they argued, was to indirectly arm and finance terrorists posing as Taliban to carry out attacks inside Pakistan. But after repeatedly bringing this to the attention of the highest levels of government in Washington without any result, it is quite clear that someone in the U.S. capital is condoning or maybe even permitting what the Indians and their Karzai puppets are doing there.
(Oh its India again! India only does what it does in Afghanistan with the permission of the USA. The USA controls Afghanistan. It alone decides what is acceptable or not on security issues, especially any ops against Pakistan, America’s good buddy and “ally”. If we recall what happened to British intelligence officers who tried to make contacts with the Afghan Taliban and turn them for Britain. If we recall it is ONLY the USA which insists that X,Y,Z NATO counties should do A, B,C here there in Afghanistan)
It is quite obvious that Washington, or ‘non-state actors’ in the U.S. capital, are pursuing an agenda that exceeds what is stated publicly by U.S. officials with regards to Afghanistan. In fact, former Chief of Army Staff Gen. Mirza Aslam Baig wrote a paper as far back as 2007 that listed locations inside Afghanistan where U.S. or some of its allies have established intelligence outposts focused on penetrating four nations that share borders with or are close to Afghanistan. These four nations are Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan.
(We can blame the Americans and TAKE THEIR MONEY, until the cows come home, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the Pakistani military to make the correct decisions for Pakistan’s sake in the end; so far they haven’t)
In mid 2007, both Ahmed Quraishi and Zaid Hamid, two Pakistani policy commentators, raised eyebrows when the state-run PTV News aired shows featuring the two criticizing what they said were early signs that someone was using Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan and that the U.S. was either involved or was turning a blind eye as India and pro-Indian former Afghan communist officials who sit in key positions in Kabul exported terrorism to Pakistan. The television shows led to queries from within different parts of the Pakistani government on whether there has been some subtle change in the policy that was being pursued then by President Musharraf.
In November 2007, Quraishi authored a report that said that the next logical step for the severe destabilization seen in Pakistan that year would be a high-value assassination of either President Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, the two key leaders in Pakistan at the time, which would spin Pakistan out of control. That would be the natural next move for interested to terminally cripple the country. Truly enough, Ms. Bhutto was assassinated a month later and her violent murder almost led to a revolt in one of the four federating provinces of Pakistan. It was a miracle that Pakistan was not sent into a tailspin, a testament to the strength and endurance of this nation despite heavy odds.
(Benazir was killed by the ISI—-she was considered a security risk who was too friendly with India from their narrow perceptions (in reality she wasn’t…..at most indifferent towards India just like Zardari, but not hostile like……….many Pakistani generals). She also divulged the name of the ISI agent who killed Osama Bin Laden in 2001 in an interview with David Frost (Umer Shaikh………a mere slip of the tongue which she never tried to “clarify” as clearly stated in her 2/11/2007 interview? I don’t think so. David Frost did not try and correct her subsequently….and Osama Bin Laden is quite a distinct name which you wouldn’t ordinarily confuse with Daniel Pearl……..so what she is indicating in the interview is that she knows who attempted to kill her in Karachi……..”organizing, finance, training, arming, organization, organization, military officers, organization”, and what work they have already done in Pakistan…..i.e exclusive: Osama Bin Laden killed by an ISI operative. As I further analyze the interview I note that she answers the question extremely promptly without a thought, on topics which are to say the least very sensitive, and would ordinarily require some pause for thought…..so maybe the questions were fed to her before the interview. The general perception was possibly that the ISI were scared of her, and that she was going to be the new PM backed by America who would “clean house” of the fundie activities in Pakistan, which obviously the ISI did not want. In addition she went to India, and gave various interviews in an open and frank manner talking about the genocide of the Pakistani army in East Pakistan, the humiliation of Kargil with preceding various war game scenarios, and the corruption of the military juxtaposed with the corruption of the civilian politicans, the links between the military and the extremist Madrasses and finally the involvement of extremist groups which are non-Kashmiri in the Kashmiri terrorsim. With Zardari the ISI/military aren’t scared as Zardri’s mind is totally focused on making money for himself, and destroying the reputation of civilian politicians, so that the army can come back into power as the white knights in shining Armour to “save Pakistan” once again).
The ISI plays double or even triple games with friends and foes, and of course it also does the same with their own citizens the Pakistani people, because that is the nature of intelligence for “proactive” nations like Pakistan who like to get their big Jewish noses into other nations affairs.
Imagine the street credit of the ISI within the so called Fundie fraternity if it was known and widely accepted that the ISI killed Osama Bin Ladin in 2001 acting as a Kuta of Western intelligence to protect and hide the Jewish role in 9/11……………..Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
Further……………..Benazir alluded to her killers before her death to her friends, she knew what she was up against with all her experience in the inside of Pakistani politics. Again this exposes the cynicism of the ISI as it operates as an annex of Western intelligence in propagating the Western myth of “al-Qaeda” carried out 9/11, and OBL did it………..if OBL were alive now obviously he would be giving numerous interviews saying he didn’t.
The ISI was established by the British in 1948 as an instrument of their control of Pakistan, and by extension South Asia, and is very very close to Western intelligence………………….it lacks the IZZAT or moral courage to operate on its own on a rational logical basis that might help Pakistan long term. Who are the ISI personnel?……………Pakistan military officers.
This also tells us that the ISI needs to be disbanded if Pakistan is to survive into the future, as the ISI operates as a state within a state, and a servant of JEWUSA geo-strategy in Pakistan, and around Pakistan. Suja Pasha’s theatrics aside more recently.
For you this might be difficult to accept, because maybe the Pakistan military the best in the world, are the shining white knight that the nation can rely on when things deteriorate..right?
But do remember that the head of the Iraqi Mukabarat under Saddam was working for America, in 2003, as were most of Saddam’s generals. This is why the Iraqi military of 400,000, one of the best in the world no doubt stood down when the Americans came to ‘liberate’ their country………..and you should know what happened in Iraq after this American “liberation”……….1.2 million dead preceding the 1 million who died due to sanctions and ……ariel bombing of Iraq 1991–2003(sounds familiar?); 4.5 million internal and external refugees in Syria and Jordan mainly; the country destroyed with little or no governance, and it doesn’t improve as the years progress; Finally the country divided into sectarian enclaves. The Americans will stay in the country until all the Iraqis have killed each other.
Now what if the Pakistan military stand down in the face of an American invasion? 10 meetings between Mullen and Kiyani in just over a year. And 6-10 million Pakistanis die in a “civil war” which of course the Americans can’t do anything about, can they? 10-20 million Pakistanis flee to India as refugees, with the women selling themselves for a rupee a go to survive, satisfying Shakti “hardwan” Singh, as with Iraqi women in Syria and Jordan.
How can you be sure that the Pakistani military top brass, trained in the USA mainly, is totally loyal to Pakistan? Present indications are not encouraging.
We don’t need theatrics from Pakistani national figures. When foreign dignitaries come to Pakistan they should be well treated. What really matters however is the deeds of the Pakistan military and to a lessor extent the civilian puppet government installed by the Americans. Taking the correct decisions is what really counts………..Pakistan is an independent country that can choose her friends and pursue her own foreign policy.
Put simply you can’t take the $ aid AND pursue an independent path, its one or the other)
All of this serves to highlight that Pakistani grievances against the United States, which the British and American media deliberately hide from their people, run back in time and are not the result of recent events in the Pakistani tribal zone.
IS ZARDARI-GILANI GOVT.
SERIOUS IN CONFRONTING
MR. HOLBROOKE & ADM. MULLEN?
The performance of Foreign Minister Qureshi certainly was a welcome surprise for many skeptics who had all but given up on the Zardari-Gilani government taking any stand on Pakistan’s legitimate interests when it came to American policy in Afghanistan. And the reason is simple. This government owes its existence and power to direct U.S. support. U.S. is using Pakistani democracy as a Trojan horse, playing off one set of politicians against the other and then using all of them against the military. There have been reports for some time now that certain departments within the U.S. government have been conducting ‘private foreign policies’ directly with the families that control Pakistani political parties. Some of the leaders of these families were invited to secret visits to Washington as part of this confidential dialogue.
(Thats a good observation, well done—-divide and conquer, playing off different groups against one another. And each group in order to stay in power and curry favor with America offer more “concessions” to the USA, which harm Pakistan long term……and for America a win win situation. Though I would add Ahmed due to the time scale of who has been in actual power, its the military which has been the actual tool, and main tool of American power in Pakistan…….Busharaf is off to America on lecture tours, being carefully groomed by America obviously to come back into power through the PML-N. Which given his crime should not happen. Zardari has effectively been in power for about 6 months and more critically I don’t think he has any say on the all important security questions in Pakistan that matter to ordinary Pakistanis……..lest we forget the prime complaint against the Zardari government is the total lack of governance by the current administration. Zardari is using his public position to make business deals to enrich himself and thus visit various countries, and thats about it.
Its the American control and manipulation of the Pakistan military that really matters for Pakistan ultimately.)
Mr. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen are good examples of this American manipulation of key Pakistani political players. Both of them, and especially Mr. Holbrooke, would come to Pakistan and separately meet senior Pakistani politicians alone, each one separately, and often inside the fortified U.S. embassy compound to avoid the preying eyes of Pakistani media and also Pakistani intelligence. He would also make sure to meet the Pakistani President, Prime Minister, Army chief, ISI chief, and whoever else mattered, and all of them separately, and then play one party against the other, a sort of an improvement on the old British method of divide and rule.
(Mashallah—–excellent scoop and reporting!)
Another sign of manipulation is the Zardari-Nawaz rivalry. When President Zardari began to appear weak, the Americans leaked a story – through the usual mouthpieces NYT and WSJ quoting no names – that “U.S. officials” were considering getting closer to Nawaz Sharif. The story was obviously meant to throw fuel on the fire of the cutthroat internal Pakistani politics and increase domestic instability by playing on the insecurities of the two key players.
While Mr. Zardari’s closeness to the Americans is indisputable [last week Dubai’s Gulf News reported Mr. Zardari met secretly with Mr. Holbrooke in the emirate without the knowledge of any Pakistani official or diplomat, except the organizer of the meeting Mr. Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s envoy to Washington, who is sarcastically referred to in Islamabad’s drawing rooms as ‘Washington’s envoy to Pakistan’], Mr. Nawaz Sharif is the new surprise. While he disagrees with President Obama’s policies in public, Mr. Sharif hurried to Islamabad on Tuesday to meet Mr. Holbrooke at the U.S. embassy compound. Why would Mr. Sharif present himself to the Americans privately as an alternative partner while keeping a nationalistic posture in public is something that only Mr. Sharif can explain.
This American manipulation of Pakistani politicians, in and out of government, means there is little chance most of these politicians would really want to get tough with Washington.
(Why yes of course obviously——they essentially become American lackeys in power or waiting in the wings out of power. That would explain why Zardari after being released went to live in Jew York in 2004. Benazir also spent an inordinate amount of time in the USA in the late 1990’s and there after, giving speeches to the CFR etc. Sharif mainly shuttled between the Gulf and Saudi Arabia which is a country that has significant influence in Pakistan, but not overt like the Americans the Saudis don’t operate that way, and of course LONDON, no less influential in Pakistani politics. And of course Sharifs visit to the American embassy more recently.
The understanding is that Benazir prostituted, and promised anything and everything to curry favor with the Americans and get back into power. So what has Busharaf, your hero Ahmed promised to America to get back into power more recently? Its a race to the bottom for Pakistan led by amoral unscrupulous politicians of all shades, both civilian and military……………….what is the solution now that we have clearly identified the problem what can be done?)
Foreign Minister Qureshi’s newfound assertive tone has probably more to do with restlessness within the Pakistani strategic community, which consists of civilian and military policy analysts, that is apparently beginning to prevail upon both the Pakistani Foreign Office and the Pakistani military to do something when the government appears incapable or unwilling to stand up for Pakistani interests. That’s one way of explaining the reports of how ISI chief refused to meet Mr. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen despite the duo’s request. [The ISI chief did not meet Mr. Holbrooke alone but did meet the U.S. official along with the Army chief.]
( This is progress. Though it needs to go beyond gesture politics…..and if I were a Pakistani national, I’d be fuming, raging with seething anger and not merely having reflective second thoughts at this late stage………………………we can avoid the Iraqi nightmare being visited against Pakistan. It really is quite simple…………..the 180 million Pakistanis can’t go anywhere if they are occupied by America except to India as refugees. People like Zardari can go to his London Surrey mansion, and like the Iraqi generals and Busharaf many of the Pakistani millionaire kuti puti generals can go off to America, but the rest of the Pakistani 180 million will have to face the American music under their occupation————————its a simple question of national survival.
What must Pakistanis do to protect their country? What are the simple logical steps Pakistan must undertake for national survival? Who ultimately are the key players in Pakistani national life who can make the key decisions for Pakistan’s survival?)
But there is another reason for this. Some Pakistani officials were determined this time not to allow Mr. Holbrooke to meet senior Pakistani officials separately. An intra-agency meeting, bringing top officials from several federal departments was scheduled for Monday, before Mr. Holbrooke’s arrival. The brainstorming session was supposed to bring minds together from the Foreign Office, the Interior, the military and others in order to present a unified Pakistani response to American policies.
(Sounds good—-what was the outcome?)
But the meeting failed to materialize because Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, tired from a range of foreign trips throughout last week, was resting in his hometown in Multan and failed to show up for the meeting, which then was called off.
(The meeting could still have gone ahead without him surely, if it was really important, with minutes of the meeting being submitted for Qureshi’s attention later. Such a meeting should still be held……..and not just one……….Pakistan really is looking at the abyss, and some stark courageous decisions need to be taken by the key players inside Pakistan soon………………….Zardari is a non-entity in all this of course)
But Mr. Qureshi surprised the observers with his performance in the press conference with Mr. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen. The Pakistani Foreign Minister was poised and assertive.
(We need to move beyond gesture politics—–mere gesture “feel good” politics for public consumption is not going to seriously address the key issues and problems Pakistan faces as a result of American interference in Pakistani society.)
It was a good show for one day. (EXACTLY) The best way to achieve something for the long run, however, is to match the rhetoric with some actions. If the ISI chief did indeed refuse meeting U.S. officials [he did attend Holbrook’s meeting with the Army chief] then this is the first of a series of steps that Pakistan needs to take to ensure that Washington understands it cannot pursue a selfish policy of achieving its own goals in the region while Pakistan’s interests get trampled in the process.
(Put simply Pakistan’s long term goals and well being do not match the American interest and design over Pakistan. Never has and never will…………………Pakistan has been incessantly burnt by the USA, through contradictions and clash of interests of the two nations over several decades, not yesterday. There is an inherent contradiction of what Pakistan really requires, and what the USA really desires. If this realisation is finally made in Pakistan by the key players in unison, then logically they need to discuss what needs to done next. But Zardari for sure is not the man to make the change in policy, and nor is Kiyani, trained in America.)
Egypt, the world’s most populous Arab country, is suddenly roiling with a wide-open, combative election that seems certain to end with the country’s main Islamic group, the banned Muslim Brotherhood, as a big winner.
The country’s rulers, longtime American allies, are starting to show signs of panic: Police have barred voters from polls and thugs have attacked Brotherhood supporters in recent days in an apparent effort to blunt the group’s growing momentum.
Even before the final round of voting Thursday, Brotherhood loyalists have increased their seats in parliament fivefold. That’s not enough to unseat the ruling party, but is still seen as a slap to President Hosni Mubarak.
The following is taken from http://www.redmoonrising.com/Ikhwan/BritIslam.htm
Prior to World War II British Intelligence cultivated ties with the Brotherhood through agent Freya Stark, the British adventurer and writer (1). These covert connections were used to keep track of the growing German presence in North Africa and to stay informed of the many different political movements that were springing up. The Muslim Brotherhood spread throughout the Muslim world and has evolved into something like a Muslim equivalent of the West’s Masonic brotherhood. It became one of the first Islamic Fundamentalist terror organizations…
“According to CIA agent Miles Copeland, the Americans began looking for a Muslim Billy Graham around 1955… When finding or creating a Muslim Billy Graham proved elusive, the CIA began to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim mass organization founded in Egypt but with followers throughout the Arab Middle East… This signalled the beginning of an alliance between the traditional regimes and mass Islamic movements against Nasser and other secular forces.” (1)
The CIA was following the example of British Intelligence and sought to use Islam to further its goals. They wanted to find a charismatic religious leader that they could promote and control and they began to cooperate with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. With the rise of Nasser the Brotherhood was also courted more seriously by the pro-Western Arab regimes of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They needed all the popular support that they could muster against the rise of Nasser-inspired Arab nationalism to keep their regimes intact.
The Muslim Brotherhood was an obvious ally against Nasser, because he had abolished it from Egypt after it was involved in a failed assassination attempt on his life in 1954. The Brotherhood rejected Nasser’s policy that, for the most part, kept religion out of politics. Officially the Brotherhood was an outlawed organization, but it remained influential and active within Egypt working against the secular regime, often hand-in-hand with British Intelligence. In June of 1955 MI6 was already approaching the Brotherhood in Syria to agitate against the new government that showed strong left-wing tendencies and a desire to merge with Egypt (2). The Brotherhood became an even more important asset after Nasser announced the Egyptian takeover of the Suez…
In Syria, in 1982, there was a major conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian government at the city of Hamma that resulted in 20,000 casualties. In the aftermath Syria’s President Asad revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood forces were armed with US-made equipment…
Israel, forever inclined to back divisive movements, surfaced as another supporter of Islam and began to fund the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas.” (8)
The most noteworthy success of the Islamic movement during this time was of course the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini as the Islamic dictator. British Intelligence had used their contacts with Iran’s mullahs and ayatollahs to help overthrow Mossadegh and install the Shah back in 1953, and these contacts were maintained and used again to overthrow the Shah when his regime fell out of favor.
The Establishment history of Iran’s Islamic Revolution is that Khomeini’s revolt was spontaneous and populist, and that it overthrew a repressive dictatorship that was hated by the people but supported wholeheartedly by the United States. It is true that the Shah’s government was not a democracy and that his secret service, trained by the CIA, was one of the most effective intelligence organizations in the world. But what is not reported is that prior to the British-sponsored massive public relations campaign on behalf of the Ayatollah the government of the Shah was loved by the vast majority of the population.
After taking over from Mossadegh the Shah began to push forward a number of nationalist policies that increased his popularity at home but, in some cases, worried the Anglo-American Establishment. First, he signed petroleum agreements with ENI, the Italian oil company. Then in 1963 he pushed forward on a series of popular reforms that became known as the White Revolution. The Shah evolved into a nationalist whose path paralleled that of Nasser far too much for the Establishment’s liking:
– He bought land from the upper classes and, along with the crown’s own land, sold it back cheaply to tenant farmers, allowing over one a half million people to become land owners and ending the old feudal system.
– He allowed women the right to vote, and brought an end to the wearing of the veil, which were “Westernizing” moves unwelcomed by the religious sector.
– He pushed forward on a $90 billion nuclear power program.
– He moved to shut down the lucrative opium industry that had been created during the days of British Empire control that had been running for a hundred years. (9)…
The attack on the Shah’s government came through the Muslim Brotherhood and through the mullahs and ayatollahs of Iran, supported and manipulated by British Intelligence…
Dr. John Coleman, a former British Intelligence agent… states in his report on Iran’s Islamic Revolution (11) that the Muslim Brotherhood was created by “the great names of British Middle East intelligence” …and that their mission was to “keep the Middle East backward so that its natural resource, oil, could continue to be looted…”
Dr. Coleman writes that in 1980 the broadcasts of Radio Free Iran divided the enemies of the Shah into four categories: 1. Iranian politicians bought by the Israeli Shin Bet, 2. The CIA’s network of agents, 3. The feudal landowners, 4. The Freemasons and the Muslim Brotherhood (viewed as the same enemy).
In his report Dr. Coleman writes that in Iran, “At one time there was even a joke about the mullahs being stamped ‘made in Britain.'” When the Shah introduced his plan for modernization in 1963 the Ayatollah Khomeini emerged as the leader of the religious opposition. Up until his exile from Iran in 1964, Khomeini was based at the religious city of Qom. Dr. Coleman relates that Radio Free Iran claimed that while at Qom Khomeini received a “monthly stipend from the British, and he is in constant contact with his masters, the British.”
It would seem that the UK and US military like governments to be fundamentalist because then things are easier to control.
There are very few Islamists in Pakistan!
In the 2008 general election in Pakistan, “the parties linked, or at least sympathetic, to the Taliban and ‘al Qaeda’ saw their share of the votes slashed to about 3%”.
So, only 3% are wild Islamists.
Remember that the CIA can offer no evidence that Osama is in Pakistan.
And, the UK government can offer no evidence in its latest ‘Pakistani terrorist plot’.
Reportedly, in Pakistan, the Islamists are secretly backed by the CIA.
The CIA appears to be using its Islamist friends to break up Pakistan.
Rememeber that in 1978, President Carter’s regime was training and building up the wild Islamists in Afghanistan.
The aim was to topple the government of Afghanistan, which was seen as being friendly with Russia.
Afghanistan’s heroin was important to the USA. Afghan poppy production tripled between 1979 and 82; and there are now drug lords in the government of President Hamid Karzai. (Afghanistan: U.S. Escalates the Illegal Drug Industry)
Ahmed Quraishi, on 9 April 2009, at http://www.ahmedquraishi.com/, tells us:
Among the points made:
1. Many in Pakistan believe the terror in Pakistan is linked to the CIA.
2. In July 2008, Pakistan’s military gave CIA and U.S. commanders evidence showing that the US government was indirectly protecting anti-Pakistan terrorists.
3. The so called Islamist Abdullah Mehsud (who may be linked to the CIA) was used to attack Chinese interests in Pakistan.
Until now CIA drones have never targeted Abdullah or Baitullah Mehsud or any other militia that is committed to attacking Pakistan.
4. The Indian and Afghan intelligence services are aiding terrorism inside Pakistan.
5. In 2002, the US was allowed to set bases in Balochistan, in Pakistan.
The CIA was allowed to recruit Pakistanis in the tribal belt in Pakistan.
These two areas are now the most disturbed parts of Pakistan.
6. The US government is hoping to make it impossible for China ‘to pursue trade and energy corridors through Pakistan’.
And what about Kasab and the Mumbai Attacks?
Is Kasab a poorly educated patsy?
In late 1998, black-clad ninjas murdered hundreds of innocent people in East Java, in Indonesia.
Some of the victims were mentally handicapped youths, easy targets.
Bloody decapitated heads were paraded around the streets.
Reportedly, the killings were part of a psychological terror campaign ( like that waged in 1965 by the US-advised Indonesian Army, when at least 500,000 civilians were killed.)
In 1998, as in ’65, there was the distribution of death lists to terrify the public, the arrival of assassins in trucks, mutilation of corpses and display of body parts in public places.
[Sounds eerily similar to this report on the campaign of slaughter that has been unleashed upon the people of Parichinar, Pakistan:
“An all-out attack against the Shias of Parachinar has been underway for a long time now; even Sunni locals seen to be “friendly” towards Shias have not been spared in this maelstrom of killing. Gruesome images of beheaded and mutilated bodies, with arms and legs chopped off from corpses, have surfaced on the Internet since the outbreak of violence…orders were given out by the Taliban government for the dead to be left unburied.“]
Some observers believed that a faction of the US-trained army was fomenting terror to justify a military crackdown.
Army members were arrested by local authorities for the killings, and then mysteriously released.
Pro-democracy activists in Jakarta pointed out that’Ninja’ is the term popularly used to designate the Army Special Forces (Kopassus) in disguise.
Are the security services using mentally backward people for false flag operations?
1. Nicky Reilly, who was involved in the nail bomb explosions in Exeter, England, in May 2008, was under surveillance by the Security Services. ( Face of the ‘nail bomber’: Police were tailing Muslim convert …) . Was he being used by them?
2. “GENTLE giant Nicky Reilly may have been ‘brainwashed’ into becoming a would-be suicide bomber… police say.
“The mentally ill 22-year-old was arrested on Thursday after a homemade nail bomb blew up in his face in a busy restaurant. ( Mentally ill man ‘brainwashed’ into suicide bomb bid, police say)
“Mr Reilly’s stepfather, Philip Dinner, is a convicted heroin dealer and his younger brother, Luke, 20, is serving a six-year prison sentence for kicking a man unconscious in a violent robbery.” (Neighbours tell of Nicky Reilly’s troubled past )
“One neighbour, Daniel Turner, 20, said… ‘He is mentally ill and probably has the mental age of a 10 year old’…
“The chairman of the local Islamic Centre, Syed Rahman, said Mr Reilly may have prayed at the mosque but denied any knowledge of him. ‘Certainly no one who attends our mosque has anything to do with extremism,’ he said. ‘This guy may have come to us, but we do not know him and we do not recognise him.'” (Exeter bombing suspect was ‘brainwashed’, friends insist)
In 1998, elements of the Indonesian military wanted to topple Indonesia’s President Wahid.
Allegedly, in East Java, members of the military dressed up as Ninjas.
Allegedly the military then dumped mental patients in villages.
When the village vigilantes arrived, they thought the mentally backward youths were Ninjas and chopped their heads off.
Indonesia was destabilised.
There is a suspicion that the security services recruit their patsies from among the weakest members in society: people with mental problems, people who are petty criminals, people who can be easily brainwashed. (aangirfan: TERROR IN INDONESIA : THE CIA CONNECTION
Historians Bahar and Kugel used evidence from Gestapo archives to argue that the fire was almost certainly started by the Nazis. They say that a commando group of at least three, and at most ten SA men led by Hans Georg Gewehr set the fire using self-lighting incendiaries, and that Van der Lubbe was brought to the scene later.
5. ‘Retarded Prisoner Was Informant For London Terror Raid’, according to the London Mirror, June 18 2006
A MAN with an IQ of just 69 is believed to be the trigger behind the bungled terror raid in Forest Gate, East London.
Ex-waiter Mohammed Abu Bakr Mansha, 22, was a childhood pal of the innocent two brothers arrested in the dawn swoop by police two weeks ago.
In January he was jailed for six years for terror offences – and even described in court as an “utter incompetent”. Soon afterwards, friends of brothers Abul Kahar, 23, and Abul Koyair, 20, visited him at top-security Belmarsh prison, in South-East London.
And, the Sunday Mirror has learned, that meeting sparked a surveillance operation on the men by the security services. According to a friend of the brothers, they laughed at constantly being followed. Our source said: “It was so obvious we treated it as a joke.”
Then new information came through, said to include detailed drawings of a suicide vest.
That led to Operation Volga – the botched police operation to arrest the brothers, which led to Kahar being shot. After seven days in custody they were released without charge amid claims of incompetence and brutality.
Friends of the men believe dim Mansha was the trigger for the extraordinary operation.
Mansha’s lawyer Sara O’Keefe revealed how her client was moved just before the raid from category ‘A’ Belmarsh to a softer category ‘B’ jail. She did not know why he got the favourable treatment, or whether he unwittingly helped MI5. Told that the brothers knew they were being followed she said: “That sounds about right.”
Mansha – serving six years for possessing an old address of a British Army war hero, which police suspected was part of a terror plot – is appealing against his sentence. His trial revealed him to be educationally subnormal with an IQ of 69 – compared to the average of 100.
In the US that would make his court evidence unreliable.
If Mansha is confirmed as the trigger for the raid, it will be hugely humiliating for the security services in their battle against terror.
Police and intelligence officials claim the information was from a reliable single source who knew the brothers and whom the security services had dealt with before.
But our probe suggests that if Mansha was at the centre of the investigation, the intelligence is highly suspect and deeply embarrassing for MI5. Vajahat Sharif, lawyer for one brother, slammed the “scattergun” approach, saying it would lead to police targeting more innocent people. He said: “Where does this stop? What about Mansha’s friends, family or neighbours? They know him, so presumably they’re terrorists.”
A friend of the brothers said they’d grown up with Mansha. He said: “We used to play in the street. Abu was strange. He’d suddenly lose it. Once while playing street football, he got upset as no one passed to him. He took out a gun and went pop, pop, pop.”
He added: “Once I saw him pee in the eye of a man lying on the floor, for fun. I’ve seen him do all sorts, bad things, because he’s a nutter – but he’s no al-Qaeda bomber. He needs help, not banging up. A few guys visited him in jail. I didn’t go as I didn’t like him, but suddenly Kahar and Koyair were being followed. It was so obvious we all treated it like a joke. Maybe if I’d gone too they’d have raided my house and shot me. It’s a f***ing outrage.”
On June 2 at 4am 250 officers, including forensic and chemicals experts, waited at the terraced home of their parents Abul Kalam and Alif Jan. Bursting through a window, 50 cops met Kahar and Koyair on the stairs. Kahar was shot in the shoulder. They were held for seven days as police dug the garden and drilled holes into walls seeking a chemical device.
A week later police issued a grudging apology, outraging locals. The brothers are suing for distress, wrongful imprisonment and damage to their house. But a pal said: “They don’t blame Abu, he’s an old friend. But he’s capable of saying and doing anything. If he did say anything it would be madness if the police took him seriously.”
Says retired generals are in control of militants and ISI, at 5:03. Claims they control radical madrassas through “Islamic Defense Council, which also moves madrassa graduates into leadership positions.
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Governor NWFP Owais Ahmed Ghani
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
PESHAWAR – A year ago, the United States brokered a deal in Pakistan between then-Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf and opposition parties to bring Pakistan back onto the path of real democracy, at the same time returning the military to the “war on terror” front. The goal was to empower the political parties to defeat domestic militancy through consensus and broad-based government, with a civilian president.
This happened to some extent following elections in February 2008 and the subsequent formation of a civilian administration under President Asif Ali Zardari.
However, on the first anniversary of those polls, Pakistan has changed horses in midstream by striking deals with militants and
stopping all military operations against militants. In other words, Pakistan is refusing to fight the American war in the region, as was the grand plan.
On the front line
Pashtun-dominated North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), although the smallest of the four provinces of Pakistan, is center-stage in the struggle against militancy as it borders Afghanistan to the north and the troubled tribal areas to its west.
The man who presides over the province, sitting in Governor’s House in the capital Peshawar, is Owais Ahmad Ghani, previously a successful governor of southwestern Balochistan province and a former trusted lieutenant of Musharraf. He took over in January 2008 after four-and-a-half years in his previous position.
Governor’s House reflects some of the rich history of the Pashtuns; its walls have murals of Alexander the Great’s army in battle as some Pashtuns believe they are descendents of the leader’s Greeks. There is also Koranic calligraphy showing their Muslim legacy.
With his background and given his present position, Ghani is intimately informed of the intricacies of Pakistan’s evolving policy with regard to militants. In an extensive interview with Asia Times Online, he says that the move towards peace deals with militants was not the result of any blackmail or pressure from the side of militants.
Rather, it grew from the realization that the seven-year-long strategy of military operations only aggravated the situation. Now, with peace deals, Pakistan is returning to the pre-1979 setup when, under the aegis of the state, tribes decided their terms of peace through their riwaj (customary laws).
Ghani admits that the situation can at best only be contained as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan. The Taliban and other groups consider this a reason for jihad, and Pakistan territory is used to fuel this cause. Probably the most important peace deal in NWFP is the one concluded in February with militants in the Swat area after two years of fighting.
Asia Times Online: There is a perception of you that you initiate political negotiations, and then follow with military operations. That’s what you did when you were governor of Balochistan, and some say that is why you were brought to NWFP.
Owais Ahmad Ghani: This is a perception that you have from the outside. But let me explain to you in detail. The situation we face has always revolved around this question: Is this a law-and-order issue, or is it an insurgency?
This is the first question I raised when I came here [NWFP]. Law and order is not a protracted activity. It is temporary and there are some immediate issues. It can be criminal issues and it can also be issues of public agitation. For example, against [power] loadshedding, against inflation or political issues.
After some debate we came to the conclusion that this is an insurgency in which there is an attempt to dislodge the state of Pakistan and create space for another state. So we started from this premise. I can today state with a degree of confidence that insurgency has now been downgraded to militancy. But certainly last year in January and February our conclusion was that we were facing an insurgency, and we designed a strategy accordingly.
Now in such a situation there are two concurring battles being fought. One is the battle of ideas. The other is the battle of arms. The battle of ideas is always a lead battle and the battle of arms is always subservient to the battle of ideas. Please understand this.
Here [NWFP] I found a very strange situation in which the battle of arms had been joined, but there was no battle of ideas. The battle of ideas is a political approach. It is the same approach which I have been telling the Americans to adopt in Afghanistan. In 2003-04, I predicted to various American personalities, like ambassadors Ryan Crocker, Nancy Powell, their senators etc, that they were going to fail in Afghanistan because there was an over-emphasis on a military strategy, and I did not see any robust parallel political strategy at work.
I said [to the Americans] that what you are doing is that you are trying to find a military solution to an issue which is essentially political in nature. So that is the mistake happening there that I felt was also happening here [in Pakistan]. That’s why the Americans have fought in Afghanistan for six or seven years, and I keep on asking them whether they have improved law and order – no. Has security improved? No. Has political stability been achieved? No. Has socio-economic development taken off? No. So obviously they were doing something wrong. We need to step back and review as exactly the same questions can be asked of Pakistan.
For three or four years, we [Pakistan] have been fighting in the tribal areas. Have we reduced violence? Have we brought in political stability? Have we brought in security and law and order? Is social economic development taking place? No … no …. no. So let’s step back and let’s review. Where are we going wrong? And according to our analysis – you need to understand this analysis, only then will you be able to understand the strategy – that it is not 9/11, it is 1979, which was the trigger which brought instability to this region.
Before the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, there was a two-power environment in the tribal areas. One was the tribes themselves, the other one was the government of Pakistan. The entire administrative system and the law-enforcement system were designed according to this two-power environment.
[In the Pakistani tribal areas] you had the maliks [tribal chiefs], you had the political administration, which I will explain later. However, post the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, we were supported by the West and the United States and we used the tribal areas … Federally Administered Tribal Areas [FATA] … as the launching pad for the Afghan jihad against the Soviet army.
Whatever happened after that is the fallout of an unintended consequence of that conflict. Those jihadi organizations morphed into militant organizations [at the end of the Afghan jihad in 1989] and therefore a third power emerged and the old equilibrium was disturbed.
Our administrative systems and law-enforcing agencies were not designed to cope with this three-power environment. A steady decline was there, but it was the shock of 9/11 which brought out the total inadequacy and the weakness of the system. And therefore as a temporary measure to bring about some control and stability, the army had to be inducted.
But the main challenge is to reform our administrative and law-enforcing systems to cater for this new environment, which is going to remain for some time. This is our reading because everything is dependent on Afghanistan. If a certain degree of normalcy returns to Afghanistan, normalcy according to Afghan standards, only then can the issues the tribal areas and our provinces and Pakistan face subside.
To correct the situation and to bring about stability and control, we fell back on old traditional systems. We had the original power-based tribes, but they had become weakened. Why? For three or four reasons. The militant organizations, they are highly organized because of their background, they are battle-hardened and heavily armed and very well funded. And very importantly, while tribal influence is limited to its own area, its own people, the militant organizations have cross-tribal linkages, cross-border linkages, international linkages. And while tribes are bound by their tribal traditions and customary laws [riwaj], the militant organizations are not. So they have out-gunned, out-funded and out-organized the tribal malik and his tribe, and that’s why that system could not respond.
So our strategy was very simple, we needed to prop up the tribes because the real strength is the people. No government, whether a civilian government or a military government, can really function or succeed until it has brought public support behind it … sentiment behind it.
For us to prop up the tribal system again, this could only be done by weakening the militants, militarily, so that at a certain point we could make the tribes strong enough. This is the basic approach – the state of Pakistan owes its first loyalty to its own citizens, and its own citizens are the tribes.
There were previous agreements, previous to my tenure, but they were flawed. I was sitting in Quetta [as governor of Balochistan] and I said these were flawed and could not succeed because they were between the military and the militants [for example, one signed in September 2006]. The agreements should have been between the government of Pakistan and the tribes.
Our approach has been that it is the government of Pakistan dealing with the tribes and making agreements with the tribes. For example, we have conducted only one written agreement, and that is in North Waziristan [tribal area]. There is no other agreement in my period [as governor of NWFP]. On February 17, 2008, we signed an agreement in North Waziristan. Over 380 tribal maliks and tribal elders signed that agreement.
ATol: Do the tribal elders matter?
OAG: They do. Obviously, we understand that 20-25 of those tribal leaders are very closely aligned with militant elements. I would not call them the Taliban because that has a different connotation altogether. They were with these militants because they were in that society. But we are talking to them on the basis of them being tribal leaders, and they have a certain relationship. Let me explain that relationship.
The tribesmen of FATA are fully fledged Pakistani citizens. They are entitled to a passport, a national ID card, they can join the civil services, the armed forces – they are there from soldier to general. And very importantly, they can own, purchase and manage property anywhere in Pakistan.
However, due to historical reasons, a different politico-administrative system evolved from the old British Empire policy, creating buffers between the advancing Russian imperial army, then as Afghanistan as a buffer with the Russian empire, then the tribal areas as a buffer between the Indian empire and Afghanistan, and the frontier regions as a buffer between the tribal areas and settled districts.
So that created a system of buffers. Each has a slightly different
administrative system. In this there was a political agent whose administrative authority was limited to protected areas, that is, roads and government buildings, and no more. In the rest of the [tribal] areas there are customary laws – riwaj. The political agent is also bound by the riwaj when he operates in those areas, that is why he is called a political agent, he is not an administrative officer. He has to deal with the tribes politically.
Secondly, this is simplified, there is no thana [police station] no katchari [lower courts] no police etc. You have tribal laws, the riwaj, the jirga system [tribal councils]. There are major concessions from taxation, but all this is not free, sir.
In return for all these concessions, and these are collective concessions from which the tribes collectively benefit, there is a collective responsibility, a trade-off that every tribe is responsible for the security of its own respective areas, which is called Apni Mitti ki Zamdari [responsibility for one’s own land].
This entails that roads in those areas should be open, the political administration in that area should carry on its traditional responsibilities without any hindrance. And the traditional law-enforcing agencies, like the Frontier Corps, Khasadars, carry on their traditional activities unhindered. It is most important that a tribe will not allow the use of its territory as a sanctuary for any criminal and anti-state elements to act against the interests of Pakistan … which are diluted now.
So, we talked to the tribes and said, “Look, you have this concession and this is your collective responsibility. Now, if you want to enjoy these concessions, come up with your collective responsibility that you cannot allow your territory to be used as sanctuary for anti-state elements for criminals as is happening now.”
We tell them that we understand they have problems and that they are weak, but the state of Pakistan is there to help them. This was the basis of our agreements with them.
Now, if there is a violation of the agreement, then there are the FCR [Frontier Crime Regulations], which are generally called draconian laws or black laws. These provide a system of redress, and it is a graduated response system.
First, say there is a violation by a tribe or an individual in that tribe, the first step is to call a jirga of the tribal elders and give them a reasonable period of time [to rectify the problem].
If it does not happen, then you can put pressure, through penalties, stoppage of allowances etc. If that pressure does not work, then you can start with a system of risks, where you start with the near family of the individual and slowly move towards the tribe. This is how it happens, to put more pressure, you arrest them under the FCR. But because it is a collective responsibility, the response is also collective and if it does not work then the FCR allows for any economic blockade, you can block the roads, you can seal their shops, you can freeze their accounts.
If nothing works, then military punitive action can be taken.
If you examine the FCR, it is an adaptation of tribal culture because if there is a dispute between two tribes or two individuals, what would they do? First they have a jirga to talk it out. If it does not work, they block the roads, and if that does not work, they catch each other persons … if that does not work, they form a lashkar [militia] and they fight.
That is why when last year on the floor of parliament the prime minister announced the intention to repeal the FCR there was an immediate major reaction – two reactions. The first was that it was a black law, that it was draconian, so get rid of it. Very good. That reaction came from non-tribal Pashtuns who were either living in the [cosmopolitan centers of] Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar or Islamabad, Dera Ismail Khan, but not in the tribal areas.
From inside the tribal areas there was a different reaction. They said, “Look, this is our law and we understand it is according to our custom and traditions, don’t abolish it. If you want, maybe make small reforms, but if you are really bent on removing it, then we don’t want that.” This is what they said to me: “Governor sahib. Give us the sharia [Islamic laws].” If you remember, it was all over the newspapers that there was the demand for sharia by the evening [after the prime minister announced his intentions]. It was because the FCR are very similar, it is basically an adaptation and modification of tribal culture, that is why they have an acceptability there.
So our response to the problem was three-pronged. One was to deal with the tribal people on the basis of their own traditions. Two was to reconstruct and restrengthen the administrative system according to the FCR and the old tribal system. We talked to these people [and said], “Look, you have to get your lives in order, this is not on and you are suffering, we are also suffering. If your people are going and crossing into Afghanistan, you are creating problems for Pakistan, this has to stop. We understand you are weak and we will help you, but you get your act in order.” When they did not get their act in order we tried jirgas and everything, and when they did not work, eventually it came to military punitive action.
North Waziristan, yes there are problems. However, since February , because of this agreement, it has been quiet. But there are [still] problems, we understand this, but we are working through the system now to slowly, slowly, solve them. Otherwise, it is a conflict zone, the administration is out and everybody is out. This is what I told our allies, that in a conflict zone there is nothing you can do, it will continue to radicalize society. You have to stop the fighting and let normal economic and social activities take place. You have to let the administration go back in there so that you can create space and restrict the space for militants, otherwise the entire space is a conflict zone and is available to the militants, as it is available to our forces also.
Now there is another thing which people don’t understand. Each agency [tribal area] has its own peculiar character and its own peculiar conditions, its tribal balances and each has to work separately. I will give you an example. In South Waziristan, we have the Ahmadzai wazirs [tribe] who are traditionally a quarter [of the population] and we have the Mehsud [tribe] who are three-quarters. But the Mehsud does not have borders with Afghanistan and they have to travel to each other’s territory for their normal activities, and that decides the tribal balance and the tribal politics. However, after 1979 there was a migration of the Ahmadzai wazir from Afghanistan into this area and in that old population the demographic balance was disturbed. So a new set of conditions has come in.
In Kurram Agency there is a Shi’ite and Sunni thing and in addition there is a third outside element – militants, which complicates the situation. So each requires a different approach. We have done it successfully in Bajaur [Agency] and successfully in Mohmand [Agency]. If militants surrender and stop fighting, the civilians, for example in Mohmand Agency, the Tarakzai tribe, they said they will take responsibility for this person [militant] for his good conduct.
We have done this in the major parts of Khyber Agency, we are doing it in Dara and we have the same agreements now in North Waziristan, in South Waziristan, in the Wazir area, and we have some sort of stability.
[However,] in the Mehsud area [in South Waziristan] we took action last year, we talked, but when it did not happen [peace] and an attack came from the other side, we started military actions. But we did it in the traditional way, that whenever we used to bomb an area we would give notice for women, children, old men and non-combatants to get out. There was an immediate exodus of 170,000 and we were ill-prepared for that but we quickly vacated schools for them, erected tents etc and put them up while we took action. As soon as the operation was over, they went back.
The same happened in Bajaur Agency before we started action, we told the tribal chiefs that action was going to happen and they should vacate the area and that is why 300,000 people went out, 40,000-50,000 in camps. The rest stayed with families and friends in different areas. Now [since the operation is over] they are in the process of going back.
ATol: You mentioned the agreement in North Waziristan. It resulted in peace undoubtedly, but immediately after the peace agreement the militants formed a shura, a shura of mujahideen
OAG: The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan [TTP] …?
ATol: No, I am talking about the shura of mujahideen.
OAG: No, sir. We had the TTP. The shura of mujahideen has come now [not immediately after the agreement], just a month or two ago.
ATol: Anyway, they have turned their guns towards Afghanistan. Peace came here in Pakistan, but at the cost of more insurgency in Afghanistan.
OAG: The world is responsible for Afghanistan, all the troubles we face here are from Afghanistan, the roots of the problems are in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan. We have been battling the fallout from Afghanistan and I say it is not Pakistan’s responsibility. Nobody should blame Pakistan because, number one, we never invited the Soviet army into Afghanistan. It was the Afghans themselves. We never brought international terrorists into Afghanistan. It was not our ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] or anybody, it was international intelligence agencies, over and above the objections of the ISI.
There was a basic agreement that only Pakistani intelligence would deal with the [Afghan mujahideen groups in the 1980s] and jihadi organizations and everybody in Europe and the US supported this. But they started their own operations and they were warned that they would not be able to control these people. And that is exactly what happened. But Pakistan was not responsible for that
prove that the government never used power first. Every time we conducted military operations, it was as retaliation. Whether it is the tribal areas, Swat, or elsewhere, we only responded to violence committed by the militants.
ATol: You have presented an account from your side, including your achievements. Now I present some ground realities. Soon after your peace overtures, Hakeemullah Mehsud [a Taliban leader in Orakzai Agency] levied a jazia [a tax on non-Muslims] on 50 Sikh families and collected 15 million rupees.
OAG: [Laughing] A plain case of abduction for ransom. This is not
the only case, they collected this so-called jazia even from Muslims.
ATol: Over 70% of the Shi’ite population of Dera Ismail Khan [a city in NWFP near South Waziristan] has moved to the district of Bakhar due to target killings. This is happening in your province … even after peace deals.
OAG: It has nothing to do with the peace agreement. Shi’ite-Sunni conflict is old. It has been aggravated from time to time. Even before 9/11, it was there. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi [an anti-Shi’ite underground militant group] started from southern Punjab. I have warned that these organizations, like the Sepah-e-Sahaba [an anti-Shi’ite political movement] are poison. It is a great challenge for the entire Muslim ummah [community] to reconcile between these two Muslim sects.
ATol: Attacks on NATO supply lines have increased drastically. At present, 66 Humvees, according to my information, are in the possession of Pakistani militants and they are moving in those vehicles in the tribal areas. Your government failed to provide protection to NATO convoys passing through your province on the way to Afghanistan.
OAG: Only two Humvees. I know precisely. One of the two was destroyed by us. One is there [in the possession of militants].
ATol: You failed to get a kidnapped Iranian diplomat released. This is despite that you are aware of the location of his captivity.
OAG: The Iranian diplomat is not alone. There is an Afghan diplomat, there is Khadija Abdul Qahar [a Canadian journalist and a Muslim convert], and a Polish engineer unfortunately was killed. Then there was an attack on an American who was killed [in Peshawar]. This is a very difficult period. This area is heavily destabilized because of the superpowers’ regional interests. If you think that somebody could clean up this mess in seconds. No, sir.
I told you earlier that I am not really concerned why incidents are happening, they will continue to happen because of the circumstances. We have to confront the situation gradually. This is a long-term struggle, and it does not mean this agreement is wrong. The issue is whether we are moving forward or not. Yes, sir, we are moving forward. Last year in March and April, people were speculating on the fall of Peshawar. By the grace of God, leave Peshawar apart. Areas like Warsak, Mithni, Bajaur and Mohmand, Jamrud, Bara, Dara Adamkhail, Hangu, Doaba, those were no-go areas, nevertheless, incidents will happen.
ATol: Do you support some militants and condemn others?
OAG: We do not support a single militant.
ATol: You praised Taliban leader Mullah Omar in an interview with a British newspaper. You praised mujahid Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
OAG: You mean Afghan Mullah Omar? Where have I praised him?
ATol: You mentioned them as friends and that there was no threat to Pakistan from these people.
OAG: I said that they were not interested in jihad in Pakistan. The focus of their jihad is in Afghanistan, which is a fact. Look, you have to take in the viewpoints of everybody, including the militants. The adversary is saying that there is a non-Muslim occupation army in my home. They say that when the Soviets invaded, it was jihad, they were also non-Muslims, so it was a jihad. If this is not a jihad [now], then it was also not a jihad [against the Soviets].
They say that it is a jihad for them and they call it a war of liberation against the foreign occupation army. Their focus is not Pakistan at all. Does it mean that we are supporting them? No, sir. It only means that their focus is Afghanistan and not Pakistan. I had only said that this Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan [TTP] has a strange approach on jihad in that their entire focus is Pakistan – they don’t fire a single bullet on Afghanistan. As a Muslim, I cannot comprehend their [TTPs] concept of jihad.
ATol: You have called Pakistani militants criminals. You have accused them of having nothing to do with religion, that they don’t even offer prayers.
OAG: You took it wrong. They [militants] have developed a concept under which their leader’s [ameer’s] religious decrees override entire old Muslim schools of jurisprudence. Whatever their ameer declares is considered correct. If he declares that you are in a state of war and if you skip prayers, never mind. So I mentioned instances. I was only reinforcing a point that they have a strange system because we have old schools of jurisprudence that all Muslims follow, like Hanafi, Shafai, Malaki, Hanbali and others. But they have developed a concept that the existing religious decrees of an ameer override everything. I was explaining that.
ATol: We are running out of time …
OAG: In Pashtu it is said “Don’t do shaf shaf … called shaftalu [don’t say half words]. The time has gone to cover up things. We must speak openly about issues. Maybe my viewpoint will be wrong. But here I have a responsibility and assignment and this is how I look at things and this is how I intend to fulfill them.
I told the Americans, Petraeus and Boucher were sitting here. I asked, “Gentlemen, for seven years you have been fighting, what is your result?” We have been fighting. What is our result? So we have had to step back and review our strategy and we have come to the conclusion that we will proceed like this.
However, if you have differences with my strategy, then you had better have a better idea to put on the table. If you don’t have a better idea, then don’t tell me to go back to the old strategy because that patently did not work. Therefore, let me try this, if it does not work, we will come back and discuss it. I told them our strategy was working and we are moving forward. We have turned the tide and it will take some time. I asked them what they have done in Afghanistan. I told them that they had admitted that 70% of Afghanistan is out of government control. That’s why I told them that al-Qaeda etc does not need Pakistan and FATA, they have plenty of space in Afghanistan to have their bases, their training – whatever is happening is happening over there.
ATol: There is a perception that US Predator drone attacks inside Pakistan have been a success. What is your opinion?
OAG: I consider this as totally irrelevant. This debate is irrelevant. The basic principle is the sovereignty of Pakistan. Any action that takes place inside Pakistan will be by Pakistan itself, that is the foundational principle. Therefore, I consider this debate as irrelevant and irrational.
Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online’s Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
According to sources well informed on the case and the activities of El Qaeda, Israel would have created about a year, training camps on its territory for elements from Arab countries.
The military training and intelligence are provided in preparation for possible terrorist operations against the interests of foreign countries in the Arab countries who are regarded by Israel as a threat to its security and its strategic interests, including the Maghreb Arab.
According to our sources, the camps include Arabs from Algeria, Morocco and Yemen who came in, with false passports, from Europe and carrying Jewish names. These were recruited by the Mossad in the European capitals to activate within the ‘El Qaeda’ organization after being selected by the intelligence services in Europe. These people are generally wanted for belonging to terrorist groups.
The secret training camps have relations with the sleeping cells of El Qaida in Europe, where their elements are recruited for possible terrorist operations in Arab countries in coordination with the branches of the organization including the armed terrorist groups of the Sahara. This proves what Ennahar had previously published on the military attaché at the Israeli embassy in Mauritania, who had prepared a secret report on security activities of armed men in the Sahara regions. The latter maintained secret relations with the rebel movements in Mali and Niger.
The Mossad had relations with the branches of El Qaeda and the operations committed against foreign interests, mainly American, and in connection with the events in Iraq and the Middle East.
According to these sources, the Mossad might even try to use Algerian Harraga in Italy and recruit them in these training camps across the logistics network of seafarers on the axis Sardinia Naples in search of elements to send secretly in Israel, for the purpose of committing operations against foreign interests during the summer; operations to be awarded to El Qaeda.
This new stage in the activities of the El Qaeda organization is the subject of the discourse of El Dhawahiri in an attempt to revive the various branches after the stranglehold exercised on the organization by the European intelligence and painful strikes made by the security services and the army in particular in the Arab Maghreb and in Algeria.
Ennahar / Mohamed Ben Kemoukh
In the last video of the ‘El Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb,’ under the command of Abou Mosaâb Abdelouadoud, alias Abdelmalek Droukdal, entitled (Ochak El Hour) “The lovers of Paradise women” in its second edition, this demonstrates the defeat of the terrorist organization at the level of recruitment.
The surrender of many terrorist leaders, who previously attracted new recruits into the organization, has caused an earthquake within ‘El Qaeda cells.’ new recruits refuse carry out suicide operations or move from one region to another due to the tightening of the noose around the areas where armed groups of El Qaeda live. The role played by repentant terrorists, by providing information to security services, permitted to break the ranks of the terrorist organisation.
Moreover, terrorists wanting to lay down their arms and repent, plays a role in informing the security services of any terrorist plan or attempt to attack by providing the date and place. The latter, convinced of their mistake by joining terrorist groups, but also convinced by the fetwas prohibiting the shedding of Algerian blood.
Security experts see that ‘El Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb’ is facing, in recent months, huge difficulties in carrying out terrorist operations because of the refusal of those who were supporters of ‘El Qaida organization’ which lives its last hours.
The organization has resorted to its archives in order to revive the memory and make them feel that it remembers its ancient criminals. The organization in its new video of an hour and a half, showed the old suicide bombers and their speeches before committing suicide operations. It was apparent that many of these were almost unconscious, which proves that they were drugged before the execution of the suicide operations, especially that most of them found difficulties to read their speeches, although they had been written on a sheet.
According to experts of the security file, the purpose of broadcasting of this movie is mostly to remember the terrorist organization and its crimes against civilians in Algeria after an absence following the debacle in which living residues of its elements. On the other hand, the organization wants to attract supporters in order to recruit them into its ranks by showing them images of suicide bombers committing suicide operations, claiming that they did them for the organization. The reality is that the organization has exploited them to kill innocent civilians.
The organization by propagating this video, demonstrates the failure of its criminal objectives after the Ulemas (Scholars), through their fetwas, have banned such acts they see as contrary to religion and they fall into the category of ‘El-Khawaridj.’
After the suicide operation made with a belt of explosives, Droukdal, and after the refusal of his elements, the majority of which surrendered to the security services, did not hesitate to use children of about 14 whom he wants to send to hell by making them human bombs.
Ennahar / Dalila B.
Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, a Tamil Christian, was bringing peace to Sri Lanka.
This was bad news for the arms dealers.
On 12 August 2005, Lakshman Kadirgamar was shot dead as he climbed out of the swimming pool at his luxury home.
SP Thamilselvan, leader of the Tamil Tigers’ political wing, denied that the Tigers were involved. He suggested that elements of the majority Sinhalese might be responsible. “We know there are sections within the Sri Lankan armed forces operating with a hidden agenda to sabotage the ceasefire,” he said.
Arms dealers? Sri Lanka’s arms dealers, ‘a shadowy bunch of politicians, servicemen, bureaucrats and their relatives and friends, who conclude multi-million-dollar deals nearly every day pocketing hefty commissions’ are the beneficiaries of trouble in Sri lanka.
According to Larouche:
“In the early 1970s, the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) began establishing training camps and secret arms caches under the cover of a chain of Refugee and Rehabilitation Farms of the Gandhian Society.
“Funds for the farms came from Oxfam (Oxford Famine Relief), one of the most powerful and secretive British intelligence organizations acting under non-governmental organization cover…
“John Glover, a British feature writer, wrote to the Western Mail in Wales about the ongoing and future training programs for Tamil youth by British mercenaries.
“A band of mercenary soldiers recruited in South Wales is training a Tamil army to fight for a separate state in Sri Lanka. About 20 mercenaries were signed up after a meeting in Cardiff and have spent the last two months in southern India preparing a secret army to fight the majority Sinhalas, in the cause of a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka,” he said…
“According to accounts by retired officials of the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, the Israelis were simultaneously training the Sri Lanka Army and the Tigers, and providing arms to each.
“Victor Ostrovsky, author of By Way of Deception, told Indian Abroad news service in 1991 that the Tigers were trained in Israel in 1985. “These groups kept coming and going. It was part of our routine job to take them to training camps and make sure that they were getting training worth what they paid for, not more and not less.” The groups paid in cash.
“Ostrovsky said that the arrangement for the training was made by the Mossad liaison in India, who lived there under a British passport.
“A December 1983 Sunday Mail article reported that the Mossad was arming and training the Tigers, as well as the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.
“The British Special Air Services (SAS) firm Keenie Meenie Services, was simultaneously training the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE…
The LTTE is reported to be involved in trafficking heroin…
“According to intelligence reports, most of the arms used by the LTTE are purchased from Singapore, India, Afghanistan, and the Mideast.
“In 1987, the Hindustan Times reported that large quantities of arms with Pakistani and Israeli markings were seized by the Indian Peacekeeping Force in Jaffna from the LTTE.
“In 1989, according to a Sri Lankan government secretary, the LTTE was receiving armaments directly from the Sri Lankan government of President Ranasinghe Premadasa, who wanted to force the expulsion of the Indian Peacekeeping Force from Sri Lanka, and who was also using the LTTE to wipe out the JVP (People’s Liberation Front) Sinhala insurgency…
“The LTTE reportedly has bought Russian-made Strela anti-aircraft missiles from Belgian arms dealers.”
Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, was killed in 1991 by the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers -Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Justice Jain’s final investigated the conspiracy to assassinate Gandhi.
He came across evidence that one suspect known as Chandraswami had links with the CIA and Mossad, and through them with the LTTE.
Justice Jain ‘seems convinced’ that Chandraswami was involved.
According to Asia Times:
Justice Jain ‘has linked Chandraswami with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in which arms dealer Adnan Kashoggi, several terrorist groups, and intelligence outfits like the CIA and Mossad had accounts.
‘The money in it was used for terrorist operations and political assassinations. The report is quoted as saying that $4 million of Mr Kashoggi’s money was transferred to the LTTE’s accounts. Justice Jain had said this on the basis of a 130-page document prepared by US Senator John Kiri.
‘The commission quotes evidence of former cabinet secretary Zafar Saiffullah who said Chandraswami had links with Mossad and the CIA, and that the government had received intercepts of wireless communication between Israel (where Mossad is based) and Jaffna (where the LTTE was operating till recently) which established Chandraswami’s involvement…
‘Money transactions in Chandraswami’s name and his links with international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi and the now defunct Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) have made the commission point an accusing finger…’
Quote from a review by Sachi Sri Kantha of “By Way of Deception; The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer”, the famous book on the inner secrets of the Mossad by Victor Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy:
“Ostrovski’s disclosures on the deals made by the military and political power-brokers of the ruling UNP and the Mossad had been published in excerpts in the Tamil Nation of Oct.15, 1990.
“What shocked the Sinhalese ruling establishment and the journalists (including the editor of Lanka Guardian, Mervyn de Silva) was the revelation of Ostrovski that Mossad had trained the Sinhalese military personnel and ‘a group of Tamil guerrilla factions’ simultaneously….
“Oh, and here’s the good part. Israel trained the Sri Lankan resistance in the mid 1980’s. The very first Tamil Tiger suicide attack was on July 5, 1987.
“Obviously influenced by the success of the Tamil Tigers, and prompted by the Israeli state terrorism against the Palestinian people, the Palestinians started using suicide bombers in the 1990’s.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
“Is it just possible that the technique of suicide bombing – now of course migrated to such places as New York, Iraq, and London – is the ultimate example of ‘blowback’, as it was taught to the Sri Lankans in the mid 1980’s by the Israelis, who ended up on the wrong side of it when the Palestinians picked it up in 1993, and used it particularly from 2000 on.
“Where would the Israelis have learned of its success? From Lebanon in the 1980’s. The technique was first used in Lebanon in December 1981 by the Islamic Dawa Party (the current Prime Minister of Iraq is a member of this party!)…..
“If Israel learned of the tactical success of the technique by studying Hezbollah’s use of it in Lebanon, and passed it on to the Sri Lankans in the mid-1980’s – possibly just to cause enough conflict in Sri Lanka to generate more business training the Sri Lankan army at expensive rates! – it would be very ironic if the Palestinians took it up as the only alternative open to them at a time when the similarly powerless Tamils were using it to great success in Sri Lanka. The example of the Palestinians has led to the technique being used everywhere….”
The Swine Flu story sounds like a psy-op:
1. Millions die in Mexico each year from diseases such as TB, typhoid and malaria.
But we don’t hear much about that.
Due to high levels of poverty in Mexico, there is a tendency for outbreaks of flu to kill large numbers of people.
“During a typical year in the United States, 30,000 to 50,000 persons die as a result of influenza viral infection.” – Flu Pandemic Morbidity / Mortality
2. In the USA and Canada, flu symptoms have been described as mild.
“Several students experienced flu symptoms after they returned but they were so mild that they didn’t raise any concerns.” (Swine flu hits Canada)
This swine flu’s a “relative lightweight” (Swine flu’s a relative lightweight.)
The first reports of swine infections in Mexico came in mid-March.
The current swine flu strain still has fewer than 1,000 reported cases.
Remember: “During a typical year in the United States, 30,000 to 50,000 persons die as a result of influenza viral infection.” – Flu Pandemic Morbidity / Mortality
So, why is publicity for the flu coming now?
And reports of the Lockerbie Bomb case appeal (Lockerbie bomber launches second appeal).
4. And, certain fascist swine are hoping to make lots of money from selling vaccines.
“On March 20, 2009, this researcher outlined a peculiar PANDEMIC VACCINE TRAINING exercise in Texas scheduled to occur on Saturday, May 2, 2009.” (http://www.rense.com/general85/dsd2.htm)
“There was a Swine Flu outbreak in 1976. President Gerald Ford asked that all Americans be innoculated.
“As it turned out, the disease only killed one person but the vaccine harmed hundreds and may have killed some.” (This article addresses that question.)
5. And maybe the latest swine flu is meant to target certain groups?
“Viruses … tailored to detect the differences in the DNA of races could offer warmakers … a new means to carry out ‘ethnic cleansing’,” said a panel convened by the British Medical Association (BMA).Vodpod videos no longer available.
6. Why Mexico?
Samuel P Huntington saw a new threat to the United States: Mexicans.
“In The Hispanic Challenge, Huntington claims that ‘the single most serious challenge to America’s traditional identity comes from the immense and continuing immigration from Latin America, especially from Mexico.'” – The Huntington Challenge: Why The Hispanic Challenge should be …
Huntington and Hispanic immigration: “The extent and nature of this immigration differ fundamentally from those of previous immigration, and the assimilation successes of the past are unlikely to be duplicated with the contemporary flood of immigrants from Latin America.
“This reality poses a fundamental question: Will the United States remain a country with a single national language and a core Anglo-Protestant culture?” – Civilizations (print)
Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927–December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist who gained prominence through his Clash of Civilizations (1993, 1996) thesis of a post-Cold War new world order.
Photo of La Gloria, Mexico, from: picasaweb.google.com/…/tPNgcKVn2Pb-Xf-o3wB8lA
7. Swine Flu and McDonalds
Maybe the swine flu is an accident, associated with factory farming and globalisation.
Maybe the swine flu started at a large pig producing facility in La Gloria in Mexico.
Only ONE case of swine flu was confirmed as having come from La Gloria.
Local and federal health officials are downplaying suggestions that the epidemic started in La Gloria.
They insist that the other cases from La Gloria were from a completely different and common strain of flu, H2N3.
Governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera, told the press there was not a single indicator that the epidemic started in La Gloria.
Miguel Angel Lezana, the director of the National Centre for Disease Control, said that genetic information in the H1N1 virus show it is more similar to types of flu that affect pigs in Central and East Asia. (Swine flu: Mexico claims it started in Asia)
By 29 April 2009, the world’s media were interviewing the mother of 4-year-old Edgar Hernandez who reportedly got swine flu on 2nd April 2009.
Edgar comes from La Gloria in Veracruz in Mexico, where there is the giant US-owned Smithfield Foods pig production facility.
60% of the 3,000 residents of La Gloria reported getting sick, including three children aged under two, who later died.
Edgar is quoted as saying: ‘I feel great. But I had a headache and a sore throat and a fever for a while. I had to lay down in bed.’
Reportedly, it was confirmed, on 27April 27 2009, that Edgar was the first known sufferer of swine flu.
According to the Times, ‘residents of La Gloria have been complaining since March that the odour from Granjas Carroll’s pig waste was causing severe respiratory infections.’
There have been calls to exhume the bodies of the children who died of pneumonia so that they could be tested.
The Vera Cruz-based newspaper La Marcha blames Smithfield’s Granjos Carroll for the outbreak of sickness.
Mexico’s Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova told reporters a sample taken from a 4-year-old boy in Mexico’s Veracruz state in early April tested positive for swine flu.
Smithfield spokeswoman Keira Ullrich said the company has found no clinical signs or symptoms of the presence of swine influenza in its swine herd or its employees working at its joint ventures anywhere in Mexico.
The company supplies the McDonald’s and Subway fast-food chains.
Mexican Agriculture Department officials said that its inspectors found no sign of swine flu among pigs around the farm in Veracruz, and that no infected pigs have been found yet anywhere in Mexico. However, Ochoa, the farm manager, said no one from the government has inspected his farm for swine flu.
Smithfields was fined $12.3 million in the United States 1997 for violating the Clean Water Act.
BAKU (Reuters) – Thirteen people were shot dead at a university in oil-producing Azerbaijan on Thursday when at least one gunman open fire shortly after the bell rang for morning classes.
A statement from the Azeri Health Ministry said 13 people had died in the shooting at the State Oil Academy in Baku, capital of the mainly Muslim Caspian Sea state.
Police said the “terrorists” had been neutralized, but it was unclear how many gunmen were involved.
Police closed access roads and special forces surrounded the building, a Reuters reporter said. Photographs showed pools of blood on the steps to the university and paramedics carrying out bodies in bags.
Baku ambulance service chief Mursal Gamidov said there was one gunman, a citizen of neighboring Georgia, who appeared to be a student of the academy.
ANS said there appeared to be two gunmen. A student who asked not to be named told Reuters he also believed there were two attackers.
“As far as I know there were two terrorists,” he said. “One of them committed suicide and another was arrested by police.”
He said the shooting started shortly after the bell rang for morning classes at 9 a.m. (0500 GMT). He said one gunman climbed the stairs firing on each of the six floors.
Azerbaijan is a mainly Muslim former Soviet republic on the shores of the Caspian Sea, where it holds vast reserves of oil and gas. BP is heavily involved in Azeri oil export to Europe.
[One day after allowing the CIA to sabotage Pakistan Army’s efforts with another Predator attack in Wana, trying to force a two-front war upon Pakistan’s government, Obama gloats over the war that we forced our friends to fight against their own people.]
By David Alexander and Augustine Anthony
WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said Pakistan’s army had begun to realize that homegrown militants and not India posed the biggest threat to stability, after troops retook a key town from Taliban militants.
Obama also told a news conference in Washington on Wednesday he was confident about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and that the Pakistani army recognized the dangers of weapons falling into the wrong hands.
“On the military side, you’re starting to see some recognition just in the last few days that the obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided, and that their biggest threat right now comes internally,” he said.
[Christine Fair of RAND Corporation refutes this presidential mistatement:
“Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity! Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar, Afghanistan (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan.”]
“And you’re starting to see the Pakistani military take much more seriously the armed threat from militant extremists.”
His comments came after Pakistani troops took the main town in the strategically important Buner Valley on Wednesday after they were dropped by helicopter behind Taliban lines. More than 50 militants have been killed, the Pakistani military said.
The Taliban’s entry into Buner, just 100 km (60 miles) from the capital Islamabad, from their stronghold in neighboring Swat valley, unnerved many Pakistanis and raised fears in Washington that its nuclear-armed ally was becoming more unstable.
On Thursday troops used helicopter gunships and artillery to target militants hideouts in Buner, residents said.
“There has been artillery fire going on overnight and today and helicopters can also be seen shelling in areas where militants are positioned,” said Omer Suleman, a resident.
Before the military offensive in Buner, Western allies, who need Pakistan’s support to defeat al Qaeda and stabilize neighboring Afghanistan, were worried the government seemed too willing to appease militants.
The militants’ advance into Buner came after the civilian government, which Obama said remains fragile, caved in to demands for Islamic sharia law in Swat and other parts of the northwest to pacify a Taliban uprising.
“I am gravely concerned about the situation in Pakistan, not because I think that they’re immediately going to be overrun and the Taliban would take over in Pakistan,” Obama said.
“I’m more concerned that the civilian government there right now is very fragile and don’t seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services: schools, health care, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of the people.
Obama is due to hold talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on May 6-7.
Hundreds of thousands of Pakistani troops are deployed on the eastern border with India, and Islamabad has come under pressure from Washington to move troops to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda militants on its western flank along the border with Afghanistan.
India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed, have fought three wars since independence in 1947 and tensions remain high since the November attacks in Mumbai which New Delhi and the United States say were carried out by Pakistan-based guerrillas.
The New York Times, quoting an unnamed official, said Pakistan had agreed to move 6,000 troops from the border with India to fight militants on the Afghan border.
U.S. lawmakers said they planned to accelerate the flow of more than $400 million in aid to Pakistan to help with counterinsurgency operations. The U.S. is also giving $1.4 billion in economic aid for Islamabad
Pakistan had also gone on a diplomatic drive to assure foreign capitals that it has a well-established command and control system in place for its nuclear weapons, The Financial Times reported on Thursday.
Pakistan has responded to past scares over the risk of militants getting hold of nuclear assets by briefing diplomats and journalists on the security systems and failsafes in place.
Those briefings have always stopped short of revealing the number of warheads — often estimated at up to 100– or their locations and coordinates.
“We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don’t end up having a nuclear-armed militant state,” Obama said.
Adding to those concerns, “shoot on sight” orders were issued in Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi on Thursday after 24 people were killed in ethnic clashes the previous day.
The violence in Karachi resulted from tensions between Mohajirs, Urdu-speaking people who migrated from India after creation of Pakistan in 1947, and Pashtuns from the northwest.
(Additional reporting by Junaid Khan, Augustine Anthony and Zeeshan Haider in Pakistan, and Andrew Gray in Washington; writing by Sanjeev Miglani editing by Dean Yates)
Pakistani troops have regained control of the main town of Buner district from the Taliban in the country’s North West Frontier Province, a military spokesman has said.
The report on Wednesday came on the second day of an offensive by Pakistan after troops were dropped behind Taliban lines.
The Taliban’s advance into Buner and Dagar – towns in Buner district – had brought the fighters within 100km of Islamabad, the country’s capital, in what was seen as a move to expand their control.
Buner is about 140km southeast of the Afghan border.
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from just outside Buner, said: “We have been told that the military has indeed taken back control of the district headquarters in Dagar after they surrounded it earlier this morning.
“There is stiff resistance from Taliban in certain areas but the military is still pressing on, using helicopter gunships and even main battle tanks in this operation which is said to be continuing.”
A Pakistani military spokesman said: “The airborne forces have linked up to police and Frontier Constabulary in Dagar. A link-up with ground forces is in progress.”The army said it had killed about 50 Taliban fighters and destroyed two explosives dumps. One soldier was killed.
Troops also recovered 18 of around 70 police and paramilitaries abducted by fighters in Buner on Tuesday, Major-General Athar Abbas, the chief military spokesman, said.
Three members of Al Jazeera’s reporting team in the Swat valley, an area neighbouring Buner, were injured after being shot at.
It is not known who attacked the journalists from the Arabic channel.
Abbas identified the correspondent as Abdul Rehman Matar, and said he was wounded after his vehicle was caught in crossfire in Dagar.
“He was given medical treatment and he is stable now.”
About 500 Taliban fighters are in Buner and it might take a week to clear them out, a Pakistani military spokesman said.
Major Nasir Khan, a military spokesman, said that jets had bombed positions in mountains in the Babaji Kandao area of Buner.
Buner, Lower Dir and Swat are covered by the Malakand peace deal, which allows the Taliban to enforce its strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, in the region in return for a truce.Sufi Muhammad, a local religious leader who has been holding peace talks with the central government, has suspended dialogue with Islamabad as a result of the army assault.
Against this backdrop of intensifying violence, Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, called on the nation to put political differences aside and support troops fighting the Taliban.
In a statement on Wednesday, he said that nationwide support was critical in ensuring the protection of the rights of Pakistani citizens against Taliban advances.
“This is the only way to demonstrate our will, to keep Pakistan as a moderate, modern and democratic state where the rights of all citizens are protected,” Zardari said.
“The operation in Buner and Lower Dir is meant to re-establish the writ of the constitution.”
By SHÂN ROSS AND BEN LYNFIELD IN JERUSALEM
April 27, 2009
TENS of thousands of people struggling to rebuild their lives in the Gaza Strip after Israel’s 22-day military offensive this year will face a second humanitarian disaster within weeks, because aid is not getting through, the Scot heading the British Red Cross international relief effort has warned.
Moira Reddick, the charity’s head of disaster management, said blockages at the Israeli border meant civilians were facing spending the summer with its soaring temperatures sheltering under rotting plastic and tents with little or no sanitation, increasing the threat of disease and risk of infection.
Ms Reddick, who visited Gaza last month, said: “We will be looking at a new humanitarian crisis. Right now we have assistance which we are trying to get in. The situation is that aid is not getting through. It is piling up on the other side of the border.
“As summer comes on, the risk to health increases. It is difficult enough in winter, but it will be impossible in the heat and the risk to health increases.”
The 22 days of hostilities, which ended on 18 January, left at least 1,300 Palestinian civilians dead and 5,500 injured. Thirteen Israelis were killed, three of them civilians.
Ms Reddick, originally from Ayr, said there were also major problems with lack of reconstruction work, because building materials such as steel, as well as fuel, were being prevented from entering the territory.
Israel has said Hamas could use materials like concrete for military purposes.
Ms Reddick, who deals with an annual budget of tens of millions of pounds, added: “The situation in Gaza has a political cause and therefore needs a political solution. This needs to happen to make it easier to move goods across the border.”
Last month, the UK government pledged £30 million for reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. About £4 billion has been promised by foreign donors.
Sir Nick Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “This is not a job for aid agencies alone. Humanitarian action is vital, but insufficient to resolve the crisis.
“Ordinary Gazans have struggled under 18 months of restrictions, making daily life almost impossible – access to healthcare, petrol, electricity, secure food supplies – things we take for granted.
“The task of reconstruction is daunting. However, the truth is that efforts to rebuild Gaza can only succeed if accompanied by credible political steps to resolve the crisis.”
Last week, a spokesman for the White House in the United States announced that the leaders of Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians have been invited for talks in Washington in a new push for peace. The talks are likely to take place by early June.
Ahmed Youssef, a senior adviser to Ismail Haniye, the Hamas prime minister, described as “accurate” Ms Reddick’s assessment that Gaza is on the verge of humanitarian disaster because of Israeli strictures.
“Sometimes the Israelis try to deceive the world community by letting some lorries cross, but their policy is to keep us on the brink of collapse all of the time,” said Mr Youssef.
However, Yariv Ovadia, a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, denied this, saying: “We closely monitor the humanitarian situation in Gaza and we don’t see the situation getting close to a crisis.”
About 120 lorry loads of humanitarian supplies cross into Gaza on a daily basis, according to the defence ministry.
Mr Ovadia said the restrictions “are mostly on equipment that is not used for humanitarian aid”.
By Marc Abizeid, Special to The Daily Star
April 28, 2009
BEIRUT: Renowned Chinese-English physician Dr. Swee Ang gave a moving testimony on Saturday of Israel’s destruction in the Gaza Strip as witnessed in her recent trip to the tiny Palestinian enclave. “Cluster bombs, deliberate assassinations of whole families that they would line up and shoot,” Ang said as she listed a number of acts committed by Israel during its 22-day assault on Gaza in December and January that left over 1,400 Palestinians dead.
“The Israelis would wait until the ambulances got the wounded and then attack them, killing and injuring the drivers,” she continued.
Ang and Norwegian physician Hans Husum were invited to offer an assessment of the situation in Gaza during the “Wounds of Gaza” lecture at the UNESCO Palace organized by the Sabra Shatila Foundation.
Ang, who bears distinct Asian features, also remarked that Israelis couldn’t distinguish her from the Palestinians during her visit – a fact that made her proud.
“The Israelis attacked me in London for saying that 1.5 million tons of bombs had been dropped on Gaza, but I will show you the evidence,” she said while presenting nauseating photographs taken during her visit of charred victims burned with phosphorous and large civilian buildings collapsed with vacuum bombs.
“I was very angry when I learned that Israeli tanks would come in front of a house and first fire a normal shell to break open the wall, then shoot a phosphorous shell into it,” she said.
Husum, equally angered by the war in Gaza, lashed out at the United States which he said provided Israel with the experimental Dense Inert Metal Explosives, or DIME weapons, to test on the Palestinians.
“This weapon tears the flesh off the bone, it opens up the chest, … it kills a lot of people,” he said, adding that the “new kind of wars” like in Gaza and Israel’s summer 2006 war on Lebanon were launched not to make conventional military advancements, but rather with the aim of breaking the will of the people.
He went on to predict that the next war in Lebanon would be an urban one, systematically targeting cities in order to “break society” because, as he put, “humanitarian law is dead – it’s out.”
“I’ve been a war surgeon for 30 years. I’ve seen a lot, but I am shocked,” he said. “If the aim of the enemy is to scare us into subjugation and to put us down on our knees, then we have to stand up – we do not bend down.”
Four Lebanese generals held since 2005 over the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri have been freed.
Their release comes hours after a UN court ruled there was not enough evidence to hold them.
Supporters of the generals, mainly from the pro-Syrian Hezbollah movement, fired guns into the air and set off fireworks to celebrate the ruling.
The UN court was set up to investigate the bomb attack which killed Mr Hariri and 22 others in February 2005.
The decision to free the generals comes less than two months before a finely-balanced legislative election that pits the pro-Syrian bloc against their pro-Western rivals, including Mr Hariri’s own political movement now led by his son.
The four men in custody were pro-Syrian generals who all held senior positions in the country’s security infrastructure.
The four were crucial figures in the pro-Syrian administration
- Former head of General Security Maj Gen Jamil al-Sayyad
- Former chief of police Maj Gen Ali Hajj
- Former military intelligence chief Brig Gen Raymond Azar
- Former Republican Guard commander Mustafa Hamdan
They were suspected of planning the assassination and carrying out terrorist acts.
Belgian pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen ruled that there was not enough evidence to hold them.
“The pre-trial judge orders, unless they are held in another case, the release with immediate effect,” the judge said.
The decision, which was broadcast live on Lebanese television, was greeted with jubilation on the streets of Beirut by supporters of the generals.
Mr Hariri’s death caused mass protests across the country
Naji Bustany, lawyer for Mustafa Hamdan and Raymond Azar, welcomed the decision, but said it should have been taken earlier.
“After 44 months, justice has been done. It should have been 43 months ago,” he told the AFP news agency.
BBC analyst Sebastian Usher says the pro-Syrian opposition led by Hezbollah can use this decision to back up its belief that Syria had nothing to do with Mr Hariri’s killing.
But it will be a blow to the pro-Western coalition that won the last elections and pointed to the generals’ arrest as clear vindication of their accusation that Syria was behind Mr Hariri’s assassination, he adds.
The UN special tribunal, which started its operations only last month, now has no suspects in detention and the chief prosecutor has yet to name any new ones.
But our analyst reports that sources close to the tribunal say it is making substantial progress.
Mr Hariri’s assassination prompted massive demonstrations, which led to an end of decades of Syrian control over Lebanon – although Syria denied involvement in the killing.
Colombo Two top LTTE leaders, who gave themselves up before the Sri Lankan Army, have said the Tamil Tigers used the civilians as “hostages” never allowing them to flee the war zone and resorted to “mass killings” if they failed to heed.
Velayutham Dayanithi alias Daya Master, former media coordinator of LTTE, and George, official interpreter of top leader, also appealed to the remaining Tamil Tigers to renounce violence and join the mainstream.
“The LTTE is still using innocent civilians as hostages. They don’t let them go out of the areas controlled by them. ‘Viduthalai Puligal’ (LTTE cadres) have killed a number of people in Sudanthirapuram area when they tried to flee from them,” Daya Master, who surrendered to the Army last week, told the Sri Lankan state television.
“More than 200 people lost their lives at the hands of LTTE in that one area,” he said.
George said people were scared of LTTE and after the humanitarian operations started “little by little” they used the vantage points to cross over to the Government-controlled areas.
“Many died when LTTE cadres, manning the vantage points, resorted to killing,” George, who was close to slain LTTE leader S P Thamilchelvan, said.
Daya Master said he had been trying to escape LTTE for several years.
“When the LTTE broke away from the peace talks in 2006, I decided to break away since I believed in negotiations,” Daya Master said.
He said after killing innocent civilians who tried to flee, the LTTE put the blame on the Sri Lankan Army of killing them.
Daya Master said the Tamil Tigers, now confined to a 5 sq km coastal land strip in Mullaitivu, were forcibly recruiting children in the age of 14-15 years.
“People who were born after 1994, 95 and even 96 have been forced by the LTTE to fight. They were recruited forcibly… they (LTTE) did not even spare the families which had only one child,” Daya Master, who is now under the custody of the army, said.
“They did not spare even people who were sick and were suffering from heart diseases… they recruited everyone and attacked people who refused to heed,” he said.
Recounting his more than 9-day journey from the LTTE-held areas to the ‘Safe Zone’, George said being old he could not run away from the LTTE.
“I could not run as I am old… I used the opportunity when people broke out in a group to escape from the LTTE. I was among thousands of people… so I was able to escape,” he said.
George asked the remaining LTTE cadres to “renounce violence, throw away their arms, leave the leader and come to the military-controlled areas.”
Egypt’s president warned regional adversaries on Wednesday that he would not tolerate what he called their tampering his country’s security and stability, a reference to Iran and the Hezbollah guerrilla group that it supports.
President Hosni Mubarak’s comments were his strongest words of warning since Egypt accused the powerful Lebanese militant group of plotting attacks in the country, and were also meant to send a strong message to the group’s backers in Iran.
Egypt announced earlier this month that it had uncovered a plot by 49 men with links to Hezbollah to destabilize the country by carrying out attacks on Egyptian institutions and Israeli tourists. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has rejected the accusations, while admitting that a Hezbollah member was in Egypt supervising weapons shipments to the militant Palestinian group Hamas that controls the neighboring Gaza Strip.
Egypt and other Arab nations have watched with concern as Iran has deepened its regional influence through its support for Hezbollah and its development of nuclear technology, though Iran says it is not aiming to produce atomic weapons, as the U.S. and its allies suspect.
“The Arab region is passing through a delicate and hard stage … and facing the threats of known regional powers that embrace terrorism and extremism and clearly brag of animosity to peace,” Mubarak said.
“After these powers and their hirelings have encroached on Egypt’s security and sovereignty, I say clearly that I don’t allow this and will not tolerate those who try to tamper with Egypt’s security and stability,” he said in a speech. He did not mention Iran or Hezbollah by name, but it was clear he was referring to the two.
Egypt’s allegations have raised concern about possible Hezbollah activity beyond Lebanon’s borders at a time when the guerrilla group and political movement, together with its allies, stands a good chance of dominating the country’s June 7 parliamentary elections. The United States and its allies among Arab governments like Egypt’s are also fearful that an electoral win by Hezbollah and its allies would increase the sway of the group’s backers Iran and Syria.
Submitted by Dr. Ron Daniels
I make the latter observation because I believe progressives need something akin to the National Rainbow Coalition as a unifying vehicle to advance the progressive cause. Bill Fletcher and Danny Grover made this point a couple of years ago in an article they circulated on recreating a Rainbow Coalition type formation. Without question, the demobilization of the National Rainbow Coalition by its architect Rev. Jesse L. Jackson was one of the great failures of leadership in the latter half of the 20th century. Borrowing from Mel King’s weekly rainbow dialogues and initiatives in Boston, Rev. Jackson was able to utilize his presidential campaigns to build a formidable, progressive, multi-racial policy, advocacy and electoral coalition that captured the imagination of millions of people across the country. Unlike many movements on the left, African Americans and other people of color, constituencies disproportionately affected by issues of race, class and gender inequality, were prominent in the membership and leadership of the Rainbow Coalition. The opening presented by the election of President Barack Obama cries out for such a formation again.
Moreover, a third force would not depend on electoral politics as the sole means of advancing a progressive agenda; it would employ non-electoral strategies and tactics such as mass protests, supporting strikes and labor actions, mobilizing/organizing around issues at the local, state, national and international level as a means of broadening the base of the progressive movement to effectuate real change. The creative use of the Internet to disseminate information, galvanize action and raise funds must also be part of the strategy if a third force is to be successful. There are several other elements I could propose, but these ideas should suffice to make the case for the concept.
29/04/2009 Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri said on Wednesday that the massive Israeli maneuvers scheduled between May 31 and June 4, were extremely dangerous, aimed against Lebanon, Syria and Iran and would take place along the Lebanese-Palestinian border.
Berri praised Lebanese security forces for dismantling Mossad linked networks recently. He stressed the maneuvers come at a time when Israeli spy agents have been increasingly active in Lebanon in a clear violation of UN resolution 1701.
The Speaker underlined the necessity that Lebanon undertakes defensive measures on every civic, political and diplomatic level with the coordination between the Lebanese Army and the Resistance being a top priority.
On Tuesday, Loyalty to the Resistance bloc leader MP Mohammed Raad said that Lebanon must go on high alert in anticipation of Israel’s largest-ever maneuvers.
“Lebanon is one of Israel’s targets during the exercises. The country must be fully prepared for such an emergency,” Raad told the national dialogue session on Tuesday.
The Hezbollah MP distributed extensive literature on the operation dubbed “Turning Point 3” with details on targets, scenarios and steps to counter a possible threat.
On the civilian level, to put civilian establishments- such as hospitals and civil services institutions- on alert for any surprising attack.
On the military level, to coordinate defense efforts between the Lebanese army and the Islamic resistance in face of any Israeli threat.
On the political level, to launch a political and media campaign in the world to expose the Israeli enemy as a side always willing to launch wars.
The Hezbollah document points that Israel is focusing on the factor of surprise by convincing the public opinion that the next war could break out without prior warning. “This suggests a concealed evil will by the enemy to initiate the war.”
Earlier this month, the Jerusalem Post said Israel and the United States will hold massive joint missile defense drills later this year, testing three anti-ballistic missile systems. It did not give a date for the maneuvers.
The exercise, named in Israel as Juniper Cobra, will see the testing of the Arrow (Hetz) system as well as the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and the ship-based Aegus Ballistic Missile Defense System.
Israeli and U.S. forces have staged the Juniper Cobra exercise over the past five years but the Post said this year’s drill was likely to be the most complex yet and will for the first time include the launch of interceptors.
The drills are expected to last an entire week and prepare the nation for a series of scenarios that include missile strikes with conventional and non-conventional warheads, fired by Hezbollah, Syria or Hamas, Israeli military officials said.
The reaction time to prepare for impact of a rocket attack in Israel is roughly two minutes or less. The Home Front Command and Israeli occupation forces said they want drills to encourage people to prepare for the possibility of war. The aim, according to defense officials, is to put the Israelis on alert as if the war is going to start “tomorrow morning”.
The Israeli military will implement the lessons drawn from their defeat in the 2006 war on Lebanon on top of which would be the military and political leaderships’ performance that has proved a failure.
Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)
Somalia — A roadside bomb has killed at least three people and wounded more than three others in north Galka’yo after it targeted a vehicle of Puntland Inelegant Service (PIS) in Galka’ayo, the regional capital of Mudug region in central Somalia, witnesses told Shabelle Media on Wednesday.
Residents said the vehicle of Puntland soldiers was traveling near Alla Magan Hotel in north Galk’ayo when it was targeted by the blast.
The police of Puntland arrested 5 people in the town after the explosion and still investigating the incident.
The situation in north Galka’yo is reportedly tense and people are very worried about the new explosion in the town.
No group has claimed the responsibility of the attack yet. Such explosions are new to the town.
| KARACHI: At least 22 people were killed and 22 others wounded as violence broke out in different parts of Karachi on Wednesday.
While enraged people torched several vehicles in various parts of the city.
Shops and markers started to close early as the violence spread from one place to other.
The process of unending firing erupted in North Karachi where two activists of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were found shot dead. The police and rangers personnel, who reached the scene to calm down the situation, also caught up in the firing in which a Sub-inspector Moinur Rehman, Head Constable Sajjad and six others were injured.
In another incident, unknown persons set 10 vehicles ablaze in Bilal Colony while a 40-year-old Juma Khan was also gunned down.
In Sarjani Town and Shah Faisal Colony, unidentified gunmen shot dead two more persons, yet to be identified.
Security forces arrested 21 persons during a search operation launched in Khawaja Ajmir Nagri. Besides, more violence incidents were reported in Samanabad, Al-Asif Square and Hyderi.
Rather than how we’re known abroad now, a “nation that talks law, but is an international bully, a rogue state, participating in murder, drug smuggling, economic theft, theft of natural resources not its own, and an empire-building, the-end-justifies-the-means government of criminals–with a citizenry too frightened to do anything about it. (You do know that the NSA’s illegal wiretaps are still in place, right now, today, and Obama’s administration has taken legal steps to block ACLU FOI access to information about it, right? Tell me what’s changed? I’m slightly disappointed. Ditto that the same Wall Street types who helped plunge the nation into debtor nation status in 1984-85 under Reagan have served continuously since then, through Bush I, Clinton I, Bush II and now Obama I. And their party designation hasn’t changed, either. All are members of the AIP, or American Incumbents’ Party.)
|Wednesday, April 29, 2009
By By Khalid Mustafa
|ISLAMABAD: Turkmenistan has provided to Pakistan much-awaited gas reserves certification of new Yasrak gas field from where gas will be supplied to Pakistan and India through Afghanistan under TAPI pipeline project, a senior official told The News.
Pakistan’s five-member delegation, headed by the Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain, attended the Ministerial Conference on Energy, Risk and Security held in Turkmenistan and took the opportunity to hold general discussion on TAPI with Turkmenistan’s leadership on the sidelines of the conference.
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan held a meeting with Dr Asim Hussain, and apprised him that Pakistan will be provided gas from the Yasrak gas field instead of Dualtabad gas field and the Japanese firm has provided the gas reserve certification of the Yasark gas field.
When contacted, Secretary Petroleum GA Sabri who was elevated to grade 22 on Monday as Special Secretary confirmed that Pakistan has been given the gas certification of Yasrak gas field. The said field has the potential reserve of four to 14 trillion cubic feet of gas, which is enough for Pakistan to meet the future needs.
However, the official also divulged that Pakistan during the recent visit to Turkmenistan has also suggested a new route for import of gas to Pakistan under Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.
Under the new route the pipeline will pass through the small portion of Afghanistan’s territory and enter Balochistan to Gawadar. Pakistan has floated this new route to minimize the security threat in war-torn Afghanistan.
“We have asked Turkmenistan to carry out the study on the new route for implementing the project within next four to six weeks.”
Sabri also confirmed the floating of new route by Pakistan for implementing the project. To a question he said that Pakistan and Turkmenistan would initiate formal dialogue to materialize the much-delayed project under new strategy.
To a question as to whether Pakistan during the visit also discussed the option to import Turkmenistan gas via Iran, he said that it was a general meeting. But when both the countries still start formal talks, this option will also be brought under discussion.
Under the TAPI project, the official source said, Turkmenistan is to provide 3.2 billion cubic feet gas to Afghanistan and Pakistan and India. If the work on this project kicks off very soon which seems impossible, then Afghanistan will be having $1 per MMBTU as transit fee.
|Updated at: 2026 PST, Wednesday, April 29, 2009|
|WANA: Eight people were killed in two U.S. missile strikes at a house in South Waziristan, sources said on Wednesday.
According to initial reports reaching here, American unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a house situated in Kanigoram area of South Waziristan, killing at least eight people.
While the targeted house and a vehicle were also destroyed in the attacks.
[If this latest Predator attack had been on a target selected by the Pakistani Army in Buner or Swat then it might have been explainable as assisting Pakistan. The fact that this attack took place outside the combat zone designated by Pakistan is proof that the United States is doing its utmost to sabotage the government of Pakistan in its efforts at self-defense. The drones succeeded in uniting the TTP forces in a war against the government, now their intent becomes even more obvious, to embroil Pakistan in an all-out war across the entire nation!]
Updated at: 2021 PST, Wednesday, April 29, 2009
WANA: US drone has fired two missiles at a house in Kanigoram area in which casualties are feared, Geo News reported on Wednesday.
[An excellent idea that should be the law in both Pakistan and India, as well as every developing country that suffers health care shortages, that would be ALL OF THEM.]
* Health minister says proposal meant to check brain drain of fresh medical graduates
By Muhammad Bilal
ISLAMABAD: The government is considering making practice obligatory for all medical graduates in the country for at least three to five years before letting them move abroad, State Minister for Health Afzal Sandhu told the Senate during question hour on Tuesday.
He said the proposal, meant to check the brain drain of fresh graduates, was floated in the draft health policy to be unveiled before the next budget’s announcement.
The minister said there was a growing trend among graduates of medical colleges of moving abroad, despite most of their studying expenses being borne by the government.
He said 57 private and public medical colleges operated in the country and of them, 24 were in the Punjab, 18 in Sindh, 12 in the NWFP, two in Islamabad and one in Balochistan.
In reply to a question, Planning and Development Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin said the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) outlay for the year 2008-09 had been slashed to Rs 219 billion from Rs 371 billion due to the economic crunch. He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan package valued at $3.1 billion was for the balance of payments, not for budgetary support.
Shahabuddin said the government had allocated one billion rupees in the PSDP for the development of Larkana where work on 11 development schemes was underway.
PPP senators Safdar Abbasi and Dr Khatu Mal called for strict monitoring of the use of the funding.
State Minister for Industries Ayatullah Durrani informed the House that around 45 small and 21 large industrial estates, along with nine export processing zones (EPZs), were operational in various parts of the country.
He added that the government was considering providing land to friendly countries for setting up special EPZs.
The minister also told the House that the Establishment Division had appointed the incumbent managing director for the Utility Stores Corporation on a deputation basis with the prime minister’s approval. He said the post had not been advertised.
NEW DELHI: The Indian Supreme Court has ordered the Special Investigation Team to inquire into the role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendera Modi in the anti-Muslim riots in 2002, which took place in the state of Gujarat.
The order was issued on the complaint of Zakia Nasim Ahsan, wife of former Congress Member of Parliament Ehsan Jaferi, who was killed in Gulbarg Society in Gujarat.
A two-member bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat and A K Ganguly directed the special team to complete the inquiry in three months against Modi and sixty-two others who orchestrated the riots with the help of police officials and senior bureaucrats.
They will face the inquiry after seven years of the incidents, which left 2,000 dead.
Prashant Bhushan, the petitioner’s lawyer submitted to the court that no first information report was registered on the basis of the complaint dated June 8, 2006 sent to the then Gujarat director-general of police. app
By Mazhar Qayyum Khan | Published: April 29, 2009
Three decades after the United States had raised a force of guerrilla fighters to drive out the Soviets from Afghanistan and, a decade later, abruptly left the arena on succeeding in that mission, it has condescended to own up part of the responsibility for sowing the seeds of present-day militancy. The guerrillas were then known as mujahideen (holy warriors) since they were fighting the ‘infidel’ communists but now into the second or third generation are called terrorists since they are resisting the foreign occupation led by the US.
Washington’s departure from the region in the eighties was utterly myopic but consistent with the follies it had been known to commit in the realm of foreign policy. That it had successfully manoeuvred the fall of the only other superpower gave it the feeling of freedom to tread the whole wide world like a colossus who, its policymakers felt, could glower any power into submission. No nation or group could dare defy its command. Highly respected strategists like, for instance Henry Kissinger, could not resist the temptation of believing that the era of an unchallenged US global dominance had ushered in and talked of ways of preserving it “in perpetuity”. It did not take long for their dreams to shatter; and they began to see the inevitable emergence of a multipolar world taking shape right before their eyes, largely because of the adventurous forays of their country into foreign lands.
Wisdom, on the other hand, demanded that the US remained engaged in the region in the post-Soviet period to help sort out things their interference had created. Pakistan and Afghanistan had no choice but to muddle through the mess all by themselves, which other regional were busy making it worse. The result: the pervasive curse of extremism and militancy that the mighty Americans are finding it hard to eliminate.
That brings us to the Obama phase and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s description of Pakistan as a “mortal threat to the world”. However, it seems that no sooner had she uttered this alarmist view before a Congressional committee to which Islamabad reacted angrily than Washington thought of toning it down. Secretary Clinton’s view of the scenario the next day appeared more like an expression of contrition at past policies of the US. Her words: “But the problem we face now to some extent we have to take responsibility for having contributed to it. We also have a history of kind of moving in and out of Pakistan.”
Logically, the remark provides a hint of the understanding of Pakistan’s difficulties while facing the militant phenomenon and assumes that serious thinking about forging a long lasting friendship is afoot. So far, however, the US has failed on both these counts. Its stress has been on the ruthless use of force to bring the terrorists to heel, ignoring the adverse backlash that would hit the country when it takes up arms against its population. On giving a tangible shape to the expression of “abiding friendship” that Pakistanis heard so much about for quite some time after 9/11, there is little to suggest that Washington is serious. On the contrary. It has gone out of the way to pamper India, not bothering about Pakistan’s sensitivities and grouses against it. There is a strong feeling of having been let down once again.
But should one hope that the soul-searching Secretary Clinton appears to have done leads the Obama Administration to make the removal of differences between the two major nations of the Subcontinent as an integral part of its policies about terrorism? That would require Washington to intercede to heel the rankling sore of Kashmir and extend adequate help to Pakistan in carrying out socio-economic projects that should pave the way for the eradication of extremist thinking. The reality that with all the determination in the world the evil cannot be got rid of quickly would also require Washington to show patience. Massive help to put Pakistan on the road to becoming a developed country would carry the dividend much sought-after by the US. The Pentagon also needs to shed its hesitation to make up-to-date, appropriate equipment available to Pakistan Army to enable it to successfully take on militancy and also share timely intelligence with it. The present US attitude reinforces distrust that hampers anti-terrorist activities.
The sooner the Americans realise that the anger and hatred, which the deaths of innocent persons from drone attacks are creating among the tribesmen, are defeating the very purpose of killing militants whose toll looks insignificant against civilian deaths. The exercise gives terrorism fresh recruits. It is high time it was discontinued. Unfortunately, however, their present attitude does not inspire much optimism. On the contrary, American officials have repeatedly suggested that the aerial attacks are proving useful and have killed important Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives and might even be intensified.
Unless, the US corrects its focus on the issue and comprehends the causes that are giving rise to militant feelings, it will find it hard to get the desired results. The cold-blooded murder of ordinary people, including women and children, raises a veritable outrage among the tribal people, known for harbouring the feeling of vengeance for ages. The consequences of the attacks are unmistakably clear: they swell the ranks of insurgent forces that cause trouble to both the US in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the loss of lives and security all over the country.
Should one hope that the US would re-examine the issue in the light of its fallout? Or would it have to wait for another three decades before realising that the Predators hurling Hellfire missiles on tribal people were a big mistake?
Submitted 8 hrs 35 mins ago
Pakistani troops dropped from helicopters onto hillsides behind Taliban fighters holding entrances to the Buner valley, according to witnesses, as the second day of an offensive began Wednesday. Pakistan’s demonstration of military resolve will reassure U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, when they meet Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Washington on May 6/7 to discuss regional strategy. The Taliban’s entry into a region just 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad earlier this month had sent shivers through Pakistan and sparked alarm in the United States. The army, however, said a few hundred militants holed up in the mountains did not represent a real threat to the capital of the nuclear-armed Muslim nation, despite their proximity. Residents could see and hear the fighting on the slopes overlooking Buner town Wednesday, and several saw troops rappelling down ropes from helicopters in a drop behind enemy lines. “We saw a helicopter dropping troops on the hills early this morning. It came about seven or eight times,” said Arshad Imran standing in the town’s central bazaar. “We hear sound of explosions off and on and we can see helicopters flying over the mountains.” The military estimated some 500 militants were in Buner, and that it might take a week to clear them out. Jet fighters and helicopters gunships provided air support for army and paramilitary troops leading the offensive Tuesday.
By Atif Nadeem
LAHORE: A large number of citizens thronged the General Post Office here on Tuesday to post letters to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, urging them to halt rapid Talibanisation of the country by launching an aggressive military operation against the Taliban.
Though the citizens posted the letters to the heads of all major organs of the state but a large number of citizens addressed their letters to Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani at General Headquarters, Rawalpindi, hoping that their appeal might urge the army to combat the militants with determination.
The citizens were holding banners inscribed with demands like ‘stop Talibanisation in Pakistan, protection of women, law and order and supremacy of constitution and parliament.’ They also chanted slogans against Talibanisation in the country in front at the GPO Chowk. People from all walks of life reached the GPO to voice their concern against the Taliban.
The students on the occasion were of the view that the Taliban should dispel the impression that people would welcome them in the whole country. They warned the Taliban that people are aware of the dangers of the Talibanisation. They said the Taliban were forcing people to practise religion at gun point which was highly repugnant to basic spirit of Islam.
They, while quoting the content of letter, said: “The failure of the government to evolve a counter-narrative to the Taliban propaganda is dereliction of the highest order. The government must immediately devise and implement a strategy to counter the insidious propaganda by the Taliban, which fills newspaper columns and airwaves.”
Talking about the Nizam-e-Adl Regulations 2009, the students said any agreement signed at gun point and under threats from violent extremists could never lead to lasting peace. They said it had become clear how naive the government had been in thinking that the Taliban could be contained in Swat.
While talking to The News, the citizens demanded the government take stringent measures to halt advancement of the Taliban in other parts of the country after their complete takeover of Swat and Malakand.
The citizens said that the army and security agencies had not paid any heed to threats hurled at the masses and state by the militants in Swat. They, in the letter, said: “We the citizens of Pakistan are angry and dismayed at the abject capitulation of the state of Pakistan before the Taliban insurgents in Swat. With one stroke of pen, you and the parliament have signed away any real prospects of a stable, tolerant and progressive Pakistan as envisioned by its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.”
The lawyers, present on the occasion, said civil society and lawyers played the main role in the movement for independence of judiciary and now the judiciary should play its role and exercise the full extent of its authority to safeguard fundamental rights of all citizens including those of Swat.
The citizens continued coming to the GPO for posting their letters to the heads of major organs of the state from 3pm to 5pm. To avoid any untoward incident, a heavy contingent of police were deployed outside the premises of the GPO.
By Javed Aziz Khan
PESHAWAR: Armed militants in Pir Baba area of Buner district took hostage, at least, 71 security officials after inviting them to talks in a local mosque near the famous shrine, a source from the troubled district told The News.
It was learnt that those who were made hostage included the station house officer (SHO) of the Pir Baba police station, his 20 cops and around 50 personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary (FC).
The sources said that the militants had invited the SHO and other cops to the mosque for talks at around 7:00 pm. They were later made hostage and armed militants were directed not to let any of them go outside. It may be mentioned here that the FC is at the disposal of the local police in Buner as is the case in several other troubled areas.
Says security of foreigners beefed up
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior Rehman Malik on Tuesday said the government would come down hard on terrorists and miscreants and would not allow anyone to challenge the government’s writ in any part of the country.
“We are not taking any action due to the fear of collateral damage, but enough is enough, if the government writ is challenged, or any terrorist activity takes place anywhere in the country, we will take strict action against them,” he told media persons at the Parliament House.
He was replying to a question on the media reports of arrival of Baitullah Mehsud’s men in Islamabad and other major cities to carry out suicide attacks. “These were media reports. The security is well in place, but if any terrorist incident takes place anywhere, we will take stern action against them,” Malik said.
He advised Baitullah Mehsud to refrain from giving such statements. “If he considers himself a Muslim, he should refrain from giving such statements, because Islam does not allow suicide attacks on the Muslim brethren,” the minister said.
Regarding the military action in Lower Dir, he said it was against the miscreants who wanted to sabotage the peace process in the area. He said as many as 70 miscreants had so far been killed in the action, while there were reports of the presence of 450 more miscreants in the area.
About nuclear assets, Malik said a well command and control system is in place to supervise the nuclear assets. “Nobody should be worried about our nuclear assets. It is in secure hands,” he added.
Malik warned militants to leave Buner district otherwise the government machinery would come into action with full force, adding that 70 militants had been killed in Dir. Some 450 to 500 terrorists were seen entering Buner area and if they do not leave the area and continue to challenge the writ of the government then the government would also take action against them, he said.
He admitted insurgency in some areas but made it clear that the government writ would be established at all costs and said situation in the country is fully under the control of the government. The real face of the Taliban has been exposed before the nation and they want to destabilise the country, he said. Those who try to challenge the writ of the government would have to face the music, he said, adding that “we have clear and uniform policy to counter insurgency and we are following it”.
Answering a question, he said: “This morning I held talks with the director general Frontier Constabulary and he has told me that some 70 terrorists have been killed in the operation so far”. He also asked the media to visit the area and see the Taliban had sophisticated weapons.
He appealed to terrorists not to challenge the governmentís writ and lay down their arms. Terrorists would not be tolerated and pardoned, he said. Answering a question whether the operation would be expanded or not, the minister said it is operational secrecy but the militants should leave Buner area. “We had given chance to peace by striking Swat peace deal first but the Taliban were not abiding by the agreement,” he said.
He asked the Ulema around the country to declare suicide attacks as un-Islamic and play their role in stopping the suicide attacks. Talking to media at the Chaklala Air Base while sending back the body of Polish engineer who was kidnapped and killed, Malik said the government has beefed up security of foreigners across the country.
The minister said it was an unfortunate incident and was first incident of its kind where the kidnappers made no demand for the safe release of the Polish engineer. “We don’t want to let this body to go like this. We will get to the murderers who have done it, and would give them maximum punishment. It was a crime against humanity and the culprits deserve no mercy.”
He said the investigation into the murder of the Polish engineer is underway and soon the culprits would be punished. Malik said the government has strengthened the security of foreigners working for the development of Pakistan. “We have assured the deputy ambassador (Poland) that their workers will be provided with more security and safety and they should continue their work for the development of Pakistan,” he added.
ANKARA (AFP) — Turkey’s army chief Ilker Basbug on Wednesday brushed aside Israel’s criticism of his country’s first ever joint military exercises with neighbouring Syria.
“Israel’s reaction does not interest us. We do not have to explain to a third country any military exercise that we undertake with another country,” General Basbug told a news conference here.
“The exercises only concern Turkey and Syria,” he added, describing the three-day manoeuvres as a “small-scale” affair between teams of border troops.
On Monday, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak called the exercises as a “worrying” development.
“The military manoeuvres are a worrying development, but the strategic ties uniting Israel and Turkey will prevail,” Barak said.
Non-Arab and secular Turkey is one of Israel’s rare allies in the Muslim world, with the two countries signing a military cooperation accord in 1996, much to the anger of Arab countries and Iran.
Syria is one of the Jewish state’s top foes, and the two countries remain in a technical state of war since 1948.
On the other hand, Turkey has significantly improved ties with Syria after a long period of animosity during which Ankara threatened war over what it saw as Damascus’s support for separatist Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey.
Turkey had hosted indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria last year, but the efforts were suspended following Israel’s deadly offensive on Gaza in December-January.
The Gaza offensive also hit Israel’s ties with Turkey, when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos with Israeli President Shimon Peres after accusing the Jewish state of “barbarian” acts against the Palestinians.
[Tamil terrorist wanted for assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.]
Indo-Asian News Service
Why should I keep him… India has the right… a man who is responsible for killing Rajiv Gandhi (former Indian prime minister in 1991), one of the greate
India has reiterated that Sri Lanka capture Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran alive and extradite him to India, sources in the external affairs ministry said on Tuesday.
“India will continue to request that Prabhakaran be caught alive,” a ministry source said.
At the same time, New Delhi is aware that Colombo will hand him over only after trying him in Sri Lanka for the crimes he has committed in that country, the source pointed out.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Monday Colombo would extradite Prabhakaran, if caught alive, to India – but after first putting him through trial in his country.
In an interview to CNN IBN channel, Rajapaksa said it was “almost over” for the LTTE chief and he could be caught very soon.
Asked whether Prabhakaran would be extradited to India, Rajapaksa said: “First he will have to go through our trial… And then might send him to India.”
“Why should I keep him… India has the right… a man who is responsible for killing Rajiv Gandhi (former Indian prime minister in 1991), one of the greatest leaders,” he said.
A Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber had blown up Gandhi during a poll rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in May 1991.
The sources also said that as the Sri Lanka military ceased its combat operations against the LTTE, its conventional capabilities had been hit but its command and control systems remained intact.
Thus, there was a possibility of suicide bombings in Sri Lanka in the wake of the operations against the Tigers.
The sources send two de-mining teams would be sent to clear the areas that have been recaptured from the rebels.
This apart, India will step up its humanitarian assistance to Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka who have been displaced by the military offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels, the sources said.
“India is still very concerned about the civilian population in the no-combat zone. We will step up our humanitarian assistance to the Tamil civilians by sending shipments of food, medicine and other essential supplies,” the source said.
[Blowback for British plots to maintain lost empire. SEE: Another London Link to Southeast Asia Terror, Wahabbi Madrassas, ALSO: UK charity head held over Bangladesh “bomb factory”, AS WELL AS: South Asian Terrorism: All Roads Lead To The British Empire]
|www.chinaview.cn 2009-04-29 18:36:27|
COLOMBO, April 29 (Xinhua) — A group of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks protested against Britain here Wednesday as Foreign Minister David Miliband is making a 24-hour visit to the island.
Activists of ultra nationalist JHU or the Heritage Party gathered opposite the British High Commission while Miliband was being received by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama.
A group of around 150 including JHU’s leading legislators were present at the demonstration.
“Miliband is a representative of terrorists. He is here to help (Tamil Tiger rebels’ leader) Prabhakaran,” Udaya Gammanpila, a JHU spokesman told the gathering.
Miliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner arrived in the island in the early hours of Wednesday for the visit.
They would meet Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and travel to the northern town of Vavuniya to look at welfare centers for the war-displaced civilians.
“Britain did not provide even a biscuit to the displaced, but trying to help the terrorists,” the JHU spokesman added.
Britain and France, both with a large Tamil diaspora, have been calling for a ceasefire in the battle against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.
The Anglo-French foreign ministers’ visits came closely on the heels of a visit by the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, who failed to reach an agreement with the Sri Lankan government on the access to the conflict area by the UN.
The international focus on Sri Lanka has been raised since last week when a large number of Tamil civilians trapped in the northern battle zone escaped into government-controlled territory.
The Sri Lankan government said its combat operations against the LTTE in the north had reached their conclusion and the security forces would end the use of heavy weapons which could cause civilian causalities, but it clarified later that its operation of rescuing civilians would continue.
The government said it is on the verge of totally crushing the LTTE as almost all of the 15,000-sq-km territory held by the LTTE has been captured by the government in a military offensive launched in 2006 while the LTTE have been boxed in a safety zone less than 10 sq km.
| ISLAMABAD: Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas Wednesday said 50 militants were killed when security forces pounded militants positions in Buner on Wednesday.
Giving a press briefing here, the DG ISPR said 2 caches of militants’ arms were also destroyed in Buner.
He said operation is underway in Ambela and Milandar and that stiff resistance is being faced by the troops in mountainous area of Ambela.
The DG ISPR said the armed forces secured control of Dagar after a successful operation and the civil administration has been asked assume control of the area. One security man was killed and three injured in the action.
Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said the forces also managed to recover 18 FC men out of 70 abducted by the militants. However, he said the militants’ siege on Ziarat Pir Baba, Sultan Was and Nawagai police staions continues.
He said Pakistan’s armed forces possess the capability of dealing with any kind of security challenge. The armed forces will never disappoint Pakistan’s nation, he added.
BUNER: Security forces Wednesday took control of Dagar town, headquarters of Buner district.
Security forces sources told media that heliborne forces successfully landed at Dagar and surrounding areas and secured Dagar, headquarters of Buner district,” the military added in a statement.
Troops launched an operation in Buner town near the Swat valley on Tuesday, in an intensified effort to flush out Taliban militants.
Earlier, security forces ended operation against militants in Lower Dir. Minister for Interior Rehman Malik Regarding the military action in Lower Dir, said it was against the miscreants who wanted to sabotage the peace process in the area. He said as many as 70 miscreants had so far been killed in the action, while there were reports of the presence of 450 more miscreants in the area.
Meanwhile, Dagar and Pir Baba areas remained under curfew as shelling by gunship helicopters continued in Dagar, Pir Baba, Babaji Kand and Karakar areas of Buner.
GENEVA, Apr 28: Up to one million people are displaced in northwestern Pakistan where militants are feeding on local discontent and strife, humanitarian and local officials from Pakistan warned on Tuesday.
Officials from Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province appealed for international relief aid at an unprecedented meeting with relief agencies and donor countries in Geneva.
‘We are hearing a lot of pledges and promises made from the international community to Pakistan, and many of them are for security, for the police and the army, but the civilians are not getting what they are supposed to,’ said Sitara Ayaz, minister for social welfare and development in the province.
‘In our province we need more support and help from the international community,’ she said after the two-day meeting in Geneva.
The UN’s World Food Programme is working on an estimate of about 600,000 people for food aid in the area, spokewoman Emilia Casella told AFP.
Local officials put the figure at closer to one million, with about 80 per cent of them housed with friends or relatives, sometimes five or six families to a home.
‘It is a serious humanitarian situation of major magnitude,’ warned Dennis McNamara, an adviser at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, which organised the meeting.
‘The registered UN figure for displaced civilians is over half a million. The NWFP relief commissioner says if we get registration completed it may be closer to a million in total.’
‘It is a certainly a major displacement, one of the world’s biggest if these figures are right,’ added McNamara, a former senior UN refugee official.
A provincial minister said in Pakistan on Tuesday that around 30,000 people in the northwest have been displaced since the weekend by a military offensive to flush out Taliban militants.
Participants at the Geneva meeting said impoverished civilians were paying the price for the unrest and the humanitarian strife, and were easily wooed by militants such as the Taliban.
‘They can easily be recruited, because they are bitter and they have suffered,’ said one of the participants from North West Frontier Province.
Updated at: 0430 PST, Wednesday, April 29, 2009 GENEVA: Up to one million people are displaced in northwestern Pakistan where militants are feeding on local discontent and strife, local officials and humanitarian workers warned on Tuesday. Officials from Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province appealed for international relief aid at an unprecedented meeting with relief agencies and donor countries in Geneva. “We are hearing a lot of pledges and promises made from the international community to Pakistan, and many of them are for security, for the police and the army, but the civilians are not getting what they are supposed to,” said Sitara Ayaz, minister for social welfare and development in the province. “In our province we need more support and help from the international community,” she said after the two-day meeting in Geneva. The UN’s World Food Programme is working on an estimate of about 600,000 displaced who need food aid in the area, spokeswoman Emilia Casella told media. Local officials put the figure at closer to one million, with about 80 percent of them housed with friends or relatives — sometimes five or six families to a home. “It is a serious humanitarian situation of major magnitude,” warned Dennis McNamara, an adviser at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, which organised the meeting. “The registered UN figure for displaced civilians is over half a million. The NWFP relief commissioner says if we get registration completed it may be closer to a million in total. “It is a certainly a major displacement, one of the world’s biggest if these figures are right,” added McNamara, a former senior UN refugee official.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What are the sides participating in the fighting in the Pakistani tribal region? Would you give us an idea about those that bore arms against the Pakistani army?[Gul] There are two categories of fighters in the tribal region. The first category consists of those that are fighting to avenge what took place in Pakistan following the 11 September 2001 attacks, especially those that are fighting to avenge what happened during the military operation that was carried out in the Red Mosque or the Lal Masjid. But these are not currently active after the new government took over power in Islamabad. This issue could be settled if we had an independent judicial authority in Pakistan that would investigate the killing that took place in the Red Mosque. These citizens continue to carry out acts of vengeance in some places. The second category consists of the criminal elements that fled from the Pakistani cities and found refuge in the tribal region. For example, one armed sectarian organization that was pursued in the Pakistani cities has fled and found refuge in the tribal region. The mujahidin know that these are criminal elements and do not provide them with any support. At the same time, however, they do not wish to open two fronts at the same time and thus they do not wish to fight them. Third, the US intelligence service has established more than 50 units in the Pakistani tribal region. These units are backed by the Indian intelligence services. These recruit the locals and foreign elements in the tribal region. Fourth, there are the mujahidin who wish to leave Pakistan and fight. But when the Pakistani army launched operations against them, they had no choice but to fight the Pakistani army. And this is what the Americans want. They want to see these mujahidin fighting against the Pakistani army and not crossing the borders to fight the Americans and the international forces.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] How did the Pakistani intelligence services help in establishing the Taliban movement? Is it paying the price at present?
[Gul] We helped the Taliban at first but we ended the training in 1989 and everything came to a stop. Most of the members of the Taliban movement were Afghan veterans that were trained during the Afghan war. We did not train anyone after 1989. So this training stopped about 20 years ago. Naturally, those that we trained have become older. So you give the wrong impression when you say that they are the same citizens that we trained.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] But is the support network that you established for the Afghan jihad active now in fighting against the Pakistani army?
[Gul] No, it is not the same network but the same spirit of jihad dominates the scene. There is no network. Only look at the scene in the tribal region. There is no network there. Each tribe is fighting in its region and no tribe crosses to the region of the other tribe. Each tribe has its command structure. At present, they have formed the “Tehrik-e Pakistan Taliban” (The Pakistani Taliban Movement) but it does not control all the Taliban groups in the tribal region.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] How and from where did the Pakistani Taliban Movement obtain their resources, such as arms and funds?
[Gul] The Americans are supplying them with arms and equipment. This is a unique characteristic of the tribal region. They are prepared to accept arms from any source. During the period of the Afghan jihad, the Russians gave them arms to fight against the Pakistani army. The citizens in these regions accepted money and arms from the Russians but they did not fight against the Pakistani army as the Russians wanted. Now there is a difference. They are accepting arms and money from the Americans and also fighting the Pakistani army. Why this difference? It is very simple: The Pakistani army is killing them and conducting major operations against them.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you think that the Pakistani army generals are turning a blind eye to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban that cross the border to fight the international forces in Afghanistan?
[Gul] They are indeed crossing the border and entering Afghanistan, but this is not confined only to the residents of the tribal region. Let me tell you that citizens from Punjab are going and fighting in Afghanistan.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you totally reject the idea that the Pakistani intelligence service has connections to the Taliban movement?
[Gul] No, let me tell you what kind of connections. I am a retired official but the al-Qaeda Afghan elements – Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Karzai, and others – are against Pakistan but they are my friends. As far as I am concerned, they are old friends. So there are social relations. But it is not true at all to say that Pakistani intelligence officials are now supporting the Taliban movement and that this is their policy. This is incorrect.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] A report published in The New York Times has said that Jalaluddin Haqqani, a commander in the Taliban movement, is backed by the Pakistani intelligence services. Is this true?
[Gul] Jalalludin Haqqani is a personal friend of mine. When I sent my two sons to Afghanistan to wage jihad against the Soviet forces they fought alongside Jalalludin Haqqani’s men. He is a very, very good man. However, this does not mean that I am in a position now to give him support. His family has been in Pakistan for 30 years. There are 2.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and they will continue to come and go from and to Afghanistan.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] You mentioned having social relations with Afghan leaders and Taliban commanders. Did you ever meet Ayman al-Zawahiri or Mullah Omar or Osama Bin Laden?
[Gul] Let me make one point clear: During the Afghan jihad the Pakistani intelligence services trained Afghans only; we did not train non-Afghans. We received people for training through Afghan sides; no one came to us directly. We made sure that they were all Afghans. The Arabs and other nationalities had their private camps in Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden was never in contact with us. The first time I met Osama Bin Laden was in Sudan after I retired. We used to hear from the Americans that Osama Bin Laden is a great warrior but we had no direct contact with him or with Abdullah Azzam (Osama Bin Laden’s spiritual guide during the Afghan jihad; he is Palestinian). We did not train anyone except Afghans.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] In your opinion, what are the goals for which the Taliban movement is fighting in Afghanistan and its goals for fighting in Pakistan?
[Gul] There are two goals and they are clear and simple. The first goal is to fight for freedom and the second is to apply Shariaa. When they were in power in Afghanistan, they applied Shariaa there and made gains. It is also true that they made many mistakes; they were young and had no experience in management. But in general, the resulting government was good. They established a central authority in Afghanistan and women were given their inheritance rights for the first time in the history of Afghan society. There were excesses, such as forcing women in the Afghan towns to put on the Burqu and men to grow beards. But they established the rule of law and order in the country and provided protection to the Afghan citizens. So the Taliban movement wants to apply Shariaa as an alternative system in Afghanistan.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] On one hand you say that the Americans are supplying the Taliban with arms and on another hand you say that the Americans oppose the Taliban movement.
[Gul] Yes, they are doing all those things. They are executing their plans. They want the national Pakistani youths to fight against the Pakistani army and they have succeeded in this.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Are there any contacts between the Pakistani intelligence services and the Taliban movement at present?
[Gul] No, there may be social relations as I just told you. Many Afghans come to meet me and I never ask them whether they are Taliban or which side they follow.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] But don’t you have official contacts with the Taliban?
[Gul] The Taliban surfaced as a movement three years ago after it became independent from the Pakistani intelligence services. It had a relationship with the Afghan mujahidin. The Taliban movement as an organization appeared later.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Is it possible that some neighboring countries, like Iran and Pakistan, are helping them?
[Gul] This is not true; it is mere propaganda to turn Arab public opinion against Iran. Iran is involved in Khoram [place name as transliterated], close to the Afghan border, where there are sectarian clashes. But let me tell you that the Americans are involved in the sectarian clashes in Pakistan.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you think that some Al-Qaeda leaders are now present in Iran?
[Gul] You know that after the Al-Qaeda dispersed in Afghanistan following the US attack there, many of them were arrested in Pakistan and some of them were killed. After that, they turned to Iran and the Iranian government did not arrest any of them. Some of them were put in prison but they were later released. This is very suspicious. The Americans did not say a word regarding this. Osama Bin Laden has three wives and about 18 children. Where did they all go? They all fled via Iran.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you think that the Taliban will regain power in Afghanistan once again? If so, what is the timeframe?
[Gul] I am not saying that the Taliban will regain Afghanistan. But I am certain that the freedom-loving Afghan citizens will soon be in power in Afghanistan.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] When will this happen? What is the timeframe that you expect for this to happen?
[Gul] Not more than two years. I think the United States will have to leave Afghanistan.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] How long do you think the Americans will remain in Afghanistan?
[Gul] If the Americans are wise, they will leave Afghanistan within one year. If they are not wise, Pakistan will witness a revolution as a result of the US presence in Afghanistan. They will be defeated in Afghanistan and they will have to leave Afghanistan in 2010 or 2011.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you think that Al-Qaeda has or has tried to procure weapons of mass destruction?
[Gul] This is sheer US propaganda because it wants to destroy Pakistan’s nuclear power. The Pakistani nuclear program is the main goal of the Americans.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Who is in charge of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal? Is it under the command of the army or the president?
[Gul] In principle, these are elastic arrangements. The nuclear arsenal was under the command of the army in the days of former President General Zia-ul-Haq. After that, the nuclear command body was formed and a very detailed structure was put in place to control the nuclear weapons. In practice, the arsenal is under the control of the Pakistani president. The problem is that former President Musharraf changed the political system into a presidential system although we are a parliamentary system. Thus, the responsibility of protecting the Pakistani nuclear program is in the hands of President Asif Ali Zardari.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] When former President Pervez Musharraf was in power, we used to hear that his life was in danger because Al-Qaeda wants to kill him. Do you think that Al-Qaeda is threatening Zardari?
[Gul] This depends on Asif Ali Zardari’s behavior. So far, he has not done anything to provoke such a threat except the military operation in the tribal Bajwar regions under pressure from the Americans. But so far, Zardari has not reached the point where his life may be a target for Al-Qaeda.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] How do you spend your time since you retired from your post?
[Gul] I lecture in some universities and other educational institutions. I keep in touch with the media, I tour Pakistan, and I address various gatherings of Pakistanis.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you feel threatened? Do you need or do you have private bodyguards to protect you?
[Gul] Some come to me and say I need some kind of protection. But I put my faith in God. Second, the area where I live is well protected but I put my faith in God.
[Critique of interview with former ISI chief, Gen. Hamid Gul.]
There are certain explanations of the phenomenon of the Taliban which tend to strengthen the broad misconceptions on the subject in Pakistan. When these come from retired Pakistani generals, such “theorising” points to the intent behind the policies followed in the past; it also complicates the collective effort in Pakistan to face up to the threat of the Taliban. Above all, it highlights the “psychological” problems among the officers who dealt with the Americans on the one hand and Afghan warlords on the other as “partners” in Afghanistan, and their ultimate “break” with the post-9/11 decisions made in Islamabad.
Some retired officers say the Taliban are fighting to avenge what took place in Pakistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks, especially those [Taliban] fighting to avenge what happened during the military operation that was carried out in Lal Masjid. But, they claim, these are not currently active after the new government took over power in Islamabad. Who, then, are these Taliban who apparently went to Afghanistan after 9/11 to “fight the Americans” and then got offended with the Lal Masjid operation in 2007, and then in 2008 simply stopped existing?
What has been left out in these claims is the “creation” of Pakistani Taliban to help the Kabul government of Mullah Umar after 1997 against resistance from what later came to be called Northern Alliance, whose leader Ahmad Shah Massoud was killed by Al Qaeda hours before 9/11. No reference is made by these retired army officials to the despatch of thousands of seminarians from the Pakistani border areas into Afghanistan as warriors. Before 9/11, when the Americans were bothered by Al Qaeda and wanted Pakistan to help get the Taliban to oust Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan, Pakistan decided to pursue strategic depth instead of fighting global terrorism. In fact, there is some evidence that on the Pakistani side, policy was “diversified” on the basis of “personal” affiliations between Mullah Umar and some key Pakistani officials.
One general interviewed proudly said that when “he sent his two sons to jihad” against the Soviet forces “along with the Afghan jihadi leader Jalaluddin Haqqani” it was on the general pattern of intelligence officers pursuing state policy without letting their personal friendships with the Taliban get in the way. Here is one classic view: “I am a retired official but the Al Qaeda Afghan elements — Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Karzai (sic!), and others — are against Pakistan, but they are my friends”. What applies to this gentleman is, however, not supposed to apply to the personnel now in service. This is supposed to mean that the “allegations” that Pakistan has a nexus with Haqqani and Hekmatyar today are incorrect. The opposite is the case actually.
The part about those among the Taliban who were offended by the Lal Masjid affair and then “gave up” after the coming to power of the new government in 2008, remains obscure. Lal Masjid was the underside of Pakistan’s Taliban policy of “strategic depth”. The non-Islamists within the structure of the state focused on its India-specific intent and were not bothered by the nexus they thus formed with officials who interpreted “depth” as a transformation of Pakistan itself. Lal Masjid was allowed to become a watering-hole of all kinds of terrorist organisations with Al Qaeda affiliations. The proof of this came when revenge against the Lal Masjid operation was vowed by Aiman Al Zawahiri himself in a special message and echoed by the Taliban in South Waziristan and Swat.
The assertion that “we helped the Taliban at first but we ended the training in 1989”, leaves out the entire swath of activities that involved the preparation of jihadi organisations inside Pakistan used in Indian-administered Kashmir as “freedom-fighters” despite the fact that they were beginning to be dubbed terrorists at the UN Security Council and put on watch-lists in the West. As Mr Rehman Malik says, these Pakistan-trained militias are now with the Taliban.
To say that “the Americans are supplying the Taliban with arms and equipment” today is to reject the logic of war through an intricate imagination of conspiracy. It is like saying that Baitullah Mehsud is supplied with money and material by the US and India and then bombed through drones to get him to strike at Pakistan at Manawan in Lahore. But the interviewee calls this logic “very simple”. Also the argument that the Taliban were able to dominate in Afghanistan because of their advocacy of sharia, and that women had rights under them, is also “very simple”. It is also “very simple” that after this interview, Pakistan will have even less credibility in the eyes of the world. *
[Here is the man who knows all the smoking guns in the madrassa program to radicalize Pakistani youth and the secret program to create an international jihadi force, “the base.”]
LAHORE: The Pakistan Army did not want to intervene in politics, but there could be a coup if the civilian government did not improve its performance, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, said on Monday. He said Pakistan could survive the Taliban threat provided its military remains intact. The former ambassador to Washington also called for the speedy withdrawal of United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces from Afghanistan, saying that they are “not welcome” there. “As long as the armed forces are intact, the state is not going to be at risk,” he told The Washington Times. The prince, who oversaw the funding two decades ago that helped create the Taliban during the fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, downplayed concerns about Pakistan’s stability. The former Saudi intelligence chief said the Taliban were not a monolithic organisation and suggested that Islamabad had not found the right way of dealing with them. He added that “one of the biggest stumbling blocks” in his work, as intelligence chief until 2001 was the United States protection of sources coming from other countries. daily times monitor
LAHORE/MINGORA: The Tehreek-e-Nifaaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) has warned of a ‘storm’ across Pakistan if the Malakand peace deal collapses. “The peace accord has weakened and is shaky,” Sufi Muhammad’s son Rizwanullah Farooq said by telephone from Swat on Tuesday. “If it breaks, there will be a storm in the whole country.” Meanwhile, TNSM spokesman Ameer Izzat Khan said at a press conference that the Taliban had neither destroyed public property in Maidan nor declared war. He said there was no justification for the operation in Maidan. daily times monitor/ghulam farooq
PESHAWAR: Only 17.2 percent of people in the Tribal Areas see armed resistance as the most preferred type of jihad, while 57.4 percent say it is learning the Holy Quran and modern sciences, a study reveals. As many as 24.1 percent thought that jihad is the name of peaceful resistance to oppression, the study by Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP) said. According to the study, 21.9 percent respondents held bad governance structure for the extremism while 24.4 percent said poverty was driving people towards extremism. Around 44.8 percent respondents believed illiteracy was responsible for rising religious extremism in the borderlands while 26.4 percent said the Afghan conflict was equally responsible for the situation prevailing in their areas. As many as 88.58 respondents said that firearms proliferated from from Afghanistan, while 1.52 percent thought the Dara Adam Khel, the study said. iqbal khattak
Last year U.S. military operations crossed another threshold in Pakistan. For the first time, a Predator ‘drone’ fired missiles into Bannu area in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), away from the seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas where it conducts raids with impunity.
Attacking the self-governing and semi-autonomous FATA on the Afghan border, is one thing, but targeting the North West Frontier Province, or settled areas, is quite another. The people apprehend, this and similar acts if not stopped by Zardari government, the drone raids would escalate to settled areas including the metro cities like Lahore and Karachi as well. In other words it will no more be a war on terror but a war on Pakistan itself.
by JONATHAN S. LANDAY
Even as the Obama administration launches new drone attacks into Pakistan’s remote tribal areas, concerns are growing among U.S. intelligence and military officials that the strikes are bolstering the Islamic insurgency by prompting Islamist radicals to disperse into the country’s heartland.
Al-Qaida, Taliban and other militants who’ve been relocating to Pakistan’s overcrowded and impoverished cities may be harder to find and stop from staging terrorist attacks, the officials said.
Moreover, they said, the strikes by the missile-firing drones are a recruiting boon for extremists because of the unintended civilian casualties that have prompted widespread anger against the U.S.
“Putting these guys on the run forces a lot of good things to happen,” said a senior U.S. defense official who requested anonymity because the drone operations, run by the CIA and the Air Force, are top-secret. “It gives you more targeting opportunities. The downside is that you get a much more dispersed target set and they go to places where we are not operating.”
U.S. drone attacks “may have hurt more than they have helped,” said a U.S. military official who’s been deeply involved in counterterrorism operations. The official, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, called the drone operations a “recruiting windfall for the Pakistani Taliban.”
“A significant number of bad actors aren’t where they used to be,” but have moved to “places where we can’t get at them the way we could,” he added.
As a result of the drone attacks, insurgent activities are “more dispersed in Pakistan and focusing on Pakistani targets,” said Christine Fair of the RAND Corp., a policy institute that advises the Pentagon. “So we have shifted the costs.”
President Barack Obama for now has embraced the drone strikes, which U.S. officials said have killed up to one dozen important al-Qaida operatives.
“If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we’re going after them,” Obama said in a March 29 interview with CBS News.
Several U.S. intelligence, military officials and independent experts, however, said that they’re especially worried by an influx of extremists from the tribal areas into the slums of Karachi. The capital of southern Sindh Province, with a population of at least 12 million, is Pakistan’s financial center and main port as well as the entry point for most of the supplies bound for U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Many militants are thought to have taken refuge among Karachi’s estimated 3.5 million Pashtuns, the ethnic group comprising the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their presence is stoking tensions with other groups in the southern city, which has a long history of communal bloodshed and terrorism, including against Western targets.
“The who’s who of extremism is present in Karachi,” said Faisal Ali Subzwari, a Sindh government minister. “There are many areas where police and (paramilitary) Rangers cannot even dare to enter. It is a safe haven for those who want a hiding place.”
Subzwari, whose Mohajir Quami Movement represents immigrants from India and has repeatedly warned of the “Talibanization” of Karachi, said that part of his own constituency is one of these “no-go” areas.
U.S. officials have long identified Karachi as the headquarters of the Afghan Taliban’s fundraising committee, and many top militants were educated at the Binori Mosque, a key center of radical Islamic ideology. A “feeder” network of militant seminaries in Karachi supplies young suicide bombers, they said.
An upheaval in Karachi, home to Pakistan’s stock exchange and other financial institutions, would be catastrophic for a country that has only avoided bankruptcy with a $7.6 billion International Monetary Fund emergency credit line. Financial activities, as well as imports and exports for both Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan, could be paralyzed, as could supplies for U.S.-led NATO forces in the region.
Concerns over “blowback” from the drone strikes is fueling a debate in the Obama administration over whether they should be extended from the Federally Administered Tribal Area, the region bordering eastern Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden is thought to be hiding, to Baluchistan Province, the alleged refuge of the Afghan Taliban leadership, U.S. officials said.
Proponents of the drone strikes cite the killing of key al-Qaida operatives and the disruption of the terrorist network’s ability to plot new attacks; opponents, said to include some senior administration officials, fear that the operations are too destabilizing for nuclear-armed Pakistan and are doing nothing to halt the insurgencies tearing through the country and Afghanistan
“There is no uniform opinion on this,” the senior defense official said. “You have some concerns that they are causing a ripple effect, that the consequences are too large for Pakistan to absorb.”
Several U.S. officials argued that it would be easier for U.S. and Pakistani authorities, including the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, to track down militants who leave the remote border region for the cities. They pointed out that senior al-Qaida operatives in U.S. custody were found in Pakistani urban areas.
Critics, however, noted that the ISI and the Pakistani military can’t be relied on to cooperate, because while they’ve turned over foreign militants, some former and current ISI and army officers are believed to support Afghan and Pakistani groups.
There have been dozens of drone strikes in the past year, the most recent killing 13 people in the tribal region of North Waziristan. The next day, a top Pakistani Taliban leader threatened to launch two suicide attacks every week unless the strikes stop. His threat followed a series of suicide bombings in the heartland province of Punjab.
A senior Pakistani official reiterated the government’s opposition to the drone operations after talks in Islamabad with Richard Holbrooke, the special U.S. representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“They (drone strikes) are counterproductive,” said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. “My view is they are causing collateral damage, my view is that they are alienating people, my view is that they are working to the advantage of the extremists. We (Pakistan and the U.S.) have agreed to disagree on this
Source: McClatchy Newspapers, Wshington
Tariq Al-Maeena | email@example.com
|The Western reaction to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN Conference on Racism, dubbed Durban II, has run on predictable lines.
At the precise moment that Ahmadinejad mentioned Israel, many of the Western diplomats took it as a cue to walk out. Said the UK’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Peter Gooderham: “As soon as President Ahmadinejad started talking about Israel, that was the cue for us to walk out. We agreed in advance that if there was any such rhetoric there would be no tolerance for it.” He concluded by adding that Ahmadinejad was guilty of anti-Semitism.
The fact is the boycotting delegates never heard his speech throughout. What the Iranian leader stated in his speech is there for all to see: “How can we expect the realization of justice and peace when discrimination is legalized and the origin of the law is dominated by coercion and force rather than by justice and the rights?
“The victorious powers called themselves the conquerors of the world while ignoring or treading upon rights of other nations by the imposition of oppressive laws and international arrangements.”
And referring to the continuous appeasement of Israel’s genocides by the UN Security Council, he added, “…they resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering and they sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine. And, in fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine.”
“The Security Council helped stabilize the occupying regime and supported it in the past 60 years giving them a free hand to commit all sorts of atrocities. It is all the more regrettable that a number of Western governments and the United States have committed themselves to defending those racist perpetrators of genocide while the awakened-conscience and free-minded people of the world condemn aggression, brutalities and the bombardment of civilians in Gaza. The supporters of Israel have always been either supportive or silent against the crimes.”
He went on to question the immoral war against the Iraqi people. “Why, indeed, almost a million people were killed and injured and a few more millions were displaced? Why, indeed, the Iraqi people have suffered enormous losses amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars? And why was billions of dollars imposed on the American people as the result of these military actions? Was not the military action against Iraq planned by the Zionists and their allies in the then US administration in complicity with the arms manufacturing countries and the possessors of wealth?”
Were these words fueled by anti-Semitism or simply a statement of the cold realities that have engulfed the Middle East since this pariah state was imposed on the region, a state whose morals are predicated by the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians? There is nothing in his speech that could be construed as racist.
Were not the boycotting diplomats aware of the holocausts being perpetuated against the lawful residents of the land for the past 60 years? Were they not aware of what happened in Lebanon and more recently in Gaza?
Just what prompts a diplomat to shy away from truth? Perhaps they are following US foreign policy mandate that no one should criticize Israel, whatever its actions or policies. And there is documented evidence to prove that war crimes had been committed against the innocent civilians in Gaza in the recent war.
Or were the seasoned diplomats who walked out intimidated by the fear they would be dubbed anti-Semite had they chosen to remain seated? Does this collective fear of hearing the truth reside deep in their subconscious, or is it a reflection of the unspoken guilt that perhaps persists within them, a guilt borne of their inability to prevent the first Holocaust during World War II. Or was it simply because they did not have the courage to hear and speak the truth? Any way you look at it, it smacks of hypocrisy.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store stated it best during a news conference. “If we start walking out every time we feel uncomfortable dealing with our ideological rivals, the world would be the one to lose,” he said.
Stephen Zunes | April 27, 2009
Editor: John Feffer
It is time for peace in the region. The only way this is possible is for the U.S. military to let the Afghans freely choose their next president, order U.S. military to stand down, end combat operations, and ensure that no country establishes intelligence outposts in Afghanistan. This especially includes India. If this does not happen, the U.S. military will continue to destabilize the region for a long time to come. And India should expect a bloody conflict if it establishes a military presence in Pakistan’s backyard. Of all people, Indian officials know this is no walk in the park. Hence India’s reluctance to make its Afghan plans public.
By Masood Sharif Khan Khattak
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan— A five-point plan to bring peace to Afghanistan and the region:
1. NATION BUILDING INSTEAD OF MILITARY FORCE:
A unilateral ceasefire should be announced by U.S. and NATO saying that military operations, henceforth, will only be undertaken in self-defense. Simultaneously, the offer of peace talks must be made to the Afghan Taliban.
A resolution must come forth from all the stakeholders—i.e., the USA, the UN Security Council, NATO, the UK, other major EU and NATO countries, and from Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India—that they all resolve to bring peace to Southwest Asia by replacing military activity with developmental activity.
2. Military Stand Down
The United States must also announce unilaterally after the preliminary rounds of peace talks that it will relocate its forces to their prewar, non-combat posture as a prelude to an eventual and complete military evacuation within a reasonable time frame.
3. Free & Fair Presidential Elections in Afghanistan
The upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan must be treated as a window of opportunity and they should be conducted by the Afghan people themselves, with the help of observers and expert teams from Islamic countries chosen by the Afghans, for the sake of neutrality. The U.S., although militarily present in Afghanistan, should voluntarily adopt the role of a non-interfering observer after having made it clear that violence will not be tolerated. The U.S. should let it be the fairest of elections. Let anyone who the people of Afghanistan genuinely want to elect win. The Afghan Taliban must be allowed to field their candidate(s) and let them all contest freely. Whatever government then comes into existence in Afghanistan must take up nation building activity of that war-ravaged nation in right earnest.
4. End Indian Presence On Afghan Soil
The US should order all Indian presence out of Afghanistan as this is seen by Pakistanis as an outright hostile act against Pakistan. It cannot be said in any other way because the US and NATO facilitation of the Indian intelligence agencies to operate against Pakistan’s interests from outposts in Afghanistan can only be seen as detrimental to Pakistan’s integrity. Ask anyone on the street anywhere in Pakistan‘s remotest corner and he or she will wonder why the government of Pakistan is not protesting to the US on this point. Being an ally in what is called by the Americans themselves “a common war” the US has no alternative but to put a stop to Indian activities in Afghanistan forthwith in order to win the friendship of the Pakistani nation. Let Afghanistan become sovereign again and then decide for itself how much Indian presence they would want in Afghanistan. The Indians should also know that if they accept any military role in Afghanistan they will get a taste of unconventional warfare that they will not be able to sustain for even a few weeks. Occupied Kashmir violence will be so dwarfed that the Indians will be wonderstruck if they ever choose to accept any military role in Afghanistan.
5. US must Stop the Demonization of Pakistan
Lastly, if it wants Pakistan to be on its side as an ally, the US should immediately stop demonizing the Pakistani military establishment. The allegations against the ISI and the Pakistani army are unwarranted. Who has suffered more casualties in hostilities at the hands of the Taliban: The Pakistani army or the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan?
Pakistan has already done enough at the cost of its own national fabric being torn to shreds. It is now time for peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the entire region.
It is in the long-term interest of the United States itself to seek peace rather than continue to destabilize the region through a heavy military presence in a combat role.
It is also not going to be long before the cash starved US public starts calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; a call no US administration will be able to ignore. This region will then be lost to the USA for many decades to come.
The above exit strategy will have enormous dividends for all the stakeholders—i.e., the USA, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Contrarily, indefinite US military occupation of Afghanistan will create a devastating turmoil in the region. Resultantly, the US will lose its present foothold in Afghanistan and Pakistan just like it lost its foothold in post-1979 Iran.
The writer is former Director-general of the Intelligence Bureau and former vice-president of the PPP Parliamentarians. This is a reduced and edit version produced by AhmedQuraishi.com extracted from the original published by Pakistan’s The News International. Mr. Khattak can be reached at masoodsharifkhattakATgmail.com