Hamas Kills Two IDF In Deadly Firefight

Hamas gunmen in deadly clash with Israeli troops entering Gaza

Hamas gunmen opened fire on Israeli troops who crossed into Gaza on Friday, killing two as tensions escalated following the most violent week since Israel’s invasion of the coast enclave 14 months ago.

By Adrian Blomfield in Jerusalem
Published: 5:12PM GMT 26 Mar 2010

A wounded Israeli soldier is carried into a hospital by comrades in Beersheba

A wounded Israeli soldier is carried into a hospital by comrades in Beersheba Photo: REUTERS

The clashes came as Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, signalled for the first time since receiving a dressing down from US President Barack Obama on Tuesday that he would reject American demands to halt Jewish construction in East Jerusalem.

The Israeli army said two soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an exchange of fire near the Palestinian town of Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip. There were unconfirmed reports that two Hamas fighters were also killed.

After months of relative tranquillity following the end of Israel’s military offensive in January last year, there has been an upsurge in rocket attacks from Gaza over recent days, one of which killed a Thai immigrant working in a greenhouse north of the enclave last week.

In a development that will disturb Israel, Hamas admitted its forces were involved in yesterday’s clash. Responsibility for the rocket attacks of the past week has been claimed by Islamist groups largely opposed to Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007.

Shortly before Mr Netanyahu convened a secret session of his inner cabinet, a statement was released from the prime minister’s office indicating that Israel would give no ground on the settlement issue, which has caused the greatest chasm in its relations with the United States for many years.

"The prime minister’s position is that there is no change in Israel’s policy on Jerusalem that has been pursued by all governments of Israel for the past 42 years," the statement read.

Enraged by an Israeli decision to build 1,600 Jewish homes in East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War but seen by Palestinians as their future capital, Mr Obama called on Mr Netanyahu to reverse the move and make a series of confidence building gestures to restart peace talks.

While defying Mr Obama’s key demand, a spokesman for the prime minister said that he was prepared to take "additional steps to advance peace talks".

But a powerful pro-settlement lobby group within the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, urged Mr Netanyahu not to go even that far.

Possible Torpedoing of South Korean Navy Vessel

South Korea says not clear North involved in ship sinking

Cho Mee-young



Related News

South Korean naval ship Cheonan patrols the sea in an unidentified location in the territorial waters of South Korea in this undated file picture released by local Yonhap news agency in Seoul March 26, 2010. REUTERS/Yonhap/Files

(Reuters) – A South Korean naval ship was sinking on Friday night with more than 100 people on board, but officials played down earlier suggestions that it may have been the result of an attack by North Korea.


"It is not clear whether North Korea was involved," Presidential Blue House spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye told Reuters.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff also said it could not conclude that the reclusive North was behind the attack.

Earlier, South Korean media had quoted officials as saying the North could have torpedoed the ship near the disputed western sea border that separates the two Koreas.

The sinking comes as the impoverished North has become increasingly frustrated by its wealthy neighbor, which has given the cold-shoulder to recent attempts to reopen a lucrative tourist business on the northern side of the Cold War’s last frontier.

It also coincides with mounting pressure on Pyongyang to call off a more than one-year boycott of international talks to end its efforts to build a nuclear arsenal.

The presidential office had earlier also said a South Korean vessel had fired at an unidentified vessel in the North.

The government held an emergency security meeting following the incident, Yonhap news agency said.

The ship was sinking near the disputed Yellow Sea border off the west coast of the peninsula which was the scene of two deadly naval fights between the rival Koreas in the past decade.

Local media reports said at least 59 South Korean sailors survived the attack and an unknown number appeared to have been killed or are missing. A rescue operation was under way.

Navies from the rival Koreas exchanged gunfire for the first time in seven years in the Yellow Sea waters in November, damaging vessels on both sides.

The international community has been pressuring the North to give up efforts to build nuclear weapons, promising help for its broken economy if it does so.

There has been widespread speculation that North Korea’s iron ruler, Kim Jong-il, was about to visit China, his only significant ally and on which he has depended almost entirely for economic aid after a new conservative government in Seoul effectively ended years of free-flowing assistance.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a nuclear arms reduction treaty announced with Russia earlier in the day showed states like North Korea that non-proliferation was a top priority for Moscow and Washington.

(Additional reporting by Kim Miyoung and Jon Herskovitz in Seoul and Patricia Zengerle in Washington; writing by Jonathan Thatcher)

Large Explosion Sinks S. Korean Naval Vessel Near DMZ

South Korean navy ship sinks near sea border with North


A South Korean navy ship with about 100 personnel on board has sunk off the west coast near North Korea.

The exact cause of the sinking was unclear, but an explosion was reported in the rear of the ship.

There was speculation it could have been from a torpedo from the North. The involvement of North Korea has not been confirmed by officials.

More than 50 of the sailors were rescued from near Baengnyeong island by several navy and coastguard vessels.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who has convened an emergency meeting of security officials, had ordered the military to focus on rescuing the sailors, Yonhap news agency reported.

The police force was put on heightened alert in the capital, Seoul.

The 1,200-tonne ship began sinking about 2130 local time (1230 GMT), after an explosion, Yonhap said.


2009: One North Korean sailor killed in a naval battle

2002: Four South Korean sailors and an estimated 30 North Koreans killed in a naval battle

1999: At least 17 North Korean sailors believed killed in naval fire fight

1998: South Korea captures a North Korean mini-submarine in its waters

1996: A North Korean submarine runs aground in South Korean waters

The South Korean ministry of defence has not confirmed the reports of North Korean involvement.

There were reports that another South Korean ship had fired shots toward an unidentified ship in the North following the alleged torpedo attack.

One report, quoting the joint chiefs of staff, said the target turned out to be a flock of birds.

The apparent clash comes at a time of tension between the two Koreas. International talks aimed at ending the communist nation’s nuclear ambitions have been stalled for months.

Economic ties between the neighbours have also faltered, with continuing rows over both cross-border tourism and a joint economic zone at Kaesong.

The disputed sea boundary itself has seen numerous incidents, most recently in January and February.

In January, North Korea fired artillery into the sea near the disputed maritime border, as part of a "military drill". South Korea returned fire, but no injuries were reported.

The following month, North Korea declared four areas near the sea border to be naval firing zones, according to the South Korean military, and deployed multiple rocket launchers close to the frontier.

Deadly naval clashes happened in 1999 and in 2002 and the latest in November 2009 when a fire-fight left a North Korean patrol boat in flames and one person dead.

The South Korean vessel alleged that the North Korean vessel had crossed the disputed sea border – a charge North Korea denied.

South Korea recognises the Northern Limit Line, drawn unilaterally by the US-led United Nations Command to demarcate the sea border at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The line has never been accepted by North Korea.

Anti Assimilation Land™ – the explanation for everything

Mossad did not carry out the genocide of American Indians.

Anti Assimilation Land™ – the explanation for everything

What is Israel? If you listen to Xymphora, Israel is, cue the fanfare… Anti Assimilation Land™. This is a phrase of Xymph’s own creation and he’s clearly very fond of it. Says Xymph, Israel exists on account of Jewish people’s keenness for some kind of genetic purity. Or is it cultural purity? Whatever it is, Israel is the means whereby Jewish people can hang on to their treasured Jewishness.

What with Xymphora’s propensity for peremptorily banning people from his comments, it’s difficult to know but I ask the question regardless: Does Anti Assimilation Land™ as a description of Israel make any sense to anyone? Really? What is it?

I’ll admit I can understand the need of Jewish people to battle assimilation. It’s a war they’ve been losing for over 2000 years now. From the Marranos in Spain, the Donme in Turkey, and all those Sabbateans throughout the capitals of Europe, all exemplified by individuals like Shabbatai Tzevi and Jacob Frank through to Adam Pearlman and Joseph Cohen – it’s just been one long nightmarish haemorrhaging of the Jewish identity. Honestly, it’s a wonder that there’s any Jews left at all.

Fatuousness aside, Jews are about nothing if not anti-assimilation. And it was always thus: us-and-them is, was, and always will be, the alpha and omega of their DNA. It’s all that they are. There is nothingthat a distinct homeland like Israel can bring to this equation. Besides which, all the identity sapping Hollywood drivel that the Jews foist on goyim outside of Israel is all right there inside Israel. They even have their own skinheads who like to beat up Jews. As for genetic assimilation… ha ha ha – everyone may feel free to roll their eyes. Up at the pointy end of the pyramid, the once-were-Jewish Sabbateans who founded Israel and choose not to live there, can look after their genetic material perfectly well thanks very much. They don’t need a country for that. As for the dispensable hoi polloi, who cares? As long as they serve their masters, the masters don’t care if they’re black, white, or piebald.

Now that I think about it, the only rule is that wherever Jews live, they must look and sound just like everyone else. I know Jewish guys in China and Japan who married the locals and whose kids will be perfect Jewish chameleons. A jewish mother? All that persnickety shit? When it comes to the crunch none of it matters.

Xymphora’s description of Israel is nonsense, and specious nonsense at that. I don’t know where he’s leading people with such rubbish but I think the expression ‘nowhere useful’ should pretty much cover it. As far as Xymph is concerned the world is very simple. There are Jews who love Israel to a greater or lesser degree, and there are goyim. And that’s pretty much it. Banking is neither here nor there. The Protocols of Zion are a forgery. Apart from declared structures like AIPAC and the Bilderbergers etc. there are no structures that count. The pedophocracy doesn’t exist. Satanism? The stuff of movies. As to why the American ruling class seems to constantly betray its own interests, Xymph is stumped. And 911? A very tricky beast for Xymph, one which he approaches very warily – best not to go there really.

With such a worldview nothing but gibberish can result. And so it is with Xymph’s latest piece, some rubbish about Planning for a Post Israeli Warworld™. Apparently Jews have provided the Pentagon with Wars For The Jews™, ie. our current wars on Muslims, and what with Israel due for destruction any day now (no explanation as to why – it just is) the Pentagon will be stumped.

Folks in the Pentagon aren’t dumb. Withing ten years, Jewish Israel won’t exist. What then for the generals? How will the Pentagon transition to a world without Wars For The Jews?

No wars! Disaster! The world’s biggest military – running around like heads with no chickens.

But it’s good news apparently. Whilst the Jews do control the media, that’s not enough to control the Pentagon/MIC who are just too strong. So once Israel is gone, the Pentagon won’t need it to gin up wars for them and thus they can drop Israel. And then Israel, which was gone to begin with, will really be gone. Circular Logic – my favourite sort. Sure enough, without Israel as the only reason for Jewish control, America will be free at last, free at last! Or something like that. Either way, it’s good apparently and we should all be pleased.

Yeah. You’d have to wonder what the Pentagon did before the Israeli lobby took over US foreign policy. What were all those other wars? Why was the US in Hawaii, the Philippines, Central and South America? Were they to be homelands for the Jews? I’ll admit that it’s possible that all of those were Wars For The Jews™. But how could they have been, without Israel in the picture? Perhaps it was an anti-assimilation policy by way of a global thousand-points-of-light?

Keep in mind that in Xymph’s world there is no such thing as privately owned international banking, certainly none with any power to achieve anything. Adam Weisshaupt and his Rothschild bankrolled Illuminati friends played no role in the French revolution. No one backed Napoleon nor played both sides of the Napoleonic wars. No one bought the Bank of England. The first world war was some variety of well-what-do-you-expect. There were no bankers at Versailles. Stalin wasn’t bankrolled by anyone, nor was Hitler, well, not beyond some free beers at that beer hall that time. “Who wants the free beers?” “Just putsch them right here thanks barkeep!” hyuk hyuk.

Whatever. I just made all that up. Xymph doesn’t really do history. No need since it’s easier to dismiss banking as playing any role in anything. According to Xymphora, it’s all about Israel as ultimate be-all-and-end-all to Jewish aspirations with the ultimate tier of power in this enterprise comprised of The Jewish Billionaires™. These billionaires are not bankers but rather some variety of the owners of the means of production. Xymph is down with Marx in declaring ‘Bankers? What bankers?’

Meanwhile here at this infinitely less famous blog, where we groove on a slightly more nuanced view of the world, let’s see if we can’t paint a more sensible picture of Israel. In thinking that Israel is doomed, Xymph is actually correct. Israel is to be destroyed but notin spite of the best efforts of a handful of give-us-Israel-or-give-us-death billionaires. It’s to be destroyed because it, like Elvis and Michael Jackson, will have become more valuable dead than alive. And its founders who eat billionaires for breakfast won’t shed a tear. This on account of the fact they are perfectly cynical bastards who are as devoted to the Jewish cause as Walmart is to all their staff for whom they bought life insurance policies.

The people who founded Israel have ambitions way beyond the Shitty Little Country. They look at the world and think, ‘Why not?’ Go read the Protocols. Tell me it isn’t a blueprint, and a good one at that. And as if people with ambitions at that scale, along with the global-banking means to achieve it, are going to baulk at one crummy bit of real estate in a waterless DU dusted hellhole and all pivoting on a religion that they no longer believe in.

Israel was not founded to be a sanctuary for the Jews. This was just a cover story like WMD’s in Iraq was a cover story. We know this because the Nazi’s efforts to send the Jews of Germany to Israel were viewed by the Zionists not as any kind of gift horse but rather as an opportunity for protracted dental inspections. Besides which the Holocaust wasn’t re-imagined as, and named after, a variety of sacrifice for no reason.

Israel was just a vehicle, a geographically based means of utility, and all to the truly grand purpose of achieving the long sought after New World Order. The fact that the entire population of Israel fell for the lie that it was all about them was, well… what do you expect from the self-obsessed? Like they were ever going to believe otherwise.

And then there’s Xymphora. I’m not saying don’t read him. For everyone who lives in that world with no banking elite, free of satanists, organised paedophiles, and other such chimeras, and with the Jews solely in orbit around nothing but their Anti Assimilation Land™, he’s entirely peerless. Meanwhile back in the real world, I wouldn’t give you tuppence for him.

Russian oil major pulls out of Iran

Russian oil major pulls out of Iran


Russia’s largest private oil major said it was suspending an oil project in Iran because of U.S. pressure.

The LUKoil company issued a statement on Wednesday saying it had stopped further work on the Anaran project “because of the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. government.” It blamed the sanctions for a loss of some $63 million last year and said it feared more losses if it continued to carry on the project.

The Anaran field, with estimated oil reserves of 2 billion barrels, was operated by a consortium of Norwegian StatoilHydro (75 per cent) and LUKoil Overseas (25 per cent). LUKoil Overseas head Stanislav Kuzyev has clarified that his company retains its rights in the project and would be ready to return “under more favourable economic situation.”

LUKoil has 1,600 petrol filling stations in the U.S. and last year announced plans to build an oil refinery in the U.S. These investments would be vulnerable to tough sanctions the U.S. imposed on international energy companies operating in Iran.

The news of the LUKoil pullout came hours after a senior Russian diplomat said “clouds are gathering” over Tehran’s reluctance to accept a United Nations offer to replace fuel for an atomic reactor.

“Iran’s position leaves less and less room for diplomatic manoeuvre,” the diplomat told foreign media on condition of anonymity. The diplomat, however, said Russia would not support “paralysing sanctions” that could “punish 70 million Iranians”.

Late last year Russia’s Gazpromneft, an oil subsidiary of the natural gas monopoly Gazprom, signed an agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to jointly develop two oil fields in Iran. Gazprom also has an agreement with the NIOC to develop the South Pars gas field and build an oil refinery in Iran.

The McCain-Lieberman Police State Act

The McCain-Lieberman Police State Act

by Stephen Lendman

March 26, 2010

If enacted, it will advance what this writer addressed in a December 2007 article titled, “Police State America – A Look Back and Ahead,” covering numerous Bush administration laws, Executive Orders (EOs), National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives, edicts, and various illegal acts targeting designated domestic and foreign adversaries, dissent, civil liberties, human rights, and other democratic freedoms.

Straightaway post-9/11, George Bush signed a secret finding empowering the CIA to “Capture, Kill or Interrogate Al-Qaeda Leaders.” He also authorized establishing a covert global gulag to detain and interrogate them without guidelines on proper treatment.

Other presidential directives ordered abductions, torture and indefinite detentions. In November 2001, Military Order Number 1 empowered the Executive to capture, kidnap or otherwise arrest non-citizens (and later citizens) anywhere in the world for any reason and hold them indefinitely without charge, evidence, due process or judicial fairness protections of law.

The 2006 Military Commissions Act authorized torture and sweeping unconstitutional powers to detain, interrogate and prosecute alleged suspects and collaborators (including US citizens), hold them (without evidence) indefinitely in military prisons, and deny them habeas and other legal protections.

Section 1031 of the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act contained the 2009 Military Commissions Act, listing changes that include discarding the phrase “unlawful enemy combatant” for “unprivileged enemy belligerent.” More on that below.

Seamlessly, Obama continues Bush administration practices and added others, including:

— greater than ever surveillance;

— ruthless political persecutions;

— preventively detaining individuals ordered released – “who cannot be prosecuted,” he said, “yet who pose a clear danger to the American people;”

— a secret “hit list” authorizing CIA and Pentagon operatives to kill US citizens abroad based on unsubstantiated evidence they’re involved in alleged plots against America or US interests;

— weaker whisleblower protections;

— state secrets privilege to block lawsuits by victims of rendition, torture, abuse or warrantless wiretapping; and

— other anti-democratic measures.

Now, the March 4 S. 3081: Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010 to interrogate and detain “enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States to establish certain limitations on the prosecution of such belligerents, and for other purposes.”

On the Senate floor, John McCain explained it, saying “we still don’t have a clear mechanism, legal structure, and implementing policy for dealing with terrorists who we capture in the (alleged) act of trying to bring about attacks on the United States and our national security interests at home and abroad.”

These suspects have no right to “Miranda warnings and defense lawyers. Instead, the priority and focus must be on isolating and neutralizing the immediate threat and collecting intelligence to prevent” any attacks.

“I (also) believe we must establish a system for long-term detention of terrorists who are too dangerous to release, but who cannot be tried in a civilian court” because no evidence exists to convict them.

At a March 4 press conference, Senator Joe Lieberman told reporters:

“These are not common criminals. They are war criminals. Anyone we capture in this war should be treated as a prisoner of war, held by the military, interrogated for information that will protect Americans and help us win this war and then where appropriate, tried not in a normal federal court where criminals are tried but before a military commission.”

S. 3081 Provisions

The bill imposes harsh police state measures, including:

— targeting anyone worldwide, including US citizens, “suspected of engaging in (or materially supporting) hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners through an act of terrorism, or by other means…;”

— placing such individuals “in military custody for purposes of initial interrogation and determination of status in accordance with the provisions of this Act;”

— transporting them to intelligence officials for more interrogation;

— determining who may be a “high-value detainee (HVD);”

— further interrogating those individuals by a “High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HVIG)….utiliz(ing) military and intelligence personnel, and Federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel….;”

— having HVIGs submit their determination to the Defense Secretary and Attorney General after consulting with the Directors of National Intelligence, FBI, and CIA. “The Secretary of Defense and Attorney General (will then) make a final determination and report (it) to the President and the appropriate committees of Congress. In the case of any disagreement between the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General, the President will make the determination;”

— designating seized individuals “unprivileged enemy belligerent(s);”

— denying them Miranda rights:

— deciding on a “Final (status) Determination” within 48 hours, “to the extent practicable;”

— letting the President establish HVD interrogation group operations and activities, including whether detainees “meet the criteria for treatment as a high-value detainee for purposes of interrogation….,” including the potential threat held individuals pose:

(1) for an attack against America, its citizens, US military personnel or facilities;

(2) their potential intelligence value;

(3) membership in or affiliation with Al Qaeda; and

(4) “such other matters as the President considers appropriate.”

Pending final determination, detainees “shall be treated as unprivileged enemy belligerent(s),” defined as:

“An individual, including a citizen of the United States (to) be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners in which the individual has engaged, or which the individual has purposely and materially supported, consistent with the law of war and any authorization for the use of military force provided by Congress pertaining to such hostilities.”

An “unprivileged enemy belligerent” means anyone (with or without evidence) suspected of “engag(ing) in (or materially supporting) hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners,” including alleged Al Qaeda members.

Raised Concerns

Designating individuals “unlawful enemy combatants” or “unprivileged enemy belligerents” places them in legal limbo, contrary to international law, the Constitution, and three recent Supreme Court decisions:

— Rasul v. Bush (2004) establishing US court system jurisdiction to decide if Guantanamo-held non-US citizens were wrongfully imprisoned;

— Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) granting US citizen Yaser Hamdi and other Guantanamo detainees habeas rights to challenge their detentions in federal courts; and

— Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) denying Guantanamo military commissions “the power to proceed because (their) structures and procedures violate both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949.”

Obama-ordered preventive detentions (against uncharged persons) and S. 3081 violate international law, the Constitution, and the above Supreme Court decisions.

Writing for the Jurist Legal News & Research, University of Utah Law Professor, Amos Guiora, calls the proposed bill “the latest example of panic-based legislation” in the wake of the (false flag) December airplane bombing and whether alleged 9/11 suspects will be tried in federal or military courts – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others falsely charged based on tortured-extracted confessions.

Holding detainees through “end of hostilities in the terrorism paradigm is a euphemism for indefinite detention….subject(ing) an extraordinarily broad group of persons” to cruel and inhumane treatment based on unsubstantiated charges, and denying them due process and judicial fairness.

Guiora calls the proposed law:

“a fundamental miscarriage of justice created by the unconstitutional denial of the right to counsel, the right to remain silent, the right to be free from arbitrary, let alone indefinite detention, and the right to a day in court.” Unfortunately, too often “legitimacy and justification take a back seat” to expediency and the political climate of the times.

As a result, innocent victims are unjustly arrested, called terrorists, interrogated, tortured, indefinitely detained and denied all rights despite constitutional and international law protections.

“Republicans and Democrats alike have failed to articulate, create and implement a lawful interrogation, detention and trial regime for post-9/11 detainees. That is shameful and reflects negatively on two Presidents, the Congress and the Supreme Court.”

The major media also. Their reports hype the threat, pre-determine guilt, and influence public opinion to believe government-charged individuals are dangerous, guilty, and should be confined to deter “terrorism.”

Yet the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment states:

“No person shall….be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law….;” and

The 14th Amendment reads:

No “State (may) deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Yet in a climate of fear and intimidation, everyone is potentially vulnerable to legislative lawlessness if congressional timidity lets S. 3081 pass in an election year.

According to Guiora, it comes down to “the rule of law or the rule of fear.” Protecting American citizens and national security is one thing. Discarding core legal principles to do it reflects the worst elements of police state justice.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached
at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

:: Article nr. 64518 sent on 26-mar-2010 14:41 ECT

NATO won’t destroy Afghan poppy fields

NATO won’t destroy Afghan poppy fields

Opium poppy fields in Afghanistan
NATO has rejected an appeal made by Russia for eradication of opium fields in Afghanistan, arguing that the sole source of income in the region cannot be removed.

Addressing a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on Wednesday, head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Agency (FSKN) Victor Ivanov said “Afghan opiates led to the death of 1 million people by overdose in the last 10 years, and that is United Nations data. Is that not a threat to world peace and security?”

The Russian official tasked NATO forces with “normalizing the situation in Afghanistan” which includes “the elimination of drug production.”

Meanwhile, NATO spokesman James Appathurai voiced understanding for Russian concerns, given the country’s estimated 200,000 heroin and morphine addicts and the tens of thousands dying each year as a result of their addiction.

However, he went on to say that the Afghan drug problem had to be handled carefully in an effort to avoid alienating local residents.

“We share the view that it has to be tackled,” the spokesman said. “But there is a slight difference of views,” Appathurai added.

“We cannot be in a situation where we remove the only source of income for people who live in the second poorest country in the world without being able to provide them an alternative. That is simply not possible,” the NATO official explained.

According to statistics provided by Ivanov, Russia was the single largest consumer of heroin in 2008. Moscow blames NATO for the surge in heroin trafficking from Afghanistan to Russia.

The production of opium in Afghanistan has skyrocketing since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

Taliban says it can ‘reconcile’ with India but justifies Kabul attack

Taliban says it can ‘reconcile’ with India but justifies Kabul attack


In a self-contradicting interview, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed his organisation did not want India out of Afghanistan but attacked the country for supporting the Hamid Karzai government and western forces.

“If the Taliban returns to power, we would like to maintain normal relations with countries including India. It’spossible for the Taliban and India to reconcile with each other,” Mujahid told ‘Outlook’ magazine.

He said “India’s role is different from those countries that sent troops to occupy Afghanistan.”

At the same time, he added that, “India isn’t neutral in the Afghan conflict as it is supporting the military presence of US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and working for the strengthening of the Hamid Karzai government.”

Also, he said, “India has never condemned the civilian casualties caused by the occupying forces”, a reference to US-led troops in Afghanistan.

Asked about the February 26 attack in which Indians, housed in two hotels in Kabul, were targeted, the spokesman said Taliban was responsible for it.

He said it was carried out by “Taliban fighters after we got intelligence information that RAW agents were holding a
meeting there.”

The February 26 attack targeted Indians engaged in developmental projects like medical and education programmes,
killing seven of them.

Claiming that India was supporting the Afghan government and the western forces, Mujahid said the country is, “therefore, a legitimate target for us.”

Asked if Taliban wanted India out of Afghanistan, he said, “We are not saying that India should be out of Afghanistan. Nor can India be completely expelled from Afghanistan.”

The Taliban spokesman noted that India and Afghanistan have had historic ties and said “The Taliban aren’t in any direct conflict with India. India troops aren’t part of NATO forces, they haven’t occupied Afghanistan.”

He claimed that Taliban “favour neither India not Pakistan” but hastened to add that it cannot “ignore Pakistan as it is a neighbouring Islamic country” and was on good terms with them when they were in power.

“India, on the other hand, backed anti-Taliban forces of the Northern Alliance (NA) and refused to do business with our government… Our complaint is India backed the NA (Northern Alliance), and is now supporting the Karzai government,” Mujahid said.

He was also critical when asked about Indian projects and whether those were beneficial for Afghan people.

Claiming that India was doing all this to promote its interest in Afghanistan, he said, “If India were so fond of the Afghan people, why did it not undertake development projects under Taliban rule?”

Pak Troop Movement Ploy to Gain International Intervention

Pak boosts troops on Indian border to mask Taliban failure

London Pakistan has deployed more troops on the eastern border with India, saying the heightened tension with the neighbouring country has affected its efforts against the Taliban and other extremist organisations on the western border.Confirming the report about reinforcement of troops on the Indian border, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, said that India had increased pressure on the border by building several new military cantonments close to the sensitive frontier, and Islamabad can not remain subservient to the move.

“The government has had to send some troops down there because we don”t want to leave ourselves exposed. This is taking away from our defence capabilities on the Afghan border. We really wish the international community would intervene, but nobody has said anything to the Indians,” The Financial Times quoted Hasan, as saying.

Experts and diplomats, however, have described the troops reinforcement as more of a political and diplomatic move rather than a strategic one.

“Every time Pakistan has to defend itself on criticism for gaps in its campaign, they bring up India. The campaigns in Waziristan cannot be expanded because of India, for example, is one issue,” the newspaper quoted a western diplomat, who is based in Islamabad, as saying.

Ashley Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that the recent arrests of top Taliban leaders in Pakistan, including the Afghan Taliban’s second in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was primarily motivated by wanting to dent the negotiations between Kabul and the international community and the Taliban.

“Pakistan is motivated by the conviction that India, not the Afghan Taliban, is the main enemy to be neutralised in the Afghan endgame,” Tellis said.

Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri also admitted that despite calls from the international community to reduce tension, Islamabad would continue to prioritise its eastern border to protect itself against a rival with which it had fought “three major wars and two minor ones”.

“We have enough problems of our own on our eastern border. We are concerned about India. Resolve the problems with India and then our security orientation could change,” Kasuri said

Pakistan’s foreign policy mess

Pakistan’s foreign policy mess

—Zafar Hilaly

Even the US, which knows the lay of the political landscape in Pakistan better than most, started off believing that the present civilian government, in the shape of a strong coalition of all the major parties, would call the shots, but has ended up parlaying with the military on all key issues

Our foreign minister has a
fascinating smile; it snaps back as soon as it has been used. What he has to say is far less intriguing. He has the most impressive and expressive way of conveying well, err, nothing. And if you strip his words of the manner of their delivery, you will find more of err, err, nothing (worth recalling).

Mr Qureshi told his Washington audience the other day that talk of setting the date for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan sends a wrong signal and is “music to the ears of the militants”. As it happens, it is also music to the ears of the majority of Americans who are against US involvement in an unwinnable war.

In any case, the Americans have already decided to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan come June 2011. And no plea by our foreign minister, however well delivered, quivering eyebrows et al, is going to make Obama change his mind and commit electoral suicide. And if he believes, as he told his Washington audience, that even if the US troops pull out, the “US cannot afford to walk away from the region”, he must be living in cloud-cuckoo-land. Actually the Americans can; they did so in the past and could do so again, if it suits their interests. Actually, it is we, not the US that cannot afford the US walking away from the region. A reflection of just how great is our dependency on the US.

Fond hopes and yearnings of Mr Qureshi are hardly the stuff on which policy should be based. A better way would have been to use his two years in office to forge a coalition of states with common goals bordering Afghanistan. Even if he did not succeed, it would have been a ‘glorious’ failure. But Qureshi is no adventurous Sardar Aseff, and, at the risk of sounding blasphemous, Asif Ali Zardari is no Benazir Bhutto.

Nearly two years ago, one had suggested that the Foreign Office appoint special envoys to each of Afghanistan’s neighbours with precisely such a purpose in mind, so that mutual fears, apprehensions and reservations about our respective perspectives and policies would be better understood and, where possible, removed as a result of the interaction that visits of the special envoys would generate.

One felt that such a need existed because contacts of a mundane nature between our embassies and local foreign offices have little value when it comes to reconciling strategic perceptions. Often, all too often, ambassadors are not au courant with their own government’s evolving perceptions. And, if they happen to be non-professional ambassadors, fairly clueless about their jobs, having been appointed more as a reward for shenanigans as party hacks, or, alternatively, for being boon companions of the leader of the party in power, in other words, for every reason except professional competence, all the more so. Such specimens are in key posts today. Theirs is a subsidised holiday on the taxpayers’ account.

But proposals of this nature gain very little traction. They get shot down because special envoys/special representatives usually report directly to the prime minister. And their ‘take’ on events can be very different from that of the Foreign Office. Moreover, a foreign minister who jealously guards his parish bristles at what he considers their intrusion into his domain. Nor does the military, which no longer considers foreign policy an exclusively civilian preserve, welcome such suggestions. They prefer a free hand untroubled by dissent from any quarter.

Much of this was evident in the mid-1990s when the attitude of the military and that of the civilian government towards Iran were antithetical. Of course, the military view prevailed, causing in that case permanent damage to our relations with Iran. So much so that even today Iran’s posture towards impending changes in Afghanistan is far closer to that of India than ours, and unless steps are taken to engage purposefully with Iran on Afghanistan, proxy wars will recommence once the Americans depart.

Hybrid policymaking is confusing, so much so that when interacting with us, countries are often clueless as to who really counts. One recalls the Iranians feigning interest in what Benazir was saying regarding policy on Afghanistan, having being told the opposite by their envoy in Pakistan who had tapped his sources for the military’s viewpoint a day earlier.

Even the US, which knows the lay of the political landscape in Pakistan better than most, started off believing that the present civilian government, in the shape of a strong coalition of all the major parties, would call the shots, but has ended up parlaying with the military on all key issues. In fact, had the military not rounded on the Kerry-Lugar Act as an insufferably arrogant piece of legislation, the government was about to welcome it as the next best thing to happen to Pakistan since the declaration of independence in 1947.

Such confusion and the feeling among the civilians that, in the final analysis, their view counts for little when opposed by the military has gradually diminished the incentive to develop their own capacities. Regular training schemes for mid-level or senior diplomats hardly exist. Sabbaticals for improving expertise on subjects of national concern at foreign universities arouse scant interest. Even a stint at the prestigious National Defence College is considered a punishment for a Pakistani diplomat. Civilian experts of international relations are ignored when it comes to policy formulation.

Inevitably, careerists among our diplomats have sidled up to the military. Their reports contained less what they felt or thought and more what they believed would go down well with the military. And they were well rewarded for their loyalty. Their promotions and postings were facilitated and their jobs secured.

But why blame others? When asked which of the two, politicians or generals, were more to blame, a venerable former foreign secretary looked at the list of his former colleagues and remarked “neither”, adding, “Not till these blighters are still in service.” To his consternation, one of them thereafter became a foreign secretary.

Alas, there are none amongst us who can so improve a service or a state that when they leave they can genuinely claim, as the Emperor Augustus could of Rome, “I found it brick and left it marble.”

The writer is a former ambassador. He can be reached at charles123it@hotmail.com

India–the Fly In the Ointment of New Afghan Paradigm

India afraid of covert Pak-US understanding

* Former diplomats say US supplied Pakistan N-capable F-16s to fight India

By Iftikhar Gilani

NEW DELHI: Indian strategic community believes Pakistan and the US may have come up with a hush-hush understanding on Afghanistan in the ongoing strategic dialogue, aimed at marginalising Indian role in Afghanistan.

Former Indian foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh asked the Indian government not to be complacent over the US refusal to sign a nuclear deal with Pakistan. He called for focusing on the future of Afghanistan and India’s relationship with the central Asia.

Fighting: Mansingh said the nuclear-capable F-16s and maritime aircraft supplied by the US to Pakistan were not to fight terrorism, but to fight India.

Experts believe that the situation emerging in Afghanistan was a matter of concern for India and any deal with the Taliban would affect its interests. Former deputy national security adviser Satish Chandra said Pakistan had been given a veto over the future of Afghanistan, which was a big setback for India. “Pakistan wants to become the sole spokesperson of the Taliban. Pakistan has eliminated all potential mediators between the Taliban and the US so as to be the sole mediator with the Taliban,” said Alok Bansal, deputy director at the National Maritime Foundation (NMF).

Meanwhile, India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took exception to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying, “Pakistan’s struggles are my struggles”, asking if America was a party to anti-India terror activities emanating from Islamabad. “Clinton’s statement at a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi amazingly belies an utter disregard for facts and history,” BJP spokesman Tarun Vijay said. He criticised the US for denying India access to David Headley, the American who confessed in a US court of plotting the Mumbai terror attack. “Instead of strengthening a dictatorial power centre supported and bolstered by the Pakistan Army, the US would have done better by asking Pakistan’s leaders to be actively helping India in its war on terror,” he said.

Brave new world or the past revisited?

Brave new world or the past revisited?

Islamabad diary

Friday, March 26, 2010
Ayaz Amir

If there’s a cross on which Pakistan has found itself frequently crucified, it is the one carrying the legend ‘strategic’. What follies have we not committed in the pursuit of strategic goals? Even our present preoccupation with terrorism is a product of our strategic labours in times past (hopefully, never to return).

So when a fresh batch of graduates out of higher strategy school speak of a ‘strategic dialogue’ with the United States — our principal ally and, often, the cause of our biggest headaches — there is reason to be wary.

We have been here before, travelled down this route many times, our obsessive insecurity driving us time and again into American arms, each time to be left high and dry when the initial enthusiasm, or necessity, had passed. But we never seem to learn and each time begin our quest for the holy grail — of permanence in our American connection — as if there were never any heartbreaks before.

Barely six months ago the US viewed Pakistan through sceptical, even distrustful, eyes. The army had yet to go into South Waziristan and the phrase Quetta Shura was on the lips of every half-baked security analyst across the Atlantic. South Waziristan, the unspoken acceptance of drone strikes and greater cooperation with the CIA in nabbing shadowy Taliban figures in Pakistan changed all this. American faces now light up at the mention of Pakistan, no smile more beaming than on the face of Gen David Petraeus.

As part of this mood swing, the Americans have taken to lionizing Pakistan’s army commander, Gen Ashfaq Kayani, who is very much the flavour of the moment, just as — frightening thought — Pervez Musharraf was once upon a time. It is sobering to remember that when Musharraf signed on with the US post-Sept 11, conceding far more than anyone in the Bush administration was expecting, no leader on earth was more feted than him.

So we should try and keep things in perspective. The Americans may be gushing over us now but that’s only because we are crucial, perhaps indispensable, for the success of their mission in Afghanistan. Or even for a face-saving exit from that quagmire. There are two fronts to this war, the one in Pakistan being by far the most important.

The ‘strategic dialogue’ is thus not pegged to any abstract love for Pakistan. It arises from the grim necessity of the war in Afghanistan. We should be under no illusions about the window of opportunity that this dialogue offers. This window will remain open and serviceable only up to the moment when the Americans begin withdrawing from Afghanistan. To assume otherwise, and give way to misplaced euphoria — something at which we are rather good — is to court the ways of folly and set ourselves up for another ‘betrayal’ at American hands.

The wish-list Pakistan has carried to Washington has Kayani’s thumbprint all over it. It has not been lost on anyone that in the driving seat as far as our delegation is concerned sits not the foreign minister or anyone else but him. It would also not have been lost on anyone that the brief prepared by our side for the talks was put together not in the prime minister’s office or anywhere else but in General Headquarters, with key federal secretaries in attendance and Kayani, not the prime minister, presiding.

Kayani is a smart man, very articulate and extremely good at putting his point of view across (his presentation at Nato Hqs in Brussels has been widely talked about). But what is this we are hearing about the shopping list prepared under his aegis? Which world are we living in? Which planet does GHQ still inhabit?

We have just a year and a half, not eternity, to get what we want from the US. It behoves us ill to ask the US to help restart our composite dialogue with India. If India is playing hard-to-get on this count, we should be able to keep our cool and wait for India’s attitude to change. Even if the composite dialogue doesn’t get going for the next two years, the glaciers will not melt and the Himalayas will not march down to the seas.

We should be mature enough to understand a few things clearly. America is not going to ask India to talk Kashmir with us. It is not going to solve our water problems with India. It is not going to give us the kind of nuclear deal it has concluded with India.

To go by the hype generated in official quarters, it almost appeared as if we were expecting a string of nuclear power plants from the US. And what happens? Hillary Clinton announces a gift of 125 million dollars to set up thermal power plants. A colder splash of water on the fires of our misplaced ardour could not have been poured. What Burke said of England in the context of America’s war of independence: “Light lie the dust on the ashes of English pride” — we can use to define our predicament: light lie the dust on the embers of our strategic relationship.

Sooner or later we will have to discover the reasons for this talent for selling ourselves cheap. We have always behaved thus in our dealings with the US, assuming obligations unthinkingly, never asking for the right price and then moaning about betrayal and the like when the Americans, taking us at our word, leave us with very little.

Mobarak got Egypt’s American debt (7 billion dollars, and this was in 1991) written off when he joined America’s first Gulf war. The Turks asked for 25 billion dollars to allow American troops territorial passage prior to the Iraq war in 2003. That the US refused is beside the point. The Turks did not allow themselves to be taken for granted. We settle for peanuts and call it a ‘strategic relationship’.

Kayani, as I have said, is a smart man. But there is too much of India and Afghanistan in his world-view. More than with the US, we need to be conducting a strategic dialogue with ourselves. Why can’t we rid ourselves of the fixation of managing things in Afghanistan? We can’t manage ourselves, yet we want to fix the neighbourhood. Managing Afghanistan may be a worthy ambition. But it is poor compensation for mismanaging Pakistan.

GHQ is aghast at the thought of the Indians training the Afghan army. In Kayani’s phrase, even when trainers depart, they leave their mindset behind. Given the vehemence of our position on this point, maybe the Americans give us ground on this. And we will hail it as a major victory. But we should be playing for higher stakes instead of tilting at windmills.

We should have been gunning for something tangible. We are a debtor nation, strapped for cash. It is money we should have been asking for. In concrete terms, a writing off of all our debt. A one-point agenda, clearly stated and firmly put, without all the mumbo-jumbo of a ‘strategic relationship’. Water, energy, India and Afghanistan were best left out of our wish list, more an exercise in fantasy than anything to do with the real world.

This government is too scatterbrained and too preoccupied with other problems to have been able to get things right and concentrate on the essentials of this ‘strategic dialogue’ right. The vacuum created by its ineptitude was filled by a GHQ pluming itself on the laurels won in Swat and FATA. But for all its slickness under Kayani, GHQ, alas, remains trapped in the morass of its old conceits and prejudices.

So the old questions remain: how to emerge from the darkness into the light? How to manage Pakistan’s affairs better? Most important of all: whence will come the liberation of the Pakistani mind? One thing is for sure: not from GHQ.

Afterthought: the army had denounced the Kerry-Lugar Bill. What’s so great about the ‘strategic dialogue’?

Email: winlust@yahoo.com

France Seeks ITU Help To Halt Satellite Signal Jamming by Iran

France Seeks ITU Help To Halt Satellite Signal Jamming by Iran

By Peter B. de Selding

Francois Rancy, director of the French National Frequencies Agenct. Credit: International Telecommunication Union Photo by J.M. Ferre Francois Rancy, director of the French National Frequencies Agenct. Credit: International Telecommunication Union Photo by J.M. FerrePARIS — French regulators have asked the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to intervene with the Iranian government to persuade Tehran to stop jamming satellite signals from the BBC World Service’s Persian-language broadcasts into Iran, according to the director of France’s National Frequencies Agency (ANF).

ANF Director Francois Rancy said the appeal to the ITU was made the first week of January only after numerous French requests to Iran to stop the interference went unanswered over the past seven months.

Rancy, a veteran international-frequency regulator who chaired the ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference in late 2007, said that while he hoped ITU pressure would affect Iran’s behavior, he was not counting on an immediate stop to the practice.

“The ITU is really a gentlemen’s club,” Rancy said in a Jan. 5 interview. “It depends on the goodwill of its members. There is no mechanism for forcing an administration into compliance with the rules.”

The Geneva-based ITU is a United Nations affiliate that regulates satellite and other wireless communications frequencies and satellite orbital slots. In recent years it has regularly tried, without success, to get the U.S. government to stop jamming legal radio and television broadcasts from Cuba, which the ITU says is done with low-flying aircraft operating in international airspace.

In another example, Slovenian television broadcasters and the ITU have sought to stop Italian broadcasters from overstepping their frequency assignments with signal transmissions that interfere with Slovenian broadcasts. According to ITU documents, Slovenian regulators sent more than 200 reports to Italy citing interference, saying Italy was using frequencies that had not been coordinated with its neighbors.

In both these cases, the alleged offending administrations — the United States and Italy — have all but refused to acknowledge the ITU requests.

The BBC Persian programming carried on the Eutelsat Hot Bird 6 satellite stationed at 13 degrees east was jammed starting last spring during Iran’s elections, and it has continued intermittently ever since, particularly during the broadcaster’s coverage of the death of a reformist Iranian cleric.

An official with Paris-based Eutelsat acknowledged that locating the source of frequency interference is often difficult. But in this case, Eutelsat contacted other satellite operators to compare notes about broadcasts in the region and performed tests over an extended period of time, and concluded that the jamming signals were coming from Iranian territory.

The Eutelsat official said one way of determining whether interference is intentional or accidental is to move the affected programming to another transponder on the satellite to see whether the jamming then stops.

Once it is determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the interference was coming from Iran, Eutelsat contacted ANF, which then contacted Iran in multiple letters sent since mid-2009, Rancy said.

For the BBC, a solution to the problem is likely to involve using replacement capacity on Eutelsat satellites whose beams make it impossible for Iranian authorities to uplink interference to the satellite. The BBC in recent months has shifted its programming to Eutelsat capacity on the Telstar 12 satellite at 15 degrees west, a location that relieves the jamming but also makes it difficult for the BBC’s Iranian audience to capture the satellite’s downlink.

The British broadcaster has also used Eutelsat’s W2M satellite at 3.1 degrees west, which offers a better signal-reception angle for Iranian dish antennas but features a narrow beam whose uplink cannot be accessed from Iranian soil, the Eutelsat official said.

“There are no easy and definitive solutions,” the Eutelsat official said. “But when we can, we can move programming to a satellite whose location makes it impossible for jammers in a given location to target the satellite.”

BBC World Service did not respond to requests for comment about whether the use of other satellites will provide a permanent solution to the problem or whether the broadcast audience will be sharply reduced as viewers need to repoint their rooftop antennas to the new satellites.

In a Dec. 21 statement following a fresh round of Hot Bird 6 jamming that started Dec. 20, the broadcaster said: “The BBC is looking at ways to increase the options for its Farsi-speaking audiences in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, which may include broadcasting on other satellites.”

India to Get All “Legal” On America Over Denial of Access To Headley


India, U.S. clash on access to David Headley

By Bappa Majumdar

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The government is building a legal case for access to American David Headley who pleaded guilty to helping plan the 2008 Mumbai attacks, official said on Thursday, after confusing U.S. signals on whether Indian police could quiz him.

New Delhi says it could get more information on militant networks targeting India if it was allowed to interrogate Headley, who admitted in a U.S. court last week that he scouted targets for the attacks, which killed 166 people.

But India’s hopes of accessing Headley, 49, have so far met with frustration following contradictory statements from U.S. diplomats, threatening to strain relations with Washington.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said during a visit to New Delhi last week that Indian investigators would get access to the Chicago man. Two days later, U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer said Washington was still to make a call.

U.K. Bansal, a senior internal security official, told Reuters that a meeting was held this week with legal experts to prepare the ground for approaching the U.S. justice department.

“The home (interior) ministry is working on documents seeking quick access to Headley,” an official from the law ministry said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Indian officials also told U.S. counter-terrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin in New Delhi this week that India had a right to interrogate Headley and try him in an Indian court, government officials said.

India has extradition and legal cooperation treaties with the United States that could come into potential conflict with Headley’s plea agreement, under which he will be spared death sentence and extradition to India, legal experts in India say.

“This is a matter we need to press hard,” Law Minister Veerappa Moily told reporters on Wednesday. “We have to make a strong case, which we have already made.”

Relations between India and the United States, which were on opposing sides of the Cold War, have warmed in recent years and the signing of a landmark 2008 civilian nuclear deal has elevated ties to a strategic level.

But irritants have remained, including a nagging worry in New Delhi that Washington favours Pakistan in its war on terrorism.

Also, a failure to remove Indian domestic policy hurdles that prevent U.S. nuclear firms from accessing India’s estimated $150 billion nuclear power market has frustrated Washington.

Indian officials said they will “soon” formally write to the U.S. justice department seeking access to Headley, who spent his childhood in Pakistan and whose father is Pakistani.

India blamed Pakistan-based militants for the Mumbai attacks which derailed their sluggish four-year-old peace process and worsened the security environment in the already-roiled region.

(Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Alex Richardson)

India probes sabotage behind huge arms depot fire

India probes sabotage behind huge arms depot fire

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A huge fire destroyed about 200 tonnes of arms and ammunition in one of India’s biggest army depots early on Friday, triggering an investigation into possible sabotage, defence officials said.

The fire broke out at the army’s Panagarh depot in West Bengal and officials said they were surprised how such a blaze could have broken out in a high security zone.

“We are exploring all possible angles,” an army official said. The store has been completely gutted, Mahesh Upasani, a defence spokesman said.

India remains jittery about the threat of militant attacks. A blast in Pune killed 17 people last month, the first major militant strike since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

(Reporting by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee)

Obama bin Laden

Obama bin Laden

by Nadeem Khan

New World Order plan in jeopardy

The following article truly shows the US long term perspective that how they will slowly and gradually pull out of the mess they have gotten into and pulled others in, as well.

Truly, it would be interesting to see, how Pakistan will form her strategic position and align herself up in the changing ‘world order’, …. again. Pakistan faced consequences, embracing it as her own war, first by joining hands in ‘War against terror’ and experienced worst ever extremism and terrorism in her history.

What could be the repercussions of pulling ourselves out of the long fought and suffered ‘War against terror’ when USA brokers the deal with Taliban and hit the last nail to leave Afghanistan?

Now the nation is not divided on the phrase ‘our war / not our war’ type slogans other than some fanatic religious parties, etc as the whole nation has suffered the loss of lives, property, security, liberty, democracy, development and sustained the most devastating, the international isolation.

Is the US presence very much required in Afghanistan as its presence has fueled our necessities? Much strategic or un-strategic help was/is there for Pakistan to sustain the stronghold of USA in Afghanistan.

In new strategic dialogues, Pakistan should use its leverage now and should seriously follow the maxim of Kerry Lugar Bill when conditions were imposed upon dire need of some aid but now the time is about to take the turn in our favor. USA has got no other choice but to pull out its presence from various war zones OR dramatize another 9/11 type incident to continue the ‘New World order’ plan. (Nadeem Khan)


(Original article by Peter Beinart, Monday December 07, 2009, TIME).
Beinart is associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation

To understand Barack Obama’s Afghanistan decision, it’s instructive to go back to one history-shifting sentence, uttered by his predecessor more than eight years ago. It was Sept. 20, 2001. USA was in agony, and George W. Bush stood before a joint session of Congress, telling Americans where to direct their rage. “Americans are asking, ‘Who attacked our country?’” Bush declared early in his remarks. “The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al-Qaeda.”

Had Bush stopped there, everything would be different today. But a few minutes later, he made this fateful pivot: “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there.” After that, Bush mentioned terror, terrorists or terrorism 18 times more. But he didn’t mention al-Qaeda again. When he returned to Congress a few months later for his January 2002 State of the Union address, he cited Hamas, Hizballah, Islamic Jihad, North Korea, Iran and Iraq and employed variations of the word terror 34 times. But he mentioned al-Qaeda only once.

For Obama, this is the original sin whose consequences must now be repaired. His foreign policy in the greater Middle East amounts to an elaborate effort to peel back eight years of onion in hopes of finding the war on terrorism’s lost inner core: the struggle against al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda alone. That’s the subtext underlying his new Afghan strategy. He’s raising troop levels, but less to vanquish the Taliban than to gain the leverage to effectively negotiate with them — in hopes of isolating al-Qaeda from its Afghan allies. He’s boosting America’s means but narrowing its ends. The same logic underlies his outreach to Iran and Syria and his rhetoric about groups like Hizballah and Hamas. Obama’s not trying to end the war on terrorism, but he is trying to downsize it — so that it doesn’t overwhelm the U.S.’s capacities and crowd out his other priorities.

Obama’s foreign policy, in fact, looks a lot like Richard Nixon’s in the latter years of Vietnam, which sought to scale down another foreign policy doctrine — containment — that had gotten out of hand. And Nixon’s experience offers both a warning and an example: pulling back from your predecessor’s overblown commitments can be vital. The risk is that it can make you look weak or immoral, or both.

Obama, by contrast, doesn’t need to go hunting for grand challenges. From preventing a depression to providing universal health care to stopping global warming, he has them in spades. Bush could afford to define the war on terrorism broadly because he didn’t think anything going on at home was nearly as important. Obama, on the other hand, must find space (and money) for what he sees as equally grave domestic threats. Bush loved the ominous, elastic noun terrorism. Obama, according to an analysis by Politico, has publicly uttered the words health and economy twice as often as terrorism, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan combined. Even his decision to temporarily send more troops to Afghanistan was framed as a way to allow the U.S. to eventually disengage from the war.

Obama is also shrinking the war on terrorism because, although he won’t say so out loud, he’s scaled back Bush’s assessment of American power. When Bush invaded Iraq, the U.S. was coming off a decade of low-cost military triumphs — from Panama in 1989 to the Gulf War in 1991 to Bosnia in 1995 to Kosovo in 1999. And back then, Afghanistan looked like a triumph too. It was easy to believe that the U.S. military — through a combination of force and threats of force — could prevail over a slew of hostile regimes and movements at the same time. And it was easy to believe that the U.S. could afford these military adventures, particularly for conservatives like Dick Cheney, who famously declared that “deficits don’t matter.” Finally, in the wake of communism’s collapse and the spread of democracy throughout the developing world, hawks tended to see dictatorships as brittle, devoid of popular support. This epic faith in the U.S.’s military, economic and ideological power fueled Bush’s decision to define the war on terrorism as the U.S. against the field. It was like the way Americans once talked about Olympic basketball: we were so much better than all the others that they might as well combine into one opposing team so we could take them all on at the same time.

These days the U.S. doesn’t look quite so omnipotent. Insurgents in Iraq and now Afghanistan have learned how to throw sand in our war-fighting machine. Economically, our gaping deficits are making it harder to run the war on terrorism on a blank check. And ideologically, violent, illiberal movements like Hamas, Hizballah and the Taliban have proved that they have deeper roots in native soil than the Bushies assumed. At West Point, Obama said he would not “set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means or our interests.” Bush never spoke in that language of limits.

So Obama is trying to make a virtue of necessity. Since the U.S. can’t defeat all terrorism-supporting movements and regimes, he’s arguing that it doesn’t have to, since most of them are not committing terrorism against us. As Bruce Riedel, who ran Obama’s initial Afghanistan and Pakistan review, puts it, “He’s going after the organization that attacked the U.S. on 9/11 and before and since rather than pursuing a vague and murky war on terrorism everywhere.” Team Obama has junked the phrase war on terror, not to mention Islamofascism. And the World War II and Cold War analogies have mostly ceased. Even in Afghanistan, Obama has sharply narrowed the U.S.’s goals. While still aiming to “defeat al-Qaeda,” we’re now trying only to “reverse the Taliban’s momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government.” In other words, we’ll tolerate Taliban control over large chunks of the Afghan countryside.

Narrowing the Struggle

Practically, this exercise in subtraction starts with Iran. By defining the U.S.’s enemy as “terror,” Bush implied that Iran was as big a problem as al-Qaeda. After all, Tehran’s mullahs began sponsoring terrorism before al-Qaeda was even born. In so doing, Bush made normal relations with the Islamic Republic virtually impossible. While he didn’t actually declare war on Tehran, he initiated the coldest of cold wars: threats of force, no diplomacy and an ideological campaign aimed at making the regime crack.

In Obama’s narrower struggle against al-Qaeda, however, a cold war with Tehran makes little sense. For all its nastiness, the Iranian regime doesn’t direct its terrorism against the U.S. And Iran’s Shi’ite theocrats have a mostly hostile relationship with the anti-Shi’ite theocrats of al-Qaeda. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran has caused trouble for the U.S. largely out of fear that if the U.S. prevails in those countries, Iran will be next. But the Obama Administration seems to believe that if the U.S. can convince Iran’s regime that it’s not next, Washington and Tehran can cooperate to achieve their common goal in Afghanistan and Iraq: smashing al-Qaeda.

The U.S.-Iranian cold war has shown some signs of a thaw, Tehran’s continued defiance of world opinion on its nuclear program notwithstanding. Obama has begun the highest-level diplomatic engagement with Tehran in 30 years and refrained from calling for the overthrow of the regime, even amid mass Iranian protests last summer aimed at accomplishing exactly that. Media coverage of the diplomatic dance between Washington and Tehran focuses on Iran’s nuclear program, but by pursuing a fundamentally different relationship with the Islamic Republic, the Obama Administration is also quietly conceding that Iran’s militancy is different from the terrorism of al-Qaeda, an organization that no U.S. diplomat would ever sit across a table from.

And even as it works to remove Iran from the U.S.’s post-9/11 enemies list, the Obama Administration is trying something similar with another traditional Middle Eastern irritant, Syria. Under George W. Bush, Syria got the cold-war treatment as well: rhetorical belligerence, veiled military threats, a withdrawal of the U.S. ambassador. Under Obama, by contrast, Middle East envoy George Mitchell has been to Damascus, the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister has been to Washington, and the rhetoric has become noticeably less hostile.

The best precedent for all this is what Nixon did in the late Vietnam years. For roughly two decades, the U.S. had been trying to contain “communism” — another ominous, elastic noun that encompassed a multitude of movements and regimes. But Vietnam proved that this was impossible: the U.S. didn’t have the money or might to keep communist movements from taking power anywhere across the globe. So Nixon stopped treating all communists the same way. Just as Obama sees Iran as a potential partner because it shares a loathing of al-Qaeda, Nixon saw Communist China as a potential partner because it loathed the U.S.S.R. Nixon didn’t stop there. Even as he reached out to China, he also pursued détente with the Soviet Union. This double outreach — to both Moscow and Beijing — gave Nixon more leverage over each, since each communist superpower feared that the U.S. would favor the other, leaving it geopolitically isolated. On a smaller scale, that’s what Obama is trying to do with Iran and Syria today. By reaching out to both regimes simultaneously, he’s making each anxious that the U.S. will cut a deal with the other, leaving it out in the cold. It’s too soon to know whether Obama’s game of divide and conquer will work, but by narrowing the post-9/11 struggle, he’s gained the diplomatic flexibility to play the U.S.’s adversaries against each other rather than unifying them against us.

Gaining Leverage

Lurking behind Obama’s different view of Iran and Syria is a different view of the terrorist movements they support: Hizballah and Hamas. For Bush, the only distinction among Hizballah, Hamas and al-Qaeda was that the first two terrorized Israelis, not Americans, and since Israel was the U.S.’s close ally, that was no difference at all. But the Obama Administration has hinted at a different perspective: a recognition that unlike al-Qaeda, Hizballah and Hamas are nationalist movements with deep roots in their particular societies. That means that unlike al-Qaeda, they can’t simply be destroyed. Rather, the goal must be to transform them from military organizations into purely political and social ones, as happened with the Irish Republican Army. The U.S. might still dislike their Islamist, anti-Western, anti-Israeli agenda, but as Obama said in an interview with the Arab-owned news channel al-Arabiya during his first week in office, he would be “very clear in distinguishing between organizations … that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it — and people who … have a [different] viewpoint [from the U.S.’s] in terms of how their countries should develop.” Hizballah and Hamas would have to transform themselves to gain U.S. recognition, but while Bush’s goal was to smash the two movements, Obama’s seems to be to nudge that transformation along.

The most urgent and high-profile item on Obama’s downsizing agenda is, of course, Afghanistan. For eight years, the Bush Administration lumped al-Qaeda and the Taliban together. It was the most obvious application of Bush’s famous declaration that “we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” But now the Obama Administration is making exactly that distinction. “There is clearly a difference between” the Taliban and al-Qaeda, press secretary Robert Gibbs said recently. A host of Obama officials have insisted that the Taliban is a tribal and national movement and that while it may want to terrorize Afghan secularists and women, it is not particularly interested in terrorizing the American homeland.

The Taliban’s local roots, Obama officials suggest, also make it harder to vanquish than al-Qaeda. The implication is that as with Hizballah and Hamas, the U.S.’s only realistic goal is to bring the Taliban into the political process. Despite his decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, Obama has abandoned the goal of making the country Taliban-free. For all the attention it has received, the decision about troop levels is essentially tactical: it’s an effort to win the military leverage necessary to persuade elements of the Taliban that they’re better off in government than on the battlefield. “Ultimately,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates has declared, there must be “reconciliation with the Taliban.”

The Downside of Downsizing

In general, Obama’s bid to shrink the war on terrorism makes sense. Since the U.S. lacks the capacity to eliminate Hizballah, Hamas and the Taliban and since we are probably unable to overthrow the regimes in Syria and Iran, we need to rethink our goals. Many on the American right believe the lesson of the Reagan years is that the U.S. can bludgeon our enemies into submission if only we don’t lose our will. But Ronald Reagan didn’t bludgeon Mikhail Gorbachev into submission; he seduced him with intensive diplomatic engagement and arms-control agreements that thawed the Cold War. It was only after that thaw that Gorby let Eastern Europe go free. Eventually, it will probably take a similar thawing to get regimes like Iran and Syria out of the terrorism business.

Obama’s effort to downsize the war on terrorism can also free up time and resources for the rest of American foreign policy. During the Bush Administration, the post-9/11 agenda often seemed to constitute a good 75% of the U.S.’s international agenda. If Obama could eventually get that down to, say, 50%, it would free him up to devote attention to long-term challenges like climate change and the global economy that Bush gave short shrift.

But downsizing also has its costs. The first is moral. Obama may be right that the U.S. can’t vanquish movements like Hizballah and the Taliban or even an embattled regime like Iran’s. Legitimizing them, however, will be hard for some Americans to swallow. Already, hawks have slammed Obama for negotiating with Iran’s mullahs while the blood of Iranian protesters is still fresh on their hands. And “reconciliation” with the Taliban, while necessary for the U.S.’s eventual withdrawal from Afghanistan, might be a horror show for Afghan women. It is worth noting that while many historians applaud Nixon’s retreat from global containment, his decision to cozy up to dictators in Beijing, Moscow and elsewhere elicited revulsion from Americans on both left and right.

The second problem with Obama’s agenda is that although he wants to cut deals with regimes like Iran’s and movements like the Taliban, he’s not in a particularly strong position to do so. Back in 2002 or 2003, when the U.S. looked almost invincible, the Iranians appeared willing to concede a lot simply to forestall a U.S. attack. Now, with the U.S. mired in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are less afraid and thus less willing to deal. Similarly, the Taliban have little incentive to break with al-Qaeda so long as they feel they’re gaining momentum in the Afghan war. It will be hard for Obama to win at the negotiating table what he can’t win on the battlefield. After all, despite Nixon’s intricate diplomacy with Moscow and Beijing, neither communist superpower helped him where he wanted it most — in preventing a U.S. defeat in Vietnam.

Therein lies the irony of Obama’s downsizing effort: he needs to ratchet up conflicts at first — by sending more troops to Afghanistan and perhaps pushing new sanctions against Iran — to gain the diplomatic muscle to cut deals that don’t look like abject American defeats. It’s a risky strategy, since there’s no guarantee that the bigger sticks will work, and if they don’t, pulling back will be even harder. But it’s a gamble Obama may have to take. The harsh truth is that the U.S. is significantly weaker in the Middle East now than it was in 2002. For close to a decade, our adversaries have not only survived our efforts to destroy them; they’ve also realized that conflict with the U.S. has its advantages. Now Obama wants to call off the feud. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. He may want to pare down America’s enemies list. But the other guys have to take us off their enemies list too.

Charlie Daniels On Obamacare/American Dictatorship

Charlie Daniels

Black Monday

Charlie Daniels
To paraphrase a statement by Franklin Roosevelt, Monday March 22, 2010 will be a day that will live in infamy, the day the Democratic controlled congress sold out the American people, voting in a health care bill that a majority of the American people have said over and over they didn’t want.

We no longer have a representative government; we essentially have a dictatorship that is willing to force their will on us regardless of what we want. This is the most despicable act ever perpetrated on the American public by the most dishonorable congress we’ve ever had.

They don’t even know what’s in the bill they just passed, and when those chickens start coming home to roost, I only hope the public remembers who made it law.
I know that I will.

I have always had unfailing faith in the American ability to persevere; to bounce back and overcome almost anything, but people, this health care bill will change America into something that will resemble a police state.

Now I know that’s a drastic statement, but just wait, before this is over, there will be a single-payer health care system run by the government, Americans will be forced to buy health insurance, businesses will be forced to participate in government programs they can’t afford and you will see more and more industry moved out of the country which means more permanent loss of jobs.

All these measures will be strictly enforced by agencies of the federal government. The I.R.S. is already going to monitor our lives to make sure we have government-approved insurance with the passage of this bill, and that will just be the beginning. 16,000 new I.R.S. agents will be hired to oversee this.

Obama claims this program will actually cut the budget but anybody with a brain in their heads knows that it will not only not cut the budget but will cost trillions of dollars that we just don’t have, adding catastrophic amounts to the national debt.

When has a government program not cost way more than they told us it would?

In other words we will have debt we cannot possibly pay taxes will go through the door, resulting in more jobs lost and more investment capital being moved out of the country.

There will be billions of dollars cut from the Medicare program and many doctors and hospitals will simply stop taking Medicare patients, while at the same time the program will dump some 30 million or so new patients on a system that can’t handle the load now which will certainly lead to rationing of health care which is something else Obama said won’t happen.

You will see health care paying for the abortion of innocent babies. I know, I know, Obama signed an executive order saying this won’t happen under this bill, but you just wait and see.

I believe that a huge amount of doctors will simply stop practicing and that many young people who had planned to go into medicine will simply opt for another profession.

And think about this people, if the Democrats can pass health care, what else are they willing to push down our throats?

The sorry answer is, as long as they are a majority, anything they want to; amnesty for illegal aliens is just around the corner.

America is on it’s way to becoming the largest banana republic on earth.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, and for our country

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

Fighting the Taliban With Cellphones

“If you control the communications of a population, you can control their thoughts.”

Fighting the Taliban With Cellphones


WASHINGTON — One morning last summer, U.S. officials meeting in Afghanistan on the rooftop terrace of Ambassador Karl Eikenberry’s Kabul residence had an “aha” moment.

Rear Adm. Greg Smith spread out two maps. One highlighted pockets of insurgent control; the other marked mobile phone towers. Where the Taliban’s presence was strongest, phone coverage was weakest, crippled by Taliban sabotage of the towers, Admiral Smith and the U.S. special envoy to the region, Richard C. Holbrooke, recalled in separate interviews about the July 27 meeting.

“We found that Afghans in the most-troubled, insurgent-held areas lived in information wastelands dominated by militant propaganda,” Mr. Holbrooke said. “We are fighting back with a revamped strategy that puts the people and their ability to communicate at the forefront of our effort.”

The United States is betting about $263 million in 2010 that winning this campaign will help it prevail on the battlefield. The effort aims to turn public opinion against the Taliban and to develop a network that lets Afghans contact government officials and lets the authorities talk to each other, said Brig. Gen. John Nicholson, who runs the Joint Staff’s Pakistan-Afghanistan coordination unit at the Pentagon.

If villagers and security forces cannot communicate, that “allows terrorist safe havens to thrive,” said Vikram Singh, a defense and communications adviser for Mr. Holbrooke in Washington.

Mobile phones also have the potential to fuel economic development by helping Afghans receive wages electronically and use services like banking. The Telecom Development Co. of Afghanistan, which operates under the name Roshan, is trying out a program in Parwan Province that sends commodity prices through text messages, the company’s chief operating officer, Altaf Ladak, said in an interview.

The Kabul company’s investors include Monaco Telecom International, a company 49 percent owned by Cable and Wireless Communications, Britain’s No. 2 fixed-line telephone company, and TeliaSonera, Sweden’s largest phone company.

Admiral Smith, head of public communications strategy for U.S. and international military forces in Afghanistan, has a budget of almost $150 million for 2010. The U.S. State Department has $113 million to spend this year for civilian communications. The money will pay for new towers and for projects like developing community media outlets and supporting educational radio.

Afghanistan, with 29 million people, had as many as 12 million cellular-service subscribers in December, according to the Afghan government. Fifty-two percent of the population has access to a mobile phone at home, 65 percent of users send text messages and more than half listen to FM radio through their phones, according to data in a 2009 survey by the Asia Foundation, which is based in San Francisco. Afghans have formed message groups on road conditions, crop prices and cash-for-work opportunities.

Coverage is growing in most places, but a Taliban push since February 2008 to bomb or shut off power to phone towers has affected more than 200 of the 6,000 towers monitored by the U.S. military, according to Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale of the army, a spokesman in Kabul for NATO-led forces. This has isolated communities in extremist-dominated areas, especially in the south and east, he said.

The Taliban use towers “as a weapons system,” said Maj. Eric Johnson, an army psychological-operations officer working for Admiral Smith in Kabul. “If you control the communications of a population, you can control their thoughts.”

Security is improving since a U.S.-led offensive concentrated in the south began last year, so disabled towers are being powered up. At least 24 in Kandahar and Helmand provinces are working again, according to Ashley Bommer, an aide to Mr. Holbrooke in Washington. The U.S. military plans to construct as many as 50 towers on Afghan and international bases and put another 20 on wheels in remote areas, Major Johnson said.

The Taliban will resist the effort, said a spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid. Foreign troops have been “misusing the cell towers for their intelligence works,” and if they are restored, “we can easily” shut them down at night, Mr. Mujahid said in a telephone interview.

Roshan, the leading cellular-service provider in Afghanistan, has sought community cooperation to protect the structures, Mr. Ladak said. It has also introduced mobile health care in Kabul and Bamian Province, allowing medical workers to transfer X-rays and reports over phones.

Police salaries are being paid by phone in two southern provinces in a pilot project supported by NATO and the U.S. Treasury Department. Absenteeism is down because police officers do not have to go home to give their families money, and pay has risen about 30 percent now that supervisors cannot skim off the top, Mr. Singh said.

Joanna Nathan, author of a 2008 report on Taliban propaganda for the International Crisis Group, which is based in Brussels, cautioned that expanding mobile-phone capacity is not enough to counteract the Taliban. They have dominated the war of words by exaggerating victories and fueling conspiracy theories, she said.

“There will always be enormous upset over civilian casualties, nighttime raids and seemingly arbitrary detentions” by U.S. forces, Ms. Nathan said. Transparent investigations are essential when mistakes are made, and listening to Afghans is as important as “messaging” to them, she added.

Afghan officials are cautiously optimistic about the American efforts.

“It’s not the words, but how credible is your message,” said Said Jawad, the Afghan ambassador to Washington. The United States must not only “respond to propaganda but deliver and make a difference in people’s lives.”

Bloomberg News

Balochistan complexities

Balochistan complexities

News & Views

Mohammad Jamil

Balochistan is mineral rich and strategically located province, and it needs peace for creating climate conducive to investment and development, which would help improve the living conditions of the people of Balochistan. However, militants are actively involved in worsening the security situation in Balochistan, and insurgency has hampered the growth and development of the province. Owing to public sentiments involved in the missing persons issue, it is being rightly highlighted in both print and electronic media but various militant groups under this garb are hell-bent in advancing their agenda. According to credible reports, telephonic conversation of some obstreperous sardars including Brahamdagh Bugti group and other groups, who are maintaining private jails and torture camps for their defectees and rivals.

It is obvious from half a dozen calls intercepted by intelligence agencies that they are also involved in abduction, kidnapping of local civilians for ransom and also security personnel for acceptance of their illegitimate demands including release of their ‘comrade in arms’. During January and February 2010, Brahamdagh discussed with Mlahar about release of kidnapped security officials. His local commander had kidnapped a person Jamalo and demanded Rs 11 million. There could be some persons arrested by the government departments or intelligence agencies, but a number of missing persons could be in Afghanistan and India on the behest of Brahamdagh Bugti and other groups. According to a news report carried by national English daily, more than 100 Pakistani Baloch dissidents have been sent to India by the Indian consulate located in Kandahar (Afghanistan) for six-month training. “We have credible reports that the Indian consulate in Kandahar dispatched more than 100 Pakistani Baloch dissidents during the second week of December 2009 for six-month training in India,” an intelligence source told the English daily on condition of anonymity.

In fact, rivaling international eyes, including world powers and regional countries are eyeing Balochistan avariciously to push it into their own orbits of influence and domination. According to political and defence analysts, the US, Russia, India and even Iran are either directly or indirectly widening the ethnic and sectarian schisms in Balochistan and FATA. Iran has a large Baloch population on its side of border with Pakistan and the Indian desire of weakening Pakistan by creating independent Balochistan will cost heavily to Iran also because greater Balochistan plan includes Sistan province of Iran. For quite some time, Balochistan is in the throes of ethnic, sectarian and tribal schisms. There have been targeted killings of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan.

Ethnic and Shia-Sunni fracas has shaken the erstwhile ethnic and sectarian harmony, as criminal gangs are stoking ethnic and sectarian divisions. Last year three principals of Balochistan Residential College at Khuzdar, Government Commerce College Quetta and Government Pilot Secondary School Mastung (all Punjabis) were killed. A teacher belonging to Dera Ghazi Khan was also reported to have been killed and many sought transfers to other provinces failing which they had decided to leave Balochistan in any case. Pashtun political parties have vocally opposed the target killings in Quetta and demanded of the Baloch nationalists to openly condemn these killings and disassociate themselves with the elements responsible for such heinous crimes, otherwise they would demand that Pushtun areas be amalgamated with Pakhtunkhwa (NWFP). A senior professor of Balochistan University had reportedly said: “If Punjabi professors and professionals are not protected and are compelled to leave Balochistan, many key institutions in the province will remain shut or at least dysfunctional.”

In July 2009, addressing a public meeting at Ayub Stadium, Balochistan National Party-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal said there would be no compromise on the national rights of Baloch people who were determined to defeat the elements who had usurped the coast and resources of the province. The public meeting adopted a resolution urging the United Nations to intervene to stop the killing of Baloch people in military operations, detaining of political activists and plunder of Balochistan’s resources. In another resolution, the BNP vowed to effectively use whatever means it deemed fit to achieve the right to self-determination, including creation of ‘a national state for the Baloch people’. Another resolution rejected the Gwadar project, as it will destroy the traditional economy of native fishermen and displace the Baloch population. It said the oil terminal and oil city would pollute the Gulf of Baloch. One would not understand the psyche of such leaders who do not wish to see development of their province for the simple reason that engineers, technicians and other skilled manpower from other provinces will swarm to make Balochis a minority in their province.

If they had cooperated with the government in establishing educational institutions in 1970s, the new generation would have today assumed important positions and there was no need to have manpower from other provinces. It is worth mentioning that hundreds of thousands of Baloch are settled in Sindh and Punjab, and in some districts they have made the local people a minority but no one in Sindh and Punjab has ever protested against it. It is true that Balochistan was neglected during British Raj and no serious effort was made for five decades to bring Balochistan at par with other provinces. But previous provincial governments including sardars were responsible in equal measure for the present dismal situation in Balochistan, as they always opted for the confrontation. Sardar Ataullah Mengal rarely appeared in television interviews. We remember his reply to a question when he said that “America does not pay any attention adding that he would welcome if any country would help us to get freedom”. Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Zain Bugti and Marri sardars also openly talk about disintegration of Pakistan, and that Balochistan was never a willing federating unit.

The present government has taken steps to address the concerns of Balochistan leadership. Through National Finance Award, efforts have been made to allocate additional funds for the development of the province because it was neglected in the past. Sindh and Punjab provinces willingly accepted cut in their allocations to compensate Balochistan for the past neglect. Government also announced Balochistan Package to expedite development of Balochistan. But centrifugal forces rejected Balochistan Package even without reading it, which in fact would guarantee development of the province. As regards missing persons, there should be high-powered judicial enquiry, which should not only locate missing persons held on various charges but also try to trace them from Ferrari Camps/Detention Centres being run by Baloch Sardars and insurgents. PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif had more than once promised Shahzain Bugti and Talal Bugti that he would accompany them in a long march to Dera Bugti. He should stop issuing such statements because insurgents feel emboldened by such gestures. The Baloch sardars should negotiate with the government and save Balochistan from bloodshed.

Holbrooke strikes again

Holbrooke strikes again

Sep 13, 2009

Holbrooke meets Kosovo Albanian terrorists and does not wear shoes during the meeting, an islamic symbol that says he supports their cause.

Holbrooke meets Kosovo Albanian terrorists and does not wear shoes during the meeting, an islamic symbol that says he supports their cause.

By Vojin Joksimovich | Holbrooke supported Balkan Muslim sepratists in Bosnia and Kosovo and delivered victory to al-Qaeda in Europe. Then from Bosnia they turned on the US on 9/11. Holbrooke now heads Afghan policy for Obama.

Obama’s War

Eight-year old Bush’s Afghanistan war has become Obama’s war. Obama has declared that war was both necessary and winnable. He committed 21,000 additional troops this year, bringing the U.S. force to 68,000 and more are likely to be sent. The current expenditures amount to $2.6 billion a month. Percentage of Americans who believe that it was a mistake to send troops rose from 25% in 2007 to 42% this year. There were 51 military deaths in August and at least 732 overall compared to over 4,300 in Iraq. In addition, there are 38,000 NATO troops. Obama has been pushing NATO countries to send more troops and trying to stave off departures of Canadian, Dutch, German, British and other troops. Overall the war is going badly. The military is overhauling its operations including adding combat troops and talking about to avoiding civilian casualties, which most certainly have helped Taliban in recruitments. Despite orders to avert civilian deaths, most of the 70 killed the other day in a NATO airstrike were Afghan villagers. The State Department is similarly attempting to stem government corruption, improve security forces especially the police and reduce violence. However, there is yet another initiative-turning to Islamism or radical Islam, a traditional U.S. foreign policy ingredient and a Richard Holbrooke’s specialty.

Turning to Jihadists

President Obama’s special envoy to AfPac (Afghanistan-Pakistan), some call him the Afghanistan Czar, and former President Clinton’s Balkans fixer, Richard Holbrooke, a fixture of the Democrats’ foreign policy establishment, met recently with Liaqat Baloch, a leader of Pakistan’s Jamaat-i-Islami party or abbreviated to JI. Shortly thereafter, Baloch attended an anti-American rally across the town in Islamabad. Anti-American views of the Pakistani Islamist parties are notorious. Prior to meeting Baloch, Holbrooke met with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party. Rehman was instrumental in Taliban’s early days and denied that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. Dealing with the Islamists is a dangerous foreign policy game, which however the U.S. has played since the 1945 Quincy Pact, between President Roosevelt and Ibn Saud, which made left both countries as the godfathers of Islamism. Dependence on Pakistan, its Islamists and Saudi Arabia, in order to defeat the Soviet Union in Central Asia, has had a troubled history for the U.S. foreign policies not only in the region but led to upheavals worldwide including creation of Al Qaeda and Taliban. A snapshot examination of this history which led to 9/11 plus Holbrooke’s track record in the Balkans implementing foreign policies of the Clintonites, now dominating the Obama administration, seems to be appropriate in particular since the compliant media is unlikely to do their job.


JI ranks among the leading and most influential Islamist movements and the first of its kind to develop an ideology based on the revolutionary concept of Islam in the contemporary world. The party was founded by Moulana Abu Ala Maududi in Lahore on August 26, 1941, inspired by the Pakistani Muslim Brotherhood branch. Maududi advocated a Leninist revolutionary approach to Islamist politics in his book Jihad in Islam. With founding of Pakistan in 1947, JI was reorganized into: JI Pakistan and JI Hind. In mid-70s, JI Bangladesh was established. JI has also presence in the Indian held Kashmir. All JI organizations work for similar objectives and have identical ideological approach with no organizational link between them. JI has developed and maintained close brotherly relations with Islamist parties in the Arab world, northern Africa, Turkey, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Lebanon and Hammas in Palestine. JI is a natural ally of Saudi Wahhabists. General Muhammad Zia ul-Haqq was supported by JI.

General Zia played U.S. as Violin

In 1977 General Muhammad Zia ul-Haqq, after overthrowing and hanging Benazir Bhutto’s father, became a dictator and announced that he wanted to establish a “genuine Islamic order” in Pakistan. He imposed harsh Islamic rules and declared that “in Islam there is no provision for Western-type elections.” He played the U.S. as the violin and managed to convince the U.S. to de facto outsource its policy in Central Asia to Pakistan.

Zia’s goal was to use the U.S. power to carve out a new Mogul empire extending from Pakistan to the Soviet republics of Central Asia. Original Mogul Empire (1526-1857) covered most of the Indian subcontinent and parts of Afghanistan. Afghanistan was at the center of that policy, with Pakistan determined to install a compliant government in Kabul. It was Zia who encouraged Islamists in Afghanistan, both domestic such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar or Abdurrab Rasul Sayyaf as well as imported Arabs like Osama bin Laden, to fight the Soviets while convincing Washington that the mujahideen were the best bet to defeat the Soviets in the 1980-89 U.S. Afghan proxy war against the USSR, which invaded Afghanistan to gain control over the threat of Islamism in it’s Asian republics (the “Stans”0). 70% of the U.S./Saudi multi billion dollar funding went to ultra-Islamist anti-American Afghan parties. He supported the madrassas along the Afghan-Pakistan border to serve as recruiting grounds. Saudi/Pakistani complex produced Al Qaeda, Afghan Arabs and Taliban. The Taliban took over. In the name of the War on Terror, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban. The Islamists were pushed into Pakistan, destabilizing this nuclear weapons country.

Zia authorized a Pakistani program to develop the nuclear weapons capability. The program was overlooked by Washington in order to further jihad in Afghanistan. Zia’s policies amounted to: screw India, deceive the U.S., spread Islamism, develop Islamic bomb and spread nuclear weapons technology. Pakistan has now an arsenal of Islamic bombs in the range 60-100, which presents a headache to all of those concerned about nuclear proliferation. Existence of this nuclear arsenal presents much greater threat to the world than the threat Iran might pose if they ever succeed in developing a nuclear weapons capability.

Bosnian Jihad

Rise to power of Bosnian Islamist Alija Izetbegovic and his Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in Bosnia in 1990 provided a unique opportunity for the Iran-led Islamist coalition to move into the heart of Europe. Iran’s clerics had attempted since the 1979 Khomeini revolution to find a foothold outside the Middle East and Central Asia in order to win territories, infrastructure and structures of government as a base for terrorist and political operations in order to gain leverage against the West. The ultimate target was the Great Satan. Only 15 days lapsed upon 1992 conclusion of the war in Afghanistan when the civil war in Bosnia broke out between the Bosnian Islamists and the Bosnian Christian Serbs.  Compatible with the Prophet’s saying “Indeed Jihad will continue till the day of Judgment,” bin Laden’s Afghan Arabs became available and subsequently moved into a number of world hotspots. The Bosnian jihad became the overseas conflict with the greatest importance to Al Qaeda. It was considered a favored laboratory and a springboard for strategic-level operations against Maghreb countries, Algeria in particular, Western Europe and the U.S. The Bosnian jihad appears to be the first time Shiite and Sunni jihadists cooperated closely together in what could be termed the Joint Islamist Terrorist Enterprise.

Holbrooke In The Balkans

Holbrooke secretly visited Bosnian towns of Travnik and Vitez in December 1992 and in a memorandum informed the U.S. Government about the illegal transportation of arms to the Bosnian Muslims and about volunteers and mercenaries arriving from Islamic countries.
Holbrooke wrote: “There is now clear evidence that few ‘freedom fighters’ or mujahideen, and there are more and more of them, join the Bosnian forces.” Later on, Holbrooke was lionized with brokering the Dayton Peace Accords, which terminated the 42 months civil/religious war caused predominantly by the U.S. via encouragement of Izetbegovic to pull out from the Lisbon agreement brokered by the EU (EC then) and signed by all three parties to the conflict– the Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims. Once the war was in progress, the Clinton administration sabotaged four peace agreements, endorsed by Serbian President Milosevic, thus unnecessarily prolonging the war and sufferings. Nonetheless, incessant western propaganda blamed Milosevic for all Balkan ills. Holbrooke, aided by compliant media, became the champion of  Serbophobia and demonization of the Serbs, in order to appease the radical Islam including bombing of Bosnian Serbs allegedly to get them to the negotiation table although their behinds were hurting from sitting at numerous negotiations. This partnership with radical Islam included Al Qaeda. During the insurrection of the Albanian terrorists from Albania into Kosovo, Holbrooke visited with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) terrorists but called them the ‘freedom fighters.”  This led to the U.S. embracing the Albanian Muslim narco-terrorists in order to insert NATO troops into Kosovo and thus amputate Serbia from the cradle of their Serbian Christian heritage. 

Clinton Administration Provided Invaluable Service to Al Qaeda in Bosnia

President Clinton sided with the Bosnian and Iran-led Islamists against the Christian Serbs in the civil/religious war in Bosnia. The Clinton administration not only turned a blind eye to radical Islam but also actively supported the Islamists, including the Al Qaeda terrorists. This commitment to actively support an Islamist agenda in the Balkans offers a plausible explanation why bin Laden and Al Qaeda did not show up on the radar screen in Washington until late 1995. By then, Al Qaeda fully established its base for operations in Europe against Al Qaeda’s true enemy, the U.S. Bosnia, serving as the recruiting sergeant, provided a big surge in growth of several terrorist groups on Clinton’s watch.

In the conduct of this deeply flawed policy the Clinton administration opted for an Iran-Contra style operation in flagrant violation of the UN Security Council arms embargo against all combatants in the former Yugoslavia. Despite Iran’s responsibility for the deaths of over 1500 Americans (according to the State Department) and being the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism, the Clinton administration chose Iran to be a partner in Bosnia. By virtue of making Iran-led Islamists and Al Qaeda allies of convenience in the Balkans, the Clinton administration had provided an invaluable service to terrorism. Iran and Al Qaeda established a beachhead in the center of Europe. Al Qaeda formed a terrorist brigade called Al Mujahid, whose members played the pivotal part in 9/11, the Madrid train bombings and other terrorist acts.

Brendan O’Neill wrote that the Bosnian war “taught Islamic terrorists to operate abroad. For all the millions of words written about Al Qaeda since the 9/11 attacks two years ago, one phenomenon is consistently overlooked—the role of the Bosnian war in transforming the mujahideen of the 1980s into the roving Islamist terrorists of today.” This was tragic for almost 3,000 victims of 9/11. O’Neill further wrote that the Bosnia venture led to the emergence of today’s cross-border Islamist terrorists who think nothing of moving from state to state in search of outlets for their jihadists missions. The Pentagon transported thousands of mujahideen from “the ghettos of Afghanistan and the Middle East into Europe; from an outdated battleground of the Cold War to the major world conflict of the day; from being yesterday’s men to fighting alongside the West’s favored side in the clash of the Balkans. If the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan created mujahideen, Western intervention in Bosnia appears to have globalized it. According to Tomazi, an Italian author, some 20,000 mujahideen had been transported by American planes.

Dismemberments of Yugoslavia and Serbia

It has become apparent that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had broader objectives than fighting terrorism against Al Qaeda and Taliban. So called “war on terror” was an excuse for the Pax Americana in the Middle East and Central Asia. In this context, dismemberment of Yugoslavia into a series of “banana” republics could be interpreted as a creation of Western vassals in the Balkans through wars, but with the blame falling, not on the NATO as the naked aggressor, but on Serbs and Milosevic, former communist, who opposed dismemberment of Yugoslavia and then Serbia. It is now seen by many that NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999 was an important precursor for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Similar to what had happened during WWII, the Great Powers, this time U.S.-led NATO, exploited and aggravated the Serb-Albanian ethnic conflict for their own purposes to strengthen their position in the Balkans at the expense of Serb Orthodox Christians. NATO, supported by the compliant media, sided with the interests of pan-Islamists, bin Laden and his Al Qaeda included, in echoing and even amplifying the chauvinist Albanian propaganda.

Serbs, characterized as junior Russians sharing the Orthodox religion and the Slavic background, have traditionally enjoyed the reputation of being rebellious people unwilling to accept foreign occupations and dictates, had to be demolished as the historical entity. Strobe Talbott, former U.S. deputy secretary of state, has written: “It was Yugoslavia’s resistance to the broader terms of political and economic reform—not the plight of Kosovar Albanians—that best explains NATO’s war.”

Holbrooke Played Key Role in Amputation of Kosovo from Serbia

The Clinton administration was determined to deliver the Serbian provinces of Kosovo and Metohija to Albanian Muslim narco-terrorists and thus to supplant a radical Muslim culture over an ancient Christian one. Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke were assigned to implement this “noble” objective. As a first step, on June 24, 1998, Holbrooke met with a KLA commander Gani Shehu in Junik, near the Yugoslav-Albanian border, which served as a supply line for the KLA insurrection from Northern Albania into Kosovo. It didn’t matter that in February of the same year the KLA was characterized as a terrorist organization by then Clinton’s Balkans envoy Robert Gelbard. Despite this, Holbrooke recommended that the KLA, better name should be the “National Front for a Greater Albania,” participate in negotiations which indeed took place at Rambouillet, near Paris, in February 1999 amounting to legitimization of violence.

In August 1998 the Serbian forces defeated the KLA and pushed them back into Northern Albania. Milosevic offered Albanian separatists an interim agreement for a 3-5 year period that would grant the province self-government using South Tirol as a model. This, however, wasn’t good enough for the Clinton administration in their zeal to advance radical Islam in the Balkans. On September 23, 1998 the UN Security Council passed a resolution #1199 threatening Yugoslavia a military action. Holbrooke arrived in Belgrade on October 5 for a 50 hour negotiating session with Milosevic hoping to convince Milosevic to allow NATO presence in Kosovo. The Western diplomacy had one apparent goal: to force, one way or the other, troops into Kosovo in order to establish a NATO protectorate. After 50 hours of face-to-face negotiations, involving many whiskey drinking sessions, Holbrooke and Milosevic reached a cease-fire deal in compliance with the UN Resolution #1199 to be verified by an international team of 2,000 OSCE “compliance verifiers.” The KLA never honored the deal but that didn’t matter as the U.S./NATO interest was to force NATO troops into Kosovo as a part of Pax Americana. In order to accomplish this objective the KLA terrorist actions were right on the mark. The subsequent Rambouillet conference was nothing more than a setup for the war.

Shortly before March 24, 1999, when 78-day bombing of Serbia began, which I call 78 days of infamy, Holbrooke delivered the final ultimatum to Milosevic: if Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro then) doesn’t agree with the Rambouillet conference text, calling for a de facto occupation of Yugoslavia, NATO would strike. Subsequent to initiation of bombing Holbrooke claimed that it wasn’t the occupation which was threatened. Several weeks later, confronted by a journalist, Holbrooke said: “I never said that.” This was a lie and a tacit admission that the Rambouillet text called for occupation of Yugoslavia. Holbrooke is a liar. He promised to Dr. Karadzic, a former Bosnian Serb president, that he wouldn’t face indictment from the $2 billion International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) if he agreed to step down from presidency of the Bosnian Serb Republic. Karadzic indeed stepped down and recently told the Hague Tribunal judges about the Holbrooke’s promise. Holbrooke denied despite the fact that several eye-witnesses have confirmed that the promise was delivered in their presence.

A detailed account of what transpired in Kosovo during the UN/NATO protectorate phase (June 1999-todate) is offered in my book Kosovo is Serbia: The Amputation of a Sovereign Country by U.S,-Sponsored Muslim Terrorists. Essentially it boiled to mayhem for the Serbs, Roma and other minorities including massive ethnic cleansing of some 250,000 Serbs and mostly Roma. 151 Serbian churches and monasteries have been demolished but over 400 Wahhabi style mosques have been built or are under construction. One of them was initially named after Osama bin Laden, but subsequently renamed Medina. Upon arrival of NATO forces, a silent genocide took place in Kosovo. In March 2004, Kosovo Kristallnacht took place; a 60,000 strong Albanian mob drove 4,500 Serbs from their homes causing 19 deaths and some 900 injuries. The human rights organizations slammed UN/NATO but there were apologists for the Albanian thugs including Holbrooke, who wasn’t in the government then since the republican administration was in. On the sidelines Holbrooke continued to support the Albanian separatists and terrorists and continued to be a major force for the 2008 unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) in violation of all international laws on the books.

Kosovo Experiment: A Grand Failure

An Austrian historian, journalist and publicist, Hannes Hofbauer, published a book Kosovo Experiment: Return to Colonialism. He characterized the Kosovo UDI as the fatal blow to the post WWII world order and a return to colonialism. The beneficiaries are NATO, EU and others, who have practiced imperialism in the Balkans, but not the Albanians. The goal of imperial powers is to establish non-Slavic centers in the Slavic lands, to exert control over natural resources, and at the same to experiment with countries at the EU margins in addition to pleasing the radical Islam. Kosovo is an experiment intended to redefine the international law using economic and military might. The unemployment rate in Kosovo as well as in Bosnia runs at ~50%. Kosovo ranks at one of the world’s most corrupt places with 67% of the population reporting that they have to pay a bribe to get a service. In addition it is called by some the Black Hole of Europe and by others the Republic of Heroin.

Despite all of this, the Clintonites in the Obama administration, delusional and disingenuous, continue to maintain that Kosovo has been a great success instead of an ugly experiment and a fiasco. The U.S. has become an international law pariah. It has created a model Russia used to declare Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence: KosovOssetia. Needless to say, while Holbrooke was passed over for the Secretary of State position in the Obama administration he continued to advocate together with Hillary Clinton that there is unfinished business in the Balkans. The primary target would be abolition of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and even greater pressure on Serbia to recognize the illegitimate Kosovo Republic. This despite the Obama administration’s effort to restore America’s reputation and leadership in the world.

Media Silence and Complicity Regarding Kosovo “Success”

Lee Jay Walker wrote recently the following in The Seoul Times: “The ongoing de-Christianization of Kosovo continues and unlike the past frenzy of the anti-Serbian mass media in the West, we mainly have a deadly silence about the reality of Kosovo and continuing Albanization of this land. However, how is it ‘just’ and ‘moral’ to persecute minorities and to alienate them from mainstream society, and then to illegally recognize the land without the consensus of the international community? How ironic it  is that the sane Unites States of America and the United Kingdom, two nations who were in the forefront of covertly manipulating the mass media; remain mainly silent about the destruction of Orthodox Christian churches, Serbian architecture, and of course the past killings of Serbians and other minorities in Kosovo.” The U.S./NATO had portrayed the Serb-Albanian conflict about human rights, democracy and liberty. However, these “noble” goals applied to Muslims but not to the Christians. It should be noted that de-Christianization took place in Iraq as well, which was also all but ignored by the media.

It appears that in order to get informed the American public needs to read The Seoul Times and other similar sources of information based on facts rather than the propaganda. Not only that the American mainstream media has not been reporting ugly events in now decade old UN/NATO protectorate of Kosovo but they are hiding identity of Albanian and Bosnian Muslims criminals for the crimes committed in the U.S. As an example, there is the case of “Fort Dix Six,” sentenced for plotting to blow up U.S. Army base in New Jersey in order “to kill as many soldiers as possible.” Four of them are Albanians, but the media reported that they were Yugoslavs. Second example, Bosnian Muslim Sulejman Talovic went on a shooting spree at a Utah shopping mall, killing five and wounding four. He was identified as a “Bosnian.” On the other hand media has never failed to report that Dr. Karadzic or General Mladic are Bosnian Serbs. Third, one of seven recently arrested terrorists, charged with plotting to wage jihad, is a Bosnian Muslim (Anes Subasic) and another is Kosovo Albanian (Hysen Sherifi). The media reported that they were naturalized American citizens.

A Conclusion

Obama has committed the country to yet another unwinnable war despite the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression including the mushrooming deficit. The Brits and the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan, so why would the U.S. do any better? Can Obama convince the nation that additional hundreds of billions of dollars should be spent and additional hundreds of young American lives sacrificed? As was the case with Lyndon Johnston in Vietnam and George Bush in Iraq, the Afghan war will likely hold his administration hostage.

To make already bad things worse, Obama has surrounded himself with Clintonites with their foreign policy disasters claimed to be successes. One of the worst is the partnership with radical Islam in the Balkans used by Islamists as a staging ground for jihad against the rest of Europe as well as the U.S. including 9/11.

Vojin Joksimovich, Ph.D is a nuclear physicist and an author of a new book called Kosovo is Serbia.