Lashkar Islami and TTP At Each Other’s Throats in Khyber Agency

TTP-LI clash leaves 8 dead in Khyber Agency

Ashrafuddin Pirzada

LANDIKOTAL: At least eight people, including two pedestrians, were killed in a gun battle between Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Swat chapter militants and Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) members in Tabai Bazaar of Landikotal tehsil, officials said on Saturday.

The shootout took place at 7:45 p.m. when several TTP militants, travelling in two double-cabin vehicles, tried to kidnap an LI man. The other LI gunmen present in the Tabai Bazaar attacked TTP Swat gunmen.

On the resistance from LI volunteers, the TTP Swat militants also opened fire and the exchange of fire continued for about 30 minutes.

Eight persons including two TTP Swat militants, four LI fighters and two pedestrians said to be auto mechanics were killed on the spot, while four others sustained bullets injuries, tribal sources said. Two double-cabin pickups of the TTP Swat were also destroyed in the clash.

“LI volunteers also abducted up three other TTP Swat militants and took them to an undisclosed location while a few of them fled to nearby Sur Ghar in Tabai area where the LI volunteers also went chasing their rivals,” said a source, who requested anonymity.

It was the second armed clash between TTP Swat and LI fighters in Bazaar Zakhakhel, leading to death of dozens of fighters from both sides during the last one month.

Thousands of Anti-Israel Protesters Take to Streets across Europe

Thousands of Anti-Israel Protesters Take to Streets across Europe

Readers Number : 280

06/06/2010 From Frankfurt to Berlin to Dusseldorf – thousands of anti-Israel protesters marched across Germany on Saturday, hoisting Palestinian flags and calling for action against the “massacre” aboard the Mavi Marmara.

There are an estimated 2.8 million Turks or Germans of Turkish origin in Germany. Eleven Germans were aboard the Mavi Marmara.

“We want justice for our comrades killed!” said Hamit Savas. “We insist on an end to the insane blockade of Gaza and freedom for our brother Palestinians.”

Paris, London and Dublin saw similar protests. In Dublin, protesters were angry not only about the Marmara, but also about Israel’s stopping the Rachel Corrie Saturday, which carried Irish activists.

In Sweden, dockworkers announced Saturday that Israeli ships trying to dock and unload goods would be “ignored” next week. A spokesman for the 1,500 strong Swedish Port Workers Union said it’s workers are being told to refuse handling Israeli goods and ships during the June 15-24 boycott.

A union spokesman, Peter Annerback, said the dock workers would use “detective work” to figure out if any Israeli goods were arriving on non-Israeli ships. He urged other unions to join in similar initiatives. Seven Swedish citizens were detained on board the Gaza-bound flotilla.

Norway announced it was canceling an upcoming special operations seminar because the Defense Ministry objected to the inclusion of an Israeli army officer in the program. A spokeswoman, Maj. Heidi Langvik-Hansen, said it was “not the right time” to hear a talk by an Israeli officer [identified only as Colonel Toledano].

In England, in Bournemouth, a coastal resort town with a large Jewish population and a Jewish mayor, there were calls to cut the city’s twinning links with Netanya. In a letter to the local Daily Echo, resident Tony Williams charged that “the latest atrocity’ illustrated Israel’s “contempt not only for the rule of law but for the opinions of civilized nations throughout the world.” Williams said: “Next year in Bournemouth we shall be electing councilors, and it is essential that all candidates standing for election state their position on the Palestine-Israel conflict.”

Mayor Barry Golbart said people should work for a “peaceful solution.” Golbart said: “Speaking personally, and not as mayor, my position is that I am not an Israeli; I’m a Jewish man living in England. It is an extremely sorry state of affairs, whatever the rights and wrongs of it,” he told the Echo.

Two More Wanted IMU Terrorists Killed in Tajikistan

[SEE: In Tajikistan, in a shooting killed two active member of the IMU]

Tajik Interior Ministry identified the dead terrorist

June 5, 2010, 10:32
CA-NEWS (TJ) – Tajikistan’s law enforcement authorities identified the dead during a firefight on the night of Friday the terrorists in the village 60 km north of Dushanbe.

According to the press center of the Interior Ministry, they are residents of Isfara (a city that borders with Kyrgyzstan) 32-year-old Abdurahim Umarov and 31-year-old Abdurahmon Vahhobov, who were wanted for a long time.

According to MIA, Umarov is an active member of the terrorist organization Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (now Turkestan), was wanted since 1999 on suspicion of terrorism, the organization of criminal conspiracy, illegal possession of firearms, theft, deliberate destruction of property.

The Interior Ministry claimed that “the body of another dead like Vahhobova, who is wanted since 2004 on suspicion of membership in this organization.” “They were both extremely dangerous, were fighting terrorist training in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, – said the press center.

The Interior Ministry stressed that the clashes on the ground were found two pistols Makarov pistol Walther with a silencer, more than a thousand units of ammunition, items necessary to assemble an improvised explosive device, the Afghan currency, the extremist literature and training materials to prepare terrorist acts.

Recall that on June 2 post “Mayhura” (60 km north of Dushanbe) stopped a vehicle brand Opel, in the cabin where the driver and several passengers. During the search of the car one of the passengers opened fire, which resulted in injury to one of the staff of the Anti-narcotics Interior Ministry.

The attackers managed to flee the scene of the incident. During the announced plan of “interception” was established location of the attackers, which occurred during the arrest of firing.

In the clashes killed one of the Department of special police, and wounded one person from among civilians.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan, in 2009 the country had been cleared 10 organized criminal groups.

The largest operation was conducted in June-August of last year Rashstkoy valley to the east of the republic, which was killed by ex-Minister for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense Mirzo Zieev, Bole known as Mirza-Jag. Then law enforcement agencies of Tajikistan were killed 11 militants, including five Russian citizens, dozens were arrested, among them foreign mercenaries.

Army Plans $100 Million Special Ops HQ in Afghanistan

Army Plans $100 Million Special Ops HQ in Afghanistan

By Noah Shachtman

The Army is looking to spend as much as $100 million to expand its Special Operations headquarters in northern Afghanistan.

All around Afghanistan, from Kandahar Airfield to the Bagram jail, the U.S. military is on a building spree, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on wartime encampments. By one count, America and its allies now have 700 bases in Afghanistan. But most of the construction — and most of the extra troops “surging” into the country — are going to the violent south and the dangerous east.

Until recently, northern Afghanistan was considered quiet. Regional hub Mazar-e-Sharif was the first major city in Afghanistan to be taken from the Taliban. But, especially in nearby Kunduz province, violence is bubbling up once again.

The Amy expects its expanded Special Operations HQ in Mazar-e-Sharif to occupy 70,000 square meters. It’ll include a “communications building, Tactical Operations Center, training facility, medical aid station, Vehicle Maintenance Facility… dining facility, laundry facility, and a kennel to support working dogs,” according to a request for proposals. “Supporting facilities include roads, power production system and electrical distribution, water well, non-potable water production, water storage, water distribution, sanitary sewer collection system, communication manhole/duct system, curbs, walkways, drainage and parking. Additionally, the project will include site preparation and compound security measures to include guard towers.”

Construction is supposed to take a year. At which point, the U.S. is allegedly supposed to begin drawing down its forces in Afghanistan. Allegedly.

[Photo: DoD]

Iranian troops Fortify Military Positions Inside Kurdish northern Iraq

Iranian troops cross into Iraq’s northern border


BAGHDAD, June 5 (Saba) — The Iranian troops crossed into the Iraqi Kurdish region two days after another incursion in the mountainous semiautonomous region, a Kurdish security source and Kurdish official website said on Saturday, according to Xinhua.

“Iranian forces late on Thursday entered about two km inside an Iraqi territory near the bordering area of Haj Omran in Arbil province,” a border guards source said on condition of anonymity.

The Iranian troops were armed with heavy weapons, military vehicles and bulldozers, the source said.

The Iraqi Kurdish forces were observing the Iranian movements and noticed the Iranian troops have built new military positions on the Mount Kudo inside the Iraqi Kurdish territory, according to the official website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, headed by Iraq President Jalal Talabani.

On Tuesday, the Arabiyah Pan Arab news television reported that the Iranian troops entered 5 km inside the Iraqi territories without giving further details about the incursion.

However, the Kurdish authorities frequently complained that the Iranian troops shelled the Kurdish villages in the mountainous area in northern Iraq with their artillery and that about 220 Kurdish families have already fled the area.

Iran says it is targeting militants from the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), an Iranian anti-government Kurdish group which allegedly is sheltering in the Iraqi Kurdish region.

The PJAK is a militant Kurdish nationalist group, which has been accused by Iran of carrying out numerous attacks against the Iranian troops in western Iran. Iran as well as Turkey sporadically attack inside the Iraqi Qandil mountains as they believe that PJAK has close ties to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and both are sheltering in bases in the mountainous region of northern Iraq.

On June 1, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador and Turkish charge d’affair to express its “deep concern” and called the attacks “dangerous,” according to a statement from the ministry.


Iran pipeline will be Pakistan’s Enron

Iran pipeline will be Pakistan’s Enron

6 Jun 2010, 0916 hrs IST,TNN

Swaminomics declared last week that India must forget the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline because of the outrageously high cost of Iranian gas. Some readers have asked, “Why is Pakistan willing to pay the Iranian price, and go ahead with the project minus India?”

Answer: The pipeline is going to become Pakistan’s Enron. It will drive Pakistan towards bankruptcy and be aborted, just as Enron drove the Maharashtra government towards bankruptcy and was aborted.

Iran and other Gulf producers have long linked the price of gas to that of oil. This was acceptable for decades when oil prices, and hence linked gas prices, were subdued. But oil shot up from $14/barrel in 1995 to a peak of $150/barrel in 2008, and it is still around $75/barrel today.

Iran and Pakistan have agreed on a gas price linked to 80% of the Brent crude oil price. This would have been fair in 1995 but not any longer as oil is up from $14/barrel to $75/barrel.

In a recent interview with Newsline magazine, former Pakistan petroleum secretary Gulfraz Ahmed declared bluntly, “I am now appalled to know that the present negotiations are in the region of 80% of Brent crude.” He adds, “We need this gas urgently, but on the other hand, not at this price.”

He recalls that his original negotiation in the 1990s was for a gas price of $2.05/mmbtu (million metric British thermal unit) from Iran. But the new gas deal implies a price of $8/mmbtu if oil is $60/barrel. If oil goes up to $100/barrel — very likely in the next year or so — the gas price will soar to $13/mmbtu. And if oil returns to its 2008 level of $150/barrel — entirely possible when the Iran-Pakistan pipeline is completed in 2015 — gas will cost a mind-boggling $20/mmbtu, or 10 times as high as originally negotiated in the 1990s.

The cost of 5,000 MW of power to be generated from the gas will rise correspondingly. If oil costs $100/barrel, the linked gas price will translate into an electricity price of around Rs 7.50/ unit. Remember that Enron had to be closed when its price rose to just Rs 4.25/unit: the Maharashtra government said this would empty its coffers.
When Pakistan begins generating power with Iran gas in 2015, oil could be as high as $150/barrel. If so, the corresponding cost of electricity will be Rs 11/unit. Producing power at that price will be economic suicide.

Why has Pakistan got itself into such a trap? Well, don’t be surprised: many Indians still want to join this project. Politicians and strategy wonks can be so fascinated by projects with political appeal that they forget commercial sense. The Left Front is dying to join the project just to spite the US. Pakistan too has foreign policy wonks who see the pipeline as a way to kick the US and display solidarity with Islamic neighbours, oblivious of the suicidal cost.

When Enron proposed its 2000 MW plant in India, this was seen as a fabulously strategic project, worth paying a premium for. At the time the state electricity boards were bust, and India had a terrible power shortage. In this energy desperation, the Enron project was grasped eagerly and cleared at record speed, notwithstanding warnings about the cost. Many hoped this strategic deal would open the gate for dozens more foreign investments.

Fifteen years later, Pakistan also has a terrible power shortage. It too suffers from energy desperation, and so is eagerly grasping a massive power project based on Iranian fuel, ignoring warnings from its own experts about the cost.

Gulfraz Ahmed mentions a third reason for Pakistan’s behaviour: lack of negotiating skills to understand the risks of a 40-year deal with an unfavourable pricing formula. This happened in Enron’s case as well. In both cases the negotiators failed to realize the risks of a contract linked to world oil prices (which could shoot up) and denominated in dollars (the electricity price shot up every time the rupee declined).

Critics of Enron shouted “corruption”. More than 20 cases were filed against the project but all were dismissed by the courts — there was no hard evidence. However, many Indians remained convinced that money had changed hands because Indian politicians are so obviously corrupt. I predict that the Iran gas deal will also be widely condemned as corrupt in Pakistan once the high cost of electricity becomes patently obvious.

Corruption charges are a distraction. The Enron fiasco was caused by a combination of energy desperation, incompetent negotiation, and fanciful notions of strategic importance. Pakistan faces a similar fiasco for the same three reasons.

Left-Wingers Burn Israeli Flags Near U.S. Embassy

Left-Wingers Burn Israeli Flags Near U.S. Embassy

Several hundred leftist demonstrators held a protest near the U.S. embassy compound in Awkar on Sunday, burning Israeli flags and calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“Free Palestine” and “‘No’ to an American embassy in Lebanon,” the protestors chanted about two kilometers away from the embassy, under the watchful eyes of Lebanese soldiers.

The demonstrators, supporters of the Communist Party and the Democratic Youth Movement, carried Lebanese, Palestinian and Turkish flags, and placards denouncing the Jewish state.

Protests have erupted worldwide since Israeli naval commandos stormed a Turkish-led multi-national aid flotilla headed for Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade, killing nine activists on board.

On Saturday, Israeli forces stopped the Rachel Corrie, another aid ship headed for Gaza from Ireland, but there was no repetition of the earlier violence.

“Born in the USA, murdered for Palestine,” said a placard carried by a demonstrator, an apparent reference to Rachel Corrie, an American activist crushed by Israeli bulldozers in 2003 as she tried to stop the destruction of Palestinian homes.

Demonstrators also carried the dead activist’s photographs, and an Israeli flag symbolically splattered with drops of blood. They set ablaze two Israeli flags and a wooden replica of the Jewish state’s emblem, the star of David.

Some of the demonstrators removed a line of barbed wire separating them from the soldiers, before being warned to stop and move back.

On Saturday, two pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations in Lebanon launched a campaign for funds to buy a boat to sail for Gaza next week with dozens of Arab and foreign journalists on board.(AFP-Naharnet)