Presidents of Russia, US, France and Canada Take First Baby Step Into New World Order

The presidents of Russia, the United States and France issued a joint statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The presidents of Russia, the United States and France during G 8 summit inCanada issued a joint statement on theNagorno-Karabakh conflict, which called on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijanto accelerate work on the Main principles of settlement of the conflict in order to begin drafting a Peace agreement, RIA Novosti reported.

“Currently, the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan should make one more step and finalize the Main principles in order to be able to begin peace agreement draft”, – said in the statement of Dmitry Medvedev, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy, which they took as heads of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair states.

The three presidents instructed the ministers and the mediators to “continue actively promote Armenia and Azerbaijan, to overcome the existing differences in preparation for a joint meeting on the margins of the informal ministerial forum of OSCE in Almaty.”

The leaders of Russia, the USA and France reaffirmed their commitment to support the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia to finish reconcilement on the Main principles of the settlement.

The statement noted that the heads of states – co-chairs of the Minsk Group have been considered as an important step towards the recognition by both parties of the fact that the settlement must be based on several principles, among which, returning of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees of security and self-government; corridor linking Armenia with Nagorno- Karabakh.

The final legal determination of future status of Nagorno Karabakh “by a legally binding will of its people, the right of all refugees and internal displaced persons to return to their former homes, international guarantees of security, including peacekeeping operations” is among these principles.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.

The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, France, and the U.S. – are currently holding the peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council’s resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.

Tropical Storm Alex., 1:24 pm, eastern std. time

Tropical Storm Alex forms in Caribbean

MIAMI (AP) — Tropical Storm Alex formed in the Western Caribbean Saturday, and forecasters said it was unclear if it would hit the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Saturday that the storm has maximum sustained winds of about 40 mph. Most storm prediction models show Alex traveling over the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico over the weekend, but they no longer have it going across the oil spill once it reaches the Gulf, hurricane forecaster Jack Bevens said.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Belize and the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, which separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s too early to tell if the storm will hit the northeastern part of the Gulf, where the spill has spread over the past 10 weeks, Bevens said. While the current forecast track has the storm shifting away from the spill, Bevens noted that could change.

Somewhere between 69 million and 132 million gallons of crude have spewed into the water since the rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

The storm raises concerns over what might happen to efforts to contain the oil if BP is forced to abandon the area for a while. An armada of ships is working in the Gulf.

A cap has been placed over the blown-out undersea well and it is carrying some of the oil to a surface ship where it is being collected. Some of the oil is being brought to the surface and burned. Other ships are drilling two relief wells, projected to be done by August, and are the best hope to stop the leak.

Forecasters have said they can’t speculate about what rough weather would do to oil in the water.

The depression is on track to reach the peninsula by late Saturday. It is about 220 miles east of Belize City and about 250 miles east-southeast of Chetumal.

Meanwhile in the Pacific, two major hurricanes are swirling but don’t pose an immediate threat to land. Darby has weakened to a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds near 110 mph.

The hurricane is about 300 miles southwest of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. It’s heading west-northwest near 6 mph.

Hurricane Celia has weakened to a Category 2 storm farther out in the Pacific. Celia’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to 100 mph. It is about 880 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. The hurricane center says Celia is approaching cooler waters and is expected to continue weakening.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Dangerous Defrosting

Dangerous Defrosting

Comment by Sergei Markedonov
Special to Russia Profile

Most Popular Stories

The Increase in Military Confrontation Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Means Political Dialogue Between the Two Is Becoming Hostage to the Will of Soldiers

As Kyrgyzstan plunges into chaos and the threat of a second Afghanistan in Central Asia looms large, the situation in the Greater Caucasus seems less pressing. The Russian attempt to “replace the regime” of Mikhail Saakashvili, expected by many in the West, has not taken place. Neither have the attempts from the West (the United States, NATO) and others to “nudge Georgia into a rematch,” which were expected in Moscow. Nonetheless, the recent events in Nagorno-Karabakh show that peace in the Caucasus is still “just a dream.”

In June there was a sharp increase in the number of infringements on the ceasefire regime at the points where Armenian and Azeri forces have contact (which both in Baku and in Yerevan is referred to as the “front line”). On the night of June 18 to 19, a group of Azeri saboteurs tried to assess the fighting ability of the Armenian divisions by penetrating the territory of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKP), and on the night of June 20 to 21, 200 instances of ceasefire infringements were recorded (ranging from small incidents to exchanges of fire).

On the one hand, it is difficult to be surprised at infringements of the ceasefire. Last year there were roughly 4,300 such infringements of varying degrees of gravity (ranging from single shots fired to full-on duels with artillery). In 2008 the number of infringements equated to 3,500 and in 2007 – 1,400. In 2006, in comparison with successive ones, things were really peaceful, with only 600 registered. On the other hand, in the context of the numerous changes in the Greater Caucasus and its neighboring regions, the incidents taking place today require the utmost attention.

This “hot spot” on the territory of the former Soviet Union stands out sharply from the others. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was the most intense of the armed conflicts in the post-Soviet Caucasus (which began in 1988 as an inter-republic conflict, becoming interstate in 1991 and continuing for another three years). It was in Karabakh that the highest number of deaths, refugees and temporarily displaced persons were recorded in comparison with Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdnestr. In Karabakh there is no peace-keeping operation for separating the conflicting sides (everything is contained in the agreement on ceasefire, signed in May of 1994), and the sides themselves demarcate the “front line.” The single mediating force here is the Minsk Group, which has already become legendary for its ineffectiveness. The most effective peacekeeping achievement to date is the aforementioned May agreement of 1994.

The sides regularly test the limits of each other’s patience, and only the regional conventional arms race (not yet, thank God, a nuclear arms race) is a real stabilizing factor. Both sides fear a big war. It is not just a fear of loss of human life, but a fall in the image of the authorities, the legitimacy of which in many ways hinges on the Karabakh factor. Consequently, the strain on the situation can provoke much more serious results for the South Caucasus and the entire CIS.

However, June’s “military clamor” in the Karabakh is essentially just a continuation of the trend that began several years ago. It can be called the “unfreezing” of ethno-political conflict. This “unfreezing” resulted in the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and also in a new status quo in the Greater Caucasus. August 2008 showed that reliance on the dynamics of Russia-Georgia relations does not suit Yerevan. It explains the current growth in interest in the normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations which hasn’t been observed since 1991 to 1993. Armenian-Turkish dialogue has become a serious factor influencing the regulation of the Karabakh process, though it is not only thanks to Turkish diplomacy. The effectiveness of the Azeri president should also be recognized (along with his diplomatic office) for having managed to not allow the Karabakh problem to completely “detach” itself from the process of Armenian-Turkish normalization.

In contrast with the conflicts in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transdnestr or in the Balkans, it would seem that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has become a point where the positions of Russia and the United States for all these years, starting with the agreement on an indefinite ceasefire, have not deviated too seriously. Both sides, (each in its own way) have been interested in maintaining the status quo and avoiding an “unfreezing” of the conflict. And today Moscow and Washington would not want to raise “the stakes in the game” with Karabakh. Moscow has plenty of problems in other places in the Greater Caucasus, and the United States has got bogged down in the resolution of the Middle East (from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan to Turkey, and Palestine with Israel). However, both would like to improve relations with Turkey. For Moscow, this is an important economic and political-psychological subject. For Washington, the prospect of utterly losing Turkey as a strategic ally is fraught with many side effects.

But Ankara is extremely interested in maintaining its normalization with Armenia, which corresponds to its interests. Among these interests, the Azerbaijan factor is far from the last. So how can Turkey be made more insistent on dialogue with the United States and the Russian Federation? And how can partners interested in relations with Turkey be forced to be tractable in the dialogue with Ankara? This is easiest achieved by reminding people of one’s presence. Not only by using warlike rhetoric (which everyone is already well acquainted with and rather fed up with), but also with military demonstrations, which contravene the rules.

It is interesting to note that a spokesman for the Azeri Foreign Ministry, Elkhin Polukhov, commenting on the incident on the night of June 18 to 19, clearly stated that “Azerbaijan will never accept the fact of the occupation of its territories.” Consequently, in Baku’s tactics, the negotiations (the same ones which were going on in St. Petersburg with the participation of Dmitry Medvedev literally the day before the infringements to the ceasefire regime) will alternate between fierce warlike statements and now already warlike demonstrations of force.

Probably, these same demonstrations of force will not lead to a new war by themselves. But the more frequent use of this instrument makes politics a hostage not of the president’s will, but rather of the will of sergeants. Only in layout do military operations seem logical and thought through. In reality, on the “front line” too much is being decided by emotions and irrational actions. Relying exclusively on this means leaving too much to chance.

Sergei Markedonov is a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on the Russia and Eurasia Program in Washington, DC.

HERITAGE FOUNDATION, Psyop Central–American Third Way/Neoconservatism

[SEE:   Iran/Contra Hearings–The lostchapter]

THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION

Power Elites: The Merger of Right and Left

A. K. Chesterton once said: “The proper study of political mankind is the study of power elites, without which nothing that happens could be understood.”

He added: “These elites, preferring to work in private, are rarely found posed for photographers, and their influence upon events has therefore to be deduced from what is known of the agencies they employ.”

Chesterton described those agencies: “Their goal was to work through such agencies, and financial support received from one or other or all three big American foundations–Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford — provides an infallible means of recognizing them.”

The Rockefellers made $200,000,000.00 from World War I. Henry Kissinger’s brother Walter heads the Allen Group. The super-wealthy (with the exception of some Du Ponts and the Fords) have long supported the Republican Party — the party of plutocratic oligarchy. “If not kings themselves, they are king-makers.” They have quick access to the White House no matter who is President. Other super-rich, such as the Rockefellers, affiliate with the Democratic Party. Politics in the U.S., no matter what party, is under the control of the super-rich, large corporations and the international bankers.

A.K. Chesterton said in Candour: “At times Capitalism and Communism would appear to be in conflict, but this writer is confident that their interests are in common and will eventually merge for one-world control. That policy outlined previously in Woodrow Wilson’s Point Six has never been dropped.

“Capitalism and Communism, in terms of power, are merely their twin mechanisms to destroy the sovereignty of Christian nations. They will merge them into the projected super-state, where their financial power will exercise full sway and masterdom through that monopoly of atomic energy which is being sought with such feverish and fiendish persistence. They are selling us into slavery and using our material resources for their own nefarious world-wide purposes. To say that in exposing their plans for world domination we are playing the Kremlin’s game is to act as an unconscious agent of Christendom’s betrayal.” (1)

Paul Weyrich

Paul Weyrich is considered by conservative Powers That Be as the most powerful man in American politics today. Weyrich allegedly founded the immensely influential conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, in 1973 with funding from Joseph Coors of the Coors beer empire and Richard Mellon-Scaife, heir of the Carnegie-Mellon fortune. (2)

Over the past 25 years, Heritage has also been funded by private foundations such as Pew Charitable Trust which also funded many GOALS 2000 initiatives. William Greider’s bestseller, Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy reveals other benefactors: “Not withstanding its role as ‘populist’ spokesman, Weyrich’s organization, for instance, has received grants from Amoco, General Motors, Chase Manhattan Bank [David Rockefeller] and right-wing foundations like Olin and Bradley.” (3)

Paul Weyrich served as President of Heritage Foundation until 1974 when he founded the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress (which he heads today as the Free Congress Foundation). Heritage Foundation guided the Reagan administration during its period of transition and Joe Coors served in the President’s “Kitchen Cabinet.” During its first year, the Reagan administration adopted fully two-thirds of the recommendations of Heritage’s Mandate for Leadership: Policy Management in a Conservative Administration.

John Saloma’s Ominous Politics, refers to Heritage as a “shadow government” noting that “[Heritage President] (Edwin) Feulner also served on the Reagan transition executive committee (fourteen other Heritage staff and board members also had transition appointments), but declined to join the administration.” (4)

A 1995 Wall Street Journal observed the formidable influence of the Heritage Foundation on government policies since the Reagan era:

“WASHINGTON — With the Republicans’ rise to control Congress, think-tank power in the nation’s capital has shifted to the right. And no policy shop has more clout than the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“When GOP congressional staffers met in June with conservative leaders to help map current legislative efforts to cut federal funding for left-leaning advocacy groups, the closed-door meeting took place at Heritage headquarters. The group’s involvement wasn’t unusual. ‘Heritage is without question the most far-reaching conservative organization in the country in the war of ideas.’ House Speaker Newt Gingrich said early this year.

“Think tanks have long churned out studies that have wound up in official policy proposals. During Democratic times of power, the more liberal Brookings Institution has been a leading player here. Now, the 21-year-old Heritage Foundation, which rose to prominence in the Reagan years, is taking academic involvement to a new level.

“Over the first 100 days of the current GOP Congress, Heritage scholars testified before lawmakers 40 times–more than any other organization, Hill staffers say. Its scholars are credited by congressional members and staff as key architects of the House-passed welfare-overhaul plan and with inspiring some provisions in the GOP balanced-budget plan. ‘They talk to me sometimes 12 times a week,’ said Heritage budget analyst Scott Hodge earlier this year, explaining his ties to the staff of the House Budget Committee. ‘We–I mean House members–are putting together a final list of cuts.'” (5)

Facist Connections

Paul Weyrich – considered the architect and mainstay of the conservative revolution – calls for “reclaiming the culture” and a “second American Revolution.” A look at the inflammatory, extremist rhetoric with racial and Inquisitorial overtones on the Free Congress Foundation web site should alarm Christians as to Weyrich’s real intent:

THE NEXT REVOLUTION

“Are we on the verge of a second American Revolution? In the old Soviet Union, the government seemed all-powerful – until one day it fell.

“Next Revolution is one of the most radical – and most popular – programs on America’s Voice. Each week, hosts Bill Lind and Brad Keena say what people are thinking but are often afraid to say: that the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness is destroying our country, that “multicultural” nations break apart in civil war, and that uncontrolled immigration and rising crime are turning America into a Third World nation. They ask the “forbidden” questions: is real reform still possible, or will a new Revolution be necessary to restore America’s traditional – and very successful – culture? Is the United States Government still a legitimate government? Is “racism” the real problem or do cries of racism arise as a result of bad behavior by minority groups?”

VICTORIA

“Can America in fact go the way of Bosnia? Is ‘Civil War II’ part of our future? Is that what it will take to rescue our culture? Bill Lind is now working to answer these questions in a book-length version of Victoria – a novel in the form of a ‘future memoir’ that will rock and shock the ‘Politically Correct’ Establishment…

“She was not a particularly bad bishop. She was, in fact, quite typical of Episcopal bishops of the first quarter of the 2lst-century — agnostic, compulsively political and radical, and given to placing a small idol of Isis on the altar when she said the Communion service. By 2037, when she was tried, convicted and burned for heresy, she had outlived her era. By that time only a handful of Episcopalians still recognized female clergy, and it would have been easy enough to let the old fool rant out her final years in obscurity. But we are a people who do our duty.

“I well remember the crowd that gathered for the execution — solemn, but not sad, relieved that at last, after so many years of humiliation, the majority had taken back the culture. Civilization had recovered its nerve. The flames that soared above the lawn before the Maine statehouse that August afternoon were, as the bishopess herself might have said, liberating.”

[Note: Since posting our expose, the promotional for The Next Revolution has been removed on the new Free Congress Foundation web site. On the home page, About FCF states , “Each week, you can join us for “Next Revolution,” the show dedicated to fighting multi-culturalism and political correctness.” However, the program is not listed and no information given on the TV Programs page to which the visitor is referred.]

Paul Weyrich is a Melkite Greek Catholic whose personal background abounds with ties to Nazi collaborators and neo-fascist organizations. These well-documented facts do not seem to concern the U.S. Government, whose agencies have also been infiltrated by post World War II Nazi emigres. [For documentation of the CIA-Nazi connection, please see the Watch Unto Prayer report on The John Birch Society.]

In the 1970s, Weyrich and Coors made appointments and set up political contacts on Capitol Hill for Franz Joseph Strauss, Bavarian head of state who helped emigre Nazi collaborators. Another fascist, Roger Pearson, writer and organizer for the Nazi Northern League of northern Europe, joined the editorial board of Policy Review, the monthly Heritage publication in 1977. The Coors Connection notes in a caption under an illustration of Pearson’s Eugenics And Race: “Dr. Roger Pearson’s racialist theories are circulated worldwide by neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations.” (6)

Pearson was brought to the U.S. in 1965 by Willis Carto, founder of the neo-fascist Institute for Historical Review (which denies the Holocaust) and the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby, which publishes the weekly Spotlight newspaper. Pearson left Heritage after a Washington Post expose of the racist/fascist orientation of the World Anti-Communist League. Pearson chaired the American branch, the Council on American Affairs from 1975-80, as well as the WACL from 1978-79. The following brief mention of Roger Pearson on the British Eugenics Society web site is an indicator of his abiding contribution to pure racial breeding:

“Hans K. Gunther, a Nazi anthropologist and eugenicist… was assisted by Roger Pearson of the Eugenics Society, an important figure on the racist journal, Mankind Quarterly… Mankind Quarterly is a racist journal still pumping out venom in 1994, still influenced by Roger Pearson. Josef Mengele’s co-researcher at Auschwitz, Von Verschuer, was on the editorial advisory board of this journal before his death in 1970.”

Paul Weyrich also sponsored and currently works closely with Laszlo Pasztor, a convicted Austrian Nazi-collaborator whose Coalitions of the Americas is housed as a subsidiary in the Free Congress Foundation, the political arm of Heritage Foundation. Martin Lee’s book, The Beast Reawakens, refers to Pasztor as Weyrich’s right hand man:

“In addition to homegrown agitators who dredged up anti-Semitic motifs that harkened back to the 1930s, some countries had to contend with groups that were led or supported by profascist exiles who repatriated from the West where they had carried on as vocal anti-Communists during the Cold War, often with CIA support.  The Free Congress Foundation, founded by American far right strategist Paul Weyrich, became active in eastern European politics after the Cold War.  Figuring prominently in this effort was Weyrich’s right-hand man, Laszlo Pasztor, a former leader of the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross organization in Hungary, which had collaborated with Hitler’s Reich.  After serving two years in prison for his Arrow Cross activities, Pasztor found his way to the United States, where he was instrumental in establishing the ethnic-outreach arm of the Republican national Committee.” (7)

A recent SCOOP newsletter from the Heritage related National Center for Public Policy Research mentions foreign and defense policy meetings chaired by Laszlo Pasztor. NCPPR is a conservative communications and research foundation which also sponsors Wednesday luncheons frequently chaired by Weyrich and Pasztor.

Moon Connection

The 1975 Congressional investigation of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) activities in the U.S. noted a connection between Heritage and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Edwin J. Feulner, Jr. was recruited in 1977 by Richard Scaife to become Heritage president, a position he holds today:

“The report of the investigation noted, ‘In 1975, Ed Feulner … was introduced to KCIA station chief Kim Yung Hwan by Neil Salonen and Dan Feffernan of the Freedom Leadership foundation.’ Salonen was head of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church in the United States. The Freedom Leadership Foundation (FLF), a political arm of Moon’s Unification network was linked to the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). The FLF was described as ‘an organization to be used to achieve KCIA objectives,’ by the Congressional report, which was based on a KCIA document that discussed FLF.” (8)

In the early 1980s, the KCIA began making donations to Heritage Foundation. In turn, Heritage established an Asian Studies Center which The Nation magazine of 1/23/89 states “has quartered apologists for [So. Korean Prime Minister] Chun’s regime.” (9)

The Wall Street Journal of August 1995 does not mention Sun Myung Moon, but references the Korea Foundation, one of Heritage’s largest donors and an affiliate of the South Korean government. The article clearly states that Heritage Foundation promotes and actually writes pro-Korean legislation:

“Heritage scholars, for example, have drafted specific language for legislation that would help South Korea by encouraging the U.S. to include Seoul more directly in U.S. dealings with North Korea.  Meantime, one of Heritage’s largest donors, the Korea Foundation, is an affiliate of the South Korean government, according to Yoo Lee, a spokesman for South Korea’s embassy here.  Heritage’s President Edwin Feulner says he isn’t aware that the Korea Foundation is an arm of their government… “While Heritage has gotten most of its attention on domestic issues, it also has been an active proponent for an array of trade and other policies supported by South Korea and Taiwan.  Such efforts, it says, reflects “the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific community.”  In December, Heritage scholar Daryl Plunk provided language for a draft resolution, essentially calling for the administration to adopt a U.S. policy more in line with the wishes of South Korea, to Colorado GOP Rep. Scott McInnis.  Rep McInnis, who last year was escorted on a trip to South Korea by Mr. Plunk, introduced a provision in Congress containing similar language.

“Heritage’s Mr. Feulner himself has taken an active role in promoting South Korean issues in Congress through actions such as testifying before committees to promote the think tank’s pro-South Korea positions.  Meantime, one in six of Heritage’s 24 known major donors last year  — gifts of $100,000 or more — were Taiwanese or South Korean concerns.  Over the past three years, Heritage has received nearly $1 million from the Korea Foundation which is funded by South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, says the embassy’s Mr. Lee.” (10)

The Heritage offices in Washington, D.C. have housed and employed a number of Unification Church operatives:

“Heritage’s Director of Administration in 1980 was Michael Warder, who was a key leader of Moon’s Unification network in the United States …

“Christian Voice is one Moon-connected group that has operated out of the Heritage building. A ‘former’ Moon operative, Gary Jarmin, attacked critics of Moon and gave an interview to a Moon-controlled newspaper after he joined the Christian Voice (CV) staff. CV’s chair, Robert Grant, has been a leader of Moon’s Unification network front groups such as the American Freedom Coalition, which fundraised for Oliver North.” (11)

In the 1970s, Richard Viguerie became the direct-mail fundraiser for Weyrich’s Committee for Survival of a Free Congress. Viguerie developed the direct-mail enterprise into a mult-million dollar business which has used its considerable power to influence the election of conservative candidates for political office. During the 70s, Viguerie trained a political cadre and established, staffed, and funded new organizations, transforming the New Right into “an institutionalized, disciplined, well-organized, and well-financed movement of loosely-knit affiliates” that formed a political base for the conservative revolution of the next decade.

In 1976, Weyrich, Viguerie and Howard Phillips attempted a takeover of the American Independent Party and, in the wake of failure, turned to Jerry Falwell to form the Moral Majority. When Rev. Moon was indicted in 1981 for fraud and criminal tax evasion, Falwell unexpectedly joined with other religious leaders to present an amicus curiae, (friend of the court) brief on behalf of the Reverend Moon. A 1987 Seattle Times explained “How Rev. Moon Got Ensconced with the New Right” via Paul Weyrich’s network:

“Ron Godwin, an influential former vice president of Falwell’s Moral Majority, is one of several who experienced a conversion. “In 1984 Godwin attacked another fundamentalist leader for taking Moonie money. ‘It strikes me as peculiar,’ observed Godwin, himself an evangelical Christian, ‘that (he) should accept financial support from a church whose founder believes he’s divine . . . It’s a little like the Jewish National Fund accepting money from (PLO leader Yasir) Arafat.’

“Eighteen months later, Godwin joined the Moonie – owned Washington Times as a senior vice president, where he also serves as emissary to conservative Christian leaders.

Then there’s Richard Viguerie, until recently more than $1.5 million in debt, according to Fairfax, Va., court records. They indicate that in mid-October the U.S. Property Development Corp. paid $10.06 million to 7777 Associates for the suburban Virginia office building including Viguerie’s headquarters. Viguerie owned 72 percent of 7777 Associates, according to Virginia records, and U.S. Property’s president is Moon’s right-hand man, Bo Hi Pak.

“Viguerie now serves with Abernathy on the five-man board of the Moonie-dominated American Freedom Coalition. The coalition, which claims a ‘house list’ of more than 300,000 member-contributors, is also Viguerie’s biggest new direct-mail client.” (12)

More recently, when Falwell’s Liberty University was in danger of bankruptcy, Sun Myung Moon came to the rescue through one of his front groups, which funnelled $3.5 million to the Reber-Thomas Christian Heritage Foundation which had purchased the school’s debt of $73 million. Ron Godwin, former executive director of the Moral Majority, and now vice president of Moon’s Washington Times, accompanied Falwell to South Korea in January of 1994 for a meeting with representatives of the Unification Church.

Communist Connection

Following the historic Reagan/Gorbachev meeting at the Geneva Summit and prior to Gorbachev’s visit to the U.S. in 1986, Heritage President Edwin Feulner was appointed by President Reagan as Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. The Commission’s report to the Congress and the President on the U.S. Information Agency and the activities of the U.S. Government concerning public diplomacy included the following recommendation for expediting a signed Soviet/American Educational Exchange Agreement:

“Exchanges and International Visitors: The Commission urges USIA, the Department of State, and the relevant private sector organizations to move quickly to develop specific programs for U.S.-Soviet exchanges pursuant to the General Exchanges accord, other exchange initiatives undertaken at the Geneva Summit, and the agreement by President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev to review these programs at their next meeting.”

The report stated “The U.S.-Soviet exchanges agreement negotiated by USIA and signed at Geneva will expand academic, cultural and scientific exchanges, including Fulbright scholars and teachers…” A Five Minute Report quoted Feulner as having said, “We should permit Soviet journalists to speak to American people and the U.S., in turn, be permitted to bring ideas and perspectives to the Soviets.”

In 1995, Charlotte Iserbyt identified conservative “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” who not only gave the Soviets access to American education, but whose act of treason “virtually merged the two educational systems.” Leading the pack for an educational exchange initiative were:

“Edwin Feulner, President of Heritage Foundation, strongly supported the U.S.-Soviet education agreements, has an office in Moscow, supports Soviet-style magnet schools (i.e., tax supported choice/charter schools), and has state affiliate organizations across the nation writing charter school legislation that reads like it has been written by the U.S. Department of Education, the Carnegie Corporation and the National Education Association…

“Paul Weyrich’s American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) gave an award to Oregon’s Department of Education for its education reform, especially the work force training component and its certificate of initial mastery (CIM) necessary to get a job. Weyrich has served as an advisor to Russian President Boris Yeltsin of recent Chechnyan genocide fame. In 1986 he wrote an article in The Washington Post which virtually recommended a new Constitution and form of government for the U.S.” (13)

U.N. Connection

The Heritage mission statement describes the foundation as a “research and educational institute — a think tank — whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.” Since Heritage claims to have never compromised its traditional values, it may surprise other conservatives that the 1993 U.S. Commission on Improving the Effectiveness of the United Nations included Edwin Feulner. A 1993 Mantooth Report revealed:

“Sixteen people, drawn from the public and private sectors, have been busy with plans to ‘reinvent the world.’ Not the U.S. government – its the UN world government.

“The purpose of this group, a commission established by Congress, was to hold hearings and study ways to make the U.N. more effective in the post-Cold War world, and a world needing a firm hand in the 21st Century…

“The membership of the Commission is a motley crew, a diverse and suspect collection of one world believers. We’ll start with Walter Hoffman. He is Executive Vice President of the World Federalist Association, and co-Treasurer of the Commission.

“Secretary of the Commission is Harris O. Schoenberg. He is Director of the United Nations Affairs for B’nai B’rith International, and into a lot of other things. There are religionists and bankers and, of course, Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick, who needs no introduction. And there’s a smattering of CFR members. And there are New Right and Sovereign Military Order of Malta…

“Edwin J. Feulner, Jr. and Charles M. Lichenstein were appointed by the House Minority Leader. Feulner is President of the Heritage Foundation. Paul Weyrich was founder of Heritage, and its assortment of ‘fellows’ became powerful enough to issue the mandates that ran the Reagan and Bush administrations. Weyrich is strategist for all the so-called New Right organizations which he steers behind the political objectives of leaders reaching for the world.

“You always find Feulner in a vital position to advance these objectives. Lichenstein is a ‘Distinguished Fellow’ of Heritage, a long-time Republican activist who has held senior positions in the Nixon and Ford Administrations. Under Reagan he was attached to the Security Council.

“If you haven’t already figured it out, what we’ve been describing here is a tight group representing the merger of the left and the right. ” (14)

Barack Obama interview with Interfax news agency

[American counter-narcotic operations in Afghanistan (if they exist at all) copy civilian counter-narcotic operations, which allow a certain percentage of the drug mafia or criminal underworld to operate relatively unmolested, in order to track money, product and operations, as they flow outward from headquarters.  US and Russian operations in Afghanistan have approached the problem from opposite directions, resulting in an overlapping supply and interdiction effort.

Americans have not restricted opium/heroin distribution operations, on the contrary, according to some researchers, they have encouraged them.  This has resulted in a symbiotic circle, much like nature’s rain-making cycle, where opium (water) flows in a circular pattern from American-protected opium warlords to drug-traffickers, who are tracked by the Russians.  The counter-narcotic forces trace the flow of the money, in order to monitor the origin and destination of the cash flow.

Under Obama, America and Russia have become locked in a big bear hug, while they blissfully ignore the exposed contradictions between the two national positions.  In this deadly embrace, hypocrisy becomes enshrined as the hallmark of both American and Russian foreign policies, as they ignore divisive issues such as Kyrgyzstan and Nagorno-Karabakh, drawing the entire world to them as they lead the populations of sheep forward to the slaughter.  The heart of the New World system will be corporate-communism, also known as “the Third Way.”  SEE: Changing Images of Man ]

Barack Obama interview with Interfax news agency

Barack Obama. Photo: EPA
Question: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is coming to Washington for the third time while you are in the office, but it will be his first state visit to the United States. What are your expectations from this visit? What are the concrete agreements that the United States is interested to conclude with Russia at this visit?Answer: Since meeting a year ago in Moscow Presidents Medvedev and I have worked closely together to end the drift in U.S.-Russian relations and reset relations on a more constructive path that allows us to pursue policies of mutual benefit to the American and Russian people. In 18 months, we signed the new START treaty, expanded Russia’s participation in the Northern Distribution Network to supply our troops and those of our allies and partners in Afghanistan, reached agreement on new UN Security Council resolutions to deter nuclear proliferation activities by North Korea and Iran, and cooperated on a number of non-proliferation activities, including an agreement that commits both our countries to secure enough nuclear material for 17,000 nuclear weapons. In addition, President Medvedev and I oversaw the resumption of military-to-military cooperation and established a broad agenda for cooperation through the 16 working groups established under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. This record of achievement gives us a solid foundation on which to expand our cooperation in other areas.

During President Medvedev’s upcoming visit, I am especially interested in discussing ways that the U.S. and Russia can enhance trade and investment between our two countries and work together to create conditions conducive to fostering innovation. Given President Medvedev’s interest in innovation, I think it is very appropriate that he is beginning his trip in California and visiting the Silicon Valley, one of the centers of innovation and entrepreneurship in our country.

Q.: Over the last year of you being in the office the Russian-American relations have significantly improved, especially with the new START agreement being concluded. Looks like, we are witnessing another honeymoon in bilateral relations that hopefully won’t be completed with another divorce as it happened in August of 2008. However, your critics are insisting that you are making too many concessions to the Kremlin while not getting anything back from the Kremlin. What would you say to those critics?

A.: I am very pleased with the progress that we have made in resetting our relationship with Russia, and the concrete steps that we have achieved together over the last 18 months. President Medvedev and I have a very good working relationship, and my Administration is building a relationship with the Russian government and the Russian people based on mutual interests.

President Medvedev and I are deliberately trying to avoid framing U.S.-Russia relations in zero sum terms, but instead are looking for win-win outcomes. To date, we have a record of achievement that demonstrates the benefits of such an approach. Indeed, the issues that we have addressed – whether Afghanistan, the new START treaty, nuclear security, Iran, or increased economic ties – are fundamental to advancing both American interests and Russian interests. We do not have to make concessions on these issues, because we are building upon a foundation of common interests. And a central tenet of our new policy towards Russia is to avoid linkage between issues that have little in common with each other. So, we will continue to disagree on certain issues, but that need not stand in the way of cooperation that can be mutually beneficial.

Q.: The issue of development and deployment of the U.S. ABM program in Europe remains a serious point of conflict between U.S. and Russia. One of U.S. congressmen even said that the deployment of ABM near the Russian borders is an insult to Russia. Why United States is so eager to develop the system that even did not prove to be workable?

A.: The American and Russian people increasingly face threats from countries that are developing more sophisticated missiles. We will be more able to address these threats together, and that’s why I am a strong proponent of cooperating with Russia on developing missile defense systems. We have recently proposed to the Russian government a number of ways to begin this cooperation. I believe that cooperative missile defense with Russia has enormous potential, since the sharing of our technologies and information, which we currently collect about missile launches from third countries, can make both of our countries more secure.

The phased adaptive approach to ballistic missile defense that we have proposed to deploy in Europe is not directed against Russia but is intended to protect our allies, our partners, and the American people from threats emanating from other countries such as Iran. In addition to this program we are developing missile defense in other parts of the world and want to work with Russia to be a key player and beneficiary in this global architecture.

Q.: Counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan are the core issues of Obama administration in the foreign policy. What cooperation would you like to see from Russia in Afghanistan aside from the transit of the military cargo that proved to be quite successful?

A.: Both the United States and Russia are threatened by violent extremists and have suffered tragic losses in terrorist attacks. Afghanistan and Pakistan are priorities for my Administration because of the continued threat posed – not just to the United States, but to nations around the world – by al-Qaeda and their extremist allies.

I am quite pleased with the increasing cooperation the United States enjoys with the Russian Federation on Afghanistan. Not only are we collaborating on transit of troops, supplies, and equipment, but we also are engaged in substantive exchanges of intelligence about drug traffickers and terrorists and their financing, coordinating assistance efforts for the Afghan government to help build capacity of the Afghan Counter-Narcotics Police and Afghan National Army, working together within the framework of the UN to both sanction Taliban and al Qaeda as well as promote reconciliation efforts, supporting interdiction efforts through the framework of the Paris Pact initiative, and collaborating to stem the flow of precursor chemicals to Afghanistan used to process heroin. In addition the Russian Federation has taken a leadership role in the international community by organizing meetings bringing together countries to tackle the problem of illicit drugs emanating from Afghanistan.

Q.: The issue that is bothering Russia most of all as related to Afghanistan and U.S. policy in Afghanistan is an increasing flow of drugs to Russia that became the result of U.S. policy to stop eradication of the opium poppy in Afghanistan. The idea that looks sound theoretically to give an alternative source of income to the peasants in Afghanistan from the agriculture, in practice proves to be irrelevant and leads to the serious in-flow of narcotics to the Russian Federation. Is there any way the United States can reverse its policy on this subject?

A.: Illicit opium cultivation and production in Afghanistan has been a long-standing problem that has grown more entrenched. The problem is complex and requires a comprehensive, strategic approach that addresses not only providing alternative livelihoods for farmers, but also stepping up interdiction efforts, destroying drug labs, interrupting trafficking of illicit opiates and precursor chemicals used to process heroin, attacking financial assets of traffickers, preventing money laundering and diversion of illicit proceeds to terrorists, and promoting comprehensive informational campaigns to dissuade farmers from cultivating opium. In addition, intensifying demand reduction efforts both in Afghanistan and in those countries that are consumers of Afghan opiates is no less important. We are working closely with our Russian and other international partners in all of these areas. While we may not always agree on the tactics, we share the same objectives and will continue to listen to Russian views and experiences.

Q.: It looks like the democracy in Russia is no longer an issue for the current Administration while there is cooperation on strategic issues such as arms control, Afghanistan, Iran, non-proliferation. U.S. human rights activists recognize that America has no leverage to influence Russia on such issues as human rights.

A.: As I made clear last year in Moscow – and most recently in my National Security Strategy – my Administration is committed to advancing universal values around the world, including in Russia. We do not seek to impose our system of government on anyone else, and we believe that keeping our democracy strong at home helps us to inspire and support others seeking to build democracy in their own countries. And in Russia we see partners both in the state and society who are committed to protecting human rights and improving democratic governance. Public opinion polls also show that the majority of Russian citizens want to select their leaders directly rather than have someone choose their leaders for them; belief in constraints on government power and the rule of law applied equally to all, and desire access to independent media. So, when we advocate for human rights and democracy in Russia, we are not exporting American values but affirming our shared values.

The best way to advance these common values is through engagement, specifically dual track engagement – interaction with the Russian government and with Russian society. For instance, when I was in Moscow last summer, I met with President Medvedev and Prime Minister [Vladimir] Putin and discussed these issues. But I also met with students, business executives, human rights defenders, civil society leaders, and political opposition figures. And when we witness injustices or abuses, my Administration has been quick to raise concerns both publicly and privately.

The Pentagon’s Unseen Armies

[It is time that the US military clarify its support for “insurgencies,” clearly defining for us the difference between so-called “freedom fighters” and plain old terrorists.  It is hard to find hard proof in writing that the US government creates mercenary outfits which masquerade as “Islamists” to fit-in with the local populace, in order to carry-out “direct action” false flag attacks, intended to implicate local groups.  In my dictionary the preceding description fits the definition forterrorism.

US Air Force doctrine paper Irregular Warfare, under “Support to Insurgencies”–

“Various US government organizations are postured to recruit, organize, train, and advise indigenous guerrilla or partisan forces.  These operations usually consist of supplying equipment, training, and advisory assistance to non-state actors.  They may also involve US direct-action operations supporting specific campaign goals.”]

With a Democratic-controlled Pentagon, the war is there

but cannot be seen

by Manlio Dinucci

Obama’s smile is sweeter than George Bush’s, but his warmongering surpasses that of his predecessor’s. In a time of budgetary cuts and mass communication, the White House is ditching prime-time bombardments in favour of an all-out covert intervention. By way of their special operations, the United States are currently at war in 75 countries.

There is more to the war than meets the eye. In addition to the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon is waging a covert war of which Iran is one of the central targets. Activities are coordinated by the United States Special Operations Command (UsSoCom), with approximately 57 000 specialists from four service branches (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force) at its disposal. Their official mission entails: intelligence gathering; direct target actions; capture or elimination of the enemy; non-conventional warfare through external forces, trained and supervised by UsSoCom; counter-insurgency activities to assist allied governments in quelling rebellions; psychological operations to sway public opinion abroad in favour of U.S. military actions. As reported by theWashington Post, special operation forces are currently deployed in 75 countries, up from 60 at the beginning of last year [1]. An indication of their growing importance is the fact that “Special Operations commanders have also become a far more regular presence at the White House than they were under George W. Bush’s administration.”

The theater of special operations, which are officially running up a cost of 10 billion dollars, is essentially concentrated around the Middle East, Central Asia and East Africa. However, plans exist “for preemptive or retaliatory strikes in numerous places around the world, meant to be put into action when a plot has been identified, or after an attack.” The “advantage” of using secret forces for such missions is that they don’t require Congress approval and can be kept under wraps. According to Administration officials cited by UPI, such operations “could pave the way for military attacks against Iran if the showdown over Tehran’s nuclear programme should escalate”.

In the context of “non-conventional warfare”, UsSoCom hires private military companies, such as Xe Services (ex-Blackwater, notorious for its activities in Iraq) which is involved in various special operations, including intelligence collection in Iran. Iranian dissident groups, especially in the country’s south-eastern sunni majority region, receive support from UsSoCom either directly or indirectly. One of these groups, the “People’s Holy Warriors of Iran”, appears on Washington’s list of terrorist organisations. The same tactics are applied in Afghanistan, where secret forces make use of local warlords for their special operations. One of these – reports the New York Times [2] – is Matiullah Khan: with his private army, he fights insurgents alongside U.S. special forces (whose headquarters are located about one hundred metres away from his) and ensures a safe passage for NATO convoys, at 1 200 dollars per truck. He has thus become the most powerful and richest warlord in his province. And all this, thanks to what the Pentagon calls a “non-conventional war”.

 Manlio Dinucci
Geographer and geopolitical scientist. His latest books are Geograficamente. Per la Scuola media (3 vol.), Zanichelli (2008) ; Escalation. Anatomia della guerra infinita, DeriveApprodi (2005).
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To send a message

[1“Targeted killings” increase under ObamaVoltaire Network, 6 June 2010.

[2] « With U.S. Aid, Warlord Builds Afghan Empire », by Dexter Filkins, New York Times, 5 June 2010.

Time To ‘Reset’ The Course Of U.S. Foreign Policy?

Reset
Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future
By Stephen Kinzer
Hardcover, 288 pages
Times Books
List price: $26

Read An Excerpt

When it comes to peacemaking, Abba Eban said after the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Arabs “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Nonetheless, the Israeli diplomat retained some optimism. “History teaches us,” he added, “that men and nations only behave wisely once they have exhausted all alternatives.”

Eban’s observations may apply to the United States as well. After decades of mistakes and missed opportunities, Stephen Kinzer claims, America can help stabilize the Middle East by recasting its relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia, building an ever-closer partnership with Turkey, and nurturing the democratic potential of Iran.

Kinzer’s Reset is at once a stern critique of American foreign policy and a concise, colorful and compelling modern history of Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. A former journalist for The New York Times and The Boston Globe, Kinzer is a masterful storyteller. His cast of characters leaps off the page. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, he writes, was a dandy who wore crepe de Chine underwear, a boozer and compulsive womanizer who numbered Zsa Zsa Gabor among his conquests. He was also a widely read, worldly, secular master strategist, who as president of Turkey closed down Muslim schools. A rare breed of autocrat, Ataturk “built institutions, faded gracefully from power, and set his country on the path to liberation.”

In proposing a “grand strategy” for the Middle East, Kinzer makes a conscious effort to push America beyond “old policies, old alliances and old assumptions.” The endgame between Palestinians and Israelis, he asserts hyperbolically, “is clear to all”: the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state with its capital, like Israel’s, in Jerusalem; the right of all Palestinians to return to their homeland and be compensated for the land they lost; and a pledge by all states in the region to settle disputes peaceably. Convinced that a settlement “cannot emerge from within,” he wants the United States to impose this plan on the warring parties.

More important — and well worth a hearing — is the core premise of this timely book. Because Turkey and Iran have “developed an understanding of democracy and a longing for it,” Kinzer makes a compelling case that “they’ll make good soul mates” for the United States, and that, if they’re willing to learn the lessons of history, the architects of American foreign policy will discover that the road to peace in the Middle East runs through Ankara and Tehran, not Jerusalem.

Great game unfolds

Great game unfolds

G Parthasarathy

The members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family are legendary for their discretion and aversion to making strong statements. The monarch is, after all, not only the ruler of the kingdom but also bears the title and responsibility of being the Custodian of Islam’s holiest sites. Within the closely knit royal family, Prince Turki Faisal can be regarded as a figure who enjoys respect because of his educational background, his diplomatic abilities and his stewardship of the kingdom’s security services. As the youngest son of former King Faisal and nephew of king Abdullah, Prince Turki was head of the kingdom’s Al Mukhbarat al-A’amah (General Intelligence Directorate) and has been Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the UK, Ireland and also the US.

With his educational background of academic studies in Princeton and London universities and as a classmate of Mr Bill Clinton in Georgetown University, Prince Turki is regarded as a Saudi royal well disposed towards and well connected in the US. Moreover, as head of the Saudi Intelligence, Prince Turki realised that it was not in the kingdom’s interest to patronise the recalcitrant Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who arbitrarily rebuffed his efforts to get him to expel Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan during a stormy meeting in 1998 which the Prince had with Mullah Omar in Kandahar.

Prince Turki, however, surprised an audience in Riyadh last month by characterising American policies in Afghan- istan as “inept”, averring: “The way this (US) Administration has dealt with President Hamid Karzai beggars disbelief and amazement.” He advised the US Administration to “hunt down terrorists on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and get out and let Afghan people deal with their problems”.

Saudi Arabia is not alone getting exasperated by American flip-flops in Afghanistan. Like India and Afghan- istan’s Central Asian neighbours — Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — Russia is deeply concerned about any prospects of the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan. Moreover, in recent years, as the Taliban expanded its control over territories in southern Afghanistan, drug smuggling across Afghanistan’s borders with Iran and its Central Asian neighbours has shot up, with Russia emerging as the world’s largest per capita consumer of heroin. Over 30,000 Russians die every year from heroin addiction and another 80,000 experiment with heroin for the first time.

Though Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev and Mr Obama agreed to closely cooperate last year, the Russians allege that they receive precious little by way of American cooperation in dealing with the drug menace. Iran, which faces an equally serious problem of heroin addiction, has lost hundreds of its law-enforcement personnel in shootouts with drug smugglers operating across its borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Obama Administration’s National Security Doctrine speaks of building a “stable, multi-dimensional relationship with Russia, based on mutual interests”. It also asserts: “We will seek greater partnership with Russia in confronting violent extremism, especially in Afghanistan.” Sixty per cent of supplies for American forces in Afghanistan — comprising fuel, food and some equipment — are now routed through Pakistan, with around another 30 per cent coming by train through Russia and Afghanistan’s neighbouring Central Asian republics. A wider US-Russian strategic dialogue could seek to increase American supplies for its forces in Afghanistan via Russia and Central Asia, thus reducing the strategic salience of the supply routes through Pakistan. One of the major reasons why Pakistan brazenly continues to support the Taliban is that it knows that American dependence on supply routes through its territory is so large, that there is precious little the US and its Nato allies will do to eliminate terrorist havens on its soil. Reduction of dependence on Pakistan for sustaining operations in Afghanistan is, therefore, crucial in coming years.

It is time India resorts to some innovative diplomacy to bring together regional and interested powers to enable Afghanistan to adopt a policy that King Nadir Shah advocated in 1931, when he proclaimed, “Afghanistan must maintain friendly relations with its neighbours as well as all friendly powers that are not opposed to its a national interest. Afghanistan must give its neighbours assurances of its friendly attitudes while safeguarding the right of reciprocity.” During World War I, Amir Habibullah Khan steered a path of neutrality for Afghanistan, despite pressures to back Turkey. Afghanistan joined the League of Nations in 1934, waiting until the Soviet Union joined, so as not to appear to be taking sides in favour of the UK. In 1937, Kabul concluded the Saadabad pact, a non-aggression treaty with Iran, Iraq and Turkey. King Zahir Shah’s Government proclaimed its official and legal neutrality during World War II.

Afghanistan’s problems are, even today, exacerbated by developments and rivalries beyond its borders. Both Russia and China would welcome a return to stability and an end to Taliban-style extremism in the country. They are, however, holding back from providing whole-hearted support for the US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan, because of suspicions about a long-term American military presence in Afghanistan, undermining their interests in Central Asia. Iran, which has extended significant economic assistance to the Karzai Government and was in the forefront of opposition to the Taliban leadership, shares similar concerns about the US’s presence in Afghanistan.

India and Pakistan ‘likewise’ share mutual suspicions about the role of each other in Afghanistan. The Bonn Conference saw a request from participants to the UN “to take measures to guarantee national sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Afghanistan, as well as the non-interference by countries in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.” This is possible only, if in the words of Indian diplomat C R Gharekhan and former US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Karl Inderfurth, the international community recognises that to attain “the long-term goal of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, it must have better and more reliable relations with its neighbours and near neighbours, including Pakistan, Iran, China, India and Russia”.

India should supplement its economic assistance with a diplomatic effort that enables countries in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood to ensure that Afghanistan’s territory is not utilised to undermine the security of other countries, near and far, while guaranteeing observance of the principle of non-interference, in its internal affairs. One hopes that in the meantime, the Americans will get their act together in dealing with the threats Afghanistan faces from across its disputed border with Pakistan, the Durand Line. Virtually no Pashtun in either Afghanistan or Pakistan recognises the Durand Line as the international border.

Pakistan exploits troubled US effort in Afghanistan

Pakistan exploits troubled US effort in Afghanistan

* Afghan officials say Pakistanis are pushing various other proxies, with Kayani personally offering to broker a deal with Taliban
* Pak official says Taliban, including Haqqani group, ready to ‘make a deal’ over al Qaeda
* Analyst says Haqqanis’ willingness aimed at thwarting military action in NWA

Daily Times Monitor

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is exploiting the troubled United States military effort in Afghanistan to drive home a political settlement with Afghanistan that will give Islamabad important influence there but is likely to undermine US interests, Pakistani and American officials said, according to the New York Times.

The dismissal of General Stanley McChrystal will almost certainly embolden the Pakistanis in their plan as they detect increasing American uncertainty, Pakistani officials said. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani preferred McChrystal to his successor, General David H Petraeus, whom he considers more of a politician than a military strategist, say people who have spoken recently with Kayani.

Pakistan is presenting itself as the new viable partner for Afghanistan to President Hamid Karzai, who has soured on the Americans.

Proxies: In addition, Afghan officials said the Pakistanis were pushing various other proxies, with Kayani personally offering to broker a deal with the Taliban leadership, New York Times reported.

Washington has watched with some nervousness as Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha shuttle between Islamabad and Kabul, telling Karzai that they agree with his assessment that the US cannot win in Afghanistan, and that a post-war Afghanistan should incorporate the Haqqani network, a long-time Pakistani asset. Despite McChrystal’s 11 visits to Kayani in Islamabad in the past year, the Pakistanis have not been altogether forthcoming on details of the conversations in the last two months, making Islamabad’s moves even more worrisome for the US, said an American official.

“They know this creates a bigger breach between us and Karzai,” the official said.

Although encouraged by Washington, the thaw heightens the risk that the US would find itself cut out of what amounts to a separate peace between the Afghans and Pakistanis, and one that does not necessarily guarantee Washington’s prime objective in the war, denying al Qaeda a haven, New York Times reported.

The network of Sirajuddin Haqqani – an ally of al Qaeda who runs a major part of the insurgency in Afghanistan – has long been Pakistan’s crucial anti-India asset and has remained virtually untouched by Pakistani forces in their redoubt inside Pakistan, in the Tribal Areas on the Afghan border, even as the Americans have pressed Islamabad for an offensive against it.

At a briefing this week at the ISI headquarters, Pakistani analysts laid out a view of the war that dovetailed neatly with the doubts expressed by Karzai. They depicted a stark picture of an American military campaign in Afghanistan “that will not succeed.”

The offer by Pakistan to make the Haqqanis part of the solution in Afghanistan has now been adopted as basic Pakistani policy, said Riffat Hussain, a professor of international relations at Islamabad University, and a confidant of top military generals. “The establishment thinks that without getting Haqqani on board, efforts to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan will be doomed,” Hussain said. “Haqqani has a large fighting force, and by co-opting him into a power-sharing arrangement a lot of bloodshed can be avoided,” he added, according to the New York Times.

The recent trips by Kayani and Pasha to Kabul were an “effort to make this happen,” he said.

As for the Haqqanis, whose fighters stretch across eastern Afghanistan all the way to Kabul, they are prepared to break with al Qaeda, Pakistani intelligence and military officials said.

Deal: The Taliban, including the Haqqani group, are ready to “make a deal” over al Qaeda, a senior Pakistani official close to the Pakistan Army said. The Haqqanis could tell al Qaeda to move elsewhere because it had been given nine years of protection since the 9/11 attack, the official said. But this official acknowledged that the Haqqanis and al Qaeda were too “thick” with each other for a separation to happen. They had provided each other with fighters, money and other resources over a long period of time, the official said.

The Haqqanis may be playing their own game with their hosts, the Pakistanis, Hussain said.

“Many believe that Haqqanis’ willingness to cut its links with al Qaeda is a tactical move which is aimed at thwarting the impending military action by the Pakistan Army in North Waziristan,” he said, according to the New York Times.

World summit turning attention to nuclear threats

World summit turning attention to nuclear threats

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE and MARTIN CRUTSINGER (AP)

HUNTSVILLE, Ontario — After failing to resolve their differences on economic strategy, world leaders are turning their attention to grappling with some of the globe’s toughest foreign policy problems.

President Barack Obama and other leaders of the Group of Eight major industrial countries were scheduled to open their second day of talks Saturday focused on nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea.

On Iran, the U.S. and European nations will push other major powers to join them in imposing tough new sanctions on Tehran over its suspect nuclear program, a move that would build on expanded U.N. Security Council measures adopted this month. But China and Russia only reluctantly supported those sanctions and have balked at new unilateral steps against Iran.

The foreign policy discussions among the leaders of the G-8 — the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia — were taking place after an opening day of talks during which the group failed to resolve a dispute over the proper mix of government spending and deficit reductions needed to keep the global economy on track.

Obama made the case that the global economy remained fragile and should not be put at risk by countries moving too rapidly to trim their bulging deficits through spending cuts and tax increases, which can slow economic growth.

But leaders of Britain, Germany, Canada and Japan argued that deficit cuts were needed to reassure nervous investors, given the severe market turmoil experienced in May after the near-default of Greece on its huge debt burden.

The G-8 talks were being held in a resort that is a two-hour drive north of Toronto. After they wrap up at midday Saturday, the G-8 leaders were scheduled to travel to Toronto for discussions with the larger Group of 20, which includes not only the wealthy nations but major emerging powers such as China, Brazil and India.

The G-20 leaders’ summit, launched in response to the global financial crisis in the fall of 2008, has now replaced the G-8 as the world’s premier forum for discussing and coordinating economic policy.

In addition to the group discussions, the leaders were holding a series of one-on-one talks.

Obama was meeting Saturday with new British Prime Minister David Cameron for the first time since Cameron took power last month. Those talks were expected to cover the difficulties posed by the BP oil spill, the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Obama was also to meet with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak to discuss South Korea’s push for action by the U.N. Security Council to hold North Korea accountable for the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

In a third meeting, Obama was to hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao, a week after China announced it would start allowing its currency, the yuan, to rise in value against the dollar. The administration had been pushing China to take this step as a way of boosting U.S. exports to China.

In Toronto, hundreds of protesters moved through city streets Friday, but police in riot gear blocked them from getting near the summit security zone. Some 19,000 law enforcement officers, from all over Canada, were providing security at a cost of more than $900 million.

The protests have been tame compared with past summits. The largest demonstration, sponsored by labor unions, was planned for Saturday.

Obama arrived in Canada fresh from a congressional win on financial overhaul, a victory that the administration hopes will persuade the other G-20 nations to adopt their own tough standards for banks in an effort to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis that pushed the global economy into a deep recession.

But in Friday’s discussions, Obama made no headway in his call for more stimulus to keep the world economy growing. Instead, he ran into strong opposition from countries wanting to put deficit reduction first.

There was little expectation of economic breakthroughs on the deficit versus stimulus debate, or on the issue of financial overhaul by the time the three days of talks end on Sunday. The G-20 leaders were expected to push tough decisions on global banking regulations off to their next meeting in Seoul, South Korea, in November.

Divided on economic remedies, the leaders searched for common ground on other issues, such as providing greater support for maternal and infant health care in desperately poor countries — a key goal of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the summit host.

Harper announced late Friday that the G-8 leaders had pledged to contribute $5 billion over the next five years to the initiative. He said Canada’s contribution was $1.1 billion and the White House announced the U.S. would contribute $1.35 billion over the next two years, subject to congressional approval. Japan announced a pledge of $500 million over five years.

A Japanese spokesman, Kazuo Kodama, said that new Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told his counterparts from Canada and Germany that North Korea’s alleged torpedo attack is a “threat to the peace and stability of the region.” Kan wants summit partners to issue a “clear message of condemnation” of North Korea, the spokesman said.

On Afghanistan, Cameron said he did not expect British troops — now numbering about 10,000 — to be in Afghanistan in five years’ time. “We can’t be there for another five years, having been there for nine years already,” he told Britain’s Sky News.

Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization — for which Obama voiced strong support on Thursday after a meeting in Washington with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev — could also come up during the weekend talks. Obama pledged to help Russia speed up its more than decade-long bid in hopes that Moscow could win acceptance as early as Sept. 30.

Crutsinger reported from Toronto. Associated Press writers Jane Wardell, Emma Vandore and Jeannine Aversa contributed from Huntsville; Rob Gillies, Foster Klug and Tom Raum from Toronto; and Matthew Lee from Washington.

Islamic Militants Become Hired Guns To Survive–Algeria

Islamic Militants Become Hired Guns To Survive

June 26, 2010: The government has concluded their $7.5 billion weapons and equipment purchase deal with Russia. Included are a wide range of equipment, for ground, naval and air forces. Over the last two decades, the armed forces have not replaced a lot of their gear needed for conventional war. Most of defense spending went into filling the needs of police and paramilitary forces fighting Islamic terrorists.

Islamic militants are believed to be building fortified bunkers in the mountains along the Mali border. They are doing this in cooperation with local tribal groups, who provide cover. Local security forces on both sides of the border are always out hunting for Islamic terrorists, so no one down there openly identifies themselves as such. But an increasing number of known Islamic terrorists from the north have been killed, captured or spotted in the south, and especially along the Mali border. The Islamic radicals are armed, and have turned to kidnapping foreigners and drug smuggling  to pay for supplies, bribes and gifts for their new tribal buddies. Foreigners have been warned to stay out of the area, but there are always a small number of them too dumb, or adventurous, to stay away. The Islamic terrorists are believed to be helping move 50-100 tons of cocaine (and other drugs) a year, north to Mediterranean ports. Some of the smuggling fees are shared with local tribesmen, who have long engaged in some smuggling on the side. But the drugs are very valuable cargoes, and the Islamic radicals had the international connections (all up and down the coast of West Africa, as well as in South America) to put this deal together. The local tribes are suitably impressed. So are Western counter-terror forces. While there are only believed to be a few hundred Islamic terrorists operating along Algeria’s southern border, there are nearly as many American Special Forces to the south, training African troops and police on the best methods for hunting and killing the newly arrived (in the last few years) Islamic terrorists. The relations with the local tribes, especially the powerful Tuareg, are complicated. The Tuareg are not fond of Islamic terrorism, but young Tuareg are allowed to work with al Qaeda as hired guns. The pay is good, and, so far, not too dangerous. But the young Tuareg are picking up some radical ideas from their al Qaeda bosses, and that is causing some tension with tribal leaders.

The drug smuggling is actually handled by Arab gangsters that are not terrorists. Al Qaeda gets paid lots of money to provide security for the drugs as they make the long run through the Sahara. The Tuareg provide local knowledge of the terrain, and people, at least in the far south. Meanwhile, along the border, Islamic radicals openly talk (on their web sites) of planning to overthrow the governments of Algeria, Mauritania and Mali. Given the sorry track record against Algeria, Islamic terrorism in Algeria’s neighbors is seen more of a nuisance than real threat. In the more populated northern Algeria, the Islamic terrorists are able to launch one or two operations a month, and spend most of their time dodging army and police efforts to find the terrorist bases (mostly in rural areas.)

June 24, 2010: Near the Tunisian border, gunmen opened fire on a wedding celebration, killing five. Police believe the attackers were al Qaeda, and are searching for the killers (who are apparently known to the cops.) There hasn’t been any violence like this in the area for over a year.

June 11, 2010: A hundred kilometers east of the capital, a suicide bomber drove a truck into a police base (for SWAT/rapid reaction forces), killing nine people (four policemen, three terrorists, one local civilian and a Chinese man from a local construction project.) Two of the terrorists were in another vehicle behind the truck bomb, apparently armed and for exploiting the explosion. But police security prevented the two terrorist vehicles from getting as close as the terrorists wanted.

Missouri Islamic charity unmasked in guilty plea

Missouri Islamic charity unmasked in guilty plea

By MARK MORRIS

The Kansas City Star

The former director of a Missouri Islamic charity admitted in federal court Friday that he sent more than $1 million to Iraq in violation of U.S. sanctions.

Mubarak Hamed, 53, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and a tax violation for misusing the charity’s tax-exempt status and lying to the Internal Revenue Service.

Hamed served as executive director of the now-defunct Islamic American Relief Agency-USA from 1991 until October 2004, when federal agents raided the charity’s Columbia offices and carted off truckloads of documents and computers.

The same day, the U.S. Treasury Department froze the charity’s assets and said it was part of a global network of similarly named charities that supported terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, the Taliban and Hamas.

U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said in a written statement that the guilty plea represented a landmark moment in the nine-year criminal probe of the charity.

“Hamed compromised national security by secretly funneling more than a million dollars to Iraq,” she said.

President George H.W. Bush signed the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which included the sanctions, in 1990 after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The sanctions remained in effect until 2003 and prohibited the unauthorized transfer of money to Iraq.

The charity never received authorization to make such transfers, according to court records.

“Your honor, I was wrong,” Hamed said from the witness stand. “I take responsibility and plead guilty.”

Hamed is a naturalized U.S. citizen, originally from Sudan.

In pleading guilty, Hamed also admitted to a long string of facts in his plea agreement, many of which he and others had spent years denying. After contending that his charity was an entirely independent organization, he acknowledged Friday that it was part of an international organization headquartered in Khartoum, Sudan, that also used the initials IARA.

The African charity, according to federal officials, had frequent contact with the worst players in international terrorism.

Hamed also acknowledged that in 2001 he instructed an IARA spokesman to lie during a television interview, saying that a man who had purchased the satellite phone that al-Qaida used in the East Africa embassy bombings never had been employed by the Missouri charity.

In his plea agreement, Hamed acknowledged that he had personally hired the man to work in Columbia.

After a prosecutor read the factual recitation, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey asked Hamed if the facts were true. Hamed hesitated for a moment and noted that he had not actually drafted the statement.

“I accept them,” Hamed said.

“Well, they’re either true or not true,” Laughrey pressed.

“They’re true,” he replied softly.

Hamed is the third defendant to plead guilty in the case. In December, charity fundraiser Ahmad Mustafa pleaded guilty to arranging for the transfer of money from the U.S. to family members in his native Iraq.

Al Mohamed Begegni, a board member and the charity’s treasurer, pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to violate Iraq sanctions.

Two remaining defendants are scheduled to begin what is expected to be a lengthy trial on July 6: Abdel Azim El-Siddig, the charity’s vice president for international operations, and former U.S. congressman Mark Deli Siljander.

Siljander is accused of taking $75,000 from IARA to help the charity have its name removed from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of organizations that allegedly supported terrorism. Prosecutors contend the money had been stolen from a U.S. Agency for International Development grant that IARA was supposed to have used for relief projects in the African nation of Mali.

Siljander has said that the money from IARA was to have helped support his work on his book, “Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide.”

In his plea agreement, however, Hamed said that contention was “utterly false.”

“Hamed never discussed with Siljander the writing of a book, and would not have spent $75,000 of IARA’s funds for such a purpose,” according to the statement.

Siljander served as a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Michigan from 1981 to 1987 and later opened a Washington public relations firm. Lance Sandage, a lawyer representing Siljander, declined to comment on Hamed’s plea agreement.

Whether Hamed will cooperate with prosecutors was not made clear at the hearing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Gonzalez said Hamed might offer “some assistance” to the government in “further proceedings.”

The plea document also noted that a “supplement agreement” might be presented to the judge in secret.

Hamed faces up to 18 years in prison when sentenced later.

To reach Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send e-mail to mmorris@kcstar.com.


Suspected German Al Qaida member nabbed outside N Waziristan

Suspected German Al Qaida member nabbed outside N Waziristan

Press Trust Of India
Peshawar

A suspected German Al Qaeda operative, donning a woman’s burqa to evade security dragnet was nabbed by police as he was about to whisk away from Pakistan’s militant heartland close to border with Afghanistan.

The 27-year-old German national, later identified as Rami Mackenzie, was allegedly an expert in making suicide vests and was wanted by German authorities for links with extremists. He was clad in a burqa which covered his face at the time of the arrest.

The German was trying to make his getaway in a vehicle alongwith a local man and his young daughter when he was detained at a checkpoint in Bannu district, which borders North Waziristan.

The US and NATO intelligence agencies have a list of their nationals whom they suspect to be hiding with Al Qaeda and taliban militants in their sanctuaries close to the Afghan border.

The German national was found to be travelling on a fake Pakistani passport.

Security officials said the German national was arrested by a joint team of local police and army personnel at a security check post outside Bannu.

The German national and the two tribesmen were handed over to intelligence agencies.

North Waziristan is considered a sanctuary for Al Qaida and taliban elements, including foreign fighters, and has been repeatedly targeted by US drones since the beginning of this year.

There have been several instances in past years of youths from Western nations travelling to Pakistan’s tribal belt to join militant groups.

Some of these youths were trained to carry out terrorist attacks once they returned home.

Foreigners are usually not allowed to visit Bannu, Waziristan and other parts of Pakistan that border Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Land-Locked Naval Base 50 Miles Inside Balochistan

[How can you explain Pakistan opening a navy base fifty miles inland?  Perhaps the navy without blue water plays some part in the military operation that is not an operation in western Balochistan?]

Naval Chief Visits Turbat

The Baloch Hal News

TURBAT: The Chief of Pakistan Navy Admiral Noman Bashir visited Kech (Turbat) the other day amid extraordinarily tight security and aerial surveillance to inspect the land allocated to Pakistan Navy.

According to the details, the Naval Chief arrived in Turbat in his special aircraft under extremely tight security. Security forces cordoned off the entire area which was being visited by the Naval chief in order to avoid any untoward incident.

The Naval chief inspected the allotted land provide to the Pakistan Navy. He was accompanied by senior naval officers during his short trip to the area.

Belarus Still Giving Russia Ultimatums To Disrupt Siberian Gas Transit To Europe

Man mows the grass at a gas compressor station in BelarusAfter Belarus is 20% of gas exports from Russia to the EU

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko once again threatened to stop the transit of Russian energy to Europe if Gazprom did not pay off within a day for the use of the Belarusian gas pipelines.

“Once again I warn the government: failure to pay Gazprom in full service the next day should lead to a suspension of all services to the Russian Federation for the transportation of hydrocarbons – oil and gas” – said Lukashenko at a meeting with members of the Belarusian Cabinet.

In response to the Israeli foreign ministry said a representative of “Gazprom” Sergei Kupriyanov said the company did not owe anything to the Belarusian side.

Russia and Belarus in recent days argue about the amount of payment for gas transit . Minsk said that Gazprom paid less than those specified in the contract.

This debate followed  the demanding the Russian side to repay debts incurred because of underpayment of Belarus for gas imports for its domestic consumption.

Harmonization of conditions of transit

“Under the current contract for the supply and transit of gas from 31 December 2006, Gazprom, Belarus did not have,” – said on Friday Sergei Kupriyanov.

With regard to the contract in 2010, he added, that Gazprom reached an agreement in principle on it with the Belarusian side.

“We expect to sign it as soon as possible”, – stated the representative of “Gazprom”, explaining that the current year provided the rate increase for the transit of Russian gas through Belarus territorii.povyshenie

The possibility of suspending energy transit worries EU countries.Supply disruptions were felt this week in the Lithuania.

Flawed U.S. strategy strengthened Taliban, says Pakistan Army

Flawed U.S. strategy strengthened Taliban, says Pakistan Army

SANDEEP DIKSHIT

The Hindu 

Soldiers of Pakistan army seen outside a cave allegedly used by militants in Pakistan's tribal area of Waziristan along the Afghanistan border. File Photo: AP

Americans allied with Northern Alliance and pushed toward the south. But they failed to block the rear, allowing militants to escape into tribal agencies

A flawed military doctrine pursued by the West in Afghanistan led to the Taliban nearly taking over Pakistan’s tribal regions, claims the Pakistan Army.

“Either they [the U.S. Army] lack the capability or the willingness… but this is making my job harder. It is like gas in a balloon. The moment you squeeze the militants on one side, they go to the other. Either we cross the border [into Afghanistan] or they clear it up. Whatever the West says, we are the victims and not the source, Col. Nauman, commanding the Bajour Scouts, told a team of Indian journalists.

Col. Nauman and Brig Zafar-ul-Haq, along with Major General Athar Abbas of the Inter-Services’ Intelligence, claim the Americans made a tactical error when they entered Afghanistan. They allied with the Northern Alliance and pushed toward the south. But they failed to block the rear, allowing the militants to escape across the border into Pakistan’s tribal agencies. “We are forced to clear the mess.”

“Movement still takes place from the border along the ridges,” says Col. Nauman.

Senior officials point to the mismatch point on either side of the border. About 1.5 lakh Pakistani soldiers are deployed in the anti-Taliban operations in the sliver between the Pakistani mainland and Afghanistan, against one lakh western forces in the whole of Afghanistan. Pakistan has 821 posts on the border compared with just 112 on the Afghan side.

The U.S. drone attacks are another sore point. “Despite so many [2,800] air attacks by the Pakistan military, they did not create the same backlash as the drone attacks [117]. The U.S. drone attacks are seen as a breach of sovereignty, and incapacity of the government to govern,” a senior officer said.

This is besides the Pakistani contribution to keep the western forces in Afghanistan replenished. “Despite the western hype, 84 per cent of the containerised cargo and 40 per cent of the fuel transits through Pakistan,” says a general officer.

The ruggedness is visible from the air. And there is continuing violence, with high casualty rates on all sides. On Friday, an ambush killed seven soldiers, including an officer. Security forces have bled in confrontations with at least a dozen militant organisations, with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) enjoying a year of supremacy in this crescent of steep mountains and lush valleys.

The tribal agencies have witnessed the flow of caravans and armies, including those of Alexander the Great. But the 1980s saw the biggest influx of foreigners — motivators, tacticians, spymasters and fighters —which corrupted the tribal system and ratcheted up the lawlessness. The second such influx, however, did not take place as per the plans of the state. The Taliban and fighters allied with its government escaping the bombing of Afghanistan in 2001 crossed the border and streamed into their earlier hideouts from where they had once launched attacks against the Soviets with the backing of the American-Saudi-Pakistani trinity. Since then, the government’s writ has frequently become non- existent in one or other seven tribal agencies.

The present crises had its genesis in 2008. Bajour and Swat were almost taken over by men aligned with Behtullah Mehsud, and the state had become non-existent in the agency of South Waziristan. The para-military Bajour Scouts was confined to its main camp just outside the town of Khar in this northernmost tribal agency of Bajour. Applications for opening new businesses began to be approved by the local TTP commander.

This was the best location to launch the Mujahidin against the Soviets because of ethnic contiguity with areas in Afghanistan and the forbidding terrain. “When the Soviets went into Afghanistan, the entire world wanted to contest from the Durrand Line. This was the most suitable springboard for launching operations against the Soviets. The only problem was tribal xenophobia, which was addressed by a huge flow of money and foreign arms, thus corrupting the tribal governance system. Post 1989, the world packed up its bags from the region leaving the consequences of the war here, Col. Nauman says.

“We were a small fry in the anti-Soviet jehad. We were just the facilitators and did not imagine the Holy War would bounce back. While the U.S. could walk away, we couldn’t,” notes Gen. Abbas. When those escaping the American-led bombing crossed over to the Pakistani tribal agencies, many headed towards relatives, and several took to their old Soviet era dugouts in the mountains.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar found a safe haven in Bajour owing to tribal linkages and Soviet-era links. Top Arabian and Uzbek Al-Qaida leaders have been killed or spotted here in the past nine years. In 2004, the armed forces lost 80 men in one confrontation. Two years later, a suicide attack killed 43 army men limbering up near their base. The lack of socio-economic justice and the erosion of the governance system beefed up the TTP. It systematically eliminated anyone sympathising with the state and the military. “We had lost public support and faced great difficulty. South Waziristan had become a black hole. The operation had to rely on the use of force. There was great destruction,” concedes Maj. Gen. Abbas.

Around this time last year, a year after fruitless jirgas which critics say allowed the Taliban to muster political and military support, the army launched its operations, though it lacked cutting-edge technology, leading to a heavy loss of lives.

The army believes it has more or less done its job. The vacuum due to poor governance that allowed the TTP to step in needs to be filled, the madarsas need attention and, learning from the experience of 2007-08, there will be no deals from a position of weakness. However, the task could be complicated by hostile intelligence agencies in tribal areas and Baluchistan, army officers warn.