Sufi Mohammad Going On Trial In Peshawar, for Murder and Treason

Court charges Sufi Mohammad with murder, treason

By AFP

Sufi Mohammad, father-in-law of Maulana Fazlullah, the leader of a Taliban insurgency that paralysed the northwestern valley from late 2007 until a military offensive in the spring of 2009, was arrested two years ago. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: A court on Monday charged a radical Islamic cleric, who once brokered a Taliban peace deal in the Swat valley, with treason and murder, lawyers said.

Sufi Mohammad, father-in-law of Maulana Fazlullah, the leader of a Taliban insurgency that paralysed the northwestern valley from late 2007 until a military offensive in the spring of 2009, was arrested two years ago.

He is now set to go on trial in an anti-terrorism court in Swat, held behind closed doors in a maximum security prison in Peshawar over security fears.

“Today, the court framed murder and treason charges on Sufi Mohammad and his 23 followers,” defence lawyer Majeed Adil Majeed told AFP.

“He and his followers broke the law by attacking a police station, killing 11 people, including nine paramilitary and two policemen, and attacked government buildings, which is treason” Majeed said.

Mohammad has refused to defend himself in court as he does not recognise them and Majeed took on his counsel on orders from the judge.

Arshad Abdullah, law minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, confirmed the indictment.

Fazlullah, who has a Rs50 million price on his head, was the architect of an uprising that marked the only time that a district under government control has effectively slipped into hands of the Taliban.

At the time, he led thousands of supporters, a mixture of hardcore ideologues and disenfranchised young men, in a brutal campaign beheading opponents, burning schools and fighting against government troops.

Security officials say Fazlullah fled into eastern Afghanistan after the army crushed the Taliban uprising in Swat in 2009.

Under a deal brokered by Mohammad, the government agreed to allow the implementation of Islamic law in Swat once violence had stopped but Taliban militants led by Fazllulah refused to lay down arms and undermined the deal.

Troops quelled the uprising in late April 2009 after the Taliban advanced to within 100 kilometres of Islamabad.

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Tajik FM rules out return of Russian border guards to Tajik-Afghan border

Tajik FM rules out return of Russian border guards to Tajik-Afghan border

Avaz Yuldoshev

DUSHANBE, July 18, 2011, Asia-Plus — Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi has ruled out the renewed stationing of Russian border guards along Tajikistan’s common border with Afghanistan.

Hamrokhon Zarifi told  reporters today that Tajikistan and Russia are expected to sign an agreement on border cooperation during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Tajikistan scheduled for September this year.

Tajik minister stressed that the agreement did not mean that Russian border guards would return to the Tajik-Afghan border.

“This agreement stipulates border cooperation between the two countries and stay of a small group of Russian border-guard advisers in Tajikistan,” the minister said.

On the further deployment of Russian military base 201 in Tajikistan and the issue of leasing the Ayni airfield to the Russian Federation, Zarifi noted that negotiations on those subjects have been conducted since 2008 “constructively and without emotions.”

“Today there is no necessity for free deployment of foreign military bases on Tajik territory,” the minister stressed.

Commenting on rumors about deployment of the United States military base in Tajikistan, Zarifi noted that Tajikistan has never conducted negotiation with the United Sates on that issue and “such a dialogue is not expected in the foreseeable future.”

“As far as the construction of the live-fire training building at the National Training Center at Qaratogh is concerned, the construction of the center is carried out under financial support of the United States, the center itself is property of Tajikistan,” the minister said.

U.S. Embassy strengthens cooperation to fight illegal narcotics trafficking in Tajikistan

30/04/2011
Payrav Chorshanbiyev

DUSHANBE, April 30, 2011, Asia-Plus  — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Drug Control Agency (DCA) under the President of Tajikistan began a new era of collaboration by signing a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two counter narcotics law enforcement agencies.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, the document was inked by DCA Director Rustam Nazarov and DEA Regional Director Mark S. Destito on April 29.  The two agencies have worked together cooperatively to combat the flow of drugs into Tajikistan and to other regional and international markets since 2007.

The Memorandum of Cooperation will strengthen cooperation between the U.S. DEA and the DCA.  This new accord is aimed at combating organized criminal groups that have national, regional, and international connections, illicit drug and precursor chemical trafficking, and drug smuggling across international borders.  The agreement will improve the exchange of information related to combating illegal drug and precursor trafficking and will allow greater assistance in investigative activities.  The Memorandum will increase participation in meetings and conferences intended to foster an exchange of information, and provides for mutual participation in personnel training and law enforcement skills development.

The United States Government is committed to supporting Tajik law enforcement agencies combating illegal drug and precursor chemical trafficking into and across Tajikistan.  Since 1992, the American people, through the United States Embassy in Dushanbe, have provided approximately $900 million in programs that support Tajikistan’s democratic institutions, health care, education, and economic growth.

 

NATO and the Ungratefulness of the Libyan People

The Coalition of the Willing had come to Libya to spare civilians from Gaddafi’s murderous madness. Four months later, the Libyan crowds have deserted “Liberated Benghazi” and are staging gigantic anti-NATO demonstrations. Confronted with an unexpected political reality, the Atlantic armada has been left without a strategy. The Italians have started to pull out while the French are seeking an exit.

1.7 million people

The Libyan Government was counting on the presence of 1 million people on 1 July 2011, in Tripoli, to protest against NATO. To the surprise of the authorities as much as for NATO, 1.7 million turned out.

111 days after the beginning of the intervention in Libya, no military solution is in sight and there is a consensus among experts that time is on the Libyan government’s side, barring a fluke or the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi.

On July 7th, the Italian cabinet halved their country’s involvement in the war effort and withdrew its helicopter-carrier. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared he had always been against the conflict, but was compelled by Parliament to participate.

On July 10th, French Defense Minister Gérard Longuet referred to a political solution that would involve Gaddafi’s removal to “another room of his palace with another title.” Considering there is no palace left, the first condition is purely rhetorical; as for the second, nobody can make heads or tails of it and it was probably a pathetic way out.

The political and social structures in Libya stem from the authoctonous culture and are beyond the compehension of many Westerners. They are composed of a one-chamber system of participative democracy – which is particularly effective at the local level – in conjunction with a tribal forum, which is devoid of any legislative power but serves to integrate clan solidarities into political life. To this structure must be added “Leader” figure who exerts no legal power, only moral authority. No one is compelled to obey him, but the majority of the people do, just as they would spontaneously obey a senior member of their own family. On the whole, the political system runs smoothly and people display no fear of the police, except on occasions such as a coup attempt or the Abou Salim prison riot, both of which were violently repressed.

Such clarifications ought to shed light on the preposterous character of the war objectives set forth by the Coalition of the Willing.

Officially, the intervention of the Coalition was carried out in compliance with a Security Council decision to protect civilian victims from a massive crackdown. However, at present, the Libyan people are convinced that such a crackdown never took place and that the Libyan air force never attacked any residential area either in Benghazi or in Tripoli. That portion of the population who believed at first the information relayed through international television networks now thinks very differently. In the meantime, people have had the chance to obtain direct testimonies from family and friends scattered throughout the country and have reached the conclusion that it was all a disinformation campaign.

On this and other issues, world opinion is divided between those who believe the US version and those who do not. As far as I am concerned, I currently reside in a Tripoli neighborhood reputed for its hostility towards Gaddafi, which allegedly revolted against him and was bombarded by the national air force at the beginning of the conflict. I am in a position to attest that there is absolutely no evidence of such events … except for a charred vehicle. The only signs of any bombings concern government buildings which were destroyed by NATO missiles at a later stage.

Be that as it may, the principal NATO leaders have openly evoked another aim of this war, which certain members of the Coalition appear reluctant to endorse: Col. Gaddafi’s resignation, a euphemism for “regime change“. This has opened the door to a realm of confusion. On one hand, such a requirement has no legal foundation under the relevant UN resolutions nor is it in any way linked to the declared objective of protecting civilian populations. On the other hand, Col. Gaddafi’s resignation is neither here nor there since he does not exercise an institutional function, but only a moral authority derived from the social, and not political, structures. Finally, by what right are NATO members standing in the way of a democratic process and pretend to decide for the Libyan people that one of its leaders must be removed?

This confusion in fact reveals that the war is driven by unavowed motives which are not shared by all the members of the Coalition of the Willing.

The principle of simultaneously attacking Libya and Syria was rubberstamped by the US Government in the week that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001. It was publicly announced for the first time by John Bolton, then Under-Secretary of State, in his 6 May 2002 speech entitled “Beyond the Axis of Evil“. It was also subsequently confirmed by General Wesley Clark during a famous television interview on 2 March 2007, during which the former NATO chief presented the list of countries slated for successive US attacks over the coming years.

Within the framework of their strategy for “Remodeling the Greater Middle East“, the Straussians [1] had planned to start by attacking Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, then to extend the remodeling process to the Levant and North Africa by attacking Libya, Syria and Lebanon and, in the third stage, to take on Somalia and Sudan with a view to remodeling East Africa.

The attack against Iran having been deferred for obvious military considerations, they fast-forwarded to the second stage irrespective of the events in Benghazi, whether real or imaginary. The Coalition of the Willing is bogged down in an adventure that it did not want and which escapes its control.

The US strategy, put on track by France and the United Kingdom – again partners like in the good old days of the Suez expedition –, rests on a particularly acute analysis of the Libyan tribal system. Knowing that the members of certain tribes – particularly the Warfalla – had been barred from occupying high-ranking positions ever since the aborted coup of 1993, NATO was to fuel their frustrations, arm and use them as a lever to overthrow the regime and put in place a pro-western government. According to Silvio Berlusconi, during a meeting of allied members held on 19 March, Messrs. Sarkozy and Cameron allegedly stated that “the war would come to an end when, as was anticipated, the Tripoli population would rise up against the current regime“.

This strategy reached its zenith on 27 April when 61 tribal chiefs launched an appeal in favor of the National Transitional Council. It should be noted that already then it was no longer of question of massacres actually attributed to the “regime“, both in Beghazi and Tripoli, but of its intention to perpetrate them. The cosigners of the appeal thanked France and the European Union for having prevented a carnage foretold, not for having halted one in the making.

Since the appeal, in a continuous and uninterrupted manner, the tribes in the opposition have rallied around the government of Tripoli and their respective chiefs have vowed allegiance to Muammar Gaddafi in public. In reality, this process had already started much earlier and was showcased on 8 March when all the tribal chiefs went to pay tribute to the Libyan leader at the Hotel Rixos, in the midst of western journalists transformed into human shields and dumbfounded by this new provocation.

This situation can easily be explained : Gaddafi’s internal opposition had no motive for overthrowing the regime before the Benghazi incidents. The 27 April appeal was based on information that the authors now realize was tainted. As a result, each of them has joined the government in the struggle against foreign aggression. According to the Islamic culture, those rebels who demonstrated their sincerity were automatically pardoned and incorporated in the national forces.

For the purposes of this analysis, it makes no difference whether the repressive methods attributed to the Gaddafi regime is a historical fact or a fabrication of western propaganda. What matters is to know what is the stance of the Libyans as a soverign people at present.

At this point, a reminder about the balance of political power is called for. The National Transitional Council (NTC) has been incapable of constituting a social base. Its provisional capital Benghazi used to be a city of 800 000 inhabitants. In February, hundreds of thousands turned out to celebrate its creation. Today, the “city liberated by the rebels” and “protected by NATO” is virtually a lifeless agglomeration with barely 15 000 inhabitants left, most of whom are people who don’t have the means to leave. The Benghazis did not flee the fighting; they fled from the new regime.

On the contrary, the “Gaddafi regime” was capable of mobilizing 1.7 million people for a rally in Tripoli on 1 July and has recently pledged to get involved in the organization of regional demonstrations every Friday. Last week, more than 400 000 rallied in Sabha (in the South) and a similar crowd was expected to gather in Az Yawiyah (in the West). It should be noted that these demonstrations are staged against NATO which has so far killed more than one thousand of their compatriots, destroyed the country’s non-oil infrastructures and stopped all supplies through a naval blockade. They center around the support for Gaddafi as an anti-colonialist leader, but don’t necessarily signify a retroactive approval of all his policies.

In the final analysis, the Libyan people have pronounced themselves. For them, NATO did not come to protect them but to conquer their country. It is Gaddafi who protects them against Western aggression.

Under the circumstances, NATO is devoid of a strategy. Not even a “Plan B”. Nothing. NTC defections are so massive that, according to most experts, the number of “rebel forces” has dropped to between 800 and 1 000 combatants, armed to the teeth by NATO, but incapable of playing a significant role in the absence of popular support. It is very likely that there are more NATO Special Forces commandos on the ground than the number of Libyan combatants they are supposed to oversee.

The Italian retreat and the declarations of the French Defense Minister are not surprising. In spite of its military fire power without precedent in History, the NATO armada has lost this war. Not on the military level of course, but because it forgot that “war is the continuation of politics by other means” and that it was off the mark politically. The shrieks from Washington, which readily reprimanded the French minister who refuses to lose face, will not make the slightest difference.

 

Venezuela oil reserves topped Saudis in 2010:OPEC

Venezuela oil reserves topped Saudis in 2010:OPEC

By Benoit Faucon

(Adds details on Iran, Nigeria and overall exports revenue.)

LONDON -(MarketWatch)- Venezuela’s crude oil proven reserves surpassed those of Saudi Arabia in 2010, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its annual statistical bulletin.

Venezuela’s proven crude oil reserves reached 296.5 billion barrels in 2010, up 40.4% on the year and higher than Saudi Arabia’s 264.5 billion barrels, OPEC said.

In the long run, the boost in reserves, which comes along with increases from Iran and Iraq, may empower members of the group who favor a defense of high prices. However, there are doubts over whether all of Venezuela’s heavy oil discoveries are actually economically viable.

The data broadly confirm Venezuela’s statements that it had reached this level of reserves in January. OPEC normally relies on its members’ assessments for statistical data.

Iraq’s and Iran’s proven reserves were also respectively upgraded by 24.4% to 143.1 billion barrels, and by 10.3% to 151.2 billion barrels, roughly in line with the countries’ earlier disclosures.

Venezuela, Iran and Iraq were part of a group that refused to endorse a Saudi-led push to hike output at an acrimonious OPEC meeting on June 8.

Analysts have questioned how economic Venezuelan reserves additions could be, as most come from the heavy and extra-heavy oil in the Orinoco Belt, which is difficult and expensive to extract.

Venezuela’s statistics have long been a controversial topic in oil circles, though disagreements on the matter have recently eased. The International Energy Agency last month said it revised the method used to calculate the country’s oil-production figures, bringing the agency’s estimates closer to those of Caracas.

The set of statistics may also vindicate Iran’s claims that sanctions aren’t crippling the development of its oil and gas industry. For instance, crude oil exports from the Islamic Republic to Europe in 2010 rose 34.5% to 764,000 barrels a day on average.

Last year, the European Union implemented stringent sanctions on Iran which, without banning crude purchases, complicate them by putting restrictions on insurance, financial services and energy sectors.

The numbers also underscore the recovery of the Nigerian oil industry with 17 more rigs active in the West African nation and 437 additional producing wells, following a sucessful amnesty for militants in 2009.

Overall, the numbers show OPEC members strongly benefited from higher oil prices in 2010, with the total value of their petroleum exports up 27.2% at $745.1 billion and their overall gross domestic product rising 11.2% to $2,325 billion.

The CIA Raping of Pakistan Resumes

Press Trust Of India

Ending months of estrangement, Pakistan military has allowed CIA to resume its normal operations in the country with Islamabad approving 87 visas for the agency sleuths. The logjam was broken during the crucial visit of Pakistan’s military run ISI’s chief Lt Gen Shuja Ahmed Pasha in

Washington with Islamabad and Washington framing out new rules of engagement, a media report said.

The token of renewed cooperation: The Pakistanis have approved 87 visas for CIA officers working in the country, according to US and Pakistani officials.

“That will bring the agency back toward normal operations in Pakistan, after what both sides say was a low point after the January arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis,” the Washington Post said.

The daily said joint-counter terrorism has resumed.

“Under new rules of the road, the CIA — in theory, at least — will share with the Pakistanis more information about what its operatives are doing in the country. Sources say, for example, that joint CIA-ISI counter-terrorism operations have resumed.”

A tricky issue is the fate of Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor who was arrested by the ISI in May for allegedly helping the CIA try to identify DNA of Osama bin Laden’s family by running a private vaccination campaign in Abbottabad before the May 2 raid on bin Laden’s compound.

“US officials are said to have pressed for Afridi’s release. The Pakistani countered that, because Afridi is a Pashtun who works in Khyber Agency in the tribal areas, certain tribal customs for compensation of victims must first be satisfied,” the daily said.

American Ambassador’s Remarks At 7th Tajik Border Post Opening Ceremony

Remarks at Opening of Border Guard Post 

Remarks

William R. Brownfield
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Shurobod, Tajikistan
June 29, 2011

Distinguished Deputy Commander of the Border Guard Service of Tajikistan, Commander of the Border Guard District of Shurobod, Ambassador of the United States of America to Tajikistan, officers and men of the border guard service, distinguished members of the media, ladies and gentlemen,

I bring you greetings from Washington.

Ladies and gentlemen, for most people in the world, the border is the line between two countries. For a narcotics trafficker, it is an opportunity to move his product. As you know better than I, narcotics traffickers do their business in this district. Some of your friends and fellow soldiers have paid the ultimate price. They gave their lives to protect their communities.

Today, we honor them and we honor you. Today we visit the new post in Shurobod. We, the Government of Tajikistan and the Government of the United States, owe you a professional facility.

This is the seventh border post that we have constructed together with the border guard service. We work together to create a more secure border. And a secure border protects the people of Tajikistan, it protects the people of Afghanistan, and it protects the people of America.

Men and women of the border guard service, I salute you. You honor us with your presence, and I wish you great success from your new post for years to come.

Congratulations and thank you.