This is a clear-cut case of the Pentagon sabotaging the White House

This is a clear-cut case of the Pentagon sabotaging the White House

Peter Chamberlin
Nangarhar is the secured province that is being turned over to Afghan forces, where the border incident has erupted.  The attack upon Pakistan was intended as a demonstration for the world to see the dangers of an early Afghan transition and withdrawal.  What else could explain this Afghan unit gaining command over Nangarhar Province on the same day that calls for air support inside Pakistan have become necessary?  This is a clear-cut case of the Pentagon sabotaging the White House.  It is also the first sign of what post-reconciliation ISAF actions will look like, under a Northern Alliance-dominated Afghan regime.  Since the murder of Rabbani, Afghan security officials have been screaming in unison for this day to come–

“The Taliban can only be defeated by attacking them in Pakistan.”

According to former head of Afghanistan’s secret service, Amrullah Saleh, “You poison the soil where that grass is, then you eliminate it forever.”  This is what has happened on Pakistan’s side of the Durand Line, the Pakistani Taliban from Mohmand (who have relocated to Afghanistan) have poisoned the Pakistani soil  by firing upon Afghan forces from points near outpost Salala’s coordinates, in order to bring the two sides together inside Pakistan.  This is not the first time that the Pakistani Taliban have used this tactic to bring the Afghan and Pakistani forces together.  They used it preceding the “Battle of Wanat” and once again in the “Gora Prai” border post assault.  In the Gora Prai video below you can see the individual militants being killed. 

The Gora Prai video is from a single Predator; it pales in comparison to the latest assault which allegedly involved repeated runs of aircraft and helicopters, over a period of several hours. 

The following was sent to me by a friend from Peshawar.  It is self-explanatory.   

“Another pack of Lies By NATO

 Today’s papers carry the news that the NATO Chief has said that the  attack on Pakistani soldiers was un-intentional. Very generous of him!!
 Yesterday, I talked to Lt Col ZZZZZZ from Peshawar. He had just visited CMH Peshawar to meet the wounded in Salah Post by the US/ATO raid on night of 26 November. This is what he told me.
 There were 14 wounded lying in the surgical ward suffering a variety of wounds. He talked to every one of them and asked them what had happened. The crux of the account of the soldiers and officers was that at about 11pm on 26th Nov a light aircraft came from across the border, flew over the post and fired flares and returned. About half an hour later armed helicopters and light aircraft came . They again fired flares and began firing at the men. They remained in the area for about 5 – 6 hours. During this time, the helicopter firing at individual personnel at will. The post had only one 12.7 anti-aircraft gun which opened fire. The gunner was shot. The major on the post took up the gun and began firing at the helicopters. He was fired at again. While changing position he was hit by a rocket or missile. His body was blasted to pieces. Only his name-plate was found.
Every one of the men on the post was killed or wounded. They seemed to be in no hurry and going after each individual separately. Having finished the entire post, they peaceably went back without any casualty on their part.
 And the NATO Chief has the effrontery to say that it was un-intentional.
 Now my question is, if for 5 to 6 hours this enemy action was taking place and our ground troops were under such deliberate enemy fire, where was the Army’s reaction and where was the PAF during all this time?I cannot believe that the Corps HQ or the PAF Northern Command in Peshawar did not know what was going on,on the front. If so, both should be disbanded for deliberate incompetence.”

The biggest question is–Why did the joint military commands allow the attack to happen, or make no effort to end it?

If the dust was allowed to settle on this confrontation, then it would surely reveal that it was the TTP bringing Afghan and Pakistani forces into conflict, which they would be inclined to do, considering the level of penetration of the Pakistani Taliban by British, Afghan, and American secret services (SEE: Dissecting the Anti-Pakistan Psyop).  Through these separate assets, plus those of India and the Mossad, the Pakistani Taliban have always danced to the same tune as the CIA.  This does not necessarily mean that Hakeemullah Mehsud (and Baitullah before him), Faqir Mohammed and Fazlullah are conscious American assets, but that they might as well be.  If they are so foolish as to be led around by the nose by spook money, doing the Empire’s bidding, then they are nothing more than petty mercenaries, pretending to be revolutionary jihadis. 

This attack can be compared to the Mumbai attack, in that Pakistani jihadis have taken actions which were intended to bring Pakistan into conflict with one of its neighbors.   The last time it was India’s turn.  Indian leaders kept a cool head, at that time, avoiding another major war with Pakistan, to suit American interests.  Will Afghan leaders use their heads, to see this blow-up as their own warning to turn back from the pied piper’s road to oblivion, before it is too late for us all?

Nangarhar ready for security transfer

by Abdul Moeed Hashmi on 28 November, 2011 – 18:36

JALALABAD (PAN): Officials and tribal elders on Monday said the eastern province of Nangarhar was ready for security transition, stressing the need for increasing the strength of Afghan security forces.

Afghan forces will take over the security responsibility in 18 more areas in the second phase of transition. The forces will take full control of Balkh, Daikundi, Takhar, Samangan, Kabul and Nimroz provinces.

The cities included in the second phase of transition include Jalalabad, Chaghcharan, Shiberghan, Faizabad, Ghazni, Maidan Shahr and Qala-i-Naw. Helmand districts Nawa, Nad Ali and Marja are also to change hands.

In Nangarhar, Jalalabad, the provincial capital, Kama, Behsud, Khewa and Surkhrod districts would be handed to Afghan forces. Surkhrod district chief, Syed Ali Akbar Sadat, said they were ready for the handover, but the inadequate police strength posed a problem.

Governor Gul Agha Sherzai had discussed the issue with civil and military officials, his spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said, adding the provincial capital is ready for the transfer.

“Foreign soldiers disrespect our traditions and we no longer need them,” Wilayat Khan, a tribal elder from Behsud, told Pajhwok Afghan News. The district had only 50 policemen, he said, asking the government to increase their number.



Censored! There are no poor people in Saudi Arabia

Two young Saudi bloggers were sent to jail for fifteen days after uploading a ten-minute documentary on poverty in Riyadh, the capital of one of the richest petro-states in the Gulf.
Firas Buqna and Hussam Al-Darwish posted the video on YouTube on October 10. The fifth episode of their Web TV show “Mal’oub Alen” (“we’re being duped” in Arabic) touched on the living conditions of people in the poor neighbourhood of Al Jaradiya, on the outskirts of Riyadh.


In the report, Buqna is shocked by the relative poverty of the neighbourhood, where he comes across children “who are barefoot and don’t own any shoes.” Of the three neighbourhood residents that Buqna interviews, one “earns only 1,300 dollars (945 euros) to support his two wives and 11 children. Another resident supports 20 people with just 666 dollars (484 euros) a month.
Buqna and Al-Darwish denounce the stereotype of the wealthy, SUV-driving Saudi, explaining that 89% of the country’s citizens live in debt. The bloggers question why residents of such a wealthy country are slipping through the net and living in poverty. They point out that over the past 27 years Saudi Arabia has donated 56 billion euros to developing countries, while 22% the the country’s own citizens were reportedly living in relative poverty in 2009 (local media put the number at 30% in 2008).
Vodpod videos no longer available.

poverty in saudi arabia, posted with vodpod

The young bloggers’ video did not go down well with authorities. Six days after they posted the video online, Buqna and Al-Darwish were arrested and interrogated by the police. They were released two weeks later, on October 31. The exact reasons behind their arrest remain unclear.
However, the controversy generated by their arrest has drawn over a million viewers to their online video.

“Poverty is an open secret in Saudi Arabia”

Rachid M. (not his real name) is a blogger; he lives in eastern Saudi Arabia.

There are more and more poor people in Saudi Arabia, and the middle class has all but disappeared. It’s an open secret in the kingdom.
I don’t live in Riyadh and have never visited the neighbourhood of Al Jaradiya, but in the east of the country where I live, there are far poorer neighbourhoods than what Firas Buqna showed in his video. The fact that there are a lot of oil wells in the area changes nothing. Comparing the poorest areas of Saudi Arabia with Somalia, as Buqna does at the beginning of his documentary, makes sense. There are people who live in terrible conditions, on the streets or under makeshift tents.
Poverty was officially recognised for the first time during a visit by Ali Al-Namia, the former minister of social affairs, in the neighbourhood of Al Shamishi in Riyadh in November 2002. He went with King Abdullah, who was still crown prince at the time. The footage was aired on state television. At the time, authorities decided to create a national solidarity fund. But that wasn’t enough to stop poverty from spreading. Wealth is very badly distributed in our country, and corruption is also rife [in 2010, Saudi Arabia ranked 50th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index list].
Official media outlets have addressed the problem in a very superficial way. They present poverty as if it affected only an isolated few and not entire swaths of the population, in one of the richest oil nations of the world.
Poor families do get government aid, but they receive symbolic amounts which absolutely don’t allow these people to meet all their needs. Not to mention the maze of bureaucratic red tape they have to go through to receive this aid. What’s more, this aid is granted only to people who have no other source of income. Low-income working families aren’t entitled to it.
“We think they were arrested because they caricatured a commonly-used phrase that honours the King”
There are several reasons for which the two bloggers may have been arrested. According to another famous blogger, nicknamed Saudi Jeans, authorities may not have liked the fact that their video was picked up by a foreign-based opposition TV network. Others think authorities were angered by the videos’ direct, defiant tone. But most people think that what got them into trouble was the fact that they caricatured a commonly-used phrase that honours the King (‘We are fine, we hope you are too’ in Arabic). The beginning of the video shows several wealthy Saudis in a large, elegant car saying ‘We are fine ,’ then a small boy from the neighbourhood of Al Jaradiya saying ‘We are not fine’.
Others think the motive of their arrest was to scare young Saudis, who increasingly use social media and new technologies to express themselves and voice criticism of the government and the country, sometimes beyond the limits imposed by authorities.”

Firas Buqna posted this photo of himself on Twitter after he was freed from prison.

At Tahrir Square, they chant ‘Erha’–(Leave)

Egypt goes to polls today

At Tahrir, they chant ‘Erha’


Protestors hold a large national flag with Arabic writing that reads,
APProtestors hold a large national flag with Arabic writing that reads, “Jan. 25 revolution, Egypt,” in Tahrir Square in Cairo, on November 25, 2011.

If the popular upsurge in Cairo sweeps away the military establishment, the U.S.’ strategy to harness the Arab Spring will have to be reworked all over again.

The events unfolding in Tahrir Square in Cairo are epochal. A cross section of the Egyptian society — youth, intellectuals, workers, Islamists — has converged on Tahrir. Their demand resonates in a single word: “Erha! (Leave!”). It is a call to the remnants of the authoritarian system of the Hosni Mubarak era to quit, so that Egypt’s incomplete revolution of February can be successfully rounded off. A bloody crackdown seems no more sustainable.

The protestors are demanding that the military should return to the barracks from where they marched out into the civilian world nearly six decades ago in 1952 under the charismatic leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser. However, as of now, the military continues to probe where the fault lines run within the opposite camp. The political discourse principally dwells on the supremacy of elected civilian governments in a democratic environment. In a manner of speaking, it is a strain of the regional malady of a civil-military “imbalance” that has its roots in the political culture that Turkey spawned. The Egyptian military demands a “Turkish model” of democratic governance. Surely, Turkey cannot influence the course of events in Egypt, which is an ancient nation that is disdainful of Ottoman claims to grandeur. All the same, the “Turkish model” bears some scrutiny in the emergent context in Egypt.

Turkish model

The “Turkish model” rejected the concept of civilian supremacy in a democracy. The civilian governments exercised no control over the military, while the latter claimed to be the Praetorian Guards of the state founded by Kemal Ataturk. The military incessantly invoked Ataturk’s legacy to insert itself into the making of national policy and repeatedly intervene to change elected governments it didn’t like. The present government headed by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, who is an immensely popular figure, has asserted civilian supremacy and much depends on how he follows through by rewriting the Turkish constitution and making the democratisation of the Turkish state a fait accompli. The Turks accept that the answer to their country’s problems may lie in having more democracy and the unparalleled economic prosperity also gives them a belief in the brave new world.

Suffice to say, Turkey’s democratisation process is happening within a certain uniquely “Anatolian” environment, so to speak. A major factor has been that Mr. Erdogan’s reform programme was necessitated by the accession requirements for European Union membership and, thus, it bore the imprimatur of the western liberal democracies (which also raised its comfort level for Turkey’s western-minded elites). An engrossing detail of much consequence has been the stance taken by the United States, which was largely helpful. Washington could have incited the pashas to shake off the harness that Mr. Erdogan put around their necks. But it didn’t.

How this intriguing performance can quite repeat ditto over Egypt is the big question. The mass upsurge in Tahrir demanding vacation of the political space by the Egyptian military junta puts the Barack Obama administration in a tight spot. The U.S. wields enormous clout over the Egyptian top brass, given the $1.5-billion military aid that it provided annually to Cairo ever since the Camp David accord and the umbilical cords that tie the Egyptian military establishment to its U.S. (and Israeli) counterparts.

The top echelons of the Egyptian armed forces are weaned in the American military academies and have vested interests in the perpetuation of the close links with the Pentagon. (Like the Turkish pashas, Egyptian generals also maintain a lavish lifestyle, which they won’t easily give up.) Clearly, Washington has good enough reasons to trust the Egyptian military leadership to continue with the same old regional policies that Cairo dutifully pursued under Hosni Mubarak.

On the contrary, the political forces clamouring from the barricades in Tahrir stand beyond the pale of U.S. influence. The spectre that haunts the U.S. is that in a free election, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood may win the most seats in a new parliament. Although there are low-key contacts between the U.S. and the Muslim Brothers, a “constructive engagement” is yet to mature and Washington cannot but be concerned about the policy orientations of any civilian government that emerges in Cairo in the present circumstances. Thus, Washington took a safe stance of calling on both sides — military junta and the unarmed protestors — to show “restraint.”

Autocratic regimes

A host of contrarian trends comes into play. Arguably, the U.S. comprehends that the legitimacy question involving the Middle Eastern autocratic regimes lies at the core of the region’s instability. The U.S. is also capable of the requisite pragmatism to deal with the forces of Islamism if that serves its geopolitical interests. A lot of ground has been covered in the recent period in building contacts with various Islamist groups in the Middle East. In Tunisia, the U.S. acquiesced with the ascendancy of Ennahda. Washington didn’t lose sleep over the Islamist elements within the Libyan opposition; it trusted Doha to duly “handle” them (which it is doing). Nor is the U.S. perturbed that the intelligence agencies of close allies like Saudi Arabia and Jordan are actively financing and assisting violent Islamist elements in their campaign to overthrow the Syrian regime. Even in Afghanistan, if only the Pakistani ally could put together the broth, U.S. officials would readily sup with the Haqqanis.

Broadly speaking, the Islamist forces in the Middle East are home-grown movements with popular base and it is only through an inclusive approach of accommodating them can political stability be ensured on an enduring basis. Thus, the U.S. is showing political realism selectively by exploring the possibilities that may exist in trying over time to influence (or corrupt — depending on one’s point of view) the ideology-based Islamist groups and get them to abandon the straight path rooted in the dogmas of justice and resistance. The U.S’ Persian Gulf allies have shown remarkable genius to bring money power into play in the politics of Islamism in the Middle East — especially Qatar, which is today punching far above its weight in Libya and Syria. Ironically, it is here that the Islamists of Turkey may offer a role model in the politics of Islamism — how to gracefully succumb to the persuasions of “green money.”

Tehran issue

On the other hand, the U.S. also needs to weigh in certain compelling, near-term considerations affecting the geopolitics of the region: the likely policies of a future democratic regime in Cairo on the Egypt-Israel peace accords and the security cooperation between the two countries; Cairo’s dealings with Hamas and other “non-state actors” and its stance on the Palestine problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict; and, the likelihood of a warming up of ties between Cairo and Tehran. The last one is particularly crucial since the containment of Iran lies at the core of the U.S’s Middle East strategy, whereas the prevailing Egyptian popular opinion (Islamist and secular alike) happens to be to seek to normalise ties with Iran. The Egyptian Islamists and secularists also lack the appetite for playing sectarian Sunni-Shi’ite politics, which, in turn, would present a level playing field for Iran in Cairo under a democratic dispensation.

Most important, Egypt is the “brain” of Arabism and what happens in Cairo in the coming days — with the revolutionary fervour resurging, reclaiming lost territory and restoring primacy in the political discourse — is going to impact profoundly on the politics of the entire region. Actually, Turkey has been a mere pretender to claim the status of a role model in the Arab world. The plain truth is that Egypt never vacated its leadership even in the darkest years since the Camp David accords and that is also how the Arab world is watching the events unfolding in Tahrir — be it in the borderlands of Yemen or Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. In sum, the U.S. strategy to harness the Arab Spring within a new political framework aimed at perpetuating the western regional hegemony in the Middle East in a manner that doesn’t appear to be overbearing needs to be reworked all over again if the popular upsurge in Cairo sweeps away the Egyptian military junta.

On the Middle Eastern landscape, an epochal break with the past through a popular upsurge happened only once in the recent decades — in Iran in 1978. And the results were disastrous for the U.S’s geostrategy. Unsurprisingly, there is great uneasiness in Washington. But Tahrir offers a brilliant opportunity for the Barack Obama administration to showcase its regional policy. On the Arab street, all eyes are trained on Washington.

The odds are that Mr. Obama is tempted to grasp the nettle and take up the challenging offer by the Muslim Brothers to be held accountable and wedded to democratic intentions and religious tolerance. Of course, it needs a leap of faith on Mr. Obama’s part, But more than that, as a politician seeking re-election himself, his main worry narrows down to how the Israeli Lobby and the Republicans would forgive him for being party to the rise of the Muslim Brothers to power in Egypt.

(The writer is a former diplomat.)

NATO supply stopped permanently

NATO supply stopped permanently

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Sunday said that the supply of NATO has not been suspended rather it has been stopped permanently. Talking to reporters at National Crisis Management Cell of Ministry of Interior, he strongly condemned the NATO attack on Pakistani forces.

“NATO force should respect feelings of Pakistani nation.” He said the nation and the government were aggrieved on the death of 24 officials of Pakistani security forces in the wake of NATO aggression on Salala post in Mohmand Agency. He said the decisions of the Defence Cabinet Committee (DCC) on the NATO forces attack inside Pakistan would be implemented in letter and spirit. “The decisions of the DCC are final and would be implemented,” he added.

The minister said that NATO containers, which have been stopped, would not be allowed to cross the Pak-Afghan border. Malik said that the democratic government of Pakistan would not take dictation from anyone. Referring to security arrangements for Muharram, he said the security arrangements for the month of Muharram have been completed and foolproof security would be ensured across the country to maintain the sanctity of the holy month. He informed that the Rangers and police have been deployed in sensitive areas of Punjab, while the Army would maintain peace and order in Sindh during Muharram, adding that the Sindh police have been given extra powers to maintain law and order in the province.

NATO Air Assault Went On for Two Hours

NATO airstrike was not provoked: Army

RAWALPINDI: Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas while speaking to Geo News denied reports that Pakistan provoked the attack by firing first and said if this was the case then ISAF and NATO should provide proof of it.

Abbas said initial reports indicate that two check posts were attacked by NATO.

According to Abbas, the attack lasted for almost two hours during which ISAF was informed.

The army spokesman also said that Mohmand Agency, where the attack took place had been cleared of terrorists and this had been communicated to ISAF.

Abbas added that investigations into the attack were underway and a future course of action would be decided after their completion.