Is Rehman Malik A Professional Liar, Or Just A Moron?–Motorcycles Have Always Been the Taliban’s Terror Transport

[Bombs on motorcycles, machine-gun attacks from moving motorcycles, and plain old mountain-biking, the motorcycle has long been a staple of Taliban transportation, along with Japanese and Korean trucks.  Nearly every anti-Shia attack in Balochistan involves motorcycle-riding terrorists.  For Malik to pretend to suddenly have noted a new trend in terror attacks is in keeping with his reputation as another soulless camera-face, whose only purpose is spouting Establishment lies.  He had an Iraqi counterpart, known affectionately as “Baghdad Bob.”  His job was to feed the press disinformation, too.  The truth about Taliban and their history with motorcycles is given in this one sentence:

baghdad-bob

“On 25 April, 2007, ISI sent 1000 motorcycles to Mawlawi Jalaludin Haqqani for suicide attacks in Khowst and Lowgar Province.” ]

Motorcycles and mobile phones becoming tools for terrorists: Malik

dawn

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Interior Minister Rehman Malik. – File Photo

LAHORE: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Sunday that all the mobile phone companies are bound to adopt a biometric data system within three months in order to sell cellphone SIMs in the country.

No mobile phone SIM will be sold by any unconcerned person or at shops in future, he said adding that a law would shortly be introduced in this regard.

Talking to the media in Okara, Punjab on Sunday, Malik said that motorcycles and mobile phones have become tools for the terrorists and that’s why the government has been imposing bans on them for a while to ensure the safety of people.

To a question, Malik said carrying out operation against banned outfits in Punjab is the responsibility of the provincial government and the federal government was prepared to extend cooperation if the provincial government decided to do so.

To another question, the minister said that Karachi is the financial hub of the country and cannot be left at the mercy of miscreants. The government is serious in maintaining peace in Karachi and the Army could be called in too if needed.

He said Quetta and Karachi are being targeted by the miscreants as both cities have a big role in the economy of Pakistan.

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Not black-and-white: The chess game behind the recent Gaza-Israel war (Op-Ed)

Not black-and-white: The chess game behind the recent Gaza-Israel war (Op-Ed)

Russia-Today

Palestinian children walk on the rubble of a building destroyed during earlier Israeli bombardment adjacent to their United Nations run school, in Gaza City, on November 24, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mohammed Abed)

Palestinian children walk on the rubble of a building destroyed during earlier Israeli bombardment adjacent to their United Nations run school, in Gaza City, on November 24, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mohammed Abed)

The recent hostilities between the Gaza Strip and Israel have to be viewed in context of a broader geopolitical chessboard. The events in Gaza are tied to Syria and the US’s regional maneuvers against Iran and its regional alliance system.

Syria has been compromised as a conduit for weapons to Gaza, because of its domestic instability. Israel has capitalized on this politically and militarily. Benjamin Netanyahu has not only tried to secure his own election victory in the Knesset through an attack on Gaza, but has used the US-sponsored instability in Syria as an opportunity to try and target the arms stockpiles of the Palestinians.

Netanyahu calculated that Gaza will not be able to rearm itself while Syria and its allies are distracted. The bombing of the Yarmouk arms factory in Sudan, which Israel says was owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was probably part of this plan and a prelude to Israel’s attack on Gaza.

In this chess game, sit the so-called “Moderates”— a misleading label jointly utilized by Messrs George W. Bush Jr. and Tony Blair to whitewash their regional cabal of tyrants and backward regimes — alongside the Obama Administration and NATO. These so-called Moderates include the desert dictators of the feudal Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, and Turkey. In 2011, the ranks of the Moderates were augmented by the NATO-installed government of Libya and the GCC/NATO-supported anti-government militias that were unleashed in Syria.

On the other side of the chessboard defiantly sits the Resistance Bloc composed of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah (and Hezbollah’s partners in Lebanon, like Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement), the so-called Palestinian Rejectionists, and increasingly Iraq. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as a new regional force, is being increasingly prodded into the Moderate camp by the US and the GCC in an attempt to ultimately play the sectarian card against the Resistance Bloc.

A Palestinian man helps clean the debris from the building of the Ministry of Interior in Gaza City on November 24, 2012, after it was destroyed during an Israeli air strike on November 16, at the height of the week-long conflict between Israel and Gaza militants (AFP Photo / Marco Longari)
A Palestinian man helps clean the debris from the building of the Ministry of Interior in Gaza City on November 24, 2012, after it was destroyed during an Israeli air strike on November 16, at the height of the week-long conflict between Israel and Gaza militants (AFP Photo / Marco Longari)

Stark contrasts between Gaza and Syria

Israel’s attack on Gaza was a litmus test. All those voices continuously pushing for America’s McJihad against the Syrian government in the name of freedom vanished from their podiums or suddenly went silent when Israel attacked Gaza. Al Jazeera’s tele-preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Saudi Arabia’s dictator-selected Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz went silent. Adnan Al-Arour — the Saudi-based exiled kooky Syrian cleric who, as one of the spiritual heads of the Syrian anti-government forces, has threatened to punish anyone that says that Al-Qaeda is among their ranks — even berated Hamas and the Palestinians for fighting Israel.

The fighting in Gaza really placed them in a fix. Here we see the contradictions in their “Arab Spring.” We now see who really pays lip service to Palestinian liberation and who does not. Moreover, the foreign supporters of the Syrian National Coalition, a rehash of the Syrian National Council, are ironically all supporters of Israel.

This is why mentioning the support that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have provided for Gaza has become a taboo among the supporters of the anti-government forces in Syria. All they can say is that any acknowledgment of the support that Tehran, Damascus, and Hezbollah have provided to Gaza is an attempt to sanitize “Bashar Al-Assad and his supporters.”

 Family members and Palestinian militants of Hamas′ armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, carry the body of one of their leaders, Judah Shamallah, during his funeral procession in Gaza City on November 24, 2012 (AFP Photo / Marco Longari)
Family members and Palestinian militants of Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, carry the body of one of their leaders, Judah Shamallah, during his funeral procession in Gaza City on November 24, 2012 (AFP Photo / Marco Longari)

Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah helped the Palestinians in Gaza

The Iranian Fijr-5 symbolically ingrains Tehran’s support for Palestine. Despite the fact that Israel and Gaza are by far not equal, it was predominately Iranian arms and technology that changed the balance of power. Tehran has been the main ally and supporter of the Palestinian resistance. The US, Israel, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Iran itself have all acknowledged this in different ways.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is unapologetically pro-Iranian, has openly stated that everything Gaza used in the fight against Israel, from its bullets to missiles, has been generously provided by Tehran. It was even reported during the fighting that Hezbollah, using a special unit dedicated to arming the Palestinians, resupplied the Gaza Strip with some of its own long-range missiles.

This has all taken place while the cads in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have instead armed the Syrian anti-government militias. Egypt and Jordan continue to be major partners in preventing Iranian arms from reaching the Palestinians.

Palestinian fighters have also been trained in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Ironically, the anti-government forces in Syria are also targeting members of the Palestinian Liberation Army in Syria.

The support that the Resistance Bloc has given the Palestinians puts those actors, like Turkey and Qatar, opposed to the Syrian government in a real predicament. These so-called Sunni states were embarrassed; not only did they fail to help a predominately Sunni population, but their insincerity was exposed.  This is why there is an active effort to deny the support that Iran and its allies have provided for Gaza.

A boy looks up as he walks in the rubble of a destroyed shop in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on November 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mahmud Hams)
A boy looks up as he walks in the rubble of a destroyed shop in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on November 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mahmud Hams)

De-linking Hamas from Resistance Bloc to start a Muslim Civil War

As a back story to all this, the Israeli attack on Gaza and the Moderate’s wooing of Hamas is more than just about neutralizing Gaza. Hamas leaders are being tempted to choose between the Moderate and Resistance camps and increasingly between governing or active resistance to the Israeli occupation. Through this, some form of accommodation to the US and Israel is being sought from Hamas. The aims are to de-link the Palestinians, particularly Hamas, from the Resistance Bloc in order to portray Iran and its allies as a Shiite alliance bent on dominating the Sunnis.

If you are foolish enough to fall prey to it, welcome to the unfolding “American fitna” (schism) that aims to ignite a regional Muslim civil war between the Shiites and Sunnis. The Obama administration is trying to construct and line up a Sunni axis against the region’s Shiite Muslims.

It is a classic strategy of divide and conquer that envisions America and Israel dominating the region as the Muslims are incapacitated by their bloodletting. The Shia are systematically being vilified courtesy of the new media war: Iran, Hezbollah, Bashar Al-Assad (an Alawi who is increasingly labeled a Shiite for the benefit of this project), and Nouri Maliki’s administration in Iraq are being portrayed as the new oppressors of the Sunnis. In their place Turkey, with its virtually stillborn neo-Ottomanism foreign policy, and Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood are being presented as the champions of the Sunnis. Never mind that Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi has continued the blockade of Gaza for Israel or that Turkey’s Erdogan lost his voice for a while when Israel began bombing Gaza.

The US is trying to use Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to control Hamas, because it was Cairo that established a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. While Iran offers military technology, logistical support, and finance the Egyptians are being presented as Gaza’s ticket to establishing some form of normality and the GCC as alternative funding. This is why Qatar’s Emir Al-Thani visited Gaza to tempt Hamas with his declining supply of petro-dollars.

Smoke billows after Israeli air strikes near smuggling tunnels between the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt, on November 21, 2012 in Rafah (AFP Photo / Said Khatib)
Smoke billows after Israeli air strikes near smuggling tunnels between the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt, on November 21, 2012 in Rafah (AFP Photo / Said Khatib)

 

Shiite and Sunni divisions are political constructs

Inside Hamas there are internal differences over this. While Damascus, Tehran, and Hezbollah desired some form of public acknowledgment about their vital assistance to Hamas and the Palestinians, Hamas officials were careful about their statements. When Khaled Meshaal thanked Egypt, Qatar, and Tunisia during an important press conference, he narrowly mentioned Iran.

Meshaal’s politicking was not lost on Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who responded hours later by rhetorically asking who supplied and painstakingly transferred the Fajr-5 missiles into Gaza? Nasrallah asked people to look past Gaza’s fair-weather friends, like the Qataris and Saudis who think they can buy their ways into the grace of the Palestinians, but to look at Gaza’s tested friends who allowed Gaza to stand on its own two feet. Then the Lebanese leader reaffirmed the ongoing support of the Resistance Bloc for the Palestinian people.

Despite its politburo’s position on Syria, Hamas is still a part of the Resistance Bloc. There is a new format now. If Greece and Turkey were at odds with one another as two NATO allies, then Hamas can have its differences with Syria and still be allied with the Resistance Bloc against Israel.

The divide in the Middle East is not a sectarian one between Shiites and Sunnis, but fundamentally political. The alliance of the predominately Sunni Muslim Palestinian resistance movements and the Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanon’s largest Christian political party, with predominately Shiite Muslim Iran and Hezbollah should defuse such a perception that the US and its allies are trying to cultivate.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya for RT

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a sociologist and research associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) in Montréal  and the author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press)

Saudi Activist: “This is an inquisition, prosecuting us for our opinions”

The attendees, after the end of the session. via @alajmi01

Saudi Activist: “This is an inquisition, prosecuting us for our opinions”

global voices                                                                                Written byOsama Khalid

The seventh hearing session of the ongoing trial of the two prominent human rights activists Mohammad Al-Qahtani and Abdullah Al-Hamid was held today [Dec 1, 2012] at the Riyadh Criminal Court. In the last hearing session, the defendants responded to the charges, and today, the public prosecutor provided more ‘clarifications.’ Seventy-nine supporters attended the session, including three women. Moreover, correspondents from Al Jazeera, Sky News and AFP were present.

The public prosecutor started by explaining that the two activists were not actually accused of “impeding the country’s development”, but rather “trying to impede the country’s development.” He said that “the difference between the two is very obvious to those with brains.” He cited their demands of peaceful demonstrations and political parties are strong evidence. He also said that: “anyone that follows what the two are writing, finds no mention of any positive aspect. This proves that they are only looking for flaws”.

The public prosecutor added new evidence to prove Dr. al-Hamid’s disrespect to state clergy: misspelling the last name of Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, who is a very respected ultraconservative cleric. In one of his tweets, al-Hamid was accused of spelling Uthaymeen’s last name in a way that makes it sound like “Muhammad, the son of the sterile.” One Saudi Twitter user showed that iPhone’s ‘autocorrected’ the Arabic spelling of ‘Uthaymeen’ to make it read like ‘sterile’. Saudi activist Sultan al-Fifi sarcastically expressed his surprise:

لم أكن أعلم أن ملاحقة مرتكبي الأخطاء المطبعية من صلاحيات هيئة التحقيق والادعاء العام :) #محاكمة_حسم

@SultanAlfifi: I did not know that tracking misspellers was one of the tasks of the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution :)

If We Are Serious About Exporting Democracy Then We Must Invade Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain Next

[The double-standard for dictators must be eliminated from American foreign policy.  The hypocrisy of Qatar is dwarfed by the human rights abuses of the Saudi government.  I ask you, has either Bashar Assad or Muammar Qaddafi ever been known to chop-off heads or hands?  The Gulf regimes are barbaric and anathema to the principles that Americans profess to be fighting for.] 

Mohammed al-Ajami

source

Qatar, Arab Spring sponsor, jails poet for life

chicago tribune

Regan Doherty, Reuters 

DOHA (Reuters) – A court in Qatar, which has supported Arab uprisings abroad, jailed a local poet for life on Thursday for criticizing the emir and inciting revolt – a sentence that drew outrage and cries of hypocrisy from human rights groups.

In his verses, Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami praised the Arab Spring revolts that toppled four dictators, often with the help of money and other support from the tiny, energy-rich Gulf state. But he also criticized Qatar’s own absolute monarch and spoke, for example, of “sheikhs playing on their Playstations”.

“This is a tremendous miscarriage of justice,” said defence lawyer Nagib al-Naimi, who conveyed the verdict to Reuters after a trial held behind closed doors in the capital Doha.

At the prison where he has been held for a year, Ajami, 36, later told Reuters he believed the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, to be “a good man” who must be unaware of his plight. Lawyer Naimi said the defence would appeal. A royal pardon may also be a possibility.

Ajami was not himself allowed in court and Naimi said the defence was barred from making oral arguments, although he contested the prosecution case that Ajami called for revolution in Qatar – an offence which carries the death penalty.

For Amnesty International, Middle East director Philip Luther said in a statement: “It is deplorable that Qatar, which likes to paint itself internationally as a country that promotes freedom of expression, is indulging in what appears to be such a flagrant abuse of that right.”

Amnesty described Ajami’s arrest in November 2011 as coming after he published a poem named “Jasmine” – for the symbol of the Tunisian revolt in January last year that launched the Arab Spring. In a broad criticism of Gulf rulers, he had written: “We are all Tunisia, in the face of the repressive elite.”

“PLAYING WITH PLAYSTATIONS”

Ajami “did not encourage the overthrow of any specific regime”, Naimi said. He described the charges as having been “inciting the overthrow of the ruling regime”, a capital offence, and criticising the ruler, which is punishable by up to five years imprisonment under the Qatari penal code.

Among offending passages from the poem, translated from Arabic, was the line: “If the sheikhs cannot carry out justice, we should change the power and give it to the beautiful woman.”

In another section, Ajami accused a fellow poet of being “with the sheikhs, playing with their Playstations.”

Naimi, who has been largely in solitary confinement, spoke to Reuters in the presence of prison guards and others: “The Emir is a good man,” he said. “I think he doesn’t know that they have me here for a year, that they have put me in a single room.

“If he knew, I would be freed,” he said, noting the Qatari ruler’s past promotion of a more open society, including his hosting of the groundbreaking television channel Al Jazeera, which has given a voice to many opposition groups abroad.

“This is wrong,” Ajami said. “You can’t have Al Jazeera in this country and put me in jail for being a poet.”

Qatar, a close U.S. ally and major natural gas producer with a large American military base, has escaped the unrest seen in other Arab countries. The emir has taken a high-profile role at times in calling for human rights – for example, when he went to Gaza last month, the first foreign leader there in years.

Al Jazeera has assiduously covered the Arab revolts, though it gave scant coverage to an uprising last year in neighboring Bahrain – ruled by another Gulf Arab monarchy.

The Qatari government has also taken a prominent role in the confrontation between, on the one hand, Sunni Muslim-ruled Arab states like itself and Saudi Arabia and, on the other, non-Arab Iran and its Shi’ite allies in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.

“DOUBLE STANDARDS”

Qatar is backing the rebels in Syria’s civil war. It supported the NATO-backed uprising in Libya and street protests that ousted rulers in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. The emirate’s maroon and white flag has been a common sight on the streets of Arab capitals where demonstrators have challenged autocracy.

But freedom of expression is tightly controlled in the small Gulf state, home to less than two million people. Self-censorship is prevalent among national newspapers and other media outlets. Qatar has no organized political opposition.

In October, Human Rights Watch criticized what it said was a double standard on freedom of expression in Qatar and urged the emir not to approve a draft media law penalizing criticism of the Gulf emirate and its neighbors.

In neighboring monarchy Saudi Arabia, human rights activist Ali al-Hattab said: “We are shocked by the verdict.

“Qatar has tried to help other countries like Libya and Syria become more democratic, but they won’t accept it at home.

“It’s shameful, and a double standard.”

(Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal in Dubai and Dasha Afanasieva in London; Editing by Andrew Hammond, Mark Heinrich and Alastair Macdonald)