PAKISTAN’S “democracy” Turns Bloody

[Pakistan has gone through many cycles in their struggle to lay a claim on (BIG (D)emocracy for quite a while, as has India.  At least two or three of these massive national protests have been US State Dept “colored revolutions.”  The current Imran Khan-led protests fit that mold. 
Pakistan’s “Green Revolution” coincides with the long-anticipated military “operation” in North Waziristan.  The fact that the Army still calls the shots throughout the country (after years of democratic marches) is the key point of contention with the protesters. The Army (and police) suppression of human rights, especially in its efforts at “counter-terrorism” in the Tribal Regions, is the fire that propels the Imran/Tahrir locomotive of change.  Now that Mr. Tahirul Qadri has made his unwise call to “kill Prime Minister Sharif” (if Qadri is killed), the risk that normal Pakistanis would take-up arms against the government is far higher this time.  Army control over the situation is slipping away.
It remains unclear at this point just who was doing the shooting in Islamabad,  or who fired the first shots.  Effective “conflict management” requires that some element of “loyalists” remain in control of the (Army or police) killing, in order to prevent an unintentional repetition of the “Kiev Kure” in Islamabad.  It seems as though the threshold to violence has been crossed rather early in the Islamabad contest.  This should dictate the outcome of the struggle.  If the Army takes control of the bloodshed quickly and massively, then Imran and his brave democracy troops cannot risk proceeding past that point, unless they are prepared to fully emulate the Ukrainian rebels. Mr. Qadri’s fiery Yum-e-Shuhada speech (unavailable in the West) claims that “Civil war is inevitable.”
Since Imran and Mr. Tahir are obviously intelligent men, then they must have known all along that their’s was a lost cause from the beginning.  Then, Why?  It is apparent, that the Western elite are prepared to take this confrontation far beyond their previous colored revolutionary attempts in Pakistan, just as they have done in Ukraine,Syria and Libya. 
If Pakistanis are really ready for civil war, then I would suggest that divisive little wars, like the one in Miramshah, provide the perfect diversionary distraction.]
protest-islamabad1-890x395

Islamabad: At least 7 killed due to police shelling, firing

PAK BREAKING NEWS  ARY

ISLAMABAD: At least seven people were killed and 70 others wounded in firing and shelling by police at a pointblank range during an anti-government protest led by PTI and PAT in the Constitution Avenue, ARY News reported.

According to details, dead bodies of three protesting women have been brought to the Poly Clinic, Islamabad. So far, seven people have been killed reportedly and 70 are injured, as a result of shelling and firing of rubber bullets by the police.

Rescue sources told that nearly 40 injured have been brought to the PIMS hospital, while 30 to the Poly Clinic.

The administration of Poly Clinic has imposed emergency in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have announced for a strike on Sunday, over the use of force on peaceful marchers in Islamabad.

– See more at: http://arynews.tv/en/at-least-7-killed-70-injured-due-to-police-shelling-in-islamabad/#sthash.WA0LTjCX.dpuf

International Elite Frantically Talks-Down Military Intervention In Ukraine

There might still be a way to solve the Ukraine crisis without escalating military action and the debilitating economic consequences of increased and lengthy sanctions, and that would be to give up the east of the country, just as the Crimea, and quickly join the rest to Europe, according to some analysts.

European leaders are meeting this weekend and the NATO military alliance holds a summit in Wales next week, with President Barack Obama already in Europe making strong comments against Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The presence of Russian troops in the Donbass region shows that Moscow is involved in what up to now was an internal battle, but NATO and the West are unlikely to retaliate with ground troops.

Economic sanctions imposed by the West could be increased but as with the Russian sanctions on food stuff, these sanctions take months to really start to hurt and in any case are as costly for the export sector, employment and economy of Europe as they are for Russian consumers and the domestic political climate there.

Several analysts said the best outcome may be a “frozen” conflict, far removed from a return of a cold war, in which Donbass and the Crimea are run by Russian proxies but the rest of the Ukraine gets stronger ties with and support from the West. A standoff to cool down.  (read HERE)

 

Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault

The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin

foreign affairs

A man takes a picture as he stands on a Soviet-style star re-touched with blue paint so that it resembles the Ukrainian flag.

A man takes a picture as he stands on a Soviet-style star re-touched with blue paint so that it resembles the Ukrainian flag, Moscow, August 20, 2014. (Maxim Shemetov / Courtesy Reuters)

According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.

But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West.  (READ HERE)

Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Mistake Awaiting Correction

Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault

The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin

foreign affairs

A man takes a picture as he stands on a Soviet-style star re-touched with blue paint so that it resembles the Ukrainian flag.

A man takes a picture as he stands on a Soviet-style star re-touched with blue paint so that it resembles the Ukrainian flag, Moscow, August 20, 2014. (Maxim Shemetov / Courtesy Reuters)

According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.

But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West.  (READ HERE)

Leb. Min. Claims Quran Verse Makes ISIS Flag Sacred, Burning It A Crime, Somehow

[Rifi is a loyal Saudi/Hariri puppet.  Instead of going after the terrorists who defame Allah and Islam by linking the Quranic verse to their genocidal actions in the first place, Rifi wants protesters arrested for burning this abomination to all religion.  By Rifi’s measure, the Sunni terrorists could gain total immunity for their actions by simply writing this verse on their bodies or on their uniforms….Asshole.]

Rifi Demands Legal Action against Arsonists who Torched ISIL Flag

The minister said in a statement issued by his press office that the ISIL flag has the first pillar of Islam (Ashahada) written on it, which is the testimony that there is no god except for Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.

Several people were seen in Beirut’s Ashrafiyeh Sassine Square burning the flag of ISIL earlier in the day.

Rifi slammed the burning of the flag, which “is not related to ISIL and its terrorist course.”

He filed a request to General Prosecutor Samir Hammoud to pursue the assailants and detain them in order to prosecute them.

“This demeanor insults religions and could incite sedition,” Rifi considered.

The Lebanese army clashed with Syrian rebels in the northeastern border town of Arsal on August 2 after the army detained a leading jihadist.

It ended with a truce negotiated by Muslim clerics, but the jihadists withdrew from the area taking 24 policemen and soldiers hostage.

The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group has prompted widespread concern as it advances in both Syria and Iraq, killing hundreds of people, including in gruesome beheading and mass executions.

Later in the day, LBCI reported that Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan, who is also a lawyer, decided to defend the youth who burnt down the ISIL flag.

Time Warner Cable system back up after widespread outage

Time Warner Cable system back up after widespread outage

usa_today_long

During routine network maintenance at 4:30 a.m. ET today, “an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services,” said Time Warner Cable vice president for public relations Bobby Amirshahi in an email exchange.

“As of 6 a.m. ET, services were largely restored as updates continue to bring all customers back online,” he said.

The outage affected the entirety of Time Warner Cable’s network. Time Warner Cable (TWC) operates in 29 states and has 11.4 million high-speed Internet customers.

Business Insider first reported news of the outage, which seem to have hit around 3 a.m., based on outage reports submitted to the website downdetector.com.

Beirut’s Syrian Refugee Flow Equal To US Absorbing Every Mexican

“It’s a scale of disruption that is hard to get your head around,” World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim told journalists in Beirut in June. “It’s the equivalent of having the entire population of Mexico entering the United States within a two- or three-year period and then integrating that population into your own school systems and health-care systems.”

Beirut’s Champs-Elysees Sees Despair of Syria’s Refugees

BLOOMBERG

A Syrian boy waits for customers in a wealthy district of Beirut in this Nov. 16, 2013 file photo in Lebanon.

A few steps from Brisk Cafe on Beirut’s Hamra Street, a teenage Syrian squats with her three children and cups her hand appealing for loose change. Along the road, a Syrian shoeshine boy urinates against a poster.

“This is not the Hamra Street we used to know,” said Mustapha Broush, the cafe’s supervisor. “We feel for the Syrian refugees, sympathize with them, but they have changed the character of this street.”

Imagine if everyone in Mexico spilled over the U.S. border and many ended up scratching for a living on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. That’s the scale of the human wave from war-torn Syria washing up on what was once known as the Middle East’s Champs Elysees, a magnet for wealthy Gulf Arab shoppers in the 1970s.

While immigration has transformed the social makeup of cities from Seattle to Seville in recent years, few places have seen anything like the influx in the Lebanese capital. Syrians now number more than 1.1 million in a country of 4.5 million people, making it the largest per-capita recipient of refugees in the world, according to the United Nations. Greater Beirut’s population is about 1.2 million, the World Bank estimates.

“It’s a scale of disruption that is hard to get your head around,” World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim told journalists in Beirut in June. “It’s the equivalent of having the entire population of Mexico entering the United States within a two- or three-year period and then integrating that population into your own school systems and health-care systems.”

Photographer: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images

A Syrian refugee begs on Hamra Street, Beirut, Lebanon.

Beirut Tinderbox

The friction on Hamra highlights rising tension among locals in a place that historically was a tinderbox, as Beirut became a byword for bombings and sectarian violence during a 15-year civil war that ended in 1990. The crisis in Syria deepened with Islamic State militants seizing an air base from forces loyal to the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Displaced from their homes with no means of securing basic necessities, Syrians shine shoes, pester café customers for a pound or two, or trail after shoppers to sell bouquets of wilted flowers.

Fatima Hasno, 16, the mother squatting a few feet from Brisk, said her husband sent her and their two children to Beirut four months ago after their home in Idlib was destroyed by shelling. She had her third child late July.

As her 2-year-old daughter slept on a dirty handbag and a blue towel, her 4-year-old son ran around barefoot. Mohammed Kuwayyes, a Bangladeshi supermarket worker, slipped 1,000 pounds (66 cents) in his hand. “I love children,” he said.

Seeking Escape

Hasno, whose husband stayed in Syria, makes $20 on a good day. “I hope things will change so I can get my children out of this poverty,” said Hasno, her hair covered with a black scarf.

Ismail Ghazzawi, 15, moved to Lebanon shortly after the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. In his southern hometown of Daraa, Ghazzawi, who has never been to school, made a living as a farm hand, growing cucumbers and tomatoes.

He now shines shoes on Hamra Street and sends $100 to $150 a month to his family back home. He’s been detained five times by police in the past three years for working without a permit. Each time, his box, which costs about $30, was confiscated. That hasn’t been enough to deter him from returning to the busy thoroughfare.

“I can’t stop work,” said the stocky, green-eyed blond. “I have a family back home in Syria to support.”

Raising Tension

The flow of the mostly Sunni Muslim Syrians risks upsetting the sectarian balance in a country where Christians, Sunnis and Shiites each roughly make up a third of the population. A raid by mostly Syrian fighters from the Islamic State and al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in the border town of Ersal this month triggered several days of clashes with the Lebanese army. Some of the fighters were hiding among refugees.

The involvement of Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah militia in the Syria war deepened those tensions. Lebanon has been shaken by a spate of bomb attacks since the group announced last year it was fighting alongside Assad.

“This is threatening the Lebanese social fabric, which is changing in favor of one group,” said Sami Nader, a professor of international relations at Beirut’s St. Joseph University. “This has the potential to be destabilizing.”

Unlike Turkey and Jordan, Lebanon hasn’t created formal camps for the refugees on concerns they would heighten sectarian tensions. The country already houses 455,000 mostly Sunni Palestinians in a dozen refugee camps.

Residential Centers

Instead, the Syrians have set up more than 1,720 residential centers, 400 of them in poor villages where there is daily friction with local residents, Labor Minister Sajaan Qazzi said in an interview.

The refugees are straining the dilapidated infrastructure, including electricity and water, which hasn’t kept up with local Lebanese demands. Many Syrian children have gone without an education for more than three years amid abject poverty, making them easy prey for groups like al-Qaeda.

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam said in June that his country needs support to “prevent the collapse of the economic structure.” Unemployment exceeds 20 percent and more than a third of crimes are committed by Syrians, Economy Minister Alain Hakim said in a May 28 interview.

According to figures published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Aug. 21, there were 1.13 million registered refugees in Lebanon and 31,239 awaiting registration. Jordan and Turkey have taken in 1.43 million, the UN agency says.

Mass Migration

Not all have come to Lebanon because of security concerns, the government contends. “The influx of Syrians has become more of an immigration than a displacement,” Qazzi said, comparing it to Lebanese who seek jobs overseas.

Groups of Syrian laborers hang out on the city’s major intersections or under overpasses, waiting for jobs in construction. Others work as waiters, taxi drivers and porters. Some, like Fatima Hasno, can be seen begging on Hamra.

Mohammed Ammar, 16, who shines shoes, said while some Lebanese are generous, a few do not try to hide their hostility, using swear words to shoo him away. One time, he was kicked out of a restaurant when he went in with a Lebanese man who wanted to buy him a sandwich.

“The manager told me: ‘You’re a shoeshine boy. Go away,’” he said. “I felt alone and humiliated,” Ammar added before going to relieve himself in a nearby parking lot whose wall was plastered with posters promoting a concert in the ancient Roman city of Baalbek.

Ghassan Sayegh, a Lebanese attendant at the lot, said he’s had enough. “This place stinks like a urinal.”

Pointing to the door of a shack where he sometimes sits, he said: “I have to wash it, the walls and the ground every day.”

At the sidewalk restaurant Alia, manager Haidar Hammoud said one waiter has the duty every day to ensure beggars don’t pester his diners. “Their numbers have grown and they’ve become problematic,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Beirut at dabunasr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net Rodney Jefferson

If You Want To Stop ISIS, It Will Take More Than Diplomacy or Deals With the Saudis

If You Want To Stop ISIS, Here Is What It Will Take

the federalist

Killing the Islamic State requires neither more nor less than waging war

Angelo Codevilla

By

The Islamic State’ video-dissemination of one of its goons beheading an American is an existential challenge from which we cannot afford to shrink. Until the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) did that, it made sense for the U.S. government to help contain it because the Islamic world, which the IS threatens most directly, must destroy it sooner or later. But internetting that beheading was a gory declaration of America’s impotence—a dare-by-deed that is sure to move countless young persons around the globe to get in on killing us, anywhere they can. The longer the Islamic State survives, the more will take up its dare. Either we kill the IS, or we will deserve the wave of terrorism that will engulf us.

Killing the IS requires neither more nor less than waging war—not as the former administration waged its “war on terror,” nor by the current administration’s pinpricks, nor according to the too-clever-by-half stratagems taught in today’s politically correct military war colleges, but rather by war in the dictionary meaning of the word. To make war is to kill the spirit as well as the body of the enemy, so terribly as to make sure that it will not rise again, and that nobody will want to imitate it.

That requires first isolating the Islamic State politically and physically to deprive all within it of the capacity to make war, and even to eat. Then it requires killing all who bear arms and all who are near them.

Why It’s Now Our Business

The Islamic State is a lot more than a bunch of religious extremists. Its diverse composition as well as its friends and enemies in the region define its strength and its vulnerabilities. Its dependence on outside resources, its proximity to countries with the capacity and incentive to strike serious blows, and its desert location, make its destruction possible with little U.S. involvement on the ground, and providing the United States uses its economic and diplomatic power in a decisive manner.

It would have been better for America not to have taken sides in that region’s reshuffling, or to have done so decisively in a manner that commanded respect.

Geopolitically, the creation of a Sunni Arab state in western Mesopotamia should not be any of America’s business. For a thousand years, Sunni Assyrian Arabs from the northwest have fought for exclusive control of that area, against countervailing pressure from Shia Persians from the southeast and their Arab co-religionists. All the while, Kurds held fast to their northern mountains. In recent centuries, the Ottoman Empire arbitrated that ancient contest. In 1801, Sunni Wahabis from the Saudi clan invaded present-day Iraq and inflicted horrors that surpass even today’s. In response, the Ottomans nearly wiped out the Saudis and tortured the Wahabi leaders in the main cities of the empire. It would have been better for America not to have taken sides in that region’s reshuffling, or to have done so decisively in a manner that commanded respect. Alas, U.S. administrations of both parties intervened fecklessly. We are reaping the results.

Now one of the parties to the struggle is making itself our business, and is doing so globally. We have to mind that business.

How to Command Respect Again

To kill IS, take note of its makeup: Sunni Wahabis from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, Syrian Sunnis who rebelled against the Alewite regime of the Assad family, the Naqshbandi army constituted by the Ba’athist cadre of Saddam Hussein’s army and security services that fled to Syria in 2003, that ran the war against the U.S. occupation, and that now runs the IS military, plus assorted jihadis from around the world including the United States and Western Europe.

Breaking the hold of ISIS on the people it now rules will require a rude ‘awakening.’

Note, as well, that the IS did not have to exert much power to conquer Sunni majority areas in either former Syria or former Iraq. The people there want to be ruled by Sunni, unless they are given a compelling reason to accept something else. In former Iraq, the local Sunni tribes supported the Sunni Ba’athists’ fight against the Americans until, in 2006, the Shia death squads slaughtered them in such numbers as to lead these tribes to beg for a deal with the Americans. What the American spinners called “the Sunni awakening” resulted from the reality of imminent Sunni mass death. Breaking the hold of the IS on the people it now rules will require a similarly rude “awakening.”

Note the material sources of the Islamic State’s power: supplies from and through Turkey’s Muslim Brotherhood government, paid for largely with money from notables in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, as well as from the government of Qatar. Beyond religious sectarianism, the motivation for this support is the Qataris’ and the Turks’ foreign policy seemingly based on promotion of Sunni political Islam wherever possible.

The first strike against the IS must be aimed at its sources of material support. Turkey and Qatar are very much part of the global economy—one arena where the U.S. government has enormous power, should it decide to use it. If and when—a key if—the United States decides to kill the IS, it can simply inform Turkey, Qatar, and the world it will have zero economic dealings with these countries and with any country that has any economic dealing with them, unless these countries cease any and all relations with the IS. This un-bloody step—no different from the economic warfare the United States waged in World War II—is both essential and the touchstone of seriousness. Deprived of money to pay for “stuff” and the Turkish pipeline for that stuff, the IS would start to go hungry, lose easy enthusiasm, and wear out its welcome.

Next, the Air War

Striking at the state’s belly would also be one of the objectives of the massive air campaign that the U.S. government could and should orchestrate. “Orchestrate.” Not primarily wage.

Saudi Arabia has some 300 U.S. F-15 fighter planes plus another hundred or so modern combat aircraft, with bases that can be used conveniently for strikes against the IS. Because Saudi Arabia is key to the IS’s existence, to any campaign to destroy it, and to any U.S. decision regarding such a campaign, a word about the Saudi role is essential.

Wahabism validates the Saudis’ Islamic purity while rich Saudis live dissolute lives—a mutually rewarding, but tenuous deal for all.

The IS ideology is neither more nor less than that of the Wahabi sect, which is the official religion of Saudi Arabia, which has been intertwined with its royal family since the eighteenth century, and which Saudi money has made arguably the most pervasive version of Islam in the world (including the United States). Wahabism validates the Saudis’ Islamic purity while rich Saudis live dissolute lives—a mutually rewarding, but tenuous deal for all. But increasingly, the Saudi royals have realized they are riding a tiger. Wahabi-educated youth are seeing the royals for what they are. The IS, by declaring itself a Caliphate, explicitly challenged the Saudis’ legitimacy. The kingdom’s Grand Mufti, a descendant of Ab al Wahab himself, declared the IS an enemy of Islam. But while the kingdom officially forbids its subjects from joining IS, its ties with Wahabism are such that it would take an awful lot to make the kingdom wage war against it.

American diplomacy’s task is precisely to supply that awful lot.

Given enough willpower, America has enough leverage to cause the Saudis to fight in their own interest. Without American technicians and spare parts, the Saudi arsenal is useless. Nor does Saudi Arabia have an alternative to American protection. If a really hard push were required, the U.S. government might begin to establish relations with the Shia tribes that inhabit the oil regions of eastern Arabia.

Day after day after day, hundreds of Saudi (and Jordanian) fighters, directed by American AWACS radar planes, could systematically destroy the Islamic State—literally anything of value to military or even to civil life. It is essential to keep in mind that the Islamic State exists in a desert region which offers no place to hide and where clear skies permit constant, pitiless bombing and strafing. These militaries do not have the excessive aversions to collateral damage that Americans have imposed upon themselves.

Destruction from the air, of course, is never enough. Once the Shia death squads see their enemy disarmed and hungry, the United States probably would not have to do anything for the main engine of massive killing to descend on the Islamic State and finish it off. U.S. special forces would serve primarily to hunt down and kill whatever jihadists seemed to be escaping the general disaster of their kind.

That would be war—a war waged by a people with whom nobody would want to mess. Many readers are likely to comment: “but we’re not going to do anything like that.” They may be correct. In which case, the consequences are all too predictable.

Photo By: DVIDSHUB
Angelo M. Codevilla is professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University and the author of To Make And Keep Peace, Hoover Institution Press, 2014.