ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

The Pakistani Taliban That the Army Missed Continue Their Sedition In Peshawar

https://i1.wp.com/cdn.sandiegouniontrib.com/img/photos/2016/03/07/62d2c56f2379790c920f6a706700c39f_tx600.JPEGVolunteers carry an injured man to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, March 7, 2016. A suicide bomber attacked the entrance to a court in a northwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing many people, police said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)The Associated Press

Taliban Suicide Bomb Attack on Pakistan Court Kills at Least 10

nbc-logo

Suicide Attack Creates Scenes of Carnage at Court Compound

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — At least 10 people were killed Monday in a suicide attack on a court complex in northwest Pakistan.

A Pakistan Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in the Shabqadar neighborhood of Charsadda in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP-JA) said it carried out the killings to avenge the hanging of a death-row prisoner regarded by some as a hero of Islam.

Image: Victim of bombing in Pakistan
Volunteers carry a wounded victim of Monday’s suicide bombing to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan. HASHAM AHMED / AFP – Getty Images

 

“A suicide bomber tried to enter the judicial complex but he blew himself up at the main entrance when police stopped him,” local police chief Sohail Khalid told NBC News.

The dead included four women and two police officials while 27 others people were injured, he said.

“The police responded very well and one of them tried to physically overpower him and stop him from entering the main place where hundreds of people including judges, lawyers and others were present,” Khalid said.

At least 9 of the injured were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, spokesman Jamil Shah said. ‎”We declared an emergency at the hospital to provide better treatment to victims of the blast,” he said. “‎We received ‎nine injured, including two females, two males, two children. One lady died of her injuries.”

‎The area where the blast took place is close to Mohmand tribal region where TTP-JA has been involved in attacks against the Pakistani security forces and government installations.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the group, said it Monday’s attack was meant to avenge the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, who killed former Punjab governor Salman Taseer in the name of defending Islam. Taseer had been accused of blasphemy.

“The judiciary has brought itself in confrontation with the Taliban,” he said. “Qadri’s sacrifice will not go into waste. More attacks on judiciary are planned.”

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France Honors Saudi Prince For Pretending To Fight Terrorism and Extremism

hollande-saudi-prince.jpg

Saudis Awarded France’s “Highest National Honor” For “Fight” Against Terrorism

mina

There is perhaps no more perverse relationship in the world than that which exists between the West and Saudi Arabia – or, “the ISIS that made it,” as Kamel Daoud, a columnist for Quotidien d’Oran, and the author of “The Meursault Investigation” calls the kingdom.

We’ve been over and over the glaring absurdity inherent in the fact that the US and its partners consider the kingdom to be an “ally” in the fight against terrorism and you can read more in the article linked above, but the problem is quite simply this: the Saudis promote and export an ultra orthodox, ultra puritanical brand of Sunni Islam that is virtually indistinguishable from that espoused by ISIS, al-Qaeda, and many of the other militant groups the world generally identifies with “terrorism.”

Wahhabism – championed by the Saudis – is poisonous, backward, and fuels sectarian strife as well as international terrorism. That’s not our opinion. It’s a fact.

But hey, Riyadh has all of the oil, so no harm, no foul right?

Even as the very same ideals exported by Riyadh inspire the ISIS jihad, the kingdom is so sure it has the political world in its pocket that it sought a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, even as the country continues to carry out record numbers of executions.

They even had the nerve to establish what they called a 34-state Islamic military alliance against terrorism in December. Of course the members don’t include Shiite Iran (the Saudis’ mortal enemy) or Shiite Iraq, both of which are actually fighting terror rather than bombing civilians in Yemen and engaging in Wahhabist proselytizing.

But while everyone in the world is well aware of just how silly the “alliance” is, the farce will apparently continue as French President Francois Hollande on Friday awarded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif France’s highest national honor, the Legion of Honor for “for his efforts in the region and around the world to combat extremism and terrorism.”

This is the same Francois Hollande whose country was attacked not four months ago by fighters inspired by the very brand of Islam the Saudis teach.

This is like giving Obama a Nobel Peace Prize…. oh wait…

There are no words.

Erdogan’s Anti-Gulen Witch-hunt Devours Zaman News

See how a Turkish newspaper transformed into a government ‘propaganda machine’ overnight

business insider

zaman
Wikimedia Commons

The first issue of Turkey’s largest opposition newspaper, Zaman, was released Sunday since it was seized by the government in a midnight Saturday raid. It was met with widespread condemnation.

As many noted on Twitter, the paper’s front page appeared to have transformed overnight into a “propaganda machine” for the regime. It mentioned nothing about the raid on Zaman’s headquarters the night before and featured headlines praising the government’s work on a new bridge and its strengthening business ties with Iran.

Here is the cover:

The last “free” issue of Zaman was released the day before it was seized. The headline read, “Constitution suspended,” above an excerpt from Turkey’s constitution that forbids seizure of printing houses and press equipment:

Many of Zaman’s journalists were preparing for the raid after a court ordered that the paper be confiscated for allegedly acting as a mouthpiece for the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETO/PDY).”

The “parallel state structure” is what Turkish President Recep Erdogan calls the Gulen movement – a social movement led by the Turkish scholar and preacher Fethullah Gulen that is openly critical of Erdogan’s government.

It is not the first time Zaman has been targeted. Zaman’s then-editor in chief, Ekrem Dumanli, was arrested in December 2014 on charges of forming and leading a terrorist organization. He he was released five days later.

Sevgi Akarcesme, editor-in-chief of Zaman’s English-language counterpart Today’s Zaman, was put on trial in August after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, a member of the ruling AKP party, sued her for “insulting” him on Twitter. Akarcesme had tweeted that “Davutoglu, the prime minister of the government that covered up the corruption investigation, has eliminated press freedom in Turkey.”

Zaman’s management and editorial boards have been replaced by a three-member board consisting of pro-government “trustees.” The paper’s current editor-in-chief, Abdulhamit Bilici, had his contract voided by the trustees.

In a statement, US State Department spokesman John Kirby called the takeover “troubling.”

If Afghan “Peace Talks” w/Taliban Is Last Resort, Then India Will Prepare For More War

How, with Afghan peace plan at abyss edge, war looms for India

the indian express

Inside Afghanistan, many see Dand-i-Ghori as an abyss that the peace talks could fall into — and should that happen, India too could pay a heavy price.

Written by Praveen Swami

afghanistan peace process, afghanistan news, world news, taliban, afghan taliban, afghanistan taliban attack, latest news Afghan policemen stand guard at the site of a suicide bomb attack in an area near the Russian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan January 20, 2016. (Source: Reuters)

Last autumn, as the largest Taliban military campaign since 1996 swept across Afghanistan, the white-and-black flag of the Islamic Emirate began to fly over the bazaar in the small of town of Postak. Baghlan province, where the town is located, was once home to rich coal mines and rolling sugarbeet fields — as well as a giant military base that guarded the routes into the heart of the country’s anti-Taliban stronghold, Mazar-e-Sharif.

The town hadn’t fallen, though: Baghlan’s Dand-i-Ghori district had been handed over to ethnic Pashtun tribal leaders in a deal brokered by the country’s Borders and Tribal Affairs Minister, Gulab Mengal, with President Ashraf Ghani’s approval.

Like so many of President Ghani’s peace moves, things didn’t quite work to plan: the new Taliban leaders ordered girls out of school, stopped the teaching of some subjects, and imposed shari’a laws. Taliban anthems were played over public address systems. And Dand-i-Ghori became the base for the build-up that helped the Taliban overrun the city of Kunduz last year.

“The accord increased the morale of the enemy, certifying their right to the district,” Baghlan provincial council member Muhammad Hanif recently said. “It was a poisoned deal.”

Today [Monday], Kabul had hoped to begin to engage the Taliban in another round of Pakistan-brokered talks inside days. But the Taliban leadership has said it would not be participating, even though hopes are high Pakistan would be able to draw in powerful factions. Kabul, diplomatic sources say, is considering proposals to call off military operations against the Islamist insurgency in districts it now dominates, creating what will be called “safe zones”.

Inside Afghanistan, many see Dand-i-Ghori as an abyss that the peace talks could fall into — and should that happen, India too could pay a heavy price.

For one, these safe zones could potentially become bases to train and finance anti-India jihadists. Even more important, a deal would almost certainly involve a diminished strategic relationship between India and Afghanistan — which, in turn, would mean India has one fewer lever with which to pressure Pakistan for action against terrorism.

Last week, five suicide attackers targeted the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, the second strike this year on New Delhi’s diplomatic missions in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s intelligence services believe this attack, like the others before it, were likely carried out by Pakistan-based jihadists. They were aimed at evicting Indian influence from Afghanistan’s life — part of the fee Pakistan is demanding for bringing the Taliban to the table.

Afghan leaders insist they are not planning to cede territory to the Taliban — but the facts on the ground aren’t comforting. In February, Afghan forces abandoned their bases in Helmand province’s northern districts, Musa Qala and Nawzad. The forces, the Afghan military says, were needed to reinforce bases at the provincial capital, Lashkargah, and at Gereshk, a small town that sits on the highway linking Kabul to the country’s south.

In practice, this means conceding two more of Helmand’s 15 districts — eleven of which are already held or contested by the Taliban — to the insurgent leadership. Helmand is one of Afghanistan’s most productive sources of opium, and ceding control of its administration would give the Taliban a secure revenue source.

Karmi Atal, the head of Helmand’s provincial council, is among many local residents who suspect a sellout looms.

“We want to clearly tell [Taliban chief] Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansur, his rival Mullah Ghulam Rasool, the Afghan defence and interior ministers, and even the Afghan president that they do not own our land,” he told Radio Free Afghanistan. “Our land belongs to all Afghans so only they have the right to decide its future.”

***

These voices may have moral right on their side — but events are being driven by the cold calculations that the United States, China and Pakistan are making. Following a meeting on February 23, representatives of the three countries along with Afghanistan — which together constitute what is called the Quadrilateral Coordination Group — invited “all Taliban and other [armed] groups to participate through their authorised representatives in the first round of direct peace talks with the Afghan government”.

Islamabad is expected to host the first round of the dialogue — following on from earlier meetings involving the QCG and the Taliban in Pakistan’s Murree resort-town last summer — in the first days of March.

The dialogue process is driven by the great powers’ belief that Afghanistan’s 170,000-odd military just doesn’t have the numbers, equipment or morale to hold the ground. Faced with assault, records a classified report prepared for President Ghani, which was accessed by The Indian Express, the two battalions 209 Corps tasked with defending the lines of access to Kunduz simply “abandoned their base”. The troops, the investigation found, failed even to “preserve and maintain their equipment”.

In many regions, police and militia — tasked with holding ground while the military stages conventional anti-insurgency operations — haven’t been paid for months.

Last year, a staggering 11,002 civilians were injured or killed, up 4% from last year — so Afghans will likely be willing to pay almost any price for a reduction in violence.

For the talks to succeed in reducing violence, though, two assumptions have to be realised. First, Pakistan will need to corral Mullah Akhtar Mansur’s Taliban faction to the table, possibly along with second-rung groups like the Hizb-e-Islami. This, the argument goes, will put pressure on other factions, too.

Second, Islamabad will have to rein in so-called “irreconcilable” groups, or hardline jihadists, by using the coercive tools of its intelligence services.

In order to persuade Pakistan to do this, the Quadrilateral Group has two carrots in hand. President Ghani is known to be willing to bargain away his country’s increasingly close strategic relationship with India — which, in recent months, has seen the first supplies of Indian military aid to any foreign country. The safe zones proposal, in turn, will give Pakistan something with which to tempt its long-standing Taliban allies to the table.

It seems improbable though, that many Quadrilateral Group diplomats would stake their retirement funds on this outcome. The rise of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, as well as the splintering of the Taliban, so far seems to be leading to greater violence, with the rebels stepping up their campaign to seize the Taliban’s lead role in the insurgency.

The Taliban leadership knows, moreover, that joining in negotiations could lead its field commanders — warlords flush with opium revenues, and with little to gain from a peace deal — to abandon their ageing, Pakistan-backed leadership.

For its part, Islamabad cannot take the risk of mounting too much pressure on the Taliban, for fear of provoking its cadre to help jihadists operating against the Pakistani state.

Like so many past Afghan roadmaps for peace, chances are this one too could end up leading back to the battlefield — and to bloodshed that will continue until one side finally prevails. India, which has enormous stakes in Afghanistan’s future, will have to be prepared for the long war ahead.

a façade of peace

UNO: a façade of peace

daily times pak

The UN facilitates endless rounds of doomed negotiations between powers who will never agree because they have opposing interests

Recent history is strewn with how Pakistani establishment, its bureaucrats, its politicians, both of the right and the left, variety hide behind the controversial veil of the United Unions (UN) to maintain the status quo. When issues of conflict and diplomacy unravel out of their control they conveniently jump on the UN mantra, and its plethora of resolutions despite having no faith in this institution’s ability to resolve anything in reality. While thousands of innocent Kashmiris over the last seven decades have been killed or maimed on both sides of the border with indiscriminate firings including four full-scale wars, the UN could only table resolutions exposing its inadequacy. All this has only enabled dominating states of the region to continue brutal occupation and allowed Kashmiri nationalists to cower behind UN’s façade of peace and as an institution that could resolve conflicts. The national and economic oppression of Kashmiris has gone on unabated.
The role of the UN in the Middle East is even more horrific. Despite over 250 resolutions on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict it has miserably failed to stop genocidal elimination of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Its role in Afghanistan is no different. The UN stood as a spectator while Afghanistan burned under the US and western imperialist-backed reactionary clergy in the 1980s and 1990s, and then subjugated to a barbarity of the Taliban never seen before. The horrific murder of Dr Najib Ullah by the Taliban, and mutilation and hanging of his body from a lamppost in Kabul overran the UN compound in Kabul revealed the fallacy of relying on the UN. This unfortunate country has been under direct US and western military occupation for over 14 years now under the direct authorisation and legitimacy of the UN. One can comprehend why the right sings hymns in praise of the UN but the left doing this is nothing but an outright betrayal and creating false illusions amongst the masses whether it is in Afghanistan, Palestine or Kashmir.
The same story is also true in the western politics. Foreign policy is always an extension of domestic policy. The bourgeois politicians who slash the welfare state, attack trade union rights and suppress protests at home use the same methods abroad in their pursuit of profits for their banks and big corporations. ‘Diplomacy’ is a means of dividing the loot of the exploited workers of the world, particularly in the former colonies. The UN simply is another arsenal in their stock to control and plunder. An imperialist action does not become less imperialist because it has the approval of this institution. A UN resolution is only there to sow the illusion that war is just.
The UN is governed by the main imperial powers (France, China, Russia, the UK and the USA) and can only act when these powers agree. There are very few military conflicts in which all these five powers find themselves on the same page and, consequently, the UN very rarely intervenes anywhere. As Ted Grant pointed out, “Since the Second World War, there have been wars every year, and in everyone, the United Nations has been unable to take action.” The UN ‘peacekeeping’ forces seem to resemble a man trying to mop up a flood with a hand sponge, so relentless is capitalism’s drive to war and chaos. Earlier Lenin had characterised the similar ‘League of Nations’, as “a group of beasts of prey…do not at all trust one another…” (A Thieves’ Kitchen)
The UN was founded as a result of an agreement between the ‘victor’ imperialist powers and the bureaucratic caricatures of socialist states in 1944-45 at Yalta, Tehran and Potsdam when Roosevelt, Stalin and Truman divided the spoils of the Second World War and laid the foundation for the UN. Today the UN is merely a concubine of the five veto-wielding permanent members, and in particular that of the US imperialism. It acts in accordance to the interests, desires and wishes of these bosses. It is in reality a debating club of the elite leaders who oppress billions across the planet. It is a place infested with horse trading, exchange of favours and buying of votes in the General Assembly with promises of aid, the bulk of which regularly winds up in the pockets of state and political elites. The recent controversial appointment of Saudi Arabia as the Chair of the UN Human Rights Panel is without drawing conclusions for what this implies about the UN itself. The Independent noted that “the Saudis’ bid emerged shortly after it posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners, to cope with what Amnesty International branded a ‘macabre spike’ in the use of capital punishment, including beheadings, this year.” It is entirely clear that the Saudis have been given this position in an attempt by the western powers to improve relations after recent deals with Iran.
Evidently, the UN has no power or interests of its own to somehow stop the endless violence of capitalism. Those who call for UN approval to legitimise imperialist bombing of other countries believe there has not been enough talking and that we are too quick to rush to action. Not enough talks! The UN facilitates endless rounds of doomed negotiations between powers who will never agree because they have opposing interests as can be seen by divisions in all UN bodies. The record of Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty speaks volumes on this as it not been able to prevent many countries from developing nuclear weapons. Similarly, the UN-sponsored climate change treaties are routinely ignored by all the polluting powers. Israel ignores what the UN says on its borders, and gets away with it. The UN issues plaintive reports about the humanitarian disaster engulfing Yemen thanks to Saudi bombing, but will do nothing because the US backs this action. It is likely that Assad has now used chemical weapons even after promising to hand them all over to the UN, but nothing will be done since the main powers cannot agree on what to do. The same situation prevailed in the 1960s and 1970s when US imperialism was carpeting Indo-china with cluster bombs.
It is an institution that plays on national divisions. All serious issues in politics and society are resolved by wars and revolutions. The imperialists are waging those endless wars. The proletarian vanguard is preparing for revolution. There is no magic power to the UN. This body is nothing but a group of disunited nations that plays on national divisions. It merely serves as an instrument for buying time and diplomatic cover for the imperial designs of the capitalist powers. Leon Trotsky argued long ago:
“The bourgeois states do not divide themselves into ‘friends’ and ‘enemies’ of peace — especially since ‘peace’ as such does not exist. Each imperialist country’s paramount concerns are protecting and furthering its economic interests and in the process it will trample on almost anyone that comes in its way.”

The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and international secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. He can be reached at lalkhan1956@gmail.com

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