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American Resistance To Empire

Pak Army Launches Operation For “Countrywide de-weaponisation and explosive control”

[Army going to try to disarm Tribal Region?  Good luck with that, guys.]

Pakistan Army launches ‘Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad’ across the country

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Pakistan Army on Wednesday launched ‘Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad’ across the country, Inter-Services Public Relations, the army’s media wing, said in a statement.

Radd-ul-Fasaad — which translates roughly to ‘elimination of discord’ — will aim at indiscriminately eliminating the “residual/latent threat of terrorism”, consolidating the gains made in other military operations, and further ensuring the security of Pakistan’s borders, read the statement.

Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, Civil Armed Forces (CAF) and other security and law enforcing agencies (LEAs) will actively participate in and ‘intimately support’ the armed forces’ efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country, the statement added.

“The effort entails conduct of Broad Spectrum Security / Counter-Terrorism (CT) operations by Rangers in Punjab, continuation of ongoing operations across the country, and focus on more effective border security management,” the ISPR said.

“Countrywide de-weaponisation and explosive control are additional cardinals of the effort. Pursuance of National Action Plan will be the hallmark of this operation,” it added.

The announcement followed a meeting in Lahore between Chief of Armed Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa, the corps commanders of Punjab, the director general of Pakistan Rangers Punjab, and the heads of intelligence agencies.

Earlier in the day, the federal government had approved a request forwarded by the Government of Punjab for the deployment of Rangers personnel in the province.

Punjab had requested the federal government to deploy over 2,000 Rangers personnel in the province, who would be given policing powers to conduct intelligence-based operations (IBOs) against militants, wherever required and with full authority.

Read more: Govt approves Punjab’s request for Rangers deployment

Additionally, at the start of the week, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had informed Senate that the army had been empowered to act against terrorists across the border if it had concrete evidence that Afghan soil had been used to launch recent attacks in the country.

He had said it had been established beyond doubt that foreign soil had been used to orchestrate the attacks in Lahore and Hayatabad.

Recalling Pakistan’s commitment to not allow its soil to be used for terrorist acts in any country, Dar had said the time had come to ensure that no other country’s soil was used against Pakistan either.

Renewed focus on NAP?

Operation Radd-ul-Fasad has been announced as a continuation of the National Action Plan (NAP), the ISPR said in its Wednesday notification.

Widely criticised for its apparently half-hearted implementation, NAP had been formulated after the devastating attack on Army Public School Peshawar in December 2014.

Security forces conduct an intelligence-based operation. -File

As part of the plan, military courts were established to fast-track terrorism cases. Intelligence-based operations across the country were initiated to disrupt and destroy terror networks in urban and rural areas. The plan had also laid an emphasis on curtailing terror financing.

NAP had also promised to take action against seminaries involved in militancy, but the government had dithered on bringing them under control, apparently for fear of backlash from religious parties as well as militants.

Read more: National Inaction Plan?

Resurgence in terror attacks

Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad was announced in the aftermath of a fresh resurgence in terror attacks in Pakistan.

On Feb 21, security forces killed three suicide attackers who attempted to wreak havoc at a local court in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda district. The attack had killed five civilians and was claimed by the proscribed Jamaat-ul-Ahraar (JuA).

On Feb 16, the shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan was struck by a suicide bomber affiliated with the militant Islamic State. The worst in the recent flurry of militant activity in Pakistan, it saw at least 88 killed and more than 300 injured after a suicide bomber targeted devotees during the evening dhamaal.

Aftermath of attack on the shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. -File

Earlier the same day, an explosive device had targeted an Army convoy in the Awaran area of Balochistan, killing three soldiers.

On Feb 15, a suicide bomber had struck in Mohmand, killing three personnel of the Khasadar force and five civilians. This attack was also claimed by the JuA.

The same day, a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a vehicle carrying judges in Peshawar’s Hayatabad Phase 5 area, killing the driver and injuring its four other occupants. This attack was claimed by the TTP.

On Feb 13, a suicide bomber had struck a protest on Lahore’s Charing Cross interchange, killing 13 and injuring 85. The attack had happened right outside the gates of Punjab’s Provincial Assembly.

The attack was claimed by the JuA.

On the same day, two personnel of Balochistan’s bomb disposal squad were killed as they attempted to defuse an explosive device planted under the Sariab Road bridge in Quetta, the provincial capital.

Chronology of military operations in Pakistan

The following are major military operations carried out by armed forces against local and foreign militants in the recent past:

  • Operation Rah-i-Haq-I in Swat valley and Shangla district (2007)

  • Operation Rah-i-Haq-II in Swat valley and Shangla (2008)

  • Operation Sirat-i-Mustaqeem in Khyber Agency (2008)

  • Operation Sherdil jointly launched with Frontier Corps in Bajaur Agency (2008)

  • Operation Rah-i-Haq-III in Swat valley and Shangla (2009)

  • Operation Black Thunderstorm in Buner, Lower Dir and Shangla district (2009)

  • Operation Brekhna in Mohmand Agency (2009)

  • Operation Rah-i-Rast, commonly known as Swat Operation, (2009)

  • Operation Rah-i-Nijat in South Waziristan (2009)

  • Operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border (2014)

  • Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad across the country (2017)

America Should Stay Out Of Another Middle Eastern Ground War–Forbes

Proposals for combat intervention in demonstrate Syria yet again that Washington’s interventionist elite learns nothing and remembers nothing from the past. President Trump has an opportunity to begin anew. The American people desperately need a president willing to put them first and say no to more social engineering, more foreign intervention, and more foolish wars.

U.S. Troops Don’t Belong In Syria: America Should Stay Out Of Another Middle Eastern Ground War

forbes

 

President Donald Trump instructed the Pentagon to develop a strategy to defeat the Islamic State. Apparently one of the options is introducing U.S. combat forces to confront ISIS. Americans could be fighting in Syria in just a few weeks. That would be an extraordinarily foolish policy.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off from the US navy’s super carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (‘Ike’) in the Mediterranean Sea on July 7, 2016. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Defeating the Islamic State is not America’s responsibility. It arose out of Syria’s spiral into civil war and Iraq’s descent into sectarian rule. In the first ruthless Islamists proved to be the most effective opponents of the Assad regime. In the second desperate Sunnis preferred ISIS’s 7th century warriors to Baghdad’s modern sectarian killers.

Originally the Islamic State in the Levant, which grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, focused on creating a “caliphate,” or quasi-government. Although hostile to America, its principal enemies were states in the Middle East: Shiite Iraq, Syria’s Alawite-dominated government, independence-minded Kurds, Sunni monarchies from Jordan to Saudi Arabia, and Turkey with its secular, practical heritage. Add to that military-ruled Egypt, drawn into the struggle after the slaughter of Coptic Christian workers kidnapped in Libya. Despite the Islamic State’s initial defeat of ill-led Iraqi forces and assumption of a lead role in the Syrian insurgency, the insurgent group faced an overwhelming if largely disorganized coalition.

Bringing these forces to bear would have been complicated and time-consuming. But the initial success of Daesh, as it is known in the Middle East, would have forced its opponents to commit more to defeat the movement. And the Islamic State’s terrorist retaliation, its only means of fighting back against nation states with an overwhelming conventional military advantage, would have been focused on its Middle Eastern opponents.

However, in 2014 the U.S. took the lead in attempting to build an anti-ISIS coalition. Unfortunately, turning the battle into one between Islamic crusaders and the Great Satan helped the Islamic State’s recruitment efforts. America’s involvement also allowed allied states to back away. Turkey and the Gulf states were more interested in ousting Bashar al-Assad than defeating ISIS. Ankara actually accommodated ISIS for some time before moving against the Islamists, and even now more seriously battles Syrian Kurdish forces. The Gulf States largely abandoned the conflict, launching an unprovoked, aggressive assault on Yemen, which the Obama administration backed in a misguided show of allied solidarity.

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces made up of US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters, stands guard near the village of Bir Fawaz, 20 km north of Raqa, during their offensive towards the Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold, on February 8, 2017. (DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In Syria Washington found itself lost amid a welter of conflicting powers with different objectives. The administration sought to overthrow Assad, even though he was the strongest barrier against Islamic extremists. The Obama administration sought to simultaneously work with the Kurds and Turkey. In Iraq, America found itself backing a sectarian government guilty of war crimes allied with Iranian militias.

Perhaps worst of all, the Obama administration turned the U.S. and its allies into terrorist targets. After the horrific attacks in Paris a shocked French President Francois Hollande declared that his nation was at war—14 months after his government began bombing ISIS. He obviously had expected a bloodless crusade.

Although the U.S. apparently has not suffered from any terrorist incidents organized by the Islamic State, Americans have died in ISIS-inspired attacks, Moreover, as the group’s defeat looms, it is more likely to try to turn itself into a super al-Qaeda, better at staging murderous attacks on the homelands of those Western nations which attacked the caliphate. While the West could not count on immunity no matter what happened in the fight against ISIS, America’s leading role has dramatically increased the danger.

Despite the failure of most of Washington’s Mideast allies to treat the Islamic State’s rise as an existential threat, the group is losing, and is now “a dead man walking” in the words of  Daniel Davis of Defense Priorities. While the struggle certainly is not over, Daesh faces too many foes to succeed. And it is losing to indigenous ground forces. Although U.S. training and air support have helped, the boots on the ground are almost entirely Muslim, from countries and forces directly threatened by ISIS.

Some 500 U.S. military personnel are on station in Syria—special operations forces, bomb squad members, trainers, and commandoes. Introducing American combat units would relieve the pressure on other governments to maintain their efforts. For instance, Turkey has a 400,000 man military and could do much more. The Gulf State could devote both ground and air forces.

Greater U.S. involvement also would reinforce the meme of Christian America versus Muslims. It would more directly entangle Washington in the complicated conflicts among anti-ISIS combatants. And, most important, it would expand Washington’s role in yet another Middle Eastern conflict. And the more deeply involved the U.S. gets, the more difficult it will be to extract itself.

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

While direct combat would be the worst policy, lesser intervention would create many of the same risks while providing even fewer potential benefits. Arming the so-called moderate insurgents so far has proved to be of dubious value; often these forces have surrendered personnel and weapons to the radicals. Arming insurgents with anti-aircraft weapons would risk leakage to radicals interested in downing Western passenger planes. Creating no-fly or safe zones would bring the U.S. directly into the war against not only ISIS but also Syria and Russia.

Yet none of these measures would guarantee the fall of the Assad regime, let alone creation of a democratic, humane Syrian government friendly to America and the West, as desired by Washington. And having further inflamed the conflict, the U.S. would find it even harder to back away. If the American people liked the outcomes in Iraq and Libya, they would love Washington’s participation in the bitter, bloody, multi-sided Syrian civil war.

Of course, Washington officials who make a career of justifying every conceivable military intervention are trying to stampede the Trump administration. For instance, House Speaker Paul Ryan proclaimed: “It’s in our vital national interest. We must destroy ISIS in Syria.” The question is why, since other nations are doing the job?

The Islamic State is an evil organization, but it has yet to demonstrate an ability to strike the U.S. As for the Middle East, Israel is a regional superpower and secure. The international oil market has changed, diminishing the importance of Gulf oil supplies. In blowing up both Iraq and Libya Washington demonstrated that it in fact cares little about regional stability, whatever its rhetoric. While the human tsunami has unsettled Europe, that is no justification for America going to war.

Finally, such a mission would not be quick and simple. If American forces took Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital, then what? Hop onto helicopters the next day and wave good bye? The usual “unnamed source” at the Pentagon told CNN “it’s possible that that you may see conventional forces on the ground in Syria for some period of time.” Once introduced, there would be a multitude of reasons why they could not be quickly withdrawn, and “some period of time” likely would turn into “a long period of time.” Yet it is hard to imagine greater harm to U.S. interests and credibility than getting involved in another lengthy no-win guerrilla conflict, losing support from the American public which comes to feel misled, and finally racing home claiming “peace with honor” when neither in fact prevails.

Let Daesh’s Arab and Muslim enemies defeat it.

Iraqi Shiite fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units flash the sign of victory as they hold a position near Lake Thar Thar in the desert West of the city of Samarra, Iraq, on March 4, 2016 during a military operation aimed at retaking areas from the Islamic State jihadist group. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

Congress should reclaim its authority and insist that the Trump administration request authorization before prosecuting yet another undeclared war. The Obama administration relied on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force approved after 9/11, even though the measure explicitly targeted the perpetrators of those attacks. The Islamic State didn’t even exist at that time.

Proposals for combat intervention in demonstrate Syria yet again that Washington’s interventionist elite learns nothing and remembers nothing from the past. President Trump has an opportunity to begin anew. The American people desperately need a president willing to put them first and say no to more social engineering, more foreign intervention, and more foolish wars.

“Well, no one presents me with a fait accompli,”–Marine Le Pen Refuses Head Scarf To Meet Lebanese Mufti

Le Pen, Deryan Meeting Skipped over Headscarf Tilt

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية

naharnet

 

 

W460

France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has refused to go into a meeting with Lebanon’s grand mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan after his aides asked her to wear a headscarf.

Le Pen was scheduled to meet with Mufti Deryan as part of her three-day visit to Lebanon this week where she met senior officials.

She was scheduled to meet Deryan on Tuesday morning.

Shortly after she arrived at his office, one of his aides tried to give her a headscarf to put on.

She refused and said: “I have met before with (Grand Imam) Sheikh al-Azhar (in Egypt) without wearing a veil.”

Once she was told that customs are different in Lebanon, Le Pen walked toward her car and left.

Le Pen said she had told Deryan’s office on Monday that she would not don a headscarf: “They did not cancel the meeting, so I thought they would accept that I will not wear the scarf.”

“They wanted to impose this on me, to present me with a fait accompli. Well, no one presents me with a fait accompli,” the French presidential candidate said.

In a statement on Tuesday, Dar al-Fatwa said “its press office had informed the presidential candidate, through one of her assistants, of the need to cover her head when she meets his eminence, according to the protocol assumed by Dar al-Fatwa.”

“Dar al-Fatwa officials were surprised by her refusal to conform to this well-known rule,” it said.

– ‘Fascists flock together’ –

Fewer than a dozen protesters gathered near Beirut’s Zaytuna Bay on Tuesday afternoon to protest against Le Pen’s visit.

“From Beirut to Damascus to Paris to Washington, fascists flock together,” one placard read.

One banner read “Fascists out!”, and demonstrators carried pictures of Le Pen and U.S. President Donald Trump.

At a news conference to cap her trip, Le Pen insisted she “has never confused the religion of Islam with fundamentalist Islam.”

“I oppose Islam as a political project. I am fighting a war against fundamentalist Islamists,” she told gathered reporters.

Islamic dress is a hot-button issue in France, where the full-face veil is banned in public places.

Le Pen’s deputy Florian Philippot swiftly lauded her controversial move.

“A magnificent message of liberty and emancipation sent to the women of France and of the world,” Philippot wrote on Twitter.

After leaving Daryan’s office, Le Pen headed to Bkirki, north of Beirut, to meet Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi.

There, she saluted Lebanon’s “moderate” culture, “created by Christians and Muslims.”

Le Pen had arrived over the weekend and met on Monday with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Speaker Nabih Berri, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil and Kataeb party leader Sami Gemayel.

Le Pen, the National Front leader, is leading polls of voters’ intentions for the first round of France’s presidential election on April 23.

She is running on an anti-immigration and anti-European Union platform; critics say that is a cover for anti-Islamic and anti-foreigner views.

The FN leader called Sunday for the international community to step up humanitarian aid to keep the refugees in Lebanon.

Rival presidential hopeful and former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut on January 24, where he met both Aoun and Hariri.

Le Pen has met few top foreign officials since taking control of the FN in 2011. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has refused to meet with her.

And Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have said last week that “a victory of the populists would be the end of Europe,” a clear reference to Le Pen’s call for a referendum on France’s EU membership.