Hillary/Barack/Brzezinski/Rockefeller want to start war with Pakistan asap

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Offline bigron

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  • RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2012
Destruction of America’s Taliban

Dr. A. Z. Hilali
http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ar&nid=174

5/8/09

Since the tragic incident of 9/11, Pakistan is under siege and the country is concisely under the grip of chronic anarchy and common people are absolutely right to evaluate present uncontrollable situation of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and predicted that the ongoing escalating disturbance is a planned conspiracy against the state of Pakistan. The people perceived that the contemporary catastrophe is a part of the United States long-term strategy to Balkanize the country and India is also helping them to destabilize the state and society of Pakistan. Both have common objectives to gain exclusive control on the energy resources of the region and prepare to invade the country and for this purpose they are promoting the culture of killing, looting and destruction. Historically, the current catastrophe is the result of US covert and diplomatic support to the Afghan Mujahideen who were fighting against the former Soviet Union. They not only trained but also armed different factions in Afghanistan or even long before the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the recent statement in the Congressional hearing acknowledged that the United States had a share in creating terrorist groups, including Taliban, and explained how the militancy in Pakistan was linked to the US backed proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. In this regard, many analysts believe that the US has had close political links with the Taliban militia because during the peak time of Afghan war (1979-1990), many Taliban representatives visited the US and several senior US State Department officials frequently visited Afghanistan after the 9/11 and according to Guardian newspaper, many times the “senior Taliban leaders” attended meetings and conferences in the US and diplomats regularly travelled to Taliban headquarters. The reports have been received that numerous militant factions, including some sections of Taliban in different parts of Pakistan, particularly in the NWFP are fully funded and armed by the CIA for their vested interests. So, the brutal faction of Taliban did not exist prior to 2001 but after that US created this inhuman class and they are working apparently under the banner of Islamic movement. They have a strict command and control system and trying to emerge as a coherent politico-military dominant force in North-South Waziristan, Buner and Swat region. The federal and provincial governments trying their best to ensure peace and security in the region but all efforts of Islamabad ultimately ruined by the US sponsored Taliban in Pakistan and the country remains in a state of unending anarchical situation. It is also a fact that the present worst scenario is the result of US violent support to the brutal Taliban elements which has emerged as the most powerful faction in the country and the state of Pakistan has been plunged into a state of perpetual humanitarian catastrophe. So, the country has been plagued by a perpetual orgy of destruction, impoverishment and repression. Around 3,000 innocent people have been killed and more than 250,000 displaced within the region. These Taliban, dominating different parts of Pakistan, has instituted a ‘system’ in which much of the population is denied their social and human rights; torture, arbitrary detention, mass killings and ongoing warfare are the norm; the masses remain embedded in growing poverty and Taliban falsely legitimize their actions under the guise of Islamic Sharia. Indeed, there is no doubt that at the moment US sponsored Taliban have been ruling in the NWFP, particularly in the tribal areas and Swat region with an iron fist. According to Social Aid report on Swat Crisis 2008-2009, “foreign backed Taliban are highly repressive elements and involved in the perpetration of countless human rights abuses.” The reports clearly indicated that Taliban are heavily armed with modern sophisticated weapons and using sharp instruments for tyranny. The reports also pointed out “draconian restrictions on women” being enforced falsely in the name of Islamic Sharia and reveal harsh realities. The Social Aid has mentioned in its report on Swat that “girls and women have been systematically targeted by the Taliban for gender based violence and discrimination.” Most girls schools have been closed by the Taliban and only religious instruction is for girls who have not reached puberty. Women’s rights to freedom of movement, work and education have severely been curtailed. The male has been made responsible by the Taliban for enforcing public decency and forced to beat women in the streets who show their faces or ankles and are forbidden to see male doctors for treatment and women are not allowed to get education. It is highly unfortunate that the militants are reported to be blatantly violating the peace agreement and carrying out criminal activities and threatening the lives of civilians and administration and security personnel. The federal and provincial governments seem to have completely fallen into the hands of fascist Taliban and accepted the demand of Nizam-e-Adl for Malakand division against the serious reservations of civil-society and provided legitimacy to their brutal actions and equal share in the political system. In fact, after the peace deal Taliban are feeling free to impose their own rigid and narrow values through an extrajudicial system of vigilantes and empowered the criminal Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi (TNSM) extremists to act as moral police and disciples to check corruption, vulgarity, and eradicate prostitution, and pimps from the region. So, the day they signed deal with the government, the Taliban perceive that they are above the law and started unlawful killing of government workers, kidnapping people and looting banks and creating panic by armed patrolling. In this respect, thousands people have migrated from Malakand region to other parts of Pakistan. The provincial government (NWFP) has set up camps for displaced people in Mardan and Swabi districts but camps lack proper facilities and infrastructure. There are more than 10,000 displaced families from Buner and Dir regions and also living in these camps under the severe and miserable conditions. There are reports that after the peace deal Taliban have also publicly whipped many men for shaving their beards, destroyed shops for selling music and forcibly prohibited women from leaving their houses. In the circumstances, Pakistan military command with the consultation of the federal government has launched operation against the brutalities of Taliban in the area of Buner and helping the local administration to implement the writ of the government. In this regard, the military have killed about 80 militants, including a leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. According to the ISPR report the operation against the militants was smooth in Buner and positions in Daggar and adjoining areas were being consolidated. The political observers indicated that it has proved the civilian government had failed to manage ungovernable situation of the Tribal areas and Malakand region and ultimately the Pakistan military had to handle the Taliban elements with an iron hand who pose serious threat to the country. So, the military is now fighting back for real, sending troops to dislodge the militants who had spread out in Swat region. The action against Taliban is inevitable because if military will not show offensivee then there is a possibility that Taliban can take control of Islamabad, which is a real wake-up call for military command. In this regard, the conspiracy theories are incorrect that Pakistan military is tolerant of militants, hoping to use them in resuscitating Pakistan’s influence in Indian held Kashmir and Afghanistan. There is no doubt that Pakistan military have not realized the potential danger of Taliban who are working for Indo-US common agenda to Balkanize or destabilize the country. So, the military is determined to take action against the militants to hold the federation of Pakistan and counter the nefarious planning of New Delhi and Washington against Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan military is the real custodian of country and not using the threat of militants to delegitimize the civilian government and have no concern to initiate boggy matters to continue the financial aid flowing from the United States. In reality Pakistan is fighting vigorously against the militant groups but the only problem is that the US is reluctant to provide essential weapons, training and funds to the country. Nevertheless, the world politics is moving around the periphery of “interests” and like the United States, the leadership of Pakistan has equally legitimate right to fight for their own “national interest”. Thus, the leadership of Pakistan must be aware that US vital strategic interests are deeply involved in the region and until diplomatic cards are not used appropriately with the Obama’s administration, it is difficult to protect Pakistan’s national interests. Finally, Pakistan must make the US administration realise that the war on terror and ongoing insurgency is a product of the United States strategic deficiencies, broken promises and its incompleteness of the history and geography of the South and South West Asia region and have no alternative available rather than to depend on Islamabad for future military strategy and political planning. azahilali@yahoo.co.uk 

Offline Biggs

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WHO ARE THE PAKISTANI TALIBAN AND WHAT DO THEY REALLY WANT ??

Posted By: Patriotlad <Send E-Mail>
Date: Friday, 8-May-2009 10:13:45

http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=146485


Reporting by Zeeshan Haider for Reuters.com --

Pakistani security forces are battling Taliban militants in their Swat valley bastion just 130 km (80 miles) northwest of Islamabad after a pact aimed at ending violence in the region collapsed.


THE TALIBAN GO OFF TO WAR IN SANDALS

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had said in a televised address late on Thursday that extremists were trying to hold the country hostage at gunpoint, and ordered the military "to eliminate the militants and terrorists."

 


WHO ARE THE PAKISTANI TALIBAN?

Most Pakistani Taliban fighters are ethnic Pashtuns from northwestern regions on the Afghan border. They support the Afghan Taliban, most of whom are also Pashtun and many of whom fled to the Pakistani Pashtun lands after U.S.-led forces ousted Afghanistan's Taliban government in late 2001.

Thirteen factions based in different parts of northwest Pakistan have formed a loose umbrella group, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Taliban Movement of Pakistan, led by Baitullah Mehsud, based in South Waziristan on the Afghan border.

The United States in March announced a reward of $5 million for information leading to Mehsud's location or arrest.

Mehsud has been accused by Pakistani officials of being behind a wave of suicide attacks across Pakistan since the army stormed Islamabad's Red Mosque in July 2007 to crush a militant movement based there.

But it was when government officials named Mehsud as the prime suspect in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a gun and bomb attack in the city of Rawalpindi in December 2007 that Mehsud's notoriety rocketed.

The Taliban fighting in Swat are part of the TTP and are led by a commander called Fazlullah, the son-in-law of a pro-Taliban cleric who led thousands of tribesmen to Afghanistan to fight alongside Taliban after the U.S. invasion in 2001.

While many senior Taliban are veterans of Afghan fighting, they have been able to exploit poverty, frustration over an ineffective judiciary, anger against landlords and widespread anti-U.S. feelings to attract recruits. Intelligence officials say they also press families to send sons to fight.

ARE THE PAKISTANI TALIBAN LINKED TO AL QAEDA?

Intelligence officials and security experts say Mehsud is an al Qaeda ally. He has given refuge to a large number of foreign militants, including Arabs and Central Asians, but the nature of his links with al Qaeda's leaders, believed to be hiding along the Afghan-Pakistani border, is not clear.

WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AFGHAN TALIBAN?

The TTP swears allegiance to Mullah Omar, chief of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, and acknowledges sending fighters across the border to Afghanistan where they aim to fight and expel what they call Western "occupation" forces.

However, there are differences between the groups on whether to fight Pakistani security forces. Some groups oppose violence in Pakistan and want all Taliban to focus on fighting in Afghanistan.

However, groups such as those headed by Mehsud and Fazlullah argue that fighting Pakistani security forces is justified because of Pakistan's support for the U.S.-led campaign against al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.

Militant groups focused on fighting in Afghanistan recently set up the Ittehad-e-Shura-e-Mujahideen, or Union of the Consultative Council of Mujahideen, with the TTP. Analysts saw the move as aimed at forging unity among all factions in the face of a sharp build-up of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.


RECENT TALIBAN ATTACK THAT DESTROYED MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF SUPPLIES AND U.S.-PROVIDED EQUIPMENT

ANY LINKS WITH OTHER MILITANT GROUPS?


Intelligence officials say the Pakistani Taliban have also forged links with militants groups mainly drawn from central Punjab province, giving the militants the ability to expand their influence out of the Pashtun-dominated northwest. One of these groups, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a Sunni Muslim militant group, is regarded as one of al Qaeda's main fronts in Pakistan.

The LeJ specializes in targeting minority Shi'ite Muslims but graduated to high-profile attacks. It is suspected of organizing a suicide truck bombing of Islamabad's Marriott Hotel last year, that killed 55 people.

< SNIP >

ALL THE IMAGES FROM REUTERS.COM PROVIDED FOR REVIEW PURPOSES ONLY

( Editing by Robert Birsel and Jerry Norton )



http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE5461TM20090508?sp=true
STOP THE KILLING NOW
END THE CRIMINAL SIEGE OF GAZA - FREE PALESTINE!!!!!!!

Offline bigron

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  • RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2012
US Bombing a Sovereign Country: US Lawmaker  (RON PAUL)

A MUST WATCH AND READ

By Anwar Iqbal
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22568.htm

May 07, 20009 "Dawn" -- -WASHINGTON: The House Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress heard an unusual speech from a Republican lawmaker who described US drone attacks as the bombing of a sovereign country and questioned America’s right to do so.

Ron Paul Questions Richard Holbrooke - 5/5/2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7yb4xsZfBk&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Finformationclearinghouse%2Einfo%2Farticle22568%2Ehtm&feature=player_embedded


US special envoy Richard Holbrooke disagreed with this description of America’s military operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan and reminded Congressman Ronald Ernest Paul that US troops were there because people living in that region had invaded their homeland on Sept. 11, 2001.

But the explanation came only after Rep. Paul had completed his speech, urging policy makers in Washington to review the US foreign policies which were causing worldwide resentments against the United States.

‘We are bombing a sovereign country. Where do we get the authority to do that? Did the Pakistani government give us written permission? Did the Congress give us written permission to expand the war and start bombing in Pakistan?’ asked the US lawmaker.

‘Why do we as a Congress and as a people and as our representatives within the executive branch just so casually and carelessly expand the war and say, ‘Well, today we have to do this; we’ll worry about tomorrow.’

Mr Paul is an American physician and Republican Congressman from Texas, who gained widespread attention during his unsuccessful bid for the 2008 Republican Party presidential nomination. During the campaign he attracted an enthusiastic following which made use of the Internet and social networking to establish a grassroots campaign despite lack of traditional organization or media attention.

Rep. Paul wasted little time in formalities when the committee’s chairman, Congressman Howard Berman, invited him to speak.

After thanking the chairman and welcoming Ambassador Holbrooke, the lawmaker went straight to the question that seemed to be bothering him.

‘The main concern I have is I was hoping to see maybe a change in our foreign policy from the last administration, but, of course, we see just more of the same — more nation-building, more policing of the world, more involvement,’ he said.

‘And it just seems like we never learn from our past mistakes. We don’t learn from what kind of trouble the Soviets got into, and yet we continue to do the same thing.’

Referring to Mr Holbrooke’s earlier statement before the committee, Rep. Paul reminded him that he too had set ‘a grandiose goal.’

‘We want to work for a vibrant, modern democracy. Wow, what a dream. But think of how we’re doing this. I mean, we label everybody that opposes what we’re doing, we call them Taliban,’ he said.

While the US fought this war, ‘all of a sudden … many, many thousands of Pashtuns that are right smack in the middle, getting killed by our bombs, and then we wonder why they object to our policies over there.’

The bombing of this area, Mr Paul said, made him believe that the US was there for the long haul. ‘It’s going to cost a lot of money and it’s going to cost a lot of lives.’

The US lawmaker said that if the members of Congress had ever realized what Iraq would end up costing America in the number of deaths, in the number of dollars, ‘now trillion dollars,’ they would have been a little more hesitant to approve it.

‘They admit that now – ‘Well, maybe we shouldn’t have.’ But who knows what this is going to end up costing in terms of lives?’ he asked, reminding other lawmakers that the odds of the US policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan working were very slim. ‘This is what my great concern is,’ he added.

Congressman Paul then explained Pakistan’s recent history to other lawmakers, recalling that in 1999 the country had an elected prime minister who was toppled by the military. ‘And (Gen.) Musharraf comes in and we support him.’

Mr Paul then accused the US administration of trying to engineer yet another change in Pakistan, a charge Mr Holbrooke vehemently denied.

‘So now it’s said that we have relationships with Sharif, which everybody knows exactly what that means. It means that we’re involved in their elections. That’s the way that we’ve done it for so many years,’ said the congressman.

‘But, you know, the Pakistani papers report it as ‘US taps Sharif to be the next Pakistani prime minister.’ Now, whether or not we literally can do that — I think we can have a lot of influence — that’s what they believe in.’

He then asked: ‘How do you win the hearts and minds of these people if we’re seen as invaders and occupiers? And here we are, just doing nothing more than expanding our role in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. I don’t see any end to it.’

Addressing Mr Holbrooke, the US lawmaker said he had several specific concerns about the current situation in Pakistan.

‘It has to do with Pashtuns that have been killed by our bombs. What about our national debt? We have $1.8 trillion debt facing us.’

He said that while the administration was currently seeking $3.5 billion to support its efforts in Pakistan, ‘it will turn out to be tens of billions of dollars after this.

‘So I’d like to know where you stand on this, the innocent killing of Pashtuns. Are they all Taliban, or are there some innocent people being killed?’

As Congressman Paul finished, a Pakistani in the audience commented: ‘This American lawmaker has defended Pakistan more eloquently than our ambassador ever has.’

Obviously displeased with the questions the congressman raised, Ambassador Holbrooke said he did not say exactly what Mr Paul imputed to him, but he had thought a long time about the issues raise.

‘And you mentioned Iraq. Afghanistan-Pakistan is not Iraq. The reason we are in this area, notwithstanding its immense difficulties, is because the people in this area attacked our country on September 11th, 2001, and have stated flatly they intend to do it again.’

The militants, he said, not only killed Americans on 9/11 but also killed hundreds of Pakistanis and Afghans and committed gross human rights violations.

‘And therefore, it is not Iraq and it’s not Vietnam, despite the fact that many people say it is. It’s about defending our country,’ he said,

Ambassador Holbrooke said he agreed with the lawmaker that the fight against the extremists was not easy and it was not cheap either.

‘And having seen wars on three continents, having been shot at for my country, I sure don’t feel comfortable in a situation where you ask brave young American men and women to risk their lives and sometimes pay the ultimate sacrifice,’ the ambassador said.

‘However, the president of the United States reviewed everything in regard to this and came to the conclusion … that our goal has to be to defeat al Qaeda. We cannot let them take over an even larger terrain, move into other parts of the world, and then plan what they’re planning,’ he concluded.

Offline Livefreeordie

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Holbrooke is a clown...not the same policy?

No, Ron Paul is right...same old same old!  >:(

It's called Global Domination...lets not play games here...Mr. Holbrooke!  ::)

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" ~ {2 Corinthians 6:14}

Offline Livefreeordie

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Just think about it...if they capture Pakistan...Iran will be completely surrounded.

 8)
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" ~ {2 Corinthians 6:14}

Offline bigron

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Al Qaeda’s world base in Pakistan, says Petraeus


Daily Times Monitor

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54121&hd=&size=1&l=e

May 9, 2009



LAHORE: Pakistan has become the nerve centre of Al Qaeda’s global operations, Gen David Petraeus has said.

The head of the US Army’s Central Command, who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has told an interviewer that Al Qaeda leaders have re-established its organisational structure and stronger ties to Al Qaeda offshoots in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and parts of Europe. "It is the headquarters of the Al Qaeda senior leadership," said the general.

He also warned of difficult months ahead in Afghanistan, saying Taliban were moving weapons and forces into areas where the US is adding new troops.

"We have every expectation that the Taliban will fight to retain the sanctuaries and safe havens that they’ve been able to establish," he said.

US officials once believed that years of strikes had broken Al Qaeda’s leadership into smaller, less effective splinter groups. But in the interview, Gen Petraeus said fresh intelligence information suggested that Al Qaeda had re-emerged as a centrally directed organisation capable of helping plan attacks in other countries. "There is a degree of hierarchy, there is a degree of interconnection, and there is certainly a flow of people, money, expertise, explosives and knowledge," he said.

Gen Petraeus painted a picture of an Al Qaeda that maintains extensive links to terror groups in Morocco and Somalia. He said men and supplies pass through southern Iran, helped by Sunni Arab 'facilitators’ in the country.

A ring of Tunisian suicide bombers apprehended recently in Iraq appeared to have received their directions from Pakistan as well, he said. "There’s absolutely no question about these links."






 

Offline bigron

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Quietus in Pakistan.

by Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54120&hd=&size=1&l=e



May 9, 2009

Quietus is an interesting noun. It means " a finishing stroke; anything that effectually ends or settles..." It etymologically originates from the verb "to quit" and is also related to the word "quiet".

A rather appropriate word to describe what is happening in and to Pakistan.

I have made reference to Pakistan in several of my previous posts - the last one being "Framing Pakistan".

Sorry to tell you but tonight, I do not portend good omens for Pakistan. It's alright with me, you may consider me the Mesopotamian version of Cassandra.

Not only has Pakistan been framed, it has also fallen into a deadly trap and it will take lots of good will, political shrewdness and strategic acumen to get out of this hole...and I do not see it happening. And I truly hope to be proven wrong this time.

After many years of living and observing the Iraqi experiment, I can tell you with about 99% accuracy how the plan for Pakistan will be unfolding in the coming months. Because, believe it or not, I see parallels taking place...

A few basics to remember about Pakistan first, and I admit I am not an expert on Pakistani affairs. But from the little I do know, this is my take.

- Pakistan is the only Muslim country to have successfully developed its nuclear program. And it definitely has the potential and the know-how to develop it even further.

- It has a sizeable, solid, educated, entrepreneurial middle class and an important intelligentsia and last but not least -- overall, a non-stagnant economy.

- It finds itself in an important geo-strategic position with coastal lines along the Arabian sea, and borders with Iran, India, Afghanistan and China.

- It is a multi-ethnic/tribal society, majority Sunni but with a roughly 15% of its population being Shiite - the second largest ethnic/sect group after the Sunnis.

- It has been experiencing in the past years, and particularly since 9/11, an increasing, political, anti-American radicalisation of large segments of its population.

- Historically, it is also a fairly recent "nation-state", (an Islamic republic to be more precise) characterized by political instability but which nonetheless managed to impose itself relatively fast and in a weighty fashion in regional and world politics, thus carving for itself an influential position in the international scene.

Just a quick look at the above 6 basic points, can already show you both -- the strength and the vulnerable position of Pakistan.

Geographically, it is surrounded by India, not exactly a love partner. By Iran, who has its own long term ideological agenda for Pakistan in view of its Shiite population - Shiite Revivalism as a political ideology aims to encompass all the Shiite minorities present in this geographical region (including the Arab world).

By occupied Afghanistan, where a deadly American military presence is there to stay and where a war of resistance is being waged...and China who is desperately trying to set foot in that region. Plus the strategic fact that Pakistan is the South Asian gateway to the Arabian Gulf.

All this to tell you that Pakistan is a very important center of "action".

And this is how the "action" starts - based on the Iraqi parallels.

Steps taken and not necessarily in a linear motion as politics are not a one dimensional science. So steps do overlap sometimes.

- Isolate. The U.S used 9/11 as a perfect alibi to start isolating Pakistan even though on the surface it appeared as if it considered Pakistan a collaborating ally in its "war against terror".

However if you recall, the growing criticisms/attacks against P.Musharraf's by Bush and even more so by Obama, until his demise from government. And even then, these have not stopped. Under the guise/pretext that Pakistan is not doing enough to stop "the breeding of terrorists" on its territory, America is hell bent on turning Pakistan into a rogue state on the axis of Evil, Obama style.

- Frame. To support its claims of "breeding terrorists", the U.S and its allies (in this instance India) have to invent them. The still obscure terrorist attack in Mumbai served to frame Pakistan, giving the US and its allies (India and Iran) a leverage card with which it can a) exert more pressure on the Pakistani government to tow the American policy line and, b) provide American propaganda tools with more "beef" for continuing their media spin against Pakistan.

- Weaken. The best way to weaken a country is to force it to engage in a some form of war. It can be a sectarian, civil, tribal, border type of war and preferably a protracted one - a war of attrition.

We are already at this stage insofar as Pakistan is concerned. Four types of wars are being pushed and waged there. A slow insidious sectarian, tribal, border, and external (U.S) ones.

Sectarian - after the still non-elucidated mysterious death of Benazir Bhutto, there has been a substantial increase in sectarian attacks. And these are not about to stop either. This sectarian card will be played in a fuller fashion at a later stage.

Tribal - even though the relation between the Northern Province and the government has always been characterized by some tribal/ethnic/political tensions, these tensions have been fanned high enough to reach a fiery state. Despite a relative truce in the Northern parts, where agreements were signed, something happened.

Most of the articles I have been perusing, state the same thing -- that "something that happened" was "a constant pressure on the Pakistani government to act..." no more details given.

A constant pressure by whom ? By America of course. To act against whom ? Against not only the Talibans as some like to believe but against the tribal leaders of these Northern provinces who are very much supporting the Talibans in their war of Resistance. Already, you have an important fracture taking place in the country's social cohesiveness.

Border - on that front two things are to be noted. First the engagement of the Pakistani army in a guerrilla type of warfare against the Talibans inside its own territories. Something the Pakistani army is not trained to do. Secondly and more importantly, drawing Pakistan into stretching that war beyond its frontiers and into the Afghan side.

This serves a dual purpose : 1) as mentioned, weaken Pakistan to the point of total destabilization and 2) help the Americans and its allies in finishing off the Resistance in Afghanistan by opening up another front for it, to weaken it as well.

External - All throughout, the U.S army has repeatedly violated Pakistani air space and bombed " terrorists targets" in the Northern provinces, killing on more than one occasion. tens of civilians.

The immediate and tangible end result of all of the above is already being felt - a massive exodus of over 500'000 and some say 1 Million of the civilian population and their entrapment. An added pressure on the Pakistani government to deal with this huge number of internally displaced persons.

The driven intention behind the steps of -- isolating, framing, weakening is to destabilize long and hard enough for a country to be paralyzed internally and FALL.

And am afraid this is the American intention (with the tacit approval of India and Iran). The intention is to have the current Pakistan FALL and be replaced with something more in line with American long term policy in the grander region (South Asia and Middle East).

Quietus in Pakistan means dealing a final blow to force it to quit and to be quiet.


Painting : Iraqi artist, Ayman Al-Kareemi.




 

Offline bigron

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At least 8 killed, 7 injured as US drone fired four missiles in South Waziristan

Nation
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54109&hd=&size=1&l=e



May 9, 2009

At least eight persons were killed and seven injured in U.S. drone missile attacks at Sararogha area in South Waziristan Agency (SWA). Sources said that the U.S. drones fired four missiles on one house and madrassa at Sararogha area of South Waziristan, which left at least eight killed and seven wounded. The local people helping themselves recovered eight bodies from under the debris, while seven persons were wounded, sources said. A suspected US drone fired missiles at a compound used by militants in a northwestern Pakistan tribal area bordering Afghanistan Saturday, causing casualties, officials said. The missiles hit a compound at Tabbi Langar Khel village in restive South Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan, two security officials said.

"I can confirm a missile strike at a compound at Tabbi Langar Khel," one of the security officials said. "According to initial reports there could be casualties," the official said, adding that insurgents were active in the area where missile strike took place. The latest drone strike comes as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is visiting the United States. Around 370 people, including suspected militants, have died in around 39 such attacks since August 2008. Pakistan has paid a heavy price for its alliance with the US in its global fight against extremism with militant attacks killing more than 1,700 people since July 2007. The US military does not, as a rule, confirm drone attacks, but its armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operating in neighbouring Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy drones in the region.





 

Offline bigron

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Mass evacuation ordered in Swat

Aljaeera.net
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54103&hd=&size=1&l=e

 

Internally displaced children, fleeing from military operations in Buner in Swat district, try to get free food at a distribution center in UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) camp in Takht Bai, about 150 km (85 miles) northwest of Pakistan's capital Islamabad May 8, 2009. Reuters


May 9, 2009

Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate Swat valley by Pakistan's military as it battles Taliban fighters in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP).

The order was "unprecendented" and a "refugee disaster is now feared", said Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Peshawar, the capital of the NWFP, on Saturday.

The military said it would lift a curfew in the Swat region for five hours on Sunday to allow trapped civilians to leave.

Hyder said: "A big catastrophe is unfolding in the Northwest Frontier Province - I have never seen anything on this scale.

"Within the next few hours there is going to be a mass movement of people.

"When the curfew is lifted, all roads will be leading out of Swat and nobody will be allowed to enter ... this is an attempt by the government to open a one-way corridor to let people out.


Hyder said there is "no contemporary precedent" for such a large number of people moving at one time.

"This is a huge humanitarian crisis; the largest number of internally displaced people in the world, and in the smallest possible time.

"Even in Darfur it took a considerable amount of time for the [number of internally displaced people] to swell up," he said.

Bodies in streets

The announcement by the Pakistani military covers the towns of Mingora, Kamabar and Kabal.

"It is going to be very difficult to separate the Taliban from the ordinary people," Hyder said.

"The Taliban also know they are fighting a losing battle and that without the support of the people they would not stand a chance."

Tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians in the Swat valley have found themselves trapped amid worsening fighting between government forces and the Taliban.

Bodies were reported to be lying in roads, homes reduced to ruins and people left cowering with no means of escape after the military imposed curfews across the region amid the fighting.

"Anger is growing that the government did not give the citizens adequate warning to escape," Hyder reported.

"Many people are saying their government has abandoned them ... what is unfolding here is the tip of the iceberg, the worst is yet to come."

'Little help'

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have already fled the fighting.

But Hyder said those who have fled the fighting are in refugee camps and receiving little government help.

"We went to an IDP (internally displaced persons) camp today ... there were no signs of officials from the provincial government," he said.

"There has been a lot of talk, but they have not done anything. There is, understandably, reasonable justification for [the civilians'] anger at the government."

Major-General Athar Abbas, the Pakistani army's chief spokesman, said that government forces were deployed across the Swat valley.

"More than half of Mingora [the main town in Swat valley] is under the control of the militants ... to establish some sort of security control over the area, the curfew was imposed," he told Al Jazeera.

Humanitarian crisis

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and Pakistani officials has said that about half a million people have been displaced in the last few days since the Pakistani government launched a major offensive against the Taliban.

Another 500,000 people were also reportedly displaced amid violence in the region over the last few months.

Antonia Paradela, a spokeswoman for Unicef, the UN children's rights organisation, said aid agencies would need more funding to cope with the influx of refugees.

"We need urgently more funds ... Unicef needs at least $10m to continue helping the previous group of displaced families, which is more than half a million people," she told Al Jazeera.

"We're talking now more than 200,000 - and more [are] on the move."

The crisis has been intensified by other aid groups halting their work in the face of the fighting.

"A week ago we had to suspend our services due to growing insecurity which has left large numbers of the population without the necessary medical care at a time of dire crisis," Chris Lockyear, the Doctors without Borders' head of mission in Pakistan, told Al Jazeera.

"We would like to go back ... but at the moment we are finding the security is not even allowing us to evacuate patients to safer areas for treatment," he said.

Offensive welcomed

The fighting has prompted the abandonment of a peace deal, agreed in February, between the government and the Taliban.

The deal had been criticised both at home and abroad and its critics, especially in the US, have welcomed the government's offensive.

Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's president, pledged an all-out war against Taliban fighters during a visit to Washington for talks with Barack Obama, the US president, and Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.

"This is an offensive - this is war. If they kill our soldiers, then we do the same," Zardari told America's PBS public television.

Obama pledged a "lasting commitment" to both Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the US is fighting Taliban forces.

Up to 15,000 members of Pakistan's security forces have been deployed in Swat.




 

Offline bigron

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Thoughts On The War Between The USA And Pakistan

Winter Patriot
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54094&hd=&size=1&l=e


 

May 8, 2009



Scrub towers in the distance,
Riders cross the blasted moor
Against the horizon.
Fickle promises of treaty,
Fatal harbingers of war;
Futile orizons…
-- Van Der Graaf Generator: "Arrow"

Signs and omens, suddenly everywhere, tell us war between the USA and Pakistan is imminent.

Chris Floyd has been doing his usual fine job in covering the recent developments and reading the tea leaves. Particularly disappointing is the flow of war propaganda from McClatchy, in the person of Jonathan Landay. McClatchy and Landay were among the few voices of skeptical reason on the national media scene during Bush's pre-Iraq propaganda campaign. But apparently they are now on board with Obama's pre-Pakistan propaganda campaign. Success at last! This must be the change we were hoping for, just as Obama's marketers promised!

As you might expect if you've been paying attention for any of the previous six years, or six decades, all the reasons given for war by US politicians and media types are quite false, and transparently so -- yet no one in the national media can tackle any of them head-on. It's a remarkably dangerous situation, of course: the world's most heavily armed nation is still under a media blackout against certain aspects of reality, just as if Obama's election and inauguration had never happened. Fancy that!

The signs are misleading. War between the US and Pakistan is not imminent. It's ongoing. So far the US has made more than 60 airstrikes against Pakistan using unmanned aircraft, and one commando raid using ground troops and attack helicopters. These attacks have killed more than 700 people, and even the most "optimistic" government reports count only 14 al Qaeda leaders among the dead.

It goes without saying that if any foreign country flew just one bombing mission against the USA, or mounted a single commando raid, it would be regarded as an act of war and treated accordingly. Of course this sort of analysis, putting the shoe on the other foot as it were, is missing from our national political discourse, because in mainstream American political analysis, there is no other shoe; there is no other foot; and anyone who suggests otherwise is promptly banished.

In any case, "imminent" is the wrong word. The war is not imminent. What's imminent is a grave escalation. And the escalation, in my view, is not only imminent but inevitable.

A major, horrific war between the USA and Pakistan is, as I understand it, not only inevitable now; it has been inevitable for many years. I'm quite certain about this. The only question remaining in my mind is: How many is "many"?

If you're with me so far, you may be wondering: How do I know the reasons given for the war are false? And if the reasons are all false, why is the war imminent, much less inevitable? And why has this war been inevitable for many years?

If you'll stay with me for a few more minutes, I'll try to explain. But it's not easy, because we have to untangle a pack of interwoven lies.

Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
-- Fleetwood Mac: "Little Lies"

Depending on which warmongers you listen to, you may be hearing that America must wage war against Pakistan in order to prevent the Taliban from conquering (or at least destabilizing) Pakistan and seizing the country's arsenal of nuclear weapons, and/or to ensure that terrorists can never attack the United States as they did on September 11, 2001, and/or to eliminate the "safe havens" from which "insurgents" are attacking American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and/or because the Pakistani army hasn't been able to defeat the scourge of terrorism all by itself.

But none of this makes any sense. Pakistan's nuclear weapons are under American control, as they have been since September of 2001. The "loose nukes" scenario, which the war against Pakistan is supposedly designed to prevent, is not only a thoroughly fictional argument, but a thoroughly cynical one as well.

If Pakistan's nukes were not under American control, the Americans wouldn't dream of attacking Pakistan. (If you've been paying attention for any of the previous six years, or six decades, you may recall that the US only attacks countries which have no chance to defend themselves, or to retaliate.)

Furthermore, an all-out attack on Pakistan by the US is more likely to cause fragmentation and destabilization in Pakistan than to bring peace and democracy. (Think of Iraq; think of Afghanistan.) So the idea that an American intervention is necessary to prevent a horrific outcome is equally false, and equally cynical. In fact, a horrific outcome -- fragmentation and destabilization -- is much preferred by the American warmongers, and that's why they're so intent on waging this war. It's really quite simple, once you cut through all the propaganda.

Meanwhile, the only way to ensure that terrorists cannot attack us as they did on 9/11 would be to run a complete and open investigation of the attacks of that day, and who made them possible, and who benefited from them ... and to hold the guilty parties accountable. This has manifestly not been done, and clearly, had it been done, we would be in a much different position today. Significantly, president Obama has no intention of allowing an independent investigation into the so-called "terrorist" attacks, so the official fiction remains in place now and is poised to remain in place forever.

The myths of 9/11, monstrous and murderous though they may be, carve out a space in which all manner of other monstrous and murderous fictions can thrive. And these other lies create an environment in which endless war is inevitable. So it's not easy to answer questions such as: How long has this war been in the cards? Has it in fact been inevitable for "many years"? And what do we mean by "many"? But we do need to try.

"Many" is a word
That only leaves you guessin'
Guessin' 'bout a thing
You really ought to know
-- Led Zeppelin: "Over The Hills And Far Away"

If you take a short-term view, you might say President General Pervez Musharraf signed Pakistan's death warrant in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

It was all quite simple. George Bush declared the attacks of 9/11, which he and his administration had done so much to enable, "an act of war". Then he blamed it on "terrorists of global reach" and he asked the world's leaders, "Are you with us, or are you with the terrorists?"

Pervez Musharraf, no dummy in situations of this type, said "We're with you!"

Choosing any other option, of course, would have ensured Pakistan's immediate destruction.

But by choosing as he did, Musharraf allied himself with a lie, and made Pakistan complicit in the war crimes and crimes against humanity that were about to unfold in Afghanistan.

The American and NATO invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has sparked the inevitable reaction, from people we know as "terrorists" and "insurgents". Our terminology implies, falsely, that the US and NATO troops and the puppet government they installed and support are there legitimately. But this is not true, or even close to the truth.

In fact, the resistance to American subjugation, no matter what we call it, correctly sees Pakistan both as America's number one ally in an effort to destroy Afghanistan, and as America's primary regional source of logistical and other support. So counter-attacking in Pakistan makes at least some strategic and tactical sense, from the Afghan point of view. Most Americans know little or nothing about any of this. So we guess about the things we really ought to know.

Suppose -- here's that other shoe again -- Russia bombed, invaded and occupied the US, in a campaign based in and supplied from Mexico. Would an American resistance spring up? Would the resistance attack Russian installations in Mexico? Would it also attack Mexican institutions that supported the Russians? One could only hope so.

The shoe's on the other foot now
Bet you're wondering how.
And it's just something you're going through...
You'd better keep your eyes open
-- Graham Parker : "Something You're Going Through"

If only the truth were that simple. The reality is much worse than the hypothetical. Since a semi-plausible rationale exists for Afghan attacks against Pakistan, the Americans in Afghanistan, always eager to foment a little terrorism which then requires a reaction, have been using Afghan proxies to attack Pakistan, according to reports from Asia which you will never read in any American newspaper.

It's no coincidence that spectacular bombings and gory suicide attacks keep happening in Pakistan whenever it seems the government is approaching a condition of peaceful co-existence with the so-called militants who live in the mountains near the border with Afghanistan. Or is it?

It's no coincidence that American forces were moving freely, un-hampered by the usual security precautions, in Islamabad's Marriott Hotel just before the hotel was the site of a spectacular bombing attack. Or is it?

It's no coincidence that Baithulla Mehsud, Pakistan's public enemy number one, who has recently been blamed for virtually everything, and who has made outrageous public threats against the American homeland, eludes the Pakistan security forces whenever they get close to him, while communicating using encryption they cannot crack. Or is it?

It doesn't take a genius to connect these dots. Or does it?

And I have met my destiny
In quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself
-- ABBA: "Waterloo"

A longer-term view of Pakistan's current problem would show that its roots were planted almost exactly 30 years ago. In the mid-70s, Afghanistan had shaken off its long-standing feudal monarchy and was beginning to move in progressive directions. A democratic election had empowered a legitimate, representative government, for the first time in Afghanistan's history, and a new social and economic awakening seemed imminent.

Unfortunately for the people of Afghanistan, these developments provided an opportunity certain Americans had been waiting for. They called their plan "Operation Cyclone" and they implemented it in secret. It involved recruiting the baddest bad-guys they could find in the Muslim world, and bringing them to the US for training in terrorist techniques such as murder and sabotage. Once trained, they were sent to Pakistan, were infiltrated into Afghanistan, and began to wreak havoc.

The new government of Afghanistan -- still trying to figure out how to make social democracy work in an Islamic context -- was not at all prepared to deal with terrorists, and asked the Soviet Union for help with security. The Soviets wanted no part of Afghanistan's problem, but neither could they sit back and watch while terrorists destabilized a neighboring country. And the Afghans kept begging for help.

In December of 1979, six months after "Operation Cyclone" went into effect, the Soviets sent troops to assist the Afghan security services -- just what the Americans had hoped for. Immediately, propaganda organs around the world began to trumpet the "fact" that the Soviets had "invaded" Afghanistan. The terrorists who had been sent to attack Afghanistan now turned their attentions to the Soviet troops, and suddenly what had been an internal security problem became the trigger for a major war.

The war raged for almost a decade, killed more than a million people, and destroyed what little infrastructure there was to destroy in Afghanistan; it also did untold damage to the already-crumbling Soviet Union. This was all to the good, according to American policy-makers.

The USSR was at the time America's most powerful "competitor" in the "grand game" of global domination; its fall was a blessing to those American leaders who had been yearning to become the world's only superpower.

And as for Afghanistan, the experiment with social democracy there could not be allowed to stand, much less succeed, for the same reason that similar experiments cannot be allowed to stand anywhere else in the world that American military power can reach: to preserve the myth that capitalism -- unbridled dog-eat-dog militarized capitalism -- is the only path that can possibly lead to prosperity.

There were other factors involved, to be sure. We shouldn't say anything about Afghan poppies and CIA heroin trafficking. We shouldn't say anything about natural resources or pipeline routes either. To do so would put us off the map -- well beyond the limits imposed on "polite" political analysis and far too close to the reality behind the American occupation of Afghanistan today.

Thirty years ago the Soviet Union was the target, Afghanistan was an expendable battlefield, and Pakistan provided the logistical base. Now the situation is slightly different: China is the target, Afghanistan is the logistical base, and as for Pakistan ...

In terms of the "grand chessboard", one might be tempted to say that turnabout is fair play for Pakistan. Those who do the bully's dirty-work always end up as victims themselves. And what's been happening to Pakistan lately, and what's about to happen to Pakistan in the near-term Obama-driven future, could be seen as blowback: retribution for the crimes Pakistan has committed, in complicity with the Americans, against Afghanistan.

But the "grand game" is simply an abstraction, one that "justifies" mass murder on a horrific scale in defense of dimly perceived "national interests". In reality, we're talking about hundreds of millions of people whose lives are about to be destroyed, or in the process of being destroyed, as the "players" continue to see strategic advantage in the destruction and destabilization of foreign countries.

And -- for the most part, and as always -- the victims, and the soon-to-be victims, have done nothing wrong. They've been trying to live their lives and provide for their families under a repressive government which came to power with American support, and which, for most of the past several decades, has been doing America's bidding. Is it a coincidence that the people of Iraq can say the very same thing?

"Operation Cyclone", which filled Afghanistan with terrorists and planted the roots that grew into both the Taliban and al Qaeda, was started during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. The Carter administration's marketing slogan -- "Human Rights" -- gave it perfect cover for a clandestine program of fomenting terrorism in one country in order to destabilize another. And the chief architect behind the plan, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Carter's National Security Advisor, is now one of Barack Obama's inner circle. That's no coincidence, either.

And this, ultimately, is what makes a major escalation of the war between the US and Pakistan inevitable. The Obama administration embodies none of the change we were hoping for. We are still governed by Bush/Clinton retreads, neo-con chicken hawks, friends and agents of Israel, and Wall Street bankers. None of these people see anything wrong with the American imperial project. The destruction of Pakistan is, and always has been, essential to that project. And the movers and shakers don't care how much pain and suffering they cause.

To prevent a disastrous war between the USA and Pakistan, it would be necessary to dismantle the American imperial system, and this -- as we keep seeing over and over and over -- is not about to happen.

We are all on the run
On our knees
The sundial draws a line upon eternity
Across every number.
-- Van Der Graaf Generator: "Arrow"

 


Offline bigron

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May 10, 2009

Pakistan faces biggest human flood since 1947


By Andrew Buncombe
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/pakistan-faces-biggest-human-flood-since-1947-1682309.html


Refugees queue for food at a camp in northern Pakistan


Half a million people are being displaced by Pakistan's military operations against the Taliban


Her name was Sahin and in a matter of hours her world had been broken. As fighting raged in their hometown of Mingora – fighter jets screaming overhead and mortar fire pounding – she and her husband tried to escape with their 10 children. Amid the chaos, her husband was killed by an artillery shell. There was hardly time to bury him in the courtyard of a neighbour's house before Sahin was forced to think of the children and of somehow leading them to safety by herself. They walked for "hours and hours" before, in a neighbouring town, they found a bus. That bus brought them to a camp for the displaced, a place for the beleaguered, for those with nowhere else to go.

Now huddled with her six girls and four sons – three of whom are disabled – Sahin, in her early 50s, can barely think of the future. "Even if the conflict stops we cannot go back as the house has been destroyed," she said. Her family has barely more than the clothes they were wearing when they fled.

Across a 50-mile swathe of north-west Pakistan, countless stories similar to Sahin's could be told. Pakistan's military has mounted what appears to be a major operation against Taliban fighters who have seized control of several districts little more than 60 miles from the capital, Islamabad. "This is not a normal war. This is a guerilla war," Pakistan's prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani said yesterday. "This is our own war. This is war for the survival of the country." The army said 55 militants were killed in clashes around Swat yesterday.

Aid groups have warned of a human tide of up to 500,000 people fleeing their homes. The UN said an estimated 200,000 have fled the Swat valley and its main town, Mingora, in the past few days alone, while another 300,000 are poised to flee if they get the chance. This would create a total of one million people forced from their homes by fighting in the past 12 months. It represents the biggest internal displacement of people in Pakistan since independence more than 60 years ago.

"People are in shock. In some cases their homes have been destroyed by mortar shells. They are wondering when they'll be able to go back. Others say they will not be able to go back," said Antonia Paradela, an official with Unicef who interviewed Sahin and other refugees in the Sheikh Shehzad refugee camp near Mardan, a city in the south of the Swat valley. "This is the place where the families are coming. They are tired, sweaty, dusty. There are whole families crying because they have lost someone. But there is also a sense of relief to be out of the danger."

Under mounting international pressure, the government of Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan's military launched the Swat, formerly a tourist destination, after a controversial, three-month ceasefire with the militants fell apart. After an earlier military effort failed to dislodge the fighters who had extended their violent influence operation to drive the Taliban from Swat, formerly a tourist destination, after a controversial, three-month ceasefire with the militants fell apart. After an earlier military effort failed to dislodge the fighters who hadthroughout the valley over a two-year period, the government in February signed a peace deal which included an agreement to establish Sharia courts in Swat and some neighbouring areas.

The Taliban, however, failed to meet its end of the agreement and lay down its arms. Indeed, emboldened by the government's acquiescence, the militants then spread from Swat into the neighbouring and strategically important Buner valley. The army is also battling to drive the Taliban from Buner and nearby Lower Dir.

While journalists are, in effect, prevented from reaching the war zone, the military's operation – which involves more than 5,000 troops pitched against an estimated 5,000 Taliban fighters – appears unexpectedly firm, and officials said that 140 militants had already been killed in the past two days. Some observers had wondered whether the army, trained and prepared to fight a conventional war against India, had the will or the capability to take on a well-trained guerrilla enemy.

There was also speculation whether, in the week that Barack Obama outlined his new "Af-Pak" strategy to Mr Zardari and the Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, in Washington, there may have been a reluctance to fight what could have been seen as another battle in America's war. The Obama administration's policy of using missiles fired from unmanned drones at suspected militant targets and the subsequent civilian "collateral damage" this causes is hugely unpopular in Pakistan.

Yet this time, several things appear different. From the start, the battle for Swat has been pitched as a battle for the future of the Pakistan – and one that has been directed by the Pakistani authorities rather than Americans. In a televised address on Thursday as the military operation was formally announced, the Prime Minister, Yousaf Gilani, said: "In order to restore honour and dignity of the country, the armed forces have been called in to eliminate militants and terrorists. We will eliminate those who have tried to destroy the peace of the country."

The seemingly widespread support for this operation, as opposed to Washington's drone strikes, appears based in large part on growing public dismay with the Taliban. With the Taliban having embarked on a policy of burning girls' schools and beheading their opponents, only to be "rewarded" with a deal that saw Sharia law enacted, the Pakistani public is growing more anxious as the militants' threat has increased rather than reduced.

Those involved in brokering the ceasefire say the Taliban have now exposed their true colours and must be dealt with by force. "What the people know is that we tried everything possible. The Taliban had their own agenda and that has become clear to people," said Bushra Gohar, the vice-president of the Awami National Party, which heads the regional government in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). "We hope this will be a clearly targeted operation that will go after the training camps and the leadership."

Analysts say the operation to drive the militants from Swat and then hold the ground to allow the return of a civilian administration could take months. With the militants having established themselves across Swat's mountainous terrain over the past two years, even if the military succeeds in forcing them from Mingora and other towns, the Taliban could retreat to smaller adjacent valleys and strike back with bomb attacks on convoys, checkpoints and military camps. It is also likely that the militants could increase suicide strikes on targets outside Swat to act as a diversion.

Some commentators have speculated that in such circumstances, an inconclusive but bloody campaign with a large number of civilian casualties would undermine public support for the operation. The army says it is determined to succeed. "The army is now engaged in a full-scale operation to eliminate the militants, miscreants and anti-state elements from Swat," said the army's spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas. "They are on the run and trying to block the exodus of civilians from the area."

As a result, hundreds of thousands more people like Sahin are likely to be rushing desperately out of Swat and towards the refugee camps at the southern end of the valley in the coming days. At the moment, only a tiny fraction of the displaced are being housed in the camps – the majority being able to stay with relatives or in rented rooms – but in the coming weeks that could change.

Sahin, her children and some other members of her family have nowhere else to go. Five months ago, when an earlier spike in violence drove them from Swat, they were able to stay with relatives in Peshawar. This time, that option was not available to them, she said. For now the family must sit amid the tents of the camp at Sheikh Shehzad, waiting and wondering.


Offline bigron

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Monday, May 11, 2009
12:41 Mecca time, 09:41 GMT   
News CENTRAL/S. ASIA 
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/200951161853115852.html

 
Swat refugees tell of abandonment 


 
Eleven refugee camps have been set up around the North West Frontier Province [AFP]
 

 
Residents fleeing the Pakistani military's offensive against Taliban fighters in the Swat valley have told Al Jazeera of their sense of abandonment at the hands of both sides.

The government said on Monday it would continue its campaign against the Taliban in the North West Frontier Province, while thousands of people continued to arrive in refugee camps in nearby Mardan.

The exodus is said to be the largest movement of people in Pakistan for 60 years. An estimated 500,000 people are running away from the fighting with the few belongings they can carry.

Abdur Rahman, one of the displaced who fled to Mardan, told Al Jazeera: "People from all over - from Matta, Mingora and from everywhere - [are fleeing] on foot. Women and children and even old women and old men.

"Some of them died on the road, but no one was willing to offer us any help - neither the army nor the Taliban.

"They are both committing atrocities and cruelty against the ordinary people."

It was not possible for Al Jazeera to verify accusations of atrocities.

Civilian exodus

About half a million people are believed to be leaving the region, in addition to more than 550,000 people already displaced from Swat and nearby areas since August.

In video :


 Mass exodus from Swat :
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/2009510164633389737.html

 Aid camps face challenge to accommodate displaced :
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/2009510164633389737.html

 Deepening crisis in Swat :
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/20095911182798557.html

 Washington welcomes Pakistan Swat offensive :
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/200951143310152645.html
 
The army lifted its curfew on the area briefly on Sunday to allow residents to flee, before imposing it again with a "shoot on sight" order for anyone who violated it.

Many of those fleeing have headed to nearby villages, but thousands more are gathering at any of 11 refugee camps around the province.

Reporting from Islamabad, the capital, Al Jazeera's Sohail Rahman said: "That exodus of civilians continues ... it's a desperate situation.

"Those that have managed to escape the Swat valley during that curfew period on Sunday are certainly making thier way to those camps in and around the southern part of the region, and outside Peshawar, the provincial capital."

Economic concerns

The offensive has been praised by the US, which wants Pakistan to root out havens where Taliban fighters are said to plan attacks on American and Nato forces fighting in Afghanistan.

In depth :


 Q&A: The struggle for Swat :
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/200956154619727525.html

 Talking to the Taliban :
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/03/200939102529353355.html

 Pakistan's war :
http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/general/2008/12/200812211123302404.html

 
But analysts warn that the military's campaign will have sever knock-on effects in terms of the local economy, which in Swat has become dominated by agriculture in the years since its position as a tourist destination faded.

"They [those fleeing] will be losing their agriculture, their livestock ... in addition to that, their houses and their family networks," Zafar Jaspal, a professor at Islamabad's Quaid-i-Azam university, told Al Jazeera.

"When we look at Swat and these areas' agriculture, number one is fruit - and fruit trees need care. If no one is there, how can they care [for] them? Number two is that it is the harvest season for the wheat crop and who will go for harvesting?

"It has not only a short-term implication but a long-term implication in the economic sector."

Offensive continues

Despite the concerns, the military's campaign shows little sign of letting up, with Rehman Malik, Pakistan's interior minister, on Monday vowing that the operation will "continue until the last" fighter has been ousted.

He said that the military had already killed up to 700 fighters.

Military aircraft pounded Taliban positions close to Mingora, Swat's main town, early on Monday, and there were reports that the army had jammed FM radio station run by the Taliban in Swat.

"It was through those FM stations that they were able to pass their information and go on a campaign of their own, a propaganda campaign," Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Peshawar, said.

But in a reminder of the dire security situation faced by those displaced by the fighting, a suicide blast at a checkpoint outside Peshawar killed as many as 10 people, police say, and wounded dozens more.

Officials said that a man detonated a car full of explosives on the outskirts of Darra Adam Ghek.

The bomb site and a nearby tunnel were sealed off, while the injured are being taken to hospital, a military official said.
 
 Source: Al Jazeera and agencies 
 
 

Offline bigron

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Pakistan war fuels international tensions


by Peter Symonds

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54184&hd=&size=1&l=e


11 May 2009

Comments by China’s ambassador in Islamabad last Thursday highlight the reckless character of the Obama administration’s escalating intervention in Pakistan. By pressuring Islamabad to wage an all-out military offensive against Islamic insurgents in the Swat Valley and neighbouring districts, Washington is not only destabilising Pakistan but raising tensions in a highly volatile area.

Speaking to Pakistani business leaders, Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui pointedly voiced concern about the growth of "outside influence" in the region. He singled out the US in particular, saying that China was worried about US policies and the presence of a large number of foreign troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. While reiterating China’s support for "the fight against terror," Luo declared that US strategies needed some "corrective measures". He added, "These are issues of serious concern for China."

Luo’s unusually blunt remarks came just one day after US President Obama spoke to his Chinese counterpart, President Hu Jintao. While a number of issues were discussed, the escalating war in Pakistan was clearly high on the agenda. This first publicised phone call between the two men came as Obama met with the Afghan and Pakistani presidents over US strategy in the two countries. While Hu reportedly offered his cooperation, Luo’s comments express China’s underlying fears over growing US influence in South Asia.

Last week’s tripartite summit in Washington signalled a major upsurge in military violence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Under intense pressure from the US, the Pakistani army has launched a large-scale offensive against militants in the Swat Valley in which hundreds have already died and hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee. The summit, however, involved more than discussions on military cooperation, outlining comprehensive plans for the closer economic and strategic integration of the two countries into an American sphere of influence.

China, which has longstanding ties with Pakistan, is obviously disturbed by these developments. As Ambassador Luo told his business audience, more than 60 Chinese companies are involved in 122 projects in Pakistan. He noted the "close liaison" with Pakistan over the security of over 10,000 Chinese engineers and technical experts in the country. In fact, Beijing has previously insisted on reprisals over the abduction and killing of Chinese citizens by Pakistani militants as well as military action against Islamic Uighur separatists from western China taking refuge in Pakistan.

More fundamentally, Beijing regards Islamabad as a crucial partner in its own regional strategy. China devoted considerable resources to building up Pakistan as a counterweight to India after the 1962 Sino-Indian border war. Pakistan is the largest purchaser of Chinese arms and, according to the Pentagon, accounted for 36 percent of China’s military exports between 2003 and 2007. Chinese technical assistance was critical to Pakistan’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs.

In return, China received the green light to build a major naval/commercial port facility at Gwadar, a coastal town in Baluchistan. The port is the linchpin of Beijing’s "string of pearls" strategy to establish access for its expanding navy to a series of ports along key sea routes across the Indian Ocean—above all, to protect oil and gas supplies from the Middle East and Africa. For its part, the US, which regards China as a rising economic and strategic rival, is determined to maintain its military, including naval, predominance.

US-China tensions over Pakistan only highlight the deeply destabilising role of Washington’s aggressive intervention, firstly in subjugating Afghanistan, and now in seeking to bring Pakistan more directly under its sway. The escalating conflict in Pakistan is a direct product of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, which the Bush administration forced Pakistan to support under the threat of becoming a military target itself. Widespread opposition inside Pakistan and Afghanistan to US actions has fuelled a growing insurgency that threatens not only the US occupation of Afghanistan, but a full-scale civil war in Pakistan.

US imperialism, under the Obama administration, is determined to exploit the very disasters it has created in order to advance its strategic interests throughout the broader region, especially in energy-rich Central Asia. By doing so, Washington is fundamentally altering the precarious strategic balance and threatening to draw the other major powers into the vortex.

China is not alone in its fear of US designs in Central Asia and the presence of large numbers of foreign troops in Afghanistan. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US has been seeking to establish military alliances and economic ties with the newly established Central Asian Republics. Washington exploited its invasion of Afghanistan to establish military bases in Central Asia for the first time. Afghanistan and Pakistan also provided a potential alternate pipeline route to extract energy riches from the region. In response, China and Russia, which both regard the region as their backyard, came together in the Shanghai Cooperation Group to counter expanding American influence.

Neighbouring India is also watching events in Pakistan with trepidation. While quietly applauding Washington’s pressure on Islamabad to wage war against "terrorism", New Delhi is concerned that Pakistan’s closer incorporation under the American umbrella may lead to the downgrading of the US-Indian strategic partnership, which only developed in the late 1990s. The weakening of rival Pakistan, against which India has fought three wars, is no doubt welcomed in New Delhi. But its replacement by a US client state, or worse its collapse into chaos, would only confront the Indian establishment with new uncertainties.

The entire region remains a potential powder keg. The Cold War certainties that divided the world between the Soviet and Western blocs have been replaced by new tensions and rivalries. Tentative steps by India and Pakistan to resolve their longstanding disputes, especially over Kashmir, have all but stalled. Efforts by China and India to improve relations have moved slowly. Each continues to eye the other with suspicion and to intrigue at each other’s expense in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Burma.

The most explosive ingredient in this volatile mixture is the attempt by US imperialism to use its military superiority to offset its long-term economic decline. Far from easing tensions, the installation of the Obama administration marked an aggressive new turn in the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan aimed at advancing US ambitions. Last week’s comments by China’s ambassador are another sign that Washington’s moves will not go unopposed.





 

Offline bigron

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009
16:03 Mecca time, 13:03 GMT
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/05/2009512101233951264.html

   
PAKISTAN: THE BATTLE WITHIN 
 
Pakistan diary: Peshawar protests 
 
 By Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan

 
Taliban fighters have launched frequent and deadly attacks in Peshawar - the commercial and cultural hub of the frontier province [EPA]

Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's reporter in Pakistan, will be filing regular dispatches from the country as the army battles Taliban fighters in the North West Frontier Province.



Peshawar, Tuesday, May 12, 2009, 09:22 GMT

Peshawar is a town with a past littered with the ghosts of war.


A palpable fear now hangs over the city after frequent deadly attacks [EPA]


Traditionally it has inhabited the crossroads between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It was here the British Empire headquartered its great game against Russia in the 19th century.

It is here that the Afghan mujahideen gathered logistics to fight their war against Russian occupation in the 1980's.

This dusty town with its cobbled alleyways was the place where CIA agents mingled with their Pakistani counterparts to conduct their war in Afghanistan after the twin towers in New York fell.

And now Peshawar is once again at the centre of conflict.

It's already home to thousands of refugees fleeing those wars in Afghanistan.

But this time its war is raging within Pakistan's borders and those refugees are Pakistani.

It's had an incredible effect on Pakistan.

The media here have dubbed this the biggest movement of people since partition, when millions crossed the new border between Pakistan and India in 1947.

"The media here have dubbed this the biggest movement of people since partition... in 1947"
 
Ordinary Pakistanis have taken to the streets demanding the fighting stops.

One taxi driver told me he fears the break-up of Pakistan.

Another shop owner in one of Peshawar's hotels says war will only make the situation worse, that the Taliban will hide in the mountains and fight until the bitter end.

The bitter end.

It's worth thinking about how exactly Pakistan will end its military operation.

The government wants a swift operation that will allow them to claim victory.

Analysts say the army wants to be able to secure the area quickly and withdraw leaving the police in charge.

At the time of writing, the end is nowhere in sight.

The only thing we can say with any degree of certainty is that Pakistanis will flood into the camps and the battle still rages.
 
 
 Source: Al Jazeera 
 
 
 
 
 

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http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090508/REVIEW/705079996/1008

Legends of the Fall

Manan Ahmed examines the decades-old tradition of experts predicting that Pakistan is sure to collapse any day now.

Times are bleak for the state of Pakistan, if the international media is to be believed. For the past six weeks, the world’s newspapers have charted the apparently unstoppable march of the Taliban toward Islamabad – with daily reminders that their forces are “only 100 miles” and then “only 80 miles” and then “only 60 miles” from the capital. That Pakistan is a “failed state” or “on the brink” no longer even requires elaboration: it is the universal consensus among pundits and “area experts” alike.

In the United States, the news articles have begun to game out the fall of the regime: the New York Times, hardly alone in its hyperventilating, has run two stories in as many weeks about America courting the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif as a replacement for Asif Ali Zardari's government. The counterinsurgency guru David Kilcullen, a former adviser to General David Petraeus, has suggested in print that the state could fail within six months, while Petraeus himself warns that the next two weeks will be decisive, and that the army may have to return to power to prevent a total collapse.

The notion of Pakistan as a “failed state” has roots far deeper than the last few years; it was first deemed to have “failed” in the early 1960s, and this framework has dominated discussion of Pakistan in America from the days of the Cold War to the War on Terror. The surprisingly long history of the rhetoric of failure reveals that America’s engagement with Pakistan has rarely, if ever, transcended narrow strategic aims – and that, for the United States, the solution to Pakistan’s problems has always been, and will always be, the strong hand of a military ruler.

It was that under the rule of the military usurper Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan that Pakistan was adopted as a Cold War ally and held up as a model “developing nation”. During Khan’s tenure, Pakistan was said to enjoy the benefits of a so-called “developmental dictatorship” – many dams were built and much cement was poured.

The US even helped Ayub Khan engineer an election victory in 1965. But shortly thereafter, he foolishly went to war with India; his popularity plummeted, and his flashy foreign minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, began a national campaign for a democracy based on socialist principles. Bhutto’s rise ran afoul of the “domino theory” intended to check the spread of Communism; it was in this context that Pakistan was first crowned a “failed state” – giving rise to decades worth of books and studies with titles like The Failure of Democracy in Pakistan (1962), The Failure of Parliamentary Politics in Pakistan, 1953-1958 (1967), Pakistan: Failure in National Integration (1968), Ethnic Conflict and the Failure of Political Integration in Pakistan (1973), Pakistan, Failure in Nation Building (1977) and Pakistan On the Brink (2004).

By 1979, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, another military dictator, Zia ul-Haq, ruled Pakistan, and the country once again became a pivotal US ally, funnelling arms and funds to the mujahideen across the border. The billions in US military aid during that decade of armed conflict had two direct consequences for the present situation. First, the Pakistani army became a monster on steroids, stacked against the fragile civil and bureaucratic state. And second, the guerrilla-trained militias that ejected the Russians found themselves in charge of the country next door. But Zia’s demise in 1988, and Pakistan’s return to democracy, rendered it a “failed state” all over again.

The “failed state” rubric dominated the 1990s, as Pakistan became a nuclear power while stagnating economically under the burden of crippling foreign debt. But the attacks of September 11 brought Pakistan back into the American fold as a “close ally in the War on Terror”, under the leadership of Pervez Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup. If Pakistan was on the brink of failure, few in America wanted to talk about it – at least until 2007, when Musharraf’s firing of the chief justice sparked street protests that eventually led to his resignation. The exiled leaders Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif returned to contest the state’s first democratic elections in more than a decade. Now the floodgates opened: a Newsweek cover story in October 2007 dubbed Pakistan “the most dangerous place in the world”, nicely setting the tone for everything we’ve heard since.

This decades-long tendency to reduce Pakistan’s complexity to either “failure” or “stability” reflects, above all, a glaring poverty of knowledge about the real lives of 175 million Pakistanis today. Since 2007 alone, they removed a dictator from military and civilian power without firing a single shot, held the first national election since 1997 – in which right-wing radical parties were soundly rejected – and launched a secular movement for justice.

None of this matters, we are told, because Pakistan is facing “an existential threat” from “violent extremists”, as a State Department spokesman said on Monday. US generals and media commentators are hinting that a military takeover may be the only way to arrest the imminent “failure” – to combat the “Talibanisation” of Pakistan and keep the dreaded nukes from “falling into the hands” of terrorist groups.

A comically exaggerated version of reality underpins such concerns. There are roughly 400 to 500 Pakistani Taliban fighters in the Buner region (the area deemed to threateningly close to Islamabad) and 15,000 to 20,000 operating in the region between Peshawar and the north-west borders of Pakistan. Meanwhile, the number of active Pakistani army personnel ranges around 500,000, supported by an annual budget of approximately $4 billion. In comparison, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan make an estimated yearly revenue of around $400 million from the heroin trade – only a fraction of which makes it to the Pakistani wing in the rural north-west of the country. As a threat to a large and diverse nation-state, 40 per cent of whose population lives in urban centres like Karachi (with its 18 million residents) the rural Taliban fighters are not terribly intimidating.

Pakistan is neither Somalia nor Sudan, nor even Iraq or Afghanistan. It is a thoroughly modern state with vast infrastructure, a fiercely critical and diverse media, an active, global economy and strong ties with regional powers such as China and Iran. It is not a “failed state” – it even has met its debt payments to the World Bank and IMF at the expense of providing electricity to its citizens. It has a deeply entrenched civil bureaucracy. The “failed state” rhetoric obscures these realities. It hides the fact that religious-based parties have never garnered more than 10 per cent of the seats in any election. According to its 1973 constitution Pakistan is an Islamic state, but it is home to multiple forms of religious expression, and the majority of Muslims in Pakistan embrace a model of Islam more syncretic than the Deobandi Salafism of the Taliban. The majority province of Punjab is ethnically, linguistically, politically and economically far more diverse than the northwestern valley of Swat – and it is home to a well-entrenched landed elite unlikely to cede authority to the Taliban. Sindh has its own landed elite – as well as a powerful urban political party, MQM – neither of whom show any inclination to welcome the Taliban.

Even if Pakistan is not going to capitulate to the Taliban, it does face grave dangers, and the “failed state” rhetoric – dangerous in its own right – forces our attention away from them. In Baluchistan, as a direct result of Musharraf’s heavy-handed military policies, a civil war has been brewing since 2005, and there is no military solution to that unrest. At the same time, anti-Americanism is rising across the country in reaction to the campaign of missile strikes from unmanned US drones, which have killed nearly 1000 civilians since August 2008. The drones have emboldened religious conservatives who decry “US imperialism” at work in Pakistan, and they are gaining strength with every tally of civilian casualties. The Tehrik Taliban-e Pakistan control in Swat is less a victory for that ragtag militia than a demonstration of the Army’s unwillingness to fully engage them.

The monotonous drone of “failure” implies that the fragile democracy currently in place is not worth preserving. It encourages the marginalisation of the civilian government and boosts the claims of both the military and the militants. Pakistan’s salvation has never been and will never be in the military’s hands. The country’s future lies with the millions of Pakistanis who are working to sustain democracy – and what must be defended is their resilience and strength, to prevent the self-fulfilling prophecies of failure.

Manan Ahmed, a historian of Islam in South Asia at the University of Chicago, blogs at Chapati Mystery at http://www.chapatimystery.com

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline bigron

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009
15:00 Mecca time, 12:00 GMT
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/05/200951382838919391.html

   
PAKISTAN: THE BATTLE WITHIN 
 
Pakistan diary: Army selling story 
 
 By Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan
 
   
The Pakistani military says the capture of the Taliban stronghold was vitally important [EPA]



Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's reporter in Pakistan, will be filing regular dispatches from the country as the army battles Taliban fighters in the North West Frontier Province.



Peshawar, Wednesday, May 13, 06:43 GMT



The army is really selling its side of the story.

On Tuesday, it proudly told the media that it had managed to capture a key Taliban stronghold, Gatt Pachar.


The humanitarian crisis persists as thousands of families are displaced by fighting [AFP]



This mountain is the base of Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.


It is said to house armed fighters, training camps and arms dumps. Capturing it was key.

But has it made a difference?

Well, yes and no. Denying the Taliban any ground is crucial. But were key Taliban leaders there at the time?

It would appear not. That's an issue.

The longer Mullah Fazlullah evades capture, the more of a totem he becomes, and a symbol for the Taliban fighters.

That gives him strength and power beyond his tactical skills.


Speculation suggests that Fazlullah remains in the Swat valley. Sources close to the Taliban have told Al Jazeera that Fazlullah knew that the army would target his base and that, by leaving fighters there, he was able to escape along with the senior leadership.


That's important because the Taliban has plenty of fighters, but what the group lacks is men with military knowledge to guide them.

Experts say the Taliban's senior leaders have that knowledge, which encompasses guerrilla warfare, bombmaking and other skills.

If Mullah Fazlullah and men such as his senior commander Ibn-e-Amin perish, then the army can say the Taliban has been defeated.

So far, the Taliban insists that its leaders are all still alive and battle goes on.

So, while the army sells its message of success, success, success others are less sure.

The humanitarian crisis continues; so far, the government says 1.3 million have been displaced. Ordinary Pakistanis are watching the pictures on their television screens nightly and wondering how on earth this spells peace.


Peshawar, Tuesday, May 12, 2009, 09:22 GMT

Peshawar is a town with a past littered with the ghosts of war.


A palpable fear now hangs over the city after frequent deadly attacks [EPA]


Traditionally it has inhabited the crossroads between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It was here the British Empire headquartered its great game against Russia in the 19th century.

It is here that the Afghan mujahidin gathered logistics to fight their war against Russian occupation in the 1980s.

This dusty town with its cobbled alleyways was the place where CIA agents mingled with their Pakistani counterparts to conduct their war in Afghanistan after the twin towers in New York fell.

And now Peshawar is once again at the centre of conflict.

It's already home to thousands of refugees fleeing those wars in Afghanistan.

But this time its war is raging within Pakistan's borders and those refugees are Pakistani.

It's had an incredible effect on Pakistan.

The media here have dubbed this the biggest movement of people since partition, when millions crossed the new border between Pakistan and India in 1947.

 
Ordinary Pakistanis have taken to the streets demanding the fighting stops.

One taxi driver told me he fears the break-up of Pakistan.

Another shop owner in one of Peshawar's hotels says war will only make the situation worse, that the Taliban will hide in the mountains and fight until the bitter end.

The bitter end.

It's worth thinking about how exactly Pakistan will end its military operation.

The government wants a swift operation that will allow them to claim victory.

Analysts say the army wants to be able to secure the area quickly and withdraw leaving the police in charge.

At the time of writing, the end is nowhere in sight.

The only thing we can say with any degree of certainty is that Pakistanis will flood into the camps and the battle still rages.
 
 
 Source: Al Jazeera 
 
 
 
 
 

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Cambodia Deja Vu: the Invasion of Pakistan

by William Pfaff

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54203&hd=&size=1&l=e

May 12, 2009

PARIS -- Last September, during the American presidential campaign, I wrote a column declaring that the United States had again invaded Cambodia, only this time "Cambodia" was Pakistan. President George W. Bush had ordered U.S. ground attacks on the Taliban inside Pakistan's Tribal Territories, without Pakistan's authorization.

That was also when Barack Obama's foreign policy campaign platform was promising withdrawal from Iraq and military emphasis on Afghanistan and Pakistan, location of the "real" problem in the great war on terror.

A younger generation than mine, including senior military officers (not to speak of Barack Obama), may not know exactly why the United States and the South Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia in 1970, and what the result was. The invasion was a failure, and the result a humanitarian catastrophe.

Washington, frustrated in its war against the Communist Viet Cong in South Vietnam, which eventually included bombing on a scale greater than the bombing of Germany in the Second World War, decided it could solve its problem by an invasion to cut the Communist supply routes inside neutral Cambodia (which it nonetheless was also bombing: dropping 540,000 tons of explosive on Cambodia over four years).

The invasion accomplished nothing except further destruction in Cambodia. It destroyed the U.S.-supported military government in Cambodia and empowered the native Cambodian Communist resistance, known as the Khmer Rouge, which eventually, in order to create a utopian society, killed some 2 million of its fellow Cambodians.

The later head of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale wrote of the bombing: "The emergent Communist party . . . profited greatly . . . (using) the widespread devastation and massacre of civilians (to justify) its brutal, radical policies."

Three years after the invasion, the Viet Cong, with its North Vietnamese allies, forced American forces to retreat from Vietnam, and by 1975 ruled the country. In Cambodia, the genocide had begun.

The invasion was occasion for Richard Nixon to declare that the U.S. was not "a second-rate power" nor "a pitiful helpless giant" standing by while "the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy . . . threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world."

How long ago it seems -- 39 years! And here we are again.

The United States, despite its plan to deploy nearly 70,000 troops this year in Afghanistan, finds itself and its NATO allies in danger of defeat by the Taliban guerillas.

U.S. bombing, with remote-controlled "drones," of the Pakistani Tribal Territories, where the Taliban take refuge among their Pathan tribal kinsmen, has killed many people but has had no decisive effect on the fighting in Afghanistan.

American bombing inside Afghanistan is protested by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who says the air-strikes are fast turning the Afghans against the U.S., which risks "losing the moral battle" against the Taliban. Gen. James L. Jones, U.S. national security adviser, says, "We can't fight with one hand tied behind our back."

Karzai says, "How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?" Jones says of Karzai, "I think he understands that we have to have a full compliment of our offensive military power when we need it."

The former Pakistani military government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf was unwilling to send the Pakistan army into the Tribal Territories to attack the Taliban and al-Qaida.

He is now ousted, and the civilian government led by President Asif Ali Zardari, put under immense pressure by Washington, and frightened by the success of the Taliban in operations outside the Tribal Region, has agreed to the ground offensive now going on, in which Pakistani commanders are accompanied by U.S liaison officers and air controllers.

U.S. Command in "Af-Pak" now has been transferred, in obvious urgency, to former Joint Special Operations commander Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Will a special forces officer think that guerrillas -- with refuge in an inaccessible and unconquered region, amid a tri-national ethnic population of some 40 million fellow Pathans -- can be beaten by guided bombs or special forces raids? Or that an unenthusiastic Pakistani army will do the job? Or 70,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, when the Taliban can always refuse battle and pull back into the mountains?

Moreover, what is supposed to be accomplished by this war against the Taliban, which threatens to leave Afghanistan in ruins, and to tear Pakistan apart? Do the Taliban threaten the United States? Most of them could not find the United States on a map.

What have they ever done to the United States? What if the United States would just go away and leave the Pakistanis, Afghans and Pathans to settle this among themselves?

President Barack Obama says the war will not be won by military means but by a "surge" of civilian development experts, reconstruction leaders and democracy teachers, just as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently told Congress that the U.S. is training. Will this "surge" get there in time? My own feeling is that President Obama is in over his head; and that American military command, not knowing what else to do, is reverting to Vietnam, which most of its members were too young to experience.

Visit William Pfaff's Web site at www.williampfaff.com.




 

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May 13th, 2009

Pakistani teen surrounded by ’shooting and shelling’

Posted: 08:49 AM ET
By Ivan Watson
http://cnnwire.blogs.cnn.com/

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — A teenage boy trapped alone in an orphanage that has been commandeered by soldiers in Pakistan’s Swat Valley says he is terrified.

“The situation outside is extremely bad and scary,” said the boy, who is identified by his teachers using his first name Ubaid. “All the time I hear shooting and shelling.”

About 50 orphans and 20 teachers and administrators escaped the Khpal Kor Foundation orphanage in the Swat district capital of Mingora over the past week. The last group of children fled last Sunday, walking an estimated 40 kilometers (25 miles). There were no cars available.

The orphanage director says Ubaid got separated from the group during the chaotic escape. He eventually made his way back to the orphanage.

“Curfew is imposed everywhere outside,” Ubaid said in a short telephone conversation with CNN on Wednesday. “These guys are giving me food and water.”

Pakistani soldiers said they are taking care of the boy.

“We are not letting this boy go out,” said Hawaldar Nawaz, a Pakistani soldier who took the phone from Ubaid. “Whoever goes out during curfew is shot dead, regardless whether he is a civilian or a militant.”

Other orphans who escaped Mingora said the soldiers set up sandbags on the top floor of the four-story orphanage to use as a look-out post. The troops also buried land mines in the playground to protect their post from Taliban attacks.

“Mingora has become a massive battlefield,” Nawaz said. “Even now, there are corpses scattered everywhere outside and nobody can pick them up because of the curfew.”




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U.S., Pakistan Jointly Carry Out Drone Missions

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,520001,00.html


May 11: Soldiers of Pakistan's paramilitary force patrol in troubled Buner in Pakistan.



In a significant move, Pakistan has reportedly allowed armed U.S. Predator drones to fly inside its geographical territory for the first time to carry out airstrikes against the Taliban and other extremist groups.

Under the new partnership, U.S. drones will be allowed to venture beyond the borders of Afghanistan into Pakistan's territory under the direction of Pakistani military officials, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.

Pakistan military officials are working with their American counterparts at a command center in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, the paper reported.

The program was created to enhance Pakistan's ability and willingness to counter rising militant groups that pose a growing threat against the government and fuel attacks in Afghanistan.

"This is about building trust. This is about giving them capabilities they do not currently have to help them defeat this radical extreme element that is in their country," the paper quoted a senior U.S. military official as saying.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, on a recent trip to Washington, reiterated a request that his country obtain its own fleet of Predator drones, but U.S. officials have all but ruled out the possibility.

Instead, the new joint operation is being touted as an effective compromise.

Pakistan, which has previously denied allowing U.S. drones to take off from an airbase within its borders to carry out attacks in the lawless tribal region along the Afghan border, did not deny that the joint program is now in place.

"The program marks a significant departure from how the war against Taliban insurgents has been fought for most of the last seven years," the Times said.


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Published on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 by CommonDreams.org


The Mistake of Afghanizing Pakistan

We cannot expect Pakistan to do what America could not


by Abdul Malik Mujahid

As Pakistan begins an all-out air and land assault on its own people and its president asks America for drones, we must ask: Can Pakistan succeed in defeating the Taliban when America has not?

We must consider that if America, with its military might, satellites and well-equipped soldiers has not been able to stop the Taliban from crisscrossing the Afghan-Pakistan border in the last seven years, we cannot expect Pakistan to be able to accomplish that for us.

As a child living in southern Pakistan, hundreds of miles away from Afghanistan, I used to watch the camel caravans of Afghans as they descended on our town at the beginning of winter. One or two families with children would be riding on a few camels as the men walked along. The rest of the camels would be carrying firewood to sell to the locals. Although that was forty years ago, the cultural ties between the two people are still essentially the same.

There is literally no border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, or, for that matter, between Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Yes, there are soldiers on a couple of roads entering each country, but overall, these are open borders.

People living on both sides of Afghanistan's border are tribally and linguistically the same. They have crossed between the countries freely for centuries.

And America knows this.

America used this knowledge to its advantage when it trained, financed, equipped and guided Afghans to defeat the occupying Soviet Union in the 1980s. These Mujahideen -  then allies in America's war against communism by proxy - were Afghan refugees trained in Pakistan by the CIA. That began thirty years ago, not after 9/11.

This is why we cannot plead ignorance. We knew the region well enough. However, that knowledge did not help us stop Osama bin Laden and his friends from getting away during the Battle of Tora Bora.

Tora Bora is a cave complex in eastern Afghanistan originally built with the assistance of the CIA during the Mujahideen's resistance against Soviet occupation. Osama bin Laden and the CIA both being allies at one point, knew it well.

The U.S. believed that bin Laden and his allies were hiding in Tora Bora, but despite overrunning it, we failed to kill or capture him or his supporters. It is amazing that after seven years of using our cutting edge technology and spies, and a $50 million dollar bounty, we still don't know where he is and whether he is even dead or alive.

So if knowledge of the area is not the problem, then why did we succeed in defeating the Soviets but not the Taliban?

The answer lies in the support of the region's people and the advantage the terrain provides to them.

In the war against the Soviets, people on both sides of the Afghan border were in favor of it. This time they are not. Consider that in the 1980s, we did not have to enter the country to fight the Soviets. The local support meant we could "outsource" the actual fighting to those who shared our ideals and knew the territory best.

Fast forward to today: not only do we lack this acceptance for our goals in the region, but we are actually fighting in its rugged, high terrain that is ideal for guerrilla warfare, unlike the flat plains of Iraq.

If America cannot stop the Taliban from crossing the borders it controls, there is no chance Pakistan will be able to do the same.

We are making a deadly and costly mistake by trying to coerce Pakistan to achieve what we have failed to do. President Barack Obama has been reaching out to the Muslim world, seeking diplomacy over militarism. It must do the same in Afghanistan instead of Afganizing Pakistan.

Abdul Malik Mujahid is a Pak-American Imam in Chicago, President of Sound Vision, and serves as the vice chair for a Council for a Parliament of World Religions.


Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org

URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/05/12-9

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The real vs fake Taliban


By Nauman Qaiser

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54216&hd=&size=1&l=e

May 13, 2009

The recent threats to young girls - be it outside Park Tower in Karachi, any place where the elite class studies in Lahore, works or hangs out in the urban centres of the country - that they should cover themselves completely and shun western dress, else their faces would be defaced beyond recognition point to the glaring fact that the religious bigots who call themselves "Taliban" are not only at our door steps, but are here to stay. In the meanwhile, the number of terrorism-related incidents in the country, where the prime targets are the personnel of various security agencies besides hundreds of innocent civilians, are increasing day by day. Where does all of this take us?

To answer this question, we must first analyse the primacy of these so-called Taliban, who are known by name of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and are lead by an ever-elusive Baitullah Mehsud. The common perception, which was recently reiterated after my discussion with an activist of a youth-based organisation that staged a protest demonstration in Lahore against the drone attacks, is that the group of Taliban led by Baitullah Mehsud is an outgrowth or a subsidiary of the Taliban fighting the American forces in Afghanistan, and is, therefore, an antithesis of America and its imperialistic policies in the region. On my suggestion that they should, after the successful demonstration against the drone attacks, stage a protest demonstration against TTP and the extremism spawn by it, the activist was of the view that since Taliban and America are each other's sworn enemies, a protest against Taliban would favour and please America and its agenda in the region, which their youth organisation wouldn't want.

This is where the whole problem lies; we haven't, as yet, been able to differentiate between what I call the "real" Taliban who solely focus on fighting the occupation forces in Afghanistan, and the "fake" Taliban, who are working on a hidden agenda of the United States and its ally, India, to disintegrate Pakistan. I call them fake, because it was during Musharraf's nine-year rule, whilst we considered ourselves an American ally, that the secret agencies of United States, India, Britain and Afghanistan established their hold throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan by setting up an extensive espionage network of their own, which recruited and subsequently released thousands of trained operatives garbed in the cloths of "Taliban" into the Pakistani territory.

This can be substantiated by the accounts of many journalists covering the war in the north western border of Pakistan, which suggest that the 25,000 strong fighters led by Baitullah Mehsud are not only highly trained but also have state-of-the-art weapons at their disposal. Now one wonders that where does the unabated supply of money and latest war gadgetry come from? These "Taliban" do not have the luxury of windfall revenues generated by the poppy cultivation, as their counterparts in Afghanistan do; neither could they be funded by the ISI, given the kind of havoc they are wreaking in Pakistan. Therefore, all the circumstantial evidence leads to the involvement of some hidden hands, which have their own axe to grind.





 

Offline bigron

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Obama bombs over Pakistan

by Marcy Newman, body on the line

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54214&hd=&size=1&l=e

March 13, 2009



a naive, and likely american, reader of my blog seems to think that the united states did not instigate and is not participating in the war on pakistan because this reader spoke to a someone in the military who denied it. ah, okay, that settles it. not! here is a reuters report about more american bombs targeting pakistan yet again:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/us-drone-attack-kills-eight-in-pakistan-1683387.html

Suspected US drone aircraft fired missiles in a Pakistani region on the Afghan border today, killing at least eight people, military and intelligence officials said.

The attack took place in a mountainous region of South Waziristan, a known al-Qa’ida and Taliban hotbed, the officials said.

"We have at least eight dead in the attack," said a Pakistani military official who declined to be identified.

The target of the attack was not immediately known, he said.

The United States began stepping up drone attacks in Pakistan last year. There has been no let-up since President Barack Obama’s administration took office in January, despite complaints from the Pakistani government.

The United States has carried out about 40 drone air strikes since the beginning of last year, most since September, killing more than 320 people, according to a tally of reports from Pakistani security officials, district government officials and residents.

There have been 16 attacks this year, with five in April.

At least five militants were killed on Saturday in a drone attack, also in South Waziristan.

Pakistan says the drones violate its sovereignty and undermine efforts to deal with militancy because they inflame public anger and bolster militant support.

and julian barnes and greg miller report for the los angeles times that this is indeed a partnership between pakistan and the u.s.:

The U.S. military has begun flying armed Predator drones inside Pakistan and has given Pakistani officers significant control over targets, flight routes and decisions to launch attacks under a new joint operation, according to U.S. officials familiar with the program. :
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/us-drone-attack-kills-eight-in-pakistan-1683387.html

The project was begun in recent weeks to bolster Pakistan’s ability and willingness to disrupt the militant groups that are posing a growing threat to the government in Islamabad and fueling violence in Afghanistan.

For the U.S. military, the missions represent a broad new role in searching for Islamic militants in Pakistan. For years, that task has been the domain of the CIA, which has flown its own fleet of Predators over the South Asian nation.

Under the new partnership, U.S. military drones will be allowed for the first time to venture beyond the borders of Afghanistan under the direction of Pakistani military officials, who are working with American counterparts at a command center in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

U.S. officials said the program was aimed at getting Pakistan — which has frequently protested airstrikes in its territory as a violation of sovereignty — more directly and deeply engaged in the Predator program.

now that the pakistani army has joined forces with the united states it does not absolve the united states from its role in creating this problem in the first place. al jazeera’s sohail rahman shows some of the destruction plaguing pakistan now as a result of the united states handiwork:

watch:
Pakistan pledges to continue Swat offensive - 11 May 09
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E56tGIY6npA&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Euruknet%2Einfo%2F%3Fp%3Dm54214%26hd%3D%26size%3D1%26l%3De&feature=player_embedded

to be sure: the pakistani army would not have to be forcing half a million of its own people to become refugees or firing on its own people and communities had the united states not started its so-called "war on terror." and this has been, of course, exacerbated by the americans who have, in the past year, begun its bombing of pakistan campaign.

meanwhile, taking a play from the zionist entity (or perhaps it is the other way around–it’s always hard to tell with these two they are conjoined) the united states has begun using white phosphorous on civilian populations in afghanistan as jason straziuso and rahim faiez report for ap news:

Doctors voiced concern over "unusual" burns on Afghan villagers wounded in an already controversial U.S.-Taliban battle, and the country’s top human rights groups said Sunday it is investigating the possibility white phosphorus was used.:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090510/ap_on_re_as/as_afghanistan

The American military denied using the incendiary in the battle in Farah province — which President Hamid Karzai has said killed 125 to 130 civilians — but left open the possibility that Taliban militants did. The U.S. says Taliban fighters have used white phosphorus, a spontaneously flammable material that leaves severe chemical burns on flesh, at least four times the last two years.

Using white phosphorus to illuminate a target or create smoke is considered legitimate under international law, but rights groups say its use over populated areas can indiscriminately burn civilians and constitutes a war crime.

Afghan doctors told The Associated Press they have treated at least 14 patients with severe burns the doctors have never seen before. The villagers were wounded during last Monday’s battle in Farah province.

Allegations that white phosphorus or another chemical may have been used threatens to deepen the controversy over what Afghan officials say could be the worst case of civilian deaths since the 2001 U.S. invasion that ousted the Taliban regime.



 


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Taliban Gain Ground, Color on Map


http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/20090513_taliban_gains_ground_color_on_map/

Posted on May 13, 2009

A new map produced by the BBC succinctly demonstrates the weakness of the Pakistan state in combating Taliban militants in the country’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP). The map shows only 38% of Pakistan’s NWFP to be under government control, while the balance of the region experiences either Taliban presence or control.



Go to foll site fro map and description of individual controed areas:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8046577.stm


The BBC:

A map produced by the BBC suggests only 38% of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and surrounding areas is under full government control.

The map, compiled by the BBC’s Urdu language service, was based on local research and correspondent reports as well as conversations with officials.

It shows the Taleban strengthening their hold across the north-west.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari rejected the findings, telling the BBC it was an “incorrect survey”.

Read more:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8047504.stm

 
news.bbc.co.uk

The BBC map shows increased Taliban presence and control over the NWFP, a claim disputed by Pakistan’s president.



A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion. Editor, Robert Scheer. Publisher, Zuade Kaufman.
Copyright © 2009 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.
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Offline bigron

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Thursday, May 14, 2009
18:36 Mecca time, 15:36 GMT 
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/05/2009514132115765248.html

 
PAKISTAN: THE BATTLE WITHIN 
 
Pakistan diary: Mass exodus 

 
 By Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan

 
There are already reports of skin diseases and diarrhoea in Pakistan's refugee camps


Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's reporter in Pakistan, will be filing regular dispatches from the country as the army battles Taliban fighters in the North West Frontier Province.

Swabi, North West Frontier Province, Thursday, May 14, 12:22 GMT


The first thing that hits you when you visit a refugee camp is the sheer scale.

'Camp' is too small a word to use- these are cities of canvas and rope.


Yar Hussein is home to 4,000 refugees, much smaller than the 48,000 strong Jallala camp

Yar Hussein camp has only been running for a few days. So far it houses 4000 refugees - a small town compared to say Jallala refugee encampment which has upwards of 48,000 people living there.

But nonetheless housing people is a mammoth task.

Getting these tents up, supplying water and food is a logistics nightmare.

I spoke to the cook at the camp. He told me: "We are doing the best we can, but look at what we have."

He pointed to huge cauldrons bubbling away, cooking rice. The pots had definitely seen better days.

His whole open air kitchen reminded me of a wedding I had been to in Pakistan as a child - the fires roasting, the multi-coloured awning covering the kitchen area.

This, though, was far from a celebration. It is a "massive crisis" - according to Antonio Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

A soft-spoken man, he is visiting the crisis area for the first time and has passionately pleaded for the world to take notice.

"Pakistan has hosted the largest refugee population in the world - 5 million Afghans - Pakistan now needs help itself and the world must pay attention."

The UN and other aid agencies have a big job on their hands.

This is the biggest movement of people in recent times. The figures are worth going over again.

At least 1.3 million people are on the move and more than 800,000 are registered with the UN alone as refugees.

But behind that figure lies another one. You could call them the forgotten refugees.

Since August 2008, people have been fleeing clashes across the North West Frontier Province. The army has been battling Taliban fighters and more than 500,000 refugees have been registered in camps by the UN since August last year.

They have been living makeshift accommodation since then. The Red Cross has registered another 400,000.

These figures are mind boggling.

I had a chance to reflect on the numbers while I was in the camp. Watching children roam freely, playing as they do, I found myself wondering how many of them would spend their formative years living in places like these.

When so many people live together disease also becomes a problem. Cases of diarrhoea and skin problems have already been registered.

I wonder how many of the children I saw will survive.

Peshawar, Wednesday, May 13, 06:43 GMT

The army is really selling its side of the story.

On Tuesday, it proudly told the media that it had managed to capture a key Taliban stronghold, Gatt Pachar.


The humanitarian crisis persists as thousands of families are displaced by fighting [AFP]
 
This mountain is the base of Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.

It is said to house armed fighters, training camps and arms dumps.

Capturing it was key.

But has it made a difference?

Well, yes and no. Denying the Taliban any ground is crucial. But were key Taliban leaders there at the time?

It would appear not. That's an issue.

The longer Mullah Fazlullah evades capture, the more of a totem he becomes, and a symbol for the Taliban fighters.

That gives him strength and power beyond his tactical skills.

Speculation suggests that Fazlullah remains in the Swat valley. Sources close to the Taliban have told Al Jazeera that Fazlullah knew that the army would target his base and that, by leaving fighters there, he was able to escape along with the senior leadership.

That's important because the Taliban has plenty of fighters, but what the group lacks is men with military knowledge to guide them.

Experts say the Taliban's senior leaders have that knowledge, which encompasses guerrilla warfare, bombmaking and other skills.

If Mullah Fazlullah and men such as his senior commander Ibn-e-Amin perish, then the army can say the Taliban has been defeated.

So far, the Taliban insists that its leaders are all still alive and battle goes on.

So, while the army sells its message of success, success, success others are less sure.

The humanitarian crisis continues; so far, the government says 1.3 million have been displaced. Ordinary Pakistanis are watching the pictures on their television screens nightly and wondering how on earth this spells peace.

Peshawar, Tuesday, May 12, 2009, 09:22 GMT

Peshawar is a town with a past littered with the ghosts of war.


A palpable fear now hangs over the city after frequent deadly attacks [EPA]

Traditionally it has inhabited the crossroads between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It was here the British Empire headquartered its great game against Russia in the 19th century.

It is here that the Afghan mujahidin gathered logistics to fight their war against Russian occupation in the 1980s.

This dusty town with its cobbled alleyways was the place where CIA agents mingled with their Pakistani counterparts to conduct their war in Afghanistan after the twin towers in New York fell.

And now Peshawar is once again at the centre of conflict.

It's already home to thousands of refugees fleeing those wars in Afghanistan.

But this time its war is raging within Pakistan's borders and those refugees are Pakistani.

It's had an incredible effect on Pakistan.

The media here have dubbed this the biggest movement of people since partition, when millions crossed the new border between Pakistan and India in 1947.

"The media here have dubbed this the biggest movement of people since partition... in 1947"
 
Ordinary Pakistanis have taken to the streets demanding the fighting stops.

One taxi driver told me he fears the break-up of Pakistan.

Another shop owner in one of Peshawar's hotels says war will only make the situation worse, that the Taliban will hide in the mountains and fight until the bitter end.

The bitter end.

It's worth thinking about how exactly Pakistan will end its military operation.

The government wants a swift operation that will allow them to claim victory.

Analysts say the army wants to be able to secure the area quickly and withdraw leaving the police in charge.

At the time of writing, the end is nowhere in sight.

The only thing we can say with any degree of certainty is that Pakistanis will flood into the camps and the battle still rages.

 
 
 
 Source: Al Jazeera 
 
 
 
 
 

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Pakistan government prepares for long-term war


By Peter Symonds

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54255&hd=&size=1&l=e

14 May 2009

Refugees continue to flood out of embattled areas of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) as the military extends its offensive in the Swat, Buner and Lower Dir districts against Taliban militants. The UNHCR puts the total number of people registered as internally displaced at more than 670,000 since May 2, but the figure is certainly higher.

Speaking in London after meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari pledged to continue the so-called fight against terrorism, saying that it would be "a long term affair". Under intense pressure from the US and its allies, the Pakistani government last month abrogated a peace deal with Taliban leaders in the Swat district and gave the green light for major military operations against the Islamist guerrillas.

The military has continued to pound Taliban strongholds from the air and using artillery and mortars, causing widespread destruction and a mounting toll of civilian casualties. Mingora, the district capital of the Swat Valley, which is still under Taliban control, has been a main target of the army’s operations. Troops have seized key positions around the town, all exit roads have been sealed and electricity, water and gas supplies have been cut off.

A student, Farhan, told the BBC: "We left Mingora three days ago. The situation had become very dangerous. We were caught up in the brutalities between the Pakistani army and the Taliban. We were trapped inside our homes for a week, while there was constant shelling. A mortar demolished a house just a few yards from our home. There was no water, no power, everything was destroyed."

On Tuesday, army commandos were inserted by helicopters on high ground near the town of Piochar in northern Swat to carry out "search-and-destroy missions." Piochar is reportedly the base of Maulana Fazlullah, one of the main Taliban warlords, and the site of training camps and arms depots. "Jetfighters and helicopter gunships shelled the region before dropping special services group (SSG) personnel," a military’s media centre stated.

News from the war zone is scanty as reporters and other independent observers have been excluded. Locals told Dawn yesterday that troops had also been dropped by helicopter in the Niag Darra, Karo Darra and Turmang Darra areas of the Dir district. Other sources confirmed that 1,200 troops backed by tanks and artillery had reached Turmang Darra in Upper Dir on Tuesday.

Pakistani army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told the press yesterday that military operations were unfolding successfully. He stated that 751 militants had been killed by the army over the past week, with the loss of just 29 troops. The claim is highly doubtful and has not been independently verified. Estimates put the total number of Taliban fighters in the area at just 5,000.

Refugees from Mingora have criticised the military for indiscriminately pounding the town. "We have never seen major casualties on the militants’ side so far and only innocent people are targetted," Fazi Karim told Dawn. A rickshaw driver, Syed Bacha, simply laughed when asked about the army’s claim, saying: "If they kill 100 militants, I am 100 percent sure that the Taliban will not stay for a single day."

The US-based Human Rights Watch stated on Monday that it had received reports of "civilian deaths and the destruction of property in the Pakistani military’s aerial bombardment."

Clearly concerned about growing public anger, Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani issued a public statement instructing the armed forces "to ensure minimum collateral damage". Such assurances count for nothing, however, as the military continues to use heavy weapons and air strikes against urban areas such as Mingora. A parliamentarian from Swat told Dawn that 700,000 people remain trapped in the Swat Valley.

Similar tactics were employed by the Pakistani military last year in a protracted offensive in Bajaur, part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan. The operations, which were coordinated with the US military in Afghanistan, laid waste to entire towns and villages, forcing half a million people to flee. Combined with the current exodus, 1.3 million people have been displaced in Pakistan since last August.

A key aspect of the summit in Washington between the US, Pakistani and Afghan presidents a fortnight ago was the closer involvement of the US military with its Pakistani counterparts, including a significant expansion of counterinsurgency training. About 70 US special operations trainers have already been in Pakistan to help drill commando forces such as those currently being used in the NWFP. The Obama administration is also requesting $400 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund to provide night-vision goggles, more helicopters and better small arms to the Pakistani military.

The US military and CIA are also stepping up their missile attacks on alleged "terrorist" targets inside Pakistan using Predator and Reaper drones. The latest strike killed 15 people in the village of Sra Khawra in the FATA district of South Waziristan. The Los Angeles Times yesterday reported that the Pentagon has established a facility in the Afghan city of Jalalabad for US and Pakistani personnel to jointly operate US military drones. In addition, the CIA, which has its own Predator program, has carried out at least 55 strikes inside Pakistan since August, generating widespread anger among Pashtun tribes in the FATA region.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, US Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, rejected the suggestion that Washington was responsible for exacerbating civilian suffering in Pakistan, blaming the Taliban for the fighting. However, having pressed the Pakistani government into taking military action, the Obama administration is directly responsibility for the human tragedy now unfolding.

UNHRC spokeswoman Ariane Rummery announced yesterday in Islamabad that the total influx of registered refugees had jumped in the past 11 days to 670,906, of whom 79,842 were being housed in camps. Some of those not in camps were staying with relatives and friends, but many were forced to live in makeshift shelters without access to food and medicine. The UNHCR total was up from 501,496 late on Tuesday. Pakistani officials have put the number of internally displaced persons at over 800,000.

Speaking to the BBC about the situation in Peshawar, Majid, a student who fled Mingora, explained: "Many [people] joined refugee camps, but those must be full, because I see lots of people lying on the roads, people for whom there’s no accommodation or help. The nearby park is full of people from Swat. There are Swat people all over the city, everyone with their own story."

Far from being concerned about the plight of these refugees, the Pakistani establishment is preoccupied with intensifying its "war on terrorism". In a meeting of the National Assembly on Tuesday, virtually all parties—government and opposition—came together to back the military offensive. Ominously calls were made for an extension of police state measures throughout the country to "eliminate sleeper cells" and other "terrorist" bastions.

What is being set in motion by the Pakistani government, pushed on by Washington, is a full-scale civil war.


 

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The drones are coming: New war on civilians 


(Reuters) Internally displaced children inside a UNHCR camp in Pakistan's Swabi district,

15/05/2009 11:50:00 PM GMT
http://aljazeera.com/news/articles/39/The_drones_are_coming_New_war_on_civilians.html
 
 There are one million Pakistanis already on the run in the northern and eastern parts of the country.


By Ramzy Baroud

U.S. President Barack Obama took the podium in a White House press conference and stood with an all-embellished confidence that often accompanies new presidents. He was flanked by two leaders whose apparent grandeur barely reflected their embattled situations on the ground: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

The meeting at the White House on 6 May was fashioned to give the impression that the new U.S. administration is both "serious" and "committed" about resolving the crises plaguing Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are imprudently reduced to that of a Taliban resurgence in the former, and a Taliban- inspired militant encroachment in the latter.

Obama declared the meeting "extraordinarily productive" as the three nations, he said, are joined by the common goal to "defeat Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan ".

The skewed reading of reality didn't cease there. "I am pleased that these two men, elected leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, fully appreciate the seriousness of the threat that we face and have reaffirmed their commitment to confronting it," Obama said. Both leaders listened solemnly as to reflect the level of their "seriousness".

For a fleeting moment one did in fact hope that Obama would bring with him more than a new language; rather, an entirely new take on U.S. foreign policy. That hope is already in tatters.

"Obama conveyed the right message last week by hosting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. The meeting at the White House reflected the close link between Pakistan and the anti-Taliban struggle in Afghanistan. Indeed, nests of Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and other extremists sheltering on the Pakistani side of the border have become a grave threat to Pakistan itself," opined a Boston Globe editorial. But the Globe also counselled: "As recent events suggest, U.S. military strikes against militants in both countries inevitably provoke anger and indignation among civilians."

This is as much as most U.S. media -- and of course, the U.S. administration -- are willing to concede as far as U.S. responsibility in lethal wars, civil strife and militancy in both countries is concerned. In fact, if one is to delineate a major difference in the Bush and Obama administrations regarding Afghanistan, it's the fact that Obama apologises when the number of innocent civilians killed by U.S. air strikes is too harrowing to ignore. Another notable difference is that he has committed 17,000 additional troops to the already war-devastated country, promising more bloodshed.

"I wish to express my personal regret and certainly the sympathy of our administration on the loss of civilian life in Afghanistan," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in her public apology to the killing of over 100 civilians in two Afghan villages 4 May. The apology, however, was obliquely qualified by the U.S. military in comments made by Tech Sergeant Chuck Marsh on 9 May: "Reports also indicate that Taliban fighters deliberately forced villagers into houses from which they then attacked ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] and Coalition forces," he said.

So, somehow, the U.S. is still not responsible.

Now the war is flaring up in Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistani families have fled the area, and the main town of Migora has been virtually emptied of its inhabitants. Reuters reported that, "Pakistani forces attacked Taliban fighters in the Swat Valley with artillery and helicopters after the United States called on the government to show its commitment to fighting militancy." One has to wonder who is giving the orders in this foolish war, anyway? Moreover, does Obama genuinely think that the Pakistani "Taliban" can be defeated using the exact approach that failed against the Taliban of Afghanistan?

The escalation in Pakistan is not entirely surprising, however, as U.S. officials and media pundits have been adamant in advising the new administration that it was not Afghanistan that posed the greater threat to U.S. interests, but Pakistan. It was similar to the attitude of neoconservatives in the Bush administration after its failure in Iraq. It was not Iraq that the U.S. should have attacked, but Iran, they tirelessly parroted, hoping to generate yet another war.

What we are not told, however, is that unremitting U.S. bombings of the utterly poor and neglected northern provinces of Pakistan have garnered untold animosity towards the U.S. and its central government allies. It provoked, in some areas, total chaos and lawlessness, which in turn gave rise to the Pakistani "Taliban". History is repeating itself, but the U.S. administration is taking no notice of the obvious pattern.

A Pakistan writer, Abd Al-Ghafar Aziz, said: "Since the U.S. attack on Afghanistan , the province [of Balochistan] has been accused of supporting terrorism and harbouring the leaders of Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Since then, U.S. planes, especially drones, have been striking what it calls 'precious targets', resulting in the death of over 15,000 people." Aziz described the people of that region "like orphans without shelter, and without protection." Naturally, tribe leaders, militant groups and others moved to fill the gap.

If there is one outstanding similarity between the Afghanistan and Pakistan cases it is the fact the U.S. is using the same flawed logic that responds to most delicate conflicts with bullets, whether those of its own or its allies. If the new administration is keenly interested in reversing the misfortunes of that region, it has to understand the uniqueness of every country and appreciate the untold harm inflicted on civilians by the U.S. and other militaries. Only dialogue and truly respecting the sovereignty of Afghanistan and Pakistan can begin to stabilise the fractious situation.

There are an estimated one million Pakistanis already on the run in the northern and eastern parts of the country. They are threatened by fighting, hunger and all sorts of predators, including U.S. drones circling overhead.

-- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, "The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle" (Pluto Press, London ), and his forthcoming book is, “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza The Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London )




-- AJP

 

Offline bigron

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Pakistan Plans New Front in S. Waziristan


Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54283&hd=&size=1&l=e

May 15, 2009

ISLAMABAD — As fighting is raging between security forces and Taliban militants in the troubled Swat valley, the Pakistani army is gearing up to open a new front in South Waziristan region as a preemptive move against Baitullah Mehsud's group.

"The military offensive could be launched anytime as all the preparations have been finalized in this connection," a senior military official told IslamOnline.net, requesting anonymity.

Army sources say heavy contingents of regular army and paramilitary troops have been moved in the past few days to South Waziristan, which borders northeastern Afghanistan.

"We have reports that Baitullah Mehsud can jump into the battle (between Swat Taliban and security forces).

The Pakistani army launched last week a massive offensive in Swat to eliminate Taliban militants from the restive valley.

More than 940 Taliban militants and 45 soldiers have been killed so far in the ongoing offensive. There is no independent confirmation of the figures and no word on civilian casualties.

"If he (Mehsud) does that, it will create more hardships for the troops fighting there as he has more trained militants," said the military official.

Mehsud, the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is leading a trained militia of 8000, mostly belonging to his own Mehsud tribe, the biggest tribe in South Waziristan.

Blamed by the US for the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto in 2007, Mehsud the most wanted man by Pakistani and US intelligence agencies.

His Taliban militants have repeatedly engaged in deadly battles with security forces in South Waziristan until the two sides reached a peace deal under which security forces left the area in return for Mehsud restraining from attacking army position.

Once described by Newsweek as more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden himself, Mehsud was recently named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.

Preemptive

Army officials say that the move comes to prevent Mehsud from engaging in the ongoing fighting in Swat.

"We do not want Mehsud to attack us, instead we would get him before he does that," the army official said.

He said Mehsud sooner or later will jump into the fray in Swat.

"We cannot afford to destroy all our efforts in Swat on the basis of hypothesis," he said.

"They (Taliban) follow a particular theme, and at one point they all get together no matter how deep their internal differences are.

"It is better to stop him there, instead of letting him enter his militants in Swat," he said. "Mehsud will be our prime target in case of military offensive."

Mehsud-led Taliban militants were reportedly aware of the army plans to open a new front in South Waziristan.

"They are sensing that military offensive may begin any time," a local journalist told IOL.

"Therefore they are engaged in strengthening their positions on the mountains."

Taliban were reportedly said to have set up their posts on the mountains in bordering areas of Kotalkai, Brund, Seera, and Anzra.

Heavily-armed militants have been deputed in the area and heavy weaponry including artillery unit is being shifted there.

Nearly 200 tribesmen from respective areas also moved into the adjacent district of Tank on Thursday in preparation for a showdown with the security forces.

According to Taliban sources, the TTP Shura (consultative body) met two days ago in an unknown location in South Waziristan to evolve a strategy in case of a new army offensive.

Sources say the issue of helping Swat Taliban was also discussed during the meeting, but no decision has yet been taken.





 

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In imperialist 'surge,' Washington pushes Pakistan into war


by Mazda Majidi

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54315&hd=&size=1&l=e

Saturday, May 16, 2009


U.S. client state in Islamabad launches offensive targeting so-called 'Taliban'

On May 8, Pakistan’s government declared a "full-scale offensive" against Islamic fighters in the northwest of the country. Army spokesperson Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said that 15,000 soldiers and other security forces were fighting an estimated 4,000 "anti-state elements."

Pakistani troops are using military jets, attack helicopters, tanks and ground forces. The fresh troops sent to the region have orders to "eliminate extremists," an order confirmed by President Asif Ali Zardari.

The military assault is mainly targeting the area called the Swat Valley, the neighboring districts of Buner and Dir, as well as South Waziristan. These areas are part of the Federally Administered Tribal Area that has long been a semi-autonomous region. The FATA covers a mountainous area in northwestern Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan.

The militants have fought back, delivering heavy blows to the military by ambushing military convoys, firing mortars, planting improvised explosive devices and waging street fights.

The intense fighting has caused a mass exodus of civilians from the area under attack. With no civilian vehicles running on the roads, most of the refugees are traveling on foot, seeking shelter in make-shift refugee camps. The number of refugees runs into the hundreds of thousands. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has registered some 150,000 people fleeing the region. U.N. officials estimate that the total number displaced may reach half a million. Other estimates put the number of people fleeing the region, including those staying with their extended families in other areas, at already over a half a million. On May 8, U.N. officials in Geneva expressed deep concerns about the welfare of up to a million people displaced by the fighting.

The official explanation as to why Pakistan’s government decided to launch a full-scale offensive is that "Taliban" forces broke the agreements and tried to expand the territory under their control. These Islamist forces—that include the tribal leadership of the area—do not identify themselves as the Taliban. They are based in the relatively sparsely populated northwest of Pakistan, and have no popular base in other parts of Pakistan, a country of 160 million people.

Offensive indicates expansion of imperialist aggression

Contrary to the sensationalized stories in the U.S. business media, any breach of agreements was not an indication of their designs to take over all of Pakistan. The notion that the tribal leaders of Swat and South Waziristan, with no conventional military and only light weapons, were intent on occupying all of Pakistan and take over its nuclear arsenal is a fabrication. This fabrication serves the purpose whipping up a frenzy to convince U.S. public opinion of the need to expand its war in the region.

The U.S. government, under Bush and Obama, had relentlessly pushed Pakistan—a U.S. client state—to end negotiations with the tribal forces and attack them. Pakistanis in the tribal area bordering Afghanistan have shown sympathy and support for their Afghan neighbors under occupation.

In the eighth year of a war it is not winning, Washington is hoping to cut off any aid given to the Afghan resistance forces coming from neighboring Pakistan. The term "Af-Pak" war, recently in vogue in the Pentagon’s terminology, is reflective of Washington’s plan to freely expand their "war on terror" to the Pakistani side of the border.

Prior to the recent assault, Pakistan’s government had shown no inclination to take on the Islamic militants in any kind of sustained fighting. While there had been occasional clashes, the government had engaged in negotiations with the same forces it today calls "miscreants." Agreements were reached both under the current civilian government of Zardari and the previous military government of Musharraf.

The reason Pakistan’s government had opted for negotiations, and not open confrontation was the difficulty of winning a sustained battle in the tribal area. The rugged terrain in the mountainous area with few roads makes the conditions unfavorable for Pakistan’s military. Additionally, while the fighters in the tribal region are highly motivated, the motivation of Pakistan’s military forces is suspect.

There are also elements in Pakistan’s military and intelligence that have various levels of sympathy to the Taliban-aligned forces. After all, it was Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, that formed the Taliban and catapulted them to power. At the time, Washington also supported the Taliban. The United States had fully funded and supported the Taliban’s predeccesors, the Mujahadeen.

President Zardari’s political instability, with his total lack of popular support, may have played a key role in his decision to attack. It was only two months ago that Pakistani masses staged large and coordinated protests across the country. After several failed attempts to crush the protests, Zardari was forced to concede to the key demand of the protesters, the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Chaudhry was the independent judge twice removed by U.S.-supported military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Pakistani government capitulates to U.S. demands

Forced to fight for his regime’s survival, and knowing that he could not rely on popular support, Zardari decided to capitulate to U.S. demands of opening up a front against the Islamic forces in the tribal area. Washington had made it clear to Zardari that without taking this step it would not support him. The overtures made by U.S.
special envoy Richard Holbrooke towards Zardari’s chief political rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, underlined this point.

On May 6, Zardari met with President Barack Obama on a U.S. visit. Obama talked about the need to provide extensive aid to Pakistan. The U.S. Senate will soon discuss a bill, sponsored by Senators Lugar and Kerry, to give $1.5 billion worth of aid annually to Pakistan. Of course Zardari can only earn this aid by proving to be a good ally in the "war on terror."

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the shift to the right in Indian politics, U.S. imperialism has considered India an important ally, a country it is hoping to use to pressure China, India’s neighbor. Washington had long urged Pakistan to turn its attention from long-standing animosity with India towards the "war on terror" in Pakistan’s tribal region. Toeing this line, during his U.S. visit Zardari declared that he had "never considered India a threat." Responding to an interviewer’s question about moving troops from the Indian border to the tribal areas of Pakistan, Zardari said: "Pakistan has already done so."

At the same time that Pakistan’s military is attacking the tribal region, the United States is continuing its aerial bombings of the same people using drones, pilot-less aerial vehicles. On May 8, a drone fired missiles at a compound in South Waziristan, killing six and injuring 10 others.

Since August 2008, CIA-operated U.S. drones have carried out 39 bombings, killing at least 370 people. This open and ongoing violation of the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation has increasingly angered the people of Pakistan.

Most major Pakistani political parties, notoriously corrupt and largely subservient to U.S. interests, have been supportive of the government’s assault on the tribal region. But a large religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, has protested the attack and called it Pakistan’s submission to an American war.

Reporting on the view of Pakistanis, the May 9 Washington Post stated: "The militant problem is viewed by many here as having been created by the United States in order to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, and the army’s new offensive is also widely viewed as a show to please the United States and gain more military aid and training."

Pakistan’s military will likely take the tribal regions in its military offensive. But it is unlikely to gain real control and defeat the Islamic fighters there, who will engage in partisan warfare and deliver heavy blows to a military unmotivated to fight and unequipped to wage battle in the mountainous terrain.

What is even less likely to happen is for Pakistan’s government to regain stability and popular support as a result of its military adventure. The United States is forced to take greater risks in its desperation to find a way to defeat resistance to its occupation of Afghanistan. Its great risk is losing control of Pakistan to the resistance of the people.



 

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Af-Pak Is Obama's War

by Margaret Kimberley

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54339&hd=&size=1&l=e

President Obama, who campaigned behind a thin veil of peace, dragged two heads of client states into the White House to demand "that both Afghanistan and Pakistan allow their citizens to be murdered and or displaced in the thousands" – or else. Obama read Presidents Zardari and Karzai "the riot act" to let them know who is boss in the military theater called "AfPak." Obama claims to "want to respect their sovereignty, but" – there’s always the imperial 'but’ – America has "huge national security interests" in the region. Afghanistan’s Karzai later wondered, "How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?"

May 17, 2009



"Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis and Afghans are now refugees or living under the constant threat of American military violence."
Two central Asian nations bordering one another, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have the grave misfortune of being American client states. They get lots of money and political support, if they’re lucky, but always with terrible strings attached. The current President of the United States, Barack Obama, is demanding that both Afghanistan and Pakistan allow their citizens to be murdered and or displaced in the thousands. In order to accept that a huge body count is necessary, we are told that the two countries, nicknamed AfPak, are on the verge of being over run by the Taliban or al-Qaeda or both.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have been rebranded with a name seemingly devised by a Madison Avenue marketer who could just as easily be referring to a health insurance company or an overnight delivery service. Americans don’t know very much about the rest of the world, but they have a vague notion that brown-skinned Muslims are a crazy bunch who must be kept under control by Washington. So AfPak it is, and the bloodshed instigated by the United States continues. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis and Afghans are now refugees or living under the constant threat of American military violence.
President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan were recently summoned to Washington for the purpose of being informed that their opinions do not count. It doesn’t matter if their countrymen and women don’t want to be chased from their homes or maimed by killer drones and bombing missions. Uncle Sam read them the riot act and dared them to complain. Obviously they didn’t, because the slaughter began anew as soon as the photo ops ended.
"Uncle Sam read Zardari and Karzai the riot act and dared them to complain."
Obama always knows how to make the terrible sound benevolent. In this case he says that we "must defeat al-Qaeda." Most Americans had never heard of the word al-Qaeda until September 11, 2001 and will forever connect it with the death of 3,000 people. It is useful for Obama to phrase his assault in terms that will win him popular approval.
The Obama administration has openly undermined Ali Asif Zardari, the elected Pakistani president. Zardari’s main claim to legitimacy comes via his in-laws, the Bhutto family. If he were not Benazir Bhutto’s widower, this convicted embezzler, known as Mr. 10%, would not be president. Nevertheless, he is the president of a country that is allegedly an ally, and he should be treated with the respect he is due.
Yet the New York Times reports that Zardari has been told that his opposition will be courted and if necessary put into power with him if he balks at slaughtering his people on Washington’s command. In his 100 days press conference, Obama made himself crystal clear. "We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don't end up having a nuclear-armed militant state."
Not only are we supposed to be whipped into a frenzy at the very mention of words like al-Qaeda and Taliban, but we are now supposed to believe that Pakistan is on the verge of a mysterious "collapse" and that its nuclear weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists who will carry them around in briefcases, as in the plots of Hollywood thrillers. Zardari gets the thumb screw treatment, and we get outright lies.
"How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?"
"Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, is equally hapless and helpless in keeping his people safe from the demands of the United States. He has long complained about civilian deaths caused by attacks on the Taliban and he repeated himself in vain on Meet the Press. "Our villages are not where the terrorists are. And that's what we kept telling the U.S. administration, that the war on terrorism is not in the Afghan villages, not in the Afghan homes. Respect that. Civilian casualties are undermining support in the Afghan people for the war on terrorism and for the, the, the relations with America.  How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?" Obviously, such a people will not remain friendly but that has never been America’s concern. National Security Adviser James Jones said as much. "We can’t fight with one hand tied behind our back."
Once again the United State repeats its long history of killing people and claiming it is for their own good. Afghanistan and Pakistan are just the latest on that awful list. While that dynamic doesn’t change, neither will the reaction of people around the world. They do hate us, and they have good reason to do so.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.


 

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U.S. Special Forces Sent to Train Pakistanis


By YOCHI J. DREAZEN and SIOBHAN GORMAN

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54336&hd=&size=1&l=e

May 17, 2009

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. is sending Special Forces teams into one of Pakistan's most violent regions as part of a push to accelerate the training of the Pakistani military and make it a more effective ally in the fight against insurgents there.

Senior U.S. officials said 25 to 50 Special Forces personnel are deploying to two new training camps in Baluchistan, a Taliban stronghold on the porous Afghan-Pakistani border. The deployment brings U.S. personnel deeper than before into tribal regions of Pakistan, which the Obama administration views as among the world's most-dangerous flashpoints.

The Special Forces personnel will focus on training Pakistan's Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force responsible for battling the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, who cross freely between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the officials said. The U.S. trainers aren't meant to fight alongside the Pakistanis or accompany them into battle, in part because there will be so few Special Forces personnel in the two training camps.

A senior American military officer said he hoped Islamabad would gradually allow the U.S. to expand its training footprint inside Pakistan's borders. A former U.S. official familiar with the plans said the deployments would "get more American eyes and ears" into the strategically important region.

The project, which draws on proposals first discussed under the Bush administration, is a joint effort with the U.K., senior U.S. officials said. The U.K. plans to help fund the training, although it is unclear if British military personnel would take part in the initiative. British officials have been pushing for such an effort for several years. It builds on small-scale, U.S. training efforts already under way in the northern part of Pakistan.

The Pakistani and British embassies in Washington declined to comment. The U.S. military's Central Command, which oversees operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, also declined to comment.

The Pentagon has asked Congress to allocate $400 million this year for a new "Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund" that is designed to allow U.S. military commanders to quickly direct money to specific Pakistani training and equipping needs. The money, the first installment of a five-year program, would be funneled through Central Command rather than the State Department.

Senior U.S. commanders argue that the arrangement would allow them to ensure Pakistan uses the money to train its forces in counterinsurgency, rather than in conventional warfare.

Pakistan has regularly rebuffed Pentagon offers to provide military trainers, saying U.S. trainers would be irresistible targets for the country's militants. Many Pakistani officers also say Pakistan's primary threat comes from India, not the Taliban, and question the utility of counterinsurgency training.

A senior Defense official said Pakistan has in recent weeks warmed to the idea of accepting training assistance from the U.S., after the civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari realized that militants pose an existential danger to their country. "They finally get it," the official said.

Baluchistan is believed to harbor an array of senior leaders from al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and other armed groups. The area is also seen as strategically important because it borders Afghanistan and Iran and is home to a strong separatist movement.

Under the current plans, the U.S. is deploying two Special Forces Operational Detachments Alpha to the region. So-called ODAs typically have 12 soldiers, but a U.S. official said the teams might be augmented to help speed training work.

Special Forces teams are seen as ideal for the deployments because they are used to operating clandestinely and in harsh conditions with little external support.

Write to Yochi J. Dreazen at yochi.dreazen@wsj.com and Siobhan Gorman
at siobhan.gorman@wsj.com




 

Offline bigron

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U.S. Stirs a Hornet's Nest in Pakistan

By ERIC MARGOLIS

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22633.htm

May 17, 2009 "Winnipeg Sun" -- PARIS -- Pakistan finally bowed to Washington's angry demands last week by unleashing its military against rebellious Pashtun tribesmen of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) -- collectively mislabelled "Taliban" in the West.

The Obama administration had threatened to stop $2 billion US annual cash payments to bankrupt Pakistan's political and military leadership and block $6.5 billion future aid, unless Islamabad sent its soldiers into Pakistan's turbulent NWFP along the Afghan frontier.

The result was a bloodbath: Some 1,000 "terrorists" killed (read: mostly civilians) and 1.2 million people -- most of Swat's population -- made refugees.

Pakistan's U.S.-rented armed forces have scored a brilliant victory against their own people. Too bad they don't do as well in wars against India. Blasting civilians, however, is much safer and more profitable.

Unable to pacify Afghanistan's Pashtun tribes (a.k.a. Taliban), a deeply frustrated Washington has begun tearing Pakistan apart in an effort to end Pashtun resistance in both nations. CIA drone aircraft have so far killed over 700 Pakistani Pashtun. Only 6% were militants, according to Pakistan's media, the rest civilians.

Pashtun, also improperly called Pathan, are the world's largest tribal people. Fifteen million live in Afghanistan, forming half its population. Twenty-six million live right across the border in Pakistan. Britain's imperialists divided Pashtun by an artificial border, the Durand Line (today's Afghan-Pakistan border). Pashtun reject it.

Many Pashtun tribes agreed to join Pakistan in 1947, provided much of their homeland be autonomous and free of government troops. Pashtun Swat only joined Pakistan in 1969.

As Pakistan's Pashtun increasingly aided Pashtun resistance in Afghanistan, U.S. drones began attacking them. Washington forced Islamabad to violate its own constitution by sending troops into Pashtun lands. The result was the current explosion of Pashtun anger.

I have been to war with the Pashtun and have seen their legendary courage, strong sense of honour and determination. They are also hugely quarrelsome, feuding and prickly.

One quickly learns never to threaten a Pashtun or give him ultimatums. These are the mountain warriors who defied the U.S. by refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden because he was a hero of the anti-Soviet war and their guest. The ancient code of "Pashtunwali" still guides them: Do not attack Pashtun, do not cheat them, do not cause them dishonour. To Pashtun, revenge is sacred.

HAM-HANDED

Now, Washington's ham-handed policies and last week's Swat atrocity threaten to ignite Pakistan's second worst nightmare after invasion by India: That its 26 million Pashtun will secede and join Afghanistan's Pashtun to form an independent Pashtun state, Pashtunistan.

This would rend Pakistan asunder, probably provoke its restive Baluchi tribes to secede and tempt mighty India to intervene militarily, risking nuclear war with beleaguered Pakistan.

The Pashtun of NWFP have no intention or capability of moving into Pakistan's other provinces, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. They just want to be left alone. Alarms of a "Taliban takeover of Pakistan" are pure propaganda.

Lowland Pakistanis repeatedly have rejected militant Islamic parties. Many have little love for Pashtun, whom they regard as mountain wild men best avoided.

Nor are Pakistan's well-guarded nukes a danger -- at least not yet. Alarms about Pakistan's nukes come from the same fabricators with hidden agendas who brought us Saddam Hussein's bogus weapons.

THE REAL DANGER

The real danger is in the U.S. acting like an enraged mastodon, trampling Pakistan under foot, and forcing Islamabad's military to make war on its own people. Pakistan could end up like U.S.-occupied Iraq, split into three parts and helpless.

If this continues, at some point patriotic Pakistani soldiers may rebel and shoot the corrupt generals and politicians on Washington's payroll.

Equally ominous, a poor people's uprising spreading across Pakistan -- also mislabelled "Taliban" -- threatens a radical national rebellion reminiscent of India's Naxalite rebels.

As in Iraq, profound ignorance and gung ho military arrogance drive U.S. Afghan policy. Obama's people have no understanding what they are getting into in "AfPak." I can tell them: An unholy mess we will long regret.

eric.margolis@sunmedia.ca 

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US drone attack kills 29 in North Waziristan By Dawn Correspondent
Dawn

www.uruknet.info?p=54341


May 16, 2009

MIRAMSHAH:
Twenty-nine people were killed when a US drone fired two missiles at a residential compound in the Mirali tehsil of North Waziristan tribal region here on Saturday.

Residents said that a remotely-piloted US aircraft which was hovering over the area fired two missiles at the house of Hikmat Roshan in the Khaisore village of Mirali at around 8am, killing 29 tribesmen present there. The house was reduced to rubble, while a religious seminary near it was also damaged.

They said that it was the third drone attack on the Khaisore village, about five kilometers to south of Mirali town, since the US forces fighting Taliban in Afghanistan started drone attacks in the Pakistan tribal belt. The village is populated by the Khushali Torikhel clan of Wazir tribe.

In another incident, helicopters gunship shelled houses of suspected militants in the Pir Kalli area, 10 kilometers east of Miramshah on Saturday.

Sources said that the security forces blocked the Bannu-Miramshah road from both sides during the air strikes. A number of houses were damaged in the attack.

Residents said that the shelling was conducted in the area where an army convoy was attacked with an improvised explosive device on Thursday (May 14). Three security personnel were killed and four others were injured in the IED attack.

STOP THE KILLING NOW
END THE CRIMINAL SIEGE OF GAZA - FREE PALESTINE!!!!!!!

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U.S. stirs a hornet's nest in Pakistan


BY ERIC MARGOLIS

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54366&hd=&size=1&l=e

MAY 18, 2009

PARIS -- Pakistan finally bowed to Washington's angry demands last week by unleashing its military against rebellious Pashtun tribesmen of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) -- collectively mislabelled "Taliban" in the West.

The Obama administration had threatened to stop $2 billion US annual cash payments to bankrupt Pakistan's political and military leadership and block $6.5 billion future aid, unless Islamabad sent its soldiers into Pakistan's turbulent NWFP along the Afghan frontier.

The result was a bloodbath: Some 1,000 "terrorists" killed (read: mostly civilians) and 1.2 million people -- most of Swat's population -- made refugees.

Pakistan's U.S.-rented armed forces have scored a brilliant victory against their own people. Too bad they don't do as well in wars against India. Blasting civilians, however, is much safer and more profitable.

Unable to pacify Afghanistan's Pashtun tribes (a.k.a. Taliban), a deeply frustrated Washington has begun tearing Pakistan apart in an effort to end Pashtun resistance in both nations. CIA drone aircraft have so far killed over 700 Pakistani Pashtun. Only 6% were militants, according to Pakistan's media, the rest civilians.

Pashtun, also improperly called Pathan, are the world's largest tribal people. Fifteen million live in Afghanistan, forming half its population. Twenty-six million live right across the border in Pakistan. Britain's imperialists divided Pashtun by an artificial border, the Durand Line (today's Afghan-Pakistan border). Pashtun reject it.

Many Pashtun tribes agreed to join Pakistan in 1947, provided much of their homeland be autonomous and free of government troops. Pashtun Swat only joined Pakistan in 1969.

As Pakistan's Pashtun increasingly aided Pashtun resistance in Afghanistan, U.S. drones began attacking them. Washington forced Islamabad to violate its own constitution by sending troops into Pashtun lands. The result was the current explosion of Pashtun anger.

I have been to war with the Pashtun and have seen their legendary courage, strong sense of honour and determination. They are also hugely quarrelsome, feuding and prickly.

One quickly learns never to threaten a Pashtun or give him ultimatums. These are the mountain warriors who defied the U.S. by refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden because he was a hero of the anti-Soviet war and their guest. The ancient code of "Pashtunwali" still guides them: Do not attack Pashtun, do not cheat them, do not cause them dishonour. To Pashtun, revenge is sacred.

HAM-HANDED

Now, Washington's ham-handed policies and last week's Swat atrocity threaten to ignite Pakistan's second worst nightmare after invasion by India: That its 26 million Pashtun will secede and join Afghanistan's Pashtun to form an independent Pashtun state, Pashtunistan.

This would rend Pakistan asunder, probably provoke its restive Baluchi tribes to secede and tempt mighty India to intervene militarily, risking nuclear war with beleaguered Pakistan.

The Pashtun of NWFP have no intention or capability of moving into Pakistan's other provinces, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. They just want to be left alone. Alarms of a "Taliban takeover of Pakistan" are pure propaganda.

Lowland Pakistanis repeatedly have rejected militant Islamic parties. Many have little love for Pashtun, whom they regard as mountain wild men best avoided.

Nor are Pakistan's well-guarded nukes a danger -- at least not yet. Alarms about Pakistan's nukes come from the same fabricators with hidden agendas who brought us Saddam Hussein's bogus weapons.

THE REAL DANGER

The real danger is in the U.S. acting like an enraged mastodon, trampling Pakistan under foot, and forcing Islamabad's military to make war on its own people. Pakistan could end up like U.S.-occupied Iraq, split into three parts and helpless.

If this continues, at some point patriotic Pakistani soldiers may rebel and shoot the corrupt generals and politicians on Washington's payroll.

Equally ominous, a poor people's uprising spreading across Pakistan -- also mislabelled "Taliban" -- threatens a radical national rebellion reminiscent of India's Naxalite rebels.

As in Iraq, profound ignorance and gung ho military arrogance drive U.S. Afghan policy. Obama's people have no understanding what they are getting into in "AfPak." I can tell them: An unholy mess we will long regret.

- eric.margolis@sunmedia.ca



 

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U.S. airstrikes in Pakistan called 'very effective'


Story Highlights :

CIA Director Leon Panetta makes rare public acknowledgment of raids

U.S. airstrikes "only game in town" to fight al Qaeda in Pakistan, he says

He says strikes are very precise and collateral damage is limited


CIA Director Leon Panetta speaks about the fight against al Qaeda at the Pacific Council on International Policy.


LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- U.S. airstrikes aimed at al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan have been "very effective," with few civilian deaths as a result, CIA Director Leon Panetta said Monday in a rare public acknowledgment of the raids.

Asked about criticism of the missile attacks by counterinsurgency experts, Panetta said he did not want to discuss specifics, "but I can assure you that in terms of that particular area, it is very precise and is very limited in terms of collateral damage."

"Very frankly, it's the only game in town in terms of confronting or trying to disrupt the al Qaeda leadership," Panetta told the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles.

Pakistan has complained repeatedly about what it says are airstrikes on its territory by U.S.-operated drones. The U.S. military in neighboring Afghanistan does not comment on the attacks, which typically target Islamic militants in the border region, but the United States is the only country operating in the region known to have the capability to launch missiles from remote-controlled aircraft.

Panetta's predecessor, Michael Hayden, was asked about the drone attacks on Pakistani territory shortly before he left office in January, but addressed it far less directly than Panetta.

"I'm not going to talk about anything operational, and I'm not confirming or denying how any of this happens, we're not getting into that," he said. But he said he believed al Qaeda leaders had come to view Pakistan's tribal regions as "neither safe nor a haven."

Two leading former advisers on counterinsurgency warfare, David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum, wrote in The New York Times over the weekend that the strikes have killed about 14 terrorist leaders in the past three years -- but Pakistani sources say the civilian death toll could be as high as 700.

While U.S. officials dispute that ratio, Kilcullen and Exum wrote, "Every one of these dead noncombatants represents an alienated family, a new desire for revenge and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially even as drone strikes have increased."

"The persistence of these attacks on Pakistani territory offends people's deepest sensibilities, alienates them from their government and contributes to Pakistan's instability," Kilcullen and Exum said. They compared the tactics to British bombardment of the same region in the 1920s and French airstrikes on Algeria in the 1950s, arguing that the strikes were likely to remind Pakistanis of colonial rule.

U.S. forces have been battling al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan since the terrorist network's 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. Both have taken root across the rugged border in Pakistan, where Pakistani troops are waging an air and ground offensive to crush the Taliban in the Swat Valley, northwest of the capital, Islamabad.

Prime Minister Yusuf Reza Gilani said Monday that the offensive will go on "until peace is established."

CNN's Pam Benson contributed to this report.

All AboutPakistan • Leon Panetta • Al Qaeda
 

 
 
 
Links referenced within this article

Pakistan
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Pakistan
Panetta's
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Leon_Panetta
al Qaeda
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Al_Qaeda
Pakistan
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Pakistan
Leon Panetta
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Leon_Panetta
Al Qaeda
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Al_Qaeda

 

 
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http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/18/cia.pakistan.airstrikes/index.html 

Offline Biggs

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Civilians fleeing Swat come under attack

http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=22211


Tuesday, May 19, 2009
27 militants killed in ‘Rah-e-Rast’ operation

By our correspondent

PESHAWAR:
Several persons, including women and children, were killed and a number of others sustained injuries when families fleeing the military operation in Swat’s Matta town were shelled while crossing a mountainous path to reach Karo Darra in Dir Upper on Monday, eyewitnesses and official sources said.

Eyewitnesses, who escaped the attack or were able to reach Wari town of Dir Upper in injured condition, said they were targeted by gunship helicopters. However, police officials said they might have been hit by a stray shell. Local people said they saw some 12 to 14 bodies on a mountain on the Swat side but could not go near to retrieve them or help the injured for fear of another aerial attack.

Talking to local journalists, an eyewitness Bacha Zada claimed that a number of families were going to Dir Upper from Matta and Kabal areas of Swat when they were attacked by a helicopter. He said as they rushed to the help of the victims, the gunship helicopter re-appeared and again fired at them. He said at this stage all of them ran away and abandoned the dead and the injured.

Confirming the incident, police sources said the families might have been hit by a stray shell as the survivors did not remember source of the attack. “There might have been some killings in the incident but we cannot comment on it because the dead and the injured were found on the Swat side and not in Dir Upper,” a police official told The News.

It was learnt that some of them with minor injuries were being treated in Wari while seriously wounded persons were rushed to Timergara. A woman Sardara, whose son Rahmat Sher was killed in the incident, said she left the body of her child on the mountain and fled to save her life. The woman, who managed to cross into Wari while injured, said her son breathed his last in her lap.

Though information from the area was sketchy, villagers put the number of those killed by in shelling by helicopter at 12 to 14. Some of the dead were identified as Rahmat Sher, Amanul Mulk, Irfanullah and Hasina.

Among the injured included Sardara, Ajab Khan, Azam, Lakhtay, Ismail, Raham Bibi, Muhammad Sher, Zahir Mina, Bakht Rawan, Shagai, Nawab Sher, Begum, Shtamand and Dost Muhammad. It may be mentioned that Karo Darra and Nihag Darra areas of Dir Upper share border with Matta’s Peuchar area, a stronghold of Maulana Fazlullah-led Taliban militants.

Intense fighting is taking place in Matta and other areas of Swat to rout the Taliban. Tens of thousands have already left the valley but a vast majority of the people were still trapped due to fighting and continuous curfew. The trapped people have been trying to move out of the valley using mountainous and unfrequented paths as they don’t have enough time in curfew relaxation, or transportation, to flee the intensified military operation.

The injured said those who had sustained minor injuries were able to come to Wari while the critically wounded persons were lying near Shagai in Karo Darra, where the attack was carried out.

Meanwhile, thousands of residents of Doog Darra, which was attacked by warplanes on Sunday, fled the area. The authorities got vacated some buildings at the Shringal campus of the University of Malakand and declared it a camp for the IDPs. Another camp was established in the Government Middle School at Rehankot in Dir town. The displaced persons had no food and other facilities and were stated to be in a miserable condition.

Muhammad Anis adds from Islamabad: As the security forces started ground offensive in troubled Swat Valley, street battle has started in Matta tehsil with infantry going into streets of cities and towns.

“Three important commanders including Okasha, Malanga and Riaz were among 27 militants killed during the operation that has now been named as Rah-e-Rast, military spokesman and the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Athar Abbas told newsmen at a briefing.

He said the dead body of Malanga was lying with the security forces, but did not tell if the rest of the bodies had been removed by the militants.

He said Mamdherai Markaz was targeted by the security forces and 10 to 15 terrorists hiding inside were killed. He said the security forces continued cordon and search operations in Matta town.

He said three security forces’ personnel including an officer were also killed and 17 others injured during the fighting. The DG ISPR said the security forces were engaged with militants inside Kanju town to clear the area. Operation is in progress in Takhtaband area, where seven combatants were killed in a close encounter, he said, adding that the security forced had also expanded their foothold in Peuchar and killed 12 militants in the area.

The troops attacked and secured Dumber training centre, which was also being used by miscreants as their logistics base. When asked, if the militants arrested by the security forces have made any disclosures during investigations about the source providing weapons and finances to them, he said those so far arrested were low level Taliban fighters.

To another question, he said an inquiry has been ordered into the abduction and killing of army officers by the Taliban, allegedly in collusion with some government officials The military spokesman assured the nation that the security forces were strictly resorting to precision targeting and that no heavy weaponry will be used in the populated areas. “Our target is to clear the area of miscreants while ensuring minimum collateral damage”, he said.

AP adds from Batkhela: The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Swat chapter spokesman Muslim Khan has said the Taliban would resist the security forces until the “last breath”. “We will fight until the last breath for the enforcement of Islamic law,” Muslim Khan told The Associated Press in a brief phone call from an undisclosed location late Sunday. “We consider ourselves on the right path,” he insisted.
STOP THE KILLING NOW
END THE CRIMINAL SIEGE OF GAZA - FREE PALESTINE!!!!!!!

Offline bigron

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
18:19 Mecca time, 15:19 GMT
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/05/200951814292285641.html


   
PAKISTAN: THE BATTLE WITHIN 
 
Pakistan diary: Fortress Islamabad 
 
 By Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan
 


 Security is tighter than ever in the capital since the government assault on Taliban fighters [EPA]
 


Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's reporter in Pakistan, will be filing regular dispatches from the country as the army battles Taliban fighters in the North West Frontier Province.


Islamabad, Tuesday, May 19, 13.13GMT



After careering around the North West Frontier Province for the past week or so, it feels good to be back in the relative calm of the capital Islamabad.


The government assault on pro-Taliban fighters has forced 1.7m to flee their homes [AFP]

I say relative calm because, despite the fact that I was here just a few weeks ago, I have noticed a few changes.

Huge concrete walls have gone up around some buildings. In other parts, black and yellow concrete safety barriers have turned open roads into go-kart courses.

The Marriott Hotel, subject to a massive bomb blast in September last year, is cocooned in a massive shell made out of blast walls and sandbags.

Armed guards, pump action shotguns draped casually over their shoulders, stand on every street.

This is Fortress Islamabad.

It's been like this for a while now, but in last few months security the capital has gone into security overdrive.

Driving past the Parliament requires you to navigate several checkpoints and the route from one end of Islamabad to the other, which used to take 20 minutes, can now take an hour.

I contrast this with the Islamabad of my youth. My younger brother, sister and I used to come to the capital city on holiday as children.

In the 1980s it was nice place. Families would picnic in the hills that surround the city, you could go horse riding, every available space seemed to taken up by young men playing cricket and groups of girls would sit in cafes sharing ice cream and gossip.

The only security you would see was on the outskirts of the city. You would have never seen Pakistani army soldiers ensconced in sand bag posts.

That peaceful Islamabad seems to have gone.

Don't get me wrong, Islamabad still continues in it's own way, but as city it has changed irrevocably.

Fashion shows still happen here, there is a thriving arts scene, the markets are packed with every kind of Pakistani buying every kind of cloth and the cafes are still doing a brisk trade.

But it's not the carefree atmosphere of my youth. People tend not to hang around as much as they used to, most entertaining now happens at home and Islamabad's vast array of restaurants, though packed by day, remain emptier than ever at night.

Islamabad - they call it the beautiful city here. Carved out of the hills it's definitely that, but it's also nervy and tense.
 

Mardan, Monday, May 18, 12.03 GMT


The streets are teeming, the noise is deafening.
 
At every corner, on every road, it seems someone is trying to raise money, ask for goods, or pray for Pakistan's displaced.


The outpouring of charitable aid has been 'extraordinary', says Imran Khan [AFP]
 
Mixed in amongst it all is a small stall with a black and white flag gently fluttering away.
 
The flag is a surprise to me as it belongs to a group that was banned: Jamaat Ud Dawa.
 
The UN put them on a terrorist watch list after the Mumbai attacks last year.
 
The group then disappeared as it members were arrested. Now here they are, working alongside the UN.
 
The group seems to have risen from the ashes.
 
But there is a new name to describe it: Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, which translates as the Humanitarian Welfare Organisation.

I asked the spokesman, a young bearded chap with and high visibility orange jacket on,  if the name change was simply cosmetic. He was non-committal.
 
"We coordinate with Jamaat Ud Dawa, but we co-ordinate with several charities," he said.
 
Inside the tent sat Yayha Mujahadin, a key member of Jamaat Ud Dawa. I asked him for an interview but he declined.
 
It seems whoever this particular group is, they are keeping a low profile.
 
For the people in the camp, though, it matters little who is supporting them, whether it's groups with alleged links to jihadist organisations, the UN, or student organisations - the aid is important.
 
 
The vast majority of Pakistans 1.7 million odd refugees live with family or friends but a significant chunk live in camps which are supplied by Pakistanis of every political hue.
 
It is extraordinary, the outpouring of generosity I have witnessed over the last week.
 
But what will stick with me is the sight of a member of a group the UN has put on terrorist watch list work alongside the UN when it comes to helping refugees.



Peshawar, Sunday, May 17, 14:09 GMT


It has been a very eerie day in Peshawar.

After Saturday's bomb blasts - which killed at least 11 people and wounded several others - Pakistan has had time to digest the events.

Pakistani politicians seem to have taken a bullish stance. They want to get rid of the Taliban.


Pakistan is braced for what could be a decisive assault on the Swat town of Mingora [AFP]

The chief minister of the North West Frontier Province says he wants the army to go after the Taliban in other areas of the country.

He has some support for the idea, but others are fearful over any more military action.

With 1.7 million Pakistanis already displaced, any additional military action is likely to cause that figure to skyrocket. Pakistan is struggling to cope with the problem it has, never mind any more.

Also, ordinary Pakistanis are terrified of reprisal attacks. The Taliban are said to have several bases across Pakistan from which they can launch attacks.

It is a very tense situation.

The government, though, seems to be sensing victory.

Pakistan is braced for what could be a decisive assault on the main Swat town of Mingora.

The Taliban have said it's victory or death.

Whatever the outcome, what is clear is that Swat valley is only the beginning of Pakistan's fight.

The Taliban are unlikely to just give up Swat without attacking major cities.

The government may be confident of victory, but Pakistanis are terrified of at what cost it will come.

 
 

Offline bigron

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Published on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 by The Guardian/UK


Swat Valley Could Be Worst Refugee Crisis Since Rwanda, UN Warns



by Declan Walsh in Islamabad


Internally displaced girls fleeing a military offensive in the Swat valley hold classes inside a tent at an UNHCR camp (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) in the outskirts of Peshawar May 19, 2009. A Pakistani military offensive against Taliban militants in their Swat valley bastion has forced more than a million people from their homes, the government and the United Nations say.
(REUTERS/Ali Imam)


The human exodus from the war-torn Swat valley in northern Pakistan is turning into the world's most dramatic displacement crisis since the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the UN refugee agency warned.

Internally displaced girls fleeing a military offensive in the Swat valley hold classes inside a tent at an UNHCR camp (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) in the outskirts of Peshawar May 19, 2009. A Pakistani military offensive against Taliban militants in their Swat valley bastion has forced more than a million people from their homes, the government and the United Nations say.
(REUTERS/Ali Imam)Almost 1.5 million people have registered for assistance since fighting erupted three weeks ago, the UNHCR said, bringing the total number of war displaced in North West Frontier province to more than 2 million, not including 300,000 the provincial government believes have not registered. "It's been a long time since there has been a displacement this big," the UNHCR's spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva, trying to recall the last time so many people had been uprooted so quickly. "It could go back to Rwanda."

The army reported fierce clashes across Swat, a tourist haven turned Taliban stronghold. After a week of intense aerial bombardment with fighter jets and helicopter gunships the army has launched a ground offensive to drive out the militants to rout the militants from the valley. Commandos pushed through the remote Piochar valley, seizing a training centre and killing a dozen Taliban, a military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, said. Gun battles erupted in several villages surrounding Mingora, Swat's main town. Abbas said the military had killed 27 militants, including three commanders, and lost three members of the security forces. The figures could not be verified, as Swat has been largely cut off since the operation started.

The Taliban leader in Swat, Maulana Fazlullah, remains at large. His spokesman vowed the rebels would fight until their "last breath".

The operation continues to enjoy broad public support. Opposition parties endorsed the action at a conference called by the government, dispelling the notion that the army was fighting "America's war".

But that fragile unity could be threatened by heavy civilian casualties or a further deterioration in the conditions of the 2 million displaced. Returning from a three-day trip to Pakistan, the UNHCR head António Guterres termed the displacement crisis as "one of the most dramatic of recent times". Relief workers were "struggling to keep up with the size and speed of the displacement," a statement said.

The main difference with African refugee crises such as Rwanda, however, is that a minority of people are being housed in tented camps. According to the UN just 130,000 people are being accommodated in the sprawling, hot camps in Mardan and Swabi districts, while most are squeezed into the homes of friends or relatives, with as many as 85 people in one house.

Nevertheless aid workers and political analysts warn that if international aid to ease the crisis is not urgently delivered, the strain on the displaced and those helping them could lead to political destablisation. Acknowledging the scale of the crisis, the prime minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gilani, said: "The displaced men, women and children should not feel alone. We won't leave any stone unturned in providing them help and protection."

The UN is expected to launch an international appeal for aid running into hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming days.

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2009


Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org

URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/05/19-1

Offline bigron

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Just a Suggestion...


by   Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54394&hd=&size=1&l=e

May 19, 2009


I have a suggestion to President Obooma and his administration, a suggestion that will end the "war on terror" once and for all, and will make the whole world a safer place...

This is what I propose.

Why surge in Afghanistan when you can surge in Pakistan ? Commit a few thousands of your bravest boys and girls, in the Northern Provinces. Do not content yourselves with air power. You need to be physically there. You know, fight the fight.

The reason am suggesting that - is because first, I would like you to see for yourselves, the beautiful scenery in the Swat valley and second, since you are so used to John Wayne's cowboy style approach to things, I found an equal for your duels. The Pakistani Pashtuns. You may consider them a local variation of John Wayne.

Îf you think that the Iraqi "insurgents" are merciless, that the Afghan Talibans are lethal, you really ought to try the Pashtuns. They are rough, tough and take no shit from nobody. Just like your John Waynes.

Don't rely on the Pakistani government. Go for it yourselves, no one can scratch your own backs like your own nails. Try it, it will be fun, a cakewalk.

I can promise you that the Pashtuns there will welcome you with flowers and candies, just like they did in Afghanistan and just like we did in Iraq. But they are more hospitable than us. Wallah, they will even make you dance the Hulahoop, on one leg. Ya'ani, you know -- a break dance.

Come on be a sport. Do it, for the sake of the "war on terror." So we can finally be rid of YOUR terror once and for all.





 

Offline bigron

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Losing Pakistan

Sic Semper Tyrannis

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54385&hd=&size=1&l=e

May 18, 2009



The tragedy now unfolding in Pakistan is occurring due the pursuit of shortsighted policies by the United States as well as the Pakistan government and military. The US has pressured Pakistan into engaging in brutal military operations in Bajaur and Swat, with no regard for how this would affect its own vital interests in the region. The Pakistani rulers (bedazzled by the glitter of all those promised billions) have meekly complied in waging war on parts of their own people, again with no thought to the likely outcome for them and their country. The main impact of this has been to the civilian population, some million and a half of whom have been displaced (with many killed and maimed, although no figures for these are yet available).

Incidentally, what Pakistan is doing is little different from what Sudan did in Darfur and what the Sri Lankan government is now doing – fighting an insurgency with minimal or no regard for civilians in the area. This got Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir indicted as a war criminal, while the Sri Lankan government is the object of widespread condemnation in the West. Even Israel got a few taps on its knuckles for its indiscriminate brutality in Gaza. Pakistan, however, is being widely lauded for its resolute "war on terror". Apparently, causing avoidable human suffering while waging this particular war is more palatable than in other cases.

In a previous article (Marching to the Edge – Eyes Wide Shut) I analysed the real threat that the United States faces in this theatre, and recommended what might be a rational policy for it to pursue. This was to first shore up Pakistan instead of waging a war in Afghanistan (with Pakistan forced to act in a supporting role). I warned that a failure to do this risked losing Pakistan to the Islamists, which would render pointless whatever the US could achieve in Afghanistan. The likelihood of such a policy being adopted is nil, unfortunately, since the present administration has continued the Bush practice of letting generals set national policy in this theatre. The generals are fixated on their war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan figures only as an often-reluctant subordinate player in their operations.

What remains to be described is how this tragedy will likely unfold as Pakistan slides ever closer to an Islamist takeover. The current military operation in Swat (like the earlier one in Bajaur) consists mainly of subjecting successive areas to heavy bombardment from the air and the ground, behind which ground troops advance, shooting at anyone they encounter (including unfortunate civilians trying to flee). The area thus occupied is then subjected to an indefinite curfew, and again anyone seen outside is shot (often civilians trying to flee or seek food and water). The hardened Taliban militants, who had moved into Swat from the adjoining tribal area (FATA), have mostly slipped back to their own areas, leaving behind local diehards to attain the honour of martyrdom (those not so inclined merely bury their weapons and mingle with the escaping refugees).

So, even though a famous victory will undoubtedly be won, this military operation is unlikely to do much lasting damage to the Taliban. The army will, in due course, occupy much of the inhabited portions of the Swat valley (but not the hilly regions). The million plus displaced refugees will rush back to find their homes demolished or looted, and most civic infrastructure destroyed, and with it their means of livelihood. As would already have happened in the camps they came from, the flood of US and international aid dollars would dwindle to a trickle by the time it reached them after passing through so many sticky fingers. The main relief effort will be mounted by the Islamist aid organizations, just as they did after the 2005 earthquake in Northern Pakistan. They will thereby win many friends and much goodwill, unlike the Pakistan government and the US, which is even now seen as the instigator of this operation and the resulting calamity. Ultimately, the army will have to depart, and the same ineffective, corrupt and complicit civil administration will return. And so will the Taliban, digging up their black turbans and AK-47s.

Meanwhile, the US war in Afghanistan will continue, and the need to stop the Taliban from using the FATA as a base and launching pad for attacks will intensify. Washington will twist some arms and thump some tables, and the hapless Pakistan military will have to go in and clean up FATA as it did Bajaur and Swat. Another miserable wave of destitute Pashtun refugees will flood back into the adjoining settled areas, to meet the same indifferent care that the refugees from Bajaur and Swat received. The Taliban will not only fade away into the hills and caves of FATA and Afghanistan, but also infiltrate into the interior of Pakistan. FATA will become a depopulated free-fire zone, but scattered garrisons and air attacks will not be able to stop guerrillas from using it as a base to attack both Afghanistan and Pakistan (nor will magical drones manipulated from balmy Florida).

Taliban infiltration and Pashtun alienation (due to these operations by a largely Punjabi military) will likely lead to the collapse of government in the NW Frontier province, allowing an insurgency to grow in this area (low-level, but considerably worse than the one now occurring in Baluchistan). The ethnic conflict now simmering in Karachi will escalate. The Taliban militants who have infiltrated into the cities and towns will stage bombings and attacks in them. All this will intensify the many internal strains and problems already plaguing Pakistan (which I spelt out in my earlier article). Throwing US money at this mess will not make much difference, except to hugely inflate some bank accounts in obscure tax havens. Pakistan is not a very strong and stable structure as it is; under all these additional pressures and complications, something has to give.

Casual or uninformed outside observers are quick to predict the break-up of Pakistan under pressure. That is unlikely, though it remains a possibility at the end of a long chain of adverse events. What is most likely is a change in the present governance structure. Pakistan is currently ruled by one man, Asif Zardari (the facade of democracy notwithstanding). Mr. Zardari, and his policy of unlimited support for US policies in the region, is extremely unpopular (in an opinion poll conducted by the International Republican Institute in March 2009 he was the most disliked politician in Pakistan (72%) with only 17% liking him). When conditions in the country worsen due to the "war on terror", he and his subservience to the US will be blamed, and he is unlikely to be able to remain in power for long. (The delegation from Dubai is ever ready to depart, uttering in farewell those immortal words that Douglas Adams put into the mouths of his departing celestial dolphins: So long, and thanks for all the fish).

Mr. Zardari’s most likely replacement will either be his political rival, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, or an Islamist military junta. Mr. Sharif is currently displaying a somewhat tentative friendship for the US. But, if he comes into power on a wave of anti-US sentiment (whether through an early election, a popular movement, or military intervention), his policies will be radically different from those of the present government. This will probably cause US (and international) aid to dry up, and as this exacerbates the country’s problems, he will have to lean increasingly on Islamists (political Islamists, not the Taliban), and they will gradually take over the government.

Another possible scenario is an Islamist military coup. Though possible at any time (it is unclear how deeply they have penetrated the military, but nationalist fervour easily shades into the Islamist variety), it becomes much more likely if governance in the country seriously breaks down, or the military buckles under the combined pressures of trying to support the US war in Afghanistan, combatting insurgencies and militant attacks at home, while all the time looking apprehensively over its shoulder at the "threat" posed by an India it does not trust. A takeover of the military and the government by a group of Islamist officers could well occur in such circumstances.

Whatever the actual chain of events that transpires, the great (and avoidable) tragedy is that the policies the US is pursuing in the region greatly increase the likelihood of the loss of Pakistan to the Islamists. The frightening consequences of this, for both Pakistan and the US, are easy to imagine. Any successes the generals can achieve in their war in Afghanistan would be meaningless; military campaigns divorced from the real needs of national policy usually end up as expensive failures. The pages of history are littered with them.

 

 

Offline bigron

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The American War on Wana

 by Peter Chamberlin

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54382&hd=&size=1&l=e

May 18, 2009

We are fighting a war that is like no other.  The illusion is made as real; the real is made as dust.  Nothing is as it seems in this war, even though this is the era of instant news.  This alteration of our very understanding of reality has been necessary for us to pursue a war policy of pure evil, even though we have paraded ourselves before the world as warriors in defense of truth and light.  The human race is begging for an end to the path of destruction that trusted American leaders have steered the world onto., longing to turn onto a permanent path of Light.  It is high time the United States either showed the world the way into the Light, or got out of the way of those who can.
Our new president has made a great show of being the man with the hope of "change" in his hand, but in the cold light of day he is readying massive doses of change for the worse.  The world was begging for American leadership to undo what the last "mis-leader" has done, but the economic powers that rule America have produced another charlatan bearing nothing more than a nice smile, to bind us to the path of escalation that leads to the Empire’s goal of permanent war.
A great sickness of mind has inflicted the people of this Nation, filling our thoughts with bloodlust and heroic visions of victory over savage hordes who are bent on our destruction.   The "al Qaida" and Taliban who have been cast as classic movie villains who prefer a world ruled by death and despair, answer to strange gods and display bizarre customs.  American soldiers were cast in the hero’s role, standing tall in their glorious image of the lone eagle warriors holding-back the swelling tides of Asia and Africa, defending our lovingly constructed towers of glory that surely elevate us that much closer to our Creator even as they set us above our fellow man.  This is the Hollywood image of America that has been carefully constructed by our leaders and powerhouses of influence, the "Zion" of Matrix fame.   "Zion" America, the hero nation of warriors, defending precious civilization, under siege by armies of darkness and inhumanity.
The "war on terror" is much like a movie, in that it was definitely developed according to some sort of script, enormous investments were made in its production, while it waited many years in development.  The first step in understanding is realizing that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were not the opening act, neither was the first Trade Center bombing in 1993.
The second step in understanding the "war on terror" is accepting the fact that nothing is as it seems; there are no "good guys," but there are plenty of bad guys, and an unlimited supply of innocents.  The United States and its allies cannot wear the white hats in this bad "spaghetti western," the second act of which is being stage-managed now in Western Pakistan, that is, unless there is no morality.  Unless the foundation of the entire American legal system is suddenly without merit, the United States also be seen as some of the worst bad guys in this violent international travesty of justice.
We have forced our war that we wage in the name of vengeance, out of our sense of righteous indignation, for an attack that killed thousands of innocent civilians, blamed on an ill-defined enemy, offering no evidence of their guilt, killing over one million innocent civilians and turning five times that amount into refugees in the process.
Now, our new president, the one elected on a promise to "change" (one of those changes being the salvation of the first war in Afghanistan, by winding-down the second war in Iraq), is the latest facilitator of the Empire’s plans, a marionette, dancing to the "New World Order blues," as he "song and dances" us around these first two wars and into a third unwinnable war in Pakistan.  The third step in understanding the truth about the terror war is to realize that the American government has not been trying to end these two wars, it has been using every means at its disposal to prolong the first two wars while it frantically sought a way to start a third.  America is not really losing either war, but it has never had any intentions of winning them either.
Obama continues the presidential tradition of deceiving the world about American intentions, present facts  backwards—preserving capitalism will not salvage the war effort, but  military action is planned, to acquire the means to avert any economic emergency, the resources of the underdeveloped region .  Pakistan is the keystone in an American strategic move that stretches in an arc across the entire Middle East and southern central Asia.  If Pakistan is not totally under American control then the plan cannot work.  The existence of this plan accounts for the brazenness shown in American actions taken in Pakistan that are in direct contravention of the expressed will of the Pakistani people and their leaders, actions clearly intended to undermine Army and governmental authority.
The Obama Administration is expanding the war on the strength of this statement:

"to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future."

Every action that our government takes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, under the pretense of eliminating "al Qaida" is a fraud.  Whatever is left of bin Laden’s organization (he never called it "al Qaida," it was the "World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders"), most of the terrorist acts that have been blamed on the legendary group were either the work of other terrorists [like Khalid Sheikh Mohamed and Ramsey Yousef], CIA/Special Forces operations or attacks by mercenary proxies hired by the CIA network).   The Arabic expression,'Q eidat ilmu’ti’aat’, meaning "the database," is the source of the term ascribed to the legendary terrorist outfit.

The term "al Qaida" was never used before the "war of terror" was dreamed-up in the sick minds of the neocon spooks who ran the Bush/Cheney political team in the 2000 campaign.   The only proof given to the contrary came from an Israeli source, claiming to be copied text from an American embassy press release.  World renowned expert on bin Laden , Yossef Bodansky never used the term "al Qaida" even once in his opus volume of research entitled, "Bin Laden: the Man Who Declared War on America," published in 1999.   Bodansky was Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the US House of Representatives from 1988 to 2004, so if there was an "al Qaida" terrorist organization before 1999 he would have known about it.

The concept of the "global war on terror" has served as an excuse for turning reality on its head and the implementation of the full war agenda of the radical American right wing.   Bin Laden’s organization, "World Islamic Front for Jihad" is a spent force.  The promise to chase a generic tag that is made to fit any enemy is a ruse intended to gain the consent of the American people for creating a state of permanent war.

In a war based entirely on manufactured delusions, the allied nations took a small expeditionary force of mercenaries and the amplifying device of the corporate media and created the illusion of "al Qaida."  The Muslim and Arab militants used in the attacks blamed on them throughout the world were military/intelligence agency assets, "patsies" to take the fall for a series of attacks upon American interests.  The corporate masters of America ordered their secret "al Qaida" army, compromised mostly of retired military and intelligence officers, to initiate a series of well-timed and expertly advertised attacks.  This successful application of the "strategy of tension" had the desired effect of deceiving the democratic masses into giving the government permission to start world war III.

This secret network of rogue "retired" intelligence agents and military officers has been a key element of American covert policies since Vietnam and has become an active tool of every American president since it was organized into a private secret army under Ronald Reagan.  They probably killed Kennedy and numerous other key American and allied world leaders.  Their secret machinations were brought to light by the missteps of rogue official Oliver North, revealing for the first time the depths of their plans in the "Rex 84" program of civilian internment camps, intended to accommodate the human bi-products of future plans for martial law.

In their most blatant attack upon Americans on September 11, they ("al Qaida") used their Saudi patsies to launch the biggest psychological warfare operation of all time, which was ultimately intended to bring-about an American dictatorship that would extend all the way to Central and Southern Asia.  They needed the help of their Saudi collaborators, as well as that of the Pakistanis, to create the illusion of a terrorist menace growing out of the Middle East that would open the door for unbridled American aggression and the plans for permanent limited world war.

The Saudis offered-up their limitless supply of Wahabbi jihadis to serve as cannon-fodder in America’s terror war, Pakistan had the network of jihadi training camps built for them by the Americans, using mostly Saudi money, and the thousands of veteran militants trained in those camps, represented by the Taliban and the Kashmiri groups.  Wherever the Saudi militants were used in the Middle East to create the impression of "al Qaida," their actions were usually traced back to the Taliban and their friends  usually with information supplied by CIA or Mossad, in order to legitimize the sweep of American/NATO troops out of Afghanistan, through Pakistan, into Central Asia.

The great production, a.k.a. "the war on terror," is the largest, most ambitious construction project in history, the construction of the world’s biggest inter-continental oil and gas pipeline system, with the lion’s share of it working its way towards the ports of Israel.  Israel has a huge stake in seeing this project succeed, that’s why they are in charge of overseeing so much of the preliminary demolition of the houses and towns occupied by the current "useless eaters," who stand in the way of the latest scheme for certain individuals to reap ultimate profits.  Another player who has a major stake in seeing the project succeed is Iran.  They are planned to be a major provider and transit route.  Between Israel and Iran, they carry-out the majority of the ongoing demolition projects in the Middle East, from Lebanon to Gaza, from Gaza to Egypt, from Egypt to Somalia, from everywhere to Iraq, from Iraq to Pakistan, from Pakistan to Uzbekistan and Western China.  For Western powers the Iran/Israeli conflict is stage-managed to magnify popular tension, even though most Zionist leaders are dead serious about eliminating Iran.

Iran runs the public terror operations (in a covert manner), while Mossad has the franchise for the covert ops that are coordinated with other intelligence agencies.  Wherever you find an active "al Qaida" cell you are witnessing the handiwork of Israel’s finest dirty fighters.  All known "al Qaida" or "al Q linked" networks uncovered invariably lead back to Mossad, or the Saudis, Brits, or Americans.  In Pakistan, Mossad’s influence is manifested through shared missions with India’s RAW spy agency, mostly in the form of terror attacks blamed on the Pakistani Taliban.  Israeli arms sales throughout this troubled region add fuel to the fire and ensure that Iran’s arms sales are matched, in order to produce long bloody stalemates between targeted groups.  While Iran’s sales and training programs have created Hezbollah’s formidable force and empowered Hamas, Israel’s arms sales have gone to clients who were either schooled to serve as an imaginary enemy, or to those seeking to defend themselves from the cardboard armies.

The war in AfPak is based on multiple deceptions by numerous interested parties.   The US brashly demands that Pakistan give-up its deceptions concerning the Taliban, in order to defend the central US deception, that "al Qaida" is a potent international organization of terrorists, that is locked in a war to the death with the US military.
CIA forces are pounding Pakistani targets almost on a daily basis, saying that it is time to come clean about ISI support for Taliban militants, trying by every available means to persuade the government to come around to our point of view.  Our point of view is a fairy tale, concocted for maximum propaganda effect—Pakistan is a "state sponsor of terrorism," while the United States is coming-off  practically blameless for having had thousands of "Islamic" militants trained in radical Saudi-supplied madrassas and CIA-supplied paramilitary camps.  So far, the CIA has managed to pull-off a world-class propaganda coup by making Pakistan the scapegoat for problems it has created.
The CIA has controlled the direction of this covert operation from the beginning, just as it has been in command of the successful intelligence operation that created the greater war and the events of 911.  The CIA, on orders from Bush Sr., did not abandon Afghanistan., to the sole discretion of the Pakistanis, as contended by many researchers.  The proof of this is found in the revelations made by several notable researchers (here, here, and here), that the Taliban won the Afghan civil war because of  the sudden serendipitous "discovery" of "800 truckloads worth of arms and ammunition in a cave near Spinbaldak, information that could only have been obtained with the use of powerful spy satellites.
In "Operation Enduring Turmoil," CIA planners were limited at first to leading a mercenary army in Afghanistan of Northern Alliance proxy forces.  Since then, besides administering the massive "cluster-f**k" known as the Afghan war, it has been busy using some of the Northern Alliance’s most ruthless men, along with a sizeable force of Uzbeks to destabilize Pakistan’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas and North West Frontier Provinces.
Confusion in the war zone and the lid that has been clamped on news coming-out of the area has made it possible to introduce all sorts of sundry militant outfits into the area under the one all-inclusive rubric of "Taliban," just as conditions have allowed for the branding of multiple unaffiliated groups under the chosen talisman of evil, "al Qaida."
At the end of the Afghan invasion, after the bulk of the Taliban and bin Laden’s forces were reduced and contained to Eastern Afghanistan, the CIA took steps to prevent the elimination of entire group, specifically holding-back Northern Alliance forces and American bombers until the trapped fighters could escape to Pakistan, by both land and air (the "Kunduz airlift" involved CIA intervention on behalf of ISI, to relocate Taliban and Army advisors who were under heavy seige).  They relocated to the area around Chitral in the north of Pakistan and returned to Wana in droves.  These were the radicals and foreign "al Qaida" that have since then proceeded to create a reign of terror in Pakistan, as they began to force their radical Wahabbi "jihadi" religious practices on the locals, many of whom are illiterate, with no base of formal knowledge with which to combat their poisonous interpretations of Islam.
The radicals who were bombing, kidnapping and be-heading local tribal leaders by the hundreds were mostly Uzbeks from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) who had come from Afghanistan.  They were the "al Qaida" killers who were being reported on the American "nightly news."  Sightings of "al Qaida" in FATA or Swat invariably refer to this group, or other Uzbeks who came in a second wave, with Northern Alliance Afghans, as they accompanied Guantanamo alumnus Abdullah Mehsud.
The Uzbeks and Afghans who accompanied Abdullah Mehsud into Pakistan began a series of  terror attacks against Pakistanis, claiming to be fighting for Mullah Omar.  Mehsud’s fighters brought heat from the Army down upon the region, ignited intra-tribal warfare with forces led by Maulvi Nazir, and eventually aligned themselves with Baitullah Mehsud and Maulana Fazlullah, providing a base in the north for Shariah-enforcing attacks.  These are the "Taliban" forces who wage war on local Shiites and government forces, blowing-up girls schools, CD shops, etc.

The Mehsud/Uzbek operation was a CIA operation that was kept completely separate and secret from Pakistan’s ISI, since the Army was the intended target of the group.  The joint American/Afghan/Indian operation, to create chaos in Pakistan’s tribal region by the infusion of  "fake Taliban" into Pakistan, has been made possible because of Karzai’s spy agency (NDS)  director, thirty-six-year-old Amrullah Saleh, who once  boasted:
"Insurgency is like grass. Two ways to destroy it: You cut the upper part, and after four months, you have it back. You poison the soil where that grass is, then you eliminate it forever."
The fake "Taliban" has very effectively poisoned the soil of northern and western Pakistan.  The war that Pakistan has been forced to fight against them is a "detoxification" operation, to destroy the noxious weeds that have been transplanted into the fertile soil of the Frontier Region.
Their attacks, coupled with the constant haranguing and threats coming from Bush and Cheney, have compelled the Army to fight a series of mini-wars against the fake Taliban, or "al Qaida," who had taken advantage of Muslim customs to gain shelter among the local Pashtun population from the storm blowing-away across the Durand Line.  Each time the Army ended the mini-war by signing treaties with militant leaders like Mullah Dadullah or Baitullah Mehsud, a new series of attacks would erupt elsewhere.  The collateral damage inflicted upon the local tribes in these attacks and the Army’s counter-attacks then, as now, was massive.  This suffering and violence breathed new life into the local Taliban movement, motivating thousands to take-up arms against the Americans and the Pakistani government.
Into this confusing, boiling cauldron of inter-tribal and inter-agency warfare the British and American forces introduced another wild card, the "Taliban split," orchestrated around the killing on May 13 of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah.   British and Afghan agencies used his brother Mansoor to introduce the idea of "reconciliation" and double-cross into the minds of both the Afghan and the Pakistani Taliban. British assets associated with Mansoor began to perpetuate mistrust and suspicion of Afghan double-agents, especially those who had been associated with Abdullah Mehsud and his Uzbeks.
Out of this British/American operation emerged an organization that was called "Taliban," but what came forth was not Taliban, but "anti-Taliban," the "Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)."
December 14, 2007, the formation of the Taliban Movement of Pakistan (TTP).
On December 27 Benazir Bhutto was killed.
Dec. 29, 2007, Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed read to AFP over the telephone a statement issued by Omar that said Mullah Mansoor Dadullah was sacked
The Sararogha Fort raid occurred on 15-16 January 2008.

The commander of the Pakistani Special Forces (SSG) who led the operation which retook the fortress from the militants led by Baitullah Mehdud, Gen. Alavi, was brutally gunned-down after approaching a British reporter with a story about other Pakistani generals who were dealing with local militants, instead of seriously eliminating them, as claimed.  Two lower-ranking officers, turned "Islamists" have since been charged in his killing, which produced other news reports linking the two with a Taliban assassination ring based in Waziristan and having had contacts with local foe of Baitullah Mehsud, Maulvi Nazir.  The two officers were believed to be associated with Sheikh Omar, the killer of Daniel Pearl, whose phone records show that he had placed calls to Gen. Alavi’s phone from his jail cell.
Sararogha-video of Sara Rogha Fort:
http://vidpk.com/view_video.php?vid=6458




Waziri tribal leader Mullah Nazir is the most dangerous man in all of Pakistan, threatening to blow the lid off America’s secret plans for Pakistan.  He alone holds the keys to war and peace in S. Waziristan.  Nazir represents America’s ultimate failure in Pakistan so far, even though he had formerly been a shining example of "reconciliation" and cooperation with Pakistan Army initiatives.  Thanks to the campaign of repeated assassination attempts by terminator drones which have stalked him over the past year, he has moved himself firmly into the camp of Baitullah Mehsud, even though they have been bitter rivals until now.
Maulvi Nazir had led his Waziri tribe to form a Lashkar (militia) group which expelled the trouble-making Uzbeks and all foreign "al Qaida" from around the town of Wana, after they had killed over three hundred tribal elders (maliks).  The campaign of tribal defense which he initiated has worked wherever it has been applied, perhaps explaining why he has been the constant target of both "al Qaida" and US guns since then.  His reward for having championed the cause of self-defense against American plans for domination has been given in the form of Hellfire missiles delivered by Predator drones over the past year.
After a full year of this, on February 14, 2009 Obama attacked Baitullah Mehsud’s forces in the village of Shrawangai Nazarkhel.  This change in strategy came just two days after the targeting situation in Pakistan was openly discussed on an Internet podcast.  This particular airstrike caused the reunification of the two marked leaders and the splitting-off of another fairly powerful ally of Maulvi Nazir in his struggle against Mehsud and the violent Uzbeks, the inheritor of  Abdullah Mehsud’s Pakistani soldiers, Zainuddin Shimankhel.  Since February, Shimankhel and tribal leader Turkistan Bittani have openly waged war against Mehsud, in S. Waziristan.
Thus the latest deception campaign of  the new American administration, focused on driving the two feuding militants back together to create a common enemy instead of taking advantage of the natural split that was there, made possible by one Predator attack.
A recent series of news reports and interviews with militant leaders in early April confirmed Pakistani/American collaboration in these targeted killings of Taliban leaders.
"In mid-March, the American military in Afghanistan flew a demonstration mission of a Predator drone along a stretch of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to show the kind of imagery and communications information the Predator could provide. The Americans transmitted the information to a border coordination center near the Khyber Pass operated by American, Pakistani and Afghan personnel, and the information was sent through Pakistani security databases.
The test run went well enough that Pakistan subsequently requested a small number of additional Predator reconnaissance flights to support their operations in the border tribal areas.
But American officials said the requests for additional surveillance missions ended suddenly in early April."
On one of those flights took place on Mar.13, when an unmanned US drone killed at least 12 people in Kurram district, associates of Mehsud’s brother.  On 25 March 2009 seven were killed in the Makin area, Mehsud’s home town.
After these attacks, the collaboration suddenly ended in early April, after Taliban leader Maulvi Nazir gave an interview with As-Sahab on April 7, and the appearance of this article on April 10, which highlighted Nazeer’s charges that Pakistani Army sources had planted the homing devices on local militant leaders, which the Predator flights zeroed in on.  On April 14, this article in the Lebanese Daily Star revealed that Amb. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen had secretly met with Taliban leaders, one of them probably infamous Afghan leader and former sweetheart of the CIA, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Today, the CIA is continuing to push the Pakistani government to the wall today with its provocative Predator and counter-insurgency attacks that drive the tribal militants to wage war in the Frontier Region, in order to force the ISI to change its ways.  The ploy, that the US is waging war to eradicate its successful CIA operation to create a phantom militant army, a.k.a. "al Qaida" (which is allegedly giving orders to the Pakistani Taliban), is being used as a cover to force the ISI to reveal its own successful militant project, the "Taliban."  Regardless of American wishes to the contrary, Pakistan still has the option of negotiations with its own Taliban in Waziristan, even though has to wage war to eliminate the American "Taliban" from NWFP.
Pakistan has to choose to accept America’s point of view, that all Taliban are and were a project of the ISI, if it wants to obtain the windfall represented by the PEACE treaty.  Pakistan has to agree to seriously fight total civil war against the Taliban, from Kashmir to Balochistan, if it is to receive the funds that the American warlords are dangling before them.  Pakistan’s problems with militancy now all arose because of past mini-wars launched against their own people at Bush’s insistence.  Obama is intent on taking it a step further than even Bush and Cheney dared to dream.
Pakistan has to seriously fight a war against the Taliban, pretending that they are fighting an imaginary "al Qaida" hierarchy which survived the Afghan war by fleeing to FATA and NWFP.   Pakistan has to decimate its population with war and refugee problems, under American direction, in the pretense of fighting a military "force" that consists of no more than a token  remnant; it is not any kind of "force" at all.
If the news leaking out is true, that the Pakistani Army is planning an offensive against Baitullah Mehsud in S. Waziristan next month, and it is not just more American propaganda, like the "failed state" "Taliban takeover" hysteria, then we will be witnessing a remarkable event in the history of dumb mistakes.  If the Army folds under the pressure and opens a real civil war throughout the entire Frontier Region, then it will be sealing Pakistan’s fate to be dismembered and dominated.  This is insane.
It has become apparent that regardless of what the Pakistani Army does, a major war escalation has been scheduled by the American military, beginning in June.  The planned "surge" of possibly 24,000 troops, is just the start.  The present commander of US forces in Afghanistan is being replaced with a specialist in counter-insurgency strategy, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Reports on the Pentagon website InsideDefense.com,, reveal that a major "irregular warfare" air capability will be called on in June:
"AIR FORCE PREPPING FOR MAJOR IRREGULAR WARFARE DECISIONS IN JUNE."
The new "Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund" has been created, with $400 million for Pakistan’s counter-insurgency needs for their escalation.
Pakistan’s leaders continue to go through this painfully slow dance to the death with their American employers, disrupting life in the tribal regions, pretending to be locked in to a battle to the death with a few thousand militants, while they prepare an all too real escalation of Obama/Bush’s war, all for the sake of maintaining the greater illusion of fighting "al Qaida."  Pakistan’s leaders are playing a very deadly game here with Obama, betting the survival of their precious nation that the United States warlords will blink first.
In order to gain access to the promised PEACE funds, Pakistan is ready to jump through any hoop.  "PEACE"  is a restraining pay-off, designed by full-time "friend of Israel" US Congressman, Howard Berman.  His bill binds Pakistan to cut its own throat, by opening a full-scale civil war in its western regions, while simultaneously surrendering to India’s good intentions in the east, in exchange for billions.  Israeli watchdog Berman is once again carrying water for the Zionist state, by enforcing the nuts and bolts of the public relations "course change" spelled-out recently by radical new spokesman Avigdor Lieberman.  Lieberman’s opinion, that "Pakistan is the greatest threat to the world," is way out of character for Israel.  Israel’s American allies in Congress are effectively taking the focused public eye away from Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for the next anti-Islamic invasion of Iran.   Berman’s PEACE bill is just like the "Iran war resolution" he co-authorized with fellow-traveller Rep. Ackermen.  Like that bill which was nearly rammed through the last congress, it seeks to create a set of conditions in the Middle East region that will facilitate the commitment of US forces to new military actions against a major military power.  Israel is desperately trying to rehabilitate its public image, which lay in ruins after attempting to exterminate a sizeable portion of the Palestinian population of Gaza.

Intensive US actions will begin in Pakistan next month, one way or another.  Even if, by some miracle, Pakistan stood-up for its citizens and refused the PEACE pay-off, American military actions will be triggered when the Pakistani Army either fails to ignite civil war in S. Waziristan or fails to convince US leaders that they are sincerely locked in a land struggle to eliminate the Pakistani Taliban.  The generals will not be able to fool American satellites without totally destroying the area under surveillance.  Is this the process that is underway now in Buner and Swat, the leveling of the communities for the sake of the show?

The Pakistani Army leaders refuse to take the proper stand that would instantly correct the international opinion of the people and its leaders—tell the truth about the Taliban and "al Qaida."  Anything less than openly, in the press, revealing the complete dirty truth about the "epicenter of terror" created in your Frontier Region will NOT stay the executioner’s hand.    Tell the world that "al Qaida" is an intelligence operation of the US government, which Pakistan’s secret service participated in.  The Taliban is the product of a successful intelligence operation, while "al Q" is the operation.  The CIA’s "mujahedeen" program created a lot of militant jihadis, among them, the Taliban, at least some of them.  The camps and the radical madrassas were the mujahedeen program, the Taliban were some of the militants who graduated  from  that program in the late eighties and early nineties.

American military and civilian leaders should know the facts about "al Qaida" and the Taliban better than anyone else, but Gen. Petraeus, the highest military officer in the Nation, seems to be the head disinformer of the American and Pakistani people.  Calling Pakistan the "nerve center" of al Qaeda’s global operations and "the headquarters of the al Qaeda senior leadership," Petraeus built the case to the American people and their Congress for decimating the Pakistani population with war and refugeeism, using maximum possible force (overkill), for the sake of  pursuing no more than a handful of foreign terrorists who could otherwise be captured by less destructive means.  Petraeus couldn’t have risen to his high rank without knowing the truth about this vaporous enemy that Washington has chosen to stand-up for the sake of an arranged "fight."  He knows that there has never been an "al Qaida," and that Osama bin Laden is long since dead.
In the following quote from the general, if you substituted the word CIA or agency for al Qaida, you would have an accurate statement on Pakistan’s terrorist problem:
'There’s no question that Al Qaeda’s senior leadership has been there and has been in operation for years,’ said the general when asked if he knew where they were hiding. 'We had to contend with its reach as it sought to facilitate the flow of foreign fighters, resources, explosives, leaders and expertise into Iraq, as you’ll recall, through Syria.
'We see tentacles of Al Qaeda that connect to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, the elements Al-Shabab in Somalia, elements in north central Africa, and that strive to reach all the way, of course, into Europe and into the United States."
The "Islamist" jihadis who are spread throughout the named countries all have one thing in common, they are all driving their particular conflict country in America’s direction.  They are steering their country’s fate on a course intended to provoke and justify American intervention and validate the concept that "Islamists" are murderous, radical cut-throats.  They are all in energy producing states, or key countries on pipeline pathways.
In order for the great fiction known as the "war on terror" to continue, everyone has to agree to pretend that people like Gen. Petraeus and Barack Obama are telling the truth when they talk about the "great global threat," that we like to call "al Qaida."  All of America’s leaders, just like all of Pakistan’s leaders know that there is no "al Qaida," except in the minds of the great war planners and psy-operators.

There is an international network of spies and mercenary agents, but it is an arm of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies.  This nameless network, dubbed "al Qaida" by Cheney and Bush, has operated out of western Pakistan for thirty years, where the CIA planted it.  Created by Reagan and Bush’s father, the militant network is 100% "made in America."  Clinton used it as his secret army.  Bush pretended that it was an Islamic organization, headed by a radical Saudi militant, Osama bin Laden.  Bin Laden headed a second rate Arab terrorist outfit that was primarily concerned with removing the Americans from Islamic "holy lands" and freeing Palestine.  The commander of one of the assassination units, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has been nominated to be the new commanding general in Afghanistan.
The official history of "al Qaida" is told in the stories of one or two actual terrorists, Ramsey Yousef and Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, whose terror attacks are attributed to "al Qaida," even though, they were not members of "al Qaida" at the time of their attacks (and there was no organization by that name in existence until 1999-2000).  Since their capture and the elimination of bin Laden’s actual outfit (Islamic Front for Jihad Against Crusaders and Jews") in the mountains of Tora Bora, other shadowy groups, such as Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Obama and Petraeus, like the unfortunate Zardari and Kayani, are fully prepared to take military actions which will bring an end to both nations, as the New World Order of permanent limited war they help to usher in erases both nations.  Perhaps there will be some homogenized version of Pakistan or America left after the conflagration lit by the suicidal nations subsides.
 
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