, , ">
Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Lets's talk about democracy
10 Mar, 08 > 16 Mar, 08
3 Mar, 08 > 9 Mar, 08
25 Feb, 08 > 2 Mar, 08
18 Feb, 08 > 24 Feb, 08
11 Feb, 08 > 17 Feb, 08
4 Feb, 08 > 10 Feb, 08
28 Jan, 08 > 3 Feb, 08
17 Dec, 07 > 23 Dec, 07
26 Nov, 07 > 2 Dec, 07
12 Nov, 07 > 18 Nov, 07
5 Nov, 07 > 11 Nov, 07
10 Sep, 07 > 16 Sep, 07
20 Aug, 07 > 26 Aug, 07
30 Jul, 07 > 5 Aug, 07
23 Jul, 07 > 29 Jul, 07
9 Jul, 07 > 15 Jul, 07
2 Jul, 07 > 8 Jul, 07
25 Jun, 07 > 1 Jul, 07
28 May, 07 > 3 Jun, 07
21 May, 07 > 27 May, 07
14 May, 07 > 20 May, 07
7 May, 07 > 13 May, 07
26 Mar, 07 > 1 Apr, 07
12 Mar, 07 > 18 Mar, 07
22 Jan, 07 > 28 Jan, 07
15 Jan, 07 > 21 Jan, 07
13 Nov, 06 > 19 Nov, 06
23 Oct, 06 > 29 Oct, 06
16 Oct, 06 > 22 Oct, 06
9 Oct, 06 > 15 Oct, 06
2 Oct, 06 > 8 Oct, 06
25 Sep, 06 > 1 Oct, 06
18 Sep, 06 > 24 Sep, 06
11 Sep, 06 > 17 Sep, 06
4 Sep, 06 > 10 Sep, 06
28 Aug, 06 > 3 Sep, 06
24 Jul, 06 > 30 Jul, 06
17 Jul, 06 > 23 Jul, 06
12 Jun, 06 > 18 Jun, 06
5 Jun, 06 > 11 Jun, 06
29 May, 06 > 4 Jun, 06
8 May, 06 > 14 May, 06
1 May, 06 > 7 May, 06
24 Apr, 06 > 30 Apr, 06
17 Apr, 06 > 23 Apr, 06
10 Apr, 06 > 16 Apr, 06
3 Apr, 06 > 9 Apr, 06
27 Mar, 06 > 2 Apr, 06
20 Mar, 06 > 26 Mar, 06
13 Mar, 06 > 19 Mar, 06
6 Mar, 06 > 12 Mar, 06
27 Feb, 06 > 5 Mar, 06
20 Feb, 06 > 26 Feb, 06
13 Feb, 06 > 19 Feb, 06
6 Feb, 06 > 12 Feb, 06
30 Jan, 06 > 5 Feb, 06
23 Jan, 06 > 29 Jan, 06
16 Jan, 06 > 22 Jan, 06
9 Jan, 06 > 15 Jan, 06
2 Jan, 06 > 8 Jan, 06
26 Dec, 05 > 1 Jan, 06
19 Dec, 05 > 25 Dec, 05
12 Dec, 05 > 18 Dec, 05
5 Dec, 05 > 11 Dec, 05
28 Nov, 05 > 4 Dec, 05
21 Nov, 05 > 27 Nov, 05
14 Nov, 05 > 20 Nov, 05
7 Nov, 05 > 13 Nov, 05
31 Oct, 05 > 6 Nov, 05
24 Oct, 05 > 30 Oct, 05
17 Oct, 05 > 23 Oct, 05
10 Oct, 05 > 16 Oct, 05
3 Oct, 05 > 9 Oct, 05
26 Sep, 05 > 2 Oct, 05
19 Sep, 05 > 25 Sep, 05
12 Sep, 05 > 18 Sep, 05
5 Sep, 05 > 11 Sep, 05
29 Aug, 05 > 4 Sep, 05
22 Aug, 05 > 28 Aug, 05
15 Aug, 05 > 21 Aug, 05
8 Aug, 05 > 14 Aug, 05
1 Aug, 05 > 7 Aug, 05
25 Jul, 05 > 31 Jul, 05
18 Jul, 05 > 24 Jul, 05
11 Jul, 05 > 17 Jul, 05
4 Jul, 05 > 10 Jul, 05
27 Jun, 05 > 3 Jul, 05
20 Jun, 05 > 26 Jun, 05
13 Jun, 05 > 19 Jun, 05
6 Jun, 05 > 12 Jun, 05
30 May, 05 > 5 Jun, 05
23 May, 05 > 29 May, 05
16 May, 05 > 22 May, 05
9 May, 05 > 15 May, 05
2 May, 05 > 8 May, 05
25 Apr, 05 > 1 May, 05
18 Apr, 05 > 24 Apr, 05
11 Apr, 05 > 17 Apr, 05
4 Apr, 05 > 10 Apr, 05
28 Mar, 05 > 3 Apr, 05
28 Feb, 05 > 6 Mar, 05
21 Feb, 05 > 27 Feb, 05
14 Feb, 05 > 20 Feb, 05
7 Feb, 05 > 13 Feb, 05
31 Jan, 05 > 6 Feb, 05
24 Jan, 05 > 30 Jan, 05
3 Jan, 05 > 9 Jan, 05
27 Dec, 04 > 2 Jan, 05
20 Dec, 04 > 26 Dec, 04
13 Dec, 04 > 19 Dec, 04
29 Nov, 04 > 5 Dec, 04
15 Nov, 04 > 21 Nov, 04
8 Nov, 04 > 14 Nov, 04
1 Nov, 04 > 7 Nov, 04
25 Oct, 04 > 31 Oct, 04
18 Oct, 04 > 24 Oct, 04
11 Oct, 04 > 17 Oct, 04
4 Oct, 04 > 10 Oct, 04
27 Sep, 04 > 3 Oct, 04
20 Sep, 04 > 26 Sep, 04
13 Sep, 04 > 19 Sep, 04
6 Sep, 04 > 12 Sep, 04
30 Aug, 04 > 5 Sep, 04
23 Aug, 04 > 29 Aug, 04
9 Aug, 04 > 15 Aug, 04
26 Jul, 04 > 1 Aug, 04
19 Jul, 04 > 25 Jul, 04
12 Jul, 04 > 18 Jul, 04
5 Jul, 04 > 11 Jul, 04
28 Jun, 04 > 4 Jul, 04
21 Jun, 04 > 27 Jun, 04
14 Jun, 04 > 20 Jun, 04
7 Jun, 04 > 13 Jun, 04
17 May, 04 > 23 May, 04
26 Apr, 04 > 2 May, 04
19 Apr, 04 > 25 Apr, 04
12 Apr, 04 > 18 Apr, 04
5 Apr, 04 > 11 Apr, 04
29 Mar, 04 > 4 Apr, 04
22 Mar, 04 > 28 Mar, 04
15 Mar, 04 > 21 Mar, 04
1 Mar, 04 > 7 Mar, 04
23 Feb, 04 > 29 Feb, 04
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Bush Administraiton
General News.
Iraq
Israel
The Saudis
U.S. Military issues.
War on Terror
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
Monday, 28 January 2008
The GWOT, not going so great.

Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says in an interview for the AP concerning he rapidly deteriorating situation in Afgahnistan:

"There is strong pressure now from the international community to find some solution to Afghanistan because of the fear that this could quickly go south. We haven't lost the war yet, but we could be on our way to doing so."

Not only is the war going south, but so are the Talibs; to Kandahar specifically. AP reports that an American aid worker,Cyd Mizell, and her Afghan driver were abducted in Kandahar on Sunday.

Sarah Chayes, a former reporter for NPR and now a makerr of soap in Kandahar, says the kidnapping "sends a signal. It's like a new chapter in a book." [Christian Science Monitor]

Great, just what we needed a new chapter. The BUsh admistration is also writing a new chapter for this years upcoming "fighting season" preparing to send 3,200 Marines to help out the 28,000 or or so troops already there. This constitutes more troops now in Afghanistan than we had at the beginning of the war.

But, even as we ramp up operations in the forgotten war, Pakistan is also rapidly falling apart. The US is tryign to get out bastard in Rawalpindi to do something about his little Taliban problem, but he's not buying what the US is selling. He;s more interested in goign after "miscreants."

More later.


Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:14 PM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Bugging out in Basra. Mission accomplished.
Topic: Iraq

AFP reports:

"BASRA, Iraq (AFP) - The British military will transfer security control of the southern province of Basra to Iraqi forces on Sunday, Iraq's government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told reporters on Wednesday. 'The handover of Basra will take place on December 16,' Dabbagh said."

 Gosh, that was sudden! But what about MSR Tampa?

Earlier on, in Spetember, IHT reported:

"As British troops pull out of their last base in Basra, some military commanders and civilian government officials in the area are concerned that the transition could leave them and a major supply route to Baghdad [MSR Tampa] at greater risk of attack . . . According to officers at the U.S. 3rd Army forward headquarters in Kuwait, which oversees the vast shipments of supplies flowing north into Iraq, on any given day more than 3,000 vehicles are on the road in convoys hauling food, fuel, ammunition and other equipment."

That could be a problem, no?

Because, the British plan on not only bugging out of Basra but also of getting out of the country entirely by the end of the year, if not sooner. The British say their job is basically done. During his "surprise" visit to British troops in Iraq, UK PM Gordon Brown said: "It's because of all the operations we have done over the past few months that the security situation has not only improved, but he is now recommending a move to provincial Iraqi control within two weeks."

Right. . . 

The Journal-Standard reports:

"The police chief of Iraq's southern Basra province acknowledged Thursday that his forces lack the means to maintain security in the region after a British troop withdrawal later this month. . . 'I'm faced with a lot of hardships,' Maj. Gen. Jalil Khalaf, commander of the Basra Police Division, told The Associated Press. 'Frankly speaking, we have rifles, machine-guns and a few armored vehicles, which aren't as advanced as the British weaponry and are insufficient to maintain full control of the province.' So far, in tough situations, he said Iraqi police have had to rely on calling in 'support from Baghdad' or the U.S.-led coalition."

Additionally, Maj-Gen Khalaf told the BBC "There is a terrible repression against women in Basra. . . .They kill women, leave a piece of paper on her or dress her in indecent clothes so as to justify their horrible crimes"

BBC: "Forty-two women were killed between July and September this year, although the number dropped slightly in October, he said."

So, you see, the security situation in Basra is cleary under control.

Good luck with getting any help from the government in Baghdad to curb these abuses against women. Many of al-Maliki's buddies in government  think women are getting a little too uppity these days anyway. 

And Good luck with geting help from the Americans. U.S. General David Patraeus is also contemplating the improved security situation in his neck of the woods and has plans to begin pulling five combat brigades out of Iraq by the end of the summer. Patraeus seems to think even without the British presence down south things will be fine.

Coalition and Iraqi security forces can get the job done. Naturally, Patraeus said that during his visit to London in September he and his UK counterparts would "talk tasks" and that "among the tasks is the need to continue line-of-communications security, certainly."

Certainly, but what about the situation in Maysan province, the area the Brits turned over to the Iraqi in April? Could this be any indication of what we might have in store for us in the near furture in Basra?

AFP reports:

"Four car bombs killed at least 33 people in Iraq on Wednesday, including 28 in the southern city of Amara [the capital of Maysan]. Triple car bombs in Amara killed at least 28 people and wounded another 151, 10 of them children, said Zamil Shia'a al-Oreibi, director general of Amara health department. Amara police Lieutenant Ali Kadhim Hassan said the bombs exploded within minutes of each other, the first going off at 10:30 am (0730 GMT)."  

It seems to me both the Brits and us are trying to use this little interlude of relative peace (and I do mean relative) in Iraq as cover to bug out. In the case of Gordon Brown, he figures he doesn't want to take over ownership of the Blair's debacle so he's more than happy to get out. Patraeus has taken ownership of Bush quagmire but he's on the clock. There is no way he doesn't drive the Army into the ground if he keeps the kind of troop levels he's got now past the summer.

Everybody is crossing their fingers and toes hoping things hang on long enough to bow out gracefully. It all looks like wishful thinking to me. Let's see what happens once provincial elections are allowed to go ahead.

But what about MSR Tampa? Our lines of communication are a little precarious right now. We're hoping the Turks keep playing ball in the north and in the south?

Well, Lieutenant Colonel James Hutton, a spokesman for the Multinational Corps-Iraq, says he's noted a "recent drop in both the number and effectiveness of attacks on these convoys." He credits this on "aggressive patrolling" and Muqtada al-Sadr's recent retolling cease-fire which Hutton says might lead to "further reductions of violence in the southern provinces."

That's a pretty thin reed to hold on to: Let's hope Muqtada behaves himself?


Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:15 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007 4:00 PM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 24 November 2007
South Asia roundup
Topic: War on Terror

There is so much going on in South Asia these days I just don't know where to start.

The DAWN reports today that Nawaz Sharif will make another attempt ot make it back to Lahore tomorrow, which ought to be interesting. 

With all the shutting down of independent media under Musharraf's maritial law it's difficult to know what exactly is going on, but the DAWN seems to think there was some sort a deal made between Musharraf and Sharif.

Interestingly, ISI chief General Nadeem Taj went along with Musharraf to Saudi Arabia in his own plane.

DAWN reports:

"The ISI chief, who accompanied the president to Saudi Arabia, stayed back in Riyadh after Gen Musharraf’s entourage moved to Jeddah. Gen Nadeem Taj’s prolonged stay in the Saudi capital fuelled speculations that an understanding between the two leaders was on the cards. Sources said the ISI chief was again in Riyadh when Nawaz Sharif flew into the city on Friday. Sources at the Pakistan embassy told Dawn that ‘clearance’ for the ISI chief’s plane had been sought from the embassy."

Meanwhile, another suicide attack struck Rawalpindi today:

BBC reports:

"Twin suicide car bombings have killed at least 30 people and injured many others in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi, officials have said. One of the blasts hit a bus packed with members of the security forces. . . the BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says attacks are often suspected to have been carried out by pro-Taleban militants in revenge for military operations in the tribal areas near the Afghan border and in North-West Frontier Province. "

What is not mentioned in this article is that in an on-air interview early this morning Plett revealed that there is speculation that the attacker of the ISI bus might have been known by the riders, implying that these sucide bombers, like the one on September 5, were able to get away with these bombings in the heart of the military's stronghold because they are or were on the payroll.

Remember, the ISI had this little problem of supporting the Talibs all through the 90's. The GWU's National Security Archives  recently got hold of files proving the extensive involvment of the ISI in helping the Talibs.

A "January 1997 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan observed that 'for Pakistan, a Taliban-based government in Kabul would be as good as it can get in Afghanistan, adding that worries that the 'Taliban brand of Islam . . .might infect Pakistan,' was 'apparently a problem for another day."

That other day is apparently here. But not to fear, former ISI chief Lt. General Ashfaq Kiyani is here to save the day. When John Negroponte -- himself no stranger to supporting terrorists, I mean, his "special project" in Central America-- went to Pakistan this week where he had one meeting with Musharraf and three with Kiyani. He reportedly told Kiyani at one point, "Use your influence. You can help save Pakistan." [ANI]

Great, this gives me a lot of confidence. Intelbriefs says of Kiyani:

"It was during his tenture that the neo-Taliban staged a comeback in the tribal areas of Pakistan with a big bang and the Pakistan army practically lost control over the Pashtun belt, thus enabling al-Qaeda to establish its sancuaries in the Waziristan region on the Pak-Afghan border."

But, that's not a probelm, we've supported Musharraf up to this point and all he's done is drive the whole Pakistan file into the ditch.

And one more little tid bit:

This week Musahrraf's hand picked supreme court threw out all challanges to his election last month.

The Pakistan Times reports:

 "Ten-member full court of the Supreme Court Monday dismissed six petitions including a contempt petition filed by Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed and others challenging the eligibility of General Pervez Musharraf to contest Presidential election for the 2nd term, as withdrawn as well as due to non-prosecution."

"Non Prosecution" is a legal way of saying the lawyers who brought the petitions weren't there to prosecute them. Funny enough, Musharraf had them all arrested so they couldn't show up. But I guess that's an internal matter that he US administration isn't too interested in. Better top focua on those free and fair elections coming up in January -- if ther Takliban doesn't taek over between now and then.

And in Afganistan:

The Senlis Council reports:

"The security situation in Afghanistan has reached crisis proportions. The Taliban's ability to establish a presence throughout the country is now proven beyond doubt; exclusive research undertaken by Senlis Afghanistan indicates that 54 per cent of Afghanistan’s landmass hosts a permanent Taliban presence, primarily in southern Afghanistan, and is subject to frequent hostile activity by the insurgency.

The Taliban are the de facto governing authority in significant portions of territory in the south and east, and are starting to control parts of the local economy and key infrastructure such as roads and energy supply. The insurgency also exercises a significant amount of psychological control, gaining more and more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people who have a long history of shifting alliances and regime change." 


Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:24 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007 2:24 PM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 9 November 2007
Bhutto gets arrested, Bush eternally hopeful.

AP reports:

 "Pakistani police backed by armored vehicles detained opposition leader Benazir Bhutto at her Islamabad residence Friday and reportedly rounded up 5,000 of her supporters to block a planned mass protest against emergency rule, officials said. "

Yes, it's good to see Pervez is really taking W.'s "frank discussion" to heart. I'm sure, also, that Musharraf's vague promise of elections sometime in Feb. is right on track, too.

It's kind of funny Musharraf & Co. are so concerned about a legal political party rallying in Rawalpindi on Friday, whilst  they don't seem to be in the least concerned about suicide bombers roaming the streets unhindered. I also find it funny that the government blamed Baitullah Mehsud for the attempt on Bhutto's life two weeks ago, yet then made a deal with him to leave him alone. Funny, too, that the official reason for Bhutto's arrest seems to tbe that she might be in danger from sucide bombers. 

Very odd, this country Pakistan. 


Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:32 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008 5:48 PM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 8 November 2007
W.'s frank discussion with Musharraf. More of the same, frankly.
Topic: War on Terror

Deputy secretary of State, John "give me another job, I don't like this one" Negroponte, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday that U.S. aid programs (i.e. weapons sales) to Pakistan were "crucial" to the WOT. "Cutting these programs would send a negative signal to the people of Pakistan," Negroponte said.  

Sitting back and praising Pervez Musharraf, as W. did the other day, as a valued ally in the fight against extremism and radicals -- whilst he shuts down the electronic media, locks away human rights' activists without charges and allows his security forces to beat and tear gas lawyers in the streets  -- sends a signal, too.  

In fact, the "on-again off-again interactions that have characterized our relationship in the past" with Pakistan, as Negroponte put it, which have been pretty much on-again with the autocratic Musharraf since 9/11, transmits the very clear signal that W. & Co. care more about US strategic policy objectives than about spreading democracy.  In describing the difference between his responses to Musharraf's "emergency decree" versus the reaction to the Burmese Junta's crack down on the Monks, W. said yesterday:

"Look, our objective is the same in Burma as in Pakistan, and that is to promote democracy. There is a difference, however. Pakistan has been on the path to democracy. Burma hadn't been on the path to democracy."  

Uh huh.  

[W. says he told Musaharraf "You can't be the president and the head of the military at the same time." But isn't W. the president and the commander in chief of of  the military at the same time? He probably shoud have come up with a better argument. WaPo]

When exactly was Pakistan on the path to democracy? When Musharraf got elected while still in uniform and by the current parliament, all of which was blatantly unconstitutional? Was it when he fired Ifktihar Chaudhry when it looked like he was going to rule that Musharraf was ineligible to run in uniform? Is he talking about his knuckle-headed gambit to install a fig leaf on Musharraf's autocratic rule by setting Benezir Bhutto up in partnership? (Boy that really blew up in the administration's face.)  

To me and to many others now well schooled in W.'s fractured double-speak, its pretty clear his "very frank discussion" with Musharraf isn't going to lead to elections anytime soon. And even if Musharraf allows elections to go ahead, now one month later than scheduled, according to him, they'll be something less than free and fair. But will nonetheless be hailed as such by W. & Co, regardless. 

Obviously, W. and the most experienced foreign policy team in the history of the world haven't got a clue about what to do about Pakistan, so they'll just stay with what they know: Back Musharraf to the hilt, throw more money at the problem and hope for the best.  There are various bills floating around Congress to cut off aid to Pakistan's military, but I don't think either W. or Musharraf are very worried about it. All W. will have to do is imply the Democrats are weak on terror and all talk of punishing the regime in Islamabad will crumble.  

The question is how long do we have until Musharraf's rule crumbles? And if W. & Co. actually do have any other general's numbers, as Rep. Gary Ackerman suggested, will they be around to answer the call? It seems the Pakistani army itself is beginning to crumble a bit. Suicide bombings in Rawalpindi, the main garrison town, are now almost a daily occurrence; over a thousand troops have died in the past few years fighting militants of various stripes; hundreds have been captured and held hostage; and many more hundreds have simply handed their weapons over to the Talibs and gone home.

And for all the discussion by the "intelligence community" about how unlikely the chances are of the nightmare scenario of OBL or Mullah Omar getting their hands on a nuke via sympathetic junior military officers, the more worrying scenario is the lack of accounting of the materials that could be turned into a nuke or at the very least a "dirty-bomb." Ron Moreau and Michael Hirsh write in last week's NEWSWEEK that, last year the country's Atomic Energy Agency "began publishing ads in newspapers instructing the public about how to recognize radioactive materials and their symbols. The ads were quickly withdrawn after they incited fears that fissile materials had gone missing."  

The fact is, no one really knows how much of this fissile material the Pakistanis have made and if it's all under wraps. Keeping in the mind that Pakistan leaves North Korea and Iran in the dust when it comes to nuclear proliferation -- thanks to the good works of A.Q. Khan who Musharraf declared a national hero -- OBL & Co. wouldn't necessarily find it too difficult to get their hands on the tools they need to make nukes.  

But, let's all just pull together in hoping our bastard in Islamabad can get his house in order and at some point in the future get around to actually getting his security forces to do something about the extremists and radicals who live and operate in the open and free of any interference by their buddies the ISI in Peshawar and Quetta and recruit and re-arm in the refugee camps of Jalozai and Shamshatu. Of course, beating up bespectacled lawyers, rounding up pacifists and old ladies is so much easier.  


Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:13 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007 3:24 PM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
Pakistan on the brink?
Topic: War on Terror

Boy W. has really screwed the pooch, hasn't he? He's running the foreign policy of the United States just like he ran his oil companies -- right into the ground. Letting OBL and al-Qaeda escape into Pakistan and then the invading Iraq was bad enough, but his handling -- or lack thereof -- of the Pakistan dossier has really been an all around FUBR. 

The news coming out of Pakistan is pretty bad. It's like watching a car wreck in slow motion. Our good buddy Pervez Musharraf -- Bush is still calling him a "strong fighter against extremists and radicals" -- has suspended the Pakistani constitution, dismantled the supreme court, re-arrested Iftikhar Chaudry and sic'd his police on anyone involved in trying to preserve that country's civil society. Police have been tear gassing and beating lawyers with batons, the images of which he hasn't been able to prevent from getting out to the rest of the world despite his shutting down of the independent media, but all W. has to say is that he hopes Musharraf restores the courts and the constitution at some point in the future. And if Musharraf doesn't? Well, all W.'s got to say about that is, "I hope he takes my advice."

In other words, you brave Pakistani lawyers risking your freedom and lives: you're on your own. The great beacon of democracy is out of service for repairs.  

Recently, Musharraf's heroic battle against extremists and radicals has involved releasing those very same extremists and radicals from jail in order to back some 200 Pakistani soldiers captured by a South Waziristani warlord named Baitullah Mehsud. Musharraf has made a deal with Mehsud to pull back his forces and leave the entire area in Mesud's control. The NYT reports today that Mesud has vowed to expel foreign fighters from the area by Jan. 1, "but he declined to promise not to dispatch fighters to Afghanistan." This sounds very much like the deal Musharraf  made with "tribal leaders" (aka the Taliban) in September of last year which resulted in attacks against US forces in Eastern Afghanistan soaring by over 30%.  

This sort of thing probably explains why a sizable faction of al-Qaeda is perfectly happy to see Musharraf remain alive and well -- and in power. NEWSWEEK reported in July about a rift that had developed within al-Qaeda between the "Egyptians" led by Ayman al-Zuwahiri and the Libyan faction led by Abu Yahya al-Libi, who escaped from the lock-up at Bagram Airbase in 2005. It seems al-Zuwahiri has it in his mind to kill Musharraf, whereas al-Libi, along with OBL, feels that trying to kill Musharraf might risk, as Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau write, "Inviting the Pakistani leader's wrath, prematurely opening up another battlefront before the jihadists have properly consolidated their position."  

The Long War Journal reports, though, that "While there are certainly internal divisions within al Qaeda leadership over their policy on Pakistan and other theaters, the divisions are not as deep as the Newsweek article makes them appear." In a recent tape released by al-Libi he rejects any idea of a split in al-Qaeda over killing Musharraf. The raid of the Red Mosque might have changed his mind, although, I've got to figure the Libyans have probably prevailed in their argument.

Why knock off Musharraf when he's dedicating all his menageries to wiping out all the modernizing and secular elements they hate so much? All they have to do is bide their time and wait until Musharraf has decimated all the forces of sanity and democracy and then they can just roll into Islamabad unhindered.     

Not that any of this has given W. & Co. any second thoughts about keeping the money flowing to prop up our Bastard in Islamabad. $10 billion down the drain since 9/11 and W. has precious little to show for his dogged support for Musharraf. But don't confuse him with the facts: Al-Qaeda is resurgent their safe havens in North and South Waziristan and the Taliban are not only giving an undermanned NATO force in the south of Afghanistan fits, but now they're operating more and more in the North. Today a teenage suicide bomber killed at least 40 people in Baghlan including five members of the parliament. [AP]

And the Talibs are threatening Kandahar. The NYT reported on the 31st that a sizable for of Talibs had moved into the Arghandab area north of Kandahar and were seen dancing on the roof of the house of pro-government district leader Mullah Naqibullah, who died of a heart attack three weeks ago. Sarah Cheyes, an American journalist who left NPR to live and write in Kandahar, says the take over of Naqibullah's house had been "devastating psychologically" for the local residents who had relied on Naqibullah to protect them from the return of the Talibs. 

The rationale for the invading Iraq -- and the continuing cost in blood and treasure -- went from being about WMD, to regime change, to then being all about building a stable Western-style democracy in the heart of the Middle East. For a moment there Condi Rice was even implying the administration would support democracy over stability in countries like Egypt, until that is Hezbollah beat the bajeezes out of Israel in the summer of '06. Condi did say, after all, that: 

"For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East– and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people." [usinfo.gov] 

But it looks like sacrificing the freedom and liberty that God Himself has bestowed on humanity for stability is the now the over-riding policy objective of the Bush administration. So much so, in fact, that W. barely batted an eyelash when Egypt's dictator Honsi Mubarak announced on October 29 that he was going to build a few nuclear reactors; only for peaceful purposes, of course.  [NYT]

And that goes for Pakistan as well. It's all very bleak, but I'm sure it'll all work out. When you got the most experienced foreign policy team the world has ever seen running the show, there's no chance Pakistan is going to implode.  Just look at the great success W.'s Surge in having in Iraq!  


Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:41 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007 4:04 PM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 5 November 2007
Musharraf gets away with what the Bermese Junat couldn't.

The WaPo reports:

 "Pakistan's government on Sunday executed a nationwide crackdown on the political opposition, the news media and the courts, one day after President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule and suspended the constitution. Police throughout the country raided the homes of opposition party leaders and activists, arresting at least 500."

AP reports:

" . . . Opposition groups put the number of arrests at 3,500. [Musharraf] ousted independent-minded judges, put a stranglehold on independent media and granted sweeping powers to authorities to crush dissent. "

I remember reading a NYT article from October 21 on the possible nightmare scenarios associated with the collapse of Pakistan, and "a senior administration official" is quoted saying that 'instability and political deadlock in Islamabad “is certainly one scenario, but hardly the only one,"' which I thought was pretty telling.

In other words, always look on the bright side of life. 

'We'll be greeted as liberators in Baghdad, the war will only cost a few hundred thousand bucks, the rest will be paid for by Iraqi oil revenue, etc.'

And here we go again . . . From the 9/11 on this administration hasn't had a clue on how to deal with Pakistan, so they've just trusted in Musharraf and his line about how he's the only thing standing between us and Al-Qaeda get hold of the "Islamic bomb" and hope for the best.

Now that he's sic'd the military on the opposition, shut down the very independent media and fired the chief of the Supreme Court -- who was about to rule Musharraf's electionm win invalid -- the administration doesn't have a whole to say.

A few weeks ago when the Burmese Junta was arresting thousands of pro-democracy protesters Bush came down hard issuing sanctions and lots of angry rhetoric. "Monks have been beaten and killed. Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have been arrested. Burma's rulers continue to defy the world's just demands to stop their vicious persecution."

Even Laura Bush got into the act saying the Burmese military's acts of violence against demostrators "shame the military regime." But now when it comes to our good friend Mushy, Sec Def Robert Gates, according to the AP story "suggested that military aid may not be affected because the Bush administration does not want to disrupt its partnership with Pakistan in fighting al-Qaida and other militants."  

And while the administration is focused on the Hindenberg going down in South Asia, there's another fire brewing.

Time reports:   

"Tensions have been building along the Lebanon-Israel border in recent days. The Israeli Army was engaged last week in large-scale military exercises in northern Israel, close to the border with Lebanon, putting into practice the lessons learned from last year's 34-day war against Hizballah." 

While the cats away . . .


Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:09 PM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 9 September 2007
Author's note

I'm blogging at Non Sum Dignus these days.  

More of the same but easier to blog at!


Posted by bushmeister0 at 7:24 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 17 August 2007
Tora tora Bora!
Topic: War on Terror

It looks like we're back at Tora Bora again. You all remember Tora Bora, that's where Rummy, OBL and the suvinving Talibs get away in 2002. Rummy was so hell-bent on getting all our military equipment and personnell to the Persian Gulf that he sort of forgot about winning the war he was fighting before starting another one.  

Eurasia Insight reports:

"The offensive at Tora Bora began with air strikes launched on August 14 by U.S.-led coalition aircraft. Radio Free Afghanistan’s corresponent Daud Wafa traveled to the Pacheragam district of Nangarhar Province, south of Jalalabad, to speak with some of those displaced by the fighting. A villager forced from his home in the area, Allah Dad, tells Wafa that the coalition ground and air operations have been incessant.

'Planes are flying over during the night,' Allah Dad says. 'We can see the U.S. troops coming and going during the daylight hours.'"

One wonder how the "coalition" allowed the Talibs back into their caves in TB but, there they are. This time around, though, we're not going to let them escape to Pakistan.

 According to EI:

"Thousands of Pakistani troops were deployed on Pakistan’s side of the border this month to block escape routes for militants trying to flee from Afghanistan."

I'm sure that'll work out. We know how efficient the Pakistanis are when it comes to guarding their border. Naturally, the coalition is taking credit for massive Talib casualties, but there might have been a civilian or two that might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Another resident of the Pacheragam district, Mir Dad, says villagers fear attacks by Taliban as well as being mistakenly targeted by coalition air strikes. 'The operation has been going on at Tora Bora since [August 14],' Mir Dad tells Radio Free Afghanistan. 'The [foreign] troops are coming and going, and the bombing has been severe. Civilians have been killed, too. [Residents] are afraid of both the Taliban and the Americans.'"

Way to win hearts and minds!


Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:53 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 9 September 2007 7:22 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
More Pakistani problems
Topic: War on Terror

AP reports:

"QUETTA, Pakistan - A Taliban once held at Guantanamo Bay who became one of Pakistan's most-wanted rebel leaders killed himself with a hand grenade yesterday after he was cornered by security forces, officials said."

It's really amazing how the Pakistanis always seem to catch one of these Talib big wigs whenever angry rumblings directed at our good friend Pervez Musharraf start emanating from the administration or Congress. Every time an American official makes a visit to Islamabad, the Pakistanis miraculously seem to find yet another al-Qaeda or Taliban #3. (How many #3's does al-Qaeda have, anyway?)

Apparently, what prompted this week's killing of Pakistan's "most-wanted" Talib, Abdullah Mehsud, was the Sunday talk shows here in America. W.'s Heimat Sicherheits chief, Francis Townsend, put out the message that "all options" were "on the table" when it came to US forces going after al-Qaeda on Pakistani soil.  It appears that pesky new NIE coming out last week has caused some outrage in Congress over the fact that after many billions of dollars given to the Pakistanis to be our allies in the WOT, al-Qaeda is stronger now than it has even been. Pervez Musharraf's hands-off approach to the WOT is a growing cause of much grousing in Congress, and this time it's not just coming from the "Bomb Mecca" crowd, either.

Even some Democrats are starting to say us going into Pakistan might be a good idea! Naturally, going into Pakistan would be a monumentally bad idea. Us overtly going into Pakistan would make Iraq look like a tea party. We've already got enough problems there and in Afghanistan, we don't need to buy another disaster in Pakistan and turn 165 million more Muslims against us.  Of course, that's not to say we're not already operating on Pakistani soil, we have been for years.

That fact, though, must be hidden at all costs. One unfortunate Pakistani journalist who had the audacity to show proof of US involvement in the killing of Mohammed Nek was swiftly picked up by Pakistani security forces and never seen again. Let that be a lesson to anyone who dares point out that the United States military is actively operating in Pakistan.  

The Times of India reported this week that the US and Pakistan made a deal.

 

 

"American air power, special forces, and intelligence operatives have begun operating inside pakistan’s [sic]western borders in their hunt for fleeing al-qaeda fighters, extending the war on terrorism . . . washington has forced the musharraf regime to open its border territory for u.s scrutiny. . . the secret deal will allow u.s. troops to hunt the fighters on the ground and fire on them from the air, but it will also be on a case-by-case basis, with the united states required to ask permission each time . . . pakistan had begun its 'cooperation' in the war on terrorism by offering intelligence and over-flight facilities to the u.s, but rejecting operations by ground forces or attacks on its territories . . . it now appears all bets are off as washington gradually expands its sphere of action into pakistani territory."   

We're playing a very dangerous game in South Asia, I hope W. & Co. know what they're doing. [Ha!] If one of our special forces were to get captured on Pakistani soil or one of our planes or helicopters were shot down in, say North Waziristan, there would be hell to pay. Musharraf could pretty much give up his grand visions of winning a "free and fair" election next year, to begin with.  

Richard Boucher, assistant secretary of state for South Asia, said after Musharraf's assault on the Red Mosque that this was "pretty much crossing the line and there's no going back."

We go into Pakistan in a big way we'll be crossing another one of those lines.


Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:49 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007 12:19 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older