Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Kiyani Review

Pakistan-Afghanistan-US Relations


By Dr Shahid Qureshi
There seems to be no clear policy of Zardari regime as how to deal with the challenges concerning the US lead military occupation of Afghanistan and drone attacks on Pakistan. Pakistan suffered approximately $60 billion economic losses, deployed more than 147,800 troops conducting combat operations in the tribal areas along the Afghan border. The Pakistan armed forces has lost more than 3,200 soldiers, with another 6,400 injured. They sustain an average of 10 casualties each day, and approximately 30,000 Pakistani civilians killed by suicide bombers and terrorism.

The so called democratic government left every thing in the court of The Armed Forces to deal with, which has already paid very heavy price in terms of financial and human cost. This detachment of the Zardari regime is seen as if they are undermining, damaging and colluding with the enemies of the state of Pakistan. There should have been a review from the government which completely failed to protect the national interests of the state. There is no doubt that problems in Pakistan are due to the US policies and occupation of Afghanistan and not the other way around. US is in habit of blaming others for the failures of its policies as it was in the case of Vietnam i.e. blaming the neighbours, shifting the blame and not taking responsibility. I have discussed following issues on various occasions in the past years as how US policies affected Pakistan as well as the region.

  1. US Plan ‘B’ in Afghanistan
  2. Afghanistan costing $7 Billion per month to US tax payers
  3. US harmed Pakistan’s sovereignty and integrity
  4. US rule by Pakistani Agents
  5. Recruitment of US Agents in Pakistan
  6. US Policy of displacement and creating refugees
  7. US ignore Indian Army’s Genocide in Kashmir
  8. Mumbai Bombing: Keep Pakistan under Pressure (why US have not claimed compensation from Israel for the USS Liberty killings)
  9. Drone Attacks: Pakistan should go to International Criminal Court
  10. US military complexes prolonging War in Afghanistan
  11. US to commit suicide in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas (FATA)
  12. Indian Game in Afghanistan
  13. Conspiracy to constitutionally undo country
  14. US policy of Disposables Diplomacy


(1) US Plan ‘B’ in Afghanistan
Any plan B in Afghanistan would make the exit hard, even difficult for US and allies. Now they have one Qandhar ‘Pushtuns’ with plan B they will have three Qandhars of Uzbeks and Tajiks in Afghanistan. There is only one way to solve the problems in Afghanistan and that is way out of Afghanistan without defeated. Shifting the blame on Pakistan would make things worse for US and allies as it would be like ‘blaming the pope and living in Rome’. Afghan venture is costing too much to the US tax payers as following report confirms.

(2) Afghanistan costing $7 Billion per month to US tax payers
“U.S. expenditures on Afghanistan are now nearly $7 billion per month. This course would not make sense because U.S. interests in Afghanistan are not high enough to justify such an investment. The United States now deploys about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, yet according to the CIA; there are now only 50 to 100 al Qaeda fighters there. That is between 1,000 and 2,000 soldiers and perhaps a billion dollars per terrorist each year — far beyond any reasonable expenditure of U.S. resources given the stakes involved. The original U.S. military objective in Afghanistan was to destroy al Qaeda, not to fight the Afghan Taliban, and that goal has largely been accomplished”, according to ‘Foreign Affairs’ report January/February 2011, Plan B in Afghanistan – Why a De Facto Partition Is the Least Bad Option’ by Robert D. Blackwill

(3) US harmed Pakistan’s economy, sovereignty and integrity
Keeping in view the above spending in Afghanistan by the US, and its support to Pakistan proves that USA has abused Pakistani state, its infrastructures as well caused over thousands military deaths and over 30,000 civilian deaths. So called US friendship to Pakistan proved to be lethal, poisonous as well undermine the foundations of the country.

There is no doubt Pakistan’s economy suffered approximately $60 billion losses by the US led fraudulent ‘War on Terror’ in Afghanistan because before the war Pakistan’s annual trade with Afghanistan was about $2 billion a year. But who is going to bell the cat and tell US that your trigger happy policy made Pakistan suffer economically as well as human losses to the Pakistani citizens. Over all Pakistan’s economy and people suffered losses approximately $60 billion in the past 10 years. The burden of over 2.5 million Afghan Refugees living in Pakistan for 30 years as result of first US led adventure against Soviets since 1979. On the basis of logic and probability US friendship with the State of Pakistan has proved to be fatal, harmful, damaging and one sided?

(4) US rule by Pakistani Agents
US must connect with the people of Pakistan and abandon policy of ‘rule by assets’ because it is not long standing and credible. The Indianised elements in the US administration are misleading the country on the instigations of some lobbies and made US and its friends in Pakistan a symbol of ‘shame and treachery’.

The State of Pakistan does not owe anything to the US because United States has taken full advantage of every dollar spent and profited from this love hate relationship. Some corrupt Pakistanis might have become rich but State of Pakistan has suffered with the treacherous policies adopted and accepted by these individuals ‘assets’. They see US as ‘us’ and not United States. So how can it be a dialogue when people negotiating are considered as US assets? Pakistan – U.S. relations should base on mutual respect and equality.

Hussain Haqqani Pakistani ambassador to US should be arrested for issuing visas to ‘private mercenaries’ with special powers given to him by President Zardari. He issues visas without security clearance from the Pakistani agencies while his wife Farah Isphani minding President Zardari in Islamabad. Hussain Haqqani reportedly issued 10,521 visas from July to November 2009 to the Americans. He issued approximately 500 Pakistani visas in 24 hours using special powers given by President Zardari.

(5) Recruitment of US Agents in Pakistan
Ironically Pakistani governments and the establishment have always facilitated the US policies? US enjoy this advantage because it has an elaborate plan to ensure its grip on the governing infrastructure of Pakistan. Amongst a number of ostensibly innocent ways to ensure this control, two are quite prominent. One is the ‘International Visitor Programme and the other is Fulbright Scholarship. Under visit programme, US attracts important / influential members of Pakistani society i.e. politicians, civil/military bureaucrats, journalist, intellectuals etc by offering a visit to US under privileged arrangements.

During these visits, required people are spotted and later on engaged to work for both short and long term US interests in Pakistan. It does not end here, later on; these people are also assisted and supported to progress in their fields to reach targeted positions of high value from where they can provide required service to their masters. Every year short listing of the potential individuals is done by the existing sources in respected fields that are duly supervised by US embassy. A complete profile of the short listed individuals is made with special emphasis on strong / weak areas. These areas of the individuals are exploited during their visits / tours to US and they are motivated or forced to work for US interests. Lucrative postings of the armed forces for UN peace missions can be a good networking start for future assets.

According to reports, ‘since FATA has become an important area for US, five Pakistanis from FATA were selected to go to US where they stayed for almost a month. Baluchistan carries a similar position for US, so no wonder US regularly sends short listed Baluch nationalists on these visits. US efforts on Pakistani politicians of the mainstream parties never stop. Currently, more than a dozen sitting MNAs (Members of National Assembly) of leading political parties are on a trip to US. It is interesting to note that most of these MNAs are members of Parliament’s Standing Committee for Defence, which indicates that US wants to develop source to keep a closer eye on Pakistan’s defence infrastructure including the nuclear asset.

In 43 years from 1964 to 2007, total numbers of Pakistanis visited USA was 710 but the numbers shot up in 2007-2008 when 207, Pakistanis have visited US under Fulbright scholarship? These sponsored visits to US cover almost all important fields of Pakistani society which include Armed Forces / civil bureaucracy (both senior and junior levels) religious scholars, politicians, businessmen, media personnel and students”.

The beneficiaries of this US patronage, work for their master on long term bases and reach place of strategic value. All the way through, heavy financial rewards and full protection is guaranteed to these individuals in case they are in trouble. One can simply recall a number of journalists, politicians and bureaucrats, who were caught for their wrongdoings but went scot free to the utter surprise of every one. It was known later that US government exerted pressure for such releases. It would be wise if USA and others connect with the people of Pakistan then recruiting, investing and protecting small ‘chiefs or thieves’.

(6) US Policy of displacement and creating refugees
US policies around the world and especially in Pakistan created refugees and internally displaced people in SWAT and FATA to further destabilize the country. Millions of people in Pakistan are waiting to be fully rehabilitated; 2.5 million Afghan refugees are burden on the economy on Pakistan as well as social problems. They can’t go back US and NATO have occupied Afghanistan and fighting an unwinnable war. All this is happening as part of US design and not mere co incidents i.e. keep turmoil in the country.

(7) US ignore Indian Army’s Genocide in Kashmir
US have forgotten about the sufferings and miseries of the people in Indian occupied Kashmir. US has ignored 92685 killings, 115877 arrests, 15665 home demolitions, by Indian Security Forces, and 22675 widows and 107218 orphans? Kashmir is not a matter of land dispute or real estate. If Indians solve this long standing issue both countries can live like US and Canada. India should not worry too much about over inflated trickle down affect as historically links among the people are much stronger and will further improve. It will leave lot of money to spend on poverty elevation in both countries.

(8) Drone Attacks: Pakistan to go to International Criminal Court (ICC)?
US has no mandate from the UN to attack inside Pakistani territory therefore these attacks are illegal under international law and a case against US could be filed in the International Criminal Court (ICC). US drone attacks have killed over 2000 people in about 196 drone attacks. Pakistani courts should also prosecute the local collaborators who drop ‘sims’ at the drone targets.

In 1996, the United States and Iran reached “an agreement in full and final settlement of all disputes, differences, claims, counterclaims” relating to the incident at the International Court of Justice. As part of the settlement, the United States agreed to pay US$61.8 million, an average of $213,103.45 per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims. However, the United States has never admitted responsibility, nor apologized to Iran. Iran Air Flight 655, also known as IR655, was a civilian airliner shot down by US missiles on 3rd July 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz, toward the end of the Iran–Iraq War. The aircraft, an Airbus A300B2 operated by Iran Air as IR655, was flying from Bandar Abbas, Iran, to Dubai, UAE, when it was destroyed by the U.S. Navy’s guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, killing all 290 passengers and crew aboard, including 66 children.

(9) Mumbai Bombing: Keep Pakistan under Pressure
A small minority of greedy bankers and pawn brokers have hijacked USA and causing harm to its interests. These greedy people want to profit from deaths, misery and destruction by blackmail be it claiming compensation from Libya for plane crash in Lockerbie or now filing a lawsuit against Pakistani security agencies in US for Mumbai Bombings without any proof or evidence. Though many people in the Indian security circles believe it was Indo-US joint operation to put pressure on Pakistan.

US should avoid planned prophecies because one wonders how and why US – Israeli prophecies proved to be so true about everything happening according to the script. One was US Secretary Gates to conclude that al-Qaeda is attempting to spark a war between India and Pakistan. Mr. Gates while praising India for not attacking Pakistan immediately following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, warned India could not be expected to show such restraint if another attack happened.

Al-Qaeda is a trump card which can be used against any one, anytime and anywhere. Indians were intelligent not to start war with Pakistan after Mumbai Terrorist attacks and might have realised ‘the game’ behind the attacks? Though there are millions naked and hungry Indians walking about and looking for toilets, yet its government managed to spend $billions to buy arms after the attacks. Indian media was quite active in exposing the role of a US citizen David William Hedley.

The Mumbai attacks were blamed on the Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT) a small group operated in the Indian occupied Kashmir which denied involvement but then a Srinagar special branch official was arrested for providing mobile SIM cards to the alleged attackers. Mumbai attacks were too big for their shoes though some ‘useful idiots’ might have been lured into. According to a British defence think tank RUSI (Royal United Security Institute) expert, “around 100 people would require to do this kind of attack”.

But fact of the matter is that its master mind David William Hedley is a US citizen from Pakistani father (an employee of Voice of America) and reportedly a Jewish mother. He was operating with the knowledge of the US security agencies. According to a senior security analyst and media reports, “Bizarrely David William Hedley was born in Washington USA to a Pakistani father and a Jewish American mother travelling in and out of India without any problem. Indian investigators, suspect that he remained on the payroll of the US security services — possibly working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

US backed Zardari Regime is undermining Pakistan:

  • Creating electric shortages for no real reason to destroy industry and economy following IMF agenda
  • Why Pakistan’s nuclear scientist not allowed producing electricity for the country because Zardari regime is starving the nuclear science field by budget cuts, this is denuclearization.
  • Not taking stand on water issue with India
  • This regime is deliberately taking Pakistan to the failure by strangling the poorest under the IMF agenda.
  • So much so that the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan has to make a press statement that, ‘Iran can provide cheap electricity to Pakistan and price can be discussed later’. So what is the hurdle?
  • According to the Newsweek magazine issue dated February 9, 2009, “And while the Americans blast the bad guys in the tribal areas, the Pakistanis have been confronting problems in their own ranks. Since September 2008, (since Zardari become President), 140 pro-Islamist officers have been mustered out of ISI, according to a senior diplomatic official in Washington, asking not to be named on such a sensitive topic.”

Historically US has never been a friend of Pakistan in need, be it war in 1965 or nuclear deal with India, and all its friends paid heavy price be it individuals or countries? One wonders if friends of Pakistan like US and others are part of the problem or part of the solution?

If this is Pakistan’s war then why USA is paying for it? Pakistan sold its services too cheap? One US/UK private security guard (mostly ex military) is getting paid approximately £300 – £500 (Rs 36900 – Rs. 61500) a day in Iraq according to press reports. Pakistan’s economic and human losses are far more than anyone else. What for?

Surely US know that British couldn’t de-Islamise India in 200 years and they cannot do either but it is a good exercise for shrinking brain Pakistani leaders and war profiteering mafia in the US?  How can one ignore 650 million Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslims and their potential? One must know that Islam does not require defending?

Following could be friendly advice to the US and NATO in Afghanistan:

  • Cut your losses and move out because people don’t want to be occupied
  • Don’t repeat the same mistake again like leaving Afghanistan in a mess after Soviet withdrawal
  • Start reconstruction and rehabilitation process in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • Hearts and minds could be won with love not bombs, food not threats
  • Fundamental change in the US foreign policy
  • Unnecessary, unfair and too much support of Israel have made lives of US citizens risky and open to hostility?
  • It seems US need to fight and win a war of liberation within from selfish
  • ‘Wall Street’ blackmailers, opportunists and hijackers of the very fundamental values of the US society and Constitution?
  • Efforts must be made to save innocent lives
  • Safe return of more than 2.5 million Afghan refugees from Pakistan,  as they are a burden on Pakistan economy.

History tells ‘people of this region don’t forget their revenge’, and Pakistan is not Andalusia. Pakistan’s existence lies in defiance of international plotters? Though Swat and Baluchistan tensions seem to be linked with revenge and grievances but in reality it is a ‘plot to contain China’?

(10) US military complexes prolonging War in Afghanistan
Without going much into US history it is important to understand that US economy and society is founded on the blood and sweat of millions of African slaves and bodies of indigenous Americans. Those who were running these cartels and slave trade at that time were mostly linked with criminals, ‘transported’ from Europe. They were criminals from street cons to murderers.

When we look at the negotiations and dealings of the US officials and politicians with Pakistani politicians, it clearly sounds like ‘big cons’ are dealing with the small street thieves who are not only supposed to earn their living but also give share to the big cons?

I commented on BBC TV on Tuesday 8th January 2008, “many analysts agree that Pakistan don’t need enemy if it has a friend like US keeping in view the policy of betrayal, selfishness and leaving in lurch. “People of Pakistan are asking the way its nuclear program is being targeted in the US and West, one wonders if the friends of Pakistan are part of the problem or solution?”

Following could happen if Pakistan is destabilized or attacked:

  • More than 15 separatist armed militant movements currently going on in India would reach its boiling point and disintegrate India?
  • Certain countries could not afford two destabilized states with the 180 million and over 1 billion population in their neighbourhoods?
  • The whole lot of elite, friends and compromised beneficiaries of certain countries would be eliminated as happened after Iranian Revolution and this region might become out of bound and hell
  • Reaction from 2.5 million retired and 600,000 active members of the Pakistani armed forces and public would be unimaginable for the invaders, their supporters and collaborators
  • Pakistan is not Iraq or Lebanon and people should learn from their experiences and come out of denial?
  • Those who are providing protection to private mercenaries (black water/Xe) should be named and shamed?

(11) US to commit suicide in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas (FATA)
On 24th July 2008, at (IISS) International Institute of Strategic Studies in London I asked, Pakistani Foreign Minister HE Shah Mahmud Qureshi, “Foreign Minister your democratic government’s sole motto seems to be, ‘Visit USA before US visits you’ because you just came from the USA and Prime Minister Gilani is going to USA too. On the other hand, ‘If US want to (visit) invade Pakistan’s tribal areas (FATA) then “SO BE IT”.

As you know those NATO Military commanders in Afghanistan have already said, ‘approximately 400,000 troops required in Afghanistan for the security and stabilization of the country. Please comment.

I was referring to an interview to Spiegel, a German magazine of the outgoing ISAF Commander McNeill who confessed having inadequate trained forces to effectively counter terrorism in Afghanistan. NATO has only 47,000 soldiers instead of a required strength of 400,000 with a shortfall of 260,000 men. NATO is practically running on reserve, as very few units can be used in combat situation. While neighbouring countries want peace in the region, manning a volatile country with only 47,000 NATO troops and practically no well-trained Afghan Army, the mission to bring peace to the region seems an uphill task, McNeill said”

Analysts believe that the American people are being indoctrinated with the false propaganda through controlled media? Many analysts agree that this war on terror is a biggest fraud of this century? One should look who are the beneficiaries of war on terror? Millions have been killed and displaced in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of what?

What could be the best friendly advice one can offer to the occupiers in Afghanistan:

  • Don’t even think about venturing in FATA of Pakistan because you don’t have money in the pot back home, and will to bring back more dead soldiers. Indian-Israeli sponsored TTP or BLA won’t help at all.
  • Cut your losses and move out because people don’t want to be occupied
  • Don’t repeat the same mistake again like leaving Afghanistan in a mess after Soviet withdrawal
  • Start reconstruction and rehabilitation process in Afghanistan hearts and minds could be won with love not bombs, food not threats
  • Fundamental change in the US foreign policy
  • Unnecessary, unfair and too much support of Israel have made lives of US citizens risky and open to hostility? Find way to de-nuclearise Israel for their sake and world peace as what will happen when apartheid entity will disappear?
  • It seems US need to fight and win a war of liberation within from selfish blackmailers, opportunists and hijackers of the very fundamentals of the US society and constitution?
  • Efforts must be made to save innocent lives
  • Safe return of more than 2.5 million Afghan refugees from Pakistan, which could be a breading ground of angry men against the US occupation.

(12) Indian Game in Afghanistan
People in the know are very well aware with the Indian game in Afghanistan; one cannot be a partner, a friend and an enemy at the same time? Yes it is important that one should have friendly terms with all the neighbours but at what cost? One wonders if friends of Pakistan are part of the problems or part of the solution.

Those who are asking President Obama to send more troops in Afghanistan knows that cost would be over $1 billion for 1000 troops per year and US is bankrupt country already. The same people who send US to Afghanistan and Iraq i.e. bankers and arms dealers rob it. Afghanistan is a magnet for empires to come and die? Is it strange that Russian experts are predicting US collapse like Soviet Union and Chinese strategists are predicting disintegration of India?

President Obama probably understands that a group of his armed forces and some racist rouge elements have not accepted him, as Commandant in Chief and that is why they want him to send more troops in Afghanistan so more would be killed. This Policy is bound to fail. There seems to be a clear divide between the President Obama’s sensible and harm reduction policy and Hilary Clinton, Robert Gates and General McCrystal’s policy to fail President Obama. It was Bill Clinton who reportedly called President Obama ‘coffee boy’.

(13) Conspiracy to constitutionally undo country?
On 12th January 2009 MQM tabled a “Provincial Autonomy’ Sine qua non for a Federation, Draft Bill for Constitutional Amendments to Provide Complete Constitutional Autonomy to Constituent Units”. It is quite strange that a party (MQM–A) which bank on the votes of people who migrated and some emigrated later from India and had no roots with any province of Pakistan is allegedly involved in the Indo-US plot of disintegration of Pakistan. So what will happen to those who are not Punjabis, Sindis, Baluchis, Pathans, and Kashmiris living peacefully in Pakistan? Another episode of ‘Biharis – Pakistanis’ living camps in now Bangladesh?
“It was 1974 constitution of former Yugoslavia which caused the break of the state”, said Antonio Moneo Lain a visiting fellow at LSE in his lecture at London School of Economics on 2nd December 2009. I told him that although, “USA is a union of States but no such facility like choice of becoming independent country is available to the states as the issue of state autonomy is kept vague”.

The plan is devious and not easy to understand. International financiers and plotters use constitutional loopholes to disintegrate countries to take control of natural resources. These plotters, their bankers and local agents are adept at creating food and other shortages, unemployment, insecurity, lawlessness, corruption, poverty and constitutional hiatus that make it necessary to invite foreign experts and international financial institutions for advice and help. The whole idea is to pass the control over national institutions, assets (Railways, steel mills, oil, gas resources) to these plotters, bankers.

It seems that minders of Zardari, MQM and ANP have the Soviet Model of disintegration in mind. In modern times international plotters exploit legal and constitutional loopholes or arrange for such constitutional amendments that lead inevitably to the disintegration of the country.

For example in dismantling the USSR the international plotters used constitutional provisions which had been placed intentionally. The were provisions in the Constitution of the USSR – put in during the heady days after the Russian Revolution of 1918, that made dismantling of the Union not just possible but easy. Article 70 of the Soviet Constitution Stated: “Union of the Soviet Republics is a unitary, federal, multinational state, formed on Free Self Determination of Nations”. Article 72 was more explicit and stated: “Each Union Republic retains the right freely to secede from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”.

Interestingly no such provision or mechanism is available in the US Constitution. According to US experts “the constitutional language is ‘sparse’. It is up to the Congress to give meaning to that language”.  We all know who control and gets the majority in the Congress?

Now if we analyze USSR and Yugoslavia’s examples and read between the lines what these plotters are suggesting in the name of constitutional reforms in 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, it becomes crystal clear and evident that sinister game is being played to undo Pakistan from the back door. That is the game of many interested parties in the region including India. Are our politicians making such constitutional changes that court the danger of Pakistan meeting the fate of Yugoslavia? That is the question? What is our so called friend US is doing? Same what they did in 1971 in creating Bangladesh.

(14) US policy of ‘Disposable Diplomacy’ in Pakistan
There is a strong perception in Pakistan that US have continuously followed the policy of Disposables Diplomacy by eliminating its leaders by covert operations with the support of local agents. Fingers are pointed to the US involvements in the ‘Zia ul Haq plane crash and killing of Benazir Bhutto in 2007. They are disposed of like toilet tissue papers?

Conclusion:
Now it is time that international community should stop shouting at Pakistan to do more and look for an exit strategy? The mess Pakistan is in at the moment is due to the mindless actions of the previous Bush Administration in Afghanistan. On the one hand they want Pakistan to support them but on the other, they are allowing Indians to conspire against Pakistan, interfere in Baluchistan from Afghanistan via Indian consulates.

A Taliban commander in Afghanistan said, “If US (Americans) got the watches, we got the time”.  President Obama knows that time and money is running out.

(Dr Shahid Qureshi is London based senior investigative journalist and writer on international terrorism, security, and foreign policy) 

 

NOTE:This is a cross post.

Courage and Cowardness

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive!

Editor’s Note: This article is not the usual run of the mill one comes across in papers & on blogs. It is different. The writer, shares his own experiences of war and the terrible scars it leaves on a human being, this,with a view on the Foreign Policy of USA-makes an absorbing read.The personal flashes reveal the feelings of the writer, making this a piece that sets itself apart from the ones churned out daily.

By: Archie Hasse

“The opposite of Courage is not Cowardness it is conformity.” “Even a dead fish can go with the flow” – Ex Texas politician Jim Hightower.

I have a few aspirations for the world, this is just one. All those who work for government in areas of responsibility not unlike foreign policy take their job as being a sacred trust. The opportunity to serve the nation’ s people. Not to serve themselves.  I am not a historian; however I feel a large portion of earth’s nations/cultures passed on because of indifferent elite governmental autocrats. Governments functioning well today ,are kept honest alive, and breathing by government employees who work hard for the people they represent, themselves second. This may not be true concerning many elite US foreign relation functionaries.

Concerning hard working employees working for people. I am afraid this is not the case for many government employees in my own country. (USA)  If anyone is courageous enough to read my words I ask them to read an article written by Joshua Kucera in Foreign Policy Magazine December 1, 2010.  He brings up some good points for discussion. I agree with most all what he says. At least he questions what has became the status quo the last 30 years, and to me Kucera article has humorous overtones. Always fun on topics so serious.

I am an old soldier.  Actually a former US Marine.  I fought for my country in the Vietnam war. In Vietnam I was wounded, and hospitalized for eight months from wounds I received in combat. Later in the late 70’s became an advocate for forgotten soldiers who fought America’s wars. I am talking about former combat soldiers needing financial and medical help after the obvious physical wounds of war healed.

Because of this I know the arrogance of self-absorbed government people. I hate to think how this type of worker affects our US foreign policy. To make my point look at American foreign policy today: “The proof is in the pudding”.

During the late 1970’s and very early 1980’s I was active in getting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder recognized, supporting compensation for veterans suffering from PTSD.  I had to deal with comfortable elite Alzheimer policy makers in the US government after the Vietnam War, who continuously insulted American combat veterans. These insults came from the mass media smearing all Vietnam veterans as misfits.

We veterans are patriots who hate senselessness incompetent governmental workers handling the reins of government. This lack of common sense and indifference by government workers with their lack of compassion regarding returning veterans. was led by elite thinking politicians and bureaucrats. Making life hell for combat veterans trying to recover from their wounds of war. And scars of the soul!

I can only imagine how insolated these people in the US State Department are at wars suffering distant lands from Washington DC. For example drone strikes against alleged terrorists. “It was an unfortunate error.” This is the common statement made by those in government insulated from war concerning collateral damage. I do not know about you, the reader, but I learned to hate this phrase:Collateral Damage.

My sense of international justice and injustice came to me while studying Refugee Law with regards to International Law from the renowned Professor “Dr. Vera Gowland  Debbas” in Geneva ,Switzerland. I am sure she would be surprised I learnt anything. But I did, and I thank her! She gently told me International Law is not all about America. Thank you Vera!

Since sitting in Dr. Gowland’s class, and the tools she gave me, I look at the world in a different way. At the moment I look at how my government operates. Who is in control. I look also how the effects of decisions made by employees concerning foreign relations effect the rest of the world.

Since Ronald Reagan, and accelerating under the last Bush, the US government is now run by  the Corporations with support from Christian ideologies. Clearly —- Wall Street should have influence in Washington because they provide jobs for working class America. However, the executives running Wall Street today no longer provides jobs as their chief motivation. Their main inspiration is providing  of profits for their global miserly few top of the heap stock holders.

When the Cold War ended G.H.W. Bush talked about a new world order, and new jobs for the CIA protecting Wall Street, and Americans in global business. They forgot to remind that American business was no longer American, it was global. Consequently American soldiers are no longer protecting American interests in Afghanistan or Iraq. They are protecting global bankers financial interests.

The focus was taken off the average American’s security. It is now focused on special interest security, be it Wall Street, or giving Bible based Christian faith more power in writing domestic, and foreign policy legislation.  You see today in Washington  &Wall Street and it’s statistically miserly few use conservative Christian values as a tool to gain and hold onto power. Making sure people like GW Bush and Sarah Palin or the likes get elected, if not elected then at the least drive the talking points away from how just corrupt and selfishly narcissistic Washington and Wall Street seem to be.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are not alone trying to keep radical politics away from religious zealots.  Let me drop a few names to Google—- Pat Robertson, and Reverend John Hagee, read. It should clue readers into just how sick and fanatic these shadowy dark forces in Biblical Christianity are to peace. So far they are not planting road side bombs. But who knows in the future. With a few more stolen US elections they might be in charge of America’s nukes. Sarah Palin.

What really amazes me is how Wall Street executives bamboozle fundamentalist Christians in the US to support their self-indulgent corporate profits. Unfettered little oversight Free Market! (I see this also a growing problem in Latin America and across the world in regards to this new world order G.H.W. Bush talked about).

They tie Bible based Christianity to Wall Street earnings. This runs at the same time as the crusade against Muslims.  To all who read this, this is against long held American values!  Many Americans like myself hold the historical values passed down to us by Thomas Jefferson dear. These new crusades, and new American values are wrapped up in radical corporate mega church Christianity.  These Christians believe deep in their heart they are saving America, and the world. The battle cries of these American Christian patriots are to mobilize those who are the financially challenged, and to support tax breaks for the rich, and no abortion. In the United States all you have to do is keep Americans stupid keeping the talking points dim-witted?

I even had one woman tell me Americans should attack, and control Venezuela’s oil fields. Why? Because it was God’s intention to keep Americans a top global broker. Amazing they tie together Christian stuff like abortion, and anti gay anger to tax breaks for the rich, all the while sending other people sons and daughter off to fight in corporate wars in Iraq. I can only guess Wall Street operatives in control in Washington politics are trying to find profit in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

The United States since WW 2 believed in a sort of moral “certain” truth. It is in our belief in “Manifest Destiny”.  Because of this certainty US foreign policy has been at times more destructive then helpful to the broad global world.  American foreign policy caused great suffering to those at the end of America’s gone astray moral principles sword. Done in by people hiding behind an insulated comfortable political, and diplomatic life in Washington DC.

Amazingly when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan the American government stood tall in front of

World’s global media talking about the immoral Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Hiding from responsibility for the collapse, including the rebuilding of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal. It was okay for these comfortable insolated policy makers in DC having Pakistan full of Afghan refugees living in tents for decades.

There is a former diplomat; a former ambassador in the State Department tied to this sorry tale of the betrayal of the Afghanistan people, and by proxy Pakistan, this former diplomat is also the divorced spouse of a US Ambassador who died years ago in a airplane crash killing Pakistan’s then president Muhammad Zia ul Haq.  Today this person works for Obama in AfPak region. Not even embarrassed, just promoted.

This diplomat met with the late Ahmad Shah Massoud leader of the Northern Alliance to surrender his forces to the Taliban where they could jointly rule with Al Qaeda.  See what I am talking about when it comes to governmental employees? This retired diplomat was never fired in fact was promoted.  Still advising Obama on Afghanistan and Pakistan. In elite circles of US diplomacy, you are not shamed you are transferred or promoted.

Google April Glaspie another US diplomat.  Spin as she and US State Department did in regards to giving Saddam Hussein a green light to invade Kuwait. Frankly she did not do her job, and it cost thousands of human lives. Another example of someone in the US state Department insulated from their actions.

Today we are confronted with the need to rebuild Afghanistan and stabilize Pakistan. We also have a need to bring an end to the India -Pakistan standoff. In order for this to happen true transparency in dialogue needs to happen.  Americans need to find balance.  Afghanistan and Pakistan need to find balance. If we are in the US and Europe are going to criticize Muslim extremists taking power in Asia then we need to make sure our diplomacy is insulated from our own home grown narrow special interest extremism.

“Wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with a good government.” – Thomas Jefferson 1789.

(The writer is a Pacifist — US Marine combat with 2nd Bn 4th Marine Regiment in some of the heaviest fighting of America’s involvement during the Vietnam war.He has Worked with the Roma population (Gypsy) in Prague CZ addressing human rights abuses. Alumnus School for International Training Brattleboro Vermont).


The Parallel Realities of Modern Science and Islam

By:Jalees Rehman

“Islamic Science” — I often encounter this expression when I meet fellow Muslims at social events and I state that I am a scientist during the perfunctory revealing of professions. Not infrequently, my discussion partners start talking about “Islamic Science” with a certain degree of nostalgia and pride, because for them it conjures up the names and works of Muslim scientists such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Al-Biruni (Alberonius) who lived in the 10th and 11th centuries C.E. It is important to realize that they are just two of the most famous representatives of the large scientific enterprise that has flourished in Muslim history.

As shown by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, one of the world’s foremost contemporary Muslim philosophers, Muslim scientists have pursued scientific research since the 8th century C.E., covering a vast range of disciplines ranging from astronomy and mineralogy to zoology and the medical sciences. However, the expression “Islamic Science” does not necessarily only refer to the fact that these scientists were Muslims. Instead, as suggested by another leading contemporary Muslim philosopher of science, Osman Bakar, the expression “Islamic Science” characterizes sciences “that were directly based upon and conceptually in harmony with the belief system of Islam.”

Nasr and Bakar contrast such “Islamic Science” with the modern science which emanated from Europe in the 17th century C.E. and has since become the dominant force of scientific inquiry in the world. In their view, modern science is nearly exclusively based on a rationalist and materialist view of the world, and therefore does not require that the scientific methodology and interpretation are integrated with any faith-based system. The dominance of modern science resulted in the decline of the more traditional “Islamic Science”, because even though numerous Muslims have continued to work as scientists, they no longer try to harmonize their scientific findings with the sacred concepts in traditional Islamic thought. Bakar and Nasr emphasize that modern science is not a value-free approach to knowledge, and that it carries within itself a rejection of the sacred dimension of knowledge. In Nasr’s view, modern science has monopolized the concept of science itself, whereas traditionally, science was a much more generalized term (derived from the Latin scientia = knowledge) that permitted the integration of the sacred with scientific concepts. He calls for a restoration of a more comprehensive “sacred science”, which would unify the wisdom and knowledge of all faiths with that of scientific inquiry.

I first encountered Nasr’s ideas as a university student and became enamored with the possibility of unifying the process of scientific inquiry with faith and spirituality. This was probably a reflection of a basic human desire to integrate and unify knowledge. I had already experienced a similar excitement in the late 80s when fractals and chaos theory were becoming fashionable in popular culture. I still remember that in my German high school, those of us who were science geeks would sit down during recess and talk about the beauty of a Grand Unified Theory of particle physics or how chaos theory would allow us to unite biology, chemistry and physics. We did not have any clue as to what “chaos theory” or the Grand Unified Theory actually entailed, but we were simply enthralled by the idea of unifying and integrating the various sciences with a few basic mathematical equations. So when I read Nasr’s books in the 90s, I felt that the “scientia sacra” (sacred science) would allow for an even more comprehensive integration of knowledge.

I grew up as a Muslim with an interest in Islamic thought and philosophy, and I also had a passion for the natural sciences. But I had not really given much thought to the possibility that these two domains of knowledge could be integrated. In many ways, Nasr’s ideas were quite inspiring, because he emphasized that Islam was not only compatible with science, but actually encouraged scientific inquiry.

It was only when I became a scientist that I realized the challenge of actually unifying two bodies of knowledge that at their very core are completely distinct. Modern scientific knowledge consists of theories and models that are based on results of experiments which empirically test specific hypotheses. Spiritual knowledge is based on the study of sacred scriptures and metaphysical experiences. This fundamental disparity between modern science and spirituality results in a very different view of reality, as has been eloquently shown in Taner Edis’ excellent book An Illusion of Harmony, and unifying modern science and spirituality seems like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Nasr’s approach of transforming the modern concept of “science” to a more traditional, pre-modern and expansive view of science would indeed allow for a resolution of the disparity.

A “sacred science” would indeed permit the integration of spiritual knowledge and scientific knowledge, but in practice, such a re-interpretation of the nature of “science” is not practical. During the last centuries, modern science has developed its own methodologies of how experiments are conducted and interpreted and these processes are constantly undergoing change. Globally speaking, modern scientists hail from very different cultures and speak different native languages, but share common conceptions of the nature of science and scientific experiments so that they can communicate results to each other. It is not uncommon at a scientific conference to have speakers from Japan, Germany and the USA give presentations in the same session and have some degree of consensus as to the nature and interpretations of their results.

If a group of scientists began to redefine their basic conception of science, so that it would allow for the integration of sacred knowledge, would they still be able to communicate scientific knowledge with colleagues who maintained the current modern day definition of science? Since “sacred knowledge” is defined so differently even by individuals within a single faith, how would scientists who incorporate “sacred knowledge” into their scientific inquiry share their results with colleagues who have a very different concept of “sacred knowledge” or perhaps even reject it completely?

These practical considerations have not deterred many contemporary Muslim scientists and philosophers and they are still actively trying to develop practical approaches to a modern day “Islamic Science”. However, there are also other voices that see modern science and religion as two distinct bodies of knowledge that allow us to view different but complementary aspects of reality. We do not advocate a unification of knowledge, but a form of mutual respect and dialogue so that each body of knowledge can draw from their partner’s strengths and wisdom.

(The writer is Assistant Professor of Medicine,in University of Chicago).

NOTE:This is a cross post.

ASSANGE ADMITS WIKILEAKS A FRAUD RUN BY PRESS FOR ISRAEL

GORDON DUFF


CHUTZPAH:  PROMISE TO STOP WORKING FOR ISRAEL

“FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU, FOOL ME TWICE….”

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/SeniorEditor

“it is one thing for the New York Times to edit their own stories but you let them censor everything for all of us”

Today, Julian Assange admitted that Wikileak material had been chosen by the press, not an independent organization after all.  Wikileaks, in effect, admitted that it has always been a front for what Helen Thomas refers to as the Zionist controlled media.  Assange, in a childish attempt at “spin” blamed the press for having too many “sensitivities ” to Israel and making Wikileaks look bad.

HELLO!

The only reason we needed Wikileaks in the first place is that the press failed so utterly.  Is it any secret that Assange turned total control of Wikileaks over to the press, the people who gave him “rock star” status?  How utterly sick.

CHICKENFEED ONCE MORE

Now Assange is telling us he has 3700 cables from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, documents covering  an Israeli assassination and the tail kicking they got when they last invaded Lebanon.  Anyone who thinks they can expect to hear the embassy communications outlining American outrage at Israeli actions will die waiting.  Expect the same “media sensitivities” we have seen all along.

By “media sensitivities” we are simply saying that Israel controls Wikileaks and uses it to bash their enemies, the United States and their neighbors, some we now learn have been their friends all along.

SHAMEFUL ADMISSION DISGUISED AS SPIN

Wikileaks had promised the press thousands of documents about a “UFO War over the Southern Ocean.” I couldn’t wait for this one.  Instead, seemingly clever Julian Assange in his most apologetic manner is now telling us that he has sinned.  Where did the mysterious UFO story go?  Who told you to withhold it?  Are we sitting on that story because President Obama is now drumbeating for war with Iran full time?

WIKILEAKS ADMITS TO BEING A FRAUD

He let the press control Wikileaks.

Julian, if we wanted to read the New York Times, we would go out and get one.  Now you are telling us that the Times, a worthless rag of a newspaper, has been running Wikileaks all along?  Do you know what “fraud” means?

If we wanted to hear what Israel wanted us to hear, we simply would have turned on our televisions.  We have had nothing else for decades.  Now you admit you have been a part of it.  Are we supposed to be surprised?

You weren’t that hard to figure out.  Every day, a new photograph in hundreds of newspapers, always posed, always thoughtful.  You spend 9 days waiting for bail and we find out that you  have been working for the press, working for Israel, working for the most powerful and devious forces known to mankind all along?  You needed 240,000 pounds for bail?  This wouldn’t be a one month retainer for your lawyer or publicists.  The people you work for use money like that for lighting cigars.

We know it was all an act, just like this is part of that act, more drama brought on because some of us caught you early on and have “outed” you.  What I find amazing is your chutzpah. You admit to using us all, defrauding us, being a disinformation agent.

Now you are taking a second shot at deceiving us all.  What we expect is the same press that you are now accusing, now supposedly “distancing” yourself from will be the lead on this new story.  What we are going to get is the New York Times, the Guardian, der Spiegel, the same triumvirate of baloney, your partners in crime, spreading the same old Wikileaks chickenfeed mixed in with Israeli disinformation and leaks designed to hurt the US government and discredit your Islamic neighbors.

Yes, Julian.  They are your Islamic neighbors.  If you don’t have Israeli citizenship yet, you soon will.  They need another comedian and that seems to be your only real talent.  I do so love your choice of words.

“SENSITIVITIES”

What you call “sensitivities,” a word that undoubtedly came from a committee of advisors juggling emails between New York and Tel Aviv is simply lying and cheating to the rest of us.  You lied to us all, not once but continually and now you think we are going to take more of your lies simply because they are delivered with a half hearted apology?

Chutzpah

(Gordon Duff is a political commentator & writer,associated with The Veteran Today).

NOTE:This is a cross post from The Veterans Today.


For CIA drone warriors, the future is death

By Pepe Escobar

 

Forget the iPad; the ultimate icon of fetishized commodity is the drone. Israelis do it – and sell them like hot cakes. Mexicans do it – to patrol their side of the border. Brazilians wanna do it – to patrol the Rio favelas. Saudis wanna do it. Uzbeks wanna do it. Everybody’s singing: Let’s do it. Let’s fall in love (with the drone).

Furthermore, abandon all hope those who enter (the doors of misperception): Afghanistan is now officially just a lowly, troop-infested sideshow to the AfPak war. The real thing is an illegal drone war against Pakistan. Viva Richard Nixon. As much as Tricky Dick annexed Cambodia to the Vietnam War, the Barack Obama administration pulled a Nixon regarding Pakistan. And the great thing is that no one needs another WikiLeaks “dump” to know this. It’s out there in the open.

Tricky Dick’s tricks paved the way to Year Zero for the Khmer Rouge. Obama’s throw of the dice may be paving the way to a Year Zero for the Pashtun brotherhood. The 16-agency US intelligence establishment says the Afghan adventure is doomed. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is somewhat gloomy. But the surge-addicted White House – in a stark reminder of those George W Bush-era reports about Iraq – says it’s all swell (Taliban “momentum has been arrested in much of the country”). Pentagon supremo Robert Gates says Washington now controls more Afghan territory than a year ago; maybe in terms of Kabul shopping malls – and that’s already a stretch.

Taliban momentum, anyway, is just an afterthought. What matters for the White House is to smash (“significant progress”) al-Qaeda, allegedly holed up not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Take them Pakistani Talibs out from the air, with the CIA playing Ride of the Valkyries, just like in an orgiastic Facebook-friendly remix of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, with all those US Marine tanks rolling along in Helmand province offering a cute counterpart. I love the smell of a burning Talib in the morning. Makes me think of … re-election.

But what about collateral damage? Tough guys of the “real men go to Tehran” type say this is for sissies (the New America Foundation says around a third of drone deaths are civilians, but that’s hugely underestimated, according to Pakistani sources.) Blowback, anyway, is guaranteed to last until the 22nd century.

Faster CIA, kill, kill
So it’s not the Pentagon but the CIA that is showering Death from Above over dirt-poor mud-hut villages in a country against which the US is not at war. Things may change – witness the frenzy to legally nail “terrorist” Julian Assange – but US law does not exactly condone mass assassination campaigns.

The CIA drone war is obviously secret and illegal. That can be fixed with the incoming chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee updating the congressional authorization for this extended war on al-Qaeda. As for Pashtuns collaborating with the CIA, they are technically Afghans, not Pakistanis, from different tribes; that will foster centuries of subsequent tribal trouble once the families of the dead ascertain who the snitches are.

Whatever the rhetoric emanating from Washington in 2011, the game will keep being duly played according to only one plot-advancing script; American Pentagonists visit Islamabad/Rawalpindi to warn the Pakistanis of Washington’s perennial “strategic impatience” with what they’re doing, while their military/intelligence establishment go live to spin they’re doing all they can, but also need to be watchful of Pakistan’s own interests.

In a nutshell: expect for 2011 an endless parade of Predators and Reapers firing barrages of missiles at the usual “suspected militants” in North Waziristan, Khyber or anywhere else in the tribal areas; and forget about Islamabad/Rawalpindi sending their army into North Waziristan to fight “al-Qaeda” or even the local tribes.

What this essentially means is that the nebula/myth conveniently branded “al-Qaeda” remains in the clear. There’s no way its few dozen invisible jihadis can be crushed by the CIA’s illegal air war, not to mention troops from Islamabad/Rawalpindi. And even supposing they were, the “franchises” would still be in business – as in AQAP, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula/Yemen.

Drone Eye for the Straight Guy
Who cares about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? The new hit in all things AfPak is Drone Eye for the Straight Guy. The next chief of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service – that is, the CIA’s new top spy – is John D Bennett, none other than the former head of a drone-infested CIA paramilitary wing. An Associated Press story even claimed that he directed the drones in Pakistan during the Bush era.

Even the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General “Hoss” Cartwright, has totally gone Drone Eye for the Straight Guy. As he sees it, COIN is now history; the hip thing to do is “counter-terrorism”, as in drone-saturated air war. Consider the drone war as Washington’s premier stimulus package to Central Asia.

Progress in over-stimulated Afghanistan, according to the Obama administration’s year-end report, is “frail and reversible”. This means in practice that for all the spin, missile-saturated Kandahar is not becoming Orange county anytime soon.

The Afghanistan plot won’t thicken; it will dilute in the usual diarrhea. Afghans will keep saying over and over again they are not exactly Taliban fans – but they hate the corrupt Hamid Karzai gang and Washington even more, for allowing their occupied country to be controlled by gangsters and warlords.

Washington will keep tweaking its losing “strategy” of smashing the Taliban with extreme firepower. The Taliban for their part have already fine-tuned their own strategy of “flee the south-go north”. All the roads in Afghanistan lead to Kabul; not by accident, all are intercepted or under Taliban attack. Karzai rule stops abruptly at the last rickety police station south of Kabul, on the road to Kandahar. It’s as if Kabul was enveloped by an eerie Titanic feeling – that pampered, gated-condo isolated neo-colonial coterie of generals, diplomats, non-governmental organizations and security contractors partying hard as in before the fall of Saigon.

But soon anyway a “new” narrative will be taking over – the snail-pace North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) “drawdown” from 2011 to 2014. But does that mean the beginning of the endgame – no more war? Rather it’s back to the beginning, as in “abandon all hope those who enter (the doors of misperception)”. To (literally) thunderous applause by a coterie of neophyte neo-jihadi bombers, the Obama White House has explicitly emphasized “NATO’s enduring commitment beyond 2014″.

A key feature of this “enduring commitment” is that the Afghan army soldiers and cops NATO is training (supplemented by US private contractors of the Dyncorp/Blackwater mould) will need no less than US$6 billion a year, every year, till probably eternity, from the usually euphemistic “international donors”, key among them US taxpayers.

It’s a gas, gas, gas
And here’s where The Year of the Drone merges with what the late, great deconstructionist Jacques Lacan would qualify as “the unsayable”: the invisible, dangerous liaisons between the “war on terror” and the energy war, as in the topography of the war on terror matching all the key 21st-century sources of energy from the Middle East to Central Asia.

This implies a key Pipelineistan chapter – the never-ending saga of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, which has been at the very core of the troubled Washington-Kabul marriage since the mid-1990s.

The TAPI inter-government agreement was finally signed in mid-December. Make no mistake; this is Washington in overdrive. The Washington-backed Asian Development Bank is to come up with the bulk of the $7.6 billion (and counting) financial package. The 2,000 kilometer-long TAPI – to be built by an international consortium – should snake through a very dodgy 735 kilometers of Afghanistan and 800 kilometers of Pakistan.

Hype apart, there’s no hard evidence that TAPI will “stabilize” Afghanistan or contribute to India and Pakistan trading kisses instead of insults. AfPak in this case are both transit countries. Most of the Afghan stretch will be underground – much as the US-supported BTC from Baku in Azerbaijan to Ceyhan, Turkey. In theory, local villages will be paid to guard the pipeline. But that still does not guarantee security to a steel serpent crossing western Afghanistan and then going east through Kandahar.

Once again in theory, TAPI is indeed a steel Silk Road between Central and South Asia. If TAPI is ever built – and that’s still a big “if” – certainly it will mark a monster crossover of Pipelineistan with the US Empire of Bases. Because none other than the Pentagon and NATO will provide the overall security. And that means the Atlanticist West forever embedded in AfPak. One can imagine what the Taliban on both sides – not to mention disgruntled Pashtuns in general – will make of that.

And even if TAPI is built, this still does not mean that its key competitor, the $7.3 billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, also known as the “peace pipeline”, has lost the battle – much to Washington’s horror. The Indians have said that much – they are now chasing insurance giants of the Lloyds variety. And Pakistan definitely wants both TAPI and IPI.

TAPI theoretically should be finished by 2014. Surprise! That’s exactly the deadline year (for now …) for American troops to exit Afghanistan. No one will be exiting anything. Finally, the whole AfPak imbroglio will be revealed for what it is; a Pipelineistan gambit.

Meanwhile, enjoy the Year of the Drone. And while we’re at it, here’s some breaking news. The 2011 Pentagon/NATO strategy for AfPak is already established: wait for the Taliban spring/summer offensive to see where they’re at. And then drone them to death. Call it Drone Eye for the Bad Guy.

(Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

NOTE:This is a cross post.

Dealing With Pakistan

By H.D.S. Greenway   

’Tis the season to bash Pakistan. That’s the message that leapt from the Obama administration’s Afghan strategy review last week. It’s Pakistan fault that we Americans are not winning the war, so we better get tough with Pakistan.

We “will continue to insist to Pakistani leaders that terrorists safe havens within their borders must be dealt with,” said President Obama. Others, such as retired Gen. Jack Keane, put it more bluntly: “Don’t just put a finger in their chest, put a fist in their chest.” But the message is the same — “U.S. Will Widen War On Militants Inside Pakistan,” headlined the New York Times. “Pentagon Planning More Attacks With Drones And Commandos.”

There can be no doubt of what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, called — in Pentagon-speak — “the criticality of Pakistan in terms of overall success.” But is putting a fist in Pakistan’s chest really going to solve the “criticality” issue?

Pakistan is already permitting drone attacks on its territory — attacks that kill as many or more civilians than militants. It has also allowed limited U.S. special operations within Pakistan. Eighty percent of U.S. war material passes through Pakistan. Put a fist in Pakistan’s chest, as we did in September when a cross-border operation killed three Pakistani soldiers, and you may see some of this support dry up.

I recently drove past the hulks of burned out oil tankers by the side of the Grand Trunk Road headed to the Khyber Pass, torched by militants when Pakistan temporarily halted the convoys in retaliation for our incursion.

One might ask General Keane: What is it you don’t understand about closing the Khyber Pass? What chance would you give either the short-term or long-term sustainability of our Afghan effort without Pakistani cooperation? One hundred dollars worth of gasoline passing through Pakistan costs one thousand to ship though Central Asia.

So let’s stop all this talk of cleaning out the sanctuaries ourselves if the Pakistanis won’t. The United States doesn’t need to get involved militarily in another Muslim country.

The U.S. is extremely unpopular as it is with the Pakistani public. Do we really think we could prevail in the mountains of the Northwest Frontier with the whole countryside up in arms against us? If you really want to destabilize a nuclear-armed Pakistan, that would be the best way to do it.

Pakistanis feel, with some justification, that they are being scapegoated. “I’m not saying we are entirely innocent,” a member of Pakistan’s intelligence service told me, but after nine years of failing in Afghanistan it is easy to “put all the blame on someone else.”

Or as Lt. Gen. Asif Malik, commander of the Pakistani Army 11th Corps responsible for the tribal territories, told me: Organizations such as the Haqqani group are not completely dependent on Pakistani territory. They, and the rest of the Taliban, can operate quite well in Afghanistan without sanctuaries — to which the deterioration of security in northern Afghanistan attests.

And from Pakistan’s point of view, there are Taliban attacking Pakistani soldiers from safe havens in Afghanistan that NATO cannot stop. The frontier with Pakistan will always be porous. The mountainous border cannot be sealed completely.

Yes, Pakistan wants to keep some Pashtun guerilla groups close as a hedge against the future. General Keane says that once we show Pakistan that the Taliban cannot come back to power in Kabul, Pakistan will abandon these groups and get on the team.

But Pakistan’s Afghan policy is consistent. It does not want a hostile neighbor on its western border. Pakistan fears the present Kabul government, dominated by the India-backed Northern Alliance of Tajiks and Uzbeks, unless more pro-Pakistan Pashtuns are better represented.

How can Pakistan be confident that the United States will be able to turn security over to an Afghan Army by 2014? Afghan soldiers regularly loot the properties of the very citizens they are tasked with defending, and the Karzai government is unloved. Although there has been much progress in training the Afghan Army, serious training began only last year. My tennis game can show a lot of improvement in one year, but it doesn’t mean I will be ready to play Roger Federer by 2014.

Pakistanis know that, whether it be 2014 or 2024, Americans will go home, and Pakistan will still be left with Afghanistan next door.

The Obama administration understands the need to work closely with Pakistan, and yes, Pakistan can be endlessly frustrating — even to Pakistanis. But more emphasis on trying to understand Pakistan’s vital national interests — some “strategic patience,” as Admiral Mullen put it, and a little less bullying — might be more productive. Too often, the American attitude is master to servant: We give you money now do what we say, and do it right now.

(H.D.S. Greenway is an American journalist. Greenway served in the U.S. Navy from 1958-1960. From 1962 to 1972, he worked for Time Life in London, Washington, Saigon, Bangkok, the United Nations, and Hong Kong. After Time Life, Greenway worked for the Washington Post in Washington, Saigon, Hong Kong, and Jerusalem from 1972-1978. From 1978 to 2000, he served as the Foreign Editor, National Editor, and Editorial Page Editor at “The Boston Globe”. Since 2000, Greenway has been a Foreign Affairs columnist).

Note:This is a cross post

U.S. Plan for High-Risk Raids into Pakistan Is More Than Psywar

By Gareth Porter   

This week’s leak to the New York Times of a proposal for U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) raids against Afghan insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan may be intended to put more pressure on the Pakistani military to take action against those sanctuaries.

But the proposal for such cross-border raids also reflects a real demand from the U.S.-NATO command in Afghanistan to target insurgent leaders inside Pakistan if the Pakistani military does not respond to the threat, according to a U.S. source familiar with discussions at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul.

And the position of the Barack Obama administration on the necessity of attacking insurgent safe havens in Pakistan appears to be in line with the proposal for cross-border raids.

Carrying out such raids would probably provoke a new level of anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistan, with dangerous political consequences in that country, according to experts on Pakistan, but the behaviour of the national security organs of the United States in the recent past suggests that such dangers are being rationalised.

The New York Times reported Monday that “senior American military commanders” – meaning Gen. David Petraeus and his subordinates at ISAF – are pushing for raids into Pakistan aimed at capturing Taliban commanders and taking them back to Afghanistan for interrogation.

Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, the primary spokesman for ISAF, issued a statement saying, “There is absolutely no truth to reporting in The New York Times that U.S. forces are planning to conduct ground operations into Pakistan.”

That did not amount to a real denial of the Times story, however. The story did not say that U.S. forces were “planning to conduct” such raids. In fact, it made clear that Obama had not yet made any decision on the proposal.

Shuja Nawaz, director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and a leading authority on the Pakistani military, sees the leak of the proposal for more cross-border raids as a form of “psychological warfare” aimed at getting the Pakistani military leadership to take action against the Haqqani network sanctuaries in Northern Waziristan.

Nawaz told IPS, however, that the timing for such an impact is off, because the Pakistani military could not launch any new offensive there until next February in any case, because of the weather. Furthermore, it still lacks the helicopters necessary for such operations, he said.

The proposed U.S. cross-border operations are “a perfect recipe for ruining even this bad relationship”, said Nawaz. They would “disrupt the whole enterprise in Pakistan, including the civilian government”. Political opponents of the existing government would be “screaming for blood”, he added, and the military would feel that it had to act against the government.

The U.S. National Intelligence Council warned the George W. Bush White House in August 2008 that SOF raids across the border in Pakistan would threaten the unity of the Pakistani military. A disproportionate percentage of army officers serving in the largely Pashtun tribal areas are Pashtun, the Council observed, and if U.S. commando raids continued beyond a few months, it could provoke large-scale defections from the Pakistani army to the militants.

The intelligence warning came only after Bush had approved a request from the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) for more latitude in carrying out raids against al Qaeda and Afghan insurgent targets in Pakistan’s tribal area.

The first raid in early September 2008 killed six children, two women and at least 10 innocent villagers who came out of their houses to see what was happening. When the Pakistani government and military responded angrily and threatened to disrupt cooperation with Washington, the raids were terminated.

The policy being pursued by the Obama administration, however, tends to insulate it from such warnings of potentially disastrous consequences of an aggressive U.S. military role in Pakistan. The administration increased the number of CIA drone strikes in northwest Pakistan over that of the Bush administration – a policy requiring that it discount the political fallout of the drone campaign in Pakistan.

The CIA has also set up “fusion centres” with the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, aimed at making the Pakistani military more dependent on U.S. intelligence and less likely to be responsive to public opposition to U.S. military activities in Pakistan.

The idea of sending SOF units into Pakistan to try to capture insurgent leaders was first discussed last spring, when Gen. Stanley McChrystal was still top commander of U.S.-NATO forces in Afghanistan, according to a U.S. source familiar with the discussions about the issue in Kabul.

A number of Delta Force troops in Pakistan were already operating covertly in the northwest tribal region, according to the source, and the CIA’s secret Afghan militia units, the Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams, were also being sent into Pakistan’s tribal area to target Taliban and Haqqani network insurgents.

But McChrystal and Petraeus “believed they needed a much bigger footprint on the ground to do it,” the source told IPS.

The Petraeus proposal had apparently been submitted to the administration some time ago. But the story quoted a “senior American officer” as saying, “We’ve never been as close as we are now to getting the go-ahead to go across.”

The leak to the Times followed the circulation within the administration of two National Intelligence Estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan. The NIE on Afghanistan reportedly included the first formal judgment that the United States is unlikely to succeed in Afghanistan unless Pakistan changes its policy radically and moves decisively against insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan.

The estimate on Pakistan concluded that the Pakistani government is unlikely to change its policy toward the Taliban and the Haqqani network, as reported by the Washington Post Dec. 16.

The five-page “Summary of Findings” on the December review of the Afghan war strategy issued by the administration last week referred to “gains” as “fragile and reversible” and pointedly stated, “Consolidation of those gains will require that we make more progress with Pakistan to eliminate sanctuaries for violent extremist networks.”

The continued existence of sanctuaries in Pakistan and the failure of the Pakistani military to cooperate fully with U.S. strategy could have been cited by the administration as reason for speeding up the process of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan rather than supporting a new military adventure in Pakistan.

But the Obama administration has painted itself into a corner by refusing to acknowledge publicly that the Petraeus war strategy is not working, despite obvious scepticism about it in the White House. A Dec. 16 story in the Washington Post reported that senior officials had already decided to base the administration’s arguments for a “significant drawdown” of troops to begin in July 2011 not on the obvious failure of the Gen. Petraeus’s strategy but on his claims that the strategy is succeeding.

They consider that course “less politically dangerous” than arguing that the Petraeus strategy hadn’t worked, according to the Post story. “It’s always better to call it success as opposed to failure,” a senior official was quoted as saying.

Also favouring the proposal for cross-border raids is the fact that those in the administration who sought to limit the number of troops and the duration of their stay in Afghanistan – including Vice-President Joe Biden – have relied heavily on SOF units to target Taliban insurgents both in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan, as Bob Woodward documents in “Obama’s War”.

The alternative to the McChrystal counterinsurgency strategy supported by Biden and others last year envisioned possible SOF raids on sanctuaries in Pakistan, according to a report in The Times of London Tuesday.

(Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, “Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam”, was published in 2006).

NOTE:This is a cross post

 


Moving Pakistan back from the brink

By: Harlan Ulman  

Pakistan needs concrete signs of US support. The US needs concrete signs of Pakistani commitment in taking on the Afghan Taliban and making the government more functional

To many observers, Pakistan has long been at the brink of an existential crisis, much of it due to a growing insurgency exacerbated by the war in Afghanistan. But now the economy is in crisis too. The catastrophic floods have imploded the struggling economy, raising the spectre of frightening consequences. Compounding that crisis is uncertainty over IMF loans needed to sustain the economy. Meanwhile, parliament is deadlocked over a sales tax to raise desperately needed revenue for the government.

Last week’s loss of a small partner (JUI-F) in the coalition for almost comedic reasons underscored the seriousness of these crises. More shocks and warnings are bound to follow, especially after the release of the White House Afghan review last week. Eliminating so-called Taliban sanctuaries in western Pakistan was a central conclusion of that review. The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, reiterated that point in his latest visit to Pakistan. The White House will increase pressure on the Pakistani government to act. Pakistan has a fundamentally different assessment, one that could put both countries on a collision course.

The game clock is ticking for Pakistan and the US. A potential political crisis is likely to reach a head in the coming months in Pakistan with the prospect of toppling the government coalition headed by the Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP). And the failure or success of NATO and the US in Afghanistan remains very dependent on Pakistani support, which may not be sustained by a different government.

By late summer or early fall, Washington will become obsessed with the 2012 elections. At that stage, and with economic conditions in Pakistan deteriorating, the PPP could lose a no-confidence vote and/or the Pakistani Muslim League-N (PML-N) headed by twice Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could call for a mid-year election.

An election may produce a hung parliament similar to what happened in Iraq. A PML-N victory means a PML-N prime minister and PPP president — a recipe for disaster. The winning campaign slogan for the PML-N (and Nawaz is no friend of the US) reinforcing the public’s resentment of Predator strikes and the burden the war on terror has imposed on it as well as redress of acute shortages of food, potable water and electricity will be: ‘Predators, PPP and the US out’!

Making matters worse, Washington-Islamabad relations are filled with political IEDs. The most recent IED explosion was the exit of the CIA station chief in Islamabad after his name became public. Expect more to follow.

Clearly, the White House has legitimate grievances over Pakistani reluctance to confront the Afghan Taliban, end endemic corruption and improve weak governance. Pakistanis regard Washington as unresponsive and insensitive to their needs and sacrifices. Since the toppling of the Afghan Taliban nine years ago, the US’s war on terror has cost Pakistan more than 35,000 civilian and military casualties with nearly 12,000 dead — far more than the number of Americans killed on September 11th and in Iraq and Afghanistan — and has deprived its economy of many billions of dollars.

The Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act has, so far, sent only a tiny fraction of the promised total of $ 7.5 billion, miserly compared to what the US has given to oil-rich Iraq and Afghanistan. Add to this a highly suspect, aggressive and often irresponsible media and the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice with grandiose views of his role; the dangers of Pakistani instability are hard to understate.

These conditions can be reversed. But this requires dramatic, bold, sweeping and prompt action by both sides. First, President Barack Obama and President Asif Zardari need to meet and meet soon. That meeting cannot be a stroll around the Rose Garden. An intimate and sufficiently lengthy exchange to reach an agreement on the steps to be taken is essential.

Pakistan needs concrete signs of US support. The US needs concrete signs of Pakistani commitment in taking on the Afghan Taliban and making the government more functional. Textile tariff relief and immediately beginning the transfer of 100 or so combat helicopters and other military equipment to Pakistan will show American bona fides. President Zardari and his key subordinates including Army Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Kayani must reciprocate with deeds and not promises, responding to American needs and national interests.

Of course, a meeting between the heads of state may not take place or could be deferred until it is too late for corrective action. Both presidents may not have the right chemistry. Congress may oppose any changes in policy. And, in the interim, conditions in Pakistan could disintegrate.

Whether the Obama administration understands the potentially explosive unstable situation in Pakistan and chooses to do anything about it are huge questions, as are the ability and willingness of Pakistan to take charge of its future. But these questions must be answered and answered soon. More than the future of Afghanistan is at stake.

(The writer is Chairman of the Killowen Group that advises leaders of government and business, and Senior Advisor at Washington DC’s Atlantic Council).

NOTE:This is a cross post.

Nixon adopted this tactic in Vietnam. It won’t work any better now than it did then

By: Patrick Cockburn   

 

Could US Special Forces make a lunge across the Pakistan border in pursuit of the Taliban just as American and South Vietnamese troops briefly invaded Cambodia in pursuit of the Vietcong and North Vietnamese forces in 1970?

 

The precedent is not good. What US officers have in mind for the Pakistan border regions is much smaller in scale than President Nixon’s venture, but is unlikely to be any more successful. Possible military gains are limited, while the danger of a political backlash is acute.

American frustration is great, because so long as the 2,500km Afghan-Pakistan border remains open, the Taliban can retreat to relatively safe havens to rest, re-equip and re-supply. Their fighters can recover from every tactical setback. It was this open border that prevented the Soviet army from crushing the Afghan guerrillas in the 1980s.

But would forays by US Special Forces or associated American-controlled Afghan militias really make much difference?

Even if it wanted to, the Pakistan military could hardly police a frontier through mountainous terrain that is as long as the distance from London to Moscow. Moreover the hinterland, of which the Taliban takes advantage, is not confined to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas or the border of Baluchistan. It extends into a much wider area and includes the vast city of Karachi, with its population of 17 million and sizeable Pashtun minority. The purpose of the leaks may be to intimidate the Pakistan army into being more co-operative with the US in making a ground attack on North Waziristan, seen by the US as the main redoubt of al-Qa’ida and the Haqqani network.

So far the Pakistan army has resisted this and there is no evidence it is going to change its mind.

The US often focuses its criticism of Pakistan’s security policy on the ISI, Pakistan’s military security agency, or even pro-Taliban “rogue elements” in it, but in practice, covert support for the Taliban is the policy of Pakistan’s 600,000-strong army. Most ISI personnel are regular officers on secondment to the agency.

The White House under President Obama has long been aware that its main problem in the region is with Pakistan, but it has yet to find a way of dealing with it. Military aid – and the US pays a third of Pakistan’s military budget – has produced a modicum of Pakistani compliance with US needs, though not enough to tip the balance against the Afghan Taliban.

The army has been prepared to act against the Pakistan Taliban, which it sees as being entirely different. The main military action of the US in Pakistan is through CIA-controlled drones which take off from a base in Pakistan and have been effective.

The CIA also has a 3,000-strong Afghan army of its own across the border in Afghanistan.

The drones are only as effective as the intelligence on which their targeting is based and the CIA has built up an intelligence network in border areas.

At the same time ISI officers claim privately that up-to-date information enabling the drones to attack the houses and vehicles of militants comes from them.

(Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent. Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he has written four books on the country’s recent history. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron Prize in 2006 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009).

 

 

NOTE:This is a cross post from “The Independent”.

America :Invading Pakistan

By :Jeff Prager

That we’ve historically invaded sovereign countries while maintaining our own sovereign rights is no secret although it’s not well known.

Whether overtly or covertly we’ve invaded numerous countries in the last 60 years and we’ve deposed a great many democratically elected leaders, no less then 30, and replaced them with brutal tyrants. We’ve bombed no less then 50 countries. We’ve murdered 6 million people just covertly. It’s what we do. We’ve invaded some more then once. Chronologically these would be:

Greece

Italy

Iran

Guatemala

North Vietnam

Hungary

Laos

Haiti

Cuba

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Congo

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Brazil

Indonesia

Dominican Republic

Greece

Congo

Greece

South Vietnam

Bolivia

Uruguay

Cambodia

Bolivia

Haiti

Chile

Australia

Angola

Iran

El Salvador

Nicaragua

Panama

El Salvador

Honduras

Haiti

Iraq/Kuwait

Iraq

Afghanistan

Yemen

Pakistan

Haiti

This is far from an exhaustive list but you get the idea. We’re a war-mongering country for the banks and corporations. That’s why our children die. NOT for freedom or democracy. That concept is a fraud.

NOW, we’re preparing to send ground forces into Pakistan. We’re already technically an “invading force” in Pakistan since drones operated from CIA headquarters at Langley and from clandestine bases in Afghanistan have been murdering innocent people for years with the operation stepped up by the Peace President, Barack Obama.

Why he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace is beyond my ability to reason or understand. He should have been awarded a Special “Psychopath of the Century” award by the global civilian population and relegated to a small prison cell and a diet of deep fried Falafel and Pita bread, water-boarded while chained to a cell door while being forced to memorize the Qu’ran in Arabic.

U.S. Military Seeks to Expand Raids in Pakistan

by Mark Mazzetti and Dexter Filkins

WASHINGTON — Senior American military commanders inAfghanistan are pushing for an expanded campaign of Special Operations ground raids across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas, a risky strategy reflecting the growing frustration with Pakistan’s efforts to root out militants there.

The proposal, described by American officials in Washington and Afghanistan, would escalate military activities inside Pakistan, where the movement of American forces has been largely prohibited because of fears of provoking a backlash.

The plan has not yet been approved, but military and political leaders say a renewed sense of urgency has taken hold, as the deadline approaches for the Obama administration to begin withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan. Even with the risks, military commanders say that using American Special Operations troops could bring an intelligence windfall, if militants were captured, brought back across the border into Afghanistan and interrogated.

WE ARE, and make no mistake because we are the global Nazi’s of the 21st century murdering people worldwide for the multinational corporations and banks. Be glad you live in the US. Anywhere and everywhere else you’d be a fucking target.

Endnotes:

1. All history concerning CIA intervention in foreign countries is summarized from William Blum’s encyclopedic work, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995). Sources for domestic CIA operations come from Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen’s The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1997).

2. Coleman McCarthy, “The Consequences of Covert Tactics” Washington Post, December 13, 1987.

3. Mazzetti and Filkins, New York Times, December 20th, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/21/world/asia/21intel.html?_r=2

4. Image: August 14th – Happy Independence Day Pakistan

(Jeff Prager  is based in Minnesota, USA.He is the Founder and former Publisher, retired, of Senior Magazine Arizona. He writes for “The World”).

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