Sunday, November 30, 2008


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My stepfather’s reaction came in the form of a text message the next day. It read:
  • “Pardon Afzal [Muhammad Afzal, accused of attacking the Indian parliament in 2001],
  • hang Sadhvi [a woman accused of participating in the only act of Hindu terrorism in a Muslim neighbourhood],
  • Ban the Bajrang Dal [a Hindu extremist organisation],
  • talk to Simi [a Muslim student organisation of which the Indian mujaheddin, responsible for a string of attacks in Indian cities, is said to be a part],
  • restrict the Amarnath pilgrimage [a Hindu pilgrimage that led to upheavals in the Kashmir valley last summer]
  • fund the Haj.
Wow! Truly, my India is great! Fwd 2all Hindus.”

a roll call of the issues and violence that have divided Hindu and Muslim India over the past year.

Almost a call to arms, it contained the great, twofold rage that has grown in Hindu India:
  • the feeling that Islamic terrorism seeks to destroy the vigorous “new India”
  • and the suspicion that the state is either unable or unwilling to defend itself — for cynical reasons, such as shoring up the Muslim vote for the government.

Mumbai stands as a symbol of the new and energised India

Within hours of the attacks Hindu groups gathered
  • chanting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” (Victory to Mother India) and
  • singing “Vande Mataram” (Bow to you Mother), a patriotic song that Muslims had objected to as the choice for the national anthem because it implied obeisance to gods other than Allah.

When the terrorists say on their websites that they seek to break up India and reclaim it for Islam

And India has proved to be the softest of soft targets.

More than 4,000 Indians have died in terrorist attacks — the country is the second biggest victim of terror after Iraq and virtually every one of its big cities has faced a terrorist attack. Yet the government has no centralised terrorist database, its intelligence is abysmal and there is little evidence that the state knows who it is fighting.

disservice to Indian Muslims. When there are no real suspects, arrests or trials, everyone becomes a suspect. Already an underclass, with low literacy rates, low incomes and poor representation in government jobs, Indian Muslims are increasingly alienated

Nobody wants to listen to genuine grievances about poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in the face of a real threat to the country

some Indian Muslims are simply beginning to see their grievances as part of a global conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim.

the largest Muslim minority population in the world (13.4% of the population, or about 150m)

they are not immigrants.

a divide like this re-energised the Hindu nationalist BJP
The hour of men like Narendra Modi, who oversaw a pogrom of Indian Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, might have come at last.

Aatish Taseer is the author of Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands, to be published in March by Canongate.


In an essay in the Web magazine Realization in 2000, Alan Scherr described his journey from college professor and follower of Eastern meditation to a member and full-time staff member of the Synchronicity community, led by Master Charles, described as a contemporary mystic and master of meditation.After listening to Master Charles speak in 1994, Scherr wrote, he and his wife decided to join the community, which promotes high-tech meditation and a holistic lifestyle. They moved to Faber in 1996.

Uh, “High-tech meditation”? According to the group’s website, this means:

Synchronicity Contemporary High-Tech Meditation, created by Master Charles Cannon, is the foundation of the Synchronicity Paradigm Lifestyle Model, which is designed to be practiced on a daily basis. This contemporary form of meditation utilizes Synchronicity’s proprietary Holodynamic Vibrational Entrainment Technology (HVET), to bring precision to the meditative experience. It is available in the form of Alpha, Theta, and Delta CD’s that “meditate you” by balancing the brainwaves and delivering a precision meditation experience — one that is accurate and consistent. Such precision meditation delivers greater balance and wholeness.

Master Charles is an amalgam of the old and new.

On the one hand, he is a traditionally-trained Siddha yogi who gives shaktipat to stimulate Kundalini activity; but at the same time, he runs a business that sells technologically-sophisticated sound recordings based on brain wave entrainment.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


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It is clearly possible that the terror rampage had its origins outside India, aimed as they were at international rather than Hindu targets

the attacks will aggravate a growing fault line between Hindus and Muslims within India itself.

India is home to 154 million Muslims

India has more to lose from extremist Islam than arguably any other country in the world

The Mumbai terrorists announced themselves as the Deccan Mujahideen.

The Islamic Mughals vanquished all of northern India, Pakistan, and a good part of Afghanistan, but they could never consolidate the Deccan against the Hindu Maratha warriors.

This Mughal history has taken on heightened symbolism in India in recent years precisely as a result of globalization and the expansion of electronic communications and education, all of which have sharpened the country’s religious divide.

In the early Cold War decades, India’s ruling Congress Party, the party of independence, sought to unite both Hindus and Muslims under the umbrella of a shared community and new nation-state.
In the 1980s, and particularly in the 1990s, with the opening up of the Indian economy to the outside world, Indians, especially the new Hindu middle class, began a search for roots to anchor them inside an insipid world civilization

they suddenly had wealth to protect.

we had the rise of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party

The BJP is one of several Hindu nationalist organizations that promotes a revisionist view of Indian history
the Mughals and other Muslim dynasties of the medieval and early modern era (which helped create India’s dazzlingly syncretic civilization - but who also brought terrible depredations upon the Hindus) are considered interlopers in what should have remained a purely Hindu civilization and story-line.

Mass communications have helped Hindus in this historical journey, enabling the creation of a standardized and ideologized Hinduism out of many local variants.

parts of the Indian Muslim community, who joined a world Muslim civilization that competed with Indian nationalism for their loyalty.

The divide exploded in full force in February and March 2002 in the northwestern province of Gujarat. Following the massacre of 58 Hindus on a train, Muslim areas of Gujarat, and particularly neighborhoods in its largest cities, were besieged by Hindu mobs: hundreds of Muslim women were raped, more than a thousand were killed, and 200,000 were made homeless. The Hindu nationalist BJP government in Gujarat was implicated in the killings, and because there was never an official apology for what happened, the atrocities have lived on in infamy, becoming a symbol for both groups in India.

the immediate result of the Mumbai terror attacks will be a further hardening of inter-communal relations within India.

also increase the likelihood that in national elections slated for early 2009, the result will be a BJP-led government

will further aggravate Indian-Pakistani relations, making it harder for the incoming Obama Administration to effect a rapprochement between the two countries, necessary for progress in Afghanistan, where the two subcontinental states are engaged in a proxy struggle that goes on behind the immediate conflict between the United States and al-Qaeda.

But the real story is India itself, whose undeniable rise as a major world power is being threatened by these civilizational tensions.

Robert D. Kaplan is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.


The system generates not one, not two, but three independent tallies: a center-by-center machine tally, a hand-counted audit tally and the central tally calculated by CNE in the capital. Witnesses from each campaign are entitled to receive copies of the first two on a center-by-center basis; the third is made public online.

If the three sets of tallies match (triple congruence), there's really no credible way to claim fraud.


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HUJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami)/SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) group or offshoots have launched a campaign of attacks across high profile targets in Mumbai.

Rather than serial bombings, the outfits have opted for explosions at a gas station, the docks, primary railyway hub, Cafe Leopold, coupled with armed assaults of the the elite Oberoi Hotel and Taj Mahal Hotel, as well as perhaps the Ramada Inn and Cama Hospital.

It’s a full scale assault, hit and run, drive by shootings, etc

Deccan Mujahideen has taken responsibility. It is a front for the Indian Mujahideen, which is deeply connected with SIMI and HUJI - the search for the social systempunkt has reached yet another major data point.

Tactical innovation.

  • As discussed at this site in some depth, is the primary contribution of the Naxals. Additionally, large amounts of RDX are regularly stolen from mines in Naxal infested areas
  • It seems the lessons learned by the Naxals are in fact being adopted by other insurgencies operating in the country.


  • highly trained, heavily indocrinated
  • focal points for terror training since the 1980’s - Afghanistan, then Kashmir, then Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Pakistan.

Strategic innovation. International.

  • Direct linkages with Pakistan are designed to apply international pressure which are unlikely to be met
  • driving up recruitment and funding for these militant organizations.

Strategic innovation. Domestic.

  • Classic social systempunkt. Planned just before major national elections with the obvious intent being a move to the right, which increases the chances for government overreach, causing further alienation and a higher propensity for sectarian conflict/riots.


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The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of the cabinet secretariat has failed; failed miserably. So have the
  • Intelligence Bureau (IB),
  • the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA),
  • the Joint Intelligence Committee,
  • the Directorate of Air Intelligence,
  • the Directorate of Navy Intelligence,
  • the Joint Cipher Bureau,
  • the Directorate of Signals Intelligence and the
  • Defence Image Processing and Analysis Centre.
All of India’s intelligence agencies have failed, and the most critical element in their collective failure is their overwhelming focus on Pakistan-based militant groups.

According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, “at least 231 of the India’s 608 districts are currently afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements.”

Over the past five decades, India has been up against three distinct types of militancy:
  • Left-wing extremist,
  • separatist and
  • religious.

Left-wing extremist groups that have engaged in terrorist activity include
  • People’s Guerrilla Army,
  • People’s War Group,
  • Maoist Communist Centre,
  • Communist Party of India-Maoist and
  • Communist Party of India Janashakti.
  • In Assam, there are at least 35 known separatist groups.
  • In Manipur, there’s the People’s Liberation Army.
  • In Meghalava, there’s the People’s Liberation Front of Meghalava.
  • Nagaland has at least three known insurgent entities;
  • Punjab has 12,
  • Tripura has 30 and
  • Mizoram has 2.
  • Then there’s Arunachal Dragon Force in Arunachal Pradesh.

In 2006, a total of 2,765 Indians died in terrorism-related violence (that same year, 1,471 Pakistanis died in terrorism-related violence).

in 2006, Of the 2,765 Indians, who lost their lives,
  • 41 per cent were killed in Jammu and Kashmir,
  • 27 per cent of all victims died because of Left-wing extremism,
  • 23 per cent because of insurgencies and
  • 10 per cent from militant groups based on religion.

Who’s behind Mumbai attacks? Is it India’s left-wing extremists, separatists or India’s home-grown Jihadi militants?

Many a finger are pointing at India’s home-grown Jihadi militants but we may never find out for sure. The Mumbai attacks, however, is a wake-up call for the global intelligence community for them to rise up to the challenge and focus their collective energies in the right direction.

B Raman, one of India’s leading analysts, is of the opinion that a whole lot of India’s militancy is “self radicalisation, self motivation and self execution”.


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  • Who were the attackers?
  • Who was behind them and
  • what did they try to achieve?

he so-called 'terrorists’, whoever they are, have won. America and its allies have been defeated.
  • America has lost its primacy as a super power.
  • It is now financially ruined.
  • Its leadership is regarded by most people around the world as a solid core of evil.
It doesn’t take a genius to gather that this enormous defeat is an outcome of a chain of events that started with a single orchestrated attack that took place in September 2001.

all it took to bring the American empire down was a dozen and a half highly motivated people armed with knifes.

Two million Iraqis and Afghans are dead. Many more millions are gravely wounded, millions of others are refugees. Each of these victims is a direct outcome of an illegal war launched by the Anglo American democracies.

the crimes that were committed yesterday in Mumbai were committed by an unknown body and not an elected one.
  • The crimes in Mumbai were committed solely in the name of those who commit them.
  • The Anglo American crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria are committed by elected governments on behalf of the British and the American people.

We should keep our liberal democratic fantasy to ourselves,

The British foreign minister Miliband along other politicians announced yesterday that the attack in Mumbai is an attack against Western democracy. I think that we better face it, as long as the Western democracies treat Muslims as soft targets the Western subject may be as well subject to retaliation and terror.

I would suggest Miliband and his colleagues stop immediately trying to democratise the world.

Friday, November 28, 2008


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is likely to succeed in (what appears to be) its principle aim
  • a repressive response from the Indian state and
  • a communal reaction

The facts so far reported do point to some general conclusions
  • likely aims, and
  • possible culprits.

a claim of responsibility
  • 'Deccan Mujahideen', which could be related to the 'Indian Mujahideen' (IM), who in turn are alleged to be the latest incarnation of banned right-wing Islamist groups, the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

The former originated in Uttar Pradesh in 1977, inspired by the Iranian revolution, championing a Deobandi strain of Muslim revivalism.

The latter originated in Kashmir in 1990 and is, alongside the Jaish-e Mohammed, one of the larger Islamist groups operating in Pakistan. It has been associated with figures belonging to 'Al Qaeda'.

This is the basis for Indian intelligence claims that the violence of the IM is the result of ISI subventions across the subcontinent

two other dimensions are probably far more important:
  • domestic aspect of communal violence
  • global politics of the jihadis presumed to be involved.
targets suggests that the emphasis must be on the latter
  • Taj Mahal hotel, "a symbol of Western decadence", because of the rich tourists it attracts.
  • the train station attacked was a terminus busy with tourists
SIMI was originally the student wing of the Jama'at-i-Islami Hind (JIH), who expelled it on the basis of its ultra-radicalism (the JIH today work alongside the Indian communist parties against the BJP and Congress Party)

accelerating trends in communal violence over the last two decades
  • saw it gain members beyond its areas of strength in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, into some areas of the south.
banned several times
  • ban was a pretext for harrassing and terrorising Muslims in general,
  • police slaughtered protesters supporting SIMI's legalisation in Lucknow
  • massacre of 2,000 Muslims in the state of Gujarat, with the involvement of state officials including Narendra Modi, demonstrated that the Indian state was indeed on the war path against Muslims.
armed Hindutva groups were reportedly able to train and operate with impunity under the BJP.

LeT is a very different kind of organisation. It was funded from the start by the Pakistani state to facilitate its control over the Kashmiri struggle for independence,

Unlike SIMI in India, LeT has some real social weight in Pakistan - after the US bombing of Afghanistan in 1998, it mobilised 50,000 youths at a religious gathering near Lahore at which attendees vowed to avenge the attacks.

The signs point to them being a home-grown movement.

This means that any attempt to comprehend what is happening has to start with the Indian social structure, and particularly the position of Muslims in Indian society
Indian Muslims, comprising 13.5% of the population of India, are poor and disenfranchised: under-represented in most official organs, among the most exploited layers of society, and vulnerable to chauvanistic attack by Hindu nationalists

The rise of atrocious Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) throughout the 1990s reflected the growth of communal politics that was due to a number of factors
  • Demographically, Muslims were a faster growing
  • ascribed to illegal migration by refugees from Bangladesh
  • The rise of Islamist politics amid the disintegration of Congress hegemony
  • Dalit party sought to build a coalition between Muslims and low caste blocs.
Hindutva politicians and activists successfully exploited these changes to argue that the Muslim population was a surging menace

The BJP's rapid ascent helped to accelerate the rise of communal violence
  • had at its core another organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, known for its fascistic tendencies
  • the demolition of the Babar mosque in Ayodhya, in 1992, an attack on a symbol representing the integration and acceptance of Muslims
  • it incited pogroms against Muslims in Bombay/Mumbai in 1993
far right BJP ally Shiv Sena

which changed Bombay's name to its Marathi name, Mumbai, in 1995

The BJP are the most vicious exponents of communal politics

the Indian ruling class wasn't ready for that level of repression and instability

Every filthy reactionary and pogromist will be strengthened, while the more violent jihadi groups will probably expand under a wave of state terror and communal violence.

The only hope is in the Left
  • defending Muslims from the inevitable resurgence of anti-Muslim hatred, while opposing the politics of the jihadis.
  • The hypocritical policy of banning Islamist groups over allegations of terrorism while tolerating and even encouraging violent Hindutva groups has to be opposed.
  • Those who try to mount pogroms have to be fought in the streets.
  • Any escalation of the struggle with Pakistan also has to be opposed


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This is the first year that President Chávez's new political party, the PSUV - Socialist Party of Venezuela - is participating in elections and it will be a test for the strength and popularity of the party.

Candidates in all states that have received Chávez's endorsement are all from the PSUV party and in fact were selected through an intricate primary voting process earlier this year

new opposition - dissidence - has arisen from the ranks of the revolution, with parties such as PODEMOS and PPT postulating candidates to oppose and compete with the PSUV candidates.

President Chávez and others in his government have declared these elections pivotal to the future of the revolution and its widespread consolidation and unity throughout the nation.

Projects of the Chávez Government, such as agricultural development, industry, factories and new production models depend widely on the support and active participation of regional governments. Those still unclear about what is taking place in Venezuela must understand that we are in a revolution with an adamant, determined and vicious enemy that operates within. Those regional governments that actively oppose Chávez and his policies make a point of sabotaging and subverting his programs and projects

some important states are in serious contention, such as Zulia, Carabobo, Sucre and Miranda.

Therefore, it is essential that regional governments,
  • key strategic states, like Zulia and Bolívar,
  • border states such as Táchira, Apure, Mérida, Falcón, and
  • those states near the capital city of Caracas, including Aragua, Carabobo, Anzoátegui and Miranda,
remain in or are won by candidates that support the revolutionary objectives put forth by the Chávez Administration.

In play
  • to continue to deepen and consolidate the revolutionary process and
  • to allow for a more unified nation that is capable of implementing projects destined to accelerate production and development in the country on an economic and social level.

At stake is
  • the future capacity of President Chávez to govern a nation in revolution and
  • not a nation divided and run in part by coup-leaders, saboteurs and proponents of free-market capitalism.

electoral process here is time tested and fraud proof, SO
  • opposition continues to threaten with violence and destabilization activities
  • media manipulation and early posting of results.


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record-setting 65.5 percent voter turnout. Of the 16.8 million registered voters in Venezuela, roughly 11 million went to the polls. This is a record for the country

the National Electoral Council (CNE) managed the influx at the polls and made results of the voting available online through its website just hours after all of the 11,297 polling stations closed. This was made possible by the electronic voting machines used in Venezuela

The results strongly favor the PSUV, the party of Hugo Chavez
  • They won 17 out of 22 governorships, or 77 percent of the total.
  • 80 percent of mayoralties.four out of the five states where opposition governors were elected, the majority of mayoralties went to the PSUV
  • including Valencia, an important industrial and manufacturing city in the coastal state of Carabobo
  • All states in Venezuela with strategic natural resources and industries elected PSUV candidates for governor, with the exception of Zulia in the West.
  • pro-government leadership prevailed in the oil-rich states of Anzoategui, Barinas, Bolívar, Monagas, and Delta Amacuro, some of which encompass the lucrative Orinoco Oil Belt.
  • The state of Bolívar, in particular, also hosts the country's other important basic industries: hydroelectricity, aluminum, steel, iron, and petrochemicals. A majority of the mayoral races in these states also went to PSUV candidates.

Although the mayor for metropolitan Caracas went to the opposition,
  • Libertador, the city's most heavily populated district - home to 1.7 million residents - elected the PSUV's municipal mayoral candidate Jorge Rodríguez.
  • Libertador is by far the largest of the five urban districts in Caracas.

The opposition won the governorship in Carabobo, Tachira, Nueva Esparta, Zulia, and Miranda.

  • In the state of Carabobo, the opposition only managed to win two of the mayoral races, while the PSUV won 11 mayoral races.
  • In the state of Nueva Esparta, 6 of the 11 mayoral races went to the PSUV.
  • In Tachira, the PSUV won at least 15 of 29 mayoral races.
  • In Miranda, they won at least 14 of 21 races.

the opposition's five victories were claimed by far smaller margins than those earned by the PSUV

  • by margins of just 10 percentage points or less in four of those states (as low as 1.3% in Tachira and 3% in Carabobo), and won by 15 percentage points in the fifth state (Nueva Esparta)
  • government won by roughly 50 percentage points in two states, 30 percentage points in five states, 20 percentage points in four states, and 5 to 10 percent in six more states.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.” — Mark Twain.


Former Cuban president Fidel Castro says al-Qaeda terrorists have been engineered in order to advance the Bush administration's agenda.

In an essay published on Sunday, Castro said the terrorist group "was born from the empire's own entrails", using the term "empire" to refer to the United States.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration vowed to capture al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who has reportedly taken responsibility for the deadly attacks on US soils.

"[Al-Qaeda] is a typical example of an enemy that the hegemonic power dangles in a place of its choosing where it needs to justify its actions, as it has done throughout its history, fabricating enemies and attacks destined to strengthen its plans of domination," the former Cuban leader argued.

According to Castro, the American public has been mislead by the US government about the real extent of the terrorist attacks in 2001. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has also suggested that Washington could have been somehow involved in the planning of the attacks.

In the aftermath of the attacks, the White House launched the 'War on Terror' in a bid to disband al-Qaeda. While many civilians have been killed since the 2001 invasions of Afghanistan, followed by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US has failed to achieve its objectives in the region.

The US government is looking for Bin Laden since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
A Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program called "Operation Cyclone" is reportedly responsible for the creation of the terrorist group, when the CIA funded native Afghan militants in the conflict with the Soviet Union.

The al-Qaeda leader is reportedly planning a new terror attack against the US as President-elect Barack Obama takes office from the incumbent president, George W. Bush.

Earlier this month, a source close to the group claimed that Bin Laden is supervising preparations for another attack which will be far greater than those of 9/11.

US Vice President-elect Joe Biden had warned in October that Obama would face an international crisis early in his presidency.


We have repeatedly warned that the Anglo-Dutch Liberal empire is using the death of the global financial system to eliminate the nation-state system and impose a global, fascist, corporatist dictatorship upon the world. One does not need inside information to see this; one merely need examine the policies being pushed by the international banking crowd and take them to their natural conclusion. The push for fascism is, to use H.G. Wells' term, an "open conspiracy."

Debt Overload
It should be obvious to all thinking persons by now, that we cannot solve a debt crisis by taking on even more debt. All the bailout really does is transfer losses from the books of the banks to the books of the government—and thus to the taxpayer—without doing anything to increase our economy's ability to pay that debt. It does, in fact, do just the opposite, as the physical economy is further cannibalized by the demands of the bailout. We incurred this debt as a result of the decision to deindustrialize the U.S. economy, and switch to a service/finance economy; with every passing year we produce less while we spend more, making up the difference by borrowing from the rest of the world.

Wall Street financed this expansion of debt by creating an ever-wilder series of financial instruments. This process, in which debt was treated as an asset, and then that asset used as the basis to create even more assets, ad absurdum, resulting in a mountain of highly over-leveraged securities and derivatives bets which far exceeds the debt-carrying capacity of the economy. The same is true, to varying degrees, in most other countries of the world.

We are, to put it simply, flat broke, with no prospect of recovering unless we break with the failed Anglo-Dutch Liberal system and return to the time-tested policies of the American System.


Thursday, 27th November 2008

Clinton launches Burera Hospital construction

Bill Clinton meets President Kagame during his tour of several Clinton Foundation projects with a delegation that includes Chelsea Clinton, former Governor Vilsack of Iowa and Hollywood acting couple. (PPU/ photo)


BURERA - Visiting former US president Bill Clinton has officially launched the construction of a modern hospital in Butaro-Burera district...blah, blah, bliggity blah


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Notably, in late October Nkunda’s well-armed troops surrounded Goma in North Kivu and demanded that Congo President Joseph Kabila negotiate with him. Among Nkunda’s demands was that Kabila cancel a $9 billion joint Congo-China venture in which China gets rights to the vast copper and cobalt resources of the region in exchange for providing $6 billion worth of road construction, two hydroelectric dams, hospitals, schools and railway links to southern Africa, to Katanga and to the Congo Atlantic port at Matadi. The other $3 billion is to be invested by China in development of new mining areas.

Curiously, US and most European media neglect to report that small detail. It seems AFRICOM is off to a strong start as the opposition to China in Africa. The litmus will be who President Obama selects as his Africa person and whether he tries to weaken Congo President Joseph Kabila in favor of backing Nkunda’s death squads, naturally in the name of ‘restoring democracy.’.

And now Obama, the son of a black Kenyan to focus US resources, military and other,
on dealing with the Republic of Congo,
the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea,
the oil-rich Darfur region of southern Sudan and
increasingly the Somali ‘pirate threat’ to sea lanes in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean.

What is striking is the timing. No sooner had AFRICOM become operational than major new crises broke out in both the Indian Ocean-Gulf of Aden regarding spectacular incidents of alleged Somali piracy, as well as eruption of bloody new wars in Kivu Province in the Republic of Congo. The common thread connecting both is their importance, as with Darfur in southern Sudan, for China’s future strategic raw materials flow.

Tutsi militiamen belonging
General Laurent Nkunda forced loyalist troops
to retreat from their positions near Lake Kivu
Nkunda, like his mentor, Rwanda’s Washington-backed dictator, Paul Kagame, is an ethnic Tutsi who alleges that he is protecting the minority Tutsi ethnic group against remnants of the Rwandan Hutu
MONUC UN peacekeepers reported no such atrocities
in northeast, mineral rich Kivu region
Laurent Nkunda's troops are responsible for most of these attacks, they claim.

The stage
was further set
Congo’s 83 year old Prime Minister, Antoine Gizenga, resigned after two years
commander of the United Nations peacekeeping
Spanish Lieutenant General Vicente Diaz de Villegas, resigned
citing, ‘lack of confidence’ in the leadership of DRC President Joseph Kabila
has also been involved in negotiating a major $9 billion trade agreement between the DRC and China, something which Washington is clearly not happy about.

Nkunda is a long-standing henchman of Rwandan President, US-trained Kagame. All signs point to a heavy, if covert, USA role in the latest Congo killings by Nkunda’s men. Nkunda himself is a former Congolese Army officer, teacher and Seventh Day Adventist pastor. But killing seems to be what he is best at.
Much of Nkunda's well-equipped and relatively disciplined forces are from the bordering country of Rwanda

‘President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has long been a supporter of Nkunda, who originally was an intelligence officer in the Rwanda leader's overthrow of the Hutu despotic rule in his country.’

They never fail to mention that Laurent Nkunda is supposedly fighting to protect "his people". They have failed to question his true motives which are to occupy the mineral-rich North-Kivu province, pillage its resources, and act as a proxy army in eastern Congo for the Tutsi-led Rwandan government in Kigali. Kagame wants a foothold in eastern Congo so his country can continue to benefit from the pillaging and exporting of minerals such as Columbite-Tantalite (Coltan).

Evidence which was presented in a French court in a ruling made public in 2006 claimed that Kagame was responsible for organizing the shooting down of the plane carrying Hutu President of Rwanda,

The end result of the killings in which perhaps as many as a million Africans perished was that US and UK backed Paul Kagame—a ruthless military dictator trained at the US Army Command-General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth Kansas—was firmly in control as dictator of Rwanda. Since then he has covertly backed repeated military incursions by General Nkunda into the mineral-rich Kivu region on the pretext it was to defend a small Tutsi minority there. Kagame had repeatedly rejected attempts to repatriate those Tutsi refugees back to Rwanda, evidently fearing he might lose his pretext to occupy the mineral riches of Kivu.

Since at least 2001 according to reports from Congo sources, the US military has also had a base at Cyangugu in Rwanda, built of course by Dick Cheney’s old firm, Halliburton, conveniently enough near the border to Congo’s mineral-rich Kivu region.

The 1994 massacre of civilians between Tutsi and Hutu was
‘an undeclared war between France and America. By supporting the build up of Ugandan and Rwandan forces and by directly intervening in the Congolese civil war, Washington also bears a direct responsibility for the ethnic massacres committed in the Eastern Congo

‘Major General Paul Kagame was an instrument of Washington. The loss of African lives did not matter. The civil war in Rwanda and the ethnic massacres were an integral part of US foreign policy, carefully staged in accordance with precise strategic and economic objectives.’

Now Kagame’s former intelligence officer, Nkunda, leads his well-equipped forces to take Goma in the eastern Congo as part of an apparent scheme to break the richest minerals region away from Kinshasha. With the US military beefing up its presence across Africa under AFRICOM since 2007, the stage was apparently set for the current resources grab by the US-backed Kagame and his former officer, Nkunda.

If France was the covert target of US ‘surrogate warfare’ in 1994, today it is clearly China, which is the real threat to US control of Central Africa’s vast mineral riches. The Democratic Republic of Congo was renamed from the Republic of Zaire in 1997 when the forces of Laurent Désiré Kabila brought Mobutu's 32 year reign to an end. Locals call the country Congo-Kinshasa.

The Kivu region of the Congo is the geological repository of some of the world’s greatest strategic minerals. The eastern border straddling Rwanda and Uganda, runs on the eastern edge of the Great African Rift Valley, believed by geologists to be one of the richest repositories of minerals on the face of the earth.

America Minerals Fields, Inc., a company heavily involved in promoting the 1996 accession to power of Laurent Kabila, was, at the time of its involvement in the Congo’s civil war, headquartered in Hope, Arkansas. Major stockholders included long-time associates of former President Clinton going back to his days as Governor of Arkansas. Several months before the downfall of Zaire’s French-backed dictator, Mobutu, Laurent Desire Kabila based in Goma, Eastern Zaire had renegotiated the mining contracts with several US and British mining companies including American Mineral Fields.

Mobutu’s corrupt rule was brought to a bloody end with the help of the US-directed International Monetary Fund.

Washington was not entirely comfortable with Laurent Kabila, who was finally assassinated in 2001. In a study released in April 1997 barely a month before President Mobutu Sese Seko fled the country, the IMF had recommended "halting currency issue completely and abruptly"

Laurent Kabila was succeeded by his son, Joseph Kabila who went on to become the Congo’s first democratically elected President, and appears to have held a closer eye to the welfare of his countrymen than did his father.

Now, in comes the new US AFRICOM
to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of US foreign policy.’
clearly aimed squarely at blocking China’s growing economic presence in the region.

AFRICOM was created to counter the growing presence of China in Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, to secure long-term economic agreements for raw materials from Africa in exchange for Chinese aid and production sharing agreements and royalties. By informed accounts, the Chinese have been far shrewder. Instead of offering only savage IMF-dictated austerity and economic chaos, China is offering large credits, soft loans to build roads and schools in order to create good will.

ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.’

‘This natural wealth makes Africa an inviting target for the attentions of the People’s Republic of China,

no other foreign region rivals Africa as the object of Beijing’s sustained strategic interest in recent years.

Africa—especially the states along its oil-rich western coastline—will increasingly becoming a theatre for strategic competition between the United States and its only real near-peer competitor on the global stage, China,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


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Those who try to explain the current fighting in terms of tribal differences, between the Tutsi-associated Banyamulenge of eastern Congo and some Hutu-linked groups, are missing the point. Yes, the spillover from the Rwandan genocide of 1994 affected this region. But, in a state as failed as the Congo, relatively small tribal frictions can be turned into a national crises. And the current crisis needs to be understood, as it was in King Leopold's day, as a battle over Congo's rich natural resources.

These resentments have been exacerbated by jealousies over vast contracts recently signed between China and the government of President Joseph Kabila. Anger has focused on the likelihood of Kabila and his inner circle, from his base in the southern province of Katanga, skimming off vast sums from these opaque deals.

Details of the contracts, and lucrative bribes and backhanders, are scant. But the scale became clear when, two years ago, China promised Congo $5bn in exchange for rights to much of its copper, cobalt, tin and other minerals.
It has also inspired the Tutsi-influenced rebels of the Kivus, led by General Laurent Nkunda, whose insurgency is designed to force Kabila to share the spoils.

The fact that Rwanda supplies weapons, ammunition, manpower and communications to Nkundu’s rebels is one of Africa’s worst kept secrets.


Here are your talking points.

President-elect Obama won by 8 million votes.

President Bush is probably drinking again.

Many media conservatives are furious with President Bush.

Experts say that Al Qaeda's recent video shows that the terrorists are afraid of President-elect Obama.

President-elect Obama is cocky enough to think he can pull this "economic miracle" shit off.

The "socialist" takeover of America's banks happened on Bush's watch.

The "Democratic" Senate has been working with a one vote majority, and that vote is Joe Lieberman. If they get to the "Magic 60," that sixtieth vote is still Joe Lieberman.

The majority of rich Americans voted to have their wealth spread.

President Obama will probably only get to replace liberal judges on the Supreme Court.

Cheer up, the GOP still owns the "racist belt!":


Shaw, George Bernard (1856-1950), Irish author and playwright:

"All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships."


found here

Pho is a little bit difficult to make, but it will be to make easy if you follow these steps. First of all, pho is made with beef knuckles, dry fish seasoning, salt, and 2~3 gallons of water. The dry fish seasoning is included with an anchovies, a small piece of mackerel. Moreover the beef knuckle should be cut smaller than real size. It is very easy part of this cook. You should wash the beef knuckles and cut them. After that, the beef knuckles and seasoning with a teaspoon of salt are in boiling water for 2 hours. Next, the fat is skimmed from the surface of the soup because it isn’t good for health. Then, add the oxtail, radish, and onions. Anise pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, and ginger are tied by cheesecloth or a spice bag; add to the soup, sugar, salt, fish sauce, and then the noodles are needed to cook. While the soup is boiling, the noodles should be prepared. Those are boiled in other boiling water. Thereafter, those are mixed with the soup, and the mixed soup is boiled for 30 minutes. Finally, if the finish the cook, the pho is put in the bowl from the hot pot, taste and feeling are satisfied with the pho. Many foreign people don’t experience to eat pho yet, so if you want recommend to another people it; you should make it and eat before you recommend to another people.

Oh yea, and dont forget this stuff

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Thousands of demonstrators march during a rally at Firdos square in Baghdad November 21, 2008. Followers of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched on Friday against a pact letting U.S. forces stay in Iraq until 2011, toppling an effigy of President George W. Bush where U.S. troops once tore down a statue of Saddam Hussein. REUTERS/Erik de Castro (IRAQ)

A demonstrator slaps an effigy of U.S. President George W. Bush with a sandal during a rally at Firdos square in Baghdad November 21, 2008. Followers of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched on Friday against a pact letting U.S. forces stay in Iraq until 2011, toppling an effigy of Bush where U.S. troops once tore down a statue of Saddam Hussein. The words on the effigy read, "The pact of subservience and shame". REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani (IRAQ)

from the NYT

Demonstrators hanged a black-hooded effigy of President Bush from a column with powerful symbolism: it supported the statue of Saddam Hussein that was toppled by American troops in April 2003, after Baghdad fell.

Removing the hood to beat the effigy with a shoe, a particularly deep Iraqi insult, they put a whip in its right hand and in its left a briefcase on which was written, “The security agreement is shame and dishonor.”



Friday, November 21, 2008


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We believe that the Arab-Israeli peace process is one issue that requires priority attention.

Immediate attention to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute would help cement the goodwill that Obama's election engendered. Not everyone in the Middle East views the Palestinian issue as the greatest regional challenge, but the deep sense of injustice it stimulates is genuine and pervasive.

...will not resolve the issue by Jan. 20. But to let attention lapse would reinforce the feelings of injustice and neglect in the region

Lurking in the background is the possibility that the quest for a two-state solution may be abandoned by the Palestinians, the Israelis, or both -- with unfortunate consequences for all.

Resolution of the Palestinian issue would have a positive impact on the region.
  • It would liberate Arab governments to support U.S. leadership in dealing with regional problems, as they did before the Iraq invasion.
  • It would dissipate much of the appeal of Hezbollah and Hamas, dependent as it is on the Palestinians' plight.
  • It would change the region's psychological climate, putting Iran back on the defensive and putting a stop to its swagger.

four principal elements:
  • 1967 borders, with minor, reciprocal and agreed-upon modifications;
  • compensation in lieu of the right of return for Palestinian refugees;
  • Jerusalem as real home to two capitals;
  • and a nonmilitarized Palestinian state.

Israeli security concerns
  • deploying an international peacekeeping force, such as one from NATO, which could not only replace Israeli security but train Palestinian troops to become effective

To date,
  • the weakness of the negotiating parties has limited their ability to come to an agreement by themselves.
  • The elections in Israel scheduled for February are certainly a complicating factor,
  • as is the deep split among Palestinians between Fatah and Hamas.

But if the peace process begins to gain momentum,
  • it is difficult to imagine that Hamas will want to be left out, and
  • that same momentum would provide the Israeli people a unique chance to register their views on the future of their country.

the president speaking out
  • clearly and forcefully about the fundamental principles of the peace process;
  • he also must press the case with steady determination.
  • followed by the appointment of a high-level dignitary to pursue the process on the president's behalf,
  • a process based on the enunciated presidential guidelines.

Such a presidential initiative should instantly galvanize support, both domestic and international, and provide great encouragement to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples

But in many ways the current situation is such that the opportunity for success has never been greater, or the costs of failure more severe.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


clipped from: Lobe

a new report by three US think tanks is calling on President-elect Barack Obama and other leaders to implement sweeping reforms in global governance

Strobe Talbott, president of the Washington-based Brookings Institution

Washington's own re-engagement with the international community by closing the Guantanamo Detention facility and affirm its commitment to uphold the Geneva Conventions and other laws of war in order to "reestablish itself as a good-faith partner".
give up their monopoly on the leadership of key global financial institutions, notably the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and initiate reforms to the U.N. Security Council, including its expansion,

new Group of 16 that would replace the Group of Eight most industrialized countries as the main international forum to forge preliminary agreements on major global challenges, including dealing with the ongoing financial crisis, climate change, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism.

G-16 would include Brazil, China, India, South Africa, Mexico – or what the authors call the "Outreach 5" – and Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, or Nigeria

urgent action by both the G16 and Obama to stabilize the Middle East,
including immediate efforts to support an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.

former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, Former Organization of African Unity Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim, and the EU's current foreign-policy chief, Javier Solana

also held consultations in Britain, Singapore, Berlin, Delhi, Beijing, Tokyo, Doha, and Mexico City.

including former national security advisers Samuel Berger (Bill Clinton) and Brent Scowcroft (Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush); former secretaries of state Lawrence Eagleburger and Madeleine Albright, who, along with Talbott, who served as deputy secretary of state under Clinton, were also on hand at the Plan's release. John Podesta, who served as Bill Clinton's chief of staff and is currently in charge of Obama's transition team, also served on the US advisory group.

The plan identifies four tracks
based on the "principle of responsible sovereignty"

The first track, "restoring credible American leadership",

"its commitment to a rule-based international system that rejects unilateralism and looks beyond military might,"
deliver "consistent and strong messages on international cooperation domestically and internationally"

The second track focuses on "revitalizing international institutions,"

US taking the lead in restraining the use of the veto in the UN Security Council
the governing boards of the IMF, the World Bank, and other international economic agencies would be restructured to reduce western dominance

The third track calls for action on specific global challenges faced by the international community,

to set targets for reducing greenhouse emissions
securing investments in nonpolluting technologies, adaptation, and rainforests;
reviving the nonproliferation regime
G16 "pre-negotiations" to reduce protectionist pressures and conclude the World Trade Organization's Doha Round to benefit poor countries.

Track Four focuses on resolving conflicts in the Greater Middle East

by intensifying existing diplomatic efforts with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, with the eventual goal of building a new security architecture for the region.

"How do we respond to evil in the world?"

Rick Warren at Saddleback Church

When asked the same question, Obama replied:

Evil does exist. I think we see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil -- sadly -- on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children. And I think it has to be confronted. It has to be confronted squarely. And one of the things that I strongly believe is that we are not going to -- as individuals -- be able to erase evil from the world. That is God's task. But we can be soldiers in that process. And we can confront it when we see it.

Now, the one thing that I think is very important is for us to have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil. Because a lot of evil has been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil. (Warren: "in the name of good.") In the name of good. And I think one thing that's very important is having some humility in recognizing that just because we think our intentions are good doesn't mean we are going to be doing good.


clipped from: www.uruknet.infO

If the SOFA passes, the United States will have a legally approved military presence in Iraq for at least the next three years
  • to consolidate gains made thus far in the security situation, and
  • to sustain a blocking force against neighboring Iran.

the pact sets in place a strategic partnership between Baghdad and Washington for the longer term,
  • thereby serving U.S. interests in maintaining a foothold in the region
  • and keeping the Iranians at bay.

The Iraqi politicians who oppose the agreement,
  • most notably those loyal to Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr,
also have a strategy in play to stall the agreement.Iraq’s top Shiite cleric,

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, admonished Iraqi Shiite parliamentarians for resorting to such tactics and for leaving for the Hajj early, accusing them of directly defying his orders. Al-Sistani had earlier given his typically ambiguous endorsement of the SOFA

Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, leader of Iraq’s largest Shiite party, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), is very close to dying of cancer, the mourning period has a good chance of disrupting the vote.

If the United States has to resort to extending the U.N. mandate instead of implementing the SOFA, it will be up to the incoming U.S. administration to pick up negotiations on the security pact where they left off.

Meanwhile, the Iranians appear to be playing a complex game. On one hand, Iran’s judiciary chief gave his indirect endorsement of the SOFA after it passed in Iraq’s Cabinet, signaling that Tehran was satisfied with the revised draft of the agreement that included a hardened date for withdrawal.

At the same time, Iran’s influential parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, has issued statements calling on Iraqi leaders to continue their resistance against the security pact.

Iran needs to create the impression that it is largely calling the shots on the deal so it can set the stage for negotiations with the incoming U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s administration.


"[In Afghanistan] a small army would be annihilated and a large one starved."
Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) (source)

Lt. Col. John Nagl, who works for General Petraeus on a new Afghanistan plan, wants more troops:

Nagl says he believes the U.S. needs to double its American troops from 30,000 to 60,000 in Afghanistan. He also says the Afghan National Army needs to grow from 70,000 to 250,000. That may mean getting more help from the international community.

Double the U.S. troops will need double as much in supplies. The Afghan troops will also need lots of ammunition, fuel, food and other materials. (So many Afghan troops would cost much more than the Afghanistans total GDP. Who will finance them how long?)

See the rest here

Zaranj-Delaram highway. The other supply route

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The 218-km road connecting Delaram (on the Kandahar-Herat highway) to Zaranj, on the border with Iran has been completed (via Swami Iyer). The strategic importance of this road—as news reports never fail to mention—is to provide landlocked Afghanistan an alternative access to the sea, allowing it to break free from Pakistan’s traditional stranglehold.

Since this route passes through several hundred kilometres of Iranian territory before connecting to Chabahar on the Persian Gulf, it remains to be seen if Iran will prove to be a better neighbour than Pakistan. From a purely economic standpoint though, Afghanistan should benefit from the competition between the two routes.

For Afghanistan, this is an opportunity to regain better access to the Indian market that it lost in 1947. For India, it is an opportunity to regain better access to Central Asia that it too lost in 1947. To the extent that Pakistan remains wedded to its traditional strategic rent-seeking behaviour it is likely to attempt to foil these plans.

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The explicit intent of this project is to break Pakistan ’s monopoly on Afghanistan’s links to the outside world through the Khyber Pass, and the Taliban strongholds of eastern Afghanistan, and reorient Afghanistan ’s transport, economic, and strategic focus to its west.

the road runs through "the drug-cultivation belt where there is huge resistance to the work being done"

India ’s geopolitical fortunes in this alien land rest on the shaky foundations of the Karzai government and the goodwill India hopes it is accruing among Afghani citizens by its public works projects and the widespread airing of its Bollywood features and trash television.

U.S. support is a limited and conditional commodity, since India’s strategic plans for Afghanistan rely on a de facto alliance with Iran in the west to counter the Pashtun/pro-Pakistan forces in the east.

With the NATO governments unanimously swinging behind a negotiation-driven exit strategy, the most likely outcome three years from now is that the Taliban are back in the government, Pakistan has regained its influence in Kabul , every Indian in Afghanistan has a bull’s eye on his back, and the most important Indian asset inside the country will be its fortified chancery.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Al-Zawahiri also referred to Obama and other African-Americans who have served in US government in a derogatory manner as "house negroes".

The term is a reference to a speech by US African-American rights activist Malcolm X in the 1960s about slavery in the US, in which he compared African-American leaders who did not stand up to discrimination against blacks as US house slaves - who were depicted as more docile and on better terms with their masters than field slaves who worked outside the home.

Al-Zawahiri's message appeared chiefly aimed at convincing Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in US policies.

Al-Zawahri said that Obama is "the direct opposite of honourable black Americans" such as Malcolm X.

"America, the criminal, trespassing crusader, continues to be the same as ever, so we must continue to harm it, in order for it to come to its senses," al-Zawahri said.


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And the current crisis needs to be understood, as it was in King Leopold's day, as a battle over Congo's rich natural resources.'

These resentments have been exacerbated by jealousies over vast contracts recently signed between China and the government of President Joseph Kabila. Anger has focused on the likelihood of Kabila and his inner circle, from his base in the southern province of Katanga, skimming off vast sums from these opaque deals.

Chinese businessmen willing to spend vast sums for scarce raw materials. Countries like Zambia or Sierra Leone, long used to relying on aid, have found themselves with unprecedented revenues.two years ago, China promised Congo $5bn in exchange for rights to much of its copper, cobalt, tin and other minerals.

It has also inspired the Tutsi-influenced rebels of the Kivus, led by General Laurent Nkunda, whose insurgency is designed to force Kabila to share the spoils.

The fact that Rwanda supplies weapons, ammunition, manpower and communications to Nkundu’s rebels is one of Africa’s worst kept secrets. The west turns a blind eye, seeing Rwanda through the frame of events in 1994, when 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered by Hutu extremists. Against such a background, the now Tutsi-controlled government of Rwanda can do no wrong.

But Rwanda is the Israel of central Africa, a country forged through suffering, with a far superior military to its neighbours and influence across the Great Lakes region. Our outsiders’ sense of guilt for 1994 should not stop us from criticising it for fomenting the current violence. Nor should guilt about the results of our colonial scramble for Africa more than a century ago prevent us criticising the Chinese for provoking a new cycle of violence.


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China on Tuesday defended its presence and investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo after Laurent Nkunda demanded commercial contracts between the two nations be reviewed.

"China's business activities and investment programmes in DR Congo are based on mutual benefit and joint development," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

Qin's comments came after Laurent Nkunda, a rebel leader who claims to be protecting the Tutsi population in the country's war-torn east, asked the contracts be reviewed as part of a list of demands put to a special UN envoy.

The country has increasingly been reliant on borrowing money from China -- a situation that drew the concern of the International Monetary Fund in September.

Beijing has been investing heavily in the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent years.

It lent the central African country an estimated nine billion dollars in May to restore its infrastructure and revive the mining industry.

It also made a 35 million dollar investment into the Congolese postal service last January.



The US has been quietly trying to secure alternate routes through central Asia, but
  • the routes are less dependable and
  • increase the amount of time it takes to move the supplies into Afghanistan.
  • can be shut down if the US has major disagreements with Russia or China, who control these routes.

"We'd have to depend on Russia or China for our supplies to reach Afghanistan," a senior US military officer told The Long War Journal.

"Over time, this is not sustainable. Take the Georgian crisis," the officer said, noting Russia's invasion of the Republic of Georgia last summer. "If we move our supplies through Russia, and another crisis like this arises,
  • say in the Ukraine, our hands will be tied. We will have to choose between supporting a burgeoning democracy and supporting the protracted fight in Afghanistan."

The officer also expressed concerns about the US' ability to deploy more forces into Afghanistan to fight against a resurgent Taliban given the poor security in Pakistan.
  • "Adding three more brigades of troops and their accompanying support elements means we need to significantly increase the supplies moving through Pakistan," the officer stated.
  • "We are only increasing our logistical problems and betting on Pakistan to keep these routes open is a bad play."


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The Taliban this year decided to target the supply lines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as it passed through
Pakistan - as much as 90% of NATO's needs take this route, with no viable alternative.

Over the past 10 days attacks on Kabul-bound conveys in the Khyber Agency have reached unprecedented levels. Thirteen containers full of arms and ammunition, military vehicles and food were looted by the Taliban, forcing an entire NATO convoy from the southern port city of Karachi to stop in Peshawar,
It was not until Monday, under extraordinary government-enabled security measures, that the convoy was able to resume its journey.

530 containers loaded with armored personnel vehicles, military trucks, Humvees, arms and ammunition have not yet been delivered. They were sent four months ago from Jabal-i-Ali in the United Arab Emirates to Karachi.

The Taliban are now active in and around Peshawar. There has been a high-profile abduction of an Iranian diplomat and attacked foreign journalists
They are also killing pro-government tribal chiefs in Bajaur and Mohamand Agencies. Pakistan will be forced to retreat and leave the Taliban alone

Taliban's control in Afghanistan is such that they are inching towards a serious escalation of the violence which could create serious turmoil right in the heart of Kabul.

The provinces of Wardak, Logar, Kapisa and Parwan, all relatively close to Kabul, are either partially controlled by the Taliban or
no-go areas for anti-Taliban forces.

NATO is reluctant to entrust Pakistan with tackling the problem.
NATO will therefore lead all actions, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Last week, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, visited Islamabad to brief parliamentarians

McKiernan wanted to take Pakistani lawmakers into his confidence over a new NATO initiative to increase the scope of Operation Lion Heart, which involves US strikes on insurgent targets in the Kunar region of Afghanistan and a full-scale Pakistani campaign in the region of Bajaur Agency.

Two prominent names came under discussion at these meetings: retired Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul and a former ISI official, retired Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja.

Gul, a former head of the ISI, is suspected of providing political and moral support to the Taliban-led resistance in Afghanistan.

Khawaja was the first person in the country to assist the displaced families of Arab fighters who fled to Pakistan after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001

Tightening the noose around people such as Gul and Khawaja and the like is one way to cut off support for the Taliban.