Archive for November, 2008

Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and Internal Pressure

November 30, 2008

The Pakistan government of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani today acutely feels the heat of terrorists as well as international pressure from a tradional friend, the U.S., and a traditional enemy, India.

This television frame grab shows Pakistani President Asif Ali ... 
President Zardari of Pakistan (AFP)

In the tribal areas of Pakistan, the U.S. wants the assistance of Pakistan’s army in controlling the Taliban and al-Qaeda that surge into Afghanistan to kill U.S. and NATO troops.  Pakistan wants to keep the U.S. out of the tribal areas so the U.S. hammers terrorists from unmanned drones with missiles when the intelligence says results will be favorable.  But the people of Pakistan have protested these air assaults from the U.S. upon Pakistan and the government has expressed extreme displeasure at almost losing control of Pakistan’s sovereignity in the northwest tribal areas.

An unmanned Predator drone. A militant Taliban group warned ... 
The U.S. has been using unmanned Predator drones like this one, armed with missiles, to attack militant Taliban terror groups inside Pakistan. The government of pakistan has condemned the missile strikes in its territory.(AFP/USAF/File)

Now, because of tensions from the terrorism in Mumbai, India, Pakistan is saying it will withdraw troops from the tribal areas to move to the border with India; a nation that seems to already be blaming Pakistan for the bloodshed in Mumbai.

India even says the only terrorist to survive the Mumbai attack, Ajmal Qasab, is a Pakistani trained by the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Troops from Pakistan’s army secure an area in the troubled Kabal Khas district on the outskirts of Swat valley November 26, 2008.  The U.S. wants the Pakistani troops facing Afghanistan and not India.
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Finally, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, at least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed this weekend.
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Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ... 
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ablaze several shops at a timber market in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi. At least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed in Karachi, officials said Sunday.(AFP/Asif Hassan)

Last week’s terror violence in Mumbai and india’s subsequent investigation and likely blame, which will likely be supported by the U.S., putes extreme pressure on a Pakistani government the Times of India rightly calls “dodgy” due to its own undermining terrorist influences and actors. 

 By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

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Somali pirates agree deal for Ukrainian ship release

November 30, 2008

Pirates guarding an arms-laden Ukrainian ship said Sunday that it would be released within days, but the fate of a Saudi oil carrier was unclear hours from a 25-million-dollar ransom demand’s expiry.

Sugule Ali, spokesman for the pirates who hijacked the MV Faina in September with its cargo of battle tanks and weapons, said it was “a matter of technicality and time” before the vessel was freed.

AFP

A handout photo provided by the US Navy shows the Belize-flagged ... 
A handout photo provided by the US Navy shows the Belize-flagged Ukrainian cargo MV Faina off Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast. Pirates guarding the arms-laden Ukrainian ship said Sunday that it would be released within days, but the fate of a Saudi oil carrier was unclear hours from a 25-million-dollar ransom demand’s expiry.(AFP/HO/File)

“I can’t tell you what the ransom is, but what can I say is that agreement has finally been reached,” Ali told AFP from the ship.

“Within four days, we must leave and we are preparing for the safe landing of our members,” he said. “We have no doubt this problem will be resolved and I hope the owners will honour the last remaining points.”

The MV Faina was hijacked on September 25 on its way to Kenya, ferrying 33 Soviet-type battle tanks, anti-air systems, rocket launchers and ammunition. The ship has a crew of 17 Ukrainians, three Russians and one Latvian.

“Our members are very tired and the crew are also very tired. We all want this matter to be resolved.

“We were very lenient during the discussions because the community in the area was putting pressure on us to release the ship, especially the elders.” Ali explained.

The US military has overflown the hijacked vessel several times to take pictures of the crew lined up on the bridge and verify that all were in good health.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/200
81130/wl_africa_afp/so
maliashippingpiracy_081130170022

The Sirius Star anchored off the coast of Somalia on November ...
The Sirius Star anchored off the coast of Somalia on November 19. Somali pirates demanding $25 million for a Saudi super-tanker are hoping for a “favourable” reply as the deadline for paying the ransom loomed.(AFP/Ho)

U.S., India Face Blackmail From Pakistan on Terrorism

November 30, 2008

Pakistan says “sorry” but tension with India forces withdrawal of troops in tribal areas facing Afghanistan where taliban and al-Qaeda roam….

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The United States and India face tactics bordering on blackmail from a militarized Pakistan – where civilian control is still very dodgy — as they coordinate efforts to eliminate terrorism in the region, according to analysts and officials on both sides.

By Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
Times of India

In what is turning out to be an elaborate chess game in the region, Islamabad on Saturday made its “Afghan move” to counter the US-India pincer, telling Washington that it will have to withdraw some 100,000 Pakistani troops posted on its western borders to fight the al-Qaida-Taliban and move them east to the Indian front if New Delhi makes any aggressive moves.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Pakistani troops and tanks on patrol in the tribal areas facing Afghanistan.
REUTERS/Abdul Rehman (PAKISTAN)

In Washington, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani said there is no movement of Pakistani troops right now, but if India makes any aggressive moves, “Pakistan will have no choice but to take appropriate measures.”

Stripped of complexities, Pakistan is conveying the following message to the US: If you don’t get India to back down, Pakistan will stop cooperating with US in the war against terror. Consequently, this also means Pakistan will use US dependence on its cooperation to wage a low-grade, asymmetric, terrorism-backed war against India.

Pakistan’s withdrawal of troops from the Afghan front would obviously undermine the US/Nato battle in Afghanistan and allow breathing space for Taliban and al-Qaida. It would also ratchet up confrontation with India, which is at low ebb right now because Islamabad has been forced to engage on its western front and this minimizes Pakistan-backed infiltration into Kashmir, allowing India to tackle the insurgency in the state.

Related:
Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and Internal Pressure
and
Pakistan warns India of troop redeployment

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_Indi
a_face_Pak_blackmail_on_terror/article
show/3777307.cms

India’s intelligence services ‘failed to act’; Response ‘amateurish’

November 30, 2008

India’s intelligence service failed to act on intercepted phone conversations that an attack on Mumbai was imminent and the subsequent response to the terrorist strikes was “amateur”, security experts have claimed.

By Rahul Bedi in Mumbai
The Telegraph (UK)

Details emerged yesterday of intelligence failures and delays in deploying National Security Guard (NSG) military commandos to confront the Mumbai attackers.

The 10 terrorists, who Indian officials have said are from Islamist militants from Pakistan, snuck into the western port city of Mumbai by boat on Wednesday night and then besieged two hotels and a Jewish centre, killing 183 people, including 22 foreigners.

Official sources said the gunmen, armed with assault rifles and grenades, began their co-ordinated killing spree around 9.30pm on Wednesday, but Mumbai police initially passed it off as a “gang war” between city crime syndicates.

By the time the seriousness of the attack became clear, and the home affairs minister Shivraj Patil – who has since resigned – ordered the NSG, which is based at Manesar, outside New Delhi, to deploy, it was around 11pm.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/
india/3537279/Indias-intelligence-services-fail
ed-to-act-on-warnings-of-attacks.html

Latinos unhappy with Obama picks

November 30, 2008

If there is one message President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team has broadcast about Cabinet picks, it is that ethnicity and gender will not be the first considerations when filling the slots.

Credentials over tokenism, after all, was a fundamental principle of Obama’s presidential campaign that highlighted his ideas and community values over his African-American background. Still, if all goes as planned, Cabinet members with hefty résumés will present a picture of diversity.

Hispanic political leaders agree. Their expectations for seats at the president’s top policy table are not about meeting quotas but about advancing the reality that within this fastest-growing ethnic group are seasoned policy experts who understand the economic, foreign and domestic policy concerns shared by everyone.

Obama promised hope and change, and Hispanics hoped for the usual two Latinos in the Cabinet. And heck, why not three or four? Now that would be a change.

Gebe Martinez, Politico

But at this early stage in the appointments process, there is a trickle of disappointment running through the Latino community.

First, the most prominent Hispanic leader, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, lost the plum secretary of state assignment to New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Last spring, Richardson angered the Clintonistas by backing Obama over Clinton during the heated Democratic Primary contest, only to now see her being offered the top diplomatic post.

“There’s nobody more prepared and experienced” for the job than Richardson, said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Richardson was energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton administration, and he helped free hostages in North Korea, Iraq and Cuba.

Second, grass-roots immigrant rights activists have mixed feelings about Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano being the likely nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security.

President-elect Barack Obama listens to Democratic governor ... 
President-elect Barack Obama listens to Democratic governor Janet Napolitano (L) of Arziona during a economic discussion in June 2008 at the Chicago History Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Napolitano is a breast cancer survivor, mountaineer and Monty Python buff who has been on the front lines of the battle against illegal immigration.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jeff Haynes)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20
081130/pl_politico/15967;_ylt=At
k3r5UkmUacGrtgejl8jUes0NUE

Former Taliban Spokesman Killed in Afghanistan

November 30, 2008

A former high-profile spokesman for the Taleban has been shot dead in eastern Afghanistan, officials have said.

Mohammad Hanif was killed at his home in the province of Nangarhar along with three other people who were believed to be his relatives.

BBC

Some reports said the assailants were wearing Afghan army uniforms.

Dr Hanif, as he was known, was arrested in January 2007, but freed from custody this year. It was thought he no longer had any contact with the Taleban.

Convoy attack

District official Sayed Mohammad told Associated Press news agency the attackers had used ladders to climb into Dr Hanif’s home in Chaparhar.

Another official said the others killed were Dr Hanif’s cousin, brother-in-law and nephew and that the attack may have been linked to a family feud.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7755106.stm

India’s Police: Mumbai Terror Created By Pakistani Militant Group

November 30, 2008

The only gunman captured by police after a string of attacks on Mumbai told authorities he belonged to the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, a senior police officer said Sunday.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press

Indian special police officers exit the landmark Taj Hotel in ... 
Indian special police officers exit the landmark Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. Indian commandos killed the last remaining gunmen holed up at the luxury Mumbai hotel Saturday, ending a 60-hour rampage through India’s financial capital by suspected Islamic militants that rocked the nation.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Police have said 10 gunmen terrorized Mumbai during a 60-hour siege, and all but one were shot dead.

Joint Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said the assailant now in custody told police the group had intended to hit more targets during their attacks on India’s financial capital that left at least 174 dead.

“Lashkar-e-Taiba is behind the terrorist acts in the city,” Maria told reporters. “The terrorists were from a hardcore group in the L-e-T.”

India’s Home Ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

The group has long been seen as a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service to help wage its clandestine war against India in disputed Kashmir.

Police arrested the lone surviving militant, Ajmal Qasab, and Maria said he confessed his links to Lashkar during interrogation.

“Ajmal Qasab has received training in a L-e-T training camp in Pakistan,” he said. “Our interrogation indicates that the terrorists had other places that they also intended to target.”

Related:
Mumbai: Condoleezza Rice Tells Pakistan To Fully Cooperate, Investigate
and
Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and internal Pressure

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081130/ap_on_re_as/as_india_
shooting;_ylt=AqderorqM7ym404YvJ5iV2G9IxIF

Does Mumbai Show New Terror War Paradigm?

November 30, 2008

With the attacks in Mumbai, Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) has entered a new phase. Like most historical developments, that of Mumbai follows its predecessors while adding new elements. What are the old elements? Like the 1998 attacks on America’s African embassies and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, Mumbai was a stunningly murderous public relations gesture to show the target’s impotence and Al Qaeda’s ubiquity. And the perpetrator is almost certainly either Al Qaeda or an Al Qaeda-inspired and/or directed and/or franchised operation.

By Richard Miller
Fox Forum

Taj hotel is seen engulfed in smoke during a gunbattle in Mumbai ... 
Taj hotel is seen engulfed in smoke during a gunbattle in Mumbai November 29, 2008.(Arko Datta/Reuters)

And like the attacks on the Pentagon and WTC (and possibly Capitol Hill or the White House) of 9/11, the assault on Mumbai, as befits a well-done 4GW attack, was directed against “soft-target” nodes, that is, targets that are central points in larger networks whose disruption are thought to have mega-consequences.

First, Mumbai itself is India’s financial capital; next, the specific targets themselves fell into three “node” categories: first, objectives that were intended to disrupt India’s ability to serve as an international commercial center — the luxury hotels and fancy cafes.

Second, were targets that were chosen to disrupt Mumbai as a local center of commerce — here was the attack on the famous Victoria Station, now known as CTS.

Finally, were targets intended to disrupt local response time and thus prolong the publicity bonanza that the jihadis felt was worth dying for — local police authorities and hospitals.

Read the rest:
http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/11/29/mumbai-deaths-new-paradigm/

Russian Expert Says Mumbai Attackers Trained By US Funded Pakistanis

November 30, 2008

A top Russian counter-terrorism expert on Sunday underlined that the Mumbai attackers were not “ordinary terrorists” and were probably trained by the special operations forces set up in Pakistan by the US intelligence prior to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

By The Times of India

“The handwriting and character of the Mumbai events demonstrates that they were not ordinary terrorists,” said Vladimir Klyukin, an Afghan war veteran.

“Behind this terrorist attack there are ‘Green Flag’ special operations forces, which were created by the Americans in Pakistan, just an year before the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and in the initial period were under full US control,” stressed Klyukin, a veteran of the special “Vympel” commando group of the former Soviet KGB.

Pigeons fly near the burning Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai November ... 
Pigeons fly near the burning Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008.(Punit Paranjpe/Reuters)

He said for such guerrilla operations at least two-three years of preparatory work with the involvement of experienced instructors is required.

Klyukin did not rule out that the Mumbai attackers could have taken part in similar attacks in other regions.

“People from the streets, without any planning and training are simply not able to hold four big complexes in a city so long,” Soviet special services veteran was quoted as saying by largest Russian Interfax news agency.

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai_attackers_trained_by_
special_forces/articleshow/3776704.cms

Russia Wants NATO, Europe To Ease Moscow’s Suspicions

November 30, 2008

Russia has reason to feel betrayed by the process of NATO expansion, begun in 1997. Seven years earlier, the Russians believe, American and German officials working on German reunification pledged not to take advantage of Moscow‘s weakness by extending NATO into Russia’s traditional backyard. By reneging on that promise, Western leaders have made Russians doubt their trustworthiness.

By Michael Mandelbaum | NEWSWEEK

To the Kremlin, the expansion process has also seemed to be based on dishonest premises. U.S. officials advertised it as a way of promoting democracy, of forcing ex-Soviet states to reform. But the democratic commitment of NATO’s first ex-communist entrants—Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic—was never in doubt. And if the Americans truly believed that NATO membership was the best way to guarantee free elections and constitutional rights, why didn’t they immediately offer it to the largest ex-communist country of them all, Russia itself? Instead, Moscow was told it would never be able to join.

NATO expansion taught Russia another lesson. The process went ahead because Moscow was too weak to stop it. This told the Russians that to have a say in European affairs, they needed to be able to assert themselves militarily. Last summer’s war in Georgia was one result.

Given this history, what should the West do now about Russia? We have no good options. In the wake of the war, some in the United States renewed the call to welcome Georgia into NATO. But NATO is a mutual-defense pact. Making Georgia a member would mean that we’d have to come to the country’s aid should fighting with Russia break out once more. This would require putting Western troops, tanks, aircraft and perhaps even nuclear weapons on Russia’s border—to which the Russians would respond with comparable forces. The U.S. military is already seriously overstretched by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet doing nothing would look like a retreat in the face of Russian aggression.

In the short term, the incoming U.S. president needs to think like a doctor: “First, do no harm.” This means deferring any offer of NATO membership to Georgia (and Ukraine, for that matter). Some may object that this will reward Russia for its belligerence. Perhaps, but the consequences of deferral are preferable to the costs of expansion—including a serious deterioration in relations with Moscow.

At the same time, the West should renew its security cooperation with Russia. NATO must eventually either include Russia or give….

Read the rest:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/171258