Archive for October, 2009

News and Analysis (10/8/09)

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Described as “insulting and unacceptable,” the terms of the agreement essentially offer the US a great deal of control over the Pakistani government:

Holding Saudi Arabia responsible, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki claims “he has documents that prove U.S. interference in the disappearance of the Iranian pilgrim Shahram Amiri”…

… Meanwhile, King Abdullah lobbies for US interests and to curb Iranian influence in Syria:

Muslims now make up 25% of the world’s population with 75% of them living as minorities in India, Ethiopia, China, Russia, and Tanzania:

Even Senior Fatah members are in agreement with worldwide criticism of Abbas’ decision to ignore Goldstone’s report:

Declining US influence has also lead to the decline of local councils and grass roots politics:

News and Analysis (10/7/09)

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

According to a “well-informed” source, Abbas was videotaped trying to  persuade Barak to continue the war on Gaza:

“‘The problem is that the PSDs,’ an abbreviation … [for an] Iraqi slang … catchall term for contractors’ convoys,’ don’t understand that sovereignty is in the hands of Iraqis now;’ … [and] ‘consider themselves above the law'”:

An indication Obama is planning either a major troop surge or an LBJ redux of trying to please everyone?

Negotiations with Hamas must begin with reconciliation talks with Fatah, only a unified Palestinian movement can successfully negotiate for peace:

“The sponsorship system … The way it is set up, it is bound to fail… You are attaching a person’s legal status, visa status and employment to one person as the employer and also the provider of housing, food and health care”:

The device, which allows women to fake being a virgin, has sparked questions of morality and gender equality across Egypt:

News and Analysis (10/6/09)

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Hamas calls the Goldstone report “an opportunity to expose Israel’s behavior,” and charges Abbas’ “smothering” of report is “embarrassing not just for Palestinians, but for everyone in the world who tried to help us attain justice” and threatens reconciliation:

“A top Bush administration official … conceded in January that Qahtani … had been placed in a “life threatening situation,” and now his attorneys argue that torture in the interrogations tainted all subsequent confessions:

Haitham Amr was the fourth prisoner, all with suspected connection to Hamas and never charged with a crime,  to die in custody:

Obama’s “balanced approach” still includes the re-authorization of three provisions of the Patriot act that breach of civil rights of American citizens:

Pakistani remain suspicious of US actions and resentful at US interventionism:

Moves justified on security grounds actually “appear to be part of a government campaign cracking down on increasingly overt manifestations of ultraconservative Islam in Egypt'”:

News and Analysis (10/5/09)

Monday, October 5th, 2009

In domestic terrorism investigations, the FBI engages in a policy somewhere between cooperating with and intimidating Muslim community leaders:

Further illustrating that only the people suffer from government issued sanctions:

“The extraordinary level of fraud in the August vote ‘has handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners'”:

Arab leaders fracture over the handling of Goldstone’s report on the Israeli invasion into Gaza:

After the deadliest attack in over a year at an outpost slated to be closed…

… Experts evaluate the effectiveness of US strategy almost 8 years into the war …

… and we argue that before you startegize you must first know your own objectives:

How to Strategize for Afghanistan

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

As Gen. McChrystal requests 40,000 more troops for the counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan, the Obama administration is taking a cold hard look at the situation. Well they should. Our concerns in Afghanistan are, or should be, about terrorism, not insurgency. I was interviewed by the independent Iranian Farspress news agency on the situation. Here are the questions, with my answers, followed by the answer to an important question not asked by Farspress.

Q. What has the U.S. presence achieved?

A. The effects of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan have been mainly negative. The positive effects of the establishment of an elected national government has been offset by the official corruption and by the rampant fraud in the recent elections. Advances in the position of women in society that are welcomed in some parts of the country, especially the urban areas, have generated resentment and backlash in other areas, helping to fuel a Taliban resurgence that threatens the status of women. Finally, the drug production problem has gotten much worse.

Q. What are your thoughts on the fact that, since the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, narcotics smuggling has increased?

A. When the Taliban was in power the United States accused them of dealing in drugs. The effectiveness of the ban on drugs by the Taliban made the trade even more profitable than it was before or since, which made it very attractive to corrupt elements within the regime. They had no competition and enjoyed a monopoly. Under the current government the opium trade has expanded enormously and accusations of government involvement persist, including accusations that “Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai and the head of the provincial council in Kandahar, routinely manipulates judicial and police officials to facilitate shipments of opium and heroin.” (McClatchy, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/67723.html).

Q. Comment on the rise in instability and insecurity.

A. The problems of the U.S. presence are complicated by the fact that the government has not clearly defined its objectives. The only reasonable justification for the U.S. presence would be an understandable desire to prevent Afghanistan from being a safe haven for terrorist groups to plan attacks on American interests. Other alleged objectives, such as nation-building, women’s rights, or suppression of the Taliban, are at best distractions and often actually undermine what could have been a legitimate objective. Counter-insurgency is a fool’s errand when in defense of a corrupt regime in any case, but especially in the land is appropriately known as “the graveyard of empires.” If the U.S. would commit itself to the sole purpose of obtaining assurances from whomever rules Afghanistan that they would agree to the extradition of any persons or organizations for whom reasonable evidence can be provided are planning terrorist acts, such  a limited mission would be tractable and might actually be achievable. Even the Taliban, when they ruled Afghanistan, expressed a willingness to turn over Bin Ladin if the U.S. would produce evidence that he was in any way involved in the 9/11 bombings, but the U.S. was unwilling or unable to do so.

If the administration can come to the logical conclusion that its primary objective in Afghanistan should be to secure America from attacks by al-Qaida or its ilk, then then a successful strategy can be formulated. An agreement with actual or potential Afghani rulers that they will not harbor anti-American terrorists would be only one part of the strategy. The other, indispensable part, is to alter American foreign policy so that we stop provoking anti-Americanism. The implementation of that strategy is a subject for another blog, but it can include such simple, common sense elements as encouraging Israeli cooperation with the recommendations of the Goldstone Report, instead of enabling Israeli violence against civilians. Such violence is terrorism in itself and it provokes terrorist responses.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

News and Analysis (10/3-4/09)

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

“If you look around, you see nothing but jobless people… A lot of people who join the Taliban are jobless, too. If you want to stop the fighting, don’t send us more troops; build us more factories”:

As UN inspections go ahead as agreed upon …

… figures hostile to Iran continue to spin a confidential IAEA report with “loose language” and ““not ready for publication as an official document” …

… While Israel conrnues to benefit from America’s double standard:

“Israel is threatening to kill off a crucial West Bank economic project unless the Palestinian Authority withdraws a request to the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged Israeli crimes during last winter’s Gaza war”:

A reoccurring theme of Guantanamo, if Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed was not dangerous when he was imprisoned in 2002, 7 years of unjustified imprisonment may have radicalized him:

Israeli forces fired tear-gas at Palestinian protesters as bottles and rocks were hurled at the Israeli security forces:

News and Analysis (10/2/09)

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Viewed as a “constructive beginning”, does the quick start to negotiations indicate a major paradigm shift in American and/or Iranian foreign policy?

While taking exception to the implications of moral equivalence between the occupation and resistance to it, prime ministerial adviser Ahmad Yousef’s explanation of Hamas’s response to accusations against it is in stark contrast to Netenyahu’s veto of any investigation …

… and has released the promised video documenting the condition of an Israeli prisoner of war:

… Meanwhile, the PLO has stalled its efforts pressing for a vote on Goldstone’s report under the implicit understanding such action would derail any peace negotiations with Israel …

“The birth of the State of Law coalition ‘represents a historic milestone and development in establishing a modern Iraq built on peaceful, nationalist principles'” – Maliki

Despite McCrystal’s insistence that only a troop surge will provide victory, Obama seems to be leaning towards alternative strategies:

Although the authenticity of the video cannot be confirmed, the poorly trained and underfunded security forces have a history of accusations of abuse:

Maliki presents his own electoral bloc

The Iraqi prime minister introduces a coalition of religious, secular and tribal parties for parliamentary elections this winter. The move puts him at odds with Shiites who were once his allies.

New Iraq coalition

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki addresses members of his bloc at its Baghdad unveiling. (Ahmad al-Rubaye / AFP/Getty Images / October 1, 2009)

Reporting from Baghdad – Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki on Thursday unveiled a coalition of religious, secular and tribal parties that will run in parliamentary elections this winter, putting himself in competition with a faction of fellow Shiite Muslims who were once his allies.

The split between Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, or SIIC, was unthinkable four years ago. At that time, the country’s Shiite religious majority stood united in a bid to solidify its control of Iraq after years of suffering under the Sunni-dominated regime of the late dictator Saddam Hussein.

Both Maliki and his rivals in SIIC are seeking to portray their movements as nationalist and not defined by the sectarian politics that previously dragged the country to the brink of collapse.

The birth of the State of Law coalition “represents a historic milestone and development in establishing a modern Iraq built on peaceful, nationalist principles,” Maliki

News and Analysis (10/1/09)

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Afghanis project their fears that a buildup of US troops will only strengthen Taliban resolve and deepen the conflict …

… As Western forces still squabble amongst themselves about the August 20th election:

As the US prepares for extraordinarily difficult negotiations …

… Comes a warning that sanctions will only deprive the people of Iran and leave Ahmadinejad’s government mostly intact …

… While China appears to have its own motivations going forward:

Newly revealed guidelines generate concerns that the new administration retains Bush administration “policies that will inevitably lead to violations of the Constitution and of the right of all Americans to practice their faith without fear of government intrusion or intimidation”: