September 2, 2014

What's going on in Pakistan? [PBS] + Amb. Husain Haqqani on India-Pakistan relations and the way ahead

Protesters in Pakistan have demanded that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif leave office, saying that the country's elections last year were rigged in his favour. Photo Source: (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary).

What's going on in Pakistan? Source: PBS NewsHour. Date Published: September 1, 2014.

"India and Pakistan are prisoners of history, in terms of their relationship with one another. Despite the fact that we have centuries of shared history, the last 67 years overshadows our relationship." - Husain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States who resigned in November 2011 because of his role in the Memogate scandal.

Public lecture | Amb. Husain Haqqani on India-Pakistan relations and the way ahead. Source: NIAS ISSSP. Date Published: August 7, 2014.

The "Islamic State" Seeks A Showdown With The U.S; Over 90 Percent of Saudis Are On Board With The Caliphate According To A Newspaper Poll

 All fear the worldly Caliph.

Below are excerpts from, "Hillary Mann Leverett on U.S. Policy Toward the Islamic State and the Folly of Sanctioning Russia" by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett,, August 31, 2014:
“I remember a year ago this weekend.  I was on a different program [see here], and I said, ‘Wait a minute.  Don’t go bomb Assad’s military in Syria, because they’re one of the only militaries that’s fighting ISIS.  We’ll essentially be al-Qa’ida or ISIS’ air force if we do so.’  The president was correct, even though he took a lot of backlash, not to bomb Assad’s army last year, and he’s probably correct not to [mount a bombing campaign against ISIS] this year, because that’s exactly what ISIS wants—they want the United States back in, full throttle, to send hundreds of thousands of troops back and make this an all-out war with the United States to take over their swath of the Middle East.”

Hillary points out another serious defect in the U.S. policy discussion—namely, political and policy elites’ collective and willful refusal to acknowledge that the Islamic State has popular support:

“A Saudi-funded newspaper, Al Hayat, did a poll in Saudi Arabia, of Saudi public opinion.  They found that 92 percent of Saudis believe that ISIS conforms to their view of Islamic values and Islamic law.  So we have our head in the sand—that this makes no sense, everybody hates [ISIS], and we can recruit our Sunni autocracies as allies to fund even more Sunni militants to deal with this.  That is insane…

[T]o the extent that we support governments, like the Saudi government, that Saudis themselves and ISIL have as their target—their target is to bring down the Saudi government, to bring down the other Gulf autocracies and take over the heart of the Hijaz, Mecca and Medina—to the extent we are sending $60 billion in weapons systems to Saudi Arabia, ISIS has us in their sights.  Remember that the execution of [James] Foley happened not just because they were looking to kill an American, but when we started bombing them in Iraq.  It’s a very deliberate, sophisticated military strategy.”

September 1, 2014

3 Videos On The Political Crisis In Pakistan

Protesters in Pakistan Seize State TV. Source: Wall Street Journal. Date Published: September 1, 2014.

Pakistan government considers decisive action against protesters. Source: Reuters. Date Published: September 1, 2014.

Pakistan threatens crackdown on protesters | Journal. Source: DW. Date Published: September 1, 2014.

August 31, 2014

Assad Is Deluded To Think That Washington Will Align Itself With His Regime In The Name of Fighting ISIS

Washington will not sacrifice its proxy army ISIS for anybody, especially not Assad. From the U.S. perspective that would be a waste of a useful tool. The terrorist group's ability to promote Washington's aims in the region via unconventional means have proven to be very effective so far.

1. An excerpt from, "Syria sees Islamist threat bringing detente with West, but not soon" by Tom Perry, Reuters, August 21, 2014:
There is no sign of any shift in Washington, whose policy is built on Assad leaving power and last year came close to bombing Syria after accusing him of using chemical weapons. "He's part of the problem," Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser, said in a broadcast interview.

Assad is not expecting the West to perform a policy U-turn soon, the sources said. But having secured territory seen as vital for his survival, time is on Assad's side as he takes the long view in the struggle for Syria.

"The regime recognizes that the Western opening will be in secret, and via security channels and not diplomacy. The political-diplomatic opening needs longer," said Salem Zahran, a Lebanese journalist with close ties to the Syrian government. "But the regime believes that the whole world will come to coordinate with it under the slogan 'fighting terrorism'."
The Assad regime is stupid if it genuinely believes that. Washington and its allies have never been interested in fighting terrorism because it is the golden egg.

2. An excerpt from, "Syria: Assad Faces Western Opposition in Request to Create Allied Front Against IS" by Anjalee Khemlani, Latin Post, August 31, 2014:
The Islamic State traces its roots to the very same Syrian civil war and was able to grow from a decision by Assad to "go easy on" the group. Assad, reportedly, hoped to have the IS eliminate the group supported by the West -- the Free Syrian Army.
The author of this article lives in a funny universe, one in which history doesn't exist and everything the U.S. government says about world events is the truth.

The Islamic State did not morph into what it is today because Assad took them lightly. They grew so big and powerful because Turkey, a NATO ally, gave them sanctuary, and because the U.S. and its Arab allies Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and Qatar funded, armed, and trained them.

And the "Free Syrian Army" was a complete fiction from day one so there was no need for the Islamic State to eliminate it. From the very beginning it had the battlefield against the regime all to its own with the exception of the PKK associated group YPG that is based in the north of the country.

3. An excerpt from, "ISIS is awful. Allying with Assad to fight it would be worse" by Zack Beauchamp, Vox, August 26, 2014:
There's a popular new idea in Washington's foreign policy circles. America's at war with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and so is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad — so shouldn't Assad and the US team up? Leslie Gelb, the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, has endorsed it. So have a number of prominent foreign policy analysts and former American officials.

Even the Assad regime thinks it's a good idea. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday that his government "ready to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international level in the war on terror."

As rules of thumb go, "Don't ally with murderous dictators" is a pretty good one (exception: allying with Stalin in World War II). And it holds in this case. Even a temporary US partnership with Assad against ISIS likely wouldn't destroy the group. In fact, it might very well backfire and strengthen ISIS. It would, however, definitively make Americans complicit in the mass murder of Syrians — an outcome that, both morally and strategically, does far more harm than good.
Assad didn't mass murder his own people, and neither did Gaddafi, so those who use the moral argument to make the case that a U.S alliance with Assad against ISIS is bad are either 1) ignorant children, or 2) manipulative bastards.

The accusation of "mass murder" has been thrown around too loosely since the start of the Arab Spring. The only real instance of it has been in Gaza, where the "responsibility to protect" doctrine espoused by the witches of war in the Obama administration does not apply because the killers are Israeli democrats, not Arab dictators. 

USrahell Intends To Use Its Nukes To Wipe Out Its Neighbours And Consolidate Total Control Over Palestine

 Does this man look rational to you?

An excerpt from, "Newly declassified documents reveal how U.S. agreed to Israel's nuclear program" by Amir Oren, Haaretz, August 30, 2014:
The Obama administration this week declassified papers, after 45 years of top-secret status, documenting contacts between Jerusalem and Washington over American agreement to the existence of an Israeli nuclear option. The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), which is in charge of approving declassification, had for decades consistently refused to declassify these secrets of the Israeli nuclear program.
 The Johnson and Nixon administrations concluded that, in talks with Rabin, it had been stated in a manner both “explicit and implicit” that “Israel wants nuclear weapons, for two reasons: First, to deter the Arabs from striking Israel; and second, if deterrence fails and Israel were about to be overrun, to destroy the Arabs in a nuclear Armageddon.”

In 2011, U.S. And Turkey Killed 34 Kurdish Villagers, Mistaking Them For the PKK

An excerpt from, "How the NSA Helped Turkey Kill Kurdish Rebels" by Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Michael Sontheimer and Holger Stark, The Intercept, August 31, 2014:
On a December night in 2011, a terrible thing happened on Mount Cudi, near the Turkish-Iraqi border. One side described it as a massacre; the other called it an accident.

Several Turkish F-16 fighter jets bombed a caravan of villagers that night, apparently under the belief that they were guerilla fighters with the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). The group was returning from northern Iraq and their mules were loaded down with fuel canisters and other cargo. They turned out to be smugglers, not PKK fighters. Some 34 people died in the attack.

An American Predator drone flying overhead had detected the group, prompting U.S. analysts to alert their Turkish partners.

The reconnaissance flight—which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal in 2012—and its tragic consequences provided an important insight into the very tight working relationship between American and Turkish intelligence services in the fight against Kurdish separatists. Although the PKK is still considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, its image has been improved radically by its recent success in fighting ISIS in northern Iraq and Syria. PKK fighters—backed by U.S. airstrikes—are on the front lines against the jihadist movement there, and some in the West are now advocating arming the group and lifting its terrorist label.
This report proves once again that only fools put their trust in the snakes in Washington. The governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, as well the KRG in Iraq, who believe they are the allies of the U.S. today will be double-crossed tomorrow in a heartbeat because that is the treacherous nature of Washington.

Washington will use these countries and allies up and then cut their throats when they're usefulness has ended. The leaders of Egypt found that out when the Arab Spring began, and consequently they're not as respectful of Washington as they were in the past. Saddam learned that in 1990. The leaders of Saudi Arabia will also learn just how snake-like Washington can be.

This news also puts a dent in the image of Washington as the saviour of minorities in Iraq who have come under attack from ISIS, a transnational terrorist group that has been funded, trained, and armed by the CIA via Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, and Qatar.

The PKK, whose members Washington has been killing and spying on alongside Turkey, came to the rescue of Yezidis in the Sinjar mountains while Washington's allies in Iraq were retreating from the fight against ISIS. The PKK essentially cleaned up the mess of the Iraqi army, the KRG Peshmerga, the U.S. government and its foolish regional allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

August 30, 2014

Some Different Views On The Popular Uprising In Pakistan

An excerpt from, "Pakistan Protesters March on PM's Residence" ABC News, August 30, 2014:
Pakistani police charged with batons and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of protesters marching toward the prime minister's official residence and the adjacent parliament building in Islamabad on Saturday, blanketing the route with clouds of white smoke and scattering demonstrators. Nearly 125 people were injured in the clashes between police and demonstrators demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The protest leaders, cricket-legend-turned politician Imran Khan and anti-government cleric Tahirul Qadri, had called on supporters staging a sit-in for days outside the parliament building to march on the prime minister's residence and the legislative chamber. About 20,000 police in riot gear were deployed to block the procession.
For some background, read, "Pakistan Prepares For 'Deciding Day' As Imran Khan, Islamic Cleric Rally Support Against Government" by Alroy Menezes, International Business Times, August 28, 2014. An excerpt:
Both Qadri and Khan have given several ultimatums to the government but with little effect. And, in preparation of Thursday's protests, the Pakistani capital of Islamabad saw the presence of security forces in large numbers in the city center. And, while many expect the protests to fizzle out, there is a danger they will turn violent, Reuters reported.

Since its creation in 1947, Pakistan has swung between democracy and military rule though the nation's army has always been a strong force in the country’s politics. However, the army has stayed out of the latest round of protests, calling on all sides to resolve the dispute through political means, and few expect the army to seize power this time around. Last year’s election saw the first democratic transfer of power from the military to a civilian government in the country’s history, and brought Khan from the sidelines to the main stage as the head of Pakistan’s third-largest party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
An excerpt from, "Pakistan 'soft coup' fears as army chief holds talks with protest leaders" by Jon Boone, The Guardian, August 29, 2014:
Pakistan's army chief took centre stage in a national political crisis on Thursday night by holding talks with two protest leaders who have been agitating on the streets of Islamabad for the overthrow of the elected government for the last two weeks.

Politician and former cricketer Imran Khan and a Muslim cleric, Tahir-ul-Qadri, left their protest camps outside parliament for back-to-back audiences with Raheel Sharif, the general in charge of Pakistan's 500,000-strong army.

Officials said the general had agreed to mediate in a bitter stand-off between the government, Khan and Qadri – who have brought thousands of their followers to Islamabad.
II. Some Different Views On The Popular Uprising In Pakistan

An excerpt from, "The Pretender to Pakistan's Throne" by Mosharraf Zaidi, Foreign Policy, August 28, 2014:
Khan may be the world's oldest teenager, with a captive national audience. He thumbs his nose at political niceties and employs an invective that dumbs down the discourse. Like Justin Bieber, Khan focuses on electrifying the urban youth who genuinely believe him to be a messianic solution to the disenchantment they feel about their country. And Khan's understanding of Pakistan's problems is probably only slightly more sophisticated than Bieber's. Khan does not have the policy chops to fix what ails Pakistan: The crux of his efforts during these few weeks has been that he, not Sharif, should be prime minister.

Sharif is a known entity and one easy to tame. Khan is wild and unpredictable. He proudly calls his supporters junoonis -- or "crazies." The military might enjoy the troubles Khan gives the prime minister, but it is unlikely to tie its institutional fortunes to unstable and irresponsible political actors like Khan. Pakistani democracy under Sharif will continue to muddle along as it has in the past. Pakistan optimists will be disappointed, because this crisis is unquestionably a setback for democrats. But things could be worse. For now, the most Khan is likely to achieve in challenging Sharif is further strengthening the military's already strong hold on key decisions guiding the country's future.
An excerpt from, "An Open Letter to the Critics of Imran Khan" by Ammarah Aftab, Huffington Post, August 20, 2014:
And while we are at it, Imran Khan did not lose any support from the masses as propagated by some very biased media channels.If that would have been the case, a profuse amount of educated Pakistanis would not have kept on participating in the protests in this heat and humidity. Neither would the government need to use containers to stop civilians from entering Islamabad to take part in the protest. These protesters are not coming out of their houses merely due to a feeling driven by some blind love for Imran Khan.They are coming out to put an end to the incessant practices of corrupt leaders in our country. 

I feel so much pity for those who are disturbed by the turmoil occurring as a byproduct of this beautiful movement. But not because of their discomfort. Just because they fail to recognize that this long march which they so insensitively pin as a nuisance is actually fighting for their rights... for their mandate.

And finally for those worried souls who are petrified of the image of our country being put forward in the world by this long march? I flounder to grasp the message you are complaining about for all I see is an alive nation who is finally willing to stand up for themselves and change the system.
A comment by the YouTube user 'PeerRambo Haq' that was posted in the comment section of the video, "Imran Khan Full Speech - 24 August 2014 - 9pm - Imran Khan Latest Speech Azadi March":
Nawaz Sharif’s regime (the party of fat cats) and its Allies is the present lackey/stooge of the West in Pakistan and not the party which adheres indeed to the motto: ‘’Government by the Pakistani people, of the Pakistani people & for the Pakistani people’’.

Until Imran Khan/Dr Tahir Qadri appeared on the horizon and came into the limelight many like me considered Democracy since 1947 in the hands of unscrupulous/fake Politicians.

Democracy in Pakistan has been swamped by hypocrites and corrupt politicians. They only parrot the name of democracy but either do not know the ABC of it or exploit it for evil/selfish/ulterior motives. Present state of the poor Democracy is due to unscrupulous politicians.  Imran Khan and Dr Tahir-ul-Quadri are the only two credible Politicians who can give true intrinsic value to Democracy/Parliament and free/fair and impartial election system.

Presently (since 14th Aug.2014 to date ) and for the first time since independence, the entire nation ought to support the campaign lead by Imran/Dr Tahir and put back Pakistan onto the rails/track of stability/progress, true & genuine Democracy and civilized world.

At Washington’s behest, the government of Pakistan is conducting war against its own people, killing many and forcing others to flee their homes and lands. The Pakistani government’s war against its own citizens has caused military expenses to soar, putting Pakistan’s budget deep in the red. Deputy US Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin ordered the Pakistani government to raise taxes to pay for the war against its own people. The puppet ruler, Asif Ali Zardari, complied with his American master’s orders.  Zardari declared a broad-based value added tax on virtually all goods and most services in Pakistan. Thus, Pakistanis are forced to finance a war against themselves. Nawaz Sharif’s regime (the party of fat cats) is the present lackey/stooge of the West in Pakistan.