The CIA’s Killing Spree in Lahore
© Mike Whitney
February 24, 2011
* The Case Against Raymond Davis
When CIA-agent Raymond Davis gunned down two Pakistani civilians in broad daylight on a crowded street in Lahore, he probably never imagined that the entire Washington establishment would spring to his defense. But that’s precisely what happened. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Mullen, John Kerry, Leon Panetta and a number of other U.S. bigwigs have all made appeals on Davis’s behalf. None of these stalwart defenders of “the rule of law” have shown a speck of interest in justice for the victims or of even allowing the investigation to go forward so they could know what really happened. Oh, no. What Clinton and the rest want, is to see their man Davis packed onto the next plane to Langley so he can play shoot-’em-up someplace else in the world.
Does Clinton know that after Davis shot his victims 5 times in the back, he calmly strode back to his car, grabbed his camera, and photographed the dead bodies? Does she know that the two so-called “diplomats” who came to his rescue in a Land Rover (which killed a passerby) have been secretly spirited out of the country so they won’t have to appear in court? Does she know that the families of the victims are now being threatened and attacked to keep them from testifying against Davis? Here’s a clip from Thursday’s edition of The Nation:
Three armed men forcibly gave poisonous pills to Muhammad Sarwar, the uncle of Shumaila Kanwal, the widow of Fahim shot dead by Raymond Davis, after barging into his house in Rasool Nagar, Chak Jhumra.
Sarwar was rushed to Allied Hospital in critical condition where doctors were trying to save his life till early Thursday morning. The brother of Muhammad Sarwar told The Nation that three armed men forced their entry into the house after breaking the windowpane of one of the rooms. When they broke the glass, Muhammad Sarwar came out. The outlaws started beating him up.
The other family members, including women and children, coming out for his rescue, were taken hostage and beaten up. The three outlaws then took everyone hostage at gunpoint and forced poisonous pills down Sarwar’s throat.” (“Shumaila’s uncle forced to take poisonous pills”, The Nation)
Good show, Hillary. We’re all about the rule of law in the good old USA.
But why all the intrigue and arm-twisting? Why has the State Department invoked the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to make its case that Davis is entitled to diplomatic immunity? If Davis is innocent, then he has nothing to worry about, right? Why not let the trial go forward and stop reinforcing the widely-held belief that Davis is a vital cog in the U.S.’s clandestine operations in Pakistan?
The truth is that Davis had been photographing sensitive installations and madrassas for some time, the kind of intelligence gathering that spies do when scouting-out prospective targets. Also, he’d been in close contact with members of terrorist organizations, which suggests a link between the CIA and terrorist incidents in Pakistan. Here’s an excerpt from Wednesday’s The Express Tribune:
His cell phone has revealed contacts with two ancillaries of al Qaeda in Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) and sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has led to the public conclusion that he was behind terrorism committed against Pakistan’s security personnel and its people… This will strike people as America in cahoots with the Taliban and al Qaeda against the state of Pakistan targeting, as one official opined, Pakistan’s nuclear installations.” (“Raymond Davis: The plot thickens”, The Express Tribune)
“Al Qaeda”? The CIA is working with “ancillaries of al Qaeda in Pakistan”? No wonder the U.S. media has been keeping a wrap on this story for so long.
Naturally, most Pakistanis now believe that the U.S. is colluding with terrorists to spread instability, weaken the state, and increase its power in the region. But isn’t that America’s M.O. everywhere?
Also, many people noticed that U.S. drone attacks suddenly stopped as soon as Davis was arrested. Was that a coincidence? Not likely. Davis was probably getting coordinates from his new buddies in the tribal hinterland and then passing them along to the Pentagon. The drone bombings are extremely unpopular in Pakistan. More then 1400 people have been killed since August 2008, and most of them have been civilians.
And, there’s more. This is from (Pakistan’s) The Nation:
A local lawyer has moved a petition in the court of Additional District and Sessions… contending that the accused (Davis)… was preparing a map of sensitive places in Pakistan through the GPS system installed in his car. He added that mobile phone sims, lethal weapons, and videos camera were recovered from the murder accused on January 27, 2011.” (“Davis mapped Pakistan targets court told”, The Nation)
So, Davis’s GPS chip was being used to identify targets for drone attacks in the tribal region. Most likely, he was being assisted on the other end by recruits or members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban.
A lot of extravagant claims have been made about what Davis was up to, much of which is probably just speculation. One report which appeared on ANI news service is particularly dire, but produces little evidence to support its claims. Here’s an excerpt:
Double murder-accused U.S. official Raymond Davis has been found in possession of top-secret CIA documents, which point to him or the feared American Task Force 373 (TF373) operating in the region, providing Al-Qaeda terrorists with “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents,” according to a report.
Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is warning that the situation on the sub-continent has turned “grave” as it appears that open warfare is about to break out between Pakistan and the United States, The European Union Times reports… The most ominous point in this SVR report is “Pakistan’s ISI stating that top-secret CIA documents found in Davis’s possession point to his, and/or TF373, providing to al Qaeda terrorists “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents”, which they claim are to be used against the United States itself in order to ignite an all-out war in order to re-establish the West’s hegemony over a Global economy that is warned is just months away from collapse,” the paper added. (“CIA Spy Davis was giving nuclear bomb material to Al Qaeda, says report”, ANI)
Although there’s no way to prove that this is false, it seems like a bit of a stretch. But that doesn’t mean that what Davis was up to shouldn’t be taken seriously. Quite the contrary. If Davis was working with Tehreek-e-Taliban, (as alleged in many reports) then we can assume that the war on terror is basically a ruse to advance a broader imperial agenda. According to Sify News, the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, believes this to be the case. Here’s an excerpt:
Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, once brushed off Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s claim, that the U.S. was “arranging” the (suicide) attacks by Pakistani Taliban inside his country, as ‘madness’, and was of the view that both Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who believed in this U.S. conspiracy theory, were “dysfunctional” leaders.
The account of Zardari’s claim about the U.S.’ hand in the attacks has been elaborately reproduced by U.S. journalist Bob Woodward, on Page 116 of his famous book ‘Obama’s Wars,’ The News reported.
Woodward’s account goes like this: “One evening during the trilateral summit (in Washington, between Obama, Karzai and Zardari) Zardari had dinner with Zalmay Khalilzad, the 58-year-old former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the U.N., during the Bush presidency.
“Zardari dropped his diplomatic guard. He suggested that one of the two countries was arranging the attacks by the Pakistani Taliban inside his country: India or the U.S. Zardari didn’t think India could be that clever, but the US could. Karzai had told him the U.S. was behind the attacks, confirming the claims made by the Pakistani ISI.”
“Mr President,” Khalilzad said, “what would we gain from doing this? You explain the logic to me.”
“This was a plot to destabilize Pakistan, Zardari hypothesized, so that the U.S. could invade and seize its nuclear weapons. He could not explain the rapid expansion in violence otherwise. And the CIA had not pursued the leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, a group known as Tehreek-e-Taliban or TTP that had attacked the government. TTP was also blamed for the assassination of Zardari’s wife, Benazir Bhutto.” (“Pakistan President says CIA Involved in Plot to Destabilize Country and Seize Nukes”, Sify News)
Zardari’s claim will sound familiar to those who followed events in Iraq. Many people are convinced that the only rational explanation for the wave of bombings directed at civilians, was that the violence was caused by those groups who stood to gain from a civil war.
And who might that be?
Despite the Obama administration’s efforts to derail the investigation, the case against Davis is going forward. Whether he is punished or not is irrelevant. This isn’t about Davis anyway. It’s a question of whether the U.S. is working hand-in-hand with the very organizations that it publicly condemns in order to advance its global agenda. If that’s the case, then the war on terror is a fraud.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at email@example.com.
USA’s 2011 National Military Strategy: We’ve got the power!
By Sergei Balmasov
February 10, 2011
The USA has unveiled the 2011 National Military Strategy for the first time in seven years. The strategy, as usual, serves for the preservation of the U.S. predominance in the world. The appearance of the document is based on recent major changes on the planet. The authors of the strategy pointed out a number of challenges for the United States in particular and for the Western civilization in general.
U.S. strategists claimed that the shortage of resources in the world may trigger territorial disputes, which poses a direct threat to American interests. They are also concerned about the fact that the national debt of the United States “poses a significant national security risk.”
All of that is aggravated with a whole list of unsolved problems, which have become even more serious during the recent years. First and foremost, “the world’s preeminent power” has not been able to defeat terrorism and extremism. The war in Afghanistan continues, and the fire of Afghan unrest is spreading into neighboring Pakistan. The strategists of the U.S. national security wrote that terrorists had nested on the Arabian Peninsula, in the countries of north-western Africa and in Somalia.
Nevertheless, the authors of the document said: “We will be prepared to find, capture, or kill violent extremists wherever they reside when they threaten interests and citizens of America and our allies.” Therefore, it is not ruled out that the world will soon witness the USA launching another military adventure in the above-mentioned territories.
Secondly, the USA is concerned about the rising powers, India and China, as well as other regional powerful countries. The Americans are especially worried about China and its defense preparations in the Taiwan Strait.
In this connection, the Pentagon is not going to reduce its attention to South Asia and the Far East. However, the USA does not exclude increasing its military presence in potentially dangerous directions. “With partner nation support, we will preserve forward presence and access to the commons, bases, ports, and airfields commensurate with safeguarding our economic and security interests worldwide,” the strategy runs. Here, it goes about such old allies as Japan and South Korea.
Thirdly, the nuclear proliferation issue remains unsolved as well. North Korea has proved the possession of nuclear weapons to the whole world. Iran is just about to do the same. “The prospect of multiple nuclear armed regimes in the Middle East with nascent security and command and control mechanisms amplifies the threat of conflict, and significantly increases the probability of miscalculation or the loss of control of a nuclear weapon to non-state actors,” the document says.
To solve the problem, Washington intends to support regional allies, like Iraq, to develop the missile defense system, which Russia vehemently objects to, and to take defense measures against those violating the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The USA must be prepared to eliminate sources of weapons of mass destruction, the document runs.
Fourthly, by 2025, Washington predicts serious destabilization in a number of developing states because of the ongoing demographic explosion. The population of those countries will grow by 1.2 billion people, which will lead to serious food and water problems. “Conversely, in Europe and parts of Asia, populations are projected to decline and age with long term impacts to the global share of their economic output. Population growth and urbanization in the Middle East, Africa, and South Central Asia will contribute to increased water scarcity and may present governance challenges,” the report says.
In other words, the American supremacy is facing many challenges on different continents. One shall pay attention to the following telling phrase: “In this multi-nodal world, the military’s contribution to American leadership must be about more than power – it must be about our approach to exercising power.”
Thus, the U.S. National Military Strategy must be flexible to take account of all serious changes in the world. That is why the USA must be prepared to dealing with modern-day challenges without allies’ help.
“Let us not forget, the Nation remains at war abroad to defend against and defeat threats to our homeland. Our foremost priority is the security of the American people, our territory, and our way of life.” “We will pursue deliberate acquisition process improvements and selective force modernization with the cost effective introduction of new equipment and technology,” the report says.
U.S. strategists point out the necessity to maintain high prestige of the U.S. Armed Forces. According to the document, the state must continue to pay increased attention to improving the well-being of its defenders. “Just as our Service members commit to the Nation when they volunteer to serve, we incur an equally binding pledge to return them to society as better citizens. We must safeguard Service members’ pay and benefits, provide family support, and care for our wounded warriors,” the report runs.
Needless to say that the Americans could not leave Russia out of their attention. On the one hand, the document declares the intention to develop military partnership, continue the reduction of arms and build security in Central Asia in cooperation with Russia. As for the Asian security, the Americans, most likely, are planning to get Russia involved in the Afghan war.
The new strategy also mentions more important things about Russia. For instance, the USA is going to continue its cooperation with Canada regarding the issues of regional security, such as the development of the Arctic region. It is an open secret that Russia claims its right on the Arctic shelf, which infuriates Canada in the first place.
Here is another, rather expressive statement: “NATO members act as a stabilizing force on its perimeter, which ranges from the Middle East and the Levant, Northern Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucasus.” One shall assume that the Americans will continue to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs.
The authors of the new National Military Strategy are certain that the USA will preserve its economic and defense power in the foreseeable future. The USA still places its stake on brutal military force, which, as the authors of the report say, will contribute to America’s security and prosperity in the 21st century.
By Steve in Wisconsin
February 1, 2011
The popular uprising currently underway in Egypt is grabbing the world’s attention, but it is also grabbing the attention of Muslims in other states.
Some media commentaries mention nearby regimes in Algeria, Jordan and Yemen, and speculate as to whether or not they will follow suit. However, analysts are largely overlooking Pakistan — a tinderbox and U.S. ally — whose people are also facing price increases in food and fuel, shortages of goods, utilities and services, plus growing unemployment. These are the same catalysts that launched rebellions in Tunisia and Egypt.
Public dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s pro-Western (seemingly spineless) President Zardari and his government’s inability to stem U.S. drone attacks inside Pakistan’s tribal areas, coupled with a growing interest in fundamentalist Islam have brought Pakistanis’ tolerance level of the status quo to just below simmering. Keep in mind, also, that if there were ever a country that could mobilize hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people at the drop of a hat, it’s Pakistan.
Pakistan is very technologically advanced: cellphones, high-speed internet, and a sizeable blogging network need only to be inspired to rapidly mobilize the masses. Additionally, ever since Pervez Musharraf’s departure it is my opinion that current Pakistani leadership cannot discount the threat of a military coup, or elements of the security services (police and military) joining a popular uprising — with their weapons. Even if the government shuts down internet and cellphone service, Pakistan’s high-density urban population will continue to communicate using simple methods of decades past: vehicle-mounted loudspeakers and bull horns.
Pakistan’s security forces are likely sufficient to contain even large-scale uprisings, but not without substantial civilian casualties and property loss. This is assuming, of course, that elements of these services refrain from joining the rebellion.
The United States (from a purely self-serving standpoint) is making a mistake in turning its back on long-standing regional allies as this sends a message to other rulers and their security services that the U.S. may stand aside and allow events to run their course. America should also reconsider encouraging opposition forces through the use of social networking sites. [See: Inteltrends’ Special Report: The role of social networking websites in global unrest, and, as a further example, Google Launches Service Letting Egyptians Tweet by Phone.
An editorial in today’s Daily Times (Lahore, Pakistan) takes note of the simmering situation there. It reads, in part:
One should in any case be cautious in dismissing the possibility of a movement of the people in Pakistan. However, there is another dimension to the situation here, which could be the cause of great concern. After four decades of nurturing of jihadis and extremists, any popular revolt will be at risk of being hijacked by extremist forces, who have recently rallied together on the issue of the blasphemy laws and are not in a mood to arrest the momentum of their campaign against the government. In these circumstances, the people of Pakistan have the sorry option between an inept and corrupt political leadership and the entire spectrum of right-wing forces from centre-right to extreme right. The decline of the liberal, democratic and progressive community is at the heart of this crisis. Unless these forces strengthen their cadre, induct fresh blood into their ranks and mount a challenge to the extremists, Pakistan has little hope of salvation.
Recent history has shown that countries which have overthrown unpopular dictators are not necessarily pro-Western once a new government replaces them. [See Stanislav Mishin’s analysis: How the Muslim Brotherhood Saved the U.S. Dollar.]
Steve in Wisconsin is a former deputy sheriff with travels in Africa, Asia and Central America. His primary blog is inteltrends.wordpress.com.
FSB: Moscow airport bombed by ‘Russian Wahhabies’, Nogai ‘militants’, Pakistani instructors etc.
© Kavkaz Center
January 27, 2011 15:13
A quite bizarre version of the events around the bombing of the Moscow airport Domodedovo, which resulted in about 200 persons killed and injured, was produced by the FSB four days after the attack.
The FSB/KGB announced that the evidence leads to North Caucasus, and they are already “searching” for 10 people under the command of a “Russian Wahhabi”, Razdobudko, a resident of the Stavropol region (Nogai Steppe Province of the Caucasus Emirate).
The KGB acknowledged that they are only “suspects” and that they “may” have been involved in the Domodedovo attack.
The FSB/KGB believes that Razdobudko is a member of the “Nogai Battalion”, whose fighters “wanted” to commit a sabotage operation in Moscow on 31 December 2010, but by chance the attack failed.
In the version put forward by the FSB, the December bomb was detonated via a random SMS message.
On the day of the failed attack, a bomb exploded in a house of a small private club, which was being used as a hotel in Kuzminsky Park in Moscow. The FSB/KGB claimed that they found the remains of female body along with a “martyr’s belt” filled with metal bolts and ball bearings.
They claim that the dead woman was the widow of the leader of the “Nogai Battalion”, an Islamic military unit from the Caucasus Emirate, which is operating in the Stavropol region.
The KGB has also put forward a version that the “suicide bomber” at Domodedovo may have been one of the fighters of the “Nogai Battalion”, Nazir Batyrov. Meanwhile, according to official information, he was killed in Dagestan back in September 2009.
However, this circumstance does not seem to bother the FSB. The FSB claimed that the identity of the “terrorist” had been established, but “was yet disclosed”. Besides, the FSB paraded with their technology and knowledge of scientific words.
Despite significant damage to the body of the terrorist, a ‘computer generated portrait of him was produced. The picture of the terrorist was made with help of a special computer program, being able to recreate the feature of his face with good accuracy, suitable for identification of the person.
In the course of unwinding of the “Russian trace”, the FSB/KGB declared that the “Wahhabi” Razdobudko may have organized the explosion in Pyatigorsk on August 17, 2010.
Meanwhile, information about the identity of the executioner of the sabotage operation is so absurd and completely contradictory, that leads to a conclusion that the FSB/KGB has not even a slightest idea about his identity.
It is to be recalled that Russian state terrorists first claimed that the “suicide bomber” may have been an Arab. And they added a “spicy” detail to their story that it was an Arab who came from the North Caucasus.
After that, Russian media began to spread a report that the skull and the face of the “suicide bomber” was typical for Mediterranean Europeans. Thus, the “terrorist” may have been French or Italian.
Furthermore: Before the explosion, this “Arab” (“French”, “Italian”) said, in fluent Russian his name and age and then shouted “I will kill you all” – and exploded the bomb. It is not yet clear if he said his address, reported about his relatives, and how he came to Moscow. In any case, officially, the FSB remains silent about it.
Meanwhile, according to a very complicated story of how the FSB “established” where from the “terrorists” came to Moscow. If the “suicide bomber” really said something before the blast as in a Hollywood film, it is again not clear how the FSB got to know about it because everybody who stood nearby and could hear him died in the explosion.
But obviously, it does not bother KGB. Versions are sculpted during the “investigation” and edited online.
According to a new update of KGB online version about the bombing at Domodedovo, the KGB “discovered” that “three Chechens and one woman” came to Moscow via Pakistan. In the context of this version, it was revealed that the “three Chechens and one woman” first traveled to Pakistan (assuming that they came from Chechnya) and from there, through Iran, etc. they finally came to Moscow, using trucks and railways, “in order not to show their IDs at the airport”.
In general, the “terrorist group” zigzagged, covered its tracks, but the cunning FSB always knows better. The FSB now claims that it requested the Pakistani authorities to “help with the investigation of the terrorist attack in Domodedovo”.
The Russian FSB requests help from Pakistani Intelligence within the framework of conducting an investigation over the circumstance of the terrorist attack at the Domodedovo airport. Russian Intelligence does not exclude that the suicide bomber who blew himself up on January 24 at the airport has been previously trained in Pakistan by Afghan militants.
Obviously, the KGB believes that the further from Moscow, the easier it explains its failure. Recognizing this obvious fact, underground sabotage cells have been already active for a long time directly in Moscow and that the ethnic origin of this underground is not from the Caucasus.
The FSB/KGB has made a more convincing version by releasing operational information and demonstrating knowledge of “specific” details.
Russian intelligence service believes that military formations of Abu Hanifa (influential field commander of Chechen, Bosnian, and Kurdish militants), Abu Akasha (leader of militants from Central Asia) and Abu Nisara (who is in charge of Uighur terrorists operating there) are currently active on the Pakistan-Afghan border.
With a jumble of intelligence data, smart computer programs and various versions of events at the background, the KGB has not forgotten its main enemy – Dokku Umarov and the Caucasus Emirate, logically assuming that the explosion at Domodedovo could have been organized by the Caucasian Mujahideen. And in this case the FSB already has a ready answer, which should convince that the Caucasian Mujahideen cannot be an independent force, but are only a tool in the hands of Russia’s enemies from “foreign centers”.
The FSB believes that the terrorist attack was committed by militants from the Caucasus Emirate headed by Dokku Umarov, who are active in the North Caucasus, but are controlled by their leaders in Pakistan.
Department of Monitoring
An Extremist Link Between Tajikistan, Waziristan
By Bruce Pannier
January 27, 2011
RFE/RL’s Tajik Service has been tracking a shadowy figure who may be a key link between Pakistan’s tribal region and Central Asia, and at the same time a person who may prove the evolution of one of Central Asia’s most notorious terrorist groups.
His name is Domullah Amriddin, and as the first part of his name suggests he is more than a mere mullah, he is an Islamic scholar. He was also a member of the Islamic wing of Tajikistan’s opposition during the 1992-97 civil war. And like other former civil war fighters who have been in the news in Tajikistan often lately, Domullah did not agree with the peace deal the Tajik government and opposition reached in 1997.
Domullah wanted to continue fighting and turn Tajikistan into an Islamic state. There were wartime allies — Uzbeks — who were forming their own group with a similar goal for Uzbekistan. They became the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Domullah joined them.
When IMU members were deported from Tajikistan to Afghanistan in late 1999, Domullah was aboard the Russian Border Guard helicopters that transported them south, part of a desperation deal the Tajik government struck with the IMU to get them out of Tajikistan. Also on one of those helicopters was IMU leader Juma Namangani.
Namangani and Domullah were in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz Province in November 2001 when the United States bombed the area, decimating IMU forces there and killing Namangani. As the story goes, Domullah was so high up in the IMU by that time that there was talk of making him the new leader. But as military specialist Amrullo Sobir told RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, Domullah was not suited to head the IMU because “the leader should be an Uzbek.”
“So,” he said, “the Islamic Movement of Turkestan was created.”
The existence of the Islamic Movement of Turkestan (IMT) — under which Turkestan refers to the swath of land from the Caspian Sea to the eastern borders of Xinjiang Province in modern-day China — has been debated for years. There have been reports out of Pakistan that said after the IMU was chased, now leaderless, from Afghanistan into Pakistan the group split into three groups. The IMU remained, although stuck and fighting in Waziristan, committed to overthrowing Uzbekistan’s government and also remained a core Uzbek group.
The Islamic Jihad Union widened its scope and set its sights on areas as far away as Europe. Several members of that group were arrested in Germany for plotting terrorist attacks. The IMT stayed focused on Central Asia and attempted to broaden its membership among the peoples of Central Asia, including not only Uzbeks and Tajiks but also Kyrgyz, Uyghurs, and other indigenous peoples of the region. At least that is what the small amount of information available on these groups and their recent movements indicates.
According to information coming out of Tajikistan, including that of Tajik military specialist Sobir, Domullah is responsible for sending Mullo Abdullo, another ally from the Tajik civil war days and friend of the IMU, to eastern Tajikistan in 2009. Tajik security forces have been chasing Mullo Abdullo through Tajikistan’s eastern mountains ever since. In the course of the hunt close to 100 Tajik servicemen and police have been killed, including the 28 killed in an ambush in September. Tajik authorities blame Mullo Abdullo, for the ambush.
Sobir said Domullah and Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar are close and that together the two probably made the decision to send Abdullo north.
Domullah’s name had not come up for some time. While these tales could be dismissed as pure conjecture it is also true that there are no credible sightings of Mullo Abdullo or Mullah Omar recently, yet Tajik authorities are searching for Abdullo and Pakistani and Afghan authorities for Mullah Omar.
Pakistan, the U.S., and the Talibs
© Natalya Zamaraeva
Source: ISN Insights
January 24, 2011
When U.S. President B. Obama declared that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was on the horizon, it immediately became clear that Washington decided to give Pakistan the key role in containing Taliban and other Afghan-based Muslim militant groups. The question arising in the context is to what extent the Pakistani army and security forces are prepared to confront the increasingly active Islamists. In any case, whenever the U.S. attempts to launch offensives in the Pakistani territory, Islamabad’s reaction is markedly negative. “Pakistani forces are capable of handling the militant threat within our borders and no foreign forces are allowed or required to operate inside our sovereign territory”, says Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani.
Expressing opposition to the involvement of the U.S. or any other country in counter-insurgency operations in its territory, Pakistan automatically takes responsibility for wider regional rather than just its own national security, and, no doubt, the U.S. and other Western coalition members currently locked in the Afghan campaign will be permanently gauging Pakistan’s performance. In November, 2010, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake credited Pakistan with serious success in fighting terrorism but went on to say that the country should make greater efforts to reign in Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and other extremist groups based in its territory.
Do Pakistan’s armed forces really have the potential to independently prevent the penetration of the country by the Talibs?
As of today, Pakistan has trained over 1,000 scouts from the rank of its Frontier Corps, whose task is to boost the combat-readiness of the 58,000-strong military group patrolling the tribal zone adjacent to the Pakistani-Afghan border. A new military training center was established with U.S. financial support in Varsak, South Waziristan, at the distance of 20 km from the Afghan border. Large enough to accommodate 2,000 soldiers, it provides a 10-week training course for snipers and platoon commanders which is taught by U.S. instructors. The center’s first 250 trainees completed the course in July, 2010. The center cost Washington a handsome $23m, and Islamabad requests that the U.S. additionally pours $30m into Pakistan’s military training and arms-buying programs.
The U.S. is actively assisting in Pakistan’s rearmament. For example, Washington supplies to Pakistan F-16 fighters equipped for night-time missions for which the Pakistani pilots are also trained by a group of the U.S. instructors.
It took Washington hard work to convince Islamabad to regard the Taliban, whose influence is on the rise in the regions adjacent to the Pakistani-Afghan border, rather than India as the main security threat. In 2001, the U.S. gave Pakistan over $10b to deploy the Pakistani armed forces in the border zone and to build the corresponding infrastructures. By now, a 100,000-strong group is guarding Pakistan’s western frontier, two divisions are deployed in Swat, and several divisions are stationed in South Waziristan.
The Pakistani political and military circles’ growing discontent over the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan factors visibly into Islmabad’s Afghan policies. Anti-Americanism is also bred among the Pakistani population, especially in North Waziristan, by indiscriminate U.S. drone attacks. As a result, Islamabad has to limit the number of U.S. instructors admitted to its territory to avoid being accused of excessively close links to its unpopular ally. At the moment, at most 120 U.S. instructors from the Special Operations Personnel are working in Pakistan, though the country’s army could benefit from a broader U.S. involvement. Even the $1b annual U.S. infusions into Pakistan’s military operations in the border zone cannot change the situation.
U.S. instructors routinely complain about being treated with suspicion by their Pakistani colleagues. The attitude can in part be traced back to the downscaling of the 1990ies, an epoch when the U.S.-Pakistani military cooperation was downscaled following Islamabad’s ascension to the nuclear status, but is to a greater extent explained by the spread of conservative Muslim views among the Pakistani soldiers and officers whom Washington nevertheless expects to fight the Talibs.
[Blogmaster note: I posted the news of Col. Imam’s death in my Newsmarks column — and sent it out via RSS almost as fast as it hit the Pakistan newswire. Not too many folks clicked on the link, which attests that Col. Imam was largely an unknown figure among my readers. Gordon Duff offers a fitting tribute.]
Mysterious Death Of American Ally, Reagan Friend, In Pakistan
© Gordon Duff
Source: Veterans Today
January 24, 2011
* “Colonel Imam” Kidnapped By Taliban Group Believed “Mossad” Backed
Colonel Imam (Photo: G. Duff) may have been the single driving force that pushed Russia out of Afghanistan. A modern day “Lawrence of Arabia,” Imam or Sultan Amir Tarar, a Pakistani Brigadier General, trained with American Rangers and Special Forces at Ft. Bragg, was as instrumental as Lech Walesa in bringing down the Soviet Union.
The group that kidnapped Imam 10 months ago along with Khalid Khawaja, who was murdered and a British journalist, has been misrepresented as former Pakistani intelligence who have joined a rebel Taliban faction from Punjab. This is disinformation. The group, the “Asian Tigers” is a terrorist group funded and organized by the substantial Israeli/Indian operational forces in Afghanistan, the Mossad/RAW. These groups organize terrorism inside Pakistan, working to destabilize that nation, support the heroin trade in Afghanistan and simulate “Al Qaeda” terrorists when needed.
They are an international terrorist organization, one proven to exist, one proven tied to Israel, one responsible for the killing of, not only Pakistani citizens by the hundred but American and NATO military and U.N. aid workers as well.
Without this organization, the “Asian Tigers” and similar groups, casualties in the Af/Pak theatre would diminish significantly.
However, no reports of this ever reach the western media, this information, intelligence contained in reports withheld by Wikileaks, censored, not only by Julian Assange and the New York Times but the CIA as well. These groups, though they attack Americans also, are protected just as the opium crops are, at the direction of the highest authorities in the American command.
It isn’t just Julian Assange and his New York Times partners that get their directions from Tel Aviv.
In briefings I received in Pakistan and Washington, estimates of these forces and their activities varied but one thing was for certain, they exist, they are a threat and they are being lied about. Whether India or Israel or both, Americans are dying at the hands of friends profiting from war, drugs and corruption in, not only American politics but the Pentagon establishment as well.
Colonel Imam, an American hero without equal, died at the hands of such an organization.
I met the Colonel at the home of General Mirsa Aslam Beg, former Chief of Staff of Pakistan’s Army. With me were, among others, author Jeff Gates and VT [Veterans Today] editor, Raja Mujtaba. The Colonel was attired in a white turban and military field jacket. The patches, U.S. Ranger and Special Forces. The surprising part, his accent. It was, not only American but clear “old South.” This was a Georgia boy!
Despite the accusations thrown at the Colonel and General Beg, accusations also thrown at VT editor Lt. General Hamid Gul and others, of working with terrorists or supplying the Taliban, there was always one thing in common, the quest for peace and stability in the region. Where others are called “war criminals” by those profiting from continual conflict, the attacks against Colonel Imam always fell on deaf ears.
Few non-Americans have ever had the respect and friendship he enjoyed, not only in Congress, but among the special operations community who knew him to be fearless and loyal. I saw that immediately.
Colonel Imam was a gentle and honorable person, decent and kind. He died in captivity, said from “cardiac” problems. He died at the hands of terrorists, real enemies of the United States, real enemies of the people of Pakistan, real enemies of the people of Afghanistan, real enemies of all humanity.
He will be missed.
Gordon Duff is a U.S. Marine Vietnam veteran and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, defense technologies or acting as diplomatic officer of U.N. humanitarian groups. He is a widely published expert on military and defense issues.