One of the deadliest militant groups in Afghanistan, the Haqqani network, has developed a sophisticated, "mafia"-style financing operation that relies on extortion, kidnapping, smuggling and ties to legitimate businesses, according to a new report by a U.S.-based think tank.
The report by the Combating Terrorism Center in West Point, N.Y., suggests the system has become so lucrative that maintaining it could be as much of a goal for the group as driving foreign forces out of Afghanistan.
That was certainly the case in Colombia: after a while FARC made so much money in protecting drug lords (and being drug lords themselves) that it made more sense to further the business than to promote revolution.
That could complicate U.S. efforts to negotiate an end to the war since much of the network's cash flow is dependent on instability and lawlessness bred by the conflict.
"Life at war has become lucrative - even if highly risky - while an end to the fighting would almost certainly produce a decline in wealth and power," said the report, which was released Tuesday and was based on archival records, documents captured in Afghanistan and interviews with Western, Afghan and Pakistani officials, as well as locals in areas where the Haqqani network operates.
1. Much of the animus that locals feel against a US presence is from US's fraught relations with Islam in general. In their eyes, America is still very much the Great Satan. China does not have that historical baggage (the Uighur thing being small potatoes compared to the Israeli-Palestinian thing)
2. Part and parcel of the US presence is the desire to impose/create a functioning democracy in a country with no real history of democracy, or the institutions that such a democracy reuires. Also, there is the question of imposing values that however laudable, are alien (e.g. equality to women, respect for minorities, Rule of Law). China has no such qualms. Its there to do business, and it has a rigid non-interference policy. If the Karzai regime is in the seat of power, it will work with Karzai. If the Taliban recaptures Kabul, it will do business with the Taliban. China does not seek to make Afghanistan a better place, and for that reason has the advantage of not challenging the existing power structures
3. China has a lot more money to splash around, and is not gonna be spending it on an expensive military presence. It can BUY itself peace around its areas of economic interests.
I'd have to agree with him that the Palestinian issue buys us a lot of badwill with the Muslim world. Without that issue in the way, they'd spend all their time focusing on other areas of the world where Muslim minorities would like to shuck off their non-Muslim rulers.
JERUSALEM: A letter to Israel from Egypt's new president hoping for regional peace kicked up a stir Tuesday when the Egyptian leader's Islamist movement denied he sent it. Israel insisted the letter was genuine.
The spat underlined the touchy nature of Egyptian-Israeli relations, always frosty but now especially sensitive in the wake of Muslim Brotherhood victories in Egyptian elections. It also appeared to show some disarray in the fractured Egyptian government.
The letter, ostensibly sent by Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi, was a response to a message from Israeli President Shimon Peres, conveying Israel's good wishes for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The return letter, released by the Israeli president's office, was on the stationery of the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv. In it, Mursi appeared to write in English, "I am looking forward to exerting our best efforts to get the Middle east Peace Process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for all peoples of the region, including that Israeli people." The Israeli president's name was spelled "Perez."
Then a spokesman for Mursi, Yasser Ali, said in Cairo that Mursi had not written a letter to the Israeli president at all.
"This is totally untrue," Ali said, calling the letter a "fabrication." He blamed two Israeli newspapers for manufacturing the letter -- though it was released by the president's office in Jerusalem.
An official in Peres's office -- speaking anonymously because the issue concerned sensitive diplomatic relations between the two countries -- said the president's aides received the official communique Tuesday from the Egyptian ambassador to Israel, both by registered mail and by fax from the embassy in Tel Aviv.
Peres's office asked the Egyptian ambassador if it could publicize the letter or if it should be kept secret, the official said. The Egyptian envoy phoned Mursi's office to inquire, the official said, and then told Peres' aides that Mursi's staff had given the green light to make the letter public.
Peres's office sent reporters a copy of what was said to be the faxed letter. The top of the letter featured a time stamp with Tuesday's date, the phone number from which the fax was sent, and the label "EGY EMB TEL AVIV." The fax number, which appeared to be printed automatically from the machine that sent the message, was a number listed on Israel's Foreign Ministry website as belonging to the Egyptian Embassy in Israel.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry did not provide an immediate response on the issue. This could be a symptom of Egypt's murky governing situation. Though Mursi has taken office, it is still not clear what his powers are. The military council that took over after longtime President Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year assumed some presidential powers.
Mursi has pledged to respect Egypt's international treaties, but the Brotherhood has said it may need to make adjustments to the Israel-Egypt peace agreement. The movement historically has been hostile to Israel.
The Ramadan message was Peres's second letter to Mursi since he took office after winning Egypt's first-ever free presidential election. The Israeli president's first letter, accompanied by a note from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was sent in late June. It congratulated Mursi on his election victory and emphasized the importance of peace to both Israel and Egypt.
The text of Netanyahu's letter was not released, but an official in his office said the letter emphasized the importance of maintaining the peace treaty.
Five Mexican Army officers have been ordered to detention by an unidentified Mexican federal district judge, according to Mexican news accounts.
According to an article posted on the website of Milenio news daily, among the officers ordered detained were retired General de Division Tomas Angeles Dauahare, retired General de Division Ricardo Escorcia Vargas, retired General de Brigadier Roberto Dawe Gonzalez, retired Lieutenant Colonel Silvio Isidro de Jesus Hernandez Soto and Major Ivan Reyna Muñoz.
All five are charged with a nexus to organized crime to commit crimes against health.
According to a report posted on the website of La Jornada En Linea news daily, the army officers are charged with protecting elements of the Beltran-Leyva drug cartel including Edgar Valdez Villarreal, Gerardo Alvarez Vazquez, and their cocaine trade.
The five officers are ordered to be detained for 80 days while investigations and trials are conducted. This form of detention is routine in high profile drug cases but the length of this detention is double what is considered normal.
General de Division Angeles Dauahare became an issue on last spring's Mexican presidential election as it was found he was on a slate of at-large legislative candidates for the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). PRI went on to win crushing electoral victories throughout Mexico, everywhere but in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
ANJU, North Korea: UN staff visited storm-pounded areas of North Korea yesterday, after heavy rain submerged buildings and rice paddies, cut off power and forced people to climb onto rooftops for safety. North Korea-based United Nations staff was visiting hard-hit South Phyongan and Kangwon provinces to see what help the UN team in the country might provide, said Christopher de Bono, UNICEF's chief of communications for East Asia and the Pacific. He had no other details.
Francis Markus, a spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross East Asia, said in Beijing that his fact-finding teams in North Korea are reporting that drinking water, food and shelter are critically needed.
"Drinking water is a critical issue with the water systems having been taken out of action, and there's obviously a danger of water-borne diseases if things are not done to improve the situation," he said.
The rain Sunday and Monday followed downpours earlier this month that killed nearly 90 people and left more than 60,000 homeless. The rain hit the capital, Pyongyang, and other regions, with western coastal areas reporting heavy damage.
Coming on the heels of a severe drought, the flooding is renewing food worries about a country that already struggles to feed its people. Two-thirds of North Korea's 24 million people face chronic food shortages, the United Nations said last month while asking donors for $198 million in humanitarian aid for the country.
In Anju city in South Phyongan, the Chongchon River flooded Monday, cutting communication lines and submerging homes, rice paddies and other fields, said Kim Kwang Dok, vice chairman of the Anju City People's Committee.
Iran is accusing Israel of carrying out the July 18 suicide bombing in Bulgaria that killed seven (including five Israelis). There is a growing pile of evidence that Iran was behind the attack, in an effort to strike back at Israel for the many successful Israeli assaults against Iran's nuclear weapons program in the last two years. Iran has openly vowed to strike back, and Israel claims that Iran has agents in 24 countries trying to organize attacks.
In the last year, Iranians have been arrested in eight countries and charged with planning terrorism against Israel. Documents, weapons and explosives have often been seized as well. Iran denies everything, but the pattern is embarrassing.
Bulgarian and Israeli investigators have tracked the July 18th attacks to a team that had spent at least a month in Bulgaria setting things up. It is believed that Iran used Hezbollah personnel to help organize this operation. The bomber appears to be a European (he had fair skin and blue eyes) who had been hired to smuggle drugs and that the bomb was set off remotely by the terrorist team that hired him. The bomber had no police record.
The bomb was apparently set off prematurely because the bomber (who had the bomb in his backpack) had gotten into an argument over wanting to carry his bag onto the bus instead of keeping in the cargo area under the passenger compartment. The bomber was carrying fake American documents and remains unidentified. How do they know he has no record if he's unidentified? Jim Dunnigan's Strategypage articles are good, but full of errors like this. At least he stopped writing wargame rulebooks. Wargamerz Rule: Thou shalt not speakest ill of Panzer Blitz
'It is simply wrong to recognize rights of Paleostinian refugees without recognizing rights of nearly one million Jewish refugees,' Congressman Nadler says after bipartisan legislation introduced. Berman: Double standard unacceptable
Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Howard Berman (D-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Joe Crowley (D-NY), and Bob Turner (R-NY) introduced bipartisan legislation on Tuesday to ensure recognition of the plight of the nearly one million Jewish refugees who were displaced from countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A statement from Nadler's office said the legislation would also recognize Christian and other displaced populations. The bill would strongly encourage President Barack Obama I've now been in 57 states -- I think one left to go... and representatives of the administration, when speaking on the issue of Middle Eastern refugees at international forums, to pair any explicit reference to Paleostinian refugees with similar reference to Jewish and other refugee populations.
Ooooooh, nasty. Our honourable president won't be able to say anything at all if he has to do that. A good thing -- his loving wife must be getting awfully tired of sewing his lips back on.
"The suffering and terrible injustices visited upon Jewish refugees in the Middle East needs to be acknowledged," said Nadler. "It is simply wrong to recognize the rights of Paleostinian refugees without recognizing the rights of nearly one million Jewish refugees, who suffered terrible outrages at the hands of their former compatriots. This no-nonsense legislation would help secure equal treatment of Paleostinian and Jewish refugees."
Ros-Lehtinen added that "Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Arab countries and Iran endured unimaginable hardships. Their plight has been ignored by the United Nations ...When talk is your weapon it's hard to make yourself heard over the sound of artillery... , other international bodies, and many responsible nations. Any comprehensive Middle East peace agreement can only be credible and enduring if it resolves all issues related to the rights of all refugees in the Arab world and Iran, including Jews, Christians and others."
'Correct this injustice'
According to Berman, "The double standard of acknowledging Paleostinian refugees, while ignoring Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, is unacceptable. In any discussion of a peace settlement, Jewish refugees deserve consideration and compensation equal to that of Paleostinian refugees. Without such parity, there can be no meaningful justice and thus no legitimate peace."
Fortunately for our beloved president's blood pressure, it isn't likely to be passed by the Democratic majority in the Senate
.Congressman Poe argued that "every refugee, regardless of ethnicity, is worthy of human dignity and respect. The United States should not be playing favorites by advocating for one group of refugees over another. It is time that we publicly recognize the struggle of all displaced groups, including the Jewish and Christian refugees. They are by definition a people that do not have a voice and need our help."
Turner stated that the "plight of Jewish refugees in the Middle East is often inexplicably and unconscionably overlooked. The nearly one million exiled Jewish refugees in the Middle East suffered at the hands of their compatriots and their hardships cannot continue to go unrecognized. This bill will work correct this injustice and provide equal recognition of rights for Jewish refugees."
The statement said that for more than 2,500 years, the large swath of territory extending from North Africa to Central Asia has been home to thousands of vibrant Jewish communities. Following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, however, the status of Jews in Arab and Moslem countries changed dramatically. When virtually all of Israel's neighbors declared war on the nascent Jewish state, many Jews in these countries were forcibly expelled from their homes. Jews were either uprooted from their countries of birth or became subjugated political hostages in the Arab world's conflict with Israel. In all, approximately 850,000 Jews left their homes. In virtually all cases, individual and communal properties were seized and/or confiscated by governments without any compensation provided.
According to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the international definition of a refugee clearly applies to Jews who were expelled, or fled, from Middle Eastern countries: "A refugee is a person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country..."
Yet, 172 of the 1088 United Nations resolutions on the Middle East conflict refer directly and exclusively to the plight of the Paleostinian refugees. None contains any reference to the plight of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees. But, on two separate occasions, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ruled that Jews fleeing from Arab countries were 'bona fide' refugees who "fall within the mandate of (the UNHCR) office."
In 2008, the House recognized the importance of the issue of refugees from Arab countries by passing H. Res. 185. This resolution urged the international community to consider all refugees equally when discussing Middle East refugee matters. It also urged the president to instruct US representatives to the United Nations and other international bodies to make certain that references to the Paleostinian refugees are matched by similar references to Jewish, Christian, and other refugees displaced from Middle Eastern countries.
Nadler's legislation builds on this action by recapitulating the key facts concerning the hundreds of thousands of refugees forced from Arab countries. It would also require a periodic report from the president which would explain how the Executive Branch has carried out the mandate of H. Res. 185, detail any assistance the United States has provided on the issue of Jewish refugees, and provide recommendations on how to ensure equal consideration of all refugees in any final Middle East peace deal.
US leader imposes fresh penalties on China, Iraq banks that assist 'increasingly desperate Iranian regime' to access international financial system
The new penalties target China's Bank of Kunlun and Iraq's Elaf Islamic Bank. In a statement, Obama said the sanctions make clear that the US will expose any financial institution that assists "the increasingly desperate Iranian regime" to access the international financial system.
Yes, yes. Whatever looks tough and keeps the Israelis from doing anything meaningful until it's too late, right Mr. President?
Wait a week and see how many exemptions to the new rule are issued...
This is a good summation of the report that was released yesterday. Issa has two more reports to release.
A new congressional report explores how gunwalking, as it occurred in Operation Fast and Furious, appears to have had its "genesis" in the offices of Attorney General Eric Holder's top deputies. Ah, so it didn't come from the evil Bush...
The report also lays blame for Fast and Furious at the feet of five senior Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) officials.
Gunwalking describes a law enforcement operation in which law enforcement agents choose not to interdict or seize firearms they know were illegally bought by straw purchasers -- in the case of Fast and Furious, representatives of Mexican drug cartels -- with the goal of allowing them to penetrate further into a criminal conspiracy chain.
Once Fast and Furious-related weapons were "walked" across the U.S.-Mexico border, they could only be recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States, or during raids other law enforcement officials conducted. Mexican drug cartel operatives commonly leave murder weapons at crime scenes so they aren't found with them at a later time.
Walking guns is tactically fraught with danger because those weapons are often used in crimes. In Fast and Furious, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in this way; so was Mario Gonzalez, the brother of now-former Mexican government prosecutor Patricia Gonzalez.
It also appears Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed with a Fast and Furious-related weapon. Mexican government officials have estimated that hundreds of people in their country were killed with the guns the Obama administration walked to Mexico.
Holder has denied he or anyone in the Department of Justice's leadership knew of or approved gunwalking related to Fast and Furious.
But this new congressional report, released Tuesday by House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley -- both Republicans -- concludes senior Obama administration officials appear to have set the stage for, and possibly encouraged, ATF officials to walk guns into Mexico.
A few days old but worth looking at to see how the US military is pivoting to meet future concerns.
WASHINGTON -- In a significant indication of where the Army anticipates it will be deployed over coming years, and what it will be doing there, the service is planning to relocate some of its vast overseas stores of combat equipment and alter the contents of other warehouse stocks to reflect the changing nature of the mission after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Large numbers of MRAPs, the armored troop carriers built to withstand the blast of improvised explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan, would be stored in Italy, where they could be transported for contingencies across Africa. Those could include disaster relief in hostile environments, civilian evacuations or counterinsurgency assistance to local security forces.
In addition, MRAPs would be sent to warehouses in the western Pacific for potential use during a conflict on the Korean Peninsula, under current planning being included in Pentagon budgets now taking shape, even as significant numbers are stored in Southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf region.
Plans call for the brigade-size stock of armored fighting vehicles now stored in Europe to be brought home, although other infantry and support equipment would remain. A primary mission for the gear to be stored in Europe would be to supply multilateral training exercises among American and allied troops.
The Army wants to locate sets of equipment that could be pulled from storage for multilateral training exercises and other contingencies in the Asia-Pacific region, most likely aboard ships and perhaps in Australia, officials say. Other Army storage sites around the world may see an increase in gear designed for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The Army emptied many of its overseas weapons warehouses to fight the wars of the past decade and is using the end of combat in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan to analyze where the gear -- officially called Army prepositioned stocks -- should be located, and exactly what types of equipment should be included to carry out the shifting Army mission.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, has set in motion the effort to "look for innovative approaches to align our forces to the global combatant commands and increase responsiveness and mobility," said Peter B. Bechtel, the Army's deputy director for plans and policy.
The challenge, Mr. Bechtel noted, is in choosing locations and organizing stockpiles for the global chain of storage sites, on land and afloat, that will let the Army remain ready for a major conflict but also accommodate a new era. The entire military is under orders to shrink the number of permanent bases abroad and work more closely with allies and partners in a shared effort to protect global security. At the same time, the military must broaden its readiness for noncombat missions.
In the past, most of the Army prepositioned stocks were intended for high-end combat operations, with a sense that the warehouses had invisible signs saying, "Break Glass in Case of the Big One," Mr. Bechtel said. The new stores would be designed for smaller-scale conflict, as well as for training and advising missions, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and civilian evacuation operations.
Army officials acknowledge that, in decades past, they have allowed weapons prepositioned for combat to become badly outdated. For example, when the Third Infantry Division arrived in Kuwait as the vanguard for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the tanks and fighting vehicles it drew from warehouses were inferior to those it had trained on in the United States.
The division's soldiers, in the words of one officer, were required to "train downward" to be effective on the older weapons. Mr. Bechtel and other Army officials said plans called for the Army's warehouses to be refilled with newer weapons.
The final shape of the Army's prepositioned stocks is dependent on Congressional funding and the agreement of host nations, officials noted.
Army officials said the current plans include maintaining two major sites in the United States, one on the Atlantic Coast and one on the Pacific, both of which would see increased stores of equipment necessary for disaster relief and consequence management in the United States and across the hemisphere.
While this gear might be useful after earthquakes and hurricanes, it would include protective equipment for first responders in a domestic emergency. The goal is to be able to equip 5,000 emergency workers within the first 96 hours of a catastrophe with gear like respirators, chemical protective suits, rescue equipment and mobile medical suites.
A storage site in Italy would be used for the MRAPs and other Army training, support and sustainment equipment. Warehouses in Japan and South Korea would store equipment for an entire heavy combat brigade whose troops might be flown to the region in an emergency, as well as for a support and sustainment brigade, to include MRAPs and field hospitals.
Warehouses in three nations of the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia would store enough equipment for a heavy brigade, an infantry brigade, an infantry battalion -- all with additional MRAPs -- as well as for sustainment and support units.
The Army is planning for a significant portion of the prepositioned stocks to be afloat, an effort that would include eight ships. Two vessels would be dedicated to munitions, with one assigned to the Pacific and one to the Middle East.
The other six ships, which could be sailed to conflict zones as required, would carry equipment for an infantry brigade with MRAPs, and a sustainment brigade. The vessels would carry equipment necessary for transforming a commercial port into a dock that could load and unload military equipment.
* SINA > RUSSIA WANTS ARCTIC OCEAN TO BE "RUSSIAN OCEAN"?
OTOH WASHINGTON TIMES > RUSSIA SEEKS [renewed]SEA POWER WID DECREPIT FLEET.
* CHINESE MILITARY FORUM > CHINA, SOUTH KOREA SLAM JAPAN CLAIMS OVER DISPUTED ISLANDS [China = Daoyus,Japan = Senkakus; ROK = Dokdo, Japan = Takeshima].
East China Sea rocks-n-reefs.
UW CONTINENTAL SHELFS?
* TOPIX > EXPERT: CHINA'S SITUATION IS LIKE THE USSR, + NO ONE WANTS TO BE GORBACHEV.
* SAME > EXPERT: JAPAN SEEKS MILITARY COMEBACK, i.e. "military independence" ultimately from USA as per review of newly released Defense White Paper.
* SAME > CHINESE NAVY HAS JAPAN WORRIED.
PLAN LR NavOps becoming more and more "routine" in strategic rear areas; Continued expansion of PLAN operating areas widin + beyond "First Island Chain".
OTOH SAME > JAPAN WARY OF CHINESE ARMY'S GROWING ROLE IN GOVT. POLICY.
1930'S Militarist Japan = 2012+ China + PLA???
* SAME > JAPAN'S PRO-BOMB VOICES [re-arm, indigenous nuke arsenal] RISE AS NUKE POWER DEBATED.
* SAME > JAPAN WORRIED OVER CHINA, TAIWAN CLAIMS TO OKINAWA SOVEREIGNTY | COMMENTARY: CHINA CAN AFFORD TO LOSE DAOYUS, BUT NOT OKINAWA.
* SAME > [CSIS Think-Tank] REPORT: [US should]MOVE MORE SUBS, AMPHIBS TO ASIA-PACIFIC REGION.
Among other, re-deploy three additional Subs to Guam, but rethink transfer of 4,700 Marines [down from 8000] from Okin to same.
IIUC, GUAM MAY SEE LESS THAN 1500 OKI MARINES PERMANENTLY STATIONED HERE???
* SAME > "RESPOND STRONGLY" TO INDIA [+ Vietnam's] MOVES IN SOUTH CHINA SEA: CHINESE MEDIA.
Unilateral Indo-Viet Oil-Gas/Energy Surveys, etc. in SCS widout Beijing's approval = gross violation of China's sovereign territory, CHINESE FAILURE TO RESPOND EFFECTIVELY OR DECISVELY TO ILLEGAL ACTIONS BY FOREIGN STATES TO BE SEEN AS A WEAKNESS TO BE EXPLOITED.
* SINA > JAPAN FM: US CONFIRMS DAOYU ISLANDS FALLS WITHIN US-JAPAN SECURITY TREATY.
* SINA > JAPAN MEMORIAL ON DAOYUS ISLANDS [WW2 Naval, Civilian dead on Daoyus] TO FURTHER POISON TIES WID CHINA.
All sounds very good on paper. However, unlike weapons in a rack, or ammo in sealed waterproof containers, MRAPS and the like, have systeme that need periodic exercising. When deployed, the civilian contractor tail for these systems is currently pretty large. Maintaining them at 10/20 Army readiness standards while afloat or in a depot will continue to be a huge challenge.
Most likely driven by what the Army calls operations tempo. Less use, longer life. Your estimate is probably on the low OPTEMPO level. Somehow they seem to keep those Japanese small trucks running. It will be the usual evolution of hanger queens [pristine but seldom used] and gradual cannibalization of the rest of the fleet to keep something going. Somewhere in their minds will be a trade off between hauling the big boys or loading into those Japanese trucks for missions. Remember, life is cheap in many of those areas. Better to save the use of something you may need in a big fight than burn it up doing the 'little stuff'.
[Dawn] The B.O. regime expressed renewed frustration with Pakistain on Tuesday, urging its reluctant counterterrorism ally to break remaining links between its security services and the Haqqani network and stem the flow of bomb-making material into Afghanistan.
A State Department report credited Pakistain's government with taking action against al-Qaeda last year, even though the United States acted unilaterally in the commando operation that killed the late Osama bin Laden ... who used to be but now ain't... in Pakistain. It called Islamabad's attempts weaker when it came to snuffing out groups such as the Haqqani network and Laskhar e-Taiba.
At a Senate confirmation hearing, the diplomat nominated to be America's next ambassador to Pakistain said that getting Islamabad to crack down on the Haqqani network would be his "most urgent" responsibility.
"This will be a primary focus of my activities and diplomatic engagement with Paks, to encourage further measures against the Haqqani network, further squeezing of the Haqqani network," Richard Olson said.
The Haqqani network, a subsidiary of the Taliban, is based in northern Pakistain but moves into Afghanistan to launch attacks on US and NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all.... forces before returning to Pak territory.
The Paks say they're doing all they can to rein in the Haqqanis, but elements in the Pak intelligence and military communities maintain relations with him to hedge their bets for when the United States leaves Afghanistan in 2014.
Congress has been pressuring the B.O. regime to slap the terrorist label on the network. By voice vote last week, the Senate approved a bill that would require the secretary of State to report to Congress on whether the Haqqani network meets the criteria to be designated a foreign terrorist organization and if not, to explain why.
The report is due within 30 days of the president signing the measure. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama I inhaled. That was the point... .
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States signed a deal regulating the shipment of American troop supplies to and from Afghanistan yesterday, prompting Washington to agree to release over $1 billion in frozen military aid.
The deal codifies a largely informal arrangement that has allowed the international coalition to truck supplies through Pakistan over the past decade. Pakistan pushed for a written pact during months of negotiations, and it is expected to be extended to other NATO countries.
US Charge d'Affaires Richard Hoagland, who signed the agreement for the US, called it a "concrete very positive step."
"Of course it's clear to our political leadership in both capitals ... that we have a number of other issues to work on," said Hoagland at the signing ceremony at the Pakistani Ministry of Defense in Rawalpindi.
The route through Pakistan will be vital to the scheduled withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in 2014, one of the reasons the US finally agreed to Islamabad's demand that it apologize for the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers. The US had to compensate for the temporary closure by using a longer route into Afghanistan through Central Asia that cost an additional $100 million per month.
Agreement reached on acceptable design for judoka's headscarf, says Saudi National Olympic Committee spokeswoman
They folded. What a surprise.
One of Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in their national face... 's two first female Olympians will take part in the judo competition after agreement was reached on an acceptable design for an Islamic headscarf, or hijab, officials said on Monday.
"All three parties agreed this afternoon on the headscarf and she will compete... They agreed on a design and she will compete wearing this design," said Razan Baker, Saudi National Olympic Committee spokeswoman.
Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani had said she would not compete in the +78 kg category on Friday unless she was allowed to wear the hijab but judo officials had refused her request, saying it would be dangerous.
But Saudi Arabia is the country that thrust schoolgirls back into a burning building to die, rather than let them be seen with less than all-concealing modesty. The safety of their daughters is of no importance compared to that.
"She will compete," International Judo Federation front man Nicolas Messner said on Monday, declining to give further details.
If muslims were allowed sex or to at least integrate/chat ie friendship with the opposite sex before marriage they wouldnt be so randy/sexist and treat their women like sex slaves who belong in the kitchen/house when married with no power whatseoever to say no to sex.
We have Irish gypsies in UK who marry at 16 with little education whose job is keep their caravan/mobile home clean and not allowed to work/leave the caravan during the day.
All parties agreed? Did this include the opponents?
I believe in the standardized uniform, color variations notwithstanding. Same material, same cut for these martial/sports. The immediate question, outside of the safety concern of the participant, would be does it offer a competitive advantage? I'm not up to speed on what the Judo rules are in the Olympics, but would the headgear make a throat choke or grapple more difficult?
And to be fair, I thought the flag on the face screen in USA women's fencing was out of line (decorative painting of the outside of a safety helmet such as in the floor hockey is different, painting the face screen is a distraction to the opponent making it more difficult to see and judge the face of the opponent).
Speaking of suspect judging as well as fencing, I would be concerned for sacky's opponents; watching a South Korean beat up on one the women's fencing favorites I could taste the judge pulling every string possible against the SKOR, to even giving a yellow card for challenging a ruling.
As a fencer, I do not look into my opponent's mask. I watch their joints -- elbows, shoulders, knees and wrists. That is where their threat comes from, and I must respect that. Their face is a distraction that must be ignored.
London's International Institute for Strategic Studies says financial vise placed on Tehran by West prompted changes in Islamic Theocratic Republic's pursuit of advances ballistic missiles
Of course, the only way to really know is to send armed men in army boots tramping through...
The financial sanctions and oil embargo imposed on Iran by the West have affected the Islamic Theocratic Republic's ballistic missile development program, a new report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies said Monday.
According to the London-based IISS, the financial sanctions "have stymied efforts to develop and produce the long-range ballistic missiles capable of striking potential targets in western Europe and beyond."
Oh. That's ok then. Tea?
The sanctions, and especially trade embargos placed in the exports of information technology components and knowledge, have prevented the Islamic Theocratic Republic from accessing key propellant ingredients and components needed for the continued development of its missile program.
IISS believes that the problems Iran is facing have stemmed the development of its long-range Ghadr missiles -- Ghadr-1 has a maximum range of roughly 1,600km when and carries some 750kg of explosives; as well as its Sajjil missiles -- Sajjil-2 has a maximum range of about 2,000km and can carry a 1,300--1,500kg warhead.
According to the IISS, Sajjil-2 offers Iran three significant strategic benefits: It is based in solid fuel, requires smaller logistical infrastructure and because of its relatively compact design it can be easily fitted on road-mobile launchers.
Sajjil-2's range is superior to that of the Ghadr-1 and it can reach Israel; and moreover, Sajjil technology could provide the foundation for the development of longer-range missiles.
But Iran has only tested the Sajjil-2 about 20 times -- not enough to make the missile operational -- and IISS said that Tehran would need to conduct "at least another half-dozen flight tests" before the missile could be deployed.
"Iran's missile-related activities suggest that the reason for the hiatus is not that it is seeking to avoid provoking international opprobrium for violating UN sanctions," the institute said, adding it is more likely that a major design flaw was discovered.
Meanwhile, ...back at the secret hideout, Scarface Al sneeringly put his proposition to little Nell... US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ...current SecDef, previously Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Panetta served as President Bill Clinton's White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997 and was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1977 to 1993.... is expected to arrive in Israel on Tuesday, as part of a Mideast tour.
Speaking to news hounds on his plane, Panetta said that "With regards to where Israel is right now, my view is that they have not made any decisions with regards to Iran and that they continue to support the international effort to bring pressure against Iran" to stop its nuclear program.
Panetta will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Panetta's visit follows that of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ... sometimes described as For a good time at 3 a.m. call Hillary and at other times as Mrs. Bill, never as Another Charles Evans Hughes ... , US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Republican presidential hopeful Willard Mitt Romney ...former governor of Massachussetts, currently the presumptive Publican nominee for president. He is the son of the former governor of Michigan, George Romney, who himself ran for president after saving American Motors from failure, though not permanently. Romney's charisma is best defined as soporific, which is probably why he is leading the Publican field. On the plus side, he isn't President B.O...
It's like Grand Central Station over there for some reason.
Wehell, lessirree, the US-Allies believe NORTH KOREA only has enough Nucmats stockpiled to dev a handful of primitive Nukes, yet a US Think-tank weirdly-n-mysteriously says that North Korea has COUPLE HUNDRED-PLUS Tactical Nuclear Weapons already aimed at South Korea - thats NORTH KOREA SPECIFICALLY, NOT CHINA OR CHINA-N-DPRK.
More, the CIA is being criticized for being at least 10 years behind in its assessment of Pakistan's dev of its NucProg.
One has to wonder iff IRAN also suffers from the above "NORTH KOREA/PAKISTAN" SYNDROME as per accurate or reliable US Govt. Analyses of its NucProg???
The deficit in the Palestinian Authority's budget for 2012 has reached more than $1b., PA Finance Minister Nabil Qassis revealed Wednesday.
He said that a decrease in foreign aid and failure of donor countries to fulfill their financial pledges to the PA were behind the severe crisis hitting the government in Ramallah.
Qassis told Palestinian legislators in Ramallah that the PA has reached understandings with Israel on ways of combating tax evasion. He was referring to an agreement that was signed Tuesday between PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz about broadening economic cooperation and improving tax collection on goods which the PA imports through Israeli ports.
The agreement also calls for setting up a pipeline to transport fuels directly from Israeli ports to the PA. Until now, fuels had been transferred to the PA territories by trucks.
I hope Israel gets a generous cut...
Qassis said that tax collection in the PA territories has been below expectations. He said that the main reason for the financial crisis was the state of uncertainty regarding foreign aid to the PA. "Without foreign aid, the Palestinian Authority can't cover its expenses," he added.
And much like any other blue state, they couldn't possibly cut expenses...
Which is why they've simply not been paying anyone. It's simpler, and only annoys the payees...and those to whom they owe money.
Referring to last week's report by the World Bank, which said that the Palestinian economy was still unsustainable, Qassis blamed Israel, saying: "If anyone thinks that our economy would be able to sustain itself under occupation, they are deluding themselves. We don't even control our national resources."
The lies they tell to each other to justify their hate -- and this time they aren't even bothering to conceal it in Arabic.
[Ma'an] The deputy leader of the Islamic movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal al-Khateib, said Tuesday that the Israeli municipal council of Jerusalem planned to transform the yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound into public parks and gardens, to make them accessible for the Jews to visit at any time.
Speaking to news hounds, Al-Khateib said that the process of 'Judaising' Jerusalem had been accelerated since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. "The occupation is working to efface the Paleostinian features in the holy city through unprecedented procedures they carried out this month," he added.
"For the first time, the occupation has allowed settlers and gunnies to access Al-Aqsa compound during Ramadan paying no attention to the feelings of the Moslem worshipers there," he said. "Meanwhile, ...back at the mall, Clarissa spent the day shopping for new underwear. Tonight was going to be a special occasion... the municipality which represents the occupation approved a decision to consider the yards in Al-Aqsa compound public parks which anybody can access."
In mid-July Paleostinian officials denounced Yehuda Weinstein, the Israeli attorney general, after he claimed that the Al-Aqsa area was part of Israel and referred to the mosque's courtyards as public space.
Weinstein was quoted on Israeli news sites as saying the area was under Israeli jurisdiction for matters such as planning and building, and said the courtyard was for public use.
In his remarks Tuesday, Al-Khateib said soldiers tossed in the clink Yez got nuttin' on me, coppers! Nuttin'! the imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday while he was praying. "Israeli troops stormed the mosque and prevented worshipers from completing their prayer," he said.
On Thursday a mosque guard told Ma'an that 20 rightists entered the grounds of the holy site.
Fortification of water, power, facilities to begin next week at companies' expense; Home Front Command to oversee project
The fortification of dozens of critical infrastructure facilities, including water, power, oil refineries and communication towers, is set to begin next week, Ynet learned Tuesday.
The massive project, headed by a designated Home Front Command division is estimated at tens of millions of shekels -- a cost carried in full by the companies undergoing the security upgrade. The facilities in question have been defined by the government as "strategic facilities" that may be targeted in an event of a military strike against Israel.
The project, which includes the use of reinforced concrete alongside other protective measures, aims to see the facilities either withstand a hit completely or sustain "containable damage," i.e. -- provide them with the ability to resume regular activity as soon as possible.
The project will be headed by the National Infrastructure Division -- a new department formed in the Home Front Command.
The division is headed by an officer holding the rank of lieutenant-colonel who, in concert with a team of specialists, will map out Israel's critical infrastructure facilities and outline their necessary fortification. The new division will also help the facilities ward off cyber-attacks.
The first phase of the project is set to start next week. The cabinet will vote on the second phase, which is set to include 15 facilities, in two weeks.
Already done, How about Urban Affairs Czar? Roll up all those kids who want to qualify for college loan forgiveness, spend a year in education camp, then 2 years refitting and repairing blight urban neighborhoods and/or natural disaster relief, then pass a verbal test conducted by a panal of three select judges covering such issues as poverty, racial equality, urban planning and justice. Certain members may be selected to be approached for future education camp instructors, others will be allowed to continue on to college with some requiring additional social program education or further two year re-inlistment. Give it, oh, about the same funding as Defense.
Or you can pay for college yourself, but you must live off-campus and cannot use a vehicle on-campus as you would be taking the spot of someone your lecherously greedy forefathers or worse, youself, took wealth from already you rich bst'd. Any lip and we make you wear a special hat.
BEIRUT: The humanitarian crisis in Syria has grown to such dimensions that at least $500 million in aid is required to meet the needs of the Syrian people, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said in an appeal to donors.
"We are calling for increased humanitarian efforts and cooperation between international and regional organizations in order to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to the Syrian people in Syria and in neighbouring countries," said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, head of the OIC. "The amount of aid needed for Syria is $500 million."
More than 276,000 Syrians have fled their country since March 2011, according to UN refugee agency figures released yesterday. The UNHCR also said thousands of people, forced to leave their homes in Aleppo, had sought shelter in schools and a university dormitory.
Buoyed by the fighters' success in resisting the massive assault by troops backed by tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships, leading dissident Haytham Al-Maleh announced in Cairo that he had been tasked with forming a government in exile. But the Syrian National Council said it is too early to form a government in exile and that Al-Maleh's announcement was damaging.
Following last week's announcement from the U.S. Air Force that its 30,000 pound bunker-buster bomb, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), was ready for action, Iran's state-owned media outlet PressTV has published an angry reply.
Moves this week by the United States to position specialized massive "Penetrator" bombs for an attack on Iran clearly demonstrate a total lack of grasp by key players of the risks involved and the chain of events that will inexorably follow.
This week, a threat against Iran by the United States was published by the UK Telegraph. Peter Foster, of their Washington Bureau met with Mike Donnelly, US Air Force Secretary to question him about deployment of experimental "bunker buster" bombs...He has no combat experience and cannot fly an airplane. He is a perfect choice to run an Air force.
The Bammer prefers diplomacy vee Iran, while Iran per se doesn't want War as it slowly but steadily nuclearizes. The Radical/Mad Mullahs in past have made it quite clear that any US-Iran War will be a War to the Death, a War of Unilateral iff not Mutual Annihilation [Mutual Destruction = MAD].
It must also be remembered that ...
> World Islam is out to avoid its own self-obsolescence + USSR-style implosion.
> Promise/Idealism of "Globalism" - the Major Nations-Powers of the World willingly share Power + Authority wid the Lessor - ergo, the dominant Judeo-Christian Powers share wid non-Judeo-Christian, e.g. ISLAM, ETAL.
> "Globalism" + OWG-NWO = consistent wid the concept of Islamist desired "Caliphate" = consistent wid the concept again f "Islamic /Muslim Superpower".
IRAN + ISLAM = among other, ask WHY SHOULD THE CHRISTIANS + JEWS [Israel] + BUDDHIST STATES [India, China] HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS, BUT NOT THEM?
The above being said, "GREAT GAME"/SUBSTITUTION OF NATIONS GOES ON IRREGARDLESS > LT major weakness, decline on the part of the econ troubled, Judeo-Christian US-WEST = SOMEONE(S) NEW MUST TAKE OVER AS LEADER, + Iran has no trouble iff its Iran.
IOW, LT NATIONAL WEAKNESS, DECLINE ON THE PART OF THE US IS PERHAPS THE GREATEST OR ULTIMATE THREAT TO THE US, AS IT WILL INSPIRE SMALLER BUT AGGRESSIVE NATIONS [Iran] TO EXPAND THEIR BORDERS + INFLUENCE, POLITICALLY ANDOR MILITARILY, TO THE DETRIMENT OR DESTRUCTION OF AMERICA ANDOR WORLD JUDEO-CHRISTIANITY.
* IIRC 1990's DISCOVERY OR "ANIMAL PLANET" > All thingys equal, IT IS THE DESTINY OF A LION KING TO BE OVERTHROWN, by his Own or by Outside Forces.
Iran will turn de facto militarily
"offensive/belligerent" once it is convinced the US = US-West are too weak to prevail. AT THIS TIME, IN THE PERSIAN GULF + STRAITS OF HORMUZ, IRAN DOES NOT INTEND TO ABSOLUTELY DEFEAT THE US, ONLY TO "NOT LOSE" - ITS BEST WEAPON IN DEFENSE OF ITS NUCPROGS ARE PEACE-MINDED POLITICIANS + DEDICATED SOCIAL ACTIVISTS, THE MSM-NET, + NERVOUSY TWITCHY EASY-TO-PANIC US CONGRESSCRITTERS. Iran doesn't have to sink all of the USN in the Gulf = SoH, just damage it enuff + US Polities, Institutions do the rest to Iran's benefit.