May 19 (Bloomberg) -- As U.S. troops deploy in southern Afghanistan for a new anti-insurgency push, Afghan General Salendar Shah Behnam says his intelligence is picking up another movement: of 250 Taliban into the western province of Farah.
A planned U.S. offensive this summer threatens to push insurgents into the west, roiling previously calm areas that border Iran, Afghan and Italian commanders say. The classic Hammer and Marshmallow tactical maneuver.
The influx of Taliban, combined with violence linked to Afghanistan's Aug. 20 elections, could lead to "several hot hot months," Brigadier General Rosario Castellano, commander of 3,900 NATO troops in the west, told reporters in Herat.
As part of President Barack Obama's push to focus military efforts on Afghanistan, the U.S. is sending 17,000 troops to the south of the country to quell Taliban activity that British, Canadian and Dutch forces have struggled to contain. The first U.S. airborne units have started arriving at Kandahar airport.
"The Taliban are like a balloon, you push one place and they show up elsewhere," General Esmatulla Alizai, 52, the police chief for the province of Herat, the most populated province in the west, told reporters May 16. "The extra Americans will have a positive impact on security in Helmand but could cause problems here."
With the new Taliban moving into Farah, which is wedged between Herat and Helmand provinces, their numbers there total about 400, said Major General Behnam, commander of the Afghan Army's 207th Corps, which covers the same western zone as the Italian-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces. Behnam said another 500 Taliban fighters are based in the north of the western zone, where the population is mostly Pashtun, the ethnic group that provides most of the Taliban's support. The western population is largely Tajik and Hazara.
Benham has 5,000 soldiers under his command, up from 3,000 a year ago, and should have 8,000 by the end of the year. He's also received 60 Humvees and 270 other light armored vehicles so far this year. In July, an extra 450 Spanish and 450 Italian soldiers will arrive to provide security during the election.
On the night of May 15, an Italian patrol was ambushed in Badghis province, north of Herat, the second firefight for the Italian contingent in three days. In both cases, the Italians shot back and didn't sustain casualties.
"Italians are going to have to get used to these things happening more and more," Castellano, a 49-year-old Italian paratrooper, said in an interview at NATO's main base near Herat, the capital of the province of the same name, and Afghanistan's second-largest city after Kabul.
The Italian-run base, which houses 1,900 soldiers including Spanish, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Albanian, and Bulgarian troops, has a pizzeria capable of producing 700 pies a day, a restaurant complete with aquarium, two cafes, and a fully equipped gym. None of the 2,200 Italian soldiers based in western Afghanistan has died in combat. Six Italians have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002, all in the Kabul region.
By contrast, the U.K. has lost 21 soldiers in southern Afghanistan since the start of this year. Six Afghan police were killed May 17 in an attack on checkpoint in Helmand.
Herat, with a population of about 500,000 and animated tree-lined avenues, has few of the police checkpoints and concrete blast barriers that mar central Kabul.
Yet even though there hasn't been an attack on Italian soldiers in the city center since 2006, the Italians take few chances. On a recent visit to take reporters to a hospital, a school, and a woman's jail and training center the Italians have built, the journalists and Italian diplomats were protected by six naval commandos and two armored vehicles.
When NATO expanded beyond Kabul in 2004, it divided the country into five areas. Italy took four provinces in the west, Germany took the even-quieter north; the U.S., the volatile east along the Pakistani border, and Britain, Canada and the Netherlands alternated command of the south. The Kabul area switches among France, Italy and Turkey.
The U.S. push into the south will lift the number of U.S. troops to about 43,000 from 26,000. Another 42 nations have 35,000 soldiers in the country, led by Britain's 9,885.
Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Washington yesterday that the next two years will be pivotal in Afghanistan. "I'm hopeful that we'll see the trends turn," Mullen told an audience at the Brookings Institution policy research group. "I think we need to make it happen pretty quickly."
Castellano said insurgent activity is likely to pick up this summer because the Taliban will be flush with cash from their opium poppy harvest.
Two-thirds of Afghanistan's poppies are grown in Helmand, with 103,000 hectares (250,000 acres) under cultivation, three times the area in 2002, according to the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Overall, the number of hectares given over to poppies fell 19 percent in Afghanistan, though it remained constant in Helmand.
The need to protect the drug trade may limit the Taliban's willingness to shift operations to other parts of the country. "They will fight hard in Kandahar and Helmand because the majority of their poppy crops and their funding comes from there," said Colonel Gregg Julian, a Kabul-based spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
South Korea's naval unit operating off the coast of Somalia has been placed on high alert over Somali pirates' possible attacks using U.S. surface-to-air guided missiles against its helicopter, according to intelligence and Navy sources Monday.
The National Intelligence Service and the Defense Security Command recently provided the classified information to the Cheonghae Unit that Somali pirates seemed to have acquired ``Stinger'' missiles from al-Qaeda, said the sources.
The Stinger missile is a personal portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile developed in the United States for service in 1981. The shoulder-launched weapon has to date been responsible for downing 270 aircraft. The missile can hit targets flying as high as 3,500 meters at a speed of Mach 2. It has a range of eight kilometers.
``Cheonghae has been put on alert since its Lynx helicopter doesn't have any single sensor system against Stinger-like guided anti-aircraft missiles,'' an intelligence source told The Korea Times on condition of anonymity.
The unit reported the potential threat missiles to the Navy command here and requested data on the weapon, the source said.
To avoid an anti-aircraft attack when taking pictures of Somali pirates during missions for public affairs, the unit also asked the Navy headquarters to send a 400mm zoom lens to replace the current 300mm lens, he said. With a 300mm lens, a photographer can take a picture of target up to 1.5 kilometers away, but a 400mm lens doubles the range.
A military spokesman in Seoul said there was no confirmed intelligence that Somali pirates had secured Stinger missiles, citing sources from the Combined Forces Maritime Component Command based in Bahrain and Korean military attaches to embassies in the Middle East. "We're aware that Somali insurgents have Stinger missiles, but the pirates don't at the moment as far as we know,'' the spokesman said. ``However, we will come up with proper countermeasures to thwart potential anti-aircraft attacks from the pirates in the mid- to long-term, including equipment modifications.''
The South Korean Navy operates 24 anti-submarine warfare versions of the Lynx, built by the U.K.-Italy joint venture AugustWestland. The Navy wants to equip these with basic missile protection systems, such as flare launchers; infra-red guided missile countermeasure devices, nicknamed ``disco balls''; and radar warning receivers (RWR), according to a military source.
He said the manufacturer has shown its willingness to conduct modification work for the helicopters immediately even in Djibouti, where the Korean unit is based, if required. "The best option is to fit required infra-red guided missile countermeasures systems to the Lynx helicopter as soon as possible,'' the source said. ``If not, we hope the modification work will be implemented for the second Cheonghae unit to be dispatched by September.''
A defense expert called on the JCS to take quick steps to protect South Korean sailors operating off the Somali coast. "If the intelligence proves true, it's quite urgent to take measures to prevent our personnel being killed in a possible anti-air attack by pirates,'' the expert said, asking to remain anonymous. ``We can't exclude the possibility of a `Lynx down' situation similar to an incident where U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by Somali insurgents in the early 1990s.''
Since it was deployed in March, the 4,500-ton destroyer-based Korean naval contingent has shown one of the most outstanding anti-piracy performances among coalition forces operating off the coast of Somalia. Since it began operations last month, the unit's Lnyx carrying sharpshooters has successfully rescued four foreign vessels, including a North Korean cargo ship, from the heavily-armed pirates.
Algerian security forces killed five Al-Qaeda militants in Tizi Ouzou province 120 kilometers to the east of Algiers, a statement by the Algerian authority said Monday. The terrorists were killed by an ambush set by the security forces to prevent them from attacking the area, it said. The authorities seized five AK-47 machineguns as well as ammunitions and transferred the corpses to the hospital to identify them, it said.
Security and army forces killed six militia members in different Algerian areas since the beginning of May. The attacks targeted Al-Qaeda hideouts such as in Boumerdas and Tizi Ouzou.
Law enforcers on Monday arrested 617 more Bangladesh Rifles soldiers in 11 districts in connection with rebellion at their battalion and sector headquarters on the second day of the February 25-26 mutiny at the border guards Dhaka headquarters.
Of them, 106 soldiers were arrested at Teknaf in Coxs Bazar, 93 in Rajshahi, 78 in Khagrachhari, 72 in Netrakona, 49 in Mymen-singh, 44 in Jamalpur, 54 in Naogaon, 43 in Moulvi-bazar, 30 in Chapainawab-ganj, 25 in Thakurgaon and 23 in Sunamganj.
In Teknaf, the BDR members were arrested at the sector headquarters of 42 Rifles Battalion in the morning. In Rajshahi, a joint team of the police and the Rapid Action Battalion arrested 65 rebellion suspects at 37 Rifles Battalion and 28 at sector sadar. In Khagrachhari, the police arrested 78 suspected BDR members at two different sectors in a sedition case. In Jamalpur, the police arrested the suspected rebels from the sector headquarters of 6 Riffles Battalion in the morning in a sedition case.
All the soldiers were produced in the respective courts from where they were sent to the jail on Monday.
So far, a total of 1,665 soldiers have been arrested in 35 sedition cases in 30 districts.
In Dhaka, seven more soldiers made their confessional statements in the chief metropolitan magistrate court on Monday. After recording their statements, the soldiers were sent to Dhaka Central Jail in the evening.
The Criminal Investigation Department of police, assigned to investigate the BDR carnage case, produced 47 other soldiers in the CMM court on Monday afternoon. The CID sought seven-day remand for deputy assistant director Touhidul Alam the main suspect, and 10-day for 46 others after producing them in the court of metropolitan magistrate Muminul Hasan.
With the latest, a total of 195 people are now on remand in the CID police custody.
The lawmen have so far arrested 1,386 people, mostly soldiers, in connection with the case filed with New Market police station and 85 of them, including three civilians, made their confessional statements in the court.
Posted by: Steve White ||
05/19/2009 00:00 ||
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Four suspected cadres of outlawed Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), arrested on Sunday night, were sent to jail yesterday.
The arrestees are Shakil Hasan, 31, of Gradoba village in Gangni upazila of Meherpur, Zahidul Islam, 30, of Durgapur village in Matlab upazila of Chandpur, Shimul Hossain, 21, of Binni village and Atiqur Rahman, 26, of Shraftala village in Harinakundu upazila of Jhenidah.
Posted by: Steve White ||
05/19/2009 00:00 ||
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Meet the new guy...
WASHINGTON Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the ascetic who is set to become the new top American commander in Afghanistan, usually eats just one meal a day, in the evening, to avoid sluggishness. He is known for operating on a few hours sleep and for running to and from work while listening to audio books on an iPod. In Iraq, where he oversaw secret commando operations for five years, former intelligence officials say that he had an encyclopedic, even obsessive, knowledge about the lives of terrorists, and that he pushed his ranks aggressively to kill as many of them as possible.
But General McChrystal has also moved easily from the dark world to the light. Fellow officers on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he is director, and former colleagues at the Council on Foreign Relations describe him as a warrior-scholar, comfortable with diplomats, politicians and the military man who would help promote him to his new job. Hes lanky, smart, tough, a sneaky stealth soldier, said Maj. Gen. William Nash, a retired officer. Hes got all the Special Ops attributes, plus an intellect.
If General McChrystal is confirmed by the Senate, as expected, he will take over the post held by Gen. David D. McKiernan, who was forced out on Monday. Obama administration officials have described the shakeup as a way to bring a bolder and more creative approach to the faltering war in Afghanistan.
Most of what General McChrystal has done over a 33-year career remains classified, including service between 2003 and 2008 as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, an elite unit so clandestine that the Pentagon for years refused to acknowledge its existence. But former C.I.A. officials say that General McChrystal was among those who, with the C.I.A., pushed hard for a secret joint operation in the tribal region of Pakistan in 2005 aimed at capturing or killing Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Ladens deputy. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld canceled the operation at the last minute, saying it was too risky and was based on what he considered questionable intelligence, a move that former intelligence officials say General McChrystal found maddening.
When General McChrystal took over the Joint Special Operations Command in 2003, he inherited an insular, shadowy commando force with a reputation for spurning partnerships with other military and intelligence organizations. But over the next five years he worked hard, his colleagues say, to build close relationships with the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. He won praise from C.I.A. officers, many of whom had stormy relationships with commanders running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He knows intelligence, he knows covert action and he knows the value of partnerships, said Henry Crumpton, who ran the C.I.A.s covert war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks.
As head of the command, which oversees the elite Delta Force and units of the Navy Seals, General McChrystal was based at Fort Bragg, N.C. But he spent much of his time in Iraq commanding secret missions. Most of his operations were conducted at night, but General McChrystal, described nearly universally as a driven workaholic, was up for most of the day as well. His wife and grown son remained back in the United States.
General McChrystal was born Aug. 14, 1954, into a military family. His father, Maj. Gen. Herbert J. McChrystal Jr., served in Germany during the American occupation after World War II and later at the Pentagon. General Stanley McChrystal was the fourth child in a family of five boys and one girl; all of them grew up to serve in the military or marry into it. Theyre all pretty intense, said Judy McChrystal, one of General McChrystals sisters-in-law, who is married to the eldest child, Herbert J. McChrystal III, a former chaplain at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
General McChrystal graduated from West Point in 1976 and spent the next three decades ascending through conventional and Special Operations command positions as well as taking postings at Harvard and the Council on Foreign Relations. He was a commander of a Green Beret team in 1979 and 1980, and he did several tours in the Army Rangers as a staff officer and a battalion commander, including service in the Persian Gulf war of 1991.
One blot on his otherwise impressive military record occurred in 2007, when a Pentagon investigation into the accidental shooting death in 2004 of Cpl. Pat Tillman by fellow Army Rangers in Afghanistan held General McChrystal accountable for inaccurate information provided by Corporal Tillmans unit in recommending him for a Silver Star. The information wrongly suggested that Corporal Tillman had been killed by enemy fire.
At the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, where General McChrystal directs the 1,200-member group, he has instituted a daily 6:30 a.m. classified meeting among 25 top officers and, by video, military commanders around the world. In half an hour, the group races through military developments and problems over the past 24 hours.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, brought General McChrystal back to Washington to be his director last August, and the physical proximity served General McChrystal well, Defense officials said. In recent weeks, Admiral Mullen recommended General McChrystal to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as a replacement for General McKiernan.
One other thing to know about General McChrystal: when he was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2000, he ran a dozen miles each morning to the councils offices from his quarters at Fort Hamilton on the southwestern tip of Brooklyn.If you asked me the first thing that comes to mind about General McChrystal, said Leslie H. Gelb, the president emeritus of the council, I think of no body fat.
PESHAWAR: Pakistan's military said yesterday troops were locked in fierce street battles with Taleban fighters in the northwest, where a rights group accused both sides of killing civilians. Military officials said government forces were advancing on several fronts towards Mingora, the Taliban-held main town in the Swat valley-once a scenic tourist hotspot but ripped apart by a two-year battle to enforce sharia law.
The blistering offensive against Islamist militants, who are said to threaten the sovereignty of the nuclear-armed nation, has concentrated increasingly on the valley in what the government calls a mission to "eliminate" militants. "We had to launch a military operation because these people challenged the writ of the government. They declared democracy, parliament, the constitution and judiciary as un-Islamic," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said.
We were left with no option... we will not allow a state within a state," he told a conference of influential Islamic scholars convened to drum up support for the military operation, now bogged down into a fourth week. Pakistan's military said there were fierce clashes in the Taliban-held town of Matta as well as in Kanju, which is a short distance from Mingora, with four soldiers and 14 insurgents killed in the two towns.
In the last 24 hours, 16 militants were also killed, the army said. Footage broadcast on private Pakistani television channel Geo showed armed soldiers standing outside locked shops in the main bazaar in Matta, a bastion of Maulana Fazlullah who has led a two-year uprising to enforce Islamic law. "Troops continue to close in on Mingora, from where Taleban are trying to escape but our strategy is not to let them flee," a security official said.
He said the chief objective in coming days was "to take over the Taliban's main headquarters in Peochar," where commandos opened a new front last week. Intense battles were also reported in Takhta Bund, described as the main Taleban supply route. Elsewhere in northwest Pakistan, troops clashed with Taleban militants, killing 13 rebels in the semi-autonomous Mohmand tribal area near the border with Afghanistan, the paramilitary Frontier Corps said.
Pakistan is under US pressure to crush militants whom Washington has branded as the greatest terror threat to the West. More than 1.45 million people have been displaced across the region by the fighting since May 2, however, raising alarm among humanitarian agencies.
The military says up to 15,000 troops are taking on about 4,000 well-armed fighters in Swat, where Islamabad has ordered a battle to eradicate fighters who advanced to within 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Pakistani capital. US-based Human Rights Watch blamed Taleban militants using "human shields" and Pakistani military strikes for a high loss of civilian life. It quoted residents as saying that the Taleban mined Mingora and "prevented many civilians from fleeing, using them as 'human shields' to deter attack".
The group also said Pakistani forces "appeared to have taken insufficient precautionary measures in aerial and artillery attacks that have caused a high loss of civilian life." Authorities say more than 1,030 militants and at least 53 troops have been killed in a three-pronged onslaught launched in the districts of Lower Dir on April 26, Buner on April 28 and Swat on May 8.
But Pakistani commentators praised the military for moving into towns, warning operations would be deadly but were vital for the military to really flush out Taleban strongholds. "Even US troops never engaged in street battles in Afghanistan," defense and political analyst Talat Masood told AFP. "Obviously there will be more casualties when you face the enemy frontally. Here you are very close to the enemy and directly in their firing range.-AFP
Would someone please get the word out to Islamic boys that Taliban, Al Qaeda warriors, et al just plain suck against even a poorly trained, poorly equipped, and highly corrupt army put forth by the shakiest of government. Pragmatic proof that Allah is not on their side. Those kids are being recruited by LOSERS.
Posted by: Richard of Oregon ||
05/19/2009 20:38 Comments ||
1,030 to 53. 20 to 1. That is almost NATO standards. It is truly hard to do better than that, because friendly fire and accidents becomes the majority of your casualties.
Would someone please get the word out to Islamic boys that Taliban, Al Qaeda warriors, et al just plain suck against even a poorly trained, poorly equipped, and highly corrupt army put forth by the shakiest of government.
Before 9/11, the Taliban were funded by the Saudis and provided training and logistical support by the Pakistani military. Without Saudi billions and Pakistani backing, the Taliban will become yet another example of the limitations of a guerrilla army without state support.
ISLAMABAD: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has demanded Rs 25 million in ransom, in addition to the release of its men, in exchange for releasing Afghanistans ambassador-designate to Pakistan Abdul Khalique. Khalique was kidnapped on September 22, 2008 outside his home in Peshawar. The Taliban killed his security guard when he tried to protect Khalique. According to a private TV channel, the Taliban have informed the Pakistan government of its demands.
Don't worry, you can pay for him with US aid money ...
Posted by: Steve White ||
05/19/2009 00:00 ||
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ISLAMABAD: The security forces said on Monday that they were ready to face the Taliban in urban warfare in the towns of Swat as the military operation entered a critical phase.
They might have to destroy the towns to save them ...
On Monday, troops consolidated their control of Peochar valley, a former Taliban stronghold, and destroyed a key training centre, ISPR spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said in his daily media briefing. A cordon and search operation continued in Matta, he said, adding that the town would soon be cleared of Taliban.
AFP said helicopters pounded Taliban hideouts in Fizaghat, four kilometres northeast of Mingora. Shelling also continued in Imam Dherai and in Takhta Bund, the main supply route for the Taliban holed up in Mingora.
Gen Abbas said 27 more Taliban, including three important commanders identified only as Okasha, Malanga and Riaz had been killed in 24 hours. Three security forces personnel including an officer had also died, he said.
Posted by: Steve White ||
05/19/2009 00:00 ||
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Got their SWAT windbreakers and a giant comm bus.
ISLAMABAD: The Taliban have vowed to resist military advances in the Swat Valley until their last breath ahead of potentially bloody urban battles. We will fight until the last breath for the enforcement of Islamic law, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan told The Associated Press by telephone. We consider ourselves on the right path.
Posted by: Steve White ||
05/19/2009 00:00 ||
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Like the Tamil Tigers, perhaps?
Posted by: N guard ||
05/19/2009 0:49 Comments ||
The Iraqi army released a kidnapped person on Monday after a hunt down operation in western Mosul, an army source said.
A force from the 6th brigade of the 2nd division of the Iraqi army in Mosul managed on Monday (May 18) to free a kidnapped person in al-Resala neighborhood in western Mosul, the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
The force suspected a car with two gunmen inside it at a checkpoint and pursued it, managing to seize it after the two gunmen fleed, he added, noting that they found the kidnapped man inside the trunk.
Iraqi army forces on Monday arrested a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraqi group in northern Mosul, a military source said. A force from the 3rd brigade of the Quick Response Department (QRD) arrested a senior leader from the Islamic State of Iraq in al-Arabi neighborhood in northern Mosul," the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
The operation occurred during an air drop waged by Iraqi helicopters, he added.
The forces found two guns with silencer in his possession, he said, noting that he was moving between Syria and Iraq, mainly Mosul.
Iraqi security forces arrested a member in the City Council in Diyala area during a council meeting on Monday. The forces arrested head of the Tawafuq (conciliation) Front bloc Abduljabbar Ali and took him to an unknown place, a security source in Diyala said in a statement.
For some good ol' fashioned Iraqi-style conciliatin', to be sure.
The council members were meeting in Baquba, Diyala's largest cities. Governor Abdunnaser Al-Muntaser issued a statement calling upon the government in Baghdad to release Ali as soon as possible.
Iraqi security forces surrounded the City Council during its first session last February and said they would arrest council members involved in "terrorist" attacks. No arrests took place.
COLOMBO: COMMANDER of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Goonathilake have been promoted to their next ranks by His Excellency, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa in recognition of their services to the country in connection with the elimination of LTTE terrorism from Sri Lanka's soil.
Accordingly, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, Commander of the Army has been promoted to the rank of General with effect from Monday (18). The Army website is already updated with the new picture - the man's vain.
Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and Air Marshal Roshan Goonathilake have been promoted to the ranks of Admiral and Air Chief Marshal respectively, Presidential Media section announced.
Graphic video at link.
He was wearing his camouflage uniform and had taken a clean shave, thinking perhaps of his last few hours and the imminent danger. It took a little more time for the Army to scientifically confirm the identity of the butcher who had terrorized Sri Lanka, India and the region, who had carried out weapon and drug-smuggling across international waters, who had robbed the whole generation of Tamils a bright future and prosperity, who had conscripted more than 25,000 Tamil minors for violence, who had butchered 30,000-40,000 innocent civilians, Buddhist monks, Catholic priests, Moulavis, Hindu priests, Ministers, Politicians, service personnel, Tamil National leaders and the one who had duped the international community for over 25 years.
Picture at link, not for the queasy
New Delhi: The face looked like a death mask but the trademark moustache was there and the eyes were unmistaken in the piercing stare with which they transfixed friends and foes alike.
By now it is clear that Velupillai Prabhakaran, one of the world's dreaded guerrilla leaders is indeed dead, but questions abound on how exactly he died. Depends exactly when you were asking the question.
On Monday, soon after President Rajapakse spoke with foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee confirming Prabhakaran's death, the Sri Lankan military claimed that the Tiger chief and his key aides, including intelligence chief Pottu Amman and Sea Tigers chief Soosai were killed while trying to flee in a captured ambulance. The ambulance was fired upon by a barrage of bullets from an armoured personnel carrier, it blew up and most of the three occupants were charred beyond recognition. Yeah, what gives? The other story said he was burned and had to be DNA identified. Is this a dummy head from the SL government? Was there an info war screwup by releasing two stories on the most important goal of the war?
On Tuesday, hours after President Rajapakse addressed Sri Lanka's Parliament declaring victory, Sri Lanka's army commander General Sarath Fonseka confirmed that the body of Prabhakaran had been recovered. The official Lankan defence website said that the 53 Division commanded had found Prabhakaran's bullet ridden body lying on the bank of the Nanthikadal lagoon. Notice how he's no longer Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka?
There was no version of exactly how he had died. The international media have so far been barred from the conflict zone and all photographs and footage are being provided by state-owned sources and the media has to so far rely on claims and counter-claims made by the LTTE and the government. On Tuesday, S. Pathmanathan, head of the LTTE's international relations said that Prabhakaran was alive and well. A claim which was by noon apparently revealed as untrue.
There are theories that the entire LTTE leadership had committed suicide as earlier suggested by the wife of a senior commander, when their death at the hands of Lankan forces was a certainty on May 17. Clearly, an authentic account of the final moments of the LTTE leaders within the no-fire zone is yet to be revealed. And I'm eagerly awaiting it...
now LTTE website is stating that mario is not dead. I know propaganda and all , but this website didn't work for me but seen another pic on another website and it sure did look like him but not burned at all.
Only 3 LTTE leaders, other than Prabhakaran and his wife, knew of his whereabouts. Other than his son Charles Anthony, the only other LTTE leaders who knew where he was was Poddu Ammaan, the Intelligence Chief and the head of the LTTE`s Medical Unit, Reagan. Therer's a lesson to be learned here. It's pretty obvious to some of us, but it's a lesson.
The latter was taken in and detained for days until Military Intelligence got hold of him. Until then Regan had pretended he did not know Prabhakaran`s whereabouts. Did they use giggle juice? Or did they go for his pinky nails with electricians' pliers? Or some combination thereof?
Thanks to Reagan`s information, MI officers had clearly identified Prabhakaran`s lair by 16th evening/17th dawn. It probably wasn't waterboarding. That takes too long. And there have been dozens of instant experts on the news channels to tell us that it doesn't work.
They uncovered an elaborate plan by Prabhakaran and gang to breach the 53 FDL. The plan was to cross the lagoon to Mullaitivu-Weli Oya Jungles, from there to reach the Eastern Province (Batticaloa/Ampara) via Trincomalee, where `Colonel` Ram`s team was waiting. "53 FDL" = 53rd division forward defense line 'Colonel' Ram's team'='dead meat'
Within hours of this warning, on 17th May at dawn, Tigers had started their final operation. A daring sea borne operation was launched. All Army Divisions, forewarned, reacted swiftly but the Tigers managed to breach the FDL of the 53 Division at its weakest and take-out several bunkers killing 15 SLA. They also seized an Army Ambulance. Very rare to see any mention of SLA casualties in the press. I suppose it's fitting for the Tigers' last-gasp attack. Tiger ambos were suspect, of course. Too obvious a place for Porky to bravely hide.
Moments later, the 53 Division retaliated. A hail of RPG HEAT/Thermobaric rockets were fired. Around 200 LTTE cadres had died in the attack. 30 bodies were reduced to ashes. Limbs of the LTTE`s best were scattered all over the place. The captured ambulance was also hit in the melee and burnt swiftly. Chock full of O2 bottles? Or ammunition?
It was upon investigating the ambulance that 3 bodies, one of which resembled Prabhakaran`s body structure was discovered. "Sergeant! One of these guys is really fat!"
"Don't suppose he's got a moustache like Super Mario, does he?"
The body was blackened and beyond facial/physical recognition. But the Army knew it may very well be Prabhakaran. There was no other way for him to escape. And few among the Tigers lugged that much acreage around with them...
Prabhakaran should have been killed either in the box-in by the Special Forces, the retaliation by the 53 or he should have died injured somewhere along the lagoon. The closest to his remains have been found only inside the charred ambulance. One of the hardcore cadres captured alive in the attack claimed Prabhakaran was shot and injured in the fight. But he had heard it from an eyewitness, another hardcore cadre who was killed. So was it Porky? Or Junior? The picture al-Jizz ran described that body as Junior -- and it wasn't scorched, though he did have dirt in his mouth.
The charred bodies, including the one believed to be Prabhakaran were captured by the 53 Division, but were taken away by another Division.
Some 400 bodies were captured by the Army. 1,2, and 5 Special Forces led the clearing operation. The remains may include, in future, missing leaders from the list publicized by the government such as Lawrence, Karikalan, Papa, Ilanthirayan etc. The remains of top leaders like Poddu, Bhanu and Soosei were identified. Soosei was fighting till 17th evening until the Special Forces rid him of his mysery once and for all. He and Swarnam were the last brave LTTE leaders who held their ground and fought while others were trying to flee the scene.
The fate of the `missing` tiger leaders from the publicized government list will be `filled` in due course!
Hail and farewell, Super Mario. Though you caused needless deaths and miseries among your own people and among your enemies, we must acknowlege your leadership and military skills, which were formidable. Too bad you chose to use them in service to an impossible dream.
DNA test confirmed the body of Sri Lanka rebel leader
Although the rebel spokesman has denied the government's claim, saying on a pro-rebel website that Prabhakaran, is "alive and safe", the DNA tests have proved that the body recovered belongs to the LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Army said.
New Delhi, May 18: Sri Lanka's military triumph over the LTTE that peaked with the announcement of Prabhakaran's death today was possible with active assistance -- including a defined naval deployment against the Sea Tigers -- from India.
Good -- it's not just the Chinese, then. That's important in the long term.
The aid increased steadily this year but New Delhi asked Colombo to keep it quiet till the election was over.
The Indian military assistance came on a specific request from the Sri Lankan government. The first military medical mission was despatched in April.
But far more significant than that benign assistance was the deployment of three fast attack boats and a missile corvette by the Indian Navy that were specifically tasked to patrol the Palk Straits, search for and catch hold of LTTE fugitives and, if necessary, destroy Sea Tiger craft.
The operation was executed by the Indian Navy's Southern Command that co-ordinated with the integrated defence staff here. The missile corvette deployed was the INS Vinash, a boat indigenously made and capable of chasing the Sea Tigers' vessels and pushing them back into Lankan waters to a waiting Lankan navy.
The "sea denial" and "naval blockade" by the Indian Navy was first requested by Colombo in May 2007. Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa requested New Delhi to amend its hands-off policy and be more pro-active with military support for the island's armed forces.
Lanka made the request after a daring attack by the Sea Tigers on the island of Delft near Jaffna.
The Isle of Delft? I really must learn more geography...or history...or both.
India was still chary of active military assistance. But it effected a course correction from the end of last year.
The course correction was prompted largely by a growing Chinese presence in Sri Lanka.
One can always count on geopolitical strategy ...
With India hesitating to supply lethal arms to the Sri Lankan forces, Colombo turned to China and Pakistan. It also gave major port and road-building contracts to Beijing, much to New Delhi's anxiety. India was to supply radars and was training Sri Lankan military personnel.
From early this year, Delhi shifted gears and increased the quantum of support. It quietly agreed to aid in the naval blockade against the Sea Tigers -- India has also handed over "LTTE fugitives" to the Lankan forces -- on the condition that this was not publicised.
Even the Financial Times is not immune to the joys of scare quotes.
Foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and national security adviser M.K. Narayanan visited Colombo on the 23rd of last month in the middle of the elections.
Second, it also sent a military-medical mission. The military-medical mission is being turned around. A team of 60 doctors, paramedics and nurses is going to Sri Lanka on the 20th of this month to set up a hospital in Vavuniya to treat refugees in the warzone.
India is also working on a package of humanitarian assistance for Lanka. A team of engineers is also in Lanka to de-mine roads in its northern province.
The leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has been killed, the military says.
It said Prabhakaran - along with two of his top commanders - had died while trying to flee from the last rebel-held patch of jungle in the north-east. No photos of Prabhakaran's body have been released. The army says it is working to identify it among the dead.
The claims cannot be verified as reporters are barred from the war zone.
And we all know that reporters are experts at identifying charred remains.
European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels condemned civilian casualties and called for an inquiry into alleged war crimes by both sides.
Cause we're important. Morally superior to you small brown people and important
We're also impotent but we'd prefer you not mention that.
But impotent is good. It means we're doing our bit to reduce the human overpopulation that's destroying our fragile planet.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's office said he was planning to visit Sri Lanka, without providing any further details.
UN humanitarian aid chief John Holmes said the priority was to evacuate all the civilians caught up in the fighting.
There is jubilation in the streets as crowds cheer, light firecrackers and wave the national flag to greet the announcement from the army chief, Gen Sarath Fonseka, that "all military operations have come to a stop".
That's really going to anger the EU: celebrating a victory? How tacky ...
In the old bazaar area, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and other people told the BBC they were relieved. For decades they had feared boarding buses or visiting temples, some said, for fear of bombs. Now they hoped there would be peace with development.
Army chief Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka said on Monday: "Today we finished the work handed to us by the president to liberate the country from the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)."
Military officials said Prabhakaran had been killed along with his intelligence chief Pottu Amman and Soosai, the head of the rebels' naval wing. They were trying to run away flee advancing government troops when their vehicle was ambushed, the officials said. They added that Prabhakaran's burnt body had been recovered and that DNA tests were under way.
And another one bites the dust (Bang bang)
another one bites the dust. (Bang Bang)
and another one's gone
another one gone,
Another one bites the dust (Bang bang)
Oh gonna get you too
another one bites the dust
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
05/19/2009 17:38 Comments ||
On this day in history: May 19th.
1568 Queen Elizabeth I of England has Mary Queen of Scots arrested.
1780 New England's Dark Day: A combination of thick smoke and heavy cloud cover causes complete darkness to fall on Eastern Canada and the New England area of the United States at 10:30 A.M. (Global Warming?)
1848 Mexico ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo thus ending the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states to the United States for $15 million.
1921 The U.S. Congress passes the Emergency Quota Act establishing national quotas on immigration.
1962 A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe's rendition of Happy Birthday.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.