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Area: WoT Operations    WoT Background    Non-WoT    Local News    Politix   
1 European killed, 9 others wounded in Egypt blast
Today's Headlines
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Page 4: Opinion
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Page 6: Politix
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The second Afghan War of Liberation

The first Afghan war of Liberation was won in 1989. The Afghans paid a very heavy price of over a million and a half martyrs. The second war of liberation now has reached a decisive moment and the day of freedom appears to be drawing closer. The invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets in 1979 was challenged by the Americans, joined by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and others. After eight long years of war, the Soviets were forced to retreat. The CIA intelligence report of 2004, mentioned that, after the Soviets retreat from Afghanistan, there were over 60,000 diehard trained Muslim fighters from seventy countries of the world. Additionally there were 40,000 such fighters from Pakistan alone who took part in the jihad against the occupation forces. So, by its very nature, the resistance had a global reach. It was not confined to Afghanistan alone.

The mujahideen acted on the guidance of Allah, as ordained in Quran: "Let there be no restraint on you to fight in the way of Allah, and in support of the helpless men, women and children who are being brutalised and who pray, O Lord! protect us from the oppressors and appoint your protectors and helpers." This is the message for the believers, but every believer may not get it. May be, one in thousands gets it and leaves his hearth and home and make a bee line for the battlefield, where he gets on job training. Face to face with the enemy, he proves too superior on account of his spiritual strength. He has no other mundane interest except to defeat the oppressor. When the job is done, he returns to his home.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: john frum || 02/22/2009 08:12 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I wonder what future historians will have to say about Bush basing his "WOT" on Muslim allies.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 02/22/2009 9:24 Comments || Top||

#2  Once you work past the Islamist rhetoric he does make some valid points.

On the other hand, he included India in the US/EU power base but he failed to notice a significant alternative to the US 'gracefully quitting' the fight. What if India decides to actively confront Pakistan over Kashmir, or the Mumbai attacks, or whatever the next affront is? Can the Pakistani nukes deflect all Indian retaliation indefinitely? If not, a safe transit route to A'stan from India would radically change the counter-terrorism battle.
Posted by: Glenmore || 02/22/2009 9:40 Comments || Top||

#3  He wants the U.S. out because he believes the Pakistanis can reassert their own infuence.

However, I would first like to see how "discarding the paradigm of confrontation" works in Pakistan. Doesn't seem to be working too well so far.
Posted by: DoDo || 02/22/2009 11:31 Comments || Top||

#4  A few years ago I almost bought the "Crusader Siege of Vienna" Lego set as a Christmas present for my son.

Who knew what the Danes were up to!
Posted by: Halliburton - Mysterious Conspiracy Division || 02/22/2009 11:57 Comments || Top||

Caribbean-Latin America
(Unconfirmed) Texas National Guard On Alert
Texas State Senator, Dan Patrick, was on FoxNews this morning at 8:45am. He said he had some “breaking news to share”. Boy was it!!!

The Texas State Legislature had been trying very hard to get the Obama Administration to respond to a critical situation on the Texas Border. The Administration had not gotten back with Texas as of last night.

So the State of Texas told Washington D.C. basically they could go jump, and “we’ll take care of Texas!”. As of last night… the Texas National Guard has been put on High Alert!!! This is the first time in history!

Texas tried, desperately to get Washington’s approval… but when they could not get it… they acted on their own. Which I say…. it’s about damn time!!! I personally applaud the guts it took to defy the Fed’s and act in our best interest! In case you are unaware of what the problems are …. Sen. Dan Patrick spelled it out nicely!

1) 100’s of PRO-DRUG CARTEL Mexicans were blocking the entrance to the United States, yesterday and today, banging cars, shouting and holding signs. 10 people were killed Wed. and 12 more yesterday at the border (5 of which were children!!!)

2) They aren’t sure … but they think the Drug Cartel is paying the demonstrators to do what they’re doing.

3) This will spill over into the States! Mr. Patrick, and the other State officials,. are convinced that road-side bombs and car bombs will make it across the border and WILL NOT allow that to happen!!

4) Mexico is breaking out in Civil War in the western part of the border and they expect it to spread the entire border with no end in sight.

5) The National Guard will be activated as the scenario worsens and is on Alert now and will remain so until (and IF) Washington does something to end the danger on the border (Yeah… like that’s gonna happen!).

FoxNews has yet to put this on their website which absolutely ticks me off!!!! I will post it IF they get the stones to do what’s right!

Let’s pray it doesn’t come to this…. but in reality… Texas could be in a Civil War (actually it would be an international incident) with Mexico very soon if this isn’t quelled. Just so you folks know…. the four Militia Groups that are here in Texas will be put on alert this evening. This has gotten REAL, REALLY FAST!

God help us… as we do what is necessary.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/22/2009 12:34 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10799 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is there a hard news source on this?
Posted by: Steve White || 02/22/2009 13:18 Comments || Top||

#2  Found one:

Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/22/2009 13:28 Comments || Top||

#3  I hereby authorize Texas Honest John missile batteries be immediately mobilized, pointed south, and placed on alert!
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/22/2009 13:45 Comments || Top||

#4  actually Baja/Tijuana seems to have stabilized a bit - only 5 dead bodies found the other day
Posted by: Frank G || 02/22/2009 13:52 Comments || Top||

#5  Seems strange that news of this magnitude is having difficulty getting sourced. Seems like politicans, large and small, would be spouting off about this. And which border entrance points are having these demonstrations. Any pictures? Cell phone photos would do. I'll stick to the 24 hour rule on this one.
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 02/22/2009 13:55 Comments || Top||

#6  Interesting news video at Mexicanal (in spanish).

Shows part of the fight between Mexican army and druggies, along with aftermath scenes. Area where fighting took place seems rather 'modern'.
Posted by: Mullah Richard || 02/22/2009 14:14 Comments || Top||

#7  Yet again the War on Chemical Choice has another victory!
Posted by: Bright Pebbles the flatulent || 02/22/2009 14:25 Comments || Top||

#8  There was an IED found on one of the bridges (Laredo) a couple of weeks ago. Almost no mention in the press, of course. I wonder what the strategy is here.
Posted by: Plastic Snoopy || 02/22/2009 14:26 Comments || Top||

#9  You make it sound like downing the border bridges is a bad thing.
Posted by: ed || 02/22/2009 14:28 Comments || Top||

#10  I wonder what the strategy is here.

To put additional financial and law enforcement pressure on Calderon's government, i.e. to destabilize it entirely in response to his attempts to get some control over the drug cartels.
Posted by: lotp || 02/22/2009 15:06 Comments || Top||

#11  The wall fence seems to be a 'shovel ready' pork stim project just waiting to happen. I won't even object if they employed [clears throat] undocumented workers just to get it done, now.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/22/2009 16:40 Comments || Top||

#12  Nowhere near shovel-ready, Pro. At least ten years worth of environmental impact studies etc. to be done first. And lots of public hearings. And several years of bidding on those studies first. And then another several years bidding on the shovels. 2050 at the earliest.
Posted by: Glenmore || 02/22/2009 17:53 Comments || Top||

#13  Here's a related story from the McAllen Texas paper, The Monitor.
Recent border violence tests spillover plan

There is mention of the Texas Army National Guard in the contingency plan.
At each increasing threat level, different local, state and federal authorities will be called in to establish order, they said. In the direst situations, the governor could dispatch the Texas Army National Guard to help maintain the peace.
Posted by: GK || 02/22/2009 18:08 Comments || Top||

#14  Jeez, between this article, the Indiana National Guard urban training fiasco, and the hiliarity in D.C., the tinfoil hat/ black helicopter/ Insert your favorite conspiracy here crowd is going to turn it up to 11.

At least we have the decency to be embarrassed by our kook fringe.

Sigh. :(
Posted by: N guard || 02/22/2009 19:03 Comments || Top||

#15  Texas Legislature:

Authorize shoot to kill orders valid for any US citizens willing to protect the border. I think things can be brought under control swiftly.
Posted by: Woozle Elmeter 2700 || 02/22/2009 19:44 Comments || Top||

#16  The link Anonymoose posted is from 12 Feb re contingency planning. I concur with Richard of Oregon on the 24 hour rule. An alert does not an activation make... Even a change in alert status. Of course contingency planning should be ongoing and updated to reflect current activity.
Posted by: tipover || 02/22/2009 20:18 Comments || Top||

The Independent: Obama, tell us the whole truth
Lots of butter, but easy on the salt, please
'Having considered the matter, the government adheres to its previously articulated position." With these words, Acting Assistant Attorney General Michael Hertz ended a dream.
Never mind. When an article starts out like that it's time for the Dramamine, not the popcorn.
The dream that Barack Obama's presidency would inaugurate a transcendent world order on a new moral plane.
See, what this tells you is that the editors of The Independent don't know a whole lot about Illinois politics.
"Governor, there's some Brit a****** out here sayin' he wants a transcendent world something or other."
"Huh? Tell that f*** Transvestite World's on the South Side. Ask for Butch."
"I don't think that's it, Governor. I wrote it down. He wants a 'transcendent world order on a new moral plane.'"
"For nothing? F*** him. I'll give the world to the f****** Martians before I give this f*** a new world order and I don't get anything!"

Late on Friday Mr Hertz told the Washington district court that the Obama administration maintained President Bush's view that prisoners held at Bagram air base in Afghanistan could not challenge their detention in US courts. For the cynics, this is "a previously articulated position you can believe in".

This newspaper was not so naive
( with a lead in like that you know this next part's going to be weird)
as to imagine that President Obama would immediately conform to the most scrupulous interpretation of US and international law.
Which is?
We are pleased that he has ordered the closure within a year of Guantanamo Bay, halted military trials and restricted CIA interrogators to Army Field Manual techniques. But the refusal to grant legal rights to detainees at Bagram is disappointing.
Hmm. I'm guessing The Independent still isn't ready to get on the Palin 2012 bandwagon.
The US Supreme Court ruling in 2004 that prisoners in Guantanamo had the right to take their cases to US courts ended the anomalous status of the prison camp in Cuba. President Bush's attempt to create a legal limbo outside the American and international legal systems had failed. But he continued to try to deny legal rights to prisoners not just in Guantanamo but in Iraq and Bagram, too.
The way I'd put that is: he continued to try to win the war.
Mr Obama's closure of Guantanamo therefore smacks more of fulfilling a symbolic pledge than following it through.
"Ahmed, we're gonna hook your 'nads up to this car battery, but only for symbolic reasons."
"Is it too late for me to vote Repubican?"

Indeed, Elena Kagan, Mr Obama's nominee for Solicitor General, said during her confirmation hearing that someone suspected of helping to finance al-Qa'ida should be subject to battlefield law -- indefinite detention without trial -- even if captured in the Philippines, say, rather than a battle zone.

Nor is this the first disappointment of Obama's presidency.
Even I have to point out he's only been in office 30 days.
Earlier this month, a government lawyer stuck to the Bush line in a case brought by Binyam Mohamed, the British resident expected home from Guantanamo tomorrow.
When he will no doubt resume a Gandhi-like life of non-violence.
When the case resumed after President Obama's inauguration, the judge asked the Justice Department's lawyer if "anything material" had happened to change that view. "No, your Honour," came the reply. The position he continued to take, he said, had been "thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new administration".
Which doesn't mean that there's not plenty of room under the bus for this DOJ guy.
What is more, Leon Panetta, Mr Obama's nominee as CIA director, charged with ending the use of torture techniques such as waterboarding by US agents, said that the agency is likely to continue to transfer detainees to third countries. It would rely on the same assurances of good treatment on which the Bush administration depended.
Hey, if you can't trust Hosni Mubarak, who can you trust?
Posted by: Matt || 02/22/2009 17:55 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10795 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yeah, jihadis held at Bagram have Habeus Corpus rights. Pffft.

Sorry, but that's where I stopped reading.
Posted by: Parabellum || 02/22/2009 18:40 Comments || Top||

Great White North
Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee
Posted by: tipper || 02/22/2009 07:05 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10795 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Article 59, 1936 Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 02/22/2009 9:44 Comments || Top||

#2  I guess Rantburgers would be in trouble in Canada. We are still in the U.S. despite some efforts to neuter our First Amendment. Consider recent attempts to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine (which isn't). Consider the passes the MSM gives to the Amish in the press.
Posted by: JohnQC || 02/22/2009 11:01 Comments || Top||

#3  Now that's one overstated article. This whole "Free Speech" vs "Other Rights" krep comes to a crashing halt when the so-called "guilty" party just plain refuses to play along.

I said something that you and the guv didn't like? You want to fine me and/or silence me? Just try. We don't have enough cops up here in the murder capital of Canada to go running after people for this kind of krep, so what are YOU gonna do about it? Gonna take me to jail yourself?

They always cave and write more letters and papers and court findings . . . . but . . . . . . . nothing gets done. It's the Canadian way.

So sue me. It don't work like that up here.

Posted by: Canuckistan sniper || 02/22/2009 11:18 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Known Unknowns: Unconventional "Strategic Shocks" - Nathan Freier

Politics, Economics, Social Action, and Political Violence as Hybrid War.

The United States might also consider the prospect that hostile state and/or nonstate actors might individually or in concert combine hybrid methods effectively to resist U.S. influence in a nonmilitary manner. This is clearly an emerging trend. Imagine, for example, a China-Russia axis that collectively employs substantial political power within international institutions and markets to hold key American interests at risk. At the international level, actors like this might employ extant and emerging political/economic arrangements as instruments for purposeful resistance and war.
Posted under Home Front Politix in the hope that someone in politics may stumble onto it.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/22/2009 16:59 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10805 views] Top|| File under:

#1  China could if it wanted manipulate the US Treasury market to its own financial gain and to the serious detriment of the USA.

Might happen as soon as this week with the first big Treasury sale to fund the Obama spending spree.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/22/2009 19:12 Comments || Top||

#2  I'm an economist; I study international finance.

It really isn't so clear what the Chinese could do to harm the US without also shooting themselves in the foot.

They could certainly slow down or stop the accumulation of US assets, which would tend to raise long term US rates and lower the prices (in dollars) of the bonds they already hold. It would also tend to reduce the value of the dollar and increase the value of the yuan vs. the dollar.

They could dump USD, which would have similar effects but worse, maybe much worse.

If the Chinese did stop accumulating or dumped US assets, one could expect higher US interest rates, a lower dollar, perhaps lower US investment and certainly higher US net exports.

The Chinese portfolio choice could certainly affect the US markets but they would also affect the international value of their own portfolio and their own exports.

So it wouldn't be painless to try to harm the US through dumping Treasuries. There would be significant costs for the Chinese.
Posted by: Some guy || 02/22/2009 19:38 Comments || Top||

#3  By manipulate, I meant push prices up and down by buying and selling treasuries over relatively short periods. That would seriously unnerve the market and push up interest rates.

Otherwise I agree with you. China faces a much bigger risk of the USA deliberately devaluing its currency. Effectively sticking China with the bill for the Stimulus.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/22/2009 20:21 Comments || Top||

#4  It's a very simple question: If you believe that all the dollars you hold will somehow maintain their value, selling is the more painful option since by selling you devaluate them yourself.

If instead you believe that the dollar is going to plunge anyway, then you'd sell, even if you hurt yourself.

The U.S. should not give the impression that they are going to inflate themselves out of debt... that would trigger the push on the panic button.

Everyone loses.
Posted by: European Conservative || 02/22/2009 20:28 Comments || Top||

#5  The reason why 3% of GDP is consider the 'safe' upper limit for a deficit is that the maximum a developed economy can grow over the long term. A deficit of 3% and GDP growth of 3% means debt stays the same as a %age of GDP and is in theory repayable.

Once the deficit goes over 3% or growth drops below 3% the prospect is the debt will never be repaid in uninflated dollars.

Most the world's developed countries are already in this situation and most of the rest are not far behind.

I really don't see how we can escape a period of severe inflation as everyone tries to depreciate their currencies. Hence my references to Zimbabwe.

Posted by: phil_b || 02/22/2009 21:03 Comments || Top||

#6  We're in Eisenhower territory, "If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it."

It will work only if we keep our freedom.
Posted by: Halliburton - Mysterious Conspiracy Division || 02/22/2009 22:11 Comments || Top||

Pride and the Pakistani Diaspora
By Ali Eteraz

The Pakistani diaspora is significant, around 7 million people, and contributed almost US$8 billion into the economy last year. It is composed by and large of people who only retain a connection to Pakistan via their families. Once the recipients of the remittances pass away, or as is more often the case, themselves leave Pakistan, the financial connection is severed. At this point, the Pakistani migrant takes his place in the new country, even if it means being a second-class citizen. If he is in the West, he usually defines himself as a ‘Muslim’ or ‘South Asian’ or sometimes even an ‘Indian.’ He then ceases to have a meaningful relationship with Pakistan. This depressing state of affairs is due to the identity struggle within Pakistan itself. Pakistanis abroad don't know who they are or how they should relate to Pakistan because they don't know what it means to be Pakistani.

One of the principal identity-markers that Pakistanis abroad have turned to is to re-define themselves as ‘Muslim’. This has been especially true after 9/11, but pre-dates that event as well. It has been disturbing to watch and experience because no other diaspora from a Muslim majority country makes their national identity subservient to their religion – not even the stateless Palestinians. While everyone else seems to take pride in their particular national histories – even when there isn't much to be proud of – people in the Pakistani diaspora seem to run away from being associated with their country's past. As a result, Pakistanis exceed all others in becoming attracted to romanticist readings of the past – the sort extremist religious teachers are more than happy to offer up.

Another popular trend among second-generation Pakistanis in the West is the denouncing of Partition as a mistake. These people live in a fantasy world where 60 years of conflict with another state can be overcome in a singular moment of sublimation. What's illuminating is that Bangladeshis never talk about re-joining India or West Pakistan in such a manner. Obviously, Partition was a mistake – it killed millions of people – but the solution to a mistake is to reconcile with it, not to try and wish it away.

Indeed, the Pakistani diaspora is in a difficult place. It cannot actively participate in the discussion about Pakistani identity, but it also cannot progress until this issue is resolved. Guidance must come from Pakistan itself. There are some signs that this has started. Recently a federal minister began rolling out all sorts of incentives for Pakistanis in the diaspora. These include an overseas pension trust, a plan to protect expat properties back home, waivers of service charges and custom duties, special treatment in housing and college admissions, and finally, honorary seats in the various legislative houses. The aim would be, in the words of the minister, to "grant VIP status" to the expats.

This minister's attempt to include the diaspora is worthwhile, however, the entire scheme is built upon preferential treatment, which only further enhances class differences and hierarchy between Pakistanis. It also assumes, wrongly, that simply because they have money, Pakistanis in the diaspora have a good idea about how to improve Pakistan.

A political or legislative solution is neither sufficient, nor, given rampant cronyism, ideal. It also creates the danger of politicizing the overseas communities and splintering them based on political preferences.

The focus at the moment has to be on culture and identity. The promotion of Pakistani arts, music, literature, cinema, poetry, and fashion is of the essence. And the answer does not lie with the venal fashion shows that are put on at sumptuous diplomatic residences, inviting only a few elite expats. Outreach has to be done within expat communities – Dubai, Bradford, Brooklyn. Scholarships should be given to traveling street-theatre artists. Films should be subsidized. Poetry, especially translations, should be promoted and put on popular websites.

Instead of becoming a censor-state, Pakistan should promote freedom of expression. Engagement with Pakistan's culture will give adrift Pakistanis around the world a sense of belonging. Effort has to be made to connect Pakistani expats to Pakistan, not via their families, but via the idea of Pakistan itself – via Pakistaniat. It is this sense of confidence that will make Pakistanis want to invest in Pakistan perhaps even return and engage in nation-building.

The few successful diaspora activists that I have met have either been motivated through national emergencies such as the earthquake, or they have emerged from a cultural awareness group that was ready to do more. The first time I met Bilaal Ahmed, the founder of IMPAK USA, a service group that sends volunteers to Pakistan, was at the Philadelphia screening of the Pakistani film Khamosh Pani. Further, as I have previously documented elsewhere, the only meaningful political lobbying group ever formed to lobby the US government, namely Pakistani-American Public Affairs Committee (PakPAC), grew out of a fun-loving social organization for Pakistani doctors, who initially came together to invite poets and singers from Pakistan. There are lessons to be drawn from this.

Most people think ‘diaspora’ only when they run into a Pakistani on foreign soil and want to ask about the nearest place to find chicken tikka. Diaspora is, actually, the barometer by which one can judge the health of a nation. The feeble state of the Pakistani diaspora speaks volumes.

Ali Eteraz is a writer and freelance journalist. He has studied philosophy and practiced law in the United States. His website is www.alieteraz.com
Posted by: john frum || 02/22/2009 08:08 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10795 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Colonists, not immigrants.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 02/22/2009 9:26 Comments || Top||

Pakistan needs a Beant Singh
By Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar

Islamabad's surrender to the Taliban in Swat is terrible news. A moribund Islamabad cannot stop Islamic terrorists from attacking India even if it wants to.

It's another matter that Pakistan has long nurtured groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba to target Kashmir. It's now learning what India learned in the 1980s — you can be devoured by monsters you create to wound others.

Indira Gandhi nurtured two monsters — Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in Punjab and Prabhakaran of the Tamil Tigers. When the monsters got out of control, she (and later Rajiv Gandhi) tried quelling them. Result: Indira was killed by disgruntled Sikhs, and Rajiv by disgruntled Tamil Tigers. The lesson for Pakistan is clear.

The Taliban's rise in Pakistan has something in common with Bhindranwale's rise in Punjab. A religious preacher, he sought to purge Sikhism of modern evils and return to pristine Sikhism. He was outraged by reformist Sikhs like the Nirankaris, and his followers killed many Nirankaris including the Nirankari Baba.

Religion and violence make a very dangerous mix. Yet, both Indira and the Akali Dal, sought to use Bhindranwale rather than jail him. Indira supported his candidates against official Akali ones in the 1979 gurdwara elections. And the Akalis sought to use his inflammatory Sikh rhetoric — including a demand for an independent Khalistan — to garner votes in state elections.

The Akalis let him set up a terrorist fortress within the Golden Temple. This ended only when the Army overran the Temple and killed Bhindranwale. But this attack enraged many Sikhs, creating ever more militant groups.

No politician or analyst initially viewed the Bhindranwale challenge as a law-and-order one, to be put down with a firm hand. All felt that Sikh sensibilities had to be assuaged with political compromises. My editor at the time thought peace could be bought by giving Chandigarh and more river water to Punjab. Alas! the terrorists dismissed such peace offerings with contempt.

Rajiv Gandhi struck a peace accord with the Akali Dal, enabling it to win the 1985 state election. Yet, his attempt to use the Akalis to curb extremism failed — it only emboldened the militants, whom the Akalis had no will to control. Rajiv also struck a deal with Bhindranwale's nephew, Jaswant Singh Rode, and made him Akal Takht chief. But militancy only increased.

He then tried Army rule, but that too failed. The militants became ever stronger, and soon constituted a quasi-state. They sent out hukumnamas (religious commands) ordering the closure of meat shops and cinema halls, and a terrorised populace obeyed. Policemen who tried to tackle terrorism were initially thwarted by politicians of the Congress and Akali Dal. Later, militants assassinated several police officers and their relatives.

In sum, all compromises with religious terror failed. So did Army rule. What finally succeeded was democracy with an iron fist. Fresh state elections in 1992 were boycotted by the Akalis, in line with terrorist warnings. Beant Singh, the new Congress chief minister, gave his police chief KPS Gill a free hand to crush terrorism. Gill unleashed state terror to counter Sikh terror, replicating tactics that the militants themselves used. In barely one year, he crushed a decade-old problem.

Only when Sikh policemen took on Sikh militants, with no interference from central or state politicians, was terrorism curbed. Earlier attempts at a Punjab-Delhi compromise or Hindu-Sikh compromise failed. The solution lay in reformulating the issue as one pitting Sikh liberals against Sikh fundamentalists.

This has lessons for Pakistan. Attempts by Islamabad to placate or strike deals with extremists will fail, emboldening militants and lowering the state's stature.

In elections, Pakistanis have repeatedly voted for liberal Muslim parties, not Islamic ones. Yet, these liberal parties — including the Awami National Party, which won the state election in the North West Frontier Province — have no stomach to take on the Taliban. Islamabad has sought compromises with militant Baitullah Mehsud in the tribal areas, but only succeeded in strengthening Mehsud. The new compromise in Swat will surely fail too.

To succeed, Pakistan needs a Beant Singh. Muslim liberals will have to take Muslim extremists head on. The task has to be done by a state government using police skills, not the Army. Terrorists cannot be subdued by US planes or troops.

This is a battle for Pakistan's soul. It must be fought by Pakistani liberals against Pakistani extremists, without regard to Indian or US interests or urgings. Once Pakistani liberals grasp this hard reality, as Beant Singh did in Punjab, they will find that victory over extremism can be surprisingly quick and complete.
Posted by: john frum || 02/22/2009 07:51 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10795 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan

#1  Muslim liberals will have to take Muslim extremists head on.

This guy is newly arrived on Earth?
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 02/22/2009 9:28 Comments || Top||

#2  head on

Or 'head off', the more usual outcome.
Posted by: Glenmore || 02/22/2009 9:44 Comments || Top||

Into a Taliban wasteland of blood and fear
Daud Khattakis the first reporter for a British paper to enter Swat Valley, Pakistan, since the rebels who hold it agreed a ceasefire. He finds a hell-hole of bodies and ruin

IN the former mountain resort of Malam Jabba, where skiing thrived when the surrounding Swat Valley was an international attraction, one can still see the remnants of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation's flagship hotel. The building was blown up by the Taliban because it was being used for "un-Islamic activities".

Hundreds of other hotels in the valley have been destroyed or forced to close after threats from the militants.

"We used to charge 1,200 to 3,000 Pakistani rupees [£10.50 to £26] for a room per night. Now we are renting rooms for 200 rupees but nobody is visiting," said Zahid Hussain, the manager of a luxury hotel which has officially shut down.

In Mingora, Swat's largest city which once buzzed with foreign tourists, the shops are empty. The women's clothes markets are either closed or show banners proclaiming: "Women are banned from entering this market."

Barbers have pasted hand-written posters to their shop fronts saying: "Shaving a beard is unIslamic. We have stopped shaving beards. Please don't visit the shop for a shave."

After two years of fighting between 5,000 Taliban militants and 12,000 troops from the Pakistan army, a ceasefire has been hammered out between the government and the rebels. It has left the Swat Valley, just three hours drive from Islamabad, the capital, under the control of a hardline cleric known as Radio Mullah for his fiery sermons on an illegal radio station.

American officials are concerned that the cleric, Maulana Fazlullah, who is intent on imposing a harsh version of sharia (religious law), will allow the valley to become a base for Al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

Last week I became the first journalist from a British paper since the ceasefire to venture past the heavily armed Taliban checkpoints and travel into the valley.

The journey was not made without trepidation. On Wednesday a journalist for Pakistan's Geo television network, Musa Khan Khel, 28, was killed when he tried to secure an interview with Fazlullah. In a characteristic Taliban flourish, there were signs that his killers had attempted to behead him.

What I found in Swat was a hell-hole. Suicide bombings, car bombs and artillery have scarred the valley's roads and buildings. The charred remains of hospitals and even a madrasah (seminary) litter the landscape. Nearly 200 schools have been destroyed, all girls over the age of eight are banned from lessons and, in a symbol of the Taliban's hatred of learning, the public library in Mingora has been wrecked.

The Taliban have banned music and dancing, television and internet cafes. Women cannot leave home without wearing a burqa, the all-encompassing robe. Justice has been enforced with floggings and public executions.

Everyone who can afford to leave has fled the valley. Police stations are deserted and fewer than 100 local policemen remain. In deserted parks the swings are rusting, creaking and empty.

Green Square, in the heart of Mingora's bazaar, is now known as Khooni Chowk -- or bloody square -- because of the public executions carried out there by Taliban who leave the bullet-riddled bodies of police and soldiers for all to see.

Local residents said mothers used to warn their children not to pass through the square on their way to school. "Sadly, our children have got used to such sights," said Fayaz Zafar, a local journalist. "They've become inured to scenes of decapitated bodies, suicide bombs and military operations. They now play 'Taliban and soldiers' in the playground."

Naveed Khan, owner of a cable television network in Mingora, said that at first the Taliban had ordered him to block channels showing English language films. Then came a warning from its spokesman to remove all channels showing music and songs and all films in local languages. Later a Taliban commander ordered the closure of all the cable broadcasters. Snooker clubs and video game arcades have also been banned.

A bank security guard said: "The only thing we want is peace. I ask the Taliban, the government, the security forces not to kill us in the name of religion or restoring government. Let our children go to school and let us live how we like."

Accounts of Taliban atrocities are many. Bukhtawar Khan's wife, mother and sister-in-law were all brutally killed by armed men inside their home on February 4 while he was at work. Laiba, his two-month-old daughter, lost her mother. Khan said the attackers were punishing his family for giving drinking water to soldiers manning a post near their home in the village of Matta Tehsil.

Khan's younger sister Anwar Begum, who saw the murder, had a narrow escape. "I took shelter in a cattle pen and it saved my life," she said. She described how she saw 15 to 20 men storming towards the house. All had their faces covered and were carrying weapons, including rifles and grenade launchers.

Khan, who fled the village with his family, wants to see the killers brought to justice. While the Taliban militants reign supreme it seems a distant hope.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/22/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10795 views] Top|| File under: TNSM

#1  Travelog of a visit to the land of the Orcs.

All liberal appeasers should take a long, detailed look at the fate that awaits the world, should the west lose the coming "battle of annihilation" between Islam and non-Islam.

100 or 200 years from now, surviving non-Islamic peoples are going to look back at the period we are in now, and wonder "What were those fools in the West THINKING to let the militant Islamic pestilence persist?"

George W. Bush may end up looking like the one leader with a sliver of spine that did anything to impede the march of the Orcs.

Pol Pot, Robert Mugabe, The Taliban - not good for anyone unlucky enough to live under their rule.
Posted by: Lone Ranger || 02/22/2009 1:08 Comments || Top||

#2  In the name of Allah the merciful.
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/22/2009 1:20 Comments || Top||

#3  I get the feeling Pakistan never really wanted to confront the Taliban, and is just hoping they can mollify them with control of the NWFP etc. The government attacks have never seemed like more than window dressing to keep US aid flowing. (If it really IS the best they can do, they had better not antagonize India!)
Somebody explain to me how an illegal radio station can continue to function? I used to use a $50 directional radio antennae to navigate a boat, surely much more modern electronics could navigate a missile?
Posted by: Glenmore || 02/22/2009 9:54 Comments || Top||

#4  Take off and nuke it from space. It's the only way to be sure.
Posted by: Parabellum || 02/22/2009 10:59 Comments || Top||

#5  I don't know who he is behind that mask of his but I do know when we need him...we need him now.
Posted by: logi_cal || 02/22/2009 11:36 Comments || Top||

#6  A preview of Paradise for Moslems? Or a foewarning? You decide.
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 02/22/2009 13:35 Comments || Top||

#7  Richard,
You in the Portland area? I need some info, if you could contact me.
e-address is real.
Posted by: Glenmore || 02/22/2009 17:56 Comments || Top||

Terror Networks
Al-Qaeda founder launches fierce attack on Osama bin Laden
Posted by: tipper || 02/22/2009 18:37 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  ION RIAN > RUSSIA: US MAY GO BEYOND EUROPEAN MISSLE PLANS [East Euro to Central Asia]. More BMD Sites + Russ claims it has NOT received any docs on mutually reduc US-RUSS NUCARSENALS by 80%???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 02/22/2009 20:27 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Culture Wars
Wake up soldier, next stop North Platte, Nebraska
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/22/2009 20:34 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10798 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front Economy
Now Obama wants to subsidize hedge funds?
Posted by: tipper || 02/22/2009 00:32 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10795 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's not his money. He's a commie and doesn't believe in money...

"What's mine is mine. What's yours is mine."
The Communist Party actual credo.
Posted by: 3dc || 02/22/2009 2:22 Comments || Top||

#2  He's making sure that he has some big donors left for 2012.
Posted by: Cornsilk Blondie || 02/22/2009 5:59 Comments || Top||

#3  More of this to come. He's after IRA's and 401k's. The government knows best how to invest those billions of dollars and it is their responsibility to protect the "folks" from evil capitalist stock market downturns and losses.

If you like watching the Social Security and Medicaid Ponzi schemes over the years, you'll love what they've got in store for private investment. All money belongs to the government, not the little people, all money. (snark off)

Posted by: Besoeker || 02/22/2009 8:13 Comments || Top||

#4  Come Monday the market is going to free-fall again. The only thing that can stop it is an Obama speech. He's like Morgan Freeman, people just love to hear him talk. Even if it's nonsense. But his voice can only stall the markets, not stop the free-fall.
Posted by: Charles || 02/22/2009 10:24 Comments || Top||

#5  The stock market is now in very direct competition with the government for dollars. If the government borrows the lot, the market starves. Simple as that.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/22/2009 12:18 Comments || Top||

#6  Every dollar the government borrows is one that may not be used to lend to or open a business.
Posted by: newc || 02/22/2009 12:54 Comments || Top||

Who's in the News
5Govt of Pakistan
2Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh
2al-Qaeda in Pakistan
1Jamaat-e-Ulema Islami
1Palestinian Authority
1al-Qaeda in Britain
1al-Qaeda in Iraq
1Iraqi Insurgency
1Govt of Sudan

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Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Bright Pebbles
trailing wife
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Two weeks of WOT
Sun 2009-02-22
  1 European killed, 9 others wounded in Egypt blast
Sat 2009-02-21
  Handcuffed JMB man pops grenade at press meet
Fri 2009-02-20
  Tamil Tiger planes raid Colombo
Thu 2009-02-19
  MPs visit Swat to pay obeisance to Sufi Mohammad
Wed 2009-02-18
  Four killed, 18 injured in Peshawar car bombing
Tue 2009-02-17
  Surprise! Pervez Musharraf was playing 'double game' with US
Mon 2009-02-16
  Another Wazoo dronezap
Sun 2009-02-15
  Talibs: Pak will surrender in Swat
Sat 2009-02-14
  Suspected U.S. Missile Strike Zaps 27
Fri 2009-02-13
  Canadian Muslim sentenced for firebombing Jewish institutions
Thu 2009-02-12
  Pak arrests 'main operator' in Mumbai attacks
Wed 2009-02-11
  Taliban Attack Afghan Government Buildings, Killing 20
Tue 2009-02-10
  FBI woman sexually harassed me: 26/11 accused terrorist
Mon 2009-02-09
  Female Tamil Tiger bomber kills 28 after hiding among refugees
Sun 2009-02-08
  India wants Pak declared terrorist state

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