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7 killed in attack on Somali presidential palace
Today's Headlines
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Page 6: Politix
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Europe
FT editorial stirs comment in Italy
Posted by: tipper || 05/28/2009 09:56 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  More a sign of how far the FT has lost it's way.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 05/28/2009 11:12 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Politix
Fast-track to failure
Excerpt..
Against this deteriorating backdrop, how should the U.S. respond? While the time for diplomatic carrots and U.N. resolutions has clearly passed, Mr. Obama remains wedded to that approach, with little regard for wider, long-term consequences. Consider the examples of South Korea and Japan. Over the past three months, both have been threatened by their enemy's long-range missiles, and now that same regime has detonated a nuclear weapon.

That leaves Tokyo and Seoul with a sobering choice. Remain under the American umbrella (which Washington appears reluctant to use), or consider building their own nukes. With their advanced technological and industrial bases, both Tokyo and Seoul could have nuclear weapons in a little over a year, a development that would likely spur all-out arms race in the region. And rest assured, the nuclear option is being quietly discussed in both capitals, as confidence in American (read "the Obama Administration") sinks like a rock.
Posted by: tu3031 || 05/28/2009 15:48 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I'd expect (as others here have speculated) that SK and Japan, with their long-standing neighborhood bullies and their own excellent technological base, may already have some ready-to-assemble nukes, the rocket tech available, and now a reason to put the whole shebang together.
Posted by: Frank G || 05/28/2009 17:59 Comments || Top||

#2  South Korea is like Japan in that both can break out to nuclear world power status at any time. Perhaps it's time to give a withdrawal date for the US nuclear umbrella and complicate the situation for the world's dictators.

Korea Space Launch Vehicle

Nuclear power in South Korea
Posted by: ed || 05/28/2009 19:08 Comments || Top||

#3  Perhaps it's time to give a withdrawal date for the US nuclear umbrella

errr...Ima thinkrn Jan 21st this year was it
Posted by: Frank G || 05/28/2009 19:19 Comments || Top||

#4  I'm sure Japan hasn't actually CONSTRUCTED a nuclear weapon, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn all the components - including the nuclear material - were stored in a "secure environment" somewhere in Japan. Korea, I believe, has the capability to build a working nuclear weapon, but hasn't (yet) done any work on actually producing the pieces necessary.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 05/28/2009 19:30 Comments || Top||

#5  OP - I'd agree with that assessment. Given Kim's erratic behavior and China/Russian bullying, I'm thinking there's no way the Japanese have allowed themselves to be more than one step away from assembling a ready-designed nuke. Now, do they have the missile tech?....uh huh
Posted by: Frank G || 05/28/2009 19:56 Comments || Top||

#6  If the ROKs had already put together a nuke, the NORKs would be further along than they are.
Posted by: rwv || 05/28/2009 20:15 Comments || Top||

#7  Frank G - A question - to what extent do either Japan or ROK need the missile capability? Wouldn't aircraft, or in ROK, artillery work?

I wonder if what's going on is press release brinksmanship with the PRC - as in make the Chinese decide to shut down Kim, or accept multiple near neighbors with nuclear capacity. Also could make for interesting diplomatic opportunity for Taiwan and Vietnam.
Posted by: Halliburton - Mysterious Conspiracy Division || 05/28/2009 22:27 Comments || Top||

#8  Good question. My answer would depend on what extent the PRC backs their yappy rabid dog. If SK, Japan (& Taiwan?) had reach to deliver the big boom to Three Gorges, the mix would be wide open on motivations, options, restraints
Posted by: Frank G || 05/28/2009 22:34 Comments || Top||


India-Pakistan
The implication of operations in NWFP and FATA
By Khalid Aziz

The conduct of multiple military operations by the Pakistani forces in NWFP and Fata coincides with the planned surge of US troops in southern Afghanistan. The induction of fresh US forces on Pakistan's Baluchistan border generates its own dynamics. The surge will push the Pashtun living in the Baloch border areas inwards towards Quetta and onwards to Karachi where their extended families already live. The start of operations in Waziristan and the increasing number of skirmishes in Orakzai, Mohmand and Bajour gives a picture, whether by coincidence or design, which clearly shows how the Pashtun both in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been placed in the tweeze of death and destruction.

In Karachi the MQM has shown its ethnic leaning by doing it best to stop the movement of Pashtuns to that city; Karachi incidentally is the largest Pashtun metropolis in Pakistan. In Punjab the police are preventing the Pashtun IDPs from entering their areas although publicly the government is saying the opposite now. One responsible officer from Punjab commented that they had made a mistake by permitting the Afghan refugees in the 1980s and 1990s free entry to their province. The Pashtun is thus unwelcome in his own land. These restrictions imposed on them are against the law and the Constitution. Is it then the case that the Pashtun IDPs are not Pakistanis?
Once upon a time it was realized that the Bangladeshis were not really Pakistanis. Why not the Pashtuns as well?
Ah, you've been digging through the Rantburg archives. Fred and I have been advocating a separate homeland for the Pashtuns since the dawn of the Burg. I want a big wall around it. Fred wants to add a moat and crocodiles. Big honking crocodiles ...
There are already more than 2.5 million Pashtun homeless. Their forced migration from Swat, Dir or Waziristan makes this displacement bigger than that of Darfur or of the Rwandans a few years ago. Many of the Pashtun that I have spoken with are fearful about their future. It is worth noting that this violence against the Pashtuns extends from eastern and southern Afghanistan to northwestern Pakistan and it has now clearly become ethnic -- or is certainly being perceived that way.
Perhaps were the Pashtuns not Taliban and hosts of the Taliban and of Al Qaeda, there would have been no violence against them? A minor detail, a mere fiddle, I realize, but there it is.
If someone wants an image to visualize what is befalling the Pashtun today the region truly reflects a scene from Vin Diesel's recent science fiction movie Babylon AD. People are moving from place to place aimlessly and directionless. They have lost their homes, families, children and livelihoods. They are people without identity and if they also lose hope and are unable to return soon then I am afraid the promise of Pakistan in their minds will be broken. It is a great irony of history that those who are sons of the soil in Pakistan have become homeless, yet those who were homeless previously are anchored in Pakistani cities and are its masters - what a remarkable turn of events!

Sooner than later the ethnic nature of operations in Af-Pak
Fascinating that the writer uses Af-Pak. Clearly a more resonant term of art than I realized.
and the issue of simultaneous displacement of Pashtuns in such large numbers, the less-than-fraternal attitude of individuals from other provinces of Pakistan coupled with the matter of so many ruined lives will aggregate into an ugly conundrum which will take many unpalatable directions in the not-too-distant future. Unfortunately, the leadership of the ANP in NWFP has lapsed into political oblivion. It's only visible face is its brave and yeoman information minister, Mian Iftikhar. Secondly owning to their failure in Swat the secular ANP will suffer in any future election because available signs clearly indicate that new dynamics are in the making and they will usher their own political direction which may not be within the framework of the present political discourse of growth and development. People want security and development has become irrelevant in the face of basic issues of survival and identity. The crying need is for Pakistan to quickly rehabilitate the displaced persons or forego the right to lead the Pashtun. They could well then seek their own destiny.

Some intellectuals feel that the timing of the current operation was badly planned since the crops in Swat were ready to be harvested. They ask: "Couldn't the operation have been delayed for a few more weeks?" A few on the other hand say that the timing of the operation was planned to coincide with the president's US visit! Coming from this perspective it is claimed that Pashtun blood was spilt as a sacrifice for other strategic gains.
It may be noted that in 2005 there was no insurgent movement of the type witnessed in Swat and Buner and elsewhere. It all happened after the occurrence of the October 2005 Earthquake in Balakot and Azad Kashmir. The camps where jihadis used to receive training for fighting against Indian forces in Kashmir had to be sequestered from the prying eyes of US and NATO troops who were using helicopters for delivery of relief to NWFP and Azad Kashmir and were clearly aware of the presence of such camps.

Many of these camps were shifted and relocated in Swat and the Dir mountains.

It may be noted that in 2005 there was no insurgent movement of the type witnessed in Swat and Buner and elsewhere. It all happened after the occurrence of the October 2005 Earthquake in Balakot and Azad Kashmir. The camps where jihadis used to receive training for fighting against Indian forces in Kashmir had to be sequestered from the prying eyes of US and NATO troops who were using helicopters for delivery of relief to NWFP and Azad Kashmir and were clearly aware of the presence of such camps.
Gosh, why do you s'pose the US and NATO would disapprove of such camps?
Many of these camps were shifted and relocated in Swat and the Dir mountains. The location policy showed colossal ineptitude. A small section of the population in this region already stood radicalized by the TNSM movement of the 1990s. The creation of a lashkar by Sufi Mohammad, which he led into Afghanistan to support the Taliban against the US led invasion in December 2001, further radicalized those residents of Malakand who had accompanied him. The arrival of more radicals due to the shifting of the camps and their evangelical programming of the local population created the monsters that the military is now trying to get rid of.

Furthermore the use of the sledgehammer of the artillery and the air force which causes collateral damage is like operating against a shadow and such tactics cannot succeed. A counter-insurgency war cannot be fought from a distance. For success the "enemy" has to be hunted at close quarters. This calls for the use of special forces and the police. Draining the swamp cannot eliminate the fish if other rivulets of escape are available.

The present operation cannot be considered successful until the leaders of the Taliban who have challenged the writ of the state are brought to justice. If this doesn't occur rest assured that the IDPs are not returning and it will be futile to return the area to civil administration because the militants will surely return again and the civil administration will be made a scapegoat again.

Some other important questions are why arrangements were not made for the reception and feeding of IDPs before the operations began. The argument that secrecy has to be maintained is, to say the least, egregious. Didn't President Zardari "announce" before hand that Pakistan would launch operations in Waziristan? He did and still we did not make any arrangements for caring for those who were leaving after the announcement.

Agreed that every nation passes through rough patches during its history but there are clear indicators which warn the leaders and people to correct their direction. We in Pakistan unfortunately ignore such indicators and live in a make believe world. We regularly take up futile positions which can only result in injuring ourselves We spend hours of air time every evening fulminating against the US as if that will bring peace to Pakistan. Apparently the US is implementing its national security objective which is to ensure that 9/11 is never repeated. It will do everything to ensure that. By allowing the spirit of militancy to flourish in Pakistan we are prolonging the stay of the US in Afghanistan. Is that wise?

Finally let us not forget that both Fata and Pata come under the President's personal dispensation. Art 247 lays this down and in my mind is a time bomb inserted in that document to devour Pakistan! If you look at areas where insurgency flourishes today then strangely they coincide with the special areas defined under Article 247 of the Constitution. It is proposed that before the military operations end in FATA and PATA we should use the opportunity to amalgamate them fully under the normal law within the Pakistani state. In my view both Fata and Pata should be merged into NWFP -- a better opportunity will not come our way. This cloud may have a silver lining!

The writer is a former chief secretary of NWFP. He now heads the Regional Institute of Policy Research
Posted by: john frum || 05/28/2009 06:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Does Af-Pak have a mascot?
Posted by: Gilbert Gottfried || 05/28/2009 14:17 Comments || Top||

#2  The bustard.
Posted by: Fred || 05/28/2009 16:39 Comments || Top||

#3  Fred and I have been advocating a separate homeland for the Pashtuns since the dawn of the Burg. I want a big wall around it. Fred wants to add a moat and crocodiles. Big honking crocodiles...

With frickin' LASER BEAMS on their heads.
Posted by: Seafarious || 05/28/2009 16:42 Comments || Top||

#4  LMAO Frank

"Af-Pak!"
Posted by: ryuge || 05/28/2009 17:27 Comments || Top||

#5  Oh, sorry:

LMAO Frank Fred
Posted by: ryuge || 05/28/2009 17:29 Comments || Top||

#6  I had to scroll up and see what I wrote. You tease!
Posted by: Frank G || 05/28/2009 18:04 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Culture Wars
Some Industries Deserve Bankruptcy- Newsweek and Katie and Maureen
Andrew Ferguson drops the hammer. It's all good.

Excerpt (h/t NRO'sThe Corner)


You can see why everybody welcomed the awards dinner for Katie, whom everybody loves. Really. It was a chance to kick back, relax--a little "me time" for everybody. Katie, as everybody knows, is the newsreader on the CBS Evening News. The evening was sponsored by Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, and CBS. Like Maureen, Katie is no stranger to awards. Two months ago she received the Walter Cronkite Award for Special Achievement in Journalism, named after the famous CBS newsreader. A couple weeks before that she won the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast, named after the other famous CBS newsreader. She moves from triumph to triumph.

At the dinner she was toasted and "roasted" by Jeff Greenfield, the CBS political analyst, and Rick Kaplan, the CBS executive, and David Martin, the CBS correspondent, and some others that everybody would know, including Nicolle Wallace, a former CBS employee. Everybody loves Nicolle. After working for Katie, she got a job preparing Sarah Palin for media interviews during last year's presidential campaign. She prepared Palin for her interview with Katie, in fact. The interview aired on CBS and confirmed everybody's assumption that Palin is a moron. At the awards dinner everybody had a good laugh about that. It really is a small world.

Rick Kaplan, in his roast, said it was a privilege to work for Katie. Nicolle said Katie was an inspiration to young people everywhere. Martin said she was a great reporter. It was Greenfield's opinion that she has not only brains but guts. Then Helen Thomas was hoisted to the podium to present her award to Katie. Everybody admires Helen, though nobody can tell you why. Helen mentioned the Palin interview too. She said Katie's skewering of Palin had ensured that John McCain would lose the election to Barack Obama. You know how everybody feels about Barack Obama--he's the guy the world bends itself to.

"Katie had the right stuff to do that game-changing interview," Helen said. "After that, the ballgame was over."

Helen gave a dramatic pause, then said: "She saved the country."

Helen got a standing ovation, from everybody.


Posted by: mrp || 05/28/2009 10:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

#1  where Helen Thomas gave Katie Couric the Helen Thomas Award for Excellence in Journalism

Ewww. For Perky Katie's sake, let's hope it's not a bust of Helen...
Posted by: tu3031 || 05/28/2009 14:58 Comments || Top||

#2  read the whole thing - brilliant.
Posted by: Andy Ulusoque aka Broadhead6 || 05/28/2009 15:03 Comments || Top||

#3  It is good. They really do enjoy their little world. Probably like the Romanov's did in, like, 1917...
Posted by: tu3031 || 05/28/2009 15:23 Comments || Top||



Who's in the News
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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.
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Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Seafarious
Pappy
lotp
Scooter McGruder
john frum
tu3031
badanov
sherry
ryuge
GolfBravoUSMC
Bright Pebbles
trailing wife
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Two weeks of WOT
Thu 2009-05-28
  7 killed in attack on Somali presidential palace
Wed 2009-05-27
  Taliban strike ISI headquarters in Lahore, 35 killed, 250 wounded
Tue 2009-05-26
  SKor military bolsters defense readiness
Mon 2009-05-25
  N. Korea appears to have conducted second nuclear test
Sun 2009-05-24
  Pak security forces enter Mingora
Sat 2009-05-23
  Car boom kills 10, injures 75 in Peshawar
Fri 2009-05-22
  Thousands flee tense Wazoo
Thu 2009-05-21
  Iran tests long range missile
Wed 2009-05-20
  Army takes Sultanwas, kills 81; Mullah Fazlullah maybe titzup
Tue 2009-05-19
  Prabhakaran dead as a rock!!!!!
Mon 2009-05-18
  Norks to nullify Kaesong agreements
Sun 2009-05-17
  Tamil Tigers say they surrender
Sat 2009-05-16
  Sri Lanka president declares victory in civil war
Fri 2009-05-15
  60 Talibs killed in Swat
Thu 2009-05-14
  Morocco dismantles Salafiya Jihadiya cell

Better than the average link...



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