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Suicide Bomber Attacks Afghan Ministry of Defence
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 4: Opinion
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Page 6: Politix
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Africa North
Spencer: U.S. Intervention In Libya Aids the Jihad
Posted by: tipper || 04/19/2011 08:14 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  We know.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 04/19/2011 8:18 Comments || Top||

#2  And so does Obama, but that won't keep him from assisting the Jihadi crowd.
Posted by: Besoeker || 04/19/2011 10:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Besoeker - for obama it's a feature, not a bug.
Posted by: Hellfish || 04/19/2011 12:17 Comments || Top||

Saudis Forming Anti-Iran War Coalition
(Debka, so salt)
After giving up on US and Israel ever confronting Iran, Saudi Arabia has placed itself at the forefront of an independent Sunni campaign for cutting down the Islamic Republic's drive for a nuclear bomb and its expansionist meddling in Arab countries.

Two US emissaries sent to intercede with Saudi King Abdullah -- US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on April 6 and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, who arrived in Riyadh six days later -- were told that Saudi Arabia had reached a parting-of-the ways with Washington, followed actively by Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

King Abdullah first defied the Obama administration's policy of support for popular uprisings against autocratic Arab regimes on March 14 by sending Saudi troops into Bahrain to prop up the king against the Shiite-led disturbances organized by Tehran's Lebanese surrogate, Hizballah.

This force has been expanded continuously, split now between units suppressing the uprising and the bulk deployed on the island's coast, 320 kilometers from the shore of Iran.

Saudi ground-to-ground and anti-air missiles have been transferred to the Bahraini capital of Manama and naval units, including missile vessels, positioned in its harbor.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa announced that Saudi and allied GCC troops would stay in the kingdom until Iran no longer poses a menace. "Gulf force is needed to counter a sustained campaign by Iran in Bahrain," he said.

Saudi Arabia was therefore determined to lead the Gulf region on the road to a confrontation with Iran -- up to and including military action if necessary -- to defend the oil emirates against Iranian conspiracies in the pursuit of which the king accused US-led diplomacy of giving Tehran a clear field.

Monday, April 18, the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, asked the UN Security Council to take action for stopping Iran's "provocative interference in their countries' domestic affairs." This "flagrant interference" posed a "grave security to, and risked flaring up sectarian strike, in the GCC countries."

The resolution went on to state: "The GCC will not hesitate to adopt whatever measures and policies they deem necessary vis-à-vis the foreign interferences in their internal affairs."

The phrase "measures and policies deemed necessary" is diplomatic parlance for a military threat.

It implies that Saudi Arabia and the rest of the regional group are confident that together, they command the strategic resources and assets necessary for a military strike against Iran. Our military sources report that the Saudis are convinced that their combined missile, air force and naval strength is fully capable of inflicting in-depth damage on mainland Iran.

Iran's response: Thousands of Iranian students, mobilized by the Revolutionary Guards and Basijj voluntary corps have laid the Saudi embassy in Tehran to siege for most of the past week, launching stone and firebomb assaults from time to time, but so far making no attempt to invade the building.

Then, Saturday, April 16, the Iranian foreign ministry summoned the Pakistani chargé d'affaires to warn him sternly against allowing Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to continue conscripting Pakistani military personnel.

Tehran claims that by offering exorbitant paychecks, Riyadh has raised 1,000 Pakistani recruits for its military operation in support of the Bahraini king and another 1,500 are on their way to the Gulf.

Iran also beefed up its strength along the Pakistani border to warn Islamabad that if it matters come to a clash with Saudi Arabia, Pakistani and its military will not escape punishment.

Tehran-Sunni tensions are rippling into other arenas: On April 11-12, the chronically disaffected Arabs of Ahwaz in the western Iranian province of Khuzestan (1.2 million inhabitants) staged a two-day uprising against the Iranian government.

In their first crackdown, government forces killed at least 15 demonstrators before cutting off Ahwaz's links with the outside world.'

So too does Syrian president Bashar Assad, who claims the spreading revolt against his regime, now entering its second month, was instigated from Riyadh.
In the event of such a war, Bahrain and Riyadh would in effect be shielded from Iranian missiles by any US 5th fleet assets in the area, who would have to assume it was an attack on themselves as well.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 04/19/2011 15:22 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6491 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Importantly, Egypt is for unknown reasons getting nice with Tehran, which is a trout in the milk.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 04/19/2011 15:43 Comments || Top||

#2  I need suggestions for special popcorn.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 04/19/2011 15:47 Comments || Top||

#3  It would be weird if the al Sauds ended up destroying the Iranian nuclear program. Obama's reluctance to act may end up costing him re-election. I'm starting to think that the Saudis are deliberately causing oil prices to rise in order to ensure that Obama loses in 2012, because they're not sure the al Saud clan can survive another 4 years of Obama (the Saudis and us both).
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 04/19/2011 15:56 Comments || Top||

#4  "I need suggestions for special popcorn."

After buttering and salting, try tossing with fresh-grated parmesan, grom.

Also, try a little cayenne mixed in with the salt, or the butter.

Enjoy. :-D
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 04/19/2011 17:56 Comments || Top||

#5  I'm starting to think that the Saudis are deliberately causing oil prices to rise in order to ensure that Obama loses in 2012, because they're not sure the al Saud clan can survive another 4 years of Obama (the Saudis and us both).

Interesting thought Zhang Fei. You might be right. Saudis royalty is also are very afraid of Iran's growing nuclear threat. Also there is the Sunni vs. Shia tensions.
Posted by: JohnQC || 04/19/2011 18:20 Comments || Top||

#6  All that is needed now is a Chinese missile salesman to turn up.... OH WAIT!
Posted by: Besoeker || 04/19/2011 20:54 Comments || Top||

#7  Special Popcorn?

Add Bacon of course!
Posted by: DanNY || 04/19/2011 21:51 Comments || Top||

#8  Beso, Soddies contributed financially to Paki nukes, did they not? I would not be surprised if they felt some degree of entitlement, manifesting one way or another.

There is an old prophecy that Mecca will be vaporized by light brighter than 1000 suns and originating from the east. It does not say much about Qom, but ME mindset is thoroughly reciprocal. It always puzzled me, the origin of the bottled sunshine, that is. Well... it may be prudent to resupply my pantry with lotsa popcorn.

Posted by: twobyfour || 04/19/2011 22:11 Comments || Top||

#9  DanNY - mmmmmm bacon. I like the way you think :-)
Posted by: Frank G || 04/19/2011 22:20 Comments || Top||

#10  "Add Bacon of course!"

DanNY, that works for me, but grom's mileage might vary, considering where he lives.

Just sayin'
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 04/19/2011 22:28 Comments || Top||

#11  Importantly, Egypt is for unknown reasons getting nice with Tehran, which is a trout in the milk.

My guess is that an Islamist faction of the Egyptian Army is in charge. The Muslim masses do love Iran - they see it as the one Muslim country willing to poke Uncle Sam in the eye. A democratic Egypt could be more stridently anti-American than Iran. Whether it will stoop to engineering a 9/11-style attack like Pakistan is another matter.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 04/19/2011 22:29 Comments || Top||

#12  #8 Beso, Soddies contributed financially to Paki nukes, did they not? I would not be surprised if they felt some degree of entitlement, manifesting one way or another.

Yes, but the financial assists and nuclear research efforts went totally undetected by our counter-proliferation intelligence agencies until seismic monitors began to peg the huge surface craters appeared.
Posted by: Besoeker || 04/19/2011 22:33 Comments || Top||

#13  You should worry more about Iraq getting nice with Iran.

The Axis of Shiiaism.
Posted by: phil_b || 04/19/2011 22:34 Comments || Top||

MEMRI: Role of Pakistani Mercenaries in the Middle East
"'Foreign policy is everywhere and always a continuation of domestic policy, for it is conducted by the same ruling class and pursues the same historic goals.' -- The Revolution Betrayed, Leon Trotsky

"In his 1983 masterpiece 'Can Pakistain Survive? The Death of a State,' Tariq Ali opens the section on Pakistain's foreign policy during the Z. A. Bhutto days with the above quote from Trotsky. After duly recognizing the limitations of generalizing this aphorism, Tariq Ali noted that many third-world capitals pursue a foreign policy closely mirroring their domestic economic and political policies, but perhaps none has done so more grotesquely than Islamabad.

"Tariq Ali wrote: 'One of the commodities exported was labor, and the remittances sent back by migrant workers provided nearly 20 percent of the country's foreign exchange earnings. It was also reported that 10,000 Pak hookers had been dispatched to the Gulf states by the United Bank Limited (UBL), to strengthen its reserves of foreign currency. Soldiers and officers were also leased out as mercenaries to a number of states in that region. In some ways it was a telling indictment of the Pak state that it can only survive by selling itself to the oil-rich sheikhs.'

"The Pak military establishment's cooperation with Arab dictators obviously dates back to the Ayub Khan era and the UK and U.S.-sponsored Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) or Storied Baghdad
...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate...
Pact of 1955. However,
The flatulent However...
the surge in the export of mercenaries that Tariq Ali was alluding to was not because of the Western sponsorship of such legions but because Pakistain, in 1971, had declared a moratorium on repayment of its foreign debt and had to look for financial aid...

"While one cannot confirm the veracity of the claim about the UBL venture, the events of the last several months show that somehow the grotesque mediocrity of the Pak establishment keeps repeating its antics, as far as the export of mercenaries goes. "

"The Saudi Plan, Just as in the 1969 Bombing of Yemen by Pak Pilots Flying Saudi Planes, is to Use the Trusted Pak Troops to Bolster the Defense of... Client States Like Bahrain"

"The Arab spring has created unique geopolitical scenarios where old alliances are falling apart -- or at least are no longer trustworthy -- while new realities are taking shape much to the discontent of regional autocrats. I have repeatedly stated that [U.S. President] Barack B.O. Obama's instinct is to side with the democratic movements in the Middle East and North Africa, without intervening directly, even though cliques within his administration have been able to drag him into the Libyan morass. Obama's handling of Hosni Mubarak's
...The former President-for-Life of Egypt, dumped by popular demand in early 2011...
fall did not go well with Saudi king Abdullah and the bitter exchange between the two, during a phone conversation, is rather well known.

"The wily Saudi monarch subsequently concluded that if there were to be an uprising in his courtyard, the Americans would not come to his rescue. And unless a smoking gun can be traced to Tehran, Abdullah is right. With Obama getting [likely] re-elected... in 2012, the Saudis have chosen to exercise other options that they have heavily invested in, for decades, to protect their courtyard and backyard.

"The Saudis know that it is nearly impossible for any political uprising there to physically coalesce, due to the population centers being geographically far apart, to cause direct threat to Riyadh. But they also know that the democratic contagion can spread at the periphery of the Kingdom, with the oil-rich Eastern province slipping out of control quickly or the disquiet at the Yemeni border keeping Riyadh distracted (the latter was tested by both Gamal Nasser and Iran). The Saudi plan, just as in the 1969 bombing of Yemen by Pak pilots flying Saudi planes, is to use the trusted Pak troops to bolster the defense of not only the Saudi regime but of its client states like Bahrain."

"Pak-Saudi Interests are at Odds with the U.S. and are Confluent with Each Other...; The Pak Deep State [i.e. the Military] Apparently has Decided to Keep Selling Itself to the Oil-Rich Sheikhs"

"It is not a surprise then that before Soddy Arabia invaded Bahrain on March 13, 2011, the chief of Saudi Land Forces, General Abdul Rahman Murshid visited Pakistain and before that, on March 9, met General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani
... four star general, current Chief of Army Staff of the Mighty Pak Army. Kayani is the former Director General of ISI...
[chief of Pakistain Army]. Bahrain had already requested and received assurance for military help from Pakistain in late February 2011. In fact, a leading Urdu paper carried an advertisement from the Fauji Foundation Pakistain on February 25 and March 1, seeking men for recruitment to the Bahrain National Guard. The qualifications sought were the following: age 20-25, height of six-feet or taller
Are there many tall Pakistanis?
and military/security service background especially in riot control, which suggest that enrolment was not exactly for the Manama Red Islamic Thingy Society.

"After the Saudi army brutally crushed the uprising in Bahrain, the foreign minister of Bahrain, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, met with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the State Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar [in Islamabad]. While the Bahraini media splashed pictures of the handshake between Ms. Khar and Sheikh Khalid, announcing Pak support to Bahrain, the actual backing had been pledged by the chief of general staff, General Khalid Shamim Wayne, whom the Bahraini minster met on March 29.

"In her article titled 'Bahrain or Bust?,' [journalist] Miranda Husain writes: '[Noam] Chomsky
...intellectual and political theorist of a socialist persuasion. He is noted for being so far out in left field he can't see the shortstop on every issue he pushes...
believes the Pak presence in Bahrain can be seen as part of a U.S.-backed alliance to safeguard Western access to the region's oil... The U.S. has counted on Pakistain to help control the Arab world and safeguard Arab rulers from their own populations... Pakistain was one of the 'cops on the beat' that the Nixon administration had in mind when outlining their doctrine for controlling the Arab world.' Ms. Husain and the American Baba-e-Socialism (Father of Socialism), Chomsky, conclude with the hope that Pakistain should not meddle in the Middle East.

"I believe that Chomsky's reading of the situation in the Persian Gulf is dead wrong. It is the divergence -- not confluence -- of U.S.-Saudi-Pak interests that is the trigger for potential Pak involvement there. The Pak brass' handling of the Raymond Davis affair and now its insistence -- through bravado, not subtlety -- on redefining the red lines with the U.S. indicates that just like the 1971 situation, an alternative funding source to the IMF has been secured. The Pasha-Panetta meeting has raised more issues than it has solved.[3] Pak-Saudi interests are at odds with the U.S. and are confluent with each other.

"From the Kerry-Lugar Bill to the Raymond Davis saga, the mullahs [holy mans] have been deployed swiftly to create an impression of public support for the establishment's designs. Last Friday's mobilization of the religious parties in favor of the Saudis is the establishment's standard drill and will be repeated as needed. The Pak deep state [i.e. the military] apparently has decided to keep selling itself to the oil-rich sheikhs. The domestic policy of coercion and chaos will be continued in foreign lands too."
Posted by: Fred || 04/19/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6486 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan

#1  Paki mercinaries have been a feature in the Middle East for several decades. For many years, they had a reputation of being (compared to the Arabs) good soldiers.

Then our troops had extensive contact with them in Somalia. The upshot is our troops did not trust the Pakis at all. The Black African troops were much better. My friends said that you could give a bunch of American mall rats M-4s and they would do just as good a job.

One of the sad developments in the Middle East has been the cancelling of American training/maintenance contracts in the Middle East and replacement by Paki mercinary trainers and technicians. These men aren't nearly as good (and the Arabs know it). The result is that most of their fancy equipment is rusted junk.
Posted by: Frozen Al || 04/19/2011 11:40 Comments || Top||

#2  "Are there many tall Pakistanis?"

My friends are, tw. Ali and the other men in his family are well over 6 feet tall. Not sure where in Pakistan they originally came from - I've only know them as Americans.

(For some reason, I tend to think of tall Pakistanis as coming from the north of the country, but that thinking may be influenced by the tall aboriginals in the north of Japan.)
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 04/19/2011 13:40 Comments || Top||

#3  One of the sad developments in the Middle East has been the cancelling of American training/maintenance contracts in the Middle East and replacement by Paki mercinary trainers and technicians. These men aren't nearly as good (and the Arabs know it). The result is that most of their fancy equipment is rusted junk.

I don't think it's sad.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 04/19/2011 15:45 Comments || Top||

#4  I'm with you, grom.

But, as they sow, so shall they reap, and with any luck the Arabs and the Pakis will all get royally reaped.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 04/19/2011 18:00 Comments || Top||

#5  I'm just p*ssed that Americains are getting screwed out of a contract (and money) they deserve in favor of a bunch of co-religionists that can barely chew gum and walk.

P.S. The reason they do this is because the US will come rescue them anyway.
Posted by: Frozen Al || 04/19/2011 18:50 Comments || Top||

#6  The Pak deep state [i.e. the military] apparently has decided to keep selling itself to the oil-rich sheikhs. The domestic policy of coercion and chaos will be continued in foreign lands too." Posted by: Fred

Particularly Afghanistan. Attempts at repairing earthen berms or fences (Taliban border infiltration and smuggling routes) are generally met by Pakistani Border Guard threats to open fire.
Posted by: Besoeker || 04/19/2011 21:35 Comments || Top||

#7  Pakistanis have also been hired on as police in Bahrain, and work in a mercenary capacity in several sub-Saharan nations. In Zimbabwe, for example' they've functioned as 'police' helicopter pilots and aviation support, with reported training roles as well.
Posted by: Pappy || 04/19/2011 22:37 Comments || Top||

#8  The world of today reminds me of the book "Soldier Ask Not" by Gordon Dickson. Basically in the far future you have two groups of Mercenaries, the DORSAI who are super-soldiers, and the FRIENDLYS who are overly religious canon-fodder.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 04/19/2011 23:22 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Culture Wars
The Great Education Rip-Off
h/t Gates of Vienna
It has taken a severe recession, combined with rising costs for gas and the weekly grocery list, for Americans to begin to seriously question where their tax dollars are going and why. As individuals, as families, and communities, we can no longer be indifferent or profligate.

The events in Wisconsin where the teacher's union led to protests against collective bargaining has made many Americans begin to question all those TV ads about what a great job teachers are doing and the reassuring message that it's all about the kids. No, it's all about salaries, health benefits, and pensions that far exceed those in the private sector.

... A recent Policy Analysis (No. 662) published by the Cato Institute on March 10th and written by Adam Schaeffer is titled "They Spend WHAT? The Real Cost of Public Schools."

The analysis is based on a review of district budgets and state records for the nation's five largest metro areas and the District of Columbia. "It reveals that, on average, per-pupil spending in these areas is 44% higher than officially reported." In other words, taxpayers simply had no idea how big a part of their local and state budget the educational system actually represented. That is deceit on a massive scale.
The money quote
If a district is spending $30,000 per child, surely that is enough to ensure a high-quality education. If the school buildings are nonetheless in disrepair and the kids can't read, then there is good reason to suspect that a massive share of that money is being wasted.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 04/19/2011 03:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6478 views] Top|| File under:

#1  AFAIAC, education has been the go-to cash cow for governments at all levels to cover deficits. You vote for a new school and half of it gets put to use covering something else.
Posted by: gorb || 04/19/2011 4:40 Comments || Top||

#2  IOW: "We work for the government, and we're here to help ourselves."
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 04/19/2011 5:09 Comments || Top||

#3  Just like the UK National Health Service problems the US has an equaivalent "National Education Service" and all the same problems that entails.

Get the government out of providing treatment, and get it out of providing schools!
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 04/19/2011 6:13 Comments || Top||

#4  We don't Care!

We don't have to!

We're the phone company TEACHERS UNION!
Posted by: CrazyFool || 04/19/2011 8:13 Comments || Top||

#5  If a district is spending $30,000 per child

That's considerably more than charged by the International School of Brussels, one of the top-rated American-style private schools in the International School system. ISB students get annual class trips abroad from 4th grade on, preparation for the very rigourous International Baccalaureate diploma, several foreign languages, and tutoring in their home language if there is not a regular class offered in it.
Posted by: trailing wife || 04/19/2011 8:26 Comments || Top||

#6  Get rid of the Teacher's unions, the Department of Education and sit down with a clean piece of paper and start over.
Posted by: JohnQC || 04/19/2011 10:06 Comments || Top||

#7  Yet I keep hearing the statement that for every dollar "invested" in education we get a $7 return.Yet somehow I got a better education for less money per pupil than my son, and the only reason his son's not getting a lower quality education is because he's home schooled.
Posted by: Fred || 04/19/2011 10:43 Comments || Top||

#8  Right now, if asked, I would recommend being a welder rather than being an IT worker, to a young man finishing high school. As a welder he will not be competing with cheap IT from overseas, and H1B who lower salaries, all while trying to pay off his student loans. Join the Navy, learn to weld, then get out and do it for a living, and take accounting and business classes at night on the GI bill so you can eventually run your own company.
Posted by: The Other Beldar || 04/19/2011 16:41 Comments || Top||

#9  I personally know one teacher here that has missed 52 school days and still has her job.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 04/19/2011 17:15 Comments || Top||

#10  P. S. Her absences have not been due to health issues.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 04/19/2011 17:16 Comments || Top||

#11  When I went to the college you could work your way through school, i.e. college was affordable for nearly everyone who wanted to go. Today students often go into debt for 100-150K for their college education. As The Other Beldar said going into the military, getting training such as welding, and then using the GI bill to pick up specific courses might be a good way to go. A friend's son got training in welding, started his own company and was making more than an exceptionally good living.
Posted by: JohnQC || 04/19/2011 21:14 Comments || Top||

#12  Join the Navy, learn to weld,.....The Other Beldar

Didn't help Dan Quayle.
Posted by: Besoeker || 04/19/2011 21:17 Comments || Top||

#13  Quayle joined the Indiana Army National Guard [journalism unit] and served from 1969–1975, attaining the rank of sergeant.

Maybe it was the 'Army' part.

Couldn't have been the 'journalism'...
Posted by: Pappy || 04/19/2011 22:30 Comments || Top||

#14  At least he didn't visit Pakistan or disappear with no known or recorded address, into the streets of NYC for two years. Lots of National Guard folks in Afghanistan right now. I'm proud of them. Always have been.
Posted by: Besoeker || 04/19/2011 22:38 Comments || Top||

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1al-Qaeda in North Africa

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Two weeks of WOT
Tue 2011-04-19
  Suicide Bomber Attacks Afghan Ministry of Defence
Mon 2011-04-18
  Five Hurt as Regime Agents Disperse Rallies in South Syria
Sun 2011-04-17
  Egypt: Justice orders the dissolution of the former ruling party
Sat 2011-04-16
  Qaddafi bombards Misrata
Fri 2011-04-15
  Pro-Hamas Italian activist hanged in Gaza
Thu 2011-04-14
  Pro-Hamas Italian Kidnapped By Salafists In Gaza
Wed 2011-04-13
  AU Libya Peace Plan Flops
Tue 2011-04-12
  Syrian soldiers shot for refusing to fire on protesters
Mon 2011-04-11
  Metro blast in Minsk kills several
Sun 2011-04-10
  Shooting erupts in seaport of Baniyas, Syria
Sat 2011-04-09
  22 Syrian protesters killed, hundreds wounded
Fri 2011-04-08
  Gulf states expect Yemen's Saleh to quit: Qatari PM
Thu 2011-04-07
  Rebels push back toward Brega
Wed 2011-04-06
  Gaddafi troops force retreat towards Ajdabiya
Tue 2011-04-05
  Suicide kabooms kill 30 at Pakistani shrine

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