Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said his government would never compromise its support for the Kashmiris' struggle against Indian rule despite its crackdown on Islamic militants. "There should be no doubt in any mind about our commitment to the Kashmir cause and the people of Kashmir," he said while addressing the inaugural session of the newly constituted National Kashmir Committee. "We will continue to support the just freedom struggle of Kashmiris politically, diplomatically and morally," the general was quoted as saying by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just make sure they can the "armed struggle" approach. Talking's not as romantic as shooting and blowing things up, but it'll be more effective and it prevents radioactivity.
The Pakistan government said the five radical Islamic groups it banned at the weekend were prohibited by law from operating under new names. The interior ministry also said in a statement newspapers might be prosecuted if they published statements in support of the banned groups. The Nation newspaper on Monday quoted a spokesman from the banned Tehrik-e-Jafria Pakistan (TJP) as saying it would operate under the name of Quaid-i-Millat Jafria. Shucks. They hate it when that happens. They'd still be crazed killers even if they renamed themselves the Snuggly Puppy Party.
Pakistani officials have had little success in tracking down the financial assets of the terrorists. The Central Bank has so far found no money in their accounts. No surprise. Lots of their money's in ISI coffers, but probably the bulk of it is in the accounts of affiliated "charities" and other dummies. Look into religious institutions' accounts, too; there'll be a bunch there. The remainder's outside the country - not that much, 'cause it's harder to reach - and in wife and kiddy accounts, a single remove from the actual user. You're welcome. Glad to help.
Pakistan's Interior Ministry has estimated that the five Kashmiri rebel groups have about 5,000 people on their rolls, many of them trained in guerrilla warfare. That's really not a huge "army" in a state of 150 million or so. They'll form a threat to law and order until the money runs out - not from their own coffers, but from al-Qaeda and whoever's the next level up from Osama bin Laden. Once that's gone, they'll wither away because they'll have to get jobs.
Police arrested six leaders of religious parties as part of the crackdown on activists of extremist organizations. The leaders were taken into custody when they gathered outside the Quetta Press Club to address a press conference. Meanwhile, provincial authorities raided over 160 madrassahs functioning in different parts of Balochistan. Golly. That's terrible. Those poor, pious holy men! Well, Hazel, guess things'll be quiet around there for awhile.
Ceasefire talks in Switzerland between the Sudanese government and the main rebel group have got off to a positive start. The two sides are meeting behind closed doors in the central Swiss town of Burgenstock to try and agree on a ceasefire in the mountainous Nuba region. Eleven representatives of the Khartoum government and seven members of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) arrived in Burgenstock, near Lucerne, for talks sponsored by Switzerland and the United States. Wonder if the government negotiators brought any slaves with them. They do make such thoughtful gifts. Sure is nice to see this set of Taliban trying to get civilized.
Two Israelis, one of them an 72-year-old man, were killed in West Bank attacks, despite official Palestinian insistence that a truce with Israel was still in force. Avi Boaz, 72, a resident of the Maale Adumim Jewish settlement, was found with a bullet wound to the head in Beit Sahur, a Palestinian town near Bethlehem. Israel accused the Palestinian naval police of complicity in Boaz's abduction and killing at a police checkpoint, saying they had either turned a blind eye, or possibly even helped. The killing was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Al-Aqsa said the settler was "an officer of the Zionist intelligence services" and that his killing was "a lesson ... for those with the blood of our people on their hands". Yeah. So let that be a warning to all those septuagenarian secret agents. Besides, they're so much easier to bump off than the younger ones. Less likely to be armed, too.
The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have agreed to set up local monitoring teams to ensure compliance with the ceasefire and rehabilitation agreement they signed in August. The agreement calls for a halt to the fighting, normalization in the conflict areas in Mindanao, and relief, rehabilitation and development programs. Representatives of government and MILF negotiating panels met in Cotabato City on the composition of the monitoring teams, which will include representatives of local government units, two non-government organizations, and the religious sector. The negotiating panels have also urged representatives of the Organization of Islamic Conference to "observe and monitor" the ceasefire as well as the implementation of an agreement contained in a joint communique the two sides issued on Aug. 7. How interesting. Yesterday US Special Forces were on their way to advise the government troops, today MILF is ready to adhere to the agreement they made last year. Sadly for Abu Sayyaf, the openly al-Qaeda affiliated group won't have the option. They'll have to change their hats and pretend to be somebody else, or else go to Yemen.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front vowed to impose "harsh sanctions" against its members who are involved in kidnapping. Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, issued the stern warning following police and military reports about alleged links of some MILF rebels to kidnapping groups in Mindanao. The warning came in the wake of a threat from Davao CityMayor Rodrigo Duterte that he would lead an attack against MILF camps that were being used as sanctuaries of kidnapping groups. Ain't it coincidental that they should decide to go out of the kidnapping business now? Next thing you know, they'll stop chopping people's heads off. Of course, jihad won't be quite as much fun without it.
Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli woman and injured another in a drive-by shooting at the gates of the Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev. Fatah leaders insisted a ceasefire declared by Arafat a month ago was still in force. Yeah. An old man and a woman - no big thing. Inconsequential. Just ignore them while we "negotiate."
Army troops in civilian clothes reportedly fired at a 10,000-strong rally in Jolo, Sulu by supporters of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari and then shot it out with responding police forces, leading to at least 20 deaths and numerous casualties. Col. Jose Mabanta, Armed Forces spokesman, said nine Marines, two cops, three civilians and a Moro National Liberation Front integree were killed. At least six other persons were wounded though some reports put the number of wounded at 18. Initial reports were confusing, but sources said the fighting started after cops arrested at least one Marine in civilian clothes for carrying a grenade. Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all, except for the dead. MNLF sez the government set it up to justify having the Americans work with the locals against them, but this sounds more like a traditional Philippine political rally.
Pakistani militants belonging to the five banned outfits have gone underground to circumvent the order of President Pervez Musharraf. Commanders of the rebel groups have ordered thousands of followers to go into hiding. Many have already changed their identities. In another move to prevent their telephone messages from being tapped, Islamic militants said they were working to build a communication network that would enable them to continue their actions without tipping off the authorities. A follower of Lashkar-i-Taiba said that members would keep in touch with one another via "web-based e-mail, internet bulletin boards and electronic paging, as well as short-messaging services on their mobiles." If they'd been doing it right from the start, they'd already be hidden underground. Up until now, Pakland hasn't even been trying to make it hard on the snuffies.
An American intelligence delegation is meeting with several security, financial and banking officials in Kuwait to collect information about bank accounts and names in the framework of the terrorism-fighting campaign. The least glamorous part of intelligence gathering is wading through piles of financials. It's also among the most productive parts. Bet all those address books and check stubs they picked up in Afghanistan made the search a lot easier.
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee wants the United States to close the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia and shift its air operation to another base in the region, possibly Bahrain. "The situation at the Saudi base seems very unclear. We may need to move that base," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. "I have an unease about our presence in Saudi Arabia. I think we may be able to find a place where we are much more welcomed openly." Levin added that behind the scenes, the Saudi government is no more welcoming than it behaves publicly. "I do think there is a real problem when we are told by a country, presumably an ally, doesn't want us to be seen," he said. "They act as though somehow or other they are doing us a favor." As the Saudis told Bush last August, the time may have come for a parting of the ways. Bahrain or Abu Dhabi might appreciate us more than our "best friends" the Saudis. And next time Iraq decides to roll south, maybe they'll pass Kuwait and take Saudi Arabia instead. Should that come to pass, we might have to have our national hair done, so we won't be able to make it to the defense until all the Saud family is in Monaco or Biarritz. There might even be a personable young Emir in Bahrain or Abu Dhabi who wouldn't mind too much picking up the governmental reins in Arabia.
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.