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Karachi calling

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ZoneAsia-Pk

Urban violence has become a permanent affliction in Karachi. Anyone explaining the roots of this violence to you would say ‘it’s complicated’ – and that is indeed an accurate summary of the bloodshed that erupts across the city in random spurts. The plague of violence in Pakistan’s biggest city and commercial hub is multifaceted. From ethnic strife to gang wars to politically motivated crimes to just petty theft – Karachi has it all. Where does it start? And more importantly, where would it end?

This is strange because less merely 25 years, Karachi was the land of opportunity in Pakistan. Once the capital of the country, this economic hub bustled with life and activity with little thought spared to the horrors awaiting citizens a few years down the road. Fast forward to 2012, Karachi faces (in the words of Bilal Baloch) feeble security, over-population, poor public transportation and housing, weak law and order, abuse of public services by the wealthy and powerful, illegal land-grabbing and squatter settlements, pollution so pervasive that it contaminates food and water for all, ethnic divisions, sectarian divisions, meager education; in short, institutional inadequacies on a grand scale. At the same time, it is this city that allows unbridled port access to NATO, fishermen and businessmen. The city has seen the likes of Alexander the Great, Sir Charles Napier, Muhammad Bin Qasim, poets, authors, bloggers and artists. The City of Lights continues to function under such paradoxical circumstances, with violent bloodshed in one corner of the city and celebrations in another.

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Pentagon Author Exposes Zelikow’s Key Role in 9/11 Cover-Up

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By: Maidhc O Cathail

In an interview on the Fox Business Network, a retired U.S. intelligence officer accused the official in charge of the 9/11 Commission of a cover-up of intelligence failures leading up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Appearing on the political talk show Freedom Watch, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and the author of Operation Dark Heart, a much-hyped new book on the war in Afghanistan, spoke about his mid-October 2003 encounter with Dr. Philip Zelikow, then executive director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.

During a fact-finding mission to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, Zelikow’s team was briefed by Shaffer on Able Danger, a DIA data mining project that had allegedly identified Mohammed Atta as a threat to the U.S. a year before 9/11.

Parenthetically, the “Mohammed Atta” identified by Able Danger may have been an imposter operating under a stolen identity, as occurred in the assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai. In an interview with a German newspaper, reported by the Guardian, Mohammed Atta’s father claimed that his son had nothing to do with the attacks and was still alive a year after 9/11.

Whichever Mohammed Atta was referred to by Shaffer in Bagram, Zelikow reportedly “fell silent with shock at the news.”

According to Shaffer, Zelikow came to him at the end of the meeting, gave him his card, and said: “What you said today is critically important, very important. Please come see me when you return to Washington D.C.”

On his return to Washington in January 2004, Shaffer immediately contacted Zelikow’s office and was told to “stand by.” After a week passed, Shaffer called again, and this time was told by Zelikow’s staff: “We don’t need you to come in. We have all the information on Able Danger we need. Thank you anyway.”

None of the information provided by Shaffer appeared in the 9/11 Commission’s 585-page report, however.

In September 2005, more than a year after the publication of the 9/11 report, Shaffer said he met with one of the 9/11 commissioners in Philadelphia. Over lunch, he told the commissioner what he had told Zelikow in Afghanistan. The commissioner said that “he had never heard any of this,” adding that, “had he heard of it, it would have been something that was very much of interest to he [sic] and the commission.”

“So there’s a lot of things that never made it in that 9/11 report?” asked Judge Andrew Napolitano, the host of Freedom Watch.

“Things were either by negligence left out, or, and I believe, by purpose left out,” Shaffer replied.

Another guest on the show, Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA’s bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, spoke of a similarly frustrating experience with the 9/11 Commission staff director.

Describing the 9/11 Commission Report as “a whitewash, and a lie from top to bottom,” Scheuer said he provided Zelikow with over 400 pages of official government documents detailing intelligence failures before 9/11.

“I never heard one word back from Zelikow,” he said.

“They all seemed very interested in what you had to say,” the former CIA officer added, referring to meetings he had with Zelikow and his staff, “but at the end of the day, it didn’t make it into the report.”

This is not the first time that questions have been raised about Zelikow’s handling of the 9/11 Commission.

In his 2009 book, The Commission, Philip Shenon, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, wrote about “how tightly Zelikow was able to control the flow of information on the commission,” and that “everything” was “run through” him.

While Zelikow’s tight control of the commission excluded disturbing evidence from national security experts like Shaffer and Scheuer, a dubious scholar like Laurie Mylroie was afforded ample opportunity to promote the most spurious justification for the Iraq war. Mylroie, whose major booster in government was Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, argued that Iraq had been involved in every major terrorist attack against the United States since the early 1990s, including 9/11. During commission hearings on al-Qaeda, Zelikow, writes Shenon, “made sure that she had a prominent place at the witness table.”

And why wouldn’t he? After all, Zelikow had an important role in, as Shenon puts it, “developing the scholarly underpinnings for the Iraq war.” It was Zelikow who had authored a thirty-one-page “preemptive war” doctrine which George W. Bush announced to the world in 2002 as “The National Security Strategy of the United States.”

“Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us?” Zelikow asked an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. In a rare moment of candour, Zelikow proceeded to explain that the real reason for preemptive war against Iraq was “the threat against Israel.”

Judge Napolitano asked Lt. Col. Shaffer if the commissioner in Philadelphia had said whether anyone on the 9/11 Commission “had an agenda, or was covering up for somebody, or was protecting somebody.” The commissioner’s reply was, according to Shaffer: “Everybody on the commission was covering for someone.”

U.S. Tries to Calm Pakistan Over Airstrike

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By: HELENE COOPER & ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration scrambled to halt a sharp deterioration in its troubled relationship with Pakistan on Wednesday, offering Pakistani officials multiple apologies for a helicopter strike on a border post that killed three Pakistani soldiers last week.


Militant gunmen in Nowshera, Pakistan, attacked a convoy of NATO oil tankers that were headed to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

But even as the White House tried to mollify Pakistan, officials acknowledged that the uneasy allies faced looming tensions over a host of issues far larger than the airstrike and the subsequent closing of supply lines into Afghanistan.

American pressure to show progress in Afghanistan is translating into increased pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terrorist groups. It is also running up against Pakistan’s sensitivity about its sovereignty and its determination to play a crucial role in any reconciliation with the Taliban.

American and NATO officials said privately that the Pakistani government’s closing of a crucial border crossing might have made it easier for militants to attack backed-up tanker trucks carrying fuel through Pakistan to Afghanistan to support the American war effort.

Still, the unusual apologies, officials and outside analysts said, were intended to clear away the debris from the explosive events along the border, in hopes of maintaining Pakistani cooperation.

“We have historically had astonishing sources of resilience in our relations with Pakistan,” said Teresita Schaffer, a South Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “One should not too quickly assume we’re in a breakpoint. But having said that, the time we’re in right now, the intensity of anti-American feeling, the antipathy of militants, all of these things make new crises a little more complicated to get through than the old ones were.”

The overall commander of forces in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, has been pulling out all the stops – aggressively using the American troop buildup, greatly expanding Special Operations raids (as many as a dozen commando raids a night) and pressing the Central Intelligence Agency to ramp up Predator and Reaper drone operations in Pakistan.

He has also, through the not-so-veiled threat of cross-border ground operations, put pressure on the Pakistani Army to pursue militants in the tribal areas even as the army has continued to struggle with relief from the catastrophic floods this summer.

The fragility of Pakistan – and the tentativeness of the alliance – were underscored in a White House report to Congress this week, which sharply criticized the Pakistani military effort against Al Qaeda and other insurgents and noted the ineffectiveness of its civilian government.

American officials lined up to placate Pakistan on intrusions of its sovereignty. General Petraeus offered Pakistan the most explicit American mea culpa yet for the cross-border helicopter strikes, saying that the American-led coalition forces “deeply regret” the “tragic loss of life.”

Anne W. Patterson, the American ambassador to Pakistan, quickly followed suit, calling “Pakistan’s brave security forces” an important ally in the war. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered a private, but official, apology to Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a telephone call on Wednesday afternoon.

Both American and Pakistani officials said that they expected that Wednesday’s apologies would be effective, at least in the short term, and that Pakistan would soon reopen the border crossing at Torkham, a supply route for the NATO coalition in landlocked Afghanistan that runs from the port of Karachi to the Khyber region. The Pakistani government closed that route last week to protest the cross-border strikes.

“It’s obvious that the situation right now ain’t good,” said a senior NATO official, who agreed to speak candidly but only anonymously. “The best thing we could do is to strip away as many of the relatively smaller things as possible so we can focus on the big issues. And crazy as it may seem, the border crossing is a relatively small issue, compared to the others.”

Those other issues were flagged in the latest quarterly report from the White House to Congress on developments in the region. The assessment, first reported in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, takes aim at both the Pakistani military and the government.

For instance, “the Pakistani military continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or Al Qaeda forces in North Waziristan,” the report said. It also painted Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, as out of touch with his own populace, a disconnect that the report said was exacerbated by Mr. Zardari’s “decision to travel to Europe despite the floods.” The overall Pakistani response to the catastrophic floods this summer, the report said, was viewed by Pakistanis as “slow and inadequate.”

Frustration with Pakistan is growing in the United States in part because “we’re living in the post-Faisal Shahzad era,” said Daniel Markey of the Council on Foreign Relations, referring to the Pakistani-American who was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for the attempted Times Square bombing.

Mr. Markey said that tensions among counterterrorism officials had also mounted because of the unspecified threats of terrorist attacks in Europe. “Frustration has really mounted, so the drumbeat is getting louder,” he said.

Making things worse, the administration is expected to brief Congressional officials on an Internet video, which surfaced last week, that showed men in Pakistani military uniforms executing six young men in civilian clothes, underscoring concerns about unlawful killings by Pakistani soldiers supported by the United States.

A prominent House Democrat warned on Wednesday that American aid to Pakistan could be imperiled. “I am appalled by the horrific contents of the recent video, which appears to show extrajudicial killings by the Pakistani military,” Representative Howard L. Berman, a California Democrat who leads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

“The failure of Pakistani officials to punish those responsible could have implications for future security assistance to Pakistan,” he said.

A joint Pakistan-NATO inquiry on the helicopter strike concluded on Wednesday that Pakistani border soldiers who initially fired on NATO helicopters were “simply firing warning shots after hearing the nearby engagement and hearing the helicopters flying nearby,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy M. Zadalis, a NATO spokesman, in a statement.

“This tragic event could have been avoided with better coalition force coordination with the Pakistani military,” he said.

Afghan war ‘harder’ than anticipated: CIA chief

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WASHINGTON – The Afghan war is tougher than anticipated, the head of the CIA admitted Sunday, insisting progress was being made despite rising Taliban attacks and the sacking of the top US commander.


A US soldier of the 97th MP Battalion stands in the mobile gun position of a Mine Resistant Armoured …

“There are some serious problems here,” Leon Panetta, installed last year as President Barack Obama’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief, told the ABC network’s “This Week” program.

“We’re dealing with a tribal society. We’re dealing with a country that has problems with governance, problems with corruption, problems with narcotics trafficking, problems with a Taliban insurgency.

“We are making progress. It’s harder, it’s slower than I think anyone anticipated.”

Emboldened perhaps by divisions in the US war effort exposed by the sacking this week of Afghan commander General Stanley McChrystal, Taliban attacks are on the rise — a fact Panetta did not attempt to hide.

“I think the Taliban obviously is engaged in greater violence right now. They’re doing more on IED’s (improvised explosive devices). They’re going after our troops. There’s no question about that.”

Obama says his strategy will be unaffected by the shock departure of McChrystal, whose remarks to a magazine about top Obama administration figures betrayed the toxic ties between the commander and his civilian counterparts.

Panetta insisted Obama’s surge strategy — to put 150,000 pairs of boots on the ground by the end of August — is the right one.

“That’s a pretty significant force, combined with the Afghans,” he said.

“I think the fundamental key, the key to success or failure is whether the Afghans accept responsibility, are able to deploy an effective army and police force to maintain stability.

“If they can do that, then I think we’re going to be able to achieve the kind of progress and the kind of stability that the president is after.”

Asked for signs of progress, Panetta pointed to Marjah — a southern town long under the control of Taliban which 15,000 US, NATO and Afghan troops stormed in February, driving out the insurgents and local drug traffickers.

“I think that what we’re seeing even in a place like Marjah, where there’s been a lot of attention… agriculture, commerce is moving back to some degree of normality. The violence is down from a year ago.”

There are 140,000 troops in Afghanistan, with the number set to peak at 150,000 by August in the hope of forcing an end to the insurgency by ramping up efforts in the southern province of Kandahar, the Taliban’s heartland.

Panetta said the “fundamental goal” of the US mission in Afghanistan was to rid the country of Al-Qaeda.

“Winning in Afghanistan is having a country that is stable enough to ensure that there is no safe haven for Al-Qaeda or for a militant Taliban that welcomes Al-Qaeda,” he said.

“That’s really the measure of success for the United States. Our purpose, our whole mission there is to make sure that Al-Qaeda never finds another safe haven from which to attack this country.”

Framing Pakistan: How the pro-Israel media enables India’s surrogate warfare

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail

In its bitter rivalry with India, Pakistan is at a fatal disadvantage. Unlike its South Asian neighbor, Islamabad lacks an ally with considerable influence over American mainstream media.

The latest example of U.S. media complicity with the Indo-Israeli alliance came in the aftermath of the much-hyped Times Square “car-bomb” incident. Typical of the media orgy of Pakistan-bashing that followed the discovery of an SUV packed with 250 pounds of non-explosive fertilizer was a piece written by Newsweek’s Indian-born editor, Fareed Zakaria, in which he brands Pakistan as “a terrorist hothouse.”

“For a wannabe terrorist shopping for help, Pakistan is a supermarket,” writes Zakaria. “There are dozens of jihadi organizations: Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al Qaeda, Jalaluddin and Siraj Haqqani’s network, Tehrik-e-Taliban, and the list goes on. Some of the major ones, like the Kashmiri separatist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, operate openly via front groups throughout the country. But none seem to have any difficulty getting money and weapons.”

Zakaria is in no doubt about who’s to blame.

“From its founding, the Pakistani government has supported and encouraged jihadi groups, creating an atmosphere that has allowed them to flourish,” claims the CNN pundit.

To back up his assertions, Zakaria cites no less an authority that Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States. In Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, which Zakaria considers a “brilliant history,” Husain Haqqani claims that support for jihad has been “a consistent policy of the state.”

Case closed for the prosecution? Perhaps not.

The Pakistani diplomat’s credibility as an objective critic of jihadism is undermined somewhat by his intimate ties to the Israel-centric neoconservative network. A former fellow at the Likudnik Hudson Institute, Haqqani co-chaired Hudson’s Project on Islam and Democracy. Its director, Hillel Fradkin, was a Project for a New American Century signatory to a 2002 letter to George W. Bush equating Yasser Arafat with Osama Bin Laden in an effort to convince the White House that “Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight.”

Haqqani also collaborated with another neocon, Stephen Schwartz, on the Institute for Islamic Progress and Peace. A project of the notorious Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, it is widely suspected to be an attempt to “divide and conquer” the American Muslim community. In short, if Tel Aviv had handpicked Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, they could hardly have found a more suitable candidate than Haqqani.

Also advancing “the Pakistan Connection” to the Times Square plot is Haqqani’s onetime collaborator Stephen Schwartz. Writing in Rupert Murdoch’s staunchly pro-Israel Weekly Standard, Schwartz pushes “the Pakistani Taliban did it” storyline. Faisal Shahzad’s arrest, he writes, “lends credibility to the claim by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the branch of the Afghan terrorist movement operating there, that they planted the unsuccessful car-bomb.”

Like Zakaria, Schwartz holds Pakistani authorities responsible.

“Pakistani reality cannot be evaded,” he writes. “The jihadist domination seen in the Pakistani army and intelligence services (ISI) is visible everywhere South Asian Muslims congregate. It explains the reluctance of the Pakistani government to fulfill its commitment to fighting the Taliban. And it equally accounts for conspiracies like that foiled in Times Square.”

The one evading “Pakistani reality,” however, is Schwartz. If any government is to be held responsible for terrorism carried out by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), it is not in Islamabad but in Tel Aviv or New Delhi.

As Gordon Duff, senior editor of Veterans Today, revealed in a recent interview: “We have very little doubt that the Indians and the Israelis, that are all over Afghanistan with German passports pretending to be military contractors, are operating 17 camps along the Taliban regions training and arming terrorists.”

According to Duff, “The Pakistani Taliban is in close cooperation with, supplied, financed, armed and trained by Israel and India to attack Pakistan.”

Duff’s claims are based on a February 2010 fact-finding tour of Pakistan, where he was briefed by the highest levels of the country’s military and intelligence establishment, including Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Mirza Aslam Beg, former Chief of Army Staff.

Fearful of offending their Israel-conscious paymasters in Washington, the Pakistani military and intelligence services have been forced into the humiliating position of leaking their side of the story through the Veterans Today website.

According to the ISI leak, the Times Square terror plot was a “false flag operation to implicate the Pakistani Taliban and then threaten and force Pakistan to ‘do more’ in North Waziristan.” This was followed by “a massive media disinformation war” to induce the belief that “all global terrorism is emerging from the Pakistani tribal pocket of North Waziristan, and that the ISI/army is either hands and gloves with the Taliban or not willing to do more.”

Clearly, Israel and India share a common geostrategic interest in the destabilization of the nuclear-armed Muslim nation. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated, “Our ties with India don’t have any limitation….”

Israel, however, has proven itself a rather dubious ally-as a growing number of Americans are beginning to realize. Perhaps one day policymakers in New Delhi will have a similar awakening. But for the time being, the media component of its alliance with Tel Aviv affords India a powerful weapon to wage surrogate warfare against Pakistan.

North Waziristan is the final frontier

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Sherry Rehman

There is a saying in Pakistan that if you can’t defeat your enemy, befriend him. This is particularly true in the tribal areas that border Afghanistan, where, in six agencies, there’s an unprecedented military offensive against militants. Despite many tactical alliances and ceasefire pacts in Waziristan, Pakistan has gone in with firepower backed by US drones. The cornerstone of the security policy here is to attack militants close to the al-Qaida, but spare armed syndicates that protect Pakistan’s flanks.

The turbulence in the Af-Pak border zone has led Washington to put out strategic leaks about possible military intervention inside Pakistan. The heart of the problem is what could alter the dynamics of declining US-Nato successes in the Afghan theatre. North Waziristan agency (NWA), and what the Pakistan army is able to do there, seems to have become the litmus test for US-Pakistan relations. After Faisal Shahzad’s attempted bomb attack in Times Square, the pressure on Islamabad to act against anti-US Taliban in NWA has increased. Islamabad pleads capacity constraints; the US cites commitment gaps.

The stakes are high. After failing to build institutional structures in Afghanistan, the test for Washington is linking US-Nato ground offensives in the south and Loya Paktiya to Pakistan’s push on the militant Haqqani-led groups from NWA. The Obama presidency needs a game-changer in a theatre where success is elusive despite a COIN (counter-insurgency) strategy that focuses on population safety. The expected Taliban reversals have not happened despite a massive offensive in Marjah. In Washington’s view, Pakistan is pulling its punches as it may need the Taliban when the US exits Afghanistan.

For Pakistan, this is a battle for its stability and survival. Action is overdue against terrorist and sectarian groups in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. There is a compelling need to act against extremist groups after the massacre of nearly a hundred Ahmadiyas in Lahore recently. The Punjab government needs to do a counter-terror sweep of its cities. The federal government must back up this action with pro-minority legislation. None of this requires the military to act, but such actions will see heightened terrorist attacks on civilians and military alike. This is something that the government will have to brace itself for.

The challenge in NWA is that Islamabad does not have the military or civilian capacity to open all fronts at the same time. Enmeshed in a blighted strategic endgame, with a growing terrorist threat, tanking economy and India posturing to the east, the military option in NWA cannot be a hair-trigger decision. The terrain has sobered the ambitions of several imperial powers, including the British, Russians and now perhaps the Americans. Despite impressive successes in other agencies, the army now faces 50,000 massed armed guerrillas in NWA. Hardened groups such as the Tehrik-I-Taliban, the Haqqani-group and jihadist outfits such as LeT and Lashkar-I-Jhangvi, Lashkar Zil, al-Qaida veterans and Salafists have sought sanctuary there after resisting army operations in surrounding areas. Islamabad’s fear is that if it shoves a fist into this hornet’s nest, maintaining the fragile consensus against terrorists at home would be difficult, as well as protecting its cities from further attacks.

This can be no “shock and awe” exercise that can be switched off by remote control. Pakistan has already lost over 3,000 people in two years as a result of the terrorist backlash; the economy has taken a $35 billion hit. The question is, will the US be around to help hold down Pakistan’s fist when its army swoops on al-Qaida strongholds such as Mir Ali? The military’s tactic in any counterinsurgency initiative in mountainous terrain is ‘pincer and choke’ the enemies’ escape routes. The 8,000-feet high mountainous trails in NWA are legendary for providing escape routes to Afghanistan. So, if these routes are not blocked, the whole exercise will lead to the enemy escaping to hospitable terrain. Given the unequal number of border checkposts on either side of the Durand Line, it is unlikely that any permanent flush-out of Waziristan is possible. If the NWA is grand central for terrorists, then the Afghan border provinces provide strategic depth. While the US-Nato forces in Afghanistan need to do their bit, Pakistan will have to step up border checks and review unwritten peace deals with tribal leaders who change sides too often.

The other question is: how long can the Pakistani army stay in the agencies it has secured? Is there a civilian ‘build, hold and transition’ component to the project? Once again, before putting pressure Pakistan with an escalating war, huge governance commitments such as ROZ (reconstruction opportunity zones) assistance will have to roll off the US machine. Why should Pakistan be expected to do more than reverse the Taliban tide in some areas, when US has not been able even to broker a new post-insurgency model for Afghanistan? Pakhtun alienation is not a concern for exiting nations, but it has huge blowback potential for Pakistan – Karachi is host to five million Pakhtuns.

What will help is a phase-by-phase plan for securing the area, holding it until the tribes that have been terrorized by the Taliban are able to return and do business. Second, though the elites in Waziristan’s tribal areas have been marginalized by the Taliban, they will resist governance models that diminish their pre-Taliban political powers. The military will have to stay in Waziristan until the police and frontier corps in that area is strengthened, and the tribal leadership prepares for critical reforms and political activity by mainstream parties. FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) reform will only work if introduced incrementally, and the government’s recent announcements, if implemented, will be a brave start. At the federal level, security sector reform is critical because peace deals with militants who promised not to attack government installations have almost always failed. As a temporary tactical move, there is some use in neutralizing militants to focus on the main enemy, but not in the long-run. The state must start assuming charge of security.

The politics of a military operation are never easy. No military relishes fighting inside its own borders, and no civilian, elected government embraces the use of force as a first, or even second option. The government has thrown its full weight behind the operations, despite the costs that accrue from such initiatives. As a result, Pakistan now has its own generation of lost people, human tragedies, economic crises, internal strife and political instability.

While the military presses on with an offensive in Orakzai agency, there will be little room to divert forces for anything more than strategic strikes on NWA areas where the terrorists cluster. Pakistan must dismantle al-Qaida as well as India-centric jihadist outfits as a priority. It also must allow Kabul to form its own stable government and hope for a friendly partner. But it will need Pakhtuns to maintain stability in Afghan border provinces after the expected US troop withdrawal in 2011. Seeking more than surgical raids in NWA is asking for too much. Pakistan must act decisively against terrorists, but using its own gameplan.

Sherry Rehman is a member of the National Security Committee in Pakistan’s Parliament

Alert: Russia Orders Troops To Prepare For War With US

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PAKALERT PRESS

Reports circulating in the Kremlin today state that Prime Minister Putin [photo top left] has ordered Russian military forces to prepare to confront American military forces in Afghanistan over what Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov warns is the”greatest threat to International peace and security”, Afghanistan’s thriving drug trade supported by the US and NATO.

Not being reported to the American people about the Afghanistan war is that it has nothing to do with their being protected from terrorists, but rather it involves the billions of dollars gained for many of the West’s top intelligence agencies (mainly the CIA) from the heroin produced in this region (90% of World’s total) that by 2001 the Taliban had virtually eliminated.

Immediately after the US invasion of Afghanistan in October, 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) installed one of their main Afghan operatives, Hamid Karzai, as President, who then put into power his brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, who since then has increased heroin production to levels unseen in modern times and resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of Russian citizens

Viktor Ivanov, the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service, Russia’s National drug enforcement agency, told parliament in May that it was reasonable to “call the flow of Afghan opiates the second edition of opium wars.” Ivanov was referring to the 19th-century warbetween Britain and China sparked by exports of opium from British India to China.

Ivanov isn’t alone.

“I can name you a lot of politicians in Russia who said that the Americans specially arranged the situation in Afghanistan so that we would receive a lot of drugs, and this is the real aim of their occupation,” said Andrei Klimov, the deputy head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament. “I’m not sure this is true, but who knows.”

One person who definitely knew it was true was German President Horst Koehler, who after returning from Afghanistan last month linked the war with the defense of German economic interests because it was securing free trade routes for the West and had nothing to do whatsoever with terrorism. For his “outspokenness” President Koehler was forced to resign plunging an already battered Chancellor Merkel into even greater political turmoil.

Most shocking to understand about the CIA’s being the World’s largest drug trafficker is that it isn’t even kept secret anymore and has been embraced by their new President, Barack Obama, who has used billions of dollars earned through Afghan heroin deals to fund his sending US Special Forces teams to over 75 different Nations as well as building for them a new $100 million headquarters base in Afghanistan while his own citizens plunge deeper into poverty.

Important to note though is that Obama is far from being the first American President to embrace the drug trade as nearly all of his predecessors were likewise involved in starting and maintaining wars to keep the billions earned from this most despicable of crimes preying on the weakest people in their society, mainly the poor and people of colour.

For those few reporters seeking to inform the American people about this crime the hard and brutal lesson learned from the late Gary Webb’s blacklisting and suiciding by US intelligence agents after his revealing the CIA’s involvement in the drug trade presents a chilling example of what these monsters will do to protect themselves and their right to poison anyone they so choose.

Interesting to note too is that according to the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organized crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352 Billion of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.

Though the American people still ignore the crimes being perpetrated by their so called leaders, the lessons of their own history should not be lost upon them, especially when viewed in the light of the use of drug and alcohol laws used for mass imprisonment while at the same time instituting around them a draconian tyrannical society where all their freedoms will be stripped from them.

And for those American’s thinking that their life couldn’t get any worse? They couldn’t be more mistaken! For just this past week Obama’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released what they call a “staff discussion draft” of “potential policy recommendations to support the reinvention of journalism” wherein they called for doctrine of “proprietary facts” that would outlaw anyone writing or reporting on anything that happens unless they use the “facts” provided to them by the government.

But than again, and as the history of these American’s seems to show, with their massive government debt about to eclipse their Gross National Product (GDP) for the first time in history, their once vital Gulf of Mexico region succumbing to the World’s worst oil spill catastrophe, and their NASA scientists now warning that the “awakening” Sun may destroy everything anyway, maybe they truly can’t be told the truth and must be treated like the children they act like.