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Key Karzai Aide in Graft Inquiry Is Linked to C.I.A.

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KABUL, Afghanistan – The aide to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation is being paid by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Afghan and American officials.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts met last Saturday in Kabul with President Hamid Karzai. Mr. Kerry said he believed that he had won a commitment from the Afghan president to allow an American-backed anticorruption unit to work unhindered.

Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for the National Security Council, appears to have been on the payroll for many years, according to officials in Kabul and Washington. It is unclear exactly what Mr. Salehi does in exchange for his money, whether providing information to the spy agency, advancing American views inside the presidential palace, or both.

Mr. Salehi’s relationship with the C.I.A. underscores deep contradictions at the heart of the Obama administration’s policy in Afghanistan, with American officials simultaneously demanding that Mr. Karzai root out the corruption that pervades his government while sometimes subsidizing the very people suspected of perpetrating it.

Mr. Salehi was arrested in July and released after Mr. Karzai intervened. There has been no suggestion that Mr. Salehi’s ties to the C.I.A. played a role in his release; rather, officials say, it is the fear that Mr. Salehi knows about corrupt dealings inside the Karzai administration.

The ties underscore doubts about how seriously the Obama administration intends to fight corruption here. The anticorruption drive, though strongly backed by the United States, is still vigorously debated inside the administration. Some argue it should be a centerpiece of American strategy, and others say that attacking corrupt officials who are crucial to the war effort could destabilize the Karzai government.

The Obama administration is also racing to show progress in Afghanistan by December, when the White House will evaluate its mission there. Some administration officials argue that any comprehensive campaign to fight corruption inside Afghanistan is overly ambitious, with less than a year to go before the American military is set to begin withdrawing troops.

“Fighting corruption is the very definition of mission creep,” one Obama administration official said.

Others in the administration view public corruption as the single greatest threat to the Afghan government and the American mission; it is the corrupt nature of the Karzai government, these officials say, that drives ordinary Afghans into the arms of the Taliban. Other prominent Afghans who American officials have said were on the C.I.A.’s payroll include the president’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, suspected by investigators of playing a role in Afghanistan’s booming opium trade. Earlier this year, American officials did not press Mr. Karzai to remove his brother from his post as the chairman of the Kandahar provincial council. Mr. Karzai denies any monetary relationship with the C.I.A. and any links to the drug trade.

Mr. Salehi was arrested by the Afghan police after, investigators say, they wiretapped him soliciting a bribe – in the form of a car for his son – in exchange for impeding an American-backed investigation into a company suspected of shipping billions of dollars out of the country for Afghan officials, drug smugglers and insurgents.

Mr. Salehi was released seven hours later, after telephoning Mr. Karzai from his jail cell to demand help, officials said, and after Mr. Karzai forcefully intervened on his behalf.

The president sent aides to get him and has since threatened to limit the power of the anticorruption unit that carried out the arrest. Mr. Salehi could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. A spokesman for President Karzai did not respond to a list of questions sent to his office, including whether Mr. Karzai knew that Mr. Salehi was a C.I.A. informant.

A spokesman for the C.I.A. declined to comment on any relationship with Mr. Salehi.

“The C.I.A. works hard to advance the full range of U.S. policy objectives in Afghanistan,” said Paul Gimigliano, a spokesman for the agency. “Reckless allegations from anonymous sources don’t change that reality in the slightest.”

An American official said the practice of paying government officials was sensible, even if they turn out to be corrupt or unsavory.

“If we decide as a country that we’ll never deal with anyone in Afghanistan who might down the road – and certainly not at our behest – put his hand in the till, we can all come home right now,” the American official said. “If you want intelligence in a war zone, you’re not going to get it from Mother Teresa or Mary Poppins.”

Last week, Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, flew to Kabul in part to discuss the Salehi case with Mr. Karzai. In an interview afterward, Mr. Kerry expressed concern about Mr. Salehi’s ties to the American government. Mr. Kerry appeared to allude to the C.I.A., though he did not mention it.

“We are going to have to examine that relationship,” Mr. Kerry said. “We are going to have to look at that very carefully.”

Mr. Kerry said he pressed Mr. Karzai to allow the anticorruption unit pursuing Mr. Salehi and others to move forward unhindered, and said he believed he had secured a commitment from him to do so.

“Corruption matters to us,” a senior Obama administration official said. “The fact that Salehi may have been on our payroll does not necessarily change any of the basic issues here.”

Mr. Salehi is a political survivor, who, like many Afghans, navigated shifting alliances through 31 years of war. He is a former interpreter for Abdul Rashid Dostum, the ethnic Uzbek with perhaps the most ruthless reputation among all Afghan warlords.

Mr. Dostum, a Karzai ally, was one of the C.I.A.’s leading allies on the ground in Afghanistan in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The agency employed his militia to help rout the Taliban from northern Afghanistan.

Over the course of the nine-year-old war, the C.I.A. has enmeshed itself in the inner workings of Afghanistan’s national security establishment. From 2002 until just last year, the C.I.A. paid the entire budget of Afghanistan’s spy service, the National Directorate of Security.

Mr. Salehi often acts as a courier of money to other Afghans, according to an Afghan politician who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation.

Among the targets of the continuing Afghan anticorruption investigation is a secret fund of cash from which payments were made to various individuals, officials here said.

Despite Mr. Salehi’s status as a low-level functionary, the Afghan politician predicted that Mr. Karzai would never allow his prosecution to go forward, whatever the pressure from the United States. Mr. Salehi knows too much about the inner workings of the palace, he said.

“Karzai will protect him,” the politician said, “because by going after him, you are opening the gates.”

Mr. Salehi is a confidant of some of the most powerful people in the Afghan government, including Engineer Ibrahim, who until recently was the deputy chief of the Afghan intelligence service. Earlier this year, Mr. Salehi accompanied Mr. Ibrahim to Dubai to meet leaders of the Taliban to explore prospects for peace, according to a prominent Afghan with knowledge of the meeting.

Mr. Salehi was arrested last month in the course of a sprawling investigation into New Ansari, a money transfer firm that relies on couriers and other rudimentary means to move cash in and out of Afghanistan.

New Ansari was founded in the 1990s when the Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan. In the years since 2001, New Ansari grew into one of the most important financial hubs in Afghanistan, transferring billions of dollars in cash for prominent Afghans out of the country, most of it to Dubai.

New Ansari’s offices were raided by Afghan agents, with American backing, in January. An American official familiar with the investigation said New Ansari appeared to have been transferring money for wealthy Afghans of every sort, including politicians, insurgents and drug traffickers.

“They were moving money for everybody,” the American official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The flow of capital out of Afghanistan is so large that it makes up a substantial portion of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product. In an interview, a United Arab Emirates customs official said it received about $1 billion from Afghanistan in 2009. But the American official said the amount might be closer to $2.5 billion – about a quarter of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product.

Much of the New Ansari cash was carried by couriers flying from Kabul and Kandahar, usually to Dubai, where many Afghan officials maintain second homes and live in splendorous wealth.

An American official familiar with the investigation said the examination of New Ansari’s books was providing rich insights into the culture of Afghan corruption.

“It’s a gold mine,” the official said.

Following the arrest, Mr. Salehi called Mr. Karzai directly from his cell to demand that he be freed. Mr. Karzai twice sent delegations to the detention center where Mr. Salehi was held. After seven hours, Mr. Salehi was let go.

Afterward, Gen. Nazar Mohammed Nikzad, the head of the Afghan unit investigating Mr. Salehi, was summoned to the Presidential Palace and asked by Mr. Karzai to explain his actions.

“Everything is lawful and by the book,” a Western official said of the Afghan anticorruption investigators. “They gather the evidence, they get the warrant signed off – and then the plug gets pulled every time.”

This is not the first time that Afghan prosecutors have run into resistance when they have tried to pursue an Afghan official on corruption charges related to New Ansari.

Sediq Chekari, the minister for Hajj and Religious Affairs, was allowed to flee the country as investigators prepared to charge him with accepting bribes in exchange for steering business to tour operators who ferry people to Saudi Arabia each year. Mr. Chekari fled to Britain, officials said. Afghanistan’s attorney general issued an arrest warrant through Interpol.

American officials say a key player in the scandal is Hajji Rafi Azimi, the vice chairman of Afghan United Bank. The bank’s chairman, Hajji Mohammed Jan, is a founder of New Ansari. According to American officials, Afghan prosecutors would like to arrest Mr. Azimi but so far have run into political interference they did not specify. He has not been formally charged.

In the past, some Western officials have expressed frustration at the political resistance that Afghan prosecutors have encountered when they have tried to investigate Afghan officials. Earlier this year, the American official said that the Obama administration was considering extraordinary measures to bring corrupt Afghan officials to justice, including extradition.

“We are pushing some high-level public corruption cases right now, and they are just constantly stalling and stalling and stalling,” the American official said of the Karzai administration.

Another Western official said he was growing increasingly concerned about the morale – and safety – of the Afghan anticorruption prosecutors.

So far, the Afghan prosecutors have not folded. The Salehi case is likely to resurface – and very soon. Under Afghan law, prosecutors have a maximum of 33 days to indict a person after his arrest. Mr. Salehi was arrested in late July.

That means Afghan prosecutors may soon come before the Afghan attorney general, Mohammed Ishaq Aloko, to seek an indictment. It will be up to Mr. Aloko, who owes his job to Mr. Karzai, to sign it.

“They are all just doing their jobs,” the Western official said. “They are scared for their lives. They are scared for their families. If it continues, they will eventually give up the fight.”

Israel as big supplier of weapons to India

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The cooperation between Israel and India, with US blessing, is really destroying the peace and starting a new arms race in south Asia, due to such intensive Israel Cooperation with India, Pakistan and India came at the brink of war 3 times since 1998. These arms sales were part of a declared NDA policy to forge an alliance among India, the United States, and Israel. India is one of the 39 countries with whom Israel has signed “secret co-operative agreements” to prevent information leaks from joint security projects. India and Israel are two democratic countries who killed more than I million people on the name of insurgency from 1947 to 2008.

In the 2001-2006 India had purchased arms worth nearly $15 billion from Israel and has been its largest client for military hardware.2006 to 2009 $9 billion arms purchased by India from Israel. According to figures released in 2008 by the Israeli Defense Ministry India accounted for 50% of Israel’s military exports .The report of 1992 to 2001 is available. Brajesh Mishra, outlined a proposal in a speech to the American Jewish Committee in Washington in May 2003 that India, Israel, and the United States should unite to combat the common threat of Islamic fundamentalism. Israel is most probably behind the Kargill war, Indian parliament attack in 2002 and now in Mumbai terrors attacks in 2008 to Accelerating the arms sale to India and safe his arms industry and destabilized the integrity of Pakistan who is consider great threat to Israel security and stability? Israel does not have direct conflict with Pakistan. All three serving chiefs of India have now visited Israel in the last 2 years. From anti-missile systems to hi-tech radars, from sky drones to night-vision equipment, Indo-Israeli defense cooperation has known no bounds in recent times. Israel Mossad may infiltrated in Jihad Organization structure through Indian influence in Afghanistan and helping and training them to safe his defense industry to die down and start a Proxy war against Pakistan in Balouchistan and in FATA and plunge India and Pakistan to brink of war . There is already an on-going relationship between Israeli Intelligence agencies and their Indian counterparts. It is well known that Mossad routinely infiltrates even “friendly” intelligence agencies and uses them to plant information which helps Israel .Mossad working on project called A Clean Break. Reason behind defense ties between India and Israel. Pakistan’s missile and nuclear weapon technologies are main concern to Israel. Pakistani a supplier of intermediate-range missiles and may be transfer of technology to boost it’s arm industry really great threat to Israel such countries as Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, UAE,and Syria.

India helped Israel during the 1967, Middle Eastern conflict, by covertly sending military equipment to Israel. Before that in 1963, General Shalfid, Israel Chief of Army staff, visited India for discussions with his Indian counterpart In the military field in India’s critical hour of need of the 1971 war with Pakistan, India sought Israel’s help to supply it with the devastating artillery weapon, 160 mm mortars and ammunition, exclusively manufactured in Israel.

India embarked on its nuclear tests with the support of the international community, namely the United States and Israel, because the US desired a nuclear force to balance China as a nuclear power in Asia and central Asia. Israel benefited from this cooperation-according to some sources-by being permitted to conduct two nuclear tests on Indian territory, the components transferred on board an Israeli C130 military aircraft that landed in India two weeks prior to the tests. India also makes use of its nuclear cooperation with Israel in maintaining qualitative superiority over its enemy, Pakistan. During India’s 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan, Israel rushed military support to India, cementing the nascent defense relationship. Israel sent its laser guided missiles to India during the Indo-Pak Kargil war of 1999, making it possible for the Indian Mirages to destroy Pakistani bunkers in the mountains. Jane’s Defense Weekly, which gave details on the supplies. Israel, the scoundrel nation & illegal child of America supplied missiles, portable radars & other weapons during Kargil War in 1999 as confirmed by Shri Rahul Bedi on BBC and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – 8 in 1999 for surveillance purposes (Army) – 20 in 2000 during the Kargil war UAVs for high altitude surveillance, laser – guided systems and many other items were supplied within 24 hours. After September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre, and attack on Indian Parliament Israel has been selling defense supplies to India, just from 2002 to 2008 India buy more than $25 billion dollars worth weapon and transfer of technology from Israel.

In June 2002 as part of “Operation Parakram,” after the attack on Indian Parliament, Israel supplied hardware through special planes after a visit by the Director-General of Israeli Defense ministry. Israel helping the Indian forces in Kashmir and in Maoist area against right of self determination, Indian version Counter Insurgency. Israeli deputy chief of general staff, Major General Moshe Kaplinsky, visited J&K, including the 16 Corps headquarters in Nagrota for it would seem helping India with “counter- insurgency” India has signed a $30 million contract with Israel Military Industries (IMI) for 3,400 Tavor assault rifles and 200 Galil sniper rifles, as well as night vision and laser range finding and targeting equipment .Tavor assault rifles, Galil sniper rifles, and night vision and laser range finding and targeting equipment to kill the innocent Kashmiri on the name of insurgency 90000 Kashmiri is killed by Indian force from 1988 to 2008 by these weapon from Israel . India buys the counter-infiltration devices Israel uses on Golan Heights and in the Negev Desert. 4 battalion (3000) was send to Israel for special training against insurgency in Kashmir Ghatak force.

Despite this, however, it is remarkable that India and Israel managed to come together on a range of issues, especially the close collaboration between the Indian intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) and Israel’s Mossad. While India got tacit help and support from Israel during its 1962 war with China and 1965 war with Pakistan. India and Israeli defence officials have initiated work on an unmanned helicopter. Being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) unmanned air vehicle division malat. According to latest report, Pakistan army has captured Israel made weapon in balouch insurgency and in ongoing operation in Fata and in Swat. Uzi diplomacy to press hard to Pakistan for diplomatic relation through supporting insurgency and DR A.Q Khan (NPT) matter in Pakistan by Israel (Jews) lobby to investigate him by FBI. According to JINSA, India has had to significantly boost its defense budget in order to finance all its new Israeli arms purchases: By 2010 New Delhi’s annual military budget is expected to reach $100 billion.

Israeli arms experts are also seeking to sell the Arrow II anti-tactical ballistic missile system to India, which would require U.S. approval due to shared technology in the ATBM system.

Sukna scam: Tribunal turns down Lt Gen Prakash’s plea

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NEW DELHI: The Armed Forces Tribunal today turned down former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avdesh Prakash’s plea to allow his realtor friend as a witness in the reconvened Court of Inquiry (CoI) in the Sukna land scam case. “Calling prosecution witness as defence witness is uncalled for. Prosecution witness cannot be juxtaposed as defence witness,” the Tribunal bench headed by Justice S S Kulshreshtha said here.

Lt Gen Prakash, who has been indicted by a CoI in the Sukna land scam, had approached the Tribunal on Wednesday to allow him to produce the witnesses before the reconvened CoI in the case. Prakash had filed a plea seeking permission to produce as witness his realtor friend Dilip Agarwal, who is alleged to have benefited by the ‘No Objection Certificate’ issued by the Army for construction of an educational institute on a piece of land adjacent to the Sukna Base in West Bengal. The Army counsel had opposed the petition, saying that Agarwal had already appeared before the CoI and could not be produced as a defence witness again.

Army’s COI had blamed Prakash for influencing the former 33 Corps Commander Lt Gen P K Rath for issuing the NoC. After hearing both sides, the Tribunal Bench had reserved its order till the next hearing. After his retirement on January 31, Prakash had approached the Tribunal against Army’s decision to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him and contended that Army Rule 180, which allows Army personnel to be present if somebody is raising questions over their military character, was not applied.

Has Israel lost lone regional Muslim ally Turkey?

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By Jonathan Head

Less than three years ago Shimon Peres addressed the Turkish Grand National Assembly – Turkey’s parliament – in Ankara.

Something has gone badly wrong in ties between Israel and Turkey

It was the first time an Israeli president had addressed legislators in a Muslim country, a gesture which spoke volumes about the extraordinary relationship between Israel and Turkey, a relationship dating back to the early Turkish recognition of the Jewish state in 1949.

Uniquely among Muslim countries in the region, Turkey has strong trading ties with Israel.

The Turkish military buys weapons from Israel and trains with its armed forces, and in 2008 Turkey played host to more than half a million Israeli tourists, making it their favourite overseas holiday destination.

What has gone wrong?

Over the past 18 months the two countries have lurched from one diplomatic crisis to another, culminating in the furious Turkish response to Israel’s botched blocking of a convoy from reaching Gaza.

“Israel can never be our friend – it’s our greatest enemy”

All military co-operation has been frozen, and Israeli tourists are cancelling planned trips to Turkey.

And now thousands of Turks have furiously besieged the Israeli consulate in Istanbul with choruses of “Allahu Akhbar”, and carrying posters with venomous messages of hatred toward Israel.

“We should cancel all our agreements,” a young man called Bunyamin told me. “Israel can never be our friend – it’s our greatest enemy.”

Events in Israel and the Palestinian territories are part of the explanation.

Sense of betrayal

The Israeli operation against Gaza at the end of 2008 provoked widespread anger around the world, but the reaction from Turkey was stronger than most.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan famously stormed off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, accusing an astonished President Peres, who had been sharing the platform with him, of “knowing well how to kill”.

It turned Mr Erdogan into an instant hero in many Arab cities, but also back home in Turkey.

Lashing out at Israeli injustice looked like a vote-winner.

As it happens, Mr Erdogan’s outburst was partly driven by a sense of personal betrayal, say Turkish officials.

For weeks before the Gaza operation he had been patiently mediating between Israel and Syria, even at one point sending out an aide to buy a cigar at the request of the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, despite being a passionate anti-smoker.

He felt he was earning the trust of both countries. But when Israeli forces launched Operation Cast Lead, Turkey got no advance warning, and Mr Erdogan felt badly let down.

The Gaza flotilla raid has sparked fury in Turkey

The bigger picture, though, is the change in Turkish society, a change which has been going on for decades.

After the declaration of the Turkish republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923, displays of Islamic piety were strongly discouraged as inimical to Ataturk’s modernising mission.

But in recent years devout Muslims have felt a lot more comfortable showing their piety, most visibly in their clothing, like women’s headscarves, and organising themselves with like-minded Muslims.

They have become a powerful constituency – around half the population considers itself devoutly religious.

They have helped win Mr Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party a record two majorities in parliament.

And he considers himself one of them; a man who openly admits he feels far more comfortable mixing with Muslims than non-Muslims.

There have been protests around the world over the Gaza flotilla raid

The Turkish charity IHH, which led the latest attempt to break the blockade of Gaza, has thrived on these changes in Turkish society.

Founded in the 1990s, it involved itself in the big Islamic causes of the day, like assisting Muslims caught in the conflicts in Bosnia and Chechnya.

At times its activities aroused the suspicion of the Turkish authorities, and it has been accused by Israel of openly supporting militant Islamic movements such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

But its energetic championing of the Palestinian cause, in particular the plight of people in Gaza, has struck a chord with many Turks.

A large crowd gathered at beside the Bosphorus to see off the Mavi Marmara, the ship the IHH chartered to lead the convoy to Gaza, and it was widely covered by the Turkish media.

So the shock when news of the violent confrontation with Israeli forces on board the ship came – a confrontation filmed by Turkish journalists – the shock was widely felt here.

The Turkish government gave no official support to the convoy, but made it clear it backed the IHH mission.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he had been trying through diplomatic pressure to get the convoy through to Gaza.

Many Turks believe the IHH gets plenty of unofficial support from sympathisers within the governing party.

The result is that Turkey finds itself embroiled in the most serious diplomatic rift with Israel in their shared history, with Turkish citizens believed to make up most of the dead and injured.

It is the dramatic culmination of a steady downgrading of relations with Israel, as Turkey has sought warmer ties with its once estranged neighbours, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

But it is also the culmination of changing attitudes in Turkish society, a large part of which is now more overtly Islamic in its identity and its view of the world than at any time in the country’s 87-year history.

Forces, jet fighters kill 42 Taliban in Orakzai

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HANGU: Security forces backed by fighter jets killed 42 terrorists and injured another 13 in various parts of Orakzai Agency on Sunday.

Fighter jets bombed terrorist hideouts in Ghuz Garh, Ghalju, Tali, Tore Kandi and Kasha areas, killing 20 and injuring 13 Taliban.

Sources said five hideouts were also destroyed in the attacks.

Also, Swat Scouts killed 22 Taliban in a six-hour battle in Mulla Khel, Rangi Kandu, Mir Garh, Drai Choti and Sumpag and consolidated their position in the areas.

The security forces also destroyed 12 terrorist hideouts in these areas.

The military launched the ongoing offensive in Orakzai in mid-March to flush out Taliban who last year fled an army offensive in the nearby South Waziristan.

Continuous artillery and air attacks have killed hundreds of insurgents over the past two months, the military says.

On Friday, security forces backed by fighter jets and helicopters gunships had killed at least 80 Taliban and injured another 60 in the agency.

The forces had took control of Arha Guld, Knadao, Threy Sotay, Supaka Kandoi and Khatango Ghar areas of Upper Orakzai and consolidated their potions in the reclaimed areas.

Iran deal raises risk of Turkish-Israeli fallout

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By Burak Akinci

Muslim-majority Turkey has been a close military ally of Israel since 1996 but relations have suffered amid criticism by Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government of Israel’s 2008-2009 Gaza war

Turkey may have scored a diplomatic victory by sealing a nuclear fuel swap deal with Iran, but it risks further straining its deteriorating ties with estranged regional ally Israel, analysts said.

In a move that could ease pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme, Turkey and Brazil persuaded Tehran on Monday to agree to ship out the bulk of its low enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for nuclear fuel.

But the deal drew a harsh rebuke from Israel, with a senior official accusing Iran of having “manipulated” Turkey and Brazil – both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council – and warning the deal could fall through.

Israel’s outburst came against the backdrop of the increasingly delicate nature of once-flourishing Turkish-Israeli ties and of Ankara’s defence of Iran, which the Jewish state sees as its greatest strategic threat.

“The agreement signed in Tehran will inevitably deal a new blow to Turkish-Israeli relations, which are far from being satisfactory,” said Sinan Ogan, the head of the Ankara-based think-tank TURKSAM.

“You do not need to be a fortuneteller to say that Turkey’s initiatives in favour of Iran are making Israel uncomfortable,” he added.

Muslim-majority Turkey has been a close military ally of Israel since 1996 but relations have suffered amid criticism by Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government of Israel’s 2008-2009 Gaza war.

Monday’s deal, signed by the foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil, commits Tehran to depositing 1,200 kilogrammes of its low enriched uranium in Turkey in return for nuclear fuel for a reactor in Tehran.

Turkish media said the uranium would be stored in a facility of the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency in Kucukcekmece, outside Istanbul.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after the signing that there was now “no need” for further UN sanctions against neighbouring Iran.

Analysts say Tehran’s decision on whether to respect the agreement will also determine the future of Turkish-Israeli ties after a difficult patch in recent months.

In January, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon gave Turkey’s ambassador a public dressing down, after which Turkey threatened to recall the ambassador if it did not receive an official apology.

In April, Erdogan branded Israel the “principal threat to peace” in the region.

“It is imperative for Iran to respect the agreement,” a senior Turkish government official told AFP, adding that Turkey “trusts” Iran to fulfill the terms of the deal.

But Ogan warned against putting too much trust in Iran.

“If Iran fails to respect its promises as it has done in the past, then Israel will accuse Turkey of buying time for Iran,” he said.

However Semih Idiz, a foreign policy commentator for the Milliyet daily, said Ankara’s efforts to resolve the Iranian stand-off through dialogue and its rejection of new UN sanctions were signs of a more proactive form of diplomacy.

Turkey’s improving ties with countries like Iran and Syria, another Israeli foe, have also led to accusations that Turkey was drifting away from the Western World, but Idiz disagrees.

“In a multi-dimensional world, Turkey is expressing not only its European and Western identity, but also its Middle Eastern or Balkan character,” Idiz said, also pointing at Turkish efforts to bolster ties with Athens and Moscow.

“It is not right to say Turkey is turning its back on the West. Turkey has a unique strategic position with neighbours who have problems with the West,” he added.

Abdullah Haroon urges US to increase aid to Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon has urged Obama Administration to increase aid for military as well as for social and economic development of impoverished tribal areas. In an interview with CBS News, he said “The Obama Administration needs to increase military aid as well as money for social and economic development of impoverished tribal areas.”

He further added that US aid must be increased, not as a handout, but in training, cooperation and tariff reduction.

To a question he strongly condemned action of Faisal Shahzad in US. “We consider this a despicable act of terror. It only serves to fortify the resolve of the international community that we should join ranks to eliminate this evil.”

“We have to realize that terrorist threat is more dire to the world than any other threat there’s ever been and it tends to encompass the globe with shadows and those shadows strike at will and manage to create havoc and harm and hurt innocents, ” Haroon said.

Ambassador Haroon asked clerics to clearly declare that suicide bombing is forbidden.
“If they do that – even declare a ‘fatwah’ on suicide bombers then the steam would be taken out of some of the attacks across the world.”

He was of the view that “We are not fighting against an organized army, we are fighting against a nebulous series of cells.”

He urged US to transfer drone technology to the Pakistan.

Massacre Prompts Debate Over India’s Maoist War

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Sumon K. Chakrabarti

The undulating hills and thick vegetation of Dandakaranya Forest – nearly 50,000 sq km of jungle straddling parts of central-Indian states Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra and the southern state of Andhra Pradesh – have for decades been a forsaken, off-the-map region frequented only by corporate India looking to make a killing from the iron-ore reserves of the land. Indeed, for close to 10 years now, the area has remained off limits for the Indian government and its agencies, including the police and military. It is one of the few pockets of India that has not been topographically surveyed. No good maps exist of the region. The only “government” the tribal people of these forests are acquainted with is provided by a fearsome band of insurgents: “Janatana Sarkar,” the people’s government run by the guerrillas of the Communist Party of India-Maoists (CPI-Maoists), for whom most of the forest is a de facto military headquarters. (See how India is stepping up its fight against the Maoists.)

A paramilitary soldier who was injured by Maoist rebels is hoisted into an ambulance in Jagdalpur, India

But just weeks ago, New Delhi decided to challenge the rebels who carry Mao Zedong’s name and who are waging the bloodiest insurgency India has ever seen. The government announced that 50,000 paramilitary troops would be part of Operation Greenhunt, with tough-talking Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram promising to “wipe off the Maoist movement in the next two [to] three years.” As part of this campaign, police and paramilitary forces last week engaged in a four-day “area domination” exercise near the village of Dantewada in the Dandakaranya Forest. But the Maoists were not about to let this incursion into their territory pass with impunity.

The 80 members of the government’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were taking a break on April 6 at around 6 a.m. after traveling all night, when they were ambushed by what some officials estimate to be 400 Maoists positioned on a neighboring hilltop. The Maoists executed their attack with fierce precision, giving the soldiers no chance to react. They blew up an anti-land-mine vehicle and then began firing indiscriminately. The shocked and exhausted soldiers, who had not been able to follow standard procedures like checking the road for land mines ahead of time, were massacred within minutes. The guerrillas – both men and women – then took away AK-47 and Insas rifles, mortars, magazines of ammunition and bulletproof jackets from their victims. Of the 80 Indian troops on exercise, 76 were killed. (See “India Steps Up Its Fight Against Naxalites.”)

While admitting that it lost eight fighters in the three-hour attack, a Maoist spokesman justified the massacre in a three-page faxed statement, saying, “The CRPF battalion deployed in [Chhattisgarh] were killing innocent people, burning villages, raping women and displacing … people. We also wanted to take revenge of the killing of our top leaders.” (See how India’s schools have been caught in the cross-fire in the fight against the Maoists.)

It was the most significant government setback in the undeclared war between the two Indias. The Maoists thrive in the “other” India – the one that is impoverished and left behind as one-fifth of the country’s populace has begun to thrive, while the other 800 million suffer with growing resentment from chronic poverty and live without electricity, roads, hospitals, proper sanitation or clean water – the classic breeding ground for left-wing extremist violence. As Mao himself prescribed in 1927, “It’s necessary to bring about a brief reign of terror in every rural area … To right a wrong it is necessary to exceed the proper limit.” Naxalism, as Indian Maoism is also called – after a village named Naxalbari at the movement’s origins – has rapidly outstripped the insurgencies in Jammu and Kashmir and northeast India. Maoists have a presence in at least 16 of India’s 28 states, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described Naxalism as the “biggest internal security challenge” that faces the country.

India is groping for answers on how to respond to the Maoist attack. Chidambaram’s strategy had appeared to be working. Many top Maoist leaders, including Politburo members, were arrested, and the Maoists offered to negotiate. Their chief military officer, Kishanji – the nom de guerre of Mallojula Koteswara Rao – even gave out his cell-phone number to Chidambaram to facilitate talks. “But actually they were retreating so that they can regroup. This is how the Maoists always operate. But still we have not learned anything,” says K.P.S. Gill, formerly one of India’s top police officers, who advised the Chhattisgarh government in a previous anti-Maoist operation.

Privately, many senior leaders in the ruling Congress party had complained to their party president, Sonia Gandhi, that Chidambaram used unnecessarily provocative language when talking about the Maoists. But Singh refused to accept Chidambaram’s offer to resign after the massacre. With the central government still debating how to deal with the Maoists, there is confusion on the ground about how to tackle the insurgency. Gill says it’s time to rethink the entire strategy and criticizes Chidambaram for giving the go-ahead to a “flawed operation.” (See pictures of India’s turning points.)

Those in India who perceive Chidambaram to be a warmonger say the growing social disparities caused by India’s economic growth have been a major factor behind the rebels’ expansion. They say the government needs to provide a more equitable distribution of its growing wealth. “Let’s not forget the killing of more than a hundred tribal villagers by the security forces since June 2009 … It’s time the nation starts to work towards cease-fire and cessation of hostilities so as to help initiate dialogue with the Maoists, and to address the real issues affecting the people like forced corporate or state acquisition of land, displacement, tribal rights and the lack of governance,” says Dr. Ranabir Samaddar, director of Calcutta Research Group.

Meanwhile, India’s armed forces are not anxious to join the fight. The new Indian army chief, General V.K. Singh, has blamed the lack of training and tactics in jungle warfare as well as command and control for the loss of the 76 troopers. He ruled out any role of the military – that is, the security forces of India’s federal government – in the ongoing operation. “The Naxalite problem is a law and order problem, which is a state subject. It stems from certain issues on the ground, be it of governance, be it of administration, be it of socioeconomic factors. And since it is not a secessionist movement, I think our polity is astute and wise enough to know the implications of using the army against their own people.” Likewise, the chief of the Indian air force, Air Marshal P V Naik, expressed an unwillingness to use the air force and its unmanned drones in ongoing anti-Maoist operations. “Unless we are 120% sure that the Naxals are the country’s enemies, it will not be fair to use the air force within our borders.”

Chhattisgarh’s director general of police, Vishwa Ranjan, admits that “the [paramilitary] forces need to be trained specifically for this, which unfortunately we don’t do. It’s time all of us sit up and act.” Still, he insists that he is “prepared to take casualties.” He tells TIME, “We are in a war. And no war is won without people dying.”

Curing Afghanistan

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Two officers on the battlefield offer a new metaphor for the understanding conflict in the region — and how to end it.

The battle for Marja in southern Afghanistan and the coming campaign in Kandahar are important, but victory on these battlefields will not win the war, though they will help set the conditions for success. It will take a comprehensive, holistic effort to bring stability to Afghanistan.

Drawing on our experience as institution builders, and after spending six months on the ground in Afghanistan, we would like to offer a different way to think about diagnosing this country’s ills — and finding the appropriate cures. In the course of our duties, we have helped build the Afghan army, police, air corps, educational institutions, military hospitals, logistics, and the bureaucracies of defense and interior. Rather than describing Afghanistan with the language of war and battles, we have come to think of the country as an ailing patient — in many ways analogous to a weakened person under attack by an aggressive infection.

To extend this analogy further, to rebuild the country’s long-term health, Afghan and coalition leaders must address the ailment at three levels: curing the body, mind, and spirit of the nation. This means rebuilding the body of physical infrastructure and physical security; restoring the mind of governmental and educational institutions; and reinvigorating the spirit of civil leadership and traditional, tolerant Islam.


This diagnosis of Afghanistan’s illnesses came too late, allowing the infection that has debilitated it — i.e., insurgent forces and the Taliban — to grow in strength. As a result, a low-level antibiotic is now insufficient to the task of restoring health. For several years, coalition and Afghan senior leaders did not fully appreciate the potential lethality of the Taliban’s infectious insurgency.

The 30,000 additional troops approved by U.S. President Barack Obama in December 2009 can be viewed as a late but powerful and much-needed dose of antibiotics. The surge was designed to shock and stunt the insurgency, thereby gaining time and space to allow the country’s indigenous immune system to be restored.

NATO’s combat presence in Afghanistan is considerable. At its peak, combat troops will number nearly 130,000. NATO countries provide the conventional combat troops distributed across the country by region, with especially heavy concentrations in the south, where the Taliban infection is particularly virulent. These troops are augmented by special operations forces and complete coalition air dominance through both manned and unmanned armed platforms.

To be sure, similar to a powerful antibiotic, the use of large numbers of combat troops brings with it side effects that can cause discomfort and pain to the body politic of Afghanistan. The effects range from disruption of civilian day-to-day life to, regrettably, sometimes civilian casualties. Senior NATO commanders seek to minimize civilian casualties and thus apply combat power with restraint and, to the extent possible, surgical precision.

This surge of combat power, along with the Marja and Kandahar offensives, will suppress the Taliban infection in the near term, but is only a temporary reprieve. The current high level of U.S. and NATO combat power cannot be maintained forever. Therefore, without a rejuvenated immune system, the infection will come back.

Immune System

The Afghan equivalent of the body’s immune system is the collective security forces: the police, the military, and the security bureaucracy. But the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are underdeveloped and need time and space to develop to a point where they can effectively shoulder the responsibility of suppressing nascent infections that threaten the country’s health.

Some have asked: How could the ANSF still require growth and development almost nine years after international forces entered the country? Like a doctor who fails to correctly diagnose an illness, so did security experts fail to appreciate the danger of the Taliban. Moreover, the coalition did not fully appreciate the magnitude of the task entailed in building an indigenous immune system comprised of a large and robust army and police. NATO officials now recognize the size of the task, and the immunity-building effort has, accordingly, expanded dramatically.

In November 2009, the NATO alliance stood up a dedicated training command with the mission of building the ANSF. NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan is responsible for the generation, development, and professionalization of the Afghan army, police, army air corps, and all the various supporting structures, from back-office support systems to military schools. The financial resources devoted to this training mission are among the largest of its kind in the world.

But it isn’t just dollars flowing into the country: Trainers, instructors, advisors, engineers, and logisticians are flowing in rapidly and will peak at several thousand. Training facilities and infrastructure include basic-training camps in every regional command, logistical infrastructure, new military hospitals and clinics, and a national military academy modeled after U.S. military academies. The output of these camps and schools is rapidly climbing, producing almost 10,000 police and soldiers per month.

Spirit of Service

Although we have made massive investments in the surge and are moving aggressively to restore Afghan immunity, efforts to restore general health are lagging. The rebuilding of critical infrastructure, the restoration of good governance, and expanded education will be essential to restoring the body and mind.

Restoring the spirit of Afghanistan is perhaps the most difficult and complex. The challenges are twofold: the restoration of Afghanistan’s tradition of tolerant Islam and the restoration of a sense of service to nation and tribe that predated the rise of warlordism and its associated corruption.

Fortunately, Afghan leaders today realize that a spirit of national service was lost for a generation and are taking steps to fill the void. At a conference at Camp Eggers in Kabul, sponsored by NATO Training Mission in early 2010, we listened as senior Afghan leaders vigorously debated how to restore a sense of service and virtuous leadership. For all the recent turmoil in the U.S. relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Kabul government has kept its word: establishing new officer training schools for police; implementing a lottery system for officer assignments (as a counter to favoritism and nepotism); and developing new laws (now awaiting final approval by the Afghan parliament and president), which seem likely to pass, that together will strengthen the professionalism of the security forces. At the National Military Academy of Afghanistan, one can already see the new spirit of national service and selfless leadership becoming manifest in young men and women.

The road to a healthy body politic is not easy, but the first step is appreciating what a lasting cure will require.

Ball has begun to roll in favour of Pakistan

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By Asif Haroon Raja

When Pak Army troops moved into South Waziristan in 2002 for the first time at the behest of Washington to hunt and flush out foreign elements, it offended the militant tribesmen living peacefully and they decided to confront the Army.

The ensuing clash led to organized resistance resulting in inflaming all seven agencies of FATA, greater part of NWFP and even Punjab. Balochistan was also lit up by sowing seeds of separatism among the Baloch. Pak Army thus got engaged in fighting its own people and both sides started to bleed each other as a result of which centre of gravity of terrorism shifted from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

Hundreds of terrorist attacks, suicide and bomb attacks have taken place resulting in phenomenal human and material losses. Fighting US dictated war on terror made Musharraf popular in USA, western world and India but he became unpopular in Pakistan since he was seen as a puppet of Bush. This factor together with lawyers’ movement paved the way for his expulsion from power. One big favour he bestowed upon Pakistan was to hand over Army Chief’s hat to Gen Ashfaq Kayani.

Different people proudly lay claim on ouster of Gen Musharraf. Some say it was lawyers’ movement which forced him to quit while others maintain that it was defiance of chief justice Iftikhar which set the ball rolling. PPP claim that sagacity and adroitness of Benazir forced him to shed his second hat of army chief and to announce elections. Others say that it was Zardari who played his cards shrewdly to make him abdicate power. Notwithstanding the genuineness of these claims since each one did play a part in weakening the dictator, the fact of the matter is that the US played a role in his elevation to the rank of COAS. He also captured total power with tacit blessing of US. He remained in power for nine years since he served the American interests faithfully. He could have easily continued to stay in power for another five years if the US had not lost interest in him after he became reluctant and less obliging to fulfill certain sensitive demands of USA which tended to cross the red line.

He was with them as long as the war was confined to terrorists and extremists. When he realized that the US was more friendly with India and was giving very less and demanding much more and had sinister designs against core interests of Pakistan he became cautious. When pressed to open up nuclear program for IAEA inspection, hand over Dr. AQ Khan for interrogation and rollback nuclear program he regretted that it was not within his capability to oblige. He knew that it could not only compromise the position of Army leadership but also evoke public wrath. He took effective measures to defang AQ Khan Network and to safeguard nuclear assets. He avoided going full hog against extremists in FATA and Swat and believed in policy of peace deals.

When he was asked to stop military operation in Balochistan, cancel Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, oust China from Gwadar development, and shift bulk of troops towards western border, he started to drag his feet to buy time. He expressed his inability to meet their requirements under the plea of strong backlash within armed forces and cautioned them that it would make his position untenable. Earlier on, he had expressed his reluctance to allow Benazir to return to Pakistan but gave in to US demand only when he came under increasing pressure of lawyers’ movement. He was therefore forced by circumstances to team up with Benazir to fill the political void and jointly perform the final act of denuclearization and de-Islamisation of Pakistan.

To the horror of plot makers, they found Benazir on whom they had hinged high hopes playing a shrewd game. A sudden change had come in her disposition once she landed at Karachi airport on 18 October 2007 and saw unprecedented rousing reception accorded to her by her fans. The tears she shed were genuine. Whatever understanding she had given to her sponsors during her exile were set aside after the gory blasts in her caravan on the same night in which hundreds of Jyalas were cut to pieces. The schemers had planned the attack with the objective of swaying public opinion against the Taliban and build sympathy for her but it backfired since she learnt that the blasts, claimed as suicide attacks, were not executed by Baitullah’s men.

She cooked her goose when she locked horns with Musharraf in November and raised slogans in favor of deposed chief justice. Return of Sharif brothers from forced exile and assassination of Benazir on 27 December scuttled US plan to carve out a dream team of liberal parties only.

Plan Bravo was put into motion and Zardari brought on the centre stage from nowhere to do US bidding. Musharraf was shown the door and Zardari brought in his place. National Assembly was again turned into a rubber stamp and all powers were concentrated in hands of NRO cleansed Zardari and US appointed persons holding key appointments. With his tail firmly in the hands of Washington, he was pressed to do what Musharraf could not do.

The period from 2008 till early 2010 was extremely onerous because of worsening state of security, collapsing economy and messy political situation. The challenging moments were: (1) When the US came out with its wish to place ISI under Ministry of Interior; in other words under direct control of Washington. Its fault was that it had hampered CIA- RAW’s activities. (2) Joint control of nuclear assets so as to determine secret locations of nukes and to take them under control. (3) Pakistan pressured to allow India to carryout surgical strikes on suspected targets inside Pakistan territory after Mumbai carnage and to hand over suspects to India. Air strikes from the east together with drone attacks from the west would have enabled India and USA to destroy nuclear plants. (4) Threat from Indian forces along eastern front, pressures from turbulent western border and resurgent local militants. Multiple external and internal threats posed a serious dilemma to military. (5) Dismissal of Punjab Ministry and imposition of governor rule. Idea was to destabilize the only province which was relatively stable. (6) Reinstatement of deposed judges blocked so as to keep US handpicked rulers in power. (7) Desire by US-NATO troops to barge into FATA and carryout joint operations with Pak troops. As a minimum, carryout air strikes in addition to drone strikes and ground raids. Intention was to gain a toehold and then keep creeping forward. (8) Kerry Lugar Bill, which virtually meant to rob Pakistan of its honor and sovereignty. (9) Settlement of Kashmir dispute on Indian terms. (10) Convincing Pakistan to accept India as a harmless friend posing no threat. (11) Forcing Pak Army to thin out troops from eastern border and launch simultaneous operations in Swat, South and North Waziristan. (12) Confronting foreign aided militants in Malakand Division, Swat and South Waziristan. It would have been catastrophic if these battles had turned into a stalemate. (13) Intense Indo-US-western propaganda to undermine Pakistan.

Much to the chagrin and frustration of plot makers, the Army under Kayani together with air force pilots, ISI under Lt Gen Shuja Pasha, judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar, lawyers community, vibrant civil society and independent media came in the way of those inclined to barter away national interests. These institutions blocked each and every menacing move impinging upon national security and managed to take the country out of turbulent waters.

Their combined efforts helped in frustrating evil designs of adversaries of Pakistan and in bringing a positive change in the attitudes of US leaders.

Notwithstanding that no dramatic breakthroughs were achieved on any of the major points concerning Kashmir and water disputes with India and civil nuclear energy deal similar to Indo-US deal in the recently concluded strategic dialogue, however, a good beginning has been made. Master coordinator has been compelled by circumstances to take its hands off Pakistan.

The US is now trying to restrain India, Afghanistan and Israel to put on hold its subversive activities against Pakistan for the time being. Although Pakistan is not completely off the hook, worst seems to be over and the ball has begun to roll in favor of Pakistan.