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Posts Tagged ‘geo-political strategies’

Ahmadinejad calls for US leaders to be ‘buried’

Posted by Admin on October 3, 2010

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s president Sunday called for U.S. leaders to be “buried” in response to what he says are American threats of military attack against Tehran’s nuclear program.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is known for brash rhetoric in addressing the West, but in a speech Sunday he went a step further using a deeply offensive insult in response to U.S. statements that the military option against Iran is still on the table.

“May the undertaker bury you, your table and your body, which has soiled the world,” he said using language in Iran reserved for hated enemies.

Several top U.S. officials including Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff have said in recent months that the military option remains on the table and there is a plan to attack Iran, although a military strike has been described as a bad idea.

The crowd of military men and clerics in the town of Hashtgerd just west of the capital chuckled at the president’s insult and applauded.

The speech was broadcast by both state television and the official English-language Press TV, but the latter glossed over the insult in the simultaneous translation.

Ahmadinejad’s remarks come in sharp contrast to ones he made to Al-Jazeera Arabic news channel in August in which he offered the U.S. Iran’s friendship.

In Sunday’s speech, Ahmadinejad also questioned once more who was behind the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. and said they gave Washington a pretext for seeking to dominate the region and plunder its oil wealth.

During his speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, he said a majority of people in the U.S. and around the world believe the American government staged the attacks, drawing a strong rebuke from President Barack Obama.

Ahmadinejad often resorts to provocative statements to lash out enemies. He has already compared the power of Iran’s enemies to a “mosquito,” saying Iran deals with the West over its nuclear activities from a position of power and he has likened the United States to a “farm animal trapped in a quagmire” in Afghanistan.

Iran also condemned the latest U.S. sanctions slapped on eight Iranian officials Wednesday, saying they show American interference in Tehran’s domestic affairs.

Washington this week imposed travel and financial sanctions on the eight Iranians, accusing them of taking part in human rights abuses during the turmoil following Iran’s June 2009 presidential election.

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US relationship with Pak ‘complicated’: Holbrooke

Posted by Admin on October 3, 2010

Sat, Oct 2 12:25 PM
Amidst reports of strains in US-Pakistan ties in view of incidents like NATO air strikes in areas bordering Afghanistan, American special envoy for the region, Richard Holbrooke, has acknowledged that the overall relationship between the two countries is complicated.

“The overall relationship with Pakistan is complicated, more complicated than any strategic relationship I have ever been involved in. But at the end of the day, success in Afghanistan, however you define success, is not achievable unless Pakistan is part of the solution, not part of the problem,” he told ABC News.

“… we’re going to work with the Pakistanis, at least as long I’m involved in this because I believe it’s the right policy and I know that the administration does, too. That doesn’t mean we’re not without frustrations….” Holbrooke said when asked about a report in ‘The Washington Post’ which

said there is strain in relationship between the two countries.

On the current border situation, he said he does not believe that it is going to change the fundamental relationship between the two countries.

“There were apparently some events that crossed the border in an area which … is complicated and very rough terrain,” Holbrooke said.

“It was very unfortunate. And an investigation is going on in that by NATO as it should and the secretary-general of NATO has expressed his regret about it and I would echo that. But I do not think it will change the fundamentals of the relationship,” he said.

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Militants set fire to NATO tankers in Pakistan

Posted by Admin on October 2, 2010

Member countries of NATO in blue

Member Countries of NATO(Blue)

Police collect bullets shells next to burning ...

KARACHI (Reuters) – Suspected militants in Pakistan set fire to three dozen tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan on Friday, officials said, a day after three soldiers were killed in a cross-border NATO air strike.

Angered by repeated incursions by NATO helicopters over the past week, Pakistan has blocked a supply route for coalition troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is a crucial ally for the United States in its efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, but analysts say border incursions and disruptions inNATO supplies underline growing tensions in the relationship.

A senior Pakistani intelligence official said the border incursions could lead to a “total snapping of relations.” But U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke told a forum in Washington the current tensions were unlikely to “change the fundamental relationship between our two countries.”

Senior local officials blamed “extremists” for the attack on the tankers in the southern town of Shikarpur. About 12 people, their faces covered, opened fire with small arms into the air to scare away the drivers and then set fire to 35 tankers.

“Some of them have been completely destroyed and others partially. But there is no loss of human life,” Shikarpur police chief Abdul Hameed Khoso told Reuters.

In a separate incident, two unidentified men fired on a NATO tanker traveling through a town in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province toward Afghanistan. Two people burned to death after the vehicle caught fire, security officials said.

Police arrested 10 people after the earlier attack, including five netted from a raid on an Islamic seminary, or madrasa.

The tankers were parked at a filling station on their way to Afghanistan from Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi.

Thursday, three Pakistani soldiers were killed and three wounded in two cross-border incursions by NATO forces chasing militants in Pakistan’s northwestern Kurram region.

It was the third cross-border incident in a week, the Pakistan military said. NATO said the helicopters briefly crossed into Pakistan airspace after coming under fire from people there.

OTHER OPTIONS?

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, speaking in parliament, said Pakistan was a partner in the war against Islamist militancy, but would allow no infringement of its sovereignty.

“I want to assure the entire nation from this house that we will consider other options if there is interference in the sovereignty of our country,” Gilani said without elaborating.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Belgium lodged a protest with NATO’s deputy general secretary over the incursions, the Pakistan embassy said in a statement.

Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the Washington Ideas Forum the border incident was “very unfortunate” and that the NATO secretary general had expressed his regrets, which Holbrooke echoed.

Despite tensions, analysts say a rift is unlikely between Pakistan and its Western allies as each side needs the other.

The European Union said it had decided to more than double its Pakistan flood aid to 150 million euros ($205 million).

Thursday, hours after the cross-border attack, Pakistani authorities halted tankers carrying supplies for the NATO forces passing through the Khyber tribal region on the Afghan border.

About three-quarters of the cargo for NATO forces in Afghanistan moves through Pakistan, mostly via twoborder crossings: Chaman north of Quetta in Baluchistan and Torkham at the Khyber Pass.

Another third flows into Afghanistan through the northern distribution network across Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Sensitive gear like ammunition, weapons and critical equipment is flown in.

Officials say supplies through Chaman continue uninterrupted.

Holbrooke said it was “inconceivable” that border crossings in the Khyber region would face any long closure because of the “colossal effect” it would have on the surrounding area.

PAKISTAN UNDER SPOTLIGHT

Pakistan has again come under the spotlight after Western intelligence sources said a plot to stage attacks in Europe had been disrupted by an upsurge in missile strikes by U.S. drones.

Security officials said they had no evidence of a plot being hatched in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Most recent drone strikes have taken place in the northwestern North Waziristan region.

“It’s no secret that there are terrorists from all nationalities in North Waziristan. They are Arabs, Uzbeks, Pakistani, Afghan, Chechans, German, Brits, Americans, everyone. And they are threat to us, to their own countries and to the entire world,” a senior security official said.

“But to say that we have any specific information that they were plotting attacks against this country or that country, then sir, we don’t have any concrete information or intelligence about that.”

(Additional reporting by Hamid Shaikh and Zeeshan Haider, and David Alexander in Washington; Writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Ron Popeski)

==========================================================================================================================================

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Assailants in Pakistan launched two separate attacks Friday on vehicles carrying fuel for NATO and American forces in Afghanistan, highlighting the vulnerability of the U.S.-led mission a day after Pakistan closed a major border crossing.

A truck driver and his assistant were burned alive in the second attack on a single tanker in the parking lot of a restaurant in southeastern Baluchistan province, said police officer Mohammad Azam. He said “anti-state elements” were behind the attack.

That term could refer to Islamist militants or separatist rebels active in the region.

Earlier Friday, suspected militants torched 27 tankers carrying oil for troops in Afghanistan in Sindh province.

Around 80 percent of the fuel, spare parts, clothing and other non-lethal supplies for foreign forces in landlocked Afghanistan travels throughPakistan after arriving in the southern Arabian sea port of Karachi. The alliance has other supply routes to Afghanistan, but the Pakistani ones are the cheapest and most convenient.

The Pakistani government shut the Torkham border crossing in the northwest on Thursday in apparent protest of a NATO helicopter incursion that killed three of its soldiers on the border. It kept open the Chaman crossing in Baluchistan, where it seemed likely the vehicles attacked Friday were heading.

The closure raised tensions between Pakistan and the United States, which have a close but often troubled alliance in the fight against militants.

Islamist militants regularly attack NATO supply tankers in Pakistan, mostly in the northwestern border region where their influence is stronger.

In Sindh, around 10 gunmen attacked the tankers when they were parked at an ordinary truck stop on the edge of Shikarpur town shortly after midnight. They forced the drivers and other people there to flee before setting the fires, said police officer Abdul Hamid Khoso.

Another officer, Nisar Ahmed, said the tankers had arrived in Shikarpur from Karachi and were heading to Quetta, a major city in the southwest. From there, the road leads to Chaman.

Attacks on NATO and U.S. supply convoys in Pakistan give militants a propaganda victory, but coalition officials say they do not result in shortages in Afghanistan. Some of the attacks are believed to be the work of criminals or in Baluchistan, separatists. Some officials allege truck owners may be behind some of them, perhaps to fraudulently claim insurance.

The vast majority of the convoys, however, through the country unharmed and the frequency of attacks reported in the media does not appear to have risen much, if at all, over the last two years.

In recent years, the alliance has sought to shift more of the supplies through Central Asian countries north of Afghanistan and Russia, aware of the problems of relying too much on Pakistan, which some argue does not share America’s strategic goals in the region.

There is a risk, albeit small, that militant attacks could one day seriously squeeze supplies. But the overriding concern is that hosting the supply routes gives Islamabad immense leverage in its relationship with Washington. The United States cannot force Pakistan to, say, crack down on militants in the northwest behind attacks in Afghanistan because Islamabad holds a trump card: it can cut off most of the supplies to the war whenever it wants.

Pakistani security forces provide guards for the trucks and tankers in the northwest, but generally do not do so in southern and central Pakistan, where attacks are rarer. Pakistani security officials had warned after two alleged NATO helicopter incursions last weekend that they would stop providing protection to NATO convoys if it happened again.

In Brussels on Friday, Pakistani Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani met with NATO leaders and lodged a formal protest over the border incursions. In Pakistan, government officials said they had to take a stand.

“If the NATO forces keep on entering into Pakistan and carrying out attacks, then (the) only option we have — we should stop the movement of the containers,” Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said.

Opinion polls show many Pakistanis regard the United States as an enemy, and conspiracy theories abound of U.S. troops wanting to attack Pakistan and take over its nuclear weapons. The Pakistani government has to balance its support for the U.S. war in Afghanistan — and its need for billions of dollars in American aid — with maintaining support from its own population.

The decision to close to the border has underscored the uneasy relations.

Pakistan said two NATO choppers fired on one of its border posts in the northwest’s Kurram tribal region, killing three Pakistani soldiers Thursday. NATO said its helicopters entered Pakistani airspace and hit a target only after receiving ground fire. The alliance expressed condolences to the families of the soldiers and said it would investigate the incident.

It was the third alleged incursion by NATO helicopters into the northwest in the last week.

A lengthy closure of Torkham would place intense strain on the U.S.-Pakistani relationship and hurt the Afghan war effort. But that is seen as unlikely, as neither Islamabad nor Washington can afford a meltdown in ties at a crucial time in the 9-year-old war.

At Torkham, some 150 containers were waiting Friday for the border to reopen. The truck drivers were getting impatient and worried about the prospect of militant attacks.

“I might have not come here with NATO material if I knew that I will have to face this problem,” said Shalif Khan. “We are forced to spend the day and the night in the open. We do not have any security here.”

___

Associated Press writer Riaz Khan in Torkham, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

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Emanuel gone, Rouse in as chief of staff

Posted by Admin on October 2, 2010

The White House

The White House Makeover?

Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday said a bittersweet goodbye to the energetic and fierce manager of his White House, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and elevated a quiet and seasoned adviser, Pete Rouse, to the most important gate-keeping job in American politics.

“We could not have accomplished what we’ve accomplished without Rahm’s leadership,” Obama said. Emanuel is departing after nearly two grueling years to run for Chicago mayor.

The announcement was such a poorly kept secret that Obama joked it was “the least suspenseful announcement of all time,” but it represented an important moment of transition for the presidency.

What Emanuel leaves behind is more than a staff job. It is the most demanding and influential position in the White House — save for Obama’s. The person who holds it is entrusted to help shape thepresident’s thinking, prioritize his time, manage scores of egos and issues and keep the White House focused on its goals.

The mood at the White House reflected that this was no ordinary staff change. Cabinet members and senior staff members packed the ornate East Room, a setting often reserved for visits of heads of state, for the official word that Emanuel, the hard-charging leader of the staff, was on his way out.

Rouse, named interim chief of staff, is a calm, trusted senior adviser to Obama who has spent much of his career as a chief of staff in the Senate.

“There is a saying around the White House: `Let’s let Pete fix it,'” Obama said. “And he does.”

In a nod to the political sensitivities of Emanuel’s move, he never directly mentioned that he was running for mayor, and Obama didn’t touch that, either. Emanuel, sure to be cast as an outsider by his competitors in the upcoming mayoral campaign, did not want to announce his run from Washington.

But Emanuel did call Chicago “the greatest city in the greatest country in the world.” And he told Obama, “I’m energized by the prospect of new challenges, and eager to see what I can do to make our hometown even greater.” The president and Emanuel, confidants and friends, hugged three times during the event.

“Mr. President, I thought I was tough,” Emanuel told Obama. “I want to thank you for being the toughest leader any country could ask for in the toughest times any president has ever faced.”

In an unusual display of emotion, Emanuel appeared to choke up as he spoke of his family’s immigrant background, and the opportunities he himself has been afforded.

Rouse, befitting his style, stood quietly by the president and never spoke. Obama described him as never seeing a television camera or a microphone that he liked — unlike the boisterous Emanuel. The differences were even apparent on stage — Rahm with his trademark hands on hips, Rouse still and stoic.

Obama’s choice of a permanent chief of staff will come in the context of a personnel reorganization, with some key players already planning to leave the White House grind and others likely seeing changes in their portfolios. The results of the Nov. 2 House and Senate midterm elections will also be a factor.

The mantra in the West Wing is that no one who works for the president is irreplaceable. And yet that’s how they described Emanuel, a whirling force of ideas and energy with expertise in foreign policy, political campaigns, communications and the legislative process. Obama’s aides talk of an unquestioned loss.

More than 150 staff members filled the seats of the East Room, snapping photos. The atmosphere was more joyful than sad, though the mood turned sober as Obama ticked through the list of problems they tackled together in the first 20 months of the administration.

Any feel-good reflection came in contrast to the political realities of the day. No sooner had Washington veteran Rouse been introduced than the Republican National Committee condemned the president for the choice, calling it an expansion of an “insular and out of touch White House.”

Emanuel’s move pits him against a growing field of local politicians vying for the job that will be vacated next spring by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who announced in early September that he will not seek a seventh term. Emanuel’s victory in the race is no given, with rivals certain to attack the longtime political operative and former congressman as a brusque outsider who belongs more to Pennsylvania Avenue than Michigan Avenue.

___

Associated Press writers Erica Werner and Julie Pace contributed to this story.

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Musharraf says to return to Pakistan politics

Posted by Admin on October 2, 2010

Musharraf says to return to Pakistan politics ... Fri, Oct 1 06:29 PM

Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf said on Friday he will return to lead a new political party to tackle corruption, revive the sluggish economy and step up the fight against Islamist militants.

Musharraf, who quit office in 2008 to avoid impeachment charges, said he feared the nuclear-armed country could break up without a change of political leadership.

Pakistan is a frontline state in the United States‘ fight against Islamist militancy in the region, but questions about Islamabad’s commitment to the campaign have raised tensions between the two countries.

“When there is a dysfunctional government and the nation is going down and its economy is going down…there is a pressure on the military from the people,” he told BBC radio.

“There is a sense of despondency spreading in Pakistan. We cannot allow Pakistan to disintegrate. So who is the saviour? The army can do it. Nobody else can do it.”

London-based Musharraf, who took power in a military coup in 1999, denied that he faced arrest for treason if he returns to Pakistan, although he said he did fear assassination attempts.

“There is no charge against me, whoever thinks like that doesn’t know the reality,” he said. “There are other dangers.”

Asked when he would return, Musharraf said it would be before the next elections, due by 2013.

“I won’t wait until 2013,” he said. “The stronger I am politically, the more grounds there will be for me to go.”

He warned that a Taliban insurgency could engulf Pakistan unless the government takes a stronger stance.

“If we don’t curb it, there is a possibility that we keep going down and it could end up destroying (the country),” he told BBC radio. “If the armed forces of Pakistan don’t want that, it will never end up destroying Pakistan.”

Musharraf has talked of re-entering politics several times over the past year. Since leaving Pakistan, he has spent most of his time in Britain and the United States.

His popularity waned after he clashed with the judiciary and imposed a six-week stint of emergency rule in 2007 to thwart opposition to his efforts to secure another term. An alliance with the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks was also deeply unpopular with many voters.

Political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi said Musharraf’s prospects in Pakistani politics were weak — at least for now.

“Traditionally, military rulers have not succeeded in popular politics, including those who went to the opposition,” he said. “He’ll have to come back and demonstrate his support. While sitting in London you can’t really do politics.”

Political commentator Najam Sethi said Musharraf’s new party faced big hurdles.

“Musharraf does have a constituency but since the two mainstream parties, the media and the judiciary are against him, the short-term prospects don’t look good,” he said.

(Reporting by Peter Griffiths in London and Augustine Anthony in Islamabad; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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Plane Forced to Land Carrying Nuclear Weapons

Posted by Admin on September 4, 2010

Satellite image of the Middle East

Image via Wikipedia

I heard from a well placed Source today that a plane was forced to land over Qatar. This plane was described as a stealth bomber carrying nuclear warheads… Word is that it was a CIA directed flight and although fire on board is the published reason for the forced landing the real reason is far more sinister. Apparently this is just one of several attempts to start a nuclear war in the Middle East (headed for Iran). The exact day/time of this incident is unclear.

I was told that this stealth bomber was shot at and forced to land by an American fleet based in the area. The commander of this Navy vessel is said to be part of a group of commanders who are refusing to allow this war to get started. I was told there have been a total of 3 prevented attempts over the past few months. More when I hear it…

From http://www.projectcamelotproductions.com/blog-hp.html

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