Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Assault on Gaza:




Comment:

I don't see any weapons lying around here immediately after the attack. These were Hamas policemen, not the Hamas fighting forces.

It was Israel's way of breaking down the internal security infrastructure of the democratically elected Hamas to make way for a return of Wast Bank's Fatah which was expelled by Hamas earlier and their security compounds taken over.

The debilitating Gaza blockade resulting in the Hamas Katushya rocket launches, which are home made tin shells with motors and do not even carry explosives - killing one Israeli (an Arab-Israeli) and damaging some houses in six months - is the same Bush Sr. doctrine previously used on Iraq to make ordinary citizens rise against Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War. They didn't succeed. In case of Bush Jr. and the Israelis, it is to punish the Gazans for voting for Hamas and for them to get fed up and accept the secular pro-West Abu Ma'zen and his corrupt PLO in their place. That isn't going to happen either. These things have a way of backfiring.

But USA/Israelis are not really known for learning from previous mistakes. They just repeat them over and over again because for them lives of these strange people are worth nothing.

Zaid Hamid lets loose on Bhrat Varma:

This is the full show which started it all. The live broadcast was stopped halfway by Ministry of Information. The final two segments not broadcast have now been released by Zaid Hamid's Brasstacks website.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Zaid Hamid on Iqbal - 16 Nov - 7 Dec 2008

Compilation of a four-part talk series on Iqbal's personal life and teachings, by Zaid Hamid. A two-hour plus treat.

If one filters out some fiery observations by the emotional Zaid Hamid, this series is a gem in knowing Iqbal.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wake up time? The Mumbai Mystery:

Lesson one: cover up
By Humayun Gauhar, The Nation, December 6 2008

Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Mosque by Hindu fascists, egged on and led by L.K. Advani, the current leader of the Hindu fundamentalist BJP. Say a prayer for India.

Whoever it was that said that one can choose one's friends but not one's neighbours was spot on. The Indian neighbours that we are landed with need telling some home truths by way of lessons after their near-demented response to the Mumbai Mayhem.

Ask them: don't you think that there is a massive cover up going on? Else why would your commandos obliterate all chances of the militants' identities being discovered? They shot them through both eyes and obliterated their fingerprints because these, and DNA, can identify a person. Are your authorities trying to hide the fact that the militants were neither Pakistani nor Muslim but Hindu and Israeli? In subsequent articles I will give you Indian press clippings for every contention I make here. One would have thought that your government would be keen to discover the identities of these people. This was not mindless, but very clever brutality. Until one gets some logical reason for why this happened you cannot blame me for thinking that there is indeed a massive cover up in progress and that your prime minister and foreign minister rushed to finger Pakistan to divert public anger from itself. Without proof the latter told Condoleezza Rice that, "There is no doubt the terrorists were individuals who came from Pakistan and whose controllers are in Pakistan." Condi to her credit replied that she would not "jump to any conclusions about who is responsible."

So here's some unsolicited advice, but before you see red at this "damn Muslim" from "puny little Pakistan" with the temerity to give you gratuitous advice and jump on my back, do read this once and then again the next day and then tear it up if you still want. When you are humiliated, don't react like a still colonised people. It's tiresome. You won independence, not after 90 years of slavery as we did, but after a millennium. During all this time you managed to retain your religious majority. That's quite an achievement, something to be proud of, though do acknowledge that if your Muslim rulers had "spread Islam by the sword" most of you would have been Muslims. So get over it and get over yourself and the false secular image that you have created of India and start dealing with the reality that you are citizens of 'Hindustan' - 'Land of the Hindus'. You will do yourself a great favour by publicly acknowledging this truth.

Putting the blame on Pakistan for anything and everything has become the standard operating procedure of your fanciful politicians. Is it to hide the fact that you have rampant homegrown militancy and freedom movements in your country? It doesn't work. You try and ethnically cleanse 150 million Muslims and then you are surprised when you get it in the neck? Is it revenge for centuries of Muslim rule? Get over it.

Don't ignore what I said last week: state terrorism begets non-state terrorism. You should honestly see the degree of state terrorism your country has indulged in, not just against Muslims but also against other minorities, Sikhs and Christians particularly, and the 'Untouchables'. You should also consider how much terrorism you have fomented in all your neighbouring countries.

I'm going to try and help you, Indian neighbours, to focus on the bizarre stories that I have been able to piece together from your newspapers and then ask you some questions to help you think logically. It goes something like this. Your intelligence agency intercepted a phone conversation that some "cargo" was soon to be delivered by ship from Karachi. It asked the Indian Navy and Coast Guard (who were involved in a joint exercise on - and perhaps also in - the Arabian Sea at the time to practice for just such an event) to intercept the boat. The militants hijacked a fishing trawler and, amazingly, managed to evade the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in full cry. Near I'm going to try and help you, Indian neighbours, to focus on the bizarre stories that I have been able to piece together from your newspapers and then ask you some questions to help you think logically. It goes something like this. Your intelligence agency intercepted a phone conversation that some "cargo" was soon to be delivered by ship from Karachi. It asked the Indian Navy and Coast Guard (who were involved in a joint exercise on - and perhaps also in - the Arabian Sea at the time to practice for just such an event) to intercept the boat. The militants hijacked a fishing trawler and, amazingly, managed Mumbai they boarded some rubber dinghies - the number varies from 2, 3, 6 and 7. One version has it that three rubber dinghies landed at a deserted beach near Mumbai and the militants waded and walked through marsh and tall reeds and took taxis to get to the city. A second says that one dinghy landed at a pier in the heart of Mumbai. Indian police at the pier saw them and said that they took taxis and went away. A third version says that people saw 6 to 7 dinghies land at Colaba beach near the Nariman Building which is Israeli owned and operated and only Jews can live there. Ten young men unload boxes and went into it. Were they Israelis? One Indian security officer who went in was shocked to see that they were white. We know that your and Israel's security forces have been in joint venture for years. Was it them, perhaps? A huge quantity of food had been purchased and was awaiting the militants before their arrival in the Nariman Building. Was it your commandos who killed the Jewish rabbi, his wife and other Israelis/Jews there to prevent them from talking? It is also suggested that the militants were connected to Somali pirates who wanted revenge from the Indian Navy for the killings of their fellow pirates earlier on the Arabian Seas. A senior naval officer of yours, however, has named the ship that was allegedly hijacked as M V Alpha. On enquiry it was found that it is a Panamanian flag carrier, not Pakistani, and its captain says that his vessel was never hijacked.

Do you really believe these cock and bull stories? This is not a James Bond thriller, unless living in 'Bollywood' has made you all live in a make-believe world. Tell me: is this not the height of incompetence or is there a massive cover up going on by your government?

There are so many holes in these stories. Onlookers remember the militants drinking beer just before the attacks. Would Muslims driven by religious zeal convinced that they are going to heaven drink alcohol before going to their deaths for crying out loud, even as a decoy? Not on your life. Initially Indian media said that some Britons of Pakistani origin were involved. Britain says that's not true. RAW says they had already warned your authorities of an imminent attack. The Americans say they warned them twice. Yet all these warnings went unheeded. Why? Was someone in cahoots with the militants? Were these people not Muslims at all?

The militants knew all the joints well, which means that they must have inside (Indian) help. They took days to stash arms and ammunition in the hotels. Were your guys asleep or in cahoots? Don't rule out the possibility that some of your army and intelligence people are involved with Hindu militant groups and MOSSAD to create open warfare between India's Muslims and Hindus and bring our countries to the brink? The Israelis would love even more than India to destroy Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and such incidents would 'justify' an attack, so why not engineer them?

Is it possible that while on the one hand Indian authorities are so incompetent that they couldn't prevent the attacks despite several warnings and on the other they could determine within hours that Pakistan was behind them? After Pakistanis were burned alive in the 'Friendship Express' India immediately blamed the ISI. It later transpired that a serving Lt Colonel Srikant Purohit of the Indian Army and a Hindu fascist group did it. So why should we believe you this time? India's Anti-Terrorist Squad official who discovered Purohit's involvement and was still investigating him was one of the first to be deliberately killed by your commandos. To get him out of the way, before he uncovered more embarrassing truths? That his wife blamed your government for her husband's murder and refused compensation is damning, what?

You guys always blame the ISI or its "rogue elements" or our army and some jihadi groups. Your government has given us the same old list of 20 that includes the Indian underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Our interior minister says India has given only 3 names: yet another Indian underworld don named Tiger Memon, Dawood Ibrahim and Maulana Masood Azhar. Without even an extradition treaty, you want us to "hand over" these 20 to you, no questions asked, no evidence furnished. Give us some hard evidence and if there is are Pakistanis or Pakistani connections involved we'll fix their hash in Pakistan. You watch.

Why haven't you given us the SIM that was allegedly found on the captured militant? A SIM has a near endless story to tell and each number found has its own story. We'll trace them all. Lashkar-e-Taiba's objective is liberating Kashmir; you know the part occupied by you. Then why on earth would the Mumbai militants demand the liberation of Hyderabad, Deccan, and not Kashmir, if they were Lashkar-e-Taiba? It doesn't make sense.

Think, my Indian neighbours, think, if not for yours then at least for God's sake, before we are all vaporised and our issues become of interest only to historians.

The writer is a senior political analyst
E-mail: humayun.gauhar@gmail.com


Comment:

This article is interesting because the author is the Ghost Writer of General Pervez Musharraf's book "In the line of fire", and a Geo-Political adviser to the current political Government.

More comments later.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What was the original identity of Pakistan as envisaged by Jinnah:

It is a raging debate in Pakistan. The secularists quote Jinnah's 11 Aug 1947 speech as proof that's what Pakistan was intended to be. In this speech, he spoke of an inclusive and impartial government, religious freedom, rule of law and equality for all. He also seemed to advocate the separation of church and state. This speech was delivered a month before Pakistan was born. He had said:

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. "

[Full text here ...]

The Islamists on the other hand quote the 'Objectives Resolution'. It was the resolution adopted on 12 March 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. The resolution, proposed by the Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, proclaimed that the future constitution of Pakistan would not be modeled entirely on a European pattern, but on the ideology and democratic faith of Islam, which proclaimed the following principles:

1. Sovereignty belongs to Allah alone but He has delegated it to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him as a sacred trust.

2. The State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people.

3. The principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed.

4. Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings of Islam as set out in the Qur'an and Sunnah.

5. Adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop
their cultures.

6. Pakistan shall be a federation.

7. Fundamental rights shall be guaranteed.

8. The judiciary shall be independent.


This resolution was made the Preamble to the existing Pakistan Constitution of 1973, and later amended to be fully incorporated in the Constitution of Pakistan in Article 2A of the Constitution.

I, however, argue with neither. Not the 11 August 1947 one because it was in the backdrop of one of the most violent episodes in history in which a mass and unplanned exchange of populations took place and millions were dead and still dying in riots, nor the March 1949 Objectives Resolution because it was not moved by Jinnah but by Liaquat Ali Khan, and was prompted by the pressure of the rallying slogan (still popular) of Indian Muslims demanding partition of "Pakistan ka matlab kya; La Ilah-a-Ilallah" meaning "What does Pakistan mean; Say there's no God but Allah." This is half of the 'Shahada' or that sentence belief in which is essential and inviolable to be a Muslim in the first place.

My argument is entirely based on something between the two, i.e. at a time when the upheavals of partition had ended and a State structure was well underway, and Pakistan's Central bank was inaugurated. It was the last speech Jinnah ever made, and died two months later. It is dated 1 July 1948. He said:

"I shall watch with keenness the work of your Research Organization in evolving banking practices compatible with Islamic ideas of social and economic life. The economic system of the West has created almost insoluble problems for humanity and to many of us it appears that only a miracle can save it from disaster that is not facing the world. It has failed to do justice between man and man and to eradicate friction from the international field. On the contrary, it was largely responsible for the two world wars in the last half century. The Western world, in spite of its advantages, of mechanization and industrial efficiency is today in a worse mess than ever before in history. The adoption of Western economic theory and practice will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and contended people. We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice. We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving to humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind."

[Full text here ...]

Above is not an official source, because this particular speech has been expunged from Pakistan's collective memory. It is not even listed in Pakistan's official web archives.

This leaves little doubt what Jinnah actually wanted. A modern Islamic state with religious principles as the guiding source for its most vital policies.

Religion, to Jinnah, had everything to do with State.

Side Note:

We may also ponder over what Jinnah said back in 1948:

"The economic system of the West has created almost insoluble problems for humanity and to many of us it appears that only a miracle can save it from disaster that is not facing the world."

Has he been proven right after all these years?

Would we agree the Western free-markets Economic Model has collapsed and a new or modified one is now needed and will emerge? Another experiment?

We shall have to wait and see.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jamaat-ud-Dawa or Hizballah?


Residence of Hafiz Saeed where he was placed under house arrest. Inset, the organizations offices sealed by police.


The International Crisis Group

"Earthquake Jihad: The Role of Jihadis and Islamist Groups after the October 2005 Earthquake"
24 July 2006

Pakistan’s jihadi groups and other Islamist ‘humanitarian’ groups played a prominent role in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in the aftermath of the 8 October earthquake. They conducted relief and reconstruction work, provided health services, organised and managed displacement camps and carried out needs assessments. This article explores the part these groups played, reviews how international humanitarian actors engaged with them and outlines the political consequences of their activities, locally, nationally and regionally.

The jihadi and Islamist ‘humanitarian’ response

Pakistan has 58 Islamic religious parties, and 24 known Islamist militant groups operate in the country. At least 17 Islamist groups banned by President Pervez Musharraf’s government undertook relief and reconstruction work in the aftermath of the earthquake. These jihadi and Islamist organisations were also prominent in camp management, running 37 out of the 73 organised camps in and around Pakistani-administered Kashmir’s capital, Muzaffarabad. These groups had a presence in every affected district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in the Neelum and Jehlum valleys, including Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Hattian, Dhir Kot, Rawalakot, Haveli and Athmuqam. In their response to the earthquake, jihadi and Islamist ‘humanitarian’ groups drew on their existing infrastructure in AJK, their knowledge of the local terrain and their close cooperation with the Pakistan army, which provided logistical support and other facilities, including helicopters, to enable the jihadis to continue their work.

Prominent Islamist ‘humanitarian’ foundations and jihadi groups

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) and the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) are the two largest Islamist political parties in Pakistan. Both have prominent social wings. The JUI is in a coalition government with Musharraf’s Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-I-Azam (PML-Q) in NWFP and Balochistan provinces. The JUI is an ardent supporter of the ousted Taliban regime in Afghanistan, while the JI controls the Hizbul Mujahideen, a major militant organisation operating in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Al Khair Trust, which is connected to JUI, has been heavily supported by the Pakistani military in its relief and reconstruction work, especially in AJK. The Al Khidmat Foundation, set up by JI, was one of the main organisations coordinating, collecting and distributing goods in the earthquake-affected region, and also coordinated manpower from other international organisations. The Al Khidmat Foundation’s subsidiary organisations include the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, the Pakistan Engineers Forum, the Ghazali Education Trust, and the JI’s Islami Jamiat Talaba (student wing) and Tanzeem al-Asataza (teachers’ wing).

Other prominent jihadi groups conducting relief work include:

• The Al Rasheed Trust, a Sunni organisation based in Karachi which grew out of the banned Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad. Jaish-e-Mohammad was proscribed by the Pakistani government in 2002. The Al Rasheed Trust is banned by the United Nations Security Council, but the Pakistani government has not outlawed it.

• Jamaat-ud-Dawa grew out of the banned Islamist militant organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is known to have militant training camps in AJK, and has been at the forefront of the fighting in Indian-administered Kashmir. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s ‘humanitarian arm’, the Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq, maintained a field hospital in Muzaffarabad and Balakot. It also operated ambulance services and surgical camps, constructed 1,000 shelters and provided electricity through generators.

Jihadi and Islamist groups were the first to conduct rescue operations, establish initial medical emergency camps, surgical units and dispensaries for earthquake survivors and send assessment teams to isolated areas. They raised a volunteer army of thousands of madrassa students. Jihadi outfits and Islamist groups provided doctors, clinics, x-ray services, dental care, reconstruction materials, ambulance services, burials and mosque rebuilding. They also cared for orphans, the displaced and widows. They organised mule transport for relief goods to isolated areas, and commandeered lifting equipment and tents. In the reconstruction phase, these groups have established programmes providing cheap reconstruction materials and subsidised saw mills.

Interaction with international humanitarian actors

Whether knowingly or out of ignorance, international humanitarian actors (NGOs, the UN and foreign military assistance teams) established working relationships with some of the banned jihadi groups and other Islamist ‘humanitarian’ groups, either supplying relief goods to jihadi camps or coordinating distributions with Islamist groups. UNHCR supplied camps managed by the JI and Al Rasheed with shelters, Jamaat-ud-Dawa distributed US relief aid and an American surgeon operated in a Jamaat-ud-Dawa relief camp. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is reported to have worked with the ICRC, WHO, UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR and Khalsa Aid (a pan-Sikh humanitarian agency). Jamaat-ud-Dawa claimed that it received funding from Indonesia and Turkey, and Indonesian and Turkish doctors worked as volunteers in hospitals and clinics that it sponsored. Meanwhile, non-sectarian organisations like the Edhi Foundation were overlooked by the UN and international NGOs.

There is no reason why international NGOs, regardless of the urgency of the earthquake, interacted with these banned jihadi groups or Islamist humanitarian actors. The jihadis were brought in from outside the region in the aftermath of the earthquake, although options existed in secular mainstream civil society groups or NGOs, which were instead marginalised or not engaged by the international NGOs. This has contributed to building the capacity and legitimacy of Islamist groups in AJK, and has raised their profile as humanitarian actors. A number of possible consequences flow from this.

The ramifications of the role of jihadi and Islamist ‘humanitarian’ groups in the earthquake response

The most important implications of jihadi and Islamist involvement in the earthquake response are likely to be felt in the education sector. AJK is one of the country’s most literate regions, and the earthquake destroyed almost all of its education institutions. Integral to jihadi and Islamist relief efforts was the establishment of schools and madrassas for young people in AJK. The Deobandi Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabiya (Pakistan’s largest union of madrassas) plans to build 1,500 mosques and 300 madrassas in AJK and NWFP. The purely Islamic education that these institutions will provide will inevitably sideline provincial/state curricula. In the medium and long term, if the jihadis and Islamist groups are allowed to continue with their rigid religious curriculum this will radicalise the young in AJK, and will form a convenient recruiting base for the militant activities of these organisations. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa has openly called for all orphans to be handed over to the organisation for an ‘Islamic education’. ... more ....

Comment:

It remains unclear whether the educational facilities run by Jamat-ud-Dawa including the 5,000 student complex in Muridke will be seized and shut down, or taken over by the Government, or handed over to some other charity or NGO. Most likely these will be allowed to run by the Wafaq-ul-Madaris or another such body under Government sponsorship because if shut, the students will have to be accommodated elsewhere when no Government run school infrastructure exists providing not only free tuition but free boarding & lodging as well.

That will not solve the problem though. As Hafiz Saeed said yesterday in a televised phone conversation "Jihad is a religious obligation, and we cannot stop teaching our children that". If Jihad equates terrorism, shutting Jamat-ud-Dawa will not stop that being taught even if the Government takes over the Dawa-run institutions.

Second problem will be the charity-funded and volunteer-staffed relief facilities. With the parent organization out-lawed, the charity collection and volunteer work by its thousands of members would become illegal. Who will then fund or staff these? It remains to be seen.

Third problem is where will the out-lawed workers go and what will they do? My own feeling is now that they'll no more be occupied with the harmless 'Jihad' activities of welfare work, many will drift off to the active 'Jihad' outfits with an AK-47.

Have we then exacerbated the problem by banning Jamat-ud-Dawa or solved it?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hameed Gul - Fareed Zakaria: The King is dead; Long live the King.

"... the elusive ISI - the infamous Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency ... may be a connection between elements in the ISI and the Mumbai terrorists ... rare chance to get an inside glimpse, an exclusive interview with General Hamid Gul ... I should warn you. Some of his views are shocking. On 9/11 in particular ... I thought it was important that you hear them ... General Gul, you know that the United States has given four names to the United Nations of ISI officers whom it would like to place on an international terrorist list. You are one of those four names."



"And to make sense of all this mess, David Kilcullen ... probably one of the smartest guys on the subject of counterinsurgency, an advisor to General Petraeus, and one of the authors of the so-called surge in Iraq."



Comment:

Quote:
"... a classical special forces or commando style raid ... AlQaeda has never mounted a maritime attack on a land-based target. They've mounted a number of attacks on sea targets, such as the USS Cole, on October 12, 2000. They've mounted a number of other attacks on, say, oil rigs in the Arabian Gulf, and so on. But no al Qaeda-linked terrorist group, and certainly never Lashkar-e-Taiba, has mounted a maritime raid of this type or this complexity - hijacking a fishing vessel, infiltrating via the sea, via an inflatable boat, but then also launching diversionary attacks designed to pull the first responders out of the way of the subsequent follow-on groups that then struck the Oberoi, the Taj Mahal and the Nariman Center. And then, when we did see these groups taking and holding these buildings, they were applying some pretty sophisticated methodology. ... if you look at the equipment that they carried and the way that they operated, this was very much in the vein of a special forces raid, rather than a traditional terrorist attack."

Unquote:

Err ... no Al Qaeda has indeed never mounted a maritime attack on a land-based target, but they're military aviation experts at wide-bodied passenger jet warfare against land-based targets. I would have guessed fishing trawlers should be a piece of cake for these supermen. But Mr.Kilcullen is the counter-terrorism expert.

Quote:
"The guys had backpacks with about 20 pounds of explosives each. They had some pretty sophisticated weaponry, cryptographic communications, satellites, cell phones, credit cards, false ID. They were clean-shaven and dressed in Western clothes. You know, this was a clandestine operation or a covert operation style activity."
Unquote:

Sure. The only things they missed on were operating manuals of fishing trawlers translated into Punjabi, and copies of Qura'anic Verses.


Al-Qaida is dead; Long Live Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.
The new bogeyman. Al-Qaida was getting a bit frayed at the collar.

The Terrorists Want to Destroy Pakistan, Too

Op-Ed Contributor

By ASIF ALI ZARDARI
Published: December 8, 2008, NY Times.

Islamabad, Pakistan

THE recent death and destruction in Mumbai, India, brought to my mind the death and destruction in Karachi on Oct. 18, 2007, when terrorists attacked a festive homecoming rally for my wife, Benazir Bhutto. Nearly 150 Pakistanis were killed and more than 450 were injured. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai may be a news story for most of the world. For me it is a painful reality of shared experience. Having seen my wife escape death by a hairbreadth on that day in Karachi, I lost her in a second, unfortunately successful, attempt two months later.

The Mumbai attacks were directed not only at India but also at Pakistan’s new democratic government and the peace process with India that we have initiated. Supporters of authoritarianism in Pakistan and non-state actors with a vested interest in perpetuating conflict do not want change in Pakistan to take root.

To foil the designs of the terrorists, the two great nations of Pakistan and India, born together from the same revolution and mandate in 1947, must continue to move forward with the peace process. Pakistan is shocked at the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. We can identify with India’s pain. I am especially empathetic. I feel this pain every time I look into the eyes of my children.

Pakistan is committed to the pursuit, arrest, trial and punishment of anyone involved in these heinous attacks. But we caution against hasty judgments and inflammatory statements. As was demonstrated in Sunday’s raids, which resulted in the arrest of militants, Pakistan will take action against the non-state actors found within our territory, treating them as criminals, terrorists and murderers. Not only are the terrorists not linked to the government of Pakistan in any way, we are their targets and we continue to be their victims.

India is a mature nation and a stable democracy. Pakistanis appreciate India’s democratic contributions. But as rage fueled by the Mumbai attacks catches on, Indians must pause and take a breath. India and Pakistan — and the rest of the world — must work together to track down the terrorists who caused mayhem in Mumbai, attacked New York, London and Madrid in the past, and destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September. The terrorists who killed my wife are connected by ideology to these enemies of civilization.

These militants did not arise from whole cloth. Pakistan was an ally of the West throughout the cold war. The world worked to exploit religion against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by empowering the most fanatic extremists as an instrument of destruction of a superpower. The strategy worked, but its legacy was the creation of an extremist militia with its own dynamic. ... more ...

Asif Ali Zardari is the president of Pakistan.

Comment:

So the President of Pakistan all but admits the attacks were carried out from Pakistani soil, attempts to gain sympathy over his wife's murder in the effort to appear in the same boat as the Indians, and that some mysterious Pakistani non-state actors are to blame quoting the arrests in Muzaffarabad.

Pakistanis simply had to arrest 'someone'. Perceptions are more powerful than reality. If perceptions say Pakistanis must have done it, then Pakistan has to show it's doing something about it to avoid war. These arrests appear no more than that.

Let's see if any proof is presented. Right now the Indians are stumbling along changing stories every other day. Latest was the attackers left a sack of Pakistani flour, a satellite phone with Pakistani numbers on it, and unbelievably some rolls of Pakistani toilet paper in the abandoned boat. I know they wouldn't have much use for a sack of flour and toilet paper on a suicide mission but a satellite phone?

Re: "The terrorists who killed my wife are connected by ideology to these enemies of civilization."

Mr. Zardari not very long ago when asked by a reporter "Who killed your wife?" during a press conference at the Nawaz Sharif Ranch in Lahore, replied with great finality while staring down the reporter "The same people who killed her father."

It wasn't known till now that terrorists killed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Why can't the Pakistani State come right out and say what Tariq Ali says in conclusion on Counterpunch, and which infinitely makes more sense:

The Assault on Mumbai

Why should it be such a surprise if the perpetrators are themselves Indian Muslims? Its hardly a secret that there has been much anger within the poorest sections of the Muslim community against the systematic discrimination and acts of violence carried out against them of which the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in shining Gujarat was only the most blatant and the most investigated episode, supported by the Chief Minister of the State and the local state apparatuses.

Add to this the continuing sore of Kashmir which has for decades been treated as a colony by Indian troops with random arrests, torture and rape of Kashmiris an everyday occurrence. Conditions have been much worse than in Tibet, but have aroused little sympathy in the West where the defense of human rights is heavily instrumentalised.

Indian intelligence outfits are well aware of all this and they should not encourage the fantasies of their political leaders. Its best to come out and accept that there are severe problems inside the country. A billion Indians: 80 percent Hindus and 14 percent Muslims. A very large minority that cannot be ethnically cleansed without provoking a wider conflict.

None of this justifies terrorism, but it should, at the very least, force India’s rulers to direct their gaze on their own country and the conditions that prevail. Economic disparities are profound. The absurd notion that the trickle-down effects of global capitalism would solve most problems can now be seen for what it always was: a fig leaf to conceal new modes of exploitation.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Who exactly is Barrack Obama?

Webster Tarpley




Comment:

Obama may or may not be what he appears to be, but that isn't the central point in Tarpley's discourse. What is significant is that his emphasis on United State's encirclement of China and Russia as the ultimate foreign policy objective ties in with the American Century Global Vision introduced by the Bush Administration (as opposed to the earlier centuries of European domination), the concept of 'Old' Europe and 'New' Europe and attempts to drive a wedge between the two, and the proposed missile defense shields in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The 'Old' Europeans achieved the same global domination through colonizations, the Bush administration tried through direct military intervention and occupation with unsatisfactory results, while Tarpley believes the Zbigniew Brzezinski school will pursue the tried and tested means of using small enemies as cannon fodder against the big enemies, instead of directly fighting either - as in Afghanistan against the Soviets - towards the same policy objectives.

This is a solid argument to be made.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

India vs Pakistan - Evaluation on Military Strengths

Dmitri, August 6th, 2007

Manpower and Ground Forces

India has the second largest manpower in its military globally - at 3,773,300 personnel (2005), next only to China. Pakistan has a much smaller manpower of 1,449,000 personnel which is proportionally higher than India in terms of their population ratios. Pakistan’s ground forces are equipped with American or Chinese weapons like FIM 92 Stinger SAMs, BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, T-82 tanks and other equipments. Indian ground forces are equipped mostly by home-made or Soviet technologies like IR guided 9K35 Strela-10 SAMs, 3rd Gen IR guided Nag anti-tank missiles, UAVs and a large inventory of tanks and support vehicles. In terms of numbers and equipments, both Indian and Pakistani ground forces are on an closely equal footing.

Comparison of Air Forces

As of 2006, Indian Air Force (IAF) has over 170,000 personnel and 3,382 aircrafts of which 1,330 are combat aircraft operating off 61 airbases - making it the fourth largest air force in the world. India’s strike fighters consist of Russian and French aircraft like Mikoyan MiG-29, Dassault Mirage 2000, Sukhoi Su-30 - the last one developed under dual licensing by HAL, India’s aerospace industry in Bangalore. In addition to these, India’s air force owns ground attack aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, UAVs and support helicopters - a majority of them either of Soviet or French origin. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has about 530 combat aircraft and over 65,000 active personnel, operating out of 9 airbases. Its strike fighters consist of US, Chinese and French fighters like F-16 Fighting Falcon, JF-17 Thunder and Dassault Mirage ROSE-III. It also has transport aircraft like Lockheed Martin C-130 and Airbus A310, however there are no UAVs or reconnaissance aircraft in the Pakistani Air Force.

Naval and Sea Based Forces

After the overwhelming losses in the 1971 war against India, Pakistan rapidly increased the size of its naval fleet which doubled in the 1980s after a massive 3.2 billion dollar military and economic aid by US President Ronald Reagan. At present, Pakistan’s navy owns over 45 vessels , most of them of US or European origin which include submarines, destroyers, frigates, patrol and mine warfare boats. It operates from its sole naval port in Karachi and naval facilities in UK, USA and France. It had recently been involved in various humanitarian operations during the 2005 Tsunami in South East Asia. Indian Navy on the other hand, is a three dimensional naval force consisting of missile-capable warships, an aircraft carrier, mine sweepers and a host of marine aircrafts; most of its warships indigenously built in its own dockyards. The navy operates from its major naval bases in Visakhapatnam, Mumbai, Goa and the Andaman Islands. Indian Navy has significant capabilities of being a true blue water Navy and is experienced both in war and peacekeeping operations in the Indian Ocean.

The Nuclear Club

India tested a nuclear bomb in 1974 using materials from Canada and technical help from Soviet Union. However the embargo in heavy water export from Canada after the test stalled India’s nuclear ambitions till 1998, when it shocked the world by conducting five nuclear detonations termed as Shakti tests. The highest yield was by a 48 kiloton staged fusion device, which India claimed was a thermonuclear bomb but seismic data on the tests proved otherwise. In the same year 1998, Pakistan conducted a series of six nuclear detonations in a test termed as Chagai. The highest yield was reported to be about 25 kiloton from a two stage boosted device. At present Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile is slated to be around 30-40 warheads while India possesses 70-100 warheads. The nuclearisation of India and Pakistan became a turning point in the history of conflicts between these two countries with high tensions but no war, not very much unlike the US vs USSR Cold War.

Ballistic and Cruise Missile Proliferation

In the nuclear delivery front, both India and Pakistan have a series of ballistic and cruise missiles in addition to ground attack aircraft. The maximum range among India’s operational ballistic missiles is 2000 km achieved by Agni-2. India’s Agni ballistic missiles are indigenously developed by its own missile defence industry known as IGMDP. The maximum range among Pakistan’s missiles is by Hatf V Gauri which is reported to do over 2200 kms. Pakistan’s Hatf missiles are based on North Korean No-Dong series of IRBMs. Both Pakistan’s Hatf and India’s Agni ballistic missiles are nuclear capable. India has also developed a supersonic cruise missile BrahMos which is by far the fastest cruise missile at Mach 2.6 and maximum range of 290 km. It is reported to be nuclear capable but it is not confirmed yet. On the Pakistan side, its Babur cruise missile has a reported range of 700 km and a maximum speed of 880 km/h (Mach 0.7). As with India BrahMos, Babur is also reported to be nuclear capable but there is no confirmation yet.

The Final Verdict

Both Pakistan and India are almost evenly matched head to head in nuclear and missile fronts, however India has strategic and technological superiority over the conventional forces of Pakistan. Indian Navy is larger in fleet and personnel size with a more varied range of ships including an aircraft carrier while Pakistan’s Navy is smaller and has no aircraft carriers. Indian’s IAF is equipped with highly capable fighters like 4.5th generation Su-30s and 4th gen Mirage 2000s which are technologically superior to Pakistan PAF’s F-16s and Mirage IIIs. Additionally Indian pilots are better trained and more capable in air combat than Pakistani forces as was demonstrated by its various wars with Pakistan or joint exercises with US and UK. In the area of conventional ground forces both the Indian as well as Pakistani Army is well equipped and highly trained to survive in extremities of topography and climate in combat conditions, like wars in the high Himalayas.

If a purely conventional war were to take place between both these countries, India would most likely overpower Pakistan owing to its superior military technology and infrastructure, larger manpower, more territorial area and a strategic advantage in its sea and air forces. It must also be noted that a war between these two countries will matter more than India’s conventional superiority as both these nations are nuclear powers on an equal deadlock. India has maintained a ‘no first use’ nuclear policy on the lines of a similar policy by China while Pakistan does not have any such policy, considering their only hope against India is in nuclear deterrence. It would be risky for India at the present scenario to go into any aggressive war against Pakistan as the repercussions would be serious a nuclear devastation for both countries.


Comment:

India's numerical and technical superiority in a conventional war is beyond question - therefore Pakistan's low nuclear threshold and maintenance of the first-use option.

However, in a surgical kind of strike being talked about in Indian and Pakistani circles, over Muridke or Muzaffarabad , cruise missiles are likely to be used. The Pakistani and Indian capability is evenly matched in these except for India's supersonic cruise missile with a speed of Mach 2.6 which is an obvious advantage in this kind of a strike, but it only has a range of 290 kms - enough to reach Muridke if launched from East Punjab but not much more. Pakistan's answer is the Babur cruise missile with a range of 700 km and a speed of Mach 0.7 - sub-sonic but pretty fast.

UAV's was the other Indian advantage which has recently been matched by Pakistan.

With the evenly matched air, missile and nuclear capability, a surgical strike doesn't seem to be the best option. If India is to win, it will have to be a full-scale conventional war with both sides avoiding breaching the other's nuclear threshold.

Is that possible?

Therefore, I do not think there will be an India-Pakistan military confrontation. God bless May 1998 for both.

Bombay Attackers Speak:

Available in various parts on the web, compiled below:

First one named Sahaadullah from Oberoi:



Second one named Imran from Nariman House:



Comment:

Who are these persons? Pakistani or Indian? Alive or dead?

They're speaking Hindi. The language of India. Why? Feigning diction and accent to mislead investigation or not feigning at all?

Are they both the same persons as the anchor claims?

The videos are just 15 minutes apart as the time on TV screens show. Is that significant?

Many questions arise which must be answered.

Important thing to note is how the interviewer repeatedly and insistently keeps baiting the caller into admitting he came from somewhere outside India, preferably Pakistan. This, when the operation was still on in full swing and no clues had emerged by then of any sort - real or imagined.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Strategic Motivations for the Mumbai Attack

An analysis from stratfor.com - By George Friedman

Militant Attacks In Mumbai and Their Consequences

Last Wednesday evening, a group of Islamist operatives carried out a complex terror operation in the Indian city of Mumbai. The attack was not complex because of the weapons used or its size, but in the apparent training, multiple methods of approaching the city and excellent operational security and discipline in the final phases of the operation, when the last remaining attackers held out in the Taj Mahal hotel for several days. The operational goal of the attack clearly was to cause as many casualties as possible, particularly among Jews and well-to-do guests of five-star hotels. But attacks on various other targets, from railroad stations to hospitals, indicate that the more general purpose was to spread terror in a major Indian city.

While it is not clear precisely who carried out the Mumbai attack, two separate units apparently were involved. One group, possibly consisting of Indian Muslims, was established in Mumbai ahead of the attacks. The second group appears to have just arrived. It traveled via ship from Karachi, Pakistan, later hijacked a small Indian vessel to get past Indian coastal patrols, and ultimately landed near Mumbai.

Extensive preparations apparently had been made, including surveillance of the targets. So while the precise number of attackers remains unclear, the attack clearly was well-planned and well-executed.

Evidence and logic suggest that radical Pakistani Islamists carried out the attack. These groups have a highly complex and deliberately amorphous structure. Rather than being centrally controlled, ad hoc teams are created with links to one or more groups. Conceivably, they might have lacked links to any group, but this is hard to believe. Too much planning and training were involved in this attack for it to have been conceived by a bunch of guys in a garage. While precisely which radical Pakistani Islamist group or groups were involved is unknown, the Mumbai attack appears to have originated in Pakistan. It could have been linked to al Qaeda prime or its various franchises and/or to Kashmiri insurgents.

More important than the question of the exact group that carried out the attack, however, is the attackers’ strategic end. There is a tendency to regard terror attacks as ends in themselves, carried out simply for the sake of spreading terror. In the highly politicized atmosphere of Pakistan’s radical Islamist factions, however, terror frequently has a more sophisticated and strategic purpose. Whoever invested the time and took the risk in organizing this attack had a reason to do so. Let’s work backward to that reason by examining the logical outcomes following this attack.

An End to New Delhi’s Restraint

The most striking aspect of the Mumbai attack is the challenge it presents to the Indian government — a challenge almost impossible for New Delhi to ignore. A December 2001 Islamist attack on the Indian parliament triggered an intense confrontation between India and Pakistan. Since then, New Delhi has not responded in a dramatic fashion to numerous Islamist attacks against India that were traceable to Pakistan. The Mumbai attack, by contrast, aimed to force a response from New Delhi by being so grievous that any Indian government showing only a muted reaction to it would fall.

India’s restrained response to Islamist attacks (even those originating in Pakistan) in recent years has come about because New Delhi has understood that, for a host of reasons, Islamabad has been unable to control radical Pakistani Islamist groups. India did not want war with Pakistan; it felt it had more important issues to deal with. New Delhi therefore accepted Islamabad’s assurances that Pakistan would do its best to curb terror attacks, and after suitable posturing, allowed tensions originating from Islamist attacks to pass.

This time, however, the attackers struck in such a way that New Delhi couldn’t allow the incident to pass. As one might expect, public opinion in India is shifting from stunned to furious. India’s Congress party-led government is politically weak and nearing the end of its life span. It lacks the political power to ignore the attack, even if it were inclined to do so. If it ignored the attack, it would fall, and a more intensely nationalist government would take its place. It is therefore very difficult to imagine circumstances under which the Indians could respond to this attack in the same manner they have to recent Islamist attacks.

What the Indians actually will do is not clear. In 2001-2002, New Delhi responded to the attack on the Indian parliament by moving forces close to the Pakistani border and the Line of Control that separates Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, engaging in artillery duels along the front, and bringing its nuclear forces to a high level of alert. The Pakistanis made a similar response. Whether India ever actually intended to attack Pakistan remains unclear, but either way, New Delhi created an intense crisis in Pakistan.

The U.S. and the Indo-Pakistani Crisis

The United States used this crisis for its own ends. Having just completed the first phase of its campaign in Afghanistan, Washington was intensely pressuring Pakistan’s then-Musharraf government to expand cooperation with the United States; purge its intelligence organization, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of radical Islamists; and crack down on al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Afghan-Pakistani border region. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had been reluctant to cooperate with Washington, as doing so inevitably would spark a massive domestic backlash against his government.

The crisis with India produced an opening for the United States. Eager to get India to stand down from the crisis, the Pakistanis looked to the Americans to mediate. And the price for U.S. mediation was increased cooperation from Pakistan with the United States. The Indians, not eager for war, backed down from the crisis after guarantees that Islamabad would impose stronger controls on Islamist groups in Kashmir.

In 2001-2002, the Indo-Pakistani crisis played into American hands. In 2008, the new Indo-Pakistani crisis might play differently. The United States recently has demanded increased Pakistani cooperation along the Afghan border. Meanwhile, President-elect Barack Obama has stated his intention to focus on Afghanistan and pressure the Pakistanis.

Therefore, one of Islamabad’s first responses to the new Indo-Pakistani crisis was to announce that if the Indians increased their forces along Pakistan’s eastern border, Pakistan would be forced to withdraw 100,000 troops from its western border with Afghanistan. In other words, threats from India would cause Pakistan to dramatically reduce its cooperation with the United States in the Afghan war. The Indian foreign minister is flying to the United States to meet with Obama; obviously, this matter will be discussed among others.

We expect the United States to pressure India not to create a crisis, in order to avoid this outcome. As we have said, the problem is that it is unclear whether politically the Indians can afford restraint. At the very least, New Delhi must demand that the Pakistani government take steps to make the ISI and Pakistan’s other internal security apparatus more effective. Even if the Indians concede that there was no ISI involvement in the attack, they will argue that the ISI is incapable of stopping such attacks. They will demand a purge and reform of the ISI as a sign of Pakistani commitment. Barring that, New Delhi will move troops to the Indo-Pakistani frontier to intimidate Pakistan and placate Indian public opinion.

Dilemmas for Islamabad, New Delhi and Washington

At that point, Islamabad will have a serious problem. The Pakistani government is even weaker than the Indian government. Pakistan’s civilian regime does not control the Pakistani military, and therefore does not control the ISI. The civilians can’t decide to transform Pakistani security, and the military is not inclined to make this transformation. (Pakistan’s military has had ample opportunity to do so if it wished.)

Pakistan faces the challenge, just one among many, that its civilian and even military leadership lack the ability to reach deep into the ISI and security services to transform them. In some ways, these agencies operate under their own rules. Add to this the reality that the ISI and security forces — even if they are acting more assertively, as Islamabad claims — are demonstrably incapable of controlling radical Islamists in Pakistan. If they were capable, the attack on Mumbai would have been thwarted in Pakistan. The simple reality is that in Pakistan’s case, the will to make this transformation does not seem to be present, and even if it were, the ability to suppress terror attacks isn’t there.

The United States might well want to limit New Delhi’s response. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is on her way to India to discuss just this. But the politics of India’s situation make it unlikely that the Indians can do anything more than listen. It is more than simply a political issue for New Delhi; the Indians have no reason to believe that the Mumbai operation was one of a kind. Further operations like the Mumbai attack might well be planned. Unless the Pakistanis shift their posture inside Pakistan, India has no way of knowing whether other such attacks can be stymied. The Indians will be sympathetic to Washington’s plight in Afghanistan and the need to keep Pakistani troops at the Afghan border. But New Delhi will need something that the Americans — and in fact the Pakistanis — can’t deliver: a guarantee that there will be no more attacks like this one.

The Indian government cannot chance inaction. It probably would fall if it did. Moreover, in the event of inactivity and another attack, Indian public opinion probably will swing to an uncontrollable extreme. If an attack takes place but India has moved toward crisis posture with Pakistan, at least no one can argue that the Indian government remained passive in the face of threats to national security. Therefore, India is likely to refuse American requests for restraint.

It is possible that New Delhi will make a radical proposal to Rice, however. Given that the Pakistani government is incapable of exercising control in its own country, and given that Pakistan now represents a threat to both U.S. and Indian national security, the Indians might suggest a joint operation with the Americans against Pakistan.

What that joint operation might entail is uncertain, but regardless, this is something that Rice would reject out of hand and that Obama would reject in January 2009. Pakistan has a huge population and nuclear weapons, and the last thing Bush or Obama wants is to practice nation-building in Pakistan. The Indians, of course, will anticipate this response. The truth is that New Delhi itself does not want to engage deep in Pakistan to strike at militant training camps and other Islamist sites. That would be a nightmare. But if Rice shows up with a request for Indian restraint and no concrete proposal — or willingness to entertain a proposal — for solving the Pakistani problem, India will be able to refuse on the grounds that the Americans are asking India to absorb a risk (more Mumbai-style attacks) without the United States’ willingness to share in the risk.

Setting the Stage for a New Indo-Pakistani Confrontation

That will set the stage for another Indo-Pakistani confrontation. India will push forces forward all along the Indo-Pakistani frontier, move its nuclear forces to an alert level, begin shelling Pakistan, and perhaps — given the seriousness of the situation — attack short distances into Pakistan and even carry out airstrikes deep in Pakistan. India will demand greater transparency for New Delhi in Pakistani intelligence operations. The Indians will not want to occupy Pakistan; they will want to occupy Pakistan’s security apparatus.

Naturally, the Pakistanis will refuse that. There is no way they can give India, their main adversary, insight into Pakistani intelligence operations. But without that access, India has no reason to trust Pakistan. This will leave the Indians in an odd position: They will be in a near-war posture, but will have made no demands of Pakistan that Islamabad can reasonably deliver and that would benefit India. In one sense, India will be gesturing. In another sense, India will be trapped by making a gesture on which Pakistan cannot deliver. The situation thus could get out of hand.

In the meantime, the Pakistanis certainly will withdraw forces from western Pakistan and deploy them in eastern Pakistan. That will mean that one leg of the Petraeus and Obama plans would collapse. Washington’s expectation of greater Pakistani cooperation along the Afghan border will disappear along with the troops. This will free the Taliban from whatever limits the Pakistani army had placed on it. The Taliban’s ability to fight would increase, while the motivation for any of the Taliban to enter talks — as Afghan President Hamid Karzai has suggested — would decline. U.S. forces, already stretched to the limit, would face an increasingly difficult situation, while pressure on al Qaeda in the tribal areas would decrease.

Now, step back and consider the situation the Mumbai attackers have created. First, the Indian government faces an internal political crisis driving it toward a confrontation it didn’t plan on. Second, the minimum Pakistani response to a renewed Indo-Pakistani crisis will be withdrawing forces from western Pakistan, thereby strengthening the Taliban and securing al Qaeda. Third, sufficient pressure on Pakistan’s civilian government could cause it to collapse, opening the door to a military-Islamist government — or it could see Pakistan collapse into chaos, giving Islamists security in various regions and an opportunity to reshape Pakistan. Finally, the United States’ situation in Afghanistan has now become enormously more complex.

By staging an attack the Indian government can’t ignore, the Mumbai attackers have set in motion an existential crisis for Pakistan. The reality of Pakistan cannot be transformed, trapped as the country is between the United States and India. Almost every evolution from this point forward benefits Islamists. Strategically, the attack on Mumbai was a precise blow struck to achieve uncertain but favorable political outcomes for the Islamists.

Rice’s trip to India now becomes the crucial next step. She wants Indian restraint. She does not want the western Pakistani border to collapse. But she cannot guarantee what India must have: assurance of no further terror attacks on India originating in Pakistan. Without that, India must do something. No Indian government could survive without some kind of action. So it is up to Rice, in one of her last acts as secretary of state, to come up with a miraculous solution to head off a final, catastrophic crisis for the Bush administration — and a defining first crisis for the new Obama administration. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once said that the enemy gets a vote. The Islamists cast their ballot in Mumbai.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Whose Karachi?

Death toll mounts to 43 in Karachi violence

KARACHI: At least 43 people were killed and over 125 wounded as firing and violent incidents continued to affect the country’s financial capital on Monday.

According to reports, unidentified miscreants torched dozens of vehicles, timber market, marriage hall, godown and a garbage house in separate violent incidents in the metropolis.

While law enforcement agencies failed to bring the situation under control as 14 more people were killed in different areas today. Five out of 14 bodies could not be shifted to hospitals.

In another incident, unknown gunmen shot dead five people in Raees Amrohi Colony of Orangi Town, increasing the death toll in three days’ violence to 43.

Sindh Government had imposed a three-day b..... more

Comment:

After all, the telephonic speeches from London had been shouting hoarse since months now that Karachi is being infiltrated by Taliban and citizens should sell TVs and VCRs and buy guns and form vigilance committees (quite comically ... to learn Judo & Karate as well).

I doubt any citizen did that, but it would have created enough fear amongst the residents of North Karachi areas close to Pushtun colonies to condone the MQM gangs roaming around setting Pushtun businesses on fire. I myself last Friday saw cheap Pushtun owned restaurants' furniture thrown on the street in Gulistan-e-Jauhar. Pushtuns retaliated the next day and forced shuttering down of the city's biggest clothing market - Zainab Market of central Saddar mostly owned by Urdu-speaking Karachiites, killing three.

They (Pushtuns) also run the entire public transport in the city as well as long-haul upcountry, are concentrated around the highway arteries leading into Karachi, and can shut down the city more effectively and rapidly if attacked than MQM had been doing through coerced strikes in the 90s. No dearth of firepower of-course which would have only increased since then.

Taliban will not come to Karachi. They have no fight here. The raising of ethnic tensions is towards the long held single agenda of domination of Karachi by MQM. Now that the refugees from the military operation in Bajaur and Mohmand agency have started trickling in looking for livelihood - Karachi being the largest Pushtun population city in the country, every upcountry Pushtun knows someone or the other here - MQM feels its hold may be threatened. Therefore first the beating of drums of a Taliban threat, next the demand for registration of non-resident entrants, and now the raiding of Pushtun businesses. It can only result in ethnic warfare in streets and ransacking in ethnically mixed residential districts - engulfing the city in fire.

But, this ethnic alienation is supported by a majority of Urdu-speaking voters of UP and Bihar origins in Urban Sind (Muhajirs as they prefer to be called) and they will keep MQM in power of one sort or another. All because of the unfounded insecurity created by exactly such manipulation.

The 'Garbage House' referred to in the above news story is one of the common Pushtun-run collection centers where recyclable waste is delivered by Afghan refugee children scavenging for a few Rupees a day.

I can't see how this will not add to further insecurity rather than reducing any even if it exists.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Orange Wristband question II - Amar Singh?





Comment:

According to the highly controversial and popular Pakistani Defense Analyst, Zaid Zaman Hamid, the Bombay attacker in the CCTV image above is named Amar Singh, a Sikh BJP activist and the one taken alive being claimed to be Yemani. His colleague Hira Lal, a Hindu, was killed and his face mutilated. The comparative pictures of the Saffron Band on him and on the file photo of a BJP activist are produced in evidence by him.

It appears Indians have already decided the attackers were Pakistanis. Were they?

The answer doesn't seem clear at all, but jingoism and chest-beating against Pakistan in India is already reaching fever-pitch.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Orange Wristband question:



Comment:

Observation by a Pakistani Blog: "Notice the orange thread / band on their right hands. Tying a red thread or cord around the wrist is a Hindu practice and it is unlikely a Muslim, especially one politicized enough to carry out an attack such as this, would observe it. I think this provides more evidence that this was a false flag operation or at least an attack by a non-Muslim group."

I'm not convinced of the false flag theory. It would have been plausible only if remote bombs were involved instead of an outright physical assault and holding ground on target locations. This was a suicide mission to the last man and Hindu subversion groups are not known for such missions.

At the same time, they are certainly not the LeT type Jihadis either. Muslims, maybe, but not the average Pakistani mainstream Jihadis of the Talib persuasion. This type of operation is the first anywhere in the world, let alone Pakistan.

So, the question remains. Who are they? Perhaps a mixed group with some locals/some foreigners. The ones who spoke with reporters were definitely Indian. The pictures above could be foreigners. The minute knowledge of routes, diversions, and digital building layouts could be tied in with the Bombay underground involvement. A lethal mixed bag.

Whoever they were, this doesn't bode well for India. The fact that it was just 10 of these (figure confirmed by Bombay Police Chief vs 20 reported before) who held off elite commandos of the Indian military might for two days & three nights, would inspire other militant groups.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai attacks: Why it happened



Comment:
Agreed except for some minor points.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Raiders of the Taj:


Who is this person?

Comment:

The classic Urban Guerrilla. Reminds me of the Black September raid at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Could it be a neo-Symbionese Liberation Army?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Top Pakistan ex-commando killed - So what?

I appear to have got some knickers in a twist through these remarks on another blog in adulation of a recent assassination victim.

I have no hesitation in reproducing not only one remark but two if that seems to be something of novelty to some, while it's shared by many in this country:

Top Pakistan ex-commando killed

Zeemax said...

I have little sympathy for people like this if all they're capable of doing is capturing the Qila of Lal Masjid and killing their own people in Wana for the Americans, and then twirl their moustache. Never seen real action against the enemy who has as much firepower as he had.

What did Musharraf know about Conduct Unbecoming anyway? Instead, he should have promoted him to Lt. General for whatever reason. Both the same breed.

Good riddance, in my view.

But I agree with you there will be plenty more to come who'll meet the same fate.
November 20, 2008 8:35 AM

pavocavalry said...

my dear brother , the man had nothing to do with lal masjid....the very mysterious part of the story is that musharraf was apparently very close to him and the SSG commandos played a crucial role in 12 october coup ....commandos were brought in helicopters to islamabad for the operation.......later musharraf retired him abruptly and did not promote hom to the rank of lieutenant general........
November 20, 2008 8:48 AM


Zeemax said...

Pavo,

I know he was retired a year before the Lal Masjid op but it was his kith & kin you see in the pic below, raising victory signs after having blown to bits a bunch of schoolgirls with dandas and their handful of helpers with 14 kalashnikovs. You would think they were ghazis returning from raising the flag over Red Fort of Delhi.


Ghazis?

I suspect many of those in this truck would have been blown to bits as well in the Tarbela revenge bombing.

Sorry but you know I feel very strongly about this. This was the single act of beyghairati coupled with brutality and cowardice which pushed Pakistan over the brink and prompted formation of PTT.
November 21, 2008 12:09 AM


Comment:

Someone being a batchmate, a friend, a relative, or father is one thing. That unfortunately does not automatically make that person a hero for everyone else. He certainly wasn't mine, and I feel no compulsions to feel any different due to others' nostalgic personal associations with anyone.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gaza Fishing Boat Seizure:


But what's the Pakistani flag doing on a Palestinian fishing boat?

Transcript:

AMY GOODMAN: Israel’s tightened blockade of a million and a half Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is now entering its third week. Tel Aviv rebuffed calls Thursday from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reopen the crossings into Gaza for humanitarian aid. Israeli government officials cited continuing Palestinian rocket fire as the reason for closing the crossings.

Residents of Gaza are running out of essentials, like food, medicines and fuel, as a result of the almost continuous blockade imposed November 4th.

Meanwhile, the fifteen Palestinian fishermen seized by the Israeli navy off the coast of Gaza were released on Wednesday. The three international volunteers accompanying the fishermen, however, remain in a prison near Tel Aviv.

American Darlene Wallach, Italian Vittorio Arrigoni, and Scottish Andrew Muncie had arrived by boat into Gaza in late August as part of the first Free Gaza delegation. They remained in Gaza working with the International Solidarity Movement alongside Palestinian fishermen, documenting any harassment by the Israeli navy.

The three internationals are reportedly beginning a hunger strike today to protest their detention. They are also demanding the Israeli navy release the Palestinian fishing boats they confiscated this week.

US citizen in detention, Darlene Wallach, joins me now from a phone inside the prison near Tel Aviv. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Darlene.

DARLENE WALLACH: Thank you very much. Thanks for calling me.

AMY GOODMAN: Where exactly are you being held?

DARLENE WALLACH: I’m in a—it’s in a men’s prison, but inside the men’s prison there’s a compound for women. And the compound is for people who are illegally in Israel because their visa, work visas ran out. So my question is, why am I here? I was kidnapped at gunpoint by the fourth largest military in the world, and I was on a Palestinian fishing boat in Palestinian fishing waters. So it doesn’t make any sense why I’m here, why I’m being held.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what you were doing and the scene when you were arrested.

DARLENE WALLACH: I was on a Palestinian fishing boat that I’ve been on numerous times. And we accompany the Palestinian fishing boats in their waters, where they have the international right to fish, so that the Israeli navy won’t shoot and kill or arrest the Palestinian fishermen.

So what made it different this time is, it seemed to me they were specifically targeting the internationals, because they released the Palestinian fishermen to their homes. And they also confiscated the fishing boats. And the way that they arrested us was very different than how they normally arrest the fishermen. So, normally, they force the fishermen to strip to their underwear, jump in the water and swim to the Israeli navy boats. And this time they brought Zodiac boats, and the frogmen boarded each Palestinian fishing boat. And the first person taken was Andrew. I saw him being taken. And then they took the fishermen off of that boat. Then they came to the boat I was on and took me off the boat.

And so, I don’t know—I didn’t know what happened to the fishermen. I was very concerned about their safety and what Israel might do to them. And I’m very, very concerned about the fishing boats, because in the past what Israel does is they sink the boats or they damage the boats, like taking the engines off, or steal all the equipment. So I’m very concerned about what’s going to happen to the fishing boats. That’s their livelihood. I mean, they said fifteen fishermen. Well, there’s more than just those fifteen that work on each boat. So the livelihood of all those people now has been destroyed. That’s how many families now? And the families tend to be large. How many families now have no income, and there’s no employment, because they have no fishing boats to go out on? It’s really just disgusting, despicable, deplorable. And I want the world to speak out and tell Israel to stop.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, those fifteen fishermen have been released. Why haven’t you been released?

DARLENE WALLACH: I guess the plans are to deport us. And my understanding is, when they deport you, they deport you to where you came from. Since I came from Gaza, I want to be released to Gaza. It sounds like they have no plans on doing that. I don’t know why they’re holding me. It seems like they violated international law in many different ways. And so, I don’t know. I can’t answer that. But then, if you try to talk to Israel, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get the truth from them.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you get into Gaza, Darlene Wallach?

DARLENE WALLACH: How did I get to Gaza?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes.

DARLENE WALLACH: I was on the Liberty, one of the two boats that—one of the first two boats that went to Gaza from Cyprus. And I actually was with the Liberty on the way to Cyprus. And so, it was a wonderful trip. It was a wonderful boat. It was an amazing, amazing experience.

The welcome that we got in Gaza, it was just overwhelming. My emotions come up, because it was thousands of people just so happy to see, at least token-wise, symbolically, the siege broken. It was the first time in forty-one years that, from Cyprus, a stamp on a piece of paper said a boat was leaving Cyprus for Gaza. And it was like an amazing trip. And it’s been amazing to be in Gaza to work in solidarity with the Palestinians. They’re amazing, kind, warm, loving people. And I—for me, just being out on the fishing boats and the stress, I don’t understand how they can go out there day after day with the stress, knowing at any time they could be killed, that any time their boats could be taken, at any time they could be arrested or shot.

AMY GOODMAN: Darlene Wallach, I wanted to remind our listeners and viewers about these boats, that the one—one of them you describe, the Liberty, that’s challenging the blockade. We were able to reach people on the boat in the first trip that was coming over. We spoke to the former prime minister of Britain’s sister-in-law, Tony Blair’s sister-in-law. We spoke to Jeff Halper, the Jewish Israeli who is challenging housing demolition. Mairead Maguire was on one of the trips; she is the Nobel Peace Prize-winner from Ireland. These are the boats that you’re describing that—not to be confused with the fishing boats, but are challenging the blockade.

DARLENE WALLACH: That’s correct. That’s correct.

So, I want to make sure that people understand, when they talk about the ceasefire, Israel has violated the ceasefire from day one; before it even was created, they were violating it. The ceasefire supposedly was going to lift the blockade and allow goods and services and food and fuel and that kind of thing, and Israel has never lifted that blockade.

Israel has violated the ceasefire every day by, when the fishermen go out to fish, Israel navy comes and shoots at the boats. They use high-pressure water power; they have a water cannon that they shoot at the boats that damages the boats, injures people. They’ve cut the cables. The fishermen have lost their fishing nets.

On a daily basis, the farmers who try to go out and farm their fields get attacked. So, Israel created this buffer zone, 300- to 500-meters wide, along the whole length of the Gaza Strip. And that was done around May 1st. And that was a desert area, that whole area, where they demolished all kinds of crops, homes, wells. And in the crops, it was like citrus, dates, olives. Any kind of crop they had, it was all demolished. And farmers now are trying to go back out and start, you know, planting their fields and being able to harvest their fields. And we’ve been accompanying them.

And even just standing out there in the fields, where it’s just farmers, obviously knowing with any kind of military—no militants, just farmers, just people trying to tend their fields—the Israeli military comes by in their jeeps and gets out and starts shooting. So we’re a presence to be witness to that. We’re a presence to make sure that people aren’t killed. And when they start shooting, we’re standing out in the fields with our florescent vests on, some of us. And we stand there until the Israeli military leaves. We don’t back off. When they start shooting, we stand in the fields and having the bullets, you know, come around us, over our heads or by our feet.

AMY GOODMAN: Darlene Wallach, are you beginning a hunger strike today at the jail?

DARLENE WALLACH: I actually started a hunger strike last night. I didn’t eat dinner. And for me, they had someone talk with me yesterday, and saying that they are not going to allow me to die. So I don’t know what that means. For me, I’m still in the prison, and I still have my cell phone. Andrew Muncie was taken into isolation today, and his phone was taken from him.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you, Darlene Wallach, for joining us, speaking to us—the name of the prison you’re in near Tel Aviv?

DARLENE WALLACH: I always forget the name of it. It starts with an “M.” And it’s a new prison. It’s a men’s prison, but within the men’s compound, they have a compound for women.

And I just want to make sure people know that this blockade on Gaza, this siege, is really, really horrendous, what it’s doing. I mean, the flour mills are having to shut—the last flour mill shut down, because there’s no fuel. I mean, if people can’t buy bread, what are they going to eat? This is very, very, very serious. There’s 500 students with scholarship that can’t get out to go continue their university education. And there’s 3,000 students that are accepted to universities, that they’re losing their administrative entrance into the universities, because Israel will not allow them out. And 258 people have died, because Israel refuses to let them out to get medical care. And this is [inaudible].

AMY GOODMAN: Darlene Wallach, I want to thank you for being with us. We’re going to turn next to the South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who speaks about the blockade of Gaza. Darlene Wallach is speaking to us from the Masiyahu Prison near Tel Aviv. Again, executives from the Associated Press, Reuters, New York Times, BBC, CNN and other news organizations have signed a letter criticizing the Israeli government’s decision to ban journalists from entering Gaza.

Comment:

The full video can be seen here at the Democracy Now site.

No idea however where did the Pakistani flag on the boat come from. Maybe they have a few helpers from Pakistan, Bosnia style.

Friday, November 21, 2008

PM Sister Letterhead?



Comment:

Lots of leaks these days. Dirty tricks brigades out in full force. First Salman Taseer's family revelations, and now this.

No denying though that this is exactly how the PPP has delivered on its promise of Roti, Kapra aur Makan in the previous two terms after ZAB as well. Nothing new.

Salman Taseer Photos Controversy



Comment:

Personally I don't find any of these photos objectionable. In fact, publishing the daughter's school sports activities and innocent clowning around is definitely below the belt even though she's in shorts and swimsuits and skirts. After all she studies in Lahore American School and brought up in a very westernized household. The dancing appears to be from a mehndi occasion - totally cultural.

The son's case does appear to be a bit different. He apparently is a playboy just as his father was and still is. Again, nothing wrong with that except using the Punjab Governor house for gathering bevies of star-eyed bunnies just as Kennedy used the White House? Don't think many people will take kindly to that.

However, how unfair these personal attacks may be, they do highlight the fact that entry into public office does mean loss of personal privacy. Salman Taseer would have been well-advised to keep his and his son's philandering and his open bottles of Black Label Scotch to his gigantic farmhouse outside Lahore, and not to bring these along to the Governor House chambers and lawns. That place holds a great deal of historical symbolism for the identity of the Punjab province.

Then, at a time when the country is mired in all sorts of crises, open displays of private merry-making by the rulers just reinforces the feeling that the governing elite doesn't care what goes on outside their well-guarded walls, as long as they continue to maintain their share in absolute terms from the ever shrinking pie, while the share of others' shrinks even further along with the size of the pie.

Last but not least, this is an Islamic country where attempts at 'enlightened moderation' have always backfired violently. These fires are better left unstoked.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

 
Posted by Picasa

Faiza Dawood confronts Dir General ISPR on the Bannu strike:

Focus With Faiza 19th November 2008



Comment:

Faiza was a real tigress in this one. Never seen her so angry. Really grilled Major General Athar Abbas, spokesman of the Pakistan Army!

She actually cornered him into admitting that helicopter incursions into Pakistani airspace were a different matter and not acceptable to the Military (which confirms the blog entry below), while unmanned drones strikes quite another which the Government may decide whether to allow or not.

I think that's a fair position on the part of the Army - though the public is hopping mad!

I don't know how far the Military will allow loss of its reputation and goodwill in the Pakistani people's eyes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Re Mustafa Kamal - Can't believe Dawn did this:

From FP Magazine:

Thank you for your email. Dawn has already published the following clarification:

Link: Dawn 13 November 2008

Still, it’s true that the newspaper has not published a correction or taken responsibility for incorrectly reporting the story.

Jina Hassan
Media & Public Relations Coordinator
FOREIGN POLICY magazine


Reply:

Dear Jina,

It appears Dawn published it in their online beta version on the new .net domain still under testing (to appease you) which no one reads, but not in their regular .com site, which is the same as the print edition. Quite smart on their part I guess.

Here're the links for the regular 13th November online version as well as the scanned print edition. One needs to register for the print edition and go to archives. The clarification doesn't appear on either.

http://www.dawn.com/2008/11/13/index.htm

http://epaper.dawn.com/

Sorry to nitpick about this, but it's become a huge controversy. FP may forget about it if it's too much trouble.

Regards

Comment:

No further comment is necessary I guess. Dawn would not want trouble showing up at its doors.

Drones can attack as long as they have a passport and a visa - II

Pakistan and U.S. Have Tacit Deal On Airstrikes

Washington Post
Sunday, November 16, 2008


The United States and Pakistan reached tacit agreement in September on a don't-ask-don't-tell policy that allows unmanned Predator aircraft to attack suspected terrorist targets in rugged western Pakistan, according to senior officials in both countries.

... more

Comment:

The Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman categorically denied the report in a special news conference held for the purpose yesterday, which leaves no doubt whatsoever that the report is entirely accurate.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Drones can attack as long as they have a passport and a visa - Zardari.



(CBS) Pakistan accused the U.S. this week of violating international law by launching missile strikes into its northwest tribal region. There have been about two dozen attacks since August - all carried out by unmanned drones targeting al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is a sore subject between two close allies in the war on terror. And it was the first thing CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan brought up when she spoke exclusively with Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari.

Lara Logan: There's been a dramatic escalation in the number of U.S. predator strikes on Pakistani soil. Are these strikes achieving anything?

President Asif Ali Zardari: Well, obviously the people who are using the strikes are confident that they're doing something. Otherwise they wouldn't be at it. At the same time ... it's undermining my sovereignty and it's not helping win the war on the hearts and minds of people.

Logan: If you're losing the people and the strikes are undermining your credibility - why allow them?

Zardari: They do not happen with our knowledge. If there was now the technology that would tell me that their drone is coming in …

Logan: But that technology would be the U.S. informing you because it's your country.

Zardari: The U.S. yeah, of course, that would be a welcome step to inform us also.

Many believe the Pakistani government does know, but can't say so publicly because the strikes are so unpopular. Zardari told CBS News his official policy is that they'd rather have the capability to do it themselves.

Zardari: So that is ever the challenge for this new administration, will be to allow us to have the capability of doing more. We want to do more. It's our war.

But not all Pakistanis see it that way, and if Predator strikes are unpopular, ground raids by U.S. forces are even more unwelcome.

Zardari: Anybody who needs to come to Pakistan needs to have a passport and a visa. So whether it's ground forces or air forces they need a visa and if they don't have a visa they're not allowed.

The problem for President Zardari, who has only been in power for two months, is that he presides over a country which is believed to house more known terrorists than anywhere else in the world, operating mostly from the lawless tribal areas.

Logan: It's widely agreed today that if there's another 9/11 attack ... a big terrorist attack like that, its most likely going to be planned in the tribal areas or planned already. What can you do to assure American people about what you're doing?

Zardari: Well I can assure the American people that nothing like that is going to happen in my watch.

Logan: Do you believe that's a danger?

Zardari: I believe there's always a danger of them. I didn't know that they'd be successful in getting my wife. We thought we'd protect her but we couldn't. But to say we'd allow it to happen. No.

Comment:

Zardari seems to be completely losing it. Such gaffes are rare even by his standards. "... a welcome step to inform us also."?. "So whether it's ground forces or air forces they need a visa"?

So, it would be Ok if US informed Zardari before sending drones and obtained a visa to attack Pakistanis. This won't go down too well with the Pakistani public.

Lara Logan was smart and caught him with his pants down when he made the technology excuse and asked "But that technology would be the U.S. informing you because it's your country.". All he had to say was it would be a welcome step.

The truth is what David Ignatious said in conclusion in the Washington Times Op-Ed of 4th November A Quiet Deal With Pakistan:

"And it's an inherently unstable arrangement: Pakistan's leaders publicly decry U.S. attacks, and the United States, with a wink and a nudge to its ally, keeps on attacking. "

But what do the drones achieve? They get 2 or 3 militants and kill a dozen innocents at the same time. Most of the time not even those 2 or 3 but completely mis-intelligence directed at the totally innocent. All that achieves is more militant recruits.

Taliban and Al-Qaida (whatever that is) is not damaged in the least by these raids, rather benefited by increased sympathy. They don't mind losing 2 or three operatives every couple of days or so. Taliban has lost more than 25,000 fighters since the war began and still gained strength. CIA Director Michael Hayden says re Bin Ladin today "In fact, he appears to be largely isolated from the day-to-day operations of the organization he nominally heads," and this 'Al Qaeda' is still blowing up stuff in Pakistan (the last one being the Danish embassy bombing responsibility claimed by Al-Zawahiri personally).

Zardari is merely running around trying to charm the Americans with that sickening always present grin, as he is used to charming bimbos, but Americans are smarter than that. They know he's losing support fast in Pakistan, and will not back him much longer. Another failed experiment.