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War on Terror set to engulf Pakistan

War on Terror set to engulf Pakistan
by John Pratt

The flurry of American strikes in the tribal areas has caused grave concern in Pakistan. Its military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, reiterated Friday that Pakistan would safeguard its territorial integrity. After meeting with corps commanders at army headquarters in Rawalpindi, General Kayani also said that the army and Pakistan’s new democratic government were united in their views.

The New York Times reported this week that in July, according to senior American officials, President Bush secretly authorized American Special Operations forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of the Pakistani government. That disclosure prompted an immediate rebuke from General Kayani.

The focus of his anger was a Sept. 3 raid by American forces on a Pakistani village near the Afghan border. Pakistani officials said that attack had achieved little except killing civilians and stoking anti-Americanism in the tribal areas. ……

The dead included women and children, according to residents who spoke to Pakistani reporters.

Not satisfied with the that disaster the US faces in Afghanistan, President Bush is trying to bring Pakistan into this unwinnable war. Using indiscriminate airpower to bomb villages will always kill innocent women and children. Pakistani officials are correctly pointing out that such attacks will achieve nothing except to fuel anti-Americanism in the tribal areas. This is almost identical to the situation in the last years of Vietnam when the US, struggling to win that war, decided to bomb and use its special forces to invade Cambodia. This led eventually to the killing fields of Cambodia.

The massive US bombing campaign on Cambodia in the last months of the Vietnam War resulted in the collapse of the Sihanouk regime and the rise of Pol Pot’s Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK). The CPK used the devastation caused by the US bombing and the killing of civilians as recruitment propaganda and as an excuse for its brutal policies. It seems nothing has been learnt and thirty five years later the US is using similar strategies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The War on Terror is a battle of ideologies. To win, the West has to fight for the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It cannot win by bombing villages and killing women and children. It is immoral to use modern day weapons of war against impoverished and almost defenseless villages. The West does not have the power to occupy and control either Pakistan or Afghanistan. The only way to come to peaceful terms with their ideology is to use peaceful means and diplomacy. Military solutions will not change minds.


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Local tribes

An irritating development, I dare say, is the increasing involvement of local Pakistani tribes in the fight against the Taliban.

Shades of the Awakening Councils in Iraq.

Australians are fighting an unwinnable war

The policy driving the war and the manner in which it is being prosecuted makes the war in Afghanistan unwinnable. Terrorism is founded in belief, ideology and emotion. Does anyone in the western alliance seriously believe that they can blast, kill and maim their way to a victory in which no known terrorist is left standing in Afghanistan?

So who is talking to whom? What manner of diplomacy has been deployed? Are our diplomats in Pakistan talking to all and anyone who has a stake in the conflict? What are the expectations of those involved? Is there any common ground between the protagonists? Is there a possibility of negotiation?

President Ali Zardari offers the Americans as much hope in Pakistan as President Thieu did in Vietnam. US bombing within Pakistan will galvanise retaliatory action in the form of bombings and sniper attacks against Zardari and his supporters in government and against US and allied diplomats in Pakistan. Such action could derive as much from radical activists as from interests connected to the ISI.

At last Australian diplomats are seeing the folly of fighting Afghan war lords. We have no right to be sending our troops into this wilderness, killing and maiming innocent peasants. We have no knowledge of the area and no way of forcing our will onto these people. We should have learnt our lesson over thirty years ago in Vietnam. What gives Australians the right to kill Afghans in their homeland? We will have to negotiate a peace and in the end nothing will have changed.

Security in Afghanistan and Pakistan now intertwined

The stability and security of Afghanistan and Pakistan are now intertwined. Yet both countries suffer from serious political problems as a critical source of instability and insecurity. If this is not adequately addressed, no number of military operations in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan is likely to be effective.

The challenge facing the US and its allies is how to enhance conditions for the growth of viable political orders as a much-needed foundation for stabilising both countries.

The situation in Afghanistan has not improved since the US invasion. In fact security in Afghanistan and Pakistan is deteriorating and the Taliban influence is on the rise.

It seems that the US and Australia have got their ambitions confused with their capabilities. It is all very well to wish for a better world and to be willing to kill to bring democracy to the world. Surely after years of fighting and no sign of success we should now admit that we do not have the military capability to control these areas. It is time to withdraw the troops and spend our money and effort on places where we may have a positive effect on world peace.

Tensions increase between Pakistan and American troops

Pakistani and American ground troops exchanged fire along the border with Afghanistan on Thursday after the Pakistanis shot at two American helicopters, ratcheting up tensions as the United States increases its attacks against militants.

Another clash between Pakistan and American troops shows how tense the situation is on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The US is not capable of invading Pakistan. The only way to win a peace in this conflict is by negotiation just like the peace was won in Ireland. The US must deal with the so-called terrorists. Too many people in Pakistan think that the US is the enemy. To invade is not going to change their minds.

a well earned reputation

John Pratt: "I think Irfan is right, we should remember that the terrorists are not main stream Islamists."

I can recall, not so long ago, being told that Hamas and Hizbolla were not mainstream, either. But now "we are all Hizbolla".

"We are all Hezbollah - our men, women and children are the resistance."

- Hizbolla supporter in Lebanon.

 "We are all Hezbollah now"

- Peace activist in London.

Geoff Pahoff: "As we all know, Robert Fisk has a well earned reputation for always being wrong."

It's his way of contributing to the debate. The question is, is he deliberately wrong? And on whose behalf?

1,2,and 3. Just like Indonesia again

True, Michael. How incredible the timing. Check these posts to see the rumblings of military antagonism between the peoples of Pakistan and US, now once again united in suffering by the bomber's hand and Eliot and Alan have already told us and the world what no one else knows - that of course it is al Qaida! Why do we even bother with forensics and investigations for any event anyways eh? Just ask Eliot and ALan "Alqaida" - magic so magic and always so timely.Now the two nations can Unite again against a common foe. Tral la (just like Indonesia and Bangbang).

And heck, timing it just at the break of fast for those Moslems who adhere to Ramadam, nice timing for al Qaida. Gosh if it had been lunch time it may have gotten just Westerners.

Always have to sigh when the huge craters are made by these "bombs". Anyone eles who knows forensic ballistics will know what I mean.

Wonder how deep the alleged gas pipeline was meant to be?

Here is some food for thought:

Earlier, a U.S. State Department official led three colleagues through the rubble from the charred building, one of them bleeding heavily from a wound on the side of his head. One of the four, who identified himself only as Tony, said they had been moving toward the rear of a Chinese restaurant inside the hotel after a first, small blast when a second explosion hurled them against the back wall.""Then we saw a big truck coming to the gates," he said. "After that, it was just smoke and darkness."

1, 2 and 3. Or 3, 1 and 2?

And windows of neighbouring offices blew outwards .

Rest in peace , inncocent victims of evil power plays.


PS Alan and Eliot, dont forget it is Iran that is in the sights now. Get with the program. Benazir already told the world and David Frost that "OBL is dead". oops.

Richard: The trouble with people like you and me, Angela, is that we're too suspicious for our own goods. I love your observations.

Let's pray for Abu Nawas Park

The last time a report appeared like this was when John McCain visited a market 18 months ago and proclaimed it a sea of tranquility. It was hit the next day by a suicide bomber taking about 50 people with him/her.

You might like to think about this Eliot

You might like to think about this Eliot:

Eliot, the world's great expert

Did you read the bit about a handful of the 5 million Iraqis who fled had come back?   Fisk on the other hand has had 35 years living in and working in the region, writing numerous books about it and so on.

Eliot, stop trying to find pigs in a poke.

Too many Iraqis have been slaughtered, two many women are widowed and there is too much disastrous chaos to ever claim that Iraq has good news.

As for Pakistan, the US have occupied parts of the place for ages according to proper news reports and now the bombing of the Marriott might well have been aimed at telling the US to piss off don't you think?

More setbacks for 'peace movement' in Iraq

Eye witness report from Iraq...

"Abu Nawas Park — I didn’t recognize that, either. By the time I had left the country in August 2006, the two-mile stretch of riverside park was a grim, spooky, deserted place, a symbol for the dying city that Baghdad had become.

These days, the same park is filled with people: families with children, women in jeans, women walking alone. Even the nighttime, when Iraqis used to cower inside their homes, no longer scares them. I can hear their laughter wafting from the park. At sundown the other day, I had to weave my way through perhaps 2,000 people. It was an astonishing, beautiful scene — impossible, incomprehensible, only months ago."

 - Dexter Filkins in Bagdhad.

It must break Robert Fisk's heart to see this sort of thing.

Poor old Fisk, still fisking himself after all these years

"Terrorism is a cancer in Pakistan, we are determined, God willing, we will rid the country of this cancer," he said.

"We will not be deterred by these cowards. Pakistanis are brave and fearless people. They are not afraid of death."

- President Asif Ali Zardari

Someone should point out to poor stupid old Robert Fisk that al-Qaeda's now doing this sort of thing in Pakistan because it took such a thrashing in Iraq, thanks largely to the Sunnis whom it "represented" in the Resistance.

Likewise, the policy of murdering innocent Pakistanis will see them turn against al-Qaeda and its various offshoots and apologists there.



John Pratt: "It is wrong to bomb Pashtun villages, often killing women and children. Australia is involved in this criminal action and we should make sure we are all aware of what  are troops are doing. It is being done in our name."

A suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday, killing at least 60 people in a brazen attack in the heart of the Pakistan capital.

Around 200 people were wounded, some critically,

Why do these people along with the Palestinians keep killing their own people in this way?

Why are you not branding Rudd as a war criminal for his involvement in this war?

The Marriott gone

I see the Marriott in Islamabad has gone up today under a huge bomb, many killed and a whole lot more wounded. Clearly they were trying to target western interests, caring not a hoot, though, for their Muslim brothers and sisters who worked in the place. I suppose they consider that makes them fair game too.

Sick, just plain sick. Pakistan is going to have to get its act together and start dealing with the Islamists sooner or later. As the Al Quaida boasted in their latest, even when the US leaves Iraq they will still be there doing their stuff.

This is not just about the West. It is about a religious ideology that has little precedent in recent history in terms of its aims and objectives and its modus operandi. Its adherents will target anyone they see as not sharing those objectives which is most of the rational world, including the Muslim world.

Indiscriminate bombing makes terrorists of us all

Jenny: "This is not just about the West. It is about a religious ideology that has little precedent in recent history in terms of its aims and objectives and its modus operandi. Its adherents will target anyone they see as not sharing those objectives which is most of the rational world, including the Muslim world."

Remember Irfan Yusuf, he was once a Webdiarist.

He wrote this in The Age:

So much of today's terror happens in the name of Islam. But we must always ask the question, whose Islam? Is it the Islam of the first London bombing victim to be buried, the 20-year-old bank clerk Shahara Islam, who bore the name of the religion in whose misguided service the terrorists killed her and 50 other innocents? Is it the Islam of many of those killed in the weekend's Islamabad bombing who had gathered at the Marriott Hotel to break their Ramadan fast?

Modern political Islam's ideologues occupy the theological fringe, most knowing little of 14 centuries of development in the theological, spiritual and legal sciences that form mainstream Islam. Men like bin Ladin, al-Zawahiri and others on the extreme end of this fringe have virtually no formal university training other than in business administration (in bin Ladin's case) or medicine (in Zawahiri's case).

To claim they represent mainstream Islam is as ridiculous as alleging Christianity is represented by the likes of Radovan Karadzic.

Bombs don't discriminate on the basis of religion. Certainly we should be alert, not alarmed - but we should also be informed.

I think Irfan is right: we should remember that the terrorists are not mainstream Muslims. They are criminals and should be treated as such. To bomb villages just because a few criminals live in the village is making terrorists of us all.

The Chosen People

Jenny Hume: "It is about a religious ideology that has little precedent in recent history in terms of its aims and objectives and its modus operandi. Its adherents will target anyone they see as not sharing those objectives which is most of the rational world, including the Muslim world."

Could not this be said of the US and particularly the neocons? And have not they much greater means by which they implement their agenda?

US fantasies in Afghanistan

Obama and McCain really think they're going to win in Afghanistan – before, I suppose, rushing their soldiers back to Iraq when the Baghdad government collapses. What the British couldn't do in the 19th century and what the Russians couldn't do at the end of the 20th century, we're going to achieve at the start of the 21 century, taking our terrible war into nuclear-armed Pakistan just for good measure. Fantasy again.

Joseph Conrad, who understood the powerlessness of powerful nations, would surely have made something of this. Yes, we have lost after we won in Afghanistan and now we will lose as we try to win again. Stuff happens.

Robert Fisk in The Independent.

What a relief

This terrible business in Afghanistan was starting to get me worried. You know, with a resurgent Taliban and all. But just then, in the nick of time, along comes Robert Fisk predicting defeat for the coalition. Indeed, American victory is a "fantasy", he says.

As we all know, Robert Fisk has a well earned reputation for always being wrong. Always. In twenty five years he has never got anything right. The man is a phenonomen. He defies the laws of probability, mathematics and physics with ease.

Thanks John. I feel a lot better now.

The new President of Pakistan gives a warning to the US

"We will not tolerate the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism."

Mr Zardari, widower of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, also urged parliament to "revisit" the right of the president - introduced by Mr Musharraf - to dissolve the assembly and dismiss the government.

The new President of Pakistan warns the US not to violate Pakistan's sovereignty. How far will Bush push the new government?

The US is like a bull in a china shop. Who will be left to clean up the mess?

War between America and Pakistan

AMERICA and Pakistan both deny it; but it appears that on September 15th they fought a short war. America started it. Local reports suggest that, under cover of darkness, two helicopter-loads of its soldiers crossed on foot from Afghanistan into the Pakistani tribal area—and terrorist haven—of South Waziristan. This followed an American policy, allegedly authorised by President George Bush in July, of launching raids into Pakistan without its government’s approval. But, on this occasion, Pakistani border troops responded as to the act of aggression that it constituted: shooting over the heads of the advancing Americans, forcing them back...........

Meanwhile, since soon after America invaded Afghanistan in 2001, it has paid the Pakistani army to wage a counter-insurgency campaign in the tribal areas. To sustain 120,000 Pakistani troops in the field, at the latest count, including a 60,000-strong locally-raised frontier corps, America has given some $12 billion.

As the US becomes more impatient with Pakistan it risks an all out war. This highlights the stupidity of the so called War on Terror. The US has funded the Pakistan Army and now is starting to get into firefights with an army it has funded.

Listen to Benjamin Gilmour being interviewed by Phillip Adams on Radio National yesterday.

Few analysts share Benjamin Gilmour's first-hand knowledge of this remote region and its resident Pashtun tribesmen, gained when he spent eight months there making his first feature film, Son of a Lion.

No army has ever won against the Pashtun tribesman and the US is unlikely to be the first.

It is wrong to bomb Pashtun villages, often killing women and children. Australia is involved in this criminal action and we should make sure we are all aware of what we are troops are doing. It is being done in our name.

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