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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #800 on: February 17, 2011, 07:22:10 AM »

A Dilemma in U.S.-Pakistani Relations

While most of the recent international focus has been on Egypt’s unrest and the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, another key geopolitical crisis has been brewing, this time between the United States and Pakistan. Getting a bit of respite from the situation in Egypt, U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday called on the Pakistani government to release a U.S. security contractor serving at the U.S. Consulate in Lahore. Raymond Davis shot and killed two armed Pakistani nationals on Jan. 27 because he thought they were going to rob him. U.S. Sen. John Kerry arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday as part of an effort to secure the release of Davis, who has been held in a Pakistani prison. Kerry is also attempting to ease tensions between the two sides.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan have long been extremely tense over disagreements on how to prosecute the war in Afghanistan. From the American point of view, Pakistan is not taking action against Afghan Taliban forces operating on its soil. Conversely, the Pakistanis feel that the incoherence of the United States’ strategy for Afghanistan threatens Pakistani security.

“Many Pakistanis deeply resent what they see as their leaders’ quick surrender of national rights to appease the Americans.”
This latest crisis, however, has taken the situation to a new level. Washington insists that in keeping with the international conventions of diplomatic immunity, Islamabad needs to release Davis. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been prosecuting Davis in keeping with its laws.

Beyond competing versions about the shooting and how the matter needs to be resolved, this standoff is difficult for both sides. The Obama administration cannot afford to see a foreign country prosecute one of its diplomats. Likewise, neither the government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari nor the country’s military establishment can afford to be seen domestically as giving up an American who has admitted to killing two Pakistani nationals, especially in light of strong anti-American sentiment.

The Pakistanis are in a far worse situation than the Americans because of the country’s extremely unstable economic, security and political conditions. As a result, Islamabad is heavily reliant on Washington’s goodwill while dealing with the exceedingly difficult circumstances it faces. And in the interest of sustaining the much-needed relationship with the United States, Pakistan is not in a position to resist pressure from its great power patron.

Succumbing to American pressure, however, can lead to further unrest in Pakistan, where a significant segment of the population feels strongly that Davis should be punished according to the law of the land. Many Pakistanis deeply resent what they see as their leaders’ quick surrender of national rights to appease the Americans. If the Pakistani government handed Davis over to American authorities, there could be further deterioration in political and security conditions — no Pakistani government can afford to be seen as caving into U.S. demands.

In addition to the political backlash, Pakistani Taliban rebels threatened to target all officials responsible for giving in to U.S. demands. This is a problem not just for the Pakistanis, but also for the Americans. The U.S. strategy for Afghanistan depends upon cooperation from Pakistan.

For Pakistan to cooperate with Washington’s efforts to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan, Islamabad needs to be stable. Thus, the Davis case has complicated an already difficult situation. The key challenge for the United States is how to retrieve Davis and not make matters worse for Islamabad so that the two sides can focus on the bigger picture in Afghanistan.

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G M
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« Reply #801 on: February 17, 2011, 07:37:38 AM »

I think Ya has nailed the motivations behind Pakistan's behaviors quite well.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #802 on: February 17, 2011, 07:51:32 AM »

I do too.

So, what do we do?

My starting point is that what we are doing now is utterly incoherent and we need to get WAY out of our current mental boxes.

When blended with Baraq's strategy in the mid-east IMHO we are on the precipice of complete defeat: being run out of the mid-east and Afpakia, Pak's nuke program completely slipping its leash, Iranian nukes, Lebanon being taken over by Heabollah, serious war against Israel, the return of the Taliban to rule in Afg, etc etc etc

I for one remain intrigued by the idea of an alliance with India and dismemberment of Pakistan while cutting a deal giving Pashtunistan to the Pashtuns in return for them being very clear on the concept that we will rain death and destruction on them if they EVER support attacks on the West (and separating the Pashtuns from the rest of Afg might really simplify things for Afg) destroying Pak's nuke program, and related actions. 
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G M
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« Reply #803 on: February 17, 2011, 07:59:11 AM »

As when you first suggested that strategy, I think that's the way to go. Of course, we won't.
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ya
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« Reply #804 on: February 17, 2011, 09:35:57 PM »

The US is on its best behaviour...exactly what Pak wants.  After Raymond Davis is released....strikes will start with impunity...so why would they hurry to free him ?..In the meantime the aid package gets larger, no more drone strikes...paradise.

Analysis: Gap in Pakistan Predator strikes not unusual
By BILL ROGGIOFebruary 16, 2011


For over three weeks, the CIA's controversial covert air campaign that targets al Qaeda, Taliban, and allied terror groups' leaders and operatives in Pakistan's lawless and Taliban-controlled tribal areas has been silent. There has not been an airstrike by the armed, unmanned Predators and Reapers, or drones as they are more commonly called, for 25 days. This pause has sparked speculation that the US has halted the strikes for political reasons, but a look at the pace of the strikes over time shows that long pauses are not uncommon.

The current 23-day lull in strikes in Pakistan is the third-longest period of inactivity since the US ramped up the program in August 2008, according to data on the strikes compiled by The Long War Journal [a list of operational pauses that have been longer than eight days appears below].

The most recent strikes took place on Jan. 23, when the Predators and Reapers pounded al Qaeda and Taliban targets in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

The two most extended periods of operational inactivity so far have occurred in 2009. The longest recorded pause was 33 days, from Nov. 4 to Dec. 8, 2009. The second-longest pause was 28 days, from May 16 to June 14, 2009.

Also, there have been two other periods of time in which 20 or more days went by without a strike. Again, both operational pauses occurred in 2009: from Jan. 23 to Feb. 14 (21 days); and from Jan. 2 to Jan. 23 (20 days).

In 2010, there were two periods exceeding 15 days' time in which no Predator strikes occurred in Pakistan: from July 25 to Aug. 14 (19 days) ; and from June 29 to July 15 (15 days).

Since August 2008, there have been 24 periods of eight days or longer with no Predator strikes.

Most US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal were unwilling to discuss the reasons for the current pause in strikes, or previous strikes, citing operational security concerns. But weather in the region is known to be the primary reason for slowdowns in the strikes.

Pakistani news outlets have speculated that the pause in strikes is related to the arrest of Raymond Davis, the US consular official who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore. Davis believed the men were trying to kill him, but Pakistani courts refuse to recognize his diplomatic status and release him. One theory is that the US is not launching Predator strikes while Davis is in custody lest an attack inflame Pakistani sentiments.

But US officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not link Davis' detention to the pause in strikes.



Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/02/analysis_gap_in_paki.php#ixzz1EHGClizN
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G M
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« Reply #805 on: February 17, 2011, 10:12:49 PM »

Lovely.



I wish I could say I was surprised.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #806 on: February 21, 2011, 11:11:45 AM »

From the Op-ed page of today's POTH:

IT is hard to tell when momentum shifts in a counterinsurgency campaign, but there is increasing evidence that Afghanistan is moving in a more positive direction than many analysts think. It now seems more likely than not that the country can achieve the modest level of stability and self-reliance necessary to allow the United States to responsibly draw down its forces from 100,000 to 25,000 troops over the next four years.

The shift is most obvious on the ground. The additional 30,000 troops promised by President Obama in his speech at West Point 14 months ago are finally in place and changing the trajectory of the fight.

One of us, Nathaniel, recently flew into Camp Leatherneck in a C-130 transport plane, which had to steer clear of fighter bombers stacked for tens of thousands of feet above the Sangin District of Helmand Province, in southwestern Afghanistan. Singly and in pairs, the jets swooped low to drop their bombs in support of Marine units advancing north through the Helmand River Valley.

Half of the violence in Afghanistan takes place in only 9 of its nearly 400 districts, with Sangin ranking among the very worst. Slowly but surely, even in Sangin, the Taliban are being driven from their sanctuaries as the coalition focuses on protecting the Afghan people in key population centers and hubs of economic activity, and along the roads that connect them. Once these areas are cleared, it will be possible to hold them with Afghan troops and a few American advisers — allowing the United States to thin its deployments over time.

A significant shift of high-tech intelligence resources from Iraq to Afghanistan, initiated by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former top commander, is also having benefits. The coalition led by the United States and NATO has been able to capture or kill far more Taliban leaders in nighttime raids than was possible in the past.

The United States certainly can’t kill its way to victory, as it learned in Vietnam and Iraq, but it can put enough pressure on many Taliban fighters to encourage them to switch their allegiance, depriving the enemy of support and giving the coalition more sources of useful intelligence.

Afghan Army troop strength has increased remarkably. The sheer scale of the effort at the Kabul Military Training Center has to be seen to be appreciated. Rows of new barracks surround a blue-domed mosque, and live-fire training ranges stretched to the mountains on the horizon.

It was a revelation to watch an Afghan squad, only days from deployment to Paktika Province on the Pakistani border, demonstrate a fire-and-maneuver exercise before jogging over to chat with American visitors. When asked, each soldier said that he had joined the Army to serve Afghanistan. Most encouraging of all was the response to a question that resonates with 18- and 19-year-old soldiers everywhere: how does your mother feel? “Proud.”

These changes on the ground have been reinforced by progress on three strategic and political problems that have long stymied our plans.

The first is uncertainty about how long America and its allies will remain committed to the fight. The question is still open, but President Obama and the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, have effectively moved the planned troop withdrawal date from July 2011 to at least 2014, with surprisingly little objection. Congress and the American public seem to have digested without a murmur the news that far fewer troops will be withdrawn in 2011 than will remain. NATO is not collapsing because of Afghanistan. In fact, the International Security Assistance Force continues to grow, with one-quarter of the world’s countries on the ground in Afghanistan with the United States.

Two more vexing problems are the corruption of the Afghan government and the complicity of some Pakistanis with the insurgency. While it is safe to assume that neither the Afghan nor Pakistani leaders will fundamentally alter their policies any time soon, we are changing ours. Previously, our policy options with Presidents Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Asif Ali Zardari were limited to public hectoring and private pleading, usually to little effect.

Now, however, the coalition’s military and civilian leaders are taking a new approach to the Afghan and Pakistani governments. We are establishing a task force to investigate and expose corruption in the Afghan government, under the leadership of Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster. We are also shoring up the parts of the border that the Taliban uses by thickening the line with Afghan forces, putting up more drones and coordinating more closely with Pakistani border guards.

Not since the deterioration in conditions in Iraq that drew our attention away from Afghanistan have coalition forces been in such a strong position to force the enemy to the negotiating table. We should hold fast and work for the day when Afghanistan, and our vital interests there, can be safeguarded primarily by Afghans.

That day is coming, faster than many Americans think.


Nathaniel Fick, a former Marine captain, is the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security. John Nagl, a former Army lieutenant colonel, is the president of the center.


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ya
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« Reply #807 on: February 23, 2011, 07:47:44 PM »

Found this old letter (see URL) by Rumsfeld...kind of direct. http://www.shahid-saeed.com/2011/02/transactional-relationship/

Transactional Relationship
by SHAHID on FEBRUARY 23, 2011
in HISTORY
I recently came across a story about former US Secretary of Defense and Nixon’s White House Chief of Staff, Donald Rumsfeld, having launched “The Rumsfeld Papers” – a collection of his memos and communications on his website. As little and as screened as they may be, it’s a great job and good resource for historians.

I quickly ran a search for terms relevant to Pakistan. There are small notes and memos, the earthquake rehabilitation and all, but one letter to Pervez Musharraf summarizes the basis of our relationship with the US as it was during those days and perhaps has been forever. You can call it a strategic relationship, you can call it an alliance of necessity, you might have had defence treaties, but in the end, the nuts and bolts say it’s a transactional relationship. Yes, people are trying to change that but break it down, it’s still a relationship of expedience, mistrust, skepticism and collaboration that relies on $$$$$.

Ever so wise ex-Major Butt (retd), reborn as Majorly Profound, summarized it in the wake of the Raymond Davis incident as:

Raymond Davis works for the CIA. CIA is an organization in the USA. USA pays all of Pakistan’s bills.
Yes, not all of them but that’s just semantics. So here’s the Rumsfeld memo sent on December 21, 2001 :-

Precise, to the point and straight-forward. No long ambiguous sentences to hide the real meaning. “Direct payments”, “forward an initial payment” and “further funds” – a relationship as business-like as there can be.
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ya
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« Reply #808 on: February 23, 2011, 07:54:34 PM »

I found this insightful...http://nationalinterest.org/article/mutiny-grows-punjab-4889

Quote
If Pakistan is to be broken as a state, it will be on the streets of Lahore and other great Punjabi cities, not in the Pashtun mountains. By the same token, the greatest potential terrorist threat to the United States and its Western allies from the region stems not from the illiterate and isolated Pashtuns but from Islamist groups based in urban Punjab, with their far-higher levels of sophistication and their international links, above all to the Pakistani diaspora in the West.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #809 on: February 23, 2011, 11:53:42 PM »

Good stuff Ya; grateful for your contributions here.
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makoa67
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« Reply #810 on: February 24, 2011, 02:31:11 AM »

Woof y'all

This is Abu Hamza, and this is my first post.

I am presently in a FOB for a certain LEA in lovely Afghanistan (just ordered some Top Dog sticks and the new KaliTudo dvd too Marc, hope they get here soon-LOL), anyway, we have several locals working here-in the office, as translators, cooks etc. I have repeatedly heard an appreciation of the presence of US personel here in country. One local told me that if the US leaves, he plans on leaving the country too, anywhere he says-Iran, Pakistan-he don't care. He just says he wouldn't feel safe here anymore.
The locals I have spoken too hate the Taliban. They have no hesitation in expressing this either. I am a Muslim-American, and, in the past, have heard odd comments from other Muslims in the US about how the Taliban may be misunderstood, or the info we get on the news is skewed, etc. Make no mistake, and I'm speaking AS a Muslim, the Taliban and their ilk have a perverted notion of Islam. The Taliban don't practice Islam correctly, in general, they pervert many things and overall have little knowledge about what is supposed to be the guiding force in their lives. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) spoke about a group of people who would appear. He said something like-"When you see their prayer, you would be jealous, when you see their fasting, you would be impressed, when you hear their recitation of the Qur'an, you would find it beautiful-but it only reaches their throats (meaning it won't reach their heart, i.e.: they won't have an understanding of it)". Furthermore He called men like this "The DOGS of Hell" and indicated it is an OBLIGATION upon Muslims who are able, to hunt them down and kill them.
When I remind Muslims of this in America, many are a bit averse to this notion. But, when I point this out here, in Afghanistan, Muslims completely agree and are ready to accept this responsibility--interesting....

Anyway--can't wait till my sticks arrive---hehehe

Woof from Kunduz
Abu Hamza
Makoa Combatives Group
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G M
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« Reply #811 on: February 24, 2011, 09:40:29 AM »

So, where would one find islam being practiced in an authentic manner?
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bigdog
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« Reply #812 on: February 24, 2011, 07:13:09 PM »

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/another-runaway-general-army-deploys-psy-ops-on-u-s-senators-20110223?page=1
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G M
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« Reply #813 on: February 24, 2011, 07:32:25 PM »

This just in, multinational corporations spending billions yearly to fund psy-ops on American citizens.





 rolleyes
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #814 on: February 25, 2011, 08:34:22 AM »

It is not unknown for Pravda on the Hudson (POTH/NYTimes) to shade things against US military efforts.  Caveat Lector
==================================================
This article is by C. J. Chivers, Alissa J. Rubin and Wesley Morgan
 
KABUL, Afghanistan — After years of fighting for control of a prominent valley in the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan, the United States military has begun to pull back most of its forces from ground it once insisted was central to the campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The withdrawal from the Pech Valley, a remote region in Kunar Province, formally began on Feb. 15. The military projects that it will last about two months, part of a shift of Western forces to the province’s more populated areas. Afghan units will remain in the valley, a test of their military readiness.

While American officials say the withdrawal matches the latest counterinsurgency doctrine’s emphasis on protecting Afghan civilians, Afghan officials worry that the shift of troops amounts to an abandonment of territory where multiple insurgent groups are well established, an area that Afghans fear they may not be ready to defend on their own.

And it is an emotional issue for American troops, who fear that their service and sacrifices could be squandered. At least 103 American soldiers have died in or near the valley’s maze of steep gullies and soaring peaks, according to a count by The New York Times, and many times more have been wounded, often severely.

Military officials say they are sensitive to those perceptions. “People say, ‘You are coming out of the Pech’; I prefer to look at it as realigning to provide better security for the Afghan people,” said Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, the commander for eastern Afghanistan. “I don’t want the impression we’re abandoning the Pech.”

The reorganization, which follows the complete Afghan and American withdrawals from isolated outposts in nearby Nuristan Province and the Korangal Valley, runs the risk of providing the Taliban with an opportunity to claim success and raises questions about the latest strategy guiding the war.

American officials say their logic is simple and compelling: the valley consumed resources disproportionate with its importance; those forces could be deployed in other areas; and there are not enough troops to win decisively in the Pech Valley in any case.

“If you continue to stay with the status quo, where will you be a year from now?” General Campbell said. “I would tell you that there are places where we’ll continue to build up security and it leads to development and better governance, but there are some areas that are not ready for that, and I’ve got to use the forces where they can do the most good.”

President Obama’s Afghan troop buildup is now fully in place, and the United States military has its largest-ever contingent in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama’s reinforced campaign has switched focus to operations in Afghanistan’s south, and to building up Afghan security forces.

The previous strategy emphasized denying sanctuaries to insurgents, blocking infiltration routes from Pakistan and trying to fight away from populated areas, where NATO’s superior firepower could be massed, in theory, with less risk to civilians. The Pech Valley effort was once a cornerstone of this thinking.

The new plan stands as a clear, if unstated, repudiation of earlier decisions. When Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former NATO commander, overhauled the Afghan strategy two years ago, his staff designated 80 “key terrain districts” to concentrate on. The Pech Valley was not one of them.

Ultimately, the decision to withdraw reflected a stark — and controversial — internal assessment by the military that it would have been better served by not having entered the high valley in the first place.

“What we figured out is that people in the Pech really aren’t anti-U.S. or anti-anything; they just want to be left alone,” said one American military official familiar with the decision. “Our presence is what’s destabilizing this area.”

Gen. Mohammed Zaman Mamozai, a former commander of the region’s Afghan Border Police, agreed with some of this assessment. He said that residents of the Pech Valley bristled at the American presence but might tolerate Afghan units. “Many times they promised us that if we could tell the Americans to pull out of the area, they wouldn’t fight the Afghan forces,” he said.

It is impossible to know whether such pledges will hold. Some veterans worry that the withdrawal will create an ideal sanctuary for insurgent activity — an area under titular government influence where fighters or terrorists will shelter or prepare attacks.

=====

While it is possible that the insurgents will concentrate in the mountain valleys, General Campbell said his goal was to arrange forces to keep insurgents from Kabul, the country’s capital.


“There are thousands of isolated mountainous valleys throughout Afghanistan, and we cannot be in all of them,” he said.
The American military plans to withdraw from most of the four principal American positions in the valley. For security reasons, General Campbell declined to discuss which might retain an American presence, and exactly how the Americans would operate with Afghans in the area in the future.

As the pullback begins, the switch in thinking has fueled worries among those who say the United States is ceding some of Afghanistan’s most difficult terrain to the insurgency and putting residents who have supported the government at risk of retaliation.

“There is no house in the area that does not have a government employee in it,” said Col. Gul Rahman, the Afghan police chief in the Manogai District, where the Americans’ largest base in the valley, Forward Operating Base Blessing, is located. “Some work with the Afghan National Army, some work with the Afghan National Police, or they are a teacher or governmental employee. I think it is not wise to ignore and leave behind all these people, with the danger posed to their lives.”

Some Afghan military officials have also expressed pointed misgivings about the prospects for Afghan units left behind.

“According to my experience in the military and knowledge of the area, it’s absolutely impractical for the Afghan National Army to protect the area without the Americans,” said Major Turab, the former second-in-command of an Afghan battalion in the valley, who like many Afghans uses only one name. “It will be a suicidal mission.”

The pullback has international implications as well. Senior Pakistani commanders have complained since last summer that as American troops withdraw from Kunar Province, fighters and some commanders from the Haqqani network and other militant groups have crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan to create a “reverse safe haven” from which to carry out attacks against Pakistani troops in the tribal areas.

The Taliban and other Afghan insurgent groups are all but certain to label the withdrawal a victory in the Pech Valley, where they could point to the Soviet Army’s withdrawal from the same area in 1988. Many Afghans remember that withdrawal as a symbolic moment when the Kremlin’s military campaign began to visibly fall apart.

Within six months, the Soviet-backed Afghan Army of the time ceded the territory to mujahedeen groups, according to Afghan military officials.

The unease, both with the historical precedent and with the price paid in American blood in the valley, has ignited a sometimes painful debate among Americans veterans and active-duty troops. The Pech Valley had long been a hub of American military operations in Kunar and Nuristan Provinces.

American forces first came to the valley in force in 2003, following the trail of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hezb-i-Islami group, who, like other prominent insurgent leaders, has been said at different times to hide in Kunar. They did not find him, though Hezb-i-Islami is active in the valley.

Since then, one American infantry battalion after another has fought there, trying to establish security in villages while weathering roadside bombs and often vicious fights.

Along with other slotlike canyons that the United States has already largely abandoned — including the Korangal Valley, the Waygal Valley (where the battle of Wanat was fought in 2008), the Shuryak Valley and the Nuristan River corridor (where Combat Outpost Keating was nearly overrun in 2009) — the Pech Valley was a region rivaled only by Helmand Province as the deadliest Afghan acreage for American troops.

On one operation alone in 2005, 19 service members, including 11 members of the Navy Seals, died.

As the years passed and the toll rose, the area assumed for many soldiers a status as hallowed ground. “I can think of very few places over the past 10 years with as high and as sustained a level of violence,” said Col. James W. Bierman, who commanded a Marine battalion in the area in 2006 and helped establish the American presence in the Korangal Valley.

In the months after American units left the Korangal last year, insurgent attacks from that valley into the Pech Valley increased sharply, prompting the current American battalion in the area, First Battalion, 327th Infantry, and Special Operations units to carry out raids into places that American troops once patrolled regularly.

Last August, an infantry company raided the village of Omar, which the American military said had become a base for attacks into the Pech Valley, but which earlier units had viewed as mostly calm. Another American operation last November, in the nearby Watapor Valley, led to fighting that left seven American soldiers dead.
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ya
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« Reply #815 on: February 26, 2011, 07:57:33 AM »

Hypothesis only: This is "page 16" news, that may have a story behind it.  As leader of the nuclear ummah, there is suggestion that Pak is storing/making/providing nuclear devices for use by the Saudi's. On and off, one hears reports that Paki planes/pilots are at the disposal of SA. Perhaps this facility is now being offered also to the Kuwaitis. It also jives with recent reports that paki nuclear arsenal is now greater than that of the UK. So how does a bankrupt country fund its nuclear program ?.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/124157/energy-crisis-pakistan-to-seek-free-oil-from-kuwait/

Energy crisis: Pakistan to seek free oil from Kuwait

By Shahbaz Rana
Published: February 26, 2011

Pakistan imports roughly 3.4 million tons of diesel oil annually from Kuwait, worth $2.5 billion. DESIGN: ESSA MALIK
ISLAMABAD: A day after authorities refused to increase domestic oil prices in line with the international market, President Asif Ali Zardari is scheduled to visit Kuwait to find a solution to the matter – which may include seeking free oil from the Gulf state.
The president, who on Friday flew to Kuwait on a two-day visit, will request the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to supply half of the diesel fuel it exports to Pakistan for free while extending the credit period on the remaining 50 per cent, according to sources at the petroleum ministry.
In 1998, Pakistan was granted a similar facility by Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the country’s nuclear weapons tests, which resulted in economic sanctions from the United States and Europe. In 2008, however, the government’s attempts to seek such a facility from Iran were rebuffed.
The government faces a severe financial crunch, since international donor agencies have refused to grant any more aid to Pakistan until the government undertakes drastic reforms to the energy sector and tax collection mechanisms. The $11.2 billion loan facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been put on hold because of the government’s failure to deregulate energy prices – including oil – and levy the value added tax.
For the past three months, the government has refused to increase domestic retail oil prices owing to the growing unpopularity of the PPP-led administration, which feels that increasing fuel prices would be unpopular. During this time, international oil prices have risen by 16 per cent and are expected to continue rising as unrest in the Middle East continues. The decision to not increase oil prices has already cost the government Rs11 billion and is expected to take that cost to Rs24 billion in forgone petroleum taxes over the coming month owing to the president’s decision to hold domestic prices steady, despite the international rise.
Kuwait is the third largest exporter of oil to Pakistan, following Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Imports from Kuwait constitute 19 per cent of the country’s total oil imports.
Pakistan imports roughly 3.4 million tons of diesel oil annually from Kuwait, worth $2.5 billion, approximately three-fourth of total domestic consumption. If Kuwait agrees to provide half of its exports for free, it will cost approximately $1.2 billion, at current rates, in forgone revenue to the government-owned Kuwait Petroleum Company.
According to an existing agreement that will expire on December 31, 2011, Pakistan imports oil from Kuwait on two months’ deferred payments. Islamabad has sought a 30 day extension in the credit period and also wants to sign a new agreement for a period of two years.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2011.
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G M
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« Reply #816 on: February 26, 2011, 09:27:35 AM »

ya,

Would you be so kind as to give the readership here a nutshell explanation of Indian history, specifically how the muslim invasion of India was for the Hindu and Sikh peoples? It's not commonly taught/known in N. America.
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G M
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« Reply #817 on: February 26, 2011, 09:46:07 AM »

Anyone think the AQ Khan network went away? I don't. The NorKs, elements within the PLA, Land of the Pure, Iran, now all the sunni gulf states clamoring for their own nukes. It just went deeper and expanded, IMHO.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #818 on: February 26, 2011, 11:05:14 AM »

Ya:

You have an astute eye.  That is very interesting.
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G M
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« Reply #819 on: February 26, 2011, 02:38:02 PM »

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/25/army-gen-caldwells-accuser-had-no-psy-ops-training/

Psy-ops! Maybe even death rays!
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ya
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« Reply #820 on: February 26, 2011, 05:54:06 PM »

ya,

Would you be so kind as to give the readership here a nutshell explanation of Indian history, specifically how the muslim invasion of India was for the Hindu and Sikh peoples? It's not commonly taught/known in N. America.

GM: That's a very important question to understand that part of the world, unfortunately I dont have the in depth knowledge base to do justice to that. An understanding of that topic would explain why India has old and warm relations with Iran, Baluchistan and Afghanistan.  Muslim invasion of greater India started in the 6th century (what is now Baluchistan), it really got going in the 12th century in areas which are recognised as India these days. By 1160 the Afghan leader Muhammad Ghori ruled from central afghanistan to lahore. Later came the Delhi sultanate rulers who claimed to be the descendents of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. Some of these were moderate rulers like Akbar, most were tyrants who believed in forcible conversions, one of them Shah Jehan (1650) built the Taj Mahal. Collection of jiziya started around that time, an easy translation is protection money which the hindus had to pay. These days the americans pay that, except that they dont yet think of it that way.  Since then it has been a tale of forcible conquest, with some moderate rulers, some enlightened rulers, mostly destructive rulers. Important temples such as at Nalanda (also univ), Vijayanagara and Somnath were destroyed. Perhaps you have followed the controversy about the demolition of the mosque at Ayodhya in recent years, the scars of temple demolitions remain deep within the population.  This mosque was built by muslims (1521) at the presumed birth site of Lord Ram (from Hare Rama, Hare Krishna fame) the major god of hinduism.  There have been many victories for Hindus, some defeats (but that's another story).

The Sikhs are the sword arm of India, and their founder guru was a hindu (1539), as were many subsequent gurus who had traditional hindu names. The hindus rightly consider sikhism an offshoot of hinduism, though some sikhs who seek an independent nation (Khalistan) resent that.  Infact it was quite common for one brother to be a sikh and the other to remain a hindu. Even today there is considerable inter marrying between hindus and sikhs. The Sikhs opposed muslim rule and even protected hindus, or many times fought together. The sikhs were actually quite secular, and even muslims were allowed to flourish under their rule. Unfortunately, the sikhs suffer persecution in present day pak, just like other minorities.  Devout sikhs carry a few items with them, which include long hair (thus turban), comb, knife, underwear!. They are like 1.5% of the population, but approx. 20% of the Indian army and one of the most highly decorated regiments. The sikhs fought many battles with the afghan and central asian invaders, but that's again another story. Many of the sikh holy places are in present day pak, so the history of the 2 nations (india and pak) is quite entwined.

At independence (1947), the Radcliffe line became the border between India and Pak, the Durrand line became the border between Pak and afghanistan. As you can see these are somewhat arbitrary lines. In any case there was a huge massacre of both hindus and muslims, as they tried to cross to hindu and muslim dominated regions across the radcliffe line.

The hindus like to think of the muslims as the "weaker" hindus who were forcibly converted to islam many centuries ago. For this reason, they (indian muslims) retain indic values and are not jihadi like the muslims in pakistan. The paki fanatic muslims in the last 60 years have taken upon themselves to deny any connection to their heritage in India, and instead have started calling themselves as descendents of central asian rulers, and even of persians and of arab origin. Even common greetings like Khuda Hafiz or God be with you, has become Allah hafiz, which is the same in arabic!. Hope this helps somewhat...
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G M
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« Reply #821 on: February 26, 2011, 06:19:24 PM »

Thank you, Ya!

I was wondering when the fatwa was given in India that allowed Hindus to be considered "People of the book" (Ahl al-kitab) as a practical measure, as the muslims felt exhausted trying to kill all the Hindus by hand, thus allowing them to pay jizya and receive dhimmi status?
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ya
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« Reply #822 on: February 26, 2011, 07:21:22 PM »

That terminology is not generally used with respect to hinduism, or is even much discussed in India. Its worth remembering that the muslims in India were converts from hinduism, and that may be one reason why it never gained any traction.

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G M
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« Reply #823 on: February 26, 2011, 07:31:26 PM »

Ah, ok.

I do remember reading about that fatwa, but I can't track it down right now.
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ya
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« Reply #824 on: February 27, 2011, 07:21:08 AM »

The Davis Spy Crisis: Top Spooks in the U.S. and Pakistan Get in the Act

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2055690,00.html#ixzz1FAHkswDs
"There are people in this town," adds Washington-based Fair, "who are simply saying, 'F--- this, let's just call Pakistan the enemy.' They are saying Pakistan is supporting the killing of our troops in Afghanistan, they're supporting the LeT, they call [the rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist] AQ Khan a national hero. The fact that the CIA is coming to this conclusion should be very worrisome for Pakistan. For years, the CIA was the only organization in this town that would defend the Pakistanis."


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2055690,00.html#ixzz1FAHAc1GX
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G M
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« Reply #825 on: February 27, 2011, 09:07:49 AM »

About frackin' time......
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ya
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« Reply #826 on: February 28, 2011, 07:09:00 PM »

http://www.slate.com/id/2286722/

"Not to mince words, then, Davis is a hostage. In addition to the usual sense of the word, he is a hostage to the Pakistani authorities who dare not—even if they wish—make an enemy either of the Islamist mobs or the uniformed para-state run by the intelligence services. He is also a hostage to the inability or unwillingness of the U.S. government to call things by their right names. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made the correct noises about the relevant international statutes governing immunity, and their envoy Sen. John Kerry (who should never have been sent unless notified in advance that he would return with the prisoner) has even spoken of putting Davis on trial in the United States, which in ordinary circumstances might seem a little premature. But they all talk as if Pakistan were a country of law, and they all talk as if Pakistan were not a client state. Its client status, indeed, is what leads so many Pakistanis to detest America, without whose largesse and indulgence it would long ago have faced collapse. Thus to the final irony: We are denied leverage by the fact of the very influence for which we are hated.
This sick relationship with Pakistan, which plays a continuous and undisguised double-cross on us in Afghanistan, will probably have to be terminated at some point. But in the meantime, it will have to be made very clear to the rulers of that country that if they want to keep Raymond Davis in prison, they will have to manage without our subsidies. He may be a bad test of an important principle, but it is still the important principle that is being tested, and we have no more right to compromise on the principle of diplomatic immunity than the Pakistanis have to violate it."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #827 on: March 03, 2011, 08:37:08 AM »

Pakistani Intelligence and the CIA: Mutual Distrust and Suspicion
March 3, 2011


By Scott Stewart

On March 1, U.S. diplomatic sources reportedly told Dawn News that a proposed exchange with the Pakistani government of U.S. citizen Raymond Davis for Pakistani citizen Aafia Siddiqui was not going to happen. Davis is a contract security officer working for the CIA who was arrested by Pakistani police on Jan. 27 following an incident in which he shot two men who reportedly pointed a pistol at him in an apparent robbery attempt. Siddiqui was arrested by the Afghan National Police in Afghanistan in 2008 on suspicion of being linked to al Qaeda.

During Siddiqui’s interrogation at a police station, she reportedly grabbed a weapon from one of her interrogators and opened fire on the American team sent to debrief her. Siddiqui was wounded in the exchange of fire and taken to Bagram air base for treatment. After her recovery, she was transported to the United States and charged in U.S. District Court in New York with armed assault and the attempted murder of U.S. government employees. Siddique was convicted in February 2010 and sentenced in September 2010 to 86 years in prison.

Given the differences in circumstances between these two cases, it is not difficult to see why the U.S. government would not agree to such an exchange. Siddique had been arrested by the local authorities and was being questioned, while Davis was accosted on the street by armed men and thought he was being robbed. His case has served to exacerbate a growing rift between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI).

Pakistan has proved to be a very dangerous country for both ISI and CIA officers. Because of this environment, it is necessary for intelligence officers to have security — especially when they are conducting meetings with terrorist sources — and for security officers to protect American officials. Due to the heavy security demands in high-threat countries like Pakistan, the U.S. government has been forced to rely on contract security officers like Davis. It is important to recognize, however, that the Davis case is not really the cause of the current tensions between the Americans and Pakistanis. There are far deeper issues causing the rift.


Operating in Pakistan

Pakistan has been a very dangerous place for American diplomats and intelligence officers for many years now. Since September 2001 there have been 13 attacks against U.S. diplomatic missions and motorcades as well as hotels and restaurants frequented by Americans who were in Pakistan on official business. Militants responsible for the attack on the Islamabad Marriott in September 2008 referred to the hotel as a “nest of spies.” At least 10 Americans in Pakistan on official business have been killed as a result of these attacks, and many more have been wounded.

Militants in Pakistan have also specifically targeted the CIA. This was clearly illustrated by a December 2009 attack against the CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, in which the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), led by Hakeemullah Mehsud, used a Jordanian suicide operative to devastating effect. The CIA thought the operative had been turned and was working for Jordanian intelligence to collect intelligence on al Qaeda leaders hiding in Pakistan. The attack killed four CIA officers and three CIA security contractors. Additionally, in March 2008, four FBI special agents were injured in a bomb attack as they ate at an Italian restaurant in Islamabad.

Pakistani intelligence and security agencies have been targeted with far more vigor than the Americans. This is due not only to the fact that they are seen as cooperating with the United States but also because there are more of them and their facilities are relatively soft targets compared to U.S. diplomatic facilities in Pakistan. Militants have conducted dozens of major attacks directed against Pakistani security and intelligence targets such as the headquarters of the Pakistani army in Rawalpindi, the ISI provincial headquarters in Lahore and the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) and police academies in Lahore.

In addition to these high-profile attacks against facilities, scores of military officers, frontier corps officers, ISI officers, senior policemen and FIA agents have been assassinated. Other government figures have also been targeted for assassination. As this analysis was being written, the Pakistani minorities minister was assassinated near his Islamabad home.

Because of this dangerous security environment, it is not at all surprising that American government officials living and working in Pakistan are provided with enhanced security to keep them safe. And enhanced security measures require a lot of security officers, especially when you have a large number of American officials traveling away from secure facilities to attend meetings and other functions. This demand for security officers is even greater when enhanced security is required in several countries at the same time and for a prolonged period of time.

This is what is happening today in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The demand for protective officers has far surpassed the personnel available to the organizations that provide security for American officials such as the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and the CIA’s Office of Security. In order to provide adequate security for American officials in high-threat posts, these agencies have had to rely on contractors provided by large companies like Blackwater/Xe, Dyncorp and Triple Canopy and on individual contract security officers hired on personal-services contracts. This reliance on security contractors has been building over the past several years and is now a fact of life at many U.S. embassies.

Using contract security officers allows these agencies not only to quickly ramp up their capabilities without actually increasing their authorized headcount but also to quickly cut personnel when they hit the next lull in the security-funding cycle. It is far easier to terminate contractors than it is to fire full-time government employees.


CIA Operations in Pakistan

There is another factor at play: demographics. Most CIA case officers (like most foreign-service officers) are Caucasian products of very good universities. They tend to look like Bob Baer and Valerie Plame. They stick out when they walk down the street in places like Peshawar or Lahore. They do not blend into the crowd, are easily identified by hostile surveillance and are therefore vulnerable to attack. Because of this, they need trained professional security officers to watch out for them and keep them safe.

This is doubly true if the case officer is meeting with a source who has terrorist connections. As seen in the Khost attack discussed above, and reinforced by scores of incidents over the years, such sources can be treacherous and meeting such people can be highly dangerous. As a result, it is pretty much standard procedure for any intelligence officer meeting a terrorism source to have heavy security for the meeting. Even FBI and British MI5 officers meeting terrorism sources domestically employ heavy security for such meetings because of the potential danger to the agents.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the primary intelligence collection requirement for every CIA station and base in the world has been to hunt down Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda leadership. This requirement has been emphasized even more for the CIA officers stationed in Pakistan, the country where bin Laden and company are believed to be hiding. This emphasis was redoubled with the change of U.S. administrations and President Barack Obama’s renewed focus on Pakistan and eliminating the al Qaeda leadership. The Obama administration’s approach of dramatically increasing strikes with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) required an increase in targeting intelligence, which comes mostly from human sources and not signals intelligence or imagery. Identifying and tracking an al Qaeda suspect amid the hostile population and unforgiving terrain of the Pakistani badlands also requires human sources to direct intelligence assets toward a target.

This increased human intelligence-gathering effort inside Pakistan has created friction between the CIA and the ISI. First, it is highly likely that much of the intelligence used to target militants with UAV strikes in the badlands comes from the ISI — especially intelligence pertaining to militant groups like the TTP that have attacked the ISI and the Pakistani government itself (though, as would be expected, the CIA is doing its best to develop independent sources as well). The ISI has a great deal to gain by strikes against groups it sees as posing a threat to Pakistan, and the fact that the U.S. government is conducting such strikes provides the ISI a degree of plausible deniability and political cover.

However, it is well known that the ISI has long had ties to militant groups. The ISI’s fostering of surrogate militants to serve its strategic interests in Kashmir and Afghanistan played a critical role in the rise of transnational jihadism (and this was even aided with U.S. funding in some cases). Indeed, as we’ve previously discussed, the ISI would like to retain control of its militant proxies in Afghanistan to ensure that Pakistan does not end up with a hostile regime in Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal from the country. This is quite a rational desire when one considers Pakistan’s geopolitical situation.

Because of this, the ISI has been playing a kind of a double game with the CIA. It has been forthcoming with intelligence pertaining to militants it views as threats to the Pakistani regime while refusing to share information pertaining to groups it hopes to use as levers in Afghanistan (or against India). Of course, the ability of the ISI to control these groups and not get burned by them again is very much a subject of debate, but at least some ISI leaders appear to believe they can keep at least some of their surrogate militants under control.

There are many in Washington who believe the ISI knows the location of high-value al Qaeda targets and senior members of organizations like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, which are responsible for many of the attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. This belief that the ISI is holding back intelligence compels the CIA to run unilateral intelligence operations (meaning operations it does not tell the ISI about). Many of these unilateral operations likely involve the recruitment of Pakistani government officials, including members of the ISI. Naturally, the ISI is not happy with these intelligence operations, and the result is the mistrust and tension we see between the ISI and the CIA.

It is important to remember that in the intelligence world there is no such thing as a friendly intelligence service. While services will cooperate on issues of mutual interest, they will always serve their own national interests first, even when that places them at odds with an intelligence service they are coordinating with.

Such competing national interests are at the heart of the current tension between the CIA and the ISI. At present, the CIA is fixated on finding and destroying the last vestiges of al Qaeda and crippling militant groups in Pakistan that are attacking U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The Americans can always leave Afghanistan; if anarchy and chaos take hold there, it is not likely have a huge impact on the United States. However, the ISI knows that after the United States withdraws from Afghanistan it will be stuck with the problem of Afghanistan. It is on the ISI’s doorstep, and it does not have the luxury of being able to withdraw from the region and the conflict. The ISI believes that it will be left to deal with the mess created by the United States. It is in Pakistan’s national interest to try to control the shape of Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal, and that means using militant proxies like Pakistan did after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989.

This struggle between the CIA and ISI is a conundrum rooted in the conflict between the vital interests of two nations and it will not be solved easily. While the struggle has been brought to the public’s attention by the Davis case, this case is really just a minor symptom of a far deeper conflict.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #828 on: March 06, 2011, 02:20:23 PM »



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/04/AR2011030405729.html

I hope YA will comment.
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ya
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« Reply #829 on: March 06, 2011, 04:01:31 PM »

This is a typical article by Mr.10%....which demonstrates what I call pakiness...

"Two months ago my friend Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was cut down for standing up against religious intolerance and against those who would use debate about our laws to divide our people. On Tuesday, another leading member of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs and the only Christian in our cabinet, was murdered by extremists tied to al-Qaeda and the Taliban." Mr.10 % did not even attend his friend's funeral.

"We will not be intimidated, nor will we retreat".Infact he has taken blasphemy laws off the PPP agenda, as well as off the pak govt agenda

"Our economic growth was stifled by the priorities of past dictatorial regimes that unfortunately were supported by the West". You are responsible for our miserable situation

"The religious fanaticism behind our assassinations is a tinderbox poised to explode across Pakistan." Give me money, or I blow my brains out

Plain and simple, shameless begging....
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G M
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« Reply #830 on: March 06, 2011, 06:52:00 PM »

Loving Ya's analysis.  grin
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DougMacG
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« Reply #831 on: March 06, 2011, 11:33:51 PM »

Also enjoying and benefiting from Ya's contributions.  The name Mr.10% is for Zardari's bribery/corruption reputation and conviction. He did well financially while his wife Benazir Bhutto was Prime Minister. http://middleeast.about.com/b/2008/08/24/mr-10-percent-president-of-pakistan-meet-asif-ali-zardari.htme

"shameless begging"  - That is a regular feature in the paper with rotating leaders for authors. That is a good title for the page.  Tomorrow it will be Chairman of General Motors or head of the Wisconsin Teachers Union.
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makoa67
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« Reply #832 on: March 09, 2011, 10:23:06 PM »

So, where would one find islam being practiced in an authentic manner?

In an authentic manner? If you mean a particular country, I would have to say nowhere, Saudi is perhaps the closest, but with their human rights issues and such-they fall short.
But, I would have to say--Islam is practiced authentically in the hearts and minds of close to a billion people world wide. When you see a local wall guard in Afghanistan, who risks his life and the lives of his family to fight the Taliban, who are deviants--this is it. When you see whole communities of Muslims in America refusing to get caught up with jihadi ideologies and instead drop a dime a Joe-jihadi, becasue the things he says scare them, this is it. When you see Muslims who don't bend to the threats, murders, kidnappings and bombings in their backyards-by continuing to say "No, we won't join you, no matter how many you kill", then this is it. Whenever they stand up and declare one can't overthrow the rulers, one can't keep little girls from going to school, one can't kill non-Muslims just because they are non-Muslims--then ths is it--and I would have to say this is the majority of Muslims--how they feel, think, and act--but it always seems to miss FauxNews' headlines--so nobody knows.

So, I would say religion is in the heart, but it is also the speach from your mouths and the actions of your limbs. And sometimes it is practiced appropriately in a collective manner. But all religions--all of them-usually aren't.

Woof from Kunduz
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G M
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« Reply #833 on: March 09, 2011, 10:35:06 PM »

Why is it islam falls so short in terms of human rights? Why is it that even the heroic wall guard you mention would kill a member of his family for becoming another religion? Why is it that all the "Mainstream" muslim groups in the US, like CAIR are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood?
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makoa67
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« Reply #834 on: March 09, 2011, 11:28:06 PM »

Why is it islam falls so short in terms of human rights? Why is it that even the heroic wall guard you mention would kill a member of his family for becoming another religion? Why is it that all the "Mainstream" muslim groups in the US, like CAIR are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood?

Huh?

You obviously read my reply/answered with an agenda, I am used to this. So, I just won't post here anymore-kinda sad really. Glad my kids live in Oregon, where bigots are few and far between...

Woof from Kunduz
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G M
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« Reply #835 on: March 10, 2011, 09:16:23 AM »

Why is it islam falls so short in terms of human rights? Why is it that even the heroic wall guard you mention would kill a member of his family for becoming another religion? Why is it that all the "Mainstream" muslim groups in the US, like CAIR are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood?

Huh?

You obviously read my reply/answered with an agenda, I am used to this. So, I just won't post here anymore-kinda sad really. Glad my kids live in Oregon, where bigots are few and far between...

Woof from Kunduz

So why can't you answer these simple questions?

Speaking of Oregon, wasn't that where a young muslim wanted to blow up a christmas tree lighting? Wasn't Oregon where Oussama Kassir wanted to set up a jihad training camp? Isn't Oregon where a group of muslims were arrested by the FBI in 2002 for wanting to wage war against the US? Wasn't John Allen Muhammad (DC Sniper) a member of the Oregon Nat'l Guard?

Lots of interesting things seem to go on with the "religion of peace" in Oregon.
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G M
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« Reply #836 on: March 10, 2011, 09:35:51 AM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/260155/death-apostates-not-perversion-islam-islam-andrew-c-mccarthy

February 19, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Death to Apostates: Not a Perversion of Islam, but Islam
The case of Said Musa shows why we cannot graft democracy onto Islamic societies.

   


On NRO Friday, Paul Marshall lamented the Obama administration’s fecklessness, in particular the president’s appalling silence in the face of the death sentence Said Musa may suffer for the crime of converting to Christianity. This is in Afghanistan, the nation for which our troops are fighting and dying — not to defeat our enemies, but to prop up the Islamic “democracy” we have spent a decade trying to forge at a cost of billions.

This shameful episode (and the certain recurrence of it) perfectly illustrates the folly of Islamic nation-building. The stubborn fact is that we have asked for just these sorts of atrocious outcomes. Ever since 2003, when the thrust of the War On Terror stopped being the defeat of America’s enemies and decisively shifted to nation-building, we have insisted — against history, law, language, and logic — that Islamic culture is perfectly compatible with and hospitable to Western-style democracy. It is not, it never has been, and it never will be.

This is not the first time an apostate in the new American-made Afghanistan has confronted the very real possibility of being put to death by the state. In 2006, a Christian convert named Abdul Rahman was tried for apostasy. The episode prompted a groundswell of international criticism. In the end, Abdul Rahman was whisked out of the country before his execution could be carried out. A fig leaf was placed over the mess: The prospect of execution had been rendered unjust by the (perfectly sane) defendant’s purported mental illness — after all, who in his right mind would convert from Islam?  His life was spared, but the Afghans never backed down from their insistence that a Muslim’s renunciation of Islam is a capital offense and that death is the mandated sentence.

They are right. Under the construction of sharia adopted by the Afghan constitution (namely Hanafi, one of Islam’s classical schools of jurisprudence), apostasy is the gravest offense a Muslim can commit. It is considered treason from the Muslim ummah. The penalty for that is death.

This is the dictate of Mohammed himself. One relevant hadith (from the authoritative Bukhari collection, No. 9.83.17) quotes the prophet as follows: “A Muslim . . . may not be killed except for three reasons: as punishment for murder, for adultery, or for apostasy.” It is true that the hadith says “may,” not “must,” and there is in fact some squabbling among sharia scholars about whether ostracism could be a sufficient sentence, at least if the apostasy is kept secret. Alas, the “may” hadith is not the prophet’s only directive on the matter. There is also No. 9.84.57: “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him.” That is fairly clear, wouldn’t you say? And as a result, mainstream Islamic scholarship holds that apostasy, certainly once it is publicly revealed, warrants the death penalty.

Having hailed the Afghan constitution as the start of a democratic tsunami, the startled Bush administration made all the predictable arguments against Abdul Rahman’s apostasy prosecution. Diplomats and nation-building enthusiasts pointed in panic at the vague, lofty language injected into the Afghan constitution to obscure Islamic law’s harsh reality — spoons full of sugar that had helped the sharia go down. The constitution assures religious freedom, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice maintained. It cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and even specifies that non-Muslims are free to perform their religious rites.

Read the fine print. It actually qualifies that all purported guarantees of personal and religious liberty are subject to Islamic law and Afghanistan’s commitment to being an Islamic state. We were supposed to celebrate this, just as the State Department did, because Islam is the “religion of peace” whose principles are just like ours — that’s why it was so ready for democracy.

It wasn’t so. Sharia is very different from Western law, and it couldn’t care less what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has to say on the matter of apostasy. Nor do the authoritative scholars at al-Azhar University in Cairo give a hoot that their straightforward interpretation of sharia’s apostasy principles upsets would-be Muslim reformers like Zuhdi Jasser. We may look at Dr. Jasser as a hero — I do — but at al-Azhar, the sharia scholars would point out that he is merely a doctor of medicine, not of Islamic jurisprudence.

The constitution that the State Department bragged about helping the new Afghan “democracy” draft established Islam as the state religion and installed sharia as a principal source of law. That constitution therefore fully supports the state killing of apostates. Case closed.

The purpose of real democracy, meaning Western republican democracy, is to promote individual liberty, the engine of human prosperity. No nation that establishes a state religion, installs its totalitarian legal code, and hence denies its citizens freedom of conscience, can ever be a democracy — no matter how many “free” elections it holds. Afghanistan is not a democracy. It is an Islamic sharia state.
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ya
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« Reply #837 on: March 12, 2011, 08:26:28 AM »

The US war in Afghanistan would go much better, if the US could pressure the pakis.  Instead the purelanders have the US by the family jewels, as military supplies need to go through Karachi...The US has looked for other options, such as the one outlined below,  see link for maps. However, there exists another route, through a seaport, that is not being discussed. Anyone want to hazard a guess ?.


http://www.europeaninstitute.org/February-%E2%80%93-March-2010/new-supply-front-for-afghan-war-runs-across-russia-georgia-and-the-stans.html
New Supply ‘Front’ for Afghan War Runs Across Russia, Georgia and the ‘Stans            
Written by Bill Marmon
The U.S. engagement in Afghanistan, including the 30,000 “plus-up” currently underway, represents one of the most difficult logistical challenges in the annals of war – a challenge even for the United States, which is the world champion of supply solutions.  Afghanistan is harder than the Vietnam “land war in Asia” or the Berlin airlift or Iraq I and II. These previous engagements, although difficult logistically, pale in comparison to the task of supplying 100,000 troops and as many contractors in Afghanistan over nine years and counting. Landlocked, mountainous, beset by civil war, banditry and extreme underdevelopment, Afghanistan is surrounded by a clutch of hostile, suspicious, barely functioning sovereignties.

And U.S. and allied troops require a Herculean mass of supplies from ammunition to toothbrushes, fuel, computers, night-vision goggles, concertina wire et cetera, et cetera – at the rate of thousands of tons per day. Even with the containerized packing systems and all the technology that made-in-USA delivery systems have made available to the military, the traffic volumes are immense. In 2008, nearly 30,000 containers were sent to the front – or about 75 percent of the total need in fuel, food, equipment and construction materials. Traffic reportedly doubled in 2009, and the requirements for 2010 will likely double again.

Part of this massive resupply travels by air in giant military transports (some American, some Antonovs leased from Russia): for example, the tons of ammunition, from small artillery to missiles, is delivered entirely by aircraft landing at military air fields. But the bulk of the traffic must be carried by sea-lift, mainly cargo ships that dock in the Indian Ocean port of Karachi in Pakistan, and then are off-loaded onto trucks. The road north is a hazardous trip of nearly 1,000 miles, finally passing through the difficult and often-hostile terrain of the Hindu Kush and then over the treacherous Khyber Pass before finally dropping down into Afghanistan.

Because of Pakistani sensitivities about sovereignty, these trucks are 100 percent civilian-operated, with no military escorts. The pay is good but the work is dangerous. Drivers are subject to kidnapping, ransoming, and destruction by roadside bombs or rocket and bazooka ambushes. U.S. sources report that over 450 trucks were destroyed in 2009, and one international shipping company confirms to European Affairs that 50 of its trucks were attacked, many of them fatally. Pilferage has been a problem too, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Karachi itself is a hotbed of political unrest rife with strong pro-Taliban currents: cargo ships and oil tankers have been sabotaged in the harbor.

Pakistan Supply Line

Map from Google Earth.  Courtesy of CSIS

Not surprisingly, the U.S. military logisticians have sought a better way – or at least an alternative one affording a route around the potential choke-point in Pakistan. Pentagon planners started their quest for an alternative to Karachi as early as 2006, when the U.S.-led campaign there was still a comparatively low-level grind and well before there was even a blueprint for the current surge. Gradually, stage by stage, U.S. officials stitched together a series of deals for rights of passage, crucially with Russia and other nations around Afghanistan.

Largely under-reported and unnoticed by the public at the time, these bilateral accords finally took shape as a whole by mid-2008 in what the U.S. military has dubbed the “Northern Distribution Network (NDN).” In fact, the NDN comprises several itineraries, commencing at one of two “western hubs” in Latvia and Georgia. From these secure jumping-off points, the cargo goes  by combinations of trains, trucks and ferries across Russian territory and the adjacent ex-Soviet “stans” to enter Afghanistan from the north. All of the new routes share the same attraction of altogether avoiding Pakistan. Taken together, these new routes in the NDN provide redundant paths for overland supplies that, however expensively, make it logistically sustainable for the U.S. and its allies to wage their Afghan campaign.

The most important new route, the “northern route” (see map), starts in the Latvian port of Riga, the largest all-weather harbor on the Baltic Sea, where container ships offload their cargo onto Russian trains. The shipments roll south through Russia, then southeast around the Caspian Sea through Kazakhstan and finally south through Uzbekistan until they cross the frontier into north Afghanistan. The Russian train-lines were built to supply Russia’s own war in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, and today Moscow’s cooperation is making them available for use by the U.S. and NATO in their own Afghan campaign.

NDN North

Map from Google Earth.  Courtesy of CSIS


The NDN also involves two additional routes. A “southern route” transits the Caucuses, completely bypassing Russia, from Georgia. Starting from the Black Sea port, Ponti, it travels north to Azerbaijan and its port, Baku, where goods are loaded onto ferries to cross the Caspian Sea. Landfall is Kazakhstan, where the goods are carried by truck to Uzbekistan and finally Afghanistan. This southern route now carries about one-third of the NDN’s traffic volume. While shorter than the northern route, it is more expensive because of the on-and-off loading from trucks to ferries and back onto trucks.

NDN South

Map from Google Earth.  Courtesy of CSIS


A third route, which is actually a spur of the northern route, bypasses Uzbekistan and proceeds from Kazakhstan via Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which has a northeast border with Afghanistan. This route is hampered by bad roads in Tajikistan.


KKT Route

Map from Google Earth.  Courtesy of CSIS


Not available to the U.S. for obvious political reasons is the most attractive land route into Afghanistan - through Iran, which has a 600-mile border along Afghanistan’s western provinces. The best line would begin at the Iranian port of Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, and proceed over excellent roads to the Afghan border city of Zaranj, which is connected to the main trans-Afghan highway by a recently completed road. Although the U.S. cannot use this route, other countries including European nations (among the 42 countries that have forces in Afghanistan) can take advantage of it, using private hauling companies to handle some non-lethal cargo. And as remote as it may seem today, a shift in U.S.-Iranian relations is a contingency to consider.

As of November 2009, the NDN had delivered 4,500 containers, and through-put on this route could easily double this year. As of now, the NDN routes are not only longer but also more expensive than the connection via Pakistan, but they are also safer and, despite the distance and border crossings, more reliable. U.S. Central Command, in charge of the Afghan campaign, would like to be able to move a third of the surface traffic over the NDN in the future.

Despite its signal success in establishing the new system, Washington has not trumpeted its accomplishment, perhaps it fears there might be a higher political price in drawing attention to the fact that the ongoing flow via the NDN depends on continuing cooperation with Russia and Uzbekistan and other “stans” that have often exhibited shaky relations with the U.S. Relations were recently strained with Uzbekistan, for instance, over human-rights issues with that country’s ruler. And given the ebbs and flows of U.S.-Russia relations, the reliability of continued cooperation from Moscow is not insured..

The issues and opportunities raised by the new routes have recently been well ventilated by reports prepared by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) [www.CSIS.org], a think-tank in Washington. CSIS initiated its thorough-going, politically sophisticated study a year ago after a senior CSIS executive, Arnaud de Borchgrave, was briefed on the subject over dinner by General David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in the theater.

The new routes are difficult and long, but they offer incontrovertible security advantages over the routes through Pakistan – an option that invited Taliban commanders to see the road as a long, exposed jugular vein of the U.S. force in Afghanistan. And there must be a surface route because air shipments to Bagram, the main Afghan airfield, cost $14,000 a ton, a prohibitive price tag. Even if Washington were ready to pay whatever it costs, air lift capabilities are already being strained (including those of civilian contractors) by the task of simply delivering weaponry and other “sensitive” materials. This air route also involves over-flight permissions that need to be secured (and often renegotiated frequently): in Kazakhstan, for example, U.S. access to the large airfield at Manas has been an on-and-off option that now seems to be “on” after bargaining that led to a fourfold increase in U.S. aid assistance to that country.

Russian assistance is obviously crucial, and that U.S. dependence on Moscow always raises some eyebrows in the security-policy community in Washington among people who worry that Moscow may someday take advantage of the leverage it has gained thanks to the NDN running across Russian territory. Proponents of the NDN contend that the route is an example of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia (and the European Union) that offers advantages to all three parties and could help pave the way to more such “triangular cooperation.” In any event, the U.S. needs this alternative so direly that it is worth some political risk, according to Obama administration officials. Russia has strong incentives not to hit the “off switch,” they add. Similarly, CSIS concluded that the Russian position is accurately formulated by Zamer Kabulov, the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan and a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, when he told the Times of London: “it’s not in Russia’s interest for NATO to be defeated and leave behind all these problems…we’d prefer NATO to complete its job and then leave this unnatural geography.” Of course, from Moscow’s vantage, the issues could be seen as a reprise of “the Great Game,” the long-running 19th Century struggle between Britain and Russia for control of central Asia that may be revisited in coming decades between Russia and U.S.-led NATO in the region.

Last summer at the U.S.-Russian summit conference Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama signed a significant military transit agreement that covers not only the overland routes across Russia but also over-flight permissions. Contracts for Russian transport on Russian military aircraft of non-lethal supplies, which proceeded without pause during the Russia-Georgian war, will also be continued. The agreement permits the movement of both soldiers and military supplies overland. The White House indicated the new transit routes would save at least $133 million annually in fuel, maintenance and other transportation costs.

Opening the new routes has been a quiet triumph of the U.S. military and diplomatic corps. The U.S. Central Command continues working to expand the supply routes to multiply the military options and cope with the additional logistical demands of 30,000 more U.S. troops and 10,000 more European and other allied reinforcements. With the arrival of these numbers and also more contractor corps that use the military resupply system, there will be a short term “bow wave” effect as infrastructure and pre-positioning supplies for the expansion moves to the area.
Civilian policy observers see a potential long term gain for the U.S. in taking a leadership role in re-establishing the Silk Road that once brought thriving commercial life to Afghanistan and beyond.  The NDN could also create a positive collateral effect of re-establishing a “Modern Silk Road,” which boosters say would contribute to the long term economic development of Afghanistan and surrounding countries. The new routes could presage a Modern Silk Road (“MSR”) if the routes opened for the military convert into civilian commerce and enhance regional prosperity for the adjacent central Asian nations. .

In the meantime, the opening of alternative supply routes for the military is a formidable achievement. If the Afghan war ends with anything like success, the NDN will likely be hailed as an important element of that success. Creation of the NDN once again proves the old axiom: “It’s OK for strategy to be conducted by amateurs, but logistics requires professionals.”

Bill Marmon is Assistant Managing Editor of European Affairs.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #838 on: March 12, 2011, 06:34:18 PM »

Ya:

I'd be curious of your take on the interesting piece you post.

FWIW my initial reaction is that we are profoundly foolish to put ourself in a position of relying on the Russians (which applies to relying upon them now for rides into space too!) and that the southern root, higher costs or not, makes much more sense-- including the tangential benefits of having money flowing to/through Georgia, which must be feeling rather lonely after the Russian invasion.

@those who have been here a while:  Is there someone who can find my post about "the Crafty Dog" strategy for Afpakia?  I'd be really curious to get Ya's take on it because several of its strands are a result of my trying to think about interesting materials he sent me previously.

Abruptly changing subjects, here's this little item which portends so well  rolleyes for our strategy , , ,

Afghanistan: Karzai Requests NATO Operations End
March 12, 2011 1552 GMT
 
U.S.-led NATO forces must end operations in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai stated March 12, Iran's Press TV reported. More than 70 civilians were reported dead following NATO fighting near the city of Asadabad, causing increased tensions between Kabul and Washington, according to Karzai.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 06:35:59 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #839 on: March 12, 2011, 07:24:18 PM »

We need to get seriously outside the box.

The following is offered in a brainstorming way only-- there may be some serious flaws in it, but at the moment it is what occurs to me.

a) I would consider ignoring the Darcy line and cut a deal with the Pashtuns to give them a Pashtunistan in return for giving up the AQ in their territory.   This would freak the Paks and I would green light the Indians while taking out Pak's nuke program.

b) I would consider fg with the Russians and freeing the Germans from dependance on Russki gas AND provide an alternate source of money for the rest of Afg by building/threaten/offer to build a natural gas pipeline for central Asian gas through Pashtunistan and the remains of Pakistan to the Indian Ocean that gives it access to the market other than Russia.  Without this gas, Russia will not be able to export to and control Europe, especially Germany and Afgans, Pashtuns, and Paks have an alternate source to making money.

Again, these ideas may be crazy, but maybe there is some value to extract.

Here.
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ya
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« Reply #840 on: March 12, 2011, 08:10:28 PM »

The route that I was thinking of involves using the sea port of Chabahar in Iran. Yes, it will involve reaching agreement with the Iranians, but that should be possible because its in Shia Iran's interest to not have a sunni taliban leadership in Afghanistan. India has spend  treasure and lives to link Delaram in Afghanistan to Zaranj (near Iranian border),http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaranj, so that the port of Chabahar can be used to bypass Karachi in Pakistan.

This port can be used for any supplies including oil that needs to come in by sea, just like Karachi, infact its geographic location may make it cheaper to use. If needed India could serve as a mediator, since India has historic ties to Iranhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo%E2%80%93Iranian_relations, as well as an interest to support the use of Chabahar (which was also built partially with Indian help).

There is a second way, if airlift will suffice. It will involve pissing of the purelanders, but perfectly legal. In this scenario, Indian help would be needed, for landing rights in India. Planes could fly from Diego Garcia,  refuel in India and then through POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), via the Wakhan Corridor to Afghanistan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wakhan_Corridor. Wakhan is ofcourse part of Afghanistan. Pakistan cannot object to flights over POK, because that's disputed territory with India, and even the Pakis dont consider it as part of Pakistan (since they are supportive of Kashmiri Independence).

India would help, if the US was willing to shift policy re: maintaining balance of power between Pak and India, or if the US was serious about supporting Pak's break up, either into Pashtoonistan, or free Balochistan (which BTW, was always independent of Pak, as the princely state of Kalat, and annexed to pak after the India/Pak partition). The F-16's that the US supplies to pak are a significant pain to India.

These options are no worse than the deals we cut with Russia and Central Asian states.

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G M
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« Reply #841 on: March 12, 2011, 08:13:56 PM »



"India would help, if the US was willing to shift policy re: maintaining balance of power between Pak and India, or if the US was serious about supporting Pak's break up, either into Pashtoonistan, or free Balochistan (which BTW, was always independent of Pak, as the princely state of Kalat, and annexed to pak after the India/Pak partition). The F-16's that the US supplies to pak are a significant pain to India."

Works for me.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #842 on: March 13, 2011, 10:09:28 AM »

Very interesting Ya.

IIRC, Iran was very helpful against the Taliban/AQ in the early days after 911.
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G M
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« Reply #843 on: March 13, 2011, 10:18:47 AM »

Iran also killed lots of US troops in Iraq, both directly and indirectly, and has waged a covert war against the US since 1979.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #844 on: March 13, 2011, 10:30:06 AM »

Well, duh, and we aided Saddam Hussein against Iraq too.

My intended point is that despite the bad background between our countries, that when interests convene, perhaps deals can be made. 
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G M
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« Reply #845 on: March 13, 2011, 10:37:02 AM »

I trust Iran even less than I trust Pakistan. You don't make deals with those waging war against you. You find a way to ram a spear through their heart.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #846 on: March 13, 2011, 10:47:00 AM »

Well, I would distinguish its government and its people; the latter I gather have rather positivie feelings about the US, though they may wonder about BO's lack of verbal support for their freedom when they were trying to take the streets. 

Also, lets keep in mind here the alternatives e.g. depending on Russia and Pakistan for our logistical supply chains for our war in Afpakia. 

Also, and I am winging it here (Ya, as always, please jump in) but would not this course of action strengthen the Balochs in their dealings with Islamabad and Teheran?

As for a spear in the heart of Iran, I'm all ears:  What do you have in mind?
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G M
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« Reply #847 on: March 13, 2011, 11:19:43 AM »

Well, someone has been effective at running covert ops inside Iran, I suspect our friends from a small country that speaks Hebrew. We should be training and arming a resistance within Iran and more targeted killings of mullahs and Revolutionary Guards, as well as nuclear scientists while we squeeze them economically by damaging their oil infrastructure.
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ya
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« Reply #848 on: March 13, 2011, 11:53:24 AM »

Iranian people are generally supportive of the US (they are not arab)...its Ahmedinijad who needs to go. Iran does not have friendly relations with the Baloch, since the Baloch are spread over into Iran, and eye their territory, sort of like the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey.
The goals of US presence in Afghanistan are not clear (to me). I suspect, it has something to do with playing the new great game, or access to central asian oil resources. The reasons espoused, ie to get rid off AQ in Pak/Afghanistan are likely red herrings. We will never eliminate the last Al Qaeda in the AF-PAK theater, and even if we could, what's to stop AQ from moving to other "friendly countries" and setting up shop (which they already have) there (Pak, Yemen etc).

The world is changing, and traditional US support of Pak is receding, as the US seeks new allies and alliances against China. The Ray Davis saga is a manifestation of that, as the US moves away from pak (and towards India). In recent years, the US has wanted to strengthen India against China, which means less support for Pak. China will end up supporting Pak (which will be interesting, since the Chinese are tougher task masters).
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G M
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« Reply #849 on: March 13, 2011, 12:27:11 PM »

Ya,

The US sucks at playing "Great Game" games. Note that for all our blood and treasure, we got exactly zero Iraqi oil contracts. If only the US were the skilled Machiavellians we are accused of being.

Our goal in Afghanistan was to Kill Bin Laden and the core of AQ, destroy the AQ training camp infrastructure and make A-stan a place where AQ couldn't rebuild.
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