( – promoted by buhdydharma )
This just came up on McClatchy. Because of the outcome of the November 2, 2010 election, with the new Republican House majority, there is now less pressure on President Obama to stick to his earlier pledge of beginning a troop withdrawal timeline of July 2011 in Afghanistan. This December was supposed to be the month for the big “review” of the ongoing military operations (and the Pentagon budget was supposed to be passed before the pre election campaign break and the lame duck session, and that didn’t happen, either) and now it will be a smaller review – ‘with no major changes in strategy.” Other than those American troop withdrawals will be delayed at least until 2014. Remember when a few weeks ago the military said the Afghan transitional stuff was going better than expected? Wrong narrative when you’re on the international arms sales circuit.
NATO’s spent 19.4 billion on “training” Afghans in the past 7 years. What is the current message for the NATO meeting on Nov 18 in Lisbon ? send more trainers. “No trainers, no transition.”
The only thing McClatchy didn’t mention was that the Taliban and assorted terrorists and homegrown guerrilla combatants traditionally take the winter off in Afghanistan.
And of course, they’re trying to blame Pakistan. You could see this coming a mile down the road. Why would Pakistan wish to interrupt the gravy train of having a foreign country “fighting” your pesky terrorists and selling intelligence to it ? The earlier 2011 date, claims a Pentagon advisor in the story, had Pakistan trying to negotiate a “political settlement instead of military action.”
“This administration now understands that it cannot shift Pakistani approaches to safeguarding its interests in Afghanistan with this date being perceived as a walk-away date,” the adviser said.
And of course, everyone was speaking anonymously. There is now no timeline, nor will Gen. David Petraeus being doing one of his publicity tours, er, testimonies before Congress in December, the way he was all last spring and summer before the latest Afghanistan/Pakistan offensive.
Whoops. Did I say Pakistan.
The continual anti-India aggression of the Pakistan army and the Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI) is fuelled not so much by their love for Kashmir, as by their craving for revenge for defeat in the war of 1971 – which led to the secession of Bengali-speaking East Pakistan as the independent nation of Bangladesh, with India’s help.
President Obama presumably thinks that Washington’s relations with Islamabad will enable him to help resolve tensions. In fact, US military and financial aid to Islamabad has, if anything, only emboldened the Pakistan army to challenge India’s security forces.
Above all, it is Pakistan’s military and the ISI – and not the civilian government – that have been the force behind Pakistan’s foreign policy towards India. Apart from avenging the 1971 war, the military and intelligence establishments need to project India as a threat in order to maintain their hegemony even after the formal end of military rule in 2008. This explains the assistance of Pakistani intelligence for terror groups, such as Lashkar e Taiba, that have carried out attacks in India. An army’s importance is proportional to the level of threat from an “enemy”: a destabilised and militarised India suits that agenda. On Friday, Nov 5, for example, a suicide bomber killed at least 66 people and wounded 80 others at a Sunni mosque in northwest Pakistan, at Darra Adam Khel, near the border where the Taliban have been active. Another mosque attack killed 3 more later in the same day. http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…
Those cheeky Brits always have another version. Vishal Arora writes: ” Unless Washington and New Delhi show themselves capable, as the world’s two largest democracies, of acknowledging their respective failures in achieving their strategic interests in Pakistan, then they are each in the situation of enabling the other’s delusion.” while pointing out that the Pakistani civilian population is also a victim of terrorism.
This was from this past February, from the Guardian UK again, notice how the foreign press of a NATO ally can figure this out- they called it the “Secret War in Pakistan.”
Some segments of the Pakistani military actually support the Taliban. They see the Taliban as a way to ensure a friendly government in Kabul, necessary for strategic depth in a war against India. If the US was to reduce the power of the Taliban, the situation in Pakistan needed to be addressed. Assassination of Taliban leaders using drones began under Bush and the programme quite rightly accelerated under Obama.
So the Pakistani ISI, who sold so many souls into rendition and torture and eventually it landed them in Guantanamo, where Bush and Cheney used their “confessions” as evidence, is playing both sides.
Why is it a secret, anyway ?
McClatchy sure didn’t mention that part.
The shift already has begun privately and came in part because U.S. officials realized that conditions in Afghanistan were unlikely to allow a speedy withdrawal.
Drone war ? What drone war? On November 1, the day before our election, the Guardian had this report. We, as in what is in this country called the CIA of the United State of America, as directed by Leon Panetta, are killing somebodies in North Warziristan, Pakistan, but it’s too dangerous to go and see who, and the United States does not admit they are doing it.
US officials do not acknowledge firing the missiles, much less discuss whom they are targeting. Some locals say many of those killed are civilians; others say nearly all the victims are militants or those actively harbouring them.
There have now been at least 21 suspected US missile strikes in Pakistan this month. There were 21 such attacks in September, nearly double the previous monthly record. They are fired by unmanned drones, equipped with high-powered video cameras, that fly over the region for hours.
In 2009, there were at least 44 drone strikes in Pakistan, and an estimated 700 civilian casualties.
per wikipedia the count of drone attacks so far this year looks to be at least 82. The number of “militants” killed from October to November 7 of this year, per my rough addition, is 152. There is no way to tell if any were civilians, or if any dead person is now classified as a “militant.”
In October of 2010, NATO planes doubled their attacks in Afghanistan to 1000 missions with “weapons releases” in that month alone.
pdf download from wired.com of Air Force Statistics as of 31 Oct 2010 from 2007 to 2010
In the book, “Obama’s Wars,” by Bob Woodward, President Obama said “I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party,” allegedly in a conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Graham, who sits on the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, on November 6th, up in Halifax, Nova Scotia of all places, said that the U.S. should consider bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, sink the Iranian navy, destroy their air force and wipe out the Revolutionary Guard, and neuter the regime. This speech was nicely timed to occur right before the United States and Iran will meet to discuss the topic. Look who else was there:
US Democratic Senator Mark Udall, who joined Graham during a panel discussion at the forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, urged continued sanctions against Iran. But he also noted that “every option is on the table,” a thinly veiled reference to possible military action.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said negotiations were still at “the stage of diplomacy and sanctions.”
“It’s not clear if this will work at the end,” he cautioned.
“Iran is a major threat to any conceivable world order.”
Searching for “Iran” now suddenly brings up a plethora of topics:
Iran to test fire domestically manufactured missiles (Merhr, Tehran) Iran complaining Russia won’t sell them missiles http://www.payvand.com/news/10…
BP Gears to shut down United Kingdom Rhum North Sea Field co owned with the Iranian Oil Company on Iran Sanctions http://www.jpost.com/Headlines…
Iran’s Ahmadinejad to visit Baku, Azerbaijan http://www.eurasianet.org/node… maybe the next door neighbors will be friendlier because the U.N. doesn’t like us
Papal Envoy meets in Tehran with Iran’s Ahmadinejad http://www.businessweek.com/ne… why not everybody else is
Turkey’s PM Erdogan says Iran proposes Nov 23 or Dec 5 as dates for nuclear talks http://news.xinhuanet.com/engl… Erdogan said the issue of nukes may come up during the G20 summit on Thurs and Friday in South Korea when he meets with Obama
N. Korea supplying nuclear technology to Iran and Myanmar: UN Report may go before Security Council today after being blocked by India (Times of India)
Oh, and where’s Waldo ? when this latest news about on ongoing, perpetual Afghan occupation breaks ?
Out of the country.
James McNerney, Boeing’s chairman of the board who serves on an advisory council for the president and made the trip to India, credited Obama with helping to encourage the deals that will enable his company to sell ten C-17 military transport planes to the Indian Air Force as well as 30 737’s to commercial airlines here.
“Having the President here, it helps,” McNerney said. “Ever since the civil nuclear deal which really brought closer ties between India and the United States in a lot of areas, I think the follow-on impact of that has been closer military ties. For the president to state as a priority, by his presence, that closer cooperation, sharing technology across the two countries, can only help. And in this case, it has.”
I maintain that the current President of the United States has quickly adapted to losing a good chunk of the Democratic Party, and that it’s not going to bother him as much as the Democratic Party is going to be bothered by realizing they’ve lost any impact on the President of the same party. And this goes back, again, to his continuing the policies of the last administration. Bush the lesser, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and the PNAC crowd rushed into Iraq, let the de – baathification purge and Iraq civil war begin, and a lot of the Sunni fled to Iran. Professor Juan Cole has been one of the very few people to talk about the impact of what could be 1.5 million refugees. http://www.juancole.com/2009/0… And in an amazingly prescient article written back in 2003, Cole explains why the Shiites in Iraq were not going to easily become an “Americanized” Iraq equivalent of Saudi Arabia, in spite of their wishes- because it was the Baath government that was a force against religious radicalism. http://bostonreview.net/BR28.5… The Shiites, now freed of the Baath’s persecution and attempts at secularization, like Saddam Hussein trying to ban prayers, rebounded and have been attracted to making an Islamic republic. There was a power vacuum in a devastated civilian government, and the Shiite clergy readily took it.
The laws of unintended consequences still are in play.
Not too many run of the mill typical voters, ordinary people voting for “Barack Obama the Democrat” in 2008, could have seen what an Obama presidency would look like in November 2010.