Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan

Is there a Secret Deal on Drone attacks? And Sealed in Blood…

The C.I.A. has carried out hundreds of strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

On a hot day in June 2004, the Pashtun tribesman was lounging inside a mud compound in South Waziristan, speaking by satellite phone to one of the many reporters who regularly interviewed him on how he had fought and humbled Pakistan’s army in the country’s western mountains. He asked one of his followers about the strange, metallic bird hovering above him.

Less than 24 hours later, a missile tore through the compound, severing Mr. Nek Muhammad’s left leg and killing him and several others, including two boys, ages 10 and 16.

A Pakistani military spokesman was quick to claim responsibility for the attack, saying that Pakistani forces had fired at the compound. “In Pakistan, things fall out of the sky all the time.”

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, the former Pakistani president military dictator whose government reached a deal with the C.I.A., allowing it to carry out secret drone strikes in Pakistan.

 

“Mr. Nek Muhammad and his followers had been killed by the C.I.A., the first time it had deployed a Predator drone in Pakistan to carry out a “targeted killing.” The target was not a top operative of Al Qaeda, but a Pakistani ally of the Taliban who led a tribal rebellion and was marked by Pakistan as an enemy of the state.

By 2004, the car thief Mr. Muhammad had become the undisputed star of the tribal areas, the fierce mountain lands populated by the Wazirs, Mehsuds and other Pashtun tribes who for decades had lived independent of the writ of the central government in Islamabad.

A brash member of the Wazir tribe, Mr. Muhammad had raised an army to fight government troops and had forced the government into negotiations. He saw no cause for loyalty to the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani military spy service that had given an earlier generation of Pashtuns support during the war against the Soviets.

Born near Wana, the bustling market hub of South Waziristan, Mr. Muhammad spent his adolescent years as a petty car thief and shopkeeper in the city’s bazaar. He found his calling in 1993, around the age of 18, when he was recruited to fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and rose quickly through the group’s military hierarchy.

He cut a striking figure on the battlefield with his long face and flowing jet black hair.

Nek Muhammad knew he was being followed.

Kamran Wazir/Reuters. Nek Muhammad, center, was a Pashtun militant who was killed in 2004, in the first C.I.A. drone strike in Pakistan.

In a secret deal, the C.I.A. had agreed to kill Nek in exchange for access to airspace it had long sought so it could use drones to hunt down its own enemies.

That back-room bargain, described in detail for the first time in interviews with more than a dozen officials in Pakistan and the United States, is critical to understanding the origins of a covert drone war that began under the Bush administration, was embraced and expanded by President Obama, and is now the subject of fierce debate.

The deal, a month after a blistering internal report about abuses in the C.I.A.’s network of secret prisons, paved the way for the C.I.A. to change its focus from capturing terrorists to killing them, and helped transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization

 The New York Times. Enlarge This Image

REMOTE Wana, in South Waziristan, where Pashtuns live independent of the Pakistani government’s authority and have given shelter to militants. Enlarge This Image

TARGET Mr. Muhammad, a Pashtun militant leader, reached a truce with the Pakistani military in April 2004. But the truce was a sham and two months later he was killed in a C.I.A. drone strike at Pakistan’s behest. Enlarge This Image

Allah Noor Wazir/European Pressphoto Agency. Tribesmen praying at Mr. Muhammad’s grave days after his killing. Enlarge This Image

The C.I.A. has since conducted hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan that have killed thousands of people, Pakistanis and Arabs, militants and civilians alike. While it was not the first country where the United States used drones, it became the laboratory for the targeted killing operations that have come to define a new American way of fighting, blurring the line between soldiers and spies and short-circuiting the normal mechanisms by which the United States as a nation goes to war.

Neither American nor Pakistani officials have ever publicly acknowledged what really happened to Mr. Muhammad — details of the strike that killed him, along with those of other secret strikes, are still hidden in classified government databases.

But in recent months, calls for transparency from members of Congress and critics on both the right and left have put pressure on Mr. Obama and his new C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, to offer a fuller explanation of the goals and operation of the drone program, and of the agency’s role.

Mr. Brennan, who began his career at the C.I.A. and over the past four years oversaw an escalation of drone strikes from his office at the White House, has signaled that he hopes to return the agency to its traditional role of intelligence collection and analysis. But with a generation of C.I.A. officers now fully engaged in a new mission, it is an effort that could take years.

Today, even some of the people who were present at the creation of the drone program think the agency should have long given up targeted killings.

Ross Newland, who was a senior official at the C.I.A.’s headquarters in Langley, Va., when the agency was given the authority to kill Qaeda operatives, says he thinks that the agency had grown too comfortable with remote-control killing, and that drones have turned the C.I.A. into the villain in countries like Pakistan, where it should be nurturing relationships in order to gather intelligence.

As he puts it, “This is just not an intelligence mission.”

Alex Wong/Getty Images. SPY CHIEFS George J. Tenet, left, director of the C.I.A., and his deputy, John E. McLaughlin, are sworn in before the 9/11 panel in 2004. Enlarge This Image

Many Pakistanis in the tribal areas viewed with disdain the alliance that President Pervez Musharraf had forged with the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They regarded the Pakistani military that had entered the tribal areas as no different from the Americans — who they believed had begun a war of aggression in Afghanistan, just as the Soviets had years earlier.

When the Americans invaded Afghanistan in 2001, Nek seized an opportunity to host the Arab and Chechen fighters from Al Qaeda who crossed into Pakistan to escape the American bombing.

For Mr. Muhammad, it was partly a way to make money, but he also saw another use for the arriving fighters. With their help, over the next two years he launched a string of attacks on Pakistani military installations and on American firebases in Afghanistan.

C.I.A. officers in Islamabad urged Pakistani spies to lean on the Waziri tribesman to hand over the foreign fighters, but under Pashtun tribal customs that would be treachery.

Reluctantly, Mr. Musharraf ordered his troops into the forbidding mountains to deliver rough justice to Mr. Muhammad and his fighters, hoping the operation might put a stop to the attacks on Pakistani soil, including two attempts on his life in December 2003.

But it was only the beginning. In March 2004, Pakistani helicopter gunships and artillery pounded Wana and its surrounding villages. Government troops shelled pickup trucks that were carrying civilians away from the fighting and destroyed the compounds of tribesmen suspected of harboring foreign fighters. The Pakistani commander declared the operation an unqualified success, but for Islamabad, it had not been worth the cost in casualties.

A cease-fire was negotiated in April during a hastily arranged meeting in South Waziristan, during which a senior Pakistani commander hung a garland of bright flowers around Mr. Muhammad’s neck. The two men sat together and sipped tea as photographers and television cameras recorded the event.

Both sides spoke of peace, but there was little doubt who was negotiating from strength. Mr. Muhammad would later brag that the government had agreed to meet inside a religious madrasa rather than in a public location where tribal meetings are traditionally held. “I did Not go to them; they came to my place,” he said. “That should make it clear who surrendered to whom.”

The peace arrangement propelled Mr. Muhammad to new fame, and the truce was soon exposed as a sham. He resumed attacks against Pakistani troops, and Mr. Musharraf ordered his army back on the offensive in South Waziristan.

Pakistani officials had, for several years, balked at the idea of allowing armed C.I.A. Predators to roam their skies. They considered drone flights a violation of sovereignty, and worried that they would invite further criticism of Mr. Musharraf as being Washington’s lackey. But Mr. Muhammad’s rise to power forced them to reconsider.

The C.I.A. had been monitoring the rise of Mr. Muhammad, but officials considered him to be more Pakistan’s problem than America’s. In Washington, officials were watching with growing alarm the gathering of Qaeda operatives in the tribal areas, and George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director, authorized officers in the agency’s Islamabad station to push Pakistani officials to allow armed drones. Negotiations were handled primarily by the Islamabad station.

As the battles raged in South Waziristan, the station chief in Islamabad paid a visit to Gen. Ehsan ul Haq, the ISI chief, and made an offer: If the C.I.A. killed Mr. Muhammad, would the ISI allow regular armed drone flights over the tribal areas?

In secret negotiations, the terms of the bargain were set. Pakistani intelligence officials insisted that they be allowed to approve each drone strike, giving them tight control over the list of targets. And they insisted that drones fly only in narrow parts of the tribal areas — ensuring that they would not venture where Islamabad did not want the Americans going: Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, and the mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India.

The ISI and the C.I.A. agreed that all drone flights in Pakistan would operate under the C.I.A.’s covert action authority — meaning that the United States would never acknowledge the missile strikes and that Pakistan would either take credit for the individual killings or remain silent.

Mr. Musharraf did not think that it would be difficult to keep up the ruse. As he told one C.I.A. officer: “In Pakistan, things fall out of the sky all the time.”

A New Direction

As the negotiations were taking place, the C.I.A.’s inspector general, John L. Helgerson, had just finished a searing report about the abuse of detainees in the C.I.A.’s secret prisons. The report kicked out the foundation upon which the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program had rested. It was perhaps the single most important reason for the C.I.A.’s shift from capturing to killing terrorism suspects.

The greatest impact of Mr. Helgerson’s report was felt at the C.I.A.’s Counter-terrorism Center, or CTC, which was at the vanguard of the agency’s global anti-terrorism operation. The center had focused on capturing Qaeda operatives; questioning them in C.I.A. jails or outsourcing interrogations to the spy services of Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt and other nations; and then using the information to hunt more terrorism suspects.

Mr. Helgerson raised questions about whether C.I.A. officers might face criminal prosecution for the interrogations carried out in the secret prisons, and he suggested that interrogation methods like waterboarding, sleep deprivation and the exploiting of the phobias of prisoners — like confining them in a small box with live bugs — violated the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

“The agency faces potentially serious long-term political and legal challenges as a result of the CTC detention and interrogation program,” the report concluded, given the brutality of the interrogation techniques and the “inability of the U.S. government to decide what it will ultimately do with the terrorists detained by the agency.”

The report was the beginning of the end for the program. The prisons would stay open for several more years, and new detainees were occasionally picked up and taken to secret sites, but at Langley, senior C.I.A. officers began looking for an endgame to the prison program. One C.I.A. operative told Mr. Helgerson’s team that officers from the agency might one day wind up on a “wanted list” and be tried for war crimes in an international court.

The ground had shifted, and counterterrorism officials began to rethink the strategy for the secret war. Armed drones, and targeted killings in general, offered a new direction. Killing by remote control was the antithesis of the dirty, intimate work of interrogation. Targeted killings were cheered by Republicans and Democrats alike, and using drones flown by pilots who were stationed thousands of miles away made the whole strategy seem risk-free.

Before long the C.I.A. would go from being the long-term jailer of America’s enemies to a military organization that erased them.

Not long before, the agency had been deeply ambivalent about drone warfare.

The Predator had been considered a blunt and unsophisticated killing tool, and many at the C.I.A. were glad that the agency had gotten out of the assassination business long ago. Three years before Mr. Muhammad’s death, and one year before the C.I.A. carried out its first targeted killing outside a war zone — in Yemen in 2002 — a debate raged over the legality and morality of using drones to kill suspected terrorists.

A new generation of C.I.A. officers had ascended to leadership positions, having joined the agency after the 1975 Congressional committee led by Senator Frank Church, Democrat of Idaho, which revealed extensive C.I.A. plots to kill foreign leaders, and President Gerald Ford’s subsequent ban on assassinations. The rise to power of this post-Church generation had a direct impact on the type of clandestine operations the C.I.A. chose to conduct.

The debate pitted a group of senior officers at the Counterterrorism Center against James L. Pavitt, the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, and others who worried about the repercussions of the agency’s getting back into assassinations. Mr. Tenet told the 9/11 commission that he was not sure that a spy agency should be flying armed drones.

John E. McLaughlin, then the C.I.A.’s deputy director, who the 9/11 commission reported had raised concerns about the C.I.A.’s being in charge of the Predator, said: “You can’t underestimate the cultural change that comes with gaining lethal authority.

“When people say to me, ‘It’s not a big deal,’ ” he said, “I say to them, ‘Have you ever killed anyone?’

“It is a big deal. You start thinking about things differently,” he added. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, these concerns about the use of the C.I.A. to kill were quickly swept side.

The Account at the Time

After Mr. Muhammad was killed, his dirt grave in South Waziristan became a site of pilgrimage. A Pakistani journalist, Zahid Hussain, visited it days after the drone strike and saw a makeshift sign displayed on the grave: “He lived and died like a true Pashtun.”

Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan’s top military spokesman, told reporters at the time that “Al Qaeda facilitator” Nek Muhammad and four other “militants” had been killed in a rocket attack by Pakistani troops.

Any suggestion that Mr. Muhammad was killed by the Americans, or with American assistance, he said, was “absolutely absurd.”

This article is adapted from “The Way of the Knife: The C.I.A., a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth,” to be published by Penguin Press on Tuesday.

A version of this article appeared in print on April 7, 2013.

Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 175

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pa attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

The confessional and religious divisions embedded in Lebanon’s system (since its creation) along with political familism[3] contribute to restrain the effective participation and emergence of new actors, notably women, thus limiting political turnover.

Next country the US is planning to destabilize is Pakistan. A decade of troubles to China and Russia?

Classifying biological weapons according to effects on specific races is the ultimate racist mentality.

Can we stop this masquerade? All businesses dealt with Germany and the USA, without exception, before, during and after WWI and WWII

If WWI was a colonial war, WWII was for disseminating USA hegemony. Dropping 2 atomic bombs on Japan was the Message. It alienated many allies, first of all, Stalin of the Soviet Union. We are still succumbing to this strategy.

Tu dois etre une coquette madame. Ta petite fille t’ observe and fais comme toi.

After WWII, businessmen sided with USA and most scientists defected to Soviet Union.

Growth in a capitalist system is a total nonsense: transactions in paper money increase, but the productivity of the society is in a free fall.

During the Ottoman Empire, Aleppo was the second most important city after Istanbul. Erdogan plan was to take over this city. Failing this, he stole all the industrial equipment and machinery and tried to destroy the city. Aleppo is back competing with the most industrial cities in Turkey

Absolute Monarchic Jordan counting the number of bread loafs consumed by Syrian refugees. Why it does Not emulate Angelina Jolie who focused on the dignity of the Syrian people?

Iza al Souri bi Sutchi ettabak 3ala Doustour, UN wa Vienna bit sour warana

Hezbollah ghannaj Nabih Berry kteer 7atta rekeb 3ala ktafhon wa baltaj bi esmihem. Ma te dakhlo majaaless mazhabiyyat “shar3iyyat” bi moumarassat al baltajat 

Urgent: ta3yyeen mas2oul fi Hezbollah la temsse7 joukh Nabih. Khallo al Sayyed yehtam bil mashakel al kharijiyyat. Ma 7ada fi ye la7e2 3ala dala3 wa terdayyet khawater Nabih

 

While USA has long-term destabilizing policies, China executes its far-sighted economic expansion. Pipeline of Iran/Pakistan

Now that there are no reasons for sanctions against Iran, China is resuming its economic plans in the region.

China has the cash for economic development and not for investing in preemptive wars as traditional colonial powers are used to control the world.

 

ISLAMABAD—China will build a pipeline to bring natural gas from Iran to Pakistan to help address Pakistan’s acute energy shortage, under a deal to be signed during the Chinese president’s visit to Islamabad this month, Pakistani officials said.

The arrival of President Xi Jinping is expected to showcase China’s commitment to infrastructure development in ally Pakistan, at a time when few other countries are willing to make major investments in the cash-strapped, terrorism-plagued country.

Saeed Shah posted on April 9, 2015

The pipeline would amount to an early benefit for both Pakistan and Iran from the framework agreement reached earlier this month between Tehran and the U.S. and other world powers to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The U.S. had previously threatened Pakistan with sanctions if it went ahead with the project.

“We’re building it,” Pakistani Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasitold The Wall Street Journal. “The process has started.”

In Washington, U.S. officials said details of sanctions will be negotiated as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran due in June.

“We aren’t going to speculate as to how any solutions we may reach in that regard could impact on any particular proposed business ventures,” a State Department official said late Wednesday, adding that “significant support to Iran’s energy sector, such as providing significant investment or technology,” could still result in sanctions under the framework agreement last week.

ENLARGE

Dubbed the “Peace Pipeline,” the project will further bolster improving ties between Pakistan and Iran, uneasy neighbors for decades as a result of Pakistan’s ties to Iran’s long-term adversaries, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

The pipeline will bring much-needed gas to Pakistan, which suffers from a crippling electricity deficit because of a shortage of fuel for its power-generation plants.

Pakistan has been negotiating for months behind the scenes for China to build the Pakistani portion of the pipeline, which will cost up to $2 billion.

Tehran says that its 560-mile (900-kilometer) part of the pipeline from an Iranian gas field is complete and has long pressed Pakistan to build its part of the scheme.

Pakistan hasn’t begun construction, however, in light of threatened U.S. sanctions for trading with Iran.

Islamabad had sought to work around the sanctions by asking the Chinese to build the pipeline but not yet connect it to the Iranian portion.

The prospect of an Iran nuclear agreement, which would ease sanctions in stages once the deal is completed, has given Islamabad further impetus to clear the project.

Among the first sanctions to be lifted, according to the framework accord, would be the ban on Iran energy exports.

“This [Iran nuclear agreement] will help us in getting a few things which were coming into the way of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to be cleared and we will move forward,” Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran, Noor Muhammad Jadmani, said Sunday in Tehran, according a report on IRNA, the official Iranian news agency.

Pakistan is negotiating with China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau, a subsidiary of Chinese energy giant China National Petroleum Corporation, to build 435 miles (700 kilometers) of pipeline from the western Pakistani port of Gwadar to Nawabshah in the southern province of Sindh, where it will connect to Pakistan’s existing gas-distribution pipeline network.

China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau referred questions to CNPC, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The cost would be $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion for the pipeline, or $2 billion if an optional Liquefied Natural Gas terminal at Gwadar is included in the scheme. Under the deal, 85% of the financing will be provided by a Chinese loan, with Pakistan coming up with the rest.

The remaining 50 miles (80 kilometers), from Gwadar to the Iranian border, will be built by Pakistan.

The pipeline, which would take two years to build, would eventually supply Pakistan with enough gas to fuel 4,500 megawatts of electricity generation—almost as much as the country’s entire current electricity shortfall.

The pipeline would give Iran a market to its east for its gas. The pipeline scheme, conceived in 1995, originally was supposed to extend to India. Tehran blames U.S. pressure for India dropping out in 2009.

Islamabad believes the Iranian gas is the cheapest and simplest energy supply option for Pakistan.

Pakistan will also start to take liquefied natural gas from Qatar, and it remains in protracted multicountry negotiations over a pipeline that would bring gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to supply Pakistan and India. Washington had long lobbied Pakistan to go for the Turkmenistan pipeline instead of the Iranian one.

The Chinese president’s visit, which has been postponed at least twice, is now expected on or around April 19.

Pakistan has had a close strategic alliance with China for decades—aimed mostly against common foe India—but now Beijing is seeking to add an economic dimension to the relationship.

Islamabad and Beijing plan an “economic corridor” linking the Pakistani port of Gwadar, which is under Chinese management, to southwestern China with road and rail connections. The highly ambitious program, which also includes power-generation projects, carries a price tag of some $40 billion. Unveiling agreements and details for the economic corridor will form a center piece of Mr. Xi’s visit.

The Iran pipeline isn’t part of the economic corridor but it will be separately fast-tracked, Pakistani officials said.

“The Chinese have an expertise, a willingness to come here, and also work in areas which are not considered to be very safe,” said Hamayoun Khan, director of the Pakistan Council on China, an independent think tank based in Islamabad.

Jeremy Page in Beijing contributed to this article.

Write to Saeed Shah at saeed.shah@wsj.com

Asad Ghsoub shared this link on FB

This is big if it goes ahead after being halted for a long time and can kiss Pakistani intervention in Yemen goodbye

A project long thwarted by international sanctions on Tehran is flickering back to life as Islamabad gives it a go-ahead in light of the international framework accord on Iran’s nuclear program.
wsj.com|By Saeed Shah

 

Why I can’t celebrate Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this Friday to India’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education.

That is great news, and it might almost mean Nobel Peace Prize makes sense again.

Mind you that this year prize is meaningful after being awarded to Barack Obama in 2009 “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”,

This prize  was also awarded to European Union in 2012 “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe” (at least this make sense, while the Obama excuse is pretty lame and totally erroneous).

(Again, international politics abridge the years that a person has to struggle before being considered for a prize. Though Kailash Satyarthi has already served his dues after 14 years of steadfast struggles to prohibit kids from being used as labor in India. He managed to save 75,000 kids from this awful state of slavery)

Still, there is something that really troubles me. How come we (meaning the West) always recognize the “devils” of the East, the torments children like Malala had to and have to go through (in her case, with the Taliban), but always fail to recognize our own participation in creating those “devils”?

How come we never talk about the things our governments are doing to the children of Pakistan, or Syria, or Iraq, or Palestine, or Yemen?

Let’s just take drone strikes as an example. Last year’s tweet by George Galloway might illustrate this hypocrisy.

10494696_10205086935471637_7493940445304227766_n

Galloway is absolutely right. We would never even know her name.

But, since Malala’s story fits into the western narrative of the oriental oppression (in which the context underlying the creation of the oppression is left out), we all know Malala’s name. Like Assed Baig writes:

This is a story of a native girl being saved by the white man. Flown to the UK, the Western world can feel good about itself as they save the native woman from the savage men of her home nation. It is a historic racist narrative that has been institutionalized.

Journalists and politicians were falling over themselves to report and comment on the case. The story of an innocent brown child that was shot by savages for demanding an education and along comes the knight in shining armour to save her. 

The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations the wars all seem justified now, ‘see, we told you, this is why we intervene to save the natives.’”

The problem is, there are thousands of Malalas that the West helped create with endless wars, occupations, interventions, drone strikes, etc.

In Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, one can hear how little we know about the drone strikes – its aims, targets, results. Right now we have the executive branch making a claim that it has the right to kill anyone, anywhere on Earth, at any time, for secret reasons based on secret evidence, in a secret process undertaken by unidentified officials. That frightens me.

This is how Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown professor and former Pentagon official under President Obama, explained the US policy on drone strikes during a congressional hearing last year.

The following photo presents the piece that was installed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, close to Pakistan’s northwest border with Afghanistan, by an art collective that includes Pakistanis, Americans and others associated with the French artist JR.

The collective said it produced the work in the hope that U.S. drone operators will see the human face of their victims in a region that has been the target of frequent strikes.

foto/photo via notabugsplat/

That is the reality we are not being presented with.

Another reality is the story of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, 14-year-old Iraqi girl, who was gang raped by five U.S. Army soldiers and killed in her house in Yusufiyah (Iraq) in 2006.

She was raped and murdered after her parents and six-year-old sister Hadeel Qasim Hamza were killed.

Also not irrelevant to mention is that Abeer was going to school before the US invasion but had to stop going because of her father’s concerns for her safety.

article-0-0C89D3B2000005DC-51_634x548Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi

And while the West applauds Malala (as they should), I am afraid it might be for the wrong reasons, or with a wrong perspective.

It feels like the West wants to gain an agenda that suits them or the policies they want.

That is also why Malala’s views on Islam are rarely presented.

She uses her faith as a framework to argue for the importance of education rather than making Islam a justification for oppression, but that is rarely mentioned. It also “doesn’t fit”.

So, my thoughts were mixed this Friday when I heard the news about the Nobel Peace Prize. On so many levels. They still are. We’ve entered a new war, and peace prize award ceremonies seem ridiculous after looking at this photo.

tumblr_nd1ycaClBV1tgyqboo1_1280“They say that if God loves you, He will let you live a long life, but I wish that He loved me a little less. I wish that I didn’t live long enough to see my country in ruins.”  Ahmad, a 102 year old Syrian refugee /photo by A. McConnell, UNHCR/

Sure, we must acknowledge the efforts of those who are fighting for a better world, but when it is done in a way that feels so calculated, unidimensional, loaded with secret agendas and tons of hypocrisy – I just can’t celebrate it.

“Salam 3alikum. Happy Xmas”: And two drones attacks on this 3eid

Do you that the biggest ever bombing campaign by US B-52 bombers took place over Christmas 40 years ago, when the US dropped 20,000 tonnes of explosives on North Vietnam.

What is it that “belligerent” parties strike during the holidays? In ancient times, annual celebrations were respected.

And while Santa Claus is distributing gifts in the West, Obama is sending drone strikes to Yemen! Another drone strike hits Yemeni soil today!

‏Sam Waddah posted on FB:

I strongly believe that the problem is not with the US administration striking drones, but rather with our government approving of them!

Drone strikes decreased in Pakistan by 41% in 2011 and another 40% in 2012 because the Pakistani government started to disapprove of them!

On the other hand, US drone strikes in Yemen have increased by 240% in 2011, and another 250% in 2012, simply because our Yemeni president “approves of them”?
Unless our government values Yemeni blood and opposes drone strikes, Obama Claus will keep increasingly bringing us drones in 2013 and so forth!

Are we victims of our leaders, more than we are of the US!

Merry Christmas from Yemen!

Christmas day was a day of double drone strikes in Yemen, killing five ‘suspected’ militants. The first drone strike killed two people travelling in a vehicle in a southern town, al-Bayda province on Monday.

In the second attack, which also occurred on Monday, the unmanned aircraft fired missiles at three people riding on two motorcycles travelling in Hadramout province, killing all three men.

Photo

Omar Mash, a Yemeni blogger, tweeted:

@Omar_Mash: ‘Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.. bombs engraved with ‘MADE IN USA’ rain over Arabia’s oldest civilisation’ #Yemen

@Omar_Mash: As Americans take time out to feast and celebrate w their families, let it be known that their Gov is destroying Yemeni families #NoDrones

@Omar_Mash: They stole our revolution, they enforced their version of stability, they make it rain with their bombs from our sky. Merry Xmas from #Yemen

Glenn Greenwald, a columnist and blogger for the Guardian, replied:

@ggreenwald Not just any gift: from a Peace Nobel laureate! RT @imothanaYemen 2 US drone strikes in Yemen today. Should we consider them a Christmas gift?!

How “Three cups of tea” generated 80 schools for little girls?

Greg Mortenson was readying on September 1993 to give the final assault to climb the second highest peak of K2 in the Baltistan district in the Karakoram region (north-east of Pakistan). The team of 10 alpinists (mount climbers) has been preparing for months for that adventure. Mortenson was to be the physician of the team: He was a graduate student in chemistry and a certified nurse and worked in the emergency sections of hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area.

Instead of taking the traditional path on the south-east opening of the team of Count Abruzzi 7 decades ago, the team of Mortenson decided to try the new path that the Japanese Eiho Otani and the Pakistani Nazir Sabir had opened 12 years ago.

Mortenson, a football player, 193 cm tall and weighting over 200 pounds, was naturally selected to be the beast of burden for carrying supplies, equipment and … to the various bases during the climb. Scot Darsney was assisting him.

The chiefs of the expedition were the veteran Daniel Mazur, Jonathan Pratt, and Etienne Fine.

After 70 days of ascent, Greg and Scott reached the base. They were arriving from a supply mission that lasted 96 hours and were about to hit the sac when they saw the distress emergency light signal on the last base (last 600 meters to climb). Etienne Fine was in bad shape with pulmonary edema due to altitude.

The two climbers tried to find volunteers from the different climbing teams on base, and ended up doing the climb on their own. Mazur and Pratt were descending from Camp 4 at 7,600 altitude and caring for Etienne.

Over 72 hours later, the Pakistani army commanded that the team carry Etienne to a lower base for the evacuation by helicopter. By the time Etienne was evacuated, Greg and Scott had used up the last of their energy and were unable to rejoin Mazur and Pratt for the final assault.

Mazur and Pratt finally made it a week later and announced their victory.

On Sept. 2, 1993, Greg and Scott were en route for yet another supply mission when Greg lost track of Scott and his helper Mouzafer Ali. All the important supplies and warm cloths were carried by Ali.

Mortenson was lost, alone and in environment not familiar to him. The next day, by hazard, Mouzafer found Greg and immediately made him drink 3 hot cups of the rancid tea with Yak butter, the local paiyu tchai.

Mouzafer Ali was a Balti who saved Greg from certain death as he got lost in the Baltoro glacier.

Mortenson again lost track of Mouzafer and ended up in the village of Korphe instead of Askole where Ali was waiting for him.

How these 3 cups of tea and the way the Nurmadhar (chief) of Korphe, Hajji Ali, treated Greg and cared for him for many weeks until Mortenson was in shape to resume his life is the story that generated over 80 schools in North Pakistan by the year 2006, and increasing steadily, to cover the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan.

As Greg was recuperating his energy in Korphe, he asked Hajji Ali to show him the village school: 82 kids and only 4 girls were studying in the open freezing air, writing on the sand, shoeless, and learning on their own: An instructor shows up twice a week to teach these kids because the regional government could not afford another single dollar per day for a second teacher… While Pakistan was pouring its wealth on the Siachen glacier to pound the Indian army for part of Kashmir.

Greg laid his hands on Hajii Ali shoulders and promised that he will build a school in Korphe…

How Mortenson started his adventure of collecting funds and establishing the Central Asia Institute is another story… to follow.

Note: Journalist David Olivier Relin wrote the book “Three cups of Tea” after recording Mortenson diaries, conversations, and pictures and witnesses

On Dec. 4, 2012, the UN general assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to open its nuclear program for inspection.

The resolution, approved by a vote of 174 to 6, with six abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) “without further delay” and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Those voting against were Israel, the US, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. (Yes, Canada is under US mandated power like the other pseudo Island-States)

Resolutions adopted by the 193-member general assembly are not legally binding but they do reflect world opinion and carry moral and political weight.

And the resolution adds to pressure on Israel as it faces criticism over plans to increase settlement in the West Bank, a move seen as retaliation for the assembly recognizing Palestinian statehood.

Israel refuses to confirm or deny possessing nuclear bombs, though it is widely believed to have them.

Israel has refused to join the non-proliferation treaty along with three nuclear weapon states: India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Israel insists there must first be a Middle East peace agreement before the establishment of a proposed regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction. (sort of vying for unbalanced negotiation terms?)

Israel “rivals” in the region argue that Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal presents the greatest threat to peace in the region.

While the US voted against the resolution, it voted in favour of two paragraphs in it that were put to separate votes. Both support universal adherence to the NPT and call on those countries that aren’t parties to ratify it “at the earliest date”.

The only no votes on those paragraphs were Israel and India.

The vote came as a sequel to the cancellation of a high-level conference aimed at banning nuclear weapons from the Middle East.

All the Arab nations and Iran had planned to attend the summit in mid-December in Helsinki, Finland, but the US announced on 23 November that it would not take place, citing political turmoil in the region and Iran’s defiant stance on non-proliferation.

Iran and some Arab nations countered that the real reason for the cancellation was Israel’s refusal to attend.

Just before Monday’s vote, the Iranian diplomat Khodadad Seifi told the assembly “the truth is that the Israeli regime is the only party which rejected to conditions for a conference”.

Seifi called for “strong pressure on that regime to participate in the conference without any preconditions”.

The Guardian

Despite not having any nuclear warheads or even the capability to produce them, Iran has come under intense international pressure and sanctions — which affects civilians and is causing food insecurity and mass suffering.

In comparison, Israel, who has at least 200 nuclear warheads and does not allow inspectors into its secretive nuclear weapons program, has not been hit by any sanctions nor has come under any substantial international pressure.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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