Tag Archives: militants

Are Radical Muslims Really That Important?

A basic assumption of Fox News and American right wing pundits is that Muslim fanatics are powerful forces in the world and they inflame millions of people as part of their crusade against the Christian West. If one listened to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, Muslim militants are behind all the terrorism in the world. The incident a few years ago of a Danish cartoonist drawing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad with a turban shaped like a bomb is often cited to prove that Muslims seek to stifle freedom of speech and the press. Yesterday, a group of Muslim protestors hauled down the Swedish flag in Malaysia and demanded censorship of such cartoons. Actually, the “crowd” consisted of 200 hundred men and another protest drew about 50.

A question to pose is whether the West had wildly exaggerated the influence or power of the so called “Muslim militants.” Were they ever as powerful as imagined in the West? Perhaps, inadvertently in giving notice to small groups the West has created the monster.

Somalia Crisis Worsens As Bombs Kill Dozens

Two years ago, President Bush encouraged the Ethiopian government to invade the Muslim nation of Somalia and overthrow its government. Bush feared the presence of an Islamist fundamentalist government posed a threat to American interests. The invading Christian Ethiopians opened the door for Islamist militants to resume guerrilla warfare. A wave of synchronised suicide attacks on UN, and diplomatic and government institutions. The careful organization of the suicide bombers was unusual for a Somalia militant operation. It indicates there is growing sophistication in resistance on the part of Islamic forces.

The attacks focused on institutions such as the Ethiopian consulate, ministry offices, and UN aid organizations. The situation has grown worse, not better since the American sponsored invasion took place. Perhaps, it is time to discuss with militants about the possibility of a coalition government.

Militants Pouring Into Pakistan From Afghanistan

Militants engaged in fighting against Pakistani army forces increasingly are coming from Afghanistan. After years of complaints from the United States and the Afghan government about failure to fight tribal groups and militants in the northwest, Pakistan now confronts the reality of insurgents receiving support including weapons from sources in Afghanistan. Pakistani military leaders believe they are dealing with militants who were in Afghanistan but have crossed the border to fight in Pakistan. American forces have launched several military strikes into Pakistan which have resulted in both the deaths of militants and civilians. One Pakistani official complained, “heavy weapons are coming(in). The militants are coming… they are crossing into our territory.”

It is easy for the Bush administration to constantly complain about failure on the part of Pakistani armed forces to handle militants, but one must not forget the entire problem was created by Bush when he failed to complete the task of 2001-2002 to crush the Taliban and capture Osama bin Laden.

Zardari Becomes Pakistan President– Now What?

There was scant suspense as to who would be elected president of Pakistan since the Pakistan People’s Party(PPP)which has a majority was bound to have its leader, Asif Ali Zardari assume that position. However, he inherits a society that is fragmented, angry, confused, and divided as to how to proceed. Zardari, widower of the popular hero, Benazir Bhutto, must now deal with a host of problems and there is nothing in his background to suggest he has the capability of being an effective leader. Nighat Anis, a retired teacher in Islamabad, summed up the feeling of many when she said: “my worries are terrorism and rising prices, not the politics. Our children are either becoming militants, suicide bombers or victims of terrorist attacks. If he does it(solve problems)the whole nation will support him.”

Many people believe Pakistan support for the war in Afghanistan is a major reason why there nation is being targeted for terrorist attacks. Noor Ali, a fruit vendor, expressed the frustration of many, “Tell him we don’t want any more fighting. We want peace.” There undoubtedly is strong support for driving the Taliban from Pakistan soil, the problem is how to achieve that goal.

Most probably, at the core of conflict in Pakistan is the need to create a viable economy such as that found in India, one which offers economic opportunities to all within society.

Coalition Forces Attack Pakistan Areas

NATO led forces in Afghanistan launched an attack on militant positions inside Pakistan after receiving hostile fire from those locations. Coalition troops used helicopters and artillery to fire into Pakistan after coming under rocket attack from the Pakistani side of the border. An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) “received multiple rocket attacks from militants inside Pakistan” said a statement, and they responded with a combination of firing from attack helicopters and shooting artillery into Pakistan.” Claims by Pakistan sources earlier this week about a NATO build up angered local inhabitants who vowed to take up arms against foreigners.

Despite attempts to cooperate between both sides of the border, Afghan leaders have blamed the Pakistani Intelligence Agency for supporting militants who are attacking into their country.

Taiban militants took over the US base which was abandoned after nine American soldiers were killed. As summer approaches, Afghanistan can expect further attacks from the ever increasing more powerful Taliban forces.

Pakistan Pledges No Agreement With Militants

The Pakistan government has been under extensive criticism for its failure to crush militants in the northwest region of its county. Prime Minister Youssef Raza Gilani, told visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, his country wants to work to end terrorism in his nation. However, he emphasized, Pakistan is fighting the war on terror in its own interests and the government will never negotiate with terrorists. Gilani said “the government will welcome and initiate political dialogue with those elements who lay down their arms..We will, however, never negotiate with militants or allow foreigners to use our soil against another country.”

Gilani was insistent the war against terrorism could not be won alone by the military but must be accompanied by an extensive economic assistance program in the northwest region. Although, he never clearly mentioned the United States, his statement can be interpreted as a request for economic assistance and a warning against American interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan.

Afghanistan Deaths Set Record

The good news is deaths are declining in Iraq, the bad news is just as those go down, the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan has risen. In fact, June marked the second straight month in which deaths of coalition and US forces exceeded those fighting in Iraq. Defense Secretary Robert Gates blames the death rise in Afghanistan on the Iraq situation, but most experts believe we are witnessing a stronger and more well organized militancy in Afghanistan that is able to gain power due to the ineffectual government of President Karzai. There were 45 deaths of coalition troops in June including 27 Americans and 12 British soldiers. For example, in Ghazni province, a Taliban rocket attack destroyed a Humvee with the loss of three American soldiers.

Mustafa Alani, of the Gulf Research Center, says, “I think possible we’ve reached a new turning point. Insurgents are now more active, more organized and the political environment whether in Pakistan or Afghanistan favors insurgent activities. The bottom line is the lack of a short or long term plan of action on dealing with insurgency in Afghanistan. Is anyone in charge is the terrifying question to pose.

Homeland Security Head Urges Pakistan To Fight

Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff warned Pakistan to fight back against terrorism or they will experience future attacks like the one which led to the death of Beazir Buhtto. He said extremists are a threat to the security of Pakistan and it was important for the Pakistan govenment to see that “it ensures control and strikes back against terrorism,” he told reporters at Bagram base near Kabul in Afghanistan. There was no response from the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan, but it appears the Pakistan government is moving along a different road to peace than the one being followed by the Bush administration. Its government reached an accord in the Mohammand Agency that will ensure a halt to Taliban attacks. A meeting of elders in a jirga with Taliban representatives resulted in assurances from the terror group they will cease attacking government officials and made it a point to state that females wearing veils would not be attacked.

The Pakistan government has insiste it was working to reach agreements with miitants who are ready to lay down their arms and did not consider such negotiations to constitute cooperating with terrorism.

Turkish Diplomat Reveals Secret Iraq War Negotiations

A veteran Turkish diplomat who led his nation’s delegation in discussing possible entry into the Iraq war on the side of the United States believes failure to do so prevented dealing with Kurdish rebels. Ambassador Deniz Boiukasi said Turkey’s parliament in March, 2003, narrowly rejected a government motion to militarily cooperate with the US invasion of Iraq. He points out in a new book that if Turkey had participated in the invasion, their troops would have occupied areas of Kurdistan now under the control of Kurdish rebels. According to Bouikbasi, for some reason the military remained silent during the debate, and, if they had spoken out, Turkey would have joined in the Iraq war and thus gained control over areas of Kurdistan in which Kurdish militants now use as bases of operation.

The former diplomat raises some interesting, “what if” questions, but he does ignore how becoming part of the Iraq war would also have plunged his nation into a conflict that drags on and on and most probably would have led to suicide attacks in Turkish cities.

US Foces Depart From Iraq Town-AlQaeda Enters

General Petraeus has boasted of reduction in deaths of American soldiers as a result of the surge. There is even some speculation this success might result in withdrawal of some American forces from Iraq. But, according to the Iraq newspaper, Azzaman, the departure of US troops from the strategic town of Tuz Khormato led to the immediate entrry of al-Qaeda units which stepped into the vacuum created by not having Americans to fight. Iraq members of parliament are concerned that as US troops leave it may simply be too great an attraction to militants who would step in to run towns that had been cleared of their presence. One parliamentary group issued a statement about their concerns: “The tragic and horrific events in Tuz Khormato only a few days following the withdrawal of the multi-national forces(US military) is a clear indicator of how ill prepared and weak the army and security forces are.”

President Bush is attempting to claim credit for success in Iraq due to reduction of death figures for American troops. But, the surge was, in theory, a means to achieve the ends of Iraqis running their own country. The example of Tuz Khormato suggests the surge is a long way from accomplishing its goal of not merely reducing death figures but of building an Iraq armed force that can handle terrorism in their own nation.