Tag Archives: US Intelligence

Afghan President Discusses Taliban With UK’s PM

President Hamid Karzai is in London in order to review with Prime Minister Gordon Brown the progress being made in secret talks with members of the Taliban. Saudi Arabia King Abdullah has sponsored the discussions in an effort to end chaos which now reigns in Afghanistan. There are also reports Pakistan Prime Minister Zardari has played a role in trying to bring together the Taliban and more secular groups in Afghanistan. Karzai has held talks with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former mujahedin leader who once was supported by American intelligence when he was fighting against the Russians. After his fall out with Americans, Hekmatyar went to Iran where he has been directing attacks on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Another effort to achieve peace is being made by Pakistani tribal elders who recently held a two day assembly in order to organize a group to meet with Taliban leaders. There is almost something comic about these meetings and changes. Seven years ago, Donald Rumsfeld announced to the world, the US had defeated the Taliban and they never would return. Today, the same people who were defeated are back in the saddle.

The unanswered question remains– will a compromise with the Taliban restore their fundamentalist anti-Western ideas to Afghanistan?

Pakistan OK With US Drone Attacks On Militant Leaders

The recent killing of an Al Qaeda leader by an unarmed Predator airstrike in a remote area of Pakistan demonstrateds the US has the military reach and intelligence sources that can be fruitful to the Pakistan government, but it does not change views of President Musharraf concerning the presence of American ground forces in his nation. “The agreement that apparently to have been reached,” notes Rand analyst Seth Jones, “between the US and Pakistan is that it’s OK to cooperate on targeted strikes against Al Qaeda leaders. But it’s not OK at the moment for US forces to try to clear and hold territory that is controlled by Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-related groups in Pakistan.” Jones believes over the past few months American intelligence sources have stepped up their conveying of information to Pakistan counterparts.

It appears US involvement in Pakistan has been limited to training Pakistani security forces, supplying equipment such as night vision goggles and collecting intelligence. As long as Pedator air strikes are limited to Al-Qaeda or militant targets, Pakistan public opinon will accept that option, but if they result in death to civilians, there will be a marked shift in opinion.

There is scant doubt military actions are needed in combating militants, but without extensive economic assistance, these efforts, in the long run, will fail to achieve the goal of ending militant activities in Pakistan.

President Sarkozy Worried About Israel-Iran Tensions

President Sarkozy of France in an article published today in Le Nouvel Observateur, expressed his concerns over the tension between Iran and Israel which might eventually lead to war. He regards the conflict between Israel and Iran as more dangerous than the possibility of an American air strike on Iran. “The problem for us is,” he said, “not so much the risk that the Americans could launch a military intervention, but that the Israelis consider their security is truly threatened.” Despite the recent US intelligence report which concluded that Iran is not engaged in trying to develop nuclear weapons, many Israeli government leaders and members of the military do not believe those conclusions and are convinced that Iran is pursuing a policy of making nuclear weapons. In his interview, Sarkozy emphasized, “everyone agrees that what the Iranians are doing has no civilian explanation. The only debate is whether they will have military capability in one year or in five years.” He also offered to visit Tehran to discuss ways in which his nation could work with Iran on peaceful nuclear uses.

Of course, “everyone” does not agree that Iran is working on nuclear weapons, that was the essential thrust of the US intelligence report. Is it possible that Iran might have nuclear weapons in five years? Of course that possibility exists. But, many things might change in the coming five years such as the most probable replacement of Ahmadinejad as president. A new president in America might be able to re-establish positive relations with Iran and reduce tensions. The main significance of the US intelligence report is that there is no immediate need for action. The world has a few years to deal with the issue of Iranian nuclear weapons ever coming into existence.