Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

What is going on with the Pakistanis ?

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

The arrest of Imran Awan sets off a potential firestorm.

Who is this guy ?

For years, Imran Awan had access to the secret data and correspondence of many House committees, including foreign affairs. What did he do with it? As I said, that’s the worst case scenario (I guess).

He refers to a possible link to the Pakistani ISI. The ISI has a very controversial history. Some of it concerns the Afghanistan Taliban.

In documents leaked in April 2011 on the Wikileaks website, US authorities described the ISI as a “terrorist” organisation on a par with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
In the same month the US military’s top officer, Adm Mike Mullen, also accused the ISI of having links with the Taliban.
He said it had a “long-standing relationship” with a militant group run by Afghan insurgent Jalaluddin Haqqani, which targets US troops in Afghanistan.

What is the relationship between Awan and the Democrats in Congress ? Why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz keep paying his salary until he was arrested trying to flee the country ?

Imran Awan was arrested at Dulles Airport on a bank fraud charge, and was found to have smashed hard drives in his possession.

“It’s about everything that the Democrats and the media spent months… trying to prove [with] the Russia investigation,” he said.

Steyn said Awan’s story involved a powerful political figure trying to interfere in a federal investigation.

“We have actual criminal elements,” he said. “Everything they’ve been looking for is… staring them in the face with this mysterious guy.”

Why did Schultz threaten the capitol police chief with “consequences” if her hard drive possessed by Awan was not returned to her ?

DWS: It’s a simple yes or no answer. If a member loses equipment and it is found by your staff and identified as that member’s equipment and the member is not associated with any case, it is supposed to be returned. Yes or no.

Chief Verderosa: It depends on the circumstances.

DWS: I don’t understand how that is possible. Members’ equipment is members’ equipment. My understanding is the the Capitol Police is not able to confiscate members’ equipment when the member is not under investigation. It is their equipment and it is supposed to be returned.

Chief Verderosa: I think there are extenuating circumstances in this case, and working through my counsel and the necessary personnel, if that in fact is the case, and with the permission of through the investigation, then we’ll return the equipment. But until that happens we can’t return the equipment.

DWS: I think you’re violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and you should expect that there will be consequences.

What “consequences?”

Here are some thoughts about this:

1. Why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz keep this man in her employ right up until he was arrested Tuesday night when he has been under suspicion for months. Does he have something on her or other people?

2. Why did Nancy Pelosi lie when she said she never heard of Awan? Email revealed by Wikileaks says Awan had access to Pelosi’s iPad. (Wiklileaks has never been shown to be inaccurate.)

3. What is on the smashed hard drives Awan is trying to retrieve from the FBI? (Oh, those Democrats and their hard drives.)

4. Why is Awan suddenly being legally represented at the highest level by Clinton ultra-loyalist Chris Gowan — a fact-checker for Bill Clinton’s memoir of all things? (They are already using the same right-wing conspiracy baloney they used in the Lewinski case.) Does this make sense if Awan’s just a low-life fraudster? Why not let him dangle?

5. Just what is the relationship, if any, between the Awan case and the unsolved Seth Rich murder? Is it entirely an accident that Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s brother Steven is accused of blocking the investigation? Denials from Debbie aren’t worth much anymore.

6. Where did the Wikileaks come from anyway? Was it really Russia?

And more questions.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].

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Is Iran entering a Vietnam-style Quagmire ?

Monday, April 27th, 2015

I have previously expressed concerns that Saudi Arabia was in a fight for its life.

The question is whether the Saudis will fall to their own Shiite population and whether the capture of Aden will allow Iran to block Saudi oil shipments.

“Once hailed by President Barack Obama as a model for fighting extremism, the U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen has all but collapsed as the country descends into chaos, according to U.S. and Yemeni officials.”

Now, the Saudis take this war very seriously.

As for Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom is waging the first war in its history. Yet with its small, weak and inexperienced army, it cannot commit ground troops to fight both the Shiite Houthis or the Sunni Jihadists, and is relying mainly on its air power that has, thus far, caused the death of many innocent civilians.

It also is blockading ports to prevent Iranian resupply of Yemeni clients.

The Saudi-led coalition that’s fighting against Shiite rebels in Yemen said it completed a blockade of the country’s ports and is ready to step up airstrikes.
Bombing missions are seeking to stop the Shiite Houthis from moving forces between Yemen’s cities, Ahmed Asseri, a Saudi military officer, told reporters in Riyadh on Monday. Coalition aircraft and warships targeted the rebels as they advanced toward Aden, the southern port that’s the last stronghold of Saudi Arabia’s ally in Yemen, President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi. Shipping routes to and from the ports are under the coalition’s control, Asseri said.

The Egyptians are planning to help in Yemen. Even though Nasser’s campaign in Yeman was a disaster, that was in 1962 and run by Nasser, an incompetent.

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Is Britain beginning the revolution we need ?

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

A “Seismic Shock is coming to the British political system.

Douglas Carswell, a prominent Conservative MP has announced he is switching to UKIP. a new political party that has been attacked as “racist” and has been attracting a larger constituency from the British traditional voters.

A new political party has appeared in Britain called UK Independent Party. It has been called racist and a number of other things that might sound familiar to Tea Party members here.

For example:

News reports about the rising primary school population in England fail to mention the ‘elephant in the room’, said MEP Paul Nuttall.

“It is accepted that primary schools have increasing numbers of pupils, which causes all manner of problems, but what is frequently not referred to is why we have such a boom in numbers.

“And the answer is unlimited immigration into this country. It hits some areas harder than others but there cannot be many primary schools in the country which have not been affected at all,” said Mr Nuttall, UKIP Education spokesman.

Why is this controversial ? In the 1990s, the Labour Party opened the floodgates of immigration from Pakistan. The Conservatives have mentioned reducing this but have done little about it.

Steven Woolfe, UKIP Migration spokesman, attacks Conservatives for ‘lying to electorate’ on promises to cut migration, adding that ‘it is no wonder their own MPs are losing faith in them and they are haemorrhaging support to UKIP.’

“These shocking figures today show that the Government does not have a handle on immigration. The Conservative Party promised to cut net migration to tens of thousands and yet it has shot up by a staggering 68,000 in just one year. It is quite simple. They lie to the electorate. They lie to try to keep votes. Well they are being found out.

This is one reason why UKIP is hated. For example, of the 1400 young girls made sex slaves by “Asian” men, several were taken from foster parents because they had voted for UKIP.

A couple had their three foster children taken away by a council on the grounds that their membership of the UK Independence Party meant that they supported “racist” policies. The husband and wife, who have been fostering for nearly seven years, said they were made to feel like criminals when a social worker told them that their views on immigration made them unsuitable carers.

Sounds like the Tea Party to me.

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The Next World War

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

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This next summer will be 100 years since the fatal August of 1914. We live in a similar era of “history is over and everybody is happy.” See above. In August 1914, Germany was trading partners with Britain and France. There were people who believed that democracies that did business with each other never went to war. Sound familiar ? Here is a discussion of the same topic. I am concerned that the spark will be in the middle east but this is another area to think about.

The Telegraph has an excellent piece on the present world situation.

As we look forward to the First World War commemorations, three stark conclusions are hard to refute. First, that in the course of this century we will need a great deal of luck to avoid a nuclear catastrophe. Second, that the Enlightenment has failed. Third, that this can all be traced back to the Great War.

As a result of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, it seemed that mankind might make a decisive break with the scarcity and oppression that had characterised previous eras. There was, admittedly, one early warning. The French Revolution proved that a radical reconstruction of society on abstract principles was likely to end in tyranny and bloodshed. But after 1815, the 19th century developed into one of the most successful epochs in history. Living standards, life expectancy, productivity, medicine, the rule of law, constitutional government, versions of democracy – there was dramatic progress on all fronts, and in the spread of civilisation across the globe.

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The future of Islam and its absence

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Spengler has a new column that points out the coming collapse of Islam as a demographic entity. I have thought for years that Iran, if the population ever succeeds in overthrowing the regime, will abandon Islam as its first priority. Spengler points to a column by David Ignatius that belatedly recognizes a phenomenon that has been noted by others for years.

Something startling is happening in the Muslim world — and no, I don’t mean the Arab Spring or the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. According to a leading demographer, a “sea change” is producing a sharp decline in Muslim fertility rates and a “flight from marriage” among Arab women.

Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, documented these findings in two recent papers. They tell a story that contradicts the usual picture of a continuing population explosion in Muslim lands. Population is indeed rising, but if current trends continue, the bulge won’t last long.

The second class status of women in the Muslim world has led to important changes in their beliefs, especially about the religion that oppresses them.

Eberstadt’s first paper was expressively titled “Fertility Decline in the Muslim World: A Veritable Sea-Change, Still Curiously Unnoticed.” Using data for 49 Muslim-majority countries and territories, he found that fertility rates declined an average of 41 percent between 1975-80 and 2005-10, a deeper drop than the 33 percent decline for the world as a whole.

Twenty-two Muslim countries and territories had fertility declines of 50 percent or more. The sharpest drops were in Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Libya, Albania, Qatar and Kuwait, which all recorded declines of 60 percent or more over three decades.

The present fertility rate in Iran is about equal to that of irreligious Europe.

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Maybe I was hasty about Egypt

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Two weeks ago, I posted a pessimistic piece about Egypt post Mubarak. Now, Austin Bay has posted a pretty optimistic piece that may be better informed than mine. I hope so.

My fear was stated here:

“One of the most publicized figures outside Egypt in this story the last few weeks is a Google executive who is Egyptian.

One of the western media’s favorite Egyptian rebels is Google executive Wael Ghonim. No surprise there: if you had to choose among radical clerics like al-Qaradawi, hooligans like those who assaulted Lara Logan, and a suave, Westernized Google exec, whom would you want to interview? Ghonim was present on Friday and intended to address the crowd, but he was barred from the platform by al-Qaradawi’s security. He left the stage in distress, “his face hidden by an Egyptian flag.” Is Ghonim Egypt’s Kerensky? Well, at least Kerensky got to rule for a while.”

I went on to say:

Ghonim is one more proof, as if we needed any more, that brilliance in another field is no guarantee of common sense in politics, especially revolutionary politics. We are now about to move to the next stage, which in the French Revolution ended with the Terror. In Iran, it still goes on.

Austin Bay has the advantage of two more weeks of observation of the rapidly evolving situation. He quotes Haaretz, a rather left wing Israeli newspaper that is more hopeful. Hope is not a policy but Israelis are far more interested in the situation in Egypt than we are. They have to be as they share a border.

The revolution in Egypt is far from over. The popular uprising may have succeeded in ousting president Hosni Mubarak and most of his top associates, but the young people who led the protests at Tahrir Square are certainly not resting on their laurels.

Tens of thousands returned to the square on Friday, this time demanding to shut down the internal security authority, Amn al-Dawla. By yesterday, dozens of young people had already taken over the headquarters of the organization, notorious for terrorizing Egyptian citizens under Mubarak’s rule. The takeover was prompted by fears that organization officials were destroying evidence of their involvement in torture and other human rights violations.

This may be good news but I keep going back to the French Revolution, which set the standards for all revolutions to come.

Until the election, both Israeli and international observers agree Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, remains the key authority in Cairo. The mission facing Tantawi and his generals is to take Egypt safely through a transition period that will culminate with the establishment of civilian and democratic rule. The army is maneuvering between the establishment it knows well and the street, a new and not yet entirely familiar player.

The Army is the best hope for Egypt, as it has been for Turkey. A key factor in our failure to do better in Afghanistan is the fact that a crude and stupid Congressional reaction to the news that Pakistan had a nuclear bomb was to cut off all contact between Pakistan’s army and ours. That was nearly fatal as there are few ties between Pakistani officers and the US army, which are usually established as junior officers. These contacts were abolished by a Congress that knows little about foreign relations, especially those not published in the New York Times.

If we finally have to leave Afghanistan under unsatisfactory conditions, much of the failure should be attributed to Congress and its crude attempts to manage US policy it knows little about.

The following is good news, if true.

The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, is seen as the opposition body most prepared for a general election, but the chances it will seize power are seen by Egyptians as slim. Most observers believe that the Brotherhood will assume a similar position to the ultra-Orthodox parties in Israel, influencing the government but not leading it.

Just keep remembering that the Kerensky government thought it had the Bolsheviks under control in 1917. Bay is still optimistic for another unusual reason.

The article argues that “the real power belongs to the young people [in Egypt] who managed to change political reality.” Media in Israel are missing “the generational shift taking place in Egypt and perhaps the entire Arab world.”

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll– now that’s a universal language. Al Qaeda doesn’t rock and roll. A burka is not sexy. On the twitter-connected Arab street, these may be Al Qaeda’s fatal social flaws. I don’t know what Al Qaeda’s drug policy is (probably pro-hashish), but I know its alcohol policy. Hence one of the most important socio-cultural quips of the first decade of the 21st century: “Democracy, whiskey, sexy.”

But once again back to Haaretz, this time on the Muslim Brotherhood. Yes, it will be a factor but “the chances it will seize power are seen by Egyptians as slim. Most observers believe that the Brotherhood will assume a similar position to the ultra-Orthodox parties in Israel, influencing the government but not leading it.” Interesting analogy. Remember, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is factionalized — but so are ultra-Orthodox Israeli parties.

We will see. I hope he is right. Unfortunately, Turkey is slipping into Islamist hands as the AKP party continues to arrest army officers on phony charges.

Here are Annie and her mother in an Istanbul restaurant. Everybody spoke English and were more than courteous.

I have tried to explain to my daughter Annie how the friendly Turks, who did so much to make her visit to Istanbul pleasant, want to arrest large numbers of Army officers, like the one who gave her a tour of the Scutari Barracks, a major Army headquarters.

This officer is a major, spoke English perfectly and gave her a tour.

I guess I will have to do a post on the history of Turkey for her. She certainly wouldn’t learn anything about it in college. She was 14 when those photos were taken. I wonder if the Turks would be as friendly now. I suspect they are because we were in Istanbul, the westernized and secular part of Turkey.

I hope Egypt will learn a lesson from Ataturk, who is still revered in Turkey, at least modern Turkey.

Afghanistan, Egypt and Obama

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

I have previously posted my opinion that Afghanistan is not worth the cost. I stated my reasons why we should leave here and here and here. Nothing has changed there but a lot is happening elsewhere in the Middle East.

Egypt’s escalating tensions amount to the first real foreign crisis for the Obama administration that it did not inherit. The crisis serves as a test of Obama’s revamped White House operation. Daley, a former Commerce secretary in the Clinton administration, is now running a staff that is briefing Obama regularly on Egypt.

They have handled it badly. This is a very dangerous time for us. The Egyptian Army seems to be siding with the protesters. That may or may not last.

The left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz says that Egyptian army officers in Cairo’s central square have tossed aside their helmets and joined the crowd. “The Army and the people are one,” they chanted. MSNBC’s photoblog shows protesters jubilantly perched on M1A1 tanks. The real significance of these defections is that the army officers would not have done so had they not sensed which way the winds were blowing — in the Egyptian officer corps.

And even as Mubarak tottered, the Saudi king threw his unequivocal backing behind the aging dictator — not hedging like Obama — but the Iranians continued to back the Egyptian protesters. The Saudi exchange tumbled 6.44% on news of unrest from Cairo. Meanwhile, the Voice of America reports that Israel is “extremely concerned” that events in Egypt could mean the end of the peace treaty between the two countries. If Mubarak isn’t finished already, a lot of regional actors are calculating like he might be.

But Washington will not be hurried. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that President Obama will review his Middle Eastern policy after the unrest in Egypt subsides. The future, in whose spaces the administration believed its glories to lie, plans to review its past failures in the same expansive place. Yet time and oil wait for no one. Crude oil prices surged as the markets took the rapid developments in. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu observed that any disruption to Middle East oil supplies “could actually bring real harm.”

Of course, Mr Chu should not worry as we have wind and solar to take up the slack. Actually, we get our oil from Canada and Mexico but the price of oil shifts with the world’s supply.

The present Obama commitment to Afghanistan is ironic since he promised to bring troops home but he has declared that Iraq was NOT necessary and Afghanistan is. This is slightly crazy. The Iraq invasion was an example of US power being applied in a critical location; right in the middle of the Middle East. Afghanistan is a remote tribal society reachable only through unreliable Pakistan. It has minimal effect on world events. We went there to punish the Taliban for harboring the people who attacked our country. Thousands of them have been killed. We have little of interest there now. We should have left last year.

With a Shi’ite dominated government in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and a Muslim Brotherhood that may keep Egypt in neutral or tacitly accept Teheran’s leadership, how could things possibly get worse?

They can if Saudi Arabia starts to go. And what response can the U.S. offer? With U.S. combat power in landlocked Afghanistan and with the last U.S. combat forces having left Iraq in August 2010, the U.S. will have little on the ground but the State Department. “By October 2011, the US State Department will assume responsibility for training the Iraqi police and this task will largely be carried out by private contractors.” The bulk of American hard power will be locked up in secondary Southwest Asian theater, dependent on Pakistan to even reach the sea with their heavy equipment.

This is not where we want to be. The problem is that Obama and Hillary and the rest of this administration have no concept of strategy.

The Obama administration made fundamental strategic mistakes, whose consequences are now unfolding. As I wrote in the Ten Ships, a post which referenced the Japanese Carrier fleet which made up the strategic center of gravity of the enemy during the Pacific War, the center of gravity in the present crisis was always the Middle East. President Obama, by going after the criminals who “attacked America on 9/11? from their staging base was doing the equivalent of bombing the nameless patch of ocean 200 miles North of Oahu from which Nagumo launched his raid. But he was not going after the enemy center of gravity itself.

For all of its defects the campaign in Iraq was at least in the right place: at the locus of oil, ideology and brutal regimes that are the Middle East. Ideally the campaign in Iraq would have a sent a wave of democratization through the area, undermined the attraction of radical Islam, provided a base from which to physically control oil if necessary. That the campaign failed to attain many of objectives should not obscure the fact that its objectives were valid. It made far more strategic sense than fighting tribesmen in Afghanistan. Ideology, rogue regimes, energy are the three entities which have replaced the “ten ships” of 70 years ago. The means through which these three entities should be engaged ought to be the subject of reasoned debate, whether by military, economic or technological means. But the vital nature of these objectives ought not to be. Neutralize the intellectual appeal of radical Islam, topple the rogue regimes, and ease Western dependence on oil and you win the war. Yet their centrality, and even their existence is what the politicians constantly deny.

Events are unfolding, but they have not yet run their course; things are still continuing to cascade. If the unrest spreads to the point where the Suez and regional oil fall into anti-Western hands, the consequences would be incalculable. The scale of the left’s folly: their insistence on drilling moratoriums, opposition to nuclear power, support of negotiations with dictators at all costs, calls for unilateral disarmament, addiction to debt and their barely disguised virulent anti-Semitism should be too manifest to deny.

Leftism is making common cause with Islamic terrorism. Why ? I don’t really know. Some of it may be the caricature of Jews making money and being good at business. Some may simply be the extension of animosity to Israel extending to all Jews. The people behind Obama are not free of these sentiments. His Justice Department is filled with lawyers who defended terrorists at Guantanamo. Holder seems uninterested in voting rights cases if a black is the offender. He was even unwilling to say that Islamic terrorism was behind 9/11.

Because it will hit them where it hurts, in the lifestyle they somehow thought came from some permanent Western prosperity that was beyond the power of their fecklessness to destroy. It will be interesting to see if anyone can fill up their cars with carbon credits when the oil tankers stop coming or when black gold is marked at $500 a barrel. It is even possible that within a relatively short time the only government left friendly to Washington in the Middle East may be Iraq. There is some irony in that, but it is unlikely to be appreciated.

I would add a bit to this from one of my favorite essays on the topic. It compares Gorbachev to Obama.

Nor are the two men, themselves, remotely comparable in their backgrounds, or political outlook. Gorbachev, for instance, had come up from tractor driver, not through elite schools including Harvard Law; he lacked the narcissism that constantly seeks self-reflection through microphones and cameras, or the sense that everything is about him.

On the other hand, some interesting comparisons could be made between the thuggish party machine of Chicago, which raised Obama as its golden boy; and the thuggish party machine of Moscow, which presented Gorbachev as it’s most attractive face.

Both men have been praised for their wonderful temperaments, and their ability to remain unperturbed by approaching catastrophe. But again, the substance is different, for Gorbachev’s temperament was that of a survivor of many previous catastrophes.

Yet they do have one major thing in common, and that is the belief that, regardless of what the ruler does, the polity he rules must necessarily continue. This is perhaps the most essential, if seldom acknowledged, insight of the post-modern “liberal” mind: that if you take the pillars away, the roof will continue to hover in the air.

In another passage:

There is a corollary of this largely unspoken assumption: that no matter what you do to one part of a machine, the rest of the machine will continue to function normally.

A variant of this is the frequently expressed denial of the law of unintended consequences: the belief that, if the effect you intend is good, the actual effect must be similarly happy.

Very small children, the mad, and certain extinct primitive tribes, have shared in this belief system, but only the fully college-educated liberal has the vocabulary to make it sound plausible.

With an incredible rapidity, America’s status as the world’s pre-eminent superpower is now passing away. This is a function both of the nearly systematic abandonment of U.S. interests and allies overseas, with metastasizing debt and bureaucracy on the home front.

The turmoil in Egypt is a test that, I fear, Obama and his Secretary of State, will not pass.

UPDATE: The situation in Egypt festers with an ambiguous statement by Obama no help. Here is an example of how Reagan handled the Philippine overthrow of Marcos. A very different approach.

UPDATE #2: A column by Charles Krauthammer is indispensable reading today.

Elections will be held. The primary U.S. objective is to guide a transition period that gives secular democrats a chance.

The House of Mubarak is no more. He is 82, reviled and not running for reelection. The only question is who fills the vacuum. There are two principal possibilities: a provisional government of opposition forces, possibly led by Mohamed ElBaradei, or an interim government led by the military.

ElBaradei would be a disaster. As head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he did more than anyone to make an Iranian nuclear bomb possible, covering for the mullahs for years. (As soon as he left, the IAEA issued a strikingly tough, unvarnished report about the program.)

Worse, ElBaradei has allied himself with the Muslim Brotherhood. Such an alliance is grossly unequal. The Brotherhood has organization, discipline and widespread support. In 2005, it won approximately 20 percent of parliamentary seats. ElBaradei has no constituency of his own, no political base, no political history within Egypt at all.

He has lived abroad for decades. He has less of a residency claim to Egypt than Rahm Emanuel has to Chicago. A man with no constituency allied with a highly organized and powerful political party is nothing but a mouthpiece and a figurehead, a useful idiot whom the Brotherhood will dispense with when it ceases to have need of a cosmopolitan frontman.

The Egyptian military, on the other hand, is the most stable and important institution in the country. It is Western-oriented and rightly suspicious of the Brotherhood. And it is widely respected, carrying the prestige of the 1952 Free Officers Movement that overthrew the monarchy and the 1973 October War that restored Egyptian pride along with the Sinai.

The military is the best vehicle for guiding the country to free elections over the coming months.

El Baradei also attempted to intervene in the 2004 US elections by releasing a letter that alleged US forces had allowed radicals to steal hundreds of pounds of explosives in Iraq by failing to guard the facility. After the election, it was proven that the letter was not true. The man is anti-American and a liar.

Islam and the west

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

UPDATE #3″ The three judge panel that was conducting the trial of Geert Wilders has been dismissed for misbehavior. One of them had discussed the case with another person and they refused the defense’s request to have him testify about that conversation. They refused and were dismissed. The trial is over and will probably not be attempted again.

Geert Wilders has been on trial in the Netherlands for hate speech and the prosecutors have now recommended that he be acquitted. Those unaware of the differences between Anglo-American jurisprudence and the European version, think his trial is essentially over. That is not true. In fact, the prosecutors did not want to charge him in the first place. It was radical judges, overcome with multiculturalism, who insisted on the prosecution and they have yet to rule. His defense begins next week. Acquittal is not assured. What was his offense ?

Wilders compares Islam to Nazism, a provocative stance, to be sure. But how should such provocative criticism be received? With open debate, or with the criminalization of opinion? It is extremely pertinent in the Wilders case to ask whether his trial means that Europe’s commitment to freedom is already dead.

Is a comparison of Islam to Nazism beyond the limits of free speech ? It was the opinion of great philosophers in the 1930s that the two movements had great similarity.

during an interview conducted in the late 1930s (published in 1939), Karl Jung was asked: “ … had [he] any views on what was likely to be the next step in religious development?” Jung replied, in reference to the Nazi fervor that had gripped Germany:

We do not know whether Hitler is going to found a new Islam. He is already on the way; he is like Muhammad. [emphasis added] The emotion in Germany is Islamic; warlike and Islamic. They are all drunk with wild god. That can be the historic future.

Also published in 1939 was Karl Barth’s assessment (from The Church and the Political Problem of Our Day) of the similarity between Fascist totalitarianism and Islam:

Participation in this life, according to it the only worthy and blessed life, is what National Socialism, as a political experiment, promises to those who will of their own accord share in this experiment. And now it becomes understandable why, at the point where it meets with resistance, it can only crush and kill — with the might and right which belongs to Divinity! Islam of old as we know proceeded in this way. It is impossible to understand National Socialism unless we see it in fact as a new Islam, its myth as a new Allah, and Hitler as this new Allah’s Prophet.

I wonder what the Dutch court’s response to those opinions would be? Fortunately, Jung (one of the founders of psychiatry) and Barth are beyond their reach.

Then we have the myth of the moderate Muslim.

Wilders’ assessment not only comports with scholarly observations made (primarily) before the advent of the postmodern Western scourge of cultural relativism, it is supported by contemporary hard polling data from 2006 -2007, and a more recent follow-up (pdf) reported February 25, 2009. At present, overwhelming Muslim majorities — i.e., better than two-thirds (see the weighted average calculated here) of a well-conducted survey of the world’s most significant and populous Arab and non-Arab Muslim countries — want these immoderate outcomes: “strict application” of Shari’a, Islamic law, and a global caliphate.

Specifically, the World Public Opinion.org/ University of Maryland poll (released February 25, 2009) indicated the following about our putative Muslim ally nations of Egypt and Pakistan: 81% of the Muslims of “moderate” Egypt, the largest Arab Muslim nation, desire a “strict” application of Shari’a, Islamic law; 76% of Pakistan’s Muslims — one of the most important and sizable non-Arab Muslim populations — want this outcome. Furthermore, 70% of Egyptian Muslims and 69% of Pakistani Muslims desire the re-creation of a “single Islamic state or caliphate.”

The description of Egypt as “moderate” is a political convenience since we send them billions of dollars in aid, but it is not true. Michael Totten, a reliable observer, has the following opinion.

I’ve been to more than a dozen Muslim countries and seen for myself how extraordinarily diverse they are. Some are as secular and irreligious as the nations of Western Europe. Egypt, though, is by far the most politically Islamicized place I’ve ever seen. And by that I don’t mean that Egyptians are more likely to pray and go to the mosque than people in other countries. The Kurds of Iraq are by and large conservative Muslims, but political Islamism barely registers there and is held in contempt by the majority.

In Egypt, it’s different, and you can see it and feel it in Cairo. The liberal and moderate Egyptians I spoke to were keenly aware that they’re part of a small minority that has no political future right now.

His conclusion ?

Mubarak’s ideology and government is rejected by a huge number of Egyptians for many of the same reasons the Shah’s regime in Iran was in the late 1970s. The Muslim Brotherhood will be a likely replacement if Mubarak’s government implodes or is overthrown. Given that the Brotherhood is becoming more extreme rather than less, the West may want to brace itself.

Bill O’Reilly may have apologized for blaming all Muslims for 9/11, but he got the basic concept right. I strongly encourage anyone who wants the unvarnished truth to read this piece by an expert on radical Islam.

One point is raised in the comments that is significant.

A muslim reporter asked the Ayatollah Khomani If islam is so superior to th west, why is it the west invented cars, planes computers etc. And islam didn’t? He thought about that for a moment and then told the eagerly awaiting crows, “It’s because they had help from SATAN. It the only explaination.”

I don’t know the provenance of this comment but it parallels my own question. Fascism and its child Nazism, and the related ideology of communism were the scourge of the 20th century. Islam, which has similar features, may well be their equivalent in the 21st.

UPDATE: Here is a discussion of the difference between Sunni Islam and Christianity (and Judaism) regarding logic and why Islam is backward.

UPDATE #2 : Juan Williams is fired by NPR for commenting that Muslims in religious dress make him nervous on airplanes. Here is evidence of a creeping trend toward Eurabia among left wing sources. No tolerance there.

Pakistan is an unreliable ally

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

We have been in Afghanistan for nearly 9 years. We invaded after 2001 and routed the Taliban with a combination of non-Pashtun forces and our own Special Forces and air power. That campaign was a success. Now we are engaged in a nation building and COIN campaign in an area that has never been a nation or even a town. Prior to the Soviet maneuvering which resulted in invasion in 1979, Afghanistan had consisted of a city, Kabul, with a civilized society, and the vast countryside ruled by tribes and hostile to any attempt at central control by Kabul. The rather successful policy by the “central government’ was to leave them alone. Eventually, Soviet forces decided to take control with a series of coups.

The first was in 1971.

The workers started to get organised and became very active in the industrial areas of the country; the demonstrations, which had begun on the campus of the University and in the secondary schools of Kabul, soon spread to the provinces: riots became more and more frequent; the King was openly criticized.

Moscow had a plan ready and in Kabul and army was being infiltrated by the “Parcham” group. A period of transition was necessary before a Marxist government could be established. Someone had to be found, who could, at the same time, be trusted b Moscow and accepted by the Afghan people, in order to replace the King who was gradually loosing his popularity. Only one person met all the requirements, and that was Daoud. After ten years away from the political scene, he was still ambitious and eager to regain power. To achieve this goal, he was to take the King’s place, even if that meant as President of the Republic only. The Russians were in a hurry to put an end to the monarchy, which they considered to be a major obstacle to their objectives.

An agreement was reached in 1971 between two officers belonging to the “Parcham” group (Moscow’s favourite) and Dr. Hassan Sharq who was acting on Daoud’s behalf.

The tragedy of Afghanistan began here but there had never been a real central government. There was Kabul and then the rest of the country. Afghanistan had actually severed relationships with Pakistan in 1961. Pakistan is no friend of a real Afghanistan as an independent country. Afghanistan does have some natural resources and some rudimentary efforts were made to develop them under the Soviets.

The Pashtuns are the dominant tribal group of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is a major obstacle to any solution of the Afghanistan problem. Pakistan was a political creation at the dissolution of the British control of India. It was poorly done and massive tragedy ensued. Kashmir is one of those mistakes but Pakistan is another in many ways. Perhaps it should have been Pashtunistan except that half the Pashtuns were in Afghanistan, which was about to severe relations with Pakistan.

Pakistan has fomented terrorism in India as part of its Cold War with its neighbor. Much of this is directed at Kashmir but some has been redirected, as in the Mumbai massacre which was originally directed at Kashmir. Pakistan is not a reliable ally.

Countering and Fomenting Insurgencies

In his monograph, Pakistan’s Security Paradox: Countering and Fomenting Insurgencies, Mullick observed what he described as a “duplicitous approach” in Pakistan’s insurgency policy:

* On the one hand, Pakistan has engaged in an effort to counter insurgency (COIN) within its own borders, particularly in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

* On the other hand, Pakistan has been fomenting insurgency (FOIN) across the border in Afghanistan.

* Mullick argued that this policy needs to be considered as part of a coherent Pakistani national security strategy to protect its territorial, economic, and geopolitical interests.

Pakistan is backing the Taliban in Afghanistan and fighting them in Pakistan. Some of this is Pashtun politics.

Mullick argued that Pakistan’s paradoxical COIN/FOIN strategy has undergone several evolutions. Two of these stages hold particular significance for U.S. interests in the region:

* 2001–2008: Pakistan pursued counterinsurgency campaigns against the Pakistan Taliban, Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and separatists in Balochistan. However, Pakistan decided to “selectively target,” and eventually abet, Afghan Taliban, many of whom fled to FATA after the American invasion

* 2009: The Taliban violated a peace deal struck by the government in the Swat Valley and brought their forces within 60 miles of Islamabad. Deciding to regain control over the Valley, Pakistan Army and Special Forces pursued a “hybrid COIN strategy.”

Thus, Pakistan fights when it is threatened but supports the insurgency in Afghanistan, perhaps as a way of redirecting the young militants from its own territory.

Curtis and Tellis questioned whether Pakistan’s shift in emphasis from FOIN to COIN represented a real “paradigm shift” or whether it was merely a transient refinement. Curtis, in particular, objected to the amoral symmetry that Mullick perceives exists between COIN and FOIN in Pakistan’s national security calculus. Pakistan, Tellis further noted, continues to target militant groups selectively, and several prominent networks remain active in Pakistan. These include the Haqqani network based in northern Waziristan, the Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, and the Afghan Taliban. Tellis also emphasized that Pakistan has fomented terrorism in addition to insurgencies and that its efforts with regard to the former have historically been far more effective. To date, there appears to be little change with respect to Pakistan’s support for terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was responsible for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India..

Pakistan cannot be trusted and, in fact, may constitute an enemy as it drifts toward militant Islam. Turkey is on the same path. We have to be realistic about what is going on. Our natural ally here is India, a society that has chosen modernity and is pursuing education and commercial development, unlike its neighbor and enemy Pakistan.

Why I think we should get out of Afghanistan

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I was in favor of the Iraq invasion in 2003 and, although the post-war period was botched, I think the Surge has made it a modest success. Iraq was always a better bet than Afghanistan because it is a rich country and had a modest middle class already. In fact, I think Iraq has a good chance to become the most successful Arab state. On the other hand, I think Afghanistan is a very risky situation.

During Afghanistan’s golden age which consisted of the last king’s rule, the country consisted of a small civilized center in Kabul while the rest of the country existed much as it did in the time of Alexander the Great. I have reviewed Kilcullen’s Accidental Guerilla, which explains much of the Afghan war. He is not optimistic about it and neither am I. Aside from the fact that Obama is a reluctant, very reluctant, warrior here, Pakistan is a serious obstacle to success.

Today, Andy McCarthy calls our attention to an explosive editorial in Investors’ Business Daily on the links between the Taliban and Pakistan’s army and intelligence services.

it’s an open secret the Taliban are headquartered across the border in the city of Quetta, Pakistan, where they operate openly under the aegis of Pakistani intelligence — and the financial sponsorship of the Saudis.

Sending more troops to Afghanistan is a necessary, albeit unfortunate, rear-guard action against marauding Taliban fighters armed, trained, supplied and deployed from Quetta — and funded from Riyadh.

NATO and U.S. military command know this. They’ve complained about it over and over in military action reports. So have Treasury officials regarding Saudi funding of the Taliban.

“Saudi Arabia today remains the location where more money is going to terrorism — to Sunni terror groups and the Taliban — than any other place in the world,” testified Stuart Levey, Treasury undersecretary.

This is Viet Nam all over again. The enemy has a sanctuary and our allies are siding secretly with our enemies.

Here’s how the game works. The Pakistanis are currently engaged in a much heralded crackdown on jihadists. But they are limiting those operations to the jihadists in the northwest tribal region — i.e., those whose primary target is the Pakistani government. By contrast, the Taliban — i.e., the jihadists targeting the U.S. and Afghanistan — are holed up in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, under the protection of the ISI. In fact, there are now reports that Mullah Omar has been moved to Karachi to protect him from U.S. drone attacks.

Pakistan is playing a double game. Secondly, our troops are handicapped by absurd rules of engagement.

The Times compiled an informal list of the new rules from interviews with U.S. forces. Among them:

• No night or surprise searches.

• Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.

• ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches.

• U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.

• U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.

This is ridiculous. Pakistan is protecting the enemy and our troops are restricted to idiotic limits, such as warning hostile villages before attacks. We should leave.

Then, if things deteriorate, Pakistan may become the target instead of Afghanistan.