Dear Mr. Medvedev and Vladimir Putin,
Today, there is blatant external aggression of USA and NATO against a sovereign country – Libya. And if anyone can doubt this, then we say this obvious fact is well known, because all this is happening before our eyes, and the actions of U.S. and NATO threaten the lives of not only the citizens of Libya, but to us who are on its territory.
We are outraged by the barbaric bombing of Libya, which is currently carried out by a coalition of U.S. and NATO.
The bombing of Tripoli and other cities in Libya is aimed not only at the objects of air defense and Libya’s Air Force and not only against the Libyan army, but also the object of military and civilian infrastructure. Today, 24 March 2011, NATO aircraft and the U.S. all night and all morning bombed a suburb of Tripoli – Tajhura (where, in particular, is Libya’s Nuclear Research Center). Air Defense and Air Force facilities in Tajhura were destroyed back in the first 2 days of strikes and more active military facilities in the city remained, but today the object of bombing are barracks of the Libyan army, around which are densely populated residential areas, and next to it – the largest in Libya’s Heart Centers. Civilians and the doctors could not assume that common residential quarters will be about to become destroyed, so none of the residents or hospital patients was evacuated.
Bombs and rockets struck residential houses and fell near the hospital. The glass of the Cardiac Center building was broken, and in the building of the maternity ward for pregnant women with heart disease a wall collapsed and part of the roof. This resulted in ten miscarriages whereby babies died, the women are in intensive care, doctors are fighting for their lives. Our colleagues and we are working seven days a week, to save people. This is a direct consequence of falling bombs and missiles in residential buildings resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries, which are operated and reviewed now by our doctors. Such a large number of wounded and killed, as during today, did not result during the total of all the riots in Libya. And this is called “protecting the civilian population”?
With full responsibility as witnesses and participants of what is happening, we state that the United States and its allies are thus carrying out genocide against the Libyan people – as was the case in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Crimes against humanity, carried out by coalition forces akin to those crimes committed by the fathers and grandfathers of today’s Western leaders and their henchmen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan and in Dresden in Germany, where civilians were also being destroyed in order to deter, to break the will of the people to resist (Germany remembers it, and therefore refused to participate in this new slaughterhouse). Today they want in such ways to make the Libyan people surrender their leader and the legitimate government and meekly lay down their national oil wealth for the countries of the coalition.
We understand that applying to the “international community” to save the people of Libya and we were living in Libya, is useless. Our only hope – is Russia that has the right of veto in the UN, and specifically its leaders – the President and the Prime Minister.
We still hope for you, as hoped in the past, when we took the decision to stay in Libya, and to help its people, medical duty playing its role in the first place. After an abortive coup attempt in late February, the situation calmed down in Libya and the government had successfully restored order. To everyone in Libya, it was clear that without American intervention the country would soon return to normal life. Convinced that Russia, which has veto power, would not allow the aggression of the United States and its allies, we decided to stay in Libya, but were mistaken: Russia, unfortunately, believed the false assurances of Americans and did not oppose the criminal decision of France and the U.S.
We are Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians, the people of various professions (mainly doctors), working in Libya for more than a year (from 2 to 20 years). During this time, we became well acquainted with the life of the Libyan people and state with few citizens of other nations living in this social comfort, as the Libyans. They are entitled to free treatment, and their hospitals provide the best in the world of medical equipment. Education in Libya is free, capable young people have the opportunity to study abroad at government expense. When marrying, young couples receive 60,000 Libyan dinars (about 50,000 U.S. dollars) of financial assistance. Non-interest state loans, and as practice shows, undated. Due to government subsidies the price of cars is much lower than in Europe, and they are affordable for every family. Gasoline and bread cost a penny, no taxes for those who are engaged in agriculture. The Libyan people are quiet and peaceful, are not inclined to drink, and are very religious. Today, the people are suffering. In February, the peaceful life of the people was violated by gangs of criminals and insane drugged youth – whom the Western media for some reason called “peaceful demonstrators”. They used weapons and attacked police stations, government agencies, military units – resulting in bloodshed. Those who direct them, pursue a clear objective – to create chaos and establish control over Libya’s oil. They misinformed the international community, and said that the Libyans are struggling against the regime. Tell us, who would not like such a regime? If such a regime were in Ukraine or Russia, we would not have been here and worked and enjoyed the social comfort at home in our own countries and in every possible way such a regime would be maintained.
If the U.S. and the EU today have nothing to do, let them turn their attention to the plight of Japan, the Israeli bombing of Palestine, the audacity and impunity of Somali pirates, or the plight of Arab immigrants in France, and leave the Libyans themselves to sort out their internal problems. We see that today in Libya they want to do another Iraq. Carrying out the genocide of an entire people and those who are found with him. We perform MEDICAL DEBT and cannot leave Libyans alone in trouble, leaving them to be destroyed by the forces of the coalition, in addition, we understand that when all the foreigners leave and no one will tell the truth (the small staff of diplomatic missions have long been silenced), the Americans will arrange here a bloodbath. Our only chance of survival – is a solid civil position of Russia in the UN Security Council.
We hope that you, Mr. President, and you, Mr. Prime Minister, as citizens of Russia and as decent people will not allow American and European fascists of the 21st century to destroy the freedom-loving people of Libya and of those who today turned out to be with them.
We therefore urgently request that Russia uses its right of veto, the right earned by millions of lives of the Soviet people during World War II to stop the aggression against a sovereign state, to seek immediate cessation of U.S. and NATO bombing campaign and to demand the introduction of African Union troops in the conflict zone Libya.
Note: The African Union Peace & Security Council delegates that had been accepted by both the Libyan government and the rebel leaders to mediate a peaceful solution between the various parties, were refused entry into Libya by the UN Security Council. This act should have been reprimanded by Russia and China, who should study the AU resolutions, mandate and support its wise decisions]
HANDS OFF LIBYA!
With Respect and Hope
Your Wisdom and Honesty,
Citizens of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia,
located in Libya
Bordovsky S., Vasilenko, S., Vegerkina A., Henry IV, Henry H., L. Grigorenko, DraBragg, A., Drobot V. Drobot, N., Yemets E., Kolesnikova, T., Kuzin, I., Kuzmenko, B., Kulebyakin V. Kulmenko T., Nikolaev AG, Papelyuk V. Selizar V. Selizar About . Smirnov, O. Smirnova, R., Soloviev DA, Stadnik VA, Stolpakova T. Streschalin G. Stakhovich Yu, Sukacheva L. Sukachev V. Tarakanov, T., Tikhon N. Tikhonov VI, Tkachev AV, Hadareva E., Tchaikovsky, O., Chukhno D. Chukhno O. Yakovenko D. et al
The collection of signatures under the Appeal to the heads of Russia and under the request of an international tribunal in The Hague for crimes of U.S. and NATO in Libya.
The Taliban have created a group assigned to hunt down tribesmen suspected of providing information to the CIA that enables the Predator campaign to target terrorist leaders in Pakistani tribal areas.
The Khorasan is a region that encompasses large areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Iran.
The Khorasan is considered by jihadists to be the place where they will inflict the first defeat against their enemies in the Muslim version of Armageddon. The final battle is to take place in the Levant: in Israel, Syria, and Lebanon.
Iran Leaders: The Coming is Upon Us – Israel Shall be Destroyed!While the revolutionary movements gripping the Middle East have created uncertainty throughout the region, the video shows that the Iranian regime believes the chaos is divine proof that their ultimate victory is at hand.
‘The Coming is Near’
The Coming is Near and it describes current events in the Middle East as a prelude to the arrival of the mythical tweflth Imam or Mahdi — the messiah figure who Islamic scriptures say will lead the armies of Islam to victory over all non-Muslims in the last days.
“Isn’t the presence of Abdullah, his illness, and his uncertain condition, great news for those anxious for the coming?” asks the narrator.
Their belief is based on the centuries old Hadith by Prophet Mohammad and his descendants, who have provided clear guidance as to the timing of The Coming.
According to the Hadith in the age of The Coming, a revolution takes place in Iran. This is a key sign indicating that the reappearance is near and serves as the initial preparation in the worldwide movement for The Coming of the last messiah. Based on this belief, the leaders of Iran see it as their duty to prepare the ground for The Coming. One of the most important events to securing the reappearance of the last Messiah, as called for in the Hadith, is the annihilation of Israel and conquering Beitol Moghadas (Jerusalem). They state with conviction that Islam will soon conquer the world and all infidels will be destroyed.
The pursuit of nuclear bombs by the radicals ruling Iran is directly connected to this belief, as war, chaos, and lawlessness must engulf the world to pave the way for Imam Mahdi’s reappearance.
This movie has been produced in Iran by an organization called “Conductors of The Coming” in collaboration with the Iranian president’s office and the Basij (Iranian paramilitary force). Also reports indicate that Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, President Ahmadinejad’s top adviser and chief of staff, was directly involved with this project. The movie was completed a few months ago and recently screened for the high clerics by the Iranian president’s office with one of its high ranking official analyzing it.
Mashaei reflects the Iranian leaders’ belief very clearly:
Therefore let us shout out loud that The Coming is soon and that evil should be fearful. We live with these thoughts every day and our lives are filled with The Coming of the last Imam. That human will reappear and fill the world with justice and establish his promised governance on earth. The very world has witnessed too much bloodshed of the innocent for others to build their palaces. The very world is filled with shouts for justice. The innocent and the oppressed are losing their lives to world powers. It is in this very world where the oppressors rule and this world that Allah will command the last Imam to appear and forever put an end to injustice. At that time the world will belong to the righteous.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao
Pakistan is beefing up its arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles by embracing China as its new strategic arms partner and backing away from the U.S.
Until the mid-1960s, the United States was the principal supplier of weapons to Pakistan, the world’s eighth most-powerful nuclear nation.
But the U.S. began to back away from the relationship after years of difficult and sometimes unpredictable relations following the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. no longer fully supports the military ambitions of a Pakistan that is being destabilized by an insurgency it cannot control, rising radicalism and anti-Westernism, and a government considered by some too weak and corrupt.
That led Pakistan to replace the U.S. with China as a main source of defense material, at least in terms of arsenals, development and training.
“China is perceived as not coming with nearly as many strings attached as relations with the United States,” said Nate Hughes, director of military analysis at Stratfor, an intelligence website run by former CIA operatives.
This was starkly marked in November when on the same day the U.S. delivered some of the 18 F-16s it had pledged to Pakistan, Islamabad announced it had ordered an arsenal of SD10 mid-range homing missiles and radar systems to equip its JF-17 Thunder jet fighters from China.
More is on the way. China is scheduled to send Pakistan 250 JF-17s over the next five to ten years, a $1.3bn deal to buy J-10 fighters and a recent order for six submarines, all advanced under-sea vessels with an air independent propulsion system. A Pakistani government official was recently quoted as saying it was vital for the navy to acquire more submarines to offset “the pressure we will definitely come under” due to the rapid expansion of India’s naval capability. “Our Chinese brothers have always come to our help and we are asking them for assistance once again,” he said.
Earlier this month, China formally began the construction of two state-of-the-art fast attack missile crafts for the Pakistan Navy, in addition to eight F22P war frigates it ordered from Beijing back in 2005. Although the value of these contracts are kept a tight secret, some want to know how Pakistan can commit such enormous resources to defense spending.
“While President Asif Zardari travels to China every six months and signs one memorandum of understanding after another, he has committed way too much than he can deliver. There are too many kickbacks for contracts,” said Maria Sultan, the director general for the South Asia Strategic Stability Institute in Islamabad. “You have to look at the long-term viability of these loans and look at what Pakistan can pay in 5, 10, 15 years. A lot of loans are forgiven with China not asking for Pakistan to return the capital after paying interest,” said Sultan.
But there may be issues in the Pakistani-China relationship.
“Pakistan and China have problems understanding each other’s mindset,” said Sultan. “Pakistan had difficulty in applying to the Chinese the hardcore approach to business that it had experienced the United States at the start. That’s not the approach with the Chinese, which is a personal approach built over time through friendships and gradual trust building. China delivers in 15 years what the U.S. can in four years.”
That locks Pakistan into a deeper relationship with China, arguably an additional downside when diversity of suppliers is a standard policy in many countries to ensure accessibility to weaponry.
“It creates a dependency, especially when you start to talk about sophisticated modern […] technology. You create dependency in terms of upgrades, in terms of spare parts and ammunition, contractor relationships and training,” said Hughes.
Recent reports note that China has deployed troops in Gilgit Baltistan territory, in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.1 While Chinese officials ascribe this to the economic and infrastructure development in the region, this obtrusive presence is a cause for concern in New Delhi. Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir – Pakistan occupied parts of Kashmir – have been conspicuously absent in the media as well as in the scholarly literature.2 Occupied by Pakistan since 1948, the region has been kept under wraps and outside the ambit of the Kashmir Conflict by Islamabad, which has been relentless in diverting attention to the issue of human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan has been using the territory, resources and people of the region to further its national objectives. Militarily, this territory has served as a launching pad for all ventures of the Pakistan army to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir including offering a permanent sanctuary for radical extremist and terrorist organisations that threaten regional security.3 Although the presence of Chinese troops in these areas has been denied by both Pakistan and China,4 Indian concerns are genuine and need attention. This commentary explores the implications of this development for India. In doing so, it argues that China’s infrastructure development in the region indicates its attempt at regional dominance, which could jeopardise India’s interests in the long run.
In recent years, China has been able to change the geopolitical and geostrategic equations in this region that borders China, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. China’s upgrading of the Karakoram Highway, its development of road and rail access as well as other constructions including dams and tunnels, enable it to extend its strategic reach to the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf through Pakistan. As far as China is concerned, the Karakoram Highway is integral to keep Pakistan’s military sustained against India. Hence, the presence of Chinese troops in the contested region constitutes Beijing’s direct involvement in the Kashmir dispute. Consequentially, this could, in principle, transform a bilateral dispute into a trilateral dispute, with China being the third stakeholder. That apart, the roads and bridges being constructed with Chinese assistance, facilitate Pakistan army operations against India in the region. This involvement further signals that “Pakistan is a frontline state of China’s Grand Strategy”5 to strengthen the Chinese presence in South Asia.
Another issue of political relevance is that China’s ‘Kashmir is a disputed territory’ stance could harden, marking a shift from the earlier view that ‘it is a de facto part of India’.6 This, coupled with Beijing’s issue of stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir and its refusal of a visa to India’s northern army commander on the grounds that he commanded a ‘disputed territory’,7 is causing India to suspect whether China is taking unilateral steps to change the dynamics of the dispute. Related to this is China’s direct involvement in India’s domestic politics – specifically the secessionist movement in Kashmir valley, which is evident in the invitation extended to separatist leader Mirwaiz Farooq.8 This development could also be a signal to India to abstain from interfering in matters related to Tibet in future.
These developments are posing fresh military challenges to India not only along the India-China border but also along the Line of Control. Unlike earlier, when China had logistic limitations on India’s western front (read Ladakh) in terms of fuel supply for troops, the Karakoram Highway and ongoing infrastructure development will facilitate military operations against India. China’s intensified engagement in the region, encompassing reconstruction and development, suggests a subtle move to alter the security situation in the region. Commenting on what he describes as the “influx” of PLA soldiers in Gilgit-Baltistan region, Selig Harrison regards the development as the unfolding of “a quiet geopolitical crisis” in the Himalayan borderlands of Northern Pakistan.9
Finally, in the context of a combined China-Pakistan military threat to India, China’s development activities in the area is likely to facilitate speedy and enhanced deployment of Pakistan army to complement China’s military and thus outflank India. Another reason for the heightened concern about India’s strategic environment is China’s putting in place a “string of pearls” around India in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) through the development of ports and other infrastructure.10 This implies that the noose around India can be tightened if necessity, both on land and water. Beijing’s geostrategic ambitions over time are translating into a grand strategy of regional dominance, which has serious security implications for India.
The dynamic nature of geo-political environment is transitioning from American efforts to retain its uni-polarity to a stage where the emerging competitors and challengers are moving to a position of asserting their influence. This is likely to result in geo-economic, geo-political and geo-strategic changes, realignments and re-assertions, in certain regions which are likely to play important, if not pivotal roles in the future. These are high-stake political games which may well result in either prolonging geo-political status-quo or the commencement of changes towards a multi-polar balance of power.
To maintain the geo-political status-quo, major US concerns are likely to remain focused on Asia. These include an emerging China, sustaining support for a countervailing India, a resurgent Russia and a concerned Muslim world attempting to redefine its place in the world polity. While US led efforts aimed at containment of Russia are stabilizing almost along the original Russian borders in Europe, endeavours to curtail her expansion towards the south and limit Russian and Chinese influence in Eurasian hinterland are underway.
In February 2002, Colin Powell told the House International Relations Committee that, “America will have a continuing interest and presence in Central Asia of a kind that we could not have dreamed of before.” Chairman of NATO Military Committee while on a recent visit to Australia stated that, securing the safety of Washington and Brussels requires the expansion of a US dominated military alliance into “the Euro-Asian and Asian-Pacific regions.” Major US and NATO presence in Afghanistan and their efforts to enhance military presence in various Central Asian countries under the garb of providing support for Afghan war are clear indications in this direction.
In the post 9/11 environment Asia therefore became the test-bed of American attempts to assert and realign the politico-economic order to maintain her full-spectrum domination and deny or delay the emergence and assurgence of competing powers. US invasion of Iraq was essentially a venture to sustain these objectives and not against terrorism which had roots in Afghanistan. It was thought that the US adventure in Iraq would achieve its objectives soon and would allow shifting the focus to stabilize Afghanistan for a protracted US presence because of geo-political compulsions. While the US was busy in Iraq, they co-opted Indian support to replace Pakistan as a stabilizing influence in Afghanistan, mainly due to Pak-US trust deficit. This also provided Americans an opportunity to project Indian influence in Central Asia to dilute the existing Russian and increasing Chinese support base.
Having failed in her earlier attempts to coerce Pakistan through application of direct strategy, India readily took this opportunity to pay back Pakistan for its alleged interference in Indian Occupied Kashmir and ventured in to a strategic encirclement of Pakistan. Under a calibrated strategy, US also supported India by attempting to persuade Pakistan to allow passageway for sustaining the Indian influence in Afghanistan and beyond. While addressing a press conference in January this year in Islamabad, Hillary Clinton openly supported this venture to the discomfiture of her hosts. However, Pakistan did not acquiesce and avoided a self-inflicted strategic encirclement.
Moreover, in order to dilute and contain resurgent Taliban, US contrived with Indian and Afghan support to shift the terrorist center of gravity to Pakistani territory resulting in manifold increase in drone attacks in Pak regions bordering Afghanistan. However, the US desire to confine this war to Af-pak region was short-lived. Soon the Taliban outside of so-called Af-pak region re-emerged stronger, warranting a US surge followed by a crisis of command and strategy.
Also, the Americans soon realized Indian inability to replace Pakistan’s strategic influence in its backyard. This also solidified the fact that the geo-politically influenced strategic pivot provided by Pakistan could not and would not be replaced by India, no matter how powerful India may be. Pakistan had withstood the challenge, no matter how weak it had been or would be. Achievement of US geo-political and geo-strategic goals therefore would become extremely difficult without co-opting Pakistan. This fact can not be overstated by citing a statement of Senator McCain (courtesy wikileaks), who while talking to David Cameron in a 2008 meeting said that, “if they (Pakistan) don’t cooperate and help us, I don’t know what we are going to do.”
Many believe that India is a regional power, yet they fail to realize the fact that its regional prowess can only be exercised against nations as small and vulnerable as Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh. It has not been able to convincingly project its power potential against present day Pakistan and China and it is unlikely to happen in the future as well. US Embassy, New Delhi (courtesy wikileaks) corroborates this fact indicating that, with present Indian military capabilities, Cold Start doctrine would encounter mixed results.
US, France, UK, China and Russia etc can project their power potential because either they do not have a powerful regional threat to counter or they have enough capability to deter a regional threat and also project their capability to take care of extra-regional threats.
India cannot laterally expand its influence beyond its western borders due the existence of geo-political impediments in addition to the geographical restrictions placed by the presence of Pakistan. Expansion of its influence towards the east is impeded due to the large geographical lay of China. Myanmar can provide India with limited ability to expand towards South East Asia. She attempted to undertake such a venture but due to its internal upheaval in adjoining areas failed to take timely advantage. Chinese influence in Myanmar has in the meantime increased manifold which may limit future Indian endeavours. Therefore the only direction it may be able to expand its influence is towards the vast expanse of sea in the south.
As per the perceived US game-plan for India, garnering of a seaward influence is likely to be supported by the US and West. This fact is corroborated by increased number of Indian naval exercises with navies of US and other western nations in recent years. The plan seeks India to act as a countervailing force against China, as a milkman to sustain US economy while competing with Chinese economic progress and to stabilize regional disputes with limited force projection capability.
India may become a strong economic power and be able to generate fair bit of economic influence in all those countries which are its trading partners and may also be able to exercise fair bit of negativity against Pakistan and China in this domain. However, it’s overall power projection and generation of influence in the key regions would still remain limited unless it drastically improves relations with both Pakistan and China. It also highlights the importance of strategic nature of Pak-China relationship.
US follows a two pronged strategy against China, what some analysts term as “Contaigement” (Containment and Engagement). China counters this through application of a multi-faceted direct and indirect strategy. The engagement aspect does not irk both US and China to the extent of it being positive. Some of the major facets employed by China to counter the containment are; enhancement of politico-economic and military cooperation in key world regions, development of its military capability and seeking multiple trade corridors. Pakistan can offer major cooperation in many of these facets and thus emerges as a crucial player in facilitating for China a safe alternative outlet in to the global strategic zones.
China developed eastern Chinese region as a deliberate and well thought out policy. Now that this region has been well on its way to becoming a developed reality, western Chinese region bordering Pakistan is also being developed. The population of western China is close to 300 million people. The closest trade access to the sea for this large set of entrepreneurs is through Pakistan’s Karachi and Gwadar ports linked via Karakoram highway.
Pakistan’s sympathetic leanings towards China is one of the major causes of present trust-deficit between US and Pakistan, since the US in its endeavours to contain China is also eyeing Pakistan’s southern sea ports to acquire its own strategic corridor with links to Central Asian resources and to safeguard its interests. If this assumption is correct then it is quite likely that the US will continue to act as Pakistan’s neighbour for quite some time through its presence in Afghanistan and other regional countries and its projected withdrawal from Afghanistan is likely to remain restricted to end of combat operations.
In the 1960s, US attempted to follow the strategy of Pivotal Statecraft with regard to India and Pakistan. The strategy entailed that as US had influence and leverages in both India and Pakistan, it could manipulate or coerce both countries to find solutions to bilateral problems, under US auspices. However, the attempt failed as India had an alternative in the form of Russia and Pakistan looked for Chinese support. Apparently, US is attempting to follow a similar strategic posture again. Interestingly, in the ensuing geo-political environment India has no other entity to align with except the USA, whereas Pakistan can still lean towards China and frustrate US desires.
Pakistan therefore sits at the cross-roads of strategic interests of major world powers – an unenviable predicament or an enviable opportunity! Pakistan’s security and prosperity in the future therefore depends in a large way on how it exploits this geo-political tangle vis-à-vis these major contenders. It is here that Pakistan’s ability to generate a cooperative response from the great powers would be tested. Pakistan may not and should not become a party to any of the big powers and use its influence to generate a cooperative and all-supportive environment for future stability of the region. Pakistan’s decision makers must appreciate the strength Pakistan has placed itself in, despite the impediments and must not loose this strategic advantage. The success of Pakistani grand strategy depends upon its ability to manipulate co-relation of contending powers to its own advantage.
Source: Khan A. Sufyan
After 10 years of war in Afghanistan, the United States has no credible plan or strategy to make its way out. Although NATO has announced that it would finish its military operations by 2014 at a summit in Lisbon to achieve quick goals in Afghanistan and start withdrawal in next four years it is uncertain to achieve any considerable gains in Afghanistan in such a short span of time.
The US led alliance has failed in Afghanistan. In the last nine years they could not achieve any considerable success in Afghanistan.
The security situation is worse than ever before, drug trafficking has touched record levels, civilian casualties have soared in the recent past, and there has been a rise in attacks on US led alliance that has deteriorated security situation in Afghanistan. Now the question arises whether the US led alliance can achieve what they claim in next four years? Can America and its NATO allies clear nine years of mess in next four years, such claims are beyond reality.
In reality America and its allies are looking for a respectable way out from the Afghan impasse.
First their military strategy has failed in Afghanistan, with the Al-Qaeda and Taliban now calling the shots in Afghanistan. Secondly public opinion in the United States and NATO is widely against the war in Afghanistan. Thirdly the Taliban has clearly conveyed this message that they will never negotiate with the US and its allies. Fourth most of the Pushtun community in southern Afghanistan supports the Taliban. Fifthly global , the economic recession has also compelled US and Europe to end its occupation in Afghanistan and avoid further economic and human losses.
There is no relative peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban are stronger than ever before. The overall safety and security situation is volatile and unstable in Afghanistan. Lack of basic infrastructure, government services and health facilities, a decrease in human resource development, drug trafficking, rising attacks on civilians and the US led alliance and corruption are the main characteristics of today’s Afghanistan.
Insurgency in Afghanistan is gaining momentum, making things worse for the Afghan Govt and US led alliance. From 2001 to 2010 the US- led Alliance has suffered 2,169 casualties. In the last two years more than 7,400 attacks had taken place in Afghanistan resulting in more than 2,400 civilian casualties. Public support of the US war in Afghanistan is also waning in the US, Afghanistan and regional countries. According to a recent CNN poll, only 37% percent of Americans favor the war in Afghanistan, and more than half of Americans believe the war has turned into a Vietnam-like quagmire.
On the other side Pakistan’s has paid a huge price in the shape of cross border militancy, drug trafficking, instability and turmoil in FATA, Khyber Pukhtun Khuwa (KPK), and Balochistan, suicide attacks across Pakistan, illicit refugees, drone strikes, IDPs, fragile economy and to some extent radicalization in Pakistan. Pakistan has always tried to deal militancy and terrorism in a pro-active manner. The Pakistan military has carried out successful operations in Swat, Malakand, and South Waziristan areas. It is currently engaged in Orakzai, Bajaur, Mohmand and other volatile agencies of FATA.
According to official sources, Pakistan has deployed almost one hundred and fifty thousand (1, 50,000) troops in FATA to cover almost twenty-seven thousand, two hundred and twenty (27,220 km) kilometer area. If we compare it with the US led alliance, it has deployed almost 100,000 thousands troops for the whole of Afghanistan to cover almost six hundred and fifty thousand (652,230 sq km) area. (This is much higher than FATA). Such low level allocation of force would never stabilise Afghanistan. But Pakistan’s efforts had been irrefutable in the war against terror.
In addition to that Pakistan has carried out more efforts to curb the cross border insurgency and militancy from Afghanistan. It has installed almost 821 check posts, along the border with Afghanistan to curb cross border militancy, terrorism, drug trafficking and insurgency. But US led alliance and Afghan forces have not established more than 200 check posts, along the Afghan border. The US and its allies in Afghanistan must do more to safeguard Pak-Afghan border, increase vigilance and surveillance at the border to curb possible infiltration from Afghanistan to Pakistani tribal areas.
Moreover, Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terror can never be forgotten. The Pakistan Army has lost more than 2,273 of its soldiers in last nine years, and the US Led coalition collectively suffered less than 2,238 casualties in last 9 years.
This shows Pakistan’s colossal efforts and seriousness in meeting the challenges of militancy and terrorism. US war in Afghanistan has also affected the relations between the US and Pakistan, one of the reason, is drone strikes on Pakistani tribal areas. American drone strikes are hampering the war against terrorism.
These strikes killed more civilians than the real targets. Drone strikes are counterproductive, because Pakistani people consider it as hostile move and violation of the sovereignty of Pakistan.
More than 106 drone strikes have taken place in 2010 alone, in which more than 800 people lost their lives. From 2004 to 2010 drone strikes have killed 67 high profile suspected militants and almost 2,000 innocent civilians. These strikes killed more civilians than the real targets. Civilian casualties will fuel more insurgency and militancy. In addition to that, these drone strikes are in sharp contrast to the “Pushtunwali code” of conduct of these areas. In the Pushtunwali code of conduct “Badal” (Revenge) is closely related to the notion of honor. “Badal” (Revenge) is the most important, dominant and greatest of all Pathan traits.
The urge to take revenge on his enemy, is infused in the very blood of a Pathan. So with Drone strikes Americans are provoking unending war in this region. According to latest survey report by Regional Institute of Policy Research and Training, 67% people of Swat believe that drone strikes have caused anger among the people and fueled extremism and terrorism. In an another survey by Pew Research Centre in Washington on July 30, 2010, two-third of Pakistanis oppose the US-led war in Afghanistan and roughly six in 10 think the US is an enemy.
The expansion of drone strikes would shatter Pakistan’s national consensus against militancy. This would endanger Pakistan Army’s efforts in South Waziristan, Swat, Orakzai, Khyber and other agencies. Technological imprecision in US drones has also resulted in the rise of civilian casualties in tribal areas. According to Rich Zimmerman, CEO of Intelligent Integration Systems, the targeting system is inaccurate by as much as 40 feet. And also suggest that the unmanned planes’ weapons aren’t as accurate as the agency claims. Such an inaccuracy would seriously result in higher number of civilian casualties in Pakistani tribal areas, provoking these people against Pakistan Govt and military. A UN report says that, “Drone strikes are against International Humanitarian law,” and the CIA operatives could be charged with war crimes for their participation in drone strikes.
There is a requirement that given the huge stake in the war against terror and the counter insurgency efforts, sufficient public policy space is created so that counter terrorism strategy can be employed and sink with domestic aspirations and opinion rather than in strong opposition. The US has to reconsider this policy because it would have terrible implications for the US and Pakistan in future. Afghanistan needs a regional solution, without the support of regional countries like, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and Central Asian States it is very difficult to bring long term peace and stability in this war ravaged country.
Regional states must contribute to the development, reconstruction and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan. In addition to that, there must be joint task force of all these regional states to counter any threat to their national security. Intelligence sharing and cooperation between regional states will improve the overall security situation in Afghanistan. Moreover, Afghanistan and ribal areas of Pakistan did not see any major development in last six decades. Most of the people are illiterate and economically very poor. There is a need of a massive develtopment plan to create job opportunities for the youth and provide better education and health facilities to them. It is the only way to wipe out terrorism and extremism from this region.
Overwhelming reliance on military strategy must be abandoned. Up until now, and following numerous military operations, Afghanistan stands no closer to the immediate aftermath of the 9/11. There must be negotiations and dialogues between all the warring groups in Afghanistan. All ethnic groups should be given their due political role in Afghan government. The international community should come up with all out support and aid to help Afghanistan, before it could fall again in the hands of warlords or other criminal gangs. A long term solution of the Afghanistan crisis can only be brought by its own law enforcement agencies such as Army and Police. The international community and Pakistan must train Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, so that they can defend their country from any internal or external threats.
Stabilization in Afghanistan is a big challenge which needs lots of effort from international community. The security and stability of Pakistan is directly linked with the stability of Afghanistan, unless or until there is no peace in Afghanistan, we cannot expect peace in Pakistan. Sincere efforts are required by the US led alliance, and regional states to bring long term viable peace in Afghanistan. The US has to change its policy in dealing with Pakistan; it has to respect and honour the sovereignty and independent stature of Pakistan. America must trust Pakistan’s efforts and provide Pakistan with unconditional aid to combat terrorism and extremism in a more effective, constructive and a proficient way, only then long term peace and stability can be expected in the region.
Source: Mr. Masood-Ur-Rehman Khattak
At any given instant, a cell company has to know where you are; it is constantly registering with the tower with the strongest signal, We are all walking around with little tags, and our tag has a phone number associated with it, who we called and what we do with the phone, We don’t even know we are giving up that data.In the Pakistan, telecommunication companies do not have to report precisely what material they collect. Tracking a customer’s whereabouts is part and parcel of what phone companies do for a living. Every seven seconds
or so, the phone company of someone with a working cellphone is determining the nearest tower, so as to most efficiently route calls. And for billing reasons, they track where the call is coming from and how long it has lasted.But as a German Green party politician, Malte Spitz, recently learned, we are already continually being tracked whether we volunteer to be or not. Cellphone companies do not typically divulge how much information they collect, so Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cellphone company, Deutsche Telekom, knew about his whereabouts.The results were astounding. In a six-month period — from Aug 31, 2009, to Feb. 28, 2010, Deutsche Telekom had recorded and saved his longitude and latitude coordinates more than 35,000 times. It traced him from a train on the way to Erlangen at the start through to that last night, when he was home in Berlin.
Source: News Magzine
Pakistan pays $1 Billion for US Embassy out of US Aid package to Islamabad!
A few years ago, we were working interfaith events and tyring to fight racist bigotry in America. The period right after 911 was a tough time for Muslims and Pakistanis in America. There was a lot of anger and reprisals. Muslims were being targeted, tens of thousands were deported, and thousands ran to Canada. Muslim businesses were being boycotted and employment was being denied to Muslims and citizens of Pakistani origin.
At the time it was easy to profit from the misfortunes of Muslims and Pakistanis. If one spoke against Pakistan and Muslims, one got on the speaking circuit for $5000 a pop. Those who did it made a lot of money. Irshad Manji, Amir Tahiri and many others became millionaires.
One such individual was an ex-Jamat e Islami worker, who had been a staunch opponent of the PPP. His name was Husein Haqqani, now the US Ambassador for Pakistan–err the Pakistani Ambassador to Washington.
In an interesting email conversation took place with the current Pakistani Ambassador Mr. Hussain Haqqani. Mr. Haqqani was at the time opposing Pakistan, accusing the Pakistan Army of all sorts of evil and he was working against the plans for US aid to Pakistan. In our email conversation he opposed all aid to Islamabad. We posted the entire email when we got wind that he was going to be nominated as an Ambassador in Washington. I got an email two days before he became the ambassador asking me to remove his part of the emails, claiming that it was privileged information. From an ethical point of view, Mr. Haqqaniwas right–it was a personal exchange. I therefore deleted his part of the emails and published only my side. I sent a confirmation to Mr. Haqqani of the deletion. He sent me a response back thanking me for my integrity.
We bring this up in the context of the aid package recently given to Pakistan. Mr. Haqqani worked night and day to get it approved. The package is a joke. It is an abomination. Half the aid has to be spent in the US. A quarter is lost in administrative expenses.
Right before the aid package was approved, we read the package and highlighted the facts on this site (Washington wants to spend half of “US aid to Pakistan” on upgrading US Embassy & Consulates) that the aid package included $1 Billion that will be deducted from the total amount given to Pakistan. This further reduces the efficacy of the aid package. The mainstream media has finally caught up to the facts of the aid package.
Half of US aid to Pakistan is to be spent on upgrading US Embassy & Consulates.
US “Aid” to Pakistan is a joke!
The ineptitudede, inefficiency and total incompetence of the US Administration is evidenced by the deluge of confused, contradictory and utterly imbecilic comments emanating from the Freshman diplomats of the Obama Administration. The concocted hysteria and the farcical panic in the voices of Hillary Clinton, Admiral Mullen and General Petraeus seems comical, is disingenuous and reflects the image of consummate “The Ugly American“. The stink from the acerbic comments permeates the air and deprecates the stature of the Stars and Stripes, once loved and revered from Morocco to Indonesia.
When the American U2 spy planes used to take off from the US Badabare Air Force base near Peshawar, Pakistanis would cheer the American GIs. When Brezinski used to visit Torkhan an ocean of well wishers would throw flowers at him. When Persident Johnson visited Pakistan, entire cities came out to welcome him. In recent years, US diplomats sneak in and out of Pakistan and are unable to face Pakistani journalists.
The recent Pakistanphobic statements of the Administration have utterly alienated the Pakistani elite and the Pakistani masses. Despite the 5th column, the US message of doom and gloom has fallen off like water off a ducks back. The implied threats from Holbrooke and his acolytes create more Anti-Americanism and is reminiscent of 2001 when the US Air Force was dropping red colored cluster bombs and green colored relief packages for the Afghans.
The absurdity of that acts (of dropping death and destruction and food by the same vehicle and at the same time) also showed the hubris and the abject poverty of intellect of the Bush Administration. Today the US is doing the same in Pakistan. It is bombing people with drones, and then sending aid (which is actually loans) to its own consultants and embassies (a framing it as “aid” being sent to Pakistan). The acturail practice of calling “loans” as “aid” is not lost to all. Any dimwit with half a brain knows this. It is amazing the neither Najam Sethi, nor, Ayaz Amir, nor Ikram Sehgal, nor Asma Gilani ever refutes this architected amphigory.
American aid for Pakistan: Half the aid is for upgrading US embassies
The number of Marines Washington intends to station in Islamabad for security of its embassy is being widely discussed by various sections. – File photo Provinces
ISLAMABAD: In what could be a recipe for a new controversy, the United States will spend nearly one billion dollars from its $2.4 billion war supplement aid for Pakistan on the construction and fortification of its new embassy in Islamabad and additional staffing of the mission, in what is seen here as a departure from the usual practice of using State Department finances for such projects.
Under a programme to strengthen its presence in Pakistan, the US will bring here about 1,000 personnel, including a large number of Marines.
It has already undertaken a project to rebuild and refurbish the embassy building and construct accommodation for the new staff and a massive complex for the Marines to be stationed in the capital.
The US plan to reinforce its presence has already created ripples here and, according to a senior official, it would mean stationing of ‘more American military and intelligence personnel in diplomatic guise.
And a retired diplomat says the upcoming American hub in Islamabad will be used to influence development in the region by remote control.
US Charge d’Affaires Gerald Feierstein, in a letter, described the plan as a positive development symbolising US commitment to stand by its friends in Pakistan. He said the new embassy building would be a landmark in the diplomatic enclave.
The US media, meanwhile, has described the upcoming structure as a ‘super embassy’ rivalling only the American mission in Baghdad.
The project, US official estimates show, will cost about $1 billion. And the Obama administration has worked out an easy way out, footing the bills from Pakistan’s $2.4 billion share in the Pentagon War Supplemental Package for the fiscal year 2009.
A breakdown of the war supplemental aid package shows that $707 million has been earmarked for economic assistance, $700 million for counter-insurgency capability fund, $896 million for the new secured US embassy and consulates in Pakistan and $46 million for enhanced diplomatic operations covering logistics for civilian staff surge and security.
From the package, Pakistan will practically receive $707 million as economic assistance and that will include $225 million announced by Washington as assistance for displaced persons.
‘Closer scrutiny of the much trumpeted aid package shows that the government after subtracting the assistance for IDPswill be getting a mere $482 million and some improved counter-insurgency capacity,’ a senior Pakistani official dealing with aid said.
American officials defend the staff surge by saying it has been necessitated by the tripling of aid for Pakistan by the Obama administration. ‘We need the capacity to disburse money and exercise oversight.’
When asked about the clubbing of the cost for the new embassy and associated logistics with the war supplemental aid package, they said it was because of legislative procedures on the Capitol Hill. ‘That’s how legislative system works in Washington.’
Will Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ) make a difference in Pakistan?
Pakistan’s “Do More” list to the USA
Will ROZ help reduce extremism in Pakistan? FTA would do more!
Pakistan needs Trade First not Aid First
The number of Marines Washington intends to station in Islamabad for security of its embassy is being widely discussed here by diplomatic circles, media and informed sections of the public and there are speculations about the number of Marines who will land in Islamabad.
A report earlier published said the number could be around 350. Although Mr Feiersteinin his clarification had dismissed the figure as simply untrue, State Department documents indicate an allocation of $112.5 million for the Marines complex to be built inside the embassy compound.
The document does not suggest how many Marines would the new complex accommodate, but another allocation of $111 million in the same document for construction of a new annexe says it would house 330 personnel.US to use funds for aid on ‘super embassy’ project.
Why does the US need to build the largest embassy in the world in Islamabad–almost as big as that of Iraq?
Why is the US purchasing the Pearl Continental Hotel and make it into a Consulate?
Why is the US taking over most of Saddar in Karachi to expand the Consulate and shut off major traffic?
Are these embassies or are they Cantonments?–imperial outposts to run the country and monitor the Nuclear program?
There are news reports that half the US aid will be spent on improving the security of the US Embassies and Consulates. This means that Karachi will be further inconvenienced because the Embassy will close further roads and disrupt the normal functioning of the arteries. This also means that Pakistan will be paying for a long time for upgrading the US embassy facilities. This also means that Fox news will continue to berate Pakistan about ”the billions of Dollars of “Aid” (actually loans) given to Pakistan.
For some reason these loans give the White Man some sort of inalienable right to interfere in the internal affairs of Pakistan. These Dollars seem to allow low level US diplomats to tangle up the Pakistani politicians and purchase media personnel. The US Ambassador will also have discretionary spending of $5 million per year. A diplomat that earns only $70,000 can now corrupt the “natives”, fulfill the White Man’s burden in Afghanistan, and institute “The Doctrine of Lapse” type of policies which allowed the East India Company to take over entire states.
Humayun Gauhar is a prodigious columnist for Pakistan’s fiercely independent newspaper called “The Nation”, a newspaper that has maintained its integrity in the face of many obstacles. There are few Pakistani newspapers that remain true to the cause. The Frontier Post and the Statesman are among the ones that still portray real news.
Unlike dawn.com, the respectable Nation has not madeany Faustian deals for economic profit and still publishes news and views that are genuine, real and show moral rectitudede. Humayun Gauhar is the progeny of Information Secretary of President Ayub Khan.– Altaf Gauhar. Humanyun Gauhar is known for his deep insights into the working of the Pakistani government and has recently written an effulgent article on US Aid to Pakistan.Humayun should know the ropes, his father wascalled a CIA spy by G.M. Syed and is considered to be the ghost writer of Ayub’s book, ‘Friends not Masters”.
There is news about the much heralded US aid to Pakistan. From Barack Obama, to Hillary Clinton, to the US media all keep harping on the billions of Dollars sent to Pakistan. Utter nonsense and garbage.
The US aid to Pakistan is “Peanuts”. Egypt gets 2.5 Billion per Anum, Israel gets twice as much in grants per year. The loss to Pakistan according to the DOD accounting office was $20 Billion per year. Afghanistan got $143 Billion in the past eight years while Iraq got $605 Billion. The aid to Pakistan was $5 Billion (about $5 Billion was for reimbursement for expenses, 4 air force bases, and use of supply routes from Karachi to Torkhan etc.)
US Aid. Here is some simple math. Half the US aid is to spent on enhancing the security of the American diplomatic corps. It is also a well known fact that half the US aid is always spent on US consultants. 25% is spent on administration of the USAID. Only 25% of this so called makes it to Islamabad to be routinely handed over to the American Ambassador’s favorite NGO. So much for the $1.9 Billion Dollar Aid. Pakistan needs Trade First not Aid First
The word ‘aid’ is another deception to hide the fact that most of the money ‘given’ us by America is a loan which we have to return one day with interest. An editorial entitled Deceptive aid in The Nation of May 13, 2009, encapsulates this hypocrisy: “It is quite surprising to learn that out of the $1.9 billion of US aid, almost half would be spent on enhancing the security of [the] US embassy and consulates in Pakistan. This belies the common impression given by the American leadership that the sum is directed at strengthening the country’s economy. It sounds pretty devious.”
The American presidential team is not discussing the real long term solutions to the issues relating to the generation poverty in SouthAsia. Pakistan has been asking for an Free Trade Agreement (FTA) withthe USA for a decade. Jordan and Egypt enjoy FTAor their equivalents with America and have been able to use the low tariffs to export their products to America. Pakistan’s FTA has been blocked by the Textile growing states of the USA because stalwarts like Jesse Helms believed that imports from Pakistan would jeopardise the economy of the Carolinas. Trade First not Aid First for Pakistan: FTA would reduce terror
Experts also say there are serious problems with the way U.S. aid is disbursed. A large portion of development assistance is spent on international consultants and overhead costs, which the new U.S. strategy acknowledges. Some analysts, including the RAND Corporation’s C. Christine Fair, say that the United States pursues a policy of supply-driven aid (Washington Quarterly) that measures output, such as schools built, rather than services delivered, such as quality of education. This observation is disputed by Charles North, a senior official for the region at USAID, in a CFR.org podcast.
The US Textile industry has resisted allowing tariff free Pakistani textile imports. Pakistan pays more tariffs than Sweden. If the US lifted the tariffs on Pakistani textiles this would funnel $15 Billion into the hands of the textile owners and their employees. The EU has started to become aware of the solutions. The first EU-Pakistan summit is going to be held soon.
Aid is also a very funny thing. It implies that it is money which has been “given” to a country. This can be misleading. Aid can come in the shape of a grant, a loan and, of course, expertise. More often than not there are several conditions attached to every programme. For instance, if there is a grant to buy wheat from USAID, Pakistan can only buy wheat from the United States at a predetermined rate, and not from the international market where rates can be negotiated. This takes care of surplus production from US farmers. The wheat will only be shipped on US ships, insured by US companies, etc. If the DFID, which is the British equivalent of USAID, puts fortha “development” programme, then only British consultants will be used and they can subcontract to local consultants, etc. The gravy train starts right at the beginning. Joseph Stiglitz, a former World Bank chief economist and author of several excellent books, has gone through this entire process in several of his writings and narrates how he left the World Bank in disgust eventually.No thank you, we’re Pakistani, Hit and run, Saturday, April 11, 2009, Shakir Husain
There’s also been a push for enhancing economic opportunities inside Pakistan through trade. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council view expanded bilateral economic cooperation (PDF) as an essential component to achieving security goals for both countries. The United States is Pakistan’s largest investor and trading partner; however, U.S. tariffs on Pakistan’s textiles (over 50 percent of the country’s total global exports) undermine its ability to compete in the U.S. market. A 2001 billto ease textile trade with Pakistan never passed. Reducing tariffs might be even more difficult in the current global economic crisis. CFR Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman told CFR.org that by being closed on the trade front, the United States is punishing the same poor, rural populations in Pakistan that it is trying to help through development aid. “It should be viewed in totality,” she said. CFR
Pakistan needs trade not aid. It needs aFTA and easy access to US and European markets. Pakistan needs massive reparations for lost economic activity since 1980. The Reconstruction Opportunity Zones should constructed as soon as possible. 2010 is too far off a date. The aid is lost in corrupt coffers.
Devious is not the word. It’s Satanic; for it is the American people they are really deceiving who in their simplicity go on harping about the $10 billion they have supposedly ‘given’ us. Someone should tell these dolts that half that amount was payments due for costs incurred in fighting America’s war. Even this $1.9 billion will probably be called ‘aid’ while we will be paying interest on refurbishing US property. Truth to tell, if we added up all the damage America’s vacillating ‘friendship’ has done to us, it will come to trillions. We should invoice them for it one day, when we have a government with you know what.
The incompetence of the US effort in Afghanistan is self evident by the results on the ground in Afghanistan. There is much discussing of the “accountability” and blank checks of Aid to Pakistan. What about the accountability of the results of the war in Afghanistan? Blank checks to the US army has resulted in inflaming not only Pakistan but it has also increased repression in the Central Asia Republics.
The inevitable conclusion is that either America is very stupid or it is instability-short-of-chaos that it really wants so that it can continue its presence in the region to control pipeline routes, make military bases and be within striking distance of all the enemies that it has created. Actually it is both stupid and deceptive, which is why none of its grand plans has ever worked and only caused chaos. An American says that it is not ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ at all but ‘Operation Enduring Instability’.
There are solutions, if one can get through the US Tin ear.
The best way America can help Pakistan is to put people to work. And the best way to do this would be to give duty-free treatment to Pakistan’s clothing, leather and textile industries.
In earlier decades, Southeast Asia and Central America used labor-intensive exports to create jobs, promote economic growth and defang radicals. Pakistan should be able to do the same. Though it is a small exporter, it has an efficient textile industry. Household linens earn most of the hard currency Pakistan uses to buy food and fuel, and are good job creators – each container full of towels puts 500 urban residents to work.
Today, though, American trade policy hurts these industries more than it helps. Tariffs on Pakistan’s goods are far above those imposed on products from affluent countries. To choose a simple example: Pakistan’s towels and T-shirts trigger 7.5 percent and 19 percent tariffs, while tariffs on Sweden’s cars and airplane parts are only 2.5 percent and zero. So last year, Pakistan’s $3.6 billion in goods exported to the U.S. faced a $365 million tariff penalty – almost three times the $142 million penalty on Sweden’s $13 billion. Why this perverse outcome? Lobbying campaigns have kept U.S. tariffs on the textiles Pakistan makes much higher than our tariffs on rich-country goods. To make matters worse, our exemption of most African and Latin American towels and shirts from tariffs puts Pakistan at a disadvantage against its direct competitors.
The logical step is to give Pakistan a break. Waiving tariffs on Pakistan’s millions of towels and shirts – and soccer balls and everything else it makes – could boost urban employment, help Pakistan’s government cool the political temperature, and thus help the new democratic system succeed.
Retail politics has blocked such a step until now. Fear of Pakistani competition in textiles, augmented by industry lobbying, stopped the Bush administration from pushing a tariff waiver in 2001 on the grounds that Congress would never go along. But as one-time congressional staffers, we think this sells Congress short. When a grave national security interest is at stake, Congress usually responds. We think it would do so again.
Shifting support for Pakistan from “aid first” to “trade first” would require leadership from the White House and support from Democrats. But given the dangers – for Pakistanis, Afghans, Americans and others – should Pakistan fail, the Bush administration should use its remaining time in office to take on this fight.
Just imagine if the USA had agreed to the FTA and the free access of Textiles, this would have transferred more than $6 Billion per Annam to the cotton producing areas of Pakistan. $42 Billion plus increased export of other commodities would have created new opportunities for the farmers. They would have sent their kids to the best schools in Pakistan and America–not to madarssas. Thomas Freidman of the New York Times suggested opening up American markets for Pakistan products this in 2001!
The cumulative affect of $40-$100 Billion would have totally transformed the entire infrastructure of the country because the money would have gone directly to the farmers without any leakage into kleptomaniac hands of government officials.
source: defence pk
Germany has pulled out of NATO operations due to disagreements over the mission in Libya. To add to that, Germany did the unthinkable: it voted in favor of a UN Security Council resolution calling the Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory illegal and demanding the immediate halt of all settlement activity. Then, Ms Merkel did something very strange: she ordered the shutdown of Germany’s nuclear reactors.
Curiously, the Japanese, too, have now openly sided with the Palestinians — and they have now have serious
problems with runaway nukes. Coincidence? Perhaps. But consider this: The same Israeli company providing ‘security’ to Japan’s reactors is the one that’s also responsible for the nukes in Germany. Reckon that had something to do with why Merkel hurriedly ordered the shut down of German reactors? What does she know? Was Israel’s Stuxnet virus responsible — intentionally or not — for the Japanese meltdown? Was it unleashed on the Japanese as a warning (albeit one that got out of control) not to mess with God’s chosen people? Is this what Merkel fears could happen in Germany?
Think that’s farfetched? Not when you consider that just yesterday, BOTH engines of Merkel’s immaculately maintained Puma chopper suffered simultaneous flameouts. Is Ms Merkel now suddenly waking up to the fact that the Israelis are stark raving mad and will stop at nothing to get what they want?
I’m inclined to believe Ms Merkel now takes very seriously the words of noted Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld when he openly boasted in an interview last year about Israel’s military capabilities, “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force…. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.”
And van Creveld isn’t exactly chopped liver — he’s lectured at the American Army War College. Replying to a question whether Israel does not have fears of being classified as a criminal state if it expelled Palestinians, van Creveld said, “Israel is a state that does not care about what others say about it and you must remember the saying of former defense minister Moshe Dayan when he said that ‘Israel must always act as a wild dog because it should be dangerous in the eyes of others, rather than be harmed.’”