Archive for the ‘aid’ Category

Pakistan Resisting Terror War But Wants U.S. Funding

January 28, 2009

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has called on the United States to halt its drone attacks against al Qaeda and Taliban fighters on Pakistani soil and warned that the missile strikes were fuelling militarism in the country’s troubled tribal border region.

This comes amid what appears to be a media blitz by Pakistan’s President Zardari and former President Musharraf to get more funding for Pakistan from the U.S.  Both men say Pakistan has been the number one ally of the U.S. in the anti-terror fight.



From AFP

Pakistan on Wednesday hit back against US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, saying US missile strikes inside its borders were “counter-productive” to anti-terrorism efforts.

“Our policy remains unchanged and we believe drone strikes are counter-productive,” foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told AFP.

He was speaking in response to a statement from Gates that the United States would “go after Al-Qaeda wherever Al-Qaeda is” and affirming that the new US administration’s position had been transmitted to the Pakistani government.

“Both President (George W.) Bush and President (Barack) Obama have made clear we will go after Al-Qaeda wherever Al-Qaeda is, and we will continue to pursue that,” Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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 Pakistan Hopes Obama Can Deliver Even Part of the Bush-Cheney Love (and Money)
Pakistan’s President Continues Audition for Obama Attention, Funding, Support
Pakistan Auditions For “New Start” in U.S. Policy, Funding From President Obama on CNN

An unmanned Predator drone. A suspected US missile strike Friday ... 
An unmanned Predator drone.(AFP/File/US Air Force)


Pakistan Hopes Obama Can Deliver Even Part of the Bush-Cheney Love (and Money)

January 28, 2009

Former Pakistan President Musharraf has been on a media blitz of sorts seeking love and money from the new Obama Aministration.

Musharraf got rich off Bush-Cheney.

Now President Zardari is at it; seeking U.S. approval and funding which may be in serious doubt.

Just yesterday Defense Secretary Gates said Predator drones would continue to invade pakistan’s air space in efforts to find and kill terrorists the Pakistani’s tolerate.

On Sunday, September 10, 2006, the late Tim Russet hosted Vice President Cheney on”Meet the Press.”  Cheney made an extremely long supporting speech on the importance of General Musharraf and pakistan to the United States.

I heard about this while in Pakistan working near my friend Muhammad.

Muhammad is now dead, killed by the Taliban, right near where the Predator drones are operating today.  Musharraf is no longer the kingpin in Pakistan.

But it was Tim Russert’s careful, probing inquiry with Cheney that opened my eyes to the growing troubles between the U.S. and Pakistan — and the kind of “over the top” support once given to Pakistan by the United States.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom


Part of Vice President Cheney’s Remarks on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on Sunday, September 10, 2006:

“President Musharraf has been a great ally. There was, prior to 9/11, a close relationship between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognized, diplomatically recognized the government of Afghanistan at that particular time. But the fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements including al-Qaeda and including the Taliban in Pakistan. There have been three attempts on his life, two of those by al-Qaeda over the course of the last three years. This is a man who has demonstrated great courage under very difficult political circumstances and has been a great ally for the United States”.

“So there’s no question in that area along the Afghan/Pakistan border is something of a no man’s land, it has been for centuries. It’s extraordinarily rough territory. People there who move back and forth across the border, they were smuggling goods before there was concern about, about terrorism. But we need to continue to work the problem. Musharraf just visited Karzai in, in Kabul this past week, they’re both going to be here during the course of the U.N. General Assembly meetings over the course of the next few weeks. We worked that area very hard, and the Paks have been great allies in that effort.”

“Pakistan, we’ve gone in and worked closely with Musharraf to take down al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, same thing. In all of those cases, it’s been a matter of getting the locals into the fight to prevail over al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-related tyrants.”

“Think of Musharraf who puts his neck on the line every day he goes to work, when there’ve been attempts on his life because of his support for our position. And they look over here and they see the United States that’s made a commitment to the Iraqis, that’s gone in and taken down the old regime, worked to set up a democracy, worked to set up security forces, and all of a sudden we say it’s too tough, we’re going home. What’s Karzai going to think up in Kabul? Is he going to have any confidence at all that he can trust the United States, that in fact we’re there to get the job done? What about Musharraf? Or is Musharraf and those people you’re talking about who are on the fence in Afghanistan and elsewhere going to say, ‘My gosh, the United States hasn’t got the stomach for the fight. Bin Laden’s right, al-Qaeda’s right, the United States has lost its will and will not complete the mission,’ and it will damage our capabilities and all of those other war fronts, if you will, in the global war on terror.”

 Pakistan’s President Continues Audition for Obama Attention, Funding, Support

Gaza: U.N. Stops All Aid as “Too Dangerous,” Blames Israel

January 8, 2009

It is a recurring complaint from the United Nations, “It is Israel’s fault.”

That was the word today from U.N. aid workers after the UN shut down humanitarian supply efforts into Gaza.

“The U.N. is suspending its aid operations in Gaza until we can get safety and security guarantees for our staff,” spokesman Chris Gunness said. “We’ve been coordinating with them (Israeli forces) and yet our staff continue to be hit and killed.”

Palestinian demonstrators use sling-shots to hurl stones at ... 
Palestinian demonstrators use sling-shots to hurl stones at Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against Israel’s military operation in Gaza, in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah,Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009. Israel resumed its Gaza offensive Wednesday after a three-hour lull to allow delivery of humanitarian aid, bombing heavily around suspected smuggling tunnels near the border with Egypt. Despite the heavy fighting, strides appeared to be being made on the diplomatic front with the U.S. throwing its weight behind a deal being brokered by France and Egypt.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)


By IBRAHIM BARZAK and STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writers

The United Nations halted aid deliveries to the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday, citing Israeli attacks on its staff and installations hours after it said tank fire killed one of its drivers as he went to pick up a shipment.

The United Nations has already demanded an investigation into Israel‘s shelling of a U.N. school in Gaza that killed nearly 40 people earlier this week. Israel and residents said militants were operating in the area at the time.

For a second straight day, Israel suspended its Gaza military operation for three hours to allow in humanitarian supplies. Shortly before the pause took effect, however, the U.N. said one of its aid trucks came under Israeli fire, killing the driver.

U.N. spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said the U.N. coordinated the delivery with Israel, and the vehicle was marked with a U.N. flag and insignia when it was shot in northern Gaza. The Israeli army said it was investigating.

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Gaza: Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney Tries To Land Relief Supplies; Turned away

December 30, 2008

A boat carrying international peace activists, including former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip sailed back into a Lebanese port on Tuesday after being turned back and damaged by the Israeli navy, organizers of the trip said.

The crowds on the docks in the Lebanese port city of Tyre were jubilant and cheering as they welcomed the vessel.

By Craig Schneider 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, December 29, 2008
The boat, which set off from Cyprus Monday wanted to make a statement and deliver medical supplies to embattled Gaza. The trip’s organizers said the boat was clearly in international waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza, at the time of its close encounter with the Israeli navy.

“Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front and one on the side,” McKinney told CNN Tuesday morning. “Our mission was a peaceful mission. Our mission was thwarted by the aggressiveness of the Israeli military.”

She called on President-elect Obama to address the Gaza crisis, saying the weapons being used by Israel were supplied by the United States.

She denied that the incident was an accident, caused whent he captain of the Dignity tried to maneuver past the Israeli blockade. “What the Israelis are saying is outright disinformation,” she said. “What happened to us last night was a direct threat to our mission, but not our cause.”

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U.N. Mulls Reengaging Burma With More Aid

December 28, 2008

International sanctions and Laura Bush‘s personal intervention did not make Burma’s generals ease their political oppression. Neither did quiet diplomacy, nor the devastation of a cyclone.

So the United Nations is attempting a new approach: It is trying to entice the generals with fresh promises of development money. 

By Colum Lynch and Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, December 28, 2008; Page A16

According to senior U.N. officials, special envoy Ibrahim Gambari has proposed that nations offer Burma financial incentives to free more than 2,000 political prisoners, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and to open the country to democratic change.

In the months ahead, the U.N. leadership will press the Obama administration to relax U.S. policy on Burma and to open the door to a return of international financial institutions, including the World Bank. The bank left in 1987 because Burma, which is officially known as Myanmar, did not implement economic and political reforms.

“It cannot be business as usual. We need new thinking on how to engage with Myanmar in a way that will bring tangible results,” Gambari said in an interview, adding that the United Nations cannot rely simply on “the power of persuasion with too little in the [diplomatic] toolbox.”

But critics characterize the strategy as a desperate attempt to salvage a diplomatic process that has so deteriorated that Suu Kyi and Senior Gen. Than Shwe, Burma’s military ruler, declined to meet with Gambari during his last trip there, in August. Gambari, critics say, is simply grasping to show progress in moving a regime that has no intention of embracing democratic reform.

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Britain promises more anti-terror aid to Pakistan

December 14, 2008

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Sunday pledged more technical support and funding to help Pakistan and India battle terrorism in the wake of the attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people.

Brown made the offers as he made whirlwind visits to both nations’ capitals and tried to calm tensions following the assaults, which India has blamed on a Pakistani-based Islamist group.

By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer

Prime Minister Gordon Brown attends at a joint press conference ... 
Prime Minister Gordon Brown attends at a joint press conference with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the Presidential Palace in Islamabad, during his visit to Pakistan, on Sunday December 14, 2008.(AP Photo/PA, Lewis Whyld)

Brown urged the nuclear-armed rivals to cooperate to peacefully resolve the crisis, which the U.S. fears could divert Pakistan’s attention away from battling al-Qaida and Taliban militants along its border with Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, Brown met with President Asif Ali Zardari and promised the Muslim nation new bomb-scanning technology, forensic assistance, help improving airport security and other support. He also announced a $9 million program to help fight the causes of extremism and strengthen democracy, including trying to reach out to and educate Pakistani youth to avoid radicalization.

“We will continue to expand our counterterrorism assistance program with Pakistan, and it will be, more than ever, the most comprehensive anti-terrorism program Britain has signed with any country,” Brown said at a joint news conference with Zardari.

Brown also said more would be done with both India and Pakistan to share police data on terror suspects and groups.

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Nuclear North Koean The Issue for China, Japan, U.S., South Korea, Russia

December 10, 2008

Negotiators from six countries meeting in Beijing are discussing a Chinese draft proposal on ways to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear programme.

The parties are trying to break a deadlock over how to verify North Korea’s account of its atomic activity.


North Korea's envoy Kim Kye Gwan (L) and with his delegation ... 
North Korea’s envoy Kim Kye Gwan (L) and with his delegation sits next to Japan’s envoy Akitaka Saiki (2nd R)and his delegation as they take part in a new round of six party talks in Beijing December 8, 2008. A top U.S. envoy predicted tough talks on North Korea’s nuclear activities on Monday as a fresh round of negotiations over a disarmament-for-aid deal began with the Bush administration readying to leave office.REUTERS/Elizabeth Dalziel/Pool (CHINA)

North Korea agreed last year to disable its plutonium-producing reactor and disclose its nuclear activities in return for fuel aid.

Progress in implementing the deal has been sporadic.

The six-party process, begun in 2003, groups North and South Korea with China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Significant progress in the talks would be a rare diplomatic victory for US President George W Bush before he leaves office in January.

Many analysts say Pyongyang is unlikely to strike a deal before President-elect Barack Obama takes over the White House.

Differing interpretations

The Chinese proposal is said to include details on international inspections of the North’s Yongbyon reactor that would provide samples of nuclear material that could be taken out of the country for testing.

“We need a verification process that’s clear and that does not leave ambiguity, and that certainly, I think, is what the draft tries to address and what we tried to address in our comments,” US envoy Christopher Hill said before Wednesday’s talks began.

South Korean envoy Kim Sook said the wording of the Chinese draft needed to be fine-tuned.

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UN forced to cut food aid to Zimbabwe’s starving people

December 7, 2008

Half a million will go without emergency handouts this month, and more will be hungry in January. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown says it’s time to tell Mugabe ‘enough is enough’

From The Independent on Sunday (UK)

Zimbabwean women and children fetch water from an unprotected ... 
Zimbabwean women and children fetch water from an unprotected well in Harare. Zimbabwe has accused Britain of using a cholera outbreak which has killed nearly 600 people to seek foreign support for an invasion of the African nation, the state-run Sunday Mail has reported.(AFP/File/Desmond Kwande)

Half a million people in Zimbabwe will go without food handouts this month, the UN agency responsible for feeding more than two-fifths of the country’s population warned yesterday, as shortages of funds force further cuts in rations.


“We are still four months away from the [maize] harvest. We haven’t seen the worst yet,” Richard Lee, a spokesman for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Johannesburg, told The Independent on Sunday. “The situation has worsened more quickly than expected. We have reduced rations in December, and will have to do so again in January.”

The food crisis has contributed to the rapid spread of the cholera epidemic now ravaging the country. So far nearly 600 people have died and more than 12,000 have been infected, according to the authorities, but the real figures are believed to be much higher as the disease takes its toll among people weakened by hunger.

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