Archive for the ‘Border’ Category

Immigration embers could turn into political fire for Obama

March 22, 2009

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, already burdened with pushing through the president’s massive agenda, seem to be sidestepping the issue of illegal immigration.

But with Hispanics expecting big things from the party they helped put in control of Washington last year, fancy footwork won¹t be enough. Hispanic lawmakers went to the White House last week to find out why Obama’s overflowing agenda left out the immigration reform he promised during his campaign.

By Susan Ferrechio
The Examiner

Days before, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had drawn criticism when she told an audience in San Francisco that some raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency are “un-American” because they separate illegal immigrant parents from their U.S.-born children.

The remarks brought quick denunciations from opponents of illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants.

But putting a halt to such raids has been one of the top priorities for Hispanic leaders. At their meeting with Obama last week, the Hispanic lawmakers managed to get the president to pledge that he is “pursuing ways”
to end such raids.

That may be the closest Obama gets to reforming immigration anytime soon.

“Immigration reform makes Social Security reform look like a walk in the park,” said former Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas., who chaired the House Democratic Caucus from 1999-2003. “It is the single toughest, meanest subject Congress has to deal with. Given the scope of the problems they are facing right now it would be very hard to put immigration reform into the mix.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/
politics/Immigration-embers-could-tu
rn-into-political-fire-41631172.html

Related:
 La Raza has a new best friend at Justice

immigrants protest INS raids
“Stop the racist raids” signs are held by Latino activists as they protest recent immigration raids across the country at a demonstration and news conference in front of the downtown Federal Building December 19, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (File photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Obama: Troop move to Mexican border under consideration

March 12, 2009

President Obama weighed in Wednesday on the escalating drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that he was looking at possibly deploying National Guard troops to contain the violence but ruled out any immediate military move.

“We’re going to examine whether and if National Guard deployments would make sense and under what circumstances they would make sense,” Obama said during an interview with journalists for regional papers, including a McClatchy reporter.

By Maria Recio | McClatchy Newspapers

“I don’t have a particular tipping point in mind,” he said. “I think it’s unacceptable if you’ve got drug gangs crossing our borders and killing U.S. citizens.”

Read the rest:
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2
27/story/63800.html

Top U.S. Military Leader Offers Help to Mexico; Briefs Obama

March 7, 2009

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the United States could help with equipment and intelligence techniques after returning from a six-day trip to Latin America punctuated by news of beheadings and intimidation by Mexican drug cartels.

Mexico could borrow from U.S. tactics in the fight against terrorism as it battles a crisis of drug-related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, the top U.S. military officer said Friday.

Returning from a six-day trip to Latin America punctuated by news of beheadings and intimidation by Mexican drug cartels, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the United States could help with equipment and intelligence techniques.

Adm. Mike Mullen would not be specific about what kind of intelligence or surveillance help the United States might offer, but said he saw ways to employ experience the United States has gained in the ongoing hunt for extremists and terrorists.

He would not say whether there may already be U.S. drones flying over bloodstained cities such as Ciudad Juarez, where 17 bodies came into the morgue on one day recently, including the city police force’s second-in-command and three other officers.

“Obviously it affects us because of the relationship between the two countries,” Mullen said during a telephone news conference as he flew to Washington following meetings in Mexico, his last stop.

Mullen referred to the spike in violence as a crisis, and said it occupied much of his discussions with Mexican military leaders.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in Mexico in drug-related violence this year. In 2008, the toll doubled from the previous year to 6,290. Both the U.S. and Canada have warned that murders related to drug activity in certain parts of Mexico, particularly along the border with the U.S., raised the level of risk in visiting the country.

There are signs the violent competition among Mexican drug and smuggling cartels is spilling across the border, as cities in Arizona report increases in such crimes as home invasions. More than 700 people were arrested as part of a wide-ranging crackdown on Mexican drug cartels operating inside the United States, the Justice Department said last month.

Last weekend, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he also saw opportunities for the U.S. military to help with military training, resources and intelligence.

“I think we are beginning to be in a position to help the Mexicans more than we have in the past. Some of the old biases against cooperation with our — between our militaries and so on, I think, are being set aside,” Gates said in an interview that aired last Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“It clearly is a serious problem,” he said.

Related:
http://eideard.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/o
bama-mullen-discuss-mexicos-drug-wars/

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By ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer

President Barack Obama was briefed Saturday by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen about the drug wars in Mexico and wanted to know how the United States can help.

“Clearly one of the things the president was interested in was the U.S military capability that may or may not apply to our cooperation with the Mexicans,” said a U.S. military official who requested anonymity because the discussions were private. “He was very interested in what kind of military capabilities may be applied.”

Mullen briefed Obama Saturday morning about discussions with Mexican military leaders about the drug wars there.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009030
8/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_mexico_9

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/america
s/03/07/mexico.headless.bodies/index.html

http://mexicoinstitute.wordpress.com/200
9/03/03/factbox-ciudad-juarez-mexicos-m
ost-violent-city/

Israel Expected To Begin “Unilateral Gaza Cease Fire,” End Fighting Saturday

January 16, 2009

Israel is saying its cabinet will vote on a unilateral cease fire in Gaza tomorrow, Saturday.

Alalysts say the decision may mean that Israel has decided to end the operation in Gaza, “Cast Lead,” without an agreement with Hamas, relying instead on the support of the United States and Egypt.

Most insiders in Israel say Israel will end the fighting unilaterally on Saturday evening, and respond with “certain force” to any Hamas provocation.

Haaretz reported that “A government source emphasized that there has been great progress with Egypt in reaching an agreement on fighting arms smuggling. The deal would require the combined use of technological measures to fight smuggling on the border between Gaza and Egypt, operations against smugglers in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, and the use of international experts to identify smuggling tunnels on the border. ”

Israel also believed that the U.S. offer to prevent the rearming of Hamas merited a trip by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to the U.S. State Department for a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  The two inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the prevention of the rearming of Hamas.

Related:
U.S., Israel Sign Agreement Aimed At Preventing Rearmed Gaza, Hamas

“We have what we need not.  Hamas has agreed not to shoot rockets.  And the United States and Egypt have agreed to not allow the rearming of Hamas.  It is not perfect but it is a good outcome,” one senior Israeli told us.

Israel’s decision is being welcomed by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, and others who have been urging an end to the fighting.

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (L) shakes hands with ... 
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (L) shakes hands with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during their meeting in Tel Aviv January 15, 2009, in this picture released by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO).

The decision to start a cease fire unilaterally would avoid a prolonged and difficult negotiation with Hamas, an organization that has vowed to destroy Israel.

The Jerusalem Post said, “A unilateral decision is likely after Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal rejected Israel’s conditions for a truce and called on all Arab countries to cut ties with the Jewish state during a summit of Arab leaders in Doha, Qatar. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad gave Mashaal their full backing, but significantly, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia boycotted the summit.”

Turkey said today that Israel should not be allowed to return to the U.N., adding another nation to the anti-Israeli faction.
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“How is such a country, which totally ignores and does not implement resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, allowed to enter through the gates of the UN (headquarters)?” Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan said during a meeting at the ruling AK Party’s headquarters in Ankara Friday.
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According to Israeli radio, Cairo will host a truce summit on Sunday with Israeli officials and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expected to attend. Israeli television said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni would attend.

The Israeli “unilateral” vote was set hours after the U.S. agreed to provide assurances on ending weapons smuggling into Gaza as part of a cease-fire, the Associated Press noted.

AFP reported that Russia has called on Iran and Syria to persuade Palestinian Islamist group Hamas to accept a plan pushed by Egypt to end the fighting in Gaza, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

“We are sending the appropriate signals to Hamas representatives and to those states that have influence on Hamas, meaning above all Iran and Syria,” of the need to accept the Egyptian plan, Lavrov said at a news conference.
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Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/meast/01/16/israel.gaza/index.html

From the Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?ci
d=1232100163477&pagename=JPost%2
FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Associated Press:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009011
6/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Related:
Gaza Cease Fire: Now What?

AFP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090116/wl_mid
east_afp/mideastconflictgazarussia_200901161
43225

Unable To Stop Hamas Arms, Some Israelis Say “End Hamas”

January 14, 2009

“We must end Hamas.”

That from the leader of Israel’s Likud Party, Binyamin Netanyahu.
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“We must define the end, not only the means to attaining it, but rather the end,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel Radio. “We are in an impossible situation. No country has a million of its citizens under rocket fire.”

Related:
Israel Seriously Injured Itself During Gaza: “Is this the Israel you want to be?”

According to Netanyahu, “there are two options [in Gaza]. The eradication of the Hamas regime – and there will be no escaping this in the long run – and putting an end to its armament.”

“We need effective closure, not words,” he said. “We’ve already had words that were written down and undersigned in Lebanon, but there, too, Hizbullah rearmed itself. Therefore, as opposed to Lebanon, in the Gaza Strip we have the possibility of actualizing the closure; that’s the basic objective.”

Netanyahu’s strong stand underscores the difficulty Israeli leaders are having in defining the “endgame” of the military operation in Gaza called cast Lead.

This report’s quotes come from the Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/

Pakistan wants talks, India denies military escalation

December 30, 2008

Pakistan on Tuesday called for talks with India to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours, as New Delhi denied claims it had moved troops into offensive positions on the border.

AFP

The comments from the foreign ministers of the south Asian rivals were the latest in a series of tit-for-tat responses since the Mumbai attacks that India blamed on Pakistan-based militants, triggering a deterioration in relations. “Dialogue is in the interest of both the countries — we should sit across the table,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in a policy statement broadcast live on local television.

“India should de-activate its forward air bases and relocate its ground forces to peacetime positions,” Qureshi said. “This will send a positive signal and reduce tensions in the region.”

Qureshi described developments in the past two days — such as a hotline conversation between high-level military officials from the two countries — as “positive”.

But his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee quickly fired back, saying New Delhi had carried out no military movements near the already heavily militarised common border beyond a “normal winter exercise”.

“First there should be escalation from the Indian side, then the question of de-escalation will come. We have not escalated anything,” Mukherjee told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Related:
 Pakistan’s Ugly, Dangerous Game

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081230/wl_sthasia_afp/india
attackspakistantalks;_ylt=Apc99zKvY.uV2IobRAWEyf5vaA8F

Pakistan: India moves troops toward shared border

December 30, 2008

Pakistan said Tuesday that India had moved troops toward their shared border, following Islamabad’s own redeployment of forces toward the frontier amid tensions over the Mumbai attacks.

Indian officials would not comment on the claim, but denied another allegation that they had activated forward air bases.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the claims in a televised address that included overtures toward India to help improve the frayed ties between the nuclear-armed neighbors, who have already fought three wars in the past six decades.

By MUNIR AHMAD, Associated Press Writer

“I understand India has activated their forward air bases, and I think if they are deactivated, then it will be a big positive signal,” Qureshi said. “Similarly, as far as their ground forces are concerned and which have been deputed and deployed, if they relocated to their peacetime positions, then it will also be a positive signal.”

Pakistani activists carry replica of missiles as they shout ... 
Pakistani activists carry replica of missiles as they shout anti-Indian slogans during a protest rally in Karachi on December 14. Pakistan’s powerful army chief called Monday for an easing of tensions with India, the military said, one month after the Mumbai attacks sent ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours into a tailspin.(AFP/File/Rizwan Tabassum)

Qureshi further offered to send a high-level delegation to New Delhi to help investigate the November assault in Mumbai, which killed 164 people.

The foreign minister, who was among several Pakistani leaders who have been calling for calm in the region, reiterated that India had not turned over any evidence backing up its claims that Pakistani militants had staged the Mumbai assault.

However, he noted that Indian officials had said that was because their own investigation was not over.

Related:
 Pakistan army: We must ‘avoid conflict’ with India

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081230/
ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_india

Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border

December 26, 2008

It is difficult to determine what exactly is going on between India and pakistan just now.  News sources say Pakistan has cancelled all army leave and has started to move troops toward the border with India.  But yesterday, Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani said there was ‘absolutely no chance of war” with India.  Pakistan and India are both flying war aircraft in close proximity with one another making the situation very tense…. began moving thousands of troops away from the Afghan border toward India on Friday amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks, intelligence officials said.

Related:
 India, Pakistan Hysteria and Jaundiced Eye:
Distrust, Discontent Since Mumbai Has Not Abated

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Pakistan

The move represents a sharp escalation in the stand off between the nuclear-armed neighbors and stands to weaken Pakistan’s U.S.-backed campaign against al-Qaida and Taliban close to Afghanistan.

Two intelligence officials said the army’s 14th Division was being redeployed to Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border. They said some 20,000 troops were on the move. Earlier Friday, a security official said that all troop leave had been canceled.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

By SEBASTIAN ABBOT, Associated Press Writer

Indian officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

An Associated Press reporter in Dera Ismail Khan, a district that borders the Afghan-frontier province of South Waziristan, said he saw around 40 trucks loaded with soldiers heading away from the Afghan border.

India is blaming Pakistan-based militants for last month’s attacks on Mumbai. Islamabad has said it will cooperate in any probe, but says it has seen no evidence backing up India’s claims.

Both countries have said they hope to avoid military conflict, but Pakistan has promised to respond aggressively if India uses force, an option the Indian government has not ruled out.

Pakistan has deployed more than 100,000 soldiers in Waziristan and other northwestern regions to fight Islamic militants blamed for surging violence against Western troops in Afghanistan.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081226/ap_on_re_a
s/as_pakistan;_ylt=As.nsBzyzQ9kaZgnr9ldh3FvaA8F

Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12
/26/india.pakistan.tensions/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Pakistan: Turning Military Away From Taliban, Afghanistan and Toward India?

Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and internal Pressure

December 1, 2008

The Pakistan government of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani today acutely feels the heat of terrorists as well as international pressure from a tradional friend, the U.S., and a traditional enemy, India.

This television frame grab shows Pakistani President Asif Ali ... 
President Zardari of Pakistan (AFP)

In the tribal areas of Pakistan, the U.S. wants the assistance of Pakistan’s army in controlling the Taliban and al-Qaeda that surge into Afghanistan to kill U.S. and NATO troops.  Pakistan wants to keep the U.S. out of the tribal areas so the U.S. hammers terrorists from unmanned drones with missiles when the intelligence says results will be favorable.  But the people of Pakistan have protested these air assaults from the U.S. upon Pakistan and the government has expressed extreme displeasure at almost losing control of Pakistan’s sovereignity in the northwest tribal areas.

Now, because of tensions from the terrorism in Mumbai, India, Pakistan is saying it will withdraw troops from the tribal areas to move to the border with India; a nation that seems to already be blaming Pakistan for the bloodshed in Mumbai.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Troops from Pakistan’s army secure an area in the troubled Kabal Khas district on the outskirts of Swat valley November 26, 2008.  The U.S. wants the Pakistani troops facing Afghanistan and not India.
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Finally, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, at least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed this weekend.
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Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ... 
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ablaze several shops at a timber market in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi. At least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed in Karachi, officials said Sunday.(AFP/Asif Hassan) 

Last week’s terror violence in Mumbai and india’s subsequent investigation and likely blame, which will likely be supported by the U.S., putes extreme pressure on a Pakistani government the Times of India rightly calls “dodgy” due to its own undermining terrorist influences and actors. 

By John E. Carey

Related:
Pakistan warns India of troop redeployment