Archive for the ‘drones’ 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.

Related:
CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap
cf/01/28/davos.pakistan.pm/index.html

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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.
Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090128/w
l_sthasia_afp/usmilitarygatesqaedapakista
n_20090128070539

Related:
 Pakistan Hopes Obama Can Deliver Even Part of the Bush-Cheney Love (and Money)
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Pakistan’s President Continues Audition for Obama Attention, Funding, Support
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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)

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Israel’s air force scored with intel, drone support; ‘Hamas is not Hizubllah’

January 10, 2009

The Center for Strategic and International Studies said the Israeli air force combined manned and unmanned aircraft to target and strike Hamas operatives and facilities throughout the Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported.

The Washington-based center, said to be close to members of the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama, said the air force has eroded much of the Hamas command….

From World Tribune

Smoke trails of Israeli air force jets are seen above the southern ... 
Smoke trails of Israeli air force jets are seen above the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon January 3, 2009.REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL)

The report, authored by former Defense Department official Anthony Cordesman, said Israeli air strikes have eroded Hamas’s military command. Cordesman cited such air force targets as Hamas weapons tunnels, shelters and other facilities.

“The IAF may not be able to find and hit every target, and some tunnels and sheltered areas, but Hamas has clearly lost some key leaders and is losing most of its key facilities and much of its equipment,” the report said. “It may be able to fire limited numbers of rockets indefinitely into the future, but it will lose a significant amount of its weapons, as well as its training facilities and communications facilities.”

Cordesman said Hamas has failed to reach the military capabilities of the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. The report said Hamas does not have the training, experience or the equipment of the Lebanese-based militia.

Read the entire article:
http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/W
TARC/2009/me_israel0019_01_08.asp

Killed, Beheaded In Air Attack, Hamas Leader Who Boasted of Victory Over Israel, Family, Killed

January 1, 2009

Ever wonder where all the big shot and loudly boasing leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah the Taliban and al-Qaeda are going?  Well, many are dead or too scared to talk.

Hamas top man, believed to be one of five men at the very top of Hamas, died suddenly in his home in Gaza on January 1, 2009.  The cause of death was blunt force trauma all over his body plus beheading by weapons from an Israeli F-16.

Two of his wives and several of his children also died in the sudden epidemic.

Similar death have occurred in the tribal areas of Pakistan at the hands of U.S. Preditor drones.  And terror leaders have been dropping like flies due to sudden blunt force trauma in other areas too…

Related:
Gaza, Day 7, January 2, “Brutal Even By Middle East Standards”

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From AFP

The day before a powerful blast sent his headless body flying out of his Gaza home on Thursday, senior Hamas leader Nizar Rayan predicted that the Islamist movement would defeat Israel.

“God willing, Hamas will win,” Rayan said in a vitriol-laden speech that the movement’s television broadcast just after he, his four wives and 10 of his children were killed in the Israeli blitz of the Gaza Strip on Thursday.

Rayan, 51, was among the top ranked leaders in Hamas and was its most senior figure to have been killed since Israel unleashed a massive bombardment on Saturday in response to persistent rocket fire from the enclave.

Israeli F-16 jets fired two missiles at Rayan’s five-storey house in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. The powerful explosion hurled his decapitated body out into the street, according to witnesses.

“It was like an earthquake,” a neighbour said of the massive blast.

A dozen neighbouring houses were destroyed or damaged in the blast which also killed 17 neighbours and brought to 420 the death toll since “Operation Cast Lead” started.

The Israeli air force said the secondary blasts demonstrated the house was used for weapons storage, and claimed it was also a communication centre. “In addition, a tunnel was located under the house and was used for the escape of terror operatives,” it said.

In the minutes following the strike, dozens of people rushed to the scene, pulling bodies from the rubble including those of the two girls, aged seven and 10.

A neighbour, Mohammed Al-Madhun, 75 watched flames emerging from his building but refused to leave.

“I want to die like Sheikh Nizar,” he said, using the bearded Hamas commander’s honorary title.

Rayan was a hardliner within the Islamist movement.

From AFP

A few months after Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007, Rayan vowed at a Gaza City rally that the Islamists would also seize control in the Israeli-occupied West Bank which is administered by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

A skilled orator, he was known for his vitriolic attacks against both Israel and the Western-backed Abbas he claimed colluded with the “Zionist enemy.”

In his latest speech delivered on the eve of his death and broadcast by Al-Aqsa TV on Thursday, Rayan insisted Hamas would never cave in.

With tanks massed just outside Gaza and Israel threatening a ground offensive, he defiantly declared: “We will know how to kill and capture soldiers and how to rout them.”

Pakistan’s Ugly, Dangerous Game

December 30, 2008

Today Pakistan closed the U.S. and NATO supply line from Pakistan into Afghanistan in a move it said allowed Pakistan to chase down and kill anti-U.S. Taliban members in the tribal areas.

The fact is that the U.S. and NATO needs those supplies from Pakistan into Afghanistan and they also need the Pakistani army to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda.  One without the other is a fool’s errand.

For some months now, Pakistan resisted U.S. pleas for the Pakistani army to take a greater role in fighting the Taliban in the tribal areas.  When Pakistan ignored U.S. requests, the U.S. targeted key Taliban men and positions using drone aircraft armed with missiles.

An unmanned Predator drone. Six suspected militants were killed ... 
An unmanned but missile-armed U.S. Predator drone.(AFP/USAF/File/US Air Force)

But Pakistan is trapped by conflicting loyalties: to allow the U.S. drone overflights and attacks caused militants inside Pakistan to revolt.

Pakistan again wrestled with a long standing dilemma: to appease the U.S. and continue to suck up U.S. money and supplies or to suffer the consequences of further internal and border violence from Islamic militants.

Pakistan is using the unsettled situation with India over the Mumbai massacre as a ruse to move troops away from the tribal areas and the border with Afghanistan and toward India.  This allowed rebels to attack the NATO supply system for Afghanistan inside Pakistan.

Pakistan is playing an ugly and dangerous game.  The Islamic militants inside Pakistan have no real love for the government of President Zardari — nor did they for his predecessor General Musharraf. 

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of former ... 
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari.REUTERS/Nadeem Soomro (PAKISTAN)

In Pakistan, the government leadership reaps most of the wealth from U.S. assistance and little trickles down.

So Pakistan’s gamesmanship only further annoys the militants.

India has lost all regard for Pakistan and its games, too. India wants answers and action from Pakistan following Mumbai: not war.  And Pakistan seems to be stonewalling while saying all the right things, as usual.

And the U.S. should be weary too by now of Pakistan’s clumsy chicanery…..

This now is the challenge for Barack Obama and India.  The militants in Pakistan have already decided they can’t tolerate the Zardari regime.  Obama’s play is not known.  But in India, patience is wearing thin.

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
Pakistan Closes NATO Supply Line to U.S., Afghanistan

Pakistan: India moves troops toward shared border

Pakistan army: We must ‘avoid conflict’ with India

From CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf
/12/30/pakistan.afghanistan.border/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/1
2/30/pakistan.india.tensions/index.html

http://pakistankakhudahafiz.wordpress.com
/2008/12/30/the-brass-tacks-of-indias-duplicity/

India terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the new Al Qaeda?

December 21, 2008

U. S. intelligence was caught off-guard by Lashkar-e-Taiba‘s “highly sophisticated” Mumbai terror strikes last month, which top spies now consider the debut of a new “brand name” to rival Al Qaeda.

The Islamist group was formed with Pakistani government help decades ago, but U.S. officials admit underestimating Lashkar’s shift from waging a minor conflict in the Kashmir region to threatening Westerners and Jews.

By James Gordon Meek
New York Daily News
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“There is real concern over the fact LeT has raised its profile,” a U.S. counterterror official told the Daily News. “A lot of people are watching closely now to see if they’re plotting new attacks.”

The group is as mainstream in Pakistan as its ally Hamas is in the Palestinian territories.

Before the mayhem that began Nov. 26, no Lashkar camps in Pakistan’s tribal areas had been targeted during an intense CIA offensive in the fall, a senior intelligence official confirmed.

The agency has used unmanned drones to fire missiles at Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives directing the insurgency in Afghanistan. Lashkar cross-trains with the two terror groups.

But U.S. counterterror efforts are now getting beefed up, sources said.

“Assume that the intelligence community has new targets it previously hoped would be only distractions, of which LeT is one,” a third U.S. official told The News.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Lashkar – which once focused on the India-Pakistan fight over Kashmir – hit a “new threshold” of terror by killing Americans, Brits and Jews.

Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm., ... 
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, seen, during a press conference at a
U.S base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008.
(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

“They specifically targeted a Jewish center that was off the main drag,” Mullen recently told reporters. “It raises this outfit to a much higher level than where it was before.”

Brooklyn Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, were slain there, leaving their baby, Moshe, an orphan.

Many also were surprised by what one internal U.S. government document called “hit and run” tactics that killed scores of Indians and six Americans.

Mullen said the 10 thugs “in a highly sophisticated manner [held] at bay an entire city.”

They had been trained by military pros in small arms and close combat for a year near Kashmir – though evidence isn’t a slam dunk that Pakistani spies aided them, sources said. The killers used satellite GPS units and phones and Google Earth to plan and execute the attacks.

Ex-CIA analyst Michael Scheuer declared it “a superb operation.”

Americans and Jews now face greater danger from Lashkar overseas, officials said.

“There are a lot of tourists in South Asia, and there’s really not a lot we can do,” Scheuer said.

“The question,” said another intelligence official, “is whether Mumbai is a ‘one-off’ or if such operations could be sustained.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/12/21/2008-12-21_india_terror_group_lashkaretaiba_the_new.html

Pakistan: Offensive Near Afghanistan Only “Limited Success”

December 14, 2008

From atop a craggy hillock, the silver-haired Lt. Col. Javed Baloch gestures toward a small black opening in a sandstone outcropping. It’s the mouth of a cave.

Two minutes later a powerful explosion rattles the hillock, and a massive plume of grayish-white smoke rushes skyward.

Cave by cave, the Pakistani army is trying to blow up the underground labyrinth running from tribal areas toward the border with Afghanistan to keep militants away.

This is the front line of Pakistan’s battle against militants on its own soil. The three-month-old offensive is the country’s most aggressive effort to date, countering U.S. and Afghan charges that it is not doing enough to root out Taliban and al-Qaida fighters who crisscross the border. It is also the Pakistani military’s first foray into the Bajur region, where militants are dug in and have in places set up a parallel administration.

By KATHY GANNON, Associated Press Writer

Pakistani Taliban militants seen here in Mamouzai in November, ... 
Pakistani Taliban militants seen here in Mamouzai in November, 2008.(AFP/File/Tariq Mahmood)

An Associated Press team traveled with the Pakistani military deep into a tribal area late last month, almost to the Afghan border. The operation shows the army can put pressure on militants and even wrest some territory back from them, but it may never be able to drive them out from a rugged area of nooks and crannies. More militants are already sneaking in from Afghanistan as reinforcements, and U.S. troops in Afghanistan have installed 68 motion sensors along the border to try to detect them.

The battle is for Bajur, a key base and transit route for Arab and other foreign militants headed for Afghanistan. Here a CIA drone once targeted al-Qaida’s No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, without success.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081214/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan
_on_the_front_line;_ylt=Al9lRxT21jPGWi3h5vX2VgpvaA8F

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