Wednesday, May 25, 2005


General War on Terror Update

An article in the Guardian reports on an International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) report, which, unfortunately, is not available online. The following are direct quotes from the report as quoted in the Guardian:
Best estimates suggest that it will take up to five years to create anything close to an effective indigenous force able to impose and guarantee order across the country....

[The inspiration effect of the intervention in Iraq on Islamist terrorism is] the proverbial elephant in the living room. From al-Qaida's point of view, [President] Bush's Iraq policies have arguably produced a confluence of propitious circumstances: a strategically bogged down America, hated by much of the Islamic world, and regarded warily even by its allies.

[Iraq] could serve as a valuable proving ground for 'blooding' foreign jihadists, and could conceivably form the basis of a second generation of capable al-Qaida leaders ... and middle-management players.
It also stated that we're looking at a good five years at least before the Iraqi military has the capability to impose law and order. And that's the best case scenario, which is undercut today by talk of civil war. As reported in the Scotsman:
In the northern city of Tal Afar, there were reports yesterday that militants were in control and that Shiites and Sunnis were fighting in the streets, a day after two car bombs killed at least 20 people.

Police Capt Ahmed Hashem Taki said Tal Afar was experiencing “civil war.” Journalists were blocked from entering the city of 200,000.
Many of Iraq's politicians are making every effort to keep this from happening, I believe, but given the situation in which their capability to keep order and stop the bloody momentum pales in comparison to the capability of insurgents to keep it going. It's quite a frightening prospect.

In another article from the Guardian, two American citizens of Pakistani origin are accusing the U.S. of complicity in their torture and illegal detention by Pakistani security forces.
Brothers Zain and Kashan Afzal, American passport holders of Pakistani origin, said they had been beaten with whips and rods, refused medical treatment and imprisoned in "grave-like" rooms from August 2004 until their release last month.

American agents questioned them at least six times but refused their pleas to help end the torture, provide a lawyer or seek consular assistance, they said. Instead, the FBI threatened to have them sent to Guantánamo Bay unless they admitted belonging to al-Qaida.
Yes, you might say that the U.S. is on a bit of a role right now. Here are some quotes from the Washington Post story (actually quite a bit more substantial than the Guardian story):
"The FBI didn't torture us directly, but it can't be a coincidence that we were beaten severely, kept awake all night or hung upside down by Pakistani agents before each of about 10 interrogation sessions by FBI agents," [Zain] Afzal said. "It was a very coordinated carrot and stick operation."
To get an idea of what our great ally in the war on terror, Pakistan, might have been doing to Afzal, let's see what the U.S. State Department said in it's 2004 human rights report on Pakistan:
In its 2004 human rights report, the State Department cited reports that Pakistani security personnel employed such methods as "burning with cigarettes; whipping the soles of the feet; prolonged isolation; electric shock" and "hanging upside down," among other methods.
Actually, one of the more interesting and revealing nuances of this story is as follows:
Afzal speculated that he and his brother were arrested because they had both been affiliated at one time with Harakat ul-Ansar, a group allied with Kashmiri separatists fighting Indian forces in Kashmir. Although the group has been linked to al Qaeda, Afzal noted that in 1999, when he and his brother underwent guerrilla training at a Harakat camp, it was operating with the full patronage of Pakistan's military and intelligence services. [italics are mine]
Fantastic! A certified winning strategy for the war on terror: train and fund guerilla fighters (give them a dangerous skill set) and then torture and threaten them (set them loose with plenty of resentment and anger). No possible way that could bite you in the ass, is there?

Hey there.

Yes we must Support the American Navy.

I found a great support song and site on the web to support the American Navy
I like it and think it is a good song for that. It is very important that our troops need to know we stand by them no matter what.

Check it out and pass it on if you can.


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