Welcome to the American Revolution II

Welcome to the American Revolution II
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
"We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex... The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."Dwight D. Eisenhower

Friday, March 27, 2009

Obama vows to defeat Al Qaeda I have heard this before

Bailout, Recession, Stimulus, defeat Al Qaeda - I Have Heard This Before

Obama vows to defeat Al Qaeda
By David Stout

Friday, March 27, 2009
WASHINGTON: With a bloody suicide bombing near the Khyber Pass underscoring his words, President Barack Obama adopted a blunt urgency Friday in warning that the situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating and in need of the extra troops, benchmarks and money he was calling for in his new war plan.

‘‘The situation is increasingly perilous,’’ the president told government officials, top military officers and diplomats at the White House, presenting the conclusions of a review he ordered when he took office in January.

Although the timing of the suicide attack that killed dozens of worshipers in a crowded mosque in northwest Pakistan may have been coincidence, it underscored the president’s ominous tone as he warned of intelligence estimates that say Al Qaeda ‘‘is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan.’’

He added, ‘‘We have a clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.’’

But Mr. Obama promised neither to write a ‘‘blank check’’ nor to ‘‘blindly stay the course’’ if his strategy, which includes the addition of another 4,000 troops in training roles and a series of benchmarks for judging progress, does not achieve its ambitious goals.

Shortly after Mr. Obama’s speech, Richard C. Holbrooke, his special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, noted the corrosive role of instability and terrorist safe havens in western Pakistan and said the United States could not abandon the region.

‘‘We can leave as the Afghans deal with their own security problems,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s what the president put emphasis on today — on training the national army, training the policy.

‘‘The exit strategy,’’ he went on, ‘‘includes governance, corruption, but above all — and this is the single most difficult aspect of what we are talking about today — it requires dealing with western Pakistan. You can have a great government in Kabul and if the current situation in western Pakistan continued, the instability in Afghanistan will continue.’’

Mr. Obama called on Congress to approve $1.5 billion in aid to Pakistan for each of the next five years, acknowledging that the costs and risks were high and that there were many competing demands for spending at home. But he said that the security interests at stake could not be put aside and that Afghanistan could not take second place to Iraq in military importance.

The administration has been pressing its NATO partners in Europe to make a greater effort in Afghanistan, and the European Union indicated Friday that it planned to provide more police trainers. But at a two-day meeting in Hluboka, Czech Republic, the bloc’s foreign ministers declined to deploy more combat troops.

The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said Europe would respond to American demands by intensifying its efforts to train the Afghan security forces.

Cristina Gallach, a spokeswoman for Javier Solana, the E.U.’s foreign policy chief, said the bloc now had 177 police trainers in Afghanistan and planned to increase that number to 400 by the summer. But despite nearly a decade of E.U. training, the Afghan police are said to be ineffective, corrupt and unwilling to uphold the law.

Efforts by NATO have been circumscribed in Afghanistan because the Europeans still lack such essential equipment as helicopters, field hospitals, F-16 fighters and aircraft to transport tanks and troops across the country. At the same time, Germany, which has more than 3,600 soldiers on the ground there, and other countries are restricted by national rules of engagement. They cannot patrol during certain hours, they cannot venture beyond a certain limit and they cannot be sent to the south.

The key elements of Mr. Obama’s plan — with its more robust combat force, its emphasis on training and its far-reaching goals — foreshadow an ambitious but risky and costly attempt to unify and stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan. The president is unveiling his approach at a time when the conflict is worsening, the lives of the people are not visibly improving and the intervention by foreign powers is increasingly resented.

He said that ‘‘an uncompromising core of the Taliban,’’ the fundamentalist party that America and its allies deposed seven years ago, must be defeated militarily, but that other opposition forces ‘‘who have taken up arms because of coercion, or simply for a price,’’ must be drawn back into the fold.

The political turmoil in the two nations only adds to the complexity facing Washington. Afghanistan is in the middle of an election campaign but the timing of the voting remains uncertain. And as the Americans strike with missiles at enemies in Pakistan, and press it to take a harder line against the hostile factions, they must respect that government’s sovereignty.

‘‘Of all the dilemmas, problems and challenges we face, that’s going to be the most daunting, because it’s a sovereign country and there is a red line,’’ Mr. Holbrooke said. ‘‘And the red line is unambiguous and stated publicly by the Pakistani government over and over again: No foreign troops on our soil.’’

Initial reaction to Mr. Obama’s approach was positive, from the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the NATO alliance and in the United States Congress, whose support will be crucial.

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan welcomed the new strategy Friday, saying in a statement that the plan ‘‘will bring Afghanistan and the international community closer to success,’’ The Associated Press reported.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, called the Obama strategy ‘‘an extraordinarily positive sign,’’ Reuters reported.

Prominent Democrats in Congress expressed support for the president’s approach.

The speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi of California, said the president’s plan ‘‘is wisely centered on dismantling Al Qaeda and denying safe havens in both Afghanistan and Pakistan to those who would attack the United States.’’

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement calling Mr. Obama’s approach ‘‘realistic and bold in a critical region where our policy needs rescuing.’’ Mr. Kerry and the committee’s ranking Republican, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, will introduce the legislation authorizing the $1.5 billion in aid to Pakistan.

Senator Russell D. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he, too, was encouraged, particularly by Mr. Obama’s focus on Pakistan. But Mr. Feingold said he was concerned that the strategy ‘‘may still be overly Afghan-centric when it needs to be even more regional.’’

A Republican, Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, also praised the president’s plan. ‘‘Today, the president presented Congress and the American people with an honest assessment of our strategic position in Afghanistan and underscored that America’s core mission must be redefined,’’ she said.

But Ms. Snowe said increased American aid must be ‘‘carefully targeted,’’ and that Pakistan and Afghanistan must be pressured to do their part.

Although the administration is still developing the specific benchmarks for Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said they would be the most explicit demands ever presented to the governments in Kabul and Islamabad.

In effect, Mr. Obama would be insisting that two fractured countries plagued by ancient tribal rivalries and modern geopolitical hostility find ways to work together and transform their societies.

American officials have repeatedly said that Afghanistan has to make more progress in fighting corruption, curbing the drug trade and sharing power with the regions. They have insisted that Pakistan do more to cut ties between parts of its government and the Taliban.

Dan Bilefsky reported from Hluboka, Czech Republic.

The African Axis

By Ryan MauroFrontPageMagazine.com Thursday, March 26, 2009

As the world watches the governments of the Middle East divide into two competing blocs based on their allegiance to Iran, a similar Iron Curtain is being created in Africa. The Iran-Syria Axis is teaming up with rogue countries like Sudan, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe, and even radical Islamic forces in Somalia. Opposing this Axis is Ethiopia and Djibouti, although many more countries will enlist themselves in either bloc in the years ahead.
The ongoing war in Somalia may be ultimately seen as the first proxy war between these two blocs. A November 2006 United Nations
report revealed how several countries were backing different sides in the conflict. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, and Djibouti were cited as giving aid to the forces of the Islamic Courts Union, a radical organization then affiliated with Al-Qaeda, while Ethiopia, Uganda and Yemen were cited as supporting the forces of the Transitional Federal Government.
According to the U.N. report, in mid-July 2006, Aden Hashi Farah, a leader of the Islamic Courts Union and member of Al-Qaeda, chose 720 Somali militants to join Hezbollah in Lebanon to fight Israeli forces. 200 of these Somalis went to Syria for further training on July 27. By early September 2006, at least 100 of these militants returned to Somalia, accompanied with five Hezbollah operatives, who would train other militants. The rest of Somalis remained in Lebanon to undergo further training. These militants were paid a minimum of $2,000 and up to $30,000 were given to the families of those killed in combat. Hezbollah also arranged for Syria and Iran to deliver weapons to the radical Islamic forces. According to the report, two Iranians remained in Somalia when it was released in November 2006 to try to arrange for the retrieval of uranium in return for their assistance.
The U.N. report also alleges that the Iranians provide the Somali militants with 250 anti-aircraft missiles. An “American intelligence source” confirmed to the
Long War Journal that SA-7 Strella and SA-18 Igla missiles were provided, along with the AT-3 Sagger anti-tank missiles often used by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Further substantiation of this came when an Iraqi Shiite tribal leader said on November 18, 2008 “I asked the head of the [Somali] Islamic Courts Union, whom I met in Libya: 'Who supports you?' I expected him to tell me it was Saudi Arabia, but he said: 'No, my brother. Iran supports us, via Hizbullah.'”
Most of the named countries’ predictably rejected these allegations. Andrew McGregor of the Jamestown Foundation
described the accuracy of the U.N. report as “doubtful,” and the Council on Foreign Relations has warned that “the report's sources are unclear and doubts have been raised as to the report's credibility.” Regardless of the dispute over the details of the report, which undoubtedly had to rely upon confidential intelligence sources, substantial corroboration exists to support the allegations that Iran has been active in Somalia, and that two competing blocs are emerging in Africa.
Eritrea has denied the allegations in the U.N. report that they had been supporting the radical Islamic militants in Somalia, but an additional U.N.
report released in July 2007 said they had secretly provided “huge quantities of arms” possibly including surface-to-air missiles and suicide bomb belts. Eritrea is quickly becoming a member of Iran-led axis, with Iranian President Ahmadinejad visiting the country and saying on May 20, 2008 that the two governments saw no limit to Iranian-Eritrean cooperation. Reports later followed stating that Iranian soldiers and missiles began arriving in Assab, Eritrea in December 2008.
Sudan is another member of pro-Iran bloc in Africa. The Sudanese government has
announced its intention to start a nuclear program. In 2006, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei announced his country’s desire to share nuclear technology with other countries in Khartoum. With the revelation from Ali Reza Asghari, the Iranian deputy defense minister who defected in February 2007, that Iran was financing North Korea’s role in Syria’s nuclear weapons program, the location of Khamenei’s announcement is suspect, especially when coupled with the launching of Sudan’s own nuclear program. It is quite probable that Iran is looking to make Sudan a partner in its own nuclear enterprise.
It is unclear how other countries on the continent will react to this new Iron Curtain. Libya, for example,
wants U.S. oil contracts, and has made some liberal reforms. On the other hand, Libya has condemned the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Sudanese President Omar Bashir for crimes against humanity and supporting the new military government in Mauritania that came to power through a coup. Mauritania has since suspended its ties with Israel, and according to the head of German intelligence, Al-Qaeda is establishing bases in the country. The U.S. response to the developments in East Africa will likely determine how countries like Libya decide to react to the emerging bloc.
Ultimately, Ethiopian military forces that were supporting the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia completed a precipitous withdrawal on January 26, 2009, allowing the radical Islamic forces to take control of the country. Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda affiliate that acted in tandem with the Islamic Courts Union, has since split from the group. Al-Shabaab currently controls southern Somalia, and Osama Bin Laden has called for the
toppling of President Ahmed, the former leader of the Islamic Courts Union. This has caused some media outlets like BBC to describe Ahmed as a “moderate Islamist,” ignoring the fact that Ahmed has implemented Sharia Law and his organization engaged in terrorism and worked with Al-Qaeda in the past. No matter how the West may wish to think the new Somalian government is “moderate,” the fact remains that the recent turn of events in Somalia represents the first victory by the new pro-Iran bloc in East Africa.

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