Tag Archives: terror

Obama’s Dance of Death

By Bob Row

This illustration for the “Rio Negro” daily in Argentina was commissioned right as it is. Being a newspaper of rather conservative positions (for local standards) I felt impressed. To me, it was a sign of the complete loss of credibility of the American narrative outside the US, even for its allies. [See full size image here.]

Leaving aside conspiracy theories about Bin Laden’s previous death, the successive changes in the official report of the operative, the disposal of the corpse and the absence of evidence of it have removed any sense of reality from it. According to the rules of the Media, the Bin Laden suppression is a “no fact”.

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Pakistani Intelligence on the Defensive

By Brian Dowing

That Osama bin Laden has been living comfortably in Abbottabad and evidently directing al Qaeda from there – all within earshot of a Pakistani military facility – has been a tremendous embarrassment to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), but it comes as no surprise to Indian or many other intelligence services, though realization in Washington has been too long in coming. Paradoxically, US intelligence’s recent success in Abbottabad has underscored a long-running failure.

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Who’s afraid of a Palestinian State?

By Bob Row

On Feb.16 a summit to be held at Lima, Peru will be attended by nine South American leaders and eleven Arab chiefs of state to discuss a proposal of declaration by the first, recognizing an independent Palestinian State.

Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia  recently recognized a Palestine State along borders prior to the 1967 war, including East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Chile also did it, but without reference to a map. Others are yet to decide (Venezuela and Uruguay favor to agree).

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Yemen on the International Stage . . . and the American Agenda (Part Two)

Brian Downing

The most effective response to Yemen will likely come from regional powers with local knowledge, not distant ones without it. (Image)

Yemen is close to oil fields and shipping lanes. Iran is backing the Huthi rebellion that straddles the Saudi-Yemeni frontier, which is part of a Shia revival that threatens to destabilize the Middle East from Lebanon to Iraq, especially in oil-producing countries with oppressed Shia minorities. Islamist tribes in Yemen have kith and kin in Saudi Arabia who see the House of Saud and its Wahabbist clerics as western puppets and defilers of Islam. Prompt action, then, is seen vital to US national security

American idealists see Yemenis in desperate political and economic straits. Their economy is weak; oil revenue (never strong) is diminishing; the state is unable to deliver services; and drought hangs over the country. This will strengthen American humanitarian concerns and lead to different but no less important calls for intervention. Over the last century or more, geopolitics and humanitarianism have been the yin and yang of American interventionism in many parts of the world, from Cuba to Afghanistan. Yemen offers another dual justification.

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Yemen on the International Stage . . . and the American Agenda (Part One)

By Brian Downing

A slew of terrorist plans, mostly failed in the execution, have been traced to a group operating in Yemen – al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. World attention is focused on Yemen and also on the United States, as a response is expected. Proximity to oil resources, Iran’s involvement in the country, and several other factors (geopolitical and humanitarian) assure a response – thoughtful and effective or not.

Political problems that attracted al Qaeda to Afghanistan are also found in Yemen. The weakness of the government in Sana’a means little control over large parts of the country. Many tribes are indifferent to the central government; others are hostile to it and are even moving toward secession and civil war. Tribal leaders have parleyed agreements with al Qaeda leaders, much as the Taliban did with Pashtun tribes of the Afghan south and east, much as the US is trying to do there, albeit belatedly. Indeed, many similarities between Yemen and Afghanistan readily occur, and invite caution.

The movement of al Qaeda’s center to the Arabian peninsula is also being brought on by external events in Iraq and Afghanistan. American and Saudi efforts turned the Iraqi insurgents against al Qaeda, which was seen by locals as haughty and disrespectful of tribal customs in the Sunni center. Though many al Qaeda fighters have found havens in Arab enclaves of the Kurdish north, many others have left Iraq for other opportunities, to the south.

Along the Af-Pak frontier, where bin Laden and the remnants of his base ensconced themselves after 2001, al Qaeda has become a minor player in the insurgency there. It is much smaller than the Taliban, Tehrik-i Taliban, Hizb-i Islami, and perhaps even the Haqqani network. Those groups once relied on al Qaeda, but over the years they’ve developed independent funding sources and acquired their own skills in bomb making and other guerrilla techniques.  Image source

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