You are browsing the archive for Petraeus.

by CTuttle

Some Questions About Brennan…

4:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Ex-Cia agent, Michael Scheuer, penned a great critique… John Brennan as CIA chief would serve his own interests, not America’s

France’s recent interventions in Mali and Somalia underscore the accelerating ability of Al-Qaeda-in-the-Islamic-Mahgreb (AQIM) and its Africa-based allies to threaten the continent’s nation-states, as well as access to natural resources—oil, strategic minerals, and uranium—that are essential to the French, U.S., and other Western economies. The growing power and geographical reach of AQIM mirrors the growth of all components of Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups, save possibly the central component in Afghanistan-Pakistan. The bottom line here is that sixteen years after Al-Qaeda and its allies began their religious war, the United States and the West confront an Islamist enemy that is larger, better armed, smarter, and far more geographically dispersed than ever before.

Now, that paragraph merits a fuller and more data-supported explanation, but for now, let’s look at one of the men—John Brennan—who for nearly 15 years has ensured both that the above-described growth in the Islamists’ power has occurred, and that most Americans have no idea that a still-growing part of the Muslim world is at war with the United States…

Please read the whole article…!

Now, was it a Palace Coup by Brennan…?

David Petraeus was brought down after betrayal by vengeful CIA agents and his own bodyguards who made sure his affair was exposed, claims new book…

-John Brennan also ran a highly compartmentalized program out of the White House in regard to weapons transfers, and Stevens would not have been trusted with that type of information. Stevens likely helped consolidate as many weapons as possible after the war to safeguard them, at which point Brennan exported them overseas to start another conflict.

-During the rebellion against Gaddafi and in the aftermath of his death, Libya and North Africa became a staging ground for a dizzying array of operations by SpecOps, paramilitary forces, and international private military contractors working for everyone from European nations to multibillion-dollar oil corporations.

-What we do know is that the British Special Air Service (SAS) landed in Libya at some point—probably the secretive intelligence gathering component of the SAS called ‘The Increment,’ which works alongside MI-6.

-Elite counter-terrorist operators from America’s Delta Force were deployed to Libya as ‘analysts,’ which allowed President Obama to declare that America did not have any boots on the ground but was simply providing air support for the rebels. The reality was that Delta Force had a small contingent instructing the rebels in the finer points of weapons and tactics.

-Behind closed doors, President Obama had given his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, carte blanche to run operations in North Africa and the Middle East, provided he didn’t do anything that ended up becoming an exposé in The New York Times and embarrassing the administration. In 2012, a secret war across North Africa was well underway.

-With JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command), Brennan waged his own unilateral operations in North Africa outside of the traditional command structure. These Direct Action (DA) operations, unlike the traditional ISR missions mentioned above, were ‘off the books’ in the sense that they were not coordinated through the Pentagon or other governmental agencies, including the CIA. With Obama more than likely providing a rubber stamp, the chain of command went from Brennan to McRaven, who would then mobilize the men of ISA (Intelligence Support Activity), SEAL Team Six, or Delta Force to conduct these missions…

Btw, where’s the Israeli Lobby when ya really need them to block a nomination, eh…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Betrayus Jokes, Tahrir Square Cleared Out, Yemen Uses Nerve Gas, and, Israel Needs $20 Billion More In US Military Aid

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

General Petraeus jokes with Robert Gates about attacking Libya

Apparently unaware of an open microphone, Gen Petraeus greeted Mr Gates at Kabul airport joking: “Welcome back, sir, flying a little bigger plane than normal … you gonna launch some attacks on Libya or something?”

The US Defence Secretary responded to the comment by laughing and replied, “yeah, exactly”.

It’s certainly no laughing matter, Mr Secretary…!

Now, in disturbing news from Egypt today, the Old is New again…

Amnesty International Condemns Egyptian Army Over Tahrir Square Protest Breakup

Amnesty International has today condemned the Egyptian army’s heavy-handed actions to clear Cairo’s Tahrir Square of protesters, after soldiers beat demonstrators and made scores of arrests.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that the army should participate in violently breaking up the peaceful protests”, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa. “The Supreme Military Council has the duty to uphold the right to peaceful protest.”

“We have spoken to eye-witnesses who have told us that the army allowed thugs to attack protesters with sticks and swords, the same practice that was used under former President Mubarak,” said Hadj Sahraoui. “It appears that the Armed Forces are simply continuing the same old tactics of repression.”

According to witnesses testimonies gathered by Amnesty International, the army entered Tahrir Square on the afternoon of March 9 and violently dispersed a gathering of around 1000 people, beating demonstrators, dismantling tents and breaking up an informal medical clinic. Journalists attempting to record events had their memory cards wiped. Soldiers made arrests and took protesters to the Egyptian Museum near to Tahrir Square.

“One protester, who told us he was arrested with over 100 other protesters, witnessed people being beaten in detention,” said Hadj-Sahraoui. “All those arrested for peacefully protesting must be released immediately and unconditionally,”

Cairo clashes kill 13…

…The government said it “is fully committed to the interests of the people and to implementing the goals of the revolution; and it will stand firm against plans for a counter-revolution,” according to state news agency MENA.

Sectarian clashes killed at least 13 in Cairo, the health ministry said.

Bloody fighting broke out in the working class Cairo district of Moqattam when Muslims confronted 1,000 Christians who had been blocking a main road in protest at the burning of a church last week in the provincial town of Sol, south of Cairo.

Father Boutros Roshdy of a Moqattam church told AFP at least seven Coptic Christians were among the dead.

Meanwhile, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicentre of anti-regime protests that toppled president Hosni Mubarak, attackers armed with knives and machetes waded into hundreds of pro-democracy activists, witnesses said.

Stone-throwing skirmishes raged, and activists were gathering sticks and stockpiling rocks to defend themselves.

By early evening, the army had restored order in the square, dismantling tents pitched by protesters shortly after anti-regime riots erupted on January 25, and detaining several protesters, MENA said.

Armed civilians attacked protesters outside state security headquarters in Cairo as they attempted to storm it to retrieve files kept on the population by a powerful regime apparatus long accused of rights abuses.

The violence, widely blamed on remnants of Mubarak’s regime, revealed the security vacuum created by police, who disappeared from the streets during January protests that led to Mubarak’s resignation

That is a very disturbing turn of events in Egypt…

And, Wtf is this…? Gaddafi plane lands in Egypt with army officer on board

Meanwhile, in Yemen, more war crimes were committed…

…Doctors from the scene of violent anti-government protests in Yemen’s capital Tuesday night said that what was originally thought to be tear gas fired by government forces on demonstrators might instead have been a form of nerve gas, which is forbidden under international law.

Military personnel opened fire and used what was originally assumed to be tear gas to disperse a group of demonstrators who were trying to bring additional tents into the protest area outside Sanaa University.

According to witnesses, the soldiers fired warning shots into the air before shooting gas — and in some cases live bullets — into the crowd, killing one and injuring at least 50.

Earlier reports indicated that the gas used was tear gas, but doctors who have been treating the wounded refuted that claim today


Police use live ammunition to disperse protests in Yemen…

Here’s Al Jazeera on today’s events in Yemen…

Two protesters have died in Yemen as demonstrations calling for Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, to step down continue across the country.

A supporter of the president was killed during clashes with anti-government protesters in the southern province of Hadramaut on Wednesday, a security official told the AFP news agency.

He said that another person was also injured in that clash.

Meanwhile, an anti-government protester who was shot when the army raided a university campus in the capital, Sanaa, has succumbed to his wounds, doctors said.

Mohammed al-Abahi, one of the doctors volunteering at the campus, said Mohammed Ali, 24, died early on Wednesday morning.

He said that six other protesters also sustained bullet wounds in the raid by police on the anti-government demonstration and are in serious condition.

Army troops stormed the campus late on Tuesday, shooting live ammunition, rubber bullets and firing tear gas. About 90 protesters sustained gas inhalation and minor injuries in the raid.

A security official said that 12 policemen were injured by rocks hurled by demonstrators.

Police had initially intervended to prevent protesters from erecting tents in a street close to the university’s main square, where anti-government protesters have been camping since February 21.

This is just so wrong…

Andrew’s trip to Yemen was followed by arms deal

Now, continuing along with the outrageous arms deals theme, buried deep in a story by the Grey Lady, but, headlined a WSJ article…

Israel Considers Military ‘Upgrade’

…While Israel did not face an immediate threat to its security, Barak told the WSJ, “The issue of qualitative military aid for Israel becomes more essential for us, and I believe also more essential for you [the U.S.].

“It might be wise to invest another $20 billion to upgrade the security of Israel for the next generation or so,” he said, adding: “A strong, responsible Israel can become a stabilizer in such a turbulent region.”

From the Grey Lady…

Netanyahu Vows to Keep Jordan River Posts

…Mr. Netanyahu, referring to the upheaval in the Arab world as “a political and security earthquake which we have not seen the end of,” said, “In this situation, more than ever, we need to ensure that we have solid security foundations upon which to defend the state of Israel.

“Our security border is here, on the Jordan River,” he said, “and our line of defense is here.” [...]

Mr. Barak said that Israel might seek extra security assistance from the United States of up to $20 billion, but could not seek pledges of aid without making a “daring” peace offer.

The Palestinians, who want a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, have repeatedly rejected both a long-term Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley and the idea of a provisional state.

However, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has expressed readiness for the presence of a third party, like an American-led NATO force, on the borders of a Palestinian state.

Mr. Abbas commented over the weekend on the reports of a possible Israeli offer.

At a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, he said, “We know that there was an idea in the past that called for a state with provisional borders, and if this idea is proposed again, we will not accept it.”

I’ll bet ya Israel gets the additional $20 Billion…!

Btw, a friendly note from Bibi’s base was handed out to visiting foreign diplomats today…

A diplomat in Jerusalem told Ma’an that “a number of Western diplomats” received the fliers at the district coordination office terminal. A “settler youth group” targeted cars with diplomatic plates, he said.

“Dear diplomats,” the flyer says, “Go Home! Face the facts! We never will make peace with Palestinian terrorists!

“You are guests in our country! You are standing on the Holy Land! Of the Jewish nation! Do not interfere with the building of our country: The meddling by the American government and by the European Union, is putting your stay at risk!”

On the back, the pamphlet continued: “President Barack Hussein Obama — With friends like you who needs enemies!!!”

Well, with friends like that…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Karzai’s Corrupt House of Cards is Collapsing

2:31 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Interestingly, although I’ve been following and blogging about Hamid Karzai’s corrupt ways and ties, for years now, little did I realize how fast it could possibly topple his government…

On Tuesday, the WaPoo reported about this sudden Bank seizure…

Afghan authorities take over biggest bank to avoid meltdown

…Afghanistan’s Central Bank has taken control of Kabul Bank, a politically potent financial institution partly owned by President Hamid Karzai’s brother, and ordered its chairman to hand over $160 million worth of luxury villas and other property purchased in Dubai for well-connected insiders, according to Afghan bankers and officials. The Central Bank’s intervention aims to shore up Afghanistan’s largest private bank, whose faltering finances threatened to wreak both economic and political havoc. Kabul Bank handles salary payments for Afghan soldiers, police and teachers, and has taken in more than $1 billion in deposits from ordinary Afghans. U.S. officials have long worried that trouble at Kabul Bank could trigger financial mayhem, a prospect that would leave Afghan security forces without pay, threaten unrest by angry – and often armed – depositors, and gravely undermine President Obama’s entire Afghan strategy

Which subsequently sparked a run on the Kabul Bank on Wednesday and Thursday…

Run on Afghan bank’s deposits reported

NBC News: Large investor confirms funds were used to buy Dubai villas

…About $155 million in deposits have been withdrawn from Afghanistan’s largest bank in just the last two days, spurring fresh concerns among U.S. and Afghan officials that a financial panic could spread through the country and derail the U.S. war effort, according to bank insiders and U.S. officials.

Mahmood Karzai, the brother of Afghanistan’s president and one of the principal shareholders in the troubled Kabul Bank, told NBC News in a telephone interview that panicky depositors withdrew $70 million from the bank on Thursday. This is on top of an estimated $85 million taken out on Wednesday, he said.

Which prompted Hamid Karzai to respond on Thursday…

Karzai: Afghan govt will back Kabul Bank

…Afghan President Hamid Karzai reassured nervous customers at the troubled Kabul Bank on Thursday, saying every penny of their deposits would be guaranteed by the government.

Larger than usual crowds gathered to withdraw funds from Afghanistan’s largest bank Wednesday and Thursday after two top executives resigned amid allegations of mismanagement and unorthodox real estate loans.

"The Kabul Bank is safe," Karzai said in a news conference with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal echoed that message, saying that fears about the stability of Kabul Bank had not sparked a "crisis" at Kabul Bank.

Even Petraeus had to chime in…

Petraeus backs Karzai over corruption

…Speaking to the media at his base in Camp Eggers, near Kabul, Gen Petraeus acknowledged, however, that concerns over sleaze were hindering a counter-insurgency drive in Kandahar and that Nato’s showpiece push in Marjah district faced tough obstacles.

Gen Petraeus described Mr Karzai as “very forthright about corruption” and said the Afghan president’s chief concern was one the US shared: Taliban safe havens in Pakistan.

He was speaking on the day that Robert Gates, US defence secretary, arrived in Kabul for talks with Mr Karzai. The Afghan president had intervened to release Mohammad Zia Salehi, one of his national security advisers, who was arrested in July over claims that he accepted a car in return for favours.

Mr Karzai’s move was widely seen as weakening two US anti-corruption bodies involved in the arrest – the Major Crimes Task Force and the Sensitive Investigative Unit. The Afghan president subsequently ordered a review of their conduct.

Gen Petraeus said: “There clearly was some friction, if you will, over the arrest of the individual who was in the palace. I think frankly those issues, perceptions, have been resolved.”

The Guardian wasn’t so charitable as the rest of the Lame Stream Media was and named names…

Afghan officials resist clean-up of Kabul Bank as scandal engulfs elite

President Hamid Karzai’s brother calls for US to guarantee deposits amid fears collapse would threaten police and army salaries

…The central bank on Tuesday ordered that the chairman and chief executive of Kabul Bank, who are both large shareholders in the bank, should step down from their positions and a government official be appointed to manage the bank.

But western officials with intimate knowledge of the financial drama said the US treasury wanted to see much stronger action. That would include bringing the bank into line with international norms…

Such independence would risk bringing to light allegations that members of the country’s business and political elite have, for years, apparently got away with using deposits of thousands of ordinary Afghans to fund lavish lifestyles. The bank’s funds are said to have been used to invest in loss-making enterprises and, allegedly, the re-election campaign of President Karzai.

In the words of one foreign official, the US treasury is anxious to "rip the lid" off the cowboy capitalism that has been allowed to flourish at Kabul Bank. [...]

"But there are lots of assets off the books. The hunch is that shareholders would like to continue to use bank assets how they want, rather than bring it into line with international best practice."

Naturally, the corrupt fired parties blamed everybody else…

Ex-executives say their dismissals triggered run on Kabul Bank

…The two ousted executives of Afghanistan’s largest bank have blamed a hasty management purge for a run on the embattled institution this week.

President Hamid Karzai ordered the dismissal of the managers at Kabul Bank this week after concerns about questionable loans that shareholders had approved for themselves, including some to fund the purchase of high-end real estate in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

Why not, though…? A mere week ago, Karzai was saying…

Kabul blames most corruption on Western allies

…Afghanistan said Monday blame for most of the corruption plaguing the impoverished country lies with its Western backers who dole out "illegitimate" contracts that have created an "economic mafia".

Afghanistan, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, is under intense pressure from its foreign backers to end endemic graft.

Presidential spokesman Waheed Omer said Afghanistan’s foreign allies were responsible for the vast bulk of corruption in the country, which is mired in extreme poverty despite receiving tens of billions of dollars in Western aid over the past decade.

"Our international partners provided the ground for some people in Afghanistan to become unbelievably rich. Some people (have) become an economic mafia in Afghanistan," he said.

Even Bloomberg reported it… Karzai Says Corrupt Firms Undermine Afghan War (Correct)

Sadly, there’s kernels of truth to Hamid’s charges…

Billion Dollar Audit Missed by Pentagon Watchdog
Military auditors failed to complete an audit of the business systems of an Ohio- based company – Mission Essential Personnel – even though it had billed for one billion dollars worth of work largely in Afghanistan over the last four years.

…In September 2007 the U.S. Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) awarded Mission Essential Personnel (MEP) a five-year-contract worth up to 414 million dollars to provide 1,691 translators in Afghanistan. MEP was a start-up company created by three men, including Chad Monnin, a U.S. Army Special Forces reservist who was injured in a parachute accident. Procurement rules give preference to companies owned by injured veterans, even if they have no prior experience.

When the Obama administration decided to expand the war in Afghanistan last year, MEP quickly hit the ceiling of what it could bill. On May 10, INSCOM gave MEP a 679 million dollar extension without bothering to put it up for competitive bid. MEP will also get a share of the Intelligence Support Services Omnibus III contract, a five-year contract, with a ceiling of 492 million dollars, announced on Aug. 10, 2010.

The only two other contractors that have held multi-billion dollar contracts to supply translators to soldiers and diplomats in the Global War on Terror – L- 3/Titan and Global Linguist Services – have both been investigated for alleged overcharging, suggesting that this type of work falls in the high risk category of government spending.

Yet the Defence Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) failed to conduct a full business systems audit for MEP.

The CS Monitor truly puts it all into its proper context…

Kabul Bank run may pose more immediate threat than Afghan Taliban

The Kabul Bank is a bedrock for a stable Afghan society. Its collapse could spell disaster for the country already battling a resurgent Afghan Taliban.

…The fallout from Kabul Bank’s problems could extend beyond the economy. The Post reported Thursday that "an unchecked run on Kabul Bank, which could spread alarm to other banks, would jeopardize not only depositors’ savings but President Obama’s Afghan strategy, which is built around efforts to rally the public against the Taliban."

American officials, security analysts, and Afghan businessmen also see it as a security threat. The US hopes a growing Afghan economy will lift living standards, undercut support for the Taliban, and increase confidence in Mr. Karzai. And the Kabul bank particularly plays a central role: it houses $1.3 billion in deposits from ordinary citizens, and also handles payments for teachers, soldiers, and police – the bedrock of a stable Afghan society.

Once again, I ask ya; what are we fighting, and dying, for…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Petraeus And NATO Get In Bed With Wali Karzai

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Part 2 of Wars sending U.S. into ruin

We can literally half our current Defense Budget and we’d still spend more than the rest of the World combined…! So pardon me if this recent rhetoric from SecDef Gates Criticizes Bloated Military Bureaucracy falls on deaf ears here, and, in the halls of congress…! It would be lovely if we saw front page headlines such as this…

US Cannot Afford Another Afghanistan or Iraq: Gates

Sadly tho, that’s a Kabul newspaper headline…!

Meanwhile, as the Fawning Corporate Media has been busy chasing the shiny, Shahzad bauble, very little attention is being given to the real stories happening in Afghanistan now…

For instance… Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi headed a Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan, the Taliban vow new Afghan offensive with Karzai in US, and, the announcement that Afghanistan to hold Peace Assembly on May 29…!

Interestingly, that grand ‘Jirga’, has already been rescheduled twice, and, is timed to happen shortly after Hamid Karzai’s visit with Obama…!

At which point, Afghanistan’s Karzai to ask Obama for billions more to fight Taliban…! Errm… Excuse me…? Apparently, the additional $33 Billion for the Surge’s 30,000 more troops is insufficient…!

Isn’t it ironic that Hamid seems to be greasing the skids for his DC visit’s plea for more cash with an Op-Ed in today’s WaPoo… Entitled: "Afghanistan appreciates its partnership with the U.S." Fancy that…!

But, I digress…!

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Operation Hope…? Hope It Works?

11:10 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

In fairness to the numbnut General that chose that title, it’s actually Operation Omid…

Dread surrounds Operation Hope

The word omid means "hope" in Afghanistan’s Dari language. But, judging by the reaction of local residents, the coming U.S.-led military offensive against the Taliban in Kandahar could not be more inappropriately named.

Ya think…?

It is just so wrong on so many levels…!

Back in early March, I had mentioned it was a bad idea to invade Kandahar when it was first announced… In which, Sec. Gates had personally warned of ‘Dark Days’ ahead… This will be the largest assault ever planned by ISAF, against the second largest city in Afghanistan, that also happens to be the ‘spiritual’ home of the Taliban, and, ruled by Hamid Karzai’s little bro Ahmed, the King of Kandahar… WTF are they thinking…?

Some more from the Global Post…

“Operation Omid will bring more insecurity, instead of peace,” said Salaam, who lives in the Maiwand district of Kandahar Province. “We have just seen that the opposition has accelerated its attacks. There are more and more explosions in the province. You cannot bring peace through war.”

Operation Omid will not be fully underway until early summer, according to the U.S. military. The exact size of the force to be deployed is not yet clear, but it is expected to swallow a good portion of the 30,000 additional troops being sent to Afghanistan this year.

The operation will center on two districts — Arghandab and Zheray — rather than on the city itself. Fighting in a major population center, moreover one that is home to some of Islam’s most cherished relics, such as the cloak of the Prophet, would go against the hearts and minds strategy that has been a central tenet of the new U.S. strategy.

The Taliban seem eager to get things started.

Over the past week, a series of suicide explosions have rocked the city center. This, along with the much-publicized shooting of a civilian bus by U.S. troops, has given Kandaharis a taste of the approaching conflict. They do not seem to relish the prospect.

The U.S. military has been talking of Kandahar ever since they declared success in Marjah, a dusty patch of desert in neighboring Helmand Province. Once the Afghan flag was raised over the Marjah district center in early March, Kandahar became the focal point of the stepped-up battle against the Taliban.[...]

The city is not under Taliban control — the government, in the person of Ahmad Wali Karzai, the president’s half-brother and head of Kandahar’s Provincial Council, dominates the center. This is one reason that the fighting will be spread out to the districts surrounding the center.

Observers say that this will prompt the Taliban to adopt their usual tactics — melting away until the foreign forces retreat, then flooding back into the area.

“The armed opposition is experienced in guerrilla warfare,” said Bismillah Afghanmal, a senator from Kandahar. “They know when and where to fight, and they know very well how to flee the area that is the focus of the operation. Omid will not bring good results.”

Some of the fighters are moving into more remote districts, but a good number are heading for the city, where they appear ready to carry out regular acts of “asymmetrical warfare” — suicide bombings, the planting of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and other measures designed to spread terror.

As a result, the situation in Kandahar city is deteriorating rapidly, according to author Alex Strick van Linschoten, who has been living in the southern capital for more than two years conducting research on the Taliban.

“We are running out of ways to say how bad things are,” he said. “There is a general feeling of paranoia and fear — fear of what’s going to happen tomorrow, of what the future will bring. No one wants to be in Kandahar. Everyone is trying to sell up and get out.”

Even BetrayusPetraeus warns of the tough slog to secure Kandahar…

…Gen Petraeus told a news conference held during an unannounced visit to the city on Friday that the Taliban would resist attempts to drive them from their havens.

”The enemy is going to take horrific actions to disrupt the progress that Afghan and coalition civilian and military elements are working so hard to achieve,” said Gen Petraeus, whose command includes Afghanistan and Iraq.

”There have been tough moments here in Kandahar in recent weeks – that is well known. And we know that there will be more tough moments in the weeks and months ahead…The enemy fights back, and our experience in Iraq was that it got harder before it got easy.” [...]
”The operation in Kandahar is not going to be a conventional offensive. It is rather precise operations out, around the city,” said Gen Petraeus…

Precise operations…? Speaking of Iraq’s lessons learned by Betrayus, the much ballyhooed Human Terrain Systems guys and gals had painted a bleak picture ahead…

As I’ve noted before…

Know Your Enemy: HTS’s Study Of Pashtun “Tribes”

…In this report, the HTS Afghanistan RRC warns that the desire for "tribal engagement", in Afghanistan, executed along the lines of the recent "Surge" strategy in Iraq, is based on erroneous understanding of the human terrain. In fact, the way people in rural Afghanistan organize themselves is so different from rural Iraqi culture that calling them both "tribes" is deceptive. "Tribes" in Afghanistan do not act as unified groups, as they have in Iraq. For the most part they are not ‘hierarchical’, meaning there is no "chief" for whom to negotiate(and from whom to expect results from). They are notorious for changing the form of their social organization when they are pressured from internal dissension or external forces. Whereas in some other countries tribes are structured like trees, "tribes" in Afghanistan are like jellyfish… [...]

Rough Terrain

Under an experimental program in Afghanistan, teams of anthropologists and social scientists are working alongside soldiers to help win the war by winning over the Afghan people. It may seem like a brilliant idea. But in this battle, nothing is as it seems…

Here’s an excellent Youtube that I could not embed, but, it is a recent,startling, firsthand account on what it’s like on patrol, as Lt. Col. Campbell goes out for his farewell tour of his AO…! Entitled: Colonel Campbell’s War…

Carl Forsberg at the Institute for the Study of War released this blistering critique on the Politics and Power in Kandahar…

KEY FINDINGS
While most actors in Kandahar call themselves tribal leaders, few influential actors in Kandahar derive their influence from this position. Control over guns, money, and foreign support have become more important as sources of power.
• Influential actors in Kandahar nevertheless attempt to maintain influence over the tribal system and often organize their networks, militias, and cartels along tribal lines.
The Karzai family is the key to politics in Kandahar. The Karzai family and the Quetta Shura Taliban have emerged as the most powerful forces.
• Since 2001, Ahmed Wali Karzai has gradually built a powerful empire in Kandahar through the support of foreign backers and by bringing under his influence the province’s key commercial, military, and contracting networks.
• The Karzai family’s leading members, Hamid, Mahmoud, Qayum, and Ahmed Wali, have built significant influence in different spheres, strengthening the family’s power as a whole.
• President Hamid Karzai reassigned Kandahar Governor Gul Agha Sherzai to Nangahar province in 2005, replacing him with Asadullah Khalid, a family ally. This gave Ahmed Wali Karzai informal control of the province.

Kandahar’s political and economic life is dominated by several commercial and military networks.
• Ahmed Wali Karzai is at the center of a number of these networks, and has considerable influence over business life in Kanahar City itself, with significant private security, real estate, and contracting interests.
• His control of private security forces, as well as his influence over contracting firms like Watan Risk Management and Asia Security Group allows him to enforce his political will in the city and exert influence over all business transactions.
• Ahmed Wali Karzai has formed alliances with other key strongmen in Kandahar, who control transit routes and run commercial/military networks. These strongmen include Arif Noorzai, Abdul Razak, and Matiullah Khan.
• Family members and allies of Gul Agha Sherzai run a rival commercial network to Ahmed Wali Karzai’s.
Ahmed Wali Karzai has used his informal power and his connections to the Afghan state to give him shadow ownership of the government of Kandahar.
• Through the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, the Karzai administration in Kabul controls the appointment of provincial governors and district officials, giving it considerable power over local government.
• Given Ahmed Wali Karzai’s influence in Kabul, local government officials understand that challenging Ahmed Wali Karzai’s influence would jeopardize their political futures.
• Local powerbrokers have intentionally kept the official police force weak. This allows them to manipulate the police force to their ends and forces ISAF to rely on their private security companies. Because many of these companies are controlled by or allied with Ahmed Wali Karzai, this ensures both revenue and influence.
The local population sees the government as an exclusive oligarchy devoted to its own enrichment and closely tied to the international coalition.
• Anti-government sentiments are exploited and aggravated by the Taliban. Many of the local powerbrokers who are excluded from Wali Karzai’s network see the Taliban insurgency as the only viable means of political opposition.
• The 2009 presidential and provincial council elections demonstrated that Ahmed Wali Karzai’s popular base in Kandahar was narrowing.
Despite limited popular support, Ahmed Wali Karzai’s maintenance of power rests on three interdependent pillars. These are:
• That the international coalition, despite growing frustrations, will continue to give him de facto support where it matters and will not take actions that challenge his fundamental interests.
• That he will continue to receive critical state backing and continue to control the formal government of Kandahar. He assumes that Hamid Karzai will continue to support him and that the government ministries in Kabul will not challenge his influence due to his brother’s political ascendancy.
• That he will maintain the ability to exert power over locals through his use of force and his control over the provincial economy.

This truly is Obama’s great Afghan Hopey-Changey thing…!

One can pray that there’s not too much bloodshed on all parts…!

In šāʾ Allāh…

by CTuttle

Rolling Up The Taliban?

7:38 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today’s front page of Afghanistan’s Daily Outlook trumpets…

Pakistan Arrests 200 Taliban

Pakistan has nabbed about 200 Taliban militants fleeing from the battle field in southern Afghanistan where a U.S.-led NATO military offensive is going on against Taliban insurgents. Pakistani government said it would hand over the arrested Taliban to the NATO forces, if they entered into Pakistan from Afghanistan, the official news agency APP reported on Monday. Pakistan has increased military posts along the Afghan border in Balochistan Province to keep a watch over the Taliban’s infiltrating in the wake of a NATO military offensive in Marjah, southern Afghanistan. The report said at least 26 new military check posts have been set up, which has climbed the military posts to 286. Pakistani authorities said that Pak-Afghan border has been sealed and patrolling of the security forces has been increased. The authorities said Pakistan is committed to assist the NATO forces in their military offensive in southern Afghanistan. Meanwhile, reports said police in northwest Pakistan has arrested Mulvi Kabir, one of the top 10 most wanted Taliban leaders and a former Taliban governor of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province. Mulvi Kabir’s arrest was made on the information obtained from Mullah Baradar, the Taliban’s second-in-command, whose arrest was announced on Feb. 18 following a joint U.S.-Pakistani operation, reports said. The arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and several other top leaders inside Pakistan is an evidence of Pakistan’s commitment to war on terror and its will to play a major role in negotiations with Taliban leadership.

Apparently, Pakistan is playing hardball with the Taliban and Baradar’s capture is paying dividends…

Al Jazeera reported…

‘Taliban commander seized’

In other developments, the US media reported on Tuesday that yet another senior Afghan Taliban commander had been captured in Pakistan.

Mullah Abdul Kabir, a member of the group’s so-called Quetta Shura, was picked up several days ago in Nowshera district in Pakistan’s northwest, according to reports in the New York Times and Washington Post that cited unnamed Pakistani security officials.

Pakistani officials declined to confirm the reports.

Last week, Pakistani and American officials said that Mullah Abdul Ghani Brader, the No 2 Afghan Taliban leader, had been caught 10 days earlier in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

Two other Taliban leaders – Mullah Abdul Salam and Mullah Mohammad, respectively the "shadow governors" of Kunduz and Baghlan provinces – were arrested separately in Pakistan about 10 to 12 days ago, according to Mohammad Omar, the Kunduz governor.

In which, the Taliban refute the capture of Abdul Kabir…

Monday, February 22, 2010. A news report about detention of Maulavi Kabir is totally baseless and fatuous. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan diametrically refutes reports published in media regarding Maulavi Kabir, the eminent leader of The Islamic Emirate.

We say in clear words that these reports are farcical and groundless. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan believes that there are ploys and wiles on the enemy behind such fatuous rumor and publication of these reports in order to cash in on them in political and military fields. By doing so, they are trying to distract the attention of the people of the world from their shameful defeat at Marjah.

Here’s an interview with the new Marjah Taliban Commander Nasir…

However, I do question the veracity of that report. Is it another $50 interview…?

More from that Channel Four report…

Nasir, also spelt Nisar, has been based in Marjah in Helmand, the scene of the latest Nato offensive. He went south to meet the cameraman – the exact location was kept secret.

"My message to whole of the west, especially the parents of those soldiers who are fighting for the America’s vested interests in Afghanistan is that they should not trust the American propaganda," Nasir said.

"I want to address those parents and European countries who sent their soldiers to Afghanistan not to sacrifice their sons on the interests of US. This war can’t be won.

"They should consult the Afghan history. No force on the face of the earth had defeated Afghans so far. The Russians were defeated and so are they."

He also insisted that the Taliban could force the allied troops from Afghanistan.

The Taliban recently released this statement…

Marjah Operations are an Exemplary Lesson for the Invaders

For themselves too… The Taliban are adapting too…

Taliban tries kinder, gentler tactics in Marjah

Taliban jihadists who ruled Marjah had recently softened their brutal treatment of the villagers and seemed less intent on running every aspect of their lives, according to the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan.

The apparent change in behavior may have been a response to the refusal of Marjah residents to put up with repressive rule, said Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a coalition spokesman in Afghanistan.

"It wasn’t as evident that brutality was (the Taliban’s) main weapon," Smith said Monday.

The coalition based its conclusion largely on conversations with residents before the offensive against the largest Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan began.

Conversations with the Elders prior to the invasion…? Or was it from your prior polling…?

Dood, they’re saying get out now…!

Helmand elders want US-led forces out

MARJAH (NNI): Tribal elders in the southern Afghan province of Helmand want an end to the US-led anti-Taliban offensive there, citing Western troops’ disregard for civilian lives as a reason. In a gathering in the center of Helmand, the elders expressed concerns about the way the operations have been handled so far. Recently many Afghan civilians have been killed both by violent militant acts, including bombings and daily fighting, as well as by new US-led operations against militants. They say the offensive is taking its toll on the people in the central city of Marjah. The elders warned that if help doesn’t reach people, the region is will face a catastrophe. Human rights groups have also voiced concern over the issue, saying people living on the front line of the major offensive are trapped in their homes with little access to food and medicine.

Finally, we’re getting off the snide…

Marjah residents receive food aid

Residents of the southern Afghan town of Marjah have received their first food supplies since the start of a joint US-Afghan military operation against the Taliban in the area 11 days ago.

Afghan officials distributed bags of rice and tea in central Marjah, in southern Helmand province, on Tuesday, as sporadic fighting continued outside the city centre.

It took 11 days…? They wonder why we’re losing the ‘hearts and minds’…!

Today, Gareth Porter released this political bombshell…

Marja Offensive Aimed to Shape U.S. Opinion on War

Senior military officials decided to launch the current U.S.-British military campaign to seize Marja in large part to influence domestic U.S. opinion on the war in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The Post report, by Greg Jaffe and Craig Whitlock, both of whom cover military affairs, said the town of Marja would not have been chosen as a target for a U.S. military operation had the criterion been military significance instead of impact on domestic public opinion.

The primary goal of the offensive, they write, is to "convince Americans that a new era has arrived in the eight-year long war…." U.S. military officials in Afghanistan "hope a large and loud victory in Marja will convince the American public that they deserve more time to demonstrate that extra troops and new tactics can yield better results on the battlefield," according to Jaffe and Whitlock.

A second aim is said to be to demonstrate to Afghans that U.S. forces can protect them from the Taliban.

With Petraeus saying Marjah is just the start

General David Petraeus, the commander of US Central Command, said on Sunday that the months ahead will be "tough".

"I have repeatedly said that these types of efforts are hard and they’re hard all the time. I don’t use words like optimist or pessimist, I use realist but the reality is that it’s hard and we’re there for a very, very important reason and we can’t forget that.

"We’re in Afghanistan to ensure that it cannot once again be a sanctuary for the kind of attacks that were carried out on 9/11," he told US network NBC’s Meet the Press programme.

He said Taliban resistance had been "a bit disjointed" but "formidable".

"The way the operation was conducted leaped over some of them. But there is tough fighting going on without question," he said.

Civilians flee Marjah fighting
Petraeus said the campaign, which started on February 13, would not stop with Marjah and nearby Nad Ali.

Are we truly rolling back the Taliban…?

Here’s a slide show of pics you’ll never see in our papers…(Very Graphic!) Something Petraeus has overseen as Centcom Commander…

by CTuttle

K.I.S.S.

7:00 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Jake Diliberto of Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan stated in that clip it’s asinine to try and cram a central government from Kabul down the throats of the traditional tribal elders. As Wikipedia notes…

Politics in Afghanistan has historically consisted of power struggles, bloody coups and unstable transfers of power. With the exception of a military junta, the country has been governed by nearly every system of government over the past century, including a monarchy, republic, theocracy and communist state.

All were basically weak central governments, or as Ahmed Rashid states, a ‘Minimalist State’…

Afghanistan had what I’ll call a minimalist state, compared with the vast governmental apparatuses that colonialists left behind in British India and Soviet Central Asia.

This bare-bones structure worked well for a poor country with a small population, few natural resources and a mix of ethnic groups and tribes that were poorly connected with one another because of the rugged terrain. The center was strong enough to maintain law and order, but it was never strong enough to undermine the autonomy of the tribes.

Afghanistan was not aiming to be a modern country or a regional superpower. The economy was subsistence-level, but nobody starved. Everyone had a job, though farm labor was intermittent. There was a tiny urban middle class, but the gap between rich and poor was not that big.

We need to rethink our priorities…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

What Is The Status Of The SOFA…?

4:27 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Here’s Petraeus’s briefing to the Heritage Foundation earlier today. It is rather lengthy at 1 hr and 16 mins… He does give a good description of how the military describes the situation, I was taken aback at some of his assumptions. One particular egregious remark was at the 17:35 mark where he snidely remarks that; "we’d provided the Iraqis with ‘gated communities’ free of charge…" In reference to the miles of large blast walls that we’ve erected in Baghdad… I’d covered the blast walls in various prior posts, but, especially in this one… Mr. Maliki, Tear Down This Wall…

The NYT reports this from the briefing…

Petraeus Sees Value In Talking to Taliban

U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus said on Wednesday that negotiations with some members of the Taliban could provide a way to reduce violence in sections of Afghanistan gripped by an intensifying insurgency.

"If there are people who are willing to reconcile (with the government), then that would be a positive step in some of these areas that have actually been spiraling downward," said Petraeus, who will soon take up responsibility for U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

"The key there is making sure that all of that is done Read the rest of this entry →