Gorbachev to NATO: You Can’t Win in Afghanistan















Report by A Khokar   October 28, 2010

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev knows a thing or two about warfare in Afghanistan, having ordered Soviet troops out of the country two decades ago, and Wednesday he passed on a little advice to the NATO troops and allied forces fighting there now: Victory is “impossible” on that battleground. 

Russia is set to return to the war in Afghanistan 21 years after its forces were driven out of the country.

Moscow has agreed to help train the Afghan army and anti-narcotics troops—at the request of the same Western countries who helped remove Russia from the country in the late 1980s.

But Mikhail Gorbachev today warned NATO that victory in Afghanistan is ‘impossible’.

The former leader of the Soviet Union, who pulled Russian troops out of Afghanistan in 1989, said President Barack Obama is right to start withdrawing U.S. forces from the country next year.

Source: Mail Online:

US seeks to boost CIA presence in Pakistan

 By A Khokar   October 25, 2010

  General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani as a head of Pak Army may be seen—a man who is also keeping an eye and a check on the President Zardari and his government on misuse of power and state resources but; both the figures (Zardari and Kayani) when ever are called upon in their master’s (US) chattel– to serve and work; invariably they both have proved—-to be the most loyal American proxies.

President Zardari has even excelled former President Musharraf in giving a free hand to American for their Drone attacks inside Pakistan when he says: “Kill the seniors (Al-Qaida and Taliban command hiding in our sanctuaries in Pakistan); Collateral damage (by drone attacks) worries you American. It does not worry me.”

Musharraf was never considered by American to be their loyal ally– rather he was booed and ridiculed for playing a double game; whereas General Kayani in the name of being a front state American Ally in the US war against terror is a good tool in the hands of American. Pak army under his command is doing anything and everything which American wants him to do.

But the present surge in CIA personals in Pakistan is sure a bad news for this country; when we see that owing to the ongoing covert operations orchestrated by CIA in Pakistani urban areas is already resulting in total depletion of Pakistani society and its economy. Earlier when CIA was allowed to move into Pakistan it created Tehrik e Taliban–TTP and what we got —a total devastation, anarchy and mayhem. Reportedly some thousands have perished.  

Ironically; over this period, Pak Army has fast become a subservient to US. God forbid that with the planned boost in CIA operations in Pakistan when Pak army happens to be a subservient to US; — may we not see that our Armed Forces are found strangulated at the hands of CIA, right in their own country and the old history is seen repeating itself once again—like we saw in December 1971 in shape of fall of Dacca and a break-up of East Pakistan….occurred?

 The cracks of disintegration and schism in our western provinces are already showing.


Beware of Obama


 Obama’s Goal is to Destroy Pakistan

Webster Tarpley, an Historiane explains as why we must beware of Obama in his Interview:





Views in brief:


The WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs-Greatest Data Leak in US Military History

In the greatest leak in the history of the United States military, WikiLeaks plans to publish 391,832 classified documents on the Iraq on the Internet. The field reports from soldiers cast a new light on the war — documenting in a unique way how the highly armed American military was helpless in the conflict for years.  

First there were hundreds of thousands of documents from the Afghanistan conflict, and now there are hundreds of thousands from the Iraq war. WikiLeaks intends to publish a massive collection of internal war logs from the United States military early Saturday morning. They include some 391,832 field reports from US soldiers from a Pentagon database. Taken together, they represent a kind of diary of the Iraq war between 2004 and 2009.

DER SPIEGEL, the London Guardian and the New York Times have analyzed and reviewed the documents together with other media sources. As was the case with the around 77,000 Afghanistan war logs published by WikiLeaks in July, SPIEGEL has taken every measure possible to ensure that lives are not put at risk. This includes redacting the names of those individuals who could be targeted for revenge or of those places at risk of being targeted for collective reprisals. The danger publication of the reports could create for informants and soldiers in Iraq is the primary concern of the US government, which is currently seeking to take action against WikiLeaks.

“We deplore WikiLeaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents,” the Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told SPIEGEL (see the box below, “US Reaction to Iraq War Logs,” for the full statement), “and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies.”

WikiLeaks, the Pentagon argued, continues to put at risk the lives of troops, their coalition partners and Iraqis. In addition, Morrell added, the reports are “initial, raw observations by tactical units. They are essentially snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane, and do not tell the whole story.” Besides, the Pentagon added, the period covered in the reports has already been well-chronicled in news stories, books and films.

A War that Lasted Longer than WWII

 SPIEGEL nevertheless decided to publish the documents because they expose additional dimensions to the war. The brief, matter-of-fact incident reports offer an unusual perspective on a war that lasted longer than World War II.

They show the everyday aspects of the campaign as US soldiers experienced it. The thousands of threat analyses, attack reports and arrest records allow a very precise reconstruction of the escalation of the sectarian battle between the Shiites and Sunnis, how it brutalized Iraqi society and how kidnappings, executions and the torture of prisoners became routine practices. The reports also provide some evidence that neighboring countries including Syria and Iran were involved in the war. SPIEGEL ONLINE will be running a series of stories in the coming days shedding additional light on aspects of the war, and readers can also browse the complete WikiLeaks database in an interactive Iraq map prepared by SPIEGEL ONLINE. On Monday, SPIEGEL ONLINE will publish this week’s WikiLeaks Iraq cover story in English.

The documents included in the WikiLeaks database aren’t of the highest level of classification — at most, they are “secret,” but not “top secret.” As such, many of the most sensational events in the Iraq war don’t make an appearance, including the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib. There are other weaknesses, as well — they are one-sided and subjective, unverifiable and, in many cases, were produced on the battlefield, making it easier for errors to slip through.

 However, they have the cumulative effect of painting a precise picture of an asymmetrical war, one in which a superpower equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry often stands helpless on the battlefield against individual fighting units, as brutal as they are nimble. The material shows how the constant state of fear paralyzed the world’s last remaining superpower. Is the next bomb about to go off? Is it around the corner? On the side of the road? Or strapped to the body of an insurgent?

‘Bomb Explosion,’ ‘Under Enemy Fire,’ ‘Discoveries of Weapons’

 The war logs begin on Jan. 1, 2004, a day on which seven explosions were reported between Kirkuk in northern Iraq and Basra in the south, and end on Dec. 31, 2009, when three attacks were reported. With terms like “bomb explosion,” “under enemy fire” and “discoveries of weapons,” the Iraq logs try to make the war fit into the rough grid of military terminology. But there is one key difference between the Afghanistan war logs and these: The Iraq reports are all from a war that had already been officially declared as having been won. George W. Bush, the US president and commander in chief at the time, declared on May 1, 2003 on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” The field reports show that his statement proved to be untrue for years to come.

 The soldiers’ reports sometimes have a very reserved tone — for example, when it comes to the deployments of their fellow soldiers who are hunting suspected insurgents, when patrols are ambushed or when weapons caches are discovered. They are everyday scenes from a war.

And often the horrors that occurred are hidden in military abbreviations. The numbers and letters “13xAIF KIA,” for example, stand for 13 enemies killed (“13 anti-Iraqi forces killed in action”) — as happened on July 12, 2007, when US attack helicopters became notorious around the world for the “Collateral Murder” operation in which they fired on innocent Iraqis. The fact that something must have gone awry in the mission is clear in the classified document because there were also “2xLN children WIA” — “3 local national children wounded in action.”

But other reports express the extent of the horror of the war more clearly. As tensions mount within the Iraqi population starting in 2004, acts of the greatest cruelty take place. In June 2005, for example, the death of six members of a family near Baqouba are documented, a typical incident at that time. The killers tied the victims’ hands behind their back and then cut off their heads, laying them next to their corpses on the ground. The nine-year-old grandson was forced to die the same way as his grandfather. At another point, US soldiers report that a commander with the Shiite Mahdi militia killed his wife. She evidently saw him commit an “extra-legal killing” — a murder — and she filmed him doing it on a mobile phone.

 The documents show hundreds of thousands of times what can happen to a society at war — how it gradually slips to the point of self-destruction and the verge of breakdown. During those years, a full-blown civil war between ethnic groups in Iraq was only barely prevented.

 Recently, Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, also officially declared the end of combat operations. On September 1, Operation Iraqi Freedom was replaced by Operation New Dawn. But aside from the excessively optimistic terminology, there were no signs of triumph to be seen. There were no flag-bedecked aircraft carriers or returning veterans being cheered as they marched up Broadway in New York.

 President Obama, long an opponent of what he once called a “dumb war,” pointed out that the war had not only cost many lives, but had also come at a high financial cost. “We spent a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas,” he said. At the very same place where his predecessor had announced the start of the war, Obama declared its end in a tone suggesting that a completely different, considerably more humble nation had emerged from the conflict.

 Devastating Effects

 According to official figures, 3,884 US soldiers died between 2004 and 2009, an additional 224 soldiers from allied nations, well over 8,000 members of the Iraqi security forces (reasonably reliable figures are missing for 2004) and 92,003 Iraqi civilians whose deaths are documented by at least one source. Together, this makes more than 104,111 deaths, a figure that approximates the number of victims reported dead in these documents, namely 109,032. And although this war wasn’t nearly as devastating in terms of the sheer number of casualties as the Vietnam War, with its 3 million deaths, its effects on the standing of the United States in the world have been no less devastating.

One month before the beginning of the invasion, Bush had blustered that the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein and “a new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.” But the military that withdrew after seven years of war was a demoralized force that had long since ceased to believe in the noble goals of the campaign.

 The documents faithfully reflect this change. In the roughly 400,000 documents, the word “democracy” appears only eight times. The “improvised explosive devices” which instilled fear in the hearts of American soldiers, however, are mentioned 146,895 times.

Source: SPIEGEL on Line Intl

A Letter on the subject by Robert Gate– US Defence Secy

Source; The New Yorker

Wikileak- US Letter-39590650-Gates-Levin-WikiLeaks-Investigation[1]

Wikileaks–Iraq war logs: UN calls on Obama to investigate human rights abuses


The UN has called on Barack Obama to order a full investigation of US forces’ involvement in human rights abuses in Iraq after a massive leak of military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.

The call, by the UN’s chief investigator on torture, Manfred Nowak, came as Phil Shiner, human rights specialist at Public Interest Lawyers in the UK, warned that some of the deaths documented in the Iraq war logs could have involved British forces and would be pursued through the UK courts. He demanded a public inquiry into allegations that British troops were responsible for civilian deaths during the conflict.

The Guardian has analysed the 400,000 documents, the biggest leak in US military history, and found 15,000 previously unreported civilian deaths. The logs show how US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and generally unpunished.

Nowak said that if the files released through WikiLeaks pointed to clear violations of the UN Convention Against Torture the Obama administration had an obligation to investigate them.

The logs paint a disturbing picture of the relationship between US and Iraqi forces. Nowak said that UN human rights agreements obliged states to criminalise every form of torture, whether directly or indirectly, and to investigate any allegations of abuse.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Nowak, who has spent years investigating allegations of US participation in extraordinary rendition and the abuse of detainees held by coalition forces, said the Obama administration had a legal and moral obligation to fully investigate credible claims of US forces’ complicity in torture.

A failure to investigate, Nowak suggested, would be a failure of the Obama government to recognise its obligations under international law. He said the principle of “non-refoulement” prohibited states from transferring detainees to other countries that could pose a risk to their personal safety.

The documents, which cover the period in Iraq from 2004 onwards, have prompted claims that this principle has not been observed. The files contain evidence that US forces were ordered to turn a blind eye to abuses committed by the Iraqi authorities.

Numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee’s apparent death.

Nowak said the US had an obligation “whenever they expel, extradite or hand over any detainees to the authorities of another state to assess whether or not these individuals are under specific risk of torture. If this assessment is not done, or authorities hand over detainees knowing there is a serious risk of them being subjected to torture, they violate article 3 of the UN convention that precludes torture.”

Nowak said it would be up to the Obama administration to launch an “independent and objective” investigation with a view not only to “bring the perpetrators to justice but also to provide the victims with adequate remedy and reparation”.

He noted that neither the US nor Iraq had ratified the international criminal convention that would see officials from either country brought before the international courts for war crimes. It would be up to the US courts to determine whether US officials or soldiers had breached human rights laws. “If it is established that a particular individual is responsible for torture directly or by complicity, this person should be brought to justice in the domestic courts,” Nowak said.

As recently as December, the Americans were passed a video apparently showing Iraqi army officers executing a prisoner in Tal Afar, northern Iraq. The log states: “The footage shows approximately 12 Iraqi army soldiers. Ten IA soldiers were talking to one another while two soldiers held the detainee. The detainee had his hands bound … The footage shows the IA soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him and shooting him.”

The report named at least one perpetrator and was passed to coalition forces. But the logs reveal that the coalition has a formal policy of ignoring such allegations. They record “no investigation is necessary” and simply pass reports to the same Iraqi units implicated in the violence. By contrast all allegations involving coalition forces are subject to formal inquiries. Some cases of alleged abuse by UK and US troops are detailed in the logs.

In two Iraqi cases postmortems revealed evidence of death by torture. On 27 August 2009 a US medical officer found “bruises and burns as well as visible injuries to the head, arm, torso, legs and neck” on the body of one man claimed by police to have killed himself. On 3 December 2008 another detainee, said by police to have died of “bad kidneys”, was found to have “evidence of some type of unknown surgical procedure on [his] abdomen”.

A Pentagon spokesman told the New York Times this week that under its procedure, when reports of Iraqi abuse were received the US military “notifies the responsible government of Iraq agency or ministry for investigation and follow-up”.

In response to the revelations, the Iraqi government has vowed to probe the allegations made against its soldiers and police. “The government will show no leniency when it comes to the rights of its citizens,” said a statement issued by prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office.

Shiner told a press conference organised by WikiLeaks in London today that he plans to use material from the logs in court to try to force the UK to hold a public inquiry into the unlawful killing of Iraqi civilians.

Shiner warned that it would be wrong to assume the US military files “had nothing to do with the UK”. He said: “Some have been killed by indiscriminate attacks on civilians or the unjustified use of lethal force. Others have been killed in custody by UK forces and no one knows how many Iraqis lost their lives while held in British detention facilities.

“If unjustified or unlawful force has been used, prosecutions for those responsible must follow, so we are bringing forward a new case seeking accountability for all unlawful deaths, and we argue that there must be a judicial inquiry to fully investigate UK responsibility for civilian deaths in Iraq.”

He cited one case in which he claimed a British rifleman had shot dead an eight-year-old girl who was playing in the street in Basra. “For some reason the tank stopped at the end of the street, she’s there in her yellow dress, a rifleman pops up and blows her away,” he said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, which has set up the Iraq Historic Allegations Team to investigate allegations of abuse, said: “It would be inappropriate to speculate on the specific detail of these documents without further investigation while the Iraq Inquiry is ongoing. There is no place for mistreatment of detainees and we investigate any allegation made against our troops.”

The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, told the press conference that the disclosure of the secret files was about getting to the truth of the Iraq conflict.

“We hope to correct some of that attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war, and which has continued since the war officially concluded. While I am not sure we have achieved the maximum possible [political impact], I think we are getting pretty close.”

Assange highlighted how the reports documented 109,000 deaths – including 66,000 civilians, of which 15,000 were previously undocumented. “That tremendous scale should not make us blind to the small human scale in this material. It is the deaths of one and two people per event that killed the overwhelming number of people in Iraq.”

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.

Source; The Guardian UK

PM Yousaf Raza Gillani Openly Challenges the Apex Court


In a half an hour speech of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani— orchestrated to show off his executive power along with his other seven PPP stooges made to sit to cover his flanks—; is an open challenge to the Apex court order required him to give a simple statement in writing that whether or not— there was— allegedly any plan in offing— where by the earlier notification of restoring the Judges was being abolished.

In his entire speech the man has not uttered a single word which indicates that nothing as such was there.

 He also desires to sit with the Judges to resolve the issue; Ina lilllah wa Ina Allhey Rajehoun. Asking the Court Judges to become his collaborators….!

This PPP PM and his government has really gone nuts…!


Rule of law, supremacy of Constitution to be maintained: CJP

ISLAMABAD: 15 Oct 2010.  Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Friday observed that he pledged to uphold the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution in the country.
A 17-member bench of the apex court is hearing the suo moto notice of news of withdrawing the notification/executive order, dated March 16, 2009, regarding restoration of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, other judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and chief justices/judges of the High Courts.
The CJ lamented that “whenever the court takes up any important case, rumour mills starts running”. “Derogatory remarks have been used against the judiciary, but we are showing patience against it”, the CJ observed. During the hearing, Attorney-General Maulvi Anwarul Haq said the news reports to this effect were baseless and should be investigated. However, the apex court directed the Attorney-General to submit a written statement from the government on the matter. The statement should be signed by the chief executive, the court said. Justice Ramday asked the Attorney General to tell the court how the notification could be withdrawn while Justice Javed Iqbal stated that “we are as much patriotic as those at the helm”. On the other hand, Chairman Supreme Court Bar Association Qazi Anwar stated that judiciary seemed to be on the same position as it was on November 2. He deplored that instead of rooting out the prevalent corruption the rulers are confronting the judiciary and called upon the latter to act sanely in the larger interest of the nation.
Some private TV channel on Thursday alleged that the Government was considering to withdraw the notification/executive order dated March 16, 2009 of restoration of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, other judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and chief justices/judges of the High Courts. Some newspapers have already reported this issue as well. Earlier on, a few months ago, a similar statement was made by one of the high constitutional office holders in the Parliament. As the news item was flashed by other TV channels, some channels have also telecast denial on Thursday (14.10.2010) from the Government, saying that there was no truth behind the said news. PM Gilani said that he had taken notice of the issue of withdrawal of notification of judges’ restoration and such news could widen gulf between the Government and the Judiciary. Terming the reports of media as baseless, the PM said that the Government respected constitutional institutions and PPP always respected the judiciary and gave sacrifices for its independence. He said that every conspiracy against the Government and Judiciary would be foiled. Elements behind this conspiracy want to destabilise the country but they cannot be succeeded, he added.

Govt cannot retract Executive Order: Kurd
Former chairman Supreme Court Bar Association Ahmed Ali Kurd has said that the government could not withdraw any Executive Order.
Kurd said that the judiciary and the government seemed to be heading towards a confrontational path; however on the same breath he added that the judiciary should not have sit till late night for deliberation over the news reports.
He ruled out having any clashes with the judiciary, saying that he came from Quetta to submit his report regarding a case.

Executive Order has no legal status: Justice (r) Siddiqui
Justice (r) Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui, while talking to Dunya News, said that the Executive Order at which the PM hinted in the National Assembly does not have any legal status for the apex court has struck down the Nov 3 actions thereby depriving the notification of its legality.
He said that the denial by the PM left no room of debate on the issue. He maintained that such news are meant to trigger confusion among the people and that is why the SC sought a written reply in this respect.

Govt indifferent to public issues: Sh Rasheed
Chief of Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rasheed has said that the government is trying to detract the people and the judiciary to cover-up the prevailing corruption. He lamented that the country is passing through multiple crises while those at the helm are busy in having clashes with the judiciary.
He enlisted lack of wisdom, competence and indecisiveness on part of the government that led to the problems facing the country. He said that the rulers are indifferent to the public miseries as they are just busy in sorting out their inter-institutional issues.

Govt wants to harass judiciary: Ahsan Iqbal
PML-N senior leader Ahsan Iqbal, while talking on the issue, said that the government’s stance to retract the notification is deplorable and aimed at harassing the judges only.
It has been made clear in the 18th amendment that the November 3 decision were illegal and did not have any constitutional status and hence the notification by the PM in this regard also lost any status. The parliament has also ratified the 18th amend. He warned the government against any such action saying that its not Musharraf’s Pakistan where the judges were sent packing.

Press Release of Supreme Court of Pakistan


Islamabad 14 October, 2010

As per reports telecast tonight on several TV Channels including AAJ, GEO & ARY, alleging that the Government is considering to withdraw the notification/executive order dated 16.03.2009 of restoration of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and other Judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Chief Justices/Judges of High Courts. Some newspapers have already reported this issue as well. Earlier on, few months ago, a similar statement was made by one of the high constitutional office holders in the Parliament.

2. As the news item was flashed by other TV channels, some channels have also telecast denial today (14.10.2010) from the Government, saying that there is no truth behind the said news.

3. It may be clarified that the issue of restoration of Judges through notification has already been conclusively settled by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in its judgment dated 31.07.2009 in the case of Sindh High Court Bar Association v. Federation of Pakistan (PLD 2009 SC 879), relevant paragraphs whereof are reproduced below: –

“21. The Proclamation of Emergency issued by General Pervez Musharraf as the Chief of Army Staff (as he then was) on November 3, 2007; the Provisional Constitution Order No.1 of 2007 issued by him on the same date in his said capacity; the Oath of Office (Judges) Order of 2007 issued by him also on the same date though as the President of Pakistan but in exercise of powers under the aforesaid Proclamation of Emergency and the Provisional Constitution Order No.1 of 2007; The Provisional Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007 issued by him like-wise on 15.11.2007; the Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007 being President’s Order No.5 of 2007 issued on November 20, 2007; the Constitution (Second Amendment) Order, 2007 being the President’s Order No.6 of 2007 issued on 14th December, 2007; the Islamabad High Court (Establishment) Order 2007 dated 14th December 2007 being the President’s Order No.7 of 2007; the High Court Judges (Pensionary Benefits) Order, 2007 being President’s Order No.8 of 2007; the Supreme Court Judges (Pensionary Benefits) Order, 2007 being President’s Order No.9 of 2007 dated 14th December, 2007 are hereby declared to be un-constitutional, ultra-vires of the Constitution and consequently being illegal and of no legal effect.

22. As a consequence thereof: –

i) the Chief Justice of Pakistan; the Judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan; any Chief Justice of any of the High Courts and the Judges of the High Courts who were declared to have ceased to hold their respective offices in pursuance of the afore-mentioned alleged judgments or any other such judgment and on account of the instruments mentioned in Para 21 above, shall be deemed never to have ceased to be such Judges, irrespective of any notification issued regarding their reappointment or restoration;”

4. It may be stated that the issue of appointment or removal of Judges is clearly prescribed by the Constitution of Pakistan, which has been elaborated through successive verdicts of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has held time and again that a Judge of the superior judiciary may not be removed except on the grounds and as per procedure laid down in Article 209 of the Constitution.

5. In view of the facts stated above, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan, on a note moved by the Registrar, has ordered registration of the matter as Civil Miscellaneous Application and its fixation before a 17 – Member Bench on 15.10.2010. Notice have been issued to the Attorney General for Pakistan .


Additional Registrar


Is another ‘U-TURN’ on its Way?

Pakistan Pledges to Attack Al-Qaeda `Epicentre of Terrorism,’ Mullen Says

President Barack Obama’s top military adviser said Pakistan’s army has pledged to go after militants the U.S. wants targeted in an area harbouring al-Qaeda that has become “the epicentre of terrorism.”

Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said his Pakistani counterpart, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has given assurances he will mount an offensive the U.S. has long called for in North Waziristan along the Afghan border.

Mullen cited as evidence for his optimism Pakistan’s offensives against the Taliban and related groups elsewhere in the country during the past 1½ years.

“He’s committed to me to go into North Waziristan and to root out these terrorists as well,” Mullen, 64, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff” to be broadcast this weekend. “He clearly knows what our priorities are.”

Mullen said he hadn’t read Washington journalist Bob Woodward’s latest book on the administration’s strategy debates, “Obama’s Wars.”

While not taking direct issue with the book’s suggestions that the military limited Obama’s Afghanistan options during a strategy review last year, Mullen said the military provided its best advice.

He said the goal was to defeat al-Qaeda and ensure Afghanistan wouldn’t again become a haven for the group as it had been before the U.S. ousted the Taliban from power after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“That’s how I approached my best military advice to the president,” Mullen said.

Attacking al-Qaeda

In addition to the military campaign in Afghanistan, Obama is relying on neighbouring Pakistan to help rout al-Qaeda and related groups that threaten troops across the border and may be preparing further attacks in Europe or the U.S., such as the May 1 car-bomb attempt in New York’s Times Square.

Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation struggling with an economic crisis and newly re-established democratic rule, says its army is stretched by the fight against militants in six tribal agencies and a flood that inundated a fifth of the country in July.

North Waziristan “is the epicentre of terrorism,” Mullen said. “It’s where al-Qaeda lives.”

Kayani, who has been an ally of Mullen, has shifted more than 70,000 troops from the country’s border with India, its traditional rival, to the northwest, mobilizing a total of 140,000 forces, Mullen said.

Threat to Country

“They’ve sacrificed, they’ve lost a lot of citizens and they are really concerned, urgently concerned, about the threat to their own country from terrorists,” Mullen said. “Two years ago, that wasn’t the case.”

Still, Mullen didn’t give a time frame for a possible offensive in North Waziristan. He said Kayani has primarily targeted groups that pose an internal threat, not those the U.S. considers most dangerous.

Mullen, who took office in October 2007, said he has probably been to Pakistan 20 times, seeking to rebuild ties that frayed in the 1990s.

The U.S. relationship with Pakistan “comes from what I call a very dark hole where we left them,” Mullen said. “So to assert certainties right now I think is a real challenge.”

Civilian Control

Pakistan’s military also is hampered by its government’s failure to establish firm civilian control in areas where the army has routed the Taliban, Mullen said. He cited the Swat Valley about 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of the capital Islamabad, where the Pakistani Army swept out guerrillas in a 10-week military campaign beginning in May 2009.

“He’s got no government to build behind” the offensives, Mullen said. “So he’s got his forces literally pinned down in Swat until the government can actually come in, provide the security, the police.”

While military action by the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan has degraded al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden “is still running” the group, Mullen said.

“He’s struggled doing that to some degree over the last couple of years,” Mullen said. Still, the threat to the U.S. is “every bit as intense as it has been. And it’s still a threat that needs to be eliminated.”

The war in Afghanistan is showing signs of progress in reversing Taliban gains and strengthening legitimate authorities, Mullen said. The U.S. is “very committed” to beginning a troop withdrawal that Obama called for when he authorized 30,000 additional U.S. forces last December, Mullen said.


“I’m sure we’ll be able to start that transition,” he said. “We don’t know exactly where that will be or how much.”

Veterans returning from that war and from Iraq will face new battles, said Mullen, who has urged communities to embrace their former fighters with jobs and other assistance.

Science still doesn’t know enough about traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, soaring military suicides and homelessness, especially among female veterans, Mullen said.

“There is a sea of goodwill out there that wants to help,” he said. “We have to figure out how to connect with them.”

Mullen said he has “great confidence” in Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Obama’s chosen successor to replace retired Marine Corps General James Jones. Woodward wrote in his book that Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Donilon would be “a disaster” as a national security adviser.

Iran Sanctions

Mullen also said the latest round of sanctions by the U.S. and the United Nations to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons is having “a very significant effect on Iran, more so than many people anticipated, including the Iranians.”

“We need to continue to increase that pressure to get their attention, to force them to the table,” Mullen said. “They’re still strategically intent on having a nuclear weapon.”

Iran continues to work with North Korea, Mullen said, calling the Asian communist nation “the number one proliferator of nuclear weapons technology in the world.”

On China, Mullen declined to say whether he thought the biggest Asian economic power would provide the insight into its military intentions that the U.S. has sought.

Gates’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart this week in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi and the accompanying invitation to visit Beijing will at least restore some connections, Mullen said. U.S. officials have recently expressed more concern that the absence of military talks between the two powers could result in miscalculations.

“The longer that we are not in contact, I think, the more dangerous the potential longer-term outcomes are,” Mullen said.

Report by Viola Gienger – Oct 14, 2010 (Bloomberg.com)


WallStreet Journal 0n 16 Oct 2010 has A Big Interviw with Admila Michael Mullen.

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Pluck Al Qaeda Out or Face US “Retribution Plan”

 One of the more interesting details given in Bob Woodward’s new book “Obama’s Wars” is that Washington had prepared a “retribution plan” in the event of a major attack on the United States which is traced back to Pakistan.

“While no contingency plans exist for dealing militarily with a collapse of nuclear-armed Pakistan, there is ‘a retribution plan’ in place, developed by the Bush administration, if the United States suffers another 9/11-style terrorist attack,” according to the Los Angeles Times. ”That would involve bombing and missile strikes to obliterate the more than 150 Al Qaeda training and staging camps known to exist, most of them in Pakistan, which presumably would suffer extensive civilian casualties.”

 “Some locations might be outdated, but there would be no concern, under the plan, for who might be living there now. The retribution plan called for a brutal punishing attack on at least 150 or more associated camps,” the Times of India quoted Woodward as saying. The idea that the Americans would take drastic punitive action if a major attack were traced back to Pakistan has been around for a while, and is one that worries many Pakistanis. But I’ve not seen it spelled out quite so clearly before in black-and-white.

 Some important questions then.

1) Does that plan still stand?

 2) Does it apply only to Al Qaeda, or has it been updated to take account of threats from other Pakistan-based groups?

 Take, for example, the failed car-bombing of New York’s Times Square in May by Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad, who said he was working with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or Pakistani Taliban.  While mainly based in Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban also have a strong presence in the city of Karachi, so if you want to take punitive action against them, where do you draw the line?

 What also of other militant groups such as the Al Qaeda-linked Jaish-e-Mohammed, based in Pakistan’s heartland Punjab province and with alleged connections to the 2006 “liquid bombing” plot to bring down multiple airliners over the Atlantic? Or of the Punjab-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, which in the 2008 attack on Mumbai for which it was blamed, showed it had organisational skills comparable to Al Qaeda to mount a spectacular assault, and which has also been linked to overseas plots?

The idea that Al Qaeda was somehow a unitary organisation representing a unique threat to the United States has come to look very dated since 9/11.  Does that mean the “retribution plan” has also been overtaken by events?

3) To what extent can Pakistan prevent Pakistan-based militants from plotting attacks on the United States, when it can’t even prevent bombings of its own cities? Does the  “retribution plan” attribute responsibility to Pakistani authorities for failing – according to the United States – to “do more” to tackle militants?

 4) How far could Pakistan withstand U.S. punitive action even if this were limited to its tribal areas? The country is already looking pretty shaky after devastating floods and the economy is in a shambles. A shift to civilian democracy that was supposed to bring stability has been sorely undermined by weak governance, which has seen the balance of power shifting increasingly back towards the Pakistan Army. Taliban militants have been trying to exploit political instability by stoking sectarian tensions, bombing Shi’ite rallies in the cities of Lahore and Quetta this month.  And anti-Americanism is already running high, exacerbated by public hostility to U.S. drone bombings in the tribal areas.  The risk would be that intensified U.S. bombings could increase instability in Pakistan to such an extent that Washington would end up with an even bigger security threat – a nuclear-armed country slipping out of control.

Of course everyone remembers former president Pervez Musharraf’s comment that Washington had threatened to bomb Pakistan back into the Stone Age if he did not cooperate after 9/11. But I’ve never been entirely clear what that meant.  Bombing a nuclear-armed country into a state of chaos, or indeed attempting to invade it, are unlikely policy options for Washington as it tries to extract itself from two unpopular wars while also fretting about neighbouring Iran’s own nuclear ambitions.  Yet bombing suspected Al Qaeda camps in the tribal areas could simply increase instability without eradicating militancy.

 So where does that leave the United States and its “retribution plan”? Where are the red lines that would demand an immediate and powerful U.S. reaction? Would it depend on the size of the attack, the intensity of public reaction, or electoral imperatives at the time?  Does anyone know? Does Pakistan?

In strategic thinking about the relationship between India and Pakistan, one of the biggest worries has always been that both countries do not know where the other’s red lines lie when it comes to the use of nuclear weapons.  Even more worrying, they think they do. That thinking probably applies too to the United States and Pakistan – that they don’t know where each other’s red lines lie – either in terms of Washington’s ability to absorb another attack, or in Pakistan’s ability to withstand the U.S. reaction.  You would have to hope that they know they don’t know, and that the “retribution plan”, if it still exists, never has to be put into practice.

Report Source:Intellibriefs