Saturday, November 2, 2013
Russian President Vladimir Putin tops his US counterpart Barack Obama on the Forbes list for "world's most powerful person." The news has become one of the hottest topics in the world. Russian media are pleased with the ranking and public opinion in China also reacted positively. Proceeding from the nation's geopolitical interests, the Chinese public is willing to see a strong Russia, although Moscow is on a different road now. Most support the reversal of Putin and Obama in the Forbes list. Russia successfully challenged the US in the Edward Snowden affair and Syrian chemical weapons crisis. Mature diplomacy allows Moscow extraordinary clout beyond its national strength while, in contrast, Obama acted reluctantly and lacked decisiveness in making decision at the critical moment. The world now has to reflect on whether it underestimated Russia's strength and its resolution to use power. This year, Russia is having its heyday since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Chinese society has rapidly increased their affection for Russia and Putin in recent years, which is good for cementing the China-Russia comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. The Chinese public needs to foster a thorough understanding of Russia and avoid any misinterpretation. It requires us to assess Russia and the bilateral relations objectively rather than building the evaluation upon our subjective preference. There is an expectation among the Chinese public that China and Russia should ally to counter the US. Some people even hope a formidable Russia could divert US pressure away from China. But we have to be clear that the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Russia is not a panacea for all difficulties facing China on the international stage. It forms a consolidated back-to-back strategic posture. But China has to count on itself to thrive on major strategic challenges. Russia won't engage in a confrontation with the US like the one in the Cold War era. The US has listed China as its top rival. It's unrealistic that some in China are anchoring their hope on Russia to assume a leading role in countering the US. Besides, Japan could directly ask for help from the US once a military clash between China and Japan breaks out, but China couldn't reckon on Russia. The rise of Russia will add its diplomatic ambition. China is likely to see new problems when dealing with a more assertive Russia. A rising Russian influence is worth applauding. It will speed up a multilateral world. The Chinese public congratulates Putin being anointed as the world's most influential person with sincerity. It shows the China-Russia comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership has been deeply rooted in two societies.
The US has responded to accusations from Pakistan that a drone strike that killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud had destroyed the country's nascent peace process. A state department official said talks with the Taliban were an internal matter for Pakistan. The statement insisted Pakistan and the US had a "shared strategic interest in ending extremist violence". It also said it could still not confirm that Mehsud had been killed on Friday. Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to protest over Friday's drone strike that killed Mehsud. The country's foreign minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said the strike on the local Taliban leader "is not just the killing of one person, it's the death of all peace efforts." It came a day before a Pakistani delegation had been due to fly to North Waziristan to meet Mehsud. Taliban revenge Mr Nisar accused the United States of "scuttling" efforts to begin peace talks, and said "every aspect" of Pakistan's co-operation with Washington would be reviewed. Information Minister Pervez Rashid said: "The US has tried to attack the peace talks with this drone but we will not let them fail." The US state department spokesman said: "The issue of whether to negotiate with TTP is an internal matter for Pakistan, and we refer you to the government of Pakistan for further details." The official added: "More broadly, the United States and Pakistan continue to have a vital, shared strategic interest in ending extremist violence so as to build a more prosperous, stable, and peaceful region. "We have an ongoing dialogue with Pakistan regarding all aspects of the relationship and our shared interests, including security and counterterrorism cooperation, and we work together to address each others' concerns." Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had pledged to talk with the Taliban to try to end its campaign of violence, which has left thousands dead in bombings and shootings across the country. Mehsud was killed along with four other people - including two of his bodyguards - when four missiles struck their vehicle in the north-western region of North Waziristan, a senior Taliban official told the BBC. Pakistani media say Mehsud's funeral has taken place at an unknown location in the tribal area of North Waziristan. A Pakistani Taliban spokesman, Azam Tariq, vowed revenge, as Pakistan's security forces were put on high alert. "Every drop of Hakimullah's blood will turn into a suicide bomber," he said. "America and their friends shouldn't be happy because we will take revenge for our martyr's blood." The Taliban's ruling council met on Saturday to choose a new leader. Unconfirmed reports say regional commander Khan Said Sajna has been elected to the top job. . The US said it had seen the reports but "cannot confirm one way or the other". The state department official also said: "We are not in a position to confirm reports that Hakimullah Mehsud may have been killed in Pakistan." As well as Mehsud, the previous Pakistan Taliban leader was killed in a drone strike, in 2009 Taliban setback The US had a bounty of $5m on Mehsud's head. The state department described him as the head of the group which planned the failed bombing of Times Square in 2010 and said the Pakistani Taliban have a "symbiotic" relationship with al-Qaeda. Mehsud's death is seen as another setback for the militant group after the recent capture of a senior commander by US forces in Afghanistan. Mehsud led the insurgency from North Waziristan and was thought to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. He came to prominence in 2007 as a commander under the militant group's founder Baitullah Mehsud, with the capture of 300 Pakistani soldiers adding to his prestige among the militants. His second-in-command, Waliur Rehman, was killed in a similar drone strike in May. In a rare interview two weeks ago, Mehsud told the BBC he was open to "serious talks" with the government but said he had not yet been approached. Mehsud denied carrying out recent deadly attacks in public places, saying his targets were "America and its friends". He had loose control over more than 30 militant groups in Pakistan's tribal areas.
PUBLISHED September 11, 2011
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s leader of the opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan assured the US in 2008 that he and his party were pro-American, according to a US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks. “Saying that his wife and children are in fact Americans, Nisar did admit that he went to the US Embassy in London to renew his daughter’s passport because he wanted to avoid being seen at the US Embassy in Islamabad.” More telling, however, is Khan’s stance on US military action within Pakistan, and how the PML-N would act to remain “publicly credible”. Nisar reportedly avoided saying that the PML-N opposed either air attacks or US ground action, contrary to its reaction over the May 2011 raid in Abbottabad by a US Navy SEALs team which killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. “What he did say was that the PML-N would have to criticise the Government of Pakistan for allowing US action. Otherwise, said Nisar, the party would have no credibility with the people.” Nisar said that US policy needed to be more transparent as “confusion bred unhelpful conspiracy theories”. He also told US diplomats that former president Pervez Musharraf was seen as too pro-US and so was “tainted in Pakistani eyes”. The release of the US embassy and consulate cables in Pakistan has also highlighted how various politicians have lobbied American diplomats for support. From Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) to former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, every major politician in Pakistan has looked to the diplomats for help.
1st November, 2013 was about to pass as an ordinary day when I heard the news that the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief died in a drone strike, my happiness knew no bounds, but the news wasn’t confirmed yet and like many friends , I wanted the news to be true which later on did turn out to be true.
The silence of the western press at over a thousand Iraqi’s dead in the last month alone is absolutely condemnable. This is giving the space to the the continued Massive funding of Al Qaeda type groups in Syria and their spillover into Iraq. This is while the United Nations figures suggest that July has been the bloodiest month in the country since 2008, with a total of 1,057 Iraqis, including 928 civilians, killed and another 2,326 wounded in terrorist attacks. On Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called for a global effort to battle the “virus” of al-Qaeda and similar terrorist groups. “If we have had two world wars, we want a third world war against those who are killing people, killing populations, who are calling for bloodshed, for ignorance and do not want logic to govern our daily lives,” said Maliki. The Iraqi prime minister dismissed the idea that Iraq is grappling with sectarian violence, stressing that all, including Shia and Sunni Muslims as well as the Kurds, “are targeted.” http://en.shiapost.com/2013/11/02/nearly-1000-killed-in-iraq-in-october-official-data/ Nuri kamal al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq is arriving in Washington D.C., to seek U.S. assistance in enhancing the capabilities of his armed forces to tackle the home grown acts of terror and bloodshed in his country. Al-Qaida ( Islamic state of Iraq in Syria), Nakshbandi branch of Sufi order, and a few other Islamist Jehadi groups are attempting, for the past several years, to topple Mr. Maleki and his legitimately elected government in Iraq. The number in killings of both Shia & Sunni Muslims continue to spiral, as the foreign fighters from Syrian war are joining the Iraqi insurgents in droves. Tarek al-Hashemi, the fugitive vice-president of Iraq, who has been masterminding and acting as the chief implementer of non-stop acts of terrorism in Iraq is shuttling between Doha, Qatar and istanbul to fund and arm the Salafi Cannibals of Iraq. You do not have to be a high fluting Phd in the fields of either Political Science or International Relations to guess that the evil empire of satanic Saudis are behind all this most devastating debacle. After utilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan as their initial laboratories for exporting Salafi doctrine and then failing miserably in both of those countries, Saudi Arabia moved into Iraq, immediately after the ouster of Saddam in 2003. According to the U.S. intelligence reports Saudi Arabia was a major culprit in terms of number of Jehadis and treasure, it invested in creating chaos, bloodshed and destruction just to ensure that Iraqi Shia do not get an upper hand in the future of that liberated land. The most powerful U.S. forces assisted by a nascent Iraqi army, decapitated the countless Saudi sponsored terrorist gangs. Once these satanic Saudi schemes failed as well, they began baiting and bribing individuals such as Tarek al-Hashemi in the tunes of millions of dollars to dislodge Nuri kamal al-Maleki. Now this enclosed news item that appeared in yesterday’s New York Times about a group of U.S. senators from both sides of the isle, attempting to turn the table on Iraqi government calling it sectarian, inept to govern and the cause for disenchantment of Iraqi Sunnis who are joining Al-Qaida. This sort of rhetoric will neither resonate with a majority in the Muslim world, nor the U.S administration and its policy makers will pay any heed to these senseless sermons from a bunch of Senators who are being harassed by the Saudi interest groups that are quite depressed with respect to their recent setbacks in Syria and Islamic republic of Iran. Saudi global lobby, however, particularly here in the U.S is busy working around the clock and it has millions if not billions of dollars at its disposal to influence whomever it wishes to. They are quite savvy and they know how to work our system ! - See more at: http://lubpak.com/archives/288383?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook#sthash.Ro3ngAwG.dpuf
The United States has said in some cases its surveillance program has gone too far, an unprecedented admission in its tense row with Europe over US spying against allies. After 10 days of scandal with key European allies, a statement Thursday by Secretary of State John Kerry was the first to explicitly acknowledge overstepping by US intelligence. Kerry justified the surveillance in broad terms, citing the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States, as well as attacks in London, Madrid and elsewhere to argue that the US and other countries have had to come together to fight "extremism in the world that is hell-bent and determined to try to kill people and blow people up and attack governments." He said US intelligence has since 2001 averted attacks with intercepts of communications. But he acknowledged, without going into specifics, that at times it has been too much. Kerry also sought to give assurances that such steps, which have roiled close allies like Germany, would not be repeated."I assure you, innocent people are not being abused in this process, but there's an effort to try to gather information," Kerry told a London conference via video link. "And yes, in some cases, it has reached too far inappropriately." "And the president, our president, is determined to try to clarify and make clear for people, and is now doing a thorough review in order that nobody will have the sense of abuse," he said. Kerry added that what Washington was trying to do was, in a "random way," find ways of determining if there were threats that needed responding to. "And in some cases, I acknowledge to you, as has the president, that some of these actions have reached too far, and we are going to make sure that does not happen in the future," he said. Recent allegations and reports of widespread spying by the US National Security Agency have sparked a major rift in trans-Atlantic ties.This week German Chancellor Angela Merkel angrily confronted President Barack Obama with allegations that the NSA was snooping on her phone, saying it would amount to a "breach of trust." A German intelligence delegation and a separate group of EU lawmakers were in the US capital Wednesday to confront their American allies about the alleged bugging. Kerry's remarks -- released in a State Department transcript -- came in response to a question addressed to both him and British Foreign Secretary William Hague about government surveillance. Kerry spent a good portion of his answer justifying the collection of data as necessary due to the threat of terrorism and suggested Washington was not alone in doing so. "Many, many, many parts of the world have been subject to these terrorist attacks," he said."And in response to them, the United States and others came together -- others, I emphasize to you -- and realized that we're dealing in a new world where people are willing to blow themselves up." He added: "We have actually prevented airplanes from going down, buildings from being blown up, and people from being assassinated because we’ve been able to learn ahead of time of the plans." Kerry also lashed out at some of the reporting about alleged spying, sparked by leaks from fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, wanted by Washington on espionage charges. "Just the other day... there was news in the papers of 70 million people being listened to. No, they weren't. It didn't happen," Kerry said. "There's an enormous amount of exaggeration in this reporting from some reporters out there."US intelligence chiefs have said these reports are based on a misinterpretation of an NSA slide leaked to the media by Snowden. Rather than siphoning off the records of tens of millions of calls in Europe, as the slide seems to suggest, they argue that the data was in many cases gathered and shared by European agencies. Still, fresh US spy allegations keep cropping around the world on a near daily basis. Indonesia summoned the Australian ambassador in Jakarta Friday over a "totally unacceptable" report that his embassy was among diplomatic posts in Asia being used in a vast American surveillance operation. The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, amplifying an earlier report by the German magazine Der Spiegel, said earlier this week that a top-secret map leaked by Snowden showed 90 US surveillance facilities at diplomatic missions worldwide. The paper also reported that Australian embassies in Asia were being used as part of the US-led spying network. On Wednesday, meanwhile, a report in the Washington Post alleged that NSA technicians had tapped into Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, winning access to vast amounts of private data. The report said a program dubbed MUSCULAR, operated with the NSA's British counterpart GCHQ, can intercept data directly from the fiber-optic cables used by the US Internet giants.
The ambassador of United States to Afghanistan, James Cunningham, has linked his country's assistance to inking security pact known as Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington, local newspapers reported on Saturday. "Ambassador Cunningham on Wednesday said the United States has many beneficial programs for Afghanistan's future, but none will be implemented if the BSA is not signed," citing the ambassador, local newspaper Hasht-e-Subh wrote in its Saturday edition. According to the newspaper, the ambassador, in talks with journalists on Wednesday, categorically stated that "granting immunity to American soldiers is essential in BSA," noting U.S. soldiers enjoy the right in any country of the world they stationed. Furthermore, he pointed out that the U.S. Constitution mandates soldiers stationed abroad be under U.S. jurisdiction. Quoting the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, the paper also said "the United States would halt aid to Afghanistan security forces if BSA was not finalized." Allaying the concerns of Afghan government, the ambassador noted that the United States does not want any of its soldiers to go unpunished for wrongdoing. Another newspaper, the Daily Mandegar, also reported in its Saturday edition that Cunningham categorically stated on Wednesday that the U.S. economic and security programs in Afghanistan are inter-linked and their implementation is conditioned to inking the BSA between Kabul and Washington, noting if the agreement is not finalized and inked, the U.S. aid to Afghanistan will not be continued in the future.
Naeem was one of the 10 Presidential candidates who made the Independent Election Commission's (IEC) preliminary list last Tuesday. He is the nephew of former Afghan President Mohammad Daoud Khan. In the interview, Naeem acknowledged that improving relations between Kabul and Islamabad faced numerous obstacles, but was optimistic about their future. "We haven't reached a consensus with Pakistan over the issue of the Durand Line and water rights, but I believe that Pakistan is willing to forge friendly relations with Afghanistan in the long term," said Naeem. "We also need to settle the issue of refugees and pave the ground for their return." His comments come as President Hamid Karzai meets with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and British Prime Minister David Cameron in London for trilateral talks. Although the focus of the meeting will be the Taliban peace process, the leaders are also expected to discuss relations between the South Asian neighbors more broadly. Naeem spoke about Afghanistan's struggle against pervasive corruption. Earlier this year, Transparency International ranked the Afghan judiciary as the most corrupt judicial system in the world. Responding to a question about administrative corruption, Naeem said that the country's fight against graft needed to be led first and foremost at the upper echelons of leadership. "We can't eliminate corruption in general, water should be clean from the source," said Naeem. "Honest and patriotic individuals should be placed in higher offices." Naeem also said that the signing of the BSA was important for Afghanistan and that he strongly felt that the people would endorse the agreement so long as it was in line with the national interests of the country. TOLOnews will be conducting interviews with each one of the 10 Presidential candidates approved by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in the coming weeks.
Foreign jihadists - including Britons - are flooding into Syria to join al-Qaeda from safe houses in TurkeyHundreds of al-Qaeda recruits are being kept in safe houses in southern Turkey, before being smuggled over the border to wage “jihad” in Syria, The Daily Telegraph has learned. The network of hideouts is enabling a steady flow of foreign fighters - including Britons - to join the country’s civil war, according to some of the volunteers involved. These foreign jihadists have now largely eclipsed the “moderate” wing of the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is supported by the West. Al-Qaeda’s ability to use Turkish territory will raise questions about the role the Nato member is playing in Syria’s civil war. Turkey has backed the rebels from the beginning - and its government has been assumed to share the West’s concerns about al-Qaeda. But experts say there are growing fears over whether the Turkish authorities may have lost control of the movement of new al-Qaeda recruits - or may even be turning a blind eye. ”Every day there are Mujahideen coming here from all different nationalities,” said Abu Abdulrahman, a Jordanian volunteer managing the flow of foreign fighters. He handles a network of receiving centres in southern Turkey for volunteers wishing to join al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, known as “the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL).He spoke from inside an al-Qaeda safe house, using the Skype account of an intermediary and with volunteers from several countries, including Britain, listening in. Once the volunteer reaches Turkey, there are “procedures” before he can join al-Qaeda, explained Abu Abdulrahman: “If you want to enter, you have to be a proper Muslim. We have to research you to make sure you are not a spy. If you are foreign, someone in our network needs to recommend you,” he said. These hideouts are generally apartments rented under false names in villages along Turkey’s frontier with Syria. The recruits sometimes wait for weeks until they are cleared to cross the border. The homes are also used as “rest houses” for al-Qaeda fighters from the frontline in Syria. Perhaps 10,000 foreign fighters may now be in Syria, according to analysts. Some are hardened veterans of the Iraq war; others are young “first-time jihadists” - with a significant proportion from Western countries. Abu Abdullah, an Australian volunteer, said that he left to fight in Syria because a “Western lifestyle stands against Islam”. He was also repelled by the atrocities of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. “When you see the women and children - any human being - being shot or raped or killed in front of their fathers and families, just because they pray to Allah, you have to be moved by the humanity of it. Prophet Mohammed said if one part of the body is wounded, then the whole body is sleepless. If just one person is injured and something goes against Islam, we must react.” But Abu Abdullah faltered as he tried to recall a passage from the Koran: “I am sorry, I am not the most knowledgeable of Muslims. Allah forgive me for that,” he said. Charles Lister, from IHS Jane’s, a defence consultancy, said: “There are strong suggestions that the number of foreign jihadists in Syria is increasing. Definitely taking a look at the nature of ISIL presence, the geographical spread of foreigners is expanding. This is likely to do with the ease with which recruits can cross the border.” Another analyst said that Turkey was “turning a blind eye” to the number of foreign fighters entering Syria across its territory, including through Antakya, the capital of the border province of Hatay. The result, he added, was that jihadists had become a “thorn” in Turkey’s side, seizing de facto control of towns and villages near the border. Turkish officials vehemently deny this, blaming the influx on the failure of the international community to settle the Syrian war. “We have never been soft on this issue. We do not tolerate the presence of extremists and terrorist elements on our soil,” said one Turkish official. “If jihadists have crossed, it has been without our knowledge and out of our control. The presence of extremists in Syria is a common concern for Turkey and other countries - and the reason why the numbers of jihadists continues to grow in Syria is because of the failure of the international community to solve the crises at hand.” The official appealed to foreign countries not to "just point the blame" at Turkey, and to work to tighten surveillance on citizens that might want to travel to Syria: "Unless we are given information that these people are al-Qaeda members, people from a terrorist organisation, what legal basis do we have to stop them if they travel on a valid passport?" Turkish police are seeking to close down the al-Qaeda safe houses, running raids on the apartments when intelligence about an al-Qaeda presence is gleaned. And the Turkish authorities have started improving the quality of border controls. But with more than 560 miles of shared frontier between Turkey and Syria, and with the sheer number of foreign jihadists arriving in the country, they have, so far, been unable to stem the pipeline. If the police detain someone, they are unable to imprison them or send deport them back to a home country because it is difficult to prove that they are an ISIL member, one jihadi gloated. In the border town of Kilis, three hours drive from Antakya, jihadists feel comfortable enough to sip coffee in the lobbies of hotels murmuring quietly to their colleagues. This week the Telegraph spoke to one a member of ISIL in one of these hotels. Whether Turkey wants to or not, "she has been very good to us," the jihadi, who wouldn't be named, said, with a wink.
The Express TribuneGunmen mowed down six coal miners on Friday in a sectarian motivated attack in Mach town, about 90 kilometres from Quetta. Another miner was seriously wounded in the assault. The coal miners were members of the Hazara community. Waheed Shah, deputy commissioner in Kach district, said that the seven men were on their way back from Mach bazaar when they were attacked by unidentified assailants on a motorcycle. “The victims were Hazara labourers and Shia Muslims,” confirmed Shah. “It is clearly a targeted killing on sectarian basis.” Shah explained that every Friday the miners would go to the bazaar for grocery shopping. The crime scene was seven kilometres off the main highway. “The armed men opened fire at their vehicle just as they crossed a huge nulla,” Shah said, adding that the killers managed to flee. The Balochistan Levies and other security forces reached the spot shortly after the incident, and immediately cordoned off the area. The deceased were later identified as Ali Nigar, Zaamen, Hakeem, Bolan Misteri and Ibrahim. “Their bodies have been sent to Quetta for burial while the injured miner, Juma Khan, is admitted at Combined Military Hospital Quetta,” a Levies official said. Khan is currently in a critical condition. In the past, the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for similar attacks on Shias but, so far, no group has come forward to own this particular incident. Last week, an attempt was made to blow up a convoy of buses carrying Shia pilgrims on the National Highway in Dringar, Mastung. Although the pilgrims remained unhurt, two Frontier Corps personnel died when an explosive device placed in a car went off. Just a few days ago, police and other security forces held a meeting to form a security plan for the month of Muharram.