If caught out of time and ill prepped for a T or T costume, here are a few last minute, fast minute ideas:
Mookie al Sadr - Iran's boy Elroy in Iraq til he split the scene pre Surge (lucky for him!) All you really need is a white sheet for a robe, several pillows belted (or bungee corded to make you really girthy) fake beard, fake teeth and a black Turbin thingy. Of course with spectacles - you may get mistaken for Hiz'B'Allah's freak in chief - the body part collector general - Nasrallah (just play it off).
Iranian nuclear diplomat - fake beard (drawn on with crayon is best), suit jacket with NO tie and that creepy beastly little spot betwixt the eyes (alledgedly from headbanging during prayers - afix a piece of pepperoni for that). With specs on - you could get mistaken for HAMAS death cult fanboy Khalid Meshal - again, go with it!
Fidel Castro is prett easy too - old fake Santa beard, od fatigue shirt and a fake (or real) blunt.
Gotta beret? Then it could be Che!
And perhaps the ultimate fright sight - for Great Satan's enemies - if you have the gear - deck out as a Marine, or American GI.
Either way - travel in packs and deploy a royal taster.
Pic - "I'm going as Sec o' State HRC"
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
"The long sobs of autumn's violins wound my heart with a monotonous languor."
Aside from being a poem of sorts by Frenchy la femme Verlaine, this delightful little ditty was used as code talk when Great Britain, Canada and Great Satan (along with a mix of free French and free Polish cats) decided to do it to it and liberate the crown jewel of 3rd Reich's Reich.
The D Day invasion relied on French Resistance' to act out in a paramilitary way -- sabotaging worthy booty like rail lines, telephone, telegraph lines and bushwacking unsuspecting Deutsch combatty units enroute to the invasion site.
One such Resistance activity occurred just 10km from Oradour sur Glane. On June 7, partisans blew up a railway bridge at Saint-Junien in an attempt to slow the movement of the 2nd Waffen SS 'Das Reich' Panzer Division (one of the most powerful units at the time Germany possessed) toward the front.
Several Deutsch Truppen were killed and an officer was taken prisoner in another local Resistance action.
Wicked Germans had a COIN tactic of their own.
"On June 10, 1944, the SS occupied the town. The entire population of the town was rounded up. Men were separated from women and children. The women and children were herded into a church. The men were locked in 5 garages and barns, where they were shot. The buildings were then torched.
"The church with 400 women and children locked inside was also razed to the ground. The SS reported 548 "enemy" killed, with one SS dead and one "wounded".
"Post-war investigators estimated 393 residents of the town, 167 people from the surrounding countryside, 33 people from Limoges and 55 from other areas were killed during this rampage. "
Those people never had a chance.
By any definition -- the deliberate targeting of civilians is a war crime.
Contrast that event from way back in the last millennium to 3 events in just the last few days:
Desperate for relief (or maybe just enjoying the carnage of kids and easy, evil women spilling their life blood in a massive vehicular born incineration device) Talibani fan boys reminded the Land of the Pure (and everybody else) that tolerating intolerant, time traveling tribalistic misogynists bears certain costs:
"While the domestic environment was as it was and the US Coalition forces were battling Al Qaeda/Taliban in the Afghan countryside, four serious accusations were hurled at Pakistan:
Over 100 innocent civilians killed in a market place - specifically where all the girls shops were.
Across the Durand Line, Talibani fanboys, chased out of Iraq (perhaps those magical Chechens, nicht war?) stormed UN's civie apartment complex to torment and murder foreign humanitarians who are over there to help.
Two connected incidents of Great Satan's blood sworn enemies, collectively known as 'Taliban' -- plotting, prepping and pursuing the horrific goal of killing civilians.
OTOH (on the other hand for the unsavvy), news that UN's 'Special Rapper' (Yo! Lady Girl! We be gots it made -- breaking out the UN's attorney brigade) is seriously concerned about Great Satan's 'Drones Gone Wild!'
"The use of pilot-less drones by the United States to target militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan will be regarded as a breach of international law unless Washington can demonstrate that it follows the appropriate precautions and accountability mechanisms"
These three events -- and hoping PAK Army will - you know -- actually do their gig for once -- not to mention 44's ditherous maximus (despite any 'upsides') -- are just like the fiddles of fall:
"...a monotonous languor"
Pic - "Kara"
Thursday, October 29, 2009
C. Talk to you later.
Anyone who has followed the now 7-year-old effort by the international community to stop Iran's nuclear march could have predicted the outcome. There was no answer. Iran continues to confound and delay and outmaneuver. We could also predict what will come later. Iran never says Yes or No, except when it says Yes and No. And when it finally agrees to some watered-down compromise, it fails to keep its commitments.
Iran said it would answer a few days later, while prominent Iranians offered contradictory opinions about the proposal. The proposal offered little to get very excited about. Despite the breathless reportage describing it as a breakthrough, the plan was important mainly as a test; a test of a new attitude from Tehran and the effectiveness of President Obama's engagement strategy.
The substance of the deal ignored the centerpiece of the problem: Iran's continued nuclear enrichment in violation of international demands that it stop. The plan says nothing about ongoing uranium enrichment that Western nations believe aims for nuclear weapons.
Instead, it focuses on how Iran will obtain fuel for a medical research reactor, proposing that it send about 70 percent of its low-enriched stockpiles to Russia and France, which would enrich it to the level required for the reactor and ship it back to Iran. All the while, Iran centrifuges would continue spinning. Experts say the scheme could delay nuclear weapons production by a year, but we don't really know what exactly Iran already has in place.
The West wants Iran to send the full 70 percent in one shipment to Russia by the end of the year. Let's see how this cat and mouse game proceeds. Iran's main goal is to keep the conversation going as long as possible, doing exactly what French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned against: ``gain[ing] time while the motors are running.''
Obama administration officials are optimistically analyzing Tehran's reaction, claiming that Washington's new approach has uncovered divisions and put the regime on the defensive. But there is little evidence that Iran is behaving any differently than it has in the past.
That is not to say the disagreements are imaginary.
Tehran today is off balance, but Washington's engagement policy is not the reason. The country is profoundly divided. Until recently the regime appeared unshakeable. Now it seems to stand on a soggy foundation. The hardliners may keep control, but they have to watch their flanks. The Islamic Republic now faces a crisis of legitimacy after a stolen election. Political divisions have weakened the government, and ethnic divisions are giving it more reasons for concern. This is the time when tough negotiations could bear fruit, because Iran's government can ill afford more challenges to its hold on power.
West is outmaneuvered
Unfortunately for the West, the government of Iran has far more experience than Western negotiators. Representatives from London, Paris and Madrid have looked like camera-toting tourists at a Middle Eastern carpet shop, plied with sweet tea and cookies, walking out with empty wallets and a load of goods they never intended to buy.
After we found out about the enrichment facility at Qom, only made public in September, it took a year for inspectors to enter. Nobody can think of any use for the plant other than nuclear weapons. Iran says the Qom plant, like the rest of its nuclear program, seeks energy production. But with just 3,000 centrifuges, Qom would require 20 years to supply an energy reactor for one year. For nuclear weapons, you enrich the same uranium over and over.
The Obama administration's engagement policy will work only if the West acts firmly. Iran does not want tough sanctions, and it will try, as it has, to delay, confuse and backtrack. In short, it will try to play Obama for a fool.
It already ignored one deadline; one meant merely as a test of its intentions. Iran failed its test. Washington should not delude itself into thinking the delay was a sign of progress; quite the opposite. If Obama wants results, let's hope this is the last missed deadline Tehran ignores and Washington celebrates.
Pic - "No More"
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Legitimacy is central to soft power. If a people or nation believes Great Satan's objectives to be legitimate, more better and more likely to persuade them to follow that lead without using threats and bribes.
Legitimacy can also reduce opposition to—and the costs of—using hard power when the sitch demands.
Appealing to others’ values, interests, and preferences can, in certain circumstances, replace the dependence on carrots and sticks. Cooperation is always a matter of degree, and it is profoundly influenced by attraction.
And that is the rub.
Unfree, unfun and nigh unhinged illegit regimes generally have ZERO values, interests and preferences in common with Great Satan and all she stands for.
Since certain govs tend to be autocratic despotic tyrannies (horrid or benign) their central value, interest and preferences are always about maintaining control.
Arab League is a great example of this.
When the dang near insane Field Marshall Pres for Life Omir Bashir of Sudan became the world's 1st head o' State to be indicted by ICC for War Crimes and Crimes against humanity - Arab League rallied in absolute solidarity for Field Marshal Prez Bashir
"We emphasis our solidarity to Sudan and our dismissal and rejection of the decision handed down by the International Criminal Court"
Obviously, Arab League worries such an internat'l preceedent against unelected leaders could be zero'd in on their leaders for life -- who lose every war, provide zero services for their people and seem only adept at rec'ving foreign aid, constructing police states (all becoming computerized), censoring media, tormenting their own people and/or fiddling about with WMD.
And such regimes routinely distort and deceive events - historical and au courant specifically in regards to Great Satan.
With a pitiful literacy rate and no free media -- this is easy to do.
Hopefully, that could change, as noted in "A Day in the Life" of Madam Sec HRC
"Undersec for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and Special Representative Richard Holbrooke describe a practical way to counter Taliban propaganda and enhance America’s image in Pakistan."
"Their approach turns on two key facts: that 50% of Pakistanis are illiterate and that 60% of them are under age 30. The idea: reach them through radio, cellphones, and cable TV. Clinton approves and orders swift action."
'Soft Power' is truly never soft. By definition, hard power has got to be cruising the hood.
How did Nippon become seduced by baseball? Wherefore didst Deutschland dig The Beatles? Why did Mommy India and Land of the Pure cotton to cricket?
Easy! Hard Power by legit, fun and free choice democrazies was on display.
In addition to reach captive peoples (kids actually) through high tech -- Great Satan has another op to use 'soft power' in the cultural arena.
Like Beyonce' and Gwen Stefani before her - Great Satan should whip out every trick in the book. Greenday concerts in Gaza, Strip clubs in Damascus, Gay bars in Cairo, Casinos in Libya and Xian Summer Camps and churches in Jeddah.
Since Deutschland has a totally gay foreign minister - give him the Iran Portfolio. Why should Great Satan send a gay ambassador to New Zealand? Khartoum would be way better.
Any of these moves would pressure unfree regimes and cause them to scramble to counter and explain why their control freak mentality is legitimate and that fun and free choice is not.
Smart power is neither hard nor soft—it is the skillful full meal deal of both. Smart power means developing an integrated strategy, resource base, and tool kit to achieve American objectives, drawing on both hard and soft power.
The Smart Power approach underscores the necessity of a fully crunk military, but also invests heavily in alliances, partnerships, and institutions at all levels to expand American influence and estab the legitimacy of Great Satan in action.
Pic - "Soft Power"
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The land of backward comics, Harijuku Girls, and cool robots - Japan is HOT! Instead of scary missiles and secret police - Japan built a fun, rich democratic tech saavy, tolerant, egalitarian society with a free, uncensored press, transparent, periodic elections, and independent judiciary that hasn't bothered anyone in over six decades.
A literacy rate of over 99%, Nippon is a wonderful example of the human spirit unbound.
Japan has been a long time ally of Great Satan for eons -- and has the world's second (or third, based on purchasing power parity) largest economy, 2nd biggest contributer to UN, yet Tokyo remains dependent on America for its security, a minor military player despite having global economic and political interests.
That was the 'Golden Age"
That era may be over. Although Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama insists that he wants to strengthen the alliance, before taking office he wrote in the New York Times: "As a result of the failure of the Iraq war and the financial crisis, the era of U.S.-led globalism is coming to an end."
Def Sec Gates recently hit up Nippon and may have freaked them out about a few things
There are historical and constitutional reasons for Nippon's tiny tiny internat'l role, but it is time for East Asian countries to work together to dispel the remaining ghosts of Japan's imperialist past rather than to expect Great Satan to continue acting as the defender of the last resort.
When 44 hits the hood on Veteran's Day -- may be his op to again apologize for Great Satan's past sins and announce America's alliance with Japan — like most Great Satan defense relationships in a particular world view— is either outdated or that America and Japan would benefit from unbinding Nippon from her pacifistic constitutionalism, grant her UN Security Counsel stats while she quietly rearms.
Pic "The Coming War With Japan"
Monday, October 26, 2009
Those familiar with the western way of war - fighting until your enemy screams "God! Please! Stop!" are justifiably confused when considering other styles of warfare.
Like in Pakistan. Since 911, Pak army has dashed off several times into those magical tribal unAdministered Areas to extend Land of The Pure's writ of state once and for all.
Only a few rounds later they cut peace deals with their enemy and settle into a robust mode of doing nothing (well, aside from freaking about India all the time).
Great Satan fans hope that Operation Rah - e- Nijat (Way of Good Riddance) will finally seal the deal.
"The Pakistan of our dreams has not emerged because of the illiterate, evil terrorists like Baitullah Mehsud and we cannot let that scrooge destroy our country. We have to get rid (Nijat) of him and the likes of him.
"As the Security forces make their hold stronger in the Malakand Agency, the terrorists are aligning in the South Waziristan to get on with their nefarious designs."
"The death of hope must never be allowed to cast its shadow, and that will only be prevented if the state pools all its resources to energise the masses against terrorism."
So -- the quiz is -- will PAK Army get totally off the hook and do it to it?
Thanks to the Vulcans (v2.0), like Dr Frederick Kagan - Critical Analysis of the 1st week's battles, skirmishes, attacks and counter-attacks are up for grabs at Irantracker.
"Key Conclusions" are:
The Critical Threats team has prepared a briefing on the ongoing ground operation in Waziristan, examining the timeline of events leading to the operation, the Pakistani force breakdown, the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) structure and key players, the role of other players, the details of the fight on each of the three fronts day-by-day, the potential effect on the war in Afghanistan, among other factors.
Pakistan has an effective military strategy
•Methodical – slow advance with a force that outnumbers the enemy. Difficult towns (Kotkai, Makin) are encircled through control of surrounding peaks then cleared later. Jets with precision munitions eliminate 12.7mm anti-aircraft guns after initial TTP harassment of helicopters, allowing close helicopter support.
•The Pakistani military has learned lessons from its 2004 incursion into Waziristan and 2008 Bajaur operation: they are seizing the high ground to control valleys.
•Pakistanis employing effective route clearance packages to limit damage from IEDs.
Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) resistance remains somewhat strong
•Retook Kotkai and have managed to contest dominance over eastern front.
•Have managed to slow, or at least check, Pakistani advance on other fronts.
•TTP ability to coordinate spectacular attacks outside Waziristan remains intact (Islamabad Int’l University, assassination of army officer in Islamabad 10/22, 10/23 Attock, Mohmand, Peshawar attacks), although recent operations may have drained suicide bomber / attacker pool and attacks may therefore not continue at current pace and scale, given that it will take weeks to regenerate suicide bombers after the current force is depleted.
IDPs (refugees) could be a long-term problem if the Pakistanis adopt a counterinsurgency strategy
•At least 200,000 IDPs currently.
•Many have vacation homes in the NWFP to the east of Waziristan.
•Some IDPs unable to flee conflict zone, caught between government and TTP forces
•Government has set up IDP registration centers, which have been overloaded.
•Government has also sent conflicting messages on whether it is inflicting “collective punishment” (which is an accepted practice in the region) on the Mehsud tribe.
Pic "A reinforced airborne brigade should go right there"
Sunday, October 25, 2009
"ANSWER’s anti-American agenda was well-represented by organizers and activists at this weekend’s teach-in in Los Angeles.
"Where many of the speakers merely alluded to their hopes for a U.S. military defeat in Afghanistan, Richard Becker, ANSWER’s West Coast Representative, made it the main theme of his keynote address. Becker is a longtime U.S. communist hardliner. According to Discoverthenetworks, “Becker detests America and has written, ‘No one in the world … has a worse human rights record than the United States’.”
"His lecture reflected these biases. Becker offered an extremely twisted defense of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Based on a single source (a 1998 interview with Carter NSA chief Zbigniew Brzezinski), Becker argued that the Soviet incursion was a strategic counter-thrust to U.S. imperial influence in Kabul. That is, the CIA had plans on tap for a U.S. colonial outpost in Afghanistan.
The greater strategic danger is not so much that Afghan redeployment risks a “blow to empire,” but that a precipitous withdrawal from the South Asian theater of the war will embolden America’s enemies on the ground, destabilize additional allies like India and Pakistan, and mark another surrender to the global forces of contemporary totalitarianism. In other words, it could fulfill every wish on International ANSWER’s extremist agenda.
"The ultimate goal was, allegedly, to consolidate U.S. control over Caspian crude and to establish an oil pipeline to the Arabian Sea and the waiting arms of global capitalism’s “Big Oil” multinational tanker fleet. The Bush administration has exited the scene, but the “blood-for-oil” smear remains alive and well on the far Left.
"As does its commitment to a U.S. military defeat. In his remarks, Becker explained that defeating the current American forces under General Stanley McChrystal would strike a blow to America’s neo-colonial project. A U.S. withdrawal from the region would strike at the heart of “empire” in South Asia. “Every empire falls, and this empire will fall as well,” Becker declared. The audience erupted in applause at Becker’s appeal for American losses.
"The greater strategic danger is not so much that Afghan redeployment risks a “blow to empire,” but that a precipitous withdrawal from the South Asian theater of the war will embolden America’s enemies on the ground, destabilize additional allies like India and Pakistan, and mark another surrender to the global forces of contemporary totalitarianism. In other words, it could fulfill every wish on International ANSWER’s extremist agenda."
Not only that - yet anytime someone cries "Empire!" or "Occupation" it's a sure sign -- they either don't know what the heck they are talking about -- or they know full well that they are decievers -- preying on hapless doofuses
Pic - ANSWER aint the Answer"
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Hooking up Greek expert VdH and former CIA spy guy Robert Baer, Hoover Institue (Stanford) Peter Robinson manages to coalesce a scary pic of confronting Persia:
"We see Iran as the power in the region," Hanson said. "But when Iran looks at the region, it sees danger everywhere." In Iraq, a democratic government has achieved stability, which can only incite the dissident movement in Iran.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah, Iran's client, has failed in its attempt to capture control of the country, finding itself contained and marginalized instead. The Sunni states of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt and the emirates look upon Iran, a Shia state, with sectarian hostility.
"The Iranians, think, 'My gosh, we are in an unstable position,' " Hanson said. "'Maybe a bomb or two will allow us to do what Pakistan has done. Maybe it will allow us to achieve some autonomy.'"
Pointing out that it could be said, thus far, 44 appears too feckless, inexperienced or deluded to stop them.
"Already, the administration has committed two errors. Last summer, when millions of Iranians took to the streets to protest their country's corrupt presidential election, it failed to encourage the protesters, merely looking on. "Obama could have said to the Iranian people, 'We support your legitimate concerns over constitutional government,'" Hanson argued. "Instead he was saying, 'Let's wait and see who wins.' It did not look good."
"Russia is never going to help," Hanson said. "Tension in the Gulf would raise oil prices, helping Russia. Anything that causes the United States problems, Putin is for."
"Iran's deterrent doctrine is to strike back everywhere it can," Baer explained. "We should expect the worst." Iran would attack American supply lines in Iraq and command Hezbollah to start a civil war in Lebanon.
"It would fire surface-to-surface missiles at every oil facility within range, wreaking devastation in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states while removing millions of barrels of oil a day from the world markets. The economy of the entire globe would suffer a paroxysm. The Middle East could descend into chaos. The U.S. would experience the worst crisis in decades."
And of course - what about that wild wascally Little Satan?
"The Israelis have some bunker busters," Baer said. "They could take out some sites underground. They could set the Iranian nuclear program back years."
Would Little Satan be willing to accept the risks a military strike would entail?
"After the assassination 95 years ago of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the great powers of Europe engaged in meaningless diplomatic maneuvers. "Austria has sent a bullying and humiliating ultimatum to Serbia, who cannot possibly comply with it," British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith confided in a letter. "We are in measurable, or at least imaginable, distance of a real Armageddon."
Like now? Could Little Satan really tolerate a nuked up Mullahopolis?
"A big nation attempting to humiliate a small nation in a way the small nation simply cannot accept.
"Unseriousness among great powers. A gathering sense of impending catastrophe.
"Once again, it may be Armageddon time.
Pic "Time After Time"
Friday, October 23, 2009
It must be designed to achieve national objectives through means other than lethal combat, and to enhance the capabilities of the warfighters who must go into battle.
Communication cannot be an end in itself, but a means of exerting Great Satan's influence globally in support of her national interests.
"Strategic communication is strategic influence. We mustn’t be ashamed of the concept."
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Road trips are always a hoot! Especially when trekking out to parts unknown like an alien city or event venue to catch a fave act. Despite the best in Land Navigation goodies (map quest for the unhip) - such travels and travails are magically - anything can happen!
And time is the killer.
Probably the best map out yonder for the coupless coup betwixt 44 and Pentagon for the amazing and underwhelming Commander in Chief gig at decision making time is the hot! vulcan (v2.0) Dr Thomas Donnelly (oh - he got game baybee!!)
"The larger pattern of White House behavior over the past six months strongly suggests that, not long after completing its initial and much ballyhooed Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy review and then selecting Gen. Stanley McChrystal to implement it, the administration began to get very cold feet about the war it had described as a strategic necessity. "
Whoa! Dr D lays it out to play it out and makes a convincing case for his premise -- including the refuting refute Sec Gates scored about time is not our friend in the crunk and disorderly wilds of AFPAKLand versus 44's homies wishing they could wish away the Long war.
Pic "Roam Baby Roam!"
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
With the authority you hold for a little while, you have great freedom of action. And whatever course you follow, the essential thing is always to keep commitments, and to leave no doubts about the credibility of your country’s word.
So among my other concerns about the drift of events under the present administration, I consider the abandonment of missile defense in Eastern Europe to be a strategic blunder and a breach of good faith.
It is certainly not a model of diplomacy when the leaders of Poland and the Czech Republic are informed of such a decision at the last minute in midnight phone calls. It took a long time and lot of political courage in those countries to arrange for our interceptor system in Poland and the radar system in the Czech Republic. Our Polish and Czech friends are entitled to wonder how strategic plans and promises years in the making could be dissolved, just like that – with apparently little, if any, consultation. Seventy years to the day after the Soviets invaded Poland, it was an odd way to mark the occasion.
You hardly have to go back to 1939 to understand why these countries desire – and thought they had – a close and trusting relationship with the United States. Only last year, the Russian Army moved into Georgia, under the orders of a man who regards the collapse of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.
Anybody who has spent much time in that part of the world knows what Vladimir Putin is up to. And those who try placating him, by conceding ground and accommodating his wishes, will get nothing in return but more trouble.
What did the Obama Administration get from Russia for its abandonment of Poland and the Czech Republic, and for its famous “Reset” button? Another deeply flawed election and continued Russian opposition to sanctioning Iran for its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
In the short of it, President Obama’s cancellation of America’s agreements with the Polish and Czech governments was a serious blow to the hopes and aspirations of millions of Europeans. For twenty years, these peoples have done nothing but strive to move closer to us, and to gain the opportunities and security that America offered.
These are faithful friends and NATO allies, and they deserve better. The impact of making two NATO allies walk the plank won’t be felt only in Europe. Our friends throughout the world are watching and wondering whether America will abandon them as well.
Big events turn on the credibility of the United States – doing what we said we would do, and always defending our fundamental security interests. In that category belong the ongoing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the need to counter the nuclear ambitions of the current regime in Iran.
Candidate Obama declared last year that he would be willing to sit down with Iran's leader without preconditions. As President, he has committed America to an Iran strategy that seems to treat engagement as an objective rather than a tactic.
Time and time again, he has outstretched his hand to the Islamic Republic's authoritarian leaders, and all the while Iran has continued to provide lethal support to extremists and terrorists who are killing American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Islamic Republic continues to provide support to extremists in Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, the regime continues to spin centrifuges and test missiles. And these are just the activities we know about.
I have long been skeptical of engagement with the current regime in Tehran, but even Iran experts who previously advocated for engagement have changed their tune since the rigged elections this past June and the brutal suppression of Iran's democratic protestors.
The administration clearly missed an opportunity to stand with Iran's democrats, whose popular protests represent the greatest challenge to the Islamic Republic since its founding in 1979.
Instead, the President has been largely silent about the violent crackdown on Iran's protestors, and has moved blindly forward to engage Iran's authoritarian regime. Unless the Islamic Republic fears real consequences from the United States and the international community, it is hard to see how diplomacy will work.
Next door in Iraq, it is vitally important that President Obama, in his rush to withdraw troops, not undermine the progress we’ve made in recent years. Prime Minister Maliki met yesterday with President Obama, who began his press availability with an extended comment about Afghanistan. When he finally got around to talking about Iraq, he told the media that he reiterated to Maliki his
intention to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq.
Former President Bush's bold decision to change strategy in Iraq and surge U.S. forces there set the stage for success in that country. Iraq has the potential to be a strong, democratic ally in the war on terrorism, and an example of economic and democratic reform in the heart of the Middle East. The Obama Administration has an obligation to protect this young democracy and build on the strategic success we have achieved in Iraq.
We should all be concerned as well with the direction of policy on Afghanistan. For quite a while, the cause of our military in that country went pretty much unquestioned, even on the left.
The effort was routinely praised by way of contrast to Iraq, which many wrote off as a failure until the surge proved them wrong. Now suddenly – and despite our success in Iraq – we’re hearing a drumbeat of defeatism over Afghanistan. These criticisms carry the same air of hopelessness, they offer the same short-sighted arguments for walking away, and they should be summarily rejected for the same reasons of national security.
Having announced his Afghanistan strategy last March, President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission.
President Obama has said he understands the stakes for America. When he announced his new strategy he couched the need to succeed in the starkest possible terms, saying, quote, “If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban – or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.” End quote.
Five months later, in August of this year, speaking at the VFW, the President made a promise to America’s armed forces. “I will give you a clear mission,” he said, “defined goals, and the equipment and support you need to get the job done. That’s my commitment to you.”
It’s time for President Obama to make good on his promise. The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger.
Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries. Waffling, while our troops on the ground face an emboldened enemy, endangers them and hurts our cause.
Recently, President Obama’s advisors have decided that it’s easier to blame the Bush Administration than support our troops. This weekend they leveled a charge that cannot go unanswered. The President’s chief of staff claimed that the Bush Administration hadn’t asked any tough questions about Afghanistan, and he complained that the Obama Administration had to start from scratch to put together a strategy.
In the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy, assembling a team that traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, reviewing options and recommendations, and briefing President-elect Obama’s team.
They asked us not to announce our findings publicly, and we agreed, giving them the benefit of our work and the benefit of the doubt. The new strategy they embraced in March, with a focus on counterinsurgency and an increase in the numbers of troops, bears a striking resemblance to the strategy we passed to them.
They made a decision – a good one, I think – and sent a commander into the field to implement it.
Now they seem to be pulling back and blaming others for their failure to implement the strategy they embraced. It’s time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity.
It’s worth recalling that we were engaged in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, supporting the Mujahadeen against the Soviets. That was a successful policy, but then we pretty much put Afghanistan out of our minds.
While no one was watching, what followed was a civil war, the takeover by the Taliban, and the rise of bin Laden and al-Qaeda. All of that set in motion the events of 9/11. When we deployed forces eight years ago this month, it was to make sure Afghanistan would never again be a training ground for the killing of Americans.
Saving untold thousands of lives is still the business at hand in this fight. And the success of our mission in Afghanistan is not only essential, it is entirely achievable with enough troops and enough political courage.
Then there’s the matter of how to handle the terrorists we capture in this ongoing war. Some of them know things that, if shared, can save a good many innocent lives.
When we faced that problem in the days and years after 9/11, we made some basic decisions.
We understood that organized terrorism is not just a law-enforcement issue, but a strategic threat to the United States.
At every turn, we understood as well that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. We had a lot of blind spots – and that’s an awful thing, especially in wartime.
With many thousands of lives potentially in the balance, we didn’t think it made sense to let the terrorists answer questions in their own good time, if they answered them at all.
The intelligence professionals who got the answers we needed from terrorists had limited time, limited options, and careful legal guidance. They got the baddest actors we picked up to reveal things they really didn’t want to share. In the case of Khalid Sheik Muhammed, by the time it was over he was not was not only talking, he was practically conducting a seminar, complete with chalkboards and charts.
It turned out he had a professorial side, and our guys didn’t mind at all if classes ran long. At some point, the mastermind of 9/11 became an expansive briefer on the operations and plans of al-Qaeda. It happened in the course of enhanced interrogations. All the evidence, and common sense as well, tells us why he started to talk.
The debate over intelligence gathering in the seven years after 9/11 involves much more than historical accuracy. What we’re really debating are the means and resolve to protect this country over the next few years, and long after that. Terrorists and their state sponsors must be held accountable, and America must remain on the offensive against them.
We got it right after 9/11. And our government needs to keep getting it right, year after year, president after president, until the danger is finally overcome.
Our administration always faced its share of criticism, and from some quarters it was always intense. That was especially so in the later years of our term, when the dangers were as serious as ever, but the sense of general alarm after 9/11 was a fading memory.
Part of our responsibility, as we saw it, was not to forget the terrible harm that had been done to America … and not to let 9/11 become the prelude to something much bigger and far worse.
Eight years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive – and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed. So you would think that our successors would be going to the intelligence community saying, “How did you did you do it? What were the keys to preventing another attack over that period of time?”
Instead, they’ve chosen a different path entirely – giving in to the angry left, slandering people who did a hard job well, and demagoguing an issue more serious than any other they’ll face in these four years.
No one knows just where that path will lead, but I can promise you this: There will always be plenty of us willing to stand up for the policies and the people that have kept this country safe.
On the political left, it will still be asserted that tough interrogations did no good, because this is an article of faith for them, and actual evidence is unwelcome and disregarded.
President Obama himself has ruled these methods out, and when he last addressed the subject he filled the air with vague and useless platitudes. His preferred device is to suggest that we could have gotten the same information by other means.
We’re invited to think so. But this ignores the hard, inconvenient truth that we did try other means and techniques to elicit information from Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and other al-Qaeda operatives, only turning to enhanced techniques when we failed to produce the actionable intelligence we knew they were withholding.
In fact, our intelligence professionals, in urgent circumstances with the highest of stakes, obtained specific information, prevented specific attacks, and saved American lives.
In short, to call enhanced interrogation a program of torture is not only to disregard the program’s legal underpinnings and safeguards. Such accusations are a libel against dedicated professionals who acted honorably and well, in our country’s name and in our country’s cause.
What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation in the future, in favor of half-measures, is unwise in the extreme. In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed.
For all that we’ve lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost its moral bearings – and least of all can that be said of our armed forces and intelligence personnel. They have done right, they have made our country safer, and a lot of Americans are alive today because of them.
Last January 20th, our successors in office were given the highest honors that the voters of this country can give any two citizens. Along with that, George W. Bush and I handed the new president and vice president both a record of success in the war on terror, and the policies to continue that record and ultimately prevail.
We had been the decision makers, but those seven years, four months, and nine days without another 9/11 or worse, were a combined achievement: a credit to all who serve in the defense of America, including some of the finest people I’ve ever met.
What the present administration does with those policies is their call to make, and will become a measure of their own record. But I will tell you straight that I am not encouraged when intelligence officers who acted in the service of this country find themselves hounded with a zeal that should be reserved for America’s enemies.
And it certainly is not a good sign when the Justice Department is set on a political mission to discredit, disbar, or otherwise persecute the very people who helped protect our nation in the years after 9/11.
There are policy differences, and then there are affronts that have to be answered every time without equivocation, and this is one of them. We cannot protect this country by putting politics over security, and turning the guns on our own guys.
We cannot hope to win a war by talking down our country and those who do its hardest work – the men and women of our military and intelligence services. They are, after all, the true keepers of the flame.
Thank you very much.
Funnily enough, all the jazz about Great Satan's Drones Gone Wild! in Land of the Pure and Afghanistan have pretty much fell off the radar.
To briefly re brief - the up shot was that these hot little airborne weapon thingys were devouring al Qaeda leaders and Taliban fanboys at an alarming rate - yet they were ultimately self defeating.
"The number of civilian deaths caused by the drones is an important issue because in the charged political atmosphere of today's Pakistan, where anti-Americanism is rampant, the drone program is a particular cause of anger among those who see it as an infringement on Pakistan's sovereignty."
Sovereignty? What a hoot! Coming from a fake believe nation state who can't extend or even enforce the writ of state within their precious magical borders. Or stop AQ and Taliban from trekking to and fro across Durand Line to attack their own nation or their neighbors.
Yeah. Really concerned about that sovereignty.
"An important factor in the controversy over the drones is the widespread perception that they kill large numbers of Pakistani civilians. Some commentators have asserted that the overwhelming majority of casualties are civilians. Amir Mir, a leading Pakistani journalist, wrote in The News in April that since January 2006, American drone attacks had killed "687 innocent Pakistani civilians."
"A month later, a similar claim was made in the New York Times by counterinsurgency experts David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum, who wrote that drone strikes had "killed some 700 civilians. This is 50 civilians for every militant killed, a hit rate of 2 percent."
"In other words, in their analysis, 98 percent of those killed in drone attacks were civilians. Kilcullen and Exum advocated a moratorium on the strikes because of the "public outrage" they arouse. "
98%!! Goddlemighty - that can't be true.
Exhaustive research and analysis by Long War Journal paints a far diff pic - more like 10% - still pretty high (ideally - there would be NO civie causalities - then again - terroristic control freaks and creeps would - you know - build and hang at like military cantonments, kassernes, barracks and bases -- instead of literally draping themselves with innocent civilians as shielding).
New America Foundtion features an interesting bit about "Revenge of the Drones"
by Peter Bergen and Kat Tiedemann:
"Based on our count of the estimated number of militants killed, the real total of civilian deaths since 2006 appears to be in the range of 250 to 320, or between 31 and 33 percent. "Also should be noted that 44 favors Drones Gone Wild! way more than 43 ever did -- and the results are interesting:
"The drone campaign certainly has hurt al Qaeda's leadership, which increasingly has had to worry about self-preservation rather than planning attacks or training recruits. One measure of the pain is the number of audio- and videotapes that the terrorist group has released through its propaganda arm, As Sahab ("the clouds" in Arabic)"
"Al Qaeda takes its propaganda operations seriously and in 2007 As Sahab had a banner year, releasing almost 100 tapes. But the number dropped by half in 2008, indicating that the group's leaders were more concerned with survival than public relations."
There are at least 6 tactical and strategic concerns about Drones Gone Wild! that have to be considered in any short or long range plans, like legality, hearts and minds, and impeding vital intell by vaporizing laptops, cell phones and personal effects etc
"Drone strikes will remain an important tool to disrupt al Qaeda and Taliban operations and to kill the leaders of these organizations, but they also consistently kill Pakistani civilians, angering the population and prompting violent acts of revenge from the Pakistani Taliban.
"For the time being, however, they appear to be the least bad option the United States has for reducing the threat from Pakistan's militants, given that an American ground assault into Pakistan's tribal regions is out of the question, and that U.S. and Pakistani strategic interests are more closely aligned today than they have been in years because of the two countries' shared interest in attacking the Pakistani Taliban and their al Qaeda allies.
Pic - "Party in the USA!"
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
In the Long War - dang near everything is either a weapon or can be weaponized rather quickly.
"Media technologies—satellite television, radio, and the Internet—have become operational weapons used by radicals to plan, recruit, train, fundraise and incite.
"Free speech protections may protect the hateful content of their messages, but by using media as direct operational weapons, these terrorist groups are crossing all free speech red lines.
Countering such time traveling intolerant influence, Free world's policymaker cats and counterterrorism officials need to hook up and treat certain multi media outlets as indistinguishable from the terrorist organizations that use them—by banning, jamming and shutting down the media outlets where possible, and by countering their messaging with alternatives.
Wouldn't hurt if a few transmitters magically went off line -- or even better, their signals co opted by -- uh, worldly programming.
The most proficient killers and serial tormentors of Americans til 911 time are the dreaded Iranian created Hiz'B'Allah.
Their multi media outlets are currently running into a a spot of transmissionus interruptus. Not so long ago Great Satan righteously branded HBA's al Manar and al Nour as terrorist organizations
Al-Qaeda’s media and technological savvy is no accident. It is a deliberate strategic goal outlined by al-Qaeda’s senior leadership.
In a letter to former Iraqi al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote: “We are in a battle, and more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media… we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our people.”
So what can be done?
Actually -- a great deal:
"The Treasury Department can and should increase its designation portfolio beyond Hezbollah’s al-Manar and the Iraqi-Syrian al-Zawraa channel to include Hamas’s al-Aqsa television station, the radio assets of Maulana Fazlullah, and the online properties of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and any other terrorist groups which use media to incite to violence and provide operational support for terrorist attacks.
"The private sector must also be encouraged to monitor and self-regulate. Policymakers should encourage media entrepreneurs to follow the lead of Google, which has removed numerous violent al-Qaeda videos, and the ten satellite providers and numerous corporations that ended their distribution and advertising support of al-Manar.
"In making the decision not to facilitate the transmission of terrorist media, these companies will be making a sound business decision to avoid real reputational risk—specifically, in not having their corporate reputations undermined and their shareholder value diminished as a result of being identified, fairly or not, with the activities of terrorist organizations.
While the proliferation of these media properties makes designation (and private sector action) a game of “whack-a-mole,” requiring ongoing action against substitute media properties that arise to replace those which have been shut down or curtailed, this is a deadly game that can be won. To do so, policymakers, counterterrorism officials and media executives must exercise vigilance and perseverance.
"For example, while it is still in business, al-Manar is struggling to find substitute satellite providers to replace the ten operators which have discontinued transmitting its content. With its continued distribution by Nilesat into Europe, North Africa and the Middle East now under intense scrutiny by Egyptian authorities, and fears that the Saudi government may follow suit, Hezbollah is scrambling to find a substitute supplier in Turkey.
"For the moment, however, Turkish officials appear unwilling to allow that country’s satellite provider to pick up the signal. The United States must ensure that Turkey does not—and that other countries where al-Manar is shopping for distribution make the same decision.
"If such legal, diplomatic and political efforts fail, however, terrorist media represents a viable military target. The precedent exists: during the war in Kosovo, NATO planes bombed the Belgrade-based headquarters of Radio Television of Serbia—an attack that was justified by the Alliance as a legitimate way to end the broadcasting of Slobodan Milosevic’s violent call to arms.
"Today, recognizing the dangers of terrorist radio, U.S. officials are already doing much the same, jamming the FM radio signals of Pakistani terrorist groups to prevent them from assisting in the planning and execution of attacks. In the future, more direct action may be necessary.
"Another tool is available as well. After years of American and European political and legal action against al-Manar, growing government and private-sector condemnation of al-Aqsa, the belated but timely recognition of the dangers of Mullah radio in Pakistan, and ongoing counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda’s media properties, these terrorist groups—and their Western apologists—can no longer pretend that these are legitimate media outlets deserving of free-speech protection.
"Hate speech and violent incitement have been prosecuted as war crimes, initially at the Nuremberg trials against the Nazi regime after World War II and, in 2003, against three Rwandan media executives who used Rwanda’s Radio Mille Collines to call for the extermination of Rwanda’s Tutsis. At that time, Reed Brody, legal counsel to Human Rights Watch, made the case that “if you fan the flames, you’ll have to face the consequences"
"By doing just that—by inciting attacks, by actively recruiting and fundraising and providing pre-attack surveillance and operational assistance for terror attacks—today’s terrorist media outlets are doing more than yelling fire in a crowded movie theater.
"They are providing the match, the gasoline, and the arsonist. It is high time they were held accountable for it.
Monday, October 19, 2009
As the hottest site on the web (and in print) for all things Foreign Policy - Josh Keating has done a bang up job keeping Foreign Policy Magazine's goodies forward leaning (at times with some edge cutting thinking).
FoPo Online has a great select of daily blogs by Pulitzer Prizers, wicked ammoral Realists and notes from the Loyal Opposition.
Enter Shadow Government.
Congrats to Jamie M Fly of the hot! new daemoneoconic Foreign Policy Iniatives!
Mr Fly (whose bona fides are down right all together with it) has signed on to share insight and intell on the Shadow Gov page. His psychic abilities are worthy. And he's done stuff at Weekly Standards and NRO.
And to be fair - it is needed!
"The United States remains the world's indispensable nation -- indispensable to international peace, security, and stability, and indispensable to safe-guarding and advancing the ideals and principles we hold dear."
Check out his 1st foray into "Shadow Gov", welcome him aboard and leave him a commentary
Art - "Nothing Shadowy about it"
News that the PAK in AFPAK is getting under way (maybe this time is the charm) provides an op for some Q&A
WHY IS THE ARMY ATTACKING?
South Waziristan is the main stronghold of the Tehrik-e-Taliban, or Taliban Movement of Pakistan, an alliance of more than a dozen militant groups that is fighting the government and wants to impose hardline Islamist rule.
The Pakistani Taliban have been responsible for a wave of violence across the country since mid-2007, when the army crushed an Islamist movement linked with South Waziristan based at Islamabad's Red Mosque. As well as numerous suicide bomb attacks against military, government and foreign targets, the al Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban were accused of killing former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in late 2007.
Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed by a missile fired by a U.S. drone aircraft on August 5 and replaced by Hakimullah Mehsud who has vowed to exact revenge.
Pakistani Taliban fighters virtually took over control of the Swat valley, northwest of Islamabad, beginning in 2007 and a push out of the valley toward Islamabad spread fear early this year. The army responded with an offensive that has largely cleared militants out of the valley. The army has now set its sights on South Waziristan in the hope of rooting out the most potent domestic threat to the state.
WHO IS THERE?
The army says about 10,000 hardcore fighters are in South Waziristan, an area of about 6,620 square km (2,550 square miles), although estimates vary. Most are members of the region's ethnic Pashtun tribes who have battled intruders for centuries.
Foreign militants, including about 1,000 Uzbeks, some al Qaeda Arabs and even a handful of militants from Western countries are also there. Militant factions from other parts of Pakistan, in particular the south of Punjab province, are also based with the Taliban in South Waziristan.
Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistani border, though analysts doubt he would be in an area the army is about to attack.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
A ground offensive in South Waziristan could be the army's toughest test since the militants turned on the state.
The army launched brief offensives there before, the first in 2004 when it suffered heavy casualties before striking a peace pact. The army has seldom, if ever, ventured into much of the semi-autonomous region of arid mountains and cut by hidden ravines and will be taking on fighters who have had years to prepare defenses. The Pashtun tribes in the region have long been hostile to outside intervention and many people, particularly those belonging to the Mehsud tribe, support the Taliban. So the army could get bogged down in an area in which it has little experience and which is inhabited by a hostile population.
Another risk for the army is that militant factions in North Waziristan might come to the help of their South Waziristan comrades while cells of militants in towns and cities are expected to try to divert attention with attacks like this month's raid on the army's headquarters in Rawalpindi.
Pic - "Humility"
Sunday, October 18, 2009
While Little Satan's rowdy bona fides in asymmetrical warfare of the spy type, commando panty raids, and mafia style hits are well known Ron Bergman (oh! he got game bay bee!)shares a bit of insight about the recent run of bad luck Hiz'B'Allah has had in their very own preacher paradise sanctuaries.
While Resolution 1701 forbids weaponry deployed (or stashed) south of Litani River -- recent events may prove the gross body part collector General has violated an agreement hammered out in good faith.
Since July - alledged arsenals of the rocket rich rejectionists have been plagued by explosive mishaps.
The potential for future mishaps is incredible!
"As part of its combat doctrine, which eschews reliance on reinforcements and resupply, Hiz'B'Allah has stockpiled its weapons throughout Lebanon, but particularly near the Israeli border.
"According to current Israeli intelligence estimates, HBA has an arsenal of 40,000 rockets, including Iranian-made Zelzal, Fajr-3, Fajr-5, and 122 mm rockets (some of which have cluster warheads) and Syrian-made 302 mm rockets. Some of its rockets can reach greater Tel Aviv.
"Hiz'B'Allah also has a number of highly advanced weapons systems, including antiaircraft missiles, that constitute a threat to Israeli combat aircraft.
Pic -"Tair Felsay"
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Brookings hosted a discussion of 44's policy options for Afghanistan, drawing on experts with a diverse range of views.
Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel, (chair of 44's review of Afghanistan and Land of the Pure policy in March 2009 - the world famous AFPAK!) mentioned those wild, wacking "Drones Gone Wild!" and shared an interesting concern.
Civilian casualities? Nope. Fear of losing hearts and minds by attacking out of the blue? Nope. In fact, no raison d'etre that Colonel Kilcullen recently pressed for were anywhere in the mix.
"I talked with a very senior Pakistani official last night -- and he said 'You have to understand, every single one of these drone attacks is a humiliation to the army of Pakistan'..."
This is simply amazing coming from an army whose scant 60 year history is down right embarrassing.
1st off -- Pakistan has started every war they've ever had. And they've lost every war they've ever had.
In fact, the only successes Pak Army can point to are military coups and the Taliban.
Last weekend’s dramatic attack on the army HQ in Rawalpindi, the Pentagon of Land of the Pure, underscores the volatility and fragility of politics in the world’s second largest mohammedist country.
And the nonstop hammer blows of terrorism - along with intell that rowdy hajis' are literally pouring into those famous, magical tribal no go zones - may prove that Taliban is determined to do a coup of their own in Land of the Pure
Taliban demonstrated that despite losing the campaign in the Swat Valley this summer, they retain the capacity for terror in the heart of Pakistan –
All these attacks -- would seem to be way more humiliating for PAK Army (no offense) than risible faux indignations about sovereignty or at least serve as a swift kick in the riding breeches. Certainly revives concern about the capacity of the Pakistani army to protect its nuclear arsenal.
If Taliban can get into army HQ, where would Taliban strike next? Wah Cantonment is a good guess -- to grab the fastest growing nuclear arsenal on the planet. Last time anyone checked - Land of the Pure was way more worried about Great Satan.
Of course, with a less than 50% literacy rate - the effects are pretty obvious as Paki Telly Newscaster Kamran Khan points out:
“Most Pakistanis are exposed to the popular media and to extremist clerics who provide this perception. The American side of the story is not available to the people.”
Too bad for them.
When Congress finally passed the Kerry-Lugar legislation this month to triple economic aid to Pakistan, the Pakistanis focused on the objectionable but hortatory language about past Pakistani sins (like the appease tease) rather than the fact Great Satan is fixing to bling $1.5 billion a year.
Pakistan seems to be kinda schizo paranoid even as she alledgedly girds her loins for yet another decisive drive to decisively defeat Taliban and actually extend the writ of state once and for all.
"Pakistan is right now in the midst of a brutal assault led by the U.S./Zionist energy-greedy, global imperialists. Aiding them in their enterprise are CIA, RAW (Indian Intel), Mossad, and MI6.
"They are targeting the complete destabilization of Pakistan, the destruction and dismantling of Pakistan's nuclear program, control of oil, gas, and mineral rich, strategically-located Baluchistan, and North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan.
"The Indians are in it for their old Bharatmata (Greater India) plan of making Pakistan their satellite state.
Hold up - if heresay about Great Satan is correct that by 2015 Land of the Pure will be a smoking crater of
"...a failed state, ripe with civil war, bloodshed, inter-provincial rivalries and a struggle for control of its nuclear weapons and its complete Talibanization."
Maybe Pakistan should be dissolved. Maybe, Great Satan should snatch up super powered nuclear booty.
Who could stop it?
Certainly not PAK army.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Essentially, the height -- the summit -- of the buzz is acquired -- any more would be superfluous. The limit of aggrandizement attained -- maintaining the peak is another critter all together...
In a way -- this may be applied to nation states too -- including the gay free Iranian regime."In Tehran, there is an unmistakable sense that the Islamic Republic has reached the limits of its appeal.
"The paradox is that Iran’s power was at its peak only a few months ago, on the eve of the disputed elections. Internally, power was firmly in the hands of a conservative clique utterly obedient to the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and in which the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was the most visible player.
"Regionally Iran had become a heavyweight able both to shape the Middle Eastern agenda and to thwart the US. For many, Iran seemed determined, omnipotent and unstoppable.
"Since then, however, the controversy over the elections has exposed the reality of a profoundly troubled country, where the legitimacy of the ruling elite is contested and the cost of an aggressive foreign policy questioned. Among the slogans heard during the street protests was “Na Qazeh, Na Lobnan, Janam Faday-e Iran” or “No Gaza, No Lebanon, My life to be sacrificed for Iran”.
"Why are Iran’s internal conditions so crucial to its regional appeal? Because its charm offensive in the Arab world is built in large part on the notion that it has struck the right balance between Islamist values, popular representation, revolutionary ideals, state modernisation and defiance of the West. But with Iranian society now screaming its anger at electoral fraud, state-sanctioned abuse, economic failure and regime corruption, the Islamic Republic can no longer credibly parade as an inspiring model.
"It is unclear how this will play out in the Arab world. There have been no scientific polls to gauge how the Arab world reacted to Iranian discontent, but it is safe to say there was a mix of confusion and apprehension. Arab officialdom has always exaggerated Iran’s reach out of concern, fantasy and convenience, so it would certainly have welcomed the disarray.
"Those who lionised Mr Khamenei and Mr Ahmadinejad unsurprisingly sided with them, but if you are Syria or Hizbollah and you see your senior partner mired in an internal political quagmire, you have to wonder about the long-term viability of the alliance.
"For all, the basic question is the same: will Iran direct its limited resources to placating internal discontent or will it act more aggressively to divert attention and take the fight elsewhere? Indeed, Iran’s internal unrest could be the catalyst that drives the regime to become more adventurist.
"The leadership always considered the cost of regional overreach bearable because it provides a strategic defence and symbolic returns. Mr Ahmadinejad points to his approval rating in the Arab world to convince his countrymen that his policies are worth the investment.
"Beyond the funding and support for Hizbollah, Hamas and Syria, Iranian foreign policy has relied considerably on soft power: championing causes that Iran blames the Arab states for neglecting, such as the fate of Palestine and social justice; mastering nuclear technology; defying western imperialism and Israeli power while accusing Arab states of placing their destiny in US hands.
"For these reasons many Arabs have come to romanticise Iran: Mr Ahmadinejad and the Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah regularly rank at the top of the region’s most admired leaders.
"But, as the Iranian analyst Karim Sadjadpour cheekily notes, when asked where they would most like to live, Arabs choose Dubai and Beirut, the region’s most liberal cities, not Tehran; and they line up for visas outside western consulates, not Iranian ones.
"Declaring love for the muqawama costs nothing when talking to a pollster in Egypt or Kuwait, but that is not the same as wanting to live it, which comes at a price. That is the real limit of Iran’s popular appeal.
"Iran can of course count on its hard power to protect its regional interests, but cracks are appearing there too. The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al Maliki, declined to join an Iranian-engineered Shia political alliance and now leads a slate comprising Sunni and nationalist parties for the crucial elections in January. Syria is being courted by Saudi Arabia, France and the US to loosen its alliance with Iran.
"A weakened Iran could strike a deal with the US at Syria’s expense, so Damascus might be pondering whether to do so first. Tehran cannot even rely on its traditional anti-US tirades, which have been defused by Barack Obama’s diplomatic overtures.
"None of that should suggest that Iran’s appeal and activism will fade soon.
"But the narrative of a mighty, cohesive Islamic Republic has taken a serious hit that should be exploited now.
Pic " We're falling faster - this is sooo last year"