President Barack Obama said Thursday that he will propose offering Americans two years of community college for free if they are “willing to work for it.”
Obama made the announcement in a short video from Air Force One, saying his plan will make community college accessible for everybody.The news came as part of a three-state tour to preview his State of the Union Address. Obama will make a more formal announcement in Tennessee on Friday.
“Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for anybody who’s willing to work for it,” he said. “It’s something we can accomplish, and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anyone in the world.”
Read more » http://rt.com/usa/221015-obama-free-community-college/
The State Department is explicitly shooting down an Israeli “must have” for the negotiating framework. That’s an imperative that comes from the top. And that means Obama and Kerry.
NASA’s unmanned Voyager 2 spacecraft may have put it best when it “tweeted” from beyond the solar system: “Farewell, humans. Sort it out yourselves.”
Most employees at NASA are now among the million U.S. government employees on forced leave because congress has failed to pass a spending bill, forcing a shutdown.
The world is watching in seeming disbelief. So, is America a failed state?
Not quite, but the apparent failure of the American congress to govern certainly raises the question. If we were covering some of the far-flung failing states we often do, we’d know just how to put it.
…. Obama now faces the second time in his presidency when war was an option. The first was Libya. The tyrant is now dead, and what followed is not pretty. And Libya was easy compared to Syria. Now, the president must intervene to maintain his credibility. But there is no political support in the United States for intervention. He must take military action, but not one that would cause the United States to appear brutish. He must depose al Assad, but not replace him with his opponents. He never thought al Assad would be so reckless. Despite whether al Assad actually was, the consensus is that he was. That’s the hand the president has to play, so it’s hard to see how he avoids military action and retains credibility. It is also hard to see how he takes military action without a political revolt against him if it goes wrong, which it usually does.
‘47 Percent Negro’: Anti-Obama Protest Turns Racist In Phoenix
By Perry Stein
As President Barack Obama spoke in Phoenix Tuesday about responsible home ownership, hundreds of people stood outside protesting his policies, many shouting and carrying racially charged chants and signs.
“Bye Bye Black Sheep,” the protestors shouted at one point, a reference to the president’s skin color, according to the Arizona Republic. Another protestor carried a sign that said “Impeach the Half-White Muslim!” “He’s 47 percent Negro,” one protestor shouted.
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Steps for education: USAID-funded building to open in Sindh University
HYDERABAD: The ground breaking ceremony for a new education faculty building, being funded by the USAID, at the Sindh University, Hyderabad was held on Wednesday.
“The building is part of the $40 million project to establish 14 new faculties of education across Pakistan over the next two years,” informed the US consul-general, Michael Dodman, who was the chief guest at the ceremony. Two other education faculty buildings are being constructed at the University of Karachi and the Shah Abdul Latif University, he added.
The new faculty will accommodate two new teaching programmes including the two-year associate degree in education and the four-year Bachelors of education. “These courses have been designed in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The USAID is working with 110 universities and teacher training colleges in Pakistan to initiate these programmes.”
The new building, to be completed by June 2014 at the cost of Rs23 million, will have 18 classrooms, computer labs, a wi-fi system, a library, an auditorium and a media library. Its eco-friendly structure will be an additional feature.
The three-storey structure is being built over an area of 20,000 square feet, adjacent to the heritage building of the old campus. “We will offer classes in the morning and evening shifts in order to accommodate as many students as possible,” said the education faculty’s dean, Dr Parveen Munshi.
USAID mission director Grogory Gottlieb said that around 2,500 students and 200 teachers will acquire education from the 14 new faculties every year. Over the last four years, he added, the USAID has rehabilitated around 600 schools, sponsored 10,000 university scholarships and provided training to 12,000 teachers in Pakistan.
Today, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-CA) amendment tying the Defense Department’s ability to give monetary aid to Pakistan’s military to its treatment of ethnic and religious minority groups was included in final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 by the House of Representatives.
The amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to certify that Pakistan is not using its military to “persecute minority groups for their legitimate and nonviolent political and religious beliefs.” The amendment specifically names the Balochi, Sindhi and Christian minorities, among others.
“This is a giant step forward for those victims of oppression in Pakistan,” said Rohrabacher. “For the first time their plight is being recognized and a policy is being established of not giving the Pakistani government the weapons to carry on their repression. This is the first time the plight of the Balochi and the Sindhi have been underscored in legislation that links support for Pakistan’s military to how they treat those minority groups.”
Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source – Guardian
A former CIA technical worker has been identified by the UK’s Guardian newspaper as the source of leaks about US surveillance programmes.
Edward Snowden, 29, is described by the paper as an ex-CIA technical assistant, currently employed by defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
The Guardian said his identity was being revealed at his own request.
The recent revelations are that US agencies gathered millions of phone records and monitored internet data.
The Guardian quotes Mr Snowden as saying he flew to Hong Kong on 20 May, where he holed himself up in a hotel. He told the paper: “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.”
Asked what he thought would happen to him, he replied: “Nothing good.” He said he had gone to Hong Kong because of its “strong tradition of free speech”.
We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” – President Obama 2013
By Kiran Nazish
Kiran Nazish: You say that the Pakistani government has double crossed the US, and the US does not have the guts to stand up to it. What are those deceptions in your opinion? Why do you think the US does not stand up? What is their weakness or restraint?
Tarek Fatah:Any country that harbored and protected Osama Bin Laden for ten years while taking billions in US aid to supposedly locate the world’s most wanted jihadi terrorist, would qualify as a country that double-crossed the USA. Pakistan’s military and civilian establishment that runs the country is guilty on that count. In fact on July 19, when the US House of Representatives voted to cut US aid to Pakistan by $650 million, congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas), put it rather succinctly when he said, “Pakistan seems to be the Benedict Arnold nation in the list of countries that we call allies, they have proven to be deceptive and deceitful and a danger to the United States.”
The United States gets blackmailed time and again by Pakistani Foreign Office’s argument that any sanctions imposed on Pakistan will make things worse with Islamabad’s nuclear assets falling into the hands of radical generals committed to a worldwide jihad.
Washington has been playing a Chamberlainesque diplomacy of appeasement and it seems the US State Department is at conflict with the Department of Defence, but has the upper hand in setting US-Pakistani relations.
The influence of pro-Muslim Brotherhood officials in the US State Department and the White House may also be a reason America has not come down hard on Pakistan and is focused on Iran as its enemy.
KN: What is your definition of a fascist? Especially given that you are a Punjabi Muslim yourself, and in that, how do you deal with the fact the Punjabis are often accused of fascism in Pakistan?
President Obama breaks into a tear. Gets overwhelmed with grief talking about 5-year old children shot dead.
FULL TEXT: President Obama’s address to the nation after Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.
At least 27 people are dead, 20 of them children, after a masked gunman terrorized the school where his mother was a teacher
BY: NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
“They had their entire lives ahead of them – birthdays, graduations, kids of their own,” President Obama said during an emotional press conference about the deadly shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
Full text of President Obama’s speech:
This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.
We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.
The goals of Pakistani Americans in US politics may not align with those of Islamabad
By Dr Manzur Ejaz
Most of the correspondents of Pakistani news networks in Washington and New York were unable to understand why the anchors and commentators back home were not accepting what they were seeing on the ground – that Obama was winning the elections. The analysts back home had wishfully concluded that Mitt Romney would win, and that was what they wanted to hear. The US presidential election has shown that Pakistani opinion makers are in a state of denial. The expatriates are coming around to this reality and disagree with the views back home. Such diverging views may result in a change that may not be to Islamabad’s liking.
The president came to office on a surge of hope but a faltering economy thwarted many of his ambitions. So his fight for regeneration and equality goes on. He must have four more years
By: Jesse Jackson
How much has the extraordinary wave of hope that swept the world four years ago, when President Obama was inaugurated, been borne out by his first term in office?
Why do I think it is so vital that he wins again this week, for America and for the world?
Let’s remember President Obama inherited a very deep hole, a hole most Americans did not imagine existed. When he came in, we had lost four million jobs in four years – 800,000 jobs evaporated in January 2009 alone. Since that time, we have created five and a half million new jobs. That’s more than 30 straight months of job growth in tough economic times. In addition, he had to confront banks that, through their greed, had forced record-breaking home foreclosures. The global economy – from the US to Europe and around the world – was at the point of total collapse. The banks were bailed out.
The automotive industry had collapsed. Now, because of the Obama administration‘s policies to rescue the auto industry, we’re the number one auto-producing nation again. Autoworkers are once more working three shifts and producing high yields. The auto industry is back, though Romney said: “Let them go bankrupt.”
Furthermore, when President Obama came into office, we were caught in a war of choice – an immoral, bad choice – in Iraq. President Bush and Tony Blair dealt us a severe blow. The whole world was telling them not to wage war – I was speaking in London at Hyde Park on the day of the big protest. We told them there was no basis for going into Iraq. Since then, we have lost British and American lives, resources and honour, and they have not been humble enough to apologise. That war cost us trillions of dollars, which took us from a budget surplus to a budget deficit.
US President Barack Obama has delivered his speech to the 67th United Nations General Assembly at its headquarters in New York.
He urged global leaders to rally against extremism, saying it was the obligation of all leaders to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism, as he framed his speech with references to the US ambassador murdered in Libya. ….
Read more » BBC
WASHINGTON – (Reuters) – U.S. citizens should avoid travel to Pakistan, the State Department said on Thursday, in a fresh warning that follows numerous protests, demonstrations and rallies in Pakistan that U.S. officials said are likely to continue.
Officials upgraded their ongoing caution about the travel risks in Pakistan, explicitly advising Americans to put off any non-essential travel to the country. They also “strongly urged” those who are already there to avoid protests and large gatherings.
The State Department said the presence of al Qaeda, Taliban elements, and “indigenous militant sectarian groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan.”
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
CAIRO — Protesters angry over an amateurish American-made video denouncing Islam attacked the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday, killing a State Department officer, while Egyptian demonstrators stormed over the fortified walls of the United States Embassy here.
State of Terror – Why Obama should blacklist Pakistan – not just the Haqqanis. – Foreign Policy Magazine
BY C. CHRISTINE FAIR
In September 2011, Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, astonished the American public when he declared at a congressional hearing that the network of Jalaluddin Haqqani was a “virtual arm” of Pakistan’s top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate. Pakistanis were surprised, as Mullen had been one of the most outspoken defenders of Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies and their efforts to combat Islamist terrorists within Pakistan. Since Mullen’s head-turning testimony, pressure has continued to mount on the Obama administration, forcing it take a stronger position on Pakistan’s intransigent support for one of the most lethal organizations killing Americans and allied forces in Afghanistan.
On Sept. 7, after considerable hemming and hawing, the Obama administration finally announced it would designate the so-called Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist organization. The call was long overdue. Members of the Haqqani network move back and forth between Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency (and other localities) as well as the Paktiya, Paktika, and Khost provinces of Afghanistan. The network provides sanctuary, manpower, weapons, financing, and other amenities to several other terrorist and insurgent networks such as the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, and al Qaeda, among others. Its financial assets are vast and derive from numerous illicit and licit activities spanning South Asia and the Middle East. The Haqqani network is behind some of the most devastating and complex attacks against United States, NATO, and Afghan forces. U.S. officials hold it responsible for the 2008 assault on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, last September’s attack on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters employing rocket-propelled grenades, assassination attempts against President Hamid Karzai and other leaders, as well as numerous kidnappings.
The Obama administration touted its decision to list the Haqqanis as an important step in being able to go after the vast resources of the network — never mind that the move was taken under considerable congressional pressure.
Why the long wait? Listing the Haqqanis was always considered sensitive because Pakistan views the network as one of its few reliable assets to shape Afghanistan in desirable directions, including restraining India’s influence and physical presence. Given the tenterhooks upon which U.S.-Pakistan relations have hung over the last two years, critics of the decision will argue it amounts to further provocation for little payoff. Moreover, some in the U.S. State Department thought that the Haqqani network deserved a seat at the negotiating table even if doing so served no other purpose than placating Pakistan, according my discussions with an array of U.S. officials. Others feared that declaring the Haqqanis a foreign terrorist organization would lead to greater insistence from Congress and other quarters to label Pakistan itself a state that supports terrorism — a club populated by Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. For this reason, the administration went to great lengths to clarify that this move does not pave the way for putting Pakistan on that inauspicious list.
By DECLAN WALSH and ERIC SCHMITT
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani officials reacted cautiously on Friday to news that the United States had designated the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network as a terrorist group, allaying fears that the move could drive a fresh wedge between the two uneasy allies.
The designation order, signed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Brunei before heading to Russia for a conference, ended two years of debate inside the Obama administration about the merits of formally ostracizing a powerful element of the Afghan insurgency that American officials say has uncomfortably close ties to Pakistan.
Within hours of the designation, American officials in Washington were seeking to play down worries that it could stymie peace talks with the Taliban or lead to the designation of Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.
In the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, the designation received a studiously muted reception.
By: Jason Easley
Rush Limbaugh hoped today that Hurricane Isaac kills lots of poor Democrats in New Orleans, so that Louisiana can become a more Republican state. Here’s the audio from Media Matters:
Read more » politicususa.com
By: Juan Cole
A white terrorist cell on a military base in Georgia plotted to assassinate President Barack Obama and stage a military coup. It murdered two former members of the cell. It bought $87,000 of military grade weaponry and land in Washington state. It planned to bomb a dam in Washington and poison its apple crop. It planned to take over Fort Stewart in Georgia.
The National Security Agency is massively and illegally spying on ordinary Americans. Peace activists are bothered by police and put on watch lists. Journalists like Amy Goodman have been beaten up for covering peaceful protests. ….
Read more » Juancole
By Jamie Weinstein, Senior Editor
Recently removed Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani urged the American government to take a tougher line on his home country in a remarkably candid speech Wednesday afternoon.
“Pakistan ends up behaving like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel,” Haqqani told several dozens journalists, think tankers, opinion makers and government officials at a luncheon in Washington held by the Center for the National Interest.
“And the behavior change is not going to come unless and until there is behavior change on your part. So you should stop the meddling. … You have to stop going in and seeing all our politicians and thinking they are all your friends and trying to influence. Make Pakistanis realize that America has an interest in Pakistan, but you know what, America respects Pakistani opinion. Show respect for Pakistani public opinion. And if Pakistanis don’t want to be your friends, you don’t want to be their friends, thank you very much.”
Haqqani, who recently returned to the United States to become director of the Center of International Relations at Boston University, was removed as Pakistani ambassador late last year after facing charges that he sought U.S. help to prevent a military coup in Pakistan in the wake of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Haqqani, who returned to Pakistan to face the charges against him at some personal risk, maintains the charges are baseless.
But Haqqani’s essential argument at the luncheon was that America and Pakistan should no longer put up the pretense that they are allies. Haqqani said that it is unrealistic to believe that “endless discussions and chats and what I call the class of narratives will somehow, some day produce a change of thinking either in Washington” or Islamabad.
The U.S. isn’t going to be convinced to treat India as an enemy for Pakistan’s sake and Pakistan won’t be convinced to give up its nuclear weapons or end its support for jihadi groups it sees as strategically beneficial for “regional influence” because America wants it to, he said.
Why aren’t ministers and defense officials standing up right now, when it is still possible, and saying: We will not be a party to this megalomaniacal vision, to this messianic-catastrophic worldview?
By David Grossman
Here’s a possible scenario: Israel attacks Iran despite the strenuous opposition of President Barack Obama, who is practically pleading that Israel leave the work to the United States. Why? Because Benjamin Netanyahu has a historical mind-set and a historical outlook under which, basically, Israel is “the eternal nation” and the United States, with all due respect, is just the Assyria or the Babylonia, the Greece or the Rome, of our age. Meaning: We are everlasting, we are an eternal people, and they, despite all their strength and power, are merely temporary and ephemeral.
The Punjab-based jihadists, and especially the SSP that spawned virtually all anti-India terrorists, is where the Pakistani strategic depth, India-centric jingoism and the religion-tethered state ideology converge
At a panel discussion during the Aspen Security Forum last week, the Pakistani envoy to the United States, Ms Sherry Rehman traded barbs with two key figures of the US administration on Pak-Afghan policy. President Barack Obama’s special adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan, General (Retd) Douglas Lute, the former US ambassador to Afghanistan, General (Retd) Karl Eikenberry, and the current Afghan ambassador to the US, Eklil Hakimi participated in the session moderated by Steve Kroft, the host of CBS News’ 60 Minutes. The Pakistani embassy in Washington, DC circulated the programme video just as what the media called the “zingers” let loose by the Pakistani ambassador made headlines in the US and Pakistani press.
NATO has already rejected some claims made by the Pakistani ambassador such as her assertion that Pakistan shared information on cross-border infiltration with NATO/ISAF some 52 times. She also said that Pakistan helped the US apprehend 250 top-tier al Qaeda leaders before closing her remarks with a message for Generals Lute and Eikenberry, saying, “We don’t welcome or sanctuary foreign fighters on our soil…There is no question now of hedging bets…This is a new Pakistan. Catch up, gentlemen!”
The Pakistani ambassador did not care to explain what had those 250 al Qaeda leaders been doing in Pakistan in the first place. Not one, not two, not ten, but 250 of them, and of course, the mama hornet, no less, all caught in Pakistan. She lamented about the US having walked away from the region after the demise of the Soviet Union, leaving Pakistan to clean up the mess. It is not conceivable that the whole al Qaeda brass had been lounging in Pakistan without the knowledge and/or support of its omnipresent intelligence agencies and the latter’s Punjabi jihadist protégés. While the world appreciates the Pakistani effort in handing over the terrorists, it certainly does not see it as a favour to the US and the global community.
After all, the US may have walked away from Afghanistan but it sure as heck did not ask Pakistan to babysit this whole regiment of terrorist ringleaders. Ms Rehman’s views showed little concern about the US sensitivities on many issues, including Osama bin Laden’s days in Pakistan. As she was busy defending Dr Shakil Afridi’s arrest under the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation as a “constitutional” move, elsewhere at the meeting, the chief of the US Special Operations Command, General Bill McRaven was fielding questions about the Navy SEALs raid to squat the mama hornet, within a mile of Pakistan’s premier military academy. Pakistan and the US’s perceptions could not be further apart.
By: Tarek Fatah
Who would have thought a Canadian mother of two would leave her children behind and join the international jihad unfolding in Syria?
Meet Thwaiba Kanafani. She left the comforts of her apartment in downtown Toronto, soon to appear in a YouTube video dressed in camouflaged battle gear, holding an automatic assault rifle, to declare: “I came from Canada to answer the call of my homeland” as the men surrounding her chanted “Allah O Akbar.”
Kanafani is not alone. A Dutch journalist who was kidnapped by rebels inside Syria, along with his British colleague, reports some of his abductors had “Birmingham accents,” while others were from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Chechnya, with no Syrians present.
Reports of non-Syrian jihadis have been confirmed by correspondents of both the Guardian and the New York Times who say foreign fighters under the banner of al-Qaida’s black flags bearing the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is no god but God,” are taking a bigger role.
The jihadis are the best-funded and well-equipped of the groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.
While the American-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) had its own share of U.S.-based Islamists pulling the strings, it is now clear these jihadis-in-suits will not be the ones determining the future of Syria when the doctor dictator is gone. Very soon, Damascus will get a taste of al-Qaida’s hatred of life and their yearning for death as they have demonstrated in the last couple of months.
In one attack by the al-Qaida fighters on the historic Damascus district of Zainabiya, the fighters made no effort to hide the al- Qaida flag. Some wore the black head bands while others wore the flags of Pakistan, Somalia, and other Muslim countries. They killed Shia residents and pilgrims as they tried to destroy the shrines of Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter Hazrat Zainab and Ruqaiya. At least one Afghan family was slaughtered inside their home.
One al-Qaida commander inside Syria, Abu Khuder, had this to say about foreign jihadis: “In the beginning there were very few. Now, mashallah, there are immigrants joining us and bringing their experience … Men from Yemen, Saudi, Iraq and Jordan … (al-Qaida’s) goal is establishing an Islamic state and not a Syrian state.”
The role of America in Syria seems at best incompetent and disastrous.
However, evidence suggests there is a method in the madness of the Obama Administration. Instead of helping the democratic forces of Syria it has dilly-dallied on the sidelines until the Islamists managed to get an upper hand. The same cowardice was demonstrated when Iran’s democrats rose up in 2009.
One of the leaders of the Syrian al-Qaida is Abdelhakim Belhadj, a Libyan accomplice of Osama bin Laden who, according to former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, was suspected of complicity in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
Belhadj was arrested by the CIA, but then released under mysterious circumstances and returned to Libya where he facilitated the U.S.-NATO overthrowing of Col. Moammar Gahdafi.
Now the same Libyan ally of NATO has been parachuted inside Syria with the help of the Turkish government.
Reportedly, 15,000 Syrians have given their lives to fight a dictator, and Belhadj’s presence in the war-torn country could make it a hell on earth.
Courtesy: Toronto Sun
Via – Twitter
WASHINGTON: The Obama administration expressed renewed frustration with Pakistan on Tuesday, urging its reluctant counterterrorism ally to break remaining links between its security services and the Haqqani network and stem the flow of bomb-making material into Afghanistan.
A State Department report credited Pakistan’s government with taking action against al-Qaida last year, even though the United States acted unilaterally in the commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. It called Islamabad’s attempts weaker when it came to snuffing out groups such as the Haqqani network and Laskhar e-Taiba. …
Read more » DAWN.COM
Today there is only the cruel choice between continued American presence and Taliban rule
After a trillion dollars and 2000 dead Americans, there is precious little to show as the U.S. heads towards its 2014 exit. America’s primary goal had been to create a stable, non-hostile Afghan government and army which could stop extremist groups from once again using Afghan territory as a base. But Hamid Karzai is already on the way out, rapid desertions could collapse the Afghan National Army, and only die-hards like Marine Gen. John Allen say that the U.S. can win. The Taliban are smelling victory.
America’s failure drives many bearded folks – and Imran Khan’s thoughtless supporters – into fits of ecstasy. It also delights some Pakistani leftists at home and abroad; imperialism has been humbled. Some comrades imagine that a mythicalAfghan “working class” – whatever that might mean – will pop up from nowhere and somehow stop the Taliban from moving in as fast as the Americans move out. Do they also hope for snowflakes in summer?
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON : (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the State Department to designate the Pakistan-based Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist group, pressing the Obama administration to get tougher on an issue that already has strained ties with Islamabad.
By JEFFREY DRESSLER
The Haqqani network is the most aggressive terrorist organization targeting U.S. and host nation forces in Afghanistan. Founded by aging patriarch Jalaluddin Haqqani, the network is now managed by his sons Sirajuddin, Badruddin, and Nasiruddin, and their uncles Ibrahim and Khalil. They have carved out a terrorist mini-state in North Waziristan, just across Afghanistan’s eastern border, where they host a who’s who of high-value terrorist targets, including senior members of al Qaeda.
So why hasn’t the State Department designated what U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker called “a group of killers, pure and simple” as a Foreign Terrorist Organization?
The transactional U.S.-Pakistan alliance means that, once the Afghan War ends, so will their incentive to get along.
By: Joshua Foust
This transactional nature is reflected in the last ten years of U.S.-Pakistan relations. Washington was never eager to partner with Islamabad — documents recently declassified by George Washington University’s National Security Archive show the anger and mistrust that drove initial U.S. demands for Pakistani compliance with the war in Afghanistan. As the Center for Global Development shows, the vast majority of U.S. aid to Pakistan after 2001 has been for its military, for the specific purpose of developing their capacity to go after militants. Yet the White House, through two administrations, has become less and less enthusiastic about the partnership as Pakistan’s contradictory, self-destructive relationship with the militants in its territory became harder and harder to ignore.
U.S.-Pakistan relations seem on course for conflict the moment the U.S. no longer needs Pakistani GLOCs for Afghanistan. What shape that conflict takes remains to be seen. The U.S. can construct a strong case for describing Pakistan as a rogue state: it harbors and supports international terrorism; it is one of the world’s most brazen proliferators of nuclear and ballistic missile technology; and it seems so stubbornly unwilling to admit fault that U.S. officials say they can barely raise either subject with their Pakistani counterparts.
Without the war in Afghanistan to draw the two countries together, it’s difficult to see how they can maintain anything more than a distant, perfunctory relationship. Pakistani officials insist privately that they love America. Yet that professed love has not translated into very many pro-American policies. If that doesn’t change, the U.S. and Pakistan seem destined to part ways 18 months from now. What happens after that, no one can say.
Read more » The Atlantic
Via – Twitter
BY C. CHRISTINE FAIR
With an “ally” in a state of perpetual dysfunction, it’s time for Washington to reconsider its options: containment or benign neglect.
Excerpt: …. “At long last, it seems, various agencies of the United States government have come to the conclusion that Pakistan cannot be changed. Islamabad’s behavior in the region will remain staunchly pegged to its antipathy toward New Delhi. It will pursue policies that threaten the integrity of the Pakistani state for no other reason but the chimerical objective of resisting the obvious rise of India, while clinging to the delusion that it is India’s peer competitor — despite obvious and ever-growing disparities. Finally, Americans are asking what Pakistanis have long concluded: How can the United States and Pakistan have any kind of positive relationship when our strategic interests not only diverge but violently clash?…….While some may view these offerings as unreasonable, reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible, it is equally fair to ask whether Washington’s decades of policies toward Pakistan have been unreasonable, dangerous, and irresponsible? Moreover, what good have they accomplished? While many policymakers and analysts are willing to bank everything on the gamble that Pakistan is too dangerous to fail, we should be willing to consider what failure would mean and the inherent costs and benefits of this happening. After all, when the Soviet Union fell, none of the worst fears materialized. And Pakistan is hardly the Soviet Union” ….
Read more »Foreign Policy (FP)
WASHINGTON: US military and intelligence officials are so frustrated with Pakistan’s failure to stop local militant groups from attacking Americans in neighboring Afghanistan that they have considered launching secret joint US-Afghan commando raids into Pakistan to hunt them down, officials told The Associated Press. ….
Pentagon chief all but rules out apology for Pakistan
By Phil Stewart
WASHINGTON: (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta all but ruled out an apology over an air strike last year that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and badly set back efforts to improve U.S.-Pakistani ties, saying it was “time to move on.”
Pakistan banned trucks from carrying NATO supplies into neighboring Afghanistan after the air strike, a move that costs U.S. taxpayers $100 million a month given the need to use more expensive, longer routes to the north.
To re-open the routes, Pakistan wants to impose high tariffs on NATO supplies and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said last week that Islamabad is still seeking an unconditional apology.
But Panetta, in an interview with Reuters on Thursday, suggested that past expressions of regret and condolences were enough and held out hope that troubled talks on re-opening Pakistani supply routes for the NATO war effort could succeed anyway.
Asked whether he would oppose any further apology, Panetta said: “We’ve made clear what our position is, and I think it’s time to move on.”
“If we keep going back to the past, if we keep beating up each other based on past differences, we’ll never get anywhere,” he said.
“The time now is to move forward with this relationship, on the (supply routes), on the safe havens, on dealing with terrorism — on dealing with the issues that frankly both of us are concerned about,” Panetta said. ….
Read more » Reuters