I am told that the Afghanistan Taliban have sent word to Barack Obama, "Make a deal with us and we will separate ourselves from al-Qaeda." So the ball is in Obama's court. His administration has been floating this trial balloon for several weeks now. Making deals is nothing new. In Iraq we made deals with Sadr, with the sheiks, resulting in the "awakening" and thus leading to the present situation. Will or could this work with the Taliban. I do NOT think so. The Taliban wants strict sharia law, the Iraqis did not. It seems Jesus knew what he was talking about when he warned of building your house on the sand rather than on a firm foundation.
Turkey, long thought to be the model Islamic state: pro-Western, democratic, relatively modern and secular -- according to Powerline --But since Islamists won control of Turkey's government in 2002, that country has steadily been slipping out of the Western orbit. A decisive moment came in 2003, when Turkey refused to allow American forces access to invade Iraq from the north.
Once the apotheosis of a pro-Western, dependable Muslim democracy, this week Turkey officially left the Western alliance and became a full member of the Iranian axis… On Monday, 11 Turkish government ministers descended on Syria to sign a pile of cooperation agreements with Iran’s Arab lackey. The Foreign Ministry didn’t even have a chance to write apologetic talking points explaining that brazen move before Syria announced it was entering a military alliance with Turkey and would be holding a joint military exercise with the Turkish military. Speechless in the wake of Turkey’s move to hold military maneuvers with its enemy just two days after it canceled joint training with Israel, Jerusalem could think of no mitigating explanation for the move. (Caroline Glick, How Turkey Was Lost to the West, Via Instapundit, Murdock Online)
Today a suicide bomber near the Pakistan border killed five senior commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, wounding dozens, and authorities are still counting the dead in what the Washington Post is calling "the most high-profile strike against security forces in an outlaw region of armed tribal groups, drug smugglers and Sunni rebels known as Jundallah, or Soldiers of God." Sunni vs Shia.
Reuters is reporting a total at this time of 31 dead, among those the deputy head of the Guards' ground forces, General Nourali Shoushtari, and its commander in Sistan-Baluchestan province, General Rajabali Mohammadzadeh. Iran's chickens coming home to roost? Update: The Telegraph reports now 49 dead. Iran is blaming the United States and Britain:
Iran has repeatedly blamed both the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan for supporting Jundullah. It has also claimed it has links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
There have also been claims that Jundullah has American backing through cash allocated by the Bush administration two years ago to Iranian opposition. The CIA has been accused of supplying money and weapons to the group.
Britain's alleged involvement has never been detailed. (continue)
The diplomats are feverishly at work behind the scenes: "IRG and GEN Shoushtari being among the 11 critical points, essential to decapitating the
Iranian State, from the top down. The objective: paralysis, under cover of which
who ever is so inclined can move forward. One down, 10 to go." What those other 10 are remains to be seen.
Pakistan has launched another offensive against the Taliban killing 60 militants on the first day of operations. (NPR) The Taliban is fighting back offering heavy resistance and vowing to defeat the Pakistan military: Militants fired on helicopter gunships and attacked Pakistani troops advancing into their main sanctuary near the Afghan border. President Obama on Wednesday signed legislation that triples economic aid to Pakistan, boosting US aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over the next five years.
The Taliban and al-Qaeda are not all we need to worry about. Aaron Mannes at The Counterterrorism Blog discusses the Lashkar-e-Taiba - Pakistan's Hezbollah:
One group absent from the concoction of Punjabi groups joining the Pashtun Taliban rebellion is Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Although it recruits from the same general area, the other groups are Deobandi (Pakistan’s homegrown Islamic extremists) whereas LeT is Dar Ahl Hadith, which is basically the Pakistani-offshoot of the Saudi Wahabis. The theological divisions are not enormous and there are links. But LeT appears to be more careful and disciplined in its strategic thinking. It has not been involved in significant violence within Pakistan and has not taken on the Pakistani government. It also appears to have independent funding sources (initial stake money was apparently from Saudi Arabia, but it has since developed its own fund-raising networks.) (continue reading)
On October 6, members of the Taliban religion of peace sent threatening letters in Sargodha, Pakistan warning Christian leaders to convert to Islam or face dire consequences - pay Jizya tax (an Islamic tax imposed on religious minorities) or leave the country. "If Christians refuse to accept the choices given to them, the letter explains that they "would be killed, their property and homes would be burnt to ashes and their women would be treated as sex slaves."
In Baghdad Iraq, Mustafa Kamal Shibeeb, the Sunni Muslim paramilitary leader's campaign slogan is "Hold on, we are coming" (not to be confused with the old Sam and Dave song "Hold on, I'm coming"). It seems Shibeeb is a fugitive with
murder charges hanging over his head from events at the height of the
U.S. troop buildup two years ago.
Also in Baghdad, hundreds of thousands of Sadrists, supporters the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, voted Friday to choose candidates to run in national elections in January, to restore Sadr's party's popularity, which was shaken in elections early this year.In what appears to be good news for Iraq and the US, the U.S. Defense Department says that it's canceling the deployment of a 3,500-member Army brigade to Iraq in January, amid "improving security."
It seems there will be a recount of votes in Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai says he may not accept the results, while his supporters began mass demonstrations against "foreign interference". What does this mean for Afghanistan and the US? It seems that John Kerry , the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told CBS News that President Obama's highly-anticipated decision on U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan hinges on the result of that country's presidential election.
US President Barack Obama continues to fail to make a decision on the future of Afghanistan. His advisers keep floating trial balloons and the one they seem to favor is being pushed by VP Joe Biden. Biden wants to pull troops out of Afghanistan and be satisfied with lobbing a few missiles from offshore. Toby Harnden in the Telegraph argues that Joe Biden is the "worrying rise of Barack Obama’s Mr Wrong". Newsweek and other government media quickly jumped on the bandwagon with articles like "Why Joe is No Joke".
Vice-President Joe Biden has been on the wrong side of history on all the big questions Want to know how to deal with a momentous issue of war or grand strategy? You could do a lot worse than check out what Vice-President Joe Biden thinks – and plump for the opposite.
The Obama administration seems to have time to open up a third front last week with Fox News, and to target Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Obama's brain, Rahm Emmanuel has taken on Fox news saying they are not a news organization because they have "perspective" (video here). Seems Obama has room on his plate to take on the most accurate, most watched news show on the air and the most listened to radio broadcasters, but he can't make a decision on Afghanistan. It also seems Obama has time, along with Maureen Dowd, to express contempt for the Constitution of these great United States.
As I wrote last week, the women and children continue to suffer at the hands of the Taliban. BlackFive shares a personal account "An added perspective on our debate, from an Afghan woman named Wazhma Frogh." If Obama would listen to the Generals and to this Afghan woman rather than Joe Biden, perhaps he would reach the appropriate conclusion. After all, he is the COMMANDER in chief... how about a little decisiveness Obama?
As an Afghan woman who for many years lived a life deprived of the most basic human rights, I find unbearable the thought of what will happen to the women of my country if it once again falls under the control of the insurgents and militants who now threaten it.
In 2001, when the war in Afghanistan began, the liberation of Afghan women was one of the most important justifications for military intervention. Has the world now changed its mind about Afghan women? Is it ready to let them once again be killed and tortured by militants? Does the world no longer believe in the principles it supported in 2001?
Handing over Afghanistan to those who intend to keep the country centuries behind most of the world -- to men who do not view women as human beings -- would not only call into doubt the global commitment to human rights, it would also raise questions about the commitment of Western democracies to such rights and to democratic values. (continue reading Washington Post)
The sands are shifting in the Middle East as well as here at home. Time is running out for some serious decisions on the future of America as well as the future of Afghanistan,... and Pakistan, Iran, Israel.
Let me not forget Israel. The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered at the UN Human Rights Council, 12th Special Session Debate on Goldstone Report, Geneva, 16 October 2009 by Col. Richard Kemp.
During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.
Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.
Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents.
The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights. (continue reading or watch video here, hat tip Israpundit)
Israel is not alone in this media deception, the US has been and continues to be a media target with whom the truth seems to be an illusive mist.
Our future is linked with the Middle East and we need a leader to make the right decisions. Unfortunately I do not believe Obama is up to the task. He seems to continue in campaign mode ... as the sand runs out.
Food for thought:
Here in the US members of the religion of peace are putting needles in pork and sausage, which they won't eat and the infidels will.