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USA And The Future Of The World

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USA And The Future Of The World
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/U...287,curpg-1.cms
Although the Treasury's designation notification of the four LeT principals chronicles the organization's terrorist activities in India going back to 1993, the immediate cause for the action appears to be fresh evidence linking it to insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Long story short, apparently the other jihadis are revolting against Osama for targeting US, which has caused jihadis around the world to be the object of US's ire. Now these jihadis want to abandon Osama so that the jihadis can continue their "peaceful" struggle in Palestine, kashmir and other places.

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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Unraveling

The jihadist revolt against bin Laden.

Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank,  The New Republic  Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Noman Benotman on a Libyan government private jet bound for Tripoli on a secret mission in January 2007.
Courtesy of Noman Benotman
Noman Benotman on a Libyan government private jet bound for Tripoli on a secret mission in January 2007.

Within a few minutes of Noman Benotman's arrival at the Kandahar guest house, Osama bin Laden came to welcome him. The journey from Kabul had been hard, 17 hours in a Toyota pickup truck bumping along what passed as the main highway to southern Afghanistan. It was the summer of 2000, and Benotman, then a leader of a group trying to overthrow the Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, had been invited by bin Laden to a conference of jihadists from around the Arab world, the first of its kind since Al Qaeda had moved to Afghanistan in 1996. Benotman, the scion of an aristocratic family marginalized by Qaddafi, had known bin Laden from their days fighting the Afghan communist government in the early '90s, a period when Benotman established himself as a leader of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

The night of Benotman's arrival, bin Laden threw a lavish banquet in the main hall of his compound, an unusual extravagance for the frugal Al Qaeda leader. As bin Laden circulated, making small talk, large dishes of rice and platters of whole roasted lamb were served to some 200 jihadists, many of whom had come from around the Middle East. "It was one big reunification," Benotman recalls. "The leaders of most of the jihadist groups in the Arab world were there and almost everybody within Al Qaeda."

Bin Laden was trying to win over other militant groups to the global jihad he had announced against the United States in 1998. Over the next five days, bin Laden and his top aides, including Ayman Al Zawahiri, met with a dozen or so jihadist leaders. They sat on the floor in a circle with large cushions arrayed around them to discuss the future of their movement. "This was a big strategy meeting," Benotman told one of us late last year, in his first account of the meeting to a reporter. "We talked about everything, where are we going, what are the lessons of the past twenty years."

Despite the warm welcome, Benotman surprised his hosts with a bleak assessment of their prospects. "I told them that the jihadist movement had failed. That we had gone from one disaster to another, like in Algeria, because we had not mobilized the people," recalls Benotman, referring to the Algerian civil war launched by jihadists in the '90s that left more than 100,000 dead and destroyed whatever local support the militants had once enjoyed. Benotman also told bin Laden that the Al Qaeda leader's decision to target the United States would only sabotage attempts by groups like Benotman's to overthrow the secular dictatorships in the Arab world. "We made a clear-cut request for him to stop his campaign against the United States because it was going to lead to nowhere," Benotman recalls, "but they laughed when I told them that America would attack the whole region if they launched another attack against it."

Benotman says that bin Laden tried to placate him with a promise: "I have one more operation, and after that I will quit"--an apparent reference to September 11. "I can't call this one back because that would demoralize the whole organization," Benotman remembers bin Laden saying.

After the attacks, Benotman, now living in London, resigned from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, realizing that the United States, in its war on terrorism, would differentiate little between Al Qaeda and his organization.



Benotman, however, did more than just retire. In January 2007, under a veil of secrecy, he flew to Tripoli in a private jet chartered by the Libyan government to try to persuade the imprisoned senior leadership of his former group to enter into peace negotiations with the regime. He was successful. This May, Benotman told us that the two parties could be as little as three months away from an agreement that would see the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group formally end its operations in Libya and denounce Al Qaeda's global jihad. At that point, the group would also publicly refute recent claims by Al Qaeda that the two organizations had joined forces.

This past November, Benotman went public with his own criticism of Al Qaeda in an open letter to Zawahiri, absorbed and well-received, he says, by the jihadist leaders in Tripoli. In the letter, Benotman recalled his Kandahar warnings and called on Al Qaeda to end all operations in Arab countries and in the West. The citizens of Western countries were blameless and should not be the target of terrorist attacks, argued Benotman, his refined English accent, smart suit, trimmed beard, and easygoing demeanor making it hard to imagine that he was once on the front lines in Afghanistan.

Although Benotman's public rebuke of Al Qaeda went unnoticed in the United States, it received wide attention in the Arabic press. In repudiating Al Qaeda, Benotman was adding his voice to a rising tide of anger in the Islamic world toward Al Qaeda and its affiliates, whose victims since September 11 have mostly been fellow Muslims. Significantly, he was also joining a larger group of religious scholars, former fighters, and militants who had once had great influence over Al Qaeda's leaders, and who--alarmed by the targeting of civilians in the West, the senseless killings in Muslim countries, and Al Qaeda's barbaric tactics in Iraq--have turned against the organization, many just in the past year.

After September 11, there was considerable fear in the West that we were headed for a clash of civilizations with the Muslim world led by bin Laden, who would entice masses of young Muslims into his jihadist movement. But the religious leaders and former militants who are now critiquing Al Qaeda's terrorist campaign--both in the Middle East and in Muslim enclaves in the West-- make that less likely. The potential repercussions for Al Qaeda cannot be underestimated because, unlike most mainstream Muslim leaders, Al Qaeda's new critics have the jihadist credentials to make their criticisms bite. "The starting point has to be that jihad is legitimate, otherwise no one will listen, " says Benotman, who sees the Iraqi insurgency as a legitimate jihad. "The reaction [to my criticism of Al Qaeda] has been beyond imagination. It has made the radicals very angry. They are very shaky about it."

Why have clerics and militants once considered allies by Al Qaeda's leaders turned against them? To a large extent, it is because Al Qaeda and its affiliates have increasingly adopted the doctrine of takfir, by which they claim the right to decide who is a "true" Muslim. Al Qaeda's Muslim critics know what results from this takfiri view: First, the radicals deem some Muslims apostates; after that, the radicals start killing them. This fatal progression happened in both Algeria and Egypt in the 1990s. It is now taking place even more dramatically in Iraq, where Al Qaeda's suicide bombers have killed more than 10,000 Iraqis, most of them targeted simply for being Shia. Recently, Al Qaeda in Iraq has turned its fire on Sunnis who oppose its diktats, a fact not lost on the Islamic world's Sunni majority.

Additionally, Al Qaeda and its affiliates have killed thousands of Muslim civilians elsewhere since September 11: hundreds of ordinary Afghans killed every year by the Taliban, dozens of Saudis killed by terrorists since 2003, scores of Jordanians massacred at a wedding at a U.S. hotel in Amman in November 2005. Even those sympathetic to Al Qaeda have started to notice. "Excuse me Mr. Zawahiri but who is it who is killing with Your Excellency's blessing, the innocents in Baghdad, Morocco and Algeria?" one supporter asked in an online Q&A with Al Qaeda's deputy leader in April that was posted widely on jihadist websites. All this has created a dawning recognition among Muslims that the ideological virus that unleashed September 11 and the terrorist attacks in London and Madrid is the same virus now wreaking havoc in the Muslim world.



Two months before Benotman's letter to Zawahiri was publicized in the Arab press, Al Qaeda received a blow from one of bin Laden's erstwhile heroes, Sheikh Salman Al Oudah, a Saudi religious scholar. Around the sixth anniversary of September 11, Al Oudah addressed Al Qaeda's leader on MBC, a widely watched Middle East TV network: "My brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocent people, children, elderly, and women have been killed ... in the name of Al Qaeda? Will you be happy to meet God Almighty carrying the burden of these hundreds of thousands or millions [of victims] on your back?"

What was noteworthy about Al Oudah's statement was that it was not simply a condemnation of terrorism, or even of September 11, but that it was a personal rebuke, which clerics in the Muslim world have shied away from. In Saudi Arabia in February, one of us met with Al Oudah, who rarely speaks to Western reporters. Dressed in the long black robe fringed with gold that is worn by those accorded respect in Saudi society, Al Oudah recalled meeting with bin Laden--a "simple man without scholarly religious credentials, an attractive personality who spoke well," he said--in the northern Saudi region of Qassim in 1990. Al Oudah explained that he had criticized Al Qaeda for years but until now had not directed it at bin Laden himself: "Most religious scholars have directed criticism at acts of terrorism, not a particular person. ... I don't expect a positive effect on bin Laden personally as a result of my statement. It's really a message to his followers."

Al Oudah's rebuke was also significant because he is considered one of the fathers of the Sahwa, the fundamentalist awakening movement that swept through Saudi Arabia in the '80s. His sermons against the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia following Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait helped turn bin Laden against the United States. And bin Laden told one of us in 1997 that Al Oudah's 1994 imprisonment by the Saudi regime was one of the reasons he was calling for attacks on U.S. targets. Al Oudah is also one of 26 Saudi clerics who, in 2004, handed down a religious ruling urging Iraqis to fight the U.S. occupation of their country. He is, in short, not someone Al Qaeda can paint as an American sympathizer or a tool of the Saudi government.

Tellingly, Al Qaeda has not responded to Al Oudah's critique, but the research organization Political Islam Online tracked postings on six Islamist websites and the websites of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya TV networks in the week after Al Oudah's statements; it found that more than two-thirds of respondents reacted favorably. Al Oudah's large youth following in the Muslim world has helped his anti-Al Qaeda message resonate. In 2006, for instance, he addressed a gathering of around 20,000 young British Muslims in London's East End. "Oudah is well known by all the youth. It's almost a celebrity culture out there. ... He has definitely helped to offset Al Qaeda's rhetoric," one young imam told us.

More doubt about Al Qaeda was planted in the Muslim world when Sayyid Imam Al Sharif, the ideological godfather of Al Qaeda, sensationally withdrew his support in a book written last year from his prison cell in Cairo. Al Sharif, generally known as "Dr. Fadl," was an architect of the doctrine of takfir, arguing that Muslims who did not support armed jihad or who participated in elections were kuffar, unbelievers. Although Dr. Fadl never explicitly called for such individuals to be killed, his takfiri treatises from 1988 and 1993 gave theological cover to jihadists targeting civilians.

Dr. Fadl was also Zawahiri's mentor. Like his protégé, he is a skilled surgeon and moved in militant circles when he was a member of Cairo University's medical faculty in the '70s. In 1981, when Anwar Sadat was assassinated and Zawahiri was jailed in connection with the plot, Dr. Fadl fled to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he operated on wounded mujahedin fighting the Soviets. After Zawahiri's release from jail, he joined Dr. Fadl in Peshawar, where they established a new branch of the "Jihad group" that would later morph into Al Qaeda. Osama Rushdi, a former Egyptian jihadist then living in Peshawar, recalls that there was little doubt about Dr. Fadl's importance: "He was like the big boss in the Mafia in Chicago." And bin Laden also owed a deeply personal debt to Dr. Fadl; in Sudan in 1993, the doctor operated on Al Qaeda's leader after he was hurt in an assassination attempt.

So it was an unwelcome surprise for Al Qaeda's leaders when Dr. Fadl's new book, Rationalization of Jihad, was serialized in an independent Egyptian newspaper in November. The incentive for writing the book, he explained, was that "jihad ... was blemished with grave Sharia violations during recent years. ... [N]ow there are those who kill hundreds, including women and children, Muslims and non Muslims in the name of Jihad!" Dr Fadl ruled that Al Qaeda's bombings in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere were illegitimate and that terrorism against civilians in Western countries was wrong. He also took on Al Qaeda's leaders directly in an interview with the Al Hayat newspaper. "Zawahiri and his Emir bin Laden [are] extremely immoral," he said. "I have spoken about this in order to warn the youth against them, youth who are seduced by them, and don't know them."

Dr. Fadl's harsh words attracted attention throughout the Arabic-speaking world; even a majority of Zawahiri's own Jihad group jailed in Egyptian prisons signed on and promised to end their armed struggle. In December, Zawahiri released an audiotape lambasting his former mentor, accusing him of being in league with the "bloodthirsty betrayer" Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak; and, in a 200-page book titled The Exoneration, published in March, he replied at greater length, portraying Dr. Fadl as a prisoner trying to curry favor with Egypt's security services and the author of "a desperate attempt (under American sponsorship) to confront the high tide of the jihadist awakening."



Ultimately, the ideological battle against Al Qaeda in the West may be won in places such as Leyton and Walthamstow, largely Muslim enclaves in east London, whose residents included five of the eight alleged British Al Qaeda operatives currently on trial for plotting to bring down U.S.-bound passenger jets in 2006. It is in Britain that many leaders of the jihadist movement have settled as political refugees, and "Londonistan" has long been a key barometer of future Islamist trends. There are probably more supporters of Al Qaeda in Britain than any other Western country, and, because most British Muslims are of Pakistani origin, British militants easily can obtain terrorist training in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Al Qaeda's main operational hub since September 11. And now, because it is difficult for Al Qaeda to send Middle Eastern passport holders to the United States, the organization has particularly targeted radicalized Muslims in Britain for recruitment. So the nexus between militant British Muslims, Pakistan, and Al Qaeda has become the leading terrorist threat to the United States.

Over the last half-year, we have made several trips to London to interview militants who have defected from Al Qaeda, retired mujahedin, Muslim community leaders, and members of the security services. Most say that, when Al Qaeda's bombs went off in London in 2005, sympathy for the terrorists evaporated.

In Leyton, the neighborhood mosque is on the main road, a street of terraced houses, halal food joints, and South Asian hairdressers. Around 1,000 people attend Friday prayers there each week.

Usama Hassan, one of the imams at the mosque, has a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from Imperial College in London, read theoretical physics at Cambridge, and now teaches at Middlesex University. But he also trained in a jihadist camp in Afghanistan in the '90s and, until a few years ago, was openly supportive of bin Laden. And, in another unusual twist, he is now one of the most prominent critics of Al Qaeda. Over several cups of Earl Grey in the tea room next to the mosque, Hassan--loquacious and intelligent, every bit the university lecturer--explained how he had switched sides.

Raised in London by Pakistani parents, Hassan arrived in Cambridge in 1989 and, feeling culturally isolated, fell in with Jamiat Ihyaa Minhaaj Al Sunnah (JIMAS), a student organization then supportive of jihads in Palestine, Kashmir, and Afghanistan. In December 1990, Hassan traveled to Afghanistan, where he briefly attended an Arab jihadist camp. He was shown how to use Kalashnikovs and M-16s and was taken to the front lines, where a shell landed near his group's position. "My feeling was, if I was killed, then brilliant, I would be a martyr," he recalls. Later, as a post-graduate student in London, Hassan played a lead role in the student Islamic Society, then a hotbed of radical activism. "At the time I was very anti-American. ... It was all black and white for us. I used to be impressed with bin Laden. There was no other leadership in the Muslim world standing up for Muslims." When September 11 happened, Hassan says the view in his circle was that "Al Qaeda had given one back to George Bush."

Still, as Al Qaeda continued to target civilians for attacks, Hassan began to rethink. His employment by an artificial intelligence consulting firm also integrated him back toward mainstream British life. "It was a slow process and involved a lot of soul-searching. ... Over time, I became convinced that bin Laden was dangerous and an extremist." The July 2005 bombings in London were the clincher. "I was devastated by the attack," he says. "My feeling was, how dare they attack my city."

Three days after the London bombings, the Leyton mosque held an emergency meeting; about 300 people attended. "We explained that these acts were evil, that they were haram," recalls Hassan. It was not the easiest of crowds; one youngster stormed out, shouting, "As far as I'm concerned, fifty dead kuffar is not a problem."

In Friday sermons since then, Hassan says that he has hammered home the difference between legitimate jihad and terrorism, despite a death threat from pro-Al Qaeda militants: "I think I'm listened to by the young because I have street cred from having spent time in a [jihadist] training camp. ... Jihadist experience is especially important for young kids because otherwise they tend to think he is just a sell-out who is a lot of talk." This spring, Hassan helped launch the Quilliam Foundation, an organization set up by former Islamist extremists to counter radicalism by making speeches to young Muslims in Great Britain about how they had been duped into embracing hatred of the West.



Such counter-radicalization efforts will help lower the pool of potential recruits for Al Qaeda--the only way the organization can be defeated in the long term. But the reality facing British counterterrorism officials, such as Detective Inspector Robert Lambert, the recently departed head of the Metropolitan police's Muslim Contact Unit, is that "Al Qaeda values dozens of recruits more than hundreds of supporters." In order to target the most radical extremists, the Metropolitan police have backed the efforts of a Muslim community group, the Active Change Foundation, based around a gym in Walthamstow run by Hanif and Imtiaz Qadir, two brothers of Kashmiri descent.

Hanif Qadir, now 42, revealed to us that he himself was recruited by Al Qaeda after the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Jihadist recruiters in east London, no doubt noting wealth, sought out Qadir, who had earned enough money running a car repair shop to buy a Rolls-Royce and live in some style. "The guy who handled me was a Syrian called Abu Sufiyan. ... I'm sure he was from Al Qaeda," recalls Qadir. "He was good at telling you what you wanted to hear ... he touched all my emotional buttons." Qadir agreed to join. He drew up a will and, in December 2002, bought a first-class ticket to Pakistan. But, as the truck he was in crossed the dirt roads into Afghanistan, a chance occurrence changed his life: A truck, carrying wounded fighters, approached them from the other direction. Among them was a young Punjabi boy whose white robes were stained with blood. "These are evil people," another of the wounded shouted. "[W]e came here to fight jihad, but they are just using us as cannon fodder." Qadir's truckload of wannabe jihadists made a u-turn. "That kid, he was like an angel. He kicked me back into reality," recalls Qadir. "When I landed back in the U.K., I wanted to find [the Al Qaeda recruiters] and cut their heads off."

Qadir never found them, but he became determined to stop others like him from being recruited. In 2004, he and his brother opened the gym and community center in the Walthamstow neighborhood of east London. Soon, hundreds of young Muslims were attending.

The scale of the challenge was quickly clear. Soon after the center opened, he got wind that pro-Al Qaeda militants were secretly booking rooms there for their meetings. Worse, in the summer of 2006, several of those arrested in connection with the Al Qaeda airlines plot, including alleged ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali, were found to have attended his gym. But, rather than shutting the radicals out, Qadir continued to allow them to meet. "Sometimes our youngsters get into debates with these people, for example on jihad, and make them look ridiculous in front of their followers," he says. Qadir believes his approach is finally starting to pay off: "The extremists are burning out: The number of radicals in Walthamstow is diminishing, not growing."

At another mosque in London, the Muslim Brotherhood joined forces with the British authorities to reclaim the institution from pro-Al Qaeda militants. The Brotherhood is the most powerful Islamist group in the Arab world, with chapters throughout Europe and North America. It has long opposed Al Qaeda's jihad, a stance that so angered Zawahiri that he published a book, The Bitter Harvest, condemning the organization in 1991. From the late '90s, the Finsbury Park mosque in London had been dominated by the pro-Al Qaeda cleric Abu Hamza Al Masri. During that time, few selfrespecting jihadists traveling through London passed up the free accommodation in its basement. Visitors included Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "twentieth hijacker" of the September 11 plot, and Richard Reid, who tried to down a U.S.-bound airliner with a shoe bomb in December 2001.

In 2003, British police shut the mosque, but Abu Hamza's followers continued to have a strong presence in the area. In February 2005, police helped broker a deal for the mosque to re-open under the leadership of the local chapter of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), a Muslim Brotherhood group. No sooner had the moderates gained control of the Finsbury Park mosque than they were confronted by Abu Hamza's angry followers, led by the pugnacious Atilla Ahmet, who calls himself "the number-one Al Qaeda in Europe" and who, in October, pled guilty to providing British Muslims with terrorist training. "They brought sticks and knives with them," recalls Kamal El Helbawy, spokesman for the new trustees at the mosque.

Undeterred, a few days later Helbawy gave the first Friday sermon, explaining that this was a new start for the mosque and stressing how important it was for Muslims to live in harmony with their neighbors. Detective Inspector Lambert, the Metropolitan police officer who helped broker the takeover, says that, because of its social welfare work and its track record supporting the Palestinian cause, the MAB has "big street cred in the area and [has] made an impact on Abu Hamza's young followers."

Salman Al Oudah, the Saudi preacher, spoke at the re-opened mosque in 2006, as has Abdullah Anas, an Algerian former mujahedin fighter based in London who has been a critic of Al Qaeda for years. Anas worked with bin Laden in Pakistan during the '80s, fought in Afghanistan for almost a decade against the communists, and married the daughter of a Palestinian cleric who is still lionized as the spiritual godfather of the jihadist movement, the most radical wing of which would morph into Al Qaeda. Anas told us that his critiques of Al Qaeda were not well-received in 2003, but that, "in the last two or three years, there has been a change in opinion," citing the Madrid and London bombings as turning points. In 2006, Anas went public with his criticisms of Al Qaeda, in an interview with Asharq Al Awsat, one of the leading newspapers in the Arab world, criticizing the London subway bombings as "criminal deeds ... prohibited by the Sharia."

Detective Inspector Lambert told us preachers like Anas and Al Oudah "can't be discounted. ... When you have Muslim leaders who are attacked both by Al Qaeda supporters and by commentators who oppose engagement [with Islamists], then they are in a useful position."



In December, Al Qaeda's campaign of violence reached new depths in the eyes of many Muslims, with a plot to launch attacks in Saudi Arabia while millions were gathered for the Hajj. Saudi security services arrested 28 Al Qaeda militants in Mecca, Medina, and Riyadh, whose targets allegedly included religious leaders critical of Al Qaeda, among them the Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abd Al Aziz Al Sheikh, who responded to the plot by ruling that Al Qaeda operatives should be punished by execution, crucifixion, or exile. Plotting such attacks during the Hajj could not have been more counterproductive to Al Qaeda's cause, says Abdullah Anas, who was making the pilgrimage to Mecca himself. "People over there ... were very angry. The feeling was, how was it possible for Muslims to do that? I still can't quite believe it myself. The mood was one of shock, real shock."

Is Al Qaeda going to dissipate as a result of the criticism from its former mentors and allies? Despite the recent internal criticism, probably not in the short term. As one of us reported in The New Republic early last year, Al Qaeda, on the verge of defeat in 2002, has regrouped and is now able to launch significant terrorist operations in Europe ("Where You Bin?" January 29, 2007). And, last summer, U.S. intelligence agencies judged that Al Qaeda had "regenerated its [U.S.] Homeland attack capability" in Pakistan's tribal areas. Since then, Al Qaeda and the Taliban have only entrenched their position further, launching a record number of suicide attacks in Pakistan in the past year. Afghanistan, Algeria, and Iraq also saw record numbers of suicide attacks in 2007 (though the group's capabilities have deteriorated in Iraq of late). Meanwhile, Al Qaeda is still able to find recruits in the West. In November, Jonathan Evans, the head of Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI5, said that record numbers of U.K. residents are now supportive of Al Qaeda, with around 2,000 posing a "direct threat to national security and public safety." That means that Al Qaeda will threaten the United States and its allies for many years to come.

However, encoded in the DNA of apocalyptic jihadist groups like Al Qaeda are the seeds of their own long-term destruction: Their victims are often Muslim civilians; they don't offer a positive vision of the future (but rather the prospect of Taliban-style regimes from Morocco to Indonesia); they keep expanding their list of enemies, including any Muslim who doesn't precisely share their world view; and they seem incapable of becoming politically successful movements because their ideology prevents them from making the real-world compromises that would allow them to engage in genuine politics.

Which means that the repudiation of Al Qaeda's leaders by its former religious, military, and political guides will help hasten the implosion of the jihadist terrorist movement. As Churchill remarked after the battle of El Alamein in 1942, which he saw as turning the tide in World War II, "[T]his is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Noman Benotman, bin Laden's Libyan former companion-in-arms, assesses that Al Qaeda's recent resurgence, which he says has been fueled by the Iraq war, will not last. "There may be a wave of violence right now, but ... in five years, Al Qaeda will be more isolated than ever. No one will give a toss about them." And, given the religio-ideological basis of Al Qaeda's jihad, the religious condemnation now being offered by scholars and fighters once close to the organization is arguably the most important development in stopping the group's spread since September 11. Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell tacitly acknowledged this in his yearly report to Congress in February, when he testified that, "Over the past year, a number of religious leaders and fellow extremists who once had significant influence with Al Qaeda have publicly criticized it and its affiliates for the use of violent tactics."

Most of these clerics and former militants, of course, have not suddenly switched to particularly progressive forms of Islam or fallen in love with the United States (all those we talked to saw the Iraqi insurgency as a defensive jihad), but their anti-Al Qaeda positions are making Americans safer. If this is a war of ideas, it is their ideas, not the West's, that matter. The U.S. government neither has the credibility nor the Islamic knowledge to effectively debate Al Qaeda's leaders, but the clerics and militants who have turned against them do. Juan Zarate, a former federal prosecutor and a key counterterrorism adviser to President Bush, acknowledged as much in a speech in April when he said, "These challenges from within Muslim communities and even extremist circles will be insurmountable at the end of the day for Al Qaeda."

These new critics, in concert with mainstream Muslim leaders, have created a powerful coalition countering Al Qaeda's ideology. According to Pew polls, support for Al Qaeda has been dropping around the Muslim world in recent years. The numbers supporting suicide bombings in Indonesia, Lebanon, and Bangladesh, for instance, have dropped by half or more in the last five years. In Saudi Arabia, only 10 percent now have a favorable view of Al Qaeda, according to a December poll by Terror Free Tomorrow, a Washington-based think tank. Following a wave of suicide attacks in Pakistan in the past year, support for suicide operations amongst Pakistanis has dropped to 9 percent (it was 33 percent five years ago), while favorable views of bin Laden in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, around where he is believed to be hiding, have plummeted to 4 percent from 70 percent since August 2007.

Unsurprisingly, Al Qaeda's leaders have been thrown on the defensive. In December, bin Laden released a tape that stressed that "the Muslim victims who fall during the operations against the infidel Crusaders ... are not the intended targets." Bin Laden warned the former mujahedin now turning on Al Qaeda that, whatever their track records as jihadists, they had now committed one of the "nullifiers of Islam," which is helping the "infidels against the Muslims."

Kamal El Helbawy, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who helped bring in moderates at the Finsbury Park mosque in London, believes that Al Qaeda's days may be numbered: "No government, no police force, is achieving what these [religious] scholars are achieving. To defeat terrorism, to convince the radicals ... you have to persuade them that theirs is not the path to paradise."

Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank are research fellows at New York University's Center on Law and Security. Peter Bergen is also a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of The Osama Bin Laden I Know.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Next 3-4 months we should watch couple of thing in US -

1) Pressure from GOP on Democrat Congress to open offshore drilling
2) President will keep veto pen active till some news of drilling whether Alaska or offshore
3) Timing of opening of oil reserve. ( My guess after Democrat convention and before GOP). It will go well with Olympics, I mean it will put this games in loss again, and financial burden on China.
4) Couple of banks will collapse.
5) More Hedge fund manager will be behind bar.
<!--emo&:blow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blow.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blow.gif' /><!--endemo--> WASHINGTON: An article of impeachment filed against President George W. Bush over the Iraq war will get a committee hearing but not on whether to remove Bush from office.

The House of Representatives voted 238-180 on Tuesday to send to the Judiciary Committee the article of impeachment challenging Bush's reasoning for taking the country to war. The same committee buried a previous article filed by Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who also offered the new article.
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/P...how/3239139.cms


Of U.S. Children Under 5, Nearly Half Are Minorities

<img src='http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2006/05/10/GR2006051000174.gif' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

<b>Defense chief may scale back Pentagon's spy work</b>
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...8073100531&pos=



Gates Sees Terrorism Remaining Enemy No. 1
A soldier in Iraq guards suspected terrorists, a duty becoming the norm.
A soldier in Iraq guards suspected terrorists, a duty becoming the norm. (By Maya Alleruzzo -- Associated Press)

Gates singles out Iran and North Korea as threatening "international order" and meriting U.S. concern; his strategy also warns about potential threats from China and Russia, and he urges the United States to build "collaborative and cooperative relationships" with them while hedging against their increasing military capabilities. <span style='color:blue'>Gates also points to India as an ally he hopes will "assume greater responsibility as a stakeholder in the international system, commensurate with its growing economic, military, and soft power."</span>

Tomgram: Frida Berrigan,
The Pentagon Takes Over
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174936/fri...agon_takes_over


Here are words to pin to the Bush years like a wilting corsage: "We don't know what we paid for." That's a quote from Mary Ugone, the Defense Department's deputy inspector general for auditing, concerning massive Pentagon payments made during the occupation and war in Iraq for which there is no existing (or grossly inadequate) documentation. In fact, according to the inspector general for the Defense Department, "the Pentagon cannot account for almost $15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort." An internal audit of $8 billion that the Pentagon paid out to U.S. and Iraqi private contractors found that "nearly every transaction failed to comply with federal laws or regulations aimed at preventing fraud, in some cases lacking even basic invoices explaining how the money was spent."

This is, admittedly, chump change for the Pentagon in the age of Bush. And even when "reform" is attempted, the medicine is often worse than the disease. Congressional critics and others have, for instance, accused the Houston-based private contractor KBR, formerly a division of Halliburton, of "wasteful spending and mismanagement and of exploiting its political ties to Vice President Dick Cheney" in fulfilling enormous contracts to support U.S. troops in Iraq. Now, the Pentagon is planning to make amends by dividing the latest contract for food, shelter, and basic services in Iraq between KBR and two other large contractors, Fluor Corporation and DynCorp International. According to the New York Times, "[T]he new three-company deal could actually result in higher costs for American taxpayers and weak oversight by the military."

These telling details rose last week from the subterranean depths of a bloated Bush-era Pentagon. As Frida Berrigan indicates in one of the more important pieces Tomdispatch has posted, the Pentagon's massive expansion on just about every front during George W. Bush's two terms in office may be the greatest story never told of our time. It might, in fact, be the most important American story of the new century and, while you can find many of its disparate parts in your daily papers, the mainstream media has yet to offer a significant overview of the Pentagon in our time. This suggests a great deal about what isn't being dealt with in our world. How, for instance, is it possible to have a presidential election campaign that goes on for years in which the size of the Pentagon never comes up as an issue (unless the candidates are all plunking for an expansion of American troop strength)?

As part of its ongoing consideration of the legacy Bush is leaving the American people, Tomdispatch today launches a three-part exploration of the Pentagon's role in the Bush years. (The other two parts will appear in the coming months.) The series is in the able hands of Frida Berrigan and Bill Hartung, military experts at the New America Foundation's Arms and Security Initiative. It is not to be missed. Tom

Entrenched, Embedded, and Here to Stay The Pentagon's Expansion Will Be Bush's Lasting Legacy

VI. Tendencies in American
H.L. Mencken (1880–1956).

This fellow also has an essay "The Anglo-Saxons" which is supposed to be quite a shocker. In fact wikipedia felt compelled to argue that his argumnts are satirical and jestful rather than in good faith.
Al-Quds Newspaper, Palestine
<b>Rice: America Has No Permanent Enemy: Will Arab Moderates Learn</b>???
L'Actualité, France
<b>Obama Unsettled</b>
<b>
Barack Obama could not have hoped for a better campaign. As strong in his foreign policy agenda as on domestic issues such as the economic crisis, his path to the White House almost seemed set. Conscious of the persistent racist undertones remaining in his country, he almost even managed to make us forget he is black.</b>
link<b>Condoleezza Rice’s prescription for a future of disaster and chaos
A recent article by the US secretary of state proposes more of the same approaches used over the last eight years, bespeaking an inability to learn from mistakes
</b>
By J. Michael Cole
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>
In all, Rice’s article bespeaks a total inability to acknowledge, and learn from, the many mistakes the Bush administration committed over the past eight years. It proposes more of the same, a prescription that could only come from someone who has espoused the ideological fantasies of US neoconservatives and the Washington elite which, backed by powerful lobbies, have given the executive free rein and made a mockery of the democracy that — in Rice’s worldview — purportedly would empower people everywhere and make our world safer.
</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
As frost pointed out by NS Rajaram, Western role in this hutu-tutsi affair has a direct parallel in India with Aryan-Dravidian theories.

<b>Genocide report accuses ex-French president</b> (Rwanda)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) -- Rwanda accused senior French officials Tuesday of involvement in the 1994 genocide that killed 800,000 people, naming late President Francois Mitterrand and former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin among others.

France's Foreign Ministry said officials were still poring over the accusations, which were listed in a report, and they did not immediately have a comment.

Rwanda's government and genocide survivor organizations have often accused France of training and arming the militias and former government troops who led the genocide. But the latest accusations were the most detailed and point to top-level French officials.

During the genocide, which lasted from April to July 1994, Hutu militias slaughtered minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.

<b>"French soldiers themselves directly were involved in assassinations of Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis," according to the Rwandan report, which was compiled by a government-appointed team of investigators from the Justice Ministry. "French soldiers committed many rapes, specifically of Tutsi women."</b>

Mitterrand and Villepin appear on a list of dozens of names at the end of the document, accused of giving French support of "a political, military, diplomatic and logistic nature."

French officials have repeatedly denied that France aided or directed the Hutu forces.

Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said his country had no immediate plans to issue indictments, but the report "could be the basis for potential charges against individuals or the state."

In 1998, a French parliamentary panel absolved France of responsibility in the slaughter.
But the lawmakers said that successive French governments had given diplomatic and military support to Rwanda's extremist government between 1990 and 1994.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Can India save the world?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->By default, the weight of global leadership may fall on India’s shoulders .Fortunately, India is well-qualified to provide such leadership. Its credentials as the world’s largest democracy; its open, tolerant and inclusive culture; its unique geopolitical and cultural position as a bridge between East and West provides it a unique opportunity to provide the leadership for forging new forms of global governance that spaceship Earth desperately needs as it sails into the future.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>India and a new U.S. game in East Asia</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany
<b>Renaissance of Global Power Struggle</b>
By Matthias Rueb
Translated By Christiane Thieme
May 26, 2008
In the United States, a geostrategic discussion has resulted in two major conclusions: The “Pacific Age” has begun, and the story is still far from being over. The two thoughts point directly at China. Both the field of science and politics agree that the Pacific world is shaping the 21st century, and that the political and economic focus of American foreign relations has slowly shifted from well-known Atlantic partners in Europe to still unknown giants in Asia.The dynamics of the political, economic, and demographic development in Asia requires an ever-increasing American attention and also offers more to the U.S. than does the somehow dowdy development in a, in many respects stagnant, Europe. Less explicit, however, is the magnitude of these new relations with the Pacific world, with the democratic partner India, with the medium-sized newly industrializing countries in this region, and especially with the enormous empire China.New Edition of the “Big World Game”By the end of the Cold War, hope grew that world history would turn into some sort of historical entropy, in which all states would have a democratic and free-market focus and in which a mutual exchange would guarantee the prosperity and security of their citizens. However, by now, this hope has evaporated. Instead, world politics seem to be marked increasingly by a vivid competition between existing and rising global powers – a kind of renaissance of the global power struggle of the late 19th and early 20th century. One additional aspect of this new edition of the “Big World Game” is that national autocracy is growing more and more popular, as long as economic growth and domestic stability can be guaranteed.Based on these recent world political developments, the crucial question asked by American foreign policy makers if China is a strategic partner or a potential rival cannot be answered easily. During President Hu Jintao’s first visit in Washington in April of 2006, host George W. Bush summarized the situation as following:”China is a very important strategic friend and in many respects competes with us.” As partners in trade, China and the U.S. are so deeply interconnected that they are dependent on each other. American consumers are the eager buyers of an increasing variety of goods from Chinese production. With its large trade surplus, China finances a large chunk of the American national debt.Open confrontations are unusualAmerican investments as well as exports to China further strengthen the two nations’ interdependence. China’s steady economic growth depends heavily on the exports to and exchange with America. And because a consistent economic growth is China’s major priority, Peking is often hesitant to evoke an open confrontation with Washington on international terrain.For example, China prefers to abstain from voting in the UN Security Council. Politically speaking, the economic giant stays in its corner for now. In general, the U.S. and China mostly agree on foreign political actions such as the attempt to denuclearize North Korea with diplomatic means.The rivalry between the incumbent and the aspiring superpower is first and foremost manifest in the current Taiwan situation. For years, China has been upgrading its navy, purchasing cruisers and submarines, and making significant progress in weapon technology.

The White House and the Pentagon observe these activities with growing concern, especially because Peking is concealing the actual expenditures for its armed forces.Military play of musclesWhile Washington militarily guarantees the factual independence of Taiwan, Peking considers Taiwan merely a renegade province. By demonstrating its military might in this affair, China took a first step toward the creation of a maritime zone of influence that would symbolize China’s claim of power as well as secure its seafaring routes. It is projected that this zone will quickly expand to not only include the South and East Chinese and the Yellow Sea, but also the majority of the North Pacific Ocean. The open rivalry between Peking and Washington is also evident in the fight for natural resources, in which China not only focuses on the Near East, but also keeps a close eye on Latin America and Africa. The struggle furthermore underscores the drastic contradiction between American and Chinese world views. The painful experience of September 11, 2001 has taught Washington that stability, security, and prosperity around the world are unachievable in the long run without democracy. After the abatement of the democratic rebellion of 1989 in Tiananmen, China drew the very contrary conclusion that stability, security, and prosperity always take priority over potentially peace disturbing democracy.Its capitalistic success on the domestic and international level reinforces China’s position. On the global stage, China acts just as it does at home: stability first, democracy last. And it is this attitude that could be the potential source for an epic war with a superpower whose mission it is to spread democracy and human rights throughout the world.

Germany - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Original Article (German)

Renaissance of Global Power Struggle

In the United States, a geostrategic discussion has resulted in two major conclusions: The “Pacific Age” has begun, and the story is still far from being over. The two thoughts point directly at China. Both the field of science and politics agree that the Pacific world is shaping the 21st century, and that the political and economic focus of American foreign relations has slowly shifted from well-known Atlantic partners in Europe to still unknown giants in Asia.

The dynamics of the political, economic, and demographic development in Asia requires an ever-increasing American attention and also offers more to the U.S. than does the somehow dowdy development in a, in many respects stagnant, Europe. Less explicit, however, is the magnitude of these new relations with the Pacific world, with the democratic partner India, with the medium-sized newly industrializing countries in this region, and especially with the enormous empire China.

New Edition of the “Big World Game”

By the end of the Cold War, hope grew that world history would turn into some sort of historical entropy, in which all states would have a democratic and free-market focus and in which a mutual exchange would guarantee the prosperity and security of their citizens. However, by now, this hope has evaporated. Instead, world politics seem to be marked increasingly by a vivid competition between existing and rising global powers – a kind of renaissance of the global power struggle of the late 19th and early 20th century. One additional aspect of this new edition of the “Big World Game” is that national autocracy is growing more and more popular, as long as economic growth and domestic stability can be guaranteed.

Based on these recent world political developments, the crucial question asked by American foreign policy makers if China is a strategic partner or a potential rival cannot be answered easily. During President Hu Jintao’s first visit in Washington in April of 2006, host George W. Bush summarized the situation as following:”China is a very important strategic friend and in many respects competes with us.”

As partners in trade, China and the U.S. are so deeply interconnected that they are dependent on each other. American consumers are the eager buyers of an increasing variety of goods from Chinese production. With its large trade surplus, China finances a large chunk of the American national debt.

Open confrontations are unusual

American investments as well as exports to China further strengthen the two nations’ interdependence. China’s steady economic growth depends heavily on the exports to and exchange with America. And because a consistent economic growth is China’s major priority, Peking is often hesitant to evoke an open confrontation with Washington on international terrain.

For example, China prefers to abstain from voting in the UN Security Council. Politically speaking, the economic giant stays in its corner for now. In general, the U.S. and China mostly agree on foreign political actions such as the attempt to denuclearize North Korea with diplomatic means.

The rivalry between the incumbent and the aspiring superpower is first and foremost manifest in the current Taiwan situation. For years, China has been upgrading its navy, purchasing cruisers and submarines, and making significant progress in weapon technology. The White House and the Pentagon observe these activities with growing concern, especially because Peking is concealing the actual expenditures for its armed forces.

Military play of muscles

While Washington militarily guarantees the factual independence of Taiwan, Peking considers Taiwan merely a renegade province. By demonstrating its military might in this affair, China took a first step toward the creation of a maritime zone of influence that would symbolize China’s claim of power as well as secure its seafaring routes. It is projected that this zone will quickly expand to not only include the South and East Chinese and the Yellow Sea, but also the majority of the North Pacific Ocean.
<b>
The open rivalry between Peking and Washington is also evident in the fight for natural resources, in which China not only focuses on the Near East, but also keeps a close eye on Latin America and Africa. </b>The struggle furthermore underscores the drastic contradiction between American and Chinese world views. The painful experience of September 11, 2001 has taught Washington that stability, security, and prosperity around the world are unachievable in the long run without democracy. After the abatement of the democratic rebellion of 1989 in Tiananmen, China drew the very contrary conclusion that stability, security, and prosperity always take priority over potentially peace disturbing democracy.

Its capitalistic success on the domestic and international level reinforces China’s position. On the global stage, China acts just as it does at home: stability first, democracy last. And it is this attitude that could be the potential source for an epic war with a superpower whose mission it is to spread democracy and human rights throughout the world.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Argen Press, Argentina
Radicalization of America’s Right
The US has unilaterally divided the world into 5 regions (including China and Russia) under the guardianship of 5 permanent military commands. This demonstrates the existence of a plan for global domination beyond the fiction of so-called conspiracy theories.

After the end of 2008, there will be 6 regions, since USAFRICOM has been created especially for Africa (Egypt excepted) (1).

Each command constitutes a control center of military operations, with a communications and coordination structure activated and ready for action as soon as a conflict is present, which according to the US President and the Secretary of Defense demand the massive participation of their combat forces in that region.

The so-called ‘Area of Responsibility’ of the South Command (USSOUTHCOM), based in Miami, Florida, covers 31 countries in the Caribbean, part of Central America, and all of South America.

In order to reinforce its presence in its waters (oceans, waterfronts and rivers) and to monitor operations, just as the Fifth Fleet does in the Persian Gulf, the US will reactivate the Fourth Naval Fleet (which during World War II covered the Caribbean area and the South Atlantic, and was deactivated in 1949). Now it will have submarines and ships with nuclear and conventional weapons, such as the nuclear USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier or USS George H.W. Bush (which will go into operation in 2009) and in a few years with USS Gerald Ford, the first aircraft carrier with stealth technology invisible to radar, electromagnetic catapults to launch planes, and possibly non conventional cannons of such type. All these are manufactured by one of the largest multinationals of the military industrial complex, Northrop Grumman, one of the principal motors of the US economy and largest employment provider.

It is estimated that the military establishment provides employment and financial support directly or indirectly to at least 60 million voters in the US.

Washington is worried about the looming internal recession, and on the other hand monitors the Venezuelan self-determination (which it considers to be belligerence), the Latin American integration process, the development of Brazil as a potential regional nuclear power, and the possible reactivity spots such as Cuba and Panama.  

In the Middle East, Iran has been surrounded by countries invaded by or collaborating with the US, or which it makes sure will not become hostile, such as Turkmenistan (which has the fifth largest gas reserves of any nation in the world), with relations with Russia, the EU and Iran.

The surprise and the lessons learned in Iraq can show that G.W. Bush may not have enough time to carry out and settle a blitzkrieg against Iran, without leaving it in underway during the next administration.

His government is trying to demonstrate that it is attaining advances and a certain ‘balance’ in Iraq.

It may be probable that in order to maintain the growth of the military industrial activity, he will need to disturb the stability of the Caribbean and Latin American region.

According to the Pentagon, there exists a ‘global instability arch’ from the Andean region (including Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia), Central America and the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

But regions cannot be disconnected according to the geopolitics of the US if it is to achieve the global domination.

It is alert to nations that have a capacity to respond in a political-military manner; therefore its strategic objectives are directed to the control of Eurasia, pointing to Russia and the development of China as a capitalist economic power, and in a second front to aspiring regional powers such as India, Pakistan or Iran.

The countries in the regions can be represented as nodes or apexes linked by several covert criminal operations. A complex invisible type of network, like a dark spiderweb.

For Washington, what occurs in the Middle East, for example, not the independence of the Balkans or the Caucasus, nor Central or South America, nor other far-off regions of the world are unrelated.

The plan for global control by the US implies establishing strategic and tactical connections among regions of the world.

Be they destabilizing and war techniques employed in one region and adapted to other (such as psychological and ideological war operations, social and intelligence wars) or illegal arms trafficking triangulated with and drug trafficking. The connections require economic flux among regions. It uses, for example, the sale of arms or of drugs in one to finance destabilizing groups in another.

Back in the 80s, at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the US sent weapons covertly through Pakistan for resistance, while on the border it encouraged the production of drugs, and with the money collected (via CIA-ISI, Pakistan’s Military Intelligence Services) it financed several Islamic insurgent groups.

In 1986, Reagan’s administration (1981-89) was directly involved in the clandestine sale of weapons to Iran, fueling the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1989), while the funds so obtained were channeled on one side via Pakistan’s ISI to finance the Islamic fundamentalists that operated in Afghanistan; on the other side, the funds were used to illegally finance the insurgent right-wing pro-US militants (Contras) in Nicaragua, who fought the Sandinist leftist government of Daniel Ortega (1979-90), which was forbidden by the US Congress through the Boland Amendment, which launched the Iran-contra case (Irangate).

Initially in about 1980, the Contras received support from the Argentinian government and from the US through the CIA.

With a similar mechanism, but without getting directly involved (having learned from Reagan’s lesson), G.H. Bush’s administration (1989-1983) indirectly supported the clandestine remittance of arms to Croatia and Bosnia in order to encourage secession from the Yugoslavian Federation (who faced Serbia the strongest member of the Federation).

The same policy of illegal arm trafficking continued under B. Clinton’s administration (1993-2001). The clandestine remittance was sent through third countries as Turkey, Hungary, Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Argentina. In the latter, the profitable operation is claimed to have been carried out by Carlos Saul Menem administration, in which arms made by the local Military Manufacturing outfit would have been included, under the guise of secret decrees of sales to Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador, as close friendly relations. However, the US does not reward traitors.

In the region of Baluchistan (Pakistan), the US currently applies patterns similar to those employed in the 90s in Bosnia and Kosovo (regions of former Yugoslavia) where the Intelligence Services, the CIA together with Great Britain’s MI6 and Germany’s BND, financed and supported “national liberation” armies. For the training of the Islamic paramilitary of Kosovo’s Liberation Army (KLA), for example, private enterprises of mercenaries were hired.  Part of the financing of the KLA came from the sale of drugs from Pakistan.

The US plan for the Middle East is related to that for Central Asia (fine-tuned to the interests of its associates, Great Britain and Israel). The configuration of the New Middle East and Central Asia does not discard the convenience of promoting a progressive displacement of borders according to the ethnicities and religions that predominate in each region (In some Islamic branches the concept of Nation-State, which is a western invention, does not prevail). To that purpose they resort to covert operations that trigger violence in latent sectarian conflicts in the current countries to stimulate ethnic-religious divisions. The final result is a decentralizing process that weakens the institutions of the central governments, leading to what Washington calls ‘Soft Secession’ (2), which does not reach the fragmentation (as was promoted in 1990 through the International Monetary Fund in Yugoslavia), but nevertheless facilitates the change in regime in its favor.  These strategies can be seen in Iraq and Pakistan (3),

Iraq-US: ‘Waves’
When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, there were contradictions between the two main branches of Islamism, sunni and shiites, but the population was mixed in a tribal coexistence without any violence, as in other regions, such as Syria.

The occupation by the US triggered an internal war process, which could be controlled only in intensity and that continued until the physical separation of sunni and shiites.

By stimulating violence and sectarian slaughter, the development of the process was accelerated, so the ‘waves’ of troops sent by G.W. Bush worked to contain the maximum peaks of sectarian violence, while gaining the time needed to complete the final state of ethnic-religious homogenization by zones, which was expected to reduce the sectarian violence.

Besides, in order to diminish the violence toward America, they exploited the fact that the demographic division had diminished the complexity of the system and permitted them to reach locally some sunni sectors of resistance (rivals of the shiites in the Iraqi government), and to negotiate their non-hostility toward the invaders through convenient mutually beneficial agreements, such as by using economic incentives, bribes, and by attracting unstable elements caused by the ‘excesses in the sectarian fights’.

For this mission, the US applied in 2007 the new plan of counterinsurgency, in whose design participated anthropologists and other mercenary social scientists (4). As stated by the Pentagon, in zones of the Anbar province (central west of Iraq) and in Baghdad (center) it had managed to keep deactivated a significant part of the sunni resistance, about 70 thousand active insurgents, by means of what it calls the ‘Awakening Movement’ (al Sahwa).

However, from passive insurgents who supported the active ones, estimated at three million (5) and who do not constitute a unified sunni community, had to be influenced.

The US will be able to employ the militia sunni movement ‘Awakening’ which it claims to have created, as a power counterweight to the current Iraqi government which does not control all the territory, composed of kurds in the North and shiites in the South (bordering Iran) and about whose loyalty Washington has some reservations.

In the province of Diyalah (in the East of Iraq), in the southern zone of the Baghdad province and in Ninevah (on the North West of Iraq), the resistance has not, however, ceased. In this latter province, the Pentagon is carrying out savage air attacks and massive arrests of suspects, which will end up with the overtake of its capital, Mosul, (Operation Ghost Phoenix; Operation Phantom Phoenix), in the other two provinces offensives have already been effected.

According to the G.W. Bush’s government spokespeople, the ‘waves of troops are paying’, and have contributed to a significant increase of security and stability in Iraq (6). However, other recognized analysts hold different opinion (7) or are even cautious (8).

Iraq-US-Al Qaeda: Iraqi Resistance
A good form of attack is to be able to manipulate the strengths of our enemy to our benefit without his knowing it.

When referring above to the ‘excesses of the sectarian fight’, we observe the notorious infiltration in Iraq after the occupation by US of Al Qaeda militia, mainly of non-Iraqi origin, of the takfirist line (9).

In the beginning, the resistance against the Anglo-American invaders was formed by a very active block of sunni (some of them former Sadam Hussein collaborators) and another block of shiites of lesser reactivity, due to certain agreements and because they constitute a significant part of the Iraq government.

Then, a third enemy of America appeared, Al Qaeda, who initially combated with links to the mainly sunni resistance.  Later on, it began to commit bloody excesses and intimidation against civil Iraqis and against shiites and sunnis in the resistance, which actions exacerbated the internal sectarian war. As Admiral G. Smith, spokesman of the Anglo-American occupation forces declared, ‘Al Qaeda considers Iraq its own caliphate and the center for the propagation of Taliban ideology to the Arab world’.

Thus the open rupture and military confrontation between the Iraqi resistance groups and takfirists of Al Qaeda that began in 2005 in the central-west province of Al Anbar where, for example, Al Qaeda militants slaughtered several sunni imans who supposedly had condemned them publicly for not respecting agreements of not assassinating Iraqi policemen who worked in the zones controlled by the resistance.

The excesses of the savage violence by Al Qaeda against civilians and militants of the Iraqi sunny resistance in Anbar and Baghdad brought an adverse reaction and some of its elements were attracted by Americans (by means of financing, convenient benefits, arm supplies and intimidation: the Awakening movement), and they overturned their fighting, confronting Al Qaeda and diminishing their hostility to the invaders, the Americans, who were the beneficiaries.

In this way the Defense Department strategically deviates the attention toward

Al Qaeda instead of toward the Iraqi resistance; it is the central ‘external enemy’ for the coalition and for Iraqis. (10)

Iraq-US-Al Qaeda: Chetchen terrorism
During the second Chechen war (1999-2006) a process similar to the Al Qaeda excesses in Iraq occurred. When the secessionist Chechen guerrillas that employed terrorist tactics against Russians, mainly of the Islamic branch called wahabist (11), they committed savage excesses against civilian Chechen and other combatants who also fought the Russians. This divided the insurgency and many of its militants began to cooperate with their former enemies, the Russian forces, in order to fight their former allies, the wahabists.

The relation between the Chetchenian combatants and the Islamic jihad was established during the resistance to the Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 80s.

In 1985, the government of R. Reagan and his vicepresident G.H.W. Bush (1981-89) approved directive NSDD 166 (12), which officially authorized the progressive military assistance and support to the religious instruction to the mujahedins, but according to the former CIA Director and current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ‘the covert assistance by CIA to mujahedins had begun during Jimmy Carter’s government (1977-81) before the soviet invasion (1979).

In the 80’s, the insurgency in Afghanistan against the soviets was implemented from Pakistan. Among others, the religious schools from Madras, the Madrassas, conducted by the Islamic sect wahabi from Saudi Arabia, financed by USAID and CIA provided training, arms and religious training. The Islamic militants (except some higher level members) didn‘t know that behind the religious motives, the covert objective was to destroy the URSS, and also that they being financed and indirectly supported by the US and by the monarchy and foundations from Saudi Arabia and by other non democratic states in the Gulf. The Pakistani military government supported the paramilitary Islamic operations through its military intelligence service (ISI).

After the collapse of the URSS, the CIA and ISI continued supporting the Islamic militants in Pakistan, who were sent  to the Middle East, the South of Asia, the Balkans, Central Asia and the Caucasus to work as catalysts for the fragmentation of the URSS.

Early in the 80’s Osama Bin Laden (a member of a billionaire family) was recruited and trained by the CIA for the jihad in the occupied Afghanistan. But ten years later, the URSS had disappeared as the enemy, and in the Gulf War

(1990-91) when the US built military bases in the ‘holy land’ o Saudi Arabia and its troops were stationed on the sacred desert of the wahabists, some militant organizations, as Al Qaeda, began to understand that the interest of the US was geostrategic and that of its multinational corporations, above anything else, including the religious aspect, and they turned little by little against the US.

In 1994, the Chechen Shamil Basayev was militarily trained in the CIA’s training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The next year he returned to Chechnya and became one of the principal leaders of the separatist insurgency that tried to obtain independence from the Russian Federation. The links with the line of Taliban-Pakistan, the ISI, Al Qaeda and Bin Laden go back to those days. Contact with Bin Laden was maintained through the commander Al Khattab, a wahabi Saudi mujahedin and important leader in the secessionist guerrilla movement.

In this case, the bloody excesses of the separatist Islamic terrorists against their sufi Islamic peers in their fight against Russia, paradoxically benefited Russia, which managed to break the secessionist movement and re-conquer the territory.

Building the credible terrorist enemy Base
Since its origin in the 18th century, the fundamentalist belief by the power elites in the US of its superior manifest destiny as the world’s leading Capitalist power moved it, to continue its exceptional status, to large-scale pilferage and the appropriation of primary resources from all over the planet with a temporary exchange value for its economic and social system.

The expected reactions of western countries in the face of exploitation are different from those of Asia.  Here, ‘non-penetrated’ sectors of

ethnic, religious and nationalist populations exist. Therefore, in order to justify the attack by the US and its associates against the Islamic world, they resorted as a screen to the demographic hypothesis of ‘clash of civilizations’ promoted by S. Huntington.

The brutal attack on the World Trade Center (2001) that Washington continues to suspect was perpetrated by the Al Qaeda organization (The Base) and Afghanistan’s Taliban (13) was paradoxically functional for the US, Great Britain and other partners.

In that action appears a credible actor, necessary for the ‘Global War against Terrorism’ promoted by the fundamentalist neocons.

Even if Al Qaeda had committed the 9/11 attacks, it could not make the US collapse (as could have the soviet block), but just the opposite, nor has it the capacity to destroy a whole country, even by using nuclear terrorism.

Just like the other groups classified as terrorists, Al Qaeda does not constitute a world army. The Global War against Terror that the US wants to impose is only a fantasy. There is no situation of ‘global war’ but ‘armed conflicts’ that can be either local or international (as the conflict between the US and the Taliban, in Afghanistan), or situations against international crime. A world armed conflict permanent and without end does not exist.

If the most sought after terrorist leader Bin Laden were captured, it would be a hard blow not against terrorism but against the War on Terror.

The US is not interested in stopping the terrorist Islamic fundamentalism, since it is useful for its purposes. On one side because it is not a real threat to its survival as a power, and on the other, because with its excesses and ethnic-religious divisions it serves to dismantle in countries that have Islamic components, genuine social movements that are contrary to US interests.

In the western countries, Washington’s propaganda tries to consolidate public opinion in the face of the credible external threat of the Islamic fundamentalism and international terrorism so that if the case is present it can justify its military intervention in some countries as humanitarian, democratic and liberating.

Behind the mask of the Global War against Terror, State Terror through the worldwide plans of the US to expand its domination and influence on other countries’ territories advances.

References:
1) USAFRICOM (United States Africa Command)
2) In Venezuela after the failure of the classic coup, the US applied the concept of the ‘soft coup’. But supporting the ‘soft secession’ of the Zulia region, and in Bolivia the Santa Cruz region are maintained as possibilities.
3) M. Chossudovsky, ‘The Destabilization of Pakistan’, December 30, 2007, Global Research.
4) The Counterinsergency Manual FM 3-24 (US Army Field Manual) or MCWP 3-33-5 (Marine Corps Warfighting Publication) gives an idea about how operations are being conducted.
5) G. Herren, ‘Mathematics of War’, 23/7/06, Argenpress.
6) ‘Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq’, Report to Congress. In accordance with the Department of Defense Appropriations.
7) Ivo H. Daalder, ‘Iraq After the Surge’, December 28, 2007, Brookins Institution.
8) G. Bruno, ‘Iraq Surge’s Mixed Messages’, January 17, 2008, Council of Foreign Relations.
9) Takfirists, branches of Islam concomitant with the Takfir wal Hijra group (Excommunion of infidels) of extreme fundamentalists (born in the 60’s) who may consider apostates and enemies including other Islamists.
10) J. Garamone, ‘Al Qaeda Remains Coalition’s, Iraq’s Biggest Target’, Jan. 20, 2008, US Department of Defense.
11) Wahabi, extremist Islamic branch, followers of Muhammad Ibn Abd al Wahhab since late in the 18th century. Currently they concentrate their influence in the Arab Peninsula. They may consider apostates and enemies even other Islamists.
12) NSDD 166: Directive on National Security Decision 166.
13) Condoleezza Rice, ‘9/11: For the Record’, March 22, 2004, Department of State. www.america.gov
Argentina - Argen Press - Original Article ()<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Growing ties with India reflect greater US-Asia bond: Bush</b>
The Caucasus — Washington Risks Nuclear War by Miscalculation
By F. William Engdahl
<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> US proposes changes in H-2B visa programme

The changes will streamline procedures for hiring workers, including from India, under the H-2B visa programme.

Washington: The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a series of proposed rule changes that will streamline procedures for hiring workers, including from India, under the H-2B visa programme.

The USCIS has also called for not issuing the H-2B visas to citizens of countries that are determined to be consistently refusing or unreasonably delaying repatriation of their nationals from the US with deportation orders.

Eight countries, including India, China and Iran, have been identified by lawmakers early this year as falling in this category. Other nations are Laos, Eritrea, Vietnam, Jamaica and Ethiopia.

http://news.in.msn.com/international/artic...umentid=1634451


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