As international pressure mounts for negotiations with insurgents, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that he would guarantee the security of Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar if he decides to enter into talks.
Striking a defiant tone, Karzai said during a news conference in the Afghan capital that he would not bow to demands from the international community to turn Omar over to U.S. authorities if the Taliban leader agreed to negotiate a peace settlement with Karzai's government. "As for Mullah Omar and his associates, if I hear from him that he is willing to come to Afghanistan or to negotiate for peace and for liberty so that our children will not be killed anymore, I as the president of Afghanistan will go to any length to provide him security," Karzai said.
"If I say I want protection for Mullah Omar, the international community has two choices: remove me or leave," he added.
Karzai delivered his remarks after weeks of speculation that negotiations are already underway between the Afghan government and insurgent leaders. In September, several representatives from Karzai's government met with former Taliban leaders in Saudi Arabia. That meeting was widely viewed as the potential first step on what could be a long road to a negotiated settlement to end the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan.
With violence hitting new highs as the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan enters its seventh year, U.S. and NATO officials have recently indicated increasing support for talks with Islamist insurgents as one way to rein in fighting across the country. While U.S. military officials have called for NATO allies to augment the estimated 62,000 foreign troops already operating in Afghanistan, Afghan and U.S. officials have tacitly acknowledged that negotiating with moderate Taliban commanders is a key part of a strategy currently under consideration by U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David H. Petraeus.
Omar, the enigmatic and highly reclusive Taliban leader, hardly fits the profile of a moderate. Since his public refusal to turn over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to U.S. authorities following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he has held a prominent place on a list of U.S.-designated global terrorists. Known to his followers as the Commander of the Faithful, Omar rose to power in the southern province of Kandahar in the mid-1990s after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan plunged the country into a chaotic civil war.
A fierce military commander who was wounded several times in battle, Omar ruled the country until the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.
Intelligence experts believe Omar now leads his fighters from a safe haven near the southern Pakistani city of Quetta. The U.S. has offered a multi-million dollar reward for Omar's capture.
Omar's alliance with other insurgent groups, most notably the pro-Taliban network of Afghan commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, has given insurgent forces greaterreach across the country, enabling insurgents to carry out near-daily attacks.
Taliban spokesmen have so far rejected the idea of talks.
The persons of ambassadors have always been untouchable except by the most barbarous. President Karzai is correct in taking this position, should such peace talks actually occur. Note well, this does not prevent us from following the good mullah home afterward, nor from dealing with him now; no doubt we will be terribly sorry should he die accidentally from a missile aimed at one of his house guests.
Bi-partisan poll of voters conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and commissioned by The Israel Project, has link to actual data.
Interesting breakdown along McCain/Obama voter lines.
Dieting is also popular, but oftentimes futile. Takes a bit of COURAGE, WILLPOWER, and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! Could have had some of that on November 4th, but far too many "Americans" chose a Hostess Twinkie instead.
Without checking the link (I can't from work) I'd guess that the Americans that just got elected are not quite as gung ho on this point as the rest of us.
Posted by: Scott R ||
ION IRAN > WAFF/TOPIX > AL QAEDA DECLARES WAR ON IRAN [attack on Iran attache in Pakland], for destabilizing and going agz the Taliban Govt. in Afghanistan + support of pro-Iran local Afghan Groups + Iran's arrest of several pro-AQ Leaders in Iran. AQ believes Shia-domin Iran's policies directly or indirectly supports the continuing US-Allied mil presence in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON: A senior Pentagon advisory group, in a series of bluntly worded briefings, is warning President-elect Barack Obama that the Defense Department's current budget is "not sustainable" and that he must scale back or eliminate some of the military's most prized weapons programs.
And so it begins ...
The briefings were prepared by the Defense Business Board, an internal management oversight body. It contends that the nation's recent financial crisis makes it imperative that the Pentagon and Congress slash some of the nation's most costly and troubled weapons to ensure they can finance the military's most pressing priorities.
Those include rebuilding ground forces battered by multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan and expanding the ranks to wage the war on terrorism.
"Business as usual is no longer an option," according to one of the internal briefings prepared in late October for the presidential transition, copies of which were provided to The Boston Globe. "The current and future fiscal environments facing the department demand bold action."
The briefings do not specify which programs should be cut, but defense analysts say that prime targets would probably include the new F-35 fighter jet, a series of navy ship programs, and a massive army project to build a new generation of ground combat vehicles, all of which have been skyrocketing in cost and suffering long development delays. Balance of this article and the songs Obama longs to hear at the link.
prime targets would probably include the new F-35 fighter jet, a series of navy ship programs, and a massive army project to build a new generation of ground combat vehicles, all of which have been skyrocketing in cost and suffering long development delays.
Sounds like he's got the right targets in his sight.
Maybe this is exactly what the Pentagon needs - a wakeup call that they must be more responsible and accurate with their budget forcasts and appropriations. Its hard to argue against keeping these programs when taking in account how far over budget and how far behind schedule they are. If I ran my job like that, I would be fired. They should be too.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam ||
Thats the Army's FCS program. Cut that and we cut our own throats -- the initial products of that program are some of what gives individual soldiers more mobility, survivability and lethality these days.
Cutting a lot of these now is the wrong thing - most have gone through the "R&D" phase, which is costly and produces few tangible goods.
Canceling now would be like cutting down the tree just before it begins to bear fruit.
Instead, lets drop the duplication, like the extra drug-task-force HQ in PA, unneeded bases in S. Korea and Europe, etc.
That would be too logical, OS. The Big O is ideologically driven. Only thing is that certain congress critters are local defense economics driven, so this will be a dem on dem fight. Ideology be damned. It will come down to greed and self interest in Congressional districts, which will be, in a perverted way, self preservation.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
Remember that bureaucrats, military ones included, have as rule #1 that when budget cuts are threatened, offer to cut the meat first and leave the fat.
In this case, this means first go after the largest pork projects supported by the most powerful senators and congressmen.
Then say you have to cut the department of "not throwing sacks of kittens into the river", even if this means that grandmothers across the country will riot.
Military bureaucrats also let contractors know when somebody is threatening their product, so they can get their lobbyists working full steam to save it. The contractors also let the union know, so they can apply pressure to keep their jobs.
I think this is how it has been done since the days of the ancient Etruscans. Probably a millennium earlier.
But I know BETTER. These Rantburg type fanatics will remain
That's right, we'll remain just long enough to shove it squarely up your goat buggering arss. Now run along will you, it's nearly prayer time. Don't you have sister that's offending your honor or something....?
How queer -- it's Monday night in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps they are having a school holiday.
JUSTICE dear, ask your American friend what it means that John McCain is still a senior member of the US Senate, ie. of the upper house of Congress. Also ask him what will happen if President Obama does not fix America's little economic situation before Congressional elections in 2010. For that matter, you might want to think what it will mean over the next two years for you and your country should oil sales continue their current trends in re volume and pricing.
I look forward to hearing from you again when you have completed these assignments.
Justice, whatever you think, it's good to know you'll get your Moon-god ass spanked well and truly. I would say that the Big O has got justice through Democracy, so how about trying a REAL nym like "Justice for Girl-School-Splodeys", or "Female-Genital-Mutilation/Stoning-to-Deathers", I am sure you have their concerns at heart.
You will find, if you read the above comments, that a fair few agree with the proposed cuts; that is what is called Well Reasoned Discourse, try it someday.
As an aside, if I may just point out that every where Muslims are in the world, there is Trouble, just can't get along, can you, strange that. I asked Allan why that was, and he just said it's an in-bred goat thing, can't be helped.
Anyway, prayers must be nearly over by now, go blow up a market place or something.
The Air Force and the Navy need to be brought under adult supervision. If we just kept buying F-16s and Arliegh Burkes instead of F-35s and DDXs (or, God help us, CGXs) I would applaud it as wise policy.
Vigilance is eternal there justice and we have a long memory! We suffered Carter and Clinton. We will survive Obama and come out a stronger nation in the end. And you, you will be the same bitter and backward human being your ancestors were before the first Crusade.
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
Well, it's only natural for Justice to dislike Dracula, considering that Dracula is supposed to be Vlad the impaler. And what does Vlad do with the lions of islam? Shove a tree trunk up their ass and eat lunch while they die slowly.
A return of Vlad the Impaler sounds like a wonderful idea to me. Cept he needs to broaden his outlook to include the demonrat party.
PS, the Air Force procurement system has been well and truly hosed since the AF designated program management as a career specialty and started training "professional" program managers. Consequently programs are now managed by officers (and civilians) inured to the arcana of the sea of laws and regulations governing military procurement but with absolutely no experience in using the equipment whose development and production they oversee. Consequently the services field (or more often than not fail to field) overpriced, unreliable, ineffective excrement that is unusable by the troops but makes some congressmen happy. The bigger the program, the more removed from reality the PM is. It isn't going to get better any time soon.
This allegory of mice and lions is about as predictable as a smurf cartoon. Umm, Vlad and Spartan/Greek comparisons? Are you sure bout that? Get to the Poitiers goofball; rub that monkey paw and get your Tamerlane.
and Eugene used to be a nice place with good people, my how times have changed....
Posted by: Jan at work ||
I kinda sympathize with some of the comments here about some of the newest priciest stuff getting delayed or reduced. I admit I'm not nearly as much up on hardware issues as in days of yore, but it seems we're having good results with current gear and I've been worrying about the numbers/price/capabilities trade-off for some time for major systems. I mean, no matter how magical an F-35 might be in the air, it's gotta be somewhere the action is, and there have to be enough to cover those action spots. Likewise with ships (ahemm, Horn of Africa/Gulf of Aden AO). Plus - are most of the new cutting edge capabilities essentially unused on most of our current august adversaries? Who's gonna play with F-22s or F-35s?
In Indian-administered Kashmir, there has been an unusually strong turnout in the first phase of elections for a new state government.
Queues of hundreds of voters formed from early morning in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley, defying a boycott called by separatist groups. Voters have also come out in strength in the Hindu-majority Jammu region.
The Peshawar-Torkham road will be reopened today (Monday) for moving NATO supplies to Western forces in Afghanistan, political administration officials said, adding a shoot-to-kill order had been issued for those trying to disrupt the supplies.
Hundreds of trailers and containers have been stranded on the route, which was closed last week after Taliban hijacked more than a dozen trucks carrying NATO supplies on the road through the Khyber Pass. The trailers loaded with armoured vehicles, edibles and other logistics were seen parked along Peshawar's Ring Road and in several areas of Jamrud and Landikotal tehsils without any security.
A senior official told Daily Times the vehicles, escorted by security officials, would pass through Khyber Agency in a convoy.
Political Agent Tariq Hayat said a Quick Response Force had been formed to guard the Afghanistan-bound containers.
"It's not the first time this has happened," NATO spokesman James Appathurai told AP about the hold up on Sunday.
Although NATO supplies were formally suspended on Saturday, drivers said they had been denied entry into Khyber Agency since November 11 (Tuesday). "We have been made to wait here for the last six days under no security cover," said a driver on condition of anonymity.
Sources said the Peshawar-Jamrud road was also closed for the vehicles carrying NATO supplies on the recommendations of the NWFP government.
NWFP police chief Malik Naveed Khan told Reuters there were three criminal gangs in Khyber with direct links to terrorist groups. The recent attacks on foreigners in Peshawar were an attempt "to defame Pakistan internationally and give an impression that there's no rule," Khan said. He was confident that an offensive by security forces in Bajaur and pressure in other tribal regions had begun to pay off.
Also on Sunday, Hayat said a deadline given to the Koki Khel tribe had lapsed, adding it was now up to the tribe to expel Taliban or face action. Meanwhile, Malik Attaullah Jan, the tribe's leader, told a grand jirga there was no terrorist in the tribe and that the government needed a pretext to launch an offensive. He said the tribe was ready to hand over Taliban to the government provided it identified them.
Where's my dedicated superhighway Karachi to Kabul using the Indus as a moat on the east, right through the effin Khyber Pass Roman Style, Outpost/Checkpoints and UAVs; 1 mile do not enter tresspassers will be shot survivers shot again buffer zone. Supplies head north, sellable goods head south, Pakistan gets a toll road profit and the troublemakers see their 'famous victory pass' turned against them and poor defamed Pakistan gets kudos.
GM seems like they got some time on their hands, contract them to build earthmovers based on their truck chassis, run that SOB into Kabul then get them to Afghan gov to build roads from there. Hire the locals as alternative to drugs and jihad. Make sure trustworthy banks are available for their paychecks. Use the material from the mountains themselves for gravel roads at first then improve. Put a bomb crater into every ambush position just to let the baddies know that spot is marked, zero foliage and clear fields of fire.
Cheaper than the bailout, done in 2 years, everyone wins but jihadi druggie bandits.
Had a intro to 2001 moment, set up some Easter Island/Monolith looking statues at intervals based on number of British killed during that infamous maneuver. RPG tough material, disco lights and party lasers, interior speakers which play recordings like "would you like the fish and chips?" played backwards at high volume, real spooky stuff; spread the rumor they are video recording stations with laser beams shooting out the eyes for target designation or just to fry baddies.
The US and Pakistani governments have reached a tacit agreement on Predator (drone) strikes into Pakistani territory, under which Islamabad allows them while continuing to complain about them and Washington never acknowledges them, The Washington Post revealed in a report Sunday.
Pakistan, however, rejected the report as false and baseless. The paper claimed that both the countries reached the deal some time in September in a "don't-ask-don't-tell" policy to attack suspected terrorist targets in northern Pakistan."
Citing unnamed senior officials in both the countries, the newspaper went on to say that under this policy, unmanned US drones have fired missiles at Pakistani soil at an average rate of once every four or five days recently. The deal coincided with a suspension of ground assaults on Pakistan by the US special forces, the Post said.
Continued on Page 49
I think we had that figured out a couple of weeks ago. We blast em, Pakis complain, we blasted some more. Then General P went there for a little talk, and we blasted some more. Seems pretty obvious by now.
Kanju Amn Jirga members and Taliban have given signs of a breakthrough towards the signing of another peace accord in the Swat Valley after the Sunday's talks between the Jirga and Maulana Fazlullah, chief of Swat chapter of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The Amn Jirga, which has been making efforts to convince the warring parties to stop fighting, held talks with Fazlullah after meeting ministers representing the NWFP government in Peshawar a few days ago.
The Jirga has already brokered a deal in the Koza Bandai village of the restive valley, causing the Taliban to leave the area and declare it a conflict-free zone although the militants reportedly returned later.
In their two-day talks, the Jirga members demanded of Fazlullah to announce ceasefire. Sources said the militants handed the Jirga their demands in exchange for halting their activities.
Swat Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan confirmed the handover of a demand-list to the Jirga and was also optimistic about the outcome of talks. "We have given our demands to the Jirga and there are signs of a breakthrough in the talks," he said.
Expressing similar optimism, the Jirga members said they would meet military officials today (Monday) to present the demands of the militants. Meanwhile, the insurgents picked up three security forces' personnel from Ningolai and Shakardara areas of the Kabal Tehsil and burnt a music shop in the Mingora city.
Separatists in Indian-run Kashmir appeal for a poll boycott on state elections, saying the polls will only entrench India's rule on the region. Oh, wotta surprise. Every time they've had elections before they've always said "See what the voters say," right?
Premier Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani hopes that US President-elect, Barack Obama's administration would halt incursions into Pakistan. He might for awhile. But unless he's stoopid they'll start back up as soon as he realizes they're directed not so much against Pakistain but against the Sovreign State of al-Qaeda. Always assuming there's a difference, of course.
He ran on telling whoever he was talking to what they wanted to hear. He's taken both sides of all issues. And pointing this out is impossible because it's both "an attack on character" and "racist."
The chief prosecutor in the trial of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein denied allegations that the death sentence conviction was the result of pressure from Iran or Kuwait, according to press reports.
Public prosecutor of the Iraqi High Court Jaafar al-Musawi denied rumors circulated in the media that his visit to Iran after the trial was for any reason other than religious ones in an interview Sunday with the London-based Asharq al-Awsat.
After the trial ended, I decided to visit the holy sites of Iran with a group of judges. This was the only visit I made to Iran and I only went to the city of Qom," he said. "I didn't go to Tehran nor did I meet any Iranian officials."
Musawi similarly denied receiving any gifts from Kuwaiti authorities or establishing any kind of contact with Kuwait as far as Saddam's trial is concerned.
Musawi headed a prosecution team that tried Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity in a trial that drew criticism from many sides including Saddam's defense team and human rights organizations, which complained of Iraqi and U.S. government interference in the proceedings.
In Saddam's case, I'd thought the bribe would have been to get the job to prosecute and hang him. You know that clannish revenge thingy.
..and human rights organizations,
..who didn't give more than the image of complaining about Saddam's own treatment of his people, to include intentionally starving them to make a show for the exact same organizations to blame the US and UN for it.
Somaiya Abu Ghanem, a 21-year-old resident of Ramle, was indicted Monday in the Petah Tikva District Court for contact with a foreign agent, the Prime Minister's Office announced. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), in cooperation with the Israel Police, arrested her on December 28, the statement said.
According to the indictment, in September 2008, Ghanem was contacted by Gaza-based Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorists, who sought her assistance in kidnapping an Israeli. Ghanem allegedly expressed her willingness to aid the terrorists. Our loyal citizens whose rights should be respected at all costs.
An Israeli air strike killed four militants in the Gaza Strip on Sunday and interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the truce with the Islamist Hamas movement was "shattered" and that he had commissioned a plan for military action in the Hamas-run territory if rocket attacks on Israel persist. "I ordered security chiefs to present their proposals to me as soon as possible so that an orderly plan of action could, if necessary, be brought to the decision-makers in the government for approval," Olmert told his cabinet, in broadcast remarks. The problem with Olmert hasn't been so much the plans as changing his mind once they're under way. "Indecisive" is his middle name.
"The responsibility for the shattering of the calm and the creation of a situation of prolonged and repeated violence in the south of the country is entirely on Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza," Olmert told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting.
Olmert said that he had asked the heads of Israeli security bodies to immediately draw up plans and present the government with options for action to end Hamas' 17-month-old rule in the Gaza Strip. "There is no one who can criticize the Israeli government... We cannot tolerate this price tag that the terror organizations are trying to set against our right to prevent the continuing terror attacks and threats," he said. On the other hand, the usual suspects will in fact criticize the Israeli government. Yehud will take those criticisms to heart and change his mind. All measures implemented will be half measures. Hamas will gain in stature and the voters of Israel will continue voting Kadima.
"We have taken action and will continue to take action in order to make sure that this 'calm' does not turn against the citizens of Israel," he said.
The five-month-old truce was recently shaken after Israel soldiers entered Gaza and clashed with Hamas forces; continued Israeli air strikes and alleged militant rocket fire have further strained the truce.
Hamas leaders accused Israel of violating a truce that had largely held since mid-June. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: "We have the right to Dire Revenge™ respond to Zionist attacks. The Israeli government wrecked the truce and failed to meet any of its understandings."
Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's top leader in Gaza, told reporters that a "continuation of this calm" depended on Israel ending military raids and lifting a two-week border closure that has choked off fuel and food aid to the enclave.
World heads slammed Israel for its "collective punishment" of Gaza's 1.5 million people by blocking food, aid and fuel to the impoverished strip in response to rocket fire by rebel groups or militants. Human rights groups labeled the situation in Gaza as a "catastrophe" and urged world leaders to step in to stop Israel's blockade of 1.5 million people who do not participate in militant activity.
Israeli officials said a large-scale ground operation in Gaza to try to curb rocket attacks would cause heavy casualties on both sides. Such an assault would pose political risks for members of Olmert's coalition cabinet as a Feb. 10 parliamentary election approaches. Olmert resigned in September but serves as a caretaker prime minister until a new government is formed after the ballot.
Senior Israel Defense Forces officers criticized certain cabinet ministers on Sunday for beating the drum for military action in the Gaza Strip.
The General Staff officers called for weighing more aggressive action against Hamas if the rocket fire into the Negev from the strip continued. However, they do not support reoccupying the territory at this stage. Top IDF brass also expressed concern that some politicians were trying to drag the IDF into the political debate.
Meanwhile, the fighting in Gaza continued Sunday: The IDF killed four Palestinians from the small Hamas-allied group, the Popular Resistance Committees, who were about to launch Qassams, and a Sderot man sustained minor injuries when a Qassam landed near his home.
A spokesman for the group, Abu Mujahid, said the tahadiyeh (lull) with Israel was over as a result of the killing of four of its men. He said the organization's response would not not stop at firing Qassams or mortar bombs, hinting at a resumption of suicide attacks against Israelis.
IDF officers expressed surprise at recent news reports stating that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had instructed IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi to prepare for an operation in Gaza. "What plans does the prime minister mean?" one officer asked, "the ones we presented to him two weeks ago or the ones he saw a month ago? All of the operational plans regarding Gaza were presented to the cabinet and the security cabinet a long time ago. The ministers are very familiar with them, they're the ones who must decide what to do."
The officers cautioned against "war-mongering" senior officials, claiming they only encouraged Hamas to escalate. Their remarks were targeted specifically at Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon, who said over the weekend that Israel's policy in Gaza was causing serious damage and denounced the "paralysis" imposed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, warning that Israel would pay a heavy price for its restraint in Gaza.
Both Barak and Ashkenazi want to avoid a broad operation in the Strip at this point, although the latter seems willing to support a slightly more aggressive policy if the rockets keep exploding. Officials in Barak's bureau said Sunday that they believed Hamas was now trying to curtail the rocket fire, partly due to Egyptian pressure.
A Sderot man sustained mild shrapnel injuries to his arm when a Qassam fell on a home Sunday evening. Four others were treated for shock. When the rocket fell, Motti Turjeman was building a bomb shelter. "I went out for coffee with the workers when suddenly we heard the air raid siren. We ran to the stairwell and heard a huge explosion. The Qassam fell five meters away, near the doghouse. I was sure the dog died and suddenly I saw him, alive, by a miracle, but apparently he became deaf," Turjeman said.
The Israel Defense Forces released a video on Sunday evening showing militants in the Gaza Strip in the process of firing rockets at Israel. The video was released just hours after Israel Air Force troops killed four Palestinian gunners at a launching pad in northerern Gaza. The video shows militants positioning a rocket launcher and distancing themselves from it before opening fire.
Economic problems are getting worse. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where much of Iran's foreign trade is handled, local banks are refusing to do business with the 10,000 Iranian trading firms based there. This has caused delays and cancellations of Iranian imports (over $9 billion worth from the UAE last year) and exports. This is being felt by the rule elite in Iran. There, the large extended families of the clerical leadership live the good life, and the goodies come in via the UAE. The sudden shortages of iPods, flat screen TVs, automobiles and bling in general, has been noticed in Iran, and is not appreciated.
The falling price of oil is producing another problem, national bankruptcy. The government admits that if the price of oil falls below $60 a barrel (which it has) and stays there (which it may, at least until the current recession is over), the nation will not be able to finance foreign trade (which is already having problems with increasingly effective U.S. moves to deny Iran access to the international banking system), or even the Iranian economy itself. The latter problem is largely self-inflicted, as president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad desperately borrows money to placate his few (heavily armed and fanatical) followers (about 20 percent of the population). The rest of the population has been in recession for years, and is getting increasingly angry over Ahmadinejad's mismanagement. Some 80 percent of Iran's exports are oil.
A Lebanese newspaper on Saturday published statements purporting to be by members of Fatah al-Islam showing the radical group had links with Syria and that Damascus had backed an attack in Lebanon.
The publication of the "evidence" in al-Mustaqbal newspaper, owned by anti-Syrian majority parliamentary leader Saad Hariri, comes barely a week after Syrian television broadcast alleged "admissions" by Fatah al-Islam members that the group was financed by Hariri's Future Movement.
Al-Mustaqbal published undated and unsigned "copies" of statements by men held by Lebanese security services and prosecuting judges. One of them, Ahmad Merhi, said a Syrian general with whom he had "excellent" relations" told him in 2007 that there was coordination on information between Syria and Fatah al-Islam, which battled the Lebanese army in summer 2007.
The 15-week struggle in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli left 400 people dead, including 168 soldiers.
Merhi said General Jawdat al-Hassan, head of the fight against terrorism and fundamentalist groups within the Syrian army's information service, "asked me to help Shaker al-Abssi," the Fatah al-Islam leader who fled the camp. Thanks to his links with the general, he was able to allow "dozens of Fatah al-Islam fighters" to escape to Lebanon, he said.
One of the detainees said that he had met with Major General Assef Shawkat, head of military intelligence. There was no Syrian comment on the accusations.
Alleged members of the al-Qaeda linked Fatah al-Islam appeared to confess on Syrian TV earlier this month to carrying out the car bombing that killed 17 people, mainly civilians, in the Syrian capital in September. They claimed the group had received money from Saad Hariri's Future Movement, prompting Hariri to call last week for an Arab League investigation into the allegations.
The Future movement is part of the March 14 coalition that leads Lebanon's anti-Syrian parliamentary majority and is heavily backed by the United States.
Mehri was also quoted as saying that the "Syrians asked Shaker al-Abssi to carry out the double attack at Ain Alak in February 2007" which targeted two passenger buses in the north of Beirut, killing three people. The aim of the attack, committed the day before the second anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, "was to dissuade people from participating" in a ceremony of commemoration, Merhi added.
Damascus is accused by Lebanon's anti-Syrian majority of responsibility for the murder of Hariri, who had turned against Syria's domination of Lebanon. Syria denies any involvement in the killing.
A draft US Army intelligence report has identified the popular micro-blogging service Twitter, Global Positioning System maps and voice-changing software as potential terrorist tools.
The report by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), examines a number of mobile and web technologies and their potential uses by militants. The posting of the report on the FAS site was reported Friday by Wired magazine contributing editor Noah Shachtman on his national security blog "Danger Room" at wired.com. The report is not based on clandestine reporting but drawn from open source intelligence known as OSINT.
A chapter on "Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter" notes that Twitter members sent out messages, known as "Tweets," reporting the July Los Angeles earthquake faster than news outlets and activists at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis used it to provide information on police movements.
"Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences," the report said.
Hacktivists refers to politically motivated computer hackers. "Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives," the report said.
"Extremist and terrorist use of Twitter could evolve over time to reflect tactics that are already evolving in use by hacktivists and activists for surveillance," it said. "This could theoretically be combined with targeting."
The report outlined scenarios in which militants could make use of Twitter, combined with such programs as Google Maps or cell phone pictures or video, to carry out an ambush or detonate explosives. "Terrorists could theoretically use Twitter social networking in the US as an operation tool," it said. "However, it is unclear whether that same theoretical tool would be available to terrorists in other countries and to what extent."
Besides Twitter, the report examined the potential use by militants of Global Positioning Systems and other technologies. "GPS cell phone service could be used by our adversaries for travel plans, surveillance and targeting," it said, noting that just such uses have been discussed in pro-Al-Qaeda forums along with the use of voice-changing software. "Terrorists may or may not be using voice-changing software but it should be of open source interest that online terrorist and/or terrorist enthusiasts are discussing it," the report said. Of course, we could always go after the terrorists in a clandestine, preemptive way, playing dirty and all that, but being on the defensive is more, er, financially rewarding to thousands of special interests. Well, Bambi will take care of it for us in January, along with the heartbreak of psoriasis. We're saved!
Please add to terrorist technology tools list if you will, unattended borders, feckless politically correct federal law enforcement, student visas and Virginia driver's licenses. Just to help make the roster a bit more complete.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.