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FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, July 23, 2008


By Chip Bok




By John Hinderaker

Nothing, apparently. Here is more from ABC News' interview with Obama yesterday. Terry Moran asks Obama about his "open disagreement" with the generals in Iraq about a timetable for withdrawal. In response, Obama tap-dances furiously:

Given that Obama renounces any "rigid" adherence to a timetable, even though such "rigidity" was the key to his clinching the Democratic nomination, it's hard to say what his current position is. The only thing we know for sure is that he looks forward to being Commander in Chief, in which role he plans to disregard military advice when it suits him.  Tuesday, July 22, 2008




By Michael Ramirez




By Charles Johnson

Barack Obama sees “an enormous improvement” in Iraq, but he’s still, you know, opposed to the surge.

Welcome to the new Democratic Party, in which it’s possible to advocate two completely contradictory concepts at the same time, and pretend you don’t even notice the massive cognitive dissonance: Obama: If I had it to do over again, I’d still oppose the surge; Update: “Clearly there’s been an enormous improvement”.


By Charles Johnson

Barack Obama is afraid.

When he or his wife give speeches in the United States, the staff makes sure there are plenty of white people visible, because he’s scared of creating the impression that only black people support him.

He prevents Muslim women wearing headscarves from sitting behind him, though, because he’s scared American voters will think he’s a Muslim.

He has refused requests for interviews from foreign media, because he’s afraid of being asked questions a teleprompter can’t answer.

And while in the Middle East, he’s banned reporters from wearing the color green—because he’s scared of being linked to Hamas: Obama ban: What not to wear where?

AMMAN, Jordan—An Obama campaign ban on green clothing during the candidate’s visits to Israel and Jordan has created wide puzzlement among observers of the Middle East.

In a memo to reporters, described as “a few guidelines we sent staff before departure to the Middle East,” Obama advance staffer Peter Newell laid out rules on attire for Jordan and Israel.

First among them: “Do not wear green.”

An Obama aide explained to reporters that green is the color associated with the militant Palestinian group Hamas. But while the color does appear on Hamas banners, there is no particular symbolism to wearing green clothes, experts said.

Moreover, green is more generally seen as a symbol of Islam. “A ban on wearing green seems bizarre,” said Richard Bulliet, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Columbia University, who said the color is associated with the family of the Prophet Mohammed.

All of these desperate attempts to control his image by controlling the people around him are an indication of how much these subjects frighten Barack Obama. He’s living in fear, and practicing identity politics writ large.

(Hat tip: Tom Gross.)  Tuesday, July 22, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

Just when people thought Chris Matthews couldn’t get any more in the tank for Barack Obama, he appears on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to prove that nothing can limit his sycophancy for the Democratic candidate. In this clip, the supposed journalist tells Leno that he hopes people can “open up your heart” to that thrill up his leg — and that all of those geriatric racists don’t get in the way. No, I’m not kidding:

I hope for one thing when people go to vote: that they look at Barack’s background, that they look at the age of the two candidates, that they look at their abilities and really open up their hearts and say “what’s really good for my kids,” who don’t have any color awareness.

Kids don’t think about race.

Think like your kids for once.

Think the way they think.

It would be great if the older people in the country, the 70 year olds, the 80 year olds who are suspicious of change to say, “you know, why don’t I think the way my kids are thinking and think about the future.”

Whatever they decide, just open up your heart to this prospect of something different.

That’s what I hope we do.

Let’s deconstruct this. First, Matthews pretty clearly implies that anyone who doesn’t vote for Obama is doing so on the basis of race. However, the biggest reason Matthews can offer for an Obama vote is to open up our hearts to “something different”.  In other words, the most pressing reason Matthews supports Obama is not for his policies or his experience, but because he’s “different”.

At best, that’s an extremely shallow reason, and at worst, well …

But there’s another level of stupidity here.  “Think like your kids for once.  Think the way they think.”  So we should all think like eight-year-olds when we choose our leaders?  That certainly explains Matthews’ shallowness.  I’d prefer that people think like adults and inform themselves on the choices.  That would be the responsible path to voting, which is to say mature, which avoids such notions as picking (or opposing) candidates for their ethnicity or gender, or favoring Matthews’ favorite leg-thrill because it would be neato and super-cool to have Obama in the White House.

“That’s what I hope we do.”  Matthews is being dishonest here.  He hopes people vote for Barack Obama, but he doesn’t have the courage to say that on national TV.  Instead, he offers perhaps the most facile and vapid endorsement ever uttered by a media personality, and makes himself an even bigger joke than ever. (via Daily KosTuesday, July 22, 2008




By Richard Fernandez

The relationship between operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is recognized by the fact that one commander is strategically in charge of both. General David Petraeus was recently confirmed as CENTCOM CINC, placing him in overall charge of military operations both in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. That Iraq and Afghanistan are linked — both part of one big war rather than two separate and independent conflicts — should not seriously be in doubt. The average Jihadi sees both as battlefronts as a single campaign against America. The Times Online recently reported on how the “lions of Islam” were falling back on Afghanistan/Pakistan after their defeat in Iraq:

Afghanistan is replacing Iraq as the destination of choice for international jihadists, Western intelligence agencies claim. Analysts have monitored a surge in online recruitment of “lions of Islam” to join the war in Afghanistan through jihadist websites, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Chechnya and Turkey, in the past year.

That is now being matched by evidence of an increase in foreign fighters entering Afghanistan, mostly from training bases established in the lawless Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) of Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding.

Brian Glyn Williams, who researches jihadist websites for the Combating Terrorism Centre at the US military academy at West Point, told The Times that jihadist websites across the Middle East had shown a huge increase in the number of epitaphs for foreign fighters killed in Afghanistan in recent months. They have also reflected the despair of many al-Qaeda followers at the reverses the group has suffered in Iraq since the Sunni Awakening, an alliance of US forces with previously anti-government Sunni militias that turned against al-Qaeda, particularly in the province of Anbar. … “Iraq is seen as a defeat. The image of Afghanistan is seen as a more pristine jihad.”

In the debate over whether America should have focused its initial response on uprooting al-Qaeda from Southwest Asia, one thing should not be forgotten. From it’s inception al-Qaeda’s center of gravity has been the the Middle East. It was the source of its money, leadership, ideology and manpower. Afghanistan’s importance from the beginning lay in what it could provide Bin Laden in terms of prestige he could parlay into into influence in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq.

The strategic value of land-locked, impoverished Afghanistan to the Jihad was as a symbol rather than a geopolitical prize. The image of Jihadis defeating the Soviet Army was the ultimate source of al-Qaeda’s credibility; something that could prise money, men and political authority from their home front, treasury and recruitment depot. Given a choice between giving up Afghanistan and repeating reprising the defeat of a superpower in Iraq, al Qaeda would have clearly preferred the latter. This does not mean that Afghanistan is strategically unimportant, but it was always secondary to the Middle East

Having been very publicly ousted from the critical Middle East, al-Qaeda and its allies probably hope they can rebuild their political fortunes and retrieve their legend in Southwest Asia. Unlike the period immediately after 9/11, when al-Qaeda was regarded as burgeoning force, the rereat to Afghanistan is fundamentally defensive in character one which preserves the possibility of future victory rather than representing an advance in itself. As long as the Jihad can hold out against the US coalition, even if they cannot regain Kabul, survival in a sufficiently distant place where they can plausibly claim miracles and victories unfalsifiable by direct experience might let them live to rise another day.

But since it will be a do-or-die effort, the international Jihad’s return to Afghanistan suggests that the struggle there will enter a new phase. A recent article in the Australian noted that “General Petraeus said that after intense US assaults in Iraq, al-Qa’ida was looking to shift focus to its original home base in Afghanistan, where American casualties are running higher than in Iraq. ‘We do think that there is some assessment ongoing as to the continued viability of al-Qa’ida’s fight in Iraq,’ General Petraeus said.” Conflicts have a way of changing their character in response to enemy responses. The Korean war changed course with the Chinese intervention; post-Saddam Iraq took a new turn when Iran and al-Qaeda entered the fray; so it is only reasonable to expect conditions in Southwest Asia to change as the enemy concentrates his forces there.

“We do know the foreign fighter flow into Iraq has been reduced very substantially,” General Petraeus said. “They’re not going to abandon Iraq. They’re not going to write it off. None of that. But what they certainly may do is start to provide some of those resources that would have come to Iraq to Pakistan, possibly Afghanistan.”

The comments came as Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was to hold a “showdown” with US President George W.Bush in Washington over what is now regarded as the out of control situation in the country, with al-Qa’ida and the Taliban in charge of vast swaths of territory.

Washington has spoken of the Pakistan Government being “dysfunctional” and analysts believe Mr Bush will “read the riot act” to Mr Gilani.

But these changes are signs of strategic development in the War on Terror, not symptoms of a quagmire. The emphasis and intensity of conflict will shift according to the changes in fortune. There is a sad tendency among commentators to think that simply because events don’t conform to initial planning that things have gone irretrievably awry. In that mindset wars are fought according to a schedule, with a predetermined “exit plan” or else they are defeats. In reality the combatants reassess their position and redeploy accordingly as the situation evolves.

Although Iraq provided many lessons, each battlefield is different. With al-Qaeda sheltering in its Pakistani sanctuaries getting at them will be challenging. Items cited in the Australian article suggest that even describing the conflict as the war in ‘Afghanistan’ is partly a misnomer. Much of the war is frankly in Pakistan.

One Kabul-based Western diplomat, who did not want to be named, said: “There is a change with an increase in attacks in the east [along the Pakistan border] and more chatter of foreign voices is being detected.” … Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters: “There are clearly more foreign fighters in the Fata than have been there in the past. What that really speaks to is that’s a safe haven and it’s got to be eliminated for all insurgents, not just al-Qaeda.

How to “eliminate” the safe haven is being debated within strategic circles. Given the many factors which went into defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq — an effort which included raising an indigenous army, sponsoring elections, going after enemy leadership, cutting lines of logistics and providing more security — it is unsurprising that the services are still squabbling about their relative contribution to the US victory in Iraq. “Jon” Compton at the Small Wars Journal Blog sat down with an assistant to former Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne and talked about why the Surge worked. The standard narrative is that it worked because the ground forces had been reinforced by 20%. Not surprisingly the Air Force had another theory.

Taken at face value, all we ever needed in Iraq was an extra 20% troop strength and we’d have had the place stabilized years ago. Unfortunately the penetrating analysis of CNN only goes about that far, but the more discerning among us know that that cannot possibly be the whole story.

But the Army hasn’t helped the perception. According to them, those extra boots on the ground was all that it took to better stabilize the country. Patreus has even said as much in his testimony to congress and in the reports he’s signed off on in the field. So here is where Rick drops the bomb.

Rick’s office was unconvinced. So they initiated an investigation to see exactly what had changed, other than boots on the ground. As is turned out, not only had the number of troops on the ground increased by 20%, but air strike missions had also increased by 400%. What’s more, air munitions released had increased by over 1000%, all since the beginning of the surge.

What had changed was clear. It wasn’t the extra boots on the ground that was turning the tide, it was the increase in HUMINT and the ability to hit a target with precision munitions from the air within a time frame of only 7 minutes. Gatherings as small as only 3 insurgents were being targeted for strikes, while predators and forces on the ground monitored the movements of any suspected insurgent. This aggressive doctrinal change was preventing insurgents from gathering, planning, and pulling off operations. It was classic COIN (Counterinsurgency) operations, conducted almost entirely from the air. But if we accept the Army’s version of things, it never happened.

Perhaps one day the Air Force will commission a modern-day equivalent of the Strategic Bombing Survey. But I suspect that like most historical events, we will never know precisely why things happened; why the Surge worked the way it did, any more than we will know whether it was the Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force that really won World War 2. We may have to be contented with the simple realization that something did work and move on with that imperfect knowledge in pursuit of the retreating enemy in Southwest Asia.  Monday, July 21, 2008




By Paul Mirengoff

The trial of Osama bin Laden's former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, was set to begin today before a five-member military tribunal. At one level, this a victory for the government. Hamdan's lawyers were trying to have the trial postponed so they could challenge the trial procedure. However, Judge Robertson, the liberal federal district court judge who heard argument on this issue, rejected Hamdan's contention. He ruled that Hamdan's "claims of unlawfulness are all claims that should first be decided by the military commission and then raised on appeal.''

At another level, though, it seems difficult to believe that any effort or taxpayer money is being devoted to prove that bin Laden's driver is a terrorist. As I understand it, Hamdan admits that he drove bin Laden for four years and sometimes served as his body guard. If this is true, there is no chance that Hamdan is not a terrorist. Bin Laden would never have entrusted this work to someone who didn't believe in his cause.

Nor, assuming that bin Laden somehow would, is it clear how the issue could be tried in a way calculated to get at the truth. The individuals who might have knowledge of the circumstances under which Hamdan became and remained bin Laden's driver would probably lack credibility, either because they are followers of bin Laden too or because they made their statements against Hamdan under coercion. I would have hoped that when we're dealing with bin Laden's driver and bodyguard, common sense might obviate the need to reconstruct events in the mountains of Afghanistan a decade ago.

What's next, a wrongful death case by the family of someone we kill while he's driving bin Laden?  Monday, July 21, 2008




By Ed Morrissey 

Charles Krauthammer wrote last week about the enormous arrogance of Barack Obama, but even Krauthammer couldn’t imagine that the Obamas would claim to rescue all of the world’s children through their election.  Michelle Obama appeared in Colorado last week, the same time as Krauthammer wrote his column, and told the audience that she didn’t have time to get angry — but she wishes she did.  Why?  Well, let her tell you:

“We have one candidate who essentially is telling us every day that the world as it is just fine. That what we’ve been doing for the last eight years is fine,” Obama said. “Stay the course. Don’t make too many changes.

“And then we have this other candidate — Barack Obama — who is saying every day that the world as it is not right. It’s not good enough,” she said. …

“I wish we had time to be divided. I wish we had time to be upset. To be angry. To be disappointed. I wish we did,” Obama said. “Because if we had time for that, then things wouldn’t be so bad right now. Instead, we’re in a place where another four or eight years of the world as it is will devastate the life of some child.”

Which child is that?  And only one child? This is the kind of rhetoric that the Left loves to use, claiming that if just one person in the world is unhappy, then everything we do is wrong and entire systems have to be recreated to address it.  It’s Utopianism, an impulse that has led to the devastation of millions of lives, not just one.  The message intends to show the Obamas as more caring than John McCain, vapid enough without the silliness of arguing that McCain doesn’t want to change anything at all.

So now we can add “save the children” to the other Obama campaign promises, like “heal the oceans” that more than just hint at arrogance.  And it isn’t just conservatives noticing that stench of hubris, either.  Joan Venocchi, no conservative apologist, vented her spleen over the egotistical self-centeredness of Obama in Sunday’s Boston Globe:

Barack Obama always was a larger-than-life candidate with a healthy ego. Now he’s turning into the A-Rod of politics. It’s all about him.

He’s giving his opponent something other than issues to attack him on: narcissism.

A convention hall isn’t good enough for the presumptive Democratic nominee. He plans to deliver his acceptance speech in the 75,000 seat stadium where the Denver Broncos play. Before a vote is cast, he’s embarking on a foreign policy tour that will use cheering Europeans - and America’s top news anchors - as extras in his campaign. What do you expect from a candidate who already auditioned a quasi-presidential seal with the Latin inscription, “Vero possumus” - “Yes, we can”?

Pundits used to call Bill Clinton The Big Me, but Obama has begun to make Bill look positively humble in comparison.  One wonders when Obama will begin wearing a red cape on the dais.  (image courtesy Jessica’s WellTuesday, July 22, 2008




By Richard Fernandez

Two stories of ground to ground and air to ground from Iraq and Afghanistan, 2006 convey some of the flavor of events which were not publicized at the time. The first involved the fight around a downed helicopter suddenly beset by a lightly armed unit’s worst nightmare: numerically superior enemy with lots and lots of crew served weapons. An MH-6 Little Bird had been hit with a dud RPG which nevertheless took out the tail rotor. It landed in the desert in close proximity to the enemy it had been stalking. Another Little Bird settled in beside it while Blackhawks evacuated the crew. A perimeter with about 20 men was established around the downed helicopter when suddenly several enemy trucks with quad 14.5 mm antiaircraft machine guns and lots of infantry appeared. The hunter had become the hunted.

What followed was the story of how the ground force held out, aided by the other Little Bird which pitted its 2×7.62 mm miniguns against the 14.5 mm batteries in a prolonged engagement. I won’t spoil the story which you can go and read yourself. All I will say is that medals were awarded in the action that followed, along with a lot of aw-shucks acknowledgements.

The other involved a small German reconstruction team in Afghanistan that was suddenly pinned down by a Taliban unit in a narrow valley. The only help available was from two A-10s vectored in to help. But the Taliban were pelting the Germans with RPGs and each time an RPG would go off, the pilots night vision equipment flared out in the confines of the valley, leaving the attacking pilot blind. There was only one thing to do: one pilot would have to go in blind and deliver his ordnance against the enemy while his wingman stayed high, coaching him in from above where the night vision could be used without being overpowered by the glare of explosions. I won’t give away the ending either, but the pilot got a Distinguished Flying Cross for what he did next.

Maybe 60 years from now, when the ideological debates have cooled, and no one remembers or much cares who was a Democrat or a Republican in 2006, some future Steven Spielberg will go and interview an aging man running a server farm or robot repair center somewhere in Idaho and ask him about events long, long ago in a place far, far away. Then it will be safe to produce and distrubute Band of Brothers, The Sequel.  Tuesday, July 22, 2008




By Charles Johnson

No one seems to be asking the important question: who’s responsible for letting scumbag Holocaust denier David Irving give a speech at a Catholic church on the Upper East Side of Manhattan? Upper East Side Church Hosts a Holocaust Denier.

A Holocaust-denying historian appeared this month at an Upper East Side church, where he reiterated his claim that the Holocaust never happened.

David Irving, 70, spoke Wednesday at St. Stephen of Hungary Parish, a Catholic church on East 82nd Street. A clergyman there said the church was not aware of Mr. Irving’s views on the Holocaust and was told that a small group wanted the space to discuss a book.

“We had no idea whatsoever, and in fact they never told us the nature of their meeting,” Father Eric Carpine told The New York Sun. “We would never sponsor anyone who would ... discriminate against people.”

For some reason, the hardest of the hard left moonbats are opposed to Irving and his nonsense. Anarchist site infoshop.com has this account of the event from protesters:

Initially canceled at its original venue due to a phone jam initiated by Anti-Racist Action, Holocaust revisionist David Irving was able to dupe yet another New York City venue into hosting his hateful speaking tour. However, thanks to the great investigative work of members of Anti-Racist Action and our friends, we were able to properly greet David Irving and his fascist guests when they arrived at their back-up location - St. Stephen of Hungary Parish, 414 East 82nd.

Even with only about 10 hours notice, ARA was able to pull together a counter-demonstration outside the church and expose David Irving for the fascist, hateful neo-Nazi scumbag that he is.

Early Wednesday morning, Irving had announced that he would be speaking at Primavera Restaurant, 1578 1st Ave. Calls to the restaurant resulted in ARA realizing that Irving was just using Primavera as a meet-up location, and that the restaurant was not complicit in booking the Holocaust denier.

Arriving outside Primavera Restaurant at 6:30pm, we immediately noticed two people redirecting people from the restaurant to a location down the street. Not being very bright, these two Irving supporters were more then happy to inform ARA members were the talk was actually happening. We proceeded down the block to St. Stephen of Hungary Parish, but not before confronting the redirect people - taking their clipboard and fliers, and chasing them away from outside of the restaurant.

With that taken care of, we then concentrated our efforts on the church. Immediately upon arriving at the church, we took down the signs outside announcing Irving’s lecture, closed the doors and positioned ourselves in front of the entrance.

As the first people began to arrive, we informed them that the David Irving event had been canceled. Some people tried to force their way past us, all with no results. One person - so angered by our presence - resorted to pushing and shoving and typical neo-Nazi insults - “communist,” “homosexual” and so on. He even (tried) to grab at the camera we were using to take the picture of every person entering the event, and when that did not work, he (tried) spitting on him.

Wow. For once I find myself on the same side as infoshop.com. Mark this day in the record books.

But I’d still like to know who’s behind this US tour for a Holocaust denier. Irving’s not doing this by himself.  Monday, July 21, 2008




By Bill Roggio

Orakzai goes red. Red agencies/ districts are controlled by the Taliban; purple districts areunder de facto Taliban control; yellow regions are under Taliban influence.

Just six days after the Pakistani military launched an offensive against marauding Taliban forces in Hangu, the government has initiated peace negotiations with the Taliban.

The government of the Northwest Frontier Province "authorized the jirga [tribal council] to finalize the terms with Taliban to halt the ongoing violence in the area," Daily Times reported based on anonymous sources.

The negotiations were confirmed by provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain. The provincial government ordered the jirga members to keep the terms of the negotiations secret. The Swat Taliban is said to be facilitating the negotiations.

The Hangu operation

The military moved in 1,500 regular Army forces into the region, backed by tanks, artillery, and helicopter gunships on July 16 after a week of unrelenting attacks by Taliban forces in the region. On July 8, a police force detained seven Taliban fighters, including Rafiuddin, a senior Taliban leader and a deputy of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. Rafiuddin’s group is based out of North Waziristan, which borders Hangu to the south.

The Taliban then launched a siege on the police station where Rafiuddin and the other fighters were held. A force comprised of 400 Taliban fighters surrounded the police station, but dispersed after a Pakistani Army battalion was dispatched to lift the siege. On July 15, an estimated 250 Taliban surrounded a fort in the Shinawarai region and ordered the paramilitary troops to leave.

The Frontier Corps paramilitary troops abandoned the fort, and it subsequently looted and destroyed by the Taliban. The Taliban are said to have captured 29 members of the Pakistani security forces during the past week, and threatened to kill them if extremists in custody were not released. The fate of those captured is unknown.

Hangu is part of a pattern

The initiation of negotiations with the Taliban in Hangu is the latest attempt by the Pakistani government to make peace with the Taliban after conducting show of force operations. The recent military operation and subsequent negotiations in Khyber followed the same pattern.

The Pakistani military launched an operation in the tribal agency of Khyber earlier this month after Taliban incursions into the neighboring provincial capital of Peshawar could no longer be ignored. The military conducted ineffectual sweeps, purportedly to defeat the Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, and the Haji Namdar group, all extremist groups with ties to the Taliban.

The operation ended after 10 days, in what the government admitted was a "show of force." The government also announced the timetable of the operation as soon as it was launched, indicating the operation was not results-driven.

The government then initiated peace talks with the Lashkar-e-Islam, and a peace agreement was signed on July 9. The more than 90 extremists captured during the operation were released.

The government indicated further Potemkin operations were in store in the tribal areas and regions in the Northwest Frontier Province. Yesterday, it was reported that Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani and his cabinet were told that more than 8,000 foreign fighters were operating in the tribal areas.

Interior Ministry Adviser Rehman Malik said further operations may be needed. Malik said the problem would require "a short and effective operation like the one in Bara [in Khyber] recently."

But a report from M. Waqar Bhatti, who recently visited Khyber, shows the operation was anything but effective. Regions of Khyber remain under full Taliban control as security forces are absent.

The Lashkar-e-Islam is enforcing sharia, or Islamic law, and has established a parallel government in contradiction to the peace agreement. Lashkar-e-Islam is forcing families to send one son to fight against the Ansar-ul-Islam, their rival in Khyber. "Their aim: to have full control of the most strategic point along the Afghanistan border," Bhatti stated.

Khyber is the gateway to Afghanistan. More than 70 percent of NATO's supplies pass through the Khyber agency. The Pakistani military is only focused on keeping the supply line to Afghanistan open, Bhatti said, noting heavy patrols and check posts on the main road through Khyber.

Pakistan makes deals with the devil

The government continues to sue for peace in the tribal areas. Yesterday, Gilani met with tribal elders from the seven tribal agencies of Bajaur, Mohmand, Kurram, Orakzai, Khyber, and North and South Waziristan.

Gilani asked for help in dealing with the rising threat of "militancy" in the tribal areas. "I ask you people to tell me how to deal with elements bent upon militancy," Gilani said. "I am deadly against use of force but some elements are compelling the government to take harsh decisions."

But the tribal elders in attendance said negotiations were required "while [the] use of force would further complicate" the situation. The tribal leaders refused to hold the Taliban accountable for problems in the agencies. "Interestingly, the turbaned men, who are known for their straightforward comments, tended to become diplomatic when questioned about the Taliban and Baitullah Mehsud," Daily Times reported.

A tribal leader in South Waziristan said the situation was stable and ignored questions about the murder and beheadings of tribal elders. A tribal leader in North Waziristan said "99 percent of the tribesmen were supporting Baitullah Mehsud and Mullah Nazir because they considered them loyal citizens of Pakistan." A Mohmand tribal leader said "the real Taliban are not bad people" and blamed any problems on "criminals."

The security situation in northwestern Pakistan and in neighboring Afghanistan has rapidly deteriorated since the government initiated its latest round of peace accords with the Taliban and allied extremists in the tribal areas and settled districts in the Northwest Frontier Province. Peace agreements have been signed with the Taliban in North Waziristan, Swat, Dir, Bajaur, Malakand, Mohmand, Khyber, and Orakzai.

Negotiations are under way in South Waziristan, Kohat, and Mardan. The Taliban have violated the terms of these agreements in every region where accords have been signed.

The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terrorist groups have established more than 100 terror camps in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, US intelligence officials have told The Long War JournalTuesday, July 22, 2008


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