Pakistan is a National Bulwark Against International Terrorism — Eurasia Future

Pakistan was born out of a spirit of optimism under stress. The two-nation theory that came into being as a result of the philosophy of Sir Muhammad Iqbal, the political Declaration of Choudhry Rahmat Ali and the national leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah stressed that peace and freedom for […] The post Pakistan is…

via Pakistan is a National Bulwark Against International Terrorism — Eurasia Future

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Terrorism Is What We Say It Is

By Jeremy Salt
Source

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There is no consensus when it comes to defining terrorism. The most acceptable is ‘the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in pursuit of political aims.’ Some definitions insert the word ‘systematic’ so the act is defined as the regular, standard behavior of an individual or a group and not just one aberrant or anomalous action.

Terror is not quite the same as terrorism. Terror is experienced by many people in many ways and at many levels of their lives. There is terror at home in the hands of an abusive husband. There is the terror experienced by sexually abused children. There is terror in the school and the church, from abusive priests and teachers.

There is terror in the streets, from the man holding a knife to your throat as he demands your wallet and there can be terror at the hands of police, there to protect but frequently to abuse and even kill.

A violent father will terrorize his family for years. He will terrorize them regularly, day after day. He will assault his wife and children. He might even kill them. The family will live in a state of fear for years. There will be no end to it any more than there seems to be an end to occupation for the occupied.

This is a digression but it is not unreasonable to compare the fear of an abusive father in the home to the fear of soldiers and settlers amongst a people living under occupation. Violence is always just around the corner in both circumstances.

The home is turned into occupied territory, a place of violence and terror from which there is no escape for the trapped child. The abusive father becomes the soldier, the border police and the settler.

The state and the media tell us who the terrorist is. It is never us. It is always them. The terrorist is the Islamic State in Syria, the terrorist is the gunmen shooting dead 90 young people in the Bataclan theatre in Paris and the terrorist is the man driving a 19-ton truck into a mass of people strolling along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The central problem with this mainstream definition is that it excludes the terrorist actions of a state, except, of course, when the state is part of ‘them’ and not ‘us’ and needs to be set up as a fitting target for attack.

The killers at Bataclan and Nice had their own political motives but so do ‘western’ governments and their regional allies when launching their wars of aggression in the Middle East. Their actions meet their own criteria of terrorism – unlawful violence against civilians with a political aim in mind – and they have killed infinitely more people than the victims of all individual or group terrorist attacks put together.

Their wars would be more accurately described as onslaughts by the most powerful armies in the world on countries scarcely capable of defending themselves. Israel’s war on Lebanon in 1982 was a terrorist war directed against a civilian population, with the political aim in mind of extinguishing the PLO. Its ‘wars’ on Gaza have been terrorist attacks on a civilian population with the aim of destroying support for the Palestinian government elected in 2006.

When the US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003 the entire Iraqi population south of the Kurdish region was terrorized. Across the country, people did not know whether they or someone close to them would live to see the next day. Hundreds of thousands did not.

They were the sacrifice that had to be made so a dictator could be stripped of the weapons of mass destruction he did not have and the architects of the killing of these civilians knew he did not have.

There were no elegies, no regrets, and no remorse. No flags waving over coffins and no sound of the last post. They were pulp, no more than dross, the scourings in the factory of war, a faceless, nameless pile of bodies with a sign stuck on the top reading ‘collateral damage.’

This did not mean that death did not concern the folk back home. Many were horrified and came out into the streets to demonstrate but most were concerned only with the death of their own, the soldiers sent to kill in this senseless war.

The same governments that led the attack on Iraq then took advantage of the ‘Arab spring’ to turn their attention to Libya. This most developed country in Africa was not destroyed by ‘rebels.’ It was destroyed by the air forces of the US, the UK, and France. The ‘rebels’ moved forward only under cover of aerial attack. Without it they could not have gone beyond the municipal boundaries of Benghazi.

These same governments changed gear when it came to Syria, where they knew they could not get any kind of UN Security Council backing for what they intended to do. They claimed to have been engaged in a ‘war on terror’ since 9/11 but now they and their regional allies used the terrorist gangs they had pledged to destroy to destroy Syria. Their takfiris were no more than the equivalent of the contras Ronald Reagan used against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

The criminality in all of this is enormous. The Nuremberg tribunal defined an aggressive war as the supreme international crime. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, the destruction of Libya in 2011 and the slow-motion destruction of Syria from 2011 onwards were aggressive wars and thus supreme international crimes for which no-one who commissioned them has been held accountable in a court of law.

The 2003 attack on Iraq followed ten years of sanctions described by senior UN humanitarian coordinators as genocidal. This was a decade of terror suffered by the Iraqi people, deprived of food, clean water, and energy supplies. Half a million children who would have lived died. The sanctions sickened so many governments they refused to apply them any longer.

With the sanctions regime collapsing, and with it becoming clear that Saddam would survive and Iraq would again take its place as a front line Arab state against Israel, the US decided to attack again and break Iraq up.

The second war on Iraq was launched and sustained under cover of the most reprehensible lies, not one of them being challenged let alone exposed by the corporate media. Up to one million people were killed within a few years and millions more fled their country. Until the attack on Syria, it was the greatest outpouring of refugees in the Middle East since the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.

The refugees scattered in all directions. Some managed to reach Indonesia, where they took rickety boats across the Timor Sea to Australia. Many drowned when their boats sank.  Others were turned back and some actually made it through the naval cordon. Taking no responsibility for its military role in the destruction of their country, the Australian government then locked them up in ‘detention centers’ or in camps behind razor wire in the middle of the desert.

The vicious, inhumane treatment of such vulnerable people will rank for all time as one of the most despicable episodes in Australian history. What it exposed yet again was the racism deeply embedded in Australian society, directed against one vulnerable group of people after another, the indigenous people from the beginning of white settlement, Chinese miners in the 19th century, ‘boat people’ escaping the Vietnam war in the 1970s and most recently the ‘boat people’ escaping the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq.

The irony could not be lost on anyone, as it was the white settlers themselves who in 1788 were the first ‘boat people,’ massacring the native people and claiming the entire land under the lie of terra nullius. Neither should the similarities with the Zionist occupation of Palestine be lost on anyone.

War turned Libya into a jumping-off point for Libyans and other Africans escaping war or seeking a better life in Europe. Thousands drowned crossing the Mediterranean. The Aegean was another death zone, for Iraqis driven out of their homeland or Kurds escaping theirs.

Then it was Syria’s turn.  If there is any redeeming feature in this latest attempt to destroy an Arab country it is that Syria has survived and in time foreign forces will eventually have to withdraw from the territory they have occupied.  The governments responsible have again violated international law in the most shocking fashion and again no-one has been punished or even held accountable.

These state crimes are the greatest in modern history, far worse in the scale of destruction and the numbers of people killed than the crimes of the national socialists and fascists in the 1930s. One would have to go back to the war on Vietnam for a parallel measure of death and destruction.

Israel was a central element in the wars on Iraq and Syria. It has long been agitating for war on Iran. Its politicians and lobbyists in the US were pushing for ‘regime change’ in the Middle East two decades ago, with the aim of clearing the region of all possible threats to Israeli military domination.

Psycho-historically, Israel also wanted to destroy what was left of the ‘Arab idea’ and what lay at its heart – Palestine. This project began with its establishment.  Israel would decide what the Arab world would be and Israel would tell the world what Arab and Palestinian history had been. Indeed, there would no longer be an ‘Arab world’ in any integrated sense.  As the Yinon planrevealed in the 1980s, it would be broken up into ethno-religious enclaves that Israel could dominate.

Along with the gross crimes committed in Iraq, Libya and Syria there have been the drone missile attacks ordered against Yemen, Somalia and other countries by that paragon of western liberal democracy, Barack Obama.

Now we have his successor dismissing international law with his claim that Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are part of Israel. Thus encouraged, Netanyahu is pledging that after the forthcoming elections he will annex at least parts of the occupied West Bank. ‘A Palestinian state would endanger our existence’ he says. If he does, Trump is likely to follow through with recognition.

What else are these attacks on the governments and people of the Middle East but terror and terrorism as defined – ‘the unlawful use of violence … especially against civilians … in the pursuit of political aims’?

This terrorism is not random but part of the DNA of certain states, no different in essence from the terror of the gunmen who burst into the Bataclan theatre and began shooting down civilians as innocent as the Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and Palestinians killed by tank fire and missile strikes or shot by gunmen along the Gaza fence. Only the uniform separates them from the Bataclan killers.

These two governments, the US and Israel, have turned the canons of international law upside down. Their law is no more than the law of the jungle, the law not of the civilization whose virtues they endlessly spout but of brute force. They have demonstrated by their actions that where their perceptions of national interest are concerned there is no law they will obey and every law they will break.

They are the Leviathan without the social contract. They have taken the world back to Thomas Hobbes’ ‘state of nature,’ in which, for millions of people in the Middle East the life of a man or a woman, adult or child, becomes ‘brutish and short.’

In their eyes, the ‘terrorist’ is not just the Bataclan gunmen but anyone who stands in their way, whether an individual, an organization or a state. The latest addition, put on the list of designated terrorist groups by Donald Trump, is Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which has sent forces to support Syrian and Hizbullah resistance to western-led and Israeli aggression against Syria and Lebanon. In response, Iran’s Supreme Security Council has designated the US government as a terrorist government and CENTCOM, the US central military command, as a terrorist group.

The attack on Syria has been yet another terrible violation of international law, at numerous levels, by the US and its ‘western’ and Middle Eastern regional partners. As usual, the UN Secretary-General refuses to speak out, further whittling away the UN’s credibility as the supposed defender of international order. The response by the Syrian government and its allies to the attack on Syria is not terrorism, but resistance to it.

US and Israeli orchestrated terror in the Middle East has to be put in the right semantical order. Israel was founded through terror and by terror it has been maintained. Its terrorism is not random but normalized and necessary to its existence as a state that has chosen to live outside the law, with the full support of the US.

Israel is not ‘defending’ itself when it attacks Gaza or when its soldiers, police, and settlers kill Palestinians in Jerusalem or on the West Bank. What is it is ‘defending’ is its theft of someone else’s property. It is the Palestinians who are defending their rights, under law, not Israel.

Israeli civilians living illegally on occupied land in east Jerusalem or the West Bank put themselves in harm’s way and are to be held primarily responsible for the consequences to themselves and their families.

The terror experienced by Israeli Jews living close to the Gaza fence is the minutest fraction of the terror routinely inflicted on Palestinians on the other side of the fence. They are being targeted not because they are Jews, as Netanyahu and Zionist lobbyists would have the world believe, but because they are living on land stolen from its owners more than seven decades ago after being ethnically cleansed. It would not matter who they are.  They would still be resisted because of what they have done.

Adherence to international law would redress the situation in Palestine yet the joint US and Israeli response to the violence and terror they have initiated across the Middle East is more violence and more terror. This is their answer. You will do as we say or else, signaling that the ‘special relationship’ between these two unruly, lawbreaking countries is one of the most dangerous in history.

Afghanistan is Collapsing. Get Out: Now!

By Brian Cloughley
Source

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November has been quite a month, so far, in Afghanistan.  The level of violence has been appalling and the most serious recent atrocity was yet another suicide bombing in Kabul. It killed over fifty people and injured twice that many but didn’t merit a Trump tweet, which isn’t surprising because he doesn’t seem to be interested in the place.  Further, as reported by the Washington Post on November 19, he hasn’t visited a single country in which his troops are fighting.

The reason he hasn’t visited his troops in such areas is because he is a coward.  He is a physical yellow-belly who lacks the courage to go anywhere near a war zone.  He is below contempt, but he could gain a little bit of respect if he ordered the US and NATO to get out of Afghanistan.

Early in November the New York Times summed up the shambles in Afghanistan by stating

In the past week, the Times confirmed that 118 members of the security forces were killed, a significant increase over the previous week, but, unusually, there were no confirmed deaths of civilians. Fighting spread to nine provinces, but the emphasis shifted to the south as cold weather intensified in the north. An entire battalion of Afghan border soldiers was wiped out in western Farah Province, and the Taliban tried — unsuccessfully so far — to take over Jaghori District in Ghazni, an anti-insurgent stronghold.

On November 3 yet another US soldier was killed by a member of Afghanistan’s military forces.  Major Brent Taylor of the Utah National Guard was instructing Afghan soldiers when one of them shot him dead.  He left a wife and seven young children. On the same day, as reported by the New York Times, twenty Afghan soldiers were reported missing after a Taliban attack in Uruzgan Province, and on November 5, six policemen and seven soldiers were killed in Ghazni, two Afghan Humvees were blown up, 17 policemen were killed in Kandahar Province and seven soldiers in Herat.

Seven soldiers were killed on November 7, two of them in Nangarhar Province in an airstrike by United States aircraft while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was visiting foreign troops in Herat. The following day seventeen soldiers were killed along with eight policemen.

After the NYT’s report that no civilians had been killed in the first week, the situation changed dramatically and the Taliban killed 15 civilians and 10 members of the special forces in Ghazni on November 11, then “In the western province of Farah, at least 37 members of the Afghan security forces were killed in overnight attacks by Taliban fighters on checkpoints that triggered hours of fighting, local officials said on November 12.”  That was the day that a loonie of Islamic State killed at least six civilians and wounded 20 others in a suicide bombing in Kabul.

Stoltenberg told foreign soldiers in Herat they “have to remember that you are in Afghanistan because NATO is in Afghanistan to make sure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorism.  So this is about helping the Afghans but also about helping ourselves.  It is in our security interest to make sure that Afghanistan not once again becomes a platform, a territory, a country where terrorist organizations can prepare, plan attacks against our own countries.”

This is fallacious nonsense, but he’s got to say it because there is no real reason for the NATO presence in Afghanistan.  In the words of the World War One dirge sung by British soldiers in France, “We’re here, because we’re here, because we’re here . . .”

They got there because the United States was hell-bent on war. And this war has had a most significant and disastrous spin-off  that the drum-thumpers didn’t think about. It has shown the world that there has been yet another war which the US couldn’t and can’t win.

The foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan — almost 3,500 of them, including 1,892 American combatants — have died for nothing.  The entire war has been a disgraceful catastrophe, and as I recorded in Counterpunch in 2012, the US-NATO fiasco was well described by US Colonel David Davis:

The United States, along with over 40 NATO and other allied nations, possesses the most sophisticated, powerful, and technologically advanced military force that has ever hit the field of combat. We have the finest and most well trained soldiers that exist anywhere; we have armored vehicles of every type, to include MIA2 Main Battle Tanks; artillery, mortars, advanced rockets, precision guided missiles, and hand-held rocket launchers; we have a wholly uncontested air force composed of NATO’s most advanced ground attack fighter jets, bombers, AWACS controllers, spy planes, signals-interception aircraft, B 1 bombers, attack helicopters, and massive transport jets to ferry our troops and critical supplies where they are needed; we have thousands of unmanned aerial drones both for intelligence collection and missile-launching; we have a helicopter fleet for personnel transport and attack support; we have an enormous constellation of spy satellites; logistics that are as limitless as the combined weight of the industrial world; we have every technological device known to the profession of arms; we are able to intercept virtually every form of insurgent communication to include cell phones, walkie-talkies, satellite phones, email, and even some ability to eavesdrop on otherwise private conversations; a remarkably capable cohort of intelligence analysts that are as educated, well trained and equipped to a degree that used to exist only in science fiction;  and our various nations have the economic wherewithal to spend $10s of billions each month to fund it all. And for almost 10 years we have pitted this unbelievable and unprecedented capability against:  A bunch of dudes in bed sheets and flip-flops.

Remember the idiot General Petraeus? In 2010 he declared “We must demonstrate to the people and to the Taliban that Afghan and International Security Assistance Forces are here to safeguard the Afghan people and that we are in this to win. That is our clear objective.”

But they lost. And there’s no point in reinforcing failure.  US-NATO forces failed to follow almost every Principle of War, and they paid the price.

Get the hell out of Afghanistan.  Now.

US War on Terror Promotes What It Pretends to Oppose

By Stephen Lendman
Source

The 9/11 mother of all false flags launched Washington’s so-called Global War on Terror.

It’s perhaps the most colossal hoax in human history, announced by GW Bush in September 2001, falsely blaming (US-created and supported) al-Qaeda for state-sponsored terrorism, saying:

“Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them,” adding:

“Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

He failed to explain that terrorists “R” us. Washington’s phony war on terror is all about waging it on humanity at home and abroad – war of terror, not on it, endless wars of aggression, smashing one sovereign nation after another, wanting all countries subordinating their interests to America’s.

Historian Howard Zinn once asked: “How can you make war on terrorism if war is terrorism?” Waging it “gives government a perpetual war and a perpetual atmosphere of repression.”

“And it generates perpetual profits for corporations. But it’s going to make the world a far more unstable and dangerous place.”

“(Islamic) (t)errorism replaced communism as the rationale for the militarization of the country, for military adventures abroad, and for the suppression of civil liberties at home.”

Since WW II, “there has not been a more warlike nation in the world than the United States.”

Historian Charles Beard said US foreign policy since WW II reflects “perpetual war for perpetual peace.”

Political commentator/critic, essayist, historian Gore Vidal titled one of his books “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace,” saying “our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own.”

In his book titled “Dreaming War,” he compared Bush/Cheney’s imperial project to WW II and the 1947 Truman Doctrine, pledging “(t)o support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”

In the years following WW II, it was all about keeping Greece, Turkey, and any other countries from going communist. It reflects America’s National Security State strategy – waging endless wars of aggression for unchallenged global dominance, targeting nations not submissive enough to Washington.

US perpetual wars for perpetual peace risk what Gandhi warned about, saying: “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”

Interviewed by RT in October 2017, Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF) head Jan Oberg said the “main creator of terrorism is US war on terror, not terrorists.”

He called waging war on terror the equivalent of eradicating diseases by killing patients. US wars created “a generation of…terrorists,” he stressed.

Washington’s so-called war on terror created and supports the scourge it pretends to oppose. Post-9/11, the human cost is in the millions of lives lost from endless wars, related violence, untreated diseases, starvation, and overall deprivation.

The financial cost alone is a high crime against humanity, countless trillions of dollars diverted from vital homeland needs, spent on endless mass slaughter and destruction.

One or more estimates put the cost at around $6 trillion spent post-9/11 on endless wars and militarism.

In February, Project Censored reported a whopping $21 trillion gone missing from the federal budget throughout the 1998 – 2015 period – likely trillions more since then.

Most of it went for militarism and war-making, a monumental black hole of waste, fraud, abuse of power. The grandest of grand theft exceeded US 2017 GDP by trillions of dollars unaccounted for.

US major media remain silent about what should have made many days of screaming headlines and demands for accountability.

The number of global terrorists and threat they pose is infinitely greater than pre-9/11.

It’s because the US under Republicans and undemocratic Dems created and use jihadists as imperial proxies.

Under Pentagon and CIA direction, ISIS and other terrorists are heavily armed, funded, controlled, and deployed to war theaters where the US wants them used against sovereign governments and their people.

Washington’s war OF terror is all about making the world safe for America’s military, industrial, security, media complex, Wall Street, and other corporate favorites – for controlling planet earth, its resources and populations.

Endless wars are glorified in the name of peace the US abhors. Its wars of aggression are all about carving up whole continents for profit – called economic development. 

It’s to colonize nations, transforming workers into serfs called jobs creation. Imperial dominance and exploitation are considered democracy building.

Nations are destroyed on the phony pretext of liberating them from the scourge of (US-supported) terrorism.

Countries America attacked were largely peaceful and stable before US forces and their proxies showed up.

When might justifies right, humanity’s survival is up for grabs. If a way isn’t found to end US wars, they’ll end us.

After Trump’s tirade, Pentagon says Pakistan critical partner in US South Asia strategy

By Aisha Mahmood
Source

In an apparent damage control after US President Donald Trump’s accusations that Pakistan ‘does not do a damn thing’ for the US, the Pentagon has said that Pakistan remains a critical partner to America’s South Asia strategy.

During an off-camera news conference, US Colonel Rob Manning, Director of Defense Press Operations, contended that there was no change in US’s military-to-military relationship with Pakistan. He said that Pakistan continues to be a part of South Asia strategy, local media reported.

Manning continued, “The US and Pakistan have strong mutual interests in the region. As you know, they are critical (and) vital to the South Asia strategy and including the facilitation of a peace process that would lead to a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.”

In his latest tirade, the US president targeted Pakistan in a series of tweets and blamed it for receiving billions of dollars’ and ‘not doing a damn thing’ for the US. Prime Minister Imran Khan slammed Trump and said that instead of making Pakistan ‘a scapegoat for their failures’ in Afghanistan, the US should assess their strategies. The PM continued in a series of tweets and listed down the sacrifices made by Pakistan after participating in the US War on Terror.

No Trump, Pakistan Did Everything For The US But Got Nothing In Return

By Andrew Korybko
Source

The Pakistani Prime Minister is correct in pointing out how much his country did for the US in response to Trump’s disrespectful attack against it this weekend.  

One of Trump’s prerecorded interviews aired this weekend where the American President attacked Pakistan for supposedly doing nothing for the US during the nearly two decades that the two Great Powers have been notionally “allied” in the War on Terror. He mocked the country for supposedly knowing about Bin Laden’s alleged whereabouts in Abbottabad, implying that it was only leeching off of American taxpayers this entire time and was never serious about fighting terrorism in exchange for aid. Trump’s insults might have went unanswered under previous administrations, but Prime Minister Khan’s “Naya Pakistan” (“New Pakistan”) made a point to directly reply to him on the President’s favorite medium, Twitter. In a series of hard-hitting tweets, the Pakistani leader protected his country’s reputation by responding with the following clarification:

“Record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump’s tirade against Pakistan: 

  • No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pak decided to participate in US War on Terror. 
  • Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. US “aid” was a miniscule $20 bn.
  • Our tribal areas were devastated & millions of ppl uprooted from their homes. The war drastically impacted lives of ordinary Pakistanis. 
  • Pak continues to provide free lines of ground & air communications(GLOCs/ALOCs).

Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?

Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before.”

As can plainly be seen, Pakistan has done everything that it could for America while receiving nothing but turmoil and terrorism in return for a paltry amount of so-called “aid”. Even to this very day Pakistan “continues to provide free lines of ground & air communications” for the US to Afghanistan, showing not only a genuine dedication to the cause, but also a loyalty that many in the country are arguing is undeserved after the disrespect that they’ve consistently experienced from the new American administration. Pakistan suffered from terrorism many orders of magnitude more than the US ever did, most of which happened after its post-9/11 anti-terrorist “alliance” with America, but the only “thanks” that it’s getting for its sacrifices is to be scapegoated for Washington’s military failure in Afghanistan. 

 

New Study: War On Terror Cost $5.9 Trillion (And Counting). Do You Feel Safe?

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A new study by Brown University has found that the post 9/11 wars have, when all totaled up, cost an estimated $5.9 trillion (and counting) as interest on the borrowed money continues to accrue. What did we get for our money? Safety and security? No. More threats and more wars. Was the whole thing a scam?

 

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