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Books and Documents

War on Terror

This policy on targeted killing, according to experts on counterterrorism inside and outside the government, is shaped by several factors: the availability of a weapon that does not risk American casualties; the resistance of the authorities in Pakistan and Yemen to even brief incursions by American troops; and the decreasing urgency of interrogation at a time when the terrorist threat has diminished and the United States has deep intelligence on its enemies....

However, even despite this being the fourth year of drone strikes in Pakistan, with so many Al-Qaeda and Tehreek-e-Taliban leaders allegedly killed in strikes in past years, terrorists were nevertheless able to still carry out 652 attacks killing 1,007 people and injuring 2,687. Not only were they able to kill more, they were also able to expand their ambit of operations into other parts of Pakistan...

 

A much-quoted line from the movie Apocalypse Now captured the insanity of the American air war in Vietnam.  “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” says an Air Cav commander played by Robert Duvall.  “Smelled like... victory.”  Updated for drone warfare, this line might read: “I love the sound of drones in the morning.  Sounds like... victory.”  But will we say the same when armed drones are hovering, not only above our enemies’ heads...

Just about everyone now recognises the Iraq conflict as a moral catastrophe, a disaster on every conceivable level. Yet, curiously, no-one's responsible. Military conflict has been largely normalised, writes Jeff Sparrow. In less than two weeks, we'll mark the 10-year anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, a milestone that should prompt some serious soul searching.....

 
The Myth of Large Numbers
Vijay Prashad
The Myth of Large Numbers
Vijay Prashad

“We are expecting a real genocide in Tripoli.” Two days later, Al-Arabiya, the satellite television channel owned by members of the Saudi royal family, began to broadcast that in Libya, 50,000 people had been wounded and 10,000 had been killed — all in the space of a week, with the Gaddafi regime responsible for the lion’s share of the massacres....

 
One Day Even the Drones Will Have to Land
Peter Van Buren
One Day Even the Drones Will Have to Land
Peter Van Buren

Think of his comment as a warning. Having somehow turned much of Islam into a foe, Washington has essentially assured itself of never-ending crises that it stands no chance whatsoever of winning. In this sense, Iraq was not an aberration, but the historic zenith and nadir for a way of thinking that is only now slowing waning. For decades to come, the U.S. will have a big enough military to ensure that our decline is slow, bloody, ugly, and reluctant, if inevitable....

I stumbled into a world of Muslim women in London, Manchester, and Birmingham. Some of them were British, others from Arab and African countries, but their husbands or sons had been swept up in Washington’s war. Some were in Guantanamo, some were among the dozen Muslim foreigners who did not know each other, and who were surprised to find themselves imprisoned together in Britain on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda....

 

The withdrawal of combat forces by most ISAF members is indicative of the fact that this war has lost its popular support among friends and everyone back home. Also, the US has been unable to win hearts and minds in either Afghanistan or Pakistan; in fact, it is quite the contrary. The enthusiasm has vanished and the fight now is nothing but a battle between the US military alone against the people of Afghanistan....

 

Whether or not Twitter should censor terrorist groups is a matter of debate, and there are strong legal and moral arguments for both sides. But it is impossible to have a debate when Twitter refuses to come clean about its own actions. "Twitter's policy on extremists comes off like one guy who knows nothing about the subject clicking around at random looking for trouble," tweeted terrorism analyst....

 

“I've learned that terror doesn't happen because some group of people somewhere like Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren't being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death……. You have to attack the source of your enemy's strength....

 

With planning for the Western military withdrawal from Afghanistan in full swing, officials in Uzbekistan want to make a deal: we will provide the roads out if you leave some of those extra vehicles and supplies behind for us. Uzbek officials have quietly contacted American, German and British officials with the offer, in their latest bid to supplement their military despite international embargoes....

Mullah Nazir was a strategic asset and close ally of the Pakistani security establishment and was considered by them to be one of the “good Taliban,” fighters who focused their jihad against U.S. and NATO forces across the border rather than on Pakistani forces.  The Pakistan army signed a peace deal with Mullah Nazir in 2009 in which the latter agreed that he would not attack Pakistani security forces....

 

For Americans weary of nearly a dozen years of war, Afghanistan often seems like a country where nothing ever changes and the same story of ethnic and tribal struggle repeats itself in an endless loop. But Afghanistan’s demographics have changed in significant ways over the past decade. Rather than being mired in a perpetual feudal twilight, it’s actually becoming a modern country. The statistical evidence of change, gathered from USAID data and other sources, is overwhelming.

Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA
International Crisis Group

Pakistan’s Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), which include Swat and six neighbouring districts and areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KPK), remains volatile more than three years after military operations sought to oust Islamist extremists. Militant groups such as the Sunni extremist Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) and its Pakistani Taliban-linked Fazlullah faction are no longer as powerful in Swat and other parts of PATA as they were in 2008 and early 2009, but their leaders and foot soldiers remain at large, regularly attacking security personnel and civilians.

 
Negotiate with the TTP?
Pervez Hoodbhoy
Negotiate with the TTP?
Pervez Hoodbhoy

If Pakistan is to be at peace with itself, the army must stop seeing everything through the prism of competition and war with India. To prosper, Pakistan must overcome its hatred for India and leave Kashmir as a problem to be solved by Kashmiris. Muddled thinking has left Pakistan exhausted and indifferent to its own suffering.

 

"Who is funding this huge campaign? This is a big question mark because Dr Qadri’s party is not that strong and organized to do that at its own." Analysts are also worried that attempts to pit Barevlis and Deobandis against each others could complicate the situation further in the Muslim country.

In the absence of military operations in the region, US drone operations continued to target top ranking terrorists, especially in North Waziristan Agency (NWA), despite severe criticism from both within and outside Pakistan. According to the SATP database, at least 344 terrorists were killed in 46 drone strikes in 2012 in the region, as compared to 548 terrorists in 59 such attacks in 2011.

 
US and Taliban in Afghanistan: Moving Forward To Go Back
Chinmaya R. Gharekhan
US and Taliban in Afghanistan: Moving Forward To Go Back
Chinmaya R. Gharekhan

This was the first time senior Taliban representatives sat down with the government and other opposition groups. This, in a way, amounts to a concession by the Taliban which had, thus far, refused to talk to the Kabul government which it did not regard as legitimate. There was no joint statement after the Chantilly meeting. In the words of the sponsoring think tank, the objective was to encourage the Afghans to “project themselves towards the horizon of 2020.”

 

Americans rarely think about these bases, let alone how much of their tax money -- and debt -- is going to build and maintain them. For Dal Molin and related construction nearby, including a brigade headquarters, two sets of barracks, a natural-gas-powered energy plant, a hospital, two schools, a fitness centre, dining facilities, and a mini-mall, taxpayers are likely to shell out at least half a billion dollars...

 

Afghanistan is full of villages and families that are bitterly divided between the insurgency and the government. Eleven years into the war, efforts to bring the country together through a nationwide reconciliation process have yielded nothing. But on a much smaller scale, some wounds heal. When men die in Kandahar, it doesn’t matter whether they’re soldiers, civilians or insurgents: Their sons are taken to the same smattering of drab buildings and assigned to the same dorm rooms...

 

As we debate whether the two parties can ever come together and get things done, here’s something President Barack Obama could probably do by himself that would be a signal accomplishment of his presidency: End the “war on terror.” Or, more realistically, start planning and preparing the country for phasing it out. For 11 years, the United States has been operating under emergency wartime powers granted under the 2001 “Authorization for Use of Military Force.”...

Civilians Should Take Charge of War on Terror
General (Retd) Khwaja Ziauddin
Civilians Should Take Charge of War on Terror
General (Retd) Khwaja Ziauddin

Dictators have not allowed Pakistan’s political institutions to mature. Repeated military takeovers and abrogation of constitutions by the army have been the bane of our times. The problem lies with the people who accept military hegemony and do not revolt against it. This may be due to poor awareness of the advantages of democracy. However, one cannot totally blame the public since the political leadership accepts military coups initially and welcomes dictators with open arms....

It is a watershed moment for the country which has been engulfed in militant violence for the past several years, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties and incalculable economic losses. Hundreds of schools have been destroyed. People who do not subscribe to their regressive ideology are brutally murdered. Thousands of soldiers have died fighting the militants in lawless tribal regions and part of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa….

 

Americans lived in a “victory culture” for much of the twentieth century.  You could say that we experienced an almost 75-year stretch of triumphalism -- think of it as the real “American Century” -- from World War I to the end of the Cold War, with time off for a destructive stalemate in Korea and a defeat in Vietnam too shocking to absorb or shake off. When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, it all seemed so obvious.  Fate had clearly dealt Washington a royal flush.  It was victory with a capital V....

11 Years after 9/11
Irfan Husain
11 Years after 9/11
Irfan Husain

“On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go to the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers’ circuit, Bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses WMDs, as Mr Bush’s chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?...



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  • Good column! Jamelle Bouie is a very valuable acquisition for NYTimes' op-ed page.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Let us fight this oppression rather than talk about who is more responsible for it
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • When governments pander to orthodoxy, they make good governance impossible.
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  • @Mohammad Hussain HINDUS HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN HARMONY WITH ALL COMMUNITIES. TROUBLE SHOOTERS GET WHAT....
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  • @Na H Il FACTS ARE BASED ON COMMON SENSE, WHICH IS MOST UNCOMMON WITH PEOPLE WHO USUALLY BRUSH IT ASIDE.
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  • MADRASSAS ARE THE ROOT CAUSE OF RELIGIOUS FANATICISM AND SHOULD BE BANNED FOR RELIGIOUS HARMONY.
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  • This write-up points out to us a very deplorable situation developing in Pakistan. Pakistan has done practically nothing to....
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  • Fully agree that "Oppression of Women Has Nothing to Do With Islam Rather It Is the Consequence of Cultural Practices"
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  • The usual meaningless whataboutery from Hats Off!'
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  • every facilitator of cair or stealth jihadis by definition speak the truth. just like the "moderates".
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  • I say what Allah says in the Quran about the Quran and about His previous Books. I do not say anything....
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