Farewell Musharraf, Farewell Pakistan?

Farewell Musharraf, Farewell Pakistan?

By Steve Schippert
FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/14/2008

Unless something drastic happens, the United States is about to lose its principal trusted Pakistani ally, President Pervez Musharraf. The newly elected Pakistani coalition government, distracted by its own internal squabbles and power struggles as it divvies up its newfound collective power since the elections, appears set to finally proceed with the impeachment of Musharraf. The loss of Musharraf in Pakistan will prove a watershed moment in the future of the conflict before us.

Ironically for Pakistan, the future of democracy there may ultimately be at stake, lying in the uncertain hands of a fractious coalition government that has been even more at odds with itself than with Musharraf, whose own massive unpopularity put them in power in the first place.

In November, when Musharraf declared a state of emergency and sacked supreme court justices who were expected to nullify his recent parliamentary re-election to the presidency, he asserted that he was protecting democracy in Pakistan. And, even though he forced through his re-election before his party was expected to be swept from the majority, a seeming affront on the spirit of the democratic process, he may well have been more correct than many would have ever thought at the time.

For once the convulsing new ruling coalition executes the two points they agree on – booting Musharraf and restoring justices – the Pakistani government may devolve into a state of weakness only ever more vulnerable to the bloodlust of the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance which seeks to replace it.

The Pakistani vote that followed Musharraf’s November moves was far less a national acquiescence to any real or imagined PPP or PML-N vision for the country than a resounding voice of displeasure for Musharraf. The principle partners in the new government, the PPP of assassinated Benazir Bhutto and the PML-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, agree on little beyond a unifying opposition to Musharraf.

The PML-N, in fact, withdrew its members from the national cabinet when the two parties could not agree on a timetable to reinstate the judges sacked by Musharraf – a primary platform on which both parties were elected to perform. But several of them have now rejoined the cabinet, once again unified in seeking the ouster of the president through impeachment proceedings almost certain to succeed if a parliamentary vote is taken.

But then what?

The government of Pakistan is in far more disarray now than before Musharraf’s PML-Q party was unceremoniously given the electoral boot. Power struggles continue to play out with an ebb and flow that tear at fought-over institutions and in ways the very writ of government. Pakistan lacks a strong central figure that, for all his flaws (and they are many), it at least had in Musharraf. Pakistan has always been infamous in its corruption, and the battle lines only magnify that now, with instability growing and encroaching on American strategy against terror like gathering storm clouds on the too-near horizon.

For there are two central tenets that the ruling PPP/PML-N coalition agree on; distancing themselves from the United States as an ally in the war on terror and the ouster of Pervez Musharraf, America’s most vital connection. Both of these tenets are aims shared by both al-Qaeda and the Taliban, who have made numerous assassination attempts on Musharraf and are currently executing a very patient insurgency inside Pakistan. This is not to say that the Pakistani ruling coalition and the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance are partners by any means – and certainly not the PPP, whose leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by the latter.

But it is worth noting that the head of the PML-N, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was reported by the Pakistani press at the time to have received billions of rupees as a campaign donation by Usama bin Laden in his first failed run at the premiership in the late 1980’s. He also has a close relationship with Hamid Gul, the former ISI director said to be good friends with bin Laden and often referred to as the father of the Taliban, which he had a significant hand in creating and supporting.

This is the new government of Pakistan, which seeks the end of Musharraf’s days and the end of Pakistan’s days as anything more than a nominal American ally. And there appears little in the way to prevent that. The future for us thus becomes much more difficult in our drive to liquidate al-Qaeda and the Taliban, still with sound sanctuary in the parts of Pakistan where the government has little if any writ. And the level of that writ decreases daily in more and more areas.

Pakistan does not want to simply sever ties with the United States. They do, at the end of the day, recognize – if only seemingly just enough – that the Taliban and al-Qaeda have their eyes on them, too. And the billions each year in US aid money in exchange for Pakistan’s cooperation is a significant boost for the government and its military. The challenge for them is in how to walk the fine line, doing as little as possible without actually losing the very significant sums of American financial aid.

Consider the timeline of events after the Indian Embassy was bombed in Kabul, Afghanistan. The United States had signals intelligence linking Pakistani ISI officers to the bombers and tried to leverage this intelligence upon a Pakistani government drifting not only away from America, but towards outright disarray and instability with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in their midst.

  • Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan bombed by al-Qaeda-Taliban alliance on July 7th.
  • US privately informs Pakistan after the bombing that they ‘have a problem’ that the US has little patience for, namely al-Qaeda and Taliban supporters within their ISI ranks. While not a new problem nor a new revelation to either party, the point is clearly stressed.
  • Pakistan announces that it is rolling the ISI (military intelligence) under civilian oversight, namely the Interior Ministry, once considered by far and away the most stalwartly loyal to President Pervez Musharraf. A ‘purge’ is hinted at though not plainly stated.
  • A CIA UAV missile strike on a ‘madrassa’ in South Waziristan, Pakistan, kills four al-Qaeda members, including one senior leader, Abu Khabab al-Masri, who was al-Qaeda’s chief chemical weapons and bomb expert.
  • Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani visits President Bush in the White House, then upbraids him in a press conference, saying the US is impatient and needs to hand over intelligence and let Pakistan forces “handle ourselves.” He adds that Pakistan is “fighting the war for ourselves,” suggesting that the United States back off.
  • Likely a bit miffed at the rebuff, only then does the US publicly release the intelligence data linking Pakistani ISI members to the terrorist cell that bombed the Indian embassy in Kabul.
  • Pakistan responds by reiterating that plans to roll the ISI under Interior Ministry control is still in the works, even though it was opposed by Musharraf and the military and thus reportedly rescinded hours after its original announcement.

President and Chief of Army Staff, Musharraf tried to play both sides by cooperating with the United States and placating the Taliban and al-Qaeda enemy within. Without Musharraf, the Pakistani government also gives every indication it intends to play both sides by placating the United States and avoiding any confrontation with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, affording them even more fertile fields to grow in within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Their demand that we share intelligence and leave strike execution solely to them is laughable on its face if the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance is to be combated and eventually defeated. We shared intelligence with the ISI ahead of strikes on 29 known al-Qaeda and Taliban training camps, probably to prove a point. And when the subsequent strikes on those camps found them suddenly and largely abandoned, the point was clear. We clearly did not share strike intelligence or data ahead of the strikes that recently killed Abu Khabab al-Masri. If we had, he surely would not have been the recipient of an al-Qaeda obituary glorifying the terrorist groups’ chief chemical weapons expert.

As this ever-weakening government continues to move ahead with often self-destructive results and internal disarray, our strategy will have to adjust accordingly. The pace of airstrikes against high value al-Qaeda targets has already increased multiple-fold and will likely continue to do so with a sense of urgency. Necessity may one day dictate limited-scale cross-border operations directly into the Taliban-al-Qaeda lairs, operations we had hoped the Pakistani military and security forces would shoulder. A large scale incursion will likely never be in the works, as lacking a sufficient blocking anvil to hammer them against, they would simply scatter farther into Pakistan, changing little other than to cause the Pakistani military to fire at us rather than with us.

Pakistan indeed appears to have freely made the choice to move the lines, even if somewhat less than definitively. And the direction seemingly chosen may soon increase the level of difficulty and danger for us there, to say nothing of their own security amid a patient Taliban-al-Qaeda insurgency best described as ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts.’

But every dark cloud has a silver lining. And it is with little doubt that a weak post-Musharraf Pakistan gives rise to a very dark cloud. But it will almost certainly cause the United States and India to solidify an alliance that has always seemed a natural one, if elusive throughout the Cold War. If nothing else, the demise of Musharraf may ultimately add a bit of clarity in that regard.

And clarity is an all too often underappreciated aspect in national security strategy. In the long-term interests of any concern, clarity is far more valuable than consensus.


Steve Schipper is co-founder of the Center for Threat Awareness and managing editor for ThreatsWatch.org.

Obama’s Foreign Donors: The media averts its eyes

Obama’s Foreign Donors: The media averts its eyes

By Pamela Geller

I have been researching, documenting and studying thousands upon thousands of Obama’s campaign donations for the past month. Egregious abuse was immediately evident and I published the results of my ongoing investigation. Each subsequent post built a more damning case against Obama’s illegal contribution activity.

The media took little notice of what I was substantiating. I went so far as to upload the documents so that anyone could do their own research.  I asked readers to download the documents and a number of folks pitched in.

Despite dropping the groundbreaking bombshell  story of “Palestinian” brothers from the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza who donated $33,000 to Obama’s campaign, no big media picked up the story. Jihadis donating to Obama from Gaza? Could there be a bigger story?  Foreign donations are illegal, but this story was all  that and so much more. The “Palestinian” brothers were proud and vocal of their “love” for Obama. Their vocal support on behalf of “Palestinians”  spoke volumes to Obama’s campaign.

And yet still no media.

 

But Obama pricked up his ears. He smelled trouble and while no media asked, he answered anyway. Sen. Obama’s campaign immediately scrambled and contended they had returned the  $33,500 in illegal contributions from Palestinians in Hamas-controlled Gaza, despite the fact that records do not show that it was returned and the brothers said they have not received any money. Having gone through all of Obama’s refunds redesignations etc, no refund was made to Osama, Hossam, or Edwan Monir in the Rafah refugee camp. And still no media. 

 

One of the Gazan brothers, Monir Edwan (identified here),  claimed he bought “Obama for President” T-shirts off Obama’s website  and then sold the T-shirts in Gaza for a profit. All purchases on the Barack Obama website are considered contributions.

 

The Palestinians allegedly claimed “they were American citizens”, so said Obama’s people. They listed their address — zip code 972 (ironically the area code for Israel) and they input “GA”the state abbreviation for Georgia (screen shot here) They actually lived in a Hamas controlled refugee camp.  So if Obama’s people thought it was “Georgia” why did they ship the tee shirts to the correct address in Gaza?  Shipping overseas to a Gaza refugee camp is vastly different than the state next door.

Still no media.  

 

“Some young men even bought the T-shirts for 60 shekel ($17.29), which is a lot to spend in Gaza on a T-shirt, but that is how much Gazans like Obama,” Edwan claimed in a follow up article in the conservative websiet WorldNetDaily.  And Hamas has publicly endorsed Obama.

And still no media.

 

Obama’s campaign said the  Palestinian brothers in the Middle East made $33,000 in illegal donations to the campaign via the internet.

 

The donations came in between Sept. 20 and Dec. 6 and virtually all of the money, about $33,500, was returned by December 6. But the refunds weren’t reported to the Federal Election Commission due to a technical error, campaign officials said.

 

If McCain had been involved with something so dark and nefarious, taking money from Islamic jihad, his candidacy would never withstand the media blowback.

 

But it was the son of hope, the agent of change, the one we have been waiting for , so the media yawned.

 

The jihad donations were hardly the only bloody red flags.  The first in my series of posts ran July 19th. The documents were so unwieldy, readers like John, Doc, and Cathy (who discovered Rafah) were working furiously to cross check our findings at the FEC site and then mine the data.

 

Obama’s overseas (foreign) contributors are making multiple small donations, ostensibly in their own names, over a period of a few days, some under maximum donation allowances, but others are aggregating in excess of the maximums when all added up.   The countries and major cities from which contributions have been received France, Virgin Islands, Planegg, Vienna, Hague, Madrid, London, AE, IR, Geneva,Tokyo, Bangkok, Turin, Paris, Munich, Madrid, Roma, Zurich, Netherlands, Moscow, Ireland, Milan, Singapore, Bejing, Switzerland, Toronto, Vancouver, La Creche, Pak Chong, Dublin, Panama, Krabi, Berlin, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Prague, Nagoya, Budapest, Barcelona, Sweden, Taipei, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Zurich, Ragusa, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Uganda, Mumbia, Nagoya, Tunis, Zacatecas, St, Croix, Mississauga, Laval, Nadi, Behchoko, Ragusa, DUBIA, Lima, Copenhagen, Quaama, Jeddah, Kabul, Cairo, Nassau(not the county on Long Island,lol), Luxembourg (Auchi’s stomping grounds), etc,etc,etc,

 

Half a million dollars had been donated from overseas  by unidentified people  “not employed”.

 

Digging deeper, all sorts of very bizarre activity jumped at us. Dr and JJ continued to break it down and pull data from various sources. We found  Rebecca Kurth contributed $3,137.38 to the Obama Campaign in 112 donations, including 34 separate donations recorded in one day,  

 

How about this gibberish donor on the 30th of April in 2008.

 

A donor named  Hbkjb, jkbkj

 

City: Jkbjnj Works for:  Kuman Bank (doesn’t exist)

 

Occupation:  Balanon Jalalan Amount:  $1,077.23

 

or the donor Doodad, The # of transactions = 1,044

 

The $ contributed = $10,780.00

 

This Doodad character works for FDGFDGF and occupation is DFGFDG

 

The more questions we answered the more questions we discovered.

 

Thousands of  Obama’s foreign donations ended in cents. The  “cents” did not make sense. And we compared McCain donation documentss  to Obama’s. McCain’s records are nothing like Obama’s. McCain’s are so clean. No cents, all even dollar amounts.  But Obama’s contained thousands of strange, odd amounts — evidence of foreign contributors, since Americans living overseas would almost uniformly be able to contribute dollars. Still no media.

 

Julia Gorin told me a funny story two months ago. Her husband’s co-worker wanted to see what would happen if he tried giving a contribution to the Obama campaign via a credit card. He used his Macy’s card. The system accepted it. He tried the same with McCain’s campaign, and the transaction wouldn’t go through.  Now, obviously, down the line, the Obama transaction would fail as well, but it goes to the point that there is no safety system in place — it’ll just accept any and all money, which helps explain how his campaign raised so much more money than everyone else’s.

 

Despite the evidence of dirty campaign donations, crickets chirped in newsrooms across the country. The moment my Gaza story started to get some chatter on talk radio, the left and their supplicant handmaidens in the media sprang into action and created a McCain illegal campaign contribution “scandal”.   The Washington Post published an inaccurate allegation  and then retracted not a day later, at the risk of looking stupid. They are jeopardizing the little credibility that they have left.

 

….a Washington Post story detailing some suspicious looking contributions to the McCain campaign bundled by Harry Sargeant III. Shortly after posting, a correction appeared in the original report, as follows:
An earlier version of this story about campaign donations that Florida businessman Harry Sargeant III raised for Sen. John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton incorrectly identified three individuals as being among the donors Sargeant solicited on behalf of McCain. Those donors — Rite Aid manager Ibrahim Marabeh, and lounge owners Nadia and Shawn Abdalla — wrote checks to Giuliani and Clinton, not McCain. Also, the first name of Faisal Abdullah, a McCain donor, was misspelled in some versions of the story (noted by Amanda Carpenter).

 

So here an intrepid blogger finds a keg of dynamite of dirty dollar donations to Obama and what does the media do? They ignore it. And when forced to confront it by the sheer newsworthiness of the story, what happens? They go after McCain. They punish McCain.

And that is meant to be a lesson to all of us,  Whatever you find, whatever you discover about the Candidate of Mystery, they will blow it back in your face. And they did. Almost immediately.

 

The irony and the upshot of all this. John McCain is reviewing contributions. Ain’t that a kick in the head. I can tell him he needn’t bother. Been there, done that. Nothing to see, keep moving.

 

Obama’s out there raising millions, some in illegal donations and the Washington Post jumps on McCain for a  $50k, which hasn’t been shown to be illegal, but merely “inappropriate.” The left and their handmaidens, the mani stream media, were so quick to deflect this hit, it seems we have hit a raw nerve. I intend to keep digging. Stay tuned.,

 

Pamela Geller is Editor and Publisher of the blog Atlas Shrugs.

Iranian Mullahs’ Blame Game

Amil Imani

Iranian Mullahs’ Blame Game
August 14, 2008

It is a fundamental human trait to locate the source of anything bad happening and try to neutralize it. There are, however, times that the source of the harm cannot be pinpointed or when successfully recognized it cannot be eliminated. Failure to recognize the source or neutralize it is frustrating. And frustration triggers a variety of emotions and reactions. The feeling of victimization is one possible reaction that frequently goes hand-in-hand with displaced aggression on a convenient safe target. The aggression can be verbal, physical, or a combination of the two.

 

The Mullahs presently ruling Iran are faced with monumental threats. Internally, the great majority of the populace is against their misrule. Labor unions, teachers associations, student groups, religious and ethnic minorities, journalists and many others have suffered and continue to suffer inordinate hardship under the heavy-handed Mullahs and their front-men. Externally, they are engaged in brinksmanship with the United States and Israel, while trying to wrestle the mantle of Islamic leadership from the Sunni Saudis and their Wahhabi cabal.

 

The Mullahs deflect responsibility for the mess they have made of Iran by skillfully playing the blame game. Blaming others for our problems seems to have become part of our national character, dating some 1400 years to the time when an army of bloodthirsty savages lofting the banner of Islam invaded our country. These barbarians hailed out of the Arabian Peninsula, heartlessly slaughtered innocent people, burned libraries, and took whatever they wanted, including women and children, as booty of war.

 

My country, the present Iran, a cradle of civilization, the land of Cyrus the Great—the first author of the Human Rights Charter—was ravaged by the Muslim killers. The upstanding Iranian people who lived by the Great Zoroaster’s triad of Goodly Thoughts, Goodly Speech, and Goodly Deeds stood no chance against the Muslim beasts who had been promised by Muhammad: if you kill, or you get killed, either way you will be admitted to Allah’s gloriously lush paradise for eternity in compensation. This pie-in-the-sky paradise of Allah, Muhammad intimated, includes among other things, rivers of milk and honey as well as 72 virgins for every male.

 

The invasion of my country was only the start of the tenacious scourge of Islam. Slaughtering people by hundreds of thousands at the time left the remainder of the Iranians little choice but to convert to the creed of this cult of violence. Choiceless millions converted to Islam and a few hundred thousand brave souls circled the wagon, so to speak, and held firm to their creed of light—the Zoroastrian faith. For centuries, the Zoroastrians paid heavily in all manners of ways under the rule of the converted Muslims; many were forced to leave for other lands such as India, while others were driven out of their habitats to marginal parts of the land.

 

Yet, all along many Iranians revered the religion of their ancestors and resented the Arab-imposed creed. Nonetheless, the virus of Islam had taken deep roots. As a result a compromise evolved. The overwhelming majority of the Iranians, who had become some sort of generic Muslims, parted company with the original line of Sunni-Caliphate and adopted Shiism. The tragic history of Shiism appealed to the Iranians who felt great affinity, consciously or unconsciously, with the tragic suffering of the Imamate line at the hand of the mainstream Sunni Muslims.

 

Switching allegiance from one sect of the cult of death to another did little more than provide a venting opportunity to the victimized Iranians. They could not find it in themselves to get rid of the Islamic virus while it offered them a degree of relief, enabling them to vilify the mainstream Sunnis for inflicting them with the Islamic disease in the first place.

 

Fourteen hundred years of suffering is far too long for any people, although the Jews hold the record for that misfortune. The Jews have at long last returned to their homeland even though they are still encircled by the vicious Arab Islamists who would like nothing better than to drown every last one of them in the sea, similar to the way the Islamists forced our Zoroastrian people out of the country or the remaining few to the edges of inhospitable desert.

 

With the passage of time, blaming the historical foreign invaders for our sorry plight failed as explanation. Re-playing the long-ago tragic drama of the Imams’ sufferings did little more than supply a superficial psychological relief. Real new enemy-making was in order to keep the victimization mentality alive and prevent the people from self-examination to find the true culprit for their misery.

 

The search for new culprits was a success story. The creative minds of the politicians and the Mullahs found grains of truth here and there and made mountains of molehills. Tsarist Russia to the north was seen as dead set to annex much of what has remained of Iran and aimed to expand itself all the way to the warm waters of the Persian Gulf. Then there were the British who had colonized Indian Subcontinent and dominated much of the Middle Eastern Arab lands. Iran was next in their hairline. The demise of the Tsarist Russia gave birth to yet a more virulent threat of the Soviet Union. Of more recent time, the United States and its support of the Shah, who had an amicable relationship with Israel, made the U.S. and Israel perfect targets of blame.

 

Sadly, the victimization mentality seems to have become an irreversible disease of our people, the Iranians. We have become a nation of easy answers. We ascribe blame liberally and do very little deep soul-searching. We fail to accept the fact that blaming others hasn’t done much to address our problems. Equally pathological is building straw-men to knock them down.

 

No matter how loudly and frequently Ahmadinejad brays about eliminating Israel and chasing the U.S. to its corner of the world, Iran’s problems will remain and the Iranian people will continue to suffer. Please, my people, don’t let this end-of-the-worlder homicidal-suicidal man and his gang of frauds take you on a certain death ride. Let us, once and for all, purge ourselves of the deadly disease of victimization and join the world in a multilateral live-and-let-live relationship. America is not our enemy, neither is Israel. We are our own worst enemy by remaining chained to the victimization mentality, buying the Mullahs’ blame game, and following the ruling Islamists who are either crooks, mentally disturbed or both.