Archive for Afghanistan

What Is al Quada Trying To Achieve In Iraq?

Posted in Afghanistan, Al Quada, America, Britain, Insurgents, Muslim, Religion, Taliban, USA with tags , , , , on 20/03/2012 by floroy1942

The latest in a long series of car bomb attacks in Iraq blamed on al Quada have left me with a burning question: What is al Quada trying to achieve? I thought long and hard about this and found it impossible to come to any definite conclusion. The only people who seem to be a target nowadays are the Iraqi people themselves, and apart from instilling continual fear in the population, I cannot see any major gains for the terrorist group.

A Double Car Bomb Explodes

That the bombings carry the hallmark of al Quada is clear, for it has been their method for years to set off one bomb, and wait until rescuers, ambulances, police and the general public gather at the scene before setting off the second device, thereby creating havoc with the maximum casualties.

If they were still attacking Coalition Forces I could understand it, but they gave that up a long time ago. This is probably due to the swift response of armed forces against them, and for sure the American’s and British have taken a heavy toll of their fighters after such an attack. Naturally, they can expect no reprisal actions from the civilian population who have no choice but to suffer, and then pick up the pieces after a bombing.

Immediate Aftermath

Maybe al Quada has decided that civilians are a ‘soft’ target and therefore the easiest, but what is their aim? In any normal society, a group that carries out random bombings on its own citizens would be hated and despised in short order, but that doesn’t seem to be happening in Iraq. Maybe the people are too afraid to turn against the militants for fear of reprisals, its all rather vague.

There is little doubt that al Quada has a political agenda, which could be to eventually acquire control over the country. I think it fair to assume they have sympathisers in positions of power in some countries, and Pakistan comes immediately to mind. The group has been active in many countries, the latest of which is Syria. The entire ‘Arab Spring’ event has given them an unrivelled opportunity to disrupt governments across the whole of the Middle East by inciting unrest, and they would not do this without some gain for themselves. Whichever way it goes, it seems the insurgents have changed tactics from their indiscriminate bombing of western targets, and are aiming for the easier option of control over many arab countries.

One of Today’s Car Bombs

It is claimed that today’s coordinated bomb attacks were aimed at derailing the Arab Summit to be held in Baghdad next week, but if that is the case, why not wait until next week when the delegates are present, and thus have more impact? To me it doesn’t add up, for this is just random mass murder of their own people, the only possible gain for which would be the moving of the Summit to some other country. To that any intelligent person would  have to say; so what? If the the summit was moved, what gain would there be for a terrorist group, other than perhaps to demonstrate their ‘power’. The final act of which would be that it makes not a jot of difference, for it would take place anyway.

The only clear fact that comes to light in this whole series of episodes is that the Iraq based al Quada are Sunni Muslims living in a Shia dominated country, and the conclusion drawn from this can only be that the aim of these people is to overcome this Shia domination. Iraq is not the only country to suffer unrest between these two religious groups in the Arab world. This on-off war between the two religions, festering for hundreds of years, goes alternately through periods  of peace and war. Ever since the Iraq war we have been in the latter. In countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and currently Syria, war has broken out in the form we see now i.e. terrorist groups bent on destruction of the other side. In other nations, like Bahrain, there has been major unrest in the streets.

Victims

It seems strange that the al Quada group seem to have shifted their action emphasis to the Arab inter-religious conflict and away from the West, and the conclusion from this could be that they are looking for a safe base of operations much the same as the Taliban had in Afghanistan. The Taliban were lucky in being able to take over a whole country, if only for a short while before the invasion by Coalition Forces. On the other hand, al Quada have little chance of becoming the dominant force in Iraq, but they have many other trouble spots in the Arab world to choose from.

Personally, I would like to ask directly of the al Quada leadership what it is they hope to achieve by causing so much suffering among their own people! I couldn’t even begin to guess what the answer would be! Can you?

Roy.

Why American Troops Are Losing the Afghan War

Posted in Afghanistan, Al Quada, Arab, Insanity, Insurgents, Islamic Revolution, Justice, Modern World, Muslim, Prison, Religion, Taliban, Terrorism, Terrorists, Torture, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 21/09/2010 by floroy1942

Hearts and Minds - The Way to Victory

While the greater majority of American troops in Afghanistan do their duty with diligence, and honour their responsibility to the local population, their dedication has once again been nullified by a rogue element within the army.

American Soldiers in Afghanistan

A report out this week accuses soldiers of the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division of forming a ‘kill’ team dedicated to murdering innocent Afghan civilians for sport! This allegation, hard though it may be to swallow, appears true as an investigation is under way.

Many newspapers are now citing official sources, stating that the killings began last winter, and several Afghans were shot during the ensuing months for the pure amusement of the group.

Hashish

As if that was not enough, the soldiers in question have been accused of taking photographs of themselves with their victims, and even cutting off fingers as trophies. Along with these killers, more soldiers have been arrested for using hashish which is prevalent in Afghanistan.

It has been a hard enough struggle for the coalition forces to win over the minds of the Afghan people, and to date that aim is still a long way from achievement.

Taliban Execution

Without a doubt, the actions of these ‘Rednecks’ will have the reverse effect of driving the people closer to the Taliban, and causing an uproar of hatred among Muslims everywhere, thus undoing all that’s been achieved to date to get the Afghan people on the side of the occupation forces.

Abu Graib Torture - Is This Condoned in the Military?

The coalition partners, and in particular the USA, cannot afford such incidents as Abu Graib and this latest outrage. Every time such an event takes place it shows the inherent weaknesses present in the American Army. For when you think about it, the responsibility for these actions must lie within the command structure all the way down to platoon sergeant.

I have to ask why it is so difficult for sergeants and junior officers to control the men under their command? If discipline levels were as they should be, and with the proper oversight and control during actions against the Taliban this sort of thing should be impossible.

Under Pressure

I am well aware of the strain under which soldiers operate when in constant fear for their lives, but that does not excuse those individuals who go outside the law and rules of engagement to satisfy a sadistic streak in their personality.

Hearts and Minds?

If the coalition, and in particular the USA wants to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Afghan people and get them out of the clutches of the Taliban, then they have to earn that result!

Hearts and Minds Will Win the War

In my opinion, the whole concept of the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan have been handled very badly right from the start. Once sufficient military superiority had been achieved, full emphasis should have been placed on improving the infrastructure of the country by sending as many engineering divisions as possible to rebuild shattered homes, shops, factories and roads. Most important is always the essential items like a supply of fresh water and electricity to all communities.

It is only by giving the people what they need most that you will ever begin to win over hearts and minds.

The Final Solution

The next major hurdle, should these men be found guilty, will be how to punish them. If these atrocities had taken place in the United States it is a fair bet they would receive the death penalty in States that still have it. If however, the same mistake is made as with the perpetrators of the Abu Graib scandal, in that, in my opinion, they did not receive a ‘Just’ sentence, then the animosity among Muslims will explode, and probably not just figuratively.

The Dark Side of the US Army

A whitewash job on the sentencing of these men will fuel anti-american hatred to such an extent the war against the Taliban will never be won. The Abu Graib incident initiated a huge number of recruits for the Taliban and many other terrorist groups like al Queda. This scenario is likely to be repeated. What is more, all the deaths among coalition forces since this war began will be for nothing.

The Cost of Doing it Wrong!

America needs to show, not only the Muslim world but all nations, that it is capable of maintaining discipline within the ranks of its armed forces, and that such behaviour will not be tolerated. Examples must be made of the platoon sergeant, the platoon commander, the company commander, and the string of officers above them. I say this because it must be obvious to even an idiot that these people did not have the proper control over the men under their command to maintain and uphold the ideals of the American Army.

I would consider equal punishment for the members of any army that steps out of line, for those in the US army are by no means the only ones committing such acts against humanity. It is only sad that those serving the USA seem more prone to it.

It is already an uphill struggle to defeat the Muslim insurgency in whatever country, but to hand these people the pure gold of such propaganda is not only unwise, but also extremely foolish.

Roy.

Taliban Revert to Human Shields

Posted in Afghanistan, Arab, Britain, Gaza and Hamas, Human Rights, Islamic Revolution, Muslim, Palestine, Taliban, Terrorism, Terrorists, UK with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 19/02/2010 by floroy1942

Once again the Taliban is reverting to its usual tactics when things do not  go their way. A news report from Afghanistan is saying that once again they are using human shields in the fight against NATO Forces.

Taliban Human Shields

It is a tactic synonymous with guerilla fighting over the past twenty years, and has been put to good use by insurgents in many parts of the world. It was used by Hamas in Gaza last year, and by the Hezbollah in Lebanon before that. When the going gets tough, line up the civilians and create as many innocent victims as possible! There are those that will deny this, but there is more than sufficient photo evidence to prove it.

All these terror groups are well aware of the propaganda value civilian deaths have on world and public opinion, and it is sad that most people cannot tell the difference between human shield deaths and accidental deaths. Many see the headline “12 Civilians Killed” and are immediately filled with righteous indignation at the cowardly armed forces who shoot innocent civilians, not thinking that the whole scenario was engineered by the insurgents. The extremists are fully capable of exploiting this fact, and as we all know, it is only when, for example, the Israeli’s shoot a civilian that it makes banner headlines across the world. To me, it proves yet again these insurgents are not fighting for ‘their people’ as they claim, but purely for their own gain.

Some may presuppose all this is NATO propaganda, but this time the reports come from the senior Afghan Commander, not the Americans or British.

The reports indicate that Taliban fighters have been lining civilians up on rooftops and then firing from behind them. Afghan soldiers have seen women and children in the windows of houses from which these brave ‘freedom fighters’ have been firing. It has made things extremely difficult for the troops as they have to put themselves in extra danger in an effort to prevent these civilians casualties. The Taliban tactic is working, because it has now slowed the rate of advance of NATO forces into the city of Murjah.

Hamas Human Shields

Today’s news has also revealed another Taliban tactic aimed at the American and British forces facing them. Afghan soldiers have found burnt copies of the Koran, the Muslim ‘Bible’, at positions they have vacated. Once more they are attempting to generate hatred of the NATO forces among the local population because to burn the Quaran is considered a great insult to Islam.

The usual Human Rights groups, led by Amnesty International have of course jumped on the bandwagon. A statement by the group said that NATO “lacked a credible mechanism” to investigate claims of civilian deaths. It went further to say that the use of human shields by the Taliban was “inexcusable”, and “could constitute a war crime”. Only ‘inexcusable’, and ‘could’ be a war crime? If the NATO forces had used human shields they would have been screaming their heads off. But once again, as in Gaza last year, Amnesty can be very selective in its criticism which is why I have lost all respect for this group of individuals

Human Shields

It urged both sides to ‘comply with legal obligations to protect the thousands of displaced civilians and those still trapped in areas of intense fighting’. They should make sure the Taliban know of their concern for the NATO forces are well aware of their obligations. What a pity the Taliban neither care nor take notice of these outbursts by a group that has had its image tarnished by its one-sided outbursts in recent years.

You are wasting your breath if you try to appeal to the better nature of the Taliban because they, like all extremists, do not have one. They are fanatics who are ready to blow themselves up for their beliefs so why should they balk at the idea of a few civilian deaths. Once Amnesty gets its collective mind around that one they may change their tune.

The use of human shields is not old, it is a phenomenon of our times started by insurgents and extremists as a way to create the maximum of bad publicity for their enemies, and to save their own skins. In general, the Israeli’s had to bear the brunt of the bad publicity for this tactic as it was used to such good effect by Hezbollah and Hamas against them. But for most people they are not the bad guys, the Israeli’s are.

How sad people do not want to recognise the truth.

Roy.

New Afghan Offensive Doomed to Failure?

Posted in Afghanistan, Al Quada, Arab, Insurgents, Taliban, Terrorism, Terrorists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14/02/2010 by floroy1942

There is a very good chance the new offensive in Helmond Province in Afghanistan, Operation Moshtarak, may be doomed to failure in the long-term. From the news reports it seems to be going well at the moment, but Taliban casualties have been very few, and none of the pitched battles with insurgents that many had expected have taken place.

Coalition Commanders on the ground are saying the bulk of the Taliban forces have retreated, and who should be surprised at that.

I have a feeling that announcing the operation beforehand was more of a political move, made in the hope of allowing the Taliban to retreat, and thus reduce politically sensitive coalition casualties. The laudable thing about this approach was it did allow the civilian population to evacuate the area, and the avoidance of civilian casualties was, quite rightly, very high on the agenda. For this the idea must be applauded.

In my view, the one big flaw in the plan is the Pakistan Border, a mere 160 kms away. Since the Pakistan Army ceased their operations on the other side of the border without clearing all of the frontier provinces of insurgents, those still in Afghanistan still have a bolt-hole when things get tough.

It is without doubt a shame the Pakistan Government could not be persuaded to finish the job on their side of the border. If the coalition forces could have mounted this attack when the Pakistani Army was closing in from their side, they would consequently have had the Taliban in a pincer movement with nowhere left to run. Casualties on both the Pakistani and coalition sides would perhaps have been reduced by forcing the insurgents to fight on two fronts. There are many lessons in history here. Such an operation would quite possibly have wiped them out once and for all. What a pity politics got in the way.

Due this lack of foresight, it is clear they will now retreat as far as the mountains in Pakistan where they will stay until they judge the time is right for a return. This will be when they see garrison vigilance wanes due to inactivity, and forces are reduced to the minimum as a result. This will happen some time after the operation is over. For the Taliban, patience is a valued virtue.

If the coalition wishes to retain Marjah, it will be essential to keep a considerable size force in the town to hold it securely, otherwise, in a few weeks the Taliban could be back.

I wish every soldier taking part the very best of luck, and I sincerely hope the entire operation can be successful with the minimum of casualties. It is also my hope that when this action is concluded, the Taliban never again set foot in Marjah. We will have to wait and see, but this is just a battle and unfortunately, does not constitute a total victory over the Taliban.

The ordinary Afghan people must surely deserve peace in their war-torn country.

Roy.


A New Political Party in America Under ‘President’ Palin?

Posted in Afghanistan, Ahmadinajad, Al Quada, Arab, Britain, Elections, England, Iran, MP's, Muslim, North Korea, Obama, Parliament, President, Terrorism, UK with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/02/2010 by floroy1942

Could we be witnessing the beginnings of a new political movement in the United States with ‘President’ Palin at its head? After reading reports of the Tea Party Convention and Sarah Palin’s speech it does look a possibility. America, with its two party system of Government has many people thinking there is not much to choose between the parties. Pretty much the same as in Britain with its Tory and Labour parties dominating the political scene. There is no doubt that in Britain at least, both parties equally manage to make a mess of government and they seldom govern ‘For the People’.

I do not favour a system of many parties vying to get elected, and then having to go ‘cap in hand’ to others to form a majority like Italy and Belgium for example. Any political party should be strong enough to govern alone without the need to make ‘deals’ with others to form a government. In that way the voters do not have a definitive set of policies to vote for.

On the other hand, if a country with two main parties, each of which continually make an equal mess of running things as is amply demonstrated in Britain, and to a certain extent the United States, then it is time for a new party to step forward on both sides of ‘the pond’.

Many voters in the United States and Britain do not like the proposals of either party, and so vote for those they think are ‘the lesser evil’. Politics in general has got to the stage where it is stagnating, and politicians so happy to shake your hand, be photographed with babies, and who will promise you anything to get elected, are everywhere. Once in power all the promises are forgotten and its business as usual.

Politicians are not typically interested in doing what is best, or what is necessary for a country these days. They glibly go about their business making the same mistakes their predecessors made, and do nothing constructive to solve a nations problems.

So is it now time for a new dynamic political party that will do what is necessary to tackle the country’s, and the world’s problems. It is time, but who will dare? How do you gain the support of the voters to carry the day? No party, in any democratic land, has ever gained sufficient support within one term of office of a government to sweep aside the old guard at the following election.

The Tea Party, meeting in Nashville, is trying to turn activism over the past year into actual political power. This is a monumental task, but if Sarah Palin becomes their champion they could succeed. As to the next presidential election, she has admitted, rather demurely; “It would be absurd not to consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country”. For that you can read she will definitely run given the opportunity.

John McCains defeat at the last election, which scuppered her chances of becoming Vice President, was according to some pundits partly due to her lack of knowledge in international affairs. Since then she has been learning, and has become increasingly vocal, appearing more and more in the news and on TV. It is clear she has already started her bid for the White House, but must be wary of overexposure.

It is still three years to election time in the States and she may have started too soon. I am however reasonably certain she will stay in the public eye until election time, because many of the rank and file voters still do not find her a viable option for the post of president, but there is no doubt, she has charm and that will be put to good use over the next three years.  It would not surprise me one bit to see her eventually rise as nominal head of the Tea Party.

If the Tea Party are successful in becoming a new political party, and can gain sufficient support from the American people, she could find herself in the running for Obama’s job. But would she make a good President?

Personally, I have my doubts. She is, in a word, a hawk and could be dangerous both for the United States, and world peace. Obama is quite the opposite. I am sure that if the chips were down he would not hesitate to take the necessary action, and although many call him soft, I think he is more of a peacemaker than an appeaser, and this is what the world and the United States needs right now. He has his own way of doing things and the American people will have to be patient to see if he succeeds. It is difficult for him when the US Senate continually stands in his way.

Although I do not know the lady, Sarah Palin appears to me to be of the same ilk as George Bush who would readily go in with guns blazing and see about clearing up the mess afterwards. I watched her during the abortive presidential election campaign and got the impression she is a lady ‘with balls’ (if you’ll excuse the pun) but is of the ‘shoot first – ask questions later’ type. Her comments during the convention only go to confirm this conclusion. When talking of Afghanistan she said, “To win that war we need a commander-in-chief, not a professor of law”.

George W. Bush went into Iraq without, in hindsight, just cause, and his son went into Afghanistan after 9/11, could it be that Iran is on the agenda for Sarah Palin if she becomes President?

It is easy to criticise after the event, but personally I am satisfied that the end justified the means in removing Saddam Hussein who after all was butchering his own people, and I am also in agreement with the war in Afghanistan for the main reason that the Taliban had to be removed, not only for the people of Afghanistan, but for the peace and security of the whole world. Wherever fanaticism raises its head it should be stopped for the sake of world peace.

The burning question is, who is best for America? America has been on the short end of a huge amount of criticism since the Iraq war, mainly for its handling of the peace. The country has lost friends all across the globe and is arguably the most hated nation on earth. Nations like Iran and North Korea saw George Bush waving his guns in their direction, and currently, Pakistani’s are dying from American strikes on the Taliban which has led to an upsurge of anti-American feeling. The good intentions are without doubt there, but in my view, Barak Obama has far more chance of defeating the Taliban and dealing with Iran than Sarah Palin would with all her guns. Either way, I believe Ms. Palin has a long road to travel in convincing the American voter she is ready for the pesidency. I may be wrong, I guess time will tell.

As things stand, we will just have to wait and see what the future holds for American politics, and world peace.

Roy.


The Lust For Power

Posted in Afghanistan, Ahmadinajad, Elections, Iran, President with tags , , , , , , , , on 20/10/2009 by floroy1942

For millenia people have lusted for money or fame, but in today’s high power world this has been replaced by the sheer unadulterated lust for power.

That is not to say people no  longer yearn for money, most of us do for one reason or another, but among the power mongers of this world, it is a position of dominance over everyone else that drives them on.

Over the past decades, we have seen many dominant individuals or groups using every trick in the book (plus a few outside it) to hang on to the power base they have achieved.

With rulers, it is most often dictators who will cheat, steal, and even murder, to prevent any loss of superiority they have. As most of us know, Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Russia’s Stalin were in a class of thier own before, during, and after the time of the Second World War. They were by no means the last of their kind however, for even in the seventies there were cruel dictators like Idi Amin of Uganda, who ruled with unconscionable savagery. Anyone who stood in his way just ‘disappeared’, and we all know what that means.

In the eighties, the ruling military junta in Argentina threw the whole country into war with Great Britain over the disputed Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. Their aim, to distract the attention of the population away from their poor living standards and of course the ‘disappearances’.

Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is another who falls into the category of ‘The Power Hungry’. During his years in power, Mugabe has turned the ‘breadbasket’ of Africa into one of the poorest on the continent, and despite what he is doing to his people, he will not give up the Presidency.

It has been reported enough in the press about his machete-wielding thugs going around killing or maiming anyone who supported the opposition during the last election.

All that however was the past. Today’s power maniacs have found a new way to stay where they are – election rigging.

The latest to attempt it is President Karzei of Afghanistan. It was necessary for a joint UN/Afghan body to inspect the election results for fraudulent practices during the recently held national elections.

The resulting investigation showed one third of the votes cast for Karzei had to be discounted, thus requiring a run-off with his rival Abdullah Abdullah. In the past weeks it has only been intense political pressure from the United States, Europe, and other countries that has finally made Karzei agree to run-off elections.

In the past decade, various countries have been through the same turmoil at election time, among the most well known is Georgia, and more recently Iran.

Another tactic common today is changing the countries constitution to allow presidents to run for longer periods than that laid down in the statute books.

Among the countries that have extended, or done away with limits on presidential terms of office are, to name but a few; Algeria, Camaroon, Chad, Bolivia, Equador,Gabon, Honduras, Tunisia, Uganda and Venzuela.

Of these, perhaps Venzuela is the most significant. Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president, manipulated the government into renouncing all restrictions on his term of office. He has carved for himself such a strong power-base that now, only the foolhardy will ever challenge him in future ‘elections’.

The maintenance of continued power, and the methods by which it is achieved, has taken a subtle turn to bring it more in line with the modern world.

While the rich and powerful get more so, the only losers are the common people – as always.

Thank God the world is not all doom and gloom!

Roy.

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