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October 3, 2001



MID-EAST REALITIES © - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 10/03: Osama bin Laden, arch nemesis of America today, is blowback from recent history -- the Gulf war, the permanent stationing of American forces in Arabia, and other American policies in the region, including the deceptive "peace process" fronting for Israel's brutal subjugation of the Palestinians. He began as a member of a leading family of Saudi Arabia, inheriting a huge amount of petrodollars channeled through the Royal Family, and had close ties with the CIA in the days of the Cold War. The Taliban, arch nemesis of America today, is blowback from the Afghan War; a regime created, sponsored and financed primarily by two U.S. allies, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

What unforeseen blowback will result from the events of 2001 and from the new "new world order" about to be created and enforced by American military might (fittingly with the help of the former British empire)...this remains to be seen of course. But we can both learn and extrapolate from the past; in which case the future is going to be more bloody and more dangerous than ever.

These two articles from Pakistan -- the first from Peshawar, the second from Islamabad -- help put today's events in recent historical perspective.


[The Observer (U.K.) - September 30, 2001] : She can remember the cinemas and the picnics in the sun. She can remember the packed cafes and the student parties and the libraries with their shelves heaving with books and the clean, modern hospitals with the calm, competent doctors that made her decide she wanted to be a doctor herself.

'They were the good times,' she says. 'When the Soviet Union was in control. Since then everything has been a long dark night.'

The Pakistani noonday sun, harsh despite the coming autumn and the thin curtains on the windows, reflects in the smooth glossy red of Saira Noorani's fingernails. She is holding them up to the light and laughing.

'I have painted my nails,' she says softly, smiles a long slow smile and then laughs again. It has been five years and three days since Saira, a 29-year-old surgeon, could paint her fingernails. Five years and three days since the Taliban militia came running through Kabul's wide, tree-lined streets and Saira, newly qualified as a doctor, watched in horror as they began to impose their harsh brand of Islamic law.

Last week Saira finally left Kabul for the relative safety, and very relative liberalism, of Pakistan. Here she will not be harangued, or worse, if a soldier spots her make-up.

'It was hell,' she says quietly. 'It got worse every day. After being used to freedom it was just so much humiliation and frustration.'

Saira is one of the last of the Afghan middle class to leave. Her father, once an important official in the state airline, left two years ago. Saira had hung on in the hope that things might get better. They didn't.

Afghanistan has been stripped of its middle class. All those with capital, qualifications or initiative have left. Some have made homes in Pakistan, the lucky ones have made it to the West.

Only the poor remain. Saira's story explains much about the turmoil in the country - and the twisted logic underpinning the ideology of the Taliban regime which governs more than 90 per cent of it.

She was born in 1972, in the year King Zahir Shah was deposed by his cousin Mohamed Daoud. The king had tried to modernise his isolated and conservative country. Though the pace of change was too fast for the conservative religious and tribal leaders in the rural areas, it was not fast enough for the Soviet-sponsored republican clique that succeeded him. When they tried to impose a radical reform programme there was a rural revolt that threatened the regime's existence. Moscow sent in the tanks to prop it up.

For the next decade rural Afghanistan was racked by war. But, while in the provinces villages were burnt, helicopters dropped mines to kill children and Russian soldiers were staked out in the sun to die, Kabul prospered.

'Life was good under the Soviets,' Saira said. 'Every girl could go to high school and university. We could go wherever we wanted and wear what we liked. A lot of my friends wore miniskirts but I liked my long summer dress which was more comfortable. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian films on a Friday night and listen to the latest Hindi music. I can remember having picnics with my friends after school when it was hot.'

Partly for ideological reasons, partly for practical ones, the Soviet Union subsidised schools and hospitals, built a vast bureaucracy with well-paid jobs for Kabulis and constructed a new city centre with open streets and parks. Saira was one of 1,000 medical students at the University of Kabul. She specialised in surgery and obstetrics. But soon after she qualified things began to change.

'It all started to go wrong when the Mujahideen started winning. They were uneducated peasants. They used to kill teachers and burn schools,' she said.

With massive US support, the Afghan resistance groups finally forced the Soviet Union out of their country in 1979. Three years later they had defeated the stooge government the Russians had left behind and marched into Kabul. Saira watched them entering her city on the television because it was not safe to walk the streets.

'We were terrified. When we saw them they were horrible. With their beards and turbans and their smell they were like wild animals. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West had supported.'

To the Mujahideen - and to the Taliban who followed them - Kabul was a city of collaborators who had led good lives while they had suffered to liberate their country. Everything was a target - property, women, whole areas of the city.

When the Mujahideen factions started fighting they thought nothing of rocketing civilian areas. Whole parts of the city were levelled, including the Nooranis' house. The family fled, returning to Kabul in early 1996 when fighting died down. But the worst regime was to come.

When the Taliban seized Kabul they were determined to purge what they saw as a satanic den of iniquity and set about imposing their fanatical rule. Music and television were forbidden. Women were banned from schools and universities, and from leaving their homes without a male relative. They were made to wear the burqa - the head-to-toe veil and gown customary throughout rural Afghanistan. It was a visible symbol of the revenge of the countryside on the city.

Saira started work again in one of the main hospitals in Kabul. Supplies were hard to come by and she had to wear the burqa in the streets and a headscarf and veil while operating.

'It was very hard and very difficult to work as a doctor in those conditions. We were not even allowed to talk to the male doctors,' she said. 'I had grown used to so many freedoms and suddenly we could not cut our hair the way we wanted. They made rules about which clothes we could wear even in our homes and banned nail varnish and make-up.

'When the Taliban first came we were happy because the Mujahideen were raping and robbing and we couldn't leave our homes, and at the beginning the Taliban did bring us security, but they just got worse and worse.'

Finally, after Saira had refused to operate on a senior Taliban's relative instead of a seriously ill child, she was banned from her hospital. Her wage - £15 a month - had not been paid for six months anyway. She went to stay with friends in the eastern city of Jalalabad and spent a week illegally watching the television.

On Thursday last week she took an overcrowded bus to the Pakistani border, fought her way through the seething crowds waiting on the Afghan side and bribed her way across. She is now staying, with her young son, in a relative's overcrowded home in the frontier city of Peshawar.

'I do not know what I will do now,' she said. 'I cannot stay here for ever. Unless there is a strong and good government in Kabul I cannot go there. 'But where else is there? Afghans are not welcome anywhere in the world.'


By Mushahid Hussain*

[Islamabad, 2 October 2001]: Pakistan and the United States seem keen to prevent any perception of possible cleavage in the anti-terrorism coalition given their competing interests over Afghanistan. The key areas of divergence revolve around the role of the Northern Alliance in the anti-Osama campaign, and, equally important, were the Taleban regime to unravel in the process, what sort of new political dispensation should replace it?

Ironies abound for the United States and Pakistan as they try to cover their tracks while recovering from the consequences of policies they pushed and promoted in the past.

Take the case of the press conference on September 25 of Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar who obliquely warned Washington: “We must not make the blunder of trying to foist a government on the people of Afghanistan. We fear that any such decision on the part of foreign powers to give assistance to one side or the other in Afghanistan is a recipe for great disaster for the people of Afghanistan”.

But is that not what Pakistan has tried to do for the last 25 years in Afghanistan, starting with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto providing a sanctuary in 1974 to Gulbadin Hekmatyar and Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, and then training their men to destabilise the Daoud regime in Kabul, in a tit-for-tat exercise since Kabul was then a haven for Pakistani dissidents? That we didn’t meet with success is another thing. However, after dumping these two long-time ‘friends’ 20 years later, did we not proudly proclaim that the Taleban were ‘our boys’ following their first victory in Kandahar in November 1994?

The Clinton administration concurred with Pakistan’s policy because it saw Afghanistan as a pressure point on Iran, changing its view only after Osama bin Laden landed in Afghanistan in 1996. Afghanistan apart, the Bush administration was reluctant to even remove nuclear-related sanctions against Pakistan concurrently with India. Now it has promptly waived sanctions imposed under American law regarding democracy because, President Bush cites it as being in US ‘national security interests’, which is fine since sanctions as punitive policy is wrong. But it does show that all these sanctions that the United States had imposed on Pakistan had nothing to do with principles either of nuclear or missile proliferation or of promoting democracy, but these were inextricably linked to politics and policies based on American interests. This should be a good lesson to our policy-makers as well that in the real world, interests are paramount and that is how we should learn to operate.

Even on terrorism, the American approach is instructive. It is now clear that all 19 terrorists who blew themselves up along with the planes, passengers and thousands of innocent citizens were Arabs, who had no connection with Afghanistan and probably never visited that country. But why is it that there is a conspiracy of silence? Neither the United States nor Israel nor the American media have tried to establish even a remote connection of that act of terrorism with the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Palestine issue. Even the date of the crime, September 11, 2001, tallies with September 12, 1970, when Palestinian hijackers, including Leila Khaled, hijacked four planes and then blew these up, introducing hijacking as a weapon in the Palestinian armoury.

Why is the accusing finger pointed only at Afghanistan? Because any reference to Palestine would invariably invite uncomfortable questions regarding American unstinted support for Israel and Israeli policies towards Palestinians.

It is rather late in the day for Pakistan to voice its fears regarding Afghanistan’s future regime. President Bush publicly sought ‘the cooperation of citizens within Afghanistan who may be tired of having the Taleban in place’, although he added a caveat ‘we’re not into nation building, we’re focused on justice’.

However, the problem is that Pakistan’s concerns on this count are not shared by even its friends in the region. Turkey, for instance, has publicly proclaimed its support for the Northern Alliance. Iran, which rejects any role in support of the United States but supports anti-terrorism under the United Nations umbrella by saying ‘we are neither with the Americans nor with the terrorists’, would not shed any tears for the Taleban’s demise nor would China, whose intelligence and anti-terrorism experts held a meeting in Washington on September 25 for sharing information regarding Afghanistan with their American counterparts, the first such intelligence cooperation between the two countries since the Afghanistan war in the 1980s.

A peep into the American game plan for Afghanistan was provided in an article in The New York Times on September 29: “In Afghanistan, the United States military faces two of the most difficult tasks it has ever confronted. It must track down an enemy leader and his fellow terrorists on their home turf. And it must try to remove the foreign regime that shelters him.”

Pakistan needs to understand three realities in the present situation. First, the United Nations Security Council unanimous resolution mandating use of force against terrorism can put Pakistan’s Kashmir policy at risk, since at least one Kashmiri jehadi organisation has already been banned by the US for alleged links with Osama. An imaginative approach and deft diplomacy would be required to preserve important segments of our stand on Kashmir, since its legitimacy is derived from UN resolutions. In a change of Western policy, Russia’s has been rewarded for its support with a green light to hammer Chechnya’s fighters.

Second, we should no longer continue to delude ourselves. The hard fact is that our Afghan policy lies buried in the debris of the World Trade Centre.

Third, after the candid comments of Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on September 26 regarding the ‘superiority of Western civilization over the Islamic civilization’ and his optimism that that the West will ‘conquer’ Islam just as it ‘conquered Communism’, there should be little doubt about the targets in the campaign against terrorism. This is mainly confined to Muslims, since terrorism of the Tamils, IRA and the Basque is excluded, and there are those in the West straining at the leash for a ‘clash of civilizations’. Pakistan and the Muslim countries should heed the Italian leader’s remarks as a wake-up call.

The United States, which is leading this coalition, needs to listen to saner and sober elements rather than be swayed by those who would like to convert a war against terrorism into a nation-destroying exercise, widening the chasm between the US and the Muslim World. President Megawati Sukarnoputri, leader of the world’s biggest Muslim state who was the first to meet President Bush after the carnage of September 11, urged him to “pay attention to the feelings of the Islamic world as well as not mixing up terrorism with Islam”.

Writing in The Los Angeles Times on September 30, Chalmers Johnson, called his thoughtful piece ‘Blowback’ referring to the unintended negative consequences of policies. He wrote: “President Bush has formed the largest air armada since World War II and brought it into position to bomb Afghanistan. He has deployed at least 630 US military aircraft, three times as many as were deployed in the Gulf War. If this armada is used against the hapless and impoverished people of Afghanistan, there is no doubt that it will produce a general crisis throughout the Islamic World.” And he concludes with advice that deserves to be heeded by policy-makers in Washington: “We must recognise that the terrorism of September 11 was not directed against America but against American foreign policy. We should listen to the grievances of the Islamic peoples (and) …if the United States only response to terrorism is more terrorism, it will have discredited itself.”

Regrettably, in a crisis involving Muslims, the Organization of Islamic Conference is a virtual white elephant, a non-factor and all it has done is to call an ‘emergency’ meeting of Foreign Ministers on October 9, almost a month after the event. This will be one of the umpteen ‘emergency’ meetings convened by Arab and Muslim leaders after the Intifidah began on September 28, 2000, but the results of all these meetings remain a well-guarded secret! It is thus no accident that Western leaders can now boast of ‘conquering Islam’ or openly talk of the Muslim world with a contempt that is unfortunately well-deserved given the abysmal track record of Muslim countries and leaders and their abject failure to promote and protect the interests of Islam.

*Mushahid Hussein is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and former Minister of Information of Pakistan.

Comment on these article(s)

October 2001


Bio and Nuclear Threats Escalate As Purposeful Leaks Proliferate to Mass Media
(October 26, 2001)
The timing of newsstories like this in the major Western media should be suspect now more than ever. For more than ever in fact governments and intelligence agencies are using the mass media by leaking things at times of convenience and more importantly with their own twists and turns.

"Stop Israel!" Pleads Israeli Professor
(October 26, 2001)
One Israeli, not invited by the naive and misguided American Jewish "liberals" to the USA, speaks up from Israel with tremendous courage and conviction. Her name is Tanya Reinhart and she deserves to be taken very seriously -- though far too many don't even know about her.

"Palestinian Statehood" - Another Grotesque Deception Unfolds
(October 25, 2001)
The political smokescreens are lifting a bit as the pressures build to go beyond mere words, yet at the same time a purposeful distorting haze is taking over. Bottom line: the kind of "Palestinian State" Yasser Arafat has maneuvered his people toward and is being cornered into implementing is a grotesque distortion of their aspirations and of what use to be meant by the term "Palestinian State."

"A Pen Bought And Sold" - A Saudi Poem Revisited - MER FlashBack
(October 21, 2001)
Change comes in the Middle East, as elsewhere, in complex ways. There is the regular daily news of course; and in the region especially it is inextricably intertwined with an ever-more-sophisticated and propagandistic journalistic establishment.

(October 24, 2001)
Both of the Georges are oh so full of themselves cocky -- just the personality type so many American's truly love. One is (to the amazement of many who wonder how in the world the U.S. chooses such persons to lead it) the President of the United States.

Massacres and Devastation Escalate Further In Palestine
(October 24, 2001)
The Palestinians are essentially defenseless with their backs up against the wall, the firing wall. Their "leadership" has been so corrupted and infiltrated that the Arafat regime has hardly any credibility with its own, not to mention anyone else.

Torture Now Coming to USA?
(October 22, 2001)
Adopting the tactics (as well as the goals) of the Israelis, and the methods long taught by the CIA in Latin America as well as the Middle East, the brave new world post 11 September is changing the face of the American homeland in ways nearly all Americans would have seriously resisted just a few long weeks ago.

Millions Likely To Die in Afghanistan U.N. Warns
(October 21, 2001)
As for Afghanistan, the American CIA worked behind the scenes to bring on the Soviet invasion of 1979, then engaged the Soviet Empire in a way that brought about the near-total devastation of Afghanistan and a huge uncounted death toll.

It's "New Imperialism" says leading British MP
(October 21, 2001)
Much pressure is building at the United Nations to not open itself to still more charges of being complicitous in "genocide", not to mention to do something to stop being seen as "an extension of the American State Department" (the actual private words of a senior U.N. official).

"Comply! Resistance Is Futile!"
(October 20, 2001)
British MP (Member of Parliament) George Galloway calls it the "new imperialism" (his article coming later today). On the whole the Anglo-British press is working up quite a frenzy (with notable exceptions like The Guardian and The Independent in the UK, sometimes The Nation in the U.S.).

The "Arafat Era" Collapsing or About To Be Reborn?
(October 20, 2001)
Yasser Arafat is losing both his grip on power (extended to him by the Israelis and the Americans for the past decade since the Gulf War) and his credibility (with his own people) at the same time.

The Coming Arab Crash
(October 19, 2001)
The west's most important friends in the Arab Middle East - Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah of Jordan, Mubarak of Egypt and the PLO's Yasser Arafat - are probably the world's most vulnerable political quartet.

Saudi Amb Bandar Badly Fails, Saudi Royals in Paralysis, US Relations in Doubt
(October 19, 2001)
Prince Bandar bin Sultan's 20+ year strategy has now substantially failed. Years ago, very much behind-the-scenes of course, the very controversial and in some circles much despised Saudi Ambassador in Washington began a relationship with the some of the most conservative and militant circles in Washington, very much including those associated with the powerful Israeli/Jewish lobby.

Worse Than Worthless Wartime "Promises"
(October 18, 2001)
The list of broken and disingenuous "promises" made to the Arabs by Western political leaders is something befitting a "Saturday Night Live" parody skit -- if only they would dare!

"New Era" Says Sharon Reacting In Character to "Gandhi" Assassination
(October 17, 2001)
He had called the Palestinians "lice" and "vermin" and "cancer", and he had urged their "transfer" or "extermination". Just Monday he has tendered his resignation as Minister of Tourism, insisting that Ariel Sharon was being too moderate and too compromising.

(October 17, 2001)
As for the British, what's going on in both Palestine and Kashmir, the two most likely potential nuclear flashpoints in our world today, can be traced back directly to what the British did in these areas when they were the "Empire"

(October 17, 2001)
For some time now Palestinians have been warning that because of Israel's assassination of Palestinian leaders, "crossing the red line" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they would respond.

Red Cross Bombed in Kabul Before Presidential Red Cross Visit in Washington
(October 16, 2001)
You gotta love the chutzpa of the Americans. Today the President went a few blocks from the White House to the Headquarters of the American Red Cross -- a little photo op designed to further enlist "the children of America" in his recently announced effort to help the children of Afghanistan. But just as President Bush was getting ready to do his Red Cross pictures reports came in from Afghanistan that the major Red Cross center in Kabul, complete with large Red Cross emblem on its roof, was destroyed by American bombs.

Saudi/U.S. "Meltdown"? And Neutralizing Al Jazeera With A Firm Embrace
(October 16, 2001)
While American and British officials rush to make one TV appearance after another with continual reassurances everything is going "as planned", that's not quite the reality of the situation as this article in today's Guardian makes quite evident.

What Can We Do About Terrorism? by Lt. Col Robert M. Bowman (ret)
(October 15, 2001)
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we are the targets of terrorism. You said that we are the target because we stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world. Baloney! We are the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation in the world."

Pentagon Far More Confused and Uncertain Than Americans Realize
(October 15, 2001)
The Bush administration is growing increasingly alarmed by the direction of the military campaign in Afghanistan after a week of almost continuous bombing has failed to dislodge either Osama bin Laden or the Taliban leadership.

Al-Qaeda Weekend Statement
(October 15, 2001)
This isn't really about "secret messages". Anyone with a $300 satellite dish can watch the statements in full, in Arabic, on al Jazeera; and the text is widely available on the Internet, in this case from London and the BBC!

Hundreds Dead in Nigeria
(October 14, 2001)
Hundreds of people have been killed in religious clashes after anti-U.S. protests turned violent, sources have told CNN. The demonstrations against the U.S.-led missile strikes on Afghanistan began peacefully on Friday but spiralled into a killing spree during Saturday, CNN's Lagos bureau chief Jeff Koinange said.

akistan's Benazir Opens Campaign in Washington as Pakistan Trembles Anarchy
(October 14, 2001)
Benazir Bhutto came to Washington this week to open her campaign for a third term as Prime Minister of the world's second largest, and only nuclear armed, Muslim State -- her first two terms she was overthrown, political and financial corruption was rampant, and her arranged husband remains in a Karachi prison.

Iraq Likely To Be Next "Phase"
(October 14, 2001)
A powerful coalition of "hawkish" government officials, lobbyists (especially those connected with the Israelis and the arms corporations), conservative press publications and columnists, many of the national Jewish organizations, as well as millions of Christian fundamentalists associated with Pat Robertson and his daily TV "700 Club" program, is mobilized to make sure that "America's new war" does not end with Afghanistan and al-Qaeda.

Saudi Royals Bugged, Embarrassed, Unstable
(October 13, 2001)
The following information is about to come out in THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE on Monday and is being leaked in Washington this weekend to stir up interest and try to get publicity for the magazine and author on the Sunday talk shows tomorrow.

Attacks and Demonstrations Escalating in Arab and Muslim Countries
(October 13, 2001)
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in various cities in the Middle East to protest the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. Many more thronged to mosques for Friday prayers throughout the region and heard anti-American sermons.

Western Commando Forces Getting Ready
(October 13, 2001)
This article in The Telegraph today is a good outline of what now seems likely to be immediately ahead in Afghanistan, pushed forward by weather considerations as well as by current expectations that American-sponsored key governments in Pakistan, Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, as well as the Arafat Regime, will all be able to weather the political storms with much expanded and mostly covert continual help from the western governments and intelligence services.

"War of the Worlds" by Mark Bruzonsky
(October 11, 2001)
In the case of America's new war, the full might of the USA is being mobilized not against the armies of other nation states, but against the fanatical descendants of a puritanical militant Islam whose calling has become relentless opposition to American hegemony and passionate assertion of their own quaintly medieval religious constructs.

Arafat Begs Israelis To Save Him
(October 10, 2001)
It's a most complicated political dance than ever at this historical crossroads. But bottom line Yasser Arafat and his regime have now, even more than before, thrown their future to the Israelis and the now omnipresent CIA...

Uri Avneri - Fronting for Arafat and for a Castrated "Palestinian State"
(October 10, 2001)
The Israeli writer and activist Uri Avneri is "on tour" in the USA on his way to Washington. It shouldn't come as a surprise that a few naive or on- the-take "peace groups" -- Jewish and otherwise -- have invited him to speak.

After Afghanistan, U.S. has Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine in its Sights
(October 10, 2001)
In this case there should be no one saying down the road that they didn't know what was being planned. The Americans have said publicly and in many different ways right from the start of this "new war" that it wasn't going to end with Osama bin Laden, with the Taliban government, or with Afghanistan.

The "Palestinian State" Charade
(October 9, 2001)
Most of the Arab regimes, including that of Yasser Arafat, have proved themselves so co-opted and so gullible over the years that you can't blame the Americans for continuing to try their little tricks and deceptions -- just look how well, at least from their point-of-view, such things have worked in the past..

Anthrax Terrorism Now Likely
(October 9, 2001)
Federal officials suspect foul play rather than an environmental source is at the root of two Florida anthrax cases that have left one man dead and hundreds of co-workers lining up for medical tests.

Biological Attack? Inept or Demonstration?
(October 9, 2001)
Is someone sending a message that they can do it, a kind of primative, and deadly, deterrence attempt to try to protect themselves? Might this be an "inept attack" as today's TIMES in London suggests in its headline? As the third case of Anthrax in Florida is reported this morning, something seems to be up as the following reports indicate.

Bush versus bin Laden - Syria Elected to Security Council
(October 8, 2001)
It's all quite amazing really, President George W. Bush versus Osama bin Laden. On the one hand you have the most powerful man in the world commanding the full might of not only the world's only superpower but a whole entourage of Western European allies, the new Russia, and to a considerable extent at least behind-the-scenes many Arab and Muslim "client regimes".

Arafat's Army Opens Fire On Its Own - More Anthrax in Florida?
(October 8, 2001)
The Palestinian leadership rushed to distance itself Monday from Osama bin Laden while its police forces opened fire on university students protesting the U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan.

FBI Knocked...He's Not Home But You Can Find Him at the White House
(October 8, 2001)
Now the world will become much more confusing and dangerous, and the opponents of the American Empire will obviously be forced even deeper underground -- both literally and figuratively -- becoming even more insular and isolated among themselves leading to who knows what kind of future blowback.

US Journalist Warns: "Do not try to change the government in Afghanistan!"
(October 7, 2001)
Late friday evening one of the leading American journalists who is an expert on the Middle East and Islamic affairs was asked a question on CNN to which she immediately briefly answered...and that was that...no more was asked or answered.

"Our Friends are Killers, Crooks and Torturers"
(October 7, 2001)
Surely the British Prime Minister should know better than to try to simplify such a complex world we live in to that understandable by a third-grader. If not we have a little weekend reading Mr. Blair should be doing, starting in one of his own newspapers which we surely hope, especially now, he can find a few moments to read on a regular basis, The Independent.

History Corrected - U.S. Wanted Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
(October 6, 2001)
The world believes that there was an invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union on 24 December 1979 and then, in response, the U.S. and Muslim countries rallied to help Afghanistan repel the invaders. Wrong...just as so much of the widely accepted history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the actual realities of U.S. involvements in the Middle East are wrong because of the manipulation of history by various governments and intelligence agencies -- most especially the U.S. and Israel, the CIA and the Mossad.

(October 6, 2001)
"Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)?"

(October 5, 2001)
The government in Afghanistan, popularly known as The Taliban, has finally taken what could be a significant step. Just hours ago through its official representative in Pakistan the Afghan government has publicly offered to turn Osama bin Laden over...not to the United States, but to another Islamic country.

(October 5, 2001)
"The women in the audience -- academics, union members, mental health workers and advocates for female inmates, embraced her anti-American rhetoric, repeatedly interrupting her with cheers and standing ovations."

(October 5, 2001)
Now we know that a few years ago, when President Bill Clinton was meeting privately one-on-one with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, the U.S. "hired" the agents of the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) to assassinate Osama bin Laden.

(October 3, 2001)
The United States and Britain yesterday called off military strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan at the last minute. Washington officials say today that a severe attack of last-minute cold feet by some key Arab members of the coalition caused President Bush to postpone the operation.

(October 3, 2001)
Osama bin Laden, arch nemesis of America today, is blowback from recent history -- the Gulf war, the permanent stationing of American forces in Arabia, and other American policies in the region, including the deceptive "peace process" fronting for Israel's brutal subjugation of the Palestinians.

(October 3, 2001)
The American Secretary of Defense is rushing to the Middle East, goal #1 to try one more time to "convince" the Saudis that Prince Sultan Airbase and its super-modern regional control center -- just completed in fact during the summer at a cost of many billions -- is needed for the new war.

(October 2, 2001)
"Drafted with a small coterie of loyal aides, mainly civilian political appointees at the Pentagon, the plans argue for open-ended war without constraint either of time or geography and potentially engulfing the entire Middle East and central Asia... The plans put before the President during the past few days involve expanding the war beyond Afghanistan to include similar incursions by special ops forces - followed by air strikes by the bombers they would guide - into Iraq, Syria and the Beqaa Valley area of Lebanon, where the Syrian-backed Hizbollah (Party of God) fighters that harass Israel are based."

(October 2, 2001)
Anyone with an ear tuned to Washington's politicians, lobbyists, and opinion molders can hear it quite loudly and clearly at this point. After taking down Osama bin Laden's al Queda network (said to be in some 50+ countries), after changing the government in Afghanistan, the American-led crusade (now more politely known by Colin Powell's term "campaign") will attempt to march on through the Middle East, next stop Baghdad.

(October 2, 2001)
It took them who intially talked of "crusade" nearly three weeks to figure out that all the "coalition building" wasn't going nearly as well as they keep saying in public and that doing something about all the Israeli oppression and "terrorism" against the essentially imprisoned Palestinian population would be a good idea in the post 11 September world and before the bombs start falling on Muslims here and there.

(October 1, 2001)
The situation is now so tense in Israel in dealing with the "Palestinian Authority" -- which it should be remembered the Israelis themselves created just a few years ago -- that Shimon Peres is getting more and more desperate.

(October 1, 2001)
The Palestinian opposition is usually very weak and confused. Had that not been the case for some time now Yasser Arafat would never have been able to do the things he has done for so long now, especially since the Gulf War; nor would Arafat have have been able to retain power these past few traumatic years, however weakened himself at this point.

(October 1, 2001)
Yes, it will be very interesting to see if and how Noam Chomsky answers the at first blush surprising attacks from Christopher Hitchens, who has now not only endorsed the new war but also at least parts of the "New World Order" that underpins it.

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