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KILLER_CLOWN
03-29-2009, 12:56 AM
Barack Obama offers new strategy to tame Pakistan

Obama said that since the September 11 attacks, al-Qaeda and it allies had moved to havens in Pakistan
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Tim Reid in Washington and Zahid Hussain in Islamabad
More than seven years after America declared war on the Taleban, Afghanistan still stands on the brink of disaster, President Obama declared yesterday as he unveiled a new regional strategy to win the war in South Asia. An additional 21,000 US troops will be sent to Afghanistan and civilian aid to neighbouring Pakistan will be trebled, Mr Obama said in a speech that showed his desire to take full US ownership of the deepening conflict.

He warned both governments that they had to take far greater responsibility in tackling their own corruption and the lethal insurgency that is threatening their survival.

Mr Obama spoke only hours after a suicide bomber demolished a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers attending Friday prayers in the tribal region near the Afghan border, killing at least 50 people. It was the bloodiest attack in Pakistan this year.

The Khyber tribal region, where the bombing took place, is the main supply route for Nato forces in Afghanistan and has become a prime target for the Taleban. The militants have regularly attacked convoys. Pakistani security forces have started a campaign to clear the area of them and a senior Pakistani official said that the attack could be revenge for local support for the operation. An Afghan soldier later shot dead two US troops in northern Afghanistan.

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“The situation is increasingly perilous,” Mr Obama said in Washington as the White House released its long-awaited review of US strategy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan. “It has been more than seven years since the Taleban was removed from power, yet war rages on, and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Mr Obama said that in nearly eight years since the September 11 attacks, al-Qaeda and it allies had moved to havens in the mountainous Pakistani side of the Afghan border, almost certainly including, he said, Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. He called it “the most dangerous place in the world”.

He added: “Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al-Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the US homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan. If the Afghan Government falls to the Taleban - or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged - that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.”

He said that other terror attacks, including the London 7/7 bombings, were tied to al-Qaeda in Pakistan, and that “the safety of people around the world is at stake”.

Mr Obama announced no grand vision of a democratic Afghanistan, or a timeline for withdrawal from a war that his advisers say will be long and hard. Instead, in a radical downgrade of the more lofty objectives set by President Bush, he said the mission was “to disrupt, dismantle and defeat” alQaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Yet one ambitious element of Mr Obama's plan is to recast the war as a regional conflict involving Pakistan, Russia, Iran, India, China and the Central Asian states. He said he wanted to forge a new “Contact Group” of all the nations to help to address the conflict.

One aspect of the plan not publicly addressed by Mr Obama is a decision to increase US drone attacks inside Pakistan, The Times has learnt. Mr Obama also hinted that military action could be taken by US forces inside Pakistan, with or without its approval. US intelligence officials believe elements in the Pakistani security forces have tipped off insurgents about impending US attacks and there is a reluctance to share intelligence.

Mr Obama's aides say that the President has now accepted that Nato allies will not contribute significantly more troops to the effort, although as The Times reported yesterday, the UK is to send an additional 2,000 British troops. The military aspect of the war will increasingly fall to US forces. At next week's Nato summit, Mr Obama will press allies for help in training Afghan forces.

In addition to 17,000 extra US troops that will be sent to Afghanistan, Mr Obama announced another 4,000 yesterday to help to train the Afghan Army and police. He is also sending hundreds of civilian experts to bolster reconstruction and tackle the opium trade, which provides the Taleban with billions of dollars each year.

Mr Obama is to ask Congress for $7.5 billion (£5.2 billion) in civilian aid over five years for Pakistan, to help it to build democracy and strengthen its infrastructure. The move is fraught with risk, given Pakistan's history of corruption.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5989417.ece

BucEyedPea
03-29-2009, 01:03 AM
He warned both governments that they had to take far greater responsibility in tackling their own corruption and the lethal insurgency that is threatening their survival

So we're still telling other countries what to do too?

KILLER_CLOWN
03-29-2009, 01:11 AM
So we're still telling other countries what to do too?

Yes change has come!

HonestChieffan
03-29-2009, 06:04 AM
Did ODrama play the "they are planning to attack the US" card? How very Bush/Chaney like of him...and those "multiple intel sources"....when Bush did that everyone said he was a liar and a fraud.....

Direckshun
03-29-2009, 08:41 AM
As long as they weren't an isolationist, I don't know why anybody would have a problem with this plan.

mlyonsd
03-29-2009, 09:48 AM
So we're still telling other countries what to do too?

Yet one ambitious element of Mr Obama's plan is to recast the war as a regional conflict involving Pakistan, Russia, Iran, India, China and the Central Asian states. He said he wanted to forge a new “Contact Group” of all the nations to help to address the conflict.


Sounds like it. Good luck with getting Russia and China involved in any meaningful way.

At least now I know what to look for as a marker on if Obama's Afghanistan strategy is working or not.

KC native
03-29-2009, 11:48 AM
Sounds like it. Good luck with getting Russia and China involved in any meaningful way.

At least now I know what to look for as a marker on if Obama's Afghanistan strategy is working or not.

I think China and Russia both know an out of control Pakistan is not something they can tolerate. Pakistan has a nuke. Afghanistan doesn't have a nuke so China and Russia could give a fuck less about them.

mlyonsd
03-29-2009, 12:55 PM
I think China and Russia both know an out of control Pakistan is not something they can tolerate. Pakistan has a nuke. Afghanistan doesn't have a nuke so China and Russia could give a **** less about them.

Pakistan is already out of control IMO.

But I do agree that getting Russia and China involved would be a good thing. I hope he accomplishes that.

Other than that, I really don't see much of a difference in strategies when it comes to Afghanistan.

Saul Good
03-29-2009, 12:58 PM
Yet one ambitious element of Mr Obama's plan is to recast the war as a regional conflict involving Pakistan, Russia, Iran, India, China and the Central Asian states. He said he wanted to forge a new “Contact Group” of all the nations to help to address the conflict.[/url]

Can we call them the Super Friends? That would be so cool.

CHIEF4EVER
03-29-2009, 01:14 PM
WASHINGTON – As he carries out a retooled strategy in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama says he will consult with Pakistan's leaders before pursuing terrorist hideouts in that country.

Obama said U.S. ally Pakistan needs to be more accountable, but ruled out deploying U.S. troops there. "Our plan does not change the recognition of Pakistan as a sovereign government," the president told CBS' "Face the Nation" in an interview broadcast Sunday.

The president also bemoaned the tenuous security situation in Afghanistan, saying, "Unless we get a handle on it now, we're gonna be in trouble." He made clear that his new strategy for the long war is "not going to be an open-ended commitment of infinite resources" from the United States.

In a wide-ranging interview, Obama sought to counter the notion that Afghanistan has become his war. He emphasized that it started on George W. Bush's watch.

"I think it's America's war. And it's the same war that we initiated after 9/11 as a consequence of those attacks," Obama said. "The focus over the last seven years, I think, has been lost."

Obama taped the interview Friday, the same day he launched the fresh effort to defeat al-Qaida terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan, widening a war that began after terrorists struck the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. He set new benchmarks and ordered 4,000 more troops to the war zone as well as hundreds of civilians and increased aid. The plan does not include an exit timeline.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in an interview on "Fox News Sunday," said the short-term objectives for U.S. forces in Afghanistan have narrowed under Obama's new strategy even as a flourishing democracy in Afghanistan remains a long-term goal.

"I think what we need to focus on and focus our efforts is making headway and reversing the Taliban's momentum and strengthening the Afghan army and police, and really going after al-Qaida, as the president said," Gates said.

Al-Qaida terrorists are still a serious threat and retain the ability to plan attacks against the United States even though they have been inhibited over the past several years, Gates said.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have praised the new U.S. strategy for dealing with growing violence in the region.

But Obama has irked Pakistan since taking office in January by retaining a powerful but controversial weapon left over from the Bush administration's fight against terrorism: unmanned Predator drone missile strikes on Pakistan along its border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan has urged Obama to halt the strikes. But Gates has signaled to Congress that the U.S. would continue to go after al-Qaida inside Pakistan, and senior Obama administration officials have called the strikes effective.

Without directly referring to the strikes, Obama said: "If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we're going after them. But our main thrust has to be to help Pakistan defeat these extremists."

Asked if he meant he would put U.S. troops on the ground in Pakistan, Obama said: "No." He noted that Pakistan is a sovereign nation and said: "We need to work with them and through them to deal with al-Qaida. But we have to hold them much more accountable."

"What we wanna do is say to the Pakistani people: You are our friends, you are our allies. We are going to give you the tools to defeat al-Qaida and to root out these safe havens. But we also expect some accountability. And we expect that you understand the severity and the nature of the threat," Obama added.

His strategy is built on an ambitious goal of boosting the Afghan army from 80,000 to 134,000 troops by 2011 — and greatly increasing training by U.S. troops accompanying them — so the Afghan military can defeat Taliban insurgents and take control of the war.

In the interview, Obama said he won't assume that more troops will result in an improved situation. "There may be a point of diminishing returns in terms of troop levels. We've gotta also make sure that our civilian efforts, our diplomatic efforts and our development efforts, are just as robustly encouraged."

Obama agreed that things are worse than ever in Afghanistan, and then sought to clarify his point.

"They're not worse than they were when the Taliban was in charge and al-Qaida was operating with impunity," Obama said. But, he added, "We have seen a deterioration over the last several years."

"This is gonna be hard," Obama said. "I'm under no illusions. If it was easy, it would have already been completed." He also stressed the need to be flexible. "We will continue to monitor and adjust our strategies to make sure that we're not just going down blind alleys."

Richard Holbrooke, U.S. envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, dismissed comparing the war in Afghanistan to U.S. involvement in Vietnam more than a generation ago.

"The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese never posed any direct threat to the United States and its homeland," Holbrooke, a Vietnam veteran, said on "State of the Union" on CNN.

"The people we are fighting in Afghanistan, and the people they are sheltering in western Pakistan, pose a direct threat. Those are the men of 9/11, the people who killed Benazir Bhutto," Holbrooke said, referring to the slain former Pakistan prime minister. "And you can be sure that, as we sit here today, they are planning further attacks on the United States and our allies."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090329/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_afghanistan

I hate to defend the guy but it would appear like he is going with a combination of diplomacy, higher troop strength and infrastructure assistance rather than just hammering the shit out of people. I think his approach will have a better chance of sucess than relying on military strength alone.

patteeu
03-29-2009, 03:52 PM
Sounds like it. Good luck with getting Russia and China involved in any meaningful way.

At least now I know what to look for as a marker on if Obama's Afghanistan strategy is working or not.

Yeah, he can't even get our NATO allies to do more than George Bush did (as we were assured he'd be able to do during the campaign) and now we're supposed to believe that our new master diplomat is going to get Russia, China and Iran to help? I'll believe it when I see it. Watch for the quid pro quo.

patteeu
03-29-2009, 03:57 PM
As long as they weren't an isolationist, I don't know why anybody would have a problem with this plan.

I agree with this and I don't have a problem with the plan except when he hints that we have a breaking point beyond which we'll bail out and leave the victory to our enemies. Other than that, I don't see much difference between the 2008 approach and the 2009 approach though.

chiefforlife
03-29-2009, 03:58 PM
Yeah, he can't even get our NATO allies to do more than George Bush did (as we were assured he'd be able to do during the campaign) and now we're supposed to believe that our new master diplomat is going to get Russia, China and Iran to help? I'll believe it when I see it. Watch for the quid pro quo.

Perhaps he should draw up some cartoons of mobile weapons labs or even better just make something up.:D

Hog Farmer
03-29-2009, 07:26 PM
I still say the whole region should be doused with boar semen, and I will supply the ammo!

wild1
03-29-2009, 07:39 PM
Yeah, he can't even get our NATO allies to do more than George Bush did (as we were assured he'd be able to do during the campaign) and now we're supposed to believe that our new master diplomat is going to get Russia, China and Iran to help? I'll believe it when I see it. Watch for the quid pro quo.

Putin is going to run rings around him.

petegz28
03-29-2009, 08:44 PM
So we're still telling other countries what to do too?

What's wrong with telling other countries to deal with their own problems?

alanm
03-29-2009, 09:11 PM
In other news today.

Israeli drones attacked Iranian convoys in Sudan
Israel used unmanned drones to attack clandestine Iranian convoys in Sudan that were attempting to smuggle rockets into Gaza, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported. The paper said that western diplomats confirmed that Israel attacked the Iranian truck convoys in late January and the first week of February in the remote Sudan desert, just outside the Red Sea town of Port Sudan.
The convoys had been tracked by agents from Mossad, Israel's overseas intelligence agency, the report added.
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The Sudanese government said this week it was investigating the possibility that Israel was behind the deadly air strikes, but so far had found no proof.
Foreign ministry spokesman Ali Sadiq said there were two separate bombing raids against smugglers, killing about 40 people.
The Sunday Times said that had the rockets been delivered to Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza, they would have raised the stakes in the conflict with Israel.
It quoted defence sources as saying the convoys were carrying Fajr-3 rockets, which have a range of more than 40 miles (65 kilometres), and were split into sections to be smuggled through tunnels into Gaza from Egypt.
"They built the Fajr in parts so it would be easy to smuggle them into Gaza, then reassemble them with Hamas experts who learnt the job in Syria and Iran," a source told the paper.
The main reason for using drones instead of manned aircraft to attack was that a convoy forms a "slippery" target, a source said.
"When you attack a fixed target, especially a big one, you are better off using jet aircraft. But with a moving target with no definite time for the move UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are best, as they can hover extremely high and remain unseen until the target is on the move," the source said.

Copyright AFP 2008, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium <script type="text/javascript">GA_googleFillSlot("news_story_after");</script>
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.9849350f816804a357829631f0fd7a21.bc1&show_article=1