Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tensions, Violence Rise in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran



Tensions, Violence Rise in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran

Monday 19 October 2009

by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | NewsWire


A gun from the Panzer Howitzer platoon, Kamp Holland, Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan. (Photo: david_axe / flickr)

    A series of bombings in Iran over the weekend has rekindled long-standing resentments between that nation and the West. With a nuclear deal hanging in the balance, the Obama administration may hold off on sending more troops to Afghanistan until that nation's disputed election is settled, and Pakistan's military has opened a major offensive against militants after a series of deadly suicide attacks that left scores dead and wounded.

    On Sunday, Iran's Republican Guard was hit with two coordinated bombings in the southern region that borders Pakistan. Five Guards were killed, and dozens of people were left dead or wounded in the attacks. Taking responsibility for the bombings was the insurgent group Jundallah, or "Soldiers of God," which is comprised of Baluchi ethnic minority Sunnis who have been fighting the Iranian government for years.

    Despite Jundallah's claim of responsibility, the commander of the Republican Guard, Mohammed Ali Jafari, accused the United States, Britain and Pakistan of aiding the insurgents. Jafari was quoted in The New York Times saying, "Behind this scene are the American and British intelligence apparatus, and there will have to be retaliatory measures to punish them." Jafari went on to say that Iran was in possession of documents proving Western involvement in the attacks on Sunday.

    These accusations come at a delicate time in relations between Iran and the West. If ongoing talks among Iran, the United Nations, the US, Russia and France regarding the Islamic Republic's nuclear program fail, Iran claims it will continue its uranium enrichment program. The talks are aimed at establishing a protocol by which Iran will send low-enriched uranium abroad for further processing, rather than process the materials itself.

    The disputed presidential election in Afghanistan has complicated the Obama administration's deliberations over whether or not to send more troops to that war-torn nation. President Obama has been seeking information and input from many sources before making any decision, but the White House has signaled any decision may be delayed until the issue of who should be running the Afghan government is settled. According to a report in The New York Times:

The question at the heart of the matter, said President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is not "how many troops you send, but do you have a credible Afghan partner for this process that can provide the security and the type of services that the Afghan people need?" He appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and CBS's "Face the Nation."

    He echoed the thoughts of Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, a top Obama ally and the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who said in a separate interview from Kabul, "I don't see how President Obama can make a decision about the committing of our additional forces, or even the further fulfillment of our mission that's here today, without an adequate government in place." His interview was broadcast on "Face the Nation."

    "It would be irresponsible," Mr. Emanuel told CNN. Then he continued, paraphrasing the senator, that it would be reckless to decide on the troop level without first doing "a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there's an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that US troops would create and become a true partner in governing."

    Pakistan's government has dispatched some 28,000 troops backed by artillery to combat as many as 10,000 Taliban fighters along the border with Afghanistan. A series of attacks by Taliban forces in Pakistan has left hundreds dead and wounded, and has threatened the stability of the Pakistani government. The United States is closely following these events as they unfold for several reasons: The region is considered a global hub for Islamic militant activity, and the US believes its own national security is closely tied to the standing and viability of the governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to a report by Reuters:

The army says it has surrounded the militants in their main zone and soldiers were attacking from the north, southwest and southeast.

    But the militants have had years to prepare their bunkers in the land of arid mountains and sparse forests cut through by dried-up creeks and ravines.

    Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said soldiers had captured high ground around the small town of Kotkai, while a senior government official based in the town of Tank said forces had faced surprisingly light opposition, for now.

    "Resistance has been less than expected as the area where the fighting has been going on is barren and it's easy to hit them with helicopter gunships," said the official, who declined to be identified. "But as soon as they get into forest-covered areas, we're expecting a real battle."


William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence." His newest book, "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on

Click here to Subscribe

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


No comments: