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Stalins Organ

Motivation for fighting in Afghanistan?

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Forty years ago the administration would know exactly how to deal with the issue, Nixon and Kissenger would have co-opted Saddam to go after Bin Laden. Of course they would have been roundly denounced for having cozied up to a blood thirsty dictator.

Which is where the Wolfowitz doctrine finds it's roots, America cannot abide an evil dictator oppressing the peasants no matter how useful he may prove to be . We are still being roasted for Somoza, Marcos, etc,etc.

Introduce GWB to these concepts, not the dolt so many take him to be- but definitely someone who see's the world through the prism of his religious beliefs. Stir in a clash, obstensively between Islam and the west, and of course he will cast it in the terms of a dogma. Sinners and Saints.

If there is but dark and light, wouldn't that stand to reason that Saddam (who shares so many of AQ's beliefs- anti western interference in the gulf, anti Israeli, on so on- or so we collectively believed at the time) is in the same boat? I mean all cats under heaven are black right?

And we all knew Al Qaeda is a monolithic, heirarchal organization whose members recieve OPORDS down the chain of command from to Bin Laden and submit afteraction reports back up that chain. Partly because that's a concept we were comfortable with, harder to grasp the idea that Al Qaeda is more of a foundation, collecting money, expertise and contacts; have a good idea to strike at the evil anti Islam west? tell someone at the local Mosque, coffeshop or Arab grocery, who tells someone else, etc, etc. Eventually some like minded individual shows up and offers some helpful tips, funding and perhaps puts you in contact with some other pogues to help expand your operation.

Was Zarqawi connected to Bin Laden pre 2003, I doubt it-enough evidence out there to the contrary. Post OIF? not convinced, oh he took the name, but could it have been more a case of trademark hijacking than subordinating himself to Bin Laden? Did Bin Laden try to make hay from the Iraqi insurgency, sure but talk is cheap and that's most of what Bin Laden offered.

I'm beginning to think that T.X. Hammes is right, what is going on isn't the Islam vs the West conflict, but rather a struggle inside Islam rather like the reformation. Much like the wars of the reformation the fractures fall along different fault lines in different regions, the various powerbases striking at their opponents and the opponents erstwhile allies.

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A demographic study of Islam has just been released - only 20% of moslems live in the Mid-East & Nth Africa, the 4 highest populations are all in Asia and one of them, India, is not a moslem-majority, 2/3rds of moslems live in Asia, russia has more moslems than Libya and Jordan combined, China has more than Syria, etc.

If there's power plays going on inside Islam (and I don't doubt it) it's going to be an interesting time to live!

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A demographic study of Islam has just been released - only 20% of moslems live in the Mid-East & Nth Africa, the 4 highest populations are all in Asia and one of them, India, is not a moslem-majority, 2/3rds of moslems live in Asia, russia has more moslems than Libya and Jordan combined, China has more than Syria, etc.

If there's power plays going on inside Islam (and I don't doubt it) it's going to be an interesting time to live!

Nice find. That's gone into my undergrad course reader for next year!

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A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.

And how many are fundamentalist and how many are secular? Rather like a global figure for Christians this really does not reveal what lies behind the nominal tag "Christian"

Readers should bear in mind that the figures given in this report for the Sunni and Shia populations are less precise than the figures for the overall Muslim population. Data on sectarian affiliation have been infrequently collected or, in many countries, not collected at all. Therefore, the Sunni and Shia numbers reported here are expressed as broad ranges and should be treated as approximate.

Reveals the difficulty of trying to start to breakdown the total for deeper research.

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Anyways, just goes to show that Jaweh is the one (or three-in-one) and only...

But that's only for monotheists. Pagans and pantheists have so many more options. And we here know that more options is always better.

Michael

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I wonder how anyone is expecting to win Taliban in Afghanistan, when on the Pakistani side of the border they can raid an army HQ just outside Islamabad, killing soldiers and officers including one Brigadier, and taking dozens of hostages? Fortunately the hostages have been freed, but the episode does highlight the strength of Taliban in Pakistan. And that border they just ignore.

afghan_pakistan_786.gif

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Just goes to show that British imperialism was the appropriate governing structure for the place. Every now and then the natives would get uppity and then you'd just mount a 'punitive expedition' and burn an entire province to the ground.

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The British knew where to end the Empire tho'- they tried an army in Kandahar and had it shot to pieces trying to get out. Brigandage was dealt with summarily, its true: I'm not too sure the modern west would react well to that being the case now. Hostage holding was common too (on the part of the British) - the real threat of losing family members had some moderating effect on tribal chiefs' betrayals and political manouvrings.

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All of that somehow went out of fashion as soon as Germans started using the same terror tactics against civilized Europeans during WW2. The British had the tact to do so only in primitive corners of the world such as Ireland.

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I think it was the gassing and suchlike that was the problem for most people.

The big problem for the West is the bizarre idea that killing people by execution is somehow more abhorrent than killing as collateral damage or using overwhelming firepower to kill a native defending his country and lifestyle.

So taking hostages for better behaviour from leaders to prevent more bloodshed seems quite sensible. It is the leaders who make the problems.

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So taking hostages for better behaviour from leaders to prevent more bloodshed seems quite sensible. It is the leaders who make the problems.

I think the Soviets played a variation on that in Lebanon in the '80s. The way I heard the story, one (or more) of their diplomats got kidnapped by one of the radical militias and held for ransom of one kind or another. Their response was to send in a team that in turn kidnapped several of the relatives of the leader of that particular militia. They then sent him the ear of one of them with a note that further pieces would be arriving soon if their guy(s) weren't released. That had the desired effect; the diplomat(s) were let go immediately. Presumably the hostages were released soon afterwards. The Soviets had made their point and they had no more problems from that source.

Michael

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Goodness gracious. If what the British newspaper Times has claimed is true, well... I don't know, someone should apologize? Maybe? Just a tiny bit?

When ten French soldiers were killed last year in an ambush by Afghan insurgents in what had seemed a relatively peaceful area, the French public were horrified.

Their revulsion increased with the news that many of the dead soldiers had been mutilated — and with the publication of photographs showing the militants triumphantly sporting their victims’ flak jackets and weapons. The French had been in charge of the Sarobi area, east of Kabul, for only a month, taking over from the Italians; it was one of the biggest single losses of life by Nato forces in Afghanistan.

What the grieving nation did not know was that in the months before the French soldiers arrived in mid-2008, the Italian secret service had been paying tens of thousands of dollars to Taleban commanders and local warlords to keep the area quiet, The Times has learnt. The clandestine payments, whose existence was hidden from the incoming French forces, were disclosed by Western military officials.

US intelligence officials were flabbergasted when they found out through intercepted telephone conversations that the Italians had also been buying off militants, notably in Herat province in the far west. In June 2008, several weeks before the ambush, the US Ambassador in Rome made a démarche, or diplomatic protest, to the Berlusconi Government over allegations concerning the tactic.

However, a number of high-ranking officers in Nato have told The Times that payments were subsequently discovered to have been made in the Sarobi area as well.

Western officials say that because the French knew nothing of the payments they made a catastrophically incorrect threat assessment.

Source

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Typical bloody Berlusconi - straight as a corkscrew. Your darn right there should be an apology - if not more. It has just struck me that the recnt removal of Berlusconi's legal immunity by the Italian High Court nay not be unrelated to a move to get rid of the stupid old goat.

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What exactly is the problem here?

A) that the Italians found a workable way to secure peace.

B) that they didn't tell the French.

I'm in favour of A). B) ... not so much.

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I guess the problem is that Italian secret service may have been dealing with the enemy without negotiating with or even informing their allies. Okay, that probably fits in the character of a "coalition of willing".

But who knows what the Italian protection money was spent for??? Is Italian government a terrorist supporter?!? When do we invade!?!

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