I think Pakistan’s position, compared to three or four years ago, has certainly changed. That’s partly because of the domestic situation in Pakistan – the growth in terrorism, the collapse of the economy, etc. Even the military now realize that the days of intervention in Afghanistan, à la the 1980s and 1990s, is now over. So I think Pakistan by and large wants to support stability in Afghanistan like all the other neighbours. But Pakistan has several problems that it faces. Number one, it houses all the Taliban. The entire Taliban leadership is housed in Pakistan. I’ve been one of those who have been saying for the last one year that Pakistan has been helping the reconciliation process between the Taliban and the Americans, and the Doha process which collapsed, unfortunately, and trying to get the Taliban to talk to Karzai and other things. But I think there’s much more that Pakistan can do and should be doing.
I think Pakistan has to play a much bigger role on the positive side rather than still trying to hedge its bets between not annoying the Afghan Taliban too much, and pushing a bit here but pulling back here. So I think Pakistan has a much larger role to play, a more significant role to play. Certainly the Afghan Taliban are not going to feel the need to go in quickly for a settlement with Kabul unless there is going to be real push from Pakistan. Unless Pakistan really tells the Afghans, listen, I’m sorry, you’ve lived here long enough – you’ve been living here since 1993 or even earlier – it’s time for you Taliban to go back home. We’re not going to force you to go back home but we want you now to have a settlement with Karzai. Settle things, go back home as citizens of Afghanistan.
Pakistan – the military, officialdom – will all say, well, yes, but where’s the West? Where are the Americans in this? The Obama White House is at loggerheads with the Defense Department and State Department over these issues. We’re not going to move an inch until we’re sure the West is backing us. Well, it’s like the Middle East right now. The point is that the West is not going to be there to back any – it’s going to be up to Pakistan to take the initiative. I think [Prime Minister] Nawaz Sharif certainly realizes this and realizes what needs to be done. But he’s hampered by many of these problems – the fact the Taliban are there, the fact that there’s domestic terrorism, the fact that he has to build a relationship with the new army chief who’s just come in, the fact that the economy is down the tubes completely. But I think people now at the top in the army and the civilian do understand that if they want peace and stability they probably, at the end of the day, will have to do more.
The mass killings in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1971 vie with the annihilation of the Soviet POWs, the holocaust against the Jews, and the genocide in Rwanda as the most concentrated act of genocide in the twentieth century. In an attempt to crush forces seeking independence for East Pakistan, the West Pakistani military regime unleashed a systematic campaign of mass murder which aimed at killing millions of Bengalis, and likely succeeded in doing so. … As was also the case in Armenia and Nanjing, Bengali women were targeted for gender-selective atrocities and abuses, notably gang sexual assault and rape/murder, from the earliest days of the Pakistani genocide. Indeed, despite (and in part because of) the overwhelming targeting of males for mass murder, it is for the systematic brutalization of women that the “Rape of Bangladesh” is best known to western observers.
In her ground-breaking book, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, Susan Brownmiller likened the 1971 events in Bangladesh to the Japanese rapes in Nanjing and German rapes in Russia during World War II. “… 200,000, 300,000 or possibly 400,000 women (three sets of statistics have been variously quoted) were raped. Eighty percent of the raped women were Moslems, reflecting the population of Bangladesh, but Hindu and Christian women were not exempt. … Hit-and-run rape of large numbers of Bengali women was brutally simple in terms of logistics as the Pakistani regulars swept through and occupied the tiny, populous land …” (p. 81).
Typical was the description offered by reporter Aubrey Menen of one such assault, which targeted a recently-married woman:
Two [Pakistani soldiers] went into the room that had been built for the bridal couple. The others stayed behind with the family, one of them covering them with his gun. They heard a barked order, and the bridegroom’s voice protesting. Then there was silence until the bride screamed. Then there was silence again, except for some muffled cries that soon subsided. In a few minutes one of the soldiers came out, his uniform in disarray. He grinned to his companions. Another soldier took his place in the extra room. And so on, until all the six had raped the belle of the village. Then all six left, hurriedly. The father found his daughter lying on the string cot unconscious and bleeding. Her husband was crouched on the floor, kneeling over his vomit. (Quoted in Brownmiller, Against Our Will, p. 82.)
"Rape in Bangladesh had hardly been restricted to beauty," Brownmiller writes. "Girls of eight and grandmothers of seventy-five had been sexually assaulted … Pakistani soldiers had not only violated Bengali women on the spot; they abducted tens of hundreds and held them by force in their military barracks for nightly use." Some women may have been raped as many as eighty times in a night (Brownmiller, p. 83). How many died from this atrocious treatment, and how many more women were murdered as part of the generalized campaign of destruction and slaughter, can only be guessed at.
History: On April 22, 1915, a German regiment released 168 tons of chlorine, a chemical choking agent, against Allied forces situated in the town of Ypres in western Belgium. This initial use of chlorine revealed that exposure to sufficient quantities precipitates death by asphyxiation. Use of masks quickly rendered the choking agent obsolete for military use. Terrorist use of chlorine, to date largely ineffective, remains a threat.
Was it used in Syria? A defector with past links to Syria’s chemical weapons program first alleged that chlorine had been used in the Syrian civil war. Chlorine was also suspected as the agent in a second attack, on March 19, 2013, in the village of Khan al-Assal in northern Syria. Both claims are doubtful. The first is likely a misuse of words by the defector; the second is better explained as unburnt fuel and oxidizer from a conventionally-armed Scud missile.
3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate (BZ)
Purpose: Incapacitating agent
History: Derived from the toxic belladonna plant, the incapacitating agent BZ is not intended to kill, but to impair cognitive performance due to its anticholinergic effects (i.e., the blocking of neurotransmitters). Intoxication via BZ results in altered states of situational awareness and counterfactual perceptions of visual and other sensory realities. Invented in 1951, the US Army standardized BZ for military use in 1961. BZ has rarely, if ever, been used in state warfare. The incapacitant was tested widely on human volunteers in the United States, but due to its unpredictable nature, the Army phased it out in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Was it used in Syria? Widely held to be apocryphal, claims of BZ use in Syria either come from dubious sources or contradict known effects of the agent. One of those dubious sources claimed BZ was used in Western Syria, in the Bab Arm district of Homs in 2012. In another instance, the claim was that “Agent 15,” an agent supposedly akin to BZ, had been used. But Agent 15 is not a real chemical weapon, but an odd bit of fiction—a sort of urban myth—associated with UN investigations in Iraq in the late 1990s. Also, none of the victims of the attack exhibited symptoms of BZ exposure.
History: Developed in 1928 by American scientists Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton (hence its name), CS is the most commonly used riot-control agent today. Perhaps the most famous and controversial mass use of CS came in 1993 during a standoff at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, that ended with the death of more than 70 members of the religious group. The chemical effects of CS were not implicated in those deaths; the wisdom of its use inside a building in the compound was widely questioned, and some experts believe that use may have been a factor in the uncontrollable fire that killed the Branch Davidians.
For a chemical to be effective and safe for use in riot control, two criteria must apply: The chemical must be non-lethal, creating great discomfort while disabling human targets and inflicting damage that is short-lasting and treatable without hospital care. Judged by this criteria, the long-standing use of CS as a riot-control agent is justified. In sufficient quantities, CS stings exposed skin, creates tightness in the chest and shortness of breath, and produces intense tearing and burning of the eyes. Moreover, exposure to adequate CS removes the victim’s ability to communicate and control physical actions. CN is more toxic and more dangerous than CS; its use has resulted in five deaths, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Were they used in Syria? CS is used globally by domestic security forces for crowd dispersal. Syria uses riot-control agents widely. Reports of such use in Syria frequently conflate CS with CN. By the late 1950s, CN had lost favor around the world to the safer CS, but CN is still used in some countries—one likely being Syria.
White phosphorous (WP)
Purpose: Incendiary weapon
History: White phosphorus possesses intense incendiary properties, creating temperatures that allow the agent to penetrate human skin and even burrow into organs. But in a puzzle to many international observers, WP has eluded classification as a chemical weapon, and no international treaty bans its use. Traditionally, WP was used to create smoke screens that conceal military forces and to illuminate targets. During fighting for control of Fallujah, Iraq, in November 2004, however, US forces used WP as a psychological weapon and a means of driving entrenched opposition forces from positions. Israel used WP to flush out opposition forces during the Israel-Lebanon conflict of 2006 and in the Gaza War (2008 and 2009).
Was it used in Syria? The most notable report of Syrian government use of WP occurred in Homs on December 6, 2012; another alleged use occurred on December, 23, 2012. No definitive evidence has been made public to confirm either incident. Victims of the latter attack exhibited behaviors—seizures and paralysis—that are clearly unrelated to WP. In early 2013, an unnamed State Department official said that the December 23 attack generated casualties via a “riot control agent.” Suspicions exist that the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group, may have used WP in mid-2013.
Purpose: Nerve agent
History: Developed by Germany in 1938, the nerve agent sarin inhibits the action of the acetylcholinesterase enzyme, which deactivates signals that cause human nerve cells to fire. This blockage pushes nerves into a continual “on” state; heart and other muscles—including those involved in breathing—spasm. Sufficient exposure leads to death via asphyxiation. Iraq used sarin weapons against its Kurdish citizens in the 1980s; the worst and most infamous attack came in the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988, during which sarin and mustard gas reportedly killed 5,000 peopleand injured tens of thousands more. The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo used sarin in terror attacks in 1994 and 1995.
Was it used in Syria? Sarin use during the Syrian civil war is suspected but unconfirmed. Human tissue samples that purport to confirm sarin use may have been compromised. The chain of custody of those samples as they traveled from their original locations in Syria to laboratories in outside countries apparently was not properly documented. Many experts dismiss video footage of alleged victims and interviews with survivors—promoted as proof of sarin use by some states—as inadequate evidence.
As the battles raged in South Waziristan, the station chief in Islamabad paid a visit to Gen. Ehsan ul Haq, the ISI chief, and made an offer: If the C.I.A. killed Mr. Muhammad, would the ISI allow regular armed drone flights over the tribal areas?
In secret negotiations, the terms of the bargain were set. Pakistani intelligence officials insisted that they be allowed to approve each drone strike, giving them tight control over the list of targets. And they insisted that drones fly only in narrow parts of the tribal areas — ensuring that they would not venture where Islamabad did not want the Americans going: Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, and the mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India.
The ISI and the C.I.A. agreed that all drone flights in Pakistan would operate under the C.I.A.’s covert action authority — meaning that the United States would never acknowledge the missile strikes and that Pakistan would either take credit for the individual killings or remain silent.
Mr. Musharraf did not think that it would be difficult to keep up the ruse. As he told one C.I.A. officer: “In Pakistan, things fall out of the sky all the time.”
The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher.
Spending borrowed money to pay for the wars has also made them more expensive, the study noted. The conflicts have added $2 trillion to America’s debt, representing roughly 20 percent of the debt incurred between 2001 and 2012.
This shows that austerity is a total joke. The best way to end the debt and go into surplus is to cut all the war spending and have a functional health care system. The reason why there are so many austerity measures everywhere except for in military spending is because the purpose of budget cutbacks is to harm the poor and create precarious social conditions which would allow more labor exploitation to happen.
Since Israel’s creation in 1948, Israeli political and military leaders have demonstrated a pattern of repeatedly violating ceasefires with their enemies in order to gain military advantage, for territorial aggrandizement, or to provoke their opponents into carrying out acts of violence that Israel can then exploit politically and/or use to justify military operations already planned.
The following fact sheet provides a brief overview of some of the most high profile and consequential ceasefire violations committed by the Israeli military over the past six decades.
2012 - On November 14, two days after Palestinian factions in Gaza agree to a trucefollowing several days of violence, Israel assassinates the leader of Hamas’ military wing, Ahmed Jabari, threatening to escalate the violence once again after a week in which at least six Palestinian civilians are killed and dozens more wounded in Israeli attacks.
2012 - On March 9, Israel violates an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and assassinatesthe head of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, sparking another round of violence in which at least two dozen Palestinians are killed, including at least four civilians, and scores more wounded. As usual, Israel claims it is acting in self-defense, against an imminent attack being planned by the PRC, while providing no evidence to substantiate the allegation.
Following the assassination, Israeli journalist Zvi Bar’el writes in the Haaretz newspaper:
"It is hard to understand what basis there is for the assertion that Israel is not striving to escalate the situation. One could assume that an armed response by the Popular Resistance Committees or Islamic Jihad to Israel’s targeted assassination was taken into account. But did anyone weigh the possibility that the violent reaction could lead to a greater number of Israeli casualties than any terrorist attack that Zuhair al-Qaisi, the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, could have carried out?
"In the absence of a clear answer to that question, one may assume that those who decided to assassinate al-Qaisi once again relied on the ‘measured response’ strategy, in which an Israeli strike draws a reaction, which draws an Israeli counter-reaction."
Just over two months prior, on the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, Israeli army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz tells Israel’s Army Radio that Israel will need to attack Gaza again soon to restore its power of “deterrence,” and that the assault must be “swift and painful,” concluding, “We will act when the conditions are right.”
2011 - On October 29, Israel breaks a truce that has maintained calm for two months, killing five Islamic Jihad members in Gaza, including a senior commander. The following day, Egypt brokers another truce that Israel proceeds to immediately violate, killing another four IJ members. In the violence, a total of nine Palestinians and one Israeli are killed.
2008 - In November, Israel violates a ceasefire with Hamas and other Gaza-based militant groups that has been in place since June, launching an operation that kills six Hamas members. Militant groups respond by launching rockets into southern Israel, which Israel shortly thereafter uses to justify Operation Cast Lead, its devastating military assault on Gaza beginning on December 27. Over the next three weeks, the Israeli military kills approximately 1400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including more than 300 children. A UN Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone subsequently concludes that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the fighting, a judgment shared by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International andHuman Rights Watch.
2002 - On July 23, hours before a widely reported ceasefire declared by Hamas and other Palestinian groups is scheduled to come into effect, Israel bombs an apartment building in the middle of the night in the densely populated Gaza Strip in order to assassinate Hamas leader Salah Shehada. Fourteen civilians, including nine children, are also killed in the attack, and 50 others wounded, leading to a scuttling of the ceasefire and a continuation of violence.
2002 - On January 14, Israel assassinates Raed Karmi, a militant leader in the Fatah party, following a ceasefire agreed to by all Palestinian militant groups the previous month, leading to its cancellation. Later in January, the first suicide bombing by the Fatah linked Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade takes place.
2001 - On November 23, Israel assassinates senior Hamas militant, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud. At the time, Hamas was adhering to an agreement made with PLO head Yasser Arafat not to attack targets inside of Israel. Following the killing, respected Israeli military correspondent of the right-leaning Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Alex Fishman, writes in a front-page story: ”We again find ourselves preparing with dread for a new mass terrorist attack within the Green Line [Israel’s pre-1967 border]… Whoever gave a green light to this act of liquidation knew full well that he is thereby shattering in one blow the gentleman’s agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; under that agreement, Hamas was to avoid in the near future suicide bombings inside the Green Line…” A week later, Hamas responds with bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa.
2001 - On July 25, as Israeli and Palestinian Authority security officials meet to shore up a six-week-old ceasefire, Israel assassinates a senior Hamas member in Nablus. Nine days later, Hamas responds with a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem pizzeria.
1988 - In April, Israel assassinates senior PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir in Tunisia, even as the Reagan administration is trying to organize an international conference to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The US State Department condemnsthe murder as an “act of political assassination.” In ensuing protests in the occupied territories, a further seven Palestinians are gunned down by Israeli forces.
1982 - Following Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in June, and after PLO fighters depart Beirut under the terms of a US-brokered ceasefire, Israel violates the terms of the agreement and moves its armed forces into the western part of the city, where the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila are located. Shortly thereafter, Israeli soldiers surround the camps and send in their local Christian Phalangist allies - even though the long and bloody history between Palestinians and Phalangists in Lebanon is well known to the Israelis, and despite the fact that the Phalangists’ leader, Bashir Gemayel, has just been assassinated and Palestinians are rumored (incorrectly) to be responsible. Over the next three days, between 800 and 3500 Palestinian refugees, mostly women and children left behind by the PLO fighters, are butchered by the Phalangists as Israeli soldiers look on. In the wake of the massacre, an Israeli commission of inquiry, the Kahan Commission, deems that Israeli Defense Minister (and future Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon bears “personal responsibility” for the slaughter.
1981-2 - Under Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel repeatedly violates a nine-month-old UN-brokered ceasefire with the PLO in Lebanon in an effort to provoke a response that will justify a large-scale invasion of the country that Sharon has been long planning. When PLO restraint fails to provide Sharon with an adequate pretext, he uses the attempted assassination of Israel’s ambassador to England to justify a massive invasion aimed at destroying the PLO - despite the fact that Israeli intelligence officials believe the PLO has nothing to do with the assassination attempt. In the ensuing invasion, more than 17,000 Lebanese are killed.
1973 - Following a ceasefire agreement arranged by the US and the Soviet Union to end the Yom Kippur War, Israel violates the agreement with a “green light” from US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. According to declassified US documents, Kissinger tells the Israelis they can take a “slightly longer” time to adhere to the truce. As a result, Israel launches an attack and surrounds the Egyptian Third Army, causing a major diplomatic crisis between the US and Soviets that pushes the two superpowers to the brink of nuclear war, with the Soviets threatening to intervene to save their Egyptian allies and the US issuing a Defcon III nuclear alert.
1967 - Israel violates the 1949 Armistice Agreement, launching a surprise attack against Egypt and Syria. Despite claims Israel is acting in self-defense against an impending attack from Egypt, Israeli leaders are well aware that Egypt poses no serious threat. Yitzhak Rabin, Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli army during the war, says in a 1968 interview that “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.” And former Prime Minister Menachem Begin later admits that “Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
1956 - Colluding with Britain and France, Israel violates the 1949 Armistice Agreement by invading Egypt and occupying the Sinai Peninsula. Israel only agrees to withdraw following pressure from US President Dwight Eisenhower.
1949 - Immediately after the UN-brokered Armistice Agreement between Israel and its neighbors goes into effect, the armed forces of the newly-created Israeli statebegin violating the truce with encroachments into designated demilitarized zones and military attacks that claim numerous civilian casualties
Any Israeli attack against Iran will be beneficial for Iran and its regime. It would give Tehran a position of victim, what it loves to promote. Many Arabs would side with Iran. Moreover, the Saudis would be embarrassed. Of course, they would be an objective ally of Israel in the issue, as they do not want a nuclear Iran and dream to weaken that country. I think they would condemn the attack while trying to take advantage of it. But it would increase tensions in the Gulf and the possibility of a regional war, which Riyadh does not want. For obvious reasons, Saudi Arabia prefers to count on Western countries instead of Israel to wield pressure on Iran.
Despite the immense death toll, it is important to mention this is also the most one-sided war in U.S. history: 3,400 suspected adversaries and civilians to zero (Americans). No U.S. government employee has directly lost his or her life in all of the known targeted killing operations. Not the launch control element operators who take off and land drones in theater, the pilots launching stand-off missiles, or the special operations forces deployed on the ground. By comparison, 6,557 U.S. service members have been killed and over 50,000 wounded in action in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Pentagon data.
Although the Third War began 10 years ago, it shows no signs of ending. It will certainly outlast the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which were also commenced as a result of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. During the final presidential debate, Mitt Romney warmly endorsed President Obama’s drone strikes: “I support that entirely, and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology, and believe that we should continue to use it.” Meanwhile, last week, Greg Miller reported that, among senior Obama administration officials, “there is broad consensus [targeted killings] are likely to be extended at least another decade.” But, in the words of one senior official: “We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’” What was once considered an immediate response to an exceptional threat to the United States is now a permanent and institutionalized feature of U.S. foreign policy. Perhaps by November 3, 2022, policymakers and the American people will have noticed.
In 2010, U.S.-based General Atomics received export licenses to sellunarmed versions of the Predator drone to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. And in March, the U.S. government agreed to arm Italy’s six Reaper drones but rejected a request from Turkey to purchase armed Predator drones.
An official in Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in July that Turkey planned to arm its own domestically produced drone, the Anka.
Israel is the world’s largest exporter of drones and drone technology, and the state-owned Israeli Aerospace Industries has sold to countries as varied as Nigeria, Russia and Mexico.
Building drones, particularly armed drones, takes sophisticated technology and specific weaponry, but governments are increasingly willing to invest the necessary time and money to either buy or develop them, as armed drones are increasingly seen as an integral part of modern warfare.
Sweden, Greece, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and France are working on a joint project through state-owned aeronautical companies and are in the final stages of developing an advanced armed drone prototype called the Dassault nEURon, from which the France plans to derive armed drones for its air force.
And Pakistani authorities have long tried to persuade the United States to give them armed Predator drones, while India owns an armed Israeli drone designed to detect and destroy enemy radar, though it does not yet have drones capable of striking other targets.
The Teal Group, a defense consulting firm in Virginia, estimated in June that the global market for the research, development and procurement of armed drones will just about double in the next decade, from $6.6 billion to $11.4 billion.
What was the position of Pakistan when the US decided to invade Afghanistan in 2001?
The indication was very clear when 9/11 happened that the US government was ready take action against the Taliban. The first reaction of Pakistan was that
it told the United States that they will support the Americans, but Pakistan also tried to persuade the United States not to take a military action in a hurry. Pakistan also suggested that, before the military action, some other means should also be tried to persuade the Taliban to handover Osama bin Laden so that the issue can be resolved peacefully – this is also why Pakistan sent a delegation to Afghanistan to talk to Mullah Omer and the delegation actually tried to persuade him to cooperate with the United States given the situation … but Mullah Omer refused to hand him over to the Americans or any other country. Secondly, Pakistan also advised the United States that, even if it they launch an attack, they should have more troops on the ground and the mission should not be long. Third, Pakistan also told the US that they should not allow the Northern Alliance to enter Kabul before the formation of a new government, which should also include moderate Taliban. So Pakistan actually tried to dissuade the United States from taking a military action. But when the action eventually took place, Pakistan had no choice but to go along and it offered the United States logistic support and other facilities.