Monday :: Jan 23, 2006

And The Camel You Rode In On, George!

by pessimist

King George promised that he would run the nation like a business. Considering his track record as a businessman prior to entering politics, however, that shouldn't have been a reassuring statement to voters.

A business is supposed to generate more benefit to the shareholders, whether profit, new business opportunities, or an increased value that investors might want to buy.

Instead, George has only produced war deficits for the shareholders' children, nether profit, few business opportunities, and a decreased value that makes foreign investors want to fly.

He's also made more competition for America, Inc. through his malfeasance as the Chief Political Officer of the United States.

Sympathy for al-Qaida Surges in Pakistan

Outrage at the United States and at the government of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf for backing Washington's war on terrorism has reached its highest pitch since the U.S. ousted Afghanistan's Taliban regime after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on America.

Damadola residents deny any links to the militants. "We don't have anything to do with al-Qaida, and it was a cruel act of the Americans to attack my house without reason," said Bacha Khan, a flour mill worker whose house was among the three destroyed.

Sympathy for al-Qaida has surged after a U.S. airstrike devastated this remote mountain hamlet in a region sometimes as hostile toward the Pakistani government as it is to the United States. A week after the attack, villagers insist no members of the terror network were anywhere near the border village when it was hit. But thousands of protesters flooded a nearby town chanting, "Long live Osama bin Laden!"

"This attack has increased our hatred for Americans because they are killing innocent women and children," said Zakir Ullah, one of 5,000 demonstrators in Inayat Qala, a market town about three miles from Damadola. "We support jihad (holy war). Jihad is the duty of every Muslim," he said.

You're doing a heck of a job, Georgie! - Osama

The rally was the latest in a series of demonstrations across Pakistan against the Jan. 13 attack, which apparently targeted but missed al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri. Many of Sunday's protesters called for Musharraf's resignation. "As a president he has failed to protect the people and as chief of the army staff he has failed to protect the frontiers," said Maulana Mohammed Sadiq, a lawmaker in the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, which helped organize the rallies.

The Jan. 13 attack was believed to have been launched by a Predator drone from Afghanistan, where some 20,000 U.S. troops are based. Pakistan does not allow U.S. forces to pursue militants across the border or launch strikes without permission.

Government officials have said they were not informed ahead of time.

You are surprised by this act, gentlemen? You shouldn't be! George dosn't respect OUR laws either!

But I digress.

In an effort to defend himself to the people he reigns over, Musharraf pretended to chastise Bu$hCo:

U.S. reprimanded for air strike

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf told U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns Saturday that the United States must not repeat air strikes like the one that apparently was aimed at Al Qaeda but killed civilians the village of Damadola, near the border with Afghanistan, as officials sought to soothe public outrage over the attack. The attack prompted protests calling for Musharraf's ouster.

But the troubles between these erstwhile allies over the attack on Damadola - which shares the motivation of historic attacks like that on Guernica by the Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War - are only beginning.

Recent events to figure at Aziz-Bush meeting

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will have no set agenda when he meets President George W. Bush at the White House but two recent developments are likely to figure prominently in the talks: a US missile raid in Bajaur and Washington's move to finalise a nuclear deal with India.

On the issue of the drone attack in Bajaur, recent reports in the US media acknowledged that the failed US attempt to target Al Qaeda's No 2 and the consequent death of 18 civilians has created new tensions in bilateral relations which have otherwise been good since Pakistan joined the US-led war on terrorism.

In typical Bu$hco fashion, quasi-official agencies attack Pakistani officials for complaining about the bombing of Damadola:

The Voice of America radio, which represents the views of the US government on foreign policy issues, says that the appearance of a new Osama bin Laden audiotape just after Mr Aziz's arrival in the US was not a good omen either. "Analysts say that in light of the tape the Bush Administration may ratchet up pressure on President Pervez Musharraf and his government to do even more to clear the Pakistani border areas of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters," notes VOA staff writer Gary Thomas.

The article quotes Larry Goodson of the US Army War College, as saying that Mr Musharraf has been caught in a dilemma ever since the terrorist strikes on the United States on Sept 11, 2001.

"President Musharraf's cooperation with American anti-terrorist efforts has spawned opposition at home, where there is sympathy among the population for both Osama and the Taliban, which ruled neighbouring Afghanistan until 2001."

Musharraf is already on shaky ground having survived four assassination attempts since 1999, notably these first two, this one two weeks later, and this one.

He can't trust the police in Pakistan, for they were involved in at least one attempt.

He can't rely upon the army either, as they are sharply divided over his rule, occasionally forcing him to act in ways he is otherwise less-than-willing to perform - which indicates who has the real power in the current Pakistani government.

Considering that Musharraf's friends are every bit as hostile to him as his enemies, how is he going to do King George's bidding and wage war against these motivated warriors?

The assault has caused friction between Islamabad and Washington and widespread outrage in this Islamic nation of 150 million, but few are as angry as the people who live in the virtually lawless tribal region that borders Afghanistan. The area is a hotbed of Taliban and al-Qaida sympathizers - and a possible sanctuary for bin Laden himself. Bajur and Afghanistan's neighboring Kunar region have since served as hideouts because of their rugged mountains - and the sympathies of residents. Many are Pashtuns, the same ethnic group as the Taliban.
[A] local cleric in Bajur, the region surrounding Damadola, rallied 8,000 villagers to fight with the Taliban against U.S.-led forces.

Opposition politicians are outspoken in their efforts to rally this armed opposition to Musharraf - and to the United States:

Around 1,000 supporters of the fundamentalist Jamiat Ulema-i-Islami (JUI) party marched in the Bajaur region's main town of Khar chanting slogans against the United States and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. JUI lawmaker Maulana Sadiq told the gathering that the United States and Pakistan were "equally responsible for the killings of the innocent people" in the January 13 missile attack.

Sadiq demanded an apology from the United States and Pakistan as well as payment of cash compensation to the bereaved families. He said the strike was launched on the basis of Pakistani government information and "that's why it shares equal responsibility".

He's getting some response:

Later, some protestors broke shop windows with sticks and bricks, witnesses said. They also torched effigies of Musharraf, US President George W Bush and an American flag. Police fired teargas to disperse the crowd.

It wouldn't have been so easy if these protesters weren't relatively peaceful:

Pakistanis Stopped From Protesting U.S.

Pakistani security forces on Monday stopped hundreds of hard-line Islamists from heading to northwestern Pakistan to protest against a fatal U.S. missile attack, the first time authorities have tried to quell mounting anti-American sentiments. The convoy of 2,000 protesters, led by senior politicians from an opposition religious coalition, was heading to Damadola to protest the Jan. 13 attack that targeted top al-Qaida leaders but also killed 13 civilians - outraging many in this Islamic nation.

Hundreds of armed local police erected barricades at Yukka Ghund, a town about 20 miles from Damadola, and blocked the convoy - which had set off earlier from the capital Islamabad, gathering strength along the way.

Qazi Hussain Ahmad, president of the opposition Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal or United Action Front, a six-party Islamic coalition, said their rally was peaceful. "We were going to Bajur to condemn the attacks and to prove that Pakistanis are against such acts against our sovereignty," said Ahmad, referring to the tribal region where Damadola is located. He demanded that Musharraf resign for failing to protect the lives of Pakistani citizens.

The protest followed a gathering of about 5,000 people near Damadola on Sunday. There was no violence, but some protesters chanted "Down with America! Down with Musharraf!" After some of the political leaders made speeches, the convoy headed back.

The political outrage is growing:

Also Monday, lawmakers in northwestern Pakistan demanded the government expel U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker in response to the airstrike. But the unanimous resolution by the provincial assembly was unlikely to sway the federal government.

If Congress were to pass such a resolution, it would be ignored here as well.

Such ignorance (the act of ignoring, not stupidity - although that also applies) demonstrates that Bu$hCo isn't paying attention to the real issues facing the realization of their goals. While George is pretending to emulate Lawrence of Arabia in his phony war against Osama and Al Qaeda, China is eating his lunch - and a lot of Saudi petruoleum:

Reports: China-Saudi energy talks

Saudi king expected to sign fuel, trade agreements

Saudi King Abdullah was meeting Monday with Chinese leaders in Beijing, where he was expected to sign agreements on energy cooperation and trade, reports said. Total trade between the two countries -- much of it Saudi oil bought by China -- grew by 59 percent in the first 11 months of 2005 to US$14 billion (euro11.6 billion), according to China's Foreign Ministry.
Saudi Arabia accounts for about 17 percent of China's imported oil.

The three-day visit was the first by a Saudi ruler since the two countries formed diplomatic relations in 1990, and comes as China tries to secure overseas oil and gas reserves for its power-hungry economy. China, the world's No. 2 oil consumer, has been aggressively seeking to strengthen relationships with major oil suppliers as it grows more heavily reliant on oil imports.

Abdullah, who arrived in China on Sunday, was scheduled to meet with President Hu Jintao on Monday and discuss cooperation in energy and trade, the official Xinhua News Agency said. An agreement to be signed during Abdullah's visit would call for increased cooperation and joint investment in oil, natural gas and mineral deposits, the Dow Jones financial newswire reported. The report did not specify any financial details and the Saudi Embassy in Beijing said it had no information on the King's visit.

One has to wonder what this metting's agenda is!

Abudullah was also scheduled to meet with No. 2 Communist Party leader, Wu Bangguo, and Premier Wen Jiabao, on Tuesday.

Regardless of that meeting's purpose, Abdullah is also making new trade agreements with India, Malaysia, and Pakistan. They are even seeking trade with political enemies Iran and Israel!

For the Saudis, their self-interest has to come before anything that George wants. Thus, should Iran shutdown their oil exports, OPEC would be hard pressed to meet the growing demand for oil, and as our wrong-wing friends can attest, when demand exceeds supply, oil will climb above the current almost $70 a barrel price.

Yup! Heck of a job, Georgie! Babs would be proud! Why would she trouble her beautiful mind on your dismal economic performance, the collapsing medical profession, your destruction of the Constitution in your illegal attempts to conquer stateless enemies, your packing the Supreme Court with political ideologues, your friendly attitudes toward political corruption, your spying on American citizens, and your disregard for our nations fighting personnel, among way too many other topics?

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