Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged Pakistan to cooperate "fully and transparently" in investigations into the Mumbai attacks, while U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has pointed a finger at Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant group.
That's probably the kind of language that would go down well in India, which has been frustrated in the past by what it saw as the United States' failure to acknowledge the threat from Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant groups, instead preferring to rely on Pakistan as a useful ally in the region while focusing its own energies on defeating al Qaeda and the Taliban.
But what exactly can either the United States or India do if they want to put pressure on Pakistan? India has long complained that Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, another Pakistan-based militant group, were nurtured by the Pakistan spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI, to stage attacks in both Indian Kashmir and elsewhere in the country. And while Pakistan denies providing more than moral support to Kashmiri groups, it has never cracked down on Lashkar-e-Taiba, based in Punjab and Pakistan-held Kashmir, in the same way that it has begun to tackle militants from al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
Lashkar-e-Taiba's charitable wing, the Jamat-ud-Dawa, earned popular support by working to rescue victims of the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, as discussed in this article by Steve Coll in the New Yorker. And much to India's irritation, the Jamat-ud-Dawa continues to operate openly in Muridke outside Lahore.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
Will Israel and India -- the first the United States' closest ally and the second fast becoming one of the closest -- emerge as the trickiest adversaries in any attempt by the United States to seek a regional solution to Afghanistan?
The Washington Post reported earlier this week that the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama plans to explore a more regional strategy to the war in Afghanistan — including possible talks with Iran.
Did the "Bali bombers" end up as martyrs or monsters? That's what many must be wondering after the three young men convicted of the Bali nighclub bombings in October 2002 were executed in the dead of the night last weekend in an orange grove on Java. (Photo: Funeral of bomber Imam Samudra, 11 Nov 2008/Supri)
The run-up to the executions turned into a media circus. The three men from the Jemaah Islamiah group -- Imam Samudra, Mukhlas, and Amrozi -- were interviewed extensively by domestic and foreign media before they faced a firing squad last Sunday. They were defiant to the end, calling for more attacks like the one they perpetrated that killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists. They had, in fact, become media celebrities and the public was fascinated with them. But as monsters or martyrs?
He may have died in a car crash last month whilst drunk, but Austrian rightist Joerg Haider is not gone.
Haider, who was enmeshed in nearly every part of Austrian political life, is now being hailed for his efforts to help two Austrian hostages being held in the Sahara months before his death.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
Osama bin Laden is no longer involved in the day-to-day planning of attacks, Germany's spy chief says, arguing that al Qaeda has turned from a centralised force into a regionalised "franchise company" with power centres in Pakistan, North Africa and the Arab peninsula. Does this weaken or strengthen the Islamist militant group? And how does it influence its operations, planning of attacks and its efforts to recruit new followers?
Ernst Uhrlau, who heads the BND foreign intelligence agency, Germany's equivalent of the CIA, says al Qaeda's "concept" has changed significantly over the past few years. "After the centralisation phase and the break-up of its bases in Afghanistan, when it had the backing of the Taliban government, we have seen a regionalisation over the past four years -- something like a franchise company." "Today, there is al Qadea in the Maghreb, al Qaeda on the Arab Peninsula, in Iraq, in Yemen," Uhrlau told Reuters in an interview this week.
According to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors al Qaeda-linked propaganda on the Web and translates it for the benefit of security analysts and counter-terrorism officials, the militant chat rooms have been buzzing for weeks with excited comment.
In downtown Beirut, resurrected from the rubble of the 1975-90 civil war, one is spoilt for choice of smart restaurants, trendy bars and lively clubs. Performances by sexy Lebanese divas and belly dancers contribute generously to Lebanon’s gross domestic product by attracting Gulf Arab tourists enchanted with Lebanese talent and beauty — not necessarily in that order.
There is isn’t a single international designer who has not found his or her way to Beirut’s elegant boutiques and jewellery shops. On the other hand, Lebanese designers such as Elie Saab are dressing Hollywood stars these days.
However, the militants have proved themselves to be resilient. Bombings and ambushes over the past week have caused at least 65 deaths, making it the bloodiest in years, and the toll so far for August stands at more than 80. That is the worst month in a long time.
So Prime Minister Gordon Brown has succeeded – by the skin of his teeth — in getting Britain’s House of Commons to approve new police counter-terrorism powers that were condemned by civil liberties groups, a former prime minister, a U.N. human rights investigator and several dozen of Brown’s own Labour MPs. The Guardian newspaper writes about ‘Liberty, security and an anxiety over lost rights’.
And even the government admits the power to hold terrorism suspects for up to 42 days before charging or releasing them has never been needed until now: it wants it as an insurance policy against future attacks or plots in which the police may need more than the 28 days they now have in order to investigate tangled international links, false identities and masses of encrypted computer files.