Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Afghan Journal:
Iraqis are voting today for a new parliament and despite the bombings in the run-up to the election, the over-all trend is down, according to the Brookings Institution. Not so in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theatre, America 's other war, which remains red-hot according to a country index that the Washington-based thinktank puts out for Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The index is a statistical compilation of economic, puiblic opinion and security data.
It's quite instructive just to look at the numbers in the three countries. Weekly violent incidents in Iraq are about 90 percent less frequent than in the months just before the surge. Violent deaths from the vestiges of war are in the range of 100 to 200 civilians a month, meaning that mundane Iraqi crime is probably now a greater threat to most citizens than politically-motivated violence, Brookings says in its latest update.
Afghanistan is a different story. In terms of raw violence, the situation is at a historic worst level, with early 2010 levels of various types of attacks much higher than even last year at this time. Some of it is because of the offensive in Marjah in Helmand province and the deployment of U.S. and Afghan troops to parts of the country where they were previously not present, triggering a militant response.
By way of comparison, the rate of attacks in Afghanistan countrywide is now more than double the level seen in Iraq, the Brookings data shows. The number of civilian deaths is similar, though, mostly because the militants in Afghanistan target security forces more than civilians. A renewed drive by U.S. and NAT'O commander General Stanley McChyrstal to adjust war strategy to avoid civilian deaths at all costs may also be making a difference.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
The first U.S. missiles have struck Pakistan since U.S. President Barack Obama took office, dispelling any possibility that he might relent on these raids that have so angered Pakistanis, many of whom think it only engenders reprisal attacks from militants on their cities.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari protested to the U.S. ambassador over Friday's twin raids in South and North Waziristan and newspaper editorialists and commentators are worried this is just a foretaste of things to come. The strikes, the first since Jan 2, have led the Dawn newspaper to recall Obama's statements during the presidential camapaign when he repeatedly said he would "take out high value terrorist targets" inside Pakistan if it was unable or unwilling to do so.