Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Aspiring New Caliphate Tightens the Noose...

...While our Reasonable MSM masters bloviate on the trivial and irrelevent.

Nicholas Blanford of the Christian Science Monitor writes:
Rising tension between the West and Iran is coinciding with the emergence of a loose anti-Western alliance - Israel now dubs it an "axis of terror" - spanning the Middle East, presenting a new challenge to the US's regional ambitions.

Centered on Iran, this alignment has hardened in recent months, analysts say, with Tehran shoring up old alliances and strengthening ties with countries (Syria and Iraq) and with groups (Hizbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad) that share its hostility toward Israel and the US.

"The alliance that is emerging in this part of the world is a creation of Iran," says Sami Moubayed, a Syrian political analyst. "It wants to bolster its position by allying itself with countries or groups that can temporarily enhance its regional role and influence."

On Tuesday, Israel's UN envoy Dan Gillerman dubbed this alliance the "new axis of terror" following a suicide bombing claimed by the Iranian-funded Islamic Jihad in Tel Aviv the previous day that killed nine Israelis.

"A dark cloud is looming above our region, and it is metastasizing as a result of the statements and actions by leaders of Iran, Syria, and the newly elected government of the Palestinian Authority," Mr. Gillerman said.


Iran is the driving force behind the alliance, its strategic position in the region enhanced by the US-led effort to oust Tehran's Taliban enemy in Afghanistan to the east and its Baathist foe in Iraq to the west.

Over the weekend, Iran hosted a three-day conference in support of the Palestinians, pledging $50 million to the newly elected Hamas government and reaffirming its ties to other rejectionist Palestinian groups.

"This is an anti-America alliance," says Joshua Landis, professor of history at the University of Oklahoma and author of, who spent 2005 living in Damascus. "My guess is that the US will end up in a weaker position than it started. The war on terror has alienated the Muslim countries who now believe that America is the big bad ogre and specter of imperialism."

A year ago, Syria's strategic position looked grim, having been forced to disengage from neighboring Lebanon, ending 15 years of domination. Hizbullah also was feeling the squeeze amid the departure of its Syrian protector and a growing clamor for its disarmament from the party's Lebanese opponents.

But the election in August of the confrontational Mr. Ahmadinejad as president of Iran reinvigorated the long-standing relationship between Tehran and Damascus. Syria is the geostrategic linchpin connecting Tehran to its Lebanese protégé, Hizbullah, and was also regarded by Iran as the weak link in the chain, one that required buttressing.

A newly emboldened Syria began to display greater defiance against international pressure. In November, Mr. Assad asserted in a speech that "the region [faces] two choices: either resistance and steadfastness or chaos. There is no third choice.

"If they believe that they [the West] can blackmail Syria, we tell them they got the wrong address," he said.

A series of Middle East elections also bolstered the emerging alliance. In late December, Shiite factions close to Tehran dominated the Iraqi elections. The following month, Hamas triumphed in the Palestinian elections, granting Iran greater leverage in the Israeli-Palestinian arena.


"Syria has been signing oil and gas contracts with India, China, and Russia," says Mr. Landis, the Syria expert. "Syria and Iran are thinking they can build Iraq into their northern tier, building gas and oil pipelines across the region."
Alexandra, of All Things Beautiful notes this story, which asserts that the battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan has become the new Forgotten War:
"While the Bush administration is on the defensive for its conduct of the war in Iraq, the real setback in the U.S. war effort is coming in Afghanistan where the Taliban is alive, well and thriving throughout the countryside and even in much of neighboring Pakistan.[...]

The news comes in part from an interview with Hamid Mir, the only journalist to conduct face-to-face interviews with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in the wake of 9-11.

Mir, who has just completed an extensive tour of both countries, says that Pakistanis in government vehicles are no longer permitted to enter Waziristan, Baluchistan, and other tribal areas without the permission of local Taliban commanders. Muslim men who wander into this area without beards are routinely cast into prison as apostates. Kafirs (non-Muslims) are assumed to be enemy agents; most are put to death. Women are only permitted to appear in public in full burqa. And Shariah has become the rule of the land with regular occurrences of stoning, crucifixion and decapitation.

Over 1,500 Pakistanis in recent months, according to Mir, have been publicly executed for saying something in support of the regime of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and the coalition forces. Most were beheaded. The victims, Mir says, were "not ordinary people but very prominent people."


The Iranian-Taliban alliance, Mir maintains, is a new, unique and disturbing development. When the Taliban came to power in 1996, Mullah Omar and his army were decried by the Shiite mullahs in Iran for the massacre of thousands of Shiite Hazaras and Panjshiri Tajiks. Iran began to send money and arms to Ahmed Shah Massoud and his opposition army of Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras that became known as the "United Front" or "Northern Alliance." The Russians also came to the support Massoud's army to protect the interests of Uzbekistan.

The Northern Alliance continued to receive support from Iran and Russia until the launching of Operation Enduring Freedom (the codename for the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan) Oct. 7, 2001. Overnight, the Iranian and Russian advisers to Massoud became replaced by CIA operatives and Green Beret A team members.

A major blowback of the war on terror, according to Mir, is that Iran and Russia are now allied in Afghanistan on the side of their old enemy.

The first major indication of Iran's change of heart toward the Taliban came in the wake of the bombing of Tora Bora in December 2001, when Mullah Omar and hundreds of his soldiers and al-Qaida agents, scaled the mountains between the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, cut through the southern provinces of Afghanistan and headed west to Iran, where they found safe refuge, thanks to the intervention of Imad Mugniyah and the other leaders of Hezbollah.


This monumental event – the union [between] Sunni [and] Shiite – remained largely ignored by Western observers.
This willful ignorance by policy makers and the Media has consequences. One of these is the eroding morale of our military. Opines Alexandra:
Military lessons will be analyzed and learned in good time. Of imminent importance is to inform the public much more forcefully and unambiguously of what is at stake, and especially the truth about how long it is going to take. The Administration needs to bite that bullet NOW and take the initiative, instead of succumbing to the hate mongering of the liberals.

In absence of better reporting, or in fact any hardhitting reporting at all, the MSM, and I have to conclude, the Administration as well, are solely responsible for letting the troops be forgotten, but what is even worse, are letting them feel that the American people are turning against the mission, and in turn ignoring them.
She's absolutely right. The Bush Administration has not been out on front of the Global War against the Islamofascists for far too long. The President has left control of the most important story of our time in the hands of the Reasonable mouth-foamers within the MSM chatterarchy. While they cluck their tongues and gasp at cocktail parties about the coming "Christian Theocracy", the new totalitarians of our time consolidate power and escalate their suicidal brinksmanship.

Unless they can blame it on Bush, the MSM won't utter a word about this catastrophe in the making. Pathetic.

They can't even bring themselves to discuss the new hippopatamus in the room; or rather, the bear--Russia.

Aren't they the least bit curious as to why Russia, a supposed ally of the US, allies itself with our enemy in Afghanistan after assisting our other enemy when we invaded Iraq? I mean, come on! It's even about oil:
But back to the Putin's game plan. With Europe in the bag, he's busy hocking up China or Japan, or both for all we know. Which leaves the longstanding wrangling over oil and gas pipelines in Central Asia wide open and most certainly a keen focus for Putin.

Quite a while back, in February 1998, John J. Maresca, the then VP of International Relations at Unocal (now part of Chevron), informed Congress about the background, (the entire hearing is still one of the most instructive backgrounders on the challenges involving the geopolitical wrangling over the massive oil and gas reserves in Central Asia and the related problems of bringing them to market). He summarized:
One major problem has yet to be resolved: how to get the region's vast energy resources to the markets where they are needed. Central Asia is isolated. Their natural resources are land locked, both geographically and politically. Each of the countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia faces difficult political challenges. Some have unsettled wars or latent conflicts. Others have evolving systems where the laws and even the courts are dynamic and changing. In addition, a chief technical obstacle which we in the industry face in transporting oil is the region's existing pipeline infrastructure.
GlobalResearch has an interesting list of facts purported to support their allegation that US oil interests had played a crucial role in our military operation in Afghanistan, and whilst I disagree with their political views and conclusions, this list provides a good contextual snapshot why Putin was playing all sides:
In 1997, the Central Asia Gas Pipeline consortium (Centgas) was formed under the control of the California oil company, UNOCAL (who held a 46.5% stake in the consortium), with the intention of running a trans-Afghan gas pipeline to Pakistan and India. This project was aborted in December 1998 - but has now been resuscitated [...].

As evidence that oil played a crucial role in Afghanistan, it is pertinent to note a few facts:
(a) Condoleeza Rice had been a director on the oil company Chevron’s board from 1991 until appointed by Bush as his National Security Advisor in 2001 - a position she held when America attacked Afghanistan.

(b) 22 Dec. 2001: Hamid Karzai (who had been a paid consultant for Unocal , as well as being deputy foreign minister for the Taliban), was appointed Prime Minister of Afghanistan by the US.

(c) 1 Jan. 2002: Zalami Khalilzad, a former employee of Unocal - and special assistant to Pres. Bush, was appointed special envoy to Afghanistan.

(d) 9 Feb. 2002: Pres. Musharraf of Pakistan & Hamid Karzai agreed to “cooperate in all spheres of activity” including the the proposed Central Asian Pipeline.

(e) 14 Feb 2002: The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv noted: “If one looks at the map of the big American bases created (in Afghanistan), one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected pipeline to the Indian ocean”.

(f) 27 Dec 2002: Afghanistan, Pakistan & Turkmenistan signed an agreement to build Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline - a $3.2 billion project.
America's hegemony in Afghanistan and Iraq must be a bitter pill for Putin to swallow. Bringing Iran as close to his chest as possible is thus not surprising, and Iran's nuclear ambitions provide just the perfect opportunity for a tight embrace, Russian style of course...
Ah, how silly of me, that's right; I forgot. It's alright for Russia to play two enemies against the middle for oil. It's only bad if the US plays politics on the world stage over oil. After all, the US is the eeevil, imperialist, racist nation that desperately needs to get Reasonable if it will stay relevent. Those poor, oppressed Russians must collaborate with those poor, oppressed Persians in order to restrain the new Evil Empire aka the USA.

How Foolish of me. Here I was, believing that the US has accomplished far more noble endeavors throughout the world than it has committed atrocities. Fool that I am, I don't subscribe to the America-is-evil motif. Therefore, I find Russia's manipulations both cynical and naseating.

I guess my American MSM masters would just tell me to be more Reasonable. Just look at their coverage of Iran and Russia's Hitler-Stalin redux.

Like I said: pathetic.

If the US is to survive the clash of civilizations that the Mullahcracy's Madman desires, then we must resolve ourselves to resist his insidious and genocidal policies with all our strength. Joe and Jane Sixpack need to hollar in the streets that we will not accept a nuclear armed Iran, aided and abeitted by Russia and China. The Reasonable American MSM might try finding some steel in their spine instead of indulging inthe cowardice that fuels their provincial and narcissistic Bush-bashing. Who knows? They might find themselves actually doing their number one job once again: ensuring that the people know.

What an amazing concept!