"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

The Truth About Russia in Georgia

From Michael J. Totten.

Virtually everyone believes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili foolishly provoked a Russian invasion on August 7, 2008, when he sent troops into the breakaway district of South Ossetia. “The warfare began Aug. 7 when Georgia launched a barrage targeting South Ossetia,” the Associated Press reported over the weekend in typical fashion.

Virtually everyone is wrong. Georgia didn't start it on August 7, nor on any other date. The South Ossetian militia started it on August 6 when its fighters fired on Georgian peacekeepers and Georgian villages with weapons banned by the agreement hammered out between the two sides in 1994. At the same time, the Russian military sent its invasion force bearing down on Georgia from the north side of the Caucasus Mountains on the Russian side of the border through the Roki tunnel and into Georgia. This happened before Saakashvili sent additional troops to South Ossetia and allegedly started the war.

This article is a very good read for anybody wishing to understand the situation in Georgia.

For a full read, click here.

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Ex-prime minister Sharif quits Pakistan coalition [And Pakistan bans Taliban]

From Yahoo via AP.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says he is withdrawing his party from Pakistan's ruling coalition.

The move will likely concentrate power in the hands of the main ruling Pakistan People's Party, which wants to maintain the country's close ties with the United States.

But an even more important is this statement.

Pakistan banned the Taliban on Monday, toughening its stance after the Islamic militant group claimed responsibility for deadly suicide bombings against one of Pakistan's most sensitive military installations.

The ban imposed by the fragile governing coalition comes just a week after the ouster of Pervez Musharraf, a key U.S. ally whose departure has prompted concern that the nuclear-armed country is too unstable to beat back extremists.

Ayone caught aiding the Taliban in Pakistan — which will have its bank accounts and assets frozen — faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Interior Ministry announced the ban 24 hours after rejecting a Taliban cease-fire offer in Bajur tribal region, a rumored hiding place for Osama bin Laden, where an army offensive has reportedly killed hundreds in recent weeks.

For a full read, click here.

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Taleban winning war, says Zardari

From the BBC.

Asif Ali Zardari said, in a BBC interview, that the world and Pakistan were losing the war on terror.

"It is an insurgency", he said, "and an ideological war. It is our country and we will defend it.

"The world is losing the war. I think at the moment they (the Taleban) definitely have the upper hand.

"The issue, which is not just a bad case scenario as far as Pakistan is concerned or as Afghanistan is concerned but it is going to be spreading further. The whole world is going to be affected by it."

Mr Zardari's strong remarks came shortly after the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) put his name forward as its presidential nominee.

It is interesting that Zardari would come out publically with a statement like this prior to him being elected by parliament and the provincial assemblies unless he is repeating a new anti-Taliban/Al Qaeda sentiment in Pakistan.

The people of Pakistan not only voted Musharraf out due to his desposition of judges and emergency rule, but also because of his inability to confront insurgents in his country. Not only did the PML-Q suffer at the poles during this last election, but so did the political parties of extremists. Pakistanis, like Iraqis, want to live in peace, have the freedom to provide for their families, and buy items to make their life easier. These truths are why Al Qaeda alienates people where ever they house themselves. Al Qaeda alienated Sunnis in Al Anbar in the middle of 2006. The surge of US forces in the middle of 2007 allowed these Sunnis to confront and overcome Al Qaeda. So too, the election of new leadership in Pakistan is allowing Pakistanis to confront Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Now it is up to the Pakistani military in conjunction with the political leaders to provide the security needed for the citizens of Pakistan to overcome these extremists.

We will see if the political leadership can part with their difference long enough to focus on the true battle before them in Pakistan. The current judges in Pakistan are truly just as unbiased as the deposed judges. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are the real battle which Pakistanis need to focus in on.

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Two senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders captured in Baghdad

From Bill Roggio at the Long War Journal.

Coalition forces captured two senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders behind some of the deadliest violence over the past several years. Both men were detained during the past two weeks in raids by Task Force 88, the hunter-killer special operations teams assigned to dismantle al Qaeda's networks in Iraq.

The special operations teams captured Salim 'Abdallah Ashur al Shujayri during an operation on Aug. 11. Six days later, Ali Rash Nasir Jiyad al Shammari was captured. The locations of the raids were not disclosed by Multinational Forces-Iraq.

Mr. Roggio notes that Shujayri and Shammari stayed behind in Iraq to continue Al Qaeda's operations there while many other Al Qaeda leaders have fled to Pakistan.

Al Masri and other senior al Qaeda leaders are believed to have left Iraq for al Qaeda's more secure sanctuaries in Pakistan's tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. Al Masri is an Egyptian. By leaving, al Qaeda's foreign leadership has abandoned the Iraqis who signed on to wage jihad against the West.

Shujayri and Shammari, both Iraqis, stayed behind to continue the fight. Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll, the US military spokesman in Iraq, said Shujayri and Shammari are "two of the few remaining experienced leaders" in al Qaeda's network.

This statement brings up a couple of questions.

1. Why would Al Masri and other senior Al Qaeda leaders leave Iraq?

2. Why would Al Masri and other senior Al Qaeda leaders move to Pakistan?

The rejection of Al Qaeda's gruesome tactics by Sunnis left Al Qaeda without the tacit support needed to maintain an insurgency. In addition, Al Qaeda's senior leadership left Iraq because of the surge of American forces not only hunted them down but bought time for Iraqi forces to build capacity. Upon building capacity, Iraqi forces not only went after Al Qaeda elements but also lately Shia insurgents. Iraqi security and political forces are not open to peace treaties as were leadership in Pakistan. Finally, Pakistan represents the last unassailable base for Al Qaeda.

This unassailble base is now being assailed as Pakistani forces have begun attacks in the FATA and NWFP regions. In short Al Qaeda has lost Iraq, have attempted to expand in Afghanistan, and are now being attacked in their heartland, the FATA/NWFP region. Pakistan's new leadership tried a peace treaty, but have since changed their position and have rejected future peace treaties.

What is the cause for this rejection? Simply, the US surge when all seemed lost turned around conditions in Iraq. Other nations, noting the success of the surge, are now more apt to battle vice negotiate with terrorists on their soil.

One has to wonder what today would be like had President Bush listened to doomsayers and began to pull out vice surge forces in June 2007. Al Qaeda would be pushing forces into vice away from Iraq possibly causing it to fracture into three parts, Kurdistan, the Sunni Central, and the Shia Southern giving Iran access to the Mediterranean. Pakistan too would probably be negotiating with Al Qaeda vice battling them in earnest now in the FATA/NWFP regions. NATO forces would be isolated in Afghanistan under pressure to withdraw by their respective leaders.

A simple lesson has been relearned which has been true ever since man began to walk upright. You either confront the bully or become under the bully's control. Thank God, President Bush had the intestinal fortitude to confront the bully. Not only are we safer today, but so will our children be safer in the future.

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Pakistan rejects truce offer by militants in tribal area

From Dawn.

Pakistan on Sunday rejected a ceasefire offered by Taliban militants in the troubled Bajaur tribal region near the Afghan border as troops killed seven more rebel fighters, officials said. Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik immediately rejected the offer. “We will not accept the ceasefire,” Malik told reporters in Islamabad. “We do not believe in their verbal commitments. If they are sincere they should first surrender,” he said, adding that tribal militants have violated their pledges in the past after troops stopped their operations. Pakistani forces moved into Bajaur, a known hub of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, earlier this month. The government says at least 500 militants have been killed since then. Troops fired artillery shells and gunship helicopters pounded suspected militant hideouts almost daily since the operation was mounted on August 6.

Times are changing in Pakistan. Pakistani rulers now understand how insurgents are undermining Pakistan both locally and globally. It is not just Afghanistan's problem. Now it is up to the PPP to keep their coalition strong so they can face the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

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