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Israel to deploy drones in north Iraq

Press TV – August 13, 2011

The Israeli army has stepped up its military activities in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region and is planning to station a number of unmanned aerial vehicles in the area in northern Iraq.

Israel plans to deploy new equipment, including six drones, in the region in cooperation with the Kurdistan Democratic Party, a Press TV correspondent in northern Iraq reported on Saturday.

Four of the aircraft will be stationed at the Khalidiyah airbase in the northern oil city of Kirkuk and two others will go to the airport in the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh governorate.

Israeli intelligence agents and military advisers, equipped with special transmission devices, are also being sent to Mosul to train security forces in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani has reportedly agreed to the concession in return for the admission of a number of Iraqi Kurd students to Israeli universities.

Barzani gave Israel the green light to deploy military drones in northern Iraq without gaining the approval of the Iraqi central government in Baghdad, which has no diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Wars for Israel | 3 Comments

Pakistan: Inspector General rejects HRW report

Sinister design to destabilise Pakistan

By Mohammad Jamil | The Nation | August 12, 2011

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims to be the world’s leading independent organisation dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.

According to its mission statement, HRW is committed to safeguard the rights of people around the world, upholding political freedom, protecting the masses from inhumane conduct in wartime, and bringing offenders to justice. But in reality HRW does not focus on human rights violations when the big and mighty like the US invade Iraq and Afghanistan, where thousands of people were tortured and killed. It did not raise its voice against the oppressors accountable for their crimes. Thus, it emboldens the separatists, rebels and criminal elements, who challenge the writ of the state like in Pakistan.

The HRW has released a 132-page report titled We can torture, kill, or keep you for years: Enforced disappearances by Pakistan security forces in Balochistan. There is a perception that it has been done on the behest of those powers that are out to denigrate Pakistan military and ISI, and to destabilise Pakistan.

The report details 45 alleged cases of enforced disappearances – the majority in 2009 and 2010. It also mentions that hundreds of people have disappeared in Balochistan since 2005; whereas dozens of new enforced disappearances have occurred after Pakistan returned to the civilian rule in 2008. In addition, it demands that the Pakistan government should immediately end the widespread disappearances of suspected militants and activists by its military, intelligence agencies, and the paramilitary Frontier Corps in the southwestern province of Balochistan. The report, however, downplayed the target killings of innocent civilians, teachers, professors and security personnel in Balochistan by the Baloch Liberation Army and other militant organisations. The question is: Whether the lives of non-Balochis are less valuable than the lives of Baloch nationalists for the Watch and other human rights organisations? In December 2010, a report from the HRW stated: “The armed militant groups in Balochistan have increasingly targeted non-Baloch civilians and their businesses, police stations, and major gas installations and infrastructure.”

Nobody in his right sense would condone extrajudicial killings, but those who challenge the writ of the state or are responsible for creating rebellion-like situations are prosecuted and punished in any state worth the name. After every murder of a dissident in Quetta and elsewhere, some pseudo intellectuals and media men start accusing the intelligence agencies and military for the killing and disappearances of the persons. While there could be some suspects arrested by the police or intelligence agencies or even deaths during encounters, but one should not rule out the possibility that a number of missing persons could be in Afghanistan and India. According to a news report published by an English daily last year, more than 100 Pakistani Baloch dissidents were sent to India through the Indian Consulate located in Kandahar (Afghanistan) for six month training. Keeping this in view, Pakistan’s apex court had made some observations.

During the proceedings of the missing persons’ case in the court, Justice Javed Iqbal in June 2011 had remarked: “It has become a trend that NGOs exaggerate the figures of missing persons, but fail to provide details about them. These NGOs were just spreading sensationalism and conducting press conferences without obtaining facts on the missing persons.” He asked the representatives of the NGOs to provide complete details of persons they claim are missing. Meanwhile, the officials of the Interior and Foreign Ministries told the court that 103 Pakistanis were languishing in jails abroad, out of which eight have been brought home.

Anyhow, rejecting the latest HRW report, Inspector General of Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan said that the report tried to malign the law enforcement agencies and project them in bad light. He pointed out that “800 innocent people had lost their lives, while more than 1,300 civilians and law enforcers were injured in rocket and mines attacks during the last 18 months.”

Moreover, it has to be mentioned that tribalism is firmly rooted in Balochistan, as ethnic and tribal identity is a potent force for both individuals and groups in the province with the result that there exists deep polarisation among different groups. Each of these groups is based on different rules of social organisation, which has left the province inexorably fragmented. Tribal groupism has often failed to integrate the state and enforce a national identity. But those who have not weaned off the poison of sham nationalism should take a look at the history of the Balkans, and the fate they met.

In fact, rivalling big powers, and even countries of the region, eye Balochistan avariciously to push it into their own orbits of influence because it is a mineral-rich and strategically-located province. According to political and defence analysts, the US, Russia, and India are either directly or indirectly widening the ethnic and sectarian schisms in Balochistan and FATA with a view to advancing their agendas. There are reports that the US and UK are also supporting the centrifugal forces and insurgents in Pakistan’s largest province.

Undoubtedly, there should be a judicial enquiry for the missing persons. However, the terms of reference should include not only to locate the missing persons held on various charges, but also to trace them from the ferrari camps or detention centres being run by Baloch sardars and insurgents. Investigations should also be conducted to find out how many people have gone underground or to Afghanistan. Likewise, the Human Rights Watch should do a bit of investigation in this regard and instead of giving sweeping statements it should come out with precise details of the cases where human rights were abused, and where the government had taken action to establish the writ of the state. But the question is: Why the HRW does not feel any qualms about what the US and its allies are doing in Libya and expose them for at least what they call collateral damage killing innocent civilians through drone attacks?

The writer is a freelance columnist.

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties | Comments Off on Pakistan: Inspector General rejects HRW report

US suspends aid to Gaza

Al-Manar | August 13, 2011

The United States has suspended operations of the aid organizations it funds in the Gaza Strip because the resistance group had demanded confidential information about their work, a US official told Reuters on Friday.

“USAID-funded partner organizations operating in Gaza are forced by Hamas’s actions to suspend their assistance work. (They) were put on hold effective August 12,” said the official, who is based in the region.

He added that “through a series of measures (Hamas) has imposed over the past months, it has created an environment which jeopardizes the ability of nongovernmental organizations to provide assistance to Gaza’s most vulnerable residents.”

The official, who declined to be named, said Hamas had demanded access to files and records of NGOs, which would reveal financial and administrative information, details of staff members and information on beneficiaries.

He said that Hamas had shut down the International Medical Corps (IMC) an NGO and USAID partner organization, after its officials objected to “unwarranted audits”.

“We are disappointed that Hamas has once again chosen to put its political agenda ahead of the welfare of the Palestinian people,” the official said, calling on the group “to cease its interference … so that we can resume our humanitarian and development activities in Gaza.”

Hamas administration official Taher al-Nono said an understanding had been reached which would allow independent auditing teams to inspect the files of NGOs, but he added that Hamas had the right to monitor their work in the territory.

The IMC will be allowed to reopen its offices on Saturday or Sunday, he added.

Responding to the USAID decision to suspend its partner organizations’ work, Nono said “Such a decision sounds odd a day after the understanding was reached … we reject any foreign intervention in Palestinian affairs.”


Ma’an | August 13, 2011

GAZA CITY — The Palestinian movement Hamas and the US Agency for International Development have reached a compromise to maintain the flow of aid, a senior Hamas official said Saturday.

“We’ve reached a compromise with USAID through the United Nations” to allow the continuation of aid, which was suspended by Washington on Friday, the official of the movement controlling the Palestinian enclave said.

A day earlier, a US official announced that USAID was halting humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip over alleged meddling by the Hamas-led government, which the US considers a terrorist group. […]

… a [Hamas] spokesman in Gaza insisted Friday that the government should be able to verify the accounts of NGOs financed by the US Agency for International Development in the Palestinian territories.

“The minister of interior of the government of Hamas intends to exercise its legal rights in the surveillance of all institutions operating in Gaza,” spokesman Taher al-Nunu said.

He complained that “USAID refuses to recognise the government in Gaza,” adding that anyone who “wishes to work in Palestinian territory must obey its laws.”

A similar row was underway in Cairo where a notorious Egyptian intelligence apparatus is probing foreign funding of civil society groups sparking tensions between Washington and Egypt’s ruling generals, judicial sources said.

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | 1 Comment