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Is Pakistani Media Awake?

Posted by yourpakistan on October 31, 2009


Under the headline of ‘New US Policy to Raise Aid for Pakistan’ (DAWN News, Friday 30 Oct) is the biggest and most worrying shift in US policy towards Pakistan. The outline for this new policy was made very clear by Senator John Kerry when he declared that “Pakistan is not only the headquarters of Al Qaeda today but could eventually become the epicentre of extremism in the world.”  He went on to say that there was ‘virtually no Al-Qaeda’ in Afghanistan. He repeated the same old mantra that Pakistani intelligence agencies have used Taliban as a ‘hedge’ in the past and that there are concerns that they will continue to do so in the future.  After all the denials by the American Ambassador in Pakistan in the aftermath of the KL Bill, that Pakistan’s ISI was not being accused of funding extremists and terrorists, this ‘policy shift’ is indeed a very strange development. Keeping in view the reports from the US media claiming that the Obama administration is now convinced that no amount of troop surge in Afghanistan can eliminate Taliban as a political and military force, a clear pattern is emerging in terms of the real intentions of the US towards Pakistan and perhaps the real reason why the Afghan war was launched in the first place.

However, what is indeed stranger is the attitude of Pakistan’s mainstream media as they hardly seem to be able to have a grip on reality. Even while the media was in an uproar over the Kerry-Lugar bill, it seems bizarre that the debate that raged on in media circles was still primarily concerned with the question of whether or not the US is a friend of Pakistan. One cannot help but notice that during the recent visit to Pakistan by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pakistani mainstream media again adopted the attitude of a an anxious child , expostulating with the honorable guest about the ‘arrogant’ behaviour of the US administration. The ‘tough love’ response of Mrs Clinton to this was something along the lines of  ‘ well I am sorry you feel that way but it wasn’t our intention, you don’t have to take the money you know, if you don’t want to’. What exactly is going on here? Why isn’t anyone telling madam secretary that your country is killing innocent Pakistanis, killing babies rather, as she was so keen on pointing out in her address to university students in Lahore. Why didn’t any of our esteemed journalists ask her why the US is busy killing and bombing Pakistanis if we are such great friends and allies? Why wasn’t it politely suggested to her that she perhaps should not have come to Pakistan as she wasn’t very welcome here. Why don’t we see a revolt in the Pakistani media against the freak show that was Clinton’s visit to Pakistan? Why didn’t the big shot media anchors boycott the interview with Hillary Clinton while more than a 100 Pakistanis were being blown up in Peshawar and hundreds more were fighting for their lives? If Mr. Zardari and his government are not human enough to feel any empathy for his fellow Pakistanis who suffered terribly in this outrageous attack, where was the Pakistani media, why didn’t they refuse to cover her visit due to a national tragedy?  If they are such torchbearers of truth, then how dare they sat in their suits and ties and conducted an interview that amounted to nothing in terms of expressing the real sentiments of the majority of the Pakistani public? American Govt. has taken off its gloves and is now openly hostile to the Pakistani state and people, so why in God’s name are we still walking on eggshells. Is the mainstream media in Pakistan unable to think or act independently or have they deliberately blind-folded themselves? This is our question to all those who attended the press-conference that was organised by this shameful government of Pakistan.

Under the headline of ‘New US Policy to Raise Aid for Pakistan’ (DAWN News, Friday 30 Oct) is the biggest and most worrying shift in US policy towards Pakistan. The outline for this new policy was made very clear by Senator John Kerry when he declared that “Pakistan is not only the headquarters of Al Qaeda today but could eventually become the epicentre of extremism in the world.”  He went on to say that there was ‘virtually no Al-Qaeda’ in Afghanistan. He repeated the same old mantra that Pakistani intelligence agencies have used Taliban as a ‘hedge’ in the past and that there are concerns that they will continue to do so in the future.  After all the denials by the American Ambassador in Pakistan in the aftermath of the KL Bill, that Pakistan’s ISI was not being accused of funding extremists and terrorists, this ‘policy shift’ is indeed a very strange development. Keeping in view the reports from the US media claiming that the Obama administration is now convinced that no amount of troop surge in Afghanistan can eliminate Taliban as a political and military force, a clear pattern is emerging in terms of the real intentions of the US towards Pakistan and perhaps the real reason why the Afghan war was launched in the first place.

However, what is indeed stranger is the attitude of Pakistan’s mainstream media as they hardly seem to be able to have a grip on reality. Even while the media was in an uproar over the Kerry-Lugar bill, it seems bizarre that the debate that raged on in media circles was still primarily concerned with the question of whether or not the US is a friend of Pakistan. One cannot help but notice that during the recent visit to Pakistan by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pakistani mainstream media again adopted the attitude of a an anxious child , expostulating with the honourable guest about the ‘arrogant’ behaviour of the US administration.

The ‘tough love’ response of Mrs Clinton to this was something along the lines of  ‘ well I am sorry you feel that way but it wasn’t our intention, you don’t have to take the money you know, if you don’t want to’. What exactly is going on here? Why isn’t anyone telling madam secretary that your country is killing innocent Pakistanis, killing babies rather, as she was so keen on pointing out in her address to university students in Lahore. Why didn’t any of our esteemed journalists ask her why the US is busy killing and bombing Pakistanis if we are such great friends and allies? Why wasn’t it politely suggested to her that she perhaps should not have come to Pakistan as she wasn’t very welcome here. Why don’t we see a revolt in the Pakistani media against the freak show that was Clinton’s visit to Pakistan? Why didn’t the big shot media anchors boycott the interview with Hillary Clinton while more than a 100 Pakistanis were being blown up in Peshawar and hundreds more were fighting for their lives? If Mr. Zardari and his government are not human enough to feel any empathy for his fellow Pakistanis who suffered terribly in this outrageous attack, where was the Pakistani media, why didn’t they refuse to cover her visit due to a national tragedy?  If they are such torchbearers of truth, then how dare they sat in their suits and ties and conducted an interview that amounted to nothing in terms of expressing the real sentiments of the majority of the Pakistani public? American Govt. has taken off its gloves and is now openly hostile to the Pakistani state and people, so why in God’s name are we still walking on eggshells.

Is the mainstream media in Pakistan unable to think or act independently or have they deliberately blind-folded themselves? This is our question to all those who attended the press-conference that was organised by this shameful government of Pakistan.

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Can Mrs. Clinton Control CIA In Afghanistan?

Posted by yourpakistan on October 30, 2009


There is a reason why her first visit to Pakistan turned into a big firefighting mission.  In less than two years, even Pakistan’s elite turned suspicious of US intentions.  Forget Hillary’s empty accusations that Pakistan is protecting al-Qaeda, the truth is that Washington has played a double game with Pakistan.  Afghanistan today is a hub for anti-Pakistan activities and a source for the supply of weapons to terrorists in Pakistan [and Iran, and China].  The charm offensive aside: Can Mrs. Clinton and President Obama control CIA activities in Afghanistan?  Who is setting America’s Afghan agenda?


She came, she charmed, she failed to convince.

Hillary Clinton In Pakistan

 

Two years ago, when isolated reports in the Pakistani media accused the United States of playing a double game in Afghanistan, most commentators dismissed them as conspiracy theories and kneejerk anti-Americanism.

Today those reports dominate the mainstream Pakistani media.  The distrust is so serious that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to turn her first official visit to Pakistan into a firefighting mission, kicking off a charm offensive to win over skeptic Pakistanis. Her campaign has included Facebook advertisements targeting young Pakistanis, town-hall type meetings, and group television interviews with anchors meant to maximize her on-air exposure.

Before she even landed in Pakistan, Clinton had instructed US diplomats in Islamabad to get tough with the Pakistani media.  At one point, the American ambassador wrote a secret letter to a large Pakistani newspaper accusing one of its columnists, a critic of US policies, of endangering American lives.  She gave no evidence of how a policy critique endangered anyone’s life.  The columnist was dropped after ten years of working for the paper.  The US embassy in Pakistan is very powerful thanks to a pro-US Pakistani government that sees Washington as a hedge against the powerful Pakistani military.

Not that Mrs. Clinton and the US diplomats are alone in countering critics of US policies here.  Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, a former journalist who is widely derided as ‘Washington’s ambassador in the Pakistan embassy’, is known to have put his media management expertise in the service of defending his government’s ultra close ties with Washington, although his planted image-enhancement stories find little buyers among Pakistanis.

Mrs. Clinton’s visit was so carefully choreographed that US diplomats launched a strict vetting process to determine which Pakistani television anchors should be allowed to participate in a ‘pool interview’.  The point was to exclude anyone critical of US policies [‘anti-American’ to US diplomats].  This sharply contrasts with the statements Clinton has been giving here, like this one she gave to the television anchors, “It is especially critical that we do more of what you’re doing today with your colleagues so that I have a chance to answer the questions that are on the minds of the people of Pakistan.”

But when time came for the real questions, she dodged them.  So much for a successful public diplomacy. Despite all this vetting, one anchor, Talat Hussain from Aaj News, managed to throw a couple of ‘real’ questions that unsettled Secretary Clinton.  Visibly embarrassed, she kept repeating the line, ‘No one can say Pakistani media is not free after this’ and she kept repeating it until the end of the show.

At one point, media officials in the provincial capital Lahore wrote to higher-ups complaining against US diplomats who manipulated which Pakistani journalists should be allowed to interact with Clinton.  “She came here to interact with Pakistanis. US diplomats don’t get to decide which Pakistani media can attend her public events and which one cannot,” a senior Punjab provincial official told me from Lahore.

This kind of media management is normally the prerogative of the host government and not the guest.  In another press interaction with a few journalists in Lahore, Mrs. Clinton sat down with a handful of predominantly pro-American media personalities, including one widely known to be a paid consultant for the US Department of Defense, who normally advises on Pakistani affairs and is famous for saying everything that American policymakers want to hear.

So much for Mrs. Clinton’s public diplomacy mission, almost every Pakistani journalist known for well reasoned and calibrated critique of US policies was excluded from any interaction with the US Secretary of State.  Which says a lot about Washington’s tolerance level for criticism despite the high-sounding lectures on democracy that Mrs. Clinton delivered in Pakistan.

How fake in real sense this public diplomacy trip was can be gauged from the following:  Mrs. Clinton’s first day in Pakistan was full of warm imagery and rhetoric: how she and her husband love Pakistanis, how she and President Obama enjoy Pakistani food, how honest and straightforward she is, and how sincere United States is in its friendship with Pakistan.

Hillary Clinton Recieved By Pakistani Foriegn Office PersonelMrs. Clinton was received by a junior Foreign Office diplomat while for some reason Foreign Minister Qureshi stayed away

But when it came to substance, she was full of hot air.  For example, during the ‘pool interview’ with seven television anchors, she curtly ignored a question about the increasing incidents of arrests of US special operations officers inside Pakistani cities carrying diplomatic passports and illegal weapons.  You would think she might want to address this point considering that this and similar stories are stoking Pakistani public’s anger. But no, she didn’t.

Merely two days before her arrival, four US ‘diplomats’ were arrested somewhere in the Pakistani capital dressed as Afghan Taliban, carrying illegal and unlicensed weapons, and in possession of pictures of sensitive buildings.  They were released on the intervention of the Interior Ministry, headed by a close aide of President Zardari.  The Ministry is openly accused in the media of not only covering for the US embassy’s illegal actions but also of licensing the operations of private US security firms across Pakistan on an unprecedented scale not seen or known even during the reign of the former pro-US president Musharraf.  Interestingly, the Pakistani intelligence agencies have been kept out of the loop by both the US embassy and the Ministry.  This alone has generated tremendous ill will within the Pakistani public opinion against Washington.

Last month, a Pakistani journalist published official documents leaked from within the Interior Ministry that positively showed US Ambassador Anne Patterson colluding with the Ministry to ‘legalize’ a cache of weapons that came from an unknown source [most probably from Afghanistan]. The cache was handed over to an American security firm that was later stopped from operating in Pakistan.Mrs. Clinton had a simple answer when a journalist asked her about such incidents. “I don’t know about this,” is what she said to someone asking her about the latest incident involving four US ‘diplomats’.

These are some of the issues that the mainstream US media hides from the American public.  No wonder most Americans don’t know how bad their government and intelligence mess in Afghanistan is.  US citizens are unaware, for example, about the strong Pakistani apprehensions that Washington – or some powerful lobbies there – decidedly brought in anti-Pakistan forces into the government in Kabul, and then set them loose on a course of collision with Pakistan, including recruiting, financing and training terrorists to incite an ethnic insurgency in Balochistan exploiting local grievances.  For most of the past eight years, the US Ambassador in Kabul was an anti-Pakistan diplomat who spent more of his Afghan assignment finding ways and means to target Pakistan.

Pakistanis also have strong evidence that some Americans allowed India to set up a vast intelligence network there, hidden beneath several development projects.  This network is involved in pumping money and weapons to terrorists inside Pakistan.  [On Oct. 28, Pakistani police arrested five members of a banned militant outfit and seized about 150 kilos of explosives of Indian origin, automatic rifles and suicide vests from them].

The above cannot happen in US-occupied and controlled Afghanistan without US knowledge.  Or, to be precise, without the knowledge of at least one influential US actor: the intelligence community.  CIA and possibly other US spy agencies that come under the Department of Defense are involved in fostering terrorism not just in Pakistan but also inside Iran and western China.

In Pakistan, elements in CIA aided by the Indians and Karzai’s spy groups have played a role in setting up and feeding insurgencies across western Pakistan between 2004 and 2008.  This was done during the Bush-Cheney administration as punishment for Pakistan for not completely submitting to the US project in Afghanistan. Washington then suspected that Musharraf was double dealing.  US did not want Pakistan to have any independent foreign policy or ideas on Afghanistan, Kashmir and India other than what Washington was planning.

The spate of recent suicide bombings in Pakistan, killing some 200 Pakistanis in less than a month, is not the work of mountain hillbillies in South Waziristan on the Pak-Afghan border but the work of trained operatives who receive support, intelligence and training from organized military groups.

We know our own citizens are involved in this terrorism, but the small terror army in South Waziristan is not getting its money and weapons from inside Pakistan.  Rehman Malik’s Interior Ministry and the military’s spy agencies have credible, strong and detailed information about how a US-controlled Afghanistan is being used for anti-Pakistan covet warfare. BLA and TTP terrorists have a safe haven there.  Terrorist Abdullah Mehsud was killed in 2007 slipping back from Afghanistan through Balochistan [and not the tribal belt] after meeting his backers.  We know why the Chinese working on different projects in Pakistani were targeted here.

American officials like Hillary Clinton avoid commenting on these issues.  The question she dodged from a Pakistani journalist on armed US ‘diplomats’ was a sign that we increasingly recognizing from watching US diplomats work in Iraq and Afghanistan.  US diplomats are averse to commenting on possible clandestine activities of CIA and or people from the US military in the host country.

For years, US officials have been praising Pakistan for helping eliminate Al Qaeda and complaining about lack of Pakistani cooperation in pursuing the Afghan Taliban.  That was Bush administration’s refrain.  Under Mr. Obama, his diplomats in Islamabad took turns this month in threatening war against Pakistan and in confirming the presence of Mullah Omar and Bin Laden inside Pakistan, without evidence of course, since US statements are enough.  In return we, Pakistanis, are not allowed to make similar conjecture about the presence of bin Laden in Afghanistan, where the US military can’t control the country eight years later.

Mrs. Clinton has added a twist to this American-Afghan saga.  One of her rather bold statements in Pakistan is so fantastic I must quote it as it was reported by the Associated Press: “I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they [Al Qaeda] are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,” Clinton said in an interview with Pakistani journalists in Lahore.  “Maybe that’s the case.  Maybe they’re not gettable.  I don’t know.”

Amazing to see her determination to question the role of Pakistan when she has no evidence on anything that she is saying. While the isolated pro-US Pakistani government is understandably reluctant to confront Washington on this eight-year-old charade, the Pakistani public opinion, the media, opposition parties and the powerful military have all had it.  Washington is good at messing things up and even better at pinning the blame on others.  For some reason, Mrs. Clinton and her administration won’t admit that they messed up Afghanistan big time and that rogue elements within the US military and intelligence played a big role in this.  [The New York Times has reported that one of Afghanistan’s biggest drug barons, a brother of the US-backed Afghan president, has been on CIA’s payroll for years.  Criminals and warlords in the Afghan government are allies of CIA and the US military.  The US spy agency is also involved in fomenting trouble inside Pakistan, Iran and western China using the Afghan base.  CIA is not always good at what it does, that’s why many Pakistanis have ended up knowing some of the truth.  Late but better than never.]

Can Mrs. Clinton and President Obama control CIA and the increasingly independent-minded US military in Afghanistan?  The answer to this question will determine if peace returns to our region any time soon.

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Where Is The Mourning, Mr. Zardari?

Posted by yourpakistan on October 29, 2009


To Our Elite And Not Just The President: Was a reception for a US foreign Secretary “Hillary Clinton” more important than sharing the grief of your people? More than one hundred innocent Pakistanis killed in one day, more than two hundred in less than a month.  Attacks linked to our own and America’s failed Afghan policy.  Attacks supported by anti-Pakistan forces in the region and not just unknown ‘extremists’.  Children left without parents, a nation terrorized. And the response of our political elite?  Dinner, toasts and merrymaking in Islamabad. Was a reception for a foreign guest more important than sharing the grief of your people? A shameless foreign-backed ruling elite.

God Bless Pakistan - Long Live Pakistan

One hundred and ten killed in one day.  More than two hundred dead in less than a month. If this were any other country, emergency would have been declared, nation would have been mobilized, and intellectuals would have moved to question the policies of rulers who draw their strength from Washington and London and not from the people and the interests of Pakistan. Above all, there would have been a national mourning. But not in Pakistan.  Not in a country where one ruler sold his nation in exchange for a deal offered to him by the Am-Brits and where ‘elected’ rulers consider receiving someone from Washington and London the high point of their careers.

The list of grievances is long:

1. WHERE ARE THE RAPID EMERGENCY TEAMS: Many of the dead in Peshawar probably died beneath collapsed buildings.  Where are the millions of rupees that were spent after the 2005 earthquake on rapid response rescue teams?

2. MOURNING: How many innocent Pakistanis should be killed before our ruling elite decide to declare national mourning?  How many Pakistanis should die before our President and Prime Minister cut short their toasts for Mrs. Hillary Clinton and rush to Peshawar to be with their own people?

Peshawar Bomb Blast Victim

3. FIND CULPRITS: We know our own citizens are involved in this terrorism, but the small terror army in South Waziristan is not getting its money and weapons from inside Pakistan.  Rehman Malik’s Interior Ministry and the military’s spy agencies have credible, strong and detailed information about how a US-controlled Afghanistan is being used for anti-Pakistan activities.  BLA and TTP terrorists have a safe haven there. Terrorist Abdullah Mehsud was killed in 2007 slipping back from Afghanistan through Balochistan [and not the tribal belt] after meeting his backers there.  We know why the Chinese were targeted here.  We have enough evidence of the condemnable role played by India and its puppets in Kabul, and of the suspicious role of at least the US intelligence if not the US military and the Obama administration. And yet our government and the ruling elite of Pakistan are shy of mentioning this publicly.  How many Pakistanis should die before they move? How many of our children must be orphaned before you speak up?  You are being forced to ditch Kashmir and submit without questions to whatever Washington wants to do in Afghanistan.  Why can’t you take a stand?  What are you afraid of?  That your assets in American and British banks will be seized?

4. SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES: US diplomats camouflaged as Afghan Taliban carrying weapons and pictures of sensitive buildings have been arrested, not once but many times.  US ambassador Anne Patterson has been using her personal rapport with President Zardari and the Interior Minister to allow US security firms into Pakistan, mostly to repeat the same mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Pakistanis don’t want any of this.  Pakistanis don’t agree with the American view that Pakistan is a war theater following Iraq and Afghanistan, and we will resist this.  ‘Extremism’ is not the only explanation for the terrorist army in South Waziristan.  America’s role in Afghanistan is also a big reason for the regional mess.

I make these grievances, and so do most Pakistanis, knowing that we are seeing a shift in this country.  Patriotism and PakNationalism is on the ascent here.  Take the example of one Pakistani politician who received a call from the US embassy last week.  Senator Tariq Azim was asked to visit the US Embassy building in the secured diplomatic enclave because a former State Department analyst-turned-academic, Mr. Daniel Markey, wanted to see him.

Senator Azim accepted the request for the meeting but politely declined to come to the embassy.  He said if Mr. Markey wants to see him he should come to the senator’s office.  Sen. Azim’s action was not about being antagonistic to Washington.  He is a proponent of strong ties with America but he wanted to make a statement on US meddling in Pakistani politics, where Washington’s diplomacy with Pakistan shifted over the past two years from the Pakistan Foreign Office to direct contacts and private dealings with political parties.

Show some pride and compassion and share the grief of your people before it’s too late.

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What Pakistan’s Military Needs To Learn From Israel

Posted by yourpakistan on October 28, 2009


A Military Can Do Wonders for an Economy

This is where the Pakistani military blundered and where militaries in ‘start-up’ nations like Israel , Turkey and South Korea managed to achieve.  Lesson One: Support creativity and not proxy corrupt elites.  Lesson Two: Economy first; democracy second – Editor’s Note – PakNationalists/AhmedQuraishi.com

Israeli Writer

Why is Israel so economically successful? Dan Senor and Saul Singer go beyond stereotypes and beyond the continuing Mideast conflict to analyze this question in their new book, Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.Senor, a former Bush-administration official in Iraq, took questions from National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez on what Israel’s done right, what stands in her way, and how we can learn a little from our ally.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What’s so special about Israel?

DAN SENOR: Israel represents the highest concentration of innovation and entrepreneurship in the world today: the most start-ups per capita; the highest percentage of GDP invested in civilian R&D; more companies on NASDAQhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/2.gif than all of Europe, Korea, Japan, India, and China combined; and the biggest destination for global venture capital per capita. Israel raises 2.5 times as much global venture capital as the U.S., 30 times more than Europe, 80 times more than India, and 350 times more than China — and these numbers are from 2008, when the world was in the midst of an economic meltdown. Israel all but escaped the crisis that ripped through economies everywhere else.

LOPEZ: What makes Israel an economic miracle? What’s most impressive?

DAN SENOR: The jaw-dropping data above would be impressive for any country, but to accomplish all this while under a near-total regional economic boycott, under physical attack, and absorbing millions of refugees in a tiny country with no resources is hard to comprehend.

LOPEZ: What’s the secret of its success?

DAN SENOR: Our book dives into many interacting factors, but one of the most important is the training and battlefield experience that most Israelis receive in the military. The military is where many Israelis learn to lead and manage people, improvise, become mission-oriented, work in teams, and contribute to their country. They tend to come out of their years of service (three for men, two for women) more mature and directed than their peers in other countries. They learn “the value of five minutes,” as one general told us. They even learn something more uniquely Israeli: to speak up — regardless of ranks and hierarchy — if they think things can be done better.

LOPEZ: Where has Israel fallen behind?

DAN SENOR: The non-tech portion of the economy is overconcentrated, overregulated, and overtaxed, and has consequently performed at a mediocre level. If the conditions that have allowed the high-tech sector to flourish were applied to the rest of the economy, Israel could grow even faster. If Israel also were to address the low labor-force-participation rates in certain demographics, we agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel could become one of the top ten largest economies in the world.

LOPEZ: Has this been an ethical success story?

DAN SENOR: We believe that the free-market system is progressively eliminating the extreme poverty that was the lot of the world throughout history. This process is largely driven by improvements in productivity, which are in part a result of advancements in technology, especially by small, scrappy start-ups. Also, Israel has specialized in life-enhancing and life-saving technologies like medical devices, water conservation, desalination, and irrigation, not to mention the information technologyhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/2.gif that is making the world smaller. The great thing about innovation is that, unlike physical resources, ideas can be shared and duplicated by all without taking from anyone else.

LOPEZ: Is there something particularly Jewish about Israel’s success?

DAN SENOR: Many people conjecture that there is something specifically Jewish at work. The notion that Jews are “smart” has become deeply embedded in the Western psyche. We saw this ourselves; when we told people we were writing a book about why Israel is so innovative, many reacted by saying, “It’s simple — Jews are smart, so it’s no surprise that Israel is innovative.” But pinning Israel’s success on a stereotype obscures more than it reveals.

For starters, the idea of a unitary Jewishness — whether genetic or cultural — would seem to have little applicability to a nation that, though small, is among the most heterogeneous in the world. Israel’s tiny population is made up of some 70 different nationalities. A Jewish refugee from Iraq and one from Poland or Ethiopia did not share a language, education, culture, or history — at least not for the two previous millennia. As Irish economist David McWilliams explains, “Israel is quite the opposite of a uni-dimensional, Jewish country. . . . It is a monotheistic melting pot of a Diaspora that brought back with it the culture, language, and customs of the four corners of the earth.”

While a common prayer book and a shared legacy of persecution count for something, it was far from clear that this disparate group could form a functioning country at all, let alone one that would excel at — of all things — teamwork and innovation.

Indeed, Israel’s secret seems to lie in something more than just the talent of individuals. There are lots of places with talented people, certainly with many times the number of engineers that Israel has to offer. Singaporean students, for example, lead the world in science and mathematics test scores. Multinationals have set up shop in places like India and Ireland, too. “But we don’t set up our mission-critical work in those countries,” an American executive from eBay told us. “Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, eBay . . . the list goes on. The best-kept secret is that we all live and die by the work of our Israeli teams. It’s much more than just outsourcing call centers to India or setting up IT services in Ireland. What we do in Israel is unlike what we do anywhere else in the world.”

LOPEZ: What’s the Buffett test?

DAN SENOR: Without spoiling the surprise, let’s just say that Warren Buffett — the apostle of risk aversion — bought his first company overseas in 2006 while Hezbollah’s katusha rockets were landing near the company’s factories. This was his $4 billion acquisition of the manufacturing company Iscar, and the deal was being closed in the midst of the Lebanon War. Buffett didn’t blink. He went through with the deal. Even up against such geopolitical and security volatility, he bet on the Israelis, and in the book, we describe the test he used to justify that bet. It’s key to understanding why so many investors and multinational companies (Cisco has bought nine Israeli companies and is looking to buy more) are willing to take the risk to do business in Israel.

LOPEZ: Can we have an economic miracle too?

DAN SENOR: Yes! America has untapped “Israeli” potential in the tens of thousands of returning veterans whose leadership experience is not appreciated by the American corporate world. U.S. vets coming out of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are better prepared than ever for the business world, whether building start-ups or helping lead larger companies through the current turbulent period. Yet the capacity of U.S. corporate recruiters and executives to make sense of combat experience and its value in the business world is limited. As Israeli entrepreneur Jon Medved explained, most American businesspeople simply do not know how to read a military résumé.

U.S. military career adviser Al Chase told us that a number of the vets he’s worked with have walked a business interviewer through all their leadership experiences from the battlefield, including case studies in high-stakes decisionmaking and management of large numbers of people and equipment in a war zone, and at the end of it the interviewer has said something along the lines of, “That’s very interesting, but have you ever had a real job?”

In Israel, it is the opposite. While Israeli businesses still look for private-sector experience, military service provides the critical standardized metric for employers — all of whom know what it means to be an officer or to have served in an elite unit. Our book explores ways in which the U.S. might close the cultural gap between the business world and the military communities in the U.S.

LOPEZ: Can economic miracles lead to peace?

DAN SENOR: Israel’s economic success has been a key component in convincing the Arab world that its existence is permanent in the region, which is the threshold incentive for the Arab world to end its attempts to destroy Israel. The moment the Arab world is ready for peace, the opportunities for economic cooperation are great, and Israel could play a pivotal role in helping regional economies advance.

LOPEZ: If Israel is so smart, why can’t it seem to fully outsmart its enemies?

DAN SENOR: Well, on the one hand, you have to be pretty deft and tenacious to be surrounded by enemies who’ve been at war with you since the dawn of your existence and still function like the Israelis do each day. On the other hand, it is remarkable that the Arab world has been attacking Israel incessantly yet has managed to paint Israel as the aggressor.

LOPEZ: Could Iran easily end all this success?

DAN SENOR: No, but if Iran goes nuclear, the possibilities for regional peace shrink to nil, and this is a great opportunity lost for Israel and the Arabs alike.

LOPEZ: What is the biggest threat facing Israel?

DAN SENOR: The threat of radical Islamists backed by an Iranian nuclear umbrella, but this is a threat that would cast a pall over global security and prosperity, not just Israel.

LOPEZ: What makes you two economists all of a sudden, by the way?

DAN SENOR: Aha, you have discovered that this is not a book about economics, really, but culture, history, and chutzpah. We came at this story with the tools of policy analysis, investment experience, and journalism, and tried to tell it for non-economists like ourselves.

LOPEZ: It’s hard not to notice the prominent “A Council on Foreign Relations Book.” When did Israel buy the Trilateral Commission?

DAN SENOR: You’ll have to read the book to find out; but we’re not sure that even we will be able to validate that conspiracy theory.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.

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Hillary Clinton’s Pakistan Arrogance

Posted by yourpakistan on October 28, 2009


After attacking Pakistan’s military and intelligence capabilities, US officials now turn to the nationalist Pakistani media.  US ambassador Anne W. Patterson already has set precedence by applying pressure on a Pakistani newspaper to silence a longtime critics of US policies.  Now it’s Madam Clinton’s turn.

US Secretary of State - Hillary Clinton

In terms of U.S. antics, things in Pakistan are becoming ever more ridiculous.  As if new restrictions imposed by Congress on military aid to Pakistan aren’t bad enough, we’re now seeing Secretary of State Clinton target Pakistan’s press. In true imperial fashion, she declared that Washington hadn’t responded properly to criticism in Pakistan’s media of the Kerry-Lugar Aid bill – criticism based on lies of course – but that now it would offer a fitting response. [The official bill is the Enhanced Partnership Act with Pakistan Bill of 2009]. According to Clinton, Pakistan’s media is full of exaggeration and doesn’t present the facts. That’s laughable considering how every line of aforementioned bill has been discussed ad infinitum to the point that there was no room at all left for exaggeration, which Kerry himself reiterated when he last visited Islamabad.

Unfortunately, it is the media in the U.S. that has targeted Pakistan and its nuclear assets, offering fanciful claims and insinuations far removed from reality at every opportunity. But Clinton’s attack on Pakistan’s media shouldn’t be ignored because it involves a veiled threat as well as an overt insult.  Considering how hard this nation’s press has fought and sacrificed for its independence, including in terms of lives lost, this is something we shouldn’t tolerate.

Clinton is scheduled to visit Islamabad soon. The press should at least use the occasion to make its views on her derogatory remarks clear. Meanwhile, Clinton’s outburst should be regarded as the start of a new phase of direct intrusion into our affairs. This is a result of the Kerry-Lugar bill and other agreements this government and its predecessor have conceded to. A far more serious threat that has become more visible is the physical access the U.S. has gained near Pakistan’s most sensitive installations, including its nuclear facilities. The case of Sihala is one such instance – and we are at a loss to understand why the government, now that the issue has been revealed, continues to allow this unwarranted U.S. access. Posted by WORLDMEETS.US

At the same time, it was disturbing to find that the Interior Ministry awarded import licenses to the U.S. for the importation of weapons into the country without following proper procedure. Now that same Ministry is lowering the boom on the Pakistani commandant of the Sihala Academy for telling the truth and voicing his concerns as a Pakistani nationalist, rather than addressing U.S. antics in America’s Sihala enclave and removing its presence from this sensitive area.

In a connected issue, the Ministry is also trying to put a stop to cases against Inter-Risk and DynCorp, and it refuses to admit the presence in Pakistan of Xe Worldwide (formerly Blackwater) despite glaring evidence that they are here. By all accounts, the interior Ministry seems extremely sensitive about safeguarding U.S. interests – even at the expense of Pakistan’s. Why?

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Blackwater involved in Bhutto and Hariri hits: former Pakistani army chief

Posted by yourpakistan on October 28, 2009


Pakistan’s former chief of army staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg (ret.), has said the U.S. private security company Blackwater was directly involved in the assassinations of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto and former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Blackwater later changed its name and is now known as Xe.

General Beg recently told the Saudi Arabian daily Al Watan that former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf had given Blackwater the green light to carry out terrorist operations in the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, and Quetta. General Beg, who was chief of army staff during Benazir Bhutto’s first administration, said U.S. officials always kept the presence of Blackwater in Pakistan secret because they were afraid of possible attacks on the U.S. Embassy and its consulates in Pakistan.

During an interview with a Pakistani TV network last Sunday, Beg claimed that the United States killed Benazir Bhutto.
Beg stated that the former Pakistani prime minister was killed in an international conspiracy because she had decided to back out of the deal through which she had returned to the country after nine years in exile. Beg also said he believes that the former director general of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence was not an accomplice in the conspiracy against Benazir Bhutto, although she did not trust him. The retired Pakistani general also stated that Benazir Bhutto was a sharp politician but was not as prudent as her father.

On September 2, the U.S. ambassador to Islamabad, Anne W. Patterson, intervened with one of the largest newspaper groups in Pakistan, The News International, to force it to block a decade-old weekly column by Dr. Shireen Mazari scheduled for publication on September 3 in which Mazari, the former director of the Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies, broke the story of Blackwater/Xe’s presence in Pakistan.

The management of The News International dismissed one of the country’s most prominent academics and journalists due to U.S. pressure. She joined the more independent daily The Nation last week as an editor.

On September 9, in her first column in The Nation, Dr. Mazari wrote:

“Now, even if one were to ignore the massive purchases of land by the U.S., the questionable manner in which the expansion of the U.S. Embassy is taking place and the threatening covert activities of the U.S. and its ‘partner in crime’ Blackwater; the unregistered comings and goings of U.S. personnel on chartered flights; we would still find it difficult to see the whole aid disbursement issue as anything other than a sign of U.S. gradual occupation. It is no wonder we have the term Af-Pak: Afghanistan they control through direct occupation loosely premised on a UN resolution; Pakistan they are occupying as a result of willingly ceded sovereignty by the past and present leadership.”

According to Al Watan, Washington even used Blackwater forces to protect its consulate in the city of Peshawar. In addition, U.S. journalist Seymour Hersh has accused former U.S vice president Dick Cheney of being involved in the Hariri assassination.  He said Cheney was in charge of a secret team that was tasked with assassinating prominent political figures.

After the assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005, the U.S. and a number of other countries pointed the finger at Syria, although conclusive evidence has never been presented proving Syrian involvement in the murder.

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A Confused Pakistani Government

Posted by yourpakistan on October 28, 2009


WITH an ongoing military operation and rampant terrorism across the country, the first priority for the government should have been to establish clarity of purpose and strategy. Unfortunately, that is still missing and this weakness stands exposed today as never before. A mere glance at the babble of statements coming forth from government personnel, shows the confusion and panic gripping those who should be allaying people’s fears and providing credible leadership. After the Islamic University (IIU) blast, the Interior Minister declared that it was a security lapse. However, by evening he had altered his mind and declared that there had been no security lapse at the IIU because it was out of the “security zone”.  Was he implying that only certain elite areas, “the security zone”, was meant to get extra security, while the rest of the country remains a soft target for terrorists?

The confusion was also apparent when the Foreign Office spokesperson declared that the Jundulluh leader was not in Pakistan and he did not know where he was, while the Interior Minister declared categorically that he was in Afghanistan. This disconnect goes to the top. The PM told the nation that Pakistan had voiced its concerns over the KL Act to Senator Kerry; but the Foreign Minister declared his unqualified praise for the Bill as enacted into law. Interestingly, he also declared the US responsible for terrorism in the region, which while truthful, has not been his government’s policy line.

With such confusion abounding, it is hardly surprising to find the public fearful and uncertain about what is happening to the country and their lives. Students especially are becoming traumatized with the regularity of their lives having been totally disrupted. The government seems unable to offer any sense of protection or even basic governance. It is not just the issue of terrorism, although that is the overarching environment impacting every citizen’s life. It is also the fact that in this environment of terror, citizens are facing growing problems of rising prices and scarcity of basic foods. The state is unable to deliver on any count – except in subservience to US diktat. Not only is the average Pakistani blighted by a daily threat of terrorism, he/she has to contend with ever rising indirect taxation whereby the state taxes the poor to pay for the rich. Once again we are also facing a large population being displaced as a result of military action. This time round there are no facilities for them as the UN is falling short on assistance because the international community has not delivered.

This state of affairs is untenable and something will give in the system unless the government radically reforms itself, including cutting down its own expenditures drastically and providing relief in some quarters, at least, for its citizens.

The Nation is published from all major Pakistani cities. www.nation.com.pk

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Turkey-Pakistan ties: Steps in the right direction

Posted by yourpakistan on October 27, 2009


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پروگریس رپورٹ بھیجو

Posted by yourpakistan on October 27, 2009


پروگریس رپورٹ بھیجو

شجاع جو یونیورسٹی سے اچانک غائب ہوگیا تھا کل اس سے پچیس برس بعد

ملاقات ہوئی۔ اس نے بتایا کہ وہ امریکہ چلا گیا تھا۔ وہاں پیپر میرج کی، ڈپارٹمنٹل سٹورز اور گیس سٹیشنوں پر کام کیا اور پچھلے دس برس سے ایل اے میں ایک ادارے کے سات

وابستہ ہے جو ہالی وڈ کے ستاروں اور انہیں ستارہ بنانے والوں کو سیکورٹی فراہم کرتا ۔

میں نے کہا گھر چلو باقی گفتگو وہیں کرنا۔ شجاع کو ہر ٹریفک سگنل پر بھکاری بچے، پھول فروخت کرنے والی بچیوں اور اخبار فروش لڑکوں کو دیکھ کر اتنی ہی حیرت ہوئی جتنی حیرت کی میں کسی بھی بیس پچیس برس بعد وطن آنے والے پاکستانی سے توقع کرتا ہوں۔

‘یار یہاں تو لوگ پہلے سے بھی زیادہ بھیک مانگ رہے ہیں۔ یار یہ کتنی پیاری بچی ہے اور کوئی اس کے پاؤں میں جوتی پہنانے والا نہیں ہے۔ یار سِول سوسائٹی اتنی بے حس کیوں ہے۔ یار حکومت کو یہ بچے کیوں دکھائی نہیں دیتے۔ یار این جی اوز کہاں مرگئی ہیں۔۔۔’

ایک ٹریفک سگنل پر اچانک شجاع چیخا، گاڑی سائڈ پر لگاؤ۔ میں نے کہا کیوں۔ وہ وہ کتنا معصوم بچہ ہے جو اخبار بیچ رہا ہے، میں اس کی مدد کرنا چاہتا ہوں۔ میں نے کسی بھی طرح کی حیرت ظاہر کیے بغیر گاڑی سائڈ پر روک لی۔

شجاع نے اشارے سے بچے کو بلایا۔ بچہ کئی گاڑیاں پھلانگتا تقریباً دوڑتا ہوا آیا۔ تم کیا کرتے ہو بچے؟ جی میں یہیں اخبار بیچتا ہوں۔ سکول کیوں نہیں جاتے؟ جی باپ نہیں ہے، ماں اور بہن بھائیوں کا بوجھ سر پر ہے۔ اگر میں تمہیں ہر مہینے سکول کی فیس اور گھر کے لیے کچھ پیسے باقاعدگی سے دوں تو پھر سکول جاؤ گے؟ کیوں نہیں بابو جی، اللہ آپ کو اس کا اجر دے گا۔ لیکن تمہیں کچھ وعدے کرنے پڑیں گے۔ وہ کیا بابوجی؟ ایک تو تم مجھے اپنے گھر والوں سے ملواؤ گے، میں خود تمہارے گھر کی حالت دیکھنا چاہتا ہوں۔ دوسرا تمہارا ایک بینک اکاؤنٹ کھلواؤں گا جس میں تمہارے لیے پیسے بھیج سکوں۔ تیسرا یہ کہ تم ہر مہینے اپنے سکول کی پروگریس رپورٹ بھیجو گے اور اگر مجھے پروگریس رپورٹ نہیں ملی تو اگلے مہینے سے پیسے بند، کیا سمجھے؟ بچے نے ایک جمائی لیتے ہوئے کہا بابو جی ایک بات پوچھوں؟ پوچھو کیا پوچھنا ہے؟

آپ کیری لوگر ہیں نا

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The ‘tornado’ awaiting India

Posted by yourpakistan on October 27, 2009


I fear there will be a bloody revolution in India,” a retired Indian military officer remarked to this writer and other guests during a recent visit to New Delhi. It was shocking to hear the comment from a soldier, in a country that supposedly had given a voice to its huge population and was believed to be all-inclusive.

It is obvious that India’s much-praised democracy hasn’t brought any real change in the lives of millions of Indians. That some of the poorest men and women are now up in arms in parts of India is evidence enough that democratically elected governments must do more to provide rights and justice to the rural poor and ensure even-handed development in different parts of the country.

The Naxalite violence in India has caused pain to most thinking Indians. For them it is a matter of anguish that a growing number of Indians are disillusioned with their country’s democracy and see no hope of benefiting from India’s steady economic progress. They have picked up the gun to fight for their rights.

The Maoist-linked violence is spreading and engulfing new places. The vast region affected by the insurgency include the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal and runs south through Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. It is usually called the “Red Corridor” because the leadership for the rebels is provided by communist cadres labelled as Maoists. The Communist Party of India (Marxists-Leninists), despite suffering splits, is still the standard-bearer of the rebels.

According to reports in the Indian media, more than 220 districts in 20 or so states are now affected by Maoist-linked violence. Indian intelligence agencies believe the movement has at its disposal 20,000 armed cadres and over 50,000 regular members. Apart from the rural poor, indigenous tribes such as the Girijans in Andhra Pradesh and Santhals in West Bengal have been flocking to the Naxalite movement. The movement has appeal for the dispossessed and the under-privileged. In the words of its present leader, Mupalla Laxman Rao, in hiding somewhere in eastern India and better known as Ganapathi, his party’s influence has grown stronger and it was now the only genuine alternative before the people of India.

The Naxalite movement began as a peasants’ uprising in May 1969 in the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal. It was initially led by 49-year-old Charu Mazumdar and its aim was to seize power through an agrarian revolution by overthrowing the feudal order. Mazumdar died in police custody 12 days after his arrest in Calcutta in 1972 and became a hero to Maoist cadres that have increased in number and strength over the years despite splits in the movement. The Naxalite insurgency has sprouted after every defeat and is now stronger than ever.

India’s share of the world’s poorest people has increased to 39 percent from 25 percent in 1980. In comparison, the Below Poverty Line population worldwide has decreased from 1,470 million to 970 million. There are reportedly 301 million Indians below the poverty line, just 19 million less than in 1983. The Human Development Report by the UN has been ranking India among the lowest 60 or 65 countries in the list of 193 nations that are part of the annual study. India’s poor performance on this score was in spite of the around nine percent growth rate in its GDP. There are reports in the media about farmers committing suicide or selling their wives to pay mounting debts. Though the recorded figures of such cases aren’t high in a big country such as India with 1.17 billion people, it still indicates the desperate state of certain communities.

India’s poor and marginalised groups have on occasions showed their anger through the power of the ballot. This happened in the 2004 and also in the 2009 national elections. The Hindu nationalist BJP tried to seek votes by coining the slogan, India Shining, in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections as part of its claim that its coalition government had brought prosperity during its five-year rule. But the electorate thought otherwise as the majority, particularly the poor and rural voters, the lower castes and minorities hadn’t benefited from the progress that had mostly made the rich richer. Their verdict in the polls was against the BJP-led NDA alliance and in support of the Congress and its allies. The Congress won again in 2009 despite the incumbency factor because it was largely seen as the party that cared more for the rights of the poor and the rural voters and was conscious of the concerns of the minorities, particularly Muslims.

However, it is the ruling Congress now that is confronted with the challenge of responding to the needs of India’s restless rural poor and tribal communities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently described the Naxalite insurgency as the single greatest threat to India’s internal security. Rahul Gandhi, son of Congress head Sonia Gandhi and the rising star of Indian politics, has been focusing on the vast Indian hinterland, visiting the under-developed rural villages and spending nights at the homes of Dalits, often termed the poorest and most oppressed people in the country. This cannot be enough to calm down the Naxalites, who are convinced that only force could win the Indian people their rights.

A showdown between the Indian government and the Naxalites is now imminent. The Congress-led government is mobilising hundreds of thousands of security personnel, mostly police and paramilitary forces, to launch an offensive against the Maoists mostly likely in November. It has ruled out the use of the military, but the operation will be coordinated from New Delhi as part of a central government initiative. Indian analysts and foreigners knowledgeable about India have pointed out that the country lacked a cohesive strategy to deal with the insurgency. The ruling elites have also been criticised for being slow in responding to the needs of the poorest communities, who were then easily recruited by the Maoists.

Such is the hatred of the Naxalites for the ruling elite that their leader Ganapathi, a former schoolteacher, branded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaran as “terrorists.” In a recent interview at his secret jungle hideout with the weekly magazine Open, he said “the people will rise up like a tornado under our party’s leadership to wipe out the reactionary blood-sucking vampires ruling our country.” At another point, the 59-year old Ganapathi declared: “Those (government) sharks want to loot the wealth and drive the tribal people of the region to further impoverishment.”

By threatening to unleash a “tornado” of violence if the Indian government went ahead with its planned large-scale offensive against his insurgent forces, Ganapathi has made the intentions of the Maoists obvious. Already, his men, and even some women cadres, have carried out actions that are now normally associated with the Taliban. They have kidnapped and beheaded government officials, blown up electricity and telephone towers, destroyed roads and railway tracks, killed political opponents and attacked police stations and other official installations. The offensive against the Naxalites will certainly weaken and deprive them of some of their bases and hideouts, but the issue cannot be resolved by the use of force alone. Many members of the Indian intelligentsia sympathise with the cause of the Maoists and objective analysts see it as an economic issue and one concerning lack of justice. The Indian ruling elite needs to tackle the root-cause of the insurgency instead of applying force through the state apparatus to crush the rebels.

The News

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