Monday, December 13, 2010

Binocular Snapshot for 12/13/2010

LastDayWatchers as things get worse not better for the position of the United States due to God curse of the Bush/Obama Administrations

"A bomb and suicide attack in Iraq killed six people"

on Monday, including four Shiites and the wife and daughter of an anti-Qaeda fighter, police said.

The four Shiites were killed and 17 others wounded when a suicide bomber detonated explosives in the Diyala provincial town of Baladruz, 75 kilometres (47 miles) north of Baghdad, the police said.

It came after a similar attack on Sunday in the nearby city of Baquba, also in Diyala, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest near an Ashura procession, killing three people.

Each year, suspected Sunni insurgents target Shiites who descend on Iraq for the commemoration of Ashura, which marks the slaying of the revered Imam Hussein by the armies of the Sunni caliph Yazid in 680.

Elsewhere on Monday, insurgents killed a woman and her daughter when they bombed the house of a member of Sahwa, the anti-Qaeda militia, in the town of Jurf al-Sakhr, 75 kilometres (47 miles) south of Baghdad.

Separately, three people were wounded by a bomb in a northern district of Baghdad, said an interior ministry official."

While the growth of the little horn strengthen, as the horns congeal. (see: The Beast, The 10 Toes and 10 Horns)

Jordan’s King trying to improve ties with Iran

"Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Sunday he was seeking “practical steps” to improve his frosty relations with Iran, a contrast to his regime’s frequent criticism of Iran’s policies.

The call came in a closed-door meeting with Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, director of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s office, Abdullah’s Royal Court said in a statement.

Abdullah has been one of Iran’s harshest critics in recent years, warning that its growing influence in the region could undermine him and other pro-American moderates.

The Royal Court statement said Abdullah accepted Ahmadinejad’s invitation to visit Tehran soon, but no date was set.

The Jordanian statement quoted Abdullah as saying it was “imperative to undertake practical steps for improving Jordanian-Iranian relations in the service of both countries, their brotherly people and joint Islamic causes and to consolidate security and stability in the region.” It gave no details of what steps might be taken.

As early as 2004, Abdullah warned of Iran’s growing influence in Iraq and the rest of the region.

In U.S. cables released by WikiLeaks, U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Stephen Beecroft quoted Jordanian officials describing Iran as an “octopus” whose tentacles “reach out insidiously to manipulate, foment, and undermine the best laid plans of the West and regional moderates.”

Iran’s “tentacles” include Qatar, Syria, the militant Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, an Iraqi government linked to Iran and Shiite communities across the Mideast, according to the cables."

By faithfully watching you can see how totally untenable is the mindset of Israel (lost & found) because God has turn them over to a unsound mind, unable to think more then 2 steps ahead of themselves, which is why I highlighted these 2 article for you inside the Recommended Reading

A group of experts and fieldworkers call on President Obama to explore a political settlement that includes the Taliban

"More than 680 soldiers from the international coalition – along with hundreds of Afghans – have died this year in Afghanistan, and the year is not yet over. We appeal to you to use the unparalleled resources and influence which the US now brings to bear in Afghanistan to achieve that longed-for peace.

Despite these huge costs, 

the situation on the ground is much worse than a year ago because the Taliban insurgency has made progress across the country

It is now very difficult to work outside the cities or even move around Afghanistan by road. The insurgents have built momentum, exploiting the shortcomings of the Afghan government and the mistakes of the coalition. The Taliban today are now a national movement with a serious presence in the north and the west of the country. Foreign bases are completely isolated from their local environment and unable to protect the population. Foreign forces have by now been in Afghanistan longer than the Soviet Red Army was

Politically, the settlement resulting from the 2001 intervention is unsustainable because the constituencies of whom the Taliban are the most violent expression are not represented, and because the highly centralised constitution goes against the grain of Afghan tradition, for example in specifying national elections in 14 of the next 20 years.

The operations in the south of Afghanistan, in Kandahar and in Helmand provinces are not going well. What was supposed to be a population-centred strategy is now a full-scale military campaign causing civilian casualties and destruction of property. Night raids have become the main weapon to eliminate suspected Taliban, but much of the Afghan population sees these methods as illegitimate. Due to the violence of the military operations, we are losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Pashtun countryside, with a direct effect on the sustainability of the war. These measures, beyond their debatable military results, foster grievance. With Pakistan's active support for the Taliban, it is not realistic to bet on a military solution. Drone strikes in Pakistan have a marginal effect on the insurgency but are destabilising Pakistan. The losses of the insurgency are compensated by new recruits who are often more radical than their predecessors.

The military campaign is suppressing, locally and temporarily, the symptoms of the disease, but fails to offer a cure. Military action may produce local and temporary improvements in security, but those improvements are neither going to last nor be replicable in the vast areas not garrisoned by western forces without a political settlement.

The 2014 deadline to put the Afghan national army in command of security is not realistic. Considering the quick disappearance of the state structure at a district level, it is difficult to envision a strong army standing alone without any other state institutions around. Like it or not, the Taliban are a long-term part of the Afghan political landscape, and we need to try and negotiate with them in order to reach a diplomatic settlement."

The Saudi endorsement could be the kiss of death for Netanyahu's push for a military strike on Iran.

"If the Saudis agree with the Israelis that a military strike is warranted, it really amounts to little more than nothing. That is because neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia considered US interests when coming to this conclusion, which is the only thing a president of the US should consider.

Saudis and Israelis support policies which they believe are in their interests. That is how foreign governments invariably behave and it is how the US would behave toward Israel but for the unique political considerations that impel our national leadership to march in lockstep with Israeli leaders.

Nothing in WikiLeaks affects the clear US national interest which dictates, above all, that we resolve our differences with Iran through diplomacy and not through war.

That assertion hardly requires proving. The US is involved in two wars in the Middle East already, in which 5,840 Americans (and countless Iraqis and Afghans) have been killed. And we still have well over 100,000 troops in that part of the world.

A strike on Iran by the US or by Israel would not only put our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at greater risk, it would destroy the US' standing throughout the Muslim world. It would also vastly increase the threat of terrorism against American civilians at home and abroad. It could even trigger a regional war.

Sure, a few royals and unrepresentative autocrats would privately cheer us on, but those regimes would ultimately either join the opposition to us or be swept away by popular fury.

The Wiki-revealed knowledge that the Israelis and the Saudis are tacitly working in concert against Iran would only make things worse, given that among most Arabs and Muslims, the Saudi regime is only a little more popular than the Netanyahu government. A US/Israeli/Saudi tripartite alliance against Iran could be the US' Suez, and could finish us off in the region the way the United Kingdom and France were finished by their anti-Egypt alliance with Israel in 1956.

In addition, of course, no one believes a strike on Iran would eliminate its nuclear facilities.

Nobody wants to see a nuclear-armed Iran. But few are particularly happy with nuclear weapons in the hands of Pakistan, or for that matter, India. And, believe it or not, the Muslim world has never been particularly comfortable with Israel's uninspected nuclear arsenal. And then there is North Korea which, unlike Iran, has demonstrated its crazy recklessness over and over again. (Iranian recklessness has been confined to repulsive rhetoric, not impulsive actions.)

Israelis say that they do not want to live under a nuclear shadow. But that does not make them any different than anyone else, or more vulnerable either. There is a gigantic hole in the middle of Manhattan which provides ample evidence that Americans do not need any lectures from anyone on that score.

The good news is that, unlike al-Qaeda, Iran is a nation that can be engaged in serious negotiations. It is not a nihilist terror group; it is not a suicide cult. Rather, it is a nation that has been a key player in its region for thousands of years"

The Endgames in Iraq and Afghanistan

"For nearly a decade, American foreign policy has been dominated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As 2011 begins, with 50,000 US soldiers still in Iraq and another 100,000 in Afghanistan, it may not look like that era is coming to an end. But it is.

There is no consensus on how to share the potential wealth from Iraq's vast energy resources. The Kurdish north is largely autonomous; where its writ ends and the central government's begins is unsettled. Iranian influence is pervasive in the south and extensive in the center.

Moreover, the country still experiences regular bombings, and millions of Iraqis are either internally displaced or refugees. In short, conditions in Iraq, while significantly better than five years ago, are more likely to deteriorate than improve

Afghanistan is moving at a much slower pace when it comes to US troop reductions. The Obama administration is likely to remove a small number of US soldiers in July, the date selected by the president for the beginning of the American military drawdown. But it will be only the beginning of an extended, gradual process of American military reduction, one that looks like it will take four years – and quite possibly longer.

What the US will have to show then for more than a decade of sacrifice and investment in Afghanistan is anybody's guess. The sum total of the US effort in terms of American money and lives will likely be less than in Iraq, but still substantial.

In the short run, doing less in Iraq and Afghanistan will allow the US to concentrate on the two most immediate external threats to US interests: Iran and North Korea. In the long run, the US needs to generate domestic and international support for regional and global arrangements designed to manage the defining problems of this era, from the spread of nuclear materials and terrorism to maintaining an open world economy and slowing climate change. This will require a foreign policy that focuses on the emerging powers of the twenty-first century, many of which are in Asia.

The US largely squandered the opportunity to shape the international system in the first decade of the new century. Iraq and Afghanistan proved to be strategic distractions, and, particularly in Afghanistan, the US should resist pressures to prolong a substantial military presence.

There is now an opportunity to reorient American foreign policy to concentrate on what matters most. It is in the interest of the US and the world that this opportunity not be missed."

Be of a sound mind that you may not be deceived, the deception which shall come upon all those who are unfaithful, therefore faithfully read the 100% accurate report of the May 15th Prophecy written at LastDayWatchers


Former U.S. envoy in Afghanistan worried about insurgent havens in Pakistan