Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Binocular Snapshot for 7/27/2011

LastDayWatchers you will continue to see the results of God curse to the Bush/Obama Administrations

In a further strike against the authorities in war-torn southern Afghanistan, the mayor of Kandahar was killed in his office on Wednesday

"when a suicide bomber detonated explosives hidden in his turban, officials said.

The killing heightened concerns that the tenuous security gains in the violent south are unraveling despite months of intensified fighting by NATO and Afghan forces.

The mayor, Ghulam Haider Hamidi, was killed in his office in central Kandahar, and one other person was injured, according to Zalmay Ayoubi, an official spokesman. The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, "

The death of Mayor Ghulam Haidar Hamidi, a U.S. citizen, is the latest in a string of assassinations of powerful southern leaders and Karzai allies that could weaken the president's hold on an area that has long been a Taliban stronghold.

"Kandahar province is the Taliban's birthplace and a focus of recent efforts by a surge of U.S. troops to turn the tide against the insurgency in the decade-long war."

The assailant apparently mingled with a crowd of constituents meeting Mayor Ghulam Hamidi, who had lived in the United States for years before returning to Afghanistan and taking up his dangerous post.

"American officials, including newly arrived U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, sought to portray the killing as a sign of desperation on the part of Taliban fighters.

But other observers said the insurgents' tactic of murdering government officials was proving lethally effective, sapping confidence in the Karzai administration and frightening qualified people away from public service.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing, but the movement nearly always asserts it had a hand in any high-profile attack."

"Like previous suicide operations carried out by the Taliban in Kandahar this year, was likely carried out by the Mullah Dadullah Mahaz, or the Mullah Dadullah Front, a radical Taliban subgroup closely linked to al Qaeda."

Causing the failures to mount up

Why Negotiating with the Taliban Is a Really Bad Idea

"Washington has finally admitted the obvious: the United States and its allies are negotiating with the Taliban. Seems like a no brainer:

Possible for U.S. troops to leave the country with the impression that ten years of campaigning in “the graveyard of empires” has not been in vain.

Of course, at this point we can only speculate as to what a deal with the Taliban would entail, but anything along the lines of Clinton’s demands requires a monitoring and sanctioning regime.

In this sense, negotiations with the Taliban are a way in, not a way out.

After all, weapons decommissioning requires military presence, especially with a group like the Taliban, which is unreliable as a signatory to an agreement as it is not a monolithic entity that can be counted on to loyally obey the orders of a leading center. In fact, the Taliban is made up of several factions, all with their own interests and consequently with their own views on a peace agreement.

In sum, there is no shortage of factors that are likely to keep the Taliban from laying down its arms. This means that the implementation of a peace agreement will be, to put it mildly, a daunting task."

Which will disprove the lie to the so-called "success of the surge"

While Washington gets ready to default, another deadline looms on the horizon: December 31, 2011, when all American forces are due to be out of Iraq

"The dysfunction of Iraqi politics has made it impossible for Baghdad to do what most people think is the rational thing—to request that some American forces remain to assist the Iraqi government in strengthening both its internal and external security capabilities.

The Obama administration has signaled repeatedly that it is willing to do so, but that has not stopped neoconservative critics and former Bush administration officials from blaming Obama for Iraq’s failure to get its act together.

The neocon criticism of the Obama administration for not doing enough to bring the Iraqis to their senses is shot through with internal contradictions. Frederick and Kimberly Kagan wrote in the Weekly Standard in April that “[t]he ball is not in Maliki’s court. It is in Obama’s court,”

The irony, of course, is that the democracy they were so proud to give Iraq (at such great cost to both Americans and Iraqis) is the reason that their preferred policy of continued American military presence in the country is not working out.

The Sadrist bloc in the Iraqi Parliament, an important part of Maliki’s governing majority, is dead set against a continued American military presence. Other Iraqi politicians, who whisper to visiting American journalists and pundits how much they want U.S. forces to stay, will not argue that position in public or try to put together a parliamentary majority in favor of an extension of the sofa."

US military officials in Iraq warn of growing Iranian threat

"As the clock ticks toward full US military withdrawal from Iraq, American officials who want troops to stay longer continue to warn of a growing Iranian threat.

Some argue that the diminishing US presence is turning Iraq into an even-more contentious regional battlefield, giving rise to a low-grade war between the remaining American forces and what the US says are militias tied directly to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard."

Proving what a Pyrrhic Victory to the so-called "isolation" of Iran has become, because this is what it get you

Iran revolutionary guards' commander set to become president of Opec

"A senior commander of Iran's revolutionary guards, who is subject to comprehensive international sanctions, has been nominated as the country's oil minister, a position that currently includes the presidency of Opec.

Rostam Ghasemi, who is blacklisted by western powers, could have major role in determining global oil price"

With 100% accuracy inside the May 15th Prophecy written at LastDayWatchers

U.S. Priorities in a Changing Middle East