Amazing how much is going on right now — a mother of a financial meltdown, a most-bizarre presidential election inundated with so much rhetorical, nonsensical bullshit, oil prices acting bi-polar, even global warming is apparently worse than just this past weekend.
- Global warming could rapidly accelerate as millions of tons of methane escape from beneath the Arctic seabed, scientists warned today.
Huge deposits of the greenhouse gas – 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – are rising to the surface as the Arctic region heats up, according to preliminary findings.
And the horror! Jackboot John McCain jacked David Letterman for Katie Couric.
Jackboot John instantly needs to save the Republic! — see Letterman’s superbly-funny response via HuffPost and a right-on Top 10 List here.
So in the face of all this grim shit — not including each individual’s own personal emotionally stressful events, like losing the house, job, wife/husband, death and dying, daughter on meth, etc., etc. — the situation in the Middle East is starting to also get grim, especially in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
And speaking of “grim,” this from ABC News:
- US intelligence analysts are putting the final touches on a secret National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan that reportedly describes the situation as “grim,” but there are “no plans to declassify” any of it before the election, according to one US official familiar with the process.
Officials say a draft of the classified NIE, representing the key judgments of the US intelligence community’s 17 agencies and departments, is being circulated in Washington and a final “coordination meeting” of the agencies involved, under the direction of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is scheduled in the next few weeks.
According to people who have been briefed, the NIE will paint a “grim” picture of the situation in Afghanistan, seven years after the US invaded in an effort to dismantle the al Qaeda network and its Taliban protectors.
Another damn NIE!
Decider George most likely has a sour, hateful feeling for a NIE.
Except maybe for the 2002 version, which has since been shone to be pretty-much bogus, NIEs have caused much public grief for him and his immoral, criminal invasion of Iraq, and how incompetent the White House performed in attempts to correct horrible mistakes.
In the 2004 NIE, the ugly end started, and two years later, the NIE reported the war in Iraq is “breeding” terrorists.
While last year, the 2007 version noted al-Qaeda was stronger and able to do a whole lot of shit, even hitting the ole US homeland, security in place or not.
No surprise the war in Afghanistan is going south, and fast, but it has failing for quite some time, but Decider George has had his head up Saddam’s dead ass in Iraq.
Now the whole shit-boat could be literally blown away.
An interesting twist to the growing Afghan/Pakistan nightmare developing along their common border was the truck-bombing last weekend of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, killing nearly 60 people, including a couple of US citizens.
The suicide bombing of a major gathering spot for foreigners — US Adm. Mike Mullen, top dog of the Joint Chiefs, met with Pakistani military officials there last week.
Defense Secretary Bob Gates stays there; the Czech ambassador to Pakistan lived at the Marriott and unfortunately died in the explosions.
No only is the shared border a dangerous place — more than just insurgent/militant attacks, the tension between the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan and the Pakistani military has been building to an out-of-control point for some time.
The conflict has spread within instead of without and since now the US wants full control of the Afghan war, the problems will only increase.
Just take the case this week of the mysterious, downed man-less drone.
On Tuesday, the Pakistani military reported a drone had been shot down with wreckage strewn on the ground at the village of Jalal Khel in South Waziristan after circling the area for several hours.
However, yesterday the US military confused the whole incident.
- A U.S. military drone went down in eastern Afghanistan with engine problems Tuesday but was recovered immediately and was never near the Pakistan border, a military spokesman said Wednesday.
News of the problem drone coincided with Pakistani reports that a suspected pilotless U.S. drone crashed in northwestern Pakistan near the border village of Angor Adda, where U.S. commandos launched a raid on Sept. 3.
A U.S defense official responded to the reports of a downed drone in Pakistan on Tuesday by saying there were no reports of a missing Pentagon drone.
Wired’s Danger Room blog had this:
- It’s an odd reaction, despite the obvious diplomatic sensitivities.
American officials have confirmed drone crashes in Pakistan before.
Stranger still, Pakistani television ran footage today of wreckage bearing the insignia of “Aeronautical Systems.”
That’s the name American defense contractor General Atomics — the company behind the Predator UAV — used to employ for its drone-making division.
[UPDATED: One of the images shows a piece of wreckage marked “on-board starter unit.” Its part number matches the number for the Predator’s “on-board starter unit” in a logistics database.]
Danger Room also asks then who owns the drone — maybe Turkey, the UK, Italy?
And why the denial?
The US military in Afghanistan seem as befuddled as Jackboot John.
The attack on the Marriott Hotel, however, is the most interestingly grim aspect of this growing meltdown in US/Pakistan relations.
First reports indicated al-Qaeda was responsible, or some other militant group, but a couple of days later, a different brand was to blame.
- A shadowy group calling itself “Fedayeen of Islam” has claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel in a telephone call to Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television, the channel said on Monday.
Its correspondent in the Pakistani capital said he received a text message on his mobile phone showing a telephone number, which he called and then heard a recording in which the group admitted launching Saturday’s attack.
The speaker on the recording spoke in English “with a south Asian accent,” he said.
And this from Reuters via wiredispatch:
- The group calling itself Fedayeen Islam (Partisans of Islam) called Arabiya’s correspondent in the Pakistani capital and issued several demands including for Pakistan to stop its cooperation with the United States, Arabiya television said.
The television said the group played a recording to the reporter in which a group spokesman said there had been 250 U.S. marines and NATO officials at the hotel.
Arabiya said the authenticity of the tape could no be verified and the group is not known to have claimed other attacks.
The Czech ambassador and at least three other foreigners were among the 53 people killed in Saturday’s blast, Islamabad’s worst bomb attack.
The bombing wounded 266 people and security officials said it bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda.
And yesterday, another follow-up call:
- A militant group that claimed to be behind the deadly Marriott Hotel bombing in Pakistan’s capital threatened more attacks Wednesday, warning again that Pakistanis should stop cooperating with the United States.
In a cell phone message to reporters, the little known group calling itself “Fedayeen al-Islam” — “Islam commandos” — referred to the owner of the Marriott by name.
“All those who will facilitate Americans and NATO crusaders like (owner Sadruddin) Haswani, they will keep on receiving the blows,” said the message, which was in English.
It was impossible to verify the identity of the group or say whether it was in a position to make good on the threat.
Pakistani officials were not immediately available for comment.
Is it ‘Partisans’ or ‘warriors’ for Islam?
This group, however, has a history spanning back to mid-1940s Tehran, Iran.
According to noted Middle Eastern/South Asian expert and a pioneer in terrorism studies, Martha Crenshaw, this group, originally called Fedayeen-i Isalam, has a strong tendency to an enraged kind of violence to make a point.
The Fedayeen played a part in the free-wheeling, turbulent days in Iran prior to the arrival of Mohmmed Reza Pahlavi, the dreaded Shah, in 1953.
From Crenshaw’s 1995 book, Terrorism in Context (page 561):
- “During this period Islamic fundamentalism became to grow in influence throughout the country.
Most notable among fundamentalist groups, from the perspective of terrorist activities, Fedayeen-i Isalam, which was founded in 1946 by a twenty-two-year-old theology student in Tehran named Sayyid Navab Safavi.
Their significance lies in the fact that as an avowedly terrorist group their activities became part of the mainstream of Iranian political life.
That is, terrorism became a common and “normal” facet of political expression in Iran.
Fedayeen, Crenshaw says, practically disappeared as it became increasingly isolated in the early 1950s within Iran’s political power struggles when people realized these guys were just too violent, and too, in trying for retribution, Fedayeen itself came to understand “that they could not kill everybody…” (page 563).
The boys seem to be back, however, and back with a bang.
Interestingly grim the future of just about everything.