|Asia News Digest
Despite Troop Surge, Afghan Security Is Deteriorating
May 6 (EIRNS)Talking to reporters in Geneva, UN Human Rights Commission chief Antonio Guterres said security in Afghanistan is deteriorating and that the situation is such that foreign staff of the UN's refugee agency are unable to travel to half of the country. Guterres pointed out that the latest U.S./NATO dictum to win the hearts and minds of the people has put the aid workers together with the soldiers who are now involved in building small bridges and canals. Since the locals can no longer tell a foreign soldier from an aid worker, their anger toward the foreign soldiers is now threatening the security of aid workers. He added that more barbed wire, blast walls, and armed guards alone wouldn't be effective unless the local population could the be convinced that agencies such as UNHCR are independent from U.S.-led international military presence in Afghanistan.
The deterioration of the security situation was pointed out last August by Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, on CNN's State of the Union program. Responding to an interviewer's question on Afghan security, he had said: "I think it is serious and it is deteriorating. The Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated, in their tactics."
Last January, in his report to the Security Council on Afghanistan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had painted a dire picture of the security situation. He noted that an average of 1,244 incidents per month occurred in the third quarter of 2009, a 65% increase over 2008, with armed clashes, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and stand-off attacks constituting the majority, the report shows.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recorded 784 conflict-related civilian casualties between August and October, up 12% from the same period in 2008, with anti-government elements responsible for 78% of the total, of whom 54% were victims of suicide and IED attacks. "While the violence was caused by a politically driven insurgency, it has also been exploited by criminal groups, drug traffickers and others," Ban said. "There have been increased civilian casualties and greater risks for UNAMA and other Afghan partners."
British-Laid Design To Break Pakistan Touted
May 6 (EIRNS)The Washington Post, in its lead editorial, "Terrorist Training in North Waziristan," on May 6, pushed for what the British and the British faction within the United States have long been pushinga regular military operation by the Pakistani Army in North Waziristan, the tribal area bordering southeastern Afghanistan. This new call for armed attacks was issued after what by every indication seems to have been a fake failed terrorist bombing effort in New York's busy Times Square on the evening of May 1.
Part of the fakery was to set the stage to make the claim that the Pakistani Taliban network operating from within North Waziristan had set up the bombing effort. The accused bomb-maker, Faisal Shahzad, allegedly told the authorities, after being arrested, that he was in North Waziristan where he was trained on how to make the bomb. Islamabad has reported that it has no evidence to show that Shahzad was indeed in North Waziristan.
However, the objective of the Post, which has taken a page out of London's playbook, is to use this incident to generate pressure on the Pakistani Army to launch a full military operation in North Waziristan. The Pakistani Army has withstood this British-designed pressure for months, but in order to release some pressure, has allowed the Obama Administration to steeply increase drone attacks into North Waziristan. The Army rightly fears that a military operation inside the country, against its own countrymen, however carefully executed, will leave a huge scar, encouraging a full-fledged secessionist movement instantaneously.
Whether Islamabad is aware of this or not, this is the gameplan of the British. They want to separate the Pushtuns of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and draw yet another line to create a new nation in the highly sensitive area and secure virtual control of this newly-formed, weak nation.
With this editorial, the Post has just endorsed the process.
China Central to Crisis Resolution Between South and North Korea
May 4 (EIRNS)With the tension in the Koreas continuing to mount over the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan last month, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak addressed the twice-yearly meeting of the top military brass, calling for a review of the South's defenses against North Korea. Stopping short of an open accusation of the North for the incident, he said: "What is obvious so far is that the Cheonan did not sink due to a simple accident. As soon as the incident occurred, I sensed it was a grave international and inter-Korean matter."
Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is in Beijing, but there are no reports as yet on his meetings. Lee Myung Bak met with Hu Jintao last week at the opening of the Shanghai World Expo, where they spoke about the incident. Both the Koreans and the Western officials recognize that China will be central in determining how to respond if it is determined that the North was involved, and in any successful resolution.
Thai Compromise May Avoid Bloody Chaosfor Now
May 4 (EIRNS)Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who, until today, appeared to be following British intentions of creating total chaos in Thailand, went on TV last night to offer new elections on Nov. 14, and a "roadmap" to solve the political crisis. Previously, the opposition Red Shirts, who have occupied central Bangkok for over two months, had demanded immediate resignation of the government and elections in 30 days, while Abhisit had offered elections in nine monthsso, the November date (six months from now) splits the difference, and is being taken seriously as a first step toward a resolution of a situation of virtual dual power and a threatened civil war across the country.
Both the Red Shirt demonstrators and Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, head of the opposition Puea Thai Party, have responded positively, but demand that the government set a specific date for the dissolution of Parliament before they leave their demonstration site. They did not demand amnesty against accusations of "lèse majesté" and "terrorism."
The government has issued daily threats of the use of force, but the military is deeply divided, and it is unlikely that it would comply with such an order. The lead item in today's Bangkok Post states that "Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has been compelled to offer a house dissolution to break the country's political deadlock because of the army's reluctance to use force to clear anti-government protesters from Ratchaprasong intersection." One commander told the Post: "The order to kill is easily executed because soldiers have guns. But what will happen afterwards? ... That will bring the country closer to civil war. And there will be more red shirts coming out in other provinces."
While chaos in Thailand would be to the benefit of the berserker faction in London, who are pushing for war and chaos everywhere in the face of the global financial collapse, there are others on the British side who are afraid that any further suppression of the population's rage against the puppet government would turn that rage against the monarchy itself, and the Brits could lose their leading asset in the region.
Ending the current standoff will avoid a bloody breakdown, but without solving the issue of the monarchy and its privy council (the British-dominated power behind the military/monarchist regime), the crisis is likely to recur in the near term.