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  War and Terror

January 2011

Iran wins, Israel loses in turmoil
Nervousness in Israel over the turmoil in Egypt stands in sharp contrast with jubilation in Iran. Whereas for Tehran pent-up popular anger is an opportunity to break regional isolation as the United States drops the ball on the nuclear issue, the biggest worry for Tel Aviv in losing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak - its only friend in the Middle East - is that the new realities may compel America to reset its regional sights. - M K Bhadrakumar (Jan 31, '11)

Al-Qaeda banks on the chaos theory
The unrest in Tunisia that led to the toppling of the president has not as yet translated into a viable opposition capable of effecting sweeping change. Similarly, the protests in Egypt lack an effective political leadership. Al-Qaeda ideologues and strategists are thus playing a waiting game, banking on further chaos before they make a move - as they did in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. - Syed Saleem Shahzad (Jan 27, '11)

Al-Qaeda hand in Moscow attack?
Monday's bombing at an international airport in Moscow that killed at least 35 people and injured another 180 fits in with al-Qaeda's plans to spread the war in Afghanistan from the north of that country to Central Asian nations. - Syed Saleem Shahzad (Jan 25, '11)

US wants to clip Karzai's wings
Washington expected Afghan President Hamid Karzai to be a tame US surrogate. Instead, he has turned out be a nationalist, trying to find regional solutions to Afghan problems by reaching out to Pakistan, Russia and Iran. His jilted American suitors are now branding him a tin-pot dictator and stirring up ethnic Panjshiris to oppose him politically. - M K Bhadrakumar (Jan 24, '11)

Army poised over peace broker's fate
Confusion surrounds the fate of Sultan Ameer Tarar, alias Colonel Imam, who was kidnapped nearly a year ago while on a mission to broker a peace deal with militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan. If he has indeed been killed by his captors, as some reports say, the military could finally be roused to launch a major offensive in the tribal region. - Syed Saleem Shahzad (Jan 24, '11)

Soft Sufi, hard-rock militant
Taliban commander Qari Mustafa operates in northern Afghanistan, having been convinced to abandon his teacher's post in a mosque to oppose the foreign occupation. He's also a Sufi, a sect that traditionally has little in common with al-Qaeda-style Salifism. The 26-year-old describes his journey, and his view on how the Afghan insurgency has to spread to neighboring Central Asia countries. - Syed Saleem Shahzad (Jan 21, '11)
This is the final article in a three-part report.
Part 1: A shadowy new battlefield
Part 2: Taking on the Taliban

Who's hitting on Iran?
It would be difficult and dangerous for foreign intelligence services - even ones as skilled as Israel's - to attempt to deploy their own officers inside Iran for the long periods needed to acquire the targeting and surveillance information necessary to carry out attacks. It is likely the culprits for the recent killings of nuclear scientists are drawn from dissident nationalities in the Kurdish and Baloch regions. - Richard M Bennett (Jan 21, '11)

Al-Qaeda to unleash Western jihadis
Twelve Caucasian Canadian militants are receiving jihadi training in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan's North Waziristan for terror attacks in their home country, Asia Times Online has learned. The men, who first went to Afghanistan for specialist instruction, are a part of Al-Qaeda's growing army of white recruits to spread the flames of the South Asian war theater to the West. - Syed Saleem Shahzad and Tahir Ali (Jan 14, '11)

IAEA has an Iran headache
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has done nothing to dispel a cloud of suspicion that the United Nations nuclear watchdog has increasingly turned itself into an instrument of United States policy on Iran. That leaves him exposed to questions about the quality of evidence backing others' claims that Iran is in the process of acquiring nuclear weapons. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi (Jan 13, '11)

Weapons giant becomes Big Brother
Have you noticed that Lockheed Martin, the giant weapons corporation that receives one of every $14 doled out by the Pentagon, is shadowing you? No? Then you haven't been paying much attention. Put it this way: If you have a life, Lockheed Martin is likely a part of it. - William Hartung (Jan 13, '11)

Freedom fighters for a fading empire
It's commonplace to hear President Barack Obama say that the United States military is "the finest fighting force that the world has ever known", just as his predecessor regularly did. These claims, now part of reflexive presidential speech, are never questioned in the media or anywhere else, yet this sort of hyperbole and overwhelming praise is ill-suited to the military the US has. - William J Astore (Jan 10, '11)

Rituals of renewal in Vietnam
Vietnam's ruling Communist Party is about to come together for its latest congress, an event that occurs every five years. These congresses are more about adjusting the party's internal balance of power and patronage than they are about policy, but they do give important clues about the direction in which the country is heading. - David Brown (Jan 6, '11)

The urge to surge: The US's 30-year high
Just as 2010 ended, reports of secret United States plans to send special operations forces surging into the Pakistani tribal borderlands indicated that an American urge to surge had resurfaced in a significant way. War is a drug, and after Washington's 30-year high, the urge is still coursing through its veins, and won't easily be denied. - Tom Engelhardt (Jan 6, '11)

Voice of moderation silenced in Pakistan
The security guard who on Tuesday shot Punjab governor Salman Taseer gave as his reason Taseer's opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy laws. This outspokenness might have been the motivation, but the right-wing forces that had - literally - placed Taseer in the firing line carry much blame. - Syed Saleem Shahzad (Jan 5, '11)

NATO politics driving Afghan war
Member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization say they are in Afghanistan because operations there against the Taliban-led insurgency are vital to their security. But highly placed sources insist that the real motive behind NATO's Afghan war is a desperate bid to keep a moribund military alliance alive. - Gareth Porter (Jan 4, '11)

 December 2010

ATol Specials

Syed Saleem Shahzad reports on the Afghan war from the Taliban side
(Dec '06)

How Hezbollah defeated Israel
Mark Perry and
Alastair Crooke
(Oct '06)

Mark Perry and
Alastair Crooke
talk to the 'terrorists'
(Mar, '06)

  The evidence for and against Ir0nbsp;nbsp;IMG height= cellPadding=1maroon/ASTRONG/FONTFONT color=9 an's alleged nuclear weapons program

  Nir Rosen goes inside the Iraqi resistance
Nir Rosen rides with the 3rd armored cavalry in western Iraq

Islamism, fascism and terrorism

by Marc Erikson

For earlier articles go to:

December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
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