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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fear exaggerated?


وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا قَريَةً كانَت ءامِنَةً مُطمَئِنَّةً يَأتيها رِزقُها رَغَدًا مِن كُلِّ مَكانٍ فَكَفَرَت بِأَنعُمِ اللَّهِ فَأَذٰقَهَا اللَّهُ لِباسَ الجوعِ وَالخَوفِ بِما كانوا يَصنَعونَ ﴿١١٢﴾

(112) AND GOD propounds [to you] a parable: [Imagine] a town which was [once] secure and at ease, with its sustenance coming to it abundantly from all quarters, and which thereupon blasphemously refused to show gratitude for God’s blessings: and therefore God caused it to taste the all-embracing misery of hunger and fear in result of all [the evil] that its people had so persistently wrought.

اور الله ایک ایسی بستی کی مثال بیان فرماتا ہے جہاں ہر طرح کا امن چین تھا اس کی روزی بافراغت ہر جگہ سے چلی آتی تھی پھر الله کےاحسانوں کی ناشکری کی پھر الله نے ان کے برے کاموں کے سبب سے جو وہ کیا کرتے تھے یہ مزہ چکھایا کہ ان پر فاقہ اور خوف چھا گیا ﴿۱۱۲﴾ 2+
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Fear exaggerated?

With the closure of educational institutions in Lahore and other parts of Punjab, the Sindh government also issued directives to schools in Karachi who were asked to raise the height of their boundary walls, deploy armed guards, and install CCTV cameras among other security measures. Some parents, however, have been questioning the level of the threat posed to educational institutions, arguing that it has only left them more apprehensive. (Text: Aroosa Masroor Photos: Eefa Khalid)
Due to rising security threats, some private schools located in DHA and Clifton now resemble a prison camp secured with barricades, barbed wires and sand bags placed at the school entrance.

But many parents have been questioning the basis of these security measures, 'I haven't been told what purpose will these security measures serve. The government has openly declared that it would not be responsible in case of any untoward incident because they do not have enough security personnel to deploy at each school. And now that schools are left to fend for themselves, the least the government can do is not blow things out of proportion so the attendance rate at schools is not affected,' said a furious parent.

However, there are other parents who are more concerned about the disturbing message these measures are sending across. 'I am not comfortable with the idea of sending my children to a school with armed guards deployed outside and snipers on roof-tops. The sight of armed gunmen all around may have a negative impact,' said another parent, who has decided to keep his children home for an indefinite period.




But the principal of Bay View Academy, Shahpur Jamal, offers a different viewpoint. According to him 'fear overrides this fact now'.

'We are a country at war and cannot afford to risk the lives of our students at this point. No one knows when and where the terrorists would hit next so we need to take precautions.'

Although the school has adopted the required security measures, he says he has been receiving suggestions from parents that these measures 'are not adequate and more needs to be done to ensure the safety of their children.' As a result, some private schools and universities that opened on Wednesday have been closed again for a week in order to train the school staff and prepare them to fight such a situation.



Security at key hotels beefed up in Karachi
Updated at: 1130 PST, Sunday, November 01, 2009
KARACHI: The administrations of all the major hotels, declared sensitive, have beefed up security in order to thwart any terrorist attack, Geo news reported on Sunday.

According to sources, an independent five star hotel, located at PIDC locality of metropolis, has placed barriers around hotel premises, getting stringent vehicles’ checking coming into hotel.

Also, Police sources claimed to have adopted strict security measures to ensure foolproof security at all key five-star hotels in city.

Especial security arrangements in and around five star hotels in Karachi have been linked with recent terrorist attacks, sources added.

Iraqi politics shuns sectarianism as violence ebbs

FACTBOX-Political alliances ahead of Iraq's 2010 election
31 Oct 2009 16:47:19 GMT
Source: Reuters
Oct 31 (Reuters) - Several alliances, many presenting themselves as nationalists who have rejected the sectarianism that pitted Iraq's majority Shi'ites and once dominant Sunnis against each other, plan to compete in the parliamentary election in January [ID:nMUH136843].

While allegiances are fluid and may yet shift again, here is a list of what appear to be the likely major coalitions and alliances that will contest the Jan. 16 poll.

STATE OF LAW

* Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has created a broad-based alliance of his Dawa party and other groups including some Sunni tribal leaders, Shi'ite Kurds, Christians and independents. Dawa's roots are Islamist, but the coalition plans to run on a non-sectarian platform. It hopes that security gains under Maliki and promises to improve public services and ensure Iraq remains a strong, united state will win it seats. Maliki's allies were the main winners of 2009 provincial elections fought on the same platform.

IRAQI NATIONAL ALLIANCE

* The Shi'ite alliance bringing together the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI), followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Basra-based Fadhila, a few Sunni leaders, former prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari, Ahmed Chalabi -- a former exile who played a key role before the 2003 U.S. invasion -- and some smaller groups is the main rival to Maliki's coalition. ISCI and the Sadrists have lost ground since holding sway over the Shi'ite electorate only a few years ago. Some observers say the group may split after the vote, which will be run on an anti-Maliki stance, because of disagreements between ISCI and the Sadrists.

KURDS

* The Kurdish coalition is dominated by the two parties administering Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The Kurdish Democratic Party led by the region's president, Masoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan headed by Iraq's national president, Jalal Talabani, are both secular in nature and enjoy close ties with the West. The two parties faced a major challenge in Kurdistan's parliamentary vote this year from the Change bloc, which won about a quarter of the seats.

TRIBAL LEADERS

* Tribal leaders will play an important role in the election and are being courted by major parties looking to boost their national vote. Some of Iraq's Sunni tribal leaders sprang to prominence when U.S. forces began backing local sheikhs against al Qaeda in western provinces. Their ranks are riven by dissent and they have been unable to form a united front.

TAWAFUQ

* Since the 2005 national elections al-Tawafuq, or the Sunni-based Iraqi Accordance Front, has seen many splits and divisions, and now consists of the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) and some tribal leaders. The IIP was the only major Sunni bloc to participate in the 2005 election. The group, which includes the speaker of parliament, is unlikely to gain the same number of seats due to divisions within the Sunni electorate.

IRAQIYA

* Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shi'ite, has joined up with senior Sunni politician Saleh al-Mutlaq to run on a non-sectarian platform. The alliance is campaigning on a theme of national unity and may yet end up also including Iraqi Vice President Tarek al-Hashemi.

IRAQ'S UNITY

* Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, Ahmed Abu Risha, a top leader of anti-al Qaeda tribal sheikhs, and Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarrai of the Sunni Endowment have also formed a group.

MINORITY PARTIES

* Iraq's minority Turkmen, Christians, Yazidis, Sabeans, Assyrians, Shabak, Faili Kurds and others are likely to ally with a bigger party in areas where they are not dominant.

(For a main story pls click on [NL:nMUH136843]

(Reporting by Baghdad Bureau; writing by Jack Kimball; editing by Michael Christie)


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Iraqi politics shuns sectarianism as violence ebbs
31 Oct 2009 16:37:29 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Politicians emphasize national unity over sect

* Decision to avoid sectarian bloc may backfire on Sunnis

By Muhanad Mohammed

BAGHDAD, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Iraq's upcoming election may mark a departure from the sectarianism that plunged the country into civil war as Shi'ite and Sunni politicians join forces and emphasise nationalism and unity. Iraqis have grown tired of the bloodshed between once dominant Sunnis and majority Shi'ites that erupted after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein and propelled the once oppressed Shi'ites into power, analysts say.

The latest example of a trend that appears likely to be a central theme of the election due on Jan. 16 occurred this week as former prime minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shi'ite, and Saleh al-Mutlaq, an independent Sunni, created an alliance.

"There are two trends -- the sectarian and divisive current, and a current of national unity. We are the current of national unity," Mutlaq said on Saturday at a chaotic news conference in a Baghdad country club.

While analysts caution that the politicians' anti-sectarian rhetoric might not be reflected in their convictions, the glimmer of national unity has given many Iraqis hope.

Overall violence has plunged in the past 18 months, but major attacks by suspected Sunni Islamist al Qaeda or adherents of Saddam's outlawed Baath party remain stubbornly common.

Last Sunday two suicide bombers detonated buses loaded with explosives outside the justice ministry and Baghdad governorate building, killing 155 people. On Aug. 19, suicide bombers in trucks rocked the foreign and finance ministries, killing 95.

The January election will be a milestone as Iraq emerges from chaos. It will determine who runs Iraq as U.S. forces draw down ahead of a full withdrawal by 2012 and who presides over multi-billion dollar deals with global oil firms. Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, seeking re-election by claiming credit for improved security, began the shift from overt sectarianism in provincial elections early this year.

His Dawa party and its allies, calling for a strong unified state and promising to deliver services, not strife, pummelled rivals across the Shi'ite south.

While many Sunnis doubt Maliki's desire for reconciliation and his government's independence from Shi'ite Iran, rivals appear to be copying the prime minister's nationalist stance.

"The sectarian fronts, whether Shi'ite or Sunni, are being rejected by Iraqis because they represent an era Iraqis are so keen to change," said Haider al-Mula, a member of the party formed by Allawi and Mutlaq.

COALITION WITH SUNNI LEADERS

Put in power by the major Shi'ite political forces in Iraq, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (ISCI) and followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Maliki is running in January in coalition with some Sunni tribal leaders.

Another alliance running in the January election was formed recently by prominent anti-al Qaeda Sunni tribal sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha and Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, a Shi'ite.

Sceptics suspect the changes are only skin-deep.

"Current members of parliament enjoying so many privileges are looking for ways to get a foot in the door of the new parliament. They'll jump on any boat that ensures they continue to have those privileges," said political analyst Ali al-Nashmy.

The formation of new alliances is also a reflection of the rupturing of Sunni political groups, and there are fears their decision not to stand as a sectarian bloc may backfire on Sunnis if they find they are underrepresented in parliament.

A Sunni boycott of the 2005 elections led many to feel resentment at their disenfranchisement, fuelling the insurgency.

Dumb and Dumber , 4 Top Secrets how Car Bomb Blasts Happens





There are more than 200 checkpoints in Baghdad; some of these checkpoints are manned by policemen, some by Iraqi army and some by both. Many of these checkpoints are equipped with explosive detectors that were supposed to enable the Iraqi forces to stop transporting explosives around the city or basically car bombs.

Most of these checkpoints are located at entry points to bridges and neighborhoods. Other checkpoints are on the main roads of Baghdad to the limit that the city is literally suffocating because of these checkpoints and the resulted traffic jam.

Before starting telling you what happens in most of the checkpoints you should know about the “explosives detectors”. The device is carried by security man who stops your car and walk beside it carrying the device. The device’s pointer changes its direction when passed by a car that supposedly carries explosives.

But the main flaw it points also if there is any chemical material like detergents or even medicine.

What happens in these checkpoints and how they are distributed in the city?!

First Scenario:

You drive into the checkpoint, and the explosives detector does not point to your car, Iraqi security orders you to drive and continue your magical trip through the elegant safe capital’s roads.

Second Scenario:

The detector points at your car, the security men orders you to drive into searching area, if there is one sometimes simply stop you in mid of the street, to search your car. The soldier responsible for searching asks the dumb and dumber questions:

- Where are you coming from and where are you going?

- Do you carry weapons?

If you answered with a wide smile, coming from X neighborhood and going to Y neighborhood and no I don’t carry weapons, you probably would leave without further questions or being searched.

Third Scenario

Detectors point at your car, you go to search, you answer the dumb and dumber two questions with a wide smile but yet the soldier insists to search your car. The search will be the following: open the trunk, soldiers will order you and that’s it.

Fourth Scenario

Your friend is a soldier or you have a badge that says you are a member of Iraqi security forces, no need to worry then, because every day we see tens of them passing all Baghdad’s checkpoints without being searched.

And till now, the government and the Iraqi forces are still insisting on depending on these checkpoints as the main tactic to control the apparently unstoppable attacks of car bombs.


I wonder, what did the American military or NATO trained the new Iraqi forces?


And here is Pakistan:

Aftermath of terrorist attacks



Special duty cards issued to police, traffic wardens

* SP says only personnel with cards will get entry to their offices
* Says data on military, police uniform dealers being collected


By Aamir Yasin

RAWALPINDI: Special duty cards have been issued to police personnel and traffic wardens in Potohar Division for the safety of their offices in view of a surge in terrorist attacks in the country, said Superintendent Police (SP) of the division Kamran Adil on Thursday.

According to the SP, police personnel and traffic wardens will be allowed the entry into the premises of their offices on production of special duty cards.

He told a news conference that the said security check would help in preventing terrorist attacks on police installations in the city.

Adil also said the dealers of military and police uniform had been warned against selling fatigues to police and army personnel only after they showed special duty cards.

He said Special Branch had been directed to collect the data of shops dealing in military and police uniform in the city.

He said strict action would be initiated against those selling military and police uniform to the ‘irrelevant’ people.

The SP said educational institutions in Potohar Division continued to be under threat. He said a special advisory had been issued to the division schools totaling 175 about security.

He said private schools had been divided in two categories for security reasons. He said 29 schools fell in Category A and 146 in Category B. He said the administrations of the schools located alongside major roads had been asked to raise boundary walls to terrorist attacks. He said police had already consulted the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board in this respect.

He said police had increased patrols and deployed a large number of personnel around schools. He said efforts were being made to enhance the performance of policemen manning checkpoints.

He said schools in Potohar Division had received over a dozen hoax calls during the last one week, triggering panic among staff, students and their parents. He said some of the hoaxers were schoolchildren, who raised false alarm out of fun. He urged people to educate children on terrorism and ways and means to counter it.

During the news conference, the SP also said the Civil Lines police had arrested a cook, Riasat Ali, along with his four associates for looting 65 tola gold jewellery, Rs 126,000 cash, two wristwatches and two cellphones from a house. He said the looted goods and cash had also been recovered. Adil also said the same police station seized four stolen vehicles.

He said the Civil Lines police also solved a blind murder case by arresting a woman, Malka Pathani, who killed her husband Muhammad Attique along with her two friends. He said the body had also been recovered from Golra Chishtiabad.

The SP said the RA Bazaar police had arrested a gang involved in the making and issuance of fake driving licences and three police officials were its members. He said police also took a computer, scanner and fake stamps into custody. He said investigation into the case was underway.

Adil further said Wah Cantonment police held a man, Muhammad Zahid alias Jugee, and seized 80 litres liquor and apparatus used for its making.

112-year-old man to wed girl, 17

A Somali man who claims to be 112 years old has married a 17-year old girl.

'Today God helped me realise my dream,' Ahmed Mohamed Dore said, after the wedding in the region of Galguduud.

Bride Safiya Abdulle's family said she was 'happy with her new husband'.

Dhore says he wanted to marry Abdulle for a long time but waited for her to grow up.

'I didn't force her, but used my experience to convince her of my love; and then we agreed to marry,' he was quoted by the BBC as saying.

He said his children and two other wives agreed to the marriage, as did Abdulle's parents.
And he claimed he wants to have more children with his young bride.

Somali adolescent girls are often married off to older men, but it is rare for a man as old as Dhore to marry a girl of Abdulle's age.

Dhore claims to be 112, but there is no way to verify the claim.

This marriage was his 6th; three of Dhore's wives have died.

Polygamy is widely practiced in predominantly Muslim Somalia.

The pair celebrated their marriage late Tuesday in central Somalia before hundreds of guests.

Safeguarding Regime Even More Important than Prayers

October 29, 2009

Hamed Irani

In very extraordinary remarks, Guards General Mohammad Ali Jaafari said that one could even forget about praying for the sake of safeguarding the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Speaking in the town of Orumieh amid religious students and West Azerbaijan province Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), General Jaafari proclaimed,
“Safeguarding the Islamic Republic is even more important than (daily) prayers,” adding, “domestic enemies of the country are trying to overthrow the regime with the help of foreign enemies.”


Jaafari, who in the days following the post June-12 contested presidential elections has emerged to be known as a key figure in the regime coup, continued,
“Battling injustice has unfortunately driven some domestic individuals who at one time were in line with the regime to be in tune with foreign enemies and they are in line together to destroy the nature of the Islamic Republic.”


Violating the will of the founder of the Islamic Republic and the express provisions of the constitution both of which forbid military men get involved in politics, this senior military official attacked election competitors of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said,
“These individuals question the injustice fighting goals of the regime and said this in their election campaigns and again during the Qods day [a day of solidarity with the Palestinian people] celebrations and their remaining members tries to question the regime again.”


This commander used the word “plot” for the massive post-election public protests and announced that “the country had just passed beyond a major danger,” and because of “public’s awareness and presence” and the “wise guidance” of the leader the danger had been overcome as the “flames of fire from this plot have been extinguished.”

The Commander at the Coup Headquarters

This is of course not the first time that the commander of the IRGC shocks the public with his remarks. Two months ago too he jumped into the political arena as a member of a political faction attacking the leaders of a competing political movement through startling remarks.

On September 2 this year, on the occasion of commemorating the martyrs of the 8-year war with Iraq, he expressly said that former president Mohammad Khatami, the current leader of Majmae Rohaniyoon Mobarez seyed Mohammad Mousavi Khoeniha and a senior member of the Sazemane Mojahedin Enghelab organization (Islamic Revolution Mojahedin) Behzad Nabavi who has been behind bars for months, were plotting to overthrow the regime and accused them of animosity with the leader of the Islamic regime distorting their statements.

Jaafari attributed these remarks to Mousavi Khoeniha, “We must strengthen ourselves and pull down the leader by any means! He must be made aware that he can not take the country towards any direction that he wishes. Khatami and his allies have plenty of experience now.”


In another part of the same talk, Jaafari attributed these words to Khatami: “If Ahmadinejad is defeated in this election, then the leader will be eliminated. If reforms are returned to the country, the leader will no longer have any authority.”

And he said that Nabavi had made these remarks at a private event:
“We must portray Ahmadinejad to be the choice of the leader so that his defeat will be the defeat of the leader as well.” Jaafari is on record to have also told Basiji militiamen under the command of the IRGC that they did not have to wait for orders from their superiors to confront protesting students and could do so on their own initiative.

Hillary Clinton: Pakistan Must Crack Down on Terrorist 'Safe Havens'

Hillary Clinton Discusses the 'Trust Deficit' in the U.S.-Pakistan Relationship
By JIM SCIUTTO
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 30, 2009


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared upbeat and relaxed in an interview with ABC News this morning, despite a sometimes contentious visit to Pakistan, a crucial ally in the fight against terrorism.
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The secretary of state questions Pakistan's willingness to go after al Qaeda.

Her Thursday comments suggesting that Pakistani leaders could get al Qaeda leaders if they'd wanted sparked a storm here, but Clinton refused to back down.

"Trust is a two-way street," she said today. "There is a trust deficit. ... It will not be sufficient to achieve the level of security the Pakistanis deserve if we don't go after those that are still threatening not only Pakistan but Afghanistan and the rest of the world, and we wanted to put that on the table, and I think it was important that we did."

Shaking off criticism, she said, "I want to have the kind of relationship where we really are talking honestly about everything between us because there's just too much at stake."

She was careful to acknowledge the Pakistani government's support in the fight against terrorism, saying, "I think they have gone after the enemies that most threaten them.
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"But," she added, "I think it would be a missed opportunity and lack of recognition of full extent of the threat if they did not realize that any safe haven, anywhere, for terrorists, threatens them, threatens us and has to be addressed."

At several public events in Pakistan, Clinton has been faced with doubts about U.S. intentions, even outright anger toward the United States.

"I have acknowledged that we've made mistakes, and I have no problem acknowledging that," she told ABC News today. "I think it's only fair but I want to move beyond that."

Her three-day visit to Pakistan comes during a week of violence and instability here: a car bomb in the Pakistani city of Peshawar that killed 105 Wednesday and, across the border in Afghanistan, an attack on the United Nations in the capital Kabul that killed 11, including three attackers.

With little more than a week to go before President Barack Obama announces his decision on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, Clinton emphasized that the United States is looking to change counterinsurgency strategy in that country.

"It's not going to be just a repeat of the same old approach, we're trying some different things, when the president makes his decision, that will be evident," she said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Pakistan today for one of the longest visits by a U.S. diplomat in years, an attempt to combat rising anti-Americanism here and convince a skeptical Pakistani public that the United States is a long-term, dependable ally.
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An alliance of three terrorist groups stage multiple attacks in Pakistan.

"I hope on this trip I will be able to start that ball rolling, so to speak, so that maybe some in your country will say, 'I really didn't have a good opinion before -- I thought it was all about, are you going to be with us or against us on the war on terrorism? But this is a new day,'" Clinton told Pakistan's leading English newspaper, Dawn, ahead of her trip.

"That's why we're turning a new page. And I hope part of what I can convey on my trip is exactly that message."

Her three-day visit, conducted under extraordinary security, comes in the middle of one of the Pakistani military's most important operations since 9/11, a 30,000-troop offensive into South Waziristan, where Pakistan says more than 80 percent of the attacks in the country are planned.

Meanwhile, in the United States, talk about the other administration job she might have had is making waves. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe writes in a new book that the president seriously considered Clinton as his running mate but said Bill Clinton would mean that there were "more than two of us in the relationship."

Asked whether her husband had cost her an opportunity to be vice president, Clinton said, laughing, "I'm happy with the job I have. … I'm not the kind of person who looks backward, I look forward."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Military plane, helicopter collide off California


By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer Thomas Watkins, Associated Press Writer – 15 mins ago

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy were searching early Friday for as many as nine people off the Southern California coast following a collision between a Coast Guard plane and a Marine Corps helicopter, officials said.

The crash was reported at 7:10 p.m. Thursday, about 50 miles off the San Diego County coast and 15 miles east of San Clemente Island, Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Allyson Conroy said.

A pilot reported seeing a fireball near where the aircraft collided, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said, and the Coast Guard informed the FAA that debris from a C-130 had been spotted. Seven people were on board the plane, a C-130, and two people were aboard the helicopter, he said.

Cpl Michael Stevens, a spokesman for the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, said the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter was on a training mission when it went down. The Cobra and its crew are part of Marine Aircraft Group 39, based at Camp Pendleton, and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is headquartered at Miramar, Stevens said.

The missing Coast Guard plane and its crew are from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jetta Disco. Crews from the Sacramento Coast Guard station fly search-and-rescue, law enforcement and logistics missions, Disco said.

The Coast Guard planned to search through the night, having sent three cutters and diverting an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the area to search for survivors. The Navy, meanwhile, sent four vessels and multiple helicopters.

"The search condition are ideal for tonight," Lt. Josh Nelson of the Coast Guard told XETV in San Diego. "We've got a clear sky, the winds are calm, the seas are calm, and we have a lot of assets out there."

San Clemente Island is the southernmost of the eight Channel Islands located 68 nautical miles west of San Diego. The Navy has owned and trained at San Clemente Island since 1934, according to the island's Web site. Naval Air Station, North Island is responsible for the island's administration.

Earlier this week, it was an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter that collided with a UH-1 helicopter over southern Afghanistan, killing four American troops and wounding two more, a Marine spokesman said.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Car bomb kills 118 in Pakistan as Clinton visits









By Zeeshan Haider and Andrew Quinn

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - A car bomb ripped through a crowded market killing 87 people in Pakistan's city of Peshawar on Wednesday, just hours after Washington's top diplomat arrived pledging a fresh start in sometimes strained relations.

Wednesday's bomb, the latest urban attack since the army launched a major assault on rural Taliban strongholds two weeks ago, was the deadliest since 2007 when around 140 died at a procession to welcome home former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated just weeks later.

The bomb went off in the busy Peepal Mandi market street in a city that for years served as the headquarters of the Pakistan- and U.S.- backed mujahideen war against the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan.

Although nobody claimed responsibility, suspicion immediately fell on Pakistani Taliban militants who are the target of the army offensive.

The rugged landscape between Afghanistan and Pakistan has become a haven for Taliban militants fighting on both sides of the border as well as many hundreds of al Qaeda operatives and other foreign Islamist insurgents.

Hours after the blast, visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a news conference that Washington fully supported Pakistan's battle.

"I want you to know that this fight is not Pakistan's alone," she said.

"So this is our struggle as well and we commend the Pakistani military for their courageous fight and we commit to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani people in your fight for peace and security.


Sahib Gul, a doctor at Peshawar's main hospital, said the dead from Wednesday's bomb included many children and women.

"The car was parked outside a market frequented mostly by women," city official Azam Khan told Reuters

"Several buildings and a mosque have been badly damaged while a fire has engulfed buildings," witness Aqueel-ur-Rehman told Reuters from the scene.

"RESOLVE NOT SHAKEN"

Defiant Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a news conference with Clinton that the militants would be crushed.

"We are facing this on a daily basis but the resolve and determination will not be shaken," he said.

Addressing those responsible, he added: "We will not buckle. We will fight you. We will fight you because we want stability and peace in Pakistan."

Pakistani stock market investors have been unnerved by the violence in recent weeks and the main index closed down 0.69 percent lower at 9,251.84 points. The rupee was also down at 83.54/59 to the dollar.

Clinton acknowledged that misunderstandings dogged U.S.-Pakistan ties and pledged to refocus the relationship on the "needs of the people" including strengthened economic assistance and development of democratic institutions.

Her visit comes amid widespread Pakistani anger over a recent major U.S. aid bill which, despite tripling assistance to $1.5 billion a year for the next five years, has been bitterly denounced for imposing conditions critics say violate Pakistani sovereignty.

The bill mainly focuses on socio-economic development but also requires Clinton to certify to Congress that Pakistan is cooperating with efforts to combat militant groups and nuclear proliferation, and to ensure civilian government control over the powerful military.

Clinton -- who this week turned 62, the same age as Pakistan itself -- said that she looked forward to bringing the U.S. message directly to the Pakistani people.

"What do people in Pakistan want? Good jobs, good healthcare, good education for our children, energy that is predictable and reliable -- the kinds of everyday needs that are really at the core of what Americans want," she said.

(Additional reporting by Kamran Haider; Writing by David Fox; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Bloodbath in Peshawar: at least 105 killed, 200 injured in Meena Bazaar car bombing

Cowards target women and children

* 19 women, 11 children among dead, 25 in critical condition
* 150 kgs of explosives used in attack
* Mosque, several other buildings collapse

By Akhtar Amin

PESHAWAR: A remote-controlled car bomb killed at least 105 people – including women and children – and injured around 200 others at the provincial capital’s Meena Bazaar on Wednesday, said officials, hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Pakistan to bolster the two countries’ alliance against Taliban and Al Qaeda.

“We have received 92 bodies and some parts of bodies and 200 injured people – including 70 women and children,” said Haider Afridi, chief executive of the Lady Reading Hospital. He said around 25 people – mostly women – were in critical condition, while only 25 bodies had so far been identified.

“Nineteen of the dead are women and 11 are children. All the dead are civilians,” Dr Zafar Iqbal told the AFP news agency as staff declared an emergency and called for blood donations.

NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain, however, said, “More than 80 people were killed ... around 200, mostly women and children, were injured in the car bomb blast.”

Bomb disposal squad chief Shafqat Malik told reporters that 150 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the remote-controlled blast. He said that some people were still trapped under the rubble.

Addressing reporters at the Lady Reading Hospital, Iftikhar linked the Meena Bazaar blast with the ongoing military operation in South Waziristan against the Taliban, saying, “foreign terrorists – including Arabs, Chechens and Uzbeks – stationed in Waziristan are carrying out attacks in Pashtun areas”.

In a message to foreign and local Taliban, the minister said, “We (civilians and the army) have won the war in Malakand division ... the fight against terrorism will continue and we will eliminate terrorists even if we have to pay with our lives.”

Although nobody claimed responsibility, suspicion immediately fell on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Sunia – a 14-year-old girl who was badly injured in her right leg – told Daily Times she had come to Meena Bazaar for shopping, as her sister was getting married next week. “It was a powerful blast... I saw smoke and dust everywhere. I saw body parts and people dying or screaming on the road,”
another witness told Daily Times.

According to the AFP news agency, the explosion brought down buildings. Flames reached out of burning wreckage and smoke billowed over the collapsed rubble of a mosque and three buildings, where rescue workers picked charred bodies out of smouldering debris and gathered human flesh in plastic bags.

Crying for help, men tried to pull survivors from beneath wreckage. One man carried away a baby with a bloody face and a group of men rescued a young boy covered in dust, but others found only bodies of the dead.

In a bid to disperse the crowd that gathered after the blast, police fired in the air and baton charged people standing near the blast site.

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Liaqat Ali told reporters that terrorists were “confused” because of the security in the city, and were – therefore – targeting public places. He said, “There was information that an explosives-laden car had entered the city.”

Mohammad Faqir, a shopkeeper at Meena Bazaar, said although people – mostly women – from the entire province and FATA visited the bazaar for shopping, there were no proper security arrangements.

According to the APP news agency, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has strongly condemned the attack, and said the government would not rest until all terrorists had been eliminated. The prime minister said the government had launched a full-scale operation against the Taliban in South Waziristan, and “we will not be cowed down by such attacks”. He said the government was fully aware of its responsibility of protecting the lives and property of civilians, and was taking necessary measures in this context. He directed provincial authorities to investigate the matter and submit a report.

APP also reported that Senior NWFP Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour had ruled out a security lapse as the cause of the blast at the market.

Three bomb attacks have been launched in Peshawar this month, including one that killed more than 50 people. They are part of at least 10 major attacks in Pakistan.


----------


‘Car was parked in market 3 hours before explosion’

PESHAWAR: Some infuriated shopkeepers at Meena Bazaar – the target of a deadly bomb attack on Wednesday – claimed that the car used in the attack was parked in “the busy place some three hours ahead of the blast”. They said the timed-device was detonated at around 12:15pm, but “the car was parked there at around 9am”. “There were no security arrangements, and vehicles were not being checked. Had there been proper security arrangements, could the car have remained in the same place – without a driver – for three hours?” one of the enraged shopkeepers told Daily Times. staff report

U.S. defense bill would pay Taliban to switch sides

If you can't win war, make them friends. The Golden US Forces Policy. How Western media twist stories:
U.S. defense bill would pay Taliban to switch sides (Alertnet)
US defense bill authorizes paying Taliban who switch (Ynetnews)

27 Oct 2009 20:48:32 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Bill includes provision to woo Taliban fighters

* Plan is to emulate Iraq program

* Obama plans to meet military commanders on Friday (Adds Obama's meeting with joint chiefs, quotes, details)

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The defense bill President Barack Obama will sign into law on Wednesday contains a new provision that would pay Taliban fighters who renounce the insurgency, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said on Tuesday.

The provision establishes a program in Afghanistan similar to one used in Iraq where former fighters were re-integrated into Iraqi society, Levin told Reuters.

Obama plans to sign the bill authorizing Pentagon operations for fiscal 2010 on Wednesday, the White House said.

Reaching out to moderate Taliban members is part of the Obama administration's plan to turn around the eight-year war in Afghanistan. Levin also has advocated trying to convince Taliban fighters to change sides by luring them with jobs and amnesty for past attacks.

Under the legislation, Afghan fighters who renounce the insurgency would be paid for "mainly protection of their towns and villages," Levin said.

It would be "just like the sons of Iraq," he said, referring to the program used in Iraq which military commanders say helped turn around a failing war.

"You got 90,000 Iraqis who switched sides, and are involved in protecting their hometowns against attack and violence." L

The bill authorizes using money from an existing Commanders Emergency Response Program, which U.S. commanders can use for a variety of purposes. It does not set a specific dollar amount for the fighters' re-integration program.

There is $1.3 billion authorized for the fund in fiscal 2010, which began Oct. 1. The money must still be allocated by defense appropriators, who are working to finish the legislation.

As part of his overall strategy review on Afghanistan, Obama is debating whether to send more U.S. troops to the region and is set to meet on Friday with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the heads of the military services, the White House said.

The meeting was "probably getting toward the end" of Obama's decision-making process, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

The Joint Chiefs office recently completed an internal assessment of the two leading proposals for troop levels in Afghanistan.

These were sending roughly 40,000 additional troops, as his commander for Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has recommended, or a far smaller number, an option McChrystal and other defense officials see as having a higher risk of failure. (Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Adam Entous and Patricia Zengerle; editing by Chris Wilson)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Heavy smoke firing in UN Guest House Kabol

The UN lost its virginity to the Americans!

In the past one would have reacted with horror if UN officials are attacked, let alone killed, as it has happened recently in Islamabad and in Kabul. In its dependence on American financial donations, the UN gradually became irrelevant, infested with incompetent ‘experts’ while its Secretary General operates as a small official of the American Department of State. For this reason the UN has been promoting American designs; declaring wars and imposing economic sanctions on countries to suit the interests of America and its friends. The sanctions on Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Syria and the current war on Afghanistan are meant mainly to promote USraeli interests. Furthermore, there are no efforts to impose sanctions on Israel or on the America if they don’t respect the UN charter or when attacking member states or violating human right conventions. Until today there is no UN denounciation of the illegal American invasion of Iraq or the random detention and torture of people at Guantanamo and at secret CIA prisons.

Furthermore, the rogue Jewish state of Israel remains in breach of 39 UN Security Council Resolutions. Yesterday 28.10.09, the UN General Assembly denounced the American sanctions on Cuba by a huge majority but the Americans disregard world opinion and continue their economic sanctions on Cuba imposed some 50 years ago. There have been calls to reform the UN organisation but as long as the Americans insist on appointing a pro-American Secretary General and influence who should be on the Security Council, outside the permanent members, the role of UN in dealing with world problems and in defending member states and human rights remains irrelevant. Nothing expressed the UN incompetence more than the mess it caused in handling the 2009 presidential election in Afghanistan.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Heavy firing, smoke after US announced to pay off Taleban insurgents.
Taleban captured UN Guest House.
AFGHAN FORCES BATTLING SEVERAL MILITANTS HOLED UP IN A U.N. GUES
28 Oct 2009 02:40:07 GMT
Source: Reuters
AFGHAN FORCES BATTLING SEVERAL MILITANTS HOLED UP IN A U.N. GUEST HOUSE IN KABUL-POLICE

EXPLOSION, GUNFIRE HEARD IN CENTRAL KABUL, PLUMES OF SMOKE SEEN RISING ABOVE BUILDINGS





Karzai's brother said to be on CIA payroll - report
28 Oct 2009 02:25:37 GMT
Source: Reuters
(For full coverage of Afghanistan, click on [nAFPAK]) (Adds more details from report)

WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been getting regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing current and former U.S. officials.

Ahmed Wali Karzai is a suspected player in Afghanistan's opium trade and has been paid by the CIA over the past eight years for services that included helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the CIA's direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, the newspaper reported.

Ahmed Wali Karzai said in an interview that he cooperates with U.S. civilian and military officials but does not engage in the drug trade and does not receive payments from the CIA, the Times said.

The CIA neither confirmed nor denied the reported payments.

"No intelligence organization worth the name would ever entertain these kinds of allegations,"
a CIA spokesman told Reuters.

The Times cited several U.S. officials as saying Ahmed Wali Karzai and the CIA had a wide-ranging relationship.

He helps the U.S. spy agency operate the
Kandahar Strike Force, a paramilitary group used for raids against suspected insurgents and militants,
the officials told the paper.

He is paid for allowing the CIA and U.S. Special Operations troops to rent a compound that once belonged to Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar, it said, adding that the compound is also the base of the Kandahar Strike Force.

The report said the president's brother also helps the CIA communicate and sometimes meet with Afghans loyal to the Taliban.


"THIS IS MY DUTY"

According to the paper,
Ahmed Wali Karzai said in an interview he received regular payments from his brother, the president, for "expenses" but that he did not know where the money came from.

"I don't know anyone under the name of the CIA," he was quoted as saying. "I have never received any money from any organization. I help, definitely. I help other Americans wherever I can. This is my duty as an Afghan."


According to the Times, the agency's financial ties to Ahmed Wali Karzai and its working relations with him have created deep divisions within the Obama administration.

Critics see the relationship as complicating Washington's increasingly tense relationship with President Karzai, it said.

The CIA's practices also suggest the United States is not doing everything in its power to stamp out the lucrative Afghan drug trade, a major source of revenue for the Taliban, the Times said.

In addition, some U.S. officials argue that the reliance on Ahmed Wali Karzai undermines the push to develop an effective central government that would eventually allow the United States to withdraw, the paper reported. (Reporting by JoAnne Allen and Adam Entous; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

------------------


By Golnar Motevalli and Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban militants killed six U.N. foreign staff in an attack on an international guest-house in Kabul on Wednesday, deepening concerns about security for a presidential election run-off due in 10 days.

The resurgent Taliban have vowed to disrupt the November 7 run-off as U.S. President Barack Obama weighs whether to send more troops to Afghanistan to fight an insurgency that has reached its fiercest level in eight years.

In another sign of the growing reach of militants, rockets were also fired at a foreign-owned luxury hotel near the presidential palace in the heart of the Afghan capital, forcing more than 100 guests into a bunker, a hotel guest said.

The Taliban said they had targeted the guest-house because of the United Nations' role in helping organize the run-off vote.

"We have said that we would attack anyone engaged in the process and today's attack is just a start," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by telephone.


One foreign woman screamed and sobbed as she limped from the guest-house. Onlookers and police carried another victim away using a blanket as a stretcher.

"It doesn't look good in there," a U.N. medic, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters at the scene.

The U.S. embassy said one American was among those killed.

The United Nations, which has operated in Afghanistan for more than half a century, said the attack would not deter it from its work, adding however that it may review security measures.

"We will in light of this morning's tragedy look at whether other appropriate measures needed to be taken to protect all our staff," said U.N. mission chief Kai Eide.

Hours after the Kabul attacks, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in neighboring Pakistan vowing a new page in U.S. Pakistan relations. Defeating the Taliban and stabilizing Afghanistan is a key plank of Washington's regional strategy against militancy.

Pakistani security forces are also engaged in a bloody campaign against the Taliban near the Afghan border. A bomb killed more than 80 people in a crowded market in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Wednesday.

NATIONALITIES UNKNOWN

The nationalities of the U.N. staff killed in the Kabul guest-house attack were unclear. The sound of gunfire and sirens echoed across the capital for hours.

Adrian Edwards, a U.N. spokesman in Kabul, said six U.N. staff had been killed and nine wounded.

President Hamid Karzai's palace and police said at least one Afghan civilian and three police were also killed.

Karzai, who is running against ex-foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah in the run-off, condemned the attack as inhumane.

"Certainly one of the aims of the Taliban attack today was to show that they are a force that can disrupt the poll," Afghan analyst Qaseem Akhgar said of the run-off.


The attackers wore police uniforms to secure entry into the guest-house, police said. A Reuters reporter saw the bodies of three of the suspected suicide bombers, apparently ripped apart when they detonated their explosives, lying inside the compound.

Abdul Ghaim, a policeman at the guest-house, said police believed the attackers were Pakistanis. Many of the insurgents in Afghanistan either shelter in, or are from, Pakistan.

A Reuters witness saw a badly burned body being carried out of the building after the shooting stopped. Officials said one female guest was missing inside the building, which was covered with bullet holes, its walls charred and windows shattered.

Rockets were also fired at the foreign-owned Serena luxury hotel, witnesses and security sources said. No one was injured and there was no major damage. Frequented by foreign visitors and diplomats, the hotel was also attacked in January 2008 when six people were killed.

DEADLIEST MONTH

Efforts to stabilize Afghanistan have been complicated by weeks of political tension over the August 20 first round of the presidential poll, which was marred by widespread fraud in favor of Karzai, forcing the run-off.

Eight U.S. troops were killed in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, the NATO-led alliance said, in the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the start of the war eight years ago.

U.S. soldiers make up two-thirds of the 100,000-strong coalition force, with Obama considering proposals to send an extra 40,000 troops or a far smaller number.

Ahead of that decision, the New York Times reported that Karzai's brother had been getting regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency and was a suspected player in Afghanistan's lucrative opium trade.

Ahmed Wali Karzai was quoted as denying the report and the CIA neither confirmed nor denied the payments.

As part of his review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, Obama is set to meet on Friday with Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the heads of the military services, the White House said.

(Additional reporting by JoAnne Allen and Adam Entous in WASHINGTON and Andrew Quinn in ISLAMABAD; Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

Monday, October 26, 2009

18 Americans die in helicopter crashes in Afghanistan - Summary









In Afghanistan, 14 US soldiers were killed and 16 wounded in a single day, 25.10.09. As promised by Dr Al-Zawahiri, Obama, the house Negro, must expect body bags while expanding G.W. Bush’s anti Islamic crusade. In fact, no-one expected a change from Obama while keeping Robert Gates in the Pentagon, appointing Rahm Emanuel, an Israeli Reserve Army Officer, as his chief of staff and endorsing the appointment of anti-Islam Rasmussen as NATO Secretary -General. As a result, it is natural to expect more violence in response to increased USraeli hostilities; as Muslims started to actively lend a hand to the on-going resistance.

Many people including the US ambassador have felt the shock and heard the noise that shook Baghdad and the US-established Green Zone; as the Iraqis knew how to pack them big and loud. At 10.30 am of 25.10.09, huge explosions damaged the Justice ministry and the seat of Baghdad administration killing at least 25 council members. Even the bathrooms of the newly-built US embassy started to leak flooding with sewage a number of offices.


One has to sympathize with the families of the innocent victims but not with the corrupt city officials, judges or the US 'advisors' and mercenaries guarding the premises. Most Iraqis want Al-Maliki to fail as he heads a client regime that serves USraeli interests in the area. The Iraqis have already blamed the Syrians for the violence in Iraq while the Americans will soon blame Iranian, Turkish and Russian Muslims for the violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In order to reduce the hatred and tension fueling the violence, the Americans must stop supporting Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, put an end to intimidating Muslims and halting the on-going anti-Islamic crusade.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times


Kabul - Fourteen Americans were killed Monday in helicopter crashes in Afghanistan, one of which was believed to be a mid-air collision between two aircraft, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said. Ten US citizens - seven soldiers and three civilians - were killed when a helicopter crashed in western Afghanistan, it said without specifying the location.

It said the cause of the accident was unknown but it was not believed to be the result of militant action.

Fourteen Afghan troops, 11 US soldiers and one US civilian were also injured.

The crash occurred after a raid on a compound where suspected militants involved in the narcotics trade were located, the ISAF said, adding that more than a dozen rebels were killed in the raid.

Mohammad Jabar, a police official in western Badghis province, identified the location as Muqur district.

He said 25 insurgents were killed in the firefight, and that a helicopter transporting troops away from the combat crashed in the province afterward. US soldiers destroyed the helicopter on the spot, Jabar added.

This year has been the deadliest for US troops and other NATO troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban regime.

More than 420 soldiers, including 256 US troops, have so far been killed in 2009, according to iCasualties.org, a website that tracks military casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, without counting the latest deaths.

Monday's deaths took to 18 the number of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan since Saturday. More than 100,000 international troops, with over 60,000 of them US forces, are currently stationed in Afghanistan.

In the southern region, two ISAF helicopters were believed to have crashed in mid-air, killing four US soldiers, the ISAF and US military said.

Hostile fire was not involved in the accident, which also injured two soldiers, the ISAF said.

Elsewhere in the country, two Afghan army soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb in southern province of Helmand on Sunday, a Defence Ministry statement said.

In other operations, 10 insurgents were killed in western Nimruz province, while a dozen other rebel fighters were killed in southern province of Kandahar, Afghan and NATO military statements said. Both incidents took place on Sunday.

Insurgent activity is on the rise, as the US administration mulls a request for 40,000 extra troops by the top NATO commander in the country, US General Stanley McChrystal.


------------------

KABUL (Reuters) - Two helicopter crashes in Afghanistan killed 11 U.S. soldiers and three U.S. civilians on Monday, NATO-led forces said in a statement.

Neither crash was caused by hostile fire, NATO said.

This year has seen a surge of violence in Afghanistan as an increasingly fierce Taliban step up operations against U.S. and NATO forces operating in the country.

Seven U.S. service members and three U.S. civilians were killed when a NATO helicopter crashed in western Afghanistan following an operation against insurgents in which a dozen Taliban fighters were killed.

Eleven U.S. troops, 14 Afghan soldiers and a U.S. civilian were injured in the crash.

Four U.S. service members were killed and two were injured when two helicopters operated by NATO-led troops collided in mid-air in southern Afghanistan, NATO said in an earlier statement.

On Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, one U.S. soldier was killed in a roadside bomb attack and another died of wounds from an insurgent attack, NATO said in a statement on Monday.

A spokeswoman for ISAF, the International Security Assistance Force, could not give any further information on the casualties or the exact location of the crashes.

(Writing by Golnar Motevalli; Editing by Nick Macfie)


--------------




Bombings push US toll to worst month in Afghan war

Bombings push US toll to worst month in Afghan war
27 Oct 2009 23:49:49 GMT
Source: Reuters
(For full coverage of Afghanistan, click on [nAFPAK])

* Bloodiest month for U.S. troops in eight years of war

* Security tight ahead of Nov. 7 presidential run-off

* Speculation of Abdullah pullout continues

* Obama to meet military chiefs on Friday

* U.S. troops decision expected in "coming weeks" (Adds U.S. poll on whether to send more troops)

By Maria Golovnina

KABUL, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Eight U.S. troops were killed in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday ahead of a run-off presidential election, the NATO-led alliance said, in the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the start of the war eight years ago.

The mounting violence comes as U.S. President Barack Obama is weighing whether to send more soldiers to Afghanistan to fight a Taliban insurgency that is at its fiercest since 2001.

The foreign ministers of Russia, China and India said the world must remain engaged in Afghanistan, with Moscow seeking a greater role for regional powers to restore stability and "counter terrorism and drug trafficking."

"The timing of the statement is significant because the Americans are now reviewing their war and it's a clear signal to the U.S. that it cannot go it alone," said Uday Bhaskar, director of the National Maritime Foundation thinktank in New Delhi.

Across the border in Pakistan, which Washington sees as a crucial ally, Islamabad's troops are in the midst of a massive offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan.

The eight U.S. soldiers killed in the bomb attacks in Afghanistan on Tuesday pushed the October death toll to 53, topping the previous high of 51 deaths in August, Pentagon officials said.

The NATO-led force said several soldiers were wounded in the attacks in the south, just a day after 11 U.S. troops and three American civilians died in separate helicopter crashes.

The bombings also killed an Afghan civilian and wounded several service members. No other details were available.

Efforts to stabilize Afghanistan have been complicated by weeks of political tension over an election in August marred by widespread fraud in favor of the incumbent president, Hamid Karzai, forcing a second round set for Nov. 7.

Karzai's camp said on Tuesday a run-off must take place even if his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, quits the race.

Karzai agreed last week to a run-off under severe international pressure after a U.N.-led fraud investigation annulled a large chunk of his votes in the original election.

Fueling talk he might pull out altogether, Abdullah set out a range of conditions this week. Karzai rejected the demands.

"We should not deprive the people from their right of voting and their right of citizenship," Waheed Omar, Karzai's chief campaign spokesman, told Reuters. "Whether or not the president and Abdullah take part in the run-off or not should not result in depriving the people of what they want."

PAYING TALIBAN TO DEFECT

Abdullah has given Karzai until Saturday to remove the country's top election official and meet other demands but would not say what he would do if his conditions were not met. Abdullah could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Concerns about security and a repeat of the fraud that tainted the first round have cast a shadow over the process, prompting some diplomats to suggest that a power-sharing deal between the two contenders looked more practical.

Karzai and Abdullah have so far publicly denied suggestions they could be in talks on a possible deal to share power.

The Taliban has already vowed to disrupt the Nov. 7 poll, highlighting the kind of challenges facing Western powers seeking to turn the tide in the eight-year war.

U.S. soldiers now make up two-thirds of the 100,000-strong coalition force, with Obama considering proposals to send an extra 40,000 troops or a far smaller number.

Public support in the United States for a troop increase is up from last month, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released on Tuesday.

The poll found 47 percent of respondents supported raising troop levels in Afghanistan, with 43 percent opposed. That was a reversal from a similar poll in September, when 51 percent opposed an increase and 44 percent supported it.

As part of his review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, Obama is set to meet on Friday with Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the heads of the military services, the White House said.

The meeting was "probably getting toward the end" of Obama's decision-making process, spokesman Robert Gibbs said, reiterating that an outcome was likely in the "coming weeks."

To reach out to moderate members of the Taliban, a defense bill Obama will sign into law on Wednesday contains a new provision that would pay militants who renounce the insurgency, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said.

The provision sets up a program in Afghanistan similar to one in Iraq in which former fighters were re-integrated into society, Levin told Reuters.

"You got 90,000 Iraqis who switched sides and are involved in protecting their hometowns against attack and violence," said Levin, the leading Senate Democrat on military matters.

The way forward for the United States and its allies is complicated by opposition to a troop build-up from some of Obama's fellow Democrats and many opinion polls showing public support for the war waning on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Afghanistan, the protracted election process and prospect of another round has disillusioned many voters, with the onset of the bitter winter adding to the challenges.

"Widespread fraud in Aug. 20 presidential and provincial council polls has deeply undermined the credibility of Hamid Karzai's government, the main beneficiary of the rigging," International Crisis Group said in a statement.

"A flawed second round will hand Taliban insurgents a significant strategic victory and erode public confidence in the electoral process and the international commitment to the country's democratic institutions." (Additional reporting by Golnar Motevalli and Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and John O'Callaghan


----------
Obama honors slain soldiers killed in Afghanistan

By Ross Colvin Ross Colvin – Thu Oct 29, 2:01 am ET

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Delaware (Reuters) – President Barack Obama saw first hand the human cost of the Afghanistan war as he welcomed home on Thursday 18 soldiers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents killed in Afghanistan this week.

Obama, flying in his Marine One presidential helicopter, landed shortly after midnight in Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, home of the United States' largest military mortuary and main point of entry for U.S. service members killed abroad.

Minutes earlier, an Air Force C-17 transport aircraft landed in the base, carrying the bodies of eight Army soldiers killed by a roadside bomb and seven soldiers and three DEA agents killed in a helicopter crash, according to the military.

Obama went into a meeting with families of the killed soldiers and agents in a chapel on the base, military officials said.

Later, a military chaplain will accompany Obama and other officials onboard and say a prayer over each flag-draped casket before it is transferred out of the aircraft, the officials said.

Six service members will carry each casket. Most of the event was closed to media and journalists will be allowed to see the transfer of only one casket, bearing the body of Sergeant Dale Griffin of Indiana.

The previously unannounced trip, Obama's first visit to the Dover base as president, comes as he weighs whether to send more troops to Afghanistan to fight an insurgency that has reached its fiercest level in eight years.

DEADLIEST MONTH

This month has been the deadliest for U.S. forces in the unpopular eight-year war Obama inherited from his predecessor, George W. Bush, and which analysts say will likely help define his presidency.

Polls show Americans increasingly weary of the war and there is skepticism, including among Obama's fellow Democrats who control the U.S. Congress, over sending more troops.

Obama has held a series of meetings with his war Cabinet to review the new Afghan strategy he put in place in March and to consider a request by his top military commander in the field, General Stanley McChrystal, for 40,000 more troops to combat a resurgent Taliban.

He is set to meet again on Friday with Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the heads of the military services, the White House said.

Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said on Tuesday the decision-making process was "probably getting to the end" and a final decision could be expected in the coming weeks.

MEDIA BAN RELAXED

Critics, particularly among opposition Republicans, accuse Obama of being overly cautious and indecisive, but the White House has said a decision of such magnitude requires careful consideration.

The process has been complicated by an Afghan presidential election in August marred by widespread fraud in favor of incumbent president Hamid Karzai. A second round is due to be held on November 7.

Underlining the fragility of the security situation even in the capital, Kabul, Taliban militants stormed a guest-house in Kabul on Wednesday and killed five U.N. foreign staff.

About two-thirds of the 100,000 NATO-led forces are U.S. troops. More than 900 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon relaxed its ban on media coverage of returning U.S. war dead by allowing families to decide whether to allow photos and television footage of the flag-draped coffins of their loved ones.

The ban had been imposed since the days of the 1991 Gulf War with some exceptions, including the return of Navy seamen killed during the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000.

Bush imposed a stricter ban during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, sparking criticism the federal government was hiding the human cost of its military operations.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Helicopter crash kills 4 US airmen in Afghanistan

26 Oct 2009 04:46:18 GMT
Source: Reuters
(For more on Afghanistan, click [ID:nAFPAK]) (Updates with details, another crash)

KABUL, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Four U.S. servicemen were killed in Afghanistan on Monday when two helicopters operated by NATO-led troops collided in mid-air, coalition forces said.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the incident occurred in southern Afghanistan. Two people were injured in the incident.

"The incident is currently being investigated, but it is confirmed that hostile fire was not involved," coalition forces said in a statement.

This year has seen a surge of violence in Afghanistan as an increasingly fierce Taliban step up operations against U.S. and NATO forces operating in the country.

Separately, another helicopter went down in western Afghanistan during an operation against insurgents, NATO-led troops said, adding that more than a dozen Taliban fighters were killed in an ensuing firefight.

"As the joint force was departing the area, one helicopter went down due to unconfirmed reasons," it said. "Military casualties are reported and a recovery operation is underway."

An ISAF spokeswoman could not give any further information on the casualties. (Writing by Maria Golovnina, Editing by Editing by Alex Richardson) (For more Reuters coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, see: http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/afghanistanpakistan)

The Najaf Conference

By Ali al-Wardi

Volume I: Chapter V (Pt.II)



Once in Najaf Nader Shah decided to organise a conference in order to build a bridge of understanding between the opposing Shia and Sunni scholars. It was the first, and maybe last, conference of its kind in Islamic history. Nader Shah gathered seventy Shia scholars from Iran, seven scholars from Turkestan and seven scholars from Afghanistan. He then invited Sayyid Nasrallah al-Hairi from Kerbala, who has the leader of Iraq’s Shia at the time, and also sent word to Ahmad Pasha asking him to provide a scholar from Baghdad to represent the Sunnis of Iraq. Ahmad Pasha sent Sheikh Abdullah al-Soweidi.

Soweidi writes in his memoir that he was at first reluctant to go but was persuaded by Ahmad Pasha to debate the Shia scholars. On December 11th 1743 he started his journey to Najaf pondering on the arguments that prove his faith and searching for answers to the possible counter-arguments the Shia would use. He walked in on Nader Shah who welcomed him and explained to him that the reason for holding this conference was to put an end to Muslims accusing each other of apostasy.

Soweidi then went to the tent of Sheikh Ali Akbar who was the leading Iranian scholar and debated him. Ali Akbar mentioned three proofs for Imam Ali being the rightful Caliph after Prophet Mohammed. The first proof was the incident of Mubahala (when the Prophet invoked the curse of God on the lying party as he debated Christians from Najran). The second proof was a verse from the Quran about giving charity whilst bowing down in worship [Quran 5:55]. The third proof was Hadith al-Manzila (when the Prophet told Ali: ‘You are to me as Aaron was to Moses’). Soweidi then tried to refute these proofs one by one.

After lengthy debates the scholars from both sides reached some common ground and signed an agreement which included five points.

I: The Iranians have reverted from their previous beliefs and have stopped cursing the first three Caliphs and have accepted the ‘Jafari’ school that is a correct school of thought to follow and should be acknowledged by judges, scholars and bureaucrats.

II: There are four corners of the Ka’ba which are assigned to the four (Sunni) schools of thought. The Jafari School will share one of these corners, the ‘Levantine’ corner, and will pray in the Jafari way after the assigned Imam has finished his prayers.

III: Every year an Emir is to be assigned from Iran to cater for the Iranian Hajj pilgrims and this Emir shall be accorded a higher status in the Ottoman Empire than the Egyptian or Levantine Emir.

IV: To free the prisoners on both sides and prevent their humiliation.

V: To appoint two representatives in the two states that shall work together to address any issues that give an appearance of there being differences in the Islamic nation.

Also in added to the agreement were the conditions that the new Jafari school would accept the Caliphate as it was after Prophet Mohammed’s death. As Jafar al-Sadiq was accepted by everyone to be a descendant of the Prophet and worthy of praise no animosity towards him would be tolerated. The new Jafari sect was to be accepted and anyone showing hostility towards them will have left Islam. The followers of the two sects in Islam are brothers in religion and it will be forbidden to kill, steal from or imprison each other (Mahbuba 1958, v.1, p.225).

After the agreement was signed by both sides triumphant celebrations took place unlike any other and Nader Shah distributed sweets on silver platters along with an incest burner made from solid gold adorned with priceless gemstones.

An important question to ask is how did Najaf Conference become so successful? In order to understand the importance of this question it is vital that one remembers the delegates of the conference used ancient logic in their debates and arguments. This does not bear fruitful outcomes no matter how long the debate lasts and we can see this from the previous dialectical debates between people from ancient times till now. It is rare to see people who can be convinced using this method and usually the longer the debate lasts the wider the gap gets.

The nature of this debate is that every proposition that is given can be contradicted with another proof. The outcome of the debate would rely more on the ability of a strong debater than on the substance of his argument.

The success of the conference was due to Nader Shah’s will and motivation and he seems to have told the Mulla Bashi and Shia scholars not to argue with Soweidi too much. Nader Shah had many eyes present in the conference who reported back to him and the Shia scholars were afraid to incur the wrath of Nader Shah and they did not know who among them were sent by him to keep watch.

Soweidi claims he won the debate with the Shia scholars but the Shia themselves say that the Mulla Bashi only kept silent because those were the wishes of Nader Shah (Ameen 1958, v.41, p.5).

Nader Shah was overjoyed by the result but in his haste forgot that the strife between the two sects had lasted for ten centuries and could not suddenly disappear simply because of an agreement was signed.

The Shah invited Soweidi to the Friday prayers in Kufa to listen to the lecture given by Iraq’s highest ranking Shia scholar, Nasrallah al-Hairi, and to hear for himself how the Caliphs are now praised by the Shia. Hairi stood on the pulpit and began praising the Caliphs, the Ahlul Bayt, and even the Ottoman Sultan but when he reached the name of Omar, the second Caliph, Hairi made a linguistic error when pronouncing his name. He added a ‘breaking’ motion to the last letter of ‘Omar’ and Soweidi was offended and angered at this mistake, which he believed was deliberate (Soweidi 1906, p.26-27).

The reconciliatory efforts were simply superficial and did not run deep into their hearts and it was clear that both sides were still suspicious of each other. Soweidi, before leaving Najaf, even tried to convince the Mulla Bashi that the Shia were not actually followers of Jafar al-Sadiq.

When the Hajj season arrived Nader Shah sent Hairi to Mecca with a copy of the agreement that had been signed in Najaf and sent a letter to the Emir of Mecca, Sharif Mas’oud, explaining that Hairi was there to execute the acts of the agreement. Hairi was allowed to pray at the Levantine corner of the Ka’ba and also gave a speech. We do not know what exactly he said but there was outrage at his speech and the Emir of Mecca sent a letter to the Ottoman Sultan explaining what had happened.

The term levantine is French in origin - levantin - and implies a geographic reference to the sun rising - soleil levant - in the east, or levant.


The Sultan ordered Hairi to be arrested and handed over to the Levantine Emir As’ad Pasha so that he could imprison him at the Citadel of Damascus. He was then sent to Istanbul (Azzawi, v.5, p.270).

In Istanbul he was brought before the Sultan and was later martyred (Khunsari 1949, p.727). Hairi was then given an official funeral. Dr Murtadha Nasrallah, a descendant of Hairi, says it has been known amongst his family that his grandfather was poisoned.

In 1745 the fighting between Nader Shah and the Ottoman Empire resumed near the Armenian border. Nader Shah lost thousands of his men but in August of that year he managed to inflict a heavy defeat on the Ottomans. When the Ottomans tried to regroup and counter-attack Nader Shah sent the Sultan a letter condemning the fighting and asking for peace and the Sultan replied agreeing that there should be an end to the sectarian warfare. On 21st March 1747 an official peace treaty was signed between the two states (Kirkukli, p.67-89).

Nader Shah enjoyed the peace for only three months as he was assassinated on June 20th 1747. According to Browne, Nader Shah had plotted to execute all the Iranians in his army leaving only the Turkmen and Uzbeks, but some Iranian officers had realised what he was about to do and so had him killed (Browne 1958, v.4, p.137).


When the officers entered his tent at night he woke up and managed to kill two of the assassins before he himself was killed (Sykes 1958, v.2, p.273). Nader Shah had a death that suited him well. He lived fighting and died fighting.

When news of his death spread chaos ensued, his tent was looted and the Shia and Sunnis within his own army began fighting each other. Ahmad Khan Durrani, who headed the Afghan and Uzbek contingent of the army, tried to avenge Nader Shah’s death but failed and so retreated to Afghanistan and founded his own empire there.

Iran fell into anarchy after the death of Nader Shah. The new kings who ruled were soon overthrown by others who took their places and what was strange is that each king when overthrowing the other would have the previous king blinded.

I - After Nader Shah died his nephew Adil Shah ruled for a year and was overthrown by his brother Ibrahim. Adil Shah was then blinded.

II - Ibrahim also ruled for a year and was overthrown by supporters of Shah Rokh, who was the son of Reza Qoli, who was blinded by his father Nader Shah.

III - Shah Rokh ruled only for a short while and then Mirza Mohammed overthrew him and had Shah Rokh blinded.

IV - Yousif Ali, one of Shah Rokh’s generals, rebelled against Mirza Mohammed and blinded him and his children, and then killed them all.

V - Mir Alam Khan and Jafar Khan overthrew Yousif Ali and blinded him.

VI - Mir Alam Khan then fought Jafar Khan and blinded him.

VII - After a short period Ahmad Khan Durrani, the Afghan Emperor, invaded and killed Mir Alam Khan – but he did not blind him.

VIII - Durrani wanted a buffer state between Afghanistan and Iran and so created a small state in Khurasan and placed ‘the blind son of the blind’ Shah Rokh in power. Shah Rokh's reign lasted for 50 years while the rest of Iran was in a state of anarchy.

In 1796 the Qajar family came to power in Iran and they followed in the footsteps of the Saffavids as they reintroduced the cursing of the Caliphs and mourning ceremonies to Iran. The sectarian fighting continued between the Iranians and Ottomans but instead of swords the war was fought with pens. When lithography was introduced to Iran in 1833 many sectarian works were printed and the sectarian feud was reignited.

When conventional wars were fought there would always be a clear winner and loser but the ‘pen wars’ were endless as neither side would admit defeat. The Iraqi people became accustomed to the continuous debates which created a barrier between them and the reality of life.



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Volume I: Chapter V (Pt.I)

Nader Qoli and the Fifth School

Nader Qoli’s efforts in bridging the sectarian gap during the end of his rule also shed some light on Iraq’s social history. He was victorious against the Ottomans and Russians around Azerbaijan and restored his reputation after capturing Tbilisi, Ganja, Baku, Gilan, Darband and Rasht. On Newroz day (21st March) 1736 he held a grand meeting on the Moghan Plains in Ardabil and invited the leading Iranian officials to a feast. He announced the death of the young Saffavid Shah and asked to be proclaimed the new King of Iran.

His conditions would be to immediately stop the cursing of the first three Caliphs and also ban those mourning ceremonies that the Saffavids had introduced in order to bring the Shia and Sunnis closer together. After the sudden death of one of the leading scholars who had opposed Qoli’s terms the rest of the officials unanimously agreed and Nader Qoli became Nader Shah.

Two reasons for setting these conditions could be that he wanted the Iranian people to forget the Saffavids, who introduced the cursing of the Caliphs and mourning ceremonies to Iran, or because he wanted to replace the Ottoman Empire with his own great Islamic state which accommodates both the Shia and Sunnis. A third reason could be because Nader Shah himself was not sectarian. He grew up in a Sunni environment, the Afshar Turkmen tribe, but led a mainly Shia army to war. He could also have been trying to imitate the Mughal King of India, Akbar Shah, who tried to unite India under a new religious sect (Browne 1958, v.4, p.137).

His plan was to create a new sect in Islam out of Shi’ism that could be added to the four Sunni schools. He named this sect the ‘Ja’fari’ school after the 6th Shia Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq. It seems Nader Shah was not the first to conjure up this sort of plan. The author of the book ‘Rowdhat al-Jannat’ writes that the Abbasid Caliph al-Qadir had agreed with Sharif al-Murtadha to add a new sect to the existing Sunni schools in exchange for 100,000 Dinars. This would give the Shia the opportunity to openly follow this new sect instead of having to hide their true faith (Khunsari 1949, p.378).

Murtadha may have suppressed this plan, assuming there was one, because the differences between the Shia and Sunnis are not just jurisprudential but run much deeper as the two sects differ on the very pillars of Islam. The Sunnis have three Principles of Religion – Unity of God, Prophethood and Day of Judgment where as the Shia have five – the three aforementioned pillars in addition to the Justice of God and Imamate.


Nader Shah named his new sect after Jafar al-Sadiq because he had lived during the time of Malik and Abu Hanifa, the two great Sunni scholars, and because he was a descendant of both Ali, through his father, and Abu Bakr, through his mother. He was known to have announced to the people ‘Abu Bakr gave life to me twice’ in order to deter the Ghullat (Shia extremists) from cursing Abu Bakr and Omar.


Nader Shah pushed towards the East with his army and conquered Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul. He then turned towards India where Mohammed Shah was ruling. Mohammed Shah was the antithesis of Nader Shah. Nader Shah never rested and was always marching or fighting while Mohammed Shah was lazy and busy enjoying worldly pleasures. This is the difference, according to Ibn Khaldun, of one who builds his might himself and one who inherits it from his father.

In 1738 Nader Shah defeated and captured Mohammed Shah near Delhi. Nader Shah pardoned his captive who then offered Nader Shah many invaluable gifts; including the ‘Peacock Throne’ that is still in Tehran and the ‘Mountain of Light’ diamond which now adorns the British Crown. After the murder of a few of his soldiers in Delhi Nader Shah ordered a wide scale massacre of the population. For seven hours Nader Shah’s army butchered over 100,000 residents while he sat on the roof of a mosque watching. Till today the term 'a Nader Shah' in the markets of Delhi means ‘slaughter’ (Sykes 1958, v.2, p.262).

On his return from India Nader Shah ordered people to refer to him as 'Shahensha' – King of Kings – and this term is still used in Iran today (Soweidi 1906, p.4). He then began to address the sectarian issues that were a cause for tension within his own army as it consisted of not just Iranians but Afghan, Uzbek and Turkmen soldiers.

He endowed the shrines of Abu Hanifa and the Shia Imams with valuable gifts, especially Imam Ali’s shrine in Najaf. Some of the gifts, possibly those taken from India, remain in the shrines’ safe. Nader Shah then offered his friendship to the Ottomans and sent them 11 elephants and 3,000 slaves. Marching with the caravan were 1,500 of his troops and when they reached Baghdad an elephant mounted with gifts was given to Ahmad Pasha (Azzawi 1953, v.5, p.262-263).

In 1724 he began to build a golden dome for Imam Ali’s shrine and spent vast amounts of money to finish it. Nader Shah spent 50,000 Toman to pay the skilled workers and the phrase 'Nader wasting in Najaf' was coined to refer to extravagant spenders (Mahbuba 1958, v.1, p.64). The social and psychological impacts of the golden dome should not be underestimated for it was the first of its kind in Iraq, and the second in the Islamic world, after Imam Ridha’s shrine in Mashhad. As the city of Najaf is on elevated ground the suns reflection causes the dome to be seen from extreme distances. This was all part of Nader Shah’s religious reforms as Imam Ali is respected by both Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Nader Shah then pushed towards Daghestan to fight the Lezgin tribes but he was swiftly defeated forcing him to retreat. The Lezgin tribes had a reputation for being persistent and fierce warriors that no army could defeat. Their reputation was well known in Iraq and the word ‘Lezgi’ is still used today to refer to people who are stubborn and dogged. On his way back two Afghans tried to assassinate him but he was only wounded. Nader Shah accused his son Reza Qoli of being behind the assassination and had him blinded – an act he immediately regretted and so he ordered the execution of all those who witnessed the procedure on the pretence that they should have sacrificed themselves for the Prince.

Nader Shah then had to deal with three rebellions. The first in Azerbaijan led by a man who claimed to be the son of the Saffavid Shah Hosein and he was assisted by the Lezgin tribes as well as the Ottomans. Nader shah crushed this rebellion and when the instigator was brought before him he ordered his men to take out one of his eyes. The second rebellion was led by Taqi Khan the ruler of the Fars province. Nader Shah also defeated him and as before ordered his men to take out an eye and he executed his entire family. The third rebellion was led by Mohammed Hussein Qajari, and this time after defeating the rebels Nader Shah ordered two pyramids to be built using their skulls (Sykes 1958, v.2, p.266-277).

It seems Nader Shah wanted to follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane by building pyramids of skulls and imitating their cruelty. In 1743 Nader Shah declared war on the Ottoman Empire because they refused to acknowledge the Ja’fari sect and declared the Shia to be outside the realm of Islam which meant they could be killed and imprisoned under Sharia law. As Nader Shah marched with his army and crossed the Iraqi border he did not head for Baghdad and it appears there was a secret pact made between him and Ahmad Pasha, who allowed the Iranian army passage across Iraq.

Nader shah attacked Kirkuk and Erbil and then surrounded Mousil. He had 100 cannons raining down bombs on the city day and night. His cannons darkened the skies during the day and lit it up at night (Longrigg 1962, p.148).

The siege lasted for 42 days, in which Nader Shah fired more than 40,000 bombs and attacked the city five times. The people of Mousil bravely fended off the attacks and swore to kill their own women if Nader Shah entered Mousil lest they fall into the hands of the enemy
(Mousili 1932, v.1, p.278).

Nader Shah then negotiated with the officials of Mousil and the siege was called off and the two parties exchanged gifts. He then marched towards Baghdad and informed Ahmad Pasha that he wanted peace with the Ottoman Empire. He then visited the shrines of the Shia Imam’s in Kadhimiya and Najaf, wanting to see the golden dome that he had ordered to be built (Soweidi 1906, p.5).

Bibliography

Azzawi, Abbas 1953. Tareekh al-Iraq Baynal Ihtilalayn, Baghdad.

Browne, Edward 1958. A Literary History of Persia, Cambridge.

Khunsari, Mohammed Baqir 1949. Rowdhat al-Jannat fe Ahwal al Uluma’ wal Sadat, Tehran.

Longrigg, Stephen Hemsley 1962. Arba’at Quroon min Tareekh Iraq al-Hadeeth, Translated by Jafar Khayyad, Baghdad.

Mahbuba, Jafar 1958. Madhi al-Najaf wa Hadhiroha, Najaf.

Mousili, Suleiman Dha’igh 1932. Tareekh al-Mousil, Cairo.

Soweidi, Abdullah 1906. Al-Hojaj al-Qad’iya li Ittifaq al-Firaq al-Islamiya, Cairo.

Sykes, Percy 1958. A History of Persia, London.

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Bibliography

Ameen, Mohsen 1958. A’yan al-Shi’a, Beirut.

Azzawi, Abbas 1953. Tareekh al-Iraq Baynal Ihtilalayn, Baghdad.

Browne, Edward 1958. A Literary History of Persia, Cambridge.

Khunsari, Mohammed Baqir 1949. Rowdhat al-Jannat fe Ahwal al Uluma’ wal Sadat, Tehran.

Kirkukli, Rasool. Dowhat al-Wozara’, translated by Musa Kadhim, Beirut.

Mahbuba, Jafar 1958. Madhi al-Najaf wa Hadhiroha, Najaf.

Soweidi, Abdullah 1906. Al-Hojaj al-Qad’iya li Ittifaq al-Firaq al-Islamiya, Cairo.

Sykes, Percy 1958. A History of Persia, London.

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