BUZZFLASH NOTE: Once again, these are the views and perspectives of the individual papers, not of BuzzFlash or Gloria. They offer BuzzFlash readers a way of reading what other nations are saying about the crisis, whether we like it or not.
1//Pravda, Russia--JACK DUGGAN: FROM TORA BORA TO BORA BORA ("Yet, thousands of Taliban fighters from Pakistan and thousands more battle-hardened Al Queda terrorists escaped over several days during the "pauses in bombing" by the USA. Something doesn't smell right.")
2//The Independent, UK--WAR IN AFGHANISTAN: HAS THIS MURKY AND CONFUSING WAR SOLVED ANYTHING? ("Terrorism, it can be guaranteed, is alive and well - in the Middle East, in Somalia and in the hearts of those young Afghans who saw their villages destroyed and heard the United States claim that it never happened.")
3//Pakistan News Service, Pakistan--PAKISTAN RESPONDS: BANS INDIAN AIRLINES, REDUCES INDIAN DIPLOMATIC STAFF BY 50% ("Does India really think Pakistan is stupid enough to sponsor such attacks over Indian parliament, when Pakistan is actively engaged with USA to fight terrorism in Afghanistan," said Abdul Hameed a Foreign office employee.)
4//The Pioneer, India--LeT REDUCED IN THE PAK MOVE TO A NAUGHT ("India would share evidence with FBI to prove that Pakistan's initiative of freezing accounts of militant groups was just an eyewash.")
5//The Globe and Mail, Canada--CHANNEL TUNNEL CLOSES AFTER MASS OF REFUGEES ATTEMPT CROSSING ("Asked if he thought the almost 53-km crossing was possible on foot, he replied: 'For Afghans, that is nothing, just exercise.'"
6//Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates--HEZBOLLAH ARMED WING TO REMAIN AS LONG AS OCCUPATION: IRAN ("Ammar Mussawi, a Hezbollah member of the Lebanese parliament, also said Friday that the group 'will not abandon the resistance option' against Israel, despite US pressure on Lebanon and Syria for the group to stop its attacks.")
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1//Pravda.RU 14:10 2001-12-27
JACK DUGGAN: FROM TORA BORA TO BORA BORA
It seems that our government has allowed ex-CIA agent Osama Bin Laden and over 3,000 of his Al Queda terrorist regulars to fly out of Afghanistan under the guise of evacuating Pakistani wounded. They are now laughing at us as they sun themselves in Somalia and Abu Dhabi, while our grunts are chasing their tails inside the caves of Tora Bora. It is reported that the Tora Bora cubbyholes never held more than 300 Al Queda fighters, instead of the thousands and thousands touted by our 'intelligence' agencies. The paltry 300 were sent there as a diversion for the rubes watching on CNN.
By agreement, the U.S. stopped bombing the airport at Kunduz to allow the humanitarian evacuation of mostly wounded native Pakistani Taliban troops, so that they could return to their country in exchange for the cooperation we had received from Pakistan. While they were being airlifted out, several charter planes of Russian design landed and left at the same times, taking as many as 4,000 armed Al Queda terrorists out of Afghanistan, including Osama Bin Laden.
Apparently, the evacuation lasted almost a week, starting around the third week of November. Our geniuses kept bombing and strafing Tora Bora for weeks, even though the enemy was never there, to make sure that our media got plenty of photo ops of the War on Terrorism making an impressive amount of smoke and noise. I bet many of you have seen the fantastic weapons our aircraft carry. They have special bombs that crater entire airport runways so that they are not usable without months of repairs. So, I ask you, how can it be that we have been "bombing" the airport at Konduz, yet allowed planes to land on its runways? Doesn't bombing an airport make it useless? Yet, thousands of Taliban fighters from Pakistan and thousands more battle-hardened Al Queda terrorists escaped over several days during the "pauses in bombing" by the USA. Something doesn't smell right.
Speaking of morons, many American are still reacting to the new War On Terrorism with patriotic fervor, setting U.S. flags rippling on their car antennas, front porches and even their kids' tricycles. It doesn't matter to patriots that if any cop says they're a suspected terrorist for yelling at a meter maid, they can be arrested and jailed without hearing the charges against them, without an attorney, without a phone call and without bail. Next, they can be tried by a secret court, convicted with secret evidence, then even executed in secret. They can disappear off the face of the earth, grabbed up by the new Gestapo, the USA P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act Secret Police, while families wonder who is now supposed to raise and lower the nine-foot America flag every night in front of the family home. It simply doesn't matter that all Civil Rights have been trashed, because it's the other guy who's a suspect, not a patriot.
Lower your heads for the yoke of the New World Order to set gently on your necks, while IBM executives sail on their tax-free yachts. They are now laughing at us as they sun themselves off the coasts of Somalia and Abu Dhabi, echoed by the laughter of Osama Bin Laden, lilting in the warm, offshore breeze. Let's all sing, America the Beautiful.
2//The Independent 28 December 2001
WAR IN AFGHANISTAN: HAS THIS MURKY AND CONFUSING WAR SOLVED ANYTHING?
Richard Lloyd Parry
In trying to make sense of the war in Afghanistan, it is worth thinking back in time to the week of 11 September and remembering what form the "war on terror" seemed likely to take at the moment of its birth. From the first hours after the New York and Washington attacks, and George W Bush's early, ashen television appearances, it was clear that the response would be violent - 24 hours after the collapse of the World Trade Centre, the president was describing the attacks as "more than acts of terror. They were acts of war".
It became obvious that the conflict would be fought in Afghanistan, and that its focus would be Osama bin Laden, his al-Qa'ida network and the Taliban government which gave them sanctuary. It was clear that it would begin with a bombing campaign, and be won or lost as much through diplomatic skill as on the battlefield. But, apart from these observations, this is a war in which little has turned out as expected.
Retaliation for the American assault, in the form of more terrorist attacks, seemed almost a certainty in mid-September: but the only significant incidents - the mail-borne anthrax spores - seem likely to have been the work of a home-grown American terrorist. The "ground campaign" in Afghanistan, which seemed bound to bring American casualties, was brief, perfunctory and almost painless. And, despite warnings about the destabilising effect of the war on the Islamic world, the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and central Asia remained in place.
The promised internal collapse of the Taliban never came either, and the Americans' chief object, Osama bin Laden, is still pumping out home videos for broadcast by al-Jazeera television. Three months after the first bombs fell, this has turned out to be a murky and confused war, in which optimists and pessimists have been confounded.
The Taliban have certainly been vanquished, but it can be counted as a victory only when a stabler and more representative government is installed in their place. The fragile, fractious and temporary "provisional government", installed 10 days ago, is a long way from being that. The second war aim - the capture of bin Laden - seems as far from being accomplished now as it was on 11 September. And what about global terrorism, the "elimination" of which was the greatest war goal of all? Whatever the war has achieved, it has added to, not reduced, the number of human beings with reason to fear and hate the United States. Terrorism, it can be guaranteed, is alive and well - in the Middle East, in Somalia and in the hearts of those young Afghans who saw their villages destroyed and heard the United States claim that it never happened.
3//Pakistan News Service Updated on 2001-12-27 19:58:31
PAKISTAN RESPONDS: BANS INDIAN AIRLINES, REDUCES INDIAN DIPLOMATIC STAFF BY 50%
Islamabad Dec 26 (PNS): Pakistan is going to respond equally against Indian's decision to not to allow PIA to fly over Indian space and by asking to reduce 50% Pakistani staff in its high commission in New Delhi.
"We will also not allow Indian Airline to fly over Pakistan's airspace and would ask India to reduce its staff to 50% from Islamabad. " Mr. Aziz Khan, offcial spoke person of Pakistan's foreign office told PNS. Earlier India also called it's high commissioner from Islamabad, but Pakistan acted maturely by not doing the same. It will help Pakistan to keep the diplomatic doors open at high-level, one official said while talking to reporters.
India has accused Pakistan for the attack over Indian Parliament on Dec 12th. Pakistan has called it false and a lie. "Does India really think Pakistan is stupid enough to sponsor such attacks over Indian parliament, when Pakistan is actively engaged with USA to fight terrorism in Afghanistan," said Abdul Hameed a Foreign office employee.
4//The Pioneer December 28, 2001
LeT REDUCED IN THE PAK MOVE TO A NAUGHT
Deepak Sharma/New Delhi
Transcripts of cellular phone conversations reveal that even before the Pakistani Government could freeze bank accounts of Lashkar-e-Toiba, the militants, with the connivance of ISI top brass and officials of the Faisal Bank, transferred huge amounts of money to benami accounts in Karachi, Lahore and the United Arab Emirates. Lashkar's money managers even had links with hawala operators in Srinagar.
India would share evidence with FBI to prove that Pakistan's initiative of freezing accounts of militant groups was just an eyewash.
Sources said in Pakistan, top officials of Faisal Bank had sponsored advertisements in local dailies on behalf of the Lashkar headquarters in Muridke. Few account numbers where contributions could be made were flashed. Subsequently, large amounts were transferred in overseas branches in Dubai, Sharjah and other cities in the Gulf. Lashkar's key members and officials also invested huge amounts in real estate in the Emirates, Intelligence sources said. End.
5//The Globe and Mail POSTED AT 4:10 PM EST Wed., December 26
Link to Globe and Mail article
CHANNEL TUNNEL CLOSES AFTER MASS OF REFUGEES ATTEMPT CROSSING
Sangatte, France - Hundreds of refugees living in a cramped Red Cross centre trampled barriers and raced past security officers at the Channel Tunnel in a desperate attempt to get to Britain by foot. The uprising ended early Wednesday with arrests and tear gas.
The drama shut down train traffic for the night and highlighted the plight of some 1,300 Iraqi Kurds, Afghans, Iranians and other refugees holed up indefinitely in this northern French village, vowing to try again and again to reach Britain. There, inspired by relatively liberal asylum laws, they dream of establishing homes, getting a job and living peaceful lives.
Every night, dozens of refugees who live in mobile homes and tents at the centre attempt the dangerous crossing, trying either to jump on trains or navigate the tunnel on foot. Most are caught, but others make it through.
In all, about 550 refugees from the Red Cross centre attempted the crossing in two waves beginning Tuesday night. Such a large-scale attempt is not unprecedented, but is rare. The refugees were trying to take advantage of the reduced traffic on Christmas Day.
"We decided to form two groups - A and B," Ahmed, a 23-year-old Afghan from Kabul, told The Associated Press Wednesday, speaking in a Persian dialect. "We thought we could cross all together by foot. We had almost managed, but at the very end the police stopped us." Asked if he thought the almost 53-km crossing was possible on foot, he replied: "For Afghans, that is nothing, just exercise."
Eurotunnel says it intercepted about 18,500 refugees trying to cross the tunnel in the first half of 2001 alone.
6//Khaleej Times 27 Dec 2001. 12 Shawwal, 1422
HEZBOLLAH ARMED WING TO REMAIN AS LONG AS OCCUPATION: IRAN (via Agence France Presse)
BEIRUT - Lebanon's Shiite fundamentalist Hezbollah will continue to have a military arm so long as Lebanese land is occupied, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohamad Sadr said here on Thursday.
Ammar Mussawi, a Hezbollah member of the Lebanese parliament, also said Friday that the group "will not abandon the resistance option" against Israel, despite US pressure on Lebanon and Syria for the group to stop its attacks.
"Hezbollah first existed to fight the occupation," Sadr told reporters after meeting with President Emile Lahoud on his arrival by land from neighboring Syria.
In Beirut, Sadr was also due to meet with Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Foreign Minister Mahmud Hammud and Hezbollah officials. Iran has close ties with Lebanon and its power-broker Syria, which along with Tehran is a main backer of Hezbollah. Hezbollah spearheaded the guerrilla war that led to Israel's May 2000 troop pullout from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.
Beirut has refused to bow to a US request to freeze Hezbollah assets, arguing that the movement is not an international terrorist movement but a local resistance group countering the ongoing Israeli occupation of the disputed Shebaa Farms border area. - AFP
Copyright 2001, Gloria R. Lalumia