Thursday, January 01, 2009


Dangerous Liaisons: Pakistan, India and Lashkar-e Taiba
Graham Usher
December 31, 2008
(Graham Usher, a contributing editor of Middle East Report, filed this article from Lahore.)

For more on radical Islamists in Pakistan, see Graham Usher, “The Pakistan Taliban,” Middle East Report Online, February 13, 2007.
See also Kamran Asdar Ali, “Pakistani Islamists Gamble on the General,” Middle East Report 231 (Summer 2004). Order the issueonline.
The day after Christmas, the wires buzzed with reports that Pakistan was moving 20,000 troops from its western border with Afghanistan to locations near the eastern border with India. The redeployment, said Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Qureshi, came in response to “certain developments” on the Indian side of the boundary, one reportedly being that New Delhi might be considering military strikes on militant bases inside Pakistan. Pakistani security officials stressed that these moves were “minimum defensive measures”: No soldiers had been taken away from the theater of counterinsurgency operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, only from “snowbound areas” where the army sits idle. Still, the troop transfers marked another dip in relations between India and Pakistan since the November 26 massacre of over 170 people in the Indian metropolis of Mumbai.

Egyptian ship seized by Somali Pirates01/01/2009
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - An Egyptian official says that Somali pirates have seized an Egyptian cargo ship with 28 crew members on board.
The vessel, called Blue Star, was carrying 6,000 tons of fertilizers when it was attacked and snatched after it passed through the Red Sea and entered the Gulf of Aden on Thursday morning.

Hamas is Not Iran's Puppet
New America Media, Commentary, William O. Beeman, Posted: Dec 31, 2008
Editor’s Note: The popular wisdom that Iran is pulling the strings behind Hamas doesn’t take into account the geography of Gaza argues William O. Beeman. Beeman is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota and past-president of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association. He is the author of “The ‘Great Satan’ vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs’: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other,” published by the University of Chicago Press (2008). ANGELES : Two men were arrested in California and charged with illegally exporting to China thermal-imaging cameras, a national security controlled item, the Justice Department (DOJ) said Wednesday. The US Attorney's office in Los Angeles said Sam Ching Sheng Lee, 63, and his nephew Charles Yu Hsu Lee, 31, were charged under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and face up to 25 years in federal prison if convicted. Charles Lee is a native of China and Ching Lee is a native of Taiwan, the DOJ said in a statement.

First of all, Muslims are too cowardly for epic last stands; and they are just about bright enough to think
that a Last Stand is a victory...Custer and the Alamo come to mind.

Hamas plans to defeat Israeli force with epic "last stand" at Gaza City
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
January 1, 2009, 12:39 PM (GMT+02:00)
DEBKAfile's military sources report that Hamas does not propose to put its entire 15,000-strong army in harm's way against the expected Israeli military invasion. It will confine its resistance to small pockets and sabotage and let Israel troops occupy most of Gaza Strip territory. Assuming the incoming force will stop short of conquering Gaza City and put it to siege, Hamas planners believe this siege force will be Israel's Achilles heel. They propose to wear it down over weeks by nocturnal guerrilla forays from within Gaza City and force an inconclusive end to the conflict.

Thousands of Hamas combatants have begun infiltrating Gaza City after shedding their uniforms and are taking over civilian apartments.

Gaza's tunnel economy collapses in bombing raids
By IBRAHIM BARZAK And DIAA HADID Associated Press Writers
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- The Gaza Strip has lost its last lifeline after five days of Israeli bombing raids that destroyed dozens of smuggling tunnels under the sandy border with Egypt.
The passages did not just supply Hamas with arms, but brought in flour, fuel and baby milk. For Gazans, already used to blackouts and shortages from an 18-month border blockade, the daily hunt for basics is ever more desperate - though there are no reports of outright hunger.

Shadow of Iran Looms Large Over Gaza
by Walid Phares
The Israeli air raids on Hamas’s infrastructure along with troop movements around Gaza’s enclave and the shelling of Israel by the jihadist organization are both troubling developments in the Middle East but they are certainly neither new nor surprising.

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