Posted by MataHarley on 7 March, 2009 at 3:29 pm. 18 comments already!

Oh my… From Helene Cooper and Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s NYTs story today, we now know the the Delegator/Campaign in Chief is confusing the Taliban with Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq.

President Obama declared in an interview that the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.

Mr. Obama pointed to the success in peeling Iraqi insurgents away from more hard-core elements of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a strategy that many credit as much as the increase of American forces with turning the war around in the last two years. “There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani region,” he said, while cautioning that solutions in Afghanistan will be complicated.

First, it may be presumptuous of me to point out there is no such thing as a “moderate element” in the Taliban. Secondly, it was not al Qaeda that the US engaged in it’s first military action post 911… it was against the very elements that Obama now wants to engage in chit chat…. Afghanistan’s Taliban.

I guess all that fatigue from domestic issues, detracting from his foreign policy judgment is really affecting the guy’s thinking process….

~~~

And while somewhat off topic, but related to my other “fatigued” post, Obama seems to feel a bit cheated that he didn’t inherit the Clinton era economic and world trends:

“Look, I wish I had the luxury of just dealing with a modest recession or just dealing with health care or just dealing with energy or just dealing with Iraq or just dealing with Afghanistan,” Mr. Obama said. “I don’t have that luxury, and I don’t think the American people do, either.”

That was never to be the case from the moment Obama started campaigning, to his “historic” installation in office. Each POTUS has it’s own devils to parry… tho for Clinton it was surprisingly easy. Saddam had already been driven out of Kuwait, and sanctions and inspection put into place.

For Bush, it started out to be the mild (by comparison) recession inherited, followed by the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor.

So do forgive me if I take Obama’s petulant and whimsical wishes for an easy, high profile gig with nary a wisp of sympathy.

~~~

But back to the latest and greatest thought on Obama foreign policy… confusing the Taliban with a negotiable ally against a common enemy.

Listen up, Mr. POTUS… the Taliban and al Qaeda are indistinguishable. Unlike the Sunni tribal leaders, suffering genocide and mass murders at the hands of the AQ friendly and associated jihad groups – plus the Saddam disgruntled – the Taliban are not being oppressed by al Qaeda.

Yet even on the campaign trail, candidate Obama fooled the American voter into believing that “exploring” the options of a Taliban faction breakaway was a possibility. That’s about as possible as Pelosi pulling away from the WH admin agenda on differences of a few billion in spending….

Truly this is a tragedy that Obama still, after taking office, doesn’t understand that a fireside chat with Taliban leadership – (or suspected underlings who may rebel… and are virtually powerless in the organization) – is not one hair’s breadth different than hosting Bin Laden himself. This is, after all, the same organization headed by Mullah Omar that the US and coalition ousted for harboring Osama Bin Laden

“If you talk to General Petraeus, I think he would argue that part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us because they had been completely alienated by the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said.

At the same time, he acknowledged that outreach may not yield the same success. “The situation in Afghanistan is, if anything, more complex,” he said. “You have a less governed region, a history of fierce independence among tribes. Those tribes are multiple and sometimes operate at cross purposes, and so figuring all that out is going to be much more of a challenge.”

But of course, Mr. Obama. Or perhaps, better put, duh wuh. Afghanistan and it’s tentacles to Pakistan could not be more different.

It should be noted that those Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq did not seek to overthrow the elected Iraq government when they allied to the side of the Iraq-US battle, and had agreed to participate in that same government. There is no indication of such similar cooperation within the Afganistan (or Pakistan) Taliban.


In fact, in 2005, the Taliban staged a limited but violent resurgence to *disrupt* the first Afghanistan election in three decades. Even this year, the Fghanistant government is postponing the elections until August for better weather and improving the ability to secure the polls against Taliban antics.

Then, of course, there is history of such negotiations between the Taliban and Pakistan from Bhutto’s era to today… of which this POTUS seems determined to ignore (or is reluctant to profess his ignorance). Leaving aside all these failed historic “truces” surely the POTUS and his advisors have the wherewithall to just look back to the past month and note the latest deterioration by Pakistan willingly surrendering SWAT to the Taliban elements in these supposed agreements with the jihad movements.

This politically and militarily cowardly move by Pakistan’s government has resulted in the Taliban creating a new united front with Mullah Omar to battle US/NATO troops in Afghanistan. And it’s not made life from the SWAT denizens too peachy either… especially the women.

And how has that been received in Pakistan? With worry, and justifiably so.

And a more recent update to the worries about expanded control rather than peace with such agreements? The NYTs expounds just yesterday.

The Taliban and the Pakistani Army signed a truce last month in Swat, the once popular tourist area just an hour north of the capital. But far from establishing peace, the pact seems to have allowed the Taliban free rein to expand their harsh religious rule.

Just days after the truce was signed, a member of a prominent anti-Taliban family returned to his mountain village, having received assurances from the government that it was safe. He was promptly kidnapped by the Taliban, tortured and murdered.

The militants then erected roadblocks to search cars for any relatives who dared travel there for his funeral. None did.

This week, two Pakistani soldiers who were part of a convoy escorting a water tanker were shot and killed because they failed to inform the Taliban in advance of their movements.

~~~

Previous accords with the militants in Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal areas have effectively created ministates with sanctuaries for Qaeda and Pakistani militants. The Pakistani government argued that the truce in Swat would free up the Pakistani Army, reduce civilian suffering and satisfy popular dissatisfaction with the local judiciary

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The government said it saw the truce as a way to separate what it considered to be more approachable militants, like Mr. Muhammad, from hard-line Taliban leaders like Maulana Fazlullah, his son-in-law, who is a young warlord flush with money and weapons. Mr. Fazlullah, backed by the main Pakistani Taliban group and Qaeda fighters, led the fight in Swat against the Pakistani Army in the past year.

Critics of the deal say that it has accomplished nothing like that, and that it has simply handed Swat, once a tolerant, princely kingdom, to the Taliban.

~~~

Despite the truce, most people remain terrified of the Taliban, said Mohammad Amad, executive director of a private aid group, the Initiative for Development and Empowerment Axis. Militants continue to hunt down anyone who backs the government and the army.

Read the NYTs link, and the story of the trusting business man who returned after this so called “truce”, only to be found days later with the skin ripped from his back.

Note also that this Taliban “truce” now demands that every village household contribute one “one young man to their ranks”.

That, Mr. Obama, would be the ranks dedicated to battling the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, as per their recent re-affirmation of allegience to the Afghanistan Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. The same Mullah Omar that the US fought to depose with it’s post 911 battle for giving Osama Bin Laden safe haven.

Three rival Pakistani Taliban groups have agreed to form a united front against international forces in Afghanistan in a move likely to intensify the insurgency just as thousands of extra US soldiers begin pouring into the country as part of Barack Obama’s surge plan.

The Guardian has learned that three of the most powerful warlords in the region have settled their differences and come together under a grouping calling itself Shura Ittihad-ul-Mujahideen, or Council of United Holy Warriors.

Nato officers fear that the new extremist partnership in Waziristan, Pakistan’s tribal area, will significantly increase the cross-border influx of fighters and suicide bombers – a move that could undermine the US president’s Afghanistan strategy before it is formulated.

The unity among the militants comes after a call by Mullah Omar, the cleric who leads the Afghan Taliban, telling Pakistani militants to stop fighting at home in order to join the battle to “liberate Afghanistan from the occupation forces”.

Lest this be construed as Obama wanting a chit chat with just those friendly Taliban, we need to Defense Secy’ Gate’s comments just last month:

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday that Washington could accept a political agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban if the insurgents will lay down their arms and accept the government’s terms.

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The reporter asked whether, if Pakistan succeeds in pacifying militant activity in Swat, the United States would allow Afghans to make a similar type of agreement.

Gates replied: “If there is a reconciliation, if insurgents are willing to put down their arms, if the reconciliation is essentially on the terms being offered by the government then I think we would be very open to that.

“We have said all along that ultimately some sort of political reconciliation has to be part of the long-term solution in Afghanistan.”

This reconcilitory mood, on the heels of Pakistan gifting the Taliban with the SWAT valley, makes me wonder if the new US POTUS is thinking of following Pakistan’s lead….

Hello?? Just what part of the “Taliban” does Obama think will negotiate without using it as an opportunity for “reload” or advantage in the battle for power and control over Afghanistan??

six-letter-word-for-cease-fire

Go get some rest, Mr. President, since you are unable to focus on foreign policy adequately, simultaneously with the domestic issues. In the meantime, there are many of us who wait out your term, and hope you cause minimal damage in the interim… both foreign and domestically. In the meantime, your inadequacy scares the begeezus out of me.

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