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Musharraf Places Benazir Under House Arrest; Moderate Daily Slams US on Iraq
by juan cole (reposted)
Friday Nov 9th, 2007 7:54 AM
From a Friday, November 9, 2007 entry on Informed Comment, Juan Cole's blog

Musharraf Places Benazir Under House Arrest;
Moderate Daily Slams US on Iraq

Pakistani dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf has ordered opposition leader Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan People's Party placed under house arrest at her residence in Islamabad. Some 5,000 members of the PPP have been rounded up, and 50 close aides of Benazir have been arrested, according to Aljazeera. The moves were aimed at preventing Bhutto from leading a mass rally in nearby Rawalpindi.

The Musharraf government maintains that under the terms of the state of emergency declared by the general last Saturday, mass gatherings are forbidden. Most other major political figures had already been detained.

Musharraf also went on television to demand that the press and media report on the positive aspects of the brutal military crackdown and suspension of the constitution, rather than dwelling on the negative.

The USG Open Source Center translates an editorial in the Jang newspaper, Pakistan's largest Urdu daily, which is usually moderate and politically neutral. This piece, however, attacks the US presence in Iraq as an brutal occupation, aimed at stealing Iraq's resources and 'showering favors on Israel.' It also defends Iran (Pakistanis are mostly Sunni and have a rivalry with Iran). Jang owns the popular GEO satellite television network that broadcasts from Dubai and has been threatened by Gen. Musharraf. I take it that they are turning anti-American, partially out of disappointment because of US backing of Musharraf, and partially because they can attack the US as an indirect way of attacking Musharraf but without suffering the consequences. I repeat that this sort of strident language about the US had not been characteristic of Jang earlier, and it seems to me a sign of the radicalization of the Pakistani middle classes.

' Pakistan Editorial: Terrorism in Iraq 'Natural' Reaction to US Troop Presence
Editorial: "Peace is Not Possible Without the Withdrawal of Foreign Forces From Iraq"
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

The United States seized the opportunity to take unjust action against its rivals, in particular Muslims, following the disruption of the balance of power, the establishment of a uni-polar system, and upon America becoming the sole superpower of the world. The phrase "the beginning of the crusade" was uttered by President Bush on the eve of the invasion of Afghanistan. Although an attempt was later made to explain that it was just a slip of the tongue, the fact is that the United States and its Western allies have made Islam their target. Due to this very reason, they invaded Iraq after Afghanistan, claiming that Baghdad had started production of weapons of mass destruction and long-range weapons. In response, former Iraqi President Saddam Husayn invited IAEA experts and UN arms inspectors to visit the country and inspect its military installations.

These military experts combed holy shrines, mosques and religious institutions, desecrating them under the pretext of inspecting Iraq's military installations. They even searched Saddam Husayn's homes. The experts were compelled at long last to acknowledge that there was no evidence of the presence of nuclear, lethal, or other long-range weapons anywhere in Iraq. In spite of all this, the US subjected Iraq to repressive aggression, as a result of which hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fallen victim to the coalition troops during the past five years.

The majority of the Iraqi people are deprived of basic needs and children are dying from a lack of food and medicine. Several coalition troops have raped Iraqi women. The sacred mausoleums of many prophets and God's messengers, besides those of Hazrat Ali, Imam Hussain, and Imam Askari, have suffered damage. The people of a country which is the largest producer of the purest oil has been rendered destitute and dependent on others. The United States has laid a pipeline from Iraq to supply oil to Israel. It is proof that the ulterior motive behind the invasion of Iraq was to seize the mineral resources of Iraq and to shower favors on Israel.

The coalition forces have failed to control the situation, despite using all the military might and force at their disposal, while committing aggressions and atrocities against the Iraqi people. As a result, the country has turned out to be a bed of thorns instead of a bed of roses. The Iraqi people continue to offer up stiff resistance and dozens of people are killed in suicide attacks every day. The suicide assailants are out to target the coalition troops and their installations. The farce staged by the United States to hold elections and set up a representative government in Iraq also failed, because by doing so it wanted to fan differences between Shiites and Sunnis to tighten its grip on the country.

Thus, over 44 political and religious parties boycotted the election, and dissociated themselves from the electoral process to clearly illustrate their distaste of the US designs. The so-called elected government also failed to overcome the situation. Keeping in view the growing resistance of the Iraqi people and the losses suffered by the coalition forces in terms of men and materials, several coalition countries have decided not to send more troops to Iraq. Several other nations, including Spain, have withdrawn their forces. There has been a strong reaction against this policy in the United States and EU countries, while protest demonstrations have become the order of the day.

Five years of the US aggression against Iraq have come and gone, and thousands of people held protest demonstrations in several US cities the other day over the mounting losses of US soldiers in Iraq. A large number of people participated in protest rallies in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Many were relatives of the soldiers who joined the Iraq war and were killed. They demanded the withdrawal of the forces from Iraq and asked US Congress to stop payments for the Iraqi war spending.

Meanwhile, according to the latest reports, 38 people were killed in suicide attacks and acts of violence in different Iraqi cities. Bearing in mind the resistance of the Iraqi people and the rising loss of life suffered by the coalition forces, the US has decided to hand over control of Karbala Province to Iraqi security forces. Signs have also been given by the relevant US circles that the administration is considering handing over control of the entire country to the Iraqi government and security forces, and also considering the withdrawal of coalition forces.

On the one hand, the perception of failure on the part of the coalition forces in Iraq has strengthened after five years of unjust aggression against the country, while on the other, the United States and its disciples are busy preparing plans to attack Iran. Unfounded allegations that Iran is producing nuclear weapons are being leveled against it. The only crime of Iran is that it has succeeded in mastering modern nuclear technology and expertise in the enrichment of uranium. The United States and its lackeys, especially European Union nations, cannot tolerate any Muslim country mastering modern nuclear technology.

Pakistan has also become a target of their criticism, and unfounded fears and reservations in this regard. This hostility continues even today. So far as Iran is concerned, it has given permission to IAEA experts to visit and inspect its nuclear installations. In their reports after the visits, these experts acknowledged they were unable to compile any evidence relating to the production of nuclear weapons in Iran. The IAEA chief Mohammad Al-Baradi'i visited Iran himself and exchanged views with the Iranian leadership on the issue. After visiting Iran's nuclear installations, he also conceded that he gleaned no evidence of Iran manufacturing nuclear weapons, or the presence of such weapons in that country.

In a recent interview on American television, he also admitted that he had no evidence that Iran was preparing nuclear weapons. It would take Iran years to produce nuclear weapons even if it is pursuing a nuclear program. At this stage, we should seek a solution to the problem through negotiations, as there is no other option. The statement and admission of Mohammad Al-Baradi'i has been made at a time when the United States is clamping sanctions on Iran and lashing out at its nuclear program. It is also a fact that while expressing his views on several occasions on regional and international forums, the Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad has been assuring the world that his country has no intention to produce nuclear weapons and that it will not create any hurdle in the way of visits by the IAEA experts. However, it will not forego its right to enrich uranium and effectively respond to sanctions imposed against it.

In such a case, the United States will be responsible for the hikes in oil prices at the international level and its negative impact on the global economy. It is regrettable that the blame game played by the US, Israel and their disciples is intensifying and expanding after targeting Iraq and Iran. Allegations that Syria is preparing nuclear weapons have also come to light, proving that only Muslim countries are the target of the US. Apparently, America fails to see the nuclear activities of Israel, South Africa and India.

The United States and its disciples have found no evidence of the production of nuclear weapons by Iraq and Iran. In such a situation, there appears no justification to impose sanctions on them. The truth is that the US is advancing its policy of providing protection to its favorite son Israel; accomplishing its aggressive designs; seizing the economic resources of Muslim countries; and keeping Muslims shackled by the bonds of slavery. God forbid, the map of the future Israel, as engraved on its parliament, includes the holy Muslim cities of Mecca and Medina. Israel says the bones of its ancestors are buried in these two cities and therefore it will occupy them. Threats of aggression against Syria and allegations involving the production of nuclear weapons are all part of the game.

The same situation has evolved in Afghanistan, which the United States and its disciples are facing in Iraq: the resistance of the Afghan people against allied troops is intensifying with each passing day. The establishment of a Taliban government was intolerable for the United States, because the Taliban had refused to support the United States against Iran and refused to give Washington the opportunity to intervene, by enforcing a system in accordance with their tribal nature and traditions. NATO forces are facing stiff resistance in Afghanistan and the farce of the Karzai regime has failed there as well.

The United States will have to confess to the ground reality that the reaction, resultant from targeting innocent people and massacring them, cannot be dubbed as terrorism. The ensuing provocation and tension from such acts is but inevitable and natural. In a way, the increase in the killings in Iraq and Afghanistan proves the fact that peace cannot be established until the United States and the Western world change their policies towards Muslim countries. Those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are human beings, be they the local population or the coalition troops. It is impossible to imagine such a rise in the indiscriminate killing of human beings in the 21st century. Therefore, the sole superpower, the United States, and its disciples must keep in mind the feelings and sentiments of the international community, their own people, and the entire Muslim community, and withdraw their forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.

They should also abandon plans of aggression against any Muslim nation, so that peace and stability at the regional and international levels are ensured. This will help us focus on the problems of others faced by mankind. '

(Description of Source: Rawalpindi Jang in Urdu -- Influential, largest circulation newspaper in Pakistan, circulation of 300,000. The country only moderate Urdu newspaper, pro-free enterprise, politically neutral, supports improvement in Pakistan-India relations.)