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News, Information, & Analysis That Governments, Interest Groups,
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THIS WEEK'S INTERVIEW
Listen to hour-long interview/discussion with MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky
on Toronto Radio on 23 March -- Today Featured on MER HOMEPAGE
ISRAEL WANTS IRAN and INDIA WANTS PAKISTAN
BRANDED 'TERRORIST' AND TARGED SOON AFTER IRAQ BY THE USA
"India called Pakistan the 'epicenter of international terrorism' on
Wednesday and accused Washington of double standards in leading
a war against Iraq while urging restraint between the nuclear-armed
neighbors. The epicenter of international terrorism that exists in our
neighborhood and the infrastructure of support and sponsorship of
cross-border terrorism must be completely dismantled,' it said in a
written statement. 'We are determined to face this challenge with
strength, determination and resolve.'" [Indian Foreign Ministry - 3-26]
"In India, Moslem terrorists perpetrated their second attack in three days,
killing one person and wounding six with a bomb placed inside a fuel tanker
in Jammu. Two days ago, Moslem terrorists massacred 24 Hindus, including
children, in a Kashmiri village. Israel's government released a strong
condemnation of this "heinous act of terrorism," saying that Israel, which
"faces a continuous onslaught of murderous terrorism, calls on every
civilized person and state in the world to join in the uncompromising
struggle against the scourge of terrorism." [Arutz-7, Israel, 3-26]
MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 28 March 2003: The Israeli military relationship with India has been growing for some time and is now very tight; as are Israeli-Turkish military relations. Whenever the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein is finally history great pressures will be brought for 'disarmament of weapons of mass destruction' and/or regime change on Iran and Pakistan (depending just who is in power at the time and how much they 'comply') as well as Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), and Occupied Palestine (Hamas). The Israelis are already working overtime through their powerful lobby in Washington which these days includes a host of dually-loyal personalities now serving in the highest ranks of the American government as well as the private think-tank as well as the organizational and media sectors. Taking lessons from the Israelis, the Indians are also stepping up their pushing, proding, and preparing in the American capital, now quite clearly the modern-day Rome. And so the stage is now set for ongoing and expanding warfare of many kinds as the American Empire and Israel -- with the Brits in tow as long as Tony Blair remains PM -- are on the warpath to remake the world in their image in the name of the 'new world order'. The Kashmir conflict, and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, are likely to become even more dangerous flashpoints for nuclear conflagration quite literally in the months ahead.
FIVE FBI AGENTS DEAD IN PAKISTAN
Frontier Post - MUHARAM 23, 1423 ---THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2003: DERA ISMAEL KHAN (NNI) - Five Americans are feared dead when some remnants of al-Qaeda and Taliban prompted a sudden attack on an office of the US Federal Bureau of Intelligence at Barmil, Pak-Afghan border. “The attackers used Rocket Launcher and automatic guns in the sudden attack prompted last night,” a highly placed source from across the border revealed to NNI correspondent here Wednesday. The informer further said that the office of FBI was established close to Check-post at Pakistan-Afghanistan border and the attack was so sudden that the border security guards comprising US-led coalition troops and Afghan officials did not retaliate. The border security guards inside Afghanistan noticed the attack from a mountain range some hundred meters away from the check-post. The political administration has put on high alert the paramilitary personnel and other administrative units in South Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal area adjacent to the Afghan borders where the incident took place. According to the information reached here from the border, the FBI agents were there as part of their mission to assist the US-led coalition troops searching remnants of Al-Qaeda and Taliban in the area. These FBI agents were also cooperating with Pakistani law enforcing agencies in the bordering areas to Afghanistan as part of the latest campaign being launched after the arrest of number three in the hierarchy of al-Qaeda, Khalid Shaikh Mohammad who was apprehended on March 1 in Rawalpindi and presently is in the custody of the American at an unknown place. Meanwhile, Taliban fighters attacked a government checkpoint in northwestern Afghanistan, starting fighting that left at least 13 combatants dead, a military commander said Wednesday.About 400 gunmen attacked the checkpoint Tuesday in Tora Shaikh in the northwestern province of Badghis near the border with Turkmenistan, said Mohammad Karim Khadem, a brigade commander in the area. Seven attackers and six government s
diers were killed in fighting on Tuesday and Wednesday, Khadem said.
INDIA HITS OUT AT PAKISTAN; MISSILE TESTS HELD
NEW DELHI (Reuters - 26 March 2003) - India called Pakistan the "epicenter of international terrorism" on Wednesday and accused Washington of double standards in leading a war against Iraq while urging restraint between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
It was India's strongest language against Pakistan since the two countries pulled back from the brink of war last year and coincided with tit-for-tat missile tests held by both countries.
The Indian Foreign Ministry blamed Pakistan for an attack by suspected Muslim militants last Sunday on Hindus in Indian Kashmir in which 11 men, 11 women and two children died.
"The epicenter of international terrorism that exists in our neighborhood and the infrastructure of support and sponsorship of cross-border terrorism must be completely dismantled," it said in a written statement.
"We are determined to face this challenge with strength, determination and resolve," it said.
India accuses Pakistan of supporting "cross-border terrorism" by helping militants fighting against Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in mostly Hindu India.
Pakistan says it gives only moral support to the Kashmir "freedom struggle" and has condemned last Sunday's attack.
But New Delhi says Islamabad has reneged on a promise made last year to Washington to curb Islamic militancy.
India had unusually harsh words for Washington, and its decision to use Pakistan as a key ally in its war on terror after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The foreign ministry said the global war on terror could be won only if it was pursued "without double standards and terrorism is eradicated wherever it exists, without being influenced by short-term political and other considerations."
"The combat against international terrorism is ill-served if threats in some cases are met with military means and in others with calls for restraint and dialogue," India said.
Washington, which played a key role in averting war last year between Pakistan and India, condemned Sunday's attack, but renewed a call on both countries to hold talks.
Adding to tensions, India and Pakistan test-fired nuclear-capable, short-range missiles on Wednesday and exchanged fire along the line of control that divides Pakistani and Indian Kashmir.
Pakistan said at least one person was killed and four hurt. Indian army officials said one person was injured in Indian Kashmir.
Washington said it was disappointed at the latest missile tests.
"Such tests contribute to the charged atmosphere and could contribute to a costly and destabilizing nuclear and missile arms race which this already volatile region can ill afford," State Department spokeswoman Amanda Batt said.
"We strongly urge both India and Pakistan to avoid any actions that could increase tensions in the region." India said it had fired the Prithvi missile, seen as intended to target Pakistan, with a range of 90 miles. Pakistan said it tested the surface-to-surface Abdali (Hatf-II) missile, with a range of 110 miles.
India and Pakistan held nuclear tests in 1998 and have since been testing short and long-range nuclear-capable missiles.
Asked if the latest tests would stoke tensions, Pakistan Prime Minister Mian Zafarullah Khan Jamali told reporters: "Well, I hope not. These tests have been continuing and they carry on."
Despite the rhetoric and missile tests, analysts played down the possibility of military action in South Asia.
Uday Bhaskar, from the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyzes, said he thought much of the rhetoric was aimed at Washington after it called on India and Pakistan to talk.
"At this point, I think this is directed more at Washington than anything else. Their exhortation for dialogue at a time when our conditions for dialogue have not been met, I think that seems to have led to this."
But the tensions were expected to dampen sentiment in India's financial markets, already worried by war in Iraq.
"It is a strong statement and will have a negative impact because it has come at a time when markets are already nervous on account of the war," said Amitabha Chakraborty, head of institutional equity, IDBI Capital.
MARINES LINE UP ON IRANIAN BORDER
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
Daily Telegraph, UK - 26 March: Royal Marines were deployed to Iraq's border with Iran yesterday in a move that will unnerve Teheran's regime, which fears encirclement by American-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Defence said the Royal Marines were merely "securing their area of operations" after seizing at the Faw peninsula.
But with Iranian troops manning positions on the other side of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, British forces face a highly sensitive task.
Tensions were illustrated by a succession of border incidents. A rocket struck an Iranian oil refinery depot in Abadan, just across from Basra, on Friday injuring two people while there were reports on Monday that Iranian forces had fired on British troops on the Faw peninsula.
Iran, part of America's "axis of evil", is formally neutral but fears it could be the next target for attack.
It is torn between publicly denouncing the "imperialist" war on a fellow Muslim country and co-operating tacitly with America and Britain in removing the old enemy, Saddam Hussein.
America has waged war against two of Iran's most hated foes, the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the Ba'athists in Baghdad. But the "Great Satan", as America is known, now has forces on two of Iran's borders.
Neighbouring Arab countries have long feared a war in Iraq could suck in forces from Turkey and Iran.
Western diplomats said Turkish intervention to forestall any Kurdish attempt to seize greater autonomy could encourage Iran to cross the border to support fellow Shi'ites and clear out bases of the main Iranian opposition group, the Mujahideen-e-Khalq.
The leading Iraqi Shi'ite opposition group, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution, has thousands of fighters in Iran. Some have slipped into Iraqi Kurdistan and many more may cross the border to claim a stake in the future Iraqi government.
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