“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, October 01, 2010

'Suspected Militants' in masks torch Nato Convoy in Pakistan

How much worse can it get with Afghanistan and Pakistan? Let me count the ways;

Pakistan: militant gunman attack convoy of Nato tankers bound for Afghanistan

Gunmen in Southern Pakistan have torched tankers carrying fuel destined for Nato troops in Afghanistan, one day after Pakistani authorities stopped supply convoys in protest at a cross-border air strike that killed three soldiers.

By Rob Crilly, Islamabad Telegraph
Published: 6:55AM BST 01 Oct 2010

Suspected militants, with their faces covered, opened fire with small arms to scare off the drivers and then set fire to the vehicles, which were parked in Shikarpur just before dawn, said Abdul Hameed Khoso, the district police chief.

"Around 20 attackers armed with rocket launchers and assault rifles attacked these trucks. They set ablaze 27 trucks parked there," he said.

Some 80 per cent of supplies for international forces pass through Pakistan.

Although attacks by militants and looters are not rare, the latest incident comes at a time of heightened tension between Islamabad and Nato commanders in Afghanistan.

Three Pakistani soldiers were killed and three wounded on Thursday in two cross-border strikes by Nato helicopters forces chasing militants in Pakistan's northwestern Kurram region.

The Nato-led International Security and Assistance Force initially denied crossing the border before later admitting that its troops had entered Pakistani air space.

Hours later, Pakistani authorities halted tankers carrying supplies for Nato forces passing through the Khyber tribal region on the Afghan border.

Pakistan is a crucial ally for the United States in its efforts to stabilise Afghanistan, but analysts say border incursions and disruptions in Nato supplies underline an increasingly fraught relationship.

This week the country's ambassador to Brussels was ordered to submit a formal protest to Nato headquarters over three earlier, unauthorised attacks.

"Isaf/Nato has been asked not to participate in any military action that violates the UN mandate and infringes upon Pakistan's sovereignty," said a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

"In the absence of immediate corrective measures, Pakistan will be constrained to consider response options."


  1. What kind of commander in chief sends tens of thousands of troops to war announcing in advance a fixed date for beginning their withdrawal? One who doesn't have his heart in it. One who doesn't really want to win but is making some kind of political gesture. One who thinks he has to be seen as trying but is preparing the ground -- meaning, the political cover -- for failure.

    Until now, the above was just inference from the president's public rhetoric. No longer. Now we have the private quotes. Bob Woodward's new book, drawing on classified memos and interviews with scores of national security officials, has Obama telling his advisers: "I want an exit strategy." He tells the country publicly that Afghanistan is a "vital national interest," but he tells his generals that he will not do the kind of patient institution-building that is the very essence of the counterinsurgency strategy that Gens. Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus crafted and that he -- Obama -- adopted.

    Moreover, he must find an exit because "I can't lose the whole Democratic Party."


  2. {...}

    "He was looking for choices that would limit U.S. involvement and provide a way out," writes Woodward. One can only conclude that Obama now thinks Afghanistan is a mistake. Maybe he thought so from the very beginning. More charitably and more likely, he is simply a foreign policy novice who didn't understand what this war was about until being given the authority and duty to conduct it -- and then decided it was all a mistake.

    Fair enough. But in that case, what is he doing escalating it?

    Sen. Kerry, now chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, asked many years ago: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Perhaps Kerry should ask that of Obama.

    "He is out of Afghanistan psychologically," says Woodward of Obama. Well, he may be out, but the soldiers he ordered to Afghanistan are in.

    Some will not come home.

  3. Poppy blight in Afghanistan?

    In Afghanistan, the bulk of cultivation continued to take place in the restive southern and western provinces of the country.

    "These regions are dominated by insurgency and organized crime networks. This underscores the link between opium poppy cultivation and insecurity in Afghanistan, a trend we have observed since 2007," said Mr. Fedotov.

    Although cultivation remained stable at 123,000 hectares (ha), falling output was largely due to a plant disease hitting the major opium poppy growing provinces of Helmand and Kandahar particularly hard. As a result of the damage, yield fell 48 per cent to 29.2 kilograms per hectare, from 56.1 kilograms per hectare compared with the previous year.

  4. Press Secretary Gibbs Twisting in the Wind Over Middle Class Tax Relief

    Democrats and the GOP, it's all politics and it's the middle class being held hostage to these dicks.


  5. Any bets the suspected militants are not paki military?