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Pakistani naval base under attack (news and analysis) ( 0) Printer friendly page Print This
By Les Blough, Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Monday, May 23, 2011

Editor's Commentary: Washington-compliant Al Jazeera English (below) and Washington's servile Zardari government in Pakistan both suggest that this attack on the Pakistan Navy was carried out by "terrorists." We have no doubt that this well-planned, well-armed and well-executed attack was carried out by "terrorists" but the question about their identity remains an open question. The Zardari government and Al Jazeera say the Pakistan Taliban claim responsibility for the attack, saying that it was an act of revenge for killing Osama bin Laden.

Here's Al Jazeera:

"Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, condemned the attack.

'Such a cowardly act of terror could not deter the commitment of the government and people of Pakistan to fight terrorism,' Gilani said in statement.

Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened further attacks.

"It was the revenge of martyrdom of Osama bin Laden. It was the proof that we are still united and powerful," Ehsan of Taliban told agencies by telephone from an undisclosed location on Monday.

"We had already warned after Osama's martyrdom that we will carry out even bigger attacks," he said, referring to previous vows to avenge the killing of the al-Qaeda leader by US special forces three weeks ago.

Many among the unwitting public will not even ask what on earth the Pakistan Taliban has to do with Bin Laden or Al Queda. There has never been a connection between the two and it has been well-established that the so called Pakistan Taliban, i.e. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) should not be confused with the Afghan Taliban. The TTP has been a tool for U.S. terrorism in Pakistan for years and that they "claim responsibility" for this attack means absolutely nothing. First, who can verify the claim and second, if verified, we must remember how they've been used by the U.S. in terrorist attacks in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)in the past. But the attack and the supposed claim of responsibility by the Pakistan Taliban will be enough to serve as a pretext for the permanent U.S. war in Afghanistan and the war in Pakistan promised by Obama during his candidacy for president in 2008.

This attack should be seen in the following context: While the U.S. has had the Zardari regime well under heel, they have had problems with the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence agency and the Pakistan Navy, Army and Air Force who have not done their bidding. These are the only barriers that stand in the way of the U.S. gaining control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons and carving Pakistan up as they have done in Iraq, Palestine and are now intent on doing in Sudan and Libya. Meanwhile, the role of India in Washington's operations for dismembering Pakistan has also been well-established. In July, 2010, the late Shahid Siddiqi and former Axis of Logic columnist wrote:

"While the [Afghan] Taliban government was in control, Pakistan too maintained friendly relations with them in the interest of keeping its western border secure, extending whatever support it could. The ISI played a role through the contacts it had developed during war against the Soviets.

"In the wake of 9/11 things began to change. Having invaded Afghanistan in the name of war on terror, branding Taliban as brutes and their resistance as terrorism, the Americans wanted the Pakistan army and the ISI to join the war.

"This posed a serious security concern for Pakistan. It could destabilize the Pak-Afghan border and strain relations with the Pashtun tribes on both sides of the Durand Line, the British drawn boundary that cut through the Pashtun region to divide British India and Afghanistan and which Pakistan had inherited. The fact that Pakistan’s border region, called Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is autonomous where the writ of the Pakistan Government does not prevail made matters more complex.

"Pakistan’s military doctrine is based primarily on meeting the main threat from India on its eastern border while maintaining a peaceful border with Afghanistan in the west. A direct conflict with the Taliban would have forced Pakistan to divert its military assets from eastern to the western front, thus thinning out its defenses against India. This was the last thing Pakistan wanted to do because of its unfavorable ratio of 1:4 against India in terms of conventional forces. Understandably, President Musharraf was unwilling to do the American bidding."

Again, we have no doubt that this was a "terrorist attack," but Al Jazeera's facil and simplistic "revenge for Bin Laden" analysis is far too transparent to swallow without a deeper understanding of U.S. history in the region. We must first remember that the U.S. has CIA, special forces and the Blackwater mercenaries all over Pakistan, many of them there illegally without permission of the Pakistan government. Second, we must also remember that the U.S. has been seeding civil war in the country for years and their main obstacles are the Pakistan ISI and military. Third, this heavily armed, well planned attack fits hand-in-glove with the many false flag operations carried out by the U.S. and Israel for decades in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. There you have it - motivation, means and method. Terrorism? If Al Jazeera wants to hype this as a terrorist attack, and if Zardari's prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani want to talk about "such a cowardly act of terror" they should be writing and talking about the 957 Pakistani civilians killed by U.S. unmanned drones in 2010.

- Les Blough, Editor



Al Jazeera
May 23, 2011

Taliban claims responsibility for attack on naval facility in Karachi that has left at least 13 dead.

Pakistan navy has declared that the operation involving an attack by armed men on a military base in the Pakistani city of Karachi has come to an end, according to Al Jazeera's sources.

According to a navy spokesman, 11 navy officers and two paramilitary ranger have been killed and 14 others injured in the attack that lasted for hours before ending past midday on Monday.

At least a dozen men attacked the Mehran base, a key naval aviation facility, late on Sunday. Two maritime patrol aircraft were destroyed and at least nine people were also wounded in the assault.

"The navy was in a high state of alert," Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder said, adding that "the attack raises a lot of questions as to how such a large number of people, so well armed, could have actually gotten into the base".

Rehman Malik, Pakistan's interior minister, said the "terrorists" sneaked into the base from three points adjacent to residential areas in the city of 16 million people, whose port is a vital hub for NATO supplies bound for Afghanistan.

"A building in the premises is still under their occupation from where they are exchanging fire with our soldiers," Malik said on Monday.

"It is not just an attack on navy establishment, it is an attack on Pakistan," Malik added, warning that those who sympathise with the Taliban and al-Qaeda should instead "join hands with us to save our country".

Talat Hussain, a senior Pakistani journalist, told Pakistan's Dawn News that "We need to realise that this is not just an incident. The reality is that Pakistan is under attack, it is not just a security breach."

Lengthy operation

Earlier a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said that the team of militants they sent into Karachi's PNS Mehran naval base on Sunday night had enough supplies to survive a three-day siege.

"They have enough ammunition and food and they can fight and survive for three days," Ehsanullah Ehsan, a Taliban spokesman, told Reuters news agency.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Fazal Qureshi, chief editor at the Pakistan Press International news agency in Karachi said: "This operation is probably one of the longest operations which we have seen in Pakistan."

"These people are confined in one particular room, the commandos are advancing so whatever they have they will not be able to use the supplies." Qureshi added.

"They have surrounded and confined the terrorists in one building, some four or five of the terrorists have been already killed."

According to navy officials operation went on for hours because they were trying to capture the fighters alive.

Details of the number of terrorists killed in the operation will be confirmed by a navy spokesperson in a media briefing.

Aaamir Latif, bureau chief, online news network, told Al Jazeera that "Earlier there were reports that the militants had taken hostages but navy sources said that is not the case."

Taliban claim

Intelligence officials said that between 15 and 20 attackers were inside the base, and had attacked three hangars housing aircraft.

A military spokesman said two Pakistan Navy staff were killed in the attack.

"One of our officers and one Navy personnel have been martyred," Commodore Irfan ul Haq, a spokesman for the Pakistan Navy, told the AFP news agency. Five explosions were heard at the base ahead of the attack, according to Pakistani Express TV.

Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, condemned the attack.

"Such a cowardly act of terror could not deter the commitment of the government and people of Pakistan to fight terrorism," Gilani said in statement.

Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened further attacks.

"It was the revenge of martyrdom of Osama bin Laden. It was the proof that we are still united and powerful," Ehsan of Taliban told agencies by telephone from an undisclosed location on Monday.

"We had already warned after Osama's martyrdom that we will carry out even bigger attacks," he said, referring to previous vows to avenge the killing of the al-Qaeda leader by US special forces three weeks ago.

Zafar Hilali, a Pakistani defence and foreign affairs analyst, told Al Jazeera that "About five million Pashtuns from north west live in Karachi, it is well known that they have terrorist cells in Karachi, Taliban presence in the city is not surprising."


Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

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