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Archive for Monday, December 7, 2009

Bin Laden may periodically go back into Afghanistan, U.S. says

December 7, 2009

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— Osama bin Laden may be slipping back and forth from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Or the U.S. might not have a clue, more than eight years after the al-Qaida leader masterminded the terrorist attacks on America.

Given a chance Sunday to clear away some of the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the world’s most wanted terrorist, Obama administration officials seemed to add to it with what appeared to be conflicting assessments.

President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, James Jones, said bin Laden, believed hiding mainly in a rugged area of western Pakistan, may be periodically slipping back into Afghanistan. But Obama’s Pentagon chief, Robert Gates, said the U.S. has lacked good intelligence on bin Laden for a long time — “I think it has been years” — and did not confirm that he’d slipped into Afghanistan.

The failed hunt for bin Laden has been one of the signature frustrations of the global war on terrorism that former President George W. Bush launched after the Sept. 11 attacks. The main explanation given by both the Bush and Obama administrations for not getting bin Laden is that they simply don’t know where he is.

“If we did, we’d go get him,” Gates said.

Jones, a retired Marine general, stressed the urgency of targeting bin Laden, and spoke of a renewed campaign to capture or kill him. Bin Laden had been sheltered in Afghanistan by Taliban allies while plotting the Sept. 11 attacks. When U.S. forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001, bin Laden fled into Pakistan from his mountain redoubt.

Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether the administration has reliable intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts, Jones replied, “The best estimate is that he is somewhere in North Waziristan, sometimes on the Pakistani side of the border, sometimes on the Afghan side of the border.” He did not comment on the intelligence behind that estimate, nor did he cite a time period or describe more specifically bin Laden’s apparent border crossings.

Gates told ABC’s “This Week” that “we don’t know for a fact where Osama bin Laden is,” although he agreed that his likely location is North Waziristan.

That’s part of the loosely governed Federally Administered Tribal Areas of northwest Pakistan where the border with Afghanistan is largely unrecognized and unmarked. There is little Pakistani government or military control in this remote region, and militants affiliated with al-Qaida can move freely across the frontier into Afghanistan.

The U.S. has targeted North Waziristan and other areas on the Pakistan side of the border with drone-launched missile strikes, killing substantial numbers of militants as well as Pakistani civilians. The Pakistani army has undertaken an offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan but it has not expanded the effort into North Waziristan.

Obama administration officials have often asserted, as did the Bush administration, that they believe bin Laden is being sheltered on the Pakistani side of the border, along with other senior al-Qaida leaders. But Jones broke new ground by saying publicly that the al-Qaida chief may have slipped back into Afghanistan.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., made a somewhat similar, if less specific, remark Sunday about bin Laden’s movements. He told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that knowledgeable people have told him that bin Laden “moves back and forth.”

McCain did not elaborate, except to say that although bin Laden is not currently able to establish bases for training and equipping terrorists who would attack the United States, “I think it’s important to get him.”

Two Afghan provinces in the country’s northeast held particular attraction for bin Laden in the 1990s: Kunar and Nuristan. The towering mountains there hid bin Laden training camps that date back to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. A longtime bin Laden ally, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, holds sway in the area.

Comments

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and potential future government figures in Baghdad.

The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when the flow from Iraq's northern oilfields to Palestine was re-directed to Syria.

Now, its resurrection would transform economic power in the region, bringing revenue to the new US-dominated Iraq, cutting out Syria and solving Israel's energy crisis at a stroke.

It would also create an end less and easily accessible source of cheap Iraqi oil for the US guaranteed by reliable allies other than Saudi Arabia - a keystone of US foreign policy for decades and especially since 11 September 2001.

Until 1948, the pipeline ran from the Kurdish-controlled city of Mosul to the Israeli port of Haifa, on its northern Mediterranean coast.

The revival of the pipeline was first discussed openly by the Israeli Minister for National Infrastructures, Joseph Paritzky, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz .

The paper quotes Paritzky as saying that the pipeline would cut Israel's energy bill drastically - probably by more than 25 per cent - since the country is currently largely dependent on expensive imports from Russia.

US intelligence sources confirmed to The Observer that the project has been discussed. One former senior CIA official said: 'It has long been a dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this administration [of President George W. Bush] and the war in Iraq to safeguard Israel's energy supply as well as that of the United States.

'The Haifa pipeline was something that existed, was resurrected as a dream and is now a viable project - albeit with a lot of building to do.'

The editor-in-chief of the Middle East Economic Review , Walid Khadduri, says in the current issue of Jane's Foreign Report that 'there's not a metre of it left, at least in Arab territory'.

To resurrect the pipeline would need the backing of whatever government the US is to put in place in Iraq, and has been discussed - according to Western diplomatic sources -

con't http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/apr/20/israelandthepalestinians.oil

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

It's time to pull out. People of the mideast will not give up their natural resources to the USA. They do not want us there dividing up THEIR oil fields and KILLING more of their people than Saddam or other violent leader has done.

Bush INVADED these countries and it was wrong!!!!!

News Alert 05:03 AM EST Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More than 85 are killed in string of bombings in Baghdad.

A series of bombings apparently targeting educational facilities and other crowded areas killed scores of people in Baghdad on Tuesday morning. At least six bombings were reported. The explosions took place minutes apart.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

The military advised BUSHCO that the USA cannot wage more than one war at a time.

Bring em home DON"T kill them!

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Where were the 9/11/01 culprits living for two years? A few blocks away from NSA headquarters and Gen Hayden in Maryland. Gen Hayden was aware of this.

Flight training was gained at Florida flight schools.

The CIA had two of the 9/11/01 culprits under surveillance in Yemen but lost track of them. Only for them to gain USA entry by way of San Diego while being listed as suspected terrorists.

Why didn't the Bush administration authorize the FBI to pursue the 9/11/01 culprits?

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