Posts Tagged ‘Alex Strick van Linschoten’
- A Canadian military briefing note for the Minister has come to light saying “If war breaks out on the Korean peninsula, Canada could become embroiled due to a half-century-old United Nations military alliance …. The note by the Defence Department’s policy branch, which was obtained by The Canadian Press, says the UN alliance could be used to generate an international fighting force if war erupts …. Because Canada was one of the combatants in the Korean War, it became part of an organization known as the United Nations Command — or UNC — following the 1953 armistice that ended three years of war between North and South Korea ….” No word from the CF or politicians, but at least one political scientist says it’s not bloody likely: ” “It’s a technical legal question, rather than a political question, not an automatic reprise of 1950-53,” said Paul Evans, the director of the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. “The technical legal side is that Canada is a part of the commission. But it does not commit Canada or the UN — we’re not locked into any role in the event that hostilities resume.” “
- An officer, while on leave in Canada from a deployment to Afghanistan, died of natural causes. He was awarded the Sacrifice Medal. His name was added to the Book of Remembrance. His family was presented with the Memorial Cross. Now, Captain Francis (Frank) Cecil Paul is on the official list of those fallen: “Following a review of the Canadian Forces’ casualty policy, the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk, today announced his decision to add the name of Captain Francis (Frank) Cecil Paul to the official list of Canadian Forces (CF) casualties sustained in support of the mission in Afghanistan. Capt Paul died in Canada last February while on leave from Kandahar. “Although his death came suddenly while on leave from his deployment in Afghanistan, he was still on duty and considered part of the mission, and therefore his death is no less important than any other CF member who served and died while in Afghanistan,” said Gen Natynczyk. “It is important that his name be added to the list of fallen.” …. Capt Paul’s photo has been placed on the CF’s Fallen Canadians web site and a minute of silence will be observed throughout Department of National Defence and CF facilities in the National Capital Region on Monday, November 29 ….”
- If quoted correctly, the outgoing boss of Canada’s mentor-trainers in Afghanistan sounds optimistic: “The outgoing commander of Canada’s mentoring team in Kandahar says the Taliban have been routed and won’t present a significant threat in the future. Col. Ian Creighton, who was in charge of the operational mentor liaison team _ or OMLT _ says the lull in violence across southern Afghanistan over the last few weeks has nothing to do with onset of colder weather, as in previous years. “This is not just a winter thing where some guys have gone back to Pakistan. They have been defeated on the battlefield,” he said Friday shortly after handing command to his replacement, Col. Hercule Gosselin …. Still, Creighton wasn’t reluctant to use an unambiguous word not often spoken here: “Victory” ….” I really, really hope he’s right – such certainty can always return to haunt one.
- If you’re an Afghan working for Canada on contract in the “sandbox”, and you’ve been on contact for almost 3 years, it appears you’re about to lose your job. This from Postmedia News: “The lives of Canadian soldiers could be put at greater risk because of Treasury Board regulations that prevent Task Force Kandahar from continuing to employ its best cultural advisers. About half a dozen of Canada’s top advisers, who are ethnic Afghans with Canadian citizenship, have been told that they cannot be rehired when their current contracts expire. They are being let go because of government rules that state that if they work for more than three years for any federal department they must be offered permanent employment in the public service ….”
- A reminder to journalists who want to talk about how “hard” they are for their embedded work in Afghanistan compared to politicians who had it softer: the politician may have had it softer, but keep in mind men and women stayed there and get shot at after you left too. There’s ALWAYS someone harder than you. Not being hard myself, I’m guessing those that really are don’t complain much, especially in public.
- No, this hasn’t gone away. “The inquiry by the Military Police Complaints Commission into whether military police failed to investigate if commanders illegally ordered the transfer of detainees to a known risk of torture in Afghanistan will hear the final witnesses next week. The hearings are based on complaints that were filed by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and Amnesty International Canada in 2007 and 2008. Since the filing of the complaints, startling information about the conditions prisoners faced and the Canadian Forces’ failure to investigate the legality of the transfers has been made public ….”
- Blog Watch: More kudos for Liberal Bob Rae for his nuanced and intelligent debate on the Afghanistan mission. More on that here, too.
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: Attacks alleged in Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul. Also, a writer-analyst living in Kandahar has spotted a statement made by a former Taliban envoy to Pakistan saying Osama Bin Laden lied to the Taliban when asked directly if he was responsible for 9/11. A way for the Afghan Taliban to distance themselves from OBL and become less nasty looking? Time will tell, but an interesting thing to say out loud, nonetheless.
- Agent Orange compensation for those exposed while spraying at CF bases? One dollar out of every three earmarked for compensation is going back to general revenue: “The Harper government has returned more than $33 million set aside to compensate veterans exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange to government coffers after many veterans failed to meet its strict qualifications for payments. Liberal Senator Percy Downe said the veterans didn’t qualify because compensation was narrowly limited to those affected by the chemical spraying at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown between 1966 and 1967. As a result, about one-third of the $96 million earmarked by the government for compensation was never paid out and has been returned to the Consolidated Revenue Fund ….”
- Column: Killer-rapist Russell Williams kit burning as “excorcism”
- Canada’s (No Longer Nameless) Navy Mascot Update: First was the tender process for the costume/character (with caveats in the Statement of Work like “His personality will be that of an average young boy of no particular age. He will be clean living, fun loving, bashful around girls, polite, brave and clever. He will not be a clown, nor silly or dumb.”) Then, the contest to find the mascot, a Labrador poochie, a name. Now, at long last, the Navy mascot has a name. Welcome to the CF family, SONAR!
- Watching the Grey Cup? Watch for these guys flying by.
A bit more to offer on this week’s “Eid Mubarak” message from Mullah Omar (PDF of official English & Arabic at non-terrorist site). I’ve seen different English versions out there, so I’m going to base my read on the official English version at the Taliban’s own site.
“Colonial Watch” Count
Words whose root is “colony” pop up 14 times in this statement. For an approximately 3100 word statement, we’re seeing a “colonial-esque” expression every 220 words – not quite as densely “colonized” as another recent statement (6 mentions in 560 words, or once every 87 words).
Multiple Unity, Stability Pleas
There were several different calls for an end to infighting and divisiveness of various kinds:
Implement the injunctions of Allah practically and fully; constantly strive for unity among your ranks and keep away from discord and friction.
Make the most of experience, consultation and proven tactics in the military operations and other affairs of Jihad so that you will block the door of differences, complaints and losses.
The ( former) communists formed tribal and unscrupulous groups under the name of tribal militia at a time when they were on the verge of defeat. The aim was to provoke internal conflicts, biases, racial differences and resultantly revenge themselves on (our) Mujahid people. The Americans and their allies too want to repeat the same failed experience.
The economic assistance, the mercenaries, the overt and covert ploys of the wicked companies have paved the way for( execution of these plans) and have set off hatred, discrimination and rivalries in the region.
I advise you to fully abide by the sacred rules of Islam in order to achieve the magnanimity and grandeur of Islam. Help (your) oppressed Muslim brothers and use your wisdom, sagacity and sobriety in the cause of Jihad and confrontation with the tyrant aggressors, particularly, the chiefs of the Jihadic movements should ponder over all aspects during performance of affairs of Jihad; avoid disunity and splintering among your ranks and be heedful to the conspiracies being engineered to malign Mujahideen.
The Americans and its allies have been hammering out plans overtly and covertly to destabilize the Islamic world and provoke differences in the Islamic countries.
While it’s clear Mullah Omar is blaming NATO/the West for engineering the rifts (real or perceived), it makes one wonder exactly how worried he might be about infighting with this many mentions.
“It Wasn’t Us, It Was Them!”
The theme of NATO causing the deaths of civilians, even in crowded market bombings pops up:
The cunning enemy wants to attack people’s congestion places like religious centers, mosques and other similar places in order to malign Mujahideen. They also launch sanguinary attacks under the name of martyrdom-seeking operations to mar the good name of Mujahiden.
Nothing new here, just more of the same.
Negotiations: What Omar Says (and Doesn’t Say?)
On negotiations, the statement basically says any such talks are for NATO’s benefit, not Afghanistan’s:
Those who have occupied our country and taken our people as hostage, want to use the stratagem of negotiation like they used the drama of elections for some time in order to achieve their colonialist objectives. The invaders do not want negotiation aimed at granting independence to Afghanistan and ending their invasion but they want negotiation which will prolong their evil process of colonization and occupation. However, the people of Afghanistan will not agree to negotiation which prolongs and legitimatizes the invaders military presence in our beloved country. Afghanistan is our home. No one will ever be ready to negotiate with any one else about ownership of one’s home –still more to give share in administration and control of the home and himself ends up becoming homeless, powerless and servant in his own home.
The foreigners have occupied the land of the Afghans by dent of (military) might and savagery. If they want solution of the issue, they should put an end to the occupation of Afghanistan. The invading Americans want Mujahideen to surrender under the pretext of the negotiation. This is some thing impossible.
Others, like Kandahar-based writer/journalist Alex Strick van Linschoten (co-editor of soon-to-be released memoirs of senior former Taliban official Abdul Salam Zaeef), see what’s NOT written – via Twitter here, here and here:
(Omar) didn’t rule out (talks), strictly speaking. He said things need to change before he’d talk, but he doesn’t close the door completely, i.e. it’s implied but he doesn’t actively rule them out.
In spite of this, as well as other messaging outliers like the former Taliban U.N. rep laying out conditions for participation in a loya jirga, for now I’m going to keep reading Mullah Omar’s latest statement as further support for the “OFFICIALLY, no talking until the foreign troops are gone” message track we’ve seen elsewhere.
Future Threat to U.S., the West?
This is one of the questions reportedly being pondered by all sorts of government officials in considering next steps in Afghanistan. On the one hand, we see another reinforcement of “we’re here to be friendly to our neighbours” message:
We only want establishment of an Islamic system in our country which will protect rights of all individuals of this nation both men and women—a system depending on its own feet, fully independent, its internal and external policy being based on this Islamic principle: not harming others and not allowing others to harm us.
This builds on previous statements (here and here, for example) as part of the Taliban, in the words of the Institute for the Study of War’s Jeffrey Dressler, “aggressively attempting to rebrand their image and feed talking points to those in favor of de-escalation.”
On the other hand, though, we also see this:
We consider the whole region as a common home against colonialism and, as a responsible force, want to play our role in stability and peace of the region in future.
This is a natural reaction and resentment against the brutalities, atrocities, bombardment and tortures of prisoners at the hand of the American soldiers in these two Muslim countries. The American army has killed hundred of thousands of miserable Afghans and Iraqis during the past eight years as a result of an unjustified and arrogant wars.
If we have a glimpse at events in Palestine, Iraq and other issues and the bloodbath now going on at the level of the Ummah, we will readily know that how callously and brutally the invading colonialists kill common Muslims collectively and invade Islamic lands flagrantly.
So, do these last two quotes mean that as long as the Taliban see the U.S. as a threat in Iraq or the Middle East, they’ll still be “colonialist” enough to consider the bad guy? If that’s the case, using the region as a base for any anti-US/anti-colonial could be seen as OK.
There are yet other signals out there muddying the waters as well, such as the guy calling himself a Taliban commander saying “If the Americans leave, then we will not concern ourselves with them any longer …. we will never again allow our country to be used in the same way as it was used against America in the past.”
My two cents – I’m happy to leave deeper analysis to the professionals who don’t need Google Translator to do the work.