Contempt for liberator infidels as Muslim 'allies' in Iraq and Afghanistan blast U.S. and hinder anti terrorism efforts
Iraq Islamist government forbids raids on mosques - Afghan 'prez' Karzai demands US turn over power - fails to halt opium trade
MIM :The new fifth column of Islamists in the Iraqi governments is endangering US troops by forbidding raids on mosques,which are used as terrorist bases, on the excuse that they need to form good relations with their fellow Muslims who constitute the Sunni minority. The Iraqi president, Al Jafferi, heads the Islamist Da'wa party which was banned under Saddam Hussein because they wanted to turn Iraq into an Islamist state. The party is also closely aligned with Iran, where Jaffari spent several years in exile.
As one Iraqi put it, "...We can't allow other people who are not Muslims to come here and rule us. No man could just let the invaders rule. We will fight against that. Invasion is not the right thing to do for any people. We don't hate the American people, but we don't like invasions and we will fight..." http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=27650
"...American officers from the First Cavalry Division who accompanied Iraqi national guardsmen to a mosque in the Qaddisiya area of Baghdad in November recounted how they had been greeted by the mosque's senior imam with assurances of good will and of hostility toward the insurgents. When the Americans withdrew and the Iraqis searched cars in the mosque's parking lot, they discovered trunkloads of Kalashnikovs, grenade-launchers, bomb-making equipment and ammunition..."
MIM: The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, in a stunning show of disdain and arrogance,lambasted the US for alleged maltreatment of 2 Afghans, wants all Afgani prisoners in US custody to be given to his government, and demanded the US build the prisoners for them ! Karzai , (whose power is dependent on US protection and support, is being feted as a hero while on a visit to the US) has been publicly critical of the Americans. At the same time he is demanding more power, he has been 'unable' to control the opium trade in his country ,which is a primary source of terrorism funding, or halt the resurgence of the Taliban .
"...US officials say Afghan President Hamid Karzai is partly responsible for the failure of poppy eradication efforts in Afghanistan, a US newspaper has said...The cable said Mr Karzai - who has left for talks in the US - "has been unwilling to assert strong leadership" to curtail Afghanistan's heroin trade.
Mr Karzai, meanwhile, has said he wants US concessions on key security issues..."
"...officials said they worry that heroin trafficking could threaten the U.S.-led reconstruction effort in Afghanistan and worsen corruption in the fledgling central government.
"....The U.S. officials involved said Karzai might not want to challenge local Afghan authorities, fearing that such an effort might incite opposition and even violence ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for fall..." http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/world/3192747
May 17, 2005
Iraq Government Calls for an End to Mosque Raids
BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 16 - In a gesture calculated to ease tensions with Iraq's dispossessed Sunni Arab minority, the new Shiite majority government announced Monday that it had ordered the army to stop raiding mosques, arresting clerics and "terrifying worshipers."
The order came less than 24 hours after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew here to appeal to Shiite leaders to reach out to Sunni Arabs, in the hope of weakening Sunni support for the insurgency. But it could complicate the battle against the rebels.
American officials say some insurgent groups may be ready to turn toward peace, if they can be convinced that Sunni Arabs can take part effectively in Iraq's nascent democracy, beginning with a full role in drafting the new constitution.
The Shiite leaders sought to give the ban on raids of mosques added impact among Sunnis by having it announced by the defense minister, Sadoun al-Dulaimi, a Sunni Arab who has been in office less than a week.
Mr. Dulaimi, 51, a sociologist who fled Saddam Hussein's repression in 1990 for England, has been disparaged by Sunni intermediaries who had pressed for cabinet posts for Sunnis with closer links to the period of Sunni minority rule that ended with Mr. Hussein's overthrow.
At a news conference in the Defense Ministry, his first public appearance, Mr. Dulaimi said the order extended to college campuses and Christian churches, and applied to Shiite as well as Sunni religious sites. He said raids had been "terrifying worshipers," adding, "The holy places must not be violated by the security forces, nor religious leaders arrested, and that will not happen anymore."
He said that the security agencies under Mr. Hussein had spread "terror" among Iraqis in the name of protecting Iraq, and that the new government was determined not to do the same by attacking places that Iraqis had the right to consider immune to violence. "A sense of public security cannot be achieved by spreading fear," he said.
The American military command had no immediate comment on the order, which seemed likely to have a significant effect on operations in Sunni Arab areas that had been insurgent strongholds. American policy has been to attack mosques and religious schools only when they are used as firing positions, as occurred frequently, according to American commanders, during the offensive that recaptured Falluja in November.
But Iraqi troops operating under American command have raided scores of mosques in the past 18 months, arresting dozens of clerics and often carrying away large hauls of weapons and ammunition, including bomb-making equipment and antitank rockets. During two uprisings last year led by Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric with a mass following, raids were conducted against Shiite mosques, too, but the main targets have been Sunni.
In another sign that Shiite leaders have recognized the need to defuse tensions with Sunni Arabs, three Shiite leaders issued statements on Monday decrying the worsening sectarian violence, which has included the discovery of at least 50 execution-style slayings in recent days.
The statements came from Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who leads the bloc of religious Shiites who control the new government, and from Mr. Sadr, who dropped out of sight after his second uprising last August and has since turned, at least tentatively, toward politics.
But the most powerful call came from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country's most revered Shiite cleric, who played a decisive role in assembling the Shiite alliance that won January's elections and whose word is regarded by many Shiites as decisive on political as well as religious issues.
Ayatollah Sistani met Monday at his sanctuary in Najaf with Dr. Jaafari, and gave the prime minister a message emphasizing the need for Shiites and Sunnis to work together on the country's future.
Dr. Jaafari told reporters that Ayatollah Sistani "insisted on the need for brotherhood between Shiites and Sunnis, and the need to include our Sunni brothers in the constitution-drafting process."
But later Monday, in a BBC television interview that was recorded after Ms. Rice's visit, Dr. Jaafari offered a somewhat harder-edged response to her call for a broader dialogue. Emphasizing the efforts he said the Shiite leaders had made to appoint Sunni Arabs to top government posts, and their willingness to open the constitution-drafting to broad Sunni Arab participation, Dr. Jaafari said "every political step we take" had been aimed at depriving the insurgents of popular support among Sunnis.
"Dialogue is offered even to those Iraqis who have taken up arms, and we will try to extend the bridge even to them, whatever their background," he said. "But there are others who came from outside and who don't care about Iraq. How can we deal with people whose idea of a dialogue is setting off car bombs in heavily populated areas, abducting and raping our women and beheading people?
"For us these criminals of whatever background are operating in a terrorist situation which is beyond humanity and the nature of the Iraqi nation. But we believe that the long Iraqi culture of sectarian coexistence and intermingling, and the high awareness of our people, will foil all these attempts to stir up trouble or civil war."
After the euphoria of winning a parliamentary majority in January, the two Iran-backed Shiite religious parties that dominate the government have found, in two weeks in office, that their choices are tightly hemmed in, and not only by the need to placate alienated Sunni Arabs. The other decisive reality is their dependence on the 138,000 American troops here, and Mr. Dulaimi was at pains at his news conference to offer American commanders a commitment that seemed intended to offset any aggravation over the ban on raiding mosques.
Mr. Dulaimi said he had approved a step long sought by the American forces, clearing squatters from military buildings and compounds that were looted and abandoned during the upheaval that accompanied the American-led invasion two years ago, especially around Abu Ghraib, a town near Baghdad that is the site of an American detention center and an insurgent stronghold. Some of these buildings, Mr. Dulaimi said, had become "bases for terrorists and car-bomb makers," and the squatters would be moved. "Henceforth, they will be used by the Iraqi Army, not by terrorists," he said.
Although American forces have operated for a year under a sovereign Iraqi government, the ban announced today was the first time that Iraqi leaders have taken any overt step to curb the ways in which war is fought. The interim government of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, in office for 10 months, was aggressive in pursuit of the war, and unapologetic about raids on mosques, at Falluja and elsewhere, when American commanders said the buildings were insurgent strongholds.
Falluja, six months later, remains a wasteland of toppled minarets and prayer halls punctured by tank shells. Ramadi, another insurgent stronghold, has also been the scene of mosque raids, including one in November witnessed by a reporter for The New York Times in which American troops from the 503rd Infantry Regiment attacked after taking fire from a minaret. They used the minaret to fire on a suspected suicide bomber racing toward the mosque, causing the car to explode. Inside the mosque, the soldiers found Kalashnikov rifles and ammunition magazines hidden in an air duct.
American officers from the First Cavalry Division who accompanied Iraqi national guardsmen to a mosque in the Qaddisiya area of Baghdad in November recounted how they had been greeted by the mosque's senior imam with assurances of good will and of hostility toward the insurgents. When the Americans withdrew and the Iraqis searched cars in the mosque's parking lot, they discovered trunkloads of Kalashnikovs, grenade-launchers, bomb-making equipment and ammunition. The cleric was arrested and sent to Abu Ghraib.
When Mr. Dulaimi was asked how Iraqi and American forces would deal with any use of mosques as insurgent bases, he said raiding them was not the only solution. "There are other ways," he said.
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Sabrina Tavernise contributed reporting for this article.
-----------------------------------------Karzai promised a new team "Afghans would be happy with"
Afghan supplies most of the world demand for heroin
Karzai asks more say in U.S. opsAfghan leader set to talk with Bush
KABUL, Afghanistan - Hours before flying to Washington for talks with President Bush, Afghan leader Hamid Karzai on Saturday demanded greater control over American military operations in his country and called for vigorous punishment of any U.S. troops who mistreat prisoners.
US Officials press Karzai on opium
The New York Times cited a cable sent on 13 May from the US embassy in Kabul to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The cable said Mr Karzai - who has left for talks in the US - "has been unwilling to assert strong leadership" to curtail Afghanistan's heroin trade.
Mr Karzai, meanwhile, has said he wants US concessions on key security issues.
Mr Karzai - who is due to meet President George W Bush on Monday - said on Saturday he would request the handover of all Afghan detainees in the US custody and also control over US military operations in Afghanistan.
The Afghan leader earlier also demanded action from the US after new details emerged of alleged abuse of prisoners by US troops in Afghanistan.
Mr Karzai's trip to Washington follows recent violent anti-US protests in Afghanistan triggered by claims in Newsweek magazine - now retracted - that US guards at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had desecrated the Koran.
The New York Times said the US cable said top Afghan officials, including Mr Karzai, had done little to overcome the resistance of Afghan provincial officials that was impeding the US-funded poppy eradication programme.
The cable said: "Although President Karzai has been well aware of the difficulty in trying to implement an effective ground eradication programme, he has been unwilling to assert strong leadership, even in his own province of Kandahar."
The newspaper said it had been shown a copy of the three-page document by a US official alarmed at the slow pace of poppy eradication.
The cable also criticised Britain for being "substantially responsible" for the failure to eradicate more poppy acreage in Afghanistan.
It said British personnel - who choose where the eradication teams work - had been unwilling to redirect efforts to the main growing areas.
The poppy flower produces opium, the source for heroin and morphine.
Afghanistan supplied more than 80% of the world's demand for heroin last year, according to the UN.
On Saturday, Mr Karzai demanded action from the US after new details emerged of alleged abuse of prisoners by US troops in Afghanistan.
He said he was shocked and would raise the issue with President Bush.
The soldiers involved in the deaths of two inmates and alleged abuse of others should be punished, Mr Karzai said.
The allegations are detailed by the New York Times citing a 2,000-page document leaked from a US army investigation.
Mr Karzai also said he would demand that all Afghan prisoners should be returned to his government, regardless of whether the US was holding them in Afghanistan, at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere.
He insisted that US military must in future co-ordinate its military operations with Kabul and end searching people's homes without a warrant.
Karzai Condemns Prisoner Abuse
Sunday, May 22, 2005
KABUL, Afghanistan — Hours before flying to Washington for talks with President Bush (search), Afghan leader Hamid Karzai demanded greater control Saturday over American military operations in his country and called for vigorous punishment of any U.S. troops who mistreat prisoners.
He also said he wants the United States (search) to hand over all Afghan prisoners still in U.S. custody.
In a volatile southern province, meanwhile, a U.S. soldier was killed and three were wounded in the latest in a string of attacks launched by loyalists of the ousted Taliban (search) regime.
Speaking to reporters before his first visit to the United States since he was installed in December as Afghanistan's first democratically elected president, Karzai demanded more say over operations by the 16,700 U.S. troops still in the country, including an end to raids on the homes of Afghans unless his government was notified beforehand.
"No operations inside Afghanistan should take place without the consultation of the Afghan government," he told reporters.
Karzai — seen by his critics as an American puppet — issued the tough statement after fresh reports of prisoner abuse by American forces at Bagram, the main military prison north of Kabul, and anti-U.S. riots that broke out across the country earlier this month, leaving at least 15 people dead.
The unrest was triggered by a Newsweek magazine report, later retracted, that the Quran was defiled by interrogators at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and likely further fueled by long-standing complaints of heavy-handed search operations and the deaths of civilians in U.S. operations in Afghanistan.
There were fears a report in Friday's New York Times, based on the Army's criminal investigation into the December 2002 deaths of two Afghans at Bagram, could re-ignite anti-American manifestations.
Karzai said he was "shocked" by allegations of prisoner abuse by poorly trained U.S. soldiers at Bagram and vowed to raise the issue during his four-day U.S. visit that begins Sunday.
"We want the U.S. government to take very, very strong action to take away people like that (who) are working with their forces in Afghanistan," Karzai said. "Definitely ... I will see about that when I am in the United States."
Responding to the abuse allegations, Col. James Yonts, the U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, said: "The command has made it very clear that any incidents of abuse will not be tolerated."
In Washington, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the president was "alarmed by the reports of prisoner abuse," and wants them thoroughly investigated. Duffy said seven people were being investigated about abuse at Bagram.
The Times' allegations of maltreatment were supported by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based watchdog, which said that at least six detainees in U.S. custody in Afghanistan have been killed since 2002.
"U.S. forces in Afghanistan were involved in killings, torture and other abuses of prisoners," it said in a statement.
"These crimes, known to senior officials in the military and Central Intelligence Agency, have not still been adequately investigated or prosecuted."
In December, Pentagon officials said that eight deaths of detainees in Afghanistan — including the two mentioned in the Times report — had been investigated since mid-2002. Hundreds of people were detained during and after the campaign by U.S.-led forces to oust the hardline Taliban regime in late 2001.
After the outcry over abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the military also initiated a review of its detention facilities in Afghanistan and later said it had modified some of its procedures, although the review's findings have not been made public.
Also, an Italian aid worker kidnapped in Kabul spent her sixth day in captivity on Saturday, still with no clear word on her fate.
Taliban-led rebels kept up assaults in the south and east of the country. A roadside bomb killed one U.S. soldier and wounded three others as they patrolled in an armored vehicle in Zabul province, the U.S. military said. A purported spokesman for the Taliban claimed responsibility.
Brig. Gen. Greg Champion, a deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force 76, said in a telephone interview Friday from his headquarters at Bagram, that the recent increase in insurgent violence was due mainly to a more aggressive approach by American and Afghan forces.
"We have not taken a posture of waiting" for the Taliban to begin their usual spring offensive, he said. Instead, U.S. and Afghan forces have been "going on our own offensive."
A mine explosion in southern Kandahar province wounded four Afghan soldiers, while a two-hour gunbattle between Taliban rebels and Afghan forces in Zabul left two insurgents dead, officials said.
In Ghazni province, four people driving to a wedding were killed and four others were wounded when an old land mine exploded under their vehicle, said police chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjan.
May 22, 2005
Karzai Demands Justice for Prisoners Abused by Americans
By BRIAN KNOWLTON
WASHINGTON, May 22 - President Hamid Karzai today demanded justice for Afghan prisoner abuse by American interrogators, and he blamed the United States and Britain, not his government, for the slow progress of anti-drug efforts in his country.
He also said he would ask President Bush for greater control over Afghan affairs as part of a longer-term strategic partnership.
Asked if he had complained to the United States about the abuse - two Afghans in United States military custody in Bagram died in December 2002 after severe beatings - he replied: "We have before, I will do it again. This is simply, simply not acceptable, we are angry about this, we want justice, we want the people responsible for this sort of brutal behavior punished and tried."
But speaking a day before he is to meet here with Mr. Bush, Mr. Karzai also portrayed the prisoner abuse as rare and atypical, the work of only one or two American soldiers. He said, in a CNN interview, that this should not reflect on all Americans, adding, "There are bad people on duty everywhere."
Mr. Karzai underscored cooperation with the United States, but also insisted that Afghans' sense of independence and self-reliance was growing. "No Afghan is a puppet, you know," he said in a Fox News interview. "There is a stronger ownership of the Afghan government and the Afghan people now."
It remained unclear how much his criticisms were intended for Afghan consumption, or whether his meeting with Mr. Bush might be rendered less comfortable than past such encounters, which have generally been portrayed as relaxed and amicable.
His comments, nonetheless, came at a delicate and unexpectedly contentious moment, a day after Mr. Karzai had expressed dismay over reports of abuses of Afghan prisoners - "it has shocked me thoroughly," he said Saturday in Kabul - and as Mr. Karzai's help in eradicating opium poppies in Afghanistan was being questioned by the United States.
Coming at a time of rising insecurity in Afghanistan, this left a surprising array of tensions between the two sides. At least 17 people died in recent anti-American protests in Afghanistan and other countries that some accounts linked to a Newsweek report, since retracted, that United States interrogators at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had desecrated the Koran.
"We were angry about that," Mr. Karzai said of the Newsweek report. But he suggested that the real target of the violent demonstrations was something else.
"It was directed at the peace process that we have of inviting back the thousands of the Taliban to come back to their country," he said. "It was actually against the elections in Afghanistan. So we know what was going on there." Parliamentary elections are due in autumn.
While generally praising cooperation between the United States and Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai also said it was time for American military officials to seek Afghan permission before raiding people's houses. A day earlier, in Kabul, he said he would ask Mr. Bush to release all Afghans in United States military detention to Afghan custody.
Frank differences over the poppy eradication program emerged over the weekend.
A cable sent May 13 by the United States Embassy in Kabul to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asserted that eradication efforts were slipping partly because, "although President Karzai has been well aware of the difficulty in trying to implement an effective ground eradication program, he has been unwilling to assert strong leadership, even in his own province of Kandahar."
A copy of the memo was shown to The New York Times by an American official concerned by the pace of poppy eradication. The cable faulted Britain as well, which holds lead responsibility for counternarcotics work in Afghanistan.
Mr. Karzai asserted today that in regions where the Afghan government led eradication efforts, poppy fields had been substantially destroyed.
In other areas, he said, this "was supposed to be done by an agency, a department that was financed by the international community, by the United States, by Britain. The failure is theirs, not ours." International efforts, Mr. Karzai asserted, had been "ineffective, and delayed and half-hearted."
The international community had also done too little, he said, to provide Afghan farmers with alternative forms of livelihood.
But Mr. Karzai carefully balanced his criticisms with praise for cooperation between the United States and Afghanistan. "We are in a partnership with America, in a partnership that is very, very successful," he said. It was a collaboration that "drove terrorism away, that drove lots of bad guys away, that brought liberation to Afghanistan."
Those comments echoed the upbeat assessment by President Bush, in his regular Saturday radio address, when he uncritically praised advances in Afghanistan.
"On Monday, I will meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House to discuss freedom's remarkable progress in his nation," he said.
"We're helping Afghanistan's elected government solidify these democratic gains and deliver real change. A nation that once knew only the terror of the Taliban is now seeing a rebirth of freedom, and we will help them succeed."