March 20, 2010

Bruce Riedel Spins Back

Looks like this AKI report touched a nerve. Three days after revealing that captured Taliban in Pakistan are laid up in posh guest houses, safely removed from the battlefield, senior Obama official Bruce Riedel was deployed to counter the story with his own spin.

This is the surest sign that the original report is more or less accurate:
"Pakistan's arrest of several key Afghan Taliban leaders has sent a powerful message to militants seeking refuge in the country, a US terrorism expert on the region has told Adnkronos International (AKI). Bruce Riedel is a former CIA officer who conducted a policy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan for US president Barack Obama soon after he took office.

Riedel said the recent arrest of top Taliban commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and other Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan showed a significant change in Islamabad's attitude, and more particularly its powerful Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

However, he warned that the ISI "played a very complicated game to make sure that Pakistan is a winner no matter what happens".

"A year ago, Pakistani leaders including the head of the ISI denied categorically that there were any Afghan Taliban leaders in their country," Riedel told AKI.

"Well a year later they have arrested a half dozen or so of them. Does that mean they have cut off all of their relations with the Taliban ? I doubt it.

"I suspect they are still playing a very intricate game. But that doesn't change the fact that they have arrested a half dozen top Taliban leaders. That is a step in the right direction."

Riedel said Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who visited Pakistan just over a week ago, had a much better relationship with president Asif Ali Zardari than with his predecessor, Pervez Musharraf.

"I think that this new reconciliation is one that is still being worked on," he said.

"The most important thing is that we are now beginning to see real action to clamp down on Taliban activities and to bring people like Baradar under control which is a very significant change from what we have seen in the past."

Riedel said the recent arrests were also "a success" for Obama.

"We have been pushing the Pakistanis to take action against the Taliban since last year and this is a concrete manifestation that for whatever reason, they have now taken a step in the right direction from the president's standpoint and it makes the chance of the success of his strategy is much higher," he said.

In February, counter terrorism experts from the ISI and US intelligence officials arrested Bradar, as well as a member of Taliban’s command council Moulvi Abdul Kabir and two shadow governors Mullah Mir Mohammad and Mullah Abdul Salam.

Mullah Omar’s close lieutenant Mullah Mustasim Agha Jan and an Al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya were also detained.

Afghanistan sought the extradition of the Taliban leaders who are Afghan nationals but the Pakistani Lahore High Court blocked the extradition, leaving the ISI to negotiate the future of the detained leaders with the Taliban leadership.

Riedel, is a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, who focuses on political transition, terrorism and conflict resolution.

He has advised three US presidents on the Middle East and South Asia and at Obama's request, he chaired an interagency policy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan for the White House completed in March 2009."
And we know how that turned out.



  2. The Neocons never went anywhere.

  3. "Americans fell for the trap and the trap is Jerusalem," said Gershon Baskin, head of the left-leaning Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information.,0,184050.story

  4. Isn't this is a trap too? Israelis generally support settlement expansion and an undivided Jerusalem, but they aren't nearly as supportive of Netanyahu's threatening behavior towards America. Apparently they want it all, a firm hand against Netanyahu that doesn't interfere with Israeli sovereignty. Any popularity that he won through Jerusalem has been negated by his attitude towards the international community.

    I think the biggest gain for Israel is this "don't ask, don't tell" business, a scam masquerading as a goodwill gesture.

  5. I think it has more to do with one of their mottos.
    Israel never responds, never confirms, and never denies.

    In other words, they are a rogue state, that does as it pleases.