A member of the Afghan army has shot dead a British soldier in the year's first insider attack, according to officials in the region. As many as six British troops were also injured in the shooting in Helmand Province.
It is the latest such incident in a string of insider attacks that threatens to undermine the handover from international forces to local troops.
The Ministry of Defence said a soldier with 28 Engineer Regiment, attached to 21 Engineer Regiment, was killed at Patrol Base Hazrat in the Nahr-e Saraj area. His family have been informed.
"An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) service members in southern Afghanistan yesterday, killing one," is how Isaf, the Nato force described the killing in a statement on Tuesday. The Ministry of Defence said the attacker had initially turned his weapon on fellow ANA members, before turning his fire on Isaf soldiers.
Last year, more than 60 troops from the force were killed in so-called "green on blue" attacks, leading to concerns about whether a strategy of training local forces to take over security when Nato combat forces leave in 2014 could work. The Taliban frequently claim such killings are the work of their agents who have infiltrated Afghan security forces. However, ISAF and Afghan officials say that many are due to personal grudges.
A member of the Afghan National Army in Helmand said the attacker - shot dead after opening fire - was from Laghman Province, in the east of the country and had joined the Afghan army a year ago.
"He was well-known as being religious and would lead prayers, acting as an imam," said the soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity.
There is no subject on which people so quickly lose their heads and contradict themselves as race. People who vehemently deny the scientific validity of the concept defend with equal vehemence the necessity for positive discrimination in favour of certain races which, presumably, they are able to distinguish one from another. Anti-racists collect statistics about race with a celerity and obsessional intrusiveness that would have put the apartheid regime to shame. The opposite of a racist is not an anti-racist but someone who does not think in racial categories at all.
This is surprisingly difficult to do, however. All those who, for example, categorise Mr Obama as ‘the first black president of the United States’ think in racial categories; I suspect that they are in the great majority in the world. Here, for example, is a sentence from a recent editorial in the leftist French daily newspaper, Libération (liberation from what, incidentally?):
Will this young president, the first Black in the White House, take his place in History?
There is something distinctly odd – and revelatory – about this. Mr Obama, after all, is the son of a black father and a white mother; in other words, he is a half-caste, or of mixed race. There is no reason to suppose that ‘black’ genes have predominated over ‘white’ ones in his case. And yet, in theLibération editorial (which I take only as an example, there are millions of others) he is taken quite simply and unequivocally as being black.
Libération would, of course, be horrified at being thought racist, and yet its categorisation of Mr Obama as black would accord perfectly with that used by the crudest Texan redneck. The difference between them is not in the categories used, but in the value they ascribe to their categories: whereas black for the Texan redneck would be a term of hatred or opprobrium, for Libération it is a term of affection or praise. But either way, the mode of categorising and judging the world is racist.
If Mr Obama’s race were unimportant or insignificant, why should the editorial, shorter than this article, have mentioned it? The newspaper might reply, I suppose, that it mentioned his race only to reflect the importance ascribed to it by its (predominantly left-wing) readership. But that is where we came in: it seems that it is not only Nature that returns if you pitch it out of the window, but racism also.
The US Senate vote on the nomination of John Brennan and Chuck Hagel to the positions of CIA Director and Defense Secretary, respectively, will shape US power projection and posture of deterrence, global sanity, war on Islamic terrorism and the US determination to avert the wrath of a nuclear Iran.
John Brennan presented his position on Iran in the July, 2008 issue of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science: ''A critical step toward improved US-Iranian relations would be for US officials to cease public Iran-bashing, a tactic that may have served short-term domestic political interests, but that has heretofore been wholly counterproductive to U.S. strategic interests.''
John Brennan believed that Iran halted its nuclear-weapons program in 2003, as reported by the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate report. He criticized President Bush for refusing to ease the pressure on Iran. Brennan opined that “preventing Iran from making a nuclear weapon could only be achieved through persuasion.”
On August 6, 2009, John Brennan presented his worldview on countering-terrorism in a speech on “A New Approach to Safeguarding Americans” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies: “The President does not describe this [war on Islamic terrorism] as a ‘war on terrorism.’ That is because ‘terrorism’ is but a tactic…. The President does not describe this as a ‘global war….’ It plays into the misleading and dangerous notion that the U.S. is somehow in conflict with the rest of the world…. Nor does President Obama see this challenge as a fight against ‘Jihadists.’ Describing terrorists in this way—using a legitimate term, "Jihad," meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal—risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek….”
Brennan’s ideological ambiguity/confusion towards Islamic terrorism – and his misrepresentation of Jihad and ignoring the dominance of hate education in the Muslim Middle East – could be transformed into operational ambiguity/confusion in the battle against Islamic terrorism.
At the beginning of President Clinton’s 2nd term, Senator Shelby placed a “hold” on the nomination of Anthony Lake, then the National Security Advisor, to head the CIA. Senator Shelby succeeded to block the nomination, contending that Lake was an ideologue, while a CIA Director should excel in management and operations.
According to the December 19, Washington Post editorial, John Brennan and Chuck Hagel approach Iran in a similar manner: “Mr. Hagel’s stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, fall well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term — and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him…. Mr. Hagel was similarly isolated in his views about Iran during his time in the Senate. He repeatedly voted against sanctions, opposing even those aimed at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which at the time was orchestrating devastating bomb attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. Mr. Hagel argued that direct negotiations, rather than sanctions, were the best means to alter Iran’s behavior.”
Chuck Hagel serves as a Co-Chairman of the Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board and a Senior Director of the US/Middle East Project, promoting his worldview at-large and on the Middle East in particular.
Hagel considers the Palestinian issue to be the core cause of Middle East turbulence, a root cause of anti-US Islamic terrorism and the crown jewel of Arab policy makers, irrespective of the seismic, stormy Arab Winter, which has erupted independent of the Palestinian issue, refuting such oversimplified and misleading assumptions.
Senator Hagel was – along with Senator Kerry – one of the few supporters of Hafiz and Bashar Assad on Capitol Hill. In October, 2009, Hagel stated: “I believe there is a real possibility of a shift in Syria’s strategic thinking and policies…. If we can convince Damascus to pause and re-consider its positions and support regarding Iran, Hezballah, Hamas and radical Palestinian groups, we will have made progress for the entire Middle East, Israel, and the U.S. Syria wants to talk – at the highest levels – and everything is on the table…. The next bi-lateral peace treaty for Israel is with Syria.”
As the Chairman of the Atlantic Council, Hagel has subscribed to the centrality of the UN – which is not the home court of US interests - in the conduct of international relations. He does not believe in US exceptionalism in the international arena and espouses the superiority ofmultilateralismover unilateral independent US national security actions.
Both Brennan and Hagel are out of the American mainstream on crucial national security issues. What does that portend for global stability and the US national security?
AN interest-free housing project aimed at the Muslim community and boasting 100 per cent halal housing has sparked a major row, with critics labelling it a discriminatory plan that could lead to a Muslim enclave.
Qartaba Homes' plan offers "100 per cent Halal housing to the growing Muslim community of Australia" in the heart of the northwestern Sydney suburb of Riverstone. While the company has insisted people from all religious backgrounds are free to take up the offer, it advises that the loans are "100 per cent Halal" and a "chance to escape Riba (interest)" because interest is a sin under Islamic law.
Qartaba Homes director Khurram Jawaid said it was the real estate deal of a lifetime, open to Australians of all faiths and backgrounds, but the state MP for Hawkesbury Ray Williams said the project was divisive. "I can only imagine the repercussions if a developer were to advertise a new Judeo-Christian housing estate; they would be hung, drawn and quartered," Mr Williams said.
Blacktown councillor Alan Pendleton said the community was concerned it could turn into an enclave. "There's great concern about ... what they consider could be an enclave. (There's a belief) you have to be a Muslim, otherwise they won't sell you a site," Mr Pendleton said
."Our philosophy is interest-free, pay as you own," Mr Jawaid said. "You don't have to go to a bank or a financial institution. It's open to everyone. From the business point of view, we can't do it that way (Muslims only)."
The company has bought the land from various owners, but Mr Jawaid said Muslim take-up of the offer was "not that overwhelming".