McChrystal focuses on peace with Taliban: report
LONDON — The NATO commander in Afghanistan said his troop surge could lead to a negotiated peace with the Taliban, in an interview published Monday ahead of a major conference this week on the war.
US General Stanley McChrystal also told the Financial Times he hopes his allies will leave Thursday’s meeting in London with a “renewed commitment” to the increasingly bloody conflict.
By using the 30,000-strong surge in US troops to secure territory stretching from the Taliban’s southern heartlands to Kabul, the general said he aims to weaken the insurgency so much its leaders would accept a political settlement.
“As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there’s been enough fighting,” said McChrystal.
“I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it’s the right outcome,” he added.
Asked is he would be content to see Taliban leaders in a future government in the country, the general said: “I think any Afghans can play a role if they focus on the future, and not the past.”
The US troop surge, announced by President Barack Obama in December, is pouring tens of thousands of extra troops into Afghanistan this year on top of 70,000 already there.
More than 113,000 international soldiers are fighting the Taliban under US and NATO command and losing soldiers almost daily, in the conflict which started with the US-led invasion of 2001.
As major powers prepare to map the way forward in Afghanistan at the London conference, McChrystal urged: “I’d like everybody to walk out of London with a renewed commitment, and that commitment is to the right outcome for the Afghan people.”
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Extremist Swede gives anti-Islam party millions
Published: 24 Jan
Swedish far-right businessman Patrik Brinkmann has announced he will pour €5 million into the coffers of Pro NRW, an anti-Islam populist party based in Cologne.
In a report to air Sunday night on Germany’s public broadcaster WDR, Brinkmann says he fears Germany is becoming “too foreign” and that Sharia law will be introduced in the country.
“However, there are no, or very few, politicians who take this seriously,” Brinkmann said.
“That’s why I believe that a new right wing (in Germany) can not only succeed, but in five or ten years be as large as the FPÖ in Austria or the SVP in Switzerland,” he added, referring to Austria’s Freedom Party and the Swiss People’s Party, two far-right groups which have enjoyed a certain amount of electoral success.
The millionaire, who reportedly already has ties to Germany’s extreme-right NPD and DVU parties, will finance a building for Pro NRW to be used as an anti-Islam centre.
Burkhard Freier, the deputy head of the North Rhine-Westphalian branch of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Verfassungsschutz, considers Pro NRW and a related group, Pro Köln (Pro Cologne), dangerous organisations.
However, he added that Pro NRW’s membership roll is so small, around 300, that it does not have much of an influence in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.
“That’s why they play up every new member, every property purchase and every event as big as they can on the internet so they can give their own adherents the feeling that ‘we are somebody’,” Freier said.
DDP/The Local (email@example.com)
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US Terror Blacklist Whitewashes Hamas, Enables Funding
by Shimon Cohen and Gil Ronen
(IsraelNN.com) The United States Treasury has taken all but one member of Hamas off the international list of terrorists, thus enabling funds from the European Union to enter Hamas-controlled Gaza.
It is an open secret that large sums of money from the EU flow into Gaza in the guise of humanitarian aid and salaries for officials, but are actually funneled into the coffers of Hamas, which controls Gaza with an iron grip. This method of transferring funds into terrorists’ hands could have been blocked by an international lawsuit, but according to journalist Avi Tarango, the United States Treasury has made this impossible by removing all but one Hamas man – Deputy Chairman of the Political Bureau, Musa Abu Marzouk – from the list of international terrorists.
The updated terrorist list, published last week, takes up 443 pages. However, according to Tarango, who went over the list, none of the tens of thousands of people who form Hamas is mentioned – other than Abu Marzuk, who resides in Damascus. The terrorist list is meant for distribution in the world banking system, where the transfer of funds to anyone on the list is prohibited.
Cleared for Funding
Abu Marzouk is listed as having been born in Gaza on February 9, 1951, and as bearing an Egyptian passport with the number 92/664. “While branches of Hamas appear in the list under different names, such as ‘The Students of Ayash,’ ‘The Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza,’ ‘The Iz A-Din El-Kassam Battalions,’ the rest of Hamas’s men do not appear on the list at all,” Tarango said.
“Musa Abu-Marzouk’s presence on the list means that whoever tries to transfer money to him personally will be rejected by the world banking system and be accused of funding terrorism, but the transfer of funds to any other Hamas man will not arouse suspicion,” he explained.
According to published reports and other sources, the journalist said, the EU sends millions of Euros every month to cover the salaries of 77,000 employees of the Palestinian Authority and about 70,000 recipients of welfare aid in Gaza.
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Police arrest 15 in anti-Islam demonstration
LONDON — Police arrested 15 people and four officers were injured when scuffles broke out at a demonstration by about 300 members of an anti-Islam group in central England on Saturday.
In the latest protest by the right-wing English Defence League, which was formed last year to campaign against Islamic extremism, police clashed with demonstrators as they sought to separate them from a rival anti-fascist march.
Many of the EDL demonstrators had been drinking before the march in the central town of Stoke, during which members waved placards proclaiming “Patriotism is not racism” and “Terrorists off our streets”.
Police said 15 people had been arrested for public order offences and four officers had been injured, including one officer who was hospitalised with an arm injury and a second who underwent medical checks after being assaulted.
“The vast majority of demonstrators today expressed their views peacefully,” said police Superintendent Dave Mellor.
He added: “However, the actions and behaviour of a small minority of protestors have been totally unacceptable and deplorable.”
How come your fellow officers getting bullied by Muslims is acceptable?