Springtime For Taliban

Here we go again.

Taliban declares ‘spring offensive’

The Taliban has announced the launch of a spring offensive against foreign troops in Afghanistan as well as Afghan security forces and government officials.

Saturday’s declaration comes a day after high-ranking US military officers predicted such a move from the group.

Dubbed the “Badar” offensive, the fresh onslaught “will target foreign forces, high-ranking officials of President Hamid Karzai’s government, members of the cabinet and lawmakers, as well as the heads of foreign and local companies working for the NATO-led coalition,” the Taliban said in a statement.

See also:
Taliban warns of spring offensive
Afghanistan: Taliban announce spring offensive
Taliban declares start to spring offensive in Afghanistan
Afghan Taliban: Surge to Begin Sunday
Taliban militants declare new offensive
Taliban announce spring offensive in Afghanistan
Taliban announce beginning of its ‘spring offensive’
NATO dismisses Taliban offensive as propaganda
Afghan Taliban declare start to spring offensive
Taliban declare start of spring offensive
Taliban announce beginning of spring offensive; NATO downplays it

Let’s hope that our troops have rules of engagement that allow them to actually engage and kill the enemy or at least be allowed to carry loaded weapons to defend themselves.

/what a hellhole, is it still even worth being there?

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Netanyahu Calls The Islamic Bluff

You want Israel to stop building settlements, fine, no problem. All you have to do is recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Sounds like a simple no brainer, right? Well, not if your true objective is to ultimately destroy Israel.

Israeli Freeze Terms Rejected by Palestinians; Talks in Limbo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set terms for the renewal of a West Bank settlement freeze that were swiftly rejected by the Palestinians, leaving the status of U.S.-brokered peace talks in limbo.

Netanyahu told parliament yesterday he was ready to convene his Cabinet and ask for an extension of a freeze on settlement building if “the Palestinian leadership tells its people in an unequivocal manner that it recognizes Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of the Palestinian Authority negotiating team, said Netanyahu’s demand was “unacceptable.”

See also:
PNA rejects Netanyahu’s condition on resuming talks
Netanyahu would extend settlement freeze in return for recognition
Israeli PM offers conditional settlements freeze
Israel makes settlement offer, Palestinians say no
Netanyahu offers settlement freeze for recognition of ” Jewish” state
Settlers: No Jewish state without West Bank construction
U.S. after Netanyahu settlement freeze proposal: Our position on this is well known
‘If PA rejects Jewish state, authorize West Bank building’
PA quashes PM’s offer for renewed building freeze
Netanyahu offers settlement freeze in return for recognition as Jewish state, Palestinians say no
Bibi offered Abbas assisted political suicide
Israel challenges Palestinians to recognise ‘Jewish state’
Palestinians reject Israel settlement compromise
Palestinians reject Netanyahu terms

How many more clues does the West need before the obvious reality sets in? Muslims are hell bent on killing the Jews, they have no intention of ever making peace with them.

/Israel isn’t the obstacle to Middle East peace, Islam is

Slouching Toward The Exit Door In Afghanistan

I’ve long suspected that, despite all of his hawkish bravado during the campaign about the necessity of winning in Afghanistan, Obama isn’t serious about achieving victory against al Qaeda and the Taliban at all.

The U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General McChrystal, has detailed his strategy and emphasized the urgency of the situation. McChrystal has called for 30-40,000 additional troops and clearly stated that we will most likely be defeated in Afghanistan without them. However, instead of immediately granting his field commander’s request, Obama is dithering and trial balloons concerning “alternate strategies” are being floated. With U.S. public support for the Afghan war waning, Obama’s got his finger in the political wind and the wind direction doesn’t bode well for American troops on the ground or United States security interests in the region.

Gates Doubts U.S.’s Afghan Strategy

President Barack Obama met with senior counselors for three hours Wednesday to launch his review of Afghan war strategy, amid indications that his defense secretary — the key link between the White House and the military — is among those undecided about the right approach.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the senior U.S. commander in Kabul, is advocating a manpower-intensive counterinsurgency strategy that focuses on protecting the Afghan populace rather than hunting individual militants. He submitted a classified assessment over the weekend calling for up to 40,000 U.S. reinforcements.

Mr. Obama met with senior military officials, diplomats and Cabinet members Wednesday as part of the review, which White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said was designed to “poke and prod” potential new approaches to the conflict.

The discussion focused on the political and security situation on the ground, according to an administration official, with military commanders detailing the gains made by the insurgency and top diplomats discussing the Afghan election results that were marred by fraud claims.

Mr. Obama focused his questioning on the current threat posed by al Qaeda and whether a resurgent Taliban would give al Qaeda leaders a new haven to regroup, the official said, which could indicate Mr. Obama is more concerned about the status of a threat to the U.S. than overall stability in Afghanistan.

In an interview Wednesday, a senior defense official said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates now worries that counterinsurgency might no longer be a viable approach for countering the Taliban violence roiling once-stable parts of north and west Afghanistan.

Mr. Gates, a Bush administration holdover, has emerged as one of Mr. Obama’s most trusted advisers, so his views carry significant weight in the deliberations.

“Even 40,000 more troops don’t give you enough boots on the ground to protect the Afghans if the north and west continue to deteriorate,” the official said. “That may argue for a different approach.”

A shift in Mr. Gates’s thinking would be particularly striking because he has long been a major advocate of counterinsurgency, which is credited with helping to sharply reduce Iraq’s once-unrelenting violence.

White House Eyeing Narrower War Effort

Senior White House officials have begun to make the case for a policy shift in Afghanistan that would send few, if any, new combat troops to the country and instead focus on faster military training of Afghan forces, continued assassinations of al-Qaeda leaders and support for the government of neighboring Pakistan in its fight against the Taliban.

In a three-hour meeting Wednesday at the White House, senior advisers challenged some of the key assumptions in Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s blunt assessment of the nearly eight-year-old war, which President Obama has said is being fought to destroy al-Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan and the ungoverned border areas of Pakistan.

McChrystal, commander of the 100,000 NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has asked Obama to quickly endorse his call for a change in military strategy and approve the additional resources he needs to retake the initiative from the resurgent Taliban.

But White House officials are resisting McChrystal’s call for urgency, which he underscored Thursday during a speech in London, and questioning important elements of his assessment, which calls for a vast expansion of an increasingly unpopular war. One senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the meeting, said, “A lot of assumptions — and I don’t want to say myths, but a lot of assumptions — were exposed to the light of day.”

Among them, according to three senior administration officials who attended the meeting, is McChrystal’s contention that the Taliban and al-Qaeda share the same strategic interests and that the return to power of the Taliban would automatically mean a new sanctuary for al-Qaeda.

See also:
Obama, war council review Afghanistan strategy
McChrystal Now Just One of Many Leaders as Obama Rethinks Afghan Strategy
Crucial talks begin on US Afghan strategy
Top UN envoy joins call for rethink of Afghan strategy
U.S. Afghan Strategy Hinges On Reliable Ally In Kabul
Senate blocks commander’s testimony before new Afghan strategy
Afghan Decision Expected in Matter of Weeks
Don’t rush Afghan decision, Kerry cautions president
Poll: 50% oppose U.S. surge in Afghanistan
Gunfight At The D.C. Corral
The Taliban Is Serious About Winning In Afghanistan, Are We?

/once we’re gone, how long will it be before the Taliban is back in control of Kabul, executing women in soccer stadiums?