January 2010 Archives

January 4, 2010

Was Killing of CIA Agents in Afghanistan A Lashkar al-Zil Operation?

Syed Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief, reported January 4, 2009, that, “The suicide attack on the United States Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) forward operating base of Chapman in the Afghan province of Khost last week was planned in the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan.” See “US spies walked into al-Qaeda's trap,” which I highly recommend According to Mr. Shahzad:

Timage he plan was executed following several weeks of preparation by al-Qaeda's Lashkar al-Zil (Shadow Army), Asia Times Online has learned. This was after Lashkar al-Zil's intelligence outfit informed its chief commander, Ilyas Kashmiri, that the CIA planned to broaden the monitoring of the possible movement of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Mr. Shahzad said, “Once it became clear that efforts to track down al-Qaeda were being stepped up and that the base in Khost was being extensively used by the CIA, the Lashkar al-Zil (Brigade 055) moved into top gear. It is the soul of al-Qaeda, having being involved in several events since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US. Under the command of Ilyas Kashmiri, its intelligence network's coordination with its special guerrilla action force has changed the dynamics of the Afghan war theater. Instead of traditional guerrilla warfare in which the Taliban have taken most of the casualties, the brigade has resorted to special operations, the one on the CIA base being the latest and one of the most successful.

Note: Some links were added to the quotes above for the benefit of readers who may not be familiar with some of the names mentioned.

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January 3, 2010

Japan Needs Diplomatic Retooling In Wake of China's Rise

"With the rise of China and other economies in Asia, Japan's position as a major power is growing increasingly shaky," asserts Japan Times staff writer Masimi Ito in the first of a series of articles on Japan's "looming crisis"

According to Ito, "For Japan to maintain its place in the international community, it needs to shift from the old "follow the U.S." diplomacy to one that better balances its relationships with both the U.S. and China, analysts say."

For more, please see "Diplomatic retooling needed in face of China." It raises interesting questions both Japan and China must address as China's revs uses diplomacy to increase its economic power.

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Namik Tan Is Turkey’s Next Envoy To The U.S.

"Ambassador Namik Tan will become the next Turkish ambassador" to the United States," according to Today's Zaman columnist Ali H. Aslan. He replaces Nabi Sensoy. See "Ambassador Tan: The right choice for Washington."

By the way, Today's Zaman is a Turkish, English-language daily widely read by those interested in Turkish affairs.

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South Korea’s Lee: Economy, Improved Inter-Korea Ties Are Priorities

Lee Chi-dong, YonHap News Agency, Seoul, South Korea, January 4, 2010 -- President Lee Myung-bak said Monday January 4, 2010] he will make it his priority this year to reinvigorate the economy and "open a new chapter" in tumultuous inter-Korean relations.”

If you want to read more, please see “Lee vows to improve ties with N. Korea, speed up job creation.”

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January 1, 2010

The Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review

David Judson, editor-in-chief of the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, a 48-year old Turkish newspaper, said “the indelible memories of the year [2009] will be of the 50 or so remarkable young journalists who come to work each day at this very Turkish newspaper that just happens to be produced in the English language.” See “The year of the Daily News reporter.” He adds:

They positioned themselves in Baku, Kars and Yerevan to bring the world the details of a high-drama image diplomatic deal between Turkey and Armenia. Hours after a mass murder in Mardin, our reporter was there to chronicle the pain of survivors. On another wet and miserable morning in the town of Silivri, we were in the courthouse for another round in the Ergenekon tribunal that has transfixed the nation. We were inside Parliament for the first debate of the “Kurdish initiative” and later we spent a week in the dusty villages of Dalbudak and Sivritepe to examine what it meant on the ground. And so much more.

Judson said, “Internationally, just a few staff-made datelines that come to mind include Washington, San Francisco, Brussels, Helsinki, Paris, Ramallah, Tel Aviv, Khartoum, Moscow, Tokyo, Riga, Bratislava, Budapest and Lisbon. Just how the hell did we get to all those places?”

It’s a great post about American editor running and English language newspaper in Turkey under a Turkish boss. I wonder how many other American journalists can find work abroad.

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