France urges citizens to leave Syria

France urged any of its citizens living in or visiting Syria to leave Wednesday and warned others to cancel any plans to visit during the current political crisis, the foreign ministry said.

“While foreign citizens are not so far directly threatened, the French authorities renew their advice to delay all plans to travel to Syria,” the ministry said in advice to travellers on its website.

“And, until the situation returns to normal, we recommend that French citizens whose presence in the country is not essential or motivated by imperative reasons to provisionally leave Syria by commercial means.”

At the end of last year just over 3,000 French citizens were registered with the foreign ministry as being resident in Syria, which was administered under French mandate in the first half of the 20th century before independence.

The French energy giant Total has around 100 employees there, and French firms are involved in textiles and pharmaceuticals.

France has condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters, and is lobbying within the European Union and United Nations for sanctions to be imposed.

Protests erupted against the Syrian regime on March 15 in the wake of similar pro-democracy movements in other parts of the Arab world. The Insan human rights groups estimate the civilian death toll at more than 607. expatica

Photo: A Syrian protester shows his palms as he shouts anti-Syrian President Bashar Assad slogans during a sit-in in front of the U.N. house in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 2, 201


Bin Laden’s daughter confirms her father shot dead by US forces

Senior Pakistani security officials said Osama bin Laden’s daughter had confirmed her father was captured alive and shot dead by the US Special Forces during the first few minutes of the operation carried out at the huge compound in Bilal Town, Abbottabad. 

Besides recovering four bullet-riddled bodies from the compound, Pakistani security agencies also arrested two women and six children, aged between 2 and 12 years, after American forces flew toward Afghanistan. Some reports suggest 16 people, including women and children, were arrested from the house, most of them Arab nationals.
A Pakistani security source told Al Arabiya that Bin Laden family members had been transported to Rawalpindi, which is near Islamabad. He added, “They are now under treatment in the military hospital of Rawalpindi, where they have been transported in an helicopter.” A source told Al Arabiya that Bin Laden’s had been injured either in her leg or her shoulder.
He added that the members of the household were children and Bin Laden’s wife, in addition to a Yemeni woman. He added that the woman might be the personal doctor of the family. Bin Laden was known to be afflicted with renal failure.
Sources speculated that US Forces could not arrest these family members because there weren’t enough places for them in the helicopter, after they lost another chopper during the operation.
About the slain woman: officials said she could either be Bin Laden’s wife or a close family member since she offered to sacrifice her life for him. “As per our information, she shielded Bin Laden during the operation and was killed by American commandos,” an official said.
The US Special Forces only took two bodies with them in the military chopper; one is said to be Bin Laden’s and the other his son’s. By the time Pakistani security agencies and soldiers arrived at the spot, the US commandos were flying over the mountains in the Pakistani tribal belt, well on their way to Afghanistan.
Sources said one of the two women taken into custody from the compound by Pakistani forces was one of Osama bin Laden’s several wives.
“She is Yemeni and became unconscious during the operation,” said an official. Pleading anonymity, he said the woman was provided necessary medical aid till she became conscious.
“During preliminary investigations, the lady said they moved to the Abbottabad house five to six months ago,” the Pakistani official said, adding that she did not provide further information about bin Laden or his shifting to the house.
The official said a 12-year-old daughter of bin Laden was among the six children rescued from the three-storey compound.
The daughter has reportedly told her Pakistani investigators that the US forces captured her father alive but shot him dead in front of family members.
According to sources, Bin Laden was staying on the ground floor of the house and was dragged on the floor to the helicopter after being shot dead by US commandos.
There were conflicting reports about the second person the US forces took along with them. Some Pakistani officials say it was one of Bin Laden’s sons injured by the US commandos and thrown onto a separate military chopper; others say he was killed in the operation and it was only his dead body that they took along.
The officials say not all children rescued from the house belonged to the al-Qaeda leader. All were being kept at a safe place. The US has not been given access to the detained women and children, the officials claimed. About the second woman, many officials feel she could be a close relative of Osama or his servant.
Similarly, according to information Pakistani officials collected from detained persons, Osama was neither armed nor did inmates at the compound fire at the US choppers or commandos.
“Not a single bullet was fired from the compound at the US forces and their choppers. Their chopper developed some technical fault and crashed and the wreckage was left on the spot,” a well-informed official explained.

Meanwhile, Pakistani security forces maintained a cordon around the compound and its surrounding areas and did not allow the media access to the area until the remaining wreckage of the US military chopper was removed. Some media were given access to the spot but no one was allowed to enter the compound.
The Pakistan Army has sealed two main entrances of the house and deployed military and police for its protection.
A sizeable number of national and international journalists have arrived in Abbottabad to cover the extraordinary story. Before opening the area to the media, Pakistani soldiers shifted two buffaloes, a cow and around 150 hens from the compound to an unknown location.
Security officials said they did not recover any arms and explosives during their detailed search of the compound on Monday and Tuesday. Also, they said, it was a simple house comprising 13 rooms, six on the ground floor and the remaining on the first and second floors.
“There was no bunker or tunnel inside the house and that’s why I don’t understand why the world’s most wanted man would have decided to live here,” a senior official said.
He said two brothers, Arshad Khan and Tariq Khan, owned the house. Both belonged to Tangi area in Charsadda district. Officials said they had no information about the two brothers and their business.
According to a neighbor, the dwellers of the compound never mixed with anyone.
“It was a very reserved family and never attended any wedding or funeral ceremony in the area,” said Qari Mastana Khan of Bilal Town. “But they were kindhearted and would provide clean drinking water and food to poor neighbors. During the holy month of Ramadan, they invited us for Iftar dinner at their house and served us delicious food. Arshad Khan had three kids and his brother Tariq four,” Khan added.
Another interesting aspect, which the residents shared about the house and its inmates, was the strict behavior of the family, who in the last six years, had never allowed women of the neighborhood to enter their house or permitted their own ladies to visit neighbors. Also, children playing in the streets and nearby fields were never allowed into the compound, not even when their balls inadvertently went across.
“Usually, when their ball falls past the wall of a house, the children just go there and pick it up but they were never allowed into this particular house. Whenever their ball fell there and the children went to retrieve it, whoever opened the door gave them money to buy a new ball instead of allowing them to enter and search for their ball,” said an elder of the area, Mohammad Fayaz.
He said all these details made him suspicious but were not enough to make him believe the world’s most wanted man was hiding in his neighborhood.
Al Arabiya

Over 1000 anti-regime protesters detained in Syria

More than 1,000 people have been detained across Syria since Saturday in security crackdowns aimed at quelling the popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, news reports quoting human rights groups and pro-democracy activists said Tuesday.

Reports say the detainees, mostly men aged between 18 and 40, were arrested in door-to-door searches carried out by Syrian security forces in towns and cities across the country since Saturday. The crackdown came after thousands took to the streets on Friday to stage a ‘day of rage’ protests against the government.

A day earlier, State-run Sana news agency reported that security forces had tracked down several “terrorist groups” in the southern city of Deraa, killing about ten and arresting 499 suspected terrorists in raids. At least two security personnel were killed in clashes during the raids.

Human rights agencies, however, claim that more than 70 people have been killed in crackdowns carried out in Deraa by security forces since Friday. In addition, the Syrian Interior ministry has set a deadline of May 15 for protesters who had committed “unlawful acts” to surrender.

Separately, there were unconfirmed reports on Tuesday that the Syrian security forces have surrounded the coastal city of Baniyas, blocking the northern and southern entrances to the city. Reports citing anti-government activists in the city say the government has armed its supporters in nearby villages to help in the crackdown.

Anti-government protests first began in Deraa in mid-March, before spreading quickly to other towns and cities across the country, including Damascus, Homs, Baniyas and Harasta. Since then, thousands of people have been arrested by security forces across the country.

Earlier this month, the government scrapped the nearly half-a-century old emergency laws, one of the key demands of the anti-government protesters, and passed a bill regulating the right to peaceful protest. But the Interior Ministry warned that it would not tolerate mass anti-government protests, dubbing them as “armed insurrection.”

Rights groups estimate that more than 560 people have been killed in police crackdowns since the pro-democracy protests began on March 15. The ongoing unrest is seen as the most serious challenge to Assad’s rule in Syria since he came to power eleven years ago, succeeding his father Hafez al-Assad who ruled the Arab country for three decades.

Hundreds of members of the ruling Baath Party, mostly in the cities of Deraa and Baniyas, had resigned from the party last week to protest against the government’s violent response to the unrest. There are also unconfirmed reports of divisions in the military in wake of the brutal crackdowns.



Image of Osama bin Laden’s Body


Palin hires new foreign policy adviser

Governor Sarah Palin, who I believe will run for president in 2012, made a move in her foreign policy team.

According to Politico, Peter Schweizer, a writer and fellow at the Hoover Institution, known for his blog posts at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Peace site, is the latest hire by Palin.

The personnel shift carries an ideological charge. Scheunemann, the former executive director of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, is a longtime neoconservative stalwart, as is Goldfarb, a former reporter and protege of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. They crafted for Palin a policy platform and voice reflecting an eagerness to use American force. The pair, who helped Palin with press and debate prep in 2008, were also something of Palin’s last link to Washington’s political establishment.

Schweizer is known to be more conservative about the use of force abroad and is skeptical about US involvement in Libya.

He worked as a partner for former Vice President Dick Cheney aide Marc Theissen in a speechwriting and has written many books on Bush, Reagan, and foreign policy.


Leftist Hypocrisy Over The Death Of Bin Laden

Over at Redstate, Melissa Clouthier points out that the Left’s reaction to the death of Bin Laden proves that leftists don’t believe their own war on terror rhetoric.

When the rubber meets the road, liberals aren’t crying that:

* Intelligence gathered, probably via “enhanced interrogation” in a secret prison (or if you’re a liberal, torture), lead to Osama’s death.

* Justice meant a targeted assassination aka capital punishment

* A country’s boundaries were violated to achieve justice (how can we violate a sovereign nation?!!)

* Bullets were used

* Base impulses like “vengeance” were indulged

* Diplomacy didn’t achieve what 40 Navy Seals achieved.

We could go on and expand on that list..

For example, what about the “cycle of violence?” We’d be hearing about it non-stop if Bush had killed Bin Laden.

Then there’s our “unilateral” attack. Was NATO involved? Did the UN give permission? We didn’t even get the go ahead from Pakistan — I mean, who do we think we are?

And what about the lack of a trial? I thought this was about law enforcement, not the military. Should we have found a way to apprehend Bin Laden, read him his rights, and put him on trial in New York? Again, that would be the standard line if Bush had gotten him.

Also, let’s call this exactly what it was:

Continue reading at Right Wing News.


Neither Rhyme nor Reason: Olbermann Demonizes Slip of the Tongue—After Making the Same Mistake Himself

You say Obama, I say Osama. I say Obama, you say Osama. Obama Osama, Obama Osama—let’s call the whole thing off.

Since he became a major contender for the Democrat nomination, slips of the tongue mixing up Obama and Osama have been common—and even the current president’s first big endorser, Ted Kennedy, was not immune.

But Keith Olbermann tried to make this into a new Fox News conspiracy because of a mixup at a LOCAL Fox affiliate, assuming that his audience is too stupid to know the difference—

Fox 40 SACRAMENTO ANCHOR: “President Obama, speaking from the East Room of the White House, telling the nation and the world: President Obama is in fact dead. I’m sorry. Osama Bin Laden is dead.”

Even better, Olbermann had earlier dusted off a standard hoary liberal myth and tweeted that:

OLBERMANN: “Mr. Bush had personally de-prioritized the hunt for Obama…”

Gee, Keith, if you are going to lie from that glass house…

Mediaite has a great rundown on this story, including this telling graphic:

This is, of course, an utterly natural and probably inevitable gaffe. Here is the first known example:


Last night, Jimmy Kimmel provided this hilarious montage:

Of course, Keith found nothing suspicious in an ACTUAL MSNBC reporter making the mistake.

Then there is this guy, whose leg “thrill” was momentarily interrupted.

And administration shill Nora O’Donnell also twittered:

Nice try, Keith, but you are still irrelevant.



Sen. Rand Paul says he expects more GOP opposition to raising the debt ceiling

Senator Rand Paul has made no secret that he is against raising the debt ceiling and increasing our debt exponentially.

The Kentucky senator revealed that there are more Republicans that are coming on to the side of voting against raising the debt ceiling.

In an interview recently with Judge Andrew Napolitano on Freedom Watch, Paul said he expects more Republicans to side with him on voting against raising the US debt limit. We know already that there are many conservatives in the Senate, including Senators Mike Lee, Jim DeMint, and Marco Rubio among others, who are against raising the debt limit.

“I think the debt ceiling, many of the Republicans are now going to vote against it. More will vote against it than voted against the spending plans. And we’ll see what happens. I’m not sure exactly what the count will be.”


US: Syrian actions in Deraa are ‘barbaric’

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday described as barbaric Syria’s reported use of tanks, arbitrary arrests and cuts in power and communications in the city of Deraa, where anti-government protests erupted six weeks ago.

Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose family has ruled the country for 41 years, is pursuing a violent crackdown to quash six weeks of protests that began with demands for greater freedoms but now seek his overthrow.

Last week Assad sent tanks and soldiers into the southern city of Deraa, where the uprising broke out on March 18. Syrian rights groups say more than 560 civilians have been killed by security forces since the start of the unrest.

“We are very disturbed about recent reports, credible reports, of a Syrian military operation in Deraa that includes the use of tanks,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at his daily briefing.

The spokesman said the U.S. had also seen reports of Syria carrying out “a widespread campaign of arbitrary arrests that target young men in Deraa” and that the government had cut off electricity, communications and other public services.

“These are, quite frankly, barbaric measures and they amount to the collective punishment of innocent civilians,” Toner said, describing the humanitarian situation in Deraa as “quite grave.”


Photo: A poster of Syrian president Bashar al Assad released by Syrian Revolution Facebook group that reads: You will drown in the blood of the of the innocent people you contributed to their killing


Pence: Justice delayed became justice served

Representative Mike Pence delivered fine speech on the House floor regarding the death of Osama bin Laden and paid a lovely tribute to Hoosiers who have given their lives in this War on Terror.

Pence said, “I rise to pay a debt of honor and debt of gratitude.”

The Indiana congressman gave praises to Presidents Obama and Bush, the intelligence community, and especially the U.S. Armed Forces past and present, who have given their lives to defend and protect this nation during this War on Terror.

Pence also gave a touching, and personal account of what happened during 9/11 as well as a tribute to the Hoosiers who have given their lives.

Transcript via Pence:

“This was a victory for freedom. And as much as it belongs to those who made the decisions, developed the intelligence, who slid down the ropes and stepped into harm’s way Sunday night, this victory belongs to those who lie in earthen graves, in my district and all over this country who brought it about.

“Winston Churchill once said that ‘We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.’

“Today I pay a debt of gratitude to a Commander-in-Chief, present and past, and to all the members of the Armed Forces who allow us this day to say, ‘Justice is served. Osama bin Laden is dead.’”


Gingrich, Romney, Bachmann to Skip South Carolina Republican Presidential Debate


Republican Field 2012It seems the slate of candidates expected to appear at South Carolina’s Republican debate Thursday is destined to be filled with a host of relative unknowns. Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich declined the opportunity to attend and Former Governors Huckabee and Palin have yet to form the necessary “exploratory committees” required for inclusion; or even announce their respective intentions to run. Conservative starlet Michele Bachmann is in another camp – having more or less announced her candidacy, but still yet to form an official exploratory committee; and also not attending.

The absence of the “major candidates” will; however, provide an opportunity for a few of the lesser known candidates to gain a bit of national exposure as the debate is set to be televised on Fox News – that is unless the network decides to pull the plug if the list of candidates continues to shrink.

CNN: An adviser to Mitt Romney said Monday that the former Massachusetts governor will skip Thursday’s Republican presidential debate in South Carolina “because it’s still early, the field is too unsettled and he’s not yet an announced candidate.”

Romney, considered an early frontrunner for the GOP nomination, has formed an exploratory committee, one of the criteria required to participate in the debate as determined by its sponsors, the South Carolina Republican Party and Fox News.

But Romney has been carefully maintaining a low profile in hopes of avoiding criticism from rivals.

Romney also poured a small fortune into South Carolina during his last presidential run, only to pull out at the last minute ahead of a disappointing fourth place finish in the 2008 primary. He has no staff in the early primary state, but performed well in a series of closely-watched GOP straw polls there last month.

A source familiar with the debate planning said that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson are likely to be on the debate stage in Greenville. Herman Cain said later Monday that he will also attend.


HUMAN EVENTS: A spokesman for Newt Gingrich confirmed to HUMAN EVENTS that the former Speaker and potential 2012 presidential candidate will not be participating in the South Carolina presidential debate on May 5.

Gingrich joins other top-tier contenders, such as Mitt Romney, in bypassing the debate, which is being sponsored by the South Carolina GOP and Fox News. Gingrich has indicated that an announcement concerning his candidacy will be made imminently, most likely within the next two weeks.


NATIONAL JOURNAL: Add another tally to the count of GOP presidential hopefuls who will not be participating in what is shaping up to be a lackluster “kickoff” candidate debate on Thursday in South Carolina: Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., unceremoniously announced in a Fox News Sunday appearance that she will bypass the network’s cosponsored event.

The news isn’t entirely surprising. The requirements for debate participation include having an established exploratory committee, something Bachmann has consistently said would happen “by June.” Prodded on Sunday by Fox News host Chris Wallace, Bachmann crystallized the vague sentiment she’s expressed in recent weeks.

Gov Nikki Haley has offered up some unsolicited advice for these candidates that plan to make noise in South Carolina primaries…

“There is a group … that has come through South Carolina. They are trying to tell me how they are going to win. I don’t care how they are going to win, I want to know how they are going to fix our country.”

In related news… the President is also expected to visit Ground Zero on Thursday – probably not a coincidence.

While the aforementioned “related news” will no doubt steal the MSM headlines, I do believe if there is a headline to be grabbed at this debate, it will be pounced upon by none other than Herman Cain. His candidacy has been slow to gain traction outside the ranks of deeply conservative circles, and of course the Right wing blogging universe, but I am confident that it is just a matter of time before his star rises among a group of dimly lit bulbs.





Senator Bob Corker Presses Secretary Clinton for Details of Pakistani Cooperation on Osama bin Laden

Bob Corker Hillary Clinton Pakistan Bin LadenWith Osama bin Laden holed up no more than a Lance Armstrong afternoon ride from the capital of Pakistan, it seems absolutely laughable – if not impossible – that the Pakistani government was unaware that the world’s most wanted terrorist was “hiding in plain site” just down the goat trail. Nevertheless, bewildered and befuddled, Pakistani officials are standing steadfast in their claims that they had no knowledge of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and they explicitly reject assertions that their government assisted or was even complicit in allowing his compound to be constructed.

Hmmm… Call me a naysayer, but I’m not buying it; and neither is at least one senator. He, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, is asking for answers and calling upon the State Department to release and disclose details of Pakistani cooperation related to the kill operation that brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

From Senator Corker’s Website:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting “details as to the extent of the cooperation received from the Pakistanis and their role in the final operation” that led to the death of Osama bin Laden given “the discovery that bin Laden was living in comfortable surroundings merely 35 miles from Islamabad.” This revelation about bin Laden’s whereabouts, Corker writes, “calls into question whether or not the Pakistanis had knowledge that he was there and did not share that knowledge.”

The attached letter reads:

“Osama bin Laden’s death finally puts an end to an unspeakable reign of terror carried out by the man responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks and the deaths of thousands of Americans and innocent civilians around the world, but questions about the role of Pakistan and the true depth of our partnership remain.

“For some time, relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have been tense yet endured many trials. The United States is fighting a war in Afghanistan against terrorists largely based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with little noticeable support from the Pakistanis to target those actors most harmful to our success.

“As I understand from President Obama’s speech last evening, the Pakistanis provided some cooperation in the operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. That said, the discovery that bin Laden was living in comfortable surroundings merely 35 miles from Islamabad calls into question whether or not the Pakistanis had knowledge that he was there and did not share that knowledge. The claim had been he was difficult to find because he was hiding in the mountains.

“I hope that in the coming days you will provide details as to the extent of the cooperation received from the Pakistanis and their role in the final operation.”

In a statement Monday, Corker said, “We’re tremendously proud of our military and intelligence services who successfully executed a dangerous operation that resulted in a major victory for the fight against terrorism. While the threats against the U.S. remain, bin Laden’s death sends a powerful message to the world that we will not rest until justice is done.”

So what’s to be gained from shedding light on the extent of Pakistani “cooperation” if they’ve already emphatically stated that they knew nothing about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts?

I mean come on; just think about it. If the Pakistani government truly knew nothing about the compound its tenants – and the Obama White House or the State Department believed them – why didn’t we inform them that we were going to invade their sovereign airspace to conduct a kill mission just miles from their capital? The answer? We didn’t trust them.

To be fair, to say we didn’t “trust them” casts a rather large shadow; and perhaps, maybe even one that extends a bit too far. The White House and the State Department may very well “trust” the whole of the Pakistani government, but may simply have its reservations about specific entities – namely the ISI.

Remember this little news story that emerged just days before the assault on bin Laden’s compound…?

REUTERS: According to the documents published on Sunday, the U.S. military classified the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, as a terrorist support entity in 2007 and used association with it as a justification to detain prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.

One document (, given to The New York Times, says detainees who associated with the ISI “may have provided support to al Qaeda or the Taliban, or engaged in hostilities against US or Coalition forces”.

“I request you to rebut the propaganda being done against our intelligence,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters.

“Rebut it forcefully and defend your agencies as the other countries do. This is your national asset and the future of the country.”

According to the document, the ISI, along with al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence, are among 32 groups on the list of “associated forces”, which also includes Egypt’s Islamic Jihad, headed by al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.

A mission in the works for half a decade; a Pakistani intelligence entity flagged for supporting terror groups; and a Pakistani government so derelict in its duty as a sovereign nation and a partner in the war on global terrorism that it was unaware that Osama bin Laden was living just miles from its capital… add that up and what to you get? I don’t think I’m grasping at straws here when I say – not exactly an environment ripe for “cooperation.”

Let’s just be real about it…

We have no respect for their “intelligence” apparatus and suspect they’re at least complicit in letting terror groups operate within their borders. The Pakistani government has proven itself incompetent by not detecting bin Laden’s presence on a massive compound just outside its capital. So, after years of “connecting the dots” we finally have Osama bin Laden in our cross-hairs, would really pick up the phone and give them the rundown of what we’re about to do? Probably not.

Scratch that. Absolutely not.

I think the fact that the Pakistani military scrambled its jets and deployed its troops to the compound once it caught wind of the assault is probably the only evidence one needs to draw the conclusion that the Pakistani government was none-the-wiser. Add that to the fact that White House counter-terrorism chief John Brennan stated that not only did they not know we were coming, but also that we didn’t even inform them until our choppers were out of Pakistani airspace. Nope, not even a head’s up that the helicopters they were tracking belonged to the USA. But why? Perhaps, because we were worried they would attempt to intercept the package?

As is the case with any mission this sensitive in nature, there are always going to be questions that go unanswered. There’s a reason why the word “classified” is common place in our vernacular. While I certainly understand that certain aspects of this operation will go “unreported”, I do believe the American People have every right to know whether Pakistan was a blissfully ignorant “partner” in achieving this mission’s objective; or if they were seen as a potential roadblock and liability to its ultimate success.

If either is true, and certainly if the latter is the more likely scenario; I think it would be more than prudent to begin the process of reevaluating our “partnership” with Pakistan in the days, weeks, and months to come.

CBS NEWS: The U.S. has a delicate alliance with Pakistan. The nuclear-armed nation is a critical partner in the United States’ counter-terrorism efforts and receives billions in aid from the U.S. In his 2012 budget, President Obama requested nearly $3 billion in foreign assistance for Pakistan, including $1.58 billion in funds for security-related programs.

Yet White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said yesterday that “it’s inconceivable that bin Laden did not have a support system in [Pakistan] that allowed him to remain there for an extended period of time.”

So again, what is to be gained from shedding light on the extent of Pakistani involvement in Osama bin Laden’s extraction and termination? Oh I don’t know, perhaps to answer the question of why we’re cooperating with Pakistan in the first place?

What exactly is it that billions of tax payer dollars are buying us again? Someone please refresh my memory. Cooperation? What could they possibly give us that could be more valuable than that which Seal Team 6 took Sunday night – for free?

I think the reality that most are hoping will be ignored here is that Pakistan is no longer a “partner” at all – in the war on terror or in Afghanistan. Instead, it has become the target. Perhaps, “target” is a bit too harsh. Pakistan is now the “interest” in the region. Our endeavors in Afghanistan no longer serve an end in pursuing terrorists and other threats therein, but they do provide a “justifiable” explanation for our continued presence just across the border from Pakistan – a nation quickly looking more and more like a state-sponsor of terrorism; and one that also happens to possess nuclear weapons.

With Osama bin Laden now removed from the conversation, questions will begin swirling about our continued presence in the region. Is Afghanistan an undertaking worth its “cost” with OBL removed from the picture and Al Qaeda now tucked away in Pakistan? While I am certain many of these questions will be rooted in long-standing political positions, I do believe it is absolutely essential that they are asked. What is, what what will be, our new role in Afghanistan? As nation-builder? As a safeguard against the return of the Taliban and Al Qaeda? Or as something else? Perhaps, as the a balancing force in the region to offset the potential threat posed by a new and rising state-sponsor of terrorism; albeit masked in the befuddled cloak of ignorance and information unbeknownst – gone unchecked under the guise of a global “partnership?”

I suppose we shall see. But in the mean time, we deserve to know that Pakistan knew regarding Osama bin Laden’s capture/kill. Without it, we are ill-equipped to both achieve a firm grasp of these events and to prepare for how to proceed in a continued partnership with a nation we seem to increasingly have absolutely no confidence in.

So, in sum… I commend you Senator Corker. Keep fighting the good fight. There are far too many unknowns related to this ongoing “partnership” to simply rest on the news that Osama bin Laden has finally been brought to justice. And if your inquiry proves what most already believe – that we didn’t trust the Pakistani government with the intelligence – I think this may be one “partnership” we now and henceforth, consider severed.


For more… there’s an seemingly endless chain of commentary up at Memeorandum.


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