BuzzFlash.com's World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
WORLD MEDIA WATCH FOR DECEMBER 12, 2001
1//The International News, Pakistan--TALIBAN HUMAN ASSETS STILL WELL INTACT "The government's Afghan watchers now believe that the secret understanding reached between the new Pushtun leaders of Afghanistan …and the Taliban leaders and followers would go a long way in cementing a Pushtun resistance to counter the hegemonistic political designs of the Northern Alliance leadership.")
2//Pakistan News Service, Pakistan--US, ALLIES IGNORING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS ("There is something wrong when our government can successfully pressure Uzbekistan to allow the establishment of major new US military bases but not the free passage of humanitarian aid that literally means the difference between life and death for thousands in northern Afghanistan.")
3//Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Nairobi, Kenya- SOMALIA AUTHORITIES DENY OSAMA LINK ("UN officials have said they have found no credible evidence to link Somalia to terrorist camps, but fears persist within the country of some kind of US action.")
4//AllAfrica.com, Mauritius--FEAR OF US STRIKES GRIPS SOMALIA ("The European Union's special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Rino Serri… speaking at a UN-organised conference on Somalia, said that "Somalia isn't Afghanistan and has no Taliban regime to topple.")
5//Pravda, Russia--AL-JAZEERA VS. CNN ("Al-Jazeera will soon start broadcasting in the English language, both in the USA and Great Britain…the USA government recommended its businessmen not to advertise on Al-Jazeera.")
International News, Wednesday December 12, 2001-- Ramadan 26,1422 A.H
TALIBAN HUMAN ASSETS STILL WELL INTACT By Kamran Khan
KARACHI: As a new Hamid Karzai-led interim government prepares to take power in Afghanistan for an initial period of six months, Mulla Omar and almost each of his close associates is known to have survived the two month long air and ground attacks by the United States forces, Pakistani officials responsible for monitoring development inside Afghanistan on daily basis have reported.
At the same time, the Pakistani officials said, the non-Afghan Al-Qaeda movement headed by Osama Bin Laden is fast losing its men and leaders and the ongoing Tora Bora operation in eastern Afghanistan may soon herald the near complete elimination of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Pakistani officials feel that in the absence of any widespread killing or defection of hardcore Taliban, shrewd backroom negotiations by important Taliban commanders with the Pashtun dominated anti-Taliban forces in the east, west and south of Afghanistan provided Mulla Omar a leverage to protect the human assets of the Taliban movement.
Pakistani military security agencies have reckoned that the Al-Qaeda and Taliban explicitly followed separate strategies to meet the US military might. The Al-Qaeda opted for a 'last-man, last-bullet' strategy, while the Taliban leadership ordered strategic retreat all over Afghanistan. The divided strategy, Pakistani officials said, created a major gulf between the Al-Qaeda's Arab leaders and Taliban mullahs.
"Unbelievably not one top cabinet minister of Mulla Omar was killed, arrested or defected to opposition forces during the two month long non-stop bombing," noted a senior Pakistani security official.
"Whether the Americans like it or not the anti-Taliban Pushtun forces have gained ground with an implicit Taliban support all across the Afghan Pushtun belt," observed a senior Pakistani official who noted that it was unfair to suggest that a common Afghan hated the Taliban rule.
Despite repeated stories in The New York Times about Mutawakil's defection the Taliban foreign minister remained loyal to Omar.
Mulla Omar apparently followed the same strategy in each of the provinces where he quickly ordered his representatives to surrender power to local warlords in exchange for immunity to his supporters. For that reason alone the transition remained smooth in most provinces, particularly in the western province of Herat where the Taliban governor Maulvi Khair Mohammad Khairkhawa personally welcomed Ismail Khan, a former Tajik speaking Mujahid commander.
Pakistani officials said that mosques and religious seminaries all across Afghanistan would continue to serve as the power base for the Taliban, whose supreme leaders still, apparently, enjoy the support of some 800 Afghan religious scholars who had brought Omar to power by naming him as the 'Ameerul Momineen' of Afghanistan in 1994.
Pakistani officials privately acknowledged that despite the best efforts of government of Pakistan hundreds of Afghan Taliban and their leaders managed to reach here through various mountain passes in the last weeks. The Afghan Taliban have secured initial shelter in the tribal areas and with people who run religious madaris, particularly in the NWFP and Balochistan provinces.
The government's Afghan watchers now believe that the secret understanding reached between the new Pushtun leaders of Afghanistan such as Hamid Karzai, Gul Agha, Haji Qadeer and the Taliban leaders and followers would go a long way in cementing a Pushtun resistance to counter the hegemonistic political designs of the Northern Alliance leadership.
ALLIES IGNORING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
A letter released on International Human Rights Day by a coalition of US-based organizations requests the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Swiss professor Jean Ziegler, to call for "immediate measures to prioritize humanitarian relief and prevent further violations of international human rights and humanitarian law."
The military collapse of the Taliban was expected to ease the food crisis in Afghanistan. However, this has not happened. Instead, a deadly combination of lawlessness among Northern Alliance factions and closed borders by neighbouring states is continuing to block life-saving aid from reaching millions of destitute civilians. Time is running out, with winter snows already closing access to parts of the country, the letter said.
"There is something wrong when our government can successfully pressure Uzbekistan to allow the establishment of major new US military bases but not the free passage of humanitarian aid that literally means the difference between life and death for thousands in northern Afghanistan."
The public letter to the UN expert is signed by the American Friends Service Committee, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Food First Institute, Grassroots International, MADRE, the Mennonite Central Committee and the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
Broadcasting Corporation Wed., December 12, 2001 2:42:20 AM E.A.T
AUTHORITIES DENY OSAMA LINK
Interim Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah has strongly rejected American charges that the al-Qaeda network led by Osama Bin Laden has bases in Somalia.
He was responding in a BBC interview to a statement from a top United States official that Washington had evidence of definite links between al-Qaeda and the Somali Islamic group, al-Itihad.
Asked about reports that the US might carry out air strikes on Somalia, Mr Hassan Abshir said there would be no justification for this.
He commented wryly that Somalis themselves had already wrought enough destruction on their country.
"We have sent to the Bush administration a letter of invitation to come here to see what is here... We are ready to fight against the terrorists," he said.
UN officials have said they have found no credible evidence to link Somalia to terrorist camps, but fears persist within the country of some kind of US action.
Already a US warship has been stationed off the Somali coast and this weekend there were reports that surveillance flights had been carried out over the country. Reports have also spoken of a meeting between US officers and opposition warlords in Somalia's second city of Baidoa to identify potential "terrorist" targets, according to sources.
Posted to the web December 11, 2001
FEAR OF US STRIKES GRIPS SOMALIA
Fears of an imminent American air strike is gripping Somalia after reports that military aircraft have been conducting surveillance flights over the country, local sources told IRIN on Tuesday. The first sighting of military aircraft was reportedly last week, according to Abdulkadir Isse, a Mogadishu resident said. "Over the past week we had to listen to their droning sound every night," he said. "People are really terrified to sleep at night."
However, the UN security officer for Somalia, Wayne Long, told IRIN he had received no reports of military planes overflying the country. Neither had he received any requests for the establishment of no fly zones, he said. A regional analyst told IRIN it was unlikely the US would attack Somalia.
"It is much more likely that they are sending a message to Usama Bin-Ladin and Al-Qaeda that Somalia is no sanctuary," the analyst said.
The European Union's special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Rino Serri, warned against air strikes on Somalia, arguing that a stable government was the key to combating the threat of terrorism in the country. The Italian news agency ANZA quoted Serri as saying air strikes "would be pointless as there is absolutely nothing there to destroy". Serri, speaking at a UN-organised conference on Somalia, said that "Somalia isn't Afghanistan and has no Taliban regime to topple".
AL-JAZEERA VS. CNN by Dmitry Litvinovich
The world is on the edge of the new war: the information war. The Qatar company al-Jazeera decided to struggle with such monsters as CNN and BBC. Al-Jazeera will soon start broadcasting in the English language, both in the USA and Great Britain. This was said by Mohammed Jasim Al-Ali, the managing director of the TV company. He added thatAl-Jazeera's major competitors are CNN and BBC, which started broadcasting in the Arabic.
The Qatar channel has already received a loan in the sum of $130 million for this project. The accounts will have to be settled owing to the income from commercial advertising, but like he said, the USA government recommended its businessmen not to advertise on Al-Jazeera.
The information war has not yet actually started, but it already has a winner. The satellite television channel Al-Jazeera with its headquarters situated in the small emirate of Qatar managed to press CNN on the pedestal as the Arabs' most watched television channel. Al-Jazeera is like a window for the vast majority of the planet's population to watch the events happening in Afghanistan.
Al-Jazeera (which is translated as "island") is more a political phenomenon than a commercial one. It is the only non-Afghan TV company that was authorized to work in Kabul. It was Al-Jazeera that broadcast Osama bin Laden's speech in which he called upon all the Muslim people to start the "holy war."
"The secret of our success is the freedom of expression," - Dima Hatib, the manager of the company's editorial office of the channel said. "We do not have a certain political position in favor of this or that country; we offer everyone to express their points of view."
Al-Jazeera was not known in the West before the events of September 11. Now the company is offering information from an Arabic point of view, on the ground, and independent of the criteria that are so typical of the Western mass media. There are 100 journalists in the company's team; the majority of them used to work for BBC services broadcasting in the Arabic. Their informational policy, which is absolutely different from the rest of the channels of the Arabic television, raises dissatisfaction from the governments of such countries like Kuwait and Libya: they were threatening to withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar as a token of protest.
The American government does not like Al-Jazeera covering the conflict in Afghanistan; the government notified the Qatar authorities of their displeasure. US Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that he personally pressed Qatar to censor Al-Jazeera, but Washington's pressure had not produced the desired effect. "Nothing has changed after the emir received a letter from Powell," Dima Hatib assures. "We work the way we did before."
Washington's effort did not produce the desired results, so it was decided to create a satellite channel of their own. It will broadcast 24 hours daily in all Muslim countries. However, this is a subject matter for the future. The information war is gathering pace.
Copyright 2001, Gloria R. Lalumia
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otherwise noted, all original