Tag Archives: Pakistan

3 April 2014

Facilitating drone strikes: sharing responsibility for sharing intelligence

The exchange of information between Dutch intelligence services and the United States National Security Agency (NSA) is no longer taking place entirely outside the public eye. After a graph published in German news magazine Der Spiegel in August 2013 initially seemed to suggest that the NSA had intercepted 1.8 million records of metadata from Dutch phone calls in the period of December 2012 to January 2013, it became clear this February that Dutch intelligence services had gathered these records themselves, and had subsequently shared them with the NSA. This information consisted of metadata records gathered in the context of anti-terrorism and military operations abroad.

A substantial share of Dutch intelligence efforts is directed towards Somalia, and millions of Somali phone calls have been intercepted from both the Dutch town of Burum and Dutch navy ship HMS Rotterdam. The Netherlands has been collecting this information in order to support the Dutch contribution to the navy missions combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The (meta)data is shared with the NSA (who do not have access to Somali telephone traffic) and in return the US has provided the Netherlands with technical support needed to intercept local telephone traffic from the HMS Rotterdam.[1] (more…)

15 November 2013

Saudi Arabia plans, with the help of other states, to build a national army for the Syrian opposition

Saudi Arabia is planning to build a new national army for the Syrian opposition, aiming to create a force trained outside of Syria that is capable of defeating the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and countering the growth of jihadist rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.

According to Saudi insiders, training involving some 5,000 rebels had already been under way in Jordan for several months with the aid of Pakistani, French, and US instructors, although Jordanian sources suggest a much lower number. Saudi Arabia reportedly plans to build a rebel army of 40,000–50,000 at a cost of ‘several billion dollars’. A high-level Saudi delegation visited Paris in October to negotiate contracts for arming and equipping both the Free Syrian Army and the new national army.

According to Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center, competition for external funding is a powerful driver of organisational dynamics within Syria’s armed rebellion. Not all of that support comes from government sources however, private donors in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates also sponsor rebel groups of their choice.

Source: Carnegie Middle East Center | Unifying Syria’s Rebels: Saudi Arabia Joins the Fray

29 October 2013

Pakistan approved and collaborated with US drone strikes

The Washington Post reported that despite having repeatedly denounced the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) drone campaign, top officials in Pakistan’s government have for years (secretly) endorsed the programme, and regularly received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts. Also, during the early years of the campaign, the CIA used Pakistani airstrips for its Predator fleet.

According to leaked top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos, Pakistan was not only regularly briefed on the strikes, in some cases it helped choose targets, or collaborated in a four-year period from late 2007, when military ruler Pervez Musharraf was in power, to late 2011 when a civilian government led by the Pakistan People’s Party had taken over. In April 2013, Musharraf told CNN that he had authorised drone strikes in Pakistan while he was in power. However, Pakistani security officials and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (2008-June 2012) denied that they had approved US drone strikes on the country’s soil, although a diplomatic cable from then-US ambassador Anne Patterson from August 2008, released by WikiLeaks, indicated Gilani had agreed to the strikes in private.

The Washington Post said the leaked documents showed the CIA, who runs the drone programme, drafted documents to share information on at least 65 attacks with Pakistan’s government. In 2010, a document describes hitting a location ‘at the request of your government’, and another document refers to a joint targeting effort between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Source: The Washington Post | Secret memos reveal explicit nature of U.S., Pakistan agreement on drones
Source: Yahoo News | Former Pakistan PM, security officials deny US drone collusion

26 August 2013

Karzai calls for a joint Afghan-Pakistani campaign against terrorism

According to Al Jazeera, the Afghan president Hamid Karzai made a plea for a joint anti-terrorism campaign with Pakistan during his one-day visit with the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

President Karzai told journalists that the two countries should launch a joint campaign against ‘the menace of terrorism’. The President has previously urged Pakistan to help Afghanistan defeat fighters who he says are destabilizing both countries. The Afghan government considers Taliban safe havens in Pakistan to be the main cause of increased violence. During Karzai’s visit, the Pakistani Prime Minister called for constructive dialogue to improve bilateral relations, but reportedly did not comment on the joint campaign initiative.

Source: Al Jazeera | Karzai seeks Pakistan's help during visit

4 June 2013

US transfers suspected senior Al-Qaeda member from Afghanistan to Mauritania

Mauritanian officials confirmed on Saturday 1 June that Younis al-Mauritani, a prisoner suspected of being a senior Al-Qaeda member, was transferred by the United States from the infamous Bagram military base in Afghanistan to his native Mauritania, an important Western ally against Al-Qaeda in the Sahel region.

Al-Mauritani was originally captured in Pakistan in 2011 in a joint US-Pakistani operation and was then suspected on planning attacks on US economic interests in Pakistan as well as European and Australian targets. Mauritania had issued an international arrest warrant against him pursuant to a deadly attack on an army base in 2005 and a police shootout in 2008.

Source: The New York Times | Mauritania Says U.S. Sent Prisoner From Afghan Base

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