Posts Tagged ‘military offensive’

The “left” and the US military offensive in Afghanistan

July 6, 2009
Joe Kishore, wsws.org, 6 July 2009

The American military is in the midst of a major offensive in Afghanistan, aimed at wiping out opposition to the US occupation in the country’s southern Helmand province.

Some 4,000 US Marines, along with 600 members of the Afghan Army, are participating in the drive to gain control of areas with populations deeply hostile to the American occupation.

Continued >>

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Pakistan Declares Swat Valley Offensive Still Almost Over

June 23, 2009
Military Turns Attention to South Waziristan

Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com,  June 22, 2009

Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas today announced that the army had entered its “final stages” of its devestating offensive in the Swat Valley. Now, says Abbas, the military is focusing on its preparatory phase of the offensive in South Waziristan.

Major General Athar Abbas

If that sounds familiar, it probably should. Over three weeks ago, Secretary of Defense Athar Ali said the exact same thing, even going so far as to say that the battle would be over “hopefully within two to three days.”

The Swat Valley offensive has killed thousands, driven millions from their homes, and left hundreds of thousands of others trapped in their homes with dwindling access to food and water.

With the situation in the refugee camps continually worsening, the displaced have hoped to return home in short order. Despite weeks of promises that the clashes were almost over and claims that wide swaths of the valley are under control, the military has been preventing all civilians from returning home.

Two million rendered refugees by fighting in Pakistan

May 26, 2009
By Vilani Peiris |wsws.org, 25 May 2009

The Pakistan military offensive against pro-Taliban militia in the country’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) has produced a massive humanitarian crisis. More than one-and-a-half million people have fled their homes during the past month—the largest number of people to have been displaced by violence since the Rwandan genocide of 1994, reports the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

The fighting and resulting exodus of Pashtuns from the NWFP is also exacerbating national-ethnic tensions in Pakistan, a country founded on communalism and beset by ethnic and religious-communal cleavages.

On Friday, the United Nations’ refugee agency (the UNHCR) issued an urgent appeal for $450 million, saying it had only raised $86 million of the $543 million it calculates it will need to finance UN-led efforts to support the refugees until the end of 2009.

“The scale of this displacement is extraordinary in terms of size and speed and has caused incredible suffering,” said the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan, Martin Mogwanja.

UN officials have repeatedly expressed concern that if the humanitarian crisis is not quickly addressed, the military offensive Islamabad has launched, under heavy pressure from Washington in the name of enforcing the writ of the Pakistani state over all its territory, could in fact greatly intensify opposition to the Pakistani government.

Continued >>

Sri Lanka says wins civil war, kills rebel leader

May 18, 2009

By C. Bryson Hull and Ranga Sirilal | Reuters, May 18, 2009

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lankan troops won the final battle in a separatist conflict seen as one of the world’s most intractable wars, and put the island nation under government control for the first time since 1983, the military said.

In the climactic final gun battle, special forces troops killed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran as he tried to flee the war zone in an ambulance early on Monday, state television reported.

LTTE intelligence chief Pottu Amman and Soosai, head of the “Sea Tiger” naval wing, were also believed killed, the report said. Prabhakaran founded the LTTE on a culture of suicide before surrender, and had sworn he would never be taken alive.

Army commander Lt-Gen. Sarath Fonseka said troops on Monday morning had finished the task given to them by President Mahinda Rajapaksa three years ago.

“We have liberated the entire country by completely liberating the north from the terrorists. We have gained full control of LTTE-held areas,” Fonseka announced on state TV.

The end of combat and Prabhakaran’s death sent the currency and stock markets to one-month and seven-month highs respectively by 0900 GMT (5:00 a.m. EDT). They had already surged at the opening in anticipation of the war’s end.

Rajapaksa declared victory on Saturday, even as the final battle in Asia’s longest modern war was intensifying.

The final fight played out on a sandy patch of just 300 sq meters (3,230 sq ft) near the Indian Ocean island’s northeastern coast, where the military said the last Tiger fighters had holed up in bunkers and surrounded themselves with land mines and booby traps.

COUNTING BODIES

The LTTE on Sunday conceded defeat in a 25-year civil war, after a relentless Sri Lankan military offensive that retook the 15,000 sq km the rebels ran as a separate state when a 2002 truce began falling apart three years ago.

The official Media Center for National Security said more than 250 Tigers had been killed in the final battle, which intensified on Saturday after the military said it had freed the last of 72,000 civilians trapped in the tiny war zone.

News of the Tiger chief’s death came as state TV for the first time broadcast images of the body of his son and heir apparent, Charles Anthony, and other dead rebels.

He was killed overnight, the military said, along with a host of other top LTTE fighters and political cadres, including political chief B. Nadesan and spokesman Seevaratnam Puleedevan.

In Colombo, demonstrators threw rocks at the British High Commission, tossed a burning effigy of Foreign Secretary David Miliband inside and spray-painted its heavily fortified wall with epithets and a message: “LTTE headquarters.”

Miliband has been critical of the Sri Lankan government’s prosecution of the war, and is seen here as sympathetic to the vocal pro-LTTE lobby that has protested outside parliament for weeks in Britain. London has said it backs a war crimes’ probe.

Sri Lanka has been furious that a number of its embassies in foreign capitals have been vandalized by Tamil Tiger backers.

Rajapaksa prorogued parliament on Monday, the required step for him to take the role of speaker and address the body. He was due to make his formal declaration of victory there on Tuesday.

In less than three years, Sri Lanka’s bulked-up military has answered critics who said there was no way to defeat the LTTE, which had carefully crafted an aura of military invincibility.

The LTTE at the height of its power had run a de facto state for Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority that it called Tamil Eelam.

The Tigers collected taxes, ran courts and kept a standing army, naval wing and small air force, even though the government paid for health and education services there.

Pakistani Opposition Figure: 1,500 Civilians Killed in Bajaur Operation

October 21, 2008

Jason Ditz | Antiwar.com, October 19, 2008

Sahibzada Haroonur Rashid, a high ranking official in the Jamaat-e Islami (JI) party from Bajaur Agency, claimed today that 1,500 civilians have been killed since Pakistan’s military offensive in Bajaur began in August. He also condemned the operation for displacing hundreds of thousands of Bajauris, and accused the government of killing people in the tribal areas to ‘appease the United States.’

The military has claimed 1,000 militants killed and another 2,000 wounded in the heavy fighting of the past months, they have not provided any figures on the number of civilians killed. Relief agencies have reported that more than 400,000 people have been displaced in the tiny agency, whose entire population as of the most recent census was less than 600,000.

The Pakistani government has rejected calls by the militants for a ceasefire in the past, and has remained officially silent since last week’s offer by a TTP spokesman to lay down arms in return for an end to the offensives. Confusingly, the government announced a ceasefire of its own at the beginning of Ramadan, but continued to launch attacks throughout the Muslim holy month.

The Jamaat-e Islami is a religious political party in Pakistan. They have no MPs in the current Pakistani legislature, having boycotted the most recent elections over then-President Pervez Musharraf’s declaration of a state of emergency. They have long been outspoken critics of military offensives and supporters of peace talks with the various militant groups in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas. They have also been accused of links with al-Qaeda in the past.


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