Pakistan sees no role for the U.S. in the future of Afghanistan by Lawrence Sellin, Phd.

Editor’s Note: From our great friend Dr. Lawrence Sellin, Phd. Dr. Sellin is also a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

 

 

 

Pakistan sees no role for the U.S. in the future of Afghanistan

by Lawrence Sellin, Phd. May 27, 2017

If you want to understand the foreign policy of Pakistan, look to the Pakistani military. If you want to understand the views of the Pakistani military, look to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and its new chief, Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar.

Mukhtar commanded a mechanized army division and has vast experience in intelligence having led the ISI counterintelligence division and he is believed to have led secret missions against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).

A graduate of Pakistan’s Command and Staff College in Quetta and the National Defense University in Islamabad, Mukhtar also attended the U.S. Army War College, where he wrote a thesis entitled “Afghanistan — Alternative futures and their implications.”

In it, Mukhtar outlines four different scenarios for the future of Afghanistan, all involve U.S. and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan and the installation of some form of Taliban government controlled by Pakistan. He does not see the U.S. or its allies ever reentering Afghanistan.

According to Mukhtar, Afghanistan’s stakeholders are its “six immediate neighbors (China, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan) and its regional partners (Russia, India, and Saudi Arabia).” The future U.S. role in Afghanistan is relegated to diplomacy, where “America would have to make aggressive diplomatic efforts to dissuade provocative action or intervention by regional players,” meaning preventing Indian influence in Afghanistan.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Mukhtar is proposing the status quo ante, a form of the pre-9/11, Taliban-governed, Pakistan-controlled Afghanistan.

It is ironic that Mukhtar writes “A major characteristic of all the scenarios is the prevention of the return of al Qaeda to Afghanistan, while ensuring terrorism can no longer be exported outside of its borders,” when even today Pakistan is unable to control terrorist groups inside its borders and facilitates or turns a blind eye to international terrorist operations launched from Pakistan.

For a long time, Pakistan has used religious militancy as a foreign policy tool and, domestically, either supporting or attacking religious militant groups to exert political control or suppress autonomy or nationalism among its disaffected minorities.

Pakistan has openly admitted supporting and training groups like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Lashkar-e-Taibaa Salafist organization with links to the ISI, which conducted terrorist operations in Kashmir and reportedly was responsible for the horrific attack in Mumbai, India in November 2008. In conjunction with army operations, the Pakistan government has been accused of motivating terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba to suppress the Balochistan independence movement.

The U.S. cannot win in Afghanistan unless there is a significant change in the strategic environment because Pakistan, through its support of the Taliban, regulates the operational tempo of the conflict and the supplies essential to sustain our troops in Afghanistan transit Pakistani territory.

So, what are U.S. options in Afghanistan?

We could repeat, more or less, the same strategy and tactics that we have employed over the last sixteen years and expect different results.

We could decide that Afghanistan is no longer worth the blood and treasure, withdraw and cede regional influence and problem ownership to Pakistan, China and Iran, letting the chips fall where they may.

Or we could begin to take steps to alter the strategic dynamics of the region creating incentives for Pakistani cooperation including cutting off foreign aid, declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, tilting towards India and supporting Balochistan independence.

The success of the emerging China-Pakistan Economic Corridor depends on the stability of Balochistan because it provides a major section of the transportation route from China to the deep water port in Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

Pakistan has directly contributed to the instability in Afghanistan and unnecessarily prolonged the war. Islamabad would do well to remember that insurgency is not a one-way street.

Article

 

 

 

Memorial Day A Time To Remember Our Heroes By Paul E. Vallely MG, US Army (ret)

Memorial Day

 A Time To Remember Our Heroes

 By

 Paul E. Vallely

MG, US Army (ret)

We pause this day in America to remember our fallen heroes, the men and women who answered the call of freedom and paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Let us remember and thank them for the nights they slept freezing in a tent or sweating in the desert, for the lonely days they spent fighting boredom and missing loved ones, for the hours they spent sick in pain from battle and without someone holding their hand other than their fellow soldiers, for the moments of sheer fright in the heat of battle, for the wounds suffered fighting evil, for the endless days in hospitals undergoing painful surgeries, for the precious occasions  missed at home with family and friends.

For all of these sacrifices, we need to thank them on behalf of millions of Americans who are so grateful. We truly appreciate their dedication to duty.  A special thank you to all families and friends, to the parents who raised them, stood by them and made them honorable men and woman.  We thank the wives, husbands, and loved ones who stood by them and supported them with their love.

May their legacy be honored for generations to come, may the tears shed over their coffins fertilize the fields of patriotism in our nation. The new generations to come must be built on strength, duty, honor and country, willing and able to follow in their Warrior footsteps when duty calls to defend America. May their blood not have been shed in vain. May we prove worthy of their sacrifice.

You who have served and are serving as our brave ones, our heroes, are our national treasures. You are the pride of our nation, our strength and our foundation. Thanks to you, millions have been freed around the world. Those who criticize our country, burn our precious flag, and speak ill of you, are able to do so because their freedom is built upon your blood and your sacrifice.

Our son speaks from his resting place below our feet. He speaks to me each day from his hallowed space with beautiful skies and mountains majestic white with snow. God bless his soul and  the others buried here and I thank him for his wonderful contribution to our life. He lives forever in our hearts. I fear no evil when I walk with Warriors. We walk in the valley of death but we fear no evil. We are the Masters of our Destiny and the Captain of our souls. You are the wind beneath my wings. I fly with you forever in eternity.

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day began as a tradition of decorating the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers with flags and flowers to show the respect of a grateful nation for their service and sacrifice. This tradition continues today, and our nation now sets aside the last Monday in May to celebrate the courage of the men and women who have worn America’s colors in war and in peace.

I remember as a young man remembering Memorial that in the morning there was a parade down Main Street, led by a color guard, the high school band, and ranks of veterans from World War I, World War II, and the war of the moment, Korea. The Veterans of Foreign Wars sold red poppies to raise funds for the disabled. Politicians made speeches and citizens prayed in public. It was a solemn annual event that taught us reverence for those who served and sacrificed for our country. It’s no longer so in many places in America, especially in our large urban areas.

Begun as a local observance in the aftermath of the Civil War, the first national commemoration took place on May 30, 1868, at the direction of General John A. Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Though his “General Order No. 11” specified “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion” – meaning only Union soldiers – those who tended the burial sites at Arlington, VA, Gettysburg, PA and Vicksburg, MS, decided on their own to decorate the graves of both Union and Confederate war dead.

For five decades the holiday remained essentially unchanged. But in 1919, as the bodies of young Americans were being returned to the U.S. from the battlefields of World War I, May 30th became a truly national event. It persisted as such until 1971, during Vietnam – the war America wanted to forget – when the Uniform Holiday Act passed by Congress went into effect, and turned Memorial Day into a “three-day weekend.” Since then, it’s become an occasion for appliance, mattress and auto sales, picnics, barbecues and auto races. Thankfully, there are some places besides Arlington National Cemetery like Bigfork, Montana where Memorial Day is still observed as a time to honor America’s war dead.

This Memorial Day we remember those who have served our nation in the past and those who currently serve America today. Although Memorial Day comes only once a year, we must make sure that our service members know how grateful we are every day. It recognizes the sacrifices made by our courageous men and women who have fallen in defense of our nation’s liberty. This Memorial Day, please take a moment to remember and honor America’s fallen and current day warriors who are advancing freedom’s cause today. WE salute you one and all.  WE bow before you in respect and humility. May God bless you and God bless America, land of the free and home of the brave.

 

The entire staff at Stand Up America gives thanks to our fallen heroes and their families for their service to the United States of America and preserving and protecting our Constitution and our American way of life. On behalf of a grateful nation, The United States of America, may God bless you. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Always.

 

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“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

(Edmund Burke)

Never forget.

“Look at what they have done to our country” … “United We Stand 911″…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day 29 May in the year of our Lord 2017 as in all the years…

 

 

 

Remarks by US President Donald Trump at Israel Museum on May 23, 2017

Editor’s Note: Never Again.

 

 

 

Remarks by US President Donald Trump at Israel Museum on May 23, 2017

Thank you, Prime Minister Netanyahu. I want to thank you and Sara for hosting us for what has been an unforgettable visit to this very special land. I also want to thank Chairman Yitzchak Molcho, Acting Director Ayelet Shiloh-Tamir, and Chief Operating Officer Dalia Lazar, for hosting us today in this incredible museum. And thank you, Ambassador and Mrs. Friedman for joining us, along with a number of very good friends who have come from our country to yours as we reaffirm the unshakable bond between the United States and Israel.

It is a privilege to stand here in this national museum, in the ancient city of Jerusalem, to address the Israeli people – and all people in the Middle East who yearn for security, prosperity and peace.

Jerusalem is a sacred city. Its beauty, splendor, and heritage are like no other place on eart

The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel’s white and blue flag.

Yesterday, I visited the Western Wall, and marveled at the monument to God’s presence and man’s perseverance – I was humbled to place my hand upon the wall and to pray in that holy space for wisdom from God.

I also visited and prayed at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a site revered by Christians throughout the world. I laid a wreath at Yad Vashem, honoring, remembering, and mourning the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. I pledged there what I pledge again to those here today: NEVER AGAIN.

Israel is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people. From all parts of this great country, one message resounds: and that is the message of hope.

Down through the ages, the Jewish people have suffered persecution, oppression and even those who have sought their destruction. But, through it all, they have endured – and they have thrived.

I stand in awe of the accomplishments of the Jewish People, and I make this promise to you: My Administration will always stand with Israel.

Through your hardships, you have created one of the most abundant lands in the world. A land that is rich not only in history, culture, and opportunity, but especially in spirit.

This museum where we are gathered today tells the story of that spirit – from the two Holy Temples, to the glorious heights of Masada, we see an incredible story of faith and perseverance. That faith is what inspired Jews to believe in their destiny, to overcome their despair, and to build here a future that others dared not to dream.

In Israel, not only are Jews free to till the soil, teach their children, and pray to God in the ancient land of their forefathers. But Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths, and both men and women, are free to live and worship according to their conscience, and to follow their dreams.

While evil forces seeks to kill innocents of all faiths, your nation has responded with compassion, charity, and generosity.

Today, gathered with friends, I call upon all people – Jews, Christians, Muslims, and every faith, tribe, and creed – to draw inspiration from this ancient city, to set aside our sectarian differences, to overcome oppression and hatred, and to give all children the freedom and hope and dignity written into our souls.

Earlier this week, I spoke at a historic summit in Saudi Arabia. There, I urged our friends in the Muslim world to join us in creating stability, safety and security. I was deeply encouraged by the desire of many leaders to join us in cooperation toward these shared and vital goals. Conflict cannot continue forever – the only question is when nations will decide that they have had enough.

That historic summit represents a new opportunity for people throughout the Middle East to overcome sectarian and religious divisions to extinguish the fires of extremism, and find common ground and shared responsibility in making the future of this region. Change must come from within.

No mother or father wants their children to grow up in a world where terrorists roam free, schoolchildren are murdered, and their loved ones are taken. No child is born with prejudice in their heart. No one should teach young boys and girls to hate and kill.

And no civilized nation can tolerate the massacre of innocents with chemical weapons.

My message to that summit was the same message I have for you: We must build a coalition of partners who share the aim of stamping out extremism and violence – and providing our children a peaceful and hopeful future.

But a hopeful future for children in the Middle East requires the world to fully recognize the vital role of the state of Israel.

And, on behalf of the United States, we pledge to stand by you and defend our shared values so that together we can defeat terrorism and create safety for all of God’s children.

Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence. Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs. Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities where schoolchildren have to be trained to hear the sirens and run to bomb shelters. ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues, and storefronts. And Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction.

Despite these challenges, Israel is thriving as a sovereign nation – and no international body should question the contributions Israel makes to the region.

Today, let us pray for that peace – and for a more hopeful future across the Middle East.

There are those who present a false choice. They say that we must choose between supporting Israel and supporting Arab and Muslim nations in the region. That is completely wrong. All decent people want to live in peace, and all humanity is threatened by the evils of terrorism. Diverse nations can unite around the goal of protecting innocent life, upholding human dignity, and promoting peace and stability in the region. My Administration is committed to pursuing such a coalition, and we have already made substantial progress during this trip.

We know, for instance, that both Israelis and Palestinians seek lives of hope for their children. And we know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis which has dragged on for nearly half century.

As I have repeatedly said, I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians reach that mutual commitment comprehensive peace agreement, and I had a great meeting this morning with President Mahmoud Abbas and I can tell you that he is ready to reach a peace deal.

Making peace will not be easy. We all know that. Both sides will face tough decisions. But with determination, compromise on both sides, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal. But even as we work toward peace, we will build strength to defend our nations.

The United States is firmly committed to keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias that are causing so much suffering and chaos throughout the Middle East.

America’s security partnership with Israel is stronger than ever – including the Iron Dome missile defense program, which has been keeping the Israeli people safe from short-range rockets launched by Hezbollah and Hamas. And David’s sling which guards against long range missiles. It is my hope that someday very soon Israeli children will never need to rush towards shelter, as sirens ring out.

Finally, the United States is proud that Israeli Air Force pilots are flying new American F-35 planes to defend their nation, and it was wonderful to see these mighty aircraft in the skies over Israel recently as you celebrated the 69th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

But even as we strengthen our partnership in practice, let us always remember our highest ideals – let us never forget that the bond between our two nations is woven together in the hearts of our people – and their love of freedom, hope, and dignity for all.

Let us dream of a future where Jewish, Muslim and Christian children can grow up together and live together in trust, harmony, tolerance and respect.

Israel is a thriving nation – and has not only uplifted this region, but the entire world.

The conviction of Theodor Herzl rings true today: “whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind.”

As we stand in Jerusalem, we see pilgrims of all faiths coming to this land to walk on this hallowed ground.

Jews place the prayers from their hearts in the stone blocks of the Western Wall.

Christians pray in the pews of an ancient church.

Muslims answer the call to prayer at their holy sites.

This city, like no other place in the world, reveals the longing of the human heart – to know and worship God.

Jerusalem stands as a reminder that life can flourish against any odds.

When we look around this city, and we see people of all faiths engaged in reverent worship, and school children learning side-by-side, and men and women lifting up the needy and forgotten, we see that God’s promise of healing has brought goodness to so many lives. We see that the people of this land had the courage to overcome the oppression and injustice of the past – and to live in the freedom God intends for every person on this earth.

Today, in Jerusalem, we pray and we hope that children around the world will soon be able to live without fear, to dream without limits, and to prosper without violence. I ask this land of promise to join with me to fight our common enemies, to pursue our shared values, and to protect the dignity of every child of God.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the State of Israel. And God bless the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

Off we go…The long march from the madras to…

 

 

Full transcript of Trump’s Riyadh speech, as released by White House

Full transcript of Trump’s Riyadh speech, as released by White House

May 21, 2017, 12:21 pm

The full transcript of Trump’s speech to Muslim-world leaders, as published by the White House moments after he finished speaking in Riyadh.

I want to thank King Salman for his extraordinary words, and the magnificent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting today’s summit. I am honored to be received by such gracious hosts. I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place and the incredible hospitality you have shown us from the moment we arrived.

You also hosted me in the treasured home of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Kingdom who united your great people. Working alongside another beloved leader – American President Franklin Roosevelt – King Abdulaziz began the enduring partnership between our two countries. King Salman: your father would be so proud to see that you are continuing his legacy – and just as he opened the first chapter in our partnership, today we begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to our citizens.

Let me now also extend my deep and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of the distinguished heads of state who made this journey here today. You greatly honor us with your presence, and I send the warmest regards from my country to yours. I know that our time together will bring many blessings to both your people and mine.

I stand before you as a representative of the American People, to deliver a message of friendship and hope. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith.

In my inaugural address to the American People, I pledged to strengthen America’s oldest friendships, and to build new partnerships in pursuit of peace. I also promised that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust.

Our vision is one of peace, security, and prosperity—in this region, and in the world.

Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.
And so this historic and unprecedented gathering of leaders—unique in the history of nations—is a symbol to the world of our shared resolve and our mutual respect. To the leaders and citizens of every country assembled here today, I want you to know that the United States is eager to form closer bonds of friendship, security, culture and commerce.

For Americans, this is an exciting time. A new spirit of optimism is sweeping our country: in just a few months, we have created almost a million new jobs, added over 3 trillion dollars of new value, lifted the burdens on American industry, and made record investments in our military that will protect the safety of our people and enhance the security of our wonderful friends and allies – many of whom are here today.

Now, there is even more blessed news I am pleased to share with you. My meetings with King Salman, the Crown Prince, and the Deputy Crown Prince, have been filled with great warmth, good will, and tremendous cooperation. Yesterday, we signed historic agreements with the Kingdom that will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.

This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase – and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies. This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations.

We have also started discussions with many of the countries present today on strengthening partnerships, and forming new ones, to advance security and stability across the Middle East and beyond.

Later today, we will make history again with the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology – located right here, in this central part of the Islamic World.

This groundbreaking new center represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combatting radicalization, and I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership.

I have had the pleasure of welcoming several of the leaders present today to the White House, and I look forward to working with all of you.
America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership – based on shared interests and values – to pursue a better future for us all.

Here at this summit we will discuss many interests we share together. But above all we must be united in pursuing the one goal that transcends every other consideration. That goal is to meet history’s great test—to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism.

Young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence, and innocent of hatred. And young Muslim men and women should have the chance to build a new era of prosperity for themselves and their peoples.

With God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed. At the same time, we pray this special gathering may someday be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East – and maybe, even all over the world.
But this future can only be achieved through defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it.

Few nations have been spared its violent reach.

America has suffered repeated barbaric attacks – from the atrocities of September 11th to the devastation of the Boston Bombing, to the horrible killings in San Bernardino and Orlando.

The nations of Europe have also endured unspeakable horror. So too have the nations of Africa and even South America. India, Russia, China and Australia have been victims.

But, in sheer numbers, the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations. They have borne the brunt of the killings and the worst of the destruction in this wave of fanatical violence.

Some estimates hold that more than 95 percent of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim.

We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading across the planet. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. No description of the suffering and depravity can begin to capture its full measure.

The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.

The Middle East is rich with natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and massive amounts of historic treasures. It should increasingly become one of the great global centers of commerce and opportunity.

This region should not be a place from which refugees flee, but to which newcomers flock.

Saudi Arabia is home to the holiest sites in one of the world’s great faiths. Each year millions of Muslims come from around the world to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Hajj. In addition to ancient wonders, this country is also home to modern ones—including soaring achievements in architecture.

Egypt was a thriving center of learning and achievement thousands of years before other parts of the world. The wonders of Giza, Luxor and Alexandria are proud monuments to that ancient heritage.

All over the world, people dream of walking through the ruins of Petra in Jordan. Iraq was the cradle of civilization and is a land of natural beauty. And the United Arab Emirates has reached incredible heights with glass and steel, and turned earth and water into spectacular works of art.

The entire region is at the center of the key shipping lanes of the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, and the Straits of Hormuz. The potential of this region has never been greater. 65 percent of its population is under the age of 30. Like all young men and women, they seek great futures to build, great national projects to join, and a place for their families to call home.

But this untapped potential, this tremendous cause for optimism, is held at bay by bloodshed and terror. There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it.

Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.
Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.

If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen. Terrorism’s devastation of life will continue to spread. Peaceful societies will become engulfed by violence. And the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered.

If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing—then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God.

This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations.

This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.
This is a battle between Good and Evil.

When we see the scenes of destruction in the wake of terror, we see no signs that those murdered were Jewish or Christian, Shia or Sunni. When we look upon the streams of innocent blood soaked into the ancient ground, we cannot see the faith or sect or tribe of the victims – we see only that they were Children of God whose deaths are an insult to all that is holy.

But we can only overcome this evil if the forces of good are united and strong – and if everyone in this room does their fair share and fulfills their part of the burden.

Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land.

America is prepared to stand with you – in pursuit of shared interests and common security.

But the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children.

It is a choice between two futures – and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you.

A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and

DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.

For our part, America is committed to adjusting our strategies to meet evolving threats and new facts. We will discard those strategies that have not worked—and will apply new approaches informed by experience and judgment. We are adopting a Principled Realism, rooted in common values and shared interests.

Our friends will never question our support, and our enemies will never doubt our determination. Our partnerships will advance security through stability, not through radical disruption. We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes – not inflexible ideology. We will be guided by the lessons of experience, not the confines of rigid thinking. And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms – not sudden intervention.

We must seek partners, not perfection—and to make allies of all who share our goals.

Above all, America seeks peace – not war.

Muslim nations must be willing to take on the burden, if we are going to defeat terrorism and send its wicked ideology into oblivion.

The first task in this joint effort is for your nations to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil. Every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.

Many are already making significant contributions to regional security: Jordanian pilots are crucial partners against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and a regional coalition have taken strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen. The Lebanese Army is hunting ISIS operatives who try to infiltrate their territory. Emirati troops are supporting our Afghan partners. In Mosul, American troops are supporting Kurds, Sunnis and Shias fighting together for their homeland. Qatar, which hosts the U.S. Central Command, is a crucial strategic partner. Our longstanding partnership with Kuwait and Bahrain continue to enhance security in the region. And courageous Afghan soldiers are making tremendous sacrifices in the fight against the Taliban, and others, in the fight for their country.

As we deny terrorist organizations control of territory and populations, we must also strip them of their access to funds. We must cut off the financial channels that let ISIS sell oil, let extremists pay their fighters, and help terrorists smuggle their reinforcements.

I am proud to announce that the nations here today will be signing an agreement to prevent the financing of terrorism, called the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center – co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and joined by every member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is another historic step in a day that will be long remembered.

I also applaud the Gulf Cooperation Council for blocking funders from using their countries as a financial base for terror, and designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization last year. Saudi Arabia also joined us this week in placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hezbollah.

Of course, there is still much work to do.

That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.

Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and YOUR SOUL WILL BE CONDEMNED.

And political leaders must speak out to affirm the same idea: heroes don’t kill innocents; they save them. Many nations here today have taken important steps to raise up that message. Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030 is an important and encouraging statement of tolerance, respect, empowering women, and economic development.

The United Arab Emirates has also engaged in the battle for hearts and souls—and with the U.S., launched a center to counter the online spread of hate. Bahrain too is working to undermine recruitment and radicalism.

I also applaud Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees. The surge of migrants and refugees leaving the Middle East depletes the human capital needed to build stable societies and economies. Instead of depriving this region of so much human potential, Middle Eastern countries can give young people hope for a brighter future in their home nations and regions.

That means promoting the aspirations and dreams of all citizens who seek a better life – including women, children, and followers of all faiths. Numerous Arab and Islamic scholars have eloquently argued that protecting equality strengthens Arab and Muslim communities.

For many centuries the Middle East has been home to Christians, Muslims and Jews living side-by-side. We must practice tolerance and respect for each other once again—and make this region a place where every man and woman, no matter their faith or ethnicity, can enjoy a life of dignity and hope.

In that spirit, after concluding my visit in Riyadh, I will travel to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and then to the Vatican – visiting many of the holiest places in the three Abrahamic Faiths. If these three faiths can join together in cooperation, then peace in this world is possible – including peace between Israelis and Palestinians. I will be meeting with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Starving terrorists of their territory, their funding, and the false allure of their craven ideology, will be the basis for defeating them.

But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.

From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.

It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes, and the United States has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad Regime – launching 59 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated.

Responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, eradicate ISIS, and restore stability to the region. The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.

Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.

The decisions we make will affect countless lives.

King Salman, I thank you for the creation of this great moment in history, and for your massive investment in America, its industry and its jobs. I also thank you for investing in the future of this part of the world.

This fertile region has all the ingredients for extraordinary success – a rich history and culture, a young and vibrant people, a thriving spirit of enterprise. But you can only unlock this future if the citizens of the Middle East are freed from extremism, terror and violence.

We in this room are the leaders of our peoples. They look to us for answers, and for action. And when we look back at their faces, behind every pair of eyes is a soul that yearns for justice.

Today, billions of faces are now looking at us, waiting for us to act on the great question of our time.

Will we be indifferent in the presence of evil? Will we protect our citizens from its violent ideology? Will we let its venom spread through our societies? Will we let it destroy the most holy sites on earth? If we do not confront this deadly terror, we know what the future will bring—more suffering and despair. But if we act—if we leave this magnificent room unified and determined to do what it takes to destroy the terror that threatens the world—then there is no limit to the great future our citizens will have.

The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance. Just imagine what tomorrow could bring.

Glorious wonders of science, art, medicine and commerce to inspire humankind. Great cities built on the ruins of shattered towns. New jobs and industries that will lift up millions of people. Parents who no longer worry for their children, families who no longer mourn for their loved ones, and the faithful who finally worship without fear.

These are the blessings of prosperity and peace. These are the desires that burn with a righteous flame in every human heart. And these are the just demands of our beloved peoples.

I ask you to join me, to join together, to work together, and to FIGHT together— BECAUSE UNITED, WE WILL NOT FAIL.

Thank you. God Bless You. God Bless Your Countries. And God Bless the United States of America.

 

Why Pakistan wants the US to lose in Afghanistan by Lawrence Sellin

Editor’s Note: From our great friend Dr. Lawrence Sellin, Phd. Dr. Sellin is also a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Why Pakistan wants the US to lose in Afghanistan

by Lawrence Sellin

Pakistan sees China, not the United States, as its long-term strategic partner.

Pakistan has always viewed Afghanistan as a client state, a security buffer against what they consider potential Indian encirclement and as a springboard to extend their own influence into the resource-rich areas of Central Asia.

Now Pakistan has significant economic incentive to exclude western countries from maintaining any influence in Afghanistan.

It is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia through land-based and maritime economic zones.

CPEC is an infrastructure project, the backbone of which is a transportation network connecting China to the Pakistani seaports of Gwadar and Karachi located on the Arabian Sea. That network will be coupled to special economic zones and energy projects, the latter to help alleviate Pakistan’s chronic energy shortages.

As noted by Forbes, “For Pakistan it’s a big infrastructure project, which could help the country make a big step forward, from emerging to a mature economy. For China, CPEC is the western route to the Middle East oil, and the riches of its ‘third continent,’ Africa. It also serves Beijing’s strategic ambition to encircle India, something that makes Pakistan a natural ally.”

An extension of CPEC to Afghanistan would benefit both China and Pakistan, whose economic goals include exploiting the estimated $3 trillion in untapped Afghan mineral resources. The withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO from Afghanistan would allow China to reap rewards from the reconstruction of the war-torn country, possibly as a quid pro quo for mining rights.

Islamic militancy has long been one element of Pakistan’s foreign policy. As early as the 1950s, it began inserting Islamists associated with the Pakistan-based Jamaat-e-Islami into Afghanistan.

In 1974, then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto set up a cell within Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) to begin managing dissident Islamists in Afghanistan. Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq (1977-1988) once told one of his generals: “Afghanistan must be made to boil at the right temperature.”

Pakistan’s present support for the Taliban is just a recent iteration of a long-held policy to influence or destabilize Afghanistan. The use of instability may have served its interests in the past, but Pakistan is holding the Islamist tiger by the tail.

It is not clear that a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would cooperate in fulfilling Pakistan’s or China’s international plans or, more broadly, hinder them simply by providing a Petri dish for instability. During the period in the 1990s when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they three times thwarted one of Pakistan’s key foreign policy objectives, to recognize the Durand Line as the permanent border between the countries.

The success of the CPEC project depends on the stability of Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, where the CPEC ports of Gwadar and Karachi are located.

It is an ethnically mixed transnational region spanning southwestern Pakistan, eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan, where the Baloch people and the Pashtuns constitute the majority of the population, while the remainder comprises smaller communities of Brahui, Hazaras, Sindhis and Punjabis.

Since 1948, Balochistan has been the home of a festering insurgency waged by Baloch nationalists against the governments of Pakistan and Iran.

Pakistan may someday regret using the Taliban as an instrument of its foreign policy. Stability is a prerequisite for successful economic develop and it is a more difficult condition to create than instability.

Those who live by insurgency can also die by insurgency. Pakistan would do well to remember that.

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