Taliban Ally Harkat ul Mujahideen Controls Mohmand

In Saturday’s report from Pakistan I noted that there was fighting between militant units of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan. Post fighting it appears the TTP / Harkat ul Mujahideen force beat the Lashkar e Taiber (Tayyaba) force and is now in control of Mohmand Agency as outcome of that. Umar Khalid is their leader, and this appears to be the same group(s) responsible for the Kohat fighting last year. The LeT group is mostly derived from the Kashmir intifada fighters against India, they are responsible for many of the terror attacks there in the past, and have direct alliance with Al Qaeda.

From the Daily Times:

The Mohmand Agency has come under the “complete control” of Umar Khalid after he eliminated another jihadi organisation operating in the area, local residents told Daily Times.

Khalid, a Safi tribesman who is commanding the Taliban in a very strategic tribal district, took “greater control” of Mohmand following a bloody campaign against the Shah Sahib militant group, whose chief and deputy chief were among eight killed on Friday. “He (Umar Khalid) is the strongest and most influential Taliban leader after Baitullah Mehsud and Maulvi Faqir,” residents told Daily Times by phone from Ghalanai.

A member of the militant group, following a meeting with Umar Khalid, said that there was now less likelihood that a fact-finding team sent from Baitullah Mehsud would penalise Khalid for his July 18 actions against the Shah Sahib group.

People from the banned militant organisation Lashkar-e-Tayyaba had originally led the group. “Any group not showing allegiance to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan will not be tolerated in the Mohmand Agency,” Khalid had told reporters in his first press conference after taking over the headquarters of the rival jihadi outfit.

Also note that Jaish e Muhammed and HuM have fought old differences with HuJI over the Kashmir, and at one point they were part of Harkat Ansar, here’s more from WebIndia.

I’m not sure if this is a case of pushing the bubble in one place and having it bulge out another – e.g. are these mostly jihadis who fled from the earlier offenses in Khyber, Swat, or Hangu, or is it just one of power consolidation? It’s more likely the latter as Baitullah steadily campaigned to put NWFP under his power in a series of strategic moves from FATA. Baitullah also has compiled an enemies list of 300 prominent leaders from PPP, ANP, and MQM, expect targetted suicide assassinations to continue.

From the way that the government stopped the offense and is negotiating peace in Hangu from their knees, I would wager he could make it through a quarter of that list before the coalition stops infighting and he gets real, committed response back. As long as the government’s offenses against Taliban remain “poking at the edges” instead of directed attacks against the leaders, they will continue to fail.

Update: Bill Roggio has more details at The Long War Journal.

Spam Mail Virus Warning

There’s a new email virus making the rounds, Nuwar, so be careful if you receive an email about war with Iran. Here’s what’s known about it:

W32/Nuwar@MM is a mass-mailing worm that attempts to send copies of itself based on email information harvested from the host system. The latest W32/Nuwar@MM spam messages are about war in the Middle East between Iran and the United States. The spammed emails contain a link to a video that purports to show the first minutes of the beginning of World War III. The file that is ultimately downloaded is an executable, often called iran_occupation.exe or Form.exe. McAfee can clean it but be sure not to ever go to sites of this sort to prevent infections.

Expelling Goats

Is it the dusk or the dawn of a new day in America?

Rich Lowry over at National Review has a great article on the desire of the democrats to deflect the flames emanating their way from their constituents to oil speculators instead. As always in congress the fault lies anywhere else but there.

While Waxman was producing his steroid spectacle he could have instead been putting forth new energy initiatives to fuel America. While the impeachment posse in congress was looking for scalps and who outted Valerie Plame they could have opened offshore drilling. While blockading judiciary nominees they could have taken some of the prohibitive regulation off of nuclear energy. While they were debating how to lose the war we’ve now won, they could have enabled a right of way for a coast-to-coast energy intertie and high speed rail line. While they create their witch-hunt theater now to blame someone else for the world energy shortage, they could instead look into any mirror.

These are exciting times we live in – the dawning hours of a bold and bright new century. In other places like Brazil, you see burgeoning economies and people creating and building. Here you see stasis and nihilistic ennui. We are destroying our ability to create energy in the nuclear and oil sectors, does anyone in America know how to build anymore?

Rich ends by suggesting they send a goat out. Instead of that the whiny infants in congress need to be put out on the street where we can ignore their cries as we move forward into the future; hope and change might be their ironic trope but stasis is their game and it’s action, not hysteria that accomplishes things.

Update: It’s not just the Democrats either. I’ve been corresponding with Senator Pat Roberts from Kansas regarding the energy demand problem, and why we need to get moving now on it. It’s not just about us, it’s about total world energy demand, and I linked a series of posts to demonstrate (these) In reply I received the following email, the emphasis is mine, not Senator Pat Roberts:

July 21, 2008
Mr. (real name redacted)
(real address redacted)

Dear Mr. (name redacted):

Thank you for contacting me regarding energy. I appreciate your comments on this topic.
I agree. High energy prices are putting financial pressure on many families, businesses, and farmers. We need to be assured that outside factors are not influencing or manipulating the energy markets. With my support, Congress recently passed the Farm Bill (P.L.110-234), which expands the authority of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to monitor futures markets and energy transactions. The CFTC is our lead watchdog to root out manipulation in the marketplace and the Farm Bill provides them with additional tools to better accomplish their mission.

We must stabilize energy prices. That means increasing our domestic energy supply, decreasing our energy demand, and continuing to properly monitor and enforce market regulations.

On the supply side, the government can help by supporting domestic oil and gas exploration and promoting the development of alternative, renewable energy resources. With my support, in 2005 and 2007, two energy bills became law that increase our domestic production of renewable fuels. To complement this legislation, I am a cosponsor of the Gas Price Reduction Act, which would increase traditional and alternative fuels production in the United States to help ease the pressure of rising fuel costs. This bill unlocks more than 14 billion barrels of oil from the Outer Continental Shelf, as well as potentially 2 trillion barrels of oil shale in the Rocky Mountain region. The bill also increases support for research and development of advanced battery technology to reduce our energy consumption. Also, I am a cosponsor of the American Energy Production Act. This bill unlocks more than 24 billion barrels of oil from the Outer Continental Shelf and a small portion of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Likewise, the Energy Independence and Security Act (P.L.110-140), which I supported, helps address the demand side of our energy equation. For the first time in two decades, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for vehicles increased to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. This mileage increase will help to reduce fuel consumption in the United States.

Again thank you for taking the time to contact me. If you would like more information on issues before the Senate, please visit my website at http://roberts.senate.gov

You may also sign up on my home page for a monthly electronic newsletter that will provide additional updates on my work for Kansas.
With every best wish,
Sincerely, Pat Roberts

Pat’s behind some great initiatives on drilling and energy production, some questionable ones on ethanol, and some “let’s solve the problem by coercing the public” regulation to conserve and regulate prices. The real answer is not to force behaviour on US Citizens or US industry, but rather to remove prohibitive regulation on ALL types of energy production. If we didn’t learn about price caps and how to create energy and economic stagflation from Nixon’s and Carter’s blunders, I guess we never will. Congress needs to cry havoc and let slip the hogs of Capitalism, that’s the only thing that will get us out of this ditch fast.

Note that I think Pat Roberts is a fine senator, & I will likely vote for him when he runs again, but we can’t conserve or regulate our way out of this problem. We can however deregulate our way out of it.

Pakistan Taliban Schism Confirmed – 50 Dead

The schism that has stewed for a couple of months within Baitullah Mehsud’s loose alliance of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan broke out into open large scale fighting in the Mohmand agency Friday. Initial reports had ten dead up until the point when the Afghan Taliban leadership brokered a peace through a Jirga. Fighting broke out again immediately after the Afghanistan Taliban left, demonstrating that they have little authority anymore.

Baitullah’s Wazir Taliban  ended by capturing the opposition forces with 50 dead and dozens injured on both sides. As Mehsud works to extend his warlord power you can expect to see more of this as he moves into regions with other tribes who will oppose him. Continue reading “Pakistan Taliban Schism Confirmed – 50 Dead”