Stories about Barack Obama

Start the rails: Of the NATO supply route

About six months have passed since the tragic incident at Salala by the US-led Nato forces followed by the closure of Nato supply routes to Afghanistan through Pakistan. All major parties, except government allies, found an opportunity to shine their politics on the issue. They would not tire of announcing large-scale protests and long marches if the government opened the route. On the other hand, the US and Nato are repeatedly asking Pakistan to open the route which means that either there is no alternative for them to take equipment to their forces or it is more expensive to export it ...

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What the NATO Summit achieved

The Pakistanis came, they didn’t quite conquer, and now they’re leaving. At the end of the day, the NATO Summit in Chicago produced no news, and yet there was much to report. With hundreds of media personnel camped at the massive media centre at McCormick Place, the venue of the summit, the subject of the day remained Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reporters tried to work out whether Pakistan would announce the re-opening of the supply routes, an issue that has been raised in nearly every press conference that took place during the summit. All that work really was in vain – Pakistan ...

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Why announce a bounty on Hafiz Saeed?

Why now? At a critical moment in the US-Pakistan relationship, with parliamentary debate raging in Pakistan about how to realign relations with Washington, and with the United States desperate to forge some level of cooperation with Islamabad to help move toward the elusive endgame in Afghanistan, why announce a bounty for “information leading to the arrest or conviction” of living-openly-in-Lahore Hafiz Saeed? This is, after all, a man Washington and New Delhi regard as a terrorist, yet whom many in Pakistan regard as a heroic symbol of defiance toward the United States, an essential strategic asset, or both. In short, Washington’s ...

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My trip to Guantanamo Bay

A few nights ago, I had a dream where I had ended up in Guantanamo Bay again to cover a military commission hearing sans any luggage. It may sound like the stuff nightmares are made of, but in reality, going to Guantanamo Bay to cover military commission hearings of detainees has been a fascinating, if not surreal experience. From the moment the airhostess on the chartered flight announces, “Welcome to Guantanamo Bay”, to the realisation that you are on a tiny strip of land that has borne witness to some of the worst human rights abuses to have occurred on US ...

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Obama’s apology and the ashes of the Holy Quran

Last week, as the horrible news spread that US military officials had incinerated copies of the Holy Quran at Bagram airbase, American military and civilian leaders quickly said they were sorry. NATO commander General John Allen and US President Barack Obama both apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. A top US defense official, Peter Lavoy, even appeared at a Washington DC area mosque to offer his apologies to worshippers during Friday prayers. Yet Washington also went beyond apologies. Allen announced an investigation into the affair, and the military pledged new training for its personnel. “These actions do not represent the views of ...

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Does the American Muslim vote count in 2012?

During President Obama’s State of the Union Address, he was hopeful and positive; his speech, like most of his speeches, ignited a fire amongst those watching. One felt a sense of pride and hope as he spoke about the state of the country and his future plans. And while he addressed all areas he could, he may have missed out on a group. President Obama mentioned the Hispanic/Latino population in the country and the African American population; he also extended strengthened support to the United State’s biggest ally in the Middle East, Israel. And while I understand that the president cannot ...

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Charsadda blast: How many more will die?

The events that have taken place in Charsadda are the first of what will be many horrific testimonies to that night in Abbottabad. The people of Charsadda and Pakistan have many sleepless nights ahead of them while Barack Obama can rest easy knowing he has taken out America’s poster boy for terrorism. I remember the moment Barack Obama became the President of the United States of America. I was working at Geo at the time on the US Election transmission, and like countless other Pakistani people, I dared to hope and believe things could change. After the bomb explosion in Charsadda, ...

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No more U-turns after this, President Obama

The recent U-turn of President Obama on the trial of the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four alleged co-conspirators stirs a new controversy. The accused are to be tried by a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay rather than a civilian court in New York. The much-hyped closure of Guantanamo Bay was on Obama’s agenda when he was eyeing the White House back in 2008. But the Gitmo trial announcement came on the same day he officially launched his re-election bid for 2012 on BarackObama.com. Many would call this another disappointment on a long list of Obama’s slip-ups. Although the Attorney General Eric ...

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Uncle Sam on Egypt: The truth in the rhetoric

The Egyptians are unhappy with Mubarak and the Tunisians have already rid themselves of Ben Ali; the Jordanians succeeded in pushing their monarch and the Yemenis are demonstrating against their long-standing ruler. There finally is some life in the corpse that has been the Muslim middle-eastern polity. Nonetheless, none of these ‘revolutions’ would have been possible without the tacit approval of the US, that bi-polar policeman of a uni-polar world. Uncle Sam tells you what you want to hear Uncle Sam has a long history of supporting regime change in various parts of the world from Cuba to Iran, Iraq and Pakistan ...

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America loves us, America loves us not

Nearly 60 years ago, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first American president to set foot in India, described America’s priorities in the region by saying that while the American relationship with India was one of the head, the one with Pakistan was one of the heart. Today however, things have changed drastically. Concluding a recent visit to India, the current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasised that the American relationship with India is one of head and heart. America’s relationship with the two countries has ebbed and flowed with changing American interests in the region. Richard Nixon was the second American president to visit ...

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