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December 10, 2007  1:31 AM

AudioDecember 10, 2007 [Listen Here]

40:00 (Mins) | 18.2 (MB)

Global Crisis Watch discusses the coming assault on Musa Qala, Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan, Nawaz Sharif’s politicking in Pakistan, significance of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, al-Qaeda’s desperate situation in Iraq and the recent audio tape of “Abu Omar al-Baghdadi,” and the threat to Somali security from the Somaliland secessionist movement. Guests: B. Raman, Director of the Institute for Topical Studies in Chennai, India, Steve Schippert, Managing Editor of ThreatsWatch.org in New Jersey, Dr. Abdiweli Ali, Niagara University in Buffalo, and Dr. Ali Bahar in Houston.


“If you see the statements of Benazir Bhutto and see the statements of Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto has been very categorical on the issue of the war against terrorism, on the question of A.Q. Khan, etc. She has been supporting the U.S. objectives. She has been saying that she will try to help the U.S. in any ways that she can. But Nawaz Sharif has been very ambivalent because he knows the anti-U.S. feelings in large sections of Pakistan. So he has been trying to cater to those anti-U.S. feelings even if he is not making any anti-U.S. statements (because) he is not saying anything which might create a negative image of him in the eyes of the mullahs and the eyes of the anti-U.S. sections of the population.”
- B. Raman on Nawaz Sharif

“I would like to make a distinction (on the issue of the National Intelligence Estimate) between intention and capability. If you have the capability - even if you do not have the intention to date or if your intention has changed - you can always convert the capability into a military capability. It’s very easy to change your intention… Until that capability is dismantled, you cannot say the threat level has gone down… They have got that capability. The uranium enrichment capability is there and they are building it up. Anytime on short notice they can easily convert it from civilian to military. So it is in the interest of the entire international community, and particularly the interests of Israel, that their capability is not allowed to continue.”
- B. Raman on the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran

“Al Qaeda in Iraq is in a desperate position right now… It’s interesting that you hear within the last couple of weeks praise being laid towards Syria for helping stem the tide of foreign fighters into Iraq, that the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq has diminished significantly… I would contend the credit be given to Usama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s global headquarters because I seriously doubt whether Syria has suddenly come and seen the light… What has happened is fewer foreign fighters are being sent into Iraq because it’s being recognized as a losing cause.”
- Steve Schippert on al-Qaeda in Iraq

“These secessionist groups want Somalia to be in trouble and not to be safe… Most of the problems in the (Somali) South is sometimes manufactured and funded through Somaliland because they have this notion that as long as Somalia is in a mess the world will see it as the bright spot (and) the shining light of Somalia… They perpetuate the war, they perpetuate the fighting in the south by helping (al Qaeda-connected) Shabaab and I think they are now in cahoots with the Eritrean groups… There is an argument that some of the Shabaab who left Mogadishu are now in Hargeisa, Somaliland.”
- Dr. Abdiweli Ali on Somaliland


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