Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Sanaa: The United States Plans to Occupy Yemen

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Monday, November 1, 2010
WASHINGTON: Yemeni politician accused the United States of planning to occupy Yemen, at the time condemned the MPs, including his American exaggeration in the case of suspicious packages which arrested the background Yemeni named Hanan heavenly released later.
Salah said the Secretary-General Sayadi People’s Democratic Party of the island that the United States seeking a foothold in Yemen, and not aimed at his Government’s cooperation in the fight against “terrorism.”

He added, “Yemen has been subjected to the pressures of direct U.S. military intervention to fight al Qaeda, and remained the Yemeni government resist these pressures, so it came to bargaining on the island of Socotra.”
He warned to be suspicious packages like a ship captain when the British occupied Aden Haines in the eighteenth century, or the argument that it is based on, and Washington to justify the future work against Yemen.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced his rejection of outside interference in the affairs of his country, said in a news conference the day before yesterday, “We do not want and will not allow one to interfere in Yemeni affairs and the pursuit of terrorist elements of al Qaeda in Yemen.

Direct military intervention:
He pointed to American statements in the past of perception of Yemen “powerless” or “not serious” in fighting terrorism, and considered that these are steps that lead to direct military intervention.
“The Americans are trying to control the Bab, and the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean, it also appears that the region is coming to a big event we do not know what it is, and I think that Yemen will be part of this great event.

Dramatize the U.S.:

The Yemeni Parliament has witnessed a heated debate yesterday, dominated by the media hype about the incident said to have been booby-trapped parcels were sent from Yemen to target synagogues in Chicago.
A statement by the parliament, “Yemen rejected any outside interference in its internal affairs,” he said.  MP Ali al-Ansi said of the great hype of the incident of suspicious packages, “you may worry and dismay  all Yemenis”, and sent serious letters.
He added: “Yemen is a collaborator in the fight against terrorism, and I hope there will be no targeting of Yemen, and not to do harm to the international community to Yemen,” to ask “What is intended to Yemen?”.

A hidden agenda:
For his part, Abdul-Malik Al Fahidi, editor in chief of the ruling party’s mail, to inflate the U.S. administration to the subject parcel has a hidden agenda, as it tries to interfere in Yemen, under the name of war on “terrorism”.
He said that Yemen has signed an important strategic and geopolitical, and oversees the main fjord is the Bab, and “perhaps out of President Obama to talk about the incident suspicious packages confirms that behind the hill and beyond.

Fears of many:
Authorities confirm that the official Yemeni American intervention to combat “terrorism” is limited to training for Yemeni forces only, but many concerns of those who revolve in the corridors of political government did not announce clearly the desire of the United States in direct intervention.
Dr. Rashad al-Alimi, Deputy Prime Minister for Defense and Security Affairs and Minister of Local Administration, said in an interview with the newspaper field of Yemen, that any U.S. military intervention directly in Yemen can strengthen al Qaeda, not vice versa, indicating that the Yemenis are hoping and confirming the structured cooperation with Washington in the fight against “terrorism” on the training, arming and exchange of information only.
Dr Abu Bakr al-Minister of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Yemen rejects any intervention on its territory in order to combat terrorism, and said: “The fight against terrorism in any country must be based on the armed forces and national security, and does not depend on foreign troops coming to the country concerned.
However, he affirmed that Yemen hopes of the Americans training the Yemeni forces and the provision of equipment, or combat capability and sophisticated weapons and modern means of transport, pointing out that the resolution, however, the Yemeni government in this regard.

Source Article



IRAQ: No work forces refugees into risky return

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment


Image by Todd Huffman : Refugees

27 Oct 2010 12:39:24 GMT
Source: IRIN
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author’s alone.

MADRID, 27 October 2010 (IRIN) – It takes courage – or desperation – for an Iraqi refugee to return home, given the levels of violence in the country. But unable to support their families abroad, some are taking that decision.
The risks are substantial: According to a survey [ ] by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 61 percent of Iraqi asylum-seekers who have returned home have regretted it, citing the astonishing levels of insecurity.

Umm Hassan (not her real name) fled to Amman, Jordan with her children to escape the war, but unable to support her family, returned home last year. She was back in Amman nine months later . “The situation was unbearable in Baghdad. It was so dangerous, there were explosions, and we had no source of income there either. We stayed at various relatives’ houses while I had no way to provide for my children. In the end we decided to come back to Jordan again, though we knew things would be hard,” she told IRIN in a telephone interview.

UNHCR estimates there are 1.78 million Iraqi refugees – the second-largest refugee group in the world – and has registered 207,639. The overwhelming majority have sought refuge in neighbouring Syria and Jordan, [ ] with a significant proportion in Lebanon and Egypt.

The problem is “Iraqis do not have the right to work in host countries, and those who do are immersed in the informal economy,” said Asma Al-Haidari, a Jordan-based human rights activist. Of the four main countries of asylum, only Egypt has signed the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which guarantees the right to work for legally recognized refugees.

In Syria and Jordan, Iraqis are considered “guests”.Only documented refugees are entitled to a small financial package from UNHCR – most are not registered. With restrictions on the right to work and savings exhausted, Iraqis are pushed into poverty and trying to make ends meet in the informal economy.

“It is purely as a result of their desperation that some Iraqis are voluntarily returning to Iraq,” said Al-Haidari.”Some progress has been made with guaranteeing Iraqi refugees basic services such as access to primary education and health care in Syria and Jordan,” said Hana Al-Bayaty, coordinator of the Cairo-based Iraqi International Initiative on Refugees. Education

But there are no guarantees on access to free secondary and higher education in host countries, whose educational systems are already under strain. That can act as a further inducement for people to choose to return, particularly for middle class families that have traditionally valued education. “My elder daughter is a lawyer, and my son has just graduated from a professional academy whose fees have put us all in debt. Neither of them can work, and I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Umm Hassan, a widow. “We have difficulties meeting our most basic needs. But we have nowhere to go.”UNHCR has counted 19,530 individuals and 4,200 families who have chosen to return to Iraq between January and September this year.
[ ] The Refugee Agency currently discourages returnees to Iraq, and in particular Baghdad, due to the insecurity, but the majority are heading to the city. [ ]Economic opportunities for returnees are also limited.

In the UNHCR survey, 87 percent said they were currently unable to cover their families’ needs, while 11 percent cited poor economic conditions and unemployment as reasons for not returning to their former homes and neighbourhoods.Most returnees to the Baghdad districts of Karkh and Resafa have not gone back to their original homes, but rather are staying with relatives, friends or in rented accommodation, mainly as a result of ongoing fears of persecution.

According to Al-Bayaty, a sizeable number of returnees are living in squats in old public buildings. “Many refugees’ homes are occupied, either by organized militias or individual families. Returning refugees therefore generally become internally displaced persons.”
Iraq already has 1.5 million displaced persons, including 500,000 in settlements or camp-like© IRIN. All rights reserved. More humanitarian news and analysis:

IRIN news


Somalia tops the most corrupt list

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Iraq and Afghanistan among most corrupt nations in the world and United States slips down from top twenty least corrupt.
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2010 03:06 GMT
A report has placed Afghanistan as the second most corrupt nation in the world [GALLO/GETTY]

Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world, followed by Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq, an international watchdog has said.

In its annual report released on Tuesday, Transparency International found Somalia to be most corrupt country, topping a list of the 178 countries surveyed.

1. Somalia (1.1)
2. Myanmar & Afghanistan (1.4)
4. Iraq (1.5)
5. Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan & Sudan (1.6)
8. Chad (1.7)
9. Burundi (1.8)
10. Equatorial Guinea (1.9)

Source: Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index 2010.

The international watchdog found almost 75 per cent of the countries to be in the index score below five, on a scale from 10 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt).

These findings indicate a serious  worldwide corruption problem and highlight the need to make more efforts to towards strong governance structures across the globe.

‘Worrying situation’

Edda Mueller, the head of Transparency International’s German section, said that the overall international situation was “very worrying”.

“There are clear indications that the more unstable a country is, the higher the level of corruption.”

And at the other end of the scale, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore shared the top slot as the least corrupt nations.

They were followed by Finland, Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands.

1. Denmark, New Zealand & Singapore (9.3)
4. Finland & Sweden (9.2)
6. Canada (8.9)
7. Netherlands (8.8)
8. Australia & Switzerland (8.7)
10. Norway (8.6)

Source: Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index 2010.

The study also identified the countries that have successfully fought corruption and have shown an improvement in the rankings.

These include Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait and Macedonia.

Chile and Uruguay were rated the least-corrupt countries in Latin America, while the best ranking in the Middle East was given to Qatar.

Mueller said that the performance of these countries should serve as hope and inspiration for countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

The report found that some countries that were hit hard by the the global economic crisis became more corrupt during the last year. Greece and Italy feature in this category together with the United States, which has dropped its position from 19th to 22nd in the last year.

Transparency International has identified corruption as a major hindrance in fighting major problems like the financial crisis and climate change.

It has advocated stricter implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the only global initiative that provides a framework for putting and end to corruption.

Transparency International’s corruption index is based on 13 different surveys of business people and governance experts conducted between January 2009 and September 2010.



Why is Saudi Arabia stockpiling US weapons?

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

By Caryle Murphy
Created October 23, 2010 08:36
Saudi Arabia and US cement partnership with massive arms deal.
Caryle Murphy
Saudi Arabia arms deal [1]
In last weeks arms deal, one of the biggest single U.S. arms deals ever, Saudi Arabia will acquire 84 F-15 fighter jets like the one pictured here. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The bountiful package of high-end fighter jets, helicopters, radar and missiles that Washington has agreed to sell Saudi Arabia is the strongest signal yet that the two countries have recovered from the their post-9/11 meltdown in bilateral relations.

The arms deal, which President Barack Obama’s administration officially unveiled this week to Congress, could potentially bring the U.S. defense industry $60 billion over a decade or more, making it one of the single largest U.S. weapons sales ever.

If Congress does not block the sale – which administration officials said they do not expect – it will further cement the U.S.-Saudi security relationship for years to come. The kingdom will be dependent on U.S. training and maintenance for its new weapons.

The package on the table, which has been under negotiation since the Bush administration, authorizes Saudi Arabia to buy 84 new F-15 fighter jets and three types of helicopters: 70 Apaches, 72 Black Hawks and 36 Little Birds.

The deal also includes an upgrade for 70 other F-15s already in the Saudi Air Force, as well as Saudi purchases of HARM anti-radar missiles, precision-guided JDAM bombs and Hellfire missiles.

Such a deal could not have happened eight years ago, said Anwar Eshki, chairman of the Jeddah-based Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, because after the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, “The United States suspected or believed that Saudi Arabia helped or didn’t block those events.”

However, Saudi Arabia’s subsequent stand against terrorism “enhanced the relationship again,” Eshki said.

Announcing the arms package, U.S. officials stressed that it will add jobs to the ailing U.S. economy and, by signaling U.S. commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security, help deter potential Iranian aggression.

But the transfer of such state-of-the-art weaponry to Saudi Arabia is unlikely to enhance stability in the volatile Middle East or do much to keep Saudi Arabia safe from the dangers it faces, analysts said.

“The real problems in the Middle East are about domestic politics, not about international relations,” said F. Gregory Gause III, an expert in Saudi Arabia and professor of political science at the University of Vermont.

Those dangers include a paralyzed political process and potential security vacuum in Iraq, and deteriorating economic and security conditions in poverty-stricken Yemen, where a robust Al Qaeda affiliate has found safe haven.

Its long border with Yemen means that Saudi Arabia could potentially face an influx of Yemeni refugees fleeing civil strife, or a resurgence of the 2009 border conflict with Yemeni rebels that left more than 100 Saudi soldiers dead.

In addition, a continued deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raises the eventual possibility of violent outbreaks by frustrated Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, or another military confrontation between Israel and Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

“I just got back four days ago from the West Bank,” said Washington-based Mark Perry, an independent military and foreign policy analyst. “It’s dark and gloomy and volatile and it’s very worrisome … The potential for violence is incredible, especially in East Jerusalem and Hebron.”

All these situations degrade the security environment of Saudi Arabia, but are unlikely to be impacted by the proposed arms deal.

“I don’t think that these weapons are going to protect Saudi Arabia from the real threats it faces in the region,” said Gause.


Moreover, the arms package is “not even that useful in balancing Iran militarily” because Iran is capitalizing on its political relationships with Hezbollah, Hamas and Iraq’s leadership, Gause added. “That’s how they’re spreading their influence in the region.”

However, “if there is one strategic reason to be in favor of this arms sale, it’s our leverage in a proliferation situation,” said Gause.

“If the Iranians do obtain a nuclear capability, Saudi Arabia will face a choice: Do we get one or not?” he explained. The proposed arms deal may make the Saudis more “comfortable with the American security guarantee” and thus give the United States “some leverage, some credibility” when attempting to dissuade Riyadh from going down the same nuclear route as Iran, he added.

Amman-based Mouin Rabbani, an independent writer and analyst specializing in Palestinian affairs, said he sees the arms deal as a way of “solidifying the strategic alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia” with the “underlying message” that “Iran won’t be able to attack Saudi Arabia without eliciting an American response.”

But Rabbani does not see the arms deal itself fulfilling Saudi defense needs. “I think with all due respect that the people who try to understand the arms purchase on the basis of Saudi military needs fundamentally misunderstand” the situation, he said. “Any military objective is entirely secondary. What this is really about is … to buy regime security …. Military acquisitions are an important [way of] petrodollar recycling.”

Jeddah-based analyst Eshki said that Saudis are struck by the fact that, unlike in the past, Israel is not objecting to the proposed arms package.

Perhaps, he said, this is “because Israel has two enemies – a wise enemy and a lunatic enemy.”
Since the arms are being sold to Saudi Arabia and not Iran, he added, the Israelis “can accept” the deal.





Chinese and Indian firms see Dubai as best regional business location

October 5, 2010 1 comment

This is a photo of Etisalat Tower 2, located a...

This is a photo of Etisalat Tower 2, located along Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,...

reveals Cushman and Wakefield report

Indian and Chinese businesses see Dubai as the leading business centre in the region, but negative perceptions regarding occupancy costs still remain according to a new report, ‘Retreading The Silk Road’, published today by Cushman and Wakefield Middle East (C&W), part of the world’s largest privately held commercial real estate services firm.

Based on feedback from the firm’s agency division which suggested that commercial leasing by companies from South Asia and Asia Pacific has been on the rise, C&W conducted a series of interviews with Chinese and Indian companies already established in Dubai as well as with those companies considering setting up in the region. The companies interviewed cover a range of sectors – Financial Services, Professional Services, IT, Leisure and Tourism, Industrials and Manufacturing.

Across the board, Chinese and Indian companies believe that Dubai offers the best business environment as a result of its location, as well as its superior infrastructure and transport links in comparison with its regional peers. However, there remains a perception in the market that Dubai is as expensive and overcrowded as it was in the boom years of 2006-2008.

Dubai based companies

Superior quality of space – Respondents believe that Dubai offers suitable space, in terms of both quality and size, for a range of businesses at competitive rental values in comparison with neighbouring business centres within the region.
Satellite Offices – Despite being part of much larger organisations, the majority of businesses are currently operating small satellite offices, with limited space requirements and minimal headcount.
Business Uncertainty – Most companies express significant uncertainty regarding the business environment, with no plans or visibility beyond 3 years.

Businesses considering opening an office in the region

Dubai remains most attractive despite downturn – Those companies with plans to expand in the region do envisage establishing a Dubai office within the next 3 years.
Office Requirements – most companies surveyed will initially seek either serviced office space or a business park location, within a building less than 5 years old, close to the CBD.

The report, released to mark the start of Cityscape Global, also provides key advice for Dubai based landlords, existing and potential occupiers, and Dubai as a whole, as well as anticipated trends for the coming years.

Commenting on the report, Michael Atwell, Head of C&W’s Middle East Operations, said, “Indian and Chinese companies are quite clearly looking at Dubai as the ideal strategic location for their regional business activities. However, it is vital that the city’s landlords offer the flexibility and support that these new entrants, who are taking a cautious approach to regional expansion, require. Although rents in areas like DIFC remain relatively high, Dubai now offers improved affordability for those looking to set up operations and the city must work harder to challenge any misconception.”

“We expect the number of enquiries from China over the short term to remain relatively constant as companies focus on both home and neighbouring Asian markets. However, over the longer term we see this as a very strong growth market for Dubai,” Added Atwell.

C&W’s teams in China and India contributed to the research for this report and Kausuv Roy, Executive Director Cushman & Wakefield India, added, “When Indian companies talk to us about setting up an office in the Gulf, Dubai is naturally uppermost in their minds because it meets their needs, offering a friendly business environment, a large expatriate population and historic trade links with South Asia. We therefore anticipate an increased number of enquiries for office space to come out of India in the coming period.”


Property prices begin to steady in some parts of Dubai

October 5, 2010 1 comment

Prices for apartments and villas are remaining stable in some communities in Dubai, despite continued drops in property prices overall across the emirate, according to a new report by property management company Asteco.

  • Dubai property sale and rental prices have begun to stabilise in certain locations
    Dubai property sale and rental prices have begun to stabilise in certain locations

The Dubai Asteco Q3 report 2010 revealed that prices held steady at a number of freehold communities at both the lower and higher end of the sales spectrum across the emirate.

Apartment prices in Dubai dropped 6% overall in the third quarter on the back of increased supply entering the market, the report said. However, prices in more affordable areas such as Discovery Gardens and Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) remained stable at Dhs500 ($136) and Dhs750 ($204) per sq ft respectively in the third quarter compared to the previous three months, the report said.

At the other end of the price spectrum, prices in Downtown Burj Dubai also remained unchanged at Dhs1,300 per sq ft, the report noted. Meanwhile, villas in Emirates Hills, Jumeirah Islands and the Green Community also held steady price-wise at Dhs1,600, Dhs950 and Dhs700 per sq ft respectively, the report said.

Elaine Jones, the chief executive of Asteco, said the changes were part of an overall shift in the sector’s focus from “short-term sale profits” to “maximising rental yields and long-term capital management”.

Dubai rental market also declines

The performance of the apartment rental market was similar, as average rental rates fell 6% in the third quarter, but units in JLT slid just 2% with 3% adjustments in Discovery Gardens and Downtown Burj Dubai.

“The number of transactions, which are generally at their lowest during the summer and Ramadan, has been surprisingly active with a number of people taking advantage of the quiet months to look for value for money accommodation. Therefore, the drop in rents has proved to be less significant than in Q2.

“Although further declines across the board cannot be ruled out, the drop in [Discovery Gardens and JLT] is expected to be less noteworthy due to the already lower rents,” explained the report.

The villa rental market fared slightly better, but rates still declined 4% quarter on quarter due in part to increased stock coming into the market in Dubailand and Dubai Silicon Oasis, the report said. Despite this, rates in the Green Community and on Palm Jumeirah remained unchanged with the market expected to gain momentum in the coming months as tenants look to upgrade from apartments.

“With an increase in activity over the summer, we expect this momentum to continue in Q4 2010 with expected demand predominantly coming from tenants looking to move from apartments to villas as rental levels continue to adjust. Villa rental rates seem to be more robust compared with apartments, which in part has to do with the fact that the current and future supply of villas is marginal compared to apartments,” said the report.

Investor relief at Nakheel project restart

A new study by real estate specialist Cluttons paints a similar picture, reporting that ‘sale and rental rates have continued to fall across the UAE in the third quarter as new supply from new developments and relocation exerts downwards pressure on prices’.

Freehold transactions over the last quarter in the UAE have been slow, the report added, with buyers adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude. “Buyers and tenants are both now in a strong position to negotiate on prices.” the study said.

However, the report also finds that growth prospects in the UAE property market ‘remain strong in the medium to long term’ as the country remains a ‘powerhouse as the logistical hub for the region’.

“Nakheel’s recent announcement on the restart of six of its projects in Dubai including Jumeirah Park, Jumeirah Village and Al Badrah comes as a welcome relief for investors,” the report added. Cluttons predicts that secondary sales in these projects, which are nearing completion, will restart, with an increase in three and four bedroom villas.


Signaling Tensions, Pakistan Shuts NATO Route

October 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Published: September 30, 2010

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — American officials pressed their Pakistani counterparts on Thursday to reopen a vital supply route for American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, as relations deteriorated after the fourth strike by coalition helicopters in a week killed three members of Pakistan’s border force.

A. Majeed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Workers unloaded a container from a truck carrying NATO supplies at a warehouse in Peshawar on Thursday, after Pakistan shut down the main land route for NATO supplies into Afghanistan.

The New York Times

Pakistan angrily closed the crossing to protest the strikes on its side of the border, leaving American officials to use meetings and phone calls to try to soothe relations and get the route reopened. Both sides indicated that they might be able to resolve the dispute with a joint investigation.

But the border closing, and the exceptional series of strikes by piloted aircraft, as opposed to drones, signaled a general increase in tensions between Pakistan and the United States, already uncomfortable allies that are pursuing competing interests in the Afghan war.

The C.I.A. carried out a record number of drone attacks inside Pakistan last month, and new reports surfaced this week of unlawful executions by the Pakistani Army in areas where it has opened operations against Taliban forces threatening the government.

The Pakistani offensives have not extended to North Waziristan, the prime stronghold of the insurgents who infiltrate Afghanistan, a growing source of frustration for American officials who face a deadline this year to show progress in the Afghan war.

“We are clearly in the phase of our relationship where we’re trying to tell them we’re being diddled,” said Teresita C. Schaffer, director of the South Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

But, she added: “We have been trying for a couple of years to decrease our logistical dependence on Pakistan, and have only managed to get it to 80 percent from 90 percent. So, no, we clearly don’t have anyplace else to go.”

The border closing was a clear demonstration of the leverage Pakistan holds over the American war effort. It coincided with a previously scheduled visit by the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, who met Thursday with the Pakistani military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, part of a stream of American officials who have come to alternately cajole and coerce Pakistani cooperation.

After the border closing on Thursday, Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, trying to calm the tensions. That conversation followed a telephone call several days ago between Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Kayani, about the previous strikes.

The border closing signaled the limits of Pakistan’s tolerance for intrusions on its sovereignty and for the pressure it was willing to absorb from American officials on any range of issues, despite receiving nearly $2 billion a year in military aid from Washington.

The Pakistani government indicated Thursday that the cross-border strikes were more than it could bear without protest. “We will have to see whether we are allies or enemies,” said the Pakistani interior minister, Rehman Malik.

At the same time, Pakistani officials tried to contain the damage from a video that came to the attention of American officials in recent days showing the execution of six young men, bound and blindfolded, by Pakistani Army soldiers.

Responding to questions from American officials, Pakistani officials acknowledged Thursday that the video had not been faked, as they had first contended, an American official said, and that they had identified the soldiers and would take appropriate measures.

It is in both the American and the Pakistani interests to keep the relationship going, the official said. The Pakistanis, facing economic collapse after the devastating floods of the summer, need American military aid — some $10 billion since 2001 — which could be cut off from units committing atrocities, the official said.

American commanders are eager to continue C.I.A. drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas that have focused on militants from the Taliban and Al Qaeda who cross the border to attack NATO and American troops. The Pakistani government has agreed to the American drone campaign, but could always suspend its permission or shrink the area in which the strikes are allowed.

The country is also the prime supply route for the Afghan war, a fact Pakistani and American officials are both keenly aware of. The vast majority of nonlethal supplies — water, food, vehicles — for the coalition forces in landlocked Afghanistan must travel the length of Pakistan, from the southern port of Karachi to the Afghan border, a trip of hundreds of miles.

Along that route, trucks and fuel tankers have at times been hijacked and attacked by Taliban forces. Pakistani authorities have closed the border crossings only occasionally, however, usually citing security concerns.

But they have rarely appeared to hold up American and NATO supplies in retaliation for NATO or American actions. In 2008, the Pakistanis closed the border crossing for several days after American aircraft bombed a Pakistani paramilitary post in Mohmand, another tribal area. Eleven Pakistanis were killed in the attack.

American commanders in Afghanistan, long fearful that Pakistan could choke off the supply route more permanently, have been seeking alternate paths through Central Asia, but with little success.

On Thursday, Pakistani officials gave them a glimpse of how much harder they could make the Afghan war. Trucks and oil tankers bound for coalition forces sat idle at the border post of Torkham, just north of Peshawar, with no word on when the post, one of two major land crossings to Afghanistan, would reopen, a Pakistani security official said.

But American officials noted that Pakistan had shut only one of several supply routes to Afghanistan, a sign that the Pakistani government wanted to minimize the episode’s fallout.

“We have many different capabilities, routes, ways to resupply, so there’s no immediate impact,” Col. Dave Lapan told reporters in Washington. The blocked route, the Khyber Pass, connects the frontier city of Peshawar to Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan.

Colonel Lapan said American military officials were also looking into whether all procedures had been followed properly in the cross-border incidents. The Pakistani government took no similar action and made no such public protest after the earlier coalition airstrikes, even though they killed an estimated 55 people inside Pakistan.

Those strikes, on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25, took place on the border separating Khost Province in Afghanistan from North Waziristan. Coalition helicopters fired into Pakistan three times, with one helicopter briefly breaching Pakistani airspace, according to Maj. Sunset Belinsky, a NATO spokeswoman.

In the airstrike on Thursday, a NATO helicopter attacked a border post at Mandati Kandaw, a town close to Parachinar, in the Kurram tribal area, the Pakistani security official said. Three soldiers of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps were killed and three were wounded, he said.

Another border post, at Kharlachi, also in Kurram, was struck a few hours later, the official added. The two posts are about 15 miles apart and border Paktia Province, in Afghanistan.

Jane Perlez reported from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Helene Cooper from Washington. Ismail Khan contributed reporting from Peshawar, Pakistan; Eric Schmitt from Washington; and Alissa J. Rubin from Kabul, Afghanistan.

A version of this article appeared in print on October 1, 2010, on page A1 of the New York edition.


Categories: Uncategorized Tags: