Archive | Asia

India, the US, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group

NOVANEWS

Image result for INDIA US FLAG

By Brian CLOUGHLEY 

India has failed to achieve membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is a group of countries seeking «to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear and nuclear-related exports». Given that members of the NSG already supply India with uranium, New Delhi’s campaign is intriguing, especially as one of the Group’s main requirements is that suppliers of nuclear-associated material may authorise such trade «only when satisfied that the transfer would not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons».

It could not be clearer that this international agreement forbids provision of nuclear expertise or material to a country that has not ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which the US State Department describes as «the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime».

But even cornerstones can be undermined, and that process began when President George W Bush started negotiations with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 to produce a US-India nuclear cooperation agreement. It took considerable effort by both sides to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement whereby India would have access to nuclear material and technology consistent with the primary US aim of entry to the potentially large Indian market for construction of nuclear power stations.

The commercially-based Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy of 2007 is known as the 123 Agreement because it was necessary to amend Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act 1954 which governs ‘Cooperation with Other Nations’.

India declined to abide by the Act’s specification that it «must have full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, essentially covering all major nuclear facilities», because this would involve inspection of defence-related establishments, and Washington promptly removed this inconvenient requirement.

The modified Act seemed to clear the way for nuclear collaboration on a major scale, but there has as yet been no commitment by US nuclear plant manufacturers, mainly because they do not want to be held financially responsible for a nuclear accident at a power station which they designed or built.

It is accepted worldwide that national nuclear plant operators are accountable in the event of accidents, but India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, and Rule 24 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Rules, 2011, provide for the right of recourse,pursuit of which could involve foreign enterprises, be they suppliers or operators, being held liable for damages. In spite of lobbying by US President Obama during his 2015 visit to India, which was much praised as having achieved a «breakthrough» in removing the liability barriers which India’s parliament strongly supported, there has been no radical change that would encourage US firms to seek major contracts. (The Westinghouse Electric Company, generally thought to be American, which is negotiating to build six nuclear plants in India, has been owned by Japan’s Toshiba since 2006.)

In February 2015 India’s Ministry of External Affairs stated that the Civil Liability Act «channels all legal liability for nuclear damage exclusively to the operator» – but Clause 17 of the Act specifies that operators are permitted to seek financial recourse from suppliers after paying compensation for «patent or latent defects or sub-standard services», which are, naturally, open to legal interpretation in the event of a disaster, which is no doubt being borne in mind by India’s legislators who have not forgotten the 1984 disaster at the Union Carbide chemical plant at Bhopal that killed and maimed many thousands of people.

While there have as yet been no commercial benefits to the US from its nuclear accord with India, there have been other effects, including some that are less than desirable in the context of «proliferation of nuclear weapons» which is condemned by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The Arms Control Association records that «In September 2008, in a move led by the United States, the Nuclear Suppliers Group eased long-standing restrictions on nuclear trade with India by the group’s members. NSG rules generally forbid the sale of nuclear goods, such as reactors and fuel, to non-NPT countries». Before this ‘easing’ of international constraints, India had been unable to import uranium and was therefore entirely reliant on its own mines, which produce only low-grade ore but are in the long term capable of providing fuel to any number of nuclear facilities, civilian and military. The only drawback is that domestic processing would be enormously expensive. Importing uranium is very much cheaper.

As a result of being excused from the international stipulation requiring its adherence to the NPT before being permitted to import nuclear fuel and technology, India negotiated nuclear cooperation arrangements with eleven nations, including the holder of the world’s largest uranium deposits, Australia, whose government’s 1977 Uranium Export Policy had specified that «customer countries must at a minimum be a party to the NPT and have concluded a full-scope safeguards Agreement with the IAEA». But profit beats morality, and, as noted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, «Australia was the last domino to fall when it created an exception for India to its export policies in December 2011».

Countries involved in nuclear cooperation with India observe similar rules to those of Australia which specifies that its uranium «may only be exported for peaceful non-explosive purposes». And of course it cannot be claimed that foreign-supplied uranium could be used to produce nuclear weapons. These are manufactured at installations using India’s abundant (although process-expensive) indigenous ore which, thanks to the flexibility of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, is no longer needed to fuel civilian nuclear power stations. Quantities, quality and details of application need not be revealed.

Following the US-India nuclear agreement the president of the Federation of American Scientists, Charles D Ferguson, wrote in Arms Control Today that «by granting India access to uranium, the deal allows India to divert its indigenously-mined uranium to military applications without detracting fuel from the civilian program» – and that is the crux of the entire affair.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group, at the urging of the United States, approved a measure that assists India to produce more nuclear weapons more economically. The «cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime» was dealt a massive blow. Although the US Hyde Act of 2006 requires the President to inform Congress of non-compliance with «the provision of nuclear fuel in such a manner as to facilitate the increased production by India of highly enriched uranium or plutonium in unsafeguarded nuclear facilities» it is impossible for the US to certify that this is not taking place because there is no provision for verification. Clever India.

Membership of the NSG remains a major foreign policy goal for India, and US support for its ambition was formally indicated in 2015 joint statement by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi which «committed [them] to continue to work towards India’s phased entry» to the Group. The US has made it clear that it will continue to support India’s efforts to achieve its objective, and that the requirement for «full compliance» with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or other «equivalent international nuclear nonproliferation agreement» is irrelevant so far as India is concerned.

It’s intriguing how international agreements can be reinterpreted, distorted, massaged or just plain ignored when it suits Washington’s policies – and, it seems, the pockets, prosperity and re-election prospects of America’s Legislators.

Posted in India, USA0 Comments

Anti-Muslim Buddhists protest in Myanmar

Myanmar’s Buddhist residents participate in an anti-Muslim demonstration in Sittwe, Rakhine State, on July 3, 2016. (AFP)
Myanmar’s Buddhist residents participate in an anti-Muslim demonstration in Sittwe, Rakhine State, on July 3, 2016. (AFP)

Anti-Muslim Buddhists held protests in Myanmar Sunday against a government decree that orders officials to use “Muslim communities in Rakhine State” when referring to the Rohingya.

The demonstrations were held in over 15 towns in the western state of Rakhine, including its capital, Sittwe, in a show of opposition to the recent edict by the government, which has been issued in an attempt to contain sectarian tension.

“We reject the term ‘Muslim communities in Rakhine State’,” said Kyawt Sein, the protest organizer in Sittwe.

Myanmar’s government refuses to recognize the Rohingya as citizens. They have been denied Myanmar citizenship since a new citizenship law was enacted in 1982.

The Rohingya call themselves by this name, but Buddhists identify them as “Bengalis,” meaning they are immigrants from Bangladesh.

“Bengalis should be called Bengalis,” said Phoe Thar Lay, a leader of a local Rakhine youth group.

Hideous anti-Muslim sentiments among the radical Buddhists in Myanmar have led to numerous deadly attacks against about one million Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. About 140,000 of the Muslims have been forced into living in overcrowded, decrepit and fetid displacement camps or even compelled to flee abroad for fear of prosecution.

Muslims living across Buddhist-governed Myanmar suffer persecution, but the Rohingya minority in Rakhine is suffering the most.


Two Muslim Rohingya women and a child are seen at one of the displacement camps in Sittwe, Rakhine State, July 2, 2016. (AFP)

On July 1, Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on Myanmar, said Myanmar’s government should immediately end the deep discrimination practiced against the Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine.

She also called for the improvement of living conditions in the camps for the Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine, stressing that putting an end to “institutionalized discrimination against Muslim communities in the state” must be “an urgent priority.”

“The continuing restrictions on the freedom of movement of the Rohingya and Kaman communities cannot be justified on any grounds of security or maintaining stability,” Lee said.

The remarks came days after the UN warned that the Rohingya were subject to multiple forms of human rights violations, including citizenship denial, forced labor and sexual violence.

The UN also called on the administration of Aung San Suu Kyi to launch an independent and comprehensive investigation into incidents of rights abuse against the Rohingya Muslims.

Rohingya and other Muslims have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar for many years. A large number of the Rohingya are believed to have been killed and tens of thousands displaced in attacks by Buddhist extremists.

Posted in Far East0 Comments

Terror Attacks Shake US-Backed Baghdad Regime

Gates visited Baghdad to quell US soldiers mutiny in Anbar, US imminent attack on Ramadi soon

Multiple car-bomb explosions killed some 125 and injured 150 in Baghdad Saturday. Online media sites linked to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility for the attacks, claiming they were directed against Shi’ites, regarded as apostates by the reactionary Sunni fundamentalist group.

The bombing, the latest in a string of major terror attacks, struck in the middle class neighborhood of Karrada, home to Shi’ites, Sunnis and many others. The bombs detonated just after midnight local time, when the streets were crowded with families breaking their daytime Ramadan fast. At least 25 of the dead were children.

The horrific atrocity comes on the heels of similar terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Bangladesh and Kabul, and an earlier attack in Baghdad by a knife-wielding assailant.

In a statement Sunday, the Obama administration vowed that the attacks “will only strengthen US resolve to support Iraqi security forces.”

“The United States strongly condemns ISIS’s heinous terrorist attacks in Baghdad,” a US National Security Council statement said. The NSC said that the administration would “intensify our efforts to root out ISIS’s terrorist network and leaders.”

The attack comes amid a general escalation of military operations against ISIS in Iraq, encompassing both Iraqi forces and the renewed American military intervention, launched by the Obama administration in the summer of 2014. Obama sent in US forces, three years after they were withdrawn, in response to the threatened destabilization of the US-backed government in Baghdad by the seizure of large areas of western and northern Iraq by Sunni insurgents.

Fresh from proclamations of victory over ISIS and “liberation” in Fallujah, the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi is preparing for another offensive, against the northern city of Mosul, which is projected to last for months and displace at least 500,000 people. The bombing of Baghdad neighborhoods, just days after Abadi’s victory tour through Fallujah, is a humiliating blow to a government already in political turmoil.

Abadi visited the Karrada neighborhood on Sunday morning in a public display of sympathy that aroused anger from the bereaved population. Crowds gathered to denounce the prime minister as a “thief” and a “dog,” and security forces had to escort him from the area.

Sunday’s bombing is only the latest manifestation of the growing breakdown of the neocolonial government installed in power in Baghdad by the 2003 US invasion. The centralized nation-state structure of Iraq is a hollow shell, with most of the country controlled by ethnically-rooted factions. The sectarian tensions inflamed and manipulated by Washington for years are engulfing Iraq in a deepening civil war that threatens the very existence of the US-backed regime.

The intensification of the sectarian conflicts are fueling regional power struggles and threatening wider war in the Middle East. Shia militiamen with ties to the Iranian government have come into conflict with Iraqi security forces during the Fallujah campaign, prompting demands from Sunni leaders that all Shia formations be excluded from the Mosul offensive. Saudi representatives denounced Iran last week for “destabilizing the Middle East,” citing Tehran’s backing for Shi’ite militias accused of atrocities, prompting denunciations from Baghdad, which claimed interference by Riyadh in Iraqi affairs.

Since 2014, two years of renewed US war in Iraq, waged under the fraudulent banner of the “war on terrorism” and “war against ISIS,” have only deepened the sectarian chaos. Baghdad itself is currently under military-police lockdown, a measure taken as much out of fear of the population as of terror attacks.

The Abadi government faces a spiraling political crisis. The government’s assault on Fallujah has inflamed Sunni-Shia tensions amid reports of massacres by sectarian militias on both sides, and Abadi’s political reforms, aimed at tamping down sectarian divisions within the Baghdad government, have been blocked by political opponents in Iraq’s judiciary. The Iraqi prime minister was met with jeers and stone throwing during a visit to the bombing site on Sunday.

Washington is preparing to prop up its client in Baghdad and reassert its dominance over the country with further deployments of US troops. American General Sean MacFarland said last week that he will deploy at least 400 additional troops in Iraq this fall, with or without presidential approval. The Pentagon is pressuring the Obama administration to authorize still more deployments before the end of 2016.

US military forces are being committed to an open-ended and continuously growing war in Iraq. American troop levels in Iraq are already well over the official “cap” avowed by the White House, with the officially acknowledged total at well over 5,000. Thousands of American soldiers and Marines, armed with heavy weaponry including artillery, tanks and Apache helicopters, are laying the framework for large-scale ground war in Iraq.

The Obama administration and Democratic Party establishment are, for political reasons, inclined to delay and downplay the escalation in Iraq until after the November elections, in an effort to disassociate themselves from wars that are hated by broad sections of the US population. At the same time, they are authorizing the Pentagon to create conditions in which further escalations in Iraq, Syria, and globally can be carried out next year, once the political hurdle of the election has passed.

Posted in South Asia0 Comments

Genesis of Current Mass Shootings, Blasts and Suicide Bombings

NOVANEWS
 
terrorists

They’re coming in rapid fashion – in late June/early July alone:

  • Istanbul blasts inflicting mass casualties;
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh shootings and hostage takings;
  • slaughter in Baghdad, killing over 200 and wounding hundreds more – the latest of numerous violent incidents since GW Bush’s 2003 naked aggression; and
  • on America’s Independence Day, an apparent suicide bombing meters from its Jeddah, Saudi Arabia consulate, followed by multiple blasts rocking the area.

Whether these and similar attacks are terrorism, false flags, lone wolf incidents or something else requires understanding how they began in the first place.

In his memoirs, titled “From the Shadows,” former CIA director/defense secretary Robert Gates said US intelligence operatives began aiding Mujahadeen fighters in Afghanistan six months before Soviet Russia invaded.

Former Carter administration national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski explained, saying Jimmy Carter, on Independence Day eve (July 3, 1979), “signed the the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.”

And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Mujahadeen support led to today’s Taliban, Al Qaeda, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), ISIS, Jabhat al Nusra, Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar ash-Sham, Boko Haram, and other jihadist groups – US created and sponsored or offshoots from them.

Bipartisan US imperial policy bears full responsibility for unleashing a scourge of state-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, Europe and America.

Brzezinski was unapologetic, asking “(w)hat is more important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”

He failed to explain America needs enemies to advance his imperium. Communism was its bogeyman earlier, public enemy number one until Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution.

Now it’s radical Muslims, Islam vilified in the process – directly or by implication, America raping and destroying one Islamic country after another.

Muslims most often are used as convenient US or other Western state-sponsored false flag attack patsies.

Yet as James Petras explains, “(o)ver the past fifty plus years, over 125 mass shootings/massacres have occurred within the United States but not one perpetrator has been identified as a trained member of an international Islamist terrorist organization.”

In contrast, America “brutalized and, directly or indirectly, massacred millions of Muslim civilians, citizens of once-sovereign nations, throughout the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa,” – unprecedented lawlessness continuing unabated, millions more lives at risk.

State-sponsored terror threatens world peace, America its lead perpetrator, waging war on humanity at home and abroad. Its rage for dominance created societies unfit to live in, imperiling life on earth.

Imperial madness threatens everyone, endless wars and headline-making violent incidents reminders of what’s at stake.

 

Posted in South Asia0 Comments

Okinawa Is Still Being Exploited by the US

NOVANEWS

By Cindy Beringer

A peace activist holds a sign that says "Get out! Marines" as vehicles pass Camp Schwab near Naga, Okinawa, Japan, May 30, 2016. (Photo: Adam Dean / The New York Times)A peace activist holds a sign that says “Get out! Marines” as vehicles pass Camp Schwab near Naga, Okinawa, Japan, May 30, 2016. (Photo: Adam Dean / The New York Times)

A crowd numbering in the tens of thousands gathered June 19 in a stadium on the small island of Okinawa in Japan to demand the removal of US military forces. The other demand of the rally was to end plans by the US and Japanese governments to move a major US Marine base from the crowded center of Okinawa to the pristine Northern coast.

On the same day as the Okinawa protest, similar demonstrations were planned in 41 of 47 prefectures in Japan, including a rally of 7,000 outside the parliament building in Tokyo.

The protest were in response to the rape and murder of a 20-year-old Okinawa woman, Rina Shimabukuro, whose body was found in a forest a month after she disappeared. Kenneth Shinzato, an ex-Marine who worked as a contractor for a private firm at a local Air Force base, has confessed to the crime.

Shinzato took the last name of the Okinawa woman he married and recently became a father. The couple personifies the type of relationship between US military personnel and locals that the Pentagon points to as positive.

***

Okinawa is a tropical island only 70 miles long and seven miles wide at its widest point. Its natural beauty, autonomy and history have been marred by numerous US military bases that cover over 20 percent of Okinawa’s total land area and 40 percent of its arable land.

Okinawa was part of an independent Ryukyu kingdom until Japan took it over in 1879, and Okinawans have always felt treated as second-class citizens.

During the Second World War, the Battle of Okinawa was the only land battle to take place on Japanese territory. The Okinawan people were forced to care for injured Japanese soldiers while their homes and many lives were sacrificed, often at the hands of Japanese soldiers. Between 40,000 and 100,000 Okinawans were killed in the battle, many of whom the Japanese forced to commit suicide.

Then came the US occupation. The US-dictated terms of the peace treaty that ended the war barred Japan from having armed forces and stated that the US would maintain its own security forces in Japan. The surrendering Japanese conceded with the understanding that the vast majority of the bases would be on Okinawa.

Tiny Okinawa is home to 75 percent of US bases in Japan. In the 1950s, under the perceived threat from the former USSR, the US built 39 bases in Okinawa, displacing many landowners. Plans to give lump-sum payments for land drew massive protest rallies, and eventually a rental plan was established. Much of Okinawa-owned land was conceded at the end of a bayonet or bulldozer. To this day, not one piece of land has been returned to any landowner.

The Pentagon’s city-sized Kadena Air Base, called the “Keystone of the Pacific,” hosts the biggest combat wing in the US Air Force and has served as a launching pad for wars in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. The base, like many others on the island, places military equipment and landing strips next to the tropical green of farmers’ fields.

In 1972, the US government “gave back” control of Okinawa to Japan, but other than switching from dollars to yen, the US still controls the island with a soft glove over a very heavy fist.

Throughout these years, there were constant and peaceful protests against the US occupation, the theft of land, pollution and environmental degradation caused by the bases, and crimes against Japanese citizens committed by military personnel and US civilians associated with the military.

Other recent incidents involving US soldiers in Okinawa include the rape and murder of a Japanese tourist by a Navy sailor and injuries to two Okinawans injured when a drunken sailor drove down the wrong side of the highway and crashed into oncoming cars.

The murder of Rina Shimabukuro invoked painful memories of the 1995 murder of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by three American soldiers. It was because of massive protests around that crime that the US agreed to move operations from the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to another location.

***

Futenma has been called the most dangerous air station in the world due to its location in a densely populated urban area. More than 3,000 people live in what should be a clear zone around the base.

After much wrangling, lawsuits and contractor shenanigans, the noisy, polluting base still hasn’t been moved. With the rise of real or imagined threats from China in the East China Sea, the decision was made to move the base to Camp Schwab in Henoko, a much less populated area in the Northern part of the island, where it would be best positioned to challenge China.

The move goes against the will of the majority of the Okinawan people. It would involve expanding the current base by doing construction on a delicate coral reef and sea grass beds inhabited by dugong, an endangered marine mammal beloved by the Okinawans and protected under Japanese and US law.

Okinawan’s anti-base governor, Takeshi Onaga, wants the Futenma Air Station to be moved off the island. In terms of military bases, of course, “moving” means rebuilding the base somewhere else. According to the terms of the ever-evolving agreement, the new base must be built before the other base can be closed and returned to civilian use–which, of course, might never happen.

The Japanese central government began work on the new base on October 29, 2015, despite the Okinawans’ strong opposition and political and legal action undertaken by the governor. Onaga has the constitutional right to reject the project under the country’s environmental laws, but that right is being ignored.

The work on the base has not gone smoothly because of large and occasionally violent protests–the violence always being unleashed by the state. On the day construction began, approximately 300 mostly elderly protesters laid down on the ground in front of the gate of Camp Schwab to prevent construction workers from entering. Police dragged away the elderly demonstrators.

Katsuhiro Yoshida, a 70-year-old Okinawan prefectural assembly member, said, “Don’t the people of Okinawa have sovereignty?…This reminds me of the scenes of rioting against the US military before Okinawa was retuned to Japan.”

***

For more than a year and a half, Okinawa demonstrators have maintained a 24-hour sit-in to try to block construction of the new base at Henoko by preventing government construction trucks from entering the gates. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes the police are able to remove them, often causing injuries in the process.

Peaceful rallies have been the Okinawans’ only weapons against the brutal US occupation as their homes have been stolen, their lands polluted and their citizens beset by crimes perpetrated by the occupiers.

A 2015 article about how the US war in Vietnam was carried out from Okinawa does much to explain the island residents’ complicated relationship with US forces. Okinawa was the largest launching pad for US soldiers going to Vietnam, and the islands and its people were major players in the war, not always willingly.

It was during the Vietnam War that Japan began to negotiate with the US for the return of Okinawa. Reversion in 1972 turned out to be a betrayal for the Okinawans and a great deal for the Americans.

Today, construction on two bases that were vital to the Vietnam War effort is being fought by the Okinawans who fear the US will once again make them complicit in further wars against their neighbors. In the Northern Training Area, where Okinawans helped US soldiers train for jungle warfare, the Okinawans are fighting the construction of new helipads that they feel threaten their safety.

Camp Schwab, the site of the continuous sit-in, was used during the Vietnam War as a secret storage site for nuclear warheads and Agent Orange, a chemical that sickened many US veterans and civilian workers, and left a toxic legacy for the Vietnamese people, while the US denied its existence.

At a recent ceremony commemorating the 71st anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, Governor Onaga called on the US and Japan to revise the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to grant to the Okinawan people the same democratic rights guaranteed to the citizens of both countries.

The rally on June 19 contained contradictory demands to remove all US forces from the island, while making plans to relocate a Marine Air Base. Later, demands were changed to include the removal of all Marines and the hope for a reduced US military footprint.

Today, Okinawans are fighting the expansion and building of US bases because they remember how they were used in the Vietnam War, and they fear being exploited in other US wars in the future. Like photographer Ishikawa Bunyo, the Okinawans believe that “Nothing has changed since the Vietnam War — Okinawa is still being used by the US.”

Posted in Japan, USA0 Comments

India’s Intolerance of Minorities and Anti-Pakistan Moves

NOVANEWS

Image result for India CRIME PHOTO

By Sajjad Shaukat

India which apparently, claims to be the largest democracy, acting upon the principles of liberalism and secularism has broken all the records of violence, genocide and massacre perpetrated on various ethnic and religious groups, entailing the community of its own lower Taking note of the growing intolerance and plight of minorities in India on June 7, this year, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress examined the current state of human rights in India, challenges to fundamental freedoms and opportunities for advancement.

The report said, “Despite Constitutional provisions…abolishing the legal existence of untouchable or Dalit castes, the caste system remains deeply ingrained within Indian society, leading to ongoing discrimination. Dalit communities, which make up a quarter of India’s population, are disproportionately at risk of suffering from major human rights concern in India.”

It further wrote, “Religious minorities also face growing challenges. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s most recent report, “In 2015, religious tolerance deteriorated and religious freedom violations increased in India. Minority communities, especially Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs experienced numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment, and violence, largely at the hands of Hindu nationalist groups…these actions, coupled with perceived crackdowns on groups or individuals critical of the Indian government, have many concerned that the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association are being increasingly curtailed.”

In fact, since the leader of the ruling party BJP Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of minorities even of lower cast-Hindus, forced conversions of other religious minorities into Hindus, ban on beef and cow slaughter, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum, creation of war-like situation with Pakistan etc. clearly show that encouraged by the Hindu fundamentalist outfits such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena including other similar parties have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India by propagating ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism). Especially, assaults on Christians and Muslims including their places of worships and property have been intensified by the fanatic Hindu mobs.

India is vocal advocate of secularism, but nowhere else in the world secularism was so blatantly betrayed. Moulana Azad had once remarked that communal frenzy would disappear when India assumes her destiny. In so-called secular India, Moulana Azad’s hopes and aspirations have gone for good due to the bullying politics of BJP/RSS goons.

Hindu fundamentalism is on rise and influencing the India society to the dungeon of destruction.

The hate campaign unleashed by the fundamentalist forces is keeping the minority group in India wholly pre-occupied with defending their basic human rights and cultural identities.

Plight of all the minorities in India—bracing maltreatment, regression and brutalities at the hands of extremists in India has exposed the true face of so-called secular and democratic India.

Showing fraught and fraud of the Indian judicial system, recent verdict by Indian special court over Gulberg, Ahmedabad Gujarat incident is sham—an eye wash to give a face saving space to the Prime Minister Modi during his interaction with USA legislature, during his recent visit to Instances of Hinduized police and the biased judiciary is related to many cases such as Gujarat pogroms, Sikh riots, violence against Christians, Dalits and other minorities whose cases are still unregistered-pending or  unheard, while in many cases culprits have been exonerated.

As regards the rise of Hindu extremism, RSS philosophy and politics prevail over the country in wake of rise of religious extremism against the Muslims. New Delhi has availed this golden opportunity, particularly not only in persecution of Indian Muslims, but also against Pakistan.

Here questions arises that when the US and other Western countries are intolerant and abhorrent of the terrorist outfits like ISIS (Daesh) etc. due to their extremists practices and barbarity to humanity, then why Hindu fundamentalist groups like RSS, including Hindu extremist activist Modi who is involved in ethnic cleansing of Muslim minority, being accorded a red carpet or cardinal’s treatment in America. However, it shows double standards of the rulers of the US and some other Western countries who are silent over Hindu terrorism.

Particularly, America has forgotten previous US ban on Modi regarding his visit to the US, while, before taking oath as PM, he was a persona non grata in the United States. In these terms, this contradiction displays American hypocrisy, as now Modi has become “darling of the US and even of other Western countries which have totally ignored Modi’s encouragement to Hindu Under Modi rule, as part of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach, New Delhi accelerated unprovoked firing at the Line of Control in Kashmir and Working Boundary across Pak-Indian border.

While, in the recent months, extremists Hindus and other fundamentalist groups intensified assaults on the Muslims and Pakistani artists, famous literary persons—members of the cricket boards etc. Taking note of maltreatment of minorities by the fanatic Hindus, in the recent past, more than 200 Indian writers, authors, scientists, artists, filmmakers, film-stars etc. decided to return their national awards in protest to rising Hindu extremism, while more than 100 persons have returned their rewards. Former Indian military personnel have also started returning their medals, criticizing the policies of the BJP government.

As regards Indian anti-Pakistan moves, Daily Times wrote on June 18, 2016, “India has rejected 17,000 visa applications of Pakistani nationals this year. Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Gautam Bambawale has contacted the Indian Home Ministry in New Delhi to know the reasons for visa refusal to such a big number of Pakistanis who wanted to meet their relatives in India.

The Indian government has rejected 53 percent of visa applications this year so far. The ratio of applications rejected in 2014 and 2015 had been 24 percent and 17 percent, respectively. It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan signed an agreement with India in 2012 to relax visa conditions and boost bilateral ties. However, the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown a complete disregard for this agreement.”

Besides, Pakistan has become hub of cross frontier proxies and the role of New Delhi has become naked after the arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav, on March 24, 2016. Yadav openly admitted that he was the serving agent of Indian secret agency RAW in Balochistan province, and during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC).

In this context, while addressing a joint press conference with Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rasheed, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa disclosed on March 29, 2016 that Yadav was an active officer of the Indian Navy prior to his joining RAW. He also served as a scrap dealer and had a jewelry business in Chahbahar, Iran, after he joined RAW in 2013.

In a video, during the press conference, Yadav confessed that he spied for India and was assigned with the task to create unrest in Karachi and Balolchitan—to destabilise Pakistan and to target the Gwadar Port. Yadav also disclosed that he was funding Baloch separatists along with other terrorists—he was captured, while heading Iran.

Although in the past too, various agents of Indian secret agency RAW were arrested in Pakistan, yet the case of Kulbushan Yadav has exposed the real face of India’s terror.

The fact of the matter is that admission of the Indian spies, especially of Kulbushan Yadav clearly proved that Indian RAW has a well-organized espionage system in Pakistan.

In this connection, RAW with the assistance of some external entities, particularly Israeli Mossad have well-established its espionage network in Afghanistan, and besides backing other similar terrorist groups, it has been supporting Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks inside Pakistan.

With the tactical backing of CIA and Mossad, RAW have also been assisting the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other separatist outfits and Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have committed various subversive acts in the province of Balochistan—abductions and killings of several nationals of China and Iran. These agencies are also weakening Pakistan, because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World.

It is mentionable that Pakistan considers that peace in Afghanistan is a guarantee of peace in Pakistan, therefore, has been striving for the same in utter sincerity. Enemies of Afghanistan and Pakistan—India and the US do not want to see the peace and prosperity in the region. Sadly, Pakistan’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) has been sabotaged by the ill-wishers.

Killing of the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur by the CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan has badly derailed Afghan dialogue process and violence is likely to surge in Afghanistan. It seems that America is playing double game to pressurize Islamabad to bring Afghan Taliban either for the dialogue or to take action against them. US, India and Israel have built a hostile nexus to damage the interests of Pakistan and China who want regional stability.

Nevertheless, in order to discourage Modi-led extremist policies, all such atrocities including indifferences to other minorities, human rights etc. and New Delhi’s strategy to destabilize Pakistan by sponsoring terrorism-related activities must be thoroughly debated in the regional and international media. And the US-led Western countries must take serious notice of the BJB-led government in this respect.

Otherwise, extremist regime of Modi will continue encouraging the fundamentalist Hindu groups in targeting the minorities in wake of Indian anti-Pakistan moves which could also destabilize the entire region, and thus will jeopardize the interests of America and its Western allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as there is co-relationship of stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Particularly, the US must also abandon its dual strategy in relation to Islamabad.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in India0 Comments

Has Myanmar’s iconic leader taken genocide lessons from I$raHell?

NOVANEWS

aung-san-suu-kyi-3

By Yvonne Ridley 

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the most famous women in the world. She is a holder of the Nobel Peace Prize and hailed as “the Mandela of Asia” because of her human rights record. However, when we look at her continual lack of concern about the plight of the Rohingya people in the former Burma, you have to question the level of her compassion and integrity.

You may gasp at this and I must admit that I never thought that I would ever write that about such an iconic figure. I, like tens of thousands of others around the world, campaigned long and hard to have the pro-democracy leader freed from the shackles of the Burmese junta which kept her under house arrest for years.

When she was finally released to lead her country to a better future there were tears in my eyes, but now I am completely bewildered by her deathly silence about the pitiful state of the Rohingyas living in squalor and inhumane conditions in Myanmar.

The military junta in Burma-Myanmar refused to acknowledge the existence of the Rohingyas and would only ever refer to them as “Bangladeshis”. Now, under the political leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, the government has gone one step further by banning the use of the word Rohingya, as if 1.1 million people have just disappeared. One has to ask if she and the generals still lurking in the background are following the Israeli manual on how to deal with unwanted citizens and ethnic minorities.

Let’s not forget that Israel’s founding Prime Minster David Ben-Gurion maintained close ties with Burma. In December 1961 he was given the full red carpet treatment during a state visit. Shortly before boarding his flight he gave a press conference: “I am leaving today for a new country but not a strange one; in all of Asia, there is no more friendly nation to Israel than Burma. Israel and Burma are two old countries with old histories which renewed their independence in 1948.”

According to Ben-Gurion, “Both [Israel and Burma] are democratic and both follow the same principle in foreign relations – promoting friendly relations and mutual aid with all peace-loving countries irrespective of their internal regimes and without injuring the interests of any other country; loyal to international cooperation based on United Nations principles.”

Of course the state visits by Israeli leaders didn’t stop at Ben-Gurion; Shimon Peres, Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and Golda Meir all went to Burma along with a string of other politicians. Others, including current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have extended hospitality to Burmese-Myanmar leaders in Tel Aviv.

By flattening more than 530 Arab towns and villages since 1948, controlling the movement of the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza and airbrushing Palestinian culture, cuisine and lifestyle from everyday life, some say that the Israelis have been engaged in a slow genocide against the Palestinian people. Now I’m wondering if they’ve handed over the genocide manual to Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar.

The official narrative pushed out to the media is that there is religious tension between Rohingya Muslims and Myanmar’s Buddhists and that that is the problem. This is untrue. The state-sponsored persecution and oppression of the Rohingya people has gone on for decades. They are denied citizenship and ready access to health care and hospitals, and they have limits placed on their right to free movement and many other basic human rights. Religious persecution has been the order of the day along with land confiscations, forced labour, arbitrary taxation, house demolitions and restrictions on marriage, work and education. These are all forms of state oppression and tyranny the same as or similar to those encountered by Palestinians at the hands of Israel; now they’re being endured by the Rohingyas.

Last year, Asia witnessed a huge refugee crisis when hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas were exploited by people smugglers and took the seas in unseaworthy vessels. Abandoned by the smugglers their boats sailed aimlessly for weeks on end; without the food thrown to them by local fishermen the death toll as they starved would have been much higher.

It was only after an international outcry that neighbouring countries finally offered refuge to the Rohingya boat people, but then they forced them to live in squalid refugee camps in Thailand, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh. Around 150,000 live in conditions that are little better than concentration camps, and reports of mass graves surfaced last year.

Meanwhile, the ever-fragrant female “Mandela of Asia” smiles sweetly during less than robust press interviews and obfuscates at the very mention of the Rohingya people. What’s worse is that she gets away with it because most of the media still eulogises the icon who world leaders and statesmen simpered over when she was released.

The so-called head of state in Myanmar’s first “democratically elected government since 1962” maintains silence over the plight of the Rohingyas. Recently, she appeared a little tetchy when asked about them by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was told to be more cautious over the “sensitive issue”. Even the Dalai Lama has been blanked by the diminutive leader after he called publicly and privately on several occasions for her to show compassion and act to stop the persecution.

If she has taken genocide lessons from the Israelis, then the State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi has learned well. She has now declared that her government will not use the term “Rohingya” when referring to the “Muslim community” in Rakhine State. It is an echo of the occasion when former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared infamously that there was “no such thing as Palestinians.”

“Suu Kyi does not use the terms ‘Rohingya’ or ‘Bengali’,” announced Aye Aye Soe, the deputy director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee. “The words of war do not support the current situation. Now, citizenship is under close scrutiny, and the use of the terms does not support the scrutiny process for citizenship. Suu Kyi requested that UN officials and other guests not use these controversial terms in case they should lead to conflict.”

As far as chutzpah goes, some might say that Aung San Suu Kyi has outdone the Israelis in her determination to shut down discussion or questions about the Rohingyas. In her world, it seems, they simply do not exist.

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued an 18-page report on 20 June calling for a halt to discrimination against Rohingyas and human rights violations when Aung San Suu Kyi and Yanghee Lee met. There were warnings that crimes against humanity were suspected of being committed. The UN official criticised the Myanmar government for not releasing the plans for the “peace and stability and development implementation work committee” for Rakhine State, led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mary Scully is a veteran of political activism, including in the anti-war, women’s rights, civil rights and Palestinian solidarity movements; she was blunt about Aung San Suu Kyi: “She won that election through a loathsome compromise with the military junta and by supporting their neoliberal policies bringing in foreign investment and mining projects at the expense of farmers and rural workers.”

Some of those farmers and villagers were way ahead of the rest of the world in understanding her betrayals, she explained. “They booed her out of town for saying the expropriations of their lands and destruction of the environment were ‘for the greater good’. Now the New York Times reports that in a recent meeting, Suu Kyi advised the US ambassador against using the term ‘Rohingya’ to describe the Muslim people of Myanmar because her government does not recognise them as citizens.”

Scully, who is also running as an independent socialist candidate for US president later this year, added: “Using the same kind of marble-mouthed deceits she used to blither to reporters, her representative told the ambassador, ‘We won’t use the term Rohingya because Rohingya are not recognised as among the 135 official ethnic groups. Our position is that using the controversial term does not support the national reconciliation process and solving problems’.”

If Aung San Suu Kyi has indeed studied Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians then the student is on her way to becoming the master. Or, as Scully sees it: “Solidarity with Rohingya Muslims against genocide and for justice means educating about their struggle against genocide and part of that education requires exposing the murderous duplicity and collusion of Suu Kyi.”

Strong words, but given the evidence that is coming out about Aung San Suu Kyi, it is hard to see how the veteran campaigner could have said anything less.

Posted in South Asia0 Comments

India or China: Has Nepal A Realistic Choice?

Nepal-CIA_WFB_Map

I was crossing the airstrip to a small aircraft that would take me to Nepal’s interior. We had left the disarray of the departure hall in Kathmandu airport with its melee of early morning hopefuls anxious to escape the polluted city and fly to a trailhead in search of fresh mountain streams and clean air. Planes are in short supply here and cancellations of domestic flights are common. Although those waiting foreigners seemed remarkably patient with the delays, perhaps attributing the disorder to high altitude. Politics wouldn’t figure into any charming anecdote sent from their holidays in the Himalayas. Neither was I thinking about Nepal’s political troubles at that moment. Not until my colleague directed my attention to a medium sized plane parked on the edge of the tarmac.

“That Turbo Prop M16 is Chinese-made; it was bought by Nepal. Another of the same model, a gift, is expected: two-for-the-price-of-one, you can say.” Nepal could use more aircraft, with not infrequent crashes and regular over-bookings on domestic flights. As for the undelivered Chinese turbo prop, “It’s being held up”, my companion replied. He exhibited the lighthearted cynicism that Nepalese now apply to all public announcements, especially when officials are involved.

I recalled seeing a recent front page article where a minister announced that irregularities in the registration of a Chinese aircraft would delay its arrival. “Too much aid from China is not welcome.” Was this another case of India blocking Nepal’s economic exchanges with China?

Maybe. Or maybe Boeing, American. Or Airbus. Europeans and Americans may be unhappy with China’s overtures in Nepal. India too; Delhi influences everything that happens here.

India and Nepal are bound together in a myriad of ways with India being the overwhelmingly dominant partner. Nepalese were painfully reminded of this when India supported a severe and sustained economic blockade on its land-locked northern neighbor. With Nepal’s dependence on India for heating fuel and petrol for transport— two of many essential commodities ranging from paper and wood to rice and fruit, also manufactured items and packaged/processed food and beverages—life across much of Nepal came to a halt. It was the heating gas and transport fuel embargo that caused unprecedented hardships in population centers, especially the capital. It left people embittered and reassessing their relation with India.

The boycott was launched by the Mahdesi people, unhappy at what they considered marginalization, when last July after years of delays, Nepal’s new constitution was signed. Mahdesi-Nepalese, inhabiting a wide belt of land along their shared border, maintain close ties with India. They decided to utilize this strategic position to express their discontent with the constitution and press for better representation; thus the blockade of goods (from India) entering Nepal through their region.

That internal Nepal crisis took on greater significance when the Indian government was seen as reinforcing Mahdesi demands. Indeed India instructed Nepal to amend its constitution in line with Mahdesi requests. Nepal’s leaders were neither able to secure India’s co-operation nor to negotiate a solution with the steadfast Mahdesi.

As the blockade wore on (lasting for seven months, including winter, although it began to ease somewhat earlier) Nepalese began to seek an alternative. Not easy, since its northern border cuts through the almost impenetrable Himalayan mountain range. Tibet to the north is vast and undeveloped but is nevertheless Nepal’s best access to China. It would be years before a viable route through there could bring essentials like fuel on the scale needed. Although during the blockade China began sending limited supplies to its stricken neighbor.

Even with end of the blockade, anti-Indian sentiment in Nepal remains high. Over my many decades observing Nepal at close hand, I’d not seen Nepalese so angry and disappointed with their neighbor, a place where many of them have studied and where they seek medical treatment, with a culture close to their own, the source of their evening television entertainment. Those millions of children who experienced hardships created by the blockade may well remember that injury for years to come.

Enter China: ties between it and Nepal have moved far beyond a few specialized items produced in Tibet. Today Chinese travelers are a common sight in the capital and on trekking trails. Chinese retailers operate shops in the tourist quarter of Thamel, selling curios and garments and managing hotels and restaurants. Chinese-made household items, electrical goods (in competition with Indian manufactured goods) are for sale across Nepal. China also provides significant development aid to Nepal. An indication of envisioned future growth is the offering of classes in Mandarin at least one major Kathmandu language institute (www.ulci.com.np).

When the earthquake struck Nepal last year, China was seen through a new and favorable prism as it competed with India to provide disaster relief. Both neighbors rushed to Nepal’s assistance and they’ve matched each other in terms of pledges for reconstruction. On the ground at that critical time, I myself witnessed the efficiency with which Chinese aid workers operated; one heard frequent complimentary remarks by recipients of that assistance. Urgent supplies arrived from China by air while Chinese bulldozers opened the blocked roads along the quake-damaged Tibet-Nepal route. Contrasting with praise of Chinese relief efforts were complaints about India. (Rumors circulated that India’s military charged into Nepal when the quake struck without Nepal’s approval, also that Indian media exaggerated India’s relief contributions. Although it is acknowledged that huge quantities of needed supplies arrived from India, and India facilitated overland shipments sent from other parts of Asia.)

The Madhesi embargo was started before earthquake relief ended and long before collapsed homes and schools could be rebuilt, also just as winter was approaching. In Nepal’s desperate search for fuel at that time, China became to the fore. It would not be a simple solution since the quantities needed could only be provided by road through Tibet and across Himalayan passes. Supplies might be insufficient but the concept of expanding routes from the north was pursued. (By October, at the height of the blockade Nepal and China signed two treaties, one on trade and a second on fuel supplies). A viable rail link or a pipeline into Nepal from the north seems implausible; in the recent crisis the China option was of limited benefit.

Yet China’s reputation in infrastructure engineering is legend; having achieved a rail route across China into Tibet, an extension through the Himalayas, however fantastic, is possible. Indeed a month ago, China dispatched what appears to be a symbolic train delivery to Nepal . The international shipment departed from Lanzhou westward covering 2,431 kilometers of rail from to Shigatse (Tibet), then 564 kilometers by road from Shigatse to Kyirong (on Nepal’s border) and the final 160 kilometers by road to Kathmandu. Accompanying this news there’s talk of a tunnel through the Himalayan range from China into Nepal. Given what Chinese engineers have accomplished elsewhere, such a route is not unattainable.

What eventually happens depends more on Nepali politics, and China and India’s determination not to jeopardize their own growing co-operation. Internally Nepal’s leadership is weak and unstable, subject to factionalism and corruption. Leaders from across the political spectrum lack negotiating power, political support, and any vision to follow through with a substantive long-term Chinese policy. On its side, it’s doubtful if China would jeopardize a stable relationship with India to change the status quo in Nepal. Meanwhile India and Nepal are reportedly finalizing plans for an oil pipeline from the south.

Posted in China, India0 Comments

US-led Countries’ Conflicting Interests Deteriorate Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations?

NOVANEWS

Image result for Pakistan-Afghanistan FLAG

By Sajjad Shaukat

Paying full attention to the Syrian crisis, Western media and their viewers have, perhaps, forgotten the South Asia where the conflicting interests of the US-led countries and entities like the secret agencies are deteriorating Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations which are equally essential for the regional and global interests of their countries like Syria.

Waging a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the US and other NATO countries have realized that after the withdrawal of foreign troops, Afghanistan would be thrown in an era of uncertainly and civil war. They realize the fact that there is a co-relationship of terrorism or stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hence, US-led developed nations which also spent billions of dollars for the development of Afghanistan have repeatedly agreed that without Islamabad’s help, stability cannot be achieved there.

It is notable that on December 9, 2015, the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Conference was held in Islamabad in which high-level representatives of regional and international organizations from over 30 countries, especially the US, China, India and Afghanistan participated. They pledged to support a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan which was not only in its own interest, but also vital to peace, stability and prosperity of the ‘Heart of Asia’ region as a whole as well as the West—it was collective responsibility to help Afghanistan in combating the challenges it is facing, as the participants said. In the joint declaration, they reaffirmed the respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and reiterated their commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force against one another.

Meanwhile, with the help of Pakistan, a series of meetings were held in Islamabad and Kabul among the representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop an understanding for the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban with view to ending nearly 15 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.

For the purpose, a number of the trilateral meetings were also held among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the America.

On January 13, 2015, at least seven personnel of the Afghan security forces died during the suicide attack which targeted the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad. The Islamic State group (ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) claimed responsibility for the terror assault which coincided with efforts to restart the suspended peace process with Taliban insurgents. Pakistani sources suggested that Indian secret agency RAW was behind this terror attack to thwart these peace talks.

Indian desperation in Afghanistan is increased in the backdrop of growing engagements of Islamabad, Kabul, Beijing and Washington. Therefore, by arranging terror-assaults in Pakistan and Afghanistan, New Delhi is also sabotaging the peace process between the Afghan officials and representatives of Tehreek-e- Taliban Afghanistan, which started in Murree, Pakistan, on July 8, 2015 through a meeting, hosted by Islamabad, and in it, Chinese and American representatives, also participated.

While, the US, China and Pakistan are jointly working to facilitate the process so as to bring peace both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the whole region. But, Washington is playing double game with Pakistan, because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, which irritates America, India, Israel and some Western partners of the US. Hence, secret agents of American CIA, Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW which are well-penetrated in the ISIS, the Tehreek-i- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are using the militants of these terrorist outfits to destabilize Tibetan regions of China, Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan, Pakistan’s province of Balochistan and Central Asia (Russian interests) by arranging the subversive activities to promote acrimonious sense of dissent, sectarian violence and to arouse sentiments of separatism.

In this regard, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is their special target. Collectively or individually, these intelligence agencies are also assisting Jundullah (God’s soldiers)—the Sunni militant group which is active in Balochistan against Shias. Besides martyring several personnel of Pakistan’s security agencies in the province, these foreign-backed entities kidnapped and massacred many innocent people, including Chinese and Iranian nationals.

It is of particular attention that Indian role in Pakistan became naked after the arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav on March 24, 2016. Yadav openly admitted that he was the serving agent of Indian RAW in Balochistan province, and during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents to execute the task to damage the CPEC. Yadav confessed that he spied for India and was “assigned with the task to create unrest in Karachi and Balolchitan…to destabilize Pakistan…he was captured, while heading Iran.”

In case of Afghanistan, there are several groups of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban. Some of them are being used by CIA, Mossad and RAW to obtain the collective and individual designs of their countries against Pakistan and the Middle East. India and Israel which want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan which have become the center of covert activities, are exploiting their dual policy, especially of America against Pakistan, China and Iran.

Particularly, terrorists of ISIS and TTP which are strategic assets of the CIA, RAW and Mossad have claimed responsibility for several terror attacks inside Pakistan, including the recent ones in Lahore (Children Park on Easter Sunday), Balochistan, Karachi and in Afghanistan. In some cases, Indian RAW which has well-established its network in Afghanistan, is also alone conducting subversive attacks in Pakistan. While in some cases, with the help of TTP and ISIS, Mossad and RAW are collectively arranging terror attacks in Afghanistan to create further lawlessness in that country because it suits their clandestine interests.

In the first week of May, credible online sources disclosed that Engineer Mohammad Khan, the 1 st Advisor and a close friend of Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has been arrested by Afghan forces/agencies for alleged links with the ISIS. Information strongly suggests that the ISIS has penetrated even in high ranking Afghan government officials as well.

It is noteworthy that those Taliban groups which are fighting against the occupying foreign for the liberation of their country know that ISIS is backed by the US-led countries. Hence, a number of times, they have attacked on the ISIS terrorists in Afghanistan.

In the recent years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they were failing in coping with the stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the high officials and media of their countries started accusing Pakistan’s army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of supporting the Afghan Taliban in order to pacify their public for the protracted war in that country, which still continues. India avail the opportunity and also accused Islamabad of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.

But these anti-Pakistan entities forgot that from 2011 to 2013, some 200 to 400 heavily-armed insurgents from Afghanistan’s side entered Pakistan’s regions from time to time and targetted the security check posts and other infrastructure. In this respect, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership had lodged a strong protest with their counterparts in Afghanistan and NATO, saying that their forces were doing nothing to check the activities of the militants, based in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. Afghan government also refused to hand over Maulvi Fazlullah, leader of the TTP and other militants who had been conducting acts of terrorism in Pakistan. However, it was part of the US double game with Islamabad.

It is notable that when Pakistan’s Armed Forces broke the backbone of the militants through military operation Zarb-i- Azb which started on June 15, 2014 in North Waziristan Agency, and afterwards, extended to some other tribal agencies—killing thousands of insurgents including foreign terrorists, while, ISI and other law-enforcing agencies captured several terrorists in various regions of Pakistan, including suicide-jackets and weapons. What the US-led NATO countries could not do in Afghanistan in the last 14 years, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have done in one year. Taking note of the ground realities, the US and other Western countries have started appreciating the capabilities of Pakistan Army and other security agencies, and are, now, recognizing the sacrifices of the country against terrorism.

By utilizing the vicious circle of terrorism and the dual policy of America, some Western countries, Israel and India, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and TTP also employ double game. Besides working for CIA, Mossad and RAW, these terrorist outfits also motivate the common Muslims for suicide attacks and terror-related activities as part of Jihad. Otherwise, Jihad does not permit suicide assaults. Like other religions, Islam is a religion of peace and prohibits any sort of terrorism.

Nevertheless, still America and some of its NATO allies which prefer India over Pakistan are following conflicting policies. Sometimes, they recognize the fact that there is a co-relationship of stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan and sometimes, they back the propaganda of New Delhi and Kabul against Islamabad in relation to cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan. India which has invested billions of dollars in Afghanistan, signed a wide-ranging strategic agreement with that country on October 5, 2011 also includes to help train Afghan security forces, while assisting Kabul in diversified projects, is manipulating the ambivalent approach of the US-led Western countries so as to further strengthen its grip in Afghanistan.

Regarding Indian activities in Afghanistan the then NATO commander, Gen. McChrystal had pointed out: “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan…is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.” And the US Senator John McCain had reminded the Obama administration that encouraging India to take a more active role in Afghanistan, while simultaneously criticizing Pakistan could be a recipe for disaster.

If NATO withdraws its forces from Afghanistan in future, despite the presence of American or NATO troops on small scale, New Delhi which has been assisting the Northern Alliance (Minority groups) like the America and other Western powers against the Afghan freedom fighters will not be in a position to maintain its network due to successful guerrilla warfare of the Taliban. Afghanistan will be thrown in an era of uncertainty and civil war. In that drastic situation, the US-led foreign donors will not be able to sustain their economic aid in that lawless country.

In this respect, in the recent past, cordial relations were established between Pakistan and Afghanistan when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had realized that Afghanistan and Pakistan were facing similar challenges of terrorism and would combat this threat collectively. But, it is misfortune that on direction of New Delhi and like the former regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s present rulers have also started accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism. In this connection, after hours of the Taliban captured Kunduz city, on September 28, 2015, during his address to the UNO General Assembly, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah blamed Islamabad for carrying out cross-border attacks and destabilizing Afghanistan.

Differences exist between Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and President Ashraf Ghani, as the former wants cordial relations with New Delhi at the cost of Afghanistan and the latter prefers Islamabad.

Notably, the US and Indian trained Afghan troops could no retake Kunduz, and American military recaptured the city. Taking note of the unending resistance of the Taliban, President Barack Obama halted the withdrawal of American military forces from Afghanistan on October 15, 2016 by announcing that “the United States will keep thousands of troops in the country through the end of his term in 2017”, and it means that American and its allied forces will remain there for an indefinite period. Talking about the death of the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour who was killed by the CIA-operated drone attack in Pakistan’s Balochistan, President Obama recognized on May 23, 2016 by saying that the Taliban were “specifically targeting the US personnel and troops inside Afghanistan.” After the incident, Taliban leaders also refused to participate in the US-sponsored talks with the Afghan government. Besides, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership also protested for the violation of international laws and Pakistan’s airspace by the American drone attack.

It is mentionable that on December 10, 2016, President Ghani accepted the resignation of Rahmatullah Nabil as director of the Afghan intelligence agency, National Dirctorrate of Security (NDS), after developing differences of the spymaster with him over Ghani’s move to attend the regional conference (Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Conference) in Islamabad.

And, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ghani also showed their determination that their countries would cooperate in fighting the threat of ISIS.

In fact, in collusion with Afghanistan’s NDS, Daesh and TTP, RAW still continues cross-border incursions in various regions of Pakistan. Indian nexus with the militant leaders like Hakimullah Masood and Maulvi Fazalullah has been proved by the recent revelation of the TTP militant Latifullah Mahsood who was captured in Pakistan, and he also admitted the role of external secret agencies regarding the incident of Army Public School Peshawar where several innocent children were massacred by the TTP—and exploitation of Baloch sub-nationalists, while, Indian high officials and media have always shifted the blame game of Afghanistan’s unrest towards Pakistan. It is a true reflection of Indian establishment which is intolerant to any improvement in the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Nonetheless, the trust between Islamabad and Kubal has remained a sore point in the eyes of foreign enemies, especially India, which have been doing everything possible to create mistrust between the two neighbours. A lot of resources are being pumped in particularly by New Delhi to undermine the relationship between two brotherly countries to fulfill Indian nefarious agenda at the cost of the interests of Afghanistan’s public. For the last fifteen years, foreign-funded NGOs and media have been spearheading the sinister campaign to malign Pakistan for any ill inside Afghanistan, thereby estrange common Afghans against Pakistan.

It is worth-mentioning that Pakistan is the largest Muslim donor country to Afghanistan. Pakistan, itself is suffering from the economic fallout of ongoing war on terror in Afghanistan. Islamabad has, so far, spent over 385 Million $ for the development, education and infrastructure-building in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s present government has added over 500 Million $ more to this list for development in Afghanistan. Pakistan has funded different educational institutions inside Afghanistan such as Allama Iqbal Faculty of Arts-Kabul University, Sir Syed Post Graduate Faculty of Sciences- Nangarhar University, Liaqat Ali Khan Engineering University- Bulkh, Rahman Baba School-Kabul and Rahman Baba Hostel-Kabul.

Afghan citizens are allowed to avail medical and education facilities in Pakistan at par with the Pakistani Citizens. Islamabad has helped Afghan government in developmental projects and roads infrastructure, including building of 75 kilometers Torkham-Jalalabad Road, additional carriage way on Torkham-Jalalabad Road, three internal roads in Jalalabad, digital radio link between Kabul and Peshawar. In addition, Pakistan has also given around 100 public transport buses and 200 trucks to the government of Afghanistan for the welfare of Afghan public.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan has rendered huge sacrifices for the people of Afghanistan, and had stood with the Afghans in Afghan Jihad against the former USSR and hosted record number of over 3 Million refugees for longest duration, despite its own weak economic condition.

However, Pakistan shares common geographical, historical, religious and cultural bonds with Afghanistan. America and its Western partners have repeatedly recognized that Pak-Afghan stability is inter-related, which is essential for their global and regional interests. Therefore, US-led developed nations which also spent billions of dollars for the development of Afghanistan have repeatedly agreed that without Islamabad’s help, stability cannot be achieved there. But, by following the conflicting interests, the US-led countries are deteriorating Pakistan-Afghanistan relations to obtain their covert aims, and are, thus, destabilizing South Asian security which is equally essential for them.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in Afghanistan, Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Unimaginable Progress of the Operation Zarb-e- Azb

NOVANEWS

Image result for Zarb-e- Azb PHOTO

By Sajjad Shaukat

Before the start of the military operation Zarb-e- Azb, terrorists had been, primarily, waging a war against the citizens of Pakistan, their values, beliefs and assets. 200 million people of Pakistan had, bravely, been facing various kinds of terrorist acts for the last 14 years. Currently, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria and other Muslim countries are in shambles due to the terrorism, being conducted by the AI-Qaeda, the ISIS and other militant outfits. But, unlike other countries war against terrorism, including the US-led Western countries’ war against these non-state actors, Pakistan’s Armed Forces displayed unimaginable progress through the ongoing military operation Zarb-e- Azb which started on Jun 15, 2014 against the militants in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) and afterwards extended to other tribal areas, has almost successfully achieved In the recent past, while showing the progress of the Zarb-e- Azb, Chief of Army Staff, Gen.

Raheel Sharif said, “Terrorists have been cleared from their strongholds in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency and fight now is moving into last few pockets close to Afghan border.” He laid emphasis on “continuation of the operations till elimination of the last expected and probable terrorists groups and sanctuaries.”

When the Pakistan Government decided to launch this operation, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took the nation into confidence through parliament, asserting that Pakistan would not be allowed to become safe havens of terrorists. Earlier, DG, ISPR Directorate, Major-Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa had stated, “Armed forces of Pakistan have launched the operation against foreign and local terrorists…who had been waging a war against the state of Pakistan by disrupting our national life in all its dimensions, stunting our economic growth and causing enormous loss of life and property…with the support of the entire nation, these enemies will be denied space across the country.” He further stated that military operation would continue till achievement of ultimate objectives.

On June 16, 2014, Gen. Raheel Sharif also pointed out, “Operation Zarb-e- Azb has been launched with the objectives of rooting out terrorists, eliminate their sanctuaries in NWA and rid the country of terrorism.”

After the militants of the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) massacred 132 school children at Army school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, while emphasizing national unity against terrorists, Gen. Raheel had repeatedly stated, “Our resolve has taken new height”, and added “We will continue to go after the inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination.”

However, since June 15, 2014, the jets of Pakistan Air Force have bombed militants’ hideouts in North Waziristan Agency and Khyber Agency and killed thousands of insurgents including foreign militants, while Pak Army has also killed several terrorists through ground offensive and many of them surrendered before the Army. Thus, these forces destroyed their strongholds, demolishing tunnels and factories producing IED (Explosives), while drying the sources of their funds and sinking their public support.

In fact, the different war between Pakistan’s Armed Forces and the TTP insurgents (And their affiliated groups) is simply a ‘clash of wills’ between two entities. Military thinkers agree that although the physical force will determine the type and scale of war, yet it is the ‘will to fight’ or ‘moral force’ that determines the outcome of war. Clausewitz puts it this way, “One might say that the physical force seems little more than the wooden hilt, while moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon.”

In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945”, Creveld identifies the elements of ‘moral force’, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die.” The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralization. ‘Moral force’, then, is the crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent.

During the successful military operation, Zarb-e- Azb” retreat of the Taliban from North Waziristan has proved that such elements like ‘will to fight’ and ‘moral force’ have been more found in Pakistan’s Armed Forces then the Taliban militants.

Nevertheless, there are other causes which also demoralized the insurgents of the TTP and their affiliated militant outfits. Firstly, strong determination and cohesiveness as noted in Pakistan’s Armed Forces played a key role in expelling terrorists from North Waziristan Agency and other tribal regions. And during street to street fighting, without bothering for their lives, and by air-dropping commandos at the risky places, our forces made a great headway in disrupting the Taliban supply routes, and links. Secondly, general masses of the area opposed the brutal acts of these terrorists which compelled them to leave their houses. They came to know that under the cover of Islamic laws—terror, not Sharia was these militants’ real agenda. Hence, they were misusing Jihad which does not allow suicide attacks in killing their own Muslim brethren.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone and organized capability of terrorists to launch well thought-out attacks against the government assets and on innocent people. They have met serious setbacks during the operation Zarb-e- Azb, and shall, finally, be totally eliminated from Pakistan. It appears, as if the militants of TTP have lost major grounds, and in severe frustration, they are trying to create some kind of so-called pressure on the government and the Armed Forces through some terror-activities which are due to external support of Indian RAW and some foreign secret agencies to these terrorists, as they want to destabilize Pakistan which is the lonely nuclear country in the Islamic World. However, Armed Forces have castigated these terrorist’s outfits to put up strong resistance.

It is notable that the North Waziristan Agency is the largest tribal agency with difficult and complicated topography. But, by sacrificing their own lives, the North Waziristan Agency and some other tribal areas have been cleared by the Pak Army. Therefore, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have returned to North Waziristan and some other tribal areas and Pak Army helped them in their resettlement.

As terrorists had accelerated un-Islamic practices, while challenging the writ of the state, and had frightened the entire nation by their terror-acts. Therefore, leaders of various political and religious parties including all segments of society and media anchors—particularly commentators of TV channels, who wanted that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to dictate their agenda and to impose their self-perceived ideology on the majority of Pakistanis are admiring the successes, achieved during the operation Zarb-e- Azb. Now, the whole nation is united against terrorism and is backing the military operation against these brutal militants in other regions of the country.

No doubt, the progress of the Zarb-e- Azb is very encouraging, as it is fruitfully advancing towards its logical end.

The unimaginable progress of the Operation Zarb-e- Azb can be judged from the fact that what the well-equipped and well-modernized the US-led NATO countries could not do in Afghanistan in more than 14 years, Pakistan’s Armed Forces had done in one year. Taking note of the ground realities, the US and other Western countries have started appreciating the capabilities of Pakistan Army and other security agencies like ISI.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

Join our mailing list

* = required field

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

July 2016
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031