Friday, November 25, 2011

Can India and Pakistan make Peace !

Can India and Pakistan make Peace ! 
By Major (Retired)Agha .H. Amin, Pakistan Army.
Utopians in India are jubilant that Pakistan has made peace with India.
Nothing in reality can be farther from the truth.
The recent sudden angelic desire on part of the Pakistani establishment to make peace with India has nothing to do with any major shift in Pakistan's foreign policy written in the Pakistani military headquarters popularly known as the GHQ.
The Pakistani apparent shift is merely a tactical response to extreme confrontation with the US over perceived US view that Pakistan is playing a double game in Afghanistan.
This is similar to Musharraf's flirtation with India from 2000 to 2007 which in reality was a gambit to prevent a two front war with Afghanistan occupied by the USA and a hostile India in the east.
The real picture of true intentions of the Pakistani military will emerge when the US withdraws from Afghanistan.
This will be the time when the Russians ,Iranians and Indians will have no choice but to support the Northern Alliance against Pakistan sponsored Taliban who regard all Shias, Ismailis,Non-Pashtuns, moderate Pashtuns as infidels who deserve to be massacred.
The Pakistani politicians are a compromised manipulated lot who are under firm control of the Pakistani military thanks to the politicians own massive financial corruption. They will do what the Pakistani generals tell them whether it is the PPP, PML or any new party like Imran Khan's Tehrik i Insaaf.
Pakistan will remain the same state run by an army rather than a state with an army. The Pakistani generals will control Pakistan's politics and foreign policy and Pakistan India relations will remain a mix of an uneasy and an unpredictable peace.
Pakistan will remain embroiled in an ever continuous civil unrest. Baloch will be gunned down by the Pakistani military while Pakistan's politicians will remain the puppets of the military that they have been since 1977.
Terrorism will remain a tool of foreign policy while the Pakistani military runs the Pakistani state under a facade of PPP or PML or Tehrik i Insaaf.
By that time Pakistani military will be hoping to achieve all its objectives--
1. An extremist dominated Afghanistan.
2. A Balochistan fully fragmented and crushed.
3. A Pakistani political party leading Pakistan fully subservient to the Pakistani military.
4. A renewed infiltration in Kashmir.
5. A brinkman's nuclear policy with India .
6. A greater Chinese vassal with far greater Chinese interests in Pakistan.
There is no doubt that Pakistan will be a semi autonomous Chinese province by 2030 or so. Its relations with India will be run on two basis; Pakistani military retaining its nuisance value based on the much trumped and misused Indian threat and secondly Pakistan as a Chinese pawn acting as Chinas western bastion in West Asia. Pakistani Balochistan by 2030 would be a completely Chinese run show while Pakistan's military and corrupt politicians will control Pakistan's corrupt par excellence economy.
Xooxs like Man Mohan Singh will remain dupes that they always were. The region will remain unstable because instability is custom made to suit the Pakistani elite both military and civilian.
India's budding middle class wants to make peace with the Pakistani establishment because they want to have a good time.
Manmohan Singh is a cheap social climber with no strategic vision.This means that the common man in both India and Pakistan will both come to grief.
Pashtuns and Baloch will remain pawns of Pakistani establishment with Baloch regarded as Red Indians and Pashtuns regarded as good cannon fodder to be launched like fools in the name of Islam. Pakistan's economy will remain centred to serve the good of Pakistan elite and prosperity will remain confined to the triangle Pindi- Multan- Lahore and Karachi-Hyderabad.
The Pakistani Supreme Court will remain an arm of the Pakistani elite who turns a blind eye when any one challenges Pakistani military in the courts.
Pakistan shall remain a mirage which serves a 5 % elite and the region will remain unstable and a hostage to nuclear brinkmanship.
Pakistan's pensioners will die like stray dogs ! Pakistan's youth will be gunned down by the corrupt Pakistani police for money ! Pakistani intelligence will continue the kill and dump policy all over Pakistan and specially in Balochistan !
This is not about Islam ! This is not about Pakistan ! This is all about a 5 or 10 % establishment that has controlled Pakistan since 1948.
All that this elite wants is to preserve their unfair advantage ! These are the new Banias, the new Muslim Banias of Pakistan !
In 1947 Muslims of Pakistan got rid of Hindu Banias but the idea of the Muslim elite was that the Muslim masses need to be buxxered not by the Hindu Banias but by Muslim Banias from Gujerat, Chiniot,Khotian (later Saigalabad) and the elite feudals who had joined the Muslim League by the 1946 elections.
Third rate Pakistani lower middle class young men will continue to pass the CSS exam and join Police, FBR and DMG to become billionaires with houses in posh DHA Karachi or Lahore within ten years of passing the CSS exam !
Pakistan does not have hawks with aristocratic backgrounds like ZA Bhutto nor visionary generals ! It is run by carpetbaggers, robber industrial barons, arch intriguer feudals and generals who are NCOs sons and are just simply ambitious !
This means that Pakistan's political economy of exporting terrorism as a foreign policy tool, massive corruption at home and the resultant ever growing reservoir of economically deprived youngsters who will fill ranks of extremists and suicide bombers will continue.

We salute the age of West Asian strategic anarchy !


I am posting this blunt assessment received from a Pakistani friend , a well known and independent strategic analyst –Amb (Retd) K.Gajendra Singh 25 November, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Intervention in Syria Would Fatally Destabilize the Region

Intervention in Syria Would Fatally Destabilize the Region
In his Opinion column on Syria in Hindu of 19 November, 2011 Chinmay Gharekhan, explained the underlying complexity of what is going on in Syria. However, when it comes to overt and covert interference from the outside , he has pulled punches A fromer diplomat, with long experience of working with the United Nation and still connected with the establishment ,he was once posted in Damascus during 1960-70. ( The author visited Syria a few times while posted at Amman;1989-92)
But even a very restrained Chinmay , while eschewing open British interference and support from Washington , lets slip in this reality check for Syria's enemies inside and outside;
"If there is a breach in the ranks of the army and parts of it openly engage in anti-regime violence, the regime can be expected to fight back with full ferocity. It could well be a case of 'you-ain't-seen-nothing-so-far.'
Let me recall that in the 1982 Islamic uprising by the Moslem Brotherhood (MB) in Hama in Syria when scores of Alawite military officers/cadets and Baath party officials were killed , Bashar's uncle Rifaat sent to 'defuse' the situation and teach a lesson to the MB reportedly killed twenty to thirty thousand of regime's enemies in Hama and the area of uprising was  razed to the ground .Nearly 1000 government troops were also killed .Thus emerged the phrase Hama Rule ; "Rule or die" ( there is no half way)
One just has to listen to the statements of Western leaders and lies by their corporate media to easily comprehend that like Iraq and Libya , it is a blatant attempt at regime change in Syria ,this time around , the stakes would be higher –a Shia-Sunni divide and terrible confrontation .The West seems to be succeeding with Sunni states like Saudi Arabia , Qatar (as in Libya) ,Sunni Islamist Turkey and Jordan among others ranged on one side and Alawite forces in Syria , their Christian and many Sunni supporters , along with Shia dominated Lebanon and Shia Iran . Lebanon and Syria are Tehran's allies .The Shias controlling Baghdad (courtesy US invasion) abstained on the Arab League resolution against Damascus.

The  reaction of so called 'international community ' which Western corporate media keeps on drumming up is basically composed of Washington and London, but this time includes Paris too , former colonial rulers of Syria , which are active overtly and covertly . Russia's strategic interests are seriously threatened  , since its naval ships can now dock only at the Syrian ports after  Libya was invaded and taken over by western powers and its proxies. Iran also uses Syria's naval facilities. After the Arab revolt against US puppet Hosni Mubarak , Iranian ships can now use the Suez canal for the first time since 1978.
Russia and China realizing how UN resolution 1973 on Libya was abused , misused and distorted by Nato and Europe and its Arab allies ,have warned that an overreaction could pave the way for a military intervention.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov stressed. 

"We suggest that in order to put the Arab League initiative in place all countries concerned with a peaceful outcome of developments in Syria should demand not only from the Syrian authorities, but also from the opposition that they stop their violence,"  Lavrov warned that  "The ongoing attacks on government buildings in Syria look like a civil war."

It may be recalled that following the Fall of the Berlin Wall , Washington tried to establish its total domination in central Asia and east Europe in spite of promises to the contrary to Moscow .But after the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq , the new Russian leader president Vladimir Putin undertook measures to reassert Russian influence in Middle East .After the visit by Bashar Assad to Moscow in early 2005 Russia wrote off 73% of US$13.4 billion in debt owed by Syria from the days of the USSR and started supplying new weapons including latest missiles to Syria , to re-establish old defense partnership and to protect Damascus , where the presidential Palace was arrogantly buzzed by Israeli jets at will This ,Putin declared created "opportunities for long-term cooperation". Assad said that Moscow was invited to the region because "Russia has an enormous role, and has a lot of respect from Third World countries ... which really hope that Russia will try to revive the positions it used to hold".
Background and seeds of disputes in the Middle East
Let me give some background on the seeds of dispute in the Tigris and Euphrates basin , where originated many ancient civilizations but it has a history of turbulence and wars . After the armies of Islam carved an empire from the Atlantic to China in the 7th Century, the isolated Arabian peninsula became an active component. After the Ottoman Sultan annexed the Caliphate and guardianship of Mecca and Medina in 16th century , the peninsula became a peaceful backwater until World War I ( research will probably show that the increased influence of Sheikhs and Islam in Istanbul led to the decline of science and modern ideas in Istanbul weakening Ottoman polity and arms) Since a decade massive gifts to Islamist Justice and Development party (AKP ) of prime minister Recep Erdogan and investments in the party areas has led to ascendance of Saudi yesil surmaye ( green money ) and Ankara has embarked on a pro Saudi policy which is likely to boom rang .
During WWI ,when Turkey sided with Germany; Britain, to protect its Indian empire and its lifeline, Suez Canal, encouraged Arabs under Hashemite ruler Sharif Hussein of Hijaj to revolt against the Caliph in Istanbul (and sent spy T E Lawrence to help and mislead ). The war's end did not bring freedom to the Arabs as promised; since at the same time, by secret Sykes-Picot agreement, the British and French arbitrarily divided the Sultan's Arab domains and their warring populations of Shias, Sunnis, Alawite Muslims, Druse, and Christians. The French took most of greater Syria, dividing it into Syria and Christian-dominated Lebanon. The British kept Palestine, Iraq and the rest of Arabia.

When Sharif Hussein's son Emir Feisel arrived in Damascus to claim Syria, the French chased him out. So the British installed him on the Iraqi throne. ( Hashemite King and his PM Nuri al Said were killed in1958 when the nationalist- socialist military took over ) When the other son, Emir Abdullah, turned up in Amman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, dining in a Jerusalem hotel, reportedly drew on a napkin the borders of a new Emirate of Trans-Jordan, encompassing wasteland vaguely claimed by Syrians, Saudis and Iraqis.

Later, when Sharif Hussein (who wanted the Caliphate after Ataturk had abolished it) proved obdurate to British objectives, Britain let Ibn Saud and his Wahhabis hound him out of Mecca. Britain also denied Kemal Ataturk's new Turkish republic the oil-rich Kurdish areas of Mosul and Kirkuk, now in northern Iraq. To thwart Germany posing a danger to India via the Berlin-Basra railroad, the British had earlier propped up oil-rich Kuwait, traditionally ruled by Ottoman pashas in Basra. This throttled Iraqi access to the Persian Gulf. Iraq became somewhat (though not fully!) reconciled to an independent Kuwait only in 1961.

Following Britain's 1917 Balfour Declaration which had promised a homeland for Jews in Palestine, European Jews began emigrating to Palestine. The trickle became a flood with the rise of anti-Semitic policies in Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe. After World War II, the state of Israel, carved out of British Palestine, was not recognized by the Arabs. The 1948 Arab-Israeli war allowed Israel to expand its territory, while Jordan annexed the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza. In the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured the West bank and Gaza. This is the background for most of the problems of the region.

Following the rise of Arab nationalism in the early 1950s led by Colonel Gamal Nasser of Egypt, socialists and nationalists, mostly military officers, took over the medieval kingdoms of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya - much to the consternation of Western oil companies.

As for Jordan, now anti-Assad ,from its very inception, almost all its neighbors coveted it. But astute King Hussein not only survived a dozen assassination attempts, he also fended off conspiracies against his kingdom. When he died in 1999 of cancer, the kingdom had become a keystone of equilibrium in the region and a modern flourishing state, despite no oil and little other resources..

Palestinians make up 60 percent of Jordan's population. PLO militants and Palestinian army officers conspired against late King Hussein (King Abdullah, his grandfather, was assassinated in 1951 by a Palestinian), so the King expelled the Arafat-led PLO to Beirut in the early 1970s.

Before the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein had promised full support to the Palestinian cause. King Hussein maintained neutrality despite Western pressure, anger and bad-mouthing. Palestinians and their leadership had fully supported Saddam in 1990-91, and Jordan's stand. Still the adroit King Hussein remained a major Arab player in a Middle East peace settlement and was brought from his death bed to bless the White House ceremony for the Arafat-Rabin accord.
To survive in Amman, a Hashemite ruler has to be extremely nimble. The current King Abdullah whose mother is British has been supporting the western crusade against Syria , even suggesting that Bashar resign .His rule is now propped up by massive aid from Riyadh and Washington. But there are reports of tensions between the elites in the indigenous tribal population and Palestinians, who came over after the creation of Israel and the Arab –Israeli wars .

The US stumbled into the 1991 war against Iraq without prior strategic planning. In fact, the West had supported Iraq's long war against Khomeini's Iran, and the US had granted loans to Baghdad worth billions of dollars. Amid high tension between Kuwait and Baghdad over common oil wells, two islands, and the return of a $10 billion loan, Iraq threatened Kuwait with war. A few days before the Iraqi invasion on August 2, 1990, US Ambassador April Glaspie told Saddam Hussein that his dispute with Kuwait was a bilateral Arab affair. This was never clearly refuted by the US and Ambassador Glaspie disappeared from view.( a similar statement was issued in Washington).

By now  the Western media became a handmaiden of the Western propaganda machine. All attempts to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq-Kuwait row by Arab nations, led by King Hussein of Jordan and later joined by King Hassan of Morocco, were rebuffed by the US, as was Kuwait's offer of indirect negotiations. Feelers for negotiations by the Saudis were drowned in Western cacophony. Saddam's reported offer to the UN secretary general to withdraw from Kuwait, made just before the US attack, was brushed aside. Efforts by Mikhail Gorbachev were treated with disdain.  

Post-1991 Gulf War scene
Bush had attacked Iraq in 1991 without informing the UN secretary general, undermining the world body and further diminishing it (Bush Jr invaded Iraq in 2003 against the will of the UN and its Charter). For the countries of the region, the war resolved nothing. Instead, the US made Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other allies pay through the nose, weakening them by an estimated $100-$150 billion. Iraq was bombed into the Middle Ages. Its enemy Iran, a member of the "Axis of Evil", gained. To guard his back, Saddam in 1990 had agreed to the old boundary with Iran in the Shatt-al Arab waterway, disagreement over which was one of the reasons for the 1980s Iran-Iraq War.

US promises turned sour in the aftermath of the Gulf War. George Bush Sr, encouraged Iraqis, Kurds in the north and Shias in the south, to revolt. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, most of which have large Shia populations, were horrified, as a Shia state in south Iraq would strengthen Iran's influence  . The prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurds worried Turkey, whose own Kurds were fighting for freedom. The hapless Iraqi Kurds, and the Shias paid a terrible price. The Iraqi Kurds and Shias remember false US promises. Both Kurdish factions in north Iraq had expressed opposition to US plans to attack Iraq.

Turkish president late Turgut Ozal, seduced by US hints of winning "lost" Kurdish areas of north Iraq, became an energetic supporter of the Bush coalition in 1990-91. He almost opened another front in the war against Iraq, but was prevented by stiff opposition from his powerful military.( currently there are simmering tensions between Turkish PM Erdogan and the Turkish Armed Forces  which bodes ill for any military intervention in Syria .In its invasion of Cyprus which Ankara  occupied in 1974 , it did not cover itself with any glory .Yes , a Turkish brigade with instructions to fight to death in the Korean war , with aim of being allowed entry fought bravely .In its war against PKK , while 40,000 people , mostly Kurds, have been killed , 5000 soldiers have also been killed .

"Mr Ambassador, you cannot trust the Americans, not even their written promises."

But instead of getting oil-rich Mosul and Kirkuk, the economic sanctions against Iraq and closure of the Iraqi pipeline via Turkey cost Ankara $50 billion in lost trade.

 Unemployment rose as the sanctions halted the 5,000 trucks that used to roar to and from Iraq daily, aggravating the economic and social problems in Turkey's Kurdish heartland of rebellion. A deputy prime minister once ruefully told this writer, "Mr Ambassador, you cannot trust the Americans, not even their written promises." A sobering thought for those who support the US blindly. 

PKK believes that Washington is not going after its cadre in north Iraq , not out of sympathy for PKK aims but to use it as a handle against Ankara .Most European states who 'sympathise ' with PKK have used it to get concessions out of Ankara , as PKK leaders Ocalan discovered when he was forced to flee Syria in 1999.

In his recent article 'great game' in Syria for" the Guardian" Alastair Crooke wrote that the US-instigated "color" revolutions in the former Soviet republics gave way to a bloodier, and more multi-layered process but the underlying psychology remains unchanged. " Europeans and Americans and certain Gulf states may see the Syria game as the logical successor to the supposedly successful Libya "game" in remaking the Middle East, but the very tools that are being used on their behalf are highly combustible and may yet return to haunt them - as was experienced in the wake of the 1980s "victory" in Afghanistan." 

"Foreign Affairs' journal recently noted that Saudi and its Gulf allies are "firing up" the Salafists not only to weaken Iran, but mainly in order to do what they see is necessary to survive - to disrupt and emasculate the awakenings which threaten absolute monarchism. Salafists are being used for this end in Syria, in Libya, in Egypt (see their huge Saudi flag waving turn-out in Tahrir Square in July ) in Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq. 

"Salafists may be generally viewed as non-political and pliable, but history is far from comforting. If you tell people often enough that they shall be the king-makers in the region and pour buckets-full of money at them, do not be surprised if they then metamorphose - yet again - into something very political and radical" warns Cooke. 

There seems to be little thought about the strategic landscape –"- may yet see the prevailing calculus turned inside out: nobody knows. But does the West really believe that being tied into a model of Gulf monarchical legitimacy and conservatism in an era of popular disaffection to be a viable posture " asks  Cooke.

Pepe Escobar of Asia Times says that the Shia-Sunni confrontation in Syria is a "strategic opportunity" ,according to the powerful Israel lobby in Washington to strike against the Damascus-Tehran link; "we deal a mortal blow to Hezbollah in Lebanon." It is really a "humanitarian" cover for a complex anti-Shia and anti-Iran operation. " A fractious, unrepresentative Syrian National Council - Libya-style - is already in place. Same for a heavily armed Sunni "insurgency" crisscrossing the borders in Lebanon and Turkey ( & possibly Jordan –author). Sanctions are already essentially hurting the Syrian middle class. A relentless, international campaign of vilification of the Assad regime has been deployed. And psy ops abound, with the aim of seducing sections of the Syrian army to defect (it's not working)."

A report  by a Qatar-based researcher for the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) almost admits that the self-described "Free Syria Army" is basically a bunch of hardcore Islamists, plus a few genuine army defectors, but mostly radicalized Muslim Brotherhood bought, paid for and weaponized by the US, Israel, the Gulf monarchies and Turkey. There's nothing "pro-democracy" about this lot - as incessantly sold by Western corporate and Saudi-owned media. 

Damascus did send informal 'envoys' to find out .Washington wants total cut off with Tehran.

Pepe concludes that the US neo-conservatives only a few years used to boast , "Real men go to Tehran". An update is

"Real men go to Tehran via Damascus only if they have the balls to stare down Moscow".

It is difficult to predict the outcome of the continuing violent events in the region but it seems that the borders and boundaries drawn by Colonial powers after WWI will be redrawn after an explosion but most likely by the peoples of the region and not by the old and new imperialist centres , all bankrupt in ideas , except resorting to illegal wars and all bankrupt financially . Let Washington, London and Paris grapple with the fast economic decline at home and rising discontent against neo-liberal capitalism . The first shoe fell in September 2008 , the second shoe is not far off.
K.Gajendra Singh 23 November , 2011.Delhi

Slow but certain descent into chaos

Can something be done to prevent a disaster from taking place in and around Syria?
Is Syria already in the throes of a civil war? What are its implications for the region? Whither Arab Spring? What is the state of play in the Arab League? How is the great game between the Shias and the Sunnis, led by Iran and Saudi Arabia, being played out? How are India's interests affected?
All experts agree that Syria is a pivotal country in the region. Libya, during Muammar Qadhafi's reign, pretended to assert a role for itself beyond its inherent strength. He did manage to buy a few loyal supporters in Africa with his oil money but had no ally in the Arab world. What happened in Libya will not have consequences for others in the region, particularly since the two Arab countries with which it shares borders have already experienced the 'spring.' Syria, on the other hand, has always been one of the most significant actors in West Asia, with a dynamic, proactive approach. A destabilised Syria will seriously destabilise the neighbours, with far-reaching consequences, some of which might be palatable to some and not so to others. This explains the somewhat "hands-off" attitude of the "international community" so far because it does not know how to deal with the Syrian regime.
Unlike as in Egypt and Tunisia, the opposition in Syria has not been peaceful or non-violent, almost from the beginning. The protesters have often been well armed in the confrontation with the security forces. More than 3,000 civilians have lost their lives according to the United Nations; a large number of security personnel too, perhaps running into several hundreds, have been killed. A new and potentially ominous — ominous because it brings the country closer to a civil war — development is the defection of some members of the army and their getting organised into an effective force, called the Free Syrian Army, to attack government installations.
The Assad regime was not much worried thus far because the army and the security agencies have been fully behind it. If there is a breach in the ranks of the army and parts of it openly engage in anti-regime violence, the regime can be expected to fight back with full ferocity. It could well be a case of 'you-ain't-seen-nothing-so-far.' The fact that Turkey, for whatever reasons, is hosting the opposition and offering it assistance not restricted to humanitarian, and Jordan, whose King has openly called upon Mr. Assad to step down, indicates the certainty of external powers getting dragged into the civil war. One can be confident that foreign involvement will not be limited to these two countries. It should not take long for Iran and Saudi Arabia to step in for their own reasons. Lebanon, of course, will be the most adversely affected.
In the event of civil war
Should the situation develop into a full-fledged civil war, it would last a long time. The Lebanese civil war lasted 14 years. The regime will be fighting for survival — political and, crucially, physical. The majority Sunni community, led by the Muslim Brotherhood types, will seek revenge for all the atrocities suffered by them at the hands of the minority Alawite Shia government over the decades. Logic would suggest that Israel, for one, would not welcome the installation of a hard-line, Islamist regime in Damascus, not an unlikely outcome of a civil war. However, for Israel, and hence automatically for the U.S., the highest priority is Iran; if Iran is made to lose its most important ally in the region, it would be worth any price. Iran will lose not only Syria but also access to the Hezbollah in Lebanon and to the political leaders of Hamas, some of whom are reported to have moved to Egypt in recent times. The removal of the Assad regime would be a huge, even if short-term, gain for Israel.
There is one factor which just might be of help to the Assad regime. In case of a civil war, the significant Christian community will also suffer severely, precisely because of its pro-Assad orientation, which in turn is explained by the regime's secular character. Would the western powers wish to encourage such a contingency?
What we are witnessing today is Syria's slow but certain descent into chaos, a process which the world would surely wish to avoid but seems helpless. The international community will say with justification that Mr. Assad was given more than ample opportunity to introduce political and economic reforms which, he says, he has always wanted to and still does. But that was in the past. Can something be done now to prevent a disaster from taking place in and around Syria?
The West and the Arab governments, as well as Turkey, can give Mr. Assad one more opportunity. They can fix a reasonable time frame, not an absurd three or seven days' ultimatum, for him to carry out the reforms. They should at the same time — and this is important — call upon the opposition groups to stop all violence while retaining their right to stage peaceful protests. The Syrian government will definitely strike back in case of any violence anywhere in the country. So it should not be provoked or given an opportunity to justify the use of force. If, at the end of this period, credible reforms have not been implemented, there will likely be more support for sanctions on the regime. The Arab League must not get carried away by its own rhetoric or by the aggressive lobbying of some of its members. It should avoid the temptation of appearing to act tough or "principled," and delay submitting the matter to the United Nations Security Council. Once the matter goes to the Security Council, the downhill acceleration will not be possible to stop.
The Arab League vote a few days ago —18 in favour of suspending Syria, 3 against and 1 abstention — was most revealing. Syria's own vote against is natural and Yemen's negative vote is easily explainable. Lebanon's opposition to the suspension is indicative of the domestic political set-up in the country; the Hezbollah, primarily a Shia movement, is part of the ruling coalition, with a veto-wielding share in the government. Iraq's abstention is even more significant. A government which owes so much to the U.S. has publicly adopted, in effect, a pro-Assad stance; this has a lot to do with the fact that the government in Baghdad is led by the Shia community. The Shia-Sunni tensions and the consequent Iran-Saudi Arabia rivalry are very much a factor in all this drama.
Arab League action
On the other hand, the Arab League action was, no doubt, also influenced by the winds — that have become mild in recent days — that have blown over the Arab world. How can Egypt, recently liberated from an autocratic rule, not oppose an autocratic regime elsewhere?
As for the Arab Spring, the only country where it appears to have blossomed is where it all began — Tunisia. Tunisia has already had its election, in which a 'moderate' Islamic party has gained the highest vote, not an absolute majority. In Egypt, there are question marks, although it too is heading for an election later this month. The reason for doubts regarding Egypt is that the army is a strong factor — which was not the case in Tunisia — and seems reluctant to give up its privileged position, not least in the economic sphere. It is believed by some that the reason the army did not stand by Hosni Mubarak is that he was grooming his son, a businessman and non-army man, to be his successor.
In the Security Council, the governments define their positions on political considerations, rarely on only merits of the situation. They first decide how to vote and then proceed to find a rationale. Sometimes the situation is so clear-cut that there is no room for any wiggle. Such was the case when Saddam Hussein tried to swallow Kuwait in August 1990. Today's Syrian situation is infinitely more complex.
What should India do? If the assessment is that Syria is heading for a civil war, a case could be made for abstention, since we would not like to take sides in an internal strife. On the other hand, if the Arab League were to make a formal request for sanctions, it would be difficult for us not to support the consequent action in the Security Council. The people of India rightly want their government to exercise an 'independent' foreign policy, but 'independence' should not mean merely a policy different from that of western powers. "Genuine" independence calls for an approach designed to protect and further our interests, irrespective of whom it pleases or displeases.

KL Tribunal Convicts Bush & Blair of War Crimes

K L War Crimes Tribunal unanimously convicts Bush and Blair for 'crimes against peace' 

7thAnniversary of the War Crimes at Fallujah 

According to media reports the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal unanimously found former United States president George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of "crimes against peace". 

The tribunal found that the two had planned, prepared and invaded the state of Iraq on March 19, 2003, in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law.

 "The Tribunal deliberated over the case and decided unanimously that the first accused George Bush and second accused Blair have been found guilty of crimes against peace," the tribunal said in a statement. 

"Unlawful use of force threatens the world to return to a state of lawlessness. The acts of the accused were unlawful." 

 "The charge is proven beyond reasonable doubt. The accused are found guilty," read an official media statement from Perdana Global Peace Foundation, organisers of the tribunal.

 "War criminals have to be dealt with, convict Bush and Blair as charged. A guilty verdict will serve as a notice to the world that war criminals may run but can never ultimately hide from truth and justice," the statement added. 

The tribunal noted that the UN Security Council Resolution 1441 did not authorise any use of force against Iraq but the US proceeded to invade Iraq under the pretext of the Sept 11 attacks and weapons of mass destruction. 

"Weapons investigators had established that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was also not posing any threat to any nation at the relevant time that was immediate that would have justified any form of pre-emptive strike." 

With the findings, the tribunal has ordered that Bush and Blair's names be included in the war register of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission. 

It also ordered the findings of the tribunal to be publicised to all nations who are signatories of the Rome Statute. 

The tribunal members were Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman, Tunku Sofiah Jewa, Prof Salleh Buang, Alfred Lambremont Webre and Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.

 Prof Niloufer Bhagwat and Datuk Zakaria Yatim were recused as tribunal members.

 The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, is part of an initiative by former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad – a fierce critic of the Iraq war . Mahathir  who stepped down in 2003 unveiled plans for the tribunal in 2007 just before he condemned Bush and Blair as "child killers" and "war criminals" at the launch of an annual anti-war conference.

Malaysian activists say they sent information about the charges to Bush and Blair but received no response.

An eye for an eye ; the Code of Hammurabi

Unless criminals are tried and punished , the world will descend into the law of the jungle and chaos , which is what is happening after the collapse of USSR and the symbolic Fall of the Berlin Wall. Bush and Blair have also been tried by Tribunals in Spain and Brussels .The two former leaders are now at least afraid to move about freely in the world and have restricted their movements .But that is not enough.

PS ; The author had spoken on the Flouting of International Law and Failure of International Institutions along with George Galloway, British MP and Cynthia Mckinny, six times US Congresswoman ,at the Kuala Lumpur International Conference to Criminalize War and War Crimes Tribunal – October-November,2009.


War crimes in Iraq ;Falluja , an example


"History is but glorification of murderers, criminals and robbers." - Karl Popper 
"On February 15, 2003, a month before the US invasion of Iraq, probably the largest protest in human history, between six and ten million protesters took to the streets of some 800 cities in nearly sixty countries across the globe" - William Blum. 
"The war in Iraq is a historic strategic and moral calamity undertaken under false assumptions – undermining America's global legitimacy – collateral civilian casualties, – abuses, – tarnishing America's moral credentials. Driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability." - Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to US President Jimmy Carter. 


The list of US crimes will be incomplete without its destruction of the town of Fallujah and lasting destruction and damage on it, reminding one of Nazi war crimes. A film Fallujah ,The Hidden Massacre brings out the war crimes during US  attacks on Fallujah, in particular use of chemical weapons including white phosphorous (both illegal) and depleted Uranium munitions.
Following the November 2004 attacks over 6000 civilians were killed, "more than half of Fallujah's 39,000 homes were damaged, and about 10,000 of those were destroyed." According to Mike Marqusee of Iraq Occupation Focus along with the homes destroyed were 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines. Reconstruction only progressed slowly and mainly consisted of clearing rubble from heavily-damaged areas and reestablishing basic utility services. 
In July 2010, BBC reported a study by Dr. Chris Busby, detailing increases in infant mortality, such as a 12 fold increase in childhood cancer reported in Fallujah since the attack. In 2004, Iraq had the world's highest rate of leukaemia, in which significant increased were also reported. The report also noted that the sex ratio also declined from normal to 86 boys to 100 girls, together with a spread of diseases indicative of genetic damage similar to but far greater than HIROSHIMA.
Leaders of USA, UK and other invading nations should be tried along the lines of Nuremberg trial , since the crimes against humanity , war crimes and flouting of human rights and other conventions are similar.


Remembering the Atrocities – and the Consequences for the Soldiers – on the 7thAnniversary of the Massacre of Fallujah 

By Gary G. Kohls, MD 

Subject: Eyewitness accounts of US soldiers committing wholesale war crimes in Fallujah, Iraq – November 2004 

I ran across an old email message that I had sent 7 years ago this month to a catholic friend of mine (a radical peace activist nun) with whom I have corresponded for years.

I reprint that message here, because many of the predictions I and many other antiwar activists like me were making before Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) began. Many of us were against the war because we understood the long-term consequences of war that are consistently ignored by the uber-patriotic "beyond draft age" flag-waving politicians and corporate war profiteers who instigate wars but don't have to fight them themselves. My message has proven to be prophetic, but I take no great comfort in having said them. 

I also include below a report from an eyewitness report on the censored-out November 2004 massacre of Fallujah that most of us, including American patriots and pseudo-patriots, were not allowed to read or see. Here is my letter: 

"Dear Gladys, war crimes seem to be standard operating procedure in Iraq (but we knew that going in, didn't we?). 

"Now we must brace ourselves for an overwhelming epidemic of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, Suicidality, Homicidality, Child Abuse, Spousal Abuse, Drug Abuse and Criminality from the returning soldier-victims of Bush's War for Oil. 

"And that short list of expected casualties only applies to the "unseen" psychological and spiritual consequences of being in a kill-or-be-killed war zone. Being in actual combat is, of course, preceded by the likewise psychologically traumatizing training to be a killing soldier. Wars, of course, are mostly for the economic benefit of the countless numbers of corporate/economic/political elite (all of whom have gobs of figurative, but not literal, blood on their hands) who have cunningly orchestrated this illegal and unnecessary war. 

"The more visible wounds that we will all shrink from (and which the VA will also try to hide from our eyes) will include the multitude of cancers (from exposure to depleted uranium and other toxins), immune deficiency disorders (from multiple untested, unsafe, and experimental vaccines, petroleum inhalation, toxic processed foods, insecticides, etc), permanent neurologic disorders (from the neurotoxic residue from weapons and other poisons), the neurological damage (from head injuries), the physical wounds (of traumatic amputations of limbs and genitals, burns, blindness, hearing loss) and the endless costly post-war physical and psychological therapy, $3 million dollar artificial limbs, etc, etc. 

"Also unseen, unheard and un-smelled will be the unwelcome and therefore censored out (because of the Bush administration's black-out policy at Dover Air Force Base) return of the body bags, the mangled body parts, the insidious damage from the deadly uranium poisoning and the screams and putrid odors from the dead and dying civilian victims left behind on the battleground. 

"We all need to understand the historical context of these horrific realities and try to see the connections between the Rise and Fall of Hitler's Third Reich and the decaying, corrupt, militaristic foreign policy of the Bush Administration - and then decide when enough is enough.

"Failure to speak out against a monstrous evil is giving consent to that evil and therefore indirectly accepting responsibility for the moral consequences.

"As we reflect on the end of Hitler's 1000 year Reich of "endless war" which was fought for the benefit of the majority white race's economic prosperity, we must ask ourselves 'Will a moral universe inflict the same retributive punishment upon a criminal America that they inflicted upon a criminal Nazi Germany – one of total, crushing destruction?'

"It is important to recall that the whole German nation, including Germany's silent or pro-war Christian institutions, including their church buildings and their congregations, were destroyed right alongside the war manufacturing plants; and now only 2% of Germans attend worship services on Sunday (versus vast majorities prior to the two so-called "Great Wars").

"And then we must ask ourselves "Is our militarized "endless war" Christian America destined to head down the tubes to oblivion like the militarized "endless war" Christian Germany? It certainly feels like it to me. 

"This Iraq war is just another example of the organized mass slaughter of humans that also directly causes the destruction and poisoning of the planet's soil, water and air. It happens in every war. When will we ever learn?" Gary. 

The story below accompanied my letter. It was written by a Middle Eastern journalist (whose identity I have misplaced). _________________________________________________________________


"Horror stories—including the use of napalm and chemical weapons by the US military during the siege of Fallujah—continue to trickle out from the rubble of the demolished city, carried by weary refugees lucky enough to have escaped their city. 

A cameraman with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) who witnessed the first eight days of the fighting told of what he considered atrocities. Burhan Fasa'a has worked for LBC throughout the occupation of Iraq. 

"I entered Fallujah near the Julan Quarter, which is near the General Hospital," he said during an interview in Baghdad, "There were American snipers on top of the hospital shooting everyone." 

He nervously smoked cigarettes throughout the interview, still visibly shaken by what he saw. 

On November 8, the military was allowing women and children to leave the city, but none of the men. The cameraman was not allowed to enter the city through one of the main checkpoints, so he circumnavigated Fallujah and managed to enter, precariously, by walking through a rural area near the main hospital, then taking a small boat across the river in order to film from inside the city. 

"Before I found the boat, I was 50 meters from the hospital where the American snipers were shooting everyone in sight," he said, "But I managed to get in." 

He told of bombing so heavy and constant by US warplanes that rarely a minute passed without the ground's shaking from the bombing campaign. 

"The Americans used very heavy bombs to break the spirit of the fighters in Fallujah," he explained, then holding out his arms added, "They bombed everything! I mean everything!" 

This went on for the first two days, he said, then on the third day, columns of tanks and other armored vehicles made their move. "Huge numbers of tanks and armored vehicles and troops attempted to enter the north side of Fallujah," he said, "But I filmed at least twelve US vehicles that were destroyed." 

The military wasn't yet able to push into Fallujah, and the bombing resumed. 

"I saw at least 200 families who had their homes collapsed on their heads by American bombs," Burhan said while looking at the ground, a long ash dangling from his cigarette, "Fallujans already needed everything." I mean they already had no food or medicine. I saw a huge number of people killed in the northern part of the city, and most of them were civilians." 

At this point he started to tell story after story of what he saw during the first week of the siege. 

"The dead were buried in gardens because people couldn't leave their homes. There were so many people wounded, and with no medical supplies, people died from their wounds. Everyone in the street was a target for the Americans; even I saw so many civilians shot by them." 

He looked out the window, taking several deep breaths. By then, he said, most families had already run out of food. Families were sneaking through nearby houses to scavenge for food. Water and electricity had long since been cut. 

The military called over loudspeakers for families to surrender and come out of their houses, but Burhan said everyone was too afraid to leave their homes, so soldiers began blasting open the gates to houses and conducting searches. 

"Americans did not have interpreters with them, so they entered houses and killed people because they didn't speak English! They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and shot people because they didn't obey their orders, even just because the people couldn't understand a word of English. Ninety-five percent of the people killed in the houses that I saw were killed because they couldn't speak English." 

His eyes were tearing up, so he lit another cigarette and continued talking. 

"Soldiers thought the people were rejecting their orders, so they shot them. But the people just couldn't understand them!" 

He managed to keep filming battles and scenes from inside the city, some of which he later managed to sell to Reuters, who showed a few clips of his footage. LBC, he explained, would not show any of the tapes he submitted to them. He had managed to smuggle most of his tapes out of the city before his gear was taken from him. 

"The Americans took all of my camera equipment when they found it. At that time I watched one soldier take money from a small child in front of everyone in our house." 

Burhan said that when the troops learned he was a journalist, he was treated worse than the other people in the home where they were seeking refuge. He was detained, along with several other men, women, and children. 

"They beat me and cursed me because I work for LBC, then they interrogated me. They were so angry at al-Jazeera and al-Arabia networks." 

He was held for three days, sleeping on the ground with no blankets, as did all of the prisoners in a detention camp inside a military camp outside Fallujah. 

"They arrested over 100 from my area, including women and kids. We had one toilet, which was in front of where we all were kept, and everyone was shamed by having to use this in public. There was no privacy, and the Americans made us use it with handcuffs on." 

He said he wanted to talk more about what he saw inside Fallujah during the nine days he was there. 

"I saw cluster bombs everywhere, and so many bodies that were burned, dead with no bullets in them. So they definitely used fire weapons, especially in Julan district. I watched American snipers shoot civilians so many times. I saw an American sniper in a minaret of a mosque shooting everyone that moved." 

He also witnessed something which many refugees from Fallujah have reported. 

"I saw civilians trying to swim the Euphrates to escape, and they were all shot by American snipers on the other side of the river." 

The home he was staying in before he was detained was located near the mosque where the NBC cameraman filmed the execution of an older, wounded Iraqi man. 

"The mosque where the wounded man was shot that the NBC cameraman filmed—that is in the Jubail Quarter—I was in that quarter. Wounded, unarmed people used that mosque for safety. I can tell you there were no weapons in there of any kind because I was in that mosque. People only hid there for safety. That is all." 

He personally witnessed another horrible event reported by many of the refugees who reached Baghdad. 

"On Tuesday, November 16th, I saw tanks roll over the wounded in the streets of the Jumariyah Quarter. There is a public clinic there, so we call that the clinic street. There had been a heavy battle in this street, so there were twenty bodies of dead fighters and some wounded civilians in front of this clinic. I was there at the clinic, and at 11 a.m. on the 16th I watched tanks roll over the wounded and dead there." 

After another long pause, he looked out the window for awhile. Still looking out the window, he said, "During the nine days I was in Fallujah, all of the wounded men, women, kids and old people, none of them were evacuated. They either suffered to death, or somehow survived." 

According to the Iraqi Red Crescent, which managed to get three ambulances into the city on November 14, at least 150 families remain trapped inside the city. One family was surviving by placing rice in dirty water, letting it sit for two hours, then eating it. There has been no power or running water for a month in Fallujah. 

People there are burying body parts from people blown apart by bombs, as well as skeletons of the dead because their flesh had been eaten by dogs. 

The military estimates that 2,000 people in Fallujah were killed, but claims that most of them were fighters. Relief personnel and locals, however, believe the vast majority of the dead were civilians.

Friday, November 18, 2011

‘Outlook’ Throws Some Light over Unrest in Syria

'Outlook' Throws Some Light over Unrest in Syria 

 What is happening in North Africa and West Asia are illegal and shameful acts of war by racist western leadership led by Uncle Tom in White House , with a Nobel Peace Prize to boot ( what an embarrassment for the Nobel Committee!) and the likes of David Cameron , liar Tony Blair's successor ,and Sarcozy to transform the Arab revolt against US puppets in the region into a Shia-Sunni conflict , the usual imperialist policy of divide and rule , successfully employed in history .

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall , the West broke up pro Russian multi ethnic , multi language and multi religious Orthodox Slav Yugoslavia with support from some EU countries , then Iraq into Shia, Sunni and Kurdish Zones ( killing over a million Iraqi and destroying the country but with a totally contrary outcome of strengthening Iran , against Western objectives ) Then began another 'Feast of blood in Libya ' in the words of Cynthia McKinney' six times US Congress woman. Washington and poodle London would like to do a Libya encore in Syria .But this time both Russia and China are staunchly against it. 

The real axis of evil bedeviling West and South West Asia is the USA-Saudi Arabia –Pakistan ( with supporting roles by UK and Israel) which rules and exploits the region and its oil resources for the benefit of western corporate interests and in exchange protects the Saud dynasty (remarkably there has been no attempt of regime change in Riyadh) and underwriting Pak military's stranglehold over democratic forces and aspirations of the hapless people of Pakistan . 

The aim of western powers mentioned above , which are all bankrupt ,is to make Shias of Iran ,Lebanon, Iraq ,Syria, Bahrain and others fight against Sunnis of Saudi Arabia ,Turkey ,with Islamists entrenched in power, under influence of Saudi money , Jordan and bring in even Pakistan 's soldiers ,already in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia .Most kingdoms in the Gulf have restive Shia populations and are dictatorships . There are 10 % Alevis in Turkey's population .Ankara has been following a very aggressive and dangerous policy on Syria which is likely to boom rang. Turkey's 15% Kurdish population is up in arms again . 

I am not sure if Israel wants a revolution in its north with Muslim Brotherhood in Damascus .Assads have never allowed any one to cross from their side into Israel to say liberate Golan Heights .The general idea could be to soften Assad and weaken Iran for concessions .In mid 1980s Bashar Assad 's uncle had killed 30 to 40 thousand Sunnis in Hama , who had assassinated 90 Alawaite officers , Assads are Alawaites who form around 12/13 % of the population but have general support among population .   

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall , corporate houses selected Western leaders and subservient media has gone bonkers . Unfortunately under IMF pensioners guiding New Delhi and close association between US and UK financiers ,bankers and India's colluding corporate interests ,India's corporate controlled media repeats lies Western media disseminates . 

It is therefore very refreshing that Outlook edited by courageous Vinod Mehta , whose recent book exposed  Indian media controlled by Baniyas ( businessmen ), has sent journalists to Syria and has shown courage in publishing first hand true reports from ground zero in Syria and exposing lies manufactured in Washington. London , Paris , Riyadh and Qatar ( home of Al Jazeera)  

K.Gajendra Singh 18 November ,2011
(K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan in 1992-96. Prior to that, he served as ambassador to Jordan (during the 1990-91 Gulf war), Romania and Senegal.  He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies). 

OUTLOOK-November 2011
How the West has interfered selectively in the name of democracy
With apologies to T.S. Eliot, let me twist his words around a bit and say, "Between the media and the reality falls the shadow." Bouthaina Shabaan, the sharp political advisor to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, had her finger on the shadow when she told visiting Indian journalists in October, "Neither we nor the BBC knows what's happening in Homs." The candour belied the image of a secretive and blustering regime. After moving around Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia, we suspected that western diplomacy and the western media were tinkering with reality in depicting a complex Syrian situation.
But Homs was an eye-opener. We reached a spot barely 20 minutes after a three-hour (2-5 pm) gunfight. But it wasn't security forces that opened indiscriminate fire on opposition demonstrators, as day after day, big media outlets had us believe about Homs. The dead, and the injured in a hospital we visited, were largely women and children. But they'd died from bullets fired by the opposition, not the state troops. Homs wasn't a town completely up in arms against the ruling Ba'athists, as is being projected. It was divided, with several sullen streets, all shut and palled in ghostly silence. But there were also streets that were all lit up even after a gunfight, with passionate government supporters shouting pro-Assad slogans—also pro-India and anti-America slogans when they learnt that we were from India. An objective assessment of the situation in Syria would also include the violence inflicted by certain opposition groups, a stand that India correctly took in the UN Security Council, based on feedback from the ground provided by the Indian embassy in Damascus. This is a stand that has gone down well with large sections of people on the streets of Syrian towns.
The so-called uprising in Syria lies largely along an arc of towns near the borders—withLebanon, Iraq or Turkey—indicating a degree of backing from across the borders. Non-western diplomats talk of four strands of opposition: a) Peasants uncomfortable with the recent market-driven policies of the Assad government. It's an 'economic resentment', articulated in the terminology of popular non-fundamentalist Islam. b) Progressive sections of the middle classes, who genuinely want democratic reforms. c) Wahabi hardline Islamists backed by fundamentalist Arab elements, largely from Saudi Arabia. d) People who resented the secularist, Arab socialist Ba'ath party takeover and left Syria for western pastures. They have made their money in the West, live there and want to refashion Syria with western support, in the western image, and allied to western interests.
Government leaders like Bouthaina and foreign minister Walid al-Moallem differentiate between what they call the opposition rooted in the country and the violent armed bands, backed by foreign powers, which infiltrate their peaceful demonstrations. Certain Syria-based opposition groups responded to the government's negotiation initiative, opened through the offices of the Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun. He told us his son was recently assassinated by fundamentalist Islamists. About democratic reforms, Bouthaina sounds quite candid: "We are serious in recognising that reforms are Syria's need of the hour." Hence, she says, the government has lifted the emergency enforced for decades in Syria and announced a timeline for multi-party parliamentary elections in February next year, governorate elections, also inNovember 2012, and presidential elections in 2014. Therefore the government accepted the Arab League's proposal for widened talks with the opposition, but it is adamant in not compromising with Syria's secular ethos.
The regime is capitalising on the horrors of extremist Islamist and foreign intervention in Egypt, where Coptic Christians were massacred and the army rules with an iron fist, Libya and Iraq before that. Ba'athist Syria has provided free secular space to women and religious minorities like the Christians and Islamic sects like the Shias, the Alawites, the Ismailis and the Druze. Syria is largely an educated, middle-class society: large sections have a stake in women's emancipation and plurality. These people are alarmed by the political Islam exported by their neighbours. The Assad regime emphasises that the West's rhetoric of human rights overthrows only secular nationalist Arab regimes, but stops at the doorsteps of autocratic and fundamentalist sheikhdoms willing to play stooge. It says western interests have not gone beyond oil and securing Israel. For now, Syria is more hit by the western economic sanctions than internal unrest. But sanctions also induce patriotic fervour, as witnessed in huge pro-Assad rallies. The West would do well to heed this and not create another bloody mess. Syria needs to be encouraged to reform and resolve its trust deficit. Unhindered by foreign interference.