Saturday, June 30, 2012

Moslem Brotherhood President-Elect Morsi Sworn in Cairo.

Moslem Brotherhood President-Elect Morsi Sworn in Cairo.
What is happening from Pakistan to Turkey to Egypt is the struggle between the the Pir and the Mir, the spiritual leadership and the secular leadership, which continues. This is not surprising since Prophet Mohammad combined the role of both the spiritual leader and the military leader in him. He was a unique person in all senses.

In most of the Sunni Islamic countries the tussle between the Pir and the Mir has still not been resolved as can be seen from the goings-on in Islamabad, Ankara and now Cairo. The Islamists in Ankara have insulted and weakened the armed forces and its many retired senior most leaders and made the secular military and judicial and academic establishment impotent (But Ankara issues daily military threats to Damascus).
In Pakistan the secular and spiritual have been messed up in with the growing conflict between military and ISI created Jihadis at the behest of Saudi Arabia and USA for their policy objectives .The ongoing struggle and confrontations is like the one during the Ottoman empire between the Ottoman Sultan-Caliphs and the powerful Janissary corps  with the latter getting out of control or rogue and changing and even killing Sultans till they were decimated by the Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 . Will or can the Pak military do the same to the home created monster of various terror groups and Jihadis!
In Egypt the battle has only begun with outside interference from Washington and Riyadh.
At the end is a good piece from Te Aviv's Harretz on the current situation in Egypt after the oath taking ceremony by just elected President Engineering Professor Morsi (In Indian politics the only qualification to be a successful politician is to win elections by hook or crook, quite often crook, but now Mumbai corporate houses decide who would be the President or the Finance minister among others, so that unregulated loot of Indian resources continues)
Harretz is an excellent paper (media in Israel is freer than in USA, Turkey or Pakistan)
My articles with URLs on Egyptian uprising begun 16 months ago against US supported dictator for back ground reading are given below
.I had begun my diplomatic career from Cairo after learning Arabic in early 1960s.

 1. Peoples Revolt in Egypt; Birth Pangs of a New Middle East!                                         

This Arab revolt is against Washington unlike the WWI British engineered against Istanbul

2. Arab Revolts; a Symptom of Decline of US Hegemony;
3. Reality and Mirages in Egypt and the Arab world!                                              Uprisings in Egypt may be orchestrated by the Americans – expert

4. The Egyptian Military Moves in, dissolves the Parliament and suspends the Constitution                                                           

 What to expect from Egypt's Morsi

With the military managing foreign policy, the chances of a full-blown war between Egypt and Israel are slim, despite rhetoric from some quarters of the Muslim Brotherhood calling for the liberation of Jerusalem.
By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi | Jun.29, 2012 
What to make of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi's election as president of Egypt? What seems to be the most likely outcome is something analogous to the "constitutional settlements" of the early Roman Empire. That is, the military, like the Emperor Augustus in antiquity, will entrust to itself management of foreign policy, while granting Morsi (and a parliament, if new elections are allowed ) - akin to the Senate in Rome - considerable autonomy with regards to the direction of domestic affairs, even as the military has assumed control over the drafting of the constitution.
Indeed, such a settlement would work well for the military, because, despite its extensive control of the economy, the burden of resolving the economic crisis would ultimately rest in Morsi's hands. Currently, as Reuters reports, the country's depleted foreign reserves can only cover "three months of import coverage," while the local currency debt has increased to 600 billion Egyptian pounds ($99 billion ), up from 500 billion before the unrest began in January 2011.
The International Monetary Fund has indicated that a $3.2 billion loan will only be granted if the country gets its finances in order, but the prospects of such a resolution appear to be bleak. Having Morsi take responsibility, therefore, can prove useful in directing potential civilian anger away from the military. On the other hand, the perception of a settlement between the military and the president could help to attract foreign investment.
With the military managing foreign policy, the chances of a full-blown war between Egypt and Israel are slim, despite bellicose rhetoric emanating from some quarters of the Muslim Brotherhood calling for the liberation of Jerusalem and establishment of a "United Arab States." For one thing, Egypt lacks the means to launch and sustain a war against Israel. At the same time, however, one should not expect Egyptian firmness in dealing with rocket fire against the Jewish state or militant activity in the Sinai Peninsula.
In fact, one could well see the military adopt an approach toward militancy not dissimilar to the methods of the Pakistani security forces: that is, targeting those perceived to pose a direct threat to Egypt's stability, while lacking resolve at best, and at worst playing a double game with other militants in order to continue receiving U.S. aid.
As for the domestic scene, it is probable that the Islamization trend that has been apparent over the past five or so decades will not only continue but could also accelerate. When the likes of Hosni Mubarak were in charge, the arrangement was such that Islamist ideology was allowed to disseminate at ground level. Now that Egypt has an elected Islamist president, it is to be expected that sentiments on the ground will only become more hard-line.
Although it is easy to dismiss outlandish claims that Morsi wants to reinstate the discriminatory jizya poll tax - essentially the equivalent of a Mafia protection racket - on Christians (the report is an uncorroborated rumor that can be traced to one obscure Arabic website ), there is evidence that he would like to restrict the rights of non-Muslim minorities and women. Just under half of voters chose Ahmed Shafiq, but that will not act as a firm barrier against a gradualist approach to implementing Islamic law that many in the Brotherhood see as the ideal strategy to adopt.
In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic magazine last year, Morsi made it clear that neither he nor the Brotherhood could tolerate the idea of a Christian or woman running for the presidency of Egypt.
While much has been made of a recent announcement by an advisor to Morsi that there are plans to appoint a Copt and a woman as vice-presidents, it should be appreciated that such positions are likely to be no more than symbolic. In fact, problems of discrimination against non-Muslims and women will in all likelihood only worsen under Morsi's presidency. Further, the spike in Salafist mob attacks on Coptic churches since the ousting of Mubarak - attacks usually sparked by the flimsiest rumors and trivialities - is unlikely to subside, and the authorities will probably continue to do nothing about it.
In the long run, chaos and instability are most likely to dominate the country's future. Unlike Iran, which has, since the mid-1980s, implemented a major family planning program that has dramatically slowed population growth, Egypt's population (83 million as of October 2011 ) continues to grow. It could reach 100 million by 2020, with more than 99 percent of the population living on an area of land around the Nile only 2.5 times the size of Israel.
Even assuming Egypt can escape from its current economic crisis, there is no sign its economy can keep up with the pace of population growth even to sustain present standards of living. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Egyptian Islamists have on past occasions denounced family planning as a Western conspiracy to keep the number of Muslims in the world in check. They have shown no intention of implementing a program to reduce the birth rate.
Egypt is unlikely to become a "Somalia on the Nile" as economist and columnist David P. Goldman has predicted, but in the long-term, internal stability is a remote possibility.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a student at Brasenose College, Oxford, and an adjunct fellow at the Middle East Forum. His website is

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Will Putin’s Israel Visit Calm Middle East Tempest!

Will Putin's Israel Visit Calm Middle East Tempest!
Since the end of World War II, international relations and movements during the Cold War and after the fall of the Berlin Wall have been mostly seen in black-and-white, with the Moscow led states in central Asia on the decline and on the defensive. Things are now changing with Asian countries led by China and Russia and hopefully India too, are trying to establish peace and security for economic growth for their people which the West had ruled and looted since the repulse of Ottoman arms from the Gates of Vienna in 16 century.
The most important event taking place now in the Middle East is the crucial strategic battle over Syria with U.S.-led West with support from Saudi Arabia and Gulf States along with Turkey and other Muslim Sunni states ranged against minority Alawite ruling elite in Syria supported by Lebanon and Iran and backed by Russia and China.
Since long Tel Aviv has been making threatening noises, along with its sympathizers and Jewish groups and lobbies in USA of a preemptive attack on Iran to stop it enriching Uranium which it is entitled to under NPT, a treaty basically designed by the West to isolate and punish upstart India. The author has proclaimed and written 5/6 articles on the subject that in end 2003 or early 2004 a more foolhardy misadventure than the illegal invasion of Iraq could have been undertaken by Bush and his handlers, the Zeo-cons. Since then after withstanding its destruction worse than that by Halagu's Mongol hordes and according to estimates after a loss of 1.4 million Iraqi lives and other consequential  ramifications, it is in the killing fields of Iraq that 6 years ago in the words of decorated US Marine Col Murtha admitted that the American army was 'broken' .It is like the destruction in WWII of 80% of Nazi war machine by the Soviet forces and people bearing terrible losses including over 10 million deaths .But with its so called scholars and media with aid from even  Hollywood films -a la John Wayne films and others and by rewriting history have given almost all the credit to Western arms. Falsely the West claims to have defeated Germany alone. Now be seen in the clutch of daily lies , the coverage of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and now over Syria .The Western media outlets have been reduced to whores and pimps.
By 2007 or so many  of us had felt that was it was time for Washington to organise a Dunkirk like operation for its forces and  material caught up in the quagmire of Iraq and from the grave yards of imperial armies in Afghanistan. But Washington is now ruled by financiers, bankers and warmongers who benefit from profitable throbbing and thriving armament industry feeding on endless wars .USA spends almost as much as the rest of countries put together on defense, which any one can see is to terrorise the world and its people .To hell with the declining economic condition of the people in USA and Europe. US bill on national security, external and internal ads up to a hopping US$ one trillion. US exports are less than imports by $600 billion and survives by selling securities to China and others .The mighty America economically is a paper tiger living on Chinese buying its useless paper .For how long!
For at least two decades if not more the American economy has been declining .It was 50% of the world economy at the end of World War II and has now been reduced to 20% so out of which a good fraction is composed of financial industry which includes derivatives and other such fancy financial instruments which do not add to the brick and mortar of the grassroots productive economy. Like a raging bull Washington has been on a spree of so-called creative destruction which began 40/50 years ago beginning in Vietnam and south-east Asia and then followed it up in many countries in Latin America and then in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, not counting operations now in Yemen, Somalia and other countries
It is perhaps somewhat late for US Dunkirks .We shall see what will happen in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the latter Washington is at the mercy of Pakistan and Russia and other central Asian states for supplying its war machine.
In the middle of all this comes the visit of re-elected and re-invigorated Pres Vladimir Putin of Russia to Israel  ( and then to Jordan where Cherkes from Caucasia form the Royal guards). Since  the breakup of the USSR  millions of Russian speaking citizens not all of them Jews have migrated to Israel and play an important role politically in that country. Russia migrants were encouraged and welcomed to increase non-Palestinian population in Israel.) Therefore a visit by Putin has great significance in the current evolving strategic situation in Middle East .Peace is necessary for the people of West Asia .Israeli leaders Netanyahu and Barak may outdo each other in bellicose statements, but they did not buy Operation Iraqi freedom which was sold instead to George Bush, or rather to his handlers, the Neocons and Zeocons. In fact Barak looking at the creeping quagmire after 2004 in Iraq had asked Dick Cheney if US had plan B. It did not.
The Chinese and Russian leadership ( and India should join them) are in no mood for more wars .The raging violence and conflict in Afghanistan and in parts of Pakistan which have also affected Central Asian republics, formerly part of USSR adjoins Xinjiang province of China. India is still suffering from 2611 and other terror attacks organized from Pakistan .China. India and Russia are slowly building their economy to bring some minimum level of life to the starving millions especially in India. Unfortunately India is following the flawed Keynesian model of capitalism which Hyman Minsky had predicted has inbuilt mechanism to topple over as can be seen in U.S.-led Western counties.
 Putin will hopefully try to educate and persuade belligerent Israeli leaders Netanyahu and Barak that a destroyed , disoriented and broken up Syria would not help Israel . Syria has the 2nd most well organized Muslim brotherhood after Egypt which Assad's have kept at bay by brutal means .Even lessening of tensions in the region will be a help for all. In the heart of their hearts Tel Aviv's knows that USA is fast declining .Then what --Russia might also desire a less prominent Israeli profile in Moscow's  southern neighbour Georgia, with whom it had short brutal war a few years ago.
Below is a very interesting and well-written piece by Ambassador MK Bhadrakumar
Amb(Retd)K Gajendra Singh; 21 June, 2012 
When Putin meets Netanyahu 
By M K Bhadrakumar    Asia Times 21 June , 2012

The two-day state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Israel next week will raise eyebrows. Plainly put, it comes a little too early in his presidency - he took over the office as recently as May 7 - but underscores the Russian leader's sense of priority regarding Russia-Israel relations. 

Its timing comes at a juncture when the two countries are apparently far apart with regard to critical issues of regional security in the Middle East - Syria and Iran - and it seems improbable that the hiatus could be bridged easily anytime soon. Yet, Putin is returning to Israel for a second visit after a gap of seven years, and he is after all a transactional, results-oriented politician. for more 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In Syria; Fierce Battle for Strategic Space & Energy Resources

In Syria; Fierce Battle for Strategic Space & Energy Resources
A great geo-political strategic struggle is now underway in Syria, with balance slightly tilted in favor of Syria and Iran with full support from Russia along with China. My assessment is that if peace is not brought to Syria and a political settlement sought, destruction of this crucial strategic key stone in Middle East will have very serious repercussions and strategic consequences not only for the region but also for the strategic balance and the economic and strategic health of the world for a long time.
Apart from other contentious issues including US led Western attempt to ignite the Shia-Sunni conflict as in Iraq , a link up of territories from the East of Caspian via Iran, Shia ruled Iraq, Alwaite ruled Syria and Hezbollah dominated Lebanon will provide routes to carry oil and gas bypassing US led projects over Azeri and Turkish territories.
A major actor in the struggle is Russia's newly re-elected and invigorated Vladimir Putin, who saw how his motherland, former USSR was broken into pieces and up to US$ 1 trillion worth of Russian wealth transferred to Western banks and institutions .He has declared that enough is enough. Moscow has almost full support from China in this regard because weakening or breakup of Syria would very adversely impact Iran, which when feeling cornered or worse if invaded will hit out at NATO and its Arab allies in GCC led by Saudi Arabia. It would be then be a war with no holds barred, almost.
India which is pussy footing on this vital issue wrongly believes that the West plus Sunni Arab countries would come up trumps. New Delhi has 6 million Indians working in the region and billions of dollars are sent as remittances to India. The whole area would be in turmoil for long and borders would be rearranged.
If Syria feels that the regime is being destabilized , then its 10-12% ruling Alawaite elite, it's Sunni supporters including so far security forces and the merchants, more than 10% Christian population and same percentage of Syrian Kurds would fight back ferociously.
Ankara has been following a very dubious foreign policy under the sway of Saudi money and influence encouraged by Washington .Turkey's border province of Hatay known as Antakya or Antioch in history, has a large Alwaite population. This was perhaps one of the reasons why the ruling Sunni regime before World War II did not protest as much as it would now, when under a dubious referendum the province was transferred to Turkey by European powers hoping that Ankara would join them in World War II. But heeding Kemal Ataturk's sane advice before his demise, Ankara stayed neutral during the War .In Turkey, the Shia Alevis comprise 15% of the population and are mostly the original Turkic migrants from Central Asia.
Syria and its Kurds provided a fertile soil for PKK, the Turkish Kurdish Marxist organisation which has been fighting for autonomy in south-east of Turkey since 1980s, a rebellion in which over 40,000 Turkish citizens including 5000 soldiers have been killed. PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan now imprisoned near Istanbul was based in Syria with PKK training camps till 1999. Already PKK is restive again and both sides have indulged in violence, killings and reprisals. The Kurds comprise nearly 20% of Turkey's population.
The ruling Islamist Justice and Development party (AKP) is beholden financially and supported by money from Saudi Arabia, where President Abdullah Gul worked in a Jeddah bank for seven years before returning to Ankara to join politics in 1992. Located at the interface of Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa, if Turkey can influence its neighborhood, events and powers in its neighborhood can also influence Turkey. Additionally, under AKP, Turkey's secular armed forces, a stakeholder in the nation's emergence out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire and its modernization and secularization, have been insulted and humiliated .So a colonel's coup cannot be ruled out sometimes in future.
It is true that in Syria, the majority Sunni population is ruled by minority Alawaite elite, but the Arab Spring, actually was and hopefully remains Arabs revolt against US propped up the dictators like Hosni Mubarak and others. USA with its influence and Saudi Arabia with its petrodollars worried that the Arab Spring might flower in the mediaeval Kingdom ruled by Saud dynasty might lead to overthrow of the regime .So Riyadh and other kingdoms and sheikdoms in the Gulf have joined hands along with European and NATO states and Sunni Turkey with their military muscle to divert attention away from the peoples revolt , with obscurantist and extreme Muslim organizations like Muslim brotherhood Salafis , Al Qaeda and their kind being shoved and pushed into positions of power . For how long.
Since the re-inauguration of Putin's presidency, the Russian president has shown clear intentions of resisting U.S.-led Western encroachment on Russian space in Central Asia and in the Middle East where also its strategic interests lie. In this it has substantial support from China, which needs energy from Iran where it is investing heavily. The encroachment by NATO and the West right into the heart of central Asia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan was stopped by energizing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (in which Iran has Observer status)
A Reinvigorated Putin
After declining to attend the G8 meeting at Camp David, Putin after visiting Belarus, an important piece in restoring the old core Russian order, went to France and Germany. Paris now under a socialist president Hollande is inclined to move away from the US hegemony which has been France's policy since the days of Charles de Gaulle. Germany under a Conservative Angela Merkel would be more difficult to persuade, although her two predecessors Schroeder and Kohl had tried to move away from American strangle hold with US troops still stationed in the country even though World War II ended in 1944. Both of them paid the price of Washington's anger and lost elections and power.
Intervention by NATO forces and some Arab and Muslim countries like Turkey in Libya after a blatant misinterpretation of the UN Security Council resolution has brought catastrophe on the people of Libya ( Western corporate media is stunningly silent on the ongoing tragedy with Al Jazeera joining with gang of BBC, CNN and Fox News).While reportedly 5 to 10,000 Libyans were killed before the NATO's shock and awe intervention, since then upto 100,000 people have been reportedly killed, it's ruler Qadhafi killed like a dog much to the glee of the West and its supporters. The country lies in ruins and people are being killed daily ,with Al Qaeda, Salafi and other extremist elements taking over power .In spite of this horrible example the West and Sunni Muslim countries are determined to do an encore in Syria.
There are Syrian groups supported and even infiltrated from outsiders under various names which have refused to negotiate with the Syrian regime and the West and some of its allies are asking for open intervention. But the situation is quite different from Libya. Syrian ports are the only ones in Mediterranean where Russian naval ships can dock and refuel. The Russians have supplied to Syria top-quality missiles and other equipment to defend the country. The Russian presence itself should act as a deterrent to any foolhardy adventure which if it goes wrong like the simple attempt to rescue American Embassy hostages from Iran in 1980 could boomerang on Obama's re-election chances as that fiasco had on Jimmy Carter's
India's Changing Stance on Syria

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar wrote recently that India buckled under the combined pressure from Washington and the alluring charm of the oil monarchs of the Persian Gulf.  India's Syria policy took a circle last week to return to where it all began at the 'Friends of Syria' meet in Tunis on February 24 , notwithstanding a visit by Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi . The 'Friends of Syria' is a coalition of western countries and Saudi Arabia and Qatar that roots for 'regime change' in Syria. South Block had abstained on the resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 1 over alleged human rights violations by the Syrian government. India came out strongly supportive of the mission by the joint UN envoy Kofi Annan. An 'inclusive' Syrian-led, Syrian-owned dialogue. This phase ended last week with India voting in favor of the resolution sponsored by the United States and Turkey at the UNHRC demanding an international inquiry into the recent violence in Houla. India effectively rejoined the 'Friends of Syria'.

The Indian vote is based on political expediency insofar as the US-Turkish resolution presumes that the Syrian government is responsible for the Houla massacre, and in spirit it contravenes the Security Council resolution on Syria.
India saw many exchanges with Gulf nations ; a Joint Commission meeting with Saudi Arabia (January 6); travel advisory on Syria (January 7); foreign-office consultations with UAE (February 8); defense minister visits Saudi Arabia (February 13); EAM's visit to Cairo (March 2); visit by MOS for external affairs E Ahamed to Saudi Arabia (March 13); visit of deputy foreign minister of Saudi Arabia (March 30); state visit by emir of Qatar (April 4); joint visit by EAM and MOS Ahamed to the UAE (April 14); visit by UAE foreign minister (May 16); visit by crown prince of Bahrain (May 29) and travel advisory on Syria (May 30). India appears like a camp follower. Storm clouds are gathering over Syria. The systematic assault by the US and its Saudi and Qatari allies on Annan's mission, debilitating and discrediting it at every point, is entering a crucial phase and an overt intervention in Syria is likely. Indeed, top US officials have spoken of intervention even without UN mandate. The specter that haunts the region is a Syria plunging into protracted civil war that could be far more catastrophic for regional security and stability than the bloodbath Lebanon went through for over a decade.
Writing in Lebanon's Al Akhbar of June 5 As'ad AbuKhalil raised Questions on the Houla Massacre...and Beyond,"
He said,"It is not known who perpetrated the Houla massacre. It is certain though that both sides (the Syrian regime army and the gangs operating under the banner of the Free Syrian Army) have a record of brutality and disregard for human lives to qualify them to do the job.
"What is certain is that Houla was a propaganda blitz that dominated Western as well as Arab (Saudi-funded and Qatari-funded) media. The romanticizing of the so-called "Syrian Revolution" (the deeds of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Syrian National Council and the Muslim Brotherhood deserve the label of revolution as much as George W. Bush deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and as much as Bashar Assad deserves to serve as president of Syria) clashes with the actual record of the armed groups operating under the umbrella of the FSA.
"But it is time that we raise questions and we expose lies surrounding the Syrian uprising. Let us first remember that Western media basically surrender control of their editorial policies to their governments when they decide to go against a developing country. We remember that few raised questions about the wisdom of forming an army of militant Muslims in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The cause of what later produced al-Qaeda was championed. I remember Dan Rather in Afghan clothes riding a horse and reporting on the "heroes" of the fight against communism. Lies and fabrications and exaggerations were the symptom of the coverage of Afghanistan at the time. And when the communist regime fell and was later replaced by the Taliban, there were no demands for accountability and no one asked Dan Rather if he ever met Bin Laden during his media stunt in Afghanistan.
"When Western governments were preparing for the invasion of Libya (you were led to believe that only Qatari forces were on the grounds in Libya by the way, given their battle-tested experience), the West's media yet again published unsubstantiated reports and claims about what was happening in Libya.
"The same media that stood silent when all Western leaders groveled before Gaddafi suddenly woke up to the reality of dictatorship in Libya. All sorts of claims were made: the number of 100,000 dead was thrown about casually (of course, it later proved to be untrue), and reports of foreign mercenary armies were a staple of the coverage (that was also untrue and the reports themselves fueled a racist anti-black campaign by the Libyan fighters after "liberation").
"Whatever happened to that woman who made that claim about being raped by Gaddafi's soldiers? Why was she deported from Qatar and what became of her? No one asked, and the media turned the page and started another campaign.
"It should be mentioned that some decent journalists may feel pressured to toe the line not only by the conventional wisdom of the establishment around them but also because the regime (whether in Libya or in Syria) is an awful dictatorial regime that does not deserve to last one day longer.But it should be stressed that the well-funded (mostly by Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia) press offices of the exile Syrian opposition constantly and daily feed the Western media a large supply of lies, exaggerations, fabrications, and wild scenarios. These media offices (like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – and for everything else that propaganda requires) never have to account for their information or claims.
"They provide names of people inside Syria and Western correspondents merely Skype with them. Those whose names are provided by the press offices of the Syrian exile opposition merely confirm or reiterate or repeat verbatim whatever is being said by the exile offices. There have been videos shown on YouTube (since YouTube is the favorite source for Western media on Syria) in which injuries are faked and children are coached to speak about their experiences. All that never makes it into Western media.
"Even the obvious lies never get challenged. From very early on, there were many lies spread that have yet to be exposed. For months, Syrian opposition exile groups insisted that there were no armed opposition groups and they stressed that their movement is purely peaceful (and when pictures of armed men were displayed, they were dismissed as enemy propaganda).Yet, suddenly and without explanation, the same groups started to brag about and praise the armed opposition groups who ostensibly were leading a purely peaceful revolution. The propaganda agenda was clearly exhibited with the various statements (especially by exile opposition figures in Western and Saudi media) to the effect that the Syrian regime is being assisted by fighters from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah, and the Mahdi Army.
"Similarly, the Syrian exile opposition also duped the Western press (and Western audiences in workshops, conferences, and panels) to think that the Syrian uprising is led by liberal peaceful feminists (and they would often name a woman or two), and would insist that the Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the uprising in Syria. Of course, now we know better. Various leading figures in the Syrian National Council admitted belatedly that indeed the Muslim Brotherhood is running the show, and only after a year of the uprising did some in the Western press publish articles about the influence and clout of the Muslim Brotherhood.
"The Houla story is still murky. No one knows what happened. We know that there are innocent civilians who were killed. We know that both sides are exchanging accusations and we know that both sides are habitual liars. But we can raise some questions:--This does not settle it. We still don't know what happened in Houla. But a healthy dosage of skepticism is in order in the case of Syria especially as Western governments seem to pushing in the direction of military intervention.
There are many sides of the story but the Western media is only covering one side. (Neil Mac Farquhar flat out lied when he claimed twice in the New York Times that Syrian TV does not mention the armed clashes in Syria). To be sure, both sides can't be believed and their claims can't be taken at face value, but it is high time that real investigation of the Syrian story be undertaken by people who are not beholden to governments – East or West."
For Syrian Peace mission led by former UNSG Kofi Annan and its current fate and counter action against Western powers and Sunni allies being planned by SCO in Beijing watch this space.
K.Gajendra Singh, June 7, 2012 .Mayur Vihar, Delhi.



Monday, June 4, 2012

Economic Malaise Continues to Deepen

Economic Malaise Continues to Deepen
"Keynes's collective work amounted to a powerful argument that capitalism was by its very nature unstable and prone to collapse. Far from trending toward some magical state of equilibrium, capitalism would inevitably do the opposite. It would lurch over a cliff," --- Hyman Minsky
A few months after I had shifted back to Delhi in end 2007, having stayed abroad from 1989 and since 1996 after retiring from Ankara, as an accredited journalist, with last 10 years in Bucharest, I sent to my civil service batch mates and others my article on onrushing crisis in world economy, which is literally being dragged towards a catastrophe by Wall Street something akin to the American film "Runaway Train", with US economy leading like the rogue locomotive.
Some of my 1961 year civil services batch mates and others specially in India, who had held almost all the top positions in India's federal economic ministries and departments dealing with economic matters and revenue found fault with my analysis that the manifest American economic hegemony could ever be challenged. Some of them took particular objection to my comment that
" have always considered an economist as someone who could not become a scientist and tries to shape economics, with its many variables and unpredictables based on fickle human nature , greed and other factors, to conform to the rigors of exact sciences with its equations and graphs .Like an Alchemist's it is hit or miss and when garnished with self serving propaganda, it is a dangerous cocktail "
They were still skeptical when I sent around my article in end March 2008 predicting a traumatic economic fall by September, 2008, which was hosted by dozens of websites and blogs and much appreciated
The Decline and Coming Fall of US Hegemony, March 30, 2008
The piece at the end was my third (but unpublished) article on the decline of the American century and its hegemony, since 11 September 2002. List of all my articles on the subject is
What did surprise me then and continues to anger  me very much is the Indian media especially TV channels , all have been unfortunately taken over by India's corporate interests and were misleading the investing public with a rosy picture of the rise and rise in the Sensex. In Indian media not only on economic matters but in other sectors too this has been the fate of fourth pillar of democracy.
Once independent, media led by USA and other Western countries, barring some exceptions, now telecasts spins such as by BBC, CNN, Fox channel and others. This false propaganda barrage led the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, or for that matter the situation in Libya before and after the brutal assassination of its leader Qadhafi .Now the Dogs of War are swarming around Syria, led by NATO powers, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Emirates and Kingdoms along with an Islamist party dominated Turkey and upcoming Muslim Brotherhoods in Egypt and Tunisia. Truth has become a rare commodity in Western media. Earlier independent, Qatar based Al Jazeera news outlet too has now joined the gang of BBC and CNN.
Even when I wrote the article below it was felt that sooner or later India's GDP growth would hover around 6% of so ,but tall claims have been made on the basis of foreign direct investment, a good portion of it the black money stacked abroad by India's corrupt politicians, business houses and bureaucrats via officially recognized  shady route , Mauritius ,stock exchanges have become like yo-yo Casinos with cheap US stimulus funds without any backing and ill gained Indian hot money moving in and out. .
Against overpowering inequities in wealth and incomes in USA ,in hundreds of cities beginning with The Wall Street , there are daily demonstrations and sit ins .Violent riots have taken place in UK and other European cities .In India the equivalent has been the movements led by Gandhian Anna Hazare and Yoga teacher Baba Ram deo , the former attracting middle classes ,weighed by the daily exactions of the corrupt ruling classes and their tools , while the latter has strong roots among hundreds of millions of poor masses in urban and rural areas ,whom he has been teaching Yoga for years and bringing about a remarkable improvement in their health .More than the combined efforts of health departments of governments , now centres of corruption and loot of public health funds .
The ruling dispensation mired in corruption and moral decay refuses to see the truth at its own peril. 
The American leadership is still telling lies to the people although all indicators indicate coming catastrophe sooner than later. Two reports of the United States Government released this week suggest that the so called recovery of the American economy may be losing momentum. The Labor Department admitted that the economy added fewer than half the number of jobs in terms of the market expectations and an acute long-term unemployment problem remains with a total of over 40 percent of the unemployed having been out of job for more than six months. The Commerce Department lowered the economy's growth estimate to 1.9 percent from the estimated 2.2 percent, which in itself was lower than the actual 3 percent growth in the last quarter of 2011.
The fraud being perpetrated on public in America and elsewhere by US bankers, financiers, corporate interests and military industry complex with loyal support from their followers elsewhere in India is now in the final stages of a likely collapse, sooner than later along the lines of the October 2008 which sent shockwaves to very foundations of Keynesian neo-liberal model of capitalism.
In India, finally the leadership, our so-called experts in neo-liberal capitalism is confessing that there is something wrong with the Indian economy. Let me quote from my conversation with one such expert in 2000.
Confidence in the US Dollar;

Before 9/11, at a lunch for the Turkish PM at the Rashtrapati Bhavan I had demurred to an Indian economist, now occupying a very high position about the inequities of the current economic order , founded on the US dollar as the dominant reserve currency, which accounted for 68 percent of global currency reserves, up from 51 percent a decade ago. Yet in 2000, the US share of global exports ($781.1 billion out of a world total of $6.2 trillion) was only 12.3 percent and its share of global imports ($1.257 trillion out of a world total of $6.65 trillion) was 18.9 percent.

"Ever since 1971, when US president Richard Nixon arbitrarily took the dollar off the gold standard ($35 per ounce) in force since the Bretton Woods Conference at the end of World War II, the dollar has become the global monetary instrument that the United States, and only the United States, can produce by fiat, despite record US current-account deficits and the US as the leading debtor nation. The US national debt as of April 4 was $6.021 trillion against a GDP of $9 trillion. (It is now 9 trillion in a GDP of around 13 trillion)

"India has to maintain ample foreign-exchange reserves, which have now reached $60 billion. Most of this must be kept in low-interest US securities, which US companies like Enron can then invest in India and force governments to guarantee 15 percent returns. Thus US companies earn billions of dollars by investing Indian savings in India. "[This argument I had used in my piece,'Decline of the American Century ' used by Asia Times on 11 September, 2002, first anniversary of 11/9.]

The economist
[looked at me disdainfully] replied with great insouciance," Yes, but you have to create confidence as US has done in the dollar." .I had to move away quickly not to give vent to my feelings of dismay and disgust .Since then many lunches have been organized at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and look where is the confidence in the US dollar. (In just 12 years)

Below is my article of January 2008, which had brought quick retorts and brickbats from my batch mates and friends. 
K.Gajendra Singh, June 4, 2012, Mayur Vihar, Delhi.
After record falls in share index around the world, caused by imminent recession in USA, the US Federal Reserve announced immediate three-quarter-point cut, the largest in 26 years, which calmed the situation, perhaps temporarily. US President George Bush's $ 150 billion tax rebates were seen as too little and too late and had triggered a frenzy of selling.
"Right now it's 50-50 whether you're going to have a recession in America," said John Silvia, chief economist at the US bank Wachovia. "In the first quarter, growth will be negative and the Fed is struggling to keep it in positive territory for the second quarter."

Profits at the US's second and fourth largest banks, Bank of America and Wachovia, have been all but wiped out by the deepening sub-prime crisis with both companies yesterday announcing multibillion-dollar write downs. The results follow news this month from market leader Citigroup of an $18bn write-off, leading to the biggest loss in the firm's 196-year history. All told, the world's big banks and broking houses have written off an estimated $120bn since the summer.
I have repeatedly said that navel watching Indian media and so called policy makers think and behave like frogs in a well, albeit a big well . In spite of the developing economic crisis in USA for more than a year    , our media and the government remained complacent and refused to see the onrushing tempest. Analysts commented if at all that India would not be affected  much by the US crisis .PM and FM , both economists warmed by the rising Sensex based on influx of hot money took credit for the blooming of the Indian economy till the bull dream turned into a night mare since Monday ,ending the Bollywood like dream run into a hangover many an investor in India woke up to after predictions of Sensex crossing 25,000 in near future , to find it crashing down from a recent high of 22,000 to below 17,000. Investors on lost a whopping Rs 15.82 trillion in the last seven days of market mayhem that included a fall of more than 4,000 points in the benchmark 30-share sensitive Index or Sensex.
Following US Fed decision and calming effect in the US and East Asian shares , Indian Sensex recovered to over 17,000 on Wednesday, 23 January . It could stabilize higher for the time being.
I have always considered an economist as someone who has failed as a scientist and tries to shape economics, with its many variables and unpredictable's based on fickle human nature and other factors, to conform to the rigors of exact sciences with its equations and graphs .Like an Alchemist's method it is hit or miss and when garnished   with self serving propaganda, it is a dangerous cocktail
Capitalism is once again in crisis but the centre of gravity unlike the last 1997-98 crisis is in the heart of capitalism, USA. Having globalised and attached the world economy to its coat tails, the US recession is dragging down the whole world.
In 2000 after the 1997-98 economic crisis I had written;
"In August/Sept 1998 the very bastions of capitalism were reduced to utter panic and incoherence after the collapse of East and South East Asian economies, the decimation of the rouble and impending fall of the Brazilian economy. On September 8, The Washington Post under the title "Rethink Capitalism "wrote,' what is frightening about the world's current economic troubles is a sense that rules we thought we understood don't seem to apply now. Until a few months ago, we thought we knew what a developing country had to do to join the ranks of the wealthy. We thought we knew how a Communist country could transform itself into a capitalist one. The general understanding was that as the world became more connected, it also would become more prosperous. Now, with Russia and much of Asia having crashed, with Eastern Europe and Latin America imperiled and with much of Africa going backward, the certainties of only a year ago seem far from certain.—'
"Some other headlines around the same time were 'Global Capitalism, Once Triumphant, Is in Full Retreat 'by Robert J. Samuelson in Newsweek','In Russia, the Liberal Western Model Has Failed 'by Martin Malia in International Herald Tribune etc. There were similar articles in Foreign Affairs of CFR, Washington and other journals. After chiding Asians for their crony capitalism , in Sep 1998, LTMC a big US Investment firm run by two 1997 Nobel Prize Winners for Economics (derivative trading?) had to be bailed out as its bets around   the world amounted to US$ 100 billion .Perhaps in expatiation Amritya Sen was given next year's prize for his writings on famines and democracy. "  from my article "CAPITALISM  IN  CRISIS AND  FAILURE  OF  GLOBALISATION' -at the end.( It was published in the Romanian Journal of International Affairs, Bucharest Volume VI 1-2 , October , 2000 )
Confidence in the US Dollar;
Before 9/11, at a lunch for the Turkish PM at the Rashtrapati Bhavan I had demurred to an Indian economist, now occupying a very high position about the inequities of the current economic order , founded on the US dollar as the dominant reserve currency, which accounted for 68 percent of global currency reserves, up from 51 percent a decade ago. Yet in 2000, the US share of global exports ($781.1 billion out of a world total of $6.2 trillion) was only 12.3 percent and its share of global imports ($1.257 trillion out of a world total of $6.65 trillion) was 18.9 percent.

"Ever since 1971, when US president Richard Nixon arbitrarily took the dollar off the gold standard ($35 per ounce) in force since the Bretton Woods Conference at the end of World War II, the dollar has become the global monetary instrument that the United States, and only the United States, can produce by fiat, despite record US current-account deficits and the US as the leading debtor nation. The US national debt as of April 4 was $6.021 trillion against a GDP of $9 trillion. (It is now 9 trillion in a GDP of around 13 trillion)

"India has to maintain ample foreign-exchange reserves, which have now reached $60 billion. Most of this must be kept in low-interest US securities, which US companies like Enron can then invest in India and force governments to guarantee 15 percent returns. Thus US companies earn billions of dollars by investing Indian savings in India. "[This argument I had used in my piece,'Decline of the American Century ' used by Asia Times on 11 September, 2002, first anniversary of 11/9.]

The economist replied with great insouciance," Yes, but you have to create confidence as US has done in the dollar." Since then many lunches have been organized at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and look where the confidence in the US dollar is.

Even in the so called socialist era in India before 1991, Indian state sector had lower share in GDP than that sector in UK, but India was demonized by the West as almost a communist state for not opening India to FDI .It is policies of that era implemented by Nehru and others that gave the economic and industrial strength and resilience, and human resources to build up the Indian industry.
Even then officers, especially in economic affairs department of Indian Ministry of Finance and elsewhere (with possibilities of a deputation to the West controlled Institutions) were chosen with tacit approval from USA controlling the IMF, World Bank and other Washington consensus institutes. They were, if found in tune with western thinking, then seconded to these Institutions. They earned fat pensions and have continued to promote policies favoring the West. These gentlemen and others retiring from multinationals have the temerity to write against Nehru's economic policies .Many are in important decision making positions in India. Somebody should request Wajahat Habibullah, Chief of Central Information Commission for information on the pensions earned by these worthies, who now are in the government or writing in corporate owned Indian media promoting unabashed capitalism and globalization .The list will amaze the Adam Aadmi and explain, why when they say that India is shining, the electorate votes out the villains (in walks another set)

Let me give an example from elsewhere.
Victor Yushchenko
Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko as the head of the newly-formed National Bank of Ukraine in 1993 enforced the IMF's usual shock therapy economic medicine which only impoverished the economy. He created a new Ukrainian national currency, which resulted in a dramatic plunge in real wages and the standard of living tumbled. In 1999,   Yushchenko was appointed Prime Minister because of loans which IMF etc had promised. In the now discredited IMF programs, it closed down part of the country's manufacturing base. Yushchenko also tried to undermine bilateral trade in oil and natural gas with Russia and demanded that this trade be conducted in US dollars rather than in terms of commodity barter. In 2001, he was dismissed following a non-confidence vote in the parliament-"Viktor Yushchenko has fulfilled obligations to the IMF better and more accurately than his duties to citizens of his our country, Olena Markosyan, a Kharkiv-based analyst, opined in Ukrainian centrist daily Den" (BBC Monitoring, 16 Nov 2004).

Yushchenko was elected President in a December ,2004 re-poll as a result of US led West supported franchised 'street revolutions ', earlier carried out successfully in Serbia and Georgia but which  failed in Belarus , Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan .There were many write ups in Guardian, Globalsearch and other websites which documented western agencies' massive financial and logistic support to Yushchenko.  According to New Statesman Yushchenko was supported covertly by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Freedom House and George Soros' Open Society Institute, the very entities, which helped oust Shevardnadze in Georgia the previous year. The NED has four affiliate institutes: The International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS). They" provide technical assistance to aspiring democrats worldwide." Basically they help install pro-US puppets under the pretext of promoting democracy.
While in 1990s and earlier, countries like Mexico. Brazil. Argentina, Thailand. Indonesia became victims of recession this time it is the United States. In my view it is always the speculation on land and buildings, which have no agreed intrinsic value in crunch, which bring economic downfall as in South East Asia in 1997-98. Indians have still not caught on but I have been saying since many months that the land and housing values in spite of genuine demand have reached too sky high .They are not commensurate with returns on rents aka , speculation capital has entered the sector even from abroad.  The housing and land price boom will soon come down sharply.

Basically using jiggery pokery the investment banks and speculators in the West have created various kinds of funds and liquidity and disappointed with the returns from one country go to another , demanding opportunities for direct investment (FDI). "Eventually it becomes clear that the investment opportunity wasn't all it seemed to be, and the money rushes out again, with nasty consequences for the former financial favorite. That's the story of multiple financial crises in Latin America and Asia. And it's also the story of the U.S. combined housing and credit bubble. These days, we're playing the role usually assigned to third-world economies," said US economist Paul Krugman in New York Times last week.

In early in 2005, Ben Bernanke before he was named chairman of the US Federal Reserve asked: "Why is the United States, with the world's largest economy, borrowing heavily on international capital markets "rather than lending, as would seem more natural?"  His answer was that the main explanation lay not here in America, but abroad. In particular, third world economies, which had been investor favorites for much of the 1990s, were shaken by a series of financial crises beginning in 1997. As a result, they abruptly switched from being destinations for capital to sources of capital, as their governments began accumulating huge precautionary hoards of overseas assets.

The result, said Mr. Bernanke, there was a "global saving glut": lots of money. In the end, most of that was forced to go to the United States. Why? Because, said Mr. Bernanke, of the "depth and sophistication of the country's financial markets." Krugman retorts that those U.S. financial markets, it turns out, were characterized less by sophistication than by sophistry, which" my dictionary defines as a deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone." E.g., "Repackaging dubious loans into collateralized debt obligations creates a lot of perfectly safe, AAA assets that will never go bad."

Continues Krugman,"In other words, the United States was not, in fact, uniquely well-suited to make use of the world's surplus funds. It was, instead, a place where large sums could be and were invested very badly. Directly or indirectly, capital flowing into America from global investors ended up financing a housing-and-credit bubble that has now burst, with painful consequences."
Another main reason is US-Saudi axis , with the former protecting the degenerate but Wahabi ideology spreading dynasty ( and others in the Gulf ) through Madarsas and support to Jihadis and nominating oil prices in US dollars , forcing the oil importing nations to keep US dollar reserves . But slowly things are changing with oil prices being quoted in Euros or basket of currencies and other such measures .And transfer of dollars into Euros .Iran President Ahmedinjed must be delighted.
An apologia ;I am a simple electrical engineering graduate from Banaras of 1958 vintage , who taught it at Patiala for three years and found that chief engineers at IDPL , which I managed in 1985 and 86 remembered even less of engineering. The job was all about management. In spite of efforts to learn economics I remain a dilettante. Still I keep on trying.
The article below was written for late President K.R Narayanan .Having been his First Secretary in early 1970s when he was Ambassador to Ankara he was very kind and always granted me an audience of half an hour or more whenever I visited Delhi, when he resided up at the Raisina Hill. He also indulged me to 'lecture' on what ever I was writing on. I had spoken to him in early 2000 about the crisis in Capitalism .Next day he telephoned to enquire if I had written much on the subject   .So I wrote this piece for him.
It was written based on some further reading of the history of Capitalism and Banking dynasties , and experience of postings and tours in communist and post Communist countries like Romania, Germany (East ) , Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan among others. It will provide a useful background on post Communist era, when mafias have taken over many of the institutions if not these countries for the US led west.
Unlike George Bush, who has approval rating of just over 30% in USA, Vladimir Putin has an approval rating of over 70 % in Russia. According to a recent Public Opinion Barometer, conducted by the Soros Foundation Nicolae Ceausescu the demonized dictator remains in the first position of   great Romanian leaders during the last hundred years, with 23 per cent votes, followed by current President Traian Basescu, with 15 per cent. The lower positions are taken by Ion Iliescu (7 per cent), Kings Carol I (6 per cent) and Mihai I (6 per cent), Gheorghiu Dej (3 per cent), King Ferdinand (3 per cent), Nicolae Titulescu (2 per cent), King Carol II (2 per cent), Ion Antonescu (2 per cent), Emil Constantinescu (1 per cent.) You will learn the reasons in the piece below.
Stay tight and take care .With best wishes Gajendra 23 January.2008, Mayur Vihar, Delhi