Friday, August 29, 2014

Göbeklitepe: The world’s oldest sculpture workshop (over ten thousand years)

Göbeklitepe: The world's oldest sculpture workshop

In spite of having spent ten years in Turkey/Anatolia/ Asia Minor and travelled extensively from coast to coast from Greece to Syria and Bulgaria to Georgia, both ways and all over its lakes like Van, rivers and historic sites, origins of Euphrates and Tigris in north Eastern Turkey in tranquil days ( 1969-73)  one can never have ones' fill .There are hundreds of hills and Tepes ( Indian Tibba) which await excavations and add to Anatolia's over 40 civilisations .


Like elsewhere Turkey is becoming a dangerous place to visit around ,specially semi dormant but old cities like Gaziantep ,Urfa and Mardin from whose heights one can see the Mesopotamian plains of Euphrates and Tigris stretching hundreds of miles towards the Gulf etc .


The new Islamic party is stressing its over thousand year Muslim , Seljuk and Ottoman periods only and foolishly trying to hark back to rule over Arab states then under the Ottomans ,much disliked by the Arabs themselves .Prior to 2002 the secular Ataturk established regimes had glossed over it .


My own travel program of what one can see in 15 days . I visited Urfa many times but Gobeliktepe was still to be discovered. Patriarch Abraham had stopped over at Urfa before proceeding to Hebron where he lies buried.


But this post is for recent growing revelations at Gobeliktepe , perhaps one of the yet discovered oldest civilisation , perhaps over 10,000 years , older than 5000 years old Egyptian Pyramids .


I had earlier circulated a piece on oldest temple at Gobeliktepe.


K.Gajendra Singh 29 August, 2014



Göbeklitepe: The world's oldest sculpture workshop

ŞANLIURFA – Anadolu Agency

Twenty years have passed since archaeological excavations started in Göbeklitepe. Findings so far have revealed that the ancient site was the world's oldest sculpture workshop


The world's oldest discovered temple, Göbeklitepe, is also the oldest known sculpture workshop, according to excavation findings at the site, which have been ongoing for 20 years. 

The excavations at Göbeklitepe, which is located in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa and is described as the "zero point in history," are being carried out by theGerman Archaeology Institute and the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry. Germanarchaeologist Klaus Schmidt, who died a few months ago, had been the head of the excavations. 

Associate Professor Cihat Kürkçüoğlu from the nearby Harran University's (HRU) Arts and History Department, said works in Göbeklitepe had revealed human sculptures from the Neolithic age, wild boar, fox and bird limestone fossils, as well as many arrow heads made of tinderbox. 

Kürkçüoğlu said these findings revealed that the art of sculpture and stone relief dated back to 12,000 years ago. "These are the oldest monumental sculptures in the world," he added. 

He said they had found small sculptures from between 10,000 and 20,000 B.C., called the "Venus sculptures," but the stone reliefs on T-shaped stelas in Göbeklitepe and in the Nevali desert are "the oldest sculptures in the world."

A 1.80 meter-high limestone sculpture, known as "Balıklıgöl Man" or "Urfa Man," which was found during the excavations close to the Balıklıgöl lake in 1995, dated back to 10,000 B.C. 

"This shows us that Göbeklitepe is the birthplace of plastic arts. It is a temple but at the same time it's the world's oldest sculpture workshop. You expect primitive examples of stone sculptures but you find very improved, aesthetic and artistic sculptures. This surprised us greatly. Some compositions in Göbeklitepe are even good enough to make today's graphics jealous. As the archaeological excavations progress, I believe we will find older prototypes," he said. 

Kürkçüoğlu added that he had asked university groups visiting the ancient site to teach their students that the history of sculpture started at Göbeklitepe. "Just like the alphabet starts with A, the history of plastic arts starts with Göbeklitepe," he said.

August/29/2014FULL STORY: How 'the world's oldest temple' changed history

Ertuğrul ÖZKÖK / Saffet Emre TONGUÇ

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When Dr. Schmidt saw the craftsmanship on the circles and stones, he turned to his colleagues and said,

When Dr. Schmidt saw the craftsmanship on the circles and stones, he turned to his colleagues and said, "Creating these stones and circles with the means of that day is like building a Boeing in your basement today."

The archeologist who changed history


Ancient Göbeklitepe pioneer Schmidt passes away

Ancient Göbeklitepe pioneer Schmidt passes away


Birthplace of religion Göbeklitepe aims for more recognition

Birthplace of religion Göbeklitepe aims for more recognition

I had started my day usually with a coffee. I saw that word at the daily Cumhuriyet in an article written by Özgen Acar: "Wish tree."  

The article was about the great archeologist who we lost on July 20: Dr. Klaus Schmidt.

What Klaus Schmidt discovered in Göbeklitepe, I believe, has potential to change many things in the history of humanity and the history of our beliefs. 

A group of archeologists from the universities of Chicago and Istanbul visited the southeastern town of Şanluıurfa in 1963. It looked like a routine visit. When they reached the hill 10 kilometers away from Şanlıurfa, they noticed a tree. The tree that was standing by itself all alone in an empty terrain was impressive. It was a mulberry tree and local people called it "the wish tree." People have been going to the tree to make wishes since ancient times.  

While the archeologists were examining the tree, one of them noticed a small hill a bit further away. 

The texture of the soil was different; it was as if it was hiding something. They examined it for a while, began to dig slightly and came across some lime stones. The Chicago archeologists went back to their countries and wrote reports on their findings. They wrote that there were no noteworthy discoveries from that hill. They claimed that it was probably a Byzantium outpost and that the stones belonged to a grave stone. The file was then closed. The tree had given its first signal, but it went unnoticed.

Some 25 years later, a villager named Şavak Yıldız who was practically born and lived under that tree, found a set of two sculpture-like objects in 1988. He looked at them for a while but continued with his work. He brought them home in the evening. His nephews and relatives then looked at them for a while with one of them suggesting that he should sell them to the antique shop. However, Şavak Yıldız was determined: "I am going to take them to the museum." They told him it was too far away, but he set out the next morning, with the hope of an award in his mind. 

After a long journey he arrived at Şanlıurfa Archeological Museum. The Museum Manager Adnan Mısır looked at the two small figurines, and then told Şavak: "They are useless, you may take them back." 

Şavak Yıldız was upset. "What can I do with them? You keep them." While he headed back to his village, he was not aware he had carried a sign that could change the history of humanity to Şanlıurfa Museum. The Museum manager told the superintendent to put the figurines in the storehouse. They had not noticed the second sign the tree had sent. 

The mysterious statues, like an Indiana Jones film, were in dark storage room waiting for the next person to discover them. Six years later, that would happen at a library in Berlin. 

A person reading the report in the library of the
 German Archeology Institute in Berlin in 1994 said, "This cannot be true" after he finished reading the report. His name was Klaus Schmidt and he was 41 years old. He had found the Chicago University report by coincidence, read it to its last detail and was stuck at the sentence: "These findings may belong to a Byzantium outpost." He was surprised that nothing noteworthy was found after these discoveries as he had some knowledge of the region's history. It was not possible that what was discovered had belonged to the Byzantium's. A voice inside told him that there was a very important thing there. He then decided that he had to go immediately. The sign coming from the tree at Şanlıurfa had finally been found.

When Klaus Schmidt entered Şanlıurfa Archeology Museum one week later, a journey that would change the course of humanity and religious history began. The tree was finally able to make its voice heard. Maybe the first divine message of the history of humanity was coming from the roots of that tree. Professor Klaus Schmidt was sure that the tree on that hill was hiding the biggest secret of humanity, religions and beliefs… 

"The Big Bang of belief had occurred there and constituted the first black hole…" 

Maybe that divine voice that called Prophet Abraham to those lands came from under that tree. 

A while after he started digging, he was to come across such a thing that many archeologists and conspiracy theorists alike would turn their eyes too. Göbeklitepe which kept silent for 11,000 years was talking for the first time…

* * *

A woman visiting the Şanlıurfa Museum stood in front of a statue for a while. The top of this statue was like a lion's head, the mid part was like a human and the bottom had a baby. A snake was around the statue. The visitor stared at the statue for a long time and then moved on. 

However, Dr. Schmidt was more careful than an ordinary visitor. He most probably cried, "Oh my God. This is that place. This tree is that tree…" when he saw that design for the first time. 

Schmidt spent the fall of 1994 walking around that area. When excavation started one year later, he recognized how difficult his task was. The first hope of finding a major breakthrough came around the end of the 1990s, as some circles appeared in the excavated area.  

They were like a space design. Then they reached those stones. Dr. Schmidt thought of the famous Stonehenge monument in England. 

All the stones that were found were "T" shaped. They looked like people with opened arms. They were 5.4 meters high. All of them were staring at circles in front of them.

There was something in those circles and those stone people were like the moths of whatever was at the center of these circles. They were enchanted by it. 

Questions were to get deeper and the physical findings were to be intermixed with metaphysical questions.

But before anything else, there was a physical question to be answered: Who brought these stones there and how? 

This looked like a simple question but it was not as the stones weighed about 16 tons. 

History books and the science of archeology do not have precise information on the taming of the beasts of burden. The only information known was that the donkey was being used as a beast of burden in Egypt around years 3,000 B.C. 

There was no strong evidence to suggest that the beast of burden was tamed in these lands that they were from 8,000 B.C. Well, since men cannot move such a heavy stone, then who carried these 16-ton blocks there and erected them? 

It was as if the stones had been carried by a divine power and placed there… 

In the excavations done, they had found "T" stones but there was no trace of any human beings living there. There was not even one mark that human beings ever lived there: No wall of a house, no stone where they built fire and cooked their meals. Also there were no water sources nearby. The nearest one was 5 kilometers away. While physical questions increased, mystic questions also multiplied and scientific explanations were difficult to find. 

As of the mid-2000s, they had gone down quite deep from the roots of that tree. 

Circles were followed by circles and they were traveling to the main circle. But they noticed a striking fact those days. The animal figures they found in the top levels were normal for that era. They were very much like the wall drawings found in ancient caves. 

However, as they dug deeper, they were appalled. Because the designs they found on the tablets that dated back to 11,000 B.C. were perfect. They were drawn by a master. Also the stonework of the "T" people was also perfect. Who was this perfect artist? How did this "perfect artist" do these drawings? 
As they dug, it became darker. What was this place? Who designed this strange venue?

Dr. Schmidt put this note in his notebook: "Every puzzle we solve creates two more puzzles…"

When the 2000s were coming to an end, a new stone tablet was excavated: Dr. Schmidt froze when he saw the design on the tablet. There was a naked woman design there, maybe a woman giving birth. Maybe the first woman. There was a tree and a naked woman…

His Christian memory immediately merged two images… Everything he had looked for was right in front of him now…

The silent lady that drew nobody's attention at the Şanlıurfa Museum had now started to talk…

* * *

When the tip of the statute was seen above ground, the sun was about to set. They were about to call it a day, but the statue excited the archeologists and they continued on and so did Dr. Schmidt.

Half of the statue was excavated when the tired archeologist stopped his work. The next day someone knocked on his door, his assistant was telling him that there was a problem. When they arrived at the excavation site, the statue was gone. It was a nightmare for foreign archeologists in Turkey. This was the biggest disaster that could happen to a foreign archeologist in Turkey, a country which is still traumatized by the moving of the entire Bergama (Pergamon). Dr. Schmidt was a suspect. Almost everybody knew that the
 German archeologist had nothing to do with this; he was only after the story these statues were telling.

That statue was never found. The theft, it was later understood, was a result of two groups clashing with one another.  

Dr. Schmidt was searching for the meaning and the place of the naked woman among all these mortal male animals. He was sure of one thing: All these cosmic circles and stone human figures were clearly depicting this message to us: This was a place to conduct religious ceremonies. But, since no human being lived there, who was conducting the ceremonies? Then he thought, maybe this place was a pilgrimage site. He thought of other pilgrimage sites: Mecca, Vatican, Jerusalem, Bodh Gaya where Buddha was enlightened. Cahokia, the holy place of the North
 American natives…

Could this be the first pilgrimage site of history? His deputy said, "But Dr. Schmidt, there was no religion at these times…"

The site they were excavating dated back to 8,200 B.C., a time when people had not settled as it was a hunting and gathering period. Once people settled, then religions and beliefs started. 

The finding of Göbeklitepe revealed that religions and beliefs started before human kind entered the settlement phase. 

These excavations showed us that the history of humanity and beliefs may not be as they had taught us.

Maybe the black hole of belief started under that tree.

When Dr. Schmidt saw the craftsmanship on the circles and stones, he turned to his colleagues and said, "Creating these stones and circles with the means of that day is like building a Boeing in your basement today."

Yes, some kind of a power we do not know today has set up a belief cosmos there in the year 8,200 B.C. 

We do not know who that competent artist is. Was it human beings or was it a divine power? 

But we know one thing: Prophet Abraham, who we know as the founder of monotheistic religions, started his divine walk in these lands taking humanity into a new system of relationships. 

That tree must have had a symbolic meaning.

Dr. Schmidt said Göbeklitepe was a temple in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived.

Maybe the fruit that the naked woman on those T stones ate was not the apple but the mulberry? 

The black hole of belief is full of unknowns.

Just as how the meteors that fall into black holes go down with a speed faster than the speed of light and can never come back; maybe the thought of "the other world" is also such a black hole?

Nobody has ever come back from there.

It is up to us, the people to interpret the blanks left by the black hole...

The story of that tree ends here. 

Archeologists continue digging the black hole of belief. In Switzerland's CERN laboratories, people are searching for the god particle. They believe the universe was created after a Big Bang. Black holes were formed after this big bang. 

After the excavations in Göbeklitepe, I am asking to myself: Did religions form after such a big bang? 

Is the black hole of belief under that tree?




Thursday, August 28, 2014

ISIS: Saudi-Qatari-Funded & US Armed Wahhabi Terrorists Worldwide

ISIS: Saudi-Qatari-Funded & US Armed Wahhabi Terrorists Worldwide

Also a brief review of the minor great game in Greater Middle East.


Since Sunni Riyadh ( and later other Gulf monarchies) were  promised security in exchange for its oil , their backing for US Dollar as reserve currency in 1953 ,and use of strategic space etc by Washington since 1930s and specially after the over throw of Shah of Iran ,the US policeman in ME in 1979 , US has sided with Sunni states , unless like Saddam 's Iraq and Libya's Kaddafi did not behave like craven slaves .


As soon as US armed forces reached Baghdad in March 2003 ,  after the despicable  'Shock and Awe' display of power ( US defence expenditure then was $600 billion and Iraq's 5 billion or so and its armed defences had been degraded after the 1991 war) , Shias in Baghdad were handed over lists of almost all top Sunni Ba'athist leaders so that the former could hound out and kill the latter .Then to counter the Shia ( 60% of population ) dominance in Iraq , Washington created the Sunni Awakening  to make Sunni tribes fight the Shia establishment ruling from Baghdad. So on and so forth and now the ISIS is established in Iraq and Syria.


I had circulated earlier pieces on the rise of ISIS .Below is another update on the subject. ISIS is not going to go away very easily or soon .Washington would use it to help and perhaps make Iraqi Kurdistan its military ally .US and Israel are quite well entrenched there .


But PKK , a ferocious fighting force since 1984 , with its leftist ideology and gender equality with women guerilla fighters has long term plans of its own , a powerful united  Kurdish state to join Kurds living in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran with a sea port in eastern Mediterranean .


I cannot fathom the policies of newly elected Turkish president Erdogan , obsessed with gaining total and absolute dictatorial powers while estranging , at least half of Turkish population, its top Judiciary and military and even its soft Islamic ally Farouk Gulen , resident in US and hence a card in Washington's hand . Externally in the region it has no friends left.

PS; There are worrying warning signs in Indian Muslim population with 4 already fighting with ISIS with BJP and RSS stoking the fires of communalism with Modi quiet , hoping to gain in states elections .A dangerous gambit .


K Gajendra Singh 28 August 2014.   


ISIS: Saudi-Qatari-Funded Wahhabi Terrorists Worldwide

by Ramtanu Maitra


Aug. 25—The sudden emergence of another organized militant Islamist-terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or simply IS, along the Iraqi-Syria borders, was not really "sudden" at all. A series of West-organized military actions, particularly the Iraq invasion of 2003, invasion of Libya in 2011, and arming and facilitating the passage of Islamists and terrorists, in the garb of freedom fighters, to Syria to dismantle the Assad regime, has served to bring together thousands of hardcore Islamic terrorists, from as many as 50 countries, who have for years been funded and indoctrinated by the Saudis, Qataris, and Kuwaitis, with the "kill them all" Wahhabi-Salafi vision of Islam, to establish what ISIS calls the Islamic State.


That state currently encompasses a swath of land stretching from the outskirts of Baghdad in the east, to the outskirts of Aleppo in Syria, bordering Lebanon and Turkey, in the west. Estimates of the number of fighters that might be affiliated with ISIS vary from more than 10,000, to as many as 17,000.


While many policy errors have contributed to creating this horror, there is one center of evil with the intention of spreading such brutal sectarian warfare, which destroys civilization and nation-states alike. This center is in London, often dubbed "Londonistan," for its role as a center for incubating international terrorists. As we review the history of the creation of ISIS below, keep in mind the reality that we are dealing here with a London imperial project being carried out through Saudi Arabia, other Gulf States, and sundry British tools.


Setting Up Sectarian War


Although this large group of Wahhabi-Salafi terrorists in Iraq and Syria, who are killing Shi'as, and grabbing large of tracts of land for setting up a Wahhabi-Salafi Caliphate, has been much better organized and trained over the decades, it is not altogether different from the London-organized, Saudi-funded, and Pakistan-trained mujahideen in the 1980s, who showed up in Afghanistan to drive out the invading Soviet military. While the objective of the mujahideen brought in by Western powers was to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan, and then become terrorists-for-hire, ISIS is busy setting up a Caliphate in Southwest Asia.


It is perhaps because of this distinction that the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told reporters on Aug. 24, on his way to Afghanistan, that he believes ISIS is more of a regional threat, and is not currently plotting attacks against the U.S. or Europe. He also pointed out that there is no indication, as of now, that ISIS militants are engaged in "active plotting against the homeland, so it's different than that which we see in Yemen." In Yemen, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has attempted attacks against Western countries.


There is no doubt that the threat that ISIS poses, as observed by General Dempsey, is a regional threat, and is primarily directed against Iran, Iran's allies, and Shi'as in general. But it also poses a serious threat to all Arab monarchies and countries such as Lebanon.

The objective of ISIS became evident from its actions in Iraq and Syria. It is clear that the staunchest promoters of anti-Shi'a ideology, which is aimed at undermining Shiite Iran, are the Saudi monarchy, the Qatari monarchy under the al-Thanis, and the Kuwaiti monarchy under the al-Sabahs. These monarchies are exporters of the Salafi-Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam, which does not accept Shi'as as Muslims, and considers them to be heretics who should be annihilated in order to purify Islam.


Saudi Fears and Coverups

Nonetheless, the rise of the ISIS and its military prowess, seen in its securing a large tract of land not too-distant from the Saudi Arabian borders, has evoked an existential fear in the House of Saud. In addition, the presence of thousands of Western jihadi fighters who could raise hell upon their return to their home countries, has also made the Americans, the British, the French, and some other European governments—friends of the Saudi-Qatari-Kuwaiti axis—a bit uneasy. In order to assuage their Western friends' fears, the Saudis have begun a propaganda campaign to convince others that they do not fund ISIS.


The West, with its vested interest in Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Gulf nations, has continued to defend Saudi Arabia; U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went on record praising the Saudi Kingdom for donating $100 million to the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.


Riyadh is also spewing out the lie that the ISIS militants are not adherents to Wahhabism. In a statement to the Aug. 23 London-based Saudi news daily Asharq al-Awsat, a spokesperson for the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in London said: "Saudi Arabia wants the defeat and destruction of ISIS and other terrorist networks. Terrorist networks are as abhorrent to the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as they are to the governments and peoples of the rest of the world…There have been suggestions that ISIS followers are members of some sort of Wahhabi absolutist sect. Indeed, certain UK media outlets often refer to Muslims within Saudi Arabia as Wahhabists. The unsubstantiated use of this invented connotation must end because it is untrue. Wahhabism is not a sect of Islam."


"Muhammad [Ibn] Abd Al-Wahhab was a scholar and jurist of the 18th century who insisted on the adherence to Qur'anic values and the teachings of the word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad," the statement added. The Saudi spokesperson criticized Western media attempts to draw comparisons between Wahhabism and extremist ideology.


But some Western news media are not buying these denials by Riyadh and Washington about the Saudi-Qatari-Kuwaiti connections to ISIS. The British weekly The Spectator, on Aug. 21, alluded to the common ideology of the Saudi and ISIS Wahhabists: "Saudi Arabia is a close ally of Britain and a keen customer of our killing machines, and like most of the Arab states is hostile to lunatic elements like ISIS and Hamas. Yet they are part of the problem; like many Islamists, including those in Britain, the Saudis are happy to condemn ISIS in what they do but not their basic ideology, largely because it mirrors their own."


The article pointed out that "the Saudi hostility to ISIS could even be described in Freudian terms as the narcissism of small differences. ISIS is dangerous to them because for those raised in the Saudi version of Islam, the Islamic State's even more extreme interpretation is not a huge leap."


Wahhabi 'Peaceniks' of Yesteryear and Today's ISIS

In 1744, Muhammad ibn Saud and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab swore a traditional Muslim oath, in which they promised to work together to establish a state run according to Islamic principles. Until that time, the al-Saud family had been accepted as conventional tribal leaders whose rule was based on long-standing, but vaguely defined, authority. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab labeled all those who disagreed with him are heretics and apostates, which, in his eyes, justified the use of force in imposing both his beliefs and his political authority over neighboring tribes.


This in turn led him to declare holy war (jihad) on other Muslims (neighboring Arab tribes), an act which would otherwise have been legally impossible under the rules of jihad.

In 1802, the Wahhabis captured Karbala in Iraq, and destroyed the tomb of the Shi'ite Imam Husayn. In 1803, the Wahhabis captured the holy city of Mecca. The Ottoman Turks became alarmed, and in 1811, dispatched Muhammad Ali, the Ottoman ruler of Egypt, to challenge the Wahhabis. He succeeded in re-imposing Ottoman sovereignty in 1813. Nearly a century later, in 1901, with Wahhabi help, Saudi emir Abd al-Aziz al-Saud recaptured Riyadh. Al-Saud's sovereignty over the Arabian peninsula grew steadily until 1924, when his dominance became secure. At that point, the Wahhabis went on a rampage throughout the peninsula, smashing the tombs of Muslim saints and imams, including the tomb of the Prophet's daughter Fatima. Saudi Arabia was officially constituted as a kingdom in1932.( 1)


In Newsweek July 8, Lucy Westcott wrote, "The Islamist militant group ISIS has been destroying Iraq's Shiite mosques and religious shrines as it continues to put pressure on the country and further its extreme agenda. The AFP reported that four shrines that commemorated Sunni Arab or Sufi figures have been destroyed, while six Shiite mosques were demolished.


The destruction seems to have been limited to Iraq's northern Nineveh province, including militant-held Mosul. One local resident told Al-Arabiya that members of the group had also occupied the Chaldean cathedral and the Syrian Orthodox cathedral, both in Mosul, removing their crosses and replacing them with the black flag of the Islamic State."


There is another hallmark that ties Wahhabism with ISIS like an umbilical cord. Human Rights Watch reported recently that Saudi Arabia has beheaded 19 people since the beginning of August. Some confessions may have been gained under torture, and one poor defendant was found guilty of sorcery. Beheading of Kafirs (in Arabic, a slur to describe non-believers) is also the high-profile act of both ISIS and al-Qaeda under Sheikh Osama bin Laden, another group that was a beneficiary of Saudi money and wide-ranging Gulf support.


ISIS beheaded the American journalist James Foley recently in Iraq; while another American journalist, Daniel Pearl, was beheaded in 2002 in Pakistan. In both cases, videos of the beheadings were widely circulated to rev up emotions among the Wahhabis.


The Financing of ISIS

In 2011, in Syria, when President Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron, and President François Hollande joined forces to remove Syria's elected President Bashar al-Assad from power, and thus deal a body blow to the Russians and the Iranians, who acknowledge Assad's legitimacy, not-so-militant groups within were bolstered by attaching them to well-trained Salafi-Wahhabi terrorists from a number of countries. While the Western countries were quite generous with arms, and worked with the neighboring countries to facilitate entry of arms into Syria, the bulk of the money came from the Salafi-Wahhabi bastions of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait.


Despite denials issued from Riyadh and Doha to quiet gullible Westerners, the funding of various Sunni groups seeking to establish Salafism and Wahhabism in a number of countries has long been well-documented.


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), for example, who is keen to see Assad, and the Russian influence over Syria, vanish altogether, praised the Saudis and Qataris for financial help lent to the Syrian "rebels," in a discussion on CNN, in January 2014, "Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar, and for our Qatari friends," the Senator repeated at the Munich Security Conference in late January. McCain praised Prince Bandar bin Sultan, head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence services and a former ambassador to the United States, for supporting forces fighting Assad in Syria. McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had previously met with Bandar to encourage the Saudis to arm Syrian rebel forces.(2)


But McCain was a bit off the mark. At the time he was bloviating on CNN, the "rebel" power in Syria was already firmly in the hands of ISIS—now an enemy of the U.S. Indeed, in Syria, where the moderate Friends of Syria (those who, according to what the White House conveyed to the American people in 2011-13, were the recipient of arms thanks to American and other Western largesse), Jabhat al-Nusra (a faction of al-Qaeda), and ISIS worked together in the early stages of the West-orchestrated and Saudi-Qatari-Kuwaiti-funded anti-Assad militancy. These groups used to carry their flags together during militant operations against Damascus; but that changed, and the Salafi-Wahhabis, having seized arms and ammunition from their earlier collaborators, became the powerhouse.


Now, it is evident that ISIS has enough killing power to loot and extort funds to sustain itself, and even grow.


How Saudi Money Created Foreign Wahhabi Terrorists

In 2010, Britain's news daily The Guardian citing Wikileaks, Dec. 5, 2010, quoted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying that Saudi Arabia is the world's largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)—but the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money. Both the Afghan Taliban and the LeT espouse the Wahhabi version of orthodox Islam. "More needs to be done," wrote The Guaridan, "since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups, says a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state. Her memo urged US diplomats to redouble their efforts to stop Gulf money reaching extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan." "Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups world-wide," she said.


Three other Arab countries are listed as sources of militant money: Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. The cables highlight an often ignored factor in the Pakistani and Afghan conflicts: that the violence is partly bankrolled by rich, conservative donors across the Arabian Sea whose governments do little to stop them. The problem is particularly acute in Saudi Arabia, where militants soliciting funds slip into the country disguised as holy pilgrims, set up front companies to launder funds, and receive money from government-sanctioned charities.


In other words, a small fraction of the Saudi money may have gone directly to ISIS, but it is definitely Saudi money that armed and trained terrorists in Russia's Chechnya, Dagestan, North Ossetia, Ingushetia; in Pakistan; along the Afghanistan-Pakistan borders; in the Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan belt in Central Asia and also in Europe, particularly in Britain's Londonistan. These militants have come in droves to the Syrian theater with their expertise to boost ISIS's killing power.


In short, the Saudis have shipped money, sermons, and volunteers to Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Russia's North Caucasus, just as they're doing now in Syria. In Chechnya, Saudis such as Ibn al-Khattab, Abu al-Walid, and Muhannad (all noms de guerre) indoctrinated, armed, and trained militants who mired the Chechens in an endless war that killed some 160,000 people, while forcing Chechen women into Saudi-style isolation, and throwing Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and North Ossetia into turmoil. Many of these jihadis are now on full display in the Syria-Iraq theater on behalf of ISIS.


In Afghanistan, Saudi money, and the Pakistani military, backed by Saudi money and support, have created a relatively small, but hardcore, Wahhabi capability in a number of provinces. Although these Afghan Taliban were not notably visible in either Syria or Iraq, they have helped facilitate movement of Saudi-funded Wahhabi terrorists coming down from the north to participate in the Caliphate-formation war in Iraq and Syria.


In Pakistan, myriad Saudi-financed Wahhabi and anti-Shi'a terrorists are growing in strength, and trying establish inroads into the Pakistani military; while in Afghanistan, the Saudi- and opium-funded Taliban, spewing Wahhabi venom, are trying to seize power again. In addition, Saudi money is also being distributed to build bases in several nations for recruitment and training of jihadis for future operations. It is evident that such a widespread operation cannot be carried out in stealth for years; it is therefore fair to assume that such base-building is done in collaboration with the targeted nation's intelligence community. These recruits remain available for use by the mother-nation.


This became visible when the Libyan Islamic Fighters Group (LIFG) was used to dismantle the Libyan state and kill Colonel Qaddafi. Pakistan and Britain are two important centers where the Saudis operate hand-in-glove with those nations' intelligence apparatus.


Britain in the Spotlight

Take, for instance, the recent beheading of the American photo-journalist James Foley by a British jihadi working with ISIS. Whether the British jihadi actually carried out the execution, or not, it was evident that ISIS was keen to project its strength, boasting that it has muscle in developed countries, such as Britain. And, indeed, it has.


The identified British jihadi was a product of the East London Mosque, situated at the heart of Londonistan, in the borough of Tower Hamlets in East London. Londonistan is a world unto itself, where British intelligence recruits and trains Saudi-funded radical and criminal Sunni Muslims to kill and assassinate, and then deploys them wherever needed to serve the "Empire's interest."


Tower Hamlets is where the Shi'a-hating radical Saudi cleric and head Imam of Mecca, Sheikh Adel al-Kalbani (who last year was refused entry into Britain) went to meet local council leaders for a "private meeting" in 2008. He was the guest of the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, a fanatic Islamist who heads the Saudi-funded Jamaat-e-Islami in Britain. According to a Bangladeshi journalist, Tower Hamlets has been converted into the "Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets" under the mayor. That statement was right on the mark.


On Aug. 9, The Guardian reported that some 20 Asian youths had gathered around the Tower Hamlets gates, where a black flag, resembling that of ISIS, was hoisted. The flag was subsequently taken down by a Catholic nun.


Tower Hamlets is one of many centers where the Saudis breed their Wahhabi recruits. In 2013, when Sheikh al-Kalbani was denied entry to the U.K., followers of radical hate preacher Anjem Choudary, spokesman for the Islamist group Islam4UK, led a demonstration in London in May against Shi'a Muslims, three years after Islam4UK was officially proscribed, on Jan. 14 2010, under the U.K.'s counter-terrorism laws. In  other words, the proscription of Islam4UK is a paper job to cover up that group's activities.

It is also evident that the Saudi funding for Wahhabi-indoctrinated jihadi fighters has not gone to waste. Among the ISIS foreign fighters, the Londonistan-created jihadists are the largest and most dominant group.


The Telegraph, in an Aug. 21 article, "More British Muslims fight in Syria than in U.K. Armed Forces," cited Khalid Mahmood, the Member of Parliament from Birmingham, another recruiting and training center of Londonistan, saying that "1,500 British Muslims have gone to wage jihad since 2011, as opposed to the 400-500 the government estimates and the 650 serving in the British armed forces."


1.      Ted Thornton, "The Wahhabi Movement, Eighteenth Century Arabia," Islam Daily,Dec. 7, 2004

2.      Steve Clemons, "Thank God for the Saudis: ISIS, Iraq, and the Lessons of Blowback," The Atlantic, June 23, 2014.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014


FDI in Defence: Missing the Reality


By Vishnu Bhagwat


The overblown hype over the increased FDI ceilings in the defence sector, touting that India would become a major arms exporter from currently being the top importer in the world, is unrealistic. The exaggerated expectations that by increasing the FDI limits from the current 26 percent to 49 percent for foreign original equipment manufacturers will ensure rapid transfer of technology and setting up of vast manufacturing facilities for India's armed forces as well as for arms exports may turn out to be deeply disappointing.


The ongoing media propaganda on this issue may exude the feel-good factor but it largely ignores the ground realities. There are a number of Military Technology Control Regimes (MTCR) – informal agreements among countries to prevent the transfer of technology and development of military capabilities – which include missile and submarine technologies embargoed for India. These include systems and sub-systems which are "red-flagged", and in respect of which the Western countries have elaborate alarm systems on their computer networks, as part of the export control regime in   the US Department of Commerce and in the corresponding departments of the nations of the Western Alliance system.


So just the fact that an OEM wishes to invest in India, attracted by the business proposition that 49 percent or even higher stakes will enable it to control the facility, production run, operating environment, provide monopoly opportunities and influence in the arms business is not adequate enough because the final decision will remain with the parent country controlling the technology.


The parent country of the OEM is likely to extend its leverage to influence India's defence procurement policy, to ensure handsome profits and/or even the strategic direction of the composition of our armed forces. This will likely influence the shape and size of the country's defensive/offensive capabilities and the deployment of these capabilities and finally determine nation's political and strategic policies.


Know-how or Know-why?


The transfer of technology ('know-how') is, in fact, peripheral to real capability or 'comprehensive' self reliance in defence sector which India badly seeks. The real capability that makes us self-reliant is 'know-why' or the capability to design and effect improvements in design over the life time. It also implies designing with new technologies as and when they become available besides incorporating new materials, new generation micro-electronics, mechatronics, nano technologies, lasers, etc.


In short, the capability to innovate new algorithms to shape emerging technologies and "machine or software" them into weapons and sensors incorporating superior software with specific applications underwater, over the ground, in the air and space to neutralize advances that become a threat to our security. Our aim must always be to "off-balance", surprise and to seize the initiative and remain ahead.


Such a strategy and vision need more than bean counting or simply lining up tanks vs tanks.


In fact, two examples of reverse FDI in defence may shake us out of our complacent attitudes. India has spent Rs.240000 millions in acquiring a Meccano set assembly capability of the French Scorpene Class Submarines (being built in MDL Mumbai). This project is already six years behind schedule. In another project, India is spending about Rs.25000 million for co-development of the Barak (NG) with Israel, next generation surface to air missile system with an interception range of 70 kms. This project is running 4 years behind schedule, compromising on the original naval staff requirement of an interception capability of 150 kms.


Only an independent audit of the DRDO team deputed for joint R&D and its demonstrated performance at DRDL (Hyderabad) will reveal whether these engineer-scientists have cut their teeth into design-engineering more advanced systems and how many of them will superannuate into greener pastures!


The Indigenous Efforts since Independence


In the 1950s, when India lined up its scarce and meager resources for space and atomic research, it had the good fortune to have two great scientists of exceptional integrity – Dr. Satish Dhawan and Dr. Homi Bhabha. They have left us with a profound legacy.


ISRO remains the best and most cost effective S&T institution, lauded globally for its performance and contributions to our space programs and defence capability. The AEC similarly has taken us forward except for recent transient distractions from its vision program of Fast Breeders. Both ISRO and AEC did not shy from consulting with those prepared to cooperate with us and encouraging our indigenous design capabilities and manufacturing such as the Cryogenic Engine technologies for space vehicles through a private sector contractors like Godrej & Boyce.


Undeniably, there have been failures and slow progress in certain defense projects. However, one cannot ignore the outstanding success of the joint Indo-Russian Brahmos missile system:  its ship launched, submarine launched, and aircraft launched versions. The next generation Brahmos has the extra super-sonic variant coming on line. Similarly, there are India-Russia cooperative efforts underway to jointly develop the 5th Generation Sukhoi, SU 35 aircraft and the prototype is already being flight tested in Russia. This advanced aircraft will be ready for assembly line production in the next few months. The planned progress of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), its navy version, and the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) were delayed partly by slow and halting funding and the less than desired level of commitments of the IAF in the 1990 for inexplicable reasons.


The country suffered for similar reasons when a specific offer for supply of core systems for the Arihant (ATV) program in 1986 was turned down apparently because of inflated egos and over confidence. Besides, our system does not nurture deep specialization and expertise but tends towards "jack of all trades, master of none".


In the Navy, nevertheless, the Weapon and Sensor System Integration Group continues to do sterling work for platform configuration.


While BEML and its shenanigans exposed last year have given us a bad name because of misdeeds and unethical practices adopted by the middleman but Bharat Electronics, BDL, Mishra Dhatu Nigam (Midhani), HVF Awadi for Tanks and armoured fighting vehicles have done reasonable work in the time frames laid down.


In exceptional cases, FDI ceilings may go up to 100 percent when time-frames demand setting up such facilities. This, in fact, is the existing policy of the Indian government since 2006. However, the fundamental issue is the will to nurture design & design engineering capability. All existing constraints to build and sustain design manpower need to be set aside — personnel policies that regulate tenures, postings and archaic promotion rules for uniform personnel must be revised. Admiral Hyman Rickover, held in high esteem as the Father of the US Nuclear Submarine Program, remained on the active list of the US Navy until the age of 83 years and he accomplished major tasks.


The International Experience


The Soviet Union, between 1927 and 1939, designed and produced the finest Tank (T-34) for the Second World War. Its best fighter-bomber, (IL-2), broke all aviation records of the world and chased away the Luftwaffe out of the skies. They attracted the finest talent in design and had design bureaus in competition – Sukhoi, Mikoyan, Antonov and Ilyushin. They did not look for transfer of technology or foreign direct investments. India should try to go at least halfway towards that road.


China also follows the same approach except that they do, like the Japanese earlier, reverse engineering, "harden" civilian technologies, particularly in electronics and computers, and adapting them for military systems. China is rapidly moving into deep designing capabilities in defence and military related technologies.


Moreover, it is important to note that investment in defence manufacturing may create less than half the employment for every rupee invested in a civilian sector manufacturing. This has been confirmed by a number of studies in the US.


To conclude, FDI in armament technology and production of arms for exports cannot be an end in itself, as every policy decision is required to be linked to the needs of the people. Relying on an ad hoc decision making process, without a carefully considered overall perspective on the implications of FDI in armament technology, is not a substitute for building a comprehensive plan and robust policy for the country's inclusive growth, development and security.


Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat is the former Chief of the Naval Staff of India. He can be reached at






Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Re: The Amit Shah-Modi combine has even marginalised the RSS

The Amit Shah-Modi combine has even marginalised the RSS

In my comments on PM Modi's Independence day Speech I had stated the following ;


"Frankly, it was bold, educative and well delivered speech .By promising to be the Prime Minister of all Indians he has also sent a message to the Brahmins of Nagpur that he will be his own man and not be at the mercy of RSS cadre .Even Prime Minister Vajpayee was able to keep away from Nagpur influence quite successfully."


From the following article from the OUTLOOK , it seems that is likely .InsaAllah. 

Recent bye elections results in states would act as damper on too much of Hindutvisation.


So Who's Inside The Sanctum Sanctorum?

The Amit Shah-Modi combine has even marginalised the RSS





There is a lesser known story about the alleged bugging incident at Nitin Gadkari's residence that needs to be told. Some days before the news became public, the Union road transport and highways minister had a meeting with the top brass of the RSS in New Delhi. The former BJP president, known for his proximity to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, expressed apprehensions that top leaders in the party, including himself, were being snooped upon. Gadkari conveyed to the men from Nagpur that he was not the only one, but that other senior party leaders and at least two senior ministers in the Narendra Modi government were being constantly monitored.

It was at this time that Bhagwat intervened and asked Gadkari to deny the snooping incident in public suggesting that it would dent the image of the BJP and the prime minister. The party had come to power with an absolute majority, and this would have given the opposition an easy handle to beat it with. It was after this meeting that the RSS also communicated to senior BJP leaders, including the two Union ministers, to not give much credence to such incidents and concentrate on the larger issues at hand. "It has taken us years and concerted efforts to come to power; let internal rivalry not sabotage it for us. We are gaining momentum in the country and nothing should be said and done which could harm our chances of taking over Maharashtra, Haryana and garnering a majority in the byelections in Uttar Pradesh," was the unofficial word. The following day, despite contradictory statements by the chief conspiracy theorist of the party, Subramanian Swamy, that Gadkari's residence was indeed bugged, the latter himself issued a denial. Union home minister Rajnath Singh was forced to issue an anodyne statement in the Rajya Sabha that the story was at best speculative.

However, if party insiders are to be believed, with the exception of finance minister Arun Jaitley and party president Amit Shah, many BJP leaders are upset with the supremacy of one individual over the entire party. In fact, the rumbling over the micro-management of the PMO began within days of the NDA government assuming power when Rajnath Singh's aides were accused of leaking information about cabinet portfolios to the media, forcing him to cut off all communications with the media, including on-record statements. In fact, in a conversation with this journalist, a senior minister remarked, "Ab toh hamare secretary bhi hamare nahin hai, yeh bhi hum par thope jaate hain (Even our secretaries and advisors are imposed on us, we do not have any decision-making power)."

Another incident which went viral across political circles was the imposition of a dress code on information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar, giving further taste of the tight control the Modi dispensation had over ministers. Javadekar was on his way to take a flight for a conference in Kenya, dressed casually in a pair of denims and T-shirt. He was barely a kilometre from his official residence when he apparently received a phone call from someone in the PMO, reprimanding him for his casual sense of dressing. What bothered Javadekar was the thought that somebody was keeping a tab on his movements and giving minute-by-minute information to the PMO.




Home minister Rajnath Singh, a 'sadbhavana' advocate, said at a recent inter-party meet that he felt awkward over the communal comments made by some party members.



Even if one were to keep such rumours aside, there is many a decision that has been taken, including the appointment of Amit Shah (who was chargesheeted by the CBI on charges of murder, extortion and conspiracy), that has ruffled party feathers. Much of this ire is directed at an unofficial core group led by Modi that includes Shah, his advisors from the Gujarat government, national security advisor A.K. Doval, and his most trusted man from the RSS, Ram Madhav, who recently joined the BJP. Madhav, who had cautioned the government on its relationship with China in an editorial in June this year, is already being referred to as Modi's unofficial defence minister. This bunch of confidants along with a few intellectuals are also (almost without fail) a part of the Delhi-based think-tank, the Vivekananda Foundation, which today determines most of the decisions taken by the NDA and, most importantly, the fate of the BJP leaders who despite heading significant ministries have just come to be nameless entities.

It's not surprising then that post taking over as the new BJP chief, Shah handpicked his own political team with absolutely no interference or advice from the top brass. Within days, the BJP in-charge for the four states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Assam were changed by Shah who has sought absolute independence from Modi should he wish a repeat of the party's performance in Uttar Pradesh. Shah's shrewd political manoeuvring, consolidation of the Jats and OBCs in Uttar Pradesh with ground-level polarisation by pracharaks and ABVP workers handpicked for the state resulted in what was one of the BJP's best ever LS polls performance in the state.

Those close to the BJP chief say that Shah was very keen on the induction of former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa in the core team despite the reluctance of senior leaders in the RSS and the BJP, including Ananth Kumar. Shah's position of absolute power granted to him by his political mentor, Narendra Modi, ensured that the detractors kept their counsel vis-a-vis his decision. Yediyurappa's track record of creating communal tension in Karnataka—letting right-wing fringe elements spread the false notion of a 'love jehad'—was single-handedly responsible for allowing communalism (besides nepotism) to flourish in the state.

But Shah, riding on the 'man of the match' honour bestowed on him at the recently held national council, is in no mood to be affected by the perceptions of the leaders picked by him. Much to the embarrassment of senior leaders present at the national council, Modi had made it clear that the victory was a result of the partnership with his confidant from Gujarat (with whom he had run a successful innings for three terms in the state).

These statements did not go down well with the RSS whose covert support to the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement had set the ball rolling for the BJP in the country. At a raksha bandhan gathering right after, Bhagwat took a dig at Modi saying, "Kuchh log bol rahe hain ki party ko safalta mili. Kuch log bol rahe hain ki koi vyakti ke liye jeet mili. Koi vyakti, party ya sangathan ki wajah se yeh parivartan nahin hua. Aam aadmi ne parivartan chaaha (Some people say the success was due to the party. Some others say it was because of some individuals. Fact is the common man wanted change). The same individuals and the party existed earlier also. Why were not they voted to power? It is the people who wanted change and brought the party to power," Bhagwat asserted.

But Bhagwat, even with his tested Hindu rashtra rhetoric, is increasin­gly losing hold over the PMO unlike what his predecessors had over the Vajpayee regime. The appointment of Smriti Irani as HRD minister whose claim to a degree from Yale has made her the target of attacks in the party's inner circles has been a sharp indicator of Modi's iron fist rule. As a pracharak known for his proximity to Bhagwat says caustically, "Irani was a leader handpicked by the PM. The fact that the RSS, known for its hold on the HRD in the past government, could not interfere doesn't leave much to the imagination."

The simmering disquiet at the one-man show is palpable, but there is little the stalwarts and senior leaders can do about it. At political dinners, the target of humour is a senior cabinet minister who has spoken about a fear of travelling in an official chopper. Rajnath Singh, who in the past has spoken of sadbhavana between the two communities and is a regular at tea parties with leaders of the Muslim community in UP, recently commented at an inter-party meeting that he was finding it increasingly awkward that despite coming to power in the name of development, members of the party were giving statements or seen endorsing communally pol­arising incidents. The home minister has found himself in an awkward and isolated space, much like his senior party colleagues, with absolute irreverence shown to his suggestion. Bhagwat and the RSS could well reap the fruits of the maj­oritarian experiment, but the party over which they claimed dominance is slipping from their hold.

(Rana Ayyub's 2010 investigation into the Gujarat fake encounters for Tehelka led to Amit Shah's incarceration.)