India out. GST war on islam. Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane as Morocco Premier (write to: abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com)

India run out.

GST war on islam.

Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane as Morocco Premier

-DR. ABDUL RUFF

abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com

_________

Parliament in Rabat, Morocco, 20 November 2011

I – Poll

Moroccans have elected new lower house of parliament on 25 November, in the first national vote since the approval of constitutional reforms in July billed as laying the foundations for a fully-fledged constitutional monarchy. Moderate Islamists, as expected, did well the vote after a similar success in Tunisia’s first democratic election a month ago and the Justice and Development Party (PJD) emerged as the biggest party in Friday’s parliamentary elections.

The Justice and Development Party (PJD) took 107 seats out of the 395 in Parliament, almost twice as many as the second-place nationalist Istiqlal party, with 60 seats. The election was held more than a year early, after pro-democracy demonstrations swept the country earlier this year as part of the regionwide Arab Spring.

The leader of a moderate Islamist party Abdelilah Benkirane has been appointed by King Mohammed VI as Morocco’s new prime minister. Abdelilah will now hold talks on forming a coalition government.  His Justice and Development Party has not been in government before.

The PJD’s victory follows that of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda Party in an election there last month. Following elections, King Mohammed VI is for the first time obliged to choose the prime minister from the largest party, rather than naming whoever he pleases. King Mohammed received Benkirane, who is the PJD’s secretary general, in the mountain town of Midelt and named him head of government with the task of forming a new government.

Under a new constitution approved by referendum in July, the king has to choose a prime minister from the party that won the most seats. The constitution also gives the prime minister more powers to govern, but the king still has the final say on issues of defence, security and religion. The reforms were supported by all the main political parties, which called on their supporters to back the proposals in the referendum.

The 20 February movement, which spearheaded Morocco’s pro-democracy protests earlier this year, has called for a boycott of the elections, dismissing them as a “piece of theatre”. It says the constitutional changes approved in July are superficial, and perpetuate a “facade of democracy” that – it says – has disguised continuing royal rule for decades.

King Mohammed VI presented the constitutional changes as a far-reaching concession to Arab Spring-style pro-democracy protests, but activists believe they will do little to change the actual power structure and have called for a boycott of the elections. As a result of the constitutional changes approved by 98% of those voting in a 1 July referendum, the position of the prime minister, who must now be appointed from the largest party in parliament, has also been enhanced, gaining the authority to appoint government officials and dissolve parliament.  However, the parliament will have a greater share of power and – in theory – will play the leading role in a legislative process previously dominated by the king.

Benkirane, who was elected head of his party in 2008, leads its more pro-monarchy faction. He has repeatedly stated his support for a strong king, even though some of his colleagues would prefer a less powerful ruler. “The head of the state is king and no-one can govern without him,” he told supporters. The PJD has said it will promote Islamic finance. However, it has avoided focusing on issues such as alcohol and headscarves for women.

Many of the protesters who took to the streets in February feel the reforms still fall far short of their demands for a democratic, constitutional monarchy, and have called for a boycott. Ahead of the poll, the sleepy calm of the capital, Rabat, was occasionally punctuated by the marches of unemployed graduates. But the country’s powerful monarchy and the system that supports it appear to have averted any direct, mortal challenge for now.

A low turnout in the parliamentary poll would detract from the legitimacy of King Mohammed VI’s reforms and could hint at future problems.

II – Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco is the most westerly of the North African countries known as the Maghreb. To the south, the status of Western Sahara remains unresolved. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975 and a guerrilla war with Algerian-backed pro-independence forces ended in 1991. UN efforts have failed to break the political deadlock. To the north, a dispute with Spain in 2002 over the tiny island of Perejil revived the issue of the sovereignty of Melilla and Ceuta. The small enclaves on the Mediterranean coast are surrounded by Morocco and have been administered by Madrid for centuries.

Strategically situated with both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, but with a rugged mountainous interior, it stayed independent for centuries while developing a rich culture blended from Arab, Berber, European and African influences.  However, Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, when Sultan Mohammed became king. He was succeeded in 1961 by his son, Hassan II, who ruled for 38 years. He played a prominent role in the search for peace in the Middle East, given the large number of Israelis of Moroccan origin, but was criticized for suppressing domestic opposition. A truth commission set up to investigate human rights violations during Hassan’s reign confirmed nearly 10,000 cases, ranging from death in detention to forced exile. After his death in 1999 Hassan was succeeded by his son, who became King Mohammed VI and was seen as a modernizer. There has been some economic and social liberalization, but the monarch has retained sweeping powers.

King Mohammed is aided by a powerful propaganda machine – his image adorns streets and shops across the country. Central to the monarchical regime’s strength is its longevity – the Alaoui dynasty gained control of most of Morocco in 1664 – and its claim of descent from the Prophet Muhammad. The king has tremendous religious and political capital – it’s not just the king but the whole political establishment, the monarchy and the “makhzen” provide for the patronage network that embodies Morocco’s ruling elite.

Moroccan citizens, many of them poor and illiterate and living in rural areas, are made to believe that the monarch has a special gift or blessing and they feel that they have some psychological relationship with the king. Symbolic rituals also boost his status. In an annual ceremony of allegiance, the “bay’a”, Moroccan officials bow before the king as he parades on a horse.

Despite these traditional trappings, the monarchy under the 48-year-old king has taken on a more modern, reformist image. His father, Hassan II, ran a notoriously brutal regime between 1961 and 1999. Opponents were tortured and protests repressed.  1965, the interior minister at the time, Gen Mohammed Oufkir, supervised a crackdown on demonstrations in Casablanca from a helicopter while – according to one story – personally spraying rioters with a machine gun. But a process of gradual reform began in the final years of Hassan’s rule, and continued with his son. It included a family law that advanced women’s rights and a truth commission that explored abuses under King Hassan – though none of those responsible were prosecuted.

Along with Ennahda in Tunisia and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, it places itself within a contemporary movement to promote and respect Islam and reconcile Islam and democracy. Coalitions of more secular, royalist parties have tried to smother it and the Islamists have found it hard to directly challenge the king because of his religious status as “commander of the faithful”. It too is seen by many as being in the pocket of the palace. The PJD here in Morocco is presenting the ‘third way’ between revolution and the uncertainty of the current system.

The toppling of long-standing leaders in Tunisia and Egypt at the beginning of the year is widely seen as having caught the Moroccan regime off-guard, at a time when the reform process had stagnated. As Morocco’s own protest movement took shape, a long-held taboo was breached. It’s the first time in Morocco that the king was openly criticized and they didn’t shoot people. Instead, the monarchy’s response was to promise changes including rights guarantees and more powers for the parliament. These were enshrined in a new constitution that was approved by referendum in July.

III – Observations

Maybe, the Arab World is in the process of changing but Arabs still don’t know the results and what will happen in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria or Yemen especially the destruction of Libya by the NATO-UNSC terror organizations. The moderately Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), which has been buoyed by the recent reforms, and by the gains Islamists have made elsewhere in the region, could win the election and so supply the next prime minister.

Leaders of Morocco claim they are presenting the way of reform without losing the stability, the unity of the country- but at the same time furthering the democratic agenda of Morocco.

Morocco’s ruling elite thinks it has skillfully sidestepped the revolutionary fervor sweeping the Arab world by offering a milder, more peaceful vision of change. Critics of the reforms point in particular to the fact that the king will still have wide-ranging executive powers, in particular control over foreign, defence and security policy. Activists also say the reforms will not end the behind-the-scenes dominance of the “makhzen” – a power apparatus of veteran politicians, powerful businesspeople, the security forces and royal officials controlled by the king through a system of patronage.

Morocco is bidding for membership of the European Union, its main trade partner, but there appears to be little enthusiasm for this within the bloc.

Morocco has been given the status of non-Nato ally by Washington, which has praised its support for the US-led war on terror. After deadly suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003, Morocco launched a crackdown on suspected Islamic militants.

The message of a democratic agenda and gradual change is one that has gone down well with Morocco’s allies in the anti-Islamic US and Europe who promote pro-west leaders in Muslim world and destabilize the Muslim nations if the leaders do not buy CIA terror gimmicks…

Political and poll bribery is common. Sheep were being handed out to voters, and over the last few months, the protest movement has been subject to a smear campaign, arrests, and intimidation at the hands of shadowy groups of pro-monarchy thugs known as “baltaja”. But Moroccans say they will show the Western world that Morocco can bring about a gentle revolution and the nation can travel towards a real democracy.

In Morocco elections are never decisive as the king retains ultimate control and though parliament has more power, parties are weak. The electoral system is prepared on purpose not to let anyone succeed, so it’s impossible to get more than 20% of the seats in parliament and this is to allow the monarchy to dominate. The manipulation of the party system is just one of the old-fashioned tactics still being deployed to bolster the status quo.  According to analysts, the reforms passed this year are largely cosmetic, and there is no guarantee they will be put into practice on the ground. However, so long as it plays the NATO fiddle well, it has got nothing to worry.

Claims, fake or real, of descent from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace) by a few pampered Muslim leaders might be fashionable but are ridiculous if they decline to promote true Islam in the society. Moroccan king clams the same of being a descent from the Prophet Muhammad but he shamelessly sides with NATO terrorism and western anti-Islamism. A Muslim nation that promotes anti-Islamism and helps, directly or otherwise, the anti-Islamic GST rogues and refuses to promote Islamic way of life and institutionalize Islamic law on daily basis ceases to be a Muslim nation.  Muslim leaders in such societies are guilty of anti-Islamic crimes.

Elected premier Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane, though worships the king, has a responsibly constructive role to play in this regard so that Islam takes firm roots in the society. Americans, Britishers and other western terrocrats cannot help him or Morocco in this regard. Benkirane’s pro-people policies and their proper implementation would greatly benefit not just Muslims but entire humanity in some measure.

Muhammad praying at the Ka’ba.

——–
د. عبد راف

Dr. Abdul Ruff, Specialist on State Terrorism; Educationalist;Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs(CIA); Independent Analyst;Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements(Palestine,Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc); Anti-Muslimism and anti-Islamism are more dangerous than “terrorism” Anti-Islamic forces & terrorists are using criminal elements for terrorizing the world and they in disguise are harming genuine interests of ordinary Muslims. Global media today, even in Muslim nations, are controlled by CIA  & other anti-Islamic agencies. Former university Teacher;/website:abdulruff.wordpress.com

SAARC Summit in Islamabad postponed

SAARC Summit in Islamabad postponed

Dr. Abdul Ruff 
New Delhi’s decision to boycott the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad next November followed by Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan’s decision to do the same resulted in the cancellation of the summit.  Nepal, the current Saarc chairperson, announced it from Kathmandu.
The South Asian nuclear neighbours India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since their independence from Great Britain in 1947. Upon obtaining freedom and sovereignty, both India and Pakistan did not waste time in invading and dividing Jammu and Kashmir which lay a sandwich between them. Both conducted 3 deadly wars over the status of alien Kashmir valley.
And both want Kashmir lands to decorate their own territories and in the process over 100,000 Kashmiris (mostly Muslims) lost their lives as Indian forces mercilessly have run over them with guns and traps.
Indian attempt to isolate Pakistan
India does not want to surrender Kashmir to Kashmiris while Pakistan seeks to get Kashmir from India. It is because of Kashmir India got WMD with the help of UN veto remembers, followed by Pakistan doing the same.
India and Pakistan cause tensions in the region by regular crossfire operations essentially to terrorize the besieged Kashmiris. One has no idea if they have some secret understating on Kashmir as well.
One gets the impression that India is indeed angry with Pakistan for internationalizing the Kashmir issue and refusing to accept the joint occupational reality as such. India is annoyed that its regular complaints to Washington against Pakistan has not worked in its favour.  It appears New Delhi wants Washington to cooperate with declaring Pakistan a terrorist nation.
Having failed to isolate Pakistan internationally by tactfully drawing USA to its side of story against Kashmir, Now India aims at isolating Pakistan in the region by taking a decision to bypass the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting to be held in Islamabad.
In what is seen by New Delhi’s anti-Pakistan strategists as another snub in the series to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided not to attend the SAARC summit to be held in Islamabad in November. Not just that; India has been pressurizing other regional countries also not to attend the summit so that Pakistan stands isolated.
PM Modi feels all efforts to impress the regional leaders during his swearing in ceremony have not made any impact on the regional leaders or internationally. He views Pakistan being the cause of his failure and hence the angry outburst.
Delhi prompted SAARC summit boycott
India announced that it was pulling out of the Islamabad summit after the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army base in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 18 soldiers.  The attack came amid large-scale violence in Jammu and Kashmir that left around 90 people dead in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8. India said increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of Saarc member-states “by one country” have created an environment that was not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc summit.
As usual, India has quickly blamed Pakistan for a deadly assault on an army base in the disputed in Jammu Kashmir’s Uri town. Indian foreign ministry’s Vikas Swarup said India was pulling out from the SAARC summit scheduled in Islamabad in November due to present conditions.  Indian foreign ministry said it understood that some other SAARC members were apprehensive about attending, but it did not name them.
The decision to cancel Prime Minister Modi’s visit is the latest attempt by India to try to pressurize Pakistan diplomatically. India has said it will respond to the Kashmir attack but experts say it is short of military options because of the risk of escalation. Indian influence over a couple of its neighbours do work to its advantage Following the diplomatic blitzkrieg launched by New Delhi, India calculates that Pakistan would virtually be getting isolated in the region with Bangladesh and Bhutan joining India in boycotting the annual Saarc Summit scheduled to be hosted by Islamabad in November.
Dhaka joins the bandwagon
“The growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by ‘one country’ has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad,” sources quoted Bangladesh as saying in a message to current Saarc chair Nepal.  “Bangladesh, as the initiator of the Saarc process, remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in a more congenial atmosphere,” the message said. “In view of the above, Bangladesh is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad.”
Bangladesh has been critical of Pakistan and said: “The growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by one country has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th Saarc (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) Summit in Islamabad in November 2016.” It added:
“Bangladesh, as the initiator of the Saarc process, remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in a more congenial atmosphere….In view of the above, Bangladesh is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.”
Bhutan, in its message to Nepal, reaffirmed its strong commitment to the Saarc process and strengthening of regional cooperation, noted that “the concern of the Royal Government of Bhutan on the recent escalation of terrorism in the region, has seriously compromised the environment for the successful holding of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016”, it is learned. Indian media says, the Royal Government of Bhutan shares the concerns of some of the member countries of Saarc on the deterioration of regional peace and security due to terrorism and joins them in conveying our inability to participate in the Saarc Summit, under the current circumstances.
‘No Saarc sans India’
Sri Lanka, it is learned, has said that the event would not be possible without India’s participation. Having close economic and military ties with Pakistan, both Nepal and Srilanka are not amenable to Indian demand to abstain from SAARC meet in Pakistan. Sri Lanka, it was learned, has said that the event would not be possible without India’s participation.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that India has conveyed to Nepal its decision not to attend the summit, for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to go. “India remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in an atmosphere free of terror.
Pakistan, the host of SAARC summit, has termed the Indian boycott decision as “unfortunate”. The US has also said that it was pressurizing Pakistan to act against “terror” safe havens within its borders. “Well, I mean, clearly we’ve talked about that before, while we’ve seen Pakistan make progress on some of the terrorist groups operating within its own borders and carrying out attacks within Pakistan’s borders, that we continue to put pressure on Pakistan to respond to those groups who are, quote/unquote, ‘seeking safe haven on Pakistan’s borders’, that—who are intent on carrying out attacks elsewhere in the region,” US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said in the daily press briefing in Washington on Tuesday.
The USA is one of the nine observer members of Saarc, the others being Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar and South Korea. Toner said: “We want to see closer relations and a normalization of relations, frankly, between India and Pakistan.” “It would be the—to the benefit of the region. And we want to see de-escalation in the political discourse between the two countries and greater communication and coordination between them,” he said.
Blame game spreads
New Delhi had earlier blamed the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit for the September 18 as well as the January 2 Pathankot air base attack in Punjab. However, it came out later that attacks were “engineered” locally in order only to blame Pakistan so that it does not demand Kashmir which is under Indian occupation.
Meanwhile, as a routine matter, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar summoned Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit and made a demarche that proved Islamabad’s links to the attack.
Former Pakistani president general Musharraf (born in Delhi), speaking to Indian TV channels, questioned the rationale of just blaming Pakistan for all terror attacks taking place in India and even in USA.
Concerned about the water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over river Cauvery, Modi has said that India would revisit the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan that calls for sharing of the waters of the six rivers of the Indus basin with Pakistan while indicating that the most favoured nation (MFN) trade status granted to the neighbour in 1996 might be revoked.
Following the diplomatic blitzkrieg launched by New Delhi, Pakistan is virtually getting isolated in the region with Afghanistan, which gets regular funds for developmental and perhaps anti-Pakistani operations across the border, joining India in boycotting the annual Saarc Summit scheduled to be hosted by Islamabad in November. “Due to increased level of violence and fighting as a result of imposed terrorism on Afghanistan, President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani with his responsibilities as the Commander in Chief will be fully engaged, and will not be able to attend the summit,” sources quoted Kabul as saying in a message to Saarc chair Nepal.
Dr. Abdur Ruff, an educationist and author, columnist, an expert on Mideast affairs, Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); *Editor: international opinion,foreign policy; Palestine Times: website:https://abdulruff.wordpress.com/ email: abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com; Phone: 91-7293435028

Putin to visit France: Pragmatism in bilateral ties!

Putin to visit France: Pragmatism in bilateral ties!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
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Unusual visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Paris next month to inaugurate a Russian cultural center and Russian cathedral. Outwardly there are no political or economic or even security (anti-terrorism) agenda, some experts have expressed serious skepticism that Putin would not make a trip just for a small things and world therefore promote his own political agenda, which includes the alleviation of the Western sanctions imposed on Russia for its policy in Ukraine. Russia is till reeling under the notorious sanctions form USA and Europe and the retaliatory sanctions form Moscow have not alleviated Moscow’s serious economic worries.
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Amidst Moscow’s ongoing confrontation with the West over Ukraine, Russian President’s October visit to France has already been met with a great deal of debates in media and government circles in the west, beyond France.

The visit gives the media that plenty of reasons to accuse French President François Hollande of being “malleable” because, they argue, the visit as an “ignominy” because it offers “an authorized podium” to Putin. After the Ukraine crisis, Putin’s visits to EU member states are anything but routine. “Visits to the EU’s major countries are viewed with special interest by many, and with suspicion and open disapproval by some.” Since the break in relations with the West, Putin has traveled to France for international gatherings, such as the D-Day celebration or the UN climate summit. A bilateral visit, of course, carries much more substance.

In general, France has been friendlier to Russia than other EU nations, as indicated previous attempt to foster by Hollande’s shuttle diplomacy with the Kremlin. It means that France is looking for a positive dynamic in its relations with Moscow and making all necessary efforts to alleviate tensions, but there is a lack of goodwill in the Western environment. French companies want economic relations with Russia restored.

 

Sept-11 hoax and western-Russia unity

The day after 9/11, NATO announced that it interprets the terrorist acts against the USA as an attack on all 19 members of the Alliance. But France questioned the rationale and the hidden agenda of Washington for attacking Iraq.

True, terrorist attacks in USA brought Russia closer to USA while terrorist attacks in France moved Paris closer to Moscow. In fact Sept-11 hoax brought all anti-Islamic nations together to fight Islam and Muslims.
France’s pragmatic approach to all issues is significant. It avoids overdoing terror gimmick beyond certain limit and does not fully trust USA. Hollande seems to be driven by pragmatic calculations after a series of terrorist attacks in 2015-2016 in Paris and Nice. This is the reason why he changed his rhetoric and toned down his criticism toward Russia. All this makes him a sort of contrarian among the NATO members, which remain intransigent and reluctant to cooperate with the Kremlin regardless of common threats like Islamic terrorism.“The recent terrorist attacks against the French people underscore the importance of security cooperation with Russia…And Paris has not entirely forgotten its past habit of acting as a great power in its own right… For France, Russia isn’t an adversary, isn’t a threat,” Hollande said during the NATO Summit in Warsaw. “Russia is a partner that can sometimes, as we saw in Ukraine, use force. … It’s absolutely not NATO’s job to weigh in on the relationship that Europe has with Russia.”

Indeed, France is one of the EU countries, which has been trying to maintain dialogue with the Kremlin regardless of the risks of being strongly criticized by its Western counterparts. French parliamentarians and businessmen have paid numerous visits to Russia and Crimea since the sanctions came into force. In the wake of the Russia-West confrontation over Ukraine, a number of French parliamentarians visited the Crimean peninsula in late July 2015. Former French President and current leader of the Republicans party Nicolas Sarkozy paid a two-day visit to Moscow on October 28-29, 2015, not to mention Hollande’s meeting with Putin in Moscow in late November 2015 in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. French companies want economic relations with Russia restored. Likewise, French Senate President Gerard Larcher paid a visit to Moscow in early April 2016. He admitted that the sanctions on Russia had serious implications for France, which has lost access to Russian markets. Finally, France’s parliament – the National Assembly – voted against prolonging economic sanctions on Russia and adopted a resolution calling on Paris to reassess the nation’s sanctions policy towards Moscow on Apr. 28.

The war on terror launched by France after the deadly attacks Nov. 13 in Paris resembles the anti-terrorism campaign of the USA after the Sept. 11 hoax in 2001. It remains to be seen if France is going to repeat the mistakes of former US President George Bush. Regular citizens realized that the US led war on terror has made Europeans more insecure than ever and even in the heart of Europe they cannot feel completely safe.

Recently, meeting the French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian and France continued developing relations in all spheres against all the odds. “Despite all the difficulties, the relations between our countries are developing,” Putin said at a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. “We develop them practically in all directions, including the government level, business contacts and inter-parliamentary dimension,” the Russian president said. He noted that France was one of Russia’s key partners in Europe and the whole world. Putin offered the French foreign minister to discuss bilateral relations and key international issues at their meeting. French Foreign Minister said French President Francois Hollande expects to see the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, in October 2016.

Thus visiting is going to happen.

Some commentators speculate that the French President sought to use this visit to reinvigorate the debates on lifting sanctions against Moscow and normalizing the French-Russian bilateral relations and Russia-EU relations. However, after the mysterious Crimean incident the prospects of improving Russian-European relations and implementing the Minsk Agreements are not feasible in the near future.

According to the allegations of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), released in early August, Ukrainian saboteurs were preparing terrorist attacks in Crimea, while Kiev sees such accusations as “fantasies”. Although there are still chances for improvement, the Crimean incident came as a very unpleasant surprise, which provoked tensions.

The French government is adjusting its security priorities. France is now ready to take up arms and launch a military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Greater Syria (ISIS) All this is looking more and more like the aftermath of 9/11hoax in the USA. The War on Terror is a phrase coined by former US President George W. Bush after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. 14 years later, “France is at war, ”uttered François Hollande, the President of France, after Paris was targeted by terrorists on Nov. 13, 2015.

 

Historical ties and antagonism

Russia’s longing to be a part of Europe Is not accidental and after the collapse of mighty USSR. France and Russia were crucial states in the European balance of power. France–Russia relations date back to early modern period, with sporadic contact even earlier, when both countries were ruled by absolute monarchies, the Kingdom of France (843–1792) and the Tsardom of Russia (1547–1721). Diplomatic ties go back at least to 1702 when France had an ambassador (Jean-Casimir Baluze) in Moscow.[2] Following Russia’s victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War, the foundation of Saint Petersburg as the new capital in 1712, and declaration of an empire in 1721, Russia became a major force in European affairs for the first time.

After the French Revolution, Russia became a center of reactionary antagonism against the revolution. The French invasion of Russia in 1812 was major defeat for France and a turning point in the Napoleonic War. Russia was again hostile when the Revolutions of 1848 broke out across Europe. France’s challenges to Russia’s influence led France to participate in the Crimean War, which saw French troops invade the Crimean peninsula.

Imperial Russia’s foreign policy was hostile to republican France in the 19th century and very pro-German. Russia cautiously began a policy of rapprochement with France starting in 1891 while the French for their part were very interested in the Russian offers of an alliance.[5] In August 1891, France and Russia signed a “consultative pact” where both nations agreed to consult each other if another power were to threaten the peace of Europe. In 1893-94, French and Russian diplomats negotiated a defensive alliance meant to counter the growing power of Germany. The alliance was intended to deter Germany from going to war by presenting the Reich with the threat of a two-front war; neither France nor Russia could hope to defeat Germany on their own, but their combined power might, which in turn was meant to deter Berlin from going to war with either Paris or St. Petersburg.

Tashkent in its turn would be the base from which the Russians would invade Afghanistan as the prelude to invading India. Despite their alliance, both Russia and France pursued their own interests. In 1908-09 during the Bosnia crisis, France declined to support Russia as a quarrel in the Balkans with Austria supported by Germany threatening war against Russia over Bosnia did not concern them.[7] The lack of French interest in supporting Russia during the Bosnia crisis was the nadir of Franco-Russian relations with the Emperor Nicholas II making no effort to hide his disgust at the lack of support from what was supposed to be his number one ally.

In 1911 during the Second Moroccan Crisis, the Russians paid the French back for their lack of support in the Bosnia crisis by refusing to support France when Germany threatened war against the French over Morocco. Further linking France and Russia together was a common economic interests. Russia wished to industrialize, but lacked the capital to do so while the French were more than prepared to lend the necessary money to finance Russia’s industrialization. By 1913, French investors had put 12 billion francs into Russian assets, making the French easily the largest investors in the Russian empire. The industrialization of the Russian Empire was largely the result of a massive influx of French capital into Russia.
On March 16, 1902, a mutual pact was signed between France and Russia. Japan later fought Russia in the Russo-Japanese war. France remained neutral in this conflict. During World War I, France was allied with Great Britain and the Russian Empire. The alliance between the three countries formed the Triple Entente. However, after the Bolsheviks seized control of the Russian government in 1917, Russia left the war.
France’s bilateral relations with the Soviet Union have experienced dramatic ups and downs due to Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and France’s alliance in the NATO. Previous Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev made a visit to France in October 1985 in order to fix the strains in the Franco-Soviet relations. Nevertheless, France’s bilateral activities continued with NATO, which furthermore strained the bilateral relations between France and the Soviet Union.

 
After the breakup of the USSR, bilateral relations between France and Russia were initially warm. On February 7, 1992 France signed a bilateral treaty, recognizing Russia as a successor of the USSR. As described by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the bilateral relations between France and Russia remain longstanding, and remain strong to this day. During the 2008 Georgia-Russia War, Sarkozy did not insist on territorial integrity of Georgia. Moreover, there were no French protests when Russia failed to obey Sarkozy’s deal to withdraw from Georgia and recognizing governments in Georgia’s territories. One of the major news has been the sale of Mistral class amphibious assault ships to Russia. The deal which was signed at 2010, is the first major arms deal between Russia and the Western world since World War II The deal has been criticized for neglecting the security interests of Poland, the Baltic states, Ukraine, and Georgia
Before Syrian Civil War, Franco-Russian relations were generally improving. After years flailing behind Germany and Italy, France decided to copy them by emphasizing the bilateral relationship. Ever since the financial crisis took hold, European powers have been forced to court emerging markets more and Moscow meanwhile wanted to diversify its own economy. President Hollande summed up the attitude towards what some said Putin’s repressive array of new laws during his first official visit to Moscow in February 2013: “I do not have to judge, I do not have to evaluate”
The French press highlighted that ISIS is the first common enemy that France and Russia fight shoulder to shoulder since WWII. A Russian newspaper recalled that “WWII had forced the Western World and the Soviet Union to overcome their ideological differences”, wondering whether ISIS would be the “new Hitler”. François Hollande and Vladimir Putin agreed on ordering their respective armed forces to “cooperate” with one another in the fight against the ISIS. The French President has called upon the international community to bring “together of all those who can realistically fight against this terrorist army in a large and unique coalition. The French-Russian bombing cooperation is considered to be an “unprecedented” move, given that France is a member of NATO. Russia tried to be a part of NATO with French help but USA remains unimpressed by Moscow’s love for capitalism and imperialism.

Western sanctions, Russian response

 

The West, inspired by the super power USA, subjected Russia and companies to batches of sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March 2014 after a coup in Ukraine in February that year. New, sectoral, penalties against Russia were announced in late July 2014 over Moscow’s position on Ukrainian events, in particular, what the West claimed was Russia’s alleged involvement in hostilities in Ukraine’s embattled south-east.

Russia responded with imposing on August 6, 2014 a ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway. The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of “annexing” Crimea because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, and Moscow has repeatedly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine.

France had said it was ready to facilitate the preparation of a decision on lifting anti-Russian sanctions which will be discussed at EU’s summit at the end of June or beginning of July. But It could do much on the issue.

 

Observation

Despite the high expectations for Putin’s visit to Paris, experts are very skeptical that it will bring any breakthroughs. Generally, France pursues a neutral foreign policy. France’s decision not to ask for NATO support after the terrorist attacks in Paris makes the point clear. France has the capacity to accommodate the counter arguments of the opponents.

Interestingly, French-Russian bilateral relations are not in the best shape, but they are not worse than the relations with other European countries. This is a good sign, especially given the 2017 presidential elections in France.

But President Hollande’s approach towards Russia could be a political tactic to gain votes before the 2017 presidential elections perhaps against Sarkozy. After all, he is expected to run for the next presidency and the French people have always been divided in their attitude toward Russia.

On its part, Russia hopes that the next French president could reinvigorate ties with Moscow and seek to establish closer relations at the bilateral level instead of improving relations with the EU in general. Putin visit could promote that goal. But the EU may be transformed, but the countries that comprise it, will remain and Russia will have to deal with them somehow.

Sarkozy seems not to be very enthusiastic about improving relations with Russia. His tough stance toward Russia is rather close to the position of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. So, it remains to be seen if Hollande’s departure from the presidential office will be good or bad for Russia.

Given the fact that the EU puts itself into opposition to Russia and is faced with a serious transformation in the aftermath of Brexit, Russia finds it more convenient to find common ground on a bilateral level with separate European countries that are relatively friendly to Moscow and have a history of successful partnership. Moscow believes that it would be reasonable now to build up the relations with important European stakeholders such as France, taking into account the diplomatic approach of Paris and its readiness to come up with a compromise. However, the perception that a new French president will be pro-Russia is wrong.

The same applies to Trump as well.

Many agree that the anti-terrorism cum anti-Islamism could bring the Western nations together. It became a matter of political routine for Paris-Moscow bilateral relations. The two leaders will discuss it and, probably, look at the problem from a different angle. Yet it is also hardly likely to be the key topic during the Russian president’s visit to France.

Despite the numerous assumptions that Putin will try to persuade Hollande to lift the European sanctions during his visit, it might not be the key topic. Russia’s relations with the West and France, in particular, are not limited to lifting sanctions. The agenda of the Middle East and Syria is more relevant for bilateral relations and Putin should primarily discuss this with Hollande.

Paris may not break ranks with EU or NATO solidarity, and won’t take steps that lead to the cancellation of the sanctions. Yet, Putin’s visit underlines the following trend: nations are no longer isolating Russia, but re-establishing links with it.

Even though the Russian President’s upcoming visit to France might improve French-Russian relations, there is no reason to wait for any breakthroughs.

 

Kashmir: India to boycott SAARC Summit in Islamabad

Kashmir: India to boycott SAARC Summit in Islamabad
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
_______

The South Asian nuclear neighbors India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since their independence from Great Britain in 1947. Upon obtaining freedom and sovereignty, both India and Pakistan did not waste time in invading and dividing a sovereign Jammu Kashmir which lay a sandwich between them. Both conducted 3 deadly wars over the status of alien Kashmir valley.
London queen supported the dismembering action of Kashmir in UN. UK, former ruler of India, Pakistan and Kashmir, seems to support both India and Pakistan over Kashmir issue, fueling tensions in the region. India and Pakistan would not have annexed Jammu Kashmir had UK opposed that.
And both want Kashmir lands to decorate their own territories and in the process over 100,000 Kashmiris (mostly Muslims) lost their lives as Indian forces mercilessly have run over them with guns and traps. India even bought Israeli guns for the genocide purposes.
India does not want to surrender Kashmir to Kashmiris while Pakistan seeks to get Kashmir from India. It is because of Kashmir India got WMD nukes with the help of UN veto remembers, followed by Pakistan doing the same.
India and Pakistan cause tensions in the region by regular crossfire operations essentially to terrorize the besieged Kashmiris.
One has no idea if they have some secret understating on Kashmir as well.
One gets the impression that India is indeed angry with Pakistan for internationalizing the Kashmir issue and refusing to accept the joint occupational reality as such. India is annoyed that its regular complaints to Washington against Pakistan has not worked in its favor. It appears New Delhi wants Islamabad to cooperate with USA in declaring Pakistan a terrorist nation.

Having failed to isolate Pakistan internationally by tactfully drawing USA to its side of story against Kashmir , Now India aims a isolating Pakistan in the region by taking a decision to bypass the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting to be held in Islamabad .
In what is seen by New Delhi’s anti-Pakistan strategists as another snub in the series to Pakistan, Indian PM Narendra Modi has decided not to attend the SAARC summit to be held in Islamabad in November. Not just that; India has been pressurizing other regional also not to attend the summit so that Pakistan stands isolated.
PM Modi feels all efforts to impress the regional leaders during his swearing in ceremony have not made any impact on the regional leaders or internationally. He views Pakistan being the cause of his failure and hence the angry outburst. .
India announced that it was pulling out of the Islamabad summit after the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army base in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 18 soldiers. The attack came amid large-scale violence in Jammu and Kashmir that left around 90 people dead in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani on July 8. India said increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of Saarc member-states “by one country” have created an environment that was not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc summit.
As usual, India has quickly blamed Pakistan for a deadly assault on an army base in the disputed in Jammu Kashmir’s Uri town. The foreign ministry’s Vikas Swarup said India was pulling out from the SAARC summit scheduled in Islamabad in November due to present conditions. Indian foreign ministry said it understood that some other SAARC members were apprehensive about attending, but it did not name them.

The decision to cancel PM Modi’s visit is the latest attempt by India to try to pressurize Pakistan diplomatically. India has said it will respond to the Kashmir attack but experts say it is short of military options because of the risk of escalation. Indian influence over a couple of its neighbors do work in its advantage

Following the diplomatic blitzkrieg launched by New Delhi, India calculates that Pakistan would virtually be getting isolated in the region with Bangladesh and Bhutan joining India in boycotting the annual Saarc Summit scheduled to be hosted by Islamabad in November. “The growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by ‘one country’ has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad,” sources quoted Bangladesh as saying in a message to current Saarc chair Nepal. “Bangladesh, as the initiator of the Saarc process, remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in a more congenial atmosphere,” the message said.
Bangladesh has been critical of Pakistan of which had been a part of Pakistan as East Pakistan before a nation of Bangladeshis was established with help from India in 1974.
Bhutan produces literally nothing and depends on India and other neighbors for its substances. In its message to Nepal, Bhutan, while reaffirming its strong commitment to the Saarc process and strengthening of regional cooperation, noted that “the concern of the Royal Government of Bhutan on the recent escalation of terrorism in the region, has seriously compromised the environment for the successful holding of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016”, it is learned. Indian media says, the Royal Government of Bhutan shares the concerns of some of the member countries of Saarc on the deterioration of regional peace and security due to terrorism and joins them in conveying our inability to participate in the Saarc Summit, under the current circumstances..
Having close economic and military ties with Pakistan, both Nepal and Srilanka are not amenable to Indian demand to abstain from SAARC meet in Pakistan. Sri Lanka, it was learned, has said that the event would not be possible without India’s participation.
Pakistan, the host of SAARC summit, has termed the Indian boycott decision as “unfortunate”. The US has also said that it was pressurizing Pakistan to act against “terror” safe havens within its borders. “Well, I mean, clearly we’ve talked about that before is, while we’ve seen Pakistan make progress on some of the terrorist groups operating within its own borders and carrying out attacks within Pakistan’s borders, that we continue to put pressure on Pakistan to respond to those groups who are, quote/unquote, ‘seeking safe haven on Pakistan’s borders’, that — who are intent on carrying out attacks elsewhere in the region,” US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said in the daily press briefing in Washington on Tuesday.
The USA is one of the nine observer members of Saarc, the others being Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar and South Korea. Toner said: “We want to see closer relations and a normalization of relations, frankly, between India and Pakistan.” “It would be the — to the benefit of the region. And we want to see de-escalation in the political discourse between the two countries and greater communication and coordination between them,” he said.
New Delhi had earlier blamed the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit for the September 18 as well as the January 2 Pathankot air base attack in Punjab. However, it came out later that attacks were “engineered” locally in order only to blame Pakistan so that it does not demand Kashmir which is under Indian occupation. . .
Meanwhile, as a routine matter, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar summoned Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit and made a demarche that proved Islamabad’s links to the attack. Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that India has conveyed to Nepal its decision not to attend the summit, for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to go. “India remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in an atmosphere free of terror.

Former Pakistani president general Musharraf (born in Delhi), speaking to Indian TV channels, questioned the rationale of just blaming Pakistan for all terror attacks taking place in India and even in USA.
Concerned about the water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over river Cauvery, Modi has said that India would revisit the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan that calls for sharing of the waters of the six rivers of the Indus basin with Pakistan while indicating that the most favored nation (MFN) trade status granted to the neighbour in 1996 might be revoked.
Following the diplomatic blitzkrieg launched by New Delhi, Pakistan is virtually getting isolated in the region with Afghanistan, which gets regular funds for developmental and perhaps anti-Pakistani operations across the border, joining India in boycotting the annual Saarc Summit scheduled to be hosted by Islamabad in November. “Due to increased level of violence and fighting as a result of imposed terrorism on Afghanistan, President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani with his responsibilities as the Commander in Chief will be fully engaged, and will not be able to attend the summit,” sources quoted Kabul as saying in a message to Saarc chair Nepal.
It is not clear as yet if Pakistan would go ahead with the SAARC summit if India does not attend and even if USA, ignoring Indian pressure tactics, attends it as an observer. Can USA annoy the South Asian super power India which offers money to Americans on a regular basis to support on Kashmir issue?
Speculation is thrilling, indeed!

Indian politics: AIADMK announces list of candidates for Tamil Nadu local polls!

Indian politics: AIADMK announces list of candidates for Tamil Nadu local polls!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

______________

 

 

 

 

As it happened in the state assembly poll held a few months back, the ruling AIADMK has already announced, well ahead of other parties including the main opposition DMK, the list of candidates for local polls in Tamil Nadu to be held on 17 and 19 October. And the ruling party seems to be readily waiting for the announcement of poll dates by the election commission to release the list.  The results would be declared on 21 October.

 

The opposition party DMK also has released its first list of candidates for a few corporations, leaving a few for its allies like Congress party and Muslim League. Sources say, the mayoral posts and chairmen of municipalities would be decided later. People’s Front led by Vaiko would contest the polls as one block. The details about the coalition are still awaited. BJP, having burnt its fingers in the assembly poll hoping to form the “first ever” saffron government had ended in a draw as the party failed to win even a seat in the assembly for the first time in years. .

 

 

According to the notification issued by the Election Commission on Sunday, local body elections will be held in two phases on 17 and 19 October. The polls will fill up over 1.3 lakh posts in 12 rural and urban municipalities across Tamil Nadu. Chennai and Dindigul corporations will go to poll in the second phase on 19 October, while 10 other local bodies will elect their representatives in the first phase on 17 October. Counting of votes will be done on 21 October.

 

According to the reportsubmission of nominations will be open from 26 September while the last date of submission will be 3 October. The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be 6 October. Indirect elections to the posts of mayors, municipality chairpersons and other local body chiefs and deputy chiefs will be held on 2 November.

 

 

The reservation for women in this year’s civic body poll, however, has been increased to 50 percent, after a Bill was passed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly amending municipal and panchayat laws to increase the percentage of reservation for women from 33 to 50. The posts of mayors, deputy mayors and other local body chiefs will be filled by indirect elections after the Tamil Nadu Municipal Corporation Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 was passed amid opposition from DMK and Congress. While the DMK questioned the government’s intention behind the amendment, Congress termed it as an attempt to “stifle the voice of democracy.”

 

Just hours after the notice of election for the local body was released, AIADMK General Secretary CM J. Jayalalithaa released the list of candidates for the post of councillor in all the 12 municipalities in Tamil Nadu.

 

Announcing the list of candidates, AIADMK General Secretary and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa retained some old names, while she chose field the party heavyweights from Chennai, to woo the voters. Only three of the incumbent mayors, out of 12, are given a second run at the election. Sitting mayors from Salem (S Soundappan), Tiruchy (MSR Jaya) and Thanjavur ( Savithri Gopal) will run on party tickets again, while the deputy mayor of Salem, M Natesan also got a ticket this time again.

 

In Chennai, sitting Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy has been dropped of the list this time, however, leaders like N Balaganga (from ward No. 78) and JCD Prabhakar, (from ward No. 80) are given a chance and are being looked upon as the front-runners for mayorship of the capital of the state. Apart from this, around 25 sitting councilors have been re-nominated in the state capital.

 

 

AIADMK also rewarded former Mayor Charubala Thondaiman, who had recently switched alliance from Tamil Maanila Congress to AIADMK, with a party ticket from ward No. 44 in Thanjavur.

 

Meanwhile, a PIL has been filed in the Madras High Court challenging the indirect election of mayors, while the court has sought a response from the state government and posted the PIL to 25 October next for further hearing,

 

While  AIAIDMK is ready with the list of its candiates for the  local polls, other parties are still in the selection proceses and would soon release their own lists.

 

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai in the wee hours on Friday and her condition is “stable”, according to the hospital. Jayalalithaa complained of “fever and dehydration” and was admitted in Apollo hospitals, in the early hours on Friday. “The chief minister of Tamil Nadu was admitted to Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, with fever and dehydration,” said Subbiah Viswanathan, chief operating officer of the hospital, in a release circulated to the media. A release from the hospital said that the 68-year-old AIADMK chief’s condition is “stable”, adding she is “under observation”.

 

The Apollo hospital is being surrounded by AIADMK party workers, refusing to leave until their leader is declared safe and she returns home from the hospital.

Unlike the assembly poll, the local polls would not attract big leaders  to campaign for the candidates and only party’s  district units are supposed to  take care of  it.

 

Kashmir: India to boycott SAARC Summit in Islamabad

Kashmir: India to boycott SAARC Summit in Islamabad

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

_______

 

 

The South Asian nuclear neighbors India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since their independence from Great Britain in 1947. Upon obtaining freedom and sovereignty, both India and Pakistan did not waste time in invading and dividing a sovereign Jammu Kashmir which lay a sandwich between them. Both conducted 3 deadly wars over the status of alien Kashmir valley.

London queen supported the dismembering action of Kashmir in UN. UK, former ruler of India, Pakistan and Kashmir,  seems to support both India and Pakistan over Kashmir issue, fueling tensions in the region.  India and Pakistan would not have annexed Jammu Kashmir had UK  opposed that.

And both want Kashmir lands to decorate their own territories and in the process over 100,000 Kashmiris (mostly Muslims) lost their lives as Indian forces mercilessly have run over them with guns and traps. India even bought Israeli guns for the genocide purposes.

India does not want to surrender Kashmir to Kashmiris while Pakistan seeks to get Kashmir from India. It is because of Kashmir India got WMD nukes with the help of UN veto remembers, followed by Pakistan doing the same.

India and Pakistan cause tensions in the region by regular crossfire operations essentially to terrorize the besieged Kashmiris.

One has no idea if they have some secret understating on Kashmir as well.

One gets the impression that India is indeed angry with Pakistan for internationalizing the Kashmir issue and refusing to accept the joint occupational reality as such. India is annoyed that its regular complaints to Washington against Pakistan has not worked in its favor.  It appears New Delhi wants Islamabad to cooperate with USA in declaring Pakistan a terrorist nation.

 

Having failed to isolate Pakistan internationally by  tactfully drawing USA to its side of story against Kashmir , Now India aims a isolating Pakistan in the region by taking a decision to bypass the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting to be held in Islamabad .

In what is seen by New Delhi’s anti-Pakistan strategists as another snub in the series to Pakistan, Indian PM Narendra Modi has decided not to attend the SAARC summit to be held in Islamabad in November. Not just that; India has been pressurizing other regional also not to attend the summit so that Pakistan stands isolated.

PM Modi feels all efforts to impress the regional leaders during his swearing in ceremony have not made any impact on the regional leaders or internationally. He views Pakistan being the cause of his failure and hence the angry outburst. .

India announced that it was pulling out of the Islamabad summit after the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army base in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 18 soldiers. The attack came amid large-scale violence in Jammu and Kashmir that left around 90 people dead in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani on July 8. India said increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of Saarc member-states “by one country” have created an environment that was not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc summit.

As usual, India has quickly blamed Pakistan for a deadly assault on an army base in the disputed in Jammu Kashmir’s Uri town. The foreign ministry’s Vikas Swarup said India was pulling out from the SAARC summit scheduled in Islamabad in November due to present conditions. Indian foreign ministry said it understood that some other SAARC members were apprehensive about attending, but it did not name them.

 

The decision to cancel PM Modi’s visit is the latest attempt by India to try to pressurize Pakistan diplomatically. India has said it will respond to the Kashmir attack but experts say it is short of military options because of the risk of escalation. Indian influence over a couple of its neighbors do work in its advantage

 

Following the diplomatic blitzkrieg launched by New Delhi, India calculates that Pakistan would virtually be getting isolated in the region with Bangladesh and Bhutan joining India in boycotting the annual Saarc Summit scheduled to be hosted by Islamabad in November. “The growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by ‘one country’ has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad,” sources quoted Bangladesh as saying in a message to current Saarc chair Nepal. “Bangladesh, as the initiator of the Saarc process, remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in a more congenial atmosphere,” the message said.

Bangladesh has been critical of Pakistan of which had been a part of Pakistan as East Pakistan before a nation of Bangladeshis was established with help from India in 1974.

Bhutan produces literally nothing and depends on India and other  neighbors for its substances.  In its message to Nepal, Bhutan, while reaffirming its strong commitment to the Saarc process and strengthening of regional cooperation, noted that “the concern of the Royal Government of Bhutan on the recent escalation of terrorism in the region, has seriously compromised the environment for the successful holding of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016”, it is learned. Indian media says, the Royal Government of Bhutan shares the concerns of some of the member countries of Saarc on the deterioration of regional peace and security due to terrorism and joins them in conveying our inability to participate in the Saarc Summit, under the current circumstances..

Having close economic and military ties with Pakistan, both Nepal and Srilanka are not amenable to Indian demand to abstain from SAARC meet in Pakistan. Sri Lanka, it was learned, has said that the event would not be possible without India’s participation.

Pakistan, the host of SAARC summit, has termed the Indian boycott decision as “unfortunate”. The US has also said that it was pressurizing Pakistan to act against “terror” safe havens within its borders. “Well, I mean, clearly we’ve talked about that before is, while we’ve seen Pakistan make progress on some of the terrorist groups operating within its own borders and carrying out attacks within Pakistan’s borders, that we continue to put pressure on Pakistan to respond to those groups who are, quote/unquote, ‘seeking safe haven on Pakistan’s borders’, that — who are intent on carrying out attacks elsewhere in the region,” US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said in the daily press briefing in Washington on Tuesday.

The USA is one of the nine observer members of Saarc, the others being Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar and South Korea. Toner said: “We want to see closer relations and a normalization of relations, frankly, between India and Pakistan.” “It would be the — to the benefit of the region. And we want to see de-escalation in the political discourse between the two countries and greater communication and coordination between them,” he said.

New Delhi had earlier blamed the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit for the September 18 as well as the January 2 Pathankot air base attack in Punjab. However, it came out later that attacks were “engineered” locally in order only to blame Pakistan so that it does not demand Kashmir which is under Indian occupation.  .  .

Meanwhile, as a routine matter, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar summoned Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit and made a demarche that proved Islamabad’s links to the attack. Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that India has conveyed to Nepal its decision not to attend the summit, for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to go. “India remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in an atmosphere free of terror.

 

Former Pakistani president general Musharraf (born in Delhi), speaking to Indian TV channels, questioned the rationale of just blaming Pakistan for all terror attacks taking place in India and even in USA.

Concerned about the water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over river Cauvery, Modi has said that India would revisit the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan that calls for sharing of the waters of the six rivers of the Indus basin with Pakistan while indicating that the most favored nation (MFN) trade status granted to the neighbour in 1996 might be revoked.

Following the diplomatic blitzkrieg launched by New Delhi, Pakistan is virtually getting isolated in the region with Afghanistan, which gets regular funds for developmental and perhaps anti-Pakistani operations across the border, joining India in boycotting the annual Saarc Summit scheduled to be hosted by Islamabad in November. “Due to increased level of violence and fighting as a result of imposed terrorism on Afghanistan, President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani with his responsibilities as the Commander in Chief will be fully engaged, and will not be able to attend the summit,” sources quoted Kabul as saying in a message to Saarc chair Nepal.

It is not clear as yet if Pakistan would go ahead with the SAARC summit if India does not attend and even if USA, ignoring Indian pressure tactics, attends it as an observer. Can USA annoy the South Asian super power India which offers money to Americans on a regular basis to support on Kashmir issue?

Speculation is thrilling, indeed!

 

Syria: Dark and smoky tunnel!

Syria: Dark and smoky tunnel!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
______

 

 

It appeared a light, at long last, was fast appearing in the Syrian tunnel and soon peace shall be prevailing in the war torn Arab nation with plenty of energy resources.
It turned out to be yet another illusion in West Asia- the target of ant-Islamic nations!
.
Post fragile truce

Those who thought the war being waged by top world powers, USA and Russia in Syria would end soon after the fragile truce, are not once again disappointed that war is taking a new twist with Syrian forces, backed by Russia and the rebel fighters supported by USA accelerating the war in Sunni dominated Syria after having declared a ceasefire.
The fact is USA is not keen to end wars in Syria and ending war won’t give Russia anything special. The important figures in Pentagon have condemned the US-Russian cease-fire in Syria, disallowing the military to kill more Muslims. They call for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, and fro which advocated a major escalation of the US-NATO intervention in Syria—arming the Islamist opposition with anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons. They argue ending the war without archiving the main objective is bad for US invasion polices in future.

For USA, short of an agenda that includes a comprehensive agreement for Bashar al-Assad to step down and allow a transition toward a non-Islamic or so-called pluralist government, no cease-fire stands a chance in that war-torn country. Without a balance of military forces on the ground in Syria, which would compel the Assad regime and its Iranian backers to seek real compromise, a genuine political settlement is not possible. In other word, what the Neocons nuts want is a perfect regime change in Syria but to which neither Assad nor his Russian supporter Putin is agreeable. Both seek status quo.
The Neocons criticize Obama for having failed to militarily exploit the concocted “poison gas” episode of 2013 to overthrow Assad and bring the opposition to power and say the truce should be used to re-arm US-backed “revolutionary” militias fighting alongside the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front. They attacked the Obama government for lacking the appetite for a major confrontation with Russia. In fact, the issue of creating a balance of forces—especially by providing the Syrian opposition with anti-aircraft missiles capable of limiting the Syrian regime’s use of air power, its main weapon of large-scale destruction—has been the principal bone of contention on Syria within the Obama government since 2012. Their “outrage” forgets the US-backed Saudi bombing and blockade in Yemen, which has killed thousands and threatens hundreds of thousands of children with starvation.

US Neocons, including the strong Jewish contingent, are least concerned about the sectarian massacres carried out by the US-backed Islamist opposition in Syria, and the bloody record of US imperialism itself—whose wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have still claimed a far greater toll than the Kremlin’s Syrian intervention. If anyone in the region had any illusion about the democratic and humanitarian pretexts invoked by Washington in previous wars, they have lost them completely by now.

 

Mischief

 

Unlike truce, which may mean a break from hostilities, a cessation of hostilities provides a more formal designation which falls short of a formal ceasefire signed by the warring parties. It is considered as the first essential step to resolving a conflict, notably to permit the delivery of humanitarian aid. Russian efforts and subsequent Western reactions have emerged as a tragedy in contemporary international relations. Against this backdrop, the reasons behind the crisis need to be identified and the unified role of the world community should be determined.
Unfortunately, with a series of military strikes in Syria in support of their respective parties, tensions have now flared both at home in Syria and outside, giving an impression that the Syrian ceasefire plan will succumb to failure.

The efforts towards the ‘cessation of hostility in Syria’ brokered by the USA and Russia and backed by the UN, require a unified role by the regional and global powers. Without global unity, ceasefire activities must fail. The irony is that global measures to find a peaceful solution to the problem are evident, there have been concerns over the truce violations by the great regional and global powers.
For Russia, Bashar’s government is as democratic as the Saudi government. In other words, if the Saudi government can be supported by the democratic America, the Syrian government should, in principle, also be supported by them.

The US president Obama is not at all interested in ending war in Syria or elsewhere as he is now entirely focused on an ‘exit strategy’—not an exit from the Syrian crisis or West Asia in general, though, but his own exit from office. His main worry is to help Mrs. Clinton to win the presidency to prove that his legacy saved the Democratic Party. He has dutifully promoted American militarism and US imperialism.
Obama is a clever operator who often thinks several moves ahead of his domestic, though not his foreign, adversaries. US policy paved the way for Assad’s revival, Iranian and Russian success in Syria, and the massacre of up to half a million Syrians. In 2013, Iran told Obama that if he were to strike the regime of Bashar Assad following the latter’s chemical-weapons attack, the Iranians would end the talks over their nuclear program. Obama duly canceled the strike and later reassured Iran that the USA would not touch Assad. Obama’s Syria policy serves Iran’s interests.
America’s settled policy of standing by while half a million Syrians have been killed, millions have become refugees, and large swaths of their country have been reduced to rubble is not a simple “mistake”. Rather, it is a byproduct of America’s overriding desire to clinch a nuclear deal with Iran, which was meant to allow America to permanently remove itself from a war footing with that country and to shed its old allies and entanglements in the Middle East, which might also draw us into war.
A no-fly zone would have prevented much of the carnage — and presumably virtually all of carnage rained down from the air — that has occurred. But a no-fly zone would have thwarted Iran’s ambitions. Russia’s presence in the air over Syria provided Obama with an excuse for rejecting a no-fly zone. But the White House had firmly rejected such action for years before the Russians were anywhere near Syria. It seems likely that Obama welcomed Russia’s direct intervention since it served Iran’s interests and made it much easier for Obama to defend not taking military action.
Indeed, Obama sees Russia as a partner in Syria. Initially, US line was that Russia had made a tragic mistake by becoming involved in a quagmire. Now, White House officals argue that Russia holds all the cards in Syria and that our only option is to work with the Kremlin.
With an insincere USA working for peace without seriousness, Russia and Iran hold all the cards on Syria because essentially Obama allowed them to. Obama allowed them to because he wants Iran to prevail. One might admire the elegance of Obama’s “strip tease,” if not for the demise of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and the triumph of arch-enemy in Tehran.

 

Syria

 

It’s true that Syria’s internal and external factors, including economic backwardness, unemployment, inflation and corruption springing from the dictatorship of Bashar al Asad, have been responsible for its political instability. However, the much more dangerous challenge emanates from its leaders’ failure to construct the Syrian nationhood and consolidate its statehood by binding the different religious factions such as Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds into one integrated nation. Without paying attention to its eco-historical, geopolitical and anthropological construct, extreme dictatorship was imposed which worked as a major barrier to its national consolidation. Thus, on the micro sub-systemic level, Syria became highly destabilized and disorganized, while on macro systemic level, Syria remained disintegrated and fragmented.
The ethnic Sunni Muslims form the majority of Syrian population, which has been ruled by the minority Shiites. Syrian leaders failed in the grand task of national homogenization of its people comprising of different religious and ethnic groups. More dangerous than the domestic factors is the involvement of global powers in enlivening the ongoing crisis. Global powers have historically exercised influence and domination in the Arab world through their Arab stooges. Dictatorial rulers in most Arab countries have turned out to be either pro-west or pro-Russia. The USA and its western allies extend political, economic and military assistance and cooperation to Saudi Arabia and other gulf states, in order to expand their spheres of influence as the Cold war strategy and similarly, Russia sides with Syria to combat the US policy. Thus, the countervailing strategies of the erstwhile superpowers are solely responsible for the tragic incidents developing in Syria.
USA cannot end terror wars abroad as the Neocons continue calling for the escalation of US wars in the Middle East and aggression against China and Russia. Obama introduced the Asia pivot for this purpose. However, a CSIS report on nuclear war that dismissed the destruction of India and Pakistan—that is, the slaughter of hundreds of millions of people—as economically unimportant. More organizations are being integrated and recruited to play major roles in imperialist politics. The organizations and tendencies that were in the leadership of anti-war protests earlier, especially in the late 1960s and 1970s are now shamelessly pro-war. Convergence ahs occurred among various sections of political organization- left and right, for instance to support fascism, Zionism, colonialism and imperialism – resented by US led NATO.

Peace efforts, starting from the 70th General Assembly of 2015 to the present ceasefire plan upheld by the USA and Russia with UN support, are threatened by the contrasting policies of the two great powers. According to political analysts, their countervailing strategies risk plunging the West and Russia into a crisis not seen since the Cold War. Russian efforts and subsequent Western reactions have emerged as a tragedy in contemporary international relations. Against this backdrop, the reasons behind the crisis need to be identified and the unified role of the world community should be determined.

In order to end the crisis, the international community, especially the US, the EU and Russia, need to come out of this psychology of this ‘power zeal’ while framing their policies regarding the war-torn country. Both Russia and the West should find a peaceful and diplomatic way of resolving the Syrian crisis based on mutual understanding and friendship. Any effort to use force by Russia would only tickle the sleeping tigers of the cold war era, and lead the world to the verge of total destruction.
Syrian war, if not stopped is likely to turn to a complete war, involving nuclear arsenals that may even burst into a nuclear confrontation. History has laid the giant responsibility on the United Nations to bring all regional and global powers, especially the erstwhile superpowers, to work together to resolve the issue. The UN as well the global powers need to adopt sincere, transparent and pragmatic policies in order to save the world from another global devastation. The unanimity of global powers can resolve the Syrian conflict. If the UN fails in that, it falters in its mission for which it came into existence.
The West should understand the reality of Russia’s concern to defend its naval base in Tartus and strategic base in Caspian Sea from where Russian jets flew combat missions. It’s little wonder that the erstwhile superpower Russia would be adamant to protect its military base and nuclear arsenals, and that self defense would be its bottom line.
The continuous failure of a Syrian ceasefire has brought another significant question to the limelight: whether the Syrian war will at all end in the foreseeable future or the suffocating situation in the war-run country will trigger a regional cold war or a grand global war.

 

Iran since the nuclear deal with West

Iran since the nuclear deal with West
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
_______

 

Iran has been the target of anti-Islamic and Arab nations for quite some time, though their objectives vary considerably in content, but the nuclear deal with the Western powers has made its position relatively tension free as Israeli agenda of destabilizing the Islamic nation has ended in futility.

Let us review the issue in prospective.

 

Issue: Targeting Iran’s economy and security

 

Today, imperialism threatens Islamic world, especially the oil rich West Asia, causing economic and security problems for each Muslim country in the region, including Saudi Arabia – a major Muslim ally of US in capitalism and anti-Islamic wars.  Arab world has been made an enemy of Iran – a Shiite nation.

Sunni-Shiite divide, which is becoming wide and dangerous, is being exploited by anti-Islamic nations led by USA and Israel. Since Iraq has been destabilized by the NATO and allies, now Saudi kingdom seeks Iranian fall as well while Israel gladly supports the Arab sick mind.

In July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers – the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany signed the historic nuclear deal seeking to bring peace to West Asia. The reason for the deal was to deny Iran any chance for making atomic bombs to make Israel, the regional nuke power, irrelevant.

Iranian economy and security has been the target of USA and its allies for a long time. Since Iran’s nuclear program became public in 2002, the UN, EU and several individual countries have imposed sanctions in an attempt to prevent it from developing military nuclear capability. Iran insists its nuclear activities are exclusively peaceful, but the world’s nuclear watchdog has been unable to verify this.

Sanctions and relief are a routine strategy of USA towards Iran. Iran and world powers agreed an interim deal in 2013 which saw it gain around $7bn in sanctions relief in return for curbing uranium enrichment and giving UN inspectors better access to its facilities. World powers also committed to facilitate Iran’s access to $4.2bn in restricted funds. Several rounds of sanctions in recent years have targeted Iran’s key energy and financial sectors, crippling its economy.

The US sanctions prohibit almost all trade with Iran, making some exceptions only for activity “intended to benefit the Iranian people”, including the export of medical and agricultural equipment, humanitarian assistance and trade in “informational” materials such as films. A ban on the supply of heavy weaponry and nuclear-related technology to Iran; A block on arms exports; an asset freeze on key individuals and companies, etc., Japan and South Korea have also imposed sanctions similar to those of the EU.

As well as more recent sanctions aimed at Iran’s financial, oil and petrochemical sectors, the US has imposed successive rounds of sanctions since the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis, citing what it says is Iran’s support for international terrorism, human rights violations and refusal to co-operate with the IAEA.

As a result of the EU embargo and the US sanctions targeting other major importers, Iran’s oil exports had fallen to 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) by May 2013, compared with an average 2.2 million bpd in 2011. In January 2013, Iran’s oil minister acknowledged for the first time that the fall in exports was costing the country between $4bn and $8bn (£2.5bn-£5bn) each month. Iran is believed to have suffered a loss of about $26bn (£16bn) in oil revenue in 2012 from a total of $95bn (£59m) in 2011.

The loss of oil revenue, which accounted for a half of government expenditure, and isolation from the international banking system, had caused Iran’s currency, the rial, to lose two-thirds of its value against the US dollar and caused inflation to rise to more than 40%, with prices of basic foodstuffs and fuel soaring. Iran wanted the UN sanctions suspended soon after any agreement is reached but sanctions stayed. .

 

Nuclear facility

 

Today, officially Israel alone has the nuclear facility and illegally obtained nukes in West Asia and obviously USA-Israel duo does not want any other nation in the region to go nuclear, threatening the military superiority of Israel. Iran’s legal effort to become a nuclear power to protect Muslim nations of the region is opposed by both USA and Israel.  The White House says the nuclear deal with Iran aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

USA has not asked Israel to disarm itself so that the region is nuclear free. Israel does not say it wants peace in the region and hence doesn’t want to go denuclearized.  Iran says it has the right to nuclear energy – and stresses that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.

Iran has been building a heavy-water nuclear facility near the town of Arak. Spent fuel from a heavy-water reactor contains plutonium suitable for a nuclear bomb. World powers had originally wanted Arak dismantled because of the proliferation risk. Under an interim nuclear deal agreed in November 2013, Iran agreed not to commission or fuel the reactor. Iran has agreed to redesign the reactor so it cannot produce any weapons-grade plutonium. All spent fuel will be sent out of the country as long as the modified reactor exists.

There are two uranium enrichment facilities in Iran – Natanz and Fordo – where uranium hexafluoride gas is fed into centrifuges to separate out the most fissile isotope U-235. Low-enriched uranium, which has a 3%-4% concentration of U-235, can be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants. But it can also be enriched to the 90% needed to produce nuclear weapons. In July 2015, Iran had almost 20,000 centrifuges.  However, under this statement of intent Iran will reduce its installed enrichment centrifuges to 6,000, only 5,000 of which will be spinning.

Iran’s uranium stockpile will also be reduced by 98% to 300kg (660lbs) for 15 years. It must also keep its level of enrichment at 3.67%. By January 2016, Iran had drastically reduced the number of centrifuges installed at Natanz and Fordo, and shipped tonnes of low-enriched uranium to Russia. In addition, research and development will take place only at Natanz and be limited for eight years. No enrichment will be permitted at Fordo for 15 years

As per the deal, Iran has agreed not to engage in activities, including research and development, which could contribute to the development of a nuclear bomb. In December 2015, the IAEA’s board of governors voted to end its decade-long investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.

 

Deal

 

Now the Western powers and allies plus UN as international community are implementing the landmark nuclear deal in March last year between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers – the USA, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany.

Crippling economic sanctions on Iran have been lifted now that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has certified that it has restricted its sensitive nuclear activities.
The nuclear deal signed by Iran and western powers is not a peace treaty but just a mechanism to avoid unnecessary war envisaged by Neocons to appease Israel and provoke Arab world. The deal somehow ended a possible civilizational clash and clipped Israeli wings in West Asia, targeting Iran.

The US government has said that the world powers that negotiated the accord — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — made no secret arrangements. But the draft report said the joint commission also agreed to allow Iran to keep operating 19 radiation containment chambers larger than the accord set. These so-called “hot cells” are used for handling radioactive material but can be “misused for secret, mostly small-scale plutonium separation efforts,” said the report. Plutonium is another nuclear weapons fuel.

The deal allowed Iran to meet a 130-tonne limit on heavy water produced at its Arak facility by selling its excess stock on the open market. But with no buyer available, the joint commission helped Tehran meet the sanctions relief deadline by allowing it to send 50 tonnes of the material — which can be used in nuclear weapons production — to Oman, where it was stored under Iranian control

The 159-page accord is a study in unmet high expectations for change, as hard-liners in both Iran and the US Congress fight to undermine the deal to ensure as little political benefit as possible for the chief architect of the accord – Rouhani. It was Iran’s shriveling economy – Iranians voting their pocketbooks, as well as promises of greater social freedoms – that helped Rouhani win election in June 2013. He vowed to engineer a nuclear deal, and resurrect an economy hurt by mismanagement and sanctions.
Almost every powerful group had a say in the accord, which reflected a national, strategic decision to turn the page on the nuclear crisis even as concern remains over the world powers’ commitment. The establishment appeared as determined to implement the deal as it was to seeing the negotiations through – and largely for the same reason: to resuscitate the economy by removing sanctions, either as envisioned in the accord or by showing that Iran is not to blame for failure.

With the nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers in force, a chief question is what it means for Iran. The clash between competing visions of the country’s future has heightened since the deal which many believe it could rebalance domestic politics. It not only has boosted the profile of those who promoted it, but, more fundamentally, it has opened space for new debates in a domestic sphere that was dominated by the nuclear issue for more than a decade.

However, according to a think tank report, the USA and its negotiating partners agreed “in secret” to allow Iran to evade some restrictions in last year’s landmark nuclear agreement in order to meet the deadline for it to start getting relief from economic sanctions. Among the exemptions outlined in the think tank’s report were two that allowed Iran to exceed the deal’s limits on how much low-enriched uranium (LEU) it can keep in its nuclear facilities, the report said. LEU can be purified into highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

Israel and Saudi Arabia found this attitude of USA unacceptable. One senior “knowledgeable” official, however, was cited by the report as saying that if the joint commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the deal by Jan. 16, the deadline for the beginning of the lifting of sanctions. The US government has said that the world powers that negotiated the accord made no secret arrangements.

 

Real concessions?

 

The United States and its negotiating partners apparently agreed “in secret” to allow Iran to evade some restrictions in last year’s landmark nuclear agreement in order to meet the deadline for it to start getting relief from economic sanctions, according to a recent think tank report.

The exemptions were approved by the joint commission the deal created to oversee implementation of the accord. The commission is comprised of the United States and its negotiating partners — called the P5+1 — and Iran.
The report, which was released by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, is based on information provided by several officials of governments involved in the negotiations. The group’s president David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and co-author of the report, said the exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran.

The report ignited a chorus of Republican criticism, including from the campaign of presidential nominee Donald Trump. His campaign sought to link the findings to Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state when secret talks were held with Iran but had left office before formal negotiations began. “The deeply flawed nuclear deal Hillary Clinton secretly spearheaded with Iran looks worse and worse by the day,” said a statement issued by retired Army General Michael Flynn, a top Trump adviser. “It’s now clear President Obama gave away the store to secure a weak agreement that is full of loopholes.”

The Clinton campaign did not immediately comment on the report. The White House said it took “significant exception” to some of the report’s findings, saying that the easing of sanctions was always dependent upon Iran’s adherence to the agreement. “The implementation date was driven by the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency to verify that Iran had completed the steps that they promised to take,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing. “That is what precipitated implementation day. Since then Iran has been in compliance with the agreement,” Earnest said.

Among the exemptions outlined in the think tank’s report were two that allowed Iran to exceed the deal’s limits on how much low-enriched uranium (LEU) it can keep in its nuclear facilities, the report said. LEU can be purified into highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

One senior “knowledgeable” official was cited by the report as saying that if the joint commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the deal by Jan. 16, the deadline for the beginning of the lifting of sanctions.

 

Outcomes

 

The nuclear talks and agreement between Iran and Western powers have averted a possible deadly war situation that was being promoted by most anti-Islamic nations, particularly Israel that still seeks to attack all nuclear sites of Islamic power in West Asia. Also, the deal enabled to set the tone for a peaceful situation in a region which is torn with terror wars launched by the Pentagon led NATO terror organization supported by all colonialist powers led by Israel. While Israel sought to destabilize Iran, the latter warned Jewish terror nation of dreadful consequences for the Zionist regime, Israel and Zionism.

 

At the outset, the nuclear deal has not fundamentally changed Iran’s ties with the USA. American companies are still generally prohibited from trading with Iran because of other sanctions for human rights violations, support of terrorism, and ballistic missile programs.

 

The Obama government signed agreements with Iran including sale of Boeing to Tehran. Boeing was required to receive permission from the US Treasury before even negotiating with Iran Air. Republican lawmakers quickly criticized the Boeing sale agreement with Iran, arguing it could hurt US national security interests. On July 7, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a spending bill intended to block to the Boeing deal.

Having achieved the deal, joy erupted on the streets of Tehran a year ago, when Iran signed a landmark nuclear deal with six world powers hailed as a victory of diplomacy over war. As jubilant Iranians waved flags and heralded an easing of Iran’s isolation, President Hassan Rouhani promised that a page has turned in the history of Iran. The deal was marketed by both sides as a “win-win”: Iran would dismantle the most controversial aspects of its nuclear program – minimizing the chance of acquiring a nuclear weapon for at least a decade – in exchange for the lifting of sanctions that crippled its economy.

 

Expectations had been high in Iran, fanned by supporters of the deal, that its benefits would be palpable and immediate. Yet Iran has received back only a fraction of the $150 billion of its own funds that it expected, and financing new deals is a major issue because of the Western banks’ concerns. Iranians’ hopes for the benefits, however, have not yet dissipated.

However, things have not improved, there is no real tangible impact on people’s lives, but there is still a glimmer of hope for better things to come. One year later, the post deal situation does not suggest any great achievement. The deal has not ushered in a new significant era.  Steady warnings from Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, about “infiltration” and “soft war” from the USA and the West reveals the deceptive nature of the deal with USA. USA and European banks also are proving reluctant to engage with Iran, fearful that non-nuclear US sanctions might bite, thereby depriving Iran of the full hoped-for benefits of the deal.

 

Iran has dramatically reduced the scale of its nuclear infrastructure – reconfiguring a heavy water nuclear reactor and a deeply buried uranium enrichment facility, for example – while keeping a limited capacity to produce fuel for nuclear energy. And non-nuclear sanctions have been lifted, partially ushering Iran back into the global economy.

 

Iran’s economy has slowly but measurably rebounded in the year since Tehran signed a historic nuclear deal with the world’s six major powers. Iran is still progressing as the region’s first power. Still, sanctions relief has already brought “significant benefit” to Iran, notes Vaez, such as oil production returning to pre-sanctions levels; a boost of trade with the EU by 22 percent; and $3.5 billion of a foreign direct investment in Iran in the first quarter of 2016 – breaking a decade-long record. Washington’s behavior has also been closely watched in Tehran.

 

Foreign trade

 

The nuclear deal, by lifting many of the sanctions, is reopening the doors to those foreign companies. Iran has hosted dozens of foreign delegations, many of whom had visited Iran even before the deal was signed. More than 140 economic delegations from 48 countries traveled to Iran between March and December 2015, according to Mir-Abutorab Badri, an official with the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran. Around half of them were from Europe and North America.

Sanctions relief also allowed Iran to export millions more barrels of oil monthly. In February, Iran exported its first shipment of oil to Europe since the deal was implemented. Oil exports to China, India, Japan, and South Korea increased 50% in March 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. By May 2016, oil exports had climbed to 2.3 million barrels per day, double the amount exported before sanctions relief.

Iran has made gains in the recovery of the oil market. Iran’s crude exports have soared after the lifting of UN sanctions. Exports have doubled and old customers in Asia and Europe are returning. The country’s market share of global crude exports has returned to pre-sanctions levels. However, lower oil prices have not done much to increase Iran’s capital to a booming level. Neither could oil earnings alone do this.

The relatively moderate government of President Hassan Rouhani is trying to nudge aside the conservative Revolutionary Guards in some areas to make way for what it hopes will be a “flood” of Western money from energy sales. While the deal lifted EU and UN sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sector, most of the unilateral US sanctions relating to non-nuclear issues remain.

In January, Rouhani praised the nuclear deal for opening “new windows for engagement with the world.” Foreign governments and firms quickly began finalizing agreements once sanctions were lifted. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran on January 22, 2016 and signed 17 agreements. Two days later, Rouhani embarked on his first trip to Europe, where he inked deals worth $43 billion with French and Italian companies. In January, Iran also finalized a deal with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to deliver more than 100 commercial jets to Iran. Even some US companies have explored trade deals with Iran. In June, U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing signed a preliminary $17.6 billion deal to sell Iran Air 80 aircraft between 2017 and 2025. General Electric has also reportedly scoped out opportunities in Iran’s oil and gas industry.
Iran turned to its North to broker one of the most surprising barter deals — the “goods-for-gas” deal between Iran and Turkmenistan, comprising a $-30 billion deal over ten years. The purpose was to supply energy to Iran’s north-eastern provinces that are far from its domestic gas fields. This saves Iran from diverting capital into major new pipeline projects

The nuclear deal has helped raise GDP, boost oil production, and expand trade. But as Rouhani prepares for a reelection bid in 2017, many Iranians expected to see more from the nuclear deal than they experienced in its first year.

Foreign companies are also still restricted from trading with more than 200 Iranian entities sanctioned by the United States for non-nuclear reasons. Despite enthusiasm for Iran’s economic potential, foreign companies still face serious risks that have not been alleviated by the nuclear deal. Corruption, lack of transparency, poor transportation infrastructure, and other issues with Iran’s business environment etc have deterred investors. Iran ranks 118th out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s 2016 ease of doing business index, and 136th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index.

One year after the deal, lingering economic questions and pressure from hardliners still created challenges for Rouhani. Unemployment rose from 10.6% in March 2015 to 11% in March 2016. Some Iranian businessmen complained that foreign investment was primarily channeled to large state-run enterprises rather than small businesses in the private sector. According to the World Bank, Iran still needed to improve its business environment, reduce government influence in the economy, and reform its financial sector in order to see tangible benefits in job creation.

 

Religious leadership
Tensions within the Islamic Republic stem in no small part from its blend of popular sovereignty and religious authority. Theocratic forces seek to maintain the dominance of the supreme leader and other tutelary bodies, while republican forces advocate more clout for popularly-elected institutions. Each camp is further split between pragmatists who seek incremental political evolution and radicals who either resist any change or promote revolutionary transformation. The supreme leader – powerful but not omnipotent – maintains stability by accommodating both theocratic and republican trends.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had endorsed bilateral negotiations with the USA before Rouhani ran for office. He then supported the new president’s diplomatic push and kept his opponents at bay. But given the leader’s aversion to risk, his support was qualified and did not obviate Rouhani’s need for a coalition with other power centres.

Supreme Leader announced that the theme of the upcoming year would be “The Resistance Economy.” Focusing on domestic production, Khamenei argued, will be Iran’s best defense against sanctions. “With the Resistance Economy, it is possible to fight unemployment and recession and to curb inflation; it is possible to stand up to the enemies’ threats,” he said. Rouhani has insisted that his policies are not at odds with Khamenei’s vision for the economy—and public opinion polls support him. Citing remaining financial restrictions, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the USA of not fulfilling its pledges under the nuclear deal. “In Western countries and places which are under US influence, our banking transactions and the repatriation of our funds from their banks face problems … because banks fear the Americans,” he said in March.

Hardliners allege that Rouhani’s policies will make the Islamic Republic too economically dependent and open Iran to Western cultural influence. On Jan. 30, Iranian students protested outside the Iranian Oil Ministry against the new Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC), chanting that the contracts would lead to the “plundering of national wealth.”

 

Economy boost and challenges

 

After sanctions were lifted, the Islamic Republic aggressively ramped up oil and gas output. Oil production climbed from 2.9 million barrels per day in January to 3.8 million barrels per day in late May. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh predicted that output could top 4 million barrels per day by March 2017.

Sanctions relief has led to higher oil production, restored access to billions of dollars of assets, and easier trade and financial transactions. The two most tangible changes have been the increase in oil exports–which have nearly doubled since sanctions were lifted on Jan. 16–and the dozens of foreign trade and investment deals Iran has negotiated. In June, Iran even reached a tentative $17.6 billion deal with Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, to purchase passenger planes. But one year after the deal, some international firms are still hesitant to do business in the Middle East’s second largest economy.

Foreign direct investment could total $8 billion by March 2017, according to Seyed Hossein Salimi of the Iranian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, foreign direct investment only reached around $2 billion.
Overall, Iran’s economic outlook has improved since the deal. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts between 4% and 5.5% growth in 2016 – up from the 1.3% growth it had predicted for 2016 before the deal was signed. Iran has moved up from number 12 position among 14 Mid-East countries in Foreign Direct investment (FDI) and it is just behind Saudi Arabia and the UAE. However, Iranian banks and foreign banks that are to play an anchor role in processing this FDI are not allowed to deal in US dollars — the global reserve currency
Natural gas production has also increased by 23 billion cubic meters in the past year, after Iran completed development projects in the South Pars field, the largest gas field in the world. European companies estimated that Iran – which holds the world’s second largest natural gas reserves, after Russia – could potentially supply Europe with up to 35 billion cubic meters of gas per year by 2030.

Low oil prices, however, have limited Iran’s revenue from these production increases. In January, oil prices fell below $30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years. Prices have rebounded slightly since then, reaching $46 a barrel in June 2016.

However, low prices have also pushed Iran to diversify its economy. Only around 25%of the state budget relies on oil revenues, compared to 60% in past years. In the last Iranian year, which ended on March 19, Iran had a non-oil trade surplus for the first time since the 1979 revolution.
Iran’s increasing oil output–despite low prices–has put it at odds with other oil producers. In February, Russia and OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Venezuela called for a production freeze to stabilize prices. Iran would only entertain the idea of a freeze after production reaches 4 million barrels per day, which was about its pre-sanctions output.

Even if prices increase, Iran may have trouble increasing its oil production beyond that target without significant foreign investment. The Islamic Republic plans to fund and implement oil and gas projects worth a lofty $185 billion by 2020 to boost its crude oil output and refining capabilities.

The Islamic Republic hopes to entice foreign oil companies by offering more favorable contract terms. On June 27, Zanganeh announced that Iran was finalizing the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC). Unlike the “buy-back” contracts unpopular with foreign firms, the IPC allows companies to participate in all the stages of an oil or gas field’s lifecycle.

Domestically, the deal has yet to yield significant benefits for the average Iranian. Corruption, a lack of transparency, and other issues make Iran’s business environment challenging for investors. Foreign companies also risk incurring penalties from remaining US sanctions on Iran for terrorism and human rights violations. Unemployment increased slightly in 2016. Only 46% of Iranians believe the country’s economic situation is good as of March 2016, compared to 54% in May 2015. Hardliners question President Hassan Rouhani’s focus on foreign investment over domestic production.

Iran still has to overcome more US sanctions to resume trade with European nations. European and Asian conglomerates that would otherwise want to invest in the Iranian market do not know how to bypass many US sanctions which continue to extend to organizations and individuals having ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRG) which is aspiring to play a “bigger role” in the country’s economy, by some estimates, directly or indirectly control over 40% of Iran’s economy.
Since the 1979 Revolution, the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran have sought to lead Islamic world along with Saudi Arabia, dominate the West Asia region where Saudi Arabia is considered to be the leader. Since the Iran deal was signed by USA, peace has remained remarkably elusive as Iran considers the nuclear deal with western powers is an endorsement against Sunni nations while Saudi Arabia looks at it as promotion of Shiite nations by its ally USA. Not only Riyadh rejected Iran as an ally to pursue Islamic goals worldwide but treats as its enemy. So much so, today Saudi leadership considers Iran an enemy worse than Israel.

US officials, however, have insisted that Washington has complied with the nuclear deal. The Obama administration has reportedly sought to encourage Iran’s reintegration into global markets, hoping to solidify the deal and prevent it from unraveling under future administrations. On May 10, Secretary of State John Kerry told European businesses that they “should not use the USA as an excuse” for not doing business in Iran.

In the coming year, Rouhani may face even more pressure to prove that the deal has yielded the economic benefits that many Iranians anticipated. The IMF predicts that average inflation will drop from 15.1% in the 2015-2016 Iranian fiscal year to 11.5% in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Rouhani has courted foreign trade and investment, but Iran’s political factions have debated whether Iran should pursue greater foreign engagement at all. Others in the regime are more skeptical. Two thirds of Iranians surveyed in March supported greater economic engagement with the West, and reformists fared well in the spring 2016 parliamentary elections.

 

Saudi led GCC joins Israel against Iran

 

Israel and its cruel sponsors in the West believe occupational atrocities make history interesting. USA and Israel, as well as other colonialist nations are keen to retain their occupational posts held abroad.  NATO terror wars in Afghanistan and Arab world have helped Israel prolong the occupational crimes in Palestine thus far, making its expansionist drives smooth as USA continues to back all crimes against humanity

 

Interestingly, Arab leaders now think anomalies make history interesting and thus they try to find a common non-vegetarian language.  Saudi Arabs seems to be leading the anti-Islamic nations against Islamic faith. Interestingly, they also think they are doing the right thing. Maybe they hope all anti-Islamic nations become Islamic in due course. Millions of Muslims have been slaughtered by these anti-Islamic forces globally in their war on Islam and they relish the taste of Islamic blood.

Saudi for some mysterious reasons considers Iran its arch foe and opposes it and frames policies keeping in view Iran’s sidelining as its objective. Anti-Iranism has become too strong that Saudi government indeed treats Iran worse enemy than Israel  and tries for  a common platform to disgrace Iran. So much so anti-Islamic Israel emerges as Islamic Saudi’s strategic partner against Islamic Iran.

Funny Islamic leaders!

A simmer Sunni-Shiite cold war is on for quite some time and western world and Israel seeks to take full advantage of the clash of their common enemies in island. Arab world says that today Iran is posing a serious challenge to Saudi led Arab nations, as its proxy groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Sadrist militias in Iraq have taken the fight beyond the capacity of Iranian government forces. In Yemen and Bahrain, groups funded from Tehran have been armed, funded and trained to challenge the Arab governments.

True, unlike Israel or even Saudi Arabia, Iran does not seek wars and, knowing the intricacies of regional crises, being accelerated by the US intervention, always goes for diplomatic resolution of crises and succeeded n averting all war situations. Iran has not changed its position on Palestine nation as it continues to support the Palestinians and their struggle for sovereignty.
Iran will have a presidential poll in June 2017. With elections due next year, the pressure on Rouhani’s government is likely to increase if the next US president follows in the footsteps of his predecessor to continue to play the “sanctions game.” Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani’s competitors are concerned that he and his allies will parlay their foreign policy achievements into electoral victories.

Iranian success in the nuclear deal depends on many factors. Nothing unusual in the flowery language coming from Western capitals about a new era of relations with Iran has some reality and justification because Iran and USA have begun viewing each other not as prime enemies as they had done for years now especially after the fall of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, even during prolonged talks, notwithstanding all negative rhetoric emanating from Israel and elsewhere against the deal and new alignments.

The deal obviously weakened Israeli position and hold over US strategic lots. Having been isolated internationally already on genocides in Gaza and its regular threats of terror attacks on Iran, Israel will not be able to keep ignoring such a broad international engagement.

Now Zionists in Israel and USA understand that it must cope with a process of Palestine statehood that has started rolling and won’t be easily stopped. It must now position itself differently after the repeatedly failed US mediation and ahead of the practical part of the French initiative, as the French distributed in June the tasks to different working groups.
The UN Quartet report on the obstacles ahead of a two-state solution and the main themes to be tackled should be published without further delay and used as a main tool of work for the French initiative.

 
Observation

 

The debate on whether or not Iran gained from the nuclear deal with western powers is inconclusive but one is clear: Iran hasn’t lost the spot by signing the deal with US led powers. The deal appeared to be the only option for the time being as Israel is pushing for a terror attack on Iran and sought the US approval.  The president, Many Iranian strategists believe, has been duped into accepting the deal and his failure to boost economy even after a year is an clear proof of the “West’s treachery”.
Iran’s expectation of a big boom in economy through “economic recovery” after the lifting of UN sanctions has not been realized yet. Iranians, although upset by this, still believe this deal is by far the best way for Tehran to end global isolation, recapture lost markets, diversify its foreign relations and win “the ideological war” Iran’s enemies in the Gulf have waged against it.

The situation for Iran’s moderate leadership is tricky. Not only does it have to deal with the still imposed US sanctions and mounting domestic pressure against the nuke-deal, but also the IRG, its own business interests and political hardliners in Iran.

Today, USA and Russia compete for arms sale in energy-cash rich West Asia. The West should recognize that any change in Iran will be gradual, best supported by implementing the nuclear accord, resuming trade, and diplomacy that balances Iranian and Arab interests in the Middle East. As its guardians try to quell the deal’s reverberations and preserve the balance of power, any attempt by Western countries to play politics within the Iranian system could well backfire. If world powers hope to progress on areas of concern and common interest, they must engage Iran as it is, not the Iran they wish to see.

The best option for Western states and Iran is to continue reversing the negative narratives from decades of suspicion and hostility by fully implementing the nuclear accord; creating discrete and non-politicized channels to address other issues of concern or common interest; and, eventually, pushing for regional security architecture that takes account of both Iranian and Arab interests. In the end, Iran and the West may not be able to agree on a range of issues, but trying to game the Iranian system will ensure that they will not.

Saudi Arabia needs to come to sense- earlier the better for it and Islam, though it might feel Islam should not have been born there so that their variety of capitalism and anti-Islamism can go on without any sense of shame or guilt. Because of Saudi attitude even ordinary Muslims, for their own reasons, are scared of criticizing anti-Islamism while badly suffering from Islamophobia.

But the arrival of Islam to save humanity from colonialist-capitalist-imperialist war mongers is real.

 

 

 

Tamil Nadu local polls 2016: Ruling AIADMK announces list of candidates!

Tamil Nadu local polls 2016: Ruling AIADMK announces list of candidates!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

______________

 

 

 

 

 

As it happened in the state assembly poll, the ruling AIADMK has announced, well ahead of other parties including the main opposition DMK, the list of candidates for local polls in Tamil Nadu to be held on 17 and 19 October. And the ruling party seems to be readily waiting for the announcement of poll dates by the election commission to release the list.  The results would be declared on 21 October.

 

 

According to the notification issued by the Election Commission on Sunday, local body elections will be held in two phases on 17 and 19 October. The polls will fill up over 1.3 lakh posts in 12 rural and urban municipalities across Tamil Nadu. Chennai and Dindigul corporations will go to poll in the second phase on 19 October, while 10 other local bodies will elect their representatives in the first phase on 17 October. Counting of votes will be done on 21 October.

 

According to the reportsubmission of nominations will be open from 26 September while the last date of submission will be 3 October. The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be 6 October. Indirect elections to the posts of mayors, municipality chairpersons and other local body chiefs and deputy chiefs will be held on 2 November.

 

 

The reservation for women in this year’s civic body poll, however, has been increased to 50 percent, after a Bill was passed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly amending municipal and panchayat laws to increase the percentage of reservation for women from 33 to 50. The posts of mayors, deputy mayors and other local body chiefs will be filled by indirect elections after the Tamil Nadu Municipal Corporation Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 was passed amid opposition from DMK and Congress. While the DMK questioned the government’s intention behind the amendment, Congress termed it as an attempt to “stifle the voice of democracy.”

 

Just hours after the notice of election for the local body was released, AIADMK General Secretary CM J. Jayalalithaa released the list of candidates for the post of councillor in all the 12 municipalities in Tamil Nadu.

 

Announcing the list of candidates, AIADMK General Secretary and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa retained some old names, while she chose field the party heavyweights from Chennai, to woo the voters. Only three of the incumbent mayors, out of 12, are given a second run at the election. Sitting mayors from Salem (S Soundappan), Tiruchy (MSR Jaya) and Thanjavur ( Savithri Gopal) will run on party tickets again, while the deputy mayor of Salem, M Natesan also got a ticket this time again.

 

In Chennai, sitting Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy has been dropped of the list this time, however, leaders like N Balaganga (from ward No. 78) and JCD Prabhakar, (from ward No. 80) are given a chance and are being looked upon as the front-runners for mayorship of the capital of the state. Apart from this, around 25 sitting councilors have been re-nominated in the state capital.

 

 

AIADMK also rewarded former Mayor Charubala Thondaiman, who had recently switched alliance from Tamil Maanila Congress to AIADMK, with a party ticket from ward No. 44 in Thanjavur.

 

Meanwhile, a PIL has been filed in the Madras High Court challenging the indirect election of mayors, while the court has sought a response from the state government and posted the PIL to 25 October next for further hearing,

 

While  AIAIDMK is ready with the list of its candiates for the  local polls, other parties are still in the selection proceses and would soon release their own lists.

 

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai in the wee hours on Friday and her condition is “stable”, according to the hospital. Jayalalithaa complained of “fever and dehydration” and was admitted in Apollo hospitals, in the early hours on Friday. “The chief minister of Tamil Nadu was admitted to Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, with fever and dehydration,” said Subbiah Viswanathan, chief operating officer of the hospital, in a release circulated to the media. A release from the hospital said that the 68-year-old AIADMK chief’s condition is “stable”, adding she is “under observation”.

 

The Apollo hospital is being surrounded by AIADMK party workers, refusing to leave until their leader is declared safe and she returns home from the hospital.

 

Curfew lifted in Kashmir: Will the valley return to normalcy?

Curfew lifted in Kashmir: Will the valley return to normalcy?
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
_______

Indian government has been, for quite some time, since the protests began in Kashmir, trying put end to the crisis and give a message to world that everything is normal in Kashmir. Having burnt its fingers India would now feel better that the JK government, now controlled jointly by BJP and PDP, has lifted the curfew in Kashmir, letting Kashmiris breathe freely. .

The curfew, which was imposed in the Valley for the last 79 days, was lifted from all parts of Kashmir on September 25 but restrictions on an assembly of people remained in force in most areas as a precautionary measure. Yes, busy markets, traffic jams and crowds area back in Kashmir after so many days of unrest. However, off and on curfews re-imposed and relifted in some areas.

Kashmir today is essentially a police and garrison state where military misuses its extra powers to kick the Kashmiris, While Indian media in general dutifully supports all military crimes in Kashmir, media in Kashmir does not function as the vanguard of the democracy but not essentially in Kashmir where everything is decided by the New Delhi. India has always behaved as a military hegemon in Kashmir but presented itself in the image of victim. is one of essential survival tactics in the conflict zone like Kashmir. What has not been vindicated in Kashmir under the camouflage of ‘national interests and threat to security of India’ by the Indian media be it fake encounters, rapes innocent murders and virtually everything from sky to earth.

Media reporting and analyses make Muslims in Kashmir the problem. Media barons don’t dare to show the reality and true picture for it is sure to strike the sympathetic chord with the Kashmiri people. The role of Indian media in Kashmir is to defend the status quo. Indian media is seemingly independent but essentially extended arm of Indian state as it is being bankrolled by the political economy of subsidies of state and huge government advertisements industry. Therefore it is essential to dance on the tunes of government if the media barons wish to survive, as largesse’s can be shifted if loyalties are subverted and diverted.
State killing and other forms of atrocities in Muslim dominated Kashmir valley are so common that Kashmiris have taken it their fate to to be ready t get killed by Indian forces. Normal life remained affected in the Valley for the 78th consecutive day before it was finally lifted. Curfews are very regular in Kashmir as Kashmiris refuse to stop demanding sovereignty from India, stop protesting state arrogance.
The JK authorities imposed curfew in Handwara and snapped mobile services across North Kashmir apparently to stop protests aftermath of the killing of a young boy in Forces firing at Nadihal Rafiabad in Baramulla district on Friday evening. Thousands of people, who attended the funeral prayers of Waseem Ahmad Lone killed in forces’ firing, were in tears as his body was lowered into a grave at his ancestral village of Bunpora in Nadihal area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The prayers were led by his father Nazir Ahmad Lone at a school ground in the locality.
Lone, according to his family and witnesses, was killed after Indian forces may be for satisfying sadistic pleasure, opened “unprovoked” fire on him while he was harvesting crops in his fields at Nadihal area of Rafiabad. Local hospital authorities said a bullet had hit Lone on his back and pierced through his heart, resulting in his death. “The bullet had damaged his heart, causing his instant death,” said Dr Masood, Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Baramulla.
Earlier on Saturday thousands of people assembled on Baramulla-Kupwara highway with the body of Lone to take part in a peace march. Amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the body of Lone was then marched to the school ground for last rites. The mourners chanted anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. Curfew was imposed. Due to shutdown, curbs and curfew life was completely disrupted across Kashmir. A police official told CNS that curfew was imposed in Handwara town of Kupwara district, while it remained in force in three police station areas of downtown Srinagar. He said the curbs on the movement of people remained in force in Nowhatta, Khanyar and Mahraj Ganj police station areas of the summer capital of the state. The official said restrictions on the assembly of people under Section 144 CrPc also remained in force in the rest of the Valley.
Freedom fighting Kashmiris spearheading the ongoing uprising had called for marches to various tehsil headquarters across the Valley on Saturday and had announced a 12-hour relaxation during night hours starting from 6 pm. In wake of the fresh killing, cellphone services were suspended by the authorities on Fridaynight in North Kashmir. “Only BSNL phones are working. All private mobile phone services have been barred without any reason or explanation,” said a Sopore resident.
People from various localities of North, South and Central Kashmir accused forces of damaging property during nocturnal raids. A private restaurant-cum-guest house was damaged allegedly by police and CRPF men on late Friday night. Muhammad Amin Shaikh, owner of Hotel Blue Spring, Verinag said a forces party raided his restaurant around 10 PM last night and threw stones and damaged the doors, windows and furniture of the hotel. He said that Forces could not enter the hotel as it was locked but they damaged property worth lakhs of rupees. Locals from the same area accused forces of damaging private property. They held protests against the “atrocities” done by forces.

At least four civilians were injured when police and CRPF men fired tear gas canisters and fired pellets to foil a pro-freedom rally in South Kashmir’s Islamabad district on Saturday. Reports said that people of Shangus and its adjoining areas had planned a pro-freedom rally in the premises of Markaz-i-Jamia Masjid Shangus. “But forces raided our village around 5:30 AM and sealed all routes leading to the freedom rally venue,” locals said. They said that people from, adjoining areas tried to march towards Shangus but forces stopped them. “It was a peaceful march but forces started firing tear gas canisters and pellets resulting in intense clashes,” the eye witnesses said. “Clashes intensified in adjacent Bongam in which at least four persons were injured due to pellets,” they added. The locals said that three injured civilians were rushed to PHC Nowgam. However, a doctor at the health facility said that they received only one person who was hit by pellets on his back. The locals further said that the forces damaged a 100 KV electricity transformer. “While leaving the village forces damages several residential houses and made a few arrests made,” the local said adding that people erupted in protests seeking immediate release of the arrested civilians

Thus, Kashmiris are the target of India for collective punishment for not toeing the Indian line.
Lifting of curfew brought some relief to people of Kashmir who have been suffering from all sorts of negativism of the government. It was for the first time in last over two-and-half months that the Sunday market stayed open at Lal Chowk, Kashmir’s main market, which had usually seen deserted roads and closed shops. The footpath vendors had laid out the used clothes, shoes, and handicraft products on the charpoys as people thronged the market. People had lined up outside petrol pumps and heavy movement of vehicles during the day caused traffic jams at many places.

Both the government and the fighting groups are making life in Kashmir intolerable. In the new protest calendar that was issued by the “separatists” in Srinagar, it was for the first time that the relaxation was given from 2 pm to 6 am on Sunday. In the previous week, there was no relaxation in the strike even during Eid. Even during those two days of the Muslim festival, three people were killed as youth clashed with the forces. However, Sunday was unusual as would be the evenings when according to the Hurriyat calendar, shops, and other business establishments stay open between 6 pm to 6 am. The protest calendar has changed the routines of the people who work in Kashmir. The working hours for many have spilled into the night and in a large number of areas of Kashmir normalcy returns in the evening after daylong clashes with the forces and the blockades on the roads are removed.

Nazir Ahmad Mir, the owner of Sonatraders, a gas distribution agency, said that he has turned to a new routine following the strike calendar issued by the separatists after the killing of Burhan Wani, Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander. He wakes up before 4 am to oversee the supply of gas cylinders from his godowns at Bemina and Karanagar in Srinagar city and ensures that the delivery is done before 6 am. In the evening, he brings the staff from different parts of Srinagar to his Karan Nagar office who works late into the night to sell the gas cylinders. Mir has turned to this new routine of working in the evening instead of day, after the strike call given by the Hurriyat Conference.

In a fresh protest calendar, issued by the separatists recently, have asked the people to observe the shutdown till 29 September. Besides marking a new way of life in Kashmir, the ongoing protests have also united the two factions of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq who are issuing a common calendar now. The people are also following the calendar to observe different modes of protests. Youth and elderly are seen rolling out mats on the roads to offer prayers and even turn to the cleaning of lanes and drains.
Around 6 pm shopkeepers are seen opening the shutters and vendors lay wares on the footpath and roads are cleared of blockades. Barbers shops remain filled with people as they wait for their turn for the haircut while people jostle to fill their vehicles at petrol pumps. On Sunday, after 2 pm almost every shop was open in Chanapora and Jawahar Nagar. Traffic police had a tough time regulating the jams in Srinagar as people had parked the vehicles outside the shops in Lal Chowk due to which the pedestrian movement was also affected. There was a total gridlock in the city and it took hours for people to reach the Lal Chowk.

At a famous handicrafts shop, Amirudin and Sons, salesman Aijaz Ahmad, said that they have been footing losses of between seven to eight thousands on a daily basis. He, however, said that Kashmir issue should be resolved soon so that people can live peacefully. The owner of Sonatraders, Mir, said that he has to also bring the staff to the office due to the protests. “I have adjusted to a new routine of life after the protest calendars were issued by the Hurriyat Conference. The internet services remain suspended here due to which we are not able to make the online bookings for home delivery. It is due to this that I have to ferry the staff to the office during the relaxation in the shutdown announced,” he said.

President of the Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Mohammad Ashraf Mir, said that the industries have not benefitted from the protest calendar. “Due to the incidents of stone pelting we are not able to carry the truckloads of material to the industrial estates. However, there are only a few industries which are functional like the two medical oxygen supply plants. We are footing a loss of Rs 100 crore daily, but we are continuing with the protests as more than the business’ loss it is the loss of daily lives that matters for us. The government should hold dialogue with separatists to end the current unrest.” But government does not seem interested in solutions.

Indian government has its message from protestors in Kashmir in red. Unlike the previous protests and shutdowns, this time Indian government and military committed a big crime, targeting a respected Kashmiri youth freedom fighter and people rose to protest against this murder for so long.

The curfew life is not the end of the struggle road and New Delhi needs to find s credible solution in favor of Kashmiris. Their demand for sovereignty is quite legitimate but, however, India should talk to both Pakistan and China to find a permanent solution to the problem that disturbs the regional peace and tranquility.

India, Pakistan and China jointly occupy the nation of Kashmiris. While Pakistan and China have not attacked Kashmiris or killed anyone, India has already killed more than 100,000 Kashmiris. UN and USA do consider murder of Muslims in Kashmir or India is a matter worth mentioning, let alone to debating.

North Korea is scared of USA; Japan says North Korea is a serious threat!

North Korea is scared of USA; Japan says North Korea is a serious threat!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
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World is passing through an era or age of uncertainty as most countries have amassed high powered missiles and thousands of WMD, threatening the humanity more than ever before.
Notwithstanding opposition by US led western powers, North Korea keeps firing 21 ballistic missiles and conducted two nuclear tests this year alone, most recently on September 09. North Korea’s neighbors South Korea and Japan condemn the launch of missiles by North Korea and complain to the UN for stern action to maintain stability of the region.

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, told the annual United Nations General Assembly on September 21 that the world must respond to North Korea’s latest missile and nuclear tests in an “entirely distinct” way. “The threat has now reached a dimension altogether different from what has transpired until now,” Abe said

North Korea has been one of the ideological” targets of USA that refuse to fall in line with US line of operations globally and which does not allow any nation disobeying the super power and its capitalist-imperialist brand politics.

The comments seem largely in line with statements from American officials, but they reflect a particularly contentious history between the Japanese and North Koreans – a history that influences Abe’s current push to amend the Japanese constitution.

North Korea has ramped up its nuclear tests in recent weeks, deeply concerning international military experts and activists alike. The nation conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test to date on Sept. 9. Last week, the United States, Japan and South Korea condemned the new North Korea’s test and without specifying the exact punitive measures, called for tough new measures to further isolate the communist state.

Meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers said the North Korean test earlier this month would not go unanswered.

While past weaponry tests have been mired in technical failure, North Korea has shown steady improvement more recently. A missile launched from a submarine in August prompted greater concern from South Korea and Japan, which would both be within range of submarine-based missiles, which are more difficult to detect. “North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are not imaginary threats any longer, but they are now becoming real threats,” South Korea President Park Geun-hye said after the submarine launch. “Those threats are coming closer each moment.”

The “abduction” of Japanese citizens by North Koreans is an issue that irritates Tokyo leaders but the missile firings have clearly alarmed Japan for which the North Korean nuclear threats have reinvigorated public attention to an issue that preoccupies the Japanese political agenda. In 2002, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Il officially acknowledged that Pyongyang had abducted Japanese citizens. That “abduction issue” remains unresolved. “In the eyes of many, North Korea’s military campaigns and kidnappings have epitomized the vulnerability and illegitimacy of Japan’s post-war institutions, including its pacifist constitution and immobile security forces. Consequently, for advocates of a ‘strong nation’ – represented by Abe Shinzō who has pledged to ‘take Japan back’ by liberating it from the constraints of its pacifist regime – North Korea has acquired a key place in renegotiating Japan’s security identity.

American strategists like Michael Green, an Asia analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Security Studies in Washington say that North Korea is a country where no president has handed to his successor a better situation on North Korea than they inherited, because North Korea just keeps blowing through every agreement. In July, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party gained a two-thirds “super majority” in the legislature’s upper house, opening the door to revise the constitution, including Article 9, which states, “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.” Many say that reforming the constitution is Abe’s lifelong political mission.

The USA flew supersonic bombers over South Korea in a show of force following North Korea’s most recent bout of tests. The move is a show of support for South Korea, which has no nuclear weapons of its own and depends on an American “nuclear umbrella” to keep its northern neighbors at bay. Additionally, the White House and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang have agreed to step up cooperation in the UN Security Council and law enforcement, with discussion of possible UN sanctions in response to the tests.

China, North Korea’s main ally, has also been angered by the tests, but it has called for ”talk”, while others in the international community would prefer action. Keqiang told the General Assembly on Wednesday that countries must pursue disarmament while seeking a solution through dialogue. Chinese and American officials have collaborated, meanwhile, to take action against companies on the Chinese-North Korean border believed to bepeddling materials for the nuclear program.

The Asian Institute for Policy Studies based in Seoul and C4ADS based in Washington said distinguishing legal business activity from illicit trade is particularly difficult in the North Korean context. “The regime’s control over the economy has meant that revenue from even the most basic licit business dealings can be diverted to support illicit programs, including nuclear and ballistic missile development,” the report states. “Going after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s alternative income sources is likely to be the surest means for the international community to coerce the Kim Jong-un regime into abandoning its nuclear weapons program,” the report concludes. “Getting there, however, will require significantly expanded efforts to continually investigate, monitor, and act against DPRK entities evading sanctions.”

Meanwhile, reports say South Korea has a killer plan to fight off its northern neighbor’s nukes. The Asian nation’s troops have a special strategy to assassinate North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un if they feel threatened by his nuclear weapons, officials said. “Yes, we do have such a plan,” South Korean defense minister Han Min-koo said Wednesday when directly asked if there’s a military unit ready to kill the dictator. According to CNN, South Korea has a general idea and plan to use precision missile capabilities to target the enemy’s facilities in major areas as well as eliminating the enemy’s leadership.

The USA on Sept 21 flew a pair of supersonic bombers over ally South Korea for the second time in as many weeks in a show of force following North Korea’s latest nuclear test earlier this month. Such flyovers are common when animosity rises on the Korean Peninsula, which is technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Koreau War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The USA also flew two B-1B bombers over South Korea on Sept. 13.

North Korea’s foreign minister condemned White House on Friday for flying US supersonic bombers over South Korea earlier this week and vowed his country will strengthen its nuclear capabilities in defiance of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. In a defiant speech before the UN General Assembly, Ri Yong-ho said the Korean Peninsula “has now been turned into the world’s most dangerous hot spot which can even ignite the outbreak of a nuclear war.” He blamed the USA and “its hostile policy” against his country.

The B-1B bombers the US military flew over South Korea earlier this week and crossed the demarcation line separating the two Koreas. The US military has said at least one of two supersonic bombers that it flew over South Korea approached the border with the North Korea, an unusual occurrence in the world’s most heavily fortified border. Commander Dave Benham, US Pacific Command spokesman, said on Friday that the aircraft remained in South Korean airspace and “did not at any time cross the military demarcation line between North and South Korea.”

The US flyover was the second in as many weeks and came two weeks after North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test. The United States will have to face tremendous consequences beyond imagination.” Benham said the North “will continue to take measures to strengthen its national nuclear armed forces in both quantity and quality in order to defend the dignity and right to existence and safeguard genuine peace vis-a-vis the increased nuclear war threat of the United States.”

North Korea’s recent nuclear test, along with recent ballistic missile launches, have deepened concerns that it is moving closer toward obtaining the ability to put nuclear warheads on a variety of its ballistic missiles.

Speaking at a meeting with Southeast Asian foreign ministers Friday, US secretary of state John Kerry said that every country has a responsibility to vigorously enforce UN Security Council resolutions to ensure North Korea “pays a price for its dangerous actions.” Kerry also vowed that the United States would defend its own citizens against the North Korean threat and honor its security commitments to its allies.

Ri spoke days after the US, Japan and South Korea met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly gathering to discuss ways to force North Korea to comply with the UN resolutions, which prohibit Pyongyang from conducting nuclear and missile tests. The three countries discussed work in the Security Council to tighten the sanctions and the possibility of taking measures of their own to restrict revenue sources for the North’s missile and nuclear programs. Ri dismissed the Security Council resolutions as unfair. North Korea “had no other choice but to go nuclear inevitably after it has done everything possible to defend the national security from the constant nuclear threats from the United States,” he said.

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