China’s New Silk Road project and South Asia!

China’s New Silk Road project and South Asia!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff


China, the only veto power of Asia and major global power, is seen trying to take a larger role in global affairs by promoting its economic ventures across continents of Asia, Africa and Europe by joint efforts.

China has come out with a fast forward idea of working together for greater benefits for all nations involved. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road or One Belt, One Road (OBOR) is a development strategy, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the People’s Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia, which consists of two main components, the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and oceangoing “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR).

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor are officially classified as “closely related to the Belt and Road Initiative”.

The strategy underlines China’s push to take a bigger role in global affairs, and its need for priority capacity cooperation in collective economic affairs in areas such as steel manufacturing.

The One Belt One Road initiative is geographically structured along 6 corridors, and the maritime Silk Road.  New Eurasian Land Bridge, running from Western China to Western Russia; China – Mongolia – Russia Corridor, running from Northern China to Eastern Russia; China – Central Asia – West Asia Corridor, running from Western China to Turkey; China – Indochina Peninsula Corridor, running from Southern China to Singapore; China – Pakistan Corridor, running from South-Western China to Pakistan; Bangladesh – China – India – Myanmar Corridor, running from Southern China to India; Maritime Silk Road, running from the Chinese Coast over Singapore and India to the Mediterranean.

Essentially, the ‘Belt’ includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. It goes through Central Asia, Russia to Europe.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative offers enormous opportunities for all the countries involved and Greek business community warmly supports all the efforts to deepen the two countries’ cooperation under this context, President of the Greek-Chinese Economic Council Fotis Provatas said recently.

One Belt, One Road has been contrasted with the two US-centric trading arrangements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

OBOR Summit 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres before the Leaders’ Roundtable Summit at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation at Yanqi Lake International Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China, May 14-15, 2017. Around 30 state and government heads as well as delegates from more than 100 countries – including the USA and North Korea – discussed the Belt and Road initiative, one of the world’s biggest economic diplomacy programs led by China.

In a keynote speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the two day Initiative called Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing on May 14  President Xi Jinping said that China would launch Belt and Road cooperation initiative on trade connectivity together with some 60 countries and international organizations. Xi said that the Belt and Road Initiative embodies the aspiration for inter-civilization exchanges, the yearning for peace and stability, the pursuit of common development and the shared dream for a better life. President Jinping called for renewing the Silk Road spirit. Noting that “we are at a fresh starting point, ready to embark on a new journey together,” Xi said, “so long as we press ahead with a common vision without backpedaling or standing still, we will achieve greater connectivity and benefit from each other’s development.” Before the banquet, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan greeted the guests at the Great Hall of the People.

Apart from this zone, which is largely analogous to the historical Silk Road, another area that is said to be included in the extension of this ‘belt’ is South Asia and Southeast Asia. Many of the countries that are part of this belt are also members of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). North, central and south belts are proposed. The Central belt goes through Central Asia, West Asia to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The South belt starts from China to Southeast Asia, South Asia, to the Indian Ocean through Pakistan. The Chinese One Belt strategy will integrate with Central Asia through Kazakhstan’s Nurly Zhol infrastructure program. The coverage area of the initiative, however, is primarily Asia and Europe, encompassing around 60 countries. Oceania and East Africa are also included.

The summit was aimed to map out China’s ambitious new Silk Road project, of which the OBOR is an integral part. The scheme was proposed in 2013 by Xi to promote a vision of expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe. China has earmarked US$40 billion for a special fund for the scheme, on top of the US$100 billion capitalization for the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, many of whose projects will likely be part of the initiative. The OBOR’s wingspan is expected to include 68 nations from China through Southeast and South Asia to Africa and Europe.

The UK’s Chancellor Philip Hammond described the UK as a “natural partner” for the Belt and Road Initiative, while Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo touted China as a possible alternative trading partner in the face of US protectionism

Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni has said that Italy and China had a lot to give each another in terms of tourism and cultural cooperation because they are both ancient civilizations “that strike the popular imagination.” The year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and China, a milestone target that could be a good objective to multiply cultural cooperation as well as tourism. Gentiloni said the culture ministries of both countries were working together on a number of projects, for example “the fact that Italy and China are the two countries in the world with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.”Ours are two civilizations that strike the popular imagination,” he said, citing ancient Rome, the Renaissance, and the appeal of contemporary Italian culture, food, fashion, and design.

The conspicuous absence of the heads of state from the major Western economic powers and Japan at the belt and road summit this month in Beijing is a big mistake and a missed opportunity for enhancing dynamic and cooperative globalization. India, also seeking wide stage to promote its own interests, chose to ignore the China initiate.

Cost and Benefits

The initiative, unveiled in ¬September 2013 by President Xi Jinping, aims to connect China by a network of overland corridors and sea routes to the rest of Asia, Africa and beyond, linking the dozens of countries through infrastructure and financial and trade ties. The economies along the routes account for about 63 per cent of the world’s population and 29 per cent of global GDP.

Anticipated cumulative investment over an indefinite timescale is variously put at US$4 trillion or US$8 trillion. President Xi said in his speech at the opening of the forum that China will contribute an additional 100 billion yuan (about 14.5 billion US dollars) to the Silk Road Fund. Xi certainly looked keen to begin exercising a leadership role, offering to help tackle the economic and security problems faced by Greece and Turkey, issues the EU has struggled to deal with.

The Belt and Road Initiative is expected to bridge the ‘infrastructure gap’ and thus accelerate economic growth across the Asia Pacific area and Central and Eastern Europe: World Pensions Council (WPC) experts estimate that “Asia alone (excluding China) will need up to $900 billion in infrastructure investments annually in the next 10 years, mostly in debt instruments. This means there’s a 50 percent shortfall in infra spending on the continent.” The gaping need for long term capital explains why many Asian and Eastern European heads of state “gladly expressed their interest to join this new Chinese-led initiative focusing solely on ‘real assets’ and infrastructure-driven economic growth.

Xi told his audience that he had proposed an additional RMB780 billion (approximately US$113 billion) to be disbursed through multiple sources. These include the Silk Road Fund; the China Development Bank; the Export and Import Bank of China and also overseas capital provided by Chinese banks. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is not part – at least not yet – of this proposed package.


Out of this amount, RMB250 billion will be provided in loans from China Development Bank, and RMB130 billion from Export-Import Bank of China. This funding is not direct investment but loans, as in the case of China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor, which the Chinese sources will provide to the participant countries. That would put Beijing in a position to steer the course of each country’s development to a direction it deems fit for its own interests. China, as the primary financer of loans, therefore stands to gain the most and it stands atop the list of potential beneficiaries.


The whopping trade imbalance that China has vis-à-vis almost all the OBOR countries and the way the OBOR initiative is solidifying, through various agreements, worries New Delhi.

Less-developed countries along the new Silk Road stand are among the big winners of investment as China revives ancient land and maritime trade routes, according to estimates by a top bank. The potential benefits of the belt and road, if the dream were even only partly realized, could be enormous. The inclusion of the Middle East and Central Asia could contribute to peace and prosperity in these currently dramatically turbulent regions.

Credit Suisse forecasts that China’s massive inflow of investment over the next five years as part of Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative” could amount to as much as US$502 billion, or equivalent to 4 per cent of the total gross domestic product of the 62 countries along the routes in 2015. Credit Suisse estimates that China’s overseas investment in the initiative over the next five years will range between US$313 billion to US$502 billion, depending on how much investment the countries need and how much China is willing to put in.

According to an HSBC estimate, the “Belt and Road Initiative” will generate roughly 300 billion yuan to 500 billion yuan in railway investment, financing more than 15,000km in high-speed rail links along the route. The Credit Suisse report said the initiative could become even more promising as a more “isolationist” administration in the United States created windows of opportunity. “With the new US government pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it is unavoidably sending a message to the world that US government policy is turning more ‘isolationist’,” the report said. At the same, China was striving for greater global influence, it said. Chinese investment could also help make up for any capital outflows in the region. If the dollar strengthens, especially as the US moves along the path of rate normalization, emerging market countries also have to face the risks of capital outflow.

The biggest recipients of the investment dollars were expected to be India, Russia, Indonesia, Iran and Egypt, the bank said in a report released earlier this month. India stands to be the biggest gainer overall, according to the report, with China putting in ¬between US$84 billion and US$126 billion. Russia is next with US$53 billion to US$80 billion; ¬Indonesia third on US$35 billion-US$52 billion; Iran fourth attracting US$17 billion-US$26 billion; and Egypt fifth with US$13 billion to US$20 billion. The report also says China could invest between US$52 billion and US$79 billion in 13 African countries. “Africa is rich in resources, and an important destination for Chinese investment over the past decade,” it said.

A successful, inclusive, globally collective effort to make the belt and road a reality could be a harbinger of peace and prosperity. It is a pity that myopia and prejudice prevent Western and Japanese leaders from being present at this potentially seminal event.


Pakistan where the Sino-Pakistani joint projects succeeded is the corner stone of China’s economic project. India is  opposed to it.

The project OBOR was first unveiled in September and October when Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited Central Asia and Southeast Asia in September and October 2013 he raised the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and announced two major projects revealing the SREB and MSR, respectively.  It was also promoted by Premier Li Keqiang during the State visit in Asia and Europe. The initiative calls for the integration of the region into a cohesive economic area through building infrastructure, increasing cultural exchanges, and broadening trade.

China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (also known by the acronym CPEC) is a collection of infrastructure projects currently under construction throughout CPEC is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction. On 13 November 2016, CPEC became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia. The CPEC in particular is often regarded as the link between China’s maritime and overland Silk Road, with the port of Gwadar forming the crux of the CPEC project.

The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China provides opportunities for the whole world to promote peace and prosperity, experts in Bangladesh said China’s peaceful development is a blessing and opportunity for countries which face extreme difficulties given the rising protectionism in some countries. Bangladeshi experts highly lauded China’s contribution to socioeconomic development of the world and said the initiative of reviving the ancient Silk Road through a network of roads and maritime waterways will surely be a boon for cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

According to the experts, countries on the Belt and Road, especially those with underdeveloped infrastructure, low investment rates and per-capita income, could experience a boost in trade flow and benefit from infrastructure development.

South Asia

The OBOR project, designed to span 65 countries covering 65 percent of the world population, would enable China to not only champion as the primary engine of one third of global economic output, but also accumulate vast amounts of capital as repayments, and through its own direct trade from Central Asia to Europe.


Plagued by territorial conflicts, poor governance and limping economies, the SA region has drawn inspiration from China’s plan and unleashed an effort to join a shared destiny.  South Asia is marred by corruption that is undermining its growth trajectory. The World Economic Forum, in its 2015 Global Competitiveness Index, pointed to corruption as the primary reason for the region’s poor global competitiveness. As China puts conditions on every beneficiary of the trade plan to get rid of corruption, Pakistan and other South Asian countries must gear up to liberate themselves from vicious chains of corruption.

Unemployment is a daunting challenge for South Asia. In order to increase socio-economic viability, it has to create one million jobs every month till 2020. According to the International Labour Organisation, global unemployment will go up by 3.4 million in 2017. With the belt plan a catalyst for transformational change in the economic profile of South Asia, CPEC has started showing its productivity by opening up thousands of jobs for local people. China’s ambassador to Islamabad, Sun Weidong, told reporters that so far the initiative has generated 13,000 local jobs. Experts claim that CPEC projects are likely to create more than one million jobs in various sectors of Pakistan by 2030.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), a critical regional alliance in South Asia accounting for 21 per cent of the world’s population and 7 per cent of its economy, will receive a new lease of life after staying dysfunctional due to a long decade of differences among member countries, especially Pakistan and India. To help SAARC benefit from regional connectivity, China has already stepped up its endeavor to become a full member of the association.

South Asia’s emergence as a leading economic power is in the making, and credit goes to China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”. The grand plan has set into motion game-changing strategies that will lead to free trade agreements, economic integration, physical infrastructure plans, shared growth and structural reforms, all in tune with future demands.

Since this epic plan was announced, South Asia – weighed down by a reputation for regional conflicts, security threats, bad governance, impaired transparency, an energy crisis, poor infrastructure, fragile institutions and limping economies – has unleashed its effort to be part of a shared destiny.
Pakistan foreign affairs expert Muhammad Mehdi says that the trade plan is not solely a Chinese enterprise. “China sees annual trade volume with Silk Road countries from US$1 trillion to US$2.5 trillion within a decade. It reflects 9.6 per cent of annual growth. If South Asia taps this opportunity, it can change the fate of its poor people,” he says. An example of convergence of interests is clearly visible in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a multilateral development bank which India joined as the second largest shareholder after China. Similarly, the New Development Bank, where Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS) are equal partners, is headquartered in Shanghai, and is not envisaged as a Belt and Road initiative by them.
India and China are part of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC), a sub-regional economic cooperation initiative involving the four countries which are engaged in talks for developing cooperation through a joint study group. This group had its latest meeting in Kolkata, India in late April. The BCIM-EC is now being projected as a component of the BRI by China. However, this initiative was conceived well before the Belt and Road Initiative was formulated, and it should not be subsumed within that strategy but instead pursued as a separate grouping for sub-regional cooperation. It involves full and equal ownership of all four countries involved, rather than a subsidiary position as a loop of the Belt and Road.

Like China, India has its own agenda of connectivity and cooperation within Asia and beyond. For instance, India’s “Act East” strategy is aimed at developing close economic synergies with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and East Asia. Two great nations and civilizations such as India and China need not endorse or sign on to each other’s strategies. A more pragmatic approach will be to explore synergies and look at projects they can work on together, without insisting on artificial labeling.



In the view of MP Lohani, former Nepalese ambassador to Bangladesh, China’s ambitious plan for regional connectivity will revitalize SAARC. So China’s induction into the regional body on the basis of its geographical, historical, cultural and economic features will be a breath of fresh air.
The trade plan’s impacts will make China’s free trade agreements with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and India more lucrative, triggering an economic boost. Though Pakistan and China are yet to finalize the second phase of a free trade deal, trade between the countries was valued at US$4 billion in 2006-07 and reached US$13.77 billion in 2015-16.


The potential benefits of the belt and road, if the dream were even only partly realized, could be enormous. The inclusion of the Middle East and Central Asia could contribute to peace and prosperity in these currently dramatically turbulent regions. The trade plan undoubtedly will have a deep impact in alleviating poverty plaguing South Asia, home to 1.7 billion people. As per the World Bank’s latest poverty calculation, about 570 million people in South Asia still survive on less than US$1.25 a day.

Peace is another dividend that will come to fruition with the new Silk Road initiative. India, with a fast-growing economy, has many disputes with China and Pakistan. It opposes the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a pilot project of the trade initiative, due to its route passing through Gilgit Baltistan, which India considers a disputed area between Pakistan and India. However, Indian lobbyists in collaboration with their Chinese counterparts have been brainstorming to build a peaceful neighborhood for relishing joint economic benefits.


Indian worry

The Belt and Road plan, according to Beijing, is a practical economic strategy for China’s objectives to connect the region, seek new growth engines for its slowing economy, utilize its surplus capacity, and develop and stabilize its western regions. It would also bring benefits to partner countries.

There is room for closer consultations between China and India on the objectives, contours and future directions of the Belt and Road. However, India has considered synergy-based cooperation on a case-by-case basis, where its interests for regional development converge with that of other countries, including China. This pragmatic approach is formulated on India’s stance that as the two major powers in Asia, there is bound to be common understanding on many global and regional issues between India and China. They have cooperated on international platforms with similar positions on climate change and global trade, for instance.

India is keen not to lose out Jammu Kashmir under any new project in South Asia. India opposes and ignores the OBOR. China’s relations with India are not as smooth as its Pakistani ties, although all these nations occupy parts of Jammu Kashmir. India is suspicious of Chinese moves. Plans are being hammered out for a free trade agreement between India and China. That effort comes amid India-China trade volume hitting US$70 billion in 2016 as India sought to increase exports to US$30 billion. Meanwhile, joint feasibility studies for a FTA linking Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are on the fast track.
Sandwiched between China and Pakistan and facing a strong freedom movement in occupied Jammu Kashmir, India took an uncharacteristically bold foreign policy stance by turning down China’s invite.  India’s objections are rooted on the fundamental issue of its own sovereignty and territorial integrity, which it says have been violated due to the project. India feels the OBOR will basically further interests of Chinese banks and Chinese companies while ignoring Indian sensitivities. It appears to be a rapacious penetration of Pakistan’s economy and territory, including that of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to which India lays claim, by Chinese enterprises and agencies.

It is difficult to say whether India hated more China or Pakistan. India has repeatedly conveyed its strong objections regarding the CPEC to China.  A flagship program and the most advanced component of the initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a region that is under the control of Pakistan and India now claims to be its own as a ploy to force Pakistan to stop  fighting for India occupied Kashmir. As a country acutely conscious of its own sovereignty-related claims, it wants China to appreciate India’s “sensitivities” in this regard.

The Belt and Road plan is a Chinese initiative rather than a multilateral enterprise undertaken after prior consultation with potential partner countries, and India has not endorsed it. It is one of the most imaginative and ambitious programs ever to be rolled out by a government. It represents a broad strategy for China’s economic cooperation and expanded presence in Asia, Africa and Europe, and has been presented as a win-win initiative for all participating nations. But for India seeking not to lose out Kashmir by any developmental projects in the region, the connotations of China’s Belt and Road Initiative” for New Delhi are somewhat different. By joining, India could benefit from Chinese investment in infrastructure projects, and fast-track its economic development through trade connectivity.

Critics also feel that India’s underwhelming response to China’s grand scheme stems in part from the latter consistently squashing its neighbor’s ambitions to augment its influence at the global high table.

Whenever India, ignoring the freedom struggle being waged by Kashmiris who have been fighting for their lost sovereignty, has lobbied at international forums for entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, permanent membership of the UN Security Council and push for UN sanctions against Pakistan, Beijing has always opposed i. Beijing thus offers New Delhi little incentive to be ebullient about bolstering its own causes and crusades especially at the international level

Linked to this is the compulsion of protecting Chinese maritime commerce, particularly oil, in the IOR. India risks being systematically frozen out of business opportunities in an enlarging area that is integrating with the Chinese economy around the world.

Chinese scholars have been issuing dire warnings on how India would be isolated as most Asian nations as well as the USA and Russia are on board. India’s non-cooperation is also being linked to Sino-Indian ties, which have hit a new low lately. The unresolved decades-old border dispute, Chinese support for India’s arch-rival Pakistan and New Delhi’s backing of the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama which rankles China, have affected bilateral relations.

It is wrong today to presume that the he One Belt-One Road in Beijing is fundamentally the elaboration of a Chinese dream wherein participant countries appear only as facilitators and fade away China would make maximum out of it. India opposes China to be on top of the hierarchy of the states participating in it and it does not approve Chinese leadership and seeks USA to contain China. .



Observation: Prospects and Problems
The origin of the belt and road idea is to open up China’s landlocked western provinces towards Central Asia in a sense it is exporting China’s internal needs to find external solutions.

President Xi’s project was intended to present the world with a view of statecraft different from what the West espoused. But so far Beijing had failed to find a rhetoric that would appeal to Westerners. China invites the world to join its “project of the century. The president’s vision, however, is winning supporters from across the globe. Xi told the conference: “Swan geese are able to fly far and safely through winds and storms because they move in flocks and help each other as a team,” The message is: the best way to meet challenges and achieve better development is through cooperation.”

Enthusiasm for Chinese money, however, does not equate to enthusiasm for Chinese leadership.  OBOR revealed eye-catching figures including the Chinese government’s pledge to invest $124 billion into the scheme and provide $78 billion of financing for OBOR projects.


Both the Belt and Road are clearly intended to enhance connectivity not just across Eurasia but between China and Europe.  However, the EU, which holds reservations over OBOR, can put the brakes on China’s plans, demonstrated by its ongoing investigation into the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed rail funded by Beijing.

China is by no means an angel. Nor, however, as Western and Japanese rhetoric tends to proclaim, is it a devil; or certainly no more so than previous rising great powers. Furthermore, while for much of modern history China was subjugated and marginalized, it’s quite staggering re-emergence will continue to mark the first decades of the 21st century.

Skeptics are, however, questioning the lack of details and multilateral stewardship of the initiative. The strategy spearheaded by President Xi Jinping seemed to be incompatible with China’s preference for “one-way” globalization and assertive policies in Southeast Asia, particularly on maritime routes in the South China Sea, experts said at the Oxford China Forum held in the University of Oxford.

It is a plan that is going to allow a Chinese penetration in the “host” countries on an unprecedented scale which India opposes.  Again, at least this is what the CPEC master plan tells us in terms of the presence that China will come to establish through its “flagship” project in Pakistan, putting it yet again on top of the vertical order China is building.  The pledges China has so far made have been far from sufficient to complete the projects its leadership claims to have already put in motion, or meet Asia’s growing infrastructural requirements, which will be needing, according to ADB, a whopping US$26 trillion up to 2030.


While Xi could not call a spade a spade, the OBOR is far from a gateway to “win-win co-operation,” it is a project saddled with loans, allowing China to invest and re-invest its surplus capital, money that it will use to further boost its international standing to potentially alter the global order to its own advantage in the coming decades, if not years.


What OBOR is therefore doing is not simply a Chinese push towards development, it is equally raising a multitude of problems for the host countries. A clear absence of enough resources to repay loans perhaps tops the list.


However, China seems to have a strategic and political agenda which remains opaque. Apart from the CPEC that directly connects China and Pakistan, India also has misgivings about the manner in which the Belt and Road Initiative is being pursued in its neighborhood. For instance, the development of ports under Chinese operational control as part of the Maritime Silk Road strategy has raised concerns in India. While investment in the Gwadar port, roads and energy projects is reported to have increased from US$46 billion to US$55 billion, CPEC lacks economic justification.

Apart from general resistance to China’s efforts to make its economy stronger, some have expressed concerns that OBOR projects will be overly tailored to China’s needs, favoring projects designed to export Chinese overcapacity in industries such as steel and make use of surplus savings. If these projects do not generate the expected returns for the host countries, it could leave them burdened with debt.

Besides Indian objections, a document acquired by leading Pakistani daily Dawn lays out Beijing’s plans for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which includes installing 24-hour surveillance in major cities and the dissemination of Chinese culture. Such designs could give fuel to those who frame OBOR as 21st-century Chinese colonialism.

China clearly wants a horizontal, non-vertical integration and it always clarifies that there is no hegemonic plan inherent in the Two Silk Roads. Indeed, the issue lies in putting an end to the US “hegemony”, not in creating others. Some observers argue, there is no reason why OBOR cannot be as mutually beneficial as President Xi claims. Building infrastructure in other countries with Beijing’s financial support “should benefit trade and economic development in those places, while of course bringing new business opportunities to Chinese companies

Of course, at this stage, the belt and road represents a vision, a dream, that will face innumerable obstacles – financial, environmental, technological, logistical, social and geopolitical – to translate into reality. It is also without doubt motivated primarily by Chinese interests. But what country ever undertook a major international initiative that wasn’t primarily motivated by its own interests? The post-war Marshall Plan was not an act of pure American altruism, but rather one of enlightened self-interest.

It is especially important that China be engaged in the institutional framework of global governance, and that initiatives for enhancing trade and investment, such as the belt and road, be welcomed rather than rebuffed. Yet the opposite has been happening, while the EU must engage with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), “the decision to launch the AIIB came as a direct result of China’s growing frustration … over only playing a marginal role within the existing international financial system”. This is true of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

A successful, inclusive, globally collective effort to make the Belt and Road a reality could be a harbinger of peace and prosperity. It is a pity that myopia and prejudice prevent Western and Japanese leaders from being present at this potentially seminal event.

China’s push to create new trade and infrastructure links through its “One Belt, One Road” initiative will be hampered by Beijing’s reluctance to open up investment for foreign companies, according to experts.

China plan can boost one aspect. Asia is fast getting old and the harsh reality is that it could do so before it gets rich. Although Asia remains the growth champion of the world, the highly populated continent is ‘shifting from being the biggest contributor to the global working-age population to subtracting hundreds of millions of people from it, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) East Asia, in particular, is projected to be the world’s fastest-ageing region in the coming decades, with its old-age dependency ratio roughly tripling by 2050.


Daring North Korea fires Scud-class ballistic missile toward Japan!

Daring North Korea fires Scud-class ballistic missile toward Japan!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff


For quite some time North Korea, threatened by USA, South Korea and Japan, has been testing new missile capabilities to equal similar capabilities of neighboring nations and USA.
On Monday the May 29 North Korea fired at least one short-range ballistic missile that landed in the sea off its east coast into Japan’s maritime economic zone. It was the latest in a fast-paced series of missile tests defying world pressure and threats of more sanctions. The missile was believed to be a Scud-class ballistic missile and flew about USA considers it the latest in a series of provocative launches that have ratcheted up tensions over its nuclear weapons ambitions. 450 km (280 miles), South Korean officials said. North Korea has a large stockpile of the short-range missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union.
It was the third ballistic missile test-launch (and the 12th this yea) since South Korea’s liberal President Moon Jae-in took office on May 10 pledging to engage with the reclusive neighbor in dialogue. Moon says sanctions alone have failed to resolve the growing threat from the North’s advancing nuclear and missile program.
The test is the latest launch by Pyongyang this year as the isolated regime steps up efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental USA
North Korea, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the beginning of 2016 in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, says the program is necessary to counter US aggression.
North Korea last test-fired a ballistic missile on May 21 off its east coast and said it had tested a new anti-aircraft weapon supervised by leader Kim Jong Un. The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on Earth, which is the capital of South Korea. In the program “Face the Nation”, he said in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russia as well”.
Modified versions of the Scud have a range of up to 1,000 km (620 miles). Monday’s launch followed two successful tests of medium- to long-range missiles in as many weeks by the North, which has been conducting such tests at an unprecedented pace in an effort to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the mainland United States.
The launch comes in fresh defiance of tough talk from US President Donald Trump, who promised last week at the G7 summit that the “big problem” of North Korea “will be solved”.
North Korea has tested Scud-type, short-range missiles many times in the past, most recently in April, according to US officials. However, experts say it may be trying to test new capabilities that may be fed into its efforts to build an ICBM. “There are many possibilities It could have been a test for a different type of engine. Or to verify the credibility of the main engine for ICBM’s first stage rocket,” said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Far Eastern Studies department in Seoul.
The missile launches, and Pyongyang’s threat to stage its sixth nuclear test, have prompted calls for tougher UN sanctions and a warning from Trump that military intervention was an option under consideration. US military monitors said the short-range missile flew for six minutes, while Japan said it fell into the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) — waters extending 200 nautical miles from its coast.
North Korea likely showing its determination to push ahead in the face of international pressure to rein in its missile program and “to pressure the (South Korean) government to change its policy on the North”, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said. The missile reached an altitude of 120 km (75 miles), Roh said. “The assessment is there was at least one missile but we are analyzing the number of missiles,” he said.
Japan lodged a protest against the test missile, which appeared to have landed in its exclusive economic zone. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swiftly condemned the test and vowed concerted action along with its US ally. “We will never tolerate North Korea’s continued provocations that ignore repeated warnings by the international community,” Abe told reporters. “As agreed during the G7 summit, the North Korean problem is the international community’s top priority. In order to deter North Korea, we will take concrete action with the United States.”
South Korea’s Moon swiftly called a meeting of the National Security Council, South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. Seoul’s new liberal administration has said Pyongyang’s repeated test launches were dashing hopes for peace.
The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed about the launch. The US Pacific Command said it tracked what appeared to be a short-range ballistic missile for six minutes and assessed it did not pose a threat to North America. The USA has said it was looking at discussing with China a new UN Security Council resolution and that Beijing, North Korea’s main diplomatic ally and neighbor, realizes time was limited to rein in its weapons program through negotiations. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, asked what a military conflict with North Korea might look like if diplomacy failed, warned it would be “probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes”.
China reiterated that UN Security Council resolutions had “clear rules” about North Korean missile activities and it urged Pyongyang not to contravene them. “The situation on the Korean peninsula is complex and sensitive, and we hope all relevant sides maintain calm and exercise restraint, ease the tense situation as soon as possible and put the issue back onto the correct track of peaceful dialogue,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Russia condemned the launched and also called for restraint, “including towards military activity”, from the partners it was working with, the RIA news agency quoted a deputy Russian foreign minister as saying.
The isolated but nuclear-armed North has test-fired a missile almost every week for the past three weeks. The latest, a short-range Scud, flew about 450 kilometres (280 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) between the Korean peninsula and Japan, the US Pacific Command said. The test also marked the second time this year that a North Korean missile fell provocatively close to its neighbour Japan.

Despite US President Trump’s strident warnings, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in an interview that aired before the launch that a war with North Korea would be “catastrophic.” “This regime is a threat to the region, to Japan, to South Korea. And in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russia as well. But the bottom line is, it would be a catastrophic war if this turns into a combat, if we’re not able to resolve this situation through diplomatic means.”Mattis declined to say what kind of action from Pyongyang would constitute a “red line” for Washington, saying the administration needs “political manoeuvre room.”

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-In, ordered a meeting of the national Security Council to assess the launch, which came a day after North Korea, said its leader Kim Jong-Un had overseen a test of a new anti-aircraft weapons system. The South condemned the test as a “grave threat” and a challenge to the new leader who advocates dialogue with the North in a break from his conservative predecessors. “That the North repeated such provocations after the inauguration of our new leadership… is a direct challenge to our demand for peace and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” the foreign ministry said.

Following North Korea’s test-firing of what analysts said was its longest-range rocket yet earlier this month, the UN Security Council vowed to push all countries to tighten sanctions against Pyongyang. But China, the North’s main trade partner and ally, has made it clear that the push for diplomatic talks — and not imposing more sanctions — is the priority. The USA has said it is willing to enter into talks with North Korea — but only if it halts its missile and nuclear tests.
Meanwhile, the USA will test an existing missile defense system on Tuesday to try to intercept an ICBM, the first such test, officials said.
All said and done one thing is certain: there is no possibility of a missile war between North Korea and other competing powers or USA precisely because any war could be disastrous for the war torn nations as in the case of Afghanistan and Arab nations. USA takes all precautions to deny any chance to North Korea to start a war and hence it uses China towards that purpose. .

Indian coercive strategy has made Kashmiris more alienated than ever before!

Indian coercive strategy has made Kashmiris more alienated than ever before!
(A Sovereign Kashmir: Random Thoughts-302)
-Dr. Abdul Ruff

Jammu Kashmir was a soverign nation until India and Pakistan invaded and occupied it after their own independence from Great Britain. Both India and Pakistan wanted to expand their territories by annexing neighboring Jammu Kashmir and they have done with blessings from their colonial master UK.
India and Pakistan have disputed the territory for nearly 70 years – since independence from Britain. Both countries claim the whole territory but control only parts of it. Two out of three wars fought between India and Pakistan centered on Kashmir. Since 1989 there has been an armed revolt in the Muslim-majority region against rule by India. High unemployment and complaints of heavy-handed tactics by security forces battling street protesters and fighting insurgents have aggravated the problem
Unable to tolerate Indian brutality, Kashmiris are on revolt against Indian occupational crimes. They want USA, UK and other veto members to consider the pathetic plight of Kashmiri Muslims and give them their sovereignty back so that at least their children could live in peace without having to face the Indian military brutality.
India is fast losing Jammu Kashmir as it hates Kashmiris for demanding freedom and sovereignty from occupying Indian military which now enjoys more draconian powers to target Kashmiris at will. Indian regime never cares for human rights violations by its military in Kashmir.
New Delhi has conveniently fooled Kashmiris on its promise of greater autonomy for the region for efficiency while core Indian media lords spread lies about Kashmiris through 24 hours in their TV channels.
Now India is using Kashmiris as military shield with more and more army’s intimidation, wrongful confinement of Kashmiri youth.
Instead of punishing the guilty in their ranks for misusing their powers by ruthlessly attacking Kashmiri Muslims through fake encounters, among other techniques, it honors the guilty with awards and more money for their “meritorious services”. This anomaly has annoyed Kashmiri leaders.
A Kashmir Muslim, Farooq Ahmad Dar, who was tied to an army jeep by military solders and used him as a human shield in India-occupied Kashmir has said he is “afraid” after the officer responsible for the incident was awarded a commendation by the military. “I was under the impression he would be punished. But he was given a reward,” Farooq Ahmad Dar told BBC. The decision, announced on Monday, was met with shock in Kashmir. The army officer responsible for the action said he did it to make India stronger.
Dar had just finished casting his vote at a polling booth when the incident took place. Tied to the jeep, he was driven around villages, as an “example” of what would happen to anyone who threw stones at armed forces. “I was persecuted even though I was one of the few who voted,” Dar said. “Since the day the officer was awarded, I’m even more afraid. Now he will return to the same camp, and I am in danger.”I am feeling under tremendous pressure. He will be back and my situation will worsen.”
The army officer at the centre of the controversy, Major Nitin Gogoi, in a rare departure from official protocol, was allowed to address a media conference and defended his actions. “With this new India idea, I have saved many peoples’ lives.”
The foremost leader of freedoms struggle Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of the Hurriyat – an umbrella group of separatists in Kashmir – called the army decision “distressing and shameful”. Amnesty International India also condemned the decision, saying it gave out the impression that the Indian army “condones human rights abuses”. But views on social media were sharply divided between those who criticised the army decision and those who said Major Gogoi was a hero.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah said the army decision was “wrong”. He said the consequences could be “disastrous”, adding that “the use of human shields is now officially fair and justified in a Kashmir that stands more alienated than ever before”. The Urdu language newspaper Kashmir Uzma saw the move as an “open warning”. “It seems that by honoring the officer, the authorities in New Delhi are trying to send a clear message to Kashmiris that they have reliable tactics for restoring order, even when it involves violating human rights,” it said.
For quite some time, India has been running from country to country and invites rulers from every country to inform that Kashmir has been a part of India for centuries and Pakistan is spoiling the minds of Kashmiris to protest against Indian misrule. New Delhi might think foreign leaders, like Indian media lords, have no knowledge of the past and history. .
Last summer was one of the bloodiest in the Muslim-dominated valley in recent years. Following the killing of influential freedom fighting militant Burhan Wani by Indian forces last July, more than 100 civilians lost their lives in clashes during a four-month-long security lockdown in the valley. It’s not looking very promising this summer.
India occupied Kashmir has seen a fresh upsurge of violence in the past few months, with stone-throwing civilians pitted against military personnel. India is not happy that the youth has not taken real weapons so that Indian military could kill all of them and ask Indian core media lords, controlled by intelligence, to call the Kashmiris “TERRORISTS”.
As its usual safe tactic, whenever there is an upsurge in Sri Nagar, India quickly blames Pakistan for inciting the violence, a charge the latter dutifully denies.

This month’s parliamentary election in Srinagar was scarred by violence and a record-low turnout of voters. To add fuel to the fire, graphic social videos surfaced claiming to show abuses by security forces and young people who oppose Indian rule. A full-blown protest by students has now erupted on the streets; and, in a rare sight, even schoolgirls are throwing stones and hitting police vehicles.
JK Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who leads an awkward ruling coalition with the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), rushed to Delhi last week to urge the federal Modi government to “announce a dialogue and show reconciliatory gestures”.
India ignores the military atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims being ritually committed as a tool to silence the Kashmiri youth. Apparently, PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh told her that they could not “offer a dialogue with separatists and other restive groups in the valley” while fierce violence and militant attacks continued.

Former chief minister and leader of the regional National Conference party Farooq Abdullah warned India that it was “losing Kashmir”. What Abdullah suggested was unexceptionable: the government should begin talking with the stakeholders – Pakistan, the separatists, mainstream parties – and start “thinking of not a military solution, but a political way”. Ignoring the plight of Muslims in the valley, but only thinking only about Hindus in Kashmir as being propelled by Hindutva zealots in the media is not good.

Kashmir is one of most militarized zones on earth with military troops occupying almost every place so that any protest for freedom could be put done forthwith while informing the media to cook stories to make reports about “Muslim terrorists attacked or killed” type headings.
With more than 500,000 security forces in the region, India is unlikely to lose territory in Kashmir but Kashmiris are not with India. .Shekhar Gupta, a leading columnist, says that while Kashmir is “territorially secure, we are fast losing it emotionally and psychologically”. The abysmal 7% turnout in the Srinagar poll proved that “while your grip on the land is firm, you are losing its people”. So what is new about Kashmir that is worrying India and even provoking senior army officials to admit that the situation is fragile? Kashmiri youth is now politically matured and they know they need sovereignty for self development and regain dignity. .
For one, a more reckless and alienated younger generation of local youth is now leading the anti-India protests. More than 60% of the men in the valley are under 30. Many of them are angry and confused about what India plans and wants in Kashmir.

Hope has evaporated for his generation “in face of Indian oppression” and he and his friends did not “fear death”. When I took him aside after a while to ask about his ambitions in life, he said he wanted to become a bureaucrat and serve Kashmir. “It is wrong to say that the Kashmiri youth has become fearless. He just feels alienated, sidelined and humiliated. When he feels like that, fear takes a backseat, and he becomes reckless. This is irrational behavior,” says National Conference leader Junaid Azim Mattoo.
Secondly, the new younger militants are educated and come from relatively well-off families. Youthful Kashmiri leader Wani, who was killed last July as the militant, headed a prominent rebel group and came from a highly-educated upper-class Kashmiri family: his father is a government school teacher. Wani’s younger brother, Khalid, who was killed by security forces in 2013, was a student of political science. The new commander of the rebel group, Zakir Rashid Bhat, studied engineering in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh.

The two-year-old fragile PDP-BJP ruling alliance, many say, has been unable to deliver on its promises. While BJP is trying to increase its base in Jammu Kashmir, PDP is fast losing popular faith in its ability to defend Muslims in Kashmir. An alliance between a regional party which advocates soft separatism (PDP) and a federal Hindutva nationalist party (BJP), they believe, makes for the strangest bedfellows, hobbled by two conflicting ideologies trying to work their way together in a contested, conflicted land. Both Congress and NC are trying to make maximum mileage from the weak government in Sri Nagar.
The federal government’s message on Kashmir appears to be backfiring.
When PM Modi recently said the youth in Kashmir had to choose between terrorism and tourism, many Kashmiris accused him of trivializing their “protracted struggle”. When BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told a newspaper that his government “would have choked” the valley people if it was against them, many locals said it was proof of the government’s arrogance.

The shrill anti-Muslim rhetoric by radical Hindutva groups and politics of incidents of cow protection attacking Muslim cattle traders in other parts of India could end up further polarising people in the valley. “The danger,” a prominent leader told me, “is that the moderate Kashmiri Muslim is becoming sidelined, and he is being politically radicalized.”

The security forces Kashmir, now adhering to Hindutva politics, differ and say they are actually worried about rising “religious radicalization” among the youth in the valley. A top army official in Kashmir, Lt-Gen JS Sadhu, told a newspaper that the “public support to terrorists, their glorification and increased radicalization are issues of concern”. Kashmiri public does not the government or governor or New Delhi masters. One army official said that religious radicalization was a “bigger challenge than stone pelting protesters”. He even claims that some 3,000 Saudi-inspired Wahhabi sect mosques had sprung up in Kashmir in the past decade. The military is eager to build some Hindu structures in Kashmir valley al s well.
Most Kashmiris say the government should be more worried about the cause of “political radicalization” of the young, and that fears of religious radicalization were exaggerated and overblown. Also, the low turnout in this month’s elections has rattled the region’s mainstream parties. “If mainstream politics is delegitimized and people refuse to vote for them, the vacuum will be obviously filled up with a disorganized mob-led constituency,” Mattoo of the National Conference said.
In his memoirs, Amarjit Singh Daulat, the former chief of India’s spy agency RAW wrote that “nothing is constant; least of all Kashmir”. But right now, the anomie and anger of the youth, and a worrying people’s revolt against Indian rule, appear to be the only constants.
If New Delhi still believes that Indian military in Kashmir could solve the Kashmir problems by Zionist or Indian guns there it is mistaken- it is ridiculous for any regime which is serious about democracy to think of a military solution. Kashmir requires political solution. If India still think Kashmiris want to be controlled by Indian military, then, a referendum should be organized under the UN flag.

As India’s most restive region JK stares down the abyss of what a commentator calls another “hot summer of violence”, the doom-laden headline has returned with a vengeance: Should India let Kashmiris live on their own as a soverign nation?

Denial of mass crimes by Sri Lanka: UNSC must initiate punitive measures!

Denial of mass crimes by Sri Lanka: UNSC must initiate punitive measures!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff


The truth remains that all terrorisms are the creation of the states that behave irrationally and attack minorities on the strength of their majority and military power. Israel invented terrorism and USA used it a perfect tool to advance its imperialist goals. USA and Israel jointly launched many Islamic terrorist organizations by giving them suitable Arabic and English names to confuse and terrorize the humanity, invade energy rich Arab nations and to defame Islam as a terrorist religion. They have jointly destabilized Arab world after looting their resources, murdering them in millions.

Sri Lanka is one of those weak nations that terrorized the minority community with military force and also claim to be innocent and victims. They almost succeeded in committing a holocaust of Tamils in their nation. They don’t bother about international legal system or punishment for their state crimes.
Sri Lanka first used the Tamils as their servants and Tamils obliged them. Sri Lanka refused to give them human status even after several decades of residency and denied many basis rights to them.
Tamils protested. The LTTE came much later to serve their causes. Tamils got several rights. The majority Singhalese were annoyed about giving any status of to Tamils from Southern India who had come to the island nation to work for them and strengthen their economy. It was during the British era. Then Singhalese community began hating Tamils for sharing their jobs in government.
In the face of credible allegations that his forces had slaughtered tens of thousands of Tamil civilians, the claim was jaw-droopingly brazen. Yet, as the evidence mounted, the Rajapaksa government and its representatives continued to dispute not only its culpability, but also the very fact of mass civilian death.
The Sirisena regime promised action against Rajapaksha and the military bosses for their collective crimes against Tamils and proposed reconciliation with Tamils but he did not begin that effort. He asked Indian government to save the Tamils with economic assistance.

Hatred for Tamils in Sri Lanka has grown too much that now it attacks the Tamil fishermen who traditionally fish for their supporting their livelihood, loot their boats, arrest them and put them in jails, expecting Indian government to plead and (even beg) with Sirisena to do the “favor” of releasing the Indians and returning their belongings. Indian government did all this because of the pressure from Tamil nadu government.
Sri Lankan regime feels happy and even proud of its “strategic” advantages over India and wants the USA to co-opt Colombo as a “reliable” strategic partner.

Tamil Nadu and Ceylon were historically not separated as they are now. Even in 1970s before the start of Civil war and consequent loss of freedom in Sri Lanka, fishermen communities from either side frequently visited each other’s places. It is told that people from Lanka would take a boat and come to present day Nagapattinam District, watch a movie in talkies and will get back same day. Then fishermen did not have any problem with fishing boundaries since all the problem areas are traditional fishing grounds. The present problem had its origin in formation of India and Sri Lanka as two sovereign countries. Now fishermen from both sides had to follow boundaries. The problem was compounded by Katchatheevu island settlement in 1974(this agreement is not constitutionally valid since it is not ratified by parliament). Fishermen from Indian side lost additional areas due to loss of Katchatheevu.
India-Sri Lanka fishing issue. Relation between two countries comes under pressure due to fishermen straying into each other’s waters. Every month dozens of fishermen from each country get arrested for illegal poaching. The fishing controversy is due to the unclear demarcation over the Palk Strait, a narrow strip of sea between the two countries. As for Sri Lankan fishermen, they do not know where Sri Lankan waters end and the Indian waters begin. They also lack GPS in boats.
The Palk Strait is a strip of ocean that separates Tamil Nadu in India from the Mannar district in Sri Lanka. Its width is between 53 and 80 km, the narrow division between the two countries has resulted in confusion over who holds ownership over the waters. In the case of the Palk Strait, both Sri Lanka’s and India’s EEZ overlap each other. This has now resulted in the conflict that has arisen between the two nation’s fishing communities.
Both Indian and Sri Lankan prefer to go towards the Katchatheevu Island area in the strait, where fish reserves are said to be abundant due to presence of deep waters and the rocky formation. For Sri Lankan fishermen it is within their maritime boundary. Sri Lanka doesn’t agree with Indian Fisherman’s practice of doing bottom trawling which not only captures fishes but also disturbs their habitat. This leads to less fishes coming to those areas because of lack of nutrients. Bottom trawling is banned in many countries
The issue of fishermen came to the fore only with emergence of violent ethnic conflict between the Tamil militants and the Sri Lankan government in the mid 1980s. Increased vigilance by the Sri Lankan Navy to check intermittent flow of Tamil refugees into India and flow of arms and supplies to Tamil militant groups made fishing difficult and risky.
World powers, especially those that claim that democracy and rule of law are central to global governance, have not taken the mass murder of minority Tamils by Sri Lankan regime under President Rajapaksha to be a serious crime. They seem to suggest that all state crimes are a part of democracy and rule of law and hence they are lawful and no need to punish the rulers for their crimes against humanity.
Then President Mahinda Rajapaksa defends Sri Lanka’s military offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the mass murder of the Tamils because he does not distinguish between Tamil community and LTTE. What exactly he and his military had tried was a holocaust of Tamil community on the Island land. Although Rajapaksha could achieve full holocaust, he succeeded in perpetrating genocides of Tamils and terrorizing them to leave the Sri Lanka.
Not only Rajapaksha but even Sirisena who defeated him in the poll to become the President seems to support the military crimes against humanity. Yes, not only Sri Lankan leaders even the USA also seems to support the crimes of Sri Lanka against minority community.

Lankan regime justified the genocides of Tamils in Lanka as war terror and hence very much humane act as it had to fight the LTTE. Much has been made of the example set by Sri Lanka’s ruthless strategy as an alternative to “hearts and minds” counterinsurgency efforts.

Governments battling stubborn militant movements continue to seek advice from Colombo on employing the “Rajapaksa model.” But the successful elimination of the LTTE in 2009 wasn’t the only unexpected feat Sri Lanka accomplished. Sri Lanka managed to preempt international action long enough to conclude its brutal campaign, despite state-perpetrated civilian casualties on a massive scale.
Sirisena’s reaction to accusations of war crimes is very cool as if nothing bad had happened in his country when he was a loyal minister in Rajapaksha government. Although Sirisena has not rejected all allegations of atrocities as pure imagination of the world, he has refused legal action against Rajapaksha. There plays the Sinhala politics where all Singhalese leaders have ganged up to defend both Rajapaksha and Lankan from punishment for their heinous crimes.
The Sirisena government, therefore, doesn’t allow the UN to investigate the war crimes committed by his predecessor Rajapaksha he still maintain cordial al relations with him. .
And importantly, the Rajapaksa government then enjoyed much greater international support than any other despot on earth.
Sirisena would argue that the LTTE had significant popular support and hence their genocides are logical and apr to rule of law. USA and other so-called democracies refused to discuss the pattern of human right violations in Sri Lanka where the Tamils were cornered by the military, police. The government justifies all custodial torture and extrajudicial killings of suspected regime opponents, attacks on civilian targets including hospitals and aid conveys, and the use of prohibited weapons. And in both cases international audiences raised the alarm about mass atrocities.. In addition to forbidding foreign correspondents and human rights organizations access to the conflict zone, the Sri Lankan government terrorized the domestic press. Under Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka became one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist.

The delivery of humanitarian aid was also severely restricted. In September 2008, the government ordered all aid workers out of the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka. While foreign journalists are not officially banned from the country, access to regime-held territory is limited to pre-approved journalists, often accompanied by a minder. Today, it tops the list of deadliest countries for journalists, in large part due to regime attacks on the domestic press. Humanitarian aid delivery has been restricted since the conflict began. In Sri Lanka these measures cut off nearly all sources of independent information.
The second tactic out of Colombo’s playbook is to vehemently contest the limited information that does trickle out of the war zone. The Sri Lankan government challenged all casualty reports as “Tiger propaganda.” In late April 2009, as thousands were dying from government shelling, the Sri Lankan Air Force denied that it was carrying out any operations. Both during and after the war, the Rajapaksa regime also challenged the veracity of all photographic and video evidence. The regime disputed the authenticity of photo and video evidence of weapons attacks, barrel bombs, torture, and extrajudicial killings. Sri Lanka boldly claims that video evidence of extrajudicial killing was faked by “Tamil rebels in army uniform.”
Despite the implausibility of the claim, Sri Lanka insisted that any shelling of civilian targets had been committed not by his military boys but by the “terrorists.” The government also repeatedly accused the LTTE of employing civilians as human shields, arguing that this exonerated the military of any responsibility for their deaths.
Any criminal regime would try to justify its crimes just like any street criminal does. On first look, these tactics – all of which amount to contesting empirically verifiable facts – appear deluded. Against reams of physical and testimonial evidence of war crimes, who would believe a self-interested denial?
But sometimes it works and the strategy paid off for Sri Lanka. In fact, immediately following its victory, the Rajapaksa regime was commended by the U.N. Human Rights Council for its efforts “to ensure the safety and security of all Sri Lankans.” And as impunity for war crimes was compounded by a litany of human rights abuses in the aftermath of the war, the most significant sanctions the government faced were reductions in aid and trade. The war ended eight years ago this week, and to this day no member of the civilian or military leadership has faced justice for war crimes.
But now Sri Lanka wages a regular war on Tamil fishing community.
Sri Lanka’s apparent success in influencing international community not act on SL state terror operations did not depend on actually convincing anyone that it hadn’t committed war crimes. It simply relied on muddying the waters enough to prevent international action. Two structural features of the situation enabled this strategy: First, Sri Lanka was mostly insulated from action at the UN Security Council or at the International Criminal Court. Consequently, there was no straightforward path to halting the violations or ensuring justice for them.
Any intervention (military, judicial, or otherwise) would have been costly and challenging to coordinate. And the final phase of the conflict played out against the backdrop of the Global War on Terror, allowing Sri Lanka to emphasize the LTTE’s use of terrorist tactics and characterize their eradication as an international necessity. There was widespread support (both overt and tacit) for the fight against the LTTE as a terror group. If the first dynamic meant that the bar for international action was set higher than it would have been otherwise, the second meant that Sri Lanka’s actions, seen through the more permissive lens of a fight against terrorism, were less likely to clear that bar.
War crimes are thus justified.
International action on mass atrocities is the exception rather than the rule and Sri Lanka is eager to escape punishment. . The Sri Lankan experience shows that obfuscation and denial can be enough to exploit this inertia and prevent intervention from international community, especially India, which shamelessly kills Kashmiris in their own nation Kashmir which is under Indian military occupation – and alas, UN and UNSC do not intervene to stop the Indian state crimes in Kashmir, does not press for UN investigation and punishing the guilty.
For Sri Lanka, Israel and India are the models in perpetrating crimes against minorities and terrorizing nations under their illegal occupation – Kashmir and Palestine, respectively.
Can USA, ICC and UNSC let Sri Lankan regime get away with mass murder, giving precedence for other criminal regimes to emulate it?
Since Sri Lanka is in denial of mass crimes by its military-police, it is time the UNSC stepped in to initiate punitive measures!


After Mideast, President Trump calls on Pope Francis at the Vatican!

After Mideast, President Trump calls on Pope Francis at the Vatican!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff



One gets the impression that US President Donald Trump could lead his nation and world at large to a new world without conflicts. However, if he misleads the world by his mischief as a usual US leader, then,  like his predecessors have done before him, would betray the humanity beyond Mideast and the  humanity would be  the silent victim to  war mongers and looters.

US President Donald Trump has met Pope Francis on May 24 morning at the Vatican for a short private audience on the third leg of his overseas trip before going to Europe to conclude his madden tour as the custodian of White House. Trump is now due to meet Italy’s president and prime minister. He will then fly to Brussels for a NATO summit.

The US President arrived for the meeting along with his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner after their visit to Israel. The meeting was keenly awaited as the two men have already clashed at a distance on issues including migration and climate change.

Trump and his entourage arrived at the Vatican n the morning just before 08:30 local time; the meeting was arranged last minute which resulted in the early start time. The US president was greeted by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the head of the papal household, and escorted by the Swiss Guard from the Vatican courtyard to the offices of Pope Francis. Journalists who covered the initial greeting said the pair were cordial with each other. Trump told the Pope “it is a great honour”. The two men spoke privately for about 20 minutes before returning to a public arena to exchange gifts.

Though this is their first meeting, they’ve already sparred. During the election the Pope on a visit to the Mexico-US border said that people who only think of building walls instead of bridges were not Christians. Donald Trump described those comments as disgraceful, and accused the pontiff of being a pawn of the Mexican government. But on Wednesday both men were seeking to find common ground.

It is hard to think of two more contrasting characters than Pope Francis and President Trump. On one hand, the Jesuit who has made his mission the championing of the poor and dispossessed; on the other the property developer who has championed getting rich, and surrounded himself with billionaires in his cabinet. Interestingly, Trump gave the Pope a boxed set of writings by the black civil rights leader Martin Luther King. The Pope gave Trump a signed copy of a message he delivered for World Peace Day, along with some of his writings about the need to protect the environment. “Well, I’ll be reading them,” Trump told him.

Trump seemed subdued during their initial meeting, while Pope Francis was not as jovial as he sometimes is with world leaders. The two men appeared much more relaxed at the end of their 30-minute private meeting. He was granted a short private audience with the head of the Catholic Church on the latest leg of his overseas trip. The two men have in the past clashed on issues such as migration, climate change and a Mexico-US wall. On international affairs, their “exchange of views” covered the “promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue”, and highlighted the need to protect Christian communities in the Middle East.

The Vatican said later that they shared a commitment to “life, and freedom of worship and conscience” and expressed hope that they can collaborate “in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to migrants”.



Saudi Arabia and Iran

Trump vowed to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve durable peace, as he ended the Middle East leg of his tour. The US leader began his foreign trip with a two-day stop in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, urging Muslim countries to take the lead in combating radicalization.

Western powers make maximum benefits of the illogical Saudi-Iran rift.

After the first leg of his trip in Saudi Arabia, President Trump seems to hope that Sunni Arab countries might be part of any solution between Israel and the Palestinians.  Without doubt the Saudis and the Israelis are talking, because Iran is their shared enemy. But the Saudis have had their own Arab peace plan on the table for the last 15 years, offering full peace and recognition of Israel in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the entire territory of the West Bank and Gaza with its capital in East Jerusalem. That is something the current Israeli government is not prepared to concede.

Antipathy towards Iran is the one thing that Washington’s disparate allies in the region agree upon. So, bashing of Tehran has been a prominent theme for Trump both in Saudi Arabia and now in Israel. Hostility to Iran is the glue that binds what some would like to believe is an emerging coalition between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf States together. But how far it really promises to shake up the sterile politics of the region is unclear.

A common purpose to contain Iran is one thing but can it really extend to bringing a new diplomatic dawn to the region? For Trump, criticising Tehran performs multiple functions. It allows him to sound tough on the world stage. Tougher than his predecessor, Barack Obama, who, he believes, signed one of the worst deals in history in reaching the nuclear accord with Iran.

It enables him to reassure both the Gulf Arabs and Israel at one and the same time. And it underscores the narrative of a common front emerging in the region that – at least according to the Trump administration – holds the enticing promise of a new dynamic in the log-jammed struggle between Israel and the Palestinians. And, of course, it also sends a warning signal to Tehran about aspects of its policy in the region that Washington sees as contrary to US interests.

It is also not a policy of nuance or one that contends with complex reality. How does it look providing ringing endorsements to the Saudis and selling them a fortune of weaponry, when they are engaged in a brutal war in Yemen?

The Trump government’s almost brash belief in the possibilities of a wider Middle East peace seems to be at variance with most experts who know the region well. They argue neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are ready to make the hard compromises necessary to achieve a lasting peace.

Some have argued that rather than focusing on a comprehensive deal that would have to resolve the hard questions like Jerusalem and refugees, the goal should be less ambitious; an interim deal that might mark the re-starting of a longer term diplomatic process. But it is not clear yet if the new US administration has the patience for this kind of worthy diplomacy. And this brings us back to Iran. Just what is the Trump administration’s policy towards Tehran?

Indeed the re-election of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani may complicate matters further. He was perceived as the more moderate candidate after all, even if the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard still retain a key grip on foreign policy.

President Rouhani is already encouraging some European politicians to talk of the search for an opening to Tehran. That may not go down well in Washington. But then there is the very complexity of the region that Trump’s rhetoric often overlooks.

Interestingly, the Iraqi government is now one of Washington’s main allies against so-called Islamic State. But Iran too is a strong supporter of Baghdad and has deployed militia forces and advisers on the ground to aid the war effort.


Dealmaker’s hopes


President George W Bush sponsored a peace conference in Annapolis in 2007, which for a while was hailed, in vain, as a major step towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. President Bill Clinton presided over the moment in 1993 at the White House when Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin exchanged a historic handshake and signed the Oslo peace agreement. At the end of his presidency in 2000, a make or break summit failed and was followed by years of violence and unrest. In recent times every American president also brings with him new hopes and fears for Israelis and Palestinians.  In 2009 President Barack Obama trying to re-set relations with Arabs and Muslims. In the process he alienated Israelis and its leaders never forgave him. His first act as president was to appoint a Middle East envoy whose peace mission, in the end, failed.

Nobel foundations have played mischief by offering Obama the coveted Nobel Peace prize even before he could do nay thing meaningful in his presidency in the proper way. Nobel committee denied any chance for Middle East peace by almost imposing on him Peace Award that made him ineffective in solving the Mideast puzzle by establishing Palestine. Perhaps had he not got the Nobel Peace Award, Palestine would have become a sure reality as he supported the Palestine cause towards the end of tenure at White House. .

Now President Trump, who sees himself as the world’s best dealmaker, says he would like to pull off the world’s toughest deal. How quickly Trump would be able to get Israeli leadership on board to settle the world’s deadliest conflict in the name of Israel war on Palestine would determine the success of his efforts to end the blood bath in Palestine where Palestinians have been facing cruelty form Zionist military.  .

The US leader began his foreign trip with a two-day stop in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, urging Muslim countries to take the lead in combating radicalization. In his final speech, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, President Trump also identified himself, his government and the USA four-square with Israel. He repeated, to lots of applause, that he would never let Iran have nuclear weapons. Israel has a substantial -illegally obtained from USA – and officially undeclared nuclear arsenal.


Trump became the first serving American president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the holiest place where Jews can pray. That is being taken by Jews as his support for Israel. Trump became the first serving American president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the holiest place where Jews can pray. That is being taken as support for Israel. The wall is in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after it was captured 50 years ago and which most of the world outside Israel regards as occupied land. Some will interpret the fact that the president declined the Israeli prime minister’s request to accompany him as a sign of support for the status quo view that it is occupied territory.

President Trump, in his speech, did not pick up the cue. After making many warm remarks about Israel, which earned him standing ovations, he said he believed that the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, was serious about making peace.

One pointer to a potential difference with Israel’s hawkish PM Netanyahu came at the museum. In his opening remarks, Netanyahu said that if the bomber in Manchester was Palestinian, and his victims were Israelis, the Palestinian Authority would be paying a stipend to his family. He was referring to a Palestinian Martyrs’ fund. It pays pensions to people it regards as victims of the occupation, including the families of individuals who have been killed attacking Israelis. There is also a fund to support Palestinians who have been imprisoned by Israel. The Palestinians have compared the payments to the salaries Israel pays to soldiers.

Senior Israeli politicians and officials in the room disagree. Netanyahu said earlier this year that President Abbas lied to Donald Trump when they met in the White House. That is an important disagreement. If President Trump’s hopes ever become negotiations about substance he will find that there are many others. The two sides are far apart on the main issues, like the future of east Jerusalem, the borders of a Palestinian state and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

President Trump brought with him to Jerusalem most of his top advisers, dozens of vehicles and his own helicopters. The White House booked the entire King David Hotel for the president and his entourage. The Israeli and Palestinian authorities cleared the main roads of Jerusalem and Bethlehem for the movements of his armed and mighty motorcade.



President Donald Trump has arrived in Brussels ahead of a NATO summit where he will push the security alliance’s 28 members to meet their spending obligations and do more to combat terrorism.  The fight against terrorism will be top of the agenda at the May 25 meeting in the Belgian capital, a stop on Trump’s first trip abroad since he took office in January.

It is believed that the bombing in Britain that killed 22 people has been engineered to further strengthen the NATO and its brand state terrorism encompassing Islamic world. The whole idea for all this is to brand Islam a terrorist religion and to force  Islamic regimes to kill Muslims as terrorists in order to reduce Islamic populations and loot their resources, valuable assets. . . . .

This is Trump’s first visit to Europe since taking office in January. Security has been stepped up across Rome, with the areas around the Vatican City, the Italian presidential palace and the American ambassador’s residence, where Trump is staying, temporarily closed to traffic.

Trump called NATO “obsolete” during the US presidential campaign last year, saying it was not doing enough to fight terrorism. He has also chided some members for not following NATO guidelines on spending. This visit will be about damage limitation with the fervent hope of establishing some kind of transatlantic chemistry.  The tone in Brussels has gone from off-the-record sneering when the erratic and unpredictable Trump first won the November elections, to outright concern now that the implications of his presidency have begun to sink in.


Despite the heavy police presence, about 100 anti-Trump protesters held a rally in one of Rome’s squares on Tuesday evening. Significant protests are also expected in Brussels where he will meet EU and NATO officials.

Trump is now in Brussels for talks with NATO and EU officials. He will also hold meetings with Belgium’s King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel. Later on Wednesday, Trump flew to Brussels, where significant protests are expected. For the EU and for NATO, this visit is about damage limitation with the fervent hope of establishing some kind of transatlantic chemistry, the BBC’s Europe editor Katya Adler says. She adds that the tone in Brussels has gone from off-the-record sneering when the erratic and unpredictable Trump first won the November elections, to outright concern now that the implications of his presidency have begun to sink in.

After his visit to Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, and to Israel, this is the final leg of the tour of three of the world’s major religions. President Trump’s commitment to fighting extremism and intolerance will win approval from the Pope, as will his determination to bring peace to the Middle East. And the president thinks there’s another reason why they will get on. Back in 2013 he tweeted: “The new Pope is a humble man, very much like me.”

Trump was joined not only by his wife, daughter and son-in-law but also Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser HR McMaster. Both Melania and Ivanka Trump were dressed in black with their heads partially covered, in keeping with a traditional Vatican protocol that is no longer expected to be rigorously observed. Melania, a Catholic, asked the Pope to bless her rosary beads.

Following his visit to the Vatican, Trump was moving on for talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in what is his first visit to Europe since taking office in January. Security has been stepped up across Rome, with the areas around the Vatican City, the Italian presidential palace and the American ambassador’s residence, where Trump is staying, temporarily closed to traffic. Despite the heavy police presence, about 100 anti-Trump protesters held a rally in one of Rome’s squares.

After the meeting between President Trump and the Pope, the Vatican said there had been an “exchange of views” on international issues, while Trump said they had had a “fantastic meeting”. Trump also tweeted: “Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.” He arrived in Europe from Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he vowed to try to achieve peace in the region.




Today the world is at a cross roads. Palestinians and Kashmiris like other oppressed nations, brutally occupied colonist and imperialist regimes, continue to be strangled to death by democracy militaries aided by high precision terror equipment. President Trump has given a new hope for the survival of occupied masses with some dignity. . Whether or not he could be trusted remains a trillion dollar question.

. .

Enemies of Islam have succeeded creating a solid wedge between Saudi Arabia and Iran and through that a vertical split in Islamic world. That trend may not end any soon because Saudi led Sunni Arab states view Iran as their worst foe- even worse than Israel and all anti-Islamic rogue states operating in coalition to destroy Islam. Interestingly, a few Muslim regimes also led support to the destructive format of anti-Islamic forces globally.

Absolute foolishness and fatal ignorance are not a part of Islamic faith. Nor reluctance to mold the mindset of Arab leaders could be an excuse to let the enemies of Islam invade energy rich Arab world.

Donald Trump deserves global appreciation as he has said he is “more determined than ever” to pursue peace in the world after meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican.

The main problem is Israel does not want to resolve the conflict.   Trump is right on one point. This is a conflict that badly needs settling. If that is not possible, there needs to be political progress. History shows that bloodshed tends to fill the void left by the absence of hope.

Well, for all the rhetoric the practical reality of Trump’s foreign policy is more guarded. So beyond a raft of trade deals in Saudi Arabia what have we really learnt so far. All the indications are, for example, that the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem has been put on hold.

US Presidents have never talked about Zionist nukes and their danger posed to the humanity. Trump also never questioned the validity of Isabel possessing nukes illegally. For all of the president’s repeated condemnation of the Iran nuclear deal, is he really capable of walking away from it?

A Trump foreign policy is still very much a work in progress. Much of Trump’s world view is now coming into a jarring contact with reality.  This current trip is in large part ceremonial, it is very early in his presidency to be putting a toe into Middle Eastern waters.

In all the speeches President Trump made during the trip there was no detail about how he might succeed when so many others have failed. So signs and symbols and implicit messages are being pored over for meaning.

This is President Donald Trump’s first foray to the Middle East and of course it will not be his last. He has already got one thing clear. Adversity really does make strange bedfellows.

Trump will end his tour on the Italian island of Sicily at the G7 summit on Friday.

Trump to go all out for Middle East peace!

Trump to go all out for Middle East peace!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff


US President Donald Trump who is touring Middle east region and has arrived in Palestine after visiting Saudi Arabia and Israel, has said he will “do everything” to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace. This is the last day of the US president’s shuttle diplomatic effort visit to the Middle East.

Israel and the Palestinians have not held peace talks for three years and Trump acknowledges it would be “one of the toughest deals of all” to broker. At talks with Mahmoud Abbas, he spoke of being gratified that the Palestinian leader had committed to taking necessary steps to peace.

Abbas welcomed Trump’s “noble and possible mission”. “I would like to reiterate our commitment to co-operate with you in order to make peace and forge an historic peace deal with the Israelis,” he said.

Feeling satisfied with his maiden trip to Mideast, Trump said: “I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians…And I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal. He added the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas had assured him he was “ready to work towards that goal in good faith”, and that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu had promised the same.

President Obama, the recipient of Nobel Peace Award on his assuming power at the White House did nothing valuable to bring the Israeli leadership to agree for a final settlement so that Palestinians could establish their own state, Palestine, with dignity and full sovereignty.

Trump said he had come to Bethlehem, where the meeting with Mr Abbas was held on Tuesday morning, “in a spirit of hope”. In both Gaza and the occupied West Bank, some Palestinians have held protests against the trip and in support of a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Hundreds of stone-throwing youths clashed with Israeli soldiers firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

In fact, Palestinians do not trust US leaders much because they always support Israeli regime and military and order the supply of terror goods to Israel for killing the Palestinians. At least one Palestinian was injured at the Qalandia checkpoint near Jerusalem. In the Gaza Strip, other Palestinians trampled photos of the US leader. Hundreds of jailed Palestinians have been on hunger strike since 17 April. Activists were hoping to hold up protest banners in Bethlehem on Tuesday to make Trump aware of the action.

Speaking in Jerusalem on Monday, Trump played political music for the criminal minded Jews who want to kill all Palestinians and take away their lands as well by saying that Iran would never have nuclear weapons and accused it of supporting “terrorists”. “Iran will never have nuclear weapons, that I can tell you,” Trump told fanatic Netanyahu. . In return, Netanyahu extolled the US president’s leadership.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani played down Trump’s strong criticism of Iran at a summit in Saudi Arabia at the weekend, saying: “Who can say regional stability can be restored without Iran?”

Speaking to Netanyahu on Monday, Trump sought to dispel suggestions that he had passed on sensitive Israeli intelligence to Russian diplomats at a recent meeting, saying he had not mentioned the word “Israel” at the meeting.
However, many Palestinians on both sides look forward to Trump’s promote action to make Israel listen to reason and promptly deliver justice to them.

On Monday, Trump said he had come to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond” between the US and Israel and that there was a “rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace” to the region.

President Trump flew to Tel Aviv direct from Saudi Arabia, where at a summit on Sunday he urged Arab and Muslim leaders to work together to “drive out” terrorist extremists.

Trump also said that he was “gratified” that PLO leader Abbas had attended the summit in Riyadh and “committed to taking firm but necessary steps to fight terrorism and confront its hateful ideology”. “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded,” he added, apparently referring to payments made by the PA to the families of Palestinian prisoners and those killed in the conflict with Israel.

Israel had been pestering Trump to visit Israeli Holocaust memorial and so later on Tuesday Trump returned to Jerusalem, visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. And in a speech later at the Israel Museum, he reaffirmed that his administration would always stand with Israel.

Trump said his trip was “focused on bringing nations together”, adding that the Palestinians were “ready to reach for peace”.

President Trump sees himself as a great dealmaker, with the personality to cut through the difficulties that have defeated lesser people. The only credible ideas still require the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel. The reality is that the Israelis and Palestinians are way apart on the main issues – the future of east Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the borders of an independent Palestine. The two sets of leaders also do not trust each other. Israeli fanaticism and mischief have always derailed the peace talks so far.

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House was greeted by the Israeli right with enthusiasm. They believe that it heralds a new era of settlement expansion in the occupied territories. The Israeli government appeared to think so too, welcoming Trump’s victory with the announcement of permits for new housing units in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank, thereby further complicating any peace deal with Palestine. .

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has been occupied by Israel for 50 years. Some of the most influential members of the Israeli government believe the land is a Jewish possession, given by God as a free gift for their crimes in past and future. . .

The Palestinians are deeply divided, with Fatah in charge in the West Bank and in Gaza the Islamists of Hamas, who have been condemned by President Trump in the last few days as terrorists.

It is highly unlikely that even President Trump’s outsized personality will be enough, on its own, to end a conflict that has lasted more than a century. Making this deal is not about fixing a price – it is about reconciling enemies with radically different world views.

Palestine has achieved nationhood from UN but without voting power and it is going to get that too shortly. Towards the end of his presidency Obama supported the cause of Palestinians indirectly.

Trump is expected to pursue the cause further so that Palestine comes into existence sooner than later. .

Trump has now flown to Rome ahead of a meeting with Pope Francis. On Wednesday he will continue to Brussels to see NATO leaders. On Friday, he will return to Italy to meet other world leaders at a G7 summit in the Sicilian town of Taormina, where climate change is expected to be discussed.

Now the ball is in Trump’s court. One can only watch with fingers crossed as to what exactly Trump would do to achieve peace in Mideast.

Can Trump make Israel become a normal state to able to successfully negotiate peace deals?

Meanwhile, it is indeed gratifying that President Trump has sworn to achieve peace in Mideast by helping with the establishment of Palestine which is being delayed by Israel and USA for too long, meanwhile the Zionist military keeps killing the Palestinians, including children.