South India: AIADMK General Council sacks Sasikala, cancels actions by Dinakaran!

South India: AIADMK General Council sacks Sasikala, cancels actions by Dinakaran!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) General Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution to sack VK Sasikala from interim General Secretary post. “Late J Jayalalithaa will be the permanent GS of the party,” the resolution said. It also abolished the pos of General Secretary .

In a bid to end confusion over the appointments and removals made by ousted TTV Dinakaran, another resolution declared that office bearers appointed by late Party supremo J Jayalalithaa will retain their posts.

The meeting also adopted a resolution to retrieve two leaves symbol frozen by Election Commission. It also ratified merger of O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palanisamy factions. The meeting also created new posts – Convenor and joint Convenor to coordinate the party affairs. Panneerselvam will be the Convenor and Edappadi K Palanisamy will be Joint Convenor.

The powers of General Secretary will be given to Convenor and Joint Convenor and form A and B (election affidavit) will be signed together by EPS and OPS.

AIADMK factions led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and rebel leader O Panneerselvam came together after a bitter split about six months ago and announced the merger.

It was as if Tamil Nadu was being treated to a morning show of its favorite prime time reality show Bigg Boss on Tuesday. With the voting rights vested in the 2,140 members of the AIADMK General Council and 290 executive council members, VK Sasikala was finally eliminated from the House where she had stayed as captain aka interim general secretary for close to 35 weeks. In the mean time, the producers of this real life political reality show that started on 22 September last year, the night J Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, had summoned Sasikala’s proxy TTV Dhinakaran several times into the confession room, asking him and his aunt to leave the House on their own.

 

When several eviction notices did not bear fruit, the party decided to resort to strong-arm tactics, with the muscle power in the form of numbers carrying out the ouster.

With this, the Panneerselvam-Palaniswami united faction has bitten the bullet. The decision ran the risk of desertions from the ruling camp, but it is a calculated risk. The ruling camp believes the Dhinakaran camp will not see a significant rise in numbers and many of the Mannargudi family loyalists over the past couple of weeks have been identified and wooed. These were the sleeper cells about which Dhinakaran kept bragging and he may find to his dismay that he no longer controls the password to activate many of them when the time comes.

The visuals from inside the meeting venue — where the decision to sack Sasikala was taken, followed by thunderous applause — will upset Dhinakaran. For the family that thought it owned the AIADMK, it was visual proof of the coup that had unseated them.

Rewind to December 2016, when as soon as Sasikala was elected the interim general secretary, banners with her photograph came up at the meeting venue to signify the new power regime. Then just about every AIADMK leader stood in line to fall at her feet, their backs suitably bent. On Tuesday, the rug was pulled from under Sasikala’s feet by the same combination of leaders.

What was unveiled in Chennai was a sequel to the turbulent month of February when OPS revolted against Sasikala. ‘AIADMK Returns‘ has a new cast, with the late Jayalalithaa as the permanent general secretary. It is political insurance for the OPS-EPS duo to take all decisions in the name of Jayalalithaa, as it will help curb dissidence. Power will be vested in a steering committee with OPS and EPS to head the party.

 

What will this mean for the AIADMK? The plan is to project OPS and EPS as the inheritors of the Jayalalithaa legacy and portray the Mannargudi clan as a group that was shown the door in the past by the former chief minister.

 

In the revolving door culture of the AIADMK, EPS who was appointed as chief minister by Sasikala has now officially stabbed her in the back to join hands with friend-turned-foe-turned-friend OPS. Unsurprisingly, Dhinakaran is seeing red and has vowed to “send the government packing”.

But can he? That is the question. While all resolutions passed by the general council will have to pass the legal scrutiny of the Madras High Court, the bigger challenge for Dhinakaran will be to carry out his threat. The DMK is likely to go to court this week asking for a floor test on the plea that technically, the EPS government is short of a majority by at least four MLAs. Dinakaran’s future — and with it, the future of the Mannargudi family — will depend on whether he can together with MK Stalin, upset Palaniswamy’s applecart. If they cannot, it will be political sunset at least in the immediate future for Dhinakaran.

The question is whether Dhinakaran, who claims to have the support of 21 lawmakers, can hold on to his strength. Many of the AIADMK legislators admit that chances of re-election are slim, given the dirty linen the party leaders have been washing in public all through 2017. So the urge to make the most of the next three-and-a-half years in power will be seen as a huge incentive.

Dhinakaran, it would seem, is also losing the perception battle. His aim to topple the EPS administration is being spoken of as a desire to overthrow “Amma’s government” and appoint a “Mannargudi regime”.

Dhinakaran, over the past few weeks, has been focused on controlling the party rather than the government. The two party organs, Jaya TV and Namadhu MGR are in the family’s control. But the united party will have a better chance of getting back the frozen two leaves symbol from the Election Commission.

 

Jaya TV kept airing visuals of Sasikala announcing Palaniswami as the chief minister at the Koovathur resort on 14 February, the day she was convicted by the Supreme Court in the Disproportionate Assets case and ordered to go to Bengaluru Jail. Sasikala calls OPS a ‘drohi‘ (betrayer) even as EPS is seen falling at Sasikala’s feet, gratitude written all over his face.

 

Tamil Nadu’s political theatre could take  any turn depending on the court orders and Governor’s decision.

 Highlights

  1. The AIADMK reported 95% attendance at the meeting of 2,000 party members; 18 lawmakers loyal to Sasikala skipped the meeting, which voided her appointment as interim general secretary and so also her appointment of Dinakaran as deputy general secretary last February. Dinakaran’s orders do not bind the party, party leaders said after the meeting.

 

  1. The meeting ratified the appointment of Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam as the chief of the 11-member steering committee of the party. It also formalized the merger between the factions led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and Mr Panneerselvam, which happened last month after long and bitter negotiations.
  2. The expulsion of VK Sasikala was one of the key demands of the faction led by Jayalalithaa loyalist O Panneerselvam, who had rebelled earlier this year after VK Sasikala forced him to step down from the Chief Minister’s post.
  3. After former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death in December, VK Sasikala, her long-time live-in aide, had taken over the party. Mr Panneerselvam, who had filled in for Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister on several occasions, had taken over the top post in the government.
  4. Under the terms of the merger, Mr Pannerselvam, who had been the Chief Minister before Mr Palaniswami, was made his deputy — the key party post for him was seen as balancing out the comedown.
  5. TTV Dhinakaran, who has been making an all-out effort to claw back to power, claims to have the support 19 lawmakers and has sided with the opposition DMK to demand that Chief Minister Palaniswami face a trust vote.
  6. DMK leader MK Stalin, who met the Governor on Sunday, says together with Mr Dhinakaran, they have 119 legislators. The halfway mark in the 234-member assembly since the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa stands at 117.
  7. The united AIADMK says they have the support of nine lawmakers from the Dhinakaran camp and hence a majority figure of 124.
  8. TTV Dinakaran has said they want the Chief Minister to resign, “otherwise we will not hesitate to bring down the EPS government”.
  9. Yesterday, a lawmaker in his camp filed a petition in the Madras High court asking that the General Council meet today be put on hold. The court dismissed the petition, but said any decision by the General Council will be subject to its decision, which may be announced during the next hearing on October 23.

 

  1. J Jayalalithaa will be the AIADMK’s “eternal general secretary,” Tamil Nadu’s ruling party said today, scrapping the post and sacking VK Sasikala, who is in a Bengaluru prison. The party will be run by Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam as Chief Coordinator and Chief Minister E Palaniswami as his assistant.

 

The meeting made a merger between factions led by the two leaders formal and ended the primacy of Ms Sasikala – who took over as party chief after Ms Jayalalithaa’s death in December last – and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran.

 

Today’s decisions are, however, subject to the approval of the Madras High Court which allowed the meeting to be held, dismissing a petition by Sasikala loyalists to put it on hold.

 

Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, on Monday fired a fresh salvo threatening to bring down the AIADMK government if their demand to change the CM and his deputy CM were not met. “We are trying to change CM Palaniswami. If not possible, we have resolved to bid a goodbye to the present government,” he warned.

 

Dhinakaran, who claims 21 party legislators behind him, said he would work towards bringing down the K Palaniswamy government. “You (Chief Minister Palaniswamy) and others have no moral right to sit in positions of power that was once wielded by Jayalalithaa. We will send this government home,” Dinakaran told a press conference.

 

Sasikala’s relative, Dinakaran who along with Sasikala planned to take both power and party into their hands, was reacting shortly after the merged AIADMK factions adopted a resolution revoking the appointment of his aunt VK Sasikala as AIADMK general secretary and his appointment as deputy general secretary at the party’s general council meeting. “This is not a valid general council meeting. Only the party general secretary can call a meeting of the general council meeting,” Dhinakaran said.

 

Dinakaran also said, “DMK is our main challenger and we’ll fight against them, and win the elections. The ruling faction is spreading falsehood that we are in alignment with DMK.”

Following the death of Jayalalithaa, the party split into three factions led by Sasikala, Palaniswami and former chief minister O Panneerselvam. The Election Commission froze the party’s ‘two leaves’ election symbol due to competing claims.

 

Last month, the factions led by Palaniswamy and Panneerselvam merged. The merged group held a general council meeting on September 12 morning and voted to oust Sasikala as general secretary. Sasikala, a long-time aide of Jayalalithaa, is in jail in a corruption case.

 

The general council meeting was held at a time when the opposition led by the DMK has accused the AIADMK government led by Palaniswamy of having lost the majority in the assembly and demanded that it prove its majority on the floor of the house.

 

In the 235-member Assembly, there are 234 members, including one nominated member without voting rights. One seat remains vacant following the death of Jayalalithaa last year. Effectively, the number of legislators with voting rights in the Assembly is 233. The number of legislators opposed to the government is 119, including the DMK and allies with 98 and Dhinakaran faction’s 21.

 

CM Edapadi asked as to how can this TTVDhinakaran who is not even a primary member of AIADMK can remove party office bearers?

 

Observation 

 

It is indeed shocking that even Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran with their hidden agendas have managed some supporters to protest against their expulsion from the ruling party.

Are the people of Tamil nadu so naïve not to comprehend the politics of Sasikala-Dinakaran in the state?

 

Now that curtains are almost down for him and his aunt, will Dinakaran go to Karnataka where his supporting MLAs are kept as political captives? His presence in Karnataka would strength for his aunt in Bangaluru jail for their corrupt practices without even being an MLA?

 

 

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From Afghanistan to World War III

 

From Afghanistan to World War III
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
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At the outset, it is made clear that USA has no plan to leave Afghanistan ever and it has no plan to end war in Syria as well for strategic reasons. Aggressors and invaders under some vague pretexts do not have the real intent to quit the invaded, occupied nations on their own. Americans have stated some reason to continue the military occupation and crimes.
Invasion of an Islamizing Afghanistan in 2001 following the Sept-11 hoax set the tone for the World War –III, targeting Islamic world and Islam and killing millions of Muslims. This was an idea of Neocons seeking to establish global US military hegemony over not only Russia and China but entire EU that cannot be defeated by any military alliances any time in future.
In embarking on a global war essentially on Islam, America relied on the global networks the CIA, Israeli Mossad and allies have created for the purpose. These networks include some misguided Muslims/teams and some hypocritical Muslim rulers including Arab leaders who serve as US agents and assistants so that their huge individual wealth, stolen from the nations they rule , is protected by USA and UK, among other western powers. .
US President Barack Obama, had put forward a proposal to keep at least 5,000 American troops on the ground in Afghanistan beyond 2016, indefinitely as the Pentagon USA is not at all considering to withdraw its forces from the lands of brave Afghans. This means the decade long talk of Americans about complete withdrawal is yet another hoax to fool the world.
Thus Sept-11 hoax is strengthened by Afghan withdrawal hoax and their intention obviously is to keep Islamic world under full terror control and in perpetual tensions.
US strategists think if USA and Nato completely withdraw themselves from the strategic Islamic nation in South Asia along the Silk Road which they occupy following the Sept-11 hoax, Russians would reoccupy it especially when its arch foe and cold war adversary is asserting its power in West Asia through Syria.
Such an invalid occupational move ended Obama’s promise cum plans to bring US troops home before he left office on January 20, 2017.
The White House asserts that no such decision or plan to end occupational genocides in Afghanistan or Ira or Syria has been made yet. This means USA does not want to leave the occupied Muslim nations in the near future, at least
The US President, including Donald Trump makes these kinds of policy decisions, by taking into account the advice that he receives regularly from the Pentagon and its allies including Israel’s notorious Mossad that are seeking to continue to attack Afghans until the planned energy routes are cleared for business and pipelines are laid to undertake “safe” flow of oil and gas to the West. USA would like to test if the goals have been successfully achieved before taking a final decision, if any at all. .
Trump now like Obama before has a ‘responsibility’ to broaden his perspective and to make sure that he’s considering the full range of impacts of a final ‘withdrawal’ decision like this. “So the President wants to look at the long-term trajectory of our presence in Afghanistan, and factor in both what our experience has been in recent years, but also how best to account for the US national security interests inside of Afghanistan,” Earnest said.
The USA has been actively and disastrously involved in Afghanistan — and this has been at the center of the President’s strategy for Afghanistan –keeps saying that Afghanistan cannot be used as a safe haven for terrorists (meaning Russia?) to plot and carry out attacks against the USA its “interests” around the world. This a bogus reason put forwarded by USA in order both to sustain its destabilization cum genocides in Afghanistan and continue to occupy that Islamic nation.
Media reports suggested that USA and NATO were killing Afghans and destroying their nation at the behest of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies. Given secret relations between Saudi and USA that could be possible too.
Besides, USA also talks about accomplishing the security situation inside of Afghanistan before deciding to quit Afghanistan and has already trained big teams of military and police forces there. Washington also asks the puppet regime in Kabul to officially “plead” with US President to ask the US/Nato forces stay in Afghanistan indefinitely.
Media would report only the formal appeal being made by Afghan government to USA but the truth about secret instructions from Washington are never even mentioned once. Obviously, GST (global state terror) media sheds all crimes by the USA and Nato as part of global security arrangement.
So cool and so cleaver guys!
US president says the US continues to work closely with Afghan security forces as they try to provide for their own security.
In order to prolong occupation of Afghanistan, USA has evolved a strategy of invoking ‘counterterrorism’ so that Afghan war continues indefinitely. “There are US military personnel in Afghanistan that are conducting ‘counterterrorism’ operations to protect the American people, but also continuing to offer some training and advice to Afghan security forces that are trying to secure their country,” Earnest said. Such a proposal was presented in August by Gen Martin E Dempsey, the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Sept-11 hoax and illegal Afghan was to create military bases world over to secure US/NATO plans for future state terror attacks. The Dempsey plan envisions the US maintaining a few bases, perhaps two or three in every strategically important countries, that could be used as “lily pads” to launch terror strikes against groups that threaten the US power
The NATO member countries and their allies, including non-NATO major allies like Pakistan, would help USA establish military bases in their respective regions to threaten entire world.
“Let us see who can dare oppose America?”
The lily-pad bases would potentially house American drones and fighter jets as well as elite ‘counterterrorism’ troops, and could be at Bagram air base north of Kabul and one or two other airfields.
For years, USA hatched a plan to dismantle the mighty Soviet Union and remove communism from the face of the earth and promote capitalism and go on imperialist wars to establish US military supremacy. USA found Michael Gorbachev, who was fighting corruption nepotism and laziness in the Soviet nation, a usual ally to get the agenda realized.
And, Gorbachev, indeed not realizing the outcome of ending Cold war and communism, willingly played into the US hands. Interestingly, an actor Reagan could fool the USSR president and get the mighty Soviet Union dissolved, entire east Europe released from Soviet control. .
Humanist tin Gorbachev talked about world peace. Peace is the key word actor Reagan used to take Gorbachev on US board. While getting Soviet Union to get the Berlin Wall dismantled and Soviet system wound up, Reagan assured Gorbachev of US desire for global peace and intention of peaceful international relations with the end of Cold War. Boris Yeltsin, the first president of new post Soviet Russia, did not take much time upon reversals from US elations to declare “Hot Peace”.
USA and EU have successfully bullied former allies of Soviet Union with definite attacks from the Kremlin and this perception was reinforces when Precedent Putin decided to annex Crimea which was earlier a part of Russia. Poland and the Baltic States drive themselves into a corner insisting on permanent NATO troops’ deployment on their territories and create conditions under which NATO could even frustrate some of its short-sighted member-states preferring to calm Russia in order to prevent the new Cold War. Three small Baltic nations Lithuania that border Russian territory, Latvia and Estonia joined NATO in 2004 for gaining protection from any possible attacks from Russia. The Baltic States will willfully continue to urge the need for permanent of NATO forces regardless on possible political implications.
Poland and the Baltic States drive themselves into a corner insisting on permanent NATO troops’ deployment on their territories and create conditions under which NATO could even frustrate some of its short-sighted member-states preferring to calm Russia in order to prevent the new Cold War. Three small Baltic nations Lithuania that border Russian territory, Latvia and Estonia joined NATO in 2004 for gaining protection from any possible attacks from Russia. The Baltic States will willfully continue to urge the need for permanent of NATO forces regardless on possible political implications.
The NATO Treaty in its Article Five, «Collective Defense», asserts that collective defense means that an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all Allies». But now USA is attacking Pakistanis though Pakistan is non NATO sally. . In other words, when Syria and Russia respond to Turkey’s aggression by counter-invading Turkey, the entire NATO alliance are automatically Treaty-obligated to ‘defend’ Turkey from that justified invasion of Turkey by Syria and by Syria’s Russian ally. But now the rule is irrelevant.

America’s President at that time in 1990, George Herbert Walker Bush, said privately to other NATO members, contradicting the message and assurances that he and his agents had verbally given to Mikhail Gorbachev saying that the Cold War was now at an end, «To hell with that! We prevailed, they didn’t». Bush was secretly committed to a military ‘victory’ over Russia, even though communism, which was the alleged cause of the Cold War, had ended. Bush wanted conquest; all subsequent US Presidents have followed along with that evil intent.

The insanity and evil that have reigned in the West since 1991 are now set on a Turkish hair-trigger. That gun – NATO – is pointed actually against everyone on this planet, even if a Turkish madman doesn’t pull its trigger immediately.
The continuation of NATO, after its counterpart the Warsaw Pact ended in 1991, is an insanity that’s driving the world inexorably toward World War III. The trigger for that war possibly is now being set by NATO member Turkey, which wants to invade neighboring Syria, and which has the support of the Gulf Cooperation Council (including the world’s biggest buyer of US weapons, Saudi Arabia) who are massing troops and weapons on Syria’s northern border, in preparation for an invasion southward into Syria.
Meanwhile, Russo-Turkey realignment has caused problems for the paid terror strategists in USA. Russia might require Turkey to join the war in Syria on its side. But Turkey opposes Assad regime. Once they invade Syria from Turkish territory, it won’t be enough for the Syrian army and its Russian ally to wage war against them inside Syria, because the invaders will then need to be counter-attacked in order to be defeated, and so there will be an invasion of NATO-member Turkey – a counter-invasion, in defense against Syria’s invaders – a counter-invasion which, however morally necessary it will be, will trigger nuclear war.
Chain action-reaction could be disastrous.
Wars in Afghanistan and Syria may not end now as USA never intents to end wars. .

 

Observation
The most important cause of continued friction between USA and Russia even after Russia renounced communism and its allies, is the existence of NATO which increasingly becomes global terror organization. Russia which, as part of ending the so-called Cold war, had dismantled the Warsaw pact military organization in the East insists USA on dismantling the western Nato which was created to defend capitalist-imperialist world from the communist threat but USA refuses saying that the west must defend itself from all sorts of future threats and dismantling of Warsaw Pact or communism in Russia and East Europe has not made the world safe.
As Russia continued to pester the USA to dismantling the NATO which is a relic of Cold war, the Sept-11 hoax was enacted in perfection followed by several other terror attack events. USA has demonstrated that world has enough potential for threats to US military supremacy.
This is the – after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 – entirely unnecessary danger, and the blatant evil of NATO’s having been continued beyond the time when it should have terminated when and as the Warsaw Pact did in 1991.
In the process, millions of Muslims have been slaughtered by the NATO/US/Israel/India forces like wild beasts do to show their military prowess. USA and western GST media have shifted the focus from NATO to Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, etc, and continue to occupy Afghanistan under various guises and kill Muslims mercilessly.
It appears after a secret WW-III exclusively on Islam an intensified open third world war looming large exclusively on Muslims, Islamic world and Islam, even if World War III is going to set between Russia and all NATO nations led by USA.
North Korea and Iran are Russian allies. North Korea’s missile firing to test its latest Hydrogen bomb has created jerk in USA. Either Russia would abandon its ally there, which would mean for Russia to capitulate to NATO’s invasion of its ally, or else Russia would do its moral duty to its ally, and there would then be World War III, between Russia and all NATO nations, which would be an all-out nuclear war, which will end civilization and make all continued life on this planet intolerable.
A combined military of western powers has no parallel, no opposition. That is the victory of anti-Islamic forces in modern times.
Every moment of NATO’s existence has been a continuation of Bush’s lie. It has become a fatal lie now, because every subsequent US President has not only continued NATO, but increased its membership, has expanded NATO all the way to Russia’s borders, and President Obama wants the next US President to culminate this, when he made clear recently, that the USA will quadruple American weaponry and troops on Russia’s border in a process that’s to be completed by 2017.
USA claims the NATO recognized that stability in Europe had increasing global linkages well beyond the confines of the Atlantic. The decision was to move NATO responsibilities “out of area”. USA would like to have Russia on NATO but without any veto status as it really fears Russian abilities to make USA and EU look very small.
Presence of NATO threat still annoys Russia through both kill Syrians as per their secret plan. So, dismantle the NATO now to assure Moscow of genuinely peaceful policy of USA and Europe and to tell the world that they do not target Russia. The west can always revive the organization if Russia does not reform its policy of counter NATOism, causing tensions globally. .
It is already too late!

Iran thanks Saudi Arabia for not harming its Hajj pilgrims! A new reconciliation effort?

 

Iran thanks Saudi Arabia for not harming its Hajj pilgrims! A new reconciliation effort?

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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Artificial dichotomy

 

Saudi Arabia is a Sunni Islamic kingdom with a tradition of close ties with the USA, the UK and France. Iran is a Shia Islamic Republic founded in an anti-Western revolution with close ties to Russia and China. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are seen to have aspirations for leadership of Islam, and have different visions of stability and regional order. In the Syrian Civil War Iran has supported the Bashir Al-Asad regime militarily and with billions of dollars of aid, while Saudi is a major supplier of aid to rebel groups.

Relationship Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has historically been strained over different geo-political issues such as the interpretations of Islam, aspirations for leadership of the Islamic world, oil export policy and relations with the USA and other Western countries.

Although Saudi Arabia and Iran are both Muslim-majority nations and follow and rule through Islamic scripture, their relations are fraught with hostility, tension and confrontation, due to differences in political agendas that are strengthened for their differences in faith.

Bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran have never been normal or smooth. Strains, tensions, diplomatic rejections dominated their ties and in recent times tensions have accelerated thanks to interferences from USA and Israel- leaders of other major religions treating Islam their common foe.

One gets the impression even if Judaism and Christianity merge together,  Iran and Saudi would still continue for furthering their “influence and  domination” in the Islamic world. Obviously, there is something wrong with their perception of Islam and in their own faith.

Both want to severe their ties for some at times vague reasons. The two countries severed diplomatic relations last after Iranians stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in January 2016 in response to Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric.

 

Thank you Sirs!

Some 86,000 Iranian pilgrims took part last week in the Hajj and Iranian government is gratified that Riyadh protected and helped Iranian pilgrims. .

As a possible new phase of relations, Iran thanked Saudi Arabia on September 05 for its handling of the Hajj arrangements and operations this year, saying it opened the way for negotiations between the regional rivals. “We thank Saudi Arabia… for adopting a new approach in dealing with Iranian pilgrims,” said Ali Ghazi-Askar, the head of the Hajj organisation in Tehran.

Iranians were unable to attend in 2016 after talks collapsed over security concerns. Iran had been highly critical of Saudi Arabia’s organisation efforts in the wake of a stampede during the 2015 Hajj that killed up to 2,300 people, including hundreds of Iranians. The 2015 incident happened because of mismanagement, but Saudis seem to have fixed that,” he told Reuters in a phone interview from Mecca.

“There are always differences arising among countries but the important thing is for the parties to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation,” said an official Ghazi-Askar. “Right now, after holding a successful Hajj, it is a good time for both parties to negotiate to resolve their bilateral issues in other fields.”

Just before the Hajj journey last month: “If our pilgrims come back satisfied, and if Saudi Arabia’s behavior is within religious and international frameworks, I think the situation would be more convenient to resolve the issues,” Iranian official was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

As both continued to strain ties, on February 14, 2016, the government of Switzerland announced that it will represent Saudi interests in Iran and Iranian interests in Saudi Arabia. Switzerland has recently been the protecting power for Egypt and the USA since diplomatic relations were strained following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. After the Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad were ransacked by Iranian protesters, Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3, 2016.

The ‘thanks-giving’ news gives, rather misleads the world about a new era of bilateral relations between them. But Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif remained circumspect, however, saying he had yet to see “a clear prospect for change” in the bilateral relationship. “If such a development occurs in the Saudis’ mentality, it will definitely be a positive development and will be met with Iran’s positive reaction,” he told Khabar Online newspaper.

Generally, Iran and Saudi Arabia are on a collision course thanks to US-Israeli intervention in West Asian politics. Saudi Arabia is seen moving closer to Israel, the common enemy of Arab as well as Iambic world, to defeat Iran.

Possibly as a follow up of hajj pilgrimage, there seems to be a mutual appreciation between the two powers. A Saudi Arabian delegation will visit Iran for the first time after Riyadh severed ties with Tehran last year, Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed. “The Saudi delegation simply comes to visit diplomatic buildings because the buildings have been empty after the two countries broke off relations. At the same time, we will visit our buildings in Saudi Arabia,” Press TV quoted foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying. Qasemi confirmed that the visas for the Saudis have been issued long before, but for “reasons that are related to them, they have not come yet, and their travel has likely been postponed until after annual Muslim Hajj ceremonies. He added that the date for the Iranian delegation’s visit has not been set yet. “To be honest, the Saudis are doing a great job, working hard to deliver the best service,” said Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of Iran’s Emergency Medical Services.

 

Saudi and Iran compete for global leadership. In a wide-ranging interview, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman said there was no space for dialogue with rival Iran due to its ambitions “to control the Islamic world.” Framing the tensions with Iran in sectarian terms, the prince said the Saudis would not sit and wait for war but would “work so that it becomes a battle for them in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia.”

That the language of hatred for Islam. Very recently before the Hajj, on May 08, 2017, Iran’s defence minister lashed back at Saudi Arabia, slamming the kingdom’s deputy crown prince over belligerent comments that underscored the deep rivalries between the two powers.

Western media is fueling a war psychology between Iran and Saudi Arabia that could destroy the combined economy of Arab nations. Iran’s defence minister General Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying that Iran would advise against “such a stupidity” of war on Iran because in that case, nothing would be “left in Saudi Arabia except Makkah and Madina,” the two holy cities.  Referring to a possible Saudi attack or invasion of Iran, he said he doesn’t “understand how they would attempt to do something like that… they must imagine they have a powerful air force to do so.”

Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered the arrest and prosecution of individuals involved in the embassy attack, while also condemning the execution of Nimr. Asked at the press conference what other steps the Saudis would take against Iran, Jubeir said “we will cross each bridge when we will get to it”.  “We are determined not to allow Iran to undermine our security,” he said.

Ellie Geranmayeh, an Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the Saudi decision was likely to have repercussions for the region, particularly concerning the Syrian negotiations. Western powers must increase efforts to safeguard this process and encourage the Saudis and Iran to continue their participation in the Syria peace talks. “These events further set back the urgently needed rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh, and spell further trouble for an already fragile region.”

 

Severing ties & tensions

 

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been strained since Iran’s 1979 revolution, and significantly escalated last year as Riyadh executed a leading Shia cleric in the kingdom. This sparked the ransacking of the Saudi Embassy in Iran by protesters, after which the two countries severed diplomatic and trade ties. The tensions between the two countries have now sharply escalated with Saudi Arabia severing ties with the Islamic Republic following attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.

Diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been tense since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, though there have been occasional thaws between the two rivals. The tensions have now sharply escalated with Saudi Arabia >severing ties with the Islamic Republic following attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. Here’s a look at how relations between the two Mideast powers have shifted over the last decades.

Under the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran had rocky relations with Saudi Arabia, though they improved toward the end of his reign. Both were original members of the oil cartel OPEC.

After the overthrow of the Shah and the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran, Saudi Arabia quickly became America’s top ally in the region. In the ensuing 1980s war between Iran and Iraq, Saudi Arabia backed Iraq despite its concerns about President Saddam Hussein. That war would go on to kill one million people.

In 1988, Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran, citing the 1987 Hajj rioting and Iran’s attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf. Iranians responded by boycotting Hajj in 1988 and 1989. The two countries restored diplomatic ties in 1991.

Relations between the two nations improved after Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a political moderate, took office in 1997. Ties warmed further after historic visits by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to Tehran in December 1997 and Khatami to the kingdom in May 1999.

There have been issues that strained the relations between Saudi (Gulf-states) and Iran.

1987 Hajj riots

 

The annual pilgrimage to Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia, required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life, saw bloodshed when Iranians held a political demonstration. Iranian pilgrims later battled Saudi riot police in violence that killed at least 402 people. Iran claimed 600 of its pilgrims were killed and said police fired machine guns at the crowd. In Tehran, mobs attacked the Saudi, Kuwaiti, French and Iraqi embassies, ransacking the first two.

2015 Hajj disaster: On September 24, a stampede and crush struck the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. While the kingdom said 769 pilgrims were killed, an Associated Press count shows over 2,400 people were killed. Iran said at least 464 of its pilgrims were killed and blamed Saudi Arabia’s “incompetence” for the deaths.

 

Execution

 

On January 2, Saudi Arabia executed Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others the largest execution carried out by the kingdom in three and a half decades. The execution of al-Nimr, a central figure in Arab Spring-inspired protests by Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority, sparked protests across the Mideast and attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran. Saudi Arabia responded by announcing it was severing diplomatic ties with Iran over the attacks.

Dehghan expressed suspicions over what he described as Riyadh’s close ties with the United States and also Israel, suggesting such ties go against “interests of Muslim nations.”

The Saudis seek to “please” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the “purpose of provoking Netanyahu’s action against us.” Dehghan also urged Saudi Arabia to withdraw from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition of mostly Arab states has been fighting the Houthi rebels.

The conflict has worsened an already dramatic humanitarian crisis in Yemen and killed thousands of civilians, mostly by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

In January 2016, Saudi Arabia has announced it is severing diplomatic ties with Iran following Saturday’s attack on its embassy in Tehran during protests against executions in the kingdom. Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, made the announcement on Sunday while the foreign ministry said it was asking Iranian diplomatic mission to leave the kingdom within 48 hours. The Saudi foreign ministry also announced that the staff of its diplomatic mission had been evacuated and were on their way back to the kingdom. Later reports said the flight carrying the Saudi embassy staff had landed in Dubai in the UAE.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry announced the execution of 47 people on terrorism charges, including a convicted al-Qaeda leader and a Shia religious leader. Many of the men executed had been linked to attacks in Saudi Arabia between 2003 and 2006, blamed on al-Qaeda.

Four of those executed were said to be Shia. Nimr al-Nimr, the Shia leader, was accused of inciting violence and leading anti-government protests in the country’s east in 2011. He was convicted of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms. He did not deny the political charges against him, but said he never carried weapons or called for violence. Nimr spent more than a decade studying theology in predominantly Shia Iran. His execution prompted demonstrations in a number of countries, with protesters breaking into the Saudi embassy in Tehran late on Saturday night and starting fires.

At a press conference in Riyadh, Jubeir said the Saudi diplomatic representative had sought help from the Iranian foreign ministry when the building was stormed, but the requests were ignored three times. He accused the Iranian authorities of being complicit in the attack, saying that documents and computers were taken from the embassy building. Calling the incident an act of “aggression”, he said Iran had a history of “violating diplomatic missions”, citing the attacks on the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the British embassy in 2011. “These ongoing aggressions against diplomatic missions are a violation of all agreements and international conventions,” he said, calling them part of an effort by Iran to “destabilize” the region.

The Saudi decision was “quite a surprise” causing the latest developments. “This is an escalation that will create havoc in the region.”

Nuclear dispute

 

Worries about Iran resumed in Saudi Arabia amid international sanctions against Tehran over its contested nuclear program and the increasingly harsh rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran and Saudi Arabia each backed opposite sides in Syria’s civil war, as well as in the civil war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia also grew increasingly suspicious of Iran as it reaches a deal with world powers over its nuclear program. Riyadh has not yet fully recovered from the shock of Iran-US compromises.

 

Roots of tensions

 

Apart from divisions like Sunni and Shia, the difference of political ideologies and governance also divided both countries. USA and Israel play divisive role in making Sunni and Shia fight and kill each other.

After the Iranian Revolution, relations deteriorated considerably after Iran accused Saudi Arabia of being an agent of the USA in the Persian Gulf region, representing US interests rather than Islam. Saudi Arabia is concerned by Iran’s consistent desire to export its revolution across the board to expand its influence within the Persian Gulf region—notably in post-Saddam Iraq, the Levant and within further south in addition to Iran’s controversial, much debated nuclear program.

The founder of the Iranian revolution in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, was ideologically opposed to monarchy, which he believed to be unIslamic. Saudi Arabia’s monarchy, on the other hand, remains consistently conservative, not revolutionary, and politically married to age-old religious leaders of the tribes who support the monarchy and the king (namely the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques) is given absolute obedience as long as he does not violate Islamic sharia law. Saudi Arabia has, however, a Shia minority which has recently made bitter complaints of institutional discrimination against it, specifically after the 2007 change in Iraqi governance and particularly after the 2011 events that spanned the region. At some stages it has gone as far as to call for overthrowing the king and the entire system.

Tensions between the two countries have waxed and waned. Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran soured particularly after the nuclear program, the 2011 alleged Iran assassination plot and more recently the execution of Nimr al-Nimr. There have also been numerous attempts to improve the relationship. After the 1991 Gulf war there was a noticeable thaw in relations. In March 2007 President Ahmadinejad of Iran visited Riyadh and was greeted at the airport by King Abdullah, and the two countries were referred to in the press as “brotherly nations”.

 

After March 2011, Iran’s financial and military support for Syria during the Syrian Civil War has been a severe blow to the improvement of relations. On January 3, 2016, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran, Iran was ransacked following the execution of Saudi-born Shia Islam cleric Nimr al-Nimr. The execution prompted widespread condemnation within the Arab World as well as other countries, the European Union and the United Nations, with protests being carried out in cities in Iran, Iraq, India, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey. Following the attack on its embassy in Iran, Saudi Arabia broke diplomatic relations with Iran and the Saudi foreign minister said that all Iranian diplomats are to leave the country within 48 hours.

The difference of political ideologies and governance has also divided both countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the principle of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists, which holds that a faqīh (Islamic jurist) should have custodianship over all Muslim followers, including their governance and regardless of nationality. Iran’s Supreme Leader is a Shia faqīh.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the principle of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists, which hold that a faqīh (Islamic jurist) should have custodianship over all Muslims, including their governance. Iran’s Supreme Leader is a Shia faqīh. The founder of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, was ideologically opposed to monarchy, which he believed to be unIslamic. Saudi Arabia’s monarchy, on the other hand, is conservative, not revolutionary, and its religious leaders have long supported monarchy were the king was given absolute obedience as long as he did not violate Islamic sharia law Saudi Arabia has, however, a Shia minority which has made bitter complaints about institutional discrimination against it, and whom at times has been urged to overthrow the king. Both countries are major oil exporters but have clashed over energy policy. Saudi Arabia, with its large oil reserves and smaller population, has a greater interest in taking a long-term view of the global oil market and incentive to moderate prices. In contrast, Iran is compelled to focus on high prices in the short term.

As far as the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. is concerned, both countries have been strategic allies for more than sixty years. Saudi Arabia sees itself as a firm and generous partner of the USA in the cold war and in other international conflicts. The visits by US President George W. Bush to the Kingdom in 2008 reaffirmed these ties. Yet Saudis have always distanced themselves from American foreign policy, particularly with regards to Iran. Even when there was growing criticism against the former Iranian President, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, for his alleged hostile foreign policy in connection to Israel, Saudi Arabia recognised that Iran was a potential threat, and a regional power that was in position to create trouble within their borders. Therefore, Saudi Arabia’s security over time required accommodation and good relations with its geographic neighbors notably Iran. Saudi Arabia has long since looked to the United States for protection against Iran.

Prior to this visit, Saudi National Security advisor Prince Bandar bin Sultan, seen as one of the most pro-American figures in the region, had made a trip to Tehran to voice his government’s interest in building harmonious relations with Iran. During Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s 3 March 2007 visit, he discussed with King Abdullah the need to protect the Islamic world from enemy “conspiracies.”

In 2007, President Ahmadinejad of Iran attended the first-ever annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which was established in 1980 in part to contain the ambitions of revolutionary Iran. This visit by the President of Iran was an event which signaled a possible change in relations. Yet soon after the meeting, Saudi Arabia, the most senior member of the six GCC member states invited Ahmadinejad to Saudi Arabia to take part in the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca.

In 2009, Saudi Prince Faisal said in a press conference with Hillary Clinton that the “threat posed by Iran demanded a more immediate solution than sanctions.” This statement was condemned by Iranian officials. On 11 October 2011 US Attorney General Eric Holder accused Iran of planning to assassinate the Saudi-Arabian ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubbair. In 2013, Saudi Ambassador to Britain Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud wrote an editorial in The New York Times criticizing Saudi Arabia’s Western allies for not taking bold enough measures against Syria and Iran, thus destabilizing the Middle East and forcing Saudi Arabia to become more aggressive in international affairs. The Obama administration continues to reassure the Persian Gulf states that regional security is a U.S. priority, but, as of December 2013, the Gulf States express skepticism

 

Iranian action

 

Relations between Shi’ite-led Iran and Sunni power Saudi Arabia are at their worst in years, with each accusing the other of subverting regional security and supporting opposite sides in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in January 2016 after a prominent Saudi Shi’ite cleric was executed, prompting Riyadh to close the embassy.

Saudi Arabia severed its diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016, following demonstrations held in front of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the city of Mashhad by angry protesters who set the diplomatic missions ablaze for the execution of top Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia Iranian pilgrims returned to Hajj this year for the first time since a deadly crush in 2015, in what could be an important confidence-building measure for dialogue on other thorny issues between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and several other Arab governments severed ties with Qatar in June, citing its support for Iran as one of the main reasons. Iran accused Saudi Arabia of being behind deadly attacks in Tehran claimed by Islamic State, something Riyadh denied.

Until now, no Saudi report on the 2015 crush has been published, and the bodies of dozens of Iranian victims remain unidentified. Family members of 11 Iranians whose bodies are still missing are traveling to Mecca later this year for DNA tests

Nearly 800 people were killed, according to Riyadh, when two large groups of pilgrims arrived at a crossroads east of Mecca. Counts by countries of repatriated bodies showed over 2,000 people may have died, including more than 400 Iranians. Iran’s Supreme Leader has said his people would never forget that “catastrophe”, but President Hassan Rouhani suggested a trouble-free Hajj this year could help build confidence in other areas of dispute between the arch-rivals. So far, Iranian pilgrims say they are satisfied.

This year, Iran issued its nearly 90,000 pilgrims blue electronic bracelets to help organizers trace and identify them. Dozens of Iranians clad in traditional white clothes and a distinctive red mark arrived in orange buses on Thursday at their encampment in Mount Arafat.

Iranian pilgrims participated without incident in the symbolic stoning of the devil on Friday, the riskiest part of the Hajj because of the large crowds involved. More than 2.3 million pilgrims participated in the five-day ritual, a religious duty once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford the journey. Tehran had sent pilgrims to Hajj based on Saudi promises of safety.

Pilgrims with previous experience at the Hajj say their facilities and treatment by the Saudi authorities are better than in past years and include air conditioned tents. “The way that security handled the Iranian pilgrims until now has been good,” said Samir Shuahni, an Iranian journalist with the delegation. “This is what I’ve noticed for the nearly month that I’ve been in Mecca and Medina: there is good cooperation and the pilgrims are moving freely.”

Iranians said the Saudi authorities had asked them not to hold a traditional Shi’ite prayer in an open space in Medina, citing it as a potential target for Islamic State militants. Such restrictions have not troubled Iranians still in shock from the IS attack in Tehran which killed at least 18 people.

 

Observation

Both Islamic leaders do not show real inclination for a peace and friendship deal in order to protect themselves as well as a unified Islam.

However, it is indeed puzzling to know who between the two is eager to sustain the tensions and why.

Clearly, the off repeated Saudi-Iran tensions unnecessarily delay the resolution of Palestine issue as Israel and USA continue to prolong the Zionist occupation of and genocides in Palestine territories. Both should share the guilt and blame for the genocides and hardship of people of Palestine.  Israelis and Americans relish Islamic blood but do Saudi and Iran also do the same?

Needless to ascertain that mutual suspicion forces them to knock at the doors of enemies of Islam as Saudi Arabia is strenuously doing by trying for joint action against Iran systematically.  Will that help Saudi Arabia at least in the long run improve its global standing or Islamic status?

Therefore, Iran still lacked confidence in Riyadh but hoped it would build goodwill.

Question is how far faithful and devoted Muslims they are! Whether they believe in God or in their own relative wealth!

Hopefully, logic and good thinking on the part of both Saudi and Iran would help the Palestinians regain their lost sovereignty to Zionist fascists and western imperialist and also promote unity among Muslims.

These Muslim leaders are accountable for their foolish and hypocritical actions and answerable elsewhere….

 

Climate change: Hurricane Irma slams Caribbean islands! (A report)

Climate change: Hurricane Irma slams Caribbean islands! (A report) 

Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

____

 

World leaders are insincere about the dangers of the climatic disorder and change as a result of which people are getting killed by natural calamities. .

Terrific Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday the 06 September, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin and claiming at least seven lives. One of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, the dangerous Category Five hurricane was churning off the north coast of Puerto Rico in the night, on a potential collision course with south Florida where at-risk areas were evacuated.

Category Five is the highest on the scale for hurricanes in the Atlantic and hurricanes of this intensity are rare. They can cause severe flooding, tear off roofing, shatter windows and uproot palm trees, turning them into deadly projectiles.

Irma was packing maximum sustained winds of up to 185 mph (295 kph) as it followed a projected path that would see it hit the northern edges of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday, continuing past eastern Cuba before veering north for Florida. As of 0000 GMT, the eye of the storm was just north of Puerto Rico and the hurricane was moving west-northwest at 26 kilometres per hour.

Hurricane Irma lashed Puerto Rico with heavy rain and powerful winds Wednesday night, leaving nearly 9, 00,000 people without power as authorities struggled to get aid to small Caribbean islands already devastated by the historic storm.

Warm water is fuel for hurricanes, and Irma was moving over water that was 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) warmer than normal. Four other storms have had winds as strong in the overall Atlantic region, but they were in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico, which usually have warmer waters. Hurricane Allen hit 190 mph (306 kph) in 1980, while 2005’s Wilma, 1988’s Gilbert and a 1935 great Florida Keys storm all had 185 mph (298 kph) winds.

Significant effects were also reported on St. Martin, an island split between French and Dutch control. Photos and video circulating on social media showed major damage to the airport in Philipsburg and the coastal village of Marigot heavily flooded. France sent emergency food and water rations there and to the French island of St. Bart’s, where Irma ripped off roofs and knocked out all electricity. Dutch marines who flew to St. Martin and two other Dutch islands hammered by Irma reported extensive damage but no deaths or injuries.

 

The French part of St Martin — a pristine resort known for its vibrant nightlife — suffered the storm’s full fury: at least six people died and 95 per cent of dwellings were decimated.  Officials said: “It’s an enormous catastrophe. Ninety-five per cent of the island is destroyed…I’m in shock. It’s frightening.”

To the southeast, Barbuda, part of the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, suffered “absolute devastation” with 95pc of properties damaged, and up to 30pc demolished, according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne. “Barbuda now is literally rubble,” Browne said. One person is known to have died on the island of 1,600 residents, apparently a child whose family was trying to get to safer ground.

More than half of Puerto Rico’s population of three million is without power, with rivers breaking their banks in the centre and north of the island where Governor Ricardo Rossello activated the National Guard and opened storm shelters sufficient to house up to 62,000 people.

By evening, the centre of the storm was about 50 miles (80 kilometres) north of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and heading west-northwest at 16 mph (26 kph). More than half the island of Puerto Rico was without power and nearly 50,000 without water, the US territory’s emergency management agency said. Fourteen hospitals were using generators after losing power, and trees and light poles were strewn across roads. The tiny island of Culebra reported sustained winds of 88 mph (142 kph) and wind gusts of 110 mph (177 kph).

Nearly every building on the island of Barbuda was damaged when the eye of the storm passed almost directly overhead early Wednesday and about 60 percent of the island’s roughly 1,400 people were left homeless, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told AP. “Either they were totally demolished or they would have lost their roof,” Browne said after returning to Antigua from a plane trip to the neighbouring island. “It is just really a horrendous situation.”

Roads and telecommunications systems were destroyed and recovery will take months, if not years. A 2-year-old child was killed as a family tried to escape a damaged home during the storm, Browne told AP.

Irma follows hot on the heels of Hurricane Harvey which devastated swaths of Texas and Louisiana in late August. Irma was hitting the Caribbean even as two other tropical storms, Jose in the Atlantic Ocean and Katia in the Gulf of Mexico, were upgraded to hurricane status. Florida rushed to prepare for a possible direct hit on the Miami area by the Category 5 storm with potentially catastrophic 185 mph (298 kph) winds.

With forecasters warning of catastrophe, including surges of up to 7.6 meters above normal tide levels, people evacuated tourist areas, stocked up on provisions, and packed into shelters across an area stretching as far north as Florida. The Sunshine State is expecting to face the brunt of the storm from Friday night. Florida Governor Rick Scott said Irma, coming barely a week after Harvey claimed some 60 lives, posed “a severe threat to the entire state.”

Gas stations between the Florida Keys and Miami ran out of gas, while nearly all local supermarkets had sold out of bottled water, with fights breaking out among shoppers in some stores. There’s no water, no milk, there are very few cans — and no cat food.

Tourists in the popular Key West islands were packing their bags on a mandatory evacuation order, with a similar order for residents due to follow. “We’re emphatically telling people you must evacuate, you cannot afford to stay on an island with a Category Five hurricane coming at you,” said Monroe County emergency operations centre director Martin Senterfitt. Panicked residents stripped shelves bare in Miami as they rushed to stockpile everything from bottled water to sandbags before Irma strikes.

Tourist Pauline Jackson, a 59-year-old registered nurse from Tampa, Florida, puffed on her last cigarette as a San Juan hotel prepared to shutter its doors ahead of the storm. “I’m in a hurricane here, and when I get home, I’ll be in the same hurricane. It’s crazy,” she said.

28 cruises had been cancelled, shortened or had their itineraries changed as a result of the hurricane. Tropical Storm Katia formed in the Gulf of Mexico off Mexico’s coast and rapidly became a hurricane. It had sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) and Mexico’s government issued a hurricane watch for the coast of Veracruz state from Tuxpan to Laguna Verde. Katia was about 190 miles (306 kilometres) north-northeast of the city of Veracruz on Wednesday night and was expected to drift toward the coast Thursday, the hurricane centre said.

French President Emmanuel Macron earlier warned the final toll would be “harsh and cruel.” Guadeloupe prefect Eric Maire called the situation in St Martin “dramatic,” saying the island — which is divided between the Netherlands and France — was without drinking water or electricity, and warning the death toll was almost certain to rise.

President Donald Trump this week approved an emergency declaration for the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. That means the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies can remove debris and give other services that will largely be paid for by the US government. Trump also declared an emergency in Florida, and authorities in the Bahamas said they were evacuating six southern islands. Trump declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico as well as the US Virgin Islands and Florida where he said the outlook was “not good.” Trump spoke by telephone with the governors of all three areas to assure them of the federal government’s support.

In Cuba, a state of alert was declared in several eastern and central provinces, with at-risk residents advised to move in with relatives or reach government shelters. Haiti’s northern coast was on hurricane alert, although in the town of Cap-Haitien residents appeared mostly unaware of the impending storm.

The US National Weather Service said Puerto Rico had not seen a hurricane of Irma’s magnitude since Hurricane San Felipe in 1928, which killed a total of 2,748 people in Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and Florida. Puerto Rico’s public power company has cut back on staff and maintenance amid a decade-long economic crisis and the agency’s director warned that some areas could be without power from four to six months because the infrastructure has already deteriorated so badly.

EPA officials said their biggest concerns were oil spills and power disruptions to water supply systems. “No matter what precautions we take, the coastal flooding will impact oil tanks,” said Catherine McCabe, a regional administrator.

Another concern was the 20 Superfund sites in Puerto Rico and the three in the US Virgin islands, given that most were near the coast, she said. She said EPA officials in New Jersey were on standby to fly down after the hurricane passed through. State maintenance worker Juan Tosado said he was without power for three months after Hurricane Hugo killed dozens of people in Puerto Rico in 1989.

The US National Hurricane Centre said Irma’s winds would fluctuate, but the storm would likely remain at Category 4 or 5 for the next day or two as it roared past the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, the Turks & Caicos and parts of the Bahamas. Evacuations from high-risk areas were ordered throughout the path of the storm.

Soon Irma is expected to hit Florida, where Governor Rick Scott said he planned to activate 7,000 National Guard soldiers by Friday and warned that Irma is “bigger, faster and stronger” than Hurricane Andrew. Andrew pummeled south Florida 25 years ago and wiped out entire neighborhoods with ferocious winds. Experts worried that Irma could rake the entire Florida east coast from Miami to Jacksonville and then head into Savannah, Georgia, and the Carolinas, striking highly populated and developed areas.

Because of the uncertainty in any forecast this far out, authorities in Miami held off for the time being on ordering any widespread evacuations. The mayor of Miami-Dade County activated the emergency operation centre and urged residents to have three days’ worth of food and water.

The State Department authorised voluntary evacuation of US diplomats and their families from the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba, where the storm was expected to arrive by Friday. Hurricane Jose posed no immediate threat to land but meteorologists warned the storm’s path could change. Jose had winds of 75 mph (120 kph) and was quickly strengthening.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said his government was evacuating six islands because authorities would not be able to help anyone caught in the “potentially catastrophic” wind, flooding and storm surge. People there would be flown to Nassau in what he called the largest storm evacuation in the country’s history. The northern parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti could see 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, with as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) in the southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

While the Caribbean nations in Irma’s path have sounded alarms about climate change, Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, which Irma is also expected to hit, has been skeptical of the link between human activity and global warming. The next worst climate change denier to trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott, is telling everybody to get out of Florida because of Irma.

 

Observation 

Climate change is a real problem and it requires all of us to leave a sustainable planet to the next generation.

Last week at a meeting to discuss infrastructure aid, the prime minister of St. Lucia, which lies to the south of Irma’s path and has offered to serve as an evacuation point for its neighboring islands, implored developed nations to help the Caribbean to combat the effects of climate change.

PM Allen Chastanet said Small Island Developing States (SIDS) stand to sustain some of the most severe damage from climate change if larger, wealthier nations don’t accept climate scientists’ consensus that human activity contributes to global warming, and work to reverse the impact of greenhouse gases.  The catastrophic damage brought in 2016 by Hurricane Matthew, a Category 5 storm that left Haiti with its worst humanitarian crisis since the earthquake that struck the country in 2010. There is no greater example of that than what took place in Haiti. Did we not know that Haiti was in a hurricane belt? Did we not know that there was clearly a trend of increasing storms?

When Trump announced that he would stop implementing the Paris accord, declaring it “a bad deal” for Americans, the USA ended its contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. The decision was met with shock by leaders in the Caribbean, where islands are especially at risk for the rising sea levels and intense hurricanes brought by global warming.

The Caribbean is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to the escalating effects of climate change. The socio-economic consequences from rising sea levels and temperatures, increasingly violent storms and severe droughts, oil spills, mismanagement of waste, and coral bleaching are having mounting consequences, and left unchecked threaten the very viability of the region’s economies and societies, and the health and welfare of Caribbean people.

While hurricanes are naturally occurring weather events, climate change has contributed to the severity of recent hurricanes and tropical storms, as noted by the tourism group. “Unfortunately, the physicality is very clear,” said climate scientist Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in a statement to Bloomberg. “Hurricanes get their destructive energy from the warmth of the ocean, and the region’s water temperatures are super elevated.”

President Donald is not known for his sensibility towards the fast developing climate change.  Trump’s unwise decision to abruptly withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change has harmed the resolve to fight climate disorder, annoyed the Green Peace groups and it was met with dismay among Caribbean leaders.

Some of the small Caribbean islands that are expected to suffer the most damage from Hurricane Irma have had some of the loudest voices in recent months regarding the effects of climate change—and the harm being done by leaders including President Donald Trump, who withdrew the USA from the Paris climate accord in June. Images of the storm’s destruction on St. Martin, Anguilla, and Barbuda released yesterday confirmed many Caribbean leaders’ disturbing worries and concerns.

We call upon all local governments across the nation to continue to pass rules and regulations that protect our climate. As most of the world moves forward, our nation cannot sit idle and lag behind.

Many people have dies and thousands have been injured and evacuated. UNSC must wake up to protect and secure the troubled zones form the future hurricanes

 

Indian politics: Karnataka becomes murder hub of Hindutva criminal squad!

Indian politics: Karnataka becomes murder hub of Hindutva criminal squad!

Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

__________

 

Intolerance to criticism is fast growing in the operation of RSS-Hindutva forces.

Today, for the first time, a hard core RSS operative Kovind is the President of India. This signals what is likely to happen in India during and after his tenure. Whether or not the incumbent president would support crimes in the name of Hindutva remains to be seen.

Indian state and its regime have jointly created a nation where the ruling Hindutva forces target their critics as their enemies, threatening and killing them for their anti-Hindutva stance.

South India’s Karnataka state, where the first ever Hindutva government was elected over a decade ago, is not a dangerous place for those who criticize the ultra fanatic politics of right wing Hindutva parties.

The Congress party which now rules is cause of Hindutva birth in India and its fast spread not only in the capital and North but also along the Arabian Sea belt facing Pakistan, considered by strategic forces in New Delhi as India’s worst enemy. .

The anti-RSS/Hindutva critics are murdered in the state. India state is not taking the issue seriously as this helps spread Hindutva ideology and parties and fear among the critics.

Writers, journalists, media persons are being targeted for handing in punishment for their anti-Hindutva stance.  Indian journalists are being increasingly targeted by radical Hindu nationalists, activists say. In the last few years, journalists seen to be critical of Hindu nationalists have been berated on social media, while many women reporters have been threatened with rape and assault.

A prominent Indian journalist critical of Hindu nationalist politics has been shot dead in the southern state of Karnataka, police say.  Gauri Lankesh, 55, was found lying in a pool of blood at her doorstep in the city of Bangalore. She was shot in the head and chest by gunmen who arrived by motorcycle. The motive for the crime was not clear.

Gauri Lankesh, who edited a weekly newspaper, was known as a fearless and outspoken journalist. She was known for her secularist criticism of right-wing and Hindu nationalists, including members of the BJP. She worked for The Times of India and later ran an independent newspaper, Lankesh Patrike, along with her brother Indrajit for several years. The newspaper had been founded by her father, P Lankesh, a left-wing poet and writer.

After a split with her brother, she left to start several publications, including her own newspaper Gauri Lankesh Patrike. Award-winning filmmaker Kavitha Lankesh was her sister.

The federal government run by BJP and allies is providing the strength for the fascist Hindutva elements to go on rampage across the nation, attacking and silencing critics as they are trying to create a Hindu state at par with Jewish state of Israel. Now the BJP is strategically using all others parties to win elections but later all of them would also be axed.

Ministers belonging to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have also openly attacked journalists, using terms like “presstitute” (a mix of press and prostitute) to describe them.

Gauri had returned home in her car on Tuesday night and was opening the gate when the attackers shot her, police said. She died on the spot. Officials said they suspected she had been under surveillance by the gunmen. An investigation has been opened.

 

Her killing follows several assassinations of outspoken secularists or rationalists in recent years, including scholar Malleshappa Kalburgi, anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, and author-politician Govind Pansare. The watchdog ‘Reporters without Borders’ said that radical nationalist journalists have targeted other writers, with online smear campaigns and threats of physical reprisals. “With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ and anti-Hindutva thought from the national debate

 

Controversy

Gauri’s tabloid was known for its left-leaning views and was facing several defamation cases. She was sympathetic to the Naxalites, or Maoist rebels who have been carrying out a bloody insurgency against the government, and was involved in the reintegration of former rebels. Gauri was convicted of defamation last year for a report she published on local BJP leaders.

Gauri was sentenced to six months in jail and was out on bail and appealing the conviction at the time of her death. In an interview with Narada News last year shortly after her conviction, she criticised BJP’s “fascist and communal politics” and said, “My Constitution teaches me to be a secular citizen, not communal. It is my right to fight against these communal elements.” “I believe in democracy and freedom of expression, and hence, am open to criticism too. People are welcome to call me anti-BJP or anti-Modi, if they want to. They are free to have their own opinion, just as I am free to have my opinion.”

Her death has been widely condemned across India. Protests have been planned in several cities including Bangalore, Mumbai and the capital, Delhi. Karnataka state’s Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of Congress party was one of the first to respond to her death, calling it an “assassination on democracy”. Later speaking to media he said the murder was well planned by the criminal gang. Noted writer K Marulasiddappa told the BBC: “The attack on the select writers is obviously happening because they are able to mould public opinion… There is a pattern in the way assailants comes on motorbikes, kill, and vanish.” “There cannot be any personal reasons attributed to her death because she had no personal enemies. So, the possibility is only political.”

The news has made top headlines in Indian media, with editors and journalists condemning her murder and paying tribute to her work.

 

Modi’s double speak

A little more than a year since Narendra Modi’s right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP swept to power in India, there are fears that religiously motivated violence may be on the rise. Some say the BJP has bred a culture of intolerance towards minorities that has left even Hindus nervous of speaking out.

Just before Christmas the church of St Sebastian in Delhi was gutted by fire – one of five churches in the capital to have been attacked in the past year.  The pastor of St Sebastian’s, Father Anthony Francis, didn’t believe the police theory that the fire was caused by a short circuit so started gathering evidence himself. Only when he showed officers a film of oil on top of puddles of water in the wrecked church, did they start an arson investigation. But no-one has been arrested in this case, or in relation to the four other church attacks.

The congregation of St Sebastian, meanwhile, gathers under plastic sheets suspended from a nearby community centre.

India’s much larger Muslim minority has also been under tremendous pressure. In fact, they are literally on the run with the RSS targeting Islamic laws. .

In the months leading up to last year’s election, violence flared between Muslims and Hindus in the town of Muzaffarnagar, 100km (62 miles) north of Delhi, leaving more than 60 people dead. No one cares about the deaths. While no riots on that scale have occurred since, smaller incidents are common. “Just like those riots, now Hindus in the villages are trying to drive Muslims out of the villages – repeated attacks have created an atmosphere of fear,” says Mohammad Jamshed, whose brother-in-law, Deen Mohammad, was left paralyzed in the sleepy town of Kairana, not far from Muzaffarnagar, in May.

In a bitterly ironic twist, it happened as protesters held a demonstration to demand police action to stop violence against Muslims.  “I stopped to watch and was hit by a bullet fired from inside a police car,” says 18-year-old Deen Mohammad. “I felt numb, walked a few steps and then fell down. Then I started vomiting blood.” He fears he will never walk again.

Police say the bullet recovered from Mohammad’s body is not a type they use, but they are investigating complaints that officers used excessive force that day.

The previous month a Muslim laborer in the nearby village of Shamli was returning home from Delhi by train when a gang of about 10 Hindu men beat him brutally with rods in the groin, before stealing his money and pulling his beard from his face by the roots. “The police have not done anything except register a complaint. And now when I go out, I fear that something like this may happen again,” says the man, giving his name as Faizan, aged 26.

Stories such as these usually go unnoticed by the media. They seem to some all the more worrying when seen alongside derogatory comments about minorities from a number of BJP politicians. “Each Hindu woman should mother four children in order to protect the predominance of Hindus,” said one extremist Hindutva MP, Sakshi Maharaj. “Should the country be led by sons of Ram [a Hindu god] or by sons of bastards?” asked the country’s Minister for Food Processing Niranjan Jyoti – implying that non-Hindus were bastards. Another MP, Giriraj Singh said, “Those opposing Modi will have to go to Pakistan.” Later he was appointed to be minister for micro, small and medium enterprises.

According to the Minister for Minorities Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the only Muslim face in the government:“You cannot judge the government with isolated incidents of violence or isolated statements by some ministers.”

Narendra Modi himself has presented a moderate face of Hindu nationalism since becoming prime minister but he let the communal elements go on rampage. “Our government will not allow any religious group belonging to the majority or the minority to incite hatred against others overtly or covertly,” he said in February, under pressure to respond to the church attacks.

But recently-released statistics on inter-communal violence for the first half of 2015 indicate that there has been a 30% increase compared with the same period of 2014 – a total of 330 attacks, 51 of them fatal, compared with 252 attacks, of which 33 were fatal, in 2014. The Muzaffarnagar riots mean that the statistics for 2013 were even worse, however.

And even the events of Muzaffarnagar pale in comparison with the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 when Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister. Then, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in clashes after 60 Hindu pilgrims died in a fire on a train.

There are other forms of discrimination, as well as outright violence, which are harder to measure. “It’s not just whether you go and kill Muslims and chase them out, it’s not just about burning someone’s house down, it’s denying them jobs, it’s denying them places to stay, it’s making them live in terror,” says Booker prize-winning author Arundhati Roy. “While Modi pretends to be a statesman and travel to various places and is pressurized to speak the language of diversity, the goons have been unleashed on the ground.”

Even middle-class urban Indians like herself, she says, are now wary of criticising the ideology of Hindu nationalism. “It’s not just Muslims or Christians, perhaps the people they hate the most are the ones who are standing up for a different way of looking at the world, and therefore need to be silenced.”

Father Anthony says the burning of his church “was like burning India’s constitution”, with its guarantees of religious freedom. “I fear that if the country becomes a Hindu nation, goes on the track of Pakistan and starts using laws such as the blasphemy law to target minorities, what kind of country will we have?” he asks. “That will be real injustice, it won’t be a blessing, it’ll be a curse on the nation.”

 

Media fanaticism

Indian media fanaticism is dangerous as it is generating hatred against sections of the society not only for making more profits but to keep a wedge between communities for political reasons that these days benefit the Hindutva parties. . .

Indian broadcasting is flourishing and TV and radio outlets are proliferating. There were more than 180 million TV homes by 2016, many of them connected to direct-to-home satellite and cable services. A TV digitization drive is under way.

There are nearly 800 licensed satellite TV stations. Around half of these are news-based outlets, and news programmes often outperform entertainment output. Doordarshan, the public TV, operates multiple services, including flagship DD1, which reaches hundreds of millions of viewers. Multichannel satellite TV is a huge hit. Major platforms Dish TV, Tata-Sky, Sun Direct, Big TV and Airtel Digital TV have millions of subscribers. State-owned Doordarshan runs a free-to-air platform, DD Free Dish.

Music-based FM radio stations abound. But only public All India Radio can produce news programming. AIR stations reach more than 99% of the population.

India’s press is lively and there are around 12,000 newspaper titles. Driven by a growing middle class, newspaper circulations have grown and new titles compete with established dailies. Self-censorship is encouraged by prosecutions brought against journalists who are deemed to be overly critical of the government, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Violence against media workers is encouraged by a climate of impunity, says Freedom House.

There were more than 462 million internet users by 2016 (InternetLiveStats.com), making India the world’s second largest online market after China. But the online revolution has been slower to take hold in rural India. Facebook is the leading social network. Twitter is used by celebrities, journalists and politicians. Some of them have a mass following.

There is no systematic filtering of the web. But the authorities have clashed with leading social networks over censorship of content deemed to be offensive. Rules require internet companies to remove “disparaging” or “blasphemous” content if they receive a complaint from an “affected person”.

The authorities routinely suspend internet services in Indian-administered Kashmir during times of tension.

 

Observation

Journalism is nothing without courage. Democracy is nothing without dissent.

Silencing the critics by brutal techniques is  a very serious offense. It is happening in Kashmir where Muslims are being targeted by the government openly in order to silence them from their demand for sovereignty.  . .

One has o no idea as to where exactly the nation is going now what exactly the RSS-BJP duo are going to do with the nation. PM Modi, a hard core RSS operative, pretends he is not aware of any such RSS divisive plan. The way Indian media lords, particularly the English-Hindi TV channels, crate fear and hatred by debating certain issues in order to make India feel  tremendously great is indeed unfortunate as  such gimmicks will have  disastrous impact on the future of the nation and youth.

If Indian regime promotes the Hindutva criminal elements to kill anyone who is not in agreement with the Hindutva agenda is the crudest way of approaching freedom and democracy. Having reached the top most posts in the country now both president Kovind and PM Modi should reflect upon, if they are aware of, the difficult path India has passed though to knit a cohesive society of all religions and views and launch a new society without hatred and fear. .

 

 

Amid Dokalam standoff, Narendra Modi meets Xi Jinping in China briefly!

Amid Dokalam standoff, Narendra Modi meets Xi Jinping in China briefly!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

________

 

Even as the debate on who won the Dokalam standoff still remains inconclusive, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to China to attend the BRICS in Xiamen and went up to Chinese President Xi Jinping to shake hands on the venue stage.

The Chinese and the Indian troops were engaged in a standoff since June 16 after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road by the Chinese Army. On August 28, India’s External Affairs Ministry announced that New Delhi and Beijing have decided on ‘expeditious disengagement’ of their border troops in the disputed Dokalam area.

Notwithstanding the Dokalam standoff, which had put ties between the two countries under strain, Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping held their first brief bilateral meeting on September 05.

Modi and Xi Jinping held their first bilateral meeting 73-day face-off between their troops in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector.

Modi, who attended the BRICS Emerging Markets and Developing Countries Dialogue earlier in the day, met on prior arrangement President Xi on the sidelines of the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen.

During their meeting, Modi congratulated Xi on a ‘very successful’ BRICS Summit. “China is prepared to work with India to seek guidance from the five principles of Panchsheel,” XI Jinping told PM Modi. Xi added that India and China are each other’s major neighbours; we are also two of the world’s largest and emerging countries. The two leaders reaffirmed the understanding reached at Astana to not allow differences to become disputes.

PM Modi, accompanied by a large team including senior officials National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, met the Chinese leader just before his travel to Myanmar from this port city. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said that the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping were forward looking and constructive.

Speaking to media, Jaishankar said, “The two leaders reaffirmed that it is in the interest of both India and China to have good relations and felt that there should be closer communication between the defence and security personnel of India and China… It was a forward-looking conversation and not a backward-looking one,” Jaishankar said when asked whether Doklam stand-off was left behind by the two sides. He also said that important point made during the meeting was peace and tranquility in the border area is a prerequisite for further development of a relationship.

India says there was a forward-looking and constructive approach taken by both sides.  “Counter terrorism’ related issues were taken up during the course of BRICS, they were not discussed at this meeting.  An important point made during the meeting was peace and tranquility in the border area is a prerequisite for further development of a relationship.  There was a sense that if a relationship is to go forward then peace and tranquility on border areas must be maintained.

Interestingly, Modi and Xi kept on shaking their hands almost mutually for a long time as if they want to signal to restart the standoff left abruptly owing to the summit. .

The end of a standoff between India and China over a remote road on the Doklam plateau has prompted a vibrant discussion about the lessons learned. The emerging consensus in New Delhi is that India “won” and China “lost.” it remains unclear that India “won.” India’s strategic experts talked about India’s is willingness to challenge China and standoff is even viewed as providing a model that other states can use to counter Chinese coercion. If others stand up, China will back down.

Nevertheless, this consensus is misplaced. And the usual cricket analogy of winning and losing obscures much more than it reveals.

From India’s point of view, the status quo ante of June 2017 was restored, a victory. Yet from China’s perspective, Indian forces withdrew from Chinese territory (also claimed by Bhutan, but not by India). Moreover, on the ground at the site of the confrontation, Indian forces pulled back first. Meanwhile, Chinese forces still remain in Doklam, even if Beijing chose not to press ahead with the road extension that sparked the standoff.

There is also no indication from Chinese or Indian statements that China had to make any concessions to convince India to withdraw its troops. China’s claims and behavior will not change, noting that China would “continue with its exercise of sovereign rights” in the disputed area. In other words, China will still conduct patrols in Doklam and maintain the portions of road that had been built before the standoff started in early June.

Despite the triumphalism from some voices in New Delhi, India likely learned that Beijing does not back down immediately or without sustained effort. The disengagement at Doklam took more than ten weeks of diplomacy, much longer than previous confrontations along the China-India border in 2013 and 2014, which lasted only a few weeks.

China also had other reasons to seek de-escalation, none of which can be attributed to India’s intervention. An active confrontation would have cast a pall over the upcoming BRICS summit that China is hosting in Xiamen in early September. Russia, the leader of the BRICS, would have asked China not to escalate now and China obliged. And on the eve of the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress, Xi Jinping likely wanted to avoid any risky escalation that could affect the significant transfer of power that will occur. Once these events pass, however, China may be less constrained and more willing to tolerate risk on the border with India.

The Indian intervention also does not offer a “model” that other states can apply elsewhere for countering China’s assertiveness. India enjoyed tactical superiority at the site of the standoff, leveraging its well-developed forward position at Doka La and reserves of much larger forces based permanently in Sikkim. These advantages likely played a role in limiting China’s response.

Moreover, even if India scored a tactical win by thwarting China’s road extension, it may have lost at the strategic level. Ironically perhaps, India’s actions underscored to China the importance of enhancing its military position in the Doklam bowl. Before the standoff in June, China’s permanent presence in the area had been quite limited. China had maintained a road in the area for several decades, but did not garrison any forces. In contrast, India has maintained and developed a forward post at Doka La adjacent to Doklam.

India justified its action based on its commitments to Bhutan under a 2007 treaty. India has chosen to confront China at Doklam and China may well seek to rectify this tactical imbalance of forces by bringing in forces. In fact, China began to station forces (zhushou), to troops deployed to Doklam after the standoff began. China would likely build facilities farther away from India’s position at Doka La, making it more challenging for India to intervene and block China next time. When India challenged China’s construction crews in June, it only had to move its forces a hundred meters from the existing border. But in the future, India may be faced with the uncomfortable choice of risking much more to deny China a greater presence farther inside Doklam or accepting it. So, even if India won this round, it may not win the next one.

China may have achieved some of its political objectives, whose importance overshadows the standoff over the road. Bhutan, always worried about being caught between its much larger neighbors, may become more reluctant to test China on territorial issues to avoid being drawn into a conflict between India and China.

If China seeks to address the tactical imbalance in Doklam in the future, India may be less successful using the same method to deter China again.

Take, for example,. The Doklam “model” would suggest that if China sought to build a permanent presence on the reef Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, the USA could stop Chinese land reclamation by intervening on behalf of the Philippines to block Chinese dredgers. Yet unlike India’s open support of Bhutan’s claim to sovereignty over Doklam, the USA maintains a position of neutrality on the sovereignty of the contested land features in the South China Sea and around the world. Indo-US strategic partnership is not reliable.

Faced with finances for all its terror wars, USA is cautious about intervening in China’s territorial disputes directly, especially if states opposing China in territorial disputes actively seek greater material support from Washington. China would view such a change in US policy as a significant challenge to all its territorial disputes with neighbors and react harshly to probe U.S. resolve, perhaps even taking limited military action to deter the USA from carrying out its new policy.

The narrow definition of the issue permitted troops to disengage without letting the more complicated problems prevent de-escalation. China and India – two nuclear-armed powers – avoided letting a small confrontation escalate into a much wider and more dangerous conflict. So the frame of winning and losing is misplaced.

The genius of the Doklam disengagement is that diplomats defined it in narrow and specific terms, focusing only on the forces at the “face-off site.” Larger issues, such as the location of the tri-junction between China, India and Bhutan, along with China and Bhutan’s competing claims to Doklam, were left off the table. By not disclosing the terms under which the standoff ended, diplomats also allowed each other to save face.

Given that China will continue to press its territorial claims against India and Bhutan, as well as in the East and South China Seas, policymakers should be wary of learning the wrong lessons from the disengagement at Doklam.

The focus should now shift to how diplomacy can be employed to avoid military confrontations and reduce opportunities for conflict.

China, Russia support North Korea, urge USA for talks at UN!

 

China, Russia support North Korea, urge USA for talks at UN!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

_______

 

Russia and China – allies of North Korea- have strongly defended the nuclear actions of North Korea. The latest Hydrogen Bomb test has sent tremors across the western world represented by the NATO. USA, Japan and South Korea have condemned the missile firing in the strongest possible ways.

China has once again urged diplomatic talks to address the crisis with an emerging nuclear power North Korea and warned at the UN Security Council that it will not allow chaos and war on the Korean peninsula.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said that the situation on the peninsula is deteriorating constantly as we speak, falling into a vicious circle. “The peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully. China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula.” His appeal was echoed by Russia, which said that diplomatic negotiations were the only way to settle the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said there was “an urgent need to maintain a cool head and refrain from any action that could further escalate tensions.” Russia backs China’s proposal for a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a suspension of US-South Korea military drills.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley however rejected the proposal as “insulting” and said it was time to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea by enacting the “strongest possible measures.” “When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an ICBM pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. No one would do that. We certainly won’t,” she declared.

Russia and China did not specify whether they would support additional sanctions on North Korea. The communist state has test-fired dozens of missiles and conducted three underground nuclear tests over the past year and a half in defiance of punishing UN Security Council sanctions and diplomatic pressure. It also has tens of thousands of soldiers and artillery positioned near the heavily fortified border that divides the peninsula.

The USA, Britain, France, Japan and South Korea requested the urgent meeting after North Korea detonated what it described as a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile.

South Korea’s defense ministry warned Monday that Pyongyang may be preparing another missile launch after two tests in July of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that apparently brought the US mainland into range.

Meanwhile, North Korea has been observed moving what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) towards its west coast, South Korea’s Asia Business Daily reported, citing an unidentified intelligence source. The rocket started moving a day after North Korea’s sixth nuclear (Hydrogen) test, and was spotted moving at night to avoid surveillance, the report said. North Korea has launch facilities for its missile program on its west coast. South Korea’s defence ministry said they were unable to confirm the contents of the report. The ministry said in parliament that North Korea was considered ready to launch more missiles, including ICBMs, at any time.

South Korea is seen taking retaliatory steps to stop north from moving further with its nuclear blasts. Its defense minister said it was worth reviewing the redeployment of American tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula to guard against the North, a step that analysts warn would sharply increase the risk of an accidental conflict.

And even as concern over Korea deepened following North Korea’s huge nuclear test Sunday, South Korea’s defense ministry said that Pyongyang might be preparing to launch another missile into the Pacific Ocean, perhaps an intercontinental ballistic missile theoretically capable of reaching the mainland USA.

USA also feels the heat. In New York, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “begging for war.” President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, spoke on the phone for 40 minutes, some 34 hours after the nuclear test and more than 24 hours after Trump took to twitter to criticize Moon’s “talk of appeasement.” The two agreed to remove the limit on allowed payloads for South Korean missiles — something Seoul had been pushing for – as a way to increase deterrence against North Korea, according to a read-out of the phone call from South Korea’s Blue House. They also agreed to work together to punish North Korea for Sunday’s nuclear test, including by pushing for tougher sanctions through the United Nations. In a later phone call, Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel came to the same conclusion.

At a Security Council meeting, Haley pressed for the “strongest possible” sanctions against the North for openly challenging American power. . She did not spell out US proposals or how she would overcome the objections of veto-wielding permanent members China and Russia. But she cautioned, war is never something her country wants. “We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory.”

Haley ruled out the “freeze for freeze” proposal backed by China and Russia, which would suspend US joint military exercises with South Korea in return for suspension of North Korean nuclear and missile tests. “When a ‘rogue’ regime has a nuclear weapon and an ICBM pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. No one would do that. We certainly won’t,” she said. Instead, she reiterated a White House threat to cut off trade with any countries that also trade with North Korea. That would presumably include China, with which the USA had nearly $650 billion worth of trade in goods and services last year. She said the USA will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country that is giving aid to their reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions.

Haley‘s remarks appeared to be unpersuasive. Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said. China will never allow chaos and war” in Korea, said Liu Jieyi, the Chinese ambassador to the UN Sanctions alone will not solve the crisis.

Meanwhile, South Korea, under pressure from Washington masters, is ready to install four more launchers to complete the deployment of a controversial US missile-defense system to counter the growing threat from the North, the defense ministry said. The ministry made the announcement as tensions spiked following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, which raised fears of military confrontation as the United States warned all options are on the table in dealing with the communist state. It didn’t give a date but suggested the remaining launchers would be installed soon.

US Forces Korea began deploying the anti-missile battery known as THAAD with two launchers and the radar in late April in an overnight operation that many saw as an effort to rush it into place before May 9 elections to replace ousted President Park Geun-hye. It made the THAAD agreement with Washington despite local protests and objections from China, which fears the system’s powerful radar could be used against it as well.

New SK President Moon Jae-in suspended the THAAD deployment shortly after taking office but reversed that decision as the North conducted increasingly advanced missile tests and rebuffed his efforts to pursue dialogue. Moon said the installment could be completed at least on a temporary basis pending a full environmental assessment of the site. The final administrative hurdle was cleared when the environmental ministry said that it has given conditional consent after finding the adverse impact on the area from THAAD was limited. The Ministry of National Defense then said it “is planning to deploy the four additional launchers temporarily sooner or later in order to cope with North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats.”

One thing is very clear. USA would not dare attack North Korea chiefly because Russia and China, tow veto powers, oppose any such American misadventures. Pentagon would not switch on its terror machinery towards Pyongyang chiefly because North Korea is not Afghanistan. True, North Korea is seen in Washington challenging the US military power, knowing full well it had terror attacked Japan with its newly invented atomic bombs several decades ago and destabilized a powerful Iraq under Saddam Hussein and assassinating him in the crudest manner. .

Moreover, USA cannot hate North Korea as much as it hates Islamic world which is its major civilizational foe.