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PHASE III WEEK I ......498


BUSY BEE.....816

The war has been raging for more than four-and-a-half years. No end
is in sight as the intended goals have not been achieved as yet. This proved
that Bush Administration was right when after 9/11 it vowed to fight a global
war that could last for decades.
This is the only truth about the ongoing war. The aim of defeating
terror has been almost forgotten. The news and reviews now rarely make a
mention of this evil. Usually, these pertain to global/regional hegemony;
control of resources of weaker countries, particularly oil; proliferation of
nuclear weapons; insurgencies, civil war and sectarian strife.
The initial claim about holiness of the war has been completely
compromised. The ugliness of so-called noble pretexts has been exposed.
Liberation of oppressed people has resulted into more oppression. The
dreams of peace and stability have turned into nightmares of anarchy.
Promise of reconstruction has been forgotten in fulfilling the urge for
misappropriating the resources of conquered lands. The balloon of
democracy has been pricked by victory of Hamas and re-emergence of other
Islamic groups elsewhere.
The Crusaders often talked of winning hearts and minds of the
conquered people, but events have proved that they were never interested in
that. They only want complete submission of the Muslims by destroying
their defence capabilities and capturing their economic resources.
If winning of hearts and minds was desired, it could have been
achieved by spending less than half of the war expenditure on economic
well-being of the targeted people. By doing that, they could not only win the
hearts and minds, but also the souls of many Muslims like Abdul Rahman of
Instead, the focus has been on dehumanizing the Muslims. To this
end, Islams concept of Jihad has been dubbed as terrorism to demonize 1.4

billion followers of this great religion. Those waged Jihad against injustice
have been hunted, killed, captured, detained and tortured like beasts.
America blames Muslims for lacking in spirit of peaceful coexistence.
But, the truths of its short history and geographic isolation from the old
civilized world reveal that America utterly lacks the ability to exist with
nations having differences with them. They only know one way; eliminate
the one who disagrees; and their military prowess makes it possible.
The values of Islam have been ridiculed by exercising the right of
freedom of speech. The strength Western media has been fully utilized to
achieve the aim of hurting sentiments of the Muslims. The need for
Enlightenment of Islam has been pressed hard, which could only be
achieved through acceptance of Western values like secularism.
Despite the evil intentions of the aggressors, they have achieved quite
a few successes. This can lead to drawing wrong inferences. It can be said
that possession of military might is more important for winning a conflict
than a noble cause. But, drawing such conclusion will be premature,
because, as already said, the war is yet far from being over.
The most important winning factor has been causing, preserving and
exploiting the disunity of Muslims. The use of enemy within has been the
lethal strategy of the Crusaders. Panjsheris were used in Afghanistan and
Kurds in Iraq.
Now, they plan to use Baluch, Arabs, Turkmen, Kurds and Bahais in
Iran. Similarly, as the war progresses, the ethnic diversity of Pakistan will be
exploited in fulfillment of the evil design. The Long War Strategy clearly
spells out the use of dissidents in achieving the intended goals.
The term dissident, however, does not include Kashmiris, Chechens,
Morros and other Muslim groups seeking an end to oppression. It only
means the groups in Islamic countries which could be useful for further
fragmentation of the Muslim World.
Moreover, rulers in Islamic World have been intimidated and coerced
to support the war on terror unconditionally. This has resulted in yet another
kind of division in the Muslims. The rulers and the ruled have been alienated
from each other which will obviously result in birth of more dissidents.
Despite all the above, Muslim rulers reject the very existence of the
Crusades or clash of civilizations. In fact, they have reconciled with
unconditional submission to the will of the Crusaders. The fear of the
military might of the enemy has blessed them with pearls of wisdom like

futility of military option even in opposing invasions and resisting

occupation of Muslim countries.
They only talk of need for dialogue between two civilizations, despite
the ever increasing belligerence of the other side. Consequently, Palestinians
have been left to starve; the core issue has been buried under the debris of
composite dialogue; Chechens have been completely forgotten; Muslim
minorities in Philippines and Thailand have been left at the mercy of the
proxy crusaders.
All this has been paid in advance as price of the anticipated peace.
But, rulers of the Muslim World have ignored the basic fact that there can be
no peace for the one who is not prepared and willing to wage war. That is
why they have lot of roadmaps but no peace. For Pakistan, the peace process
has only yielded onions, potatoes, meat, films, sugar, and cement.
The march of the Crusaders in pursuit of the Long War Strategy
continues. India has been formally inducted as strategic partner to further
escalate the Crusades. They are now galloping towards Iran, which is not far
from Pakistan.
Iran owed a lot to the terrorists who have been and continue fighting
resolutely against occupation of Iraq. In the absence of their resistance, the
Crusaders would have been in Tehran by now and preparing to advance
towards Islamabad, bringing them closer to the achievement of final goal of
destroying military capability and nuclear deterrence in entire Islamic World.
Muslim rulers have ignored the importance of unity and opted for
falling one by one in misconception of being on the right side of the
Crusaders. They are sleep-walking towards their unenviable end. The
situation demands that they must listen to the message of Iqbal Lahori
conveyed a century ago in his poem Jawab-e-Shikwa.

30th March 2006

Bloodshed in Iraq continued and analysts kept debating for an
appropriate name for the tragedy. Some called it insurgency, or resistance to
occupation; the nobles preferred to term it cross-border terrorism; and
others named it sectarian strife, or civil war.
Jaafari, the Shiite nominee for prime ministers post, resisted
manipulation and intimidation by the occupation forces and refused to step
down. This resulted into political stalemate causing frustration in the
interested parties.
America pondered over Iranian leaders offer. The Islamic Republic
of Iran will hold talks with the United States about Iraq to help the process
of building a government there, and to support the Iraqi people, said
Mottaki. Rice said talks with Tehran on Iraqs slide toward civil war might
be useful, but they would not cover Irans nuclear programme.
There was no progress in Saddam trial. The accused, however, while
appearing in the court on 15th March urged Iraqis to unite and resist the
invaders and their backers. Dont fight among yourselves. He also wanted
his trial to remain in Iraq. Bush however vowed to finish Iraq mission.
In Palestine, Hamas continued facing opposition of the civilized world
and Israel. Even Abbas rejected Ismail Haniyas proposed plan to form
government because he wanted Hamas to be clear on demands of
international community regarding Israel.
Critics of war continued condemning illegal and immoral holy war.
Thousands of protesters in Britain, Australia and Asian countries
demonstrated on third anniversary of Iraqs invasion and demanded pullout
of occupation forces. Iran also kept causing embarrassment to the
superpower and its willing allies by sticking to its right to acquire nuclear


Iraq kept bleeding. Two intelligence officers were shot dead in

western Baghdad on 11th March. Next day two blasts in Sadr City killed 36
people and wounded 104 others. Six persons were killed and 13 wounded
when a US convoy was attacked near Baghdad Airport. Two civilians were
killed and six wounded in mortar fire in the capital and three were shot dead
in another incident. Five soldiers were wounded in roadside bombing. Two
policemen were wounded in Dura. Two persons were shot dead in Duluiyah.
One person was killed in Moqdadiya and a police major in Mahmudiya. A
policeman was killed and four wounded in Baqouba. About 80 persons,
including 4 US soldiers were killed on the day.
Police recovered 44 more dead bodies on 14th March from in and
around Baghdad bringing the total to 78 in two days. Two days later,
authorities found 25 more dead bodies. US forces launched biggest postoccupation operation in Samarra area with 1,500 troops and 50 aircrafts.
On 18th March, thirteen people, including six US soldiers, were killed.
The size of operation was curtailed. Next day, four people were shot dead in
drive-by shooting in Mosul. Six persons were wounded in similar attack in
Latifiyah. A policeman was killed by roadside bomb blast in Kirkuk. A
civilian was killed when a left-over cluster bomb exploded in Baqouba.
Seventeen dead bodies were found in Baghdad. US forces arrested 60 people
in the ongoing operation in Samarra area.
Three police commandos and three civilians were killed near Baghdad
on 20 March when a bomb targeted a police patrol. Three persons were
killed in roadside bombing near Kirkuk. Another roadside bomb killed four
persons protecting infrastructure near Musayyib. Gunmen killed one
policeman and wounded another in Amiriya. One policeman was killed and
another wounded by a suicide bomber in Baqouba. Undisclosed number of
dead bodies was found in and around the capital. Nine people were wounded
in drive by shooting nears Karbala.

On 21st March, gunmen attacked a jail north of the capital and more
than 30 prisoners were freed. Next day US troops thwarted a dawn attack on
another prison and captured 50 of the attackers.
Ten civilians and 15 policemen were killed and 35 others wounded in
suicide car bombing in central Baghdad on 23rd March. In second car
bombing six people were killed and 20 wounded. Gunmen attacked a
convoy escorting detainees in which one prisoner was killed and eight
attackers were arrested. Roadside bombs targeting police patrol killed four,
including two policemen. Two policemen were killed in gun battles with

insurgents. One policeman was killed and a dozen others wounded in

Iskandariyah. Two policemen were killed and two wounded in an ambush
north of the capital. Two persons were killed in drive-by shooting. Three
civilians were wounded in mortar fire. One person was wounded by troops
in Yarmouk. Six dead bodies were found in the capital and eight more were
brought to hospital in Fallujah by US troops. Eight policemen were wounded
in car bombing in Haditha. Three hostages were freed by US troops in
Baghdad after a successful raid.
Bombing outside a Sunni mosque in Khalis on 24th March killed five
people and wounded 15 others. Gunmen killed three policemen in west
Baghdad and three workers of a power station were killed in Taji. Four
persons were killed by gunmen in Saydiyah and one policeman was killed in
roadside bombing. Baghdad police found 13 more dead bodies. Two
policemen and two civilians were killed in roadside bombing in Baghdad.
Ten persons were wounded in mortar fire in Tal Afar. One policeman was
killed and a dozen wounded in Iskandariyah. A Danish soldier was killed and
another wounded near Basra.
On 26th March 30 dead bodies were found near Baqouba. US troops
attacked a mosque near Baghdad and killed 16 people. Next day a suicide
bomber killed 40 people and wounded 20 others at an army base near Tal
Afar. Seven people were killed and 23 wounded in mortar fire in Baghdad.
Three more people were killed elsewhere in the country. Gunmen in police
uniform killed 9 people in Baghdad on 29th March.
Cheney blamed al-Qaeda for fomenting civil war in Iraq, but said their
attempt had failed. Allawi blamed occupation forces for civil war in which
Iraq was losing 50 to 60 people every day. After the raid on mosque, Shiite
UIA said, US forces and Iraqi Special Forces committed a heinous crime by
attacking the Mustafa mosque in the neighbourhood of Ur. Baghdad
Governor refused to cooperate with occupation forces.
On 30th March, the Boston Globe criticized Arab League. The most
dramatic and pathetic failing of the summit was its effort to address the
twin specters of sectarian warfare and Iranian influence in Iraq.


On the eve of anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Rumsfeld rebuffed
the critics. Who are they that have expressed these concerns? In fact, these
are the words of terrorists discussing Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his

associates who are describing their own situation and must be watching
with fear the progress that Iraq has made over the past three years.
Consider that in three years Iraq has gone from enduring a brutal
dictatorship to electing a provisional government to ratifying a new
constitution written by Iraqis to electing a permanent government last
December. In each of these elections, the number of voters participating has
increased significantly
The terrorists are determined to stoke sectarian tension and are
attempting to spark a civil war. But despite the many acts of violence and
provocation, the vast majority of Iraqis have shown that they want their
country to remain whole and free of ethnic conflict Another significant
transformation has been in the size, capability and responsibility of Iraqi
security forces.
Though there are those who will never be convinced that the cause in
Iraq is worth the costs, anyone looking realistically at the world today at
the terrorist threat we face can come to only one conclusion: Now is the
time for resolve, not retreat.
Rumsfeld said a quick withdrawal would tantamount to handing over
Germany back to Nazis. Bush announced that US troops would stay in Iraq
until 2009. The lobbyists like John Hughes kept supporting the contention
of Bush Administration.
While refusing to equate Iraq with Vietnam, he wrote, in Vietnam the
enemy was inspired by a nationalistic bid to seize territory and install a
socialist regime, whereas the enemy in Iraq is motivated by a perversion of
Islamic dogma and a fanatical intent to impose it upon an entire region. (In
Vietnam insurgency was inspired by socialist ideas, but in Iraq it was
perversion of Islamic dogma with fanatical.)
In Iraq the hope of the enemy is that the American public will grow
tired of the continuing casualties and the lengthy political maneuvering over
the formation of a new government, and put such pressure upon the Bush
Administration to withdraw American troops that President Bush would be
unable to resist it.
What Bush has not been wrong about is his passion for the
promotion of democracy in Iraq and countries elsewhere to whose people it
has been denied Victory in consolidating freedom in Iraq would be an
example that would inspire hope for freedom in countries elsewhere in the
Middle East.

The consequences of failure would be far-reaching George Bush

may be faulted for some things but not his belief that freedom is God-given
for all people. It is not appropriate that America, founded on the cornerstone
of freedom, should seek to extend it to others presently less fortunate.


discussed the difficulties faced in

democratization of Iraq. Now the Kurds have joined with the
opposition Sunni and secular parties to oppose the Shiite bloc. The result is
two large competing coalitions: (a) the Kurd-Sunni-secular bloc, which
controls about 140 seats in the 275-seat parliament and would constitute the
barest majority; and (b) the Shiite bloc, which itself is a coalition of seven
not-always-friendly parties and controls 130 seats, slightly less than a
But to protect minorities and force the creation of large governing
coalitions, the Iraqi constitution essentially requires a two-thirds majority to
form a government The result for now is stalemate, which could lead to
disaster if the whole system disintegrates because of the impasse. Or it could
lead to a more effective, less sectarian government than Jaafaris.
The main objective of US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who
worked miracles in Afghanistan, is to make sure that the Interior Ministry is
purged of sectarianism by giving it to some neutral figure, perhaps a secular
Sunni with no ties to the Baath Party. Similarly, with the Defence Ministry
which controls the army.
The Kurd-Sunni-secular bloc wants a new prime minister who will
establish a national unity government. Because the United States wants
precisely the same outcome, the Kurd defection is very good news in a
landscape of almost unrelenting bad news.
David Ignatius looked at the problems from slightly different angle.
The countrys political leaders seemed to realize, as they stood at the brink
that they would either come together or Iraq would fall apart. So far they
seem to be choosing unity or at least serious talks about unity.
Khalilzad told me in an interview in his office after Wednesdays
session that the talks had produced tentative agreement on two basic
points: First, the parties endorsed the idea of a unity government that would
include all the major factions. Second, they agreed that this government
should have a top-level national security commission that would include
representatives of all the major political parties. Operating by consensus, this


body would frame the broad outlines of policy, subject to the Iraqi
The Iraqi political dialogue will move into a new and potentially
fractious stage soon, when the leaders begin bargaining over who will hold
top positions in the new government. Those negotiations could blow apart
the fragile hopes for a unity government.
The Hindu wrote, with ministry-making running into serious
difficulty, Iraqs political leaders have sought to break the impasse by setting
up a National Security Council that will formulate broad policies on security
and economic issues. The hope is that the 19-member Council, which will
represent all the major political formations, will be able to draw the different
sects and ethnic groups into the decision making process. This plan is not
likely to work. While the President and Prime Minister will be the members
of the Council, they will be free to override its collective decisions that
affect their spheres of authority. Since there is no constitutional provision for
creating such a body, non-official members can have no real authority over
the executive branch.

Israel kept perpetrating state terrorism with renewed vigour. On 14th
March, Israeli troops broke into Jericho prison, pulled out prisoners and
guards, destroyed much of the building, and captured a group of prisoners
linked to the assassination of an Israeli cabinet minister, who had been
acquitted by a Palestinian court. Three Palestinians were killed in the raid.
British and US had removed their monitoring teams from the site just before
the attack. Palestinians attacked US and European offices in Gaza Strip and
West Bank in retaliation and destroyed British Council building in Gaza
City. Next day, Palestinians held a general strike against Israeli raid.
On 16th March, one Israeli soldier was killed in West Bank. Israeli
troops detained five Palestinians. Six days later, a Palestinian activist was
killed and another wounded in Israeli raid in Jericho. Next day, Israeli troops
killed three more Palestinians in Gaza Strip.
Hamas was able to secure some quiet support from Arab countries,
including Saudi promise on aid. On 18th March, it announced completion of
formation of a government two weeks ahead of deadline. The cabinet will
be approved by Abbas before sending it the Parliament. Senior Hamas


leader, Sheikh Mohammad Sayyam, while addressing annual congregation

of JI in Peshawar, said Hamas would continue struggle against Jews.
On 29th March, Olmerts party won in elections. Bush and Blair
wasted no time in congratulating the democratically elected state terrorist.
The winner wasted no time in announcing that Israels borders will be fixed
unilaterally. The same day, Mahmud Abbas led Arab opposition to Israeli
acting premiers plan to set the borders of the Jewish state unilaterally after
his election win. Sudans Omar al-Bashir urged his Arab counterparts not to
succumb to the international communitys efforts to isolate Hamas over its
refusal to recognize Israel, disavow violence and honour previous peace
Walid M Sadi advised Hamas to show flexibility. Hamas has to
reckon with the rules of the game, especially state succession rules.
Governments dont go around rescinding past accords by the strike of a pen
or a whisper. There are rules for canceling accords, stipulated either in the
accords themselves or in international law relevant to bilateral and
international agreements.
Hamas knows now the rules of the game. Hamas as an insurgency is
one thing, but Hamas as part and parcel of the established government in the
Palestinian territories is quite another The thorny issue in this vein may
not be recognizing and accepting Israels right to exist or the various accords
already struck between the Palestinians and Israel, but rather to what extent
Hamas would want to impose Islamic fundamentalism and the Sharia on the
Palestinian people If Hamas chooses to depart from this road, then there
could be problems along the way, given the fact that the Palestinians are a
multi-religion people and have got used to separating religion from state
Dr Qaisar Rashid had similar advice for both sides. Hamas has to do
something tactical lest the time should seal the famous two-state solution in
the favour of Israel. Simultaneously, cornering Hamas at this juncture may
catapult Palestine into chaos and anarchy. This holds the potential to
destabilize the Middle East region. Hence, the time calls for prudence from
both sides.
Arab News was of the view that showing flexibility and prudence
would be immaterial. This situation might not make much of a difference.
Israel under Sharon was not negotiating with the Palestinians when Fatah of
President Mahmoud Abbas was in charge; now that Hamas is forming a
government, Israel is still not talking to the Palestinians while deciding for

itself what and what not to concede. As the outlines of Olmerts plans
emerge, it looks increasingly clear that they do not leave the Palestinians
with much.
The News agreed with Arab News. Israel really has no problem
with either Hamas or Mr Abbas. Its only that its permanent policy is
opposition of peace with the Palestinians, by actively sabotaging it and/or
simply dragging its feet on it. Thats the key to what Israel calls its security,
indeed to its very survival. Mr Sharons stand-in Ehud Olmertis ably
doing both.
The Guardian agreed too; Israel is now demanding of a Hamas
government that it discharge the same role of preventing all physical threats
to Israel that it earlier demanded of the much less intransigent Yasser Arafat
and the PLO, but with absolutely no incentive to do so, except the possibility
that the leavings of a unilateral partition of the West Bank will at some
future point be labeled a state and handed over to them. This is a recipe for
disaster that is obvious to most outsiders but seems invisible to those likely
to form Israels next government.
Jimmy Carter wrote, the pre-eminent obstacle to peace is Israels
colonization of Palestine. There were just a few hundred settlers in the West
Bank and Gaza when I became president, but the Likud government
expanded settlement activity when I left office. Although President Bill
Clinton made strong efforts to promote peace, a massive increase in settlers
occurred during his administration, to 225,000 (not including East
Jerusalem), mostly when Ehud Barak was prime minister. Their best official
order to the Palestinians was to withdraw 20% of them, leaving 180,000 in
209 settlements, covering about 5% of the occupied land.
Its surely disgraceful that the international community
ineffectually stands by as Gazans are deprived of staples, such as bread and
dairy products due to Israels two-month closure of the Kani cargo crossing
between Gaza and Egypt, said Linda S Heard.
Under Article 55 of the fourth Geneva Convention to the fullest
extent of the means available to it the Occupying Power has the duty of
ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population But who cares
about Geneva Conventions nowadays? Israel has consistently displayed a
total disregard for them with its policy of collective punishment while its
closest ally the US has circumvented them
Surely, the US is angered over the humiliating jail siege, especially
when it, like Britain, signed an agreement guaranteeing the safety of Saadat

and others. Youve guessed it. It isnt. In fact, the US has made it clear that it
would veto any UN censure motion.
Makau Mutua wrote, the United States and the European Union
who write the checks for the Palestinian Authority must not cut off aid to
the Hamas government. Doing so is shortsighted, undemocratic, and
foolhardy. Liberation movements normally mellow in the aftermath of
political victory.
Hamid Ansari said, away from the controversy about academic
freedom, an Israeli comment has defined the bottom line in the debate:
Defending the occupation has done to the American pro-Israel community
what living as an occupier has done to Israel muddied both its moral
compass and its rational self-interest compass.
Albadr S S al-Shateri opined that in reality Israel is no longer a key
US asset. Passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a
variety of evils, said George Washington. He added, sympathy for the
favourite nation facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in
cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the
enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels
and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or jurisdiction But,
that is what has exactly happened in the US-Israel special relationship.
Arab News observed, what is disturbing is that the international
community does not seem to appreciate that this new balance offers the
best ever starting point for a real settlement. (As the two hard line parties
from either side are in power.) No one expects the Americans, with their
narrow world view and purblind support for Israel, to recognize the
Raid on jail in Jericho invited widespread bitter criticism. Mathew
Tostevin wrote, Israel acts alone as Western countries acquiesce quietly and
Palestinians scream condemnation in powerless rage The seizure of
Saadat, accused by Israel of involvement in the killing of an Israeli cabinet
minister in 2001, will certainly help interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
ahead of a March 28 election he was expected to win.
Go-it-alone moves are likely to be central to Olmerts plan to set
borders by giving up some isolated Jewish settlements but keeping big
chunks of the occupied West Bank The unilateral approach appeals to
many Israelis cynical about prospects for negotiated peace with the
Palestinians and anxious to fix borders on Israels terms to ensure a Jewish
majority, maximize security and keep all the Jerusalem.

While Olmert stresses his aim of setting a permanent border, it is

already pretty much a fait accompli along the line of a West Bank barrier
expected to be completed this year Western diplomats say they see no
signs that Abbas is willing or able to stand up to Hamas in a way that could
let them continue weighty dealings just with him.
That was apparent in the way that US and British monitors, who had
been at Jericho prison under a deal since 2002, left their posts on Tuesday
minutes before Israeli forces stormed in British and the United States had
warned Abbas a week ago that the monitors would go if he did not address
security concerns. Neither country criticized the Israeli raid.
The Palestinian response to the operation exposed the difficulty of
countering unilateral Israeli measures. Abbas and Hamas alike could do little
more than fulminate against the raid, warn of perils ahead and hold Britain
and the United States responsible for what had happened.
Gulf News opined, the barbaric offensive by Israel on the Jericho
prison, literally under the noses of the two western great powers, explains
once again why the peace in the Middle East remains a mirage In
attacking the prison and arresting Ahmad Saadat and others, with perhaps
the blessing of the United States and Britain, Israel again undermined the
leadership of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The attack showed him
unable to protect his people. It also provided Palestinian factions, some of
which do not recognize the peace process, with more reasons to continue
their armed struggle.
Khaled Duzdar was of the view that today we can say goodbye to
the peace process. The political process was finally buried in Jericho and
Israel has no intentions or even interests in finding Palestinian partners.
Israel thinks that it is today in a position where it can impose a solution on
the Palestinians. Israel believes that it is no longer obliged to fulfill its
Manal Alafrangi said, it is common knowledge that Israel does
whatever it wants, whenever it wants. Neither the US nor Britain will get
in the way of the Israeli agenda. A close look at the current situation in the
region reveals there is an incessant attempt by the Israeli government to stir
up angry Arab sentiment, undermine efforts to form a viable Palestinian
administration, make Hamas look powerless, and divide Palestinians
amongst themselves.
While Washington and London have cited concern for the safety of
their citizens as the justification, it is inconceivable that either the

Palestinians or Israelis would have harmed the monitors. This has been
established by the fact that most Westerners taken hostage during the riots
that followed the raid were soon set free. All in all, the withdrawal of the
supervisors appears to have been intended to provoke Hamas into an
indiscretion, wrote the Hindu.
Seumas Milne focused on British policy. Jack Straw has brought
Britains standing in the Arab and Muslim worlds to its lowest point for half
a century. By withdrawing British monitors from a Palestinian jail in Jericho
on Tuesday, the government as good as handed over to Israel the prisoners
it had made an international agreement to protect. In doing so, it
colluded with its American co-sponsor and at the very least tacitly with
the Israeli occupation regime in an armed attack on the prison and the
seizure of an elected political leader regarded by many Palestinian as a
national hero.
In Israel the Jericho operation is of course highly popular and
regarded as a boost for Olmerts electoral credibility as a tough successor to
Sharon It certainly represents an unjustifiable abandonment of
international responsibilities to protect an occupied people and help achieve
their human and national rights, denied by nearly sixty years. But it is also a
highly dangerous role to adopt in the most inflammatory conflict on the
planet and one which puts at risk the security of people in Britain, as well
as the Middle East.
Andrian Hamilton said, what we have now is a foreign policy that
has lost its way since Iraq went sour and a foreign secretary who chatters
on, putting a burbling, brave face on whatever hes asked to do next.
Whether he believes in it at all no one knows and, worse, few seem
interested in finding out The British this time conveniently scampered
leaving the Israelis to do their worst. It wasnt brave. It breached all our
commitments to the Palestinians. But it did not get us out of a hole.
The New York Times blamed Hamas for the raid. The list of
misdeeds is, as usual, lengthy and widespread. The Hamas should not have
provoked Israel with chatter about freeing Ahmad Sadaat, the head of
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who is being held in the
killing of Rehavam Zeevi, the Israeli tourism minister, in 2001.
Whatever the West might say, for the majority of Muslims, Hamas
remains a symbol of the Palestinian freedom struggle, and is not seen as a
terrorist outfit. This is a difficult realization for the West, but what is more


important is to realize that the reasons for this support rest in unfair
international politics and not Islamic ideology, opined Masooda Bano.
Ramzy Baroud elaborated, even Israels initial sense of vindication
has turned sour, as Hamas despite its lack of experience in international
politics has managed to win the trust of various governments outside of
Western hemisphere, and is proving equally savvy in making its conditions
for a final settlement with Israel appear plausible Palestinians have
successfully managed to impress their political will as an irrevocable part
of their regions political reality; a very disturbing realization indeed in the
eyes of the US and Israel who have diligently worked for decades to
undermine the Palestinian peoples aspirations.
But even more dangerous is that Palestinians were quietly reworking
their political and ideological divergence in intense meetings in Gaza, with
the hope that a national unity government would replace the less favoured
option of a Hamas-only government.
Whats troublesome is the fact that a national unity government that
includes the defeated pro-US Fatah movement would deny the Bush
Administration and Israel the chance to scrutinize, undermine and eventually
topple a lone Hamas government.
The Guardian wrote on the outcome of Israeli elections. The new
Palestinian government led by the Islamist Hamas has scorned Mr Olmerts
plans and there are scant prospects of negotiations. But it is worth
remembering that President Clintons parameters the closest the two sides
ever came to a deal assume that the biggest settlements, illegal under
international law, are now immovable, and can be swapped for land
If that is to happen, there will have to be negations, with international
involvement as laid down by the currently morbid road map to peace.
Unilateralism may work for a while and any withdrawal is better than
none but it can be no substitute for agreement between the two peoples
who are destined to share this one small country.

Analyst Daniel Schorr observed that three years after the invasion of
Iraq the rhetoric of victory has been replaced by progress. There is
evidence of real progress, says President Bush. We continue to make great


progress echoes General George Casey. Nick Olivari was of the view that
US forces now find themselves potentially caught in the middle of a
sectarian civil war as Shiite militias have stepped up reprisals after years of
Sunni guerrilla attacks.
Phillip Knightly asked occupation forces to be prepared for the worst.
If sectarian violence escalates further, US troops must be withdrawn from
patrol and confined to their barracks and garrisons Mass transport must
be mustered for rapid withdrawal of those troops from volatile cities in
the explosive central region of Iraqin greatest danger
The United Sates lost one war not too long ago in Vietnam.
Conditions are taking shape that could result in the same outcome in Iraq.
Not to plan now for this apocalyptic possibility would tantamount to
criminal neglect on the part of our political and military leadership.
The character of warfare and violence is being transformed. The
warfare of the future is not World War I, or even Korea or Vietnam. It is
Mogadishu and Fallujah low-intensity conflict among tribes, clans, and
gangs. We are not prepared for that kind of war The United States is in
danger of finding combat forces trapped in a civil war that they cannot
prevent, control, or win. Americas army is in danger, and that danger is
possibly just around the corner.
Gary Younge wrote, for if the last six years have proved anything, it
is the limitation of the military might as the central plank of foreign
policy. Indeed, shorn of meaningful diplomacy or substantial negotiation, it
has failed even on its own narrow, nationalistic terms of making America
safer and securing its global hegemony. In short, in displaying his strength in
such a brash, brazen, reckless and ruthless manner, Bush has asserted power
and lost authority and influence both at home and abroad.
As events in Iraq have soured, the ability of the Bush Administration
to deliver on these threats has diminished considerably. With its military
overstretched and its diplomatic goodwill spent, it has been forced back to
the table from a relative position of weakness, because nobody trusts it or
particularly fears it. If anything, both Iran and North Korea have been
emboldened by its failures in the Gulf.
The most important single factor that shapes Americans attitudes to
any war is whether they think America will win, explains Christopher Gelpi,
an associate professor of political science at Duke University who
specializes in public attitudes to foreign policy. Over the past year, the
percentage of Americans who believe the US is certain to win has

plummeted from 79% to 22%; those who are either certain it will not win or
believe this to be unlikely have risen from 1% to 41%.
Max Boot opined, it might have been possible to avoid such a costly
and protracted conflict in Iraq if Central Command and the Defence
Department had been better prepared for the post-conflict phase of
operations. But, as we now know, there was a horrifying and inexplicable
failure to undertake adequate preparations for running Iraq after the fall
of Saddam Hussein.
Syrian political commentator Faisal Qassem said the Iraq war,
supposed to herald the demise of autocratic rule in the region, had in fact
bolstered Arab governments which offer their citizens stability, security
and in some cases prosperity. One of the consequences of the invasion was
to give new life to these regimes. Gary Younge wrote, The issue is not
whether the developing world is ready for democracy as the administration
keeps arguing but if the US is ready for the democratic choices made by
the developing world.
Arab News criticized the raid on a Shiite mosque. The only things
that seem apparent from these actions is that the US military, increasingly
concerned at the growth of Shiite militias and their influence within the
Iraqi police and armed forces, are belatedly trying to clip their wings.
The nightly tit-for-tat killings leave a dawn harvest of corpses. The
authorities seem powerless and, as the rest of a local police chief suggests,
there are probably death squads operating among the police themselves
All this is a far cry from Washingtons claims that a reliable cadre of Iraqi
police and army is being created to take over from coalition forces. Indeed
one recent success story of which President Bush boasted the US-Iraqi
military base at Tal Afar near Mosul was yesterday the scene of a suicide
bombing in which over 40 would-be recruits were slain.
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, however, banked a lot on Iraqi security forces.
The long-term solution to this problem will be multifaceted. We must
ensure that all security forces receive proper training and that there is a
chain of command that holds commanders and officers responsible for such
abuses. In addition, the various militias that fought Saddam Husseins
regime honourably must be fully integrated into Iraqs security forces
without concentrating any particular group into any one division.
Many analysts felt that no criticism of Iraq War could be complete
without Bush bashing. Gary Younge wrote With his approval ratings at


Nixonian lows and the mid-term elections on the horizon, many of his
fellow Republicans regard him as a liability Stumbling across the political
landscape, rallying support for lost causes, he resembles Ernest Harrowden
in the Picture of Dorian Gray, a character whom Oscar Wilde described as
one of those middle-aged mediocrities, who have no enemies, but are
thoroughly disliked by their friends.
Molly Ivins wrote, it looks as though Bush does better on foreign
policy when hes being an isolationist. Maybe he should just stay at home
and cut more taxes for the rich, or go expose some CIA agent for political
payback against her husband, or just spy on American pacifists.
Maggie Mitchell Salem opined, Bush is not concerned about the
defection of neoconservatives who once backed the war, like William
Buckley and Francis Fukuyama. His problem is with millions of Americans
who are increasingly disillusioned with his leadership.
David Martin described Bushs ability to think ahead, by quoting
some of his remarks in the recent news conference:
The decision to end the US military presence in Iraq will not be his
it will be for future presidents to decide.
As far as the increasing national debt, future presidents will have to
tackle that problem.
Given the precarious state of the economy, it would be irresponsible
of me to interfere at this point in time. I really think its best if
someone else handles it.
I handed out those tax cuts. So how would it look if all of a sudden I
took them back? Again, I think its better that someone new makes
that decision.
Its unrealistic to expect a war on a concept to end any time soon. So
Ill leave that one to a future president to deal with as well.
About drug plan he said, tinkering with the plan now could make the
situation even worse. Best is to let some future president try to fix it.
On hurricane relief he said, wait a few years and see where help is
really needed. Then some future president can clean up the mess.
Lets face it. Anything I tried to do now would just need to be fixed
up by some future president anyway. I think its best for the nation if I
just do nothing.

The Boston Globe had polite advice for Bush after he sought
explanation on some issues. But as a first step toward regaining public trust,
Bush would be wise to cast aside his triumph-list rhetoric. Instead of
asserting his will to stay the course and win an undefined victory against
enemies whom he also declines to define, Bush ought to level with the
American public about the complex problems that are so apparent in Iraq.
Bush needs to explain why it is worth trying to help Iraqis avoid
such a war, what he is doing toward that end, and what will happen if the
arduous deal-brokering efforts of the US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay
Khalilzad, fail to forge a national unity government that includes Sunni Arab
leaders as well as Shiites and Kurds. In the same vein, Bush should explain
his design in authorizing Khalilzad to open discussions with Iranian officials
about ways Washington and Tehran may cooperate to prevent the disaster of
a civil war in Iraq.
If the ongoing talks Khalilzad has been supervising among Iraqs
parliamentary factions does produce a broad-based unity government able to
stamp out the insurgency, it will be those friends who, sooner rather than
later, will want the Americans to discuss a timetable for their departure If
it will be necessary to talk to Iraqs politicians about a timetable, it ought to
be possible or Bush to begin discussing that imminent prospect, and other
realities of the Iraq War, with the American public.
Los Angeles Times advised, as it enters its fourth year, the war in
Iraq defies simplistic characterizations from both ends of the political
spectrum. The heroism of US forces and of ordinary Iraqis going about their
daily lives is inspiring. But the future of Iraq remains shrouded in gray
Arab News counseled him to desist from adopting cheaper ways.
Why were US officials so keen to publicize the attack, releasing video
footage almost as soon as it started? Presumably to convince a weary
American people opinion that there is much more to do in Iraq and that this
is not the time to lose heart and want American troops out.

Brits did not spare the poodle. Andrian Hamilton said, the
charge against Tony Blair is not that he made the wrong judgment but that he
never properly made the judgment at all. He took the gravest decision a
political leader can make and went along with Bush because supporting
America seemed the right thing to do and because it was actually much
easier to do so than to face all the problems that a refusal would have
brought. It would have taken far more courage to refuse Bush than to join

him Being prime minister, Tony Blair told Parkinson, it was all about
making decisions. But leadership is about judgment. And where Iraq was
concerned, Blair made the one without exercising the other.
Andrew Murray wrote, both Jack Straw and the US Ambassador to
Baghdad have recently been instructing the Iraqis as to what sort of
government they must form three months after the supposedly decisive
national elections took place.
Reliable estimates for violent civilian deaths under the occupation
range well over 100,000. Faik Bakir, the director of the Baghdad morgue,
has had to flee the country after revealing that more than 7,000 people had
been killed, often after torture, by officers of the US-supervised interior
ministry Britain has reaped the consequences. Most people understand
that the terrorist threat over here is in large measure a consequence of what
we are doing over there.
One of the consequences, both for Britain and America, is that
Washington has been forced to look towards Tehran to help get them out of
the quagmire. Some people have pinned their hopes on Irans offer to
engage in talks with the United States regarding Shiite Islamist groups.
Others see even that as problematic since this might fuel resentment among
Sunni Arabs who already are deeply suspicious of Tehran, wrote Farah Zia.
The US goal is a coalition government that can stay put for next four
years. But the danger, in the words of one Sunni leader, is: We first need to
see if the country can hold together for the next four years before worrying
about whether the government will last that long Iraqs dissolution into
three Iraqis is on the cards and theres little being done to prevent that.

Adamant Iran once again threatened to use oil as weapon. West

wanted 2-week deadline for Iran to stop nuclear work. Iran threatened to quit
world nuclear treaty, but said Russian proposal was still negotiable. On 13 th
March, Tehran vowed not to back down in nuclear standoff. UNSC failed to
forge united stance as China said diplomacy can still resolve the issue.
On 16th March US reaffirmed its policy of pre-emptive and warned
that Iran might pose the biggest threat to its national security. Japan cut oil
imports from Iran over nuclear crisis. Britain was still in favour of drawing
US into talks with Iran. White House said Irans offer to hold talks with the
US on Iraq was probably just a ploy to divert pressure Tehran has drawn
over its nuclear programme.


On 20th March, five nuclear powers and Germany kicked off talks to
map out a long-term strategy to deal with Iranian nuclear crisis. Nejad said
Iran will master nuclear technology and talks with US will only be for
Iraqis interest. On 29th March, Big-5 agreed on text of statement urging Iran
to abandon uranium enrichment. Meanwhile, Kurd rebels in West Iran killed
three Iranian Revolutionary Guards in a clash.
Next day the UNSC unanimously approved a statement giving Iran 30
days to abandon its uranium enrichment activities, but did not mention steps
it might take if Tehran fails to comply. Iran rejected UNSC demand. Muttaki
said Iran was prepared for possible sanctions. Iran formally offered
regional venture for nuclear enrichment. ElBaradei said Iran posed no
imminent threat and imposing sanctions on Tehran would be a bad idea.
Kamal Matinuddin was of the view that strategic defiance would
make him (Nejad) a hero in the eyes of many in the Muslim World but may
spread disaster for his nation. Totally halting the process of the enrichment
of uranium would mean capitulation and would be unacceptable to a proud
nation Unfortunately, while a superpower can violate international
treaties and norms and get away with it, weaker nations, which depend on
the international community for their prosperity, cannot do so. Ahmedinejad
must accept this brutal fact of inter-state relations.
Tehran believes it can withstand sanctions by the Security Council.
Iran has several options if the matter is referred to the United Nations
Security Council and sanctions are imposed It can restart enrichment of
uranium on a large scale. It can ban IAEA inspectors from coming to Iran. It
can use oil as a weapon. It can provide active support to those opposing US
and allied forces in Iraq.
Iranian leadership is aware that even the mighty United States is not
in a position to open up another front Iran today stands at a crossroad.
Wisdom not bravado is needed. Its leadership must weigh carefully as to
which path it must adopt.
Howard LaFranchi wrote, as the United Nations Security Council
takes up Irans nuclear programme this week, the US and France will be
standing side by side in opposition to any leniency for the Tehran regime, a
far cry from the bitter antagonism over Iraq that bloomed in the same venue
three years ago.
Pascal Boniface opined, making a comparison between North Korea
and Iran, Tehran has come to the conclusion that a regime with nuclear


weapons can keep the US off its shores. The Iranians feel that had Iraq been
in possession of nuclear weapons, there would have been no US invasion.
The winner of this war seems to be Iran. Its strategic influence has
been reinforced, it could play an active role in Iraq and see with great
pleasure the US trapped in the Iraqi quagmire. Due to its involvement in
Iraq, Washington has lost a large part of its bargaining power with Tehran.
Washington never believed in bargaining power, while possessing means to
intimidate and invade.
Farah Zia said, Irans ability to stir Shia majority in neighbouring
Iraq is indeed a US worry. But most important are the natural resources its
endowed with. It is the fourth largest producer of the worlds oil, the second
largest exporter of oil among oil producing and exporting states and
possesses the worlds largest gas reserves. The world desperately needs
Irans crude oil thus allowing it to use it as a weapon. With Tehrans
potential of manipulating oil prices providing a real back-drop, President
Ahmadinejads threat does not seem an empty one when he says: The world
needs the Iranian nation much more than the Iranian nation needs the world.
Patrick Seale said, belatedly and reluctantly, the US has come to
realize that Iraqs neighbours cannot be excluded from what happens in that
country and must be consulted Hardliners in both camps, Iranian
conservatives and American neo-conservatives, neither want dialogue nor
compromise. Israel and its American friends who have great influence in
shaping American policy would like the US to destroy Iran not talk to it.
The US wants to limit the talks to Iraq while, at the same time, continuing to
mobilize the world against Iran to force it to abandon its ambition to master
the uranium fuel cycle. This is a recipe for future.

Blair in the company of senior Crusader, Bush is spreading Gods
message: keep the Muslims bleeding. To this end Iraqs ethnic and sectarian
divide has been exploited successfully not only to bleed Iraqis but also
spread it to the entire region as and when required.
Shia-Sunni fighting has helped in saving casualties of occupation
forces by shifting the focus away from them. Iraqs possible dissolution
through Shia-Sunni civil war would create ideal conditions for Israel to
expand and dominate the area, in words of M B Naqvi.


The prospects of civil war have been brightened by constant dictations

to the elected members of the parliament and Jaafaris refusal to step down
from the candidacy of premiership. The situation has been muddied to the
extent that even if Jaafari decides to step down the fighting is likely to
The critics of war have influenced American public opinion against
the war in Iraq, but not to a degree which could force Bush to change the
course. The Crusaders were still working on spreading the holy war to
liberate Iranian people kept hostage by the clerics.

31st March 2006


Insurgents were able to intensify their operations in 2005. Zawahiri
praised the martyrs in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister, Abdullah accused alQaeda and Taliban of suicide attacks. Afghan defence ministry, however,
denied links between Iraqi and Afghan fighters. The only link was the
inspiration drawn by Pushtoons from Arab Sunnis.
Karzai, while on visit to Devos, said on 27 th January that foreign
troops would be required for about ten years. Expansion of NATO began
with arrival of vanguard contingent from Britain in mid February. NATO
planned to complete its expansion as occupation force by end of the year.
Military chief said NATO troops would be in Afghanistan for years.
Drugs remained a concern of the civilized world. Reports indicated
rise in poppy cultivation and drug smugglers were growing bolder in
Afghanistan. Taliban were linked to drug traffickers and were blamed for
deadly violence.
The ritual of democratization of Afghanistan had been completed.
Karzai boasted that there were no warlords in Afghanistan. In fact all of
them were now wearing robes of Governors or ministers or democratically
elected parliamentarians. That was why Malalai Joya feared assassination.
More than half a million Afghans faced risk of starvation during the
current winters. Poverty and corruption were blamed for fueling insurgency,
yet reconstruction of the country did not receive due attention of the donors.
However, trial of Afghan convert to Christianity under Islamic Sharia law in
March caused concerns to the Christian West and Karzai was forced to
extradite the convert to Italy.

Pashtoons continued resisting the occupation of Afghanistan. On 16 th
January a suicide bomber in Spin Boldak killed 20 and injured the same

number of people. Another suicide bomber killed three Afghan soldiers and
two civilians in Kandahar; four soldiers and ten civilians were also
wounded. Next day, Annan condemned attacks on Canadians, as injured
Canadian soldiers were being sent home.
On 18th January, Taliban commander, Mulla Dadullah said hundreds of
guerrillas were ready to carry out suicide missions. Ammunition cache was
found on Tajik-Afghan border. Four days later, five captives were got freed
from Taliban in chance encounter with police in Grishik. A police
commander was shot dead in an ambush in Ghazni. Seven Taliban prisoners
escaped from Pul-e-Charki jail. CIA-run secret detention camp was reported
near Kabul.
Taliban attacked an army post in Paktika on 24th January and killed
two soldiers and wounded two others. Next day, a grenade exploded outside
Indian consulate in Kandahar. Security forces arrested two suspected suicide
bombers. Finnish soldiers were attacked near Maimana. An army base in
Uruzgan was subjected to rocket attack. Four Pakistanis were arrested in
Kandahar at an army checkpoint.
A tanker supplying fuel to US troops was destroyed on 26 th January in
Kandahar area. Two policemen were killed in rocket attack on their
checkpoint. Two US soldiers were wounded in roadside bomb blast in
Kunar. Next day a roadside bomb killed two policemen and wounded two
others in Helmand province. Another bomb targeted US-led convoy near
On 29th January, three more schools were torched in Helmand. Three
policemen were wounded in a bomb attack that targeted a convoy of US-led
forces in southern Kandahar. Next day, an Afghan-US convoy was attacked
southeast of Kandahar. Second US soldier was found guilty of punching
detainees in Afghanistan and was awarded 6-month jail.
Five Bangladeshis were arrested on 31st January with suspected links
to Taliban. A roadside bomb was defused near US Embassy and a Taliban
commander was held in Kandahar province. Next day, three Pakistanis, one
Iraqi and one Iranian were arrested in Nimroz province after crossing over
from Iran. An army vehicle was damaged in remote-controlled bomb
explosion near Kandahar. Nine suspects were arrested.
On 2nd February, a suicide bomber in woman dress killed three
soldiers and two road workers in Khost. It was reported that al-Qaeda
fighters were coming from Iraq to fight in Afghanistan. Next day, fighting
between Afghan security forces and Taliban erupted in Helmand province

and the coalition ground and air forces were mobilized to bomb the area.
Twenty-three people, including three policemen, were reported killed.
Taliban claimed killing several policemen.
Taliban killed a district chief and two policemen in Helmand on 4 th
February. Twenty-five Taliban were killed in two encounters in Musa Qala
and Nawzad areas and in operation that had started a day earlier in Helmand
province. Two people were killed and three wounded in Kandahar by
remote-controlled explosion. One Taliban commander was killed in southern
Afghanistan near Pakistan border. Next day, a landmine blast killed six
people and wounded four in Kandahar.
Taliban claimed killing five soldiers in Khost on 6 th February. US
forces killed a suspected militant and wounded another at a crossing point on
border with Pakistan. Militants attacked a US patrol in eastern Afghanistan
killing a serviceman. A suspected al-Qaeda suicide bomber was arrested in
Mazar. Three policemen were wounded in Helmand. One person was
wounded by bicycle bomb in Spin Boldak.
On 7th February, a suicide bomber killed 13 people outside police
headquarters in Kandahar. In another explosion a Turkish engineer, an Indian
and his driver were killed in Farah province. Taliban also claimed killing
two British and two Afghans with remote-controlled bomb.
Gunmen burnt down a girls school in Laghman province on 9 th
February. Six people were killed in sectarian clashes. Next day, two Afghan
soldiers were killed in roadside bombing on the border between Kunar and
Nuristan. A convoy sent to their aid was attacked with explosive device
killing six soldiers and wounding seven. Four Canadian soldiers were
wounded when a roadside bomb damaged their armoured vehicle near
Kandahar. Two persons were injured when police fired at anti-Shiite
protesters in Herat.
Two Nepalese were kidnapped in Kabul on 11th February. Seven
Afghan detainees returned from Guantanamo Bay. Two days later, Taliban
ambushed a convoy and killed 8 Afghan soldiers in Helmand; one Taliban
was also killed. Four US soldiers were killed in bomb blast in Uruzgan and
some US soldiers were killed in fighting. One Afghan soldier was killed and
five wounded in roadside bombing in Kunar. Police seized 700 homemade
bombs in Kunar province.
On 14th February, a female MP escaped attempt on her life in Parwan;
her guard was injured. Next day two security agents were beheaded in Farah.


Security forces arrested a Taliban commander in Ghazni; a policeman was

shot dead and two soldiers were killed in roadside bombing.
On 16th February, four policemen were killed in an attack by gunmen
and two were killed in bomb blast. Taliban attacked a post in Nimroz and
killed one policeman and wounded four others. Four US soldiers were killed
in landmine blast in Uruzgan. Dead bodies of two Italian aid workers were
found in Kabul. Next day, one health clinic was torched in Helmand.
Two dead bodies were found in a river in Faryab on 18 th February.
Two days later, HBL transport car was robbed in Kabul. Taliban burnt a
school in Helmand. On 22nd February, a bomb attack targeting German
troops in Kunduz killed two persons and wounded 13 others.
Taliban claimed attacking US vehicle in Nangarhar on 23rd February.
Suicide bomber was killed in a failed attack on US convoy near Kandahar.
Taliban killed four Afghan soldiers in Helmand. Two days later, an explosive
device was destroyed in front of Coalition base in Kabul.
On 26th February, two persons were wounded in bomb blast in Khost
and a girls school was bombed. Eight persons were killed in riot in Pul-eCharkhi jail. Sixty Taliban surrendered to Afghan government in Faryab and
Jawzjan provinces. Next day, Afghan prisoners handed over 4 dead bodies as
tension eased in Pul-e-Charkhi jail.
Violence again flared up in the jail on 28 th February. Kidnappers freed
a Nepalese and another died in captivity. Two days later, one Afghan soldier
was killed and two wounded in attack by Taliban in Helmand province. Nine
people were arrested in Herat in murder case of three European aid workers.
On 3rd March, five Canadian troops were wounded in suicide attack
near Kandahar. Police claimed killing eight Taliban and arresting ten in
Helmand; four policemen were also wounded. Taliban killed the chief
government official in Sangin district.
On 4th March, a Canadian soldier was wounded in a clash near
Kandahar; one rebel was killed. In another incident a French soldier and two
rebels were killed. Afghan intelligence agent and four others traveling with
him were killed in roadside bomb blast in Helmand. Taliban attacked Indian
Construction Company in a western province on a road linking Bandar
Abbas; some vehicles were destroyed and 20 Afghan guards were missing.
Injured Canadian soldiers died of wounds on 5 th March. Another
soldier was wounded in attack by an Afghan with an axe. Afghan authorities


claimed that 169 Taliban commanders surrendered in Herat, Farah, Ghor,

and Badghis provinces. A UN worker was shot dead in Farah on 7th March.
On 12th March, former Afghan president, Sibghatullah Mujaddadi,
head of a commission for encouraging Taliban defections, was slightly
wounded in suicide car bomb attack in Kabul; four persons, including two
attackers were killed. Four US troops were killed in roadside bombing on a
convoy in Kunar. Afghan official in Jalalabad claimed capturing a Pakistani
three days earlier on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda and Taliban.
Nine policemen were killed on 17th March in a bomb blast in
Maiwand area while escorting the bodies of four Albanians kidnapped and
killed last week. Taliban killed one security guard of a construction company
in Zabul.
On 18th March, Taliban fighters killed Qari Baba and four persons
traveling with him in an ambush in Ghazni area. Qari Baba was a former
governor and Mujahideen commander, who had joined Ahmad Shah
Masood. Three Taliban were killed when they attacked a convoy in Gulan
Taliban raided a police post near Kandahar and killed two policemen
on 21 March and four policemen were missing. A suicide bomber rammed
his car into convey of French troops in Spin Boldak area. Next day, Taliban
claimed killing a US soldier in Kunar.

On 23rd March, a police chief was shot dead by his guard in Helmand
province. Coalition forces claimed killing six Taliban in ongoing operation
in southern Afghanistan. Three days later, four Afghans were killed in
landmine blast in Helmand.
Seven Taliban were killed and six Taliban, one civilian and one soldier
were wounded on 27th March in gun battle in Sangin district of Helmand. A
roadside bomb blast killed three villagers and wounded two others in the
same province. Next day, a remote controlled bomb blast in Nimroz
province killed two foreigners and three Afghans employed by a US security
On 29th March, militants attacked the coalition base in Sangin district
of Helmand province with mortars, RPGs and small arms killing one
American and one Canadian soldier and wounding four foreign and one
Afghan soldier. Occupation forces retaliated by dropping 500-pound and
1,000-pound bombs. The coalition forces claimed killing 12 attackers. Later,
the forces attacked surrounding areas and killed 20 more people.


A police director and his brother were shot dead in Helmand on 30 th

March. A remote-controlled bomb struck a police truck in Khost wounding
six policemen. A suicide car bomb attack on a Canadian convoy in Kandahar
failed as attacker detonated explosives prematurely wounding seven
On 31st March, Taliban attacked a police post in Helmand province
and lost six men in the process. A suicide bomber was killed in unsuccessful
attempt in Kandahar province. Border police commander accused of killing
17 Pakistanis near Spin Boldak was detained by Afghan authorities.
Unidentified gunmen killed the speaker of Takhar provincial
legislature on 1st April. A botched suicide attack on a US-led coalition
convoy killed the bomber. Security forces shot dead an alleged accomplice
on the bomber. A blast hit US forces convoy in Kunar. Next day, a Taliban
pretended to be a traveler was allowed to stay at a police post in Helmand
and as policemen went to sleep, he killed four of them and escaped.
Taliban shot dead a senior intelligence official in Ghazni province on
5 April. Two days later, a suicide attacker wounded two US soldiers and
one American civilian in Helmand. Next day, a suicide car bomber attacked
a NATO base in Herat killing two guards and one policeman and wounding
seven people, including an Italian soldier. It was fourth attack on foreign
troops in three days.

Three US soldiers were wounded in suicide attack on 7 th April and

next day two Afghans were killed in a similar attack in the west. On 9 th
April, two bombings within minutes of each other wounded 11 people in
Kandahar. A suicide car bomber attacked an army base in Paktika and
wounded six soldiers.
Gunmen killed five workers at a clinic in Badghis province on 10 th
April. Two policemen were killed and two wounded in roadside bombing in
Helmand. One driver delivering supplies to foreign troops was also killed.
Next day, seven children were killed in rocket attack in Kunar province.
On 12th April, a roadside bomb in Kandahar killed one policeman and
wounded two others. Police claimed arresting three Taliban in a separate
incident. US-led forces launched major operation in Kunar province and
claimed killing six insurgents. The US military investigated the reported sale
of military secrets smuggled out of its main base on stolen computer discs
and sold in a bazaar. The information included classified military
assessments of enemy targets, names of Afghan officials alleged to be
corrupt and details of American defences and personnel.

Three policemen were killed in roadside bombing in Khost on 13 th

April. A suicide bomber attacked a convoy wand wounded three British
soldiers and an Afghan national near Lashkar Gah. Afghan forces killed two
insurgents and arrested two others in Uruzgan. Security forces exchanged
fire with insurgents in a village south of Kandahar. Coalition helicopters
fired rockets at a village where Mulla Omar lived once. Next day, US
military bought back stolen flash drives from shopkeepers.
On 15th April, 41 suspected Taliban and 6 policemen were killed in a
battle near Kandahar. Taliban attacked three police posts in Zabul and lost 14
fighters. Police arrested 15 people. Next day, police killed four suspects in
Zabul. Seven civilians were killed by coalition forces in Kunar. Forces
recovered rockets and landmines and killed an insurgent by artillery fire.
Taliban torched 4 tankers in Maiwand supplying fuel to US forces. Police
arrested 12 people for alleged involvement in killing of a local commander
in Faryab province. British troops vowed to seek and destroy insurgents.
The tactics of suicide bombing adopted by the insurgents caused
concerns to occupation forces. In mid February, Taliban vowed to increase
attacks. Hekmatyar also urged Afghans to expel foreign troops. Forces in
Afghanistan and Iraq shared intelligence to curb suicide blasts and a US
commander warned of more attacks by rebels.
US Institute of Peace said that Afghanistan was more dangerous
than Iraq. US military apprehended negative effects on NATO and other
allies. But, it claimed that Taliban had abandoned attempts at serious
military campaign and were now fighting a propaganda war.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Afghanistan has not
stabilized since the US-led invasion in 2001 followed by the installation of
the hand-picked Hamid Karzai as president. On the contrary, the situation is
worsening rapidly with increased violence, wrote Burhanuddin Hasan.
He added, the Taliban, meanwhile, have gained control of large parts
of the country. It is feared that Afghanistan may prove to be another Iraq for
the United States. The Pakistan government is also coming under pressure
from the opposition for playing Americas game in its tribal belt where
civilians are being killed almost daily.



Karzai kept pleading for stay of occupation forces for indefinite

period. In January, he warned that country could again be used as terror
base. Border security conference opened in Qatar on 27th February, to focus
on increase in cooperation with the countrys seven neighbours. On 23 rd
March, Karzai told the opening session of a two-day conference on global
terrorism in Ankara that terrorism is in todays world the worst menace. It is
a challenge that we all have to address together. UN supported Karzais
viewpoint by showing concerns over worsening security.
America continued working for expansion of NATO mandate in
Afghanistan. During third week of January, US officials visited Hague to
discuss Dutch role anew. Pressure was mounted on Dutch government to
deploy troops in Uruzgan. Kabul also appealed to Holland for continued
military support. On 3rd February, Dutch government Okayed troops for
Uruzgan; NATO hailed the Dutch decision to send 1,400 soldiers.
Rest of the execution of expansion plan went smoothly. On 20th
January, Slovakia agreed to send military equipment. In February, Australia
decided to double the number of its troops. Danish Parliament decided to
increase its military contingent. Bulgaria took over command in Kabul. A
contingent of 150 British soldiers arrived for new mission.
On 1st March, Canada took over command in Kandahar and its Prime
Minister slammed critics of Afghan mission. After attacks on Canadian
soldiers, they were ordered to fly only Afghan flag on their posts and
vehicles. Canadian lawmakers mulled review of Afghan mission.
In February, India urgently dispatched 300 commandos to Afghanistan
to provide security to the Indian workers in area between Kandahar and
Iranian border. The area is adjacent to troubled Baluchistan where India has
been supporting the terrorists with money and weapons.
Musharraf had requested America for not allowing few things in
Afghanistan, out of which deployment of Indian troops in Afghanistan was
the only one which had not been disregarded. As Pakistan failed to raise the
issue forcefully at the right level, America was encouraged. During his visit
to New Delhi Bush invited India for more involvement in Afghanistan.
Involvement of NATO in Afghanistan as occupation force faced last
minute opposition from some European countries. William Pfaff wrote about
reservations of France on extension of NATO mandate. France blocked a
proposed NATO-European Union meeting on terrorism because NATO was
not intended to be the worlds gendarme. It is a military defence alliance of


equal partners. A French diplomat said, we do not wish to have NATO

involved in everything, or imposing its agenda on the EU.
This is part of Frances consistent opposition to equally consistent
American efforts to turn NATO into an agent of US policy, and to convince
the EU members that NATO should be the exclusive security organization of
the Western alliance, and that Europe should abandon its embryonic
independent security policy and European rapid reaction force.
The Bush Administration is firmly committed to the notion that alQaeda presents a military problem that requires a military solution. It
has to stick to this story or else it has no explanation for the invasions of
Afghanistan and Iraq. So President George W Bush keeps making speeches
about al-Qaedas supposed conviction that it could go from success in Iraq to
mobilizing all of Islam, restoring the Grand Caliphate and conquering the
world. Thats a military problem.
He then commented on the reason behind Frances reluctance to active
military role in war on terror. Radicalization of young Muslim militants in
Europe is superficially religious, but usually takes place outside mosques
and more often than not involves individuals with college education. The
sources of extremism are social and political alienation, exclusion (and
unemployment) among the offspring of immigrant communities, but the
international drama mobilizes them.
When Dutch dragged their feet on expansion of NATO mandate, Los
Angeles Times urged them on. The Dutch are usually reliable US allies; if it
had been, say, Belgium getting in the way of a key NATO initiative, it would
have been neither surprising nor significant. So the Dutch reluctance was
especially worrisomeit reflects popular attitudes in the Netherlands, where
half the respondents in a recent poll opposed the deployment and only 38%
favoured it.
It is hard to know whom to blame more for this: the Dutch, who
apparently fail to recognize their own exposure to terrorist threats, or the
Bush Administration. Europeans are concerned about Washingtons
unilateral approach to foreign policy, which has turned Dutch sentiment
against the once-non-controversial Afghan mission But in the end, its
important for Europeans to acknowledge that their continent is not a
secondary theater in the war on terror its center stage.
America was able to get NATO involved in Afghanistan in occupation
role despite opposition from some European countries. The Guardian wrote,
NATO, which until recently was floundering for a purpose in the post-cold35

war world, was left out of the war for Afghanistan and split over Iraq, has
found a challenging new mission. Its 9,000-strong force is about to expand
to 15,000.
Ikram Sehgal did not agree. Anyone with even scant knowledge of
the Principles of War, and it is applicable in terrorism as much as in
modern warfare, will appreciate that Afghanistan is not vital ground, the
Persian Gulf is. Despite all the rhetoric about going the distance it is most
likely that US troops will pull out of Afghanistan in the near future, rather
than out of Iraq. For the moment US troops are being replaced by NATO
forces but what happens when NATO countries begin taking casualties in
some number? The US may keep a token presence in Afghanistan to ensure
Hamid Karzai, who is probably more fearful from his friends than his
enemies, doesnt take off into the blue yonder.
Canadians were the first to stutter after suffering some casualties.
Randi Adamson did not like that. As civilian and soldier deaths continue,
Canada will have to learn to deal with harsh reality. Each death also
brings about a roller coaster of public surveys. One indicated that 62 per cent
of respondents were against Canadas involvement in Afghanistan, once it
was explained that we were there in combat capacity. Have we forgotten
that Canadian citizens were murdered on 9/11? Or that we are included on
Osama bin Ladens list of target countries? If it werent so frightening, the
idea that a nation was surprised its military might be involved in something,
well, dangerous and violent, would be laughable.
The Guardian also found the ground reality a bit harsh. Independent
experts have coined the ominous phrase Iraqisation to describe what is
happening in Helmand and other southern provinces where Canadian and
Dutch troops are based. Suicide bombings, once unknown in Afghanistan,
are on the rise. Incidents are growing in frequency, intensity, sophistication
and cruelty.
It added, NATO insists its personnel will not be destroying poppy
crops which provide up to 70% of the countrys income leaving that to
the Afghan authorities. But it is hard to argue with the notion that the more
successful the deployment is at impeding the drugs trade, the more British
troops are likely to come under attack by those involved. The nexus
between opium and insurgency seems frighteningly clear.
Drugs were still a major threat, according to a US official. The UN
also kept raising alarm about poppy cultivation. In January, Karzai asked his
country to end poppy growing before it ends us and alleged that drugs

financed suicide blasts. In February, some of his ministers were reported

involved in drug trade.
Kabul sought help from Thailand to combat poppy cultivation.
Meanwhile, crackdown against drug trade continued. On 23rd February, two
South Africans were arrested with heroin at Kabul Airport and Tajik border
guards clashed with Afghan drug smugglers. Next day, policemen were
arrested with 800kg of heroin. On 3rd April, biggest ever operation was
launched on a notorious drugs bazaar on the border with Pakistan. About a
week later, an Afghan drug smuggler was held in Tajikistan.
Hasty poppy eradication in Afghanistan can sow more problems.
Peasant farmers left without new livelihoods are heeding the call to join the
insurgency, warned Vanda Felbab-brown. A UK parliamentary report said
the same. Attacking drugs trade could make the country more dangerous for
British troops and other NATO peacemakers, and provoke more violence in
the short term.

Reconstruction of Afghanistan suffered due to donors fatigue. Annan
hoped that London moot scheduled for 30th January would ease Afghan
concerns. The international conference was expected to unveil a five-year
blueprint on security, human rights, development and narcotics.
On 28th January, Karzai planned to seek $ 4 billion for reconstruction.
Speaker of the Parliament wanted foreign aid going to the government. Two
days later, Karzai discussed countrys needs with Rice. But, wastage in aid
came under spotlight at London conference.
UN chief while addressing the conference said the world has stake in
helping war-ravaged country. Donors pledged $ 10.5 billion out of which US
promised $ 1.1 billion extra and Iran pledged another $ 100 million aid.
Finance Minister hailed the outcome the conference, but UN called for more.
World Bank said investment climate in Afghanistan was improving
and offered $ 30 million for health sector. Despite the pledges, lack of funds
hit food aid programme for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan planned to
build a faculty block in Nangarhar University. In April Karzai visited New
Delhi and India pledged $ 50 million more for Afghanistan.
During the period completion or start of some development projects
was reported. In February, Indian engineers started building a big dam in the


province of Herat. Coalition forces installed windmills in the south. Two

new TV channels started transmission in Herat. In March, uplift plans were
launched in Helmand province. Italian team completed construction of two
schools in Herat.
Kabul continued striving for regional economic cooperation. In
January, Afghanistan promised security of TAP gas pipeline. Iran,
Afghanistan and Tajikistan agreed to sign MoU on electricity exchange.
Afghan refugees problem, however, was yet to be addressed seriously. Iran
took decision unilaterally and announced that all refugees must leave by
September; otherwise they will be treated as illegal immigrants.
Afghanistan continued experiencing the impact of multi-national
inter-action. In February, Kabul deported 47 Chinese women for selling wine
and sex. The worst impact was felt after an Afghan court wanted to try an
Afghan convert to Christianity under Islamic Sharia law on 19th March.
Before the court could formally start the legal proceedings, the
civilized world reacted. On 23rd March, Rice raised concerns with Karzai
over the case. Next day, Howard vowed to press the case with Karzai and
said the case has made him feel sick. Afghan clerics responded by
demanding that the convert should be killed.
On 25th March, Karzai intervened to find an amicable solution.
Supreme Court judge, Maulawizada insisted the court would act
independently. We have nothing to do with diplomatic issues. Well do our
job independently. The very next day the honourable court ruled, the case,
because of some technical as well as legal flaws and shortcomings, has been
referred back to the prosecutors office. Afghans protested against dismissal
of the case and the convert sought asylum overseas.
The puppet regime found the way out. It announced that mental tests
would decide the fate of the convert. On 28 th March, US said it understood
that the convert would be freed from jail. Next day Italian Prime Minister
offered asylum to the convert. He was quietly sent to Italy, perhaps due to
lack of facilities for carrying out mental tests in Afghanistan.
On 2nd April, Afghan clerics threatened violence if the convert was not
brought back from Italy and put on trial. Two days later, Karzai defended
release of Christian convert saying that the judiciary had acted properly and
had not been swayed by the international outcry over the case.
Four years after the Talibans fall, reconstruction efforts in
Afghanistan remain tardy, opined Sukhmani Singh. He added, the plan


includes ambitious goals like disbanding all illegal militias by 2007,

enrolling 60 percent girls and 75 percent boys in primary schools by 2010,
and exterminating the opium trade.
He attributed the failure in implementation to indifference of donors.
Two previous international donors conferences ended in pledges of a little
more than $ 14 billion, but eventually less than $ 5 billion was delivered
over the past four years. By comparison, reconstruction budgets in Kosovo,
Bosnia and East Timor were up to 50 times higher on a per capita basis.
Obaid Younossi reflected on the effects of inadequacy of
reconstruction. Talented Afghans are leaving and few are returning from
abroad because insurgent attacks, threats and criminal activities are still
common. As long as Taliban remnants and criminals continue to kill and
terrorize Afghans, the nation will not be an attractive place for young people
to build their futures.
Statements of Rice and Howard were enough to create legal and
technical flaws in the case of the convert. The credit, however, should go
to Karzai and other puppets for finding out legal flaws by diagnosing
mental illness of the convert.
Faiz Gul Awan from Karachi supported Karzais line of action. If we
can welcome a persons conversion from any religion to Islam an act done
on his/her own volition, why cant we respond the same way when a
person converts from Islam to any other faith? He simply wanted to say
that Muslims are intolerant people.
Rahimullah Yusufzai discussed the case in detail. Abdul Rahman is
back in Europe after being spirited from a Kabul jail and flown in secret to
Italy. He had lived for several years in different European countries
including Germany after his conversion 16 years ago in Pakistan. It was as
an Afghan refugee working for a Western non-governmental organization in
Peshawar that he came across Catholic Christian missionaries and decided to
A number of Western NGOs used to operate out of Peshawar Some
were missionary organizations with Christian agenda. One remembers a few
incidents involving Afghan refugees, who attacked offices and staff of a few
of these NGOsafter accusing them of distributing copies of the Bible and
preaching Christianity The Christian NGOs were accused of exploiting
the most vulnerable among the Afghan refugees through offering of food and
shelter in the hope of converting them to Christianity.


There was also the high-profile case of some Christian male and
female missionaries who were arrested by the Taliban in 2001 for preaching
Christianity The Taliban freed them unharmed just before the fall of their
government These and other incidents illustrate that some Christian NGOs
had a not-so-hidden agenda to convert needy Afghan Muslims
The argument could be made that Muslims shouldnt object to the
activities of Christian missionaries when their own preachers, particularly
the Tableeghis, are preaching Islam rather freely in non-Muslim countries
and converting believers of other faiths. However, the fact remains that some
of the resourceful Christian missionaries are trying to exploit poor and needy
people, such as war-affected Afghans, with offers of support to lure them to
Christianity. The Muslim preachers, on the other hand, dont offer any
worldly benefits to their targeted population and instead seek their
conversion by reminding them of God Almightys promise to bless all those
who adopt the righteous path.
On trial was President Karzais beleaguered government, which was
threatened with withdrawal of Western troops and economic assistance if it
failed to save Abul Rahmans life In the end, he tilted on the side of his
foreign patrons because their help was vital to prolong his rule and rebuild
war-ravaged Afghanistan. The Islamic groups felt alienated A resolution
adopted by the parliament said Abdul Rahman should not be allowed to
The West too was on trial Demands were made to pull out Western
forces and stop economic assistance From President George W Bush to
the leaders of Canada, Italy, Germany and Australia, calls were given for
allowing Afghans to practice religious choice. The unprecedented pressure
exerted on Kabul worked in the end and Italy, ruled by Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi who once remarked that Islam was an inferior civilization
compared to the West, opened its doors to Abdul Rahman by offering him
political asylum.
There was no dearth of offers of political asylum but Italy, home to
the Vatican City state of Pope Paul Benedict who had also appealed To
President Karzai to spare Abdul Rahmans life, was the preferred destination
for the Afghan convert.
The sustained Western pressure on Kabul prompted many Afghan
politicians and analysts to remark that the US and its allies seem to have sent
their forces to Afghanistan to protect their own political and religious


interests instead of helping the Afghans to rebuild their lives in accordance

with their own religion and culture.
Ansarullah Maulvizada, the cleric-judge from Afghanistans Supreme
Court who presided the bench hearing Abdul Rahmans case, appeared
adamant initially Eventually, the judge said the case was flawed and
Abdul Rahman wasnt mentally fit to stand trial
True to their word, something was worked out in the end by
declaring Abdul Rahman insane By way of expression, that is how
Afghans or people in our part of the world would react if some in our
families abandoned Islam and converted to Christianity. The converts
father, wife and two daughters had said the same about the convert.
Abdul Rahmans case once more highlighted how religion is getting
overly politicized and affecting relations between countries. Even the
irreligious are being drawn into the battle. It is an ominous development and
provides fodder to the argument that the clash of civilizations is imminent.
Asif Aqeel from Lahore had a reservation on Yusufzais comments.
He suggests that because the Christian missionaries are resourceful they are
taking advantage of the poverty of Afghans. But he did not reveal why those
who convert for bread and butter are ready to die for their faith.
M S Hasan from Karachi opined, his conversion to the faith of his
choice is a matter between him and God. Religion is not a rule. It is the
essence of the faith, which is for an individual to accept voluntarily, and his
subsequent adherence to the spirit and covenants of the faith he or she
decides to follow. Let God be the sole judge and not the fallible mortals.

Pushtoons have been resisting occupation of their country against the
combined military might of a superpower, forces from the Christian Club
called, the largest army in the Muslim World and host of warlords siding
with the Crusaders. Barring two or three provinces of central Afghanistan,
Pushtoons inhabit areas close to Pak-Afghan border, which resulted in
constant pressure on Islamabad to do more.
With the expansion of the mandate of the peacekeepers, NATO forces,
along with Australia and Canada, assumed the occupation role in
Afghanistan. This enabled America to save on casualties and also some
troops for next adventure in the region.


The case of the convert Abdul Rahman was a clear reflection of

Muslim rulers mindset. All of them, with very few exceptions, are prepared
to exclude religion from state managed affairs, or in other words they prefer
secularism or Enlightenment.
18th April 2006

Pakistan assured the visiting MPs from UK that it wanted friendly
relations with Afghanistan. During first week of April, Pak-Afghan meeting
was held on enhancing border patrolling. But, tribal Jirgas held in Miranshah
and Mirali demanded end to military operations in Waziristan. Meanwhile,
Karzai visited New Delhi to boost Indo-Afghan ties.
Pakistans endeavours to seek soft image received a major setback on
11 April. A bomb blast in Nishtar Park, Karachi, the venue of Milad-eMustafa conference, killed 57 people, including top leaders of Sunni Tehreek
and wounded about hundred. This incident will be discussed separately.

Peace process with India continued, allowing free hand to India to

perpetrate state terrorism in Held Kashmir and furthering its cause of
imposing status quo as a solution. Pakistani rulers were aware of the futility
of the process, but they were helpless because of the pressure of the
Crusaders for improving ties with India.
Situation in Baluchistan remained tense despite some successes of the
security forces. Kabul and New Delhi, with quiet consent of the Crusaders,
were paying Pakistan back some of the cross-border terrorism. Meanwhile,
political activities gained momentum in the wake of Bush visit.

Pakistan continued doing more for Afghan peace with renewed
vigour since Bush visit. Following incidents of war on terror were
Six school children were injured in landmine blast in Shakai on 27 th
March. Rockets were fired at an army post in North Waziristan. Two
days later two FC men went missing in North Waziristan. US
Consulate in Peshawar was temporarily closed over threats.

On 28th March, Ikram Hoti reported that mushroom growth of FM

radio stations, some of which were calling for women kamikaze force.
Tribal Shoora executed alleged murderer in Wana. Two days later, two
tribal residents were killed in mortar attack near Afghan border in
North Waziristan.
FC soldier and a tribesman were killed and four troops and four
civilians injured in exchange of fire in North Waziristan on 2 nd April.
Three members of a family were killed in an explosion in Tank. Dead
body of kidnapped cleric was found in South Waziristan. Next day, 2
tribesmen were killed and 6 soldiers wounded in a clash in Mirali.
Four soldiers and 16 militants were killed in clashes in Shawal Valley
and Dattakhel areas of North Waziristan on 5th April; five soldiers
were also wounded. Next day, death toll in Waziristan operation rose
to 40. FC Fort in Miranshah came under attack; army retaliated with
artillery fire.
Militants fired rockets on FC post in North Waziristan on 9 th April.
Three persons were injured in anti-poppy operation in Bajaur. Next
day two persons were killed in firing near Miranshah. A water-supply
truck of forces was damaged by landmine blast.
On 12th April, some shops were damaged in bomb blast in Bannu. Progovernment tribal elder survived attack in Mirali.
Gunship helicopters attacked a compound in Anghar Killay near
Miranshah on 13th April. ISPR claimed that presence of foreign
militants in the compound was confirmed. Residents of the village
said all the six men and a 40-day-old child were locals. Two tribesmen
accused of spying for US were killed near Afghan border.
Three soldiers were wounded in North Waziristan on 15th April when a
grenade was hurled on their convoy. Soldiers shot dead one of the
attackers. Four FC soldiers were injured in roadside bombing.
Evidence about foreign fighters killed in missile attack on Anghar
Killay still remained inconclusive. Next day, a man accused of spying
for the US was found beheaded in a village in North Waziristan.
VCOAS visited the troubled tribal areas and praised armys role in
maintaining peace in Miranshah. Siraj asked Centre to stop Waziristan
operation. Chief Justice urged the government to deport foreign prisoners as
prisons were overcrowded. On 16th April, Pakistan urged the US to provide


ten helicopters and two airplanes to combat terrorism. The same day,
Musharraf reaffirmed his resolve to root out terrorism.
Condemnation of killings near Spin Boldak continued. Hafiz Abdul
Majid Baloch from Quetta wrote, it is the responsibility of the Afghan
government to conduct impartial investigation into the matter and the
culprits involved in the crime are punished.
Pakistan played cool with Afghan provocation, reported Tariq Butt.
Adding insult to the injury was the summoning of the Pakistan Ambassador
in Kabul to the foreign ministry by Afghanistan to protest staging of a
demonstration by people in front of the Afghan consulate in Quetta.
Rahimullah Yusufzai analyzed the change of Afghan Foreign
Minister. Abdullahs replacement by Rangeen Spanta reflected Karzais
attempts to consolidate his hold on the government by bringing his own
men into the administration, contrary to optimism shown by Pakistani
leaders that the move would herald a new chapter in the troubled
relationship between the two neighbouring Islamic countries.
One by one President Karzai has eased out his rivals belonging to
Panjsher Valley. There is no doubt that the US-led Western coalition has
been supporting his moves because it improves their standing in the eyes of
the majority Pashtuns and other ethnic groups angry over the Panjsheri and
Northern Alliance domination in the government.
Incidents like killing of 16 Pakistanis on the basis of personal
vendetta and tribal feuds will keep spoiling the relations between the two
neighbours. They were not Taliban as alleged by killer commander Abdul
Razzaq, because:
The Pakistani Noorzais had gone to Afghanistan to celebrate Nauroz,
the ancient Persian spring and New Year festival, in the northern
Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Taliban were opposed to Nauroz celebrations, which they considered
an un-Islamic festival dating back to pre-Islamic days and expecting
Taliban members and supporters to travel to Mazar-i-Sharif in
northern Afghanistan to celebrate the event and risk their lives would
be foolish.
Pakistanis on their way to Mazar-i-Sharif had stopped in Kabul and
met some Afghan lawmakers known to them. Taliban fighters would


not dare to travel to Kabul in a group and meet Afghan

parliamentarians, who are all anti-Taliban.
Pakistans foreign ministry alleged the men were arrested in Kabul at
an unknown time, tied up and brought to Afghanistans border district
of Spin Boldak before killing.
This incident of cold-blooded murders promises more trouble as was
indicated by the anger of the people who attended the funeral. One could
safely predict that the family of Spin Noorzai, who was among those killed
were the most prominent in the group and others, would see to it that
revenge is extracted sooner or later. They are unlikely to be bothered by the
existence of the international border separating Pakistan from Afghanistan.
In the process, the fragile Pak-Afghanistan ties would continue to be
adversely affected by incidents beyond the control of the two governments.
There have been many incidents of settling the personal and tribal
scores of this kind. He quoted the following:
Some warlords have used their American connections to use the US
military and air power to destroy their rival tribes and villages under
the pretext of fighting the war on terror. It should not be difficult for
Bush to understand, who has destroyed a nation to settle Papas score.
Out of 50,000 Pakistanis working for reconstruction of Afghanistan,
many have been arrested on flimsy charges to extract money or to
avenge wrongs committed against Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
Three Pakistanis arrested early last year in eastern Laghman province
for plotting to kill the then US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmay
Khalilzad, were poor labourers earning their livelihood there.
The News remained concerned about Pakistani Taliban. Given that
intimidation is a key component of the militants hold on the area, it is near
impossible to gauge the extent to which the rank and file in Waziristan
actually support the Pakistani Taliban. but while there may be ordinary
tribesmen who do not see eye to eye with the militants, there is little doubt
that the latter have the backing of those who count, or vice versa. Whats
more, the traditional balance of power appears to have shifted noticeably
in favour of the clerics. Fridays jirga, for instance, was reportedly
addressed only by the Ulema. The tribal elders or maliks, it is said, attended
but did not speak.


Maulana Nek Zaman, member Pakistans National Assembly,

represented the viewpoint of tribesmen in an interview. The operation
against the tribesmen of Waziristan is launched to avenge the historic defeat
that these tribesmen inflicted on British Empire under the leadership of
legendary Faqir of Ippi. The people in Waziristan are being given drubbing
so that they are never able to pose a threat to the policies of the United States
and the West in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the rest of the region. Moreover,
the tribesmen are being targeted for their love of Islam.
Maulana denied presence of aliens in the area. At times President
Pervez Musharraf says al-Qaeda has been wiped out of Pakistan country. If
thats the case then how come it still exists in the tribal areas? According
to my information all the people who have been killed in North Waziristan
were local residents. I can tell you their names, and give details about their
parentage, villages and even graves.
The government is using tribesmen as pawns in its international
politics. Due to this, people are becoming antagonistic towards their own
country I am the public representative but I havent seen any Taliban
controlling Northern Waziristan. There is no parallel government there
Pakistani law is very much in vogue there If political administration has
weakened, it is not because the systems flawed. Its because the armed
forces has off-set its powers. Decisions are being made by the armed forces
and not by the political administration.
I visit two or three madrassas in North Waziristan everyday. All those
madrassas are schools of teachings of the Quraan and the Sunnah. There are
no training camps there and we will not allow any It is totally a false
accusation against our tribesmen and Pakistan. Hamid Karzai is returning,
through these statements, the innumerable favours and sacrifices we did for
the Afghans.
Yes, (the allegations) are true. India and Afghanistans Northern
Alliance do not want to see Pakistan stable and thriving. They have old
scores to settle with Pakistan and, therefore, they are taking advantage of the
situation in Waziristan. They want to pit our army against the tribesmen I
have time and again said that the use of gun power is not the solution.
Shahzadi Beg agreed, in order to protect its own stability and
security, Pakistan needs to play a strategic role now to build a coalition for
peace. The starting point must be to galvanize public opinion for a
disengagement from the psychology of terrorism as the key to winning


hearts and minds. Suspects in detention must be reached out to to offer

them the chance to break out of a cycle of violence.
Rahimullah Yusufzai focused on Karzais visit to India. All this
underscored new successes of India in Afghanistan. It is clearly providing
training to Afghan soldiers, policemen and diplomats. The training of
Afghan teachers and rural development workers in India would enable New
Delhi to make more friends in Afghanistan and install its ambassadors in
new walks of life in the country. It is going to be matchless investment on
the part of New Delhi and would create goodwill for India among the
Afghan people.
The message that came out was loud and clear from New Delhi for
Pakistan was the public declaration by President Karzai and Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh to achieve economic integration of Central Asia with
South Asia. Both made it clear that the idea enjoyed active US support. It
wasnt a coincidence that US government functionaries, including Richard
Boucher, were promoting this concept around the same time in different
world capitals.
As the idea would remain incomplete without establishing a trade
route between Afghanistan and India via Pakistan, it was unsurprising that
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked President Karzai to use his good
offices in Islamabad to avail transit facility for his country.
It was obvious from Mr Karzais comment that he would be pressing
Pakistan to allow the desired transit facility to Indian goods coming to
Afghanistan. And he also hinted as to how he intended to go about it. The
Afghan President noted that Pakistan had already allowed transit facility to
Afghan goods destined for India. Now he would offer a deal to Pakistan by
making India agree to allow access to Pakistani goods to East Asia.
It was a clever statement and meant a lot. Pakistan was reminded in
so many words that it would gain access to East Asia via India if it allowed
Indian goods to reach Afghanistan Moreover, without saying so President
Karzai was reminding Pakistan that it needed Afghanistans permission to
use the Afghan land route to do trade with Central Asian countries.
There is little doubt that political problems would delay an agreement
on the materialization of the idea despite the excitement already visible in
Kabul and New Delhi with regard to its potential for bringing economic
benefits to the region.


Pakistan, already lagging behind India in the context of its

dwindling influence in Afghanistan, would not want to strengthen New
Delhis hands in increasing an Indian economic presence in the war-battered
country. Two active insurgencies in the Federally Administers Tribal Areas
of NWFP and Baluchistan, both linked to the unstable security situation in
Afghanistan, remain Pakistans utmost worry at the moment. Islamabads
strong belief that there is an Indian hand in the Baluchistan insurgency via
Afghanistan would also be a hurdle in granting New Delhi a concession that
could add to Pakistans woes.
The News wrote about the strike at Anghar Killay with gunship
helicopters. The military and the local authorities are neither confirming nor
denying Atwahs killing, though they are sure that quite a few foreign
militants had been killed in the attack. More so, no authority is ready to
even disclose the nationality of the dead militants, let alone their identity.
The number of dead is also not being confirmed, although some foreign
media reports put it between six and ten.
The daily newspaper added, if the raid was conducted on some solid
intelligence as suggested by the ISPR spokesperson, then the authorities
should have revealed the identity of some of those who were to be targeted.
Just the presence of foreigners is certainly not a sufficient condition for the
attack, as a number of nationals of other countries, who participated in the
Afghan Jihad, continued to stay in the bordering areas and are not
necessarily involved in subversive activities anymore. The paper ignored
an obvious reality. It is not the question of involvement when it comes to
Jehadis. Pakistan cannot refuse to attack when reliable intelligence comes
from the Crusaders.
Report of Behroz Khan explained the helplessness of Pakistani rulers.
The warning, it is said, was conveyed to the NWFP Governor, Khalilur
Rahman and of course the Chief Minister, Akram Khan Durrani, by none
other than President General Pervez Musharraf himself at a meeting in
Islamabad The president told the governor and chief minister that
Americans have warned that those who are hiding in the Frontier and
elsewhere will be bombed out. The president, a source said, actually read
out the exact words sent to Islamabad by the US government.
The clergy-led government in the Frontier, already on the defensive
over its silence on military operations in tribal areas and US air strikes, is
taking the new warning as a declaration of open war Durrani has said that
the US has warned to go after the so-called terrorists even in the settled


areas of NWFP, if the attacks against the Americans and their allies
continued in the neighbouring Afghanistan.
What use is our strong defence if we cannot defend our innocent
people against such naked aggression, said Durrani In the wake of the
warning, Pakistan officials foresee that the US air strikes against
terrorists might be more severe than the ones carried out in North
Waziristan and Bajaur agencies.
Incidents of militancy kept marring the endeavours of the rulers for
acquiring the soft image. Following incidents of militancy and
government action were reported:
On 27th March, five supporters of Lashkar-e-Islami or Mufti group
were killed and about a dozen wounded in exchange of fire with FC in
Soor Dand area near Bara.
Next day, 22 persons were killed as supporters of rival clerics let loose
in Khyber Agency. One person was killed and 19 injured in bomb
blast in Peshawar. The Lahore High Court dismissed the appeal of
four convicts involved in assassination attempt on Musharraf.
On 29th March, mortars and rockets were fired at Mufti Munir
Shakirs headquarter in Khajori Nullah near Bara. Paramilitary forces
were set to attack miscreants in Bara. Harkat-ul-Ansaar leader Fazalur-Rehman was kidnapped from Tarnol and beaten by a gang.
Scare gripped Dir, Swat and Mardan after rumours about the dumps of
lethal ammunition held by gangs of criminals facing armed public
action in a bid to get dozens of kidnapped persons released from their
custody, reported Ikram Hoti on 30th March.
Miscreants attacked a church in Mian Channu on 31 st March. Mufti
left Tirah Valley as FM radio station of miscreants was hit.
Two SSP leaders were arrested in Dera Ismail Khan on 3 rd April.
Three days later, Turabi escaped unhurt in bomb blast in Karachi.
On 7th April, Sonia Naz was beaten to badly and was lying
unconscious in a hospital.
Three days later, the government defended its decision to forcibly
retire squadron Leader Mohsin Hayat Ranjha who refused to trim his
beard on religious grounds. Long beards were identified as safety risk
after attempt on Musharrafs life.

On 11th April, 57 people were killed and about one hundred wounded
in bomb blast in Nishtar Park where Milad-e-Mustafa conference was
being held under arrangements of Sunni Tehreek. The same day,
Supreme Court granted leave to appeal to the civilian accused
sentenced in attempt on Musharrafs life. Three days later, ATC in
Karachi sentenced five LJ men to death.

Prejudices of the Crusaders remained in place. A German

magazines report that Pakistan was providing secret nuclear help to Saudi
Arabia; Islamabad denied. Meanwhile, Musharraf and his team mates kept
talking about Islams compatibility with modernity.
During first week of April, Boucher visited Pakistan discussed matters
related to carving of Pak-US strategic partnership, but he mainly indulged in
issuing statements in the context of US interests. Soon after his visit, US
renewed travel warning for Pakistan. Meanwhile, a Pakistani man was
sentenced to five years in prison in San Diego, for his role in a plot to obtain
and sell Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Pakistan, for a change, put aside its desire for soft image and took
courage to probe Swiss visa scandal. On 27th April, Swiss FM assured
justice to visa victims. Next day, Asher Francis was granted bail before
arrest. Meanwhile, a retired official of FIA returned money received from
the victims. Three days later, FIA sent probe findings to Swiss Embassy.
Swiss visa official shifted blame to his seniors. Police decided to seek
cancellation of bail of the accused. He was arrested on 6th April and he
revealed that Swiss Visa Officer Aregor Rudloff was the architect of the
scandal. His arrest was the first ever of any official of a foreign embassy,
charged for harassing the Pakistanis.
Rauf Klasra reported that regular visits by Swiss diplomats to the
police station worked wonders for Asher Francis. FIA inspector probing the
case was recalled; meanwhile, the victims received threatening telephone
calls to stop pursuing the case.
They also accused FIA of harassment and complained that top Foreign
Office officials and law enforcement agencies were suffering from
inferiority complex and lacked the courage to confront the foreign
diplomats. On 14th April, Islamabad Court rejected bail for Swiss Embassy
official. Two more FIRS were registered.
Omar Mirza from New York suggested the way to winning over US.
As US citizen of Pakistani origin, I have a proposal for President Pervez

Musharraf on behalf of the United States Pakistan should deploy 50,000

troops in Iraq this year for three years. If it does that, the US Treasury will
pay it $ 10 billion a year for the period. The United States will provide these
troops with Kevlar body armourwe will also sign a free trade agreement
with Pakistan and a treaty on transfer of nuclear technology and reactorbuilding identical The proposal has been approved by the Defence
Intelligence Agency, with which I communicate every day.
The News commented on Bouchers statement, which smacked of
prejudice. That was not the only inconsistency in Mr Bouchers remarks.
He also repeated the US position that the proposed gas pipeline from
Turkmenistan is good, but that from Iran is somehow bad.
Asher Francis would not have dared tampering passports and
harassing women, had he not been an employee of the Crusaders. As regards
the threatening calls to the victims, these could be from some terrorist
group, to defame the civilized people.


Composite dialogue made no progress. Foreign Office said
friendship with India would be only after resolution of Kashmir dispute.
Pakistan and India were reported preparing a joint report for appointment of
neutral expert on Kishanganga Dam; while India continued refusing thirdparty mediation on the core issue.
Confidence building process revolved around Indian ambitions. On
27 March, Pak-India Joint Study Group finalized road map to reach the
Mutual Recognition Agreement to facilitate trade between two neighbours.
Next day, Pakistan agreed to extend SAFTA to include India. At the end of
two days talks in Islamabad, Pakistan and India envisaged air services and
shipping agreements in near future and planned cross-border banking.

Pakistan sought Indian help to restore Hindu temple in Katas. It was

all for the soft image. India has no love for such image. It never felt the need
for Pakistans help to demolish Babri mosque. Pakistans security forces
arrested three Kashmiri militants in Tank with explosives. Two sides agreed
to release within 72 hours of arrest all those who cross border by mistake.
However, following actions and statements negative to confidence
building were reported:


Indo-Israel anti-terrorism talks ended in New Delhi on 28 th April. Four

days later, joint naval exercises between France and India started in
the Arabian Sea.
The issue of release of prisoners, which hit humanitarian cords last
August, had been almost forgotten, reported Rauf Klasra.
Sarbajit submitted mercy petition to Musharraf and his sister sought
mercy for her brother. Sarbajits conversion to Islam was reported.
Embracing Islam wont help him, said Law Minister.
On 10th April, Foreign Office summoned the political councilor of
Indian High Commission to protest against the killing of a Pakistani
fisherman on March 18. When asked about the delayed protest, the
spokesperson said it takes time to reach information to foreign office.
Thirteen people were wounded in two bomb blasts in New Delhis
largest mosque on 14th April. Home Minister ruled out terrorism and
said someone had tried to be naughty. The same day, bi-annual
meeting of Pakistan Rangers and BSF concluded in Lahore with India
asking for release of POWs of 1965 War.
The peace process created favourable conditions for Indian forces to
continue perpetration of terrorism in Occupied Kashmir. Following incidents
of state terrorism and retaliatory actions by freedom fighters were reported:
Five freedom fighters were killed by Indian troops on 27th March. Two
days later Indian police claimed arresting top leader of Hizb.
Hizb denied link with al-Qaeda. On 31 st March, three freedom fighters
and a policeman were among five killed in separate attacks in IHK; 11
people were also wounded.
Rebels killed a councilor and a policeman on 4 th April. Five days later,
gunmen killed a family of three in IHK.
Police killed five Kashmiris on 12th April. Two days later, a series of
grenade attacks in Srinagar killed five and wounded 20 people. Yasin
Malik was arrested while leading an anti-election protest.
Nine persons were held on 15th April over serial grenade blasts. Next
day four people were injured in grenade attack in Srinagar. A senior
Indian general claimed that fighters were giving up arms and were
returning to their homes.


Kashmiris kept urging the world for peaceful resolution of the

dispute. Mirwaiz urged India to reciprocate Pakistans initiative to solve
Kashmir issue. He later accused India of turning IHK into a killing field.
JKLF demanded complete freedom. Hizbul Mujahideen said, the fact is that
the ongoing dialogue process between India and Pakistan is useless, futile
and a waste of time.
After having advised the Pakistani people not to be India-centric, the
rulers started crying over biased nuclear deal with India. Kasuri said, IndoUS nuclear deal can spoil security in the region and also adversely affect
non-proliferation efforts. Shaukat termed Indo-US nuclear deal a serious
issue and sought level-playing field in nuclear cooperation. Karamat assured
that Pakistan was committed to non-proliferation.
On 10th April, spokesperson of Foreign Office complained that
information United States had shared with Islamabad regarding its civil
nuclear agreement with India was different from the agreement that actually
materialized. She did not give any reason as to why should US share
information with Pakistan.
Next day, National Command Authority meeting, chaired by
Musharraf, expressed concern over US-India nuclear deal and resolved to
maintain credible minimum nuclear deterrence. Subsequently, Musharraf
begged the visiting Senator for access to civil nuclear energy.
In the wake of criticism, Manmohan said its for US to take nuke deal
forward. Rice warned Congress against tinkering with US-India nuclear
deal. India warned that failed nuclear deal would hit ties with US, while
rejecting US suggestion on defining minimum nuclear deterrence. Shyam
Saran assured Indians that nuclear plan wont be compromised by the deal.
Indian plan to drag the composite dialogue to impose status quo as
permanent solution had been winning support of peace-loving Pakistanis.
Malik Waqas from Rawalpindi wrote, if no territorial changes are made, the
best that can be expected is for Pakistan to stop offering support, and for
India to improve the law-and-order and human rights situation. That will
defuse the situation, and support the ultimate formalizing of the Line of
Control. India has been working precisely for that.
M B Naqvi spelled out one-sided peace-plan in some detail. The
strength of the Indian army, plus its nukes, has posed new problems. Does
the present deadlock with India serve any Pakistani purpose? The answer is
none at all. Other peaceful means of persuading India to be more
forthcoming have to be found: it means offering something that will be of

real utility to India for which reason it will like to accommodate Pakistan
to whatever extent may be useful to it.
After granting India the right to accommodate Pakistan to its sweet
will, he added, what remains possible and desirable is to create conditions
in which Kashmiris can get the substance of azadi by creating conditions on
which India would cede it. What legal shape it will take can be left to the
good sense of the Indians and Kashmiris. Pakistanis, as freedom lovers
and friendly outsiders, should only encourage and when asked advise.
India has been dropping hints that it is ready to make a deal with
Pakistan and Kashmir provided Pakistan accepts the Line of Control. Other
goodies like agreements on Siachen, Baglihar, may be Sir Creek are also
hinted at. Accepting Line of Control as a legitimate international border is
hard for the Pakistani state as it is now constituted. But it can refuse to
accept it as a de jure solution, though it should accept LoC as the de facto
border. There are good reasons to believe that the arrangement agreed at
Simla was intended to do just that on both sides. India can happily live with
it so long as Pakistanis do not keep on stirring trouble through terrorism.
Strenuous anti-India propaganda being counterproductive needs to be
Hafizur Rahman said, if we could digest Bangladesh, why say no to
sovereign Kashmir? Sentimentalism apart, we in Pakistan havent given too
good account of ourselves as a democratic country, sensible enough to
manage our own affairs without making a hash of themwhat then shall we
give to the Kashmiris; a weak and corrupt administration, an undependable
political system, a distorted democracy, a press ever fearful of state
oppression, ethnic strife leading to intolerance and bloodshed, and promises
of periodic martial law?
Afzal A Shigri focused on the issue related to people of his area.
CBMs are becoming the norm in our relations with India. Let us hope that
the Line of Control in Kargil will also be opened, and the people of the
Northern Areas will benefit from the fruits of this soft border policy and the
divided families will be able to visit each other.
Sushant Sareen from across the border felt that Pakistan was left with
no choice except pursuing the peace process. Neither India nor Pakistan
appear willing to risk the progress that has been achieved in the last two
years. This implies that the two countries are no longer hostage to
Kashmir. Equally important is the fact that the political leaderships of the
two countries have invested a lot in the peace process and cannot afford a

reversal of any of the steps that have been taken so far. Interestingly, even
the agencies seem to have lost interest in using Kashmir as a battlefield.
With India being accused of sponsoring the insurgency in Baluchistan and
Pakistans tribal areas and Pakistan being accused of involvement in Delhi
and Varanasi bomb blasts and terror attacks on Ayodhya and Bangalore, the
scene of action appears to be shifting away from Kashmir. In the
circumstances, it is quite natural for the Kashmiri leaders to be rankled by
the loss of the veto power that they enjoyed for decades. But it is time they
understand that India and Pakistan are moving in a direction where Kashmir
will no longer hyphenate their bilateral relations. Essence of the statement
was that Pakistan was gradually willing to forget Kashmir.
I Hassan desired peace through unilateral de-escalation. Since it is
now realized that a war with India is no option and since to impoverish
people further is no option either, the only option available is deescalation. This means that the defence budget has to be reduced. In fact, it
has to be reduced to the extent that we have a small army mainly for internal
security and for maintenance of law and order. The biggest defence we can
have is an educated population that has a stake in the country.
He and other enlightened moderates should not worry on this count,
because the Crusaders have already implemented this idea in Afghanistan
and Iraq. Doing the same in other Islamic countries is on their agenda.
Therefore, in the prevalent scenario, he should have pondered about other
options like rendering the border with India ineffective in the spirit of
Akhand Bharat, or Pakis should follow the Afghan who converted to
While the enlightened and moderate rulers and analysts seemed to
have reconciled with the inevitable, Sayed GB Shah Bokhari from
Peshawar observed that those who have been quite vocal about Kashmir
were also guilty of ignoring it. During the recent 3-day Jamaat-e-Islami
international moot, near Peshawar, several foreign Islamic scholars were
invited by the Jamaat having paid their huge bills for international travel,
and their boarding and lodging, from Zakat funds. While the foreign
delegates used the Peshawar forum, set up by the JI, to plead their cases of
individual countries and gave a generalized reference to the plight of
Muslims, the burning core issue, faced by the host country, the Kashmir
dispute, was absolutely ignored.
Manmohan Singhs offer of peace treaty was aimed at formalization
of the status quo, but Dr M S Jillani had no suspicions about Singhs


sincerity. Offer of a treaty of friendship by India and the amount of sincerity

reflected by it, could only be made by a person like Dr Manmohan Singh
A brilliant scholar with humane qualities would not indulge in point
scoring or staging deceptive games, in spite of political exigencies of his
ambience. One, therefore, would like to trust him regardless of
apprehensions creeping up as a result of decades of mistrust and altercation.
The extremist religious elements both in India and Pakistan have
played a major role in perpetrating bitter memories of the past and creating
new grounds for airing differences in culture and life styles of Muslims and
Hindus. He was wrong. In Pakistan religious elements have played no role
in starting three wars fought by two countries within a quarter of century and
also in media offensives launched before and after each war.
Imtiaz Alam expressed similar views. Instead of rejecting Mr Singhs
offer of a peace treaty, which he has proposed as a culminating point and not
as the starting point of peace process, Islamabad can propose a road to
arriving at the peace treaty. Without making our other relations with India
hostage to the Kashmir imbroglio, we should create a greater trust and
understanding to resolve the Kashmir dispute at the same time.
Mir Khalilur Rahman expressed optimism. Pakistan and India are
now moving towards sustainable peace and friendship without having signed
any peace and friendship treaty. The first prerequisite for peace and
friendship is normalization. The two countries have overcome some major
impediments successfully for achieving that goal.
Kamal Matinuddin had some reservations. An atmosphere of trust
and confidence has to be built up. Hopes of lasting peace will only rise when
talks of mutual balance force reduction to begin to take place. If these steps
are not taken Manmohan Singhs smoke signal will vanish into thin air on
both sides of the international border which be made while flagging off the
bus from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib.
Shireen M Mazari had held on to upright stance on the issue. The
latest reflection of this (Indian deviousness) is the so-called peace and
friendship treaty offer to Pakistan. The mala fide intent behind this offer
is only too transparent, on two main counts. The first, of course, is that this
is yet another attempt by India to avoid moving on the core conflictual issue
India will try anything that will allow it to retain the status quo on
Kashmir. But do the Indians the Indian Prime Minister take us all for fools
who cannot understand that peace can only come when conflicts have been

resolved? His suggestion that Kashmir should not prevent the two sides from
signing a peace, friendship and security treaty certainly seems to suggest an
assumption, otherwise rationality would point to peace following conflict
The lady, however, was wrong regarding her remarks of fools. Plenty
of them exist even in the garb of experts and intellectuals, who are willing to
give in for peace far more than she apprehended. She added, so Indian
treaties of friendship and peace do little to resolve outstanding conflicts and
are primarily intended to allow for great Indian interventions in the
affairs of its neighbours.
It is time for Pakistan to be more assertive in terms of its national
interests and the security of its citizens and its territory. This requires a
greater assertiveness within our immediate neighbourhood, where a
frustrated and weak Afghan government is killing innocent Pakistanis in acts
which can only be described as deliberate, premeditated murder; and where
a US-bolstered India is seeking to bring Pakistan into its hegemonic
Analysts kept discussing implications of Indo-US nuclear deal.
Sandeep Pandey wrote, while the India president, taking a cue from the
Indo-US deal, has laid emphasis on energy security as a priority for the
country, we are not even able to provide the most basic food security. The
country has just passed its first employment guarantee act, which is only a
guarantee in name. People continue to live under conditions of
malnourishment and extreme poverty. The nuclear weapons or/and energy
programme is not going to make these people, who will easily outnumber
the class which use electricity from the nuclear power; any more secure.
PK Iyengar and M Gupta opined. regardless of the exact nature of the
safeguards, the scientific community in India is extremely upset and alarmed
that the autonomy of these institutions may now be severely eroded and
their research programmes subjected to the worst external interference.
The New York Times wrote, with the exception of a few die-hard
protectionists, most Americasapplaud President Bushs desire to build a
stronger relationship with India But the notion of advice and consent must
include the ability for lawmakers to balk when the price for something
becomes too high The central question is not the importance of India,
but rather the importance of deterring a global nuclear arms race.
In Pakistan peace-lover I Hassan urged Pakistan to shun nuclear
weapons. There is NO defence against N-bombs. The only defence is not

to have any bombs because having them invites a retaliatory response. Our
people have been fed this doctrine of retaliatory response. Khusro Mumtaz
supported the argument with slight difference. Combined, India and
Pakistan are already in position to blow each other up a few times over.
Adding more bombs wont add much more strategic value for Pakistan,
especially if the aim is to create deterrence.
The News, however, foresaw arms race. The Americans appear to be
a hard wall to reasoning and are defending their ill-conceived move through
silly arguments. Creating a security dilemma and instability in South Asia is
not something Americans will like in a region that is already a breeding
ground for extremism. At the same time, Islamabad will be justified to
invest more resources in meeting its security needs especially when
American support will put India on a fast track of technological
improvements in the strategic sector It is still not too late for Washington
to re-design its framework for South Asia basing it on the principle of
equality for both India and Pakistan. Unless that is done, prospects of
durable peace in South Asia are dim.
Burhanuddin Hasan agreed by saying that no matter what Mr Bush
says the fact is that Pakistans relations with both the US and India has
been dented. It is also feared that the ongoing dialogue process between the
two countries might be adversely affected, retarding the progress made so
far towards the solution of the Kashmir problem.
M Ismail Khan opined that even the solution of Siachen dispute
would be difficult, unless Pakistan caves in under pressure. In recent
times, Pakistan and India have been seeking a negotiated withdrawal from
the glacier. So far, the discussions have been unsuccessful due to a variety of
reasons among them Indian insistence to formalize the current troops
positions as an original line of control and Pakistan has been insisting on
withdrawal of troops from both sides to the pre-1984 positions. But during
recent demarches Pakistan has shown an understanding in acknowledging
current troop positions, which has opened possibilities for withdrawal in the
near future.
Anees Jillani refrained from criticizing anyone for the deal. He
advised Pakistanis to care for the self-respect as Indians do. He narrated
an incident of Purana Qila during Bushs address, told by Amit Baruah of the
Hindu. Some journalists were approached by one of Bushs secret service
agents to vacate the seats they were sitting on as they were meant for the
Presidents entourage. They told the guy to buzz off saying that this is not


White House but Purana Qila in New Delhi in India. The security guy
backed off and the Indians kept sitting. Who would have done it in our

At home the government had done well in managing the calamity in
earthquake-hit area as was evident from merging of FRC into ERRA and
removing both the generals before the start of expenditure-heavy
reconstruction phase. The issue of construction of dams had also been
disposed off along with debris of the devastated areas.
Bush visit infused life in political activities. On 27th March, Raja
Zafar announced that Nawaz would be in Pakistan before elections. PPP and
PML-N held meetings in Dubai and London respectively. These meetings
resulted in speculations by political analysts.
Mullas in NWFP took a step quite unusual in Pakistani politics. Four
MPAs were disqualified and expelled by the clergy-led provincial
government. Disqualified MPAs took the matter to the court which brought
the chief minister and the governor face to face, as the latter refused to
summon the assembly session requisitioned by the treasury benches. Matter
was resolved only after intervention by the Prime Minister.
During first week of April, Rashid announced that Benazir and Nawaz
would have no role in 2007 elections. Prime Minister during visit to New
York said that general elections would be held in 2007, but decision on
caretakers would be taken later. ARD representatives met Boucher and
warned of poll boycott sans Benazir and Nawaz.
Second week started with Rashid saying Musharraf will stay
president after polls in 2007. On 14th April, ARD and MMA agreed on
several points pertaining to a Charter of Democracy in a meeting held at
PML-N secretariat in London. In Dubai, PPP meeting chaired by Benazir
rejected electoral alliance with ARD. Two days later, Rashid reiterated,
President in uniform is must for the country.
Khurram Dastgir Khan portrayed bleak picture of the prevailing
situation before urging restoration of democratic institutions. The principal
issues are all anti-something, i.e. anti-terrorism, anti-fundamentalism, and
anti-nuclear proliferation. Until some positive foundations are established,
the connection will remain shallow and personality-oriented Once the


US need for military cooperation ebbs, the indispensability of the present

regime will face the consequences of its poor economic, political, social, and
foreign-policy governance.
The foreign-policy front is bleaker still. The US-dictated
monomania of anti-terrorism has distorted Pakistans relations with the rest
of the world. Japan and the EU see Pakistan not as an opportunity but as a
threat a smoldering fire on which aid-water must be thrown. Muslim
countries despise our craven attitude to the United States. China helps us
like a tycoon helps a poor violence-prone cousin. Iran would rather trade
with India than us. Last but the most infuriating for the regime is
Afghanistan. Instead of being grateful, the Karzai government is openly
undermining Pakistan.
The only way forward is to restore sovereignty over Pakistan to the
people The President has to take the first step by trusting the constitution,
not his uniform. He must rise above personal dislikes, allow all exiled
leaders to return home, and hold a verifiably fair and scrupulously impartial
general election in 2007.
Ikram Sehgal wrote, this significant naivety is common to all leaders
of military background; they sincerely believe that as long as they
themselves remain honest they can conveniently overlook corruption among
their politicos in pursuance of the greater national objective, inculcating
democracy as required by the comity of nations. This is an incorrect
Pervez Musharraf is smart enough to understand that those who
flatter him publicly do so for a deadly purpose so that he becomes
dependent on their loyal services. The track record of such people is no
secret, will it be any surprise if those loyal to each and every regime before
Musharraf will also be loyal to whomsoever comes in the future?
Mir Jamilur Rahman said the same thing milder tone. The PML and
some of its coalition partners are persistent in their demand that President
Musharraf should remain in uniform at least as long as he is the president of
the country. These people are not his well wishers. They are only concerned
with their own political power.
Masooda Bano opined, the political culture in the country is
anything but democratic. All decisions are made by General Musharraf and
not the parliament. Most important of all, General Musharraf and the PMLQ are clear about intention to let him remain president and chief of army
staff, even after the 2007 elections. With some of the most tainted feudal

politicians as his advocates, General Musharraf can hardly claim to have

established democracy in the country.
Shafqat Mahmood said, given this scenario, Musharraf will have to
put all eggs in the Q League basket and that cannot be a pleasant prospect
for him. It means having to rig and manipulate and although this was easy in
the past, it may not be so in 2007.
We are in political logjam. Musharraf cannot break it without major
concessions and the political parties cannot because they have their political
positions to think of. This is the time for judiciary to step in It should
summon Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif back because
there are many cases pending which require their appearance. Whatever the
outcome of judicial matters, it will help to break the political impasse in
which we find ourselves.
Yusufzai, while appreciating action against certain MPAs, said, while
it would be worthwhile if all the political parties took action against their
erring MPAs, there is also need to make those Senators accountable who
bought votes and openly indulged in horse trading. If the political parties
are able to identify and punish their vote-selling MPAs, it should also be
possible to find out and seek accountability of vote-buying Senators.
Farhad Khan from Peshawar, however, demanded disqualification of
more cleric PMAs. As publicly reported, there is a total number of eighteen
PMAs belonging to the MMA, who are involved in selling their votes,
therefore, there should be accountability for all the eighteen legislators
involved in the horse-trading; if the MMA wants to assure their members
and the public at large to support it in the upcoming election.
Chris Cork dwelled on this issue. Politicians are consistently
exposed as fiscally fraudulent, institutionally deceitful, self-serving, and
downright corrupt whether they be to the right, left or centre of the political
spectrum. They are shown to be open to bribery and coercion, buying votes
for favours from grassroots to boardroom, they regularly circumvent or
evade justice and even if brought to book wriggle, squirm and fangle their
way out of ever having to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
truth so help them God.
Public confidence in this bunch of shysters and purveyors of quack
remedies has understandably plummeted across the globe. The numbers
turning out to vote in democratic elections in many nations are declining
with every passing poll as voters stay at home in droves, disillusioned and

Political decay in terms of public confidence and probity, both in the

democratic institutions themselves and in those who are the products of the
electoral process; is more advanced in some countries than others, and
Pakistan is in the van of the charge towards mediocrity and the debasing of
political coinage with impure metals The question inevitably has to be
do the people of Pakistan really want a democracy or are they content
forever to live under a soft military dictatorship?
Shafqat Mahmood addressed all the political parties. In our case,
transparency of politicians is extra important because democracy in our
country rests on such flimsy foundations. We keep attacking the military and
the current ruling General for this or that folly. We also question, and I will
do so again in this column, their incomes and expenditures. But, this
exercise cannot be credible, if we ignore or mollycoddle any information
that comes out in public about the leaders of our major political parties.
Our entire stand or democracy will be undermined if we do so
Democracy, to state the obvious, is not just fair and free elections, or
fundamental rights, or supremacy of civilian institutions. It also means
transparence and public accountability of those who hold high political
Iqbal Mustafa saw the solution in direct elections. Those who can
deceive God can surely subvert democracy in any form. We need to create a
constitutional environment that reconditions peoples behaviour patterns and
moral ethos. The process can begin with creating more provinces of
relatively equal weight and introducing direct elections for every executive
office president, PM, senators, chief ministers, nazims, the lot. The
loyalties of directly elected executives will lie with the electorate and not
with those who pulled strings to bring them in office.
The News did not like Bouchers statement on elections. Pakistanis
also want next elections to be free and fair. But for Mr Boucher to voice
that hope at his press conference at least suggests disdainful condescension.
It would be almost like a comment by Pakistans minister of state or foreign
secretary at that time on the controversial vote-counting in the US
presidential elections of November 2000, which enabled President Bush to
squeak through in the contest with Al Gore.
London gradually became hub of anti-Musharraf political
activities. But, the same day PPP leaders rejected election alliance with
MMA. They did not want to be bracketed with fundamentalist mullas with
the aim of gaining sympathies of the civilized world. Therefore, the ongoing


honeymoon of opposition parties of all shades, based on one point antiMusharraf agenda, would end after elections irrespective of the outcome.
The News wrote, the PPP and the PML-N are the parties that are least
likely to be able to conjure up the confidence essential for a cohesive
political force. Both parties have historically traded opportunities to
collaborate with the army to marginalize one another the potential
repetition of such duplicity cannot be discounted by either side. Thus, a
majority of the time and effort will be spent reconciling the paranoia in both
camps, constantly distracting from more important issues. Perhaps both
would be better-off competing individually.
Mir Jamilur Rahman rued out political deals before next elections.
The PPP would suffer a huge credibility gap if it were to enter into a deal
with President Musharraf. Its newfound camaraderie with PML-N would
come to premature demise. The ARD would be shattered, physically and
spiritually. Therefore, neither the government nor the PPP stand to gain from
the deal. To be sure, deals are only successful when made between equally
strong parties. We have seen how swiftly and comprehensively the LFO deal
between the MMA and the Government was interred because its signatories
were unequal, one very strong and the other weak.
Some analysts indulged in predictions. Khusro Mumtaz wrote, the
will of the people? Thats not a concept that exists in Chaudhry Shujaats
and the ruling juntas version of democracy. Elections (with the results
largely predetermined, of course) are just a tool to legitimize the
conferring of power to a chosen select few.
Once Musharraf makes sure of his next term of office for five years
the world will see the US claiming that in Pakistan civilian control over the
Army and national affairs has returned in Pakistan, opined M B Naqvi.
Burhanuddin Hasan urged Musharraf to remain firm on his decision
on participation of ex-prime ministers. To allow discredited leaders like
Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif to contest elections will not only be a
travesty of justice but may also plunge the country into political and
economic chaos. Their political parties, or whatever is left of them, should
consider looking for alternative leaderships to take command.
Ghazi Salahuddin said, many of us tend to invoke the legacy of Ziaul-Haq to explain our political derelictions. More relevant now is to think
about the Musharraf legacy How come a professedly liberal leader has
effectively bolstered religious parties and has nurtured more militancy? Why
has he defied accepted democratic norms to put together a coalition of

political turncoats and traditional exploiters of the rights of the people? Why
have his policies widened the rift between the smaller provinces and the
centre? Why have the statistically certified economic achievements failed to
raise the spirits of the poor and the downtrodden? And so on.
Mehdi Hasan observed that it would not be smooth sailing for
Musharraf in coming days. Musharraf was indeed more powerful a couple
of years ago as Pakistans cooperation was the strategic need of the United
States War on Terror. With Taliban and al-Qaeda power in disarray, thanks
to Gen Musharrafs campaign against them, US has some other ideas
Now the White House officials and US senators and congressmen have
started talking about the need for fair and free elections in a transparent
manner in Pakistan.
The recent statements by US officials certainly point towards a
visible shift in American stance regarding democracy in Pakistan. In the
context of universal diplomatic norms, these remarks are a violation of
diplomatic values and an interference of an outside power in the internal
affairs of a sovereign state. The administration so far has not lodged any
official protest against this interference.
The talk of elections and approaching end of the presidential
term has unnerved the political turncoats Opportunists who had
changed their loyalties are more vocal and support a president in uniform
more than the president himself Musharraf is sure to win the next
elections if he so intends, of course with the support of the present ruling
arrangement. The opposition parties with their present structural and
organizational setups pose no threat to him.
If Pakistan were a democracy, the provincial government of
Baluchistan, Sindh and NWFP would have been sacked long ago. The
federal minister of interior and heads of institutions responsible for the
security of the public would have resigned years ago accepting their
responsibility in failing to provide a peaceful and secure environment to the
people. But this would have happened only if there was democracy and
rule of law in the country.
Nationalist Baluch sardars kept perpetrating terrorism in
Baluchistan. Following incidents of terror and counter actions taken by
the security forces were reported:
On 29th March, troops recovered arms and ammunition from Bugti
Fort and Pirkoh.

One Person was killed and 4 wounded in two separate landmine blasts
in Bolan and Dera Bugti areas on 31st March. Terrorists blew up four
electric towers disrupting supply to entire northern Baluchistan from
Kalat to Zhob. Railway Bridge near Harnai was damaged in a blast.
On 1st April, six people were injured in blasts in Quetta and Dera
Bugti. Electricity supply to northern Baluchistan remained suspended.
Ten people, including 7 levies men were killed and 28 injured in
blasts in Kohlu and Bolan districts on 2nd April.
An official was killed in mine blast in Dera Bugti on 4th April. Cache
of arms was recovered from a house in Dera Bugti. Next day, security
forces arrested 8 militants with arms and ammunition in Suhbat Pur.
On 7th April, at least 14 people, including 7 security forces personnel,
were wounded in exchange of fire in Wad tehsil of Khuzdar, landmine
blast in Pir Koh, and grenade attack NGOs hospital in Chaghai. BNP
activists kept Quetta-Karachi highway blocked in protest against
besieging of Mengal sardars in Karachi.
Two groups of Bugti tribesmen, 40 in all, surrendered on 8 th April.
They confessed damaging gas facilities on orders to Akbar Bugti.
On 9th April, a bomb blast in Kohlu killed two persons and wounded
18 others. One girl was wounded in firing near Dera Bugti. Five FC
personnel were wounded in an explosion in Mand. A blast also
exploded in Gwadar. The government banned BLA.
Two persons were killed and 2 injured in landmine blast in Sui area on
12th April. These men had surrendered recently. FC posts in Kahan
came under rocket fire and a post in Chashma area was fired at with
small arms. Four government officials and 3 employees of National
Bank were wounded when their vehicles were attacked in Tali Mat.
Gas pipeline in Loti was blown up. A bomb exploded in Mastung.
On 13th April, three security men were wounded in landmine blast in
Loti area. Two days later, FC post was attacked in Dera Bugti. Mengal
feared that agencies might kill him.
Terrorists damaged a railway bridge in Harnai section and a
transformer near Mandblo on 16th April.
Simultaneously with military action, the government took pacification
measures. During visit to Baluchistan on 29th March, Musharraf asked every

district nazim in Baluchistan to submit Rupees 100 million development

schemes. Three days later, DCO Dera Bugti claimed that the writ of the
government has been restored in the area.
Another batch of 725 Masoori Bugtis returned to their ancestral area
during first week of April. The sub tribes expelled by Akbar Bugti were
persuaded to return with the hope of diluting the Nawabs authority over the
troubled area. During the period two militant groups surrendered for the first
time out of which some were hardened criminals. Their cases were referred
for review by the local Reforms Public Committee to establish those who
worked under pressure of sardar and those who are hardcore criminals.
Meanwhile, the government remained firm on Akbar Bugti. An
official said, there will be no leniency or mercy of any kind. Security
agencies will completely wipe out the terrorists in a couple of months
Akbar Bugti said Baluch people are his judge and jury. The Governor said
talks only if Bugti gives up heavy arms.
After the siege of Mengals house in Karachi, Muhammad Ejaz Khan
reported; in Baluch dominated areas in Khuzdar, Kalat and port city of
Gwadar, routine life was paralyzed and traffic on Quetta-Karachi highway
remained suspended in protest against besieging of the residence of BNP
chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal in Karachi.
Mengal suggested there was no need for holding talks to resolve
the issues of the provinces. All that was needed was the implementation of
Lahore Resolution of 1940 that clearly stated that Baluch, Pashtoon, Sindhis
and others should be given rights and control over their resources. A day
later, District Nazim Khuzdar, Sardar Naseer Ahmed Mosiyani tendered
resignation from his office in protest against the attitude of Baluchistan
government and deteriorating law and order situation in the district.
Mariana Baabar interviewed Mushahid Hussain, who explained as to
how India was fomenting trouble in Pakistan via Afghanistan. The
Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad and their embassy in Kabul are
used for clandestine activities inside Pakistan in general and FATA and
Baluchistan in particular.
Indian diplomatic and RAW officials have significant ingress in the
Afghan ministry of tribal affairs, and are exploiting it to conduct covert
activities RAW has established its training camps in Afghanistan in
collaboration with the remnants of the Northern Alliance. Approximately
600 Ferraris, or Baluch tribal dissidents, are getting specialized training to
handle explosives, engineer bomb blasts, and use sophisticated weapons

India has invested heavily in its old connections with the leaders of
the erstwhile Northern Alliance. It has sizeable support in Afghan
parliament. Before the Afghan elections last year, the Indian ambassador
called the Northern Alliances major leadership at his residence and paid
them a handsome amount to run their election campaign.
The Afghan Police, the Border Security Force and customs officials
facilitate the visit of Indian diplomatic staff and intelligence agents to border
areas, and help them hold meetings with dissatisfied pro-Afghan dissidents,
anti-state elements and elders of the area.
The News suggested dialogue with Baluch warlords without surrender
of the terrorists or their weapons. Now dont the two statements, the one
about dialogue and the other about surrender, contradict each other? The
situation calls for much more clarity; we can either have a dialogue or fight
till surrender. Lets hope it is dialogue.
A few days later the daily newspaper wrote, stability in Baluchistan is
important for the strategic and economic interests of the country. It should be
restored at all costs. The government should not make it an issue of ego, and
should approach the disgruntled sardars who have the means and capacity to
maintain stability in the province. Ikram Sehgal had the views to the
contrary. In Dera Bugti force is required to first restore the rule of law and
remove the state within a state, the government has done well to bring
back the Bugti exiles home.
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar warned about the power of the nationalists.
Long gone are the days when people thought that the politics of the
religious right constitute a genuine threat to the status quo. It is now
increasingly apparent that the MMA & co are, as the popular saying goes,
the armys B-team. So that leaves the nationalists, and would be hard to
argue that they represent, at the present time, the only form of politics that
stands to challenge the state.
Whether or not one can get to the bottom of who supports the
nationalists, the fact of the matter is that they now face a situation that
requires them to adopt a more radical stance vis--vis the state than at any
other time in recent memory. And this is not the fault of any external
force, but instead the only response can be expected to a state that insists on
wielding a big stick.
If, for the sake of argument, one were to agree that the current
manifestation of Baluch nationalism is just a handful of sardars, which is, at
best, a highly dubious proposition, then who is responsible for this state of

affairs?... What is happening in Baluchistan extends far beyond a few

sardars and the development magic wand is exactly what the Baluch do
not want. If the state refuses to accept the reality of the situation, the rest of
us should before its too late.
Banning of BLA was something too little too late. It invited the
obvious comments from the News. Undoubtedly, the BLAs engagement in
terrorism, or so the government says, has only hurt the cause it has been
struggling for. At the same time, its banning is perfectly under the available
statutes; but this not the solution. The state should have engaged the BLA
and other disgruntled Baluch groups in talks to find a negotiated settlement
to the issues. Policy and legal measures that exclude, alienate, and isolate
never lead to durable solutions. Such steps only take situations. Such steps
only take situations to a point of no return.

Bush visit yielded the results desired by Washington. Pakistan has
been coerced to do more in the context of peace and security of Afghanistan.
Resultantly, blood-letting in troubled tribal areas has increased. Despite such
commitments to war on terror, Pakistans endeavour to acquire soft image
has been lost in the maze of all kinds of militancy, but so far only Islamic
militancy has been targeted resolutely.
Peace process failed to make any inroads. Pakistan had no choice but
to pursue peace on Indian terms as directed by Bush Administration.
Pakistans peace offensive to discredit India was stalled by Manmohans
offer of peace treaty.
In the wake of Bush visit London became the hub of anti-Musharraf
political activities. It seemed that Musharraf was gradually losing his
usefulness for the Crusaders, but end of his rule was not yet evident.
Baluchistan remained in the grip of terror-turmoil. Banning of BLA
was criticized by some quarters, but no such views were expressed when
dozens of groups, including those who supported just cause of the
Kashmiris, were banned to serve interests of the Crusaders.
20th April 2006


The Crusaders in their war on terror faced dilemmas posed by the
democratically governments in Iraq, Palestine and Iran. In Iraq it related to
the candidate for prime ministers slot who was suspected of forming a
Shiite government with inclination towards Iran. Therefore, he was accused
of weakness and incompetence.
Hamas-led government in Palestinian territories refused to accept the
terms dictated by the Crusaders. It was accused of militancy to justify the
tightening of economic screw; whereas Israel was provided free hand to
perpetrate terrorism against hapless Palestinians.
The government led by Nejad refused to give up Irans right to acquire
nuclear technology. The Crusaders accused him of nourishing a desire to
possess nuclear weapons and thus threatening regional stability and
American security. But, they seemed confused about the appropriate line of
action to tackle the self-created monster.
Bush Administration remained in the focus of critics of the unjust war
waged on holy pretexts with evil intentions. The conduct of war by the
junta of neoconservatives was widely criticized. Despite the opposition,
Bush and his pack of war-mongers remained determined to continue the war.

Insurgency-turned- civil war continued unabated. On 31st March, six
people were killed northeast of Baghdad when gunmen opened fire on a
minibus. Next day at least 22 people were killed in violence in Baghdad and


Basra, including a Sunni Sheikh. A US military helicopter crashed during a

combat air patrol.
US military announced death of six of its soldiers on 2 nd April,
including two pilots of a helicopter that was shot down by insurgents the day
before. Six insurgents died in accidental explosion while preparing bomb. In
Baghdad 40 dead bodies were found. Six men were killed in a blast in the
capital. Rebels killed three Shiites in Balad Ruz. In Baqouba a Shiite
mosque was blown up. A policeman was shot dead in Khadra. A government
official was kidnapped in Mustansiriyah and two brothers of a Sunni
politician were also kidnapped in a separate incident. The government
claimed arrest of an aide of Zarqawi.
On 3rd April, four US soldiers were killed in hostile fire in Anbar
province while five US Marines drowned and three were missing when their
truck rolled over in flash floods in the same province. A truck bomb near a
Shiite mosque in Baghdad killed 10 people and wounded 30 others. Another
explosion in Sadr City killed two civilians and wounded six others and four
persons were wounded in Karradah in a separate attack. In Basra, a navy
officer, two policemen, two workers at an electrical plant, and a boy were
killed in drive-by shooting. Gunmen killed two truck drivers in Nibaie
working for US troops. An Imam was shot dead in Kirkuk. In Baqouba a
man was killed by roadside bomb and a woman was shot dead. Three dead
bodies were found in Baghdad.
At least 21 people were killed across Iraq, including 10 in a car
bombing in eastern Baghdad on 4th April. Another 25 people were wounded
in the explosion. Eighteen more dead bodies were found. Five more persons
were killed next day.
On 7th April three suicide bombers attacked Baghdads Baratha
mosque killing 79 and wounding 164 worshipers. Shiite imam of the mosque
Jalal-ud-din al-Saghir, an MP of UIA and known for his fiery sermons
promulgating the rights of Iraqs Shiite majority, said, this is a filthy war
against the Shiites. Four Iraqis were killed in Baqouba. Three US soldiers
were killed elsewhere. Next day, a car bob killed six people and wounded 14
others in Musayyib. In all 13 people, including a US soldier, were killed
across the country. On 9th April 16 Iraqis and a US soldier were killed.
Three civilians and a policeman were killed in roadside bombing in
Baghdad on 12th January. At least 16 people were killed and 30 wounded in
car bomb attack near a Shiite mosque. Next day, 15 people were killed and
22 wounded in car bomb attack in a market in Baghdad. Brother of a Sunni

politician and his companion were killed in drive-by shooting. Thirteen

persons were killed elsewhere in the country. Two US soldiers were killed
and 22 wounded in three different incidents.
On 14th April, a suicide car bomber attacked a police station in Mosul
wounding at least 17 people, including 12 policemen. Next day, three Iraqi
soldiers were killed and three others wounded in roadside bombing in Dora.
One civilian was killed and two others wounded in cross fire between army
and insurgents in Fallujah. One police director was shot dead in Basra.
On 16th April, 45 people including four US Marines were killed and
43 others wounded across the country in last 24 hours. Gunmen in police
uniform kidnapped 15 persons in Baghdad and 29 policemen remained
unaccounted for when their convoy was ambushed by militants near a US
military base north of the capital.
Nearly 20,000 people have been kidnapped in Iraq since the beginning
of the year alone, according to a report published on violence in the war-torn
country. This should provide a guideline for estimating the number of Iraqis
that might have been killed since the invasion.
Saudi Foreign Minister said that the violence in Iraq could only be
described as a civil war and Arab States should try to bring Iraqis together to
stop the strife. Meanwhile, Turkey started experiencing the spell-over the
war in Iraq. On 2nd April, violent pro-Kurdish demonstration was held in


There were no signs of an end to occupation of Iraq. Philip Stephens
wrote, the president has not changed his mind. He is as firm as ever in his
conviction the America must use its power for a moral purpose. The
Crusaders continued working to sideline Jaafari. Some politicians, including
a former Shiite minister, were coerced to join ranks of those demanding
Jaafari to step down. Khalilzad urged the Iraqis to speed up the process of
democracy to prevent the country from sliding into civil war.
The framework for the unity government, as outlined by Khalilzad,
was described by David Ignatius. The Sunni leaders have accepted that the
new government will operate under the Iraqi constitution and that it will be
based on the results of last Decembers election, both of which reflect the
reality that the Shiites are Iraqs largest religious group. The Shiites in turn,


have agreed that the new government will be guided by consensus among
the factions. And they have agreed to checks that will, in theory, prevent the
key security ministries from being hijacked by Shiite militia groups.
To implement this consensual approach, the Iraqi factions agreed
on two bodies that werent mentioned in the constitution. They endorsed a
19-member consultative national security council, which represents all the
political factions. And they agreed on a ministerial security council, which
will have the Sunni deputy prime minister as its deputy chairman. Shiite
leaders have tentatively agreed that the defence minister will be a Sunni.
And for the key job of interior minister, the dominant Shiite faction, known
as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, appears ready to
accept the replacement of one of its members by an independent Shiite,
perhaps Qasim Dawood, a man acceptable to most Sunni leaders.
The analyst, however, apprehended that this framework might not
guarantee the achievement of the desired goal. The real brawl lies ahead
over who should be prime minister. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the interim prime
minister, is fighting to hold on to his job.
The Guardian expressed similar views. Even if the impasse can be
broken reasonably soon, none of this bodes well for the future. Once a new
government is in place, the political timetable calls for four months of
debate to clarify Iraqs constitution the signal for yet another round of
interminable haggling and stand-offs. All the divisive questions that are
fudged in order to get the constitution approved last year will return:
arguments about federalism and Kurdish autonomy, the role of Islamic law,
apportionment of oil revenues, to name just a few.
Patrick Cockburn observed that the Shiite leaders suspect that the
US and Britain backed by the Sunni Arab states of the Middle East want to
rob them of their election victory on Dec 15 last year by forcing them into
an unrepresentative coalition.
Jonathan Steele wrote that the titanic challenge of ensuring political
stability had barely begun to be addressed. Relations between Iraqs
majority Shia community and the Americans are at the lowest point
since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The group that stood to gain most from his
departure is turning on the USsuspicious of last autumns American tilt
towards the Sunnis, Shia leaders feel the US is undermining their election
victory by interfering in the choice of prime minister.
When these Byzantine games are over, and a new government is
finally formed, the real difficulties will begin. For the new parliament to

reach agreement and pass legislation on how to divide oil revenues, and how
to define the role of Islamic law will be even harder than choosing a prime
minister. Confronting the militias and re-establishing order are titanic
The Washington Post wrote about joint venture of Mr Straw and Ms
Rice. Judging from their public remarks, Mr Straw and Ms Rice ended their
visit hoping that Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani would use his authority
to force an end to the power struggle. Despite the large US and British
military forces still deployed in the country, US and British leverage over the
Shiites isnt enough to change the situation on its own.
Already US pushing of the Shiite by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
is prompting a backlash and bringing American forces to the edge of
renewed conflict with the radical Shiite movement of Moqtada al-Sadr
The Bush Administration nevertheless has no choice but to keep pressing
for a political accord. The question remains whether other outside influence
can be brought to bear.
Commenting on Rice-Straw joint venture to break political deadlock,
the News wrote, what rankles with the two powers actually isnt the
impasse or the sectarianism, but the fact that the main supporter of Mr alJaafari is cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who leads an effective anti-US militia. Mr
al-Jaafaris choice may not be the very best, but the reasoning behind it
appears to be perfectly sound.
In 2003, Mr al-Sadr and some undesired Sunni Arab groups had
been banned from the former Governing Council by L Paul Bremer, the then
US proconsul of the country. I look at them as part of Iraqs de facto reality,
whether some of the individual people are negative or positive, Mr alJaafari said in an interview with the New York Times on March 29. Anyone
who is part of the Iraqi reality should be part of the Iraqi house. And he
blamed Mr Bremers decision for the situation of (the groups) becoming
violent elements. Trouble is that President Bush and Prime Minister
Blair dont accept reality; theyre in the business of creating one, like
Saddam Husseins weapons of mass destruction.
Its impossible to predict just now, even for Ms Rice and Mr Straw
themselves, how things will turn out after their unprecedented joint
intervention. But the pattern in Iraq is starting with the invasion of March
2003 for the situation to deteriorate after such intrusions.
Arab News urged Iraqi politicians for the same. Al-Qaeda and its
henchmen are stepping up their barbaric campaign of violence as if they

sense that the moment has almost come when they can tip Iraq into the even
bloodier chaos of full-fledged civil war Indeed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
and his fellow terrorists know that the formation of a functioning
government will represent an important defeat for them and will spell the
beginning of the end of their savage campaign.
As a worsening wave of violence engulfs Iraq, politicians must now
agree perhaps within days on who will do what in a coalition. Put
starkly, if it is a choice between the fate of one man and that of an entire
country, there ought to be no contest. By standing aside now, Jaafari would
earn nothing but credit that he could undoubtedly count on for his political
Marwan al-Kabalan observed that Americas arms twisting was
working. It is absolutely clear that Rice has played a direct role in the
splintering of the Shiite bloc when she convinced other Shiite leaders that
al-Jaafari is unfit to assume the post given his failure to win enough political
support to form a government since his nomination three months ago.
The Bush Administration seems to have finally realized that Iranians
have built up massive power in neighbouring Iraq and that this power will
allow them to undermine the whole US plan for the country It would also
be used by Tehran as a bargaining chip over its nuclear programme, another
troubling issue in the relationship between the two countries. By splitting
the Shiite coalition, Washington seeks to circumscribe Iranian influence
in Iraq and weaken its position before talks between the two countries start
over Iraq some time this month.
Moqtada al-Sadr and SCIRI are the largest parties of the Shiite
coalition and are strongly pro-Iranian. Al-Jaafari or not, the Rice visit
seems to have paid off well for the Americans. It may lead to changing the
political map of Iraq and subsequently undercut Irans influence.
This could come about in two ways. First, the dispute over the
countrys top job between the two big Shiite factions; al-Hakims party, the
SCIRI and the party led by al-Sadr carries with it the possibility of armed
violence. A fight between them will certainly weaken Irans stand in Iraq.
Second, if the dispute between the Shiite factions does not lead to
armed conflict, it will certainly lead to redrawing Iraqs political coalitions.
This was clear when al-Sadr denounced al-Hakims initiative to open a
dialogue between Tehran and Washington over Iraq last month This will
lead to finishing off the dream of Iran and the most powerful Shiite cleric


in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani; both have been working hard to
ensure that the religious Shiites assume power in Iraq through elections.
Sadakat Kadri commented on the ongoing trial of Saddam. To
laud Saddams trial as a humanitarian milestone is a politicians lie, Iraqs
invaders opened up an inferno, including notions of justice as foreseeable as
they are loathsome. The prosecution will never symbolize the rebirth of the
rule of law. The hanging to come will signify nothing but sleight of hand. A
more fitting tribute to the tragedy unleashed by Operation Iraq Freedom
would be Saddams head, shot through the temple and stuck on a pole

Israel continued perpetration of terror against Palestinians.
Following incidents of Israeli aggression and retaliatory action by
Palestinians were reported:
On 31st March, a commander of the Popular Resistance Committee
was killed in Gaza City in Israeli air strike.
Two days later, western news agencies tried to create alarm about
Islamic militancy by reporting that Hamas government had allowed
beards in Palestinian police.
Four Palestinians were killed in Israeli attack on 7 th April. By next
day, 14 Palestinians were killed and 21 wounded in Israeli air strikes
in Gaza Strip.
On 9th April, one Palestinian was killed in tank fire in northern Gaza
Strip. Three days later, two Palestinians were killed in air strike in
Gaza Strip. Fatah offices were also attacked.
During the week ending 16th April, more than 19 Palestinians were
killed, including 3 children; 94 wounded by gunfire, including 32
children; 70 civilian arrested, including 6 children, by Israelis. While
the Israeli forces continued shelling of the Gaza Strip, the rest of the
Palestinian Occupied Territories was imprisoned under a total siege.
On 17th April, six people were killed and dozens wounded in Tel Aviv
when a Palestinian blew himself in a market. Israel said, we will have
to take action in the coming days to prevent future attacks.
Two Palestinians were wounded in clash with Israeli troops in West
Bank on 19th April. A teenage Palestinian with explosives was held in

The West on the behest of Israel enforced sanctions against

Palestinians to punish them for voting for Hamas. On 7 th April, EU
announced the suspension of direct funding to the Hamas-led Palestinian
Authority. Hamas condemned aid freeze.
On 8th April, Abbas warned against Israels plan to unilaterally fix its
borders in the West Bank as it would only lead to more bloodshed within 10
years. Next day, Israels Security Cabinet recommended cutting all ties with
Palestinian government and ruled out peace talks with Abbas as long as the
Islamic militant group refuses to renounce violence.
On 18th April, Israel warned that a new axis of terror, Iran, Syria and
the Hamas-run Palestinian government, is sowing the seeds of the first world
war of the 21st century. Palestinians accused Israel of escalating military
campaign using indiscriminate force to kill civilians and entrench its
Palestinians started facing financial hardship despite promises of aid
by Arab countries. Adel Zaanoun reported that Gaza commerce was dying
amid financial crisis. On 15th April, Palestinian security men protested over
delay in payment of their salaries. Barghouti asked Abbass Fatah Party to
open talks with Hamas to find a way to resolve the crisis faced by the
Palestinians. Haniya remained firm. He said attempts to isolate Hamas
government will fail. Later, he added, dignity is more important than
dollars, and refused to condemn Tel Aviv bombing. On 20th April, Hamas
appointed top militant, Jamal security forces chief.
Meanwhile, Russia pledged emergency aid to Palestinian Authority.
Iran announced $ 50 million donation to Hamas government. Irans Foreign
Minister called on Muslims to support new Palestinian government. Arab
funds decided to give $ 50 million aid to Palestinians.

Criticism of Wests refusal to recognize Hamas-reality continued.

Philip Stephens wrote, the jolt to the strategy delivered by the victory of
Hamas in the Palestinian elections is still evident. Mr Bush is said to be unrepented about his insistence the elections should be held. Yet there is
precious little evidence that the administration knows how to deal with
the new political realities in the region.
The Crusaders remained arrogant as could be seen from remarks of
Amos Oz. Is there anything the new center-left Israeli government can do
for peace, as long as Hamas does not want any peace with Israel? It can


take the issue upstairs talk to the bullys parents, as it were. In our case,
the bullys family is the Arab League
The words bully and bullys parents used for Palestinians and Arabs
are worth noting. In fact, the bully is Israel and its parents are the US and
Europe. There is a marked difference; Israel has the real and caring parents
and Palestine has step-parents. He added, it is not unthinkable that a deal
between the pragmatic Israeli and Arab governments can be reached
and then brought before the Palestinians for a referendum.
The parental encouragement would further embolden the rogue son.
Amir Taheri apprehended that Israel might impose a victors peace on
Palestinians. In a war that produces a victor and a vanquished, it is up to the
victor to define the contours of victory and the new equilibrium that emerges
after hostilities cease. The victor writes the peace treaty and the
vanquished swallows it, even when the taste is bitter.
In the case of Israel this mechanism did not work because each time
Israel won a war, the United Nations intervened to put the victor and the
vanquished on the same level, thus making a new equilibrium conditional on
a hoped-for but unlikely agreement Had Israel won its wars before the
creation of the UN it would have been able to do what all victors had always
done in history: Dictate the peace with which it is comfortable The
problem was that the UN while preventing the victor from cashing his
victory was itself unable to produce the kind of peace it liked failure of
the UN tells only part of the story.
Another key reason for the stalemate was the inability or
unwillingness of successive Israeli leaders to produce a clear definition of
what Israel was. From the beginning Israel has been a work in progress, an
unfinished product. It is the only 20th century state in the world without a
constitution. It is also one of a handful without clearly demarcated borders.
It is also the only member state of the United Nations not to be recognized
by more than two dozed fellow-member states For most Israelis, and some
Jews across the globe, Israel remained more of an idea than a classical
nation-state. All that began to change in the 1990s when some Israeli
leaders gradually endorsed two-state solution to the conflict.
Sharonism was developed in response to those problems. The first
thing it did was to revive the classical rule of war that makes it incumbent on
the victor to state what kind of peace he wants. But to do that it was essential
for Sharon to decide how exactly Israel was to be delineated.


Any ambiguities left in the process fit in Zionist cause allowing

Israel to translate itself from a cause into a nation state. It would also allow
the Palestinians, and beyond them Arab and non-Arab supporters, to know
exactly what to accept or to oppose.
Sharon also realized that waiting for an ideal Palestinian partner
was futile. No Palestinian leader could ever be ideal from the Israeli point of
view because none could accept maximum that Israel could offer They
might regard the Israeli peace as unjust, even scandalous. History is full of
instances of the vanquished not accepting the peace dictated by the victor.
Once Israel has imposed its version of peace the Palestinians might
well continue to contest it, diplomatically and by the force of arms. But then
that would be a conflict between two states, not a clash between two
The next Israeli governments key task is to start by creating one
of the two proposed states: The state of Israel in its definitive shape. Once
that is done the creation of the second, the Palestinian one, might require the
cooperation of the international community.
Asad Abdul Rahman observed, Olmert is emboldened in this
endeavour by what US President George W Bush said roughly two years
ago: A final peace agreement would have to recognize demographic
realities on the ground.
Israel hopes to achieve a demographic disengagement with the
Palestinians rather than a territorial one. At the end of the process, we will
reach a complete separation from the vast majority of Palestinian
population, Olmert told the Maariv daily.
Olmert plans to set Israels final borders by largely following the
separation barrier it is building in the West Bank, with some adjustments to
keep as many Palestinians out as possible. I believe that in four years time
Israel will be disengaged from the vast majority of the Palestinian
What territory remains after Israel draws to its final borders is
misshapen and geographically un-contiguous. It will have no access to water
or arable land and is separated from all sides from Occupied Jerusalem. This
outcome cannot be further from a viable state acceptable to any
Palestinian leadership.
It will only play into the hands of extremists and give further
ammunition to fundamentalism. Israel would forfeit the chance for peace,

security and fruitful relations with the Palestinians and Arab states that only
a negotiated settlement brings. Ironically, the analysts after describing the
sinister design of the Israel termed Palestinians as extremists for objecting
to such a gross injustice.
Gwynne Dyer opined that America would go along with Olmert, just
as it has been doing in the past. It is possible (though unlikely) that the
Bush Administration might yet browbeat the State Department into
recognizing not only Israels annexation of east Jerusalem but the far
greater expansion of Israels borders that Olmert now has in mind But
it is simply inconceivable that Bush could persuade other countries to accept
such a flagrant violation of international law.
He cannot deliver; the deadline is meaningless. Olmerts government
can build walls, dig ditches, move settlers around, proclaim that Israels
eternal borders are now some distance to the east of where they were last
week, maybe even get the Bush Administration to agree to the change, but
none of it will have any legal force. The whole exercise will take up
enormous amounts of time, effort and newsprint over the next few years, but
it is in the end only a charade.
M B Naqvi had similar views. The stark reality remains that the
Palestinians remain at the mercy of triumphant Israelis and no Arab
potentate will come to their aid. But more the Israelis oppress the
Palestinians and impose borders of their choice on Arabs, the discontent
will grow; the more Iran will look like a beacon of light and strength to Arab
masses Insofar as the Palestine question is concerned, the US is the
biggest factor enabling Israel to go on imposing a military occupation nearly
40 years after the 1967 war.
Impositions of economic sanctions are aimed at bringing the
Palestinians to their knees and force them to accept the peace script written
by the extremist Jews. Arab News wrote, three Palestinian ministers are on
a fund-raising trip to Arab and Islamic states. Russia is following up its
hosting of a Hamas delegation last month by pledging an unspecified
amount of financial assistance. So far though, cash has not been
forthcoming and surviving on thyme, salt and olive, as a defiant
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah said, will not suffice.
The present yardstick of success for the Palestinians is not whether
the road map is adhered to, not whether Jerusalem returns, or the fate of
political prisoners, the return of refugees or final border status or settlements
or the wall of separation or even an independent state Today, it is less all

this and more about the day-to-day feeding of a people, getting them an
education, health services, jobs and housing The noble Palestinian cause
is thus being reduced to greater bread-and-butter issue.
The News criticized this approach. The policy, aside from its
inhumane face, may not be the most intelligible path to take in order to reach
a sustainable settlement in the historically violent standoff. Firstly, continued
funding will surely affect the masses more so than it will Hamas. For a
comparable case, it can be recollected that the sanctions on Iraq in the 90s
were not only unable to pry Saddam from power, but instead resulted in the
deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.
Furthermore, the already salient aversion of the Palestinian people
towards the West in light of perceived disregard for their plight under Israeli
repression is an important consideration perhaps this is why Hamas was
elected in the first place. The unsympathetic notions imbued by the EU-US
announcement serve only to evoke greater resentment and further
legitimate the groups aggressive stance towards the Jewish state and its
allies, not only within the Palestinian population, but within the Muslim
World in general.
The Jews and the Crusaders were aware of this possibility and
prepared to suppress it with use of brute force. Musa Keilani said, tension is
steadily growing in Palestine, and might indeed be a matter of days, or
weeks at best, before the Israelis start staging provocative military
operations against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.
He pointed towards the method often employed by the Crusaders
against Muslim nations; exploit the differences within the ranks of
Palestinians. Washington funded Hamas rivals in a bid to deny the group a
victory in the elections and that it might be party to Israel efforts to
undermine the Hamas-led government.
During first week of April, Israel resorted to unprovoked air strikes
and artillery fire and Palestinian reacted by carrying out suicide bombing.
The News wrote, in his own criticism of it (bombing in Tel Aviv) during an
open Security Council meeting on Monday, Tiyab Mansour, the Palestinian
observer at the United Nations, pointed out that 21 Palestinians had been
killed from April 7 to 9 in Israels military escalation in the Gaza Strip.
These people, as well as the Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli shelling
there on Monday, were just as innocent as the victims of the bombing.
Palestinian extremism draws immediate denunciation from Washington and


the West, but there is rarely even a comment on what Palestinians perceive
as Israeli state terrorism.
Its this one-sidedness which encourages Israel in its occupation
and oppression. That, in turn, increases frustration of the Palestinian
population in the West Bank and Gaza. Yesterday, Foreign Ministry officials
in Tokyo said Japan would halt new aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian
Authority, until it became clear to it that Hamas was committed to the peace
process. That would imply that Israel, in occupation of Palestinian territories
for nearly 39 years in contravention of UN resolutions, is committed. The
refusal of the US and the West to recognize the overwhelming victory of
Hamas in Janaurys parliamentary elections, more so their financial
throttling of the government, is only worsening the Palestinians
Duraid al-Baik said, the annoying element in this bleak picture is
the attitude of the EU and its failure to condemn the Israeli action while
issuing one warning after another to Hamas to behave itself and condemn
terrorism. He opined that Israeli aggression and its condoning by the West
sends a chilling message.
Whatever Palestinians have done in the past to bow to Israeli
demands and whatever they might agree to do in future to appease the
international community, they will never ever get their lost peace and they
will never ever get their legitimate rights back as far as Israelis do exist in
their neighbourhoods It goes without an argument that such kind of
annoying messages is a fertile breeding ground for more terrorism and
violence in the region and the Israelis are sowing the seeds of hatred on a
daily basis.
Tanvir Ahmad Khan opined, under conditions of occupation and
threats of Israeli military presence even in the areas vacated during the
colonists convergence, it is unrealistic to expect Hamas to completely
give up the option of an armed struggle. In fact, the sheer intensity of
present pressure on Hamas may lead to third intifada.
The situation created by the two elections demands the Arab states,
particularly those with friendly ties with the United States, intensify their
efforts to persuade Washington and Tel Aviv that long term regional
interests would be better served by a negotiated peace
In the name of national security, Israel is pushing peace off the
international agenda. Governments and media organs in Arab-Islamic
world need to work twice as hard as they do at the moment to bring the

focus back to the imperative of creating a fully sovereign Palestinian state

with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Critics of war made the smooth sailing difficult for Bush and his
buddies. Jonathan Steele said Iraqis face a more brutal life with each passing
month. Terror and chaos reign and the titanic challenge of ensuring
political stability has barely begun to be addressed.
The spate of sectarian revenge killings that followed the bombing of
the golden-domed shrine at Samarra last months not yet over, in spite of an
8pm curfew imposed in Baghdad. Abductions and murders continue
relentlessly. Bodies, often scarred by torture and with their hands tied, have
been turning up on lonely roadsides at the rate of 13 a day.
Many Baghdadis rarely venture out except to the corner store. Those
who drive to work vary their routes. A doctor who uses taxis to get to her
hospital says she tells the driver shes a patient, since it makes kidnapping a
bit less likely Even shopping has become risky. Eight people at an
electrical appliance store in the middle-class suburb of Mansour were lined
up against a wall and shot dead this week by gunmen
Iraqis who work for the government or have jobs in the Green Zone
are especially vulnerable. Soldiers in the national army and policemen
usually go home in civilian clothes. Some dare not tell their families, let
alone their neighbours, what their jobs are. Throughout Iraq policemen are
dying at a rate of 150 a month, yet new recruits never stop coming forward,
attracted by the pay in rock-bottom economy.
Senior civil servants are key targets. Inspector generals have the task
of auditing ministers for corruption and other abuses. Two of the 31 have
been assassinated, and at a press conference on Tuesday the two who came
declined to be filmed.
While violence grows, the political deterioration over the past
three months is also remarkable. Iraqs selected leaders have failed to
agree on who should be the countrys next prime minister and president,
leaving a vacuum of authority that is making Iraqis increasingly cynical
about democracy and eager for a strong hand at the top.
Sidney Blumenthal wrote, last month there were eight times as many
assassinations committed by Shia militia as terrorist murders by Sunni


insurgents. The insurgency, according to the reports, also continues to

mutate. Meanwhile, President Bushs strategy of training Iraqi police and
army to take over from coalition forces when they stand up, well stand
down is perversely and portentously accelerating the strife. State
departments officials in the field are reporting that Shia militias use training
as cover to infiltrate key positions; thus, the strategy to create institutions of
order and security is fuelling civil war.
Rather than being received as invaluable intelligence, the messages
are discarded or, worse, considered signs of disloyalty. Rejecting the facts
on the ground apparently requires blaming the messengers. So far, two top
attaches at the embassy have been reassigned elsewhere for producing
factual reports that are too upsetting.
Under the pretence that Iraq is being pacified, the military is partially
withdrawing from hostile towns in the countryside and parts of Baghdad. By
reducing the number of soldiers, the administration can claim its policy is
The state departments Intelligence and Research Bureau was correct
in its skepticism before the war about Saddam Husseins possession of
WMDs, but was ignored. The department was correct in its assessment in its
17-volume Future of Iraq project about the immense effort required for
reconstruction after the war, but it was disregarded. Now its reports from
Iraq are correct, but their authors are being punished.
Amid this internal crisis of credibility, the secretary of state,
Condoleezza Rice, has washed her hands of her department. Her
management skills are minimal While the state department was racked
last week by collapsing morale, Rice traveled to England to visit the
constituency of Jack Straw. She declared that though the Bush
Administration had committed tactical errors, thousands of them in Iraq, it
is right on the strategy. Then she and Straw took a magic carpet to Baghdad
to try to overthrow Prime Minister Ibrahin al-Jaafari in favour of a more
liable character.
Did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams after Vietnam wed be
doing this again? One top state department official remarked to another last
week. Inside the department, people wonder about the next strategy after
the hearts-and-minds gambit of sending diplomats unprotected to secure
victory turns into a squalid fiasco? Helicopters on the roof? asked an


Musa Keilani was of the view that there is neither peace nor
democracy. From the day American battle tanks rolled into Iraq on March
20, 2003, the people of Iraq have not known peace The situation is
drifting towards civil war as efforts to form a government remain stalled.
It is against this backdrop that US Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice conceded on Friday that the Bush Administration probably has made
thousands of tactical errors in Iraq and elsewhere, but insisted that it will
be judged by its larger aims of peace and democracy in the Middle East
Put it that way, yes, the invasion did serve US strategic interests, but not
peace and democracy.
In Iraq, the US could start by launching a serious dialogue with the
Arab League and the United Nations, in all transparency, on how to restore
stability to the country. A prerequisite is an unambiguous statement that
the US has no plans to consolidate its military presence in Iraq and that it
does not intend to destabilize other countries in the region. This should be
coupled with setting a firm date for the US military to withdraw from Iraq.
When supported by the countries which are genuinely interested in
peace and stability in the Middle East, the Arab League and the UN could
put their heads together and come up with a formula that would retain
the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and guarantee the legitimate
rights of all Iraqis, something that the US has not been able to do so far.
Patrick Cockburn said, Iraq has effectively broken up. Its
administration has little influence beyond the Green Zone. In the great
Baghdad area, with a population of over six million, civil war has already
begun. The US military say 1,313 people were killed in sectarian murders in
March. This is just dead bodies, often bearing marks of torture, which have
been recovered. The real figure for Shiite and Sunni Arabs killed by each
other is probably running at over 100 every day. This may exceed the daily
death rate in the first months of either the English or American civil wars.
There is no longer an Iraqi state to be led. The primary allegiance of
the army and police is to the Shiite, Sunni or Kurdish communities and not
to their own government. Most of Iraq is dominated by a single ethnic or
religious group, but in Baghdad Sunni and Shiite are mixed together. The
battle between them for the control of the capital has already started The
militias are growing in power because Shiites and Sunnis both want armed
men they can trust from their own communities to defend their district.
It is unlikely that sectarian cleansing by Sunnis or Shiites can be
reversed at this stage. Sometimes the minority moves out peacefully,

knowing that it dare not stand and fight. An Iraqi Army captain from Diyala
province, northeast of Baghdad, told me: where you get the worst violence
is where the Shiites and Sunnis are present in about the same numbers so
they can fight for control.
Jonathan Steele accused US and its allies of deliberately ignoring the
death squads who are indulging in ethnic cleansing. In the apt phrase of
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador in Baghdad, they (militias) are the
infrastructure of civil war More Iraqis are dying from militia violence
than from the terrorists. Militias need to be under control.
His blunt comment came in the wake of over 1,000 abductions and
murders in a single month, most of them blamed on Shia militias. Terrified
residents of Baghdads mainly Sunni areas talk of cars roaring up after dark,
uninhibited by the police in spite of the curfew US officials paid lip
service to the need to disband the militias
Iraqi leaders praised the militias, claiming they were subordinate to
the defence and interior ministries, and therefore in no way a rogue
element Jaafari described the Badr organization last summer as a shield
defending Iraq, while the president, Jalal Talabani, claimed the Badr
organization and the peshmerga were patriots who are important to
fulfilling this sacred task, establishing a democratic, federal and independent
US officials now view the militias differently. Phasing them out by
integrating their members into the official forces of law and order is seen as
risky, unless the leadership changes The crucial question is whether the
militias can be rolled back at this late stage. Having allowed them to defy
their initial banning orders, as well as Iraqs new constitution, which
outlawed them, can the US persuade or force its Iraqi allies to disband them?
Confronting the Sunni insurgency means in crude terms, confronting the
enemy. Confronting the biggest militias, Badr and the peshmerga, means the
US must confront its friends.
Eugene Robinson felt the need for a genie to control the situation.
The Bush Administration would like to see a government of national
unity, as if such a thing existed in todays Iraq. Perhaps in the fanciful
Baghdad of the Arabian Nights theres a genie who can cross his arms, blink
his eyes and conjure a genie breeze that spreads harmony across the
land. If they find him, they should make him prime minister.
Now the administration is fixated on the peace and prosperity that
will surely take root throughout ancient Mesopotamia I only a bunch of self85

interested Iraqi politicians grudgingly settle on a division of spoils that can,

with a straight face, be called a government of national unity.
William M Arkin said, in the history of historic misjudgments, thus
al-Qaeda and the Bush Administration have something in common. The
Bush Administration similarly had no idea that defeat of Saddam Husseins
army would be as catastrophically successful as it ended up being, and they
did not plan on Iraqis responding to the war and the American occupation as
fiercely as they have.
M B Naqvi was of the view that the Iraqi states chances of survival
rest on defeating the design of those who are provoking a Shia-Sunni
sectarian war no matter who is stoking this fire, though it is necessary to
investigate it. That will need the cooperation of Iran and Shia Iraqis as well
as many others. Flames from a recrudescence of ancient animosities will
envelop more countries in the Arab world, no matter who wins or loses.
Derrick Z Jackson wrote about the almost forgotten aspect the
occupation; the reconstruction fraud. Of $ 20.7 billion in Iraqi bank
accounts and oil revenues seized by the Coalition Provisional Authority in
the US-led invasion of Iraq, $ 14 billion was given out for reconstruction but
tens of millions of dollars were unaccounted for. A year ago, an audit by the
inspector general found no evidence of work done or goods delivered on 154
of 198 contracts. Sixty cases of potential swindles are under investigation.
Halliburton and its hundreds of millions of dollars of overcharges or
baseless costs were well known. But millions more were taken by companies
that promised to build or restore libraries or police facilities, or deliver
trucks and construction equipment US government investigators can
account for only a third of the $ 1.5 billion given by the CPA to the interim
government and it appears that a substantial portion of the $ 8 billion given
to Iraqi ministries went to ghost employees.
Because of the way the United States set things up after the invasion,
contractors are immune from prosecution by Iraqis. And even when firms
are prosecuted, the millions of dollars in fines go to the US Treasury, not the
Iraqi people. It amounts to two invasions: First the bombs; then the banks.
This is robbery, not reconstruction It has been three years and all
Iraq has become is a free-fraud zone, according to one of the attorneys for
whistleblowers in Iraqi swindles Recently, the Army found that
Halliburton had $ 263 million of exaggerated or unexplainable costs on a $
2.4 billion no-bid contract, yet still paid Halliburton $ 253 million of the $
263 million.

Halliburton is in 103rd place in the Fortune 5000 with $ 21 billion in

revenues and just under $ 2.4 billion in profits. Halliburton gets its $ 2.4
billion no-bid contract nearly paid in full while the Iraqi people are out of
much of their $ 21 billion. We liberated Iraq. The resources belong to
American contractors.
After illegal occupation, some glimpses of which are mentioned
above, the invaders had been telling the Iraqis about favours done to them.
What to talk of Iraqis, even Rosa Brooks was not impressed by these absurd
claims. The after all weve done for you! theme is more than a little
jarring, coming as it does from the architects of the war. The Iraqis didnt
beg us to invade their country. We invaded Iraq for reasons quite
unrelated to the welfare of the Iraqi people (and, it turn out, for reasons
unrelated to the welfare of the American people as well).
When coalition forces brought regime change in Iraq, they also
released from their bottles the genies of ethnic and sectarian conflict.
Hussein had kept Iraq intact through terror and brute force.
Andrian Hamilton focused on Bushs buddy. Blairs expressed belief
at the time that British reluctance to fight would have seriously damaged our
standing with the Bush Administration owed more to his own wish to be the
vanguard of the action than a realistic assessment of the options.
The real difference that a refusal to participate in the invasion would
have made would not have been in Londons relations with Washington but
in Britains status in Europe and the wider world. Declining to send troops
would have given Britain position in Europe and moral prestige in the
Muslim World while still enabling it to claim a special friendship with the
US. In a practical sense, Britain could have acted as a bridge across the
Atlantic and as a genuinely independent voice around the globe.
Mohammad Akif Jamal dwelled on Rices admission of thousands of
tactical mistakes committed in Iraq War. Depending on who commits the
mistake, there is a big difference between them. Mistakes committed by
ordinary people cannot be compared with mistakes committed by policy
makers and leaders.
The mistakes made by the US have resulted in the killing of tens of
thousands of Iraqis and destroying their countrys infrastructure. They have
also contributed to tearing apart the Iraqi social structure and placing Iraq on
the verge of a civil war. Worse, these mistakes have raised fears of
uncertainty and increased sectarian violence, destabilizing the entire region.


Rice and Straws visit came at a time of the growing calls within the
United Iraqi Alliance on Ebrahim al-Jaafari, the nominated prime minister,
to step down. The question is will this pave the way for a successful
Caesarean operation, giving birth to the long-awaited government? ... Rices
remarks raise another question: Will the visit add more to the US record
of tactical errors? It is clear that the tactical errors that Rice spoke about
had not caused any harm to the US interests or Rices political future.
She can speak about errors that do not cause any harm to the interests
of the US or its citizens, since the US administration will not be used to pay
compensations to the Iraqis, while the rights of US victims are preserved. So
who will pay to Iraq the price of thousands of tactical errors?
The focus of criticism ultimately shifted where it belonged to. One
after another retired general accused Rumsfeld of committing the
mistakes. David Ignatius said, make no mistake: The retired generals who
are speaking out against Rumsfeld in interviews and op-ed pieces express
the views of hundreds of other officers on active duty. When I recently asked
an Army officer with extensive Iraq combat experience how many of his
colleagues wanted Rumsfeld out, he suggested 75 percent.
Rumsfeld is a stubborn man, and I suspect the parade of retired
generals calling for his head has only made him more determined to hold on.
But by staying in his job, Rumsfeld is hurting the cause he presumably cares
most about The president, even more stubborn than his Pentagon chief, is
said to have rejected his offer to resign. If thats so, its time for Rumsfeld to
take the matter out of Bushs hands The administration needs to look this
one clearly in the eye. Without changes that shore up public support in
America, it risks losing the war in Iraq.
Andrew J Bacevich opined, unless and until we can restore some
semblance of civilian-military effectiveness, defective policies will be the
norm rather than the exception. This not the sins of Donald Rumsfeld is
the nub of the matter The issue is one that ought to be addressed in the
political realm. Indeed it cries out for serious and sustained legislative
attention. In past conflicts, Congress has established joint committees to
evaluate the wars conduct. Such an investigation of the Iraq War is long
If the manifestly anemic Congress cannot arouse itself to undertake
such a task, it might create a commission like the one that investigated the
events of 9/11, charging it with assessing the civilian-military dissonance
that has hampered the wars planning and execution. Todays dissident

generals could testify before such a commission, making their case against
Rumsfeld but also accounting for militarys performance.
The News wrote, the nature of the allegations is serious enough to
have put at stake the credibility of the entire Iraq operation, which has
been dubbed by retired generals as badly planned and devoid of vision for
durable peace in the post-Saddam period. Perhaps this was essentially the
Rumsfeld plan to keep the war going with billions of American taxpayers
dollars being channeled into the arms industry to sustain the war.
The kinds of accusations that have surfaced against Rumsfeld
warrant a deeper probe by the Bush Administration, especially when the
accusers are credible men of determined stature and expertise. Such an
enquiry will also be important in determining the soundness of the war plan
that led to the killing of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
HDS Greenway observed, respect for the military institution itself is
deeply ingrained in the American military. Publicly criticizing the civilian
leadership is not done, even in retirement, and some military men are
offended by the forthright generals and their public statements. On the other
hand, Colonel H R McMasters book Dereliction of Duty, which criticizes
the top brass for not speaking out against the Vietnam War, has been making
the rounds, making a powerful case for speaking out.
But the provocation that brought these American generals to go
public was intense. To my mind, none of the generals put it better than
Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold when he told Time magazine that the
commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and a
swagger that are the special provinces of those who have never had to
execute these missions or bury the results.
Melvin R Laird and Robert E Pursley were of the view that a general
officer is expected to follow orders, but he is also entitled to advise if he
thinks those orders are flawed. The ghost of Vietnam may be whispering to
these retired generals, who understandably want to guarantee that military
wisdom is never again trampled by political expediency The problem is
that when military advice is considered and then rejected, officers are likely
to feel sidelined. Sometimes we all must wait for hindsight to be able to
make accurate judgments.
Sidney Blumenthal quoted some of the statements of generals while
commenting on the issue:


Retired Maj Gen Paul Eaton, who was in charge of training the Iraqi
army, called Rumsfeld incompetent strategically, operationally and
Retired General Anthony Zinni, former chief of US Central Command
said: Poor military judgment has been used throughout this mission.
Retired Lt Gen Gregory Newbold wrote: I now regret that I did not
more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a
country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat al-Qaeda.
Retired Maj Gen John Riggs said: They only need the military advice
when it satisfies their agenda.
Maj Gen Charles Swannack, former commander of the 82 nd Airborne,
said that Rumsfeld bore culpability for the abuses at Abu Ghraib.
He went on to mention the viewpoint of opposing side. Donald
Rumsfelds closest aide, the undersecretary of defence for intelligence,
Stephen Cambone, joked that the armys problem could be solved by lining
up 50 of its generals in the Pentagon and gunning them down Rumsfeld
held a Pentagon meeting where he declared the bureaucracy the career
professionals to be a serious threat to the security of the United States.
The Bush Administration has mounted a full-scale PR defence.
Rumsfeld appeared in the guise of King Solomon on rightwing radio talk
show of host Rush Limboughs programme: This, too, will pass. Bush
proposed a syllogism: Im the decider, and I decide whats best. And whats
best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain.
He, like HDS Greenway, was of the view that the generals who
criticized Rumsfeld spoke in the language on McMasters book, Dereliction
of Duty, in which the author had argued that the joint chiefs of staff of the
Vietnam era had failed in their constitutional responsibility to object
strenuously to misguided strategies. He concluded: History? We dont
know. Well all be dead, Bush remarked in 2003. We cannot escape
history, said Abraham Lincoln. The living president has already sealed
his reputation in history.
Nasim Zehra agreed; there is enough out there to outrage the
sensitive soldiers and also make them question the logic of the war. They
cannot come out openly to oppose the war. Yet high-profile military men are
joining the chorus of criticism of the Congress, media and organized groups.


This will make the war in Iraq more unpopular, Bush more unpopular,
and force an earlier drawdown of US troops from Iraq.
Maggie Mitchell Salem opined, in the end, the presidents blind
ambition and misguided loyalty to discredited senior officials, principally
Cheney and Rumsfeld, may lead to defeat for his party and incredibly
stain his record. The real tragedy is that American values, which he so
loudly trumpets abroad, seem of little consequence to him at home. Bush
will survive his second term. The question remains: will America?

As the Crusaders became more vocal about sanctions, deadlines and
preemptive strike, Iran stepped up flexing its military muscle to deter the
war-mongers. Tehran test-fired a sonar-evading underwater missile on 2 nd
April, which is capable of outpacing enemy warships. Next day, Iran said it
has successfully teat-fired a dangerous torpedo in war games in the Gulf.
Iran test-fired new land-to-sea missile on 4th April and next day third
missile was test-fired. Tehran Iran said Washington must accept Iran as a
big regional power. Four days later, Iran claimed shooting down a drone
which had taken off from Iraq and was filming southern border areas.
Meanwhile, Bush Administration was reported planning massive
bombing against Iran, including use of bunker-buster nuclear weapons to
destroy nuclear facilities. Straw called US nuclear strike on Iran
completely nuts. Iran branded the media reports of air strikes as
psychological warfare so that Tehran abandons its nuclear programme.
Critics of Bush expressed alarm about reports of possible military
action against Iran. On 10th April, Irans president promised good news
within days about the countrys nuclear programme. Next day, Iranian
scientists announced enrichment of uranium to 3.5 percent required for
civilian reactor.
Nejad asked foreign governments to recognize and respect Irans
rights. When a people master nuclear technology and nuclear fuel, nothing
can be done against them, said armed forces joint chief of staff, Gen
Firouzabadi. Scientists said Iran was determined to complete work within
three years on a heavy water reactor in Arak and 3,000 centrifuges would be
installed within the next year at Natanz. The West can do nothing and is
obliged to extend to us the hand of friendship, said ISNA.


The milestone was achieved at a plant of 164 centrifuges in Natanz,

despite UNSC had set April 28 as deadline for Tehran to halt the ultrasensitive work. It also came on the eve of ElBaradeis visit to Iran. Rice
called UNSC to take strong steps and the White House said sanctions were
now an option. France, Germany, Russia and US described the move as a
step in the wrong direction.
Iran refused to suspend nuclear work. ElBaradei said enrichment
claim was not yet confirmed. On 16th April, Washington said Iran has
expanded nuclear facilities and six major powers decided to meet in Moscow
to discuss Iran issue. Iran warned against attack and Rafsanjani said attack
wont be in the interest of US. The same day, Chinese official held talks with
Iran on nuclear issue.
Next day, Pentagon declined to comment on report of strike plans.
Iran was ready for war if attacked, said Iranian Envoy in Moscow. On 18 th
April, Bush refused to rule out nuclear strikes against Iran. Ahmedinejad
said Iran would cut off hand of aggressor. Rafsanjani said Iran was ready
for showdown with US. A senior Iranian official was sighted in Washington
but purpose of his visit remained unknown. Oil prices struck record high of
above 72 dollars a barrel. Ahmedinejad said the crude oil prices were still
below their real value.
American approach of imposing sanctions or using military means
against Iran was widely opposed by the analysts for varying reasons.
Simon Jenkins said, sanctions will split the world coalition against
nuclear proliferation, since Russia and China have close trading links with
Iran. The US and Britain would then be back to the same slide to war as in
Iraq. They would have to decide whether to fight on alone or endure
humiliating retreat.
Iran is the first test of Blairs interventionism, and the auguries are
not good. Every saber rattle in Washington must be music to Ahmedinejads
ear. Whether or not a bombing attack might damage his factories, it is
unlikely to destabilize his government, rather the reverse. It would
heighten nationalist fervor and increase hatred of the West.
The more the West threatens, the stronger is the case of Tehrans
hawks for a nuclear arsenal. Iran is within range of five nuclear powers,
including the US. What army would not want a deterrent when the world is
awash with crazies?


Confrontation without a willingness to use total force is bluff. Many

Iranian hardliners must be itching to cause more trouble in Iraq, threaten
tanker lanes in the Straits of Hormuz and set Asian opinion further against
the West. As for backing the Baluchi insurgents, this is madness The
much-vaunted neocon campaign for a secure and liberal democracy in Asia
is in retreat.
The Boston Globe wrote, for the purpose of shaping a sound strategy,
the crucial conclusions to draw are that Irans clerical regime cannot be
easily deflected from its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and Irans rulers are
intent not to appear intimidated by hints of American recourse to
military force.
The daily pointed out the extent of destruction that military action
would be required to inflict. To set back Irans nuclear program for even a
short period, military strikes would have to destroy not merely scores of
suspected nuclear sites, but also Irans air defences, airfields, and missile
launchers. More expansive target lists would also include command and
control locations as well as Revolutionary Guards Headquarters and Irans
political leadership.
It concluded, if there is a way to avoid perilous confrontation, it may
lie in Iranian suggestions, both public and private, of an interest in direct
US-Iranian negotiations. If Bush has learned anything from past
blunders, he will put aside any qualms he may have about the odious
regime in Tehran and explore the possibilities of a deal that grants Iran
security guarantees and economic benefits as compensation for halting its
pursuit of nuclear weapons. Distasteful as such a deal may be, the
alternatives are far worse.
Dianne Feinstein opined that use of bunker-buster would be a
disastrous tragedy. First use of nuclear weapons by the United States
should be unthinkable. A preemptive nuclear attack violates a central tenet of
the just war and US military traditions.
There is no question that in the post-9/11 era, a full range of policy
options for dealing with new and uncertain events should be on the table.
But in my view, nuclear options cannot be considered as an extension of
conventional options.
The US should engage Iran diplomatically. So far, England, France
and Germany have led the negotiated effort to halt Irans uranium
enrichment, while Russia has explored other alternatives. It is time for the
US to lead such efforts, not stand by.

Richard Clarke and Steven Simon wrote, any United States bombing
campaign would simply begin a multi-move, escalatory process. Iran
could respond three ways. First, it could attack Persian Gulf oil facilities and
tankers as it did in the mid 1980s which could cause oil prices to spike
above $ 80 a barrel.
Second and more likely, Iran could use its terrorist network to strike
American targets around the world, including inside the United States. Iran
has forces at its command that are far superior to anything al-Qaeda was
ever able to field. The Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah has a global
reach, and has served in the past as an instrument of Iran
Third, Iran is in a position to make our situation in Iraq far more
difficult than it already is. The Badr Brigade and other Shiite militias in Iraq
could launch a more deadly campaign against British and American troops.
There is every reason to believe that Iran has such a retaliatory shock wave
planned and ready.
Bloodied by Iranian retaliation, President Bush would most likely
authorize wider and more intensive bombing. Non-military Iranian
government targets would probably be struck in a vain hope that the Iranian
people would seize the opportunity to overthrow the government. More
likely, the American war against Iran would guarantee the regime
decades more of control.
Mark Helprin was of the view that with an intermediate-range
strategic nuclear capacity, it could deter American intervention, reign over
the Persian Gulf, further separate Europe from American Middle East
policy, correct a nuclear imbalance with Pakistan, lead and perhaps unify the
Muslim World, and thus create the chance to end Western dominance of the
Middle East and/or with a single shot destroy Israel. He cleverly mixed up
contradicting possibilities in one sentence.
He explained the nature of task the military has to perform. The
obvious option is an aerial campaign to divest Iran of its nuclear potential:
i.e. clear the Persian Gulf of Iranian naval forces, scrub anti-ship missiles
from the shore and lay open antiaircraft-free corridors to each target. With
the furious capacity of its new weapons, the United States can accomplish
this readily. Were the targets effectively hidden or buried, Iran could shut
down, coerced or perhaps revolutionized by the simple and rapid destruction
of its oil production and transport. The Iranians know their obvious
vulnerabilities, but are we aware of ours?


In this war with a newly revived militant Islam, we think

systematically and they think imaginatively. As we strain to bring the genius
of imagination to our systems, they attempt to bring systematic discipline to
their imagination, and neither of us is precluded from success.
He (Ahmedinejad) may have in mind to draw out and damage
any American onslaught with his thousands of surface-to-air missiles and
anti-aircraft guns; by a concentrated air and naval attack to sink one or more
major American warships; and to mobilize the Iraqi Shia in a general
uprising, with aid from infiltrated Revolutionary Guards and conventional
elements, that would threaten US forces in Iraq and severe their lines of
supply. This by itself would be a victory for those who see in the colours of
martyrdom, but if he could knock us back and put enough of our blood in the
water, the real prize might come into reach. That is: to make such a fury in
the Islamic World that, as it has done before and not long ago, it would
throw over caution in favour of Jihad.
While mentioning the above, he also ventured on shifting the blame to
Russia. Were Russia not playing a double game, it would not have
agreed in December to upgrade the Iranian air force and sell Iran 29 SA-15
SAMs for the protection of key facilities.
Amir Taheri politely explained Russian failing in finding a negotiated
solution. Of all the powers involved in the current showdown with Iran,
only Russia is in a position to tip the balance one way or the other to say
between a peaceful resolution or war.
The Russian position at the Security Council is crucial because
China, which also has a veto, would not be prepared to isolate itself by
siding with Iran if Russia sides with the US. If Russia vetoes, so will China.
If Russia does not veto, the most the China might do to please Iran is to
Russia needs Iran for a number of reasons, including,
paradoxically, as part of Moscows strategy to counter and, if possible,
curtail US influence in Central Asia, the Caspian Basin and the Middle
East As regional allies, Tehran and Moscow have already succeeded in
containing or curtailing American influence in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and
Turkmenistan. In Tajikistan, Tehran, which had sided with the US against
Russia a decade ago, is now switching back to Moscow.
In Afghanistan, Tehran and Moscow have been working closely for
more than a decade and are engaged in developing a joint strategy in


anticipation of an American withdrawal once Bush leaves office in three

years time.
The US, backed by Britain, proposes a division of the Caspian among
its littoral states so that each could conclude separate contracts with foreign
nations. Of the five littoral states of the Caspian only two, Azebaijan and
Kazakhstan, are favourable to the US proposed model. Russia and Iran are
Having lost all of its Arab friends and clients of the Soviet era,
Moscow also needs Tehran as a bridgehead to the Middle East, the Gulf and
the Indian Ocean It is also in conjunction with Iran, that Russia envisages
making a comeback in such places as Syria and Lebanon where Iranian
influence is already well-established.
Looming large on the horizon is China which, Putins recent visit to
Beijing notwithstanding, is seen by many Moscow analysts as a potential
threat to Russian interests in Asia and Middle East. In that context a SinoIranian axis could isolate Russia in Western Asia and the Middle East and
even shut it out of chunks of Central Asia.
Another reason why Moscow needs Iran is related to the so-called
Islamic time bomb that is ticking in the heart of the Russian federation.
With birth rates among ethnic Russians in free fall, the federations
estimated 25 million Muslims, now a fifth of the population, are stated to
double by the middle of the century The Islamic Republic, although a
Shiite power, could, nevertheless, play a role in discouraging secessionist
tendencies among Russias predominantly Sunni Muslims.

Pakistan is perilously equated with Iran in the context of nuclear

issue; therefore, military action against Iran was widely opposed. The News
wrote, now, for the latest round of statements William Arkin, a US
spymaster posted in Berlin in the 1970s, says America had planned a war
against Iran even before if launched its drive to rid Iraq of the evil called
Saddam Hussein. Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani and United
Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan warn the Americans that war or
military intervention if you like against Iran will lead to serious
consequences. And if this is not enough of a revelation for one day, a former
White House counter-terrorism head, Richard Clarke, writes that a war
against Iran could even be more damaging to Americas interests than
the war in Iraq. We know all this Messers Akrin, Rafsanjani, Annan and
Co. We have known it all throughout.


In another editorial the News added, there are and will be people
admiring Iran just for the sheer grit it has shown in taking on the might of
the imperialist United States. It is dangerous game, but the mere fact that
Iran and Ahmeninejad have the guts to stand up to, or even bluff,
President Bush and Co warms the hearts of many.
Washington maintains that it is not the instigator in the case of its
tense ties with Tehran. American officials have been saying all along with
greater frequency after Iran renewed its nuclear programme earlier this year
that they are just responding to what a country with a dubious reputation
has been attempting to achieve.
Yet, Americas own deeds have in the meantime been
questionable, jeopardizing agreements that enjoy respect internationally.
Take the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty for instance, which must be
signed and ratified before a state can acquire nuclear power. A US that
pursues a nuclear deal with an India which has not signed the NPT
Humera Niazi was of the view that Indo-US nuclear cooperation
creates double standards in the US pursuit for global non proliferation,
because Washington strongly opposes Irans nuclear programme. In the
Muslim Worlds perspective it creates another dimension, as it suggests an
approach towards Islamic countries which is prejudged and favours Indias
posture in the region, in a manner that puts Muslim countries at a strategic
Rafi Nasim from Lahore was of the view that since the issue is under
discussion at the UNO, America has no right to take it in its own hands. Mr
Bush must realize that he will lose the favour of half the world if he
attacks Iran.
Farooq Sulehria wrote, every time a country joins the nuclear club, it
enhances the threat to world peace and the global environment. But the
Empires nuclear hypocrisy and selective position to proliferation
complicates, rather politicizes, the nuclear question globally.
In a subsequent editorial the News commented on Bushs nuclear
bluff. Bush talked of diplomacy too, but with a gun to Irans head
Actually, arbitrary action is not going to be so easy for the US. This talk of
nuclear strike looks more like a US bluff, but a very dangerous one
Dr Maqsudul Hasan Nuri proposed avoidance of military
confrontation, but his argument was defeatist. Events could spin out of


control as earlier wars and conflicts have shown. It is better that issues of
pride and prejudice are set aside and the region spared from another major
concussion. The US, as a distant and stronger power, will not suffer as much
as would Iran. Besides the Persian Gulf states, the larger Middle East, and
the adjoining region including Pakistan, will have to face the shock waves.
The analyst by warning Iran suffering more and regional countries facing
shock waves suggested surrender.
M B Naqvi said, the Bush Administration is as obsessed with Iraq
today as George W Bush was about Iraq in the early years of this supposed
American Century, with dreams of a new Holy Roman Empire by the US
this time Let no one make a mistake that it is a Republican Party
programme only. The other major party, the Democrats, has not disavowed it
and also has no differing ideas or another worldview.
The whole region, more so as the South Asia and Southeast Asia are
largely in American corner. Iran stands out as a sore thumb in the path of
US march towards its destined hyper-powerhood Irans regime, for one,
is inflexibly and more or less permanently against all that Israel seeks to do
to help implement US designs. It is thus a strategic target that has to be
But the very attempt to change the Iranian regime, sure to require a
big military operation, will result in Iran hurting the entire capitalist
world by reducing its oil exports and by adopting a forward policy of
supporting Shia insurgencies throughout West Asia that may be waiting to
Despite the opposition, the Crusaders were encouraged by certain
factors to indulge in adventurism against Iran. One of these was identified
by Simon Tisdall, who said Tehrans enemy within encourages US.
Estimated six million Kurds, who mostly live in western provinces
bordering Turkey and Iraq have intensified their struggle since Mr
Ahmadinejad came to power.
Ethnically Arab Khuzestan province, in south-west Iran, has
witnessed several recent bomb attacks, including a rumoured attempt to
assassinate Mr Ahmedinejad in Ahvaz in January. British troops in Basra
were involved in supporting these separatist Arabs.
Two to three million ethnic Turkmen inhabit north-east Iran. Sunni
Muslims in a theocratic Shia state, they feel disadvantaged for both ethnic
and religious reasons. The Crusaders presence in bases in central Asia and


Afghanistan suits for providing support to these dissidents as envisaged in

the Long War Strategy.
Irans Bahai community, which is not allowed to practice its faith
and has often been subjected to persecution, forms another enemy within.
UN has already condemned suppression of this minority. He concluded,
President George Bushs national security strategy, published this month,
again urged Iranians to rise up against their oppressors. The analyst did not
mention another enemy within; the Baluch.
Simon Jenkins wrote, there are reports of US special forces,
operating inside Iran and funds being channeled to opposition groups. The
US is said to be aiding Sunni Baluchi insurgents in the south, as they once
did the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The gang of neo-cons did not require any encouragement for
regime change or invasion of any Muslim country, particularly when
they find the Ummah in complete disarry. Nevertheless, there were some
who prompted military action. The Christian Science Monitor wrote, Iran,
which has violated the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, only
manipulated those talks to buy time. The EU-3 helped hand off the issue to
the UN. Now the UNs own credibility is at stake not to mention Middle
East stability if Iran does indeed make a bomb or hands one to terrorists.
Sanctions have a mixed record in global affairs. They worked on
Libya, Vietnam, and apartheid South Africa but not yet on Burma, North
Korea, or many other countries. They helped persuade Saddam Hussein to
eliminate Iraqs weapons of mass destruction, but they hurt Iraqis.
Avoiding any immediate damage to common Iranians would be
difficult. Initial sanctions would need to be selective, such as travel and
banking bans, aimed first at Irans elite. Russia and China, however, may
block UN approved sanctions. That would push Europe, Japan, and the US
to impose their own. Such a step, says Iran expert Kenneth Pollack, would
be a nightmare for Iran.
It neednt come to that. Irans leaders may see that a growing
economy and supportive populace is more vital to maintaining their regime
than Iran becoming a nuclear-capable military power. The regimes
vulnerability, after all, is really internal, not external. Its legitimacy is quite
shaky Designing sanctions that would raise domestic pressure on the
clerics would be difficult. The wrong kind may backfire on the West,


leading to further speculations about a US military strike on Irans

nuclear facilities.
William M Akrin said, contingency planning for a bolt-out-of-theblue attack, let alone full-fledged war, against Iran may seem incredible right
now. But in the secretive world of military commands and war planners, it is
an everyday and unfortunate reality. Iran needs to understand that the
United States isnt hamstrung by a lack of options. It needs to realize that
it cant just stonewall and evade its international obligations, that it cant
burrow further underground in hopes that it will win merely because war is
On the surface, Iran controls the basic triggers that could set off US
military action. The first would be its acquisition of nuclear capability in
defiance of the international community. Despite last weeks bluster from
Tehran, the country is still years away from a nuclear weapon, let alone a
workable one
The second trigger would be Irans lashing out militarily (for through
proxy terrorism) at the United States or its allies, or closing the Strait of
Hormuz to international traffic. Sources say that CENTCOM and the Joint
Chiefs of Staff have developed flexible deterrent options in case Iran
were to take such actions.
Michael Levi opposed nuclear options, but suggested continuous
bombardment of nuclear facilities. There are three intertwined reasons
military planners might consider using nuclear weapons against an
underground target: uncertainty of the targets location, concern that the
depth makes conventional weapons impotent, and a need to destroy the
target near-instantaneously. None of these apply in the case of Iran.
The underground chambers at Natanz are well knownthe reports
place the ceiling roughly 30 feet underground The United States could
repeatedly bomb the plant, if it wished, drilling down until it reached the
underground chambers. Even if that took days, it would set back the Iranian
program just as decisively as a nuclear attack.
There were some who continuously coaxed the Crusaders for
military action against Iran. One of them was Amir Taheri, a Muslim
brother. Some analysts suspect, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmeninejad
may actually want a military conflict with the US as the opening shot in
his promised clash of civilizations He may want a clash over the nuclear


issue which, thanks to the Goebblesian presentation, is seen by many

Iranians as a matter of nationalistic pride.
In another article he made a case for military action and advised the
Crusaders not be deceived by Ahmedinejads moves. All in all it was a
clever mixture of Islam, nationalism, science, political braggadocio, and
diplomatic flexibility. The announcement that Iran now masters the full
nuclear fuel cyclemay be no big deal to better-informed citizens In fact,
Iran had the scientific and technological capacity when the Ayatollah
Khomeini, who seized power in 1979, shut the nuclear program as satanic
had some scientists executed, and forced others to exile.
If our analysis is right, the next step for the Islamic republic would be
to announce that, having done what it wanted to do, it has now decided to
stop doing it for a while as a gesture of goodwill The Iranian climb-down,
if it has not already happened by the time this column is published, is sure to
come soon.
The reason is that Ahmedinejad has achieved his tactical goals and
has no reason to provoke a confrontation at this point. His first goal was to
discredit his two predecessors, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Muhammad
Khatami, by portraying them as weaklings who had given in to pressure and
agreed to stop uranium enrichment in the first place.
His second goal was to appear to be acting from a position of
strength, and, once again, he has succeeded Having developed its image
as a major military power that cannot be bullied by anyone, the Islamic
republic is now in a position to show magnanimity in the service of peace
and understanding If the US and its European Union allies play the roles
assigned to them in the Ahmedinejad script, the current crisis is likely to be
defused soon.
In a subsequent article, after having seen that Iran had not climbed
down, he came out with strong arguments supporting the military option. It
is so far so good for Tehran. The Islamic republic has thumbed its nose at
the international community at no cost to itself. There is no reason why
it should stop while the going is so good.
With the fall of the Taliban in Kabul and the Baath in Iraq, the old
balance of power in the Middle East has been shattered. A new balance of
power must emerge. US President George W Bush wants to create a new
Middle East that is democratic and pro-West. In such a Middle East there
would be no place for a regime such as the one currently in place in Tehran.


A US that is unable to fight on the ground for any length of time and
deterred from using nuclear weapons for fear of retaliation in kind against its
allies and troops in the region would, so the mullahs hope, do what it has
often done; i.e. running away, leaving Iran to emerge as the regional
superpower. Thus it is foolish to see Irans nuclear quest as a sign of
hubris on the part of the mad mullahs.
The Hindu disagreed by saying that it was nothing more than creating
and retaining strategic ambiguity. His declaration to this effect has not been
entirely overwhelmed by the manner in which the government-controlled
media hyped the breakthrough But, an attempt does appear to have
been made to retain a measure of strategic ambiguity. Such an approach
is understandable, given the situation Iran finds itself in.
Hassan Hanizadeh put across Iranian viewpoint. The illogical
reaction of the United States will undoubtedly have no effect on Irans
national will to move toward developing the complete nuclear fuel cycle
because gaining access to civilian nuclear energy is a national demand and
no power in the world can deprive Iran of this right.
Now, after three years of nuclear negotiations during which the
Islamic Republican accepted all the conditions of the West in order to gain
the confidence of the international community, Iran has chosen its true
path Enriching uranium within the framework of the regulations of the
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is the inalienable right of every NPT
signatory state, so Iran has not violated the terms of the NPT by gaining
access to the nuclear fuel cycle Iran has now entered a critical phase in
its political history, and no foreign threat can diminish Irans national will to
reach the summit of scientific advancement.
In a subsequent article, he added, the most significant issue discussed
by the political analysts of the Persian Gulf littoral states on television talk
shows during the past week is the proximity of the Bushehr Nuclear Power
Plant to the Arab countries on the Persian Gulf In fact, the location of the
Bushehr Power Plant was determined by experts from the United States
and other Western countries during the 1960s after years of study, research,
and analysis In contrast Israels Dimona Nuclear Power Plant is located in
Negev Desert where the soil is loose, increasing the danger level.
The other issue being discussed by the political experts of the Arab
states of the Persian Gulf is the fact that Iran is becoming a regional
power In fact, the only country that should be worried about the
militarization of the Persian Gulf region is the Islamic Republic of Iran,

because the Arab states and other Western countries that have actually
paved the way for the permanent presence of US warships in the
Persian Gulf.
If the Arab states on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf that
currently believe that the United States is their security guarantee change
their views, a new chapter can be opened in their security and defence
cooperation with Iran.
To conclude some excerpts from the article of Peter Baker are
The Iranians seem unfazed by UN statements. The Russian and
Chinese wont go along with economic sanctions. And the generals at
the Pentagon hate the idea of a military strike.
The central problem for Bush, according to aides and analysts, is that
Iran has proven impervious so far to the diplomatic levers Washington
and its partners have been willing to use. Some administration
officials have grown increasingly skeptical that a solution can be
found, raising the prospect that, like North Korea before it, a second
member of the trio of rogue states Bush once dubbed the axis of evil
might ultimately develop a nuclear bomb over US objections.
Bushs chief political adviser, Karl Rove, complained during a
Houston appearance on that it is hard to find a diplomatic
resolution because Ahmedinejad is not a rational human being.
That has left Bush with few attractive alternatives. At this point,
your options seem to be not good and scarce, said Ray Takeyh, a
senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Your other option
is living with itand I think thats what will happen.
If he cannot convince Russia and China to toughen UN pressure on
Iran, though, he has few options, analysts said. He could organize
economic sanctions with a coalition of the willing in tandem with
the Europeans. Or he could offer Iran a more substantive deal.
Weve been trying coercive diplomacy and the Iranians have just sent
a very clear message: Nice try, it just wont work, said Clifford
Kupchan, an analyst at the Eurasia Group. The only diplomatic
option we havent tried is to cut a deal directly. We might as well
try putting everything on the table.


Insurgency has turned into civil war with Shias and Sunnis pitched
against each other. The sectarian bloodletting has allowed the occupation
forces to save on casualties as well as ousting Jaafari to have a Prime
Minister of their choice.
There was complete boycott of Hamas-led democratically elected
Palestinian government. This was an insult to Palestinian people who
exercised their right to choose a leadership of their choice. The Crusaders
were not satisfied with that and therefore have started coaxing Fatah to
undermine Hamas-rule.
Criticism of war and occupation of Iraq continued and Bush ratings
kept sliding downward. Many analysts from the civilized world opposed
military option mainly because the environments were not favourable; but
none of them desired that Iran should be allowed to acquire nuclear
The gang of neo-cons led by Bush remained unnerved. The reason is
that entire lot of Republicans and Democrats fully support the Crusades
against Muslims. They seemed inclined to take on Iran in pursuance of the
Long War Strategy.
Irans nuclear capability is not the goal, but a pretext to bring regime
change in another Islamic country. The goal is to eliminate the only country
now left in the entire region which opposes US hegemonic policies. If
American threats materialize, Iran will regret restraining Iraqi Shiites from
resisting the occupation of Iraq.
22nd April 2006


The massacre in Nishtar Park Karachi, today, is a month-old story.
Time, as they say, is the best healer. Mourning has ended and tempers have
cooled down. The incident has lost its news-value for electronic as well as
print media. The analysts have exhausted their analytical wisdom.
There is no word from host of investigators assigned to probe the
tragedy. In Army the say; no news is good news. Thus, the government
officials in Islamabad must be happy that there is all quiet on Karachi front,
and normalcy seems to have returned.
The provincial government must be feeling elated over appreciations
conveyed personally by Crocker, for doing an excellent job in controlling the
situation after the incident of targeted killings. The aggrieved party, Sunni
Tehreek, after having cried for few days seemed to have realized the futility
of seeking or hoping for justice from the rulers totally committed to
eradication of Islamic militancy.
Another heinous crime seemed drifting towards the heap of the files
of untraced cases. The incident, however, will not be ignored by the
historians to come. Therefore, it merits be remembering, viewing and
reviewing, not once but periodically till the ends of justice are met.

Sunni Tehreek has been organizing Milad-e-Mustafa conference in
Nishtar Park, Karachi since decades. On 11th April, during the break for
Maghrib prayer a bomb blast killed 57 participants of the conference and
wounded about one hundred. Ten of the Tehreeks top religious scholars
were among the dead, including Iftikhar Bhatti, Muhammad Akram Qadri,
Abbas Qadri, Hafiz Muhammad Taqi, Haji Hanif Billu, Mufti Mukhtar
Ahmed, and Dr Abdul Qadeer.
The incident resulted in random violence against everything which
could be related to the government. Police and Rangers present in the
vicinity of site of the incident stayed away to avoid aggravation of the


situation. The people attending the conference organized the evacuation of

the casualties at their own.
Next day, Karachi remained gripped in tension. Complete strike was
observed in which three buses were burnt. Protests were also held in
Hyderabad, Lahore, Multan and other cities of the country. The cabinet was
briefed about the bomb blast and the government announced compensation
worth Rupees 300,000 for each dead and Rupees 50, 000 for each injured.
Sunni Tehreek gave an ultimatum of 48 hours to the government to
arrest the elements behind the attack or face the consequences. Shahid
Ghauri demanded resignation of the Sindh government. He termed it a
conspiracy of targeted killing to eliminate the whole party. He demanded
inquiry by military intelligence and provincial government in no case should
be associated with investigations.
He linked the attack to the killing of Muhammad Salim Qadri oneand-a-half-year ago and killing of Tahir Qadri, and four workers of Sunni
Tehreek last year in a single day. He also said that applications for the
security for the occasion were sent to all high-ups including President
because we were receiving continuous threatening calls. He regretted that
18 hours have passed but no government official has contacted them or sent
a message of condolence.
MMA suspected MQM hand in Karachi blast. MQM and Sunni
Tehreek have a history of enmity and MQM has been blamed in the past for
the killing of many a Sunni Tehreek leaders. Karachis terrorism incident is
not a Shia-Sunni clash as the Sunni Tehreek people had a smooth sailing
with Shia sect, said Qazi. He rejected probe under provincial government
and asked Musharraf to resign.
The law-enforcers held an injured, Hussain Balti, as suspect from a
hospital and shifted him to unknown place. Authorities were also keen to
interview two of the injured Hindus, Ramaish Kumar and Mangat. However,
by then suicide bombing had already been speculated and widely publicized.
On 13th April, troops were deployed in Karachi to restore calm.
Markets remained closed. Protesters torched some vehicles. President and
Prime Minister called for strict action against protesters. Sherpao insisted on
suicide bombing and the Opposition on conspiracy theory.
Three days after the incident, the site of bombing was sealed off to
preserve evidence. FIR was registered against unknown attackers; but
Sunni Tehreek was not satisfied. It gave April 29 deadline for culprits arrest.


Life in Karachi remained paralyzed. The same day, thirteen people were
wounded in two bomb blasts in New Delhis largest mosque. Indian Home
Minister ruled out terrorism and said someone had tried to be naughty.
On 15th April, Sindh government declared Nishtar Park incident as
suicide bombing. Prior permission was made mandatory for gatherings in
Sindh. The same day, the eve of Easter, an Italian magazine close to the
influential Catholic conservative Opus Dei group published a cartoon
depicting the Prophet (PBUH) in an objectionable manner.
Next day, Musharraf met Sunni Tehreek leaders and assured them that
the culprits of Karachi carnage will be apprehended and awarded stern
punishment. He mainly focused on lecturing religious leaders about
importance of eliminating extremism and militancy.
Mufti Muneebur Rehman expressed satisfaction over the meeting. He
said members of the delegation were satisfied with the outcome of the
meeting but were awaiting practical results. He said the president told the
delegation that he was personally monitoring the investigation.
Police claimed some progress in investigations. Rashid claimed
investigations were in advanced stage and the culprits will not go
unpunished. Since then nothing worthwhile was reported by government
controlled or private media, except Prime Ministers direction to security
agencies and civil administration to intensify efforts to trace out the culprits.
He said the government was determined to get to the bottom of the incident.
Crocker, while conveying condolence, praised the Sindh government
for effectively controlling the situation after the incident. On 4th May, a US
Congress-mandated commission recommended that Pakistan be designated a
country of particular concern (CPC). It was recommended in the light of
what it alleged is sectarian and religiously motivated violence persisting in

Public reaction over the tragic incident was expressed
spontaneously. The grieved and enraged people did not allow Police or
Rangers to join in rescue and evacuation works. The men of these two law
enforcing agencies quickly realized that the safety lied in staying away.
The job done by the people was acknowledged by Ruby Malik from
Karachi. The only thing that gave us strength at this point was to see total

strangers volunteering to help the injured and tend to the dead side by side
the volunteers and workers of different organizations and jamaats. The
absence of the law enforcing agencies and other officials at the site was
glaring. They had stayed away fearing the mobs busy in rescue work.
Marghuz Khan from Peshawar wrote, this conspicuous disrespect
for our police and other law enforcing agencies is a reflection of our
mistrust on them due to their misconduct and malpractice. Incidents like
these signal the beginning of civil war and anarchy.
Afshan Syed from Bhakkar said, such bomb blasts do raise questions
in our minds regarding the security measures in the country Why wasnt
extensive search conducted of people entering the venue? Masooda Bano
opined that a state where people have to put their lives at risk every time
they join an innocent religious congregation clearly suffers from major
governance problems.
Muhammad Azhar Khawja from Karachi expressed similar views.
The government has failed miserably to provide security to the citizens.
The statements of apprehending the culprits and compensations by the
government are not acceptable especially when more than 50% police is
employed for the protection of VIPs at their residence, offices and on their
He added, if the concerned authorities do not resign, as is done in
civilized countries under such circumstances, they must be dismissed for
ineptitude, incompetence and inefficiency. Every time the government
lowers its guard, a terrorist attack takes place.
Rabia Abid from Islamabad wrote, protests and strikes after the bomb
blasts in Karachi revealed the public anger. But these cant bring relief or
comfort to those who have lost loved ones. Even more so I think the
Government of Pakistan remains stagnant and idle. Our ministers and top
officials are redundant. They are capable of only improving their lot but
have completely failed to do anything to improve the law and order
situation in the country.
Anila Butt from Islamabad said, it is not enough to say that those
behind the Nishtar Park blasts are not Muslims. The government should
provide an answer why such an attack occurred in the first place. The
onset of suicide attacks in Pakistan proves that the government has utterly
failed in its so-called war on terror.


Arresting more than 800 alleged terrorists to fill USA illegal

detention centres may be appreciable but some attention must be paid to the
terrorism at home. Instead of chasing ghost members of al-Qaeda in the
mountainous regions, there is need to focus on the violence that threatens the
lives of ordinary Pakistanis.
The agencies should show the same eagerness to nab those behind
the attacks as they showed after the attack on the Corps Commander Karachi
in 2004 (not the apathy displayed at the murder of Mufti Nizamuddin
Shamzai the same year) If the government keeps turning a blind eye to the
murderers of religious scholars, events like this will keep taking place. The
criminals should be made an example of, so that no one dares to carry out
similar acts in the future.
Syed A Mateen from Karachi said, the key of overcoming such
suicide attacks lies only and only in the hands of our law enforcing agencies.
One cannot expect the ordinary citizens of Pakistan to apprehend them.
Ikram Sehgal was not critical of the government failing. There have
been repeated questions for the past several months about an internal
security breakdown in Pakistan. Some have opined that matters have gone
beyond state control and we are already headed for anarchy. This not
An obvious public demand was conduct of a probe; impartial and
speedy. Masooda Bano rightly suggested that the scope of the probe should
be extended beyond finding the frontline operatives. The real culprits lie
deep behind these operators.
She wrote, since September 11, the government is increasingly
blaming these acts on suicide bombers If, however, suicide bombing is
actually becoming a norm in Pakistan then it is critical to take it more
seriously than the attention being paid to it right now It is important to
understand what is motivating the suicide bombers. Are the driven by
religious zeal, monetary incentives, or due to some sense of persecution?
What is their socio-economic background?
Given how keen the international community is to curb religious
extremism in Pakistan, lack of technical or monetary resources can no longer
justify a Pakistani governments inability to curb militant groups. Such
resources can be easily mobilized provided the government is committed to
address the problem. It is hard to believe that the government does not
know the militant groups, their whereabouts, and their financial sponsors.


Shahzadi Beg said, this should not, however, deter the government
from ensuring that a professional and independent investigation is carried
out and the results are made public. The governments ability to maintain
law and order is in question. This is do-or-die dilemma and may be the
governments most serious challenge yet.
She added, circumstances demand that terrorist offences be properly
investigated rather than being reacted to. A cohesive long-term strategy is
required. This may mean not only setting up an independent public enquiry
but also tasking a special law enforcing group such as the Special
Investigation Group set up in 2003 under the FIA, whose members were
trained by the Americans to tackle terrorist offences. Any such group must
be provided with resources with security of tenure as well as security of
person. Appropriate safe guards must be ensured against corruption and
political interference.
The hopes for the outcome of the probe were not high. Kamal
Matinuddin observed, unfortunately the perpetrators of these heinous
crimes and their planners, more often than not, remain at large. Those who
planned the assassination of Liaqat Ali Khan have still not been traced. The
mystery of Bahawalpur plane crash remains unresolved. Beijings request
that the killers of the Chinese workers be apprehended has not yet been
fulfilled. The results of investigation of the massacre in Hangu and the
explosion at the shrine of Barri Imam lie buried in the files of the protectors
of our lives and property.
The News wrote, it could be argued that little would come of the
probe. The pessimism would be understandable because too many of such
exercises have proved fruitless in the past. On the other hand, the result
wont be known until the investigation is completed, and there is no harm in
The daily newspaper condemned the onset of blame game in the
wake of the tragedy. Musharrafs order is a positive move. At least his
instructions to the intelligence agencies to trace the criminals behind the
slaughter arent something up in the air, like the name-calling and the
baseless, tit-for-tat accusations we are hearing since Tuesday evening. The
only concrete thing these can produce is fanning the flames.
In a subsequent editorial, it urged that there should be no deadlines or
ultimatums. The anger of the organizations which lost leaders and officials
in the tragedy is perfectly understandable. Their grief not only deserves
sympathy, but given the atrocitys magnitude, it becomes a kind of social

demand that those behind the Nishtar Park incident be brought to justice.
However, even in Pakistan with its tattered institutions, this must be done
through the process of law, not by lynch mobs
The violent reaction of the people on the spot bounced back and many
re-targeted the already targeted. Tehreem Mahmood from Karachi was of the
view that sticks with some participants indicated that everything was
preplanned. The most astonishing fact was the sudden use of sticks in the
violence. Why would anyone bring these to an otherwise peaceful event? It
all seemed scripted; otherwise there was no reason to carry sticks to a
gathering which was meant to be peaceful.
Haris Aziz from Coventry, UK joined in stoning the hyped criminal.
One could point fingers at foreign hands if it had been a bomb blast.
However, it is sad reality that such suicide bombings could only have been
carried by extremely radicalized Muslims The suicide bombing in
Nishtar Park shows the nihilistic mentality of Jihadist extremists. It is
time the government cleans up the sectarian militia mess in the country.
Nationalists, like Aneela Chandio from Hyderabad, availed the
opportunity to grind their axe. It is unfortunate that some people want to
change the demography of Sindh, in order to multiply their constituency, and
the regime allows this unchecked illegal migration to occur. In Karachi any
person can get a national identity card on payment of Rupees 2,000, because
they are sponsored by some councilors.
She pointed finger towards MQM. Pakistans national security is
being compromised at the altar of political exigencies of a junta, whose
source of power is an institution entrusted with the defence of the
motherland. Any terrorist can enter this country from across the border.
Even the government indulged in the blame game, according to
Farhad Khan from Peshawar. It has become the norm for our authorities to
relate such tragic incidents with world terrorism and thereby escape from
taking any responsibility The Sunni Tehreek has pointed fingers at certain
quarters in Karachi not only for the tragedy but some previous ones, too. It is
hoped that some heads would roll in the upper cadre of the Sindh
government as a result How long the authorities would come up with the
lame excuse of suicide bombing
Naeem Sadiq criticized provincial governments pretended mourning.
The children will joyfully play cricket for three days. Much of the business
will remain shut. The leaders will nauseatingly pronounce the same old
hackneyed platitudes. The inquiry will yield the same results as all the

previous inquiries have done so inconclusively. Pakistan will slide behind

the rest of the world by yet another three days.
Some people talked about conspiracy theory. Muhammad Riaz
from Malakand Agency wrote, a conspiracy is being hatched against
Muslims as such incidents are occurring in other Muslim countries as well.
In Iraq enemies of Islam seem to be in full control of the situation and the
two major sects are being projected as enemies of each other.
Muslims of the world, especially of Pakistan and Iraq, will have to
act wisely and must be wary of the conspiracies being hatched against them.
The internal disputes between various sects of Muslims will weaken them
and make them more vulnerable to the enemy. The enemies of Islam are
dividing the Muslims to cash in on their fighting.
Intellectuals like Imtiaz Alam rejected such theories. Leading
clerics would have us believe that it is always an alien hand or an antiMuslim, American-Jewish-Hindu conspiracy that is at constant work behind
such sectarian killings. This is how they reinforce Huntingtons prejudicial
Clash of Civilizations, and knowing well who is at whose throat. The beast
is within and the problem is deep-rooted in Muslim history. It can be proved
by a vast reservoir of empirical data on Muslims killing Muslims. Shouldnt
we identify the beast and expose the skeletons we have been trying to hide in
our so-called sacred cupboards for too long?
Kamal Matinuddin also rejected these theories but for different
reason. To absolve themselves of the responsibility our agencies
immediately point their fingers towards an external hand. He added,
the ultra-religious parties and some retired senior military officers continue
to pin the blame on the Americans, who, according to them, do not want to
see the only nuclear Muslim state prosper. The Indian bashers, including
some intellectuals, see RAW lurking in every corner. And now the Karzai
administration is being included, by the pro-Taliban elements in our tribal
areas, as our enemy number three.
Noman Sattar was of the view that this incident defies the civilization
clash viewpoint. Attack on a religious gathering in Pakistan is a clash
within the civilization, unless there is solid proof of a hand from another
civilization. Terrorist activity within Pakistan, sectarian or otherwise, is
adding to, and revising the Clash of Civilizations thesis.
He avoided accusing any particular segment of the society of
perpetrating violence, and instead preferred to generalize the issue. Since

the Afghan Jihad, Pakistan has served as a convenient venue for the
terrorists for recruitment, training and raising funds, and funneling
equipment across the borders. After 9/11, Pakistan became a convenient
rendezvous for the terrorists, and later a popular playground Even if the
blast was the result of suicide bombing it does not really solve the puzzle
about the perpetrators and their objective.
Kamal Matinuddin had similar views. We have drifted apart only
because we are not prepared to respect each others beliefs. We just cannot
tolerate petty differences in the practice of our common faith. Each
believing that his interpretation is the right one and others should be
compelled to change their beliefs. Some of us have gone to the extent of
motivating and training people to die for the misplaced cause.
Masooda Bano, however, was quite specific. A government which is
routinely carrying out military operations not only against militants in the
tribal belts, but also nationalist tribesmen in Baluchistan resulting in deaths
of countless civilians including women and children cannot justify being
soft on known militant or Jihadi groups.
The News spared Sunni Tehreek by not equating them with Jihadis,
but urged its Ulema to help the government in fight against militancy.
Appeal to Ulema by President Musharraf that they help the government
fight fanaticism is another reminder of that extremism does exist in a small
minority of Muslims. This incident resulted yet again in Pakistan and
Muslims being defamed.
Since some false religious leaders in Pakistan like the jihadis have
been instrumental in its creation, it falls to our Ulema in general to exorcise
the demon. The clerical organizations that lost leaders and officials in the
bombing, and 17 of whose leading members met the president, is at least not
jihadi With their control of pulpit, Ulema are in a very good position to
discourage fanatical ideas and philosophies.
When the topic turns to enemy within, the sectarian militancy in
Pakistan cannot be ignored. However, involvement of this evil force in
Nishtar Park attack was not suspected by most of the analysts. Masooda
Bano said, in this particular case there is nothing to indicate that a
sectarian Shia group has planned the attack. Which other constituency
might benefit from planning this attack has to be explored. This, however,
requires an efficient investigation from government officials, which given
the past record, is unlikely to follow.


Zulfiqar Shah supported the argument. Shah Turab ul Haq, a senior

leader of the Jamiat Ahl-e-Sunnat who narrowly escaped the blast, tells
TNS: We are not against any sect nor do we have an enmity. It is part of a
big conspiracy of anti-Islam forces and it is the responsibility of the
government to expose those involved in this heinous crime.
Despite the fact that most observers have ruled out sectarian factor in
the incident, M B Naqvi availed the occasion to shed tears for the Shias and
rub Sunnis for violence, ignoring the fact that in this case they were at the
receiving end. The point is most Pakistanis are a rich raw material from
which suicide bombers can be made. Hitherto all cases of terror have had
some mention of Pakistan all cases in UK, Europe and America.
He added, Peshawar has eclipsed all major Islamic centres. It seemed
as if Pakistan was the world headquarters of a rising global Islamic
Revolution. Much money of western powers and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and
UAE had gone into it in the 1980s. An infrastructure of such an ideology had
emerged among many small groups in Pakistan and elsewhere. It is truly an
international phenomenon. It is a different matter that Islamabad is now
embarrassed following the change in American preferences after 9/11.
Following the heroic deeds of Hamas and Iraqi suicide bombers,
Taliban have begun producing their own suicide bombers in both areas
of Taliban interest: Afghanistan and Pakistan where the recalcitrant Shia
minority invited their attention. Suicide bombing attacks on Afghan and or
western targets are no longer news nor are such attacks on Shia
congregations in Karachi and elsewhere unheard of. Taliban exhibit the glow
of popularity and power at least in the two Waziristans where they maintain
law and order, they collect taxes, try and execute those they think are evil
doers. Pakistans forces stay in their camp and allow Taliban to do pretty
much as they pleased.
Inside Baluchistan they also indulge in their taste for Shia blood.
Not that the Taliban did not have recruits from Karachi and other areas of
Punjab. The whole country abounds in pious Muslims who contribute
money, protect Islamic revolutionaries and provide them the cover.
He complained, the evidence so far suggests that Pakistan is ruthless
where al-Qaeda is concerned But where Taliban are concerned, well, the
severity of Pakistan action is conspicuous by its absence The issue of
issues for Pakistan today is the prevalence of intolerance, especially
religious and political. Taliban power in Baluchistan, FATA and even NWFP,


is bad news After objecting to religious parties government in NWFP, he

lectured on secular democracy.
In this country people have taken secular politics to mean something
anti-religious. Secularism refuses to pronounce on religion; this is simply
outside the scope Why not settle for a simple secular democracy that
gives something to all citizens, especially the hope of betterment of their life
for now? It makes no eternal or para-human promises and it allows for the
evolution of political and economic solutions to suit the people.
In balloon blown out by Naqvi in the face of Sunni extremists, Ikram
Sehgal saw an evil altogether different. Widespread Shia-Sunni strife is
most glaring in Iraq where things are rapidly spinning out of control. The
carnage in Karachi was professionally planned and meticulously executed. It
was not only Sunni-specific but also specifically meant to create a blood
cycle of Sunnis reacting against Shias
Apart from the victims of the attack, many suspected that it was the
result of political rivalry, but no one out rightly pointed finger toward
MQM, whose political militancy is an established fact. Zulfiqar Shah
preferred to say that indirectly.
By all indications, Tuesdays blast was a well-planned act of
terrorism as it targeted the leadership instead of the common participants.
The planners succeeded in their motives The Sindh government says it has
a strong suspicion the Nishtar Park blast was a suicide attack
Unfortunately you cant stop suicide bombing; even super powers like
America cannot stop that, argues home minister Rauf Siddiqui.
Shahzadi Beg said that taking cover of the statements of religious
leaders. Sectarian groups in Karachi have publicly stated that they have
little confidence in the local police investigating the Nishtar Park incident,
fearing political interference. The blame game provides a dangerous
political dimension in the backdrop to the present enquiry into the Karachi
The News did it by advising JI and MQM that it is imperative for the
two parties to nominate credible representatives and initiate a dialogue on
developing a code of conduct for them to follow. Such extravagant
accusations as have surfaced now only tarnish the credibility of the
political parties and further distance an already disillusioned people from the
political process.


Ikram Sehgal also urged the political rivals to cool down. The
hostility between the two major parties in Karachiintensified after the
bomb blast. Both the parties need to cool it and cool it fast. Their
responsibility is to look after the interests of millions of their constituents
Iqbal Mustafa was slightly specific. The bombing incident at Nishtar
Park, Karachi, bears an ominous testament to the failure of the government
to contain ideologically motivated violence at strategic and tactical levels.
The first step the government must take is to distance itself from militant
political forces; it will appear to be guilty of complicity in crimes of
communal violence. Without neutrality, the investigations would lead to
cover ups rather than apprehension of criminals.
Will the government descend from the clouds it is hiding its head in?
Perhaps so much blood will be compelling enough but then power politics
is such a soiled occupation that no one has the luxury of starting from a
clean state; this government is no exception.
Ammara Durrani discussed various theories in some detail.
Musharraf ruled out any link of the attack to international terrorism of
al-Qaeda, saying it could be the handiwork of sectarian elements
Religious groups have turned the sectarian theory around by casting
allegations at the MQM for targeting the steady rise of Islamist groups in
Sindh, and stretching the blame to global anti-Islam attempts of the US and
MMA said FBIs inclusion in investigation of Nishtar Park
tragedy was adding to concerns of religious forces. FBIs inclusion in
investigation is aimed at distorting facts, blaming al-Qaeda or any other fake
organization and promoting sectarian violence in the country.
JUI alleged that terrorists were in control of Sindh government
and the Federal Law Ministry had given urban areas of Sindh in control of a
particular ethnic terrorist outfit, that was engaged in massacre of political
opponents, Ulema and religious people without fear.
Despite his recent tiff with the governor, the Sindh chief minister also
appeared to be shielding his competitor for power against this growing
political backlash, when he was quoted saying that leveling charges against
the governor and home minister was not in the interest of the nation
and the country.
Police chief of the province said, any particular person, group or
party was not the target; rather, it was a multi-purpose terrorism act


aimed at killing innocent people to create law and order situation and
damage the countrys image at international level.
Almost everyone agreed on the need to curb militancy and
violence. Shafqat Mahmood asked, what is behind it? Politics, sectarianism,
deliberate destabilization? What ever it is, it requires close monitoring and
ceaseless vigilence This situation cannot be allowed to grow and get out
of control.
Kamila Hyat opined, as part of the effort to win a war that may take
years of struggle, there is need to expand the base of support for antimilitancy policies. There is need to persuade ordinary people of the
immense damage that the unending series of blasts and targeted shootings
are inflicting, and to bring before them the faces of people who have
suffered such outrageous devastation to their lives as a result of striking
virtually anywhere and at anytime.
Dr M S Jillani said, religious leadership should encourage its
adherents to acquire knowledge of the world, and seek education to compete
with followers of other religions and other nations, and develop a positive
view of everything on this planet instead of spending time on minor
differences with others. It needs to be realized that all sects and factions of
Islam have common enemies. There is no shortcut on this course. Religious
extremism, hatred and the tendency to incite others, by showing off, can
only be remedied by acquainting the religious community, especially their
teachers with modern thinking and new opportunities in life. The end
objective should be to co-exist as Muslims rather than as members of sects
and factions.
Shireen M Mazari wrote, militarization of the society has become
ingrained as violence is seen as an answer to all disagreements amongst
ourselves no matter how petty the issue. Whether it is rival student groups
or siblings or spouses or political or religious groups. From the micro to the
macro levels of society, we seem to revel in the use of violence. Our
language for ourselves is violent; our responses to even the most minor of
provocations is violent and, of course, no political or religious gathering can
be held without an adequate display of weapons.
The violence is, of course, the means or expression of a growing
intolerance for diversity amongst us. Be it the religious or secular extremist,
self-righteousness embodies a lack of tolerance for the other. Our socalled western liberals are not prepared to see any good in any form of
religious expression or school, while our religious pontiffs condemn all

opponents as un-realistic. The space to co-exist is disappearing fast and the

rising tide of intolerant self-righteousness will sweep us all in its wave of
What is the reason for this air of resignation and fatalism? At some
level, the ruling elite, of all varieties, must take responsibility at the
macro level, at least. Over the decades, their unresponsiveness to the people;
their abuse of this wonderful land and its resources and, their complete lack
of commitment to a sense of nationalism, while pushing forward factional
and personal interests, has unleashed a similar looking out for oneself
mindset within the nation.
She mentioned the failings in two fields; democracy and education,
which could help in inculcation of tolerance and then added, while
intolerance for each other is becoming a hallmark within our society, our
fatalism and sense of resignation is making us overly tolerant of abuse
from outside. With our larger neighbour India, we are desperately seeking
conflict resolution even though it is clear they are more interested in conflict
management or the imposition of solutions. The arrogance of the Indian state
has been increasing as we have become more accommodating and nothing
reflects this more clearly than their offer of the so-called peace and
friendship treaty which they suggest should leave Kashmir out of its ambit.
Nor are we taking abuse only from the Indians. Mr Bush came here to
check whether his friend, President Musharraf was still serious, about
his commitment against terrorism
Our sense of resignation has become so pronounced that we are
unable to offer any strong response to the abuse being heaped on us
from external forces Again, while we hold nothing back in the language
we use against each other, we have become overly circumspect in
responding to external machinations against our nation. Even Mr Karzai,
who can barely keep his governments writ in Kabul, has found himself able
to hurl accusations at us and make demands on us ad nauseam.
We need to overcome our seeming air of defeatism in external
dealings because we are not as weak as we seem to be feeling and the
problem is in our elites psyche. At the same time, we need to break out of
our intolerant and violent mode within the domestic framework
Ikram Sehgal was of the view that Pakistan has been successful in the
war against terrorism. We were similarly successful in the Afghan war but
happy with the victory of the Mujahideen we did not prepare for post-war


trauma. This time around we need to be prepared to meet the challenge

posed by those who want to see Pakistan destabilized.

Pakistan by virtue of being frontline state could not avoid becoming
battle ground for different types of forces pitched against each other in
the war on terror. As the war has been raging for about half a decade, many
belligerent forces, not linked to Americas war on terror, have also become
active to settle the scores. Resultantly, Pakistan has turned into a stage for
multiple actors of militancy.
The war began with fighting between the Crusaders and Islamic
militant group of al-Qaeda and their religious minded hosts; Taliban. Then it
turned into hunting of foreign fighters who fled Afghanistan and took refuge
in Pakistan. This led to the phenomenon of urging Pakistan to do more.
The Crusaders kept pressing the government of Pakistan to act Mulla,
Mosque and Madrassa, which according to them were the source of Islamic
militancy. With the launching of crackdown against religious institutions, the
war turned into conflict between fundamentalism and enlightened
The forces targeted by security forces of Pakistan turned against the
ruling elite which resulted in assassination attempts on president and prime
minister. The failed attempts came handy for the Crusaders and they often
mentioned these to arouse personal vendetta of the rulers of frontline state.
Meanwhile, India took advantage of the situation, indulged in
brinkmanship and succeeded in coercing Pakistan to accept that supporting
Kashmiri freedom fighters was nothing but cross border terrorism. Pakistan
launched a crackdown against all those setups who supported the resolution
of the core issue. Pakistans security forces were thus pitched against
Jehadis. Afghanistan took lead from India and leveled allegations of cross
border terrorism, forcing Pakistan to do more and more against Pushtoons
resisting occupation of Afghanistan and threatening Karzais rule. Jihadis
and Pushtoons resisting occupation of Afghanistan were alienated.
The sectarian strife which existed before the start of war on terror did
not die down. It was a readily available enemy within, which could be used
by the enemies of Pakistan as and when required. Some of the sectarian
killings in the recent past cannot be seen in isolation of the sectarian strife in
Iraq, which have been aired by the occupation forces with ulterior motives.


India and Afghanistan decided to administer some of the cross border

medicine to Pakistan. This resulted in continuous violence in tribal areas and
lately into another armed confrontation between nationalist Baluchis and the
state of Pakistan. Meanwhile, political militancy in Karachi continued
resulting in many killings.
All the above belligerent forces are quite different from each other,
but they have one thing in common; all of them, no matter on which side of
the divide they stand, resort to terrorists tactics. The government agencies
term opponents acts of militancy as terrorism, while their own acts,
including targeted-killings, are claimed as successes for the holy cause.
Thus, Suicide bombing, targeted killings, collateral damage, force
protection, prisoners torture are all forms of terrorism.
Bearing the above in mind, the events and comments enumerated
above can be reviewed. The government cannot absolve itself of failing in
protecting lives of its citizens. The negligence in this case becomes
more glaring in view of the prior requests for arranging security for the
Anila Butt from Islamabad has asked the government to provide an
answer why such an attack occurred in the first place. The reason is quite
evident. Pakistans law enforcing and security agencies are so heavily
committed in protecting interests of the West that they are left with little to
do thankless job of protecting lives of Pakis.
Under pressure of the Crusaders, the government has been distracted
from fighting the genuine terrorism, which endangers security of
Pakistanis; individually and collectively. In fact, by launching ruthless
operations or crackdowns against groups supporting freedom movement in
Kashmir and Pushtoons resisting occupation of their country, it has caused
spread of terrorism.
The gravity of the Nishtar Park bombing warranted removal of
provincial government, but the Centre could not dare doing that, because its
removal would have resulted in dissolution of federal government. The
ruling coalition has virtually become hostage of MQM. It was said in one
of the previous discussions, and can be repeated here that this nationalist
entity could prove most dangerous to peace and stability of the country.
The meticulously planned and well-executed Nishtar Park attack in
muddled security situation in Pakistan was bound to result in blame game.
Religious parties, which happened to be the political rivals of MQM,

suspected it in view of targeted elimination of opponents in the last few

years. MQM, taking advantage of the general impression created by the
ongoing war on terror, blamed religious extremists.
There was nothing drastically wrong with the victim party suspecting
MQM. In every criminal case the investigators invariably start with asking
the victim about his/her suspicion about anyone. This generally is the
starting point of most investigations. Their suspicion was based on strong
circumstantial evidence. But, blaming the victims was quite irrational.
Moreover, it was done by claiming that it was a suicide attack, even before
the start of a probe. Sunni Tehreek has never indulged in targeted killing or
suicide bombing.
Musharraf did not like JI blaming the party of Altaf Bhai, whereas he
and his band of enlightened moderates have been accusing religious
parties, day in and day out, for terrorism without sufficient evidence;
whereas JI produced a long list of targeted killings carried out by MQM. The
hurling of blames, however, proved one thing for certain that nobody in the
country who matters has any clue about the real culprits.
When enraged protesters resorted to violence, the victims were
blamed for disrupting the normal life. Some even said that it was all stage
managed, because there was sudden use of sticks by the protesters. It
implied that bomb blast which killed dozens of people was carried out to
create conditions for use of sticks; ridiculous.
Most analysts targeted Jihadis simply that the attack seemed to be the
work of a suicide bomber. It has been taken for granted that suicide bombing
can only be carried out by Jihadis. In fact, this theory was first prompted
by an ex-Indian intelligence high-up from across the border. He said that this
could be an act of Jihadis involved in IHK, because parties included in Sunni
Tehreek opposed militant approach.
A few suspected that it could be an incident of sectarian killing,
despite the fact that this possibility was ruled out. Experts like M B Naqvi
simply availed the opportunity to rub some salt into the wounds of the
victims. All these hypotheses led to theory of clash within the civilization.
The clash within Pakistani society cannot be refuted, but it cannot be
used to rule out strong possibility a conspiracy. The very existence of clash
within is enough to invite trouble from outside enemy. The exploitation of
the dissidents is the stated part of the strategy of ongoing war.


The most dangerous enemy is the one who wears the garb of an ally or
friend. Muslim World has yet to determine the true nature their
relationship with America. Muslim rulers consider America their friend,
but Muslims masses across the world generally take it as an enemy.
There are some differences within the Muslim people as well. In Iraq,
Sunni Arabs consider America an enemy, but Shiites and Kurds consider it a
friend. In Palestine, Fatah is a friend and Hamas an enemy of the US.
Similarly, in Afghanistan Panjsheris have friendly relations with US-led
forces and most Pushtoons are resisting the occupation. Situation in many
other Muslim countries is quite similar. In Pakistan it has not yet crystallized
in terms of friendship or enmity within different ethnic groups, but there is
another kind of division; the religious fundamentalists are the enemy of
America and enlightened moderates are taken as friends.
Shia-Sunni divide in Iraq has been cleverly exploited by the
Crusaders to weaken the resistance through constant bleeding. This has
helped them in many ways; critics focus has been taken off the occupation
forces; own casualties have been reduced; and leaders of various factions
have been coerced to take dictations hoping for an end to the engineered
civil war.
The Crusaders would like to spread the sectarian hatred to win
support for imposing sanctions or military action against Shiite Iran.
Although this could prove double edged weapon, yet the Crusaders believe
that it could serve their cause of demonizing Iranians.
The arousing of Shia-Sunni hatred could also help in destabilizing
Pakistan, which in turn could be used as pretext to neutralize its nuclear
deterrence. Some of the attacks on religious gatherings in the recent past,
like the one in Hangu, have to be seen in this context. It has to be noted that
Pakistan has been recently recommended to be included in the US list of
Countries of Particular Concern.
Another aim of the Crusaders is to demonize the suicide bombing.
They have failed to counter this threat with all the military might at their
disposal. For the groups resisting occupation of Iraq and of late in
Afghanistan it has been an equivalent of daisy-cutters or bunker-busters.
Western media has equated the suicide bombing with Islamic
fanaticism. The Crusaders had been pressing hard on Muslim clergy to
declare suicide bombing un-Islamic. It could be possible that this attack is
aimed at luring Ulema to come out with a FATWA declaring such attacks
against the teachings of Islam.

It could also be an act of targeted killing. One of the possible aims

of publication of blasphemous cartoons was to identify future targets being
intolerant to values of the western civilization. Sunni leaders had been on
the forefront purely for religious reasons, whereas many others did it for
reasons other than the religion. It is worth mention that the act of blasphemy
was repeated on the eve of Easter soon after the Nishtar Park blast.
Elimination of anti-US and anti-West individuals is one of the goals of
this ongoing holy war. If an ordinary Paki like Amir could be eliminated by
Germany, the other active Crusaders can do much more than that. It must be
remembered that targeted killings of learned people has been widely
carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan and even in Pakistan.
In conspiracy theory, India emerges automatically. India has been
quite active in its efforts to destabilize Pakistan ever since it came into
being. Now it has been formally baptized as strategic partner in Crusades
against Islamic militancy. The naughty act of bomb blasts in New Delhi
mosque could be an attempt to smoke screen Nishtar Park bombing.
America wont do it naively. It would take all the precautions to
keep its activities clandestine. But, the gesture of Crocker to appreciate
provincial governments efforts to control the situation effectively after the
bomb blast raises some suspicion. MQMs minister for domestic affairs
became the only second Pakistani to receive commendation from America.
Was it done to pre-empt finger-pointing towards America?
The foregoing makes it amply clear that agencies assigned the task of
probing have a very complicated riddle at their hand. They must not be
misled by the political authorities, who immediately after the incident
suspected suicide bombing. The motive was obvious; they wanted to throw
it back onto religious fanatics.
The very first thing they must establish with certainty, even if it was a
suicide bombing, is that whether it was act of terrorism or targeted killing.
The latter is invention of the superpower and adopted by many ruling juntas
in Muslim countries.
The site of the crime was sealed off three days after the bombing to
preserve evidence. The delayed access to the site of the crime and measures
taken to preserve the evidence has further complicated the task of the
investigators. It could have resulted in loss of vital evidence.
Such incidents in Pakistan, as already discussed, could have any of the
long list of possible motives. One, it could be ethnic rivalry and Karachi has

experienced linguistic militancy in the past, but in this case it can be safely
ruled out as the targets belonged to all parts of the country. Two, Karachi has
also experienced sectarian militancy, but most analysts have ruled it out.
Three, the motive could be political; MQM vs JI.
Fourth, it could be the new form of clash within the civilization, i.e.
religion vs secularism or fundamentalism and enlightenment. If that be the
case, then Clash of Civilizations automatically comes in, because other kinds
of divisions have not been polarized to the extent that they would resort to
such militancy.
Lastly, it could be a case of foreign intervention for which there are
sufficient reasons and history to corroborate. In this case, possibility of
MQM joining hand with them cannot be ruled out because its political
interests and geo-political interests of the Crusaders converge onto the
common enemy; the Muslim clergy in Pakistan.
This party is led by men who already having plenty of blood on their
hands. Both believe in eliminating their opponents. Moreover, partys
established headquarters in London facilitate inter-action with like-minded
foreign forces without being under surveillance of Pakistani intelligence
The above inferences lead to some possibilities. It could be the work
of Crusaders, proxy crusaders or MQM. It is also possible that any two of
the three might have collaborated with quiet consent of the third. If it is so,
findings, if not distorted deliberately, will remain classified for reasons that
Pakistan is an ally of the first in holy war, the second is partner in the peace
process and the last is governments vital coalition partner.
Militancy or violence is the serious problem faced by the world today.
Dr Muzaffar Iqbal discussed the causes behind this menace and suggested
the solution. He wrote, violence is the product of a violent inner fissure
within the perpetrators of the crime, a breakdown of humanness, a total
plunge into the dark abyss of non-humanity. Given the existential nature of
humanity, the person committing such random violence sinks into the raw
animal form, negating all traits of the spirit infused into the physical body
thus endowed with reason, intellect, compassion, mercy, and love. This kind
of violence was almost unheard of until our own times.
We are witnessing a time in which the killer does not why he is
killing and the killed do not know why they are being killed; this is precisely
what a Prophetic saying had foretold. The time mentioned by the Prophet of


Islam (PBUH) is now at hand. No one knows how this raw and random
violence is begotten and no one has a clue how to stop it. The news flashes
seen or heard in horror are forgotten as soon as the next day or the day after;
no one even has time for mourning; such is the speed of events.
Violence begets violence, an age-old axiom tells us. What violence
have people of these traditional Islamic lands suffered, that they continue to
produce more violence? What has robbed them of their humanity to such
an extent that the cycle of violence does not stop? What is so rotten in
their psyche that they have forgotten the sanity of life so central to the
message of Islam? Your blood and lives and properties are inviolable, the
Prophet of Islam (PBUH) had said on the day he delivered his farewell
sermon. He also said that a Muslim is the one from whose hands and tongue
another Muslim remains safe. What, then, is so corrupted in the minds and
hearts of those who continue to blast bombs in crowded places,
indiscriminately killing the young and the old? Do they not see any
consequences of their deeds?
Of course, we must distinguish between the raw and meaningless
violence of the kind so often witnessed in Pakistan from the armed
resistance of oppressed people whose lands are occupied by foreign armies.
Resistance against oppression is a duty of every Muslim, we are told by
none other than the Prophet (PBUH) himself What is abhorrent, therefore,
is not resistance against foreign occupations, but the kind of violence that
has no meaning whatsoever.
Those who merely wish to find scapegoats are quick to label this
raw and meaningless violence as religious extremism. This is, indeed, a
meaningless way out of a meaningless situation. A term empty of content is
applied to a real phenomenon and the matter is considered closed. Religions,
especially Islam, cannot be extreme by definition, for Islam is the middle
path, the most noble of all paths. If anything, it is an extreme departure from
Islam, which brings a person or a group to such a horrible state of violence.
If this breakdown of humanity occurs through a process, then what
are the ingredients of that process? A total absence of religion consciousness
that is to say, a total oblivion to the reality of life and the Hereafter must
be the most important factor in the process, for all other factors (poverty,
lack of education, and the like) are secondary.
Thus, rather than being a result of religious extremism, violence of
the kind we are discussing is a product of an absence of religion. It is the
absence of the consciousness of the Creator and the entire range of beliefs

associated with that consciousness that produces this descent of humanity.

When human beings are left to their own selves, without the shining light of
faith, reason breaks down under stress and rationality gives way to total
It requires special kind of circumstances to produce this breakdown
of the rational mind. That special combination of helplessness, poverty,
despair, and extreme awareness of futility of everything is present in the
Muslim lands now. This is why we see this kind of violence in these lands.
Occasional scenes of such raw violence can also be seen in those societies
where the absence of religion has become a norm. An American high school
student, for instance, takes a gun and randomly shoots at his class fellows.
But such a breakdown of the rational mind is rare in those societies because
the other factors (poverty, despair, helplessness, meaninglessness, etc.) are
not so profound.
In the traditional lands of Islam, people cannot live without religious
consciousness, because religion is all around them; when they do, their
rational minds break down sooner than those living in societies where
religion is not a public phenomenon anymore The remedy is either
complete elimination of Islam from the public sphere, as is being
proposed by various Western thinkers and their clients, or a true return to
Islam. The former will lead to the destruction of Islam as a living religion in
the Muslim lands, the latter to a blissful state of existence in the here and
now as well as in the Hereafter. The choice is obvious.
7th May 2006



Ever-ungrateful Kabul under direction of ever-demanding Crusaders
on the eve of tripartite commission meeting in Rawalpindi once again asked
the ever-obedient Islamabad to do more. Pakistan responded by saying that it
has done more than its share, but the share of frontline state remains
unlimited and unspecified.
During first week of May, Abizaid visited GHQ, but discussed war on
terror with Musharraf and lauded his policies against terrorism. Pakistan and
US agreed to enhance intelligence sharing for combating terrorists. The socalled sharing will remain one-way.
Earlier Richard Boucher denied reports that the US sought to distance
itself from Musharraf. He supported Musharrafs strategic goals of
enlightened moderation and democracy. The mention of democracy by
American president and subsequently by US officials resulted in political
hustle in Pakistan.
Nothing significant happened in the context of peace process with
India. While India achieved a lot in choking cross border terrorism in IKH,
Pakistan was finding it hard to do so in Baluchistan. The quest for soft image
suffered a setback when an NGO in US placed Pakistan sixth in the rankings
of failed states.

War against Pushtoons for Afghan peace continued. Following
incidents were reported in last three weeks:
Parts of Afghan border were sealed on 17 th April to prevent militants
entering from Pakistan. Two suspected militants were arrested in
On 18th April, villagers held protest march and blocked the road to
demand removal of Afghan refugees camps in Jallozai and Bital.
Residents abandoned Anghar Killay due to fear of another attack.

Bodies of five men were removed from graves, reportedly for DNA
tests. Next day, body of a US-spy was found near Wana. Four FC
soldiers were wounded in landmine blast in North Waziristan.
On 20th April, a convoy was ambushed in North Waziristan killing 8
FC soldiers and wounding 26 others. Six suspected militants were
killed in retaliatory action in which gunship helicopters were used.
Miranshah and Mirali came under rocket attack. An Arab national and
a Khassadar were killed and two other wounded in Bajaur Agency.
Militants ransacked a check post of Khassadars near Miranshah on
21st April and took away the weapons. Next day, troops came under
rocket attack in North Waziristan.
On 23rd April, three tribesmen and two FC soldiers were killed in
North Waziristan in different incidents. Next day, one suspected
militant was killed by troops near a post in South Waziristan. Militants
patrolled Miranshah and burnt newspapers in Mirali.
Three soldiers were killed and 14 wounded when three vehicles were
damaged in an ambush near Dattakhel on 25th April. Three attackers
were also killed in retaliation in which Pak and US aircraft
participated. An Afghan bomb maker and four members of his family
were killed when the device exploded near Quetta.
On 26th April, an FC soldier was wounded in a blast in North
Waziristan. Musharraf announced Rupees 10 billion for uplift of
FATA and said army would withdraw if tribesmen expel foreign
militants. Next day, militants and FC troops exchanged fire for two
hours on road Miranshah-Razmak.
Local Taliban commander was killed and his three companions were
wounded by a man in Tank on 30th April. Al-Qaeda claimed attack on
US Consulate in Karachi. Next day, a pro-government tribal elder was
killed in North Waziristan. Militants declared ceasefire for Tableeghi
On 4th May, three levies men and a civilian were killed in blast at a
check post near border in Bajaur Agency. Huge Tableeghi gathering
concluded in Miranshah. Ten-day ceasefire was still holding. Gunmen
killed, former Taliban leader Mullah Samad Barakzai in Quetta. He
was supporting Karzai after distancing himself from Taliban.


Pakistan, reinvigorated by Bush, agreed to hold joint exercises with

US and Afghan forces to combat terrorism. The agreement was reached in
tripartite meeting held at Rawalpindi on 19th April. Sherpao said the US
would help in capacity-building of levies force as well as in training the
force personnel which would be raised in North and South Waziristan. Next
day, Crocker discussed development in FATA with NWFP Governor. About
a week later, newly recruited Spanta joined the chorus of Pakistan must do
more. Musharraf renewed his pledge to fight terror.
On 29th April, correspondents of foreign press were flown to
Miranshah and were proudly informed that 324 terrorists, including 41
aliens, were killed in 39 operations since June 2005. Only a day earlier
Musharraf had told the Guardian that he was not fighting terror for the US.
He termed the US air strikes inside Pakistan as infringement of sovereignty.
He did not say that he has been helplessness in stopping that, however, he
admitted that his popularity has gone down; but my country needs me.
Pakistan opened airspace to Dutch peacekeepers in Afghanistan on
2 May. With the expansion of NATO mission, they have become part of the
occupation force, but Islamabad preferred to call them peacekeepers. The
same day, Pak-US-Afghan anti-terror drills began. Pakistan again asked
Kabul to fence and mine its side of border to stop infiltration.

On 3rd May, Abizaid arrived in Islamabad to get progress report on

war on terror. Three days later, Henry Compton, State Department
coordinator for counter-terrorism alleged that most al-Qaeda and Taliban
leaders are in Pakistan and Pakistan is not doing enough
Meanwhile, Altaf Bhai demanded army pullout from tribal area.
Home Minister of Baluchistan claimed that the provincial government had
proof of terrorism by Afghan nationals and asked the federal government
to lodge a protest with Kabul. He also demanded early repatriation of
Afghan refugees.
Deployment of fresh troops in South Waziristan was reported on 28 th
April. Next day, al-Zwahiri sent message to Pakistanis: I call on the people
of Pakistan to work to remove this traitor (Musharraf) from powerand I
call on every officer and soldier in the Pakistani army to disobey their
commanders orders to kill Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
During the period, analysts focused on Indian game plan for
destabilizing Pakistan by actively involving in tribal areas through
Afghanistan for whose peace sons of Pakistan has been and continue


shedding their blood. Asif Haroon wrote, we have known of RAW and the
Afghan intelligence involvement in Baluchistan and FATA for quite some
time but did not expose them because of our policy of appeasement and for
fear of annoying our neighbours. Karzai upped the ante when during his last
trip to Pakistan he furnished a list of wanted terrorists It was a calculated
move to put us on the defensive so that we are unable to complain to Bush
about the activities of RAW from Afghan soil. The visitor was presented
with conclusive evidence of RAW and Afghan intelligences shady activities.
It had little effect on him.
All our high hopes were dashed when Bushs visit turned into a nonevent. The ungrateful Bush carried only a one-point agenda of pressing
Musharraf to keep fighting terrorists without any letup. He appeared to be
on an on-the-spot assessment trip to know the battle worthiness of the man
chosen for the assigned task Our complaint to Gen Abizaid about Kabuls
conspiracies fell on deaf ears. After all, how could Karzai have indulged in
anti-Pakistan activities without a wink from his mentor?
The US legislation of March 15 is another reminder of punitive
action in case we continue to do business with Iran. To put more pressure,
the US State Department issued a slanderous report accusing Pakistan of
violating human rights. The US has done nothing to address the root
causes of terrorism in response to the two-pronged strategy proposed by
Musharraf, nor is there any desire to do so in the future. As such, we are
working on a single prong to fight the US war on terror, which is selfdefeating.
In our bid to project a soft image of Pakistan, we are fast losing our
bearing. Our exuberance to please the US and India by way of fighting
religious extremism has given rise to terrorism. Unmindful of the
implications of the Indo-US strategic relationship and the coldness of Bush
on Pakistans security
In a subsequent article, he added, it was alleged that Pakistans tribal
belt, particularly South Waziristan was infested with foreign elements that
were carrying out attacks in Afghanistan. A stage came when Pakistan was
clearly told that if it failed to take effective measures against them, US
troops would be forced to carryout hot pursuit operations across the border.
This was a ploy and part of the game plan to make the area turbulent
and make us turn our guns inward. In fact, throughout the war on terror our
guns have been pointing inward.


Overnight implementation of the new policy dictated by the US to

deal with the heroes of yesteryear as terrorists, rather than doing it steadily,
was imprudent The army expanded its operations to North Waziristan,
again on the prompting of the Americans. North Waziristan is still in flames
where the Mahsuds and Waziris who did not see eye to eye with each other
have joined hands.
Bajaur Agency is also restive because of the Predator attack on
Damadola and so is Kurram Agency where Shia-Sunni tensions are still
high. While Darra is restive, Mohmand Agency and Bajaur Agency, which
are in the grip of religious fervor, are likely to get disturbed as a
consequence to the Afghan-US operation in Kunar province. Over 150 progovernment and pro-US elements have been gunned down and
Talibanization is on the rise.
Having succeeded in drawing our more than corps size force towards
the western border, the Indo-Afghan intelligence has stepped up
subversive activities to create bad blood between the tribesmen and the
army. Nineteen training centres are in operation in Afghanistan where Indian
commandoes are imparting training to Afghans as well as dissidents from
Baluchistan and tribal belt. Cash and huge caches of munitions are pouring
in to keep the two areas turbulent. The assured external support together
with the promise of reward money has emboldened the local militants to
intensify their activities. Twenty-one Indian information centres in
Afghanistan are busy spreading poisonous propaganda against Pakistan
under the cover of promoting democracy and education.
All these actions are taking place in full swing under the nose of
the US military and CIA in Afghanistan. To pretend that they are being
hoodwinked is sheer deceitfulness. Having destabilized our tribal belt,
efforts are now in hand to spread the instability to settled areas in the NWFP.
In this regard, the recent threat by the US that it would undertake strikes
against the so-called terrorists hiding in settled areas in the Frontier is
Now, that it has become clear that our so-called friends are playing
a double game and hatching conspiracies to destabilize us by constantly
pressing us to do more, we should review our policy of calling our own
people terrorists and unwisely creating so many enemies. We should give up
the witch-hunt against the so-called terrorists since it is always the innocent
people that suffer in the cross-fire.


Azam Khalil said, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has embarked on

a perilous journey of preaching tolerance but practicing treachery. He is
playing a dirty role by acting as a puppet for India under the shadows of the
American occupying forces in his country The Indians are planning to
extend their influence in every sphere of Afghanistan and to achieve this
purpose they are deeply involved in training and infiltrating Afghanistans
police and diplomatic corps.
Karzai, who was caught on the wrong foot by Pakistan when it was
established that he had allowed training camps run by the Indian
security agencies to destabilize the law and order in Baluchistan and
Waziristan may now come under renewed international scrutiny after the
discovery of Maoist camps in Afghanistan. Karzais government and the
Indian agencies are the main suppliers of arms and ammunition to the
insurgents in Nepal.
The analyst wrongly assumed that international community he
referred to was not aware of this. It has been done with explicit desire of that
pretending pious community. He added, Mr Karzai must remember that his
country will be the ultimate loser in this dangerous game once the
strategic and economic interests of the United States shift elsewhere.
There are reports about the Afghan president planning to lease the
airport at Jalalabad to the Indian air force for training of Afghanistans nonexistent air wing. It is very dangerous move that will be considered an
extremely hostile act by Pakistanis Already the Indians are funding two
dams in Afghanistan that would deprive Pakistan of its legitimate share of
water The Indian agencies have entrenched in various parts of
Afghanistan under a variety of guises. They are purchasing influence by the
day, a method approved by the Americans.
All this has increased the pressure on Pakistan because the Americans
have decided to create a favourable atmosphere for the Indians. The bug of
China phobia is most likely to benefit the Indian government The analyst
went on to suggest that Pakistan should try to counter this pressure by
enhancing ties with Nepal and Bangladesh. Pakistan should plead the case
of Naxalites and freedom fighters of Mizoram, and may raise its voice for
Sikhs who have been demanding autonomy. This is big ask from those
seeking soft image and engaged in crushing freedom movement in IHK and
Pushtoons resisting occupation of their country.
Nosheen Saeed suggested; at this juncture when global scenario is
changing rapidly and the regional developments are extremely worrisome; a

spirit of integration and patriotism should be prevailing amongst Pakistanis,

to counter the convergence of interests working among the US, India and
Afghanistan in cornering Pakistan on the issue of cross-border terrorism.
Blames emanate like a chorus from the trio. By exploiting our
weaknesses they have simultaneously unleashed a malicious campaign to
destabilize Pakistan.
The elements who wish to destabilize the government during such
sensitive times must read what the Afghan state-run newspaper wrote
last month, Pakistans political parties are trying to overthrow Musharrafs
despotic government At the same time, the freedom struggle by the
Baluch is becoming stronger by the day and its poised to spread to
Pushtunkhwa (NWFP), Sindh and Kashmir and assume the nature of a
national movement against Punjabi dominance.
Obviously, Karzais anti-Pakistan activities and the growing intensity
of his attacks have the endorsement of the US and India. Karzais domestic
compulsions on many fronts, his political failure and isolation are making
him lose his authority; increasing tensions with Pakistan at this stage could
be a useful diversion.
S Rahman expressed his concern. It is really shocking to note a news
item coming from Waziristan from the public quarters directly experiencing
the armed conflagration prevailing in the region. According to the report, the
people fighting the security forces are actively backed by trained foreign
saboteurs including Indians. Some people even say that foreign saboteurs
are actively engaged in fighting Pak security personnel.
Neither the government nor other quarters concerned have given
publicity to this act. One, however, wishes the news item to be untrue, but a
good number of Waziristan people insist that their first hand information
about foreign saboteurs fighting Pakistani troops in that area is true.
Taking cognizance of the ground realities in the backdrop of this vital
information, the logical conclusion drawn is that the authorities, especially
the agencies and security setups, are fighting many faces of an enemy both
hidden and visible, on the basis of concrete realities and not on the basis of
hypothetical themes and plans The government must deal with the ill
wishers launching attacks with impunity, with an iron hand. At the same
time it should continue with its plan to economically and politically
strengthen the masses of the disturbed areas.
Praful Bidwai advised Pakistan to accept India-related emerging
realities. The beheading of Indian engineer Kasula Suryanarayana by the

Taliban in Afghanistan, marks a new low in the already precarious situation

of the country. It is a pointer to the success that the Taliban have had in
regrouping in several of Afghanistans provinces, especially in Kandahar,
Zabul, Kunar, Uruzgan, Paktika, Paktia and Helmand not to speak of the
tribal agency areas in Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.
It is noteworthy that Suryanarayana was killed despite Karzais
recent invitation to the Taliban to further the process of political
reconciliation by joining and cooperating with his government.
Surayanarayanas killing is a sign of greater recalcitrance and selfconfidence on the part of the Taliban.
It nevertheless stands to reason that hardliners in secret agencies
would collude with all forces, which seek to scare Indian civilians away
from Afghanistan. They dont regard Indias historic ties with Afghanistan as
real or legitimate Many hardliners probably believe like many in
Pakistans civilian establishment do too that India is messing around or
making trouble in a country that lies in the Pakistani sphere of influence
and gives it the strategic depth it otherwise lacks.
Pakistan, in particular, must reconcile its Afghanistan and India
policies and abide scrupulously by its commitment not to support any
militant separatist and terrorist groups. He spoke on behalf of New Delhi
and Kabul simultaneously.
Masooda Bano focused on Musharrafs remarks in an interview
to the Guardian. Is the situation in Waziristan in any terms better than what
it was before the military operations? The answer is clearly no. All along
people familiar with the area have argued in favour of the use of intelligence
and other means to gradually cleanse the system of foreign extremists.
However, the government still pursues military operations and continues to
defend them despite the fact that General Musharraf himself is
acknowledging a growing Talibanization in the area.
Above all, throughout the interview General Musharrafs main
attempt was to show that he is not at the beck and call of the US
government If these operations are not at the behest of the US then why
has so many attacks been planned just before or after the arrival of a high
ranking US officials? The question is that if the government is free to set its
own priorities then why is it not investing even half of those resources to
track and monitor the militant groups involved in domestic sectarian
violence? Why is no serious investigation carried out after a major incidence
of religious violence in the mainland the recent one being in Karachi?

Kamran Shafi noted the teeth shown in the interview. The teeth
growing ineffectually at this late stage is not going to help the government.
Nobody, let alone our tight buddies, is/are going to be taken in by this
show of fake bravado. Not when General Musharraf himself receives
junior-level officials of the American government; even assistant secretaries
of state and defence (joint secretaries according to our system), indeed
anyone whose travel itinerary originates from Washington Bahadur; not
when he Summits with General Abizaid (nothing more than a corps
As said often before, there is only one way out for this country,
indeed for any country, to show that it is an entity that must be taken
seriously. And that is for people in authority to behave and act in an
appropriate manner, for they represent the country and ALL its people, not
just themselves and their own narrow interests.
Yusufzai dwelled on the interview. Musharraf claimed that the war
against al-Qaeda had almost been won in Waziristan. As if contradicting
himself, he then observed that Talibanization had gained influence in the
same border region and it was now spilling over into settled areas.
The pressures from the domestic opposition seeking real, militaryless democracy and the US wanting Pakistan to do more in Americas war on
terror leave him little choice to take independent decisions and avoid
becoming subjective in his remarks and analysis. Musharraf actually meant
that please dont embarrass me by asking to do more on al-Qaeda which has
been defeated, but I am still relevant because Taliban threat still exists.
One would have to pinpoint that al-Qaeda may have suffered
physical and infrastructural losses in terms of the killing and capture of its
operatives and the seizure of its sanctuaries in Waziristan and elsewhere but
there is no evidence to suggest that the ideology it professes too has
registered a decline. How can that happen when the US continues to
provide oxygen to al-Qaeda through its aggressive policies ranging from
the reckless invasion of Iraq and bombing of innocent civilians in
Afghanistan to the killing of villagers in Pakistani tribal areas such as
Bajaur, abuse of prisoners of war and blatant interference in the affairs of
almost every country in the world?
Rather, it would be safe to conclude that al-Qaeda has experienced
setbacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it has gained elsewhere in the
Islamic World, particularly in Iraq and other Arab countries. Even in
Pakistan it has managed to survive as an ideology.

The president appeared to be on target when he spoke about the

Taliban influence in North Waziristan and South Waziristan. How else one
would explain the intriguing calm that recently descended on both parts of
Waziristan following a declaration of ceasefire by Islamic militants, who like
being referred to as Taliban or Mujahideen?
The halt in hostilities, even if temporary, provided a glimpse of the
militants clout in the tribal borderlands The tribesmen and their guests
from the Tableeghi Jamaat enjoyed relative peace and the credit for ensuring
this went to the Pakistani Taliban. In military language it meant that
initiative rests with Taliban.
A day before the ceasefire came into effect, the body of a prominent
pro-government tribal elder and cleric Maulana Jannat Mir was found in a
village near Mirali town One by one tribal elders, clerics, social workers
and others perceived to be pro-government and named on the list are being
eliminated. The government and the thousands of Pakistan Army troops
deployed in the area are helpless to protect those who risked their lives
to support the military operations.
As for Talibanization of Waziristan and its spillover effect in the
neighbouring settled districts, there are two aspects to it. One is the political
aspect, which indeed is growing as more tribesmen are radicalized in view
of the ongoing military operations, unemployment, sense of alienation,
and slow pace of development projects being executed there. The sidelining
of the normally dominant political administration after the arrival of the
military in the area has also allowed the militants to fill the vacuum.
The other aspect is the way of life of the tribes-people, who are
overwhelmingly conservative and religious. Growing beards, observing
purdah, deciding dispute through jirgas under riwaj (customs) and Shariah,
and carry arms is part of the tribal culture and by no stretch of
imagination could be termed Talibanization.
More worrying perhaps is the attempt by militants to issue decrees
challenging the countrys laws in settled districts and in Frontier regions,
such as Jandola that borders South Waziristan These militants cleverly try
to stamp out drugs and certain social evils to win a level of popularity. The
general public starts believing that the militants are capable of doing
something that the government, police and courts fail to do despite getting
paid for it.


Prejudices of the Crusaders remained in place. Controversy about

Pakistans nuclear programme was kept alive. On 17th April, Pakistan
denied media report that US personnel were guarding its nuclear facilities,
but accepted that two countries have exchanged their experiences in this
On 2nd May, Foreign Office said that with the release of Dr Farooq,
last of the 11 persons detained, the probe in Dr Khan was finally over. We
have conducted thorough investigations in this affair. We have shared our
information with the International Atomic Energy Agency and other
countries, including the United States. Meanwhile, Merkel said IndoGerman nuclear deal was possible, but US Senate criticized nuclear deal;
India declined to accept amendments.
US offered alternative to subvert IPI gas project. US Energy
Secretary, Bodman when asked for his reaction to a $ 7 billion gas pipeline
deal among Iran, Pakistan and India, said: Doing business with Iran, it
seems to me, at a certain level encourages its nuclear ambitions. This pearl
of wisdom could also mean that doing business with US encourages
America to continue its Crusades against followers of Islam.
Pakistan for a change, genuinely or pretendingly, showed some guts
on this project. Prime Minister said Pakistan still plans to import gas from
Iran. Musharraf discussed gas pipeline project with Nejad and told Chinese
delegation that Pakistan was not under pressure on the gas pipeline project.
Pakistan and Iran decided to go ahead on gas pipeline project even if India
does not join by 30th May. Both countries agreed on gas pricing principles.
Pakistan also rejected use of force against Iran over nuclear issue.
The crusaders showed no sign of recovery from Paki-phobia. On 21st
April, Syed Haris Ahmed, 21-year-old Pakistani was indicted in terror case
in Georgia. Five days later, a Pakistan-born American was found guilty by a
California court of undergoing al-Qaeda training just hours after a mistrial
was declared in his fathers trial in the same case. Later, a woman juror in
the trial alleged that she was intimidated by the head of the jury to convict
the man.
US placed Jamaat al-Dawat and Idara-e-Khidmat-e-Khalq on a list of
terrorist organizations. Hafiz Mohammad Saeed criticized the decision and
for a change Pakistan ruled out action against 2 charities accused of working
as fronts for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the leading freedom fighters group in IHK.


Amir Cheema, who was arrested in Berlin for attacking a German

newspaper editor for printing blasphemous caricatures some three months
ago, was found dead in his cell. German authorities claimed that Amir
committed suicide. Opposition legislators moved a motion over the killing,
but Speaker prorogued the session before the issue could be debated.
Cribbing against US-India nuclear deal continued. Ikram Sehgal
wrote, a general perception also exists in Pakistan that India has been
rewarded for its years of anti-US policies, as usual Pakistan being shunted
aside for being loyal to the US whenever US faces a crisis in the region.
This reminds someones saying, quoted in one of the previous articles, that it
is better to be the enemy of America than to be a friend. With the tension
rising over Irans nuclear programme, the West again started talking
against Pakistan, particularly Dr Khan.
Pakistan was constrained to declare that Dr Khans chapter was
closed. The News read in between the lines. Without the spokeswoman
saying it, this was the latest declaration by Islamabad that it is no longer
prepared to play junior partner to Washington.
Kamran Shafi observed that there was no question of any partnership.
The investigation about our self-confessed nuclear proliferation is
nowhere near over on a television programmeBBC correspondent was
commenting on a Pakistan Foreign Office statement that said the Dr AQ
Khan case had been closed and that there would be no further investigation
into the matter. He said that such a statement by the Pakistani Foreign Office
was an attempt to sweep things under the rug He said that Khan supplied
nuclear material and designs to Iran and the US wanted access to Dr Khan
because only he could explain the history and purposes of Irans nuclear
That unless the American government has not milked our own
foolishness dry, and to the extent that serves its purposes (and what greater
purpose than humbling Iran, my friends?) we will continue to be in the
firing line. Indeed, that everything points to the time that we ourselves will
be fired at, by our very own tight buddy.
Really, the way in which the so-called leadership of the Land of the
Pure handled the AQ Khan matter deserves to enter history books as just the
wrong way to go about these things. Let me here make a wagerDr
Khan/anyone the Americans want to interview, will be interviewed.
The row over Irans nuclear issue, once again brought Pakistan in the
spotlight. The News wrote, Pakistan, once again figures very

prominently in the equation amid speculation that the Americans could

resort to using Pakistani territory in a campaign against Iran. Islamabad has
been steadfastly maintaining its neutral position on the issue; but maybe, the
time demands a more active Pakistani role in defusing the Iran crisis.
In another editorial the daily newspaper talked about IPI gas pipeline
project. Washington has indicated to Islamabad its intentions that it will
furnish funding and security guarantees for a three-billion dollar
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline a project that was given
up towards the mid-nineties amid insurgence of Taliban and resulting
hostilities in Afghanistan. However, for such an arrangement to materialize
TAP will only be possible when Pakistan calls off its plans to purchase piped
gas from Iran.
Pakistan needs to be careful in making its choices. It cannot afford
to lose its friendship with Iran that has endured several crises. It also cannot
keep on fighting American wars forever especially when it is left all alone to
deal with the debris.

The worth of ongoing composite dialogue was amply reflected by
three events during the period. On 20th April, Indian army chief said, no
immediate pullout from Siachen. Next day, it was reported that India would
deploy MiG-29 fleet in Tajikistan at its first overseas base which was near
completion. On 27th April, India once again rejected Pakistans proposal to
de-militarize Kashmir and turned down an offer for no-war pact.
Yet, the confidence building process moved on. On 24th April,
Bollywood top stars arrived in Lahore on the occasion of release of Indian
film Taj Mahal after Mughal-e-Azam. Two days later, Minister for Culture,
at premiere of Taj Mahal, said remarkable progress has been made in PakIndia relations. The same day the government allowed import of cement and
clinker from India by train, road and sea.
Indian court freed 45 Pakistanis on 28th April, who had completed
their sentences. The same day, Indian naval chief said that Pakistan and India
enjoy excellent bilateral relations and Indian Navy is ready to undertake
joint exercise with its counterpart in Pakistan. Islamabad was also ready, but
preferred to wait for resolution of Kashmir dispute.
The habit negative to confidence building could not be resisted by
either side. On 18th April, Indian home secretary said, it is unfortunate, but

it is true, that across the border the camps are flourishing. But we are also
ready to take that challenge and meet them effectively as we have done in
the last few years.
As verdict of neutral expert on Baglihar Dam was awaited, it was
reported that India has planned seven more dams on River Chenab. On 26 th
April, two-day talks on nuclear confidence building measures ended in
Islamabad without resolving the differences. Three days later, Pakistan testfired 2,500-kilometer range Shaheen-II surface-to-surface missile.
Death toll in Gujarat riots over demolition of a Muslim shrine/mosque
rose to five by 2nd May. Next day Indian Army and Air Force rehearsed
slicing Pakistan in half in the event of actual war. India informed Pakistan
through a letter that design of Kishanganga Dam has been revised. The same
day, Pakistan rejected Kargil-Skardu bus service proposal.
On 4th May, Indian Army Chief admitted that army officers stage fake
encounters in which innocent civilians are killed. Following incidents of
state terrorism and retaliatory actions by the freedom fighters were reported
during the period:
A senior politician was wounded and his guard killed by suspected
militants on 17th April. Three days later, police held two suspected
On 21st April, a policeman and three civilians were killed in separate
attacks by fighters in IHK. Police arrested two suspected militants.
One person was killed and 36 wounded in violence during polls in
IHK on 24th April. Gilani and Shabbir remained under house arrest.
Next day six people were killed and 28 wounded in clashes.
On 1st May, suspected militants attacked two Hindu villages in Doda
and killed 24 people on the eve of Singhs talks with Kashmiri
leaders. Nine dead bodies of Hindu herdsmen were found in
Udhampur district. Hizb blamed Indian agencies for carnage. Singh
and Mirwaiz condemned attack.
Next day, Indian troops launched hunt for killers of Hindus. Military
blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba for the massacre. Gilani and JKLF
condemned the killings. Indian troops martyred 52 Kashmiris in April.
Three Indian soldiers and four rebels were killed in three clashes on
3rd May. Next day, two persons were killed and eight wounded in a


bomb blast in Badgam district. On 6 th May, the protesters ran riot on

second day of protests over prostitution issue.
Gilani urged Kashmiris to boycott polls. On 27th April, Chief
Minister, Azad won a seat in elections. Mirwaiz termed polls as irrelevant.
Asiya Andrabi blamed the State for patronizing prostitution. Chief Minister
urged Kashmiri clerics to issue Fatwa against the killings in Kashmir
following the clerics of Hyderabad who issued a decree against Taliban after
killing of Indian engineer in Afghanistan. On 3rd May, Indian Prime Minister
and APHC leaders held frank talks in New Delhi. APHC leaders agreed with
Manmohan to establish a system to discuss solutions to Kashmir dispute.
Two days later, Mirwaiz asked militants to join peace talks with New Delhi.
In view of the demonstrated Indian intentions, Asif Haroon drew the
attention of the rulers toward primary task of the armed forces. He was
concerned over the extent of armys commitments in war on terror,
insurgency in Baluchistan, maintenance of law and order, and relief and
rehabilitation works in earthquake-hit areas. In his view such large scale
commitments for indefinite period have tiring effect on troops which
could adversely affect the ability to perform the primary task. The emerging
geo-political scenario demands to pay more attention to the primary task.
He then made prudent suggestions. While endearing to forge a longterm strategic partnership with China and Iran, we should upgrade our
defensive capability and take steps to keep our nuclear deterrence potent.
Internally, the bottlenecks that obstruct national integration must be
identified for removal and full-scale reconciliation among the divides that
keep us polarized should be achieved. The guns of hate and antagonism
must not point towards our own people.
Our publicity department should come out of its defensive and
reactive mode, and work upon a proper strategy to counter the IndoAfghan-Western propaganda campaign. Presently it is entirely geared
towards scoring points against the opposition parties and on terrorism. We
need to revive our warrior spirit without which nations die.
The revival of warrior spirit would be quite difficult, if not
impossible, in view of the discard of Jihad for soft image and enlightened
moderation, because of which rulers in Pakistan have abandoned the military
option, allowing India to crush the Kashmiri freedom fighters. Pakistan has
been forced onto back foot even on opening of LoC or rendering it
ineffective, as was evident from its refusal to open Kargil-Skardu bus

Bush visit had a significant impact on political canvas of Pakistan. His
mention of the democracy, though he was not sincere about it, resulted in
increased political activity. Nawaz-Benazir contact in London
dominated the political stage. Sherry claimed that the government was in
panic over expected Nawaz-Benazir meeting. PML-N will uproot
dictatorship, said Nawaz.
On 24th April, the two exiled two-time prime ministers met in London.
Both agreed to jointly work for the restoration of 1973 Constitution; ruled
out any deal with government; demanded free elections; and urged release of
political prisoners. Shahbaz hoped an early approval of Charter of
Democracy. CEC said he has no powers about return of Benazir and Nawaz.
Meanwhile, PPP rejected electoral alliance with MMA. Benazir
couldnt afford that because she earnestly desired to win the all-important
support of the Crusaders. The party vowed to boycott polls sans Benazir and
Nawaz. Mushahid said there was no foreign pressure for Benazir and Nawaz
return. On 1st May, Jatoi and Mazari called on Nawaz.
MMA asked Musharraf to honour his commitment, but he was too
busy in honouring his commitments to the Crusades. On 26 th April, Jamaat
sacked ten senior office-bearers in NWFP. Membership of Qazis son,
provincial deputy chief and MNAs was suspended for violating party
discipline. Tariq Butt commended JI for setting up precedent of ruthless
internal accountability. On 2nd May, Jamaat expelled two MPAs on charges
of horse-trading during Senate elections. By standards of Pakistani politics,
these mullas are undoubtedly fundamentalist, extremist and intolerant.
Patriots feared losing the platform that they had carved for extracting
maximum benefits in a coalition government. PML-Q enticed some of them
to join Kings party; the proposed merger was rejected. Undisclosed number
of Patriots, however, agreed to the merger and on 28 th April it was reported
that two more Patriots would join PML-Q soon.
PML-Q made the move to preserve its political clout. On 25 th April,
Musharraf-Aziz-Shujaat trio reshuffled the cabinet with eye on polls.
Rashids show-biz stint ended as he was told to wear Lalkurti. About a week
later, Musharraf said the era of dissolution of assemblies was over.
Opposition said completion of tenure was not the real issue. Musharraf ruled


out snap polls and directed PML-Q leaders of Punjab to follow Shujaat. On
6th May, PML-Q closed the door for dialogue with Nawaz or Benazir.

PPP/PML-N deal invited the maximum attention of media and

analysts. The News wrote, they appear to be making an unattractive
beginning. Their rejection of reconciliation with the government smacks of
confrontation Now that they have buried the hatchet, even if for the time
being, the two parties would have done well not to reject a working
arrangement with the government, Heaven knows we cant afford any
more confrontation not even the PPP and PML-N.
Shafqat Mahmood opined, these leaders have the potential to
mobilize the people and it is interesting that in the London meeting, they
spent little time targeting Pervez Musharraf and talked more about the
revival of the 1973 Constitution rid of anti-democratic amendments. It is
their strong commitment to civilian supremacy that stands out. It is good
that this is likely to be reduced into writing in the form of a Charter for
Democracy because what they hope to achieve must be clearly stated. It
becomes a kind of manifesto and also validates their commitment.
Mir Jamilur Rahman said, it is a matter of principle or fear of the
unknown that is forcing the hands of the government to deny an even
playing field for the elections? Perhaps it is a matter of survival. However,
there is no cause for panic if BB and NS were to return to Pakistan
unhindered. The PML-Q is the largest party in the parliament and Punjab
and enjoys considerable support in other provinces, too.
Adnan Adil observed, the fact that it took Benazir and Nawaz nearly
seven years to meet publicly means that a lot of effort must have gone into
making this meeting happen. And when they finally met, Nawaz and Benazir
could not agree even in principle to return home together Both
Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto announced that they would not strike any
deal with the Musharraf regime. Still, it is an open secret that they remain in
contact with the establishments emissaries.
Hopes are pinned on a joint opposition movement in which the six
parties religious alliance, the MMA, would join hands with the PPP-PMLN-led ARD. Nawaz Sharif has announced his party would hold an All Parties
Conference in July to deliberate on the joint strategy of the opposition
Gibran Peshimam said, as far as the meetings at Park Lane
apartments in London go, they represent nothing of particular poignancy.


Banal expressions, such as the Charter of Democracy being drawn out by

the two exiled leaders, are just euphemisms to aggrandize their return to
politics a transitory phase of cooperation that will undoubtedly lead to a
commencement of cut-throat rivalry upon the conclusion of their sabbatical
from politics.
Sana Farooq from Rawalpindi apprehended, the time is ripe once
again for these so-called democrats to throw dust in the eyes of common
Pakistani and plan another round of state robbery in the garb of
democracy. After all why not, for they see once again a lucrative target in
the form of a wealthy and prosperous Pakistan with its booming economy,
overflowing banks, a skyrocketing stock exchange, reserves of almost $ 13
billion, changing life styles and above all a nation whose confidence and
pride has been restored.
Dr Farrukh Saleem, too, had no high hopes. Every chance the Queen
or Sharifov got they squandered by choking the only other democratic force
around encouraging non-democratic forces and failing to put in place an
independent judiciary (that couldve saved them in times of trouble). In
essence, the Queen and Sharifov have been each others worst enemies.
With but preferably without the Queen in town and the electoral
field will be made to tilt in Qs favour and the loaded electoral dice will be
made to land in Qs lap. The rulers, however, would love to have one
genuine political force on their side; play one democratic force against the
other. Sharifovs insist they are not in the queue. Is the Queen? The rulers
would love an explicit split between the Queen and Sharifov.
Mir Jamilur Rahman had no sympathy for Patriots. The PPP
(Patriots) presents a most pathetic picture. It only exists in the parliament
and nowhere else. Its 18 MNAs and three Senators were elected on the PPP
ticket, but they were lured to join the PML as coalition partners. They were
amply rewarded for deserting their party. As elections get closer, some of its
MNAs have deserted to join the PML. Last Wednesday, its leaders called on
President Musharraf and asked him to stop the PML from accepting the PPP
(P) deserters in its fold. How ironic! The PPP (P) is getting a taste of its
own medicine. It should not forget that its entire body is composed of
About Afgans suggestion that PPP (P) should merge with the PML,
he wrote, as a hardened politician, he knows that PPP (P) would not be
able to maintain its numerical strength in the parliament as it enjoys
today. The seat adjustment would hardly work

He opined that the MMA will remain intact. The ARD will provide
it an opening to arrange seat adjustments with other ARD members. The
ARD members will help each other to defeat the PML candidates The
MQM is above all such squabbling. It neither needs electoral alliances nor
government patronage nor rigging to win elections. It is highly disciplined
than even the MMA whose claim to piety was brutally exposed in the recent
Senate elections.
Fasihur Rehman was of the view that despite the ups and downs in its
relationship with the military regime, Benazir Bhuttos Pakistan People
Party is still in the run as a possible ally for Musharraf Any agreement
between Musharraf and the PPP will be at the cost of the MQM which
currently enjoys a major share of power in the Sindh government. The PPP
and MQM are long time rivals in the province of Sindh.

PML-Q made its first move for the next years elections by
reshuffling and expanding the Cabinet. The News wrote, in the present
case, however, the new inductions and the reshuffle of portfolios have
been inevitably linked to the governments plans to hold a general
election next year. It is very sensitive task since the cabinet-makers have to
ensure the alterations do not disturb the balance of a government which is
made of so many coalition partners.
Rahimullah Yusufzai said, the more the merrier seems to be the
motto of our president, or should we say the prime minister because he is
supposed to head the government, in view of the ever-growing size of the
cabinet. They arent deterred by the size of the cabinet even if it negates
their oft-repeated promise to end wasteful expenditure and introduce good
governance. Like the law of necessity that our superior courts use to justify
repeated military takeovers, political compulsions come handy as the
reason for having large cabinets in the present dispensation.
Khusro Mumtaz foresaw continuity of Musharraf legacy. The
civilian government exists purely to provide a legitimizing cover to the
Generals rule. He, his corps commanders, and his other fellow officers in
the armed services are the people who really run the show. The prime
ministers ever-expanding cabinet is purely a way of handing out favours
to hold together an increasingly unwieldy coalition that remains beholden to
the real powers-that-be. The competence and performance or lack of the
same of the ministers is hardly the issue.


Musharraf made no secret of it and told PML-Q to set internal matters

right. The News wrote, all the bickering factions that have come together
under the PML-Q umbrella were given a timely wakeup call by President
Pervez Musharraf Chaudhry Shujaat, who heads this rather cumbersome
and fractious League, has also been told to consult all sections of opinion
within the party and to refrain from unilaterally nominating policy or
persons for party posts. The canny Chaudhry from Gujrat, meanwhile, has
been the butt of strong criticism over his style of leadership, not only from
within the party but also from the ranks of government allies
Given this backdrop, President Musharrafs call for an end to the
internal squabbling within the PML is extremely timely. With the General
admitting in a recent interview that the governments popularity has fallen,
the Muslim League should have its work cut out for it.
Mir Jamilur Rahman suggested, if the PML-Q wants to win the
elections without resorting to pre- or post-election rigging, then it should
listen to Pir Pagara and elect Gen Pervez Musharraf as its president. He
has become an experienced campaigner and a national leader in his own
right. He is the originator of the PML-Q and without his support and
patronage the party would collapse like a house of cards.
Continuity of Musharraf automatically brings in US factor, which
according to Nasim Zehra is a misread factor. Washington has interests and
influence in Pakistan and it will promote its own national interests. In terms
of priorities, democracy is not major interest. This concern is incidental to
the promotion of its other policy interests. For now General Musharraf is
the man Washington will bet on.
Adnan Adil mentioned another aspect of this factor. Benazir and
Nawaz have met when it is being felt that the United States wants President
Musharraf to increase space for the two leaders in the national politics to
contain religious parties. Given this it would be illogical to expect that they
would join hands with the MMA, and vice versa.
Dr Farrukh Saleem singled out PPP in this context. The Queen has
long been putting all her eggs in the American basket. The great American
democracy, on the other hand, is somehow convinced that it must have
undemocratic allies. Democratic forces cannot and should not count
on Uncle Sams helpPresident Bush has been elected by American voters
to safeguard Americas geo-strategic interests, democracy or dictatorship is
eveyones own business.


Whosoever be the next, Masooda Bano did not envy him or her. The
rising incidences of religious violence, the tensions in the tribal belts, the
operations in Baluchistan, the rising prices, and growing economic pressure
on the masses will be the gifts of the current government to the next
elected government.
Muhammad Badar Alam discussed the causes of political parties
failure to deliver. For Mushahid Hussainpolitical parties have
stopped being issue-oriented. Their focus is on individuals, not ideologies,
ideals and issues. But for Aitzaz Ahsan the blame lies with the army-led
state apparatus which is impervious and unresponsive to peoples
aspirations... It has broken the will of the political cadre They have not
been allowed the space to function.
The structure of the state and the environment in which the political
parties operateforces political parties to play a game of survival, instead of
allowing them to sell their policies and leadership according to Dr
Mohammed Waseem. Their policies are discredited, their leaders are
incarcerated and their organizational structures are put under attack through
various means like horse-trading. The establishment continuously engages
in efforts to make or break them.
In his opinion, the essential factor in their plight is the military rule
which disrupts political activity every time it gets started and the
establishments desire to appoint and select leaders, leaving people with the
notion that their votes dont count at the end of the day when it comes to
deciding who should be ruling them The critics of the political parties
contend that these parties suffer a lack of credibility because even when they
came to power they failed to deliver for the people in the street. Hence their
inability to make people rise.
Aitizaz Ahsan has a contrasting take on history. Political parties may
have come into government, but they have never been allowed to come to
power since Bhutto was deposed in 1977. The real power has always
remained with the establishment a troika of president, civil-military
bureaucracy and the chief justice. Political parties have been kept outside the
Dr Mohammad Waseem says its harsh to judge the political parties
on the basis of their performance. Parties everywhere fall short of their
promise when they come to power. This is nothing specific to Pakistan
Musharraf-led regime has consistently discredited political parties. This


negative propaganda has been very instrumental in alienating people from

the parties.
In Dr Waseems view the issue of de-politicization and the role of
political parties in it runs much deeper to be resolved by a piece of
legislation, no matter how relevant. The parties need to be brought to the
centre of activity. The system should be reformed in a way that it allows the
parties to sell their policies to the electorate. Unless that is done, he sees
little hope in the political parties re-energizing the polity by simply
reforming themselves.
Some learned people suggested changes in the system. Hasan Askree
wanted change in election for Senators; from indirect election to direct
election. Rahimullah Yusufzai desired changes in the constitution to enforce
He said, in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai presented his 25member cabinet to the parliament for approval. Five proposed ministers
were rejected by the 249-strong parliament in a secret ballot telecast live by
local television. Every parliamentarian cast 25 votes, one for each minister,
and the results were announced in a live telecast. The ministers, some old
and others new, made speeches describing their achievements and future
plans for the ministry. The members of parliament, elected in general
elections held in September 2005, asked questions from ministers before
voting. Each and every minister was made accountable to Wolesi Jirga, or
National Assembly, and on television screens across the country.
In Pakistan, which is a much older democracy, the frequently delayed
reshuffle of the federal cabinet was a hush-hush affair. The parliament was
neither consulted nor empowered to reject or approve the proposed changes
in the cabinet. No minister was dropped or demoted. It meant there was no
accountability despite Prime Minister Shaukat Azizs past promises to
monitor the performance of members of his cabinet. Instead of sacking a
minister for inefficiency or rewarding another for good work, every former
member of cabinet was retained and more were added to appease factions
and lobbies seeking greater representation. The cabinets strength rose to a
record 79 and portfolios had to be parceled out to accommodate the
It would be useful to think of ways and means to make the cabinet
accountable to parliament. In a sense, it is answerable to the parliament but
changes are needed to empower lawmakers to approve and reject the
proposed cabinet members. Our lawmakers, or the powers that be, may not

want to learn from the Afghan experience because it may be embarrassing to

follow the example of those still learning the ropes of democracy.
One could even make a case for amending our much-amended
Constitution to let the parliament approve all members of the federal cabinet.
Likewise, provincial assemblies could be empowered to approve their
cabinets. The 1973 Constitution has until now been amended and disfigured
to serve the interest of individuals. Now is the time to amend it to serve the
interest of the people by empowering their elected representatives.
Dr Farrukh Saleem wrote, at this juncture, what Pakistan needs the
most is a multi-party, multi-candidate, genuinely competitive, free and
fair election. The one who gives Pakistan what Pakistan needs the most
shall not only protect his own future but will also be remembered in history
as the real savior.

Baluchistan continued suffering from militancy of some Baluchi
warlords. Following incidents of subversion by militants and actions taken
by law enforcing agencies were reported, despite the fact that Musharraf
claimed that the issue has been resolved:
On 18th April, Ghazan Marri, brother of Mir Balach Marri was
arrested in UAE and reportedly he would be handed over to Pakistan.
Militants fired 8 rockets on security forces posts in Dera Bugti and
Sui on 19th April. Next day, Levies man was injured in landmine blast
in Kahan area.
On 21st April, gas pipeline and railway track were damaged in Sibi
and Dera Bugti districts respectively.
Three persons were injured in bomb blast in Quetta on 23rd April.
Terrorists blew up gas pipeline in Dera Bugti area.
On 24th April, four landmines were seized in Sangsila and Chashma
areas of Dera Bugti. Two days later, Sibi-Harnai railway track was
blown up by terrorists.
Rail track was blown up near Naushki on 1 st May. Three rockets were
fired at Jandran post in Kohlu district. Two security forces personnel
received injuries in different incidents.


On 2nd May, one person was killed in car bomb explosion in Sui.
Police claimed arrest of three BLA militants from Bolan district. Two
Indian nationals were arrested near Iran border.
Musharraf once again accused Baluch sardars of receiving money
from outside. Prime Minister sought pacification through monetary means as
he promised more funds for Baluchistan. Akbar Bugti did not like the moves
to undermine his authority in the area. He threatened Kalpars not to return to
their native town of Sui.
A message from Akbar Bugti being circulated in Baluchistan and
beyond explains the seriousness of the situation, noted Rahimullah
Yusufzai. Its title itself is threatening, as well as self explanatory. It is titled,
Message from Koh-i-Baluch by the Sipah Salar Nawab Akbar Bugti
fighting for the defence of Baluch cause, resources and identity. It refers to
the Pakistani state and government as enemy and takes pride in the fact that
the Baluch people are more active than the other smaller nationalities such
as the Sindhis, Seraikis and Pakhtuns while fighting for their rights and
protesting the unjust economic and political system in Pakistan.
Akbar Bugti describes the Baluch land as Baluch Watan and insists
that every hill in Makran, Chaghi, Bolan, Kahan, Kohlu and Dera Bugti has
become a trench offering protection to the Baluch fighters and creating fear
in the hearts of the enemy.
The enemy understands the language of force and, therefore, the
Baluch would have to battle it out to defend their 780-kilometres of coastline
and riches of gas, oil, gold and silver and copper. He is asking the Baluch to
embrace martyrdom instead of becoming a minority in their own land just
like the Red Indians. They are forewarned against the intrigues of fellow
Baluch with conduct similar to past sub-continental traitors like Mir Jaffar
and Mir Sadiq.
Akbar Bugti wants his Baluch people to seek inspiration from the
Iraqi Kurds, who braved Saddam Husseins chemical weapons and offered
immense sacrifices to win freedom, and Che Guevara, who sparked a
revolution even though he was all alone when he began his struggle.
The symbols highlighted in Akbar Bugtis message and its tough
language leaves little doubt in ones mind that he has finally embarked on
the path of armed confrontation with the state. It conveys the chilling
message that time for staging peaceful protests, holding negotiations and
sitting in parliamentary committees is a thing of the past.


Seen in this background President Musharrafs claim that the

Baluchistan issue has been resolved makes it obvious that he is no longer
interested in a negotiated political solution of the problem. It is another
matter that a military solution, even if it is achieved after much bloodshed,
would neither be durable nor in the long-term interest of Pakistan.
The troublemaking Baluch sardars, in the words of the government
functionaries, may be only three out of the whole lot, but it is also a fact that
Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, Nawab Akbar Bugti and Sardar Attaullah
Mengal hold the key to bringing stability to Baluchistan.
Banning the BLA or blaming India and Afghanistan for our troubles
in Baluchistan is akin to tackling the fallout of the problem. Such measures
cannot contribute much by way of finding a durable solution of the festering
Baluchistan issue.
Farhatullah Babar agreed on this point. A great danger in banning a
shadowy outfit without firm knowledge is that it gives license to the
security forces to shoot at will in the name of sorting out the BLA. When
shadows elude them the frustrated agencies will tend to link genuine
nationalist political parties to the shadows. It is stumbling into a minefield.
Nothing worthwhile happened in the context of acquiring soft
image, except that women were offered commission in the army in some
departments and six MQM men involved in abduction and killing of a
soldier were set free by ATC. But, Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace (an
NGO funded by the Carnegie Endowment Fund) released its second annual
report of Failed State rankings in which Pakistan descended from 34 th last
year to 9th in 2006.
However, Rauf Klasras efforts kept bearing results. On 18th April FIA
said Swiss Embassy officials might have links to human smuggling. Next
day, FIA formally notified the Swiss Embassy that some of its unidentified
officials and diplomats might be involved in human trafficking. It sought
complete records of visas issued by the embassy in recent years to hundreds
of Pakistanis.
Two days later, FIA discovered that Asher Francis a confessed
member of human trafficking racket operating within the embassy has
been maintaining secret bank accounts of over Rupees 10 million apart from
being owner of huge properties and assets in Islamabad and Lahore. In a
series of raids, FIA recovered some important secret documents from his


house which further established that a big human trafficking racket was
active in Pakistan with blessing of officials and diplomats of the embassy.
On 25th April, a court in Lahore snubbed FIA officials for harassing
the victims of Swiss visa scam. Major Muhammad Ajmal linked to Asher
Francis in human trafficking managed to escape from Pakistan while FIA
was busy in harassing the victims. Swiss Embassy blamed Major Ajmal for
human smuggling racket. On 29th April, Asher Francis confessed to
tampering the passport of the most known victim, Ume Salma. Investigators
revealed that visa for Switzerland was sold for Rupees 250,000.
Swiss Foreign Minister arrived in Islamabad on 2nd May. Next day the
absconding Swiss Embassy official rejected corruption charges through a fax
message from London. He hinted at involvement of top Swiss diplomats in
human smuggling. On 4th May, the Government of Switzerland admitted that
internationally operating networks involved in human smuggling have
attempted to influence the Swiss Visa Section in its Embassy in Islamabad.
These criminal activities have damaged our intents and goodwill. The buck
was passed were it always fitted well.
Lahore High Court summoned the Swiss Ambassador, two diplomats
and Asher Francis to appear on May 11 in damages case filed by Ume
Salma. Interpol issued Red Notices for arrest of visa scandal prime suspect.
On 6th May, Switzerland closed scam-ridden visa section. Visiting minister
admitted abuse of visa procedure.
No analyst so far has picked up courage to comment on the
involvement of Swiss Embassy, the most civilized of the civilized, in human
smuggling. However, some expressed their views on other events reported
previously. Ghazi Salahuddin wrote about Aruna, a medical student who had
married a man of her choice and her father, a retired district judge, got case
registered against her husband under Hudood Ordinance.
A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. Arunas photographs
published in the newspapers on Friday are a good example of this proverbial
statement. Captured by camera in a civil court in Hyderabad on Thursday,
she comes out as a heroic figure, struggling against a sea of troubles. You
can see her as a symbol. Also in evidence, in that image, is the stark injustice
of a society that can persecute an adult woman for the crime of falling in
love and choosing her own husband He opined that Aruna has found her
place in the gallery of those courageous Pakistani women who have
struggled for justice and social emancipation.


The analyst failed to mention that no Mulla or Madrassa, who are

often accused of tarnishing the soft image of Pakistan, could be blamed for
the ordeals of Aruna and other women in the gallery. In most cases the
government and its instruments of law enforcement and administration of
justice were responsible. In this case it was the police of a province
governed by the most enlightened and moderate son from Gujrat.
Adnan Rehmat did not spare the devil. If Pakistan has to face the
embarrassment of detentions and interrogations of its legislators and denials
of visas to them, the religious leaders are themselves to be blamed
Pakistans elected religious leaders will have to ask themselves the question
of why they are getting this special treatment. They cant exploit the softness
of democracy and democratic principles espoused by the West to attack
these very values.
Dr M S Jillani used Prime Ministers declaration that Pakistan would
not compromise its culture and traditions, to vent his feelings. Our claim to
have a separate land to preserve the culture and traditions of the Muslims of
the subcontinent had long been hijacked by a class that hardly had any
links with the realities of modern life. As such, we need the emergence of
a class which could demonstrate that our traditions, values and customs, and
the modern life can co-exist, enduring our lives and helping in our journey
towards prosperity.
What is ominous in this Gulf created by polarization of liberal and
conservative elements which is widening due to the absence of a strong
middle-class which is needed for social change that could accommodate
diverse ideas What one wants to point out is that the traditional values
did not thwart an individuals interest in modern technology or modern
lifestyle. Rather they provided an anchor to turbulence and drastic gives
and takes of ideas and attitudes that accompany major changes in society;
they are the great gifts of moderation, thoughtfulness and responsibility.
He then emphasized the need to focus on real ingredients of the soft
image. Our culture and traditions taught us the value of honesty,
truthfulness, love, humility, patience tolerance, service to others,
temperance, consideration for neighbours, simplicity, austerity, self-respect,
deference for elders, love for children, honour for women, help for the sick
and the needy, passion for knowledge, peace, proper dress, proper manners
of eating, greeting and conversation, etc, etc.
Anything wrong with their adoption once again, or any objection to
the suggestion that we do not put our feet on the desk, point a shoe towards

the person sitting next to us or assault a buffet table at a wedding etc?

One would propose to the prime minister that electronic media should be
motivated to re-establish our traditions; there are ways to do it effectively. It
can do miracles for the whole society.
Ambreen Kazmi from Peshawar criticized the wrong way to seek the
soft image, i.e. disowning our national heroes for the sake of enlightened
moderation. The death anniversary of Dr Allama Iqbal, the architect of
Pakistan and the most popular Muslim Philosopher came and went. Leading
newspapers did not bother to publish anything commemorating this event.
Allama Iqbal has always held a revered position in our history and
his visionary work, which is honoured even today, brought about the
revolution which created Pakistan. He challenged the western values of
civilization and highlighted the glorious culture, heritage and achievements
of Muslims of yesteryears besides warning the Muslims of the consequences
if they do not follow their ancestors The lady inadvertently mentioned the
reasons for ignoring the occasion. In the prevalent international scenario,
Allama could be accused of preaching militancy by criticizing the values of
the civilized world.
Iqbal Mustafa expressed his views on FSI in which Pakistan has
descended from 34th last year to 9th in 2006. Like in so many other matters,
we derive our perceptions about ourselves from external opinions rather
than our own objective analysis. The report has understandably evoked sharp
reactions in the country ranging from I told you so to soft denials.
This report is no more than a storm in the teacup and will fade from
our radars next week. Since it is going to reappear next year, let us muse
upon it before it becomes another stigma attached to our holy flag and scare
the invisible foreign investors away.
The propensity of failed states to export international terrorism, drugs
and weapon arsenals has shifted the attention of the prosperous countries.
Their viewpoint is not humanitarian or promotion of liberal values of
western democracies, diplomatic platitudes, notwithstanding. It is the
realization that a hungry man is an angry man and the empowerment of the
individual with technology is a potent threat in the 21 st century. The welfare
of people and groups falls under the domain of individual states to keep all
those factors in the bottle that can become catalysts for turmoil. The Failed
State Index is therefore a global early warning system for terrorist
incubators, so to say.


Pakistans ranking has fallen drastically in the last year but this is not
necessarily an indictment of governments performance as a sovereign
authority; it is more of a higher sensitivity towards the countrys potential
nuisance value in a global perspective. None of the twelve indicators on
which the rankings were computed has changed radically in the last one
year. It is perhaps the relative weightage fed to the software in terms of
indicators or the computing of different statistics.
In the late nineties when Pakistan was ostracized for nuclear
development and support of the Taliban, the US government used the term
failed state to describe the country. Since 9/11 and alignment of foreign
policy vis-s-vis terrorism with the US, Pakistan had earned a clean bill of
health. Now, it seems that distant thunder is looming over the horizon as
General Musharrafs war on terrorism is proving to be harder than a walk in
the park.
The stalemate in cleansing Pakistan of militant elements is putting
wind in the sails of the opposition parties and independent analysts who are
openly questioning the foreign policy as serving the interests of the US more
than Pakistan. Perhaps historians in times to come will conclude that
General Musharraf with all his good intentions bit more than he could
chew. It is an old habit, if one remembers the Kargil fiasco.

Pakistanis as a nation have been blamed for militancy, but now
Musharrafs sincerity is being doubted by quarters that matter, despite his
best of efforts to come up to the expectations of the Crusaders. No one, not
even Musharraf, can escape for too long from fallout of the prejudices
harboured by the West against Pakistan.
India has been pursuing the peace process in the same spirit in which
Israel is trekking roadmap to peace in the Middle East under intimate
guidance of the Crusaders. The only minor difference is that the former is
refusing to redraw borders and the latter intends doing it unilaterally.
Bush visit gave boost to political activities in Pakistan, mainly
because visitors statements about democracy were interpreted wishfully by
the opposition parties. Musharraf will still manage to prolong his rule, unless
something goes drastically wrong, and by virtue of that the future of PML-Q
is automatically secured.


Situation in Baluchistan will remain disturbed in foreseeable future,

mainly because of the support from outside. Similarly, the dream of
acquiring soft image will not be realized. In any case, what is the logic in
having such soft image which would serve as invitation to any beast for
8th May 2006

During 1965 War, a young officer asked a JCO (junior commissioned
officer), veteran of World War II, what motivated him and his comrades in
Indian army to fight and kill. The JCO replied: if you dont kill the enemy,
he will kill you.
This is the spirit behind killings in free and liberated Iraq. From
occupation forces doctrine of troop protection practiced at checkpoints to
shoot women and children dead, to cold-blooded mass murders as result of
deliberately fanned sectarian hatred have the same motive behind them.
Within the Green Zone, the so-called political power has changed
hands from Allawi to Jaafari and now to Maliki, but real power rests with
men carrying guns; outsiders or the Iraqis. This makes the task of new prime
minister and his colleagues quite difficult to restore normalcy in the country.
The Crusaders consider the nomination of Maliki a giant leap towards
achievement of their goals in the region. With inspiration so drawn they have
openly joined hands with Olmert to topple Hamas and at the same time, they
have increased media and diplomatic hype against Iran. The issue of Iranian
Monster will be discussed separately.

Civil war-cum-insurgency continued. Six Iraqi soldiers were captured
and executed outside a restaurant in northern Iraq on 21 st April. Five
policemen and two civilians were killed in Khalis. A policeman was killed in
drive-by shooting. Four policemen were killed and two wounded in roadside


bombing in Mosul. Another bomb killed a civilian and wounded two

soldiers. One person was shot dead in Dora. Three soldiers were wounded in
roadside bombing in Yarmouk. Six officers were wounded in similar attack
in Qadissiya.
A senior human rights official of the UN stated that a total of 29,565
people were detained in Iraq out of which 14,222 were with coalition forces
and remaining with Iraqi security forces and only 8,300 were held by the
justice ministry, which is the only body that has the right to detain suspects
for more than 72 hours. These figures did not include the people held be
different militias and fighting groups.
A Sunni cleric was shot dead in Falluja on 22 nd April. Next day, three
US soldiers were killed in roadside bombing. An explosion near the wall of
Green Zone killed seven and wounded eight people. Dead bodies of eight
Iraqis were found. One person was shot dead by gunmen. Two policemen
were killed and one wounded in attack on a police general in Baiji. A
director of Turkish company was shot dead in Kirkuk. A roadside bomb blast
killed a driver and a child and wounded seven children in Mahmoudiyah. A
bomb targeted a US convoy but killed two civilians.
On 24th April, Iraqi police found 32 dead bodies of security personnel
from two areas of the capital, all of them had been kidnapped from Ramadi.
Seven car bombings in Baghdad killed five and wounded more than 100
people. Next day, a bomb blast in a minibus in Sadr City killed two and
wounded three people. Two persons were shot dead in Baqouba. Two
soldiers were killed near Balad. Two people were killed and nine wounded,
including three US soldiers, in a car bomb, four roadside bombings and two
drive-by shootings in different places. In all 19 people were killed in 24hours. Defence Ministry said insurgents carried out 469 attacks in last week.
Next day, twenty persons were killed in various incidents of violence
on 26 April. Next day, one Romanian and three Italian soldiers were killed
and two wounded when their convoy was attacked by roadside bombing in
Nasiriyah. Four policemen were killed and two wounded in attacks on posts
in Baqouba. Sister of Sunni Arab vice president was shot dead in Baghdad.
In all 20 people were killed on this day.

On 29th April, two-day curfew was lifted in Baqouba; during raids and
gun battles 25 people were killed and 51 suspected rebels were arrested. Two
officers were killed and five wounded in attack on a convoy of police chief
of Baiji. One policeman and a civilian were killed in a village south of
Baghdad. One police commando was killed and three others wounded in

roadside bombing near the capital. A US soldier was killed by a roadside

bomb near Baghdad.
Next day, US forces killed 20 suspected insurgents, arrested seven
militants and 50 suspects in a raid in Youssifiyah where a few days back a
US helicopter had crashed. A roadside bomb in Tikrit set a US Humvee on
fire. One policeman was killed and one wounded in Ramadi and the third
was kidnapped along with salary-cash they were escorting. Two policemen
and a civilian were wounded in two roadside bombs in Baghdad. Three
civilians were wounded in bomb blast in Sadr City. One civilian was
wounded in Musayyib in similar attack. A US convoy was attacked in
Rawah. Three people were killed and two wounded in attack south of the
capital. Southern Oil Company reported damage to two oil pipelines.
One US soldier was killed on 1st May in roadside bombing south of
the capital. Next day, two people were killed and five wounded when rebels
bombed a minibus in Baghdad. One civilian was killed and four wounded in
roadside bombing. One security guard was shot dead near Baqouba. One
person was killed and another wounded in a separate incident. Six dead
bodies were found from across the country.
On 6th May, four British soldiers were killed in helicopter crash and
two tanks and a vehicle were burnt by people. One US soldier and 18 Iraqis,
including three soldiers were killed around the country. Next day, at least 21
people were killed and 52 wounded in suicide car bombing in Karbala. In
another car bombing 8 people were killed and 15 wounded in Aadhamiya. In
yet another car bombing in Baghdad one civilian was killed and five
wounded. More than 40 dead bodies were found from different places. One
US soldier was killed in Tal Afar in exchange of fire with the rebels.
One US soldier was killed in roadside bombing near Baghdad on 8 th
May. Five persons were killed in car bomb attack and another five in mortar
fire in the capital and 3 Iraqis were killed in separate attacks by rebels.
Eleven dead bodies were found from different places. US military claimed
killing Ali Wali, a terrorist belonging to Kurdish Ansar al-Islam group.
At least 17 people were killed and 35 wounded in a suicide car
bombing in Tal Afar on 9th May. Next day, gunmen killed 12 employees of
electricity company near Baqouba. Deputy police intelligence was killed in a
separate incident. A Defence Ministry official was killed in Baghdad. One
soldier was killed in roadside bombing. Two traffic policemen were shot
dead in Yarmouk. Thirteen dead bodies were found near Dura. Ten persons,
including a US soldier were killed in different incidents on 11th May.

Sunni resistance is classified by the US military into three categories

al-Qaeda-led foreign fighters, groups loyal to Saddam, and rejectionists
who simply oppose a US presence in Iraq. But, practically the insurgency
has turned into civil war in which Sunni Arabs are pitched against Iraqi
forces and different militias in addition to the occupation forces.
Sunni Arabs have been complaining against killings by death squads
operating under the nose of the occupation forces and their puppets. In the
month of April more than one thousand people, mostly Sunni Arabs were
killed in Baghdad alone. At last, Talabani appealed for halt to sectarian
Meanwhile, violence in Iraq started causing problems for the
neighbours. On 30th April, Turkey massed troops along the border to carry
out operations against PKK. Iranian forces shelled Kurdish rebel positions in
Iraq for two days, forcing dozens of Kurdish families to flee. These incidents
happened only a week after Talabani and Khalilzad had defended Kurdish
Peshmerga by terming it regulated force, not a militia.

The Crusaders focused on the so-called democratization of Iraq.
On 22nd April, Jalal Talabani was re-elected as President of Iraq by the
parliament. Soon after his election, he asked al-Maliki to form the next
government. Sunni Arab politician, Mahmud Mashhadani was elected as
Speaker of the parliament unopposed.
Rice and Rumsfeld dashed to Baghdad to dictate composition of the
new cabinet. Bush hailed the step towards formation of Iraqi government.
This is an important milestone on the road to democracy in Iraq, and it
marks the beginning of a new chapter in Americas involvement. On 9th
May, Maliki said new government was almost finalized as politicians to
head interior, defence, oil, finance and foreign ministries had been selected.
The New York Times termed Jaafaris ouster as a glimmer of hope in
Iraq. Ibrahim al-Jaafaris agreement to step aside and let his Shiite bloc
consider a new nominee for prime minister should finally break the
stalemate that has been paralyzing Iraqi politics since last Decembers
parliamentary election.
The most likely replacement nominees now being talked about are far
from ideal. But the only conceivable path to a better future than civil war


and chaos in Iraq is lined with distasteful compromise and leaps of faith. No
one believes that success is certain.
His critics victory is only partial. The price of Mr Jaafaris
withdrawal seems to have been an understanding that his replacement will
come from his own lackluster Dawa Party, which, besides being
fundamentalist and pro-Iranian, has formed a bloc with the most violenceprone and anti-American Shiite faction, led by Muqtada al-Sadr.
That process now needs to move forward expeditiously. Iraqi voters
who were forced to wait so long for democracy deserve to see its fruits.
Much of the last year was wasted under Mr Jaafaris inept and blundering
rule. The first four months of this year have been consumed in endless
maneouvring over his bid for a second term.
Tehran Times commended Jaafaris decision to step down. By
agreeing to allow the UIA to name a candidate for prime minister, Jaafari
made a wise decision that proved that he is only seeking a united and stable
Iraq However, not to be pessimistic, developments in Iraq do not seem
promising as daily terrorist attacks, mostly carried out by Saddam loyalists
and al-Qaeda followers, have brought the country to a near standstill and
made life bitter. Obviously, Tehran did not mention Shiite death squads.
The decision to replace Jaafari will most likely not lead to a breakthrough in efforts to halt the violence over the short term since the terrorists
have insinuated themselves so deeply into various parts of Iraqi society that
it will take many months or even years to completely uproot them.
Arab News wrote, the insurgents next priority is clearly to sow
divisions within the new government. It will be the responsibility of Iraqs
new legislators to demonstrate in Parliament that a representative,
pluralist democracy can succeed. If despite all the provocations to come,
they can manage to do this, then they will have demonstrated to the wider
country that the issues which appear to divide can be resolved successfully
by debate and compromise rather than violence.
Los Angeles Times urged, not only must Maliki create a consensus
government by artfully doling out Cabinet portfolios to Sunni, Shiite and
Kurdish representatives, he also must make good on his assurances to the
US that he will rein in sectarian militias. Unfortunately, like his
predecessor and Shiite soul mate, Ibrahim Jaafari, the new prime minister
seems to believe that these private armies can be tamed by incorporating
them in a national security force rather than disarming them. Almost all the
evidence indicates otherwise.

David C Gompert Wrote, while recommending the implementation of

the 2004 ban on militias, he urged, now that Iraqis have created a new
government, they and the US may be able to avert civil war if, perhaps
only if, they implement and enforce the militia law. If they do not, keeping
US troops in Iraq will get harder and harder to defend.
The New York Times, in another editorial, mentioned the challenge
for the new leader. Mr Maliki has won praise for pledging that only
government forces will be allowed to carry arms. But that will do little good
if he merely merges militia units into the Iraqi army and police forces as
he suggested Thursday in deference to a crucial political ally, Moqtada alSadr, who happens to head one of the deadliest Shiite militias. If that turns
out to be Mt Malikis plan, there can be little hope of avoiding civil war.
It is encouraging that he has promised to keep the Defence and
Interior Ministries out of the hands of sectarian politicians. He also needs to
make sure that his appointees to key economic ministries, including the Oil
Ministry, put competent professionals in charge of day-to-day management.
And the Constitution be adjusted to assure the central government a
sufficient share of Iraqs oil revenues.
Perhaps Maliki can succeed where Jaafari failed. At stake are not
only self-government and a cessation of civil strife for long-suffering Iraqis,
but also President Bushs confident predictions that the introduction of
democratic structures to Iraq would bring both freedom and peace paving
the way for an honourable exit for US troops.
David Ignatius expressed similar hopes while describing Malikis
credentials. To succeed, Maliki must mobilize that desire for unity to break
the power of militias and insurgent groups. His reputation is as someone
who is independent of Iran, explained Zalmay Khalilzad, the US
Ambassador to Baghdad. He explained that although Maliki initially went
into exile in Iran, he felt he was threatened by them because of his political
independence, and later moved to Syria. He sees himself as an Arab and an
Iraqi nationalist, Khalilzad said.
Malikis selection is something of a victory for Khalilzad, who has
been a match for the Iraqis in his wily political wrangling. The American
ambassador viewed Jaafari as too weak and sectarian. When Jaafari was renominated by the Shiite alliance in February, Khalilzad warned, initially in
this column, that the United States wouldnt support a government that did
not put unity first. Khalilzad helped organize a rival coalition of Kurdish and


Sunni politicians that represented 143 seats in parliament, more than the 130
seats of the Shiite alliance that had nominated Jaafari.
The rejection of Jaafari showed great courage on the part of key Shia
leaders, Khalilzad said. It showed that Sistani doesnt take Iranian
direction. It showed that (SCIRI leader) Abdul Aziz Hakim doesnt
succumb to Iranian pressure. He stood up to Iran. It showed the same thing
about the Kurdish leaders.
Gulf News wrote about the Rice Rumsfeld dash to Baghdad. With the
decreasing popularity of the Iraq occupation and of Rumsfeld himself, it is
to be expected that Rice and Rumsfeld would want to be seen singing
from the same song sheet, not least to make believe to everyone that all is
well with US Administration policy; and, of course, having a say in the new
Iraqi government appointments and policies.
The breaking of political stalemate strengthened the resolve of the
Crusaders to remain in occupation of Iraq for indefinite period. Iraqi
leadership was more determined than ever, said Bush. We think weve
partners to help the Iraqi people realize their dreams.
Benam Elmi touched upon the occupation plan for the future and
problem likely to be faced. The US Defence Department is planning to
establish six permanent military bases in Iraq. There are currently 75 US
military bases in Iraq The US policy on military bases in Iraq can be
better understood by taking a glance at the challenges the US is facing in
regard to its military bases in East Asia and Central Asia and Washingtons
new Iraq policy.
Joseph E Robert Jr opposed withdrawal of US troops. Nothing in
history is inevitable; events unfold as they do because leaders and their
publics make choices. Neither civil war nor a democratic, pluralist
government is predestined for Iraq. But one fact is clear: Premature
withdrawal of US forces before Iraqi troops are ready, or before the
political and economic situation stabilizes will condemn Iraq and the
region to a future of chaos, destruction and death.
Those, who wanted reduction of US forces in Iraq, suggested division
of Iraq into three parts. David S Broder quoted Biden, the senior Democrat
on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the threat of sectarian violence
an incipient civil war between Shiites and Sunnis has become so great
that the United States must redefine its political goals in Iraq; instead of
betting everything on the creation of a unified government in Baghdad. We


should encourage the development of separate but linked regional

authorities in northern Iraq for the Kurds, in southern Iraq for the Shiites
and in central Iraq for the Sunnis.
It is a recognition of what he considers a reality that the component
parts of Iraqi society need breathing space to adjust their relations, rather
than continue down the present road, where militias loyal to one side or the
other are engaged in wanton killing and ethnic cleansing.
Bidens view is that Sunnis will continue to support the insurgency
rather than accept a unified government in which Shiites dominate and in
which oil revenue is monopolized by the Kurds in the north and the Shiites
in the south.
Anthony H Cordesman opposed the idea of division of Iraq. Some
pundits and politicians have been floating the idea that America considers
dividing Iraq into three ethno-religious entities, saying this would not only
stem the insurgency but also allow our troops an earlier exit. They are
wrong: fracturing the country would not serve either Iraqi or United
States interests, and would make life for average Iraqis even worse.
Any effort to divide the country on sectarian and ethnic lines would
require widespread relocations. This would probably be violent and
impoverish those forced to move, leave a legacy of fear and hatred, and
further delay Iraqs political and economic recovery.
And of course, there is no way to divide Iraqi that will not set off
fights over control of oil. More than 90 percent of Iraqs government
revenues come from oil exports. The Sunni Arab west has no developed oil
fields and thus would have no oil revenues. The Kurds want the northern oil
fields, but have no legitimate claim to them and no way to export the oil they
Dividing Iraq would also harm regional stability and the war on
terrorists. Sunni Islamist extremist groups with ties to al-Qaeda already
dominate the Sunni insurgents, and division would only increase their hold
over average Iraqis. And with Iraqi Sunnis cut out of oil money, Arab Sunni
states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia would be forced to support them, if only
to avoid having the Islamist extremists take over this part of Iraq.
Iran, of course, would compete for the Iraqi Shiites. The Kurds have
no friends: Turkey, Iran and Syria would seek to destabilize the north and
exploit the divisions between the two main Kurdish political unions. In the
end, these divisions could spill over into the rest of the Middle East and the


Arab World, creating a risk of local conflicts and the kind of religious
tension that feeds Islamist extremism.
Benam Elmi was of the view that considering recent developments in
Iraq and the fact that the new national government has been established, the
presence of US forces and military bases will no longer be accepted by
either Iraq or world public opinion United States hegemonist policy is
now facing a serious global challenge
Ramzy Baroud dwelled on the persistent plight of Iraqis. The
emerging reality in Iraq without having to acknowledge time and again that
military occupation is the mother of all evils. But even if the occupation is
completely relegated as nuisance, the fact of the matter is that the military
occupation of Iraq is the core of the ongoing tragedy.
To pretend that the Iraqi resistance was not in fact a violent military
invasion, is to defy reality. Of course, the US Administration insists on doing
exactly that: Still speaking of a foreign espoused insurgency, engineered
by the shadowy figure of a Jordanian terrorist, who seems to appear in so
many different locations all at once.
To address Iraqs economic ills without addressing 10-years of
devastating sanctions, followed by a destructive war, invasion and a
domineering military occupation, that was precisely set forth to deprive
Iraq of its right over its own natural resources, is also to defy reality
Iraqs alluring economic wealth and its strategic import among other
reasons that inspired the American encroachment on Mesopotamia in the
first place How can an Iraqi government, led by al-Maliki or any other,
confront Iraqs economic crisis without having complete control physical
as well as political over the oil fields, the countrys most valuable asset
and the backbone of its economy?
The US influence over successive Iraqi leaderships since the first
days of the occupation has always translated into total control over the
decision making of whichever political body is placed at the helm, starting
with the Iraq governing council, to the interim government to whichever
government that is currently being concocted.
Without real control over the countrys physical space and wealth and
without a serious and fully independent political role, what can any
prospective Iraqi government really achieve? How can al-Maliki and his
potentially sectarian government end the insurgency without ending
the occupation, provide jobs without decisive control over the countrys oil


and make independent decisions if its political will is hostage to the US

So why are some Iraqis taking part in this charade any way? As
devious and unconvincing as it is, many Iraqis see the current setup as a
source of hope, a starting point toward a better future for the battered
Its indeed a pity that the media is once again coming to rescue the
beleaguered Bush Administration, acting as if Iraqs national resurrection
can be viewed separately from the overbearing and bloody US-British
occupation of the country. Its also regrettable that even Arab media is
following suit.
The fact of the matter is that much of the countrys ailments were a
direct result of the illegal war and violence that followed. Only an end to
the occupation can put Iraq on the right track toward national reconciliation
and return to normality.

The Crusaders succeeded in fanning Fatah-Hamas confrontation
through stoppage of aid and exploiting their decades-old links with Fatah.
On 21st April, Abbas revoked Hamas governments decision to create a new
security force of armed militants. Next day, the Fatah Party accused Hamas
of courting civil war and the two parties held a meeting to quell tensions.
Haniyah urged calm after Palestinian violence.
Abbas stressed that Hamas must negotiate with Israel, but further talks
within Palestinians were shelved amid power struggle between Hamas and
Abbas. On 8th May, three Palestinians were killed in clash between Hamas
and Fatah gunmen in Gaza. Jordan also joined the battle and claimed
arresting 20 activists of Hamas. Meanwhile, Israel continued perpetrating
state terrorism against Palestinians:
One Palestinian activist was killed and another wounded in Israeli air
strike in Gaza on 27th April.
On 1st May, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian woman and
wounded her two daughters in Tulkarem.
Next day, two Palestinians were killed and three wounded in an
explosion in security base in Gaza Strip.


On 5th May, five Palestinians were wounded in exchange of fire with

Israeli soldiers when they moved in to Balata refugee camp in West
Bank with bulldozers.
Palestinian Foreign Minister said Saudi Arabia has pledged $ 90
million aid to Palestinians. Chirac proposed World Bank account to channel
aid to the Palestinians and on 10th May the Quartet agreed to set up a new
mechanism to channel aid directly to Palestinians bypassing Hamas
government. Israel welcomed the decision and set the deadline for Hamasled government to meet its three demands by the end of the year to be
negotiating partner, failing which it would fix borders unilaterally.
Criticism of Israels belligerence and immoral support from the
Crusaders continued. Hasan Hanizadeh wrote, the April 22 edition of the
Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Zionist security officials as saying that the
Mossad is plotting to assassinate Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad
The daily also quoted Israeli security affairs analyst Amir Oren as saying
that Zionist security organizations are planning to assassinate the Iranian
president and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
Oren also claimed that Israel will not face very many problems or
serious reaction from the international community after the assassination of
these two figures Haaretz stated that the final decision on the
assassination of Ahmedinejad and Haniya would be taken upon the
approval of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
In the past, Israel has assassinated great number of Palestinian and
Lebanese figures It should be noted that after all these assassinations,
international organizations took no appropriate measures against the
Zionist regime for these despicable crimes If state-sponsored terrorism,
which the Zionist regime is trying to develop, is not addressed, it will
eventually become a directionless blind terrorism that will threaten global
Chandra Muzaffar talked of Hamas viewpoint. Hamas has made it
explicitly clear that Israel as the occupying power must first withdraw
completely from the West Bank and Gaza (which is still very much under its
control), recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent and
sovereign Palestinian state, and acknowledge the non-negotiable right of
return of 4.5 million Palestinian refugees before Hamas reciprocates. This
is a legitimate demand in line with various UN resolutions on the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, international law, and the principles of justice.


Instead of punishing Hamas, the US and the EU should be

pressurizing the Tel Aviv regime to end its occupation and to abide by UN
resolutions. The mainstream media in the West and elsewhere should also
urge Tel Aviv and its backers to cease their subjugation and oppression of the
Palestinian people and to restore their rights. It is immoral for
governments and the media to concentrate their attack upon the victims
of occupation and oppression If Western elites are sincere about human
rights and justice, they should champion the cause of the dispossessed not
trample upon their dignity.
Ramzy Baroud opined that the Crusaders were deliberately making
Hamas mission impossible. Since facts and common sense are of little
concern to those who hastily decided to withhold badly needed funds to
support the battered economy of the Occupied Territories, there would be no
need to once again marvel at the rhetorical inconsistencies of the Bush
Administration and of the European Union.
It is quite clear that the US and the EUs real intentions are to
topple the Palestinian government, along with the sham of a doctrine
which claims that democratizing the Arabs is the ultimate policy objective of
George W Bush and Tony Blair.
Concurrently, the word is out that disgruntled Fatah members
whose party has dominated the political scene for many years until they
were cast aside last January by Palestinian voters, fed up with corruption and
nepotism are planning to stage wide protests demanding salaries and
government services. Early signs of such disorder have been plentiful in
recent weeks.
Moreover, former PA government advisors now posing as
independent experts with newly forged think-tanks sound as eager to
maintain a financial stranglehold on the new government as any pro-Israeli
analyst in a Washington-based neoconservative think-tank.
Its now politics at work; forget about a just solution to the conflict,
peace and democracy and all other ornamental phrases. Whats at play
here is politics, and dirty politics at that: Any Palestinian government or
leader, democratically elected or not, that fails to perform according to a
specified role and insists on addressing the central elements of the conflict,
must be fought, branded and discarded, no matter how pragmatic his
argument may be.
Yasser Arafat was caged in the basement of his battered offices in the
West Bank town of Ramallah for years, for simply failing to read his

assigned lines. The lapel of his jacket was decorated not only with the flag of
Palestine, but that of Israel as well. He condemned terrorism, shut down
Palestinian charities, imprisoned militant and political leaders, but was still
deemed irrelevant and was literally imprisoned until a mysterious illness
and death set him free.
He would call Israeli leaders my brothers, my partners, he would
condemn attacks on Israeli civilians and often neglected to even address
attacks on Palestinian civilians, yet he was told that all was not enough.
Arafat must condemn Palestinian terrorism in Arabic, US officials and
pundits parroted. He did. That too did not suffice. He must follow his words
with deeds, they further instructed, but without calling on Israel to free him
to achieve such a mission. He was humiliated, physically confined and
completely stripped of any tangible powers, and yet he was expected to
ensure Israels security while in his shackles. He was expected to do the
impossible, and naturally he failed.
History has an odd and often ironic way of repeating itself. The same
conditions are now being imposed on Hamas, who would, predictably, have
to do more to prove to be seen as a legitimate partner in a peace process
that doesnt exist and was not meant to exist.
Undoubtedly, Washington has no constructive foreign policy of its
own regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and is itself following an
Israeli script, one that will deem any Palestinian leadership terrorist,
irrelevant and no peace partner, even if the entire Palestinian leadership
was made of vegetarian, pacifist, Mother Teresa incarnates. Thats all beside
the point. All Israel is striving for is time: To consolidate its strong- hold
over occupied Jerusalem, to conclude the construction of its illegal
Apartheid Wall built mostly on Palestinian land and to demarcate its own
borders, which also happen to fall in Palestinian areas.
Meanwhile, let Palestinians starve, wrangle over pathetic powers
of the government and the president, and resort to Iran for financial aid.
None of this is of any concern to Israel, but it provides the further proof
needed to brand Palestinian incapable of governing themselves, and to make
obvious the evil alliance between Hamas and Iran which in turn places
the Palestinian government in the anti-American camp.
George S Hishmeh was of the view that Israel should declare its
own vision of peace rather than coercing Palestinians. When discussing the
case of Hezbollah, (in White House) the well-spoken Lebanese prime
minister explained to American hosts that his government cannot attempt to

disarm the Islamic militia group before Israel withdraws from the Shebba
Farms, a strip of land bordering Lebanon, Syria and Israel.
If the Lebanese position makes sense to some in the Bush
Administration, the Palestinian leadership, be they Hamas or Fatah, should
not be treated differently. Furthermore, it is high time that the Israeli
government declares its own vision for peace in the region.
Sami Moubayed expressed similar views. In the past, Israel refused
to negotiate with a government that included Hamas. Now due to its
stubbornness, Israel has to deal with a government that is Hamas. It is
completely wrong to say that the peace process was killed when Hamas
was voted to power. Peace process was for ever maimed and crippled when
Ariel Sharon became prime minister 2001. It died when Yasser Arafat was
killed in 2004
Hamas is not opposed to negotiations and is willing to conduct a
ceasefire with Israel, based on reciprocity. If Israel agrees to a ceasefire,
Hamas cannot but observe it. But if Israel continues in its killings, as it has
done recently despite the Hamas-observed truce, then Hamas cannot but
allow, or turn a blind eye to attacks by resistance movements such as Islamic
Jihad, which targeted Tel Aviv last month. Who benefits from the victory of
Hamas? Olmert needs Hamas because a Hamas government that is weak,
isolated and lacks international backing is better than an internationally
acclaimed one such as Arafats Fatah after 1993.
Arab News wrote about the financial crisis faced by the Hamas-led
government. Whatever funds may have been sent have amounted to almost
nothing. The Palestinian state is now in precisely the crisis that President
Mahmoud Abbas predicted. Some 165,000 Palestinian government
employees have not been paid salaries for weeks and have to beg and borrow
to survive.
But far more appalling is that the Palestinian Authority should have
become so totally dependent on Western aid. Thats asking for trouble
and trouble is what they have now that he who does not like the tune has
stopped paying the piper.
The lesson that the Palestinians need to take from this disaster is that
the aid they take must have a broader base. They cannot allow themselves to
ever again slide into a state of neocolonial economic dependency on the US
and EU. It is bad politics and bad economics. Not that they had much option.
By default, Arabs and Muslim governments are also complicit in this
disaster. Their insufficient giving is what has forced the Palestinians into

near absolute dependence on Western aid. Moral support is all very well, but
it does not pay salaries or feed mouths.
Ebrahim al-Abed talked of Olmerts plan to get US approval of his
design to fix borders unilaterally. The Israeli leader is scheduled to meet
US President George W Bush on May 23 at the White House. Top on his
agenda will be securing the American administrations approval of the plan
which he hopes will shape Israels permanent borders. He added that Israel
was going ahead of its plan in anticipation of the approval.
Olmert has said he will initially offer to negotiate with the
Palestinians, provided the Hamas government recognizes Israel, accepts the
previously signed agreements with the PLO and disavows terrorism
However, if negotiations do not advance, Olmert intends to carry out
unilateral steps towards establishing Israels borders. It is no more than lip
service to the idea of withdrawal by agreement.
The US is likely to support a withdrawal because it wants to show
some progress and there arent a lot of other options on the table, a source
said. At the same time, Olmert intends to order the construction of thousands
of housing units in the large colonies in order to absorb evacuees from the
West Bank settlements.
Adel Safty said US support was not something new. Israel is the
largest recipient of American aid, about $ 3 billion every year, which it can
freely divert to finance the occupation and the illegal colonies. Israel is the
only country on whose behalf the US used its veto repeatedly at the UN
Security Council, vetoing 32 resolutions critical of Israel since 1982.
The US consistently supported the Israeli position in all IsraeliArab negotiations from the Sinai Agreements in 1974, to Oslo in 1993, to
Camp David in 2000. One US participant at Camp David later said: far too
often, we functioned as Israels lawyer.
Johann Hari also focused on Olmertss plan. As the pro-Olmert
Mideast Mirror reassured its readers this week: The sum total of Olmert
plan is to reduce friction between Israelis and Palestinians in the
territories, but its not to give up control over the West Bank even as Israel
evacuates as much as 90 percent of it. Troops would remain in the territory.
Yet still Olmerts plan is being presented as generous.
This is only true if you see the problem entirely from Israeli point
of view. Since the Israelis want to give up nothing, withdrawing from a few
scraps of the West Bank and leaving the Palestinians with around 13 percent


of historical Palestine is generous from their perspective. But if you look at

it from the perspective of what the Palestinians are entitled to under
international law, the picture is very different.
Hassan Tahsin wrote about Americas recent act of bias. Following
the Israeli Armys brutal operations in the Gaza Strip, the Arab group in New
York submitted a proposal to the Security Council calling on Israel to stop
the continuing violence against the Palestinians. Fourteen members of the
council supported the motion, but as was only to be expected, the United
States vetoed it. The Americans said the proposal was unfair to Israel. What
is more, it will hurt the feelings of Israelis while they were celebrating
the Jewish festival of Passover. Thus the United States gave Israel the green
light once again to go ahead with its one-sided steps.
He quoted John Gunther Dean. In many ways, the Palestine problem
is the most pervasive, complex and dangerous problem in American foreign
policy. It is also the most difficult to address because it is so deeply
embedded in guilt, emotion and fear as to be almost beyond rational
Dean, who worked in US Foreign Service for 50 years, added: When
Israel saw a conflict between its goals and ours; it naturally chose its own.
America has seldom done so. At the government level we tiptoe around
issues, which has severely harmed American interests
On the eve of the meeting of the Quartet, the Guardian wrote,
international law bans collective punishment a tenet the representatives of
the Middle East peace quartet should bear in mind when they meet in New
York today to consider the grave situation in the Palestinian territories It
does not take a genius to work out how to avoid this. Overall, greater
imagination and flexibility is needed to handle Hamas. Having carried
out 60 suicide bombings against Israeli targets, mostly civilians, it has
maintained a ceasefire for 16 months. That is more important than the
totemic issue of recognizing Israel. Palestinians voted for it because they had
despaired of progress towards a just peace under the discredited old PA
regime; not because they had converted en masse to Jihad.
Some analysts had become apprehensive about democratization of the
Arab World after Hamas victory. Madeleine K Albright rejected their
apprehensions. Just because the denial of political freedom is bad, that
doesnt mean the exercise of freedom will always be to our liking.
Democracy is a form of government; it is not a ticket to some heavenly
kingdom where all evil is vanquished and everyone agrees with us.

If Arab democracy develops, it will do so to advance Arab aspirations

based on Arab perceptions of history and justice. The right to vote and hold
office is unlikely to soften Arab attitudes toward Israel or to end the
potential for terror, just as it has been unable to prevent terrorist cells from
organizing in the West.
The realists are right to bemoan the invasion of Iraq, but that
misguided operation cannot be used to indict the promotion of
democracy. The purpose of the invasion was to seize weapons that did not
exist and to severe a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda that
had not been made.
As for the Palestinians, let us be fair elections did not create
Hamas. Voters turned to that terrorist group only because prior Palestinian
governments didnt deliver. Now, precisely because of the elections, Hamas
will be tested as it has never been before, and it will be required to do what it
has never done. This will create pressure on the organization to refrain from
violence and to moderate its policies toward Israel. Democracy did not
create Hamas, but it may cause Hamas to change or to fail. Either outcome
would be an improvement on the status quo.
The time has come to start looking beyond the Bush Administration
to its successor. Our new leaders, of whichever party, will face daunting
challenges, including that of redefining what America stands for in the

Thousands of anti-war protesters marched in New York on 29th April,
but attention of the critics was drawn towards row with Iran over nuclear
issue. However, some analysts were not distracted. John F Kerry focused on
soldier-civilian row.
He wrote it is right to make clear that the best way to support the
troops is to oppose a course that squanders their lives, dishonours their
sacrifices, and disserves the American people and our principles. True
patriots must defend the right of dissent and listen to the dissenters.
Dissenters are not always right, but it is always a warning sign when they
are accused of unpatriotic sentiments by politicians trying to avoid
accountability or debate on their own policies.


In recent weeks, a number of retired high-ranking military leaders

have publicly called for the resignation of Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld. And from the ranks of this administration and its conservative
surrogates, weve heard these calls dismissed as acts of disloyalty or as a
threat to civilian control of the armed forces. We have even heard
accusations that this dissent gives aid and comfort to the enemy. That line of
attack is shameful, especially coming from those who have never worn the
Generals and others who call for recognizing the facts on the ground
in Iraq are not defeatists, they are patriots. At a time when mistake after
mistake is being compounded by the very civilian leadership in the Pentagon
that ignored expert military advice in the invasion and occupation of Iraq,
those who understand the price being paid for each mistake by our troops,
our country, and Iraq itself must be heard.
Linda Heard analyzed the prospects of the political change
from Jaafari to Maliki. Whether or not this new broom will be successful in
sweeping clean is another matter. He may have been heartily welcomed by
the White House but there were no celebratory fireworks display at home,
only more bombs, rocket attacks and internecine executions Al-Maliki,
who until now has taken a political back seat, must prove himself and fast,
so say the pundits. But we are kidding ourselves? Just how much autonomy
does the Iraqi government really enjoy?
First, Saddam Hussein is still in US custody and the court that is
trying him is obviously under US diktats More important, the Iraqi
government still has to abide by a slew of edicts or binding directives and
directives laid down by Iraqs former US viceroy Paul Bremer before the
political handover.
Then the big question is who gets to control Iraq oil. A report of the
Global Policy Forum suggests, the future of this valuable asset is being
decided behind closed doors The report suggests that while Iraqi public
opinion is strongly opposed to handing control over oil development to
foreign companies with the active involvement of the US and British
governments a group of powerful Iraqi politicians and technocrats is pushing
for a system of long-term contracts with foreign oil companies. These, it
says, will be beyond the reach of Iraqi courts, public scrutiny or democratic
Bush says that once the Iraqi police and military become proficient,
US troops can begin to withdraw. But what he doesnt mention is that the

new billion dollar US Embassy currently being constructed is set to be

the largest and most fortified in history This mammoth project will cover
104 acres and comprise massive office blocks, apartment buildings, villas,
clubs, a food court as well as electricity and water treatment plants. The size
of the Vatican, this complex is set to be entirely independent from the rest of
Given that Iraq is supposed to be a sovereign entity, one must surely
ask why the US needs this town within a city. Will there be only diplomats
living there or contingents from the military and CIA? One thing is certain.
Theyll be doing a lot more than hosting garden parties The US says it
bought the land upon which the complex is being built from the Iraqis, but
which Iraqi had the right to authorize this when until now there hasnt been a
permanent government?
Bush further omits to talk about the five permanent US bases that are
rump red to being built in Iraq. In fact, the administration has attempted to
quash these rumours However, Pentagon has requested hundreds of
millions of dollars for military construction in Iraq Even the US House
Appropriation Committee is suspicious citing the hefty amounts of being of
magnitude normally associated with permanent bases The Crucial test of
the Iraqi governments independence is whether the US will quit the
country if requested to do so.
Albright has referred to the invasion of Iraq as one of the greatest
failures of US foreign policy. This depends on how one looks at it. If the
US was out to control Iraqi oil, weaken Iraq so that its no longer a perceived
threat to Israel and establish strategic control over the region then it has
achieved just what it set out to do.
Marwan al-Kabalan wrote, it appears that the US invasion has
replaced one tyranny with another and the only difference was that
Saddam had never claimed to be a democratic leader. The US invasion,
moreover, did not bring the promised change that would sweep the whole
region, according to the US intellectuals.
It rather legitimized the status quo and gave Arab autocrats every
reason to tighten their grip on power and justify the cruel nature of their rule.
Look next door, they would tell their people, if you want us to leave, the
alternative is chaos, violence and indiscriminate killing.
Gary Younge talked of prisoner abuse. If the war on terror is a
plan to preserve and promote the values of the civilized world against

barbarism, then nobody told Mohammad al-Kahtani (20th hijacker of 9/11).

Since Kahtani has been incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, he has been
stripped naked and straddled by a taunting female guard, made to wear
knickers on his head and a bra, and told that his mother was a whore. He has
been shaved, held on a leash and forced to bark like a dog, put in isolation
for five months in a cell continuously flooded with artificial light, deprived
of heat, treated to a fake kidnapping and pumped with large quantities of
intravenous liquids without access to a toilet so that he urinated on himself.
But unlike Abu Ghraib, responsibility for Kahtanis abuse could not
be dumped on a group of working-class part-timers. According to sworn
statements by Schmidt Rumsfeld was personally involved in Kahtanis
interrogation and spoke every week with Guantanamo commander
Joseph E Robert Jr. criticized neglect of reconstruction.
Dangerous failures in Iraqs economic reconstruction are undermining
progress on the security and political fronts. US commanders are the first to
admit that this war will not be won by the military alone. You are not going
to shoot yourself out of this problem, says Lt Gen Peter Chiarelli,
commander of daily operations in Iraq. Of the estimated $ 300 billion spent
by Washington so far in Iraq, just $ 21 billion has been allocated for
reconstruction, and perhaps half this amount has been redirected to pressing
security needs.
The New York Times wrote about supplementary spending on
war. That is convenient for the administration, which does not have to count
the money when it is pretending to balance the budget. But Iraq is not some
kind of unexpected emergency, like Hurrican Katrina. It is a highly
predictable cost, now amounting to about $ i00 billion, or just 20 percent of
total military spending.
Congress would gladly vote the Pentagon every cent it needs to fight
in Iraq and Afghanistan and rebuild its ground forces so that they are
available for other military emergencies. But with so much of the war off the
budget, as it were, Congress is instead being asked to approve one of the
biggest military budget in American history for projects having little to do
with current fighting.
The regular defence budget at least goes through protracted review
by specialized authorization and appropriation committees that have some
familiarity with military operations. That does not prevent a lot of pork
being included. But the process is far more considered and transparent than
the circuses that govern supplemental spending The Bush Administration

has not done a very good job of talking straight to the American people
about Iraq. If it wants to start winning back some of its squandered
credibility, honest budgeting would be one good place to start.
Geoff D Porter wrote about the stoppage of aid to Palestine.
Immediately, Hamas officials fanned out across the Arab World to drum up
funds. Oil and gas-rich Algeria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia committed money.
The Arab League also promised financial support at its March meeting. But
no funds were actually transferred to the Palestinian Authority, because
the banks handling the contributions are wary of running afoul of American
laws against financing terrorist organizations. Muslim governments follow
the US laws more religiously than their moral obligations.
Iran, too, pledged to send money to the Palestinian Authority after a
high-level meeting with two Hamas leaders in Syria. And the Iranian
commitment is different from the Arab one. Although Mr Ahmedinejad does
not steer Irans foreign policy, his ideological rhetoric frames policy debates
and could compel Irans Guardian Council to give Hamas much more money
than Arab countries are willing to contribute.
He opined that aid cut would bring Hamas closer to Iran. The
closer Tehran draws to the Palestinian Authority, the likelier it is that the
Iranians would retaliate against any American military action on their
territory by encouraging Hamas to attack Israel.

The attitude of Islamic countries and the media is reflected in the
tolerance, accommodation and moderation displayed by the News. On 7 th
May, 30 people were killed and more than 70 wounded, but the news item
was tucked into inner page, whereas death of last Titanic survivor at the age
of 99 found place in front page in a blocked column.
Yet, the same media complains about the bias of western media. May
be, it was done as a matter of policy. If you cant do anything to stop the
killings of Muslims, there is no use agitating the sentiments of people far, far
away. Or, it might be in step with US policy of downplaying the bloodshed
in Iraq. Whatever the motive might be this attitude undermines the cause of
the resistance groups who have almost succeeded in mobilizing the world
opinion against the unjust and ugly war.


Maliki has been told to get into the shoes of Jaafari and wear his
crown. He will soon find where the shoe pinches whereas the crown poses
direct threat to his head. Whether he hurts his foot or loses the head, it will
not make any difference to the Crusaders who will find another Allawi, or
Jaafari, or Maliki from the fertile land of two rivers and continue
consolidating in the conquered land.
Analyst Amir Orens revelation that Zionist security organizations are
planning to assassinate the Iranian president and Palestinian Prime Minister
Ismail Haniyah indicates the reason behind Muslim rulers reluctance to
oppose Americas unjust war. They are wise enough to save themselves by
being on the right side of the global terrorists.
12th May 2006

As Iran faced pressure over developing the raw material for nuclear
weapons, Brazil quietly prepared to open its own uranium-enrichment
center, capable of producing exactly the same fuel. No hue and cry was
raised by the so-called international community, but on 21 st April, US
urged ban on military sales to Iran.
The same day, Tehran rejected Rices warning of self-defence and
said it was ready to cooperate with IAEA. Egypt said Iran wanted a peaceful
solution. Turkey and Pakistan had serious discussions to work together to
defuse tension over Irans nuclear issue. Moscow rejected sanctions without
proof. Irans envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog agency claimed that Iran
and Russia have reached basic deal on enrichment.
On 24th April, Nejad warned of quitting NPT, but he said short-term
enrichment freeze was possible. Next day, after a meeting with Sudanese
president Khamenei said Iran was ready to transfer its nuclear technology to
neighbouring countries. Washington claimed that isolation of Tehran had
deepened. Israel launched eye in the sky for vigil on Iran.
On 26th April, Azerbaijan ruled out help to US against Iran. Iran
threatened to strike US interests, if attacked. Two days later, IAEA reported


to UNSC that Iran has failed to comply with deadline. Tehran offered
timetable for cooperation and Bush desired peaceful resolution of the
Iran offered intrusive inspections on 29th April. Pakistans Foreign
Secretary visiting Washington said his country would honour UN curbs on
Iran. Next day, Iran wanted probe by IAEA and not by UNSC. Laranjani
said Tehran cant be forced to halt nuclear plan. America said Islamic state
was playing games.
On 1st May, Iran asked UN to stop US making military threats. Next
day, all the five permanent members of the UNSC and Germany agreed that
Irans nuclear programme was not compatible with the demands of the
international community, a French official said at the end of meeting in
Paris. Iran claimed uranium enrichment to 4.8 percent.
The media campaign to demonize Iran was reinvigorated. Mark
Bowman reopened American hostage case of 1979 and implicated Nejad and
minister for energy. Two days later, Irans parliament passed a legislation
that would force the government to withdraw from NPT as US and its allies
pressed for a UNSC vote to outlaw Irans uranium enrichment programme.
On 8th May, Iran disclosed that Nejad has written a letter to Bush to
propose new ways for getting out of the existing vulnerable world situation.
Negroponte termed it a ploy to influence UNSC debate. The same day, two
bombs exploded in southwest Iran, one of the areas targeted by US in pursuit
of its policy of supporting the dissidents.
US dismissed Irans letter as it saw nothing new in that. Bush said the
letter failed to address international concerns. Rice said US will wait for
couple of weeks before pressing UNSC for action. Indonesia supported
Tehran. Israel said Iran wont give nukes to militants.
On 11th May, Nejad, while addressing students in Jakarta, said about
Israel that this regime one day will vanish. Next day, US rejected Annans
call for direct talks with Iran and Western diplomats claimed that UN
inspectors found traces of highly enriched uranium; Iran denied.

As international political powers seek Irans capitulation on nuclear
weapons development, little notice is given to neither what the
Americans and the British have done to create this crisis nor what

steps the Israelis might eventually take to make it profoundly more

complicated, wrote James C Moore.
Irans antipathy toward the West did not spontaneously generate
out of the crazed rhetoric of radical mullahs. It has been spurred by what
Iranians see as hypocrisy on the part of members of the worlds nuclear
community, and the bumbled meddling of the US and UK in Iranian affairs
for more than a half century. Iran is dangerous, but the British and
Americans have helped to make it that way. And the situation is even more
precarious than it appears.
Shortly after the Gulf War in 1991, Germany gave Israel two of its
diesel-powered Dolphin-class submarines In November 2005, Germany
announced that it was selling two more subs to Israel for $ 1.2 billionboats
are a means for Israel to have second-strike capability from the sea if any of
its land-based defence systems are hit by enemy nuclear weapons.
The vessels have been fitted with US-made Harpoon missiles with
nuclear tips. Each Dolphin-class boat can carry 24 missilesHarpoons are
designated to seek out ship-sized targets on the sea but could be retrofitted
with a different guidance system Because the shallow waters of the
Persian Gulf make the Israeli subs easily detectable, two of them are
reported to be patrolling the deeper reaches of the Gulf of Oman, well within
range of Iranian targets.
Israel is the fifth-largest nuclear power on the planet with much of its
delivery systems technology funded by US taxpayers Before Ariel
Sharons health failed, Der Spiegel reported that the then Israeli prime
minister had ordered his countrys Mossad intelligence service to go into
Iran and identify nuclear facilities to be destroyed.
US military already has teams inside Iran picking targets and
working to facilitate political unrest. It is precisely this same type of tactic
by the US and the UK, used more than a half century ago, which has led us
to the contemporary nuclear precipice At the prompting of British
intelligence, the CIA executed strategic bombings and political harassments
of religious leaders, which became the foundation of Mosaddeqs overthrow.
Shah Reza Pahlevi, whose strings were pulled from Downing Street and
Washington, became a brutal dictator
Ikram Sehgal said the same thing. A CIA unit already seems to be
operating in Sistan and Baluchistan stirring up Iranian Baluch tribes. Does
this strike a chord about the incentive and support keeping Akbar Bugti in
the hills? The Iraqi-based Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) operating against

Iran with Saddam Husseins help had been disarmed; the Pentagon is
believed to be seeking MEKs re-activation.
Rabia Akhtar said, the norms through which the Non-Proliferation
Treaty was established, the ideals that it stands for, and the vision of a better
and safer world, would no longer hold if there is no fair play. If the
established nuclear powers keep on increasing their nuclear arsenal and
modifying their nuclear warheads it will be very difficult to stop other from
following suit.
Masooda Bano wrote, for the US to assume that Iran is bound to use
this technology eventually for weapons reflects its anti-Iran bias, given
that it is supporting Israel and India in the enhancement of their nuclear
technologies on the pretext of civilian use.
The talk of bias brings in Israeli factor. M K Bhadrakumar quoted
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, the Israelis say they dont have a
nuclear programme. But people were saying 25-30 years back that Israel had
a nuclear programme. If Irans nuclear programme is dangerous, Israels
is dangerous too. All countries should be open to the UN inspections. Saudi
Foreign Minister had also expressed similar views.
Kaleem Omar dwelled on this factor. In this escalating war of words,
several things seem to have been forgotten. One, the only country in the
Middle East with nuclear weapons is Israel, which has more than 200
nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them by missiles and bomber
aircraft. Two, in January 2003, just weeks before the US invasion of Iraq,
when Syria called for nuclear weapons-free Middle East, its call was met by
a deafening silence from Washington.
I Hassan was of the view that the biggest gun-pointing at all the oilproducing states is of course the state of Israel with its highly efficient
army, which has the mobility to move in any direction with rapidity. At the
same time, the US has the bases/troops in almost all the states of the Middle
East which are owner/producers of oil. It has troops in Saudi Arabia, has
occupied Iraq with no intention of leaving it and has the ability to move into
any of the states except Iran.
Menzies Campbell equated few other countries with Israel while
talking about the bias. Double standards over nuclear weapons are
commonplace. Why have Israel, India and Pakistan received no censure,
while Iran is the target of a global campaign? ... Iran is not a rogue state. It


cares about international opinion; it has signed the NPT, while India,
Pakistan and Israel have not.
Dr Mohammad Ekef Jamal bracketed Turkey with Jewish state. Israel
and Turkey are the most concerned countries. Israel has an extreme desire
to see a military strike against Iran, to reduce the Iranian nuclear project to
ashes, while Turkey has more than one reason to worry.
Dr Maqsudul Hasan Nuri mentioned the reasons behind this bias;
genuine or imagined. Of course, Irans stand is that it is not making nuclear
weapons and that its nuclear enrichment is for peaceful purposes a claim
that is seen with deep suspicion by Israel, the US and other Western
countries. The view is bolstered by Irans clandestine, unreported nuclear
activities over many years, its abundant hydrocarbon resources, the nature of
the Islamic regime and the recent spate on incendiary statements.
Israel feels if and when Iran gets nuclearized it would be grudgingly
accepted as a regional power by its immediate neighbours. Moreover, it is
haunted by the fear that the US attitude would abruptly change as it did
towards North Korea after it crossed the nuclear threshold. After Iran has
acquired N-weapons, it is further argued, the latter would not only be in a
position to intimidate its Arab Gulf neighbours but would be able to more
energetically fund anti-Israel groups, hold a direct threat to Israel and to the
US forces and installations in the region including naval fleets, and above all
block oil supplies through the Gulf. These acts Iran could also undertake in
its pre-nuclear phase if it were attacked.
The prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran is a chilling
thought for Israel. It feels that time is running out fast. However, Israel is
reluctant to act alone. It needs to piggyback on its benefactor, the US, and
preferably desires the US to perform the dirty work of dealing with Iran.
Either Israel acts alone or in unison to strike a pre-nuclear Iran, the reaction
in the Islamic World would be strong and severe.
Kaleem Omar opined that the biggest threat to world peace is
not Irans fledgling nuclear programme (which even Western experts say is
years away from achieving nuclear weapons capability) but the USs and
Russias nuclear arsenals. Both countries have more than 12,000 warheads
enough to wipe out humanity several times over.
He explained the dangers posed by the very existence of piles of
these weapons by narrating the 1983 false alarm created by the computer
error. The nuclear war was averted by the prudence and cool-headedness of


the Russian officer on duty, Lt Col Stanislav Petrov. Had the incident
happened the other-way round, the Yankee mentality of sharp-shooting
would have triggered the nuclear war. Analyst mentioned the Americans
eagerness to use nuclear weapons in future wars.
The Bush Administrations foreign policy includes actual plans to
use nuclear bombs as pre-emptive weapons. Soon after taking office in
January 2001 (before 9/11), President George W Bush directed the US
military to prepare plans to use tactical nuclear weapons against at least
seven countries China, Russia, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Libya and Iraq.
Nobody should buy the Pentagons argument that these tactical
nukes are small and wont be all that horrific. Nuclear weapons even if
they are smaller than those that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, will not
only kill on impact, but raise immense radioactive dust, with the terrible
results of slow, agonizing death from radiation.
Yet the US Senate has approved Bushs request to lift a 10-year ban
on research, development and production of nuclear weapons of less than 5
kilotons. The US is spending billions of dollars a year on developing new
nuclear weapons, and the Los Alamos National Laboratories (which
developed the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs) have developed earth
penetrator mini nukes, also known as bunker-busters.
In 2003, Bush Administrations officials talked of using these bunkerbuster weapons against Iraq. Now, there is a talk in Washington of using
bunker-buster bombs to destroy Irans nuclear facilities many of which
are reported to be deep underground.
Jason Miller was of the view that most of the worlds nuclear weapons
were stocked in North America, which harbours worlds most dangerous
terrorists. Given the knowledge that it is the United States which created
and primarily wields the power to extinguish life on Earth, it is not a
tremendous intellectual leap to classify the American government as the
worlds most dangerous and most powerful terrorist.
According to the FBI, domestic terrorism is: the unlawful use, or
threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based on
operating entirely within the United States or its territories without foreign
direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a
government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance
of political or social objectives.


What could be more threatening or violent than a nuclear attack?

What could be more coercive that the US imposition of its will, culture, and
ruthless economic agenda on a global populace like a domineering father
abusing his cowed children? Employing terrorist tools of intimidation,
coercion and threats of violence, the United States consistently sets the
political and social objectives for the rest of the world.
Bearing in mind that the atomic bombs deployed in Japan were
mere firecrackers relative to todays nukes, the following puts a grim
perspective on the situation: A single Hiroshima-size blast in downtown
Los Angeles, according to a computer projectionwould kill about 150,000
people immediately and 100,000 more from neutron and gamma radiation.
An additional 800,000 people would be exposed to high-level radiation.
The combined nuclear capacity of the United States and Russia at the
height of the nuclear arms race was enough to eradicate the Earth of life
1,500 times overin 2004 the United States had 10,000 nuclear warheads,
7,000 of which were operational.
With over 500 land-based ICBMs, the United States can incinerate
any region of a 4.5 billion year old planet within a mere 35 minutes. In
addition it has submarine-based Trident nuclear missiles and a fleet of B-1,
B-2 and B-52 long-range bombers which can rain nuclear hell upon
millions of unsuspecting units of collateral damage.
The United States began diverting substantial portions of its
obscene defence budget to its Stockpile Stewardship Program to perpetuate
and expand its nuclear capacities On the domestic front, Americas
bellicose government is emphasizing the enhancement of existing nuclear
weapons to give the appearance that it is not developing new ones.
To neutralize nations which have developed weapons facilities deep
underground, America created the B61-11 to burrow into rock before
discharging its nuclear payload. Americas Neocons are itching to play
with their new toys in Iran.
The Pentagon claims that these bunker-busters would pose no threat
to life outside of the underground targets. Scientists have different view.
No earth-burrowing missile can penetrate deep enough into the earth to
contain an explosion with a nuclear yield even as small as 1 percent of the
15 kiloton Hiroshima weapon.
A messiah complex, severely stunted emotional intelligence, and
profound ignorance are the defining characteristics of the man capable of


making nuclear holocaust a reality within minutes. In the light of this,

Osama bin Laden, bow-cutters, and suicide bombers dont seem quite so
formidable or worrisome.
Dr Maqsudul Hasan Nuri said, whatever the motives, it seems Israel
is not the prime cause of Irans N-programme but the increasing US
hostility, fear of its encirclement and threats of regime change. In fact,
the US inflammatory rhetoric after 9/11 branding Iran as evil, an outpost of
tyranny and a rogue regime has worsened the already estranged relations.
Earlier, the US invasions (of Afghanistan and Iraq) and the prolonged
occupations had convinced many Iranians of nuclear weapons utility as a
deterrent. Hence, Iran is following a policy in which defiance, national pride
and survival commingle.

Bush Administration has been loud-thinking about military options
since long with motive too obvious. The analysts have been pondering about
the pros and cons of the various options. Most of them visualized the
negative impact on US interests in the region; others expressed concern over
the devastation likely to be caused by another military campaign. Some
ruled out the possibility of military action, but few urged the US to go ahead.

Opponents of military action warned that invasion of Iran could

prove disastrous. Linda S Heard said, Iran is not Iraq and there are no
cakewalks being touted this time around. After mentioning Nejads
warnings to pull Iran out of the NPT and step up uranium enrichment and
that oil process would likely top $ 100 mark if Iran sanctions are imposed,
she mentioned about Iranian plans to deploy North Korean and Russian
missiles Iran has also threatened to block the Straits of Hormuz and to
target US bases throughout the region.
Iran has gone a step further recruiting eight Islamic fundamentalist
groups willing to retaliate against the US and Britain in the event Iran
comes under attack, says al-Sharq al-Aswat. Code named Judgment Day
such attacks would rely heavily on suicide bombers.
Al-Sharq al-Aswat reports that up to 1,200 followers of Iraqi cleric
Moqtada al-Sadr have received military training in camps, built by the Quds
Army of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the Iran-Iraq border Al-Sadr
has already sworn to stand with Iran faced with a US-Iran conflict. Which
way Iraqs Dawa and SCIRI parties will jump is still unknown? One can also

expect anti-US rumblings from Shiites in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Syria and
Russia would have much to lose if the US got its hooks into Iran as
apart from millions of dollars worth of contracts, the sight of the Star
Spangled Banner fluttering over the Caspian would not be a welcome
sight Chinas public statements on Iran are similarly low key but it has
been busy shopping for oil in both Latin America and Africa and has signed
substantial energy agreements with Tehran.
Without such a resolution that would, in effect, label Iran a danger to
the international community, the US would be on a legal slippery slope if it
decided to launch preemptive strikes against a country that has never
threatened it. Indeed, the self-defence casus belli, enshrined in the United
Nations Charter would not be applicable.
James C Moore argued against military option on the basis of Irans
ability to make things difficult for the US. Including reserves, the Iranian
Army has 850,000 troops enough to deal with strained American forces
in Iraq, even if US reserves were to be deployed. The Iranians also have
North Korean surface-to-air missiles with a 1,550-mile range and able to
carry a nuclear warhead America cannot invade and occupy. Irans
response would likely be an invasion of southern Iraq, populated, as is Iran,
with Shiites who could be enlisted to further destabilize Iraq.
Ikram Sehgal argued on the basis of nationalistic spirit of the Iranians.
Even though liberals may not be enamoured by President Ahmedinejad or
his government, Iranians are very nationalistic, on the nuclear issue they
are united and charged, the regime change option will not materialize. The
Iranian regime has put the threatened US invasion to good use, uniting
Iranians on one pro-nuclear platform.
Azam Khalil cautioned, all American forces in the areas
neighbouring Iran would be endangered and a serious uprising in Iraq could
spell disaster for the United States. Even if the Iranians fail to blockade the
Strait of Hormuz, they have achieved the capability to disrupt the flow of
oil in this strategic region.
Robert E Hunter wrote, while preventing Iran from becoming a
nuclear power is a bipartisan goal shared by just about everyone, the risks
and perils of a war with Iran are little discussed in public by government
leaders and are barely mentioned by the media.


Theres no question that if Iran developed nuclear weapons the move

would further unsettle the Middle East, put US friends and allies at higher
risk, raise fears of diversion of nuclear weapons to terrorist groups, frighten
Israel, and undercut American authority in the Persian Gulf.
At the same time, a US attack on Iran would likely cause a spike in
the price of oil, alienate Muslims, create a split within the NATO
alliance, and lead to an increase in terrorism. It might even draw Iranian
forces over the Iraqi border to attack US troops.
Dennis Ross had similar views. The alternative of using force to
prevent or forestall the Iranians going nuclear does not look much better. To
begin with, there are no simple or clean military options. Air operations
alone might involve striking hundreds of targets, many in populated areas
where there are significant air defence capabilities in the process of being
upgraded by the Russians. The more casualties we inflict, the more we
inflame the Islamic World.
Perhaps we could manage the response if the military campaign
inflicted relatively few casualties and succeeded in setting back the Iranian
nuclear program. But such a rosy scenario assumes that Irans ability to
retaliate is relatively limited. Even if we have the means to prevent the
Iranian navy and air force from shutting down shipping into and out of the
Persian Gulf, Iran has other options for turning any effort to take out its
nuclear capability into a wider war.
Zbigniew Brzezinski opposed even the air strike against nuclear
facilities of Iran. There are four compelling reasons against a preventive
air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities:
First, in the absence of an imminent threat, the attack would be a
unilateral act of war. If undertaken without a formal congressional
declaration of war, an attack would be unconstitutional and merit the
impeachment of the president. Similarly, if undertaken without the
sanction of the United Nations Security Councilit would stamp the
perpetrator(s) as an international outlaw(s).
Second, likely Iranian reactions would significantly compound
ongoing US difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Third, oil prices would climb steeply, especially if the Iranians were
to cut their production or seek to disrupt the flow of oil


Finally, the United States, in the wake of the attack, would become
an even more likely target of terrorism While prospects for an
eventual regional accommodation between Israel and its neighbours
would be even more remote.
In short, an attack on Iran would be an act of political folly, setting
in motion a progressive upheaval in world affairs. With the US increasingly
the object of widespread hostility, the era of American preponderance could
even come to a premature end Even if the United States is not planning an
imminent military strike on Iran, persistent hints by official spokesmen that
the military option is on the table impede the kind of negotiations that
could make that option necessary.
Military threats also reinforce growing international suspicions
that the US might be deliberately encouraging greater Iranian intransigence.
Sadly, one has to wonder whether, in fact, such suspicions may not be partly
justified It is therefore high time for the administration to sober up and
think strategically, with historic perspective and the US national interest
primarily in mind. Its time to cool the rhetoric. The United States should not
be guided by emotions or a sense of a religiously inspired mission.
Dr Mohammad Ekef Jamal said, military action is no solution to the
crisis. This is simply because Irans retaliation will be powerful and
devastating, causing damage to the interests of countries that import oil from
the region If the US and its allies decide to launch military action, there is
only one scenario for the war. It will involve destroying Irans missile and
naval capabilities. Such a scenario means the breakout of a real war with a
major country (Iran) in the region This option would be in harmony with
the cowboy mentality that dominates the US Administration, and may serve
the interests of some countries that are worried about Americas increasing
global dominance.
He indirectly urged other global powers and countries of the region to
play their role in avoiding the war with Iran. The peace doves in China and
Russia have not been able to soothe the tension between Iran and the
countries opposed to its programme Where do Arabs stand in this crisis?
The situation has only served to show how weak Arab countries are, both
politically and militarily. They have failed to formulate an effective security
system that protects them from any potential crisis.
Ivan Eland Wrote, Iran has hidden and buried nuclear facilities and
put them in populated areas, which would be difficult for the United States
to bomb without causing an international outcry. US intelligence is

unlikely to know the locations of all of the Iranian nuclear facilities, and Iran
may even have a separate parallel set of facilities unbeknownst to the
international community.
M B Naqvi wrote, the shock of America using nuclear weapons on
non-nuclear countries would make the world far more dangerous than it
already is. The American star will not rise to farther skies or create awe and
shock. American prestige would plummet insofar as its standing in the world
and global public opinion are concerned.
Ardent supporters of Americanization of the region urged the US
for regime change in Iran. Amir Taheri has been one of them. The
Middle East today is passing through what historians describe as
disequilibrium. This happens when the status quo is shattered while a
new one has not yet been found Will the new Middle East, which is
bound to emerge sooner or later, be an American one or Iranian one or an
Irano-American one?
The United States, at least as long as President George W Bush is in
charge, regards the shaping of a friendly Middle East not only as a good
thing in itself but also as vital for American security. The Bush Doctrine is
based on the axiom that democracies do not export terrorism or start wars
against other democracies. The strategic interests of the US, therefore,
dictate that hostile regimes be replaced by friendly ones. Surprisingly, for
him, there are no democratically elected governments in Iran and Palestine.
What would happen when, say 10 years from now, the whole of the
region is pro-American, included in the mainstream of globalization, and
more or less prosperous and more or less democratic? Wouldnt an antiAmerican, isolated, more or less poverty-stricken, and openly undemocratic
Islamic republic look like out of place in this new jigsaw?
If the US is allowed to create the kind of the Middle East with which
it feels comfortable, it is obvious that the Islamic republic, as the odd man
out, will feel uncomfortable, not to say threatened? This is why the Islamic
republic is determined not to allow the US to succeed in the region.
In every single country of the region from Pakistan to Morocco
the US and the Islamic republic are engaged in almost daily political,
diplomatic and, at times, even proxy military combat, with varying degree of
intensity. The Islamic republic is actively engaged in sabotaging US plans
for Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and has revived its dormant
networks in more than a dozen Arab countries.


The way change happened in Kabul was different from the way it
happened in Baghdad. And, were it to happen in Tehran, it would again be
different. Nor should we assume that a policy of regime change should be
put into immediate effect. For a range of reasons that might not be possible,
or even desirable The important thing is to realize that the Middle East
will not be out of crisis until one side gives in.
Howard LaFranchi urged for the same indirectly. The 30-day pause in
deliberations on Iran was designed to give the Iranian government an
opportunity to cease uranium enrichment, reassure the world that it is not
proceeding along a path to nuclear armament and stave off further
international action.
But if anything, Iran has used the days preceding a return to the
Security Council to rattle the international community: not only to boast of a
perfected enrichment process, but to do it with veiled references to secret
enrichment sites and to accelerated nuclear development The Iranian
game plan appears to be set up a confrontation with the West that not
only divides the international community but shatters any consensus against
its nuclear programme, analysts say.
Die-hards like Jackson Diehl were busy in demonizing Nejad for the
same purpose. He blamed Nejad for anticipating the end of the world by
talking about emergence of 12th Imam in two years time. He also quoted
Montazeri and Saanei, who as political opponents of Nejad, demand
enforcement of democratic values. Pro-Iran cleric of Iraq, Sistani was also
accused of successfully updating the role of Islam in government.
Many analysts indulged in predicting the war. Let me tell you
about the next war. It will start sooner than you think sometime between
now and September. And it will be precipitated by the $ 700 million
Russian deal this week to sell Tor air defence missile systems to Iran,
prophesized Roosa Brooks.
When the war begins, it will be between Iran and Israel. Before it
ends, though, it may set the whole of the Middle East on fire, pulling the
United States, leaving a legacy of instability that will last for generations
and permanently ending a century of American supremacy.
As international pressure over their nuclear program mounts, the
Iranians have become increasingly bellicose toward the US and Israel
Israel has upped the rhetorical heat as well. On Tuesday, Prime Minister


Ehud Olmert reiterated Israels determination to make sure no one has the
capability or the power to commit destruction against us.
Irans nuclear facilities are dispersed and well-concealed, making a
preemptive Israeli strike is far more difficult this time around. But theres
no reason to doubt Israels willingness to try (but) Israel has a
substantial incentive to wait to see if a diplomatic solution can be found
The clock is ticking for Israel. To have a hope of succeeding, any unilateral
Israeli strike against Iran must take place before September, when the Tor
missile deployment is set to be completed.
At best, a conflict between Israel and Iran (with resulting civilian
casualties) would further inflame anti-Israel sentiment in the Islamic World,
with a consequent increase in terrorism, both against Israel and against the
US, Israels main foreign backerthe entire Middle East could implode,
terrorist attacks worldwide would increase, the already overstretched US
military would be badly damaged and US global influence would wane
perhaps forever, the analyst ended on pessimistic note.
Gwynne Dyer did not agree with the predicted time bracket.
Whatever his long-term plans, US President George W Bush is unlikely to
attack Iran before the mid-term Congressional elections in November,
for three of the last four global recessions were triggered by a sharp rise in
the oil price.
Dr Mohammad Ekef Jamal agreed with Gwynne Dyer. While this
crisis has to end, it may not happen in the near future since there are special
considerations by the White House, which is getting ready for the
Congressional elections in November. Meanwhile, at an international
level, the United States can mobilize international efforts and get
approval to take preventive measures against Iran, including military action,
according to Article No 7 of United Nations Charter.
Many analysts agreed that Israel may drag US into military
confrontation. According to Linda S Heard the legal technicality, however,
would not deter Israel. Israels Prime Minister designate Ehud Olmert has
already likened Ahmedinejad to Hitler, warning that the Iranian leader is a
psychopath and an anti-Semite out to annihilate the Jewish state. For his
part, Bush has repeatedly promised to defend Israel come what may.
Addressing a gathering in Cleveland on March 20, Bush said: The
threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally
Israel. Its a threat to world peace; its a threat, in essence, to a strong


alliance. I made it clear, Ill make it clear again, that we will use military
might to protect our ally, Israel.
James C Moore said, there are also reported to be thousands of
underground nuclear facilities and uranium gas centrifuges in Iran, and it is
impossible for all of them to be eliminated. But the Israelis might be
willing to try. An Israeli attack on Iran would give Bush some political
cover at home. The president could continue to argue that Israel has a right
to protect itself And Americas Harpoon missiles would be delivering the
warheads. These would blow up Iranian nuclear facilities and also launch an
army of Iranian terrorists into the Western world.
Ikram Sehgal wrote, contrary to world perception the US does not
exercise inordinate influence over Israeli decision-making; at best there is
close consultation on many issues The US may be forced into the
conflict despite its own reservations and political compulsions. Commando
(and even bombing) raids by Israel could virtually be suicide missions but a
nation that has grown up with a Masada-psyche should know a thing or two
about why a suicide bomber becomes one.
He added, sceptics may consider it ludicrous, there is an outside
danger Pakistan may even become a simultaneous target. Reputed analyst
Eric Margolis says that Pakistan is definitely on the US agenda after Iran.
Could Israeli (or US) planners afford the risk of leaving a Muslim nuclear
state with the means of missile delivery system intact if there is war with
Given the deliberate ambiguity of Indian PM Manmohan Singhs
pointed statement to a Muslim delegation, India cannot afford another
nuclear state in its neighbourhood, should one not be apprehensive that
India as the newly US-appointed policeman of the region, takes the
opportunity for a final solution vis--vis Pakistan butting into effect Cold
Start? Our US ally has pointedly (and quite brusquely) excluded us from the
nuclear club; after all we are not as responsible as India.
Menzies Campbell was careful in predicting the possibility of military
confrontation. I doubt that any democratically elected leader would be
brave enough to wage an illegal war on Iran. But by failing to take steps to
reduce tensions, the British and American governments have made a
diplomatic outcome less likely.
Azam Khalil predicted prolonged air strikes. The Americans cannot
invade Iran with soldiers because the damage would be unbearable, even if
only in terms of American casualties. The most probable scene is a

prolonged campaign of air strikes that would ultimately lead to the

crippling of the Iranian state.
Marwan al-Kabalan wrote, the US troubles in Iraq, the declining
popularity of Bush at home and the difficulties facing the US project in
other parts of the region do not seem sufficient to prevent the US from
launching a massive military attack to stop Iran from going nuclear. The
stakes are, hence, high for the Bush Administration and allowing Iran to
possess nuclear weapons will at the very least mean the end of the US
national security strategy in the Middle East.
James C Moore observed that the possibility lied in Bush-psyche. But
George W Bush is still without a respectable presidential legacy. He might
be willing to risk everything to mark his place in history as the man who
stopped Iran from getting nukes. The greater fear, though, is that he becomes
the first person to pull the nuclear trigger since Hiroshima and Nagasaki
and then his place in the history books will be assured.

Arrogance of the Crusaders and tenacity of the Iranians had pushed
the row beyond the scope and utility of economic sanctions. The imposition
of sanctions under Chapter-7 of the UN Charter was opposed by Russia and
China because such imposition automatically leads to the next step; the
military action. Therefore, there was less talk of sanctions during the period
as compared to the past. Nevertheless, some quarters mentioned this option.
The News wrote, for the opponents of a nuclear Iran, it appears
abnormal that China and Russia are not supporting action against a regime
which is very likely to use nuclear weapons if and when it has them. Those
who see the issue as an excuse that the Americans are trying to make for
forcing an oil-rich but unfriendly Muslim country into the corner do not find
it easy to square Irans nukes with Americas global ambitions, especially an
era of extremely high oil prices. Technically, what separates a Chapter VII
resolution of the United Security Council from the one adopted under other
chapters of the UN Charter is not easily understandable for most readers
and listeners of 24X7 news bulletins.
The Guardian wrote, at this delicate juncture the world community
must avoid the disarray that preceded, and ultimately facilitated, war in Iraq.
China and Russia oppose talk of sanctions, partly because Iraq is the worlds


fourth largest oil producer at a time of rising prices. The US is already

talking about coalition of the willing a sure way to weaken the UN.
Dennis Ross accused Russia and China of restricting options for the
Crusaders. With the Russians and Chinese seemingly determined to block
sanctions, our efforts at the United Nations promise to evolve slowly while
Iran presses ahead with its plans. If we stay on the same path, we will be
left with two choices: accept the reality of Irans nuclear weapons capability
or take military action to set back its ambitions.
He added, either outcome could prove disastrous. If Iran succeeds, in
all likelihood we will face a nuclear Middle East. The Saudis fearing
emboldened Iran determined to coerce others and to promote Shiite
subversion in the Arabian Peninsula will seek their own nuclear capability,
and probably already have a deal with Pakistan to provide it should Iran pose
this kind of threat
As for those who think that the nuclear deterrent rules that governed
relations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold
War will also apply in a nuclear Middle East: Dont be so confident. For one
thing, the possible number of nuclear countries will drive up the
potential of miscalculation. For another, with an Iranian president who sees
himself as an instrument for accelerating the coming of the 12 th Imam
which is preceded in the mythology by the equivalent of Armageddon one
should not take comfort in the thinking that Iran will act responsibly.
But what if we could threaten collective sanctions that the Iranians
would see as biting? What if those were combined with possible gains in
terms of a deal on nuclear energy, economic benefits and security
understandings if the Iranians would give up the nuclear program?
While one can argue that the Europeans were trying to negotiate
something like this with the Iranians, they were never able to put together a
package of credible sanctions and inducements, because the United States
was not really a part of the effort. True, this country has coordinated with the
British, French and Germans in the Bush second term. But a serious effort
at raising the costs to the Iranians and offering possible gains has never
been put together.
Why not now? Why not have the president go to the British, French
and German counterparts and say: We will join you at the table with the
Iranians, but first let us agree on an extensive set of meaningful not
marginal economic and political sanctions that we will impose if the
negotiations fail. It precludes that negotiations would certainly fail.

The Christian Science Monitor was of the view that Iran appears
more interested in extending its regional and global power rather than lifting
its people out of massive joblessness. If it wants nuclear weapons, then that
goal doesnt appear to be defensive.
The next step for the US is to ask the Security Council to require
(rather than request) that Iran comply with the IAEA standards, citing
the UN Charter provision known as Chapter 7. If Iran again ignores that
tougher message, then the US would have UN authority to gather support
from many nations for penalties such as sanctions.

There is another way but a prerequisite to this would be responsible
adults in power rather than a bunch of testosterone charged, agenda-led
warmongers, wrote Linda S Heard. Why cant representatives from
Washington and Tehran get together, share a plate of cashews and
simply talk?
Rose Gottemoeller said the same thing. The United States could
join the discussion with Iran about its interests in the future of nuclear
power. After all, the United States is talking to other countries about global
warming and energy security problems under the auspices of its new Global
Nuclear Energy Partnership.
It was suggested that the best way to keep Iran nuclear-free is to do
whatever is diplomatically necessary to keep the IAEA inspectors in there,
not blustering about military action and giving Iran excuses to press ahead
The News wrote, Chinas insistence on a diplomatic solution, rather
than the one based on arm twisting through military or economic means, is a
little less confusing. Chinese diplomats are seeking to invest more
authority into IAEAs efforts at curbing Iranian nuclear ambitions, instead
of letting the Security Council deal with the issue
Los Angeles Times stressed, Washington must be prepared to deemphasize its regime change agenda and to seek more subtle ways of
trying to influence the Iranian regimes demeanor The Bush
Administration, in concert with the Europeans, may conceivably be able to
coax, cajole or bully the Russians and the Chinese out of vetoing a
meaningful Security Council resolution against Iran. But this wont be


enough. Tehran wont budge without the message from Russia and China
that they will support subsequent action to enforce resolutions or punish Iran
for non-compliance.
Even if it plays all cards perfectly, the administration may end up
with an unfriendly nuclear power in the heart of the Middle East. But under
any scenario, it will be important for the United States to make a
convincing case to the world that it worked tirelessly and creatively with
other nations on the diplomatic front to keep weapons out of the hands of
Irans rulers.
Zbigniew Brzezinski said, it is true, however, that an eventual Iranian
acquisition of nuclear weapons would heighten tensions in the region and
perhaps prompt imitation by such countries as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Israel, despite its large nuclear arsenal, would feel less secure He
suggested, serious negotiations require not only a patient engagement but
also a constructive atmosphere. Artificial deadlines, pronounced most often
by those who do not wish the US to negotiate in earnest, are counterproductive
Robert E Hunter recommended the use of peace ploy to strike a
bargain. As loathsome as Americans find Irans hatred of the West, calls
for the destruction of Israel, and absurd denials of the Holocaust by its
president, Irans legitimate security concerns have to be on any serious
agenda for talks.
The Guardian felt that striking a bargain was possible. Some argue
that the best course would be to acquiesce in an Iranian bomb. That may yet
happen. But there is much more to be done. What is needed is a return to
the idea that a bargain can be struck with Iran, or at least with the
pragmatists sidelined by the president. It can have security guarantees if it
accepts UN demands. The US needs Iranian help over the mess next door in
Iraq. Denouncing Tehran as dictatorial and revolutionary wont bring that.
Ivan Eland expressed cautious optimism. The United States needs to
propose a grand bargain with Iran such as that offered North Korea and
accepted by Libya With the US and Israel threats neutralized by the nonaggression treaty, the Iranians just might feel secure enough to scrap
their nuclear programme. But even with that offer, Iran, which lives in
dangerous neighbourhood, may still elect to proceed with its quest for
nuclear armaments.


The Iranian government would be reluctant to give nuclear weapons,

which are expensive to develop, to unpredictable terrorists groups that might
be traced back to Iran, thus putting a bulls eye on Iran. He added that
because the United States has no viable military solution against the Iranian
nuclear programme, it should offer Iran a grand bargain. If that fails, the
United States may have to accept a nuclear Iran; an outcome far from
optimal, but not catastrophic either.
Gullaume Parmentier advised that before venturing on bargaining the
difference of opinion between America and Europe should be resolve.
America feels that the main danger to international security comes from
governments that combine hostility towards US policy with poor human
records. For the Europeans, the issue is essentially one on nuclear
proliferation and attention must therefore be paid to the regional equation,
since this is the main catalyst for a national decision to obtain nuclear
weapons. On that basis, a serious transatlantic crisis may be in the
making if western powers do not reconcile their divergent perspectives.
For the Europeans, it is wrong to concentrate exclusively on the
nuclear issue. The broader problem lies in Irans relationship with the rest of
the world The analogy with Iraq is wrong, at least at this stage. If only for
military reasons, occupation and regime change is out of the question.
Selective strikes against nuclear installations would only ensure the
eventual development by Iran of nuclear weapons, with massive population
support. And isolating would only buttress an unpopular regime and give it a
scapegoat to blame for the countrys difficulties. Any embargo that would
strike the population would be as counterproductive as has been the US one
on Cuba.
Better to hold our nose and maintain contact with the country
while using information, visits, economic relations and the like in the hope
that it will weaken the leadership in the long haul. After all, it worked with
the Soviets.
Tanvir Ahmad Khan opined, Washingtons present policy of
intimidating Iran would only create instabilities that would exacerbate the
situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and eventually work to the detriment of all
the neighbours. Its current unilateralism is not comparable with the longterm interests of the regional states. He desired that America must give
way to a more inclusive pattern of consultative decision-making.
The News said that the neighbours of Iran must facilitate talks.
The conflict will have negative fallouts in all the seven countries bordering

Iran. However, with occupied Iraq out of the reckoning, Pakistan and Turkey
remain Irans only important neighbours. So it falls to them to do whatever
they can to prevent it. Their top-level consultations on this are evidence that
they are actively engaged in the effort.
Ikram Sehgal opined that contacts between Washington and Tehran
were already established. Unlike common perception the US will not rush
into war. There are confirmed reports about diplomatic back-channel
talks; an aide of Irans nuclear chief was believed to be in Washington
talking to US officials.
The Christian Science Monitor wrote that dialogue with Iran wont
work. With Libya, such talks worked because it wanted economic benefits
for its people. Talks with North Korea are failing because it prefers to
brandish nuclear weapons as a way to wield power over its neighbours. It
opined that the same will happen in Irans case.
Lately, Annan urged America to hold dialogue with Iran. The News
wrote, the UN secretary general wants all stakeholders and key players, to
be around the table, as he said in his American television interview on
Thursday. Iran might be more forthcoming, he reasoned, if the United
States were at the table, even if Tehran held back in previous negotiations
with the EU-3, Britain, France and Germany. He said that if the US agreed to
negotiate as well, a package that would satisfy the concerns of everybody
would be possible to work out.
Contrary to the Bush Administration, the government of President
Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has been saying it is ready for such talks.
However, it has insisted it would only negotiate on the condition that the
talks deal with large-scale uranium enrichment, and not be based on the
Western powers demand that Iran cease all enrichment
Dr Annan indirectly acknowledged that right. Offer the Iranians a
diplomatic package allowing them to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful
ends, he suggested. And if they resist that, how do they explain to the
world? Indeed, he thereby also rejected the position of the UN Security
Council, which in March 29 demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment to
remove suspicions that it seeks nuclear weapons.

The enrichment of uranium is perfectly legal under the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, and it is not a forgone conclusion that Iran has

decided to acquire nuclear weapons, said Adel Safty. Still, even if Iran
were to become a nuclear power, why would that be a destabilizing force in
the Middle East?
What stable environment would a nuclear Iran threaten? The
answer: the American occupation of Iraq, the continued Israeli oppression of
the Palestinians, the rise of democratically elected Islamic groups
challenging the pro-Western secular regimes and continued American threats
against Syria If Iran were to become the second nuclear power in the
Middle East, its threat to American and Israeli hegemony and the chaos they
produced in the region may not be destabilizing development.
The unhelpful rhetoric of the Iranian leadership notwithstanding, a
nuclear Iran could not possibly carry out its threat of annihilating Israel
because it knows if such an enterprise were ever attempted against Israel, it
would lead to annihilation of Iran itself. Whatever the Iranian regime may
be, it is not irrational or crazy.
Burhanuddin Hasan wrote, Ahmedinejad appears determined to make
the most of the nuclear card to bolster his standing among his people. It was
no coincidence that he announced Iran had enriched uranium on April 9, the
date that the United States severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980. He and
other top leaders of Iran see the nuclear programme as a lever to get the
United States to recognize Iran as a big, regional power and deal with it on
that basis.
Even the Guardian acknowledged that Iranians have some good
arguments on their side. The failure of the five official nuclear powers to
meet their disarmament obligations is one. The breakout of non-NPT
signatories India and Pakistan is another. Then there is the tolerance of
Israels nuclear might and the double standard that represents. That does not
mean Mr Ahmedinejads bombastic and irresponsible threats to annihilate
the Jewish state can be written out of the picture; on the contrary, they make
his behaviour all the more alarming.
Tariq Ali said, the country is not only ringed by atomic states
(India, Pakistan, China, Russia, and Israel), it also faces a string of American
bases with potential or actual nuclear stockpiles in Qatar, Iraq, Turkey,
Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Nuclear-armed US aircraft carriers and
submarines patrol the waters off its southern coast.
Tehran Times accused Western governments and media of distorting
the facts. A glance at current events shows that media info wars are more


common than physical wars. The media cause controversy. They fabricate
believable stories by distorting the news.
Governments present lies as facts and facts as lies to the people
through the media. Through clever media manipulation, they try to make
their rivals back down before political tension rises to the point where a
physical war breaks out.
At this point of time, Western media outlets have intensified the
media info war. This war began long ago but has taken on a new form due
to recent advances in technology Along these lines, Western countries are
currently trying to force Iranian officials to back down on the nuclear issue
by creating tension and using info war.
Giving it realized the deception used to gain support for the US-led
invasion of Iraq, the world is not going to be tricked into accepting another
war The US is currently attempting to use the same technique to create
phantom controversies and baseless lies in order to confront Iran.
However, public opinion in many countries, especially the traditional
allies of the US, is beginning to reject Washingtons policies and actions.
People all over the world have come to the conclusion that US officials
policy of promoting their preferred form of democracy is just a ploy
meant to extend US hegemony over the entire globe.
Washington is trying to hinder the Islamic Republics
development because Irans nuclear achievements are a challenge to US
hegemony. In addition, Western countries are attempting to convince the
world that Iran is a threat to world peace so that they can manipulate the
dispute over Irans nuclear program for their own benefit.
In a subsequent editorial the Tehran Times criticized statements of
Bush and Merkel at the gathering of the American Jewish Committee. It
was unexpected and surprising when Merkel said, the right of existence of
the state of Israel must never be questioned; and this is why it is intolerable
for any German government when the Iranian president questions the right
of Israels existence.
If Mrs Merkel review Tehrans official position, she would notice that
Irans proposal for settling the Palestinian issue is the only
comprehensive and reasonable solution to decades of violence, bloodshed,
and agony in Palestine, which Western powers have failed to prevent.
If Merkel took the time to study Irans proposal she would realize
that Iran has not put into question the existence of a nation or race. If

she took a deeper look at history she would be surprised to see that Iran has
never experienced anti-Semitism, has the largest Jewish community of all
the Muslim states in the region, numbering about 25,000, and was the first
country which had a law guaranteeing freedom of religion and recognizing
the rights of all races.
Saying that occupying others land is illegal is not threatening
other peoples right to exist. Even Hamas leaders have said that if Israel
returns to the 1967 borders and allows the return of Palestinian refugees,
many things would change.
When Merkel said Iran must be prevented from getting nuclear
weapons, she insulted the intelligence of impartial and informed
persons who are aware that the International Atomic Energy Agency has
conducted three years of intensive inspections of Irans nuclear program and
has announced that it has found no hard evidence suggesting that Tehrans
nuclear activities have been diverted to a weapons program.
Merkel probably made these unrealistic statements in order to
appease the Jewish community. The lies of these leaders of important
countries only further besmirch the reputation of the officials and
politicians of Germany and the United State. However, the same day the
Boston Globe acclaimed Merkel as sensible ally.
Dr Ahmedinejad had been complaining that the two or three
countries dominating international institutions had nuclear weapons and
they say that you cant even have nuclear fuel for civilian purposes. If
having nuclear fuel is bad, why do they have it? If its good, why do they
not allow us to?
Irans viewpoint was explicitly conveyed in Ahmedinejads letter
to Bush. Siddarth Varadarajan discussed the letter with candid remarks.
With the exception of one highly regrettable sentence implicitly questioning
the historicity of the Nazi holocaust against the Jews and another hinting at
the complicity of US intelligence agencies in 9/11, Iranian President
Mamoud Ahmedinejads 18-page letter to his American counterpart, George
W Bush, is a tour de force of the kind the world of diplomacy has not seen
for a long time.
This extraordinary document cleverly drafted in the religious
idiom that Mr Bush and his neoconservative advisers allegedly believe
in, complete with a reference to Judgment Day is the first official
communication from the head of the head of the Iranian government to an


American President since the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah. It is
also a masterpiece of political clarity and philosophical opaqueness, which
will frustrate and provoke Washington.
The world sees the well-timed letter as a diplomatic opening
which it mostly certainly is but the Bush Administration is not interested in
diplomacy. Nor does it look kindly upon those who seek to suggest that the
recent crescendo of allegations against Iran resembles the lies Washington
told about weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to its disastrous
invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The experience of Iraq is the single most important argument the
Iranian President marshals to make the point that the Bush
Administrations policy towards Iran is misconceived and dangerous.
And he urges the American President to change course lest he be judged
harshly by three separate courts: God, of history and of his own people.
Because of the possibility of the existence of WMDs in Iraq, Mr
Ahmedinejads letter notes, the country was occupied, around one hundred
thousand people killed, its water sources, agriculture and industry destroyed,
close to 180,000 foreign troops put on the ground, sanctity of private homes
of citizens broken, and the country pushed back perhaps fifty years What
was the result? I have no doubt that telling lies is reprehensible in any
culture, and you do not like to be lied to.
To the people of the United States, Mr Ahmedinejad offers a
reminder of the high price they are paying thanks to the Bush
Administrations lies in Iraq: Hundreds of billions of dollars spent from the
treasury of one country and certain other countries and tens of thousands of
men and women as occupation troops put in harms way, taken away
from family and loved ones, their hands stained with the blood of others,
subjected to so much of psychological pressure that everyday some commit
suicide and those returning home suffer depression, become sickly and
grapple with all sorts of ailments; while some are killed and their bodies
handed to their families.
Post-9/11, Mr Ahmedinejad writes, the American people have been
made to feel less secure thanks to their governments policies. And the US
administration has thrown all principles of human rights out of the
window by incarcerating people indefinitely without trial and maintaining
secret prisons. In a direct reference to Mr Bushs much-publicized religious
beliefs, the Iranian President asks how all this can be reconciled with
someone being a follower of Jesus Christ, the great Messenger of God.

The analyst mentions about letters written by Mossadegh to

Eisenhower in 1953, which failed to get the desired response. But, unlike
President Bush, who got Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to reject Mr
Ahmedinejads letter, Eisenhower gave Mossadegh the courtesy of a reply.
But he was also dishonest and misleading.
As a former teacher, Mr Ahmedinejad knows Irans history well. He
also knows Mossadegh erred in not correctly reading the intentions of the
US and in being reactive, Elected to the presidency last year, Mr
Ahmedinejad quickly and correctly concluded that there was no way
the Bush Administration would give up its goal of regime change in
Iran. After all, the opening to Washington attempted by his more liberal
predecessor, Mohammed Khatami, had not only been summarily rejected but
rewarded by Irans inclusion in the axis of evil. Mr Ahmedinejad was
equally certain that no matter what concessions Tehran made to provide its
European interlocutors objective guarantees of its peaceful nuclear
intentions, Washington would never accept the development or retention of
safeguard fuel cycle activities by Iran.
Commenting on the letter, the News wrote, whether his audience
listens to and believes in him, is none of his concern because he is only
emulating his great mentor Ayatollah Khomeini who wrote a letter to the
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, inviting him to embrace Islam as a cure to
the curse his country suffered from.
For Washington, the letter should read like a leaf from its own
policy papers, turned on its head. Ahmadinejad seems as much concerned
about the world around him as is George W Bush but the two could do much
better by keeping their concern to themselves.
Hasan Hanizadeh viewed the letter differently. Ahmedinejads letter
to Bush is a brave measure that can altar the current political and
psychological climate. It is said that the weak leaders trigger wars, but
peace is the legacy of powerful leaders. And it seems that the US and Iranian
presidents are powerful enough to make the case for peace to their people.
He counseled the addressee; yet, the world is currently suffering from
the ominous phenomenon of terrorism, and Western countries can only deal
with this scourge by reviewing their regional and international policies
Now even though Saddam Hussein has been deposed, a new form of
terrorism has arisen which is threatening security in both the region and the
entire world. Therefore, Western officials should not be swayed by certain
countries, which are actually the main factors behind terrorism, and should

realistically analyze the regional and global situation and make use of
Irans cultural and geopolitical influence in order to control terrorism in
the region. Iran is now very powerful country that can play a constructive
role in many important global developments. Isolating Iran would not be to
the benefit of the West.
Praful Bidwai had yet another interpretation. The Iranian
Establishment seems to want an honourable compromise with the West. Its
following a two-track strategy. At one level, its defiant on pursuing uranium
enrichment. At the other, its quietly sending out signals that Iran wants a
peaceful resolution of the issue.
Iran is an imperfect democracy, without adequate rights. But its one
of the few countries in the Middle East with universal franchise and fair
elections. Official Irans paranoia is traceable to the sense of being cornered
by Washington, The more acute the sense, the greater the restrictions on
freedom. To become a more open, free society based on human rights, Iran
should not be targeted. The world, including the US, has much to gain by
normalizing relations with Iran.

Irans insistence on its right to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful
purposes; American arrogance on not conceding this right, its hesitation to
adopt military option; its refusal to negotiate a solution through dialogue;
and lack of consensus on imposition of economic sanctions promised no
positive outcome. However, the impasse had some negative/positive
Ivan Eland opined that the invasion of Iraq and subsequent US
military threats against Iran have actually intensified the Iranian desire to
get nuclear weapons to keep the superpower out. He added that countries
interested in developing nuclear technology saw the respect that a nuclear
North Korea got from the United States as well as the absence of respect that
a non-nuclear Iraq received.
The tactics of intimidation have in fact emboldened Iran as was
evident from Perviz Esmaellis comments on 5+1 deliberations on the issue.
The fact that the Westerners are talking about diplomatic solutions and
returning to talks while, led by the US, they have recently been using harsh


language toward Iran shows that Irans national resistance to gain access
to the complete nuclear fuel cycle has borne fruit. Thus, it is not
necessary for the Islamic Republic to respond harshly to the new situation.
On the other hand, the outcome of the Monday meeting proves that
the position of Iran has improved in international calculations At least
the great powers have apparently realized that they must change the 5+1 into
the 5+1+1 to address Irans nuclear program.
If this happens, as a preliminary gesture, the 5+1 should agree to
recognize Irans nuclear rights according to the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), and specifically Irans right to conduct peaceful nuclear
activities in line with Article 4 of the NPT Irans declared technical
activities must continue as planned. Along these lines, starting the new 164centrifuge cascades could improve Irans position in any possible
The truth is that Russia, Germany, China, France, Britain and
even the United States have been Irans allies, but with a bad record. Iran
holds shares in Frances largest uranium enrichment facility, Eurodif. The
US and Britain are indebted to Iran for shares of Namibias Rossing Mine.
Iran does not regard China or Germany as trustworthy, either, due to their
failure to fulfill their commitments.
The News observed that the US was on the retreat. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice told reporters in Washington that her government would
consider an offer that would allow (the Iranians) to have a civil nuclear
programme if that is, indeed, what they want. Indeed it is. Iran has always
insisted its programme is of a non-military nature. For the United States to
concede that right to Tehran is proof that the Bush Administration knows
now that it cannot compel a divided Security Council to take punitive
measures, and is ready to wait for Council unity to evolve. We felt that
two weeks to continue to try to work for Council unity was well worth it,
Ms Rice remarked.
On the other hand, Ms Rice named certain conditions which Mr
Ahmedinejads government has already rejected for example, the US and
the EU wouldnt permit Iran to enrich and reprocess uranium on its own
territory. If Iran defied what she called the international community; it would
face isolation and UN Security Council action. That remains to be seen.
For now, though, Irans combined firmness and diplomacy appears to
have paid off.


An important impact was in terms of revival of the Cold War, by

the desperate Western analysts and the government officials. Roosa Brooks
wrote, despite the high stakes, the Bush Administration seems barely to
have noticed the danger posed by the Russian missile sale. But the signs
are there, for those inclined to read them.
But Russian brinkmanship is about to remove Israels incentive to
pursue a peaceful diplomatic path. Russian leaders continue to mouth the
usual diplomatic platitudes about democracy and global cooperation, but
Russia is actually playing a complex double game There are no
circumstances which would get in the way of us carrying out our
commitments in the field of military cooperation with Iran declared Nikolai
Spassky, deputy head of Russias National Security Council.
The upcoming deployment of Tor missiles around Iranian nuclear
sites dramatically changes the calculus in the Middle East, and it
significantly increases the risk of a regional war. Once the missile systems
are deployed, Irans air defence will become far more sophisticated, and
Israel will likely lose whatever ability it now has to unilaterally destroy
Irans nuclear facilities.
So what is Russia up to? Andrei Pointkovsky, a Russian political
analyst, suggests that Russias oil and gas oligarchs wouldnt shed any tears
over a war in the Middle East, especially if its a war that ensnares the US
and keeps oil prices high.
A quiet but firm US threat to boycott the G-8 summit in July in
St. Petersburg might inspire Russian President Vladimir V Putin to freeze
the missile transfer. And a promise to facilitate Russian entry into the World
Trade Organization might even get Russias oil and gas oligarchs on board.
Freezing the missile sale would buy crucial time to find a diplomatic
solution to the stalemate over Irans nuclear program.
Vladimir Radyudin blamed the United States for declaring a new Cold
War on Russia. Washingtons change of heart has been largely provoked
by Moscows increasingly assertive foreign policy and determined
upholding of national interests. In the past few months alone, Russia has
stood up to the US on all major foreign policy issues. Moscow has defied
Washington on Iran, rejecting its call for sanctions against Tehran, going
ahead with the construction of Irans first nuclear power station, and refusing
to back down on a $ 700 million deal to sell anti-aircraft missile systems to


Following the victory of Hamas in Palestine, Mr Putin welcomed its

leaders in Moscow and gave financial aid to the new administration against
the wishes of the US and the European Union. Adding insult to injury, the
Russian leader lectured the West on Palestine, telling it: to burn bridges
is the easiest, but not the most effective thing to do in politics.
Washingtons effort to forge a united front of European states
against excessive dependence on Russia for oil and gas has fallen
through when Germany broke ranks. It first signed a historic deal to build a
new pipeline across the Baltic Sea to pump more Russian natural gas to
Europe, then gave Russia access to the European energy distribution
network through a partnership agreement between Russias Gasprom and
Germanys BASF companies.
What enrages Washington most is that it can do precious little to
bring Moscow to heel. Russia no longer needs Western credits, with its
economy rebounding and its coffers bursting at the seams from record oil
export windfall Washington cannot hope, either, to instigate a Ukrainetype coloured revolution in Russia, where Mr Putin enjoys a 70 percent
support rating.
Ikram Sehgal had similar views. During the first cold war, the US
(and the West) had a great advantage over the socialist economies which
were no match for the free economies; this time around a public-private
sector mix and the presence of oil and gas in abundance in Russia should
make the East-West confrontation evenly balanced and thus, much more
Simon Tisdall analysed Cheneys charge against Russia. Dick
Cheneys just-completed East European rampage left Russia in a rage.
Peppering grapeshot in his inimitable way, the US vice-president accused
the Kremlin of using oil and gas exports to intimidate and blackmail
European neighbours; of interfering with democratic movements in places
such as Ukraine; and unfairly and improperly restricting civil rights.
His down-home criticisms produced a stampede of upright Russian
officials angrily shooting back. The Cold War hustler did not know what he
was talking about, they said. But Sergel Lavrov, Russias foreign Minister,
kept cool. I believe such statements wont undermine efforts we are making
together with the United Statesto build a fair world without conflicts, he
said. Russia expects to be perceived as an equal partner in the world arena
without whose involvement it is impossible to solve a single problem.


From Vladimir Putin down, Moscows new century message is that

Yeltsin-era weakness has finally been banished. The Kremlin is a global
player once more, whether the issue is Iran or Hamas, global warming or
energy security. Buoyed by an ocean of petro-dollars and a reviving
nationalism, Russia is back and, Mr Lavrov implied, the US must deal on
its terms.
When Mr Bush called Mr Putin last week to seek his support on Iran,
the Russian leader countered with a demand that talks on Russias World
Trade Organization membership be speedily concluded. Mr Bush promised
to help meanwhile, Russia is still blocking UN action against Tehran.
US efforts to rein in Russia are also compromised by Americas
chronic foreign energy addiction and perceived double standards. Trading
on ties forged during his time as a Halliburton oilman in Texas, Mr Cheney
urged Kazakh leaders to build new pipelines bypassing Russia.
The Boston Globe joined the Cold War hype. Putin has not reinstated
the Soviet power system, although vestigial traces of that old order linger.
Nor does the house that Putin built resemble the liberal democracies and
free-market economies of the other seven members of the Group of Eight
industrialized nations that will meet in St Petersburg in July with Putin as
Playing to a popular nostalgia for Russias lost status as a world
power, Putin spoke of assuring security by building new submarines and
missiles to deter rivals from seeking to eliminate Russia. And he claimed to
be building an army that has been demoralized by years of brutalizing
counter-insurgent warfare in Chechnya.
The realistic note was sounded when Putin turned to Russias
dramatic demographic decline. The current Russian population stands at 142
million. As a consequence of low birth rates and a high mortality rate that
has brought average life expectancy down to 53 years for Russian males,
some projections foresee that by 2050 Russias total population will fall
below 100 million. That shrinking population will inhabit a country that
spreads over one-seventh of the worlds landmass. Putin has addressed the
problem of population-decline by proposing monthly subsidies of 1,500
rubles ($55) per child to new mothers.
Jim Bakers told Cheney and the Boston Globe about the right
language that ought to be used when it comes to Cold War. When it seems
to have gone out of its way at times to frighten, antagonize and generally
alienate much of the world these past five years, the Bush Administration

has made strenuous efforts to stay on friendly terms with one famous former
adversary The US made collegiality with Russia one of the highest
priorities of its foreign policy from the moment five years ago when George
Bush looked into the eyes of Valdimir Putin and saw right through his soul.
This, of course, is the same soul that had been darkened by years
of loyal service in the KGB and that would subsequently be shaded further
by the widespread imprisonment of political opponents, the suppression of
non-governmental organizations, a brutal clampdown on nationalist
movements in the Caucasus and menacing behaviour towards nascent
democracies in Ukraine and Georgia.
But no matter, Russia was a big important country, and although
France and Germany were to be respectively punished and ignored for their
unhelpful opposition to the Iraq War, in Condoleezza Rices famous dictum,
Russia was immediately forgiven.
Duly absolved, however, Moscow was merely emboldened in the
pursuit of its own authoritarian, reactionary agenda. It stepped up its
bullying of Ukraine and fomented further unrest in Georgia; it sought to
impose a stranglehold on European energy supplies and declined to
cooperate in serious efforts to defuse Irans nuclear programme. At almost
all its tangents Russias foreign policy seemed to be designed to impede the
interests of America and its European allies.
Nor did the increasingly awkward embrace of the Russian bear sit
all that well with President Bushs pledge in his second inaugural address to
work to eliminate tyranny in our world.
Russias intensifying defiance and Americas escalating
embarrassment, the unrequited affection Washington has for Moscow is still
to be consummated this summer when Mr Putin hosts the G8 summit in St
Petersburg in July. It will be quite a moment the leaders of the worlds
seven great developed democracies for the first time gathering as the coequal guests of a Government that is neither great nor especially
developed, nor in most recognizable senses a democracy.
In this troubling back-story of craven capitulation it was something
of a shock last week when Dead-eye Dick Cheney took his marksmans
skills into the Russian arena and took aim with unwonted accuracy at
the true nature of Mr Putins regime.
But theres less to all this than meets the eye: there was something
rather suspiciously choreographed about the Cheney assault and the Putin


parry. It looks more like a rather awkward shift in the form of US foreign
policy without much real change in the substance.
Mr Bush has been under mounting pressure at home and from allies
in Eastern Europe to show a little more spine towards Russia This steadily
building unease about Americas embrace of Mr Putin has finally seeped into
the Administrations consciousness and prompted an intense debate about
how the US should moderate its enthusiasm, especially given the
unpleasant symbolism of Mr Bushs imminent pilgrimage to St
Ramzy Baroud hoped that prevalent circumstances could result in
restoration of balance of power. Thanks to other factors precisely
Bushs low ratings at home and his embattled military in Iraq Iran is
finding itself in a much more comfortable position than Iraq under
Saddam Hussein prior to the US invasion in March 2003.
Bush Administration and the pro-war clique in the Congress and
they are many seem equally enthusiastic at the thought of another Middle
East showdown, and Tehran is the new destination. Once again, its neither
respect for the law since Irans nuclear enrichment is not in violation of its
commitment under the Non-Proliferation Treaty nor democracy for Iran
is much closer to an actual democratic system than many of the US
favoured, yet corrupt and authoritative allies nor human rights since
the US, as the effective ruler of Iraq is the regions top human rights violator
that stimulate such enthusiasm. Rather, its realpolitik.
While Iran is no match for an empire, it also understands that it
holds great leverage through its significant influence over Iraqs Shiite
population and their representatives The Shiite leaderships are yet to
outwardly demand an American withdrawal, and for strategic reasons, are
yet to join the flaring insurgency. Using its influence in Iraq, Iran could
significantly alter the equation, a decision that would unlikely suit the US
long-term interests in occupied Iraq. Iran could do more in the context of
flow of oil from the region.
All these outcomes exclude the likelihood that the US military is
in fact capable of leading a ground war or maintaining a long-term
occupation of a country several times the size of Iraq, which has not been
weakened by years of debilitating sanctions.
As optimistic as it may sound, one can, to an extent, speak of a
balance of power. Wherever such balance can be struck, realpolitik and its


associated games can also be found in profusion. While the US wishes to

maintain the posture of the uncompromising, hard-headed party, mulling its
many military options, Iran is calling the bluff, too confidently speaking its
various options, notwithstanding military ones.

Wests prejudices and bias against Islamic countries are established
facts; therefore, any attempt to draw inferences in this context amounts to
wasting time. The reality is much bitter; they hate anything and everything
which, in any way, can be called Islamic.
After all, it is the feeling of hatred which caused the start of the
ongoing Crusades. Even simple bias or double standards are not the reasons
good enough to kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims. Thus, nourishing
slightest expectation of fair play by the victims from aggressors is a folly.
The Crusaders hesitation in resorting to any of the military options
has been caused, apart from other reasons, by the fact that Iran is not Iraq.
Iraqs defence forces were almost completely destroyed in Gulf War. Further
destruction, particularly of its air defence system, was carried out during
aggressive imposition of the no-fly zone. Iraqs economy was damaged by
decade-long sanctions. On the contrary, Iran has everything intact.
Imposition of economic sanctions, the second best option, has been
undermined by the mistake committed by the Crusaders. Under intoxicating
influence of its military might, America kept drifting away from the stated
aim of its holy war, while disregarding repeated advice to eradicate the
menace by addressing the root causes of militancy.
Invasion of Iraq was a major shift from the stated aim of the war.
America invaded and occupied Iraq exercising the self-claimed right of
regime change and inherent arrogance demonstrated in the form of
unilateralism. When Bush and his neocons saw that the world could do
nothing more than grumbling against their unilateralism, they digressed
further by enlarging the scope of the war on fabricated pretexts.
Gradually, they became too vocal about their malafide intentions
about Central Asian States and oil-rich Caspian region. This alienated Russia
in particular and China in general. The birth of second Cold War was an
obvious outcome. Iran, as a gynecologist, handled the delivery.


America also went wrong in assuming that an empire can be built and
retained with sheer military might. It was possible in days of Alexander and
Genghis, but not in 21st century when the world has turned into global
village where interests of various people are now intermingled and one has
to adjust his interests accordingly.
America must learn from 9/11 that it is no more too far away from rest
of the world, as it was during Second World War, not to mention the times of
Columbus. It no more enjoys the safety granted by the two largest oceans of
the world. Therefore, it must learn few tips of peaceful co-existence and
ditch the unilateralism for good.
As regards dialogue, most western analysts have recommended it for
bargaining time, because the prevailing situation does not favour military
action. Their suggestions are completely devoid of sincerity. Ultimate aim
remains the denial of nuclear technology to Iran for the time being and to the
entire Muslim World subsequently.
Some of the wise men have talked of assurance to Iran over its
security concerns. This implied that no Muslim country should have the
capability to address its security concerns at its own. Muslim nations should
either solely depend on presence of the Crusaders on their respective soils,
as Arabs do, or have the satisfaction of feeling secure on assurances.
Pakistans nuclear capability has been mentioned by many analysts as
security concern for Iran. No one has seriously mentioned the threat posed
by the Israels arsenal of nuclear weapons, not only to Iran but to the entire
Islamic World. Strangely, some of them have acknowledged that legalities
do not bother the rogue called Israel.
The rogues can only be deterred by potent retaliatory capability.
Therefore, the right to acquire nuclear capability should be exercised by Iran
as well as by one or two Arab countries. Perhaps, they should have done that
long time back as Pakistan did in the subcontinent. Had it been done, they
would have saved themselves from humiliation at the hands of Zionists and
the Crusaders. This argument also goes in support of Dr Khan who risked
helping the countries desirous of acquiring nuclear capability.
Certainly, the saying of Martin Luther King Jr. applies to Iran: In the
end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our
friends. Tehran might also regret restraining Iraqi Shias from resisting the
occupation of Iraq. But, it will never find some words of gratitude for Sunni
Arabs who have been and continue resisting the Crusaders; and because of


which Iran today finds itself in comfortable position against the might of a
superpower. That is the nature of divide in the Ummah.
14th May 2006


The day, General Sultan termed the statement of Henry Compton as
absurd and irresponsible; Spanta repeated the same allegation by saying
Pakistan can do more against terror. Musharraf tried to push the buck back
by urging the international community for continuous support for peace and
reconstruction in Afghanistan.
Despite Pakistans commitment to war on terror, the Crusaders
remained glaringly biased against Pakistan on various counts including
terrorism, nuclear proliferation and gas pipeline projects. India was
exploiting the situation to maintain status quo on core issue as was evident
from Manmohans keenness to discuss Kashmir with Fazl and pro-Indian
Kashmiri leaders, rather than Pakistan.
Political activity in Pakistan, prompted by Bush and his officials,
culminated into signing of the Charter of Democracy by the two exiled ex-


prime ministers. This forced Musharraf to directly indulge in setting right

the affairs of PML-Q and resolving the CM-MQM row.
On 22nd May, Zafarullah Jamali expressed concern over situation in
Baluchistan and urged for solution through peaceful means, but the
government preferred to use money for this purpose. Nothing positive
happened with regard to soft image, except that Supreme Court granted
leave to appeal to an accused in the case of an attempt on Musharrafs life
and out of 13,000 madaris, 10781 were registered.

Battle for Afghan peace continued under pressure of the demands
of doing more:
On 8th May, US gunship helicopters intruded into Pakistan and
attacked workers in Chromites mine in South Waziristan; three
workers were injured and eight went missing. ISPR denied and said
three injured men were arrested near a post while coming from
Afghanistan. One levies personnel was killed in landmine blast and
miscreants fired two missiles at Bajaur Scouts headquarters in Khar.
SDO and his men were kidnapped by gunmen on 9 th May and were
then freed at Gomal Zam Dam site. Next day, security forces arrested
a Tunisian, an Afghan and a Pakistani al-Qaeda suspect near Bannu.
Intelligence agencies after interrogation of three injured men
confirmed that they were mine workers; DG ISPR did not come out
with usual denial statement.
On 11th May, beheaded body of a man accused of spying for the US
was found near border in Bajaur Agency. NATO planned to establish
military liaison office in Pakistan.
Four suspected militants were arrested in Peshawar on 13th May.
Hundreds of Afghan refugees were nabbed in week long drive. Next
day, militants attacked FC fort in Tank and killed a Tehsildar. Eight
rockets were fired on FC fort in Dattakhel.
Eight militants and three paramilitary troops were killed in two
separate incidents in North Waziristan on 16th May. Nine tribesmen
were killed in gunship strike on Miranshah-Razmak Road after an
ambush of a military convoy.


On 17th May, one soldier was killed and four wounded when their
convoy was ambushed in Dattakhel area. Troops retaliated and
captured eight militants. At least four persons, including a tehsildar,
were injured in two bomb blasts in Khar, Mohmand Agency.
Militants dragged Toti Gul, a pro-government tribal chieftain, out of
his car and shot him dead in North Waziristan on 19th May. NATO
clarified to India that its growing military and political ties with
Pakistan were solely restricted to Afghanistan.
On 20th May, two soldiers were killed and one wounded when a
militant threw grenade at a post in Mirali; the attacker was shot dead.
Two days later, a post in South Waziristan came under rocket attack.
On 23rd May, militants denied hand in murder of Toti Gul. Next day,
six Afghans, including three government officials, were held from
Loralai area for entering Pakistan illegally. Six bombs were defused
near Tank. Rocket attack on a post hit power supply tower disrupting
electric supply to most of Waziristan.
A driver of an NGO was wounded in roadside bomb blast near Khar
on 26th May. Militants blew up a health centre near Mirali. Tribesmen
refused to accept compensation after threats from militants. PeshawarJalalabad bus service resumed when five buses left for Afghanistan.
Next day, the political authorities raided a wedding party in Khar area
and arrested 11 Afghans, including the bridegroom.
On 11th May, Spanta sighted Osama in Pakistan; not seen, said
Islamabad. The two neighbouring countries unnecessarily exchanged
accusations, because according to a survey conducted in Dubai 51 percent of
Arabs said their brother was in USA. Four days later, Afghan and Pakistani
foreign ministers decided to meet regularly, so that allegations could be
exchanged in person instead of using media channels.
Meanwhile, despite denial by Taliban, Indian TV channels continued
accusing ISI of killing Indian engineer. On 16th May, Islamabad refuted
reports about Osamas presence in Pakistans northern areas. Three days
later, Kasuri, Information Minister and spokesperson of foreign office
rebuffed Karzai in unison over his allegations of infiltration.
The same day, a British officer in Afghanistan alleged that Taliban
planned attacks from Quetta. He termed Quetta the major headquarters of


Taliban. ISPR called the remarks of British officer ludicrous. Britain

distanced itself from remarks about Quetta as headquarters of Taliban.
On 21st May, Spanta alleged that Taliban coordinate attacks from
Pakistan. The leadership of the Taliban and other terror groups are living in
Pakistan. Sherpao and Baluchistan government rejected Kabuls allegations
terming those as baseless.
The accusation-spree was occasionally interrupted with some words
of appreciation. On 9th May, a day after the border violation, NATO praised
Pakistans role in Afghan stability. After taking over the occupation role,
NATO was picking up the American style. On 20 th May, US commended
Pakistans role in locating and eliminating Taliban.
These words were necessary to keep intact the resolve of Pakistani
leaders and military commanders. VCOAS witnessed Pak-US-Afghan
exercises Inspired Gambit which ended near Cherat with burning of acres
of flora and fauna.
Pacification plan in Waziristan failed to make headway. On 14 th May,
Governor and Chief Minister discussed constitution of a representative jirga
to find durable solution to the unrest, but soon after that the Governor
resigned. On 22nd May, Orakzai was appointed as new NWFP Governor
keeping his achievement of taking the war of terror to the tribal areas.
Media and analysts in Pakistan focused on accusations of not doing
more. The News wrote, lets grant that despite these numberless arrests,
Pakistan is somehow lagging. Has the US done enough against terrorism
through efforts to address the root causes of the menace? Or is it actually
fuelling it, by such actions as its missile strike on the village in Bajaur
Agency in January?
Something for which the government of President Musharraf never
gets any credit is its forbearance in the face of repeated US provocations
amid the growing warmth in Pakistans relations with Iran. But the verbal
pinpricks really aggravate when they come from relatively insignificant
people like Richard Boucher and, now, Henry Compton.
In a subsequent editorial, the News commented on Karzais allegation
that Pakistan was training militants and sending them into Afghanistan.
Pakistani intelligence is so effective, according to Mr Karzai that in
addition to training Afghan rebels, terrorists and saboteurs it can also send
them across the border without trouble. What are the Afghan forces doing
against this, just standing by? Meanwhile, its surprising that the Americans


occupying Afghanistan, global leaders of the war against terror, are

themselves helpless against the Talibans onslaught It couldnt be sheer
coincidence that these baseless charges against Pakistan are growing in
shrillness as Pakistans relations with Iran become closer.
Mumtaz Riaz from Thana Malkand Agency vented his anger by
writing that Karzai has said several times in Pashto programmes on Radio
Kabul that Mullah Omar is his brother! Why then is he blaming Pakistan?
His relatives are still living in Pakistan and are safer than he is in
Afghanistan. If he is true to his claim, he should immediately recall his
brother and other relatives from Pakistan.
Imtiaz Gul observed that Pakistan seems to be in a tight spot in
Afghanistan. Officials as well as common Afghans fail to distinguish
between what individual pro-Taliban elements are doing in the border
regions and what the Pakistani government is doing to stem the flow and
activities of these militants Officials simply refuse to believe that under
international pressure and out of expedience, the Pakistani government finds
itself in a difficult position and has had to change the direction of its
foreign policy. Any act of subversion is simply blamed on ISI and the
Pakistan Army.
The onus in this situation perhaps lies more on the Afghan
leadership than on Pakistan; the anti-Pakistan rhetoric has to give way to
friendly, accommodating and forward-looking gestures, said a European
development consultant, currently working on security issues. Blaming
internal problems and their cause on external factors will not help in the
reconstruction, he opined.
M B Naqvi was of the view that Pakistan was doing a thankless job of
promoting US interests. Consider the role the US requires Pakistan to play
in Afghanistan, and by extension in most of the regions around, as a nonNATO ad hoc ally. Being a non-NATO ally means that while Pakistan will
strive to achieve US security objectives, the US will have no reciprocal
obligations. It means Pakistan implementing American and NATO designs.
What are these designs? Superficially, it is fighting terrorism, held up as an
international threat to western capitalist democracies. But it will help
promote what America calls democracy. however, considering the American
conduct in areas around Afghanistan, Iraq or what the US may do vi-a-vis
Iran, it would not be tackling terrorists as much as it would be
promoting American strategic interests.


Shireen M Mazari wrote about British High Commissioners

clarification that the statements of British officials did not represent official
policy. Come now Mr Grant, are you trying to tell us that a British army
officer does not come under civilian control and can make political
accusations against a foreign country without clearance from any senior
civilian authority? That does not wash especially when we hear so much
about British democracy and civilian control over the military; and, what of
the comments of the unnamed British diplomat in Islamabad? Was he also
going his way without reflecting his governments perspective? Equally
important, High Commissioner Grants comments were strictly for the
Pakistani media and were nowhere to be seen in the Guardian, where the
attempted clarification should have been sent in the first place.
The rather open duplicity of the US and Britain towards Pakistan
is reaching ridiculous levels, undoubtedly on the assumption that anything
can be dished out to the Pakistanis because they are gullible enough not to
question the glaring absurdities. That can be the only reason for these
contradictory statements coming from the US and Britain.
Not that such accusations help either the Afghan cause or the US-led
war against terrorism. Because of the purely military focus of the war on
terror, with little regard to root causes, space denial to the terrorists has not
been achieved. She ended up with her often repeated advice: It is time for
us in Pakistan to stop taking any more nonsense from our allies.
Farhatullah Babar observed, until now the US and Afghanistan have
been blaming Pakistan for not putting its act together in respect of Kabul.
Now the international community seems to have joined the chorus. The
United Kingdom has protested that Pakistan was not doing enough with
former EU commissioner for external affairs Lord Chris Patten sharply
critical of Islamabads Afghan policy.
Most of such harsh criticism of Pakistan may be unfounded, based on
misunderstandings and even bias but perceptions often matter more than
the reality. It bodes ill for Pakistan in international public opinion is so
heavily tilted and biased against Islamabad.
What should the Pakistan government do then if it really believes that
peace in Afghanistan is essential for our own security? This can be done
by bringing the Afghan policy into the open and into the public domain
and discuss it in parliament. Presently neither the foreign office nor the
parliament is involved in making the Afghan policy that appears to be
prepared in the semi lit corridors of the security establishment.

The News urged revision of Pak-US ties. It couldnt be sheer

coincidence that the Pakistani prime minister arrived in Tripoli on Thursday
during the presence of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Irans
increasingly close ally, with whom he had meeting. This balance is all very
well. But its time for Pakistan to review the strategic partnership with
the United States. The US-India nuclear deal in February is proof that the
partnership is a faade that only benefits the Americans.
The daily newspaper also commented on the situation within
Waziristan. The events are a statement to the influence wielded by the
militants that as long as they so desired, peace held in the troubled agency.
Given that the official policy at smoking or flushing out militants has
so far yielded little results other than those reflected on the death roll,
should we then infer that a more reasonable approach to the problem would
be the one that places dialogue above the noise produced by the gun?
Asad Munir discussed various elements of militancy in Waziristan.
There are four different elements involved in the current crisis and each
requires to be tackled differently. It is important to identify these elements so
that different courses of action are formulated to deal with each element.
He referred to war in Afghanistan since 1979, and said, the first
element is the foreigners. After the Soviet withdrawal they fought along
Taliban and continue doing so after the US-led invasion. All these
foreigners have one thing in common; they are all wanted by the
governments of their respective countries. Since they have nowhere else to
go they have no option but to fight it out for their own survival.
The second element is the Afghans residing in Waziristan. They
move across the border and stay in different parts of NWFP, FATA and
Baluchistan during the winter season. Some of the 20 percent still left in
Waziristan, act as facilitators for the Taliban and other Afghan militants
who cross over to tribal areas.
The third element is the local Taliban The events in Afghanistan
have always affected the tribal areas and these are the product of various
phases of fighting in Afghanistan since 1979. Their strength can be judged
from that since 1998 they have been running a parallel administration
The fourth and the most important element involved in this crisis are
young tribals. They are angry youth who want to fight against the system,
want to wage jihad and are willing to cross the border and fight against the
US and Afghan forces.


Theoretically, the above categorization is correct, but all of them are

varieties of the same crop. Three of them are ethnic Pushtoons and the
foreigners, who have been staying there for more than three decades and
have married in local families, identify themselves with Pushtoon tribes. All
of them share their aspirations and are strongly against foreign occupation of
Afghanistan. They also equate Pakistan with America being an ally in the
ongoing Crusades; therefore they do not trust Pakistan government.
The News termed the recent demolition of a government health centre
in North Waziristan as a chilling reminder of the growing Talibanization.
Unfortunately, incidents like this have been happening with disturbing
regularity As the interior minister himself recently admitted in public,
Talibanization has made inroads in Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan and Tank
districts with self-styled defenders of the faith forcing ordinary citizens to
live according to a literal and rigid interpretation of Islam The
governments helplessness or unwillingness to act against these elements,
which is implicit since they seem to have been given a free hand, is the
reason why the intolerance and bigotry has spread beyond FATA.

Prejudices of the Crusaders against Pakistan remained in place. On


9 May, FIA team went to Germany to investigate death of Amir Cheema.

Within a week, FIA confirmed that Amir had committed suicide. The team
had recorded statements of some who had witnessed him committing
suicide. The report also included a six-point will of Amir in which he had
said, I would never commit suicide.
There was no word about the conditions in which he was detained,
which must have led him to see no way out except committing suicide.
Meanwhile, Amir Cheemas body arrived in Pakistan and his funeral was
attended by thousands of people from across the country.
Pakistan Embassy in Berlin exonerated itself from not taking any
action, by saying that Amir had not addressed any letter directly to the
Pakistans his excellency in Berlin. So he was allowed to rot in the jail and
meet the logical end for being so negligent.
On 12th May, Opposition in the Senate demanded constitution of a
Senate Commission to meet Dr AQ Khan to find facts about his
deteriorating health and restrictions on his meeting with family members. A
fortnight later, Foreign Office announced that there was nothing more to
share on Khan. Meanwhile, as US and India worked desperately to save
nuclear deal, Kasuri told NA Standing Committee that Pakistan will get civil
nuclear technology from different countries to meet its energy requirements.

On 26th May, US lawmakers called for the reopening of AQ Khan File.

We have given Pakistan a get-out-of-jail-free card on the single worst case
of proliferation in the past 50 years, said Gary Ackerman. His case is
considered relevant to the current Iranian and North Korean crises. He might
have supplied Iran with nuclear weapon designs. Some questions whether
the AQ Khan network is truly out of business, asking if its not merely
hibernating. Wed be foolish to rule out that chilling possibility, said Royce.
David Albright, an American nuclear expert, told the hearing that the Khan
case is far from closed. Most of them implicated Pakistan with Irans
nuclear programme.
American pressure had caused caution on IPI gas pipeline project.
On 21 May, Iran sought assurance from Pakistan that it will not sell gas to
India, quoting Algiers-Spain accord. Pakistan did not agree saying once the
gas has been purchased, the seller has nothing to with it.

Four days later, Pakistan and Iran agreed to form a joint investment
company to be based in Karachi, to open land route for Pakistani exports
besides reiterating their resolve for early start of IPI gas pipeline project, but
meeting of ministers was postponed for one month.
During Prime Ministers visit to Greece, the two countries agreed to
share information on terrorism. Like all visits, this too ended up with
extraction of an agreement on this issue. America, however, in a gesture of
kindness agreed to release 8 of the 29 Pakistanis held in Guantanamo Bay.
Suicide is a key word for the Crusaders to blame Muslims for all
crimes, even those committed against the Muslims. If Amir committed
suicide, it was certainly due to the harsh treatment meted out to him by those
who detained him. So is the case with suicide bombers.
M B Naqvi commented on Pakistans nuclear programme. A decisive
moment came when the Pakistan president made the premise of virtually
ending the Jihad in Kashmir. Obviously, Pakistans nuclear weapons were of
no help. If the notional benefit of the weapons had to be sacrificed for the
sake of peace, their value gets heavily diluted. The fact is that Pakistans
nuclear weapons are no longer vital for its security. The country could
not win Kashmir through a proxy war and they could not defend Pakistan
against Indias threatened attack without Islamabad having to make certain
There is another negative aspect of the nukes: there is Dr AQ Khans
underground bazaar of nuclear contraband. The story has not ended. The
rest of the world is still interested. They all think that Pakistan is vulnerable

to various threats from inside. They believe that anti-Musharraf and

extremist elements in Pakistan can get hold of these weapons. At least in the
eyes of the rest of the world, Pakistan is more vulnerable because of these
Nuclear weapons were never meant for winning Kashmir. These are
meant to save Pakistan from external harm for which these have proved
useful as India did not go to the war despite mobilizing bulk of its military
resources. As regards making certain concessions, not the weapons but
the man who possessed them should be blamed. Pakistans brave
commando chickened out in front of Indias limping Vajpayee.
The analyst has been arguing against Pakistans nuclear bombs since
long. There was nothing new in his anti-bomb stance, except that this time
he wrote only three days before US lawmakers said that probe against
Khans network was not yet closed, which he now termed as Khans
underground bazaar. The Crusaders have focused on Dr Khan, but he
insisted on roll-back of entire nuclear programme. This cannot be taken as
coincidence. Pakistan is certainly more vulnerable from inside.
Ammara Durrani discussed Americas role in obstructing IPI gas
pipeline project. The case of IPI pipeline politics showed that while the
rhetoric for joining hands had matured, the will and apparatus for even
functional cooperation the minimal requirement for trans-border
enterprise was not firmly in place among countries that stood most to
gain from the cooperation.
After mentioning Indian suspicions, apprehensions, and thoughts
about counter-balance, like Kashmir dispute, Baglihar Dam, and unrest in
Baluchistan, she pointed out the American factor. This year began on an
ominous note because of the rise of the biggest hurdle that the project now
faces the US-Iran nuclear stand-off.
On the surface, the political leaderships of Iran, Pakistan and India
continue to give media sound bytes that would have us believe that the IPI
project is only a matter of some more negotiations and time. But several
realities present a grim picture In this context she mentioned US-India
nuclear deal, implications of slapping economic sanctions on Iran, sacking
of Manishankar Aiyar, failure in settlement inter-government guarantees and
Without naming the US, India and Pakistan both deny facing any
external pressure to back out of IPI, saying they will not allow it to come in
the way of their national interests Behind their apparent media-driven

confidence, however, it appears that the two South Asian neighbours are
finding it difficult to carry on business as originally intended, because the
US is stepping up its efforts to back the Central Asian energy route as a more
acceptable option for India Compared to the advances that have already
been made in pursuit of IPI pipeline, TAP project may take quite a long
while before any good comes out of it.
It is difficult to predict the outcome of IPI project even if the odds
against it look daunting. American pressure notwithstanding, the three actors
are putting up an independent front, ostensibly safeguarding their economic
interests. Russian and Chinese stakes in the energy game also offer them an
opportunity to push through with their plans, albeit slowly.
It is clear that Washington wants to use local conflicts to establish
its influence in the region. Through the pressure and offering diverging
incentives to each player, it is perpetuating these conflicts which would
ultimately prevent efforts at regional economic cooperation in the form of
projects like IPI gas pipeline.
Chris Cork discussed the previously reported issue and opined that
Pakistan was fading, not failing. Pakistan has areas of systemic failure
that date back to Partition and even before that and are not susceptible to
quick political fixes; as well as a selection of debilitating long-term chronic
failures by successive governments to address the core issues of population
control and education. Taken together, the failure of democracymight be
indicators of failed statehood.
Ironically, the current government for all its lack of democratic
functionality at anything but a cosmetic level is doing and achieving more in
some key areas than any perhaps all of its predecessors. Unfortunately
the present government is also a relatively benign military dictatorship,
with a decent democratic hijab covering the fist beneath; and no
dictatorship benign or not is ever going to come up to scratch against a
measuring stick made in the West like the Failed States Index, for
M S Hasan from Karachi wrote, without getting into the motive of
this outfit, the merits of the related elements and the parameters used for
such a determination by a third party, we Pakistanis, the real stakeholders,
need to dispassionately, objectively and realistically evaluate ourselves
and the state of the Pakistani federation in this context.
There are aspects which need to be critically analyzed for a realistic
assessment of Pakistan. They are: sustainability of democracy, quality of

political leadership, strength of national economy, effectiveness of

governance and the writ of the state, education and quality of human
resources, public services, quality of life and opportunities, social values,
respect for individuals human rights, gender and minority equality,
technological advancements, pace of industrialization, energy security and
food autarky Granting that there are pockets of resilience and positive
indicators as blips of hope and progress, Pakistan continues to be a weak
state on most of the above counts.
Ahmad Mushtaq Zaidan rejected the failed state assumptions. For
someone who is acquainted with the Pakistani nation closely, it is simply
incredible and illogical to believe the US assessment about this nation which
has fared remarkably well through thick and thin of history, and has
shown great potential to develop and has displayed a lot of resilience against
the toughest of misfortunes.
He argued, the American officials and think tanks must evaluate
the devastations of the US intervention syndrome and the success of those
states and countries where Washington has committed military interventions.
In fact, the states that suffered from US interventions later turned out to be
failed states, and that too according to US standards. This historical fact is
well reflected in a book titled Overstretched Empire which noted that 35
countries where American forces intervened have now become failed states
during the last three decades.
Sana Farooq observed, such a report has the apparent motive to
spread despair amongst the Pakistanis and retard the growing foreign
investment in Pakistan. Our embassy in Washington should probe the matter
in all respects with special reference to any Indian involvement.

Only outcome of the composite dialogue was that on 26th May the
two countries agreed on joint survey of Sir Creek. The surveys carried out
previously, perhaps, had become redundant with the passage of time. As
consequence of the failure of bilateral dialogue, Pakistan and India were
summoned by World Bank for meeting in Geneva over Baglihar dispute.
In the context of confidence building measures, India freed six
Pakistanis, including four teenagers on 17th May. A week later India decided
to release 59 Pakistani fishermen. SMEs of India and Pakistan held two-day
meeting in Islamabad to boost trade.

Negative steps and statements outpaced the confidence building

measures. On 9th May, Mukherjees said as per our information 59 training
camps are still functioning in Pakistan. He threatened that if the graph of
militancy-related violence goes up, we may be forced to enhance the
numerical presence of troops.
Indian Navy sought three more stealth Russian frigates. On 13th May,
the sea version of the pilot-less aircraft Lakshya was successfully tested in
Bay of Bengal. Manmohan vowed to switch over to remote-controlled
technology weapons. Indian Army conducted largest ever exercises in
Punjab and Rajasthan to validate the Armys new operational doctrine
under nuclear, biological and chemical weapons environment. Similar
exercises were conducted last year as well.
Pakistan rejected Indian idea on mutually benefiting visits of
respective army chiefs. On 18th May, the cultural interaction between the two
neighbours embarrassed Musharraf and compelled him to blacklist Indian
actor Feroz Khan, who under the influence of liquor said some harsh words
about Pakistan.
Meanwhile, perpetration of state terrorism in IHK continued.
Following actions and retaliations were reported:
On 8th May, several people were injured in protests against sex
scandal. Next day, Indian forces killed two suspected freedom fighters
in separate clashes and seized arms cache. Troops smashed a carbomb factory, believed to be preparing bombs for blasts in Srinagar
during Singhs visit on May 25.
Indian troops killed two suspected militants in Poonch area on 10 th
May and one policeman and a civilian were killed by gunmen in
Doda. In two other gun battles in Rajouri and Doda, a soldier and two
militants were killed.
On 11th May, militants shot dead two policemen in Srinagar. CBI team
arrived in Srinagar to probe prostitution scandal. Gilani said incidents
of state terrorism were on the rise.
Thousands of people protested in Handwara on 14 th May against
molestation of a woman by Indian troops. Next day, four abducted
civilians were killed in Baramulla.
Four suspected freedom fighters were killed on 16 th May in a gun
battle in a remote village.

On 21st May, eight people, including two militants, were killed and 20
wounded in gunfight when militants stormed rally of Congress Party
in Srinagar.
Twenty-two BSF troops were wounded in suicide attack in Srinagar
on 23rd May. Indian Army sealed off Srinagar for PMs visit.
At least 12 civilians, 3 policemen and 5 soldiers were injured in four
grenade attacks in Srinagar as Singh arrived in IHK on 24 th May.
Gilani placed under house arrest. AI took serious note of human
violations. Singh chaired a meeting of military commanders, police
and government officials to review security in the region.
On 27th May, thousands of people protested and locked up a soldier
alleging that he had raped a young girl returning home from school in
village near Srinagar.
Manmohans interaction with Kashmiri leaders was the only
important event during the last three weeks. On 23rd May pro-India NC
threatened to stay away from talks, if Manmohan meets with APHC. APHC
and UJC called for strike on the days of Singhs visit, i.e. 24th and 25th May.
Indian Prime Minister announced that a group would be set up to
examine Kashmirs special autonomous status under the constitution in a bid
to bring peace in Held Kashmir. Mirwaiz said Manmohans remark that
Kashmir is internal problem of India has hurt Kashmiris. Various freedom
fighter groups termed the two-day roundtable conference as waste of time.
Because India has been dragging feet on resolution of Kashmir
dispute and that it has been causing division within Kashmiris and then
encouraging all the parties, old and new, to come out with proposals for
solution; now there are so many proposal/options that agreement on anyone
of those seems impossible. Pakistani rulers and experts, because of their
extraordinary courage and intellect have produced about a dozen options,
while Indians, badly lacking in both, stuck dearly to ATTOT ANG option.
This prompted Muhammad Badar Alam to write, the fact doesnt help
that there have always been multiple proposals doing the rounds for the
resolution of conflict in and over Kashmir. Someone still needs to come
with the most acceptable, most practicable and most enduring plan to resolve
the issue. The various roadmaps being put forward by different parties to
the conflict suffer from one fatal flaw: They fail to arouse the interest of and


generated respect from their detractors. Instead of trying to improve upon

the others plan, everyone so far prefers to offer one of their own.
To get a sense of who is saying what, pick up any news commentary
on the issue and you will find a whole range of options from selfgovernance and autonomy to self-determination and independence. The fine
text between these broad categories is replete with references to
demilitarization, infiltration, softening of borders, respect for human rights,
release of political prisoners, and ending the constitutional ambiguities that
the two parts of Kashmir have with respect to their relationship with central
governments in India and Pakistan. The parties to the conflict have too much
on the table to clearly talk to each other. This amply speaks of the success
of Indian strategy on the core issue.
M Ismail Khan agreed with Badar Alam. Looking at the dialogue
process up to this point, one key bone of contention has been the question
of who should represent the people. Who should speak for such a diverse
public opinion, which runs across five or seven distinct regions and at least
three distinct administrative components that of Indian held Jammu &
Kashmir, and Pakistan administered Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan (or
the Northern Areas). Should it be elected members of the current legislatures
in these three administrative entities? But were they elected with a mandate
to discuss the Kashmir dispute; it is another matter if they have the capacity
and vision to do so. Let us then turn to the Hurriyat Conference, do they
represent the entire state. Hurriyat does have a good following in the Valley
and partly in Azad Kashmir but it is non-existent in Jammu, Ladakh and
Gilgit/Baltistan. What else are the options? Should people look towards Dr
Karan Singh as the male heir of Maharaja Hari Singh? Do jihadi
organizations represent the will of the people? Perhaps they too represent a
sentiment, but unfortunately have a language problem.
The News wrote on Singhs remarks about special status to
Kashmir. He needs to explain how the new status will be dissimilar from
the old one if the territory is still going to be within the Indian union. The
only caveat in this and a major one at that is that all the affected parties
have to be taken along in this, and that includes not only the APHC but also
the militants. Also, India needs to be clear about sensitive issues like crossborder infiltration because statements by senior Indian functionaries at
different times seem to contradict each other and only end up vitiating the
atmosphere needed for the establishment of a permanent peace.


Ever since the first public indications were made in early April
regarding the possibility that Pakistan and India may reach an agreement on
Siachin, the Indian armed forces have quite uncharacteristically taken a
public position on the matter. It is also not in accordance with the Indian
constitution. This is exceptionally surprising, given the strong and
commendable tradition of the Indian army to stay clear of politics and public
diplomacy, observed Nasim Zehra.
The News wrote, with a tenth round of secretary-level talks on demilitarization of Siachen again ending in deadlock, one wonders whether
there will ever be any real progress on the issue in the foreseeable future.
Held in New Delhi, the talks are said to have taken place in a very cordial
atmosphere with the Pakistani defence secretary being quoted as saying that
there is a keen desire on both sides to move forward with the peace
process, That is all well and good and the keenness on both sides to get on
with the peace process has been reiterated several times in the past as well.
The editor wanted to see the manifestation of the keenness.
Gulf News was of the view that the Indian Army has told Singh that
once Indian troops withdraw; there is very little likelihood of reclaiming the
Himalayan range. Singh, being blamed for all manner of ills in Delhi at the
moment, clearly does not want to add Siachen to his list of woes If Singh
was even a tenth of the politician that his predecessor Atal Bihari
Vajpayee was, Siachen would have been a done deal. Together, India and
Pakistan could have disengaged to mutually agreed positions.
The News wrote on the outcome recent talks on Sir Creek. Using
the 1914 green line as a marker, Pakistan has consistently claimed
ownership over the entire 60-mile-long Sir Creek estuary which separates
the province of Sindh from the Indian state of Gujrat. New Delhi, for its part,
has insisted on mid-channel delineation, as shown on a later map. This
assertion has been long rejected by Islamabad on the grounds that such
boundaries are applicable only to navigable channels which, according to the
Pakistan view, Sir Creek is not.
Indications of significant movement on the dispute first surfaced
during the September 2004 visit to India by Pakistans foreign minister, and
the progress achieved since then appears to have been cemented by the
landmark joint statement issued on Friday. Given the pitfalls that the two
countries have encountered on the rocky road to peace, it can only be hoped
that this promising start does not prove to be yet another case of one step
forward and two steps back.

Pakistan has started feeling the pinch of people to people

contacts. On 16th May, an issue was raised by Prof Khurshid on a point of
order in the Senate over the reported remarks of Pakistani counselor in
Jeddah during Pak-India Mushaira. The official said that if Berlin Wall can
fall then why Pakistan and India cannot become one. In the Mushaira,
one of the Indian poets read a poem in which he poked fun at the creation of
Pakistan and the Quaid-e-Azam. Professor urged the government to recall
the diplomat.
Musharraf blacklisted Indian actor Feroz Khan, who made
offending remarks when he was drunk at a gala ceremony in Lahore. I
come from a great country, which is a great democracy and secular state.
The greatest example of this is that we have a Muslim president and a Sikh
prime minister. Here in Pakistan you are majority Muslims and Muslim is
killing Muslim. There was nothing wrong with his statement which
described the ground realities. The guest at least accepted the entities of two
states, contrary to the Pakistani official who negated the creation of Pakistan.
When Fakhar-e-Alam tried to push with the proceedings and greeted
another top star Kabir Bedi as the emperor and requested him to rise, Feroz
took the mike and said, the emperor never rises. You kneel before this
emperor. Again there was nothing wrong with his remarks.
The agencies reported the incident to the president, who reacted by
blacklisting the guest; what a shame. There were quite a few wrong things
which were not reported or mentioned with due emphasis. The hosts in
Islamic Republic of Pakistan arranged the wine for the guest so lavishly that
he forgot about diplomacy and started talking straight. He paid the price,
but what about the generous hosts?
Obviously, Musharraf does not want and cannot punish the hosts,
because it is he who started this TAMASHA, by first allowing screening of
Indian films in Pakistan, after having been impressed by the beauty of
Skaikhos Anarkali, and then encouraged cultural contacts in which only
actors, dancers and singers are considered true ambassadors of culture. Thus,
he might be considering the hosts for some award on 14 th August for their
excellent contribution towards curbing Islamic fundamentalism and
making significant contribution towards his philosophy of enlightened
moderation. Whatever he might do, this venture has not served his cause
of acquiring soft image, as he himself ran short of tolerance.
Kanak Mani Dixit talked of demolishing the Berlin Wall on the
Subcontinent. With the receding memories of partition, with the India228

Pakistan rapprochement despite the vicissitudes, it is time for the chief

ministers in Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Karachi and Lahore to
respectfully inform Islamabad and New Delhi for their intention to meet to
discuss loosening the bilateral frontier.
Let the chief ministers do what is good for their people. Only then
will we see the end of the caricature that is the lowering-the-flag ceremony
at the Wagah-Atari border point, where army men on each side stomp their
boots and provide crass examples of what is said to be the national attitude,
which we know is not so. It is time that those lights at the border are
switched off.

The occasional mention of democracy by US officials, Musharrafs
remarks about decline of his popularity, exiled leaders renewed desire to
return, and speculations about possibility of elections before schedule, have
fueled the fire of political activity in Pakistan. Shujaat thanked Musharraf
for reposing confidence in him, but PML-Q forward bloc members felt
humiliated after Musharraf did not meet them after having kept them waiting
for hours despite prior confirmation.
Information Minister claimed that Charter of Democracy was
nothing but a drama. On 14th May Nawaz and Benazir signed Charter of
Democracy. Both vowed to return home and claimed Washingtons support
for Musharraf would be counter-productive. Fazl said that MMA would
contest elections with or without Musharraf.
Musharraf played down Benazir-Nawaz accord and indicated that
present assemblies could re-elect him. A day later, Richard Boucher told the
House International Relations Committee Chairman, James Leach that
Musharraf was taking Pakistan in the direction of free and fair general
elections in 2007.
Lawyers opposed Musharrafs re-election idea. Imran ruled out free
and fair polls under Musharraf and subsequently backed Charter of
Democracy. Dissenters in PML-Q refused to succumb to pressure as none of
their grievances were addressed.
On 20th May, Musharraf termed signatories of the Charter of
Democracy as enemies of democracy. Six days later, Qazi subscribed to the
Charter of Democracy with reservations. There is no mention of ending the


US intervention, the rising poverty and unemployment in Pakistan. But,

Mian-Bibi razi tou kia karey ga Qazi.
On 27th May, intervention by Musharraf Bhai and invisible efforts (of
Altaf Bhai) helped in resolving the differences between Chief Minister of
Sindh and MQM, marking the end, at least for the time being, to nine-day
row. The same day, Sher Afgan claimed that Benazir was in direct contact
with Musharraf.

Charter of Democracy stole the show in political MAILA during

the period. Prior to the signing of the charter, Burhanuddin Hasan asked few
questions for its authors. If by any chance these two leaders succeed in
forging an alliance, would Mian Nawaz Sharif admit that all the cases of
corruption filed by him against Ms Bhutto were false and politically
motivated? Would he also take back his allegation against Ms Bhutto that
she was a security risk? Would Ms Bhutto agree to sit on the opposition
benches should Nawaz Sharif wins the election? Or would she refuse to
accept the election results and launch a campaign against him as she did on
the two previous occasions? They must answer these questions before they
sign what they call the Charter of Democracy.
Baseer Navid said, Bhutto and Sharif are very hungry for power,
and looking at their shared history, they will do anything to achieve it. If
they do, then Pakistan will again be held hostage by both the army and a
A day after the signing of Charter of Democracy, Imtiaz Alam
enumerated its salient features:
Emphasizes the hegemony of the people through their elected
representatives over the civil and military establishments.
Proposes to dispense with the National Security Council and
envisages strengthening of the Cabinet Defence Committee.
Authorizes the elected prime minister to make appointments of the
bosses of the armed forces and brings the intelligence services under
his/her control.
Envisages strengthening the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committees
bringing the defence budget under the scrutiny of the parliament.
Spells out bringing the Command and Control System under the
Defence Committee.


Rejects the LFO and the 17th Amendment, less joint electorate,
representation of women and minorities, and age limit of voters.
Proposes a foolproof bipartisan mechanism for the appointment of
judges of the higher judiciary.
Proposes a Federal Constitutional Court while dispensing with all
special courts but did not mention Federal Shariat Court.
It promises National Finance Commission award, dispense with the
concurrent list, greater provincial autonomy, and devolution of
Also proposes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe
cases of victimization.
It proposes appointment of a bipartisan accountability commission
for all.
The parties have pledged not to join military juntas and not to
destabilize any government.
They have prohibited floor-crossing, pledged inner party democracy,
and creation of powerful and independent election commission.
It pledges not to join the military government and any adjustment
with the current military ruler.
Also pledges peaceful relations with India and Afghanistan without
prejudice to the positions on the outstanding disputes.
It strongly condemns terrorism and militancy as byproducts of
military dictatorships and vows to confront them vigorously.
Imtiaz Alam was of the view that the charter provides, in both
principle and functionality, a more consistent democratic platform that
binds the two major parties in a bipartisan framework to a democratic,
federal, modern and progressive Pakistan. Stressing the need for a new
direction, different from a militaristic and a regimental approach of the
Bonapartist regimes, it commits to the two parties to an economically
sustainable, socially progressive, politically democratic and pluralist,
federally cooperative, ideologically tolerant, internationally respectable and
regionally peaceful basis.
He visualized three scenarios around the next general elections.
First, the opposition parties jointly build public opinion and a mass

movement against the military rule and force General Musharraf to abdicate
power to allow fair elections.
Second, the combined opposition builds pressure strong enough to
force the military government to hold free and fair elections and, in turn,
provides General Musharraf with an exit door in transition from military to
civilian rule Third, General Musharraf pushes his plan of bringing the
kings party into power through a controversial election that will lead to
either a boycott of the election or rejection of results. This scenario is the
most likely.
Something that pleases me no end is the affirmation in the charter
that the defence budget will be discussed and approved in the
parliament. This has been a sacred cow so far. The militarys refusal to put
itself up the public scrutiny undermines the sovereignty of the elected
institutions. Our journey towards a civilized state would be incomplete
without a public debate about our defence needs and priorities. The people
must approve how their money is spent and this should include defence. The
charter upholds this principle, wrote Shafqat Mahmood.
Mir Jamilur Rahman said, the charter is more of a joint election
manifesto of the PPP and the PML-N, than an expression of some electoral
alliance. It is political contract seeking good governance and an end to
military supremacy over civil society. Having witnessed, or suffered,
military coups detat the two former prime ministers have reached the
conclusion that military dictatorship and the nation cannot coexist.
There is no threat of agitation or election boycott in the charter. It is
evident that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif want to promote democracy
in the country through peaceful means. They seem to have learned their
lesson and are expected to adhere to the Charter of Democracy in letter
and spirit.
Rahimullah Yusufzai had similar views. The 36-point charter is a
profound document capable of making Pakistan a truly democratic country.
Almost all the ills plaguing democracy in the country have been
identified and measures suggested to set things right However, drawing
up a charter of democracy with all the nice things is only one part of the
exercise. Getting it implemented and making it work is the other, tougher
part and is fraught with risks.
Both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif deserve another chance. One
would like to believe that they have reformed. The Charter of Democracy
with its plethora of pious intentions is one indication of the change that they

have undergone. Those willing to forgive them should look at the profound
document that they have produced and not at the two authors.
Masooda Bano had some words of advice for better half of the
political contract. Benazir Bhutto has to remember that her performance in
her last two tenures as the prime minister has seriously damaged the
democratic process in the country. So many hopes attached to her because of
her fathers legacy, her age, and exposure, when she first became the prime
minister but today many of the same people who cheered her success dread
her return. Nawaz Sharif on the other hand has in fact matured; he has
progressed much from where he started. The two ex-premiers should,
however, remember that they are still highly distrusted by majority of the
Iqbal Mustafa had some doubts. In a parliamentary form of
government, there is a voluntary distinction between the executives and the
legislators, which is missing in our system. The charter makes no mention
of it. So, I assume we can expect legislators as executives in disguise as
More than that, there is no reference to the collusion of financial and
political power that continues to thrive under the system. Will free and fair
elections promised in the charter allow seats to be lucrative investments to
be cashed during the tenure of assemblies? There is no whisper of self
discipline within the two popular parties. Individuals will remain to
dominate as lifetime heads of parties because God has been miserly in
bestowing Pakistan with leadership qualities?
Despite all these holes in the charter, I am happy with it. It breaks
the fifty-year-old status quo. It has three elements that provide fresh hope.
It rests on public confession of past mistakes, hence setting a healthy
tradition. It challenges the unbridled power of the military establishment in
open and vocal terms. And it spells out means to develop a spirit of tolerance
and accommodation in politics, in place of terminal conflicts. For all its
warts, the sum is larger than the parts of the charter. I have always held that
seeking one-time perfection is nave. I am ready to believe in this charter as
a first step towards redemption of democracy in the country.
The reaction to the Charter of Democracy was divided into three
categories by BA Malik from Islamabad. One side considers the new-found
harmony between Ms Bhutto and Mr Sharif a cornerstone of national
reconciliation. The other considers it as the beginning of another round
of confrontation. The pro-charter intellectuals focus their attention on the

principles contained in the document. The anti-charter ones focus on

personalities rather than principles. After taking into account these
conflicting assessments of the charter of democracy I am driven to the
inevitable conclusion that reason and history are on the side of those
supporting the charter. Those who are against it appear to be on the wrong
side of both reason and history. While Ms Bhutto and Mr Sharif have learnt
their lessons, the army ruler and his servile surrogates apparently have no
appetite to learn anything from the past.
There is third category of writers who while trying to maintain a
semblance of balance and objectivity grudgingly approves the charter
after finding some faults in it. We are living in interesting times. The charter
has drawn a clear line between the future and the past. Where we want to
take the country from here depends on which side of the charter of
democracy we choose to stand.
The reaction of rulers was viewed critically. The News wrote,
attack by president Musharraf on the Charter of Democracy signed in
London on Sunday was an expected reaction to a document targeting his
military dictatorship, which has pushed our beloved country to the brink of
a total disaster The charter is less an expression of concern for popular
welfare and more of self-interest, an attempt to secure their own future and
re-enter the power corridors, according to him. He also insisted once again
that the two former prime ministers had no political future.
The General could be mistaken in his insistence that the two
leaders wouldnt deliver if they returned to power. However, the rhetoric
contained in the 36-point document does not make clear exactly how they
would bring about the sweeping changes they have pledged. Its good the
charter has come, but its the implementation that will ultimately matter.
Kamran Shafi, in his peculiar style, analyzed the remarks of
Musharraf and other government officials on the Charter of Democracy. If it
is true that Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto are hated by the people of
Pakistan, why doesnt the military government invite them back to the
country, hold a free and fair election under a totally independent election
commission and let the people reject them and their thieving ways?
I mean it is not as if they are full Generals of the Pakistan Army and
they will mount a coup and grab power. It is not as if they will march into
the Prime Ministers House and take over the country by force of arms.
They will have to face an election, and only if elected by the majority of
the people of Pakistan come into power. So what is the problem?

The fact that the Generals regime foolishly pushed Nawaz and
Benazir to the wall so hard that they had to fight back; the fact that the
country has been so mismanaged that inflation will soon hit double figures;
the fact that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing at an alarming
rate; the fact that the countrys infrastructure is fast falling apart; the fact that
there simply isnt any law what to speak of order; the fact that the General is
therefore vulnerable, have all contributed to the signing of the Charter of
Democracy between once bitter political rivals.
What remains to be seen is whether the two will return to the country
before the elections, come what may. If they dont, they will have signed
their parties demise, and therefore of their own futures. If they do, the
General is in big trouble, despite what Assistant Secretary of State Richard
Boucher said in his support just yesterday.
Khusro Mumtaz said, the biggest failure of the General six years
into his rule may be the fact that the previously discredited Nawaz Sharif
and Benazir Bhutto have become viable political contenders again. The
General, it should be forgotten, had much popular support when he first
came to power in 1999. His professed aim of cleaning up the system and
throwing out the rogues and the corrupt won much favour within the
country. But (apart from Benazir and Nawaz and a few other names) what
we have in 2006 are pretty much the same scoundrels wandering the
corridors of power that had initially been identified as willful loan defaulters
and placed on NAB and Exit Control lists.
Shakir Husain said the same, whats most upsetting is the fact that
things have gotten to such a point that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are
being positioned as the people who can save things from getting worse.
Imagine BB and Sharif are now our defenders of democracy. If the last
seven years have shown us anything it is the human greed knows no
boundaries, and that honest decent people dont have a hope in hell. Maybe,
it is time to reboot the system.
Ghazi Salahuddin wrote, we have some indications that the charter
has unnerved at least some in the ruling alliance. One thing is certain.
This charter can become a catalyst in our affairs mainly because it has come
at a time when a sense of crisis has deepened in different areas The
atmosphere of decay in governance is manifest in the daily lives of
ordinary citizens.
Instead of explaining what he has achieved, the president is making
more promises as if he is beginning his term in office. One example was

his approval on Thursday of a roadmap for promotion of technical

education. He gave five years targets to the relevant authorities So, is
what we are experiencing in these cryptic and confusing days an end of
some kind or a beginning?
Shafqat Mahmood observed, even now after seven years in power,
his principle focus remains the same: how to hang on to power. For this,
he is willing to make compromises and sup with known devils. He also does
not care what happens to his principle constituency, the army, because eightyear tenure of the chief and counting does the institution no favour. The
example of never wanting to quit has been avidly followed by others
connected with the government. They all want post-retirement jobs. Military
officers head this list and seem to have two careers; active service and postretirement. Musharraf uses this not only to oblige the retirees but also to
send a message to the serving. If you toe the line, all will be well, otherwise
you will wander around like headless chickens after retirement.
Burhanuddin Hasan wrote, now after more than six years of
Musharrafs rule the time has come to take a look at what became of his
promises. He no doubt succeeded in rebuilding the nations confidence and
morale for sometime, but unfortunately he has failed to strengthen the
federation by removing disharmony among the provinces.
Rahimullah Yusufzai advised, the military should ponder the
reasons that it is now openly and more frequently criticized than anytime in
the past. Those who held the armed forces in high esteem have also become
critical of the men in uniform.
The president lost the high moral ground after going back on his
promise, publicly made on television, to give up his army position and
uniform. He also courted controversy by allowing floor-crossing and voteselling (purchasing as well) through visible and intense horse-trading,
tolerating corrupt politicians who took his side and making them part of his
government, using NAB and intelligence agencies to make political leaders
fall in line, and openly patronizing the PML and allied parties.
Ashaar Rehman said, the charter has led to some very caustic
responses from the ruling group. For all these counter remarks may be
worth, none of the worthy gentlemen in the ruling camp has so far felt the
need to argue against it point by point. They have been otherwise heard so
vociferously campaigning for a president in uniform continuing in
foreseeable future but perhaps coming up with an anti-thesis to the BenazirNawaz proposals would amount to giving them undue importance. The

funniest part in the drama is where post-charter General Musharraf is shown

as coveting the post of the prime minister. More realistically, the
impossibilities inherent in the charter convey a message as if Mohtarma and
Mian Sahib are content with where they are.
Azam Khalil cautioned, the president has very little time on his
hands. And in case he allows his power base to erode, the perils of
incumbency will increase manifold. It may be time yet to talk to the main
middle-of-the-road political parties and evolve some sort of political
consensus in the country, a process that is all the more important in view of
the hostile external forces that are challenging Musharraf and his country.
He advised that the president, instead of bending his principles, must extend
his support only in view of the performance of the government.
BA Malik from Islamabad made it simple. To prove their muchtouted commitment to principles and sincerity to the people of Pakistan and
the world, other political parties viz. PML-Q, MMA and MQM should
sign this charter of democracy without delay. The time has come to prove
that our political class is capable of learning lessons from the past in order to
move towards the future.
Many analysts talked about elections. The restoration and the nonrecognition of Gen Musharrafs amendments are two of the three demands
contained in the charter. The third is that the next general elections should be
free and fair. And that, according to the charter, will be possible only if they
are held by a neutral caretaker administration. The two leaders reiterated
their common belief that fair elections would be impossible under
President Musharraf, wrote the News.
If pursued, this impossible element to the third demand no elections
under Musharraf is not going to further democracy. Its certain to spoil
the atmosphere for the elections. Ms Bhutto and Mr Sharif have to decide
whether they want the elections or not. Because without the elections they
wont be able to have the Constitution restored, in whatever version of the
In a subsequent editorial, the daily newspaper wrote, when Benazir
Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif declare that elections under Pervez Musharraf
are unacceptable, they dont say that they will boycott them if and when
they happen. Also, Qazi Hussain Ahmeds blunt statements about a boycott
are balanced by the cautious mutterings of his counterpart in the religious
parties alliance. MMA Secretary-General Maulana Fazlur Rehman says the
workers of the alliance have been told to mobilize for the polls. This

confounds those making too much of Qazis optimism that a march by the
alliances followers will topple the government much before the elections
can ever take place.
Shafqat Mahmood advocated end to present military rule in the garb
of controlled democracy, but doubted that mere elections could be the
remedy. Unfortunately, elections or their results have never mattered in
this country. It is the English-speaking elite which rules in one form or
another and elections to it are a nuisance because they throw up these
uncouth Urdu-medium types who have to be pandered to. It is this class that
gets tired of civilians and of democracy and ends up as an important pillar of
military rule. History will not wait for them to alter their mindset and change
will come whether they want it or not. But it would make the transition
smooth if this elite sees that democracy is essential and military rule
Nasim Zehra said, perhaps the most frequently discussed issue
among the establishment is why new leaders do not emerge and why the
public does not abandon the corrupt and the tried and tested politicians.
The answer is simply that political yields like emergence of new political
leaders and the rejection of the tried and failed can only be harvested
from a political cycle. In Pakistan the cycle rarely gets completed.
Dr Farrukh Saleem visualized some possible political scenarios in the
context of elections. The chickening out scenario: The establishment is
successful in scaring away both Benazir and Nawaz. Benazir and Nawaz,
craving for support from Condoleezza Rice, counting more on foreign
crutches than on votes back home, dont get the required nod. PPP and
PML-N, headless in a titled electoral field, face off an establishmentsponsored coalition of uniform-worshipping bigwigs.
The rough-ride scenario: There is a noise that a dungeon awaits
Benazir. Adjudicator after adjudicator with LFO running at full throttle in
all veins hands down a life sentence then another life sentence. There is a
noise that Nawazs pardon will be withdrawn. There indeed is a uniformed
master plan and under it anyone who opposes the president-general cant
win election.
Under the master plan, Sherpao is to deliver the NWFP, Ch Shujaat
must capture Punjab and Arbab Rahim is to bring in Sindh, But, with
Benazir in the dungeon and dal masoor at a whopping Rs 48 a kilo
engineered election results can easily boomerang. Benazir will be in for a
rough ride but her uniformed adversaries wont be any better off either.

The dj vu scenario: Benazir cuts a deal with the establishment

tearing off the Charter of Democracy. If history is any guide, one of the
two mainstream political parties will, once again as they have in the past,
capture the seat of power in Islamabad through Rawalpindi.
Mir Jamilur Rahman commented on MQM-PML-Q row in Sindh.
Ostensibly, the PML and the MQM have formed a coalition government in
Sindh. In reality, it is not a coalition but a dichotomy. Coalition does not
mean that the chief minister foregoes his constitutional authority or split it
between the coalition partners. The MQM claims that according to the terms
and conditions agreed upon, the chief minister was obliged to share authority
with the governor. Chief Minister Arbab Rahim disagrees with this
proposition. As he represents senior party in the coalition and enjoys the
confidence of the MPL leadership, therefore, he cannot and would not share
his powers with the MQM or anybody else.
To be sure, dichotomous rule in Sindh would be a recipe for political
disaster. If the MQM succeeded in its demands in Sindh, Islamabad would
not be far away. The MQM could demand the same dispensation in the
centre too. It is a fact that MQM ministers in the federal cabinet hold
office during the pleasure of the MQM high command. The MQM could
replace any of its ministers any time and the replacement is administered the
oath post-haste.
The party is overplaying its hand which could land it in big political
trouble. It has everything working for it, but still wants more. If pushed
to the corner, Chief Minister Arbab Rahim could come to terms with the
PPP, which after all is the biggest single party in the Sindh Assembly, and
leave MQM high and dry. Pir Pagara has already called for governors rule
in Sindh. The governor of course would be other than Ishratul Ibad. MQM
knows that this cannot happen because the party would pullout of coalition
in the centre and Musharraf Bhai will not let this happen.

The trio of Baluch sardadrs continued perpetrating terrorism in
Baluchistan. Following incidents of terror and counter-actions were
reported during the period:
On 7th May, three persons were killed and seven wounded in three
landmine blasts in Dera Bugti area.


Six policemen were killed and 13 wounded in landmine explosions on

11th May at firing range of police training college in Quetta. Bugti
terrorists killed two people and wounded two more in Sui area.
Next day, three suspects involved in attack on police in Quetta were
arrested. Chief Minister hinted at Afghan link. He also confirmed that
ministers were receiving threats from BLA.
On 14th May, kidnapped Tehsildar was beheaded by Akbar Bugtis
terrorists. He paid high price for attempting to set the land record
straight. Additional SHO Dera Bugti was shot dead.
Nineteen rockets were fired at check posts in Dera Bugti, Loti,
Chashma and Sangsela on 15th May.
On 17th May, three persons were killed and three others wounded in
three incidents of firing, explosion and landmine blast in Dera Murad
Jamali, Dera Bugti and Kohlu.
Seventy members of Akbar Bugtis militia voluntarily surrendered
their weapons to DCO Dera Bugti on 18th May.
Two persons were killed in landmine explosion near Sibi on 25 th May.
Rockets were fired at a check post near Sui City.
On 27th May, a woman was killed and three persons injured in rocket
attack in Quetta.
After the Quetta blasts, the News wrote, its impossible for
terrorism of this scale to be entirely homegrown. There have been
repeated reports, as those after the recent blasts, of the involvement of
Afghan elements in the violence in Baluchistan. Regardless of the role of the
Kabul government in the deterioration of the situation in the province, the
terrorist would operate less easily if they didnt receive weapons, supplies
and assistance of other kinds via Afghanistan. Iran is out, particularly after
the newfound warmth in Pakistans relations with it.
The occupying power in Afghanistan, must share some blame
here. On Wednesday, the American commander of the combined Force in
Afghanistan said at the Pentagon that a coordinated military approach was
being adopted to address the threat of terror. A truly coordinated approach
requires that Gen Elkenberrys forces see to it as well that the country where
they are operating doesnt become a conduit for terrorism inside a country
which is an ally in the US war on terror.


Brig Asif Haroon observed, despite having taken effective counter

measures to extinguish the fire of insurgency, the province remains in the
grip of unrest. Its spill-over effects have now begun to contaminate the
Baluch-dominated neighbouring districts of Punjab and Sindh. We keep
talking about nabbing the masterminds but ignore the hard fact that the real
masterminds are sitting elsewhere with strings in their hands and stoking
the fire.
Unless we destroy all the Farari camps as well as the weapons and
ammunition caches, block supply from outside sources, and at the same time
convince the people that these belligerent sardars are playing into the
hands of their foreign mentors and are least interested in the development
of Baluchistan, we will have to contend with the unrest for a long time with
grim ramifications.
Muhammad Ejaz Khan said, observers are of the view every time
there is a grave incident of violence in the province; there are angry
promises of arrests and investigations as well as exemplary punishment. But
the need for a political dialogue is rarely even mentioned. That alone
would take care of foreign involvement, if any.
The News criticized the illegal ways of using money with the hope of
winning over public support against warlords. Musharrafs promise to write
off six billion rupees worth of loans owed by fishermen and farmers in
Baluchistan may seem a welcome step prima facie but can hardly be
expected to normalize the situation in the province.
As far this business of writing off loans, it will set a bad example.
How will the banks make up the amount written off? And can our financial
institutions afford such generosity, however well-deserved it may appear? In
any case, financial inducements are hardly the means to solve the
problems of the increasingly troubled province. They have always been
ineffective as far as normalizing the situation in Baluchistan is concerned.
The quest for the soft image continued, most of the time resorting to
cheap ways. On 20th May, EU Parliament asked Musharraf to spare British
man, Tahir Hussain, who is to be hanged next month for murdering a taxi
driver. Musharraf obeyed orders of the EU promptly; Tahirs execution was
stayed. Not only Musharraf stayed Britons execution, but he also tried to
purchase his freedom. Family of the murdered taxi driver, however, refused
to accept blood money. We will starve to death but we will never sell the
blood of our brother, said Maseet Khan.


The Crusaders of Europe never helped Musharraf in the context of

soft image. The German electronic and print media, which did not cover the
death of Amir, published the news of burning of German flag by some angry
students in Multan.
The News reported that the probe in Nishtar Park blast could end in
nothing. The man dubbed as suicide-bomber turned out to be a victim.
Brother of the victim from Abbotabad, Riasat Khan claimed that the head
was of his brother Amjad Khan.
Police did not believe Riasat and arrested three brothers of Amjad. If
police believe in identification of the head, the investigations would be
nullified. The possibility of involvement of a splinter group of LJ and
conflict between Brailvi and Deobandi factions has also made no headway.
The attitude of MQM, main ally in the ruling coalition, was no better
than the Crusaders. When governments inaction about Nishtar Park tragedy
prompted complete strike in Karachi, the provincial home minister of MQM
threatened the victims of registering cases under terror law in case they
expressed their anger against public property.
As regards Swiss visa scam, Asher Francis gave names of some Swiss
diplomats who were actually running the human smuggling racket. The
district sales manager of Swiss Airlines in Islamabad also gave vital
evidence before an Islamabad court, after becoming an important witness in
the case, and confirmed that visas were issued by Swiss officials on bogus
documents after taking money.
The Swiss government took measures to sweep the visa scandal under
the carpet. On 18th May, Switzerland recalled its entire diplomatic staff,
including the ambassador, posted in Islamabad and Karachi following the
confirmation of massive visa fraud. Bern had launched three disciplinary
investigations into the visa scam and confirmed irregularities in the issuance
of visa.
In complete disregard to diplomatic norms, much to the
embarrassment of Islamabad, the Swiss authorities did not deem it fit to take
the host government into confidence before the decision to recall its envoy
and other staff. Meanwhile, prime suspect, Major Ajmal, was arrested in UK
and the Swiss government sought his custody.
Zawahiris statement, in which he had asked army not to kill Muslim
brothers, was taken by Burhanuddin Hasan as proof of al-Qaedas
involvement in Nishtar Park blast. The ongoing military operation against


terrorists will continue to affect the country in the form of terrorist attacks.
The elements responsible for the suicide attack at Nishtar Park might be
connected with al-Qaeda. While leaving the commonsense aside, one must
appreciate his commitment to the war on terror. He should be sitting in
White House or Pentagon as adviser to the neocons who love such
Kamila Hyats resolve to fight militancy was stronger than Musharraf
which led her to criticize the government. There can be little doubt that
Pakistan has done too little to eliminate the destructive extremism now
deeply rooted within society, and which has acted to create new frictions and
new tensions.
The reasons for this are rooted in government policies that have
permitted seminary schools to continue to function and expand; in policies
that allow institutions such as the International Islamic University, imparting
hardline interpretations of many religious doctrines, to function freely. And
in measures that, in contrast, prevented liberal institutions of higher learning,
such as the Khaldunia University envisaged by the late Eqbal Ahmed, from
being set up. The contents of the educational curriculum, the limitations
placed through the design of syllabuses on creative thought or open
discussion and the continued circulation of hatred at mosques, in many
segments of the press and at public rallies have all played a part in the
setting up of this environment of extremism.
These accusations Pakistan can best prove untrue not through
vehement denials but by altering the perceptions that exist globally about
its role in fostering extremism. It can achieve this only by making a genuine
effort, on various fronts, to eradicate extremism from all the places where it
exists within the country today. Such analysts can only be pleased if
religious teaching, in any form, is completely banned.

Of late, Musharraf has stopped boasting about his countrys enormous
contribution to war on terror. Perhaps, he has realized that forced labour can
impress on one. May be lives long enough when others would talk about his
achievements as ally of the Crusaders and he wont like to listen them out
of shame.
There is nothing to conclude about peace process with India.
However, infertile political process in Pakistan produced Charter of

Democracy. The authors of the charter admitted their mistakes and

unanimously agreed that almost every aspect of the governance in Pakistan
has been faulty.
They approved the present economic policy by remaining quiet over
it. Above all they wisely pledged to pursue the present pro-US foreign
policy more vigorously. In nutshell, the charter conveyed clearly as to how
pious the politicians become when they are out of corridors of power.
The government was wrong in thinking that by pushing Akbar Bugti
out of his abode in Dera Bugti, the terrorism would end. This was what the
Americans did in Tora Bora and they find themselves still chasing the
elusive monster.
No analyst has yet dared to comment on the Swiss visa scam. No one
has uttered even a word of appreciation for the man who took pains to
uncover the ugly face of the civilized world. Its intellectual surrender, in
pursuit of soft image through tolerance.
29th May 2006

The fighting away from these two countries, which happened to be the
main battlegrounds in the ongoing Crusades, subsided considerably. But it
did not satisfy the Crusaders urge for action. They have increased
diplomatic and media campaign against Iran, possibly, to open a new front.
The decline in intensity of hunt for Islamic terrorists and crackdowns
against Islamic extremism, allowed the Crusaders to push for its agenda of
empire building through elimination of envisaged pockets of resistance and
suppression of possible emergence of rivals. To this end, Australian troops
moved into East Timor to facilitate removal of its Muslim prime minister.
Pressure was maintained on Sudan and a new threat was identified after
Islamic groups gains in Somalia. In the context of prevention of emergence
of rivals, America focused on Chinas growing military prowess.
All this was being done by pretending to bring democracy, but
according to Nosheen Saeed, they were in fact rehabilitating fascist theories
about ethnically pure states and are preparing to do throughout the world
what they began in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. She opined, the guiding
principle of US international policy is that there is no guiding principle.


Bush Administrations war on terror was subjected to criticism on

various counts, particularly its complete disregard to international law and
morality in handling the detainees. US administration, however, showed no
intent mend its ways.
Campaign of demonizing Islam and its followers continued. The
plight of women in Islamic countries remained the favourite theme of the
propaganda. Hisri Ali, for her criticism of Islam, was considered a valuable
asset in this context and uncovering of her lies made no significant
On the other hand, incidents like the one of a German student who
was raped in India and she feared for her life, drew no attention of the
Western media. Had that happened in an Islamic country, the story would
have spread like wild fire. Perhaps, the Western media was too occupied in
providing coverage to outbursts of Hisri Ali against Islam.
Muslim Ummah remained in complete disarray. On 19th May, Imame-Kaaba, while addressing Friday congregation in Faisal mosque said that
anti-Muslim media campaign against Islam was more dangerous and worse
than terrorism. His cry fell of deaf ears.

The intensity of war on terror in Far East has noticeably decreased.
In Philippines, only one incident of killing of nine people and injuries to 20
others in a bomb blast in Jolo Island on 27 th March was reported. On 20th
May, OIC diplomats called for release of jailed Muslim rebel Nur Misuari to
help the progress in peace talks, but Manila hoped to strike peace deal with
Muslim guerrillas soon. Filipino Muslims opposed Manilas bid to join OIC.
Commenting on the situation in Philippines, the Japan Times wrote,
since 1994, its lawless southern islands have replaced Afghanistan as the
main training ground and refuge for Southeast Asian Jihadists. Most are
Indonesians belonging to Jemmah Islamiyah (JI), Mujahidin Kompak and
other Darul Islam factions.
Graduates of Mindanaos terror camps, for example, now rival in
number the older generation of Southeast Asian Afghan alumni that forged
ties with al-Qaeda. Veterans of the Mindanao camps have taken part in
almost every JI-linked bombing since 2000, including the attack that killed
hundreds in Bali in 2002. New cohorts will pose a danger for years to


The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is Southeast Asias

strongest separatist group. It enjoys popular support, expresses legitimate
grievances, and peace talks are under way. Like the Palestinians, however,
the MILF is raven by factions, and its leaders cannot, or will not exclude
terrorists from areas that they control. Despite having popular support,
legitimate grievances and joining peace talks they are considered terrorists
simply because they are Muslims.
Only in the Philippines do state failure, chronic insurgency and
proliferating ties between local and foreign terrorists come in lethal cocktail.
Combined with a restive military and an impotent administration, the
country has become Southeast Asias weakest link in the war on terror.
So what is to be done? American forces are probing the sanctuaries in
the garb of training exercises, and they are backing targeted air strikes. But
they must tread lightly, lest they be drawn into a shooting war, which would
catalyze new alliances among local and foreign militants. A conventional
military approach failed in Cambodia and Lebanon. It would fail in
Mindanao, too.
Instead, surgical military strikes based on an expanded intelligence
effort should compliment the peace process, prying extremists away from
the MILF mainstream However, this will remain a futile mission until the
armed forces are professionalized and depoliticized through reorientation to
external defence, border security and special operations.
All the people who pick up the courage fight for their rights, and when
their rights are in conflict with interests of the US or other developed
countries, they are dubbed as terrorists, because they perforce resort to
unconventional methods to fight against the might of superior forces. In the
process, legitimacy of their grievances, rights and struggle are ignored and
their unconventional warfare is termed as terrorism.
On 19th April, the day of Senate elections, Islamic militants in
Thailand killed 3 people and wounded 21, mostly policemen and polling
staff. Three people were killed and 19 wounded in a bomb blast in a tea shop
in the south on 10th May.
In Indonesia, police detained a man on 10th April for suspected link to
a terrorist network. Indonesias most wanted militant, Noordin Mohammad
escaped police raid, but two of the companions of Malaysian-born fugitive
were killed during the raid on 29 th April. Two days later, a court jailed a man
for four years for harbouring Noordin Mohammad. On 21st May, thousands
of Muslims rallied in Jakarta to support anti-pornography bill.

Bangladesh defended its handover of an American-born Bangladeshi

to FBI, who would possibly face terror charges. On 18 th May, Dhaka sought
US help to track militants cash. Two militant leaders charged with
masterminding a string of blasts were sentenced to death on 29th May.
In Australia, Pakistani-born architect charged with plotting a jihad
attack in Australia, while testifying at his trial, denied involvement in
planning acts of terrorism. Australia as theatre commander moved its troops
into East Timor to decontaminate its regime of Islamic pollution.
The newly liberated country of East Timor is predominantly
Christian. The country experienced bloody unrest which started after Prime
Minister Alcatraz sacked 600 soldiers, or about 40 percent of the armed
forces. Violent protests over alleged discrimination against soldiers from the
east pushed the country to the verge of civil war and claimed 20 lives during
second and third week of May.
On 1st June, East Timor minister for security resigned after accepting
rifts in the countrys security forces. Prime Minister of East Timor refused to
resign under pressure and the very next day the United Nations warned of
more violence in East Timor.
Lora Horta pointed out the reasons behind this unrest. There are
many factors underlying East Timors political tinderbox: regional and
ethnic rivalries, political factionalism, unemployment and a culture of
violence stemming from 24 years of brutal Indonesian occupation. But some
argue the real trigger to the violence was the dubious circumstances
behind the re-election of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri as secretary
general of the ruling Fretilin party Alkatiri, an Arab Muslim with a
controversial ruling style, was recently re-elected as the partys leader in a
landslide 97% open vote.
Rebels had recently abstained from new attacks, hoping that the
earlier unrest would have persuaded Alkatiri to step aside and make way
for Jose Luis Guterres, East Timors current ambassador to Washington
and the United Nations, to take over the party reins. Rebel leaders have
repeatedly said they want Alkatiri to resign his leadership position.
Most of the partys leadership was killed during the war for
independence and the only surviving founding figures, such as Jose Ramos
Horta, or long-time members, such as President Xanana Gusmao, abandoned
the party in the late 1980s to become independent figures for the sake of
national unity. Alkatiri is one of the partys few surviving founders.


Alkatiri spent the 24-year fight for independence from Indonesia in

relative obscurity in exile in Mozambique. Upon returning, his style of
leadership, akin to that of some of the abusive African leaders he may have
encountered, has been characterized by confrontation, particularly with
the influential Catholic Church.
That Alkatiri is an ethnic-Arab Muslim while 92% of the population
is devout Catholic has pitched his vocal stands against the Church on
dangerous religious lines. More significantly, perhaps, Alkatiri has
implemented a foreign policy overtly confrontational to the West. His
recent decision to hire nearly 500 Cuban doctors after visiting that country,
despite strong objections from the US ambassador, was highly controversial
and oddly aligned East Timor with the resurgent leftist movement gaining
ground in Latin America.
Likewise, Alkatiris bizarre attempt to declare a national day of
mourning for Yasser Arafats death did not endear him to the US or other
Western countries. There was also widespread speculation that Alkatiri
planned to award a multibillion-dollar gas pipeline project to
PetroChina, an invitation that would have won both the United States and
Australias ire.
The United States discontent with Alkatiri was clearly on display
when the US ambassador openly supported the Catholic Church against
his government, with the senior US official even briefly attending one of the
protests in person. The secular civilized world will still not be ashamed in
claiming that Church has nothing to do with affairs of the State.
When a new bout of disquiet broke out after Alkatiris
unconventional re-election as Fretilin party leader, the massive desertions
ensued. Now only foreigners can ensure the islands security. As East Timor
burns, one thing is certain: Alkatiri has lost the support of the people, the
military, the police, the Church and potentially the countrys most important
foreign allies.
With the security forces now in open revolt, even with foreign troop
intervention, there will not be a definitive end to the crisis until Alkatiri
unconditionally resigns, some insiders contend East Timors problems
are entirely internal, with a pinch of foreign salt perhaps, but in the end will
require an internally brokered compromise and solution. And the longer the
unpopular Alkatiri holds on to power, the more distant that prospect


Whereas the factors enumerated by Lora Horta were merely the

pretexts, Jon Lamb mentioned the real reason. The Australian government
from the moment war-torn East Timor began the transition to
independence pressured, bullied and hustled East Timor into giving up
oil and gas resources and sovereignty over seabed territory in the Timor
Sea. It has stolen wealth generated from these reserves that rightfully
belongs to East Timor.
Along with the United States and Britain, Australia has formed a
triumvirate of nations that have acted to block the creation of an
international inquiry to bring to account the Indonesian military (TNI)
officers andmilitia leaders responsible for the post-referendum carnage in
1999. Now these three countries are deepening and improving military ties
with the TNI, even though the TNI is continuing to conduct gross humanrights abuses in places like West Papua
Australias ongoing theft of oil from the Timor Sea combined with
its long history of undermining the East Timorese nation suggests that
Australias motivation for the current military intervention is more about
shoring up a continued flow of oil than helping the East Timorese
people. When it comes to oil, the supreme interests of the White Christians
over-ride interests of all others, even the coloured Christians.

Mainland Asia, primarily, is the domain of Russia and China

incorporated where required. In April, China, Russia and four Central Asian
states planned anti-terrorism drills. However, racist terrorism in Russia
continued. On 7th April, a Senegalese student was killed in Saint Petersburg
in a racist attack.
Flow of information from Chechnya remained strictly controlled.
Only one incident of a car bomb attack was reported in which seven people,
including Russian policeman, were killed in city of Nazran, Ingushetia. A
Russian judge sentenced Nurpashi Kulayev, the only surviving Beslan
hostage-taker, to life in jail.
Anne Nivat quoted Lida Iusupova, Chechen human rights activist,
about the situation in Chechnya. If we want to find out how many Chechens
have died and how many have fled to Western Europe or Russia, wed have
a few surprises. There are hardly any Chechens left in Chechnya. I know
that its hard for a European to understand this conflict. But its an aberration
to destroy all the elements of a peoples culture.


Iusupova considers the Russian governments claim to be using

legal methods in Chechnya to be the ultimate in cynicism. Why was the
war zone closed to representatives of international organizations and the
media during the second campaign? Because Russia did not want the world
to see the inhumane methods it was using to restore order in Chechnya. Socalled Chechenization simply means those in power using the same
methods, assassinations, kidnappings and the like, that representatives of the
Russian government hold so dear.
Rest of Central Asia remained quiet. During first week of April,
Turkmenistan and China agreed to crackdown on separatists. On 15th May
nine Hizbi Tahrir activists were sentenced in Tajikistan. America, however,
did not acknowledge the role of China in war on terror and instead,
Pentagon termed Chinas military development as potential threat to US.
Dan Blumenthal discussed the nature and extent of Chinese threat.
The new arsenal of the Peoples Liberation Army includes more than 700
missiles deployed opposite Taiwan, a fleet of sophisticated diesel electric
submarines, a growing nuclear submarine capability and advanced
destroyers armed with lethal anti-ship cruise missiles.
By making the potential cost of any US intervention in the Taiwan
Strait extraordinarily high, Beijing has accomplished its decade-long goal of
establishing a credible military threat to Taiwan as well as a deterrent
to the United States. The Question is what next?
Since Beijings economic and diplomatic interests span the globe
Beijing may conclude that relying on the US Navy for the safety of its
energy supplies is too risky, and decide to increase its naval presence
along the expanse between the Persian Gulf and East Asia. This would
make the Chinese navy the first since the Cold War to compete for sea
control with the United States. In addition, there are numerous disputed
territorial claims in the East China and South China seas that China could
settle by military means.
Of course, given the opaque character of Chinese military planning
and government decision making, analysts can only speculate as to what
turns the Chinese military build-up take Indeed, the Pentagon report notes
that secrecy, deception and surprise remain key components of Chinese
strategic practice.
PS Suryanarayana observed that America was facing problems in
implementation of its policy of containing China. Despite being a long-term
military ally of Washington, Canberra has now explicitly enunciated its

policy of non-containment towards China. Washington, too, is engaged in

dialogue with Beijing, President Hu Jintaos latest diplomatic exercise in this
domain being illustrative of the ground realities. However, the US is no less
convinced that its supremacy as todays sole superpower on the global stage
cannot be sustained if China is not suitably checkmated. The idea,
obviously, is to deny China the luxury of graduating from the virtual status
of an offstage superpower to the real position of an onstage superpower.
On 14th April, North Korea said it can increase deterrent many times
to counter a hostile US. America blamed China for not doing more in
solving the nuclear dispute with DPRK. China hit back at the criticism and
asked US to be more assertive in six nation talks aimed at ending North
Koreas nuclear weapons drive. It argued that the other parties should show
more flexibility.
Bushs top advisers formulated a broad new approach to deal with
North Korea that would include negotiations on peace treaty, even while
efforts to dismantle the countrys nuclear program are under way. Till now
America has been refusing to talk on peace treaty.
On 22nd May, the US said North Korea will not get a better deal by
staying away from six-party talks. Ten days later, North Korea invited US
Envoy in an apparent bid to restart stalled talks, but threatened to take
strongest measure if Washington maintained a hostile policy.
Keizo Nabeshima emphasized on North Korean threat with intentions
need not be mentioned being too obvious. North Korea is reportedly
gearing up to fire the long-range Taepodong 2 ballistic missile, which is
capable of hitting part of the mainland United States North Korea in
1993 developed the 1,300-km-range Rodong missile capable of hitting
anywhere in Japan, and in 1998 it fired the 1,500-km-plus-range Taepodong
1 missile, which flew over Japan and fell into the Pacific.
Gen Burwell Bell, commander of US forces in South Korea said in
US Congressional testimony that there had been a quantum leap in
accuracy in North Korean solid-fuel missile. He testified that Taepodong
3 missile would be capable of hitting anywhere in the mainland US.
After explaining the nature of the threat, the General explained the
measures adopted to counter the threat. There was no talk of military preemption, or regime change; unlike the case of Iran. The reasons behind this
double standard were: Iran is an Islamic state and left at its own by Muslim
World; whereas in case of North Korea the countries of the region oppose


military action. In addition, DPRK is suspected of possessing nuclear

deterrence, in addition to its military might, whereas Iran has no WMDs.
The war in countries of Middle East, being in the vicinity of the
main battleground, is directly controlled by the America with the support of
European Crusaders. Countries of Arabian Peninsula remained quiet as was
evident from Danish products making a comeback in Saudi Arabia and
women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time in Kuwait.
Authorities in Lebanon arrested nine men suspected of planning to
assassinate the head of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. On 27 th April,
Bush ordered freeze of assets of anyone found involved in Hariris murder.
Events elsewhere in the region have forced deferring of the Crusaders
plans for Syria. Khaled Yacoub Oweis observed, US hawks once talked of
regime change in Damascus, catalyzed by military force if necessary, but
Syrian leaders now appear confident that Washington is too preoccupied
with the Iraq conflict, the nuclear standoff with Iran and the rise of Hamas to
contemplate any further regional instability.
Patrick Seale was of the view that Syria is the linchpin in the battle
raging for the region. On one side of the conflict stand the United States
and its Israeli ally. They bully their opponents, and are swift to resort to
threats or brute force. Ranged against them is a motley anti-western
Four men represent this alliance: President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad
of Iran, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, head of
Lebanons Hezbollah movement, and the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail
Haniyeh of Hamas. None of these men is a saint and all have resorted to
questionable tactics, but together they form the main resistance to USIsraeli hegemony over the region.
The struggle is particularly ferocious because it is being waged in a
context of international anarchy. The flames were fanned by the illegal
western invasion of Iraq, which has distorted every political relationship in
the Middle East and given a great boost to its most violent and lawless
Amid this chaos, Israeli and American strategists see Syria as the
regions weak link. Bring the country to heel, runs their argument, and
the whole Tehran/Damascus/Hezbollah/Hamas axis would collapse. An
isolated Iran could then be forced to shut down its nuclear programme; Iraqi
insurgents would be deprived of jihadi reinforcements; Hezbollah could be

disarmed and Lebanon brought into the US-Israeli orbit, and Israel could
make short work of Hamas.
Hazem Sagheih said, at an international level, Syrias authoritarian
approach has proved to be less than endearing. If the Middle East is to shake
off the resentment caused by the 20th century pan-Americanism, it is up to
Syria to become, instead of a dictatorial elder brother, a good
sovereign neighbour.
Egypt has been experiencing the heat of the battle raging in the
region. On 24th April, at least 30 people, including foreigners, were killed
and more than 100 wounded in blasts at the Red Sea resort of Dahab. Two
days later, two suicide bombers were killed by security forces near border
with Gaza Strip. On 9th May, police killed Nasser Khamis al-Malahi, who
was blamed for Sinai bombings.
The Washington Post preferred to talk about promotion of democracy
in Egypt. Whats truly remarkable is the way in which the Bush
Administration has abruptly dropped its own attempt to promote
Egyptian liberalism. The day after riot police violently put down a prodemocracy demonstration in Cairo this month, Mr Bush, Vice President
Cheney, Ms Rice and other senior officials all found time to huddle privately
with Mr Mubaraks son, Gamal. Most Egyptians believe the son is being
groomed to succeed his father; many are convinced that strategy explains the
jailing of Mr Nour and the suppression of the opposition.
Ahdaf Soueif differed, Nours profile in the western press is due to
the fact that he could be a viable alternative for the US: if supporting
Hosni Mubarak becomes too difficult, Nour could represent a fresh start
along the same road of free-market values and policies. Whether Egyptians
want to take this road should be a matter of public debate.
On 17th May, a lawyer opened fire in a court in Turkey and killed one
judge and injured four others. The Council of State has faced fierce criticism
in Islamist circles for hardline implementation of secularist laws such as
headscarf ban in universities and state offices.
Madeleine Bunting said, this is a country that spent much of the 20 th
century poised precariously between secularism and political Islam. As both
become more globally aggressive, it risks being torn between them That
danger was brought sharply home last week when gunman opened fire in a
Turkish court The assailantexplained his attack as revenge for the
judges ruling in a recent case that a teacher who wore a veil outside work
should not be promoted to head teacher of a primary school.

The ruling is in line with Turkeys strict interpretation of

secularism. The state rules out veils in any public building (thus banning
even the current Prime Ministers wife from public functions); yet it has
always funded and closely regulated the countrys Islamic worship.
This murder will only confirm the fears of the secular
Europeanized elite that Turkeys delicate balance of faith and secularism is
unraveling. They feel beleaguered as the ruling Justice and Development
party promotes the religious into positions of power. A wife in a headscarf
has become an essential attribute for the ambitious Turk.
The secular elite is clinging to EU membership as the one hope of
reversing this trend. If the process slows down as it might well do given
such incidents as the fracas that has erupted between France and Turkey over
a law proposed in the French legislature outlawing denial of the Armenian
genocide the reaction could prompt an intensification of Islamism
Much of the opposition to Turkish EU membership pivots on these ironies
and the questions they prompt: is Europe a geographical or a cultural entity,
and how do you define the boundaries of either?
Matein Khalid wrote, the killings in the Istanbul courtroom awakened
the demons of the post Kemalist past, triggering demonstrations against the
government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan The militarys rebuke is
ominous because the armed forces are passionate guardians of the states
secular Kemalist legacy A confrontation between the Army and a nonsecular civilian in Turkey can have only one endgame; a military coup.
Political risk is rising dangerously fast in Turkey. Three years ago,
Erdogan was hailed as a hero in the Middle East for his moderate religious
agenda, for refusing to join Blair and Bush in the invasion of Iraq, for
accelerating the EU accession agenda, for epic banking reforms, agreements
with IMF, for the plunge in inflation and interest rates, the resurrection of the
lira from the 2001 currency meltdown, for defusing the geopolitical time
bombs in Cyprus and Kurdistan, for triggering a spectacular bull market on
the Istanbul Stock Exchange, yet Prime Minister Erdogan now faces a
grim summer of discontent.
NATO, the EU, IMF, the PKK, the Turkish general staff, London and
Washington are formidable adversaries for any Turkish Prime Minister
to have to confront. In fact, Erdogans insistence on an executive from a
Shria complaint finance house to succeed the incumbent governor of the
Central Bank outraged the offshore money managers who own Turkish


shares and Eurobonds, triggering a panic sell-off on the ISE even worse than
Indias Sensex trauma.
Erdogan is no Khoemini, even if his enemies portray him as a
backward foe of the Kemalist ethos. He is merely trying to mobilize his
constituency in rural Turkey to win the 2007 election in a landslide, to
succeed Ahmed Nezer as President and preempt a military coup against an
Islamist head of state.
The New York Times was of the view that Erdogan was right, and
now is the time for him to forcefully reassert that view. Washington can
help promote Turkish democracy by using its longstanding ties with
Turkeys generals to communicate zero tolerance for military meddling.
Turkey borders Iran, Iraq and Syria, and is an ally of Israel, a member of
NATO and a candidate for the European Union. The world can ill afford for
it to become less democratic.

Africa is also looked after directly by America, of course, with

intimate support of European countries. The oil wealth of Nigeria has been
monopolized by multinationals leaving the locals to scrounge some of their
share through stealing. On 12th May, more than 200 people were killed in oil
pipeline blast which occurred during stealing. A day earlier, three foreign oil
workers were abducted who were released later.
After subduing the strongman of North Africa, Washington decided to
open embassy in Tripoli after 25 years. On 15 th May, it decided to take
Libya off terror supporting nations list. Libya claimed that no compromise
was made to ensure ties with US. In Ethiopia, 4 people were killed and 41
wounded during second week of May in a series of nine blasts in the capital.
Algeria, in addition to oil, suffers from Christian-Muslim militancy.
Algerian government formulated a plan to reconcile the nation, but a leader
of a banned Islamist party termed it unconstitutional while insisting that
peace can only come through negotiations. French newspaper blamed him
for sabotaging the peace plan.
Algerias troubles are the result of civilized worlds interests in the
country, opined Patrick Seale. First, Algeria has large quantities of oil
and gas, located within easy reach of European markets. Just this month, an
Italian company, Edison, announced a major gas discovery, which followed
the announcement last November by Total, the French oil company, of a gas
discovery some 500 kilometers south of the super-giant field of Hassi


Secondly, high prices of oil and gas have made Algeria prosperous.
It has substantial trade surplus and record foreign exchange reserves,
estimated at some $ 50 billion Algeria offers good possibilities for foreign
investors in a wide variety of different fields.
Thirdly, anxious to play a bigger role in sub-Saharan Africa and
engaged in long-running dispute with Morocco over the Western Sahara,
Algeria wants to modernize its armed services. A fourth reason is the
invention of the US to get its own interest served. The Americans fear
that al-Qaeda might establish bases in countries such as Mauritania, Mali,
Chad and Niger, which are not strongly governed or policed.
On 27th April, Bush implemented UN-ordered sanctions on four men
accused of atrocities in Darfur where 180,000 people were reported killed in
three years of conflict. Sudan is deeply divided along religious Muslim
and Christian and Ethnic lines. Fighting broke out in Darfur, a region the
size of France in Sudan, when rebels had had enough of discrimination and
neglect by the Sudanese government, which is more Arab and Islamist in
Khartoum. A bitter and bloody struggle ensued, wrote the Japan Times.
Equally troubling, the involvement of neighbouring countries means
that the fighting could spill over borders. A return to war would once again
demonstrate the inability of the UN to fulfill its mandate to be a force for
peace in the world. Troubling neighbours are predominantly Christian.
The Washington Post bluntly blamed Sudanese government for the
crisis. The US government has described the killing in Darfur as genocide,
a term that Sudans government rejects and that the United Nations and
Europeans have also shrunk from using. The more that the conflict in Darfur
features infighting between rebel factions rather than just atrocities by the
governments militia, the more observers may resist pointing the finger at
the government and accusing it of genocide. But the reason that Sudans
government is culpable, today as in the past, is that it is deliberately
creating the conditions in which thousands of civilians from rebel-aligned
tribes are likely to die. First the government and its militia drove these
people from their villages. Then it impeded humanitarian workers so that
thousands of them fell prey to disease or starved. Now it is obstructing a
serious peace-keeping deployment, with the result that its victims will
continue to face shortage of medicines and food.
Hassan Hanizadeh wrote, totally aware of both the regional and
international situations, the Sudanese government, led by President alBashir, tried to resolve the conflict in the south through a national and

Islamic process. However, due to the interference of the United States and its
Western allies, all these endeavours have come to naught.
Gaining control over the countrys natural resources and part of the
Nile River in order to pressure Sudan and Egypt, which both depend on the
continents life-giving river, is main objective of the Western interference
in Sudans internal affairs Although the United States and Britain have
attempted to exaggerate the Darfur crisis, the problem can be managed
through humanitarian efforts, without the interference of Western powers.
Meanwhile, African Union mediated in resolution of the crisis. On
25 April it presented the warring parties a draft peace agreement and
urged them to sign the deal by April 30. A spokesman for the rebel Sudan
Liberation Movement (SLM) said it viewed the plans stance on powersharing and disarmament as too tailored to Khartoums demands. The peace
plan is much closer to the governments plans as opposed to being balanced.

Arab News dwelled on the peace agreement. A peace deal signed by

the largest rebel faction in Darfur and the Sudanese government will not end
the three-year-old conflict, but could bring more protection for millions of
refugees The refusal of two rebel factions to join in the agreement on
Friday, which marked the end of two years of talks in the Nigerian capital,
illustrates that divisions between rival ethnic groups in Darfur have not
been addressed There is a real problem between nomads and urban
groups, said an analyst in Khartoum, adding that the neighbouring Eritrea
and Chad were also fuelling the war.
Many analysts doubt the sincerity of the government, which holds the
key to implementing the deal, because Khartoum has undermined many
agreements in the past. He added, Washington has been pushing to
install UN peacekeepers with powers to intervene in the fighting, to replace
a 7,000-strong African Union force, which has proven too small and
toothless to enforce a ceasefire. Khartoum had insisted that a peace deal with
the rebels was a precondition for any UN force.
US media tirelessly pleaded for foreign intervention in Darfur. The
Boston Globe argued, the campaign to save 2 million displaced persons
of Darfur who are still alive but threatened with malnutrition, disease, and
unrelenting violent assaults must pass to private citizens because the
governments of the world will not act to stop this genocide without pressure
from below. This must be moral as well as political pressure, and it must
come from men and women who share with the people of Darfur a kinship
in what was once called the Family of Man.

Wesley Clark and John Prendergast urged Bush to intervene. While

Bush did call for NATO to oversee a UN peacekeeping mission, the African
Union buckled to pressure from Khartoum to delay any sort of UN transition
until at least October. Meanwhile the people of Darfur continue to wait, and
the security situation along the Chad-Sudan border is deteriorating into a
regional conflagration with grave humanitarian implications. Bush needs to
ensure an accelerated AU handover to the UN and identify a capable
nation to lead a UN-mandated stabilization force to immediately buttress the
AUs civilian protection efforts and help secure the border.
The Japan Times joined hand with the West. Warring factions
concluded a peace agreement that is designed to end three years of vicious
fighting The UN must get serious about enforcing this agreement Being
unable to enforce the agreement will ensure its failure. That will not only
plunge Darfur back into fighting, but could lead to a humanitarian disaster.
Los Angeles Time said, eventually the AU troops should be
replaced with a UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, involving about
20,000 soldiers. The problem is that NATO doesnt want to act without the
backing of the United Nations, which wants permission from the African
Union, which wants permission from the Sudanese government, which
would prefer to keep foreign troops out and has been holding out of the hope
that it would reach a peace deal on its own.
Even if a deal is reached, it probably wont bring peace to Darfur for
some time. The Sudanese government would have to live up to its promise
to disarm the militias, unlikely to happen anytime soon because Khartoum
denies arming them to begin with. UN peacekeepers would still be needed
even without Sudanese permission.
The New York Times also urged deployment of UN peacekeepers. If
the United Nations is to have any hope of repairing its tattered image around
the world particularly in America its diplomats must quickly eliminate
any bureaucratic hurdles in the way of a peacekeeping mission A peace
deal reached last week between the government of Sudan and the largest
rebel group is a good first step. But that deal is utterly meaningless
without a strong UN force on the ground to back it up.
Sudans government has indicated that the peace deal now signed, it
no longer objects to the deployment of a UN force. Diplomats should take
this and run with it, straight to Darfur with a contingent of at least
20,000 well-armed multinational soldiers, from both Arab and African


countries. The negotiations are over, and the peace deal is in effect. Now is
the time for action.
Francis Fukuyama and Anthony Lake urged, Washington should
make it clear that if Sudan refuses to accept a United Nations force, we will
press NATO to act even without the consent of the Sudanese
government including a no-flight zone to ground the Sudanese aircraft
that have provided support to the murderous Janjaweed. And we would bring
further sanctions to bear A failure of international will has allowed Darfur
to bleed into another year of rape, slaughter and starvation. Only strong
leadership and urgent, resolute action can save lives before his moment of
hope is lost.
The Christian Science Monitor brought the Monster into the equation.
In April, Osama bin Laden urged all Muslims to fight in Sudan if UN troops
go to Darfur. Sudan leader Omar el-Bashir also warned UN forces would
find their graveyard in the province. So what did the UN Security Council
do? It voted to set up a force in Darfur The UN also stood up nicely to
the threats of al-Qaeda and its friends in the Islamic World. And China, too,
which up to now has sided with Sudan because of its reliance on oil exports
from the northeast African nation, appears to have decided it cant afford to
stand in the way of an effort to end a genocide.
No matter what Sudan says, the council appears determined to move
ahead. The unanimous resolution demands that Sudan allow a UN
assessment team of military experts into Darfur by next week. It also
threatens sanctions against Sudanese officials who oppose the shaky accord
between Sudan and the main rebel force in Darfur signed May 5. And John
Bolton, US envoy to the UN, warns: Sudan would find itself in a very
difficult position if it didnt cooperate.
Sudan had earlier indicated that it might be ready to accept UN
peacekeepers taking over from AU troops in Darfur. Bush had already
identified a nation of one billion people with second largest army in the
world to undertake such tasks. Kofi Annan pursued the implementation of
superpowers policy. His article published in the daily Hindu, was in fact an
appeal for peacekeepers to the newly recruited strategic partner, India, for
ongoing Crusades.
He argued that the agreement in Darfur gives the world one more
chance to bring peace to that unhappy region. But we need to act very
urgently if that opportunity is not to be lost Darfur is still far from being
at peace. Only last week, while the UNs top humanitarian envoy was

visiting a camp for displaced people, rioting broke out and an interpreter for
the African Union Mission was hacked to death.
There is a vast amount to be done and no time to lose. First, there are
some rebel leaders who have not yet signed the agreement Next, we must
do everything in our power to ensure that those who have signed the
agreement actually implement it on the ground, and that the people of Darfur
can survive the next few months The African Union Mission must be
transformed into a larger and more mobile United Nations operation, better
equipped and with a stronger mandate.
No peacekeeping mission can succeed without the support and
cooperation of the parties, at the highest level. Thats why I have written to
President Bashir asking him to support the assessment We in the UN
Secretariat will do everything in our power to help Sudans people close this
tragic chapter in their history. I count on the support of all member states,
especially those in the Security Council.
Paul Moorcroft was one of the few odd men who warned that Iraq
beckons in Darfur if US sends in troops. Western intervention in Sudan
would play into the terrorists hands, uniting all factions in a war against
outsiders. Jonathan Steele criticized the West for distorting the facts.
I call it the Darfur Disconnect. One TV reporter after another does
the standard tour into Sudans western region, guided by rebel groups. Out
comes footage of miserable refugees huddling in tents or shelters of sticks
and plastic and recounting stories of brutal treatment by government-backed
Janjaweed militias. Commentators thunder away at the need for sanctions
against the regime in Khartoum and denounce western leaders for not
authorizing NATO to intervene.
Last weekend the outrage took a new turn, with big demonstrations in
several American cities, strongly promoted by the Christian right, which
sees the Darfur conflict as another case of Islamic fundamentalism on the
rampage. They urged Bush to stop shill-sallying and be tougher with the
government in Sudan.
The TV reports are not wrong. They just give a one-sided picture
and miss the big story Sudans government accepted the US-brokered
draft agreement last weekend, and it is the rebels who have been risking a
collapse Darfurs marginalization (which was one of the issues that led to
the conflict) will be addressed through extra funding from Sudans national
budget. Affirmative action will give Darfurians public-service jobs. The


rebels will have the right to nominate the governor of one of Darfurs three
states, and the deputy governors of the other two.
Fighting erupted in Somalia in second week of May. By 9 th May,
death toll rose to 24 in three days of fighting in Mogadishu between Islamic
militia and a US-backed warlord. Heavy fighting continued in Somalia and
by 13th May, death toll reached 144. On 25 th May, at least 30 people were
killed and 72 wounded in fresh clashes in Moghadishu. Six days later, seven
more people were killed in fighting.
Andrew Cawthorne wrote, the Islamic militia, linked to powerful
Sharia Courts which provide a semblance of order in lawless Mogadishu,
say the warlords are funded by the United States. Many believe that
But the coalition counters that their opponents are extremists who have links
to al-Qaeda and are inviting foreign jihadists into the fray. Washington has
stayed mum on the specific accusations but repeatedly said it reserves the
right to back groups fighting terrorism in Somalia They are fighting
because they are getting arms from somewhere. There is so much rumour the
United States is funding these warlords The Americans have to
categorically deny this.
But the Islamic militia may grow stronger in the long-term as the
perceived US intervention rallies support among Muslims inside or outside
the country, analysts say. He quoted Kinyan diplomat Kiplagat; if anyone
in Somalia wants to combat terrorists, then the best way to act on that
would be to deal with the government.
The US involvement, an open secret since 2002, became undeniable
this month after fighting between the two sides killed at least 140 people in
Mogadishu. Last week, White House and State Department spokesmen did
not bother, even when asked, to shoot down reports that the US is backing
one of the warring militia thus backhandedly confirming that the Somalia
operation had White House approval, observed Los Angeles Times.
Its one thing to offer rewards for the capture of terrorists in Somalia,
as the United States has done elsewhere with Osama bin Laden. Its quite
another to shower cold-blooded killers with cash in hopes of inducing
them to hand over terrorist suspects. Yet the Nation newspaper in Nairobi
published an article about a clandestine trip by US agents to Mogadishu,
where they reportedly handed-out millions to warlords to help identify
members of al-Qaeda said to be involved in the 1998 bombing of the US
Embassy in Nairobi and hiding in Somalia.


Ideology, Islam or otherwise, has never been much of a factor in

Somalias ugly conflicts. But with $ 100 million up for grabs, opportunistic
warlords have been only too happy to give themselves a name to appeal to
American deep pockets: the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and
Counter-terrorism The emergence of a suddenly well-armed force with
overt links to Uncle Sam has had the predictable effect of uniting the
heretofore factitious Islamists against their common enemies. Now they are
more dangerous than before.

While fighting war in Iraq and Afghanistan and delegating the
responsibility in rest of the world to regional watch-dogs and willingpartners, America did not relax on its internal security. On 27th March,
Zacarias Moussaoui testified that he and Richard Reid were supposed to
hijack fifth airplane on Sept 11, 2001, and fly it into White House. On 3 rd
May, he was jailed for life.
Bush Administration by authenticating Bin Laden tapes and stressing
that these should be taken seriously secured justifications for adopting
stringent security measures, particularly targeting the immigrants. The issue
on immigrants was widely debated in America with a view to finding the
solution. The suggestion of Maggie Mitchell Salem to legalize illegal
aliens, was one of the many solutions. Michell Goldberg, however,
apprehended that while the West was pressing Islamic World to give up
religion for secularism, the revival of religion in America posed a threat to
national harmony.
If current trends continue, we will see ever-increasing division and
acrimony in our politics. Thats partly because, as Christian nationalism
spreads, secularism is spreading as well, while moderate Christianity is in
decline The top three gainers in Americas vast religious market-place
appear to be Evangelical Christians, those describing themselves as NonDenominational Christians
This is a recipe for polarization. As Christian nationalism becomes
more militant, secularists and religious minorities will mobilize in
opposition, ratcheting up the hostility. Thus we are likely to see a shrinking
middle ground, with both camps increasingly viewing each other across a
chasm of mutual incomprehension and contempt. In the coming years, we


will probably see the curtailment of the civil rights that gay people, women
and religious minorities have won in the last few decades.
Christian nationalism is still constrained by the constitution, the
courts, and by a passionate democratic (and occasionally Democratic)
opposition. Its also limited by capitalism. Many corporations are happy to
see their political allies harness the rage and passion of the Christian rights
foot soldiers, but the culture industry is averse to government censorship
It would take a national disaster, or several of them, for all these bulwarks
to crumble and for Christian nationalists to truly take the land, as Michael
Farris, president of the evangelical Patrick Henry College, put it.
AFP reported on racism in America. Imette St Guillen, 24, was
raped and murdered last month and her battered body was dumped near a
roadside in Brooklyn. Another lady, Romona Moor, 21, had met similar fate.
The two victims shared a common profile: both young, both women and
both college students.
So the fact that the St Guillen case became a media obsession while
the Moore case was almost completely ignored has been attributed to the
most obvious difference between the two: one victim white and middle
class, the other black from an immigrant family.
Anti-war sentiment in the West kept steadily rising, but Bush and
Blair were not deterred as they vowed to continue supporting joint military
operations. Brutal conduct of war, particularly the abuse of prisoners
was frequently reported. On 26th April, a rights group said that over 600 US
officials were accused of detainee abuse. The same day, a European Union
lawmaker supported the allegations that CIA had kidnapped and illegally
detained terror suspects on EU territory and flown them to countries that
used torture.
On 5th May, UNs top anti-torture body in Geneva opened first public
examination of the US governments record on torture since the start of war
on terror. Two weeks later, US forces admitted that four detainees in
Guantanamo attempted to commit suicide. The same day, UN committee
against torture told the US to close Guantanamo Bay facility which is in
violation of international law.
On 23rd May, Amnesty International said doublespeak by nations, like
the US and UK has undermined their war on terrorism and increased human
rights violations from Colombia to North Korea. There is evidence of
widespread torture in US detention centres. The United States outsources


torture to countries like Morocco, Jordan and Syria. Nothing can justify
torture or ill-treatment You cannot extinguish fire with petrol. Five days
later, London-based human rights group revealed that more than 60 minors,
some as young as 14, were held as prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
Commenting on the issue, Los Angeles Times wrote, arguments of a
landmark Supreme Court case challenging President Bushs power to deal
with enemy combatants any way he sees fit, several justices appeared to be
allied with Osama bin Ladens former driver. That may be because the court
itself, and the nations judicial branch, seemed to be as much in the
governments cross hairs as any alleged terrorist.
The arguments before eight judges Chief Justice John G Roberts Jr
rescued himself because he ruled on this case while an appellate judge
exposed the cases procedural and jurisdictional complexities Did
Congress intend to impose its new limits on judicial review to case already
being litigated? Based on the tenor of their questions, a majority of the
justices appeared offended by the governments notion that Congress can
retroactively take away someones right to his day in court. Indeed, it is not
clear that Congress could do so under the Constitution, even for future
It is always dangerous to make assumptions about the outcome of a
case based on the justices questions. But it was heartening to hear a
majority of justices practically bristle at the governments assertion that the
court should have no say on the boundaries of presidential authority in this
war. The court should not allow the other two branches of government
to usurp its constitutional role.
Amidst bitter criticism on the US, Richard Cohen found an
opportunity to eulogize American values. It is nave, I know, but it would be
wonderful if the United States showed that as a matter of principle, it
does not take a life. It is nave because other governments would not follow
not right away, anyway. But in time, anything is possible and just as we,
bit by bit, have restricted the death penalty so that it is rarely imposed, so
may the rest of the world restrain its blood thirst. He tried to claim that
except America, rest of the world is blood-thirsty.
War has drifted away from the aim of defeating terror, as the Bush
Administration was focusing more on implementing its policy formulated
after the end of Cold War, e.g. checking emergence of a rival. Niall
Ferguson argued in favour of this policy goal. The neocons were mistaken
on Iraq, but that does not mean the nay-sayers on the left were correct

Would the world be safer if another country were as powerful as the United
States? They generally say no. Only the French say yes. Admittedly, the
Brits and Turks are evenly split, but a majority of Russians, Germans, and
even Jordanians, Moroccans and Pakistanis think the world would be less
safe with a second superpower. He clearly urged that the US must continue
pursuing its hegemonic policy.
Ansar Mahmood Bhatti wrote, regardless of the debate who loses and
who wins in the ongoing power game for the control of Central Asia, the
scrambling has at least exposed the duplicity of the West, as it backs
wholeheartedly and audaciously even the undemocratic regimes which have
the capability of carrying forward its agenda. But the countries which refuse
to knuckle under its pressure have to face its warmth. Elections, or for that
matter, a change of regimes, in such countries are always seen as flawed,
unfair and rigged by the Western world.
He added, this, by all means, is not a correct and judicious approach
and has led to diluting Wests repute in the eyes of the outer world besides
dealing a considerable blow to its credibility By this time everybody
should have understood that the US believes in a unipolar world in which
absolute power should rest with it only. This is strongly against the idea of
a multi-polar world.
Martin Jacques was of the view that Americas life of pre-eminence is
not immortal. It is clear that the US occupation of Iraq has been a
disaster from almost every angle one can think of, most of all for the Iraqi
people, not least for American foreign policy Triumphelism is a dangerous
brew, more suited to intoxication than hard-headed analysis. And so it has
proved. The US still has to reap the whirlwind for its stunning feat of
imperial overreach.
The promotion of the idea of war against terror as the central priority
of US policy had little to do with the actual threat posed by al-Qaeda,
which was always hugely exaggerated by the Bush Administration, as events
over the last four years have shown.
It will no longer be able to boss the world around in the fashion of
the neoconservative dream: its power to do so will be constrained by the
power of others, notably China, while it will also find it increasingly
difficult to fund the military and diplomatic costs of being the worlds sole
We must remember that Britains majestic rule vanished in a few
short years, undermined by unforeseen catastrophic events and by new

threats that eventually overwhelmed the palisades of the past. The life of
pre-eminence, as with all life on this planet, has a mortal end.
M B Naqvi observed that American influence was slipping from its
zenith. Politically speaking, Americans are unpopular amongst all Muslim
and Arab countries, not excluding Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt,
Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. This unpopularity is shared by ruling circles
as well as common people. The Americans are hated in all Arab lands at the
popular level. The mass demonstrations that the Europeans have organized
against American designs at different times tell a definitive story of mental
separation. World public opinion cannot be accused of being pro-American;
it is quite critical of American actions and designs. In addition, there is an
anti-war sentiment growing at home. It is true that it is centered on Iraq and
to a smaller extent Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East. But
nevertheless it is significant indicator of unrest in the home country As if
to add to Americans difficulties, the American hold over Latin America is
rapidly eroding. Today to say that South America is Americas backyard
would invite opposition from all Latinos.
This should not be construed to mean that Americans are finished and
their wishes and designs do not matter. They will remain an important factor
for a long time, sometime decisive. Only their pre-eminence will diminish;
opposition to their designs will grow. Since the Americans know the art of
spending their dollars judiciously, they can still call most of the shots in
many developing countries. After all, their military strength will continue to
be an important factor, even if popular notions of American prestige and
influence will continue to be seen as declining.


Europe remained on the offensive against Islamic militancy as was
evident from repeated blasphemous acts committed by its media, despite the
threat of Abu Yahia al-Libi, who escaped from Bagram prison camp, to
attack countries involved in publication of blasphemous cartoons. Half of
Dutch disliked Muslims according to a poll.
Blair did not falter in his loyalty to Bush. He said the madness of
anti-Americanism was threatening democracy world-wide. No terror-related
incident was reported during the period, except UK police hunt for suspected
dirty chemical bomb. However, across the Atlantic, twelve men and five


youths were arrested for plotting terrorist attacks in Ontario, Canada on 3 rd

June. All of them were Canadian Muslims from different backgrounds.

Blair had the distinction of being the most criticized leader of the
Europe for blindly following the reckless Yankee in his adventures. On
March 21, he delivered a speech to counter the criticism. This was billed by
the press as a defence of decisions made to invade Afghanistan and Iraq to
retrieve his diminishing popularity. Linda S Heard wrote, it might be. But
on the other hand, it could be an attempt at setting us up for an endless war
scenario in the name of defending our values.
Unlike his pal across the pond, he rarely trips over his words and
never purses his lips or sneers. Blair is also a master of self-deprecation and
gives the appearance of a boyish hand on heart honesty that is so easy to
fall for Blairs good guy outer faade is so perfected that people around
the world are genuinely bemused as to why he slavishly supports the Bush
Administrations misadventures.
The fact is Blair is a cross between a neoconservative and a
member of the religious right in Labours clothing even at a time when
many of the staunchest neoconservatives and their supporters are undergoing
a dramatic change of hearts themselves. Even Francis Fikuyama, a former
neocon, sometimes credited for writing an essay that sent Bush to war, is
saying mea culpa to any journalist who will listen. Blair, however, is as
passionate about the cause as ever.
Unless we articulate a common global policy based on common
values, we risk chaos threatening our stability, economic and political,
though letting extremism, conflict or injustice go unchecked, he says. What
he means, of course is that the world must adopt Western values or be
The consequences of this thesis is a policy of engagement not
isolation, and one that is active not reactive. This is the neoconservative
policy of pre-emption or first strike, which flouts provisions of the post
Second World War United Nations Charter Then playing good cop as
opposed to George Bushs jingoistic America first style evidenced by the
Presidents own speech made on the same day as Blair, the prime minister
says: I believe we will not ever get real support for the tough action that
may well be essential to safeguard our way of life
Blair was further masterful enough to empathise with the anger
felt by most in the Muslim World due to abandoned Middle East peace


process and says he understands the view of those who fail to perceive
Afghanistan and Iraq as success stories.
In the next breath, he claims that terrorism committed by Islamist
extremists is the result of a Madrassa-nurtured ideology that is being
exported around the world and proceeds to lump together Egypts Muslim
Brotherhood, Lebanons Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Chechen
militants and Iraqi insurgents, as though they are all components of one giant
anti-Western conspiracy.
Interestingly Blair brings Iran into the picture not because of its
alleged pursuance of a nuclear weapons programme but due to hypothetical
future links with al-Qaeda. True the conventional view is that, for
example, Iran is hostile to al-Qaeda and, therefore, would never support its
activities, says Blair before luridly adding: But as we know from our own
history of conflict, under the pressure of battle, alliances shift and change.
Fundamentally, for this ideology, we are the enemy Both Bush and Blair
have more synchronized speeches in the pipeline. So get ready to either
polish your anti-propaganda antenna or get a thick pair of ear-muffs.
A Rehman from Hyderabad added, in his speech, Blair places no
blame on Russia or India for their state terrorism, brutality and oppression in
Chechnya and Kashmir. There is no apology for the civilian casualties in
Iraq, the abuse of Iraqis by western troops, the political corruption of the
installed Iraqi regime and the descent of Iraq into civil war. There are no
apologies for the booming opium trade in Afghanistan, minimal
reconstruction and the worsening security situation under the Kara
government. All the problems are conveniently blamed on terrorism. does
he expect to win hearts and minds by branding all resistance to occupation
as terrorism.
The News published an article of Tony Blair, written for the purpose
mentioned above, in which tried to weave a noble mask to cover the evil
face. There is universal agreement now that the characteristic of the modern
world is independence. But we havent yet had time to think through its
consequences or understand that the international rulebook has been
ripped up Interdependence the fact of a crisis somewhere makes a
mockery of traditional views of national interest. Nations, even as large
and powerful as the US, are now affected profoundly and at breakneck speed
by events beyond their borders.
You cant have a coherent view of national interest today without a
coherent view of the international community. These challenges affect us all

and can only be effectively tackled together. And we cant wait around to see
how these global challenges may develop as we could in the past. The
above lines were preamble, the mask of nobility, which could not cover his
evil intent, as he proceeded to justify the ongoing illegal and immoral war on
the often repeated flimsy justifications.
Europe gradually started demanding the closure of Guantanamo
facility. Neil Stormer wrote, the hearts and minds have been lost, and
Americas tarnished image will require more than a few kind words and
good intentions to be rehabilitated. Actions speak louder than words, and the
world needs to see positive actions by the US to demonstrate that American
leaders abide by the tenets of democracy, freedom and human rights that
they espouse.
A step away from hollow rhetoric and towards embodying those
ideals would be to close the detention centre at the US Guantanamo Bay
Naval Centre, where most of the prisoners have been held without being
charged for more than three years. Whatever benefits the Bush
Administration believes it is receiving from maintaining Gitmo as a
detention centre; it is past time to close the facility.
He added, a strong argument can be made that it should have never
been used in the first place. This lack of credibility, and the subsequent
damage to Americas reputation, is further demonstrated by the increasing
evidence that the prisoners in Guantanamo are, in many cases, the wrong
guys Though characterized by administration officials as people who
have vowed to kill more Americans if released, many of those released thus
far have been young, innocent or insignificant.
Finally, while calls for closing Guantanamo were first issued sharply
after it was opened, the roster of names now pressing the US to close it
include some of its strongest allies, including German Chancellor Angela
Merkel and British Prime Minister.
Neil Stormer while arguing for the closure of Gitmo had started with
rendition of prisoners. European Union leaders recognize what
American leaders have chosen to ignore: maintaining secretive detention
facilities is contrary to the tenets of democracy and freedom the West is
promoting as the panacea for the Middle East. Furthermore, reports of abuse
and allegations of torture at these dark facilities alienate and infuriate the
very people the West purportedly aims to help.


Jonathan Freedland wrote about Britains double standard on the

issue. Straw was asked whether he supported the US governments refusal
to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross access to some
detainees held as part of the war on terror. Condi at his side, he answered:
We are not the worlds superpower, and with those responsibilities, we
acted a little differently. Its worth reading that sentence closely, for in it
Straw implies a new doctrine: superpower exceptionalism. It holds that
certain humanitarian norms apply to everyone, except the reigning
superpower, which is allowed to do things a little differently.
Reid argued that the current architecture of international law
including the Geneva Conventions was designed in the postwar era, and a
world in which conflict was solely between states. Today, said Reid, the
reality is different: some of the most lethal players are not states, but
organizations bent on terror. We cannot be hamstrung in our battle
against such forces by a rulebook thats badly out of date.
Indeed most experts in the field agree that the situation is, legally
speaking, quite straightforward. Faced with terrorists, states can either
class them as warriors, who would then be held as prisoners of war, with all
the Geneva protections. Or they can decide they are criminals, to be treated
by the normal process of law. Even the men picked up in Afghanistan, and
now rotting in Guantanamo, could have been placed in either of these
categories, rather than held to constitute a whole new category unlawful
combatants and then duly plunged into a legal black hole.
Europes real concern pertained to its difficulties in coping with
presence of large number of Muslim immigrants in the Continent.
Salama A Salama explained the nature of problem, from immigrants point
of view, by quoting Syrian-born Austrian, who represents a civil rights group
defending foreigners. Were facing the threat of classification. If youre a
Muslim, then youre considered a radical or a secular, a moderate or a
fundamentalist. And depending on the rating you get, youd be considered
for residence or immigration. Your entire chance to work and integrate
depends on your rating.
Over the past few years, clashes and violence have become common
in Europe. Disturbances in Parisian suburbs, attacks on coloured people and
foreigners in Germany, the killing of a Dutch director of a movie believed to
be hostile to Islam are all pieces of a larger jigsaw puzzle. Since the Danish
cartoons, Europe has been enforcing strict security measures and
debating stiff immigration and naturalization laws.

Of course the media has a role to play, and it may even be to blame
for provoking fears and widening the gap between Muslim communities
and Europe. This was particularly true in the crisis of the cartoons, when
European media maintained that freedom of expression takes precedence
over other freedoms, including that of faith.
Mention has been made about blasphemous cartoons in the
context of imposing strict security measures. This was one of the aims of
publishing the caricatures; to first instigate violent reaction and then clamp
the immigrants. Flemming Rose in interview to Der Spiegel justified
publishing cartoons almost on the same grounds, without saying it clearly.
He said, its time for the Old Continent to face facts and make some
profound changes in its outlook on immigration, integration and the
coming Muslim demographic surge. After decades of appeasement and
political correctness, combined with growing fear of a radical minority
prepared to commit serious violence, Europes moment of truth is here.
On these counts, Europes left is deceiving itself the same way we
young hippies deceived ourselves about Marxism and communism 30 years
ago. It is a narrative of confrontation and hierarchy that claims that the West
exploits, abuses, and marginalizes the Islamic World. Left-wing intellectuals
have insisted that the Danes were oppressing and marginalizing Muslim
immigrants. Strangely, he chose to publish the cartoons to prove that these
accusations were wrong.
This kind of thinking gave birth to a distorted approach to
immigration in countries like Denmark. Left-wing commentators decided
that Denmark was both racist and Islamophobic. Therefore, the chief
obstacle to integration was not the immigrants unwillingness to adapt
culturally to their adopted countryit was the countrys inherent racism and
anti-Muslim bias. The cult of victimology arose and was happily
exploited The blasphemous act was by itself a violent reaction to the
criticism of Danes, part of which had been substantiated by ground realities.
The role of victim is very convenient because it frees the selfdeclared victim from any responsibility, while providing a posture of
moral superiority. It also obscures certain inconvenient facts that might
suggest a different explanation for the lagging integration of some
immigrant groups He took upon him to turn the self-declared victims
into genuine victims.


Another great impediment to integration is the European welfare

state. Because Europes highly developed, but increasingly unaffordable,
safety nets provide such strong unemployment insurance and not enough
incentive to work, many new immigrants go straight onto the dole.
A nostalgic longing for cultural purity easily descends into ethnic
cleansing. Yet multiculturalism that has all too often become mere cultural
relativism is an indefensible proposition that often justifies reactionary and
oppressive practices.
Giving the same weight to the illiberal values of conservative Islam
as to the liberal traditions of the European Enlightenment will, in time,
destroy the very things that make Europe such a desirable target for
immigration. Europe must shed the straitjacket of political correctness,
which makes it impossible to criticize minorities for anything including
violations of laws, traditional mores and values that are central to the
European experience.
Equal treatment is the democratic way to overcome traditional
barriers of blood and soil for newcomers. To me, that means treating
immigrants just as I would any other Dane. And thats what I felt I was
doing in publishing the 12 cartoons Most of the European media agreed
with Flemmings viewpoint as was indicated in the show of solidarity by
republishing the cartoons.
I was sending an important message: You are not strangers, you are
here to stay, and we accept you as an integrated part of our life. And we will
satirize you, too. It was an act of inclusion, not exclusion; an act of respect
and recognition. He chose to start his satire-campaign by paying respect to
the Holy Prophet (PBUH), rather than choosing a cleric from his country or
the neighbouring countries.
Rose adopted method of intolerance to impart tolerance to in
Muslims, which has become a routine teaching method in the ongoing clash
of civilizations. The Crusaders desire to reform Islam is no secret. They
have been openly dictating Muslim rulers as to what parts of Islam should be
taught their people.
Nina Shea discussed the issue in the context of Saudi Arabia. A 2004
Saudi royal study group recognized the need for reform after finding that the
kingdoms religious studies curriculum encourages violence toward
others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to safeguard
their own religion, they must violently repress and even physically eliminate


the other. Since then, the Saudi government has claimed repeatedly that it
has revised its educational texts.
These claims are not true. A review of a sample of official Saudi
textbooks for Islamic studies used during the current academic year reveals
that, despite the Saudi governments statements to the contrary, an ideology
of hatred toward Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow
Wahabi doctrine remains in this area of the public school system.
This indoctrination begins in a first-grade text and is reinforced and
expanded each year, culminating in a 12 th grade text instructing students that
their religious obligation includes waging jihad against the infidel to
spread the faith.
Scholars estimate that within the Saudi public school curriculum,
Islamic studies make up a quarter to a third of students weekly classroom
hours in lower and middle school, plus several hours each week in high
school. Educators who question or dissent from the official interpretation
of Islam can face severe reprisals.
Muslims find it hard to adjust to the concept of family in vogue in the
civilized world. Despite all the social ills prevailing in their societies; they
cherish man-woman relations as taught by almost all religions and reject
what is in vogue in the West, which undermines the age-old established
institution of family, the very foundation of the society.
The Crusaders spokesman in Pakistan, Chris Cork endeavoured to
reject this argument. He said that it is utter nonsense to say that family is
disappearing in the western countries and marriage is in terminal decline.
He quoted figures relating to UK. The proportion of children born to single
or unmarried women in partnerships has risen from 12 percent in 1980 to 42
percent in 2004, with 58 percent of children still born within wedlock. He
used these figures to support his contention, but most people outside the
civilized world, Muslims or non-Muslims, would use these figures in
support of their argument. No eastern society would accept 42 percent
HARAMZADAS amongst it.
The rise in births outside marriage is a reflection of the rising trend in
cohabitation; but marriage is far from dead as an institution Marriage
rates have certainly declined in the last fifty years overall, and compared to
the 1950s there are now 25 percent fewer marriages but five times as many
divorces every year and the numbers of first marriages has halved since
1970 whereas remarriages, post-divorce, have doubled.


On the basis of above figures and comments, he claimed; family life

is alive and well across the western nations, it just has a different shape and
culture to that in the east. Wests support for womens emancipation in the
East is aimed at bringing the family life in the same shape in which it is
alive and well in the West.
The meanest part of the approach to reform Muslim societies has
been the old habit of ridiculing Islam and its followers for which the
deranged Muslim-turned non-believers like Rushdie are picked and
patronized. The latest pick has been Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
The Readers Digest generally avoids publishing controversial
subjects because of its wide circulation in all parts of the world. But since
the beginning of Western medias onslaught against Islam as part of the
ongoing Crusades, it could not resist participation in the holy act. Ayaan
Hirsi Ali was named as Readers Digest European of the Year 2006 for
her meritorious services in demonizing Islam.
She participated in a television programme about Islamic Sharia law
in 2003 and ended up contributing much more than her opinion on
Islam and its treatment of women If only people were aware of the
sheer number of the girls living in terror, says Hirsi Ali. Just going outside
without your father or your brothers permission can lead to your being
taken to the home country of your parents and being shot dead. You can be
forced into marriage with someone whos going to rape you every night. You
will conceive children year after year when you dont want to be
She campaigns on both a political and a personal level, and she does
so in the face of extreme personal danger. In November 2004, a fanatic
ritually murdered her friend Theo Van Goghand a chillingly menacing
letter to Hirsi Ali pinned to his chest with a knife. Wish for death if you are
really convinced you are right it read.
Hirsi Ali was whisked away from public view for 75 days, spending
time at a secret location in the US. But she would not be silenced. She
returned to parliament, a small, elegantly dressed figure dwarfed by
round-the-clock police protection officers, and continued to speak out.
The magazine wrote about his migration to Holland as narrated by her
and taken as gospel truth. The cases of Muslim womens plight as told by
Hirsi were quoted. Some cases were horrifying. A teenage girl, raped by her
half brother who also abused her sister and his own wife was married off


to a cousin Others she met had restored to back-street clinics for abortions
or makeshift surgery to restore their virginity, often lost through rape or
incest. Otherwise they risked being married off to any man prepared to
accept them or becoming the victim of an honour killing
She became more outspoken still after the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001 in New York One day in a brasserie opposite the
parliament building in The Hague, a young man came up to her and said:
Madam, I hope the Mujahedin find you and kill you. Hirsi Ali handed him
her butter knife. Why dont you do it yourself? She challenged. He backed
Her other achievements described by the magazines were: making it
more difficult for new Muslim schools, sometimes hotbeds of
fundamentalism, to get state funding; work for banning female circumcision;
legislation for medical check-up of Muslim girls; and her pledge to make a
sequel to Submission.
Whether the story was fabricated or not, it allowed Readers Digest to
shed some tears on hundreds of imagined rapes of Muslim women every
night and then gleefully blaming Islam for that. It is worth noting that the
way she has been protected from harm like a most valuable treasure. She
belongs to the class of Rushedi and therefore had to be protected, because
Islam can be demonized better by statements and acts of perverted men and
women with Muslim names. Another aspect of the presentation was that the
article on Hirsi was jeweled with brief caption titled Tolerant Europe.
Hasan Suroor enumerated the credentials of Hirsi Ali, which helped
her to rise to fame in civilized world. The Dutch government promptly
granted her asylum when she landed in the Netherlands in 1992 claiming
that she had fled Somalia to escape from a forced marriage. Five years later,
she even got a Dutch passport and the ultra-right VVD party (Peoples Party
for Freedom and Democracy) was so impressed by her anti-Muslim
immigrant rhetoric that it embraced her in its own campaign against
immigration, and in 2003 she was elected to Parliament on its ticket.
She became a celebrity for her relentless attacks on Islam and
Muslim immigrants whom she blamed for social tensions in the Netherlands,
her country of adoption. Ms Alis celebrity status increased after a film
she wrote on abuse of Muslim women, Submission, in which verses from
the Quran were painted on naked bodies, led to the murder of its director
Theo Van Gogh


More stardom followed when, earlier this year, she stood up for
the right of a Dutch newspaper to publish Prophet Muhammads cartoons
and criticized European governments for to quote The Times not
standing up for Western values against Islam.
Hasan Suroor went on to narrate facts collected by him about Hirsi
Ali. Last week things started to unravel for the 36-year-old charismatic
demagogue after a Dutch television documentary revealed that she had
concocted her life story in order to gain asylum in the Netherlands. And
as a media storm broke after the documentary was screened and her party
prepared to abandon her, Ms Ali sought to preempt her expulsion from
country by announcing that she was moving to America to take up an
assignment with a neo-con think tank, the American Enterprise Institute.
According to the documentary, which features interviews with her
relatives, Ms Alis entire story was based on a series of lies. This
included her name, which she changed from Ayaan Hisri Magan to Ayaan
Hisri Ali, and her date and year of birth. The most damaging revelation
relates to her claim that she fled Somalia because she was trapped in a
forced marriage and faced persecution.
The documentary quotes her family members, including a brother, as
saying that she had been actually living in Kenya at the time she decided to
leave for the Netherlands; and that her marriage to a Somalian, who now
reportedly lives in Canada, was not forced. They said the couple separated
amicably. The documentary showed what reports described as a large and
comfortable middle class home in Kenya where she lived in an affluent
style a far cry from her own fictional account of her circumstances.
Ms Ali admitted that she had lied but dismissed the row as a
smear campaign Have they all gone mad? Yes, I lied to get asylum in
Holland. This is public knowledge since at least September 2002, she said.
But clearly her own party which is in government did not.
The Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, who belongs to VVD,
said she would order an inquiry into Ms Alis conduct declaring that laws
and rules are valid for everyone. Media reports say that the disclosure has
sent shockwaves through the Dutch political establishment because, as The
Guardian noted, Ms Ali had become one of the countrys most
prominent politicians after denouncing radical Islam. With her Muslim
background, which she has renounced, Ms Hirsi Ali was an influential figure
as the Netherlands debated the integration of Muslim immigrants.


The row is particularly embarrassing for VVD, which regards its

tough anti-immigration stance as its USP. It supports deportation of failed
asylum-seekers and has proposed that any foreigner who may have lied
about his or her background should be banned from being given a Dutch
passport. Having used Ms Alis opportunist position on immigration for
its own purposes, VVD now finds her a political liability. There have
been calls for Ms Ali to be stripped of her citizenship and deported back to
where she came from (was it Somalia or Kenya?).
Hasan Suroor concluded: But whatever might be in store for her, the
episode says something about the prevailing climate in Europe where all
that someone from the Third World needs in order to find political
acceptability is to be sufficiently xenophobic. And if they are Muslim, a
healthy dose of Islamophobia might just add a dash of glamour at a time
when a liberal, free-thinking Muslim is seen to be an endangered species.
Tough luck if they run out to be fake.
She is undoubtedly a clever and ambitious woman, who correctly read
the Christian worlds anti-Islam sentiment and chalked out a plan to exploit
that and to rise to the fame. She must have realized that during her schooling
in Nairobi. She fooled everyone that came across her and civilized peoples
anti-Islam mindset made her task easier.
But, despite the revelations, her anti-Islam services could not be
ignored by the staunch supporters of the ongoing Crusades. The New York
Times welcomed beleaguered Hirsi Ali to America. In the script of Mr van
Goghs film, Submission, and in her speeches and books including The
Caged Virgin, which has just been published here Ms Hirsi Ali has been
an unflinching advocate of womens rights and an critic of Islamic
extremism. Her life has been threatened, and she is still in real danger. Ayaan
Hirsi Ali, whose real name is Ayaan Hirsi Magan, says she plans to leave the
Netherlands for the Unites States. She should be welcomed here under
either name. Name is immaterial as long it bears Islamic touch and the
person is a staunch anti-Islam.
Isabella Thompson passed the blame to critics of the liar. Hisri Ali
certainly lied, but the exploitation of that lie by her detractors has been
outrageous. The rules (and prejudices) surrounding asylum do not cater for
female refugees fleeing the will of a family. They are designed for those
fleeing a government or a war. Her father had arranged her marriage to a
distant cousin. Though she refused to turn up at the ceremony, the family
signed the documents and she became legally married.


Others are determined to discredit her for her atheism, her

rejection of Islam and her exposure of the way Muslim women are often
forced to submit to their men. But why, Hirsi Ali might ask, is it so difficult
to forgive a falsified asylum application and so easy to ignore the abuses
daily suffered by immigrant women?

Muslim rulers have surrendered to the military might of Crusaders. It
is almost impossible to get them out of the deep hole of fear in which they
have dug themselves in. The people of Muslim World understand their plight
and therefore do not expect them to fight the Crusades, but they do expect
that they should at least speak out against some of the aspects of the
horrendous war.
While ducking deep in their respective holes, it is impossible for them
to see themselves; therefore, they should at least listen to what the people
say the world over. The aspects on which the Muslim masses want them to
speak are many, but herein only those are mentioned which came under
discussion during the period, and some of those which have been established
beyond doubt and hurt the Ummah badly.
First of all they must speak, and speak loudly, that the ongoing war is
Crusades against Muslims, rather than accepting it as war on terror. It is
futile to ask for definition of terrorism after four-and-a-half-year of
bloodshed. The definition has been made amply clear by the Crusaders
through pursuit of biased, illegal and immoral war. Anything and everything
which is against the interests of the civilized world is considered terrorism.
They should voice the concerns over terrorism against Muslims
perpetrated by various states as pointed out by the News. Pakistani
ambassador to the UN called for an international anti-terrorism centre so that
terrorism could be dealt with under an institutional framework. Endorsing a
Saudi proposal for such a body, Mr Munir Akram said until there was a
clear, legal definition of terrorism, some governments would continue to
circumscribe the scope of terrorist actions, by seeking, in particular, to
exclude thereality of state terrorism.
The Crusaders with their present mindset will resist a definition which
encompasses state terrorism, because in any definition America and its band
of allies will emerge as true model of terrorism. Thus, instead of seeking a


definition, they must listen to the observers like Patrick Seale which could
help them to understand the designs of the Crusaders.
An extraordinary paradox of the current international scene is that the
most powerful countries in the world are also the most afraid and fear has
caused them to lose their senses Globally, the United States has no
immediate military rival Similarly, in terms of military power, Israel has
no challenger in a vast region from Central Asia, across the Arab World, to
northeast and central Africa And yet the US and Israel behave as if they
are about to be attacked by a formidable enemy. They scold and threaten,
huff and puff, flex their muscles and brandish their weapons as if facing an
imminent danger to their very existence.
Instead of putting their formidable power to work reducing tensions
and resolving conflicts as they should be doing they go about stoking the
fires of anger and hate, apparently unaware that the destabilization they
cause must in due course engulf them too.
Demonization and vilification, international isolation, sanctions,
boycotts and military strikes, these are just some of the policies and threats
directed at both Iran and Hamas. Not daring to stand up for its own values,
the European Union has shamefully joined in the pressure
Enormously powerful and yet paranoid with fear, the US and Israel
act as if the possession and indeed the use of overwhelming force is the only
guarantee of their security. Dialogue and diplomacy, mutual accommodation,
the search for a balance of power, the mediation of international institutions
all these traditional instruments for conflict resolution have been
discarded and, as a result, the world has become a very dangerous place.
Muslim rulers keep demanding accommodation and tolerance from
their own people and keep begging for dialogue with those who have
discarded it and opted for the use of military means. It should be other way
round; they should have dialogue with own people and ask the Crusaders to
show tolerance.
Instead of seeking the definition of terrorism, they should speak
against war crimes committed by the Crusaders. If prisoner abuse and
Bushs unwillingness to admit that he made many mistake, could influence
Francis Fukuyama to change his mind on war, the Muslim rulers should
have done that long time back.
They should listen to Mahvish Khan, American-born Afghan woman,
who worked as interpreter with Peter Ryan. They visited Guantanamo Bay

nine times after Supreme Court held that the US court system had authority
to decide whether non-US citizens at that facility were being rightfully
imprisoned. She said, over three months, Ive interpreted at dozens of
meetings with detainees and heard many stories of betrayal and mistaken
identity, of beatings and torture, of loneliness and hopelessness.
No matter the age or background of the detainee, our meetings
always leave me feeling helpless. These men show me the human face of the
war on terrorism. Theyve been systematically dehumanized, cast as mere
numbers in prison-camp fashion. But to me, theyve become almost like
friends, or brothers or fathers. I can honestly say that I dont believe any of
our clients are guilty of crimes against the United States. No doubt some
men here are, but not the men Ive met.
I wish we could just hand our clients the freedom they desperately
crave, but so far, we havent been able to do Entire leadership in 50-plus
Islamic states has been more helpless than Mahvish Khan. She could at least
speak for the innocent detainees in Guantanamo, but Muslim leaders have
not dared doing that.
Shireen M Mazari expressed her disgust after the recent incident of
killings in Kabul. And now we have this incident where an American
armoured vehicle rammed into cars in a traffic jam in Kabul. Clearly, the
only way one can ram into cars in a traffic jam is to be driving totally
recklessly with no regard for anyone else. This is reflective of the growing
arrogance one finds in Americans in terms of their attitude towards Iraqis
and Afghans in particular and Muslims in general.
There are continuing reports of American abuse of Iraqi prisoners and
despite that US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has again said that
dogs will continue to be used in Iraqi prisons. New reports also point to
the deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by the US forces in locations other
than Fallujah. And, now there are reports that many of those incarcerated in
Guantanamo Bay were taken prisoner when they were still minors. Yet the
wise rulers in Islamic World keep talking of building bridges between
Muslim World and the West.
It is also this American attitude that has upped the ante over Iran,
with the US least bothered about its non-accommodative and
discriminatory approach towards Iran as contrasted with its conciliatory
approach towards North Korea where dialogue is seen as the way forward to
conflict resolution.


The conceit one presently finds among the neocons is not restricted
to the Bush Administration only. Recently, a member of the American
Enterprise Institute was in Malaysia holding forth on what moderate and
progressive Islam should be. Clearly, dialogue is not possible with the
Americans because their arrogance only allows a monologue. Anything
else they regard as unhelpful, if not totally unacceptable.
At the end of the day, it is the average long-suffering Muslim citizens
who continue to suffer the costs of war on terror, where they are victims
twice over from the extremists in their midst who violate their lives and
their religion and from the Americans who care not a hoot for their
aspirations as they occupy their lands. And then they are also caught in
the crossfire of the Americans and those who, for whatever reason, choose to
fight their occupation and/or their presence on their soil. As the incident in
Kabul showed clearly, this is a battle in which the main casualty is the
average person in the streets.
For those rulers who tend not to listen to what Muslim men and
women say, Kamran Shafi produced a short excerpt from a message written
by a 23-year-old American, probably a soldier serving in Iraq. I am
ashamed. Im ashamed of this president, this megalo-maniac hell-bent on
leaving his print on the map of the Middle East, no matter how much
destruction is wrought and no matter how much blood flows in the streets of
lands that never threatened us. Im ashamed that when I see the American
flag waving, images of flag-draped coffins flash in my mind. Im ashamed
of Freedoms March. Ashamed when I see villages reduced to rubble.
He continued, ashamed when I see the tiny little corpses. God,
theyre so painfully tiny lined up in a row, little angels wrapped in
colourful blankets that starkly contrast against their grey-tinged faces.
Ashamed when I see wailing Iraqis slam their hands against plain,
unvarnished coffins, over an over, asking Why? Is this democracy? Why?
When I see those images of funerals, of broken families, I want to crawl into
my TV, I want to go to them and grab their slumped shoulders and scream,
Im sorry, good God, Im sorry. I want to leave, I want us to leave, believe
me. But they wont listen No one listens any more.
One feels that it would have been more appropriate if this message
was addressed to rulers in Islamic countries rather than the president of
America. The rulers and the state-controlled media have kept running
account of the brave American soldiers killed in the war on terror, but they


feel ashamed of counting the children and women killed by them and their
allies in Muslim World.
They are not ashamed of allying or partnering with megalo-maniac
who is perpetrating death and destruction in Muslim World. Or, may be they
are so ashamed that they have lost their speech, yet despite the dumbness
they keep clinging to their thrones.
In the same context, it is more important that they, in their exuberance
to prove their sincerity to the commitment to war on terror, do not indulge
in committing excesses against their own people. The News wrote,
what 9/11 and the war against terror have done is to blur the line between
involvement in an act of terrorism and expressing support of sympathy of
the countries involved in the anti-terror effort have used the campaign to
expand the monitoring and surveillance of their own citizens, and this has
caused the human rights of the latter to be severely abridged.
Besides, US-orchestrated military action, especially in countries
where al-Qaeda operatives are suspected of hiding, has led to much
resentment against the US and its allies because many innocent lives have
been lost. This has only increased worldwide opposition to US policies and
served to place at greater risk the governments of those countries allied with
Washington. Governments should not allow themselves, as a consequence of
their involvement in the war against terror, to commit brutalities and rights
It is not the question of bridging the gap between two civilizations.
It is the tolerance, which the West lacks badly while blaming Muslims for
intolerance. Abdul Razaq al-Mudhrib opined that the East-West gap, in view
of the prevalent attitude, cannot be closed.
The West strongly believes in Clash of Civilizations theory in
which the Islamic civilization is a strong candidate for a clash with the
Western civilization The Wests condescending and world-dominating
attitude, may explain why it sometimes ignores good manners and hurts the
feelings of millions of Arabs and Muslims.
It has become very easy to brand millions as retards and terrorists,
and offend them by abusing their religion, all on the pretext of freedom of
speech Another obstacle is the disagreement on the importance of the
religion. For Arabs and Muslims, religion is considered an untouchable
issue, while this is not the case in the West.


The problem with our dialogue with the West is that it is confined to
the elite of both sides, such as academicians and researchers. The common
man does not know about it, or benefit from its outcome, thus, the gap
between East and West remains.
Muslim rulers have been rejecting the false linkage between terrorism
and Islam meekishly, whereas the Crusaders have been vehemently accusing
Muslims of intolerance. Ihtesham Kayani from Rawalpindi pointed out, on
March 21, in a press conference, British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke a
few words about history and showered praise on early Muslims, who despite
having knowledge and power, were more tolerant towards others religions.
During the speech, he disdainfully used the term Wahabi extremism
which, as far as he knows, is the root cause of all ills the world is facing
today and thereby needs to be eliminated.
Arab News wrote, the Manila conference participants agreed that
terrorism should not be linked to any religion. That is good in theory, but the
stark reality of today is that more often than not, terrorism, in the minds of
non-Muslims, is automatically linked to Muslims.
The very sight of Qazi Hussein Ahmed may not be pleasing for
enlightened moderate rulers, but he must be heard dispassionately. He said
Washington deems Islam a stumbling block in the way of its New
World Order, seeking to penetrate American civilization in social,
education and economic body fabric of the Muslim World.
The West has been cleverly using the ploy of democracy to extend
and consolidate its hold on Muslim World. America and other Crusaders are
building a corporate empire using promotion of democracy and war on terror
as pretexts. Osama in his new audiotape released in April said the same thing
with reference shunning of the Hamas-led Palestinian government.
He was of the view, rightly so; that it showed the West was waging a
Crusade-Zionist war on Muslims. He also said that it was wrong to assume
that only some Western leaders were responsible for this. People in the
West equally share responsibility for their countries war against Islam.
The war is a responsibility shared between the people and the
governments. The war goes on and the people renewing their allegiance to
its rulers and masters. They send their sons to armies to fight us and they
continue their financial and moral support while our countries are burned
and our houses are bombed and our people are killed.


Their desire to build an empire is nowhere near the fulfillment. The

rulers in Islamic World should be aware of and must voice concerns
about future designs of the Crusaders. Bush has been listening to Osama
threat carefully for the same reason, which makes it obligatory for the rulers
in Muslim World to listen to the Crusaders equally carefully.
The people expect that Crusaders empire building venture must be
resisted physically. But, that seems to be an impossible mission for the
frightened rulers. Those who themselves have been foisted upon the
Muslim countries by the US in the first place are not capable of defending
us against it said Farooq Sulehria.
He added, This does not in any way imply that the Empire should
not be resisted. It does not take nuclear weapons, armies and angels to resist
the US. The once formidable Soviet Union had nuclear weapons but that did
not prevent it from collapsing.
Muslim rulers in general and Arabs in particular have neglected the
need for defence against external aggression; despite having abundant
resources to maintain sufficient forces. The reason, perhaps the only reason,
is that Arab rulers have been prone to military coups and therefore instead
of indigenous defence capability, they have been preferring security
assurances, security pacts, and even presence of foreign troops on their
soils. These arrangements were considered as safer option.
They never realized that these arrangements facilitate empire
building as they forestalled emergence of any viable threat to the West in
various regions of their interest. Adel Saftys pointed towards documents
aimed at providing blueprint for the post Cold War era; authored by
Wolfowitz and titled, Prevent the Emergence of a New Rival.
Both documents provide an authoritative and clear exposition of
official American thinking about how America must shape the post Cold War
era. First, the policy planners argue that the unique position of the US as
the only superpower left after the collapse of the Soviet Union must be
preserved against all challenges from anywhere in the world:
To this end, the first political and military objective of the US in the
new world order must be to prevent the emergence of a new rival,
either in the territory of the former USSR or elsewhere.
Second, the policy planners argue that American domination of the
new world order must be clear, unequivocal and American leadership
strong and assertive, if America is to maintain its supremacy

unchallenged. The US must therefore strive to convince potential

competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role in the new
world order.
Third, the US has become the only power capable of enforcing
respect for the establishment order. While it may not wish to act as a
policeman redressing every wrong, it will decide which wrongs may
be overlooked which transgressions must be redressed by force if
Last but not the least is the need to counter media offensive
launched by the West to demonize Islam and its followers. Ramzy Baroud
has been emphasizing on this aspect relentlessly. In March he wrote about
Western medias role in dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.
Despite the fact that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the most reported
media story on earth, it is the least understood, seemingly the least rational,
and most certainly one with the least potential to be resolved. The medias
skewed narrative makes the conflict an end in itself; it creates a status
quo that is most suitable for Israels colonial policies and least desirable for
Palestinians, who are silently or so it seems losing their land, their
livelihood and any prospect of freedom, let alone their refugees right to
Israels impact on the media, however, has metamorphosed
throughout the years, from that seeking to influence to the one doing its own
molding of public opinion. Israels dedicated media friends, from the New
York Times to the British Telegraph are perhaps the largest and by far the
most influential interest groups in the media anywhere around the world, a
fact that they often rebuff. But the facts are too apparent to deny.
Many are already familiar with the special ties between the United
States and Israel, which arguably allowed the latter to steer the foreign
policy of the greatest democracy on earth into the Middle East political
abyss. But most might not be aware of the fact that the media is largely
responsible for manufacturing that special relationship. In fact, US
interests in the Middle East be they political, economic, i.e. strategic
have been greatly hampered
But what has in fact magnified the impact of the Israeli lobby and its
influence in the media whose work on behalf of Israel goes well beyond the
Middle East to cover Africa, Asia, Latin America, and of course, Washington
itself, also described as the other occupied territory by a former US


Congressman. He added that the pitiable and most disorganized response

of Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs made the task of western media
The result has been catastrophic. Israels decades-long quest to
bolster its media image has done wonders as American public opinion either
sees Israel as a lone defender of democracy amid uncivilized Arab polities or
not at all aware of the facts, basing its inane understanding of Middle East
politics on half-truths that see Arabs as irrational, lazy and inherently
I am afraid that many Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are
themselves content with the status quo and are the least interested in
reversing their misfortune or appreciating the immense impact of the media
on politics, wars and indeed peace. There is an overall inclination that
associates media bias with racial categorization always the easy answer to
all enigmas which is usually followed by a shoulder shrug and the
defeatist impression that all is lost, an echo of the same defeatist
sentiment that has accompanied the Arab-Israel conflict since its inception.
However all is not lost, for even the most focused misinformation can
be reversed, no matter how humble the initiative, how modest the resources.
I have said so for many years and many have said it before me and many
will continue to echo the same idea: With all due respect its media, stupid.
And if one is foolish enough to neglect its import, then maybe one
deserves to be burned by its fire.
Two professors of Harvard University and the University of Chicago,
John J Mearsheimer and Stephen M Walt expressed views similar to Ramzy
Baroud. Their paper led pro-Israelis in the US to do everything they could
to keep the lid on that can of worms unopened. In fact, the two authors could
only find a respectable British magazine to carry a shortened version after
the American publisher had recanted, wrote George Hishmeh.
The two professors wrote, the centerpiece of US Middle East policy
has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support
for Israel and the related effort to spread democracy throughout the region
has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized US security.
Hishmeh added, what they found puzzling is the fact that the United
States has been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance
the interest of another state.
They attributed the overall thrust of US policy in the region almost
entirely to US domestic politics and especially to the activities of the Israel

lobby. They credited the Israeli lobby for managing to divert US foreign
policy as far from the American national interest would otherwise suggest,
while simultaneously convincing Americans that US and Israel interests are
essentially identical.
In the context of resistance to occupation of Muslim lands, the West
has been haunted by the suicide bombers. Western media had been
portraying it as barbaric and the governments have been working overtime
to secure Fatwa declaring suicide attacks as un-Islamic. Having failed to
achieve that, the intellectuals have joined hands to demonize this threat.
Madeleine Bunting attributed it to the restrictive nature of Islamic
teachings. She wrote, the psychology of suicide bombers is one of the most
puzzling issues for westerners to grasp: the religious motivation, the
fearlessness of death and the calmness-banality, even-with which many of
these people approach their end leave most westerners bewildered. The
comment of the 9/11 bombers that has proved the most haunting is: You
love life; we love death.
The analyst was convinced about another dimension of the suicide
bombing put across by Professor Richard Bulliet of Columbia University. He
attributed it to the severe sexual frustration of youth in restrictive Islamic
societies. This amply clarifies the extent to which the Crusaders can go to
achieve their evil designs.
Nothing of the above can be done unless Muslim countries
demonstrate the unity of Ummah. That has remained elusive even in
times when it was required the most. On 20th may, while visiting Egypt,
Shaukat Aziz accepted that Muslim World lacks unity. Who is to be blamed
for that? Not the Muslim masses.
Listen to what Gulf News says about another Islamic country.
Tehrans Gulf neighbours have all the reasons to worry about its
intentions. It is true all countries have the right to peaceful nuclear
technology, and it is also true Iran maintains it will never seek to develop
nuclear weapons, but who can guarantee this position will not change in the
Future? The editor indirectly requested the Crusaders for the guarantee,
because Arabs lack the ability to secure that.
It is also a blow to the efforts of Arab countries to free the Middle
East of weapons of mass destruction. In addition to Israel, there is now Iran,
which can transform its peaceful programme into a military oriented one if
they so choose. The Arab Muslim brothers equate Iranian Muslims with


the Jewish state. The fact is that Israel has made the life of Arabs miserable
and none of them has the guts to challenge the perpetrator of the terror,
whereas Iran has been challenging Israel on this count, but that has been
insultingly ignored by equating Iran with Israel.
The daily newspaper added, one way to allay regional fears is to
allow the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
unhindered access to all nuclear sites. Also, Iranian authorities need to work
with the agency to ensure the highest international safety standards are
applied at those sites.
The Arabs have failed to end their miseries. While commenting on
Arab Summit in early May, Mohammad Ekif Jamal said, ever since the first
summit was held in Cairo in 1964, Arab summits have not come out with
any firm and pragmatic decisions. Worse, they have failed to arrive at a
unified Arab stand concerning issues affecting the Arabs. The summits have
also failed to bring closer all Arabs and their various governments. In fact,
the Arab summits have unconscientiously caused more harm to their issues
of discord Unfortunately, the Arab summits have an unchanged agenda
wherein the status of the common Arab man is totally neglected.
Like the previous summits, the United States tried its best to
persuade Arab leaders from taking decisions against American interests.
Prior to the summit, the US had asked friendly Arab leaders to stay away
from it as Washington felt that their presence could be construed as a show
of support for the Sudanese government, which is under international
pressure to allow a UN-peacekeeping force in the war-torn western region of
Darfur. Earlier, the US even tried to influence Arab leaders against holding
the summit in Khartoum and wanted it to be moved to some other Arab
As expected, last weeks summit did not rise to the expectations and
demands of the Arab people. He then mentioned some of the issues on
which the summit failed like; Iraqi crisis and its threats to regional
stability; repercussions of cold war between Iran and US; pressure on Arab
countries to conduct democratic reforms; possible internationalization of
Darfur conflict; and delay in finding a solution to the Palestinian cause.
The same was the case with D-8 meeting in Bali as observed by
Hassan Hanizadeh. He wrote, the D-8 has unfortunately failed to attain its
rightful status in the international arena, although it has been active for eight
years The main reason for this is the diverse political positions adopted by
D-8 member countries, which, despite their many cultural and religious

affinities, have failed to unite their economic potential in a way that

would benefit all Muslim nations.
He focused on nuclear technology for obvious reason. As an
influential D-8 member with a budding nuclear industry, Iran can help meet
the needs of members in this field. As the importance of nuclear energy as an
alternate source of energy looms larger, Iran can form a nuclear consortium
with other D-8 members Nigeria, which possesses reserves of uranium,
can play an active role in this arrangement.
Strategy should be worked out in such a way that it focuses on
nuclear technology and cooperation for the development of this important
industry because countries which lack this technology will fall hopelessly
behind in the modern world.
Nuclear technology is not the need of the hour for Muslim masses.
It is the education. Dr Farrukh Saleem intended to convey this message
when he wrote that there are only 14 million Jews in the world; seven
million in the Americas, five million in Asia, two million in Europe and
100,000 in Africa. For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims.
Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times powerful than all the Muslims put
together. Ever wondered why?
He then listed prominent Jews of recent past and present and went on
to add; Washington is the capital that matters and in Washington the lobby
that matters is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or PIPAC.
Washington knows that if PM Ehud Olmert were to discover that the earth is
flat, PIPAC will make the 109th Congress pass a resolution congratulating
Olmert on his discovery. He concluded; so, why are Jews so powerful?
Answer: Education.
Prof Dr Anwarul Haque from Islamabad added, the reason why
Zionists are so powerful is because Muslims are weak. And the real reason
why Muslims are weak is because they have abandoned the Holy Quraan
Zionists know the source of strength in Muslims and therefore they and their
agents are after the Quraan and Quranic teachings. I agree with Dr Farrukh
Saleem that the Muslims must be educated. However, they must be educated
in the Quraan as well as in other spheres of sciences. Only then would the
world become a safe and peaceful place. It has to be an all-encompassing


The regime in East Timor will be cleansed of Islamic pollution caused

by its prime minister. Pressure on Sudan will continue to allow deployment
of international peacekeepers. Somalia will emerge as rouge state after
the defeat of pro-US warlords at the hands of Islamic groups.
This phenomenon of emerging rouge states will continue until all
Muslim states are rendered incapable of posing slightest of threat to interests
of the civilized world. Turkey, an aspirant of EU membership, will also not
be spared; even if it is embraced by the EU at some distant future. Turks will
always be treated inferior to rest of the members of the Christian Club.
Muslims, no matter how enlightened and moderate they become, will
be treated discriminately. Even if some of them become members of the
civilized worlds nude clubs to prove their commitment to Enlightenment,
they will be treated as Muslims. Their membership will only make their
recognition easier and spontaneous.
America and its allies have been sobered by the resistance put up by
the terrorists in Iraq. They will bring in some cosmetic changes in their
approach, but have shown no signs to give up their sinister agenda. Hence,
the propaganda to ridicule Islam and its followers will continue along with
pressure on Islamic countries to censor religious teachings in manner similar
to the one that was adopted by the Soviet Union in Central Asia.
The rulers in Muslim World have been frightened to the extent that
they cannot see and hear and with that they have lost the ability to think
independently and rationally. Alas! Had they retained their senses; they
would have shown some kind of solidarity and Bush would have listened to
them more carefully.
5th June 2006


The revelation of massacre in Haditha was yet another reflection of
the American psyche. There are hundreds of other incidents of brutality of
occupation forces which need to be unearthed. But most unfortunately, it is
the resistance to such brute and inhuman occupation which is termed as
terrorism by all and sundry.
The Crusaders have been consolidating in Iraq through the process of
democratization. They have no intention of ending the occupation, except
reducing its cost. They intend staying on as there are still lot of Iraqi wealth
yet to be looted. Thus, the occupation will remain illegal all the way.

The sun has been shining bright for Israel since 9/11. Sharon had
made full use of the opportunity and now his successor, Olmert, was
pursuing the plan to impose peace unilaterally. Encouragement from Bush
Administration and rift between Fattah and Hamas was making it easier for

The coalition forces controlled outflow of news which reflected badly
on the nature of occupation, but those which helped demonizing the
insurgents were reported exaggeratingly. This line was inadvertently
followed by Pakistani media which banked upon purchasing news items
from foreign agencies.
To quote, after news blackout for couple of days, on 27th May the
News published a report by AFP in a blocked column. It was about killing of
a football coach and two players who were allegedly killed for wearing
shorts; whereas the killing of 36 people on that day was not reported. The
insurgency, however, continued to be reported scantly. Four Marines were
killed when a tank fell off a bridge on 12th May.
On 13th May, one US soldier was killed in the capital. Next day, two
US soldiers were killed when their helicopter was shot down during battles
in Latifiya and Yusufiya. Two US Marines died in unspecified combat action
in Anbar province. Two more US soldiers were killed in roadside bombing
in Baghdad. At least 26 people were killed and more than 70 wounded in a
string of attacks in the capital. Elsewhere in Iraq, 15 people were killed,
including two British soldiers who were killed in a roadside bomb attack in
southern Iraq.
US forces killed 41 rebels in raids and air strikes near Baghdad on
15 May. Rebels claimed shooting down four helicopters. Military statement
said several women and children were inadvertently wounded in the
battle. More than 30 rockets were fired at British army camp in Abu Naji,
wounding four soldiers. Eight policemen were killed and ten wounded in
clashes near Basra. More than seven people were shot dead in Balad Ruz.
Four bomb blasts in Baghdad and other cities killed seven Iraqis and
wounded several others. Next day at least 14 people were killed and 33
others wounded in car bomb attack in Baghdad.

On 17th May, thirteen people, including one US soldier, were killed

across the country. Next day, four US soldiers were killed in roadside

bombing near Baghdad, and Iraqi interpreter was also killed. Police chief in
Basra escaped attempt on his life. Two days later 26 people were killed in
violence across the country, including 19 who lost their lives in bomb blast
in Sadr City; 58 people were also wounded. Fifteen dead bodies were found
in Musayeb.
A suicide bomber killed 13 people and wounded 18 others in Baghdad
on 21 May. Three people were killed and 15 wounded in a car bomb attack
in Shula district. Three people were killed and 24 wounded in roadside
bombing along bank of Tigris. Next day, two Pakistanis working in US base
were killed in mortar fire attack.

On 26th May, 9 persons were killed and 30 wounded in bomb blast in

Baghdad. Two US soldiers killed in roadside bombing. Next day 36 people
were killed across the country and a Pakistani was abducted near Fallujah.
On 29th May, at least 39 people were killed in violence across Iraq, including
a spate of bombings against buses carrying people to work. A US Humvee
was destroyed in car bomb explosion in Baghdad. One US soldiers was
killed by small arms fire in Mosul. Dead bodies of Marines killed in
helicopter crash were recovered.
At least 25 people were killed and 65 wounded in car bombing in
Husseiniyah on 30th May. In Hilla, 12 people were killed and 32 wounded in
a similar attack. A bomb blast in Baghdad killed 9 and wounded 10 people.
A roadside bomb killed a US soldier. Two government employees were
killed and 3 people wounded in mortar fire on interior ministry. One police
officer was killed and four wounded in another roadside bombing. One
person was shot dead in a separate incident. Two persons were killed in
Samarra. Three persons were killed and ten wounded in Ramadi. A suicide
bomber was killed in Mosul. Iraqi officials claimed capturing a key terror
suspect in a raid. Nine dead bodies were recovered from various locations.
On 31st May, four people were killed and three wounded when
insurgents assaulted a police station in Baghdad and one person was shot
dead separately. About 40 dead bodies were found in and around the capital.
US Marines killed two women, including a pregnant woman who was being
escorted to hospital for delivery. Maliki vowed to use iron fist against
gangs trying to destabilize Basra.
A brigade commander was killed along with his guard on 1 st June near
Kirkuk. Next day, four people were killed and 50 wounded in two bomb
blasts in Baghdad. Health Ministry announced that 90 percent of the Iraqis
killed in May were civilians.

On 3rd June, 28 people were killed and scores wounded in bomb blast
in Basra. Later nine worshippers were killed at a mosque. State of
emergency was imposed in Basra. Police found eight severed heads near
Baghdad; four dead bodies were also found. Gunmen killed one Russian
diplomat and kidnapped four others. Two persons were killed in drive-by
shooting in Dora. Seven policemen were killed and five civilian wounded in
attack on a checkpoint north of the capital. A district head was shot dead
along with his aide and driver.
Gunmen killed 21 passengers of a bus northeast of Baghdad on 4th
June; only four Sunnis were spared. In all more than 42 people were killed in
last 24 hours. Fate of four kidnapped Russians was not known. Next day,
gunmen shot dead 11 students in Dura. Militants in police uniform abducted
50 employees of transport companies in Baghdad.
On 6th June, seven people were killed in a bomb blast in Baghdad.
Two engineers of an oil company were abducted near Tikrit. Next day, at
least eight people, including six policemen, were killed in various incidents
in Baghdad and five dead bodies were found. About 600 prisoners were


Selective flow of news from Iraq combined with disinformation was
an attempt to cover the brute-ness of occupation. Trial of Saddam
Hussein is also a part of the scheme to divert attention away from the war
crimes committed by the US forces and their allies and collaborators. But,
nothing seemed to be working perfectly.
On 15th May, Kurd judge in Saddam trial read out charges
implicating him and other defendants in massacre of 148 Shias during
1980s. Saddam refused to even enter a plea. A week later, the trial
degenerated into a chaos when a defence lawyer, Bushra Khalil entered the
court. She was expelled by the previous judge and the presiding judge
ordered throwing her out of the court. She threw her robe on the judge while
she was forced to the court.
Cover up of prisoner abuse continued. On 26th May, one of the
witnesses told military court probing prisoner abuse that General Miller
encouraged the use of dogs as much as possible. They are being used at
Guantanamo Bay. It was effective as the Arab prisoners had a fear of dogs.


On 1st June, investigations revealed that officers had given false

testimony to their superiors in Haditha incident in which 24 innocent
civilians were killed. The US military responded by announcing that its
soldiers would receive new training to reinforce legal, moral and ethical
standards in battlefield.
Two days later, Pentagon cleared US troops of killings in Ishaqi.
Maliki had earlier accused US troops of habitually attacking unarmed
civilians. Iraq, however, vowed to press on with its probe into the deaths of
civilians and rejected the exoneration of US troops. An aide to Maliki said,
we have from more than one source that the Ishaqi killings were carried out
under questionable circumstances. More than one child was killed. This
report was not fair for Iraqi people and the children who were killed.
Edward N Luttwak commented on the intent of engineering a civil
war in Iraq. Civil wars can be especially atrocious as neighbours kill each
other at close range, but they also have a purpose. They can bring lasting
peace by destroying the will to fight and by removing the motives and
opportunities for further violence. He quoted civil wars of England,
America and Switzerland in support of this argument. This was precisely the
intention of the occupation forces; to drain the will to fight through
widespread bloodshed.
He also suggested division of Iraq as a solution to the problem.
Physical separation is therefore the only way to limit the carnage. The
process has begun, to some extent, because the violence is driving out the
members of one sect or the other from the many mixed villages, towns and
city districts. This is a painful and very costly way of interrupting the cycle
of attacks and reprisals, but that is how civil war achieves its purpose of
eventually bringing peace.
The analyst concluded that even after the return of peace presence of
occupation forces would be required. Some US and allied forces still will be
needed in remote desert bases to safeguard Iraq from foreign invasions, with
some left to hold Green Zone. He did not mention that who posed the threat
of foreign invasions.

Democratization of Iraq is the only justification left for staying

in Iraq. Shia-Sunni divide and rifts between Shiite parties over distribution
of ministries remained major hurdle in finalization of the government. In
addition, continued US meddling in the formation of the cabinet also caused
problems. On 14th May, Sadr denounced US interference and set a deadline


of two days before the 130 alliance deputies unilaterally form their own
cabinet. Maliki failed to announce his cabinet as per schedule because he
faced a flurry of last-minute negotiations.
At last, the Parliament approved the cabinet of 37 members on 20 th
May. Names of interior and defence ministers were not finalized, but in the
meantime, Maliki will run interior ministry and Sunni deputy prime minister
will be the in charge on defence ministry. A handful of Sunni deputies
walked out of parliament upon hearing that permanent security ministers
would not be selected in the session.
Next day, Bush said the new government marked new day for the
millions of Iraqis who want to live in freedom. Maliki vowed to use
maximum force against terrorism. A week later Talabani planned to meet
all the major political parties to break the deadlock over who should head the
nations key security ministries. Till 5th of June the political leaders failed to
agree on nominees for interior and defence ministries.
After the formation of the cabinet, the Guardian wrote, this is not the
time to dwell on bitter arguments about the war, nor to demand the
immediate withdrawal of US and British forces, though that day may be
closer with the new prime minister speaking sensibly of an objective
timetable for departure. Something better must emerge from the ruins and
gore, for the sake of Iraq and for a world destabilized by what has
The New York Times commented, theres just one major problem
with the national unity cabinet presented over the weekend by Iraqs new
prime minister. On the most important national issue reforming Iraqs
corrupt, brutal and highly partisan security forces no unity has yet been
Without such a deal, there will be very little to show for the hopes of
the million Iraqis who risked their lives to vote for a peaceful and
democratic future. Or for the efforts of the tens of thousands of American
troops who risked theirs to make that vote possible.
The core of the problem lies with the Interior Ministry and the police,
as a Times investigative series this week by Michael Moss, David Rohde
and Kirk Simple have made painfully clear. Every American effort to train
a professional police force were understaffed and under financed by the
Pentagon. Even as Iraq dissolved into chaos and insurgency, Washington
continued to short-change these efforts.


It will now take a strong, reform-minded new interior minister, not a

politically brokered caretaker, to root out these abuses. A thorough-going
reform of the security services is needed to assure all Iraqis Sunni,
Shiite, Kurd or whatever that they will be protected as they go about their
everyday lives.
The Washington Post observed, the political process, though a
success in its own terms, has manifestly failed to stabilize Iraq or even to
produce any meaningful movement in that direction. The Sunni insurgency
is as active and as strong as it was two years ago; though US casualties have
dropped in the first five months of this year, compared with the same period
last year, attacks have not. The overall level of killing is far higher than it
was in late 2003 because of the gathering momentum of sectarian bloodshed
among Sunnis and Shiites. Reconstruction, too, has gone backward since
sovereignty was handed to an interim government in June 2004: Oil
production and electricity generation are down.
Does that mean that the strategy is wrong or that the mission should
be abandoned? Its too early to draw that conclusion. The new government
and its army have been painfully assembled over the course of many
months: they should be given a chance to tackle the insurgency and stabilize
the country with US support. Encouragingly, new Prime Minister Nouri alMaliki has announced plans to rein in the government security forces and
Shiite militias that are responsible for much of the sectarian killing, while
President Jalal Talabani has been negotiating with Sunni insurgents.
Fareed Zakaria said, co-opting the majority of the Sunnis is the
simplest way Maliki can cripple the insurgency. So far he has said some
encouraging things about national unity. On the other hand, he has given
Sunnis only 11 percent of cabinet posts, though they are 20 percent of
the country Malikis second challenge is with his own. The Shiite militias
now run rampant throughout non-Kurdish Iraq. Khalilzad believes that they
will have to be largely disbanded perhaps 5 percent of them can be
Simon Tisdall wrote, it is doubtful that a collective sense of Iraqi
nationalism can survive in a context of increasing sectarian violence and
the continuing security vacuum. Democracy has exacerbated Iraqs ethnic
and sectarian tensions, with voters largely dividing along Sunni, Shia and
Kurdish lines The parliamentary committee charged with amending Iraqs
unfinished constitution was unlikely to deliver political compromise but was
certain to become the focus of new acrimony, especially among Sunnis.


Despite diversion of focus on Irans nuclear programme, analysts kept
criticizing Iraq War. Albright said that Iraq was a war of choice, not of
necessity. Invasion of Iraq was badly planned. Claude Salhani wrote about
the financial aspect of the war. According to the National Priorities
Projectthe cost of war in Iraq now standing at $ 284,760,197,435
could instead have fully funded global anti-hunger efforts for 11 years. The
figures speak for Americas interest in well-being of the humanity.
Essa bin Mohammad al-Zedjali dwelled on looting of Iraqs
wealth. Many might wonder as to what is happening to the oil wealth now.
Obviously, it is the strangers who grab the lions share as the expenses of
keeping the coalition forces in Iraq are rocketing day by day. Coalition
forces have claimed that they are there to protect the Iraqi people, but the
reality is that they are protecting themselves and helping loot the countrys
wealth and treasures.
International news agencies have unearthed organized racketing in
oil exports. Fudging in the oil export bills is commonplace as, in most cases,
oil tanks are without meters. All these misdeeds are carried out with careful
planning by the strangers for whom Iraq have become a milch cow.
As a matter of fact, the looting of Iraq marks back to the time the
country was under siege when the oil-for-food scheme was in force. Those
who were in charge of the program benefited from it even as Iraqis starved.
Several businessmen have confessed to giving bribes to those in charge of
the oil-for-food program for getting contracts.
The looting of the Iraqi wealth and treasures continues unabated and
foreign firms vie with each other to win contracts that are often clinched
under the table. The contracts are awarded in such a way that a chunk of
them would go to American companies Now, Iraq represents a sphere of
conflict of interests and looting as well as death and destruction. While the
Iraqis fall dead in explosions on daily basis, the coalition forces take shelter
in the so-called Green Zone.
The looting is not limited to oil but includes manuscripts, cultural
masterpieces at various museums including the National Museum, which are
transferred to other countries. The pillage of Iraq will continue in one form
or the other as long as chaos reigns in that country.


The real intention of the coalition forces is clear from their plan to
stay on in Iraq as long as possible. And without doubt, their presence will
lead to further looting of Iraqs treasures and the deterioration of the
conditions of the Iraqi people and will put them at risk of death every
Joshua Holland wrote, theres story, perhaps apocryphal, that
Pentagon planners wanted to name the invasion of Iraq, Operation Iraqi
Liberation. Only when someone realized that the acronym O.I.L. might
raise some uncomfortable questions, was Operation Iraqi Freedom born.
Supporters of the Iraq war airily dismiss chants of no blood for oil
as a manifestation of the anti-war crowds naivet. They point out that Iraqs
government still controls its oil and argue that we could have simply bought
it on the open market Both of those claims are true on their face, but
bringing Iraqs vast oil wealth under the control of foreign multinationals
with US firms the best positioned to develop it was always central to
US plans for Iraq.
I recently conducted an interview with Juhasz, who explained the
details: The United States crafted a new oil law for Iraq that provided
for production sharing agreements (PSAs), which are contractual terms
between a government and a foreign corporation to explore for, produce and
market oil. Production sharing agreements are not used by any country in the
Middle East or, in fact, by any country thats truly wealthy in oil. Theyre
used to entice investors into an area where the oil is expensive to produce or
there isnt a lot of oil.
But Iraqs oil reserves are very easy and cheap to get to. You
essentially just stick a pipe in the ground and you get oil. Theres absolutely
no reason for Iraq to enter into PSAs, but theres every reason for Western
oil companies to want them they provide the best terms short of full
privatization of the oil Its estimated that Iraq has 80 oil fields.
Seventeen of them have been discovered. Under the new oil law written
into the constitution those 17 will be under the control of the Iraqi oil
All undiscovered oil fields are now open to the PSAs. That means,
depending on how much oil there is in Iraq, foreign companies will have
control over at least 64 percent of Iraqs oil and as much as 84 percent. PSAs
are the worst possible deals for the countries; in Latin America some of the
worst PSAs gave domestic governments royalties of just one percent of their
natural gas revenues.

Iraqs permanent oil law is being written with the help of

Bearingpoint Inc under a contract from USAID. The Virginia-based
company (which was KPMG until it changed its name after being embroiled
in the Arthur Anderson accounting scandal) prepared a report for the Bush
Administration in 2003 that concluded foreign participation (is) the most
efficient way of developing the sector, according to Dow Jones. A USAID
spokesman said the company will be providing legal and regulatory advice
in drafting the framework of petroleum and other energy-related legislation,
including foreign investment.
The principles embedded in the transitional oil law cant be
dismissed down the road by Iraqs legislature with a simple vote; they
were built into the countrys Constitution, a document that Iraqis approved,
without having a firm grip on its details.
Chapter 4, Article 109, specifies that all new oil fields will be
developed relying on the most modern techniques of market principles and
encouraging investment. While the constitutions of other energy-rich
countries lay out principles regarding their resources, Iraq is unique in
specifying that future governments must develop the countrys most
valuable commodity in tandem with foreign multinationals.
Under Iraqs new laws, those kinds of policies common among oilproducing countries are prohibited. Saying that Iraqs vast oil reserves
projected by some analysts to be the largest in the world, greater than Saudi
Arabias was the sole motivation for the US invasion of Iraq simplifies
a complex issue No wonder the West fears terrorists using WMDs
against them.
Time magazines investigative report on Haditha killings led to
spate of criticism of brutalities of the occupation forces. Los Angeles Times
wrote, if Marines avenged the killing of a comrade by terrorizing and
killing innocent Iraqis, they disgraced their uniform and must be punished.
The same is true of anyone higher in the chain of command who helped
conceal what happened on Nov 19, 2005 in Haditha in western Iraq.
Villagers have told journalists that Marines incensed by the killing of
a lance corporal went house to house and shot men, women and children
at close range Initially, a Marine spokesman described the dead Iraqis as
victims of a roadside bomb or an exchange of gunfire. That story began to
unstick in January, however, when Time magazine supplied military officials
in Baghdad with contrary accounts of the incident from Iraqis.


If the allegations of a massacre are corroborated and a full

disclosure is overdue the debate about the wisdom of the US mission in
Iraq inevitably will become even more inflamed. But in Iraq, as in Vietnam,
larger explanations for atrocities cannot be regarded as excuses.
I understand the fog of war and the confusion of battle, Murtha, a
decorated combat veteran, said the other day. But no amount of fog, and no
level of confusion, can obscure the fact that this is a nation of laws, and
when the US condones the deliberate murder of civilians it becomes, as
Murtha said, no better than its enemy.
Daily Telegraph wrote, Haditha and Basra sadly bring together two
milestones around the occupations neck. The first is inexcusably brutal
behaviour by members of a professional army, notoriously demonstrated
in 2003 by the humiliation of prisoners in Baghdads Abu Ghraib prison. The
second is the serious miscalculation by the occupiers of the reception they
would receive in Iraq. Too few coalition troops and the disbanding of the
Iraqi army meant fatal reliance on militias to keep the peace.
The Nation said, the killings may have been in retaliation for the
death of a Marine lance corporal, but this was not the work of soldiers gone
berserk. The targets (children from 3 to 14, an old man in wheelchair, taxi
passengers), the hour-long duration of killings, the number of Marines
involved, the careful mop up all amount to willful, targeted brutality
designed to send a message to Iraqis.
The New York Times wrote, now that we have reached the one place
we most wanted to avoid, it will not do to focus blame narrowly on the
Marine unit suspected of carrying out these killings and ignore the
administration officials, from President Bush on down, who made the
chances of this sort of disaster so much greater by deliberately blurring the
rules governing the conduct of American soldiers in the field. The inquiry
also needs to critically examine the behaviour of top commanders
responsible for ensuring lawful and professional conduct and of midlevel
officers who apparently covered up the Haditha incident for months until
journalists inquiries forced a more honest review.
So far, nothing on President Bushs repeated statements on the issue
offers any real assurance that the White House and the Pentagon will not
once again try to protect the most senior military and political ranks
from proper accountability. This is the pattern that this administration has
repeatedly followed in the past


Richard Norton-Taylor was of the view that US commanders have

failed to train and educate their soldiers in counter-insurgency and the need
to cultivate the hearts and minds of the local population. US military
strategy in Iraq was to kill or capture all terrorists and insurgents: they saw
military destruction of the enemy as a strategic goal in its own right.
Robert Fisk implored, could Haditha be just the tip of the mass
grave? The corpses we have glimpsed, the grainy footage of the cadavers
and the dead children; could these be just a few of many? Does the
handiwork of the United States army of the slums go further?
I remember clearly the first suspicions I had that murder most foul
might be taking place in our name in Iraq. I was in the Baghdad mortuary,
counting corpses, when one of the citys senior medical officials, an old
friend, told me of his fears. Everyone brings bodies here, he said. But
when the Americans bring bodies in, we are instructed that under no
circumstances are we ever to do post-mortems After Haditha, we are
going to reshape our suspicions.
I suspect part of the problem is that we never really cared about
Iraqis, which is why we refused to count their dead. Once the Iraqis turned
upon the army of occupation with their roadside bombs and suicide cars,
they became Arab gooks, the evil sub-humans whom the Americans once
identified in Vietnam.
Killing a roomful of civilians is only a step further from all those
promiscuous air strikes that we are all told kill terrorists but which all too
often turn out to be a wedding party or as in Afghanistan a mixture of
terrorists and children or, as we are soon to hear, no doubt, terrorist
For who can be held to account when we regard ourselves as the
brightest, the most honourable of creatures, doing endless battle with
the killers of Sept 11 or July 7 because we love our country and our people
but not other people so much. And, so we dress ourselves up as
Galahads, yes as Crusaders, and we tell those whose countries we invade
that we are going to bring them democracy. I cant help wondering today
how many of the innocents slaughtered in Haditha took the opportunity to
vote in the Iraqi elections before their liberators murdered them.
Kamran Shafi said, whilst the magazine broke the story in March this
year, four months after the atrocity, the inquiry is nearing completion now,
seven months after the shameful incident. All this while, it must be pointed


out, the Pentagon downward lied through their teeth, stonewalling, until
the Time story compelled them to investigate the matter properly.
On plans to impart training on warrior values, he wrote, are Dubya
and Rummy and Dick Cheney and neocon beauties who led by them by the
nose-ring also going to be trained in morality and ethics and core warrior
values? They are the leaders of this assault, after all; they are the ones who
set the pace, and they are the ones who have been sending entirely the
wrong message to their forces.
These so-called leaders of the great country of America started it all
by demonizing Iraqis and Afghans and Muslims, by saying in so many
words that they were no better than vermin who needed to be stamped out. If
any one needs training in morals and ethics these three and their
handlers need it.
Second, are morality and ethics and core warrior values not part of an
American soldiers training? Arent officer cadets taught how to be officers
and gentlemen whilst still at the academy? Third, what will the US Army
teach its soldiers, especially the much-vaunted Marines in thirty days, when
they havent learnt anything at all in the many years some of them have been
in service? When even the killing of children didnt move even one of them
to make a report to their superior officers? Arent these people so beyond
learning, so beyond the pale that the only thing that will work is to de-mob
(pun intended, for the actions of the Yahoos were most surely those of
untruly, wild MOB) the lot?
He then referred to another massacre discovered recently in the town
of Ishaqi. The Americans are alleged to have rounded up 11 people: two
women, one seventy-five year old, five children, one six month old baby,
and four other people whatever that means, and shot them dead. US troops
claimed that all these were killed in a building collapse, but Iraqi police in a
report filed soon after the killings disagreed with the American version and
said that all the dead had gunshot wounds to the chest and head.
So there, Master Dubya, another mistake would you call it? A lying,
deceiving, ill trained, brutal command is what you have. A command that is
out of control: yours, Rummys and their commanders in the field. And you
call yourself Commander-in-Chief? But wait. Isnt Rummy the bestest
defence Secretary the United States was ever blessed with? Shouldnt he
then, have known all about the massacres? Shouldnt the buck stop
somewhere slightly higher up than private soldiers or non-coms?


The News wrote, Maliki said on Thursday that attacks on civilians by

US-led coalition troops were a daily phenomenon and that they do not
respect the Iraqi people and crush them with their vehicles. His remarks
indicated that the kind of tensions between Washington and Baghdad that
led to Mr Jaafaris exit are not going to go away any time soon.
About refresher training, the editor said, refresher courses on legal,
moral and ethical standards are not the issue. Of course, the best thing
would be for the Americans to withdraw from that country, but until that
happens a wholesale change in US policy is needed, one that treat Iraqis,
even prisoners, as people with basic rights.

Bush and Blair remained favourite targets for the critics of war.
Gary Younge wrote, both leaders got precisely what they wanted.
Unchecked by political opposition at home, unfettered by international law
abroad, un-persuaded by argument at home and abroad, like Sinatra they did
it their way. And so, since they have no one else to blame and find
themselves out of credit at the goodwill bank of public opinion, they
reach for the arbiter of last resort: history.
The Asian Age observed, British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week
flew to Washington to hold the hand of US President George W Bush at a
joint news conference. With their backs to the wall, Mr Blair and Mr Bush
tried to mount a mutual show of solidarity with the earnest hope of regaining
some lost ground in their respective countries over their misadventure in
Mr Blair looked tired and sounded trite, while Mr Bush appeared
nervous and sounded nave. In an exercise in self-congratulation, the two
leaders celebrated the formation of an Iraqi government which Mr Bush
hailed as a new beginning for Iraq Unable to wriggle out of the mess of
their own making, Mr Bush and Mr Blair who had contemptuously rejected
the worlds well-meaning advice prior to the invasion, now wanted the
international community to come to their rescue. The invasion and
occupation of Iraq have become what the New York Times described as a
political albatross for both.
Scott Ritter said, despite setbacks and mis-steps, I strongly believe
we did and are doing the right thing, Bush remarked, although he was quick
to add, not everything has turned out the way we hoped. That, of course,
could qualify for the understatement of the year.


Blair spoke of faulty judgments, perhaps the greatest of which was

to underestimate the scope and intensity of the insurgency, which he in
typical fashion characterized as fighting against the democratic process, as
opposed to struggling against an illegal, illegitimate and unjust occupation.
Scott remarked, decision, based upon lies and deceit, and done in
pursuit of pure power (either in the form of global hegemony, per Bush, or
a pathetic effort to ride Bushs coattails in the name of maintaining a special
relationship, for Blair), underscores the reality that when it comes to Iraq,
both are resting on a policy that is as corrupt as one can possibly imagine.
Void of any genuine reflection as to what actually went wrong, and
lacking in any reality-based process which seeks to formulate a sound way
out of Iraq, these two politicians are simply continuing the self-delusional
process of blundering down a path in Iraq that can only lead to more death
and destruction.
Perhaps the advisors of Bush and Blair thought they were going to
put a human face on two leaders who had been so vilified over the Iraq
debacle. If so they failed. The joint press conference was little more than a
pathetic show where two failed politicians voiced their continued
support of failed policies, which had gotten their respective nations
embroiled in a failed war.
Thomas X Hammes said that the laundry list of inaction on the part
of the Bush Administration leaves a prudent Iraqi with no practical choice
but to prepare for a United States withdrawal long before the Iraqi central
government and security forces are capable of running the nation. For most
Iraqis Arab or Kurd Sunni or Shiite this will mean looking to religious
and ethnic militias, criminal gangs and Islamist insurgents for protection.
This, in turn, greatly increases the chance of civil war.
Air Cdr Azhar A Khan did not agree with those who blamed US
intelligence for providing wrong information which led to invasion of Iraq.
He said that intelligence was deliberately fabricated. I still give credit to
these two gentlemen (Bush and Blair) to how they convinced their
countrymen, through their flimsy reasons, to invade Iraq. And, hats off to the
people of these two countries who listened to these flimsy reasons and reelected their leaders to new terms. Azhar missed a point. It was the western
media which made it possible by fanning anti-Muslim sentiment which
blurred the vision of Crusades-crazy civilized people.


While cultivating secular democracy in Iraq, the Crusaders supported
Israel to destroy Palestinian democratic fields which produced an Islamic
variety of the crop. But, Hamas government faced major threat from enemy
within the ranks of Palestinians.
It was feared that Fatah and Hamas were moving fast toward armed
confrontation as Hamas sent its gunmen to restore law and order in Gaza
Strip on 18th May. Security forces loyal to Abbas opposed it. The same day,
Hamas deputy premier was forced to cut short his visit to Tulkarem as Fatah
radicals stopped his vehicle and fired into air.
On 20th May, Intelligence Chief of Palestinian Authority was seriously
wounded and his body guard was killed in a blast in Gaza. The wounded
chief was evacuated to a hospital in Israel on request of Abbas.
Five days later, Abbas laid down a challenge to Hamas calling on the
group and other factions to back a Palestinian proposal that seeks a
negotiated settlement with Israel. He also gave ten days to Fatah and Hamas
to resolve their differences. Next day, Hamas pulled out controversial militia
from the streets of Gaza to avoid further infighting with the rival Fatah.
On 27th May, Hamas rejected a deadline set by Abbas to accept a plan
that indirectly calls for recognition of Israel, the issue which he had
threatened to put to referendum. Next day, Abbas planned to host first
meeting of a new committee, which included Hamas representatives, in a bid
to evolve common approach to tackle a series of crises
Palestinian Foreign Minister walked out in protest when Fatah leader
arrived to attend NAM meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 29 th May. Five days
later, Fatah deployed militia in Jenin as show of force against Hamas. On 5 th
June, five people were killed in factional violence in Gaza.
On 6th June, Abbas gave final ultimatum to Hamas to accept a
manifesto implicitly recognizing Israel by the end of the week or face a
referendum on the issue. PLO backed Abbas. Israel kept low profile but was
pleased with initiative of Abbas.
Hamas government kept facing financial hardship. Malaysia offered
aid to Palestinian Authority. Palestinian banks agreed to pay salaries to
government employees. Pakistan promised $ 3 million aid to Palestine
during its foreign ministers visit to Islamabad.


The Crusaders bias against Hamas touched the extreme limits when
Merkel was angered by the visit of a Palestinian minister to Germany on the
visa issued by another European country. Only a week later, Olmert met
Bush in Washington and won support from the host for fixing Israels
borders unilaterally. Olmert said, we cannot be held hostage by a terrorist
entity which refuses to change or promote dialogue.
Meanwhile, state terrorism against Palestinians continued.
Amnesty International reported that Israeli security forces and settlers were
being allowed to perpetrate abuses against Palestinians with no real fear of
being brought to justice. Following incidents were reported:
Two leaders of Islamic Jihad were among six Palestinians killed by
Israeli troops in the northern West Bank on 14th May.
On 26th May, a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad was killed in
roadside bombing in Lebanon.
Six Palestinian fighters and an Israeli soldier were wounded in tit-fortat attacks along Lebanese border on 28 th May. Israeli warplanes
bombed bases of a pro-Syrian Palestinian group including positions
near Beirut. Islamic Jihad denied firing rockets on Israel.
On 30th May, Israeli troops carried out first ground operation in Gaza
Strip since pulling out of the territory and killed three militants and a
policeman. Three militants were killed in West Bank.
Israel carried out air strikes on 31st May and Palestinian groups fired
three missiles which landed near defence ministers home.
Jennie Mathew criticized Israeli hostility towards Palestinians. There
is no justice. Its a jungle law here. Settlers can kill, shoot, attack, do
anything, complains Palestinian coffee shop owner Hani Abu Haikal to a
group of visiting Israelis in war-torn Hebron.
He tells them he was arrested last year after hard-line Jewish settlers,
who live in the occupied West Bank city, attacked and broke the windows of
his hilltop villa while he was entertaining Christian and Israeli friends
And when his elderly father collapsed in shock, it took three days to
negotiate an ambulance to take him to hospital. When he died, settlers
danced around the ambulance going to the cemetery, handed out sweets and
called death to Arabs.
The once bustling Palestinian market, now occupied by Jewish
squatters, is a deserted mesh of barbed wire, camouflage netting, a rooftop

Israeli sniper and walls defaced by Hebrew graffiti proclaiming Death to the
Arabs Nearby Jewish children set fire to abandoned Palestinian debris, the
tassels of their prayer shawls dangling under their shirts. Settlers routinely
attack Palestinian children, prompting international peace observers such
as 78-year-old John Lynes from Britain, to walk them to school each day.
Condemnation of blocking of aid to Palestinians continued. Cesar
Chelala observed that while Hamas is snubbed; there is something perverse
about making children pawns in a complex political game. It is urgent,
therefore, that funds being retained by Israel as well as international aid from
the US, the European Union and Canada be redirected to organizations such
as the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
The Boston Globe conditionally welcomed Quartet decision to
provide humanitarian aid direct to Palestinians. It stressed that
international community should apply political pressure on Hamas by
making it clear that negotiations leading to two-state resolution of the
conflict with Israel will be possible if Hamas changes its one-state position.
Ronnie Kasrils and Victoria wrote that the West is frustrating
democratic elections in Palestine by withholding aid, and using collective
punishment, an economic siege and starvation as political weapons in
their efforts to get the Hamas government to accept their terms of business
with Israel.
Today western moral authority in the Middle East is gone, as
much because of years of double standards in Palestine as because of the
current disastrous war in Iraq. There is no excuse for not knowing the truth
about what is now happening to the Palestinians. And the most recent
diplomatic moves by the Quartet the US, the EU, the UN and Russia to
alleviate suffering, while keeping up the ban on dealing with the
Palestinians elected leaders, are totally inadequate.
The Palestinians are having sanctions imposed on them for their
political choice. But it is Israel, creating new facts on the ground to
prevent the emergence of a viable Palestinian state that should be facing
sanctions. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan should use his last months in
office to call for sanctions to bring about the implementation of the ICJ
ruling on the Israeli wall, the closure of West Bank settlements and the
release of Palestinian political prisoners
Jonathan Freedland expressed similar views. The moral objections to
this latest US move, and the whole international policy of denying aid to the


Palestinians, are obvious: it punishes the Palestinians for their democratic

choice of Hamas in free and fair elections; and its hard to explain a world
where sanctions are imposed not on the occupier but the occupied: this is the
politics of Lewis Carroll.
Even if Israel is not persuaded of the moral case for abandoning its
current stance, it should do so for its own self-interest. First, if it allows a
humanitarian crisis to engulf the Palestinian territories, the rest of the
world will be forced to act and will end up dealing with Hamas after all
Second, the terror behind a sanctions policy is its assumption that the
victims of sanctions turn on their own government. But the evidence already
points the other way, to Palestinians rallying around the new leadership.
Third, and related, is the assumption that if Hamas can be starved
into defeat, if sanctions can somehow trigger regime failure, then a more
amenable leadership will take its place. The flaw here is historical. Time
after time Israel has sought to bypass Palestinians chosen
representatives, deeming them too extreme.
Theres one last, self-interested reason why Israel should want Hamas
to get its hands on the money it needs. It will keep them busy, says Agha.
With a society to run, there will be less appetite for return to violence. The
question however: is Israel really interested to end violence?
George S Hishmeh cautioned, it will be wrong for the Bush
Administration to believe that the Palestinians are spineless. One former
Palestinian minister reminded a select audience at the Woodrow Wilson
Centre in Washington that the poorly armed Palestinian resistance has over
the long run managed to disrupt Israeli dreams of a Greater Israel and a
military solution to the decades-long conflict a reminder that may shake up
Olmerts advance men who have been knocking on various doors here.

The rift within Palestinians was damaging their cause badly.

Prisoners document became the latest bone on contention between the two
political groups. Arab News, on the basis of a documents signed by
Barghouti of Fatah and Abdel-Khaliq of Hamas, speculated shift in Hamas
stance. The document that has been hammered out by Palestinian activists
in Israeli jails, including Hamas members, would implicitly recognize
Israel. The proposals are a serious effort to extricate Palestinians from the
economic crisis by way of a major shift in Hamas ideology which, in turn,
might lead to a breakthrough in the search for peace.


It feared split in Hamas on the basis of statement of Khaled Meshaal

in which he stressed upon liberating Palestine. Since its victory in the
elections, Hamas has been ambiguous on whether it will or wont recognize
Israel. It is split between pragmatists who are ready to accept a two-state
solution under certain conditions, and hardliners, such as Meshaal.
Gershom Gorenberg said, the gap between Hamass positions and
public leanings is causing ferment in Palestinian politics. One sign of that
is the accord just signed between top figures in Fatah and Hamas imprisoned
in Israel. It calls for establishing a Palestinian state on all territories
occupied in 1967 thereby accepting Israels existence within its pre-1967
The Daily Star wrote, while Olmert is busy laying the groundwork to
carve off large swathes of Palestinian territory for the state of Israel, the
Palestinians are busy fighting among themselves. The escalating clashes
between rival Fatah and Hamas factions are now more damaging to the
Palestinian people than Israeli raids. As long as the Palestinians are plagued
by infighting, they will never be able to channel their collective energies into
thwarting Israels unilateral ambitions.
While Olmert is due to meet with Bush in Washington today,
Palestinian factions are scheduled to gather for their first round of national
dialogue, which was called to forge a unified Palestinian agenda. In order to
create a united front, both Hamas and Fatah will have to compromise.
The two groups will also need to rally behind a single agenda that renounces
violence and therefore denies Israel its justification for its oppressive and
unilateral measures.
Boston Globe commented on ultimatum of referendum given by
Abbas for indirect recognition of Israel. If Hamas refuses to drop its onestate doctrine a single Sharia-based state from the Jordan River to the
Mediterranean Sea then Abbas will have cornered Hamas into conceding
that, despite the parliamentary majority in won in Januarys elections, the
Islamic party hardly reflects the popular will.
If Hamas accepts negotiations for a two-state peace accord with
Israel, Abbas will have not only obliged Hamas to abandon core principles in
its charter. He will also have made possible the resumption of suspected
international aid Abbas deserves Israeli and international backing for his
peaceful, political effort to make Hamas choose between its doctrinal
fantasies and the real interests of the Palestinian people.


Jordan Times was of the view that referendum could be an

ingenious way out for Hamas, to circumvent having to make concessions
so the international community could then restart financial support to the
Palestinian government which, after all, is the institution meant to spend that
money, as opposed to the Palestinian presidency which is fast becoming a
shadow government, a development that can only go bad places.
Except for one thing; no one has offered Palestinians a state,
certainly not one conforming to international legality. On the contrary, Israel
has repeatedly stated its intention to set its own borders far short of such a
state, while Washington all but endorsed a modified version of that Israeli
plan in 2004. And lets not even start on the right to return.
So the glaring question is what would Palestinians be voting on?
And why is this time different from the Oslo Accords? Perhaps it is the
international community that needs to get proactive and pressure Israel into
offering such a state, before Palestinians either endorse or reject castles in
the sand.
Arab News said, Abbas has given Hamas until early next week to
accept the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, or there will be a
national referendum on the issue. He is gambling on one central belief:
that the majority of his people are ready to accept a two-state solution. Polls
show that Palestinians want peace talks that could lead to the creation of a
Palestinian state, if its a viable one, on all the lands Israel occupied
The daily newspaper added, unless Hamas disbands its new force,
Fatah will reportedly create other militia units across the West Bank and
Gaza Strip. This is while Fatah officials say they have information that
Hamas wants to flex its muscles beyond its Gaza power base and has begun
organizing a militia in the West Bank. The spread of gun wielding militias
across the territories with the specific intention of showing whos boss
looks, smells and feels much like a civil war in the making.
Sami Moubayed criticized Jordans role in taking sides in
Palestinians divide. What happened in Jordan on May 11 should not have
been a surprise for any body familiar with the complex politics of the
Middle East. Jordanian authorities arrested 20 members of Hamas in Jordan,
accusing them of smuggling arms and ammunition into the Hashmite
kingdom, to be used against Jordanian officials.
Adding spice to the showdown, three arrested Palestinians were
interviewed on Jordanian TV, declaring that they had been recruited by
Hamas, through Syria, to carry out terrorist operations in Jordan. Clearly the

charade was intended to incriminate both the authorities in Ramallah

and Damascus, and tarnish Hamass image in the international community,
and the Arab World.
He thought that the story was fabricated to overshadow other
events reflecting Hamass pragmatic stance and positive change in its
approach. Jordan media down-played the understanding reached between
Barghouti-Khaliq, which proposed confining the resistance to territories
occupied by Israel and secondly, Bashar al-Assad had agreed, through
Sudanese mediation, to receive Lebanons Prime Minister Fouad Siniors
and thirdly, Syria had recognized Iraqi Kurdistan and commenced flights
between Syria and Arbil.

US backing of Israel with complete disregard of all rules of fair

play and justice has been the cause of Palestinians plight. The latest issue on
which Israel wanted US support was its plan to fix its borders unilaterally
as envisaged by Sharon and pursued by his successor.
Before Olmerts visit to Washington, Gershom Gorenberg observed,
whats lacking in Olmerts plan is an incentive to return to the table. If
Palestinians will get the same borders no matter what, why negotiate? The
message should be that with recognition, Palestinians could achieve much
more than the borders Israel would impose unilaterally.
He suggested, Bush should give Olmert half an endorsement.
Withdrawing is an excellent idea, he should say. We hail it as a sign of
Israels desire to reach peace. But evacuated settlers must move to Israel
proper, not to other settlements.
In a subsequent article he wrote, Olmert says he will ask the US for
funds. At first glance, the request seems like the height of audacity. For
years, Israel has ignored US objections to settling on occupied land and
now it wants American money to undo the damage?
It would be absurd to move settlers from the outlying settlements to
the remaining settlements near the Green Line now only to force them to
move again. And it would be absurd for the United States to invest in such a
project The conditions should also include a full, public accounting of
Israeli government spending on settlements. Much of the Israel public
would welcome that transparency.
Los Angeles Times wrote, as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
chatted with President Bush on Thursday during his first official visit to the
United States, the Palestinian territories he left behind were degenerating

into anarchy that could lead to civil war. That may have been the aim when
the two leaders cut off the flow of money to the Palestinian Authority But
neither Israel nor the United States is going to like the result if the
Palestinian government collapses.
America seemed staying the course of administering collective
punishment. The House approved a measure Tuesday that would cut most
US aid to nongovernmental organizations working in the Palestinian
territories and deny visas to members of the Palestinian Authority. This
ham-handed attempt to appear tough on terror, opposed by the Bush
Administration, would cause needless suffering to the innocent and goes too
far in micromanaging US contacts with the Palestinian Authority.
The New York Times commented, Mr Olmert said Israel was willing
to negotiate with Palestinian Authority. He added, in a few years they
could be living in a Palestinian state, side by side in peace and security with
Israel. Wed like to see that, too. We only hope that Mr Olmert and Mr Bush
realize that there will not be peace in the Middle East unless the
Palestinians have a say in creating a state that can function.
The Washington Post said, Mr Olmert has now won Mr Bushs de
facto consent to pursue a unilateral realignment in which Israel would draw
a border of its own choosing in the West Bank, dismantle some of the
settlements that lie beyond it and thereby guarantee Israels security as a
Jewish state with the borders it desires, as the prime minister puts it. Mr
Bush called these ideas bold, adding that they could lead to a two-state
solution. But as Mr Olmert acknowledged, there is one crucial condition:
Israel cannot successfully impose its plans on the Palestinians unless it
has the comprehensive support of the United States
That means that in the remainder of his term, Mr Bush will have the
opportunity to encourage an Israeli redeployment that would open the way
toward the Palestinian state he called for four years ago. But he could also
cripple the prospects for that settlement if he provides a US imprimatur
for a realignment that disregards essential Palestinian interests.
Al-Ahram Weekly recalled, when the US tried to pressure former
(and democratically elected) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to give up nuclear
weapons, he said he couldnt, for that was the choice of the people who put
him in office. The US responded by backing a military coup against Sharif.
Pervez Musharraf, who succeeded Sharif in office, entered an unconditional
alliance with the US and offered the Americans concessions that no elected
government could have made.

It added, the US and Israel are hoping to do the Palestinians what

theyve done to the Pakistanis. They are hoping to bring down the
democratic Hamas government and replace it with a malleable autocracy.
Thats why the Americans and Israelis are waging a campaign to starve the
Palestinians and break their will. The criminal onslaught on the Palestinians
is likely to continue until Hamas is replaced with a supine oligarchy willing
to accept Olmerts convergence plan.
Muhammad Salahuddin talked about Merkels double standards.
The chancellor has, perhaps, not heard about the more than five million
Palestinian refugees who have been leading a miserable life in packed
refugee camps in abject poverty over the past 58 years. She may also be
blissfully unaware of the cause of such huge number of people becoming
homeless. It was the Jewish settlers and Zionist organizations armed and
financed by her country who created such an unprecedented number of
refugees in Palestine. This lack of awareness and humane sympathy might
have been the reason why the reports of Israels cruelties to the hapless
Palestinian civilians leave her untouched as she fumes at the Palestinian
ministers entry to German territory
The German head of state, in this instance, has been obviously
applying a double standard in dealing with the two people, Israelis and
Palestinians. In their keenness to please the Zionists, the Western leaders
have never hesitated to throw to the winds the highest human values such as
justice, equality and human rights.
David Hirst said, in the wake of Hamas assumption of power, when
President George W Bush pithy, plain and seemingly unabashed
declared: We support democracy but that doesnt mean we have to
support governments elected as a result of democracy. And his
administration set about engineering Palestinian regime change in reverse.
Its strategy found more or less willing accomplices Europeans,
Arab governments, the Palestinians themselves. But it was always going to
be a perilous one The analyst concluded by quoting Rami Khouri about
the consequences of the irrational strategy.
Hundreds of thousands of young people will feel duped and betrayed.
The wellspring of support for Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood-style
democratic engagement will slowly dry up, in favour of more intense
armed struggle. They will stop wasting their time trying to achieve a
redress of grievances through peaceful democratic politics or diplomacy, and
instead fight the larger civilizational battle they see before them.

Archie Augustine dwelled on the issue. The West allowed the

legalized theft and occupation of a portion of Palestine now named
Israel, and then retained a backyard without any legal status so that it could
annex just as much land as it could, leaving a few acres to the so called
Palestinians. The only reason Israel would not annex the entire area is
because they would firstly have to introduce a true democracy and lose
power. The second reason is that slow as the process may be, it is bent on
genocide. Peace is just not on the Israeli agenda.
The Hamas position is simply what all right-minded people want.
Resistance to the occupation may well appear to be counter-productive,
encouraging further Israeli attacks. This is not necessarily true. The so-called
peace process would not move an inch in a hundred years if the armed
resistance stopped. Great grandchildren would span in the settlements
while the children of refugees resign themselves to the ruins of their camps.
The historic revulsion at the creation of Israel suggests that any
right-thinking Zionist would have been pleased with Arafats recognition of
Israel and the two-state solution: Partition. This is what is acceptable to the
Palestinians. It seems that all of us understand this except the big powers.
None of them want a two-state solution just yet or not at all. The
thinking is linked to the Serbian massacre of Muslims and the invasions of
Afghanistan and Iraq. If the Iraq invasion had gone as wishfully believed by
the Coalition, then other countries would have been on the cards. Bush, the
leader of the pack, had five years to sweep these areas. Even a Democratic
would have been pleased to take over the spit and polish thereafter. The very
hypocrites, who were busy killing Muslims while their Serbian counterparts
were prosecuting Milosevic.
The so-called Zionist movement is not a Jewish movement. It is a
propaganda front. Take a look at the US regimes, British regimes and the
European regimes. The French president hollers at Iran but he does not
holler at Israel. These regimes have hijacked the original Zionist agenda.
I am surprised that the Lutheran representative declared that the
catastrophe in Palestine was political. No. It is about good and evil. Hamas
is contending with European, British, Russian, US, and Israeli evil
That is Church business! The WCC must go back to its people and seek a
true expression of Christianity through protest and the ballot boxes. We need
regime changes in the West It is time to enter the arena and not hover
above it.


The arena is not Palestine; and walking Palestinian children to school

is not the solution. We must clean out the roaches from our own countries so
that the Palestinian children can walk in peace and alone in the whole of the
true Palestine.
Israel, if indeed it had legal tenure, has forfeited that right by its
actions and intent. Its territorial grant should be revoked. But is Israel
leading the West or is the West leading Israel? Was Israel created for
the Jews or for the West? Has Israel long lost its independence of the US
and the West? Was it ever the master of its own destiny? Does it owe its soul
to the devils that created it? Is Israel the dog or just the tail?
Any hideous and brutal political policy can be forced to a halt. We
need to heave and push with a militant resistance for peace. We must be
objectively honest in our approach to the issues. We must first identify the
true criminals, the masterminds.
The secret of Israels arrogance and unilateralism lies in the
US backing, which has turned it into a real rogue state. Hassan Hanizadeh
recollected some events during the creation of Israel to prove that the Jewish
state had resorted to terrorism right from the beginning.
When Mahmud al-Natsha returned his humble house, he saw the
lifeless bodies of his wife and children. The Haganas terrorist attack left 200
dead just in Kafar Qaseem, all of whom were innocent women and children.
Terror had filled all the villages in Palestine and most families began to head
for the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, seeking safety from the terrorist
On the very same day, i.e. May 15, 1948, Zionist leader David Ben
Gurian read out the announcement of the establishment of the Zionist regime
at a conference In less than 20 minutes, US President Harry Truman
issued a statement recognizing the Israeli regimeand in less than three
days, most European countries recognized the newly created regime
Concurrently with this, with the cooperation of Zionist capitalists and
the Jewish Agency, the British government, which feigned concern for the
lives of Palestinians, leased ships under the flags of various countries in
order to transfer the traumatized Palestinians to neighbouring countries.
During the process of this transfer from occupied territorieshundreds of
Palestinian women and children were drowned in the Mediterranean Sea
when their boats capsized.


The first objective was to safeguard the Suez Canal for the free
passage of British and French warships from the Atlantic to the Indian
Ocean Their second objective was to establish a non-Islamic country in
the critical Fertile Crescent in order to prevent the expansion of political
Islam on the western shores of the Mediterranean. Their third objective was
to maintain security in the oil fields of the Middle East, because Britains
initial test drillings in the region showed that the Middle East was sitting on
a sea of oil.
During these years, with the financial support of the United States
and other Western countries, Israel has occupied over 80,000 square
kilometers of Arab territories(out of which) Israel has kept control of the
West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Sheba Farms.
Over 150 UN Security Council resolutions against Israel have
been vetoed by the United States in the past 58 year. Now, after years of
struggle, the Palestinian forces have decided to establish a Palestinian
government. However, the United States, the European Union, and Israel are
trying to ignore the vote of the majority and are economically boycotting
Hamas, the party which gained control of the Palestinian government
through a democratic election.
James J Zogby wrote, it is former Prime Minister Ariel Sharons
plan that is bearing fruit today. The old warrior was elected in 2001 on a
platform committed to ending the Oslo peace process and destroying any
semblance of Palestinian self-government.
Sharon was able to declare the peace process stalled, requiring
unilateral Israeli action The bizarre Bush vision, first pronounced in June
of 2002, which declared that Palestinians first had to establish a working
democracy before they could gain their freedom, also played a part.
Today, Palestinians are trapped, with no way out. Hamas won their
victory not, as our polling showed, because of corruption, but because after
12 years of a peace process in which Palestinians became less free and
poorer, peace had been given a bad name and the party associated with it
had been discredited. The Israelis were now able to say they had no one with
which to negotiate and get away with it.
While most Palestinians and Israelis want a just peace, support for
these disempowered majorities requires external support. Europe cares, but
will only act within self-imposed limits. And the US cannot be expected to
act any differently than it has in the past several years.


Arab leadership is, therefore, required. A clear message must be sent

to the Palestinians and the West. Palestinians must be urged to stop the
violence because only Israel wins The West must be told, and not quietly,
to make it clear to Israels leadership that their behaviour towards the
Palestinians is not just an obstacle to peace, it is criminal and will not be
Fred Schlomka mentioned the nature of Israels unjust behaviour. The
system of fortifications called security fence by the Israeli government
includes 8-metre-high walls that often cut through neighbourhoods and
isolate Palestinian villages on the Israeli side. It is fast defining the new
borders of the Israeli state despite repeated government statements over the
past four years that the fence was for purely security consideration.
Maintaining a cauldron of resentment among an occupied
population is a recipe for disaster, and continuing repressive measures
designed to keep the lid on outbursts of protest by Palestinians will only
serve to stir the pot. Israelis want peace and quiet, and are less interested in
peace with justice, but the ongoing government tactics will bring them
Gabriela Becker talked about Israeli crimes. It is part of Israels
quest to drown out the link between Israeli political slogans and its
crimes, and thus maintain the horrid reality forced upon the Palestinian
people through targeted killings and assassinations, aerial attacks,
incursions, arrests, confiscations, demolitions, destruction, closures, forced
impoverishment and humiliation that persist on a daily basis.
The chokehold on the already sealed Gaza Strip is accompanied by
an onslaught of Israeli missile and mortar attacks numbering in the hundreds
each day, the occupation confirming repeatedly the way in which it plans
to deal with Palestinians.
In Jerusalem alone, the Israeli declaration that Qalandiya checkpoint
in northern Jerusalem be turned into International Atarot Terminal as part
of the final borders policy took place without a hitch. the same applies to all
Israeli measures in occupied Jerusalem confiscations, demolitions and
the completion of the separation wall which continue with
international complicity.
The recently completed Zeitim terminal in the eastern Jerusalem
neighbourhood of Tur (Mount of Olives), Zaeem and Ezarya closing-off
once and for all the eastern entrance to the city, splits these Jerusalem
suburbs from each other, from Jerusalem, and from the West Bank. To

finalize its plans to control the Jerusalem and demarcate borders, the
occupation recently sealed Northern Jerusalem neighbourhoods with the
separation wall, checkpoints and Israeli-contrived alternative roads thus
directing Ram and Bir Nabala away from Jerusalem towards Ramallah,
sealing shut another West Bank ghetto.
Israel can continue to create all the facts on the grounds it needs,
as it manoeuvres terminology with repeated success to the extent that its
public and international relations so eagerly received and devoured are
built on painting an inverse picture of reality. The immense past and present
international support for Israel is testament to the virtual carte blanche
offered to the occupation.
Final borders were being demarcated from at least the 1993 closure
and checkpoint policy, moving forward a process where claims of an end to
occupation under slogans of Palestinian self-rule were meant only to serve
the interests of widening Israeli control. In the face of continued global
complicity, these policies should be seen as the agreed means, between
Israel and its allies, to normalize the occupation, setting into motion a
spectrum of terms and phrases that play down power discrepancies and
allow for parallel processes where rhetoric exists on the one hand and the
reality exists on the other.
In view of the above it can be said that the stance of Hamas is the
same which founder fathers of Israel had and as quoted by Asad Abdul
Rahman. Ben Gurian once candidly admitted to a colleague, if I were an
Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural. We have
taken their country? We come from Israel, its true, but 2,000 years ago, and
what is that to them.
There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was
that their fault? They only see one thing. We have come here and stolen their
country, a remark was made to Nahum Goldman, as reported in his book
The Jewish Paradox.
This guilt has always remained at the back of every Israeli and their
backers mind. That is why they are least interested in peace through just
resolution of the dispute. They fully understand that stolen land can only be
retained by force.



Only a few incidents of killings of innocent people, including women

and children, have been uncovered. There would be many which remained
un-probed and even unreported. And, who knows that these soldiers of the
civilized world could be involved in killings for which the so-called death
squads have been blamed?
The brutality of American soldiers as revealed by the reported
incidents has nothing to do with lack of training. This is mere reflection of
American psyche of ruthlessness and sharp-shooting to eliminate the enemy,
presumed or otherwise. No amount of training can cure this mental
This ailment has been further aggravated by American philosophy of
winning wars which revolves around mass killings; a lesson learnt from
bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The amassing of lethal weapons since
then is part of that philosophy. This has sunk deep in the minds of American
soldiers that killing is the only way to victory.
Bloodshed in Iraq is not likely to end in foreseeable future despite
democracy progressing by leaps and bounds. Because, Bush has repeatedly
boasted of not betraying the liberated Iraqis and the Iraqis, in turn, hate the
presence of foreign troops in their country.

For Israel, the sun is shining brightly to harvest and thrash the grain
for itself and leave the pulp for Palestinians. With this attitude of Israel and
the civilized world, there will never be peace in Middle East as long the
illegal Jewish state exists in whatever shape in might be. It must cease to
exist for the peace and security of dozens of countries of the region. Some
day, may be in distant future, this reality shall dawn upon the international
8th June 2006


On 13th May, Iran warned European states not to repeat the mistake of
forcing an end to talks by demanding it to stop uranium enrichment. Tehran
was ready to talk to any country except Israel. Next day, Ahmedinejad said
any European proposals that ask Iran to halt uranium enrichment would be
The same day a Sunni militant group in southeast Iran claimed 12
execution-style murders. On 15th May, Iranian troops killed ten militants,
who were involved in roadside murders. This is one of the areas identified
by the Crusaders where they planned to support dissidents.
On 16th May, Russia and China once again opposed the use of force
against Iran. Tehran insisted on continuation of uranium enrichment. The
European Union was reported considering offering a nuclear reactor to Iran


to strike a bargain. On 20th May, it was reported that world powers discussed
dropping UNSC involvement in Irans nuclear file if Tehran agreed to
suspend uranium enrichment, but could push for selective sanctions backed
by the threat of force if it didnt. Next day, Iran again refused to suspend
uranium enrichment.
Bush and Olmert in their meeting on 24th May agreed to thwart Irans
suspected nuclear programme. Bush reiterated his pledge to defend Israel
against attack by Iran. The same day, demonstrations were held in Tehrans
two main universities against changing of university heads and forced
retirement of some professors.
Next day, Blair said that Britain did not want conflict with Iran.
Nejad, however, accused foreign enemies of trying to provoke ethnic
tensions in Iran. On 26th May, ElBaradei warned that world powers must
renounce nuclear arms or accept that more and more countries would
manage to secure their own bombs. Nukes breed nukes, he said.
On 27th May, Ahmadinejad wanted Europe on his side. Next day, Iran
and Russia concluded high-level talks but agreed to continue parleys. The
chief of Russias Security Council, Igor Ivanov, said Russia opposes any use
of force against Iran over its nuclear programme. Khamenei ruled out retreat
on nuclear issue.
The same day, Ahmedinejad asked Germans to overcome holocaust
guilt. Four people were killed and 43 injured during protests in northwest
Iran over publishing of a cartoon deemed insulting Azeris. This is another
area where the Crusaders are looking for the dissidents.
The US kept pushing Europe for curbs against Iran. On 30 th May, Iran
expressed willingness to resume talks with EU, while praising Russia and
China for opposing US push for sanctions. NAM backed Iran over its
nuclear programme.
On 31st May, Rice announced, to underscore our commitment to a
diplomatic solution and to enhance prospects for success, as soon as Iran
fully and verifiably suspends its enrichment and reprocessing activities, the
United States will come to the table. The only purpose of coming to table
after meeting the laid down could be to have dinner with Ahmedinejad.
The same day, Bush said, I believe this problem can be solved
diplomatically, and I want to give it every effort to do so Our message to
the Iranians is that one, you wont have a weapon. And two, that you must


verifiably suspend any programs at which point we will come to the

negotiating table to work on a way forward. Way forward; to where?
Next day, UNSC members welcomed US policy shift, but Tehran
reiterated that its nuclear work is irreversible. On 1 st June, Bush warned Iran
of UNSC action. Tehran rejected US conditions for talks. China opposed
arbitrary sanctions. Six powers (5+1) agreed on package over Iran nuclear
issue in Vienna. China voiced support to resolve the crisis. Moscow
excluded all recourse to use of force.
On 3rd June, Ahmedinejad softened his stance as Solana was due in
Tehran with fresh proposals, but Rumsfeld branded Iran as leading terrorist
nation. Next day Iran warned of global energy crisis if attacked. Khamenei
said Tehran wont bow before threat. Rice responded, just wait and see on
Irans oil threats. She said Iran has only few weeks to accept European
proposals. Hans Blix said that one of the consequences of the war on terror
is a convenient disguise for the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
On 6th June, Solana handed over package of incentives in Tehran.
Details of the package were not disclosed, but reportedly US offered nuclear
technology to Iran. Laranjani said incentives contained both positive steps
and ambiguities. Iran will respond after analyzing the package thoroughly.
Merkel discussed Iran row with Chinese Premier on telephone. Next day, US
insisted on suspension of enrichment of uranium.
Meanwhile, the analysts in last four weeks kept debating Irans
nuclear programme. The views expressed were generally the same as
enumerated in the Part-I, but the debate took a new turn when the US
announced its conditional willingness for direct talks with Iran.

A lot more was said about the US bias against Iran. Dr Muzaffar Iqbal
mentioned the reason behind this bias. For the United States and
Europe, the rise of Iran as a major regional power is not acceptable for a
variety of reasons. In their geopolitical considerations, they have assigned
that status to India whose sheer size, population, and secular character makes
it an acceptable choice for them
The case of Iran is different, not only because it is a Muslim country
though that is certainly a consideration but also because its rise as a


regional power will upset the entire Middle Eastern equation as

established immediately after World War II.
What is of importance in the present situation is an already-changed
reality: since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Iran has made significant
progress in all realms of its national life, not least in the areas of science
and technology. During the last fifteen years, there has been a lot of
investment in education, in the building of infrastructure, and in attaining a
development capability beyond anyones estimates
Thus, it is not merely Irans progress in the fields of nuclear science
and technology that is perceived as a threat by Europe and the United States,
it is its overall rise and strength that is regarded as a threat to the Middle
Eastern equation.
Sameh Rashid added, it is self-evident that the American position on
a nuclear Iran is influenced by what is taking place in Iraq and the Iranian
role there. Thus, the developments taking place in Iraq, and the IranianAmerican dialogue on Iraq, cannot be separated from the nuclear issue and
its implications
Following that is the issue of the entire Arab-Israel conflict, including
the sub-issues on the situation in southern Lebanon and the close
relationship between Iran and Hezbollah, as well as Hamas being in
control of the Palestinian government, which also has good relations with
Tehran. Finally, there is the direct road between Tehran and Tel Aviv, which
witnessed two decades ago, the Iran-gate scandal
Paul Craig Roberts had more to add. Why did the Bush regime create
a crisis over Iran? The answer is that the Bush regime is desperate to
widen the war in the Middle East Why is the Bush regime concerned
about what Iran might do in the future? Is it because the US government
intends to continue its bullying in the Middle East and is worried that Iran
will get tired of it and develop nuclear weapons as a check on US hegemony
over the Muslim World? Why does the Bush regime think that its interest in
the Middle East takes priority over the interests of the countries that are
located there?
Olmert is helping the Bush regime use fear to prepare Americans
to accept an attack on Iran, just as Dick Cheney and Condi Rice invoked
images of mushroom clouds to prepare Americans for the illegal invasion of
Iraq Not a day passes without new threats and lies issuing from Dick
Cheney, Bonkers Bolton, and Condi Rice, and no one holds them
accountable. The US media is proud to be complicit in lies and war crimes.

Edward S Herman and David Peterson linked it to the overall

Americas ongoing global war. The US has committed supreme
international crime, against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq in 1999, 2001
and 2003the fourth aggression is already underway, because once
again, as in the Iraq case, the United States has been attacking Iran for many
months, and not just with verbal insults and threats. It has been flying
unmanned aerial surveillance drones over Iran since 2004; it has infiltrated
combat and reconnaissance teams into Iran.
It has bestowed an ambiguous protected status upon the Mujahidine-Khalq, a group which, since 1997, the US Department of State has
designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization, but a group that the Washington
regime now uses to launch cross-border attacks on Iran from within USoccupied Iraq; and its Israeli client have repeatedly threatened larger scale
and more open attacks. This pre-invasion aggression was an important
feature of the over-all aggression against Iraq, where the US and British
greatly increased their spikes of activity with massive bombing well before
the March 19, 2003 invasion
On the home front, with the acceptance of the seriousness of the
manufactured crisis by the mainstream media and Democrats, and with
leading politicos like Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh even egging Bush on,
the noise creates its own self-fulfilling pressures on the leadership that
manufactured the crisis, who now must do something about it to avoid
political loss.
Two analysts were of the view that to sustain these frames, Bush
Administration has to suppress major facts. They enumerated some facts
about Americas hypocrisy and double standards:
There is no proof to support allegation that Iran plans to make nuclear
America and Israel have nuclear weapons and have attacked other
countries in the past several times, whereas Iran has not done that.
The reality that Iran is much less dangerous than Israel and US which
frequently threaten use of nuclear weapons in self defence.
Iran may be secretive and for good reasons, but it has signed NPT,
whereas Israel has not.


Israel and America are virtual theocratic states influenced by religious

parties whose leaders are arrogant, racist and materialistic and both
pose threat to global peace.
Both Israel and America have supported terrorists on much larger
scale than Iran.
The two countries have continuously destabilized the Middle East as
against Iran.
They added, hence, the United States not only has unclean hands, but
its own illegal policies and threats pose a clear and present danger that
the UN and international community should be addressing right now.
Furthermore, not only is Iran not an immediate threat, but given the US
threat to Iran and the US refusal to work toward the elimination of nuclear
weapons and to pledge non-use against nuclear weapons-free countries
The mainstream media have followed the party line on the Iran
crisis in treating EU, UN and IAEA responses, the media never suggest
that the real problem is containing the United States. In the comical version
offered and hardly contested in the media, it is often suggested that there is a
retreat of appeasement of Iran, and that if the world is to avoid another
Munich, and the Security Council fails to confront the Iranian threat, it is
up to the United States to form an international coalition to disarm the
regime. But there is never a hint that the problem might be appeasement of
the United States.
Eric Runder quoted Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector.
Let me remind everybody that nothing Iran is accused of doing is
illegal. He also quoted Robert McNamara. I would characterize current
US nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary and
dreadfully dangerous.
Since 1999, when the Senate rejected the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,
the US has developed a new generation of mini-nukes, also called bunker
busters, which US officials have openly threatened to use against Iran
a clear violation of international law and the NPT.
Eric Margolis wrote, no Western leaders have yet raised the issue
of the proverbial 800 pound gorilla at the tea party that everyone politely
pretends not to notice Israels nuclear arsenal. Last year, Mohammed
ElBaradei, the UNs chief nuclear arms inspector, made an official visit to
Israel. He was not allowed to weapons production sections of Israels secret


nuclear complex at Dimona, and did not even mention Israels undeclared,
un-inspected nuclear arsenal.
Israels nuclear weapons can strike anywhere in the Arab World,
as far east as Iran and Pakistan. Israel is believed to possess atomic,
hydrogen, and neutron warheads. Its new submarine-launched cruise
missiles give it the ability to strike most major targets on earth.
The analyst went on to say that Israel has proven inclination to use
nuclear weapons. Memories of the 1973 Arab-Israel War remain vivid: as
Syrian forces advanced to the edge of the Golan Heights, Soviet satellites
detected Israel nuclear weapons being readied for launch. Syria abruptly
halted its advance on Golan in fear of a nuclear strike.
Dave Zirin & John Cox pointed out Crusaders meanness in
mingling politics with sports. German and US politicians have seized on the
tournament to intensify the saber rattling aimed at Tehranseveral leading
politicians in both countries have called for the Iranian team to be banned
from the World Cup. In this spirit of tolerance and peace, Berlins liberal
daily Der Tagesspiegel ran a cartoon that depicted Iranian soccer players
as suicide bombers.
Merkel has further stoked this sentiment by likening Irans nuclear
plans to the threat posed by the Nazis. Italian reform minister Robert
Calderoli of the anti-immigrant Northern League called on the international
soccer federation (FIFA) to exclude Iran and other rogue states, and in
recent weeks British Conservatives perhaps distraught over their own
teams dwindling prospects, after an injury to their best player have gotten
in on the act In the recent gambit, on May 12 a group of European Union
representatives presented a letter to FIFA demanding that Iran be evicted
from the games.
The hypocrisy of the quasi-extortion is overwhelming: Iran should
be banned because its leaders indulge in belligerent rhetoric and attempt to
develop a nuclear programme, yet no one advocates the exclusion of the
United States, even though it is engaged in two military occupations, in Iraq
and Afghanistan, and President Bush has refused to rule out a nuclear strike
on Iran.
What is really going on here is an old trick of the warmongers;
which is that you equate hurtful statements to your enemy with an actual
military threat, and make a weak and vulnerable enemy look like a strong,


menacing foe. Then no one can complain when you pounce on the enemy
and reduce his country to flames and rubble.
Gary Leupp discussed another ugly aspect of the meanness. Canadas
National Post has apologized for the dis-informational article about Iran it
published on its front page one should inquire as to how this happened in
the first place. The Post had reported the Iranian Parliament had passed
a law establishing separate dress codes for religious minorities,
Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour
schemes to make them identifiable in public. The new codes would enable
Muslims to easily recognize non-Muslims so that they can avoid shaking
hands with them by mistake, and thus becoming najis (unclean).
This was absurd. The one Jewish member of the 190-member
Iranian Majlis, Moris Motamed, among others refuted it noting that Iranians
would never put up with such a law. He added, our enemies seek to create
tension among the religious minorities with such news and to exploit the
situation to their benefit.
The legislator must surely count Iranian-American journalist Amir
Taheri, author of the nonsense, among these enemies. But what led Taheri
to produce a sensationalistic piece, drawing immediate damning comment
from Canadian Prime Minister? Taheri is after all a man of apparently
impeccable journalistic credentials Quite a range of editors apparently
consider competent. So I think it unlikely his piece resulted from mere
journalistic sloppiness. His most credible credential has been his antiTehran regime sentiment.
Taheri was also between 1972 and 1979 executive editor-in-chief of
Kayhan, Irans main daily newspaper under the Shahs regime. He
contributes to the neocon National Review and his speaking engagements
are handled by the warmongering neocon Benador Associates PR firm. He
and these colleagues have repeatedly urged a US attack to produce regime
change in Iran. The neocons, of course, have shown themselves more than
willing to employ deceit in building the case for military action; it is part of
their Straussian modus oprendi.
Looking at the big picture, what theyve done so far is to persuade
much of the American public that Iran is doing something illegal in
enriching uranium and insisting on its right under the Non-Proliferation
Treaty to do so; that Iran is definitely trying to build nuclear weapons; and
that Iran has declared its intention of wiping Israel off the map. The first of


these is untrue. The NPT expressly allows all signatory nations to master the
nuclear cycle under IAEA monitoring. The second is unproven.
To explain the category to which Taheri belongs, he narrated a story
of Gulf War in which a teenage girl appeared before Congressional hearing.
She testified that as a volunteer at al-Addan Hospital in Kuwait City she
saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the
room where babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the
incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.
It was later revealed that the girl testifying was a daughter of the Kuwaiti
ambassador to the US, and that she was lying through her teeth. But the lie
worked very, very well, validated by Colin Powell and others in the first
Bush administration, and by reputable press organs.
But the Jewish rep in the Iranian parliament (who has been outspoken
before) is surely on target when he suggests that some seek to exploit the
situation to their benefit. They do so by exploiting ignorance, prejudice,
fear, and gullibility. They churn out so much disinformation one has the
sinking sense that however one tries to expose it, their plans in the short
term will prevail. But those paying attention have to try, and keep raising the
slogan: Stop the Attack on Iran.
Amir Taheri was not alone. The Jordan Times had also rushed to join
the holy campaign. Iran has laws in the pipeline that promise to make
life in the country even more difficult. One such piece of legislation aims
to impose a standard Islamic garment on all Iranians, meaning that Iranians
will no longer be able to dress as they wish.
There is an even more difficult to understand addition to the
restriction: The colours of the projected uniforms are limited to somber
hues. As if life were so rosy for them! The new regimentation in the lifestyle
of Iranians is supposed to apply even to children as young as four. It doesnt
make for a very mind-stimulating environment, nor for desire to stand out
even if, at this stage, only through the choice of colour for the garb.
The other piece of legislation aims to make it compulsory for nonMuslims in Iran to wear insignias on their clothing that identify them as
Christians, Jews or followers of whatever other religion. The Christian
would wear a red badge, while the Jews would have to wear a yellow sign.
This Iranian regime must be aware that it is bound by international
norms to respect the rights of the people in the country. And it is simply
unacceptable to discriminate between people on the basis of religion.
Making Christians and Jews by having them wear badges is a clear act of

discrimination bearing the ominous hue of the dark days of World War
II. Neither Islam nor international standards tolerate this kind of behaviour.
Some analysts observed the solution lies in abolishing the weapons of
mass destruction. I Hassan wrote, the fact is that a nuclear device is such
an evil thing that no one should have it. During the First World War,
poison gas was invented and used. After that war, at a world conference, all
states accepted that poison gas was evil and must not be used. Since then,
poison gas has been prohibited and not used.
A nuclear device is far worse than any poisonous gas because of the
sheer number of people that it can kill. It should be similarly banned and no
one user should act as an arbiter, being itself in possession of the device.
Such an arbiter should forsake its own bomb and thereafter insist that no one
must have one.
Jonathan Power mentioned the suggestions of Hans Blix to abolish
WMDs. The planning for major war has grown more alarming in all manner
of ways proliferation certainly but, not least in the relatively recent
statements of the US, Russia, the UK and France who, signaling a
momentous shift in military doctrine, say that they are prepared to use
their nuclear weapons for war fighting and not just for deterrence, as
during the Cold War.
When Hans Blix was the UN inspector charged with investigating
whether Iraq still possessed weapons of mass destruction, he once said that
any one can hang out a sign beware of dog, but it doesnt mean they have a
dog. In Saddam Husseins case this turned out to be correct.
Libya recently gave up its nuclear program. But while it was going
on there was no dog sign and no one knew that they had made as much
progress as they had. With North Korea they did hang out the sign but we
still dont know how much is bluff and how much is real. With Iran is still a
series of question marks.
Blix said they shy away from the obvious: If they themselves have
real dogs with nuclear or even biological teeth and they say they are more
prepared to use them than in the Cold War days why should these other
new would-be dog owners listen to them?
First, the Blix commission argues, we have to take military threats
off the table. The proliferation of nuclear weapons cannot be solved by the
immediate play of military hardball No country can be expected at this


stage to unilaterally forgo military options (as long as they remain

conventional) but the sword can be sheathed while negotiations progress.
Second, we have to re-engage with the legal commitments of the
central bargain of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The nuclear-haves
must take rapid steps to sharply reduce their nuclear armaments. Whilst
the goal must be zero, there can be no excuses for not immediately halving
their arsenals.

Amir Taheri is one of the staunch supporters of regime change
through military action. He wrote, theoretically, the whole issue could be
resolved in an afternoon. ElBaradei goes to Tehran, talks to whomever the
Iranian leaders assigned to talk to him and is convinced that the Islamic
republic is no longer violating the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty. He then returns to Vienna, convenes the board of governors of the
IAEA, and reports the good news. The board of governors then writes to the
Security Council inviting it to share the joy of these glad tidings and stop
looking for imaginative ways to deal with the Islamic republic The
crucial question that must be answered therefore is simple: Can we trust the
Islamic republic?
He identifies himself with the Crusaders as is evident from the word
we. He also preferred to refer to Iran as Islamic republic to urge on the
Crusaders to invade. He repeatedly used this word knowing the mindset of
the Crusaders who do not trust anything which is Islamic in any way.
He added, if answer is yes, then the Islamic republic, with or without
nuclear weapons, instantly ceases to be a threat to anyone, including its
neighbours. If, on the other hand, the Islamic republic is seen as
untrustworthy then no amount of diplomatic jugglery could reassure
those who might feel threatened by it, again with or without nuclear
Interestingly, not even those who, for a wide range of reasons, back
the Islamic republic in the current crisis are prepared to provide it with the
needed certificate of trustworthiness. He meant that the regime must be
changed whether it posses nuclear weapons or not.
According to information from Tehran, the issue of what strategy to
adopt was widely discussed at an informal meeting with the Supreme


Guide Ali Khamenei and attended by Ahmedinejad along with top military
commanders. Ahmedinejad succeeded in convincing the decision-makers
that there was no need to retreat when one was sure whether or not any
meaningful move would or, indeed, could be made against Iran.
So far, of course, Ahmedinejad has proved right. It is still Tehran
that largely controls the momentum of events. It could, for example, cool
things down by phasing out the mass production of centrifuges that could be
used for enriching uranium to weapons grade specifications. It could also
decree a temporary end to all work at the plutonium plant in Arak. Last but
not least, it could submit the NPTs additional protocols for consideration by
the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis).
David B Rivkin Jr and Lee A Casey found the legal basis for action
against Iran. Ahmedinejads words clearly violate Article 2.4 of the UN
Charter. This provision, to which Iran has agreed, requires all UN member
states to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force
against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.
Both the nature and context of Ahmedinejads manifesto set it
apart from such harsh but legally permissible rhetoric as President
Bushs talk of an axis of evil and of President Ronald Reagans reference to
the Soviet Union as an evil empire.
Since Israel has not committed aggression against Iran,
Ahmedinejads statements cannot be justified as self-defence. They have, in
fact, created a legally cognizable threat that can, and should, be
addressed by the Security Council under its Chapter VII powers, which are
concerned with threats to peace.
Seeking the councils intervention on Irans illegal threats to use
force makes excellent diplomatic sense. Such an approach would provide
multiple and reinforcing benefits A serious debate on Ahmedinejads
illegal threat would give the United States a unique opportunity to focus
the Security Council on the shrill anti-Israel rhetoric emanating not just from
Iran but also from numerous other Islamic countries. This rhetoric fosters
regional tensions and nurtures the dangerous jihadist sentiment.
China and Russia would be hard-pressed to oppose the effort.
Both of those countries have routinely clocked their objections to EU-US
policy toward Iran in the language of international law, arguing, for example
that Iran has a legal right to pursue civilian nuclear activities.


Henry A Kissinger urged working for internal change in Iran

through sanctions and means other than outright military action, at least for
the time being. He said Ahmedinejads letter merited its rejection, because
it was a ploy to obstruct UN Security Council deliberations. He added, it
may also have intentions beyond the tactical and propagandistic, and its
demagoguery may be a way to get the radical part of the Iranian public used
to dialogue with the United States.
The world is faced with the nightmarish prospect that nuclear
weapons will become a standard part of national armament and wind up in
terrorist hands One need only imagine what would have happened had any
of the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, London, Madrid, Istanbul
or Bali involved even the crudest nuclear weapon.
He remarked that six-party negotiations with North Korea seems
more advanced as compared to four-party talks with Iran. He said that
despite accepting that North Koreas tactic of stringing out the period
between each session, perhaps to gain time for strengthening its nuclear
arsenal. He appreciated some sort of agreement reached on nuclear issue
with North Korea, but did not mention that it has quitted NPT. On the other
hand, he was concerned that there isnt any agreement with Iran, but he
avoided mentioning that Tehran has signed NPT.
About public debate on America joining talks with suspected
proliferators, he said, with respect to Korea that is a subsidiary issue. The
six-power talks provide adequate opportunity for bilateral exchange of
views. But, he opposed bilateral talks with Korea apprehending that
present partners might choose to place the onus for breaking every
deadlock on Washington, in effect isolating the United States The same
considerations apply more strongly to bilateral negotiations with Iran at
this stage. He conceded that if America is prepared to negotiate with Iran, it
must be possible to devise a multilateral venue.
An infinite continuation of the stalemate would amount to defacto acquiescence by the international community in letting new entrants
into the nuclear club. In Asia, it would spell the near-certain addition of
South Korea and Japan; in the Middle East, countries such as Turkey, Egypt
and even Saudi Arabia could enter the field.
Radical elements throughout the Islamic World and elsewhere
would gain strength from the successful defiance of the major nuclear
powers Iran, and eventually other countries of similar orientation, would
be able to use nuclear arsenals to protect their revolutionary activities around

the world. The staunch supporter of Jewish cause was hinting at not
allowing the Muslims to gain strength.
There is an argument on behalf of acquiescing in proliferation which
holds that new nuclear countries have proved responsible in the past. But
this is not endorsed by experience. Pakistan proliferated its nuclear
technology through the A Q Khan project. North Korea has been an active
Diplomacy needs a new impetus. As a first step, the United States
and its negotiating partners have to agree on how much time is available for
negotiations The next step is to recognize the difference between
multiparty negotiations and a preferred strategy of regime change
Focusing on regime change as the road to denuclearization confuses the
issue. The United States should oppose nuclear weapons in North Korea and
Iran regardless of the government that builds them.
The diplomacy appropriate to denuclearization is comparable to the
containment policy that helped win the Cold War: no pre-emptive challenge
to the external security of the adversary, but firm resistance to attempts to
project it abroad and reliance on domestic forces to bring about internal
The sanity prevailed in general as many analysts opposed military
action. Farooq Zaman from Lahore wrote, any attempt by the US and its
allies to sabotage Irans nuclear programme and destabilize the country will
be playing with dire consequences. In such an event, terrorism that is
already on the rampage will gain more vitality and inevitably spread far
and wide
Abbas Amanat opined that confrontation wont stop from acquisition
of nuclear weapons. If the United States resorts to sanctions, or worse, to
some military response, the outcome would be not only disastrous but, in the
long run, transient And no doubt the Islamic regime will amply exploit
these collective memories to advance its nuclear program even as it stifles
voices of democratic dissent. Even more than before, Iranians will blame
outside powers for their misfortunes and choose not to focus on their own
troubled road to modernity.
If that course continues, Iran will most likely succeed, for ill or for
good, in finding its own nuclear holy grail. Legend has it that the Persian
king Hushang, an equivalent of Prometheus, introduced fire to the Iranians.


But unlike his Greek mythological counterpart, who stole it from gods, he
accidentally discovered it while fighting with a dragon.
Nicholas Blanford said, one alarming scenario gaining attention is
Irans nuclear facilities come under attack by the US or Israel, it could
inadvertently trigger a violent confrontation between Lebanons Hezbollah
and the Israeli military.
Earlier this month, Major General Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli
defence ministry official, said that while Irans main strategic arm was its
long-range Shihab-3 missiles, their second arm is Hezbollah, which has
13,000 to 14,000 rockets that threaten Israel.
Many non-Shiite Lebanese are uncomfortable with a political party
possessing weapons, saying it risks Lebanon becoming embroiled in external
conflicts. Hezbollah officials, however, say that its weapons are for the
defence of Lebanon, not Iran. Iran is capable of launching its own
retaliation, says Ahmad Malli, a member of Hezbollahs political council.
Its not logical for Iran as a regional power to ask a small organization to
attack Israel.
The domestic constraints on Hezbollah convince many analysts,
including some critics, that the party is unlikely to attack Israel in a Kneejerk reaction to a military strike against its Iranian backer However, Mr
Malli offered another scenario in which Israel launches a pre-emptive strike
against Hezbollah to degrade Tehrans retaliatory options If Israel
attacks Iran, it may well attack other targets at the same time, including
Hezbollah in Lebanon, he says. In that case, Hezbollah has the right to
defend itself and Lebanon with all possible means. Far from a theoretical
concept, Mallis scenario is one that is under serious consideration by Israel,
says Gerald Steinberg, professor of politics at Israels Bat Ilan University.
Paul Craig Roberts saw flaws in being Israel-centric. The US cannot
forever dominate the Middle East in behalf of its interests and Israels. The
US is running out of resources. The US is heavily in debt, yet continues to
hemorrhage red ink. Washington is dependent on foreigners to finance its
wars. Off shoring has diminished Americas ability to manufacture. The US
is now dependent on China for advanced technology products and on Europe
and Asia for manufactured goods.
The American middle class is beginning to experience employment
problems and income stagnation. The neocons idea that the US can patrol
Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Syria in perpetuity is insane. The Bush
regime has proven that the US cannot even occupy Baghdad.

Unless the US government intends nuclear genocide against

Muslims, it cannot prevail in war in the Middle East. A solution in the
Middle East requires diplomacy and goodwill, not threats and
aggression. Yet, the Bush regime refuses to even meet with Iranian
leaders By refusing to meet, talk, and negotiate, Bush is telling Iranians
that they have no choice. Either they comply and do what Bush demands, or
they will be attacked. That is the Iranian Crisis in nutshell.
Annan called for restraint. The News criticized US for ignoring the
call. The State Department spokesman reminded reporters at the Pentagon
of the warnings by President George W Bush that a nuclear strike on Iran
was an option with his government. Meanwhile, President Mahmoud
Ahmedinejad spurned as walnuts and chocolate to a child the European
Unions call for Iran to permanently give up nuclear enrichment in exchange
for a package of incentives
These developments are setbacks to Dr Annans efforts. However, the
secretary general has become an activist in the closing months of his second
and last term, going to the extent this month of criticizing the US position on
Iran. This holds out hope that the situation wont turn into a disaster.
Dr Maqsudul Hasan Nuri advised Iran. While nuclear weapons have
their positive value to act as a deterrent against predatory and hegemonic
neighbours, the modern state system is residing its paradigm of security
with emphasis on human security: Greater threats now seem to emanate
from within than without. Iran is a developing country It needs to export
its abundant resources to a friendly world and attract major investments for
infrastructure and development in oil and gas sectors.
Joseph S Nye hoped that Russian alternative could be helpful in
exercising the restraint. If Iran were interested solely in peaceful uses, the
Russian offer or some other plan (such as placing stocks of low enriched
uranium in Iran) could meet their needs. Irans insistence on enrichment
inside the country is widely attributed to its desire to produce highlyenriched uranium for a bomb.
After rejecting military action and sanctions, the analyst talked of a
package. Through a credible intermediary, the US could offer to consider
security guarantees and relief from existing sanctions if Iran agrees to forego
domestic enrichment and accept the Russian offer, perhaps garbed as an
IAEA-backed international consortium in which Iran could participate. This
would mean abandoning the temptations of coercive regime change that
hamstrung American diplomacy in Bushs first term.

By increasing economic and cultural ties, diplomacy might unleash

the soft power that could contribute to more gradual regime transformation
over the longer term. Meanwhile, such an approach might avoid the costly
use of force and buy time for a more benign outcome than what lies at the
end of the current path of events.
Mohammad Akif Jamal wrote, three important questions now need to
be tackled by the US administration. The first is, who will deprive Iran of
the ability to rise to its aspirations, and how? The second, who will pay the
bill for the costly operation? And third, how would the expected
confrontation affect Americas broader Middle East project?
Irans edge-of-the-cliff policy will soon come to a halt. It is not far
from the point where it will need to make a decision either to go ahead with
its programme, regardless of the consequences, or to retreat to avoid the
consequences of rejecting a Security Council resolution. He concluded,
Iran might accept the Russian offer to enrich uranium on its behalf,
especially considering that Tehran has not officially rejected this offer yet.
The Crusaders urge for action against Iran has direct bearing on
security and stability of the Arab states in the region. But, these countries
have not adopted a clear policy on the issue, though it is because they had
failed to adopt such policy even in case of Palestine and Iraq.
Sameh Rashid wrote, a unified Arab stance on these issues is
necessary, but not enough. There must be an actual Arab movement, and the
Arab role must not be limited to the formation of opinions and the adoption
of positions. Taking action on these issues would not only familiarize Arab
states with what is taking place in the region and its affairs now and what is
expected in the future. It would also impact on the serious possibility before
us, that of a nuclear Iran. Distancing ourselves from these issues may
leave us removed from Arab interests and security
Dr Maqsudul Hasan Nuri had similar views. For the GCC,
considerations of democracy in Iraq or prospects of a nuclear-armed Iran
are not as pressing as their own security, insofar as they are small city-states
that are consumers and not producers of security. This presents them
with a profound dilemma. In the Iran-US crisis, they are not playing any
active role but are relying on the US and Israel to resolve matters.
Sometimes they blame both the US and Iran for violating regional security
and deplore lack of contacts between them.


Feeling assured that Iran has no incentive to use nuclear weapons

against them as its nuclear programme is primarily against the US and Israel,
they are nevertheless nervous of the dire consequences if Iran is placed
under sanctions or attacked. In that case, they feel that Iran would be
forced to accelerate its nuclear programme, turn more bellicose and disrupt
their quietist ethos. Also in case of war, trade and business might suffer as
the Gulf waterway could face closure. Their advice to the US is not to push
Iran towards confrontation, not marginalize them and help rectify the
balance between a strong Iran and a weakened Iraq in the region.
The Arab states face Hobsons choice: close identification with the
US is unpopular due to public sentiment and the Israeli factor, while
prospects of military showdowns are a cause for worry. While you can do
precious little to modify the rigidity and bellicosity of Iran and the US, they
are asking both to exercise restraint and start a dialogue.
In a another article he brought Turkey in the equation, though in a
different context. The revelation that Iran was pursuing a clandestine
nuclear programme led to some rethinking in Turkey. The Turkish
perception is that the US could not prevent North Korea from going nuclear
and its undue emphasis on the war against terrorism has redirected its
energies and threat perceptions. The weakening of the NPT regime and the
US-India nuclear deal have also strengthened the feeling that Turkey should
also start building its infrastructure for nuclear weapons. If Iran evades the
NPT or walks out of it, Ankara will be left with no option but to follow suit.
Atul Aneja explained the extent of involvement of GCC countries in
case of military action against Iran. The existing presence of the Crusaders
in the Gulf region would automatically make the Arab states party to
the invasion for following reasons:
Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the US Navys Fifth Fleet. The
Jufair naval facility there is one of the nerve centres from where the
movement of US warships, including aircraft carriers that roam the
Gulf waters is coordinated.
The al-Udied air base in neighbouring Qatar has the longest runway
in the Gulf; it plays a central role in providing logistics and
surveillance support for operations in the area.
Not too far away, the port of the Fujairah in the UAE acquires special
importance in the execution of American contingency plans. The


facilities at this port will come into play in case Iran blocks the Strait
of Hormuz.
In addition, it will be used to offload US supplies. Alternately, goods
could be sent overland to the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai on the
opposite end, for further redistribution.
All the GCC countries are fully aware that a war between Iran and
the US runs counter to their national interests they are likely to be caught
in the crossfire Iran can exercise significant leverage in most of the Gulf
countries. Iranian influence has been deeply entrenched either on account of
the close ties that key power centres in Tehran maintain with the Shia
communities in this zone or because of the close economic ties that it
maintains with some of the GCC countries.
Trita Parsi, however, felt that the crisis was widening the gulf
between US and Sheikhdoms. Today, the Arab monarchies are less than
enthusiastic about putting their security solely in the hands of the United
States. With Chinas dependence on Gulf energy increasing and with the
inevitable rise of Iran, the Arabs are eyeing other alternatives.
Bush Administration feared that a common security arrangement
that included Iran could lessen the Arab states dependence on
Washington, give the leadership in Tehran undue influence and undermine
the justification for Washingtons military presence in the Gulf. Recognizing
that Iraqs defeat in 1991 provided an opportunity for it to mend fences with
Washington and reintegrate itself into the regions political order, Iran
aggressively pushed for a common security system that could end the
perpetual insecurity that put a dark shadow over the energy-rich region.
Washington defined the options facing the GCC to seek a Middle
East order with the US. By offering the GCC states bilateral security deals,
Washington preempted an inclusive Gulf security arrangement Rather
than increasing security through confidence building measures and
intensified and sustained diplomacy, the Arabs armed themselves to the teeth
with Washingtons blessing, to contain what was referred to as the Iranian
threat even though the Arabs vastly outspent Iran on arms.
For instance, the military expenditure of the United Arab Emirates,
an Arab Sheikhdom with a population of just 2.6 million, during 1994-99
was on average more than three times that of Iran, whose population
numbered 65 million


The Arab states aggressive arrangement contributed to Irans

insecurity, which in turn increased tensions between the two sides of the
Gulf and undermined the security of the region Under the security
umbrella, the region resembles Europe between the two World Wars it is
fundamentally disordered and riddled with uncertainty, negative competition
and massive instability.
Washingtons invasion of Iraq has fueled anti-US sentiment in the
region and put the Arab regimes security alliance with the US under
intensified domestic criticism Combined with Washingtons criticism of
the lack of democracy in the Arab Kingdoms, the common interests between
the guarantor of Gulf security and the supposed benefactors of this umbrella
are no longer as clear-cut.

M Monshipouri and F Sadrieh mentioned some fundamental facts
and realities that are often obfuscated in the current debate. These are;
US has not been target of aggression nor has it been threatened by Iran;
leveling of unsubstantiated allegations about the threat it may represent in
the future; Irans legal right to develop its nuclear program for peaceful
purposes under NPT; and Irans energy requirements growing at 7%
They regretted that Irans multiple security concerns are ignored.
First, Iran is not a member of any regional security pact. Second, the US
presence in the region has increased Irans sense of urgency for acquiring
some form of strategic deterrence. Finally, the talk of regime change
through military force further alienates Irans leaders.
Ahmedinejads letter had conveyed Iranian viewpoint to Bush
directly. All prophets, Ahmedinejad wrote, referring explicitly to Moses,
Jesus and Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Them), speak of peace and
tranquility for man. Do you not think that if all of us come to believe in and
abide by these principles, that are monotheism, worship of God, respect for
the dignity of man, belief in the Last Day, we could overcome the present
problems of the World? Will you not accept this invitation?
After reproducing the extracts from the letter, Patrick Seale wrote,
little wonder, that the Iranian presidents letter has caused bewilderment,
even alarm, among Bushs advisers and colleagues, more used to talking
the language of force not philosophy.

Masooda Bano said, whether or not the US or international

community takes Ahmedinejads letter seriously, the fact is by writing this
letter he has already won. Not only can he now claim to have made a serious
attempt towards establishing a dialogue, but, much more importantly, he has
successfully countered the negative hype around his image created by
Western media.
Dr Moonis Ahmar attempted at identifying the reasons behind Irans
stand on Israel and nuclear issue. Three reasons seem to have inspired Irans
Israel bashing. First, as Ahmedinejad targets Israel, he seeks to divert the
attention of the United States and Israel from Syria and Lebanon. Both
these countries are strong allies of Iran and are under immense pressure from
Washington because of their alleged involvement in terrorism against Israel
and the pro-American regime in Baghdad.
Second, the Iranian leaders are convinced that a nuclear Iran cannot
be blackmailed. Third, the Iranian regime, through its tough positions on
America, Israel and the nuclear issue, has been able to muster enormous
popular support.
Other issues in Iran democracy, corruption and unemployment
which the Khatami regime had tried to resolve, are now in the background.
This diversion of attention has paid rich dividends to those who are at the
helm of affairs in Iran today.
He opined, Ahmedinejads threats have been counterproductive.
He may be hailed as a hero in his country or in a section of the Muslim
World, but beyond that, he will be viewed as a person who is advocating
destruction of a sovereign state which happens to be a member of the UN
and other international organizations. The analyst ignored those who have
actually destroyed two countries which were members of the UN.
Farah Zia opined that Iranian leaders have read the situation correctly.
The only sanctions that could affect them in real sense would be on oil.
They know that the West cannot afford to do that The Iranians also
know that for any sanctions to materialize, the Security Council has to bring
China and Russia round its side, which has not been done so far.
To come to what the Iranians know about the last or the ultimate
threat an attack on their nuclear facilities. The Iranians certainly know
that the Americans might be confused about the consequences of their
well-executed actions that went terribly wrong in the case of Iraq. They
even know that an American Congressional election is round the corner


Ewen MacAskill opined that Tehran wants direct talks with

Washington, whereas the US, Britain, France and Germany persuade Iran to
accept the deal. There is a strong secondary motivation: the offer is also
intended to rope in Russia and China to support punitive measures if Tehran
rejects the deal.
The deal the Europeans offered to Iran last year was watered down at
the last minute, after US objections. It is hardly surprising then that the
Iranians want to talk to the organ grinder rather than the monkeys If
the US genuinely wants to go down the diplomatic route, then it has to
accept the Iranian offer of direct talks. It might in the end not do any good.
Irans progress towards a nuclear weapon now appears unstoppable
But Iran might make a calculation that it is worth delaying for a few
years to take the heat out of the crisis and await a new, perhaps more
pliant, administration in Washington. But even a delay is a worthwhile
diplomatic prize, one that might require direct talks.
Arab News wrote, Irans ambassador to the United Nations has said
Tehran wants to work directly with the United States on an easily
attainable resolution, while the countrys former Parliament speaker on
Saturday urged direct talks with the United States to break down the
walls of mistrust. Another top official, International Atomic Energy
Agency chief Mohamed El-Baradei, has mentioned Irans interest in bilateral
talks to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Iran, which has had no diplomatic relations with the US since 1979,
has even turned to Greece as a middleman to convey its messages to the
United States. Washington, however, has been ice cold to the overtures,
which must include President Ahmedinejads recent letter to President Bush
which went unanswered.
Iran and the US do talk, or at least have expressed a willingness to
begin a dialogue focusing on Iraq. US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has
said that he was ready to talk with the Iranians about their relationship with
Baghdad. And Rice went on Arab television the other day to say that
Washington recognizes Irans role in Iraq.
If talk on Iraq is fine, why then is it not so fine to discuss the Nword, an issue of no less importance? Or is the United States happy to
receive help when it comes to Iraq, ready to listen even to a foe, but
unwilling to hear the same party, as soon as the subject changes? The recent
overtures have presented an unprecedented momentum toward possible oneon-one contact between Tehran and Washington.

Mahmoud Ahmedinejad expressed Irans viewpoint in his interview to

Der Spiegel of Germany, which raised the issues of Holocaust, future of
Israel and the nuclear row. The issues chosen clearly indicated that the aim
of Der Spiegel was to demonize the Iranian leader, but Nejad put across
Irans view point quite candidly.
In reply to reminding him that denial of the Holocaust is punishable
in Germany, he said, I know that Der Spiegel is a respected magazine. But I
dont know whether it is possible for you to publish the truth about the
Holocaust. Are you permitted to write everything about it?
When Der Spiegel insisted that it was entitled to write about the
findings of the past 60 years, Nejad said, we are posing two very clear
questions. The first is: Did the Holocaust actually take place? You answer
this question in affirmative. So, the second question is: Whose fault was it?
The answer to that has to be found in Europe and not in Palestine. It is
perfectly clear: If the Holocaust took place in Europe, one also has to
find the answer to it in Europe. On the other hand, if the Holocaust didnt
take place, why then did this regime of occupation
Nejad was asked that did he mean Israel; and he replied in affirmative
and added, we are of the opinion that, if an historical occurrence conforms
to the truth, this truth will be revealed all the more clearly if there is
more research into it and more discussion about it.
That has long since happened in Germany, Der Spiegel insisted. Nejad
clarified, we dont want to confirm or deny the Holocaust. We oppose every
type of crime against any people. But we want to know whether this crime
actually took place or not. If it did, then those who bear the responsibility for
it have to be punished, not the Palestinians? Why research into a deed that
occurred 60 years ago isnt permitted? After all, other historical
occurrences, some of which lie several thousand years in the past, are open
to research, and even the governments support this.
The panel insisted that there is no doubt about the Holocaust and the
Germans are responsible, but refused to link Palestinians with the issue.
Nejad replied, the roots of the Palestinian conflict must be sought in history.
The Holocaust and Palestine are directly connected with one another. And if
the Holocaust actually occurred, then you should permit impartial groups
from the whole world to research this. Why do you restrict the research to
a certain group? Of course, I dont mean you, but rather the European


Are you still saying that the Holocaust is just a myth, asked the
panel; and Nejad said, I will only accept something as truth if I am actually
convinced of it. In reply to the argument that no Western scholars harbour
any doubt, he replied, there are two opinions on this in Europe. One group
of scholars or persons, most of them politically motivated, say the Holocaust
occurred. Then there is the group of scholars who represent the opposite
position and have therefore been imprisoned for the most part. Hence, an
impartial group has to come together to investigate and to render an opinion
on this very important subject, because the clarification of this issue will
contribute to the solution of global problems. Under the pretext of the
Holocaust, a very strong polarization has taken place in the world and
fronts have been formed. It would therefore be very good if an international
and impartial group looked into the matter in order to clarify it once and for
Der Spiegel inquired as to which researchers Nejad meant. You
would know this better than I; you have the list. There are people from
England, from Germany, France and from Austria. The panel presumed and
named some who have been prosecuted and punished for denying the
Nejad added, the mere fact that my comments have caused such
strong protests, although I am not a European, and also the fact that I have
been compared with certain persons in German history indicates how
charged with conflict the atmosphere for research is in your country.
Here in Iran you need not worry.
Today the Germans are ashamed but they cannot do anything for
deeds of their fathers and grandfathers. Nejad asked; how can a person who
wasnt even alive at the time be held legally responsible? Why is such a
burden heaped on the German people? The German people of today bear no
guilt. Why are the crimes of one group emphasized so greatly, instead of
highlighting the great German cultural heritage? Why should the Germans
not have the right to express their opinion freely?
The panel insisted that it knew the German history and the crimes
committed by Third Reich in the German name. We have owned these,
which is a great achievement. Are you also prepared to tell that to the
German people, asked Nejad. We do that, was the reply. Then would you
also permit an impartial group to ask the German people whether it shares
your opinion? No people accept its humiliation.


The panel accepted that there are right-wing Germans who are antiSemitic, but xenophobic and we consider them a threat. Let me ask you one
thing: how much longer do you think the German people have to accept
being taken hostage by the Zionists? When will that end in 20, 50, 1,000
The panel was clearly irritated, but boasted of being critical and
independent; and stood by the protest against questioning the existential
right of the State of Israel, where many Holocaust survivors live. Precisely
that is our point. Why should you feel obliged to the Zionists? If there really
had been a Holocaust, Israel ought to be located in Europe, not in Palestine.
Der Spiegel argued that it amounted to resettling a whole people 60
years after the end of the war. Five million Palestinians have not had a
home for 60 years. It is amazing really: You have been paying reparations
for the Holocaust for 60 years and will have to keep paying up for another
100 years. Why then is the fate of the Palestinians no issue here?
The panel claimed that the West was helping to bring peace in the
region and asked, dont you share that responsibility? Yes, but aggression,
occupation and a repetition of the Holocaust wont bring peace. What we
want is a sustainable peace. This means that we have to tackle the root of the
problem. I am pleased to note that you are honest people and admit that you
are obliged to support the Zionists. That is not what we said. Nejad replied
that you did mention Israelis.
Der Spiegel rubbed the issue to convey to its readers that Nejad
vehemently denied Holocaust. This exercise was aimed at demonizing the
Iranian leader. The panel then came to the nuclear issue and the West seeing
it as threat. Some groups in the West enjoy calling things or people a
threat. Of course youre free to make your own judgment, replied Nejad.
The key question is that do you want nuclear weapons for your
country, asked the panel bluntly. Allow me to encourage a discussion on the
following question: How long do you think the world can be governed by
the rhetoric of a handful of Western powers? Whenever they hold
something against someone, they start spreading propaganda and lies,
defamation and blackmail. How much longer can that go on?
The panel argued that Irans neighbouring country feared that Iran was
very keen to build the bomb. Is it true? Nejad gave an indirect reply, while
insisting that under NPT Iran, like any other country, has the legal right to
acquire nuclear technology. Iran has had an excellent cooperation with
IAEA. We have had more than 2,000 inspections of our plants, and the

inspectors have obtained more than 1,000 pages of documentation from us.
Their cameras are installed in our nuclear centres. IAEA has emphasized in
all its reports that there are no indications of any irregularities in Iran. The
panel said IAEA doesnt quite share your view of this matter.
While replying to the key question, Nejad repeated his previous
assertions. In our view, the legal system whereby a handful of countries
force their will on the rest of the world is discriminatory and unstable. He
added that countries possessing nuclear weapons use their atomic
weapons to threaten other peoples. And it is these powers who say that
they are worried about Iran deviating from the path of peaceful use of atomic
What these powers say is that the Iranians must not complete the
nuclear fuel cycle because deviation from peaceful use might then be
possible. What we say is that these countries themselves have long deviated
from peaceful usage. These powers have no right to talk to us in this manner.
This order is unjust and unsustainable.
The panel pointed out that the world would become very dangerous if
Iran and other countries build bombs in a crisis-ridden region. We are
fundamentally opposed to the expansion of nuclear weapons arsenals.
This is why we have proposed the formation of an unbiased organization and
the disarmament of the nuclear powers. We dont need any weapons. Were
civilized, cultured people, and our history shows that we have never attacked
another country.
The panel became sarcastic by saying that Iran doesnt need the bomb
that it wants to build. I stress once again, we dont need any nuclear
weapons. We stand by our statements because were honest and act
legally. Were no fraudsters. We only want to claim our legitimate right.
Incidently, I never threatened any one that, too, is part of the propaganda
machine that you have got running against me. Would you like to assure
that no one should fear that Iran would use nuclear weapons, the panel
asked. Allow me to say two things. No people in the region are afraid of us.
And no one should instill fear in these peoples.
We believe that if the United States and these two or three European
countries did not interfere, the peoples in this region would live
peacefully together as they did in thousands of years before. In 1980, it was
also the nations of Europe and the United States that encouraged Saddam
Hussein to attack us.


After the announcement that the US was willing for direct talks with
Iran, Jackson Diehl wrote, most Iranians Ive spoken to, fervently desire
from the United States: not the tactical talks offered last week by Secretary
of state Condoleezza Rice but strategic recognition of Iran as a great
civilization and a regional power that must be treated, like China as a stakeholder in global affairs.

There was nothing new to add to the list of effects created by the
ongoing crisis, except the US willingness to direct negotiations with Iran.
But before discussing the prospects of talks, some comments on one of the
outcomes already identified in Part-I, which Putin denied by saying, no
return to Cold War with the West.
The Guardian rejected the possibility of revival of Cold war. Much of
what Mr Putin said was about domestic issues, calling for investment to
boost growth and measures to reverse a declining birth rate. But it was his
dismissive riposte to the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, which attracted
most attention.
Nostalgics apart, no one believes that Russia has any real claim to
be the global titan it once was, though it is still a nuclear-armed, vetowielding member of the UN Security Council and thus a key player on
issues like Iran. But its oil and gas reserves have given it a clout it could
only dream of in the dying days of the Soviet Union, as Mr Putin recognizes
with his use of the term energy superpower.
The Putin-Cheney exchanges hardly constitute a new cold war, as
some claim, though there is a distinct nip in the summer air. It seems
certain to be felt at the G8 summit in St Petersburg in July, when Mr Putin is
hoping for progress on Russias bid to join the World Trade Organization
For whats going on these days is now fairly clear and fairly alarming.
Nicolas K Gvosdev opined that the impression of revival of Cold War
has been created by the public opinion in Russia which is critical of
Americas unilateralism. Opinion polls suggest that more than 60 percent
of Russians see the United States as having a negative influence in the
world; more than half believe that the United States is unfriendly to Russia.
And although many Americans comfort themselves with the illusion that
these figures must be weighted in favour of the elderly with Cold War hangups, the reality is that it is the young, college-educated elites in Moscow and


St Petersburg Russias wealthiest and most liberal cities who are the
bastion of anti-US sentiment in the country.
Survey data indicate that by a 2-to-1 margin, Russians believe the
economic benefits of selling arms to Iran outweigh preserving good relations
with the United States. More than 60 percent do not share the view that Iran
endangers the security of Russia, and more than 80 percent agree with the
proposition that Iran has drawn American ire not because of Tehran poses a
general threat to global peace and security but because Iran frustrates
American ambitions for the region.
In fact, it is difficult to conceive of any Putin foreign-policy decision
of the last several years that would have been reversed by a more
democratically accountable Russian government. Eighty-nine percent of
the people, for example, oppose any participation of Russian forces in
any American-led coalition in Iraq.
Ayman el-Amir attributed this strong anti-US public opinion to
Americas so-called war on terror in general and occupation of Iraq in
particular. Russia has been groping its way back to global power since it
recovered from the 1998 financial crisis in which it defaulted on its foreign
debt obligations and tipped international markets into a downward spin.
It was not until the unilateral invasion of Iraq by the US and UK that
Russian strategic interests in the Middle East were seriously threatened.
Not only was the former Soviet Union fragmented and many of its republics
lured into Western political and economic institutions, but the warm waters
of the Mediterranean became forbidding, and former allies along its
coastline and beyond estranged.
The US became the dominant power in the Middle East, with
unprecedented hegemony over politics, oil resources, intelligence, and
military facilities. But while the invasion of Iraq and its consequences
excluded a Russian role, the dispute over Irans nuclear activities did
not. Historical relations and strategic interests between the two neighbouring
countries, including Russias commitment to building two nuclear reactors in
Iran, give it a central role in the running dispute.
As a key player in the Middle East problem, sidelined by the US after
the Camp David agreements, Russia has won accolades within the Hamasled Palestinian government when it offered $ 10 million in emergency
assistance just as the US and its Western allies were trying to strangle it. As a
member of the Middle East Quartet Russia is playing moderating role to
counterbalance the unqualified support the US lends Israel.

In rebuilding its position in the international arena Russia will no

longer rely on the discredited ideological affinities that were the hallmark
of the former Soviet Union. The 21st century world is built on shifting
loyalties and loose alliances and, above all, economic interests.
With its new-found confidence and wealth Russia is re-emerging on
the international political scene as a re-energized power that can make a
difference. And its new role is being reinforced by an unlikely ally,
strengthened by the debacle-strewn policies of the Bush Administration.
The Cod War scenario has been projected for pressuring Russia. For
example, four former Soviet states, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and
Moldova were reported joining hands to seek to plot a path independent of
Moscows control with key objective of joining EU and NATO.
Daniel Schorr could not see any wisdom in such hype. It is hard to
figure out why the Bush Administration is starting this new little cold
war with Russia. Russia must be prevailed upon not to veto United Nations
sanctions on Iran if there is to be any hope of getting a strong resolution.
Russia is also an asset in the fight against terrorism (Islamic militancy).
Russias huge stockpile of nuclear weapons is never very far from American
strategic thinking.
A recent report of a bipartisan task force assembled by the Council on
Foreign Relations said Putin is presiding over a rollback of Russian
democracy, what it called a defacto revival of the group of seven that is,
a separate meeting without Russia That idea is not likely to sit well with
the Russian hosts in St Petersburg. One way or another, relations with
Russia seem headed for trouble.
There were others, like Mark John, who indulged in the hype keeping
the energy resources at the foremost. Western concern over Russias
control of energy supplies has emerged as a new complicating factor in
relations. The gas pricing dispute between Russia and Ukraine this year led
to disruption of supplies to Europe and heated exchanges at least one closeddoor NATO-Russia session, diplomats say.
The allies wanted to raise the matter because they saw a problem of
heavy-handed tactics by the Russians, said one participant at a ministerial
session last month. Against such backdrop, it is little wonder the results of
NATO-Russia cooperation efforts have been moderate so far There is no
consensus within NATO yet on how to deal with a new assertive Russia,
said Dana Allin of the London-based IISS.


Govind Talwalkar opined, most of the criticism leveled against

Putin can be leveled against the Bush Administration as well.
Theoretically, in the US, the media is free; but since big corporations own it,
the heads of which are ardent Republicans and some very conservative, it is
almost embedded in the administration, and has lost credibility. This of
course does not justify Putins high-handed tactics, but Cheney and Rice and
for that matter Bush have no moral authority to throw stones at the Russian
Since the US is using its leverage to dominate the World Bank, IMF,
WTO and all such organizations, and defy all international laws, it should
not lecture any head of state against using natural resources as weapon.
The US too is more than guilty of rousing nationalist feelings at home, in
that; much is made of the military.
Kaveh L Afrasiabi was of the view that differences on Iran were
misinterpreted, because Beijing and Moscow carefully crafting every step
according to the ebbs and flows of a fluid crisis that features multiple
players with distinct, shared, parallel and opposing interests.
Instead of exploring the perfectly viable options of full-scale
international monitoring of Irans limited, contained enrichment programme,
Russian and Chinese policy-makers are slowly but surely adjusting
themselves to precisely such a scenario, whose net effect would be
detrimental to their own geopolitical vested interests, particularly if war
breaks out.
Americas willingness for the dialogue with Iran was a significant
development. A sincere approach aimed at peaceful resolution of the dispute
was widely suggested. On 26th May, the News wrote, there is one welcome
development of this issue, however, and this is a report which says that some
countries are intensifying contacts to try to prevent the situation from
escalating by offering Tehran some kind of package on incentives and
concessions in return for promises that it will not develop nuclear weapons.
One hopes that George W Bush and the neocons that run the government
will come around to this idea and give dialogue a chance.
Manik Mehta wrote that Malaysia was mediating on nuclear row with
Iran. Badawi urged the Iranian leader to seek a diplomatic solution to
the standoff with the West over Irans nuclear programme. This, to avert a
military conflictMalaysia also nudged Ahmedinejad to coordinate with
Russia, which has been assigned the role of a mediator by the US.


Malaysia has, apparently, been encouraged by the US to persuade

Iran to avoid the stand-off with the West and seek a peaceful solution by
renouncing its nuclear programme US experts privately say, Malaysia
under Badawi could help, to use a phrase in vogue, build bridges for the
US with the Muslim World.
Steven R Weisman was not optimistic about prospects of dialogue and
bargaining. Those who know her well say she is resisting on the ground that
signaling a willingness to talk would show weakness and disrupt the
delicate negotiations with Europe. Ms Rice is also said to fear that the
administration might end up making too many concessions to Iran.
Administration officials said President Bush, Vice President Dick
Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld have opposed direct
talks, even through informal back channels. As a result, many European
officials say they doubt that a decision to talk is likely soon One reason
senior administration officials do not like the idea of talking with Iran,
many of them say, is that they are not certain Iranian leaders would
respond positively. A rebuff from Iran, even to a back-channel query, is to
be avoided at all costs, various officials agree.
Joschka Fischer advocated bargaining despite Irans rigid stance on
the issue. At the heart of the issue lies the Iranian regimes aspiration to
become a hegemonic Islamic and regional power and thereby position itself
at eye level with the worlds most powerful nations. It is precisely this
ambition that sets Iran apart from North Korea: Whereas North Korea seeks
nuclear weapons capability to entrench its own isolation, Iran is aiming for
regional dominance and more.
Iran is betting on revolutionary changes within the power structure of
the Middle East to help it achieve its strategic goal. To this end, it makes use
of Israel and Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as Lebanon, Syria, its
influence in the Persian Gulf region and, above all, Iraq. This combination of
hegemonic aspirations, questioning of the regional status quo and a
nuclear program is extremely dangerous.
Irans acquisition of a nuclear bomb or even its ability to produce
one would be interpreted by Israel as a fundamental threat to its existence,
thereby compelling the West, and Europe in particular, to take sides. Europe
has not only historical moral obligations to Israel but also security interests
that link it to the strategically vital Eastern Mediterranean.
The Iranian regimes analysis may prove to be a dangerous
miscalculation, because it is likely to lead sooner rather than later to a hot

confrontation that Iran simply cannot win. After all, the issue at the heart of
this conflict is this: Who dominates the Middle East Iran or the United
States? Irans leaders underestimate the explosive nature of this issue for
the United States as a global power and thus for its own future.
So what should be done? There remains a serious chance for a
diplomatic solution if the United States, in cooperation with the Europeans
and with the support of the UN Security Council and the non-aligned states
of the Group of 77, offers Iran a grand bargain. In exchange for long-term
suspension of uranium enrichment, Iran and other states would gain access
to research and technology within an internationally defined framework and
under comprehensive supervision by the International Atomic Energy
The New York Times wrote, if things keep going as they are going
now, Iran is likely to have nuclear weapons sometime during the next
decade. Yet none of the strategies now being discussed internationally
seem likely to get Iran to change course. The incentives that Europe can
offer on its own appear too limited to tempt Iran into giving up its nuclear
plans. The mild sanctions that seem to be the most Russia and China are
willing to consider at this point are too painless to make much of an
impression. And the few military options realistically available are likely to
do more harm than good.
This bleak outlook for addressing a problem that is far too serious to
be ignored argues for exploring a radically different approach: direct
talks between Washington and Tehran in which Iran would be offered a
wide-ranging package of economic inducements and security assurances in
exchange for completely and verifiably abandoning all programs capable of
producing nuclear bomb fuel. Some Iranian officials are now seeking such
talks, yet Washington, perversely, seems uninterested.
The Bush Administrations resistance to direct talks could prove
very costly to Americas long-term interests. With Irans uranium
enrichment programs moving forward, time is not on Washingtons side.
Direct talks with Iran may fail to produce an acceptable agreement. But by
testing Irans willingness to bargain seriously, America could put itself in a
far stronger diplomatic position to seek more effective international
sanctions later Unless the Bush Administration eases its stubborn
opposition to direct talks, it is hard to see what is going to stop the eventual
emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran.


After the announcement of Americas willingness to join talks, the

Washington Post called it a smart approach. It wrote, the concession was
merely to acknowledge the reality that any enduring settlement of the Iranian
nuclear threat will require direct US participation. Yet the administration
rightly insisted that Iran first suspend its uranium enrichment and
reprocessing before any talks including the United States begin, and it linked
its offer to a carrot-and-stick package of incentives and sanctions that would
be presented to Iran in the coming days with the support of the Europeans
and, possibly, China and Russia.
The packaging means that Iran wont achieve the symbolic
breakthrough of talks with the United States something its regime and
public deeply desire unless it suspends its nuclear work. If Iran rejects the
offer, which will also include economic incentives, the result should be the
passage of a Security Council resolution opening the way to sanctions.
Crucially, European governments, and possibly Russia and China, will agree
on the sanctions to be imposed even before the offer is made.
That doesnt mean the Bush Administration is anywhere near ending
the threat from Iran. Most likely, the regime will try to dodge the choice it
will be presented or reject it altogether. It will look for support to actors
such as Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy
Agency, who has publicly undercut the decisions of his own board and the
Security Council by proposing that Iran be allowed to continue uranium
The News wrote, the proposal of direct talks with Iran can be
described as a major shift in policy because for the first time since the
Islamic revolution Washington has expressed a willingness to directly talk to
Tehran. But the strictly conditional nature of the offer announced by
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday that Iran must first halt
enriching uranium casts some doubt of Americas intentions. The decision
is an about-turn also in the sense that it shows that perhaps the neocons in
the Bush Administration who have been all along pressing for no
engagement with Tehran may have lost on this issue to the relatively more
moderate state department.
Glenn Kessler wrote, for six years, President Bush and his aides
have dismissed the idea of talking with Iran about its nuclear
programmes, and until last year gave little support to European efforts to
restrain Iranian nuclear activity. Attempts by former Iranian president


Mohammad Khatami, a moderate, to foster a dialogue were rejected and

even back-channel moves failed to gain traction.
The administration made this move at a moment of weakness. The
presidents public opinion ratings are among the lowest ever recorded for a
modern president, and oil prices have reached record levels, in part because
of the confrontation with Iran. The high price of oil, in turn, has enriched the
Iranian treasury.
A key factor in Bushs decision is the influence of Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, who announced the offer in a televised news conference.
Since becoming secretary of state last year, Rice has worked assiduously to
make certain that the United States does not manoeuvre itself into
becoming the worlds enemy No 1, as it did on the Iraq War.
Once Bush received assurances earlier this week from leaders of
China, Russia and other nations that if this offer were rejected they would
accept a harder line against Iran, US officials decided to go forward with the
plan. Rice said Wednesday that she advocated this decision in part
because of echoes of the concerns that she heard on her first trip that
the United States was not serious about resolving this issue with diplomacy.
Conservatives in the administration have chafed at the shift,
suggesting it shows weakness on the part of the United States because Iran
apparently has been able to make significant progress in nuclear energy
with little apparent consequences.
Rice made this new move just as it appeared the European effort
was on the verge of collapsing through division and lack of leadership. The
Germans, eager to strike a deal with Iran, have been the most adamant that
the United States needed to join the talks.
Helene Cooper and David E Sanger described details of the decision
making. Rice sat down to a small lunch in President Bushs private dining
room and delivered grim news to her Boss: Their Coalition against Iran
was at risk of falling apart it broached the idea that the United States
end its nearly three-decade policy against direct talks with Iran.
He (Bush) made the final decision only after telephone calls with
President Vladimir V Putin of Russia and the Chancellor Angela Merkel of
Germany led him to conclude that if Tehran refused to suspend its
enrichment of uranium, or later dragged its feet, they would support an
escalating series of sanctions against Iran at the United Nations and could
lead to confrontation.


Dick Cheney, long an opponent of proposals to engage Iran,

agreed to this experiment. But it is unclear whether he is an enthusiast, or
simply expects Iran to reject suspending enrichment clearing the way to
sanctions that could test the Iranian governments ability to survive.
Simon Tisdall termed it an internal victory for Rice. Her approach
increasingly brought her into conflict with the vice-president, Dick Cheney
the dark lord of right wing Republicanism; and Donald Rumsfeld, the
Pentagon tsar whose political infighting skills repeatedly undermined Mr
Powell. But both men have lost ground in recent months, largely because of
Iraq. They are believed to have opposed an opening to Iran as a
concession to terrorism and blackmail.
The US shift puts the ball squarely back in Irans court If, after
serious consideration, Iran formally rejects the offer and the accompanying
carrots-and-sticks package to be finalized in Vienna today, the US will be
able to say that it has tried its best And western nations, plus Russia and
China, will almost certainly agree. They will be much more likely to unite
behind Washington in seeking coercive UN Security Council action against
Tehran. Ms Rice will have achieved her coalition of the willing If Iran
accepts, then long and difficult negotiations will lie ahead with no guarantee
of success. But a third war in the Middle East in almost as many years may
have been avoided, at least for now
Daily Telegraph said, it will be nave to think that the deep mistrust
between America and Iran, which dates from the hostage crisis of 1979-81,
has suddenly evaporated. Rather than opening secret negotiations,
Washington has decided to make very public offer of talks and thus put the
other side on the spot. This is sensible tactical ploy and marks the end of
that strange period when Washington subcontracted to allies the conduct of
talks on a matter of vital concern.
The New York Times foresaw that the next few days and weeks would
be delicate. Iran makes much of its right, under international law, to enrich
uranium for power plants. But it is much less eager to talk about its
unambiguous obligation, under the same treaty, not to abuse that right for
purposes of building nuclear weapons. Its current enrichment programs
threatened to cross that critical line. Tehran would not be giving up any
rights by suspending enrichment-related activities. It has already done
twice before. Many other countries with exactly the same legal right to
enrichment and reprocessing have wisely chosen not to engage in those
problematic activities.


Patrick Seale asked what if Iran rejects the package. The six powers
will be at odds over what to do next. Unlike the US and its European
allies, China and Russia are firmly opposed to any talk of sanctions at this
stage, arguing that this is a matter for the UN Security Council alone to
The US seems to have put a damper on its earlier bellicose discourse.
US officials no longer refer to Iran as a rogue state or as the central banker
of terrorism. This is a small but important sign of greater realism in
American hardliners represented by pro-Israeli neocons as well as by
such a powerful figure as Vice President Dick Cheney are by no means
convinced of the usefulness of talks with Tehran. They want to isolate and
overthrow the Iranian regime, not to embrace it.
They argue that if Iran were allowed to continue nuclear activity,
even only on laboratory scale, it must eventually acquire the knowledge to
build nuclear weapons and would therefore challenge American and Israeli
hegemony in the region.
Iranian hardliners and they include Ahmedinejad himself fear
that if a dialogue with Washington resulted in a thaw in relations, it could
open the suppressed floodgates of pro-American sentiment in Iran that might
eventually sweep the whole theocratic regime from power.
Some observers of Washington politics believe the offer was
designed to fail, so as to demonstrate Irans intransigence and therefore
open the way for harsh international pressures. Perhaps the real obstacle to
talks is Americas insistence on limiting them to Irans nuclear ambitions.
Hamid Ansari saw no reason for optimism. He said that the design of
the grand bargain has to be viewed in the context of background in
which the United States (a) refused in principle to engage with Iran; (b) tried
to impose conditions through EU3 and in the process moved goal posts; (c)
sought to re-write the NPT and move its own red line: from a denial to Iran
of nuclear weaponry to a denial, first, of enrichment and then, of research
and knowledge itself.
Hillel Fradkin visualized the same, but he opined that it would be
because of Iran. Once a formal offer is made, will Iran agree to our
condition and enter direct talks? Not likely. First, Iran isnt tempted by the
carrots Nor is it frightened by the sticks But the most important
reason is the great value Iran, and in particular Ahmedinejad, sees in the


pursuit of nuclear enrichment and weaponry. He has referred to it as a

golden treasure. And he is right, from the perspective of his ambitions,
which are increasingly those of the regime as a whole.

The preceding confirms the conclusions drawn in Part I. The
Crusaders are demonizing Irans quest for peaceful nuclear technology
driven by anti-Muslim sentiment. It may be noted that North Korea is
reported to be far ahead of Iran in its programme to possess nuclear
weapons, yet America has avoided confrontation with blatant proliferators.
The logic behind the double standard on nuclear proliferation is that
North Korea, with or without nuclear weapons, poses no threat to Israel, but
Iran, again with or without the forbidden weapons, is taken as serious threat.
Therefore, it can be inferred that anti-Iran sentiment is being fanned by
lobbies working for the Jewish cause.
It is premature to draw any conclusion about revival of Cold War. No
big power is inclined to indulge in such a wasteful confrontation. However,
Russia and China, encouraged by the prevalent anti-West feeling all over the
world, seem willing to oppose Americas unilateralism and hegemonic
The US willingness to hold talks with Iran is a significant
development which took place during the period. This has come as the result
of realization that America may be capable of biting, chewing and even
swallowing big chunks, but not necessarily digesting those, which is all
It is not aimed at any compromise on the issue. Bush has agreed to
direct talks with the intent to ensure dialogues failure and then blaming Iran
for that. To this end he has laid down such demands which make the very
purpose of dialogue redundant.
In other words, it is not the change of heart or altering of the goals. It
is modification of the strategy to first impose UN approved sanctions and
then prepare grounds for military action/regime change. The revision of
strategy was necessitated by the prevalent situation which is not conducive
for opening another militarily active front.
Nevertheless, the Crusaders, by increasing tension with Iran, have
succeeded in diverting world attention away from Iraq, Afghanistan and


Palestine. It has also convinced the rulers of the Arab World that their
security rests in aligning their interests with those of the US.
The argument of Gulf News and many others which says that Israels
nuclear arsenal be preferably abolished, but Irans intention of possessing
nuclear bombs puts undue stress on the region, spoke of the disunity of
Muslim World. The disunity, at times leading to hostility towards each other,
makes the task of the Crusaders easier.

10th June 2006


On 8th June, Maliki flanked by Khalilzad and US General George
Casey announced that Zarqawi, along with seven aides, including his
spiritual leader Sheikh Abdul Rahman, was killed in precision bombing of a


remote location in Diyala province near its capital, Baqouba. The occupation
forces wasted no time in nominating his successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
It was reported that information collected by Jordan during
interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects and provided to US forces along with
video tapes of the deceased helped in pin-pointing the location of the
monster. Next day, curfew was clamped in Baghdad and Baqouba as
preventive measure against retaliatory attacks by the insurgents.
We tell our prince, Sheikh bin Laden, your soldiers in al-Qaeda in
Iraq will continue along the same path that you set out for Abu Musab alZarqawi, said a statement on an Islamist Website. The death of our leaders
is life for us and only makes us more determined to continue the jihad In
the town of Zarqa, Zarqawis relatives mourned his death as a loss to Islam
and prayed for 1,000 Zarqawis to fight the Americans in his place.
On 9th June, al-Qaeda threatened to avenge Zarqawis killing.
Websites devoted to al-Qaeda and other jihadist causes were flooded with
messages of support for the organization and pledges to continue the fight.
World media saw no end to war.
I want to assure the Muslims across the world that we will not stop
our struggle against crusaders in Afghanistan, said Mulla Omar, nobody
knew Zarqawi three years back, but his struggle against US invaders made
him an important leader of the resistance movement.
US General denied that Zarqawi was beaten to death by US soldiers.
He died while American soldiers were attempting to save his life. Next day,
the result of DNA test was reported as positive. Within four days after
Zarqawis death, Bush gained two points in approval ratings.
Al-Qaeda announced through Internet that Abu Hamza al-Muhajir will
succeed Zarqawi. The decision was made by the Shura Council of the
Mujahideen, a coalition of six Sunni insurgency groups. Muhajir was among
the circle of people who knew Zarqawi well and who had worked with him
closely since 2001. He is of the same age as Zarqawi.
His nationality was not established. He worked with bin Laden and
lived with him in Sudan until 1995. After that, he moved to Peshawar and
then to Afghanistan, before settling in Iraq with Zarqawi in 2001. Since
2003, he has been in charge of recruiting young Arabs into al-Qaeda and
served as chief of al-Qaeda intelligence in the Middle East and North Africa.
Muhajir has no picture or identity. He is like a ghost.


Loud applause broke out as al-Maliki told a news conference in
Baghdad that al-Zarqawi was eliminated. America, Britain and Australia
hailed the killing. Bush claimed that it is a severe blow to al-Qaeda and it is
a significant victory in the war on terror. But, he added, we have tough
days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continuing patience of the
American people.
During the press briefing, Zalmay Khalilzad could not control his
feeling of elation over significant victory He termed it as good omen. The
death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi marks a great success for Iraq and the
global war on terror.
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Bahram Saleh said, Zarqawi represents
the evil of terrorism and he has been responsible for death and mayhem
against the people of Iraq. Having him killed, we have achieved an
important victory.
Maj General Rashid Fulyah, head of Iraqi commandos said: He is an
evil man responsible for killing many Iraqis and this will end the doubt in
Iraqi peoples minds that the Americans knew where Zarqawi was, but
didnt stop him. Iraqi police in Sadr City celebrated the killing by firing in
the air. Pakistans Foreign Office spokesperson termed it a significant
development and said, we are also watching the developments
The Washington Post wrote that Zarqawis killing is a big gain for the
US mission in Iraq and the countys new government, the more so because it
comes at a critical moment. With one airs tike, US forces deprived Iraqs
insurgency diverse and fragmented though it is of its sole widely
recognized leader, probably its biggest fundraiser and recruiter, and the
organizer of some of the most spectacular and demoralizing attacks
Los Angeles Times said, there can be little argument that the death of
Zarqawi, who was killed when an Air Force jet dropped two bombs on his
house about 30 miles north of Baghdad, is the best military news from
Iraq since the capture of Saddam Hussein 2 years ago. And Iraqs
leaders are now in a better position to capitalize on the development than
they were in December 2003.
It added, from a practical standpoint, Zarqawis killing removes the
insurgencys most renowned leader. By all accounts, the head of al-Qaeda in
Iraq was an effective terrorist The New York Times wrote, it is good
news for Washington, and even better news for Iraq, that the Jordanian

terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was finally killed on Wednesday by an

American air strike.
Analysts from the civilized world joined the media in celebrating the
death. Paul Wilkinson, professor of International Relations said: It is a very
important breakthrough for the Iraqi experiment in setting up a democratic
government and an important breakthrough in the war against al-Qaeda
Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon opined that with the killing of
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi outside Baghdad, the United States has struck its
most important blow in the war on terrorism since driving al-Qaeda out of
Afghanistan. Easily the deadliest terrorist at work over the last three years,
Mr Zarqawi was probably responsible for more deaths than Osama bin
Laden and leaves behind a jihadist movement that has been drastically
changed in no