October 01, 2011

Afghan-Pakistan border: new centre of the ‘war on terror’

Source: http://mondediplo.com/IMG/arton5182.jpg

Afghan-Pakistan border: new centre of the ‘war on terror’
DECEMBER 2009, by Philippe Rekacewicz

Original Map

PAKISTAN: The All Party Conference (APC) and after

By Inayatullah | Published: October 1, 2011

The patriotic politicians met at the All Parties Conference (APC), held at the Prime Minister’s residence, to deal with the "American threats" to Pakistan.

The proposal for the conference emanated from the GHQ. Kayani and two other key generals attended the meeting. It was preceded by a special consultation of the Corps Commanders, last Sunday.

Marked absentees were PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, the Baloch leaders and Mumtaz Bhutto - (the latter two were not invited).

(Asif Ali Zardari, the Baloch leaders and Mumtaz Ali Bhutto did not wanted to sit down with Taliban Supporters and be a part of a resolution against the United States to blackmail US and to back ISI for its complicity with Haqqani group).

The draft resolution prepared by the ruling party was rejected. However, the revised resolution, which was approved unanimously, has much to do with the tough talk that came from Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Chaudhry Nisar. Let us look at the text of the resolution. The major points are:

i There has to be a new direction and policy with a focus on peace and reconciliation. “Give peace a chance” must be the guiding principle henceforth. Pakistan must initiate dialogue with a view to negotiate peace with our own people in the tribal areas and a proper mechanism for this should be put in place.

(What about to initiating a dialogue with Baloch people ?? Why not?? There is no mention of Balochistan. This is the hypocrisy of Paki Politician. Shame on them for their silence over Balochistan. seems like their lips have been sealed by ISI to not say one word about Balochistan. It is like talking about Balochistan is a big SIN). There was not one person who dare to stand up and ask Gen Pasha and Gen Kayani, who is responsible for killings and disappearnces in Balochistan and when will it STOP ??

i National interests are supreme and shall guide Pakistan’s policy and response to all challenges at all times (this includes defence of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity).

Pakistan's security and territorial integrity are at risk not from outside, but from within, by its Military, ISI and Establishment's own policies. Unless there is a change in these policies, nothing will stop Pakistan from disintegrating and failure. Blaming US and India are totally baseless and are not going to help.

i APC rejected the recent assertions and baseless allegations made against Pakistan. Such assertions are without substance and derogatory to a partnership approach. Also, that Pakistani nation affirms its full solidarity and support for the armed forces in defeating any threat to national security.

i A Parliamentary Committee be formed to oversee the implementation of earlier (parliamentary) resolutions, as well as this resolution and progress on it be made public on a monthly basis.

(Interesting to see that there is no reference either to the US or the Haqqani group in the resolution.)

The resolution - as worded - is a clear reversal of the existing policy of carrying on military operations. It reflects squarely the thinking and approach of Imran Khan and, to a considerable extent, the PML-N.

The past record of the ruling party and its top leadership, however, leaves little doubt that the commitments made in the resolution would be fulfilled. Recall the Co-Chairman’s solemn promises to restore the Supreme Court judges and how the PML-N kept pursuing him without any success. What made the PPP Chief yield were the Long March and a nod from the Army Chief.

Again look at the parliamentary resolutions of 2009 and 2011, and how a mockery has been made of the solemn pledges and how the Joint Parliamentary Committee on National Security has been virtually reduced to a farce.

We all know where the power really lies. There is nothing in the resolution to establish that the armed forces specifically are bound to strictly adhere to the change in policy and consequent implementation of the new approach.

Apart from the ruling party’s past record of deviation from the committed course of action and GHQ’s predominant position, there is the widespread acceptance at the international level of Pakistan’s alleged complicity with terrorist groups. Whatever be our thinking or feeling, the rest of the world (egged on by anti-Pakistan countries and elements) considers that Pakistan is the “epicentre” of international terrorism. Admiral Mullen’s latest remarks in an interview on Wednesday with the National Public Radio merit notice. Said Mullen, he “phrased it (his Senate statement) the way I wanted it to be phrased” and would change “not a word”. He reiterated the charge of ISI supporting the “Haqqani network” financially and logistically, a group which is “intently focused right now on killing the Americans.”

While Nawaz Sharif was alert enough at the APC to seek the truth about ISI’s relationship with Haqqani, GHQ’s denial needs clarification. We have to have convincing evidence and clearly spelt out facts, both for ourselves and the world at large.

Because of the attendant compelling context and circumstances, both the USA and Pakistan cannot afford open hostilities. The stand taken by the politicians in favour of Pakistan’s army has persuaded the White House to play down Mullen’s diatribe. It is, however, very much in our own interest, if we come clean about our strategies and linkages with the actors in the field in Pakistan and Afghanistan. To come out with the truth about our interests and policy, we have to come to terms with our economic and governance weaknesses and vulnerabilities. All this tall talk of “self-reliance”, curbing, corruption and not bothering about aid and strings attached to it, will remain meaningless, unless we honestly and seriously begin to put our owm house in order. For that we need to have, inter alia, a straightforward electoral setup that can provide a robust assurance of free and fair elections.

It will help if a joint government and opposition high-level group is established, including the PM, Finance and Foreign Ministers, PML-N and ANP senior leaders, Imran Khan and Maulana Fazalur Rehman, which may hold meetings with the top brass and develop a viable brief for discussions with Washington and Kabul. Thereafter, the group members should visit Afghanistan, UK, Turkey, China and USA with a view to holding an extended dialogue with Congressmen and US administration’s senior functionaries. This initiative should be accompanied by ‘public diplomacy’ involving the media, intellectuals and civil society luminaries. They should meet the makers and shapers of US policy and, in particular, think-tanks, influential university professors and leading columnists. Funds should also be earmarked for buying time on popular TV channels in USA and UK.

As stated earlier, we must know the truth, clearly identify our interests, realise where we stand, take stock of our strength and weaknesses, and formulate short- and long-term policies and plans. And using these facts and factors to formulate our agenda and brief for discussing issues with foreign powers.

Unless steps are taken to ensure the realisation of the letter and spirit of the APC resolution and some of the suggestions made above, they will remain an empty rhetoric. Can Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan pin the PPP and the GHQ down to faithfully implement fully the APC resolution?!

The writer is an ex-federal secretary and ambassador, and a political and international relations analyst.

Email: pacade@brain.net.pk


China’s people problem

Life expectancy

JULY 2011, by Philippe Rekacewicz

Although life expectancy at birth has risen fast as a national average, there is a considerable discrepancy in between the richest regions of China and the poorest, with as much as 10 years’ difference between Guizhou (central China) and Guangdong (on the coast). In Beijing, life expectancy is 78 years.

Number of Boys per 100 Girls

Total Population and Population Growth in India and China

Median Age and Age Distribution across Populations( India, China, JApan)

The depopulation of the Russian Far East


The map of population change in over the last 20 years is one off sharp contrasts. Apart from the Northern Caucasus, the regions that have seen growth are those with gas and oil (western Siberia) and those with a dynamic industrial base that is attracting labour (Saint Petersburg, Moscow, the Volga republics).

Asia: in the pipeline



Russia has huge oil and gas reserves, from the Urals to Siberia. The dynamic economies of Asia want those energy supplies, preferably delivered as directly as possible by pipeline. The scramble to invest and construct new pipelines and rehabilitate old transit routes is now intense.

by Rafael Kandiyoti

RUSSIA’S economy relies on crude oil and natural gas exports. The formidable dynamism of the east Asian industrial giants promises an excellent market for Russia’s oil and gas export potential. But the contrast of this dynamism with the vast untouched emptiness of east-central Siberia makes the region seem vulnerable. Adjacent China has the men and now it has the means. The Russians are in a position of both strength and weakness. How will they move in north-east Asia?

During the past decade China has joined Japan and South Korea as a major importer of crude oil. Almost 50% of China’s oil comes from the Middle East; for Japan and South Korea, it is 80%-85%. Much of the oil is shipped through the straits of Hormuz and Malacca, widely considered as potential choke points for oil transit. The vital importance of these oil supplies sits awkwardly with the increasing geopolitical difficulties of the Middle East and the potential vulnerability of shipping near the strait of Malacca. China, already the world’s second largest oil consumer, Japan and South Korea are all in need of alternative crude oil sources and supply routes.

The natural gas situation is more complex. Asia’s great cities need to reduce air pollution by switching to natural gas. Already the liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports of Japan, South Korea and China (Taiwan) account for nearly 80% of all traded LNG; much of it comes from south Asia and Australia. For mainland China, the cost of LNG has been a constraint, and it has been looking for more cost-effective ways of increasing its access to natural gas. Nearby east-central Siberia and Sakhalin Island have large hydrocarbon reserves.

The Irkutsk basin in the east-central Siberian plateau has large oil and gas reserves, but they have not been fully explored. Future exploration is expected to greatly increase proven reserves, but at present even the refinery near the regional capital, Angarsk, imports its crude oil from western Siberia.

Hopes are high for the hydrocarbon reserves of the Yakutsk basin in the north-east, where exploration is far from complete. Extraction and transmission of oil and gas would mean crossing permafrost, which is technically feasible, but expensive. The 1,300km trans-Alaskan oil pipeline crossing similar terrain cost $8bn in 1975. Together with the estimated reserves of the Krasnoyarsk basin, the resources of east-central Siberia are potentially enormous. But the time and investment needed to explore and develop reserves is as yet unknown.

Progress on Sakhalin Island (1) is far more advanced. Most onshore hydrocarbon reserves have already been depleted; several oil and gas projects are in progress offshore, primarily on the north-eastern shelf of the island. Of these, the Sakhalin-I project developers intend to construct pipelines across the island to the De Kastri export terminal on the Siberian mainland (2). The oil can be sold anywhere. Some of the gas utilisation options discussed for Sakhalin-I have involved pipeline transmission to both North and South Korea, as well as to Japan, the last probably as LNG. But with North Korea’s political isolation, pipeline options involving both parts of the Korean peninsula must be well in the future.

The Sakhalin-II project is run by a multinational consortium led by Shell (55%) and Japanese companies. The first oil was produced in 1999; current production averages more than 70,000 bbl/day, raising more than $1bn in annual revenue. The next phase is under way, involving an investment of some $10bn, the largest foreign direct investment project in progress in the Russian Federation. The gas will be piped to the southern tip of Sakhalin Island, where oil and LNG terminals are being built at Prigorodnoye.

When a pipeline alternative is available, truck and rail transport are rarely used: over a 4,000 km journey, rail transport can add $1.50-$2 (1993 dollars) to the price of a barrel of crude (3). In the absence of pipelines Russia has recently confirmed its commitment to increasing western Siberian oil exports to China by rail, the volume rising to 15m tonnes in 2006. This seems an expensive way to buy oil. In 2003 energy-hungry China also imported about 1m tonnes of crude from Kazakhstan, again by rail. Besides capacity limitations, rail transport incurs a cost penalty, inevitably reflected in energy and chemicals production. Western analysts could be forgiven for thinking that Russia is unwilling to sell cheap energy to China. The two giants may have recently resolved their border disputes, but China is fast emerging as a rival on the world political stage, as well as an industrial and economic competitor.

The Chinese, sensitive to the cost of oil, signed an agreement with Yukos to construct a 2,400km oil pipeline from Angarsk to Daqing; the oil was to be pumped from western Siberian fields. But in 2004, before the project began, the Russian government moved on Yukos, to eliminate a centre of alternative political power and reclaim control of a former state asset “privatised” during the colossal plunder of the Yeltsin years. The move was in line with President Vladimir Putin’s aim to realign the objectives of Russia’s large private corporations more closely with those of the state.

Another major factor has upstaged the Angarsk-Daqing project: the Japanese have pressed for a larger, more expensive line, pumping 1.6m barrels a day through a longer (3,800km) line, circumventing Chinese territory and ending at Nakhodka, near Vladivostok. They have also offered untied loans more than $5bn (the line was estimated to cost $8-$10bn). The Nakhodka outlet would allow tankers from any nation to bid for Siberian oil. In the past oil auctions have proved lucrative in times of tight supplies.

Originally, Lukoil had proposed to construct and operate the Nakhodka line. But the Russian government reaffirmed its determination to maintain its pipeline monopoly through the state-owned pipeline giant Transneft, and nearly doubled its estimate for the line to Nakhodka, from about $8-$10bn to $16bn.

Russia depends on the European market to buy 80% of its oil exports. The limitations of the western energy export corridor through Belarus and Ukraine, and the expansion of Nato eastward have been major concerns for Russian planners. They would like to diversify, and have had their eyes on plans linking western Siberian fields with ports on the Barents Sea, first mooted in 2000-01 by a private consortium led by the now jailed Mikhail Khodorkovsky of Yukos. This northern route is shorter than either vast Siberian pipeline alternative. Also, the distance from Murmansk to oil terminals near Houston is nearly half the equivalent distance from the Persian Gulf. The project would fit in with the Russia-US energy dialogue and perhaps help mitigate tensions over the tugs of war in Georgia and Ukraine.

In December 2004, reticent to tie the line to a single customer, Russia announced its long-delayed decision in principle in favour of constructing a line along the Taishet-Skovorodino-Perevoznaya axis to the Pacific. The choice of this virgin bay over the deep-water port of Nakhodka-Vostochny has attracted opposition from environmentalists. But the Japanese have not yet congratulated themselves on a diplomatic victory over China: Russo-Japanese negotiations have progressed slowly over the capacity of the line, the amounts to be borrowed and conditions tied to these loans. In the face of Chinese disappointment Moscow has been leaking news about the possibility of constructing a spur from the main line to supply Daqing. Skovorodino is only 50km from the Chinese border, a usefully short distance for keeping Japanese negotiators on their toes.

Where will the crude oil come from? While the potential productive capacity of east-central Siberia may be huge, the supplies to fill the Nakhodka line as well as the Daqing spur do not seem to be immediately available. To fill the Taishet-Nakhodka line would mean pumping 30m tonnes of western Siberian oil annually, presumably diverted eastwards from European markets. But the Russians admit that to fill the line to the Pacific at 80m tonnes, they would need to develop reserves in east-central Siberia. Still more oil is needed to fill the spur to Daqing (4). Until new production comes on stream, that would mean an annual gap of about 20m-50m tonnes in Russian crude oil production, promised to Japan and China. Much would depend on the sequencing of oilfield development and the (usually shorter) time required for pipeline construction.

Arguments in favour of the Perevoznaya (or Nakhodka) line are complicated by the absence of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan. The Russians have retained the four southernmost Kuril Islands, seized by the Soviets in the last days of the second world war. Japan continues to view the Soviet assault in the north as a violation of the Soviet-Japanese neutrality pact of 1941 and as a betrayal by the Soviets. The Japanese have since shown some flexibility in their negotiations, but always with an eye to the northern territories issue (5). The purchase of Sakhalin gas by the city of Tokyo may be seen within the framework of this flexibility.

The Russians may have different ideas. Planning permission has been issued to Transneft to start construction of a 50m-tonne oil pipeline between western Siberia and the Barents Sea coast. Two-thirds of this oil is to be provided by western Siberia (6), suggesting that the western Siberian network may have no more than 30m tonnes (a year) to spare for any route, unless production is expanded more rapidly than expected. Although reports since the new year suggest the Nakhodka outlet will be given priority, the news raises still another question for Japanese negotiators.

As a proportion of total energy requirements, north-east Asia consumes less natural gas than North America or Europe, mainly due to supply problems. Japan’s main island of Honshu does not have a systematic gas pipeline network due to stringent safety standards and high real estate prices: the cost of the right of way would have made a new line prohibitively expensive. Japan’s LNG import-based gas economy is primarily aimed at supplying power generators. In May 2003 the city of Tokyo signed an LNG purchasing agreement with Sakhalin-II for about 1.1m tonnes per year. Several other Japanese and US-based concerns have followed in signing contracts for the LNG output of Sakhalin-II (7).

South Korea has a well-developed gas pipeline grid aimed at domestic use, and less geopolitical reticence. It would be technically feasible to transmit Sakhalin-I gas landed at De Kastri down the coast and through North Korea to the South. In practice, the current difficulties with North Korea constrain South Korea to pipeline options involving underwater transmission from China. They still estimate that pipeline-supplied natural gas through China would cost about 25% less than their present LNG imports.

All major cities in China urgently require natural gas, to reduce air pollution. Like India, China would favour importing natural gas, provided it could be delivered at reasonable cost. Like India, China has so far not invested in expensive LNG reception facilities. However, several large multinational groups in India have now undertaken the construction of regasification plants near the existing Hazira-Bijapur-Jagadishpur pipeline, which eventually runs into Delhi. They aim to recoup their investment through the sale of gas.

Price permitting, both the Shanghai area and the Tianjin-Beijing complex would have been natural candidates for the reception of LNG. But the Chinese government has proved sensitive to the long-term consequences of purchasing expensive energy. One problem it has is that of weaning a customer base with low purchasing power away from cheap coal. China recently announced a relatively low natural gas purchasing price from the internal west-east line, for Shanghai. The move appears to have persuaded several multinational companies to withdraw from investment in regional pipelines, putting on hold LNG regasification projects in nearby Zhejiang province.

China is also actively considering a natural gas pipeline, to carry 30bn cubic meters annually from the Kovykta (Irkutskaya Oblast) gas fields into north-east China. An alternative route, 1500km shorter, would run through Mongolia. This line is technically feasible and significantly cheaper to construct. But negotiations in 1998 involving Russia, Mongolia, China, South Korea and Japan have failed: the Russians had proposed selling the capital, some of the gas to Mongolia, which is desperate to reduce air pollution in the capital, Ulan Bator. China expressed concerns over the political risks and possible transit fees.

Russian collaboration with Mongolia was always likely to attract Chinese suspicions: Ulan Bator (the Red Hero) was the messenger sent to ask help from the Bolsheviks against the depredations of the homicidal white general, Baron Ungern-Sternberg, who plundered the Mongolian capital and massacred much of its population. But, the Soviets also assisted “Outer” Mongolia in its bid for independence from China. Ultimately, the Chinese seem not to want to benefit a country that they still tend to view as their lost northernmost province.

Peace and trade have their own attractions. The potential economic benefits of an Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline have forced the old enemies on the subcontinent to think seriously about peace. The intricate network of pipelines and countless cross-border projects within the European Union could not have been imagined 60 years ago. There are new methods for ensuring the commercial success of cross-border infrastructure projects that carry some political risk, including participation by export credit agencies and the use of international bank guarantees.

Putin’s visit to China in October 2004 brought no agreement over pipeline issues. Subsequent negotiations between China and Kazakhstan have focused on Chinese crude oil and gas purchases. Although incomplete, the oil pipeline arrangements are at a more advanced stage, with the Atyrau-Kenkiyak stretch already functioning. The Kenkiyak-Atasu segment, in the centre, is at the planning stage while an agreement has been signed for constructing the 1240km segment from Atasu to Alashankou in Xinjiang, at a cost of $700m. From Alashankou, it is planned to carry the oil by rail to three nearby refineries. The line will carry 10m tonnes of crude oil annually and eventually double in capacity. These imports are viewed as politically sensitive for the development of China’s westernmost, potentially rebellious, Xinjiang province.

China and Kazakhstan are also reviewing the possibility of building a natural gas pipeline from western Kazakhstan into Xinjiang. The undertaking is expensive and the project is considered a strategic reserve for the longer-term.

China’s war potential a threat to India: Lt Gen (Retd) Sinha

R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Sept 30 – China’s growing war potential poses a threat to the security of India and the possibility of United Liberation Front of Asom, (ULFA) commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah receiving help from that country cannot be ruled out, said former Governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Gen (Reid) SK Sinha.

Sinha also said that India must take adequate steps like some western countries did todeal with the threat of Islamic militancy.

Following are excerpts from an interview with The Assam Tribune:

Assam Tribune: How do you rate the security scenario of Assam and other parts of North East at present?

SK Sinha: The security sit-uation in the North East today is much better than in the past although the China factor looms large and is a matter of grave concern. China’s grow-ing war potential poses a threat. No matter how friend-ly a neighbour may be, we must always be prepared to counter its potential threat. Policy changes can take place in a short time frame but de-veloping defence potential takes time. Diplomacy in terms of good relations with countries of South East Asia, defence preparedness, and economic development should be the corner stones of India’s policy in the North East.

AT: One faction of the ULFA has come to the negotiation table but will the talks be suc-cessful as the other faction headed by Paresh Baruah is still at large?

Sinha: It is good that we are having talks with ULFA leaders and they seem to have abandoned their previous hard stand. Suspension of operations has taken place. Paresh Baruah continues to pursue his own agenda and may be getting generous support from China. The phase of insurgency in Assam of the Eighties and Nineties is long over as popular support of the people for the ULFA no longer exists as in the old days. Paresh Baruah group is now a terrorist outfit instead of being an insurgency movement. Peace and development in

Assam along with stern action against the terrorists should be pursued.

AT: The Government of India has started talks with a number of militant groups of the North East but don’t you think that the slow progress of talks will complicate the situation?

Sinha: We should not worry too much about the slow pace of talks as long as talks are proceeding in the right directions. I am hopeful that the final outcome of these talks will satisfy all stake holders.

AT: Do you think that there is a threat to the North East from Islamic militant groups?

Sinha: Not only the North East but the whole country and for that matter the entire world, faces a threat from Islamic militants. We as a nation must prepare ourselves todeal with this threat as indeed many countries in the West are doing effectively.

Pak making error by supporting terror groups against India: US

WASHINGTON: Stating that Pakistan has used terror groups in Kashmir against India, the US has cautioned Islamabad that it is making "a serious, grievous, strategic error" by supporting these outfits.

Pakistan believes that it can keep a "wild animal in the backyard" and it will only go after its neighbour, US Secretary of State Hillary Clintonsaid.

But, there are too many stories where that doesn't turn out like that, she said.

"We are pressing and pushing on every lever that we have in the relationship, and we have to be effective in trying to achieve our strategic goal, which is to prevent any attacks against us emanating from Pakistan, as well as to try to help stabilise Pakistan against this internal threat, and to create the best possible circumstances for Afghanistan to be able to have control over its own future," Clinton said.

"Those are all extremely difficult and we are learning it, each piece of that, every single day," she said in response to a question after she delivered her remarks at the "Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series" here.

Clinton said Pakistani people are trying to navigate through a very difficult security environment.

"And I like to remind myself and my colleagues of that because they have a great stake in trying to end terrorism against themselves, but they bring to their fight against terrorism deep concerns about the relationship with India, about what happens in Afghanistan after US and coalition troops draw down, what happens in the greater region that could destabilise them further," she said.

Referring to the support US provided to these insurgent groups during the fight against the Russians in Afghanistan, Clinton said when she meets Pakistani officials, they rightly say, "You're the ones who told us to cooperate with these people. You're the ones who funded them.

"You're the ones who equipped them. You're the ones who used them to bring down the Soviet Union by driving them out of Afghanistan. And we are now both in a situation that is highly complex and difficult to extricate ourselves from."

That is how they see it, she noted. "They also have used groups in the past to support their ongoing conflict with India over Kashmir. And when I became Secretary of State, they were trying to basically appease the Pakistani Taliban who were attacking them. So they were trying to draw a distinction between the good terrorists and the bad terrorists, because we had funded the good terrorists together."

"They also have used groups in the past to support their ongoing conflict with India over Kashmir."

Are we Americans such immoral, heartless, disingeneous people? Similar to Powell's past is past (after every Paki terrorist attack on India), Sec. Clinton goes out of her way to absolve continued Pakistani terrorism against India by using phrases like "They also have used groups in the past..." as if Pakistanis have ceased terrorism against India. Every statement coming out of GOTUS/Pentagon/CIA is another attempt to obfuscate and absolvePakistan is a terrorist state label. While doing a mea culpa, why doesn't she also circumlocute by stating that the GOTUS in the past (emphasis added),also supported U.S. based, anti-India Pakistan-ISI supported Kashmiris like Fai who bankrolled U.S. legislators and U.S. stink tanks into becoming ideological backers of terrorism in South Asia. She might have added that if only the PA/ISI cooperated just a teensy-weensy bit, it would have been our dirty little secret...!

BTW, this video would be considered Breaking News by our U.S. media, shown 24/7, all the Peter Bergen sorts of experts paraded on and on, and the whole country marshalled towards waging war. But since this involves Pakistani terrorism against India - and from a GOTUS Clintonian perspective - would be considered something which happened "in the past," so Pakistan escapes, once again of indulging in terror against India.

Confessions of a Pakistani Terrorist. Sec. Clinton may ascertain whether this is real or Indian propaganda. But for a moment, imagine this Pakistani armed terrorist/militant/misguided youth came into the United States of America, got caught and interviwed on CNN/FOX News, and made similar confessions.

We can never win this "war on terror" if we lack moral clarity!

Reggie Sinh
"So they were dealing with this network of terrorism that had been better organised and directed because of al-Qaeda, which brought a lot more funding into the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan and much more of a sense of mission, because (Osama) bin Laden and those who worked with him had a very highly developed idea about how to inflict damage on the United States and others," Clinton said.

So, one of the US' first rounds of discussions with the Pakistanis was how it was not in their interest to permit terrorists to take over territory, something they thought would appease them, which obviously did not and could not, she said. "So they began moving troops off their Indian border. They began going after the Pakistani Taliban."

"So I think it's important that we appreciate their perspective about where we both are right now. That in no way excuses the fact that they are making a serious, grievous, strategic error supporting these groups, because you think that you can keep a wild animal in the backyard and it will only go after your neighbour? We have too many stories where that doesn't turn out like that," Clinton said.

September 30, 2011

Indian Privacy Law: Sensitive Personal Information

Posted September 30, 2011 by Bierce & Kenerson, P.C. · Print This Post Print This Post

In May 2011, the Indian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology issued a press release clarifying the rules framed under Section 43A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. This clarification is important for companies that handle sensitive personal information in India. For more, click here.

Section 43A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, deals with disclosures by Indian governmental bodies (a “body corporate”) of sensitive personal information to other Indian governmental bodies. Under rules adopted under such law, each Indian “body corporate” must adopt and provide a policy for privacy and disclosure of information. The “clarification” notes that “Any such disclosure of sensitive personal data or information by body corporate to any third party shall require prior permission of the provider of the information.” Inter-agency disclosures must be for lawful purposes to pursue statutory mandates of the requesting agency (e.g., detection and prosecution of cybercrime) and the receiving agency must give an undertaking that the information obtained will not be published or shared with any other person.

This clarification sets forth a “best practice” in Indian governmental protection of sensitive personal information. The subject is relevant to outsourcing lawyers because such information that is transmitted from non-Indian sources to Indian ITO and BPO service providers becomes subject to the jurisdiction of the Indian government. In exercising such jurisdiction, the Indian government theoretically has access to information of foreign individuals.

Outsourcing agreements normally address issues of force majeure and cooperation in resolving governmental investigations. The “clarification” discussed above gives some comfort to those engaged in processing where sensitive personal data is accessible in India by Indian service providers. But the clarification also raises the visibility of the issue of cross-border data protection.

Finance for democracy in North Africa

Privatising the Arab Spring


The US and Europe won’t pay. Other Arab countries won’t pay. So Tunisia and Egypt hope to improve their national futures through public-private finance deals, which are hard to set up and even harder to run

by Akram Belkaïd

Tunisia and Egypt face economic challenges besides the difficulty of achieving political stability. The collapse of the previous systems of sinecure will release individual energies and initiatives, but these will go nowhere unless the new administrations find the financial resources to make up for lost time and achieve more egalitarian development. According to the first estimates from the Tunisian Central Bank and the Egyptian economics ministry, the countries will need between $20bn and $30bn over the next five years to improve their standards of living and open up regions through investment in transport, energy and technological infrastructure.

Conscious of how high the stakes are, prominent Arab and European figures (1) have supported the slogan “Invest in democracy, invest in Tunisia”, and have launched an appeal, the 200 Manifesto, calling on the West to give Tunisia financial aid. The US and EU have made plain that their coffers are empty and that, during a public debt crisis, they will not be extravagant. Although the world’s richest nations promised Tunisia and Egypt $20bn over two years at the G8 meeting in Deauville in May, this consists of loans scheduled before the revolutions. The Arab countries are hardly rushing to help their neighbours towards democracy. Despite its reserves of $150bn, Algeria has only allocated a few tens of millions of dollars to Tunisia. The EU’s plans for a Mediterranean Bank, planned since 1995, finally ended this May.

So, with the IMF and the World Bank, the principal lenders will be the European Investment Bank (EIB) — which is offering loans of $6bn between now and 2013 — and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Unlike eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the countries of the southern Mediterranean will not have their own bank of reconstruction and development.

In Tunis and Cairo, where there were hopes of a Marshall plan like the one that the US financed in Europe after the second world war, this has come as a great disappointment — all the more so since economists estimated that such a plan would cost the equivalent of funding the war in Iraq for two months, or 3% of the cost of German reunification in 1991 (2).

Privatisation by any other name

Unable to count on aid to meet their economic and social needs, Egypt and Tunisia have been encouraged by the IMF and World Bank to go further with market liberalisation, including seeking development money from multinationals. International lenders and western multinationals that already have a foothold in the southern Mediterranean, and want greater freedom of movement, view the option of public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a miracle solution.

Under PPPs, for a fixed period a company finances, constructs and then derives profit from a public service such as water, power or health on behalf of the state or its proxies. Even if the arrangement is temporary, it is a privatisation. International financial institutions are asking new democracies for the same as they used to demand from the previous dictators.

Since the early 1990s the IMF pressed President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia for economic reforms, including the complete convertibility of their currencies, an “improvement of the business environment” — more facilities for foreign lenders — an accelerated withdrawal of the state from the economic sphere and a liberalisation of public services. Without casting doubt on their commitment to the free-market economy, these dictators were careful not to go too far along the road to market liberalisation for fear of accentuating social inequality. Will future democratically elected governments yield to calls for still greater economic liberalisation? And are PPPs really the answer?

To the business community and international institutions, PPPs seem a natural instrument for financing infrastructure development in the southern Mediterranean. Yet their implications are poorly understood. Les Echos, the French financial paper, explained: “The ever more frequent recourse to public-private partnerships still has not proved its profitability,” and quoted François Lichère, a law professor and legal consultant on PPP contracts: “The financial risk is borne by the project companies, established for that purpose, which borrow 90% of the funds. The instrument is therefore designed to work under favourable banking conditions” (3).

This calls for two qualifications. The first concerns the state of the banking sector. A PPP requires low interest rates and healthy banks. Neither of these conditions applies to Tunisia or Egypt, where many institutions have dubious debts and lack the expertise to take part in complex financial arrangements (4). The second qualification relates to the public operator’s ability to ensure that its interests — and those of the taxpayer — are being served, and that the private-sector partners are carrying out their responsibilities effectively. This means that the state, local institution or other public body must have the necessary competence and expertise to back and evaluate the PPP. In France, in a sector such as water supply, municipalities are obliged to prove they are vigilant so as not to incur additional costs and so that the terms of the contract are not flouted by the private contractor (5).

PPPs require not a strong state but a competent one, capable of working out a solid legal framework and guaranteeing that the terms of the partnership are fulfilled. Will future administrations in Egypt and Tunisia be up to this task?

Neoliberal Brothers

If there is a middle way, an economic option that is neither headlong liberalisation nor a return to the planned economy of the past, it will not come from religious political parties. As the Egyptian economist Samir Amin showed with the Muslim Brothers, Islamism is happy to align itself with liberal, mercantilist theories and, contrary to popular belief, pays only passing attention to social issues: “The Muslim Brothers are in favour of a market-based economic system which is totally externally dependent. They belong to the compradore bourgeoisie (6). They have opposed big strikes by the working classes and the peasants’ struggles to retain ownership of their land [especially in the past decade]. So the Muslim Brothers aren’t moderates except in the sense in which they have always refused to formulate any economic or social programme (in fact, they don’t question reactionary neoliberal policies) and in which they also accept de facto submission to the demands of existing US control in the region (and world). That makes them useful allies for Washington (is there a better US ally than Saudi Arabia, the Brothers’ patron?), which has given them a certificate of democracy” (7).

There is much talk about the charity work of Islamist organisations; this overlooks the fact that they are defending a fixed order and refuse to contemplate or develop policies to reduce poverty and inequality. Political Islamism is inclined to favour neoliberal policies and oppose any redistributive policy that uses taxes, considered impious, except for zakat, the compulsory giving of a set proportion of income to charity, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. This explains why Islamists have never tried to reach an understanding with the global justice movement, which they consider a new manifestation of communism. It is reasonable to suppose that, as long as they do not threaten the basis of the democratic order, strong Islamist parties will not undertake major economic revolutions.

So Tunisia and Egypt face a search for the “third way” that the former eastern European bloc was unable to find after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Popular revolutions must not become the foundation for an all-powerful capitalism that undermines the social cohesion of Egyptian and Tunisian society. Ensuring this will have to depend on new economic policies that prioritise the social dimension and the reduction of inequality.

Akram Belkaïd is a journalist and author of Etre arabe aujourd’hui, Carnets Nord, Paris, 2011

(1) These include the economists George Corm, Jean-Marie Chevalier, Daniel Cohen and El Mouhoub Mouhoud, former foreign ministers Hervé de Charette and Hubert Védrine, and parliamentarians Elisabeth Guigou and Denis McShane.

(2) “Un plan économique pour soutenir la transition démocratique en Tunisie”, Le Monde, 18 May 2011.

(3) Catherine Sabbah, “Partenariat public-privé: un mauvais outil de reliance” (PPPs: a poor tool for [economic] revival), Les Echos, Paris, 15 April 2010.

(4) On the state of the banking sector in the southern Mediterranean, see the research paper by Guillaume Almeras and Abderrahmane Hadj-Nacer (in collaboration with Isabelle Chort), “L’espace financier euro-méditerranéen” (The Euro-Mediterranean financial space), Les Notes Ipemed, October 2009; www.ipemed.coop

(5) See Marc Laimé, Le Dossier de l’eau; pénurie, pollution, corruption (The Water Report: Poverty, Pollution, Corruption), Le Seuil, Paris, 2003.

(6) The expression “compradore bourgeoisie” denotes a class that derives its income from overseas trade, especially in import-export, or just from imports in the case of numerous Arab countries (Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Libya etc). Its influence is such that it prevents the creation and development of indigenous economic activity which could compete with these imports.

(7) Samir Amin, “2011: An Arab Springtime? Reflections from Egypt”, 24 May 2011.

How Syria works

The military are the executive arm of the security services

A senior Sunni army officer explains how Bashar al-Assad uses the Alawite minority in Syria to control his authoritarian regime. He has few hopes that the demonstrations will succeed in bringing change

by Zénobie

“The Syrian army is the army of the Syrian security services”, said Muhammad (1), a senior Sunni Muslim army officer. To understand how this happened, you have to go back to the 1960s, when the current political structure was created during four coups. The Alawite minority came to political power and the army dominated the Ba’ath Party. When Hafez al-Assad (father of Bashar) seized power in 1970 in the last coup, he finalised this authoritarian system, tightly weaving Syrian society around the army, the security services, the party and the administration. The regime also used family, clan, regional and sectarian loyalties to form a clientele, who were rewarded with civil service jobs. The combination of religious connections and an obsession with security allowed the Alawites to dominate the army and security services.

Fear is the cement of the security edifice, and it is this that the current revolt (2) has swept away. Under Bashar al-Assad, in power since 2000, the party, administration and army have all come under the direct control of the security services, which are in the hands of the Assad family. Syrians consider the Ba’ath Party as the fifth organ of the security services (3).

I asked Muhammad how many men there were in the army and the security services. He told me there were more than 700,000 — 400,000 in the regular army, 100,000 in the police and intelligence, and tens of thousands employed part-time by the security services. These form the battalions of the shabbiha (4) and the irregular forces. The shabbiha are made up of people from the countryside, and probably criminals freed at the start of the revolt. An estimated 100,000 Alawites work in the security services; tens of thousands more serve in the army and the presidential guard, which is completely Alawite. In 2011 Alawites were 10% of the population. About 50% of civil servants work for the security apparatus; the ministry of defence employs more than 60,000 civilians (in particular in the Military Housing Establishment, run by Assad’s cousin). They lose their jobs if they do not assist in state repression. “These are the men you often see standing outside mosques with electric batons or iron bars. They are also called on to take part in pro-government demonstrations.”

Wasn’t it the job of the army to defend the country? Muhammad said: “Of course, but think about it: since the 1990s a large proportion of the national budget has been spent on the army. But most army units have not had any new equipment, so where has all the money gone? They created a brigade for the Israeli border, but it has no military capacity, not even tanks. And the army’s leadership seems preoccupied with other things, for example, stopping Damascus men from doing military service. A young Sunni from Damascus can pay an official every month to validate his service papers while he remains at home, working.”

What about religious affiliations in the army? Muhammad said there was a “symbolic situation, with only two religious denominations, Alawite and Sunni [by Sunni, he meant everyone else — Sunni, Druze, Christian etc, who together make up 90% of the population]. When a commander is Sunni, his second in command is Alawite, and vice versa. The same principle governs the allocation of ministerial posts in the government: every non-Alawite minister is overseen by an Alawite deputy who makes all the political decisions... Decisions in the army and security services are always made by Alawites — Sunnis have no influence. An inexperienced Alawite officer might have a flashy new car, his Sunni superior would drive an old jeep. Crimes by different officers received different punishments. Sunni officers might be watched or investigated to check their loyalty. It is hard for a Sunni to rise to be general,” Muhammad said.

“ Sectarianism is widespread, but unspoken. The Syrian army is made up of seven divisions, each led by a commander. The most important is the fourth division, commanded by Maher al-Assad, Bashar’s brother [who also runs the presidential guard], with 40,000-50,000 men, all Alawite, and the most sophisticated military equipment. It has been involved from the beginning in the repression at Deraa.

“All security service officers come from the army. It is the security services that tell the army chief of staff which officers to appoint and promote. All the decisions made in the repression of the revolt were taken by security service officers, even down to moving a tank. The Syrian army is the executive arm of the security services, and not the chief of staff.”

What about the officers and soldiers killed in the revolt? Muhammad said: “No Syrian soldier would doubt that the security services would eliminate anyone who didn’t carry out an order. Within the logic of the regime, the security services would happily kill several Alawites to provoke a sectarian conflict, or make it look like one. That’s much more productive for the regime than killing a Sunni. But it’s possible that all the soldiers sent out to suppress the revolt were Alawites. It may even be the case that Alawite elements within the 100,000-strong police or security services were dressed as soldiers and sent out to beat Sunnis ... But the deaths of soldiers or members of the security services could also be linked to individual acts of revenge, local initiatives. In Deraa last March people spotted a sniper on the roof of a building, so they burnt down the building. In Jisr al-Choghour, people attacked the police station with a bulldozer.” (There are no pictures of dead soldiers, while there is much swift coverage of the deaths of demonstrators.)

Could the army divide? “What we have here are individual dissidents, and not a split within the entire military. These isolated dissidents cannot deliver a strong message to the regime. The sectarian make-up of each military unit prevents the Sunnis acting together [but not Alawites, as the fourth division demonstrates]. The distribution of headquarters in the army is organised in such a way that even if a Sunni officer gave a dissident order, it would be blocked at various levels by Alawite officers or those loyal to the regime. Don’t expect this army to give the slightest support to the demonstrators.”

What are the prospects for the uprising? “It’s difficult to say they are anything but bleak. The regime has lost its way. The demonstrators are determined not to give in, but the regime is not willing to give ground. Men like Assad can’t imagine a day when they won’t be in power. That’s why the repression keeps getting worse. The army and the regime have declared war on peaceful protestors and civilians, using helicopters, armoured tanks and the navy against them. The only possibility in terms of the military is a split within the leadership of the security services which could spread to sections of the army, but that is unlikely.”

Since our conversation, the regime has announced a telephone number for people to call to denounce government critics.

Translated by Stephanie Irvine
More by Zénobie
Zénobie is a journalist

(1) Not his real name

(2) Thawra in Arabic can be translated as revolt or revolution. If we define revolution as a revolt that has succeeded in changing the political regime, we must use revolt here, bearing in mind it could become a revolution.

(3) There are four organs of the Syrian security service: State Security, Political Security, Military Security, and the feared Air Force Security, which operates throughout Syrian society. All religious denominations are represented in the security services, but there are very few officers from Damascus.

(4) The name given to militias armed by the state; it is equivalent to the baltaguiyya in Egypt during the revolution.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: U.S. playbook on Pakistan

"In the long run, the U.S. playbook on Pakistan should grow to resemble that of India’s. The way to neuter an enemy is to carve them up into multiple states — such was Germany’s treatment by the allies after World War II, as well as the Soviet Union’s fate after its fall. India has already cut Pakistan in half, dividing it between modern Pakistan and Bangladesh. It seeks to do so again, exploiting the ethnic fault lines in Pakistani society to carve it up even further. With its parting shots in Afghanistan, the U.S. should use its military might to aid in this strategy. In its least extreme form, this strategy might merely ensure that Baloch-dominated provinces within Afghanistan retain a high degree of autonomy from the Afghan federal government. In its most extreme form, the U.S. could funnel arms to Baloch nationalists in southern Pakistan or take direct action in support of a free Balochistan. Where the U.S. should fall on this spectrum of policy choices is open to debate — what must be avoided is the naive optimism that Pakistan will have a Damascene moment and suddenly become the ally that the U.S. requires. Now is the time to restructure Afghanistan in the way that makes Pakistan weakest, not to dither in a nonexistent middle ground"

Keith Yost , Source: http://tech.mit.edu/V131/N41/pakistan.html

Opinion: Turning to the Haqqanis, Pakistan has made its choice

The ISI’s ties to an insurgent network undermine any hope of real cooperation with the US

By Keith Yost


September 30, 2011

A pitfall of writing for this newspaper as frequently as I do is that sometimes a major event comes along and I find that I’ve already said most of what I wish to say. Such is the case with Admiral Michael G. Mullen’s recent admonishment of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence for its ties to the Haqqani insurgent network.

It’s difficult for me to add more than what I’ve already written in “While Karachi Slowly Burns” (Sept. 10, 2010), or “Mission Accomplished” (May 6, 2011). Pakistan is a state with a major security problem — India — and two mutually-exclusive strategies to deal with that problem: a stable security partnership with the United States, or an increasing reliance on jihadi proxies. The former is a realistic path, as Pakistan and the United States have considerable mutual interests, while the latter is a monumental blunder, built on the quixotic notion that terrorists and guerrillas can somehow bleed India down to parity despite its seven to one advantage in men and materiel.

We have long hoped that Pakistan would choose America, not terrorists, as the guarantors of its security, but that hope has been in vain. Now, Admiral Mullen, Pakistan’s greatest remaining booster in the U.S. foreign policy establishment, has delivered what amounts to an ultimatum: either Pakistan severs its connection with the militant groups that are attacking NATO forces in Afghanistan, or America will sever its connection with Pakistan. The Pakistanis have refused to abandon the Haqqanis, and so the die is cast. The dissolution of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan is a fait accompli; it is inconceivable that the U.S. Congress will renew billions of dollars of aid for a country that is actively (and now publicly) engaged in the killing of U.S. troops.

The decision by the Obama administration to deliver the ultimatum to our nominal ally is not without its downsides. Our counter-terrorism efforts, as well as our war-fighting in Afghanistan, rely a great deal on Pakistan’s cooperation. However, in the long run, given Pakistan’s behavior, long-term U.S. interests in South and Central Asia are best served by a realignment toward India. The Obama administration deserves praise for its execution of this realignment. Years have been spent carefully setting the stage, giving the Pakistanis every opportunity to edge themselves back from their suicidal geopolitical strategy while simultaneously testing the waters of a U.S-India partnership. And the choice of timing is impeccable: U.S. forces in Afghanistan are higher than they have ever been before, giving the U.S. its maximal leverage against Pakistan, but the president’s political capital to remove those forces is also at its zenith, which undercuts Pakistan’s main source of leverage over the U.S. — namely, its supply routes to Afghanistan.

It is important that Obama (or the next president of the United States) appreciates the gravity and finality implicit in Pakistan’s rebuff of Mullen’s ultimatum. Already, some pundits are selling the cutesy notion of the U.S. being “frenemies” with Pakistan, as if international relations followed a script out of some Hollywood high school drama. But there is no intermediate status between friends and enemies to be found here — as the U.S. withdraws its support from Pakistan, Pakistan will compensate for this loss by relying even more strongly on militant groups like the Haqqanis to provide for its national security. The break-up, once initiated, can only accelerate.

In the long run, the U.S. playbook on Pakistan should grow to resemble that of India’s. The way to neuter an enemy is to carve them up into multiple states — such was Germany’s treatment by the allies after World War II, as well as the Soviet Union’s fate after its fall. India has already cut Pakistan in half, dividing it between modern Pakistan and Bangladesh. It seeks to do so again, exploiting the ethnic fault lines in Pakistani society to carve it up even further. With its parting shots in Afghanistan, the U.S. should use its military might to aid in this strategy.

In its least extreme form, this strategy might merely ensure that Baloch-dominated provinces within Afghanistan retain a high degree of autonomy from the Afghan federal government. In its most extreme form, the U.S. could funnel arms to Baloch nationalists in southern Pakistan or take direct action in support of a free Balochistan. Where the U.S. should fall on this spectrum of policy choices is open to debate — what must be avoided is the naive optimism that Pakistan will have a Damascene moment and suddenly become the ally that the U.S. requires. Now is the time to restructure Afghanistan in the way that makes Pakistan weakest, not to dither in a nonexistent middle ground.

History will look upon Pakistan’s embrace of jihadists as one of the greatest geopolitical missteps of the 21st century. To prevent itself from appearing with Pakistan in history’s list of blunderers, the U.S. must make its break with Pakistan a decisive one and resist the urge to force nuance into a situation that deserves none.


America loses patience with Pakistan

Relations between the US and Pakistan have reached a breaking point.


By Shashank Joshi 8:34PM BST 29 Sep 2011284 Comments

Pakistan’s deposed military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, told The Daily Telegraph yesterday that “the United States must accept the compulsions of Pakistan” in using terrorist groups as instruments of foreign policy.

For a decade, the US did just that, even in the face of mounting evidence that Pakistan was responsible for derailing the war in Afghanistan and killing allied forces. But America’s top military officer has now taken the gloves off.
Admiral Mike Mullen, regarded as one of the most pro-Pakistan officials in the US government, has informed the Senate that the Haqqani network – a Taliban-linked insurgent group – is a “veritable arm” of the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service. “With ISI support,” said Mullen, the Haqqanis had bombed the US embassy in Kabul earlier this month. For the first time in history, an ally – one which has taken $22 billion of American money since 2002 – stands accused of committing an effective act of war against the US.

We are witnessing the death spasms of an alliance that has been in meltdown from the day it began. Pakistan helped ferry al-Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan after 9/11, and spent the following years helping the Taliban to build up their strength. In 2009, the US tried to repair this by promising billions of dollars and a “strategic partnership” of equals. But a series of incidents this year – from the imprisonment of an American spy to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden – underscores the profound disillusionment felt by a generation of US officials.

There is a dawning realisation that no amount of money will compel Pakistan’s out-of-control army to stop aiding insurgents like the Haqqani network and international terrorists like Lashkar-e-Taiba, responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Even as jihadi outfits tear apart the Pakistani state, the generals can’t give up their addiction to proxy warriors. But if they keep acting like an enemy, the Americans have no choice but to treat them like one.

So what next? The US will tread carefully, conscious that anything dramatic could give General Kayani, Pakistan’s army chief, the pretext to seize power from the civilians. Pakistan’s self-appointed guardians have never dealt especially well with crises of legitimacy, and could lash out in desperation rather than slink back to the barracks.

But in the face of overwhelming Pakistani obstinacy, the US will have no choice but to gradually increase the pressure. We’re likely to see more drone strikes and special forces raids in Pakistan’s tribal areas. One option is to use Afghan militias backed by the CIA – these counterterrorism pursuit teams have conducted numerous secret raids over the years.

Pakistan won’t take this lying down. There will be more public spats, a greater squeeze on US and British intelligence officers inside the country, and an escalation of violence inside Afghanistan.

That’s because Pakistan’s military is just as likely to ramp up its use of terrorists as it is to reverse course. Kayani and his fellow officers assume that they hold all the good cards. Their thinking goes that if Pakistan can hold its nerve until the US withdraws from Afghanistan in 2014, things can go on as normal. They’re gambling that President Obama can’t threaten to bring out the big guns, as it would damage his chances in next year’s elections.

That’s wrong – not just because other states like Iran and Russia will not sit by as Afghanistan burns, but also because the issue is so dramatically public. Mullen may be on the cusp of retirement, but he has made sure that his successors cannot ignore this provocation from Pakistan without taking a blow to their reputation. For 30 years, Pakistan has taken on India in covert wars stretching from Punjab to Kashmir to Afghanistan. But taking on the US is a different matter.

Pakistan’s foreign minister, responding to Mullen, warned that “you will lose an ally… you cannot afford to alienate Pakistan”. But more and more policymakers are calling Pakistan’s bluff. It’s no longer tenable that the fulcrum of US strategy in central Asia is also the world’s most egregious state sponsor of terrorism. I call this a case of duelling fictions: Pakistan pretends to care about counterterrorism, and the US pretends to care for Pakistani sovereignty.

To assume that we’re unavoidably and perpetually locked into an abusive relationship with Pakistan is to underestimate the scale of US anger, but also the ways in which each side’s leverage over the other is changing.

As long as 130,000 Nato troops in Afghanistan need feeding and fuelling through Pakistan, there are limits to how tightly the screws can be turned. But Pakistan’s influence is falling every month, as we shift to northern supply lines. In 2010, 70 per cent of supplies travelled through Pakistan. Today, that figure has fallen to 35 per cent.

General Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s military ruler from 1978 to 1988, was always concerned that his secret war against the Soviet Union would tempt Moscow to hit back. He was fond of telling the CIA that “the water in Afghanistan must boil at the right temperature”. It looks as though his successors have turned the heat up too far.

Shashank Joshi is an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London

Baloch nationalists boycotted Pakistan sponsored All Parties Conference (APC)

Balochistan boycott the All Party Conference (APC).

Friday, September 30, 2011

QUETTA: All major Baloch nationalist parties including Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) and the National Party (NP) on Thursday boycotted the All Parties Conference (APC) convened by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Pak-US relations.

“How can we attend the APC when Baloch people are facing the wrath of the government,” he said, adding that on the one hand the rulers had launched the military operation and on the other hand they were inviting “us to sit with those elements involved in the excesses against Baloch people”. Said Akhtar Mengal, the top Baloch Nationalist leader from exile in Dubai.

The leadership of these both parties believes that the government should have convened the APC on the Balochistan issue where target killings, sectarian violence and kidnappings for ransom have become a routine matter. They say the rulers are oblivious to the gravity of the situation in the province.

“If the PPP government does not mend its ways and attitude towards Balochistan then the NP may not even sit on the opposition benches,” Senator Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, central President of NP, said at a news conference.

The NP decided not to participate in the APC mainly because of the Balochistan situation, he said. He went on to say that the present government had not taken the issue of Balochistan seriously. He said the party had proposed to the president and prime minister to convene an APC on target killings, sectarian violence, kidnappings for ransom and recovery of decomposed bodies from various parts of the province, but to no avail. We took part in the movement for restoration of democracy and ousted Pervez Musharraf, he said.

The All Parties Conference (APC) held in Islamabad will yield no fruitful result because “close and friendly” relations exist between the establishments in Pakistan and the United States, Dr Malik added.

To a query, he said the way resolutions adopted in the joint session in the past were treated, there was little hope things would happen differently with this APC. The nationalist politician said that the US and Pakistani establishments were very close to each other, which is why the APC would yield no results. However, he said if the US attacked Balochistan and Waziristan, NP would surely condemn it. He asked the government to clear its policy towards the US.

‘Four or five nationalists being killed in Balochistan daily’

Shahid Husain

Friday, September 30, 2011

The security situation in the neighbouring province of Balochistan is turning from bad to worse as between four and five nationalists are allegedly being killed by security forces on a daily basis in a province where the inhabitants are poverty-stricken, yet the land is rich in natural as well as mineral resources.

However, the province, which has an important strategic location, has seen troubled times in the recent past as a number of nationalists fighting for the rights of the deprived Baloch people have fallen victim to targeted attacks. Among them was National party (NP) leader Dr Lal Buksh who was shot dead in the Turbat town. Balochistan National Party (M) leader Advocate Abdus Salam was also killed in Khuzdar on Wednesday.

Sources claimed that more than 250 people had been killed in Balochistan over the last four or five months. Most of those activists that were targeted belong to the NP, BNP (M) and the Baloch Students Organisation (Azad), they added.

“The army rules the roost in Balochistan and the provincial government has no say,” said the National Party’s Central General Secretary Tahir Bizenjo while talking to The News from Islamabad.

Bizenjo said the government of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani promised to resolve the crisis in Balochistan on a number of occasions and parliamentary committees were formed for this purpose. However, he added that nothing has come out of the committees or the promises.

“Prime Minister Gilani claims there are no political prisoners in Balochistan, but who are these ëmissing people?” Bizenjo questioned. The NP General Secretary pointed out that one of the most acute problems faced by the province is the disappearance of people.

“Although people go missing from whole country, the majority of them disappearances are from Balochistan,” he said, adding that the party fully endorses the findings of a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report on Balochistan

The report, which was released in 2009, states that “Violations of human rights in Balochistan are widespread and harrowing. Regrettably, the state has not addressed these complaints and the media, either under pressure or on account of its own failings, has been unable to probe and report the dreadful reality on the ground.”

“The most hair-raising are the continuing incidents of cases of enforced disappearances. In addition to a large number of cases already taken up by HRCP, the Commission documented several new cases during this mission in Balochistan,” the report further stated.

>> http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=70128&Cat=4

Pak security forces should be stripped of powers in
Balochistan: Asma Jehangir

Quetta, Sep.28 : Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jehangir has challenged the authority of security forces in Balochistan, saying the power of these forces should be stripped in the best interest of the national integrity and solidarity.

Addressing the Balochistan High Court Bar members on Tuesday, Jehangir referred to the dominating role of the security forces in the province, which she said were undermining the authority of the elected government.

She said that Balochistan’s stability was at stake due to its strategic location, which could easily be exploited by the international forces.

“Divisions have been created among the people as sectarian target killings, recovery of mutilated bodies, mostly of the missing persons, and target killing of Punjabi-speaking people are frequently taking place,” the Daily Times quoted her, as saying.

“I just want to remind that the people living in Rawalpindi and Islamabad are not the only Pakistanis but the people of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also Pakistanis,” she added.

They should be treated as Pakistanis also, she told her audience.

She stressed that the problem of Balochistan be treated on priority basis otherwise this will be an ideal land for international forces to play their dirty tricks.



PAKISTAN-US : You scratch my back, I stab yours

Friday, 30 September 2011 23:49
Mike Honda

To Indians, it’s no rocket science that Pakistan is a byword for treachery. Earlier this week we watched with passing interest the highest US military official, Admiral Mike Mullen, throw his hands up when it became clear that the limits had been crossed. A lot of huff and puff later, America went back to business — and we produce this article by a Congressman which encapsulates how willingly the US is returning to the snake pit
With the United States accusing Pakistan of using insurgent groups to fight proxy wars, issuing a recent ultimatum demanding that Islamabad sever ties immediately, it is clear that Washington’s patience is nearing its end. The United States, meanwhile, is reducing aid packages, increasing drone strikes in the tribal areas and moving American troops in Afghanistan eastward to the mountainous border with Pakistan.

In sum, Washington is telling Pakistanis to expect more guns, less butter and fewer books. What is problematic with this approach, however, is that heavy-handed efforts have failed to work in undermining insurgencies in the past. I’m afraid such efforts in the future would fall victim to the same fate.

Contrary to popular opinion among US foreign policymakers, the way to undermine growth of insurgencies in Pakistan is not through drone strikes, air and night raids, or covert operations, most of which kill innocents and breed more anger among local populations, and all of which have increased significantly in the last few years. Nor will the fix be found in more military aid, for which much remains unaccounted. The way to undermine violent extremism is to give potential recruits — often the poorest of the poor in Pakistan — a viable alternative for which to live, not die.

Look at who is being enlisted. Recruits are found among the unemployed, illiterate and disenfranchised in the poorer provinces of Pakistan, from Baluchistan to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. If we do not want these vulnerable populations joining extremist movements, then we should offer viable alternatives, something we haven’t helped Pakistan do effectively.
In order to change this tide, we must make every effort to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for Pakistan’s rural poor. On this, a three-pronged strategy is critical. First, we must focus on building healthy political systems in Pakistan. Of the nearly $20 billion in US aid given to Pakistan since President Pervez Musharraf took power in 2001, most has been military aid, leaving very little spent on establishing the foundation — election commissions, ballot machines, monitoring systems, legal observers — for democratic elections.

Second, we must focus on educating the populace. For much of the past decade, investments in Pakistan’s educational system have been negligible. Annually, only 2 per cent of Pakistan’s gross domestic product is spent on education, resulting in some of the developing world’s worst enrollment rates: Roughly one-third of eligible youth are enrolled in secondary school and 5 per cent in tertiary institutions. Despite the fact that nearly 50 per cent of the adult population is illiterate, US development assistance hasn’t effectively reduced that number.

Third, we must enable economic prosperity for Pakistan’s poor. Pakistan’s presidents have failed to commit dollars to improve the lives of its impoverished, which are left vulnerable to Taliban and al Qaeda recruitment. Few viable alternatives or incentives remain to give the needy a reason to say no to extremism (such as a job, an education and political opportunity). Radical madrassas, or religious schools, often fill that vacuum, providing food, education and sometimes housing. US non-military aid commitments of late have attempted to address these needs, but most fail in the implementation phase due to lack of local credibility, reliance on American contractors and failure to focus on long-term sustainability.

This is where the Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN) comes in, directly and positively impacting the lives of 30 million rural poor all across the country. As Pakistan’s largest network of non-governmental organisations, the RSPN is mobilizing local communities in ways similar to the much-lauded and oft-praised (particularly in Washington) National Solidarity Program based in Afghanistan. Implementing a fairly basic yet effective concept, RSPN organizes and trains local communities to build infrastructure, provide social services and economic opportunities, manage natural resources, foster capacity of local leadership, and establish partnerships with the private and public sectors. While their track record is undoubtedly strong — having served the nation for nearly three decades and delivered a twofold increase in household income to many of the communities served — RSPN’s future is uncertain, in large part because US and foreign funding is weighted toward a military approach, not a sustainable, local development one. While USAID has supported a handful of smaller RSPN projects in the past, much more support is needed to scale up RSPN’s efforts nationally.

We must reduce the failed, heavy-handed US military approach in Pakistan, which only further alienates sovereign-minded Pakistanis. Drone strikes may kill a key insurgent, but they inevitably kill scores of civilians, simultaneously enraging the entire surrounding community. Democracy will only flourish in Pakistan if the necessary social, economic and political structures are steadfastly in place — and for the last decade, the United States has largely neglected these frontiers. The time to reverse past precedent is now and the RSPN offers a strong opportunity to redirect U.S. funding.
Rep. Michael M Honda, California Democrat, is co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Peace and Security Taskforce — with gratitude to the editors of huffingtonpost.com

Pakistan Student Association in US/Canada: Clear and present Danger

The video is produced by the Pakistan Student Association. It has several chapters in North America also (list below). I urge the authorities to investiage if U.S./Canada based PSA students Pakistani students are somehow linked to this video, and if they are, appropriate actions initiated to ensure their deportation immediately. They represent a clear and present danger to Americans. The PSA North America must unequivocally break their relationship with Pakistan based PSA, if not shut down entirely. I shouldn't be subjected to seeing Pentagon as a possible target from a U.S. origin/linked video. These videos nuture jehadi mindset similar to Pakistani-Americans Shazad and Shamin Khan killed yesterday in Yemen.

Pakistan students show anger at America
This Pakistan Student Association advert, aired on Pakistan television, shows the level of anger among some in the country at U.S. claims that its military is aiding Taliban militants. The video intersperses images of the Quran, Pakistanis praying and historical monuments of Pakistan with clips of U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, giving testimony and – at one point – an aerial view of the Pentagon.

Please pause at 1:30 seconds which shows Pentagon.

WSUPSAWichita State UniversityWichita, Kansas, USA[2]
RU-PSARutgers UniversityNew Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
NJITPSANJITNewark, New Jersey, USA[3]
PSAUBCUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouver, Canada[5]
UTPSAUniversity of TorontoToronto, Canada[6]
UofOPSAUniversity of OttawaOttawa, Canada
UofAPSAUniversity of AlbertaEdmonton, Canada[7]
CUPSACarleton UniversityOttawa, Canada
MCPSAMcMaster UniversityHamilton, Canada[8]
YUPSAYork UniversityToronto, Canada[9]
WOPSAUniversity of Western OntarioLondon, Canada[10]
UTPSAUniversity of TexasAustin, Texas, USA[11]
PaKSA@RPIRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroy, New York, USA[12]
NYUPSANYUNew York City, USA[13]
GMUPSAGeorge Mason UniversityFairfax County, Virginia, USA[14]
UFPSAUniversity of FloridaFlorida, USA[15]