January 11, 2013

Wield a very big stick

Anirudh Bhattacharyya, 
Hindustan Times
January 11, 2013
First Published: 22:05 IST(11/1/2013)
Last Updated: 22:13 IST(11/1/2013)

If this week's inhuman killing of two Indian jawans near the Line of Control seems like a movie we've seen before, it may spawn sequels in the months ahead as Pakistan's deep state factors in a couple of developments in Washington to pursue its policy of borderline lunacy. First, there's Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who is considered soft on Pakistan and is almost certain to be confirmed as America's next Secretary of State.
Kerry is considered a seasoned diplomat, the sort who has gathered enough salt and pepper over years of inhabiting the Beltway. He is known for his sagacity in international matters, like when in 2009 he visited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and described his regime as "an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region".
He was also the proponent of the $7.5 billion aid package the US has attempted to bribe the Pakistanis into cooperation with, in an effort to stabilise Afghanistan.

When it comes to India's concerns over American aid to Pakistan being misdirected, Kerryistas assert this isn't a zero-sum game. For them, it's rather a lump-sum game. Ignoring demands within the Senate to quell the cash gusher to Islamabad, Kerry championed the Pentagon's release of $688 million to Pakistan's armed forces to reimburse them for stationing 140,000 troops along the Durand Line. Somewhat like giving a bonus to a watchman after he snuck burglars into your home.
Kerry, of course, is pretty generous with other people's money. According to reports, he's the richest member of the US Congress, estimated to be worth nearly $1 billion, which would make Mitt Romney seem quite middle class. However, Kerry's wealth is mostly derived from his marriages, the last to the heiress to the Heinz ketchup fortune. When he ran for president in 2004, this detail made him into a punch line. As comedian Craig Kilborn cracked then, "There was an embarrassing moment at a recent Democratic fundraiser. When John Kerry was handed a $10 million dollar check, he said, 'I do.'"

Kerry's imminent position is not the only reason Pakistan, marshalled by its armed forces, is losing its collective head.
It's also due to the looming premature withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. In recent days, the Obama administration has even spoken of a "zero option" (no troops left behind) in Afghanistan. Or another way of acknowledging that after a decade in Afghanistan, the Obama administration's Af-Pak strategy has proved null and void. Like Kerry's reported arrangement with his wife, America seems to have entered into a prenup with the Karzai government in which the latter will be left with nothing once the two part ways.
In Rawalpindi, the army is already looking ahead to a scenario where instead of stringing America along, they'll pull the strings on a puppet regime in Kabul, and help the ISI's favourite jihadis string up the few pro-America elements left in that country.

And then, but obviously, turn their beady eyes upon Kashmir.

The trailer we witnessed wasn't just another skirmish. The decapitation of a soldier isn't on any manual of military engagement. But then when one party engages in unconventional warfare, norms of the Geneva Convention rarely apply.
Pakistan's designer bag lady, Hina Rabbani Khar, wants the United Nations to probe the brutal incident. Obviously, she has great confidence in the UN's abilities. After all, didn't it in March 2012 adopt a resolution on Libya that included this fine line: "Pakistan praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya's commitment to human rights, in particular the right to health, education and food, even when the country had faced sanctions in the 1990s." Unfortunately, that report wasn't referring to the current dispensation in Tripoli but to Muammar Gaddafi's dictatorship.
As India continues to talk to Islamabad's civilian government, it may be wise to wield a stout stick, because we're entering a phase when Pakistan will want to stick it to us.
Currently based in Toronto, Anirudh Bhattacharyya has been a New York-based foreign correspondent for eight years
The views expressed by the author are personal

Police failed to act on first complaint against Akbaruddin Owaisi's hate speech


TNN Jan 10, 2013, 07.34AM IST
HYDERABAD: Though the Nizamabad police might have taken time to comprehend Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi's December 8 Urdu speech in Nizamabad, the office of the director general of police (DGP) did receive a complaint within 48 hours of the vitriolic attack. However, police 'inaction' seems to have emboldened Akbaruddin to repeat his blasphemous speech in Nirmal, Adilabad on December 22.

On December 10, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) corporator from Mangalhat T Raja Singh gave a complaint to the office of the DGP (a copy of the acknowledgment is available with TOI) stating that Akbaruddin had denigrated gods of a particular community in his hate speech in Nizamabad.

"On December 8, MIM party had a meeting in Nizamabad. During the speeches given by MIM members, they made derogatory remarks against the Hindu community, Hindu gods and hurt the sentiments of Hindus. They are openly challenging the Hindu community," Raja Singh said in his complaint.

According to him, Akbaruddin Owaisi and other MIM leaders were repeatedly targeting the Hindu community and Hindu deities for vote bank politics. "Why are the government and police supporting MIM? On the floor of the Assembly, Akbaruddin had stated that Bhagyalakshmi temple abutting Charminar will be removed. Ironically, no legislator raised any objection to this," he said in the letter.

The corporator, who himself is facing several communal-related cases, told TOI that the infamous Nizamabad incident was not the first hate speech delivered by Owaisi Jr. "It began in January, 2012, when Akbaruddin delivered a speech in Nanded, Maharashtra, insulting the Hindu religion. Never before had Akbaruddin or his party members targeted Hindu gods in this manner. No action was taken. Now, he started repeating the same in Andhra Pradesh. Had the state police acted on my complaint against Akbaruddin given at the DGP office following the Nizamabad incident, it would have been a deterrent and Nirmal incident would not have taken place," the corporator felt.

He moved a private petition before the Nampally court in connection with the Nanded incident and the matter is also in pre-cognizance stage. In his complaint, the overtly communal leader demanded that the police ban a local Urdu channel, which is accused of being the mouthpiece of MIM. As Raja Singh himself is facing charges for fanning communal tension, his complaint might have been ignored by police bosses

: More cases are piling on Majlis leader Akbaruddin Owaisi for his alleged hate speeches. A local court here on Friday directed the Mangalhat Police to register an FIR and investigate a speech made by him against a particular community in Nanded last year.

Mr. Owaisi, presently under judicial custody, is lodged in the Adilabad District Jail for hate speeches made in Nirmal and Nizamabad.

Replying to a private complaint lodged by Mangalhat Corporator Raja Singh, the Sixteenth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Court directed the Mangalhat Police to investigate the matter and file a report on or before February 11.

Meanwhile, a court at Nirmal on Friday granted Police five-day custody of Owaisi, accused of sedition over his "hate speech". The Magistrate Court in Nirmal allowed Police to take Akbaruddin in custody from Saturday.In another development, the Seventh ACMM Court, which heard a petition filed by Advocate K. Karunasagar against Mr. Owaisi's hate speech, asked the petitioner to seek sanction from the Government by January 31 to prosecute the MIM leader under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Section 295 A deals with deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

"We will request the Principal Secretary (Home) for getting sanction from the Government for prosecuting Mr. Owaisi. If the Government is convinced with our plea, then it will permit the Court for prosecution," Mr. Karunasagar said. He added that his sworn statement would also be recorded.

The Nirmal and Nizamabad Town Police booked suo motu cases against Mr. Owaisi for his hate speeches. The Osmania University Police too registered a case against him following a directive from a local court, while the Second Metropolitan Magistrate Court of L.B. Nagar on Thursday issued summons, directing Owaisi to appear before it on February 4 in connection with another complaint. The OU Police have also issued notice to a local TV channel for airing the controversial speeches that Akbaruddin had made at Nizamabad and Nirmal. The channel has also been asked to hand over the video footage of the speeches to the investigating officer.

Can India Revive Nonalignment?

By Ashley Tellis
India's foreign-policy establishment is in the process of disinterring a long-dead grand strategy from its Cold War grave. "Nonalignment" - the doctrine that calls upon India to refuse staunchly any strategic alliances with other actors - has re-entered the broader foreign policy discourse, with the center-left championing such policies in the guise of promoting "strategic autonomy." The credo was touted in an independent report titled Nonalignment 2.0, which offers the vision of "allying with none" as a grand strategy for India in the coming years.

At first glance, nonalignment presents an attractive option for a rising India. It promises freedom from entangling alliances as well as the chance to advance Indian exceptionalism against the Machiavellian imperatives of traditional international politics. Most importantly, it holds out the prospect that India can chart its own path free from machinations of external actors, an understandable objective for a country scarred by its colonial past.
But in light of India's growing strategic vulnerabilities, a return to nonalignment is misguided and potentially dangerous. The doctrine has three major weaknesses that would leave India perilously vulnerable:

First, nonalignment struggles to reconcile competing strands of realism and idealism. On the one hand, Indian policymakers acknowledge the nation inhabits a Hobbesian world characterized by troublesome neighbors and endemic geopolitical competition. Despite avowed recognition of the dangerous environment, the doctrine counsels India to rise above conventional international politics, to avoid behaving like other great powers as it becomes one and instead blaze new paths for the conduct of powerful nations.

Advocacy of moralpolitik in an amoral world is grounded in nonalignment's fervent but suspect belief in the power of example. According to its proponents, India's developmental and democratic successes within would help inspire a following abroad, thus bequeathing an exemplary power allowing India to gain in global stature and influence. This coruscating idealism, however, is at odds with the reality that great-power competition will be alive and well in the future global system. If power politics is in no danger of extinction, then the critical task facing India is maximization of national power through smart choices at home and abroad. Expansion of India's material power in the realms of economic growth, technological advancement, and institutional capacity could make all the difference - with the benefits of example accruing thereafter for free.

It's clear that consolidating material success cannot be subordinated to the chimerical pursuit of an ideal international order, in which India's exceptionalism has room to flourish, so long as the tyranny of great-power competition remains untamed. In this respect, India's new advocates of nonalignment are akin to an older generation of idealists in the United States. From the moment of its founding, the American nation, too, entranced by the Enlightenment and republican ideals, sought to promote a novus ordo seclorum, an ongoing quest for new order for the ages, permitting the country to preserve exceptionalism in the face of all international pressures toward conformity. While many Americans would like to believe that the United States is unique in its global behavior, the truth is that the country behaves more or less like the great powers that preceded it.
Constraints of international competition would ensure that India suffers the same fate.
Although states differ in details of how they conduct themselves, with history, domestic politics and strategic culture accounting for much of the variance - there's little doubt that India, too, would eventually succumb to protecting its own interests, if it doesn't do so already. If the demands of national power came into conflict with the obligations of principle, New Delhi would unlikely sacrifice tangible gains to meet certain ideational aspirations. India's switching to a more accommodating posture towards Burma's military rulers to curb Chinese influence is just a recent example. Nor should India be enjoined to do so, as the nonalignment advocates might suggest, because such actions could be devastating for a still-weak country struggling to thrive in the cutthroat world of international politics.
A second and more problematic flaw in nonalignment as a grand strategy is its conviction that refusing to align with other great powers remains the best organizing principle for India's foreign relations because it preserves the nation's "strategic autonomy." This attempt to equate nonalignment with preventing loss of sovereign agency confuses ends and means. If nonalignment were primarily about the end, states seeking to avoid strategic policies that were defined elsewhere from their own capitals, then all states would necessarily be nonaligned.
But when nonalignment is defined as a means - "the avoidance of sharp choices," as Nonalignment 2.0 aptly puts it - then it becomes more dangerous, thanks to India's strategic circumstances. In the north, China is a rising geopolitical competitor whose potential threat to Indian security interests is only complicated by two countries' burgeoning bilateral economic relationship. In the west, Pakistan continues to pose dangers to India because of a peculiar combination of increasing state weakness married to a propensity for perilous risk-taking.

Together, these threats to Indian security suggest that New Delhi should invest in preferential strategic partnerships with the enemies of its enemies because such affiliations could help mitigate the perils posed by India's immediate adversaries. Oddly, however, nonalignment supporters take the opposite tact, running away from preferential partnerships in a quest for strategic autonomy. Accordingly, they fundamentally misread what success requires, especially when political competition coexists with economic interdependence and containing adversaries is not a realistic option.

The strategy of nonalignment might make sense if India could muster the necessary resources to cope with its strategic challenges independently. Yet the doctrine's third weakness consists of its failure to assess whether the transformative reforms necessary to build India's comprehensive national power can in fact be consummated, considering the current circumstances of India's domestic politics. The realities of Indian politics suggest that the successful "internal balancing" required for the realization of genuine strategic autonomy could fall on hard times. India's capacity for resource mobilization is undermined by the disarray of its two national parties, the continuing ebb of power away from the national center and towards the states, the rise of powerful regional parties, and the advent of populist politics focusing on economic redistribution rather than growth. Accordingly, India's national security managers ought to treat the doctrine's exhortation to eschew preferential strategic partnerships with a friendly power like the United States with skepticism.
Ultimately, nonalignment fails to recognize that when internal balancing is impeded, external balancing becomes imperative. At a time when the growth of Chinese power continues unabated and different threats posed by China and Pakistan continue to grow, New Delhi must give serious consideration to accelerating the growth in its own national capacities through tightened affiliations with a small number of friends and allies. Instead of avoiding coalitions, New Delhi should thus enter into preferential strategic partnerships taking the form of high-quality trading ties, robust defense cooperation and strong diplomatic collaboration. To be successful, India needs these ties with key friendly powers throughout the world - especially the United States - because neither its example as a successful democracy nor its efforts at internal balancing are likely to produce the security necessary to its well-being. India's strategic challenges are grave and increasing. New Delhi must recognize that the strategic solution to the country's predicament cannot consist of simply resurrecting nonalignment in a new guise.
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Ashley J. Tellis is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. © 2012 Yale Center for the Study of Globalization

6 Provocative Predictions for 2013... And Beyond

By Addison Wiggin

Someday, someone will fund an academic study identifying the crevice in the human brain that craves year-end predictions for the coming 12 months. Wherever it resides, it is undeniably strong and far more prevalent among the populace than the craving for news about, say, the "fiscal cliff" or the New York Jets' quarterback saga.

Within the finance sector, such predictions abound. "Macro surprises" from Morgan Stanley, "13 outliers for '13" from Deutsche Bank, and the ever popular "outrageous predictions" from Denmark's Saxo Bank. And you know what? These institutions are, umn, lily- white, every last one of them.

Saxo, for instance, describes its predictions as an "annual exercise in rooting out relatively extreme market and political events for which the probability is perhaps low, if still vastly underappreciated." In other words, they're "thought experiments." They do a nice job of covering their backsides, however.

Then again, they have depositors and clients and shareholders to please. Actually predicting the German stock market will plunge 33% next year — the lead item on Saxo's list — might discomfort one or more of those constituencies. So they're obligated to couch their predictions in the abstract.

We, on the other hand, suffer no such conflicts of interest. We rise and fall, live and die on the trust you place in our research... a liberating state, especially given the amount of rope you've shown you're willing to give us.

With that rope firmly in mind, we bring you the following six provocative predictions for 2013... and beyond.

These are not thought experiments to be touted in a late-December press release and posted on Zero Hedge, then quickly forgotten. These are themes that we fully expect to develop during the next 12 months. Let's begin!


1. The "mother of all financial bubbles" will burst... but not before blowing up even bigger! Money manager and Vancouver Symposium favorite Barry Ritholtz recently bored himself silly with a spreadsheet: It showed a monthly survey of economists by Bloomberg going back to 2002, revealing their "expert" guesses about the 10- year Treasury yield over the following six months.

"In the history of finance," Barry quips, "we cannot find a more one-sided opinion about a freely traded double-auction market." Ninety-seven percent of the time a majority of economists predicted higher yields. On three occasions, including last May, the consensus was unanimous: The average forecast was for a yield of 2.4%. Oops... It turned out to be 1.7%. Just a little bit off.

The most recent survey? Ninety-four percent of economists surveyed expect higher rates by next May... and their average guess is 1.93%.

We'll take the other side of that trade. Indeed, as we told the subscribers of Apogee Advisory last October, "We think the 30-year bull market has one more blowoff phase before the end. You need to act accordingly."

Back then, the factor we cited was the pending demise of money market funds. We figured on a time horizon of three years. But now that we see such an overwhelming consensus for higher yields and lower prices, we'll double down: We'll see a Black Swan emerging early next year — another debt-ceiling crisis (even if the "fiscal cliff" issue is resolved) or more likely another euro-scare. Hot money will flood back into the "safety" of Treasuries. The 10-year yield will plunge below its 1.4% record set last July. It might even go all the way down to 1%.

But that would be the final blowoff that would signal the beginning of a major bear market in bonds. In other words, we think interest rates will rise substantially over the next few years...but not quite yet.

"At some point," Barry says, "the bond bears are going to be right." We're confident that point will arrive before the end of the decade.

2. Boomers' retirements are about to be crushed (again) in junk bonds and the wrong dividend stocks. First, they lost their shirts in the tech bust. Then they lost their pants in the housing bust. And in 2013, the baby boomer cohort is about to be stripped of its skivvies...thanks to the Fed's zero-interest rate policy. Because intermediate-term Treasurys and CDs yield close to nothing, savers have been trying to get some yield on their savings wherever they can find it. In this context, junk bonds seem appealing. They offer yields that are at least greater than zero, which is why many investors have been flooding into the junk bond market.

Bad call.

Understand the Fed's priorities: Saving and investing is their mortal enemy. "They want spending and speculating," says our macro strategist Dan Amoss, "and are willing to risk the entire monetary system in the process." Result: "Investors are taking foolish risks; they've bid up junk bonds and dividend stocks, pushing yields down in the process."

If only investing were as simple as buying risky assets when interest rates are stuck at zero. Ask the average Japanese investor how that's worked for them the last 20 years.

"The 2012 rallies in almost every stock and bond will not last," declares Dan. "When investors bid up junk bonds and stocks in a zero interest rate environment, they are simply pulling future returns into the present."

When interest rates start rising again, junk bond prices could plummet.

3. The World's Fastest-Growing Economies in 2013: Forget the BRICs. If it's emerging markets with explosive potential you're looking for, the globe-trotting Chris Mayer has identified three. He's visited all of them — the first two in 2012.

Mongolia. "The story is very simple," says Chris. "You have a tiny economy of just under 3 million people. And they are sitting on enormous reserves of natural resources. The top 10 deposits alone are worth an estimated $3 trillion. It's a decade-long story. I think a good analogy is Kazakhstan, which is culturally similar — an old Soviet-style economy that opened up and created an enormous boom, thanks to resources. The stock exchange went up 2,400% in six years from 2002; apartment prices rose 800%-plus and land prices in Almaty rose 8,000%."
Myanmar, or if you prefer, Burma. "If I could put all of my money in Myanmar, I would," says globe-trotter and Asia bull Jim Rogers. "Another great story," says Chris. "Fifty years of isolation and dictatorial rule and it is finally starting to thaw. There is no reason why Myanmar can't approach the development of its neighbors such as Thailand, given time, investment and a commitment to freer markets. I think it will be one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia..." Hard to invest there, but a great story to watch.

United Arab Emirates. Chris concedes this one might come as a surprise. "The economy went through a giant bust, but its place as the money center for the Middle East is secure, thanks to low taxes, privacy protection and location. It has the region's biggest marine port and airport and is home to the highest number of foreign businesses... Best of all, the market is cheap after an epic bubble, but the underlying economy is still growing rapidly."
Check in tomorrow to see my final three provocative predictions!


Addison Wiggin
for The Daily Reckoning

January 10, 2013

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Owasi a joker

On one the one hand Owasi says that if the police is removed he can take care of the 100 crore majority. While in his own admission when the police was removed in Gujarat the result was a painful blow to his kind. There he complains that Mr.Modi should be prosecuted for not providing protection. Mr. Owaisi stop being a joker. You are giving cheap thrills and false sense of power to a frustrated lot. Instead try to do some constructive work for the people and improve their lives.

For Syria, perhaps a Bosnia likes Solution!

Bosnia, sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina, is a country in Southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Sarajevo and it is bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast.
This complex new state out of the ashes of Yugoslavia ,was created following the Dayton ( near Ohio, USA) Accords reached on Nov. 21, 1995, and ratified in Paris by the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia, ending the war in Bosnia and outlining a General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It preserved Bosnia as a single state made up of two parts, the Bosniak-Croat federation and the Bosnian Serb Republic, with Sarajevo remaining as the undivided capital city.
Following the wars in Yugoslavia after the death of its leader Marshal Tito, and in the wake of the collapse of USSR, with which it has Slavic and Orthodox Christian similarities and fairly close relationship, civil wars based on ethnic, linguistic and religious pluralities were triggered, encouraged and aided by US and West European nations.
Herzegovina has several levels of political structuring, according to the Dayton accord. The most important of these levels is the division of the country into two entities: Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina covers 51% of Bosnia and Herzegovina's total area, while Republika Srpska covers 49%. The entities, based largely on the territories held by the two warring sides at the time, were formally established by the Dayton peace agreement.
Since 1996 the power of the entities relative to the State government has decreased significantly. Nonetheless, entities still have numerous powers to themselves. The Brčko District in the north of the country was created in 2000 out of land from both entities. It officially belongs to both, but is governed by neither, and functions under a decentralized system of local government.
 The third level of Bosnia and Herzegovina's political subdivision is manifested in cantons. They are unique to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, which consists of ten of them. All of them have their own cantonal government, which is under the law of the Federation as a whole. Some cantons are ethnically mixed and have special laws implemented to ensure the equality of all constituent people.
The fourth level of political division in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the municipalities. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided in 74 municipalities and Republika Srpska in 63. Municipalities also have their own local government, and are typically based on the most significant city or place in their territory. As such, many municipalities have a long tradition and history with their present boundaries.
Besides entities, cantons, and municipalities, Bosnia and Herzegovina also has four "official" cities. These are: Banja Luka, Mostar, Sarajevo, and East Sarajevo.
The Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina rotates among three members (Bosniak, Serb, Croat), each elected as the Chair for an eight-month term within their four-year term as a member. The three members of the Presidency are elected directly by the people with Federation voters voting for the Bosniak and the Croat, and the Republika Srpska voters for the Serb.
But unlike 1990s, Moscow is now better placed while Washington is on decline ,
something which the appointment of new cabinet ministers by Obama indicates that Washington is readying itself to cut its coat according to its cloth aka treasure, having spent trillions of US dollars in Afghanistan and Iraq and devastating these countries .
Russia Still Key to Syrian Transition
By: Fyodor Lukyanov for Al-Monitor. posted on January 8.
Addressing the nation for the first time in over six months, Syrian President Bashar Assad thanked Russia for its efforts to help find a political solution to Syria's conflict. This sounded ironic, because the rest of the speech was devoted to denying the very possibility of negotiating with those who should theoretically be the other party to the negotiations.
In the last days of 2012, Russia was again at the center of attention due to events in Syria. First, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister, Faysal Maklad, visited Moscow, followed by the special envoy of the UN and the Arab League, Lakhdar Brahimi, but the leader of the Syrian national coalition, Ahmed Muaz al-Hatib, made a point of rejecting the invitation from the Russian Foreign Ministry until Moscow publicly apologizes for supporting the Assad regime. And the news that the amphibious assault ship Novocherkassk had sailed from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk to the Syrian port of Tartus caused a wave of rumors, each one louder than the last, to erupt in media outlets sympathetic to the opposition. Rumors that an armada of Russian warships is supposedly heading to Syria, either to protect the “Alawite corridor” or remove Assad's chemical weapons.
The latter, if true, should surely be welcomed, because it would be much safer for such weapons to be kept in Russia, but unfortunately, none of these speculations are based in reality. Of course, the Russian ships in the Mediterranean Sea are directly relevant to the Syrian conflict, but any involvement in military action is out of the question. The task is much more practical: if the crisis escalates significantly and the country is engulfed in civil war, the Russian citizens there will need urgent assistance. Central to the new Russian ideology that seems to be taking root during Vladimir Putin's third term is the concept of protecting the country's citizens, wherever they are located. Much is riding on the success of this policy, so the inability to evacuate promptly any Russians who wish to leave Syria would be a blow to the administration's prestige. It is no coincidence that in 2011, when the civil war erupted in Libya, many Russian commentators pointed out to government officials that Beijing was able in a very short time to evacuate from the country 35,000 Chinese workers who were working on joint projects.
Somehow, the moderate optimism with which Lakhdar Brahimi left Moscow gave rise to hopes that some sort of plan to resolve the conflict had been worked out by the two main outside participants — the U.S. and Russia. No one will confirm the existence of such a plan officially or even privately, but it is not denied that there is new life in the process. What is in Moscow's interest today?
Throughout 2012, Russia did not yield at all from its position on the Syrian issue, that the conflict must be resolved politically within the country, with no outside interference. Moscow endured sharp criticism, strong pressure, and bewildered questions about the reasonableness of its approach: why knowingly make a losing bet on a doomed dictator? At least three times, Russia was declared fatally intransigent, and others promised to resolve the problem without it, but then, after again reaching a stalemate on the battlefield, they turned to Moscow once more for help. It seems that the West and the Arab countries are only now beginning to understand that Russia is actually standing on principle and not simply pursuing its own mercantile interests. This means that the successful result of Russian diplomacy will not be keeping Bashar Assad in power, but ensuring a smooth transition of power without external intervention or internal collapse. And in general, it is not of fundamental importance who will lead Syria in the future. The previous, hugely profitable commercial relationships will no longer exist, but new relationships will surely be built, simply because certain things in the region still depend on Russia.
The overthrow of Bashar Assad will be a defeat for Russia. Both from the point of view of prestige and in the practical sense: all of Russia's enormous diplomatic efforts will come to nothing, and Moscow will be seen as having bet on the wrong horse. Therefore, it is in Russia's interests to support and advance the political process, in order to capitalize on its two years of intensive work.
The Russian diplomats working on resolving the Syrian conflict are more and more frequently heard to say the word “Dayton.” The Dayton Accord of 1995, which ended the war in Bosnia, has faced much criticism since that time, because it has not provided the basis for stable statehood in that country. It is unpopular in Russia, because it was signed during the period when Moscow's influence in international affairs was at its low point. However, the model itself is being discussed now, because Bosnia is similar in some ways to Syria. A diverse, multicultural society with a harsh history, a fierce internecine conflict involving religious strife, active outside interference from both neighbors and great powers, and finally, one side considered by international public opinion to be “most at fault” (in Bosnia, it was the Serbs and Slobodan Milosevic). Of course, the parallels are not exact. The Syrian situation is more complex, but the arrangement worked out in the Balkans could be applied in the Middle East with appropriate modifications.
The most influential outside players, representing what might be called the various opposing groups, would use diplomacy and pressure to get them to the negotiating table, where they would not only formulate a transitional government, but develop a new system of government for Syria. On the one hand, this would distribute power among the various religious and ethnic communities in order to establish a balance of interests, primarily in the name of security. On the other hand, there would be a system of external guarantees, in which all of the involved countries would participate, even those that have antagonistic relations with each other. (In an interview with the author of this article, Sergey Lavrov confirmed back in November that Russia favors Egypt's initiative, in the format of the “Four Neighbors” — Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran — as an important tool in resolving the Syrian conflict.) The most important aspect of this is the participation of all actors that affect the situation, and in this sense the achievement of Dayton was that Slobodan Milosevic was included in the negotiations even though he was already considered a war criminal in the West.
One approach has been and will be firmly rejected by Moscow: the assertion that Assad's resignation is the solution to the Syrian crisis. Catherine Ashton, the EU representative for foreign policy, said this again after the Syrian president's speech. On all other matters, Russia could certainly be flexible regarding the parameters and format of a hypothetical Syrian “Dayton.” Of course, the “peace conference” proposed by Bashar Assad implies something very different, sweeping aside the opposition that is using primarily military operations against him. But even this idea might have some merit, if Damascus actually carries it out. Such a forum would crystallize the forces within that are trying to avoid the destruction of the entire system. If the regime is willing to compromise with its moderate opponents within the country, this could create a “party” for future negotiations. With support that would be hard to deny, this party would be capable of holding talks with the implacable opposition from the National Coalition, which is also more consolidated now than in the past.
This is all still speculation, but the deadlock of violence in which Syria is currently trapped forces everyone to look for difficult ways out. And this cannot be done without Russia. 
Fyodor Lukyanov is the editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Politics magazine, published in partnership with the American magazine Foreign Affairs in the Russian and English languages. Russia in Global Politics is one of the most authoritative Russian editions devoted to foreign policy and international relations.

Intelligence and Human Networks

January 10, 2013 | 0956 GMT


By Tristan Reed

Stratfor views the world through the lens of geopolitics, the study of hard, physical constraints on man's ability to shape reality. Political decisions are limited by the geography in which they take place, eliminating many of the options concocted by ideologues and making their human decisions easier to predict. But the study of geopolitics only takes the understanding of global affairs so far: It identifies the geographical constraints but leaves an array of options open to human actors. So when forecasting on a shorter time frame, analysis must go beyond geographical constraints to more specific, temporal constraints. For this reason, predicting the short-term activities of human actors requires an understanding of the constraints they face in the human terrain within which they operate.

As a result, one task common to any intelligence organization is defining the human network of a state, criminal organization, militant movement or any other organization to better determine and understand a group's characteristics and abilities. A human network in this sense is a broad term used to describe the intricate web of relations existing in an organization and within a specific region. For anyone or any organization with interests in a given geographic area, understanding the networks of individuals with influence in the region is critical.

Intelligence and Analysis

People use human networks to organize the control of resources and geography. No person alone can control anything of significance. Presidents, drug lords and CEOs rely on people to execute their strategies and are constrained by the capabilities and interests of the people who work for them. Identifying these networks may be a daunting task depending on the network. For obvious reasons, criminal organizations and militant networks strive to keep their membership secret, and it is not always apparent who gives the orders and who carries out the orders in a political body. To discern who's who in a group, and therefore whether an individual matters in a group, requires both intelligence and analysis to make sense of the intelligence.

How intelligence is acquired depends on the resources and methods available to an intelligence organization, while the analysis that follows differs depending on the intent. For example, International Security Assistance Force military operations aimed at disrupting militant networks in Afghanistan would require the collection of informants and signals intelligence followed by analysis to pinpoint the exact location of individuals within a network to enable targeted operations. Simply knowing who belongs to a militant network and their location is not enough; the value lies in the significance and capabilities of an individual in the group. Detaining an individual who lays improvised explosive devices on a road may result in short-term disruptions to the target's area of operations, but identifying and detaining a bombmaker with exclusive experience and training will have a far greater impact.

The true value of analysis lies in understanding the significance of a particular individual in a network. Mapping out a human network begins with the simple question of who belongs to a particular network. Next, identify and define relationships with other known individuals and organizations. For some, this process takes the form of link analysis, which is a visual representation of a network where each individual is represented in a diagram. Links between the individuals who interact with one another are then depicted. These links show an individual's significance in a group and establish whether he is a lowly scout within a transnational criminal organization who may only interact with his paymaster. The paymaster, by contrast, could be linked to dozens of other group members. Examining how many links within a group an individual has, however, is just scratching the surface of understanding the network.

Every individual within a given human network has reasons to be tied to others within the network. Understanding what unites the individuals in an organization provides further depth of understanding. Whether it be ideology, mutual interests, familial ties or paid services, why a relationship exists will help determine the strength of such bonds, the motives of the network and the limitations to what a network can accomplish. For example, when assessing the strength of the Syrian regime, it is imperative to identify and examine the inner circle of President Bashar al Assad. Analyzing these members can indicate which factions of the Syrian population and which political and familial groupings support or reject the al Assad regime. That key posts within the government are now occupied primarily by Alawites indicates a combination of regime distrust of the Sunnis and dwindling levels of support from even high-ranking Sunnis. Similarly, examining the once-strong ties of inner circle members who have defected indicates which factions no longer support the regime and points toward other groups that might also have doubts about remaining loyal.

Rarely is there a completely isolated human network. Human relations typically span multiple regions or even continents. Politicians can have their own business interests, drug traffickers may have counterparts in another country and militant groups may have the sympathy of other groups or even members in a state's government. There are no limits on how separate networks may interact with one another. Understanding a group's ties to other groups further defines the original group's influence. For example, a political leader at odds with the powerful military of his state may find significant constraints in governing (due to the limitations within the human network on figures linking the military assets to political leaders). A drug trafficker with a law enforcement officer on his payroll will likely find less resistance from authorities when conducting illicit business (due to the capabilities that a police officer would provide to the network).

The reasons for, and methods of, defining a human network will vary depending on the intelligence organization. A nation with vast resources like the United States has an exceptionally large focus on human networks around the world and a full array of intelligence disciplines to gather the necessary information. At Stratfor, our reasons to map the intricate web of human relations within an organization differ as we look to understand the constraints that human networks place on actors.

Challenges of Tracking Human Networks

The individuals in an organization are constantly changing. This means the job of mapping the driving forces in an organization never ends, since relations shift, roles change and individuals often are taken out of the picture altogether. As a result, intelligence collectors must continually task their intelligence assets for new information, and analysts must continually update their organizational charts.

Logically, the more fluid the membership of an organization, the more difficult it is for an intelligence organization -- or rival organization -- to follow it. As an example, take Los Zetas, who dominate the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo. The group always will have individuals in the city in charge of running daily criminal operations, such as coordinating gunmen, drug shipments, money laundering and retail drug sales. Within a Mexican transnational criminal organization, the person filling this role is typically called a "plaza boss." Several alleged Zetas plaza bosses of Nuevo Laredo were killed or captured during 2012 in Mexican military operations. With each kill or capture, an organization must replace the former plaza boss. This frequent succession of plaza bosses obviously reshapes the human network operating in Nuevo Laredo.

It is no simple matter for a collector to ask his informants about, or to eavesdrop through surveillance, for information about the personnel changes. It takes time for a new plaza boss to assume his new responsibilities. A new office manager must get to know his employees and operations before making critical decisions. Additionally, an intelligence collector's assets may not be able to provide updates right away. In the case of an informant, does the informant have the same access to the new plaza boss as the former? Roles are more constant within an organization and can be split up among individuals. Thus, a person who had handled both gunmen and drug shipments may be replaced by two people to break up the responsibilities. Therefore, collectors and analysts must seek to understand the roles of the new plaza boss and whether he has the same influence as the prior one.

What We Do

Understanding that the players within organizations change frequently, but that the roles and constraints of an organization transform far more slowly, is key to how Stratfor approaches human networks. For the leader of a nation, the geopolitical imperatives of the nation serve as impersonal forces directing the decisions of a rational individual. For a criminal or insurgent leader, there is only so much that can be done while attempting to avoid notice by law enforcement and the military, and the organization's imperatives will likely remain in place. In determining the constraints and imperatives, we can better identify the significance and courses of actions of an organization without necessarily knowing the details about the individuals serving specific roles.

Particularly with more clandestine human networks, we continually examine the external effects of known personnel changes. For example, how has the death of a Taliban leader in Pakistan affected the operations of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan as a whole, such as in the case of the Jan. 3 death of Taliban leader Maulvi Nazir in South Waziristan? Nazir commanded a relatively benign faction of the Pakistani Taliban that kept more aggressive, anti-government factions out of South Waziristan. His removal, and the nature of his removal, could invite militants waging an active fight against the Pakistani government to return to South Waziristan. Ultimately, Nazir was a distinct figure in the Pakistani militant network due to his alliance with Islamabad. While his removal won't change the fact that militants will thrive on the Pakistani-Afghan border (which geography dictates), it does marginally tilt the balance away from Islamabad and toward the militants.

With the example of Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo, we know Nuevo Laredo is a critical location for the transnational criminal organization. As a border town with one of the highest volumes of cross-border commercial shipping to the United States, the city serves as one of the principal sources of revenue for Zetas drug traffickers. For this reason, Los Zetas will certainly continue to replace figures who are removed by military and law enforcement.

Using this known behavior and the imperatives, we can learn about Los Zetas elsewhere in Mexico: By observing the group at a broader geographic level, we can deduce the significance of a capture or death in a specific locale. If the losses of personnel in Nuevo Laredo have had a significant impact on the organization, operations would likely suffer in other geographic areas as the group accommodates its losses in Nuevo Laredo.

In forecasting the political, economic or security climate of a geographic region, understanding human networks must be incorporated into any analysis. Areas such as Mexico and Syria have geographic elements that define conflicts. Mexico's location between the cocaine producers of the northern Andes and cocaine consumers in the United States ensures that groups will profit off the cocaine flow from south to north. The Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental divide trafficking corridors between the east and west coasts of Mexico. But geography alone can't be used to predict how groups will organize and compete with each other within those trafficking corridors. Predicting the spread and scope of violence depends on knowledge of the human network and of who controls the resources and terrain. Similarly, the geographic significance of the Levant to Iran and Iraq determines the importance of Syria as an access point to the Mediterranean, but that alone doesn't determine the future of al Assad's regime. Understanding who his most trusted confidants are, what their relationships are based on and watching their moves enables us to filter the constant news of death and destruction coming out of Syria and to focus on the individuals who directly support al Assad and determine his immediate fate. 

In as much that humans can overcome geography, they can do so through organizations that control terrain and resources. Understanding the nature of those organizations and how they control those assets requires knowledge of the human network.
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January 09, 2013

Under Cover: Why are we giving visas to Chinese spies?


In early January, Chris Buckley, a Beijing correspondent newly hired by the New York Times, wasforced to leave China along with his family after his visa was not renewed. Philip P. Pan has also beenwaiting for more than 8 months for a visa to work as the Beijing bureau chief for the Times. These follow a similar incident in May 2012 when Melissa Chan, a Beijing-based reporter for Al-Jazeera and a U.S. citizen, was effectively kicked out of China when her visa was not renewed. China also denies and delays visas to limit the number of reporters and the effectiveness of the work done by the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America, and many journalists from prominent international publications have had to wait several months for their Chinese visas to be approved.

It is clear that the Chinese Communist Party controls and manipulates domestic and foreign media operating within its country to maintain its illegitimate grip on power. But why does the U.S. government look the other way and allow numerous Chinese state media organizations to operate in our country without requiring any reciprocity?

The U.S. State Department has issued, and continues to issue, hundreds of international journalist visas (I-visas) to Chinese media workers, while only two Voice of America reporters are allowed to operate in mainland China, despite longstanding requests for two more. In 2011 alone, 811 Chinese nationals entered the United States on I-visas, according to figures provided to our office by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which regulates immigration.

In response, in September 2011 I introduced the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act, designed to enforce existing legislation in the Immigration and Nationality Act stating that nonimmigrant visas for members of foreign press shall be issued upon a basis of reciprocity. My bill requires visas for reporters who work for state media organizations from China to be issued on a one-for-one basis. This would force China to issue visas for Voice of America and Radio Free Asia in a timely manner.  

To control the media and information space in China, the Communist Party does more than deny visas; reporters and those who cooperate with them are harassed, sometimes violently. The situation is far worse for Chinese journalists, but the party's harassment still hamstrings foreign reporting in the country. Voice of America and Radio Free Asia cannot place any of their television or radio products on Chinese stations, and their radio transmissions from outside China are jammed. The government heavily censors the Internet in China, and those two American news organizations' websites, like those of the New York Times, Bloomberg, and social media such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook are routinely blocked.

In contrast, no fewer than 14 different Chinese state-owned media organizations operate freely in the United States, according to figures from the Congressional Research Service. The North American headquarters and the 60-foot-tall billboard promoting Xinhua, China's official news agency, are located in New York City's Times Square. The Communist Party is free to hire employees in the United States and to distribute its multimedia and print propaganda.

Of the hundreds of Chinese nationals sent to the United States every year, some may be real reporters, but many function as intelligence officers; they report on what's happening in the United States on issues of concern to Chinese leaders -- including the movements of Tibetan activists and Chinese dissidents -- and write secret cables accessible only to a select few.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the congressional body responsible for monitoring national security issues between the two countries, reported in 2009 that "China's official Xinhua state news agency also serves some of the functions of an intelligence agency, gathering information and producing classified reports for the Chinese leadership on both domestic and international events." Furthermore "the Ministry of State Security [A Chinese ministry roughly equivalent to the CIA and FBI] also makes extensive use of the news media covers, sending agents abroad as correspondents for the state news agency Xinhua and as reporters for newspapers such as the People's Daily and China Youth Daily."

The United States has hoped that by unconditionally giving China our most preferential trade status, engaging diplomatically as an equal, and turning a blind eye to its Soviet-like human rights conditions, an increasingly liberal middle class would emerge. That has not happened. The Communist Party has grown more confrontational in the seas off its coast, threatening U.S. allies like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Self-immolations in Tibet have reached crisis proportions; more than90 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since February 2009. Chinese economic espionage costs the United States billions of dollars a year, and that's not even including the negative effects of Beijing's currency manipulation.

If China wishes to be treated as the aspiring world power that it is, it is long past time we demand it act like one.

India-Pakistan dialogue must continue


But New Delhi must create strong disincentives for hostile actions by Islamabad

The validity of our strategic objectives towards Pakistan should not be allowed to be distorted by any jingoistic reaction to the incident in Jammu & Kashmir on January 8, 2013, in which two Indian soldiers were killed well inside Indian territory by a Pakistani Army group and where one of them was allegedly decapitated.

While Pakistan has denied any decapitation, it has sought to project the incident as in retaliation for an earlier incident on January 6 in the Uri sector in which, according to it, a Pakistani soldier was killed by a raiding Indian Army unit. This has been denied by the Indian Army. According to it, it merely countered covering fire by Pakistani units in the area to facilitate the infiltration of some militants into J&K across the Uri area.

In the present state of contentious relations between the two countries, it would be difficult to establish the real sequence of events. Each government and Army will assert the veracity of its version.


Our strategic objectives are to work for good neighbourly relations marked by normal trade, people to people contacts, greater sporting and cultural interactions, hassle-free travel and a confidence-building mechanism. A sustained dialogue process is necessary to achieve these objectives.

It will be unwise and short-sighted to allow our justified anger over the incident of January 8 to undermine the dialogue process. It will be in the interest of the people of both countries to resist the urge to discontinue the dialogue process.

At the same time, one has to recognise that such incidents of tactical gravity will continue to mar bilateral relations so long as there is no genuine change of mindset in the Pakistan Army towards India. This mindset is marked by sustained hostility towards India and a determination to annexe J&K and keep India destabilised through the use of terrorism as a strategic weapon against India.

Having achieved a reduction of the nuclear and conventional asymmetry through the acquisition of a nuclear and missile capability, Pakistan has built up for itself a set of tactical options to keep India bleeding and destabilised through terrorism and other means without triggering off a conventional and nuclear war.

The January 8 incident arose from the Pakistan Army's confidence that India has limited tactical options to retaliate without running the risk of starting a conventional and nuclear war. Pakistan's experience in helping the United States in waging a covert warfare against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan with the help of surrogates has taught it the importance of building for itself a mix of covert tactical options that it can use against India.

Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao knew the importance of a covert tactical armoury to act as a disincentive against Pakistan for increasing the cost of its using terrorism against India and encouraging it to seek accommodation with India.

Our subsequent Prime Ministers and our elite have had no understanding of the importance of such an armoury to supplement our conventional and nuclear arsenal.

As a result, we are totally bereft of any tactical options for riposte against Pakistan when it indulges in actions such as the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai or the January 8 incident in J&K. A power without suitable means of covert riposte will find itself a paper tiger.

Pakistan's mistaken belief that its nuclear, missile and covert capabilities have reduced India to a paper tiger has to be removed through the acquisition of covert options. Covert action does not mean doing to Pakistan what it has been doing to us. It means creating strong disincentives for its hostile actions. It does not mean tit-for-tat action. It means creating concerns and uncertainty in its mind about the consequences of its actions.

Covert action, to be effective, has to be sustained and unpredictable and must be based on the support of objective allies in its population. We have such objective allies in its population. It is for us to identify them and make common cause with them.

(B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd.), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India.)

January 08, 2013

Interview: Major General Anders Brännström, Swedish Chief of Army Staff

 Defence IQ
Contributor:  Andrew Elwell
Posted:  12/07/2012  12:00:00 AM EST  |  1   

Fredrick the Great, the King of Prussia between 1740–1786, once famously told his generals, "To defend everything is to defend nothing."

Major General Anders Brännström, the Swedish Chief of Army Staff, shares a similar philosophy. In a recent interview with Defence IQ discussing future armoured vehicles requirements, Brännström explained that it's important to focus on key areas for future development. He said that the IED "definitely" presents an enduring threat and one which must be the continued focus of research and development for both industry and the military.

"Everywhere in the future where there is fertiliser and the internet, we will always face IEDs … That's the main thing – the IED is the threat that you have to handle; you have to be able to defeat the device and train your forces to go against the networks behind those IEDs."

As the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 gets closer the questions and debate about future threats will inevitably start to become more intense. For some the fear of focusing too heavily on IEDs is born out of the well-worn condition known as "next-war-itus." In a recent poll Defence IQ readers were asked: Will the IED remain the no. 1 battlefield threat over the next decade?

In a result that surprised some, 64% said "no." However, while the majority of those respondents surveyed indicated that the IED will not likely remain the top threat, this doesn't in any way mean that it won't remain a threat. The threat will endure, whether it's the key threat or not.

Major General Brännström reminds us that the IED is not a new threat either – it was not conceived in 21st  Century warfare. "I remember when I was a Commander in Kosovo that there were things like IEDs, but we just didn't call them that."
On balance though Brännström was sure not to overstate the IED threat; he explained that it would be unwise to exclusively focus on any one single threat. He advocates a more comprehensive approach that appreciates the full threat landscape.
"It's dangerous to only focus on the overwhelming threat of today," says Brännström. "You should always keep to your long-term objectives."

Focusing on long-term objectives has been an effective formula for the Swedish armed forces, particularly in view of its armoured vehicle industry. Sweden offers a prescient example of how industry and government can work together to produce a vehicle that is efficient for all parties.

"CV-90 is a very good example of when a country's Armed Forces cooperate well with industry they can create a…success story."

Protection vs. mobility

While the case for greater mobility grows louder as the demand for light armoured vehicles continues to rise, Brännström warned that concentrating on either factor too much is counterproductive. The trick is to maintain a combination of different vehicles and capabilities.

"You have to have different types of vehicles. You have to have main battle tanks – you need to have them because the enemy needs to know that you'll always have them. You have to have wheeled vehicles and you have to have tracked vehicles. It's not about choosing either protection or mobility – you shouldn't separate them too much – you need to have a balance. In this respect I'm glad that the Swedish Armed Forces has different types of vehicles."

While the role of armoured vehicles is a critical one for any modern army, Major General Brännström offered a thoughtful insight to conclude our interview. He firmly believes that the calibre of the warfighter should always be the number one priority for any armed force. Maybe this sometimes gets forgotten amid the boisterous debate about capabilities, between all the concerns about budgets and priorities, and in the face of flashy new technologies and gadgets. "Always in the middle of everything is a human being," the General said.

"If they're not well trained and well disciplined it doesn't matter what equipment they have. The bottom line is they need to have the right training and right support."




There have been two very serious  incidents across the Line of Control (LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

·       PAKISTANI STATEMENT: One Pakistani soldier was killed on January 6,2013, in an alleged Indian raid on a Pakistani Army post. On January 7, the Pakistani Foreign Office in Islamabad protested over the incident to the Indian Deputy High Commissioner. According to the Indian version of this incident, on January 6,Pakistani troops fired mortar shells at Indian Army posts in the Uri sector to help insurgents infiltrate into India.The Indian Army had retaliated.

·       INDIAN STATEMENT: Two Indian soldiers were killed and two others injured on the morning of January 8, when Pakistani army troops entered Indian territory near Mendhar, about 220 KMs north of Jammu,and attacked an Indian post.The body of one of the Indian soldiers was found decapitated and the severed head was missing. The Pakistani Army has denied the allegations and described them as Indian propaganda to divert attention from the incident of Jan.6.

2.There was a similar incident of decapitation when Gen.Pervez Musharraf was the Chief of the Army Staf (COAS) under then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999.Ilyas Kashmiri,a former member of the Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army, and his men entered Indian territory, killed an Indian soldier, decapitated him and carried his head as a trophy to Pakistan.He allegedly presented the head to Musharraf who congratulated him and his men and rewarded them.The incident was reported in sections of the Pakistan-Occupied  Kashmir media.

3.Musharraf's action in receiving Ilyas Kashmiri and rewarding him indicated the Pakistan Army's complicity in the incident. The Indian Army reportedly  believes strongly that there was Pakistan Army's complicity in the latest incident too.

4.The two incidents indicate the continuing fragile and sensitive nature of the trans-LOC ground realities.The incidents appear to have been handled till now at the Army-Army level through the existing hotline between the Directors-General of Military Operations of the two countries.

5.The serious nature of the latest incidents underline the need for a political hotline between the Prime Minister of India and the President of Pakistan to supplement the existing hotline between the DGMOs to ensure prompt political handling of such trans-LOC incidents amenable to escalation detrimental to peace in the area. ( 9-1-13)

( The writer is AdditionalSecretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com . Twitter: @SORBONNE75  )

January 07, 2013

GHHF strongly condemns Akbaruddin Owaisi of MIM and the State Government

Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) strongly condemns Mr. Akbaruddin Owaisi, MIM (Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) MLA for his hateful, repulsive and detestable tirades against all Hindus and against Bharath Mata, at the meetings held at Nizamabad and Nirmal. His vicious speech ridiculing the number of Gods and Goddesses of Hindus; his obnoxious comments on Gomata which is considered sacred by all Hindus; his venomous statement to remove the Bhagya Lakshmi Temple from the premises of Charminar in the old city; his contempt for the number of festivals Hindus conduct; and his virulent maniac declaration to hang Narendra Modi if he comes to Hyderabad should be condemned, denounced and censured.  He even made a blood thirsty pronouncement that "We are 25 crores, you are 100 crores. Remove the police for 15 minutes and we will show you who has more courage and strength … Today, I have this mike in front of me. If tomorrow I hold something else, then there will be so much of bloodshed in this country which this country has not seen in the last 1000 years." Hindus were shocked and stunned to hear an elected MLA, who had taken the oath to abide by the Constitutions of India, defy the very constitution he was to uphold.
            Although cases have been registered in two different locations under Sections 153, 153(A) and 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code against the MIM leader for instigating communal sentiments, denigrating the Hindu customs and traditions and fomenting religious warfare, Mr. Owaisi should be arrested forthwith and put in jail. He should serve jail time for each of the offensive statements – approximately ten of them. Second, Election Commissioner should immediately ban the MIM party. Third, Mr. Owaisi should be banned from making any political and religious statements that provoke communal violence and terrorist activities.
            GHHF also strongly condemns the state government for it's total failure in enforcing the law. Vote bank politics, minority appeasement and desire for amassment of wealth have totally ignored the crimes, failed miserably in the enforcement of law and justice, and even encouraged the law enforcement agencies to ignore the prosecutions. Government and Police departments even conspired to engage in dereliction of their lawful responsibilities.  There is no enforcement of law, no protection to the citizens, and no accountability for their dereliction of duties.  State is fueling civil unrest.
            Few examples of the government's failure are worth mentioning.

1) Why did not the state government take action against Mr. Owaisi when he threatened and attacked Talisman Nareen, Bangladeshi Writer, in front of the media in Hyderabad in 2007?

2) Why the government failed to take action against the MIM MLAs who attacked junior doctors in Niloufeur Hospital in 2007?

3) Why the state government failed to take action against MIM MLA who threatened Municipal Officer in Abids and fired the gun into the air?

4) Why did the state government not take action against Mr. Asadudhin Owaisi who dared the former DGP, Mr. A K Mohanty, to come out with no uniform so that "he would show him."
            State is equally responsible for encouraging the religious bigots to thrive with no fear of facing the justice system and for it's continued compromises disregarding the security of the people. This kind of state government's neglect of it's lawful responsibility creates distrust, communal strife, religious disharmony, moral breakdown, civil disobedience, and social unrest. No civilization will survive, if there is a complete breakdown of enforcement of law and justice systems.
            GHHF strongly condemns the provocative statement of Mr. Owaisi and demand the state government to arrest him forth with. Government should make every effort to see that the sanity prevails over insanity, national integrity over narrow bigoted parochialism, politeness over impoliteness, mutual respect over intolerance, love over hatred and 'let live' philosophy over 'kill, kill mindset.' Similarly, GHHF strongly condemns all the politicians who are supposed to be guardians of the state and demand them to make the law enforcement fair, efficient and free from corruption before the breakdown of social fabric.

GHHF Executive Committee 
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Hate-speech giver Akbaruddin Owaisi asks High Court to cancel cases

Indo-Asian News Service | Updated: January 07, 2013 19:36 IST

Hyderabad: Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, who returned to Hyderabad from London early today, has moved Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking quashing of the cases against him in various police stations over his alleged hate speeches.

Hours after seeking four days' time to appear before police in Nirmal town of Adilabad district, Mr Owaisi filed a petition in the high court, seeking orders to strike down cases booked against him at the direction of lower courts.

The petition is likely to come up for hearing in two days.
The 9 O'clock News: The biggest stories (Jan 03 2013)
Earlier, Adilabad police confirmed that the MIM leader, through his lawyers, sought more time on the ground of ill-health. Two lawyers, who reached Nirmal police station on behalf of Mr Owaisi, submitted doctors' report. 

Doctors, brought in by the police, are currently examining the legislator at his posh Banjara Hills residence to check the authenticity of the report given by his doctors. 

Nirmal police had directed Mr Owaisi to be present at the police station by 10.45 a.m., but his lawyers informed them that the MIM leader was not well. They sought four days' time for Mr Owaisi to join the police for recording his statement over the alleged speech.

According to MIM sources, if the police reject his request, Mr Owaisi may surrender in a court in Hyderabad rather than travel to Nirmal, about 200 km from the state capital.

He is not likely to visit Nirmal since he is unwell and also because the situation in the town is tense following protests by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its frontal organisations. They have called for a shutdown in Nirmal today.

BJP workers took out a rally in Nirmal and tried to lay siege to the police station where Mr Owaisi's lawyer was meeting police officials. Police have arrested some protesters.

In Hyderabad, a team of doctors from the Owaisi Hospital examined the legislator at his residence in the posh Banjara Hills.

Sources in the MIM said that Mr Owaisi, who had gone to London for treatment, cut short his visit and returned in view of the notices served on him by the police.

Mr Owaisi arrived at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad around 3 am to a warm welcome by MIM leaders and hundreds of supporters. He later drove to his house.

As the MIM leader faces arrest and the BJP and its frontal organisations continue their protests, police stepped up security in Nirmal town and also in the old city of Hyderabad. Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons were imposed in Nirmal.

BJP staged protests at various places in Hyderabad, Adilabad, Nizamabad and other districts, demanding immediate arrest of the legislator. The protesters set afire the effigy of the MIM leader.

Police in Nirmal last week booked the 42-year-old MIM leader under Section 121 (waging or attempting to wage war against the state), Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and Section 295A (for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Nizamabad police, who too booked Mr Owaisi under Section 153A and 295A of the IPC, have also directed him to appear before them on January 8 for questioning over a speech he made in the town.

The Osmania University police in Hyderabad have also slapped a case against him at the directions of a city court, and summoned the legislator on January 10.

BJP's senior leader Ch. Vidyasagar alleged that the government had failed to arrest Mr Owaisi. He demanded that he be disqualified as a member of the state assembly and his elder brother Asaduddin Owaisi as a Member of Parliament.

In another development, the ethics committee of the state assembly at its meeting today decided to recommend to the assembly speaker to initiate action against Mr Owaisi for his provocative speeches.

The ethics committee decided to take up the issue in the next session of the state assembly.

Meanwhile, MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said now that his brother was back in Hyderabad, he would appear before the appropriate authority. "We will face the case legally and we are not going to run away," he told a meeting at the MIM headquarters.

Asaduddin Owaisi alleged that the ruling Congress and BJP had joined hands to target Akbaruddin Owaisi and MIM.
For NDTV Updates

License Raj is dead. Licensor is not

Rediff January 7, 2013
The near decade of India under Dr Singh has convinced most that India is an Absentee State, where governance is grossly missing and rule of law virtually non-existent, writes M R Venkatesh.

The days of denial by our government are certainly over. Successive economic data shows up that something is structurally flawed within our economy. The government may be reluctant to admit it. But the fact remains we are now heading for another economic crisis. And the root cause? Government and lack of governance.

More to the point, India is no longer regarded as a soft state - a term invented by Gunnar Myrdal, the noted Swedish Nobel Laureate. Myrdal used this term in his classicAsian Drama to describe a general societal "indiscipline" prevalent in South Asia.

That was in a distant past, within a decade or two of India attaining her independence where the Indian government could well have been probably soft, but importantly did exist. Now consider the present.
The near decade of India under Dr. Singh has convinced most that it is no longer a case of a soft state. Rather, it is an Absentee State, where governance is grossly missing and rule of law virtually non-existent. And even in a case where law exists, order does not. That explains my conclusion that the Government of India is the cause, not solution, to most ills plaguing the Indian economy.

At the root of the present economic crisis is lack of governance to the point that it is impacting us at every level. Governance deficit - as it is popularly called - has come to a pass that it is no longer the cause of a lower economic growth; it is no longer the difference between an 9 per cent potential growth rate and an actual 6 per cent growth rate.
Governance deficit, let us not forget, adversely impacts production of ordinary goods (and even in some cases services). This lack of production is the fundamental cause of inflation in India as more money chases lesser goods. Now to control inflation, government is forced to import. This leads to higher trade deficit and consequential current account deficit.
As current account deficit increases, pressure mounts on India's perennially weak external sector. This in turn puts the rupee on a downward spiral. Basic economics tells us that a weak currency is a cause, not antidote, for inflation.
As inflation increases, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is forced to intervene with the instrumentality at its command viz., by increasing interest rates. Experiences of the past few years demonstrate that this (feeble) attempt by RBI to control inflation is akin to applying pain balm when chemotherapy is the need of the hour. Nevertheless, increased borrowing adversely impacts Indian economy.

Interestingly, elevated interest rates - the cumulative effect of UPA (United Progressive Alliance) rule is held to be the villain of the piece. Crucially, mal-administration - under an economist Prime Minister - the genuine villain of the piece is forgotten in the melee. And that is the crux of the issue.

The Financial Stability Report of the RBI

The sixth issue of the Financial Stability Report (FSR) of the RBI was issued on December 28th 2012. This report brought into sharp focus the structural weakness of our economy accentuated by certain unsound economic policies of the UPA government, heightened by its failure to uphold the majesty of law and of course compounded by corruption.
Chronic inflation, the net result of all this, over the past few years has taken its toll on our economy as it robbed people of their savings. As savings rate declined, domestic investment increasing became to depend on foreign capital flows. The intellectual dishonesty of our government began to be exposed as a necessity of such flows was converted into a virtue and passed as reforms!

That is not all. Lending rates were sufficiently raised to deter growth but borrowing rates were not raised in tandem to improve savings, notably financial savings. As inflation outpaced interest rates, savings got channeled into gold, which as we all know is substantially imported into India. This widened trade deficits and put additional pressure on the Rupee.
A depreciating rupee automatically makes gold attractive - a fact lost on most in our establishment. In contrast, an appreciating rupee could possibly make gold unattractive. But that is easier said than done for reasons explained above. That explains the country's fixation to gold.

Yet, the FSR innocently states that external sector imbalances remained a worry. It adds that rising gold imports have worsened the current account deficit, little realising that gold imports are not the cause, but effects of a larger malaise within the economy. No wonder, a lower proportion of household savings is now channeled towards financial products.
Further, lower economic growth has significantly stressed out some of our leading corporate to service their debt. Some industrial groups with greater exposure to key infrastructure sectors like power have witnessed higher leverage in recent years.

Naturally, asset quality of the banking system has come under unprecedented stress making loan portfolios of banks risky. This has made our financial sector vulnerable. Simultaneously, lower growth has the calculated effect of dynamiting the finances of the government on account of lower revenues. Surely, we run a risk of potential downgrade by international rating agencies. And should that happen, a financial Tsunami is bound to hit us.

There is yet another dimension to the debate - the subsidy conundrum. Government borrowals to fund deficits leaves very little of savings within the domestic economy. This crowding out by the government is yet another cause of our economic under-performance. The issue once again is not subsidy per se but the manner in which we (inefficiently) administer our food, petroleum or fertiliser subsidies.

Under this paradigm, as the government contemplates controlling subsidies, vested interest within the system ensure that subsidies are neither controlled nor are they administered efficiently. Surely an unenviable position for Indians!
Mal-Governance - the rot within Gurucharan Das in his recent work titled "Grows at Night - A liberal Case for a Strong State" points out that a power plant in a "liberalised" India and with an economist as a head of its government required 118 - yes 118 - approvals. This is where India needs to reform - reforming Babudom.

Press reports point out that over two dozen projects of the government in key areas of infrastructure had been struck after permission had been given by the government. Obviously, the Government buckled to some groups - possibly a handful of people, potential competitors or other extraneous pressure. A buckling state (or is it a conspiring state?) inspires no confidence from any investors, foreign or domestic.

Similarly, the Economic Survey presented to the Parliament in February 2012 tracked the progress of 583 projects in different sectors. Of these, only 7 were reportedly ahead of schedule, 166 were on schedule, and 235 were delayed. Interestingly, 175 projects were sanctioned without specifying any commissioning schedule. So no question of any delays in such cases!

The delays also imply a cost overrun in excess of 15 percent. The maximum number of projects delayed belong to road transport and highways (90), followed by power (45), petroleum (29), railways (26), and coal (17) [Source Para 1.29 of Economic Survey 2012].

Apparently, the rot is fairly deep. Primary deficits, revenue deficits, fiscal deficits, current account deficits, trade deficits, inflation, interest rates and other negative macro-economic parameters are all symptoms of a larger malaise. The real issue is governance deficit - the mother of all deficits. What is lost in the debate is the impact of an Absentee State on our economy.


2012-01-07 — The US media reported on January 4 that there is speculation circulating within the US defense and intelligence communities that China is gearing up to launch an anti-satellite test this month. It is said that a successful test will put the US strategic satellites, such as Global Positioning System navigational satellites, at risk.

China reportedly conducted an anti-satellite test in early 2007, which caused a great uproar. Some analysts said that even China really once again launches a test, it will not strike down satellites, but invalidate them.

China's public policy is peaceful use of space, which is also China's real desire. China has no interest in launching a large-scale space race with the US. China and Russia jointly initiated a program to avoid an arm race in outer space in 2008, but this proposal was refused by the US.

Against this background, it is necessary for China to have the ability to strike US satellites. This deterrent can provide strategic protection to Chinese satellites and the whole country's national security.

Whether China will launch new anti-satellite test is still unknown. However China should continue substantive research on striking satellites. It can avoid the controversy of whether this action violates peaceful use of space by doing so under the aegis of developing anti-missile defense systems.

In the foreseeable future, gap between China and the US cannot be eliminated by China's development of space weapons. The US advantage is overwhelming. Before strategic uncertainties between China and the US can disappear, China urgently needs to have an outer space trump card.

The US will continue to harass and even obstruct China's developing of its space capabilities. China should make tactical adjustments to reduce trouble. However, the bottom line of these adjustments should be that normal research cannot be undermined.

China's reputation is doomed to be poor in the West. Ingratiating ourselves to the West is the last choice for us. We have to develop ourselves and have complex communications with the West based on this. The West's stereotypes of China come from two reasons: ideological differences and national competition. With the rise of China, the latter becomes more obvious.

Security interests are the most important national interests. China's gradual rise of comprehensive power has brought Western countries a sense of crisis. However, as long as China sincerely wants to develop peacefully and maintain strategic restraints in disputes and conflicts, Western countries will gradually reassess China's strategic intentions and give up their paranoia.

It is key for China to have the ability of strategic retaliation. It is a safeguard for China to deter the US from taking risky action against China in this period of great transition. Currently China attaches great attention to improving people's livelihoods. However, consolidating China's strategic security is the foundation of long-term development. We must dedicate a portion of our resources and energy to the construction of advanced defense capabilities.

Therefore, hopefully, the speculation about China's anti-satellite tests is true.




Media reports emanating from Pakistan's civilian Government as well as  from the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Army speak of an on-going review of Pakistan's military doctrine in order to give priority to the creation of a sub-conventional warfare capability to fight domestically against non-State actors posing a threat to Pakistan's internal security.

2.While these non-State actors have not been specifically named, it is apparent they have in mind the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) and the Baloch nationalist elements which are waging a struggle for Baloch independence.

3.The Pakistan Army has not been able to prevail over any of theseorganisations. The TTP has maintained a capability for fighting against the Pakistani security forces in the tribal  as well as non-tribal areas and there have been indications of its extending  its activities to Karachi, thereby adding to the instability there.

4.The LEJ continues to indulge in large-scale massacre of Shias all over Pakistan---- and particularly in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, the Kurram Agency and Karachi. The freedom struggle of the Baloch nationalists continues to gather momentum.

5.In the past, Pakistan's military doctrine had three components:

·       A Chinese-aided nuclear-cum-missile capability against India.

·       A US-cum-Chinese aided conventional capability against India.

·       A covert action capability for keeping India bleeding and ultimately annexing Jammu & Kashmir. This covert action capability was acquired from the CIA in the 1980s for use against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.It is now being used against India and the Hamid Karzai Government of Afghanistan

6.TheZulfiquar Ali Bhutto Government had succeeded in crushing the Baloch nationalists and the anti-Shia elements spearheaded by the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, which later metamorphosed into the LEJ, were actually created by the Zia-ul-Haq regime to counter the Iranian influence.

7. The revival of the Baloch freedom struggle after the massacre of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and many of his followers by the Pervez Musharraf regime and the birth of the Mehsud-dominated TTP to seek vengeance against the Pakistan Army after the bloody Army action in the Lal Masjid of Islamabad have confronted the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence with serious threats to its internal security to counter which it does not have the required sub-conventional warfare capability.

8.It is now proposed to pay greater attention to the creation of this capability. This should not be misread into thinking that the Pakistan Army's traditional mindset of hostility to India is under reexamination or that it may re-examine its continued use of its covert action capability against India through organisations loyal to the ISI such as the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET) and against the Government of Hamid  Karzai through organisations such as the AfghanTaliban or the Haqqani Network

9.The Pakistan Army is not about to give up its use of jihadi terrorism  as a strategic weapon against India and its further strengthening of its nuclear and missile capability against India with Chinese assistance.We must avoid any naïve assessment of the reports from Pakistan on this subject. ( 6-1-13)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,  Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com  .Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )