January 06, 2018

Why can't India let Pakistan have Kashmir?

 Source: Quora

Well, let me tell you a story to begin with.

Adam was a poor guy who hardly managed to earn his bread. He was always honest and never tried to do anything unethical. Even though he was poor, his values were always upright.

A few years later, Adam through his hard work bought a few acres of farm. In the northernmost corner of the farm was a well. One day, while fetching water, Adam fell into the well. He found a huge treasure chest hidden inside the walls of the well. He let the treasure be inside the well.

Soon, he got married and had two kids. By the time he was 47, his wife passed away and he wanted to leave on a pilgrimage. So, he wrote his will before leaving.

The elder son was to have the well along with the treasure.

The younger son was to have the land west of the well.

Unfortunately, the lawyer never came to certify the authenticity of the will. Adam had to leave the next day as he had already booked his tickets.

The lawyer was sick, so he came after three weeks.

Before the lawyer came, the younger son tried to steal the treasure but the elder son had already placed bodyguards near the well.

When the lawyer came, the will was authenticated but the younger son was not happy with it.

He kept trying to steal the treasure but was never successful. Finally, to maintain peace the elder son agreed to part away part of the well since he still loved his younger brother.

But, the younger son was not satisfied with that as well.

He kept sending rodents, pests and wild dogs to destroy the well. Year after year, elder son had to see his crops destroyed but he still wanted peace with his brother.

Like Adam, he believed in ethics and values.

And he knew he was the rightful owner of the well.

Now, let us get to the questions.

I know, you are smart enough to understand who is the elder son and who is the younger son in reference to the question.

Just answer me this.

Should the elder son give away the well and the treasure which is rightfully his?

What is the guarantee that the younger son would not try to occupy the rest of the land owned by the elder one if he gives up the well?

Cheers!

Pakistan uses The Quint story on Kulbhushan Jadhav as 'proof' of he being a 'spy'

Pakistan uses The Quint story on Kulbhushan Jadhav as 'proof' of he being a 'spy'

2018-01-06 19:07:49 IST

ByArkadev Ghoshal

IB Times

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik's creation to press for "Justice for Kulbhushan Jadhav" in Puri on May 15, 2017. IANS

A story published by news portal The Quint is being used by Pakistan to claim that former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav is indeed the spy that a Pakistani military court believed him to be when it handed him the death sentence.

The story, titled "Two Ex-RAW Chiefs Did Not Want Kulbhushan Jadhav Recruited As Spy", was written by noted journalist Chandan Nandy with information he received from people he called "trusted sources" on Twitter. It was published on Friday, January 5.

The Quint by Saturday afternoon retracted the article and said it was "rechecking" the story. Meanwhile, there were claims on social media that Nandy was "missing" or had "gone in hiding", something that even the Pakistan Foreign Office echoed in its tweet.

What the article said

Nandy, in his article, said two former chiefs of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) — India's intelligence agency — had been against the recruitment of Jadhav as a spy to Pakistan.

It also said Jadhav was caught by Pakistan because he did not use the standard operating procedures and chose some non-secure methods of communication. Some of his messages were intercepted by Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which managed to locate him via these messages, said the article.

The article also said Jadhav was being used to gather intelligence in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, although it quoted some "seasoned" intelligence officials as saying that the ideal asset in such a case should have been a Baloch or a Pakistani national.

In this photograph taken on March 29, 2016, Pakistani journalists watch a video showing Indian national Kulbhushan Yadav, arrested on suspicion of spying, during a press conference in Islamabad. [File photo] AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan using article as evidence

As furore of the article grew on social media, with some calling for action against both The Quint and Nandy, the Pakistan government's official Twitter handle quoted its Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal as saying: "Indian paper 'The Quint' had in one of its stories accepted the truth that Kulbhushan Jadhav was a spy and that some RAW officials had reservations about his appointment. [sic]"

It said in another tweet: "Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal says Indian Government has got removed news storytelling truth about convicted spy Kulbhushan Jadhav from a newspaper. The journalist reporting the story has also gone missing and is untraceable for his family and friends since then [sic]."

Pakistan has already claimed it has several videos that show Kulbhushan "confessing" to being an Indian intelligence official, but India has dismissed them saying the statements had been coerced from him.

Case in ICJ weakened?

Fears are being expressed that the article by Nandy may have dealt a body blow to India's case to free Kulbhushan at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

India, having been constantly denied consular access to Kulbhushan, knocked on the doors of the ICJ in early 2017. The ICJ heard both India and Pakistan, and stayed Kulbhushan's execution till the time its own verdict came.

However, with Pakistan latching on to Nandy's article and the narrative surrounding it, there is every chance that it will present this as "proof" in front of the ICJ that Kulbhushan is indeed a spy like it has claimed so far.

What may further harm Kulbhushan's prospects is the fact that Nandy, after putting out the story, told a Twitter follower who was questioning the veracity of the claims made in the article: "Sandip, the world, especially of journalists, survives on trusted sources."

Other ammunition for Pakistan?

What is more, the article's claim that Kulbhushan was being used to gather intelligence in Balochistan is almost sure to be picked up by Pakistan, who may use Nandy's words to support its own claims that India is fomenting trouble in the restive province.

Balochistan has since 1947 claimed it was an independent country, despite being administered by Pakistan — often with a heavy fist. Learn more about it HERE.

India has said it will raise the issue of Balochistan's independence at global forums.

Tweet debate between two economists

Check out this wonderful tweet debate between two economists happened yesterday :

Bibek Debroy is a member of Niti Aayog and also chairs the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. He is obviously pro-Government.

Sadanand Dhume is an Indian writer and journalist based in Washington, D.C. who writes on Asian affairs and has been the India bureau chief of the Far Eastern Economic Review. He is very critical of the Government and what it has delivered.

There was an interesting exchange between the two on twitter yesterday, which started with a tweet by Bibek Debroy about possible changes in the H-1B work visa rules in the United States.

The entire twitter exchange is reproduced below for your reading pleasure:

Bibek Debroy

If H-1B rules are given a tweak,
Some futures may turn downright bleak.
Waiting for the card to turn green
They will have to deport the scene,
Without a paddle and up the creek.

Sadanand Dhume

Amidst the sobs,
About looming H-1B probs,
I have a query,
That we should not bury,
Why hasn’t Modi Sarkar created jobs?

Bibek Debroy

That deduction
Is your construction.
I thought you knew
That data are askew,
But what can one do about your self-induction?


Sadanand Dhume

Let’s not blame the data,
On a rather pressing matter,
Hard to make the case,
That jobs have grown apace,
As promised by dear neta.


Bibek Debroy

You are the one who made a case
Admit you lost some face.
If you desert
What you did assert,
You have tripped on your own shoelace.

Sadanand Dhume

This is not about you or me,
We’re discussing the economy.
But thanks for your time,
Always fun to rhyme,
Even if we don’t agree

Bibek Debroy

Indeed not about you and me.
But as analysts we should agree,
When data are old
It is best not to be bold.
And yes, enjoyed the wit and repartee.

Maybe Trump will read and change his style 😜

Two Ex-RAW Chiefs Did Not Want Kulbhushan Jadhav Recruited As Spy


Even as the standard procedures were amiss while recruiting Jadhav as spy, two ex-RAW chiefs were against his hiring.

Politics

By Chandan Nandy
January 05, 2018 at 3:20 PM

Even as the controversy – tamasha, as it’s called in certain intelligence quarters – over Indian ‘spy’ Kulbhushan Jadhav refuses to die down, it has come to light that two former chiefs of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), who headed the organisation sometime over the past 15 years, had put their foot down against recruiting him for operations in Pakistan.

Senior RAW Officers Were Not in Favour of Jadhav
Speaking to The Quint, two former RAW senior officers, including one secretary who headed India’s external intelligence agency after 2008, said that the “proposal to recruit Jadhav for operations, whatever it’s worth, was ridiculous.”

In any case, a number of RAW sources, some serving and a few who retired over the past seven to eight years, revealed that Jadhav was “not a high-grade” operative with skills that other operatives recruited by the agency in other theatres had and used effectively to obtain intelligence.
Even as two RAW secretaries refused to hire his services, the proposal to recruit Jadhav for specific assignments was finally acceded to by a chief who headed the intelligence agency a few years ago and was subsequently re-employed (after retirement) in an organisation also involved in collecting intelligence.

This was among a few different attempts to launch renewed efforts to use human sources as “deep penetration” agents in Pakistan, where most intelligence assets, both HUMINT and SIGINT, were wound up during the prime ministership of IK Gujral in the late 1990s.

Evidence That Links Jadhav With RAW
Sources were – understandably – wary about disclosing full details about Jadhav’s recruitment. The proposal to hire him on a temporary basis was prepared by his case officer (of the rank of deputy secretary, who is way below in the hierarchy) on the Pakistan desk. One former RAW officer, however, said that “it could be that the desk handling Iran and Afghanistan” was instrumental in recruiting Jadhav.

In any case, the recruitment was approved by a joint secretary as the supervisory officer. The RAW has a special unit which also undertakes parallel operations in certain crucial target countries for which it seeks out its own recruits.

The clearest evidence that Jadhav operated for the RAW came to the fore only after his cover – as a businessman who would frequent Iran, especially Chabahar – was blown and he was captured by the Pakistan, following which a former RAW chief, besides at least two other senior officers, called his Mumbai-based parents to “advise” them to not speak about their son’s case to anyone.

The other evidence was the second passport, with the name Hussein Mubarak Patel, that he carried, which shows that it was originally issued in 2003 and was renewed in 2014. The second passport (no L9630722) was issued in Thane on 12 May 2014 and was due to expire on 11 May 2024.

While one passport (no E6934766) is in his name, the second one raises more questions, especially the date of its issue and why he signed as Hussein Mubarak Patel to enter into a property deal (with his mother) in Mumbai where he lived with his parents, wife, and children before he was nabbed by the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Born in August 1968, Jadhav did work for the navy but prematurely retired and took to business, which would often take him to Iran. He was spotted as a potential recruit by an undercover RAW officer posted in Iran, who then subsequently shared this with a colleague at the agency’s headquarters. This second officer subsequently moved to send overtures to Jadhav, who accepted the terms and conditions.

How Was Jadhav Caught?
The nabbing of Jadhav, on 3 March 2016, itself throws up several questions, especially because Pakistan has maintained a degree of secrecy, if not ambiguity, about it. While the Pakistani intelligence had initially claimed that he was trapped in Saravan on the Iran-Pakistan border, a Baloch leader by the name Sarfaraz Bugti had disclosed at the time that Jadhav was held near Chaman in Balochistan.

The RAW sources, both former and serving, said that Jadhav would “go on assignments off and on” and he would undergo the mandatory “debriefing” each time he returned to India from his “visits to Balochistan” or when he volunteered to share information. He also went through a three-month training programme when he learned methods and means to transmit and/or send information.

However, sources said, Jadhav’s undoing was based partly on his unprofessionalism and partly because he was not a “career spy.” He did the unthinkable – instead of waiting to communicate with his case officer face-to-face, Jadhav would sometimes use “means over the air waves.” The ISI intercepted some of the communications and were also able to pinpoint his location, making it relatively easy for them to track and then nab him, sources said.

Standard Operating Procedure Skipped
“The botch-up was the result of unprofessionalism not only on the part of Jadhav but also his case officer,” one former special secretary, who conducted operations in some parts of West Asia, said. In this context, a former special secretary who handled the Pakistan desk till a few years ago, besides special operations in India’s neighbourhood, said that “Jadhav was no good” as he was “never in the thick of things, although he would claim he knew a lot of things and had sources in Pakistan.”

However, the former special secretary said that while RAW has many flaws, as a “matter of rule and unstated policy” no case officer should attempt to hire the services of an agent whose background in “tradecraft is not sound enough” and who is given to “bragging.”

In Jadhav’s case, while standard operating procedures may have been relaxed while recruiting him, sources said that his incarceration and the ambiguity surrounding his “work” does “have a lot of benefits.”

Several seasoned RAW hands said that while Jadhav’s case officer (deputy secretary) and the latter’s supervisory officer (joint secretary) recruited him for “reasons best known to them,” the standard practice in spycraft would have been to “have a Baloch or a Pakistani national” do the “intelligence gathering job for us.” He added that it was “foolish for to set an Indian the task to obtain intelligence from a country as hostile as Pakistan.”

Sources said that soon after Jadhav was trapped and caught in March 2016, a few records relating to payments made to him were destroyed, leaving “no trace” of his existence as far the RAW is concerned. But a former agency chief, who retired in the closing years of the previous decade, said, “No professional agency should have recruited him. I cannot even imagine that Jadhav was because it has been a disaster.”

He asked pointedly: “Every operation should have an objective. What huge intelligence or foreign policy objective was to be achieved by tasking Jadhav to operate in Balochitan?”

Also Read: Will India’s Raking up of the Shoes Episode Harm Jadhav’s Case?

(Breathe In, Breathe Out: Are you finding it tough to breathe polluted air? Join hands with FIT in partnership with #MyRightToBreathe to find a solution to pollution. Send in your suggestions to fit@thequint.com or WhatsApp @ +919999008335)

January 05, 2018

Chinese confirm military base in Gwadar

http://thebalochistanpost.com/2018/01/chinese-confirm-military-base-gwadar/


January 5, 2018

Beijing plans to build its second offshore naval base near strategically important Gwadar port following the opening of its first facility in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa last year.

While talking to South China Morning Post, Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said the base near the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea would be used to dock and maintain naval vessels, as well as provide other logistical support services.

“China needs to set up another base in Gwadar for its warships because Gwadar is now a civilian port,” Zhou said.

“It’s a common practice to have separate facilities for warships and merchant vessels because of their different operations. Merchant ships need a bigger port with a lot of space for warehouses and containers, but warships need a full range of maintenance and logistical support services.”

Another source close to the People’s Liberation Army confirmed with the news outlet that the navy would set up a base near Gwadar similar to the one already up and running in Djibouti.

“Gwadar port can’t provide specific services for warships … Public order there is in a mess. It is not a good place to carry out military logistical support,” the source said.

The confirmation follows a report this week on Washington-based website The Daily Caller in which retired US Army Reserve colonel Lawrence Sellin said meetings between high-ranking Chinese and Pakistani military officers indicated Beijing would build a military base on the Jiwani peninsula near Gwadar and close to the Iranian border.

Sellin said the plan would include a naval base and an expansion of the existing airport on the peninsula, both requiring the establishment of a security zone and the forced relocation of long-time residents.

Gwadar port is a key part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a centrepiece of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s broader “Belt and Road Initiative” to link China through trade and infrastructure to Africa and Europe and beyond. The corridor is a multibillion-dollar set of infrastructure projects linking China and Pakistan, and includes a series of road and transport links.

Sellin also said the Jiwani base could be “signs of Chinese militarisation of Pakistan, in particular, and in the Indian Ocean”.

Chinese military observers said Gwadar had great geostrategic and military importance to China but China was not about to “militarise” Pakistan.

Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a research associate at the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, said India was well aware of China’s plans in Pakistan.

“China finds it very useful to use Pakistan against India and ignore India’s concerns, particularly on terrorism issues. That has created a lot of stress in the relationship between Beijing and Delhi,” he said.

Chinese troops stage live-fire drills in Djibouti, the site of China’s first offshore base.

China began building what it describes as a 36-hectare logistics base in Djibouti in 2016, with its first naval troops arriving in July last year. The troops have staged regular live-fire drills since September, a move military analysts say is meant to show China’s ability to protect its overseas interests in Africa and the Indian Ocean region

Blockchain: Dubai is planning to remove middlemen

Dubai is planning to remove middlemen like lawyers, accountants, bankers, immigration officers & govt. officials by year 2020 by adapting to blockchain technology. 😱

What will governments look like 5 years from now? Today Dubai announced its plan to be “The World’s first blockchain powered government” with a plan to move 100% on blockchain by 2020:

> ArabianChain is moving all Dubai’s government paperwork onto the blockchain, so it doesn’t need lawyers and government departments for verification.

> ObjectTech is providing digital passports and blockchain security to Dubali International airport to deliver seamless entry and exit from the country.

> The Dubai Land Department has launched a blockchain system to record all real estate contracts and record all property-related transactions such as rental, utility and telcom bills.

> In October, Dubai launched emCash, its own cryptocurrecny for citizens to pay for all services via digital cash.

> The country has set up the 46-member Global Blockchain Council, including companies like Microsoft, IBM and Cisco, to lead the way in the country’s adoption of blockchain technology.

Blockchain smart contracts and cryptocurrency track all transactions that take place with any agreement or transferable asset. That means the end-point of Dubai’s blockchain adoption is that there will be no further need for the middlemen in our day-to-day transactions.

No more laywers.

No more accountants.

No more bankers.

No more immigration officers.

No more government officials.

Dubai estimates that by putting its 100 million documents each year onto the blockchain, they will save 25 million man hours and $1.5 billion in tax dollars.

It would also massively shrink the size of the Dubai government. Why would they do that?

As Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai Office, the country’s department in charge of making Dubai the world’s smartest city says:

“The Dubai government differs from others around the world in that it aims to make Dubai the ‘Happiest City on Earth’. In short, we want to give people back time they would have otherwise spent on filing paperwork.”

Could Dubai’s Blockchain initiative lead to a revolution in happy countries reducing the size and influence of their goverhments?

Could an end point be no government at all?

“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” ~ Bill Gates

When asked how he would set up a government on Mars, Elon Musk said the “Most likely the form of government on Mars would be a direct democracy - it would be people voting directly on issues.”

In other words, in this new technological age where the best middle man is no middle man, the best government may be no government at all.” - Roger Hamilton

“Lets go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.” ~ Steve Jobs

January 04, 2018

Why this indifference towards Baloch?


January 3, 2018
Why this indifference towards Baloch?
Written by: Rahim Baloch

On August 4,1947, a conference was held in Delhi, presided over by Viceroy of the British India, Lord Mountbatten, and attended by the ruler of Balochistan, the Khan of Kalat, and representatives of the proposed state of Pakistan for determining the status of the Kalat state (Balochistan).

The three parties had agreed that Kalat was not a part of India, rather an independent state having treaty relations with Britain; therefore, not bound by the partition act to join either India or Pakistan.

However, the status of Baloch areas of the British Balochistan province was not finalized. That issue was left to be decided by the proposed Pakistan and Kalat state in future after the creation of Pakistan.

The Khan of Kalat declared full independence of Balochistan on August 11, 1947. The founding fathers of Pakistan later changed their mind towards Balochistan on instigation of British authorities. Instead of discussing and determining the mechanism for return of Baloch areas of former British Balochistan province, they started exerting pressure on Kalat for merger with Pakistan.

Pakistani authorities, when failed to get the merger through legal and peaceful means, decided to invade the country. Consequently, Pakistan forcibly occupied Balochistan on March 27, 1948.

Since then Baloch have been rising again and again to regain the independence of their country but the UN and the world community have been showing an indifference towards the Baloch freedom struggle.

Presently, the Balochistan looks like a cantonment. There are camps, check posts and pickets of army, paramilitary FC and other security forces everywhere. Army and paramilitary forces usually conduct ground and aerial operations on a daily basis against the civilian population with the intention to force their displacement against their will and interest.

Army helicopters intentionally conduct indiscriminate shelling and bombing on villages, killing and injuring people, destroying their dwellings while the ground troops ablaze, bulldoze and destroy the dwellings, plunder their precious households, kill and plunder the cattle, humiliate and harass the general people, especially to women, children.

They severely beat the men in front of their families and arrest people without charging them with any offense. This inhuman situation began in 2000 when the Baloch people rose once again for their national freedom. Instead of addressing the issue of independence through peaceful means of political dialogue Pakistan opted for the use of military force to crush the Baloch voice for freedom.

During the reign of Army dictator General Pervez Musharraf prominent Baloch leaders like Sardar Muhammad Akbar Bugti, Ghulam Muhammad Baloch and Mir Balach Marri were assassinated. Pakistan’s military operation in occupied Balochistan has reached a stage of Baloch genocide.

Recently, on November 20, 2017, a high level security meeting was held in Turbat, Makkuran which was attended by the Quetta corps commander, puppet Chief Minister Sana Zehri and former CM Dr Malik Baloch.

According to reports, Dr Malik suggested a new row of a Sawat-like intensified military operation against the Baloch freedom movement. After the meeting Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti announced that genocide of Baloch dissidents is inevitable for putting Baloch freedom movement to an end.

Following this another security meeting was held on 23 of November 2017, at the Quetta Cantonment which was chaired by the Pakistani Army chief, puppet Chief Minister Sardar Sanaullah and other officers of Army and intelligence agencies wherein it was decided to intensify the military operation against the Baloch freedom movement. The new intensified military operation was named as “Khush Hal Balochistan Program” which means “Prosperous Balochistan Program”.

Interestingly in case of Balochistan words of Pakistani authorities bear contrary meanings as to real meanings of those words. Here the word “prosperous” bears behind it the intention of causing destruction.

Similarly, on June 26, 2015, in an apex committee meeting presided by then Chief Minister Dr Malik, an intensified operation was approved which was named as ‘’Pur Amn Balochistan Program” (Peaceful Balochistan Program).

In pursuance of the said promulgation, a brutal military operation was launched on June 30, 2015 in Mehi, the home village of famous Baloch nationalist leader Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, wherein more than 10 Baloch were killed including Dr Allah Nazar’s brother Mir Saffar Khan, nephews Sileman Baloch, Zakir Baloch and Ramzan Baloch.

Afterwards, the operation was expanded to entire Mashkay, Ragae, Jhao, Greshag and Awaran areas. Thousands of families were displaced; dozens of villages were set ablaze and destroyed. At one time, the army claimed that Allah Nazar has been hit by a missile fired from a jet.

After the proclamation of recent ‘’Khush Hal Balochistan Program”, the military deployment has significantly increased, and operations have been intensified all over Balochistan. The recent military operations are aimed at paving the way for the drama of 2018 elections.

The use of following methods is mostly common features of army operations in occupied Balochistan:

1. Assassination of pro-freedom leadership: Pro-freedom Baloch leadership is the top target of army and intelligence agencies. They have been targeting all central and district level leaders of pro-freedom Baloch parties and organizations like the Baloch National Movement (BNM), Baloch Republican Party (BRP) and Baloch Students Organization (BSO) Azad.

Hundreds of leaders, cadres and activists of these parties, including Nawab Akbar Bugti, Mir Balach Marri, BNM Chairman Ghulam Muhammad Baloch and Secretary General Dr Manan Baloch have been extra judicially killed by the army. By killing the pro-freedom leadership Pakistan Army establishment wants to render the freedom movement as impotent and leaderless.

2. Curb pro-freedom democratic political activities on surface: Pakistan has banned all pro freedom Baloch political parties, organizations and individuals. The BNM, BRP and BSO-Azad have been listed by notification or practice, among the proscribed organizations. Pakistan denies them all freedoms and rights, including the freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, freedom of protest, freedom of peaceful political mobilization and awareness campaigns. Aim behind this undemocratic and unlawful cruel policy is crystal clear. Through imposition of such prohibitions state wants to curb all pro freedom democratic activities on surface and thereby create a gulf between pro freedom parties and Baloch masses and thereby make the Baloch people as voiceless. Pakistan is bent upon to suppress the Baloch voice for freedom at any cost by any means whether lawful or unlawful even through genocide and savagery. This policy of zero sum tolerance for pro freedom surface politics and peaceful political activities is illegal and a violation of basic human rights and freedoms which have been guaranteed in UN Charter & Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

3- Use of Enforced Disappearances: From the very beginning of present phase of Baloch freedom movement Pakistan’s security establishment is using enforced disappearances as a main tool of its counter insurgency policy. Mir Abdul Nabi Bangulzai, a prominent Baloch leader was among the first victims who became prey of this inhuman and unlawful policy of enforced disappearances. He was arrested in March 2000 and his whereabouts remained unknown for more than six months. In the forthcoming years enforced disappearances increased day by day. In 2004 Aftab Ahmed Khan Sher Pao, then Interior Minister of Pakistan government, during a visit to Turbat, Balochistan admitted before media such four thousand arrests but none of them neither charged nor ever brought before a court of law. During the reign of PPP Yusuf Raza Gelani, then Prime Minister of Pakistan once announced the release of all Baloch victims of enforced disappearances as an attempt of reconciliation but army and intelligence agencies fully disobeyed his orders so a single victim of enforced disappearance was not released in execution of his orders. A delegation of UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances visited Pakistan from 10 to 20 September 2012. Said delegation, on one or other pretext, was not allowed to visit war affected regions of Balochistan and meet the victim families of Enforced Disappearances. In 2013 Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a Balochistan based Human Rights Organization, held a long march from Quetta to Karachi onwards to Islamabad, a distance of more than 2500 kilometers protesting for release of Baloch Missing Persons but no change of policy or any decrease in enforced disappearances noticed. Recently a worrisome increase has been noticed in cases of enforced disappearances of Baloch including children, women, youth and students. At midnight of October 27/28, 2017 ISI and Rangers raided various houses of Baloch residents at different areas of Karachi. They humiliated and harassed women, kidnapped a 9 years old child Aftab s/o Muhammad Younus, 11/12 years old Ulfat s/o Altaf along with teenagers and students namely Abid, Farhad ,Sajjad, Arif, Aliyas, Rawat and a Human Rights defender Nawaz Atta. During the course of abducting Nawaz Atta they assaulted a woman namely Farah Baloch who had attempted to save Nawaz. She was inflicted serious injuries on her body and backbone. Two days later four Baloch women including Baloch leader Dr Allah Nazar’s wife along with their children & three teenager students namely Shahmir, Beebagar, Yusuf and a teacher namely Jalal were abducted by security forces from Saryab, Quetta. Later on women were released but teenagers Shahmir, Beebagar, Yusuf and teacher Jalal remained missing. On November 15,2017 Baloch students namely Sanaullah, the Secretary General of BSO-Azad, Naseer Baloch, Hassam Baloch and Rafique Baloch, a member of BNM, were abducted by security agency from Karachi. On November 20, Sagheer, another Baloch student, was abducted by security personnel from canteen of Karachi University. On December 15 another Baloch student Nasir s/o Mir Ghaffar Langove was whisked away from Hudda, Quetta. It should be remembered that abductee Nasir’s father Mir Ghaffar Langove was arrested by security agencies from Karachi on December 11, 2009 and he remained missing until his mutilated dead body was found on July 1, 2011 in Gaddani near Karachi. 20 years old abductee Nasir Ghaffar Baloch is the only brother of his five sisters. According to Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) and Baloch Human Rights Organization (BHRO) thousands Baloch from all walks of life are missing including Ali Asghar Bengulzai (since 18-10-2001) Zahid Kurd former Chairman of BSO-Azad (since 18-3-2014), Zakir Majeed Ex Vice Chairman of BSO-Azad (since 8-6-2009), Sanaullah Baloch presently Secretary General of BSO-Azad, Shabbier Baloch presently Information Secretary of BSO-Azad (since 4-10-2016), Dr Deen Muhammad Baloch (Since28-6-2009), Ghafoor Baloch then CC member of BNM (Since 4-1-2009), Ramzan Baloch, a member of BNM (Since 14-7-2009), Iqbal Baloch(since 14-3-2007),Shams Baloch an activist (since 1-7-2010), Munir Ahmed Mirwani Advocate (missing since 17-6-2010). Now enforced disappearances is also being used against pro freedom Sindhi activists, Punjabi liberals, Mohajir and Pukhtun dissidents at a large scale. In January 2017 five bloggers went missing from Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. They were abducted by security agencies just for sharing their liberal views on social media. Recently another activist Raza Khan has been abducted by security forces on December 2, 2017. He is a Lahore based activist and a champion of India-Pakistan friendship. Senator Farhatullah Babar, a prominent parliamentarian said that “Balochistan and FATA have become black holes for detainees held by security agencies. He categorically said that “Guantanamo Bay like prisons operate there” he said this on December 12, 2017 at an event organized by the National Commission of Human Rights at International Islamic University Islamabad to commemorate the Human Rights Day. On 25th November 2017 Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Islamabad High Court questioned the legality of Army’s brokering a deal between Government and Islamabad sit in protesters of an extremist Islamic group TLYR (Tehrik Labbek Ya Rasool Allah) then he expressed in open Court his anxiety and concerns about his own security at the hands of security agencies by saying that “after these adverse remarks against Army he may be listed among the missing persons”. Chaudhry Iftikhar Muhammad, Ex-Chief Justice Pakistan Supreme Court, is deemed as most powerful & bold Judge in Pakistan’s judicial history but he too couldn’t make army and intelligence agencies answerable for enforced disappearances. Here a case is cited as an example. On April 11, 2011 Muhammad Khan Marri, a journalist along with his brother Muhammad Nabi Marri and a friend Mehran Kheyyazai were picked by paramilitary FC from Zarghoon road Quetta who remained missing. A petition for their recovery was filed before a bench of Supreme Court headed by Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, then Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court. A petition on law and order situation and enforced disappearances was already in pending before the said bench. Hadi Shakeel, a DIG (Deputy Inspector General) police along with a Traffic Sargent appeared before Court as witnesses and produced CC footage as evidence showing FC personnel while arresting and taking abductees in their official vehicles. On basis of that evidence Court summoned Obaidullah Khattak, then IG Frontier Corps Balochistan and ordered him to produce the abductees on next hearing but before next hearing mutilated dead bodies of the victims were found dumped on 28-5-2011.Their dead bodies bear marks of torture. After subjecting to severe torture they were roped by neck but powerful Chief Justice miserably stood failed and helpless to do justice & punish the culprits. After Chaudhry’s retirement Supreme Court disposed of petition on enforced disappearances without recovering a single abductee and sent the file in garment which is indicative of Judiciary’s not only helplessness but also its collaboration with security agencies on vital issues of human rights and freedoms .On 26 December, 2017 Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani in his address to10th Urdu International conference at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi and talking to media at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh said that “we should resist although we might go missing”. Confessions made or concerns expressed on issue of enforced disappearances by higher level Government representatives, Ministers, Judges and parliamentarians shows on one hand the gravity of issue and on other hand their helplessness before army and security agencies. One can’t imagine what is happening with voiceless Baloch people. If someone goes missing from Punjab or Karachi then some sections of media and civil society come forward to condemn it but in case of Baloch most of them are reluctant to raise their voice to condemn the culprits, partly due to fear of intelligence agencies and partly perhaps due to their bias against Baloch. Everyday Baloch patriots go missing at the hands of army and other security agencies but no one cares about them. Even UNO and International Human Rights Organizations mostly are silent on the issue. Though Enforced Disappearances are a grave violation of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws, it is also a heinous crime against humanity; it is deemed a war crime in other parts of world but occupied Balochistan is being treated as an exemption. This cold and unjust response of UN and Human Rights Organizations emboldens Pakistan Army and security agencies to continue unabatedly with savagely, inhuman and illegal policy and practice of “Enforced Disappearances”.

4- Extrajudicial killings: Pakistan Army and other security agencies are practicing a policy of extrajudicial killings of suspected freedom fighters, peaceful pro freedom political leaders, activists & their suspected sympathizers from all walks of life including teachers, doctors, engineers, professors, businessmen, students and artists. Extrajudicial killings are being committed in different forms. The most frequently used form of extrajudicial killings is Custodial killings by Army and other security agencies. They severely torture and then kill abductees and throw their mutilated dead bodies. It is known as “kill and dump” policy. Up to day more than five thousand mutilated dead bodies of Baloch missing persons have been recovered. Fake encounters are another form of extrajudicial killings. On occasion of a military operation security forces extra-judicially kill some of abducted missing persons under their illegal custody and then falsely claim that slain have been killed in some encounter. Similarly on the occasion of military operations unarmed villagers are being arrested and afterwards killed. Such incidents are also claimed by ISPR as encounters. There are hundreds such incidents on record.

5- Collective punishment: Pakistan army and other security forces, in their quest of curbing the Baloch freedom movement, are pursuing a policy of collective punishment. They indiscriminately bomb, bulldoze and ablaze the villages, carry mass arrests of women, children and unarmed men with an intent to afraid the masses and thereby constrain them from taking part in or supporting freedom movement. Army and security forces bulldoze & set ablaze dwelling houses and arrest families of suspected freedom fighters, pro freedom political activists, their relatives, neighbors and sympathizers for putting pressure on them. In pursuance of recently proclaimed ‘Khush Hal Balochistan Program” Pakistan army, on December 1, 2017, launched a new intensified operation in Mashkay, Ragai, Gichk, Awaran and Kolwa. More than four thousand troops and 15 helicopters conducted operation in Mashkay, Ragai and Gichk areas where they bombed, set ablaze hundreds dwellings, killed about a dozen of civilians which included Ghaus Bakhsh s/o Arz Muhammad, his wife and 14 years old daughter, Khair Bakhsh and Babul s/o Eido. All of them reportedly were shepherds. During said operation about a hundred women and children including famous Baloch Leader Dr Allah Nazar’s sister along with their children and grandchildren were arrested and kept in miserable conditions in military camps of Mashkay & Ragai. A video of those abductees was made viral on social media by spy agencies. In this video an elderly man and a woman can be heard applauding Army for their kindness. Is it not a mockery? The people whose dwellings have been torched and they along with their children have been arrested and kept in army camps then how can they appreciate such atrocities on themselves? Obviously they have been compelled to make those statements. Said brutal military operation soon was expended to Kech, Gwadar, Panjgur, Washuk, Kharan, Noshki, Kalat, Khuzdar, Bolan, Mastung and Dera Bugti districts of Occupied Balochistan. Such mass arrests of women and children, unarmed civilians, their humiliation and harassment, blazing or otherwise destroying dwellings, killings of civilian population by indiscriminate bombing are grave violations of international humanitarian laws and rights of people enshrined in UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN Convention on the Rights of Child, UN Convention on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflicts,1974,Geneva Convention Relative To The Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 12 of August,1949 and their Protocols and Additional Protocols. Said acts of Pakistan army and security forces are overtly War Crimes.

6- Use of Mercenary Bands: Pakistan’s security establishment since 2007/8 is using Mercenary bands (some people call those as Death Squads) as counterinsurgency tools against Baloch freedom movement. Recruitment for such bands is made from antisocial elements. Army and intelligence agencies train, equip, facilitate & then use them as mercenaries against freedom movement. Those mercenaries participate in covert intelligence operations, overt military actions and abductions of dissidents, pro freedom activists and their sympathizers. Despite funding from Intelligence agencies those mercenaries were allowed to collect funds through ransom, extortion and road dacoity. Present CM’s slain son, Sikander, slain brother, Mehrullah, nephew Zaib Zehri was heading such mercenary bands. Shafique Mengal & his elder brother Attaurehman, Ex-CM Aslam Raisani’s brother, Seraj Raisani, Barkat Talib were too running mercenary militias. Ex-CM Dr Abdul Malik in his a recent interview with “Herald” claims that he, during his tenure of Chief Ministership dismantled such death squads but his claim is untrue. In fact a big number of those mercenaries went out of control & became disloyal to their masters. Most of them were involved in crimes like land grabbing, extortion, killing people for their personal vendettas which had ignited anxiety and hate among the people against Army and state on one hand and on the other hand it contributed in defamation of country and international criticism on it. For that reason those uncontrolled and disloyal segments of mercenary bands were disbanded. Rest of them partly were deactivated but not abolished or prosecuted for their crimes. Another reason for temporary deactivation of mercenary bands was to give a false & illusive impression of normalcy and a shift of policy. Whatsoever but Dr Malik’s statement confirms claim of pro freedom Baloch organizations regarding use of mercenary death squads by army. Still such mercenary bands are active & operate in Balochistan under patronage of Security establishment of Pakistan. Recently fresh photos of a Khuzdar based notorious mercenary Zakria Muhammad Hassani with Pakistan Army officers and Chinese became viral on social media.

7- Patronage & Use of Islamic Extremists: Foundation of Pakistan was laid down on Islamic extremism and hate for Hindus, Jews, Christians and other believers, therefore dissemination of extremist version of Islam, patronage and use of Islamic extremists is a fundamental feature of state’s entire policy. Whole policies revolve around this feature whether it is foreign policy, home affairs, constitution, law making and education etc. As the Baloch are a secular people therefore state machinery and their religious allies call Baloch nationalists as kafir (non-believers of God). As we all know that Islamic extremists are a time tested instrument of Army establishment, so army is patronizing & promoting so-called Jihadis in Occupied Balochistan. Even state’s created mercenary bands also happened to use Islamic names for their criminal bands and portrait their crimes against people as Jihad. After disastrous earthquake of September 2013 in Awaran and Kech districts Army is constantly trying to enter Hafiz Saeed’s JuD in Balochistan. The Jihadis purposely are being given space under Army’s patronage. A number of Jihadis claim activities and existence in Balochistan but still these are limited to military camps and in their controlled areas. Despite state patronage still they are failed to get roots in the Baloch society. Except Shafique Mengal there is no any indigenous Jihadi figure in occupied Balochistan. Now Army is trying to enter Hafiz Saeed’s JuD in Occupied Balochistan in disguise of social & charity works. In December 2016 when Hafiz Saeed visited Balochistan he was given protocol and protection like a Premier despite the fact he is UN designated Terrorist. Now it is a question mark that how long for, without any material support and backing by secular forces of the region, free nations and international institutions, Baloch freedom movement would be able to resist Pakistan’s of Islamizing Baloch secular society.

8- Containment of Media: Pakistan’s security establishment is following a strict policy of media containment in occupied Balochistan. Media houses including local newspapers have strictly been instructed to not publish or broadcast any news about ongoing military operations, extrajudicial killings and matters relating to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). CPEC in fact is a manifestation of Chinese hegemonic ambitions. In disguise of economic activities China plans to get a military base on Balochistan coast of Gwadar to keep control on Bay of Hormuz as well as connect herself with West Asia, Middle East and Red Sea Region of Africa. On the other hand Pakistan Army needs Chinese equipment, funds and international support to meet the challenge of Baloch freedom movement. CPEC is deemed by Pakistan Army as a milking cow. That is why criticism on CPEC related issues and reporting of brutal army operation, human rights violations are being dealt with zero sum tolerance. Since 2004 dozens of local journalists and reporters have been abducted, tortured, killed and dumped by security agencies. Haji Razaque Sarbazi (Karachi), Razaque Gul (Turbat), Javed Naseer Rind (Hub), Muhammad Khan Sasoli (Khuzdar), Abdul Haque Zehri (Khuzdar), Siddique Eido (Gwadar), Lala Hameed (Gwadar), Muhammad Khan Marri (Quetta), Ali Sher Kurd (Quetta), Ghulamullah Baloch (Khuzdar) are among local journalists who were abducted by intelligence agencies, severely tortured, killed and then dumped. In 2015 Hamid Mir, a prominent journalist of Pakistan and anchor person of a program on Geo TV was shot and injured by ISI for his disobeying Balochistan policy of army. Madam Sabeen Mahmud, a liberal activist was martyred in Karachi on April 24, 2015 for hosting a program on Baloch missing person. In short media is fully banned by security establishment of Pakistan to report or criticize Army operations or CPEC related issues. International media is not being allowed to visit and make unbiased reporting about deteriorated situation prevailing in Balochistan to which Baloch nationalists rightly term as Baloch Genocide. Even internet facility, which provided in Kech district and some other areas, has been revoked or limited. A dark and thick curtain has been put on Balochistan situation. Baloch have been turned voiceless. There are recent reports that Quetta and Karachi Press Clubs denied to allow representatives of VBMP, BHRO and relatives of the victims of enforced disappearances to address press conferences.

8- Use of pseudo Parties and puppet Governments: Occupied Balochistan is not an exemption to Pakistani hypocritical political culture where pseudo parties never try to mobilize the masses and establish a democratic hegemony of civilian institutions. Contrary to that they ever seek patronage of army and intelligence agencies for partnership in power corridors even as a junior partner. The general elections of Pakistan, held in 2013, were fully rejected by Baloch people. According to reports voting ratio was zero to three percent in Baloch areas. In all districts of Makkuran, Washuk and Awaran regions even polling staff did not go to polling stations. According to Sardar Akhter Mengal, the head of Balochistan National Party, polling were cancelled in all constituencies of Panjgur district of Makkuran by consent of all candidates in a meeting due to non-participation of people in polling process but surprisingly National Party candidates were declared as winner after lapse of polling time. According to Election Commission, Quddus Bizenjo had obtained only 495 votes for Provincial Assembly Awaran constituency. Even those votes were challenged by opposite candidate Ali Haider Muhammad Hassani before a tribunal where more than hundred votes were found bogus. Instead of accepting the verdict of people rejecting elections those pseudo parties and their candidates unashamedly took oath as Assembly members and formed a puppet provincial government who has no powers of policy making. They are constrained to toe the policies of army establishment, legislate on dictations of army and give legitimacy and approval to the inhuman and savagely act of security forces to give a false & illusionary impression of an elected government and of a democratic process. Their role is limited to collaboration with army and security agencies. In lieu of their such services Pakistan establishment has given them full free hand to make money by all means of corruption. A recent report of Transparency International lists Balochistan Government among the top corrupt governments, which is enough to shade a light on shameless performance of those collaborators. In fact 2013 elections in occupied Balochistan were a worst mockery with democracy.  

In fact Baloch people are not giving sacrifices only for their own freedom but for all secular and democratic forces of the region and world community. Success of Baloch freedom movement ultimately will pave a way for Sindhis, Punjabi, Pakhtun and Mohajirs and Siraiki people to get rid of military rule and so-called enter se contradictory and unnatural identity of Pakistani and Muslim nationhood, regain their centuries long national identities and establish civilians democratic domination in state affairs. Neighboring nations also will be able to live with peace. World community also will get rid of terrorist heavens.

The writer is a lawyer, former Secretary General of @BNMovement_ and former Chairman Baloch Students Organisation. He tweets at @RahimBalochh

Interview with Subramanian Swamy. By PURNIMA S. TRIPATHI

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/a-case-of-internal-sabotage/article10008340.ece

INTERVIEW: SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY

'A case of internal sabotage'

  

K. Murali KumarSubramanian Swamy.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy was the first one to allege corruption in the allocation of 2G spectrum. He took the matter to the Supreme Court, which, in 2012, quashed the allocation of licences, directed the auctioning of spectrum and ordered trial of the accused. Excerpts from an interview he gave Frontline:

Why have you taken the Modi government to task for this judgment?

The BJP was nowhere in the picture when I approached the Supreme Court in 2008 for quashing the licences and ordering an investigation. It was on my petition that the Supreme Court gave the historic judgment quashing all licences, ordering auction of spectrum and a proper investigation by the CBI. If the judge has said that the prosecution failed to produce any evidence then it reflects poorly on the government. The law officers did not do their job properly.

So, the CBI did not take this high-profile case seriously?

I am not commenting on the CBI Director, he is a fine officer, a man of integrity, but the junior officers definitely did not take their job seriously. I can say with responsibility that the junior officers in the CBI actively worked to provide relief to the accused.

At whose behest?

Obviously those in the BJP itself. There are people, I will not name them at this point, but I know for a fact that they helped the accused. This is a case of internal sabotage. Take the AG [Attorney General], Mukul Rohatgi, for example. His appointment was wrong in the first place because he had represented some of the accused. I had written letters to Modi at the time of his appointment. Rohatgi handled the case for three years and botched it up. Even the Special CBI Court judge has said that after some time the prosecution seemed to have lost interest in the case.

But this was a politically sensitive case, on which Prime Minister Modi had based his entire Lok Sabha campaign. Do you think anybody could afford to mess it up deliberately and get away with it?

They have done that. They never thought the government would appeal. But they will not get away with it. This is a case based on rock-hard evidence, which the CBI judge deliberately ignored.

But the judge said there was “nil evidence” of any criminality in either allocation of spectrum or in advancing the cut-off date or in fixing the price. What rock-hard evidence are you talking about?

There are [several pieces of] rock-hard evidence of criminality. One, the spectrum was allotted at the 2001 price which was one-tenth the prevailing price then. It is also a fact that some of the allottees sold their spectrum either partially or fully at eight times higher prices to foreign companies like Systema, DoCoMo, Telenor, etc., immediately after getting it, though there was a two-year time bar for them. This resulted in huge profits for them without working for it even for a single day.

Second, the first come, first served policy had been declared a “bad policy” by the Delhi High Court in 2008 when some parties that had been denied spectrum approached it for relief. One of them was Aircel owner [C.] Sivasankaran. The Delhi High Court had then quashed the policy. Although Sivasankaran later withdrew his appeal, the judgment remains unaltered even today. The CBI judge made a grave mistake by ignoring this judgment.

Third, the Supreme Court judgment of 2012, which came after I filed a petition and which remains valid even today, was also ignored by the CBI judge.

Is this a setback for the government, especially Prime Minister Modi, who made this the theme of his Lok Sabha campaign?

It is potentially a big setback for Modi. But not for long because it is bound to be dumped by the higher courts.

If you look at the collection after the auction, it was only Rs.30,964 crore, nowhere near the “presumptive loss” of Rs.1.76 lakh crore as announced by the then CAG Vinod Rai.

I don’t care what Vinod Rai has said. When I filed the complaint, Rai was nowhere in the picture. All I am saying is that a massive corruption had occurred in allotting spectrum and that should be fairly investigated and the guilty should be punished.

Do collections for 3G and 4G spectrum corroborate the charge of corruption in 2G spectrum?

I don’t care about 3G or 4G collections. What I have said is based on rock-hard evidence and that is why I call this a bogus judgment

January 03, 2018

Israelis can tell the whole story of Sudan’s division – they wrote the script and trained the actors

Israelis can tell the whole story of Sudan’s division – they wrote the script and trained the actors

January 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    

By Fahmi Howeidi

Now that we have been unable to defend the unity of Sudan, it might benefit us to understand what has happened there. Perhaps that will alert us to the fact that secession of the south is not the end, but is one of a series of splits intended to dismantle the Arab world surrounding Egypt.

From very early on, Zionists realized that minorities in the Arab world represent a natural ally to their state of Israel and so they planned to build bridges with them. Zionist representatives communicated with the Kurds in Iraq, the people in southern Sudan, the Maronites in Lebanon, Kurds in Syria, and the Copts in Egypt; Zionism adopted the principle of divide and conquer, and saw that the most effective way to fragment the Arab world was to create secessionist movements within it. In doing so, it sought the redistribution of power in the region in such a manner to make a group of marginal countries lacking unity and sovereignty, all the easier for Israel, in cooperation with non-Arab countries to control them one after the other later. All the rebel movements triggered by ethnic and sectarian groups in the Arab world have drawn support and advocacy from Israel, which has adopted these separatist movements, as witnessed by the Kurds in Iraq and the rebel movement in southern Sudan.

This situation helps us to understand Israel’s strategy towards the Arab world, which is designed to encourage minorities to express themselves so that they may eventually seize self-determination and independence from the state. What helps in all of this is that the Arab world, contrary to what the Arabs claim, does not consist of one cultural and civilized unity – the mythical “Arab nation”   but it is a diverse mix of cultures, religions, ethnicities and multilingualism. Israel has been used to  portraying the region as a mosaic that includes in its midst a complex network of multi-linguistic, religious, nationalism forms between Arabs, Persians, Turks, Armenians, Israelis themselves, Kurds, Baha’is, Druze, Jews, Protestants, Alawites, Sabians, Shiites, Sunnis, Maronites, Circassians, Turkomans, Assyrians and so on.

According to Israel’s view, when a land or part of a land has minority groups within it but no collective history, the real history is the history of each minority. This has the purpose of achieving two main objectives:

First, it rejects the concept of Arab nationalism and the call for Arab unity; Arab nationalism in the Israeli perception is an idea shrouded in mystery, if not irrelevant. Arab unity is a myth because the Arabs pay lip service to one nation, but live within mutually incompatible states. It is true that most are united by language and religion, but that is also the case with people across the English- or Spanish-speaking worlds, but that does not make them one nation.

Second, this is used to justify the legitimacy of Israel’s presence in the region as just one more to add to the mix of nationalities, peoples and languages, for which the perception of unity is an illusion. The logical conclusion of this train of thought is that each group of people (whether calling themselves a nation or not) has its own state; thus does Israel gains its legitimacy as one of many nation-states in the Middle East.

The preceding thesis is taken from a text book: “Israel and the South Sudan Liberation Movement”, published in 2003 by the Dayan Centre for Research on the Middle East and Africa. The author is retired head of Mossad Moshe Faraji. I have referred to him on more than one occasion. He is worth looking at again as the crop sown by Israel and its allies since the 1950s is beginning to bear fruit.

Another senior Israeli, former Minister of Internal Security Avi Dichter, referred to Sudan in his 2008 lecture delivered to the Institute for Zionist National Security Studies. “There have been Israeli estimates since Sudan’s independence in the mid-fifties that this country, although far from us, should not be allowed to become a force added to the power of the Arab world because if its resources continue under stable conditions, it will make it a power to be reckoned with.” Hence, Israel’s attention has been directed towards Sudan, hoping to exploit the situation.

Sudan provides strategic depth to Egypt. This was evident post-1967 when Sudan and Libya provided training facilities for the Egyptian air force and army; Sudanese forces were sent to the Suez Canal zone during the war of attrition waged by Egypt between 1968 and 1970. For these two reasons, Dichter added, Israel had to work on weakening Sudan and prevent it from becoming a strong, unified state. This strategic perspective is necessary, he said, for Israeli’s national security. It is worth noting that Dichter’s lecture took place almost thirty years after the peace agreement signed between Egypt and Israel in 1979.

When asked about the future of southern Sudan, Dichter replied: “There are international forces led by the United States that are determined to intervene in Sudan so that the South will become independent, and the same for the Darfur region, like the independence of Kosovo. The situation in southern Sudan is not unlike that in Darfur and Kosovo, in that the two regions aspire to independence and acquire the right to self-determination after their citizens fought for that.”

Israeli support for the rebels in southern Sudan has gone through five stages notes Colonel Faraji:

Phase 1 started in the fifties. For nearly a decade, Israel focused on providing humanitarian aid (medicines, food and doctors) and was keen to provide services to refugees who were fleeing to Ethiopia. The first attempts to invest in the tribal differences in southern Sudan itself began in order to intensify the conflict and encourage the South to secede from the Arab north. Israeli intelligence officers stationed in Uganda opened channels of communication with the leaders of the southern tribes to study the demographic map of the area.

Phase 2 began in the sixties with Israel providing military training in special centres established in Ethiopia. At this stage, the Israeli government became convinced that keeping Khartoum busy with internal wars was sufficient to make sure that it would be unable to provide any support for Egypt’s struggle with the Zionist state.

Proselytizing organizations active in the south encouraged Israel to send members of its intelligence services under the cover of humanitarian aid; the prime goal was to train influential people to sustain the tension in the region. At this stage, Israel also expanded its support to the rebels by providing weapons through Ugandan territory; the first of such deals was in 1962, with mainly Russian armaments which had been captured by Israel when it took part in the aggressive Suez campaign in 1956. Fighters were trained in southern Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya before being pushed over the border to fight inside Sudan.

Phase 3 extended from the mid-sixties into the seventies, when the flow of arms to Southern Sudan was facilitated by an Israeli arms dealer called Gabi Shafine, who was working for Israeli intelligence. Shipments of Russian weapons won by Israel in 1967 were dropped by Israeli cargo planes. Israel also established a school for infantry officers to train the cadres necessary to lead the rebel factions. Israeli elements were involved in the fighting to lend their expertise to the South. At this stage groups were taken to Israel to receive military training. At the beginning of the seventies another channel for the delivery of Israeli support to South Sudan through Uganda was opened officially.

When it seemed that the rebel movement was about to collapse in 1969, Israel made a tremendous effort to urge the rebels to continue their fight, and used every method available to them to persuade southerners that they were engaged in a national struggle between Arab-Muslims in the north who were dominating a Black-African-Christian-Animist south.

Phase 4 from the late seventies through the eighties saw the African continent witness several major diversions (e.g. drought in Ethiopia) which did not stop Israel from supporting the rebels; indeed, support increased after Ethiopia became a regular conduit for the delivery of weapons to the South. John Garang emerged at this stage as a leader supported by Israel; he was received in Tel Aviv and given money and weapons. Israel was keen to train his men in various martial arts; ten pilots were trained to use light fighter aircraft.

Phase 5 started in late 1990 with expanding Israeli support; shipments reached the south through Kenya and Ethiopia. Israel provided the south with heavy anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft guns. At the beginning of 1993, the coordination between Israel and the SPLA (the southern army) included funding, training, armament, information and supervision by Israeli technicians of military operations.

It is clear that Israel has been eyeing southern Sudan for more than half a century.

A worthy observation is that the insurgency in the south began in 1955, one year before the Declaration of Independence of the state of Sudan. This illustrates that the oft-cited reason for southern secession – the implementation of Shari’a Law by the government of Al-Turabi in 1989 – is merely an excuse; this is a struggle that has gone on long before such proposals were even mooted.

While Israel was supporting the southern rebels with arms, Western countries were continuing their diplomatic efforts to arrange the division of Sudan through a referendum. The peace accord signed between the Khartoum government and the rebels was reached with British, American and Norwegian sponsorship. For more than fifty years, the people of Sudan have faced armed insurrection on one side and diplomatic pressure and dirty tricks on the other. If just a quarter of such an effort had been applied on the situation in Palestine, the problem would have been resolved decades ago. Self-determination appears to be acceptable, indeed highly desirable, if it will weaken a predominantly Arab state, but off the agenda when it involves the Palestinians obtaining their rights against the Zionist state of Israel.

They have planned for this division of Sudan and look set to get what they wanted. As for the Arabs, they have stood and watched as mere spectators. I hope that this is not a precursor for further disappointments to come.

Source: Al-Khaleej Times

January 02, 2018

US to announce further action against Pakistan in 24-48 hours: White House

https://www.dawn.com/news/1380537


Dawn.comUpdated January 03, 2018

US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders speaks at the White House. — AP

A day after Washington confirmed suspending $255 million of military aid to Pakistan, the White House said that further action against Pakistan would be announced in the next 24-48 hours.

Addressing a daily press briefing on Wednesday, US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that the actions being taken against Islamabad by Washington are a follow-up to Trump's South Asia policy announced last year.

Also read: Pakistan's measured response to Trump's tweet is a step in the right direction

"The president is simply following through on a commitment that he made," she said, referring to Trump's speech in which he had accused Pakistan of "not fulfilling its obligations".

“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations,” Trump had said in August last year, warning that vital aid could be cut.

"We know that Pakistan can do more to fight terrorism, and we want them to step up and do that," the press secretary said on Wednesday, adding that Trump feels Pakistan "is not doing enough" to combat terrorism.

She said that information on further action against Pakistan would be made available over the next couple of days.

"In terms of specific actions, I think you’ll see some more details come out on that in the next 24 to 48 hours," Sanders told the US media.

Worsening relations

The White House's move to suspend military aid on Tuesday has been seen as the first step to implementing President Donald Trump’s pledge to tighten economic restrictions on Pakistan.

Military aid to Islamabad was cut after Trump, in a tweet, accused Pakistan of of being a liar.

The tweet had come in the aftermath of an increasingly terse back-and-forth between Washington and Islamabad since Trump announced his administration's latest national security strategy.

Explore: 'Pakistan needs to improve its narrative': Politicians, analysts weigh in on Trump statement

During the announcement, the US president had been quick to remind Pakistan of its 'obligation' to help America "because it receives massive payments" from Washington every year.

"We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help," the US president had said.

A Pentagon report to the US Congress, released to the media on Dec 17, had said Washington would also take 'unilateral steps' in areas of divergence with Pakistan while expanding cooperation between the two countries where their interests converge.

Subsequently, US Vice President Mike Pence had, in a surprise visit to Afghanistan's Bagram airbase on Dec 22, warned that Trump has "put Pakistan on notice" in what was the harshest US warning to Islamabad since the beginning of the Afghan war over 16 years ago.

The Pakistan Army spokesman, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, had at a press conference last week asserted that the aid Pakistan received from the US was "reimbursement for support we gave to the coalition for its fight against Al Qaeda."

"Had we not supported the US and Afghanistan, they would never have been able to defeat Al Qaeda," he had said.

"The armed forces are working with friends and want to continue doing so, but there can be no compromise on our national honour. We do not want a conflict with our friends, but will ensure the security of Pakistan," he had added.

His briefing was considered perhaps the strongest-ever reaction from Islamabad since US functionaries began alluding to the possibility of unilateral action.

Hitting back at the US, the civilian-controlled Foreign Office (FO) had also warned against the "malicious campaign"being "used to trivialise Pakistan's achievements in the war against terrorism", and noted that "allies do not put each other on notice."

The FO had further complained that recent US statements are "at variance with the extensive conversations we [Islamabad] have had with the US administration

Why Hindus Lag Behind In Kerala?

By *Dr C I Issac,* 

*A powerful field that can control society is Education.*

*At present, the education sector in Kerala is under the control of minorities,*

*These minorities* are

Politically influential and
economically sound through the remittances made by
*(Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs).*

While *minorities run 3340 schools* in the state,

the entire *Hindu jatis are in possession of just 194 schools.* 

*Muslim and Christian communities manage 223 arts and science colleges*

whereas all *Hindu jatis together manage only 42 colleges* (vide ‘Matrubhumi’ daily, September 28, 2002).

*Out of the 433 professional colleges,* only

86 are government-owned,

89 are Hindu-managed while

*258 are managed by the minorities* (G.K. Suresh Babu, ‘Kesari Annual, 2004).

Though *all minorities are permitted to impart religious education in their institutions,*

*this right is denied to Hindu institutions.* 

Moreover, *Hindu students in minority institutions are forced to study moral science,*

which infuse *anti-Hindu sentiments in them.*

*This is the best known Kerala model of secularist-democratic paradigm.*

*Why does it happen so?*

No doubt, the reason is that

*Hindus are economically and politically a marginalized group in Kerala.*

If the lessons in history of ancient civilizations were destroyed by Semitic religions’ invasion,

the situation is not very different for Hindus in Kerala.

*A major share of the state exchequer is spent on education.*

*The last 48 years reveal that only one Hindu minister handled the portfolio of education and that, too for a period of four years and three months.*

*Otherwise, for the rest of the period, this portfolio has been handled by ministers belonging to only minority communities.*

*The minority ministers, who managed the portfolio of education, helped only the minority community managements in an out-of the way manner.*

Lending a helping hand to minority institutions was similar for both, the Right and the Left coalitions.

*Both coalitions still follow minority appeasement as their de facto policy.*

*This will result in an alarming situation.*

*Of the state’s 199,000 schoolteachers, the  Hindu share (inclusive of SCs/STs) is just 38 percent.*

According to the 1997 statistics, Kerala had *14200 college teachers of whom 76 percent belonged to minority* communities (G. K. Suresh Babu).

*All these statistics show of an unorganized, demographically ever-shrinking Hindu community of Kerala.*

*In health care also, the minorities have an upper hand.*

The Hindu community owns just ten hospitals against 928 belonging to the minorities (‘Matrubhumi’).

Similarly, the 

*Hindu share in the industry, agriculture and commerce is 28, 24 and 28 percent, respectively.*

At the same time, the Muslim share is 30, 23 and 40 percent and Christian share is 35, 40 and 36 percent, respectively (‘Matrubhumi’).
*Like the Hindus of Kerala, no other community in the world is marginalized as much.*

In several sectors, Hindus lag behind but

*In the case of suicides, hindus are leaders.*

Kerala’s suicidal rate is above the national average; it is 30.5 for every one lakh population.

A recent NGO study reveals that

*92 percent suicides were committed by Hindus.*

6.5 percent by Christians and

1.5 percent by Muslims.

*Insolvency is the main reason for the mass suicides in Kerala.*

The Kerala government’s allotment of new self-financing professional colleges has come as a rude shock to the marginalized Hindus of Kerala.

*Due to the economic backwardness of the Hindus, it is difficult to compete with the minority communities* for starting professional colleges.

*The result will be that those socially and economically backwards in the Hindu society will be kicked out of competition.*

In medical education field alone, the Hindus will lose 250 seats every year.

The Hindus coming in the purview of reservation will lose 3800 engineering seats and 100 MBBS seats every year.

After two decades, in the SC/ST section alone, there will be a shortage of 74000 engineers and 2000 doctors at the present rate.

*Education and economic progress are closely linked with Kerala life.*

Therefore, any imbalance arising in the educational field will be reflected a hundred times in the economic scenario.

In the near future, because of educational backwardness alone,

*Hindus will be forced to live on the periphery of society.*

In the democratic process, votes are decisive factors.

No doubt, the numerically ever-shrinking *Hindus will lose relevance in the political structure of Kerala in the near future.*

Since Independence, for every decade, the *Hindu population in Kerala has been falling* at the rate of more than 1 percent.

If this trend continues, within three decades,

*Hindus will lose their majority statues in the state.* 

At present, technically the Hindus are the majority community.

But *the minority religious groups have a clear sway over the political, economic and educational fields of Kerala.*

It is no wonder that *Hindus of Kerala, who are destined to be minority in the near future, will be thrown out of all fields of socio-economic activities.*

*This will be a great tragedy for Hindus.*

In 1947, Muslims in India were a minority community. They were 24 percent.

But even that marginal strength of the Muslims led to the division of India.

Today, Nagaland and Mizoram have turned into Christian-majority states.
In these states, discontent and insurgency, along with divisive tendencies, have surfaced.

To a large section of the Christian brethren, the Hindus have become an indigestive element in the northeast.

*If so, what will be the history of Kerala after three decades?*

(By Dr C.I. Issac, Head of the PG Department of History, CMS College, Kottayam, Kerala.)

🙏

January 01, 2018

Trump's New Year Tweet on Pakistan

📎The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!

https://mobile.twitter.com/i/web/status/947802588174577664

A case for enhanced Finnish understanding of nuclear issues

Facing new realities: A case for enhanced Finnish understanding of nuclear issues

PUBLISHED 11/28/2017BRIEFING PAPER 228

INFO READING MODE

SUMMARYINTRODUCTIONNUCLEAR RISKS: THE NEW REALITIESIMPLICATIONS FOR FINLANDA CASE FOR ENHANCED FINNISH UNDERSTANDINGENDNOTES

SUMMARY

After a decades-long hiatus, nuclear weapon issues have returned to the forefront of international security concerns. In recent months, North Korea has made significant progress in its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes; President Donald Trump threatened to end US participation in the agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear activities; and over 40 countries signed the world’s first legally-binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Russian military developments and perceived “sabre rattling” are prompting NATO to focus more attention on nuclear issues. The US, UK and French nuclear modernization programmes are not simply a response to Russia, but Moscow will likely portray them as such.

Finland’s security and prosperity increasingly depend upon a stable and secure international environment. New strategic realities could affect that environment in profound ways. Today, the threat of a military confrontation in the Nordic region is low in comparison with parts of Asia and the broader Middle East, but it cannot be seen as non-existent.

Finland will remain a non-nuclear weapon state. Its expertise in nuclear affairs traditionally focused on non-proliferation (via international agreements and EU activities) and arms control, but this has eroded during the past decade or so. Given the new realities, Finland should reverse that trend and enhance its understanding of the role of nuclear weapons in regional and global deterrence.

INTRODUCTION

Strategic issues involving nuclear weapons are once again at the forefront of international security concerns. Changes in the security environment threaten to halt or reverse progress in reducing nuclear arsenals, the risk of their use, and the spread of nuclear weapons beyond the nine states either declared or considered to hold them.1

Resorting to nuclear weapons anywhere on the globe would have profound geostrategic, humanitarian, and economic consequences. Small countries far removed from the conflict zone would not be immune to its aftershocks. This would be true for Finland and other EU member states, whose prosperity and security increasingly depend on a secure and stable international environment.

This paper describes ongoing nuclear weapons-related developments, and outlines their implications for Finland. It also recommends enhancing Finnish expertise in a range of strategic issues.

NUCLEAR RISKS: THE NEW REALITIES

The end of the Cold War opened up opportunities for reducing the risk of nuclear war, the proliferation of nuclear weapon states, and the size of nuclear arsenals through both negotiated and unilateral steps.2 Despite progress in some areas, there have been setbacks in others. Then Vice-President Joe Biden acknowledged this mixed picture in January 2017. After listing the Obama administration’s accomplishments – in strategic arms reductions, non-proliferation, and international cooperation to improve security for nuclear installations and materials – Biden observed: “(S)trategic stability with Russia…has eroded over the past few years”.3

Today, new nuclear realities are taking shape. They vary from region to region, involve different nuclear and missile capabilities, and require complex judgments on how best to deter nuclear or non-nuclear aggression.

Tensions in Asia

North Korea’s nuclear ambitions date back to the 1990s, but its recent actions – detonating a device with an estimated yield many times greater than the weapons that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and testing new ballistic missiles assessed as being capable of striking US territory, Japan, and South Korea— have sharply increased the risk of military conflict. Short of crossing the nuclear threshold, North Korea could inflict massive casualties on the South using conventional artillery and chemical weapons deployed near the Demilitarized Zone. US Defence Secretary James Mattis warns that a “military solution” would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale”.

The spike in tensions has raised new questions regarding the credibility of US defence guarantees. Recent polls show majorities of South Koreans favour a national nuclear weapons capability and the reintroduction of US non-strategic nuclear weapons based in their territory. Others in the region are “weighing their options”.

A failure of deterrence in Korea would have dramatic consequences. These might include: a sharp deterioration in US relations with China and Russia, which border North Korea; a reappraisal of US alliances with South Korea and/or Japan, especially if Washington were viewed as partly responsible for the conflict; and the transfer of US military assets from Europe to meet urgent warfighting and stabilization tasks in Asia.

Korea is not the only potential Asian hotspot. India and Pakistan have narrowly avoided a major war over the past decade. According to recent reports, India has weighed the possibility of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. For its part, Pakistan is reportedly increasing its stock of “battlefield” nuclear weapons, which many analysts believe would heighten the risk of their early use in a crisis and offer a tempting target for seizure by terrorists.

Russia, NATO, and the “nuclear allies”

Americans and Europeans might not fully agree on the details of Russia’s evolving strategic doctrine, intentions, or appetite for risk-taking. However, they broadly agree on Russia’s impressive investment in nuclear modernization programmes, lack of interest in further deep reductions in strategic arsenals (or any meaningful limits on its large stockpile of non-strategic nuclear weapons), and practice of “nuclear sabre-rattling”. When such developments are set in the context of Russia’s conventional force improvements, there is little doubt that Moscow aims to increase its overall capability for power projection and make it more difficult for NATO to assist a threatened ally or partner.

In response, NATO is implementing its commitment, restated at the 2016 Warsaw Summit, to ensure that its nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure, and effective, and that allies retain the “broadest possible participation” in nuclear burden-sharing. NATO has criticized the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) for “disregard(ing) the realities of the increasingly challenging international security environment” and putting the existing non-proliferation structure at risk. NATO’s statement also pointedly calls upon its “partners and all countries who are considering supporting this treaty to seriously reflect on its implications for international peace and security”.4

Meanwhile, the “nuclear allies” are modernizing their deterrents. Successive centre-right and centre-left governments in the United Kingdom and France have concluded that an independent nuclear deterrent must remain a critical element of their national security strategy. Although concerns regarding Russia no doubt influence current UK and French assessments, their national security strategy documents make it clear that nuclear threats to their vital national interests could arise from other states as well.

Hence, in late 2016 the United Kingdom began constructing the first of four ballistic missile submarines to replace its current fleet, beginning in the early 2030s. Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed his decision to renew both components of the French deterrent of four ballistic missile submarines and three squadrons of “dual-capable” aircraft (DCA).5

The Pentagon is expected to complete the US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in early 2018. The NPR will likely reaffirm longstanding tenets of US nuclear policy and recommend renewing the US nuclear “triad” of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine- launched ballistic missiles, and long-range air-launched cruise missiles delivered by strategic bombers.6 This effort will stretch over decades and, according to government estimates, will cost around $400 billion over the next decade, or six per cent of the annual defence budget (as opposed to three per cent currently).

The NPR might also unveil some significant policy shifts foreshadowed in a May 2017 report by prominent non-government experts.7 For example, the report recommended explicitly setting deterrence of aggression and assurance of allies as the priority goals of US nuclear policy. This would relegate non-proliferation, preventing nuclear terrorism, and reducing the role of nuclear weapons in US strategy – the top priorities set by the Obama administration – to a lower rank, and open the door to a possible expansion of the US arsenal. The report also suggested extending NATO’s DCA arrangements to some Eastern European allies, while deploying US DCA to Japan and South Korea. While not ruling out new arms control measures with Russia, the experts advised strict preconditions for talks, such as an end to the Russian violation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.8

Missile defence is the subject of a separate review, which will also stir controversy. President Trump has promised a major boost in spending for missile defence. Some administration advisors reportedly favour expanding their scope to counter ballistic and cruise missile threats from Russia and China. If adopted, this would be a major break from the Obama and Bush administrations, which focused on protecting US and allied territory and forces against limited North Korean and Iranian missile threats.

Iran

President Trump has called for renegotiation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.) Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to restrict certain nuclear activities in return for relief from sanctions imposed by the United States, the EU, Russia and China. His stated objective is to extend the scope and duration of JCPOA restrictions on Iran while making Western compliance conditional upon changes in Iranian behaviour outside the nuclear arena – such as ending its support for proxies in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. However, he also warned that if his administration is unable to “reach a solution working with Congress and our allies…the (JCPOA) will be terminated”.

Iran has categorically rejected any renegotiation of the JCPOA. This sets the stage for a protracted deterioration of relations between Washington and Teheran, which already back opposing sides in several Middle East conflicts and in Afghanistan.

Trump’s decision has also roiled transatlantic relations. UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and President Emmanuel Macron issued a joint statement affirming that they “stand committed” to the accord. The three US allies worked hard to achieve the JCPOA, fearing that an unfettered Iranian nuclear programme would lead to wider proliferation in the region, and ultimately a US military intervention with unpredictable consequences.

IMPLICATIONS FOR FINLAND

The fact that Finland’s security and prosperity increasingly depend on a secure and stable international environment is hardly a new or controversial proposition.9However, the aforementioned new realities pose real risks to that security and prosperity.

Changes in the strategic environment related to Russia, NATO, and the “nuclear allies” directly affect Finnish security interests. Russian “nuclear sabre-rattling” directed at Denmark, Norway, and Sweden demonstrates that neither the presence of nuclear weapons in one’s territory nor membership in the Alliance are necessary to become the objects of such threats. Russia’s nuclear and conventional force improvements, deployments, and exercises are shortening warning times for military crises and, perhaps, lowering the Russian threshold for using force.

Indeed, NATO-Russia and US-Russia relations might worsen in the coming months. Moscow would condemn any suggestion in the Pentagon reviews that NATO should extend its nuclear burden-sharing to involve East European allies, or that US or NATO missile defence be reoriented to counter Russian systems. In light of President Vladimir Putin’s recent statement that “we have complied and we will comply with our old treaties, as long as our partners comply as well,” the prospects appear bleak for resuming any US-Russian dialogue on arms control.10 In a deteriorating atmosphere, Moscow might take aim at the increased cooperation between NATO and its Nordic partners. While the threat of a military confrontation in the Nordic region is low in comparison with Asia, it cannot be seen as non-existent. Russian leaders, for example, periodically warn that they would take unspecified “countermeasures” in response to any further NATO enlargement.11

Regarding the JCPOA, Finland’s fellow EU members – especially Germany, France, and the United Kingdom – will expect full support for their position to the effect that the international community must not dismantle the JCPOA as long as it functions. However, if the Trump administration implements its threat to terminate US participation, Washington will face a major tussle with Europe over whether to impose “snap back” UN sanctions on Iran. Finland’s interest in maintaining political solidarity within the EU does not obviate its need to understand the technical arguments for assessing Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA and its nuclear “breakout” potential if the agreement were to collapse.

The North Korean standoff could unravel with little warning. In the event of war, especially if nuclear weapons were used and/or nuclear debris were released by attacks on North Korean facilities, Finnish citizens in the region might require emergency evacuation and medical care. The Finnish government would face calls in the UN or EU to express solidarity with, or condemnation of, one of the belligerent sides, and to contribute to multilateral humanitarian assistance efforts. Moreover, a failure of US deterrence strategy in Korea would raise questions in Europe about America’s political will and military capability to deter aggression on this continent.

Similarly, if war erupted between Pakistan and India, Finnish citizens in the region would be at risk, and the humanitarian consequences would be catastrophic. Finland would face calls to join multilateral evacuation and relief efforts. In short, any notion that Finnish interests would be unaffected by a major conflict in “faraway” Korea and South Asia would prove illusory.

A CASE FOR ENHANCED FINNISH UNDERSTANDING

As a rule, Finnish discussions of nuclear weapons are very circumspect. Since the Cold War, officials and non-government experts have focused their analysis and engagement on non-proliferation (via international agreements and EU initiatives) and arms control. They have devoted less attention to the strategic landscape involving nuclear weapons programmes, evolving doctrines, and missile defence. In addition, the contribution of Western nuclear forces to deterrence rarely receives explicit acknowledgment.

Although ideological opposition to nuclear weapons appears more prevalent in Sweden, a certain moral opprobrium associated with such weapons exists in Finland as well. Anti-nuclear sentiments might intensify following the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award its coveted Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Some Finns might be concerned that more public discussion of nuclear weapon-related issues would be politically polarizing. In Sweden’s case, the government (a coalition of the Social Democratic Party, or SDP, and Green Party) voted, in December 2016, for a resolution in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.12 In July, Sweden approved the text of the TPNW. Yet, two months later, the government deferred a decision on whether to actually sign the Treaty due to sharp differences between the foreign minister (who favoured signing) and the defence minister (who opposed it.) The fact that both ministers belong to the SDP only served to make the situation even more politically awkward.

In addition, some might see a more public discussion as unnecessary and/or strategically counterproductive. Finland will never acquire or host nuclear weapons on its territory, as this would violate its longstanding commitments under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and national law. Why, then, should it risk being “drawn” into debates on nuclear weapons where differences exist among Europeans and where Russian sensitivities are obvious?

The answer, to paraphrase Leon Trotsky’s dictum on war, is: “You may not be interested in nuclear weapons, but nuclear weapons are interested in you”. Hence, Finland should consider three broad approaches consistent with its national sovereignty and interests in solidarity with its closest European and transatlantic partners.

Enhanced understanding of deterrence

The Finnish strategic community — government officials, parliamentarians, and think tanks — needs to stay abreast of changes in the strategic environment and nature of deterrence.

Although Finland is not a NATO ally, its growing national defence effort (in areas such as enhanced readiness and increased investment) contributes to conventional deterrence of potential aggression in the Nordic-Baltic region. The newly established European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in Finland provides participating nations, the EU, and NATO with new capabilities to identify vulnerabilities and develop national and organizational resilience – another way of strengthening conventional deterrence.

The EU’s common foreign and security policy contributes to important non-proliferation objectives – for example, through JCPOA implementation and sanctions on North Korea. However, it will remain a marginal actor in decisions involving the role of nuclear weapons in Europe. Despite a flurry of interest earlier this year in a hypothetical “European deterrent”, there is no sign that France or the UK (especially post-Brexit) would offer their nuclear forces as a substitute for US “extended deterrence”, under either bilateral or EU-led arrangements.

Enhanced understanding of the nuclear dimensions of deterrence would complement, not detract from, Finnish interest in non-proliferation and arms control. Conversely, failure to keep abreast of the evolving and increasingly integrated nature of Russian doctrine, capabilities, exercises, deployments, and strategic messaging increases the risk of overreaction or passivity; either could encourage more destabilizing Russian behaviour. Failure to understand the changing dynamics of deterrence and the role of nuclear weapons would also leave Finland less prepared to anticipate and react to crises outside Europe.

Finland has the necessary basic institutional structures to regain and sustain governmental expertise. In some cases, high-level direction to conduct studies, recruit and train personnel, and hold realistic crisis management simulations will be required. That said, as a partner, Finland does not have access to the full range of information sharing and joint assessments available within NATO.

Avoiding prejudicial statements

Sweden’s recent experience with the TPNW reflects its particular domestic political circumstances. It also shows the inherent risk of advocating a principled position that appears to contradict the government’s actual conduct. It was not lost on foreign observers that some Swedish officials were advocating signing the Treaty while others were welcoming the participation of two nuclear powers, the United States and France, in Sweden’s largest military exercise in decades, Aurora 17. Indeed, Sweden’s defence ministry acknowledged that Aurora 17 was aimed at strengthening “deterrence” and exercising Sweden’s defence capability “against a larger, sophisticated opponent”.

If one accepts that Finland has a vital interest in maintaining peace and security in its region, and that this will require a continuing role for nuclear weapons as part of an effective deterrent against aggression, then Finland logically should take a long and hard look before joining efforts that delegitimize the possession of nuclear weapons or dilute the primacy of the NPT. The three nuclear allies are not the only ones opposed to such efforts; many non-nuclear allies, including Finland’s close neighbours, who are members of NATO and the EU, also have strong objections to the TPNW.

A “Next Generation” initiative

Some Finnish experts might be sceptical about the need for a more open and informed discussion of deterrence concepts and, in particular, the role of nuclear weapons. Indeed, apparently no Finnish university (including the National Defence University) offers a regular course specifically dedicated to deterrence, nuclear weapons, and missile defence.
Similar concerns exist elsewhere in the Nordic region. Yet others in Finland – along with counterparts in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark – have bemoaned their countries’ loss of expertise in strategic affairs. Thus, a collaborative effort among the Nordic countries would make sense.

As allies, Norway and Denmark support NATO nuclear policy declarations, which are agreed by consensus. Still, their longstanding policies: a) bar the stationing of nuclear weapons on their territory in peacetime; and b) effectively exclude their air forces from any direct role in conducting possible nuclear strike missions. Nonetheless, centre-left and centre-right governments in both countries have confronted anti-nuclear sentiments among political parties and public opinion.

As partners, Finland and Sweden participate in NATO-led operations, capability-development efforts, military exercises and, increasingly, in political-military consultations. Sweden, too, has been active in non-proliferation and arms control. Nevertheless, they have different experiences regarding nuclear weapons: for more than 20 years, Sweden (unlike Finland) explored options to develop a small nuclear force.

Despite their differences, all four countries will need a cadre of government and military experts able to track, analyse, and help formulate policy recommendations for decision-makers. The four already have bilateral and multilateral fora for defence and security cooperation, and their research institutes have good relations with each other and with US, British, and French counterparts.

Thus, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark should consider a cooperative initiative led by think tanks – and with appropriate government support – to ensure that their next generation of strategic thinkers and government advisers will be prepared to deal with the new realities coming their way.

ENDNOTES

1 The United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel. This paper should be read in conjunction with FIIA Working Paper 93, February 2017.

2 Michel, Leo, NATO as a Nuclear Alliance: Background and contemporary issues, FIIA Working Paper 93, 2017. http://www.fiia.fi/en/publication/661/nato_as_a_nuclear_alliance/, accessed 21 November 2017.

3 The White House, Office of the Vice President: Remarks by the Vice President on Nuclear Security, 11 (12) January 2017. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/12/remarks-vice-president-nuclear-security, accessed 21 November 2017.

4 NATO: “North Atlantic Council Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”, 20 September 2017. http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_146954.htm, accessed 21 November 2017.

5 Combat aircraft capable of delivering nuclear or conventional weapons.

6 Democratic and Republican administrations have argued that nuclear weapons: provide a deterrent against aggression (nuclear or non-nuclear) aimed at the United States or its allies; underpin US ability to deploy conventional forces worldwide; and, by providing “extended deterrence” to non-nuclear allies, will dissuade them from acquiring their own nuclear arsenals.

National Institute for Public Policy: “A New Nuclear Review for a New Age”. National Institute Press, April 2017. http://www.nipp.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/A-New-Nuclear-Review-final.pdf, accessed 21 November 2017.

8 In 2014, the Obama administration declared that Russia had violated the INF prohibition on developing and testing a new intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missile. Russia reportedly deployed the missile in late 2016.

9 Prime Minister’s Office: “Government Report on Finnish Foreign and Security Policy”, Publications 9/2016. http://valtioneuvosto.fi/documents/10616/1986338/VNKJ092016+en.pdf/b33c3703-29f4-4cce-a910-b05e32b676b9, accessed 21 November 2017. Prime Minister’s Office: “Defence Report Prime Minister’s Office”, Publications 7/2017. http://www.defmin.fi/files/3688/J07_2017_Governments_Defence_Report_Eng_PLM_160217.pdf, accessed, 21 November 2017.

10 Valdai Discussion Club: “Vladimir Putin Meets with Members of the Valdai Discussion Club”. Transcript of the Plenary Session of the 14th Annual Meeting, 19 October 2017. http://valdaiclub.com/events/posts/articles/putin-meets-with-members-of-the-valdai-club/, accessed 21 November 2017.

11 The EU has not been spared Putin’s criticism; at Valdai, he said “Europe is to blame” for Ukraine.

12 Finland abstained on the resolution.

LEO MICHEL

VIERAILEVA VANHEMPI TUTKIJA - GLOBAALI TURVALLISUUS -TUTKIMUSOHJELMA