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Showing posts from March 19, 2006

PAKISTAN : A Million Mutinies Now

A Million Mutinies Now Musharraf has opened far too many fronts, his security forces are overstretched, and there has been a comprehensive and augmenting failure to contain the widening insurgencies, sectarian strife and Islamist terrorist violence that now envelope large swathes of Pakistan KANCHAN LAKSHMAN Truth, more often than not, exists in the small print. The daily reports of incidents of insurgent and terrorist activities in Pakistan fail to communicate the enormity of the trajectory of violence and instability that is undermining the authority of the state in progressively widening areas of the country over the past years. But when the numbers are put together, the emerging picture of cumulative attrition would be more than disturbing for Islamabad. Crucially, where 648 persons (including 430 civilians and 137 terrorists) were killed in insurgent and terrorist conflicts through year 2005, by March 19, year 2006 had already recorded 529 deaths (including 251

Washington's 2006 National Security Strategy Confirms a Policy Void

With the release on March 16, 2006 of its National Security Strategy (N.S.S.), Washington completed its overview of diplomatic, defense and security policy that included Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's reorganization of the State Department and U.S. aid programs, and the Defense Department's Quadrennial Defense Review (Q.D.R.). The N.S.S. is required by law to be issued to Congress by the president on a yearly basis, but the new report is the first one to be delivered since 2002. The delay was due to the Iraq intervention, which embroiled the administration in responding to immediate situations and rendered the direction of future policy uncertain -- pending the outcome of the intervention -- and, more importantly, reflected unreconciled fundamental divisions within the administration over the position of the United States in the global power configuration. The split among the forces in the U.S. security apparatus was evidenced by the differences between Rice's expl

Afghanistan: 'Pashtunistan' Issues Linger Behind Afghan-Pakistani Row

By Ron Synovitz Pakistani guards at the border with Afghanistan (file photo) (epa) Recent tensions between Kabul and Islamabad show that mutual suspicions still exist in an old dispute known as the "Pashtunistan question." And it is a question with a fundamental bearing on foreign policy. PRAGUE, March 24, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The idea of a Pashtun national homeland along the Afghan-Pakistan border has been largely dormant for the last 40 years. Dormant -- but unresolved. And now, arguments from the century-old debate are surfacing again in a way that is affecting the international effort against terrorism. For many ethnic Pashtuns, the notion of 'Pashtunistan' is an historic homeland that was divided in 1893 by the "Durand Line" -- a 2,450 kilometer demarcation line drawn by a British cartographer through Pashtun tribal lands to suit the defensive needs of British colonial India. For Islamabad, the issue represents a territorial claim against Pakistan

Parliament adjourned to save Sonia: NDA to Kalam

Ordinance to save Sonia Khan -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- www.indianexpress.com/story/922.html To stop office-of-profit axe, UPA gets ordinance R VENKATARAMANPosted online: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 at 0000 hrs NEW DELHI, MARCH 21 Violating Parliamentary norms and to ensure that Congress president Sonia Gandhi, along with several prominent MPs, including Karan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee, escape the Jaya Bachchan-type disqualification because they hold an “office of profit,” the Congress-led UPA government is bringing in an ordinance to change the law. The draft of the ordinance, finalised today, amends the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 and exempts a fresh batch of offices, including that of the National Advisory Council chairman (Sonia Gandhi), chairman of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (Karan Singh), state development boards, textile boards etc. The draft ordinance amends Section 3 of the

Muslim Fanatics, Hindus, tolerance

Rewarding the Violent, Penalizing the Tolerant By Ron Banerjee Wednesday, March 22, 2006 To preserve freedom, it is vital for democratic societies to audit themselves to ensure that our actions encourage behavior in accordance with our core beliefs, and penalize unacceptable conduct. The West is doing the precise opposite in its treatment of Muslim fanatics, especially in comparison to well-behaved minorities like Hindus. Islamist reactions to Danish cartoons, films about the treatment of Muslim women, or books, which contradict Islamic myths, are well known. The meek surrender of Western media and educational institutions to barbaric Islamist mobs threatens to destroy democracy. Schools and educational institutions are especially complicit: numerous institutions have denied their student newspapers the right to publish the cartoons to avoid 'upsetting' Islamic students. Curiously, as educational institutions bend over backwards and violate the principles of free speech

Search for Hindu Agenda

March 26, 2006 By Subramanian Swamy A virile Hindu Agenda must have two components: [1] What Hindus should believe in and do, to qualify to be a good Hindu; [2] What Hindus, being the overwhelming majority of the nation's population, should be obliged to do for the religious minorities and what Hindus have a right to expect from them in the national interest. At present, most Hindus think that if they go to temples, sing bhajans, and participate in festivals, they become good Hindus. While that is necessary, it is, however, not sufficient in the present historical context to be a good Hindu. At present, Hinduism is under siege from foreign religious forces and is suffering from apathy of Hindus at home. Moreover, just because Hindu religion says 'Sarva Dharma Samabhaav', we as Hindus cannot treat all religions as equal and let preachers and missionaries of other religions do what they like in the country. In fact all religions are not equal. Till 1000 years ago the

The Baloch Insurgency and its Threat to Pakistan's Energy Sector

Source : Jamestown Foundation 03/21/2006 - By John C.K. Daly (from Terrorism Focus, March 21) - While most of the world's media remains focused on insurgent attacks on oil facilities in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan is experiencing a rising tide of violence against its Sui natural gas installations located in the country's volatile Balochistan province, where the majority of the energy-starved country's natural gas facilities are located. Pakistan, currently engaged in a drawn-out conflict against al-Qaeda and Taliban remnants in its North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), is slowly descending into conflict with anti-government forces in Balochistan province, raising the unsettling prospect of a rising second internal front against militants. A second internal front would drain resources from Pakistan's ability to maintain control over the country and its campaign against al-Qaeda and Taliban remnants in the NWFP and the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). Bal

Joint Strike Fighter program crucial to future air dominance

by Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez Air Force Print News 3/20/2006 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Keeping the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program on track is important because the Air Force needs to replace aging aircraft and it is an important complement to the F-22A Raptor aircraft. That Capitol Hill testimony came March 16 from Lt. Gen. Carrol H. "Howie" Chandler, deputy chief of staff for Air Force air, space, and information operations, plans and requirements. "The Air Force has been very successful with what we call the high/low mix," the general said. "The F-15, for example, is high end. (It has) fewer numbers and is more expensive because of its capabilities. The F-16 is the low end of the mix -- more affordable, more numbers, optimized for air-to-ground vice the air-to-air mission of the F-15." The general told members of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on tactical air and land forces that the Air Force meant for there to be a similar relat

ISI now outsources terror to Bangladesh

March 21, 2006 Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, leader of India's crucial neighbour Bangladesh, has arrived in New Delhi when both sides have a long list of concerns and a substantial deficit of trust. That things between the two nations are not all hunky-dory can be seen from the fact that since taking over in 2001, this is Zia's first visit to India. 2 blasts rock Varanasi; 20 dead There are issues that bedevil ties between the two nations. For Bangladesh, the imbalance in trade and the sharing of waters as two major contentious issues, and the Indian side has a graver grouse regarding the use of Bangladesh territory by Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, for spreading terror in India. Delhi police investigations reveal that since the last nine months, the ISI has changed its strategy by outsourcing terrorism to Bangladeshis and by motivating the "alienated sections of Muslim youth" in India. Ahead of Zia's high profile visit t

Turf battles hit Indian spy in the sky

Turf battles hit Indian spy in the sky By Rahul Bedi, New Delhi: Bureaucratic wrangling and turf battles between India's civilian and military intelligence agencies, exacerbated by budgetary squabbles, continue to hamper efforts to modernise the country's shadowy and highly classified Aviation Research Centre (ARC). Run by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's external intelligence agency that reports directly to the prime minister, ARC is responsible for communication and electronic surveillance along the borders with Pakistan and China. Its assets of ageing fixed-wing transport and light aircraft like Russian IL-76s and AN-32s and General Dynamics Gulfstream III/SRA-1s and upgraded Gulfstream IV/SRA-4 jets of the US and obsolete helicopter fleet are tasked with gathering "actionable" information via airborne signal intelligence (SIGINT) operations and photo reconnaissance flights along its northern and eastern frontiers. ARC inputs constitute the b