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Showing posts from October 28, 2007

Arab and Western Media Perspectives

Oct 22nd, 2007 Center for Strategic & International Studies - Washington, D.C. Arab and Western Media Perspectives featuring panelists Philip Bennett, Nadia Bilbassy-Charters, Salameh Nematt and moderated by Paul Salem speaking at the Overcoming Extremism: Protecting Civilians from Terrorist Violence conference. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a two-day conference featuring high-profile leaders, experts, and opinion-makers to develop a shared international agenda for protecting civilians from terrorist violence. In addition to examining government responses and legal structures, the conference considers how local communities and international partners can transform the enabling environment that can intimidate local actors into silence or acquiescence. Topics include the impact of new media tools, changes in international humanitarian law, the evolution of terrorist tactics, the proliferation of suicide bombings, and innovative approaches to pro

PAKISTAN : Reversal in Swat and the residual state

Editorial\11\04\story_4-11-2007_pg3_1 The militia of Fazlullah, the warlord of Swat, has defeated the paramilitary forces sent in to “bring peace to the people of the valley”. Official spokesmen denied the defeat and the capture of paramilitaries by the militia, but the truth could not be hidden when this time, instead of beheading them, Fazlullah decided to free the 48 captives in Charbagh with Rs 500 notes of “baksheesh” stuck in their hands. The freed men declared they were not willing to fight their fellow-Muslims; some said they would leave their jobs and join the Taliban and fight for Islam instead. The government troops retreated from Khwazakhela and have camped in Madian. The police stations of Charbagh — which was set on fire by the militia — and Matta were abandoned, effectively passing on the control of the area to the Taliban-Al Qaeda pax of the warlord given as a gift to the people of Swat by the erstwhile government of M

Shameful retreat of the UPA

Media Watch The precipitous retreat of the Government of India after all the talk and aggressive behaviour of both Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh over the 123 Agreement has shocked the media. That was almost the last thing it expected. “Is the Prime Minister eating his words?” asked The Indian Express (October 13), “No comment” was its own answer. The paper said: “It appears from the suggestive and politically cohabitative noises now emanating from the capital that a strange tentativeness has entered the thinking on the nuclear deal. There is an uncertainty wavering that can be discerned from the utterances of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as the Congress president Sonia Gandhi so far as the much tom-tommed nuclear deal is concerned” the paper said. Quoting freely from past utterances of both the Congress President and the Prime Minister in the past the paper seemed to be taken by surprise by their latest utterances. “What mor

Iraq Shuts Down PKK-Allied Party

Agencies ISTANBUL, 4 November 2007 — Iraq said yesterday it was ready to hunt down and arrest Kurdish guerrilla leaders responsible for cross-border raids into Turkey and closed down the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Solution party, an organization with close ties to PKK guerrillas. Separately, a news agency close to the guerrillas said eight Turkish soldiers captured by them on Oct. 21 will be released today. Major powers and countries in the region, meeting in Istanbul to discuss Iraqi security, sought to ease tension on the Turkish-Iraqi border that could escalate into a bigger regional crisis. Turkey wants leaders of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) arrested and seeks the closure of camps in northern Iraq which they use as bases for cross-border attacks in their 23-year-old campaign for a homeland in southeast Turkey. Amid intensified diplomacy between Turkey, Iraq and the United States, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip E

Blind spots of Pakistani politics By Ghazi Salahuddin 11/4/2007 This is what I heard Mahmood Khan Achakzai saying in a conversation in Quetta on Thursday last week: "Balochistan is the blind spot of every Pakistani". We know what a blind spot is, technically as well as metaphorically. What he meant was, and I quote from my dictionary: "if someone has a blind spot about something, they ignore it or they are unwilling or unable to understand it". Let us not go into why he included "every Pakistani" in a certain category. It could be a Freudian slip. But I am not reporting the views expressed by the erudite and affable leader of the Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party because the encounter was off the record. And it was part of the visit to Quetta by the Citizens Group on Electoral Process, facilitated by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat). In addition to our regular monthly meeting, held this time in Quett

Why Not Dissolve Pakistan, Too? Pakistan is not a country. It is a failed British fantasy about the fabrication of a nation-state. It has other failed and failing peers in the Middle East, all fabricated during the 20th century. It is time to seriously review all of these structures and redraw the borderlines. Pakistan was a phrase coined for an idealistic confederation of five Muslim provinces within the old British-controlled India (Punjab, Northwest Frontier Province or Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh and Baluchistan). However, these are tribal lands with distinct traditions and have very little in common. These provinces were all knocked together, on presumption of a common religion, and a “dominion” was fabricated within the Commonwealth with self-governance authority akin to independence after World War II. It was all part of the post-war fire sale of territorial control of Britain. The ill-conceived plan even se

Mr. V. Pirapaharan's message released by the LTTE

The Sinhala nation has taken the life of a political leader "deeply loved by the Tamil speaking world" and "greatly respected by the international community," said Velupillai Pirapaharan, the leader of Liberation Tigers, in a message to the Tamil people on Saturday, following the demise of LTTE's Political Head and Chief Negotiator, Brigadier S. P. Thamilchelvan. "I raised him as a great commander, an unparalleled political head, a diplomat who communicated with the entire world, and a skilled negotiator," Mr. Pirapaharan said. "Buried within his beautiful smile, I recognized, right from the beginning, a thousand profound meanings, his abilities, and his leadership qualities." Full text of Mr. V. Pirapaharan's message released by the LTTE follows: Head Quarters Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Tamil Eelam 3 November 2007 My beloved people Despite the repeated and continuous calls from the international community to find a peaceful

In quotes: Pakistan emergency reaction

Source: BBC Leaders in Pakistan and around the world have been reacting to the imposition of emergency rule by President Pervez Musharraf. He suspended the constitution, blaming judges for interfering and Islamist extremists for unprecedented levels of violence. US SECRETARY OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE "The US has made clear that it does not support extra-constitutional measures because those measures would take Pakistan away from the path of democracy and civilian rule. "Whatever happens we will be urging for a quick return to a constitutional order, we will be urging that the commitment to hold free and fair elections be kept and we would be urging calm among the parties. WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN GORDON JOHNDROE "This action is very disappointing. President Musharraf needs to stand by his pledges to have free and fair elections in January and step down as chief of army staff before retaking the presidential oath of office," REHMAN CHISHTI, ADVISER TO EX-PRIM

Interview : Environmental campaigner Sunita Narain

The Interview, BBC Jeo Jeo Sunita .... Excellent Interview... KEEP IT UP At the start of a week of special programming about climate change on the BBC World Service, leading Indian environmental campaigner, Sunita Narain talks to George Arney on The Interview. "You first have to get the rich world to really cut emissions" Sunita tells us why she backs the Indian government in refusing to join international agreements to set limits on carbon emissions. She explains why she thinks India can still steer a different course in development than the West. And she describes the social conscience which has led her to dedicate her life to working for India's land and its people. CLICK TO LISTEN

Musharraf declares martial law. What next? Extracts from our September 2007 assessment… The imposition of martial law will plunge Pakistan into its deepest political crisis since 1971 Scenario 2 - Musharraf ruling under martial law. Musharraf would impose martial law after running out of options to remain both president and army chief. The higher judiciary would be required to re-take their oaths of allegiance, and those refusing to do so would dropped from the Bench. The federal parliament and the provincial assemblies would be suspended and Musharraf would seek to govern through the nazims, or local government officials elected on non-party basis. The Army would be further entrenched in power, occupying key positions in Musharraf’s cabinet as well as in the bureaucracy. Neither Bhutto nor Sharif would be allowed to return to Pakistan, and a crackdown would put political and civil society leaders under arrest. Imposition of martial law w

‘Probe panel diluted facts about anti-Sikh riots’

More than 2,700 killed in 1984 riots, and just 13 punished for murder: book A book ‘When a Tree Shook Delhi’ claims to give an “uncensored” insight into the events It details incidents which show complicity of the police in the riots after Indira’s assassination Ignoring the aggressors, police cracked down on the Sikhs who were defending themselves New Delhi: A new book on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the capital claims that the Ranganath Misra Commission which probed the carnage presented a “diluted” version of events and also blames the police for the mass killings. “When a Tree Shook Delhi”, written by senior editor Manoj Mitta and advocate for many of the victims’ families, H. S. Phoolka, claims to give an “uncensored” insight into the events. It details incidents, particularly in East Delhi, which show complicity of the police in the rioting that broke out after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assa

Africa Insight: How much longer will Sudan peace deal hold? Story by DEAN DIYAN Publication Date: 11/2/2007 Khartoum should have seen it coming. For nearly a year now, anger has been building up in the South over the National Congress Party-led (NCP) government’s refusal to implement the peace agreement. The NCP has rejected the recommendations of international experts assigned to draw the boundary of the oil-rich Abyei, yet the Comprehensive Peace Agreement bound the two parties to the experts’ decision. And rather than withdrawing to the north, Sudan’s armed forces have reinforced around the oil areas, yet they should have moved by July 9. The north-south borders — which have a profound impact on the census in February and the elections and referendum afterwards — are yet to be demarcated, partly because Khartoum says some documents got burnt. The north refused to agree to a reshuffle a Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) ministers, yet the CPA gives powers to the SPLM chairman to dismiss or appo

NIGERIA: Navy kills 7 militants, loses 1 officer in gun battle

Source: Vanguard Media Limited Written by Kingsley Omonobi, Emma Arubi Friday, 02 November 2007 ABUJA—THE Nigerian Navy yesterday explained its version of the attack on its Warship in the Niger Delta by militants saying its personnel killed seven militants while one Naval personnel on ‘lookout duty’ was killed when the militants in four boats attempted to attack the ship, NNS Obula. According to the Naval High Command, the Naval Officer, who was performing the ‘lookout duty’ observed that some boats carrying suspicious persons were approaching the Naval ship at about 2 am Wednesday and he immediately raised an alarm resulting in his being shot at and killed immediately. “Security men on guard immediately responded and opened fire resulting in the death of seven sea robbers while the remaining boats fled.” A statement signed by the Director of Naval Information, Capt. Henry Babalola reads, “The Nigerian Navy’s attention is drawn to the rather distorted version of her ship, NNS Obul

Mukasey's Letter: Not Good Enough

JURIST Guest Columnist Benjamin Davis of the University of Toledo College of Law says that Judge Michael Mukasey's written response to Senate Judiciary Committee follow-up inquiries concerning his views on the legality of waterboarding and torture demonstrate views of America's obligations under international law so limited and problematic that he should not be confirmed... Judge Mukasey has responded to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s written inquiry with regard to waterboarding and torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. His four-page letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee supplemented by 172 pages of related responses prompts several thoughts. First, Judge Mukasey notes that "some Members of Congress, including those on the intelligence committees", have been briefed on the specifics of "a program run by the Central Intelligence Agency". In the context of the