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Showing posts from December 28, 2008

Plight of women in Swat

By Khurshid Khan Wednesday, December 31, 2008 THE current situation in Swat is such that any sign of peace in the valley has been washed away. The people are living through the most miserable phase of its history. No doubt, the valley has witnessed invasions, turbulence and chaos from the time of Alexander’s invasion in 327 BC to the formation of Swat state in 1917. However, at least in living memory the present chaos engendered by militancy has no parallel. It has adversely affected the physical and cultural environment, the economy, tourism, trade, governance and social life in the valley. Unfortunately, in all this, women have been the worst sufferers. The militants’ obscurant version of Islam begins and ends with womenfolk. According to their belief, women are the source of all sins. A cleric while delivering the Friday sermon in Marghazar village was heard telling his flock, “My fellow Muslims, listen! The prices of daily commodities are rising because women abandon their homes


B.RAMAN I have received many questions in response to my article on the capture of Kilinochchi, the so-called administrative capital of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), by the Sri Lankan Army on January 2,2008. I will attempt to answer some of the questions: Q.What will be the next move of the Sri Lankan Army (SLA)? A.One of the reasons for the continuing success of the SLA during the last two years has been its ability to deny to the LTTE an opportunity for an offensive action. It has consistently forced the LTTE to fight a defensive battle in one piece of territory after another-----whether in the East or the North. Succession of defensive battles with no opportunity for taking the offensive anywhere saps the morale. That moment has not yet come for the LTTE, but it could and it will if the SLA manages to continue to deny to the LTTE an opportunity for an offensive action. From the reports coming out of the North, one gets an impression that the SLA is not giving i

EDITORIAL: Sato's nuclear request

ASAHI.COM 2008/12/26 Former Prime Minister Eisaku Sato (1901-1975), who set Japan's three non-nuclear principles and was awarded the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize, was actually a tough negotiator who sought a U.S. nuclear attack against China in the event of an outbreak of war between Japan and China, according to Foreign Ministry documents that were declassified on Monday. A month before Sato became prime minister in November 1964, China jolted the world by conducting its first nuclear test while Tokyo was hosting that year's Summer Olympics. Japan's shock was profound. It was previously revealed that Sato hinted at Japan's readiness to arm itself with nuclear weapons when he met with U.S. Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer immediately upon taking office. He said to the effect: "If the other side (China) has nuclear weapons, we should have them, too. That's common sense." But during his visit to the United States one month later in January 1965, Sato de

New Afghan strategy will compound U.S. problem

Japan Times Online Monday, Dec. 29, 2008 By BRAHMA CHELLANEY Even before U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has been sworn in, the contours of his new strategy on Afghanistan have become known: A "surge" of U.S. forces, not to militarily rout the Taliban but to strike a political deal with the enemy from a position of strength. Put simply, the United States intends to pursue in Afghanistan what it has done in Iraq, where it used a surge largely as a show of force to buy off Sunni tribal leaders and other local chieftains. Linking Afghanistan, Pakistan and India together in the same security equation, Obama has made known a dual strategy of outwitting the Taliban while ensuring Indo-Pakistan peace, even if it means the Pakistan-based masterminds of the recent 67-hour Mumbai terrorist attacks are not brought to justice. This strategy is likely to make things more difficult for Indian security , both by reinforcing U.S. dependence on the Pakistani military (more than thr


B.RAMAN Gen.David Petraeus, the Commander of the US Central Command, who previously headed the US forces in Iraq, was credited with bringing down the level of violence in Iraq and weakening the capability of Al Qaeda in Iraq by creating a divide between the secular Baathist Arabs of Saddam Hussein's army and local administration and the Wahabi Arabs of Al Qaeda by strengthening various local militias with names such as the Awakening Councils, which had come into existence even before he took over in Iraq. 2. When he was appointed by President George Bush to be the head of the Central Command, which, inter alia, is responsible for the US operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and in the bordering Pashtun areas of Pakistan, he was reported to have set up a brains trust to advise him on a new strategy to be followed against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. While the new strategy is still being worked out, some elements of it are alr

Me Mumbaikar

The gruesome battleground in South Mumbai has left us Mumbaikars fed up, scared, angry, willing to lash out, especially at the politicians. We now have an incoherent rant against "the other" or "the system". My heart goes out to the victims and this article in no way downplays the magnitude of the human tragedy. Yet as a lifelong Mumbaikar, I have not been able to shake a feeling that people have deliberately refused to grasp the essence of the problem because it is not conveniently gift wrapped with a bow on it. Simply put, there is no "other" to blame. Mumbaikars over decades of greed and rapacity, have destroyed rule of law and corrupted the systems which should have protected us. We are the system. We are the reality of Mumbai. We are its pestilence. It is convenient to demand action, to demand results, somehow, anyhow. Can we believe in a fantasy that a bureaucracy, government and law enforcement apparatus which have never delivered anything mea