On a secret visit to Kabul on December 20, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced that the US would increase its troop level by 60,000. At the same time, he warned that this had to be coupled with development programs and better governance otherwise no number of troops will do the job.
One of the original US goals of the controlled demolitions of 9/11 was to target Pakistan to destroy its nuclear capability and ultimately destroy Pakistan itself, a State created in the name of Islam. The CIA-imposed civil war in the tribal areas since 9/11 is being not only accelerated, it has also assumed multi-dimensional roles to destroy the state and society in the manner ofIraq.
The “stans” of Central Asia are stirring in ferment and revolt. For the rest of the world, the five repubics — Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan — are important only because like the oil producing countries of the Middle East, they sit atop vast reserves of oil and gas that the West covets.
The war in Bosnia that resulted in the deaths of some 300,000 people, most of them Bosnian Muslims, may be over but old hatreds still run deep, and not too far beneath the surface. Theoreti-cally, the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina is made up of three peoples: the Bosnians, Croats and Serbs.
Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) has become a virtual war zone, thanks to the US-led war in Afghanistan that has now engulfed Pakistan’s tribal areas as well. On November 18, two American missiles struck the village of Janikhel near Bannu, a settled area, killing several people.
In the 16-year period since the destruction on December 6, 1992 of the historic Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh (UP), by a Hindu mob, Hindu terrorism has grown alarmingly in India. Police and anti-terrorism experts have discovered an unholy alliance of so-called Hindu holy men and army personnel behind the terror campaign in India that has killed more than 150 people this year alone.
Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed was sworn in as president of Maldives on November 11, exactly 30 years to the day his autocratic predecessor, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had ascended to the top post. It was sweet revenge for the 41-year-old Nasheed who had spent six years in prison trying to organize his supporters and to create space for political involvement.
Interfaith dialogue has become fashionable these days. The dialogue bug has spread so far and wide that even the reclusive king of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has been infected by it. He has become some kind of an expert on peace and interfaith dialogue holding one almost every month.
On November 12, the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund, Interpal received notification from their bank, the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), that Lloyds TSB (their clearing bank) had served notice on IBB to cease all dealings with Interpal. Clearing banks are responsible for processing all financial transactions.
Somalia is being recognised as the worst and most violent “failed state” in the world, and the tragedy of its people as the “most-ignored human tragedy”. Even the odd commentator in the international media is now calling on the ‘international community’ to help Somalia to restore peace by ignoring the corrupt and ineffective Interim Government (IG) and replacing it with “moderate” members of the Islamic Courts Union.
The Somali pirates who recently hijacked a ship carrying Russian-made arms and tanks claimed that the weapons were bound for South Sudan. But the Kenyan government was adamant that they had been sent to Kenya, not South Sudan. The BBC World Service announced on October 7 that it had found evidence that the equipment had been intended for South Sudan, as claimed by the pirates.
Pakistan is faced with the most serious threat to its existence comparable to what it faced in 1971 when it resulted in the breakup of the country. It is on the verge of bankruptcy; the skyrocketing food and fuel prices have led to extreme uncertainty among the masses who are unsure where their next meal would come from. This is compounded by intense US pressure to attack militants in the tribal area.
The trial of Canadian citizen Omar Khadr that was due to begin at the notorious detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba on November 10 was postponed until January 26, 2009. Guantanamo has come to symbolize the worst of American attitude toward the rule of law.
Barack Obama, Democratic party presidential nominee, calls it the “good war”; his Republican rival, John McCain, insists that he will “chase Osama to the gates of hell.” Americans are being told that Afghanistan is the “right war” and that it is “winnable”, in contrast to Iraq.
A powerful truck bomb tore through the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad a few hours after Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s newly-elected President, addressed a joint session of Parliament on September 20. According to police sources, 53 persons were killed and more than 250 injured.
On September 8, a jury at Woolwich Crown Court found three Muslim men, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain, guilty of conspiracy to murder using home-made bombs. Four of their co-defendants, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman, Ibrahim Savant and Umar Islam, had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance.
When Lui Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor general of the International Criminal Court (ICC), filed a charge of genocide against president Omar Hasan al-Bashir on July 14, he was widely perceived as putting at risk the peace agreement already reached – and largely implemented – between North and South Sudan, and the efforts now being made to bring peace to Darfur, the conflict-ridden remote western region and the stage of the alleged genocide.
The desire for freedom that glows in people’s hearts cannot be put out, though it occasionally flickers low. It is sustained by the justice of the cause and nurtured by sweat and blood; hurdles and difficulties only strengthen a people’s resolve.
The Turkish High Court’s decision on Wednesday 30 July to not ban the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) was hailed by some as a victory for democracy. The decision was the outcome of three days of deliberations over the case, which had first reached the court early in March.
Speculation abounds about why, after years of threatening to attack Iran, the US suddenly decided to send William J. Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs, the third-highest-ranking US state department official, to Geneva to attend a meeting with Iran over its nuclear program.