Thursday, June 29, 2006

Highlights 29th June 2006

1. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the Saudi ambassador, with long ties to the Bush family, observed that the relationship between the forty–first and forty–third presidents was, as Suskind writes, "cool and distant, not even what one would expect of a father and son; that the son didn't consult the father – even though he was, quite possibly, the most valuable advisor presented by modern history." ..........Book Review: The war for us

2. At a time when Hindu-Muslim antagonisms, taking recourse to carefully constructed myths about each other as historical rivals ever since their first encounter, are causing such devastation in our lives, these books serve a very important instructional purpose. The publishers must consider rendering them into Hindi, Urdu and other local languages, minus the academic verbiage, so that their messages might reach a wider audience where it truly matters. .....Book Review:Islam in the Subcontinent: Muslims in a Plural Society

3. The trade and transit blockade India imposed on landlocked Nepal in 1989 was the direct fallout of Kathmandu's import of defense equipment from China. New Delhi openly opposed Nepal's decision, even though the 1950 treaty of peace and friendship did not forbid Nepal from purchasing arms in competitive markets. Historians refer to bilateral contacts of the early fifth century, but present-day analysts examine events and trends recorded after Nepal and China established diplomatic relations in 1955. "China and Nepal are close and cordial neighbors connected by mountains and rivers," said Zhu in Kathmandu last year, alluding to the presence of mighty Himalaya between the two countries.......China's watchful eye across Himalaya
4. The Saddam regime and Taliban leadership agreed to diplomatic ties and a secret intelligence service relationship. They discussed security cooperation with Hekmatyar's Islamic Jihad group. The Taliban representative also agreed to support the Saddam regime in Pakistan's North-West Frontier, a region sympathetic to and actively involved with the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the world-wide Islamic jihad movement. An Islamist, most likely the Al Qaeda and Taliban affiliated Fazlur Rahman Khalil, promised the support of Bangladesh.........Global Jihad: Saddam and al Qaeda
5. While monitoring SWIFT-handled transfers is a useful tool in identifying and tracking certain suspicious transactions, its importance should not be overstated. The information in SWIFT's hands is no better than the information which it is provided by the banks handling the transactions at both ends. And there is already an obligation on banks in the US and Europe to report all "suspicious transactions" The problem is that FINCEN and the corresponding FIUS in other countries have simply been overwhelmed by the enormous amount of transactions that are reported to them.............Global Jihad: Reports of US Monitoring of SWIFT Transactions Are Not
6. Observing that the global war on terror has become a feud between capitalism and Islam, a former RAW chief has said the ongoing battles in Iraq and Afghanistan have created more terrorists than they have destroyed.

"In today's context when we talk of international terrorism, we invariably
refer to Islamic/Jehadi terrorism. Unfortunately, the response to this,
described as the global war on terror is neither global, nor is it against

Vikram Sood, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, said in an article in the forthcoming issue of 'Indian Defence Review'.........'Global war on terror neither global nor against terror'

~~Quick Reads~~

7. Across the globe and especially in America, hundreds of other gay Muslims have started to pursue marriages of convenience--or MOC, as they are known-- in which gay Muslims seek out lesbian Muslims, and vice versa, for appearances' sake. Mansoor works as an accountant in New York and is a devout Muslim. He abstains from drinking alcohol or eating pork and is particular about offering early morning prayers. To his friends on Wall Street, he is a financial whiz; to his parents, a devoted son. But Mansoor is also part of a burgeoning trend of gay Muslims adopting marriages of convenience. Hard statistics are hard to come by, but on a single Web site for South Asian gays and lesbians seeking such marriages, almost 400 requests had been uploaded.........Muslim Gays Seek Lesbians For Wives
8. At the core, the concept of holy is a tribalist code of behavior. The totems and taboos of each tribe are part of that coda. Living in societies where there are other tribes than our own, we have two options for inter-tribe dialogue. Each option has its logical, predictable consequence. If the tribes prefer peace they would be respectful of other tribes' totems and taboos, unless those impose on the sanctity of their own set of the same stuff. In contrast, the tribes would desecrate each other's totems and taboos if their goal is warfare, with a view to establishing political supremacy.......[Forum Buzz] The Debate Over 'Holy' versus 'Unholy'
9. With specific reference to the 'holy Cow' let not just look at it as a Shonaton deity, but more what is her and the 'holy Ox's' relation to us (meaning you and me?) in the natural sphere. Humanoids as such has convinced itself that it bears no resemblance to these 'unfortunate creatures' we GOBBLE UP, just to satiate some 'religious belief' or the other? .......[Forum Buzz] The Debate Over 'Holy' versus 'Unholy'

10. I shall offer two examples. Muslims generally do not drink alcohol on the table because they believe it is forbidden according to their religion, Islam. The transgression of drinking under the table is rumored to be quite wide, however.

But so long as the wrath of Allah is not zapping the lives of such Muslims as would so engage, I guess "Drink up, but hushhh!" seems quite popular among many Muslims.

The quality of booze varies, however, depending on the financial stratum where any drinking Muslim resides. There may be upper-class cognac drinking Muslims on one extreme, and poverty-stricken "taaRi" [Bengali alcoholic drink] drinking Muslims on the other. Then there is eating of pork. Muslims tend to be more pronouncedly against it. Some even have the foolishness to call it 'stinky', even though pigs are farm-raised and corn-fed nowadays........[Forum Buzz] The Debate Over 'Holy' versus 'Unholy'

11. Mastans – organised-crime syndicates – run "protection rackets" throughout society through a complex system of payment and collection. Even street beggars will be paying "protection". Mastans have also developed relationships and linkages with high-level politicians, who benefit financially and offer political and judicial protection in return. Some mastans have become wholly or partly legitimate businesses; others have entered politics directly and each have their own coterie of goondas (enforcers or thugs). The lines between politics, business and organised crime are becoming increasingly blurred in Bangladesh. There are honest businessmen and politicians, but such people are often fairly isolated and powerless. In the prevailing atmosphere it is very difficult to remain totally unsullied by corruption.........Bangladesh’s fraying democracy

12. Patricia said the international community, including the USA, is concerned over the prevailing political situation ahead of the national elections. Issues relating to the caretaker government system and the Election Commission should be resolved soon, she added......Any rise of third force to be disastrous: US envoy

13. Confirming the incident, BDR said they fired 600 bullets in retaliation and thwarted the BSF attempt to occupy a small stretch of land along the Kushiara River. Farmers cultivated paddy and vegetables on the land. But the BSF wanted to harvest the crop and occupy the land forcibly. BSF made similar attempt on June 24 with firing upon BDR outpost, which was foiled. Since then they mobilised additional troops and guns to renew the attack, said a BDR officer...........BSF fire thousands of bullets at Zakiganj border
14. Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia on Wednesday told the Jatiya Sangsad that Bangladesh had already lodged a strong protest against India's move for inviting tenders to explore oil and gas in the undemarcated areas in the Bay of Bengal............Bid to explore oil in Bay of Bengal
15. What are they doing there It is alleged, they are looked after by RAW in Kolkata? How are Dhaka's 'top terrors' in Kolkata faring? The daily routine of one of these characters is pretty much like this: An hour's morning walk from 5 am to 6 am. Breakfast and another sleep session till noon. Then it's straight to the city in his chauffeur-driven Mahendra jeep. The marathon adda begins, gossiping and chatting with buddies of the same ilk at hotels and bus counters along Sadar Street, Park Street, Marquis Street ... in between, calls to and from Dhaka are made through the cell or from a public phone booth. Daily phone bills are astronomical -- around 10 thousand taka on average.........Notorious criminals of Dhaka's underworld seek safe haven across the border
16. The sudden stoppage hit the open market as the price of pulse marked a increase by Tk 10-12 a kg from Tk 48-Tk 50. Price of rice, wheat and sugar is also in upward trend. "Some 12 rice-laden trucks and 22 pulse laden trucks crossed the border on June 22 while on June 23, it was only four trucks of rice and on June 24, it was two trucks of rice crossed the border to see a total stop from Sunday," said a port source.........India's ban on sugar, rice, wheat, pulse exports causes price hike

17. During the US Navy Ship in its mission 'Operation Smile' in Bangladesh, it would provide includes general, paediatric and ophthalmology surgery, basic medical evaluation and treatment, preventative medicine treatment, dental screenings and treatment, cleft lift and cleft plate surgeries, optometry screenings and public health training. ......US Navy hospital ship arrives in Bangladesh July 1

18. For its part, India has been equally warm towards Hasina. Irrespective of the party in power, New Delhi had always showed a soft corner for Hasina. The historic ties with Hasina's father Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as well as the shared secular ethos of the Awami League and mainstream Indian leadership forged a bond between the two. Hence, Congress or BJP, the Indian leaders have been extremely warm towards Hasina and did not hide their preferences, if it came to that. ...........The Hasina visit and Bangladeshi elections

19. For all intent and purpose, the BNP now has more RAW agents infiltration in its rank than the Awami League ever did. It serves Indian interest to have BNP in power, because it is easier to 'get things done' when a supposedly 'anti-India' party is in power.....Re: [Chutneyz] The Hasina visit and Bangladeshi elections
20. The book examines Bangladesh's potential as a base for terrorists. The author points out that Bangladesh is a soft state with poor governance; its police force is ineffective and easily influenced by such outfits as the Jamaat-e-Islami and the extremist HUJI. Bangladesh's geostrategic location, too, makes it an ideal base from which terrorists could direct operations in countries as far apart as Spain and Indonesia. Besides, its porous border with India facilitates militants slipping in and out of the country.........Book Review: Talibanization of Bangladesh
21. Presently, the news of BSF killing of Bangladeshi nationals appears in our newspapers daily. One would like to observe here that there is no reaction of political parties on this issue. The day one BSF soldier was killed, came the reaction of the Indian High Commissioner and very rightly at that. Of course, the foreign ministry spokesperson then denied the contention of the Indian High Commission by giving details of actual happenings. ...........Indo-Bangla relations
22. The fact that buprenorphine costs less than heroin and is more accessible has hastened the development of illegal markets in various countries. Buprenorphine manufactured in India, for example, is smuggled into Nepal and Sri Lanka, as well as Bangladesh, where it is used by 90 percent of the country's intravenous drug users, according to a UN Drug and Crime report last year..........Heroin-withdrawal drug taking over as addicts' cheap choice

~~Quick Reads~~
23. According to highly-placed sources, is part of a well-concerted move to smuggle in arms consignments to Bangladesh for creating countrywide disturbances well before the next elections. According to sources, the discussion during the Dubai meeting veered around the urgent need to import small arms and explosives for terrorists enjoying the tacit support of a powerful section of the ruling group. The meeting was reportedly arranged by ISI agents, though the supportive role of a powerful foreign agency in the entire scheme of things is not being ruled out.

On May 16, a large consignment of arms "certainly not meant for security forces" was brought in at an air force base near Dhaka by a Kuwaiti C-130 aircraft. The whole operation, being highly secretive in nature, was supervised by the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence. Investigations reveal that a Kuwaiti NGO Al-Harmain (a banned organisation having links with Al-Qaida) was the funding agency for the arms transshipment for Bangladeshi terrorists .........Dawood's Bangladesh mission gives India worries

24. Sri Lanka's Army-backed Tamil paramilitaries are seeking recruits amongst Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, offering hefty salaries, an Indian news agency reported this week. The Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front (ENDLF), an India-based paramilitary group now operating in an anti-LTTE grouping under the Karuna Group, is seeking recruits from refugee camps and orphanages in southern India, an Indian website reported, citing local press reports. The recruitment is being conducted with the knowledge of India's external intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), the report added........RAW aiding paramilitary recruitment in India - report

25. No meaningful cooperation between state and central intelligence entities exists, especially when different political parties rule at the center and in the states. Coordination among the three prime central agencies, IB, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), is non-existent. The Kargil and Surankote intelligence failures are two glaring illustrations of a divided house of Indian spook (see Kashmir's snake in the grass June 7, 2003). Dhar gives a clarion call for freeing intelligence organizations from the machinations of the executive. Legislation to make the agencies accountable to parliamentary committees is a crying necessity. Election prospecting, verifying credentials of ruling party candidates, researching the weaknesses of opposition candidates, toppling and interfering with elected governments and other dirty operations victimizing the innocent are shameful tasks assigned to agencies that should be protecting national security. .............BOOK REVIEW : Open Secrets. India's Intelligence Unveiled by M K Dhar

26. The former guerrillas of the NLFT have told police their leaders not only sexually abused scores of tribal girls recruited into the rebel army but also used them - and some male guerrillas - to produce scores of porn films, officials say. "The films were found to be dubbed in Burmese, Bengali, Thai and Hindi, suggesting they were being marketed to many countries in the region," said Ghanshyam Murari Srivastava, Tripura's police chief. He said police have recovered scores of pornographic DVDs featuring young women and men from various parts of the state, including remote areas such as Amarpur and Gandacherra. Such pornographic DVDs have also been recovered from NLFT bases inside Bangladesh after they were raided by the Bangladesh army, the police chief said. ............India rebels 'making porn films'
27. "We have instructed our men to carry stocks of condoms to prevent contracting HIV-AIDS while working in vulnerable areas," Vice Admiral V.K. Singh, director general of the Armed Forces Medical Services, told soldiers at an army cantonment in the Meghalaya state capital Shillong on Tuesday. An estimated 100,000 army and paramilitary troopers are deployed in the rugged jungles of the northeast against some 30 guerrilla groups waging insurgencies for independent homelands or greater autonomy . .......Condoms for troops battling N-E rebels
28. India has foolishly decided to globalise its particular Islamic problem, which remains fundamentally unique. The West is confronted by an Islamic problem that dates back to the 8 th century and their civilisations are indeed involved in a world-historical dispute. But it does not follow they are going to help India with its contemporary difficulties with Islam. On the contrary, they are now merely using India to prosecute their own war with Islam . The current disputes go back to the post-FWW settlement in the Middle East, when the Western powers divided up the post-Ottoman Arab world, the establishment of Israel and the West's insatiable thirst for oil.............India’s troubles with Islam and the West
29. One thing that is common in most of the struggles going on in the northeastern region is that every agitating group seeks a 'permanent solution' to this or that problem. This is a matter of life and death for the people whose interests the various groups claim to represent. Fortunately for the people in whose name such a demand is pressed, its proponents do not possess the same kind of single-minded viciousness and material resources as those who historically sought a 'final solution' did..........North East India: Problems and Solutions
30. What is required is for Ulfa to shed its call to arms, to move away from Bangladesh into Assam, to quickly move into a political mode and get a feel of the ground realities by travelling across the state. For this to begin, two or three nominees of the group should start discussions quietly with Indian government officials and its leaders should consider a return to their homes ~ they need to learn that there is strong opposition to them, not merely from political groups such as the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party but also from those who believe in a transparent peace and human rights for all, not a select few, and the families of those who have suffered their wrath and violence..........Assam: ULFA must prepare for realistic dialogue
31. Our political base was not that rigid. Ours is a party which had to wage a People's War for just rights despite entering Parliament. We were the third largest party in Parliament.... We lawfully tried to raise some issues — issues related to nationality, people's daily requirements and democracy -- even back then. We are not rigid. What we said even after starting the People's War is that we are not communists of the traditional type. Even after the start of the People's War, we have always been ready to accept the people's verdict. We had told the government during the very first peace talks let's hold constituent assembly elections; that the solution to our problem lay there. We were never into rigid politics. We were very much wide and flexible. ..........The future of Nepal as envisioned by the Maoists

32. There are now intelligence reports that Islamic militants are using Nepal, along India's northeastern border, as an alternate infiltration route into India , as they head to Kashmir for attacks. This is an alarming significant new development. I had lunch Monday with an Indian Colonel and he was certain the infilitration had been contained. The intelligence reports were based on the surrender of two Islamic militants; Manzoor Ahmad Lone of the al-Barq unit and Nazir Ahmed Lone of Tehrike-e-Jehad. They are both from the Kupwara district of Kashmir. ..........Crossfire War - South Asia Theatre - Nepal New Infilitration Route
33. The hot, dry and dusty little town of Darra Adam Khel, barely a half-hour drive from Peshawar, is one of the major suppliers of small arms to the residents of the tribal belt. From a distance, it looks no different from any suburban settlement in North-West Frontier Province. The main road meanders into a market where few outlets are larger than a single room. But the fare they flaunt is deadly: revolvers, automatic pistols, shotguns and Kalashnikovs line the shelves of a typical shop. Only five years ago, the list would also have had items such as anti-personnel mines, sub-machine guns, small cannons and even rocket launchers.............Pakistan's flourishing arms bazaar



Post a Comment

<< Home