Friday, October 17, 2014

Skip Navigation Links
SUPPLEMENT

Visitor Login










Eyeless in the flux of changing world order

Sadeq Khan

The political climate of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has sadly deteriorated, since the massive movement of near-total boycott of January 5 polls by common voters, to a ruling dynastic authoritarian spell over a handpicked “consensus government” of combined treasury and opposition parliamentarians “declared elected”, and an extra-parliamentary opposition dynastic spell of 20-party combine, unable to come out on the streets under severe measures of repression, prosecution and persecution.

Full Story

Sadeq Khan

The political climate of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has sadly deteriorated, since the massive movement of near-total boycott of January 5 polls by common voters, to a ruling dynastic authoritarian spell over a handpicked “consensus government” of combined treasury and opposition parliamentarians “declared elected”, and an extra-parliamentary opposition dynastic spell of 20-party combine, unable to come out on the streets under severe measures of repression, prosecution and persecution.

Copses and clashes continue to abound nevertheless, from contract killings as well as “cross-fire” culture in a mix of police-raj, protection rackets and political mafia. Of late the heat of politics over dead bodies with threats and counter-threats of unconcealed murderous intent in street and maidan confrontations, as was observed in 2006 when the rival dynastic positions were reverse, have resurfaced, albeit more in a psy-war form than bloody battles, specifically over paying proper respects in public to deceased celebrities before burial.  
It is all the more sad to rue that our political class are so trivially and thoughtlessly engaged when the world at large is going through a process of profound changes, violent upheavals and regional wars that are bound to affect our destiny as a nation. In Cross Talk broadcast of Russian Television on October 7, a question was posed: Is World War III on? Participants talked about civil wars in Syria and Ukraine, and protests in Hong Kong. So far the UN has prevented a war from breaking out between super powers since the end of World War II, they said; but recently the US has not gotten its way in the UNSC. By way of financial flows and sanctions, Western powers have ultimately started a world proxy war.

Look into heart of darkness: Obama
At the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, US President Barack Obama told the assembled world leaders in a bluntly worded speech that the American military would work with allies to dismantle the newly-emerged Islamic State’s “network of death” and warned Russia that it would pay for its bullying of Ukraine. “Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can,” Mr. Obama said. “For we will not succumb to threats, and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy.” The brutality of the militants, he said, “forces us to look into the heart of darkness.”
Mr. Obama said the threat from the Islamic State was only the most urgent of an onslaught of global challenges that have given the United States no choice but to take the lead: from resisting Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine to coordinating a response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; from brokering a new unity government in Afghanistan to organizing a new campaign to confront climate change.
Obama clearly chose to speak like a wartime leader, a starkly different president from the one who came to power promising to withdraw US troops from Iraq, which he did, albeit accompanied by a “surge” in Afghanistan, which may have failed. Questions were raised then and revived now about the propriety of the award of Nobel Peace Prize to Obama prematurely on the basis of his express intent. To underscore his new role, Mr. Obama headed a rare leaders, session of the United Nations Security Council, which unanimously passed a resolution requiring countries to pass laws against traveling abroad to join terrorist groups or financing those efforts. “If there was ever a challenge in our interconnected world that cannot be met by one nation alone, it is this,” he said, “terrorists crossing borders and threatening to unleash unspeakable violence.”

US’s ‘safe war’ proving inadequate
At the UNSC, Moscow supported and took part elaborating the UNSC resolution. “Terrorism penetrates the fiber of regional conflicts,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the council, adding that regional terrorist groups are gaining additional capacities for their criminal activities due to assistance and support of varying outside sponsors. “Having gained in strength extremist groups jeopardise the future of entire states, as is clearly seen in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Mali and Central African Republic.”
But the new style of US “safe war” by unmanned drone bombardment and guided missiles as well as “proxy war” on the ground by collecting and training local recruits and collaborating armies for irregular and regular battles so as to contain destructions and casualties in the region met adverse reactions over “collateral damages” from friends and foes alike. In any case, it is proving inadequate.
US war strategy is indeed in tatters as militants march on. In Iraq, the battle for Anbar, which was at the heart of the Sunni rebellion against the US occupation after 2003, is almost over and has ended with a decisive victory for ISIL. It took large parts of Anbar in January and government counter-attacks failed dismally with some 5,000 casualties in the first six months of the year. About half the province’s 1.5 million population has fled and become refugees. Sunni enclaves in western Baghdad, starting with Abu Ghraib on the outskirts but leading right to the centre of the capital, are falling one after another to advancing ISIL troops.
In Syria, at the Turkish border, Turkey’s refusal to help “inimical” Kurds across the border, and US failure to save the Kurd border town Kobani will be a political as well as military disaster. Indeed, the circumstances surrounding the loss of the beleaguered town are even more significant than the inability so far of air strikes to stop ISIL taking over large sections of it.

’War is just beginning’: Obama
At the start of the bombing in Syria, President Obama boasted of putting together a coalition of Sunni powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to oppose ISIL, but these all have different agendas to the US in which destroying ISIL is not the first priority. The Sunni Arab monarchies like the fact that “ISIL creates more problems for the Shia than it does for them.” Iran is calling the US-led coalition against ISIL ridiculous, but tacitly supporting whatever deterring effect the coalition’s air-strikes and ground engagements may be having on ISIL advance.
US President is now saying that the real war is just beginning: “As with any military effort, there will be days of progress and there are going to be periods of setback. “There are not quick fixes involved. We are still at the early stages,” Obama said in Washington after meeting senior commanders from more than 20 allies involved in the campaign. US military officials said that ISIL had the “tactical momentum” and that allies are facing a “long-term campaign.” US Secretary of Defence had already defined the war against ISIL as a “generational war”, which analysts are interpreting as Obama’s 30-years’ war.
While NATO with broadened world agenda is thus engaged in a full-scale war in its fuel empire, i.e. the Middle East, an alternative fuel empire has been sealed up more or less exclusively by an emerging rival economic power, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) of Central Asian states led by Russia and China, notwithstanding “limited wars” in Ukraine and Afghanistan, and all-but-quelled unrest in Hong Kong. Indeed in Asia other than the Middle East, China’s advocacy of “peaceful rise” is being echoed by USA, the sole superpower by its promise of “competition and cooperation” with China for stability, trade and development, albeit with U.S. “pivot to Asia” swagger of expanded Asia-Pacific naval presence. China has in the meantime surpassed USA by the size of its economy.

ISIL a modern Crusade: Mahathir
In his Malaysian reaction, former Prime Minister Dr. Mahthir Mohammad termed Obama’s 30-years’ war against ISIL as a “modern Crusade” to which “Muslims have no answer. They don’t have a Saladin (Salah El Din) to lead them. And over the centuries they have allowed themselves to become weak. .... Expecting no help from the Governments of Muslim countries, many angry and frustrated Muslims took upon themselves to take revenge against the hated Europeans. For this purpose they preach their version of the teachings of Islam so as to influence young Muslim to be prepared to sacrifice their lives in a holy war. .... And so the so-called jihadists are prepared to commit atrocities like beheading a European and recording it for the world to see. .... Directly and indirectly the Europeans back Israeli state terrorism. And so it goes on. So what is the solution? It is certainly not more suppression and oppression of the Muslims, and in particular the Palestinian. .... Muslims who adhere strictly to (Islamic) tenets and wish to live at peace with non-Muslims can only have credibility and be listened to if the oppression of the Muslims ceases.”
During Indian President Modi’s visit to Washington and a “transforming relationship” with USA obtained in his meetings with President Obama, Mr. Modi expressed concern over the Islamic State, but did not sign up for the coalition led by the United States. And there was no mention of solutions on the differences with Washington on Ukraine and Iran, although there was enthusiastic renewal of a 10-year defense cooperation agreement, a promise to cooperate on maritime security as China presses claims in Asian waters, and several clean energy initiatives. The leaders pledged support for Afghanistan and efforts against the Islamic State, ISIL, and the Pakistani Taliban.

Dhaka’s participation depends on UN
The Indo-US joint statement “stressed the need for joint and concerted efforts, including the dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company, and the Haqqanis, and reiterated call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice.” But there was no sign of progress on such strategic concerns as how to curb the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan and limit chances of another war with Pakistan over Kashmir.
Bangladesh has requested postponement of the US-Bangladesh strategic partnership dialogue due on Octobers 21 next. The foreign minister of Bangladesh has also briefed the press that Bangladesh will only engage in the Syria and Iraq crises if United Nations takes the lead: “Bangladesh believes in the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq and we want to them to maintain it.”
But while South Asia and South East Asia appears to have escaped for the time being the snare of bloody involvement in the “generational war” theater in the Middle East, blood is flowing nevertheless in tricky parts of South Asia. A “mini-war” is raging across the cease-fire line and also the India-Pakistan borders along Jammu and Kashmir.
Blaming each other for firing without provocation beyond the border posts into civilian habitations that caused loss of lives and extensive destruction on both sides, neither side is bending for even flag meetings to reduce border tension. On the eastern flank of South Asia, a blast in Burdwan in West Bengal, causing 2 suspected bomb-makers’ deaths and discovery of terrorist cells in that place and in Birbhum where Indian Maoists thrive, has been linked to Bangladesh. The repercussions may be sinister.
One thing is clear. For lack of well-meaning political leadership, and politicians presently engaged in trivialities, drifting eye-less in the flux of changing world order, the internal dynamics of the people of Bangladesh is missing its development drive and its self-reliance under multiple currents of external dynamics in the region. Our people do deserve better.


Login to post comments


(0)



Terror bogey only weapon in AL’s armoury

M. Shahidul Islam

If conspiratorial politics had an odour, its stinking whiff would have made the world uninhabitable by now. Nowhere the seeds of conspiracy sprout faster than in Bangladesh. The lack of legitimacy being the prime harbinger of conspiracy, the emerging scenario being presented by an illegitimate regime takes it colour and context from a slew of conspiracies that are propelling many to decide to leave the country for ever.

Full Story

M. Shahidul Islam

If conspiratorial politics had an odour, its stinking whiff would have made the world uninhabitable by now. Nowhere the seeds of conspiracy sprout faster than in Bangladesh. The lack of legitimacy being the prime harbinger of conspiracy, the emerging scenario being presented by an illegitimate regime takes it colour and context from a slew of conspiracies that are propelling many to decide to leave the country for ever.

Bangladeshis are not as much fearful of the phantom threat of Islamic terror as they are of the deadly and the incredulous perception being created of it. One feels concerned that this is a danger that is going to bite its masterminds more than the victims against whom the scheme has been planted. Besides, the political bankruptcy of the regime is evident in its sole dependency on terror bogey alone to cling onto power indefinitely.

Threat perception & AL
Look where the nation stands now: A blast in neighbourinjg Bordwan district of West Bengal on October 2 is reportedly linked to a JMB plot to avenge Sheikh Hasina regime’s crackdown on Islamic militants in Bangladesh; a senior ruling party leader and minister (now removed) is in West Bengal after having incited the people of the Islamic faith about prophet Mohammed (sm) and the Muslim ritual of Haj; West Bengal’s provincial government is accused of facilitating funding of Islamic militants in Bangladesh; PM Sheikh Hasina brushes aside the prospect of an inclusive election as it would, she said, “bring BNP and Jamat back to power.”
The PM made the comment while visiting New York to attend the annual General Assembly congregation of the UN. It was also the New York City from where her cabinet minister Latif Siddiqui uttered the derogatory and inciting comments about the prophet of Islam and the annual Haj rituals.
Our investigation shows the events that are conjuring up a deadly scenario of Bangladesh being engulfed by Islamic terror occurred in a chronicle fashion to create a grisly threat perception that would yield two specific outcomes: It will create a perception that the AL is the right party to tackle such a threat and its prolongation in power is an unavoidable necessity; any move by the opposition parties to pressurize the government to hold a credible election and restore democracy will be deemed as actions of Islamic terrors with whom the main opposition BNP is allegedly tied to.
This sordid state of limbo had struck Bangladesh lately, despite the much hyped terror fear having not been proven. The scenario being presented and the latest statements of both the home and foreign ministers are contradictory and confusing.

Delhi’s cold makes Dhaka sneeze
Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said last Tuesday about the Bardwan blast that “he was told that Dhaka would get information from New Delhi.” Earlier, the home ministry said, “We had sought information from Delhi on the bomb blast in which West Bengal police found link of Bangladesh’s banned militant outfit JMB.” An Indian official spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin, said, “We had requested their agencies to tabulate and collate information so that they can share appropriately with friends in Bangladesh.”
Before the investigation could unearth any conclusive finding, the terror alert has been whizzing around with much vehemence and, the source of it has been none other than the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has taken over the investigation along with the West Bengal CID. The NIA, with heavy RAW bending, rang the alarm bell by claiming, “We had unearthed a major JMB plot to carry out attacks in Bangladesh.”
Juxtapose this NIA claim with the reported arrival to India of the now sacked minister Abdul Latif Siddiqi. Siddiqui made his inflammatory statement from New York and his daughter lives in Canada. If his intent was purely to claim protection as a political refugee to either in the USA or Canada, he would not have gone to India. It’s Delhi’s cold that is making Dhaka sneeze.
Unless Siddiqui returns to Bangladesh soon, there will be reasons to believe that his statement was deliberately, and cleverly, calibrated to foment an uprising of the political Islamists in Bangladesh in order to portray Bangladesh as a nation about to be taken over by the political Islamists, and, that the country needs the incumbent AL to stay in power and fight out such religious extremism. 

AL regime indispensable?
There is a caveat however. The BNP as well as the political Islamists are aware of this game plan, as is evident from their response to all these events. Neither the political Islamists, nor the BNP, has ventured into street agitations is understood the gimmick aimed at sucking them into a trap to show the world that the AL regime is indispensable to fighting out religious extremism.
There is another caveat of utmost import. The global community is aware of a recent deal struck by the AL with the Jamat-I-Islami to spare Golam Azam, Nizami, et al from being lynched, and, curiously, while billions of dollars are being milked away from the country by the corrupt cronies of the regime, a diversionary tactic has begun to tell the world that terror groups are being funded through remittance coming from Non Resident Bangladeshis (NRB).
In the final analysis, the entire terror related scheme is self-destructive. The internationalization of the terror bogey will prove Bangladesh is a failed nation; will choke off the volume of remittance and stymie export; will make it difficult for the hard working NRBs to remit much needed funds to their families on time. Above all, it will depict the nation as what it is not.


Login to post comments


(0)



The wages of incredible incompetence and hubris

Fazal M. Kamal in New York

These have been alarming-news times for the citizens of the United States as chinks in the armor, so to say, have been exposed in the richest, most advanced, technologically strongest country in the universe. It’s, to state it mildly, hugely unsettling mainly because the people deserve much better and more importantly the lapses demonstrated that for all that humongous collection of data, metadata and all types, kinds and sorts of personal information in no way has made the systems in place sufficiently alert or substantively better to serve the purposes for which they were constructed.

Full Story

Fazal M. Kamal in New York

These have been alarming-news times for the citizens of the United States as chinks in the armor, so to say, have been exposed in the richest, most advanced, technologically strongest country in the universe. It’s, to state it mildly, hugely unsettling mainly because the people deserve much better and more importantly the lapses demonstrated that for all that humongous collection of data, metadata and all types, kinds and sorts of personal information in no way has made the systems in place sufficiently alert or substantively better to serve the purposes for which they were constructed.

First it came to light — to the complete and utter amazement of all — that the home that is assumed to be impregnable because the fabled US Secret Service was in charge of the task of assuring its formidable defense was, in fact, rather open for intruders with weapons on their persons. On an earlier occasion someone had fired his gun several times at the White House and the Secret Service had absolutely no clue of what had transpired even though they indeed had heard the shots. And merely a couple of weeks back, the President of the United States rode in an elevator which also carried someone who was armed. Surely, this is one for Ripley’s book.

Bad job on Ebola in Texas
Then there is the case of Thomas Duncan from Texas who’d returned from a trip to Liberia where, as almost everyone knows, the dreaded Ebola virus has already claimed the lives of thousands. Duncan after coming back from West Africa went to a hospital in Dallas and reported his health complaints to the nurse. Purportedly, there was a “protocol” ready for just such incidents and, again purportedly, the hospital was “prepared” for such eventualities.
But lo, behold and alas, he was sent home with some antibiotics in his pocket---and just nobody made any attempt to quarantine him or perform any medical test knowing full well that he’d just been to Liberia. Subsequently, Thomas Eric Duncan couldn’t be saved; worse still is, one of the health workers who treated him also contacted Ebola in what has been euphemistically described as a “breach of protocol.”
Naturally once all this became public bells, whistles and alarms, all went off simultaneously across the nation. Following this a Reuters story said, “Up to 100 people may have had direct or indirect contact with the first person [Duncan] to be diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus in the United States, and four of his relatives have been quarantined in their homes as a precaution, health officials said…Dallas County officials said 12 to 18 people had direct contact with the Texas patient, and they in turn had contact with scores of others.” There were reports subsequently of parents keeping their children home from schools because it was learned that the patient had visited other families before he became so ill that he was taken to hospital.

Secret Services’ blunders
Rachel Maddow, popular television commentator, observed, “Obviously, this is very much in its early days. We do not yet know how Texas is going to handle this as a whole, but Texas’ early missteps, including ones we are still learning about today, are unsettling.” Maddow then noted, all of the sick man’s soiled clothing, bedding and towels remain in the residence. She added, “Ebola does not spread through the air. The only way to contract it is from somebody else who is symptomatic and for you to come into contact with their bodily fluids…If somebody who is very sick with the disease has had their body fluids on sheets and towels and bedding, then those materials do need to be handled with extreme care.” But in the initial days this did not happen.
As for the Secret Service’s blunders, the very popular Daily Show host Jon Stewart derided the agency’s excuse for not unleashing the dogs to stop the intruder because the agents were afraid the dogs might attack them. “Sounds strange but it makes more sense when you find out a lot of Secret Service agents are cats,” Stewart commented. A Yahoo news report stated, Stewart also ripped the Secret Service for muting the White House alarm because it had been going off a lot and was annoying staffers.
“You can’t do that!” Stewart declared on his show. “You can’t just turn off the alarm because it’s irritating. This is the White House, not a ‘97 Honda Civic!” Also, then Secret Service Director Julia Pierson’s incredible explanation that “It was difficult to see at night,” for the department not discovering shots had been fired at the White House in 2011 for four days was obviously deserving of further ridicule on the show.

US incompetence dominates news
Doubtlessly it was astonishing to learn that no screening procedure had been created for people coming from West Africa, especially from Ebola-stricken countries, given that there’s always lots of passengers traveling between the US and Liberia. Since these facts were well-known to the relevant authorities, first, the absence of any monitoring system and, secondly, the major lapse at the Dallas hospital clearly raise a large number of questions about how emergency situations are being handled in a country where there’s no supposed dearth of resources and necessary skilled personnel. At present, consequently citizens are not readily accepting either the explanations that are being provided or the assurances being offered by officials and experts.
Against such a backdrop there’s the expected outcry and concern articulated in the media outlets. Here therefore is a quote from a commenter which generally expresses the apprehensions on the minds of most people. “Incompetence in America is dominating the news,” writes Steven Rosenfeld in AlterNet.
“The country’s biggest bank has been badly hacked and JPMorgan Chase didn’t quite alert tens of millions of account holders. The Ebola virus has arrived on U.S. shores in Texas and efforts to contain it have been as clumsy as the American military’s overseas response to West African nations where it is spreading. The Secret Service has not been keeping armed intruders away from the president, prompting many people to wonder if they really don’t want to protect Obama….Forget the sky-is-falling 2014 political races for the moment.
These and too-many-to-mention other examples make one wonder if America is having a bad hair day or is standing naked before the mirror and seeing revealing truths that our most public hucksters usually keep under wraps.”

Secret Service’s mistakes aren’t secret
While the Secret Service’s mistakes aren’t any longer secret, when the healthcare delivery system has displayed evident incompetence and in general there’s way too much inefficiency and pervasive lackadaisical attitude among many who are supposed to be manning the various structures of the nation, corporate hubris and mendacity persist undiminished and continue to disillusion hapless citizens with nonpareil nonchalance.
Given all that, it’s pertinent to conclude with Steven Rosenfeld: “When the news presents a parade of incompetence ­coupled with assurances that everything is under control by trustworthy professionals when it isn’t­what is the appropriate public response? Anger? Tirades on television? Sighs and resignation? Or is it somehow trying to send a message that Americans are not dumb and deserve better from the supposed pillars of mainstream society? Wouldn’t it be something if accountability, competence and public service were the guiding values of our communication-saturated era instead of evasions, false assurances, overpromises and flag-waving hype? That would be newsworthy.”
Since all this — aside from the imbroglios in various parts of the world where the US is engaged — and primarily, the phlegmatic reactions of the state entities, are being revealed on President Barack Obama’s watch, the question, what then will be the legacy of his administration, will definitely be an issue of enormous concern for him because right now it doesn’t seem all that glowing.


Login to post comments


(0)



Development may suffer if peace remains elusive

Faruque Ahmed

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is demanding peace and stability for long term development at a time when BNP led 20-party alliance is asking the people to take to the streets to force the government to give a free and fair election to end the legitimacy question of the party in power.

Full Story

Faruque Ahmed

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is demanding peace and stability for long term development at a time when BNP led 20-party alliance is asking the people to take to the streets to force the government to give a free and fair election to end the legitimacy question of the party in power.

This is a paradoxical situation marred with all confusions for the people to discern a clear understanding of the state of national politics. People want to see the country develops but the question is if development is possible without democracy to run the state institutions. 
It is clear that the PM is advancing the development theory over the democratic election to bypass the opposition demand for a fresh poll. But analysts question if the Prime Minister is really serious to ensure peace and stability for development why she is pursuing a politics which is marred with killing of opposition leaders and workers, their forced disappearances and police brutalities in the streets. 

Government’s development agenda
People believe that the country must have a firmly established democratic system of governance in the first place to usher in an era of peace and stability. Only it may then bring in unimpeded economic prosperity to the nation. Without a solid democratic foundation of the state; peace and stability may only remain elusive and the fight for power between the major stakeholders may rather destroy the country’s environment for investment and growth.
Political observers believe that the Prime Minister as the head of the government knows it well that her demand for peace and stability must be matched by a politics of peaceful co-existence and inclusive government.
But as things stands post January 5 election, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government now feel more confident in their grip on the power rather than seriously thinking the need for holding a free and fair election. It is therefore trying to bypass the opposition demand under the popular slogans like the need for an environment of uninterrupted development.
In doing so, the government in the first place is trying to take up and implement some big infrastructure projects like deep sea ports, highways, metro rail, power plants, Padma Bridge and so on to give the people the impression that Sheikh Hasina government is seriously working to transform the country to a middle income nation.
But informed sources say, the covert part of this development agenda is apparently linked to amassing unearned wealth from big contracts and under hand deals by allowing party cronyism to develop from within the ruling establishments. 
It is no more secret that a section of people around the government is becoming owners of crores of taka overnight while massive capital flight is taking place from the country to destinations like Swiss Bank and to other global business hubs where ruling party men are buying real estates and hoarding cash. Any transfer of power to the opposition through any democratic election is therefore unthinkable for people running the administration now.

BNP leaders under judicial persecution
So the government is pursuing a hostile policy towards the opposition and meeting out all sorts of cruelties to BNP, Jamaat-E-Islami and other party leaders and their workers in one hand and trying to bring split to the opposition alliance on the other.
Almost all BNP standing committee members including its Secretary General are facing criminal charges now in the court on so-called allegations of violence and arson in the streets. Party chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia is similarly facing trial on charges of misappropriation of fund of Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage Trust.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued public warnings that Begum Zia risked the fate of imprisonment if she continues on her move to launch a street movement to force the government to give a mid-term election.  
Parallel to Prime Minister’s warning the lower court has opened hearing on the charges against Begum Zia from last month despite her lawyers plea that trial under criminal law is not applicable in the two cases; they must be tried under cooperative law.
Moreover, they have challenged the appointment of the trial Judge saying it is fraught with the breach of existing laws and regulations. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear her objection on the appointment of the trial Judge on November 27 but to anyone’s utter surprise the lower court is bent upon continuing the hearing on October 28.
The trial Judge is almost openly defying the fact that when a case is pending at the Supreme Court for hearing, proceeding at the lower court in the same case can’t be entertained. This is basic law but it is being flawed.
No matter what the trial Judge has it in his mind, it gives the impression to the people that the Judge is acting under political influence to refrain BNP chairperson from demanding a fresh election.

Govt. provoking the opposition
Meanwhile, Begum Zia has announced a month long programme on October 16 to prepare her opposition alliance to launch a countrywide street movement to force the ruling party to open talks with the opposition to pave the way of new election. 
But the Prime Minister has ruled out such possibility of any dialogue with the opposition alliance saying BNP it is not an opposition party in the first place. Moreover, it is a party of killers and there is no room to talk with the killers. She has also ruled any early election.
In this situation, the Prime Minister priority to development appears an empty slogan only aimed at bypassing the demand for restoration of democracy and a fairly elected country. People now understand it is more like a pucker game than addressing the real issues in the ground.   
Meanwhile the ruling party leaders are rather provoking the opposition to take to the streets and engage in violent politics. Telecommunication minister Abdul Latif Siddique’s slanderous comments on Hajj and Prophet Mohammad (SM) last week were enough to make the country volatile. There is a growing fear that if the government ministers agitate the nation, how Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may get her desired peace for development.
People believe that despite Sheikh Hasina’s demand for peace for development, her party politics stands is not supportive to peaceful environment to bring about long term development.


Login to post comments


(0)



American agenda for Mideast

Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal in New Delhi

When egoistic super power status of USA was being crushed by Russian smartness in Ukraine, Israel came to its rescue, attacking the besieged Palestinians in Gaza strip, thereby diverting the terrible scenario in Ukraine, also shaking the foundations of US imperialism.

Full Story

Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal in New Delhi

When egoistic super power status of USA was being crushed by Russian smartness in Ukraine, Israel came to its rescue, attacking the besieged Palestinians in Gaza strip, thereby diverting the terrible scenario in Ukraine, also shaking the foundations of US imperialism.

However, Israel overdid the terror operations in Gaza killing even little children, generating global outcry. So, the USA has restarted its Mideast war by feeding the ISIS with terror goods in one the one hand and also attacking it, on the other, thereby confusing the general masse of the world which takes media reports from the western terrocracies as god’s final words.

Black President pursuing Neocons’ policies!
USA has decided to prolong its Mideast war to gain complete control of Arab resources which might take years. ISIS is the key tool the Pentagon-CIA twins use for destabilizing both Syria and Iran by bringing ISIS to the doors of Iran. Saudi Arabia is fully satisfied with US efforts to disturb both Syria and Iran and the techniques adopted and implemented to remove Syrian regime of Assad.
Instead of the usual NATO, President Barack Obama has touted as an international coalition to battle the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in a new US war in the Middle East, launched without the approval of either the United Nations or the US Congress. US warplanes have stepped up their bombing of ISIS positions around the beleaguered city, and the airstrikes seem to have at least temporarily slowed the advance of ISIS forces, which control about one-third of the enclave.
Revealed are the contradictory and conflicting interests of the various elements making up Obama’s supposed coalition, including Turkey, the monarchical Sunni Arab despots of the Gulf States, France, Germany, a few lesser European powers and Washington’s closest allies, Canada and Australia. Both Canada and Australia are making strenuous efforts to be seen as important terrocracies on earth, almost at par with USA.
White House, controlled by a black President pursuing whitish polices of Neocons, is under increasing pressure, from the military-intelligence apparatus, from its Kurdish allies in northern Iraq, and from warmongering critics in both the Republican and Democratic parties, to intervene more aggressively in Syria.
Both Washington and Turkey backed the war for regime change in Syria, in which ISIS emerged as the strongest armed anti-government group among a collection of largely Sunni Islamist militias. While the Obama regime is now using the campaign against ISIS as a means of reasserting US hegemony over the region, including through regime change in Damascus, it is at odds with Turkey over the tactics and timing of this campaign.

Ally Washington, Ankara have sharp differences
Washington and Ankara agree on the ultimate goal of overthrowing Assad, but they have sharp differences over the means to accomplish this as both have got their own individual agenda for Mideast. The Obama administration is pressing the Turkish government either to send ground troops across the border to break the siege of Kobani, or to allow armed Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi Kurds to come to the defence of the town. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has so far refused, demanding a public US commitment to the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria and a US-protected buffer zone along the Syria-Turkish border.
Turkish policy has been to promote ISIS as part of the anti-Assad campaign in Syria. Obviously on concurrence with Washington, Turkey has allowed thousands of ISIS recruits to pass through its territory to Syria to join the Islamist group. This triggered a political upheaval in the Kurdish-populated region in Turkey, with anti-government rioting in which at least 22 people were killed. Turkish government had decreed a state of emergency in six provinces in southeastern Turkey.
Turkey has an army of nearly 700,000, the sixth largest in the world and by far the largest in the Middle East, heavily equipped with US and European-made weaponry, including a large air force. Nonetheless, NATO secretary-general Stoltenberg was at pains to suggest that a few thousand ISIS fighters on the Turkish border constituted a threat that could justify military intervention under Article Five of the NATO charter.
While Washington and NATO have been prodding Turkey to intervene, the government of Iran condemned the Turkish parliament’s action last week, giving Erdogan authority to send Turkish troops across the border. Iran warned of irreparable consequences if Turkey violated the sovereignty of Syria, which is Iran’s sole ally among the Arab states of the Middle East.

Complexities of ISIL war
The Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that Washington agree to establish a no-fly zone over Syria and a buffer zone inside Syrian territory as conditions for its participation in the US-led war.
These proposals are aimed, in the first instance, at crushing the autonomous region carved out along the border by Syrian Kurds, who are allied with Turkey’s Kurdish nationalist movement, the PKK, and at quickly turning the US war into a direct drive to overthrow the Assad government.
Washington has insisted that it is pursuing an Iraq first strategy, centering its intervention on ‘degrading’ and ‘destroying’ the ISIS forces inside Iraq, and has carried out its limited operations in Syria with the approval of the Assad regime, even as it insists that the government in Damascus is not legitimate.
Erdogan drove home the depth of the disagreements, ordering Turkish warplanes to carry out air strikes, not against ISIS in Syria, but against the PKK, whose fighters, alongside Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish militias, have been the sole ground forces to effectively challenge the advance of ISIS in either country. In Iraq, they have operated in tacit coordination with US military advisers, despite being on a State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Turkey claimed that the air strikes in southeastern Turkey were in retaliation for PKK attacks on Turkish military bases, which was denied by the PKK itself. The attacks, the first in nearly two years of peace negotiations between the government and the PKK, follow a week of violent clashes across Turkey that left at least 35 people dead, as Turkish Kurds, who make up close to 20 percent of the population, took to the street to protest Ankara’s blockade of the besieged city of Kobani.

US, Turkey leaders’ mindless positioning
The Turkish press reported this week that Turkish forces have not only blocked Kurdish fighters, arms and ammunition from reaching Kobani, but have even refused entry to wounded Kurdish fighters from the city, leaving them to bleed to death on the border. The latest air strikes threaten to upend the peace talks between Ankara and the PKK, reigniting a civil war that claimed some 40,000 lives over the course of three decades.
The carve-up that Erdogan fears most is the emergence of an independent Kurdistan, which is why his regime has sought to seal off Kobani and allow ISIS to pummel its Kurdish defenders. His answer appears to be the revival of Turkish hegemony over the region, beginning with the installation of a Sunni Islamist regime in Damascus. Erdogan also used a speech at Marmara University in Istanbul Monday to declare that the greatest threat facing Turkey was that new Lawrence of Arabias’ is destabilizing the region.
The conflicting reports are not merely mixed messaging, but reflect the actual incoherence of both US and Turkish policy on the Syrian crisis. Both Washington and Ankara seek the removal of Assad, but the Turkish government regards the Kurdish separatists as a more immediate target, while the Obama administration seeks to use ISIS as its pretext for escalating military operations in the region.
While the American media has give nonstop saturation coverage to atrocities like the ISIS beheading of captured journalists and aid workers, the portrayal of the group as a major threat to the population of the NATO countries is ludicrous.

US’s anti-ISIL war not working
However, Iran has warned about the irreparable consequences of US move to contain Iran by extending the ISIS war to Iranian borders. Iran has already suggested it would send troops across the border into Iraq to fight ISIS if the Sunni Islamist group approached too closely to Iranian territory.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian charged that the Erdogan government was pursuing a policy of ‘neo-Ottomanism’ in the Middle East and vowed that Tehran would not allow the Syrian government, its sole Arab ally, to be overthrown by outside powers.
While the US-led war has registered no discernible advances against ISIS in either Iraq or Syria, it is already creating sharp tensions that can erupt into a conflict that could engulf the entire region and beyond.
Eventually, all this would lead to a possible direct war between Sunni and Shi’a nations that the sworn enemies of Islam in the West and East look forward at the earliest.
Specialist on state terrorism; chronicler of foreign occupations & Freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.) Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs(CIA); Commentator on world affairs & sport fixings, Expert on Mideast Affairs, university teacher; author of books/ebooks and editor.


Login to post comments


(0)



Is Nepal SAARC summit under terrorist threat

Shamsuddin Ahmed

India has alerted Nepal of a suspected plot to murder some prominent Nepali politicians by terrorists ahead of SAARC summit scheduled for November 27-28 in Kathmandu. The alert was communicated in a confidential letter to the Nepal Government, according to a section of Nepal media. Delhi claimed that its report was based on highly reliable intelligence agencies.

Full Story

Shamsuddin Ahmed

India has alerted Nepal of a suspected plot to murder some prominent Nepali politicians by terrorists ahead of SAARC summit scheduled for November 27-28 in Kathmandu. The alert was communicated in a confidential letter to the Nepal Government, according to a section of Nepal media. Delhi claimed that its report was based on highly reliable intelligence agencies.

It said terrorists of Al-Qaida-Indian Mujahideen might have plotted also to hijack some high ranking officials of Indian embassy in Kathmandu and Indian and Nepali aircraft from Nepal.
Security experts in Nepal, however, expressed doubt. They claimed that the alert might be a plot of Delhi itself to create panic ahead of the SAARC summit. It might be a ploy of India to secure security management of Nepal airport by raising alarm, an attempt India made in the past as well.

Delhi’s alert follows China’s move
The Indian alert came following China provided Rs 100 million security equipment to Nepal for the security of delegates arriving Nepal for the SAARC summit. The equipment including metal detectors, scanners, CCTV and 10 luxury vehicles were handed over to a Nepali delegation visiting China recently. In quiet diplomacy Chinese vice premier Wan Yang told Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala during his visit to China in June last that his country was ready to provide logistical support to organize the mega event of SAARC.
Mooted by President Ziaur Rahman, SAARC was floated with seven members: ­ Bangladesh, Indian Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutaan.  Afghanistan was later given the membership at the behest of India.  China along with Australia, USA, European Union, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Mauritius and Myanmar hold the observer status in the India dominated 8-member SAARC. China’s renewed effort for full membership - hectic lobbying since early this year with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka - set off alarm bells in Delhi. India is the only member that has strongly opposed China’s bid. Delhi blocked the fresh thrust by China to join SAARC but it has been lobbying for giving observer status to Turkey and Russia. India feels its importance would be eclipsed with entry of China in SAARC.
At the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, Nepali team led by the then King Gyanendra Shah had strongly supported for the Chinese entry in the South Asian regional body with an ‘Observer status’. That had annoyed Delhi. Soon it took revenge on Gyenendra. India compelled Nepal’s subservient political parties to sign the most humiliating and anti-national 12-point agreement that eventually did away with the centuries old institution of Monarchy in Nepal. What action Delhi is contemplating against Sushil Koirala for accepting the Chinese donation of security equipment worth 100 million rupee ignoring India is not yet known.

Reforms are must: SAARC FMs 
SAARC charter provides that any decision or admission of new member to the Association required consensus of members and bars dealing with contentious bilateral issues. This rendered the regional body to a mere talking shop. Longstanding disputes, especially between India and other member countries remained unresolved retarding meaningful cooperation among the member countries which was the objective of the Association. Comprised of South Asian countries which accounts for the largest poor population, SAARC talks of lofty goals, adopts high-sounding resolutions, ringing declarations and little by way of achievement. Yet increased international interest in SAARC ­ with more countries wanting to become observers and observers aspiring to full membership ­ is surprising and flattering. Perhaps, this is because of South Asia’s rising geopolitical importance.
SAARC foreign ministers met in Maldives in February last felt the urgency for reforms. India’s external affairs minister Salman Khurshid stressed the need for institutional reforms to make the Association meaningful. Supporting him Maldives President Abdulla Yameen said SAARC has to widen its areas of cooperation to match the expectations of the peoples in the region. The members agree on reform but differ on the desired outcome. Barring India, all others, especially Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka want China in ­ as a countervailing force to India.

Bilateral issues harming SAARC
SAARC may be neither India-centric nor India-driven but is, but the member countries believe it is India-dominated. With China on board, these countries assume that the balance of power would shift in their favour. Indians argue that inclusion of China would make SAARC a ground for conflict rooted in complexities of the rivalry between the two rising powers India and China.
It also argued that China is an authoritarian state, not a democracy. The latter argument does not stand. Mover of SAARC was Bangladesh’s military ruler President  Ziaur Rahman; and, at the inception, SAARC had two dictatorships (Bangladesh and Pakistan), two monarchies (Bhutan and Nepal), and authoritarian Maldives, India and Sri Lanka.
The Indians also cite strategic and security concerns, including China being Pakistan’s all-weather friend and its policy of encircling India. Regardless of merit, these need to be reckoned with because such thinking cannot be wished away. Those rooting for China point out that given its growing economic, trade, political, security and strategic interests in South Asia, its admission in SAARC would benefit the region. India should ignore irrelevancies such as SAARC being a democratic order and China is East Asian (not South Asian), and arrive at a decision based not on fear and anxiety but on the strength and confidence of a rising power.


Login to post comments


(0)



METROPOLITAN
EDITORIAL
COMMENTS
INTERNATIONAL
BUSINESS
INFOTECH
CULTURE
MISCELLANY
AVIATOUR
LETTERS
LAST WORD
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
OIC Islamophobia Observatory Report 2013-14 abridged executive summary with secretary general’s foreword
AUGUST REPORT OF OIC ISLAMOPHOBIA OBSERVATORY Incidents decline but antipathy heighten
RIHINGYA ISSUE OIC Secretary General meets Myanmar Foreign Minister
OIC diary September 29 to October 17 IPHRC statement “International day for eradication of poverty”
OIC diary September 29 to October 17 Recognition of the State of Palestine Resolution in the British House of Commons
OIC diary September 29 to October 17 Call for recognition of the Palestine State OIC press release, October 14      
OIC diary September 29 to October 17 Brutal Israeli Incursion into al-Aqsa Holy Mosque
OIC diary September 29 to October 17 OIC Cooperation with Germany
OIC diary September 29 to October 17 Reconstruction of Gaza
OIC diary September 29 to October 17 OIC in ICANN meeting in Los Angeles  
OIC diary September 29 to October 17 Combating Ebola Epidemic
OIC diary September 29 to October 17 Aside at UNGA
FOUNDING EDITOR: ENAYETULLAH KHAN; EDITOR: SAYED KAMALUDDIN
Contents Copyrighted © by Holiday Publication Limited
Mailing address 30, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh.
Phone 880-2-8170462, 8170463, 8170464 Fax 880-2-9127927 Email holiday@bangla.net
Site Managed By: Southtech Limited
Southtech Limited does not take any responsibility for any news content of this site