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The Gulf crisis produces a dangerous arms race

James M. Dorsey
 
A two-month old crisis pitting Qatar against an alliance led by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is proving to be a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, it has revived momentum for unprecedented, albeit snail-paced social reforms, initially sparked by Qatar’s winning bid for the 2022 soccer World Cup. Those reforms break with policies among the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) –
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – that until now where wholly designed to protect the region’s autocratic rulers rather than enhance rights.
 
Arms race in ME
Ironically, the revived reform momentum constitutes an unintended consequence and an indication of ways in which the UAE-Saudi led diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar has backfired. It suggests that Qatar’s refusal to comply with the alliance’s demands that effectively would have put Qatar under Saudi and UAE custodianship is likely to impact long-standing social, economic and political relationships in the Gulf in ways that the Gulf states’ had not envisioned.
On the other hand, the crisis threatens to escalate a Middle Eastern arms race that tiptoes around developing nuclear capabilities and has laid bare military ties between North Korea and a key Qatar detractor, the UAE. Ironically, the social change aspect permeates even the military dimension of the crisis.
It also positions Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE as both bigger brothers of smaller Gulf states and potential threats. “Smaller Gulf rulers now have increasing reason…to fear the Kingdom’s growing assertiveness under its new young Saudi king-to-be,” said former CIA official and Middle East expert Graham E. Fuller, referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The boycott of Qatar, Mr. Fuller added, constitutes a “new display of Saudi aggressiveness and vengefulness against Qatar (from which) we gain flashes of insight into what the shape of things to come in Peninsula geopolitics might be.”
The crisis and the wave of nationalism and support for Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, it has sparked, has convinced the Gulf state that its past strategy of emphasizing soft as opposed to hard power is insufficient to guarantee security.
As a result, Qatar has radically increased its arms purchases with a recent $12 billion deal to buy US F-15 fighter jets and a $7 billion vessel acquisition from Italy. Britain’s Department for International Trade reported that Qatar since 2015 had moved  from the world’s sixth largest to the third largest buyer of military equipment. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Qatari arms purchases had increased a whopping 282 percent since 2012.
 
Nuclear ambitions
Qatar signalled changes in its defence and security policy in 2014, the year the UAE and Saudi Arabia first unsuccessfully tried to subject Qatar to their will by withdrawing their ambassadors from Doha, with $24 billion worth of arms purchases.
The flurry of deals contrasts starkly with Qatar’s earlier reputation as a state that eyed major defence acquisitions, but to the frustration of the US defence industry, often did not follow through.  They put a spotlight on an arms race that potentially could have far-reaching consequences as well as the willingness of Gulf states’ to keep a door open to the development of missile and nuclear options.
A leaked US State Department memo attached to an email from the hacked email account of the UAE ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, expressed concern about a $100 million Emirati purchase of North Korean small and light arms in 2015, facilitated by an Emirati company allegedly owned by a close associate of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. The memo warned that North Korea “relies on overseas arms sales like this to sustain and advance its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.”
Given that the UAE would have had no problem acquiring the weapons elsewhere, the purchase appears to have been a bid to ensure access to missile and nuclear technology and persuade North Korea to restrict any dealings with Iran as well as Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Moreover, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) warned earlier this year that “there is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities, motivated by its concerns about the ending of (Iran’s) major nuclear limitations starting after year 10 of the (nuclear) deal or sooner if the deal fails... “The current situation suggests that Saudi Arabia now has both a high disincentive to pursue nuclear weapons in the short term and a high motivation to pursue them over the long term.”
 
Inadequate reforms
Signalling changing attitudes and policies in the Gulf, Qatar, one of the first Gulf states to introduce compulsory military service, is focussing its national service program on strengthening its security forces in a bid to not only to enhance homeland defence but also national cohesion. The program is partnering with Qatar Foundation’s Education City to include research that would support the military effort.
Critics dismiss Qatar’s recent social policy changes as too little and primarily intended to garner international support in its dispute with the UAE-Saudi-led alliance. Indeed, reforms such as the recent induction of permanent residency for a top layer of expatriates don’t benefit unskilled or semi-skilled workers.
Similarly, the lifting of visa requirements for nationals of 80 countries, that interestingly did not include Iran, fails to address the issue of exit visas, a major bone of contention in efforts by human rights groups and trade unions to get Qatar to radically reform, if not abolish, its contentious kafala or labour sponsorship system.
To be sure, Qatar has been slow to respond to both international calls for a change of its labour system and domestic complaints about issues about economic and educational benefits as well as social issues such as the refusal to grant citizenship to children born in marriages of Qatari women to foreign men and restrictions on marrying a partner of one’s choice. Children of Qatari women were included among those eligible, but were not given the right to citizenship.
Nonetheless, they make Qatar the first Gulf state to accord to foreigners any sort of rights granted until now only to citizens beyond those associated with residency permits linked to a period of employment.
The changes also fit a pattern of carefully shattering taboos about public discussion of issues like gay rights, norms for women’s dress in public, and the right to marry a person of one’s choice, that emerged as a result of Qatar’s heavy investment in sports as a soft policy tool and the leveraging of Qatar’s successful World Cup by human rights groups and trade union to pressure Qatar.
 
ILO’s ultimatum
A litmus test of how far Qatar is willing to push change is a crucial hearing in November by the International Labour Organization (ILO) that will evaluate whether the Gulf state has complied with promises to improve the living and working conditions of migrant workers.
The ILO warned that it would establish a Commission of Inquiry if Qatar had failed to act by November. Such commissions are among the ILO’s most powerful tools to ensure compliance with international treaties. The UN body has only established 13 such commissions in its century-long history. The last such commission was created in 2010 to force Zimbabwe to live up to its obligations.
“The eyes of the world are on Qatar. The opportunity for the government is obvious, if it wants to prove its critics wrong… If the government takes the other path, of continuing to promote hollow reforms, then migrant labour abuse will be the gift that keeps on giving for Qatar’s political opponents,” said James Lynch of Amnesty International.
 
Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title, Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario and four forthcoming books, Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa as well as The Gulf Crisis: Small States Battle It Out, Creating Frankenstein: The Saudi Export of Ultra-conservatism and China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom.

Comment

James M. Dorsey
 
A two-month old crisis pitting Qatar against an alliance led by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is proving to be a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, it has revived momentum for unprecedented, albeit snail-paced social reforms, initially sparked by Qatar’s winning bid for the 2022 soccer World Cup. Those reforms break with policies among the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) –
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – that until now where wholly designed to protect the region’s autocratic rulers rather than enhance rights.
 
Arms race in ME
Ironically, the revived reform momentum constitutes an unintended consequence and an indication of ways in which the UAE-Saudi led diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar has backfired. It suggests that Qatar’s refusal to comply with the alliance’s demands that effectively would have put Qatar under Saudi and UAE custodianship is likely to impact long-standing social, economic and political relationships in the Gulf in ways that the Gulf states’ had not envisioned.
On the other hand, the crisis threatens to escalate a Middle Eastern arms race that tiptoes around developing nuclear capabilities and has laid bare military ties between North Korea and a key Qatar detractor, the UAE. Ironically, the social change aspect permeates even the military dimension of the crisis.
It also positions Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE as both bigger brothers of smaller Gulf states and potential threats. “Smaller Gulf rulers now have increasing reason…to fear the Kingdom’s growing assertiveness under its new young Saudi king-to-be,” said former CIA official and Middle East expert Graham E. Fuller, referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The boycott of Qatar, Mr. Fuller added, constitutes a “new display of Saudi aggressiveness and vengefulness against Qatar (from which) we gain flashes of insight into what the shape of things to come in Peninsula geopolitics might be.”
The crisis and the wave of nationalism and support for Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, it has sparked, has convinced the Gulf state that its past strategy of emphasizing soft as opposed to hard power is insufficient to guarantee security.
As a result, Qatar has radically increased its arms purchases with a recent $12 billion deal to buy US F-15 fighter jets and a $7 billion vessel acquisition from Italy. Britain’s Department for International Trade reported that Qatar since 2015 had moved  from the world’s sixth largest to the third largest buyer of military equipment. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Qatari arms purchases had increased a whopping 282 percent since 2012.
 
Nuclear ambitions
Qatar signalled changes in its defence and security policy in 2014, the year the UAE and Saudi Arabia first unsuccessfully tried to subject Qatar to their will by withdrawing their ambassadors from Doha, with $24 billion worth of arms purchases.
The flurry of deals contrasts starkly with Qatar’s earlier reputation as a state that eyed major defence acquisitions, but to the frustration of the US defence industry, often did not follow through.  They put a spotlight on an arms race that potentially could have far-reaching consequences as well as the willingness of Gulf states’ to keep a door open to the development of missile and nuclear options.
A leaked US State Department memo attached to an email from the hacked email account of the UAE ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, expressed concern about a $100 million Emirati purchase of North Korean small and light arms in 2015, facilitated by an Emirati company allegedly owned by a close associate of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. The memo warned that North Korea “relies on overseas arms sales like this to sustain and advance its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.”
Given that the UAE would have had no problem acquiring the weapons elsewhere, the purchase appears to have been a bid to ensure access to missile and nuclear technology and persuade North Korea to restrict any dealings with Iran as well as Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Moreover, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) warned earlier this year that “there is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities, motivated by its concerns about the ending of (Iran’s) major nuclear limitations starting after year 10 of the (nuclear) deal or sooner if the deal fails... “The current situation suggests that Saudi Arabia now has both a high disincentive to pursue nuclear weapons in the short term and a high motivation to pursue them over the long term.”
 
Inadequate reforms
Signalling changing attitudes and policies in the Gulf, Qatar, one of the first Gulf states to introduce compulsory military service, is focussing its national service program on strengthening its security forces in a bid to not only to enhance homeland defence but also national cohesion. The program is partnering with Qatar Foundation’s Education City to include research that would support the military effort.
Critics dismiss Qatar’s recent social policy changes as too little and primarily intended to garner international support in its dispute with the UAE-Saudi-led alliance. Indeed, reforms such as the recent induction of permanent residency for a top layer of expatriates don’t benefit unskilled or semi-skilled workers.
Similarly, the lifting of visa requirements for nationals of 80 countries, that interestingly did not include Iran, fails to address the issue of exit visas, a major bone of contention in efforts by human rights groups and trade unions to get Qatar to radically reform, if not abolish, its contentious kafala or labour sponsorship system.
To be sure, Qatar has been slow to respond to both international calls for a change of its labour system and domestic complaints about issues about economic and educational benefits as well as social issues such as the refusal to grant citizenship to children born in marriages of Qatari women to foreign men and restrictions on marrying a partner of one’s choice. Children of Qatari women were included among those eligible, but were not given the right to citizenship.
Nonetheless, they make Qatar the first Gulf state to accord to foreigners any sort of rights granted until now only to citizens beyond those associated with residency permits linked to a period of employment.
The changes also fit a pattern of carefully shattering taboos about public discussion of issues like gay rights, norms for women’s dress in public, and the right to marry a person of one’s choice, that emerged as a result of Qatar’s heavy investment in sports as a soft policy tool and the leveraging of Qatar’s successful World Cup by human rights groups and trade union to pressure Qatar.
 
ILO’s ultimatum
A litmus test of how far Qatar is willing to push change is a crucial hearing in November by the International Labour Organization (ILO) that will evaluate whether the Gulf state has complied with promises to improve the living and working conditions of migrant workers.
The ILO warned that it would establish a Commission of Inquiry if Qatar had failed to act by November. Such commissions are among the ILO’s most powerful tools to ensure compliance with international treaties. The UN body has only established 13 such commissions in its century-long history. The last such commission was created in 2010 to force Zimbabwe to live up to its obligations.
“The eyes of the world are on Qatar. The opportunity for the government is obvious, if it wants to prove its critics wrong… If the government takes the other path, of continuing to promote hollow reforms, then migrant labour abuse will be the gift that keeps on giving for Qatar’s political opponents,” said James Lynch of Amnesty International.
 
Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title, Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario and four forthcoming books, Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa as well as The Gulf Crisis: Small States Battle It Out, Creating Frankenstein: The Saudi Export of Ultra-conservatism and China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom.

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KASHMIR’S HISTORY SUPPRESSED
Discourse of nationalisms in South Asia
Prof. Dr. Nyla Ali Khan
Counterpunch.org
 
THE ambiguous identity of a Kashmiri is one that some of us have had to live with for a while now. Indian nationalists are quick to claim their intractable hold on Kashmiris; Pakistani nationalists are just as quick to claim to speak for Kashmiris. Kashmir, despite having a real internal history and a place in the world, is suppressed by its positioning in the Indo-Pak conflict.
Mainstream Kashmiri politicians culpably reiterate that “Kashmir is an integral part of India,” in the process negating the people’s voices and real existence. Separatists are just as quick to scrap that assertion with their vociferous calls for shutdowns, in the process sidelining the educational and psychological needs of the younger generation.
 
No “talk” to Kashmiris
New Delhi in its signature style is straddling the fence by underlining the need for “dialogue” and “quiet diplomacy” but not taking any substantive measures to “talk” to Kashmiris. The profundity of memories and mourning of Kashmiris cannot be relegated to the background in official accounts of history. The aggressive statements, delusions of grandeur, melodramatic performances, and witty quips of Kashmiri mainstream politicians as well as separatist leaders have a short-lived glory and do nothing to alleviate the pain of anxious parents, destitute widows, bereaved mothers, vulnerable orphans, educated people unable to make a decent living.
Indian and Pakistani nationalisms have sought to mould collective subjectivities by the evocation of pan-national religious affinities resulting in the stifling of minority voices that express divergent political, social, and cultural opinions. The unitary concept of nationalism that the nation-states of India and Pakistan subscribe to challenges the basic principle that the nation was founded on, namely, democracy. In the enthusiasm to nurture this nationalist project, the political autonomy endowed on J & K by the constitutional provisions of India should not be eroded.
In October 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India reinforced the stipulation that New Delhi’s jurisdiction in the state would remain limited to the categories of defence, foreign affairs, and communications, as underlined in the Instrument of Accession. This stipulation was provisional and its final status would be decided upon the resolution of the Kashmir issue. Subsequent to India acquiring the status of a republic in 1950, this constitutional provision enabled the incorporation of Article 370 into the Indian Constitution, which ratified the autonomous status of J & K within the Indian Union.
 
Draconian Articles 356 & 357
Article 370 stipulates that New Delhi can legislate on the subjects of defence, foreign affairs, and communications only in just and equitable consultation with the government of the state of J & K, and can intervene on other subjects only with the consent of the J & K State Assembly. In contravention of the autonomy of J & K, two highly federalist statutes of the Indian Constitution, Articles 356 and 357, were enacted in J & K in 1964. These draconian articles enabled the central government to autocratically dismiss democratically elected state governments if it perceived a dismantling of the law and order machinery.
Accounts of the insurgency in Kashmir discount narratives that do not contribute to the deepening breach caused by the communalization of the Kashmir issue and the zeal of Indian and Pakistani nationalism, according to which “Kashmir is unquestionably an integral part of India,” or any people’s movement in Kashmir is led by “anti-national militants,” or “Pakistan is sincere in its attempts to resolve the Kashmir conundrum” leaves out the politics of the people as was done in official accounts of the Partition of India (Guha 1).
 
Illegitimacy of firing at unarmed protestors
Where are the genuine traumas and tribulations of the people in these accounts? Do we hear of the misery of a father who feels emasculated because he cannot fend for his family? Do we sense the anxiety of parents who are painfully aware that the productive years of their child are going by the wayside while the rest of the world is making strides? Do we hear the wailing of a tender hearted mother whose son was waiting to plunge into life but has now been silenced by militarization and/ or militancy? Do we see the apathy of a young educated person who thought the world was his/her oyster but now has nothing to look forward to? Are we aware of the frustration of politically savvy people whose opinions are made short shrift of by the powers that be? Do we understand the isolation of cultural and educational institutions? Do we see the erosion of the identity of people whose votes count but whose needs and opinions are overlooked?  Do we see the legitimacy of peaceful protests and the illegitimacy of firing at unarmed protestors?
The discourse of nationalism affects to make sense of the absurd loss of life that occurs. Human knowledge, however, is always tentative and arbitrary. We can learn to cross the frontiers of culture, nationality, language, and citizenship in order to make humanist responses to the belligerence of military powers and the ensuing human rights violations.
Indian and Pakistani nationalisms deploy the idea of citizenship and fraternity that unifies the entire community in the pursuit of a common goal. In order to assert itself a nation-state needs to draw clearly etched borders so it can define itself in opposition to other nations.
 
Human aspect ignored
Militant nationalism must evolve into critical consciousness: An awareness that unless national consciousness transforms into social consciousness, so-called “liberation” would merely be a continuation of imperialism (Said 323). The need of the day is for Indian civil society as well as the civil society in J & K to come forward and foreground rational and logical solutions to the political, psychological, cultural, economic, and educational paralysis in J & K without toeing the line of ultra right-wing nationalism.
Repressive statutes, brutal acts, a corrupt political and bureaucratic infrastructure, pigeonholing Kashmiris as “ignorant insurgents,” fomenting dissension within the ranks of the people can only undermine the human aspect of the Kashmir issue which no well-thinking, rational person, Indian or Pakistani nationalist should tolerate.
 
Dr. Nyla Ali Khan is a former professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, USA. She is the author of two books, including “The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism and Islam”, “Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between Indian and Pakistan,” “The Life of a Kashmiri Woman”, and the editor of “The Parchment of Kashmir”. She has also served as a guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region  for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.

 

Comment

Prof. Dr. Nyla Ali Khan
Counterpunch.org
 
THE ambiguous identity of a Kashmiri is one that some of us have had to live with for a while now. Indian nationalists are quick to claim their intractable hold on Kashmiris; Pakistani nationalists are just as quick to claim to speak for Kashmiris. Kashmir, despite having a real internal history and a place in the world, is suppressed by its positioning in the Indo-Pak conflict.
Mainstream Kashmiri politicians culpably reiterate that “Kashmir is an integral part of India,” in the process negating the people’s voices and real existence. Separatists are just as quick to scrap that assertion with their vociferous calls for shutdowns, in the process sidelining the educational and psychological needs of the younger generation.
 
No “talk” to Kashmiris
New Delhi in its signature style is straddling the fence by underlining the need for “dialogue” and “quiet diplomacy” but not taking any substantive measures to “talk” to Kashmiris. The profundity of memories and mourning of Kashmiris cannot be relegated to the background in official accounts of history. The aggressive statements, delusions of grandeur, melodramatic performances, and witty quips of Kashmiri mainstream politicians as well as separatist leaders have a short-lived glory and do nothing to alleviate the pain of anxious parents, destitute widows, bereaved mothers, vulnerable orphans, educated people unable to make a decent living.
Indian and Pakistani nationalisms have sought to mould collective subjectivities by the evocation of pan-national religious affinities resulting in the stifling of minority voices that express divergent political, social, and cultural opinions. The unitary concept of nationalism that the nation-states of India and Pakistan subscribe to challenges the basic principle that the nation was founded on, namely, democracy. In the enthusiasm to nurture this nationalist project, the political autonomy endowed on J & K by the constitutional provisions of India should not be eroded.
In October 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India reinforced the stipulation that New Delhi’s jurisdiction in the state would remain limited to the categories of defence, foreign affairs, and communications, as underlined in the Instrument of Accession. This stipulation was provisional and its final status would be decided upon the resolution of the Kashmir issue. Subsequent to India acquiring the status of a republic in 1950, this constitutional provision enabled the incorporation of Article 370 into the Indian Constitution, which ratified the autonomous status of J & K within the Indian Union.
 
Draconian Articles 356 & 357
Article 370 stipulates that New Delhi can legislate on the subjects of defence, foreign affairs, and communications only in just and equitable consultation with the government of the state of J & K, and can intervene on other subjects only with the consent of the J & K State Assembly. In contravention of the autonomy of J & K, two highly federalist statutes of the Indian Constitution, Articles 356 and 357, were enacted in J & K in 1964. These draconian articles enabled the central government to autocratically dismiss democratically elected state governments if it perceived a dismantling of the law and order machinery.
Accounts of the insurgency in Kashmir discount narratives that do not contribute to the deepening breach caused by the communalization of the Kashmir issue and the zeal of Indian and Pakistani nationalism, according to which “Kashmir is unquestionably an integral part of India,” or any people’s movement in Kashmir is led by “anti-national militants,” or “Pakistan is sincere in its attempts to resolve the Kashmir conundrum” leaves out the politics of the people as was done in official accounts of the Partition of India (Guha 1).
 
Illegitimacy of firing at unarmed protestors
Where are the genuine traumas and tribulations of the people in these accounts? Do we hear of the misery of a father who feels emasculated because he cannot fend for his family? Do we sense the anxiety of parents who are painfully aware that the productive years of their child are going by the wayside while the rest of the world is making strides? Do we hear the wailing of a tender hearted mother whose son was waiting to plunge into life but has now been silenced by militarization and/ or militancy? Do we see the apathy of a young educated person who thought the world was his/her oyster but now has nothing to look forward to? Are we aware of the frustration of politically savvy people whose opinions are made short shrift of by the powers that be? Do we understand the isolation of cultural and educational institutions? Do we see the erosion of the identity of people whose votes count but whose needs and opinions are overlooked?  Do we see the legitimacy of peaceful protests and the illegitimacy of firing at unarmed protestors?
The discourse of nationalism affects to make sense of the absurd loss of life that occurs. Human knowledge, however, is always tentative and arbitrary. We can learn to cross the frontiers of culture, nationality, language, and citizenship in order to make humanist responses to the belligerence of military powers and the ensuing human rights violations.
Indian and Pakistani nationalisms deploy the idea of citizenship and fraternity that unifies the entire community in the pursuit of a common goal. In order to assert itself a nation-state needs to draw clearly etched borders so it can define itself in opposition to other nations.
 
Human aspect ignored
Militant nationalism must evolve into critical consciousness: An awareness that unless national consciousness transforms into social consciousness, so-called “liberation” would merely be a continuation of imperialism (Said 323). The need of the day is for Indian civil society as well as the civil society in J & K to come forward and foreground rational and logical solutions to the political, psychological, cultural, economic, and educational paralysis in J & K without toeing the line of ultra right-wing nationalism.
Repressive statutes, brutal acts, a corrupt political and bureaucratic infrastructure, pigeonholing Kashmiris as “ignorant insurgents,” fomenting dissension within the ranks of the people can only undermine the human aspect of the Kashmir issue which no well-thinking, rational person, Indian or Pakistani nationalist should tolerate.
 
Dr. Nyla Ali Khan is a former professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, USA. She is the author of two books, including “The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism and Islam”, “Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between Indian and Pakistan,” “The Life of a Kashmiri Woman”, and the editor of “The Parchment of Kashmir”. She has also served as a guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region  for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.

 


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Hamid Ansari and the right to express

Sheshu Babu
Countercurrents.org
 
When the outgoing vice president Mr. Ansari expressed that Muslims feel a sense of unease  (Sense of unease among Muslims:  Hamid Ansari in his last interview as vice president www.ndtv.composted in kracktivist.org August 10, 2017) there was a furore in the BJP circles and many leaders started to hurl jibes at him. (Shame, shame, SHAME on PM…..  www.hindustantimes.com posted in kracktivist.org Aug 11,2017) . Even the incumbent vice president said that there is no intolerance.  This reflects the mindset of the government and it’s attitude to Muslims.
 
Right of expression
As a citizen of India, Mr. Ansari has the right to air his views on any subject. He has not pointed out any specific person or party and he responded to a question from the journalist. He has projected the fears of minorities as he is involved in the community and faced situations in the past three years which made him feel isolated like most other Muslims in the country.
 
Dangerous portents
The outbursts to the statements of Mr. Ansari from all sections of right wing indicate their irresistible retorts on anyone who expresses his feelings in general and Muslims in particular. The lynching of Muslims on the pretext of possessing beef is a fact and Dr. Ansari was pained at the growing intolerance. Attributing political motive to his last interview is deplorable.
The rulers must realise that just by silencing any person who questions the atrocities and shouting out cannot solve the problem.  Unless the Hindutva forces stop cultural imperialism and restricting food habits, the problem cannot be solved. They should accept that Muslims constitute about 14% of population (2011 census) and that is a sizeable population that cannot be overlooked or harassed.  Instead of criticising Ansari and trying to ridicule him, the rulers and the party should conduct serious introspection’ of their policies which are dividing people on religion, caste and gender basis. They should admit their blunders in imposing Hindu fanaticism on entire country. They should realise that their agenda cannot be enforced. Sooner or later, their attempts will end in failure and they will face people’s ire.
Kudos for Ansari for expressing his views.
 
Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere, as he likes to put it.

Comment

Sheshu Babu
Countercurrents.org
 
When the outgoing vice president Mr. Ansari expressed that Muslims feel a sense of unease  (Sense of unease among Muslims:  Hamid Ansari in his last interview as vice president www.ndtv.composted in kracktivist.org August 10, 2017) there was a furore in the BJP circles and many leaders started to hurl jibes at him. (Shame, shame, SHAME on PM…..  www.hindustantimes.com posted in kracktivist.org Aug 11,2017) . Even the incumbent vice president said that there is no intolerance.  This reflects the mindset of the government and it’s attitude to Muslims.
 
Right of expression
As a citizen of India, Mr. Ansari has the right to air his views on any subject. He has not pointed out any specific person or party and he responded to a question from the journalist. He has projected the fears of minorities as he is involved in the community and faced situations in the past three years which made him feel isolated like most other Muslims in the country.
 
Dangerous portents
The outbursts to the statements of Mr. Ansari from all sections of right wing indicate their irresistible retorts on anyone who expresses his feelings in general and Muslims in particular. The lynching of Muslims on the pretext of possessing beef is a fact and Dr. Ansari was pained at the growing intolerance. Attributing political motive to his last interview is deplorable.
The rulers must realise that just by silencing any person who questions the atrocities and shouting out cannot solve the problem.  Unless the Hindutva forces stop cultural imperialism and restricting food habits, the problem cannot be solved. They should accept that Muslims constitute about 14% of population (2011 census) and that is a sizeable population that cannot be overlooked or harassed.  Instead of criticising Ansari and trying to ridicule him, the rulers and the party should conduct serious introspection’ of their policies which are dividing people on religion, caste and gender basis. They should admit their blunders in imposing Hindu fanaticism on entire country. They should realise that their agenda cannot be enforced. Sooner or later, their attempts will end in failure and they will face people’s ire.
Kudos for Ansari for expressing his views.
 
Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere, as he likes to put it.

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