Russia’s bitter harvest of hinterland vendetta

Russia’s bitter harvest of hinterland vendetta

As the Moscow bombings reveal, the crackdown in the Caucasus has left a landscape of damaged women, some all too ready to spread their pain to Russia’s heartland

  • By Megan K. Stack, Los Angeles Times

  • Rasul Magomedov (left) in his home in Balakhani, Dagestan
  • Image Credit: Sergei L. Loiko/Los Angeles Times

  • Students of the school where Mariyam Sharipova worked as a deputy administrator
  • Image Credit: Sergei L. Loiko/Los Angeles Times

The last time Patimat Magomedova saw her daughter, she was puttering around the house, manicuring her nails and using henna to dye her hair bright red. It is high time we take care of the garden, the mother remembers Mariyam Sharipova saying that Friday. Let us plant raspberries, cucumbers and greens. And we have to do something about the kitchen, maybe get some pretty new dishes.

By evening, the young woman had vanished from the house in Balakhani, a remote village in the Russian republic of Dagestan. Magomedova did not see her daughter’s face again until somebody showed her a photograph of a decapitated head. At that moment, she said, “I knew there was no mistake.”

Sharipova, 27, had travelled a thousand miles to Moscow and climbed on to a crowded subway train at rush hour with an explosives-packed belt strapped around her waist. She was accompanied by a 17-year-old girl, also from Dagestan, who blew herself up at another station.

In the Russian news media, the women were immediately dubbed “black widows”. Their assault on the subway was taken as proof that the country had been shuttled back to the fearsome days when hollow-eyed female militants stalked Moscow and other cities far from the wars where their men fought Russian forces.

The subway bombings also sent ripples of unease across the turbulent, mostly Muslim republics strung along Russia’s southern edge. There was angst over the slaying of civilians and fear of retaliation. But it came as slim surprise that women were ready to die. This, after all, is a landscape of damaged women, grieving losses they dare not dwell upon.

The closer you get to the fighting in the Caucasus, the murkier it appears. The violence in Dagestan, and in neighbouring Chechnya and Ingushetia, is not easy to classify — it is a mix of rebels who want independence from Russia, Islamist extremists bent on waging jihad, local clan and gang warfare and sectarian strife.

And as the fighting intensifies, it is the men who disappear. Masked agents pound on the door and cart them off for questioning. They come back beaten, or not at all. Sometimes the men are rebels; at other times, their affiliations are vague. It is the women who are left behind, their status and material comforts tangled up in the choices of their fathers, sons and husbands.

Sharipova lived in a spacious house with grape trellises and views up the mountainsides. Her mother teaches biology; her father is a self-described “patriot of the motherland” who teaches Russian literature. She was a serious woman who studied mathematics, psychology and computers.

She was also a homebody who, in the words of her mother, “didn’t mix well”. When not working as the deputy principal of the village school, she busied herself with home-improvement projects, cooked pilaf and fussed over clothes.

The fighting crept into the village. Security forces staged “clean-up operations”, swarming Balakhani with armoured personnel carriers, helicopters and ground troops, cutting off access to the mosque and searching houses for signs of rebels.

Sharipova’s two older brothers were accused of supporting the rebels. They were close to her; the three had shared an apartment when their parents sent them to study at the university in the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala.

Her elder brother was in a dentist’s waiting room in 2004 when masked men burst in, threw an overcoat over his face and carried him away. He was held all night, tortured and finally dumped in the forest, his parents say. The men never identified themselves, he told his family, but they were security agents of some stripe.

“Our problems started from that kidnapping,” said the father, Rasul Magomedova. Security forces ransacked the family’s rooms, looking for the brothers. The extended family took turns staying up all night to keep watch for troops. The older son eventually fled to Moscow. The younger is also in hiding. The family says neither is tied to the rebels.

Sharipova, meanwhile, withdrew deeper into Islam. A madrassa, or religious school, opened in the village mosque two months ago and she spent hours there. She set herself the task of memorising the entire Quran.

A few weeks ago, police warned her father that Sharipova had secretly married a notorious rebel commander. It was a rumour they had heard before, floating around the village, but had not taken seriously. After all, they reasoned, she was still in the house with them. Nevertheless, the parents confronted her — and were unnerved by her reaction. “She was very uneasy,” Patimat Magomedova said. “She became nervous and frightened, and turned away from us.”

Some of Sharipova’s friends refuse to believe she set out to kill. They insist that she was kidnapped, that she was drugged. Her parents make no such justifications. They are grieving their daughter and grieving what she did. They are indignant that Russian state television refused to air their condolences to the families of the dead. “I’m ashamed. People died because of her and that hurts me,” her mother said. “And it hurts me that I lost my daughter. I have this double hurt on me.”

There is a tendency in Moscow to describe the troubles in the Caucasus as black and white — either a righteous battle against terrorists or an indiscriminate campaign of human rights abuses from the security forces. In truth, it is a war of attrition, with dirty fighting and civilian deaths on both sides. And there is a swelling group of widows too, whose husbands were police officers killed by rebels. But if Moscow’s goal is stability, its methods appear to be falling short.

The kidnappings, torture sessions, secret prisons and extrajudicial executions documented by human rights groups throughout the region are breeding a new depth of animosity — and, critics say, sowing the seeds for a fresh bout of war.

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has made little apology for its hardline antiterrorism tactics.

Only in the wake of the recent bombings have some voices in the government begun to raise the question of whether abuses and economic despair need to be addressed to quell the rise of extremism.

In Dagestan, as in Chechnya and Ingushetia, there is a sense of being hemmed in to Russia and yet rejected by the state. Prime Minister Putin’s face shines down on the town square in the capital, emblazoned with words of love for Dagestan. But people here remember the time he said he would hunt terrorists down into the toilet.

Once Russian security forces target a man, family members may be stripped of their jobs and wind up struggling to put food on the table, human rights workers say. “Here they persecute the whole family,” said Gulnara Rustamova, head of Mothers of Dagestan for Human Rights, who advocates for families in their clashes with security services.

If the husband dies in a “special operation”, she said, authorities often refuse to give the widow a death certificate, so she cannot collect welfare for the children. Corrupt investigators also force the families to buy back the bodies of their men, human rights monitors say.

In a land where funeral rites are highly important, many families are forced to pay as much as $14,000 to claim the bodies. Rustamova said she has spent hours persuading grief-stricken women not to take bloody revenge.

“They talk about hanging explosives on themselves … and blowing themselves up,” she said. “These women are really driven to the point of despair.”

Asiyat Aliyeva used to moon over love stories on TV. They spun out in the corners of the house she was building for her son and his wife. Now she only has patience for war movies. Ever since security troops killed her son, she wants to see blood.

Her son, Kerim Asadulayev, was 27, tall and baby-faced, the father of a 9-month-old girl. He and his wife were studying law in Moscow. Asadulayev was home on a school break in January. The morning he died, he drank coffee with his mother, dropped her off at work and then went to meet a friend from Moscow. As the two young men left the restaurant, the shooting began.

A man whose windows overlooked the street recorded the attack on his mobile phone. The video shows gunmen shooting point blank into already prone bodies. Then it shows them rearranging the bodies. They planted a hand grenade and a gun in their hands, Aliyeva says.

Police said the two were terrorists and that they were killed in a shoot-out. Aliyeva said her son’s body was riddled with 42 bullets. She started to cry again. “They should tell us, don’t give birth to boys. They should tell us, we will kill your boys.”

Billy Graham’s Boy Too Islamophobic for Pentagon’s Image

Graham disinvited from prayer event over Islam comments

By the CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) — The Army rescinded its invitation to evangelist Franklin Graham for the upcoming National Day of Prayer at the Pentagon over controversial remarks he made about Islam.

“True Islam cannot be practiced in this country,” he told CNN’s Campbell Brown last December. “You can’t beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they’ve committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries.”

Graham later tried to temper his remarks by saying that he had Muslim friends. However, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham has a history of comments that bothered the Pentagon. Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, for instance, Graham called Islam a “very evil and wicked religion.”

Graham, who said a prayer at the inauguration of President George W. Bush, said he regretted the Army’s decision but stood by his comments.

“I don’t like the way they treat women, the way they treat minorities. I just find it horrific. But I love the people of Islam,” he said, adding some of his work has been in Muslim nations. For instance, Samaritan’s Purse, the international charity that he heads, works with Iraqi refugees in Jordan.

“It’s a part of the world I love very much,” Graham said. “And I understand it. But I certainly disagree with their teaching.”

“I want to express my strong support for the United States military and all our troops,” he said. “I’m very proud of them and it’s just unfortunate that I won’t be able to participate on May 6th.”

The Army, which oversees the National Day of Prayer ceremonies at the Pentagon, feared that if Graham spoke at the Pentagon, Islamic militants would publicize his comments, potentially fueling tensions in Muslim nations like Iraq and Afghanistan, where U.S. troops are deployed.

Concerns about Graham were flagged by the watchdog group Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which also raised objections that the Pentagon prayer ceremony had become a fundamentalist Christian event.

The group penned a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on behalf of Muslim military members and defense department employees. It said that Franklin’s remarks had sparked outrage.

“Mr. Graham has never retracted or apologized for these statements,” the letter said.

But Graham’s supporters disagreed with the Army’s decision.

“What are they afraid Franklin Graham is going to say?” said Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia. “I think again we are getting to the point in the country where we are trying to exclude everybody from speaking if I disagree with what they are going to say.”

Graham’s invitation was not the only controversy swirling about the National Day of Prayer this year. Last week, a federal judge struck down as unconstitutional the 1952 law that established the day, saying it violated the ban on government-backed religion.

On Thursday, the Justice Department informed a federal appeals court that the Obama administration will appeal that decision.

In defence of Punjabis: Stop target killing of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan

In defence of Punjabis: Stop target killing of Punjabi settlers

in Balochistan

A local hospital staff attend a person who was injured in a blast on the outskirts of Quetta on August 12, 2009.

The Punjabi scapegoat

It is common practice in the (so called) leftist and progressive circles of Pakistan to blame Punjab for all failures of the country as a federation and also for the sufferings of ethnic and religious minorities.

What remains however ignored is the fact that dominant majority of Punjabis (i.e. Punjabis, Saraikis and other ethnicities living in the Punjab province) are as disempowered and miserable as are the people living in other provinces and areas of Pakistan.

While by virtue of a number of factors, not least their demographic majority in the federation of Pakistan, Punjabis have a greater share not only in the national parliament but also in other institutions of power including army, bureaucracy and judiciary, the majority of Punjabis however lack influence or participation in such institutions. A powerful elite manages to rule and represent the Punjab province, a state of affairs which is not much different from other provinces which are ruled by the Sindhi elite, the Pakhtun elite and the Baloch elite.

Yet, it remains a popular practice to blame Punjab and the Punjabis for the suffering, discrimination and high-handedness facing all Pakistanis, particularly those of minority ethnic backgrounds, e.g., Sindhis, Baloch and Pakhtuns.

Consequently, what remains widely ignored and invisible in the Pakistani and international media is the plight of ordinary Punjabis who are a convenient scapegoat and at times have to pay for their ethnic origin through loss of life, property or both. However, stories of their plight and persecution remain untold and neglected in the media and the parliament.

In support of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan

I am writing this post in support of my Punjabi brothers and sisters who are currently being slaughtered by a number of violent groups in Balochistan including but not limited to the misguided Baloch separatists; also some Punjabis are being killed by sectarian and jihadi terrorists of the Sipah-e-Sahaba and Taliban.

Malik Siraj Akbar writes in The The Baluch (www.thebaluch.com):

The activities of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a key player in Balochistan trouble, have increased since the induction of the new government. The BLA has rejected the offer for negotiations. Asked how it viewed the proposed APC, a BLA spokesman told Daily Times it was “a sheer waste of time”. The BLA claims responsibility of the killing of a Punjabi professor last week saying he was a spy for intelligence agencies. The BLA has killed dozens of government personnel in Balochistan citing the same reason. Most of those killed are Punjabis.

http://www.thebaluch.com/042808_article.php?id=7675

According to same author, writing in The Hindu (2 Sep 2009):

Killing of Baloch leaders (by Pakistan Army has) led to an intensified campaign of target killing by Baloch insurgents against Punjabi settlers in the province, mainly of school teachers and government servants. Baloch militants warned that no school across Balochistan should hoist the Pakistani flag or play the national anthem. The threat was taken seriously only after half of a dozen Punjabi principals and teachers were murdered in broad daylight.

Baloch activists burned Pakistani flags and hoisted the flag of an independent Balochistan on major educational institutions, including at the University of Balochistan. The underground Baloch groups have threatened to kill anyone who removes these Baloch flags or resumes singing the Pakistani anthem at schools. Now even elite grammar schools in Quetta have stopped playing Pakistan’s anthem.

All this has engendered an atmosphere of fear. The Balochistan Residential College in Khuzdar district, for instance, has been shut for more than two months since the killing of its principal. When the issue was raised at Balochistan Assembly, the Education Minister expressed “utter helplessness.”

“Now that the killings have already started, we can not simply describe it as a ‘threat’ only. It is a reality that our teachers are facing and being killed. The government should take notice of this dire situation before the teachers give up their jobs because of fear,” was his only response.

A considerable number of teachers in Balochistan are Punjabis, and most of them have applied with the Education Department for their transfer outside Balochistan for security reasons. The Education Ministry says the number of such applications is too high to be entertained.

Punjabi officials in other government departments are equally reluctant to stay on in the province fearing they could become targets. According to Daily Aaj Kal, 10 government officials from Punjab agreed to serve in Balochistan only after they were offered double salaries, a four-month leave per year and promotions to the next grade.

http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article13567.ece

Background

It was in August 2006 when Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed by General Musharraf in a military operation in Kohlu district. The tragic murder of Akbar Bugti gave birth to unstoppable target killings of Punjabi and other non-Baloch settlers in Balochistan as well as the destruction of national infrastructure. The Baloch insurgents, and certain other groups, are on a rampage sine then, not sparing any one from Punjab, be it a doctor, teacher, professor, barber, laborer or police official.

For example, on 25 October 2009, minister for education Shafiq Ahemd Khan was killed in an incident of target killing. three days later, secretary of education was killed. Previously, in April 2009, pro-vice chancellor of the University of Baluchistan was shot dead in front of the university. (Source)

Besides the killings of teachers mostly belonging to Punjab, barbers and other shop keepers of Punjabi origin are also being targeted. On a number of occasions, innocent laborers have been targeted, not to speak of the every day target killings of the Hazara (Shia) community, which the government links with sectarian violence by the Sipah-e-Sahaba / Taliban.

Some rare voices of protest

According to two fellow posters (from friends korner):

On the backing of Chief Minister Balochistan Aslam Raisani and baloch nationalist leaders including Bramdagh Bugti and Akhtar Mengal, Baloch terrorists kill yet another Punjabi professor in Quetta. This is the third such incident in the last 7 days. First, the Punjabi provincial education minister was shot dead 7 days ago, then the Punjabi secretary of education was shot dead 3 days ago and now another Punjabi professor has been killed in the open with the baloch leaders and baloch provincial government enjoying the massacre.

The Pakistani intelligence agencies have long become dynfunctional and the patronizing and support offered to these terrorist organizations like BLA by balochistan government has created enormous amounts of misery in the lives of punjabis in Balochistan.

….

1. The terrorist organization that has killed 1000 Punjabis during the last one year and which openly claims responsibility is called Baloch Liberation Army, not random terrorists and they are specifically targeting Punjabis.

2. You have NO idea how much hatred balochs express against punjabis in Balochistan regardless of whether the poor punjabis have been born/living in Balochistan. Punjabis are discriminated against in every department in Balochistan and now the provincial govt seems to be patronizing the target killers and you want us to keep quiet?

3. To keep quiet against zulm (oppression) is the biggest zulm. It is necessary to educate pakistanis and hopefully our incompetent agencies to do something about it.

http://www.friendskorner.com/forum/f137/news-balochs-kill-another-punjabi-professor-quetta-148103/

Aims of this post

Here is a brief archive of latest news and articles on the target killing of Punjabis in Balochistan. I hope that this post and the archive will help:

1. journalists and TV anchors to pay attention to this topic;
2. parliamentarians to demand a detailed (periodical) fact sheet by the Balochistan government on this issue;
3. Baloch separatists to rethink their approach to Baloch rights;
4. provincial administration to conduct a regular monitoring of the situation and the measures taken to curb this trend and to arrest and punish the killers;
5. provincial administration to arrange for the compensation and rehabilitation as well as security of the affected families and businesses.
6. leading political parties to demonstrate their support for ethnic harmony in Balochistan and to safeguard the interests of all ethnic groups including but not limited to Punjabi settlers.
7. federal and provincial governments to address genuine grievances of the people of Balochistan on an emergency basis.  (read more HERE)

The Islamofascist mafia in action—again!

The Islamofascist mafia in action—again!

Picture: Benazir Bhutto gazes towards a crowd of thousands of supporters at a campaign rally minutes before she was assassinated in a bomb attack December 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi

The debate on the 18th Amendment is ISI’s smokescreen to hide its role in Benazir’s assassination

By Omar Khattab in Islamabad

Suddenly the media has swept the entire nation into the vortex of an acrimonious debate between lawyers on the issue of the 18th constitutional amendment. Akram Sheikh, a Jamaat-e-Islami stalwart and an ISI-backed “leader” of the lawyer community, has been using extremely offensive language against the likes of Aitzaz Ahsan and Ali Ahmed Kurd. It appears that he has succeeded in enraging pro-18th Amendment people by making them use harsh language. The rest of the work is being done by anti-democracy and pro-ISI channels like Geo, Sama, and ARY. Islamofascist journalists like Hamid Mir, Dr Shaihd Masood, Kashif Abbasi, Talat Hussain, and Mahrukh Bokhari invite most anti-democratic “analysts” to undermine the authority of the parliament and give support to the morally bankrupt and professionally suspect judges of the Supreme Court. The entire anti-democracy mafia in Pakistan is urging the Supreme Court to strike down the 18th Amendment which the representatives of the 180-million strong people of Pakistan have made. The question is: Why?

The answer is very simple. The recently published United Nations report on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto has clearly blamed the ISI for not only facilitating her murder, but also hampering the investigation into the murder. Even without the UN report, the people of Pakistan believed that it was the ISI which killed Benazir Bhutto because for her refusal to obey the commands of the Army generals. The UN report, however, has a stamp of legitimacy and objectivity. This is why, no one, not even the Islamofascists of the Pakistan media and politics, have been able to question the credibility of the report. Now there is no legal hindrance for the government to take action against criminal generals of the Pakistan Army. But it is a known fact that the Army as an institution is above law. But the stature of Benazir is so high that it may be difficult for the generals to escape justice given Pakistani masses’ anti-Army and anti-ISI sentiments in the backdrop of Benazir’s assassination.

Thus the ISI has gone back to its time-tested tactics: Create an issue and set corrupt media into action so that the real issue gets submerged in confusion. The likes of Akram Sheikh can sell their mothers to serve a cause which gives them a lot of material benefits. This is not the first time that the ISI has thrown up colorful rabbits up in the air to take people’s attention off a real issue like Benazir’s assassination. The second tactic of the ISI is to blame Benazir’s own People Party for her assassination. This too has started as we can see retired army officers and ISI-funded “analysts” and “journalists” churning out conspiracies against the leaders of the People’s Party.

Prediction: If history is any guide, the ISI/Army will once again succeed in confusing the situation. No Army man will be punished for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

How Pakistan’s judicial system promotes the Shia holocuast

How Pakistan’s judicial system promotes the Shia holocuast

Picture Source: Attack on a Shia funeral in D.I. Khan

Yesterday, the LUBP posted an article about Malik Ishaq, a most dangerous terrorist of Sipah-e-Sahaba, who is about to be released by Shahbaz Sharif’s government. Previously we have pointed to the sinister affiliation between various members of the PML-N’s government in Punjab, namely Rana Sanaullah (Law Minister) and the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Sharif and various sectarian and jihadi groups. We have also witnessed Shahbas Sharif’s request to the Taliban to spare Punjab from their terrorist activities. All of this points towards two troubling facts, i.e., (1) PML-N, the second largest political party in Pakistan, has consistent affiliation with and soft corner towards jihadi and sectarian organisations, and (2) Punjabi judges (under the leadership ofKhawaja Sharif and Iftikhar Chaudhry) are working really very hard in order to set free any terrorists which are currently in police’s custody. (Abdul Nishapuri)

Here is an editorial on this topic published in Daily Times today:

Where terrorists walk free

Editorial

One of the founding members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the notorious sectarian outfit, is reportedly going to be set free soon after 13 years. Malik Ishaq, self-confessed hitman of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, who himself admitted to a local Urdu daily in October 1997 that he had been “instrumental in the killing of 102 people”, will be a free man if reports are to be believed. The plight of Fida Hussain Ghalvi is even worse than those hundreds of people’s families who have been killed by Malik Ishaq himself or at his behest. Ghalvi lost 12 family members when Ishaq and his seven allies attacked a majlis. Mr Ghalvi has been persistently fighting for justice since the last 13 years. In an exclusive interview with this newspaper, Mr Ghalvi recounted the hardships he has had to face in pursuing this case. From death threats to living a life in isolation, this journey has been an extremely painful one. The news of Ishaq’s release has obviously come as a shock to Mr Ghalvi and many others. It just goes to show how difficult it is for the victims of terror to get justice in a country where criminals walk free.

Pakistan finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Dealing with economic problems on the one hand and fighting the war on terror on the other has made things difficult for the state. On top of that we are now seeing a resurgence of sectarian terrorism in the country. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is one of the most prominent sectarian militant groups in Pakistan. An offshoot of Sipah-e-Sahaba, the members of this group have unleashed terror against the Shia community for decades now. To see one of its founding members getting ‘freedom’ due to “lack of evidence” raises important questions about the system’s inadequacy to tackle cases related to terrorism. Malik Ishaq was charged with the murder of 70 people in 44 different cases but he could not be convicted because there was not enough evidence against him. This case indicates why there is virtually no conviction of terrorists in Pakistan. Eyewitnesses either did not come forward for fear of retribution, or when they did appear to testify, they were killed; police officials pursuing the case were threatened; judges were intimidated to change their verdicts.

If Pakistan is to rid itself of terrorists, it has to revamp its justice system. When cases against terrorists are brought to court, the reason many witnesses do not venture forth is due to fear. Pakistan needs a proper witness protection programme. Not many people are as brave as Mr Ghalvi. The police, the prosecutors, the judges and the witnesses in such cases need state protection. The next step would be to deal with the lacunae in the prosecution process, which cannot be done overnight. The police are already overburdened. A separate prosecution branch should be formed to deal with such cases with good investigators and highly competent lawyers to steer the cases through the courts. We also need proper forensic labs to collect and scrutinise evidence. When the courts are unable to convict these terrorists, it is mostly because the prosecution fails to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. We have seen this in Hafiz Saeed’s case. There should be a special law for terrorism-related cases whereby it can be ensured that these monsters are not let loose on society and wreak havoc all over again. The hydra of terrorism has to be quashed or else this country will see many more cold-blooded murderers terrorising innocent citizens. *

Source: http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20104\23\story_23-4-2010_pg3_1

“Genocide” Game in the South Caucasus

[The American/Israeli “genocide game” is either a political football, or a grenade, depending upon how you want to view the ongoing divide and rule tactic being deployed to gain full control of the region.  The author of the following report is correct that use of this strategy will not gain the Empire its objectives–only cooperation for mutual gain will create the necessary conditions to harvest the hydrocarbons for which the world hungers.  SEE:  The Peace Pipeline ]

“Genocide” Game in the South Caucasus

“Genocide” Game in the South Caucasus

Dr. Elnur Aslanov, Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of the department of political analysis and information provision

(milliyet.com.tr)The August war of 2008 showed the fragility of security in the Caucasus and that the unresolved conflicts were major threats to peace and stability in the region. Establishing an enduring peace in the region requires the resolution of these conflicts. The South Caucasus Cooperation and Stability Platform, proposed by Turkey in the aftermath of the August war and based on the idea of “cooperative security”, was not new for us. The late President, Heydar Aliyev, proposed a similar form of cooperation in the late 1990s. Its success entails, in the first place, the eradication of enmity between states and a clear willingness to compromise for a common future. Armenia, however, is holding up these two processes in the region.

Turkey has seen how difficult it is to expect a contribution to regional security from a country that labels the eastern territories of Turkey as “Western Armenia” in the 11th article of its Declaration of Independence, in so doing, violating the principles of international law on the integrity of borders, and that considers “the international recognition of the 1915 genocide” the principal duty of the state in the same article. It prefers blackmail to mutual understanding in Turkish-Armenian negotiations.

These issues have dominated the Turkish agenda for the last year. Azerbaijan, 20 per cent of whose territory is occupied, has seen Armenia’s unconstructive position in negotiations for more than 20 years. Today, the updated Madrid principles are on the negotiating table. Azerbaijan, despite its shortcomings, is willing to accept this proposal for the sake of peace and accord in the region. Armenia, on the contrary, is not constructive.  It does not accept the proposals, protracts the process and brings the negotiations back to square one with its absurd proposals.

We understand that the ideology of “genocide” is important to Armenia. This idea has been the crux and backbone of Armenian national existence for decades. Open discussion of this subject will reveal that it is not historical reality, but an ideological, made-up story, which may be tragic for Armenia. They understand this full well. The main reason behind Armenia’s unwillingness to sign the protocols and the manipulative processes associated with it is the fear that light will be shed on this ideological, made-up story. This is what Armenia is scared of, despite trying to create an image that “we are not scared of historical realities”, by signing the protocols in Zurich. The increased activity of the Armenian lobby for “recognition of the genocide”, while the protocol process is ongoing, is thus, understandable. The removal of the Protocols from the Armenian National Assembly agenda by the ruling coalition in parliament two days before 24th of April starkly reveals the true face of the Armenian leadership and its maneuvers.

The victims of the so-called Armenian “genocide” ideology are Azerbaijanis. It should not be forgotten that the violent massacre of Azerbaijanis, who have the same ethnic roots as Turks, in various Azerbaijani regions in 1918 and in Khojaly in February 1992, were the consequences of the hatred and revenge born of the “genocide” ideology and imposed on the Armenian nation for decades. Why don’t those talking about Armenians, who fled during the events of 1915, in their every step, do not mention about one million Azerbaijani IDPs who were expelled from their lands by Armenians in 1988-94?

The attempts to separate the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia from the protocol process are ludicrous. In a process, that pursues peace and stability in the region, the Armenian side perceives the occupation as part of regional security. Regrettably, some powers apply double standards to the occupation of Azerbaijani territories. The four resolutions on withdrawal from the occupied territories, adopted by the UN Security Council 15 years ago, remain unimplemented. To issue peaceful statements in the region on the one hand, and to support the invaders on the other, I believe, is sufficient proof of double standards.

How is it possible that the West supports Armenia, which avoids research into historical facts and makes baseless claims, and does not demand that Armenia revert to the legal situation, let alone impose sanctions on a country that has violated the principles of international law? The OSCE Minsk Group, mediating the negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia, has come up with initiatives for years, but cannot deal with the occupiers – Armenia (or maybe they do not want to).

Armenia occupies the territories of a neighboring country, commits ethnic massacres, has territorial claims against the other two neighbors (Turkey and Georgia), uses every possible mean to promote the so-called “genocide” (except the research into historical facts), and, last but not least, gets support from the West.

Unfortunately, today, the South Caucasus needs two factors: a fair international approach to the process and a responsible and peaceful Armenia.

US Agents Detained Pakistanis In Peshawar Consulate

US Agents Detained Pakistanis In Peshawar Consulate

http://www.ahmedquraishi.com/genex/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/USCon-Pesh-Reuters-5apr10.jpg

Security forces stand at the site of the Pakistani Taliban attack outside the U.S. consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, on April 5, 2010

Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

By SYED FAWAD ALI SHAH

WWW.PAKNATIONALISTS.COM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan–Private US defense contractors held Pakistani and Afghan citizens kidnapped from Pakistani tribal territory inside the building of the US Consulate in Peshawar when it was attacked by armed men on April 5.

Immediately after the attack, US diplomats and employees in the consulate were shifted to the American-run Khyber Club in the University Town suburb of Peshawar. US military and intelligence personnel moved the detained Pakistanis and Afghans to Islamabad, either to the US Embassy building or to one of its several safe houses in the Pakistani capital.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has been attacking Chinese, Sri Lankan and Pakistani citizens during the past five years. This was a rare attack against US interests by the group.

Sources in several Pakistani security agencies in Peshawar knew of US activities and considered them part of US help to Pakistan to fight terrorists. But it is not clear if US personnel had the authority to nab Pakistani citizens or any other nationals on Pakistani soil.

US private security contractors maintain a spy network in Pakistan’s tribal belt, first allowed by former President Musharraf but expanded during the two years of President Zardari’s government.

US agents are on the lookout for leads to Afghan Taliban contacts.  But in recent months they have developed a new enmity with the Pakistani Taliban, which spared the Americans during the past five years.

The shift in Pakistani Taliban’s position took place after the Pakistani military forced the US to end the CIA practice of sparing Pakistani Taliban targets using its unmanned drones. The final blow was the attack against a CIA base in Khost near the Pakistani border for which Pakistani Taliban took responsibility.  It was the first attack by Pakistani Taliban groups against the US.  Until then, CIA agents and other third country intelligence operatives have been in contact with the Pakistani Taliban for the past five years, considering the group a possible silent partner inside Pakistani territory.

ANP SUPPORT

Peshawar is also one city in Pakistan where US is expanding its presence. According to sources close to the ANP, the ruling party in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the provincial government has allowed US government and military special facilities at the Peshawar international airport where US cargo and personnel can enter and exit the country with minimal interference from Pakistani civil aviation and security authorities.

The move seems to undercut a decision taken by Pakistani security officials in the federal government to end similar concessions given to Washington by former President Musharraf. These concessions were quietly withdrawn in summer 2009. At the time instructions were also given to the Pakistan Foreign Office to inform the US Embassy in Islamabad that all US cargo into Pakistan must enter through the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad and not through any of the four provincial capitals: Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi and Lahore.

All the three coalition partners in the federal government – PPPP, ANP and MQM – maintain close and direct ties with Washington.

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