Understanding Empire in Latin America

Understanding Empire in Latin America

Benjamin Dangl

Reviewed: Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, The United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, by Greg Grandin, (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006).

The past ten years in Latin America have witnessed a major shift to the left in both the halls of government power and society. Since the turn of the century, ten different Latin American nations elected leaders who campaigned on platforms to end destructive neoliberal economic policies, resist US imperialism, provide more opportunities and freedoms for a majority of the population through socialistic economic policies, and work for justice through investigations into human rights violations committed during dictatorships. From Honduras to Argentina, and Chile to Venezuela, to varying degrees, presidents followed through on their campaign trail promises, transforming the continent’s political landscape and challenging Washington.

At the same time, the George W. Bush administration became known for largely the opposite of these policies and values. Some of his notable stances included justifying war in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, cracking down on civil liberties and pushing forward on free trade agreements and neoliberal policies around the world. The contrast between Bush and the presidents of Latin America was stark, and resulted in a flurry of newspaper articles and books seeking to explain Bush’s imperial designs, the leftist trend in Latin America and the dynamics of US-Latin American relations.

In Empire’s Workshop:Latin America, The United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism Grandin makes connections between the work of the US empire across decades and presidencies.

“What is happening today in Latin America? To find out, read Empire’s Workshop.” This is what Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had to say about Grandin’s book. Indeed, Empire’s Workshop book provides a road map for understanding the roots of US-Latin American relations and their enduring legacy in Washington.

In Empire’s Workshop, Grandin explores the ways in which foreign policy toward the Middle East during the Bush administration was based on the US policies toward Central America during the Cold War, particularly during the Ronald Reagan administration. With the central thrust of the book being this connection to the Bush administration, Empire’s Workshop provides a brief history of US-Latin American relations from the end of the 1900s onward, then covering history of US interventions and meddling during the 1980s in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, how Washington’s actions there were kept from the US public, and why these actions were commercially lucrative for US businesses.

Grandin writes that Central America served as a kind of testing ground for the American empire following the Vietnam War, a testing ground which Reagan used to rally Christian evangelicals, paramilitaries and conservative politicians. This was rekindled by the imperial presidency of Bush.

Grandin’s investigations yield a number of familiar names. Bush’s Deputy National security Advisor, Elliot Abrams, was Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. In the Iran-Contra investigations, Abrams pleaded guilty but was later pardoned by G. W. Bush. Bush’s Chief Intelligence Officer John Negroponte, was the US Ambassador to Honduras during the Contra War against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and was deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal as well. Otto Reich became Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere in 2002 under Bush, and had founded Reagan’s Office of Public Diplomacy. John Poindexter and John Bolton were involved in the Iran-Contra during Reagan’s terms as well, and later ended up in the Bush administration.

These members of the Reagan administration got their diplomatic and foreign policy feet wet in the bloody conflicts in Central America where they “had near free rein to bring the full power of the United States against a much weaker enemy in order to exorcise the ghost of Vietnam” and made their case for US imperialism in a new era.

Some of the lessons these politicians learned in Central America that were used in the Bush administration included how to wage successful counterinsurgency wars, undermine international law and institutions, strong arm uncooperative local politicians and bureaucrats, and censure and pressure the press. Riech himself founded and ran the State Department Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean, which provided countless op-eds to the media, catered to reporters friendly to Washington’s efforts in Central America while sidelining and intimidating critical journalists and their editors. All of these tactics proved to be useful during the War in Iraq under the Bush administration where many of the same politicians returned to Washington.

Empire’s Workshop was clearly informed by current events in the US. In an interview on Democracy Now!, Grandin discussed how in the time between September 11th, 2001 and the invasion of Iraq, historians, journalists and commentators found it fitting to compare the US to other empires in world history. They looked to Rome, France, Britain, and Germany and Japan following World War II. Grandin said, “they all seemed to ignore the one place where the United States had the most extensive imperial experience, and that was in Latin America. … In Latin America was where the United States learned how to be an exceptional empire, extraterritorial—administer extraterritorial countries without actual direct colonialism.”

One profound connection between the Reagan and G. W. Bush years was the rhetoric being used to drum up support for, and justify, the Bush administration’s wars. In an interview with journalist Jeremy Bigwood, Grandin discusses this link. “It seemed to be unique for the Republican Party to justify militarism in such idealistic terms – ‘bringing democracy to the world.’ Then I realized that this wasn’t actually unique for the Republicans – it was very familiar for anybody who had worked on Latin America, particularly Central America.” Grandin spoke of Reagan elevating the paramilitary Contras fighting the Sandinistas to “the moral equivalents of the U.S. founding fathers and began to justify the patronage of these killers in terms of keeping faith with America’s revolutionary heritage.”

In making such connections, Empire’s Workshop helps us understand the machinations of the Bush administration, and the roots of the imperial policies that have continued into the Barack Obama presidency. This book works as both an accessible primer for those seeking to grasp the history of US-Latin American relations, and as an insightful resource for long-time observers of the region looking for a way to understand the twentieth century’s bloody ties to today’s news headlines.

Washington’s incendiary role in Asia

Washington’s incendiary role in Asia

Bill Van Auken

Washington’s encouragement of South Korea’s live-fire military exercise in disputed waters off the North Korean coast is emblematic of the increasingly incendiary role played by US imperialism in Asia.

The latest round of war games was staged on Yeonpyeong island and was virtually identical to the live-fire artillery drill conducted by South Korean forces there last month. That operation provoked a retaliatory artillery barrage from North Korea that killed two South Korean civilians and two marines and sparked worldwide fears of an outbreak of all-out war on the Korean peninsula.

There was one notable difference between the two military exercises. This time the Pentagon ordered the deployment of some 20 US military personnel on Yeonpyeong to ensure that, in the event of a North Korean response, Washington would have a casus belli to join with the South Korean armed forces in unleashing massive retaliation.

There is no disputing the provocative character of these actions. Yeonpyeong lies little more than seven miles off the North Korean coast (and some 50 miles from South Korea). The waters into which South Korean artillery was lobbing shells and F-15K fighter bombers were dropping bombs are claimed by North Korea, which rejects the so-called Northern Limit Line, unilaterally imposed by the US military at the close of the Korean War in 1953.

Given the sequence of events last month, the US-backed military exercise amounted to a deliberate dare to Pyongyang to strike again, in order to provide the pretext for a South Korean counter-attack. Appealing to his right-wing base and to the military, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has instituted a new policy allowing South Korean forces to unleash disproportionate retaliatory force, meaning air strikes on North Korean targets.  [SEE: South Korea’s Chief of Army and Defense Minister Have Both Quit, Live-Fire Drills Continue]

After North Korea failed to make any military response to Monday’s exercise, Washington and Seoul were reportedly preparing still more drills in order to “send a strong message” to the North and potentially trigger an armed clash.

The US used its veto power and temporary presidency of the United Nations Security Council to turn an emergency session convened Sunday—after deliberate delay—to stonewall efforts to avoid a renewed confrontation between the two Koreas. Russia had called for the session in an effort to prevail on both the North and the South to refrain from further military actions that could lead to war and to have a UN special envoy dispatched to both Seoul and Pyongyang to seek a resolution of the conflict.

Washington, however, was interested not in diffusing the tensions, but in ratcheting them up as a means of pursuing its own strategic interests in the region. US Ambassador Susan Rice rejected any resolution outside of a unilateral condemnation of North Korea and dismissed any other action by the council as irrelevant.

What is the US ruling elite after in its pursuit of an increasingly bellicose policy on the Korean Peninsula, where nearly 34,000 US troops, at least 114,000 Chinese soldiers and as many as four million Koreans died in a brutal war half a century ago?

The principal aim of US policy is not that of preventing military conflict between the two Koreas, but rather exploiting the danger of conflict as a means of exerting pressure on China and countering its increasing economic and political weight throughout Asia.

In an effort to diminish tensions, China sought to convene a meeting of the participants in the Six Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula—the two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan—which have been suspended since 2008. Washington, however, adopted an opposite approach. It hosted its own meeting of the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan in Washington in what amounted to solidifying an anti-Chinese bloc over the Korean crisis.

This has been joined by the nearly continuous staging of a US military show of force in the region, with repeated war games and deployments of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and its battle group in the Yellow Sea, South China Sea and Sea of Japan, in defiance of Chinese protests.

Posing as a champion of freedom of the seas and inserting itself as a defender of China’s adversaries in territorial disputes, such as those over the Spratley and Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, Washington has sought to forge a series of military alliances and agreements aimed at encircling and containing China.

Washington is responding to a profound shift in the geo-strategic situation in Asia and internationally signified by China’s rise to the position of the world’s second largest economy and by the profound crisis of US capitalism. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, the response of the US ruling elite is an attempt to offset economic decline by ever greater reliance on the residual military power of American imperialism.

Increasingly, the US military is being trained to view China as its most likely adversary in the outbreak of a new major war.

This year’s US Joint Forces Command’s Joint Operating Environment (JOE) report—a strategic guide to perceived threats and future deployments of the US military—includes the chilling warning, “The course that China takes will determine much about the character and nature of the 21st Century—whether it will be ‘another bloody century,’ or one of peaceful cooperation.”

It goes on to sketch out potential scenarios for US-Chinese military conflicts, including the possibility of a war for oil between the world’s two largest economies. The document warns that “China’s concern for protecting its oil supplies [in the Sudan]… could portend a future in which other states intervene in Africa to protect scarce resources. The implications for future conflict are ominous, if energy supplies cannot keep up with demand and should states see the need to militarily secure dwindling energy resources.”

In other words, should China’s actions cut across US imperialism’s own attempts to militarily assert its hegemony over the world’s key energy producing regions, the result could be war.

The implications of such a war, between two nuclear-armed powers, are beyond horrific.

Curiously, last week the New York Times ran an article entitled “US Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable,” which dealt with the latest thinking within policy circles on the survivability of a nuclear war.

“We have to get past the mental block that says it’s too terrible to think about,” W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Times. “We have to be ready to deal with it.”

An article that appeared last December in the influential foreign policy journalForeign Affairs indicated that such consideration of the “unthinkable” has been directly focused on China. It cited a study by US nuclear weapons analysts on the “consequences of a US nuclear attack using high-yield warheads” to knock out China’s own intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal.

“Even though China’s silos are located in the countryside,” the article reported, “the model predicted that the fallout would blow over a large area, killing 3-4 million people.”

Two decades after the end of the Cold War, the danger of a nuclear conflagration is greater than ever and is growing, driven by the historic crisis of US and world capitalism. This danger carries with it a threat to the future of all humanity.

The only progressive answer to the poisonous growth of militarism in general and the incendiary role played by US imperialism in particular is the struggle to unite the working class across national boundaries in a common fight for the socialist transformation of society.

West’s Imperial Lust in Afghanistan

West’s Imperial Lust in Afghanistan

By Karamatullah K. Ghori, The Milli Gazette
Published Online: Dec 25, 2010
Print Issue: 1-15 December 2010

Historians through ages have regularly bemoaned Afghanistan’s tragedy as a victim of its geography. Its location as the gateway to India left it prone and vulnerable to the imperial lust of invading conquerors.

There is, however, a major difference between conquering invaders of the past centuries-from Alexander down to Imperial Britain-and those western powers that have been in occupation of Afghanistan since the end of 2001. The past invaders didn’t seek to occupy Afghanistan for the sake of it; they merely used its land corridor to make incursions into the South Asian sub-continent. The only exception to the rule was imperial Britain that tried to occupy it for good because it feared its rival imperial power, Russia, would do it if it didn’t. However, three wars spanning 80 years-later, even that British Empire that otherwise boasted that the sun never set on it gave up its incontinent lust to keep Afghanistan in its imperial bondage.

But the 48-countries-strong armed forces of occupation that have been keeping, or trying to, Afghanistan in their thrall for the past nine years think they will be able to re-write history by fashioning Afghanistan they way they desire it and thus disproving the old historical maxim that no outside power has ever been able to subdue the valiant Afghans.

The 48 armies making up the US-Nato-and like-minded countries’ military presence in Afghanistan believe that they are there not as a force of invasion or occupation but rather to prevent Afghanistan from ever again used as a launch-pad for terror activities in US or anywhere else in the western world. They have been calling themselves, accordingly, as an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help the Afghan government created by them according to their own choice-and convenience, more than anything else-to combat the menace of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They basically think they are in Afghanistan on a ‘humanitarian mission’ to protect and insulate its people against the depredation of the Taliban who had ruled Afghanistan with an iron hand before the cataclysm of 9/11 paved the way for western armies to swoop over the land.

But despite all the sophisticated fire-power at the disposal of this 150,000-strong force-and state-of-the-art weaponry and logistics at its command-this formidable force hasn’t, quite, been able to accomplish its mission of removing the cancer of the Taliban and cleanse the country of their continued presence. After 9 long years, there’s precious little for this huge occupation force to show by way of tangible accomplishments. The Taliban are on rebound. They are resurgent and the western armies have been put on to the back-foot because of their inability to keep the Taliban in check despite tall claims to the contrary routinely made by their leaderships.

ISAF, as the world knows, is basically a handmaiden of US, whose concerns in the wake of 9/11 for security of its homeland had forced its 28 Nato allies, and 20 other like-minded countries, to respond to Washington’s call for arms and men. Under George W. Bush the mission to teach the Taliban a lesson and make them run under the fierce onslaught of this formidable army of occupation was rushed because that warrior-president was anxious to settle scores. The Americans make up the largest contingent-of more than 100,000 soldiers- in ISAF and have, by virtue of it, been dictating policy on war and peace in Afghanistan to its minions and ‘allies.’

President Obama, taking a realistic assessment of the war front-and its impact on the American people-had announced last year that US would start withdrawing its army-in stages, of course, and spread over an unlimited period-with effect from July 2011, even though the Pentagon and its top military brass felt unhappy over their commander-in-chief announcing a timetable which they thought would only help the ‘enemy.’

It seems, however, that in keeping with his now-familiar flip-flop on policy issues and matters of importance, Obama is having serious second-thoughts about his strategy on Afghanistan. And true to esprit de corps that should, logically, be prevailing among the allies contributing to the American war effort and objectives, other western countries and leaders are also on the same page with Obama about a serious policy review on Afghanistan. Birds of a feather, in this case too, seem determined to flock together.

The Nato leaders assembled in Lisbon, Portugal, for two days-November 19 and 20-to take stock of the situation on ground in Afghanistan and devise a common strategy to serve their common interest.

The choice of Lisbon as venue of the summit may have been entirely coincidental but conveyed, as emphatically, the imperialist thrust of this latest western venture in neo-colonialism. Portugal, in the halcyon days of empire-building by maritime-wise- powerful European nations, had taken the lead in implanting the imperialist flag in far off African and Asian colonies.

Lisbon has produced, at the end of two days of intense deliberations, a new resolve by 24 member states of Nato to prolong their ‘mission’ in Afghanistan up to 2014 which according to the Taliban enemy, is a clear admission of the occupation force’s inability to subdue its quarries and prevail upon it on the battle field.

However, even this new deadline, four years hence, is not the bottom line to many a hardened imperialist involved in the game. The joint statement still attaches a caveat: this will be the date to taper off the combat mission if the security environment so permits. Old masters of the imperialist game like Britain, with its capital of experience of Afghanistan at the peak of the 19th century ‘Great Game’ still fresh at its disposal, spelled out unambiguously that combat activity will not, for certain, come to an end in 2014. David Cameron, the newly-anointed scion of the imperialist legacy, proudly and unabashedly informed the world media that his country will not be disappearing from Afghanistan for many more years after 2014.

Obama, whose vacillations on issues of substance are becoming nauseatingly too frequent, desperately tried to be seen still as a man seeking a way out of Afghanistan despite his pathetic foot-dragging, insisted that some token withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would begin in July, 2011, as earlier committed. However, the combat mission will go on for another 3 years, at the very minimum, beyond that now laughable deadline. But, unsurprisingly, in view of his dismal record on keeping his deadlines, there would be few takers of his futile effort to market himself as a man of peace. It seems, increasingly, that Obama hasn’t only owned the Bush wars as his own but is also rapidly veering in the direction of embracing the Bush ‘phobia’ of imperialism, or Pax Americana in the 21st century. In his bid to thwart the neo conservative backlash against him Obama is trying hard to adopt as much of their agenda as possible. However, he’s embarrassing those in the process who had paved the way for him to the White House in the hope of seeing a real ‘change’ in US policies at home and abroad.

On the face of it, the Nato unanimity and consensus on postponing the process of draw-down of combat is an indirect admission of this super alliance’s inability to dent the Taliban resistance against their occupiers. For world and domestic consumptions, however, the change of face is being couched in palatable jargon.

The new mantra of an overwhelming western military presence in Afghanistan is that the local Afghan security apparatus-made up of army and the police-is not ready, yet, and not fully trained to take over the burden of securing the country against the Taliban ‘scourge.’ The combined strength of 200,000 of Afghan army and police is said to be not only half-baked, in terms of its preparedness to deliver, but is also insufficiently equipped. That in itself is an indictment of the puppet Karzai regime in Kabul which has failed to make the best use of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance poured into its coffers by its western mentors over the years. But the indictment applies equally to the mentors themselves; they know little about governance and the interaction of political forces inside Afghanistan. In the case of the Americans, a big chunk of the money is eaten away by private contractors and mercenaries deployed in Afghanistan. Their numbers exceed the strength of the US men in uniform.

The new target in numbers for the Afghan army and police, as enunciated at Lisbon, is to raise them to 306,000 by the autumn of 2011. This target, then, logically presumes that it would still take two to three years to train and equip them fully to live up to the expectations that may be reposed in them.

Cold logic dictates that the new deadline set by Nato, at the behest, clearly, of Washington, should be accepted as such. The made-to-order Afghan leader, President Hamid Karzai, was summoned to Lisbon to put his own seal of approval on the new Nato diktat, which he did without demur. What else could he do? He played strictly according to the guidelines laid down for him and hailed the new pragmatism-which is expediency and political chicanery to most independent observers-of his western supporters and mentors as the most realistic chance for Afghanistan to overcome the huge challenge standing in front of it. He was assured, publicly, by the Nato secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, that “this process will be completed by the end of 2014.”

But the ink had hardly dried on the ostentatious declaration that IMF-that immutable guardian and protector of western imperial interests in the struggling half of the world-announced that Afghanistan will not be able to support, in terms of financing it, this huge number of army and police from its resources until 2023!

In simple language, it translates as giving the western powers at least another decade to keep Afghanistan at their mercy and in bondage.

All these shenanigans aside, however, the elephant in the room at Lisbon that none of the summit participants wished to talk about, was the issue of a national gas pipeline from the Central Asian Republic of Turkmenistan, through Kandahar, in Afghanistan, and down, finally to the Port of Gwadar on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast in the province of Baluchistan.

This pipeline project has been in the works for several years. It’s the very same project the details of which were being negotiated with the Taliban when they were in power until before the 9/11 cataclysm. The Taliban were then considered reliable partners to work with in safeguarding the huge profits that western multi-nationals planned to reap from it.

The pipeline project has already received the formal endorsement of G-8 at their summit in Toronto earlier in summer this year. All these of 8, with the exception of Russia, have their troops involved in Afghanistan. The Asian Development Bank in Manila is the project sponsor and financier. It’s, for all intents and purposes, a done deal.

Washington attaches huge importance to this gas pipeline project in more ways than one. For one, it would reap windfall profits and gains for a number of American companies involved in it. For another-and a major consideration for US enmity against Iran-its completion would then make it unnecessary for Pakistan to work on its bilateral accord with Iran for a natural gas pipeline from Iran to the gas-starved Pakistan. Islamabad has been under enormous pressure from Washington for years-and still is-not to proceed with its deal with Tehran. India will also be a major beneficiary of the Turkmenistan project. A four country summit-India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan-is slated for December this year, under US auspices, at which the formal agreement between these states would be signed to seal the deal.

The pipeline is expected to be completed by 2014, if all goes well in the region around Kandahar. No wonder that all the big guns of Nato are concentrated in and around Kandahar, which has also the notoriety of being the Taliban stronghold.

Any doubts in any minds as to how neatly and smartly the cards are being arranged to marry the imperialist ambitions of a neo-colonialist west with the corporate lust of its multi-nationals? Afghanistan is still the big prize that it was when arch imperialists of 19th century were facing off each other in the then Great Game. History is repeating itself in all of its vicious splendour.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2010 on page no. 26

Pakistan Comes Through for Iran–Chabahar Bomb Suspect Apprehended

[Pak Ministry of Interior now claims no arrest has been made.  SEE:  Pakistan: No Jundallah man arrested]

Riggi may be handed over to Iran soon

Saturday, December 25, 2010

By Amir Mir
LAHORE: Jundallah chief Abdul Rauf Riggi, who was tracked down by Pakistani authorities through his wireless set while he was making a call to a London-based newspaper from his Pak-Iran border area hideout in Balochistan, may soon be handed over to the Iranian authorities after interrogation by Pakistani security agencies.

According to well-informed security officials in Islamabad, the Pakistani agencies had been making frantic efforts to track down Riggi, especially after the December 15 killing of 40 people in a deadly suicide bombing in the Iranian city of Chabahar, when the most wanted Jundallah chief appeared on their radar on December 21, making a call on his wireless set to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, a leading international Arabic newspaper.

As the call had given the Pakistani authorities a fair idea about Riggi’s whereabouts on the Pakistani side of the Iranian border, they moved quickly and detained him in the next 24 hours following a brief commando operation.

Interestingly, the arrest came the day the Pakistani and the Iranian presidents were in Istanbul at the Economic Cooperation Organisation’s summit. Riggi will be handed over to Iran shortly after being interrogated by the Pakistani security and intelligence agencies.

Abdul Rauf Riggi had actually succeeded his elder brother Abdolmalek Riggi as the Jundallah chief following his arrest and subsequent execution in Iran. The elder Riggi was captured in February 2010 in a dramatic operation by the Iranian authorities while he was spotted on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan. The Iranian warplanes subsequently forced the commercial aircraft to land in Iran.

It is widely believed that the “Get Riggi” operation could not have been possible without the help of the Pakistani agencies, which had passed on vital information about his travel plans as soon as he had left an American military base in Afghanistan after holding a clandestine meeting with the Nato military chief there. After a quick trial, Abdolmalek Riggi was sent to the gallows on terrorism charges on June 20, 2010.

Jundallah is a Baluchi insurgent group that operates in the Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran and has substantial presence in the Pak-Iran border belt of Balochistan. The Sunni majority of Sistan-Baluchistan has had tense relations with Iran’s central government since long and the Jundallah leadership claims it is fighting for the interests of Sistan-Baluchistan’s large ethnic Baluch community.

Jundallah or the Army of God claims to represent the rebel Sunni community of the Iranian Baluch. One of the brothers — Abdolgafoor Riggi — had executed a suicide car bombing on December 28, 2008, targeting the headquarters of Iran’s joint police and anti-narcotics unit in Saravan city.

Since then, Jundallah has carried out several deadly suicide bombings in Iran, the latest being the December 15 suicide bombings in the Iranian city of Chabahar. In a telephone call hardly 24 hours after the Chabahar attack, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had lodged a protest with his Pakistani counterpart President Zardari and asked him to order his security forces to quickly arrest ‘known terrorists’ and hand them over to Iran.

President Zardari assured the Iranian president that Pakistan would not withhold any help in uprooting terrorism. On December 20, a few days after Ahmadinejad and Zardari had spoken, the Iranian government hanged 11 members of Jundallah who were convicted of bombings in Iran that killed 15 policemen and 12 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The next day, on December 21, a furious Abdulrauf Riggi made a phone call to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper and threatened Tehran that an official of the Iranian nuclear plant, who was kidnapped by Jundallah in October this year, would be executed shortly if the group’s demands for the release of over 200 militants and political prisoners being held in the Iranian jails were not met.

Riggi had added that the likely execution of the Iranian official should also be taken as a reaction to the execution of 11 Baluch in Iran, who he said were innocent civilians and had nothing to do with Jundallah. While releasing his interview 24 hours before his arrest, the newspaper said that Rigi was speaking on the phone from ‘somewhere inside Balochistan mountains.’