UN, France and US in Libya and Ivory Coast–using violence and Islamic forces just like Kosovo

UN, France & US in Libya and Ivory Coast: using violence and Islamic forces just like Kosovo

Apr 7, 2011

By Lee Jay Walker | The current problems in Libya and Ivory Coast are complex and clearly the opposition has different aspirations.  After all, both sides are involved in a bloody conflict and the use of violence is being used by each faction in these divided nations.  Therefore, it appears that the “new democratic warriors” of peace and freedom carry guns and kill their enemies, just like their enemies would kill them.

This article is not about defending the leaders of either nations and clearly the leader of Libya is known for being despotic and obsessed by political power.  Also, forces loyal to Gaddafi care little about human rights and political freedom and it is abundantly clear that Libya does not have a future under him.

However, the United Nations and France, which are involved in bombing both Libya and the Ivory Coast,; do seem to have an agenda where you support the uprisings and if they kill in “whatever name” then it is fine but if central forces fight back then they deserve to be bombed into submission.

In the Ivory Coast it was reported that forces loyal to the Muslim led forces of Alassane Ouattara have just massacred between 800 and 1,000 Christians in the Ivory Coast.  Alassane Ouattara is being supported by America, Europe and the United Nations and it is noticeable that once the forces who are loyal to the Christian leader, Laurent Gbagbo, were bombed by France and the UN; then the Muslim led forces of Alassane Ouattara began their onslaught and massacres are ensuing.

However, in the new democratic world order of President Obama, the European Union and United Nations, this will not infringe on them supporting Alassane Ouattara and the massacre of up to 1,000 Christians will bite the dust before the dust is even settled.

Also, the uprising in Libya is complex because it appears to be an uprising based on regionalism, military splits, nationalists, Islamists, secularists, and a hot-botch of others; but clearly you do have an Islamic angle and Al Qaida hopes to spread radical Sunni Islam in Libya.

It is difficult to see a democratic savior amongst the opposition to Gaddafi in Libya.  This in itself does not mean that Gaddafi must be left alone to kill and attack innocent citizens but once you take sides then the situation becomes even more chaotic.

Added to this is the confusing nature of Libyan politics and power structures and it is hard to see what the future holds for Libya.  It may just be that it is a case of “the devil you know” against the “possible devil that you don’t know” but with the hope that somehow a policy can work.

However, look at Kosovo and the military intervention of this part of Serbia because the objectives in Kosovo appear to be to downsize Serbia and to install a mainly Islamic state at the expense of the deep-rooted Orthodox Christian community.

Kosovo, just like Libya, is witnessing a combined Western elite force which is unifying itself with radical Sunni Islamic and nationalist/regional factions in order to reach an agenda which is only known to the powers that be.

Therefore, in Abidjan the military forces who are loyal to the Christian leader, Laurent Gbagbo, were attacked by a joint operation of United Nation forces and the French army.  This will lead to deadly silence in the so-called “Muslim street” because just like Bosnia, Cyprus, and Kosovo; the “Muslim victim card” does not wash and Christians are once more expendable while power games are being played in higher circles.

America, the United Kingdom, Iran, and a host of other nations and Islamic terrorist movements, were allies in Bosnia and thousands of Islamists were given a free hand to massacre innocent Christian civilians.  At the same time, the Islamic network of Al Qaida (Al Qaeda) obtained a foothold in Europe via Bosnia. Therefore, some Islamic terrorists who were involved in September 11 and Madrid had helped the Islamic jihad in Bosnia by killing Christians and plotting future terrorist attacks.

Why is it that when four million mainly African Christians and Animists were killed in Sudan by the Arab Sunni Islamic elites that nothing was done?  Why is it deemed allowable for Sunni Islamic forces to kill and persecute Shia Muslims in Bahrain and Yemen?

However, when it comes to the Ivory Coast and Libya then the West desires to get involved.  More alarming, even after a massacre of between 800 and 1,000 Christians took place in the Ivory Coast then very little was said by President Obama and other leading political figures.  Yet the power mechanisms of the UN and France are still supporting the massacres alongside the Muslim leadership despite the complex nature of the civil war.

The lesson from Kosovo was that it was fine to massage reality and then to allow the dismantlement of Orthodox Christian churches throughout Kosovo.  Indeed, it is obvious that elements within the American administration, under Bill Clinton, and the British government, under Tony Blair, had hoped that the Christian Orthodox community would be cleansed entirely because this would solve any lingering doubts of who owned Kosovo.

Therefore, Western forces supported the terrorist deemed KLA according to America prior to the conflict in Kosovo.  However, Bill Clinton overturned this and the KLA became freedom fighters over night. This pro-Muslim Albanian policy meant that an alliance of democratic nations, Islamists, Albanian nationalists, narcotic gangs, and others; formed an alliance with the upshot being the support of a narcotic tainted and organ transplant tainted leader called Hashim Thaci.

Despite Hashim Thaci and other leaders in Kosovo being implicated in the organ transplant scandal where people were murdered for organs. Little appears to change and this episode is a watershed because it shows you the complete lack of morals within the elites of the democratic world.

Also, the media logic and Western logic is very fickle and based on a short time frame in order to pander and indoctrinate by using massive propaganda.  Say for example that Slobodan Milosevic was wrong and that he was an evil dictator; does this vindicate taking Kosovo from Serbia?

How can a short period of history over-run hundreds and hundreds of years of Christian persecution, massacres, pogroms, and utter dhimmitude at the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.  Yes, an Islamic empire in the heart of Europe which enslaved and took Christian boys from their parents by implementing the barbaric devsirme system and converting them to Islam.

However, in the bankrupt policy of Kosovo, which is now being implemented in the Ivory Coast; you have outsiders intervening within complex areas and you have no simple answers.

The same applies to Libya and while the leader of this nation does not deserve people to shed tears for him because of his despotism and past policies; this does not mean that the West should once more support Islamists, just like they did in Bosnia and Kosovo, because this policy is not only immoral it is dangerous.  After all, September 11 and Madrid, and other major terrorist attacks, have their links to the Bosnian Islamic jihad.

Steven Emerson, The Investigative Project on Terrorism and leading international figure in exposing terrorist networks, highlighted the current reality of Libya by stating that “The mounting violence in Libya could have the unintended consequence of reviving radical Islamists including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a terror organization aligned with al-Qaida.”

“As Muammar Gaddafi’s 41-year-old dictatorship totters on the brink, U.S. policymakers should pay close attention to reports that LIFG members are being released from Libyan jails, according to Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury Department official who monitors jihadist organizations. Until now, the LIFG has been essentially moribund inside Libya since Gaddafi’s regime launched a repression campaign against it in the late 1990s.”

In Bosnia and Kosovo the Clinton administration only paid attention to terrorist Islamic networks by working towards “similar objectives” and maintaining channels which were distant, however, it is hard to keep this channel too distant when America and other nations allowed nations like Iran to violate the UN military arms embargo.

Also, thousands of Islamists from nations like Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, and homegrown Islamists in the United Kingdom, were given the green light to enter and somehow escape all those national security passport agencies.  Not only this, the Bosnian Muslim government was issuing passports to Islamic terrorists and clearly the Clinton administration understood the “Islamic rat lines.”

Steven Emerson continues by commenting that “In February 2006, the Treasury Department announced it was formally designating four organizations and five individuals as financial supporters of the LIFG, “an al Qaida affiliate known for engaging in terrorist activity in Libya and cooperating with al Qaida worldwide.” Patrick O’Brien, assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing and financial crime, said the LIFG “threatens global safety and stability through the use of violence and its ideological alliance with al Qaida.”

The current situation in Libya is complex and how do you keep Islamists out of the opposition and how do you unite an ad hoc mixture of radical Sunni Islamists, disgruntled army units, democrats, socialists, and a mixture of other forces and added to this you have regionalism and tribal based loyalties.

Similarly, how can America, France, the UN, and others, support the Muslim opposition leader against the Christian leader of Laurent Gbagbo?  Who is to say which side is open to democracy and greater religious freedom and what policies are in place in order to stop the bloodletting?

Therefore, we have the global disgrace of UN forces and France bombing forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo in the Ivory Coast and this is happening amidst a massacre of between 800 Christians to 1,000 Christians in Duekoue by mainly Muslim forces who are loyal to Alassane Ouattara.

This shame applies to many democratic nations who still support Hashim Thaci and Kosovo independence.  After all, Kosovo Albanians have destroyed countless numbers of Christian churches and ancient monuments after the war and more alarming the leader is being implicated with organ trafficking and other evil deeds.

Vojin Joksimovich, in his article called Grisly Albanian Organ Harvesting Crimes: Is Justice Going To Be Served, comments that “In my late December essay Amorality of US Kosovo Policy: Friends with the Snake “I have published reactions to the Council of Europe (CoE) 27-page report authored by the Swiss-Italian politician, senator and prosecuting lawyer Dick Marty. The report, after his two-year investigation, claimed that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) thugs headed by the current Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci, known as the “Snake,” abducted mostly Kosovo Serbs but also some Albanian so called “collaborators,” transported them to northern Albania, murdered them, extracted their organs like the kidneys, and sold them on the black market. These macabre Nazi/Croatian Nazi style crimes were covered up by the leading international organizations such as the UN, NATO, OSCE as well as the governments of leading western countries. NATO’s secret documents as well as an UN report have been leaked out clearly demonstrating that both of those international organizations had full knowledge of these grisly crimes and opted to cover them up in addition to several western governments, the U.S. and Germany in particular. While a EULEX investigation is being launched, it will focus on the grisly crimes committed by the Snake and his thugs but will not include an investigation of those who enabled these crimes to be covered up for over a decade. In addition, it is doubtful if EULEX is capable of conducting an all-encompassing inquiry. Hence, the most important question needs to be posed: Is the justice going to be served?”

The question raised by Vojin Joksimovich is important and it also applies to the Bosnian civil war whereby Islamists from all over the world were given a free reign to slaughter Orthodox Christians.  It now also applies to the massacre of Christians in the Ivory Coast where UN forces and France are in collusion with one faction over another, despite the massacre that their allies have just done.

Also, like Steven Emerson warns about Libya, the situation on the ground is very complex and Islamists may fill the vacuum or just like Bosnia and Kosovo; then Islamists in Libya may be supported from a distance.

Of course Bosnia, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, and Libya respectively are complex and you have no easy solutions but supporting either terrorist organizations or turning a blind eye to massacres, while continuing to support forces deemed “legitimate,” can’t be the answer.

Also, the West may have stepped into Bosnia and helped the Muslim cause just like they supported the Turkish invasion of Cyprus or at worse allowed it to happen; but despite this some Sunni Islamists used Bosnia on their way to doing September 11 and Madrid; if this does not alarm you then you can ignore the “fog of war” in Libya but the long term consequences are still unknown apart from the fact that Al Qaida will try to fill part of the vacuum or to at least exploit the situation.

Meanwhile, the debacle in Ivory Coast is shaming the name of France and the UN because nothing was done to stop the massacre of between 800 and 1,000 Christians and not only this, both France and the UN are supporting the mainly Muslim forces which did this massacre.

Lee Jay Walker is a reporter for the Modern Tokyo Times

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Conflicting reports about the fate of the President of Yemen after the bombing of the presidential headquarters in Sana’a

Conflicting reports about the fate of the President of Yemen after the bombing of the presidential headquarters in Sana’a

Site Editor
Yemeni sources reported that a number of senior officials were injured in the bombing of the presidential residence in Sanaa on Friday. The sources pointed out that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Prime Minister were among the wounded. And press sources indicated that Saleh was inside the mosque during the presidential bombing and was slightly injured. In a story for later said a leader of the ruling party said that President Saleh is alive and hold a news conference shortly after. State television also announced that the Yemeni President Saleh, who was injured Friday in a fire shells at Masjid Dar Presidency “doing fine.”
For its part, said sources in the opposition Yemeni President Saleh could have been killed during the escape from the presidential house. On the other hand, media reports indicated that among the wounded Yemeni Prime Minister and Vice President and Speaker of Parliament, which described his condition as serious. Were killed 4 of the Presidential Guard officers in Yemen. There has been no official confirmation from the Yemeni authorities in this regard.

The battled forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh, with tribal fighters in the capital on Thursday in battles that killed dozens, while the U.S. envoy touring the region. The cause of the heavy fighting in the streets of Sanaa, which erupted after the protests demanding the fall of the benefit since January in the killing of at least 135 people during the past ten days, raising concern about the fate of Yemen, which already stands on the brink of economic disaster. The fierce fighting continued until late into the night, witnesses said that “security forces fired live bullets at the protesters.” State television showed live pictures of the building Yemen Airways is on fire and threw the blame on the tribesmen in the blaze.

Morocco–Pro-Democracy Movement Faces State Repression

Morocco: Pro-Democracy Movement Faces State Repression

Written byHisham Almiraat

This post is part of our special coverage Morocco Protests 2011.

When earlier this year a small group of Moroccan activists launched a Facebook campaign asking people to demonstrate on February 20, 2011, no one could predict that the call would drive a nationwide movement for change. Three months and a dozen marches, sit-ins and rallies later, the Moroccan blogosphere is asking where should the movement go from here and what new strategies to adopt in face of the mounting police repression.

For many, the movement has achieved what political parties have failed to do in several decades: breathe new life into the political system in Morocco and force the monarchy to concede reforms. But as the movement vows to keep up pressure on the regime by calling for weekly, nonviolent demonstrations across the country, the authorities seem increasingly determined to repress protests in the streets, while at the same time launch a campaign to discredit the movement.

Casablanca Protests – Pictures published on Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 licence

Some bloggers are suggesting the “February 20″ youth movement should consider a strategic turn. Others are warning that the repressive attitude adopted by the regime could ultimately lead to a radicalization of a protest movement that has so far been careful not to attack the regime head on.

Blogger Mullionel believes that the escalation in police violence could radicalize the protesters and lead to a situation where authorities could lose control. He writes:

There is an ever increasing danger of serious slippage with the current policy of repression. It may provide a fortuitous spark to radicalize the majority of protesters who are, so far, calling for democratic reforms and not an end to the regime as in Libya and Syria.
Last week’s reports have shown officers clubbing a woman holding a child. Such scenes showcase how easy it is for events to go out of control and for a seminal and powerful scene to happen and to be instantly transmitted for everyone, which will lead to an increased radicalization, and a larger dissent among the public.
Recent development in neighbouring countries has shown that increased repression often leads to bigger opposition because the wall of fear has crumbled across the region.

Chana Nawfel is concerned about the polarization of opinions around the pro-democracy movement, especially, he says, after the violent police crackdown of last Sunday’s (May 29) protests. He writes [fr]:

On parle de plus en plus de radicalisation de la rue après les effusions de sang du dimanche dernier. Ce n’est pas faux, mais la radicalisation est bipartite : Il y a une partie des manifestants qui souhaite désormais élever le seuil des revendications et commence à pointer du doigt la monarchie, mais il y a une autre radicalisation tout aussi grave : une partie des citoyens, non hostile au changement à la base, se radicalise en refusant désormais d’y contribuer, à cause de certains préjugés sur le mouvement du 20 février ou quelques un de ses membres. Les deux radicalisations se nourrissent l’une de l’autre : la surenchère des revendications irrite les conservateurs, et la sclérose des royalistes enrage les progressistes; et chacun campe dans son ghetto. Cela ne fait que fragiliser la cohésion sociale, indispensable à la création d’un contre-pouvoir, seul garant d’une réelle avancée démocratique.

We hear more and more about the radicalization of the street after the bloodshed of last Sunday. This isn’t untrue, but the radicalization is two-way: There are protesters who are now ready to raise the level of demands and start pointing the finger at the monarchy, and then there is another, equally serious radicalization, of some citizens, not fundamentally opposed to change but who refuse to take part because of certain misconceptions about the “February 20″ movement or some of its members. Both feed the radicalization of one another: the escalating demands irritate conservatives while the royalists’ inflexibility enrages progressives, and everyone is camping in its own ghetto. This only undermines social cohesion, which is indispensable to the creation of a power balance, the only guarantee of real progress towards democracy.

Ahmed T.B. warns that if the repressive approach adopted by the Moroccan police continues, the worst may yet to come. He writes:

The more the government uses violence to suppress demonstrations, the more the people will take to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction. We are not far from the day when young demonstrators will stop running, and instead clench their fists on the throats of those uniformed brutes and their walkie-talkie totting commanders. The odds for a peaceful transition are slim. I fear the worst is yet to come.

Nadir Bouhmouch is a Moroccan filmmaker and activist. He fears the repressive attitude of the state is plunging the “February 20″ movement into a monotonous stalemate. He believes the image projected by the movement is just as important as the message it intends to convey. He writes:

Recently, the state upped it’s efforts to block the people from protesting by utilizing violence. Consequently, the people themselves have begun to take a different, less coherent and sometimes more belligerent approach. This change in attitudes is perceptible: the aesthetic appeal of the protests has been significantly compromised. We no longer see the poetry circles and freeze flash mobs, we no longer see a significant number of women, we barely even see any banners or flags! A protest without something to visually designate it’s message is a failed protest. The aesthetic appeal of a protest is what makes it attractive to the media. The revolution in Egypt, for example, provided the cameras of the world with spectacular images of diversity in the crowd, creative banners and innumerable flags. It had an appeal.

Nadir goes on suggesting a few steps which, he says, could add some color to the movement:

1. Women must be encouraged to join.
2. Carry a banner or a flag.
3. Create an art piece; sing, dance, write, film or paint for the movement.
4. Hold an independent film screening.
5. Hold an art show.

Youness Benmoumen writing on Capdéma shares his fears about the crisis he thinks the Moroccan society is now embroiled in. He writes:

J’ai peur de ce peuple que notre gouvernement est en train de nous forger. Il est fait de trop de serveurs, de femmes de chambres et de désœuvrés débrouillards. Voila pour leurs conditions économiques. Il est fait de trop de soumis et de trop de révoltés. Voila pour leurs conditions politiques. Ces deux ensembles préparent un avenir inquiétant. Ce n’est pas là une société pacifiée que je vois, mais un ensemble décousu, où une part que l’on voudra toujours majoritaire, sera satisfaite par peur du pire, et l’autre révoltée parce que le vivant.

I am afraid of the kind people our government is forging for us. Too many servers, housekeepers and idle unemployed people. So much for their economic conditions. Too many resigned and too may rebellious. So much for their political conditions. Both groups are building a worrying future for this country. This is not a peaceful society that I see, but a disjointed set, where one part, that we always wish it was the majority, will be satisfied out of fear of the worst, and the other one revolted because it is living through that same worst.

Younes continue saying:

A ces inconscients qui ordonnent la matraque : vous transformez le besoin de réformes en envie de révolution. Les humiliations peuvent être ravalées, mais point trop n’en faut. Elles se vomissent aussi.

At these unconscious people who order the beating of protesters by truncheons, you are transforming the desire to reform into a desire for revolution. Humiliations can be swallowed for some time, but there comes a moment when all is spewed out.

This post is part of our special coverage Morocco Protests 2011.

Written by Hisham Almiraat

Yemen President Saleh killed: opposition TV says

Yemen President Saleh killed: opposition TV says

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Yemen on the brink, posted with vodpod

SANAA | Fri Jun 3, 2011 8:38am EDT

(Reuters) – Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on Friday after an attack on the presidential palace, Suhail, a TV station run by the country’s opposition, reported.

The presidential palace was hit by shells earlier on Friday during fighting between Saleh’s forces and a powerful tribal federation.

(Reporting by Mohamed Sudam; Editing by Jon Herskovitz)

If India and Pakistan Come to Nuclear Blows, Blame U.S.–Mishra

If India and Pakistan Come to Nuclear Blows, Blame U.S.: Mishra

By Pankaj Mishra

June 3 (Bloomberg) — Are India and Pakistan likely to stumble into nuclear war? This appalling possibility has long been kept alive by conflicts between the two historical enemies, but it may have been pushed closer to fulfillment by a catastrophic failure of U.S. foreign policy in South Asia.

In recent weeks, a cover story in the Economist on the world’s “most dangerous border” described Pakistan’s rush to militarize its nuclear capacity, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warned of a pre-World War I, Balkans-like scenario in South Asia that leads to a global conflict.

Other developments, which have largely escaped the radar of Western commentators, give deeper cause for foreboding. A day after U.S. Navy seals killed Osama Bin Laden, the Indian army and air chiefs declared that the Indian military was capable of mounting similar operations in Pakistan. Pakistan’s spy chief, Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, responded with the claim that the Pakistani military had already rehearsed retaliatory strikes on India.

This isn’t just playground posturing. Soon after conducting nuclear tests in 1998, India’s Hindu nationalist government threatened Pakistan with an “all-out war.” The rhetoric on the other side of the border was no less temperate. In 2001, the Hindu nationalist-led government responded to a terrorist attack by Pakistan-trained militants on India’s Parliament by mobilizing hundreds of thousands of troops on the border. Both nations eventually pulled back from the brink.

Angry Indian Politicians

But since then, terrorist attacks, such as the one on Mumbai in November 2008, routinely provoke angry calls from Indian politicians and news commentators for surgical strikes on training camps and headquarters of extremist groups in Pakistan.

Writing as Israel pounded Gaza a few weeks after the Mumbai attacks, the former diplomat Shashi Tharoor spoke of India’s “Israel envy.” Indians know that war with Pakistan would be catastrophically counterproductive. Yet, as he wrote, “when Indians watch Israel take the fight to the enemy, killing those who launched rockets against it” some of them “cannot resist wishing that they could do something similar in Pakistan.”

One reason India hasn’t is that since 2004 it has had a prime minister, Manmohan Singh, who remains committed to improving relations with Pakistan. (That Singh is one of an aging generation of Sikhs born in undivided India may have something to do with this outlook.) Last month, he distanced himself from India’s Strangelovian military bosses and talking heads, and “a line of thinking” that he said was “mired in a mindset that is neither realistic nor productive.”

Manmohan Singh’s Dilemma

Singh knows that the long-unresolved issue of Kashmir lies at the heart of the tense relationship between India and Pakistan. More than 70,000 people, mostly Muslim, have died in India-administered Kashmir as troops have battled an insurgency backed by Pakistan. Any “Idiot’s Guide to South Asia” will tell you that peace in the region will remain a distant dream until India and Pakistan reach a solution acceptable to Kashmiri Muslims as well as nationalists in both countries.

This will initially require, at the very least, India to shift it troops out of the Kashmir valley, where during the past two summers hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers have confronted increasingly nonviolent and overwhelmingly young Muslim protesters. Unfortunately, India’s new image in Europe and America as a rising power has diminished the Indian appetite for compromise and negotiation.

Following Russia’s Example

Singh faces a strident domestic constituency that believes in isolating and neutering Pakistan while striking Kashmir with what a former Indian diplomat called, invoking Russia’s example in Chechnya, an “iron fist.” There is in India, as in Israel, a public opinion that recoils at the prospect of talking on equal terms with neighbors viewed as terrorists.

As is the case in the Middle East, the only country to have leverage with both parties is the U.S. And there are few obstacles to using this leverage with India. The close American relationship with India is still new, and not captive to domestic politics in the U.S.

Seeking to make India a strategic counterweight to China, and a solid business partner, the administration of George W. Bush rewarded it with an exceptionally generous nuclear deal. Prime Minister Singh expressed the sincere gratitude to India’s pro-American political and business elites when he blurted out to Bush in late 2008, “The people of India deeply love you.” Barack Obama followed up the nuclear agreement with a host of economic deals during his visit to India in November last year.

America’s Dual Role

There is of course an unresolvable contradiction in a foreign policy that builds up India’s military and economic capacity while pushing Pakistan to launch resource-draining campaigns against extremists. Not surprisingly, the sight of the U.S. cozying up to Pakistan’s traditional enemy has made the Islamabad establishment not only more paranoid, but also more duplicitous in its dealings with American military and intelligence.

The diplomatic advantages of the new American intimacy with India have yet to come into clear view. Unlike Bush, President Obama is fully aware of the importance of Kashmir to his most urgent foreign policy challenge: stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan. He came to office claiming that “working with Pakistan and India to try to resolve the Kashmir crisis in a serious way” were among the “critical tasks for the next administration.”

Obama spoke of devoting serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach, and essentially to make the argument to the Indians: “You guys are on the brink of being an economic superpower, why do you want to keep on messing with this?”

Arguing With Pakistan

The argument for the Pakistanis was to be: “Look at India and what they are doing, why do you want to keep being bogged down with this, particularly at a time when the biggest threat now is coming from the Afghan border?”

But as the WikiLeaks cables revealed, the Obama administration surrendered quickly to the Indian ultimatum that the envoy to the region, the late Richard Holbrooke, exclude Kashmir from his responsibilities. Holbrooke himself remained convinced, according to his widow, Kati Marton, that Pakistan would remain unstable and vulnerable to extremism until adequate steps to resolve Kashmir were taken; he advocated more American pressure on India in this regard.

When Obama visited India in late 2010, however, he chose to encourage India’s naively triumphalist self-perception as a country that has “already arrived.’’ It’s unlikely that he subscribes to the anachronistic Cold War binaries of the Bush administration that counterpoised India and China. Yet he carefully avoids mentioning Kashmir in his speeches.

Like the Balkans

Perhaps it’s not too late for Obama to try the more evenhanded and integrated approach to India and Pakistan that he outlined as a candidate. The mood in both countries is febrile – – Kissinger’s analogy with the pre-WWI Balkans is exact in this respect.

The Indian media are giving extensive coverage to the terrorism trial in Chicago that implicates Pakistani intelligence in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Any new terrorist attack originating in Pakistan would vastly increase the number of Indians clamoring for a punitive assault on their malevolent neighbor; and even Prime Minister Singh may not be able to resist them.

Pakistan of course has been readying itself for a military incursion across the border. Last month, it tested a remarkably mobile missile system designed to unleash low-yield nuclear weapons on tank formations. The bin Laden killing and successive attacks by the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda have left its military and intelligence establishments humiliated and seething with anger.

Faced with a rash Indian strike, it might well behave even more recklessly — an increasingly plausible scenario that America’s rigidly compartmentalized policies in South Asia have done little to thwart.

(Pankaj Mishra is a columnist for Bloomberg View. The opinions expressed are his own.)

–Editors: Tobin Harshaw, Brenda Batten

Former Presidents: End the Drug War, Legalize Marijuana

Former Presidents: End the Drug War, Legalize Marijuana

The practical case against prohibition is overwhelming, and the moral case for it is myopic and deeply misguided

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A major report released Thursday by the Global Commission on Drug Policy affirms what we’ve long known: the war on drugs is an abject failure, it empowers criminal organizations that undermine democracy, and it makes drug users and non-drug users alike worse off than they’d otherwise be.”Public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately,” the report states. “That the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won.”

The conclusions are notable mostly because of the people who produced them: former presidents of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the prime minister of Greece, and former high ranking federal officials George P. Schultz and Paul Volcker. The commission had 19 members total. Other notables include writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, and the billionaire Richard Branson, who hammered home the fiscal inefficiency of the drug war. “It’s estimated that over one trillion have been spent on fighting this unwinnable battle,” he said. “A regulated market — one that is tightly controlled, one that would offer support not prison to those with drug problems — would cost tax payers much less money.”

Emphatically as I affirm these conclusions — thrilled as I am that presidents who once implemented drug prohibition have come to see its folly — it is difficult to be optimistic about the prospects for change. It’s been 15 years since William F. Buckley declared in National Review that the war on drugs is lost. We’re living under our third consecutive president who admitted using drugs in youth. Countless law enforcement personnel are willing to acknowledge the folly of prohibition. But the failed policies of old continue anyway against all evidence and common sense.

President Obama promised that if state governments wanted to experiment with medical marijuana dispensaries federal law enforcement wouldn’t interfere, but he hasn’t followed through. In the GOP primary race, all the frontrunners favor a continuation of the war on drugs, while the two candidates who vocally favor decriminalization are openly mocked in the media.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson was on Fox News just the other day talking drug policy. “Half of what we spend on law enforcement, the courts and prisons is drug-related and to what end?” he said. His plan: decriminalize marijuana and treat harder drugs as a public health issue rather than a matter for the criminal justice system. Host Sean Hannity replied on behalf of his audience:

How do you get the conservative base, a lot of which are Christian conservatives — the idea that America would legalize or go down this road is repugnant to me. I don’t think government should have that role in the moral destruction of a human soul, which is predictable by giving them those drugs.

It’s a telling way to frame the issue.

A majority of Americans have persuaded themselves that if they support decriminalizing narcotics, they’ll be complicit in drug abuse. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, they feel no complicity in the horrific consequences of prohibition. The impoverishment of farmers in Colombia and Afghanistan, drug cartels undermining democracy in multiple South and Central American countries, tens of thousands dead in Mexico, violent drug gangs on the streets of America, millions of non-violent offenders in US prisons — these are just some of the actual consequences of the black market in narcotics, and if prohibitionists actually confronted the moral destruction caused bytheir policies, they wouldn’t need Gary Johnson, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, or anyone else to persuade them that by defending the status quo they do harm.

Image credit: Reuters

Pakistan confirms joint intel operations with US

Pakistan confirms joint intel operations with US

AP

In this picture released by Pakistan’s Press information department US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday, May 27, 2011. – Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry says that Pakistani-US teams will carry out joint operations and share intelligence in the campaign against militants.

The announcement suggests the United States and Pakistan are having some success in trying to repair ties following the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

A statement late Thursday from ministry spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said the teams will share intelligence but that it doesn’t necessarily mean US troops would be allowed on Pakistani soil.

The Associated Press reported the plans for a joint intelligence team on Wednesday. The team is expected to draw in part on any intelligence emerging from materials gathered from bin Laden’s hideout in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.