[The fat old camel-herder actually came-out and admitted the obvious (SEE: Saudi King Abdullah Owns the War Crimes Being Committed By Gen. al-Sisi). Now what is Obama to do? By publicly embracing the idea of crushing Middle Eastern democratic activism with bullets and clubs, even though it has cost hundreds of lives wherever the Saudi solution has been enacted, Abdullah is openly promoting dictatorship over democracy. Everything that Washington does is wrapped-up in an American flag and called “Democracy.” If we allow the Saudi totalitarian model to prevail over the “Democratic” model then we embrace our own destruction and lose all reason and pretense for further foreign aggressions. With no excuse to “help,” nations to “embrace democracy,” the Pentagon plans for eternal “humanitarian wars” go down the drain. Obama was sure that his Arab friends would handle the Syrian and Greater Middle East operations for him, when all they did was to divide it all up between themselves. When the Saudis were given the “green light” to sabotage the Qataran “Islamist” solutions to everything, I am certain that Obama didn’t have a clue that the Saudis would sabotage his entire Middle East project. Obama thought that he was gaining control of his Middle Eastern hands, but all he accomplished by giving the Saudis control of both hands, was that his right hand chopped-off his left.]
Far from brushing IM’s existence under the carpet, as Ashish Khetan claims, law enforcement agencies have used it as a front to prosecute innocent persons
During the 1950s, the American network CBS hosted a prime-time game show called “To Tell the Truth.” The show’s panel had to correctly identify a reclusive celebrity from a group of three. They could question the group — rules of the game required the impostors to fabricate their response and the real character to tell nothing but the truth. The identity of the person was finally revealed when the game show host asked, rather dramatically, “Will the real ‘X’ please stand up?”
Ashish Khetan would have us believe the Indian Mujahideen has simply stood up in response to police interrogation.
In fact, the IM has been crying itself hoarse to be identified, he says. But the police always picked the wrong “contestants”, i.e. innocent Muslims, to blame for last decade’s terror attacks. Now that they have committed this grievous and embarrassing error, enforcement agencies have sought to brush the IM’s existence under the carpet, writes Mr. Khetan. He wants the Muslim community to “confront” the fact that the IM is for real, and possibly at large.
I’m not Muslim — thus not among Mr. Khetan’s target audience (“Why Muslims should confront the IM”, July 31) — but I have no problems confronting this “reality”. On the one hand, it shocks my liberal sensitivities that State Anti-Terrorism Squads, barking up the wrong tree, have relied on confessions extracted under coercion. On the other, I can rest assured there are some rotten apples out there intent on waging war against the Indian state — after all, bombs don’t go off by themselves. If the debate on Indian Mujahideen is between those who seem cocksure of its operations and those who question its very existence, Mr. Khetan’s version lets me choose the best of both worlds.
But this middle ground is nothing to take comfort in. Muslim men have been wrongfully arrested and prosecuted precisely on account of their alleged affiliation to “terror outfits”. Far from keeping the existence of the Indian Mujahideen under wraps, as Mr. Khetan claims, the state has used it as a front to apprehend and prosecute innocent persons. Courts, too, have wrongly convicted Muslims given the Mujahideen tag. Under these circumstances, Mr. Khetan wants us to make a leap of faith when he says the Mujahideen exists. Why would Muslims buy his argument if doing so means more innocent individuals being picked up and harassed?
Mr. Khetan’s own investigation confirms this apprehension. Himayat Baig, whom the Maharashtra ATS and the media blatantly touted as an IM operative, was handed down a death sentence by a Pune court earlier in April. The petitions Mr. Khetan has filed before the Bombay and Allahabad High Courts, which draw on his investigation, claim Baig was erroneously convicted.
Take also the Delhi sessions court ruling in the Batla House encounter. Last month, the court convicted Shahzad Ahmad, an alleged militant caught pursuant to the encounter, for the murder of Mohan Chand Sharma, the police officer who led it. Popular narrative deduced two things from this verdict: first, that the encounter itself was genuine, and second, that the convict belonged to the IM, as the Delhi Police claimed. Both assertions may indeed be proven true in times to come, but the disappointing Sessions Court verdict does little to prove either conclusively. Shahzad Ahmad has been convicted on the basis of evidence supplied by police officers involved in the encounter. Depositions by “eye-witnesses” — all six of them cops — have not been corroborated. The police apparently did not “involve” local residents (mostly Muslims) during the prosecution for fear of stirring “communal violence”. Without even gently demurring at these outrageous claims, the court has simply noted it is tough to get public testimony.
Even the Sessions Court, which has bought the Delhi Police’s version of the encounter hook, line and sinker, has admitted “there is no evidence” to conclude Shahzad Ahmed was part of the Indian Mujahideen. But this “hardly matters” to the case, the Court has held. The lack of evidence on Shahzad Ahmed’s role in the IM reflects poorly on the Delhi Police’s case that the Mujahideen was responsible for the 2008 Sarojini Nagar blasts.
The Pune blasts and the Batla House encounter cases show how courts are inclined to adopt a less rigorous set of standards for suspects once they are billed as part of the Indian Mujahideen. So far, this problem was confined to enforcement agencies. But now courts of law too have begun to tap into popular discourse about the IM without giving due weightage to evidence.
Responsible policymakers have encouraged this narrative. Mr. Khetan suggests many SIMI activists were falsely implicated in the 2008 Jaipur blasts case. Their arrests have not been questioned, thanks to a now-accepted discourse that the SIMI, a proscribed organisation, has morphed into the IM. The then Home Minister P. Chidambaram suggested in 2011 that, “Many old cadres of the banned SIMI have transformed into IM cadres.” The Minister surely would have been briefed on the IRs Mr. Khetan now has — why did he forgo the space for a nuanced intervention to acknowledge false arrests, while confirming the IM’s schemes?
The ugly political reality is that Muslims acknowledging the IM does little to single out “bad” ones in their midst, while ensuring a good many continue to be apprehended on this pretext. If journalists privy to intelligence reports had insisted on credible evidence before publishing their findings ahead of terror trials, public discourse and judicial pronouncements on the IM would have been better served. To disclose another set of confidential information and expect Muslims to ‘out’ the Indian Mujahideen is facetious.
The targeting of Kurdish civilians in Syria by US-supported armed thugs is part of a deliberate attempt to galvanize the Kurds and pit them in a resurgent struggle against the non-Kurd regions.
The Kurdish Democratic Union Party and other sources are now reporting that Kurdish men, women, and children are systematically being tortured, raped, and executed. Fighting has broken out between Syrian Kurds and the insurgent forces supported by the US, UK, France, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Iranian Parliament have condemned the targeting of Syrian Kurds while the Obama Administration and its cohorts have remained mostly silent. Lavrov’s insistence that the United Nations Security Council condemns the violence has also been to no avail.
One of the reasons that the Obama Administration has been silent is because they are supporting the butchers behind the massacre and are trying to avoid more embarrassment. The US and its allies, however, will make supportive noise for the Kurds once they get the result they are seeking.
Caught in the crossfire of geopolitical games
The geopolitical importance of the Kurds lies in their geography. Kurdistan sits at the heart of the contemporary Middle East. The mountainous region intersects the boundaries of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Armenia. Its position makes it the main point of convergence in the Middle East. This has distinguished Kurdistan as a place where regional rivalries and intrigues are played out. It also means that Kurdistan can be used to create upheaval and instability in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.
The contemporary states of the Middle East have all used the Kurds in their rivalries against one another. Time and time again, however, the Kurds have been manipulated in the geopolitical calculi of the Middle East. They have regularly found themselves to be expendable and effectively dropped as partners by those players that their leaders made ill-conceived alliances with. In the past this took place during the centuries-long conflict between the Ottoman and Iranian Empires. Kurdish chieftains proved to be especially decisive in ensuring an Ottoman victory in the Battle of Chaldiran against the Safavids in 1514. Centuries later, Kurdish militias would be recruited by the Ottoman government in its hostilities with the Armenians of Anatolia in the 1890s, only for Kurdish leaders to mistakenly side with the British and face the wrath of the newborn Republic of Turkey. They would incidentally be betrayed by the British in Iraq a few decades later. The Kurds have been oppressed in Turkey ever since.
Mohammed-Reza Shah supported the Iraqi Kurds against the Iraqi government until 1975. When he received the concessions he wanted over control of the Shatt Al-Arab from Baghdad, he ended his support of the Iraqi Kurds, leaving them to face the Iraqi military. The alliance between Tehran and the Iraqi Kurds would only be rekindled during the Iran-Iraq War and after the Shah was ousted.
The Israelis, on the other hand, became interested in the Kurds as part of their policy of forming alliances with ethnic groups, such as the Berbers, who live in the sea of Arabs stretching from Morocco to Iraq. Tel Aviv has used Iraqi Kurdistan as a regional base against friends, such as Turkey, and foes, such as Iran and Syria. Yet, Israel has never hesitated to drop the Kurds either.
Using their contacts with the Kurds, it was Tel Aviv that helped the Turkish government capture the Kurdish guerilla leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Turkey in the last decade has slowly loosened its repressive policies against the Kurds as part of its neo-Ottoman bid to expand its economic and political influence in the Middle East. Ankara’s government has even instigated the Iraqi Kurds to clash with the Iraqi federal government, whereas it has been unsuccessful in its attempts to entice the Syrian Kurds into its orbit. It is even alleged that Prime Minister Erodogan had devised a Turkish-Kurdish federation of some sort that would eventually incorporate Iraqi Kurdistan and Syrian Kurdistan with Turkey.
The US government has constantly changed its position on the Kurds. In coordination with the Shah of Iran, Washington actually armed the Iraqi Kurds and led them on. The moment that the Shah got his concessions, the US dropped the Iraqi Kurds by ending its support. The US then started to support Saddam Hussein against the Iraqi Kurds and, under the guise of giving agricultural credits, effectively armed him with the chemical weapons that he used against them and Iran. After America turned its back on Saddam Hussein, the US pushed the Kurds to rebel against Baghdad, only to abandon them once more by leaving them during their hour of need in a position of deadlock. The US and UK would go on to use the Kurds as a convenient excuse for establishing their illegal no-fly zones over Iraq and later to support their invasion in 2003.
Ironically, while Washington condemned Saddam Hussein for mistreating the Kurds, it actually supported and helped the Turkish government against the Kurds in both Turkey and Iraq. Now the Obama Administration is mutely trying to manipulate the Kurds, in Syria and elsewhere, into destabilizing Syria and the Middle East.
Militarizing the Kurds to Fragment Syria
When the troubles in Syria began in 2011, there was an attempt to recruit the Syrian Kurds. The Syrian Kurds were cautious and the recruitment attempts failed. Despite the best attempts of the Syrian National Council and the other puppet opposition groups outside of Syria, the Syrian Kurds were not drawn into the ranks of the insurgency. Instead the Syrian government gave the Kurds a new level of autonomy.
The systematic massacres of Syrian Kurds mark the start of a new strategy to entangle the Kurds in the fighting inside Syria. The targeting of the Syrian Kurds by insurgent groups like Al-Nusra is premeditated and strategically executed precisely with the intention of galvanizing the Kurds in Syria and elsewhere into forming more armed groups and segregating themselves from non-Kurds. In what looks like the momentum towards a broader regional conflagration, the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraqi Kurdistan have also threatened to intervene.
There is actually an old and saturnine proverb which is linked to what is happening and, at the same time, speaks to the memory of the Kurdish people about their perception of a tragic history.
The proverb avers that the Kurds have no friends except for the mountains. The most important thing about this proverb is that it is the axiom for what has been a mentality of besiegement among the Kurds: they have no one to rely on but themselves. This is exactly what the mandarins and strategists conducting the operations against Syria want to exploit the Kurds to feel; they want the Kurds to “have no friends except for the mountains” and to “fight the rest.” The Arabs, the Turks, and the mixture of ethnic groups that comprise the population of Iran are “the rest.”
While Israeli and US analysts and experts keep parroting the same propaganda talking points that Syria will be divided into sectarian mini-states based on faith and ethnicity, the Syrians themselves are refuting this. What these experts are saying will happen is a goal that Washington and Tel Aviv are in fact struggling to achieve in Syria. In this context, the ultimate aim of dragging the Kurds into fighting is to divide Syria and fragment the Middle East via resurgent and militant Kurdish ethno-nationalism that shouts that the Kurds have no friends. The Kurds should not be fooled into becoming the cannon fodder of those who seek to divide the Middle East.
They have more friends than just the mountains. Kurdish history, like the history of the world’s other peoples, is one filled with both tragedy and exultation. The long story of the Kurds has not been one of exclusion and discrimination alone. It has been one of inclusion and regional leadership too. It says something when the great eagle that is on Egypt’s flag and used as a pan-Arab symbol and coat of arms by a number of different Arab states is the emblem of the great Kurdish leader Saladin and that many of the Middle East’s leaders have been Kurds.
[The Gulf Times report carries a Reuters tag, yet it is dated before the actual Reuters report. A search on several different search engines yields no link to an earlier Reuters “Calls For Neutral Cabinet” report, so what is up?]
Reuters/Tunis, August 14, 2013
The secretary general of Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party said yesterday that he favoured a non-partisan cabinet, in what may be a significant concession to the secular opposition after weeks of anti-government unrest.
[As an avid Baloch watcher, over the years I have compiled the following two maps at Google Map, marking countless attacks, most of them linked to the BLA (Baloch Liberation Army).]
[My good friend Tariq Saeedi, editor of NewsCentralAsia, deserves Pakistan’s gratitude for his extensive investigative reports on the birth of the BLA, which were compiled by a team of international reporters at great personal risk (SEE: Pakistan: Unveiling the Mystery of Balochistan Insurgency — Part One ; Pakistan: Unveiling the Mystery of Balochistan Insurgency — Part Two ).
This is the first time, to my knowledge, that the BLA has dispatched a force of 200 or more men for a Baloch terrorist operation. This is very significant, since a renewed BLA offensive on this scale (actually a CIA/RAW operation) means that the Evil Empire is up to something big. This is a diversionary attack by the forces of Imperialism, intended to distract the gaze of world opinion, while Bandar’s “Plan B” operation gets time to gain control over the Islamist forces in Syria and the Egyptian military takes control of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The implication of this kind of attack at this time, upon Punjabi workers leaving Balochistan, by Imperialist proxies, is that it was one of those “tickling” attacks that the CIA is so proud of (SEE: CIA HAS BEEN TICKLING PEOPLE TO DEATH FOR YEARS). This attack was meant to provoke a retaliatory response from the Punjabi Taliban, a.k.a., TTP. The timing of the attack also coincides with the announced Aug. 20 hanging date announced by the Pak govt for the first of three Punjabi Taliban (a.k.a., Lashkar e-Jhangvi) at Sukkur Central Prison.]
“The three Lashkar-i-Jhangvi terrorists are Attaullah, to be executed on Aug 20, Mohammad Azam on Aug 21 and Jalal on Aug 22.”
QUETTA, Aug 6:
Gunmen disguised as security personnel killed 11 civilians and two security men after kidnapping them from Punjab-bound passenger coaches near Machh Town in Bolan district, about 80km southeast of here, on Tuesday morning.
“About 200 armed men wearing uniform of Frontier Corps and Levies carried out the attack,” Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said, adding that the militants had lined up the passengers in the mountains before killing them. Most of the victims were Punjabi labourers.
The coaches were coming from Quetta.
The banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the killings.
Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch condemned the killing and directed the authorities concerned to go after the perpetrators.
Officials confirmed the killing of two security personnel and said the other victims were civilians going to their hometowns of Rahimyar Khan, Sadiqabad, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan to celebrate Eid with their families.
According to sources, the militants first attacked an oil tanker carrying fuel for the Pakistan Air Force at a place near Machh town early on Tuesday morning. They engaged personnel of Levies, police and Frontier Corps deployed on the highway for security of vehicular traffic.
In the meantime, armed men set up a fake checkpost and started checking passenger buses coming from Quetta.
They stopped five buses at the checkpost and took away 21 passengers with them to nearby mountains. The sources said the armed men lined up 13 of the passengers after checking their identity cards and gunned them down. They released the other passengers, including six Levies personnel. The 13 bullet-riddled bodies were found in the mountains.
Security forces and local administration officials rushed to the site and the bodies were taken to the Machh District Hospital and later to the Civil Hospital Quetta.
“I brought 13 bodies to the Machh hospital,” Assistant Commissioner Kashif Nabi told Dawn. “The victims were hit from a close range in the head and chest,” sources in the Civil Hospital said. Some of them suffered multiple bullet wounds.
Bolan’s Deputy Commissioner Abdul Waheed Shah said the militants had attacked the oil tanker to engage security forces and set up their ‘checkpoint’ to kidnap passengers. One FC man was killed and the driver of a vehicle injured during an exchange of fire between security forces and the militants.
“Security forces are looking for the militants in the area,” Mr Shah said. Home Secretary Akbar Durrani told reporters that there would be a targeted operation and all resources would be used to capture the killers.
“The operation will cover a vest area,” Zubair Ahmed Kurd, a senior official of the local administration, said.
The 13 victims were identified as Ahmed, Shakeel Ahmed and Mohammad Bakhsh (from Sadiqabad), Mohammad Aslam, Saqib and Hawaldar Arshad (Rahimyar Khan), Shahid (Multan), Shakeel (Dera Ghazi Khan), Abdul Malik (Muzaffargarh), Mohammad Ashraf and Shaukat Ali (Faisalabad) and FC man Safeer Ahmed.
“We are labourers. My relative was going to Alipur village to celebrate Eid with the family but now I am receiving his body,” Mohammad Yousuf said in the Civil Hospital.
“I lost my brother and nephew,” said another man who declined to be identified. He said he worked in an optical shop. “Thanks God my two other relatives are safe, but I lost my bother and nephew.”
A spokesman for the BLA identifying himself as Mirack Baloch said their men had kidnapped and killed 13 people. Calling to journalists from a satellite phone, he said they had killed the passengers after checking their identity. He said 26 people had been kidnapped from different buses and 13 of them, including five Levies personnel, were freed after taking their official weapons.
But according to the officials, eight people escaped when the kidnappers were taking them to the mountains.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the killings and ordered arrest of the perpetrators.
Balochistan Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai and Senior Minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri also condemned the killings and said the elements involved in the inhuman act would be brought to justice.
This was the seventh such incident in Bolan.