ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Rekindling the Political Fires of Srebrenica

[SEE:  Naser Oric is Threatening to reveal the truth about Srebrenica, If Called to Testify Against Radovan Karadzic]

“You know, I was offered by Clinton in April 1993 (after the fall of Cerska and Konjevic Polje) that the Chetnik forces enter Srebrenica, carry out a slaughter of 5,000 Muslims, and then there will be a military intervention.”–President Izetbegovic, Interview with Hakija Meholjic, president of Social Democratic Party for Srebrenica, by Hasan Hadzic

BOSNIAN ISLAMIST BATTALION

One of Clinton’s Islamist battalions (SEE: Bill Clinton and Osama bin Laden ratlines in Bosnia: Clinton is a hypocrite! )

Surfaced tensions

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At the commemoration of a horror anger bubbled to the surface

UNTIL the rocks and bottles starting flying, most of the proceedings were solemn and moving, just as they were supposed to be. Celebrities from all over the world commemorated the 20th anniversary of the murder of some 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces.

Bill Clinton, the former American president and other local, foreign and Balkan dignitaries made the requisite impassioned and emotional speeches, vowing that they would never let this happen again.

Thousands listened patiently in the broiling sun. The remains of 136 victims of the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 lay waiting to join more than 6,000 others whose remains have been identified and buried in past years. Then came the prayers. So far so good: even Aleksandar Vucic, the prime minister of Serbia, had come to pay his respects and to do his bit for Balkan reconciliation. Then it all went wrong and rocks started flying.

Mr Vucic used to be an extreme nationalist who supported the Bosnian Serb leaders who committed what two international tribunals have found to be an act of genocide. Now his past is forgotten by many who see in him an advocate of modernisation and European integration for Serbia. But not by everyone.

Amongst the tombstones on the hill a giant banner was unfurled reminding everyone of something he had once said: “For one Serb, we will kill 100 Muslims.” A few minutes later Mr Vucic and others were being moved along a path between the crowds when people began to throw stones at him. A mass of angry folk began to surge forward, a chant of “Allahu Akhbar”—God is Great—went up and the security services finally began to do their job. The Serbian prime minister, who had been hit and whose glasses were broken was hurriedly evacuated.

That something of the sort would happen was entirely to be expected. The Serbian security services even warned Mr Vucic. He said he did not care. Turbulence was anticipated because, in the past few weeks, Mr Vucic and other Serbian leaders have campaigned against a British resolution condemning the events of two decades ago and their denial. What they particularly opposed was the use of the word “genocide”.

On July 8th Russia obligingly stepped in to veto the resolution (SEE:  Russia vetoes U.N. resolution calling Srebrenica a genocide). On June 10th, acting on a Serbian warrant, the Swiss arrested Naser Oric, the wartime Bosniak leader of Srebrenica for alleged murders of Bosnian Serb civilians. Serbia failed in its bid to have him extradited. No wonder the mood was hostile.

Whether the stoning of the prime minister will do long-term damage remains to be seen. Mile, a Srebrenica Serb taxi driver said relations in the town were always tense about this time of year “and then everything goes back to normal.” About the stoning he said: “People will talk about this for a day or two and then it will be over.” That might be true for Srebrenica, a depressing place which, this time of year apart, only has a third of its pre-war population. The consequences for the region as a whole are harder to predict.

Bosniaks saw it as self-evident that the UN should pass a resolution on what happened here 20 years ago. Bosnian Serbs however say they are baffled as to why Britain chose to promote it and, in their view, stir up demons from the past.

And so the status of the Srebrenica massacres has become one more quarrel along with many others which prevent Bosnia and the region as a whole from moving forward.

“The politicians are taking this country backwards,” said Dzeilana, a Srebrenica native who has settled in Sweden. Like thousands of other people from this region who now live in other parts of Bosnia or much further afield, she returns in July for a brief reunion of families and friends from a scattered, wounded community.

Sadly Dzeilana’s words are true: the unpleasant scenes which unfolded in Srebrenica today can bring no good to the town, the country or the Balkans. But Mr Vucic insisted afterwards that he would not rise to provocation. “There are fools in every nation, there is no deficit here either,” he said, stressing that he “knows that a majority of Bosniaks do not agree with what happened today.”

Modi, Obama’s Snake Charmer, Tries Seduction In Central Asia

[SEE:  Obama Trying To Make Rape Look Like Seduction]

[Indian military writers always rely upon what I call “strategic hopefulness.” They always seek to explain how the current American paradigm in east Asia can be worked-out, as long as India continues to play the leading role that Pentagon planners have cut-out for her. even doubling-down upon that. The current paradigm is a formula for failure and no amount of twisting and spinning will change that.

Mr. Gokhale is correct that Russia will never return in force to Afghanistan. India thinks that Pakistan can be replaced and a deal worked out with the Taliban to enable TAPI to proceed. There will be NO TAPI, until Pakistan exerts pressure on Taliban, or Pakistani troops are brought-in to protect the pipeline. Anyone who thinks that Pakistan does not maintain ultimate control over the Taliban should consider where the relatives of the Taliban are. Most are in Pak. Afghan refugee camps. The rest live in known locations. Control the families to control the fighters who fight for them.]

India, Central Asia and Afghanistan

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now set his eyes on recalibrating New Delhi’s outreach to the resource-rich Central Asian Republics (CARs) in an attempt to limit if not match China’s dominant presence in those countries. His current sojourn to the five  countries in Central Asia is clearly designed to build upon last 25 years of India’s diplomatic  investment in the region.

In the 1990s, when the CAR countries had just broken away from the Soviet Union, New Delhi had made it a point to immediately establish diplomatic relations with them. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, architect of India’s economic liberalisation, realised the importance of charting out a relationship with the newly-independent republics and was first off the block to visit a couple of them in the mid-1990s.Since then Central Asia has been part of India’s ‘extended neighbourhood.’ Although India has had ancient civilisational links with some those countries (because of the famous Silk Route which linked India to the vast expanse of what is now Central Asia), contemporary relations with them are largely driven by two major factors: security and counter-terrorism cooperation on one hand and economic ties and connectivity on the other.

Since then, New Delhi has steadily engaged with the CARs, offering them assistance in Information Technology, education, health care and infrastructure and supplying them with tea, garments, drugs and pharmaceuticals.

In return, these republics have been a major source of supply of uranium, non-ferrous metals,isotopes, radioactive chemical elements, oil and petroleum products.  And yet, India’s overall trade with the Central Asian Republics has remained at a paltry 500 million dollars, mainly constrained by the lack of direct land connectivity.

However, of late many new factors have entered the equation. The breakthrough in nuclear talks between the big powers and Iran has allowed India a little more manoeuvring space in its dealing with Tehran. India has promptly re-activated its assistance to improving the Chabahar port in eastern Iran which serves as a crucial link between Iran and Afghanistan and further into Central Asia. The port, when fully developed, will give India a crucial sea-land link into Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. Iran has already constructed a number of smaller roads to the Afghanistan border where it can be linked to the Zaranj-Delaram Highway, constructed by India. The Zaranj-Delaram Highway is connected to the Garland Highway that leads into Central Asia.

Chabahar is not the only port though that will enable India to connect to Central Asia and Eurasia. Bandar Abbas, Iran’s other important port that is likely to emerge as a key link in a major north-south  corridor.

At the moment New Delhi cannot match China’s economic clout and its ability to pour in money into smaller countries but by undertaking the proposed connectivity projects more vigorously, it can provide an alternative to the Central Asian Republics in order to lessen their dependence on ‘big brother’ China.

Which brings us to the situation in Afghanistan and India’s diminishing role in Kabul. As long as President Hamid Karzai was in power in Kabul, India was assured of a firm foothold in that country. New Delhi’s 2 billion dollar worth of assistance to Afghanistan for non-security sectors has earned a lot of goodwill but all that benevolence is in danger of being lost after President Abdul Ghani has taken over the reins of power.

Decidedly cold towards India and friendlier to Pakistan than Karzai, Ghani has introduced an element of uncertainty in the India-Afghanistan relations as well India’s foray into Central Asia since New Delhi was hoping to use Afghanistan as a springboard for its outreach into CARs. Afghanistan is also crucial for the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline. It was bad enough that India-Pakistan relations are fraught, now even Afghanistan may not be India’s friend.

So despite optimism expressed by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), there is a major question mark over the operationalisation of TAPI gas project in the near future.

So what should India do to remain relevant in Afghanistan and step up its involvement in CAR? Three essential aspects stand out. One, to keep its foothold in Kabul intact, India must work with Washington, Beijing and Moscow to limit the Pakistani Army’s role in Afghanistan. India, China and Russia in fact agreed to back a “broad and inclusive peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, as well as to help Afghanistan’s integration into the region through its expanded trade and transport networks and regional connectivity.”

Two, India, must realise that it has–more than Russia and China–a larger stake in Afghanistan simply because any instability in Kabul and the return of Taliban would spell trouble for India’s security environment. China, in the Indian policymakers’ eyes, is using the minor unrest in Xianjiang province as an excuse to remain relevant in any Afghan solution but is unwilling to do much beyond paying lip service while Moscow, it feels, will not like to return to Kabul in any significant role given its past bitter experience in Afghanistan. And three, at the moment Ashraf Ghani may have put all his eggs in the Pakistani basket but he will sooner than later realise that Islamabad’s narrow objective of gaining a ‘strategic depth’ against India in the form of Afghanistan, is not compatible with what Kabul wants, i.e, peace and reconciliation with the Taliban.

In the near and long term, India and to a lesser extent Washington, must do all it can, to help the Afghan people. India’s cultural and civilisational ties with the majority Afghan people are strong and notwithstanding the temporary setback India has suffered in Kabul, it will eventually prevail. India must therefore continue with its development programmes in Afghanistan and think of helping Kabul in capacity building of its human resource as well as that of its armed forces.