Rohit Kumar's Views

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Posts Tagged ‘Attacking

The strange case of Doctor CIA and Mister ISI Faryal Leghari

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ANY guesses which intelligence agency is the most damned in the world today? The one that must bear the burden sitting heavy on every cumbersome moment of an indefatigable truth: that the US-led coalition is eons away from winning the war in Afghanistan.

The same that in partnership with the CIA and the Saudi Intelligence helped win the Afghan jihad and gave the Soviets that final push over the tottering edge of their crumbling edifice-the mighty USSR. As with the law of nature all good things come to an end and thus we reach the happily-ever-after end of the intelligence world’s shortest lived honeymoon for Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency. More reviled than the Soviet era KGB, the ISI is now the favourite whipping boy for every ill under the sun. From Secretary Clinton to Admiral Mike Mullen, everyone regularly raps it on the knuckles.

The US frustration is mounting by the day. Deeply ensnared in the morass in Afghanistan and clueless how to get out, it must blame somebody. So why not the Pakis? After all, aren’t they the troublemakers who break the bread with the Afghan insurgents telling them on how to launch offensives against the good ol’ coalition forces fighting the terrorists? Tell you what, not only are these treacherous sleuths indulging in a double game and ensuring the defeat of our forces, they are also harbouring the king of terrorists, yes, Osama bin Laden himself!

Wow, makes for an incredible storyline-but one that cannot help proclaim its grade B status. So if bin Laden is in Pakistan why are the US drones shying away from attacking his hideout? If these guys have “credible evidence” pointing to the ISI complicity in aiding the Afghans, why not sock one to ’em and pull their strings-yes, those green ones hopping a merry little dance. Dear, dear, the truth is that facts speak louder than rhetoric. The blame game is fine but don’t insult your audience’s intelligence, for God’s sake.

The icing on the cake comes in the form of the Afghan War Diary, a trove of dirty secrets divulged by the WikiLeaks that has earned a reputation of sorts with its history of exposes. Apart from the damning evidence against US policies and military strategy not to forget the mind-boggling array of nuggets about the role being played by Afghan government, its allied warlords and national security forces, we come to the parallel narrative about ISI. Before launching into a diatribe against the injustice of it all, let me reflect on the western media’s take on the issue. The New York Times and the London Times have expressed doubts over the veracity of the reports concerning ISI since much of this was provided by the Afghan intelligence.

I guess once you’ve belled the cat, it is best to leave the rest unsaid. But here’s my two-bit. The incredible charges against a former ISI chief General Hameed Gul deserve a good laugh. Yes, the gentleman appears regularly on the television and all but only someone with zero IQ can conjure such a fantastical scenario whereby the ISI is fielding its former chief to represent its interests and help Afghan insurgents launch offensives across the border!

If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would have made a great joke. It is no laughing matter though. The same ISI has paid with its blood as has every other wing of the Pakistan military in helping fight terrorism. It is not ISI that invited bin Laden to come with his comrades to Afghanistan. Rather it was the Americans who are to blame for allowing him to leave Sudan to move to Afghanistan. The past few years have brought Pakistan nothing but terror and huge loss of lives and property. That is something the US cannot compensate with a paltry $7.5 million aid package. So please give the ISI a break, any bomb blast in Kabul or gun battle in Mumbai is visited upon its head like a crown of thorns. It is preposterous and it is time this ridiculous charade ended.

Having contacts with key players in the Afghan insurgency is not a crime and does not mean these contacts are being helped with weapons, funds and logistics to fight the international forces. If blaming a former ISI chief for having past contacts is the criterion then what is next? Who will stop the architects of these malicious rumours from laying the blame at the door of Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani? After all, he was also a former ISI chief from 2004-2007. Does it make sense that a sitting army chief who has earned the respect of every military commander in the coalition, would allow Pakistan’s counterterrorism doctrine to be thus jeopardised? Pakistan is waging its toughest battle against home-grown militants who have used the Afghan card to proliferate and promote their own vested interests. The neighbourhood conflict and the presence of foreign forces is the main reason for the mushrooming of extremism and not vice versa. Anyone with the slightest intelligence should be able to discern the changed environment and the dynamics at play.

To win this war against terrorism, the insurgency must be wrenched away from its embrace with every option available. It should not be too bitter a pill for after all Washington is an old hand at making deals with the unlikeliest of partners. As for Pakistan, the US needs to stop playing coy. Either it should make a break or forge ahead with mutual trust and respect. Wars are not won when allies mistrust and berate each other at every given opportunity.

While US officials have denounced the WikiLeaks report and have assured that cooperation with partners will not be affected, questions are already being raised about the US policy towards Pakistan. This is why it is important for policy makers in Washington to decide on how to deal with Pakistan. The dual policy that has only created bad blood and affected US credibility needs a complete overhaul.

Save the world from Zionism

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Aijaz Zaka Syed

Just when you think Israel cannot descend any lower, it surprises you with ever new depths of depravity. If anyone ever needed any more evidence about the absolutely evil, sick and homicidal nature of this regime, they got it last week. And if anyone still nurtured innocent hopes of peace and Israel’s commitment to the peace process, dialogue, two-state solution and all that balderdash, Israel showed them what it thinks of their fond hopes and aspirations.

When Huwaida Arraf, the fiery spirit behind the Free Gaza campaign and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement for Palestine, paid us a visit in Dubai last year with her equally committed husband Adam Shapiro, a Pakistani colleague and friend of mine who met and interviewed Huwaida with me, eagerly requested to be made part of her next aid mission to Gaza.

Huwaida, obviously uninitiated into the complexities of India-Pakistan relationship, promptly offered to put her on an Indian ship, saying some Indian friends were planning to join the Free Gaza mission with their own boat.

My Pakistani friend, ever proud of her national identity, was horrified at the suggestion. Nonetheless, she really wanted, like so many of us, to be part of the mission to break the inhuman siege of Gaza and its long suffering people. “It would be a great honour to die saving Palestinian lives,” said my friend, almost breathless with emotion.

I nodded in agreement. Little did we realise then the seriousness of our words and the dangerous nature of the mission undertaken by Huwaida, still in Israeli detention, and numerous other peace activists and conscience keepers of the world.

Perhaps not even those 700 plus noble souls on board the Freedom flotilla who defied great odds and put their own lives on the line to save those imprisoned in Gaza ever suspected that Israel could go to the extent of attacking ships full of peace activists and humanitarian aid. Especially when those on board included top international journalists and prominent personalities from 32 countries.

But when you are dealing with Israel anything is possible. Ask the Palestinians. The history of the state whose very birth was soaked in innocent blood is replete with unprecedented crimes against the Palestinian people and crimes against humanity that would even shame the Nazis.

From Dair Yassin massacre to the mass slaughter of Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon, and from the Jenin refugee camp carnage to the total destruction of Gaza in 2008-09, Israel sets a new precedent with every new atrocity. Every crime appears to create a new history of oppression and abuse of human dignity. But what the Israelis have done this time around is shocking even from their own standards.

Even Nazis and the most depraved mass murderers in history respected certain red lines. They spared international peacemakers, the Red Cross and relief agencies. But then when it comes to the state of Israel there are no red lines. Nothing is sacrosanct. Everything and everyone is fair game.

From the shock-and-awe attack on the USS Liberty, a battleship belonging to its own ally, friend and protector that killed scores of US marines, to this assault on the Gaza relief flotilla killing 19 peace activists, most of them from another ally and friend, Turkey, Israel routinely kills at will and casually annihilates everyone and everything in its way.

More important, it always gets away with murder, just as it did earlier this year in Dubai using the passports and identities of people belonging to friendly countries to assassinate a top Hamas commander.

The question is how long will this go on? When is enough, enough for Israel’s protectors and the international community? How long can a tiny state with the population less than that of New York hold the entire world hostage?

Just like in those Hollywood features when a couple of lunatics hijack a plane full of passengers threatening to blow it up in air, Israel has hijacked our world and threatens to destroy it with its reckless actions and dangerous policies. Unless someone comes forward to take control of the plane before it blows up in air or crashes down to the ground, you can be as sure as hell we are all headed for the certain doom.

The brazen attack on the Freedom flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of food, medicines and other essentials to a starving, desperate population in Gaza is the plainest sign yet – if anyone ever needed it – that Israel is a clear and present danger to the peace and stability of our world.

This is not about Palestinians’ rights or their never-ending persecution at the hands of a racist, evil state any more. This is now about the shared future of our world. Israeli policies have become a cancer not just for the Middle East but the entire civilised world. They have emerged as the greatest challenge to all that we have come to believe in and respect: peace, justice, freedom, respect for the basic rights and the rule of law.

If the international community does not act now, it will pay a huge price – perhaps even higher than it paid in the last two Great Wars. It’s time to save the world from Israel and save the Zionist state from its own destructive self.

The terror on high seas has understandably outraged the world. This outrage of the global conscience must be channelled to confront the Zionist regime and end the seven decades of suffering of Palestinian people.

Just as the Soweto massacre gave birth to a global movement against the Apartheid regime in South Africa, eventually leading to its overthrow, this latest Israeli outrage and the sacrifices of numerous soldiers of peace must unleash an international movement against the Zionist oppression.

Tide has already turned against Israel, manifesting itself in millions of people around the world coming out on the streets, from Toronto to Tokyo, in spontaneous protests following the attack on the Gaza aid mission. It’s these voices of conscience that may have forced Israel’s European friends to condemn the terror on high seas in unequivocal terms.

Now President Barack Obama and his fellow Americans have to decide where they stand. Are they on the side of justice, freedom and an individual’s right to live with dignity or are they on the side of Israel, no matter how many innocents it kills and no matter what new lows of degeneracy it plumbs in its hubris?

Is President Obama willing to stand up for what he believes in? Or would he rather play safe to end up as yet another wimp in the White House dancing to Israel’s tunes? Whatever he eventually does, he must remember British historian and intellectual Edmund Burke’s warning: “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Are you going to act now, Mr President, or you too have chosen to “do nothing” like so many of your predecessors?