Russia-Africa Ties: Kremlin for a Mideast Meet – -By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

Russia-Africa Ties: Kremlin for a Mideast Meet -By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

 

1.

 

 

A continent not known for any extra energy resources, Africa has been ignored by neo-imperialist USA and European states who other wise speak about lack of “democracy” and seek “regime changes” for advancing their resources goal don’t bother about democracy and regime issues in Africa. But China and Russia are making diplomatic efforts invest in Africa for profits taking into account the cheap labour and raw materials in the region.

 

 

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev embarked on a four-day African tour on 23 June, covering Egypt, Nigeria, Angola and Namibia. Beginning with a visit to pro-West Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for talks on economics and politics particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the disputed Iranian elections, Medvedev is scheduled to have a hectic time. Medvedev’s trip appears focused on helping Russian companies gain additional access to the continent’s natural resources wealth. The president arrived in Egypt on 23 June, and then goes on to. The main focus is on key Russian export strengths, especially energy resources and nuclear power. His visit comes at a time when Russia is trying to strengthen its global, strategic role.

 

President Medvedev, in his first official visit to Africa, and the first by a Russian head of state for more than three years has met his Egyptian counterpart, Mubarak, in Cairo at the start of a four-day trip to Africa. Russia’s economic and trade ties, as well as the Middle East peace process, were expected to be high on the agenda in talks between Medvedev and Mubarak. Medvedev is due to sign a nuclear energy deal in Egypt, which is Russia’s top trading partner in the continent. He will later visit Nigeria, Namibia and Angola, where he will seek to promote Russian business interests, particularly in the energy sector.

Medvedev also seeks to rekindle the Soviet Union’s once-close ties with Egypt, which have been complicated recently by a dispute over the quality of Russian grain exports. Last month, Egypt declined to accept Russian grain after it said a 137,000-ton shipment contained an excess of insects and seeds. The Federal Phytosanitary Inspection Service, Russia’s agriculture watchdog, consequently rejected 168 tons of Egyptian oranges in the port of Novorossiysk after finding a large number of Mediterranean fruit flies in a shipment, but Russian Foreign Ministry officials said the grain dispute would not hurt relations.

 

 

Egypt is the world’s eighth-largest LNG exporter, but it wants to meet rising local demand before committing to any new export deals. The presidents have plenty to discuss, particularly economic ties that comprised just 0.3 percent of Russia’s overall foreign trade in the first four months of 2009. Energy tops the agenda, as both Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko are accompanying Medvedev. Rosatom, the state nuclear corporation, is planning to sign a deal in Egypt that would allow it to bid for the right to build the country’s first nuclear power station and to explore for uranium. Gazprom has expressed interest in investing in Egypt and Nigeria, both members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum. The group, which also includes Russia and Iran, is scheduled to hold its next meeting on June 30 in Doha, Qatar. Talks were held with Mahmud Latif, chairman of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company, in December to discuss opportunities for Gazprom to join exploration and production projects there, including buying into Egypt’s two liquefied natural gas plants.

 

 

The visit comes on the heels of U.S. President Barack Obama’s well-received visit to Cairo earlier this month. But the situation in the region has already shifted, rocked by the mass protests, engineered by the US/UK-inspired opposition, over the Iranian presidential election, making Medvedev’s visit to the regional power broker “extremely timely”. At the same time, there is uneasiness in the relationship now; thousands of Russian students travel to Egypt to pursue Islamic studies and often “come back as radical Islamists”. Russians feel it is necessary for the countries to coordinate actions in preventing their radicalization. Thirty Russian citizens were detained in Egypt earlier this month during a police document check at a Cairo university. Four Chechens were deported to Russia last week despite concerns for their safety, and one of them, the son of a rebel leader, has not been seen since arriving at a Moscow airport.

 

 2.

 

Just last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev chaired three international summits, including SCO and the first meeting of the leaders of the so-called Bric developing countries involving Brazil, Russia, India and China.  At Bric meet in Russia, Dmitry Medvedev said that reserve currencies, including the dollar, “have not managed to perform their functions. Both Russia and China have questioned the role of the dollar in the world’s economy, leading to speculation that Bric might be considering the creation of a new global reserve currency. As the global recession bites, the four Bric nations are showing a growing willingness to work together and called for a bigger say in the global financial system.

 

 

Despite the relatively modest $600 million in trade from January to April, Russian grain exports and Egypt-bound tourists make it Moscow’s biggest economic partner on the trip. Medvedev and Mubarak signed five bilateral agreements in the spheres of security, justice, environment, culture and information. Russia and Egypt have already signed an accord in March 2008 on nuclear co-operation, possibly opening the way for Russia to construct nuclear power stations in the country. The first reactor, on the Mediterranean coast, will be constructed at a cost of more than $1.5bn (£750m). The Kremlin said: “The signing of an agreement on a strategic partnership between Russia and Egypt will become the central event of the Cairo summit.” Following talks, Mubarak said he supported Russia’s proposal for an international conference in Moscow on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The Kremlin declined to provide additional information on the trip. Spokespeople at the Egyptian, Nigerian and Angolan embassies in Moscow said they could not comment on the meetings. So, Russia is taken very seriously.
In Nigeria, Medvedev is expected to focus more on energy. After his two-day visit to Egypt, Medvedev heads to Nigeria, where Russia’s powerful gas giant, Gazprom, wants to secure contracts to build pipelines. In particular, the company is interested in the proposed Trans-Saharan pipeline, which would deliver Nigerian gas to Europe.  Gazprom was picked by Nigeria as one of 15 companies in April to be core investors in the exploration and production of its gas reserves, the world’s seventh-largest. In September, Gazprom and the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company signed an agreement to look for joint projects to develop gas fields and transport the fuel. Gazprom also signed a memorandum of understanding with NNPC in April to analyze three oil blocks there for possible exploration. An agreement in Nigeria, which would allow the countries to cooperate in nuclear energy, will be signed.

After Nigeria, Medvedev will head southwest to Namibia, where he is scheduled to arrive Wednesday evening. In 2007, VTB, Viktor Vekselberg’s Renova Group and Tekhsnabexport, or TENEX, a unit of Rosatom’s Atomenergoprom holding for civilian nuclear assets, created a joint venture to produce uranium there. Representatives of uranium miner Atomredmetzoloto, another Rosatom unit, will be going to Namibia. The company established a joint venture with VTB and Russian private equity firm Arlan last year to explore uranium deposits in western Namibia. The Russian president has meetings arranged with well-known African figures, including Namibia’s founding father, Sam Nujoma, as well as a safari trip. The Namibia-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation is overseeing the new business partnership.

 

Medvedev’s last stop was Angola, Namibia’s northern neighbor, where Alrosa has a diamond branch in the capital, Luanda. The state diamond monopoly said in April that it was pulling out of its joint venture in Angola following the collapse of the world diamond market. Alrosa has also cut production in Russia, where state depository Gokhran has been buying all of the company’s output until prices recover.

 3.

 

Medvedev’s visit is only the second time a Russian president has traveled to sub-Saharan Africa. Former president and Russia’s strong man Vladimir Putin visited South Africa and Morocco in 2006, and he also met with Mubarak in Cairo in 2005. The long-serving Egyptian president elicited a frown from then-President Putin on his most recent visit to Moscow, in March 2008, when he joked that he saw “few differences” between him and President-elect Medvedev.
President Dmitry Medvedev while in Egypt on his Mideast tour said a Middle East peace conference before the end of 2009 would be convened a move backed by Egypt. Russia, which had proposed such conferences in the past but vould noy hold any so far, is a member of the Quartet of Middle East negotiators, along with the EU, the USA and the UN. Medvedev said after talks with Egyptian President Mubarak: “We paid special attention to Middle East issues. We highly appreciate efforts by the Egyptian president to create an atmosphere of trust and cooperation in the region,” He said at a joint news conference in Cairo that the Moscow Middle East conference, which they plan to hold before the end of the year, will also contribute to achieving this goal.
Outside the Islamic world, Russia is one among a few nations that support Hamas or, at least don’t oppose their genuine claims. Moscow is the only quartet member talking to Hamas, the group that controls Gaza but which is snubbed by Israel and the West. Yasser Abed Rabbo, aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said, “We welcome the holding of an international conference in Moscow. But before it can go ahead, there must be real improvements.” This included stopping Israeli settlement activity on Palestinian land and an Israeli commitment to a two-state solution.

 

The Palestinians, like Egypt and other Arab states, have dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conditional proposal for a demilitarized Palestinian state. Medvedev’s trip to Egypt comes less than three weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Cairo. Fascist Israel says it “would, in principle, agree to attend, provided, of course, that “anti-peace elements” such as Hamas and Hezbollah are not invited.” Israel seeks no peace in the region and hence the fascist leadership promotes state terrorism in Palestine, each time they invade, killing innocent Palestinians whose lands they occupy.  

  

Post-script

 

 

Obviously, the Medvedev’s African visit is part of a bid to bolster Russia’s global role. The countries he was visiting are rich in natural resources. Rosneft, the largest Russian oil company, whose chief is joining the delegation accompanying Medvedev, has announced its intention to expand its African operations. The final two countries on Medvedev’s itinerary, Namibia and Angola , present new opportunities for Russian corporations in the spheres of diamonds, metals, hydrocarbons and uranium. Alrosa , Russia ‘s state diamond corporation has worked in Angola for almost two decades. It has stakes in two existing joint ventures, and wants to explore for diamonds and diversify its holdings in energy. Russian companies have technical licences to prospect for uranium in Namibia, where energy, uranium reserves and tourism present potentially rich pickings.

 

Egypt has become the center of diplomatic exercises by big and medium powers on account of its proactive role in the strangled Palestine issue. Egypt mediates between Palestine and Israel, on the one hand, and Hamas and Fatah, on the other. Leaders of USA, Palestine, Israel keep flocking to Cairo for diplomatic adventures to resolve the crisis in Mideast by establishing – and already much delayed- Palestine state. Perhaps no other international issue has brought together so many times to discus the same issue without any real outcomes Palestine issue has been and the cause is the stubborn Zionist regime to black any peace move to force the Israelis to surrender the ands and sovereignty to the Palestinians. Russia is also making its “legitimate’ bid to convene a peace meet on Mideast. Last year a proposal was mad by the Kremlin only to be shelved by Russia for unknown reasons.

 

 

The political dimension of Medvedev’s trip has not been stressed by Moscow. Instead, Russian businessmen have accentuated the potential for making money. They acknowledge just how far Russia has fallen behind the major investors in Africa, particularly China. The volume of trade between Russia and the African countries remains paltry. For example, the Russian Academy of Sciences estimates that trade with Nigeria is worth $300m annually – as opposed to China’s $11bn. Today, in terms of influence, Russia lags far behind China and the US – not just in Egypt but right across the African continent, where it once had considerable influence. As the battle for the world’s energy and mineral resources gathers pace, that weakness is one that Medvedev will be keen to address. Medvedev headed for Africa aware that Russia is far behind Western and Chinese companies when it comes to securing a share of the continent’s natural wealth.

 

It is all part of what the Kremlin believes should be a truly global role for Russia, in keeping with what Moscow calls a multi-polar world, with several strong regional spheres of influence. The Africa trip is in continuation of Russia’s efforts possibly to forge an international coalition to face the unipolarity move of US-led west. The Soviet Union’s ties with Africa were political and ideological. The continent was a key battleground in the stand-off between East and West, the battles fought most often by proxy. Russia’s relations with Africa declined so quickly when the Soviet Union collapsed. Now a newly-assertive Russia is trying to bolster a global role, often in regions far from its own borders. Most Russians believe both Putin and Medvedev would lead Russia back to the era of Soviet glory making the nation a real super power to promote real equality at home and to effectively challenge the unilateralism of neo-imperialism. 

  ———————–

Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

Independent Researcher in International Affairs, The only Indian to have gone through entire India, a fraud and terror nation,
South Asia.

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India: Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit draws fire for meeting district officials!

India: Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit draws fire for meeting district officials!

– Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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Tamil Nadu governor’s action of talking directly to the officals has been criticized by political leaders in the state who argue Governor cannot do that as there is an elected government, MLAs, MPs, ministers, who would do that job and Governor should not have assumed the role assigned for the state government

 

Tamil Nadu’s newly appointed Governor Banwarilal Purohit seems to have departed from the usual practices of governors in India who just enjoy life at the high bungalows, attend important meetings, inaugurate conferences, etc,  and sign the necessary documents.

 

Governor Purohit on November 14 held review meetings with top district officials in Coimbatore. However, this did not go down well with the opposition, with some politicians objecting to it.  The Governor had arrived in Coimbatore to attend the convocation ceremony of Bharathiar University.

 

Later, in the day, he held meetings with the district officials, including the collector, city police commissioner and corporation commissioner and other senior officials. This has set off a debate over whether the Governor overstepped his Constitutional remit and was interfering in the affairs of the district administration.

 

Informal meeting

 

Governor of a state is constitutional head of that state and the real ruler who governs the state with the help of an elected government. In fact, Governor appoints the cabinet with a team of ministers along with a CM to lead the government and reports to the Governor its performance on a regular basis. If the Governor is not satisfied with the performance of the government he or she can take action to replace it with another ministry.  Governor needs the approval of the federal government for any major change. .

 

The informal meeting of government officials convened by Tamil Nadu’s new Governor, Banwarilal Purohit, in Coimbatore raised eyebrows, as the meeting was ostensibly meant to get a briefing on activities and governance in the district, usually not part of the Governor’s role. The meeting reportedly included Powerpoint presentations by Coimbatore District Collector T N Hariharan and about a dozen senior officials, inviting criticism from several opposition parties in the state.

 

Besides the collector, among the top officials in Tuesday’s meeting with Purohit were the Superintendent of Police, city police commissioner, senior Revenue, PWD, Highways and Health officials and the Coimbatore corporation commissioner, sources said.

 

 

A secretary in the government said that usually the collector and the SP meet the Governor during his/her visit to districts. “Such meetings may also include informal conversations about the district. But a Governor meeting officials and formally demanding a briefing or presentation is unusual,” the officer said.

 

While former Governors confined most of their meetings to the Raj Bhavan in Chennai, Purohit’s office said he will attend more programmes in Coimbatore on Wednesday, overseeing progress of Swachh Bharat scheme in the district, among others.

 

Collector Hariharan said, “It was not a review meeting. He is a new Governor. Unless he knows about the district, he cannot contribute in development.” Hariharan added that Purohit had worked in a similar manner during his earlier stints at Governors of Assam and Meghalaya. Asked whether the meeting was part of usual protocol and briefings formal, Hariharan said, “It was an official but informal meeting.”

 

Reaction

 

Politicians and officials in Tamil Nadu are mindful of the fact that Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi neighbouring Puducherry has already challenged the elected government on several policy and administrative decisions.

 

 

State Congress chief S Thirunavukkarasar said, “When we have an elected government, with a Chief Minister and ministers, the Governor need not to go to districts and meet officials.” The CPI (M) and Dalit party VCK were among other parties that criticised Purohit’s decision to reportedly demand briefing from officials.

Asked about Purohit’s approach, a senior jurist said that there is “nothing unusual” in a Governor meeting officials, as he is the head of the state.

 

Fringe political outfits like Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam, led by its chief K Ramakrishnan, tried to hold a black flag demonstration and were removed by the police.

 

All opposition leaders have condemned the Governor’s action as ‘silly’. Objecting to Governor Purohit’s meetings in Coimbatore, CPI (M) G Ramakrishnan said, “This only proves, yet again, that the government here is under the control of the BJP and is acting as its handmaiden”.

 

VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan said: “It is unconventional and unnecessary for the governor to intervene in administration. In Delhi and Puducherry, at least there is a justification for governors intervening in government administration since they are Union territories.”  Congress functionary A Gopanna said: “As far as our constitutional scheme of things is concerned, the Governor, when he or she has any issue to take up with the State government, can get it done through the council of Ministers. It would not be healthy for him to interfere in the functioning of the administration.”

 

But a senior IAS officer recalled that when he was the collector of Tindivanam, he received specific directions to ignore the visit of then Governor M Chenna Reddy, whose power tussles with the then J Jayalalithaa government were infamous. “We used to get directions from the government  not to meet or listen to his (Chenna Reddy’s) instructions. I have never seen such a crisis after the tenure of Governor Reddy,” the IAS officer recalled.

 

 

A bureaucrat TNM spoke to said that it was an abnormal move. Another said, “In the last few decades, TN Governors and Chief Ministers have had an amicable relationship. But I wonder if a CM like Karunanidhi or Jayalalithaa would have allowed this?”. Another bureaucrat however disagreed. “The Governor is not familiar with the scenario in TN. Also, it is important that he is familiar with the bureaucracy. As long as he didn’t give them instructions on what to do, such a meeting is well within his rights,” the bureaucrat said.

 

DMK MP and organizing Secretary RS Bharati alleged that the BJP was trying to repeat in Tamil Nadu what it has done in other states while saying, “It is completely unacceptable.”

 

Meanwhile, BJP state president Tamilisai Sounderajan defended the governor and said, “We should look at the meetings in a positive manner. Just because there is no precedent, it doesn’t stop a governor from meeting officials for the welfare of the state.”

 

Unusual Governor

 

Banwarilal Purohit is a public personality inseparably involved in social, political, educational and industrial fields of Vidarbha in Maharashtra.Purohit entered the field of politics in 1977. He had won Maharashtra Assembly election for the first time in 1978 from Nagpur east seat. Soon after, he was re—elected in 1980 from Nagpur south and became a minister in 1982. In 1984 and 1989, Purohit was elected to the Lok Sabha from Nagpur-Kamptee seat and was a member of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Defence Ministry. He was re-elected from the Lok Sabha seat in 1996 and served as a member of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Home Affairs, Member of Standing Committee on Defence and Member of Public Sector Undertaking Committee. Switching between BJP and Congress, he was under criticism and had a difficult time, especially after 2000. He was appointed as the Governor of Assam in 2016, along with the additional charge of Meghalaya. Purohit is also credited with revival of ‘The Hitavada’, an English daily founded by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the mentor of Mahatma Gandhi. Under him ‘The Hitavada’ became a leading newspaper of central India and apart from its headquarters edition at Nagpur the daily also launched editions from Jabalpur, Raipur, and Bhopal.

 

As a full-time Governor, Banwarilal Purohit, who was appointed as TN governor when he was Governor of Assam, was expected to face the challenge of handling the volatile political situation in the state following the unexpected death of CM Jayalalithaa. .

 

Divisions in the ruling AIADMK created problems for the former Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao but he handled well the delicate issue of putting a new government in office. He very tactfully denied Sasikala’s strenuous efforts to become the chief minister after managing the show of taking over the party. Many Party leaders have close financial links with her and hence they supported her. Rao waited for the judgment of Supreme Court on the s disproportionate assets case and his decision has been validated as Sasikala was sent to jail, instead of Madras Fort about which she possibly had been dreaming for years as Jayalalithaa was ill.

 

Later after Palanisamy was sworn to power as CM of Tamil Nadu, O. Pannerselvam also joined his government; there has been a demand from the opposition DMK and Dinakaran, a AIADMK rebel leader and nephew of jailed Sasikala to ask the Palanisamy to prove  hi s majority n the assembly, but Governor Rao did not oblige them as he did not think   Dinakaran and his supporting MLAs oppose the AIADMK government and  that he is angry maybe because  EPS had not made him a minister.

Dinakaran himself told reporters in Chennai he still believed that the Governor would take a “good” decision on the demand of the 19 MLAs owing allegiance to him on the removal of the Chief Minister. He said he was giving time for Palaniswamy to step down on his own.

 

Following the development, the DMK and other Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu accused the Governor of playing a “partisan” role and “passing the buck” by refusing to convene a meeting of the Assembly for the AIADMK government to prove its majority. They demanded a full time Governor for the state.  Indian Home minister Rajnath Singh is believed to have told them that the issue was now within the ambit of “internal affairs” of the AIADMK and the Governor had nothing to do with it.

Reacting to the reported remarks of the Governor, DMK leader MK Stalin alleged that Rao was behind the coming together of the two factions of the AIADMK as he was acting at the behest of the Modi government which was using agencies like the Income Tax department and Enforcement Directorate to threaten AIADMK leaders. Stalin said the Governor was playing politics.

 

The BJP in Tamil Nadu strongly defended the role of the Governor, saying opposition parties were trying to politicize the issue.

 

Tamil Nadu politicians should think beyond vote bank politics and consider the problems people face in the state and think about how to help the people. They must sympathetically consider the d efforts of the Governor Purohit for the state and support him all through.

 

Clearly, TN Governor Purohit is an unusual governor who is eager to play his role in streamlining the state politics and policies of Tamil Nadu government. Possibly he aims at speed up administrative works and attack corruption as Tamil Nadu is one of leading corrupt states in the country with a lot of poverty and illiteracy.

 

Hopefully Tamil Nadu and India as a whole would benefit from Governor Purohit’s earnest efforts to help the Tamils.

USA should focus on global denuclearization and not just target North Korea and Iran!

USA should focus on global denuclearization and not just target North Korea and Iran!

Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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President Trump has used dirty expressions to belittle North Korea forgetting that it not a weak nation like Pakistan. Though Trump already claims victory in forcing North Korea to shelve its nuke ambitions, it is now clear that he would return to USA empty handed on that issue.

 

Doublespeak and double standards are the basis of US foreign policy and this has harmed the course of international relations as it seeks to impose its will on every nation on earth, threatening those it does not like.

America threatened Iran on behalf of its terror fascism ally Israel illegally possessing WMD obviously from USA and seeks monopoly of nukes in West Asia. USA has already empowered Israeli fascist regime as the regional super power.

In North Korea’s case USA is just taking the side of South Korea and Japan. Not only it threatens North but also asked Japan and South to attack North.

Apparently, US president Donald Trump  has planned his Asia tour keeping in view  the challenge is facing as  the superpower from a third world North Korea hat refuses to toe the US line of thinking and operations as Israel has been doing.

As the longest tour of Asia by a US president in 25 years, US President Donald Trump has embarked on a 12-day trip to Asia starting on Friday the 3rd November during which he would five countries: Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. In his shuttle diplomatic voyage, President Trump is expected to show a united front with South Korea and Japan while pressing China to take a stronger line with Pyongyang.

Donald Trump has kicked off his 12-day tour of the Asia-Pacific region in Japan. Trump will then visit South Korea and China before traveling south to Vietnam and the Philippines.

Ahead of a trip to Asia starting from Japan, Trump urged Saudi Arabia to choose Wall Street as a venue for the initial public offerings (IPO) of shares of oil giant Aramco in 2018. He tweeted from Hawaii, “Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange. The Aramco IPO is expected to be the largest in history, raising around $100 billion in much-needed revenue for the Saudi kingdom. Saudi Arabia has posted $200 billion in deficits in the past three fiscal years due to the slump in global oil prices. Aramco, which controls Saudi Arabia’s massive energy assets, plans to list nearly 5 per cent of its shares in the stock market. Plans are to list the offering in the second half of 2018 on the Saudi stock market as well as an international exchange, with markets in New York and London vying for the offering.

USA and UK have promoted their policy of rampant corruption in Saudi system, quickly duplicated by all other Arab nations.

 

Donald Trump’s tour of Asia offers plenty to keep the US president cheerful, from lavish state banquets to honour-guard pomp and even a chummy round of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Upon arrival in Japan, Trump resumed his characteristic aggressive rhetoric targeting his “foes” like North Korea, Iran and Pakistan warning them of destruction saying that they are on a suicide mission.

 

Challenge of Asia-Pacific policy

Fake news, fictitious threat perception concerning their security by the government makes both USA and Israel strong militarily. USA and Israel always fix their imagined foes trying to target and destroy them, though it remains a fact both cannot be destroyed because of their anti-missile shield and WMD.

Thus any country seeking nuclear energy and WMD to defend their nations and populations from possible enemy attacks is viewed as being the cause of destructive trouble for the super power of USA and Israel.  Of course that is only a known gimmick to threaten and bully the weak nations seeking WMD.

Thus Iran and North Korea are seen as their enemies because USA says they are developing nukes to destroy only USA and Israel.

Former US President Barack Obama tried to “rebalance” the US’ defence and economic policy to counter China’s rise, including with a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that excluded Beijing.

Trump scrapped TTP almost as soon as he entered the White House in January. Amy Searight, a former Pentagon official, told Al Jazeera the “lack of any replacement with a proactive trade policy or economic agenda” has left Washington’s Asian partners feeling anxious.

Trump the property magnate is expected to unveil a new framework at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, on November 10. White House officials talk up plans for a “free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Although big questions about the policy remain, a recommitment to rules-based economic fairness may be a solid message, Lindsey Ford, a former Department of Defense official, told Al Jazeera.  “It’s important for people to hear that America First does not mean Asia last; that American prosperity can go hand in hand with Asian prosperity,” said Ford, an analyst at the Asia Society Policy Institute, a think-tank.

Trump’s biggest challenge could be the one thing he cannot seem to change: himself.  He is prone to undiplomatic language that plays badly with buttoned-down Asian officials. Previously on Twitter, he accused South Korea of trying to “appease” its northern neighbour, and criticised Xi for not doing enough to rein in Pyongyang.

The trip is longer and tougher than his first foreign venture to the Middle East in May. He may get irked by Japanese resentment over a US military base in Okinawa, or rallies against the “war maniac” US president on the streets of South Korea. “Among government officials, there are going to be a lot of white-knuckles and held breath throughout the two days of his time in South Korea,” Scott Snyder, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank, told Al Jazeera.

There is a risk of clashing egos when Trump meets Rodrigo Duterte, the hard-boiled president of the Philippines, on November 13. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend APEC, shifting the spotlight back on to the troublesome probe of election collusion.

China is a safer bet.

 

WMD as deterrent

The US President Donald Trump’s two-week visit to the Asia-Pacific region as  the threat of a military confrontation with North Korea will be high on the agenda in Japan, South Korea, and China.

North Korea is developing its nuclear weapons to defend itself against any future US aggression so it doesn’t endure “the tragic situation of the war-torn non-nuclear countries which became the targets of invasion and plunder by the USA.

North Korea needs nuclear weapons as a deterrent to prevent “invasion and plunder” by the unilateral USA. It is indeed scared of US militarism and condemned the USA and its allies’ “crazy escalation of sanctions, pressure, and military threats” against the communist country that “will get them nowhere”.

The nuclear force of the DPRK has become a strong deterrent for firmly protecting peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and the rest of Northeast Asia and creditably guaranteeing the sovereignty and the rights to existence and development of the Korean nation, using the acronym for the country’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The Uriminzokkiri commentary denounced the military build-up near North Korea. “It is ridiculous for the US to try to browbeat the DPRK through such muscle-flexing as deploying nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines near the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity and flying nuclear-capable strategic bombers on it,” it said.

The USA has said it will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea and Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” the country. In response, Kim Jong-un’s leadership said it may conduct an atmospheric nuclear weapons test. North Korea dared USA to make the first military move.

In advance of Trump’s visit, three American aircraft carrier strike groups have been deployed to the region, a move military analysts have described as unusual. Stratfor, a US-based intelligence analysis company, noted in a report that the US Air Force also will send a dozen F-35A stealth fighter jets to a base in Japan in early November.

The gathering is a rare occurrence – the last time three US aircraft carrier strike groups convened for a combined exercise was in 2007 – and will give the United States a powerful force within striking distance of North Korea,” Stratfor said.”Taken together, these developments suggest that the United States is preparing for a confrontation. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Washington is gearing up to start a war with Pyongyang,” a report concluded.

Michael T Clare, a professor of peace and world-security studies at Hampshire College in the US, wrote: “There can be only two plausible explanations for this extraordinary naval buildup: to provide Trump with the sort of military extravaganza he seems to enjoy; and/or to prepare for a pre-emptive military strike on North Korea.”

Tensions remain sky high after North Korea’s sixth and most powerful underground nuclear test in September, and a flurry of ballistic missile tests in recent months.

Target North Korea

Trump has previously exchanged some fiery rhetoric with North Korea over its ballistic missile tests but aides said earlier last week that he would not go to the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the border between the South and North. He is, however, to visit Camp Humphreys, a US military complex south of the capital, Seoul. Trump’s visit to China was incorporated into his itinerary to make Beijing get North Korea on board.

The way the Trump government tells it, the totalitarian regime in Pyongyang is rapidly developing nuclear warheads and the intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry them to a US West Coast city such as Seattle or Los Angeles.

The White House counter-strategy seems to be assuring allies such as South Korea and Japan that the USA still has their back, while getting North Korea’s main ally, China, to economically pressure Pyongyang back to the bargaining table.

That’s a recipe for trouble at Trump-Xi talks from November 8 onwards. Many Trump’s officials believe that Beijing has to help solve the North Korea problem. Not be helpful, but solve the problem. And there’s no easy solution to this, certainly not one that China will find acceptable and low cost.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s calculus is different. Beijing-Pyongyang relations have troughed, but a collapse of the hermit nation could send refugees spilling northwards and land American troops on China’s doorstep.

That’s where the fun stops. These are big tests for a commander-in-chief who does, on occasion, follow the teleprompter and stay “on message”, but at other times becomes frustrated and fires off salvos of brusque, early morning Twitter missives.  It also represents a grueling 12-day slog of speech-making, summits, and tricky sit-downs on a range of trade disputes – and the intractable policy headache of North Korea’s nuclear arms program.

While Trump has skimped North Korea in his maiden trip to the region of Asia Pacific, the trip is indeed focused on that country as he wants to deny nuclearization of that nation. He wants to make a united front among the regional powers including China against North Korea.

Trump has spoken of raining “fire and fury” on North Korea – rhetoric that nudges the region towards a potentially calamitous conflict. He may well tone that down a notch when addressing the National Assembly in Seoul on November 8. He may also be wise to offer some goodies. The US pull-out from TPP came as China was rolling out its multibillion-dollar “Belt and Road” infrastructure development plan across Asia and beyond.  According to Ford, the expected Asia policy must provide a new “economic vision, post-TPP”. Simply renegotiating a bilateral trade with South Korea, and vaunting new ones with Japan and Vietnam, is not enough.

Will there be a war on the Korean Peninsula?

Absolutely there is no chance for a direct US war with North Korea, a close ally of China and Russia –veto members.  Russia and China would reject any US proposal in UN for a war with NK. USA would not dare attack North Korea on its own or under the NATO banner since Russia and China might as well enter the war, making it a beginning of an official WW-III.

There could be possible triggers for war with North Korea that need to be carefully watched. The first possible trigger is a declaration of war by North Korea, especially since the USA has made clear it has not declared war. This won’t happen because Russia and China would not support it. The idea that countries would formally declare war against each other, before commencing hostilities, is a relic of the early 20th century. Although remnants of the practice remain, it was largely outdated by the Second World War as the military advantages of surprise as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and the Nazi attack on Soviet Russia, made clear.

The second possible trigger is the North Korea threat of a possible detonation of a nuclear device in the atmosphere over the Pacific. Although the aesthetics of such an act would shock the world as humanity has not seen a nuclear airburst since that done by China in 1980, this would not be the beginning of hostilities. However, if Kim explodes it in international territory, such as the high seas, he faces different rules, such as when Australia and New Zealand took France to the International Court of Justice after French atmospheric testing caused radiation pollution to fall on them, downwind. It was for this reason of pollution that most of the global community concluded an international agreement prohibiting such atmospheric nuclear testing. The third possible trigger is the North Korea threat to shoot down aircraft in international airspace as in, mirroring the territorial sea, 12 nautical miles/22.2km out from the land. Previously in 1969, North Korea did shoot down an American spy plane, killing all 31 members aboard when it was operating in international airspace. At that point, President Nixon did not respond with violence due to a fear of how the Soviet Union and China would react.

Interestingly, upon arriving Tokyo, Trump has asked Japan to attack North Korea by firing missiles to that nation. Japan is yet to respond to US demand. .

After the Second World War, the UN seeking global peace hoped that all members would refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, to which Declarations of War by individual states would become redundant. However, when the North Korean armed forces advanced over the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950, without a declaration of war, it was shown how in vain this hope was. The response to this act of aggression by North Korea was the 84th resolution of the Security Council (when the Soviet Union was absent from the vote) to defend South Korea under the UN flag but with the leadership of the US.

Today, the situation is even more complicated as the North Korean rhetoric of declaring war is not uncommon. Following the 2013 sanctions approved by the Security Council against North Korea for their nuclear test, Kim Jong-un promised a pre-emptive strike against the USA with its nuclear weapons. This was followed by a “Full War Declaration Statement”. This was all part of their assertions that North Korea had scrapped the armistice that ended the first Korean War in 1953.

To show their determination in 2013, North Korea also cut the hotline that enabled direct communication between North and South Korea. Although the hotline was reconnected a few months later, when South Korea closed down the joint Kaesong industrial complex following Kim Jung-un’s fourth nuclear test in early 2016, North Korea condemned the act as a Declaration of War, and then cut the hotline again.

Cutting the hotline is more dangerous than the rhetoric. Hotlines prevent accidental war. South Korea, which has a hotline to China, has been trying to have its hotline to North Korea reconnected. However, the line that is really needed is one between North Korea and Washington. Such best practice has been evident since 1963, following the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the two superpowers recognised the necessity to be able to talk directly, at short notice, whenever required so as not to stumble into nuclear war.

Today, war planes of both USA and Russia keep flying over very close to  each other’s space. Russian military aircraft have flown over 60 times close to Alaska or down past the edge of Western Europe in the past 10 years have shown, no matter how unpleasant such acts may be, such planes may be intercepted and followed, but they may not be shot down if they do not cross into territorial airspace. To ensure that no mistakes are made in this carefully choreographed sabre rattling, certain rules need to apply – primarily, the planes should not be invisible.

If Kim decides to take down one of the American planes flying in international airspace, as his grandfather Kim Il-sung did in earlier times, he would be gambling against the odds that President Trump will not respond with violence.

However, if USA would declare war on North Korea is a trillion dollar question. Will Trump order the Pentagon to attack North Korea disregarding the worst, devastating consequences?

One important question puzzles everyone.  Is USA really sincere about denuclearization? Not at all! It does not want to destroy its own nukes. All it seeks is to force every other country to denuclearize themselves so that entire world fears the superpower. While it is not sincere about global denuclearization, it now asks for denuclearization Korean Peninsula. .

Doublespeak and double standards are the basis of US foreign policy. President Trump has used dirty expressions to belittle North Korea forgetting that it not a weak nation like Pakistan. Though Trump already claims victory in forcing North Korea to shelve its nuke ambitions, it is now clear that he would return to USA empty handed on that issue.

USA should know that piecemeal approach won’t work to achieve denuclearization and it needs to be applied b globally. So long as Israel is allowed to have nukes that too without any legal basis, there is no chance for denuclearization to succeed and win recognition of global nations.

Angry rhetoric against the nations aspiring for their legitimate nuclear faculty won’t work too.

King Salman reform: Saudi Arabia attacks high level corruption: princes arrested, ministers dismissed!

King Salman reform: Saudi Arabia attacks high level corruption: princes arrested, ministers dismissed!

–       Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

_______

 

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace as well as spiritual home of Islam, has been in news in recent years as it makes strenuous efforts to enhance its global profile as a leader of (Sunni) Islamic world. It managed the Arab Spring so well that though the phenomenon had struck entire Arab world, starting from Tunisia, just passed by that nation without making any real impact on the Saudi life and politics. However, Saudi government and the king himself were in anxiety and despair until the “spring” died down.

Saudi king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is now seen taking bold steps to cleanse the system off corruption. That Saudi Arabians and royal families are corrupt has shocked the world that thought Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of holy Prophet of Islam, as free from bribery and corruption.

All of a sudden Saudi government decided to check growth of corruption in the Islamic nation, found even many of the royal families within the government corrupt, arrested and put them in jail.  According to initial report, at least 11 princes, four current ministers and several former ministers had been detained in the anti-corruption probe.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has dismissed a number of senior ministers and detained nearly a dozen princes in an investigation by a new anti-corruption committee on Saturday. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire businessman who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding, was among those held. The senior ministers who were sacked include Prince Mitaab bin Abdullah, the head of the National Guard.

Those involved in  the historic corruption scandal of Saudi kingdom include: Alwaleed bin Talal, owner of Kingdom Holding group; Prince Mitaab bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard; Prince Turki bin Abdullah, former governor of Riyadh ; Prince Turki bin Nasser, former head of meteorology, environment; Waleed al-Ibrahim, chairman of MBC media group; Khaled al-Tuwaijri, former president of the Royal Court; Adel Faqih, minister of economy and planning; Amr al-Dabbagh, former president of the General Investment Authority; Saleh Abdullah Kamel, chairman of Dallah al Baraka Group; Saud al-Tobaishi, head of Royal ceremonies and protocols; Ibrahim al-Assaf, state minister and executive of Saudi Aramco; Bakr Binladin, owner of construction company Saudi Binladin Group; Saud al-Dawish, former CEO of Saudi Telecom Company; Khaled al-Mulhem, former director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines.

In a statement King Salman alluded to the “exploitation by some of the weak souls” who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to, illicitly, accrue money” for the creation of the anti-graft committee.

The detentions follow a crackdown in September on political opponents of Saudi Arabia’s rulers that saw some 30 clerics, intellectuals and activists detained. Prince Alwaleed, a flamboyant character, has sometimes used his prominence as an investor to aim barbs at the kingdom’s rulers. In December 2015, he called then-US presidential candidate Donald Trump a “disgrace to all America” and demanded on Twitter that he withdraw from the election.

The arrested officials are believed to be being housed in the five-star Ritz Carlton Hotel, which two weeks ago held a high-profile investment summit under the auspices of Prince Mohammed. The convention centre next door was used to receive Donald Trump in May, when the US president travelled to Saudi Arabia to reset relations with his country’s long-term ally, which had deteriorated under the Obama administration that had pivoted to Iran.

Saudis really are on the brink of dramatic changes.  In 2015, Mohammed bin Salman became minster of defence. Just a few months ago, he became the head of all the internal security forces because they got rid of the Mohammed bin Nayef, then crown prince. Now he’s taken control of the third most important security apparatus within the country, so he has defence, he is in control of interior and now he is in control of the guards.

Clearly he has the stage set. Clearly all the heads of all the major media networks, newspapers, and commentators were all already groomed, set in motion in order to defend the crown prince and his policies. There are already new songs for the crown prince and his glory, so internally they are definitely setting the stage in terms of the three security apparatuses, the media and so on.

President Trump has given his blessings and support to the crown prince with the hundreds of billions of dollars of promised contracts, so he’s certainly supporting his various ambitions in the region, most importantly that of the confrontation with Iran in the region. This is something that Trump really wants as well as apparently a promised rapprochement with Israel.

 

Rise of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is geographically the fifth-largest state in Asia and second-largest state in the Arab world after Algeria. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south. It is separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast and most of its terrain consists of arid desert and mountains.

Saudi Arabia is called in the West as a monarchical autocracy.  Saudi Arabia is considered a regional and middle power.  Saudi Arabia was the world’s second largest arms importer in 2010–2014. By 1976, Saudi Arabia had become the largest oil producer in the world. King Khalid’s reign saw economic and social development progress at an extremely rapid rate, transforming the infrastructure and educational system of the country; in foreign policy, close ties with the USA were developed.

Saudi Arabia’s command economy is petroleum-based; roughly 75% of budget revenues and 90% of export earnings come from the oil industry. Saudi Arabia officially has about 260 billion barrels (4.1×1010 m3) of oil reserves, comprising about one-fifth of the world’s proven total petroleum reserves It is strongly dependent on foreign workers with about 80% of those employed in the private sector being non-Saudi.

Discovery of oil greatly enhanced the economic and financial prowess of Saudi kingdom. Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia has since become the world’s largest oil producer and exporter, controlling the world’s second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves. The kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development Index and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies. However, the economy of Saudi Arabia is the least diversified in the Gulf Cooperation Council, lacking any significant service or production sector, apart from the extraction of resources.

Saudi Arabia is heavily dependent on oil for income and has been suffering since oil prices crashed from more than $100 a barrel in 2014. The kingdom has been desperately trying to diversify its economy away from the commodity, but is still focused on trying to raise oil values and restore its main income source. Saudi Arabia’s risky plot to raise oil prices to save its economy has failed sending the country into crisis. The kingdom tried to manipulate prices by slashing output to increase demand, but the plan backfired as US shale producers continued to pump more oil. Prices have fallen as low as $43 a barrel and remained well below $50 since the end of May when OPEC announced its plans to tackle oversupply. OPEC members Libya and Nigeria were previously exempt from the cap announced in May, but desperate OPEC and Saudi could now pressure the two countries to comply in the hope of denting supply. Russia has already called on OPEC to cap output from Nigeria and Libya in the near future and it will be interesting to see if any new agreements are proposed for both nations to join the oil production cut agreement.

Among the challenges to Saudi economy include halting or reversing the decline in per capita income, improving education to prepare youth for the workforce and providing them with employment, diversifying the economy, stimulating the private sector and housing construction, diminishing corruption and inequality.

In addition to petroleum and gas, Saudi also has a small gold mining sector in the Mahd adh Dhahab region and other mineral industries, an agricultural sector, especially in the southwest, based on dates and livestock, and large number of temporary jobs created by the roughly two million annual Hajj pilgrims. Virtually all Saudi citizens are Muslim (officially, all are), and almost all Saudi residents are Muslim. Estimates of the Sunni population of Saudi Arabia range between 75% and 90%, with the remaining 10–25% being Shia Muslim. The official and dominant form of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia is commonly known as Wahhabism.

According to estimates there are about 1,500,000 Christians in Saudi Arabia, almost all foreign workers. Saudi Arabia allows Christians to enter the country as foreign workers for temporary work. Americans enjoy special status in Saudi as they are not punished there for their crimes and there could be some CIA agents too among them who promote corruption and create challenges for Islam as part of their mission. In 1980, Saudi Arabia bought out the American interests in Aramco.

In 1979, two events occurred which greatly concerned the government, and had a long-term influence on Saudi foreign and domestic policy. The first was the Iranian Islamic Revolution. It was feared that the country’s Shi’ite minority in the Eastern Province which is also the location of the oil fields might rebel under the influence of their Iranian co-religionists. There were several anti-government uprisings in the region such as the 1979 Qatif Uprising. The second event was the Grand Mosque Seizure in Mecca by Islamist extremists. The militants involved were in part angered by what they considered to be the corruption and un-Islamic nature of the Saudi government. The government regained control of the mosque after 10 days and those captured were executed. Part of the response of the royal family was to enforce a much stricter observance of traditional religious and social norms in the country (for example, the closure of cinemas) and to give the Ulema a greater role in government. Neither entirely succeeded as Islamism continued to grow in strength.

This partly explains why Saudi kingdom is touchy of Sunni branch of Islam opposes Iran.

King Khalid died of a heart attack in June 1982. He was succeeded by his brother, King Fahd, who added the title “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” to his name in 1986 in response to considerable fundamentalist pressure to avoid use of “majesty” in association with anything except God. Fahd continued to develop close relations with the USA and increased the purchase of American and British military equipment. Saudi used a good part of its income from oil sales on terror goods from USA, UK and other western countries.

In the 1980s, Saudi Arabia spent $25 billion in support of Saddam Hussein in the Iran–Iraq War. However, Saudi Arabia condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and asked the US to intervene.[55] King Fahd allowed American and coalition troops to be stationed in Saudi Arabia.

As the USA began pushing its own religious and capitalist agenda in the nation of Islam, many Saudis opposed Washington and Saudi Arabia’s relations with the West began to cause growing concern among some of the ulema and students of sharia law and was one of the issues that led to an increase in Islamist terrorism in Saudi Arabia, as well as Islamist terrorist attacks in Western countries

The vast wealth generated by oil revenues was beginning to have an even greater impact on Saudi society. It led to rapid technological modernisation, urbanization, mass public education and the creation of new media. This and the presence of increasingly large numbers of foreign workers greatly affected traditional Saudi norms and values. Although there was dramatic change in the social and economic life of the country, political power continued to be monopolized by the royal family leading to discontent among many Saudis who began to look for wider participation in government

 

Hidden economy and rampant corruption

Oil made many poor Arabs rich and billionaires in a few years. Now Arab government seriously consider  multi-pronged approach to diversify its economy from oil into other fields of economy, including industries, agriculture, services, military equipment production, modernization, etc.

Arabs make huge sums and wealth, both legitimate and illegal. The line between public funds and royal money is not always clear in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy ruled by an Islamic system in which most law is not systematically codified and no elected parliament exists. WikiLeaks cables have detailed the huge monthly stipends that every Saudi royal receives as well as various money-making schemes some have used to finance lavish lifestyles.

Most of rich Arabs keep their wealth in USA and UK. Trump responded in typically combative terms accusing the prince of wanting to control “our politicians with daddy’s money”. Trump tweeted: “Dopey Prince Alwaleed_ Talal wants to control our US politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected.” His father, Prince Talal, is considered one of the most vocal supporters of reform in the ruling Al Saud family, having pressed for a constitutional monarchy decades ago.

Al-Waleed had in fact recently promised to donate all his wealth to charity – although he had years earlier purchased a yacht from Trump, and according to Forbes’s profiles, shares the president’s predilection for mocked-up Time magazine covers apparently featuring his exploits.

The highest profile arrest in Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption purge is Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a multibillionaire with huge investments in western firms.  Prince Al-Waleed, 62 and one of the world’s richest men, has become one of the most familiar – and progressive – faces of Saudi in western media. While he has the lifestyle, jets, yacht and palace of a stereotypical Saudi billionaire, he has burnished a different image with interventions such as backing rights for Saudi women and denouncing President Trump on Twitter.

The prince, a grandson of Saudi’s first ruler and son of a Saudi finance minister, has an estimated net worth of $17bn (£13bn), according to Forbes magazine – although he has sued them for underestimating his wealth. He came to prominence internationally as a major backer of Citigroup in the 1990s, and more so when continuing to back the firm as its value evaporated during the financial crisis. His investments extended into major media groups, with substantial stakes in Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, Apple, Time Warner, Twitter, and owning Rotana, whose TV channels broadcast widely across the Arab-speaking world.  He has reduced his share in NewsCorp, but his clout was such that an intervention in 2011 in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal was seen as the coup de grace for News International’s Rebekah Brooks, telling the Murdochs from his superyacht in Cannes that “she has to go”.

The investment group he set up in 1980, rebranded as the Kingdom Holding Company in 1996, also owns several global luxury hotel chains, as well as landmark properties such as London’s Savoy Hotel and the George V in Paris. More recently it has backed Uber’s rival ride-hailing firm Lyft. On Twitter in 2015 he called Donald Trump a “disgrace to America” after the Republican candidate floated the idea of a ban on Muslims, and he urged Trump to quit the campaign.

Prince Al-Waleed was an early advocate of women’s employment in Saudi Arabia – hiring a female pilot for his jets, at a time when there was no prospect of women driving on the ground, and speaking out against the driving ban before the regime agreed this year to lift it. His wife, Ameera, who he divorced in 2013, usually appeared unveiled.

Al-Waleed’s international profile was extraordinary – frequently seen with top politicians, Wall Street executives and British royals. But he was an unofficial public face of the Saudi kingdom rather than a key part of the ruling elite – a status underlined by his arrest in King Salman’s crackdown.

His vision has not always matched reality: in a 2013 court case in London, a judge said that Prince Al-Waleed’s evidence in the witness box was “confusing and too unreliable” as he was forced to pay out in a business dispute. And while the prince already owns a Boeing 747 for his personal use, complete with throne, his ambition to have the world’s biggest superjumbo, the A380, refitted with a concert hall, Turkish baths, luxury suites and a parking bay for his Rolls Royce, remains unfulfilled. Despite placing an order with manufacturer Airbus in 2007 at the Dubai airshow, the plane remains on the tarmac in Toulouse to this day.

Hidden economies promote corruption more than the open ones. Transparency deficit automatically causes corruption on a large scale as it had happened in Russia and now happening in China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan etc are ordinary third world countries without any definition of good governance and so corruption is the order of the system in these countries.

The regime and system promote and encourage corruption as a state policy.

Anti-corruption probe and purge for accelerated change

Earlier, former British PM Tony Blaire had to resign for serious charges, including ones related to bribery scandals involving top Saudi officals and ministers. But the issue was never raised in Saudi Arabia or Arab world. Saudi government and king himself were keen not to publicize the corruption sandals of their ministers or officals because that would bring bad name for the nation with Holy sites. But the king or government did  not purse anti-corruption drive to cleanse the system and  present a positive image of  Saudi Arabia.

Now for the first time in modern Arabian history a King, namely Salman has ventured to contain corruption prevalent in Saudi life by his launch of the anti-corruption drive and catching the top culprits in the royal dynasty itself red handed. Well done.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has tightened his grip on power through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal who is one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen. Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of the king and owner of investment firm Kingdom Holding, invests in firms such as Citigroup and Twitter. He was among 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained.

The purge against the kingdom’s political and business elite also targeted the head of the National Guard Prince Miteb bin Abdullah who was detained and replaced as minister of the powerful National Guard by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf. News of the purge came after King Salman decreed the creation of an anti-corruption committee chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his 32-year-old favourite son who has amassed power since rising from obscurity three years ago.

The new anti-corruption body was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions, and seize assets. “The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable,” the royal decree said.

King Salman issued a statement saying that the committee shall “identify offences, crimes and persons and entities involved in cases of public corruption”. The committee has the power to issue arrest warrants, travel bans, disclose and freeze accounts and portfolios, track funds and assets, and “prevent their remittance or transfer by persons and entities, whatever they might be”, according to the statement.

The shake-up of the Saudi government comes just months after King Salman replaced his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef with his son Mohammed bin Salman as the kingdom’s crown prince. Mohammed bin Salman has been responsible for pushing through a number of changes both at home and abroad since he became first in line to the Saudi crown. Ian Black of the London School of Economics said the move fit a “pattern of accelerated change” since Mohammed bin Salman became heir. “We’ve seen since June this year, very far-reaching changes,” he said, adding: “That was when Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman, was appointed crown prince.”Since Mohammed bin Salman became the crown prince in June, we’ve seen a lot of upheaval. We’ve seen the announcement of this very ambitious Saudi plan to transform the country the Saudi economy, Vision 2030.”

The dismissal of Mitaab bin Abdullah as National Guard minister came shortly after a missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport. However, Black said the two were probably not related as the sacking came bundled with changes to other ministerial portfolios.

In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia has announced an end to its long-standing ban on allowing women to drive, and Mohammed bin Salman has also promised to return the country to a “moderate” form of Islam. Since 2015 Saudi Arabia has been at war against Houthi rebels, who control much of northern Yemen on the kingdom’s southern border.

It is not clear if the Trump visit emboldened the kingdom, which has been locked in a decades-long tussle with Iran for power and influence across the region. Since then, a swath of economic policies has been launched, along with cultural reforms unprecedented in Saudi history. By mid next year, women are expected to be allowed to drive, to enter sports stadiums and travel abroad without the endorsement of their male guardians.

It is also said the arrests were another pre-emptive measure by the crown prince to remove powerful figures as he exerts control over the world’s leading oil exporter. The round-up recalls the palace coup in June through which he ousted his elder cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as heir to the throne and interior minister. MbS, as he is known, was expected to follow at least by removing Prince Miteb from leadership of the National Guard, a pivotal power-base rooted in the kingdom’s tribes. Over the past year MbS has become the ultimate decision-maker for the kingdom’s military, foreign, economic and social policies, causing resentment among parts of the Al Saud dynasty frustrated by his meteoric rise.

Saudi Arabia’s stock index was dragged down briefly but recovered to close higher as some investors bet the crackdown could bolster reforms in the long run. The royal decree said the arrests were in response to “exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to, illicitly, accrue money.”

Many ordinary Saudis praised the crackdown as long-awaited.

 

Reforms

King Salman’s purge should be seen as a part of his reform policy.

In September, the king announced that a ban on women driving would be lifted, while Prince Mohammed is trying to break decades of conservative tradition by promoting public entertainment and visits by foreign tourists.

The crown prince has also slashed state spending in some areas and plans a big sale of state assets, including floating part of state oil giant Saudi Aramco (IPO-ARMO.SE) on international markets. Prince Mohammed also led Saudi Arabia into a two-year-old war in Yemen, where the government says it is fighting Iran-aligned militants, and a row with neighbouring Qatar, which it accuses of backing terrorists, a charge Doha denies. Detractors of the crown prince say both moves are dangerous adventurism.

The most recent crackdown breaks with the tradition of consensus within the ruling family. Prince Mohammed, rather than forging alliances as the usual strategy, is extending his iron grip to the ruling family, the military, and the National Guard to counter what appears to be more widespread opposition within the family as well as the military to his reforms and the Yemen war.

In September, Prince Mohammed authorised the detention of some of the country’s most powerful clerics, fearing they may not be loyal to his agenda and supportive of his boycott of Qatar, which Saudi leaders accuse of destablising the region. The state moves on the home front followed a striking foreign policy stance earlier in the day that appeared to put the kingdom on a political collision course with Iran. Under Saudi pressure, the Lebanese prime minister, Saad al-Hariri, unexpectedly quit his job, citing Iranian interference across the Middle East. Hariri made his statement in Riyadh after twice being summoned to the Saudi capital during the week.

The attorney general, Saud al-Mojeb, said the newly mandated corruption commission had started multiple investigations. The decree establishing the commission said: “The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable.”  “The suspects are being granted the same rights and treatment as any other Saudi citizen,” he said. “During the investigation, all parties retain full legal privileges relating to their personal and private property, including funds.”

Prince Mohammed will oversee the corruption commission, adding to his already formidable list of responsibilities, including his role as defence minister and champion of the economic transformation, dubbed Vision 2030, that aims to revolutionize most aspects of Saudi life within 12 years. Prince Mohammed told the Guardian last month that the kingdom had been “not normal” for the past 30 years and pledged to return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam.

According to Al Arabiya, the new committee, which is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is looking into the 2009 floods that devastated parts of Jeddah, as well as the government’s response to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus outbreak.

The interests of the Al Saud would remain protected. Both King Salman and heir apparent Mohammed bin Salman are fully committed to them. What they wish to instill, and seem determined to execute, is to modernize the ruling establishment, not just for the 2030 horizon but beyond it too.

 

Observation: A step in the right direction

Corruption is alien to Islam. The action against corruption shocked the world- not just the Arab nations or Islamic world alone. The world is under the impression, rather illusion that as the Islamic nation Saudi Arabia would not at all allow corruption in any meaner and that Saudis as the decedents of the first ever Muslims of the world would care for projecting a positive way of thinking and living.

The evil of corruption is deep in Saudi Arabia but without any state efforts to contain and reduce corruption the malice has become large scale corrupt practices. The kingdom’s top council of clerics tweeted that anti-corruption efforts were “as important as the fight against terrorism”, essentially giving religious backing to the crackdown.

The state attack on Saudi corrupt machinery at the top level is a well thought out step to root out corruption from the land of birth of Islam and of Holy Prophet of Islam and His infallible companions.

Nearly six months into his tenure as crown prince, which will eventually see him succeed his father as monarch, Prince Mohammed has launched a dizzying series of reforms designed to transform the kingdom’s moribund economy and put the relationship between the state and its citizens on a new footing.

Saudi arrests show crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is a risk-taker with a zeal for reform but the move would enormously strengthen his place in the governance. The move strengthens Prince Mohammed’s control of the kingdom’s security institutions, which had long been headed by separate powerful branches of the ruling family.

Crown Prince is raising the leverage of power in Saudi Arabia. He certainly has the blessings of his father King Salman and he’s determined to make all kinds of changes in Saudi Arabia itself and in Saudi foreign policy, which led to the war in Yemen and the Gulf crisis. But on domestic front, this is new. Not only do we have a new chapter opening up in Saudi Arabia, we have a whole new book: it’s still all done in secrecy. Why those 11 princes, why those four standing ministers? Is it really just to consolidate power or is there more to it?

In the tradition of Saudi Arabia, revolting against the royals is not a good idea. It’s never been recommended. But does it all end with this or will it lead to more?  There have been signs over the last two and a half years that more of this is coming.

Corruption has been rampant in recent generations in Saudi Arabia and Prince Mohammed had vowed to make business dealings more transparent. The spectacle of royal family members being arrested would add weight to claims of a crackdown on graft. However, such is the manner in which business is done in the kingdom, there would be few senior figures not connected to contract deals that would be considered corrupt in many other parts of the world.

Saudi Arabia’s leadership has pulled off its boldest move yet to consolidate power around its young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arresting 11 senior princes, one of the country’s richest men and scores of former ministers in what it billed as a corruption purge. The move aimed to reshape public behavior in a kingdom where patronage networks often determine business deals and prominent families secure substantial cuts from lucrative contracts.

However, some in the Saudi capital describe the move as a naked attempt to weed out dissent, and political rivals, as the ambitious heir to the throne continues to stamp his authority across most aspects of public life in Saudi Arabia.

The purge aimed to go beyond corruption and aimed to remove potential opposition to Prince Mohammed’s ambitious reform agenda which is widely popular with Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning youth population but faces resistance from some of the old guard more comfortable with the kingdom’s traditions of incremental change and rule by consensus.

 

President Erdogan’s visit to Iran and emerging Turkey-Iran relations!

President Erdogan’s visit to Iran and emerging Turkey-Iran relations!

– Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

______

 

 

Even as it is losing intentional prestige and credibility as a real mediator for peace anywhere in the world, USA is committed to shield terrorist Israel by misusing its veto from any punishment international community at UN.

 

As the Turkish diplomatic profile taking a final shape in recent times, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Iran on October 04 to hold crucial talks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on the outcome of the Iraqi Kurdish referendum and other regional security issues.

 

 

 

Part -1: Common challenges

 

 

Important visit

 

As USA is still considering further sanctions on Iran, Turkish and Iranian analysts agree that while Erdogan’s visit is important for both countries but Ankara has much more at stake on its outcome than Tehran. Accordingly, Turkey could leverage its warming relations with Iran to put more pressure on the KRG to backtrack from its plan to declare an independent state.

 

Erdogan’s visit to Tehran has been expected since August. But his original agenda focusing on military cooperation to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), and the establishment of a de-escalation zones in Syria, has since been overshadowed by a new regional crisis following the Kurdish referendum.

 

Erdogan’s visit to Tehran comes as Ankara continues to seek regional consensus on how to block efforts by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to split from Iraq – a move Turkey fears would have a domino effect on its own 15 million ethnic Kurdish populations.

 

Iran also has got similar apprehensions.

 

Political relations between Iran and Turkey have continued steadily since the 1979 Islamic Revolution despite the existence of structural differences between them. It is worth mentioning though that their bilateral interests in maintaining regional stability and their commitment to containing and controlling Kurdish separatist movements in the Middle East, i.e. their security cooperation, are two other important factors contributing in the consolidation of their political relations. However, the contribution that economy has made to the two countries’ relations has been very huge.

 

From a military and security perspective, Erdogan’s visit to Iran is very important, as Turkey considers more sanctions on the KRG and its regional capital Erbil, including the shutting of its borders.

In the last week following the Kurdish referendum, Turkey has held joint military exercises with Iraq. Separately, Iraq also announced joint military exercises with Iran. But so far, there have been no agreement reached on military exercises between Turkey and Iran.

The Turkish president stressed the need for joint and simultaneous actions by Iran, Turkey and Iraq on the issue of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Imam Sayyed Ali Khameni told visiting Turkish President Erdogan that the USA is seeking to create new ‘Israel’ in the Middle East through the Kurdish secession bid. The Leader warned that holding referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan is a betrayal of region and a threat to its future that will entail long-term repercussions for the neighboring states.

Recently, President Erdogan had told parliament members in Ankara that he expects to draw up an agreement with Iran, on how to respond to the KRG referendum. Erdogan dispatched Gen. Hulusi Akar, the military Chief of General Staff, to Tehran, the first ever visit for a top Turkish military official since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. At their meeting, Akar and Iran’s military chief, Mohammed Hussein Bagheri, condemned the Kurdish referendum as unconstitutional. (In August, Bagheri became the first ever top military official of Iran to visit Ankara since 1979)  Akar also held separate talks with President Rouhani, who at the meeting warned that the deterioration of geographical boundaries, in the event of a KRG split from Iraq, would harm regional security and stability.  Akar said that Turkey and Iran, “will play an important role in the region’s stability and peace with improving cooperation”, following the Kurdish referendum.

 

 

Uneasy alliance

 

The terror war in Kabul launched by the USA following the Sept-11 hoax under NATO terror banner is still on and it has spread its poisonous tentacles  into other Muslim nations;  The foes of Islam are interested in killing more and more Muslims and loot the resources in Arab world, secure energy routes and other trade routes for the superpower USA.

 

Unfortunately, Islamic world is being controlled by economically, technologically and militarily advanced West where the rulers of Islamic nations keep their wealth for safety. .

 

Like in bilateral relations between any two Muslim nations, Iran and Turkey have conducted uneasy relations as each looked up to Uncle Sam for help and support. Experience taught a few lessons to both Istanbul and Tehran to  see through the hidden agenda of anti-Islamic world, led by USA, Israel and Germany and accordingly reset their policy towards the enemies of Islam.

 

After bad experience with its former military ally Israel, Turkey’s raising mode of diplomatic resources is tremendously good news for the people of the Middle East. The two remaining strong, independent, sovereign nations have united to stop the nefarious plans of Israel and their US supporters to further destabilize and Balkanize the region.

The strategy of disintegrating the regional countries is the US-Israeli plan to sustain Sunni-Shiite divide intact. Like Israel, there are many in Syria and Iraq, who simply do not fully trust Iran, and they do not trust Turkey at all; they fuel Saudi Arabia to fight Iran and think Erdogan is a ‘slippery customer’ who changed sides as it suited him and he rules Turkey with an iron fist.

The enemies of Islam pretend to be great democrats but worried about deficit of freedoms in Muslim nations and are annoyed that Erdogan did not allow the enemies of Islam in and outside Turkey to destabilize the Islamist nation in Europe and kill the leaders there, including President Erdogan and view the unsuccessful coup a lost opportunity to make Turkey anti-Islamic. They also made loud noise as the Erdogan government began acting swiftly against the coup plotters.

The ISIS project, like Taliban and Al Qaeda, belongs to Washington and the idea behind its introduction is to divide the West Asia. One of prime objectives of Sept-11 hoax had much to do with that.

 

Iran’s response to coup in Turkey

Turkey is a neighboring state where the coup plot happened. The whole establishment was too concerned.  President Erdogan and his government are strong partners of Iran. It’s not a secret anymore that Zarif, Shamkhani and Soleimani were executing higher orders. “Our nations enjoy strong brotherly ties, so it’s the least we can do to show solidarity and try to offer any help they might need in such critical times.”

In July Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was on the phone with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose government was under the threat of being overthrown by a military coup. Meanwhile, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), was on another line with security officials in Ankara. All the while, Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, Iran’s regional military arm, was busy pursuing and reviewing various scenarios that might emerge.

Within hours after the coup attempt began late July 15, the SNSC convened to discuss developments in Turkey. Following the meeting, which was chaired by President Hassan Rouhani, Shamkhani publicly condemned the coup attempt, telling local media outlets, “We support Turkey’s legal government and oppose any type of coup — either initiated domestically or supported by foreign sides.” Shamkhani said, “What determined the fate of developments in Turkey were the will and presence of the Turkish nation and the vigilance of political parties, whose contribution thwarted this coup. Shamkhani concluded, “Our stance is not exclusive to Turkey either. We have pursued the same stance in Syria too. Our position toward all regional countries is that we always prefer people’s votes to decide governments rather than tribal, sectarian and hereditary governments, and this means democracy.”

A coup in Turkey with regional implications isn’t something Iran can tolerate. “It’s true that there are differences over Syria, and sometimes in Iraq. Yet the fact is that there is no direct problem between Iran and Turkey; on the contrary, bilateral relations are always advancing for the better. Besides, Iran is opposed to any kind of change by force, and especially when the government in question is democratically elected… The most important thing is that this experience of coup attempt might be an opportunity for Erdogan to understand the situation in neighboring Syria.”

Indeed, multiple Iranian officials, including Ali Akbar Velayati — foreign policy adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — brought up Syria in their condemnation of the coup attempt in Turkey. While condemning the coup, Velayati — a former foreign minister — said he hopes “the Turkish government will respect the views and votes of the Syrian people and allow them to decide their own government.” It was a clear message from Iran to Turkey regarding Syria and the future of the struggle in the region. For five years now, Iranian officials have on repeated occasions stated that they have been trying to engage the Turks on a path to address the situation in Syria, and while unsuccessful, have never given up on this approach.

The coup in Turkey brings Iran closer

Turkey is a major regional player. With an Islamic-oriented government in power in Ankara, bilateral relations have improved in the past decade, paving the way for common ground despite differences over regional developments. The latter has been possible thanks to Iranian-Turkish proximity in terms of grander objectives and also similarities in their ways of thinking.

The stability of the region would have been seriously threatened if the coup attempt had succeeded. Besides, there is the fear that such a move might trigger internal strife, weakening the state. Given the past five bloody years in the region, any such development in Turkey would shake the whole region” in addition to “Europe, Iran and the Caucasus.” Besides, the already shaken Arab countries following the Arab Spring, sponsored by Israel-USA-Germany trio, would face more troubles. What the various ethnic groups within Turkey might do when the enemies of Islam and Islamist Turkey were eager to create problems within?

The Iranian government reacted to the Coup in Turkey before any other government in the whole world and backed strongly the legitimate Turkish government.

Some conservative figures in Tehran have shown a different reaction toward development in Turkey, influenced mainly by the crisis in Syria. There was not a gap between the public and the government with respect to what was going on in Turkey. Many who oppose Islam and without any understanding of the region is influenced by the war in Syria think the fall of Erdogan would have been a positive development — not only in Iran but also in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. But such an argument has no validity.

It is important to bear in mind the other important reasons why Iran sees the security and stability of Turkey as pivotal to its own national security.  Indeed, at the height of the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, Turkey played a vital role in easing the pressure on its eastern neighbor. Erdogan certainly paid the price for ignoring the direction from USA on US sanctions imposed on Iran though his “gold-for-oil scheme” — even while economic ties between the two countries greatly expanded in the sanctions era.

Reports suggest, Iran also played a role in directly thwarting the coup, for instance, by sharing intelligence that helped Erdogan preserve his reign. This vital intelligence tip helped President Erdogan to undertake quick measures to thwart the chances for repeats of the failed coup. He launched quick punitive measures ignoring the calls from USA and Germany, EU to be “democratic” and not to punish their plotters of coup.

An Iranian official saw parallels between the successful coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 and the failed coup attempt in Turkey. “What we know is that this coup move was triggered by foreign hands. We went through the same in the past, and because Erdogan is today looking forward to playing a better role in the region, they want him down.” There was a message that was conveyed to Turkish security officials: This coup might be made up of several waves; it happened in Iran in 1953. When the first coup failed, they had another one ready — and they succeeded in Iran.”

However, a number of politicians and experts in Iran who work against Saudi-Iran ties and  have argued that Tehran should not react “too harshly” like Erdogan did in recent days as reaction to coup attempt.

Cooperation, sympathy, unified and serious political and economic decisions by Iran and Turkey regarding the move is very important.  Iranian spiritual leader Imam Khamenei said that Iran and Turkey should do everything possible to counter the coup issue and the Iraqi government should take decisions seriously and take measures to that effect.

The Leader Imam Khamenei stressed the need to enhance economic cooperation between these two countries, he stressed importance of cooperation between Tehran and Ankara regarding serious problems faced by the Islamic world from East Asia and Myanmar to North Africa. He described such cooperation as very significant and effective, saying it will benefit both nations as well as the Islamic world. “Unfortunately, despite numerous capacities, level of economic collaboration has not increased at all and more needs to be done in the field,” Imam Khamenei said.

The Leader expressed pleasure over Iran-Turkey cooperation in Astana talks and improving trend of Syrian issues as a result of the collaboration. But the issue of ISIL will not end this way; rather it requires a long-term actual plan.

So while, today on the face of it, this Turkey-Iran alliance against the Israeli-US agenda is a good thing, few in the Middle East will view it without strong suspicions, especially about Turkey’s role.

It is indeed a positive development that Iran and Turkey have identified their common foes and forged a solid foundation in regional unity that would be a model for all Arab nations as well.

 

Saudi-UAE-Egyptian axis

 

It looks as if the core Sunni alliance Saudi-UAE-Egyptian axis is trying to establish a new regional order targeting Iran and supported by the Trump government and Israel, and condoned by countries like Jordan. The logical part of this alliance is political Islam and they are also eager to rope in Islamist Turkey as well but Turkey has a larger goal in the WA region. Since they publicly announced their main enemy is Iran, Turkey stays away from any anti-Iran or anti-Islamic alliance. .

 

Turkey considers Tehran its trust worthy partner in containing Israeli criminal operations in Palestine, Arab world. Therefore, this new Saudi led regional order, if imposed, would be detrimental to Islam, to the legitimate interests of both regional powers and eventually work against the trio as well. But Riyadh is eager to gt SA attack Iran – a goal of Israel too and hence Saudi moves towards Israel. .

 

Saudi Arabia wants to oblige Washington by targeting Qatar. The most obvious manifestation of the trio struggle for regional order to be dominated by Riyadh was on full display during the latest Gulf crisis targeting Qatar.

 

Neither Iran nor Turkey regarded this crisis as an isolated confrontation between Qatar and the Gulf-Arab coalition. Both consider the Saudi move a dangerous twist against genuine interests of Islam and regional powers.

 

Turkey and Iran both opposed the Saudi-led block’s moves against Qatar. In fact, during the initial phase of the crisis, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif paid a rare visit to Turkey to discuss, among other issues, what was happening in the Gulf.

 

Further, Iran and Turkey have decided to adopt joint mechanism to contain Zionist criminal designs. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said that Iran and Turkey, as two influential countries in the Mideast region, will stop new scenario of the Zionist regime of Israel and that protecting the regional countries’ territorial integrity is Iran’s principled policy.

The emergence of the Syrian Kurdish bloc led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as a major player in Syria has pushed Turkey to re-evaluate its Syrian policy. It has prioritized pushing back against the gains of the Syrian Kurds over regime change in Syria and this new strategy has become the thorniest issue in Turkish-American relations. Erdogan stressed the need for establishment of a powerful unity between Iran and Turkey in the region. “We managed to reach a conclusion during negotiations with the Iranian president on Syria and Iraq.”

 

Cooperation among Iran, Turkey and Iraq can be effective and helpful in establishing stability and security in the region and countering division seeking actions.  Iran attaches great importance to Turkey in its foreign policy.

 

 

 Kurdish ‘threat’

 

Two issues cause particular concern in Turkey and Iran: the perceived opacity of US policy and the political ambitions of the Kurds for a soverign nation.  Iran is anxiously awaiting whether the USA, coerced by Israel, economically powerful US Jewish community, will switch its regional policy from ISIL-first to Iran-first policy in the near future. Turkey is disturbed by the fact that it can’t figure out the durability of USA for the Kurds in Syria and the end goal of this partnership in Syria.

 

 

Both countries are also concerned about the overall aims of the US Syria policy especially with regard to Kurds. The prospect of Kurdish statehood in Iraq and of autonomy in Syria and the potential spillover effect these could have on the Kurdish population in Turkey and Iran generate much anxiety in both capitals.

 

US strategy is to divide the emerging Turkey-Iran equations and splitting the Arab world by using Israel that is ever ready to play its devastating role in west Asian crises. Both USA and Israel, killing the besieged Palestinians, including children and women, like wild owls, watch every move Arab leaders and Iran and take “precautionary steps” to keep them divided on a permanent basis.

Ahead of Erdogan’s visit, the Turkish foreign ministry announced that it wants Baghdad to take over from the KRG the control of the border between Turkey and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. On September 25, voters in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly to back a split from Baghdad, setting off a regional crisis. Neighbouring Turkey and Iran, as well as Iraq’s central government in Baghdad have opposed the referendum, and have threatened to impose sanctions on the KRG should it decide to go ahead with its decision to declare an independent state. The UN and the USA, have also opposed the Kurdish referendum, saying it would distract operations against ISIL, as well as the civil war in Syria.

 

Turkey has been in alignment with the Kurdish conservative nationalist current, whereas the Marxist-nationalist current led by the PKK has had working ties with Iran and its allies such as the Iraqi central government until recently.

 

KRG is Turkey’s largest trading partner next to Europe. Turkey stands to lose a lot more if its relations with Iraqi Kurdistan deteriorate. Last year trade between the two countries was estimated to be at least $7bn, and it is expected to increase to $14bn this year. That is why until now Turkey has not shut down the borders.

 

Within Iran, there are an estimated six to eight million ethnic Kurds, but there have been no significant separatist movement among the ethnic population within its own border. The KRG President Masoud Barzani was born in the Kurdish region of Iran. Iran has maintained longstanding relations with Iraqi Kurds, supporting Kurdish armed groups during the rule of the Shah before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. During the Iran-Iraq war, the Kurds sided with Iran against Saddam Hussein, and Iran opened its doors to the families of Kurdish leaders during that conflict. Saddam also targeted both the Iranian and the Kurds supposedly with chemical weapons.

 

However, Iran, too, is concerned with Kurdish political ambitions, particularly those of the Iraqi Kurds. The independence of Iraqi Kurdistan would diminish the status of Iraq – a Shia-majority country over which Iran has a significant level of influence – in terms of population, geography, hydrocarbon wealth, and water resources. An independent Iraqi Kurdistan is also likely to be closer to the West, Turkey, Israel, and arguably Gulf states than to Iran. Despite Iran’s anxiety about PYD’s expanding partnership with the USA and territorial control, it still keeps its cold peace with the group. The reflection of this policy is that Iran and the PKK’s Iranian offshoot PJAK have kept the ceasefire they concluded in 2011.

 

Kurdish statehood could also create plenty of domestic trouble for Iran. The ties of the Iranian Kurdish population and parties with their Iraqi Kurdish brethren are more solid than those with Turkish Kurds. Most Iranian Kurdish parties have deep historical ties with the Iraqi Kurdish parties. In fact, the leadership of the Iranian Kurdish parties, Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDP-I) and the left-wing Komala are active in Iraqi Kurdistan. These shared concerns don’t translate into shared interests in Turkish-Iranian relations.

 

Although Turkey and Iran are worried about Kurdish statehood, Turkey’s interests lie in minimizing the PKK-PYD threat, while the political projections of Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) are rather tolerable (even if Ankara opposes its latest push for independence, it is still much less of a threat than an autonomous pro-PKK body in northern Syria).

For Iran, it is the opposite: The break-off of Iraqi Kurdistan bodes ill for its policies in Iraq and it would do anything to prevent it; the PKK and PYD’s presence in Syria and Iraq, however, is no more than a nuisance.

 

Apart from the Kurdish issue in Iraq, Iran and Turkey have other diverging interests. Ankara has been disturbed by the twin processes of the centralization and sectarianization of the Iraqi state. In principle, Ankara supports the strengthening of the central government in order to curb the irredentist aspirations of Iraqi Kurdistan, but this could mean the domination of sectarian politics as the Shia groups retain more state power – a trend already in place in the country’s security architecture.

 

This process was in full force under the pro-Iranian premiership of Nouri al-Maliki between 2006 and 2014 and his policies were arguably largely supported by Iran. Tehran now also supports the Iraqi central government’s sectarian policies and use of Shia militias in the areas that have been cleared from ISIL. This runs the risk of further aggravating Turkey’s allies in Iraq – the Iraqi Sunnis and the KDP. Ankara and Tehran have divergent interest in Syria as well. Although Turkey has stopped calling for regime change in Damascus, it is still not in a position to condone the total elimination of the opposition. Like the regime, Iran seems to favour inflicting as much destruction on the opposition as possible. At the same time, it is striving to convince Turkey to open channels with the regime, using the Syrian Kurdish territorial expansion as a pretext.

 

Developments in the West Asian region during the past years have served the interests of the Zionist regime and harmed the world of Islam and have marginalized the issue of Palestine.

Arab world depends too much on the support USA that is visibly n a permanent war on Islam with Islamic world, Muslims for their lives and resources. Now Trump, who gets tips from his Jewish son in law on foreign policy, seems to have forces Saudi Arabia to “listen” to Israel as well. Saudi Arabia is under illusion about US support for Sunni led Islamic world.

 

Some common concerns have recently emerged between Turkey and Iran, which has facilitated the recent thaw in relations. Two factors have been particularly important. First, the struggle to establish a post-Arab Spring regional order has generated anxiety in both Ankara and Tehran. Second, the struggle for the post-‘Arab Spring’ regional order as per the wishes of Saudi kingdom has coincided with the post-ISIL futures of Iraq and Syria.

 

 

 

Part-2:  Economics and Prospects

 

 

 

Economic ties

Iran is a major oil and gas exporter, while Turkey is entirely dependent on oil and gas imports. In addition, the international sanctions that have led to Iran’s economic isolation have brought that country closer to Turkey for purposes of investment and trade in non-oil goods. The expansion of economic relations with Iran is part of Turkey’s initiative to expand trade relations with its Middle Eastern neighbors.

Iran provides Turkey with the energy it needs for economic development. Iran has been viewing Turkey as a country through which it can break the spell of western sanctions, especially since 2011 when financial sanctions caused a serious challenge to Iran’s banking. Since then Turkey has emerged as Iran’s economic lifeline.

Turkey imports about 10 billion cubic meters a year of gas from Iran, about 30 percent of its needs Turkey plans to invest $12 billion in developing phases 22, 23 and 24 of South Pars gas field, a senior Iranian oil official told Shana.ir. Two-way trade is now in the range of $10 billion (2010), and both governments have announced that the figure should reach the $20 billion mark in the not too distant future. 50 percent of the gas from three phases of Iran’s South Pars gas field will be re-exported to Europe. Turkey has won the tender for privatization of Razi Petrochemical Complex valued at $650 million.

Turkey is a transit route for energy to European customers. Actually, Turkey is a crucial transit route for Iranian imports from Europe. Also, Iran is the third largest provider of Turkey’s natural gas, after Russia and Iraq. Energy trade between Iran and Turkey serves the interests of both states. That means Turkey is facing an increasing local demand for energy, and Iran considers Turkey as a developing foreign market for energy.

Bilateral trade between Iran and Turkey has indeed increased steadily in the past ten years in close conjunction with improved diplomatic relations. Iran has emerged as a major supplier of oil and gas to Turkey: In the first quarter of 2011, Iran was the leading exporter of crude oil to Turkey, with a 30 percent share of Turkey’s total oil imports, while it was also the third largest provider of Turkey’s natural gas, after Russia and Iraq. Turkey’s increasing energy imports, along with the higher price of oil and natural gas, have increased the value of Turkey’s imports from Iran from $1.9 billion (2 percent of total imports) in 2004 to $6.9 billion (3.9 percent of the total) in 2010

Emerging economic ties promote common political identity.  Iran and Turkey have interdependence economic relations in the five areas of energy, transit, border trade, economic crises and commercial ties. Trade and energy cooperation based on interdependence with close neighbors, especially a powerful neighbor such as Turkey, would be safest way for Iran to ward off the impact of Western sanctions. And this practical approach has turned Turkey into an important trade partner for Iran. Turkey is energy. Iran is at the top on the list of countries selling oil to Turkey.

Iran and Turkey have very close trade and economic relations. Both countries are part of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). Iranian First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi announced in October 2012 that the speed of trade exchanges between Iran and Turkey has accelerated and was close of reaching the goal of 30 billion dollars per year. He added that the growing trade relations between Tehran and Ankara indicate the two countries’ willingness to strengthen mutual ties

With the implementation of the nuclear deal, the two countries now plan to triple their trade volume to $30 billion. Turkey seeks good relations with Iran; Turkey has also tried to maintain good relations with the GCC States and with the United States, which are at odds with Iran over numerous issues. Turkey and Iran have also experienced some tensions in recent months because of their opposite stands on the Syrian conflict. While Iran has strongly supported the Bashar Assad regime, Turkey has joined the United States and the GCC states in expressing support for the uprising.

A factor that’s lead to an expansion of bilateral relations is the “economic crisis and war” factor. After Iran’s Islamic Revolution and during the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq, Iran was in a state of political and economic isolation and dealing with aftermath of the war, while doing trade with Iran was lucrative for Turkey.

When the big banks in Europe, and Asia, especially the ones in Dubai refused to transfer money into and out of Iran, a number of Turkish financial institutes rushed to Iran’s rescue. For instance, Halkbank, 75% of which is owned by the Turkish government, started to pay the Indian oil company to buy its oil from Iran

The Islamist AKP gave top priority to improving Turkey’s relations with Middle Eastern countries—particularly Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Iran welcomed the rise of the AKP, which significantly reduced the secular-Islamic ideological tensions that had often led to heated accusations between Iranian and Turkish politicians after the 1979 revolution.

Bilateral trade between the nations is increasing. In 2005, the trade increased to $4 billion from $1 billion in 2000. Iran’s gas export to Turkey is likely to be increased. At present, the rate is at 50mm cm/d. The year 2002 is significant in Turkish-Iranian relations for another, even more important, reason: The moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power that year after scoring a major success in Turkish parliamentary elections.

Bilateral economic relations between Turkey and Iran have grown at a rapid pace during the past decade, and both economies now depend heavily on these relations. In addition, Turkish-Iranian relations are not only important to both countries, but have assumed a geopolitical significance for Western powers and Middle Eastern countries alike because of the impact that they might have on the success or failure of Western sanctions against Iran. In the past decade, Iran’s strong economic relations with Turkey have helped partially offset the pressure of unilateral Western sanctions.

Iran and Turkey also shared common objectives with respect to the Kurdish region of Iraq and the Kurdish separatist movements in both countries. Through diplomatic negotiations they agreed to work to prevent the disintegration of Iraq, which might have led to the creation of an independent Kurdish homeland. They also agreed to cooperate in the fight against separatist and terrorist movements along their common borders

Turkey has also tried to maintain good relations with the GCC States and with the United States, which are at odds with Iran over numerous issues. Turkey and Iran have also experienced some tensions in recent months because of their opposite stands on the Syrian conflict.

The US government warned Turkish firms and financial institutions about the possibility of losing access to the American market if they continued to deal with Iran. Yet, the Turkish government has so far refused to implement any of the unilateral sanctions that the U.S. and the European Union have imposed on Iran.

The sanctions have prompted Iran to shift its foreign investments from Dubai to Turkey, so much so that the number of Iranian firms in Turkey increased from 319 in 2002 to 2072 in 2011. Furthermore, the two countries have announced plans to increase the volume of their economic transactions to 30 billion dollars by 2015.

The economy factor is one of the reasons that has facilitated the political relations between the two countries to continue since the Islamic Revolution in Iran. A case in point is Turkey’s support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities in 2007 (political cooperation). On the other hand, high-ranking diplomatic visits by the two countries’ political figures are an example of the continued political relations between the two neighbors. A case in point is President Rouhani’s two-day trip to Turkey on June 19 of this year. Accompanying Dr. Rouhani to Ankara were the Iranian Central Bank Manager and a number of private sector Chambers of Commerce representatives. At the same time as President Rouhani’s trip to Turkey, the two countries signed around 10 cooperation documents for investment in bilateral infrastructural projects such as transportation, transport and export of gas, industrial borderline regions, and commercial development.

Thus, economic relations, is among important factors that has prevented Iran and Turkey from cutting relations over occasional tensions like the Syrian crisis.

 

 

Is there really a Turkey-Iran rapprochement?

 

 

Undoubtedly! Turkey-Iran rapprochement is real.

 

Obviously, there has been a sort of trust deficit in the bilateral relations as the foes of Islam continue to confuse both Islamic nations. USA, Israel and Germany are keen to disrupt emerging alliance of Turkey, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia. One of the key objectives of NATO is to see Islamic world is not united and it does not come under Russian influence.

Turkish-Iranian relations have always defied any general characterization. The two neighbours have never had a straightforward alliance, feud, cooperation or rivalry. Instead, their relationship always carried all these elements simultaneously. There have been times in which the relationship has seemed to be tilting one way or another, and this has generated more debate, controversy and confusion about the nature and future course of the relations between the two countries.

Despite the warming up of relations, there remains a mutual mistrust between Tehran and Ankara. They are actually saying that Erdogan could not be trusted and we shouldn’t follow Turkey’s footsteps for countering Kurdistan, by showing muscles and military power. Such misgivings must be ironed quickly and new dynamism in bilateral relations must be ensured.

As a NATO member and a military ally of the USA, Turkey cannot support USA against Iran as that will be highly unpopular among AKP supporters, general public. Turkey might be asked to provide logistical support to the US Army. In case of a war between the superpower and Persia and Turkey would only play pivotal role in neutralizing tensions between them. It is no wonder therefore that Turkey is opposed to military action against Iran and is trying very hard to facilitate a negotiated settlement to Iran’s nuclear dispute with the West.

The Kurdish referendum crisis has pushed Turkey and Iran to set aside their differences for the time being.  There have been no sign of secessionism seen in Iran in the two past decades. But when a crisis occurs next to Iran’s borders, it is natural for Tehran to get worried about them.

 

In response to the referendum, Erdogan warned of military action to stop the KRG splitting from Iraq and “ethnic and sectarian war”.

The main reason behind Iran’s opposition, perhaps, is that cessation of Kurdistan will harm the integrity of Iraq, and can create a new conflict near Iran’s borders and will also distract everyone from combating ISIL.

 

 

The question being asked in the media is: Can common concerns about US policies in the Middle East and Kurdish statehood ambitions bring Turkey and Iran together?

 

Turkish-Iranian relations are now being seen as moving towards cooperation, if not alliance-building. Such a characterization, however, is premature and is reading too much into diplomatic niceties.

In recent times, the diplomatic traffic between Ankara and Tehran seems to have intensified. As recently as August, a large Iranian military delegation headed by military chief of staff Mohammad Hossein Bagheri visited Ankara, meeting their military counterparts as well as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The latter is also expected to pay a visit to Tehran soon.
This recent uptick in diplomatic activity should be seen in the context of a recent convergence of concerns and threat perceptions in the Middle East. However, it should not be interpreted as anything more than that, as USA-Israel duo is ill-focused on Arab nations and as Turkey and Iran continue to have diverging, if not conflicting, interests, especially in Iraq and Syria.

 

 

 

Observations: Perspectives

Unity in purpose has brought Iran and Turkey closer. Comprehending the challenges and conspiracies of enemies of Islam and the anti-Islamic people of their own respective country, being promoted by USA, Germany, Israel, India among others has indeed helped European Turkey and Asian Iran to realize their unified role in the region and world at large.

Like Turkey, Iran also takes a proper and positive view of regional issues – unlike official narrow-mindedness of Saudi Arabia seeking to US-Isreali support to destroy Iran, and consider even truly fascist anti-Islamic Israel as an ally fight Shiite Iran. Emerging realignment between them in fact bring the major branches of Islam (Sunni and Shiia) to view each other as their brethren and not as the prime foe. Turkey a Sunni nation has evolved a pragmatic policy towards Iran and Saudi Arabia, tying to being all Arab nations work together, though Riyadh continues to be controlled by Washington.

Today, Islamic world and even in West Asia, is in deadly division and there is no coherent Islamic policy by al of them that, if implemented, would benefit Islam and Muslim nations. Muslim nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia foolishly believe that USA and Israel would help them reach the heaven if they align with them.

Hypocrisy, cowardice and foolishness cannot be the Islamic policy.

True, against the flow of anti-Islamism and Islamophobia, Turkey’s ties with Iran have been fluctuating as issues continue to dominate and check their strong bond from progressing in a big way. The fuel for Turkish-Iranian rapprochement was provided by their shared concerns. Nevertheless, the level at which they can cooperate remains conditional and constrained by their divergent interests in the region.

 

Over the past ten years, Iran and Turkey have managed to expand their diplomatic and economic relations to a heretofore unprecedented level. This transformation was, in no small part, a result of the political ascent in Turkey, since 2002, of the moderate Islamist AKP party. The AKP’s interest in closer relations with Iran has both ideological and economic roots. Unlike previous secular Turkish governments, the AKP is not worried that closer relations with Iran might result in the spread of radical Islam within Turkey.

Although economic ties are rapidly growing, some tensions and conflicts of interest still exist between the two nations. Iran and Turkey have emerged as the two main competitors for trade and foreign investment in Iraq, and they are both entangled in the Syrian civil war. So far both sides have prevented these tensions from affecting their bilateral economic relations. High-level negotiations and agreements on economic issues are likely to continue in the coming months.

 

The USA and Israel have put strategy of disintegrating the regional countries on agenda after failure of Daesh scenario, but Iran and Turkey, as two important and influential regional countries, will not let them enact the new scenario. Iran has vigorously sought to expand economic ties with Turkey in the face of growing Western sanctions—to such a high level that it will be costly for Turkey to cooperate with Western sanctions. As one of the immediate outcomes of Turkish diplomatic upsurge, its military ally USA, obviously pushed by Israel, has created via restrictions on Turks which President Erdogan calls unfortunate.

Iran-Turkey cooperation can heavily help the regional peace and stability. Turkey also supports territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria and is against any move to change borders. The ruling AKP’s vision for Turkish foreign policy, as developed by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, has put great emphasis on improving relations with all of Turkey’s neighbors, particularly in the Middle East.

On Kurdish question Turkey and Iran have similar views. Based on undeniable documents and evidence, the USA and Israel have reached a general agreement regarding the Iraqi Kurdish subject and, President Erdogan said President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani made an unforgivable mistake by holding the referendum. Unless and until Turkey believes that it is establishing some balance of interests or influence vis-a-vis Iran in Iraq and Syria, any cooperation with its eastern neighbour will remain fraught with latent or overt tensions and grievances. While the Kurdish issue has drawn Turkey and Iran together, Iran has the least concern about Kurds.

 

The open US support for the Syrian Kurds is what is primarily motivating Turkey to seek closer relations with Iran as well as Russia. Any change in US policy towards the Syrian Kurds will have a direct impact on Ankara’s relations with Tehran.

 

However, anti-Islamic devils do not stop scheming against Islam, Arab world, Turkey and Iran, among others. All strenuous efforts by USA-Isreali twins to disallow any real alliance between Russia and Turkey failed badly in the face of the US-Israel-EU scheming for the failed coup in Turkey, targeting President Erdogan and Islamist government of ruling AKP. The Turkish government would continue its balancing act between Iran and the USA.

Like wild owls and vultures seeking flesh and blood for their survival, Israel-USA fascist fanatics are keen to dismantle any positive development in Islamic relations globally, especially in West Asia. They view unity of Islamic world, particularly among Iran and Saudi Arabia and Turkey in West Asia, would make these civilizational rogue states irrelevant internationally.

All said and done, there is a win-win situation for Turkey-Iran relations to grow further in strength and purpose.

State war crimes: UN urges Sri Lanka to quickly begin investigation!

 

State war crimes: UN urges Sri Lanka to quickly begin investigation!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
________

 

Sri Lanka is a soverign island nation in South Asia and claims its prerogative to kill its minority populations mainly Tamils in a sustained manner in order to appease the rich majority Singhalese people – most of them are now have the remote control over the parliament and government

Since it is the prerogative of the Lankan regime to kill its minority community for whatever reasons like Israel that keep killing the defenseless Palestinians,  it claims its carnal operations against the sections of population are not illegal at all. Lankans also say they cannot be punished by any international court. It said it would investigate the war crimes on its own and UN need to unnecessarily worry about the issue, but it has not yet begun the work even after years of peace in the Island nation.

Time is now fast running out for Srilankan regime to prove to the world that its military-police apparatus had not committed war crimes against the minority Tamil community as a part of its military campaign to weaken Tamil movement for equality.

When the UN had announced the possibility of appointing a war crime tribunal to try the war criminals of Sri Lanka, the new government of Sirisena approached the UN – directly and through USA- pleading to give up the war criminal infestation and that Lankan government itself would investigate the war crimes and submit a report to UN.

But till now Sirisena has failed to keep his word given to UN and USA.

A United Nations expert Pablo de Greiff warned that Sri Lanka must speed up its own long-stalled investigation into war crimes by troops or risk action by the international community, Pablo de Greiff, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion of justice and reparation, said Sri Lanka had been slow to deliver on its promise of justice for atrocities during the island’s bloody 37-year civil war.
De Greiff criticised a public assurance given to troops that committed serious crimes by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who along with the former dictator Rajapakse is making strenuous efforts to save the Singhalese military criminals and not to get them punished by International Courts for their excessive war crimes, that he would not allow “war heroes” to be prosecuted for alleged atrocities.
Greiff said allegations of war crimes levelled last month against Sri Lanka’s then-ambassador to Brazil, who was a general during the war era, underscored the risks faced by senior military officers past and present. “As the recent case presented in Brazil against a former member of the armed forces demonstrates, accountability will be sought either here or abroad,” de Greiff said in Colombo on Monday.

The case in Brazil against retired general Jagath Jayasuriya was just the “tip of the iceberg”, de Greiff said. He said Sri Lanka could expect similar efforts by foreign jurisdictions until it had taken steps to ensure a credible investigation of its own. Jayasuriya left Brazil two days after the International Truth and Justice Project, a South Africa-based rights group, filed a case against the former general.
De Greiff said the government’s pledge to pay reparations and prevent future atrocities was no substitute for accountability for past injustices. He urged it to adopt a timeline for achieving this and encouraged closer interaction with the UN human rights chief’s office.

Defeat of LTTE and not of Tamils

Lankan military defeated the LTTE but Sri Lanka’s Singhalese majority and regime itself  think they have defeated the Tamil community in the country and can now ill treat them the way they want. They attack, arrest along with their boats, and even kill Indian fishermen who come to fish at Katchatheevu- their traditional fishing zone. .

Sri Lankan forces that still claim to be totally innocent and committed no crimes, had defeated Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009 after a brutal guerrilla war which claimed the lives of at least 100,000 people. The military was accused of massacring up to 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in their no-holds-barred offensive.
Sri Lanka’s former Rajapaksha regime, responsible for the crimes committed against humanity in the name of “war on terror” refused even to acknowledge the civilian toll of its wartime campaign, drawing censure from the international community.
Sirisena’s government came to power in January 2015 promising justice for war victims, but his government has been accused of dithering ever since. Sirisena, unlike his predecessor Mahinda Rajapakse, in order possibly to fool the world, agreed to investigate war crimes but has yet to take the necessary steps to do so.he said so as a part of his “reconciliation move” with the Tamil minority community serving the Singhalese for centuries. The British Empire had taken these Tamils from the then Madras state to work in tea estates in Lanka to increase productivity and profits. Once independent, the Sinhalese majority community began targeting the Tamils denying them even basis rights. Perpetual persecution of Tamils by the Singhalese government gave birth to LTTE to defend the Tamils.
Britain refused to step in to save the Tamils when the Singhalese majority and their government began attacking Tamils and threw them out of work, thereby making them to starve. LTTE began demanding more human rights for Tamils. This led to conflict.
Sri Lanka must know there is no escape from punishment for the crimes it committed against the minority community. Colombo must wake up from sound sleep dreaming about the crimes it committed to win a war against the hapless minority community and institute impartial investigation. Meanwhile UN itself must investigate the war crimes on its own and punish the guilty without any sympathy.
Sri Lankan state crimes
The civil war that began in 1983 between Sri Lanka’s largely Buddhist Sinhalese majority and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (more commonly known as the Tamil Tigers), a separatist insurgent force from the predominantly Hindu Tamil minority, saw atrocities carried out by both sides, and forced over 100,000 Tamils to seek refuge in India.
The exodus was meant to come to an end in 2009, when government forces conclusively defeated the Tigers which ended the civil war. But ongoing human rights abuses against Tamils means there’s still a flow of desperate people prepared to take the huge risks necessary to find sanctuary in India.
After the end of a three-decade-long civil war, some Tamils are still suffering human rights abuses at the hands of the government – desperate to find an escape route. The fishermen of Rameswaram provide a lifeline for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees by smuggling them to safety in India. Some of the boats were involved in transporting Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, and many of those working the boats were Tamils themselves who had come to India through similar means.
A fisherman’s life anywhere in the world is a tough one. But the fishermen of Rameswaram live a particularly precarious existence. The boats are forced to play a sometimes deadly game of cat and mouse with the Sri Lankan navy, who often seize fishing boats they accuse of transporting refugees. The navy sometimes fires on fishing boats it deems encroaching on Sri Lankan waters and over 730 fishermen have been killed in the last 30 years.
Thousands of Tamils are believed to have gone missing during the conflict’s bloody final phase. After the war’s end, journalists, activists and government critics have been abducted by men in white vans in Colombo, the capital, and there are allegations that former Tamil rebels have been tortured in secret detention centres.
Of the 100,000 Tamils in India, 64,000 still live in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, where they receive an allowance, food and education but have no right to work. The Tamil are an ethnic group native to southern India, but Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka are still often looked down upon. Due to lack of proper documentation they are barred from all but the most menial jobs in the shadow economy.
While the Indian government has been dragging its feet for years over granting full rights to Tamil refugees (even to those who have lived there for over 30 years), Mark and Elliott hope that, at the very least, their project represents the fishermen they discovered eking out a living in the shadows of Rameswaram with dignity.
Systematic genocides
Although the civil war between the government and the LTTE officially began in 1983 and ended in 2009, the ethnic conflict has a longer history. The Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) found that from 1956 to 2004, about 79,319 Tamil civilians were subjected to killings (54053) and enforced disappearances (25266) by Sri Lankan security forces, state backed Sinhalese mobs and the IPKF.
As it can be seen, Tamil civilians who were killed (35323) and disappeared (2483) by Sri Lankan forces, Sinhalese mobs and the IPKF from 1977 to 2004 totals 37,806. This leaves out pogroms before 1977 and massacres and disappearances after 2004. In the Inginiyakala massacre ­of 1956, 150 Tamils were killed. In the 1958 pogrom, more than 300 Tamils were killed. In the Tamil Research Conference massacre of 1974, 9 Tamils were killed. So in total, about 459 Tamils were killed from 1956 to 1974. All in all, 38,265 Tamil civilians were killed from 1956 to 2004. If that figure is added to post-2004 figures (514 + 1102 + 70,000), about 10, 9881 Tamils were mass murdered and forced to disappear by Sri Lankan state and the IPKF from 1956 to 2009.
According to figures published by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka in the middle of 2006, 419 persons had disappeared in the Jaffna peninsula since December 2005. … According to a list published on 31 October 2007 by three NGOs, which specified it was not exhaustive, there were 540 cases of enforced disappearance from January to August 2007 … Again, in its 2008 annual report, WGEID stated it was “alarmed” by the large number of cases of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka, noting it had transmitted 43 cases concerning people who had disappeared between February and October 2008 under its urgent procedure. In its report issued in 2012, WGEID cited renewed allegations that more than 500 persons had disappeared between January and August 2007, in Jaffna District, and around 100 persons were alleged to have disappeared between 2008 and 2009 in Mannar District.”
Hence from December 2005 to 2009, around 1102 (419 + 540 + 43 + 100) Tamils were subjected to enforced disappearance, all probably dead. The last phase of the war in 2009 saw an unprecedented scale of mass murder of Tamil civilians within a matter of several months.
The Amnesty International reported in 1998: “In 1995, 55 cases of “disappearances” were reported, particularly from the east of the country and from the capital, Colombo. In 1996, after the army regained control over the northern Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE, an estimated 600 “disappearances” were reported from that area of the country. During 1997, approximately 100 cases of “disappearances” were reported, mainly from Jaffna, Batticaloa, Mannar and Kilinochchi.”
Hence from 1995 to 1997 about 755 (55 + 600 + 100) Tamils were subjected to enforced disappearances. Based on these reports, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal reviewed that from June 1956 to June 2008, at least 10,617 Tamils died from 149 cases of state sponsored pogroms, massacres and bombings. These lists do not include IPKF atrocities.
Regarding enforced disappearances, the Amnesty International reported in 1994: “In the northeast the number who have “disappeared” or been extra judicially executed to date runs to thousands. From 1984 to mid-1987, Amnesty International documented over 680 “disappearances” in the custody of Sri Lankan security forces in the northeast. From mid-1987 to March 1990 the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was responsible for the security of the northeast under the terms of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. During this period, Amnesty International documented 43 “disappearances” there for which the IPKF were believed responsible. After the IPKF had withdrawn, armed conflict resumed in June 1990 between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the main armed Tamil group fighting to establish a separate Tamil state in the northeast of Sri Lanka. Within months, the reported number of extrajudicial executions and “disappearances” reached thousands. In Amparai District in the east, it was estimated that between June and October 1990 alone, some 3,000 Tamil people were killed or “disappeared”.
In another report covering the year 1990, the Amnesty International wrote that, “In Batticaloa town alone over 1,200 people reportedly “disappeared” between June and October.” From these figures we can infer that from 1984 to 1990, around 4880 (680 + 3,000 + 1,200) Tamils were “disappeared” by the Sri Lankan government forces, if IPKF atrocities are excluded (although they were working for the Sri Lankan government’s interests, whether they had intended it or not. In total, about 87,354 (= 10,617 + 4880 + 755 + 1102 + 70,000) Tamil civilians were mass murdered and forced to disappear by Sri Lankan government forces and state backed Sinhalese mobs from 1956 to 2009.
If I count from the TCHR’s report which puts the 1956–2004 figure at 79,319 (including IPKF atrocities), and add post-2004 figures provided by other sources (79,319 + 514 + 1102 + 70,000) about 150,935 Tamil civilians died and disappeared at the hands of Sri Lankan and Indian government forces.
However these figures are incomplete, as some are based on rough estimates and many other atrocities went unreported or not included here. For example, economic embargo (1990–2002) imposed by the government on LTTE controlled areas which resulted in restriction of food and medical supplies had negative impacts on the local economy and health condition of the people and violated the international norms. This can be considered violence against civilians, although it’s not included in these figures.
According to an UN’s internal review report published in 2012, the estimates of the civilian casualties in 2009 run in the tens of thousands: “The Panel of Experts stated that “[a] number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths”. Some Government sources state the number was well below 10,000. Other sources have referred to credible information indicating that over 70,000 people are unaccounted for.

Vaiko attacked in USA by Sri Lankan squad

Sri Lankan regime, like any other nation having committed serious crimes against humanity is scare of punishment and watches through its agents abroad used by its foreign missions to deny any talk of its crimes against Tamils. Tamils are attacked abroad, too.

Lankan state atrocities against minorities are meant to end. A senior Dravidian politician and orator who always protested Singhalese crimes against Tamils, the MDMK chief Vaiko addressed the UNHRC meeting in September and accused the Sri Lankan Government of presiding over sustained “genocides” of Tamils. He also lamented about the lack of any progress in investigations into the atrocities committed allegedly by the Sri Lankan army. A group of Sri Lankans, allegedly former defence personnel, heckled MDMK general secretary Vaiko soon after he completed his address during a debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

After concluding his address for the second time, a group of Sri Lankans allegedly encircled him. A woman in the group yelled at Vaiko, saying that he was not a Sri Lankan Tamil to raise the Sri Lankan issue. Then who should raise such carnal attacks on minorities in Sri Lanka?
Colombo in denial mode

Sri Lanka still claims no harm done to Tamils and Indians and they committed no war crimes. . India never questions them, emboldening them to assert their lies. .

Sri Lankan Navy denies killing Indian fisherman K. Britjo. ‘No Navy personnel has the permission to shoot at poaching fishermen,’ Sri Lankan navy spokesperson said. Sri Lanka has assured India of cooperation in the investigation into the shooting of a Rameswaram-based fisherman K. Britjo.
A group of fishermen returned to the Rameswaram jetty with the body of 21-year-old fisherman K. Bristo, and pointed to an apparent bullet injury on his neck. Fishermen leaders based in Tamil Nadu said he was among the six fishermen on board a mechanized trawler that the “Sri Lankan Navy targeted”.
In 2011, a similar shooting incident claimed two Tamil fishermen’s lives at the Palk Bay. Tamil Nadu fishermen accused the Sri Lankan Navy of opening fire, which the navy denied.
The death of Britso of Thangachimadam made the state as well as central government wake up face the Lankan challenge Saron is getting treatment at Ramanathapuram government hospital. I have ordered the district administration to offer high class treatment to him,” Palaniswami said in a statement
DMK president MK Stalin also condemned the killing of the fisherman and urged Centre to take strong action. “It’s high time the Central Government reacts strongly to this problem. The Central Government cannot be a mute spectator. It should take up this issue with Indian ambassador in Sri Lanka or the High Commission of Sri Lanka in India,” Stalin said.
India’s weak reaction
On June 27, 2017, the Tamil Nadu government expressed concern over the “alarming increase” in number of “attacks” on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and sought the centre’s intervention for release of 42 of them. Referring to a spate of “distressing” arrests of Indian fishermen from his state in the last few days, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said such apprehensions have a “demoralising impact” on fishermen as well as the people of the state.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he raised the issue of arrest of 14 fishermen in two separate instances by the Lankan navy. “In spite of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) between India and Sri Lanka being sub-judice due to the ceding of Katchatheevu islet, the Sri Lankan Navy is continuing its marauding attacks on and abductions of our fishermen,” he said.
He recalled the state urging the Centre to use diplomatic measures to “prevail” upon Colombo “and reverse this trend”. “These instances, occurring on an everyday basis, in which our boats with innocent fishermen are being apprehended with impunity by the Sri Lankan Navy has a demoralising impact not just on the fishermen, but also on people of Tamil Nadu,” he said in the letter.
The people of the state “strongly believe” that the fishermen have a genuine claim to the Palk Bay fishing grounds from where they “are being apprehended,” he added.
The Chief Minister also pointed out that Sri Lanka has not released any of the fishing boats apprehended since January 2015, adding, that this “inhumane strategy” was causing great loss of livelihood to the fishermen. “There was wide expectation among the people of Tamil Nadu that the boats apprehended since 2015 would be released as an outcome of your meeting with the Sri Lankan prime minister in April,” Palaniswami said, referring to Modi’s meeting with Ranil Wickremesinghe in Delhi. “The alarming increase in the frequency of abductions by the Sri Lankan Navy is a matter of utmost concern for the (state) government and the people of Tamil Nadu. An immediate intervention at the highest level is sought to resolve this long standing livelihood issue of our fishermen,” he said.
The Tamil Nadu government was taking “multifarious” steps to convert trawling boats to long liners and gill netters in the shortest possible period, Mr Palaniswami said, adding all transitions take time. “The Sri Lankan policy of abduction of boats in this transition period without respite only indicates its increasing intolerant attitude and the scant respect for the Indian diplomatic efforts,” he said. The Chief Minister urged PM Modi to take the matter up with the highest authorities in the Sri Lankan government and ensure the immediate release of a total of 42 fishermen and 141 boats.
Recently, Indian government on Mar 7, 2017 expressed its concern to the Sri Lankan government over the killing of an Indian fisherman by the Sri Lankan Navy. “Government of India is deeply concerned at the killing of an Indian fisherman. Our High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has taken up the matter with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka,” highly placed sources in the government told TOI. The source added that Sri Lankan Navy has promised a full and thorough investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, protests erupted in Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram after 22-year-old Britso, a fisherman from Thangachimadam, was shot dead o, allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel while he was fishing in a mechanized boat at a short distance off Katchatheevu islet. Two more fishermen reportedly suffered injuries in the firing.
Hundreds of fishermen staged a demonstration at Thangachimadam, demanding the arrest of the Lankan navy men involved in the incident. The protesting fishermen also refused to accept Britso’s body unless foreign minister Sushma Swaraj visits the island and gives them assurance that such incidents will not happen in the future.
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced Rs 5 lakh ex gratia for the victim’s family and Rs 1 lakh for the fishermen injured in the shooting. In a statement, the chief minister said the fishermen set out for fishing on Monday in a mechanized boat from Rameswaram fishing base. The Lankan Navy opened fire on the innocent fishermen, without any warning or provocation.
Observation: Will India act or will not?
The issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly poaching in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters has been an ongoing conflict, with Sri Lanka’s northern fishermen repeatedly raising concerns over their falling catch and the serious environmental damage caused by trawlers originating from India.
As of now, as many as 85 Indian fishermen charged of poaching are in Sri Lankan custody. A total of 146 trawlers seized by the navy have also been held, officials said.
Sri Lanka continued to be arrogant and deals on criminal intent with Indian Tamil fishermen fishing at Katchatheevu because India still refuses to step in to set things right for the Indian fishermen making livelihood at Katchatheevu- their traditional zone for ages. Occasionally, Indian High Commissioner in Colombo meets the Lankan President and other top officals requesting them, on behalf of Indian PM, to be good to Indian fishermen. But that is considered by Lankan regime as Indian weakness.
Meanwhile, in September PM Modi has picked a Tamilian Nirmala Sitaraman to hold the top slotted and heavily leaded Defence ministry of government of India, obviously, signaling a new shift in Indian policy towards Sri Lanka. However, Colombo doesn’t give any importance to the move ans considers it another gimmick of Modi.
Apparently, PM Modi’s choice of a Tamilian for the defence ministry talks a lot for Sri Lankan regime. Sri Lankan military knows if India decides to teach a lesson to Sri Lanka, it won’t take more than a couple of hours to deform that island nation.
One is not very sure what exactly the Indian government is planning in Sri Lanka to settle the fisherman issue. But if a brief attack is preferred by New Delhi and executed, then, it is quite likely that India would control not only Katchatheevu but also Sri Lanka. Then Lankans would cry loud pleading to India not to take Lanka but take away only Katchatheevu. Once India enters Srilanka, an Indian rule would be ensuing as the plight of Singhalese would be the same Tamils have faced all these years. .
Ms. Niramal Sitharaman, who oversaw the commerce and trade portfolio as a junior minister, has joined five other women in India’s cabinet. The prestigious foreign affairs portfolio is also held by a woman, Sushma Swaraj.. . Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also acted as defence minister on two occasions between the mid-1970s and early 1980s. She was assassinated in 1984. Sitharaman’s appointment comes just days after India and China agreed to end a months-long military stand-off at a strategically important disputed area in the Himalayas. New Delhi said both sides agreed to withdraw troops from an area near the Indian border that is claimed by both China and India’s ally Bhutan.
The reshuffle has been cast as Modi laying the groundwork before national elections in 2019, where he is widely tipped to defeat a diminished opposition. His nationally ruling party also governs 18 of India’s 29 states, either directly or in alliance with regional parties.
In the appointment of a Tamilian as defence minister, Tamils expect a massive operation by Indian government in Sri Lanka at least at Katchatheevu to restore the Indians their traditional rights to profess their profession of fish there. If Indian regime refuses any action against Sri Lanka on behalf of Indian fishermen community, that won’t be in the interests of India in the long term.
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References: 1. Genocides of Tamils and Indo-Sri Lanka relations (Modern Diplomacy) http://moderndiplomacy.eu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2418:genocides-of-tamils-and-indo-sri-lanka-relations. 2. Katchatheevu should be brought back to Indian control in order to ensure safe fishing by Indians! March 16, 2017 Abdul Ruff , south Asia Journal–http://southasiajournal.net/katchatheevu-should-be-brought-back-to-indian-control-in-order-to-ensure-safe-fishing-by-indians/

 

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State war crimes: UN urges Sri Lanka to quickly begin investigation!

 

State war crimes: UN urges Sri Lanka to quickly begin investigation!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
________

 

Sri Lanka is a soverign island nation in South Asia and claims its prerogative to kill its minority populations mainly Tamils in a sustained manner in order to appease the rich majority Singhalese people – most of them are now have the remote control over the parliament and government

Since it is the prerogative of the Lankan regime to kill its minority community for whatever reasons like Israel that keep killing the defenseless Palestinians,  it claims its carnal operations against the sections of population are not illegal at all. Lankans also say they cannot be punished by any international court. It said it would investigate the war crimes on its own and UN need to unnecessarily worry about the issue, but it has not yet begun the work even after years of peace in the Island nation.

Time is now fast running out for Srilankan regime to prove to the world that its military-police apparatus had not committed war crimes against the minority Tamil community as a part of its military campaign to weaken Tamil movement for equality.

When the UN had announced the possibility of appointing a war crime tribunal to try the war criminals of Sri Lanka, the new government of Sirisena approached the UN – directly and through USA- pleading to give up the war criminal infestation and that Lankan government itself would investigate the war crimes and submit a report to UN.

But till now Sirisena has failed to keep his word given to UN and USA.

A United Nations expert Pablo de Greiff warned that Sri Lanka must speed up its own long-stalled investigation into war crimes by troops or risk action by the international community, Pablo de Greiff, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion of justice and reparation, said Sri Lanka had been slow to deliver on its promise of justice for atrocities during the island’s bloody 37-year civil war.
De Greiff criticised a public assurance given to troops that committed serious crimes by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who along with the former dictator Rajapakse is making strenuous efforts to save the Singhalese military criminals and not to get them punished by International Courts for their excessive war crimes, that he would not allow “war heroes” to be prosecuted for alleged atrocities.
Greiff said allegations of war crimes levelled last month against Sri Lanka’s then-ambassador to Brazil, who was a general during the war era, underscored the risks faced by senior military officers past and present. “As the recent case presented in Brazil against a former member of the armed forces demonstrates, accountability will be sought either here or abroad,” de Greiff said in Colombo on Monday.

The case in Brazil against retired general Jagath Jayasuriya was just the “tip of the iceberg”, de Greiff said. He said Sri Lanka could expect similar efforts by foreign jurisdictions until it had taken steps to ensure a credible investigation of its own. Jayasuriya left Brazil two days after the International Truth and Justice Project, a South Africa-based rights group, filed a case against the former general.
De Greiff said the government’s pledge to pay reparations and prevent future atrocities was no substitute for accountability for past injustices. He urged it to adopt a timeline for achieving this and encouraged closer interaction with the UN human rights chief’s office.

Defeat of LTTE and not of Tamils

Lankan military defeated the LTTE but Sri Lanka’s Singhalese majority and regime itself  think they have defeated the Tamil community in the country and can now ill treat them the way they want. They attack, arrest along with their boats, and even kill Indian fishermen who come to fish at Katchatheevu- their traditional fishing zone. .

Sri Lankan forces that still claim to be totally innocent and committed no crimes, had defeated Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009 after a brutal guerrilla war which claimed the lives of at least 100,000 people. The military was accused of massacring up to 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in their no-holds-barred offensive.
Sri Lanka’s former Rajapaksha regime, responsible for the crimes committed against humanity in the name of “war on terror” refused even to acknowledge the civilian toll of its wartime campaign, drawing censure from the international community.
Sirisena’s government came to power in January 2015 promising justice for war victims, but his government has been accused of dithering ever since. Sirisena, unlike his predecessor Mahinda Rajapakse, in order possibly to fool the world, agreed to investigate war crimes but has yet to take the necessary steps to do so.he said so as a part of his “reconciliation move” with the Tamil minority community serving the Singhalese for centuries. The British Empire had taken these Tamils from the then Madras state to work in tea estates in Lanka to increase productivity and profits. Once independent, the Sinhalese majority community began targeting the Tamils denying them even basis rights. Perpetual persecution of Tamils by the Singhalese government gave birth to LTTE to defend the Tamils.
Britain refused to step in to save the Tamils when the Singhalese majority and their government began attacking Tamils and threw them out of work, thereby making them to starve. LTTE began demanding more human rights for Tamils. This led to conflict.
Sri Lanka must know there is no escape from punishment for the crimes it committed against the minority community. Colombo must wake up from sound sleep dreaming about the crimes it committed to win a war against the hapless minority community and institute impartial investigation. Meanwhile UN itself must investigate the war crimes on its own and punish the guilty without any sympathy.
Sri Lankan state crimes
The civil war that began in 1983 between Sri Lanka’s largely Buddhist Sinhalese majority and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (more commonly known as the Tamil Tigers), a separatist insurgent force from the predominantly Hindu Tamil minority, saw atrocities carried out by both sides, and forced over 100,000 Tamils to seek refuge in India.
The exodus was meant to come to an end in 2009, when government forces conclusively defeated the Tigers which ended the civil war. But ongoing human rights abuses against Tamils means there’s still a flow of desperate people prepared to take the huge risks necessary to find sanctuary in India.
After the end of a three-decade-long civil war, some Tamils are still suffering human rights abuses at the hands of the government – desperate to find an escape route. The fishermen of Rameswaram provide a lifeline for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees by smuggling them to safety in India. Some of the boats were involved in transporting Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, and many of those working the boats were Tamils themselves who had come to India through similar means.
A fisherman’s life anywhere in the world is a tough one. But the fishermen of Rameswaram live a particularly precarious existence. The boats are forced to play a sometimes deadly game of cat and mouse with the Sri Lankan navy, who often seize fishing boats they accuse of transporting refugees. The navy sometimes fires on fishing boats it deems encroaching on Sri Lankan waters and over 730 fishermen have been killed in the last 30 years.
Thousands of Tamils are believed to have gone missing during the conflict’s bloody final phase. After the war’s end, journalists, activists and government critics have been abducted by men in white vans in Colombo, the capital, and there are allegations that former Tamil rebels have been tortured in secret detention centres.
Of the 100,000 Tamils in India, 64,000 still live in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, where they receive an allowance, food and education but have no right to work. The Tamil are an ethnic group native to southern India, but Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka are still often looked down upon. Due to lack of proper documentation they are barred from all but the most menial jobs in the shadow economy.
While the Indian government has been dragging its feet for years over granting full rights to Tamil refugees (even to those who have lived there for over 30 years), Mark and Elliott hope that, at the very least, their project represents the fishermen they discovered eking out a living in the shadows of Rameswaram with dignity.
Systematic genocides
Although the civil war between the government and the LTTE officially began in 1983 and ended in 2009, the ethnic conflict has a longer history. The Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) found that from 1956 to 2004, about 79,319 Tamil civilians were subjected to killings (54053) and enforced disappearances (25266) by Sri Lankan security forces, state backed Sinhalese mobs and the IPKF.
As it can be seen, Tamil civilians who were killed (35323) and disappeared (2483) by Sri Lankan forces, Sinhalese mobs and the IPKF from 1977 to 2004 totals 37,806. This leaves out pogroms before 1977 and massacres and disappearances after 2004. In the Inginiyakala massacre ­of 1956, 150 Tamils were killed. In the 1958 pogrom, more than 300 Tamils were killed. In the Tamil Research Conference massacre of 1974, 9 Tamils were killed. So in total, about 459 Tamils were killed from 1956 to 1974. All in all, 38,265 Tamil civilians were killed from 1956 to 2004. If that figure is added to post-2004 figures (514 + 1102 + 70,000), about 10, 9881 Tamils were mass murdered and forced to disappear by Sri Lankan state and the IPKF from 1956 to 2009.
According to figures published by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka in the middle of 2006, 419 persons had disappeared in the Jaffna peninsula since December 2005. … According to a list published on 31 October 2007 by three NGOs, which specified it was not exhaustive, there were 540 cases of enforced disappearance from January to August 2007 … Again, in its 2008 annual report, WGEID stated it was “alarmed” by the large number of cases of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka, noting it had transmitted 43 cases concerning people who had disappeared between February and October 2008 under its urgent procedure. In its report issued in 2012, WGEID cited renewed allegations that more than 500 persons had disappeared between January and August 2007, in Jaffna District, and around 100 persons were alleged to have disappeared between 2008 and 2009 in Mannar District.”
Hence from December 2005 to 2009, around 1102 (419 + 540 + 43 + 100) Tamils were subjected to enforced disappearance, all probably dead. The last phase of the war in 2009 saw an unprecedented scale of mass murder of Tamil civilians within a matter of several months.
The Amnesty International reported in 1998: “In 1995, 55 cases of “disappearances” were reported, particularly from the east of the country and from the capital, Colombo. In 1996, after the army regained control over the northern Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE, an estimated 600 “disappearances” were reported from that area of the country. During 1997, approximately 100 cases of “disappearances” were reported, mainly from Jaffna, Batticaloa, Mannar and Kilinochchi.”
Hence from 1995 to 1997 about 755 (55 + 600 + 100) Tamils were subjected to enforced disappearances. Based on these reports, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal reviewed that from June 1956 to June 2008, at least 10,617 Tamils died from 149 cases of state sponsored pogroms, massacres and bombings. These lists do not include IPKF atrocities.
Regarding enforced disappearances, the Amnesty International reported in 1994: “In the northeast the number who have “disappeared” or been extra judicially executed to date runs to thousands. From 1984 to mid-1987, Amnesty International documented over 680 “disappearances” in the custody of Sri Lankan security forces in the northeast. From mid-1987 to March 1990 the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was responsible for the security of the northeast under the terms of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. During this period, Amnesty International documented 43 “disappearances” there for which the IPKF were believed responsible. After the IPKF had withdrawn, armed conflict resumed in June 1990 between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the main armed Tamil group fighting to establish a separate Tamil state in the northeast of Sri Lanka. Within months, the reported number of extrajudicial executions and “disappearances” reached thousands. In Amparai District in the east, it was estimated that between June and October 1990 alone, some 3,000 Tamil people were killed or “disappeared”.
In another report covering the year 1990, the Amnesty International wrote that, “In Batticaloa town alone over 1,200 people reportedly “disappeared” between June and October.” From these figures we can infer that from 1984 to 1990, around 4880 (680 + 3,000 + 1,200) Tamils were “disappeared” by the Sri Lankan government forces, if IPKF atrocities are excluded (although they were working for the Sri Lankan government’s interests, whether they had intended it or not. In total, about 87,354 (= 10,617 + 4880 + 755 + 1102 + 70,000) Tamil civilians were mass murdered and forced to disappear by Sri Lankan government forces and state backed Sinhalese mobs from 1956 to 2009.
If I count from the TCHR’s report which puts the 1956–2004 figure at 79,319 (including IPKF atrocities), and add post-2004 figures provided by other sources (79,319 + 514 + 1102 + 70,000) about 150,935 Tamil civilians died and disappeared at the hands of Sri Lankan and Indian government forces.
However these figures are incomplete, as some are based on rough estimates and many other atrocities went unreported or not included here. For example, economic embargo (1990–2002) imposed by the government on LTTE controlled areas which resulted in restriction of food and medical supplies had negative impacts on the local economy and health condition of the people and violated the international norms. This can be considered violence against civilians, although it’s not included in these figures.
According to an UN’s internal review report published in 2012, the estimates of the civilian casualties in 2009 run in the tens of thousands: “The Panel of Experts stated that “[a] number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths”. Some Government sources state the number was well below 10,000. Other sources have referred to credible information indicating that over 70,000 people are unaccounted for.

Vaiko attacked in USA by Sri Lankan squad

Sri Lankan regime, like any other nation having committed serious crimes against humanity is scare of punishment and watches through its agents abroad used by its foreign missions to deny any talk of its crimes against Tamils. Tamils are attacked abroad, too.

Lankan state atrocities against minorities are meant to end. A senior Dravidian politician and orator who always protested Singhalese crimes against Tamils, the MDMK chief Vaiko addressed the UNHRC meeting in September and accused the Sri Lankan Government of presiding over sustained “genocides” of Tamils. He also lamented about the lack of any progress in investigations into the atrocities committed allegedly by the Sri Lankan army. A group of Sri Lankans, allegedly former defence personnel, heckled MDMK general secretary Vaiko soon after he completed his address during a debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

After concluding his address for the second time, a group of Sri Lankans allegedly encircled him. A woman in the group yelled at Vaiko, saying that he was not a Sri Lankan Tamil to raise the Sri Lankan issue. Then who should raise such carnal attacks on minorities in Sri Lanka?
Colombo in denial mode

Sri Lanka still claims no harm done to Tamils and Indians and they committed no war crimes. . India never questions them, emboldening them to assert their lies. .

Sri Lankan Navy denies killing Indian fisherman K. Britjo. ‘No Navy personnel has the permission to shoot at poaching fishermen,’ Sri Lankan navy spokesperson said. Sri Lanka has assured India of cooperation in the investigation into the shooting of a Rameswaram-based fisherman K. Britjo.
A group of fishermen returned to the Rameswaram jetty with the body of 21-year-old fisherman K. Bristo, and pointed to an apparent bullet injury on his neck. Fishermen leaders based in Tamil Nadu said he was among the six fishermen on board a mechanized trawler that the “Sri Lankan Navy targeted”.
In 2011, a similar shooting incident claimed two Tamil fishermen’s lives at the Palk Bay. Tamil Nadu fishermen accused the Sri Lankan Navy of opening fire, which the navy denied.
The death of Britso of Thangachimadam made the state as well as central government wake up face the Lankan challenge Saron is getting treatment at Ramanathapuram government hospital. I have ordered the district administration to offer high class treatment to him,” Palaniswami said in a statement
DMK president MK Stalin also condemned the killing of the fisherman and urged Centre to take strong action. “It’s high time the Central Government reacts strongly to this problem. The Central Government cannot be a mute spectator. It should take up this issue with Indian ambassador in Sri Lanka or the High Commission of Sri Lanka in India,” Stalin said.
India’s weak reaction
On June 27, 2017, the Tamil Nadu government expressed concern over the “alarming increase” in number of “attacks” on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and sought the centre’s intervention for release of 42 of them. Referring to a spate of “distressing” arrests of Indian fishermen from his state in the last few days, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said such apprehensions have a “demoralising impact” on fishermen as well as the people of the state.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he raised the issue of arrest of 14 fishermen in two separate instances by the Lankan navy. “In spite of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) between India and Sri Lanka being sub-judice due to the ceding of Katchatheevu islet, the Sri Lankan Navy is continuing its marauding attacks on and abductions of our fishermen,” he said.
He recalled the state urging the Centre to use diplomatic measures to “prevail” upon Colombo “and reverse this trend”. “These instances, occurring on an everyday basis, in which our boats with innocent fishermen are being apprehended with impunity by the Sri Lankan Navy has a demoralising impact not just on the fishermen, but also on people of Tamil Nadu,” he said in the letter.
The people of the state “strongly believe” that the fishermen have a genuine claim to the Palk Bay fishing grounds from where they “are being apprehended,” he added.
The Chief Minister also pointed out that Sri Lanka has not released any of the fishing boats apprehended since January 2015, adding, that this “inhumane strategy” was causing great loss of livelihood to the fishermen. “There was wide expectation among the people of Tamil Nadu that the boats apprehended since 2015 would be released as an outcome of your meeting with the Sri Lankan prime minister in April,” Palaniswami said, referring to Modi’s meeting with Ranil Wickremesinghe in Delhi. “The alarming increase in the frequency of abductions by the Sri Lankan Navy is a matter of utmost concern for the (state) government and the people of Tamil Nadu. An immediate intervention at the highest level is sought to resolve this long standing livelihood issue of our fishermen,” he said.
The Tamil Nadu government was taking “multifarious” steps to convert trawling boats to long liners and gill netters in the shortest possible period, Mr Palaniswami said, adding all transitions take time. “The Sri Lankan policy of abduction of boats in this transition period without respite only indicates its increasing intolerant attitude and the scant respect for the Indian diplomatic efforts,” he said. The Chief Minister urged PM Modi to take the matter up with the highest authorities in the Sri Lankan government and ensure the immediate release of a total of 42 fishermen and 141 boats.
Recently, Indian government on Mar 7, 2017 expressed its concern to the Sri Lankan government over the killing of an Indian fisherman by the Sri Lankan Navy. “Government of India is deeply concerned at the killing of an Indian fisherman. Our High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has taken up the matter with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka,” highly placed sources in the government told TOI. The source added that Sri Lankan Navy has promised a full and thorough investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, protests erupted in Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram after 22-year-old Britso, a fisherman from Thangachimadam, was shot dead o, allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel while he was fishing in a mechanized boat at a short distance off Katchatheevu islet. Two more fishermen reportedly suffered injuries in the firing.
Hundreds of fishermen staged a demonstration at Thangachimadam, demanding the arrest of the Lankan navy men involved in the incident. The protesting fishermen also refused to accept Britso’s body unless foreign minister Sushma Swaraj visits the island and gives them assurance that such incidents will not happen in the future.
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced Rs 5 lakh ex gratia for the victim’s family and Rs 1 lakh for the fishermen injured in the shooting. In a statement, the chief minister said the fishermen set out for fishing on Monday in a mechanized boat from Rameswaram fishing base. The Lankan Navy opened fire on the innocent fishermen, without any warning or provocation.
Observation: Will India act or will not?
The issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly poaching in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters has been an ongoing conflict, with Sri Lanka’s northern fishermen repeatedly raising concerns over their falling catch and the serious environmental damage caused by trawlers originating from India.
As of now, as many as 85 Indian fishermen charged of poaching are in Sri Lankan custody. A total of 146 trawlers seized by the navy have also been held, officials said.
Sri Lanka continued to be arrogant and deals on criminal intent with Indian Tamil fishermen fishing at Katchatheevu because India still refuses to step in to set things right for the Indian fishermen making livelihood at Katchatheevu- their traditional zone for ages. Occasionally, Indian High Commissioner in Colombo meets the Lankan President and other top officals requesting them, on behalf of Indian PM, to be good to Indian fishermen. But that is considered by Lankan regime as Indian weakness.
Meanwhile, in September PM Modi has picked a Tamilian Nirmala Sitaraman to hold the top slotted and heavily leaded Defence ministry of government of India, obviously, signaling a new shift in Indian policy towards Sri Lanka. However, Colombo doesn’t give any importance to the move ans considers it another gimmick of Modi.
Apparently, PM Modi’s choice of a Tamilian for the defence ministry talks a lot for Sri Lankan regime. Sri Lankan military knows if India decides to teach a lesson to Sri Lanka, it won’t take more than a couple of hours to deform that island nation.
One is not very sure what exactly the Indian government is planning in Sri Lanka to settle the fisherman issue. But if a brief attack is preferred by New Delhi and executed, then, it is quite likely that India would control not only Katchatheevu but also Sri Lanka. Then Lankans would cry loud pleading to India not to take Lanka but take away only Katchatheevu. Once India enters Srilanka, an Indian rule would be ensuing as the plight of Singhalese would be the same Tamils have faced all these years. .
Ms. Niramal Sitharaman, who oversaw the commerce and trade portfolio as a junior minister, has joined five other women in India’s cabinet. The prestigious foreign affairs portfolio is also held by a woman, Sushma Swaraj.. . Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also acted as defence minister on two occasions between the mid-1970s and early 1980s. She was assassinated in 1984. Sitharaman’s appointment comes just days after India and China agreed to end a months-long military stand-off at a strategically important disputed area in the Himalayas. New Delhi said both sides agreed to withdraw troops from an area near the Indian border that is claimed by both China and India’s ally Bhutan.
The reshuffle has been cast as Modi laying the groundwork before national elections in 2019, where he is widely tipped to defeat a diminished opposition. His nationally ruling party also governs 18 of India’s 29 states, either directly or in alliance with regional parties.
In the appointment of a Tamilian as defence minister, Tamils expect a massive operation by Indian government in Sri Lanka at least at Katchatheevu to restore the Indians their traditional rights to profess their profession of fish there. If Indian regime refuses any action against Sri Lanka on behalf of Indian fishermen community, that won’t be in the interests of India in the long term.
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References: 1. Genocides of Tamils and Indo-Sri Lanka relations (Modern Diplomacy) http://moderndiplomacy.eu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2418:genocides-of-tamils-and-indo-sri-lanka-relations. 2. Katchatheevu should be brought back to Indian control in order to ensure safe fishing by Indians! March 16, 2017 Abdul Ruff , south Asia Journal–http://southasiajournal.net/katchatheevu-should-be-brought-back-to-indian-control-in-order-to-ensure-safe-fishing-by-indians/

 

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USA criticizes India, Israel and Pakistan on human rights

 

USA criticizes India, Israel and Pakistan on human rights

 

While releasing the annual US report on religious freedom for 2016, Tillerson, however, highlights attacks in India by cow protection groups against people accused of bovine trafficking or having beef in their refrigerators or vehicles.

The report singles out some key US partners in the Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia, for not allowing religious freedom in their territories. Interestingly, it also criticises Israel for refusing to implement an agreement on egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The report points out that Israel has ignored the advice to establish a “shared society for Jewish and Arab populations” and notes that relations among religious and ethnic groups in Israel and the Palestinian territories remain “strained”.

The chapter on India says that in 2016, “there was an increase in violent incidents by cow protection groups against mostly Muslim victims, including killings, mob violence, assaults and intimidation”.

The report also mentions “religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination and vandalism” in India where state governments also took “actions restricting the right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs and proselytize.”

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs reported 751 conflicts between religious communities, which resulted in 97 deaths and 2,264 injuries in 2015, the report adds. “Religious minority communities (in India) stated that, while the national government sometimes spoke out against incidents of violence, local political leaders often did not, which left victims and minority religious communities feeling vulnerable.”

Taking note of religious intolerance in Saudi Arabia, Secretary Tillerson said: “We remain concerned about the state of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia.”

The report says the Saudi government does not recognise the right of non-Muslims to practice their religion in public and applied criminal penalties, including prison sentences, lashings, and fines, for apostasy, atheism, blasphemy, and insulting the state’s interpretation of Islam. Of particular concern are attacks targeting the Shia community and the continued pattern of social prejudice and discrimination against them. “We urge Saudi Arabia to embrace greater degrees of religious freedom for all of its citizens,” Secretary Tillerson said.

In Bahrain, the report says, the government continues to question, detain and arrest Shia clerics, community members and opposition politicians. Members of the Shia community there continue to report ongoing discrimination in government employment, education and the justice system. Bahrain must stop discriminating against the Shia community, it adds.

The report also recognizes the genocide of Christians by the militant Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.