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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 27, 2017, 09:25:48 PM
Thanks, the question that needs to be asked is: what advantage is there for Pak to reform themselves ?, it will be a big loss for them.

Why Pak does not want reform:. If there was no worldwide terrorism emanating from Pak, their importance to the US would diminish, Coalition Support Funds would go down, and the  paki army cant have that. The paki army is perhaps the only army in the world which does everything except fight and win wars. They run sugar mills, flour mills, textiles most aspects of Pak business. When the Army Chief retires he gets a huge land allottment for building a farm house ofcourse. Land allottments are not just for the Chief, but lower ranks too, just smaller size land plots. So pak plays truant and the US obliges by becoming their sugar daddy. US support for Pak has a historic basis from the time, when India was aligned with Russia and the US wanted to support Pak to maintain balance of power. I think the US is getting tired of this game and support to Pak is declining, iron brother China is becoming their new sugar daddy. US interests align with those of India, especially to maintain balance of power with China. I expect this trend to continue.

Why there can be no peace with India: Traditionally Pak army has created the India bogey, because without India as an enemy, there is really no reason for them to exist, and their budget would be in the 1.5% range. So with the constant threat of India they have a huge budget (no one knows how much, perhaps 15-20 % with all their businesses). The problem with this is, the pak army sucks most of the money away and there is nothing left for education, health and infrastructure investment. So every year the country becomes more backward, foreign investment falls and the Paki army needs a bigger share to maintain their lifestyle.

Changes with new pak army chief, Bajwa: The outgoing pak army chief, raheel shareef had a congenital hatred of India, he was a sunni muslim. Fortunately he did not get an extension (that's another story), in the power play with prime minister nawaz shareef. Nawaz Shareef played a master card by making Bajwa the new army chief. The rumour is that Bajwa is not a sunni muslim, but a qadiani (Ahmedi sect of Islam, which is not recognized as muslim by Pak, its a blasphemy to be an Ahmedi). Infact, some of his relatives are known qadianis and perhaps even his father was a qadiani. However, a qadiani cannot be army chief, so Bajwa claims to be sunni muslim. Sort of like Obummer being a closet muslim with sympathies towards the religion of peace. What ever the truth, he seems to be moderate and right from the start has made peace overtures to India. Recently he put the terrorist Hafeez saeed under house arrest (mumbai blast master mind). It is not clear, why he is doing that. Is it a genuine peace overture ?, concern that Trump might ban Paki muslims, or perhaps pressure from China (since Indo-China relations are going downhill because of terror from Pak, and the Chinese blocking India's entry to NSG). What ever the reason, no one in India believes in reformation by Pak. We have been down this road too many times to know that paki good behaviour never lasts. Infact if relations start to improve, the ISI arranges for a bomb blast in India, which immediately suts down any peace overtures. China's interest in ensuring paki good behaviour is their 50 Billion $ investment in the CPEC project which goes through Pak occupied Kashmir (territory claimed by India), for India can certainly create mayhem there. So interesting times ahead, a lot of plots with subplots in the story.

52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 04, 2017, 08:49:14 PM
ISIS recruits background in India...YA

IS suspects had formal schooling’
UPDATED: JANUARY 20, 2017 04:25 IST

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Thursday that 80% of the persons arrested for alleged links to the Islamic State (IS) went to formal schools and only 20% had studied at madrasas (Islamic seminaries).

In one of the biggest crackdown in 2016, NIA arrested 52 persons for allegedly plotting terror attacks and being part of the banned outfit.

NIA said nearly half of the suspects were followers of Ahle Hadith (or Salafis/Wahabis who follow the puritan form of Islam promoted by Saudi Arabia) and 30% followed Tablighi Jamaat (Sunni Islamic movement). Only 20% were Deobandis (Islamic school based in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh) and none of them was from the Barelvi sect.

The NIA also said that 47 of the accused were from the Sunni sect of Islam and five had converted from Hinduism and Christianity.

Elaborating, an NIA official said four persons converted from Christianity to Islam and one converted from Hinduism to join the Islamic State.

All the five accused belong to Kochi in Kerala.

Twenty-eight of the 52 arrested persons were aged between 18 and 25, twenty were in the 25-40 age bracket and four were aged 40 and above.

An analysis of their educational qualification indicated that 20 were graduates and had professional degrees, 12 were diploma holders, 13 had done their matriculation, four studied till the senior secondary level and three were post graduates.

Thirty were from the middle income group, nine from upper middle income group and 13 from the lower income group.

The highest number — twelve each — belonged to Maharashtra and Telangana. Eleven were from Kerala, five from Karnataka, four from Uttar Pradesh, two from Rajasthan, three from Tamil Nadu and one each from Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

Of the 52 persons arrested for plotting terror attacks, only 20% had studied at madrasas, says NIA
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: January 26, 2017, 09:30:17 PM
Nice article, the 1962 loss to China, was due to bad political decisions and lack of strategic thinking on part of Nehru, the then PM of India. Current thinking is that this cannot and will not, be ever repeated. China will get a bloody nose, since nuclear weapons will not be used in a Sino-Indian war due to MAD. The reason for this confidence is that the Indian army is battle hardened, the Tibetan population does not support China and the Chinese havent fought a war in decades. China has good roads in the plains of Tibet, but they still have to come through the Himalayan range, where there are few roads and passes. Furthermore, the passes close due to snow for several months, that means the Chinese cannot stay for long (ie only short skirmishes are possible), for they cannot be resupplied and all exit routes back to China will close. When its not snowing, its likely raining in the North east of India, eg Cheerapunji in the east gets the highest rainfall in the world, heavy rains cause a lot of misery in the presence of heavily forested areas. So the Chinese can attack only in a short window of opportunity in the dry season....and as discussed they cannot stay for long!. One reason that India has not built roads has been, the natural protection provided by the mountain range between India and China.
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: January 22, 2017, 06:24:58 PM
Trump may well do exactly that. However the generosity of Bush/Obama was necessary to build confidence with the US leadership, which was a strongly in support of Pak. India does not ask for money (like Pak), but for technology. Previous technology denial regimes led by the US (eg after the nuclear blasts by India), had the unintended consequence of making India self sufficient in several aspects of missile technology! and space technology. Every time the west denies technology to India, they have developed it themselves, and just as the technology becomes operational, the western countries will lift the technology denial ban and ask that India buy western weapons/equipment !, this happens like clockwork.

55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: January 21, 2017, 09:51:50 PM
I believe India is part of the US pivot to asia. This is recognized both by the USA and India. Ash Carter the previous defense secretary was particularly helpful in this, on the Indian side there is a clear understanding to move away from Russia (since it has gotten quite chummy with China). It is not acceptable for India that Russia sells the same weapons to China. On several occasions, Russia has sided with China on geopolitical issues that concern Pak. The USA has been quite active in courting India with respect to military equipment. Both the F-16 and F-18 factory lines have been offered to India (since the F-35 is replacing F-16) along with advanced sensors on the P-8 planes. The next agreement to get signed will be CISMOA, which deals with interoperability and sharing of advanced military equipment. The USA is pushing for it aggressively, India resists it since it comes with intrusive monitoring by USA. With time the issues will be resolved. Another thing which Obama did in the last days of his presidency was to establish an India desk.

At this time, both Indian and US interests align with respect to China, both countries have strong leaders. I would be very surprised if there is not a US-China power struggle in the South China sea. Obama tolerated a lot of crap from China, Trump may not.
Below is a blog exerpt by Ajai Shukla.

Tellis tells Trump to retain Obama’s policy towards India

Possible US envoy to New Delhi says India must get assurance against China

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 21st Jan 17

As President Donald Trump’s administration and policies take shape, Ashley Tellis, whom Washington Post identifies as America’s likely next ambassador to New Delhi, has urged America’s new president to continue Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama’s policies towards Asia, and India in particular.

Writing in the publication, Asia Policy, Tellis has recommended that Trump should “[take] the existing threats of Pakistan-supported terrorism against India more seriously, [develop] a considered strategy for aiding India in coping with Chinese assertiveness, and [persist] with the existing U.S. policy of eschewing mediation on the thorny Indo-Pakistani dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.”

New Delhi is concerned that the Trump administration might back track substantially on Obama’s “rebalance to Asia”, reducing the salience of India in US foreign policy. While campaigning, Trump had indicated he would reduce America’s superpower role of maintaining global order, allow US military intervention only to tackle direct threats to the US homeland, make military allies pick up a larger share of the bill for their own defence and reject multilateral trade pacts like the Trans Pacific Partnership, a key component of former President Barack Obama’s economic strategy in Asia.

As in New Delhi, there is concern in capitals across the Indo-Asia-Pacific about whether America’s 45th president will leave the region on its own in dealing with a rising, aggressive China.

Tellis, one of America’s most highly regarded strategists and a Mumbai-born (??) India expert who served in New Delhi a decade ago, warns the incoming administration: “An Asia in which the United States ceases by choice to behave like a preponderant power is an Asia that will inevitably become a victim of Chinese hegemony. In such circumstances, there are fewer reasons for India to seek a special strategic relation with the United States, as the partnership would not support New Delhi in coping with the threats posed by Beijing’s continuing ascendancy.”

Tellis says that President Bush devised the policy of supporting India without expecting reciprocity from New Delhi, an approach that Obama has continued. “It was anchored in the presumption that helping India expand in power and prosperity served the highest geopolitical interests of the United States in Asia and globally — namely, maintaining a balance of power that advantaged the liberal democracies”, he writes.

“Accordingly, it justified acts of extraordinary US generosity toward India, even if specific policies emanating from New Delhi did not always dovetail with Washington’s preferences.”

Tellis writes that this “calculated altruism whereby Washington continually seeks to bolster India’s national capabilities without any expectations of direct recompense” includes the US-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement, support for a permanent US Security Council seat for India, championing India’s membership of global non-proliferation regimes and relaxed access to defence and dual-use technology.

Such initiatives would reap success, says Tellis “only if the larger architectonic foundations of the bilateral relationship — centered on boosting New Delhi’s power—are fundamentally preserved, not because they happen to be favourable to India but more importantly because they serve larger U.S. grand strategic interests in Asia and beyond.”
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: January 20, 2017, 10:27:17 PM
 There are several parallels with the USA. India's Prime Minister Modi is someone like Trump, a popular nationalist. He let his BJP party (akin to Republican Party) to victory over the long entrenched Congress Party (akin to Democrats, founded by Nehru). The Congress was the peacenik party who could not say radical Islamic terrorism and believed in unending talks with Pak. Modi has been strong, along with his NSA, Ajit Doval who is another nationalist. For the first time India has done two officially acknowledged cross border-raids (in Myanmar and in Pak) in response to terror strikes in India. Modi initially went out of his way to be cordial to Pak, but very soon stopped all talks with them since the cross border attacks continue. The point I am trying to make is that India no longer shows the other cheek, but rather responds militarily.

The Indian NSA has said that India should not compete with China in an arms race, rather he has instead proposed that we strongly develop the missile programs. India's recent launch of its nuclear capable missile, Agni 5 has caused a lot of heart burn in China, it can now for the first time reach any part of China. Future missiles with MIRV and MARV capability are being developed. India also has the nuclear triad of air, sea and land based missiles. This has essentially neutralized the Chinese nuclear edge, which means that any future war with China will be conventional, where India feels they have the edge. China has not fought a war, I think in the last 4 decades....there is no way they can win in a conventional war with Indian forces who are battle hardened after several wars with pak and ongoing counterinsurgency ops. A war with China cannot be excluded, especially over CPEC (China-Pak Economic Corridor), which passes through Pak occupied Kashmir (territory that India claims as its own).

Both Bush and Obama had good relations with India. Bush helped with access to peaceful nuclear technology, while Obama helped with provision of military equipment and technology. Several military agreements were signed under Obama, LEMOA (sharing of military bases), as well as major defense partner status was done under Obama's watch. It is expected that Trump will also have excellent relations with India, especially since Trump is taking a hardline with China.

So yes, as the older generation of politicians (from the pre-partition era) pass away, any sympathies for Pak disappear. The new generation of politicians do not retain any soft corner for Pak. Everyone in India is gungho about the future, they know that in about 2 decades, India's economy will overtake China's. The future appears very bright. India's advantage is that except for Pak and China, it has excellent relations with the rest of the world including the Arab states.
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / India's expanded toolkit on: October 08, 2016, 10:14:15 AM
The last 2 weeks have been a time of tremendous national outpouring of support to the Modi govt in India. After decades of suffering from Pak mediated terrorism, Mumbai bombings, Parliament attack, and recently Pathankot and Uri bombings, India finally responded by carrying out textbook surgical strikes in Pak occupied Kashmir. Previous Indian govts have been timid because of Paki nuclear sabre rattling over everything. This is a game changer for the Indian govt and people, Pak's nucklear bombast will no longer deter, and the Paki generals have suffered a severe loss of face.

India-Pakistan Tensions: India’s Expanded Toolkit
September 29, 2016

On September 28, the Indian Army initiated a military strike against terror camps along the Line of Control in Kashmir. The exact nature of this action, as well as its location, remains vague. But the “surgical strike,” as termed by India’s director general of Military Operations, has been embraced across India. This news comes a week after terrorists targeted an Indian Army base in Kashmir, leaving 19 Indian soldiers dead. It is unclear whether India’s military strike will lead to a further escalation of tensions with Pakistan. Even before the strike, however, India had been displaying an expanded set of options for dealing with Pakistan, compared to previous times of escalated tension such as 1999 and 2002.

In recent decades, both sides employed a fairly standard set of tools when tensions boiled over—ranging from expelling diplomats, cutting off transportation linkages, triggering troop mobilizations at the border, all the way up to combat operations such as the brief Kargil War in 1999. The usual barbs were traded in speeches during the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, though this is to be expected even during periods of relative calm between India and Pakistan.

However, following a number of recent provocations that India has linked to Pakistan-based militant groups, the government of prime minister Narendra Modi has employed a different set of tools to respond to these incitements. These tools may not be altogether new, but the fact that they have been the focus of India’s response to Pakistan’s incitements marks a different approach—one that surely has Islamabad on its toes.

First, India has shown a willingness to pull South Asia away from the traditional convening group, the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Founded in 1985, SAARC has never quite lived up to its potential, largely because its two largest members, India and Pakistan, have rarely been in a political position to work together. Earlier this week India announced it would withdraw from an upcoming SAARC meeting in Pakistan. India has refocused its regional connectivity efforts on sub-groupings that do not involve Pakistan, such as the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program, the Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), and the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Initiative. To varying degrees, these groups have been able to move forward with new agreements that should increase connectivity and cooperation among interested South Asian nations. Several South Asian nations have conveyed concerns about Pakistan’s role in the recent attacks against India. Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Afghanistan joined India in announcing they would not join the SAARC summit in Pakistan in November.

Third, India has shown resurgent interest in strengthening ties with Afghanistan, creating a stronger link with the nation on Pakistan’s other major border. India has provided crucial development assistance to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. But over the last year India has looked to expand its work in new areas. Late last year, India agreed to provide four Mi-25 attack helicopters to the Afghan army—India’s first direct military assistance to Afghanistan. India has also re-committed to the development of Iran’s Chabahar Port, which will augment India’s connectivity to Afghanistan. The United States and India have also recently agreed to revive the moribund U.S.-India-Afghanistan trilateral discussions.Second, India has shown its increased capability to initiate strikes against militant groups outside its borders. In June 2015, Indian troops reportedly crossed into Myanmar to conduct a raid on a militant camp, less than a week after the militant group killed 18 Indian soldiers. While there has been some reasoned speculation that the raid may not have involved crossing into Myanmar territory, the signal to Pakistan was pretty clear—India had the ability to take a limited fight to militant camps.

Fourth, India is engaging the United States more aggressively than ever before on security cooperation. Recent highlights include the January 2015 “ U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region,” progress under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), and the June 2016 “ Framework for the U.S. India Cyber Relations.” Engaging the United States has helped strengthen those American voices that have been calling for a reduction in military support to Pakistan based on our interest in strengthening relations with India. Such calls were far easier for Washington to ignore when we had little progress in our security relationship with India.

Fifth, India is reviewing its “Most Favored Nation (MFN)” trade policy towards Pakistan, in place since 1996. Despite positive noises, Pakistan has never reciprocated by granting India MFN. A cabinet decision on revoking Pakistan’s MFN status has been postponed, but is on the cards as another modest tool against Pakistan. As the Atlantic Council pointed out in its 2014 report, India and Pakistan: The Opportunity Cost of Conflict, most bilateral trade already takes place via third countries such as Dubai and Singapore. Still, revoking existing agreements is a fairly significant measure.

Sixth, India has hinted that it would consider altering the terms of its water sharing agreement with Pakistan under the 56-year old Indus Water Treaty. The Indus Water Treaty has often been highlighted as a rock of relative stability in India-Pakistan ties even when other aspects of the relationship hit various peaks and valleys. As we have seen within India’s own borders recently, restricting water can be a trigger for violence. So unilaterally altering a water sharing arrangement may be viewed as a particularly powerful escalation tool in a water-starved region. Still, India has signaled that such an action is under review.

While the Indian Ministry of Defence has stated it does not plan additional strikes, it is not clear whether the current tensions between India and Pakistan will escalate further. There is certainly little expectation that Pakistani militants, under varying degrees of control by Pakistan’s military, will be deterred from initiating further attacks. But the costs to Islamabad of supporting terrorism are increasing, and taking different forms than before.

Richard M. Rossow is a senior fellow and holds the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: June 20, 2016, 08:51:55 PM
This week, June 23-24, India's entry into NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) will be debated. China wants its friend Pak to gain entry into NSG (Nuclear Smugglers Group). China/Turkey are the sole major objectors holding back India's entry on the pretext that Pak should also get in, and no one will allow Pak to get in. Interestingly China's record as a proliferator along with Pak is well known!
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America (and pre-emptive dhimmitude) on: June 12, 2016, 04:58:07 PM
Would not surprise me to see Obamster label this a "hate" crime and not Islamic terrorism.  It fits their agenda - gay hate crime and gun control.  Hate crime does fit but it is certainly Islamic terror even more:
Religion of Peace strikes again..
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America (and pre-emptive dhimmitude) on: June 12, 2016, 04:56:18 PM
It seems that the shooter's dad, had tried to stand for Afghan President the very least dad was a player in afghan politics.
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / India builds dam in Afghanistan on: June 11, 2016, 12:46:56 PM
India recently built a dam in Afghanistan, against all odds. I found this article interesting, because it shows why nation building is tough, and the collaboration that is required to get a major project done in Afgh....YA

62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / India develops port in Iran, China in Pakistan on: June 02, 2016, 11:12:50 PM
There is another rivalry developing in the region. China developed Gwadar port in Pak to get access to the warm waters and open trade to central asia. India is doing the same, about 70 km to the west via Iran's Chabahar port. Question is which port route will survive and prosper. the security situation is worse in Pak, so I expect China's supposed 45 B$ investment in Pak will not go very far.

A Tale of Two Ports

Gwadar and Chabahar display Chinese-Indian rivalry in the Arabian Sea

Christophe Jaffrelot

YaleGlobal, 7 January 2011

PARIS: Sino-Indian rivalry in the Indian Ocean and India’s naval cooperation with the US draw the world’s attention. But quietly, out of sight, a contest has been building in the Arabian Sea centered between two ports, one based in Pakistan and the other in Iran. The first is backed by China, the second by India. The first, located in Gwadar, is intended to give China access to the Indian Ocean; the second, Chabahar, is supposed to connect India to Afghanistan and counter the first. The two ports represent longstanding rivalries in the region and anticipation for intense geo-strategic competition.  

Gwadar, with its proximity to the vital sea lane between the Middle East and China, has strategic importance for China, especially for oil trade. If China wants to emancipate itself from transportation or military problems along Asia’s southern coastline, direct access to the Indian Ocean may be the solution.

Direct access to the India Ocean would give China a strategic post of observation and a key location for its navy. While Myanmar and Sri Lanka can offer substantial support, the country that can best help Beijing is Pakistan because of its location and long-time friendship.

India, feeling encircled, reacted to this development. In his recent book on the Indian Ocean, journalist Robert Kaplan writes that “the Indians’ answer to Sino-Pakistani cooperation at Gwadar was a giant new $8 billion naval base at Karwar, south of Goa on India’s Arabian coast, the first phase of which opened in 2005.”  

Karwar was only one part of the response to Gwadar. The other one is Chabahar. In 2002 India helped Iran to develop the port of Chabahar, located 72 kilometers west of Gwadar, soon after China began work at Gwadar.
Chabahar should provide India with access to Afghanistan via the Indian Ocean. India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to give Indian goods, heading for Central Asia and Afghanistan, preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar.

Gwadar is located on the Gulf of Oman, close to the entrance of the Persian Gulf. Until 1958 it belonged to Oman, which gave this land to Pakistani rulers who expected that the location would contribute to what Kaplan calls “a new destiny.”

When President Richard Nixon visited Pakistan in 1973, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto sought US help to construct a new port at Gwadar, and reportedly offered the US Navy use of the facility. He was unsuccessful, and Pakistan then turned to China for help. Work started in 2002, and China has invested $200 million, dispatching 450 personnel for the first phase of the job completed in 2006 and resulting in a deep-sea port.

Direct access to the India Ocean, with Gwadar, would give China a strategic post of observation and a
key location for its navy.

The Port of Singapore Authority was selected to manage Gwadar in 2007. But it did not invest much money, and Pakistan decided to transfer port management to another institution, not yet selected but which will probably be Chinese. On 6 November 2010 the Supreme Court of Pakistan asked the Gwadar Port Authority to seek cancellation of the concession agreement with the Port of Singapore Authority.

At the same time, Pakistan and China contemplate developing the Karakorum Highway to connect China’s Xinjiang and Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. In 2006, a memorandum of understanding was signed between both countries to upgrade this road and connect Kashgar and Abbottabad. But the Karakorum Highway, the highest point of which passes at 4,693 meters, can open between May and December. It’s also vulnerable to landslides, so large trucks may not use it easily.

Pakistan and China also discussed building a 3,000-kilometer rail line between Kashgar and Gwadar, during President Asif Ali Zardari’s July 2010 visit with President Hu Jintao in Beijing. The cost would be enormous, up to $30 million per kilometer in the highest mountains.

In addition, Baluchistan is one of Pakistan’s most unstable provinces today because of the development of a nationalist movement with separatist overtones. Insurgents have already kidnapped and killed Chinese engineers in Gwadar.

Soon after China began work at Gwadar, India helped Iran to develop the port of Chabahar, located 72 kilometers west of Gwadar.

But China persists. More than a gateway to the Indian Ocean, Gwadar, at least, will provide Beijing with, first, a listening post from where the Chinese may exert surveillance on hyper-strategic sea links as well as military activities of the Indian and American navies in the region, and second, dual-use civilian-military facilities providing a base for Chinese ships and submarines.
For the Indians, this is a direct threat. The Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis recently published a report on Pakistan: the “Gwadar port being so close to the Straits of Hormuz also has implications for India as it would enable Pakistan to exercise control over energy routes. It is believed that Gwadar will provide Beijing with a facility to monitor US and Indian naval activity in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, respectively, as well as any future maritime cooperation between India and the US.”

India responded by helping Iran with the port of Chabahar. Work on the Chabahar-Milak-Zaranj-Dilaram route from Iran to Afghanistan is in progress. India has already built the 213-kilometer Zaranj-Dilaram road in Afghanistan’s Nimroz province and helps Iran to upgrade the Chabahar-Milak railroad. Developing railroads and port infrastructure near the border of Afghanistan could strengthen Iranian influence in Afghanistan, especially among the Shia and non-Pashtun ethnic groups.

In developing Chabahar, India must factor in US attempts  at isolating Iran because of Tehran’s nuclear policy.

However, this Indo-Iranian project is bound to suffer from two problems:

First, politically, Afghanistan is unstable and may not oblige Iran and India if the Taliban or any Pakistan-supported government is restored. Chabahar is also part of one of Iran’s most volatile regions where anti-regime Sunni insurgents have launched repeated attacks. Don't agree with this, YA

Secondly, the work is far behind schedule. In July 2010, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohd Ali Fathollahi said the port was functional, but has a capacity of only 2.5 million tons per year, whereas the target was 12 million tons. Speeding work on the port was urged during the 16th Indo-Iranian Joint Commission meeting, attended by Iranian Finance Minister Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini and India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who pointed out that “Iran’s assistance in developing the Chabahar port has been slow ‘til now.”

The connection between Gwadar and China remains distant, but could be the Suez Canal of the 21st century. At the minimum, this deep-sea port should provide Beijing with a strategic base soon.

The Chinese move prompted India to react – hence the development of Chabahar. But in developing this port, New Delhi must factor in US attempts at isolating Iran because of Tehran’s nuclear policy. How far the Indo-Iranian rapprochement is compatible with the growing Indo-American alliance remains to be seen.

The US and India may agree on the need to counter growing Chinese influence in Gwadar, but may also disagree on the policy India wants to pursue by joining hands with Iran.

Iran itself may not want to take any risk at alienating China, a country which has supported Tehran, including its nuclear policy, until recently.

Christophe Jaffrelot is a senior research fellow with the Centre for International Studies and Research, Sciences Po/CNRS.
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geopolitical thinking from the Indian perspective on: April 15, 2016, 10:14:20 AM
Some of the geopolitical thinking in India, vis a vis China and how the US fits in...YA

India’s Geo Political Compulsions Will Play A Major Role In IAF’s Jet Deal

As India identifies the next supplier to IAF, the aircraft deal has become the mother of all deals. The eventual supplier will not only enhance its influence but also reap rich financial rewards. In terms of number of aircraft, this is perhaps the single largest contract ever. India is spoilt for choices. Who is who of the major combat jet manufacturers are lining up to sell jets to India. Americans, a UK-German European consortium, French, Swedes, and Russians are all working hard to woo the Indian government.
 However for India it will be a thin line between creating indigenous capability and new dependency on a foreign supplier. Combat aircraft selection starts with foreign policy. Only friendly and reliable countries are selected as eventual suppliers, and even after negotiations and aircraft delivery the job is not done. The combat jet deal ends with foreign policy. The country’s foreign office has the explicit task of remaining in the good graces of the supplier. The supplying country controls the parts supply and with exercising a quasi-veto over the country’s war making ability, greatly enhancing the selling country’s prestige and influence. For a buying country it’s a dependence on another country. No wonder fighter jet deals are often more about geo politics than pure commerce. Decisions by Indian policy makers thus will not only impact the make-up of IAF but could also reshape foreign policy. Part of that change is visible. Continued decline of Russia at the global stage has caught up on a reluctant India. In a first, Russia lost out in the last aircraft MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) tender, despite the lowest bid.

Never before have the Russians not been awarded the biggest IAF contracts. Although India purchased British and French jets in the past these were small numbers. The core of the IAF are Russian jets. First time in four decades the Indian Air Force will see a non-Russian jet alongside forming the backbone of the fighter strength. India’s ties with Russia will remain strategic as substantial defense hardware will continue to be Russian for a very long. However, Russia’s monopoly in the Indian skies has undoubtedly ended. Who is replacing Russia? In the fray are the Americans, the UK and German led consortium, the French and the Swedes.
 Not only are the hardware offered by each very different, so are the political and strategic ramifications. From India’s vantage point, the Swedish offer is predominantly commercial being the weakest country in terms of political and strategic value. Sweden is not a permanent member of the UN Security Council neither an economic heavyweight. Gripen jets are powered by GE engines thus not free of the sanction-prone impulses of Americans.

A partnership with Sweden will bring India little at the UNSC or other international fora. To make the Swedish offer compelling, there needs to be substantial compensation elsewhere. Like a generous offer with complete technology transfer and unprecedented buildup of Indian aviation industry. Given SAAB has declared a desire to become an Indian company, one assumes Swedes are fully aware of their options. The French Rafael offer and the UK-German led consortium with Eurofighter are better positioned as UNSC members and economic heavy weights. These countries place commercial interest’s almost equally with international politics which adds to the reliability of the historically dependable relationship. As a consequence the offers are less generous. Failing one of the key Indian criteria of development of an Indian industry. The French have already dragged their feet on producing in India or transferring significant technology.

 The UK and Germany offer nothing very different. If any of these were the eventual winners, the Indian aviation industry will remain underdeveloped. The Americans are offering the greatest amount of technology transfer and manufacturing in India with either the F18 or the F16. India will achieve a longstanding goal of enhancing its ability to design combat jets and develop an indigenous manufacturing capability. The Americans seem to have the best offer and the winning hand. However this is not all. There cannot be the slightest doubt that American defense sales are just commercial. These sales are an in veritable part of American geopolitical strategy, and deals have clear political objectives. The subsequent supply of spare parts is brazenly a bona fide instrument of continued control. India developed Tejas aircraft already depends on GE engines. Selecting another American jet will dramatically reroute IAF’s lifeline from Washington effectively giving Americans a veto. Given the sanction-prone history of relations, Uncle Sam is seen as unreliable in India and is facing political opposition. This is unchartered territory which no Indian government has ever dared to navigate.

 The cold math of real politics rather than platitudes should drive the future. One mitigating argument against unreliability of American policy is China. China is increasingly asserting itself as a rival to US power in Asia and beyond which is a common concern for both countries. The US needs a military counterweight, and India simply needs to upgrade to not get overwhelmed by China. After investing trillions in China over the decades, the US needs newer investment destinations. The IAF deal with jets manufactured in India not only meets but jumpstarts all the above objectives in one stroke. This is where the objectives of the two countries appear to align for the long term. It is this long term alignment of objectives that argues for reliability of American policy with India. However, while China’s emergence as an economic powerhouse is a foregone conclusion, the future of the US-China relationship is not. While Chinese dispute islands and borders, they are not exporting ideology and changing regimes.

  Unlike the Soviet Union, the US is not containing China either. US continues to be one of the largest foreign investors and trading partner of China. McDonalds and KFCs dot the landscapes of Chinese cities. Early in his first term President Obama did announce an exclusive G2 club with China leaving out all other powers in the cold.
 Both countries benefit from globalization and a capitalist economy. Chinese form the largest contingent of foreign students in American universities. Both countries cooperate on climate change, Iran, and North Korea. All this hardly qualifies as rivalry, at least not a black and white one. With mature leadership they can be less than rivals or keep oscillating between competition and cooperation.

 America’s economic interests with China are significant and several times bigger than with India. Despite best intentions there can be no guarantee that geo political expediency will not force Americans to engage with China at the expense of India. In face of such facts, constructing India-US security cooperation on assumptions of US-China rivalry would be akin to building on shifting sand. Indian reservations on becoming a de facto American pawn in the revolving US-Chinese relationship have merit. How does India solve the dilemma of having US fighter jets without becoming a tool between America and China? Technology transfer for the jets to be manufactured in India is the answer.
 Technology transfer and manufacturing in India limits ongoing dependence on US for spare parts. Anything less than building genuine India capability will be a one sided deal that increases American leverage over China but leaves India vulnerable to the much more dynamic US-Chinese relationship. Technology transfer would signal a commitment towards building India as a balancing power in Asia. It would generate confidence that India – US defense cooperation could be insulated from succumbing to short term US interests in China. Indian policy makers will do well to see the opportunity, while avoiding the traps and deliver a deal that will increase indigenous capability rather than increase countries’ dependency.
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: April 10, 2016, 09:11:20 AM
India is asking for EMALS aircraft carrier technology (electromagnetic aircraft launch technology) and the US is likely to give it. The LSA (logistics support agreement) will also be signed, this will allow the US to use Indian bases and ports for refueling etc. This acquisition may be linked with the transfer of the F-18 aircraft production line to India. The US  first donated F-16's to Pak and then they offer to build either F-16 or F-18 aircraft in India!. Both of these aircraft are at the end of their developmental life, so its not the latest stuff, but it serves both India's acute aircraft needs due to depleting squadron strength as well as US interests to pressure China with aircraft carriers equipped with EMALS and F-18's. So I think, this visit will be successful. Selling F-16's to Pak, while it does not change the balance of power, leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Because Pak uses F-16's, they will not be considered for production by India...YA
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has arrived in India during a wave of increased cooperation with India’s military.

“We are doing things now with the Indians that could not have been imagined 10 or so years ago,” a senior defense official said.

Carter will look to improve defense technology and trade cooperation while increasing military-to-military cooperation through additional bilateral and trilateral coordinated operations.

“While these negotiations can be difficult and global competition is high, I have no doubt that in the coming years, the United States and India will embark on a landmark co-production agreement that will bring our two countries closer together and make our militaries stronger,” Carter said at a Council on Foreign Relations event Friday ahead of his departure.

Technology coordination between the two countries is focused on aircraft carrier design and the co-production of jet fighter aircraft, according to a senior defense official.

Undersecretary of Defense Frank Kendall visited New Delhi ahead of the secretary’s trip to discuss these projects.

The Indians “have an indigenous capability there,” James Clad, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia and a senior advisor for the Center for Naval Analysis, told VOA. “They want to be in the rank of people with military capability that is kind of first world.”

Asia pivot

The visit aims to demonstrate the priority that the defense department has placed on the Asia-Pacific region.

Carter has touted the U.S.-India relationship as a “strategic handshake,” one that is “destined” to be among the most significant partnerships of the 21st century.

“As the United States is reaching west in its rebalance, India is reaching east in Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s 'Act East' policy that will bring it farther into the Indian and Pacific Oceans,” Carter said.

Clad told VOA the pivot has been a good way to formally display the “inside-our-government attitude” that gives Asia the priority many felt it deserved.

"Because we need to be enabled to focus unrelentingly on what is I think the single comprehensive challenge," Clad said, “which is the way the Chinese are coming at us.”

Carter has said the Asia pivot, however, is not aimed at any particular country and “excludes no one.” The secretary has accepted an invitation to visit China that is expected to take place later this year.

His India visit will likely ruffle feathers in (bother) neighboring China – whose aggression has caused concern in the Himalayas and the South China Sea – as well as in Pakistan, India’s rival.

Strengthening ties

Clad believes strengthening ties with Pakistan’s rival is a sensible move and “doesn’t care” if it bothers the Chinese or the Pakistanis.

“Pakistan has been an intervening drain on our resources,” Clad told VOA. “It's a country that's not really our friend. It’s a country that’s played a double and a triple game, vis-a-vis the Afghan war and all the rest of it.”

Goa, Carter’s first stop, is the home state of Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar. Senior defense officials say the visit to Goa underlies the “close, personal relationship” that Carter and Parrikar have developed.

Parrikar will show Carter several major attractions in his hometown during the visit, including St. Francis Basilica. The area is known for its sprawling coastlines and well-preserved 16th-century churches.

Carter will then head to New Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Modi and other senior officials.
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: April 05, 2016, 10:30:51 PM
I think the article cited by Shashank Joshi is spot on.

India will at most provide logistical support and refueling facilities, through the so called LSA (logistics support agreement). The reasons are clear from the Indian perspective. India does not trust the USA, particularly in a conflict with its arch enemy Pakistan. Every time, we feel that relations are improving, the US takes a retrograde step. So India PURCHASED a lot of arms from the USA in recent times and confidence was rising about Indo-US relations, and then the USA, "SELLS", F-16's and missiles to pak. In reality, its a donation to Pak through the Coalition Support Funds, since Pak is a beggar nation and they cannot afford to buy anything. Over the last few decades, Pak has received billions of dollars worth of arms from the USA in the form of aid, all of which are used to hit India. Without US support, Pak would not exist.

Indians still fondly remember the relationship with Russia/USSR, the Russians always stood by their friends. See the recent Russian support to Syria and compare how the US has treated its allies. In recent times, the Indian relationship with Russia has frayed, since the quality of Russian arms is no longer topnotch and India is starting to diversify its arms sources to the USA. Russia is also moving towards China, because the US is isolating Russia. However the level of trust is still quite high with Russia. Russia has helped India build its own nuclear submarine, Russia also leases nuclear subs to India. The US incontrast, sides with Pak, and when they sell arms, insists on intrusive checks to monitor them, along with conditions to not use them against Pak. Sharing of military technology is also minimal with the USA.

India-Pak relationship is comparable to the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. To gain trust, one needs to take sides, trying to maintain balance of power between arch enemies does not earn the US any friends. The USA is hated in Pak, everyone in Pak knows its a transactional relationship, where Pakilanders frequently express the feeling, that they are treated like a used condom. OTOH, the USA is for the most part loved in India, one of the few places in the world where that is so.

India-China relationship is a balanced one. China supports Pak to needle India, but has not ever sided with the Pakis in actual conflict. India-China also have minor bouts of non-violent territorial aggression (occupying each other's territory), but no bullet has been fired in several decades, whereas mortar fire is regularly exchanged over the India-Pak border.

If the US wants India to side against China, the US needs to pick sides, by clearly favoring India over both Pak and China. I have a hard time understanding what benefit the US sees in supporting Pak over India. This concept of maintaining balance of power between arch enemies does not win the US any friends.
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: January 17, 2016, 08:51:59 PM
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Alternative to TAPI; an undersea pipeline between Iran and India on: December 25, 2015, 12:13:14 PM
TAPI is tricky...perhaps China will invest and ensure security. The Chinese are already investing billions in Pak to develop Gwadar port, so as to have a back up to the Malacca straits for transport of oil. There are too many competing interests. India is however unlikely to support anything funded by China which develops Pak.

Something less well known is the plan for an undersea pipeline between Iran and India, bypassing the security issues of TAPI.

68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 25, 2015, 11:49:04 AM
India just built a new parliament bldg for the Afghans...., cost 90 million $
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 21, 2015, 07:06:31 PM
The paki media often talks about sharing the bomb with Saudis, because its rumored that they funded the islamic bomb...Israel is not mentioned too often in paki media.
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: December 19, 2015, 07:43:38 AM
I noticed this thread started in 2006, at that time we were pampering CAIR, muslim taxicab drivers were refusing to carry alcohol. Today, 9 years later with Trump raising the issue front and center, the pendulum might just start to swing the other way. This might be an important inflexion point. Another 9 years will tell the story.
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Terror Cocktail, Shaken in Pakistan, Served in US on: December 06, 2015, 05:15:19 PM
Looks like the paki govt is cracking down on negative no link.


Sunday, 06 December 2015 | Kanchan Gupta | in Coffee Break

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had spoken of “snakes in Pakistan's backyard”. With the San Bernardino attack, one of them has sunk its poison fangs into the hand that so lovingly feeds Pakistan

For all the vaunted homeland security measures, including Orwellian intrusion into private spaces and legally sanctioned eves-dropping into electronic communications, initiated after 26/11, America and Americans may claim greater safety but are in no manner entirely immune from terrorism fuelled by jihadi hate ideology. The ghastly Boston bombings have been surpassed by the grisly massacre of December 2 at San Bernardino, California, when Syed Rizwan Farook, a born-in-US American citizen of Pakistani origin, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, a Pakistani who grew up in Saudi Arabia, shot dead 14 people and injured 21 others.

The death toll would have been manifold had the jihadi couple got to use the deadly arsenal, including assault rifles, 4,500 bullets and improvised explosive devices attached to children’s toys (much like the remote-controlled ‘doll bombs’ that are the latest fetish of Islamic State barbarians) they had put together. Ironically, the guns and bullets they used to kill Americans in cold blood were acquired in America, legally. Regular mass killings, including the slaughter of children in schools, racially motivated attacks and targeting of Jews, have done nothing to change stupid laws that allow Americans to buy weapons of assault and run amok.

If that’s the downside, the admirable bit is about the remarkable speed and accuracy with which the first respondents, the police, in acts of terrorism react in the US. Farook and Tashfeen fled the scene of the massacre but were tracked to their home. They tried to escape in their SUV. A gunfight follfoll. They were shot dead. But that’s only one part, possibly the most inconsequential part, of the story. Jihadis are conditioned to kill mercilessly; they are prepared to die a ruthless dead. No tears need to be shed for them.

Treacly stories have appeared of how Farook and Tashfeen left their six-month-old child with her grandmother, how a bleak future lies ahead for her. There is no denying that the child shall grow up parentless and carry the burden of her parents’ crimes. She is as much a victim as those who died or suffered injuries, a testimony to the veracity of what Golda Mier said in a not-so-different context: “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” We could well adapt that wisdom to our terrible and terrifying times: “Peace will come when Islamists love their children more than they hate the rest of the world.”

There were two initial responses to the San Bernardino killings. The first was organised by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It was the usual hackneyed stuff about how “shocked we are”. Farook’s brother-in-law was trotted out to inform the world that he was not aware of what was being planned. This is now a perfectly honed standard operating procedure for CAIR which is also in the forefront of branding critics of Islamic fanaticism as Islamophobes and hounding them with the help of Left-liberals in academia, politics and people at large. There is no shortage of them in America. But even CAIR’s crocodile tears are inconsequential and must not distract us.

The second response came from investigators who suggested the killers were driven by the impulse of “sudden jihad”. That’s a new inclusion to the ever-expanding lexicon of terrorism as well as counter-terrorism. Beyond that it means nothing. Subsequent revelations bear out this point. Also demolished once again are bleeding heart notions of denial, deprivation, lack of education, joblessness, discrimination, in brief, imagined victimhood, fuel the jihadi impulse. Farook was educated, had a reasonably good job with San Bernardino County, while Tashfeen came from a well-off family and had studied pharmacology. Workplace colleagues do not appear to have been non-inclusive. They lived in a home and neighbourhood far more decent than they would have in Pakistan.

So what do we know now that should worry America and make us feel concerned? Three revelations by the FBI, which has designated the killings as ‘terrorism’, are of import. First, Farook visited Saudi Arabia where he met and married Tashfeen. He may also have met his jihadi mentors there. Farook is likely to have been in touch with one or more terrorist organisations. It is unlikely his conversion from chasing the American dream to chasing the jihadi dream was of recent vintage. Like the beard he grew, the jihadi impulse must have taken time to overwhelm his critical thinking after being planted in his mind.

Second, before they embarked upon their shoot-to-kill mission, Tashfeen is believed to have declared her allegiance to the Islamic State. Her crossing the line and entering the zone of no return would have followed contemplation and reasonable exposure to jihad’s dark ideology and acceptance as well as internalisation of the Islamic State’s message of recreating the caliphate on the foundation of hate. Nobody crosses over just like that. The years she spent in Saudi Arabia, imbibing Wahaabi fanaticism, would have prepared her for the final step.

Third, Tashfeen, who grew up in Saudi Arabia after moving there at the age of two with her parents, returned to Pakistan to study pharmacology. Investigators say she came in contact with Maulana Abdul Aziz who is the chief cleric at Islamabad’s infamous Lal Masjid with which she was subsequently associated. Lal Masjid became a terror den during Gen Pervez Musharraf’s time, taunting the military and mocking him. Matters came to a pass when Lal Masjid thugs went after Chinese workers. To pacify an enraged Beijing, Musharraf ordered a raid on Lal Majid and its fortified madarsas for men and women. Aziz tried to escape in a burqa but was caught.

That was in 2007. Two years later Aziz was back in business after being set free by Pakistan’s sainted judges occupying seats in its hallowed courts of justice. All he had to do was plead “Not guilty”. The state, as always, did not press for prosecution. Aziz has since named the library at Lal Masjid after Osama bin Laden, set up a network of madarsas that are cradles of future terrorists, declared allegiance to the Islamic State and refused to condemn the 2014 Peshawar School carnage in which 148 children aged eight to 15 were killed by the Pakistani Taliban. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s alleged civilian Government and the Pakistani Army mollycoddle him.

So it’s a deadly cocktail of Army, Allah and America, shaken in Saudi Arabia, stirred in Pakistan and served in America. Hillary Clinton spoke of “snakes in Pakistan’s backyard”. One of them has sunk its poison fangs into the hand that so lovingly feeds Pakistan. Deceit and duplicity, when used as instruments of dollar-funded ‘strategic diplomacy’, can never fetch anything that is even remotely good. A second lesson: Both Paris and San Bernardino suggest we will increasingly witness female jihadis playing a prominent role in terrorist attacks. Paris was a repeat of 26/11 in both tactics and strategy. San Bernardino was more a ‘lone wolf’ attack. Paris proved, at a grievous cost to human lives, that our cities remain vulnerable in the face of unrelenting Islamism, especially of the vicious Islamic State variety. San Bernardino has shown what we are up next.

(The author is a current affairs journalist based in NCR)
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: December 06, 2015, 02:05:34 PM
I don't understand why the US govt continues to give pakiland a pass. The wife was a paki, her husbands parents were paki. The husband went to pak as well as Saudi barbaria. Wife was associated with the Red Mosque in Pak (so called kendo stix gals)...see picture. They shot up 14 people another 14 died and we are still asking what was the motive ?.

Every terrorist attack can either be traced to ISIL or to Pak. Muslims constitute a few percent of the US population, yet every terror attack by them has been religiously motivated, Allah-ho-Akbar is the main script. Yes whites also shoot, but don't recall them ever muttering Jesus-ho-Akbar, ie the whites have had mental issues, the muslims are mostly religious nuts interested to expand their caliphate....YA

73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Saudi Arabia & the Arabian Peninsula on: November 29, 2015, 01:45:24 PM
Problem may be this

74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Today's attacks in Paris on: November 14, 2015, 04:12:14 PM
Am reading one of the terrorists was a syrian refugee...
How many more coming to the US and how many are already in Europe. Remember there is never only one cockroach...
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 19, 2015, 09:06:20 PM
One should probably not apply the lessons from Iraq/Libya to Afgh. After Saddam or Gaddafi, we left a power vacuum in governance, in Afghanistan there is unlikely to be any significant power vacuum. The Taliban and the Northern Alliance will remain, interference from Pak will continue with or without the US. Similarly ISIS is making inroads, with/without the USA.

76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 18, 2015, 06:06:42 PM

The Definition of Insanity Is U.S. AfPak Strategy

The central problem confronting the United States in the region is no longer al Qaeda or the Taliban. It’s the Pakistan Army.
By Dhruva Jaishankar
October 16, 2015

The Definition of Insanity Is U.S. AfPak Strategy  

Donald Trump is right: America’s leaders are stupid. They’re nothing but a bunch of losers. Well, at least when it comes to Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s the only conclusion to be reached following two big developments this week.

The first was President Barack Obama’s announcement that the United States will decelerate its military drawdown from Afghanistan. Instead of preserving only a small force of about 1,000 troops, the new plan will station 9,800 in the country until 2016 and 5,500 into 2017. Their mission will be limited to training Afghan forces and supporting counterterrorism operations. This will help promote, in Obama’s words, an “Afghan-led reconciliation process” leading to a “lasting political settlement” that will make Kabul “a stable and committed ally.”

If that sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. The new policy is at best a band-aid and — given the likely cost in blood and treasure — not a pain-free one. David Galula, the French military scholar who is the ideological godfather of the U.S. counterinsurgency, understood years ago that support from a neighboring country could easily sustain an insurgency. The U.S. mission in Afghanistan cannot succeed as long as the Pakistan Army continues to tolerate and sponsor the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, and other terrorist groups. The U.S. intelligence community has been saying precisely that for years.

At one level, Obama appreciates the problem. “Sanctuaries for the Taliban and other terrorists must end,” he said on Oct. 15, adding that he would discuss the matter with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when he visits Washington next week. The White House and the U.S. foreign-policy establishment still believe that Islamabad just needs to be convincingly persuaded about the merits of cracking down on terrorist organizations.

But let’s cut the crap. The central problem confronting the United States in the region is no longer al Qaeda or the Taliban. It’s the Pakistan Army, which has always pursued its own objectives over those of the country it is meant to defend. The Army has a 40-year history of supporting terrorists against Afghanistan, India, and (more recently) Americans. Even in the absence of a smoking gun, there is little doubt that the Army and its intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, sheltered Osama bin Laden and protected Taliban leader Mullah Omar. This policy of supporting terrorism has been driven by a warped ideology, political imperatives, and corporate interests. The Army has long used Islamism and imagined foreign threats to consolidate its political primacy and shore up its commercial interests, which range from cement to telecommunications.

Sharif offers little help. Anti-government protests engineered by the Army in 2014 forced him to relinquish foreign and security policy to the military, in what many Pakistani commentators described as a “soft coup.” Today, few seriously believe that the prime minister calls the shots in Islamabad.

Why does the United States shy away from confronting Pakistan about its continued export of terrorism? The simple answer is nukes.
Why does the United States shy away from confronting Pakistan about its continued export of terrorism? The simple answer is nukes. Pakistan has been steadily increasing fissile material for its nuclear stockpile and now produces enough for between 16 and 20 warheads per year. Its justification was initially New Delhi’s nuclear program, except that India produces material for only around 5 warheads per year. India has a stockpile of an estimated 90 to 110 warheads in reserve; Pakistan is thought to have between 110 and 130 (though some experts believe it’s possible “to calculate a number twice this size”). But it’s not an arms race if only one party is racing.

Since seeking nuclear parity with India now has little credibility as an excuse, Pakistan has resorted to several flimsy reasons to justify its nuclear expansion. The one that gained the most traction blames an Indian Army doctrine, Cold Start, which would have involved punitive incursions into Pakistan following a terrorist attack. The Indian Army certainly considered Cold Start in 2004 — but the Indian military or government never formally adopted it. Pakistani strategists, many with ties to the military, have also blamed India’s defense spending, military modernization, and even its purportedly belligerent rhetoric as reasons for Islamabad to rely on nuclear weapons to compensate for the growing disparity between the two countries. These have never been more than convenient pretexts for a Pakistani nuclear arms buildup.

The real reason for Pakistan’s nuclear expansion isn’t India — it’s for blackmailing the United States. So fearful has Washington been of Pakistan’s nukes being sold, stolen, lost, sabotaged, or accidentally used that during George W. Bush’s administration, it reportedly spent as much as $100 million trying to secure the arsenal. Since 2001, the Pakistan Army has also received more than $20 billion in military support from the United States, even as it has continued to support groups like the Haqqani network that have killed hundreds of Americans. This is the greatest shakedown in history.

What makes this ploy all the more brilliant is that the blackmail victim doesn’t even realize it. Take the second major AfPak development of the week. According to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius and the New York Times’s David Sanger, the White House is considering relaxing controls on Pakistan’s access to civilian nuclear technology, equipment, and fuel in exchange for promises that it will limit its nuclear weapons program. (The White House has publicly downplayed the possibility of a deal.) As Ignatius hints, such an agreement is closely linked to Pakistani cooperation on Afghanistan, possibly a sweetener for Pakistan to bring the Taliban back to the negotiating table.

But even dangling the offer of “nuclear mainstreaming” — as advocates of the policy have described it — is an awful idea. Its the Iran deal part IIForget for a moment that Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism or that such a deal risks incentivizing bad behavior. The deal also continues the long track record of the United States raising Pakistani expectations and then not delivering, a history of disappointment that has long fanned anti-Americanism in the country. A nuclear agreement of this kind will face resistance from within the U.S. government, not to mention Congress, given Pakistan’s history of duplicitous nuclear proliferation. Even then, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the powerful 48-nation international nuclear cartel of which the United States is a member, will almost certainly veto it.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee that Islamabad will keep its end of the bargain. Washington would be helping Pakistan in the near term in exchange for a long-term commitment to limit its nuclear program, a promise that Islamabad has shown no prior interest in keeping. Ultimately, energy-starved Pakistan has far more to lose from its continued nuclear isolation than the international community has to gain from such a deal. The onus therefore is on Pakistan to show its bona fides — come clean about its past proliferation activities, stop supporting terrorism as a state policy, and adopt a stabilizing nuclear posture — before nuclear mainstreaming can even be considered. Finally, if such an agreement were to be realized, it would rock U.S. relations with India, which — despite a far better proliferation track record — had to jump through a number of legal, procedural, and political hoops between 2005 and 2008 to be allowed to import civilian nuclear technology, fuel, and equipment. The immense goodwill for the United States in India that was generated by that deal would be lost overnight.

The proposed agreement to mainstream Pakistan’s nuclear program and the failure to address the Pakistan factor in Afghanistan are, in Trump’s parlance, just dumb, dumb, dumb. The White House seems completely removed from South Asia’s political and security realities. It’s quaint, almost funny, that U.S. officials and experts still worry about a “rogue commander” with “radical sympathies” seizing control of a Pakistani nuclear bomb. The Pakistan Army radicalized and went rogue many years ago.
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 17, 2015, 09:17:21 PM
I wonder what the group thinks, should we keep back a significant force in Afg ?. Perhaps I hold the minority opinion, I think we should withdraw completely. My reasoning is as follows.
1. The US cannot keep a force there indefinitely, at some point we have to withdraw. Afg managed quite well without US forces in the past and will survive in the future too. Do we have any clear objectives that need to be met before we withdraw ?.
2. Its not clear to me, what our mission might be. At present even though we may control Kabul and a few big cities, the Talibs control much of the countryside. So apart from possibly providing law and order in Kabul, its not clear what else we are doing.
3. Training the Afg military seems silly to me. The indigenous Taliban do quite well without any US military training, who BTW we are unable to beat with all our superior training and weapons. Similarly, training the Afg military is not much use, unless we plan to give them advanced weapons or technology. The Afg rag tag army is no worse than the Taliban. The wars in that part of the world are fought with simple weapons and grit.
4. The only one who benefits from US presence are the Pakistanis, who extort protection money.
5. If the US withdraws, and another attack on the homeland is traced back to Afg, that would be the time to consider all options again.
6. The fear that the US vacuum will be filled by undesirable characters is to me a bogus. There are already undesirable characters in Afg/Pak, whom we don't control. Let them fight it out. Our current presence is not likely to prevent any undesirables from getting a foothold. ISIS is already making inroads and the Taliban are fighting them. So unless we plan to align with the talibs, we should get out.

78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 29, 2015, 12:22:07 PM
Here's real life kiddy play in pak

Fake guns, real terrorism

Syed Muaz Shah — Updated about 3 hours ago
These real-looking guns in the hands of our children must not being taken lightly. —AP

This last Eid, as I was walking through the dusty old alleys of Nazimabad 5-C – paying visits to age-old community members and families from the time of my grandfather’s era – I couldn’t help but notice one striking change in these slow-paced streets. It wasn’t the droning of generators in the occasional house or the new trend of lego-block flats towering over smaller housing plots.

It was a “click”; an insistent sound coupled with the voice of children.

Every corner I turned, I heard it one after the other – this clicking sound was occasionally followed by the complaint of a kid who had been 'hit'. In the short walks on these streets, I noticed more replica guns than I had seen in real, just about everywhere.

I could swear I saw every next kid on that street with a “charray” (pellet) pistol in his hand, firing away – click! click! click! As I dodged the occasional misfire, I was struck by this show of blatant disregard for life – a lack of compassion and empathy passed on from parent, teacher, society to child.

We, ourselves, are encouraging a gun culture around us. And yet, we complain about it with a staggering hypocrisy.

I cannot recall seeing such sophisticated toy guns before. It was one thing to play ‘cowboys and Indians’ with rainbow-coloured plastic toys or pump-action water guns. But these real-looking military-like guns in the hands of our children must not be taken lightly.

Earlier this year, two young boys were shot at (one of whom died) while taking a selfie with a toy gun by a trigger-happy police in Punjab. The bitter irony of this tragic incident epitomised a sickness that the closeness to guns can bring on a society.

The boys were fond of replica guns, the police mistook them for real ones and shot them (a reaction which may be unjustified even if the guns were real), in the process exposing their own tendency of firearm abuse.

What a cruel joke.

Another occasion our doomed proximity with weapons manifested itself in, was the move to allow teachers in K-P to carry firearms. It ultimately resulted in what many of us feared from the beginning: the accidental death of a schoolchild in Swat.

That is why I welcomed the resolution tabled in Sindh Assembly earlier this month, which sought to enforce a ban on toy guns. Lawmakers and civil society members have implemented or are seeking similar bans in Punjab and K-P.

One might chide these moves as irrelevant and useless to our very real terrorism problems, wrought with real guns. But, the fact is, we have now seen target killers emerge from even the more educated and affluent sections of our society, and that the 'real terrorism' is happening in the same streets that our kids play in.

The lines are further blurred thanks to the dark times we live in; when even the 'good side' is not seen without a huge cache of weapons of their own. That makes it all the more important to teach our kids that guns exist only as a necessary evil and are not a normal way of life. The culture of violence and aggression should not be glorified.

Otherwise, we are essentially desensitising the concept of death by firearm – making our children’s minds numb to the loss of life in a very subtle way.

Let us not be passive about this matter. Our kids should have a childhood that is violence-free – even in their make-believe worlds – so that they are allowed to grow up into peace-loving adults.

79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 27, 2015, 09:49:20 PM
Nursery class in Pak. In a way this is not a joke..they learn things like A for AK-47, B for bomb etc...stuff they identify with!

80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ISIS makes noise about buying nukes from Pakistan on: May 23, 2015, 09:19:41 AM
While this is only wishful thinking at present....YA

ISIS claims it could buy its first nuclear weapon from Pakistan within 12 months

Heather Saul,The Independent | May 23, 2015, 01.08 PM IST

The finances of the ISIS have been estimated by some to be in the $2billion area, though it is impossible to verify how much money it actually has access to.

LONDON: ISIS has used the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq to suggest the group is expanding so rapidly it could buy its first nuclear weapon within a year.

The hyperbolic article, which the group attributes to the British hostage John Cantlie, claims ISIS has transcended its roots as "the most explosive Islamic 'group' in the modern world" to evolve into "the most explosive Islamic movement the modern world has ever seen" in less than twelve months.
Photojournalist Cantlie is regularly used in the terror group's propaganda and has appeared in a number of videos, including a YouTube series called "Lend Me Your Ears". He has been held a hostage by ISIS for more than two years.

 The piece, entitled "The Perfect Storm", describes militant Islamist groups such as Boko Haram, which recently pledged allegiance to ISIS, uniting across the Middle East, Africa and Asia to create one global movement.

 The article claims this alignment of groups has happened at the same time as ISIS militants have seized "tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems, anti-aircraft systems," from the US and Iran before turning to the subject of more extreme weapons the group is not in possession of — such as nuclear weapons.

 "Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table," the article continues. "The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilayah in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region."

 It admits that such a scenario is "far-fetched" but warns: "It's the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it's infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago.

 "And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? That's easy enough to make."

 An attack launched by ISIS against America would ridicule "the attacks of the past".

 "They'll [ISIS] be looking to do something big, something that would make any past operation look like a squirrel shoot, and the more groups that pledge allegiance the more possible it becomes to pull off something truly epic.

 "Remember, all of this has happened in less than a year. How more dangerous will be the lines of communication and supply a year on from today?"

 The capacity of ISIS to acquire such a device is certainly beyond the group at the moment.

 But ISIS is indeed a well funded group having secured a number of oilfields in Syria and Iraq. The group also sells artefacts looted from historic areas seized during its insurgency, sometimes for six figure sums, as well as imposing taxes on civilians trapped in its self-declared caliphate and other methods of extortion.

 The finances of the group have been estimated by some to be in the $2billion area, though it is impossible to verify how much money it actually has access to.

 The threats come against a mixed backdrop of successes and losses in both countries; the group has been driven out of Tikrit in Iraq but has overrun Ramaldi and the Syrian ancient city of Palmyra.

 A recent call to arms from its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi also appeared to suggest it may be overstretched in some areas, with his speech urging supporters from across the world to travel to its territories in the Middle East.

 In September last year, the home secretary, Theresa May, warned that the militant group could become the world's first "truly terrorist state".

 "We will see the risk, often prophesied but thank God not yet fulfilled, that with the capability of a state behind them, the terrorists will acquire chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons to attack us," she said.
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: April 20, 2015, 09:16:04 PM
Hussein Haqqani the author of the above piece is one of the few sane pakis (I know its an oxymoron).  He would not last a day, if he went back to Pak.
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: April 12, 2015, 09:24:19 PM

Saudis want Pak participation in Yemen war.....chickens come home to roost.
83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: April 09, 2015, 11:17:04 PM
If you think the police are heavily militarized in the US, the pakis claim that strafing their populace in the frontier regions with F-16's is not very effective and they need helicopters and missiles. However, the beggars cant afford anything, one way or the other its US aid being recycled back to US arms merchants.
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: April 05, 2015, 03:19:23 PM
Daesh is way too cool for the jihadis!...YA

Afghan Taliban release Mullah Omar biography amid growing frustration within ranks

By Tahir Khan

Published: April 5, 2015

The Afghan Taliban released on Sunday a biography of their reclusive leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

In hiding for 13 years, the Afghan Taliban supremo disappeared after US airstrikes dislodged the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001.

The biography comes amid rising speculation over the elusive leader’s whereabouts and whether he is still alive and able to lead the militant group. Further, there have been reports of  growing frustration within Taliban ranks over the lack of leadership by Omar, particularly in light of Islamic State’s growing popularity.

The Afghan Taliban chief who has not been seen in public for more than a decade was last heard in 2007 – eight years ago.

However, if there were any doubts regarding his role in the Afghan Taliban, the biography cleared them.

“Mullah Mohammad Omar (Mujahid) is still the leader in the present hierarchy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the biography asserts.

“His deputy, the leading council, judiciary, nine executive commissions and three other administration organs are active under his leadership which form the warp and woof of the present setup of the Islamic Emirate,” it added.

The Afghan Taliban chief’s biography was released on April 4, 2015 — the 19th anniversary of the organisation’s rule. Around 1,500 Taliban scholars who declared Mullah Omar as “Amir-ul-Momineen” (Leader of pious people) were present at the gathering.

“Under present conditions of regularly being chased by the enemy, no major change and disruption has been observed in the routine works of Mullah Mohammad Omar (Mujahid) in following and organising the Jihadi activities as the leader of the Islamic Emirate,” the biography said.

The biography which was issued in English, Urdu, Pashto and Dari further claimed, “He (Omar) keenly follows and inspects the Jihadi activities against the infidel and brutal foreign invaders.”

“In organising and reshuffling the Jihadi and military issues, he delivers his orders in a specific way to Jihadi commanders.”

Further elaborating on how the elusive leader runs the organisation, the biography added, “He regularly follows Jihadi publications and other international media resources to judge his victories and likewise other issues against the foreign invaders. In this way, he remains in touch with the day to day happenings of his country as well as the outside world. These activities form his basic daily life in the present circumstances.”

Mullah Omar’s whereabouts are unknown though Afghan intelligence officials have on a number of occasions claimed Omar is hiding in Karachi. Meanwhile, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has long claimed the Taliban supremo has been hiding in Quetta. However, the claim has been denied by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Afghan Taliban officials.

Though, the Taliban initially routinely issued Omar’s traditional “Eid” messages, his voice was last heard eight years ago.

His last audio message in 2007 addressed his commanders, ordering them to expel Taliban commander Mansoor Dadullah for killing Taliban men on suspicion of them spying on his brother Mullah Dadullah.

The feared commander Mullah Dadullah was killed by foreign and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan in 2007.

Earlier it was reported that a growing number of militant commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan were beginning to look towards Islamic State (IS) for inspiration, frustrated by Mullah Omar’s lack of leadership.

In Afghanistan, one militant commander said many have turned to IS. “Look, we have been fighting for years but we don’t have an inch of land in our possession in Afghanistan,” said the senior commander, who spoke from the province of Kunar.

“We have serious doubts about whether he (Omar) is alive at all … Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is visible and is leading his people,” the commander said, referring to the IS leader.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) which considered Mullah Omar as their “Ameer” switched loyalties to the Islamic State of Dai’sh a few days ago. The leader of the group in a video said Mullah Omar has not been seen in years and that it is declaring allegiance to Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi.

85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Good video on Afg-Pak relations on: March 22, 2015, 10:37:21 AM

This 5 min video, provides worthwhile clarity on Af-Pak relations
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-- Europe on: March 14, 2015, 09:26:37 PM
Where is Putin ?Interesting rumor
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 14, 2015, 09:33:47 AM
This has been known on many pak discussion forums for years,,,

Saudi Arabia prepares for Iran nuclear deal
Saudi Arabia is quietly preparing for an international nuclear agreement with Iran that it fears will rehabilitate its Shiite Persian rival. King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud's approach eschews the public spectacle of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress (indeed, the Saudis don't want any association with Israel) and instead focuses on regional alliances to contain an emergent Iran.

Author Bruce RiedelPosted March 8, 2015

The Saudis publicly welcomed US Secretary of State John Kerry's assurances in Riyadh last week that Washington will not accept a bad nuclear deal with Iran, and that a deal will not inaugurate a grand rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. They remain deeply skeptical about the negotiations, however, and are preparing for any outcome in the P5+1 process.

The Saudis recognize that a successful deal between Iran, the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany will enjoy broad international backing and United Nations endorsement. Riyadh has no interest in being isolated in a dissenting minority with Netanyahu against a deal backed by a global majority. The royal family despises Israel, and Netanyahu is regarded as a war criminal by most Saudis. Any hint of mutual interest with Israel is unpalatable in the kingdom.

So the Saudi approach is to strengthen its regional alliances for long-term confrontation with Tehran. Most immediately, this means strengthening the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It has strong allies in Abu Dhabi and Manama. In Riyadh's eyes, there are two weak links in GCC collusion against Iran: Oman and Qatar. Neither is likely to give up their bilateral lucrative ties to Iran, but Salman is pressing both to adhere to GCC unity and not facilitate Iranian subversion.

Yemen is the key GCC battlefield. The victory of the Iranian-backed Zaydi Shiite Houthis in seizing control of most of north Yemen, including Sanaa, has led the Saudis and the GCC to move their embassies to Aden, where they are trying to back the tattered remnant of the Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi regime in south Yemen. The inauguration of Sanaa-Tehran air flights last month, a first, only underscores the extent of Iran's success in achieving a key goal in the kingdom's backyard and in its historically weak underbelly. The Saudis are on the defense in Yemen.

Egypt is Riyadh's key Arab partner. The kingdom played an important role in bringing Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power, and Salman met him a week ago to coordinate closely on regional issues, especially Iran. Cairo is too preoccupied with its own domestic terror threat from the Islamic State (IS) and spillover from Libya's disintegration to be very helpful against Iranian machinations elsewhere, however, and is more of a liability (especially financially) than an asset, albeit one Saudi Arabia is determined to keep afloat.

The Shiite government in Baghdad is regarded as a long-lost Arab partner. The Saudis expect Iran to emerge as the big winner in the war with IS, no matter how long it takes and how bloody it is. The Saudis know history, geography, demography and sectarian affiliation favor Iran in Iraq. They believe that President George W. Bush made a colossal error in 2003 and that President Barack Obama has made an "unholy alliance" today with Iran in Iraq. The only option now is to contain the Shiite breakthrough here, too.

Syria has been lost to Iran as well, but Riyadh still hopes to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Saudis are pouring money into the Lebanese army, as a potential brake on Hezbollah, along with the French. Salman also recently met with Jordan's King Abdullah to coordinate with Amman on Syria and with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well.

Riyadh's most crucial ally is Pakistan, the only Muslim nuclear weapons state. Last year, for the first time, the Saudis publicly displayed their vintage Chinese-made intermediate-range ballistic missiles — the only ones they have that can reach Tehran — at a military parade. In the reviewing stands was Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Gen. Rahul Sharif, the man who controls Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. It is the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, and the Saudis have been helping to pay for its development since the 1970s. It was a very calculated signal.

Salman, in late February, summoned the Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to Riyadh. The highly unusual and urgent public invitation was linked in the Pakistani press to "strategic cooperation" against Iran. Salman visited Islamabad a year ago as crown prince and gave Sharif a $1.5 billion grant to reaffirm the Saudi-Pakistani strategic accord. Sharif spent three days in the kingdom last week in response to the king's invitation. He received a royal reception.

One immediate result of the talks is a plan for Pakistan to move its embassy in Yemen to Aden.

The speculation in Islamabad is that the king sought assurances from Sharif that, if the Iran negotiations produce either a bad deal or no deal, Pakistan will live up to its longstanding commitment to Saudi security. That is understood in Riyadh and Islamabad to include a nuclear dimension.

Sharif also visited the kingdom in January of this year. He was apparently told that then-King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was at death's door, and Sharif came to pay his respects and meet with Salman before the king died. No other leader was given this advance notice — another sign of the critical importance of the Saudi-Pakistani axis.

​The exact details of what the Pakistani nuclear commitment to the kingdom includes is, of course, among the most closely held secrets of our world. Both Riyadh and Islamabad prefer to maintain ambiguity and deniability.

The Saudis have not given up on Obama; the United States is still their oldest ally. Washington is too important to irritate with speeches. The Saudis prefer a more subtle approach.

Read more:
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: January 31, 2015, 12:07:40 AM
FWIW, Obama was the Chief Guest at India's Republic Day, he had a very well received visit.
He is trying to support India to balance China. This time, he also dropped a key tracking requirement by US for nuclear material, since the IAEA already does that and the Russians have sold many nuclear reactors to India, whereas American/Japanese companies were losing out. India has an exemplary record in not stealing or spreading nuclear tech. Also India's peaceful use reactors are under IAEA safe guards, but not the military ones, which are off limits and a bone of contention for some of the nuclear powers.
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 17, 2015, 08:57:31 PM
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 16, 2015, 10:31:36 PM
The question is who is the greenest of them all...and IS wins hands down....and so the jihadi flight to "quality".
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 15, 2015, 10:29:40 PM
And why its hard to figure out, whats happening in pakiland

92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 15, 2015, 10:19:05 PM

Incase, you wonder what exactly the jihadi imams preach....this is a paki site which catalogs the sermons, which the imams of all its in english. Pakiland is moving into the modern age.. grin

A random sample is below....YA

Maulana Mufti Saeed Ahmed
Posted in Ahl-e-Hadith, America, India, Jihad, Morality, Nuclear, Politics on July 11, 2010

Speaker: Maulana Mufti Saeed Ahmed
Place: Jamia Masjid Mittranwali,  Sialkot
Sect: Ahle Hadith
Language: Urdu

Let us not be spectators but get together to swear that we will avenge the making of cartoons about our Beloved Prophet PBUH. O Muslims, get up and take in hand your arrows, pick up your kalashnikovs, train yourselves in explosives and bombs, organise yourselves into armies, prepare nuclear attacks and destroy every part of the body of the enemy.

The Quran instructs us but since we have not followed it the Europeans have published the cartoons. Former ruler President Farooq Leghari arrested Aimal Kansi from Dera Ghazi Khan and handed him over to the US. And merciless America put him on the electric chair and handed over his corpse to Pakistan.

Supplier of women (dalla!) Musharraf and his shameless khaki clad army-men handed over the daughter of the nation Aafiya Siddiqi to the Americans. He kept quiet on Afghanistan and put a stop to Kashmir jihad. He also destroyed the Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad.

In Musharraf’s book more betrayals are narrated. He sold the Arab mujahideen, sold Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, and earned dollars by doing this. This group of kanjars (pimps) and clowns (bhaand) have got hold of the Two Nation Theory and have become dominant on us.

Allah has got us rid of Musharraf but who has been imposed on us in his place, Mr Ten Percent Zardari. Prime Minister Gilani who proclaims he is a Syed is lying because in his rule women are being freely raped and there is no remedy. And India in the name of friendship is interfering in Balochistan.

It is only yesterday that Lahore suffered seven explosions after similar explosions at Aabpara in Islamabad, the Wah Factory, and the Islamic University. There are suicide bombers all over the place and Americans, Indians and Jews are crawling all over disguised and hidden in cars with windows covered in black tint. Today India has blocked our water by building 62 illegal dams on our rivers. Under the Indus Waters Treaty, Indus, Sutlej and Jhelum belonged to Pakistan, but India was opposed to the situation and has built dams on them.

Hafiz Saeed has called a large rally of protesters against water-stealing India on the Mall in Lahore to open the eyes of the media. The Hindus are dissemblers, they say something and do something else. Manmohan Singh said there was no water issue and Pakistan should get hold of Hafiz Saeed. The Hindus have rejected Jamaat Ali Shah the Water Commissioner of Pakistan and other delegates. My brothers, the answer to water thieves, cartoon-makers and drone fliers is only jihad in the name of Allah.

Today Pakistan is at an important crossroads. The hatred among the people against the kafirs has reached a new height. Remember the ambassador of America had come to Lahore trying to pin a medal on the chest of a boy who had won distinction but the boy refused to accept the medal from the ambassador saying America was not friend of Pakistan and Muslims. The hands of America are red with the blood of Muslim women and children. We will not receive medals from these people.

This year in February eight FATA leaders were going to America on the invitation of the US embassy but once there they were subjected to humiliating body search and scanning (jama-taladshi) But when it came to scanning, the eight refused to be subjected to insult and turned back saying if the Americans don’t invite us again it does not matter, what matters is our honour.

May America the rebel of Allah be destroyed. We will not go to America after being made naked (nanga). A big change is upon us and there is revolution in the air. Look the Americans have come and located themselves in our country. They will not leave unless we impose jihad on them. The experts of jihad are predicting that America will be subjected to a lot of drubbing before it decides to leave. We will have to create a graveyard of the Americans like the one created in Vietnam.

In America 172 banks have gone bankrupt. The G-20 hooligans get together and hold consultations to strengthen the IMF with funds. Until yesterday only Hafiz Said was asking for contributions. And the mujahideen have thrashed the Americans so much that they are now forced to beg for contributions.

Now the Americans go to Saudi Arabia begging it for an arranged meeting with Mullah Umar and peace talks with the Taliban. The big slap was delivered on the cheek of Hindus in Mumbai by Deccan Tigers and although the Hindus have done bigger mischief in Pakistan, they can’t for get forget the slap of Mumbai.

I tell the generals and the establishment in the country that if you want to relieve the pressure and want to bring peace to your country then give a bloodbath to Indian and American diplomats in Kabul and Kandahar. The Hindu will stop blocking your water after that.

93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pak Taliban debates Pak Army on: December 28, 2014, 07:19:10 PM

This video is making the rounds on the paki circuit. It has a TTP (Tehreek-e-Pakistan) mullah (bad taliban) vs pak army person debating the TTP policy of war against the state of pak and the paki army. Its in Urdu, but the TTP person is actually quite impressive and clear in his religious thinking, and runs circles around the paki army guy. It does have english subtitles, but the effect is lost. Anyway, the guy with the turban is the TTP person and Pak general's pict is shown when the army person speaks. Its a long video, but it provides the TTP pov.

1 hr of this video gives you more insight on the TTP way of thinking, than anything else. Looks like the paki army is in deep doo doo. Its hard to win against someone whose criteria for success is either shariah in pak, or martyrdom.
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: September 14, 2014, 07:43:26 AM
If this report is to be believed, ISIS is a billion dollar +/year enterprise. Potential for a lot of mischief.

Islamic State's war chest grows by $3m daily
WASHINGTON: Islamic State militants, who once relied on wealthy Persian Gulf donors for money, have become a self-sustaining financial juggernaut, earning more than $3 million a day from oil smuggling, human trafficking, theft and extortion, according to US intelligence officials and private experts.

The extremist group's resources exceed that “of any other terrorist group in history,” said a US intelligence official who, like others interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified assessments.

Such riches are one reason that American officials are so concerned about the group even while acknowledging they have no evidence it is plotting attacks against the United States.

The Islamic State group has taken over large sections of Syria and Iraq, and controls as many as 11 oil fields in both countries, analysts say.

It is selling oil and other goods through generations-old smuggling networks under the noses of some of the same governments it is fighting: Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.

While US intelligence does not assess that those governments are complicit in the smuggling, the Obama administration is pressing them do to more to crack down.

The illicit oil is generally transported on tanker trucks, analysts said. “There's a lot of money to be made,” said Denise Natali, who worked in Kurdistan as an American aid official and is now a senior research fellow at National Defense University.

“The Kurds say they have made an attempt to close it down, but you pay off a border guard you pay off somebody else and you get stuff through."

The price the Islamic State group fetches for its smuggled oil is discounted $25 to $60 for a barrel of oil that normally sells for more than $100 but its total profits from oil are exceeding $3 million a day, said Luay al-Khatteeb, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution's Doha Center in Qatar.

The group also has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from smuggling antiquities out of Iraq to be sold in Turkey, al-Khatteeb said, and millions more from human trafficking by selling women and children as sex slaves. Other revenue comes from extortion payments, ransom from kidnapped hostages, and outright theft of all manner of materials from the towns the Islamic State group has seized, analysts say.

“It's cash-raising activities resemble those of a mafia-like organization,” a second US intelligence official said, reflecting the assessment of his agency. “They are well-organized, systematic and enforced through intimidation and violence."

Even prior to seizing Mosul in June, for example, the group began to impose “taxes” on nearly every facet of economic activity, threatening death for those unwilling to pay, US intelligence officials say.

An analysis by the Council on Foreign Relations estimated the group was reaping $8 million a month from extortion in Mosul alone. Once the group took over Mosul, in northern Iraq, and other areas, it grabbed millions of dollars in cash from banks, though not the hundreds of millions initially reported, US intelligence officials say.

This spring, four French and two Spanish journalists held hostage by Islamic State extremists were freed after their governments paid multimillion-dollar ransoms through intermediaries. The Islamic State group “has managed to successfully translate territorial control in northern Syria and portions of Iraq into a means of revenue generation,” said a third US intelligence official.

Analysts say the group is relying on the fact that the area along the border between Iraq and Turkey has long been a smugglers haven, and was made more so by the fall of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 2003. Generations of families have illicitly moved goods through the region.

The Islamic State is the successor to al-Qaida in Iraq, which was founded by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. For a time, the group was allied with the Nusra Front, the al-Qaida affiliate that is a key player among the rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Islamic State group has since broken with the Nusra Front and al-Qaida.

In the early days of the Syrian civil war, the Islamic State group was funded in large part by donations from wealthy residents of Gulf States, including Kuwait and Qatar, American officials have said.

“A number of fundraisers operating in more permissive jurisdictions, particularly in Kuwait and Qatar, are soliciting donations to fund al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” David Cohen, the Treasury department's top counterterrorism official, said in a speech in March. ISIL is an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group.

That stream of funding has diminished in recent months as the group's violent tactics have drawn worldwide attention, US intelligence officials say.

The group's reliance on oil as its main source of revenue could easily be disrupted by American airstrikes, officials say. But so far, no decision has been made to target Iraqi or Syrian oil infrastructure, which is serviced by civilian workers who may have been conscripted.
95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / An old Pak Intl Airlines Ad on: September 13, 2014, 09:17:07 PM
An old Pak International Airlines ad...might have been the spark for KSM.

96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 03, 2014, 09:48:33 PM
Looks like AQ is feeling envious of ISIS, what with all the beheadings...

This branch of AQ will be for south asia...
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 27, 2014, 08:21:05 PM

Weather in Af-Pak

98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 05, 2014, 08:14:12 PM
Some what humorous comments from the to whether bergdahl deserted!

"Meanwhile, a classified Army report on the soldier’s desertion, leaked to the New York Times, says that the Army concluded he had walked off of his own free will, but could not conclude he intended to desert. Editor thinks America had better do something about the way its Army functions before the entire Republic goes down the sewers. It does not matter what the soldier intended. He left his post in a combat zone with no intention to return. That’s called desertion. How do we know he did not intend to desert. Oh dear. To keep this simple, you have exchanges with his father saying the soldier did not like the situation, and his father saying the son must follow his conscience. We have son saying that the Army and America were lies. The son checked with his leader how much cash money he could obtain, and if he walked off what could he take or not take. The items he could not take – eg, his weapon – he carefully left behind. He had his belongings mailed back to the States. If the Army was unable to conclude he did not intend to come back, the Army is composed of fools and idiots that need to be handcuffed and handed over to the Taliban, AQ, Islamic groups everywhere, Assad, Kim III, and so on. This way they can destroy our enemies from within, instead of destroying us from within.
·          And – dear US Army – when a soldier abandons his post in the face of the enemy after considerable thought and preparation,  what do you think he intends? To go down to the local drag, shoot a little pool with the Taliban, have a few beers, gamble a few rounds, and pick up a local girl for some joy, and then return in the morning?  If Army cannot conclude he intended to desert, it’s probably too much to expect the Army to conclude that the world is round. Or are we setting the bar too high with that question? How about “does the Army realize if it holds its breath till it dies it is, well, dead?” Something like that. Make up your own absurd example, Editor cant do the thinking every day and make sense."
99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 31, 2014, 07:30:19 AM
I think the pak taliban split reflects the major power shifts and realignments that are happening in the region. Players are adjusting to what they perceive as the new power equation and realities.

1. Afghan elections: Abdullah Abdullah a Tajik with pashtun blood vs Ghani a pashtun. Karzai put up his candidate Rassoul, whose main function was to split the vote, with that out of the way, Karzai, I believe is supporting Abdullah. Or in other words, Ghani is Pak supported, whereas Abdullah is likely to be more friendly with India.
2. India is providing weapons to Afghans (karzai govt), combine this with India's newly elected nationalist strongman Modi, during whose swearing in ceremony pak supported taliban attacked the Indian embassy in Herat Afghanistan to create a hostage crisis (and failed), the situation does not look favorable for Pak. India recently selected Ajit Doval as NSA, someone who spent years in pak as an undercover agent.
3. US withdrawl or decrease in forces will have major consequences in the region, how it will play out is hard to predict. The Indian strategy will be to deny pak strategic depth in Afghanistan, partly by providing weapons to Afghans.
4. After OBL's killing, the paki army was on the backfoot, but its now back in control. Together with the mullahs the army has weakened the political class. I think the mullahs and radicals are pak continues to go down the tubes.
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 27, 2014, 09:37:21 PM
 Compared to 32000 presently. I think he is saying that it will be 9800 this year, with complete withdrawl by 2016.
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