Zero IQ Thirty

Posted by Admin On Thursday, 31 January 2013 0 comments

Recent Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, was quite an experience. Though sharp in its production and direction and largely accurate in depicting the events that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden, it went ballistic bad in depicting everyday life on the streets of Pakistan.
With millions of dollars at their disposal, I wonder why the makers of this film couldn’t hire even a most basic advisor to inform them that
1: Pakistanis speak Urdu, English and other regional languages and NOT Arabic;
2: Pakistani men do not go around wearing 17th and 18th century headgear in markets;
3: The only Urdu heard in the film is from a group of wild-eyed men protesting against an American diplomat, calling him ‘chor.’ Chor in Urdu means robber. And the protest rally was against US drone strikes. How did it make the diplomat a chor?
4: And how on earth was a green Mercedes packed with armed men parked only a few feet away from the US embassy in Islamabad? Haven’t the producers ever heard of an area called the Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad? Even a squirrel these days has to run around for a permit to enter and climb trees in that particular area.
I can go on.
The following is what I have learned …
Pakistan according to Hollywood
Zero IQ Thirty 12
Zero IQ Thirty 4
Zero IQ Thirty 7
Zero IQ Thirty 9
Zero IQ Thirty 2
Zero IQ Thirty 15
Zero IQ Thirty 14
America in the eyes of Pakistanis
Zero IQ Thirty 6
Zero IQ Thirty 11
Zero IQ Thirty 16
Zero IQ Thirty 3
Zero IQ Thirty 8
Zero IQ Thirty 5
Zero IQ Thirty 1
Zero IQ Thirty 10
Zero IQ Thirty 13
Courtesy: DAWN

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Corps commanders need not be told about Kargil: Musharraf

Posted by Admin On Wednesday, 30 January 2013 1 comments
WASHINGTON - Former President and army chief Pervez Musharraf has said there was no need to inform all corps commanders about Kargil operation. In an interview with US TV channel he brushed...

WASHINGTON - Former President and army chief Pervez Musharraf has said there was no need to inform all corps commanders about Kargil operation.
In an interview with US TV channel he brushed aside all the allegations leveled by Lt Gen (Retd) Shahid Aziz saying Shahid Aziz is characterless and incredible person.
He went on to say that Kargil operation was a revenge level action at initial stage. But when it proceeded further all the people were informed about it, he added.
He contradicted the allegation from Lt Gen (Retd) Aziz that he had shelved report on Kargil episode.
To a question, he said if army tried to take over the country, he would take any decision on opposing or supporting it per prevailing situation.
Regarding Tahir ul Qadri sit in he said whatever demand is made it should be welfare oriented for the masses.
“Elections are ahead and I will return to Pakistan two and a half months before general polls,”, he stated.
In response to a question he said, “I have never interfered in any assignment of NAB”.

Silence bordering Syria

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Throughout the Cold War, US meddling in Syria poisoned the well of US-Syria relations. Then, after 1990, there was co-operation on matters of mutual benefit, such as a response to...

Throughout the Cold War, US meddling in Syria poisoned the well of US-Syria relations.
Then, after 1990, there was co-operation on matters of mutual benefit, such as a response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and – a fact often conveniently overlooked – the so-called war on terror.
As the US has sought new ways to shift regional alliances at arm’s length, a locally-instigated movement has achieved what no outside power could – it has presented the first significant challenge to the Baathist regime. Over the course of almost two years, non-violent popular protest has mutated into bloody conflict.
With little appetite in Washington for direct intervention, the US is sending mixed messages.
In some ways, Washington’s overt – and covert – support for the rebels is playing into President Bashar al-Assad’s hands, allowing him to claim he is fighting foreign intervention rather than domestic dissent, while also giving him space to fight back as brutally as he wants with no immediate threat of military involvement by the US, NATO, or other western powers.
The same forces which rushed into Libya – and just recently into Mali – are transforming Syria into another proxy killing field. But this time Washington’s silence contributes to the destruction.
Armed fighters have made substantial advances and dealt heavy casualties to government forces, seizing equipment and ammunition. But decisive military victory remains far from their grasp, if at all possible. And, complicating matters further, one of the best-organised, highly experienced, well equipped and most effective of the armed factions – Jabhat al-Nusra – has recently been declared a terrorist organisation by the Obama administration.
So what comes next in this confused and bitter calculus of confrontation? As President Obama begins his second term, will the US continue to give mixed messages?
Empire looks at the history of the US relationship with Syria and the current state of the armed uprising with interviewees: Richard Murphy, the former US ambassador to Syria; Douglas Little, a history professor at Clark University; Hasan Abu Hanya, an expert on Islamic movements; Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the CIA bin Laden Unit; and Abu Hasan, a Jabhat al-Nusra commander in Syria.
We explore who is right and who is wrong, and what is – or should be – the Obama policy towards Syria, with our guests: Bassam Haddad, the director of the Middle East studies programme at George Mason University, who is also editor of the online magazine Jadaliyya, and author of several books, including his latest Business Networks in Syria:The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience; David Pollock, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Juan Cole, a professor of Middle East history at the University of Michigan, and author of several books including his most recent Engaging the Muslim World; and Stephen Starr, a journalist and author of Revolt in Syria: Eyewitness to the Uprising.

Pakistani security forces take down 33 militants from TTP, LI

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Pakistani security forces on Tuesday claimed that they have killed 33 militants affiliated to the outlawed Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as fighter jets struck their hideouts in remote...

Pakistani security forces on Tuesday claimed that they have killed 33 militants affiliated to the outlawed Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as fighter jets struck their hideouts in remote Tirah valley of Khyber agency and Mamozai area of Orakzai agency.
The TTP spokesman however has claimed that only two of their fighters have died in the air strikes while rest of those killed were civilians.
The claims however could not be verified from any independent sources, as the area is totally inaccessible to the media.
Security sources told Dawn.Com that the jet fighters have also destroyed ammunition and ration depots of the militants groups in Dawatoi, Bara Gat, Wocha Wona, and Nakai areas of the Khyber Agency during the last 24 hours operation.
They said that at least 23 militants have been killed while scores of others have been injured in the strikes.
In a separate strike in adjoining Mamozai area of Orakzai agency, the jet fighters have also destroyed four militants’ hideouts.
Assistant Political Agent Upper Tehsil Muhammad Rafiq says they have reports that at least ten militants have died in the strikes while their four secret hideouts have also been destroyed.
TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Eshan, reacting to the incidents said that they had lost only two fighters in the strikes and most of the people killed by the Pakistani fighter jets are innocent civilians.
“I can confirm that jets have targeted civilians’ houses on the border of Orakzai Agency, in Kokikhels area and there is confirmation of civilian deaths, including women and children,” he said, adding, “our bases are safe enough to escape the bombing and we know how to remain safe in the area.”
About the ongoing clashes with Ansarul Islam (AI) in Tirah Valley, Ehsan said, “We have lost only 7 fighters while 15 others have been injured in the war with the AI, but I don’t have any confirmation of deaths on the other side.”
To a query about capturing the AI headquarters in Bagh-Maidan, the TTP spokesman said, “I can’t say as we are in the middle of the war, but the TTP’s fight will continue until the elimination of government-backed fighters of Ansarul Islam.”
“Despite a peace agreement with the TTP they have killed more than 29 of our Mujahideen and have also stopped and blocked the supply routes to the tribesmen who are opposed to the AI ideology,” he added.
About the dissociation of Tariq Afridi group from the TTP as claimed by their spokesman Muhammad in media reports, Ehsan said, “I am not in knowledge of any spokesman by the name of Muhammad, who had claimed this.”
“But I must say… all us TTP fighters are unanimous in defeating Ansarul Islam, who are supported by the Pakistani government,” he added.
About Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) backing the TTP in the fight against the Ansarul Islam, he said, “TTP is on its own, but any support from the LI will be welcomed.”

Why the ‘equality discourse’ is problematic

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The US war machine is both very old and newly changing. Battlefields are drawn differently and new technologies distance most of us from both the new and old horrors of...

The US war machine is both very old and newly changing. Battlefields are drawn differently and new technologies distance most of us from both the new and old horrors of war. Un”manned” drones define new ways to surveil and kill. Simultaneously, misogyny within the military expressed through sexual humiliation and rape appears rampant while gender “equality” formally ends the exclusion of women from frontline combat positions.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has lifted the military’s official ban on women in combat. This overrides a 1994 Pentagon ruling that excluded women from artillery, armour, infantry and other combat. For the women in the US military who have fought and wanted access to these realms, it is a victory. It allows them full citizenship, and opportunity without arbitrary barriers. If they can qualify physically, they can no longer be excluded from “frontline combat”, however, wherever that is located in today’s wars.
These women say they are already in harm’s way and doing the “heavy lifting” but fail to get the recognition. Despite the official ban, 800 US women were wounded and 130 have died in these wars while being “excluded” from combat. And, multiple thousands of Afghan and Iraqi women have died with even less recognition. The new ruling simply recognises some of this reality legally, formally, and structurally for US women. They will now be able to claim their rightful pay grade and be in route for promotions that require combat experience.
All of the above, however, starts mid-stream. I wonder who really wants to serve in combat? Who wants to fight wars in the first place? Who wants to be on the front lines and kill other human beings – or better yet, get killed themselves? I know I do not want to, nor do I know many men and women who would readily “choose” this. Not all, but many who “choose” to enlist have few other alternatives. Many are in the US military today because of a lack of alternatives in a shrinking job market. Before enlisting, Jessica Lynch, the now famous blond female Iraq war POW,had first applied for a job at Wal-Mart, which she did not get. The pay is about equal between Wal-Mart and the military, although the latter job can get you killed. I do not think that many enlisted women are any more pro-war than I am. It is a job, albeit a dangerous one. The rest of us are just lucky enough to have other options.
Changing trajectories of war
My point is that the global economy and its shrinking labour market, everywhere, is growing more militarist and more female at the same time. And, it is really important to not confuse the presence of females, especially in combat, with gender “equality”. The global economy is not less misogynistic, it is just much more gender fluid. There is less and less equality for everyone, men and women alike. Equal to what and to whom and for what? I am thinking about that 99 percent. US military women are still part of the 99 percent, unequal even if now with full citizen rights.
The Afghanistan and Iraq wars have changed the trajectory of women in the US military in the last two decades. Women helped fill the ranks when not enough men were choosing to do so. Now hundreds of thousands of women of all colours have served in these wars. And it is not clear that women’s rights or feminisms of any sort were the initial impetus here, even if then president George Bush Sr lauded the US government’s Iraq war as being the best equal opportunity employer around. In reality, more young women were looking for “opportunities” to fund college and feed their families.
The context – historical, economic, cultural, racial, sexual – is always changing and right now it is hard to see and know what the changes mean. Even though equal treatment has most often thought to be a good thing, it is not clear what it might really fully mean today in this context. I think we need to wonder about the new complexity of war/s and new possible meanings of equality. This is especially true when the changes are a kind of catch-up to what alreadyexists but also recognition of new military needs that morph into supposed “rights” for women.
If I might be allowed just one more thought – which takes me to drones – about the changing nature/practices of war and, maybe gender. Missy Cummings of MIT and a former bomber pilot now heads the project on “unmanned” aerial vehicles”, better known as drones. She is a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT and landed F/A-18 fighter jets on aircraft carriers while she was a navy pilot in 2003. During the 2012 TEDMED conference Cummings admitted that she “loved dropping bombs” and/but also saw that the new technologies were going to make her job obsolete.
Missy Cummings now leads research for “unmanned“ vehicles. She does not seem worried about the abuses of drones – she rather says she is a technologist and dedicated to discovery – that it is for others to assess the dangers. Instead, she focuses on enabling people with smart phone use for humanitarian disaster relief and is working on a medical evacuation helicopter for the military.
Interestingly for me, she is also the author of The Hornet’s Nest, that tells the story of her horrific and sometimes humiliating treatment when she was in the Navy. She was never accepted as an equal even though she probably was “more” than an equal in terms of her skills. Yet, Missy, blonde and white and female is leading the military in some of its newest re-wiring. This all is nothing if not complicated.
Rethinking/rescoping gender equality
Equality has always meant different things to different women in different locations, different classes, races, and sexual identities. And equality itself continues to mean different things for different women. Perhaps, for women in the military it does mean recognition of their combat front-line roles. But this recognition stands in stark contrast to the “unequal” sexual abuse and violation that is structurally rampant in the armed forces. The new wars care less about the sex of the body – female and male bodies become more exchangeable on the battlefield, even while misogynist sexual violence continues apace.
The same day that Panetta proposed ending the ban on women in combat, a report documenting sexual assaults of Air Force recruits at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas was released. On January 24, 2013, the two stories ran side by side in the New York Times. The horrific sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape of women in the US military have been well documented for years now. At Lackland, many of these young women were teenagers; and 59 of them were abused by 32 instructors. Two of the instructors repeated these offences with 10 different recruits. There is a long known history of these scandals, Tailhook being one of the best known during the early 1990s.
I think one should not readily speak of gender “equality” in the military as long as sexual abuse exists there, alongside the rape, as well of civilian women in war-torn countries. Panetta says he wants to eliminate all unnecessary gender based barriers to service without bringing the more silenced war against women on this other battlefield into view. There is more than one combat zone that creates unconscionable prohibitions for women.
Changing paradigms
I wonder if, in the end, all the historical and economic change actually changes gender itself – the cultural/political/economic construction of what females can do. In other words, females and males come to do more similar – more “equal” - things; and maybe concepts of gender change and evolve as a result of new needs that may not be in anyone’s interest but the 1 percent? I do not want to call these new necessities and arrangements of war “gender equality”.
Equality discourse though crucial to all human rights has long been problematic. No woman is ever equal in a misogyny that is also already classed as sexually and racially hierarchical. Exactly which person is one interested in being equal to in the first place? I am pretty sure that most Afghan and Iraqi women do not see it as a “win” that they or a loved one will now have the chance to be killed by a female American soldier. New forms of female militarism need careful evaluation so that “women’s equality” does not become a sexual decoy of sorts.
Gender and its place in the militarism of empire is changing. Exclusion of women defies the flexibility of modular wars, a flexibility that the military needs. New recruitment needs defy the “exclusion” phrase. If you want to call this gender equality be my guest. But I think it may be an updated form of militarist misogyny that is not so equal after all.
If there are to be new possibilities for women’s equality as a gender, there need to be new ways to think about it. The structural needs of misogyny are always in flux even though cultural practices of sexual violence remain. This contradictory and complex relation is at the heart of the matter. Women across this globe suffer this violence at the same time that they move and shake this world. It is time to martial energy to end sexual violence towards women everywhere and thereby challenge the militarism of the globe as well.

US-India relations as a form global economic partnerships

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Robert D. Hormats Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. As prepared for delivery Thank you for that wonderful greeting. I am honored...

Robert D. Hormats
Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs.
As prepared for delivery
Thank you for that wonderful greeting. I am honored to accept your invitation to participate in the Partnership 2013 Summit. For me this is an excellent opportunity to learn from so many distinguished women and men from across India and from around the world.  To be back in Agra, against the backdrop of one of the great works of art and love of mankind, the Taj Mahal, is a distinct and profound pleasure.  I am always happy to be in India.  On Saturday, I fulfilled a long held wish, when I was able to witness Republic Day in all of its splendor.  It is a remarkable event that I will long remember.
I first came to India as a young man. I traveled the Grand Trunk Road and discovered for myself “incredible India” – long before that term became a common one. My month-long journey on buses and trains – and sometimes on top of buses and trains – was one I have never forgotten.  I saw up close and in action this country’s vibrant democracy, and rich, diverse, creative society. I was left with a deep and enduring affection for both India’s people and its indomitable spirit.
It is common knowledge that we are in the midst of an historic realignment in the locus of economic growth and demographics globally.  Emerging economies in South and East Asia in particular are making, and are projected to continue to make, historical gains. Some in the developed world may find this threatening.  I view the growing regional linkages and rapid economic growth in Asia as an opportunity to expand the economic pie and create additional growth for all.
A New Silk Road linking Central and South Asia as well as an Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking the rapidly expanding economies of South and Southeast Asia would help unlock and expand markets for global goods and services.
I will speak more about regional economic integration on Wednesday, in Delhi.  But today I want to focus on the role industrialized countries and emerging economies can play together in the rapidly changing global economic order.
I believe nations like mine can seize this opportunity to develop new sets of cooperative relations with emerging economies to increase trade, encourage closer cultural ties, boost energy production and reliability, address environmental challenges, and improve global stability.  We seek new partnerships to address the needs of the 21st century.
The burgeoning U.S.-India economic relationship is a prime example of how this is unfolding.  I am not a believer in a zero sum game.  The more we, and other nations represented here, can cooperate in ensuring a fair, transparent, rules based trading and financial system, with broadly shared responsibility, the more we all will prosper.  The New Global Economic Order will require both the utilization of current institutions, but also pragmatic bilateral and regional cooperation.
The depth and breadth of U.S.-India ties make this relationship a model for discussing Global Partnerships for Enduring Growth – the theme of our conference.  I’d like to discuss why we take this relationship so seriously.
As President Obama told the Indian parliament last year, the relationship between India and America will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century, rooted in common values and interests.  We not only welcome India as a strong and influential participant in the world economy, we fully support it.  I would say the same about the nations of ASEAN and others in this region.  Indeed, we see ASEAN and India as two of the strongest pillars of the global economies in the 21st century.
When people ask why the United States is so interested in expanding its ties with India, my response is three-fold – One, our ties make geo-strategic sense.  Two, they make geo-economic sense.  And three, and most importantly, our citizens will benefit from it.
In India, Prime Minister Singh has labeled this the “Decade of Innovation.”   He concurrently established the National Innovation Council to create policies that support medium-to-long term innovation in India.  As the Government of India notes in its draft National IPR strategy, “for innovation to create any impact, it is imperative to take the idea from the mind to the laboratory to the market.” But to do that, innovators in areas such as information technology, pharmaceuticals, and clean energy need assurance that their ideas will be protected throughout that process.  This is not only for them.  It encourages more innovation and investment in these and other sectors.  That is why we strongly support working together with India and other nations of Asia to ensure a strong intellectual property rights system that will encourage high-technology innovations, providing wide-spread benefits to all of our nations.
We also encourage the Indian government and all of our trading partners to consider a range of market-based solutions that can better support jobs and growth, while creating a level playing field. Predictable and clear policies will encourage businesses to expand, and to devote the long-term capital and resources required for further growth. Working together, the United States and India can realize the kind of innovation our leaders envision. Science, technology, and the environment are areas characterized by mutual interest and expanding cooperation.
Our collaborative effort in agriculture includes efforts to stop food loss between the farmer and the consumer, increasing prosperity for both.  Such losses are enormous and a great tragedy.  This can be prevented by cold chain storage and other methods.  Companies are willing to invest in such systems if given the right opportunities and a welcoming environment.
On the investment side, the U.S. and Indian governments have engaged in Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) negotiations.  We’re aiming for a BIT that gives a high level of openness to investment across the economy, provides strong rules on investor protection and transparency, and offers effective means for resolving investment disputes. Our S&T cooperation includes cutting edge work in space science, where we work together on Earth observation satellite projects that help us predict monsoon patterns and respond to natural disasters.
The Clean Energy Finance Center in New Delhi represents U.S. agencies that have mobilized more than $1.7 billion for clean energy projects in India, working in tandem with Indian government and industry partners.  We both benefit from our comprehensive strategic dialogue on energy, in light of dramatic changes in technology and in the global energy market. This dialogue takes on even more importance with the growing role of the Indian Ocean in global energy shipments, regional energy and maritime security, growing power needs, and sustainable clean energy objectives.  We seek a broader and deeper dialogue on energy, for similar reasons, with countries in south and east Asia.  We do not see the American energy boom as a reason to pull back from engagement, but as an opportunity to expand mutually beneficial engagement.
In addition to business connections, people to people connections are one of our strongest links. More than 12,000 American alumni of Indian institutions are part of our efforts to strengthen and broaden relations with India. So are the more than three million Indian-Americans living in the United States.  And last year, over 100,000 Indian students came to the U.S. to study.
With the increasing connectivity of our universities, our businesses, and our civil societies, we are seeing more engagement than ever.  And I think that increasingly, state-level and city-level leaders in both countries, see great opportunities for their citizens from new city-to-city and state-to-state partnerships.  These are creating the next generation, and a deeper level, of economic diplomacy.  More and more international economic diplomacy will be the work of mayors, governors, chief ministers and their teams.
For example:
•    Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Chauhan recently visited the U.S. to describe his state’s ambitious agriculture reforms, including loan guarantees to farmers, improving irrigation, and “a single window system” for expeditious foreign investment approvals;
•    CII—our hosts today—recently brought a delegation of business leaders from the state of Jammu & Kashmir to visit several U.S. cities.  J&K has developed cold chain infrastructure with the help of U.S. partners that preserves apples as they go from farm to market, much as Tamil Nadu has done for bananas.  Both are very positive examples;
•    Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear just announced a 25-year coal deal between American companies and India;
•    Washington state’s Governor Christine Gregoire has established partnerships in energy, life sciences, and film; and
•    City mayors like San Antonio’s dynamic Julian Castro—who will also be participating at this summit tomorrow—are building ties with new and existing India partners.
•    Our Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley led a trade mission to Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and New Delhi.  This represented the largest ever state trade mission to India.  Because Maryland is my home state I am especially proud of this.
In the Third U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, Secretary Clinton welcomed Minister Krishna’s proposal for a “Conversation Between Cities” to take place in 2013 to address “urban challenges and solutions in the 21st Century.”
Our states and our cities are the real laboratory test tubes of democracy and creative economic policy —where our citizens are in close and direct contact with their local governments, where our entrepreneurs establish and develop new business that drive employment, and where our institutions of higher education help us all enhance our skills and retrain for new opportunities.
So the robust connections between Indian and American states and cities are a welcome commercial development, and offer both countries more ways to take the strategic partnership to an even more ambitious level.  We seek to do the same with others in this region.
While we have come far, we still have more work to do to ensure this relationship achieves its potential.  The United States is enormously optimistic about India’s future –
(1) that India’s greater role on the world stage will enhance peace and security;
(2) that further opening India’s markets will pave the way to greater regional and global prosperity;
(3) that Indian advances in science and technology will improve lives and advance human knowledge everywhere; and
(4) that India’s vibrant, pluralistic democracy – where the rights of men and women are equally represented and both have an equal opportunity to succeed and contribute – will produce measurable results and improvements for its citizens.
But our governments cannot assume the relationship will be self-sustaining without mutual effort.  This is the challenge we all face today.  We have the opportunity to establish a framework for enduring growth for our two countries. And all of our countries together need to establish a series of bilateral and regional partnership for Central Asia, for East Asia, and for connections between them.   Now each of us individually and – all of us– need to take the next steps to ensure that this process continues and strengthens.

Files reveal 15 years history of violence: LoC

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Complaints by Pakistan of executions, beheadings in secret cross-border raids by Indian forces In classified protests to a United Nations watchdog that have never been disclosed till now, Pakistan has...

Complaints by Pakistan of executions, beheadings in secret cross-border raids by Indian forces
In classified protests to a United Nations watchdog that have never been disclosed till now, Pakistan has accused Indian soldiers of involvement in the torture and decapitation of at least 12 Pakistani soldiers in cross-Line of Control raids since 1998, as well as the massacre of 29 civilians.
The allegations, laid out in confidential Pakistani complaints to the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), suggest that Indian and Pakistani troops stationed on the Line of Control remain locked in a pattern of murderous violence, despite the ceasefire both armies entered into in November 2003. Earlier this month, bilateral relations were severely damaged after a series of LoC skirmishes, which culminated in thebeheading and mutilation of two Indian soldiers Lance-Naik Hemraj Singh and Lance-Naik Sudhakar Singh.
The Ministry of Defence did not respond to an e-mail from The Hindu, seeking comment on the alleged decapitation of Pakistani civilians and troops reported to UNMOGIP. However, a military spokesperson said the issue had “not been raised by Pakistan in communications between the two Directors-General of Military Operations.”
The Ministry of External Affairs also said the UNMOGIP complaints had not been raised in diplomatic exchanges between the two countries.
“Ever since 9/11,” a senior Pakistan army officer told The Hindu, “we have sought to downplay these incidents, aware that a public backlash [could] push us into a situation we cannot afford on the LoC, given that much of our army is now committed to our western borders. Each of these incidents has been protested by us on both military and UNMOGIP channels.”
UNMOGIP, set up after the India-Pakistan war of 1947-1948 to monitor ceasefire violations, does not conduct criminal investigations, or assign responsibility for incidents. The reports of its ceasefire monitors are sent to the organisation’s headquarters in New York, and forwarded to the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi.
Ever since 1972, India has responded to UNMOGIP queries with a standard-form letter, saying it believes the organisation has lost its relevance following the demarcation of the LoC. Earlier this month, India argued in the United Nations that the organisation ought to be wound-up.
Massacre for massacre
The most savage cross-LoC violence Indian forces are alleged to have participated in was the killing of 22 civilians at the village of Bandala, in the Chhamb sector, on the night of November 26-27, 1998. The bodies of two civilians, according to Pakistan’s complaint to UNMOGIP, were decapitated; the eyes of several others were allegedly gouged out by the attackers. The Pakistani military claimed to have recovered an Indian-made watch from the scene of the carnage, along with a hand-written note which asked, “How does your own blood feel”?
First reported by The Hindu’s sister publication Frontline in its June 19, 1998 issue, the Bandala massacre is alleged to have been carried out by irregulars backed by Indian special forces in retaliation for the massacre of 29 Hindu villagers at Prankote, in Jammu and Kashmir, by the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The LeT attackers slit the throats of their victims, who included women and children.
No Indian investigation of the Bandala killings has ever been carried out. However, an officer serving in the Northern Command at the time said the massacre was “intended to signal that communal massacres by jihadists, who were after all trained and equipped by Pakistan’s military, were a red line that could not be crossed with impunity.”
The Lashkar, however, continued to target Hindu villagers in the Jammu region; 10 were killed at Deesa and Surankote just days later, on May 6, 1998. In 2001, 108 people were gunned down in 11 communal massacres, and 83 people were killed in five incidents in 2002 — a grim toll that only died out after the 2003 ceasefire.
Brutal retaliation
Even though the large-scale killings of civilians did not take place again, Pakistan continued to report cross-border attacks, involving mutilations, to UNMOGIP.
Six months after the Kargil war, on the night of January 21-22, 2000, seven Pakistani soldiers were alleged to have been captured in a raid on a post in the Nadala enclave, across the Neelam River. The seven soldiers, wounded in fire, were allegedly tied up and dragged across a ravine running across the LoC. The bodies were returned, according to Pakistan’s complaint, bearing signs of brutal torture.
“Pakistan chose to underplay the Nadala incident,” a senior Pakistani military officer involved with its Military Operations Directorate told The Hindu, “as General Pervez Musharraf had only recently staged his coup, and did not want a public outcry that would spark a crisis with India.”
Indian military sources told The Hindu that the raid, conducted by a special forces unit, was intended to avenge the killing of Captain Saurabh Kalia, and five soldiers — sepoys Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Arjun Ram, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh — of the 4 Jat Regiment. The patrol had been captured on May 15, 1999, in the Kaksar sector of Kargil. Post mortem revealed that the men’s bodies had been burned with cigarette-ends and their genitals mutilated.
Less detail is available on the retaliatory cycles involved in incidents that have taken place since the ceasefire went into place along the LoC in 2003 — but Pakistan’s complaints to UNMOGIP suggest that there has been steady, but largely unreported, cross-border violence involving beheadings and mutilations.
Indian troops, Pakistan alleged, killed a JCO, or junior commissioned officer, and three soldiers in a raid on a post in the Baroh sector, near Bhimber Gali in Poonch, on September 18, 2003. The raiders, it told UNMOGIP, decapitated one soldier and carried his head off as a trophy.
Near-identical incidents have taken place on at least two occasions since 2008, when hostilities on the LoC began to escalate again. Indian troops, Pakistan’s complaints record, beheaded a soldier and carried his head across on June 19, 2008, in the Bhattal sector in Poonch. Four Pakistani soldiers, UNMOGIP was told, died in the raid.
The killings came soon after a June 5, 2008 attack on the Kranti border observation post near Salhotri village in Poonch, which claimed the life of 2-8 Gurkha Regiment soldier Jawashwar Chhame.
Finally, on August 30, 2011, Pakistan complained that three soldiers, including a JCO, were beheaded in an Indian raid on a post in the Sharda sector, across the Neelam river valley in Kel. The Hindu had first reported the incident based on testimony from Indian military sources, who said two Pakistani soldiers had been beheaded following the decapitation of two Indian soldiers near Karnah. The raid on the Indian forward position, a highly placed military source said, was carried out by Pakistani special forces, who used rafts to penetrate India’s defences along the LoC.
Fragile ceasefire
Part of the reason why the November 2003 ceasefire failed to end such savagery, government sources in both India and Pakistan told The Hindu, is the absence of an agreed mechanism to regulate conflicts along the LoC. Though both sides have occasional brigade-level flag meetings, and local post commanders exchange communications, disputes are rarely reported to higher authorities until tensions reach boiling point. Foreign offices in both countries, diplomats admitted, are almost never briefed on crises brewing on the LoC.
In October last year, highly placed military sources said, Pakistan’s Director-General of Military Operations complained about Indian construction work around Charunda, in Uri. His Indian counterpart, Lieutenant-General Vinod Bhatia, however, responded that India’s works were purely intended to prevent illegal border crossings. The unresolved dispute led to exchanges of fire, which eventually escalated into shelling and the killings of soldiers on both sides.
The November 2003 ceasefire, Indian diplomatic sources say, was based on an unwritten “agreement,” which in essence stipulated that neither side would reinforce its fortifications along the LoC — a measure first agreed to after the 1971 war. In 2006, the two sides exchanged drafts for a formal agreement. Since then, the sources said, negotiations have stalled over differing ideas on what kind of construction is permissible. “In essence,” a senior government official said, “we accept that there should be no new construction, but want to be allowed to expand counter-infiltration measures and expand existing infrastructure.”
India insists that it needs to expand counter-infiltration infrastructure because of escalating operations by jihadist groups across the LoC. Pakistan argues that India’s own figures show a sharp decline in operations by jihadists in Jammu and Kashmir. Last year, according to the Indian government, 72 terrorists, 24 civilians and 15 security personnel, including police, were killed in terrorist violence in the State — lower, in total, than the 521 murders recorded in Delhi alone. In 2011, the figures were, respectively, 100, 40 and 33; in 2010, 232, 164 and 69.
“You can’t say that you need more border defences to fight off jihadists when you yourself say there is less and less jihadist violence,” a Pakistani military official said. “The only reason there are less jihadists,” an Indian military officer responded, “is because we’ve enhanced our defences.”
Indian and Pakistani diplomats last met on December 27 to discuss the draft agreement, but could make no headway.

Kargil adventure was four-man show: Gen. Shahid Aziz

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The Kargil operation began in the summer of 1999 when Pakistani soldiers infiltrated into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control.
The infiltration, which managed to cut off Indian supply lines, took New Delhi by surprise. — File Photo
The men who witnessed the Kargil fiasco continue to spill the beans. Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz, a former chief of general staff of Pakistan Army who has till now kept his peace about what he witnessed in the summer of ’99, says the ‘misadventure’ was a four-man show the details of which were hidden from the rest of the military commanders initially.
This is the first time someone this senior in the military hierarchy of the time has spoken in such detail and with such frankness about the fiasco that was Kargil.
According to him, initially the Kargil operation was known only to Gen Pervez Musharraf, chief of general staff Lt Gen Mohammad Aziz, FCNA (Force Command Northern Areas) commander Lt Gen Javed Hassan and 10-Corps commander Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmad.
The majority of corps commanders and principal staff officers were kept in the dark, says Gen Aziz. “Even the-then director general military operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Tauqir Zia came to know about it later,” says Gen Aziz who at the time was serving as director general of the analysis wing of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
He said that Gen Musharraf worked on a policy of “need to know” throughout his tenure as COAS and later president — in other words, Musharraf would issue orders to only those who were required to implement orders instead of first consulting corps commanders and other military officers.
The Kargil operation began in the summer of 1999 when Pakistani soldiers infiltrated into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control.
The infiltration, which managed to cut off Indian supply lines, took New Delhi by surprise.
Initially, Islamabad claimed that the infiltrators were mujahideen but it could not maintain this fa├žade for long. The Indian response coupled with international pressure forced the Pakistan military to withdraw.
However, the aftermath of the operation served to heighten tensions between Gen Musharraf and then prime minister Nawaz Sharif which culminated in the October coup when the military removed the elected government and took over.
‘Operation was never planned’
“The Pakistan Army did not plan the operation because Gen Musharraf never saw Kargil as a major operation. Only the FCNA was involved in it and perhaps a section of 10-Corps,” says Aziz, adding that it was a major intelligence failure for India. More details of the operation are expected in Gen Aziz’s book which is hitting the bookshelves next week.
“It was a miscalculated move,” he says when asked about the operation, adding that “its objectives were not clear and its ramifications were not properly evaluated”.
At his picturesque farmhouse in Pind Begwal in the foothills of Murree, about 30km from the capital, Gen Aziz was not averse to speaking frankly about the operation.
“It was a failure because we had to hide its objectives and results from our own people and the nation. It had no purpose, no planning and nobody knows even today how many soldiers lost their lives.”
He said he was personally not aware of what information had been shared with then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, but he felt that Mr Sharif “was not fully in the picture”.
He, however, recalls a general telling him that Nawaz Sharif asked “when are you giving us Kashmir?” during an informal discussion. This suggests, says Gen Aziz, that Mr Sharif was not completely in the dark.
Gen Aziz himself first discovered that something was up when he came across wireless communication intercepts from which he could tell that something was making the Indian forces panic.
“The intercepts worried me as I thought we were not aware of whatever was unsettling the Indians. I deputed two officers to figure out what was happening.” The next day’s wireless intercepts were clear enough for Gen Aziz to realise that the Indians’ anxiety stemmed from the fact that someone from Pakistan had captured some areas in Kargil-Drass sector but it was not clear if they were mujahideen or regular troops. “I took these intercepts to then ISI director general Lt Gen Ziauddin Butt and asked what was happening.”
It was then that Gen Aziz was finally told by Gen Butt that the army had captured some area in Kargil.
This, says Gen Aziz, was not right. In his opinion, he should have been told about the proposed operation in advance so that he could have provided his analysis in advance.
A day after this conversation between Aziz and Butt, the latter called Gen Aziz and told him that he had been invited to the General Headquarters for a briefing on Kargil.
The briefing
During the briefing, which was also attended by all the principal staff officers, Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Tauqir Zia explained that units of NLI (Northern Light Infantry) and regular troops had captured areas in the Drass-Kargil sector.
Aziz feels that even though the briefing was conducted by DGMO Tauqir Zia, it was clear that he had not been aware of the operation from the beginning.
The day after the DGMO briefing, the friction at Kargil operation was reported in the Pakistani media; interestingly, the Indian media had carried stories a day earlier.
This shows that the military leadership was informed about such a critical operation only after it began and by that time information was trickling down to the media.
At the briefing, Gen Zia did explain the ‘objectives’ of the operation — it had cut off India’s supply lines to Siachen because of the closure of Zojila Pass on Srinagar-Drass-Kargil-Leh road.
This, said Gen Zia, would block India from supplying its troops in Siachen and subsequently, India would evacuate Siachen. That this did not happen is now history.
Gen Aziz says this was because the planners “miscalculated the Indian response and overall repercussions”.
At the briefing, Gen Tauqir Zia talked about airing pre-recorded Pashto messages that he hoped would be intercepted by the Indian forces.
His objective was that these intercepts would fool India into thinking that the Afghan mujahideen had occupied areas in Kargil.
Gen Aziz says he objected to this plan as “these would get exposed very shortly”. He adds that this led to lengthy discussions and finally Tauqir Zia conceded that the truth could not be hidden for long.
In retrospect, Gen Aziz feels that “even if only NLI men were up there, it would be wrong to suggest that the operation was carried out by paramilitary forces because NLI falls under the military chain of command unlike the Rangers that are headed by a military officer but technically they fall under the control of the ministry of interior”.
The study that never was
But for Gen Aziz the end of the operation did not mean the end of the matter.
After he was promoted as chief of general staff, he says that in 2004 he ordered a small study to inquire into what miscalculations had led to
such a huge loss of men and money. He also asked each battalion concerned for details.
But the reaction was swift.
An angry Gen Musharraf called him and asked what the objectives of the study were. “I told him it would provide a professional understanding of our mistakes and losses but Gen Musharraf insisted that this was not the time for such a study and ordered that it be stopped.

Courtesy: DAWN

Iran rejects news of explosion at Fordow nuclear facility

Posted by FS On Tuesday, 29 January 2013 1 comments

By Pepe Escobar Former United States president George W Bush issued an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein before bombing and invading Iraq. Nine years later, US President Barack Obama has issued...
By Pepe Escobar
Former United States president George W Bush issued an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein before bombing and invading Iraq.
Nine years later, US President Barack Obama has issued an ultimatum to the leadership in Tehran before … setting optimal conditions for an “all options on the table” exercise.
Obama has made an offer to Tehran to “negotiate” its nuclear program – ahead of long-delayed talks between the “Iran Six” (P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and France – plus Germany) and Iran scheduled for Istanbul on Saturday.
For starters, it’s not an offer; it’s a list of demands – even before any negotiation takes place. And these “near term” concessions are packaged – according to the president’s own rhetoric – as a “last chance”.
In modern times, this used to be known as an ultimatum. In the post-everything era, it passes for “international diplomacy”.
Obama wants Tehran to shut down and in fact destroy the Fordow enrichment plant, built under a mountain outside the holy city of Qom; he wants Tehran to definitely renounce and “surrender” its entire stockpile of uranium enriched to 20%; to stop any sort of enrichment, even to harmless 5% (which means Iran renouncing its whole civilian nuclear program, to which it has a right according to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ); to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors full access to all Iranian nuclear sites (they already have it); and to let the inspectors talk to all top Iranian nuclear scientists (that’s not exactly possible; quite a few have been assassinated by Israel’s Mossad).
So welcome to the “roll over and die” school of diplomacy – as perfected by the Obama administration, with vital input from the Israel lobby in Washington. It’s our way of the highway. And the highway is to hell – to the sound of “Bomb Bomb Iran”.
Another war for the 1%
No wonder the proverbial “Israeli officials” are delighted that Iran – via its Foreign Ministry – has rejected all these demands as “irrational”; for Tel Aviv, the Iranian response is “good”.
“Good” means the list of demands spells out the inevitable failure of the talks – which is the core of the Israeli strategy. Afterwards Obama may (will) use the failure as the perfect excuse to apply even harsher sanctions – and who knows what else.
The whole Israeli official apparatus for months have been brainwashing Israeli, American and European public opinion for war on Iran by all means necessary – manipulating everything from a nonsensical “existential threat” to the coming of a “second Holocaust”.
Now the whole Fordow controversy is linked to the Israeli spin of another shady concept – known as “sphere of immunity”. Tel Aviv insists Fordow will allow Tehran to protect the more sensitive elements of its nuclear program literally inside a mountain – immune from the most powerful GBU-28 bunker buster bombs (which Obama, by the way, agreed to sell to Israel).
This is absolutely nonsense. Tel Aviv invented this “sphere of immunity” smokescreen after civilian nuclear activity was already taking place in Fordow, under IAEA supervision.
Yet the tail once again wags the dog. Washington once again is remote-controlled by Tel Aviv.
Polls have shown that a majority of Israelis – in a fabulous display of … altruism? – only want a war on Iran if the American Big Brother leads (and faces the direst consequences). And it doesn’t matter that the nebula of Israeli intel is itself divided.
Context is key. The wealthiest 500 Israelis are worth roughly $75 billion. That in a country with a gross domestic product of only $205 billion.
The wealthiest 20 Israeli families control almost half of the stock market. Their collective wealth is 25% bigger than Israel’s budget for 2011. And guess who these people are? The top supporters of the Likud-Ysrael Beitenu coalition in power, with Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu at the helm (Ysrael Beitenu is led by former Moldova bouncer turned Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman).
So it’s the cream of the 1% in Israel that want war on Iran – as much as quite a few scoops of the cream of the 1% in the US.
The point in this whole nuclear “negotiation” shadow play is to sell to American – and world – public opinion the notion that Iran once again is stalling; has a lot to hide; and simply cannot be trusted to be engaged in any “serious” negotiations.
US corporate media has already pre-empted the negotiations with the usual rhetorical missiles – to the delight of armchair warmongers in the US Congress and vast sectors of the industrial-military complex. The “Bomb Iran” crowd will do everything in its power to merge Obama’s “last chance” into the deafening drums of war.