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Gandhiji: Indians Must Be Thankful to Nobel Committee for Not Giving Him the Award

November 11, 2012 1 comment

As Euro-power declines and Nobel propaganda becomes less effective, to gain fresh legitimacy, the Nobel Committee may try and foist a posthumous Nobel on Gandhiji.

A portrait of Gandhiji by Illustrator: Alexey Kurbatov Location: Moscow, Russia

A portrait of Gandhiji by Illustrator: Alexey Kurbatov Location: Moscow, Russia

Is this true?

British administrators, it is believed, ‘influenced’ the Nobel Committee against a Nobel Prize for Gandhiji. Was the Nobel Committee even close to giving Gandhiji the Peace Prize?

So grateful …

What ever the truth, I am grateful to the British Raj, all the British administrators and bureaucrats, politicians who managed the Nobel award process – to deny Gandhiji the Nobel prize.

Nobel prize, the committee says cannot be awarded posthumously – though some 13 years later, the UN Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold was given the Nobel 6 months after his death.

Before that, the Nobel prize for Literature was awarded posthumously to Erik Axel Karlfeldt in 1931. Nobel Foundation Statutes were revised in 1974, to create a justification why the award cannot be awarded posthumously – unless death happened after the announcement.

According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation in force at that time, the Nobel Prize could, under certain circumstances, be awarded posthumously. Thus it was possible to give Gandhi the prize. However, Gandhi did not belong to an organisation.

So silly

It would have been so silly to know Gandhiji as a Nobel prize winner.

Along with terrorist-freedom fighter like Yasser Arafat (1994), terrorist-politician Menachem Begin (1978). Where would Gandhiji be, if he was clubbed with a clown-politician like Jimmy Carter (2002). Imagine Gandhiji rubbing shoulders with Barack Obama (2009), a non-entity when he won the prize. Or a crowning gag like EU (2012), as a peace prize winner. Gandhiji, staunchly against religious-conversions in the company of a do-gooder like Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (1979) – promoted by the Vatican, as Mother Teresa.

Or a war-monger like Henry Kissinger (1973).

Earlier, in 1945, Cordell Hull, who in 1939, was instrumental in refusing entry to some 950 German-Jewish refugees, was given the Nobel prize in 1945. Hull even co-authored a pamphlet, calling for bar on entry of European-Jews to America.

A Nobel committee member’s expression of regret for repeatedly overlooking Mahatma Gandhi for the Peace Prize has left his grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi and historians distinctly underwhelmed. “It really does not behove us to be lamenting the absence of a Nobel for Gandhi, when the committee itself has apologised for this so many times and when Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi have accepted the Peace Prize in his name.”

Nobel committee member and Conservative Norwegian politician Kaci Kullmann was quoted by a TV news channel on Thursday as saying ignoring Gandhi was “one of the greatest mistakes” of the Nobel.

Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before his assassination in January 1948 for the Peace Prize.

“What people forget is that at the time, the idea that the Nobel peace prize would go to a non-European was utterly absurd,” said Mihir Bose, author of Raj, Secrets and Revolution, a biography of Subhash Chandra Bose.

“After all, when Tagore was awarded the Nobel, Rudyard Kipling was furious…”

via Nobel apology leaves Bapu’s grandson unimpressed – Hindustan Times.


Where Do Terrorists Get Their Plastic Explosives from?

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Tracing back the sources of explosives is muddied by serious and deliberate leakages and clandestine sales.

US, the world's largest arms' exporter, spreads the fertilizer of arms and ammuninution, which creates conflicts - and then US steps in to resolve these conflicts  |  Cartoon by Polyp.

US, the world’s largest arms’ exporter, spreads the fertilizer of arms and ammuninution, which creates conflicts – and then US steps in to resolve these conflicts | Cartoon by Polyp.

Boom & Explosions

Ordinary gunpowder, is no longer a high-tech secret. Mix diesel, common nitrate fertilizer and sulfur, all commonly available items, and you get gunpowder.

Things were different a hundred years ago. India was the largest producer of this high tech product – and the British Empire rested on its ability to exclusively access Indian production of gunpowder elements. Within India, gunpowder was commonly available – and manufactured in the private sector, without State control.

In the last 50 years, we have seen a new explosive. Plastic explosive. Like wet clay or plasticine in texture, and stable, it has much more explosive power compared to ordinary gunpowder. Many terrorist incidents in India reported use of plastic explosives. An item with restricted access and limited manufacture, usage of plastic explosive usually signifies State involvement.

Known by various names like C4, Semtex (a mix of RDX & PETN),  visual identification is easy. C4 leaves off-white traces on the debris and Semtex has a tell-tale brick-red color.

Agents and double agents  |  Cartoon by by Dave Coverly; 31 May, 2012

Agents and double agents | Cartoon by by Dave Coverly; 31 May, 2012

There Goes The Neighborhood

We had David Coleman Headley, a CIA-DEA American agent, who was deeply involved in the Mumbai attacks. US has more troops in Asia than other part of the world – except Europe. While Europe has a 500-year history of wars, to justify this US army role, where is the need in Asia?

Except the imposition of Pax Americana?

US is today at war with Pakistan – next door to India. After deluding Pakistan for 50 years, US the ally has started war with Pakistan. Neither US nor Pakistan has admitted they are at war – yet American drones have been killing Pakistanis for years now.

In Pakistan, this class of explosives are made by Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF)  and Wah Nobel, a 1962-joint venture between Almisehal (Saudi Arabia), Saab (Sweden) and Pakistan Ordnance Factories.

Making The Wheels Go Round

US is the world’s largest arms producer and exporter. These clandestine sales and furtive supplies have been done by arms agents like Viktor Bout or Wilson.

NOTHING about Edwin P. Wilson was quite as it appeared. If you met him at an airport—en route to Geneva, London, New York, on joking terms with the Concorde stewardesses—he looked like any other globetrotting businessman. In fact, he was a spy.

His chief business in the 1970s was shipping arms to Libya, then under Western sanctions. He didn’t advertise it. But then again, he claimed later, it wasn’t what it seemed. He sold Muammar Qaddafi firearms. But that was done to “buddy up” to him, to try to use him like an asset. He offered him plans for making a nuclear bomb, but only to find out how Libya’s own bomb-making was going. The plans were bogus anyway. He recruited ex-Green Berets to train Qaddafi’s intelligence officers, and to teach them to make bombs disguised as bedside lamps and radios. He earned $1m a year from that, but also learned the officers’ identities. It was all done with CIA backing. These were patriotic acts.

Most spectacularly—and disastrously for his cover—in 1977 he shipped to Libya 20 tons of C4 plastic explosives. This was almost the whole of America’s stockpile, flown out of Houston in a DC-8 charter in barrels marked “oil-drilling mud”. Mr Wilson felt no qualms about it. He didn’t believe it had been used for terrorism. He had sent it to ingratiate himself and to get intelligence. The CIA, he said, knew all about it. But the CIA denied it.

He worked actively for the CIA for 15 years, destabilising European labour unions by using anything—Corsican mobsters, plagues of cockroaches—and setting up his front companies. The work was “a hell of a satisfaction” to him. He left, officially, in 1971, but only for Task Force 157 of the Office of Naval Intelligence, another super-secret outfit.

Then, in 1976, he went “freelance”. The CIA contacts, and all the front companies, continued—sending arms to Angola and boats to the Congo, bringing intelligence back—right up to the moment when he stood in a federal court, in 1983, accused among other things of shipping the explosives and sending the guns to Libya without a licence.

The third-highest CIA officer in the land declared then, in a sworn affidavit, that since 1971 the agency had had nothing to do with him. Not directly; not indirectly. Contacts zero.

The CIA’s story was that he had gone rogue. Deniability was part of the deal, of course. But it was sheer success that made him, in the end, “a little hot”. His front companies were also legitimate businesses, and they made real profits—all the more because his books were hardly audited. Asked once to itemise the cost of a trawler stuffed with surveillance gear, sold to the agency for $500,000, he quoted $250,000 for “product” and $250,000 for “service”. Fine and dandy. Kinglike, and worth $23m, he rollicked over a 2,500-acre estate at Mount Airy in Virginia, lavishing jewels on his girlfriends, entertaining congressmen and generals to picnics and hunting parties.

Not bad for a poor farm boy from Idaho. There were “very, very nice” villas, with Pakistani houseboys, in Malta and in Tripoli,

His revenge for his framing came almost too late. In 2003 his conviction for the explosives-shipping was overturned because, wrote the judge, the government had lied. Far from no contacts with the CIA between 1971 and 1978, there had been at least 80. Several ran intriguingly “parallel” to the illegal acts he had been charged with. The next year he was released, white-haired at 76, fighting fit and pumped up with his own righteousness, to spend the rest of his days trying to clear his name.

He knew that would be a tough sell. For many he would always be a traitor and a terrorist as well as an amoral profiteer.

via Edwin P. Wilson | The Economist.

1971 Bangladesh War: Details Less Known

October 13, 2012 Leave a comment

The India-Pakistan war of 1971 that has not been understood or explained. Properly, completely or even contextually.

An Indian Army machine gunner fires at Pakistani positions in a village across an open field, 1,500 yards inside the East Pakistan border at Dongarpara on Dec. 7, 1971. Both sides have taken trenchlines position, in an attempt to prevent each other’s moves. This picture was taken about 200-miles North East of Calcutta. |  Source: AP; Courtesy - RIR

An Indian Army machine gunner fires at Pakistani positions in a village across an open field, 1,500 yards inside the East Pakistan border at Dongarpara on Dec. 7, 1971. Both sides have taken trenchlines position, in an attempt to prevent each other’s moves. This picture was taken about 200-miles North East of Calcutta. | Source: AP; Courtesy – RIR

Along the lines of the Quicktake post in June-2011, here is a post that builds on 1971 War – particularly adding parts rarely told.

The 1971 war is considered to be modern India’s finest hour, in military terms. The clinical professionalism of the Indian army, navy and air force; a charismatic brass led by the legendary Sam Maneckshaw; and ceaseless international lobbying by the political leadership worked brilliantly to set up a famous victory. After two weeks of vicious land, air and sea battles, nearly 100,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered before India’s rampaging army, the largest such capitulation since General Paulus’ surrender at Stalingrad in 1943.

However, it could all have come unstuck without help from veto-wielding Moscow, with which New Delhi had the foresight to sign a security treaty in 1970.

As Nixon’s conversations with the wily Kissinger show, the forces arrayed against India were formidable. The Pakistani military was being bolstered by aircraft from Jordan, Iran, Turkey and France. Moral and military support was amply provided by the US, China and the UK.

Though not mentioned in the conversations here, the UAE sent in half a squadron of fighter aircraft and the Indonesians dispatched at least one naval vessel to fight alongside the Pakistani Navy. However, Russia’s entry thwarted a scenario that could have led to multiple pincer movements against India.

via 1971 War: How Russia sank Nixon’s gunboat diplomacy | Russia & India Report.

Why Cant The US Extradite Julian Assange From London?

Has YummRika overplayed its hand in L’affaire Julian Assange. Has US control over media made L’affaire Julian Assange into a non-issue?

The persecution of Julian Assange has eroded West's liberal image.  |  Cartoon titled Genie Assange out of the bottle by Patrick Corrigan, The Toronto Star - 12/10/2010 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy cagle.com

The persecution of Julian Assange has eroded West’s liberal image. | Cartoon titled Genie Assange out of the bottle by Patrick Corrigan, The Toronto Star – 12/10/2010 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy cagle.com

On a recent visit to Queensland – Assange’s home state – the US ambassador in Australia said the US could have him extradited as easily from Britain as from Sweden, only they weren’t bothered. Bob Carr, the Australian foreign minister, is equally relaxed: the reluctance of the US to extract Assange from the UK, he’s said, is proof of its dying enthusiasm for the chase. Carr can always be relied on to stick to the script, but the idea that the US could get Assange from the UK as easily as Sweden has to be tested not simply against the views of Assange’s lawyers and helpmates, but those of John Bellinger, for example, a former legal counsel for the State Department, who told AP television news in 2010 that bringing charges against Assange while he was still in the UK would put a loyal ally on the spot by generating a rival extradition request. Better for the US to sit it out: ‘We could potentially wait to see if he is prosecuted in Sweden and then … ask the Swedes to extradite him here.’ Assange’s people add that, unlike the British, the Swedes have an extradition treaty with the US which allows for ‘temporary surrender’ of suspects wanted for serious crimes, even if they are also charged in Sweden. This arrangement ought to be called the ‘Panama track’, after a 2008 diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Panama City to Washington – courtesy of WikiLeaks – which sets out the advantages clearly:

Under this procedure, the suspect is ‘lent’ to the US for prosecution on the condition that they will be returned for prosecution in Panama at the end of their sentence. This procedure is much faster than a formal extradition, and has proven so successful, that [the Drug Enforcement Administration] sometimes designs operations to bring suspects to Panama so they can be arrested in Panama and turned over to US authorities quickly.

In Assange’s favour is the suggestion that any charge against him would also have to apply to Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times, as WikiLeaks’ US partner for the Afghan and Iraq war logs and the outlet for its diplomatic cables. As Chase Madar explains in The Passion of Bradley Manning, none of the material that Manning allegedly leaked is top secret. Out of roughly 250,000 diplomatic cables, for instance, 15,000 to 16,000 are ‘secret’ and fewer than half are classified. As classified files go, they pale by comparison with the papers Daniel Ellsberg leaked in the thick of the Vietnam War. Finally, there is a view in the administration that the leaks have not compromised national security. (The documents that make this case – one originating from the White House – are themselves classified, and Manning’s lawyer has already subpoenaed some of them.)

Even so there are reasons for Assange to be cautious. Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a written statement for the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this month that he had indeed ‘caused serious harm to US national security and he should be prosecuted accordingly.’ That might mean little in an election year, but what of the alarming trove of email traffic at Stratfor, the private security and ‘global intelligence’ firm in Texas, which was obtained by the hacktivist collective Anonymous and released by WikiLeaks six months ago? Among the 5.5 million messages, several relate to Assange and one of them, from Fred Burton, the company’s ‘vice president for counter-terrorism and corporate security’, says simply: ‘Not for Pub – We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.’ True or false, this is not the kind of assertion Assange can afford to take lightly.

via Jeremy Harding reviews ‘The Passion of Bradley Manning’ by Chase Madar · LRB 19 July 2012.


 

The British Raj: Finally Afraid Of Beggars

September 16, 2012 3 comments

By 1945, British imperial leadership had taken on air of defeatism and resignation – going by cartoons and documents of the era..

British politicians 'protesting' against the 'dominance' of the Indian negotiators during the Independence negotiations. People depicted - Musso; (David Low's dog); Low; David (1891-1963); Pethick-Lawrence; Frederick William (1871-1961); Attlee; C. R. (Clement Richard) (1883-1967); Jinnah; Mahomed Ali (1876-1948); Gandhi; Mahatma (1869-1948)| Artist: David Low (1891-1963) Published: Evening Standard, 26 Sep 1945

British politicians ‘protesting’ against the ‘dominance’ of the Indian negotiators during the Independence negotiations. People depicted – Musso; (David Low’s dog); Low; David (1891-1963); Pethick-Lawrence; Frederick William (1871-1961); Attlee; C. R. (Clement Richard) (1883-1967); Jinnah; Mahomed Ali (1876-1948); Gandhi; Mahatma (1869-1948)| Artist: David Low (1891-1963) Published: Evening Standard, 26 Sep 1945

As Indian Independence struggle resonated across the world, the Raj found itself isolated. An embattled British Raj, saw ghosts under every bed – and an enemy in every Indian.

More than 5,000 documents and files dated from 1930 to 1991 have been declassified and made accessible as part of a public archive inaugurated last week at Raj Bhavan.

These documents include a treasure of historical oddities, such as a 1943 note from the general administration department to the governor’s secretary, outlining the menace of beggary and emphasising increased punishment for beggars.

“As soon as the beggar profession know that we mean business, it will melt away from Bombay,” the document states.

There are letters from an Indian Mauritian requesting some part of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi after his death, so that “the Indians of Mauritius may also pay their homage”.

via From the archives: Paranoia of beggars and much more – Hindustan Times.


US Marine detained for Facebook posts

August 23, 2012 3 comments

 

 

Every 11th person of working age in the US is either in prison, parole, probation or being prosecuted for some offence caused to the State.

Working-age Population in the United States (USAWFPNA)  2011: 239,618 Thousands of Persons Updated: 2012-06-08 9:01 AM CDT   |  FRED® Economic Data  |  Source:  U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics  |  Short URL  -  http://goo.gl/xZf1l

Working-age Population in the United States (USAWFPNA) 2011: 239,618 Thousands of Persons Updated: 2012-06-08 9:01 AM CDT | FRED® Economic Data | Source: U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Short URL – http://goo.gl/xZf1l

Vikram Buddhi is still in jail.

So, is Bradley Manning.

A US Marine nearly suffered a similar fate. For pasting silly messages on Facebook.

On the basis that there was zero reason to detain a retired Marine and commit him to a medical facility for psychiatric evaluation, a Virginia judge has demanded that Brandon Raub be released from custody immediately.

Raub, 26, had his home visited one week earlier by FBI, Secret Service and local law enforcement agents who expressed concern over a series of Facebook posts he had made on his public social networking profile. They detained him without charge and admitted him to a local hospital for evaluation.

“The petition is so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy,” reads a signed statement by Circuit Judge W. Allan Sharrett, which was provided to the Richmond Times-Dispatch Thursday afternoon.

Judge Sharrett adds that he was shocked to find that a magistrate did not include any grounds at all for holding Raub, who was placed in custody for a full week without any charges being pressed.

Earlier in the week, attorneys representing Raub from the Rutherford Institute attacked the mishandling of the case by suggesting that the entire ordeal was a war on their client’s constitutional rights.

“This is not how justice in America is supposed to work — with Americans being arrested for doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights, forced to undergo psychological evaluations, detained against their will and isolated from their family, friends and attorneys. This is a scary new chapter in our history,” Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead says in a statement released on Tuesday this week. “Brandon Raub is no different from the majority of Americans who use their private Facebook pages to post a variety of content, ranging from song lyrics and political hyperbole to trash talking their neighbors, friends and government leaders.”

Days before he was detained, Raub had made a series of posts that reportedly worried the authorities. His most recent postings included critique of the investigation of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and other messages, such as, “The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it” and “Sharpen up my axe; I’m here to sever heads.

“The bottom line is his freedom of speech has been violated,” Raub’s mother, Cathleen Thomas, told the Associated Press after her son was detained. On Thursday, she told the Times-Dispatch that the entire ordeal has been “phenomenal” and that others could be considered because, “This could have happened to anyone.”

“This has never been about anything but freedom of speech…. We’re going to continue to post on Facebook,” Thomas continued, adding that she considered her son a “true patriot.”

Raub served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and says he had been considering reenlisting before last week’s events.

via Judge orders release of US Marine detained for Facebook posts — RT.

International Labor Comparisons  |  International Comparisons of Annual Labor Force Statistics, Adjusted to U.S. Concepts, 16 Countries, 1970-2011  |  Working-age population, 2011  |  Source:  U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics  |  Short URL - http://goo.gl/WqW5h

International Labor Comparisons | International Comparisons of Annual Labor Force Statistics, Adjusted to U.S. Concepts, 16 Countries, 1970-2011 | Working-age population, 2011 | Source: U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Short URL – http://goo.gl/WqW5h

Oh, by the way, Your Judgeship, how is the US justice system supposed to work?

My silly, backward Indian mind tells me the US justice system seeks to maximize imprisonment and extraction of fines. More than 2 crore people (20 million) face the American Justice system each year.

With more than 2 crore people (20 million) in either prison, on parole, probation or facing prosecution. Nearly a 100 countries in the world have a population that is lesser than the number of US citizens in prison, on parole or probation, or under prosecution by the State.

Of course! It clicks now.

After all, Britain the mother-country of Anglo-Saxon Bloc, first annihilated the native populations and then populated the entire continent of Australia with such people.


 

Arab Spring: Will Egypt Surprise the US By Getting Closer to BRICS & Iran?

August 21, 2012 2 comments

Egypt’s new President will first visit China and Iran – and not Yumm-Rika. US officials worried?

John Bull's dreams were rudely shattered by Nasser. John Tenniel cartoon in Punch, after the Fashoda (1898) Incident between France & Britain, which was resolved diplomatically.  France agreed to British supremacy over Egypt. Nasser blew away British dreams of continued imperialism.

John Bull’s dreams were rudely shattered by Nasser. John Tenniel cartoon in Punch, after the Fashoda (1898) Incident between France & Britain, which was resolved diplomatically. France agreed to British supremacy over Egypt. Nasser blew away British dreams of continued imperialism.

Election Time

After tumultuous elections, coloured by scandals of imported pens from India, a new government is finally in place in Egypt.

But not before US NGOs, behind the Arab Spring protests, and subsequently trying to influence elections were exposed, disgraced and sent back home.

Post Nasser Egypt had neither the respect of the Islamic world or the Emerging Economies countries. Mubarak’s Egypt was fully paid-up member of US Kowtowing Club | Cartoon by Bryant Arnold Published: 10-Feb-11 by cartoonaday.com

Post Nasser Egypt had neither the respect of the Islamic world or the Emerging Economies countries. Mubarak’s Egypt was fully paid-up member of US Kowtowing Club | Cartoon by Bryant Arnold Published: 10-Feb-11 by cartoonaday.com

The new government headed by Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy is probably deriving some lessons from Egypt’s Nasserite past.

Up the Nile

After all, it was under Nasser that Egypt threw the British, French and Israeli invaders back into the sea – and the desert.

Nasser, with Nehru,  Tito and Sukarno were also significant forces in global diplomacy which challenged the Western grip on global power equations – a first in 200 years.

Any new regime’s first visit is usually a diplomatic signal of direction – and Morsy’s forthcoming visits are ominous signs for the US.

Will Egypt's future be an amalgam of Iranian Independent Islamism and China's aggressive economic growth model?  |  Cartoon title Egypt's Future by Mike Keefe on 02/03/2011; courtesy - intoon.com

Will Egypt’s future be an amalgam of Iranian Independent Islamism and China’s aggressive economic growth model? | Cartoon title Egypt’s Future by Mike Keefe on 02/03/2011; courtesy – intoon.com

Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy is heading for China and Iran — a path-breaking visit that is unlikely to please the United States, which has gone overboard to cultivate relationship with the new leadership in Cairo.

Mr. Morsy will land in Beijing on Monday, before heading for Tehran to attend the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) there. This will be the first visit by an Egyptian President to Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The importance of the visit has not been lost on the Iranians.

“Since long time ago, Egypt and Iran as two big Muslim countries have had close ties and played key roles in the Islamic civilisation,” observed Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Majlis, Iran’s Parliament.

Iran-Egypt relationship had greatly soured during the regime of the former President, Hosni Mubarak — evident from the absence of embassies in their respective capitals.

Analysts point out that the region’s geopolitical map may fundamentally realign if the Egyptian President’s visit to Tehran leads to a robust re-engagement between the two heavyweights. Prior to Mr. Mubarak’s exit, Iran, Syria and Lebanese Hizbollah had been facing-off with a pro-West alliance of Egypt and the Gulf monarchies led by Saudi Arabia. The sharp antagonistic divisions among the Arab and Muslim countries of the region had also well suited Israel, which, since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, has not been threatened by a united front of regional countries.

Behind the scenes

There has been considerable behind-the-scenes preparation for Mr. Morsy’s visit. Last week, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mr. Morsy confabulated effusively in Makkah on the sidelines of the emergency summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Breaking ranks

While still in Makkah, Mr. Morsy broke ranks with host Saudi Arabia and Qatar by proposing a “contact group” on Syria, formed by a coalition of Tehran, Cairo, Ankara and Riyadh. Iran immediately welcomed the Egyptian proposal, with Iranian foreign policy spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast praising the initiative as the means “to review and follow up on [regional] issues so that peace would be established in the region as soon as possible and tensions would ease”.

New ties

A senior official from the Muslim Brotherhood said on condition of anonymity that the new Egyptian leadership was seeking a deeper engagement with the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping, and Mr. Morsy’s visit to Beijing at the invitation of his counterpart, Hu Jintao, was a step in that direction. The Syrian situation as well as the Palestinian question is likely to feature prominently during Mr. Morsy’s stay. Commercial exchanges as well as opening the floodgates for Chinese investments in post-Mubarak Egypt would be another possible focal area of discussions.

U.S. efforts

Observers point out that the two visits follow a feverish effort by the Obama administration to woo the Muslim Brothers. Within the space of one month since Mr. Morsy was elected President, three top Obama administration officials have called on the new Egyptian President in Cairo.

These include Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, whose visit was followed by a trip to Cairo by his boss, Hillary Clinton. Also in the queue shortly afterwards was Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, who was well positioned to engage Egypt’s civilian as well as military leadership. However, Mr. Morsy surprised all when he purged the Mubarak era military top brass, headed by Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the Defence Minister.

via The Hindu : News / International : Morsy on path-breaking visit to China, Iran.

Mohammed Morsy. Photo date: August 21, 2012; courtesy: thehindu.com; source: AP

Mohammed Morsy. Photo date: August 21, 2012; courtesy: thehindu.com; source: AP

Big Cheese

For Morsy, the important issue will be to have a more substantive foreign and economic policy – beyond making futile, anti-US gestures.

Nasser’s biggest failing – and Nehru’s biggest success, was precisely this. While Egypt floundered, the direction in India was clear.

Egypt and India were in roughly the same boat after WWII. Poor, unstable, recently decolonized, without an industrial base, a backward military force, an antagonistic neighbour funded and controlled by the West, low literacy levels, food insecurity – the entire gamut.

Has Egypt found direction? Again! | Cartoon by by Clay Bennett on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011; source & courtesy – timesfreepress.com

Has Egypt found direction? Again! | Cartoon by by Clay Bennett on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011; source & courtesy – timesfreepress.com

For a Few Billions More

Post-Sadat Egypt has mortgaged its independence to US policy for a few billion dollars in aid. Mubarak’s wealth was estimated in billions between US$10 billion to US$60 billion.

Morsy’s Egypt is a difficult place. Will Morsy’s independence take Egypt out of a fundamentalist orbit of Saudi Wahabbism into a Indo-Chinese politico-economic development idiom?

God knows, Egypt needs that.


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