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Posts Tagged ‘Big Oil’

War On Terror – Desert Bloc Style

September 25, 2011 3 comments

One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion By Shan Carter and Amanda Cox; Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Click for larger image. |  Short URL for Source  - http://goo.gl/YmjzV

One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion By Shan Carter and Amanda Cox; Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Click for larger image. | Short URL for Source - http://goo.gl/YmjzV

Bush, CIA, FBI did not have to convince anyone of the need for war, killing, death and destruction. Frenzied activity by people and media to convince each other did the job.

Convince each other

A reading or search on the internet, about Saddam Hussein’s killings and genocide, reveals feverish discussions. At one internet forum after another forum, participants were quoting a non-existent report to convince each other.

Based on cyber-fluff. Circular references. At the centre of which, is a cyber vacuüm.

शून्य. Nul. Zéro. Null. μηδέν. ゼロ. нул. Cero.零. Darkness. Nothing. Zilch.

Saddam’s war with Iran, at the behest and encouragement of the West, was painted as ‘human-rights’ violations. Death of soldiers in any war, cannot be equated to civilian casualties. Soldiers are going to war, armed to the teeth, with eyes wide open, knowing fully well, that it is a case of kill or get killed.

The alphabet soup behind this

Bush, CIA, FBI did not have to convince anyone. Frenzied activity by people to convince each other of the need for war, killing, death and destruction did the job.

Wonder who created these viral and circular links, (now dead, but live at some time) on the web, without any source or existence. Which of the American agencies – CIA FBI, NSA, DEA, DOE, Bureau of ATF, DIA, NRO, NIMA, CTC. NPC. INR. DOE Intel., Army Intelligence et al?

But let us assume that vox americanum populi, vox dei (Voice of the American people is the voice of god), and accept the figure of less than 600,000 deaths under Saddam Hussein.

Ten years later

After the bombing of twin towers, on September 11, 2001, there has been much official sentiment and sanctity.

How much of that is real and balanced?

Note the racial undertones to the comments? (Cartoon by Ted Rall; dated 2011-09-16; Source and courtesy - rall.com). Click for larger images.

Note the racial undertones to the comments? (Cartoon by Ted Rall; dated 2011-09-16; Source and courtesy - rall.com). Click for larger images.

Slice of life

Three images capture an ‘objective’ and factual way of looking at the last ten years.

One was an ‘infographic’ presentation by New York Times (fig.1), that has been doing the rounds on the internet.

The slick presentation using an attractive and thin graphic, calculated the US$ trillions that these wars are costing. As though, it was American money, to start with.

Iraqi money and Iraqi oil was being used to kill Iraqi civilians – and then an accounting done on that money, as though it was American money. The Nordhaus report, used by the nytimes.com, says,

Iraq’s oil resources could satisfy current U.S. oil imports for almost a century.

Real people

Two Western estimates, of deaths in Iraq, (extrapolations from Lancet/John Hopkins estimate), and the statistical report by ORB (Operations Research Business) used a statistical sampling method.

A figure of one million Iraqi and Afghan civilian casualties has been arrived at by this estimation method. An estimation method commonly used and usually accepted.

Documented and cross verified reports by the Iraq Body Count, count more than a 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq. To all those believe that only the Body Count report is good enough, I wonder why they don’t use the same standard for figures about deaths due to Saddam’s atrocities.

Whatever number one may chose, it is important to use the same standard. Saddam, it seems was a lesser evil.

Saddam killed far fewer Iraqis than the Americans have.

White House Trophy Room? (Cartoon by Herbjorn Skogstad | Published May 2011 | Source and courtesy - cagle.com) | Click for a larger image.

White House Trophy Room? (Cartoon by Herbjorn Skogstad | Published May 2011 | Source and courtesy - cagle.com) | Click for a larger image.

Does it matter

Of the nearly 1 million undocumented and estimated Iraqis dead or the documented 100,000 Iraqis dead, the number does not matter. Both the numbers, are huge numbers.

Not that this is the first time. After killing 20 lakh Vietnamese, the American Empire (and its respectable mouth-piece, Time magazine) only counts its own 60,000 killed. In Iraq, after 10 lakh dead Iraqis, the US Empire counts, its’ own less than 5,000 dead.

It is this part of the behaviour that is most revealing. Is self absorption an imperial trait?

Imperial Traits

The British Empire till well after its death, continued (s) to remain self-absorbed. As though other people did not exist, do not matter. Twentieth century, British writing about India, had deteriorated to pure drivel. Best epitomised by Chirol – Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (28 May 1852 – 22 October 1929).

In case of Pax America, in an earlier Cold-War era, this self-absorption was marked by books like The Ugly American – which sold 5 million copies, in a nation of some fifty million households. Since, the writing of The Ugly American, the self-absorption has only deepened.

This self-absorption screams through these three images linked to this post.

Image no.1 – About my money. It was Iraqi oil and Iraqi money, by the way. A message to David Leonhardt, the Washington Bureau Chief of nytimes.com, evoked no response.

Image no.2 – Talks about my social position. If every month, hundreds of people, are blowing themselves up, there has gotta be a bigger problem, than your social position. Stop looking at Muslims. Look at yourself.

Image no.3 – About my trophies.

Do more words and more bombs, make the War on Islam, OK?

What to do

Possibly, all this killing and war is my problem, in my mind. Who is to blame, if I was brought up, believing,

ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत्।

तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा: मा गृध: कस्यस्विद्धनम्।।

(God resides in all; All this here, is permeated by Brahman [The Supreme Soul], whatever there is in this world. Enjoy things by renunciation. Do not covet others’ wealth. – Ishopanishad; Shloka 1; note alternate translation comment below.).

How I wish, I could erase this shloka from my head!

The Taking of Iraq

September 19, 2011 1 comment

Iraqis discovered America’s meaning of War on Terror. Your life and your oil seems to be Desert Bloc style of warfare.

Some in the Free Press of the Free World, jumped head first into painting Saddam as the devil. (Cartoon by Bill Day, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

Some in the Free Press of the Free World, jumped head first into painting Saddam as the devil. (Cartoon by Bill Day, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

Saddam’s atrocities

Western sources have documented and estimated Saddam’s atrocities cost to nearly 600,000 Iraqi deaths. The most commonly used link leads to the Stanford University. A small web page belonging to Stanford University.

Turns out that Stanford was relying on data by a group called gbn.org. What do we get at gbn.org. A brick wall. A dead-end. No website. The Stanford University link, is a dead link. A who.is search tell us that gbn.org is an inactive website.

Faux Stanford

The citation mentions unnamed ‘other human rights organizations’ and The Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq. A google-search on nytimes.com reveals no such report in nytimes.com.

The same Saddam was a 'friend' of the US, till April Glaspie misunderstood him, till he was fighting a war with Iran. (Cartoon by Michael Ramirez; source and courtesy cagle.com). Click for larger image.

The same Saddam was a 'friend' of the US, till April Glaspie misunderstood him, till he was fighting a war with Iran. (Cartoon by Michael Ramirez; source and courtesy cagle.com). Click for larger image.

After hours of trawling the net, there is one report of such a centre – from theage.com.au, Australia. But the centre is based in Iran – specializing in human-rights’ records of Iraq.

Digging deeper

Between the new power-grabbers which controlled the Iraqi prosecution and the US, they could pin 50,000 ‘deaths’ on Saddam Hussein. Not that 50,000 is less, but 50,000 too many.

Max van der Stoel, the Dutch diplomat appointed by the UN to investigate and deal with Iraq, who released a dozen reports in 8 years, closed the issue at ‘thousands of people were in danger of being executed’ as reported by nytimes.com.

Clay Bennet's exceptional cartoon, dated Friday, October 8, 2004; illustrated the complete bankruptcy of the war. (Cartoon by Clay Bennett; source and courtesy  - ditorialcartoonists.org). Click for larger image.

Clay Bennet's exceptional cartoon, dated Friday, October 8, 2004; illustrated the complete bankruptcy of the war. (Cartoon by Clay Bennett; source and courtesy - editorialcartoonists.org). Click for larger image.

Was the number of victims in a few thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, we are not told. And it is Stoel’s reports that GW Bush officially used to justify invasion of Iraq. Google search does deteriorate with age. Maybe I was unable to use the correct keywords.

Anyone? With any links to a report quantifying Saddam Hussein’s atrocities.

Shopping With Iraq’s $1.2 Trillion – What It Can Buy For The US

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Iraq was for US; Libya is for Europe. Spoils of War (Cartoon by Dave Brown; publication date - 26 August 2011; source - independent.co.uk). Click for larger image.

Iraq was for US; Libya is for Europe. Spoils of War (Cartoon by Dave Brown; publication date - 26 August 2011; source - independent.co.uk). Click for larger image.

Whatever number you use for the war’s total cost, it will tower over costs that normally seem prohibitive. Right now, including everything, the war is costing about $200 billion a year.

Treating heart disease and diabetes, by contrast, would probably cost about $50 billion a year. The remaining 9/11 Commission recommendations — held up in Congress partly because of their cost — might cost somewhat less. Universal preschool would be $35 billion. In Afghanistan, $10 billion could make a real difference. At the National Cancer Institute, annual budget is about $6 billion.

“This war has skewed our thinking about resources,” said Mr. Wallsten, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a conservative-leaning research group. “In the context of the war, $20 billion is nothing.”

As it happens, $20 billion is not a bad ballpark estimate for the added cost of Mr. Bush’s planned surge in troops. By itself, of course, that price tag doesn’t mean the surge is a bad idea. If it offers the best chance to stabilize Iraq, then it may well be the right option.

But the standard shouldn’t simply be whether a surge is better than the most popular alternative — a far-less-expensive political strategy that includes getting tough with the Iraqi government. The standard should be whether the surge would be better than the political strategy plus whatever else might be accomplished with the $20 billion.

This time, it would be nice to have that discussion before the troops reach Iraq. (via What $1.2 Trillion Can Buy – NYTimes.com).

Talk is not cheap

Discussion with whom, David?

I presume, not with the invadee nation? In this case, the Iraqi people. You are justifying discussions in the US Congress, between US political parties, by US bureaucrats, with the US President …

Right?

About the future of other people. People who have nothing to do with the US. In this case the Iraqi people.

Grave robbers

Coming to cost of this war. The primary education, the higher education, the medical research that you want funds for, will come from the graves of the Iraqi people. Like the Nordhaus report that you refer to, says,

Iraq’s oil resources could satisfy current U.S. oil imports for almost a century.

So, this money you want for primary or higher education, for medical research will come directly as a result of the nearly 1 million undocumented and estimated Iraqis dead or the documented 100,000 Iraqis dead. The number does not matter, because they are both huge numbers.

Or is it that Iraqis don’t count?

Altar of bones

I do hope that this education and this medical research benefits Americans. Otherwise, what would you tell those Iraqis who died? That they died in vain? That no one befitted from their death?

We cant have that, can we?

All about Oil

At the root of US-Iran rivalry, is the question of who will supply oil and gas to India and China.

Big Oil has the eyes, ears, mind, actions of the world's ruling elite - also in India. (Cartoon by : David Horsey of Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Cartoon courtesy - usj.com. ). Click for larger image.

Big Oil has the eyes, ears, mind, actions of the world’s ruling elite – also in India. (Cartoon by : David Horsey of Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Cartoon courtesy – usj.com. ). Click for larger image.

Big oil

Significant part of global politics in the last 10-15 years has been dictated by three developments. One – Oil reserves in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea. Two – Stagnant oil consumption by the West. Three – Rising oil consumption by India and China. For instance US oil consumption between 1973-2010 has grown from 17 mpd to 19 mpd – with some consumption peaks and demand  collapses.

US-Iran clash

Iran is a rival to Big Oil companies of the US and West, as a supplier of oil and gas to India. Iran can easily and cheaply transport oil from its own oil fields – as well as Central Asian production. Iran can thus completely cut out US and its oil companies from the future of oil business with India and China. Hence, the US-Iran rivalry. The Oil-Dollar Tango on which the US Economy is based for the last 30-40 years, also supports Big Oil.

US would like overland oil from Central Asia to come to India and China through Pakistan and Afghanistan – which are US client states. With this the US can cut out Iran – completely. Pakistan and Afghanistan become key gateways for oil to India and China. Hence, the power struggle in Pakistan between Army, Taliban, and the Pakistani politicians.

China's rising oil imports is supporting high oil prices. (Graphic source and courtesy - bbc.co.uk). Click for larger image.

China’s rising oil imports is supporting high oil prices. (Graphic source and courtesy – bbc.co.uk). Click for larger image.

India-Pakistan story

What will be US role, if India and Pakistan were to sit down and resolve their issues. India-Pakistan troubles in the recent past, must be seen in this light, too.

India is negotiating with a Central Asian-US Big Oil Consortium to bring gas via Afghanistan and Pakistan to India – dubbed as the TAPI pipeline. It is also in discussion with Iran and Pakistan to bring gas from Iran to India via Pakistan – commonly known as IPI pipeline.

India’s choice between IPI-TAPI is crucial – and will take another 5-10 years to resolve. In the meantime, Iran’ has an interesting point of view.

The Iranian diplomat reposed faith in the “rationality” of the Indian leadership (and it) would take the “best decision” to meet the energy needs of (an) economy aspiring to be the world’s second largest. He drew attention to Iranian export options of China and Europe other than India.

“India has to decide how to meet its energy needs. Use of nuclear energy has become questionable after the earthquake in Japan. The demand for fossil energy is bound to increase with long term nuclear power projects on hold in Europe,” sources explained.

Security was a major Indian concern — besides pricing — in the talks on the pipeline that would have been laid across the lawless Balochistan where Islamabad’s writ is non-existent in vast stretches controlled by local tribes.

If (security was a major Indian concern) then how was New Delhi in talks on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, they asked. “The (security) concerns that exist about IPI exist with TAPI in which case the source of (gas) supply is also dubious,” they averred.

Bagheri attributed the spread of terrorism in the region to the presence of Nato and US troops. “Countries like US are at the root of terrorism in the region. They first created the terrorist groups and have come to the region now on the pretext of fighting them,” he said. “Terrorism has increased since their arrival.”

He cited UN figures to claim that narcotics production went up four times and was the maximum in areas under the control of British troops in Afghanistan. (via Iran gives up on India, pursues gas pipeline with Pak – Hindustan Times).

What is New Delhi’s strategy in all this. Partly, it is increasing oil production within India. Secondly, is increasing the share of nuclear energy. Third is imports.

As usual, tough choices ahead.

Oil reserves across the world. (Graphic source and courtesy - indiadaily.org). Click for larger image.

Oil reserves across the world. (Graphic source and courtesy – indiadaily.org). Click for larger image.


Pakistan. The Calculus has Changed

June 11, 2011 2 comments
The garbageman comes collecting the usual load of rubbish on Pakistan (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The garbageman comes collecting the usual load of rubbish on Pakistan (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Crack in the mirror

Reality has changed. Our stories have not.

It is just not the dirt on our glasses. We continue to look at Pakistan with our old pair of glasses. Even as our vision has clouded, the Pakistan we see, has changed.

To understand some questions on Pakistan, in India we need to abandon the official Congressi narrative. Equally, the Western mass-media rubbish about Pakistan.

The cliché of terrorism

On 4th January, 2011, a Pakistani leader specializing in electoral politics, Salman Taseer died. Shot dead by his own body guard.

Exactly 4 days later, in USA, on the other side of the world, on Saturday 8th January, 2011, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, was shot. At a Safeway grocery store, on the north side of Tucson, Arizona, during a public event.

Both of them shot. For similar reasons, by different gunmen.

What difference

Gunmen who are killing thousands in Pakistan and USA. Technically, more Americans are killed by guns in USA than in Pakistan. For instance, USA law-enforcement authorities found that ‘14,000 murders involving firearms were committed in 2005′. 

Surely, it is no comfort to American victims of gunfire that they were not killed by jehadis.

'Biting' Sarcasm. How the Army-ISI pet has started disobeying the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

‘Biting’ Sarcasm. How the Army-ISI pet has started disobeying the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The most obvious portrayal by the mass-media is terrorist violence in Pakistan. An imploding Pakistan, with gun-toting jehadi terrorists are convenient caricatures that hide a deep shift. To understand the shift, let us look at Pakistan – and its sponsor, ally and undertaker underwriter-in-chief.

All that seems to separate Pakistan and US of A, is a very thick wad of currency notes.

Power grab in Pakistan

Politics in Pakistan is held to higher and different standards. To anyone but the most biased or blinkered, it is clear that there are political and economic objectives that drive Pakistani rulers. Just like other rulers of the world.

When looking at Pakistan, don’t use Western notions like a two-party collusive democracy is better than one-party conspiring oligarchy? Instead of one-party ‘dictatorship’ of China or a ‘two-party’ democracy in the West, there are more Pakistani players, each jockeying for power, differently. According to ‘modern’ political standards, in a very messy manner.

There is a on-going power struggle to control Pakistan’s atom-bombs, wealth, people, natural resources et al. Four Pakistani groups  are in the fray. What Pakistani leadership is doing, is competing with each other to grab power. The anti-India hysteria, alleged Islamization of Pakistan, the radical elements being a lunatic fringe or the mainstream, is just that much baloney.

The Master's Problem: The 'obedient' dog starts barking at the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The Master’s Problem: The ‘obedient’ dog starts barking at the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Factions in Pakistan

Among the competing groups are, first the army and the ISI combination. Then there are the popular politicians who participate in elections. Add the third element – mullah-madrasa-mujahhid combine of fundamentalist clergy, various terrorist groups – like JeM, LeT, Al Qaida, various Taliban factions et al.

The economy and wealth is in hands of the fourth element – the 22 families that matter in Pakistan. Mahbub-ul-Haq’s “22 families” speech in Karachi in 1968 highlightedthe power and wealth of a few families in Pakistan.

And bringing up the rear, is the fifth part of Pakistan, who don’t matter.

The Rest of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s diplomatic prowess

As recent events in Abbottabad show.

Any regime that can dictate terms to USA, China, Saudi Arabia, like Pakistan has, is a skilled leadership. US, China and Saudi Arabia renew their loyalty and friendship vows with Pakistan every week – with both words and money?

Pakistan’s ability to keep its super-power allies on their toes is a remarkable diplomatic achievement. To remain a nuclear power, after near-universal condemnation and pressure reconfirms its diplomatic prowress. Pakistani leadership, from Jinnah onwards, have used the State and its institutions, for keeping a grip on power.

USA, China, Saudi Arabia have been able to do little about Pakistan’s misdeeds, apart from some squealing, public name-calling. In the end they paid up. Each time. For 60 years.

That is what matters.

Facing India, with Taliban at the back and US drone attacks from above, Pakistan's command structure has done well to keep the wheels moving. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy bamulahija.wordpress.com.). Click for larger image.

Facing India, with Taliban at the back and US drone attacks from above, Pakistan’s command structure has done well to keep the wheels moving. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy bamulahija.wordpress.com.). Click for larger image.

Tolerant West and fundamentalist Pakistan

Pakistan is what Pakistan does. Europe is what is it says it is – and what Europe does, does not matter.

Like ‘freedom’ in the USA, with 20 lakh prisoners – the largest prison population in the world? Or ‘religious tolerance’ like single-faith Switzerland where a third mosque with minarets was not allowed? Maybe, build on ethnic-diversity like the Danes who want to pay Muslims to leave Denmark. Why not even aim for a ‘fair’ legal-system like Britain, where hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested to build a DNA data-bank – ostensibly to help in criminal identification. Or Italy believes it is all right to ban kebabs and other ‘foreign’ food to protect Italian cuisine.

The West today has the lowest levels of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity – and persecutes whatever little is left, like the Roma Gypsies for example. Italy cheers for Berlusconi who is willing to take global frowns on the finger-printing of Roma Gypsies. Apart from Berlusconi’s Italy, Sarkozy, is a part of the French vanguard to deport “700 members of the Roma Gypsy minority, to Romania and Bulgaria, as part of its controversial crackdown on communities officials hold responsible for criminal activity.”

Sarkozy has encouraged French law-makers to prescribe dress-codes for the French. Sarkozy’s laws sez ‘no burqa’ for French Muslims. The French feel let down because “immigrants were supposed to blend harmoniously into society and not exist in separate communities” – and they did not. Angela Merkel says ‘nien’ to multiculturalism.

For sixty years, Pakistan has bent super-powers to its will. Enviable diplomatic prowess. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - indiatimes.com; 3 May 2011, 1400 hrs IST). Click for larger image.

For sixty years, Pakistan has bent super-powers to its will. Enviable diplomatic prowess. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy – indiatimes.com; 3 May 2011, 1400 hrs IST). Click for larger image.

Like the world is able to digest Europe’s xenophobia, Pakistan’s fundamentalism is not significantly different. Except that the West is far richer than Paksiatn. Yet it dances to Pakistan’s tunes.

Makes one think?

Easy question

What is keeping these four Pakistani factions busy?

Oil. Oil. Oil.

While America and European oil demand is huge, it is not growing. For instance US oil consumption between 1973-2010 has grown from 17 mpd to 19 mpd – with some peak and collapses. Growth in oil consumption by India and China is the only sure bet. And that oil is coming from Central Asia. Through Pakistan and Afghanistan.

There are big American and European business interests in Central Asia. It means that Pakistan and Afghanistan become crucial to Big Oil. The various political factions in Pakistan are competing to assume power for a bargaining position with Big Oil – and India. This trade is expected to cross trillions, over the next few years. From this US$trillion-dollar opportunity, no political player in Pakistan, wants his cut to be diluted.

To this oil opportunity, add narcotics trade. The Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan) and Golden Triangle (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia) are the largest producers of drugs – and expect massive returns on drug trade. This drug traffic is now passing through Pakistan. The Taliban have extensive experience with opium trade in Afghanistan.

The US wants to be an honest broker

What will be US role, if India and Pakistan were to sit down and resolve their issues. It is in US interest for instance, to create false stereotypes of Pakistanis – which we have examined earlier. Is the world likely to allow NATO and US, a free run of Af-Pak region, if it was declared that Pakistan was a peaceful country? Or that the scale of tribal violence in Pakistan was on a scale smaller than gangsta and ghetto violence in USA.

To maintain presence in Af-Pak region, US is using the FUD technique – create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. What if Pakistani nuclear devices fall in Talibani hands. What if Pakistan itself falls into Talibani lap?

Pakistan may need to work out an amiable way for these 4 power centres to work together. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy by indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

Pakistan may need to work out an amiable way for these 4 power centres to work together. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy by indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

What might change is the way power is shared. The Taliban may become a part of the Pakistani ruling class. How that will happen remains to be seen. A coup? Local elections, maybe. Electoral alliance? Pakistani power-equations are changing. How these equations work out, may surprise us. Some answers, we have. For some haze to clear, we will need to wait. For some outcomes, we must be prepared.

Is India prepared? Ready?

A hard-and-soft answer may work with Pakistan. Soft on trade and economy; hard on defence and terror. (Cartoon by Kartij Bhatt. Courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

A hard-and-soft answer may work with Pakistan. Soft on trade and economy; hard on defence and terror. (Cartoon by Kartij Bhatt. Courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The respect Pakistan deserves – and does not get

Global alarm about Pakistan, is triggered by a new and disruptive player, who has joined the power-grab game. Meet the mullah-madrasa-mujahhid combine.

Pax Americana has abused its power to bend Pakistan to a path of failures - and then US media makes mockery of Pakistan. (Cartoon by Joel Pett; source and courtesy - cartoonistsgroup.com). Click for larger source image.

Pax Americana has abused its power to bend Pakistan to a path of failures - and then US media makes mockery of Pakistan. (Cartoon by Joel Pett; source and courtesy - cartoonistsgroup.com). Click for larger source image.

Test of Political leadership

What do you say about a leadership that has two of the world’s super-powers, USA and China, swearing friendship and loyalty – at least once, every week.

Must be a rich, hi-tech country.

No. We are not talking of Saudi Arabia or Japan.

How about describing a leadership that gets economic and military aid – on its own terms, after flouting every previous conditionality imposed on it by the aid-givers?

Is it some super-power? Or a very poor country.

Even Haiti, Cuba, Congo, Ethiopia have to live with very strict conditionalities, imposed on them.

In your words describe a country that shelters and protects half of the world’s most wanted fugitives?

A-ha! We are talking of tax-evaders.

Sorry. Switzerland, it ain’t.

This country has also become a de facto nuclear power – and liberally auctioned nuclear technology, to anyone willing to pay for it.

Israel is not who we are talking of.

One hint. They have been doing this for 60 years.

All this – and more

Any regime that can dictate terms to USA, China, Saudi Arabia, like Pakistan has, is a skilled leadership. What more can I say? Except doff my imaginary hat in respect. (Not that I would like to live under such leaders).

USA, China, Saudi Arabia have been able to do little about Pakistan, apart from some squealing, public name-calling. In the end they paid up. Each time. For 60 years.

That is what matters.

United States is being subjected to an old-fashioned protection racket by Pakistan: pay up or things could go bad for you. Those making money out of extortion and blackmail always come back for more. (via US is paying for Pak protection racket | By SHAUN GREGORY |

Pakistan’s DNA

60 years ago, Jinnah held the entire sub-continent to ransom. After 200 conflicts in 150 years, as the British, their backs to the wall, were walking away, Jinnah became a spoiler. The hour of triumph turned into moment of tragedy. A country born out of this blackmail, has now formalized blackmail as State Policy.

Pakistan leadership knows what it is doing. There must be a reason why there is

hostility towards India and belief in the reality of the Indian threat to Pakistan (that) is woven into the fabric of every Pakistani soldier.

Pakistani state education system inculcates a hatred of the Hindu “other” and glorifies the Pakistan Army as the saviour of the nation, and second through an outdated military training regime which builds on the child’s prejudice and lays the foundation for a career of military service at the metaphorical remote frontier military post. (via Primary threat to Pak is from within, not India – Times Of India).

For most Indians, the puzzling thing about Pakistan, is their hostility towards India.

Has India hurt Pakistan

Logically, all this hostility and threat perception of India is misplaced, feel Indians. The Indian attitude towards Pakistan is best represented by an anti-Pakistan hawk, Bal Thackeray of the Shiv Sena, a right-wing party and a a known Pakistan-baiter. In a recent interview, he says

TIMES NOW: How do you view what has been happening in Pakistan over the last few months?

Bal Thackeray: Why should I bother? Let them go to hell. I don’t want to know.

For  this is just about what Pakistan means to-day to Indians. Except when there are terrorist incidents. Must Pakistan be wary and suspicious of India. After all, India

has twice imposed military defeat on Pakistan – in 1965 and 1971 – and in neither case sought to assimilate, occupy or otherwise destroy Pakistan. The creation of Bangladesh in the latter war was Bengali-led and an inevitable working through of the inherent contradictions of East and West Pakistan; India did not press its advantage in 1971 over the rump West Pakistan despite Pakistan having lost roughly half its navy, one third of its army, and a quarter of its air-force.

India did not seek to exploit its nuclear monopoly over Pakistan, after the nuclear test in 1974, to the detriment of the Pakistan state. Nor has India been involved in significant military action against Pakistan since 1971 except in response to Pakistani or Pakistani-backed adventurism, such as in Kargil in 1999. India has a “no first use” nuclear policy and in terms of casus belli “Cold Start” is reactive not pre-emptive. (via Primary threat to Pak is from within, not India – Times Of India).

How are Ajmal Kasab and Jared Laughner different? Guns in the hands of killers.

How are Ajmal Kasab and Jared Laughner different? Guns in the hands of killers.

Power grab

Pakistan is actually 5 parts.

First is the army and the ISI combination. Then there are the popular politicians who take part in elections.

Add the mullah-madrasa-mujahhid combine with a fundamentalist clergy, various terrorist groups – like JeM, LeT, Al Qaida, various Taliban factions et al.

The economy and wealth are in hands of the 22 families. Mahbub-ul-Haq’s “22 families” speech in Karachi in 1968 highlighted the power and wealth of a few families in Pakistan.

And bringing up the rear there are the rest. No one in Pakistan talks to anyone. Each has contempt for the other four.

And all five have separate agenda.

Going for broke

To anyone but the most biased or blinkered, it is clear that there are political and economic goals that drive Pakistani rulers. Just like other rulers of the world. Instead of the one-party ‘dictatorship’ of China or a ‘two-party’ democracy in the West, there are many more Pakistani players – each jockeying for power, differently. In a very messy manner, according to ‘modern’ political standards.

Pakistani leadership has been able to use Saudi Arabia, China and USA to meets its own ends. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 24th May, 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

Pakistani leadership has been able to use Saudi Arabia, China and USA to meets its own ends. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 24th May, 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

Without making value judgements, multiple Pakistani factions are competing with each other to grab power.

The anti-India hysteria, alleged Islamization of Pakistan, the radical elements being a lunatic fringe or the mainstream, is just that much baloney.

Pakistani perception of the Indian threat to Pakistan is inculcated by the Pakistan Army for one central reason – to legitimize the Pakistan Army and ISI’s primacy in the Pakistan polity and thereby to justify the Army’s claim to a huge slice of Pakistan’s national resources. The perception of an Indian threat thus serves a purpose quite disconnected from the reality of that threat.

India’s large standing army is a material reality that has to be at the heart of Pakistan’s security concerns – is legitimate but misses two essential qualifications. The first is that India is no longer Pakistan’s primary security challenge; that is now the terrorism and extremism of militant Islam. The second is that in military terms, capability does not automatically equate with intent: India’s large standing army does not pose a threat to Pakistan per se any more than a large American or French army poses a threat per se to the UK. (via Primary threat to Pak is from within, not India – Times Of India).

India lives in a toug neighborhood. What to do? (cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

India lives in a tough neighborhood. What to do? (cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

All this talk of God, Allah, etc., is just that much hot and fetid air. The truth – all these are tools for power-players to use and come to power. What has made a difference and caused alarm across the world, is that a new disruptive player has joined the game.

What is worrying the world is that the LeT, Taliban are different kind of players  – and they play rough. Will the outcome be any different?

It will not be the usual ‘suspects’ but four different groups of Pakistanis on who will control Pakistan – and Pakistan’s atom-bombs, wealth, people, natural resources – the works. And a whole, new element.

It is called oil.

Pakistan – Shifting sands?

May 26, 2011 1 comment

Are things all that good in Yummrika? How bad are things in Pakistan? Some data.

Mebbe the Pakistani army is becoming less relevant? Is it possible. (Cartoon by Beeler / The Washington Examiner / Cagle Cartoons  Read more: http://www.time.com/time/cartoonsoftheweek/0,29489,2071308_2274759,00.html#ixzz1NU422ahi).

Mebbe the Pakistani army is becoming less relevant? Is it possible. (Cartoon by Beeler / The Washington Examiner / Cagle Cartoons.). Click for larger image.

Recent events in Pakistan confirm that the game in our neighbourhood has changed.

Wassup

For one, Big Oil has got into the game.

An imploding Pakistan, with gun-toting jehadi terrorists are convenient caricatures that hide a deep shift. As recent events in Abbottabad show. Even as we ignore Nawaz Sharif’s impotent talk of peace between India-Pakistan.

Who cares …

On 4th January, 2011, Salman Taseer died. Shot dead by his own body guard. His support for non-Islamic minorities in Pakistan coupled with his support for removal of blasphemy laws from statute books angered extremists. Leading to this killing. Salmaan Taseer’s other bodyguards did nothing against the killer.

Many ‘powerful people’ of Pakistan, afraid of the mullahmadrasamujahhid combine, did not attend Taseer’s funeral.

IS ISI still in charge of these gun-toting terroristas? I doubt ... (Cartoon by Gorrell Art / Creators Syndicate Inc.; cartoon courtesy timeinc.net). Click for larger image.

Has Osama’s death changed anything? Is ISI still in charge of these gun-toting terroristas? I doubt … (Cartoon by Gorrell Art / Creators Syndicate Inc.; cartoon courtesy timeinc.net). Click for larger image.

Another hate crime

Exactly 4 days later, in USA, on the other side of the world, on Saturday 8th January, 2011, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, was shot. At a Safeway grocery store, on the north side of Tucson, Arizona, during a public event.

More than 4 months since, Giffords remains hospitalized.

Desert Bloc parallels

Gabrielle Gifford and Salman Taseer were ‘marked’ for supporting ‘Others’. Christian intolerance, Islamic extremism.

Any difference?

Sympathy for ‘kaffirs‘ killed Salman Taseer. What hurt Gabrielle Giffords, was her support for a complicated healthcare bill and a ‘nuanced approach’ to immigration – seemingly to support ‘aliens’.

All that seems to separate Pakistan and US of A, is a very thick wad of notes.

Shoot-to-kill

Gabrielle Giffords a Democrat was put in the cross-hairs of a gun, by leaders like Sarah Palin – a US presidential hopeful. The job of pulling the trigger was left to some ‘radical’.

Just like in Pakistan. Where thousands of guns were handed over. Without due diligence. Targets were pointed out. Targets like Salman Taseer, Benazir Bhutto, Daniel Pearl.

And India.

There are new dots and the connections between these new dots have changed. Old habits die hard. (Cartoon by Chappatte / Int'l Herald Tribune / Cagle Cartoons  Read more: http://www.time.com/time/cartoonsoftheweek/0,29489,2070146_2272924,00.html#ixzz1NU7oMyfA). Click for a larger image.

There are new dots. The connections between these new dots have changed. Old habits die hard. (Cartoon by Chappatte / Int’l Herald Tribune / Cagle Cartoons.). Click for a larger image.

How deep is your love …

Usual news apart, read this.

LAHORE: The Punjab government has formed a committee which will present a report on the airing of cartoons depicting Hindu mythology and if they can be banned in Pakistan.

Even though Indian TV channels are currently off-air in Pakistan, several cable operators are broadcasting Indian content to meet the demands of their clientele.

A meeting of the committee was held in Lahore, which discussed ways to get these cartoons banned in Pakistan. (via Punjab govt goes after Hindu mythology cartoons – The Express Tribune).

I am reminded about an interview with Govindacharya (ex-BJP), in the same context, who claimed that well-springs of culture run deeper than commonly believed. I am beginning to wonder …

Was Govindacharya right, after all!

The taking of Pakistan

The game has changed.

Surely. Now oil is a part of the Pakistani jigsaw. Oil prices, the oil-dollar tango, Big oil hide behind the mullah-madrasa-mujahhid troika..

To understand this, we will need to ask some questions all over again. Just how strong is the idea of Pakistan? Can this idea of Pakistan be hijacked? Who benefits with such a hijack? What benefits are expected from this hijacking?

To understand some questions on Pakistan, we need to abandon official Congressi narrative. Equally, the Western rubbish about Pakistan.

Some answers, we have. For some haze to clear, we will need to wait. For some outcomes, we must be prepared.


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