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North Korea and the United States

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Found in the National Security Archive, Washington DC, the following article: Declassified Documents from the Bush I and Clinton Administrations, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 164, Edited by Robert A. Wampler – 202/994-7000. – Washington D.C. August 23, 2005 – Next week, if all goes according to plan, the United States will resume six-party talks with North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia and host nation China on the issue of North Korea’s nuclear program. Continue Reading…

Protest without logic

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Letter to the editor by K.N.Pandita. This is with reference to ‘Beyond Muslim condemnation of terrorism’ by Louay Safi (AT 5 August 2005). Some Muslim organizations have reacted against the brutality of London bombing. But that is not enough. It is the duty of those Muslims who claim that Islam is a religion of peace and that they do not approve suicidal attacks, should draw a long term plan of confronting the extremists among themselves. They have full information who the extremists are, wherefrom they get support, what are their links and how they move. Continue Reading…

The Saudi-Pakistan nexus

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The Tribune, Only jehadis have gained, by G. Parthasarathy

WHEN Saudi Arabia’s ruler King Fahd died after a prolonged illness on August 1, his last rites were performed according to strict and austere Wahabi traditions. But one person who reacted as though his beloved uncle had died and mourned publicly, was Pakistan’s General Musharraf, who promptly declared one week’s state mourning and became the first non-Arab ruler of a Muslim country to rush to Saudi Arabia for the last rites of the Saudi monarch. Continue Reading…

Iran bogged down with nuclear controversy

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By K.N. Pandita,

A less expressed view in some knowledgeable Iranian circles is that the new President’s hard-line posture is an exception rather than the rule There are other more baffling issues that must fill the priority list of the President. Un-remitted social and economic baggage, groupism in civilian and military establishments and a restructured relationship with the west should be among his priorities. Above all, declining interest in the ideals of Islamic Revolution of Khumeini’s days among the younger generation that forms more than half of her population needs to be addressed.

However, the President is beset with the nuclear crisis, which projects him as an inveterate hardliner. Perhaps the catalyst for hard-line stance on nuclear programme is not strictly of President’s choosing. Other factors seem to have contributed to it. Continue Reading…

Terror in the holy cities

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K.N. Pandita, Recently terrorists were holed up in Mecca and Medina, the two historic and holy cites of the Saudi Kingdom. Saudi police found them activists of Al-Qaeda, the crusaders of the 18th century puritanical Sunni ideology of Abdu’l-Wahhab. Ironically, when Banu Saud clan of Nejd was fighting to raise a kingdom in Arabia, it sought political support from Wahhabism, which had made deep inroads into the Arab society. Today Wahhabism has come home to roost.

Emboldened by the success of 1979 Islamic revolution culminating in the dismissal of monarchy in Iran, , Ayatollah Khumeini began mounting criticism against the Saudi monarchy calling it unlawful and hence non-acceptable to Islamic community. Once again the Saudi monarchy was obliged to invoke political-social support of Wahhabism, this time to counter the rising popularity of Khumeinism. Continue Reading…

The heavy hand of justice

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Letter to the Editor, by K.N.Pandita – Dear Sir, The Supreme Court of India, the highest institution of justice in the country has delivered its judgement in the case of terrorist attack on the parliament. One of the accused has been given death sentence and the other one served ten years of rigorous imprisonment. The verdict was delivered after all legal formalities were completed. In this process the most important part was of furnishing adequate and convincing evidence. The honourable judges never allowed any lapse in completing all technicalities. The accused were provided all opportunity of defending themselves. Legal assistance was also offered though not accepted by the accused. Thus from all legal aspects the case was thoroughly screened and examined.

There have been demonstrations in Srinagar and other towns of Kashmir valley against the verdict by the separatists. Interestingly, demonstrations against. The decision of the apex court began from the defenders of the law of the land meaning the Srinagar bar association itself. Continue Reading…

Calculated muscle-flexing

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Found in Asia Times, August 6, 2005, by Sergei Blagov, MOSCOW – Russia’s unprecedented joint war games with China can be viewed as a dual message to the United States and the Central Asian republics of the extent to which Beijing and Moscow are prepared to go to protect their interests. Russia is to dispatch about 2,000 troops for exercises scheduled August 18 to 25 near Russia’s far-east port city of Vladivostok, before moving to the Yellow Sea and then to an area off the coastal Chinese province of Shandong.

The games are expected to involve Russia’s Il-76 transport planes with paratroopers, Tu-95MS bombers firing cruise missiles at targets in the sea and Su-27SM fighter jets simulating coverage of ground forces. Russian and Chinese military leaders, including defense ministers as well as Russian Chief of General Staff Yury Baluyevsky and his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie, are expected to attend the drills. Continue Reading…

Cool-headed diplomacy

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Found in Asia Times of 6th August, 2005, by Adam Wolfe, Russia and China delivered a one-two punch to Washington’s ambitions in Central Asia on the eve of the Group of Eight (G-8) summit with a joint statement on “international order” followed by a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that was hostile to US interests. While this combination was not enough to knock the US out of the region, it was the most forceful challenge to US interests in Central Asia since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Seeking to prevent any further damage to Washington’s position in the “Great Game”, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld traveled to the region to shore up support for maintaining American bilateral agreements with the key players. This was followed by Uzbekistan announcing a deadline for US withdrawal from a military base in its territory. These moves indicate that even though fighting in Afghanistan has yet to cool down, the traditional power politics of Central Asia are heating up. Continue Reading…

Metamorphosis – The Answer

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Letter to the Editor, The Tribune, Chandigarh, India, by K.N. Pandita, Jammu 01.08.05,

Sir – This refers to ‘The metamorphosis of Al-Qaeda’ by Rajeev Sharma (August 1, 2005). A comprehensive subject like terrorism and al-Qaeda demands an elaborate and specialised analysis. The fact is that the Islamic society (ummah) is beset with deep contradictions within. Some of these were highlighted by agalaxy of eminent and emancipated Muslim thinkers around 10-12th century who had been greatly influenced by the great Greek philosophers with their fomidable instrument of logic. But this emancipated segmentof Muslim society was only to be ruthlessly suppressed by the emerging orthodoxy of 12-13th century. The orthodoxy had found a strong backing from the vested Khurasanian feudal structure imposed by the victorious Arab conquerors of Iran. Al-Ghazali led the retaliatory campaign and established the supremacy of the dogma. Notwithstanding intermittent groundswells of less intensity, this ideological rupture in the ummah lay benign for several centuries perhaps because of mutual political and logistic interdependence with strong Islamic monarchies and satrapies in the Asian-Eurasian continent until the unprecedented supremacy of modern scientific and technological advancement made by the west. Continue Reading…

The metamorphosis of Al-Qaida

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The Tribune, Chandigarh, India, 01 August 2005,

ANALYSIS, by Rajeev Sharma, New Delhi, July 31 – The world of jihad is undergoing a never-before churning process which is set to throw up significant new trends in international terrorism in the months to come. Today’s Al-Qaida has metamorphosed. Al-Qaida as an organisation which emerged in the eighties when Saudi rulers propped up Osama bin Laden with American help as a Deobandi power centre opposed to Salafis or Wahabis who were raising their heads in the desert kingdom, does not exist today. This Al-Qaida was a creation of Saudi and American intelligence.

But, as an idea, a unifying concept or dream, this Al-Qaida is alive and kicking and has become even more powerful. Only its profile, modus operandi and operational culture have changed and its operational character has become global, key counter-terrorism officials of the Indian Government told The Tribune. It is a fine distinction that has to be understood clearly. Continue Reading…