Iran thanks Saudi Arabia for not harming its Hajj pilgrims! A new reconciliation effort?

 

Iran thanks Saudi Arabia for not harming its Hajj pilgrims! A new reconciliation effort?

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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Artificial dichotomy

 

Saudi Arabia is a Sunni Islamic kingdom with a tradition of close ties with the USA, the UK and France. Iran is a Shia Islamic Republic founded in an anti-Western revolution with close ties to Russia and China. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are seen to have aspirations for leadership of Islam, and have different visions of stability and regional order. In the Syrian Civil War Iran has supported the Bashir Al-Asad regime militarily and with billions of dollars of aid, while Saudi is a major supplier of aid to rebel groups.

Relationship Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has historically been strained over different geo-political issues such as the interpretations of Islam, aspirations for leadership of the Islamic world, oil export policy and relations with the USA and other Western countries.

Although Saudi Arabia and Iran are both Muslim-majority nations and follow and rule through Islamic scripture, their relations are fraught with hostility, tension and confrontation, due to differences in political agendas that are strengthened for their differences in faith.

Bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran have never been normal or smooth. Strains, tensions, diplomatic rejections dominated their ties and in recent times tensions have accelerated thanks to interferences from USA and Israel- leaders of other major religions treating Islam their common foe.

One gets the impression even if Judaism and Christianity merge together,  Iran and Saudi would still continue for furthering their “influence and  domination” in the Islamic world. Obviously, there is something wrong with their perception of Islam and in their own faith.

Both want to severe their ties for some at times vague reasons. The two countries severed diplomatic relations last after Iranians stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in January 2016 in response to Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric.

 

Thank you Sirs!

Some 86,000 Iranian pilgrims took part last week in the Hajj and Iranian government is gratified that Riyadh protected and helped Iranian pilgrims. .

As a possible new phase of relations, Iran thanked Saudi Arabia on September 05 for its handling of the Hajj arrangements and operations this year, saying it opened the way for negotiations between the regional rivals. “We thank Saudi Arabia… for adopting a new approach in dealing with Iranian pilgrims,” said Ali Ghazi-Askar, the head of the Hajj organisation in Tehran.

Iranians were unable to attend in 2016 after talks collapsed over security concerns. Iran had been highly critical of Saudi Arabia’s organisation efforts in the wake of a stampede during the 2015 Hajj that killed up to 2,300 people, including hundreds of Iranians. The 2015 incident happened because of mismanagement, but Saudis seem to have fixed that,” he told Reuters in a phone interview from Mecca.

“There are always differences arising among countries but the important thing is for the parties to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation,” said an official Ghazi-Askar. “Right now, after holding a successful Hajj, it is a good time for both parties to negotiate to resolve their bilateral issues in other fields.”

Just before the Hajj journey last month: “If our pilgrims come back satisfied, and if Saudi Arabia’s behavior is within religious and international frameworks, I think the situation would be more convenient to resolve the issues,” Iranian official was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

As both continued to strain ties, on February 14, 2016, the government of Switzerland announced that it will represent Saudi interests in Iran and Iranian interests in Saudi Arabia. Switzerland has recently been the protecting power for Egypt and the USA since diplomatic relations were strained following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. After the Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad were ransacked by Iranian protesters, Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3, 2016.

The ‘thanks-giving’ news gives, rather misleads the world about a new era of bilateral relations between them. But Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif remained circumspect, however, saying he had yet to see “a clear prospect for change” in the bilateral relationship. “If such a development occurs in the Saudis’ mentality, it will definitely be a positive development and will be met with Iran’s positive reaction,” he told Khabar Online newspaper.

Generally, Iran and Saudi Arabia are on a collision course thanks to US-Israeli intervention in West Asian politics. Saudi Arabia is seen moving closer to Israel, the common enemy of Arab as well as Iambic world, to defeat Iran.

Possibly as a follow up of hajj pilgrimage, there seems to be a mutual appreciation between the two powers. A Saudi Arabian delegation will visit Iran for the first time after Riyadh severed ties with Tehran last year, Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed. “The Saudi delegation simply comes to visit diplomatic buildings because the buildings have been empty after the two countries broke off relations. At the same time, we will visit our buildings in Saudi Arabia,” Press TV quoted foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying. Qasemi confirmed that the visas for the Saudis have been issued long before, but for “reasons that are related to them, they have not come yet, and their travel has likely been postponed until after annual Muslim Hajj ceremonies. He added that the date for the Iranian delegation’s visit has not been set yet. “To be honest, the Saudis are doing a great job, working hard to deliver the best service,” said Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of Iran’s Emergency Medical Services.

 

Saudi and Iran compete for global leadership. In a wide-ranging interview, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman said there was no space for dialogue with rival Iran due to its ambitions “to control the Islamic world.” Framing the tensions with Iran in sectarian terms, the prince said the Saudis would not sit and wait for war but would “work so that it becomes a battle for them in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia.”

That the language of hatred for Islam. Very recently before the Hajj, on May 08, 2017, Iran’s defence minister lashed back at Saudi Arabia, slamming the kingdom’s deputy crown prince over belligerent comments that underscored the deep rivalries between the two powers.

Western media is fueling a war psychology between Iran and Saudi Arabia that could destroy the combined economy of Arab nations. Iran’s defence minister General Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying that Iran would advise against “such a stupidity” of war on Iran because in that case, nothing would be “left in Saudi Arabia except Makkah and Madina,” the two holy cities.  Referring to a possible Saudi attack or invasion of Iran, he said he doesn’t “understand how they would attempt to do something like that… they must imagine they have a powerful air force to do so.”

Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered the arrest and prosecution of individuals involved in the embassy attack, while also condemning the execution of Nimr. Asked at the press conference what other steps the Saudis would take against Iran, Jubeir said “we will cross each bridge when we will get to it”.  “We are determined not to allow Iran to undermine our security,” he said.

Ellie Geranmayeh, an Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the Saudi decision was likely to have repercussions for the region, particularly concerning the Syrian negotiations. Western powers must increase efforts to safeguard this process and encourage the Saudis and Iran to continue their participation in the Syria peace talks. “These events further set back the urgently needed rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh, and spell further trouble for an already fragile region.”

 

Severing ties & tensions

 

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been strained since Iran’s 1979 revolution, and significantly escalated last year as Riyadh executed a leading Shia cleric in the kingdom. This sparked the ransacking of the Saudi Embassy in Iran by protesters, after which the two countries severed diplomatic and trade ties. The tensions between the two countries have now sharply escalated with Saudi Arabia severing ties with the Islamic Republic following attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.

Diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been tense since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, though there have been occasional thaws between the two rivals. The tensions have now sharply escalated with Saudi Arabia >severing ties with the Islamic Republic following attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. Here’s a look at how relations between the two Mideast powers have shifted over the last decades.

Under the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran had rocky relations with Saudi Arabia, though they improved toward the end of his reign. Both were original members of the oil cartel OPEC.

After the overthrow of the Shah and the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran, Saudi Arabia quickly became America’s top ally in the region. In the ensuing 1980s war between Iran and Iraq, Saudi Arabia backed Iraq despite its concerns about President Saddam Hussein. That war would go on to kill one million people.

In 1988, Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran, citing the 1987 Hajj rioting and Iran’s attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf. Iranians responded by boycotting Hajj in 1988 and 1989. The two countries restored diplomatic ties in 1991.

Relations between the two nations improved after Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a political moderate, took office in 1997. Ties warmed further after historic visits by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to Tehran in December 1997 and Khatami to the kingdom in May 1999.

There have been issues that strained the relations between Saudi (Gulf-states) and Iran.

1987 Hajj riots

 

The annual pilgrimage to Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia, required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life, saw bloodshed when Iranians held a political demonstration. Iranian pilgrims later battled Saudi riot police in violence that killed at least 402 people. Iran claimed 600 of its pilgrims were killed and said police fired machine guns at the crowd. In Tehran, mobs attacked the Saudi, Kuwaiti, French and Iraqi embassies, ransacking the first two.

2015 Hajj disaster: On September 24, a stampede and crush struck the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. While the kingdom said 769 pilgrims were killed, an Associated Press count shows over 2,400 people were killed. Iran said at least 464 of its pilgrims were killed and blamed Saudi Arabia’s “incompetence” for the deaths.

 

Execution

 

On January 2, Saudi Arabia executed Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others the largest execution carried out by the kingdom in three and a half decades. The execution of al-Nimr, a central figure in Arab Spring-inspired protests by Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority, sparked protests across the Mideast and attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran. Saudi Arabia responded by announcing it was severing diplomatic ties with Iran over the attacks.

Dehghan expressed suspicions over what he described as Riyadh’s close ties with the United States and also Israel, suggesting such ties go against “interests of Muslim nations.”

The Saudis seek to “please” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the “purpose of provoking Netanyahu’s action against us.” Dehghan also urged Saudi Arabia to withdraw from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition of mostly Arab states has been fighting the Houthi rebels.

The conflict has worsened an already dramatic humanitarian crisis in Yemen and killed thousands of civilians, mostly by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

In January 2016, Saudi Arabia has announced it is severing diplomatic ties with Iran following Saturday’s attack on its embassy in Tehran during protests against executions in the kingdom. Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, made the announcement on Sunday while the foreign ministry said it was asking Iranian diplomatic mission to leave the kingdom within 48 hours. The Saudi foreign ministry also announced that the staff of its diplomatic mission had been evacuated and were on their way back to the kingdom. Later reports said the flight carrying the Saudi embassy staff had landed in Dubai in the UAE.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry announced the execution of 47 people on terrorism charges, including a convicted al-Qaeda leader and a Shia religious leader. Many of the men executed had been linked to attacks in Saudi Arabia between 2003 and 2006, blamed on al-Qaeda.

Four of those executed were said to be Shia. Nimr al-Nimr, the Shia leader, was accused of inciting violence and leading anti-government protests in the country’s east in 2011. He was convicted of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms. He did not deny the political charges against him, but said he never carried weapons or called for violence. Nimr spent more than a decade studying theology in predominantly Shia Iran. His execution prompted demonstrations in a number of countries, with protesters breaking into the Saudi embassy in Tehran late on Saturday night and starting fires.

At a press conference in Riyadh, Jubeir said the Saudi diplomatic representative had sought help from the Iranian foreign ministry when the building was stormed, but the requests were ignored three times. He accused the Iranian authorities of being complicit in the attack, saying that documents and computers were taken from the embassy building. Calling the incident an act of “aggression”, he said Iran had a history of “violating diplomatic missions”, citing the attacks on the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the British embassy in 2011. “These ongoing aggressions against diplomatic missions are a violation of all agreements and international conventions,” he said, calling them part of an effort by Iran to “destabilize” the region.

The Saudi decision was “quite a surprise” causing the latest developments. “This is an escalation that will create havoc in the region.”

Nuclear dispute

 

Worries about Iran resumed in Saudi Arabia amid international sanctions against Tehran over its contested nuclear program and the increasingly harsh rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran and Saudi Arabia each backed opposite sides in Syria’s civil war, as well as in the civil war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia also grew increasingly suspicious of Iran as it reaches a deal with world powers over its nuclear program. Riyadh has not yet fully recovered from the shock of Iran-US compromises.

 

Roots of tensions

 

Apart from divisions like Sunni and Shia, the difference of political ideologies and governance also divided both countries. USA and Israel play divisive role in making Sunni and Shia fight and kill each other.

After the Iranian Revolution, relations deteriorated considerably after Iran accused Saudi Arabia of being an agent of the USA in the Persian Gulf region, representing US interests rather than Islam. Saudi Arabia is concerned by Iran’s consistent desire to export its revolution across the board to expand its influence within the Persian Gulf region—notably in post-Saddam Iraq, the Levant and within further south in addition to Iran’s controversial, much debated nuclear program.

The founder of the Iranian revolution in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, was ideologically opposed to monarchy, which he believed to be unIslamic. Saudi Arabia’s monarchy, on the other hand, remains consistently conservative, not revolutionary, and politically married to age-old religious leaders of the tribes who support the monarchy and the king (namely the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques) is given absolute obedience as long as he does not violate Islamic sharia law. Saudi Arabia has, however, a Shia minority which has recently made bitter complaints of institutional discrimination against it, specifically after the 2007 change in Iraqi governance and particularly after the 2011 events that spanned the region. At some stages it has gone as far as to call for overthrowing the king and the entire system.

Tensions between the two countries have waxed and waned. Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran soured particularly after the nuclear program, the 2011 alleged Iran assassination plot and more recently the execution of Nimr al-Nimr. There have also been numerous attempts to improve the relationship. After the 1991 Gulf war there was a noticeable thaw in relations. In March 2007 President Ahmadinejad of Iran visited Riyadh and was greeted at the airport by King Abdullah, and the two countries were referred to in the press as “brotherly nations”.

 

After March 2011, Iran’s financial and military support for Syria during the Syrian Civil War has been a severe blow to the improvement of relations. On January 3, 2016, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran, Iran was ransacked following the execution of Saudi-born Shia Islam cleric Nimr al-Nimr. The execution prompted widespread condemnation within the Arab World as well as other countries, the European Union and the United Nations, with protests being carried out in cities in Iran, Iraq, India, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey. Following the attack on its embassy in Iran, Saudi Arabia broke diplomatic relations with Iran and the Saudi foreign minister said that all Iranian diplomats are to leave the country within 48 hours.

The difference of political ideologies and governance has also divided both countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the principle of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists, which holds that a faqīh (Islamic jurist) should have custodianship over all Muslim followers, including their governance and regardless of nationality. Iran’s Supreme Leader is a Shia faqīh.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the principle of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists, which hold that a faqīh (Islamic jurist) should have custodianship over all Muslims, including their governance. Iran’s Supreme Leader is a Shia faqīh. The founder of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, was ideologically opposed to monarchy, which he believed to be unIslamic. Saudi Arabia’s monarchy, on the other hand, is conservative, not revolutionary, and its religious leaders have long supported monarchy were the king was given absolute obedience as long as he did not violate Islamic sharia law Saudi Arabia has, however, a Shia minority which has made bitter complaints about institutional discrimination against it, and whom at times has been urged to overthrow the king. Both countries are major oil exporters but have clashed over energy policy. Saudi Arabia, with its large oil reserves and smaller population, has a greater interest in taking a long-term view of the global oil market and incentive to moderate prices. In contrast, Iran is compelled to focus on high prices in the short term.

As far as the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. is concerned, both countries have been strategic allies for more than sixty years. Saudi Arabia sees itself as a firm and generous partner of the USA in the cold war and in other international conflicts. The visits by US President George W. Bush to the Kingdom in 2008 reaffirmed these ties. Yet Saudis have always distanced themselves from American foreign policy, particularly with regards to Iran. Even when there was growing criticism against the former Iranian President, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, for his alleged hostile foreign policy in connection to Israel, Saudi Arabia recognised that Iran was a potential threat, and a regional power that was in position to create trouble within their borders. Therefore, Saudi Arabia’s security over time required accommodation and good relations with its geographic neighbors notably Iran. Saudi Arabia has long since looked to the United States for protection against Iran.

Prior to this visit, Saudi National Security advisor Prince Bandar bin Sultan, seen as one of the most pro-American figures in the region, had made a trip to Tehran to voice his government’s interest in building harmonious relations with Iran. During Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s 3 March 2007 visit, he discussed with King Abdullah the need to protect the Islamic world from enemy “conspiracies.”

In 2007, President Ahmadinejad of Iran attended the first-ever annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which was established in 1980 in part to contain the ambitions of revolutionary Iran. This visit by the President of Iran was an event which signaled a possible change in relations. Yet soon after the meeting, Saudi Arabia, the most senior member of the six GCC member states invited Ahmadinejad to Saudi Arabia to take part in the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca.

In 2009, Saudi Prince Faisal said in a press conference with Hillary Clinton that the “threat posed by Iran demanded a more immediate solution than sanctions.” This statement was condemned by Iranian officials. On 11 October 2011 US Attorney General Eric Holder accused Iran of planning to assassinate the Saudi-Arabian ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubbair. In 2013, Saudi Ambassador to Britain Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud wrote an editorial in The New York Times criticizing Saudi Arabia’s Western allies for not taking bold enough measures against Syria and Iran, thus destabilizing the Middle East and forcing Saudi Arabia to become more aggressive in international affairs. The Obama administration continues to reassure the Persian Gulf states that regional security is a U.S. priority, but, as of December 2013, the Gulf States express skepticism

 

Iranian action

 

Relations between Shi’ite-led Iran and Sunni power Saudi Arabia are at their worst in years, with each accusing the other of subverting regional security and supporting opposite sides in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in January 2016 after a prominent Saudi Shi’ite cleric was executed, prompting Riyadh to close the embassy.

Saudi Arabia severed its diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016, following demonstrations held in front of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the city of Mashhad by angry protesters who set the diplomatic missions ablaze for the execution of top Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia Iranian pilgrims returned to Hajj this year for the first time since a deadly crush in 2015, in what could be an important confidence-building measure for dialogue on other thorny issues between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and several other Arab governments severed ties with Qatar in June, citing its support for Iran as one of the main reasons. Iran accused Saudi Arabia of being behind deadly attacks in Tehran claimed by Islamic State, something Riyadh denied.

Until now, no Saudi report on the 2015 crush has been published, and the bodies of dozens of Iranian victims remain unidentified. Family members of 11 Iranians whose bodies are still missing are traveling to Mecca later this year for DNA tests

Nearly 800 people were killed, according to Riyadh, when two large groups of pilgrims arrived at a crossroads east of Mecca. Counts by countries of repatriated bodies showed over 2,000 people may have died, including more than 400 Iranians. Iran’s Supreme Leader has said his people would never forget that “catastrophe”, but President Hassan Rouhani suggested a trouble-free Hajj this year could help build confidence in other areas of dispute between the arch-rivals. So far, Iranian pilgrims say they are satisfied.

This year, Iran issued its nearly 90,000 pilgrims blue electronic bracelets to help organizers trace and identify them. Dozens of Iranians clad in traditional white clothes and a distinctive red mark arrived in orange buses on Thursday at their encampment in Mount Arafat.

Iranian pilgrims participated without incident in the symbolic stoning of the devil on Friday, the riskiest part of the Hajj because of the large crowds involved. More than 2.3 million pilgrims participated in the five-day ritual, a religious duty once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford the journey. Tehran had sent pilgrims to Hajj based on Saudi promises of safety.

Pilgrims with previous experience at the Hajj say their facilities and treatment by the Saudi authorities are better than in past years and include air conditioned tents. “The way that security handled the Iranian pilgrims until now has been good,” said Samir Shuahni, an Iranian journalist with the delegation. “This is what I’ve noticed for the nearly month that I’ve been in Mecca and Medina: there is good cooperation and the pilgrims are moving freely.”

Iranians said the Saudi authorities had asked them not to hold a traditional Shi’ite prayer in an open space in Medina, citing it as a potential target for Islamic State militants. Such restrictions have not troubled Iranians still in shock from the IS attack in Tehran which killed at least 18 people.

 

Observation

Both Islamic leaders do not show real inclination for a peace and friendship deal in order to protect themselves as well as a unified Islam.

However, it is indeed puzzling to know who between the two is eager to sustain the tensions and why.

Clearly, the off repeated Saudi-Iran tensions unnecessarily delay the resolution of Palestine issue as Israel and USA continue to prolong the Zionist occupation of and genocides in Palestine territories. Both should share the guilt and blame for the genocides and hardship of people of Palestine.  Israelis and Americans relish Islamic blood but do Saudi and Iran also do the same?

Needless to ascertain that mutual suspicion forces them to knock at the doors of enemies of Islam as Saudi Arabia is strenuously doing by trying for joint action against Iran systematically.  Will that help Saudi Arabia at least in the long run improve its global standing or Islamic status?

Therefore, Iran still lacked confidence in Riyadh but hoped it would build goodwill.

Question is how far faithful and devoted Muslims they are! Whether they believe in God or in their own relative wealth!

Hopefully, logic and good thinking on the part of both Saudi and Iran would help the Palestinians regain their lost sovereignty to Zionist fascists and western imperialist and also promote unity among Muslims.

These Muslim leaders are accountable for their foolish and hypocritical actions and answerable elsewhere….

 

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Putin and Russian foreign policy goals

Putin and Russian foreign policy goals

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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With his electoral win as President for the fourth term in modern Russia in a highly dramatic manner unheard in democratic poll history, President Putin would feel in total control of the country’s system and opposition.

At the very outset it needs to be stressed that Putn does not believe in western ideas of democracy of ruing a nation for maximum of two terms and stand down from entertaining further political ambitions.

Unless the previous Presidency polls in Russia, the election this time around was fairly predictable as people longed to see Putin making Russian presidency stronger. Unlike the self-boast claims of highly inflammable and erratic US President Donald Trump about “USA first” – as if USA had never pursed that policy before him and advanced interests of the world, Putin never made such foolish statements but  strictly pursued “Russia first” policy vehemently. One achievement is the recovering the Crimea region from Ukraine by ignoring all objections of USA and allies. Now Russia dictates terms to USA in Syria.

Putin could claim that he is fulfilling the demands of the people wanting     a strong presidency that only he can provide. Like in Saudi Arabia the rulers just  do not entrain  extreme  experiments to make a sea change in the system for the  anti-royal  fringes to remove the  kingdom and establish their own dictatorship with US-Israeli backing in the name of so-called democracy, Russia also is keen  their system is not dismantled as per the designs of anti-Islamic forces. Moreover, the West suspects President Putin might revert Russia back to Soviet era system that would upset entire agenda of the West that after having succeeded in a big way, into eventual jeopardy. They keep calculating the post-Putin Russia but Putin still remains in full control.

A lively debate is on in the West and elsewhere about Putin’s’ new foreign policy if any. Obviously, President Putin would choose his course very carefully and he is quite capable of that.

Russia, like any other big nation, has its own fancies about its place in the world but the world turned out to be more unpredictable and complicated than many Russians thought.

True, Russian economy received a jolt in the form of economic terrorism from USA and EU known as “sanctions” on account of Crimea annexation.

Apparently, Russian leadership did not expect the West to introduce strong sanctions after Crimea and to stick with them for years though Russian action is final. However, China compensated the Kremlin for the huge economic loss in Western investments and trade deficits.

President Putin may have expected Hillary Clinton to win the US elections and become a tough anti-Russian president but the election of Donald Trump gave some hope so improvement in bilateral ties. Russia expected fanatic Donald Trump to become a soft Russia-friendly president. Russia did not expect the EU to sudden collapse under the weight of its own in internal contradictions at the wake of Brexit.

Arguably Trump has an unshakeable belief that he is uniquely positioned to defuse a dangerous standoff with Moscow by courting Putin.

Trump congratulated Putin on his election victory, and spoke in an upbeat manner about talks he hoped to hold with him soon, billing their meeting rather like a Reagan-Gorbachev summit from the 1980s. This is the latest example of his unusual deference to Putin, following the 2016 election in which US intelligence agencies assessed the Russians intervened on his behalf. But the White House says that Russia assaulted American democracy, used a nerve agent in an attack on the soil of its closest ally, Britain, and just held an election that cannot be judged free and fair. Yet the President did not bring up any of those issues during a telephone chat with Putin, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

An innocent looking Barack Obama did it in 2012 by greeting Putin, as he tried to keep his Russia “reset” strategy alive. But any interactions between Trump and Putin are closely watched given the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling.

Putin meanwhile is one of the groups of autocrats and global strongmen that Trump seems to admire — an odd quirk in an American President who often appears tougher on allies than US foes, except that he promotes aggressively the Zionist expansionist agenda in Palestine against the UN demand to promote Palestine and International Law condemning all Zionist crimes against humanity. . .

Russia expects Ukraine to collapse under the weight of its unreformed economy, corruption and unruly political passions because US support for East European nation with communist background is not genuine.

Putin expects the settlement in Syria, where Russian military plays important role to help Assad stay alive and kicking while Syrians keep dying  for him, to be a lot easier now.

Russian foreign policy predictions have occasioned a lively foreign policy debate in Moscow as well – on the meaning of Donald Trump, on the fate of the European Union, on what to expect from China, from Near Abroad, on what next in Syria and Donbas.

There has been a constant demand from liberals – both foreign policy thinkers and economic technocrats – to improve the relations with the West for purposefully advancing its national interest, starting possibly from stabilizing the situation in Donbas. They fail to recognize the fact the USA opposes any better ties with Russia and China. The processes of dismantling of mighty Soviet Union and Socialist system in the entire east Europe, braking down of Berlin Wall, etc were enacted by Michael Gorbachev  in order to improve relationship with USA and Europe but alas only USA won the Cold war and Eastern Europe and made Russia feel for the loss of great nation status.

Yet, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin succinctly argues, “if we want our economy to grow, and grow smartly, we need to improve the relations with the West.” The West remains the best source for modernisation. The need for technocratic modernisation – the need to master the world of artificial intelligence, blockchains and other 21st century wonders – seems to be understood also by President Putin, at least intellectually, if not passionately.

 

Stabilization in Donbas, according to this camp, is the best place to start. Progress there would help to restart the relations with the European Union, and that might be of help at a time when the relations with the US are deadlocked because Russia has become a domestic issue in the US.

 

However, most of Russians see though the American-Israeli straggles to belittle Russia and simply oppose and even hate USA ad Western civilization. Then this dovetails with a foreign policy argument that holds that Russian foreign policy is overstretched and would benefit from ending a few conflicts.

 

The other camp in Moscow, thus, remains skeptical. They fear the West will view ‘concessions’ from Russia as a sign of weakness; or that rapprochement with the West would make Russia’s non-Western allies – from Iran to China – fear Russian ‘betrayal’.

 

Iran has already experienced such treatment in its relations with Russia in the 1990s and early 2000s, when Moscow used Tehran as a mere bargaining chip in its relationship with the USA. The same way USA used Pakistan a tool to improve relations with China after its success in misusing Islamabad to gain access to petrodollars n Arab world.

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However, the sceptical camp is being advised by the West to agree on one crucial point: foreign policy indeed needs to change. Saudi Arabia is also following their footsteps without having any idea about the long term outcomes

 

Anti-Russia rhetoric and tactics continue to work in the west. They also work in the Middle East, where Russia now effectively owns the conflict in Syria and, to stay on top of the diplomatic process, it needs effective relations with all regional powers. They do not work in the West, because there, Donald Trump is now the disruptor-in-chief; and an unpredictable one at that. But USA is keen to see that the primitively anti-Western rhetoric and tactics that centre on disruption do not work anymore in Moscow. This requires predictable behavior. Surprise invasions have done their job, done it well in Moscow’s eyes – but their time seems to be far from over.

 

Such was the state of the debate when, in the afternoon of March 4, a former GRU employee and British double agent Sergei Skripal was found unconscious on the bench in Salisbury, poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok, the only known earlier producer of which was USSR/Russia. But now any country could produce and sell. Israel is known for such mischievous endeavors and USA diplomatically supports all secret Zionist operations.

 

UK quickly blames on Russia and personally on Putin as their usual strategy. This crime remains puzzling. Murders of exchanged spies – as Skripal was – have not been part of Moscow’s behavior so far. Was the only aim to kill a traitor? In that case, most other means would have been simpler than nerve agent.

 

UK might have expected a poor show by Puitn in the presidency poll.  The domestic political incentives are likely. Could it have been indeed ordered by President Putin – with full knowledge of international implications? Or was it the job of some powerful Russian agencies without Putin’s knowledge, or maybe sanctioned only in very broad terms? In that case, will the Kremlin manage to distance itself from them, and do so with the level of publicity that would satisfy the West?

 

Such questions are raised in the West. No one knows for sure who does what.

 

Of course the issue is just starting point for Putn to just ignore and move on further with prudent foreign policy goals to remobilize entire anti-West and anti-West world to fight colonialism capitalism, imperialism, fascism and US brand Zionism.

The inconsistency in the Trump regime’s approach to Russia adds to uncertainty about how the West will respond to Putin’s growing willingness to exercise power beyond his borders.

Western policy toward Russia is not going to change dramatically for years. .

By shuffling the team members, Trump looks for opportunities to p advance the unilateral America to impose its military prowess on the world stage.

Russian voters are right: only President Putn can do that and assure peace prosperity for entire world. .

India RSS-BJP fascist duo challenges judiciary over Babri Mosque judgment!

India  RSS-BJP fascist duo challenges judiciary over Babri Mosque judgment!

 – Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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The poisonous RSS-BJP fascist forces continue to dictate terms to India, its media lords and voters. They say everything in India must be done according their fanatic tastes. They have already begun attacking and killing Muslims over issues that are merely fictitious. The attacks and lynching are being committed against Muslims in order to terrorize both Muslims and Hindu voters.  That makes the Hindu voters vulnerable to choose only the BJP type arrogant parties as Hindus, interestingly, become scared of powerless Muslims.

 

That is the victory of the RSS-BJP fanatics.  For their existence, blooming and controlling the nation the Hindutva guys should be grateful to the Congress party and Indian state. Even many Congress and communist people sport the “Sanyasi kaavi “ dress to let the Hindu voters identify them also as  Hindutva supporters. Muslims have no maturity to decode the  symbolic Hindu actions of the politics .

 

Thanks to the continuous support from Congress and other fanatic parties pretending to be secular, the BJP and RSS have become very strong in India.

 

The poisonous and racist RSS and BJP contuse to destroy the benefits of freedom India got from Britishers.

 

These fascist forces think that India belongs exclusively to them only and Muslims and others including the real and normal positively thinking Hindus have no right n the country and these fanatic Zionist Hindutva nuts are eager to push India into darkness once again.

 

The  Hindu communal duo RSS-BJP has mobilized the extremist Hindus- that were used by them to dismantle the historic Babri Mosque in 1992,  to object to the judiciary to ant genuine judgment on the ghastly destruction of national historic monument called Babri Mosque in favor of truth by being on the side of Babri Mosque and against Hindutva which considers returning the historic Babri mosque back to its owners the Muslims, would amount to insulting the Hindutva fascist forces led by RSS-BJP duo.

 

BJP-RSS calculates that if they could mobilize Hindu mobs against Babri mosque belonging to the minority Muslims, the Apex Court which has reserved its judgment, would change the verdict to promote Hindutva as Indian judicial ideology. The Modi regime must be busy in   arm-twisting the judges to write a pro-Hindutva judgment because, they argue, as once Hindu criminals are punished that would be extremely bad for RSS-BJP Hindutva political trade in the country.

 

The ultra fanatic RSS-BJP-VHP trio has been provoking the nation and judiciary with all Indian Hindutva agitations called ”Rath yatra” central to anti-Islam politics for Hindu votes.

 

The Modi government is exploiting the weak AIADMK government in  Tamil Nadu to push through its BJP agenda which, after flourishing  on  profitable alliance with both DMK and AIADMK in poll politics, got back to zero  sum as both the  Dravidian parties have decided not to promote Hindutva forces in the state to  poison the Tamil minds. However,  the ruling AIADMK government granted permission to the RSS-BJP “Rath yatra” to pass through gaining support for Hindutva ideology as the extra “patriotic” terror.

 

Tamil Nadu government should have denied permission to RSS-BJP for the “Rath yatra” which is essentially anti-national, anti-constitutional and anti-secular nation. Promotion of Hindutva moorings in the state would make the ruling AIADMK stable or strong, but rather it would be weakened sooner or later.

 

Opposition DMK acting president and opposition leader in the Assembly MK Stalin, who had urged the state government to not allow the yatra inside Tamil Nadu to ensure peace, staged a walkout in the state Assembly over the issue. Stalin had released a statement saying the rath yatra, if allowed in Tamil Nadu, will disturb communal harmony and peace in the state. He had also said that allowing the yatra would be contempt of court as the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case is pending before a Constitution Bench of Supreme Court. He added that the move by the VHP can also been seen as a pressure tactic.

 

Hitting out at Chief Minister Palaniswami, Stalin had said that the AIADMK leader had given the nod to the yatra to protect his government and chief ministership.  Following their call for protest, section 144 was enforced in Tirunelveli. area with immediate effect, and would remain imposed till March 23.

 

The 39-day Ram Rajya Rath Yatra was flagged off from Ayodhya in February and is slated to end in Rameswaram on March 25. While initially Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was expected to flag it off, but he skipped.

 

The yatra wherein the assassins of Babri Mosque and Muslims are participating is being carried on a special wooden carved Rath (chariot), depicting design and replica of the proposed Lord Ram temple in Ayodhya.

 

BJP is keen to use the Babri Mosque issue for the next general poll in 2019.

 

Senior actors like Kamal Hasan and Rajinikanth who claims to be politicians in Tamil Nadu have not made any remarks about Hindutva criminalization of Indian politics and its efforts to stage a comeback in Tamil Nadu.

 

Obviously, these actors have no interest in the future of the state and people but only want to make political wealth out of pathetic existence of Tamils. Rajnikanth is eager to be accepted by Tamils as their god at par with fake fixer in sports, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

 

The BJP is interested in Hindu vote banks in Karnataka where the next general poll is due and BJP is eager to take back the government from the Congress party. That is reason why the Modi government continues to ignore the orders of Supreme Court to institute Kaveri board to regulate Cauvery water flow from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu.

 

The national outfits BJP and Congress continue to maintaining their secret links and make many thinkers and critics of RSS disappear.

 

However r, people see through the Hindutva game plans and put the Congress on life saving medication for its arrogance and harms done to the nation and BJP is being already rejected by the people of India.

 

Certainly, the BJP without any genuine concern for the people would fall into the dust bin in due course.  The way the Congress party has been shifted to waste bin clearly shows the ultra fanatic BJP would also be in a worse position in due course.

 

Indians would reject all brands of fanaticism in due course

 

Very recently  the ruling BJP has shockingly lost  the bypolls in a few states where  the third front parties have won the seats, making it clear that BJP would be out for its pure gimmicks, while Congress party lost deposit amounts. India hates Congress as well as BJP. That is the Indian verdict.

 

The Congress and its so-called secular allies with tacit RSS links have made the RSS-BJP powerful. While RSS used to support the Congress party, giving an edge in the polls, now they directly promote the Hindutva parties like the lynching BJP.

 

Both Congress party and BJP advanced India’s sovereign interest that includes containing Indian Muslims, harming the genuine interest of Muslim  in jobs where they face maximum troubles from Hindu bosses  and eventually quit jobs and seek voluntary retirement but Indian regime pursue the policy further to deny even pensions to Muslims.

 

Leaders of Congress and other parties are annoyed now with the Modi government not for misgovernance or not fulfilling the premises offered to the people but for not allowing them also to take away parts of profits as their own due share. The Congress regime let other parties also to loot and share the profits of the Indian government but the BJP government is choosy about whom to allow taking away resources.

 

The Congress is being attacked by BJP government for being dependent on one dynasty. This assault has to be parried and that is why it is being showcased that Congress had a range of leaders and it is not run by only one dynasty.

 

The BJP exploited ht split in the erstwhile Janata Party experiment and formed the BJP by taking away big chuck of Janata party workers and leaders, offering them posts. Now the BJP offers huge money and posts to anyone seeking to enter the BJP outfit. But the Congress party did not have to do even that it  took advantage of  the then Congress freedom struggle launched by Mahatma Gondi who had rightly advised Nehru to disband the freedom moment known as Congress and launch a new party for  the independent India but Nehru and friends wanitng to rule andejnoy life  rejected the Gandhian advice and wanted to use the popularity of Gandhi and the freedom movement for the elections.

 

But people have turned the Congress party that has grown the worst corrupt outfit and national shame. .

 

The poisonously dangerous agenda of RSS-BJP that destabilizes secular democracy as the base principle of India should be dealt with as a priority issue. Of course people would deal with it but only in due course and meanwhile the judiciary should put an end to poisonous fanaticism and hate politics of Hindutva forces and save India from the anti-National forces pretending to be “patriotic”.

 

Today the pseudo patriotic and criminal elements of RSS-BJP targets Indians in India in the name of patriotism.

 

Indian judiciary needs to take note of this trend and end the national criminal fanaticism.

India RSS-BJP fascist duo challenges judiciary over Babri Mosque judgment!

India  RSS-BJP fascist duo challenges judiciary over Babri Mosque judgment!

 – Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

______

 

 

The poisonous RSS-BJP fascist forces continue to dictate terms to India, its media lords and voters. They say everything in India must be done according their fanatic tastes. They have already begun attacking and killing Muslims over issues that are merely fictitious. The attacks and lynching are being committed against Muslims in order to terrorize both Muslims and Hindu voters.  That makes the Hindu voters vulnerable to choose only the BJP type arrogant parties as Hindus, interestingly, become scared of powerless Muslims.

 

That is the victory of the RSS-BJP fanatics.  For their existence, blooming and controlling the nation the Hindutva guys should be grateful to the Congress party and Indian state. Even many Congress and communist people sport the “Sanyasi kaavi “ dress to let the Hindu voters identify them also as  Hindutva supporters. Muslims have no maturity to decode the  symbolic Hindu actions of the politics .

 

Thanks to the continuous support from Congress and other fanatic parties pretending to be secular, the BJP and RSS have become very strong in India.

 

The poisonous and racist RSS and BJP contuse to destroy the benefits of freedom India got from Britishers.

 

These fascist forces think that India belongs exclusively to them only and Muslims and others including the real and normal positively thinking Hindus have no right n the country and these fanatic Zionist Hindutva nuts are eager to push India into darkness once again.

 

The  Hindu communal duo RSS-BJP has mobilized the extremist Hindus- that were used by them to dismantle the historic Babri Mosque in 1992,  to object to the judiciary to ant genuine judgment on the ghastly destruction of national historic monument called Babri Mosque in favor of truth by being on the side of Babri Mosque and against Hindutva which considers returning the historic Babri mosque back to its owners the Muslims, would amount to insulting the Hindutva fascist forces led by RSS-BJP duo.

 

BJP-RSS calculates that if they could mobilize Hindu mobs against Babri mosque belonging to the minority Muslims, the Apex Court which has reserved its judgment, would change the verdict to promote Hindutva as Indian judicial ideology. The Modi regime must be busy in   arm-twisting the judges to write a pro-Hindutva judgment because, they argue, as once Hindu criminals are punished that would be extremely bad for RSS-BJP Hindutva political trade in the country.

 

The ultra fanatic RSS-BJP-VHP trio has been provoking the nation and judiciary with all Indian Hindutva agitations called ”Rath yatra” central to anti-Islam politics for Hindu votes.

 

The Modi government is exploiting the weak AIADMK government in  Tamil Nadu to push through its BJP agenda which, after flourishing  on  profitable alliance with both DMK and AIADMK in poll politics, got back to zero  sum as both the  Dravidian parties have decided not to promote Hindutva forces in the state to  poison the Tamil minds. However,  the ruling AIADMK government granted permission to the RSS-BJP “Rath yatra” to pass through gaining support for Hindutva ideology as the extra “patriotic” terror.

 

Tamil Nadu government should have denied permission to RSS-BJP for the “Rath yatra” which is essentially anti-national, anti-constitutional and anti-secular nation. Promotion of Hindutva moorings in the state would make the ruling AIADMK stable or strong, but rather it would be weakened sooner or later.

 

Opposition DMK acting president and opposition leader in the Assembly MK Stalin, who had urged the state government to not allow the yatra inside Tamil Nadu to ensure peace, staged a walkout in the state Assembly over the issue. Stalin had released a statement saying the rath yatra, if allowed in Tamil Nadu, will disturb communal harmony and peace in the state. He had also said that allowing the yatra would be contempt of court as the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case is pending before a Constitution Bench of Supreme Court. He added that the move by the VHP can also been seen as a pressure tactic.

 

Hitting out at Chief Minister Palaniswami, Stalin had said that the AIADMK leader had given the nod to the yatra to protect his government and chief ministership.  Following their call for protest, section 144 was enforced in Tirunelveli. area with immediate effect, and would remain imposed till March 23.

 

The 39-day Ram Rajya Rath Yatra was flagged off from Ayodhya in February and is slated to end in Rameswaram on March 25. While initially Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was expected to flag it off, but he skipped.

 

The yatra wherein the assassins of Babri Mosque and Muslims are participating is being carried on a special wooden carved Rath (chariot), depicting design and replica of the proposed Lord Ram temple in Ayodhya.

 

BJP is keen to use the Babri Mosque issue for the next general poll in 2019.

 

Senior actors like Kamal Hasan and Rajinikanth who claims to be politicians in Tamil Nadu have not made any remarks about Hindutva criminalization of Indian politics and its efforts to stage a comeback in Tamil Nadu.

 

Obviously, these actors have no interest in the future of the state and people but only want to make political wealth out of pathetic existence of Tamils. Rajnikanth is eager to be accepted by Tamils as their god at par with fake fixer in sports, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

 

The BJP is interested in Hindu vote banks in Karnataka where the next general poll is due and BJP is eager to take back the government from the Congress party. That is reason why the Modi government continues to ignore the orders of Supreme Court to institute Kaveri board to regulate Cauvery water flow from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu.

 

The national outfits BJP and Congress continue to maintaining their secret links and make many thinkers and critics of RSS disappear.

 

However r, people see through the Hindutva game plans and put the Congress on life saving medication for its arrogance and harms done to the nation and BJP is being already rejected by the people of India.

 

Certainly, the BJP without any genuine concern for the people would fall into the dust bin in due course.  The way the Congress party has been shifted to waste bin clearly shows the ultra fanatic BJP would also be in a worse position in due course.

 

Indians would reject all brands of fanaticism in due course

 

Very recently  the ruling BJP has shockingly lost  the bypolls in a few states where  the third front parties have won the seats, making it clear that BJP would be out for its pure gimmicks, while Congress party lost deposit amounts. India hates Congress as well as BJP. That is the Indian verdict.

 

The Congress and its so-called secular allies with tacit RSS links have made the RSS-BJP powerful. While RSS used to support the Congress party, giving an edge in the polls, now they directly promote the Hindutva parties like the lynching BJP.

 

Both Congress party and BJP advanced India’s sovereign interest that includes containing Indian Muslims, harming the genuine interest of Muslim  in jobs where they face maximum troubles from Hindu bosses  and eventually quit jobs and seek voluntary retirement but Indian regime pursue the policy further to deny even pensions to Muslims.

 

Leaders of Congress and other parties are annoyed now with the Modi government not for misgovernance or not fulfilling the premises offered to the people but for not allowing them also to take away parts of profits as their own due share. The Congress regime let other parties also to loot and share the profits of the Indian government but the BJP government is choosy about whom to allow taking away resources.

 

The Congress is being attacked by BJP government for being dependent on one dynasty. This assault has to be parried and that is why it is being showcased that Congress had a range of leaders and it is not run by only one dynasty.

 

The BJP exploited ht split in the erstwhile Janata Party experiment and formed the BJP by taking away big chuck of Janata party workers and leaders, offering them posts. Now the BJP offers huge money and posts to anyone seeking to enter the BJP outfit. But the Congress party did not have to do even that it  took advantage of  the then Congress freedom struggle launched by Mahatma Gondi who had rightly advised Nehru to disband the freedom moment known as Congress and launch a new party for  the independent India but Nehru and friends wanitng to rule andejnoy life  rejected the Gandhian advice and wanted to use the popularity of Gandhi and the freedom movement for the elections.

 

But people have turned the Congress party that has grown the worst corrupt outfit and national shame. .

 

The poisonously dangerous agenda of RSS-BJP that destabilizes secular democracy as the base principle of India should be dealt with as a priority issue. Of course people would deal with it but only in due course and meanwhile the judiciary should put an end to poisonous fanaticism and hate politics of Hindutva forces and save India from the anti-National forces pretending to be “patriotic”.

 

Today the pseudo patriotic and criminal elements of RSS-BJP targets Indians in India in the name of patriotism.

 

Indian judiciary needs to take note of this trend and end the national criminal fanaticism.

China: Xi Jinping scraps presidential term limits, becomes permanent president


China: Xi 
Jinping scraps presidential term limits, becomes permanent president

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

———

 

 

This essay gives an idea about China’s policies, its future plans and ideas; it also tries to compare the failed Soviet experiments with Chinese model of development.

 

It is not strange that every ruler is eager to rule forever even without any serious reforms being effected into the system to serve the people much better, but the constitutional restrictions deny them to be the permanent rulers. While some  pro-people rulers want to rule permanently to serve the nation and people   better, some other just want to rule for ever  just like that without thinking about the concerns of the people, still others want to rule permanently to  make more and more wealth for themselves, their close relatives, ministers, allies.

 

Dynastic rule in a way perform the permanent ruling character. Even in democracies sons and daughters are being pampered to take over from parents to the nation as their prerogative.

 

In a rather strange manner by which rulers of entire world would feel zealous, Xi Jinping has made himself legally the permanent president of China. For instance, the US president Trump and Israeli PM Netanyahu- both face wrath of people of their respective country for their arrogance and corruption, for the waste of money on terror wars and losing lives of soldiers, very much would like to rule their countries permanently without the need to face the voters in future.

 

Yes, not just Trump and Netanyahu but most of the rulers want to be permanent ones. Arab rulers, Indian PM Modi are not alone in dreaming to be the permanent rulers. While Arab rulers also can easily pass a law to that effect, PM Modi has to wait until the upper house of Parliament is full of his party members to make “reforms” in the constitution to make India one party ruled nation and himself the permanent ruler. Interestingly, India’s former PM Dr Manmohan Singh who promoted rampant corruption in India   by allowing every minister and official to loot the resources at will is also dreaming of becoming the permanent PM of India if his boss Ms. Sonia Gandhi manages to get a non-BJP coalition and win the elections next year.

 

  1. China elects its first ever permanent president

 

Recently, on March 11 the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) in a two-week summit in Beijing made the President Xi the permanent president to make the nation stronger. The move allows the 64-year-old Xi to remain in power for as long as he wishes, ruling as a virtual emperor, and is the latest feather in the cap of a Communist “princeling” who is re-making China in his own image. The almost 3,000 delegates to the country’s legislature passed the measure as part of a package of changes to the country’s constitution, with 2,958 voting for, two against and three abstaining.

 

China’s parliament voted to abolish presidential term limits, clearing the path for President Xi Jinping to rule for life. The National People’s Congress agreed to strike a 36-year-old constitutional provision barring the president from serving more than two consecutive terms and to enact sweeping legislative changes that would allow Xi to rule indefinitely and give him greater control over the levers of money and power. The amendment removes the only barrier keeping Xi, 64, from staying on after his expected second term ends in 2023.

 

Some analysts have speculated that President Xi Jinping will seek to stay on beyond 2023, when his second term is due to end, breaking a tradition followed by his two predecessors and emulating Russian President Vladimir Putin who would resume his third term shortly at the Kremlin. Russians want a strong President like Putin to be their leader permanently.

 

 

The congress accorded him a sort of ideological dominance by referring to his writings about communism by name in the party’s constitution—something denied to his two predecessors. Doing this would make Xi China’s ideological arbiter. His predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, were appointed mainly to continue Deng’s economic reforms.

 

The CPC decision includes repealing presidential term limits, creating a powerful new agency to police officials and possibly approving the biggest regulatory overhaul of the $43 trillion finance-and-insurance sector in 15 years. As Xi presided over the closing session in the Great Hall of the People, more than 2,200 delegates raised their hands in unison to approve the party charter amendments, with staffers announcing “meiyou” (“none”) to indicate the lack of dissenting or abstaining votes.

 

The term-limits repeal is part of a package of amendments to China’s constitution. They include inserting Xi’s name alongside Mao’s and Deng’s, and enshrining in law his principles for a more assertive foreign policy. Neither of Xi’s other two main titles — party leader and commander-in-chief of the military — come with term limits. The changes also allow for the creation of a powerful new law enforcement and ethics commission to police public servants, making permanent an anti-graft campaign that has punished more than 1.5 million officials.

 

The amendment generates a level of uncertainty. The term limit — while only applying to the lesser role of the state presidency — has also come to shape expectations for the timing of transitions in the leadership of the party and military.” Deng Xiaoping Theory was added to the constitution six months after his death in February 1997. China’s previous two presidents, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, haven’t had their names enshrined in the constitution in this way.

 

Xi Jinping has joined the pantheon of Chinese leadership two decades after bursting onto the scene as a graft-fighting governor who went on to earn comparisons with Mao Zedong in his quest for unrestricted power.

 

The NPC would definitely endorse appointment of Xi to a second term.

 

 Xi declared that China should “take center stage in the world,” and that its brand of socialism offers “a new choice for other countries.” He added that, “no one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests.” Xi’s “new era” philosophy sought to establish China as a superpower that “plays a rule-setting role in global affairs.”

 

At the end of a pivotal twice-a-decade meeting, party delegates voted unanimously to make “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” a guiding principle for the party.

 

  1. Importance of President Xi

 

 

 

 

Xi has a dream: the dream of a rejuvenated China, again dominating “everything under heaven”, might be popular. And if Xi can make the country respected abroad, that might translate into respect for the party at home. Hence his second concern—China in the world—reinforces his first.

 

Trump’s America-first nationalism has given  Xi a chance to claim global leadership. In January 2017 he told the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos that China should “guide economic globalization”. A month later he added that it should “guide international society towards a more just and rational new world order.”

Vast sums back up the slogans.  Xi’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, his most ambitious foreign policy, involves spending hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure in 60-odd countries in Asia and Europe. If it works, it could make Eurasian trade, centered on China, a rival to transatlantic trade, focused on America.

Xi has been more assertive in pressing China’s claims in the South China Sea. Last year, a UN tribunal rejected those claims. China promptly persuaded the Philippines, which had brought the case, to disavow its legal victory in return for lavish investment. Xi’s reform of the PLA has made the armed forces more outward-looking. They used to be organised mainly for defence and control of the domestic population. Xi has built up the navy, created new “theatre commands” to project force abroad and has opened China’s first overseas military base in Djibouti.

And he has greatly expanded China’s influence-buying activities abroad. China has long supported instruments of soft power such as the Confucius Institutes, which teach foreigners about the Chinese language and culture. Now, the party is also putting money into media operations in the West and trying to use overseas Chinese people as agents of state policy. In short, Xi has disavowed Deng’s advice that, in foreign affairs, China should “keep a low profile and never claim leadership.”

It is impossible to say whether he has sprinkled the stardust of legitimacy upon his party, as he wants. An opinion poll in 2016 by the Pew Research Centre in America found that only 60% of Chinese thought their involvement in the global economy a good thing. On the other hand, this year’s cinematic smash hit is a “patriotic” film called “Wolf Warriors 2”, showing a Chinese soldier killing bad guys round the world. So perhaps bossing foreigners around might prove popular.

At any rate, if Xi’s efforts have had mixed results, that is not because they have failed. As with his party reforms, he can congratulate himself on a job well started. China’s vast bureaucracy has lumbered into action behind the belt and road project. China is buttressing its claims in the South China Sea with new facts on the ground or, rather, in the ocean, in the form of military construction on artificial islands. The country is now widely regarded as a leader in global climate talks.

Xi, in short, can look back with some satisfaction on the twin goals he set himself. But there remains a more profound question, whether they are the right aims for his country. During the next decade, a number of slow-burning problems will start to blaze. Water shortages, historically one of China’s most severe challenges, will become acute. More poisoned air will be pumped out and more poisoned soil uncovered. The first generation born under the one-child policy is reaching marriageable age, bringing with it the excess of boys over girls that was exacerbated by population control. The vast debts built up by China’s local governments and state-owned enterprises will also have to be handled.

What these disparate matters have in common is that many of the best solutions come from outside the party. Environmental groups could put public pressure on polluters. A freer press could shine a light on all sorts of abuses, from corruption to fraud. More competition among firms, as well as harder budget constraints, would reduce the excess debt of state-owned enterprises and local governments.

Perhaps the only serious setback to Xi’s claim to leadership has come in North-East Asia. His unwillingness to rein in Kim Jong Un’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is keeping America more involved in Asia than it might otherwise be, and increasing the chances that Japan and South Korea might one day deploy nuclear defences of their own. That would hardly be in anyone’s interest, especially China’s.

 

Xi is going in the opposite direction. He is limiting the press, closing down civil-society groups and squeezing the space for public discussion. To do him justice, he is not doing this because he is turning his back on China’s problems. But he is determined that only the party may be allowed to address them. And if it fails, then the problems will not be addressed.

 

While Xi’s new power might provide reassurance to investors who believe that bureaucratic resistance has slowed his reform agenda, risks could mount over time. Centralized control by one man could become a problem should his health fail or subordinates hesitate to question bad decisions from the top.

 

 

In the long run, the change may bring some uncertainties, like ‘key man’ risk. Dissenting is becoming riskier. The room for debate is becoming narrower. The risk of a policy mistake could become higher and correcting a flawed policy could take longer.

.

Globally, it’s about making sure China becomes a superpower that gets to make the rules.  Xi Jinping now has an institutional guarantee of support. He can be emperor for life — staying in power as long as his health allows.

 

Xi looks set to emerge from the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China stronger than ever, both domestically and on the international stage.

 

President Xi is a trailblazer; he opens up a new model for China’s development.” Other people said they didn’t know what it meant Xi had managed to “totally repudiate” a tradition of collective leadership instituted by Deng: “It’s a return to one-man rule. It’s a backward step.”

 

When asked what he thought of Xi Jinping

 

However, it looks like that Wang Qishan, Xi’s anti-corruption czar, will be retiring despite some speculation that Xi would bend the rules and allow him to stay on in the PBSC — despite being older than the customary retirement age of 68. His name wasn’t on a list of Central Committee members from which the politburo and its standing committee are named. Retaining Wang would have set a precedent for any future power play by Xi, 64, to stay in the top job beyond 2022.

President Xi Jinping is the first Chinese leader to have been born after 1949, when Mao’s Communist forces took over following a protracted civil war. The purging of his father led to years of difficulties for the family, but he nevertheless rose through its ranks. Beginning as a county-level party secretary in 1969, Xi climbed to the governorship of coastal Fujian province in 1999, then party chief of Zhejiang province in 2002 and eventually Shanghai in 2007. That same year, he was appointed to the Politburo Standing Committee.

 

Following Mao’s disastrous economic campaigns and the bloody 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, the Communist leadership sought to prevent further chaos by tempering presidential power through a system in which major personnel and policy decisions were hashed out by the ruling Politburo Standing Committee. The move helped prevent political power from becoming too concentrated in the hands of a single leader but was also blamed for policy indecision that led to growing ills such as worsening pollution, corruption and social unrest.

 

A devoted communist seeking to refine the system, President Xi sees himself as China’s third transformational president, alongside Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Mao held the country together and established the communist state. Deng set China on the road to riches and saved the party from the lure of democracy. Xi’s aim is to give China back its rightful place at the centre of its world and to save the party again, this time from itself.

 

 

Big Uncle Xi, as he has been dubbed by Communist propaganda, has broken sharply with that tradition since taking over as president in 2013 and now looms over the country in a deepening cult of personality. He has used crackdowns on corruption to extent his hold over the party and calls for a revitalized party to become the most powerful Chinese leader in decades. Fighting graft and upholding party leadership were already central to him in 2000.

 

Xi vowed to root out corruption following a $10 billion smuggling scandal, but ruled out political reform to confront the problem, saying he would work within the one-party structure and system of political consultation and “supervision by the masses”. As Xi presided over the closing session in the Great Hall of the People, more than 2,200 delegates raised their hands in unison to approve the party charter amendments, with staffers announcing “meiyou” (“none”) to indicate the lack of dissenting or abstaining votes.

 

 

Xi Jinping is now 64 and has got at least 20 years left in him that would take him almost to the centenary of the establishment of the People’s Republic in 2049.

 

Xi, who was given a second term as the party’s general secretary at the five-yearly party congress in October, has amassed seemingly unchecked power and a level of officially stoked adulation unseen since Communist China’s founder Mao.

 

The people’s government, according to Xi,  must never forget the word the ‘people’ and we must do everything we can to serve the people, but to get all the government officials to do this is not easy.

 

At home, Xi has taken down senior leaders in his anti-corruption drive, launched an unprecedented crackdown on free speech, and radically overhauled the two-million strong People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest fighting force. Domestically, the move to enshrine Xi’s name in the party charter would signify greater party control over all aspects of life in China.

 

 

Critics say that Xi Jinping has been good for China’s Communist Party; less so for China. Contradicting Deng Xiaoping, Xi has concentrated vast power in his own hands.  His personal powers reflect his exalted sense of mission. He is president; head of the party and in July was referred to by state media as “supreme commander”, a title last conferred on Deng. He bestrides the bureaucracy like a colossus, having swept away and replaced almost all the party leaders and local governors in China’s 31 provinces, as well as much of the top brass of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). More members of the China’s “supreme ruler” was seeking to change China’s constitution rather than simply ignoring it, so as to avoid looking like “some sort of Banana Republic”. But the effect was the same: “He’s signaling: ‘I’m going to stay on forever.

 

Xi was later to complain that “among party members…even senior cadres, there are those whose conviction isn’t strong enough and who are not loyal to the party.” Members were corrupt. They no longer believe in communism. Some even talked about moving to a more democratic system of government. To Xi, this was a road to ruin. “If morale is low, organisation loose, discipline and ethics unchecked,” he wrote, “then in the end we will not only fail but…the tragedy of the Emperor Chu who was murdered in 202BC might occur again.”

While calling for China’s “great rejuvenation” as a world power, Xi has cultivated a personal image as a man of the people who dresses modestly and buys his own steamed buns at an ordinary shop.

Following a divorce from his first wife, Xi married the celebrity soprano Peng Liyuan in 1987, at a time when she was much more famous than him. The couple’s daughter, Xi Mingze, studied at Harvard but stays out of the public eye.

Above all, Xi has shifted the balance of power between party and government. Prime ministers used to be in charge of the economy but the main institution for economic policymaking now seems to be the leading small group on deepening reform, which Xi chairs. Wang Qishan, the head of the CCDI, said earlier this year that “there is no such thing as the separation between the party and the government.” Compare that with a speech made by Deng in 1980: “It is time for us to distinguish between the responsibilities of the party and those of the government,” the former leader said, “and to stop substituting the former for the latter.” In his attempt to bolster the party’s fortunes, Xi has turned the clock back almost 40 years.

 

Anti-corruption actions Xi Jinping took very seriously, more aggressively than Soviet leader Gorbachev did but took care not to harm the party in any manner as Gorbachev faced.  Xi has taken down senior leaders in his anti-corruption drive, launched an unprecedented crackdown on free speech, and radically overhauled the two-million strong People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest fighting force.

 

Xi’s personal authority has been enhanced, so far without serious public opposition. This is one of the dangers of his programme. So much depends on him personally that there is a risk everything will collapse when he goes. Or that he will be tempted to stay on and on. As one liberal commentator says, Xi has offended too many people to walk away quietly. For good or ill, he has begun to make the party a more effective instrument of control.

 

 

  1. As permanent president of China, what does Xi Jinping aim at? 

 

Pathetic end of Soviet Union and its isolation alerted China to be on its guard. Clearly, Xi was appointed to save the party. Although China experiences tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrations each year, these are local affrays which are mostly reactions to greedy local governments. The party faces no national threat and seems to have bounced back from the traumatic events around Tiananmen Square in 1989.  Yet that is not how Xi saw matters in 2012. To him, and to the elite who chose him as China’s leader, the party faced an existential threat.

China’s strong or authoritarian leader Xi took power in 2012 and had been expected to rule until 2023. However, last week it emerged that Xi would attempt to use an annual meeting of China’s parliament, which kicks off, to abolish presidential term limits by changing the Chinese constitution.

 

Xi repeatedly referred to “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” during a three-and-a-half-hour opening speech to the National Party Congress last week. And the resolution passed Tuesday echoed many of the same themes. The address detailed his sweeping vision for the country, charting its future in a world where China’s reach is now extending — and being felt — further than ever before.

 

 

Chinese leaders attribute the Soviet implosion to a failure of self-confidence by Russian communists and are determined that nothing like that should ever occur in China. It is not ancient history that frightens Xi, however. It is the disintegration of the Soviet Union. For him, everything begins and ends with the party (“east, west, north or south, the party leads everything,” he wrote. If it collapses, so will the country.

Xi has spoken of the Russians “not being man enough” to stand up for their party. From the start, he set out to be man enough.  He is well prepared to shore up the party’s beliefs.

Discipline requires self-control. Xi has instituted what he calls “democratic life meetings” for members to reflect on their behavior and learn to set an example. It means attending ideology classes. Party leaders have always run ideological campaigns but Xi has been unusually enthusiastic about them. In 2016 he even started an online campaign encouraging members to write out the party constitution by hand, like naughty schoolchildren. Xi is putting the communist back into communist China.

 

The best known of his campaigns is aimed at corruption. Since 2012 the main anti-graft body, the Central Commission on Discipline Inspection (CCDI), has begun disciplinary actions against 1.4m party members. But it is only part of a broader effort to instill discipline. At a meeting just before the congress, the Politburo reported that “for the party, strict self-governance in every sense will never end.”

Discipline requires loyalty. As an article in Qiushi, the party’s main theoretical journal put it earlier this year: “there is no 99.9% loyalty. It is 100% pure and absolute loyalty and nothing less.” Institutions that fail to reach the required levels of groveling feel the consequences.  Xi has emasculated the Communist Youth League, once an influential group and the road to power for his prime minister, Li Keqiang, and his predecessor as China’s leader, Hu. Calling it out of touch, bureaucratic and arrogant, he demoted its chief, jailed one of the top officials and dismantled the league’s school.

The party has to be knocked into shape, in  Xi’s view, because he wants to double down on its control. Party members in companies—including joint ventures with foreigners—have started to claim the right to approve investment decisions. Academics, once permitted a limited freedom of inquiry, now find it impossible to conduct research into sensitive subjects, such as the Cultural Revolution. State-owned newspapers have been told bluntly that their job is to serve the party. It always was, of course, but previous governments had also encouraged them to report unwelcome facts.  Xi has also cracked down on anything that might remotely challenge the party’s monopoly of power, arresting human-rights lawyers by the score and passing a new law to make life harder for charities.

 

  1. Predicting the future of China

 

Xi’s face now graces the front page of every paper in the country, while his exploits and directives headline each night’s evening news.

 

 

Dictators are always arrogant. Dictatorship is a disaster for political civilization and detrimental to genuine human development and survival.

 

Communism is linked with totalitarianism and dictatorship. But the dictatorship of poor and common people is positive trend. President Xi is not entirely a dictator like say Trump or Netanyahu.

.

This is the first time that a top power like China has named its ruler the permanent one with immediate effect.

 

China has elevated the stature of President Xi Jinping and cemented his grip on power by including his name and political ideology in the Communist Party constitution. The move puts Xi on par with Chairman Mao Zedong who founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who oversaw China’s opening up to the world.

 

The Chinese leadership defended the move, with Xi telling a group of delegates from the southern province of Guangdong that the constitutional amendments reflected “the common will of the party and people.” Repealing presidential term limits was “an important measure for perfecting the system of the party and the state,” the party’s People Daily newspaper said in a commentary published, citing the lesson of the Soviet Union’s collapse.

 

 

China has not only elevated the stature of President Xi Jinping and but also cemented his grip on power by including his name and political ideology in the Communist Party constitution.

 

China’s previous two presidents, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, haven’t had their names enshrined in the constitution in this way. Xi Jinping now has an institutional guarantee of support. He can be emperor for life — staying in power as long as his health allows. Xi looks set to emerge from the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China stronger than ever, both domestically and on the international stage.

 

Chinese parliament vote allowed President Xi Jinping to retain power indefinitely in a formal break from succession rules set up after Mao Zedong’s turbulent rule. The vote — never in doubt — gives Xi more time to enact plans to centralize party control, increase global clout and curb financial and environmental risks. It also ties the world’s most populous country more closely to the fate of a single man than at any point since reformer Deng Xiaoping began establishing a system for peaceful power transitions in the aftermath of Mao’s death.

 

Every leader since Mao has wrestled with questions about the Communist Party’s legitimacy, and Xi is no exception. For years, economic growth provided the party’s “mandate of heaven”. But growth is slowing, inequality is rising, and middle-class concerns about housing, education and health care cannot be allayed by ladling on an extra point of GDP.

In 1980 Deng Xiaoping gave a speech to the Politburo in which he called for a clearer separation between party and state, gave warning against concentrating too much authority in one person. Xi is rejecting all of Deng’s good advice. He himself might benefit. But China might not.

Xi has presided over a tough crackdown on civil society and freedom of speech that belies the chummy image – and he tolerates no ridicule or slander of his person. There are clear signs that Xi Jinping was planning to cement his grip on China.

 

The Communist Party’s power-broking congress in October confirmed Xi’s induction into the leadership pantheon alongside Mao and market reformer Deng Xiaoping by writing his name and political ideology into the party’s constitution.

Still, the proposal to repeal term limits prompted unusually open expressions of dissent. The move made China vulnerable to repeating the power struggles of past eras. It planted the seeds for China to once again fall into turmoil.

 

President Xi Jinping is moving ahead with his career plan in a systematic manner. In his first five years, he has seized control of economic policy, reasserted the Communist Party’s authority and sidelined potential rivals in an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign. Now, he’s set to make the Xi era permanent.

 

As the undisputed ruler of one-fifth of humanity, Xi is arguably the world’s most powerful leader. US President Donald Trump is battling investigations, Germany’s Angela Merkel is nursing a fragile coalition and Russia’s Vladimir Putin is struggling under sanctions. Xi, meanwhile, laid out a 30-year plan in October for a “New Era” that completes China’s restoration among the world’s great powers. The others are managing countries for a while — he’s trying to build a new one.  He’s got vastly more freedom of action than Trump and Merkel, a vastly stronger economy than Putin, but also probably a more daunting job than any of them — higher expectations.

 

The changes are so sweeping they might be seen as a turning point, with Xi officially remaking the party-state with himself at the center.  The changes leave Xi with sole responsibility for China’s $12 trillion economy, mounting debt pile, more aspirational middle class and growing overseas interests. He’s attempting to become a developed economy without loosening political control, staking the party’s legitimacy on its ability to make China rich and strong.

 

China has cracked down on online criticism of Xi’s power play, even as shares of companies with “king” or “emperor” in their names surged after the amendment was unveiled. Still, the proposal to repeal term limits prompted unusually open expressions of dissent. Li Datong, a former senior editor at the official China Youth Daily newspaper, said made China vulnerable to repeating power struggles of the past.

 

Disappointed that China is not going the Soviet way of disintegration, USA is deeply worried that it is unable to control the presidential poll in Russia and stop Xi from becoming the permanent president of China. Before the vote in Beijing, Donald Trump, maybe disappointed that his country does not have provisions to let him be the permanent US president, had joked that Xi was “now president for life”.

 

The US global dictator Donald Trump has celebrated Xi Jinping’s bid to shepherd China back into an era of one-man dictatorship in China, suggesting the USA might one day “give that a shot”. In fact, Trump praises Xi Jinping’s power grab and admires Xi’s power play.

 

The so-called “Liberals” have condemned the ‘power grab’ in Beijing, which will almost certainly be approved by members of the National People’s Congress. The topic of Xi’s power grab is so politically sensitive within China that nearly all of the academics approached by the Guardian for comment in the lead-up to congress declined to talk.

 

Some experts have criticized the move as the amendment paves the way for Xi to be China’s ruler-for-life. “This is a critical moment in China’s history,” Cheng Li, said a prominent expert in elite Chinese politics who has criticised the move.   Western experts say they are convinced Xi’s plan is to rule for many years to come.

 

Apparently, President Xi has no plan to uproot the Socialist system as Russians have done hurriedly or disband the communist agenda of the regime.

 

Globally, the world now would likely to see China continue to step into a global leadership vacuum as the USA turns inward and far away under President Donald Trump. An expert says domestically it’s about tightening Communist Party control over all aspects of Chinese life in the internet age.

 

While Russia dismantled Socialism and communism and opted to join the US led capitalist nations, China retained its socialist character and adopted gradual transformation to capitalism by adopting convergence method by which both capitalism and capitalism coexist No one can say China is a communist nation or a capitalist outfit.

 

In fact, convergence has percolated conveniently into Chinese system and society a long time ago. Socialism with Chinese Characteristics has long been used to describe how Marxism has been adapted for China. The term was closely associated with Deng Xiaoping as a way to promote economic development.

 

Regional racism: Sri Lanka and Myanmar pursue anti-Muslim policy

Regional racism: Sri Lanka and Myanmar pursue anti-Muslim policy

 – Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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Sri Lanka, like Myanmar is now a criminal state targeting minority community by misusing the majority Sinhalese criminal elements.

Though it condemns the planned attacks on Muslims and their properties, shops, restaurants, it is the state secret racist policy of Sri Lanka that emboldens the extremist criminal sections of majority Bushiest-Sinhalese populations to keep harming the genuine interests of Muslims. The state terror operations in Myanmar also encourages Lankan regime to keep a blind eye on the crimes against Muslims. .

The funny attitude of leaders of Islamic world makes the things worse for Muslims in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, India etc.

Reports say the Sri Lankan PM R. Wickremesinghe has directed the police to take action against those involved in the recent spate of attacks against the Muslim community in the Buddhist-majority country, he knows that the extremist Sinhalese are totally racist-fascist  with media and government agencies fueling  the anti-Muslim mindset to a very dangerous level. That is the deliberate double speaks of Lankan regime is responsible the state of affairs there.

Muslims, who account for around 9% of Sri Lanka’s population of 21 million, have blamed the attacks on the Body Bala Sena, or Forces of Buddhist power, an organisation that says the spread of Islam threatens Buddhism as the dominant religion. The minority Muslim community has been complaining of increasing attacks against them. Since mid-April over 30 such incidents had been recorded.

State criminal intolerance

Courts, judiciary, police, media lords and even government officals “share” the logic of Singhalese fanatics to hate Muslims and Tamils. That makes a state policy against humanity.

Yes, it is not only Muslims and Tamils who are the target of Criminalized Buddhist Singhalese but all others are being targeted in Sri Lanka. But Tamils and Muslims are worst affected in the ethnic cleansing of Lanka.

The crime situation in Sri Lanka would never have escalated to such a point without the direct support of the government, which is principally inclined towards the Sinhalese as they are a crucial vote-bank. It is also rumoured that the president’s brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa actively supports the BBS.

The police last week reportedly made three arrests after charges that they had turned a blind eye to the incidents purportedly carried out by the BBS. The BBS leader Galagodaatte Gnanasara remains at large despite a police hunt for his arrest over his responsibility to attacks against the Muslims. Recently, he had filed a petition in the Supreme Court to prevent his arrest. Gnanasara is facing contempt of court charges. His failure to attend court is currently being probed as he had cited medical reasons and death threats against him for his failure to attend court.

Last year there were numerous reported attacks by radical Buddhist groups on Christian places of worship, mosques, and even on Buddhists who spoke out against growing religious intolerance in the country. Organized mobs led by radical Buddhist monks also attacked the Assemblies of God Church and Calvary Free Church during Sunday worship services on January 12 in the coastal town of Hikkaduwa. A mob of over 200 men and women including 20 Buddhist monks entered the church while we were worshipping in the morning and damaged the building and destroyed equipment.

Bibles and hymn books were burnt. The group threw stones at the church and damaged the building. Police were unable to control the mob and asked us to leave the church immediately,” he said, adding that damages had amounted to about US$6,400.

The attackers stormed in close to midnight, tearing through town with gasoline bombs and clubs before carting away piles of cash and jewelry they stole from Muslim families in this tiny corner of Sri Lanka. The onslaught incited by the Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Power Force, a hard-line group that has gained thousands of followers in recent years, killed at least two Muslims and injured dozens more last month in the worst religious violence Sri Lanka has seen in decades.

Recently, Christians rallied in Colombo to protest against recent attacks on churches and mosques, and called on the Sri Lankan government to guarantee religious freedom for all minority religious communities in the country. “We plead for the freedoms enshrined in the constitution. The freedom of thought, conscience, religion and association should be available to all religious communities,” said Anglican Bishop Dhiloraj R. Canagasabey of the Church of Ceylon, who addressed a gathering of more than 2,000 at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Savior in the capital. “We expect the rule of law to be upheld and worry about hate speech and hate mongering against non-majority faith communities,” he said. “Christian communities face hardships in educating children in accordance with the tenants of their faith. Many children are compelled to study the majority Buddhist religion, a clear violation of our religious rights.”

Christians make up 6.1 percent of Sri Lanka’s population, while Muslims make up 9.7 percent, Hindus 12.6 percent and Buddhists 70.2 percent.

 

Muslims the prime target of Buddhist fanaticism

Sri Lanka perhaps is still deeply scarred by the 1983-2009 civil war between the Buddhist Sinhalese majority and ethnic Tamils, who are largely Hindus. But during the war, Buddhist-Muslim violence was relatively rare.  The Singhalese monks leading Bodu Bala Sena have amassed a significant following in recent years, drawing thousands of followers. At raucous rallies, radical monks encourage violence against minorities and implore Sri Lankans to preserve the purity of the Buddhist majority.

Like politics, religion has also been criminalized by Singhalese religious politicians seeking wealth and power.

Muslims are their particular target for self advancement. In order to target Muslims for attacks, the members of the Bodu Bala Sena claim Muslims are out to recruit children and marry Buddhist women. They, like the RSS-BJP criminal duo does in India, even say Muslims are trying to take over the country by increasing their birthrate and secretly sterilizing Buddhists.  Even as the country has seen rising instances of hate speech against Muslims and attacks on Muslim-owned businesses, there have been few attacks on people as well.

Rajapaksa’s government turned a blind eye to the violence as a way to shore up its core constituency — the Sinhalese Buddhist population — which makes up about 75 percent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people. But the Sirisena government could have easily put down the majority Singhalese community’s criminal networks that harm the nation by organized crimes. At the root of the failure of the government to check the violence is electoral politics. But unwillingness on the part of the regime to safeguard Muslims has made the life of Muslims terrible.

Foreign embassies and the U.N. also demanded action. The United States canceled a five-year, multiple-entry visa held by the BBS’s general secretary, according to the group’s chief executive, Dilanta Vithanage. But he is a “big hero” in Sri Lanka. All attacks by the BBS have gone unpunished and hard-line monks, for the most part, have acted without fear of any legal repercussions.

The Sirisena government is under fire, accused of failing to protect Sri Lanka’s tiny Muslim minority and allowing radical Buddhists spewing illegal hate speech to operate with impunity for years.

The government let the Singhalese extremists grow into a monstrous fashion to shamelessly attack other communities exposing themselves as being anti-God and anti-Buddhists.

True believers in any religion won’t behave like wild beasts. Without peacefully persuasive strength and with criminal aggressiveness a religion becomes mere nonsense.

 

Why the Lankan regime is so blind?

A government is duty bound to protect and help advance the genuine interests of every citizen without any animosity being shown against any sections of the society, particularly the minorities. However, most regimes misbehave with minority communities. Most governments pretend to be blind as minority people are being targeted by the majority community’s extremist gangs. .

Like India, Sri Lanka also sought to be a big power after getting freedom from UK and they target the minority communities as a matter of revenge for the British era oppressive colonist policies against them.

Apparently, Myanmar, Lanka and India shamelessly have joint agenda against minority populations, particularly against Muslims. Time and again RSS gangs unleash violence on Indian Muslims especially in the north. They desecrate mosques, burn Holy Quran, residential, commercial and industrial units and turn Muslims into penniless. This has been common occurrences and were incidents when Muslim women were stripped naked, paraded in streets and video filmed. Culprits were rarely brought to book even under congress governments.  This has been happening to Sri Lankan Muslims ever since violent attacks were unleashed under the defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The continued violence has raised fears that Sri Lanka could soon see echoes of Myanmar, where Buddhist monks helped incite violence in 2012 and 2013 in which Buddhist mobs slaughtered Rohingya Muslims. Still, many Sri Lankans and human rights workers are alarmed, saying the monks are creating communal divisions and giving Buddhism a bad name.

It is common knowledge that Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thero, General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena, a violent anti-Muslim outfit, flourished under Rajapaksa government. He is a man of violence and openly displays his hatred towards Muslims .There are numerous police cases against him. Yet he was seen meeting President Sirisena who promised the nation to bring such people to books.  This was an insult to justice and Muslims.

The Singhalese hate politics and anti-Muslim attitude continued as the physical attacks on Muslims in Gintota, Ampara and areas in and around Digana, Teledeniya, Pallekelle, Akurana, Ambatenne and other places causing billions of rupees worth of destruction depriving  livelihood of thousands of families who were forced to live in fear and misery.

Should a regime shield the criminal gangs belonging to the majority community?

Sri Lanka, like India and Myanmar, views Muslims as it enemy and not as a part of the new independent nation.

 

Poisonous nexus of regional and global networks

Nationalist Buddhist monks in Myanmar and Sri Lanka are playing a key role in instigating hatred and provoking violence towards the Muslim minorities in both countries, claiming that such action is necessary in order to protect Buddhist race and culture

More than 655,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh. Medecins Sans Frontieres estimates that at least 6,700 Rohingya died violent deaths, most from gunshots. The racist Burmese government has shown no interest in reckoning with these atrocities.  Lankan government shows it is working.

The Hindutva communal government in India, RSS – front BJP, whose PM Narendra Modi was the architect of the genocide of Gujarat Muslims in February 2002 which killed more than 2000 besides burning their properties. Even before this government came to power the Indian RSS established close ties with racist elements here. Thus one cannot rule out their role in the racist attacks on Muslims.

Tensions between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar have been high since violence broke out in the state of Rakhine in June 2012, displacing over 1.3 million people. At the time, Human Rights Watch documented the role of the clergy that led mobs of attackers. Deadly riots broke out between Buddhists and Muslims in southern Sri Lanka, killing and injuring the minority Muslims. Bodu Bala Sena (BBS, the Buddhist Strength Force), a nationalist Buddhist group with a notorious reputation, is being blamed for the incident. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera, the group’s leader, gave a speech around the time of the riots in which he claimed that the Sinhalese Buddhist population was under serious threat from the Muslims. This instigated further violence by large mobs, which attacked mosques and burned down shops and houses in Muslim neighborhoods.

When Rajapaksa government established close ties with Israel many predicted that it is matter of time before Israel uses racist to unleash violence against the island’s Muslims and destabilize the country. Today it appears that these fears have come true.

President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe have opened the country to USA, Israel and India. The connecting bond among these three countries is their common hatred towards Islam and Muslims. Israel’s global agenda has been to destroy Islam and slaughter Muslims as they had done, and still doing, in the Middle East

Sri Lanka has become a nation of corruption, crime and intolerance against humanity. Now the question is whether the Maithri-Ranil government has brought to the island the US-UK-Israel and Indian global anti-Muslim campaign.

As time went on the number of attacks on Muslim continue to increase while the government continued to turned blind eye. Muslims took up the matter with President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and even the top policy authorities. Sirisena argues that it is Mahinda Rajapaksa’s conspiracy to topple the government and he never uttered a word about enforcing law and order and punishes the majority culprits.

President Sirisena’s government, true to its anti-Muslim ideology, has refused to condemn the recent genocide of Rohingya Muslims. Meanwhile there began sporadic attacks on Muslims and the perpetrators were not brought to justice.

Further, the Muslim hopes were dashed as Maithri-Ranil government dismissed their interests and sentiments from the very inception. Their reconciliation rhetoric was a mere stunt to protect and promote criminal Singhalese. The anti-Muslim policy of Sri Lanka endeared itself to western powers too. Sirisena visited Holocaust Museum during his visit to Germany dismissing the sentiments of Muslims. This was followed by the official invitation to British war criminal Tony Blair who, together with US war criminal George Bush, invaded Iraq and destroyed that country besides killing five percent of the Iraqi population.

This is the question arises in view of the refusal of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to take timely  precautionary measures  to protect  Muslims from the senseless attacks and the damage to the country  by racist elements.  The government has failed to ensure the security of Muslims and property in Digana and elsewhere even after it was evident that a communal riot was in the making.

Joint criminal exercises

Muslim communities make up about 10 per cent of the total population in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, both of which have a Buddhist majority. The communal clashes in Myanmar have been attributed to the 969 movement, an Islamophobic movement led by Monk Wirathu. Touted as the “Burmese Bin Laden”, his hate-filled sermons have called for a boycott of Muslim businesses and have petitioned the government to introduce stricter inter-marriage laws.

These well-planned and executed carnages on the Muslims have all the hallmarks of Rastriya Seva Sangh (RSS) attacks in India since partition in 1947.

Many corporatist foreign governments still refuse to criticize racist crimes in Myanmar and Srilanka. The Australian government has resisted calls to punish the Lankan regime and sanction Burma’s military for its ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims.

Many governments have condemned Burma for these atrocities at the United Nations Human Rights Council and General Assembly but have not condemned the Lankan government. .

Human Rights Watch interviewed Rohingya from the village who described in chilling detail how families sprinted to the beach as soldiers swarmed in, firing their weapons.  Soldiers rounded up the men, shot and stabbed them to death, and burned the bodies in a massive bonfire on the beach. Soldiers then turned to the women and girls and beat, raped, slashed, burned and killed them.

One should not forget that Sri Lanka today is an active playground for super power politics in view of its strategic location and the ongoing super rivalry in the Indian Ocean. They are all busy manipulating   to implement their agendas here often at the expense of the country.

The damage has already been done to Muslims and the island country as a whole. Anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka is on the rise and the government must take action before events spiral out of control.  The state failure to hold to take action against these groups has only emboldened the Singhalese criminals further and plunged minorities in a deeper state of fear. This is not the first time such horrors have been visited upon the country’s Muslim minority. This is not a dispute between Sinhalese and Muslims or Buddhism and Islam. This is sheer bankrupt racist politics.

 

End majority fanaticism and crimes

Experts reveal that the network of extremist Buddhists is growing across Asia as they collaborate in countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Encouraged by the anti-Islam war by USA and NATO, the extremist Buddhists in these countries see Islam as a global force that is backed by powerful countries and money and lot of powerful institutions and covert terrorist organisations.

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UN Dayan Jayatilake insists that the government is not taking concrete measures to curb the activities of extremist Sinhalese Buddhists in the country. Any one of the minor episodes of violence could spiral out of control and that the country could have another cycle of violence.

Analysts are certain that profound damage has been done to relationships in the island nation and that tension will remain for a long time. A high powered task force on religious extremism and violence could help improve the situation only if that is allowed to act, while foreign governments, the UN and other influential international players should be making it very clear to the government of Sri Lanka that the situation cannot continue indefinitely

Still proper condemnation is not forthcoming, but condemnations alone are not enough to end crimes against Muslims. .

Has the collapsing Maithri-Ranil government joined the anti-Muslim United States, Israeli and Indian war mongers axis to implement their evil designs on innocent Muslims in the island?

Sick of this carnage more than 95 percent of Muslims voted for President Maithripala Sirisena who pledged to bring to book all criminals and those who caused communal disharmony. But Sirisena remains a mere Singhalese ruler who takes decision in consultation with former ruler Rajapaksha.

That is the tragedy of minorities of Sri Lanka as well as the nation.

Islam is the genuine religion that beings man closer to God not against any other religions and as such false fear of Islam and Islamophobia stunts only further vitiate the atmosphere to the benefits of anti-religious and essentially atheist criminal gangs and they must end for promoting peace.

Muslims are equal citizens of Myanmar, India and Sri Lanka and have all rights to protection of their property and lives and equal treatment under the law. The governments of these countries need to make that possible.

In the face of the recurring atrocities and denials, unequivocal action from concerned countries is needed. That means targeted sanctions against those responsible, including senior military commanders in charge of the ethnic cleansing campaign, to prevent them from traveling to capitalist countries like USA and Australia, and freezing any assets that they may have here.

Continued silence by UN veto members particularly Russia and China on the genocides of Muslims in these countries would make their self prestige high in any manner.

Unused diplomacy to stop crimes against humanity is as bad as motionless dead nations.

The UN and global governments need to send a strong message to racist and anti- Muslim countries like Myanmar Sri Lanka and India that its response to ethnic cleansing cannot be “business” as usual.

The international community should be saying to the governments of India, Burma and Sri Lanka that they should be trying to shut down the Hindutva and Buddhist terror links across the regional n

Egypt- trembling democracy- to reelect President Sisi

Egypt-  trembling democracy- to reelect President Sisi

– Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

______

 

As Egyptians were hoping to see a new Egypt with all democratic rights restored to citizens and their economic position improved, the successful 2013 coup by the military removing and arresting the present Mohammad Morsi came as a rude shock to them.

The military shut the mouths of the people, crippled all democratic expectations. In the televised announcement, Sisi listed Egypt’s achievements during his first term, including a nascent financial recovery after years of political turmoil and economic instability.

People felt betrayed by the revolutionaries and military establishment. They also see a secret deal between them. But most of Arab Muslim nations and their western allies rejoiced the military take over from the democratic dispensation.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former general who came to power in a coup against his democratically elected predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, is now all but certain to win the March election in a landslide. After removing, with the backing of USA and Saudi Arabia, among others, the first ever elected President Mohammed Mursi, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi became President of Egypt.

In January Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he will run for a second term in office in an election in March, which the former military commander is widely expected to win. The vote will be held on March 26-28, with a run-off vote on April 24-26 if no candidate wins more than 50 percent in the first round. Candidates will register from Jan. 20 to 29.

Repression

Ahead of its March 26-28 presidential election, the Sisi regime is intensifying its crackdown on a free press. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is running essentially unopposed for reelection; the regime has been relentless against even the hint of credible opposition.

 

A coalition of Egyptian opposition groups have called for an election boycott, calling the vote”absurdity bordering on madness” after all serious candidates were either arrested or subjected to a campaign of intimidation. In a joint statement, eight Egyptian opposition parties and 150 pro-democracy public figures urged Egyptians to stay away from the March polls in protest, accusing the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of preventing “any fair competition”.

Several potential candidates have either been arrested or faced threats, intimidation and physical violence, forcing them to drop out. Sami Anan, a former general, had planned to run against Sisi but was arrested at gunpoint by Egyptian security services. His vice-presidential candidate, Hisham Genena, was attacked and seriously injured in a busy Cairo street. In December 2017, Ahmed Konsowa, an army colonel, was sentenced to six years in prison after announcing his candidacy, while human rights lawyer Khaled Ali withdrew after receiving a three-month prison sentence. The New York Times quoted one of Shafik’s lawyers as saying that the Egyptian government had forced him to withdraw by threatening to investigate previous charges of corruption against him.

Earlier, Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, seen as the most serious potential challenger to date, said he was no longer considering a bid following a firestorm of criticism from state-aligned media and speculation that he was being held by authorities in a Cairo hotel. His most high-profile challengers are former army chief of staff Sami Anan and human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, but neither is expected to garner enough votes to oust him.

Sisi’s only challenger is Mousa Mostafa Mousa, a government supporter who entered the race at the 11th hour, amid fears that a widespread boycott could lead to embarrassingly few votes being cast. Mousa, who formally submitted his candidacy 15 minutes before the deadline despite not publicly declaring his intention to run until the day before, denied allegations he was cooperating with the government, saying, “We are not puppets in this race.”

However the 66-year-old has repeatedly endorsed Sisi, and last year formed a campaign called “Supporters of President el-Sisi’s nomination for a second term”.  Egyptians took to social media and used the hashtag Al-Kombares, which loosely translates to someone playing the role of an “extra”, to mock Mousa’s candidacy and the upcoming poll.

The supporters of Sisi claim that Sisi’s rule has brought some stability to the country, but critics say his popularity has been eroded by tough economic reforms that have hit people’s livelihood’s hard and by a crackdown on dissidents. Some argue that measures are needed to keep the country stable as it faces security challenges including attacks by Islamic State militants in the North Sinai region.

Egyptian presidents have often “used false organic displays of popularity as part of their political propaganda toolkit. Sisi came to prominence when he led the army’s ouster of President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 – Egypt’s first freely elected leader – two years after the downfall of longtime ruler President Hosni Mubarak in the “Arab Spring” uprisings that swept the Middle East. The former general became president himself in 2014, winning 96.91 percent of the vote, although turnout was only about 47 percent of the 54 million voters, after voting was extended for a day. Sisi’s critics say his popularity has been hurt by austerity reforms, security problems, a crackdown on dissidents and his decision to hand two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, which showered Egypt with billions of dollars of aid, touching a nationalistic nerve.

Democracy is causality

Democracy and a free press are again facing an existential threat in Egypt. The regime of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is intensifying its long-running crackdown on journalists in the lead-up to the country’s March 26-28 presidential election.

Egypt ranks 161 out of 180 countries in press freedoms according to watchdog Reporters Without Borders’ 2017 Press Freedoms Index. The government’s warnings to media are not new.  in recent months, authorities have blocked about 500 websites, including media outlets like Al-Jazeera and the local Mada Masr, while journalists have been arrested.

Media in Egypt faces increased scrutiny and restrictions by authorities ahead of a presidential election this month incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will dominate. The disturbed president, addressing media, warned on Thursday against “defamation” of security forces.

A reporter for the Huffington Post’s Arabic website was detained last month after publishing an interview with prominent dissident Hisham Geneina who mentioned the existence of documents that are damaging to senior state officials.  At least 29 journalists are in detention, according to Reporters Without Borders, including some accused of working for media affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood group. Some of the restrictions are unprecedented.

The government has not confirmed or denied its role in the blackout, but Taher said internet providers do not block websites without a request from authorities. For some outlets, the measure has impacted their operations. One site, Masr Al-Arabia, had to reduce staff by 60 per cent.

The government’s State Information Service called for an official boycott of the BBC last week after a report on abuses in which a woman claimed her daughter had been forcibly disappeared by security. The daughter later appeared in an interview on a local television station, saying she had run away, married and had a child. The BBC said it stood by the “integrity” of its reporters. The report appears to have prompted the prosecution statement saying its lawyers would take action against outlets that publish “false news” and “news and rumours that harm public safety.” Much of the domestic media is seen as generally pliant, and criticism of Sisi is rare.

The government has increased criticism of foreign media, which had been a frequent target of attacks by politicians over the years. It often accuses foreign journalists of biased coverage of the country, especially when it comes to human rights abuses.

Rights groups say he has led an unprecedented crackdown on political opponents, activists and critical media. Those challenging Sisi describe a sweeping effort to kill off their campaigns before they have begun, with media attacks on candidates, intimidation of supporters, and a nomination process stacked in favour of the former general.

Foreign relations

Egypt’s relations with Saudi Arabia have improved, while its relations with the USA have worsened—lately over issues of North Korean arms deals. The reelection of another Egyptian ‘strongman’ will be a significant step backward for the country, made harder to rectify after the fact if the constitution is amended.

After a brief dip in relations over disagreements regarding the Syrian war, Egypt and Saudi Arabia appear to have become closer. Both countries have exceedingly powerful one-man rule systems, with both leaders claiming the mantle of ‘reformer’ against a reform-resistant culture—though both are strengthening their grasp in terms of near-dictatorial powers.

The March 4-7 visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to Egypt is a clear sign of the improved relations. Egypt is supportive of Saudi Arabia’s 9-month long bitter dispute with fellow GCC member, Qatar, which has devolved into a stalemate with no winner.

Saudi Arabia has always been a crucial financial supporter of Egypt—and of Sisi in particular—after the coup that toppled the Muslim Brotherhood government of President al-Morsi and put Sisi in power. Riyadh’s deep opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood matches Sisi’s, and the two are determined to prevent the group from gaining influence in either country.

 

Saudi financial support for Egypt is more important now given the relative downturn in relations between Egypt and the USA. The issue between the two countries is not over human rights or freedom of the press. President Trump has expressed support for Sisi as a ‘strong leader’ and met with him at the White House in April 2017 and in Riyadh in May 2017.

Rather, the issue is Egypt’s illicit purchases of North Korean military hardware that runs afoul of international sanctions. In August 2017, the U.S. suspended $291 million in military aid to Egypt because of allegations by the USA and the United Nations that Egypt was allowing the North Korean embassy in Cairo to serve as a hub for illicit arms deals.

In 2016, a North Korean freighter was intercepted before it made port in Egypt and was found to be carrying 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades. As the U.S. increases pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons programs, it will look very negatively upon any actions that provide Pyongyang with monetary resources.

Egypt has had a long history of arms deals with North Korea, to which numerous US governments have routinely objected. The intense focus by the Trump government on the issue is a rare but important point of contention between Cairo and Washington.

Dictatorship

Dictator Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has removed all signs of democracy from the scene of Egypt. After enjoying power of President for a full term, now he is eager to resume power, “democratically” by elections, though for him the poll result would be a cake walk as no one thinks he would be defeated.

Yet, Sisi is keen to create an impression that Egypt is peaceful and people are happy with his misrule.

The expected push to remove term limits—combined with the regime’s absolute control over the national political dialogue and the military’s oversized role in the economy—would have provided the briefest of moments for opponents to organize and promote a future for Egypt that isn’t a return to its past. But that is not possible in Egypt.

There is, of course, opposition to Sisi and the return-of-the-pharaoh rule but it is scattered; the regime has been relentless against even the hint of credible opposition. The absence of unified and organized opposition makes it very unlikely that the expected constitutional changes will be thwarted.

That the regime is still so intent on squashing any reporting that might raise questions as to the country’s current and future paths, even in an election where there is no credible opposing candidate, indicates the goals of the regime are looking beyond the counting of the upcoming ballots.

As the Washington Post noted in a March 8 article, the election is not really about reelecting Sisi; it is about a ‘procedural hurdle to clear before the much more consequential effort of constitutional change.’

Rights activists say the authorities have become more restrictive in general, showing little tolerance for dissent.

 

Since the election of president Sisi is a foregone conclusion there is no need for speculative exercises here.

The fate if Egyptians cannot be any better after the poll.

Will a reset possible in Russia-Pakistan relationship?


Will a reset possible in Russia-Pakistan relationship?

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

———

 

At the outset, one fact regarding US approach towards its allies needs elucidation.  USA does not like if any of its important allies abandons it and joins its foes. While it is engaged in double speaks and double standards, USA does not allow that privilege to its allies and the super power wants from them total commitment.

For years since the onset of Cold War, USA has used Pakistan as its important ally in South Asia to contain India, a close military ally of Russia. Washington exploited maximum from Pakistan that feels vulnerable to Indian threat practices by misusing Pakistan as its slave or servant knowing fully well the latter’s problems with its neighbor India. Pakistan on its own felt a great relive in working for USA and Europe for service charges.

So, USA would not let a new Russo—Pakistani relationship taking shape that would upset US strategy for Asia. In earlier occasions when Russia moved forward to forge economic relations with Pakistan, USA intervened to disrupt the emerging relationship. The veto position that both the super powers hold is responsible for making such mutual ‘adjustments’.

As USA  is losing its dominant importance in West Asia, a new friendship appears to be blossoming between Pakistan and Russia very recently. Indeed a gradual military relationship is emerging between them as the Russian Deputy Chief of General Staff Colonel General Israkov Yuryevich was hosted by Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Nazir Ahmed Butt on a visit to North and South Waziristan just a few days ago.

This is an interesting and unusual development. Reports also suggest that the military relations between the countries are growing rapidly but we cannot be so forward as to call it an alliance yet.

Since the Cold War Pakistan has been an ally of USA while India was very close to Russia, striking profitable economic deals with the erstwhile Communist regime in Moscow.

Russian Navy’s largest anti-submarine warfare ship Severmorsk arrived in Pakistan for participation in the Aman 2017 international naval exercises in February 2017. While Pakistan also confirmed purchase of Mi-35 ground attack helicopters in 2015 

But is a blooming military relationship enough to draw any conclusions too soon about the relations between the two states, especially given the complicated history?

Reasons

The reset of foreign policy being worked out by Russia for South Asia has only military reasons and Moscow by such moves  gets what it wants from New Delhi. .

In fact, Russia which being a close military ally, does not have any concrete military deals with Pakistan and whenever it sees the need to make India buy Russian weapons, Russia  announces to have established close military ties with Pakistan- a deliberate move to force India to quickly place orders for terror goods and technology. . .

When India knew that Russia once again is trying with its old trick for alliance with Pakistan only in order to force New Delhi to place bulk orders for terror goods from Moscow,  Indian defence minster Nirmala Sitharaman has been flown to Moscow with a massive military orders for latest missile systems, among other needs. The 39,000 crore rupee deal (390 billion rupees, $6.1 billion) is for five S-400 systems has been struck recently.

All the five S-400 systems, which can even take on medium-range ballistic missiles, apart from cruise missiles, will be delivered in 54 months. The force-multiplier will change the dynamics of air defence in the region,” an unnamed Indian defence ministry source said. India is focused on long-range interceptors. India may want to deploy the S-400 to counter threats from Pakistan’s short-range Nasr (Hatf-IX) nuclear missiles

India is the world’s largest defence importer and has signed several big-ticket defense deals since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in 2014. The majority of the defense deals are part of Modi’s ‘Make In India’ strategy to include significant transfer of technology in defense acquisition, encouraging foreign investment in joint ventures to produce military hardware in India. Some deals have stumbled recently over the Make in India and transfer of technology conditions, including an on-again off-again purchase of Spike ATGMs from Israel.

The ongoing tug-of-war between the USA and Russia in the region may be a reason for Russia’s developing interest in Pakistan. Pakistani history with Afghanistan and the Taliban and its friendship with China are the two reasons for this interest.

Russia reminds not to forget that there was a time when there was a Quadrilateral Coordination Group consisting of China, Pakistan, USA and Afghanistan to discuss reconciliation in Afghanistan in 2016. This threatened Russia and it entered into separate talks with China and Pakistan regarding Afghanistan.

The anti-Pakistani rhetoric and criticism by USA has force Pakistan to loo for Russian support to face the current US strategy. Pakistan has been on a fast track with China in improving economic ties on large scale, making USA annoyed with Pakistan. Apparently, all angry outbursts nad cancellations of aid etc are meant essentially to force Pakistan to shed China as USA is pursuing its Asia Pivot targeting China.

Pakistan’s proximity and ties with Afghanistan is another strong reason why Russia wants to court Islamabad. Russia wants to bring Afghanistan, which is now under US-India control, under its influence as much as the USA does, and Pakistan has prior experience dealing with Afghan Taliban.

Moreover, Russia is motivated by fears of a growing presence of Islamic State militants in neighboring Afghanistan and has warmed up to Pakistan as well as to Taliban insurgents battling the upstart Islamic State group affiliate known as Khorasan Province, the ancient name of an area that once included parts of Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia.

In the latest move to strengthen ties, Russia recently named an honorary consul to Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, which borders Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, where IS has established its headquarters. The ISIS is also present in northern Afghanistan’s border regions with Central Asia, causing further consternation in Moscow.

Russia’s honorary consul, Mohammad Arsallah Khan, who belongs to a powerful business family in Pakistan’s northwest, said economic development is the best weapon against extremism.  “when you can give people a way of earning a living, they will turn away from terrorism, away from extremism.” The appointment reflects a stark turnaround in Pakistan’s historical relationship with Russia. He said would promote increased commerce with Pakistan’s neighbors, including Russia, which currently accounts for barely $500 million in trade.

Recently, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Washington of failing to go after the Islamic State group in Afghanistan. In response, Washington’s senior diplomat for South Asia, Alice Wells, accused Russia of ignoring anti-IS offensives launched by US and Afghan forces in eastern Afghanistan, while at the same time pursuing them in new havens, particularly in northern Afghanistan. Wells suggested Russia “should unequivocally support the Afghan government” if it wants to end the conflict in Afghanistan, a thinly veiled reference to allegations of Russian support for the Taliban.

For some, Russia’s cozying up to Pakistan is a bit of a “poke in the eye” to the USA, still embroiled in the Afghan conflict that is now in its 17th year and is Washington’s longest war, costing more than $122 billion, according to its own special Inspector General on Afghan Reconstruction.

American mischief

Like every other set of bilateral ties, US-Pakistan ties are determined and regulated by USA and Islamabad has to just obey the masters in Washington and Tel Aviv. That is the only choice available to Pakistan which must bear the brunt of US coercive diplomacy. .

Years of coercive diplomacy has made Pakistan a puppet regime serving the US interests.

Washington recently persuaded member states of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan back on the “grey list” of nations with inadequate terrorist financing or money laundering controls. Pakistan was on the list for three years, until 2015.

Obviously, abrupt end of ties and aid flow into Islamabad as service charges has upset the plans of policy makers in Islamabad. Over dependence has made Pakistan a beggar state.

The diplomatic setback has sparked anger in Islamabad against the US, which championed the motion against Pakistan at the FATF meeting in Paris. It represented another blow to the worsening relationship between the uneasy allies, who have long differed on how to combat militants waging war in Afghanistan. It has also heightened concerns that Pakistan is becoming internationally isolated, and that its economy could suffer if global banking intuitions cut links with the nuclear-armed nation, or otherwise increase the cost of doing business with Pakistan.

However, adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail has brushed off concerns that economic growth will suffer because of the country’s re-inclusion on a terrorist financing watch-list, and lashed out at the United States for seeking to “embarrass” his country.

USA launches aids and promotes terror networks to sit its foreign policy needs. Ismail, who led Pakistan’s negotiations in Paris, told the media that Washington did not seem genuinely eager to see Pakistan boost its terrorist financing regulations and was instead bent on humiliating the country. “If the Americans were interested in working with us and improving our CTF (counter-terrorist financing) regulations, they would have taken the offer “But their idea was just to embarrass Pakistan.”

Ismail ruled out Pakis­tan’s retaliation against Washington over the FATF listing. He said the country would keep working to improve its CTF capabilities and win the confidence of Britain, Germany and France, who co-sponsored the US motion in Paris.

Pakistan hoped to be removed from the grey list soon, when it would be officially placed on the watch list, Ismail added. The adviser said he did not foresee the FATF decision acting as a brake on Pakistan’s economy, which, with growth above five per cent, is expanding at its fastest pace in a decade.

Ismail said that he had urged the USA to allow Pakistan until June to fix any outstanding CTF issues and ceded ground in negotiations to strike a deal, but the USA is determined to see Pakistan suffer. Pakis­tan’s law-enforcement short­­comings were often confused for lack of desire, especially at provincial level, where police officers are poorly trained when it comes to terrorist financing legislation.

 

 

Soviet era policy

Russian policy for India and Pakistan is rooted the Soviet era policy.

The main reason why Pakistan sought friendship with the USA and joined the American camp during the Cold War was economic and technical assistance. Fast growing Indo-Russia ties speeded up Islamabad’s need to seek US cooperation and USA used Pakistan for its global ambitions especially in Arab world.  That the Pakistani government and policymakers cloaked the rationale for this assistance in ideological terms is not surprising.

In order to attack the erstwhile Soviet Union, USA had generated terror outfits inside Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan denies organised camps exist now on its territory, though it says insurgents move throughout the country among the Afghan refugee population of 1.5 million. Pakistan also assails Afghanistan for allowing anti-Pakistan militants to have territory from which they plot and carry out attacks against Pakistan.

World War II and subsequent Cold war forced entire Islamic world to support and promote US interests. The USA frightened entire Islamic world with the Soviet “Communist invasion” and genocides of Muslims. But that is only a mischief but USA is cause of al problems.  A Russian resident in Pakistan stated that contrary to Pakistan’s fears, the Soviet government “never had any intentions to walk into Pakistan”.  Even when the Soviet Union had a military presence in Afghanistan Pakistan remained beyond Pakistani strategic plans.

Pakistan worked for USA quite blindly, willingly executing everything that USA demands that India would reject.  The narrative taught in Pakistan starts with the assumption that the Soviet Union was anti-Pakistan right from Pakistan’s creation. Such was the Pakistani aversion to the Soviets that the process to set up diplomatic relations took over seven months even though Zafrullah Khan, Pakistan’s foreign minister, and Andrei Gromyko, Soviet deputy foreign minister, met on the subject of diplomatic relations in April 1948.

While Russia was aiming at bringing all third world nations under it ageist USA, Pakistan saw relations with the Soviet Union from the prism of relations with India just as these days it sees ties with the USA. Pakistan’s leaders were keen to have the USA on their side and actively sought an invitation from Washington. In May 1949 Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru announced his plans to visit the USA in October 1950. Pakistanis were disappointed that Nehru was invited to Moscow before their prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan.

Moscow, like Washington, played geopolitics. Soon thereafter it was announced that Liaquat would visit Moscow, becoming the first Commonwealth head of government to visit the Soviet Union. The Moscow visit never materialized and instead in December 1949 it was announced that the prime minister would visit the USA in May 1950.

Saudi Arabia influenced Pakistani decisions which in turn are controlled by the USA. The real reason why the USA was chosen over Soviet Union became apparent in a background paper written by the Study Group of Pakistan Institute of International Affairs in 1956: “There are important divergences of outlook between Pakistan, with its Islamic background, and the Soviet Union with its background of Marxism which is atheistic … Pakistan had noticed the subservience which was forced upon the allies of the Soviet Union … Furthermore, there was the question whether Russia could supply the aid, both material and technical, which Pakistan so urgently needed.”

Occupation of Afghanistan

USA was focused on removing Soviet military from Afghanistan and used Pakistan for that purpose.

While militarily intervening in Afghanistan for various reasons, Soviet strategists never contemplated invading Pakistan. They had a strategic relationship with India and did not wish to threaten a close military and economic ally by extending their military presence to India’s borders.

Pakistan saw relations with the Soviet Union from the prism of relations with India just as these days it sees ties with the US. In May 1949 Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru announced his plans to visit the USA in October 1950. Pakistan’s leaders were keen to have the USA on their side and actively sought an invitation from Washington. They were disappointed that Nehru was invited before their prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan.

Soon thereafter it was announced that Liaquat would visit Moscow, becoming the first Commonwealth head of government to visit the Soviet Union. The Moscow visit never materialized and instead in December 1949 it was announced that the prime minister would visit the USA in May 1950.

Although Pakistan was not mentioned in the final communique that followed the recent Financial Action Task Force on terror funding, a motion by Washington to have Pakistan put on a global watch list prompted the task force to demand that Islamabad prove it is doing enough to curb terror financing by the time they meet again in June. Most analysts said the deadline was an indication that even its deep friendship with China was not enough to counter US pressure. China, like USA, is not a charity and does not provide assistance on demand; it only provides support — including key allies like Pakistan — when it serves its interests. Additionally, the extent of Russian support for Pakistan to this point is unclear.”

Out of all the declassified Soviet archives related to the military intervention in Afghanistan there are a few which do mention Pakistan. Those that do, mainly talk about the need for talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan. None mention the “push towards warm waters” cited by Gen Ziaul Haq as the explanation of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and as justification for the US-backed jihad that haunts Pakistan to this day. Over that burden, USA has now imposed on Pakistan further hardships.

Documentation from December 1979 highlights disagreement between Soviet military and civilian leaders on the decision to intervene militarily in Afghanistan. In 1979 it was proposed that in exchange for Afghanistan’s support for Pakistan’s entry into the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), Pakistan would ban political activities of Afghan refugees and refrain from sending armed groups into Afghanistan.

In July 1980 President Zia put forth a proposal for holding talks between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran under the aegis of the Soviet Union. The Soviets reveal their suspicion of the “seriousness” of US and Zia’s intentions. Yet they agreed to go ahead with the proposal and offered themselves as mediators. The talks never took place because of Soviet and Afghan refusal to accept Pakistan’s demands that President Babrak Kamal be replaced and also because Iran backed out from these talks as well.

After decades of assumptions and speculations, now there is access to the Soviet archives to find definitive information on Soviet intentions towards Pakistan. But Pakistanis do not delve into these archives because rather than searching for the truth, they prefer to live in a make-believe world.

Even when the Soviet Union had a military presence in Afghanistan, its neighbor Pakistan remained beyond Russian strategic plans. The reason for such an approach is that historically we had partnership relations with India”.

Documentation from December 1979 highlights disagreement between Soviet military and civilian leaders on the decision to intervene militarily in Afghanistan.

In July 1980 Zia put forth a proposal for holding talks between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran under the aegis of the Soviet Union. The talks never took place because of Soviet and Afghan refusal to accept Pakistan’s demands that President Babrak Kamal be replaced and also because Iran backed out from these talks as well. The narrative taught in Pakistan starts with the assumption that the Soviet Union was anti-Pakistan right from Pakistan’s creation, just as the media is now busy trying to convince us that the United States is out to destroy the destabilized Pakistan.

Alliance of convenience

For Americans any alliance with another country, including Great Britain, is act of convenience and once the US purpose is solved, the alliance is canceled or kept in cold.

After many decades of close operations, USA and Pakistan have now realized that their alliance has been fragile. Anti-Islamic causes of the West used a weak Pakistan on payment basis to target Islam and Muslims but since the alliance is not genuine, now the USA has, after killing thousands of Muslims in Pakistan and Af-Pak, insulted and warned it of stepping up its strategic partnership with India.

Now Pakistan is affected in all respects.

In the 1980s, Pakistan and the USA were united against Russia as the Soviet Union sent 150,000 soldiers into Afghanistan to prop up its communist ally in the Afghan capital, Kabul. At the time, Pakistan, with US backing, used Peshawar as a staging arena to deploy Islamic insurgents mujahedeen — or as President Ronald Reagan often called them, “freedom fighters” — to wage war on Russia. After 10 years of occupation, Russia failed to win the war and on February 15, 1989, left Afghanistan in a negotiated exit. Now USA has cross those Russian years and continues to occupy the lands of brave Afghans.

Still, Russia worries about the US presence in Afghanistan.  Russia is concerned about the long-term presence of the USA and its allies in Afghanistan and Syria, and therefore it’s in Russia’s long-term interests to have an inside view of the situation in Afghanistan fo which Pakistan provides the viewing platform.

Russian relations with Pakistan aim to solve two problems for Moscow. First, to blunt the threat of IS from Afghanistan. Second, to undermine US influence, he said. “The point is that Russia and Pakistan probably have more in common with respect to the war in Afghanistan than the United States has with either — and this is a real turnaround from prior history.”

In Pakistan Brig Saad reminded viewers about the proxy war the two nations were fighting in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He said the relationship only started to mend in 2014 when Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu visited Pakistan in November 2014 “and signed a defence cooperation contract with us.”  He elaborated on the growing military cooperation between the two countries, saying, “Last year’s military exercise is an example of the countries’ conjoined interests, apart from that the naval forces of both countries participated in ‘Arabian Monsoon’ exercises in 2014 and again in 2015.

Brig Saad was referring to September 2016, when around 200 military personnel of both countries participated in the drills. The special operations drills codenamed ‘Druzhbha-2016’ — a Russian word meaning “friendship” — saw Russian troops and Pakistani Special Forces working in close cooperation.

Close ties between Pakistan and China seem to have inspired Moscow to trust Pakistan for economic ties. An alliance between Pakistan and Russia would not be without China, a mutual friend. The prospect of an alliance between Pakistan and Russia will be possible with their mutual friend — China playing a major role in their relationship. In fact, Turkey too is interested in such an alliance and President Erdogan has shown his willingness in the matter.

So this will be a four-way alliance between China, Turkey, Russia and Pakistan and there is a lot of restlessness in the US regarding this prospective alliance and we cannot rule the US factor out as they are sitting in Afghanistan right now,” Brig Saad cautioned, but also said, “The game is on.”

Off and on, Russia has tried to forge a stable alliance with Pakistan- a strategic partner of USA for years but could not go ahead with partnership presumably due to stern objections from USA and Israel.

 

 Is USA still crucial to Pakistan?

First, for an ordinary third world country and the perpetual target of India USA has been the real strength.  And for this reason alone, USA bullies, insults and threatens with money cuts – just like Israel does with Palestine. Now USA also joined India to threaten Islamabad.

Second, while during the Soviet era a sense of mutual aversion kept these ideologically opposed nations, in the modern era, USA and India do not let them improve the ties better.

Moreover, there is no real interest on both sides to forge better economic relations.

Though Russia is one of close neighbours of Pakistan and could be an important economic partner too, in real terms nothing tangible takes place.

USA and India are the prime culprits in getting Islamic Pakistan a destabilized one. Pakistan’s dependence diplomacy has not stood well as the USA could kick it the way it wants. Generally America uses certain strategically important nations like Pakistan on payment basis.  USA does not waste its money on other nations without benefits. For each dollar it gets from USA Pakistan serves the US interests not only in the region but in Arab world and other regions as well.

As many Pakistanis want US dollars for their services to US plans, USA still wants misuse them; Even while criticizing Pakistan, USA is keen to use Pakistani military to kill Pakistanis themselves and uses its military aid to force Pakistani military to target Muslims. The linchpin in Washington’s Afghan strategy is to put pressure on Pakistan to close safe havens used by Taliban fighters, most notably the Haqqani network, blamed for the more brazen and deadly attacks on Kabul.

While not pleased with Pakistan’s support for the Afghan resistance movement and while often labeling Pakistan an American or western stooge, at no time and in no correspondence is there evidence that the Soviet Union planned an invasion of Pakistan.

For Pakistan, despite closer ties with Russia and a heavily invested China, even a bad relationship with the USA is better than no relationship at all because USA can then harm Pakistan more along with its new strategic partner India. Pakistan losing the USA as a strategic partner maybe due to Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy, and ending up having to rely solely on China, is not a foreign policy success story for Pakistan — it’s a major foreign policy failure.

As Pakistan navigates its troubled relationship with the USA and scrambles to avoid being blacklisted for “not taking action on some of the entities and individuals designated as terrorists by the UN”, regional alliances are shifting — and analysts ponder whether a cozier relationship with countries like Russia will complicate efforts to move toward peace in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s relationship with the USA has been troubled in recent years, even in its current weakened state, is still far more important in economic, diplomatic and security terms for Pakistan than its relationship with Russia.

Pakistanis need to examine the Soviet archives and need to review entire unreal narrative of history.

Russia is one of our close neighbours and could be an important economic partner.

As USA trying to abandon it after using  it to advance its foreign policy goals, now Pakistan stands at a crossroads  not know  how to reset its foreign policy.

Pakistanis need to review our entire unreal narrative of history. They must know where we deceived ourselves to avoid being deceived again.

The answer to the question if a reset possible in Russia-Pakistan relationship remains inconclusive

Trump’s approval rating drops back to his worst!


Trump’s approval rating drops back to his worst!

– Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

________

Highly erratic US President Donald Trump’s approval rating has slumped again to match the lowest of his presidency, according to two new polls. The surveys were conducted amid mounting activism for gun control and security clearance problems in the White House. A survey has found that the support of Trump for stricter gun laws, encouraging the college students to become street criminals, has made Trump unpopular and highest level since 1993 and Americans aren’t happy with Trump’s rude behaviors and policies in general and his position on the gun issue.

For imperialism reasons, Trump thinks arrogance would earn him a permanent place in USA and across the world. But he does not know many such arrogant persons perished pathetically before him. History has many names.

Presidential arrogance

Trump’s attack on Muslims and immigration issue earned him a bad name too early in his presidential career. His boyish declaration on Jerusalem would not have liked by truly believing Americans. Trumps arrogance towards a traditional ally Pakistan is not appreciated by central strategic community in Washington which hates his open alliance with Israel.

Many Americans and world at large think Trump is unfit to be the US president and it is US fate to have him at White House as its custodian for a full term.

Despite Trump’s bullish take on his performance, the president’s approval rating fell five points over last month to 35 percent, according to a CNN survey, conducted by polling firm SSRS. That number matches the lowest rating of his presidency in December.

A separate poll by USA Today and Suffolk University’s Political Research Center found similar results, with the president’s approval rating also slipping to match the lowest point that survey has found at 38 percent, with 60 percent disapproving of the job he’s doing.

Now the gun control looks to be a particular problem for the president. The CNN poll was conducted Feb. 20 to 23 amid outrage over guns in the wake of the Parkland school shooting that killed 17 people. Only a third of those polled approve of how Trump is handling gun control policy, with 54 percent disapproving, the CNN poll found. Just over 12 percent of those surveyed said they have yet to make up their mind on the issue.

CNN’s poll on the gun issue found that 70 percent of those surveyed now back stricter gun laws. That’s up significantly from 52 percent who took that position in an October survey shortly after the mass shooting in Las Vegas killed 58 people. Just 27 percent of those polled oppose more stringent laws, CNN found in its latest poll.

An increasing proportion of Americans are worried that they or a family member will become a victim of gun violence. Almost six in 10 people (57 percent) are worried now — compared with 44 percent after the 2016 mass shooting in Orlando. Fears are higher among parents of children under the age of 18 (62 percent to 55 percent for non-parents), CNN found.

The USA Today poll found that 76 percent (to 12 percent) of those polled believe that people who have been treated for mental illness should be prohibited from owning guns. The accused gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had reportedly been treated for mental illness. Despite Trump’s expressed support to toughen up background checks for gun purchases, he and Congress a year ago rolled back stricter checks on people with mental illnesses who purchase guns.

The survey also found that 63 percent (to 29 percent) of those polled believe that semi-automatic guns like the AR-15 used by the Florida shooter should be banned. The president has said he would support raising the minimum age for buying such firearms from 18 to 21, but hasn’t supported a ban and is not ikely to.

The USA Today survey also found that 66 percent (to 33 percent) of those polled believe tightening gun-control laws and background checks would prevent more mass shootings. Of those polled, only 19 percent believe there’s a ‘good to excellent’ chance Congress will take action on gun control in the foreseeable future.

The polls were also taken during more bad news for the Trump government, including new charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and following revelations of domestic abuse allegations against staffers in the White House amid continuing concerns about the lack of security clearance for personnel.

Among the least supportive groups for Trump in the CNN survey, the president’s approval stands at just five percent among Democrats, 22 percent among Americans ages 35 and younger, 23 percent among non-whites and 29 percent among women. Only 35 percent of independents approve of Trump’s performance in the White House.

Among Republicans, 80 percent approve of Trump’s performance, though that’s down a point from Trump’s lowest rating among self-described party members last September. Among people over 50,  43 percent approve of the job Trump is doing, and 42 percent of all men give him a favorable rating.

Interestingly, Trump’s approval rating is well behind former presidents at this point in their presidency: 12 percent behind the previous low set by Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, and 14 percent behind a failed and low profile Barack Obama.

The CNN poll has a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points, but it’s larger for subgroup surveys. The USA Today poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

As his public ratings keep falling, his aids of the team also leave him one by one.  Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s longest-serving advisers, is to step down as White House communications director. The 29-year-old former model and ex-Trump Organization employee has been by Trump’s side for years. She is reported to have told colleagues she felt she had accomplished all she could in the White House. She is the fourth person to serve as communications chief for this administration.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders – who described Ms Hicks as “in a league of her own” – said it remained unclear when she would leave the administration. Ms Sanders said the resignation was not connected to testimony Ms Hicks gave to the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

Ms Hicks is reported to have admitted to the panel that she had occasionally told what amounted to “white lies” for President Trump. But she denied lying about anything relevant to the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, US media reported.

During the election campaign, Ms Hicks served as press secretary. She took over as the head of the White House communications team last August, after the abrupt firing of Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci, speaking on Fox News, described her as “a wonderful person”. “She’s one of the least malicious people I’ve ever met in my life. She’s dedicated, she’s charming, she’s thoughtful, at the end of the day she’s going to have an unbelievable career,” he said.

A former campaign official quoted by Politico magazine said Ms Hicks’s departure left the White House without an expert “Trump translator”. “She knew what the president wanted and could explain it to the communications team,” the official said. Before Scaramucci, Sean Spicer and Mike Dubke both served in the role – which involves overseeing a busy press department.

But Ms Hicks has kept a remarkably low profile in the job. “Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person,” Mr Trump said in a statement. “I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future.”

Trouble for the President 

As his close allies in the government abandon him, Trump is feeling himself irrelevant, less important in US politics, very small. Hope Hicks had been there since the beginning; since before the beginning. When the Trump campaign was just a ragtag band of political neophytes, she was the one distributing press releases and answering media requests.

Where others had stumbled or been pushed out of Donald Trump’s orbit, Hicks quietly persevered – and rode the train all the way to one of the most powerful White House jobs.  Now she too is gone. She lasted nearly as long as the preceding three White House communications directors combined, but the position continues to be cursed.

White House sources insist that it was a planned exit, that she was simply waiting for the right time. It’s hard, however, to imagine timing worse than this. It comes just a day after her eight hours of testimony before a congressional committee investigating possible Trump campaign ties to Russia, where she reportedly admitted to telling “white lies” in defence of the president.

Although she may be exiting the White House, it’s unlikely she escapes the spotlight so easily. She had a ringside seat to many of the controversies that have swirled around the Trump campaign and presidency – and subsequent revelations could put her name in the headlines again.

Brought up in Greenwich, Connecticut, and was a talented lacrosse player at high school and college, Hope Hicks  took up modeling as a teenager and once appeared in an ad for Ralph Lauren’; Previously worked for a public relations company that handled Ivanka Trump’s fashion business and the Trump Organization’s property brand; Joined the Trump Organization in 2014 and Donald Trump brought her on to his campaign team a year later, despite her lack of political experience; Nicknamed “Hopester” by Trump, she is said to be one of his most trusted aides and among the few who could challenge him to change his views; Ms Hicks is seen as a key witness in the ongoing inquiry into whether the Trump team colluded with Russia.

During the nine-hour hearing on Tuesday, Hope Hicks reportedly stonewalled lawmakers about a 2016 meeting between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower ;Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee investigating alleged Russian meddling, said that she now needed to testify. “She has no right to claim executive privilege.

Hope Hicks has no claim to refuse to come before the judiciary committee now she’s stepped down. She should be a witness before the judiciary committee,” he said. Earlier this month her actions were scrutinized amid a scandal involving White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who quit amid domestic abuse allegations. She was, at the time, reported to have been dating Porter.

Ms Hicks helped draft an initial statement defending Porter and her handling of the controversy reportedly displeased Trump

It is too early to write off Trump from world scene or write a pathetic obituary about him, however!

India: Pollution, traffic hassle and Delhi budget

India: Pollution, traffic hassle and Delhi budget

– Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

_____

 

Delhi State which is also Indian capital city therefore performs twin roles. As capital city, Delhi and New Delhi face a lot of pollution and traffic problems. These issues can be solved satisfactorily only when Delhi state acquires full statehood.

As of today, the Delhi government is powerless in real terms as the federal government that controls the Delhi state calls all the shots. Delhi stat requires  an enhanced  outlay of  funds to proper maintenance of the capital state.

The government of India has allocated Rs 790 crore for Delhi in the recent  Union Budget for 2018-19 while the share in central taxes and duties for the city remained unchanged even though the AAP government had demanded an increase. The Delhi government was given Rs 449.99 crore as central assistance in the Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha.

In the previous Budget, the Centre had allotted a total of 757.99 crore. The central assistance to the city government was Rs 412.98 crore.
In the 2018-19 Budget, Rs 10 crore has also been given to the AAP government for paying enhanced compensation to the 1984 riot victims though the amount was Rs 15 crore in the 2017-18 Budget.

Apart from this, the grant for the Delhi Disaster Response Fund remained unchanged with an allocation of Rs 5 crore.

The Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, had been demanding that the share in central taxes and duties for it should be increased. According to it, Delhi’s share in central taxes has remained static at Rs 325 crore since 2001-02. Centre allotted Rs 790 crores for Delhi in 2018-19 Budget. In the 2018-19 Budget, Rs 10 crore has also been given to the AAP government for paying enhanced compensation to the 1984 riot victims though the amount was Rs 15 crore in the 2017-18 Budget.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Budget 2018 on Thursday allocated Rs 790 crore for Delhi while the share in central taxes and duties for the city remained unchanged even though the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government had demanded an increase. The Delhi government was given Rs 449.99 crore as central assistance in the Budget presented by Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha.

 

In the previous Budget i.e. 2017, the Centre had allotted a total of 757.99 crore. The central assistance to the city government was Rs 412.98 crore.

In the 2018-19 Budget, Rs 10 crore has also been given to the AAP government for paying enhanced compensation to the 1984 riot victims though the amount was Rs 15 crore in the 2017-18 Budget.

 

Apart from this, the grant for the Delhi Disaster Response Fund remained unchanged with an allocation of Rs 5 crore. The Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, had been demanding that the share in central taxes and duties for it should be increased. According to the city govt, Delhi’s share in central taxes has remained static at Rs 325 crore since 2001-02.

 

Moreover, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said a special scheme will be executed with Delhi government and adjoining states to address the rising air pollution in the National Capital. Presenting the Union Budget 2018-19, the minister also said steps will be taken to subsidize the machinery required for management of crop residue. “A special scheme will be implemented to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue,” he said.

 

Unveiling the last full-year budget of the current BJP-led government in Parliament, Jaitley said air pollution in Delhi-NCR region has been a cause of concern. Earlier, the Economic Survey had suggested heavy penalties for burning agricultural waste, and more incentives for farmers to
prevent alarmingly poor air quality in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas.

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Nothing for Delhi local bodies

Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi State Manish Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio of the state, said that the state’s share in central taxes had remained stagnant since Rs 325 crore since 2001.  The Delhi government said it was disappointed by the Union budget since the state’s share in central taxes has not changed. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the Centre of meting out “step-motherly” treatment to the residents of the national Capital.

 

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said that the state’s share in central taxes had remained stagnant since ₹325 crore since 2001.In his budget speech, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley nominally increased the central assistance for 2018-19 from ₹413 crore to ₹450 crore but the state’s share in central taxes and duties remain unchanged. “I had expected some financial assistance to important infrastructure projects for national capital. Am disappointed that Centre continues its stepmotherly treatment to Delhi,” Kejriwal tweeted.

 

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had been demanding that the Centre enhance its allocation from to at least ₹5,000 crore. “The national Capital’s budget has increased from R8,739 crore in 2001-02 to ₹48,000 crore in 2017-18. Unlike Delhi, other states get their share based on the annual increase in the collection of central taxes,” Sisodia said.

 

The AAP government alleged that while the Union government provided basic and performance grants to local bodies in other states as per the recommendations of 14th Central Finance Commission (for the award period of 2015-2020), local bodies in Delhi did not get support. “We had requested ₹1,000 crore as grant for the local bodies. But nothing was given,” Sisodia said. Delhi’s North and East municipal corporations have been running under losses ever since the MCD was trifurcated in 2012. The financial crunch in the two corporations has led to repeated strikes by staff over non-payment of salaries.

 

Sisodia said they had requested the Centre to increased the assistance to at least ₹1,000 crore in the current year’s revised estimates (RE) and ₹1,500 crore in the budget estimate (BE) but said the Capital had got only ₹450 crore.

 

The Delhi government said it had asked for a special package to buy 2,000 electric buses to combat pollution. “I had personally requested a special package for 2000 electric buses for Delhi, which could have played a major role in fighting air pollution. Unfortunately, Central government does not care for Delhi,” Sisodia said.

 

The Centre allocated R6, 946 crore for Delhi Police, which comes under the Union home ministry. Last year, the Delhi Police had been given ₹5,910 crore. This jump of over a thousand crore was welcomed by Delhi Police special commissioner and spokesperson Dependra Pathak who is controlled by central government.  “This increased budget will help us improve public service delivery in Delhi,” he said.

 

1984 anti-Sikh riot (by Congress party) victims

 

Jaitley allocated ₹10 crore to the Delhi government for paying enhanced compensation to victims of the 1984 anti-Sikhriots victims. An additional ₹5 crore has been allocated for Disaster Response Fund.

 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said a special scheme will be executed with Delhi government and adjoining states to address the rising air pollution in the National Capital. Presenting the Union Budget 2018-19, the minister also said steps will be taken to subsidise the machinery required for management of crop residue. “A special scheme will be implemented to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution and to subsidise machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue,” he said.

 

Unveiling the last full-year budget of the current BJP- led government in Parliament, he said air pollution in Delhi- NCR region has been a cause of concern.

The Economic Survey had suggested heavy penalties for burning agricultural waste, and more incentives for farmers to prevent alarmingly poor air quality in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas. The Survey said due to burning of paddy fields after harvesting by farmers mainly from north India, the resultant smoke gets carried by winds to Delhi and beyond, adding to the existing suspended particulate matter (SPM) and noxious substances that clog lungs. Citing various reports, the survey noted that Delhi accounts for one of the unhealthiest cities in the world in terms of air pollution.

 

Delhi govt calls three-day discussion for making 2018-19 budget

 

he AAP-led Delhi government has kicked off the budget-making exercise for the fiscal year 2018-19 by calling a three-day discussion on the matter from next month. The government has also asked all heads of departments to furnish the achievements of third quarter of existing ‘Outcome Budget 2017-18’, a move aimed at ensuring transparency and accountability in expenditure. Like the previous years, the focus of the budget will be on health, education and transport. “The focus of discussion will be rationalization of existing output and outcome indicators and introduction of new programmes in Outcome Budget 2018-19. “As per the schedule, discussion on the proposal and expenditure of departments of women and child welfare, SC/ST, social welfare, education, art, culture and languages, labor and Delhi Subordinate Service Selection Board (DSSSB) will be held on February 7,” the official said.

 

On February 8, the focus will be on health, home, tourism, development and environment departments, while on February 9, discussion will be held on Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Urban Development (UD), revenue among others.

 

Last year, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had presented the Outcome Budget 2017-18 and said the Delhi government was the first in the country to adopt such a practice. According to Delhi government, the outcome budget, besides ensuring transparency and accountability of expenditure, will help in assessing performance of officials which is included in their annual confidential report (ACR).

 

Both the Federal and Delhi governments must solve all problems of Delhi state amicably and in favor of Delhiites. However, only when Delhi state upgraded to a full state with all departments to function under the state government- now many departments like police are under Federal control, causing specific problems for the Delhi state and contestant friction between  the Delhi government and Federal government in which the Federal and State Lt. governor  hold upper hand.

 

How could one justify the federal government suing the police to arrest state ministers and the CM of the state has no power to intervene?

 

When  both  the Federal government and the Delhi are ruled by one and same party,  there is no chance for friction but when different parties rule both, only a full statehood  could make  Delhi state perform well.

Now Delhi state is being ruled by Aam Admi party while the Federal government is under the BJP.

 

AAP defeated both BJP and Congress and wrestled the capital state from the Congress party.

 

Like the Union government that has full control over entire nation, the Delhi state administration also must have complete control of state of affairs of Delhi state. No amount of justification not to grant full statehood to Delhi can solve the problems the Delhiites face.

 

Hopefully good sense prevails in federal government and parliament.

Time to abolish UNSC veto system!

Time to abolish UNSC veto system!

– Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

______

 

Enough of harm has been inflicted upon humanity by the ruthless misbehavior of veto members of the UNSC with their basically barbaric and negative behavior.

UNSC veto is used in a negative manner instead of using for the peaceful resolutions of global crises and conflicts. A veto can block anything and everything.

USA, the power behind the drafting the veto system as a part of UN system, deliberately made the veto only to black resolutions and whenever it seeks to  pass a resolution  to  protect Israel, for instance,  USA would request other fellow veto member to cooperate  and they also cooperate with USA as per the usual  practice.

UNSC veto system is both funny and extremely dangerous just like today’s erratic Trump. Thus far the UNSC has failed to bring peace to the humanity but on the contrary, the veto system has only promoted crises across the globe, deliberately denying chances for peaceful situations to emerge.

Mainly the super rogue USA blocks everything on the UNSC with its monstrous veto that Americans misuse to save Israel form any punitive measures for its crimes against humanity and promote the criminal interests of Israel s the major task of veto system.

That is cruel. Shameful!

Instead of negativism that is attached to the veto system,  it would  have served  the purpose of world peace if the veto is used in a positive manner, i. e,  at least 3 veto members is necessary to pass any resolution n the UNSC.

In this regard the statement of outgoing UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein that UNSC veto-wielding members are second only to criminals is thought provoking and requiring a basis change in veto system

Ra’ad al-Hussein accused the council’s permanent members, particularly Russia, China, and the United States, of being responsible for the continuation of suffering of innocents and misusing their veto powers. He made the remarks during his last speech before his four-year term expires at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. “So long as the veto is used by them to block any unity of action when it is needed the most, when it could reduce the extreme sufferings of innocent people, then it is they – the permanent members – who must answer before the victims,” he added.

The UN human rights chief further slammed the international community for failing to control what he referred to as brutal conflicts around the globe. “Second to those who are criminally responsible – those who kill and maim – the responsibility for the continuation of so much pain lies with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council,” he added.

A great pity that he had to wait until his last year to say the truth  The truth always rises to the top no matter how much Satan tries to hide it The UNGA has to make a decision and remove the VETO as it is being ABSUED by the filthy rich countries for their own agenda ..

USA uses veto to protect Israel all the time and the criminal Jewish state remains  unpunished. Entire UN is a rigged game because it was designed by USA to be one. So The UN was designed not to create peace, but to create conflict, to promote imperialism to ensure US military supremacy. .

UNSC by its very nature is criminal and defunct. 5 largely corrupt countries enslaved to Zionist and corporate fleecers decide the destiny of humanity, while India, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia and many mature and ancient nations are kept out of this criminal club.

European UK and France play no significant role in UNSC veto system but both just obey the USA. What relevance do tiny bankrupt UK and France have in today’s strategic equation?

UN is irrelevant now a days and USA is primarily responsible for that state of affairs.  All it does is to protect Israel. This fascist state with criminal leaders should have not compared Russia and China to USA. Russia and China may have vetoed a few resolutions but USA has vetoed some 47 plus anti Israel resolutions. May be USA pays his salary so Israel remains an obedient puppet!

Syria and Myanmar are the best examples how the veto system has ruined lives. Russia’s and China’s big criminal mistake recently was about Myanmar and USA tops the list with crimes against Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and so on and on.

USA always takes care to advance its economic interests and military supremacy globally and for this, world wars were launched, killing millions but USA emerged richer and stronger. .

The truth is that 9/11 was the turning point. Sept-11 was purely a US hoax engineered with the help of Israeli Mossad. .Americans lies get sold instantly like hot cakes across the globe where US-Israeli agents spread lies through anti-Islamic Islamic, anti-humanity media outlets. The western deep state gets away with obvious lies. And the masses don’t do anything. They silently give green light for all that is happening now and that is the reason for success of US strategy.

USA and allies employ the media outlets to protect their fascist ad imperialist interests and both deserve extinction but they also remain bosses.

The UNSC veto system has place for Muslim nations as USA did not think a Muslim representation should be there in the UNSC veto system – Only Christian Zionist Jews at the heart of US policies and all others don’t matter at all. Mind you, Americans keep talking about democracy and rule of law for others but has refused a veto seat to a Muslim nation- not even its close ally Turkey or Saudi Arabia was trusted by USA. Since USA refused to co-opt a Muslim nation, other veto members like Russia and China have no reason to demand for the inclusion of a Muslim nation in the UNSC veto system. .

The UN veto system is anti-democratic by nature and by practice and it should be ambushed and abolished forthwith by the UN general Assembly, ignoring what the USA would say.

Save humanity!

 

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