Article first published as The Bleeding Wound, Kashmir, Is Seeping Again on Blogcritics.
The last guard of USSR, Gorbachev once described ‘Afghanistan’ as a ‘bleeding wound’. Even after Russians left Afghanistan, it is still bleeding but now due to 9 years of cruel war by the world number one rogue state the US and its coalition forces. Historically there are three major red spots on the world map that can unequivocally be termed as “bleeding wounds”. The first most and never ending tragic saga is Palestine. While Afghanistan occupies the second place, Kashmir, once an independent royal kingdom takes the third place. They are placed so, depending upon intensities of how the people living there are oppressed and struggling to carry out even their daily chorus.
Like Palestine, Kashmir is geographically situated at a strategic point in terms of geo-political importance. While leaving India, the British colonial rulers divided Indian sub-continent into two countries on religious lines in 1947. One was Muslim dominated Pakistan and the other was Hindus dominated India. It was part of the famous British tactic of controlling colonies, ‘divide and rule.’ In between lies Muslim dominated but Hindu king (Raja Hari Singh) ruled Kashmir by then. To the North of Kashmir there was Communist China and USSR. To the far-east there was US’ ally Japan to be protected from communist danger. Such a strategic location prompted British colonial rulers and its upcoming boss the US not to grant independence status to Kashmir. Instead they left the choice to the feudal king Hari Singh.
Meanwhile Pakistan’s mercenaries entered Kashmir from North-West side. Kashmir requested help from India to save its independence status. The then Indian Prime Minister made an agreement with Kashmir that three ministries would be controlled by India, Kashmir retains its independence status with other ministries and a plebiscite would be held in Kashmir after Pak’s mercenaries were defeated out of Kashmir to choose for Kashmiri people for themselves whether to align with India or Kashmir or to remain independent. Indian forces entered Kashmir. UN was called in and after a lot of deliberations and discussions with the mediation of the UN a line called ‘Line of Control’ (LoC) was drawn dividing Kashmiris and their land between India and Pakistan. While a quarter of Kashmir land left with Pakistan as ‘Pak Occupied Kashmir’ or ‘Azadi Kashmir’, three quarters left with India. Plebiscite was then opposed by Pakistan but welcomed by India.
Reuters | Tue Jul 27, 2010 | 2:39am IST
The Pentagon said it could take weeks to determine how much damage WikiLeaks’ release of military documents on the war in Afghanistan did to national security. It took only minutes to gauge its effect on the way people get news. WikiLeaks posted some 91,000 documents on its website, but to make sure they got attention and heavy exposure, they shared them first with The New York Times, London’s Guardian newspaper and German news magazine Der Spiegel. The episode underscores how the Web and social media give groups that did not exist a few years ago central roles in journalism, and how mainstream media outlets still play a key role in analyzing and disseminating news. It also shows that the brand names of those outlets, even as their lustre fades in the Web age, can amplify the perceived importance of news based on how prominently they cover it. The question is whether WikiLeaks is journalism, a term whose plasticity has been tested by organizations publishing on blogs and Twitter as the Web threatens traditional outlets’ finances and loosens their grip on who publishes the news.
"I don’t know what you call what WikiLeaks is doing, and I don’t mean that in a disparaging way," said Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief of investigative journalism group ProPublica and former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. "They’re a new phenomenon." Whereas newspapers like The New York Times look to historical guideposts of "All the news that’s fit to print" and reporting the news "without fear or favour," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Der Spiegel, "I enjoy helping people who are vulnerable. And I enjoy crushing the bastards." WikiLeaks has published thousands of documents from sources that it says expose corporate and government corruption. It posted a video of a U.S. helicopter attack in Iraq in 2007 that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters journalists. WikiLeaks proclaims its opinions, calling the helicopter attack video "Collateral Murder."
BBC News | July 2010 | 19:27 GMT
Two US soldiers have been captured by Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, reports say. An Afghan official says the two men were seized in Logar province after an exchange of fire with the militants on Friday. A spokesman for the Nato-led force (Isaf) later confirmed the missing were US soldiers. The US military later offered a $20,000 (£12,956) reward for the information leading to the safe release of the men.
A spokesman for the Logar governor told the BBC on Saturday that the two Americans had ignored warnings and set out on their own from their base on Friday evening into a known Taliban-held area. After an exchange of gunfire the two were captured. One unconfirmed report later said that one of the captives had been killed. A NATO statement later said that two service members left their compound on Friday in Kabul "and did not return". The statement did not identify the pair by nationality, but an Isaf spokesman told AFP that "we are confirming they are Americans".
Local radio stations also aired US statements offering the reward for the safe release of "two coalition personnel", according to Reuters news agency. "They are believed to have been captured by insurgents somewhere in Logar province. They may have been separated from one another or maybe in the process of being moved to another
BBC News | Thursday, 1 July 2010 | 06:00 GMT
The Taliban in Afghanistan have told the BBC that there is no question of their entering into any kind of negotiations with NATO forces. It comes after US commanders and the British army chief of staff, Gen David Richards, suggested that it might be useful to talk to the Taliban. The Taliban statement is uncompromising, almost contemptuous. They believe they are winning the war, and cannot see why they should help NATO by talking to them. They assume, perhaps wrongly, that the Americans are in disarray after the sacking of the NATO commander Gen Stanley McChrystal last week, and regard any suggestion that they should enter negotiations with them as a sign of NATO’s own weakness. June, they point out, has seen the highest number of NATO deaths in Afghanistan: 102, an average of more than three a day.
Nowadays it is extremely hard for Westerners to meet Taliban leaders face to face, either in Afghanistan or in Pakistan. But a trusted intermediary conveyed a series of questions to Zabiullah Mujahedd, the acknowledged spokesman for the Afghan Taliban leadership, and gave us his answers. The text runs as follows: "We do not want to talk to anyone – not to [President Hamid] Karzai, nor to any foreigners – till the foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan. We are certain that we are winning. Why should we talk if we have the upper hand, and the foreign troops are considering withdrawal, and there are differences in the ranks of our enemies?" This is propaganda, of course – yet many Afghans, even those who hate and fear the Taliban, are coming round to exactly the same view. The Taliban are still deeply unpopular in many parts of the country. Memories are still vivid of the brutal and extreme way they governed from 1996 to 2001. They, together with their supporters, certainly do not represent anything near a majority of the Afghan people.
BBC News | Friday, 2 April 2010 01:49 | 00:49 GMT
Israeli planes have carried out 13 air strikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources have told the BBC. Four of the strikes took place near the town of Khan Younis, where two Israeli soldiers were killed in clashes with Palestinian fighters last week. The Israeli military has told the BBC the operation was targeting four weapons factories. The strikes are the most serious for more than a year, says the BBC’s Jon Donnison from Jerusalem. The director of ambulance and emergency in the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Dr Muawiya Hassanein, said that three children including an infant were slightly injured by flying debris. Witnesses and Hamas officials said the Israeli raids targeted metal workshops, farms, a milk factory and small sites belonging to the military wing of Hamas.
"Israel will not tolerate terroristic activity inside Gaza that threatens Israeli citizens," the Israeli military said in a statement released to the BBC. Palestinian news agencies reported that Israeli aircraft dropped leaflets over parts of Gaza on Thursday warning residents of retaliation for last Friday’s killings of the soldiers in Khan Younis. They were the first Israeli soldiers to be killed in hostile fire in Gaza in over a year. The military wing of Hamas claim responsibility for those attacks. Hamas said police stations and training facilities were among the targets of Israel’s overnight raids.
Tensions in the region are running high after a recent Israeli government announcement of plans to build 1,600 new homes for Jewish people in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as a capital of a future state. Militants in the Gaza Strip have recently stepped up rocket fire directed at Israel. On Wednesday, they fired a rocket into an empty field in southern Israel, but there were no reports of casualties or damage, military sources said.
BBC NEWS | 2010/03/26 | 10:36:32 GMT
The Israeli prime minister says his policy on Jerusalem will not change – a sign that a row with the US over settlement building remains unresolved. Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement came as he was due to brief cabinet colleagues on talks with President Barack Obama. The US says some progress was made. The row is over Israeli plans to build 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem, where the Palestinians want their capital. After the announcement they pulled out of planned US-mediated peace talks. Israel insists the Jerusalem will remain its undivided capital. Nearly half a million Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.
The row over Israel’s plans for homes in East Jerusalem has caused one of the worst crises in US-Israeli ties for decades. Israel unveiled the plans to build in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo during a visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden – a move which Washington initially branded an insult. Hours before Mr Netanyahu’s meeting with Mr Obama on Tuesday, it emerged that the Jerusalem municipal government had approved another development in occupied East Jerusalem. The White House has been trying to persuade Mr Netanyahu to commit to several trust-building measures to revive hopes for indirect "proximity talks" between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israeli media reports say Mr Netanyahu told the US president he needed to consult with his cabinet, which includes far-right wingers who are strongly opposed to the division of Jerusalem, before reaching agreement. "The prime minister’s position is that there is no change in Israel’s
AP | 10:09 am ET | March 16, 2010
A US envoy’s postponement of his Mideast trip appeared Tuesday to deepen one of the worst US-Israeli feuds in memory — even as Israel’s foreign minister signaled his government had no intention of curtailing the contentious construction at the heart of the row. Hundreds of Palestinians hurled rocks at police and set tires and garbage bins ablaze across the holy city’s volatile eastern sector, where the construction is planned. Plumes of black smoke billowed and the air reeked of tear gas in the heaviest clashes in the city in months. Youths in one east Jerusalem neighborhood hoisted a giant Palestinian flag and shouted, "We’ll die in Palestine, Palestine will live." Thousands of police, including anti-riot units armed with assault rifles, stun grenades and batons, were deployed across east Jerusalem to stifle the unrest. No serious injuries were reported.
The diplomatic crisis erupted last week after Israel announced during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden that it would build 1,600 apartments for Jews in disputed east Jerusalem, the sector of the holy city that the Palestinians claim for a future capital. The announcement enraged Palestinians, who have threatened to bow out of US-brokered peace talks that were supposed to begin in the coming days. The Obama administration, fuming over what it called the "insulting" Israeli conduct, has demanded that Israel call off the project. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel Radio that demands to halt Israeli construction there "are unreasonable" and predicted the row with the US would blow over,
BBC News | Tuesday, 9 March 2010 | 14:27 GMT
US Vice-President Joe Biden has said there is a "moment of real opportunity" for peace between the Palestinians and Israel during a visit to the region. Mr Biden welcomed the two sides’ recent agreement to start indirect talks, saying the US would back those who "took risks for peace". He said the US was committed to Israeli security and determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed US attempts to boost sanctions on Iran. Mr Biden is the most senior member of the administration of US President Barack Obama to visit Jerusalem. At a joint news conference after talks with Mr Netanyahu, Mr Biden said there was "no space" between the US and Israel on Israel’s security.
Mr Biden said the cornerstone of Washington’s relationship with Israel was an "absolute, total, unvarnished" commitment to its security. He called on Iran to "meet its international obligations" over its nuclear programme. Tehran says it is purely for civilian use. Mr Biden said the best long-term guarantee for Israel’s security was a comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbours. Mr Netanyahu said Israel would continue to support the US push for stronger sanctions against Iran, and that he was pleased its efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were "beginning to bear fruit". He said the goal of
Reuters | 03/03/2010
Dubai’s police chief plans to seek the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of Israel’s spy agency over the killing of a Hamas leader in the emirate, Al Jazeera television reported. Dahi Khalfan Tamim "said he would ask the Dubai prosecutor to issue arrest warrants for … Netanyahu and the head of Mossad," the television said. It did not give details. Tamim has said he is "almost certain" Israeli agents were involved in the killing of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a Dubai hotel in January, calling for Mossad’s boss, Meir Dagan, to be arrested if it is proved responsible. Tamim said on Monday Mossad had "insulted" Dubai and Western countries whose fraudulent passports were used by suspects in the assassination.
Dubai has asked the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into prepaid cards issued by the Meta Financial Group’s MetaBank which the suspects used, a United Arab Emirates newspaper said. Citing an FBI source, The National newspaper said the investigation would look into any Israeli involvement in the killing. "Thirteen of the 27 suspects used prepaid MasterCards issued by MetaBank, a regional American bank, to purchase plane tickets and book hotel rooms," the newspaper said, quoting Dubai police. MetaBank said it followed proper procedures when it issued the cards. Authorities told the bank that the suspects appeared to have used stolen passports to get
BBC NEWS | 2009/12/04 | 12:15:33 GMT
- US calling for about 10,000 extra foreign troops
- NATO expects 7,000 troops from 25 of 43 nations in Afghanistan
- Not all have gone public with their intentions
- Britain has pledged extra 500; Italy “about 1,000”; Poland 600; Portugal 150; Spain 200; Slovakia 250; Macedonia 80
- Non-NATO member Georgia sending 900, South Korea 500
- France still considering response; Germany may delay decision until January 2010
NATO’s top official says countries will send at least 7,000 extra troops to support the US surge in Afghanistan. Speaking at a NATO summit in Brussels, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said there would be “more [troops] to come.” “At least 25 countries will send more forces to the mission in 2010,” the NATO secretary general told reporters. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the response from NATO allies as “positive,” and urged them to rally behind the US’s new Afghan strategy. Some major countries are holding back, however. France and Germany, for instance, have not yet committed themselves to sending extra troops.
‘Solidarity in action’
Earlier this week, US President Barack Obama announced he was sending an additional 30,000 troops to help battle the Taliban insurgency. The US is calling on allies among the 43 nations with troops in Afghanistan to send about 10,000 extra soldiers. Speaking at the Brussels talks, Continue reading
NYT | 25/11/2009
President Obama said Tuesday that he was determined to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, and his aides signaled to allies that he would send as many as 25,000 to 30,000 additional American troops there even as they cautioned that the final number remained in flux. The White House said Mr. Obama had completed his consultations with his war council on Monday night and would formally announce his decision in a national address in the next week, probably on Tuesday. At a news conference in the East Room with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, Mr. Obama suggested that his approach would break from the policies he had inherited from the Bush administration and said that the goals would be to keep Al Qaeda from using the region to launch more attacks against the United States and to bring more stability to Afghanistan.
“After eight years — some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done — it is my intention to finish the job,” he said. He said that he would outline his Afghanistan strategy after Thanksgiving, adding, “I feel very confident that when the American people hear a clear rationale for what we’re doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they will be supportive.” Though he and his advisers have drawn up benchmarks to measure progress and put pressure on the Afghan government to do its part, Mr. Obama offered no details in his public remarks on Tuesday. He was also silent on precisely what would constitute finishing the job in Afghanistan or how soon he envisioned being able to begin extricating the United States from the war there. Continue reading
Former Marine says It will take decades and billions of dollars to achieve success in Afghanistan.
A key U.S. official in Afghanistan has resigned in protest over U.S. policy in the war-torn region, as the Obama administration deliberates its future strategy there. Matthew Hoh, a political officer in the foreign service and a senior civilian officer in Zabul, Afghanistan, wrote a four-page letter to Ambassador Nancy Powell, director general of the foreign service at the State Department, to express his “doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy,” as first reported by the Washington Post today. Today, Hoh told reporters he submitted his letter of resignation on Sept. 10 because he doesn’t agree with the U.S. mission in the country. Afghanistan, Hoh said, is in stark contrast to Iraq, especially when it comes to security. “I feel that our strategies in Afghanistan are not pursing goals that are worthy of sacrificing our young men and women or spending the billions we’re doing there,” Hoh said. “I believe that the people we are fighting there are fighting us because we are occupying them — not for any ideological reasons, not because of any links to al Qaeda, not because of any fundamental hatred toward the West. The only reason they’re fighting us is because we are occupying them.” Hoh spent six years in Iraq, where he served as a Marine Corps captain and then worked as a civilian for the Department of Defense.
The 36-year-old told reporters he wants people to know that stabilizing the Afghan government doesn’t equate to defeating al Qaeda. “If that’s our goal, to defeat al Qaeda, we need to change our strategy because, you know it’s the proverbial swatting of the fly with a sledgehammer, all you do is basically exhaust yourself and you put holes in your walls and your floors and you don’t do anything to the fly,” he said. “We are still Continue reading