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,